Friday, February 13, 2004

The Friday (the Thirteenth) Five

1. Are you superstitious? No. I am a hard-headed rationalist who believes in the laws of probability and understands that those laws can often have surprising results that look unnatural but aren't.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition? I'm sure I've heard all kinds of wacky stories on the subject, but I'm completely blanking on any of them now. Yeah, I know. I suck. (Well, actually, I could probably say something religiously offensive here, but I won't!)

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition? Well, I've often thought that if I believed in lucky numbers (or, for that matter, in luck) at all, I'd regard 13 as a lucky number for me, and quite possibly Friday the 13th as a lucky day. I turned 13 on a Friday the 13th, a fact which I find quite perversely pleasing. Mind you, today's really kind of sucked, which just goes to show that that particular belief really is crap. Heh.

I do have to admit to a fondness for gamer superstitions, in which I shamefully indulge even though I don't really believe in any of them. There's this whole intricate series of beliefs RPGers have with respect to dice... If a die rolls badly too often, it's unlucky and you should change it for a new one. If an unlucky die touches another die, it'll transmit the bad luck. Dice know when a roll is important and actively plan to mess with your mind... That sort of thing. It's all part of the game, really.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual? See answers above. Actually, whether or not I believe in luck depends a bit on what you mean by "luck." Do I believe that luck is some controllable entity, some actual force that can be influenced by talismans and rituals? Nah. Not even when my dice are messing with my mind. But there are runs of good fortune and bad fortune, and amazing coincidences do happen. The laws of probability dictate this, in fact. And, yes, some people, by sheer random chance are luckier than others. But past "luck" is absolutely no indication of future "luck." You rolls your dice and you takes your chances.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not? Emphatically not. There is neither a theoretical basis for it, nor any scientific evidence of it. In fact, some decent scientific studies have been done on the subject and turned up no support for astrological predictions whatsoever.

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