The comments are much better than the original article. Posts 1, 3, and 4 are especially on the mark. Mr. Tierney does indeed fail to explain the superstitious behavior (perhaps he’s not giving an adequate summary of the research). Nor does he show that the behavior is logical (as opposed to explainable). Doesn’t anyone at the Times edit the column?
There may be an evolutionary reason for superstitutions. Bad outcomes can be catastrophic for survival. To be sure, bad outcomes may be unrelated to our behavior, but the individual who is hypersensitive to them (even if irrationally so) may be more cautious, thus more likely to survive and leave progeny. The cost of such superstitions would be low, so there would be no reason for them to be eliminated by natural selection. Just a thought, but isn’t everyone just speculating here?
Posted by Alfred