How did superstition start?
#1
It would be interesting to know how superstitions start. In India, there might be several million superstitions, each of which must have started with a single influential person and spread to the masses.

For example, a priest might say to his quarry, "The flower I kept on the head of the idol fell on the left side. This means something bad is going to happen to the family." At that point the hapless devotee would ask, "What can we do to avoid the calamity?" You know what the priest would say. If the devotee refuses to pay, he would blame the flower that fell on the left side as the cause of his next calamity. So the word would spread like wild fire. The only beneficiary of this scam are the crooked priests.

Likewise, a man in a car accident tries to find an excuse for his accident and remembers that a black cat ran across his car when he left home. Now poor black cats are blamed for every accident. Such are the stupidities of man's primitive thinking.

What do you guys think about this?
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#2
I think the origin for superstitions beliefs is the human brain's ability to jump to conclusions even when there is insufficient data. This is advantageous in the wild where it is not always possible to investigate the truth. If there is sound and you see a yellow colored patch behind a bush, the best strategy is to assume that it is a tiger and run away. If it was not a tiger, you have lost nothing, but if it was a tiger, you saved your life.

That ability of our brains is backfiring on us now that we don't live in the wild anymore. Inferring a wrong conclusion is what leads to superstition.

It takes years of training to not to trust our brain and depend only on verifiable evidence. Such a system of training has begun only in the past few hundred years. But by then superstition has evolved into religion and has become an integral part of human culture.
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#3
Rainbow 
It is funny. You guys heard of Superstitious Pigeons?
If not, here is the deal
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner#Superstitious_Pigeons]

Superstition has slight evolutionary advantage.
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