Superstition is a worrying illness when present in the masses but a serious virus when in the minds of those who aspire to lead us.

Whether it is President Atta Mills allegedly listening to the, purportedly, prophetic ramblings of Prophet TB Joshua or the ex-Vice President Aliu Mahama telling us that God chooses our leaders, or intelligent people believing in numerological messages like this one currently circulating, we should be concerned.

This year you are going to experience four unusual dates- 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 and that is not all. Take the last two digits of your year of birth- now add the age you will be this year and the results will be 111 for everyone! This is a year of Money! This year October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Saturday. This happens only every 823 years. These particular years are known as moneybags. The proverb goes that if you send this to eight good friends, money will appear in the next four days as explained in Chinese feng-shui. Those who don’t continue the chain won’t receive, it’s a mystery, but it’s worth a try. Good luck.

Most of my readers would not take something like this seriously, yet it has been sent by sms and email from aspiring political party candidates, top business people and others who have completed advanced levels of education.

A kid doing maths could understand the basic premise behind this. The age you are going to be added to your birth year will always equal the current year…unless you are under 12. And who says these “particular years are known as moneybags”? What proverb is being referred to? How does Feng Shui explain an email ‘chain-letter’?

I parodied this sort of nonsense on my post 13 Amazing facts about the miracle number 5. You can see I’m a fan of snappy titles!

It seems we do indeed have two parts to our brain – the rational and the irrational. Stephen Jay Gould posited the controversial idea of non-overlapping magisteria suggesting that science explains real life whereas religion explains its meaning. What scares me is the ease at which some can flick between these two areas without seemingly realising it. As a species making mistakes is part of our nature and reason is our error-correction mechanism. This is the real cancer of superstition – it blurs the distinction between rational and irrational.

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