Saturday, July 12, 2008

JJNN Saturday: Pseudoscience - 01

Welcome again to JJNN for Saturday July 12th, 2008. Today is pseudoscience day.

So I was going though the newspaper trying to think about what to write about today when I came upon the horoscope. There have been plenty of people that have written about horoscopes and how there is no way that can really work, so I don't want to talk about that. What i want to talk about it another form of fortune telling (horoscopes are fortune telling after all) that is practiced in Japan.

So what determines your sign in the horoscope that you see every day in the paper? You're date of birth, right? Now, that's not anything you could every change. You are stuck with the day that you came into the world. It turns out the Japanese fortune telling system is also based on something that you are stuck with, your blood type. Yep, the Japanese can supposedly tell how you act and what you will do in a given situation just by knowing your blood type.

Before I go into a little depth about this type of fortune telling I want to talk a little bit about blood types. There are 4 basic blood types: A, B, AB, and O. What makes the blood types different is the fact that they each have different antigens. an antigen is chemical that tells the body to make antibodies, which are things that keep us from being sick a lot of the time. Blood type A has A antigens, blood type B have B antigens, blood type AB has both A and B antigens and blood type O has no antigens. The blood type that you have is inherited from your parents.

Have you ever seen those charts for your horoscope symbol that tells you your good points and your bad points? Those charts are all over the place on the internet for the blood type method of fortune telling. Here is a link to one such chart for people with a description of people with type A blood. I am not going to translate it all, but here are a few examples from each category:

Good personality traits:
You use your time wisely and always keep your promises.
You always think before you take action. You will never get into a needless adventure.
Bad personality traits:
You are too cautious. You tend to look at things negatively.
You try to make everyone around you happy, but this just ends up making people angry.
Relationships with other people:
You don't have many friends, but the friends you have you keep for a long time.
Because you are very proper, your bosses love to work with you.
It is hard for you to tell people what you feel, so it takes a long time for a relationship to get started.
You hardly ever approach the opposite sex.
You should work in a big company.
You save money little by little.

OK. I don't care if your A type or B type or you just don't know what you are in terms of blood type. Anyone that reads that will think a least half if not more of the things written there apply to them. This is how these things work. People do some "observation" and find personality traits that can apply to curtain blood types. The problem with this is that observation is in no way scientific and relies mostly on old folk tales.

The other thing people do is make up a lot of stuff for one reason or another (usually to make money). They make it up and people read it start believing they act that way even though they might not have acted that way in the first place. It is not the first time that a prediction actually caused an event, but it is amazing that something this simple really makes people change the way they act.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 血液型(けつえきがた). It is pronounced ketsueki-gata and means blood type. You know, I still don't know what my blood type is. I guess I really should look into that one of these days. Though, rest assured, I won't be checking my blood type to see how I am suppose to act.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know my blood type either. I wonder if mom and dad know what our blood types are?