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This is an interesting example of why narrative logic and scientific logic are so very different.

Tides -> oceans -> gravity-> people's moods seems to be based on Argument by Similarity - the idea that just because two things look similar, they must be connected in some deep way.  

But how does being made of water change anything? The tides go up and down. They don't have moods or personalities. They're completely predictable and mechanical.

So where do changes in mood and behaviour come from?

The only connection is a poetic one - moods ebb and flow, the sea ebbs and flows (even though tides are mechanical), so therefore, an obvious link.

But isn't this just taking a metaphor literally?

Being made of water doesn't really make anyone moody, surely?

Do unemotional people have less water in their bodies than moody people?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 03:45:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Well done for bringing a touch of astringent rationality to the discussion TBG :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:55:56 PM EST
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Do unemotional people have less water in their bodies than moody people?

great question!

here's an 'indirect' answer:

people with a lot of water in their charts are definitely moodier/more emotionally governed, in my and many others' experience.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 08:20:59 PM EST
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Argument by Analogy is always suspect and tends to become an Informal Logical fallacy when it is the only Argument in the ... uh ... argument.  

As a heuristic tool to start an investigation it can be quite fruitful.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 08:31:19 PM EST
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_As a heuristic tool to start an investigation it can be quite fruitful.  
_

brilliant and much better way of saying what i meant about objective reality's being a conversation point.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 04:42:21 AM EST
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Maybe women are more attuned to the moon cycles. Before the pill, a \"normal\" menstruation cycle used to be 28 days, and the amazing thing was that many women used to menstruate during the full moon period. Native American women had their moon lodge were they used to go during that time. Same stories can be read about women from other native people in other countries. Now with the pill, it seems women are not as synchronised with the moon anymore.

Oh, and just pay attention to traffic on a full moon day! :-) you know all those lunatics loose in cars.

by Fran on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 12:19:18 AM EST
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A lunar month is 29.5 days.

And only around 30% of women have a cycle within two days of the 28 day (not 29.5 day) average.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:23:26 AM EST
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And who knows what even that cycle is a holdover from. Some ancient ocean-dwelling ancestor to whom the tides mattered?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:28:50 AM EST
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Oh no don't say we're straying into Chris knight teritory and his theories of women being amphibious.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:46:39 AM EST
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I was thinking rather further back than that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:49:00 AM EST
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Good, having read some of his work it sounds like outright lunacy to me. One friend of mine was a student of his, and did a lot of work on the role of the menstrual cycle in childrens fairy tales.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 08:11:24 AM EST
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It is purely coincidental. The lunar cycle is slowing down. A billion year ago, it was much shorter, may be just 16-20 days, I can't dig a link right now. The Earth-Moon system is gradually transforming its angular momentum from close&fast to far&slow (it's a tide effect, and at the same time, tides and other planets dissipate some of this momentum, but there is also a transfer from the rotation of the earth).

And the Earth days themselves are slowing down, they had fewer hours a billion year ago.

The Moon is already tide-locked with one side watching the Earth. Eventually if the system could go on long enough (it won't, the sun will blast it all earlier), the Earth would also become tide-locked with the moon, with a day that last weeks and the Moon further from the Earth than it is now.

And anyway, it's only western women who have a 28 days cycle, found this looking for a ref. on wikipedia:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1340049&dopt=A bstractPlus

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 08:31:39 AM EST
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It needn't be coincidental (although it may be). Nor does it need to be about tides.

City life and brick and mortar dwellings have made us unaware of a very basic aspect of the moon cycle : a full moon means lights. Which may have had very practical effects in the way of life of your basic hunter-gatherer tribesman, especially pre-fire.

The fact that women's cycles are very variable means the adaptation could have been a weak one ; and that synchronisation within the tribe may have helped to adjust the cycles to the moon's cycles. And maybe the synchronicity happened only because once a yearly cycle was too long for reproductive success, another rythm was needed - and the one given by the moon was fairly convenient for biological purposes.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 10:45:36 AM EST
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I thought groups of women living in close proximity tended to synchronise - probably through pheromones?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:30:44 AM EST
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They do, but I'm not sure who or what they synchronise to, or what the clock rate depends on.

(Aren't metaphors fun?)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 10:50:16 AM EST
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It's self-organizing, of course ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 11:42:49 AM EST
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Like a treefull of fireflies blinking in unison in the Indonesian jungle.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:02:38 PM EST
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A friend of mine used to be a nurse at the violent offenders assessment centre at one of the major UK secure mental hospitals. (He was the only nurse I know with full police riot training)

He used to take his anual holiday two days at a time over the full moons to avoid the worst excesses, he reckoned that if he worked then, one of these months he'd end up on the other side of the bars because the inmates were just to difficult to deal with during that time.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 07:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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