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ETpro's avatar

Does carrying a severed rabbit's foot give the bearer good luck?

Asked by ETpro (34531points) September 18th, 2013

After all, it didn’t work out too well for the rabbit, did it? Why are so many of us gullible enough to believe such junk without a shred of evidence to support it?

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21 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Of course not. But superstitions live on thanks to the irrepressible power of confirmation bias.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Have you watched The Secret dvd? Basically thinking ‘luck’ into existance.

DWW25921's avatar

I think it means you have a rabbits foot. As for being gullible, I’m not. I’m just lucky! Like just today, a fella sold me the London Bridge for just $10! How cool is that?

Blondesjon's avatar

That all depends on:

1. What color was the rabbit?

2. What gender was the rabbit?

3. Was it a foot from the foreleg or the hind leg?

4. Was the foreleg/hind leg a left or a right?

5. What phase of the moon was the foot harvested under?

6. Was the rabbit itself lucky until it’s demise?

7. Have you accepted this rabbit as your personal lord and savior?

that is what you’re fishing for, correct?

marinelife's avatar

Well, we know it was bad luck for the rabbit!

Pachy's avatar

When I was a young kid, I lost a small pocket knife in the grass of our front yard. My friend and I spent hours looking for it, with no luck. The sun began to go down and my mother called for me to come in for dinner, and just as I was about to give up the search, I rubbed a small rabbit’s foot I had forgotten was in my pocket—or maybe I went indoors and got it, I don’t recall exactly—and five minutes later I found the knife.

No, I don’t believe a rabbit’s foot brings good luck, but I did that one time.

glacial's avatar

Perhaps it serves to remind you that your luck could be worse.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I am sure that at some point now lost to history, there was some incident in which the presence of a rabbit did in fact cause a positive outcome for someone or another. This might have been 5000 years ago – but it doesn’t matter.

This became a meme – a cultural story retold – and over the years has become a harmless piece of humanity.

No, there is no more rationality to this than a belief in God. But it’s harmless. And at least there aren’t people out there trying to raise money and convert us to rabbit worship.

Berserker's avatar

Now Olan came young from the farm, he tried to save the princess from all harm! Equipped with just a stick, and a head made out of break, his rabbit’s foot failed as a chaaarm…oh it’s bad luck to be you, very very bad luck to be you, nobody can disagree, it’s a fuckin’ guarantee, it’s bad luck to be you…diddly doo.

filmfann's avatar

And yet Baseball players know the value of superstition.

whitenoise's avatar

I don’t like superstition, I believe it to harvest bad luck only.

ETpro's avatar

@SavoirFaire Indeed. Confirmation bias and post hoc ergo propter hoc. You get a rabbit’s foot. Sooner or later, something breaks your way. So “obviously” the rabbit’s foot caused the good break.

@KNOWITALL The infuriating thing about that movie and book is the con artist that positively thought of it positively DID attract an obscenely large amount of money from the dupes that bought it.

@DWW25921 This really is your lucky day. I got the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for $20, and the toll is $12 per car. For $10 plus the London Bridge, it’s yours.

@Blondesjon Yep, Ye shall know them by their fruits.

@marinelife That fact was not lost on me, but apparently it is on those who carry them as good-luck charms. You’d think the superstitious would fear being cursed by the unfortunate rabbit who donated the foot. :-)

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room One more example of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

@glacial There is that. :-)

@elbanditoroso Yeah, I can’t remember the last time rabbit canvassers rang my doorbell. Oh, that’s right. To my good fortune, the doorbell doesn’t work.

@Symbeline What’s that from?

@filmfann I guess when they fall into a yearlong funk where their batting average is in the tank and their fielding is just a long list of errors, it’s just because they didn’t rub their talisman the right way of focus enough ethereal energy on the crustal blessed by the ascended master.

@whitenoise Well you’re in luck then, because tonight there is a full Harvest Moon.

Sunny2's avatar

I think wishbones are luckier than rabbit’s feet and they don’t get moths. Have you ever seen a moth-eaten rabbit’s foot? Not pretty and the fur was no longer soft.

ETpro's avatar

@Sunny2 Really? The rabbit had the bad luck to lose a foot. The turkey has to lose its neck to bring you a wishbone. And then that wishbone is only good for one use where you have a 50% chance of losing.

Kropotkin's avatar

Where’s the evidence that a rabbit’s foot does not bring good luck?

Until there’s a controlled experiment to test the auspiciousness of a rabbit’s foot, I’ll just remain agnostic on the matter.

You could have three groups of people playing a simple game relying solely on chance. One group would carry a rabbit’s foot, another group would have perhaps a horseshoe or a four-leaf clover, and the third group would have no items whatsoever.

The groups would keep playing until there’s a large enough sample of results from which to derive statistically significant data.

“But where is the causal or logical connection between a rabbit’s foot and a statistically significant win rate above the expected value?” I hear you ask.

Well, who am I to question to the oddities of the universe?

Maybe it’s some quantum effect that we’ve yet to understand. Maybe the particular arrangement of atoms and sub-atomic particles configured within a rabbit’s foot, and perhaps even the unobserved extra-dimensions in a rabbit’s foot, have some sort of effect on the bearer of that rabbit’s foot that leads him (or her) to enjoy an increase in beneficial events above and beyond what one would expect from mere random chance?

I eagerly await any advancements in physics that may shed light on this.

Until then, I suggest you all carry a rabbit’s foot with you.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Kropotkin – first you would have to define measurable standards – what is “luck”?

Kropotkin's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’m pretty sure I’ve already done that. For the purpose of the simple game of chance experiment (it could be playing a casino game, or just tossing a coin lots of times) “luck” is simply having statistically significant results better than the expected value (the mean or average one would expect in the long-run from mere chance.)

whitenoise's avatar

I suggest to use a synthetic rabbits foot, or a hare’s foot as a control group. At least something the test subject will not be able to discern from the real rabbit’s foot.

Knowing it is not a rabbit’s foot may channel luck away. Even if a horse shoe is involved.

Kropotkin's avatar

@whitenoise That’s a good suggestion.

Berserker's avatar

@ETpro It’s from this video game called The Bard’s Tale.

It’s awesome. :D

ETpro's avatar

@Kropotkin Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof from the claimant that they are valid, not dispoof from the level headed that are unconvinced. You have no control group in your experiment, so it would prove nothing.

@elbanditoroso Yes, and then there is that problem with such an experiment as above.

”@”; Given that definition of luck, it would be conferred by carrying everything that can possibly be carried some of the time but not anywhere near all of the time. A study would likely find that rabbits feets, canary skulls, pure quartz crystals, Poland Springs water bottles, chess pieces, stale cheese and used band aids all work exactly the same at providing that definition of “luck”.

@whitenoise has at least suggested a plausible control for the proposed Rabbit’s Foot experiment. Be sure to include that in your grant request. And carry all the good luck talismans you can conceive of. You’re going to need some extraordinary good luck to get funding for the study.

@Symbeline Hilarious. Thanks for pointing me to that game.

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