Sunday, 15 January 2017

Moon Madness

One of my biggest gripes with science is the 'there is no evidence to support....' statement when casting doubt on or dismissing a hypothesis. Very often they fail to add 'it cannot be categorically disproved' yet this is mostly the case. One hypothesis that has been around for a long time surrounds the moon, in particular when it is full.

I have always had an affinity to the moon in much the same way I have with the sea. Given how the moon influences the ocean currents and tides, the connection is logical. It is difficult to explain my feelings towards them except I have spent many nights staring at both. From the Earth the moon is a picture of serenity compared to the often volatile oceans it controls. The question is what else does the moon affect.

For as long as I can remember when something crazy happened involving a lot of people e.g. a riot, people would say 'it must be a full moon'. There was always talk of full moon fever or moon madness. All coincidence? Well apparently there is no evidence to support.......

The most accepted theory of the origins of the moon is that is was a proto-planet or very big asteroid that collided with Earth. We only ever see one face of the moon. The moon used to spin much faster, but the Earth's gravitational pull has slowed it to the point where the rotational period of the moon is exactly the same as the orbital period. Another coincidence is the fact we are at the only point in the Earth's history to be able to see a total eclipse with that diamond ring corona effect. The moon is travelling away from the Earth and is currently at the optimum distance where it will completely blot out the sun during an eclipse. Okay it is rather a large window in terms of human existence but geologically speaking it is a mere blink of the eye.

Several areas of interest to me revolve around the moon (I know, I couldn't resist it). First of course is language and I noticed in most Monday was a derivative of Moon-day, German Montag, French lundi, are obvious ones but I also found out oriental languages refer to it similarly. The discrepancies I found were mostly east European languages referring to Monday simply as 'the day after Sunday'. We may only see one face of the moon but how different it can appear. From a thin crescent to a bright sphere and everything in between. Even the size seems to change. It doesn't of course but look at a Harvest Moon glowing red near the horizon and fail to be impressed. There are countless festivals honouring the moon or an associated deity but these are agricultural rather than tangible religious beliefs (if there is such a thing).

In my search for answers to life I looked into many religions and their offshoots so of course astrology, or more specifically synchronicity came up. Can destiny be determined by astral bodies? I'm inclined to think not but it can't be ruled out. I mean if this universe was at one time a tiny spot prior to the Big Bang then surely what spews out is all part of one entity. That being the case then aren't we all connected to everything in some way.

So back to this 'moon madness' of which minimal scientific research suggests there is no evidence. Evidence or not I have seen it in operation. I suppose at sea we were more affected by the phases of the moon. The tides are a lot different. When it is full moon or no moon, the high tides are higher and the low tides are lower. During a half moon the difference between high and low tide is smaller. Could it make a difference on us though? Not only could it, it does my opinion.

I could hypothesise about the fact the moon affects the oceans and we ourselves comprise mostly of water. Instead let's look at nature and reiterate the fact that we are subject to the same rules. Statistically our pets appear to be affected by the moon. During full moons vets and animal care-workers have noted a 23% rise in admissions of cats and 28% in dogs. This is tenuous as it could be (and is) argued the animals spend more time outdoors on bright nights.

It is not something I consider a factor but is given weight by badger activity during the new moon. In these darker periods badgers are most active scenting, marking their territories. Many species of insect are known to be more active during full moons but again is this just a light thing or something to do with gravity. Lions hunt at night but are known to kill more often during the day on a full moon. The evidence would again suggest illumination to be the contributing factor.

Uncharacteristic behaviour can be found wherever we look, so the moon does actually affect life on Earth. The affect may only be due to luminosity but I still believe there are other natural forces at work. Get your finger out science, you are seriously lagging.

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