Monday, January 22, 2007

Got Milk, Ganesh?

Man, I am amazed that this story is still out there but it looks like as recently as last year, someone had to publish an explanation for the milk-drinking statues in India.

I'm hoping we're beyond this but it looks like there may be some low-hanging fruit out there...

So... milk-drinking statues.

This first happened back in 1995. Worshippers in temples in India found that when they put spoonfuls of milk up to the statues of their gods, the milk would disappear. This caused a mass hysteria and hindus all over the world rushed to their temples to inundate their statues with milk. There were reports of statues drinking 'litres of milk.'

Randi and many others debunked this back when it first came out:

What's really happening is that teaspoons of milk are beingabsorbed; it's called capillary action. A small amount ofmilk touched to the mouth of a plaster figure, according tothe press, just "disappeared." I think not. The milk didn't"disappear"; it was simply soaked up by the plaster.

Unfortunately, 'Plaster soaks up Milk' doesn't make for as good a headline so the media went nuts about this. In August of 2006, it appears this little bit of mass delusion happened again. Once again, it was called a 'miracle' although the articles this time at least had a sentence or two about how scientists explain it.

This may seem like a harmless exercise in futility but when it happened in 95, it actually caused milk shortages across India. According to the article:

"... authorities were forced to deploy extra police to control crowds and some parts of the country even faced a milk shortage..."

In a country as overpopulated as India, it's pretty criminal to waste milk on statues.

The next time this happens, I think we need to try to apply some scientific testing to this. Why just Hindu statues? Would it work on statues in Catholic churches? Or is Jesus lactose intolerant? "Yea, for it upsets His Eternal belly..."