Correlation, Causation, Tap Water, and the Power of Folklore


If I am brushing my teeth and my stomach begins to ache, would it be logical for me to assume that brushing one's teeth causes stomach aches? Of course not. Logically, it's important to remember that correlation does not imply causation.

Sometimes it's easy to spot when someone is confusing these two concepts, but it seems like when it comes to religion, suddenly correlation proves causation and if you don't believe it then you're just too closed-minded to see it.

This story - let's just cut to the chase and say that I'm too closed-minded to see it. :)

Hundreds of people have flocked to a remote Territory community in search of healing after news a woman had been cured by "holy" water from a miracle tap.

Hermannsburg precinct manager Heidi Williams said people had come from up to 500km away to access the tap, often loading up 44 gallon drums with water.

The water has even been taken to people who are being treated in Adelaide hospitals.

"Everyone's talking about the holy water," Ms Williams said. "The local people have just been coming here in droves, filling up bottles, all from one lady's claim of it healing her."

Healed her how you ask? They never really say, they just say she claimed to be healed after she drank from the tap on the side of a Lutheran church. The reason people believe her, or rather care very little about her personal story but are still making a big fuss about the event, all started with a Virgin Mary sighting in the area almost 29 years ago. That evidently primed the locals for the big magic spring to-do of '95, and almost a predictably 15 years later we have lady drinking off the tap and getting better from some illness no one cares to specify.

Locals believe the tap could create the same hysteria as a "holy spring" that emerged in the Catholic community of Santa Teresa about 15 years ago.

The spring appeared after an art teacher, a white woman of very strong faith, took Aboriginal women on a pilgrimage to the small village of Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared in 1981.

The Aboriginal women returned to Santa Teresa filled with powerful belief.

Soon after, the son of one Aboriginal pilgrim was walking outside his Territory town when he saw a spring gushing from a hillside. The women declared the spring holy and a crosswas erected.

Yep. She drank some water, felt better, therefore the water made her feel better and it's a miracle.

Miracles sure seem like a bit of a dollar store item these days.