I'm back from visiting my elderly mother, who is afflicted with severe arthritis. She is on several medications for this, including Tylenol and a low dose of steroids, but they only help so much. Now she's discovered a new "cure:" every day you eat nine golden raisins soaked in gin.
Why golden? Why nine? Why gin? Mama has no answers for these things, but she says, "I heard about this from three separate people and two said it helped."
At least twenty years ago Richard Dawkins proposed the concept of "memes," idea-fragments that, like genes, propogate by spreading from person to person, which is their sole reason for existence. Some thrive, some die out, some mutate. The golden-raisins-with-gin is a meme, whose spreading has nothing to do with science, truth, or results. I can't, of course, convince my mother of this (or of anything else, ever). But, on the other hand, she enjoys the gin.