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Posted by bazmonkey on May 19, 2003 at 17:43:13:
In Reply to: Phobia hypothesis......invalidated posted by paul kemes on May 12, 2003 at 23:07:05:
How would it explain other phobias such as the fear of heights, confined spaces, the fear of dying, the fear of everything, the fear of the sun, or anyone of the hundreds of phobias recognized by modern medicine?
Fear of animals, at least, is somewhat widespread, especially re: snakes. Those other fears, i.e. dying and confined spaces, have perfectly understandable reasoning (our instincts tell us that 1) survival (and thus, not death) is paramount, and 2) confined spaces are less secure and gives the sensation of loss of control). Some fears (sun, butterflies, everything) just have to be written off as mental disorders along with OCD and multiple personalities.
I don't think we'll ever know why people in general fear snakes, but there can't be any question that there is something about snakes that invoke fear a great deal more than other animals, even more dangerous ones. From the bible to Indian superstition, there's just something about snakes that scares us.