Science Vs Superstition - Yalemsew Adela

Cloud seeding as a technology vs. Cloud removal without gas or salt as a superstition

Clouds form when moist, warm rising air cools and expands in the atmosphere.  The water vapor in the air condenses to form tiny water droplets which are the basis of clouds. Clouds are important in that they can form precipitation and bring rain to crops and plants. They also shade the earth, affecting the temperature and keeping sunlight from directly hitting plants.

In simple term, clouds are the main components of the hydrologic cycle and also the markers of season change in the history of mankind. A lot of poems, songs and idioms are devoted to show the great mystery in the clouds. In different countries and their culture, clouds are seen from the positive perspective of the sign of greenness to the bad lack manifestations even as worst as the sign for the doomsday. Moreover, in different religious books, clouds are cited in different form to elucidate its grace and powerfulness. If the rain is the effect of cloud formation, the story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible showing that the water can wiped out the whole creature when needed and is also a life essential as a must on the opposite. Therefore, the presence and absence of cloud is an important circumstance without comparative ranking to its outweighing relevance.

Currently, there have been several R&Ds engagements to advance the science of artificial rain making which is termed as cloud seeding. Cloud seeding is the process where substances like dry ice and silver iodide are put into clouds in an attempt to make precipitation fall. Cloud seeding has also been used to dissipate fog and weaken some storms. Cloud seeding can be used to enhance precipitation and has been used to prevent areas from destruction from drought. This technology is highly important to those areas with low precipitation records that result to massive socioeconomic developments across different sectors.

Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows that it takes several painstaking months to ensure that every little detail — from the menu to the music — is just right. But there’s one thing a bride and groom typically can’t control: the weather. So, unlike cloud seeding for having precipitation, would there be a research or an intervention to disperse clouds to prevent raining or delaying in science???
Ethiopia is the ancient country in the world and top four civilized countries with India, Rome and China before the birth of Christ with the ancient name of Axum. This has endowed to become home of ancient wisdoms, traditions, cultures and arts. As a matter of this several documented and folk based knowledge and practices are commonly known. Specially, the documented knowledges are depicted with one of the ancient languages known as Ge’ez which is also found in Microsoft word font lists. Several knowledge and practice details from astronomy to thevisible earth, from miraculous medicine to conventional treatments, and others documented. One amazing practice is cloud removal and no rain situation!!! This seems superstitious to many of the present-day generation without digging what is inside.
In the bible, the God has given all the essential wisdoms to king Solomon for different uses. For medicinal plant identification and their use, astronomy, mining and mineralogy, and almost for everything. Even though those gifts are religious and faith-based accomplishments, most of that time knowledge and practices are documented, and transferred from generation to generation. As an ancient country, Ethiopia, different books descended from that time is still found in northern part of the country, specially, Gojam, Gonder and Tigray. This had happened with the ancient relationship between Jerusalem and Axum with the special relationship happened between King Solomon and Queen Sheba of Axum. This had laid the foundation to have even the original Arc of the Covenant given to Mosses in Ethiopia and many more historical heritages. Therefore, the application of the Solomon’s wisdom in Northern and central Ethiopia was famous until recently which is perceived as superstitious and back warded practice. However, very tremendously, still there are practices of rain suspending or complete cloud removal from the certain location without spraying silver iodide or similar inputs. So, what it that?

Different international companies engaged in road construction in Gojam areas pay the special persons called ‘Debteras’ (highly educated people with Solomon’s wisdom) to suspend the rain for their construction activities to meet their deadlines. In most rural part of this area, the wedding, funeral and other social gatherings ceremonies are smoothly carried out during the heavy rainy seasons without any trouble of rain. Here no airplane or drone or gas is applied! But still many mores don’t believe this practice and consider it as superstitious or evil spirit-based deed. This practice was also known in the central part of Ethiopia known as Arsi with the special practice name of “Chamsitu”. Now the issue is, science work to have more rain and the so-called superstitious practice work to remove cloud. Do science and superstitiously labeled practices complement each other and advance human development? If this practice is truly evil spirit- based practice, what would be the sin part to practice for good? Or are there still some stringent criteria to the practitioner to suspend the cloud that affect his/her human wellbeing? This practice could seem myth or tale when most of our readers hear this reality! But how science could develop a protocol to study such sort of wisdom found in different corner of the globe?

“What we see is in our intuition, but our insight is stifled by our weaknesses.”…Yalemsew Adela


Yalemsew Adela is a senior Environmental Technologist who is working at the United Nation  Development Program as Innovation Analyst in natural resource management area. In his early career he worked at the public research institute, universities in Ethiopia and Germany on researcher and lectures position. He has published different scientific works in reputable journal articles and books on various topics. Apart from his professional contribution, he makes different social enlightenment discourse to different audience that focused on reconstructing the mind set of the present generation to visualize the future world while realizing the present arena. His professional and life values are: looking for simple solutions to complex problems and integrity.

Address: UNDP, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Phone: +251 911974550


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