Do you believe in disproven myths? You may think you don’t but you might. As people, it can be hard to confront new information, especially when it challenges our preconceived notion of the world. For example, sugar makes kids hyper right? Science says otherwise. Of course, there are reasons that we believe what we do, but those reasons usually aren’t what we think they are. In fact, they often say more about us than they do the world. We’re stubborn and look for things that confirm our point of view. These are 25 Disproven Myths That People Still Believe.
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De-oxygenated blood is blue
Blood is never blue. It’s always a shade of red. The only reason it appears blue in veins is because veins tend to be closer to the surface of the skin and blue wavelengths of light are the only ones that can penetrate to that depth. As for the arteries…you typically can’t see them because they’re too deep.
Note: with regards to the picture – in textbooks the veins are colored blue to differentiate them from the arteries.
Dogs see black and white
Nope, they see color. They just see less of it than humans.
Camels store water in their humps
They don’t carry water in their humps. It’s fat. For some reason, lots of people still believe in the whole water thing.
The Lochness Monster
The guy who took the original photo has repeatedly stated that it was staged (using a toy).
Sleeping with your fan on kills you
In Asia, lots of people still believe this. It has to do with a belief that the fan will somehow blow the air out of the room.
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Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot
It does…that’s the whole point of a lightning rod.
Scientists don’t know how bees fly
In the 1930’s, some scientists found that fixed-wing flight equations don’t work for insects. Although scientists eventually figured out the secret behind insect flight (fast wing flapping that creates vortices), people still think it’s a mystery.
Right-brained people vs left-brained people
There is no such thing. Although some functions are lateralized more to one side, this has no quantifiable impact on personality or ability.
Bats are blind
They do use echolocation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t see. The fact is, they use both.
Cracking your knuckles gives arthritis
It’s an old wive’s tale.
If this one surprised you, wait until you see number 3!
Liars tend to avoid eye contact
This is false. Furthermore, the average person makes for a horrible lie detector. Without training, it is incredibly hard to detect a good liar.
Note: even polygraphs have been proven to be pretty near useless in detecting lies.
You’re either extroverted or introverted
Nope, it’s a spectrum.
The tongue tastes different flavors in different areas
The tongue is actually capable of tasting any flavor on any part of its surface.
Blood type determines personality
It has no bearing whatsoever.
Note: this belief is still very prevalent in Asia
Vikings had horns on their helmets
Not a single piece of evidence has ever pointed to this conclusion.
Microwaves can give you cancer
No they can’t, and the reason is fairly simple. They are not “ionizing.” Only high frequency UV radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays have enough energy to free electrons from molecules. Worry about the sun…not your microwave.
Note: your cellphone falls into the same category. It doesn’t emit ionizing radiation, so don’t worry.
Napoleon was short
He actually wasn’t that short, even by today’s standards. And for his time, he was tall (~5’7 when the average was ~5’5) Note: this was measured using the French inch which is different from the English inch.
Einstein failed in school
He didn’t even come close to failing. He received 6’s in almost every subject, which was the highest you could get in Switzerland at the time.
The Earth is flat
Yes, people actually believe this. There is even a Flat Earth Society.
The moon landings were faked
1) If they were really faked, the Soviets would have relished in proving to the world how the Americans had faked a moon landing. 2) If NASA faked a few moon landings, why would they stop? 3) The technology to fake something of that magnitude just didn’t exist in the 1960’s. 4) We left mirrors on the moon so that we could measure the exact distance from Earth using lasers. Those mirrors are still there, and if you get yourself a strong enough laser you can make the measurements as well (Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment).
Yellowstone is going to explode
Yes, it is volcanically active. No, it isn’t going to erupt anytime soon. Just ask the National Parks Service or the US Geological Survey, both of whom have spent some amount of time dispelling this myth.
Vaccines cause autism
The study that led to this belief has been debunked numerous times as being fraudulent. The author, Andrew Wakefield, even lost his medical license in the UK for manipulating evidence and breaking ethical codes. Put simply, vaccines do not cause autism. Moreover, the fact that some people would rather have their kids be dead than autistic is quite insulting to people who genuinely have autism.
Note: autism is not even necessarily a bad thing. The world is significantly better off thanks to autistic people, many of whom have made significant contributions to society.
Sugar makes kids hyper
This has actually been disproven. Scientists have given children non-sugary sweets (but told their parents there was sugar in them), and parents still thought the children acted more hyper. Nope, kids are just hyper in general. And when they do get sweets, they’re usually happy. Also, birthday parties have played a significant role in setting up this false connection in people’s heads. Remember, correlation doesn’t imply causation.
We only use 10% of our brain
We use all of our brain, just not at the same time. If you’re using 100% of your brain simultaneously, it’s called a seizure.
If the Earth were even 10 feet closer to the Sun, it would be inhospitable.
Yes, the habitable zone is quite small, but definitely not that small. Without saying much more, the Earth has an elliptical orbit, which means that our exact distance from the Sun can be quite variable (definitely more than 10 feet).
If you enjoyed this list, check out 25 Popular Myths That Might Have You Fooled.
Other photo credits: 23. Angeloux via flickr, 22. Ad Meskens via wikimedia commons, 19. charlesjsharp via wikimedia commons, 18. opensource.com via flickr, 16. Jaysin Trevino via flickr, 14. RCraig09 via wikimedia commons, 10. Apoltix via wikimedia commons, 3. Lauri Andler(Phantom) via wikimedia commons