Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, said that a lie repeated often enough becomes truth. And it is the only thing anyone in their right mind would agree with him about. It is amazing the crazy things that people are ready to believe in simply because they heard them many times; in this article we will take a look at 9 such myths.
1. Humans Only Use 10% of Their Brains
Beliefs tend to persist based on how interesting rather than how correct they are. And in this respect, this one is a champion. No one knows who started it, but it probably originates from the fact that parts of the brain can be removed without causing any significant harm. However, different areas of the brain are specialized. You use one to discern faces, another to keep you upright and so on. There is actually no way to use the entire brain for a single task.
2. Thomas Edison Invented the Light Bulb
We are used to thinking about Edison as a lone creator who made 10,000 attempts before succeeding in creating a light bulb. In reality, he had a 14-man team behind him who created several hundred patents, one of which was the light bulb. Edison’s name was more of a trademark than the name of the inventor.
3. The Great Wall of China is the Only Man-Made Structure Visible from Space
It is wrong in several ways. Firstly, the Great Wall is not seen all that well – at least to an unaided eye from low-Earth orbit. Secondly, there is a number of other man-made structures that are, in fact, seen better, for example, the pyramids of Giza.
4. Hair Grows Quicker in Zero Gravity
It is hard to say anything meaningful about this weird idea – it is just not true. Gravity doesn’t play any role in hair growth, so it continues to grow with the same speed in space.
5. Sport Supplements Make You Pimply and Stupid
Name a horrible teenage problem, and it will be attributed to steroids. Decreased mental capacity, pimples, stunted growth – whatever you like. In reality, the truth about steroids is much more complicated. Some of these statements are completely false; others are greatly exaggerated. In a word, there is no proved connection between sport supplements and any of these consequences.
6. You Can Kill a Virus
No you can’t, for the simple reason that virus isn’t alive per se. You can disrupt its reproduction cycle, you can put it to sleep, but you can’t kill it.
7. Seasons Caused by the Distance from the Sun
Distance from the Sun has very little effect on seasonal changes. In fact, the Earth is somewhat warmer when furthest from the Sun. This should be pretty obvious, really, for there is summer in northern hemisphere when there is winter in southern one and vice versa.
8. One False Move and a Particle Accelerator Will Kill Us All
This was a big one back in 2008 when the Large Hadron Collider was about to be launched and doomsayers were sure that a black hole would destroy the Earth as a result. Just tell it to a physicist and listen to him laugh.
9. Smoking Will Definitely Cause Cancer
We all know that smoking can cause cancer and have been told this from early childhood. But if it were 100% true that smoking always causes cancer, there wouldn’t be as many old people who have been smoking like chimneys for their entire life but don’t suffer any ill effects from it. Why is cancer so selective? Nobody knows. In addition to that, one can greatly decrease even the proved health risks by using alternative variants of smoking, such as vaporizers.
Knowledge is the best vaccine against myths. Next time you hear one of these, you will know them for what they are.
Featured photo credit: Myths of the Norsemen/Simon Crubellier via flickr.com