Some people swear by things they picked up at school or university, others rely on the opinions of experts, while there are also some who get their intake of facts from the World Wide Web. And while some of the sources might seem more reliable than others, it's not uncommon that all of them might be incorrect sometimes.
There are plenty of scientific theories that have been proven wrong, so things that you've heard from 3 friends and aunt and your grandma can definitely be wrong. Here's a list of half-truths and all-lies that many people believe but actually have either been disputed or don't have any actual substance to them, according to Wikipedia. Scroll down, read through, and see if your own perception of truth and reality is challenged. Oh, and don't forget to comment and vote on your favorites!
Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism Or Autism Spectrum Disorders
Although fraudulent research by British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed a connection, repeated attempts to reproduce the results ended in failure, and the research was ultimately shown to have been manipulated.
A Common Belief Regarding Self-Harm Is That It Is An Attention-Seeking Behaviour; In Many Cases, This Is Inaccurate
Many self-harmers are very self-conscious of their wounds and scars and feel guilty about their behaviour, leading them to go to great lengths to conceal their behaviour from others. They may offer alternative explanations for their injuries, or conceal their scars with clothing.
Ancient Greek Sculptures Were Originally Painted Bright Colors
They only appear white today because the original pigments have deteriorated. Some well-preserved statues still bear traces of their original coloration.
There Is No Such Thing As An "Alpha" In A Wolf Pack
An early study that coined the term "alpha wolf" had only observed unrelated adult wolves living in captivity. In the wild, wolf packs operate more like human families: there is no defined sense of rank, parents are in charge until the young grow up and start their own families, younger wolves do not overthrow an "alpha" to become the new leader, and social dominance fights are situational.
It Is Rarely Necessary To Wait 24 Hours Before Filing A Missing Person Report
In instances where there is evidence of violence or of an unusual absence, law enforcement agencies in the United States often stress the importance of beginning an investigation promptly. The UK government website says in large type, "You don't have to wait 24 hours before contacting the police."
Goldfish Don't Have Short Memory Spans
The notion that goldfish have a memory span of just a few seconds is false. It is much longer, counted in months.
Humans Have More Than The Commonly Cited Five Senses
The number of senses in various categorizations ranges from five to more than 20. In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which were the senses identified by Aristotle, humans can sense balance and acceleration (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), body and limb position (proprioception or kinesthetic sense), and relative temperature (thermoception). Other senses sometimes identified are the sense of time, echolocation, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, need to defecate, and blood carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
Napoleon Bonaparte Was Not Short
He was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his time. After his death in 1821, the French emperor's height was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches in French feet, which in English measurements is 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m). He was actually nicknamed le Petit Caporal (The Little Corporal) as a term of endearment. Napoleon was often accompanied by his imperial guard, who were selected for their height—this could have contributed to a perception that he was comparatively short.
The Forbidden Fruit Is Not Apple
The forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is never identified as an apple, a misconception widely depicted in Western art. The original Hebrew texts mention only tree and fruit. Early Latin translations use the word mali, which can be taken to mean both "evil" and "apple". In early Germanic languages the word "apple" and its cognates usually meant simply "fruit". German and French artists commonly depict the fruit as an apple from the 12th century onwards, and John Milton's Areopagitica from 1644 explicitly mentions the fruit as an apple. Jewish scholars have suggested that the fruit could have been a grape, a fig, wheat, an apricot, or an etrog.
Albert Einstein Did Not Fail Mathematics Classes
Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics classes (never "flunked a math exam") in school. Upon seeing a column making this claim, Einstein said "I never failed in mathematics... Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus." Einstein did, however, fail his first entrance exam into the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School (ETH) in 1895, when he was two years younger than his fellow students, but scored exceedingly well in the mathematics and science sections, then passed on his second attempt.
Acne Is Mostly Caused By Genetics
Acne is mostly caused by genetics, rather than lack of hygiene, eating fatty food, or other personal habits.
Eight Glasses, Or Two To Three Liters, Of Water A Day Are Not Needed To Maintain Health
The amount of water needed varies by person (weight), diet, activity level, clothing, and environment (heat and humidity). Water does not actually need to be drunk in pure form, but can be derived from liquids such as juices, tea, milk, soups, etc., and from foods including fruits and vegetables.
People Don't Swallow A High Number Of Spiders While Asleep
The widespread urban legend that one swallows a high number of spiders during sleep in one's life has no basis in reality. A sleeping person causes all kinds of noise and vibrations by breathing, the beating heart, snoring etc. all of which warn spiders of danger.
Hair Care Products Cannot Actually "Repair" Split Ends And Damaged Hair
They can prevent damage from occurring in the first place, and they can also smooth down the cuticle in a glue-like fashion so that it appears repaired, and generally make hair appear in better condition.
Thomas Edison Did Not Invent The Light Bulb
He did, however, develop the first practical light bulb in 1880 (employing a carbonized bamboo filament), shortly prior to Joseph Swan, who invented an even more efficient bulb in 1881 (which used a cellulose filament).
There Is No Evidence That Iron Maidens Were Used For Torture, Or Even Yet Invented, In The Middle Ages
Instead they were pieced together in the 18th century from several artifacts found in museums in order to create spectacular objects intended for (commercial) exhibition.
The Deep Web Is Not Full Of Porn, Drugs And Stolen Bank Details
The area that contains this illegal information is a small portion of the deep web known as the "dark web." Much of the deep web consists of academic libraries, databases, and anything that isn't indexed by normal search engines.
Sign Languages Are Not The Same Worldwide
Aside from the pidgin International Sign, each country generally has its own native sign language, and some have more than one (although there are also substantial similarities among all sign languages).
Fortune Cookies Were Invented In Japan, Not China
Fortune cookies, despite being associated with Chinese cuisine in the United States, were invented in Japan and introduced to the US by the Japanese. The cookies are extremely rare in China, where they are seen as symbols of American cuisine.
Vikings Didn't Have Horns On Their Helmets
There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets. In fact, the image of Vikings wearing horned helmets stems from the scenography of an 1876 production of the Der Ring des Nibelungen opera cycle by Richard Wagner.
Christopher Columbus Was Not The First European To Visit The Americas
Leif Erikson, and possibly other Vikings before him, explored Vinland, which was either the island of Newfoundland, part of modern Canada, or a term for Newfoundland and parts of the North American mainland. Ruins at L'Anse aux Meadows prove that at least one Norse settlement was built in Newfoundland, confirming a narrative in the Saga of Erik the Red. Columbus also never reached any land that now forms part of the mainland United States of America; most of the landings Columbus made on his four voyages, including the initial October 12, 1492 landing (the anniversary of which forms the basis of Columbus Day), were on Caribbean islands that are now independent countries.
The Great Wall Of China Is Not Visible From Space Or From The Moon
The Great Wall of China is not, as is claimed, the only human-made object visible from space or from the Moon. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any specific human-made object from the Moon, and even Earth-orbiting astronauts can see it only with magnification. City lights, however, are easily visible on the night side of Earth from orbit.
Humans Did Not Evolve From Either Of The Living Species Of Chimpanzees
Humans and chimpanzees did, however, evolve from a common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor of humans and the other living chimpanzees lived between 5 and 8 million years ago.
The Historical Buddha Was Not Obese
The "chubby Buddha" or "laughing Buddha" is a 10th-century Chinese folk hero by the name of Budai. In Chinese Buddhist culture, Budai came to be revered as an incarnation of Maitreya, the Bodhisattva who will become a Buddha to restore Buddhism after the teachings of the historical Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, have been forgotten.
Sugar Does Not Cause Hyperactivity In Children
Double-blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or those considered sensitive to sugar.
The Redhead Gene Is Not Becoming Extinct Due To The Gene For Red Hair Being Recessive, Nor Will The Gene For Blond Hair Disappear
Although redheads and blonds may become more rare, they will not die out unless everyone who carries those genes (strictly speaking, alleles) dies or fails to reproduce.
There Was No Widespread Outbreak Of Panic Across The United States In Response To Orson Welles's 1938 Radio Adaptation Of H.g. Wells's The War Of The Worlds
Only a very small share of the radio audience was even listening to it, and isolated reports of scattered incidents and increased call volume to emergency services were played up the next day by newspapers, eager to discredit radio as a competitor for advertising. Both Wells and CBS, which had initially reacted apologetically, later came to realize that the myth benefited them and actively embraced it in later years.
Hair And Fingernails Do Not Continue To Grow After A Person Dies
Rather, the skin dries and shrinks away from the bases of hairs and nails, giving the appearance of growth.
George Washington Did Not Have Wooden Teeth
His dentures were made of gold, hippopotamus ivory, lead, animal teeth (including horse and donkey teeth), and probably human teeth purchased from slaves.
Vomiting Was Not A Regular Part Of Roman Dining Customs
In ancient Rome, the architectural feature called a vomitorium was the entranceway through which crowds entered and exited a stadium, not a special room used for purging food during meals.
There Is No Truth To The Claim That The Fisher Space Pen Was Devised As The Result Of Millions Of Dollars Of Unnecessary Spending On Nasa's Part When The Soviets Used Pencils
Pencils cannot be used in space because the graphite dust and particles they generate pose fire, puncture and inhalation hazards in a low-gravity, high-oxygen environment, something even the Soviets acknowledged. The space pen was independently developed by Paul C. Fisher, founder of the Fisher Pen Company, with $1 million of his own funds. NASA tested and approved the pen for space use, then purchased 400 pens at $6 per pen. The Soviet Union subsequently also purchased the space pen for its Soyuz space flights.
Bulls Are Not Enraged By The Color Red
Bulls are not enraged by the color red, used in capes by professional matadors. Cattle are dichromats, so red does not stand out as a bright color. It is not the color of the cape, but the perceived threat by the matador that incites it to charge.
Drowning Is Often Inconspicuous To Onlookers
In most cases, raising the arms and vocalising are impossible due to the instinctive drowning response. Waving and yelling (known as "aquatic distress") is a sign of trouble, but not a dependable one: most victims demonstrating the instinctive drowning response do not show prior evidence of distress.
Shaving Does Not Cause Terminal Hair To Grow Back Thicker (More Dense) Or Darker
This belief is due to hair that has never been cut having a tapered end, whereas after cutting the edge is blunt and therefore thicker than the tapered ends; the cut hair appears to be thicker and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. The shorter hairs being less flexible than longer hairs also contributes to this effect.
Diet Has Little Influence On The Body's Detoxification
Detoxification diets "have no scientific basis", and are a "waste of time and money". Despite this, there is a common misconception that specific diets aid this process or could remove substances that the body is unable to remove by itself. Toxins are removed from the body by the liver and kidneys.
The Melody Used In "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" Was Not Composed By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart When He Was 5
The melody used in "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", the "Alphabet Song", and "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" was not composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when he was 5 years old; it was already a popular French folk tune which existed for decades before Mozart composed a series of variations on the tune, when he was 25 or 26.
There Is No Evidence That Jesus Was Born On December 25
The Bible never claims a date of December 25 (he and his followers primarily used the Hebrew calendar, which as a lunisolar calendar does not have a day-to-day correspondence to the fully solar Roman calendar nor its modern-day descendant Gregorian calendar); contextual clues may imply a date in or around September. The fixed date is attributed to Pope Julius the First because in the year 350 AD he declared the twenty-fifth of December the official date of celebration. The date may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after Christians believe Jesus to have been conceived, the date of the Roman winter solstice, or one of various ancient winter festivals.
Microwave Ovens Do Not Cook Food From The Inside Out
2.45 GHz microwaves can only penetrate approximately 1 centimeter (0.39 in) into most foods. The inside portions of thicker foods are mainly heated by heat conducted from the outer portions.
Great White Sharks Do Not Mistake Human Divers For Pinnipeds
Their attack behaviors on humans and pinnipeds are very different: when attacking a seal, a great white shark surfaces quickly and violently attacks it. Attacks on humans, on the other hand, are more relaxed and slow: the shark charges at a normal pace, bites, and swims off. Great white sharks have efficient eyesight and color vision; the bite is not predatory, but rather for identification of an unfamiliar object.
Mental Abilities Are Not Absolutely Separated Into The Left And Right Cerebral Hemispheres Of The Brain
Some mental functions, such as speech and language (such as Broca's area and Wernicke's area), tend to activate one hemisphere of the brain more than the other in some kinds of tasks. If one hemisphere is damaged or removed at an early age, these functions can often be recovered in part, or even in full, by the other hemisphere (see neuroplasticity). Other abilities, such as motor control, memory, and general reasoning, are served equally by the two hemispheres.
Most Diamonds Are Not Formed From Highly Compressed Coal
More than 99 percent of diamonds ever mined have formed in the conditions of extreme heat and pressure about 140 kilometres (87 mi) below the earth's surface. Coal is formed from prehistoric plants buried much closer to the surface, and is unlikely to migrate below 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) through common geological processes. Most diamonds that have been dated are older than the first land plants, and are therefore older than coal. It is possible that diamonds can form from coal in subduction zones and in meteoroid impacts, but diamonds formed in this way are rare and the carbon source is more likely carbonate rocks and organic carbon in sediments, rather than coal.
Ostriches Do Not Stick Their Heads In The Sand To Hide From Enemies
This misconception was probably promulgated by Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE), who wrote that ostriches "imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed."
Private Browsing, Such As Incognito Mode, Does Not Protect Users From Being Tracked By Websites Or Their Internet Service Provider
Such entities can still use information such as IP addresses and user accounts to uniquely identify users.
The Flight Mechanism And Aerodynamics Of The Bumblebee (As Well As Other Insects) Are Actually Quite Well Understood
Despite the urban legend that calculations show that they should not be able to fly, the flight mechanism and aerodynamics of the bumblebee (as well as other insects) are actually quite well understood. In the 1930s, the French entomologist Antoine Magnan indeed postulated that bumblebees theoretically should not be able to fly in his book Le Vol des Insectes (The Flight of Insects). Magnan later realized his error and retracted the suggestion. However, the hypothesis became generalized to the false notion that "scientists think that bumblebees should not be able to fly".
Computers Running Macos Or Linux Are Not Immune To Malware Such As Trojan Horses Or Computer Viruses
Specialized malware designed to attack macOS and Linux systems do exist.
Eskimo Tribes, Such As The Inuit And Aleut, Do Not Have A Disproportionate Number Of Words Representing Snow In Their Languages
The myth comes from a misconstruction of Franz Boas's original statement noting that Eskimos had a variety of words for various snow-related concepts; Boas noted that the same was true of English.
Earthworms Do Not Become Two Worms When Cut In Half
Only a limited number of earthworm species are capable of anterior regeneration. When such earthworms are bisected, only the front half of the worm (where the mouth is located) can feed and survive, while the other half dies. Some species of planarian flatworms, however, actually do become two new planarians when bisected or split down the middle.
Female Praying Mantises Rarely Eat The Males During Coitus, Especially In Their Natural Environment
In a study in a laboratory at the University of Central Arkansas, it was observed that 1 out of 45 times the female ate the male before mating and the male ate the female with that same frequency.
Humans And Dinosaurs (Other Than Birds) Did Not Coexist
The last of the non-avian dinosaurs died 66 million years ago in the course of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, whereas the earliest members of genus Homo (humans) evolved between 2.3 and 2.4 million years ago. This places a 63-million-year expanse of time between the last non-bird dinosaurs and the earliest humans. Humans did coexist with woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats—mammals often erroneously depicted alongside humans and dinosaurs.
A Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet Can Provide Enough Protein For Adequate Nutrition
In fact, typical protein intakes of ovo-lacto vegetarians and vegans meet and exceed requirements. However, a vegan diet does require supplementation of vitamin B12 for optimal health.
Bats Are Not Blind
While about 70 percent of bat species, mainly in the microbat family, use echolocation to navigate, all bat species have eyes and are capable of sight. In addition, almost all bats in the megabat or fruit bat family cannot echolocate and have excellent night vision.
The Word Theory In "The Theory Of Evolution" Does Not Imply Scientific Doubt Regarding Its Validity
The concepts of theory and hypothesis have specific meanings in a scientific context. While theory in colloquial usage may denote a hunch or conjecture, a scientific theory is a set of principles that explains observable phenomena in natural terms. "Scientific fact and theory are not categorically separable", and evolution is a theory in the same sense as germ theory or the theory of gravitation.
Waking Sleepwalkers Does Not Harm Them
While it is true that a person may be confused or disoriented for a short time after awakening, this does not cause them further harm. In contrast, sleepwalkers may injure themselves if they trip over objects or lose their balance while sleepwalking.
The Order In Which Different Types Of Alcoholic Beverages Are Consumed Does Not Affect Intoxication Or Create Adverse Side Effects
The order in which different types of alcoholic beverages are consumed ("Grape or grain but never the twain" and "Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer") does not affect intoxication or create adverse side effects.
Twinkies Have A Shelf Life Of Approximately 45 Days (25 In Their Original Formulation)
It's far shorter than the common (and somewhat jocular) myth that Twinkies are edible for decades or longer. They generally remain on a store shelf for only 7 to 10 days
Humans Cannot Catch Warts From Toads Or Other Animals
The bumps on a toad are not warts. Warts on human skin are caused by human papillomavirus, which is unique to humans.
Black Holes Have The Same Gravitational Effects As Any Other Equal Mass In Their Place
They will draw objects nearby towards them, just as any other planetary body does, except at very close distances to the black hole. If, for example, the Sun were replaced by a black hole of equal mass, the orbits of the planets would be essentially unaffected. A black hole can act like a "cosmic vacuum cleaner" and pull a substantial inflow of matter, but only if the star from which it formed was already having a similar effect on surrounding matter.
Eating Less Than An Hour Before Swimming Does Not Increase The Risk Of Experiencing Muscle Cramps Or Drowning
One study shows a correlation between alcohol consumption and drowning, but there is no evidence cited regarding the consumption of food or stomach cramps.
Marie Antoinette Did Not Say "Let Them Eat Cake" When She Heard That The French Peasantry Were Starving Due To A Shortage Of Bread
The phrase was first published in Rousseau's Confessions when Marie was only nine years old and most scholars believe that Rousseau coined it himself, or that it was said by Maria-Theresa, the wife of Louis XIV. Even Rousseau (or Maria-Theresa) did not use the exact words but actually Qu'ils mangent de la brioche, "Let them eat brioche" (a rich type of bread). Marie Antoinette was an unpopular ruler; therefore, people attribute the phrase "let them eat cake" to her, in keeping with her reputation as being hard-hearted and disconnected from her subjects.
Swallowed Chewing Gum Does Not Take Seven Years To Digest
In fact, chewing gum is mostly indigestible, and passes through the digestive system at the same rate as other matter.
Toilet Waste Is Never Intentionally Jettisoned From An Aircraft
All waste is collected in tanks and emptied into toilet waste vehicles. Blue ice is caused by accidental leakage from the waste tank. Passenger trains, on the other hand, have indeed historically flushed onto the tracks; modern trains usually have retention tanks on board and therefore do not dispose of waste in such a manner.
Nonstandard, Slang Or Colloquial Terms Used By English Speakers Are Sometimes Alleged Not To Be Real Words, Despite Appearing In Numerous Dictionaries
All words in English became accepted by being commonly used for a certain period of time; thus, there are many vernacular words currently not accepted as part of the standard language, or regarded as infelicitous in formal speech or writing, but the idea that they are somehow not words is a misconception. Examples of words that are sometimes alleged not to be words include "irregardless", "conversate", "funnest", "mentee", "impactful", and "thusly", all of which appear in numerous dictionaries as English words.
The Accused At The Salem Witch Trials In North America Were Not Burned At The Stake
About 15 died in prison, 19 were hanged and one was pressed to death.
Alcohol Does Not Necessarily Kill Brain Cells
Alcohol can, however, lead indirectly to the death of brain cells in two ways: (1) In chronic, heavy alcohol users whose brains have adapted to the effects of alcohol, abrupt cessation following heavy use can cause excitotoxicity leading to cellular death in multiple areas of the brain. (2) In alcoholics who get most of their daily calories from alcohol, a deficiency of thiamine can produce Korsakoff's syndrome, which is associated with serious brain damage.
In South Korea, It Is Commonly, And Incorrectly, Believed That Sleeping In A Closed Room With An Electric Fan Running Results In "Fan Death"
According to the Korean government: "In some cases, a fan turned on too long can cause death from suffocation, hypothermia, or fire from overheating." The Korea Consumer Protection Board issued a consumer safety alert recommending that electric fans be set on timers, the direction changed, and any doors to the room be left open. According to Yeon Dong-su, dean of Kwandong University's medical school, "If it is completely sealed, then in the current of an electric fan, the temperature can drop low enough to cause a person to die of hypothermia." However, leaving a fan running in an unoccupied room will not cool it down; rather, due to energy losses from the motor and viscous dissipation, a fan will actually slightly heat a room
Houseflies Have An Average Lifespan Of 20 To 30 Days, Not 24 Hours
The misconception may arise from confusion with mayflies, which, in some species, have an adult lifespan of as little as 5 minutes. A housefly egg will hatch into a maggot within 24 hours of being laid.
When Kitty Genovese Was Murdered, 37 Neighbors Did Not Stand Idly By And Watch, Not Calling The Police Until After She Was Dead
When bartender Kitty Genovese was murdered outside her Queens apartment in 1964, 37 neighbors did not stand idly by and watch, not calling the police until after she was dead, as The New York Times initially reported to widespread public outrage that persisted for years. Later reporting established that the police report the Times had initially relied on was inaccurate, that Genovese had been attacked twice in different locations, and while the many witnesses heard the attack they only heard brief portions and did not realize what was occurring, with only six or seven actually reporting seeing anything. Some called police; one said "I didn't want to get involved", an attitude later attributed to all the residents who saw or heard part of the attack.