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Post Reply What are some scientific "facts" people say a lot that are wrong?
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31 / M / Marshall, Michigan
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Posted 12/13/16
What are some scientific "facts" people say a lot that are wrong?
(Please no opinions or controversial stuff)

My Example:
It's often said the people replaced all of their cells every 7-10 years, so you're literally not the same person you were ten years ago. However, neurons in the cerebral cortex are never replaced (but who cares about that body part, anyway?)
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Posted 12/13/16 , edited 12/13/16
"You only use 20% of your brain".
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28 / F / The margins
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Posted 12/13/16 , edited 12/13/16
Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead.

NO. A MILLION NOs.

I HATE Schrödinger's cat references and jokes. Because they always mess it up - and are all cutesy about how "weird" and "mysterious" quantum mechanics is. Knowing Schrödinger's cat is a thing does not make you cool, or smart. If you talk about it too much, it probably means you're one of the people contributing to the infantilization of our society's understanding of science. STOP IT. Here, let me tell you what it's appropriate to conclude about Schrödinger's cat (from the Copenhagen interpretation, which is really the best we can do at the moment):

When it is put into the box and the poison mechanism is set up, the cat is no longer a system for which the states "alive" and "dead" exist. It's not both alive and dead, and I'd even be wary of saying it's neither alive nor dead. You just can't ask that question. The information doesn't exist.
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Posted 12/13/16

auroraloose wrote:

Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead.

NO. A MILLION NOs.

I HATE Schrödinger's cat references and jokes. Because they always mess it up - and are all cutesy about how "weird" and "mysterious" quantum mechanics is. Knowing Schrödinger's cat is a thing does not make you cool, or smart. If you talk about it too much, it probably means you're one of the people contributing to the infantilization of our society's understanding of science. STOP IT. Here, let me tell you what it's appropriate to conclude about Schrödinger's cat (from the Copenhagen interpretation, which is really the best we can do at the moment):

When it is put into the box and the poison mechanism is set up, the cat is no longer a system for which the states "alive" and "dead" exist. It's not both alive and dead, and I'd even be wary of saying it's neither alive nor dead. You just can't ask that question. The information doesn't exist.


You're neither right nor wrong
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M
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Posted 12/13/16
That a "theory" is an idea that is, so far, unproven. That's pretty much the opposite of what a scientific theory actually is.
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19 / M / Temple of Yaoiism
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Posted 12/13/16
Dunno if this counts, but it annoys me when people say that women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns as if it's a fact.

It also really annoys me when old people say video games warp your brain or something similar to that.
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M / IDK
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Posted 12/13/16
That gum isn't digested in your stomach

Is that not scientific enough? lol
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28 / F / The margins
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Posted 12/13/16

ran76 wrote:

That a "theory" is an idea that is, so far, unproven. That's pretty much the opposite of what a scientific theory actually is.


The sentiment you're expressing is right, but it's actually the case that none of our theories are ever proven correct. So whenever someone says, "Science has proven [thing]," that's always incorrect. The best we can do is come up with explanation schemes (theories) that don't lead to contradictions with our observations, and the schemes may be wrong.
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Posted 12/13/16
I had my grandmother say that gaming killed one of my family's computers because it stressed the components (something along those lines).

Then there's the idea that you only have X amount of brain cells.

Then there's that funny one where spoilers are bad and ruin the experience of whatever media you are consuming.

While its not on the subject of scientific facts but its more of a vocabulary type of thing, but I absolutely DESPISE that people use customers and consumers interchangebly. They are not the same! The 12 year old's mom bought the new Call of Duty, so she's the customer, the 12 year old playing Call of Duty is the consumer. The difference is that the consumer is using/enjoying the product, the customer only bought it.
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19 / M / Temple of Yaoiism
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Posted 12/13/16
One thing that comes to mind is when my mom told me to turn off my computer because computers attract lightning.

In response I told her she was an idiot and didn't turn off my computer. 9 year old me didn't tolerate stupid.
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Online
Posted 12/13/16
Every single assertion you have ever heard about "science" is wrong to a greater or lesser degree.
If it was in the news, it was misreported.
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33 / M / USA
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Posted 12/13/16
There's that idea of "alpha dog", espoused by know-nothings like Cesar Milan. The whole idea was based on a flawed study of wolves that was retracted and debunked by the original author. Wolves and domesticated dogs are social animals who naturally form cooperative communes. There is no such hierarchy as "alpha male" and "beta male", etc. They have a concept of fair or equitable treatment (many animals do, such as crows and capuchin monkeys), so they share their kills with the rest of the pack. There is no such thing as an alpha male getting the most meat or the first shot at it, etc. That's not to say that such behavior doesn't occur in other species. It just doesn't occur in wolves or domesticated dogs .
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The Grand Line
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Posted 12/13/16
I work as a tour guide at a planetarium so here's a few big ones for me:

- The north star is the brightest star (it's actually the 49th brightest)

- "Falling stars" are stars dying

- The earth is bigger than the sun

- Pluto isn't still a planet ( it's just a different type now)

- Stars are on fire (no oxygen in space, they "burn" by fusing atoms in their cores)

And these are grown adults asking this stuff...
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21 / M
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Posted 12/13/16 , edited 12/13/16
Sunlight on bare skin is unhealthy...sure if you plop yourself naked in the sun 1000m above sea level for the whole span of the day for days on end with no accumulation before hand, but it's actually quite the opposite if you expose yourself with diligence and intelligence.
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28 / F / The margins
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Posted 12/13/16

Grimm1223 wrote:

- Stars are on fire (no oxygen in space, they "burn" by fusing atoms in their cores)


Well, I mean... the part of "fire" we see - the flame - is the result of energetic ("hot") atoms/molecules emitting photons to transition to lower-energy states. That's exactly how stars emit light. Combustion produces the atoms/molecules that are hot/excited, just like nuclear fusion produces the energy in stars. But as far as the physics involved goes, there is no difference between what's going on in the hot glowing stuff that comes off of lit candles and the hot glowing stuff at the surface of stars. They are different gases and have different temperatures, spectra, etc., but it's the same thing that's happening.
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