07 April 2009

89 Suburban Myths... that most of us believe in

Suburban myths are common misconceptions that are uncritically passed on as established truths by "experts" and non-experts alike.

Myth 1. We use only 10% of our brain.

Myth 2. Prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of death.

Myth 3. Most medical treatments have never been clinically tested.

Myth 4. Evolution is just a theory. Creationism is a theory, too. To be fair to our children, we should teach them both.

Myth 5. Jeane Dixon predicted President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Myth 6. The brain is more insightful and productive in the alpha state.

Myth 7. There are Men in Black who are government agents whose function is to visit UFO witnesses and warn them not to tell anyone about their UFO experiences.

Myth 8. Kenneth Arnold saw a flying saucer in 1947.

Myth 9. Altered states of consciousness transport a person to a higher state of awareness and productivity.

Myth 10. There is a curse on the Kennedy family.

Myth 11. Demons can take possession of your soul.

Myth 12. There is a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

Myth 13. Walking on hot coals without burning one's feet requires paranormal or supernatural powers.

Myth 14. The near-death experience is typically pleasant and blissful, involving a feeling of moving through a tunnel into a bright light.

Myth 15. We usually unconsciously repress traumatic experiences.

Myth 16. Edgar Cayce was illiterate.

Myth 17. Hypnosis is a gateway to the unconscious mind.

Myth 18. At the equinox, an egg will balance on its end* and on either side of the equator water going down a drain will rotate differently.*

Myth 19. Medical doctors typically know nothing about nutrition.

Myth 20. Physicists do not know how it is possible for the common housefly to fly.

Myth 21. Faith healing works.

Myth 22. Dr. Randolph Byrd scientifically proved that prayer can heal.

Myth 23. Even if Dr. Byrd failed, others have succeeded in proving scientifically that prayer heals.

Myth 24. You can raise your I.Q., SAT score, and dissolve brain tumors by listening to Mozart.

Myth 25. Transplant organs carry personality traits which are transferred from donors to receivers.

Myth 26. More ships and aircraft have vanished without a trace in the waters between Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico than anywhere else of equal area.

Myth 27. The way a person makes marks on paper captures one's personality and hidden intentions.

Myth 28. The polygraph is a reliable device for telling when a person is lying or telling the truth.

Myth 29. Einstein believed in a personal Creator.

Myth 30. Domestic violence significantly increases on Super Bowl Sunday.

Myth 31. Crimes, mental illness, suicides, and emergency room visits increase when there is a full moon.

Myth 32. The second law of thermodynamics proves that evolution is wrong.

Myth 33. Darwin's theory of evolution, the theory of natural selection, implies inequality of sexes, races, and nations.

Myth 34. Creationism implies that evolution and the Big Bang theory are false.

Myth 35. In the year 2000, because of unusual planetary alignments on May 5th, the polar ice caps will melt and there will be great earthquakes caused by tidal forces.

Myth 36. Lemmings commit mass suicide.

Myth 37. Militant fundamentalist (anti-evolution) Christians make up the majority of Christians.

Myth 38. Possessing a US Patent on a device means that one has a working device. ("A working model, or other physical exhibit, may be required by the Office if deemed necessary. This is not done very often. A working model may be requested in the case of applications for patent for alleged perpetual motion devices." Emphasis added.)

Myth 39. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System requires that one mile in every five must be straight so they can be used as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Myth 40. Subliminal advertising has been empirically proven to work.

Myth 41. False memories of abuse are always implanted by poorly trained therapists through hypnosis and recovered memories are more reliable if they occur outside of therapy.

Myth 42. Einstein believed in astrology.

Myth 43. Suicide increases over the holidays.

Myth 44. NASA faked the moon landings.

Myth 45. Scientists have proved that the brain is really two brains and each has its own domain: the left hemisphere is the seat of our logical, analytical, scientific self and our right hemisphere is the seat of our intuitive, creative, artistic, emotional self.

Myth 46. Switching to a low-tar, low-nicotine cigarette will reduce one's chances of being exposed to the carcinogens in cigarette smoke.

Myth 47. Vaccination of children with the (MMR) vaccine to prevent measles, mumps and rubella causes autism.

Myth 48. Christopher Columbus thought the earth was flat.

Myth 49. The Inuit have hundreds of words or for snow.

Myth 50. Bernoulli's principle completely explains why all forms of flight are possible.

Myth 51. Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet and his name is the origin of the vulgar expression for defecation.

Myth 52. Atheists are appealing to the Federal Communications Commission to ban religious broadcasting.

Myth 53. Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Myth 54. Alcohol, especially red wine, is good for your health.

Myth 55. A migraine is just a bad headache and not life-threatening.

Myth 56. Kirlian photography has shown "phantom limbs", e.g., when a leaf is placed on the plate and then torn in half and "photographed", the whole leaf shows up in the picture, proving that things have auras.

Myth 57. Water runs down the drain clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere due to the Coriolus effect.

Myth 58. The moon can trigger ovulation and bring on fertility depending on what phase the moon was at when you were born.

Myth 59. The mercury in dental amalgam is poisoning people.

Myth 60. You should drink eight glasses of water a day for good health. One study, however, does seem to have good evidence that drinking five glasses a day is better than drinking two or fewer with respect to fatal coronary heart disease.

Myth 61. The Declaration of Independence was signed by all signatories on July 4, 1776, as depicted in the painting by John Turnbull.

Myth 62. Charles Darwin renounced evolution and his theory of natural selection on his deathbed.

Myth 63. People who were present at the opening of King Tutankhamen's tomb were exposed to the "mummy's curse" and died soon afterward.

Myth 64. Women have more ribs than men do.

Myth 65. The Grimm brothers recorded an oral tradition of story-telling by simple, uneducated peasants in Germany.

Myth 66. The moon is a strong source of gravitational energy on the human body.

Myth 67. Nine months after a power outage, there is a significant increase in the number of babies born.

Myth 68. A patent commissioner once wrote in his letter of resignation that "everything that can be invented has been invented."

Myth 69. Darwin admitted that it was impossible to explain the origin of the eye by natural selection.

Myth 70. The 9/11 terrorist attacks on several targets in the U.S. were predicted by the Koran.

Myth 71. A diet low in animal fat will prevent high cholesterol which will prevent atherosclerosis which will make you immune to having a heart attack.

Myth 72. Pasteur renounced all his works on his death bed.

Myth 73. Laetrile is an effective cancer treatment whose humanitarian discoverer has been persecuted, depriving millions of people of the benefits of this wonder drug.

Myth 74. Peptic ulcers are caused by stress and eating spicy food.

Myth 75. Fingerprint identification used by law enforcement agencies has been validated by many scientific studies that have proven that every person has a unique set of fingerprints. Furthermore, experts in fingerprint identification have passed a rigorous exam to test their ability to match fingerprints under controlled conditions.

Myth 76. Freud based his early view of neurosis on frequent reports from his female patients that they had been sexually abused in childhood.

Myth 77. Freud published numerous reports documenting that his patients had been fantasizing sexual abuse.

Myth 78. One in five children is approached by an online sexual predator. (This is a distortion of a survey result that found that 19 percent of young Internet users received an unwanted sexual solicitation in the past year. Only 3% reported being solicited on the Internet and none of these led to an actual assault. Also, Ben Radford noted that in this survey "A 'sexual solicitation' is defined as a 'request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or give personal sexual information that was unwanted....'" )

Myth 79. For a fee, you can have a star officially named for you or anyone you choose.

Myth 80. President Ronald Reagan cut government spending, lowered taxes, reduced the deficit, got government off our backs by deregulation, and encouraged free market economies abroad.

Myth 81. Beethoven's mother had tuberculosis, his father had syphilis, his four siblings were born blind, stillborn, deaf and dumb, and with tuberculosis (variations of this pseudo family history are used by anti-abortionists in a very illogical argument).

Myth 82. Organic farming produces food that is safer, healthier, tastier and better for the environment than food produced by conventional farming.

Myth 83. A study was published in the Western Journal of Medicine that showed changing the letters EPHO (each letter representing a drug being used to treat small-cell lung cancer) to HOPE led to a spectacular increase in positive response to the treatment.

Myth 84. Eight Jesuits survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by praying the rosary.

Myth 85. Every day 35-150 species become extinct, mostly in rain forests and most undiscovered by humans at the time of their extinction. One-half of all species will be extinct in 100 years. [Note: species are going extinct because of human behavior; the numbers are exaggerations or distortions of data from models reported in Nature. Most species that have ever existed have already gone extinct.]


Myths 86-89, thanks to the British Medical Journal:

Myth 86. There are several effective cures for a hangover.
Myth 87. People who eat late at night gain more weight than those who eat the same amount of food earlier in the day.
Myth 88. More heat escapes from the head than any other part of the body.
89. Poinsettias are poisonous.