Top Ten Lies Taught In School About Science


The Top Ten

1 Humans evolved from monkeys

Humans and monkeys simply share a common ancestor, which evolved in two separate ways. We may be brothers, but not parents of one another. - PositronWildhawk

This is like teaching religion in school, which is unconstitutional. There is no proof and individual species do adapt to their surroundings but they certainly do not change into a new species. Also, why would only one group of monkeys evolve? It just doesn't make any sense when you think about it.

They don't teach you humans evolved from monkeys but we share a common DNA with the ape family.

This is the most common misconception among creationists. Humans did not evolve from monkeys. All apes, including human beings, evolved from a common ancestor.

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2 Only mass can mediate gravity

I believed this lie in primary school, as did most people. It is in fact momentum and energy, which is what is needed to induce gravitational wells. But Einstein famously stated that mass and energy are interchangeable, so mass serves as the more noticeable source of gravitational force. How else could we model both energy and mass with the electronvolt unit? Think E=mc^2. - PositronWildhawk

Nothing can change gravity. Like matter, it can't be changed nor destroyed.

3 "Particles" are fundamental

When 5-year-olds take on science, they are told that everything is made of particles, which is, in a sense, true, ignoring waves and strings. But that implies to them that all particles are the same. They later rename them "atoms" and call them fundamental. Later, they tell you to forget that crap, because atoms are made of nuclei and electrons, and this time, we mean it, nothing smaller. But they don't. This will eventually wind down to leptons, quarks and bosons, which are fundamental as far as we can confirm, but it's more than a decade of misinformation beforehand. - PositronWildhawk

Would remind you that while "waves" are strongly indicated, "strings" remain wholly theoretical. This is emblematic of the great farce so much of science has become: the stating of theory, no matter how shaky, as fact.

It always baffled how in every successing grade I always realised that the particle, which I considered as fundamental, was not at all. - Kiteretsunu

4 The "North Pole" is a stationary north pole

The geographic north pole is in fact a magnetic south pole. Why else would the north pole of a compass point north? And also, it's not a physical pole like a lamppost which stays in one place. Because the rotating core of the Earth which drives this magnetic field is not a perfect sphere, perturbation in the core causes the poles to move. Mind blow! - PositronWildhawk

And given the nature of the spinning orb we are on, compasses won't all point to the same place at the same time from different geographical positions. Try getting a region 1 compass to point you even close to magnetic north from a region 3 location. - Finch

J.R.R. Tolkien's version is the best. - PetSounds

5 We have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste

Seriously?!?! If those are all of my senses, how can I subconsciously decide to run from a tiger, recall information from certain stimuli, eat, sleep, rave, repeat? The brain, in fact, has many more senses than that. - PositronWildhawk

I think you hear & (or) see the tiger and as you know (probably you were told) it can harm you, so you decide to run away... I mean if you could neither see nor hear how could you do that?... Eating & sleeping are essential, I think we "were created that way"... Anyway think this is a perfect topic to discuss... Thanks. - Fan_of_Good_Music

This is really not taught in school past casual mentioning in elementary school. What most people are referring to are the five wits, and while they don't cover all sensations (like balance, pain, temperature, moisture), they are still culturally important. You can't really write a poem about the world as experienced through temperature or hunger. - airbb

How about a sense of pain? When you get hurt, the body sends impulses to the brain, letting you know that something is wrong. - ethanmeinster

There is a 6th sense called extrasensory perception. You can do stuff like predict the future and see the paranormal with this sense.

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6 Stars burn

Nothing can burn in space. For something to burn, oxygen needs to be present in the atmosphere around it. Plus, if a star such as the Sun was burning, it would have run out of fuel by now. The Sun is in fact driven by fusion of atomic nuclei to produce heavier nuclei, in which their mass is converted purely into energy, which is more energy for a given quantity than you get from burning it. And these nuclei can continue to fuse for longer than coal, including fusion into heavier nuclei. In the case of the heaviest stars, from hydrogen up to iron. It's only that iron being the most stable nucleus implies that less energy is released than put in when heavier elements are fused, which is why fission works to generate power from them. - PositronWildhawk

This is indeed a lie. I've never know a star to have sunburn. Have you? - Britgirl

They don't burn. They lose fuel after millions of years overtime and fade away, or possibly explode, if they are big enough.

7 Black holes are physical balls of compressed matter that would crush you to death

True, black holes are formed when matter is compressed to such an extreme density that light cannot escape its surface, but that's only the half of it. Once the matter is compressed, it is reduced to an infinitesimally small point, a singularity. The "surface" of a black hole is the event horizon, the boundary which, once crossed, light cannot escape. We simply cannot see past it because light would need to be reflected off of the surface to illuminate it.
We also cannot be crushed to death because the tidal forces, which change immensely with spacetime in the vicinity of a black hole, stretch us to death instead. This is spagettification. However, because of the time dilation outside of the black hole, one would not simply tumble into it like you see in Star Trek. Your approach slows until the light from your body fades from view. To an observer, you never enter the black hole's space. But you can't really enter a singularity's space anyway. By definition, it is a point in time ...more - PositronWildhawk

Black holes do not crush they stretch you to death

8 There are seven colors of light

Correct. There are only seven, which we can see. This spans a range of the Electromagnetic Spectrum from wavelengths of 400 to 700 nanometres. The Electromagnetic Spectrum can, hypothetically, cover the range from the Planck scale to the scale of the universe. - PositronWildhawk

Well. Yes, there are many more colours humans can't see. I'm pretty sure humans can see over a million different colours, though. I've heard that's about seven millions.

Maybe seven colors of VISIBLE light.

Sure there are numberless amounts of color, but what exactly would you call color at the wavelength of 678nm? There needs to be some grouping or it'd become difficult to talk about qualitatively. - airbb

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9 Carbon dioxide is dangerous in every way

I've seen children shiver at the very mention of the name of the chemical. It has got a bad reputation because of global warming, but without it, we wouldn't have sparkling drinks. CO2 is also used for cryogenics, respiration stimulants in medics, and oil extraction. - PositronWildhawk

Another topic that should be on here is that global warming is real. It isn't and I absolutely hate it when people defend it. The world is always changing. Have you heard of the ice age(s). Is that global cooling? Way back thousands of years ago the earth was hot. How is that possible? There weren't cars or factories to put that stuff in the air.

If there was NO carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we would end up being in a big ice age

Am I the only who loves the smell of CO2?

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10 You're gonna use this in the future


Sure I am ;D

The Contenders

11 All disease is caused by germs

Nobody even mentions genetic diseases until four years into high school. Before that, kids think that genetics are only why you look like your parents and have brown hair. - PositronWildhawk

We learn about genetic diseases in my school before we reach high school. We learn about it in 8th grade - TwilightKitsune

Ok stop blaming everything on these little poor creatures who only want to live

12 We use only 10% of our brains

Not 10%. Hitting a baseball with a bat will use more than 50% of the brain. Also while your eating with your friends, you use all your senses which is almost 50% of your brain. I was offended when I saw a Teen Titans Go episode proving that we use 10% of our brain. Man that cartoon is stupid

Wrong, we use 100% of our brains, at a time we use 10-40% of it it depends on situations on which which part is to be used more but every part of the brain is used - yatharthb

I do understand your point, but that statement wasn't about spacial activeness of the brain, it says we use only 20-40% of the total potential of the brain. And of course we can't increase that percentage, otherwise most of the body's blood would be used up by the brain itself. - Kiteretsunu

Then wouldn't of evolution gotten rid of that other 90%? - ARandomPerson

Isaac Newton used 30% of his brain.

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13 Cannabis is a "gateway drug"

If you mow a huge lawn with a normal sized mower everyday, chances are you are going to want to move up to a larger lawn mower eventually. This larger lawn mower was a gateway from the first lawn mower. This "gateway theory" can be explained with almost anything. The fact that alcohol has been found to be a bigger gateway drug than cannabis, has shut this theory down the drain.

Weed is perfectly fine it is not dangerous

14 Different areas of the tongue can taste different flavors
15 Bats are blind

Most bats actually have good eyesight. - Swellow

Eh, I think you'll find that Pos is about as unreligious (and unbiased, I might add) as they come. - PetSounds

Well even though their not blind, it's a saying or catchphrase ok.

They teach people this? ^_^ - Miauzer

16 If you make a weird face for long enough, it will stick

Now this is just stupid - Cheddar

Not science, this isn't real at all.

It was just told so that you didn't do it too long. My grandma did this to my mom, and for the longest time she believed it. - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

My mom always told me this!

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17 There is no left and right side of the brain

The brain has 2 hemispheres. They control how you move and think. They even determine your talents

Look at the mirror

18 Mercury is the hottest planet

Most teachers think that proximity to Sun is the only factor contributing to a planet's temperature. Now, that's wrong: atmosphere composition, nucleus activity, soil chemical composition, albedo and even the presence of life are also in the picture, and they can change the game for good.

It's a common misconception that Mercury is the hottest planet because it's closest to the sun, when in reality it's Venus.

19 Humans breathe out air having more Carbon Dioxide and less Oxygen and inhale air having more Oxygen and less Carbon Dioxide

I fully believed this statement during my primary school days. While the second part of the statement is actually true, the first horribly gets wrong (or can be misinterpreted wrong by kids). The correct statement should be "Humans breathe out air in which the concentration of carbon dioxide is relatively greater than what it is in the inhaled air." Because the percentage of oxygen is still greater than that of carbon dioxide in exhaled air too.
Like when we inhale air, about 0.04% of carbon dioxide is inhaled along with 21% of oxygen. But when we exhale, the percentage of carbon dioxide increases to 4% at the expense of oxygen. But clearly as we can see here, the percentage of oxygen in exhaled air (17%) is still greater than CO2 (4%). - Kiteretsunu

I learned the real facts in the fire service. If we breathed out more CO2 than O2 then doing rescue breathing (mouth to mouth) wouldn't help the victim as they wouldn't be getting a high enough concentration of oxygen to benefit their blood/organs. - Finch

The co2 levels in air is 0.035% or 0.037% and you would probably breath out nitrogen as-well as co2 unless our teacher lied and said we only need oxygen and nitrogen is useless

20 Atoms cannot be split

I was pretty confused in school about it but when I did research on nuclear decay, I got it all - yatharthb

There's a reason atom bombs work - Haumea

Here's a research topic...hiroshima

21 There is no gravity in space

That's very false. Gravity is a universal fundamental interaction with infinite range. Gravity is responsible for all attractions between objects, and without it, no solar systems or galaxies. But dark energy is what keeps them apart. - PositronWildhawk

I think this is brought on more by pop culture. Movies where astronauts glide through "zero gravity" environments, or where the ship engineer flips an "anti-gravity" switch and gravity "disappears." If anything, this myth is dispelled once you learn what gravity is in school. - airbb

Isn't it like so low that it almost feels like it's not there? - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

22 You can see the Great Wall of China from Space

It is possible, but not with the naked eye. The Great Wall of China is too narrow. and its color blends in with its surroundings. - ethanmeinster

23 Visible steam is a gas

It is actually water droplets that are so hot they become less dense, and not a gas because you can see it - lbelle0527

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