The Thread of General Ignorance


WiiChat Member
May 15, 2006
Cardiff, Wales
Inspired by the brilliant British panel show QI, I've decided to do a thread about common misconceptions. Feel free to add your own.

-Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees. According to theory of evolution, both humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor.
-Asteroid belts are not vast, dense swarms of rocks like in The Empire Strikes Back.
-'Inuit' is not synonymous with 'Eskimo'.
-There is no evidence that goldfish have a three-second memory.
-The largest desert in the world is not the Sahara, it is in fact Antarctica. By definition, a desert is a region which recieves less than 10 inches of precipitation per year. It does not have to be hot.
-Bats are not blind.
-Nero would not have fiddled while Rome burned. The fiddle hadn't been invented then.
-'Jihad' does not nean 'holy war'. It basically means 'crusade' or 'struggle', and can be used in both the physical or moral sense (e.g. "the war against drugs", "the struggle for women's rights").
-Humans do not only use 10-30% of their brains.
-No one said the line "Play it again, Sam" in Casablanca.
-Hair and fingernails do not continue to grow after death. What happens is that the skin retracts, giving the illusion of hair/fingernail growth.
-There are more than three states of matter- there around a dozen. Most baryonic matter (non-dark matter) in the Universe is in the form of plasma.
-You can fold a piece of paper more than seven times, if it is large enough.
-The Sun is not yellow, it is white. It appears yellow due to Rayleigh scattering by the Earth's atmosphere.
-Krakatoa is west of Java, not east.
-Timmy never actually fell down a well in Lassie.
Panama Hats aren't made in Panama
The black box isn't black it's orange.

I'll think of some more later.
-Swimming after eating doesn't give you a stomach ache.
-Going out with wet hair won't make you get a cold.
Opinions cannot be wrong. What a stupid thing to say.
Opinions are judged by your own perception, your own thoughts. To say an opinion is 'wrong' would be an opinion.

Only can you be wrong, in stating that which is not true.


I did just think of this scenario.

If one believed that a fact was not true, that would be their opinion.
You can say the fact is true - but you cannot say their opinion is wrong. It is their belief. It is right to them.

Sollipsism is a difficult study, and I'm no metphysicist.

But the point still stands.
Then I'm afraid you're horribly mistaken.

An opinion is a belief based on anything other than fact. You cannot prove wrong anything beyond that of fact.

I'm off to have a bath. Baths are relaxing. Go on, prove me wrong.

This has nothing to do with this thread or this 'debate', but...

You're going to have a bath?! Bad idea. Bad for your sperm count.
-Not all parrots will talk

-Not all wrestling fans think its real
You're going to have a bath?! Bad idea. Bad for your sperm count.
I like to have a bath

Even if I didnt im still waiting for my shower to be installed
Then I'm afraid you're horribly mistaken.

An opinion is a belief based on anything other than fact. You cannot prove wrong anything beyond that of fact.

I'm off to have a bath. Baths are relaxing. Go on, prove me wrong.

Baths aren't relaxing.
A man cant rape another man. The correct term is "Buggery".

If a person hands money over to someone demanding it its not theft
But if the other forces it out of the other person (ie grabs it) it is
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-The Pilgrims did not dress only in black, nor did they have buckles on their hats or shoes.
-When a person is arrested in the United States, there is no legal requirement that the police must "read him his rights" (i.e. give a Miranda warning), either at the time of arrest or anytime thereafter. The failure to give the warning will merely preclude the prosecution from using a confession (or other incriminatory statement) against the defendant; it will not preclude the criminal prosecution itself and it is possible that the defendant may be convicted without any introduction of an unwarned confession into evidence.
-There is no dark side of the Moon; every part of the Moon's surface (except perhaps deep craters near the poles) is illuminated by the Sun roughly half of the time. The phrase uses the word "dark" in the less-frequent sense of "unknown" or "obscure" to refer to the far side of the Moon, which because of tidal locking is never visible from Earth.
-Black holes, unlike the common image, do not act as cosmic vacuum cleaners any more than do other stars.[48] When a star evolves into a black hole, the gravitational attraction at a given distance from the body is no greater than it was for the star. That is to say, were the Sun to be replaced by a black hole of the same mass, the Earth would continue in the same orbit (assuming spherical symmetry of the sun). Due to a black hole's formation being explosive in nature, the object would lose a certain amount of its energy in the process, which—according to the mass–energy equivalence—means that a black-hole would be of lower mass than the parent object, and actually have a weaker gravitational pull.
-When a meteor lands on Earth (after which it is termed a meteorite), it is not usually hot. In fact, many are found with frost on them. A meteor's great speed during entry is enough to melt or vaporize its outermost layer, but any molten material will be quickly blown off (ablated), and the interior of the meteor does not have time to heat up because rocks are poor conductors of heat. Also, atmospheric drag can slow small meteors to terminal velocity by the time they hit the ground, giving the surface time to cool down.
-Shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker or coarser or darker. This belief is due to the fact that hair that has never been cut has a tapered end, whereas, after cutting, there is no taper. Thus, it appears thicker, and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges.[69] Hair can also appear darker after it grows back because hair that has never been cut is often lighter due to sun exposure.
-Snapping or cracking one's knuckles does not cause arthritis.
-Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children.
-Eating at night does not cause any more weight gain than eating the same amount of food during the day.
-The indigenous people of North America can grow facial hair, contrary to the misconception that they cannot.
-It is a common misconception that sleepwalkers should not be awakened. While it is true that a person may be confused or disoriented for a short time after awakening, it is actually quite dangerous to not wake a sleepwalker as they may injure themselves if they trip over objects or lose their balance while sleepwalking. Such injuries are common among sleepwalkers.
-Humans cannot catch warts from toads or other animals; the bumps on a toad are not warts.
-The claim that a duck's quack does not echo is false, although the echo may be difficult to hear for humans under some circumstances.
-Lemmings do not engage in suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating. They will, however, occasionally, and unintentionally fall off cliffs when venturing into unknown territory, with no knowledge of the boundaries of the environment. The misconception is due largely to the Disney film White Wilderness, which shot many of the migration scenes (also staged by using multiple shots of different groups of lemmings) on a large, snow-covered turntable in a studio. Photographers later pushed the lemmings off a cliff.
-Albert Einstein's position on God has been widely misrepresented by people on both sides of the atheism/religion divide. In truth, Einstein was neither religious (in the traditional sense) nor an atheist. He did not believe in God in a "personal" sense and discounted the existence of a creator; rather, he was a rationalistic pantheist.Many people misinterpreted his words in public, to which Einstein himself responded by saying: "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." (this one is because I saw someone say that Albert Einstein was religious in another thread)
-Nowhere in the Bible is the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden referred to as an apple.
-Nowhere in the Bible is Mary Magdalene ever referred to as a prostitute.
-Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb (Joseph Swan did).
-George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter, although he developed many other uses for peanuts.
-Charles Lindbergh was not the first man to fly the Atlantic Ocean, although he was the first to have flown across it solo.
-Toilet waste is not dumped overboard in aircraft. All waste is collected in tanks which are emptied on the ground by special toilet waste vehicles. A vacuum is used to allow the toilet to be flushed with less water and because plumbing cannot rely on gravity alone in an aircraft in motion. (Joe Dirt anyone?)

Well... that's good enough.
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-The Trojan Horse story was not in Homer's Iliad, or Odyssey. It comes from Virgil's Aeneid.
-Thomas Crapper did not invent the flushable toilet.
-Despite the claim in one episode of The Simpsons, the Coriolis effect does not make any difference to which way water flushes down a toilet or drain.
-The speed of light is not always constant. It is only constant in a vacuum.
-Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary, my dear Watson" in any of Arthur Conan Doyle's novels.
-Most educated people of Columbus' time knew the Earth was round. The reason he has trouble finding funds was because most people believed Columbus was underestimating the size of the Earth (they were right).
-Duck's quacks do produce echoes.
-Einstein was not bad at maths as a student.
-Bulls do not hate the colour red.
-The British monarch does not use the phrase "Arise, Sir ____" when a person is knighted.
-Objects in "zero" gravity do not move in slow motion.
-Although in reality, there is no place in the Universe with true zero gravity.
-The second law of thermodynamics does not disprove evolution. It only applies to closed systems.
Bulls charge because you wave an object in their face. They're color blind.
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It's my new life goal to take a duck to a cave
How does cracking your knuckles NOT cause arthritis?

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