(NaturalNews) People tend to think that the things they believe are true. And even when they're terribly wrong, they still believe their fictions as if they were facts.
It's a healthy exercise to have your false beliefs challenged by reality, so today I'm doing my best to shatter ten false beliefs most people hold about the natural world -- food, animals, nature and so on.
Read the list below and see how many you used to believe.
#1) Quaker Oats was started by Quakers
Ummm, not really. In fact, the company has nothing to do with Quakers. It was started in Pennsylvania in 1901 when there were lots of Quakers around, mostly due to the fact that Quakers were known as being honest.
But Quaker Oats isn't exactly honest. Today, it's actually owned by PepsiCo, and in the 1950s, Quaker Oats, Harvard University and MIT researchers conducted experiments on human children using radioactive elements to trace the flow of nutrients through their bodies. The children were invited to be part of a "special science club," but they weren't told they were being fed Quaker Oats laced with radioactive substances. Side effects of radioactive exposure include skin cell mutations and skin cancer.
When parents found out about the experiments, they sued, and Quaker Oats was eventually forced to pay out $1.85 million, but the case wasn't settled until decades later -- 1997, actually. It's all detailed in the book The State Boy's Rebellion by Michael D'Antonio. (http://www.amazon.com/State-Boys-Rebellion-M...)
#4) Seventy-five percent of the Earth is made of water
Far from it. In fact, on the basis of pure mass, only about half of one percent of planet Earth is made of water. The oceans occupy only a thin layer of water that sloshes around the upper crust of the planet. The vast majority of the Earth is made of other elements (99.5%), with about one-third of it being iron.
From space, the Earth looks like it's made mostly of water, and it's true that the surface area of the Earth has more water than land, but that's not what the planet is made of internally.
#6) Camels originated in the deserts of the Middle East
Nope. Camels came from North America, where they evolved twenty million years ago. They became extinct in North America during the last Ice Age, but continued to thrive elsewhere.
As stated on the source page (below):
...the origin of camels can be traced to the Protylopus, an animal that occupied the North American continent during the Eocene period. That the Camelidae eventually disappeared from the mother continent is part of the enigma surrounding the extinction of North American Pleistocene mammals. However, by this time Camelidae had already migrated across the Bering Straits to Asia during the late Pliocene or early Glacial epochs.
This high school science myth persists, but it's not true. Light travels at different speeds depending on what it's traveling through. Light slows down when it hits water, for example, or even glass (which is why prisms work). When shone through a diamond, light slows to about half its normal speed.
In 2000, a Harvard University team of researchers were able to slow light to a transmission speed of zero by shining it into a Bose-Einstein condensate made from rubidium.
The right answer? NINE (or more). In addition to touch, taste, smell, vision and olfactory senses, humans also have proprioception (body awareness), nociception (perception of pain), equilibrioception (sense of balance) and thermoception (sense of heat).
And that doesn't even count the typical "sixth sense" category such as intuition, precognition and other psychic sense. Nor does it consider hunger, thirst, empathy or the sense of electricity running through your skin (like when you touch a live electrical outlet). In truth, there are far more than five senses, and the actual number depends on who you ask.
#10) Penicillin was first discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming
Not by a long shot (ahem). There are numerous accounts of penicillin being discovered and used decades -- even centuries -- earlier.
A scientist in Costa Rica, for example, named Clodomiro (Clorito) Picado Twight (1887-1944) discovered and documented penicillin in 1915, thirteen years before Fleming's "discovery" of 1928.
Earlier than that, Ernest Duchesne documented penicillin in a paper written in 1897, but his paper was rejected by the science journals at the time because he was thought too young to know anything about science. (Dang kids playing around with mold again!)
Even further back in time, the Bedouin tribes in North Africa have followed a process for well over 1,000 years that used mold to make a healing ointment (with antibacterial properties just like penicillin, no less).
Western medicine, of course, tends to believe it is the first to discover things, and it fails to give credit to the use of such medicines by indigenous cultures or discoverers outside academic circles.
I first found these ten ideas in the book The Book of General Ignorance. I then researched each one further and cited new sources for most of them. This is a fascinating book to check out if you're interested in learning things you thought you already knew, but didn't.
Just be careful not to read it unless you want to shatter many illusions you might presently hold dear.
And while you're at it, if you're really looking to have your world rocked, pick up the book by Russ Kick called You Are STILL Being Lied To: The NEW Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths (http://www.amazon.com/You-STILL-Being-Lied-D...)
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.