QUESTION: Columbus discovered America, et al.

Started musing – my, I muse a LOT – about how certain information is considered true, even though there is incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, such as Abner Doubleday inventing baseball, even though he clearly did not; yet, the ballpark in Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of fame, remains as Doubleday Field.

I’m not sure there is a better example than that. There are quotes that are misstated. The one here I find most interesting is “Nice guys finish last” by US baseball manager Leo Durocher (1906–1991). His remark was actually “his reply to being asked his opinion of the 1946 New York Giants. He actually said: ‘Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys – finish last.'” The words are there, but the emphasis is totally off.

How about this list of misattributed inventions? Lots of Thomas Edison. See they are picking on poor Al Gore over the Internet quote YET AGAIN.

This, of course, requires that a lot of people believe something as true. This top urban legends at doesn’t work for me, because most of them I never heard of. People falsely reported as dead on social media is practically a cliche. It’s not like the old days when having someone reported dead required certain circumstances (see Mark Twain or Paul McCartney).

Nor do I count the deniers, of the Holocaust, e.g., because they seem to be a fringe element.

With Photoshop and Facebook, it’s easy to start a credible rumor, for fun, political mischief or other criteria.

Tell me what obviously untrue info do you believe many, or most people believe?

3 thoughts on “QUESTION: Columbus discovered America, et al.”

  1. Any of that Facebook stuff. Example: someone I know reposted a list of “little known health facts” that included outrageous statements like cut onions left overnight become toxic.

    Also basic science misunderstandings. For example: the phases of the moon are caused by the shadow of Earth on the moon; we’ve been to other planets; Creationism, full stop; that global warming and the ozone hole are somehow connected or the same problem. That last one cheeses me because people have raging opinions about global warming, yet obviously have no idea what it is if they think that the ozone hole is somehow connected.

    Anything easily Google-able about oil. America has the biggest reserves in the world and so on.

    Lots about GM foods, including that there’s piles of scientific evidence that they hurt you or that “of course it’s okay, it’s approved by the government.” There’s not, for both of those things. There’s no evidence that they hurt you, but there’s no evidence that they’re harmless, either.

    I could keep going.


  2. NY Erratic – I once listened to a preacher on the radio explain that God sent the ozone to create that hole so as to punish us for our sins. I wonder how many people quietly continue to believe that.

    Roger – That Al Gore “Internet” quote dates from before the internet became common and the corporate media had a monopoly on information. Note that it is the internet (Snopes, etc.) that tries to set the record straight, and not the corporate media.


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