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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Tell me your favorite disproven or discredited theory. Mathematical,… 
31st-Aug-2009 01:21 pm
Tell me your favorite disproven or discredited theory. Mathematical, scientific, sociological, whatever. Hit me.
31st-Aug-2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Phlogiston. Because it's fun to say "phlogiston".
31st-Aug-2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
I second phlogiston.
31st-Aug-2009 05:32 pm (UTC) - Y2K Bug
That is was going to be the end of the world and the new Millenium was going to be a return to the Dark Ages--due to the Y2K bug destroying all data across the banking and financial industry.

I suppose it is my favorite because I was there for it, and really got quite the hoot out of the extremes some people/companies/countries went to make sure the would be "OK".
31st-Aug-2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
There are alligators in the sewers.
31st-Aug-2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
IT is aerodynamically impossible for bumblebees to fly.
31st-Aug-2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
The Luminiferous Æther, in part because of the spectacular failed experiment that proved its non-existence, and hinted at General Relativity.

(Seriously, a giant marble wheel afloat on mercury, how is that not awesome?!)
31st-Aug-2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Homeopathy by far, because when it was new, it was a way to treat a patient that was better than standard medicine, but today it's obviously not.
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31st-Aug-2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
There's no such thing as a black swan
31st-Aug-2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
HIV doesn't cause AIDS.


AIDS was cooked up in a government germ-warfare lab. (often with the added garnish that it was targeted at African-Americans and/or homosexuals.)
31st-Aug-2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
That ergotism might have caused the Salem witch hysteria. (Disproved/rebutted by Spanos and Gottlieb within a year, but it persists 30 years later)
1st-Sep-2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you thank you thank you.

Ever since reading Boyer and Nissenbaum's Salem Possessed in my History of Urban America class at UMaryland (where, by the way, I studied Dedham), I have HATED the ergotism theory.

I mean, cmon, considering none of the gangrenous symptoms were in evidence ...
31st-Aug-2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
7-day young Earth creationism.
31st-Aug-2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
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31st-Aug-2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
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31st-Aug-2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
The Face on Mars, Pyramids and other dumb-assed Aliens and/or Martians crap.

I used to cite the example of the "Old Man of the Mountains" (New Hampshire - back of the quarter) of a human-like geologic feature - but it collapsed in 2003.

I bet it was those damned Martians that did it, too

1st-Sep-2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Two of my favorite psychological phenomena relate to that; Pareidolia, and Apophenia. Sure, they can result in people hearing voices in the wind, or seeing faces on their breakfast waffle... but they're also the roots of pretty much all creative process. The trick is getting the causal arrow pointed in the right direction.
31st-Aug-2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
31st-Aug-2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Lamarckism. Just because of the mental images it spawns.
31st-Aug-2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
:::grins:: That was going to be one of mine. Mostly because of some of the weird things that do support that it happens in strange ways.
31st-Aug-2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
I like the "humans are made of earth, wind, fire, and water," because I think there is still a lot of fun or even beautiful symbolism in elementalism, even if it's not literally true.
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31st-Aug-2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
I am currently enchanted by the no lunar landing theory. But the alligators in the sewers also intrigue me.
31st-Aug-2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Without reading any of the others: the four humours and their temperaments! Sanguine, choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic. Awesome!

Bleeding and leeches, not so awesome, but, well.
31st-Aug-2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
But ... leeches are still used (or have made a comeback) in current-day medicine.
31st-Aug-2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
I have to go with the aether as well.
31st-Aug-2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Polywater. I remember reading about this one as it was happening.

Also: Cold fusion (at least the U of Utah version)

Edited at 2009-08-31 09:15 pm (UTC)
31st-Aug-2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
The theory that reading is parasitic on speech. Because I'm one of the people finding evidence that they interact.
31st-Aug-2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
All US Presidents are from The South.

That, or Global Warming. Hard to decide.
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