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John_Brian_K

Misconceptions - Non Political

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Things you hear from people over and over that are just incorrect, but are widely used. I will start:

"The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

I just heard this for about the 50th time on the radio this morning and was wondering how many others we can come up with?

Instead of typing up a whole thing on it I am copying and pasting a responses I found online that explains my thoughts on it perfectly:

Two fun facts about this quote.

1) Albert Einstein did not say this. (The quote wrongly attributed to him started out in AA and NA circles, and was first published in the precise form of this OP headline in 1983 in a book by Rita Mae Brown.)

2) It is a terrible definition of insanity. Buying lottery tickets, for instance, is merely dumb. It is not insane. Thinking your horrible boyfriend will change *this time* is dumb, but not particularly suggestive of insanity.

Tearing out your eyes so that you will not see sin and will thus ascend into heaven is insane.

Stalking Jessica Alba because you believe her to be in love with you is (very, very probably) insane.

Charlie Brown is not insane for thinking Lucy will let him kick the football. He is merely foolish.

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This is a mis-attribution rather than a misconception, but I see where you are coming from.

A misconception that bothers me as a synthetic chemist is that things that are "all-natural" are magically better for you than a synthesized compound. I would like to introduce the believers of this misconception to to some all-natural box jellyfish toxins, or rattlesnake venom.

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A misconception that bothers me as a synthetic chemist is that things that are "all-natural" are magically better for you than a synthesized compound. I would like to introduce the believers of this misconception to to some all-natural box jellyfish toxins, or rattlesnake venom.

Can't disagree with that! I too hate the "All Natural" line. Honestly, I'd rather lab created in many instances. Purer, more refined.

Here's one that I've always liked:

The "Exception Proofs the Rule." The funny think about this is that it's a true statement, but only in a narrow context, not in the manner that most people use it. It's a legal term that indicates that an expressed exception indicates the existence of an unexpressed rule. For example, If a church has a basketball court on it's property and posts a sign that says: "No playing in ball on Sunday." This exception indicates the existence of a rules saying it is okay to play ball there other days.

This of course is NOT what the far majority of people who use this term think it means. They of course are wrong. And exception to a stated rule or statement does not proof the validity of a rule or statement. In fact, it specifically negates the validity of that statement.

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Can't disagree with that! I too hate the "All Natural" line. Honestly, I'd rather lab created in many instances. Purer, more refined.

Here's one that I've always liked:

The "Exception Proofs the Rule." The funny think about this is that it's a true statement, but only in a narrow context, not in the manner that most people use it. It's a legal term that indicates that an expressed exception indicates the existence of an unexpressed rule. For example, If a church has a basketball court on it's property and posts a sign that says: "No playing in ball on Sunday." This exception indicates the existence of a rules saying it is okay to play ball there other days.

This of course is NOT what the far majority of people who use this term think it means. They of course are wrong. And exception to a stated rule or statement does not proof the validity of a rule or statement. In fact, it specifically negates the validity of that statement.

A.C. Doyle ruined this one for you. Holmes mis-uses the expression as you describe and it's been downhill for it ever since! ;)

I have the same pet peeve about "begs the question" which is used wrong about 99.99% of the time today. But the reality is the that incorrect meaning ascribed to 'beg the question" which is "demands that this next question be asked" is such a good meaning to have an idiom for that I guess I'm not that broken up about losing an idiom from technical Rhetoric for not addressing the specific question posed in an argument.

One I do grieve for is "transpire" which used to have the more elegant meaning "to become known" but is now just used for "happen", which we had enough other perfectly good words for already.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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This is a mis-attribution rather than a misconception, but I see where you are coming from.

A misconception that bothers me as a synthetic chemist is that things that are "all-natural" are magically better for you than a synthesized compound. I would like to introduce the believers of this misconception to to some all-natural box jellyfish toxins, or rattlesnake venom.

Like Pot vs. K2? :silly:

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The "Exception Proofs the Rule." The funny think about this is that it's a true statement, but only in a narrow context, not in the manner that most people use it. It's a legal term that indicates that an expressed exception indicates the existence of an unexpressed rule. For example, If a church has a basketball court on it's property and posts a sign that says: "No playing in ball on Sunday." This exception indicates the existence of a rules saying it is okay to play ball there other days.

This of course is NOT what the far majority of people who use this term think it means. They of course are wrong. And exception to a stated rule or statement does not proof the validity of a rule or statement. In fact, it specifically negates the validity of that statement.

I heard a long time ago that the "proves" in "exception that proves the rule" does not mean "prove" in the sense of verify, but rather in the sense of "test", a usage that also occurs in the term "proving grounds". So the phrase really means "exception that tests the rule". That makes more sense, so I always believed that.

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That eating carbohydrates is somehow bad for you, or will make you gain weight.

I have to remind my wife of that one ALL the time.

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I heard a long time ago that the "proves" in "exception that proves the rule" does not mean "prove" in the sense of verify, but rather in the sense of "test", a usage that also occurs in the term "proving grounds". So the phrase really means "exception that tests the rule". That makes more sense, so I always believed that.

It does fit... or at least make the phrase seem more logical. But this isn't how the phrase is generally used either.

Person A: "All Japanese people have black hair."

Person B: "I know a girl from Japan who is blond."

Person A: "Well, that's just the exception that proves the rule!"

If Person A was using the phrase in the manner you suggest, then s/he means: "Oh, you're testing my rule with your exception. And you're statement is right, therefore my rule is test and shown to be wrong." That idea suggests that Person A is retracting their rule or statement. But people uttering this aren't usually retracting anything. They are actually trying to support and buttress their claim, not back down from it.

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The idea that the left side of the brain controls logic and the right side of the brain controls creativity and the idea that humans only use some very specific percentage of the brain.

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Wearing black makes you look less fat.

Only if it's midnight, you're in a room with no lights and the person looking is blind.

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A team that wins a playoff series/game is inarguably better than the team it defeated because it won when it counted.

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You know what I'm sayin', you know what I mean?

....No I don't, you're stalling for words because you don't have an answer.

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It does fit... or at least make the phrase seem more logical. But this isn't how the phrase is generally used either.

Person A: "All Japanese people have black hair."

Person B: "I know a girl from Japan who is blond."

Person A: "Well, that's just the exception that proves the rule!"

If Person A was using the phrase in the manner you suggest, then s/he means: "Oh, you're testing my rule with your exception. And you're statement is right, therefore my rule is test and shown to be wrong." That idea suggests that Person A is retracting their rule or statement. But people uttering this aren't usually retracting anything. They are actually trying to support and buttress their claim, not back down from it.

The fact the a girl from Japan is blonde doesn't prove (verify) the rule that all Japanese people have black hair. Neither, to borrow your articulation, does it support or buttress the claim. That would be nonsense.

But that fact does prove (test) the rule, and the rule is then found wanting as a result.

Either way you care to use it, though, no rule is absolute when a clear exception presents itself.

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A team that wins a playoff series/game is inarguably better than the team it defeated because it won when it counted.

Oh no... Here we go...

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A team that wins a playoff series/game is inarguably better than the team it defeated because it won when it counted.

Wrong thread.....this is not the 'Absolute truths' thread.

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QB 1 is better than QB 2 because he won a Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer meet Dan Marino.

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That eating carbohydrates is somehow bad for you, or will make you gain weight.

Along the same lines: Calories don't make you fat. Fat makes you fat.

It appears that people either don't know how to read clinical studies, or only see what they want to see...

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Along the same lines: Calories don't make you fat. Fat makes you fat.

It appears that people either don't know how to read clinical studies, or only see what they want to see...

On that line, clinical studies presented as an ad for the pharmaceutical company performed BY the pharmaceutical company.

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QB 1 is better than QB 2 because he won a Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer meet Dan Marino.

Yes, much agreed.

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The "I know a guy" or the "I have lots of friends who..." argument when trying to debate with facts. All of a sudden you must stop the debate and admit defeat because that other person you're debating, they know a guy. No matter the evidence presented, you can't possibly be right because they know a guy or have a bunch of friends who, while not here at the present time, could come and prove you wrong. Their mysterious friend that they just brought up for the first time ever, he or she is all knowing and all powerful. The misconception is two-fold. One, that people should automatically accept your viewpoint because of the people you "know" and that if this other person/s does exists that they are automatically giving you correct information.

George Carlin did a bit similar to that called "My Daddy" mocking those who randomly tell you what their all knowing daddy used to tell them. Hilarious!

Edited by Mr.TaterSalad

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The whole "this generation is doomed" nonsense. Everyone thinks their generation is smarter than the one that comes after them. Yet with each generation the world progresses more and more. Sure, people play video games. They also have access to ridiculous amounts of information. They aren't getting stupider.

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