16 Lies You Were Told In School That Have Now Been Debunked

There are a lot of ‘facts’ around that you may have heard in the school yard, or even in the classroom that we just accepted as the truth. Here are the ones that have had you fooled all these years…

1. “Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear because he was mentally ill.”

It’s believed he actually lost it in a sword fight with his famous rival painter pal Paul Gauguin. The two didn’t get along very well after, although Van Gogh honored their ‘pact of silence’ to protect his friend.

2. “Chameleons change color in order to camouflage themselves.”

They change when they are down to mate, or too hot or cold. For example, when it is too cold, they’ll darken right up in order to adsorb more warmth from the light.

3. “Christopher Columbus discovered that the world was round…and found America! Yay!”

Greek intellects had come up with the round earth deal 2,000 years before him. He’d also been beaten to America by a viking, Leif Erikson, by several hundred years.

4. “Different sections of your tongue taste different things.”

The whole thing can taste all of the tastes. A protein present everywhere on the tongue reacts to the sour taste.

5. “Abe Lincoln is The Great Emancipator, a fierce enemy of slavery.”

He only wanted to free the slaves in the confederate states and went so far to say that if he could save the Union without freeing any slaves, he would. Not cool.

6. “Isaac Newton came up with the idea of gravity from an apple falling on his head.”

Sure, he watched apples falling, but it didn’t take a hit to the dome to convince him.

7. “Humans came from chimpanzees.”

We share a common ancestor (6 million years ago), but these guys ain’t exactly tight fam, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

8. “Space has no gravity.”

The influence of gravity is certainly a lot weaker in space than on earth but it’s still active alright. So when you see objects floating, they’re actually just falling very slowly.

9. “Thomas Edison came up with the light bulb.”

Actually, nearly 22 other inventors had had a whiz at incandescent bulbs. But Edison bought the patent from the widow of another guy so he got history’s kudos.

10. “The US had 13 colonies back in the day.”

The thirteen stripes of the flag are supposed to stand for the 13 colonies. But actually, there were only 12. This is because Delaware wasn’t officially a colony. It was under the pull of Maryland and Pennsylvania at intervals. It did have a good name though: “The Phantom State.” Nice.

11. “Ben Franklin discovered electricity when he was flying his kite.”

You know the old fable; the one where Ben was flying his kite in a lightening storm with a metal key attached. Historians say that’s baloney and that Ben Frank would have been fried if it were true.

12. “Thanksgiving is the celebration of Native Americans and Pilgrims breaking bread.”

It’s a long and gruesome story, but to put it simply, the Pilgrims were constantly slaughtering and tricking the Native Americans. Plague, disease and genocide were the Pilgrim’s gifts.

13. “Blood that doesn’t have any oxygen becomes blue.”

This old one started because blood looks blue in the veins under the skin. In reality, this is because our eyes trick us. The light bounces off our skin and into our eyes. Blood is red as a Republican.

14. “Diamonds come from coal.”

Diamonds are formed in rock shafts under volcanoes. Coal is on the surface of the earth. A lot of people believe this one, but it’s a lie.

15. “In the Salem Witch Trials, witches got burned alive.”

They were either hanged by the neck or put in the slammer. The burning bit spread like wildfire, but it’s not accurate.

16. “Einstein flunked math.”

Einstein never flunked math, in fact as you can probably imagine he was a mathematical prodigy. He was so smart in fact that he believed school was holding him back from real success.