We all like to think of ourselves as rational beings with carefully considered, deeply thought-out beliefs. Which is great, except for the fact that we’re actually irrational, superficial, and extremely easily fooled – how else could you explain some of the following beliefs some people actually hold?
10. Hollow Earth
Though scientists have pretty much figured out what the Earth looks like and what it’s made of, some people seem to be really hard to convince. While flat earthers think our planet is flat like a pancake, Hollow Earth proponents believe it is hollow like a balloon (the clue is in the name, you see).
This theory might have made sense hundreds of years ago when nobody had a clue about geophysics, but it’s sort of embarrassing today, when we know the inside of the Earth mainly consists of molten rock and metal. A hollow Earth is also a good place to hide for everything from mole people, to the inhabitants of Atlantis, to Hitler and some of his followers, so it must be quite a party down there.
Forget palm reading or astrology, there are actual people who believe they can tell stuff about someone by examining the crevices, dimples, warts, moles, and folds of…their buttocks. According to some practitioners, the shape of a person’s butt is analogous to that of their brain, with two distinct hemispheres separated by a deep groove – which, of course, means it can be used to tell the past and the future. The same rumpologist also claims she can predict the outcome of presidential elections and the Academy Awards by looking at the bottoms of her two pet Dobermans, and if that doesn’t show you how serious this is, nothing will.
If you were to see a person wandering aimlessly around a field holding a Y-shaped rod, you might think that person is crazy or that they’ve been in the sun too long. But not if you believe in dowsing, in which case you probably hired them to find water, oil, or some other valuable stuff you get from underground.
7. Urine Therapy
Unless you’re stranded in the middle of the desert (or Bear Grylls), nobody actually wants to drink urine. Although it’s basically a sterile liquid, it’s pretty nasty – which of course means it just has to have some amazing healing powers. At least that’s what a lot of people, from Britain to India, seem to actually believe.
A lot of these bizarre things people believe are harmless, especially if they keep them to themselves. It’s like thinking Michael Keaton was the best Batman or that golf is a legitimate sport. But when it comes to your health, holding the wrong beliefs can be dangerous. Homeopathy, for instance, is a form of alternative medicine which basically says that an active ingredient dissolved in a solution grows more powerful the more dilute it is. Some homeopathic remedies barely have any active substance left in them, but the proponents of this practice still say it’s effective.
This strange belief is one of the funniest of all, because while the others have at least some connection to the physical world, this one ascribes special significance to something which doesn’t even exist: numbers.
Numerology is a vast field, and the beliefs can be quite varied. A common theme is that you can substitute the letters in a word for numbers and add them up, which will tell you something deep about it. The thing to remember here is that numbers are made up, and so is their supposed significance. So if your name happens to add up to “666” or “13,”don’t worry, it’s just a coincidence.
In the past, people had really no idea how the world came into existence, so of course they couldn’t tell how old it was, leaving myth and folklore to take care of that. We’ve come a long way since those ancient times, and we now know the age of the Universe and that of our planet have to be counted in the billions of years. Some people, however, particularly in the United States, still prefer to believe in the chronology provided by the Old Testament, according to which the entire world was created a mere 6,000 years or so. This, despite the fact that even most religious organizations accept the scientific view.
3. Flat Earth
Despite popular belief, Christopher Columbus did not discover the Earth was round, rather this fact had been known since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Some people, however, didn’t seem to get the memo, and still believe our planet is a flat disk and the Sun is just a huge flashlight a few thousand miles away. These misguided folks also think Antarctica is a Game of Thrones-style wall of ice surrounding the planet and what we perceive as gravity is the result of this disk moving upwards with the acceleration equal to 1 g, so you can’t say there’s not scientific about it.
2. Ancient Astronauts
Though these theories themselves are decades old, they have gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years especially following the Ancient Aliens series which initially aired on the History Channel. The basic idea is that aliens had visited our planet in ancient times and these visits are described by our ancestors in their texts – only of course they were doing it metaphorically, since they had no idea what they were actually seeing. Ancient astronauts believers attempt to interpret Egyptian, Sumerian, and even biblical myths in this way, but offer no hard evidence to support their claims, making them just another set of sort of entertaining stories, and not much else.
1. Quantum Mysticism
Quantum mechanics is really bizarre and difficult to understand for the average person. It is, however, a legitimate scientific theory, which describes the real world and makes real predictions. But its weirdness and the fact that it is often explained using flawed analogies means it can easily be appropriated by various hacks spewing non-scientific, but somewhat profound-sounding mystical nonsense. No, quantum mechanics doesn’t say we are all one consciousness and we can control reality (looking at you, Deepak Chopra!), however many people think is supported by science and are tricked into believing it.