My favorite “fun fact” from the internet is “There are more stars in the galaxy than there are atoms in the universe.” It’s kind of a litmus test joke, because if you have even the most vague understanding of what atoms are, you know that can’t be true. But it has all the sort of syntax and wonder to it that generally accompanies a bit of trivia you might come upon.
Just goes to show you need to be critical of what you hear and what you spread, otherwise you might end up in an epic Reddit thread like this one started by argues_with_quotes on r/AskReddit:
What is the most hilariously inaccurate ‘fact’ someone has told you? from AskReddit
The answers came rolling in, and they are truly astonishing. Here are some of our favorite highlights:
1. There’s this zany zoologist:
A woman at a party I was attending over a decade ago insisted that the largest member of the rodent family is the…polar bear.
I looked at her in absolute disbelief and replied that they weren’t rodents, they were f**king bears.
She had a PhD, too…smh
2. This idiotic immunologist:
I was talking to a guy at the bar and he was telling me how soap is unnecessary for washing your hands.
All you need is a combination of hot water and cold water. Not warm. But use both cold and hot.
I did not shake his hand.
3. The jail-bound geneticist:
My roommate tried to convince me that there are Chimpanzee-people in the jungle because isolated tribes are getting it on with the monkeys.
I tried to explain how species reproduce and quickly realized he thinks you can bang a horse and get a centaur.
4. The overzealous oologist:
Goats lay eggs. A several minute argument followed, and I did not convince him he was wrong. I work in meat processing.
Not that that’s necessary to know that goats don’t lay eggs, but it just made the argument all the more ridiculous.
I’d literally seen goats born live countless times, and yet he argued.
5. The genius geographer:
Africa is one country.
We had literally just finished a geography segment about the countries in Africa.
6. The comical chemist:
Water is a crystal, not a liquid.
It was some guy posting a shower thought. I got into a long argument with him and it kept getting more and more ridiculous because he was genuinely convinced. I’ve never.. ever seen anything like it. It still haunts me to this day, because it’s so preposterous it MUST be a troll move, yet everything suggests he was serious. I will never know…
7. The puff puff pulmonologist:
“smoking weed strengthens your lungs” no, no it does not
8. The freaked out physicist:
[Someone I knew] told me that she doesn’t believe in gravity because “if it was real, wouldn’t the sun just suck up the moon?”.
She was 24 when she said these things to me.
9. The believer biologist:
That men have one less rib than women, and that alone disproves evolution.
10. The obnoxious oncologist:
Vitamin C cures cancer.
11. The dumbfounded dietician:
My dad believes “nano silver” cures everything & truly believes in his “nano silver” throat spray.
He says kings & emperors in the past drank from silver cups & that’s how they had long, healthy lives.
Er. No they didn’t. They had mostly short, often disease riddled lives.
12. The barbecue botanist:
My roommate said very confidently at barbeque that “Meat is a potato.”
When I asked his reasoning he told me that the substance to protein ratio was “very high”.
13. The actual astronomer:
Astronomer here! It’s unfortunately common to hear that Earth is at the perfect distance from the sun (which is true! we are in what’s called the Goldilocks zone), but many people have insisted to me that this distance is so small that if we were a hundred miles farther all water would be ice, and if we were a hundred miles closer all the water would evaporate. This is often said as “proof” of a God or similar, because how could we be so lucky?
Answer: we’re not, because the Earth’s Goldilocks zone is many millions of miles wide. Further, we actually change about 4 million miles in distance from the sun over the course of the year, because the Earth’s orbit like virtually all others is not a perfect circle.
14. The numbskull neurologist:
Someone in one of my college classes believed that we only use ten percent of our brains.
15. The undershooting undergrad:
Her, an Astronomy Major: Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Earth
Me: Other than our sun, you mean…
Her: No, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Earth
Me: Our sun is closer than another system’s sun, though.
Her: No, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Earth
My roommate, who liked her: Dude just drop it
16. This girl should be the next little mermaid.
It’s possible to breathe underwater.
She then tried to demonstrate and snorted a bunch of lake water up her nose.
She was 14 at the time.
17. Apparently, our infrastructure was built with burgers in mind.
Had a friend try to tell me and a group of friends that every single Red Robin was off an exit 3 from the highway.
We tried to tell her that no, it was just a coincidence that she saw two like that or something.
Then when asked “do you know how exits work?” she replied “yes, every time there’s a Red Robin, they make it an exit 3”.
18. Some of these just DEMAND further explanation.
My cousin’s wife told me that blue eyed babies can’t wear Pampers diapers because they’re all allergic.
19. Freakin’ phones…how do they work?
Little sister’s friend said that a contestant on a singing show like X Factor came second after the finale because the contestant who won stole his phone and turned it off so he wouldn’t get his votes when people texted in.
20. This was part of a phenomenon known as the “Satanic panic.”
The band name “KISS” is an acronym for “Knights In Satan’s Service.”
“AC/DC” = “Anti-Christian Devil Children”
“Slayer” = “Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot”
…all told to us without irony by a Sunday school teacher, circa 1987
21. This “fact,” while pervasive, is not true.
I always like “if they are undercover law enforcement and you ask, they HAVE to tell you!”
22. Once you King of Pop, the fun don’t stop.
My mum told me Michael Jackson died from eating too many potato chips, in an attempt to get me to stop snacking..
23. There’s this tale of a mind-over-matter disciple:
Her: “You can do all kinds of stuff with your mind.”
Me: “Like what?”
Her: “Lift things, bend spoons, etc.”
Me: “Okay, cool. Can you bend something for me?”
Her: “Well no, my mind isn’t that good.”
Me: “Then why should I listen to you?”
24. The first half of the Bible literally takes place BEFORE Christianity, but OK.
A woman I worked with a long time ago told me that her proof of Christianity being the correct religion is that it was the first one.
25. What would we do without these brave highway linguists?
La Quinta is Spanish for “next to Denny’s”.
I thought they were making a joke.
They were not.
26. Mocking is a proud tradition in most places.
My girlfriend told me that in the UK mocking the royal family ‘is just not done’.
As if she’s never seen a shred of British comedy.
27. Of all the things to be worried about…
A lady told me that if you drink coffee while you are pregnant you will burn the baby and thats how people got birthmarks.
28. Vaccines cause adults.
My parents tried to convince me that homosexuality is caused by vaccines.
Little do they know that I’m gay even though they didn’t have me vaccinated as a kid.
29. This is honestly a better Ant-Man origin story than in the MCU.
If you put a bandaid over an ant while it’s crawling on you, it’ll get absorbed into your skin, fuse with your DNA, and other ants will leave you alone there-on-forth because they’ll think you’re one of them.
30. The gold rush.
Went to New York on a band trip in high school.
A boy tried to impress me with the “fact” that the Statue of Liberty is made of gold and they painted it green so people wouldn’t steal it.
I sure hope I’ve never spread any info that dumb. So quick before I remember all the instances of times I definitely did, I think I’ll wrap this up.
What’s the dumbest “fact” you’ve ever been told?
Share it in the comments.