You don’t have to be a scientist in order to appreciate science. Likewise, you don’t have to be a scientist to recognize when someone is talking complete crap about science. Unfortunately, in the world of the internet, bad science info spreads faster than a literal virus, and it can be really hard to combat and counteract for those who care.

Some of the things that get said, though, are so bizarrely off the beaten path, that before you even try to debunk them, you have to stop and say “…what?” A lot of these came to light when user argues_with_quotes took to r/AskReddit to pose the following question:

What is the most hilariously inaccurate ‘fact’ someone has told you?
byu/argues_with_quotes inAskReddit

Thousands of responses came in on a range of topics, but some of the juiciest and most absurd fell into the realm of science. Like these gems:

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 fucking bears.

She had a PhD, too…smh

– pm1966

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.

– atlantis_airlines

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.

– aBucketofChestnuts

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.

– onioning

5. The genius geographer:

Africa is one country.

We had literally just finished a geography segment about the countries in Africa.

– InannasPocket

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…

– ahmadove

7. The puff puff pulmonolist:

“smoking weed strengthens your lungs” no, no it does not

– ibbity

8. The freaked out physicist:

[Someone I knew] told me that she doesnt believe in gravity because “if it was real, wouldnt the sun just suck up the moon?”.

She was 24 when she said these things to me.

– Scamperillium

9. The believer biologist:

That men have one less rib than women, and that alone disproves evolution.

– AggressiveResult2

10. The obnoxious oncologist:

Vitamin C cures cancer.

– byjimini

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.

– eraser_dust

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”.

– catsandcappuccinos

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.

– Andromeda321

14. The numbskull neurologist:

Someone in one of my college classes believed that we only use ten percent of our brains.

– LotusPrince

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

– Korberos

I guess it goes to show, if you don’t know something, ask an expect. Otherwise you may very well end up embarrassing yourself, and your quotes will make it to a random internet list of cringe. Save yourself from that fate. Learn some science.

What’s the most astoundingly bad “scientific fact” someone has told you?

Share it in the comments.