10 Scientific Theories That Brought a Lot of Evil to Humankind
Only those who do nothing are never mistaken. Very often in pursuit of truth people choose the wrong way. There are many examples in the history of humankind when those mistakes and wrongly chosen ways led to disastrous consequences for millions of people. In 1950, rationalist philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote the essay ’Logic and Knowledge’ where he listed all the fallacies of humankind that take us away from humanistic values.
We at Bright Side collected 10 scientific theories for you that prove how much people can sometimes be mistaken. We should remember the mistakes of the past in order to not repeat them in the future.
10. Scientific racism
The keynote: Some races are better than others.
This theory appeared in the era of slavery to provide a scientific explanation of why some people should obey others.
In the 19th century, French writer and sociologist Joseph Arthur de Gobineau proclaimed Aryans a supreme race in his work about racial inequality because its representatives outclass others in physical strength, intelligence, beauty, and perseverance. This theory was further developed by German anthropologist Hans F. K. Günther. The Nazi campaign of ’race hygiene’ was started for the purpose of discrimination and later the destroying of ’defective’ people like the Jews. The estimates of the number of victims as a result of this theory range from 4 to 8 million people.
Today’s science doesn’t link the mental abilities of a person with their origin or the color of their skin.
The keynote: A human can be ’improved’ with the help of selection.
The author responsible for the idea of improving the gene pool and developing qualities that are valuable to society is English researcher Francis Galton. The question is: which qualities should we consider valuable? Can it be that a person with a high creative potential but inborn physical defects will be thrown overboard in the process of selection? Additionally, some features like alcoholism, for example, manifest themselves under the influence of the external environment, in which a person is growing up.
Negative eugenics was being developed in Nazi Germany with the goal of stopping the reproduction of people who, for one reason or another, were considered “defective.” Legislated sterilization programs also existed in Scandinavian countries, the USA, Denmark, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Japan.
With the development of cloning and the appearance of the possibility to make changes in human DNA the question about the ethics of these experiments is again relevant and causes many controversies and discussions. For example, in Iceland all pregnant women whose babies have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome during an ultrasound check are aborted. Is that right?
The keynote: A child will resemble a woman’s first partner.
This theory was popular among representatives of religious and philosophical concepts of creationism that were trying to prove that a woman should stay a virgin before marriage. According to them, intimacy with any man, and especially with their very first partner, affects the appearance and character traits of future children. It’s difficult to calculate how many women suffered from this misbelief.
The idea of telegony (literally meaning “born far from one’s homeland”) was used by the Nazis who thought that after having relationships with a non-Aryan man, a German woman couldn’t give birth to a ’pure’ baby.
Dr. Angela Crean and professor Russell Bonduriansky from Australia conducted an experiment on flies and calculated that the body size of their offspring is determined not by their father but by the first male mate. The flaw here is that there were no experiments held on other animals, which is why there’s a very good chance that this theory is false. Additionally, the structure of a human’s and a flies’ reproductive system is vastly different.
Also, with the discovery of genetics, this theory doesn’t stand up to any criticism.
7. The theory of a flat Earth in the center of the galaxy
The keynote: The flat Earth is located in the center of the universe.
People have believed in the model of the solar system with the Earth in the center of it for many centuries. Thanks to Nicolaus Copernicus, this fallacy was busted. People also used to believe that our Earth was flat. Surprisingly, and despite the fact that this theory was refuted long time ago, there are still many people that believe in this today.
In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, people who didn’t support this idea were brutally punished. It was believed that a disbelief in the fact that Earth was located in the center of the galaxy questions the idea of the divine nature of everything, so ’disbelievers’ were set on fire.
6. The theory of effective communication by Dale Carnegie
The keynote: Refusing your ’self’ and an obligatory smile on the face.
A person who likes to speak in public easily makes new friends, devotes a lot of time to work, doesn’t start conflicts with anyone, and smiles constantly. Surrounding people perceive them as a successful person enjoying their life. But it’s not that easy.
In his books, Dale Carnegie often encourages forgetting your ’self’ and suppressing your opinion to get sympathy from your acquaintances and make communication more pleasant. But a person who keeps pretending all the time will always feel stress and suppression which will sooner or later will grow into psychosomatic disorders. This kind of game in public can help to attain some goals but definitely won’t make a person happier.
Carnegie recommends that people constantly smile. And this piece of advice might be good for extroverts, but introverts will ignore it for sure.
The keynote: Like cures like.
Homeopathy is one of the branches of alternative medicine that was originated by Samuel Hahnemann. To treat this disease, doctors use a smaller dose of the medicine that in big amounts causes this disease in healthy people. Generally speaking, homeopathic medicine is a strongly diluted poison. Sometimes it’s diluted so much that it becomes water. The clinical experiments with these drugs have proven that most of the time there is no difference between the placebo effect and the effect from these drugs.
Scientists and researchers consider homeopathy to be one of the biggest scams of our modern time, but still millions of people around the world regularly use homeopathic remedies.
The World Health Organization warns that using homeopathy, as an alternative to the main treatment of many diseases, is dangerous for your life and health.
4. Focal infection theory
The keynote: Toxins are secreted into the bloodstream when an inflammatory process occurs. This poisons the body and for this reason the diseased organ should be removed.
The focal infection theory became popular in the 19th century and led to a huge number of unnecessary surgical operations. Doctors believed that harmful bacteria in the body might be the reason for many diseases, and even psychosis. As a result, the practice of removing ’potentially dangerous’ organs like the appendix became widespread. In Europe and America, doctors not only could remove a person’s tooth but also their tonsils and adenoids.
Modern studies prove that the theory of focal infection doesn’t have any scientific proof behind it. These surgical operations only harmed patients, while the toxins secreted by infected teeth didn’t affect the psyche at all. In many cases of those times, traditional treatment methods could have helped.
3. Bloodletting as a method to treat all diseases
The keynote: All diseases occur due to an excess of blood.
Hippocrates originated the theory of the 4 humors. According to this theory a healthy person should maintain a balance of the 4 humors which are blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. It was believed that all diseases appear due to a violation of this balance or from too much blood in particular. By letting blood out with the help of opening blood vessels or with the help of hirudotherapy, a patient could get rid of ’bad’ blood.
From the modern point of view, the danger of bloodletting is obvious: infecting blood with dirty tools, contaminating it, and weakening the body. Also, there was a danger of damaging the arteries and causing severe bleeding.
The keynote: Your character depends on your skull.
An Austrian doctor and anatomist Franz Joseph Gall believed that the thoughts, emotions, and mental characteristics of a person affect the shape of his skull since they are embedded in the brain hemispheres. He depicted the Phrenological Chart where each zone was responsible for a particular character trait. A bulge on the skull in this place meant that this feature is developed in a person, while the hollow meant that it is not.
Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Django Unchained was a follower of this theory because it justified slavery. Additionally, people have always been trying to read character by looking at the face of a person. If ’unreliable’ facial features were spotted, it could be a good reason to suspect criminal behavior and law violations from a person.
With the development of neurophysiology, it was proved that the shape of the skull and the size of the brain don’t affect the character of a person. Additionally, physiognomy has been declared a pseudoscience.
1. The Theory of the World Conspiracy
The keynote: The entire world is ruled by a small group of people (or not people at all).
This theory ascribes a separate bunch of people total control over all resources and political processes on the planet. It seems that this belief in a world conspiracy is absolutely harmless, but in actuality it’s harmful because of the damage it does to education. According to this theory, you can’t believe anyone: teachers, scientific researchers, doctor’s recommendations, or even yourself (what if there is an implanted chip in you?). And this makes you feel that you shouldn’t even try to change anything.
The Darwin’s evolutionary theory, space exploration, and the fact that there is still no vaccine for cancer — are all explained by the world conspiracy theory. Anyone trying to criticize this theory has been a part of it for a long time.
Scientist and mathematician David Grimes has derived a formula that proves that the world conspiracy is impossible because it would have been discovered long ago. According to his calculations, the ’staging’ of landing on the Moon could remain a mystery for only about 3.7 years, while the ’plot’ against creating a vaccine to fight cancer could exist for only 3.2 years.
Which modern research can be easily questioned, in your opinion? Are there any scientific theories that millions of people believe in except you? We would like to hear your opinion in the comments!