MYTH: Pirates were rowdy drunks who buried treasure and traveled on huge ships

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic with tags , , on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

Well I hate to shatter your dreams of being a pirate, riding around on big wooden ships, drinking rum, fighting and burying treasure but pretty much all conceptions about pirates are completely false. All the way down to walking the plank.

Few (if any) pirates ever used a plank to force people off of a ship. When a ship was captured the crew had the option of joining them or jumping overboard. There wasn’t any kind of weird ceremony where they blind folded crew members poked them in the butt with a sword until they reached the end of a board. That’s a waste of time, and pirates where all about business.

Pirates certainly never buried treasure and no pirate would trust his captain to bury it for him. While there may be some isolated cases of buried treasure, it is certainly not something a pirate just did all the time for the hell of it. The men who became pirates did so because they wanted money, not to bury it, and as soon money was made it was divided and then they would typically gamble with it or bring it home. They would have thought of it as insane to bury their earnings on some deserted island, or anywhere.

If you’ve seen a pirate movie you have probably seen the pirates swinging from ropes, storming a ship with reckless abandon, swords swinging, pistol packing, cannons blasting. Again, another misconception. Most ship captains owned their cargos and had everything fully insured so they would typically just surrender when pirates would show up as not to risk the lives of them and their crew. It was just a part of doing business, and they accepted it as something that just happens. If only the RIAA would have the same mentality.

Another common thing associated with pirates is the skull & crossbones, or “Jolly Roger,” flag that would fly all the time from their ships and has become synonymous with pirates. The truth is that pirates used lot’s of flags for different reasons. The Jolly Roger was used to coerce ships to allow them to board. It was their, “we mean business flag.” Some pirate ships would actually fly a flag with an hourglass on it that signified that “time was running out.” And it is believed that the term Jolly Roger comes from a mispronunciation of the Arabic word, Ali Raja, which means “King of the Sea.”

And the big ships just did not make sense for what pirates did. Having a big ship is hard to maneuver and is certainly not ideal for catching or escaping from anyone. Real pirates relied on small, swift vessels for hit-and-run attacks.

And the biggest misconception is that pirates where rough-and-tumble, dirty, drunks who loved to drink rum, rape women, hang with parrots, and fight. While there were some who were like this, most pirates were a strict order and functioned much like a small navy and operated under a small document similar to a constitution with some rules and regulations such as:

If any man shall offer to run away, or keep and secret from the company, he will be marooned with one Bottle of Powder, one bottled of water, one small arm, and shot.

That man that shall not keep his arms clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business, shall be cut from his share, and suffer such other punishment as the captain and the company shall think fit.

If at any time you meet with a prudent woman, that man that offers to meddle with her, without her consent, shall suffer death.

So there you go. Pirates…debunked!

Medical Myths

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

I’m going to let Web MD take this one:
7 Common Medical Myths Debunked
Researchers Say There’s No Evidence for Some Widely Held Beliefs
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 20, 2007 — Can you separate medical myth from fact? A new report may help you do just that.

Take a look at these seven medical myths, noted in BMJ (formerly called the British Medical Journal).

The debunkers include Rachel Vreeman, MD, a fellow in children’s health services research at Indiana University’s medical school in Indianapolis.

1. Medical Myth: Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

Reality: There’s no evidence that you have to drink that much water to assure adequate fluid intake — and drinking too much water can be unhealthy.

2. Medical Myth: We use only 10% of our brains.

Reality: Most of the brain isn’t loafing. Detailed brain studies haven’t found the “non-functioning” 90% of the brain.

3. Medical Myth: Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.

Reality: Hair and fingernails don’t keep growing after death. But it may seem that way because dehydration can make the skin shrink back from hair and nails, making them look longer.

4. Medical Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.

Reality: Dim light isn’t great for focusing, but it’s “unlikely to cause a permanent change in the function or structure of the eyes,” Vreeman’s team writes.

5. Medical Myth: Shaving causes hair to grow back faster or coarser.

Reality: “Shaving does not affect the thickness or rate of hair regrowth,” write Vreeman and colleagues. But shaved hair doesn’t have the fine taper of unshaved hair, making it seem coarser.

6. Medical Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.

Reality: “Rigorous testing in Europe found minimal interference and only at distances of less than one meter [about 3.28 feet],” write the researchers. But that may be a point of controversy. In September, Dutch doctors reported that cell phones may interfere with critical care equipment and shouldn’t be used within a meter of medical equipment or hospital beds.

7. Medical Myth: Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.

Reality: Turkey isn’t all that rich in tryptophan, the chemical linked to sleepiness after eating turkey. But eating a big, decadent meal can cause sleepiness, even if turkey isn’t on the menu.

MYTH: S.O.S. stands for “save our ship”.

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

I’m not sure where this one came from but it kind of makes sense. But S.O.S does not stand for Save Our Ship, although I guess it could. It’s actually not really an acronym for anything. SOS is just really easy to transmit in morse code. This signal [SOS] was adopted simply on account of its easy radiation and its unmistakable character. There is no special signification in the letter themselves, and it is entirely incorrect to put full stops between them [the letters]. All the popular interpretations of “SOS,” “Save or Ship,” “Save Our Souls,” or “Send Out Succour” are simply not valid. Stations hearing this distress call were to immediately cease handling traffic until the emergency was over and were likewise bound to answer the distress signal. SOS in morse code is: three dots, three dashes, three dots.

MYTH: Indians and Pilgrims sat down and had a dinner we now call Thanksgiving/Indians invented Scalping

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

This is yet another little piece of bullshit we have been force fed all of our lives by pretty much everyone in the country. Another thing we just instinctively swallow without ever realizing how improbable it is. Thanksgiving is like something out of a Disney movie. The friendly pilgrims sitting down at a big table with the friendly natives to feast and love one another. Pilgrims nor Native Americans ever sat down and had a big meal that we now celebrate as Thanksgiving. Sorry folks, you’re living a lie and getting fat for no reason at all. They were all too busy killing each other. In fact they never even ate a bird called Turkey and certainly never had pumpkin pie. And Thanksgiving never actually became a holiday until Lincoln declared it one for the hell of it in 1863. And while we are on the topic of Native Americans, there’s another myth that the savage indians invented the cruel and unusual method of scalping. Well actually they learned it from the Europeans! They had been scalping for hundreds of years. Dutch and English colonists were paid “scalp bounties” by their leaders as a means to keep the indians scared. Finally the indians decided to use it against them and soon its origin was forgotten and the scalping method became synonymous with Native American cruelty.

MYTH: Jews were enslaved by the Egyptian Pharaoh and Moses set them free.

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

ADDENDUM/NOTICE (3/15/2010): Before reading the following article, I want to make some things very clear since this is obviously the most controversial post on this page based on the amount of comments following. This article is about the LACK of evidence of the events surrounding the Jewish people and the enslavement by the Egyptians. I do not quote sources because this article is pointing out the non-existence of sources. If you find something, feel free to post it–i welcome this. And please note that The Bible is NOT a credible source. As far as I am concerned it is purely a work of fiction that maybe 5% of the time is based loosely around actual historical events. It is no more credible than 15th Century Medieval literature such as Yvain, Perceval, The Quest for the Holy Grail, and other parallels of bible stories. Take all of this into consideration before proceeding. And most importantly note that I am in no way trying to disrespect anyone of the Jewish faith. but if you are still a little sore about an oppression that occurred thousands of years ago by a people who no longer exist today and never to yourself, then get over it. Talk to an African American about slavery if you want to vent. Thank you.

This one might piss some people off but the real truth is that the Jewish people were never enslaved by the Pharaoh in all those crafty little stories you’ve read about in the Bible. In fact outside of the Bible’s stories there is no record anywhere in history of this enslavement. No archaeological evidence was ever found. Thousands of people wandering through the desert for 40 years? You’re gonna leave something behind. They didn’t because it never happened. The Egyptians (who documented their history very well) left no record of it and the fact that most of the construction in Egypt was done by free Egyptians is a matter of archaeological fact. The language of enslaved people tends to become corrupted by the act of enslavement. The need for the slaves to understand their masters corrupts their language and produces a patois, a simplified mixture of both of them. Hebrew has never been such a language; it has remained a pristine west semitic language without any grammatical borrowing from the Hamitic egyptian language and the only loan word from Egyptian is the one for cygnet ring, which was also shared by the Phoenicians. The Hebrews were never Egyptian slaves, at least not in large numbers. So Moses never freed them, never drowned the Eqyptian army in the Red Sea, never received the ten commandments on that hill, and never played poker with Jesus. Well that might have happened, but sorry to all the Jewish people out there, but your ancestors were never enslaved by Egyptians. If you read the bible, and believe this strictly on faith that it happened, well that is fine, but don’t got looking for proof anywhere else because there is none.

Go here and read through the list of responses for more information on this topic or here for even more. You should watch a really great documentary on this subject and other religious topics in The God Who Wasn’t There.

MYTH: Betsy Ross designed the American Flag

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

Betsy Ross did not design the American flag. The myth started around 1870 when Betsy’ Ross’s grandson told a meeting of the Pennsylvania Historical Society that she had been asked to design a flag for the newly born nation and it quickly spread without any merit. Betsy did make flags, just not the flag we all know and can’t seem to bring ourselves to burn anymore. To this day there is no proof that Betsy had anything to do with the flag. In fact, no one really knows who designed the flag. Some people believe it’s design actually comes from a military banner used during the Revolutionary War.

Go here for more information.

MYTH: Columbus discovered the world was round, discovered America, and lived in harmony with the indians.

Posted in Bullshit, Debunking Myths, Myths, Skeptic, Uncategorized on September 18, 2008 by freonirons409

The ancient Greeks knew the Earth wasn’t flat 2000 years before Columbus was even born. The theory was actually birthed by Pythagoras in the 16th century, B.C. long before he came up with his famous theory. The theory was actually proved by Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D. Before Columbus even thought about sailing to “The New World” he had been studying with maps depicting a round Earth. And the idea that he could not get support for his journey because people thought he would simply fall off the edge is just silly. He couldn’t get funding or support because people thought it was ridiculous to reach the Orient by sailing west.

And Columbus never actually set foot in North America. The closest he ever got was some of the Carribean Islands and South America. The island he “discovered” was actually already inhabited so technically he just sailed out for the orient and found people living somewhere else. That’s pretty much it. And even Columbus did not want to take credit for discovering a brand new continent; he thought he had reached India. Which is why he called the Natives Indians. So he sailed out for the Orient, found some islands with people on it and died thinking he was in India. Not an amazing guy, really. He also was not a nice guy either, despite some belief that he made friends with the people he “discovered.” He made them grovel at his feet and reward him and his men with gifts of gold. Those that refused to worship him had their hands cut off. And after only 2 years he managed to kill off half of Haiti’s 250,000 inhabitants. Columbus was misguided, a shitty navigator, a murderer, a thief and a rapist and we have a holiday commemorating him. I guess it fits, being the country we are.

UPDATE: I was asked by a friend whether it is in fact a myth that Columbus called the Indians “Indians” because he thought he was in India, or if it came from the phrase “in Dios” (with god).  Well the “in Dios” phrase actually turns out to be the myth and I was exactly right. You can read all about it here if you disagree with me.