The whole world still believes the discovery of these scientists. But they were wrong

The whole world still believes the discovery of these scientists. But they were wrong

In the scientific community are increasingly talking about the issue of reproducibility of research and frequent abuses incorrect conclusions. Some unscrupulous scientists, including nutritionists and psychologists persist in their errors and even their popularitybut, encouraging the public to follow questionable advice.

Others can’t help with the fact that they misinterpret, and cautious considered for the ultimate truth. “” talks about the popular misconceptions associated with science, which is still widely disseminated among the public.


In popular culture, the Neanderthals are portrayed as APE-men, rude, stupid and hunched. It is a common misconception associated with the name of the French paleoanthropologist Marcellin Boule (Marcellin Boule), who first described the remains of ancient creatures found in the cave in the commune of La Chapelle-AU-sen (France).

Scientist presented a reconstruction of the external appearance of a Neanderthal, which, according to him, was like a gorilla with knees bent and back. Such a vision of hominids was influenced by the fact that Marcellin studied the skeleton of an old male, the joints of which was arthritis.

Due to an error the image of primitive man, devoid of intelligence, rooted in the minds of people for many decades. Neanderthal still opposed to modern man, intelligent and civilized. However, many studies have shown that the reconstruction of the bull was in fact far from reality.

To date, anthropologists have demonstrated that Neanderthals differed little from the first Homo sapiens. They made stone tools, painted on cave walls, made jewelry and created rituals for burial of the dead. There is evidence that the palaeoanthropes know how to make fire, and probably had some language skills. In any case, the ancient modern humans interbred with Neanderthals, resulting in the human race of non-African origin have the genome, which is 1-3% of Neanderthal DNA.

The sad fate of sweet tooth

In the early 70-ies of the psychologist Walter Michel (Walter Mischel), the future Professor at Stanford University, conducted a series of studies called “the marshmallow experiment”. The results of these experiments showed that children who chose to wait 15 minutes and receive twice the reward than those who could not wait to eat at least a little sweet treats to be more successful in the future.

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The study took place was attended by about 600 children, a third of whom were patient enough, and many of them many years later was described as more successful academically, better passed standardized tests and had normal indices of body weight — unlike other peers. Moreover, in 2011, the researchers found differences in some brain areas — the prefrontal cortex and striatum.

However, the results of the study in 2018 showed that the choice of the five-year-olds has little to say about their future. Although re – “marshmallow experiment” showed that between test scores and abilities 15 years of age there is some correlation, it is twice less than in the original study. And such factors as cognitive ability, intelligence, and family well-being, not on your ability to delay your pleasure. In other words, even if a young child is little able to control their desires, in the future, education and environment can change it.

All men — free…

Another famous experiment conducted at Stanford University, was devoted to the study of human psychology in the conditions of imprisonment. It was conducted by the American psychologist Philip George Zimbardo (Philip George Zimbardo). He divided the volunteers into two groups: the “jailers” and “prisoners”.

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The subjects, playing the role of prison guards were instructed not to cause physical violence against participants in the other group, however, they were allowed to intimidate prisoners and to apply strict sanctions. As a result, “prison guards” became sadistic, taking pleasure from the physical and mental suffering of their victims. Zimbardo himself, obviously, wanted to experiment as much as possible like a reality. He demanded that the “jailers” to be as hard to “prisoners”, and give them a feeling of powerlessness and to deprive them of “all individuality”. In addition, he did not give the prisoners to end the experiment prematurely.

Later, Zimbardo has used the results of his experiment to justify the real jailers, who were accused of torture and abuse in the American military prison in Iraq.

He appealed to the fact that the situation at Abu Ghraib is very much like the conditions of the Stanford prison experiment, and the government wants to make individual officers scapegoats, although in reality the problem lies in the system of execution of punishments.

Each person will turn into a monster if placed in certain conditions — that’s what Zimbardo wanted to prove.

Such a simple promise very pleased with the audience, and the Stanford prison experiment became famous. About it, made films, wrote books, and the conclusions of Zimbardo’s still quoted by fans to discuss the natural depravity of man. In fact, however, research Zimbardo have little in common with science, as he himself said. First, there was no control group, outsiders actively involved in the course of the experiment and encouraged the actions of the “guards” and the researchers ‘ conclusions were based on certain situations. The results of the experiment have not been reproduced due to the lack of specific data.

Journalist Ben bloom (Ben Blum) found evidence that the scientific staff did everything to from the experiment was obtained a specific, desired output, which would help to demonstrate the need for reform in the penal system. Although this does not refute the fact that the jailers really bad attitude towards prisoners, such behavior is likely to have been the result of manipulations of the experimenter, and not a natural behavior in prison, he loves to talk Zimbardo.

The war against sugar

American pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig (Robert Lustig) is famous for his harsh criticism of sugar. In his opinion, is fructose, which is contained in refined sugar, causing metabolic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, heart disorder and obesity. The fructose contained in fruits, to use safely due to the fact that it is associated with dietary fiber. In 2009, his video lecture “Sugar: the bitter truth” went viral on YouTube. By February 2017, this video was watched seven million times.

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However, other scientists believe that obesity does not depend on the consumption of fructose and high-calorie food. To prove his point, Lustig conducted the following experiment. He invited 43 children with obesity, who were interviewed, what they usually ate, and then for nine days he gave them food with an equivalent amount of calories (pizza, chips, hot dogs, burritos), but with small content of sugar. As a result, children lost 0.9 percent. As writes the edition Spectacor Health, this study has two fatal flaws. First, Lustig had no chance to check, tell the children the truth, and it is well known that people with excess weight tend to underestimate the amount of food eaten. So the kids dropped 0.9 percent of the weight you need to eat 600 calories less than usual each day. That is Lustig is trying to say is that in one calories contains fewer calories than the other.

Secondly, Lustig did not consider a control group in his experiment it was not. That is, you need to check whether children lose weight in terms of experience, if the sugar level remains the same. If children really underestimate the amount of food eaten, in the control group children also lost weight. In other words, his experiment does not match the “Golden rule” of research.

Problems with the competence

In 1999 Justin Kruger and David Dunning put forward the hypothesis that people with low skills tend to overestimate their abilities, and professionals — to understate. They confirmed their hypothesis with an experiment involving students, and their insights have become popular in business, the scientific sphere and in the debate on the network. According to distorted and, unfortunately, very popular interpretation of the effect of Dunning-Kruger, Amateurs supposedly believe that they understand a particular question is much better competent people.

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But the effect of Dunning-Kruger actually only says that incompetent people think they are better than they really are. They do not believe they are better professionals. The researchers of this situation, I believe that this is due to the fact that Amateurs are simply not enough cognitive skills to determine your true level of incompetence. However, there are other possible explanations. The effect of Dunning-Kruger could reflect regression to the mean is a statistical phenomenon, which is that extreme values tend to revert to the average. In other words, the winning athletes are likely to lose in the next tournaments. This effect could affect the results of the research of Dunning and Kruger, in which students received extreme scores (very good or very bad). On the other hand, people tend to rate their abilities above average.

Alexander Enikeev