Misconceptions about science

While wandering around the internet, I found countless misconceptions about science.

The first one, the biggest one that most people usually get wrong: Evolution.

Evolution

This is what people think about evolution:

If evolution is real, how come I can’t fit an entire footlong sub into my mouth?

TL;DR: “I eat such a big sub every day, then why I still have a small mouth an it doesn’t enlarge?”.

People think evolution is quite fast (and this guy has the same thinking: If evolution is true, why don’t we seem to be currently evolving? Why don’t any other species seem to be evolving?). I have two Catholic (or Christian) missionaries asked me the same question.

People think creatures undergo evolution as they face extreme condition (and even not-so-extreme condition like a big sub).

No. That is called ecophenotypic variation, and this is not inherited by offspring.

Evolution is mutation, and mutation is random. While doubling itself, DNA may have some nucleotide placed at wrong place. This can be caused by UV, radiation, some chemicals, or some other extreme condition.

Usually this is soon fixed by an enzyme. But somehow the enzyme is not available, and we have mutation.

Image result for mutation

Mutation can be bad at times. We have many common diseases caused by mutation: Klinefelter, triple X, Down, color blind, albinism, etc. But it will never cause Wolverine or Spider-man, unfortunately

Now if you wish for such an evolution that makes you be able to fit a foot-long sub into your mouth, you need:

  • The food becomes the only food that can be consumed by mankind.
  • You will probably die if you try to eat it.
  • There are somehow about 1-5%, if you’re lucky, can survive as they somehow mutated so that their mouth are bigger and a sub can fit it.

Magical zero and pi

“pH cannot go lower than zero”

“Below zero degree, there is no chemical reactions”

“Pi is an infinite number that will never end and never repeat, so there are all possible number sequence in it, which if you put it in ASCII, you will get all sequence, include your name, your birthday, your love,…”

Now I’ll solve these myths:

pH cannot go lower than zero

Yes, pH can go lower than zero, but not to far below -1. Just because pH universal indicator ranges from 0 to 14 does not means pH cannot go lower or higher. Why? Because this zero is set arbitrarily. And arbitrary is never special.

pH = -log[H3O+]

pH =0 means [H3O+]= 1M, and clearly hydroxonium ion concentration can go higher than that. Hydrochloric 2M, sulfuric acid 3M are quite common in analytical chemistry.

Below zero degree, there is no chemical reactions

Again there are nothing special with zero Centigrade, except that is the point where water freeze at 1 atmosphere pressure.

Surely there are many reaction that must occur under zero Centigrade, as the reaction will undergoes unexpected at high temperature.

Pi is an infinite number…

No. Pi is a finite number.We all know that it is somewhere between 3 and 4. It just has infinite number of digits, like any other irrational numbers, like e, like Γ, like √2.

In base 10.

If you put π in base π, it will be presented as 1. Surprise?

Even in base 10, the consequence statement is still false. Let’s check this number:

0.0101101110111101111011111…

Does it have infinite number of digits without repeating? Yes.

Does it have all the the sequence? No.

If you are looking for a number that is described like that, this is exactly the one you need:

0.12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031…

But no, that number would not get likes and shares from Facebook users!

It’s just a theory!

Yes, it’s a theory. And what do you expected more than that?

They think theory is nothing but a random idea, which is only made to explain something that they don’t know at the time, and at most time not true. That’s only a part of theory.

Theories, or at least modern theories, are set of axioms that make sense, equations that describe the theory, and proofs in real life.

Let’s take Albert Einstein’s two Theories of Relativity for example.

It has these axioms:

  • In any frame of reference, speed of light stays the same (which is 299792458 meter per second). Nothing can exceed this speed.
  • The effect of gravity can only travel through space at the speed of light, not faster or instantaneously.
  • Therefore two events, simultaneous for one observer, may not be simultaneous for another observer if the observers are in relative motion.
  • And also we have time dilation, length contraction, and relativistic mass when we travel, even though it is not significant when you move at lower than a tenth of light speed.
  • E = mc2, energy and mass are equivalent and transmutable.
  • Clocks run slower in deeper gravitational wells. This is called gravitational time dilation.
  • Rays of light bend in the presence of a gravitational field.
  • The universe is expanding, and the far parts of it are moving away from us faster than the speed of light.

It has equations to describe those axioms: it has mass-energy equivalence equation – the famous E=mc2, the Lorentz factor formula γ, which describe the effects of travelling on mass, length and time, etc.

Scientists had done experiments to prove those axioms. Energy does emit when mass is lost – that’s how atomic bomb works. Effects on fast travel and the limit of speed is also measured.

And who knows that when some bad-ass genius will disprove these, and a new theory will be born, a new age starts!

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