Book Giveaway: 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

A few years ago, Guy P. Harrison wrote a book called 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God — it was an excellent primer for new atheists trying to figure out how to respond to popular Christian arguments.

Now, Harrison is back with a new book called 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True. (Details for how you can win a copy of the book are at the bottom of this post!)

Not surprisingly, the book offers rebuttals to (among many other things) psychic powers, homeopathy, Holocaust deniers, and moon hoaxers.

And anti-vaxxers.

The excerpt below is from Harrison’s chapter on why vaccines are safe and sound and avoiding them hurts us all:

DEADLY CONSEQUENCES

Heated debates that pit science against pseudoscience — evolution versus creationism, for example — rage on and on. But few of them rack up casualties and have the potential for mayhem like the anti-vaccine controversy. This particular clash between reason and irrational belief is literally killing children right now. Vaccination rates have plunged in parts of America and the United Kingdom because of misinformation and unjustified fears. According to the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, a drop in vaccination coverage levels has again made measles endemic in the UK after it had already been wiped out by vaccines decades ago.

Much of the fears were stirred up in 1998 when British doctor Andrew Wakefield published research claiming that the measles vaccine causes autism. He said the vaccine inflamed intestines, causing harmful proteins to leak out that then made their way to the brain, where they caused autism. This generated considerable coverage in the mainstream media which, of course, sent waves of fear straight into the hearts of millions of parents. Many of them made the decision not to vaccinate their children as a result. Predictably, this was followed by outbreaks of preventable diseases that killed children. Soon after Wakefield’s announcement, MMR vaccine rates dropped from nearly 90 percent to as low as 50 percent in some areas of London. Now comes the kicker: It turned out that Wakefield’s research is garbage. Other scientists could not confirm his findings. Something was wrong, very wrong. But not only has his work been deemed scientifically flawed, it has ethical problems as well. Investigative journalist Brian Deer reported that Wakefield’s study was funded by a lawyer who also was representing five of eight children used in the study for a suit against pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, the Lancet medical journal formally retracted Wakefield’s study that they had published, and the General Medical Council removed Wakefield’s name from the medical register. He can no longer practice medicine in England.

In the late 1990s, antivaccination activists set their sights on a preservative used in some vaccines called thimerosal. No studies suggested that thimerosal might cause autism, but pharmaceutical companies removed it as a precaution anyway. Now, years later, autism rates have continued to rise. “After all the research,” writes Michael Specter in his book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, “thimerosal may be the only substance we might say with some certainty doesn’t cause autism; many public health officials have argued that it would make better sense to spend the energy and money searching for a more likely cause.”

Multiple studies have failed to find evidence of an autism-vaccine link. In Japan, the feared MMR “vaccine cocktail” was withdrawn and replaced by single vaccines. A study of thirty thousand children there found that autism rates continued to rise even in MMR’s absence. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Sweden removed thimerosal from vaccines only to see autism rates continue to rise. Meanwhile, researchers in Finland looked for an autism-vaccine link by analyzing the medical records of more than two million children. They found nothing.

It seems to me that vaccines are victims of their own success. People who are fortunate enough to live in countries with strong vaccination programs have been lulled into a false sense of security. Diseases once feared are not so scary anymore. Measles, for example, does not strike fear in the heart of the typical American. But it’s not a disease we should take lightly. It causes brain swelling and high fever and is often fatal. In the past, measles killed millions in Europe and America. It still kills more than one million children per year in the developing world today. Nevertheless, many parents are being scared away from the measles vaccine by warnings with no credible science behind them. The percentage of unvaccinated children in the United States has doubled since 1991. This is as infuriating as it is absurd. We are moving backward.

Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is one of the world’s leading experts on vaccines. He is also currently waging a professional war against the antivaccine movement. But it is also clearly personal for him. His frustration and concern for children are often readily apparent when he describes the irresponsible decision to deny vaccines. “The problem with waning immunization rates in the United States isn’t theoretical anymore,” he told me. “Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, mumps, and bacterial meningitis show a clear breakdown in population immunity. Children are now suffering the diseases of their grandparents. It’s unconscionable.”

“THEY’RE NOT STUPID, JUST IGNORANT”

Nurse Shawn R. Browning is in the trenches on the frontlines of this issue. She has nearly two decades of experience in the medical field, most of it working with the US Navy. She regularly administers vaccines to military personnel and their families. She also has been involved with immunization education for many years. Irrational fears about vaccines are nothing new to her.

“I have had plenty of parents and patients that are misinformed about vaccines,” she said. “When they tell me they don’t want to get a particular vaccine, the first thing I ask them is, ‘why’? I have heard everything from the thimerosal content is bad for you, vaccines cause autism — particularly the MMR vaccine — and everything in between. By law I give them the VIS [vaccine information statements], but in addition I also educate them on the pros of receiving the vaccine versus not. What I have learned is that more times than not, people are willing to get the vaccine once it is explained to them in words they can understand and relate to. They’re not stupid, just ignorant. They have listened to their neighbors, the media, and everyone else and have formed an unjustified opinion. Drives me crazy! Many parents and patients have expressed their gratitude that someone has taken the time to explain things instead of just sticking a needle in them without any explanation. I think our particular patient population is more vaccine hesitant than antivaccine.”

Like most healthcare professionals, Browning is concerned that this reluctance to vaccinate might lead to major outbreaks of preventable diseases:

The biggest fear is that preventable diseases will rise to epidemic proportions again. Infants and children are going to die or be disabled because adults are ignorant and won’t vaccinate themselves or their children. The outbreak of pertussis [whooping cough] is the latest. People think that since they are adults, they don’t need a vaccine. Yet how many die from complications from the flu every year? [Influenza virus, the flu, kills as many as five hundred thousand people each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.15] It’s very scary. We also have an obligation to get vaccinated to protect those [who] can’t be vaccinated due to various reasons [such as immune system problems].

There was this mom [who] came into our clinic a little more than a year ago to get her one-year-old daughter her immunizations. The corpsman that brought them back to the room started to explain the vaccines the child would be getting and their potential side effects to the mom. The mom politely interrupted the corpsman and proceeded to explain that this child was not her first baby. She had once been “one of those moms” who didn’t believe in vaccines, and her first little girl had died when she got the measles. Just how do you respond to that? Your heart breaks.

Offit adds, “The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal [preservative once used in vaccines] doesn’t cause autism; three have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause subtle neurological problems; a growing body of evidence now points to the genes that link to autism; and despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines in 2001, the number of children with autism continues to rise.”

In 1997, 4,138 children entered California kindergartens without being vaccinated because they had exemptions. By 2008, that number had more than doubled. Parents citing religious or philosophical objections to having their children vaccinated are putting not only their own children at risk but the lives of many others as well. Babies who are too young to be vaccinated can be infected and die. Children who have immune system problems and cannot be vaccinated have to rely on others around them to be vaccinated in order to keep the diseases at bay. When vaccination rates drop, danger to these vulnerable groups increases. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expert, a parent’s decision to refuse vaccination means his or her child is thirty-five times more likely to get measles and twenty-two times more likely to come down with pertussis (whooping cough). Please don’t think for a second that this is exaggeration or fearmongering. Children are paying a price for this madness in small pockets across America now, and the potential for much greater suffering is real. In April 2011, for example, a private school in Virginia had to close because half its students were infected with pertussis. None of the children had been vaccinated. Many of the parents had obtained religious exemptions that officially sanctioned their negligence. News of several recent infant deaths in California due to pertussis either had not reached those parents or failed to impress them.

Why subject children to this unnecessary danger? To protect them from autism? Very large, thorough, and expensive scientific studies did not find any reason to conclude that vaccines cause autism. Therefore it simply makes no sense to withhold such important protection from a child.

From 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True (Prometheus Books, 2012). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, just leave a comment telling us about a belief you used to hold and what ultimately led you away from it! (God doesn’t count. We’ve heard that one before.) Please include the word “Bermuda” at the end of your comment if you’d like to be considered for the prize!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://sunombreenvano.blogspot.com/ Diego, El Mapache

    Back in the days when I was religious I used to believe firmly in the existence of the soul. My main source was a near-death experience a relative of mine had. She told me that because of an allergic reaction she felt her soul sucked away from her body and floated on the room, seeing her mother trying to give her a pill until she woke up. I remember that story and for a long time wanted to experience the same, to be able to leave my body behind and be just a soul.

    That I believed for a long time. However, after getting a more skeptical view of the world, I started reading and researching more about NDEs and realized that such thing  had a scientific explanation and there was nothing supernatural going on. Bermuda. 

  • Sally

    I used to think maybe I shouldn’t vaccinate my girls because I am one of those natural eating, breastfeeding, homebirthing moms. I decided to research it though and decided I thought vaccines WERE indeed important. There are a select few I didn’t do, (basically hep b for newborns, also the vitamin k shot) but I am very happy at my choice even though it isn’t a popular one among members of my organic foody community.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y7EOUUXIQITN4VWPZI35TBIX7U marlboro man

    I actually spent years thinking the end was near. When my mother passed I moved in with a close friends family whom where evangelical. I got sucked in watching these people on tv tell of all these signs and how it related to revelations. After watching these shows after a few years the crap they fed was getting old. I would research a point they made and find it invalid. Looking back half of the shows where trying to sell books or videos or prayer clothes. I had been fooled by some money making scandalous religious nuts. It wasnt long after i even gave up on believing at all I i have proudly and loudly held mt ground since. Media can be used for food and evil its just being able to step back and see the big picture. Bermuda.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y7EOUUXIQITN4VWPZI35TBIX7U marlboro man

    `ok

  • John

    I used to believe in ghosts. I’d hound websites for any common denominators that I could consider to be reasonable indicators of the nature of ghosts and their manifestations. It didn’t take much to dissuade me… it was something I stopped mentioning, without even realizing it, until someone brought up their belief in such things. I immediately responded with, “Oh yeah, I used to believe in ghosts.” It was that easy.

    Bermuda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.courtney Craig Courtney

    This might seem stupid but when I was younger I used to believe that the Loch Ness monster was real, or at least plausible. Out of all the crazy stuff that evreyone talked about (bigfoot, ufos, chupacabra, and so on) the Loch Ness monster was the only one I thought could be remotely possible.

    I don’t really recall what made me stop believing in it, but I do know I stopped believing in it before I came to my senses about religion. Maybe the Loch Ness monster had a hand in helping me realize I didn’t believe in BS (^_^)

    And “Bermuda”

  • John Michael Strubhart

    When I was in college, I believed that if I thought about it hard enough, I could levitate.  It was the whole “mind over matter” thing that was going around at the time.  Bermuda.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hvandesa Heather Van De Sande

      I used to believe something similar, that I could “mind over matter” my hand through a wall.  My bed was right next to the wall, so I’d lie there with my eyes closed and my arm in the air trying very hard to believe that there was no wall next to me and then slowly let my arm fall towards the wall.  (I’m blaming the movie “Somewhere in Time” for that one.)

  • Hirejessecaflores

    I have taken a few years of ” intuitive training” and one class was dedicated to Past Lives, in which I believed because I had ” journeyed back” , that I had been burned at the stake as a witch in the Colonies..Well, after I became Atheist, I did a little history checking, yeah… WITCHES WEREN’T BURNED ON THE STAKE during the witch trials in the US…
    I used to believe that Atlantis was swallowed up by Bermuda Triangle, and that I spoke in tongues :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000019835554 Patrina Chamney

      I can relate!  I went through a stage of believing in the whole ‘new age’ thing.  Parts of it were fun, but the only long-term benefit I received from the time I spent on it was the knowledge that *that stuff doesn’t work.*

    • Denny

      so what happened to witches?

      • Joannaa

        In Salem they were hung, except for Giles Corey, who was crushed because he wouldn’t enter a plea. I’m sure other people were executed for witch craft through the colonies in less high profile cases.

        • BinaryStar

          And in the case of Corey, it everything to do with property and greed. If he’d “admitted” to witchcraft, he would’ve forfeited his land, which he refused to do. It’s dramatized very well in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

      • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

        At least in the States (or the colonies to be accurate,) they were hanged, all except for one, who was “pressed” to death under a pile of stones.

        • BinaryStar

          There was also the dunking stool, in which the accused witch was repeatedly dunked underwater while strapped to a chair connected to a large lever, although I’m unsure whether this was used in Salem and the surrounding towns.

          The irony of this farce was that–if I recall correctly–should the unfortunate woman survive such a “test,” it was seen as evidence of witchcraft. However, if she drowned, it was seen as a proof of her innocence. So, basically, she was f*cked either way.

          • Marguerite

            In Virginia in the early 1700s, there was a “witch” (Grace Sherwood, the Witch of Pungo) who was dunked, and there’s still an area in Virginia Beach named after her… Witchduck. But because Virginians were apparently pretty relaxed about witchcraft, she was imprisoned and later released, and lived to eighty years old. “Witches” in more northern regions didn’t fare as well.

          • http://thenameless1387.livejournal.com/ ChocoholicBec

            Actually, I’m pretty certain the “ducking stool” was a punishment (not for witchcraft! For being a “scold” – i.e. a bad-tempered woman – or a prostitute. Yeesh! Pretty harsh!) which you were generally supposed to survive. Really unpleasant, but not usually deadly unless they held you under too long.

            I think what you’re thinking of is where an accused witch was chucked into a pond, sometimes with their hands and feet tied together, although I can’t remember what the name of the test was – “trial by water”? If they floated, they were a witch and were hanged; if they sunk, they were innocent, and also possibly drowned. The idea was, I understand, that witches had renounced their baptism, and so they were rejected by water. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.

        • http://conuly.livejournal.com/ Uly

          That one was never convicted because he was never tried. He was never tried because he refused to enter a guilty or innocent plea (because if he WAS tried and convicted, his children would not inherit his property, but if he wasn’t tried at all they still could) so they could not try him, but they COULD torture him to make him submit a plea.

          Or not.

          You knew that, of course :)

  • Jeff

    I used to believe in every crackpot conspiracy theory out there. Hours and hours wasted first reading books then pouring over websites. I still read about them, but after I realized how there was little or no evidence to what was being said, it’s now for humor.

    Bermuda

  • Jon

    Back when I was religious I firmly believed there was a scientist conspiracy against god and that scientists purposely changed evidence and altered results to make their research atheistic. Plate tectonics, evolution, genetic similarities, were all the result of evil scientists trying to hide god’s obvious presence. These beliefs were largely due to me being an avid follower of conspiracy theorist and criminal Kent Hovind. That man is insane, and I am so glad I see that now.

    • Jon

      Bermuda. My bad

    • http://www.facebook.com/hvandesa Heather Van De Sande

      How did you change your mind on that one?  If the evil scientists are changing the evidence, that I would think you’d be pretty immune to any evidence presented.  (I ask because I’m fascinated.)

    • dubliner

      This propaganda may well account for why many Americans are so inclined to believe the evidence for AGW is some giant conspiracy by scientists. They’ve been taught to distrust scientists from the cradle. They all seemed convinced they are ‘in it’ for the money! How much of the 1% is made up of scientists I wonder – frig all I’ll wager.

  • Anonymous

    I used to believe that dogs were furry people when I was a child.  I was raised on the likes of Lassie, Lad, Rin-Tin-Tin, Benji and a host of other popular tales that raised some dogs to near-mythic levels.  They were patient with children, they could tell when someone meant evil, they would save Timmy from the well.  All that I read about dogs assured me that both preternatural intelligence and benevolence towards the people of their family was the hallmark of every canine who was ‘raised right’.

    Then I got one.

    Okay, so this dog wasn’t the ideal creature I thought he would be.  He was big, but kind of dumb.  It’s not even that he was dumb for a dog, but when you expect a dog to automatically know that you don’t want him to chew your My Little Ponies, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed when Firefly turns up with one wing chewed off.

    But, whatever, that was one dog.  The next one would be better.  We would look down kindly and condescendingly at the dumb dog and pity him for being so stupid.

    The new dog was not dumb.  The new dog was very smart.  She just didn’t give a shit about any of us.  This meant that she learned all of the basic commands in a single afternoon.  Learned them and then used that knowledge to taunt us when she managed to get loose.

    “Come!” we would cry, our hands bereft of the leash pulled so quickly out of them.  She would look at us and not come.  “Come!” we would cry, holding a toy out enticingly before us.  She would look at the toy and decide that the neighbour’s garden offered more sport.  “Come!” we would scream, holding out the cheese that was supposed to grace a sandwich for ourselves… and she would come flying over hill and dale to perform an obedience-perfect sit.  Sometimes.  And when she did, woe betide the person who fed her cheese before grabbing her collar.

    As the concept of the non-intelligent, non-obedient, non-caring dog trickled slowly through a mind riddled with fanciful fiction, I began reading more about dog behaviour and actually observing it in my dogs instead of using my mental anthropomorphism filter.  Eventually, I understood that dogs are not Lassie and should not be expected to live up to her human-generated image of the ‘perfect’ dog.

    The joys of actually learning about how dogs think and communicate far outstrip those of attributing canine behaviour to human motivation.  I enriched my life and the lives of my canine family by learning what they are really saying.

    Bermuda!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000019835554 Patrina Chamney

    I believed, for a number of years, in astral projection, among other crackpot ideas.  Suggestion and self-hypnosis can be powerful things!  Oh, what a ‘mystic’ I was.  In retrospect, it’s pretty funny.

    The book looks great, btw.

    Bermuda!

  • Yukimi

    When I was very little, my cousin convinced my brother and me she was Snow White and that was her real name and we spent years believing that and calling her snow White. It makes for an embarrassing funny moment every time they retell it in family reunions at our expense :P

    Bermuda.

  • Katie

    When I was extremely young my parents told me that there were all of these fantastic individuals out there, most dedicated to a special day- Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, God.  I think it was realizing that “Cupid” was a made up idea so that my parents could buy my younger sister and I candy was what gave way to questioning the rest.  I must have been 5 or 6 and was trying to help my mother bring groceries from the car when I opened the trunk only to see a bag of Valentine’s Day stuff, which my sister and I would get the next morning.  I pretended not to have seen anything but that was when I knew that it was most likely the case that none of these idealized people were real at all.  Bermuda.  

  • Iseeorangepeople

    I used to be amazed over all things scientiflly “unexplained” when I was a kid, mostly because of some books I used to read at my grandparents. Loch Ness, Bigfoot, ailiens helping to build ancient cultures, Atlantis, Bermuda triangle, psychics, stories about reincarnation, area 51, were only a few of the things that felt like possible things which made our world mystical and wonderful. As I grew up I abandoned these beliefs as I came to understand that I wanted to understand the world , more than just belive in all these cool and magical things. This happened after the realisation of myself always beeing and atheist, just that I finally found a way of describing myself better.

    On another note I can say I lost the last ripples of beeing afraid of the dark around the same time, making me essentially think I’m just a really clumsy ninja whenever it’s pinch dark.

    Bermuda

  • Anonymous

    For many years I had a theory that the various legends of “little people” like leprechauns, elves, trolls, fairies etc. were some sort of species memory of Australopithecus afarensis or Australopithecus africanus. About ten years ago I met an  anthropologist and shared my theory with her. She thought it was a wonderful idea except that there was an unfortunate gap of some two and a half plus million years between the demise of  australopithecine species and us! Perhaps the discovery of Homo floresiensis breathes new life into my theory? I really should find an anthropologist or similar and ask them. :-)   Bermuda

  • CJ

    I used to believe you could see the Great Wall of China from space. Everybody says so; it just never occurred to me that it could be false. So I figured if I ever went waaaaaay out into space and looked back I’d see this great big creamy blue ball with a wall on it that probably looked like faint stitching. Then I went to China, stood on the wall, realized it wasn’t any bigger that other gigantic structures, so why would it be visible from space? ‘Cause it’s special? 

    • Austin

      It is, but only from low Earth orbit. You are in space but barely and it’s nothing more than a little gray line.

    • Austin

      It is, but only from low Earth orbit. You are in space but barely and it’s nothing more than a little gray line.

  • Losttraveller

    I used to blindly believe that if your were a christian you actually were a good person, then I went out into the world and realized that very few christians do as I was taught which is do unto others as you would have them do unto you……..I have found more persons in the atheist community with a far greater moral compass they use each and every day of their lives than in the christian community I belong to.  I am not saying all us christians are morally bankrupt but way to many that claim to be “gentle, kind” souls are actually very mean and nasty souls all the while claiming to be cough cough God fearing christians of good moral character.  It rather makes me sad, same as never getting an opportunity to help all over the world including Bermuda.

  • d’Armond

    I used to believe that hate crime legislation was unnecessary, as there are already laws against the specific crimes. And I was further confused by the mainstream media who would mindless chirp “you can’t punish someone for what they believe” but never offer a reasoned explanation of the counter argument. Until I saw a segment on Rachel Maddow explaining the issue. A hate crime is targeted not at an individual victim, but sends a signal to an entire population or community. Designating such crimes as hate crimes extends the protection from the individual victim to the targeted group. Simples!

    Bermuda

  • Butch Bailey

    I used to be a young-Earth creationist (raised southern Baptist) and, despite the common but ignorant and false claim that one can’t think their way out of that because they didn’t think themselves into it, I did indeed think myself out of it with research and honest inquiry.
    “Bermuda”

  • http://twitter.com/lebkin Nick Bell

    In a far less extreme example, I used to believe being out in the cold caused colds and that not wearing a hat made them worse. Even today, despite knowing completely that this is false, I sometimes still have to bite my tongue from giving people that advice. Amazing how a lie repeated enough times can so strongly resist evidence.

    Bermuda 

    • Chakolate

      I do the same thing – I often find myself saying something I used to ‘know’ that I now know is false.  Ain’t conditioning wonderful?  NOT!

    • Alex

      I don’t mean to be a smartass here, but doesn’t prolonged exposure to cold contribute to weakening the immune system, thus increasing susceptibility to opportunistic diseases such as cold and flu? Still can be considered a cause, just not directly.

  • Taxihorn

    As a direct result of growing up with parents who were members of an “ancient” mystical order, I was convinced that if I could only get in the right state of mind, I should be able to pass through objects. Hogwash.

    But I’m sure there must be some truth to what they said about ancient aliens known as the Anunnaki genetically engineering monkeys to create an ultimately unsuccessful slave race of humans. . Bermuda

    • Taxihorn

      Just to be clear, that second part was sarcastic… it seems you can’t enclose sarcastic remarks on this blog in sarcasm tags resembling pseudo-HTML.

  • Cynical Librarian

    I used to believe in a lot of pseudoscience until I had to take a research and statistics class for my degree. Now, when I hear about the pseudoscience du jour, you’ll hear me grumbling things like, “5 people is not a statistically valid sample size…”

    Bermuda

  • Kevin

    I used to believe that hard drugs should be criminalized, until Portugal decriminalized them without negative consequences. 

    Bermuda.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

    I used to buy into the old “Humans only use 5 percent of their brains” bullshit.

    Now, I have had days where my behavior would show this MAY be possible, we all know this is complete and utter bullshit, so….now, with that out of the way….gimmer my book….(see what I mean, my ‘courtesy’ part of the brain just shut off….)
    ;) Bermuda

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Oh lots, but a very specific one is that you could resharpen a razor blade (or in my case an xacto knife blade since I wasn’t shaving yet) by putting it on a platform of pyramids.  I was able to convince myself it worked a few times, but after a while it became obvious that it wasn’t getting sharp again.

    When I was a kid I had a “Big Book of Why”  (or something).  It was a bunch of questions and answers, and one of them was “How do we know there’s life on Mars?”  And the answer talked about patches of green during Mars’s spring/summer and reddish brown during fall/winter.  I think it was published in the 60s.

    Bermuda 

  • Anonymous

    Ghosts. I was one of those people that had all sorts of stories about them. I had rationalizations and reasons for all of them. Those ghost hunting shows had me hooked.

    As I researched them more and more, all the reasons and “facts” got harder and harder to fit into reality. The only way to keep believing would be to start denying some very basic facts about the world. I eventually couldn’t maintain a belief anymore.

    Same with a certain triangle in:

    Bermuda

  • Bo Tait

    One of my earliest memories is believing the Detroit Red Wings played their games in the local Canadian Tire (hardware store). 

    I was only three or four, so I guess its excusable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1098655299 Bert Kelher

    Let’s see, bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, and basically anything Nimoy told me about on “In Search Of.”  Bermuda

    • http://www.facebook.com/hvandesa Heather Van De Sande

      If Mr. Spock tells you, it has to be true damnit.

  • VarenNeoRaven

    Sooo…
    I once believed in table fairies. “Table fairies” are this little invention my mother used to keep the elbows off the table… she said we were squishing them to death. I kinda broke the idea the day my dad covered the table with tax stuff and my mother schoolwork and started crying over the massive genocide they commited. That was the last time we ever heard about table fairies.

    Bermuda

  • Kat Basken

    I used to believe in UFOs and alien encounters because that’s how I was raised. I quickly realized (as a teenager) that there was no evidence for any of it. Even if aliens exist as intelligent life forms, it is INCREDIBLY unlikely that they would be close enough to come to us for a “visit”.

    Bermuda.

  • Jackie

    Ghosts, aliens, the Loch Ness monster, Big Foot, psychic abilities…all those things in the tabloids that my mother brought home.  If it was in print, it was true, right?  In my defense, I was in middle school at the time.  Education and maturity took care of those beliefs.  Thinking about it now, I realize I shed all of that about the same time I stopped giving lip service to religion.  (Was going through the motions to keep family peace.)  Got rid of all the fantasy…Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    Growing up, I used to believe in several things like ghosts, bigfoot, alien UFO’s. As I got older and sorted out my religious belief (or disbelief), I realized I wasn’t being consistent by throwing away by belief in supernatural gods, but not these other unsupported things. While I’ll still give things like aliens and bigfoot a higher likelihood than a god, since they could possibly still exist according to physical and natural laws, I no longer try to convince myself that every little unexplained phenomenon is a bit of evidence, and I hold proof for these to higher scrutiny before I’ll accept these notions.

    Bermuda 

  • Tenley Horton

    I used to genuinely believe abortion was murder. I thought that babies went from embryos to tiny human creatures in about a week, and that they felt emotions in early abortions. This was due to propaganda I was fed in a very conservative Christian school. I embarrassed my public school friends by rolling down my windows one day and screaming, “OBAMA IS A BABY KILLER” to a few Obama supporters during the last presidential campaign. I feel nauseated everytime I think back to that. I thought I was fighting for justice for babies! I was so proud of myself. It wasn’t until I was 19, I met my now-fiance’. I drilled into him about his pro-choice beliefs, it was almost a deal breaker for me. He calmly encouraged me to research my facts. Finally, after a few stubborn months, I looked into it. It still took me a while, but I am 100% pro-choice now, for SO many reasons. (In a side note, my boyfriend was the one who opened my mind, and eventually helped free it, from the bonds of religion :])…Bermuda!

    • Anonymous

      I used to think abortion was wrong and should be illegal.  I even wrote a letter to the editor of my college newspaper in support of that position.  I think often about how I wish I had never written that stupid letter.  At least there’s no physical evidence of what you did!  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610366855 Kev Mc

      hi Tenley

      i was wondering with regards to your philosophy of pro choice (abortions).

      at what age is it ok to kill an unborn baby?  3mths? 6mths? 9 mths?
      And what about after the baby is born?  after all you may not like the sex of the child or colour of its eyes or it may have a “defect” so you should be able to kill her/him then too right?  afterall its your child isnt it?

      and since there is no God, and we evolved from monkeys/frogs/pondscum, and it is survival of the fitest, then you should have the right to kill your child at any age? 

      for that matter, you should be able to kill anyone who you concider inferior, yes?

      aferall you have to keep the gene pool strong so that you can continually evolve into “better” people?

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Gee, you’re right Kev!  For that matter, every menstruation is murder, since that egg, if fertilized, could have grown into a gift from God.  Every woman who decides not to get fertilized is rejecting a gift from God.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Gee, you’re right Kev!  For that matter, every menstruation is murder, since that egg, if fertilized, could have grown into a gift from God.  Every woman who decides not to get fertilized is rejecting a gift from God.

      • Deven Kale

        If that’s your attitude of what it’s like to live without belief in any gods then please, for the sake of the rest of humanity, stay christian. We don’t need another Hitler.

  • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

    When I was younger, I was obsessed with the so-called “paranormal”. I even had aspirations to be like the interesting people on TV that talked about their research in bigfoot, ghosts, UFOs, and the like. As much as I hate to say it, I balked when watching the animated series “Invader Zim” because I had acted much like one of the main characters as a child. (Dib, if you’re wondering)

    It was pretty hard to shake, since it wasn’t so much a single belief, but a whole slew of them that subtly reinforced the rest. I still tune into the occasional ‘aliens built the pyramids’ special when it comes on, but more with a sense of amusement and feeling of accomplishment that I’ve moved beyond such things.

    I still hold out that science hasn’t explained everything… yet. We’re getting there, and with each new discovery that is made I can guarantee one thing: Nothing has ever found to be caused by magic. If anything, I’ve been more and more astounded to learn just how perfectly our brains can fool us about the simplest things.

    Admittedly, I still see UFOs on a daily basis, but that’s completely understandable. After all, if I can’t identify the model of aircraft I see overhead, it’s technically a UFO. =)

    Bermuda

  • Brandon

    my father died when I was 7 years old, my mother did not know how to explain it to me so she told me he left me a gift, this gift was in the form of psychic powers that control the weather, I firmly believed that this was working and sometimes when I would try it would, however that’s all coincidence, this lasted from when I was 7 years old until I was 11 years old because my mother kept backing it up everytime I questioned its authenticity, when I was in the sixth grade we went over weather in science class I discussed this with my teacher and she told me that I was being fooled, after a while my mom finally came out and told me the truth, ever since then I never trusted that woman ever again, bermuda

    • Denny

      reminds me if the girl in 3rd grade who convinced me she was a ghost…

  • Larry

    I used to believe in Astrology and Tarot, seeing them online and automated made me think that I had been foolish to think that they were “mystical”….Bermuda

  • Tressa Breen

    I used to believe that the US government was based on Christian beliefs. Then I did the research. Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    I believed in a lot of woo, especially the Power of the Mind(TM) – the power you can use to control the universe, not the one you use to think, unfortunately – for a long time. Until I took a course on “mind over matter” stuff (Silva Ultramind). A lot of the things we learned there were simply about tricking our own brains, techniques for ignoring noise (sorry, “turning it off with your mind”)
    for example. And pain control, and hunger control. And all of it presented in a “wrap the universe around your little finger and make it do your bidding” way.

    In the end, I realised that so much about what we were taught there as well as other woo – visions, astral projection – could be summed up with this: The human brain is awfully easy to trick!

    Okay, so you had a vision of a rock turning into a bird right before your eyes. I once had a vision of an abstract image turning into Jesus when I turned my head and looked at a white wall afterwards. Our senses are limited and our brain is doing
    the best it can with what it’s getting. Add such factors as selection bias, and you realise how easy it is to see what you want when you look at the world.

  • Michael

    Unsolved Mysteries made me terrified of UFOs. Specifically, abduction. My father, an astronomy (and physics and chemistry) teacher also let me watch Fire in the Sky with him one afternoon. I would not leave the house at night; my parents would have to wait until I fell asleep to leave if we were visiting friends or family. I would never go camping. Oddly enough, it was getting in to the X-Files that eventually freed me from these beliefs. Even at the insistence of the show that the truth was out there, the kinds of people getting abducted gave me quite some relief. Also, around the same time, I found my grandfather’s journals from when he was stationed at Roswell and found nothing odd and nothing redacted. Bermuda.

  • Nwisema

    When I thought about it at all, I thought that meat comes from  happy animals that live on happy little farms, and when they’re killed, it’s done in a humane way.  Aaaaaand then I looked into it.

    Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    I have to laugh at the people like Alex Jones who claim that vaccines play a role in some nefarious scheme by a shadowy elite to “depopulate” the planet, despite the fact that the world’s population keeps growing. I tell these people that I got a flu shot back in October, and I haven’t “depopulated” yet.

  • Achess

    I used to believe that humans landed on the moon only once. Then I learned that since 1969 we’ve been there several times; the hype just wasn’t the same.

    I know, I know… “Cool story bro”.

    Bermuda.

  • http://twitter.com/RonSly Ron Sly

    I believed in dowsing rods, because my father told me it was how they found our well. Our well ran dry. My father still believes, I do not. Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    I used to believe the Curse of the Bambino was unbreakable. Until about 2004.

    Bermuda.

  • http://carpescriptura.wordpress.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    Ghosts. I was REALLY into ghosts. I used to read books about them, I knew all the categories (poltergeist, spirit, shadow…). I was even convinced that a particular room in my house was haunted. But then I went to college and I took a psychology course that focused on the physical structures of the brains and how they interact with hormones, and it occurred to me that the mind is not independent from the body. So given that, what could possibly survive death? And the whole bit about poltergeists and shadows and such, how could something internal and physical affect the external? There was simply no mechanism to explain the concept of “psychic energy.” I do still enjoy ghost walks and ghost stories, and such – all the more  now because I’m not soiling my pants any more!

    Bermuda

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffany-Jade-Brown/640358790 Tiffany Jade Brown

    I used to think that evolution was completely ridiculous because, “If we come from monkey, then why are there still monkeys here?” Yep, I was one of those people. I got over that soon after going off to a boarding school where they actually taught silence and not just hushed god-speak behind closed doors.

    Bermuda.

  • Becky S

    This question is very difficult for me. I guess… Ghosts, maybe? Until my late teen years, I used to believe in ghosts and loved reading books on “real” ghost stories.

    That’s all I’ve got… Not very interesting….

    Bermuda

  • Anonymous

    Crossing fingers gave good luck. You know, ‘cuz pairs of tiny appendages placed in specific positions in relation to each other will affect the outcome of any event, donchaknow… then I turned 7.

    Bermuda

  • Johannsone

    I used to believe that if you worked hard and did what was morally and lawfully right, that you could be and do anything. Along with that, I used to believe there was good in everyone. Disillusionment is not just for religion, it’s an equal opportunity offender. 

    • Maevwen

      yeah, what i said, what you said.  dang you and your economy of words.  :P

  • Donovanable

    I grew up being treated with homeopathic remedies and other alternative medicine. I actually originally moved away from it in high school because I was an angsty teenager who got grouchy when I was sick–so the idea of asking my mom what remedies to take was horribly unappealing. 

    In college, I started educating myself and spent a lot of time with GoogleScholar–wait, Andrew Wakefield had been discredited? It took about six months, but I started thinking rationally. 

    I’m still not skeptical by habit (one year of thinking skeptically does not erase eighteen years of habitually misattributing the causes of everything from the flu to acne to cancer), but I’m getting better at catching myself every time I fall back into the old pattern.
    Bermuda!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.hoffmann Rob Hoffmann

    I used to believe that politicians actually believed the whole “public servant” thing — until I worked on my first political campaign as a teenager (for one of my teachers in junior high, actually) and saw how the process worked, and saw the difference between the candidate’s public and private images…

    I wouldn’t mind a trip to “Bermuda”. :)  Can that giveaway be arranged?

  • Jeanette

    I used to believe that I was okay as i was, little did I know…. (bermuda)

  • TiltedHorizon

    Back in my Christian days, the idea of god, heaven. and life in the hereafter was reinforced by all the convincing stories and ‘first hand accounts’ of Near Death Experiences (NDE), out of body spirits seeing themselves and the activities surrounding one’s death, tunnels of light, long gone friends and family waiting on the other end, the feeling of love……  I did not just drink the cool aid, I swam in it.

    It was my love of science that eventually threw a life preserver in the pool of  cool aid. While learning of the trials a potential astronaut has to go through I discovered  testimony from several pilots who reported classic NDE during blackouts in centrifuge training. For the first time I had to consider the possibility that NDEs could be explained by science. This was the first in a series of WTF moments which eventually broke me from this belief. 

    “Bermuda”

  • Michgirl56

    I have to admit I used to be a sucker for reincarnation.  I put it down to late night college talkfests and the lure of “coming back” as something else.  I think I just grew out it because it went by the wayside with believing in ghosts.

  • Mike

    I used to be the self-conscious type, so I believed (as is common among the self-conscious types) that everyone was watching everything I did, which caused me to act even more awkward. I always felt like everyone was silently judgjng me as soon as I walked into a room, and I imagined them talking about me once I left. Then one day I finally realized that people are all naturally self-aware to some degree, meaning that, no, no one was making a hobby out of laughing at my particular flaws. Just like I don’t sit in a coffee shop and analyze every person that walks in, chances are people weren’t doing that to me. And when I realized that, I was free to fly into the stars and burst into a bunch of cliches of freedom. Bermuda.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    I used to believe that saints (as in, people who’ve been canonized by one or more churches) were, well, “saintly” people. As in, humble, thoughtful, meek, quiet, passive, calm, patient, compassionate, etc. When I started studying history seriously in college, and learned more and more about them, I found out that nearly all of them were anything but “saintly.” In fact, a lot of them were downright miserable, even wicked, characters, capable of a kind of viciousness that few others possessed.

    How any of these creatures acquired their “saintly” reputations is, in some cases, inexplicable. In others, it was for mercenary reasons (mostly because they backed doctrines and ideas that the Church supported, hence, the Church artificially altered their biographies to make them seem better than they were in order to cast their doctrines in a positive light).

    If anyone needs examples of what I’m talking about, read about St Cyril of Alexandria, St Athanasius (also of Alexandria), St Bernard of Clairveaux, or even St Jerome. Just to name four. I concede there were few saints who might fit the description of “saintly,” but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

    Having said all that … Bermuda!

  • Maevwen

    I used to believe in the typical American Myth:  whatever you put your mind to, you can do.  So, I believed that going to college and getting a bachelor’s degree, I would get out of the lower SES that I grew up in.  Chose a degree in fine arts… wrong choice for me….went back and got a Master’s degree in something business related.  Graduated last year.  Haven’t found a job in my field.  Love my field… no job – (get exp without a job, a job without exp la de da) My degree is a little specialized, and I live in a mid-sized city in michigan – not many jobs in my field here.  If I had the $$ to move, I would.  But alas.  Am lucky to have a temp job now, because now with an M.A., I am less employable for the lower status jobs (won’t be happy, will bounce as soon as a good job comes along, etc).   For the first time in over 17 years, I am living with a family member because I didn’t make enough money to pay rent.   This myth is otherwise known as: education will change your life for the better and get you out of the gutter or ghetto.

    This dovetails into two other myths:  if you work hard enough, it will pay off; otherwise known as pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  I worked my butt off, was always in top of my class.  I worked several jobs, at one point three at a time.  Yet here I am.

    Which also dovetails into another myth:  that we all have equal chance and opportunity to achieve success/wealth/advance, etc.  This simply isn’t true.  Those born and bred into a higher SES already have access to networking, material items, parents, even a specific social education that keeps them in the upper SES.  Those at the bottom of the SES spend more energy exponentially on just making ends meet or those base “hierarchy of needs”.  Not to mention the socialization in this county about folks who are poor, etc.  For there to be equal opportunity, we’d all have to treat each other equally as well, and as we know, -isms exist.

    My brother still says to me:  “I have to believe that something will work out for you”.
    No you don’t.  The universe has no obligation to make something work out for me or any other individual.  Would be nice, but no. 

    I keep plugging away, and doing the dance for finding work etc.,  reviewing my choices and revising action, and I continue to hope.  But drop the myths.

    Bermuda.

    • Anonymous

      It is depressing how true this is. 

    • Myislandlife04

      well written on oh how true this all is….when all the doors are seemingly slammed… build your own door.  Bermuda

    • Chakolate

      Okay, that sucks. 

      So make your own job. 

      • Anonymous

        Oh, for FSM’s sake I wish people would stop spewing this
        trite, self-serving and wholly unqualified metaphor. It once again puts the
        blame on the “victim” for not being clever or creative enough to
        overcome adversity when in fact, the truth is that “making one’s own
        job” is often just not an option. Simplistic, one-dimensional aphorisms
        like this one only serve to vilify the downtrodden and embolden self-righteous
        prigs who wouldn’t apply the same standards to themselves.

    • Anonymous

      The difficulty in a situation like unemployment is striking a balance between realistic optimism–and how to maintain it–and not allowing oneself to veer off into Woo-ville.

      I’m unemployed as well, and I struggle daily with keeping a hopeful, positive outlook (as a person who is by nature more pessimistic and cynical), while trying to keep realistic expectations of my circumstances. (“Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground,” isn’t that what Casey Kasem used to say?) I sometimes practice positive visualization exercises, but I’m always concerned that the line will blur between “psyching myself up” and becoming another unquestioning acolyte of something as ridiculous as “The Secret.” Where to strike the balance?

      One thing I do is study is what cognitive science and positive psychology have found. I’ve read a lot of Dr. Richard Wiseman (a noted skeptic who has written on these subjects), as well as books such as “Half Empty, Half Full: Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism” by Susan C. Vaughan. I also check out online articles, such as http://www.positivepsychology.org.uk/pp-theory/optimism/124-positive-illusions.html . There seems to be a strong correlation between a certain degree of (harmless? benign?) self-deception and overall mental health. In fact, some researchers would argue that is’ necessary to life in today’s world.

      I wonder if anyone else finds him- or herself in the same predicament. I mean, I don’t want to dwell on the negative and create a disastrous self-fulfilling prophecy, but at the same time I don’t want to be a mindless follower of “Law of Attraction”-spouting hucksters. Any ideas, anyone? Where is the golden mean here?

    • Alex

      I was going to write something pretty much to the same extent, except mine was an MS in computer science. The rest is the same, even the part with multiple part-time jobs. Oh, and being a student at a local 2-year technical college.

      My girlfriend graduated a few years ago with a BA, and works at a call center. Isn’t education wonderful?

  • PJB863

    I used to believe it was better and more cost effective to put convicted murderers to death.  In high school, I had a teacher who gave me an assignment to justify my position, but I had to back it up with statistics and research.  I was dumbfounded to learn it costs far more to put the death penalty into practice, on a per case basis,  than it does to put a person in prison for life.  The reason:  the mandatory appeals are paid for by the taxpayers, and lawyers don’t come cheap.  And those appeals are absolutely necessary, especially in light recent wrongful convictions.  Thirty years of watching this topic hasn’t brought anything new to light for me.  It’s still wrong and expensive for the government to kill its own citizens, regardless of the circumstances.  Bermuda.

  • http://twitter.com/RantBot5000 RantBot Grikmeer

    I don’t have many things that I used to believe in but don’t any more. I’ve been a sceptic most of my life, I came out as an atheist to my parents when I was eight years old, I don’t remember ever really believing in Father Christmas.

    I was on the fence about Nessie and Bigfoot, but I didn’t say that they were real, I waited until I’d had a chance to read some books before coming to the conclusion that they probably weren’t.

    Nevertheless, it looks like a book that would really fascinate me, so “Bermuda”

  • http://twitter.com/athdave Atheist Dave

    I used to believe in ghosts. To reinforce this belief, a couple of friends and I would spend nights in graveyards with tape recorders, video cameras, and still cameras. We would obtain, we believed, video, audio, and photographic evidence that ghosts existed. Such evidence included “ghost orbs,” strange noises on the recordings, and weird movements on camera when nobody was around.

    What led me away from these beliefs was easy: I read about the so-called phenomena we’d witnessed. I found perfect explanations for what caused ghost orbs and I was able to deduce what had caused the other strange happenings that we’d witnessed. It was kind of disappointing, because the belief in ghosts added a sense of adventure and danger to our outings, but it is what it is.

    I also used to believe in the Easter Bunny, and when I learned it wasn’t real I thought I could never trust my mother again. This may have been what started me realizing that not everything I’ve been told by adults is necessarily true.

    Aaaaaand Bermuda.

  • Deven Kale

    When I was younger I believed that I was Empathic. Not Empathetic where you have a basic understanding of how people feel, but
    empathic like Deanna Troi.  Any time that
    I was around other people I could literally feel the emotions of others as if
    they were my own.

    There was a period of about a year where I would actually
    cry if a close friend of mine was around and was having an extremely bad day.
    During that time I couldn’t go out to places like the mall on weekends, or
    anywhere else really crowded. I had no control over it so it would just come
    and go, and I never knew when it would really kick in. When it did, I just kept
    quiet until it went away or left for somewhere less crowded, so nobody else ever knew about it. Most people just thought I was anti-social. I even had myself
    convinced that I could feel another person’s physical pain if I was emotionally
    connected enough.

    I didn’t completely give up on the idea until I was in my early 20s. Now I know it was actually a combination of things: Chiefly Conversion
    Disorder and a surprisingly deep intuitive understanding of body language.
    Occasionally I still have this spooky way of knowing when a person is having a
    bad day without knowing HOW I know, but at least I know I’m not psychic now.

    And to quote Merlin, “Blow me to Bermuda!”

    • Deven Kale

      Whoops! I had the wrong condition there. Turns out it wasn’t a conversion disorder, but more like a dissociative disorder. I knew it seemed wrong when I wrote it. Bermuda

  • Denny

    Two answers come to mind.  One is that I used to believe that people are usually nice and good.  Maybe a lot of people are, but I’ve seen and heard enough now to see that people are mean for no reason for too often.  My husband was telling me last night that he and his friends thought he wouldn’t hear from me after our first date… why would I be so mean?  We liked each other and we had plans – why leave someone hanging?

    The other thing is imagination.  I remember being so upset at learning there was no Santa Claus – why did – and DO – people lie to kids like this?  I also remember wanting to meet characters from fiction and being upset that they weren’t real.  But then again, when I was 7 or 8, I had a great imagination and loved pretend play…

    Happy 29th birthday to me!

    Bermuda

    • BinaryStar

      Regarding the Santa Claus lie, my former best friend used go on mini-rants about how she thought it was terrible for parents to perpetuate Santa and Easter Bunny myths, as in her eyes it was tantamount to lying to children. (At the time, I was more on the fence about the matter and didn’t see any harm it it.)

      Ironically, now she, her husband, and her stepdaughter are all fervently Born Again™, and I’m sure if I were to bring up the similarities between those other myths and the ones she now embraces wholeheartedly–and in which they have indoctrinated her stepdaughter–she’d pooh-pooh what I was saying and claim I was comparing apples to oranges and all that.

      The human capacity for self-deception is astounding.

  • http://cuterus.blogspot.com/ Palaverer

    The first time I read an article claiming the moon landing was a hoax, I was convinced. The same book had an article immediately following, explaining why the previous story was bunk. And that was when I figured out how gullible I am.

    Bermuda

  • Lauren S

    I went through a phase where I use homeopathic treatments.  This stopped when I learned that part of homeopathy was the belief that water had memory.  bermuda

  • Lauren S

    I went through a phase where I use homeopathic treatments.  This stopped when I learned that part of homeopathy was the belief that water had memory.  bermuda

  • Drhoward53

    I used to believe our elected officials had the peoples best interests at heart. Bermuda

    • Austin

      You stole mine…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    I used to be a 9/11 truther. I actually believed the stories of controlled demolitions, and a mass conspiracy. I bought it because the people trying to explain it seemed to make perfect sense. Later, I found out they were getting basic facts wrong(they told me the official story was the jet fuel had melted the steel beams and there was uch a thing that somehow made thermite burn in a diagonal) which made me question the whole thing. Then I started listening to engineers and scientists rather than anonymous morons on the internet. 

    Bermuda

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    I used to be a 9/11 truther. I actually believed the stories of controlled demolitions, and a mass conspiracy. I bought it because the people trying to explain it seemed to make perfect sense. Later, I found out they were getting basic facts wrong(they told me the official story was the jet fuel had melted the steel beams and there was uch a thing that somehow made thermite burn in a diagonal) which made me question the whole thing. Then I started listening to engineers and scientists rather than anonymous morons on the internet. 

    Bermuda

  • Amanda

    I used to believe a lot of stupid things, but one of the most stupid, and possibly most harmful to myself, was the idea of “wishes.”  I’m not sure I really believed there was a hidden magic lamp somewhere in the world with a genie living inside, but I certainly believed in the idea that, if one was really lucky, they would have a way of having their wishes granted.

    I wasted a good deal of time pondering what these wishes might be, and I had some very specific ones at the ready, just in case my time ever came that I got to use them.  One wish was that I would shed one pound of weight from my body every day until I got down to X pounds, and there I would stay for the rest of my life, no matter how much I ate/didn’t exercise.  It seems silly, but it was just one of the many ways I allowed myself to hate everything about me.  At the same time, it was almost a shield that could protect me from taking any responsibility for why I’m the way I am.

    I don’t think I realized how damaging such thinking was until I was finally able to give it up.  It followed closely after my rejection of a belief in god, for if there was no god, there could be no magic, no miracles, etc.  It was freeing, in a way, to be able to realize that I am who I am, and either I had to find changes I could reasonably make to make a difference in my life, or I had to accept myself.

    Bermuda

    • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

      I remember disproving for myself that wishes (such as those you make over a birthday cake) didn’t come true. At first I started out making unqualified wishes, such as “I wish for a puppy.” Of course, you never know when you’re going to get the puppy, so it’s hard to falsify.

      But then I realized that if this wish thing were real, then I should be able to be much more specific than that. So I started making wishes like “I wish for a puppy to be given to me by my mother TODAY.” When those didn’t work, I stopped wishing, because I’d proven that wishes don’t come true.

  • Amanda

    I used to believe a lot of stupid things, but one of the most stupid, and possibly most harmful to myself, was the idea of “wishes.”  I’m not sure I really believed there was a hidden magic lamp somewhere in the world with a genie living inside, but I certainly believed in the idea that, if one was really lucky, they would have a way of having their wishes granted.

    I wasted a good deal of time pondering what these wishes might be, and I had some very specific ones at the ready, just in case my time ever came that I got to use them.  One wish was that I would shed one pound of weight from my body every day until I got down to X pounds, and there I would stay for the rest of my life, no matter how much I ate/didn’t exercise.  It seems silly, but it was just one of the many ways I allowed myself to hate everything about me.  At the same time, it was almost a shield that could protect me from taking any responsibility for why I’m the way I am.

    I don’t think I realized how damaging such thinking was until I was finally able to give it up.  It followed closely after my rejection of a belief in god, for if there was no god, there could be no magic, no miracles, etc.  It was freeing, in a way, to be able to realize that I am who I am, and either I had to find changes I could reasonably make to make a difference in my life, or I had to accept myself.

    Bermuda

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-A-Anderson/100000016895400 John A. Anderson

    This won’t be popular with your liberal crowd, but I grew up with the left-wing view that guns are dangerous and that people who own and carry them are dangerous nuts. When I was in my 30′s I had been laid off and, in desperation, accepted a job in private security that required me to carry a gun. I researched guns, purchased a model that seemed appropriate for my needs, and went to a local shooting range to learn to use it safely and effectively.
    I learned that the gun owners at the shooting range, while generally conservative, were neither crazy nor stupid. They took safety very seriously.
    I learned that when states liberalize their gun-carrying laws, violent crime almost always goes down, not up. I learned that the liberal talking point “If we let people carry guns, minor arguments and fender-benders will turn into shoot-outs” is simply not true. People who carry guns with the necessary license are almost never involved in gun crimes.
    I met a lot of very good people, took up an interesting hobby, became a pretty good shot, and realized that not everything my liberal parents told me is true.
    Bermuda.

    • Michael

      I used to think there was a right answer, either arming civilians or not, but then I realised how democracy works. In a country where everyone is allowed to carry guns, remove that right and you have a bunch of armed criminals. In a country where nobody is allowed to carry guns, give them guns and you have a load of armed idiots who haven’t learned to respect guns.

      In both cases, the press will fill with horror stories and stats proving how many extra people have died because of your policies than would have otherwise. The opposition parties will campaign on a promise to put things back the way they were and you’ll get voted out so hard they’ll feel it in Bermuda.

    • Alex

      I used to not understand why a liberal is supposed to be against guns. I still don’t.

      • Sduffy

        Because humans are prone to emotional outbursts of anger and/or fear and drunkeness and if they have immediate access to guns at that time other people suffer the consequences. As a woman I would never ever trust a man with a gun. 

        • Alex

          It’s amazing how you trust them with cars.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I’d be a hood ornament many times over if I trusted people driving cars.

            ok, seriously, there is a level of trust involved since I get on the road with them, but I’ve always got an escape plan.

            Besides, although just about anything can be used to damage people, not many things have the purpose (even in self defense) of damaging people.

            I’m not so much against guns as I wish people weren’t so in love with them.  I feel the same way about cars, although I do own one of them.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I’d be a hood ornament many times over if I trusted people driving cars.

            ok, seriously, there is a level of trust involved since I get on the road with them, but I’ve always got an escape plan.

            Besides, although just about anything can be used to damage people, not many things have the purpose (even in self defense) of damaging people.

            I’m not so much against guns as I wish people weren’t so in love with them.  I feel the same way about cars, although I do own one of them.

        • Alex

          It’s amazing how you trust them with cars.

  • Anonymous

    I used to believe that physics were real (and awesome)… and had Sylvia Brown’s books and watched her on Montel every time she was on…
    I saw the original airing of the episode (2003ish) when she told Shawn Hornbeck’s mom that he was dead and hidden in a wooded area near by… and then his mom cried.
    Then in 2007, they found him alive in his kidnapper’s house with another freshly kidnapped boy.
    It was around then I realized that these people who say they talk to dead people are not awesome, but truly are pieces of shit.

    I also used to believe in ghosts and hauntings… it’s fun to. I’m still a weenie when it comes to being alone in the dark, but why doesn’t EVERYONE know about this sound frequency? (http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings.html)
    It makes a lot of sense.
    Bermuda

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527580163 Elizabeth Klein

      Bad link… Could you try to post it again?

      • Anonymous

        I’m sorry! http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings.html … the commenting program keeps shortening them. If it doesn’t work, try googling “The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings”…

        Essentially, it’s sounds of a certain frequency that induce fear, dread, chills, etc. The same frequency of a tiger’s roar, which makes sense – biologically, a tiger roaring at us should scare us for our own safety and survival. But this frequency is also caused by everyday objects – vibrating pipes, exhaust fans, etc, explaining the prevalence of ghost sightings in older buildings – the frequency is just powerful enough to vibrate your eyeballs (yum!) and make specks of dust seem like shadows or large moving objects. I’m not explaining it well, but the article is great. I know it’s only Cracked but there’s a lot about it out there.

      • Alex

        Just strip a closing parenthesis from the end of the URL, and it works.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527580163 Elizabeth Klein

      Bad link… Could you try to post it again?

  • Anonymous

    I used to believe that physics were real (and awesome)… and had Sylvia Brown’s books and watched her on Montel every time she was on…
    I saw the original airing of the episode (2003ish) when she told Shawn Hornbeck’s mom that he was dead and hidden in a wooded area near by… and then his mom cried.
    Then in 2007, they found him alive in his kidnapper’s house with another freshly kidnapped boy.
    It was around then I realized that these people who say they talk to dead people are not awesome, but truly are pieces of shit.

    I also used to believe in ghosts and hauntings… it’s fun to. I’m still a weenie when it comes to being alone in the dark, but why doesn’t EVERYONE know about this sound frequency? (http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings.html)
    It makes a lot of sense.
    Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/Grrrowler Todd

    I used to believe that for every person on the planet there was one, and only one, other person to fall in love with. In other words, it was just a question of finding that one person, meeting, and living happily ever after. Fortunately I now know that’s not true.

    With Seattle’s weather the last week, I’d much rather be in Bermuda!

  • Atoswald

    I used to believe that when something bad happened to me that I deserved it. It was god’s way of punishing me for my misdeeds, even though I had no idea how to correct my behavior or even what I had done that needed correcting. I was determined to be better, but all I really ended up with was a feeling of worthlessness, that I would never be good enough. The self flagellating issues were the most difficult of all the religious principles to overcome during my “awakening” to atheism.

    Oh … and just for giggles, I used to believe that Buffalo, NY was covered in six feet of snow year round. It wasn’t until high school that I realized this was wrong! LOL

    Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    For a long time I believed that by repeatedly pressing my palms together my boobies would grow.  Then I got pregnant. 

    Bermuda

    • Chakolate

      When I was a kid I thought a girl got pregnant by pressing her nipples against a boy’s nipples. 

      Happily, I found out otherwise before I started dating.

  • Altruistic Heathen

    I used to identify as a Wiccan and believed wholeheartedly in astrology.  I spent lots of money on a astrology program for my computer and created birthcharts for everybody I knew.  After a few years of creating these charts, I began to realize that I could identify, personally, with each one that I made and it eventually dawned on me that it was all made up.  Later on, I heard the term “confirmation bias” and the scam behind astrology made all kinds of sense.  Bermuda.

  • Gecko Segno

    I used to believe that those super-vitamin tablets would cure my cold. Really, I hated being sick so much that I would try anything. And they were so disgusting! I gagged every time I drank the dissolved tablets. You’d think they could at least make them taste nice! Then I learned that they’re no better than placebo, and if I wanted placebo I could at least be taking something that tasted better and costed less. (Though, that would affect the placebo response.) Well now I just take regular medicine and maybe that throat-numbing spray (just because it’s exciting!) Bermuda

  • Gecko Segno

    I used to believe that those super-vitamin tablets would cure my cold. Really, I hated being sick so much that I would try anything. And they were so disgusting! I gagged every time I drank the dissolved tablets. You’d think they could at least make them taste nice! Then I learned that they’re no better than placebo, and if I wanted placebo I could at least be taking something that tasted better and costed less. (Though, that would affect the placebo response.) Well now I just take regular medicine and maybe that throat-numbing spray (just because it’s exciting!) Bermuda

  • Sven

    I used to believe that evolution was generally unproven, and that it was basically an untested hypothesis.  This belief remains very widespread among most of the people I know.

    Of course, the more I looked at the material, the more obvious it was that evolution is one of the most evident concepts in all of observed science, and insights gained from understanding evolution have revolutionized the field of Biology.

    Also Bermuda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Francis-Montes-de-Oca/100000177616186 Francis Montes de Oca

    I use to believe in fairies… Strangely enough, they made much more sense to me as a child than the religious icons, Santa, and the Easter bunny. However, I never felt they contacted humans in any way (like the tooth fairy, for example) but were more wild and free, minding their own business, living happily and discretely in the forests. I use to wish that when I died, I would reincarnate into a fairy myself. I never shared any of this with anyone however, as my family is strictly religious. Even to this day it’s still nice to think about how my mind use to wander, and it helps me see why my family refuses to leave that state of mind with their own beliefs.

    Bermuda.

  • Laura W.

    I was not raised in a particularly religious household, but I used to believe fervently in heaven. I’m not sure why, exactly, since I never believed in gods. I guess I’ll just have to chalk that up to cognitive dissonance.

    Anyway, when I was 13 years old an older cousin (let’s call her Amy) with whom I was very close died of cystic fibrosis. She was a wonderful, kind, caring person who always had a smile on her face, even when she was terribly sick. And she’d been sick her whole life, of course. Maybe that’s why I never believed in gods — because how could a supposedly caring god strike someone so fundamentally good with a disease that’s so fundamentally awful? I remember being at the funeral and hearing my religious aunts and uncles and other cousins talk about how she was in heaven. And at the time, it comforted me a little bit.

    Just a few short years later, another older cousin (Alice, let’s say) with whom I was very close died in a horrible car accident with a drunk driver. Amy’s death was anticipated; life expectancy for CF patients in the ’70s and ’80s was sadly short. Alice’s death was sudden and tragic. At her funeral, I heard my aunts and uncles and cousins talk about how Alice would be okay, because “Amy was with her.” And I didn’t find it comforting anymore. In fact, I found it morbid and even selfish. I realized that they couldn’t know that for sure. They were saying it to comfort themselves — and especially Alice’s Mom, who was grief-stricken to the point of being unable to function.

    Twenty years later, she’s still somewhat debilitated. She still has a shrine of sorts to Alice in her home, and she lights candles and prays over it every morning and evening. She talks about someday being reunited with Alice, and how wonderful that day will be. At some point it hit me that people who believe that strongly in heaven are so death-obsessed that they don’t really live their lives to the fullest. They are just waiting to die. It’s very sad.

    Bermuda.

  • Vukota

    I used to believe in ghosts and actually thought I saw one on a hiking trail one day. I was so convinced that I emailed the trail website owner to tell them. Never got a response and I’m still pretty mortified that I did so. Bermuda.

    • Bill the Splut

      I was on a trail late one night, and some bicyclist there became convinced that I was a ghost, despite my claims to the contrary. Okay, maybe assuming that he was joking about it and initially going “Yeah, I’m a ghost, WOOOOO!” with “spooky” jazz hands didn’t help. When he saw some other people on the tail, he raced away, fearfully calling to them.

  • Vukota

    I used to believe in ghosts and actually thought I saw one on a hiking trail one day. I was so convinced that I emailed the trail website owner to tell them. Never got a response and I’m still pretty mortified that I did so. Bermuda.

  • Michael Dietsch

    I used to believe that Atlantis was real, and sometimes I still think it would be fun if it were. Oh, and I believed in, and had nightmares about, the Bermuda Triangle. Bermuda!

  • Michael Dietsch

    I used to believe that Atlantis was real, and sometimes I still think it would be fun if it were. Oh, and I believed in, and had nightmares about, the Bermuda Triangle. Bermuda!

  • Annie

    I’ve believed in many silly things over the years.  When my infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I begged one of her doctors to just load me up with all the chemo and let me breastfeed the cancer away.  Even though I now know I only recommended such a thing because I was delirious with fear, I still blush just thinking about it.

    Bermuda.

  • Annie

    I’ve believed in many silly things over the years.  When my infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I begged one of her doctors to just load me up with all the chemo and let me breastfeed the cancer away.  Even though I now know I only recommended such a thing because I was delirious with fear, I still blush just thinking about it.

    Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    I used to very strongly believe in reincarnation. To me, it was just what seemed to be the logical and natural progression of life. I used to want to go to a psychic and find out what my past lives had been, I never did though- despite my being naive, I still didn’t trust people that much.

    I guess what led me away from believing that was when I finally concluded that if God doesn’t exist, then souls don’t exist. If souls don’t exist, then we are definitively dead when we die. And I’ve learned to be okay with that.

    Bermuda

  • Silo Mowbray

    I used to believe Tarot cards could show you the future. I was foolishly convinced by a “psychic” who seemed to know things about me she shouldn’t. Then one day I read “Why People Believe Weird Things” by Michael Shermer. It took some time, during which I subjected my worldview to some significant mental contortions, but I finally relented and admitted to myself that psychics aren’t, and Tarot cards are simply very interesting.

    Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    So… yes, I’m going to talk about how I used to believe in Jesus, but not in the way you might think.  When I was younger I used to believe in Jesus… very literally.  I went to an Assemblies of God run school for Kindergarten and they always told us that Jesus was everywhere, watching over us.  I used to try to catch him in the act.  I would be walking and then I would spin around ninja-like to try and catch him watching me.  I always thought that Jesus was a fast fucker to get out of the way every time.  I never did catch that guy….  Bermuda

    • Drew M.

      I love this!

    • Chakolate

      Oh, you made me laugh out loud.  I can just see your little five-year-old self, always on the alert. 

  • Alice

    I used to believe in just about everything that a person can believe in, but one of the most silly was that we only use, as humans, 10% of our brain and if I could just concentrate hard enough, I could do all sorts of super-human stuff like make objects float or will something into happening. I also believed that if you just prayed hard enough you wouldn’t ever be disappointed and felt that if I forgot to pray at night and then something bad happened, it was entirely my fault.

    Bermuda

  • Alice

    I used to believe in just about everything that a person can believe in, but one of the most silly was that we only use, as humans, 10% of our brain and if I could just concentrate hard enough, I could do all sorts of super-human stuff like make objects float or will something into happening. I also believed that if you just prayed hard enough you wouldn’t ever be disappointed and felt that if I forgot to pray at night and then something bad happened, it was entirely my fault.

    Bermuda

  • Alice

    I used to believe in just about everything that a person can believe in, but one of the most silly was that we only use, as humans, 10% of our brain and if I could just concentrate hard enough, I could do all sorts of super-human stuff like make objects float or will something into happening. I also believed that if you just prayed hard enough you wouldn’t ever be disappointed and felt that if I forgot to pray at night and then something bad happened, it was entirely my fault.

    Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/insectpins Mitch Grenier

    As generic as it sounds, I used to have a highly held belief that abortion was wrong any way shape or form. It wasn’t even due to religion, this was just what I believed.

    While I still morally oppose it, in most cases anyway, I’m still pro-choice and respect that a woman should be in control of her body.

    bermuda.

  • http://twitter.com/insectpins Mitch Grenier

    As generic as it sounds, I used to have a highly held belief that abortion was wrong any way shape or form. It wasn’t even due to religion, this was just what I believed.

    While I still morally oppose it, in most cases anyway, I’m still pro-choice and respect that a woman should be in control of her body.

    bermuda.

  • http://eskeptrical.blogspot.com/ Eskeptrical Engineer

    I used to totally believe that acupuncture could work. I  didn’t actually use it, but I knew a lot of people who did, and it struck me as plausible for some reason.

    After reading the posts on acupuncture over at Respectful Insolence, I realized that the bulk of evidence indicates that acupuncture doesn’t work.

    Bermuda!

  • Steve

    I had a weird transition from Christian to Atheist. After I dropped God, I believed that we are all part of the universe in that it was a conscious entity that had split itself into many parts to understand itself and when we die, we rejoin the collective whole of it. Also after you die, you can fly all around the universe to discover anything you wanted.

    Bermuda

  • Steve

    I had a weird transition from Christian to Atheist. After I dropped God, I believed that we are all part of the universe in that it was a conscious entity that had split itself into many parts to understand itself and when we die, we rejoin the collective whole of it. Also after you die, you can fly all around the universe to discover anything you wanted.

    Bermuda

  • Steve

    I had a weird transition from Christian to Atheist. After I dropped God, I believed that we are all part of the universe in that it was a conscious entity that had split itself into many parts to understand itself and when we die, we rejoin the collective whole of it. Also after you die, you can fly all around the universe to discover anything you wanted.

    Bermuda

  • Steve

    I had a weird transition from Christian to Atheist. After I dropped God, I believed that we are all part of the universe in that it was a conscious entity that had split itself into many parts to understand itself and when we die, we rejoin the collective whole of it. Also after you die, you can fly all around the universe to discover anything you wanted.

    Bermuda

  • Bill the Splut

    When I was 5, I used to believe that the reason earthworms came out in the rain was because they liked to play in the water. I grabbed a bunch and threw them in the storm sewer, and see how happily they danced in the water!  The dancing made them tired and they all took naps.

    The next day, they were still sleeping…um, no, they were dead. Drowned by me. I felt pretty bad when I figured it out.

    Bermuda!

  • Bill the Splut

    When I was 5, I used to believe that the reason earthworms came out in the rain was because they liked to play in the water. I grabbed a bunch and threw them in the storm sewer, and see how happily they danced in the water!  The dancing made them tired and they all took naps.

    The next day, they were still sleeping…um, no, they were dead. Drowned by me. I felt pretty bad when I figured it out.

    Bermuda!

  • Bill the Splut

    When I was 5, I used to believe that the reason earthworms came out in the rain was because they liked to play in the water. I grabbed a bunch and threw them in the storm sewer, and see how happily they danced in the water!  The dancing made them tired and they all took naps.

    The next day, they were still sleeping…um, no, they were dead. Drowned by me. I felt pretty bad when I figured it out.

    Bermuda!

  • http://twitter.com/liberalanon Formerly Not Guilty

    since you dont have your seemingly standard “sorry, no Canadians”  I’ll reply!

    I used to think Friendly Atheist didnt like Canadians. Oh wait, I mean…

    I used to think as a healthy young adult, I didnt need to get the flu vaccine. i also thought it did more harm then good. Now i know from reading that excerpt that my thoughts werent much better than parent anti-vaxxers!

    importantly, it occurs to me that my boyfriend’s god-daughter is allergic to eggs and may not be able to be vaccinated because of that allergy and that if i dont get vaccinated i could get *her* sick!
    Bermuda!

  • http://twitter.com/liberalanon Formerly Not Guilty

    since you dont have your seemingly standard “sorry, no Canadians”  I’ll reply!

    I used to think Friendly Atheist didnt like Canadians. Oh wait, I mean…

    I used to think as a healthy young adult, I didnt need to get the flu vaccine. i also thought it did more harm then good. Now i know from reading that excerpt that my thoughts werent much better than parent anti-vaxxers!

    importantly, it occurs to me that my boyfriend’s god-daughter is allergic to eggs and may not be able to be vaccinated because of that allergy and that if i dont get vaccinated i could get *her* sick!
    Bermuda!

  • http://twitter.com/liberalanon Formerly Not Guilty

    since you dont have your seemingly standard “sorry, no Canadians”  I’ll reply!

    I used to think Friendly Atheist didnt like Canadians. Oh wait, I mean…

    I used to think as a healthy young adult, I didnt need to get the flu vaccine. i also thought it did more harm then good. Now i know from reading that excerpt that my thoughts werent much better than parent anti-vaxxers!

    importantly, it occurs to me that my boyfriend’s god-daughter is allergic to eggs and may not be able to be vaccinated because of that allergy and that if i dont get vaccinated i could get *her* sick!
    Bermuda!

  • Kristopher

    I used to believe that my experiences shaped events far removed from me.  For instance, I would learn a new word, and soon after I’d encounter it on television or overhear it in public.  I believed that the word was now being used, or used more frequently, because I’d learned it.  Other experiences worked similarly;  I’d told a lie at school, and so  TV shows and my library books had something to do with lying.  These coincidences happened frequently enough that I began to expect them.  Of course, when I expected them and looked for them, I found them more and more often.

    I was cured of this false belief when I heard an adult describe feeling the same way, and I thought it sounded crazy.  She had seen a movie, and the main character’s mother had died, and the mother shared the same first name as her own mother who also died, and, as she put it, “What are the odds of that?”  So, “someone out there” was sending her a message.  I realized she was disturbingly wrong, and after a while I connected her error to my own. 
    Bermuda

  • Kristopher

    I used to believe that my experiences shaped events far removed from me.  For instance, I would learn a new word, and soon after I’d encounter it on television or overhear it in public.  I believed that the word was now being used, or used more frequently, because I’d learned it.  Other experiences worked similarly;  I’d told a lie at school, and so  TV shows and my library books had something to do with lying.  These coincidences happened frequently enough that I began to expect them.  Of course, when I expected them and looked for them, I found them more and more often.

    I was cured of this false belief when I heard an adult describe feeling the same way, and I thought it sounded crazy.  She had seen a movie, and the main character’s mother had died, and the mother shared the same first name as her own mother who also died, and, as she put it, “What are the odds of that?”  So, “someone out there” was sending her a message.  I realized she was disturbingly wrong, and after a while I connected her error to my own. 
    Bermuda

  • Kristopher

    I used to believe that my experiences shaped events far removed from me.  For instance, I would learn a new word, and soon after I’d encounter it on television or overhear it in public.  I believed that the word was now being used, or used more frequently, because I’d learned it.  Other experiences worked similarly;  I’d told a lie at school, and so  TV shows and my library books had something to do with lying.  These coincidences happened frequently enough that I began to expect them.  Of course, when I expected them and looked for them, I found them more and more often.

    I was cured of this false belief when I heard an adult describe feeling the same way, and I thought it sounded crazy.  She had seen a movie, and the main character’s mother had died, and the mother shared the same first name as her own mother who also died, and, as she put it, “What are the odds of that?”  So, “someone out there” was sending her a message.  I realized she was disturbingly wrong, and after a while I connected her error to my own. 
    Bermuda

  • Steve Ahern

    Any coincidence of a child’s happy behavior and snacktime means that the old ‘sugar-high’ is at it again. Even adults will abstain from candy or sugary drinks because they think they will feel the jitters. Turns out that there is no link between hyperactivity and sugar consumption. In fact, ingestion of dietary sugars may even lead to a slight sedentary effect.

    I learned these and other facts from reading about science in Joe Schwarcz’s popular science books, specifically “An Apple A Day”. It was awesome taking chemistry classes under him at McGill University.

    I loved Guy P. Harrison’s first 50 reasons book, and require his next one. Bermuda.

    • Al2wilk

      About 10 years ago, my son’s Kindergarten teacher told me that she considered parents who sent sugary snacks to school with their children to be abusive.  I had already done the research into the link (nonexistent) between sugar and hyperactivity, and I informed her that not only did she need to do some reading herself about sugar and kids, but she needed to read about what kinds of horrible things are actually done to children before she starts throwing out accusations of abuse about sugar.  She shut up real fast.  Some people like to express a lot of ignorant opinions until someone challenges them.

  • hexwench

    I used to fervently believe in the Tooth Fairy. I had a little pillow with a pocket on the front to put the tooth in, and when I woke up there was always a quarter where the tooth had been! I even believed she looked like Tinkerbell, but had stronger wings because she had to haul around a sack of children’s teeth all night before going home. One morning I awoke early, checked the pocket – and the tooth was still there. I pretended to go back to sleep until my mother came in quietly, then I opened my eyes . She picked up the pillow and said “Let’s see what the Tooth Fairy brought you!” and tried, unsuccessfully, to slip change into the pocket without making any noise, without me seeing her do it. 

    I told her I didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy anymore that day, and haven’t believed in anything that I couldn’t see happen right in front of me (or could be proven by scientific means) since.

    Bermuda!!!

  • Bob Mabry

    I used to think that one could get one’s hands on a single reliable original text of every book in the bible. Now I know about the Masoretes, etc. Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/KenNardone Ken Nardone

    I used to believe in the story of Noah’s Ark. As I kid I imagined that I was on the ark with all the animals and my job was to feed them. For some reason, the lions and tigers ate hey like the horses. I never thought about an animal eating another animal until I got older and watched Nat Geo on TV. Now I realize how rediculous the whole story is and it really doen’t have any meaning or moral to it! There’s no reason for believing in such a stupid story. I’m outraged that KY is giving a tax break to the Bible amusement park that is featuring a Noah’s Ark. The whole thing is crazy.

    Bermuda.

  • Crodley

    When I was a teenager (many years ago) I thought that some UFOs were aliens come to visit us and that someday our civilization would resemble Star Trek with interplanetary travel commonplace. 

    Then I read a devastating chapter in Isaac Asimov’s book “Exploring the Earth and Cosmos.”  In that chapter he broke down why the odds of us EVER seeing aliens from another world are so extremely small.  He stated we can’t go the vast distances to see aliens because of X, but if someday would could conquer X, then we still can’t because of Y, and if someday we could conquer Y, then we still can’t because of Z, but if we could get around Z then…and so on.  The believing in Santa Claus part of me was devastated, but the wanting to learn more truths about the universe part of me begrudgingly realized that the facts are the facts.  As depressing as this knowledge was, I knew I was better off knowing than not knowing.Bermuda!!!

  • Autumn

    Growing up fundamentalist Catholic, I used to believe in what was basically the Catholic Rapture.  It doesn’t involved flying into the sky in your birthday suit, however. 

    According to the very-much-lesser-known Prophecies of St. Malachi, lots of kooky fundie Catholics are theorizing that Pope Benny will be the penultimate pope.  Once he kicks it, the next pope, referred to as “Peter the Roman,” will be the last of the popes.  This means that, supposedly, this will usher in “The Warning.”  At 3:00pm Jerusalem time on the appointed day, every person in the world will see a vision of Jesus on the cross.  He will show you every bad thing that you have ever done, ever, regardless of age or mitigating circumstances.  He’ll make sure you know what a horrible little worm you are, and how you must beg for forgiveness.  Then he’ll tell you to stay indoors and not go out, because what follows the Warning is the Three Days of Darkness (TM). 

    During this period, the sun, moon and stars will go completely black.  Electric lights, generators, even candles, all of them won’t work.  The only thing that will give off any light are beeswax candles blessed by a priest (but only a good Catholic one, none of those Vatican II impostors).  So everyone in the world will hunker down in the dark for three days straight, fasting and praying, while demons roam the streets, knocking on doors and impersonating loved ones.  If a person is stupid enough to open the door despite their holy hallucination of the Great Guilt-Tripper, then they and all in the house will be torn to ribbons by demons and sent to Hell forever.  And if you’re homeless, I guess.

    After all the non-believers/spiritually weak/homeless are scourged from the streets, the sun will return and there will be complete and total Peace on Earth (TM) for one generation.  Then, when the current generation has kids and they grow up and, having not experienced the divine flagellation for themselves, start being sinful little shits again, that’s when GodJesus flips the table over and decides to clean house by going all Revelation on us.  That’s when the Tribulation starts, with the Antichrist and the Whore of Babylon and all the jazz.

    Up until quite recently, I lived in absolute fear that this would happen in my lifetime.  Too bad I didn’t have these books a bit sooner; I would have saved myself an ulcer or two!

    Aaaaruba, Jamaica, ooh, I wanna take you to BERMUDA, Bahama, come on pretty mama….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707951293 Kieran Cluchey-Beattie

    I was raised in a non-religious household and I am also an only child. I doubt this is a unique belief to my circumstances nor to just me alone. I sincerely thought there was little or no suffering anywhere in the world; I also thought that people were considered perfectly equal all over the planet and had never been otherwise. I suppose this could be called childhood naivity. I believed these things because I had never experienced them.
     
    Anyways, these beliefs gradually faded away as I grew older and learned that women’s rights, ethnic rights, gay rights, etc… were only granted in Canada (and elsewhere) within the last century and a half or so, and they still aren’t granted everywhere. I have always seen everyone as equal to me and never less or greater. The dates that these groups were granted equal rights seemed only yesterday in the time that humanity had been writing down history. Suffice to say, I was horrified that people discriminated others based on gender, sexuality, skin colour, belief,… I still am and always will be.

    Being an atheist, I have felt discrimination. I only hope to resolve as much suffering in the world because of discrimination (and other causes of suffering) as I possibly can. No one deserves it. Bermuda.

  • Autumn

    Ooh, bollocks, I forgot to add why I don’t believe in the Warning anymore.  Anecdote II: The Doting!

    Early last year, I came out to my parents as bi.  I had fallen in love with my best friend, a wonderful, smart, lovely woman, and I was sick of sneaking around.  At the time, I still considered myself a Catholic, thinking it was only the social teachings of the Church that were in error.  I told my mother that it didn’t matter that I was gay; God still loved me.  She replied that he didn’t, but only loved those who fear and obey him.  And by “him” she meant “the Catholic Church.” 

    I was outraged.  How dare she say that God didn’t love me?  God loved everyone!  God was love!  I would show her!  I was going to go read through the Bible, and I show her that God loved me, so THERE!  HA!

    This backfired in two ways: 1) My mom is a fundie Catholic, so the Bible doesn’t mean bupkis to her, and 2) the Bible really does prove that God doesn’t love everyone, and that he’s a total dick to boot!  A little queasy at what I had discovered, and not just in the Old Testament, I did more research and, over the next few months, lost my faith.  It’s hard to believe in the Warning when you don’t believe in Jesus anymore.  As a result, I sleep better at night, I’m planning for the future, and I’m saving up for a wedding!  Thanks be to reason!

    Bermuda, take 2.  ACTION!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angus.bohanon Angus Bohanon

    I used to believe that young-earth creationists, literal biblical believers, and the like were a small minority, like the “time cube” people or people who thought they’d been abducted by UFOs.  Turns out there are a hell of a lot of them out there.

    Bermuda.

  • http://twitter.com/jes3ica Jessica Franken

    I’m with Nick. I still have to consciously remind myself that being out in cold, wet weather without a hat doesn’t mean you’ll catch a cold.

    Also, Bermuda.

  • Aaron Harmon

    I used to think I could levitate because I had some very convincing dreams where I did. However, I could never seem to pull it off at will. I kept remembering levitating, but it just never worked when I wanted to do it.
    Bermuda

  • Weareoursisterskeeper

    I was raised in a Christian home, and for my whole life I was taught about God and to believe in him. As I got older, I began questioning how a so-called loving God could allow some things to take place. We have free will I was told, but that didn’t explain why things, that were out of there hands, happened to children and adults who lived their lives in service (and financial support) of “God”. Then I ran across something called critical thinking, and learned how to question..really question…things that were told to me. After weighing the evidence I came to the conclusion that from everything I can see there was no Heaven/Hell or God/Satan.

    Do I leave my mind open that I’ve missed something and could be wrong? Yes. I also, know that there is a chance that a piece of an asteroid could come barrelling toward the earth, hit me, and kill me…but the chances of that happening are so slim that it’s not even worth considering. Bermuda

  • Xeon2000

    When I was a pre-teen I believed in astral projection.  I would find elaborate tutorials on the mid-90s internet and try to follow the instructions in order to astrally project myself.  I never had any success, but I did manage a nice nap on a couple occasions.  Bermuda.

  • Sara M.

    When I was little I thought a honeymoon was when God took you and your husband to the moon. Bermuda.

  • Cade Kachelmeier

    II unfortunately used to believe telekinesis was possible. I was full of the worst kind of woo back then. Bermuda

  • Michael Appleman

    This is kinda funny…
    When I was a kid, whenever my dad would fart he would jokingly blame it on ‘the dog’ even when there was no dog. For some reason this caused me to believe that dogs didn’t fart.

    FYI Dogs can soooo fart.

    Bermuda

  • Shannon Kish

    I used to believe in karma. 

    Bermuda

  • werdna_nabur

    As much as it pains me to say this, I used to believe that homosexuality was wrong. Primarily because of my religious upbringing, I was taught growing up to “love the sinner and hate the sin”. Meeting people who are homosexual, realizing the awful effects of homophobia, and my progressive abandonment of religious myths, led me realize that I was wrong. I have since apologized to my gay friends and consider myself to be a proud GLBTQ activist!

    Bermuda :)

  • Harrison

    I used to be a firm believer in ghosts… because I had an “experience” with one. Back when I was in elementary school, I wake up one night and can’t move. Next to me, I see the figure of a boy sitting on my bed. I watch, the figure slowly disappears, and once it’s gone I can move again. So there we go, ghosts exist.

    Except when I was older, I stumbled across “sleep paralysis”. Reading up on it, I realized that what I had experienced fit it exactly. And that was that, my experience had an explanation that didn’t involve ghosts, so I no longer had a reason to believe in them.

    Bermuda

  • usclat

    Look, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. And I believe I’ll have another! Ah, a nice cold one before the NFC Championship game (Go niners!). Hey, I may be atheist but I still love a great game of football. [The other kind of football too, ... Go ManU!]. Oh, Bermuda!!

  • AshtaraSilunar

    My parents took me to a homeopathic doctor when I was little, and I believed that helped for several years before I wised up. 

    Bermuda.

  • Shana

    I used to believe that all adults were intelligent/wise/smart, simply because they had lived longer than me. What a sad, sad day it was when I realized this was not the case and that, in fact, many adults are quite stupid. 

    Bermuda.

  • Mia

    Until a few months ago I thought that narwhals were a mythological creature. This may have been because the only images I had ever seen were drawn, not photos, or perhaps because they were always accompanied by the description “unicorns of the sea” or “legendary”.

    Then I saw a group of Inuits hunting narwhal on a documentary. First, my mind was blown because they were freaking real. Have you seen narwhals? THOSE. EXIST. Secondly, my emotions immediately plummeted because just a moment after I registered their sudden and miraculous existence, they were speared. I was shocked. I felt as though I were watching the last of an endangered species killed. Turns out they’re totally not, but it took me a while to research them because I had to first say it aloud 3,492 times while my husband rolled his eyes. “NARWHALS EXIST? Narwhals. Exist. NARWHALS.”

    Freaking narwhals, man. And I never even wondered.

    • Mia

      I forgot… Bermuda.

    • SwimsWithSharks

      I love this. XD

    • Elaine

      Dude, I love you.

  • BinaryStar

    Okay, there are two
    things that I once believed that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned thus
    far.

     

    The first was blasphemy.
    I spent a week during the summer of ’89 terrified that I had somehow, in some
    inadvertent way, blasphemed the Holy Spirit, which, according to my
    fellow-churchgoers, was the one UNFORGIVABLE sin. I can clearly recall poring
    over the passages in the Bible that covered the issue, nearly in a cold sweat,
    fearful for the fate of my immortal soul but hoping to find some verse that
    would exonerate me of a crime that I wasn’t even certain I’d committed in the
    first place. I don’t know what brought this particular episode on, but it
    passed as quickly as it came, although I would still have brief episodes during
    the following years wherein I feared I’d done the unthinkable.

     

    The second thing I believed
    in–with even greater fervor than the first–was demon possession. I was
    completely TERRIFIED by the possibility until my late teens. Having been
    raised Baptist, I was always one to take anything I was told to heart (i.e., I
    was  gullible). And one thing that shook me to the core was the thought of
    a demon taking hold of my body. It didn’t necessarily have to involve a
    situation as horrific as that in “The Exorcist,” either (which, I
    must admit here, I didn’t even watch all the way through until I was 21, having
    by that point finally shed enough baggage from my religious upbringing to not
    fear nightmares or other repercussions as a consequence). As a very quiet, shy
    person, I actually had occasional fears that a demon would decide to possess my
    body at a very inopportune time or place, such as at a social gathering, in
    order to simply humiliate me by making me say or do something mortifying to an
    awkward, introverted teen. Yes, it was that specific and ridiculous.

     

    I am now an atheist. Furthermore,
    I’m living proof of the needless mental anguish that intense religious
    belief–and the indoctrination that makes it possible–can
    inflict.  That’s why, now that I’ve fully embraced my unbelief, I equate
    religion with slavery of the mind. And although as a white man I can’t speak to
    the first part of her statement, I can wholeheartedly agree with the latter
    half of the late actress Butterfly McQueen’s famous line, “As my ancestors
    are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.” Amen to
    that.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    The way I see it, some people are just prone to believing in conspiracy theories. They want to believe there’s some grand conspiracy at work so badly, that they will eschew any scientific evidence that proves otherwise, and treat the conspiracy like some kind of dogma. It’s often a replacement for religion for them.

    Somebody I know is so intent on believing things like 9/11 being an inside job, vaccine preservatives being purposefully harmful to us, etc. that she ignores any attempts I make at arguing these points scientifically. It’s a dogmatic system of beliefs in the minds of people like her, where they refuse to listen to reason.

    She’ll say things like, “Oh, aluminum is harmful when ingested, vaccines use aluminum-based products in their preservatives, and they know it, so they are harming children on purpose!” Wild logical fallacies bring them to the point where they’re hysterical about harm being done to their child(ren), and they see it as a valid, genuine threat that they must fight. (Never mind the fact that aluminum is harmful when ingested through the skin, and the trace amounts in vaccination preservatives are so minuscule that they’re harmless.)

    Any arguments to the contrary is, in their eyes, just what “they” want you to think. It’s nigh tin-foil-hat-wearing lunacy, the way some of these people think.

    Bermuda

  • Guest

    Okay, there are two things that I once believed that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned thus far.

    The first was blasphemy. I spent a week during the summer of ’89 terrified that I had somehow, in some inadvertent way, blasphemed the Holy Spirit, which, according to my fellow-churchgoers, was the one UNFORGIVABLE sin. I can clearly recall poring over the passages in the Bible that covered the issue, nearly in a cold sweat, fearful for the fate of my immortal soul but hoping to find some verse that would exonerate me of a crime that I wasn’t even certain I’d committed in the first place. I don’t know what brought this particular episode on, but it passed as quickly as it came, although I would still have brief episodes during the following years wherein I feared I’d done the unthinkable.

    The second thing I believed in–with even greater fervor than the first–was demon possession. I was completely TERRIFIED by the possibility until my late teens. Having been raised Baptist, I was always one to take anything I was told to heart (i.e., I was  gullible). And one thing that shook me to the core was the thought of a demon taking hold of my body. It didn’t necessarily have to involve a situation as horrific as that in “The Exorcist,” either (which, I must admit here, I didn’t even watch all the way through until I was 21, having by that point finally shed enough baggage from my religious upbringing to not fear nightmares or other repercussions as a consequence). As a very quiet, shy person, I actually had occasional fears that a demon would decide to possess my body at a very inopportune time or place, such as at a social gathering, in order to simply humiliate me by making me say or do
    something mortifying to an awkward, introverted teen. Yes, it was that specific and ridiculous.

    I am now an atheist. Furthermore, I’m living proof of the needless mental anguish that intense religious belief–and the indoctrination that makes it possible–can inflict.  That’s why, now that I’ve fully embraced my unbelief, I equate religion with slavery of the mind. And although as a white man I can’t speak to the first part of her statement, I can wholeheartedly agree with the latter half of the late actress Butterfly McQueen’s famous line, “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.” Amen to that. (Bermuda, too.)

  • BinaryStar

    Okay, there are two things that I once believed that I
    don’t think anyone else has mentioned thus far.

    The first was blasphemy. I spent a week during the
    summer of ’89 terrified that I had somehow, in some inadvertent way, blasphemed
    the Holy Spirit, which, according to my fellow-churchgoers, was the one
    UNFORGIVABLE sin. I can clearly recall poring over the passages in the Bible
    that covered the issue, nearly in a cold sweat, fearful for the fate of my
    immortal soul but hoping to find some verse that would exonerate me of a crime
    that I wasn’t even certain I’d committed in the first place. I don’t know what
    brought this particular episode on, but it passed as quickly as it came,
    although I would still have brief episodes during the following years wherein I
    feared I’d done the unthinkable.

    The second thing I believed in–with even greater
    fervor than the first–was demon possession. I was completely TERRIFIED by
    the possibility until my late teens. Having been raised Baptist, I was
    always one to take anything I was told to heart (i.e., I was  gullible).
    And one thing that shook me to the core was the thought of a demon taking hold
    of my body. It didn’t necessarily have to involve a situation as horrific as
    that in “The Exorcist,” either (which, I must admit here, I didn’t
    even watch all the way through until I was 21, having by that point finally
    shed enough baggage from my religious upbringing to not fear nightmares or
    other repercussions as a consequence). As a very quiet, shy person, I actually
    had occasional fears that a demon would decide to possess my body at a very
    inopportune time or place, such as at a social gathering, in order to simply
    humiliate me by making me say or do something mortifying to an awkward,
    introverted teen. Yes, it was that specific and ridiculous.

    I am now an atheist. Furthermore, I’m living proof of
    the needless mental anguish that intense religious belief–and the
    indoctrination that makes it possible–can inflict.  That’s why, now
    that I’ve fully embraced my unbelief, I equate religion with slavery of the
    mind. And although as a white man I can’t speak to the first part of her
    statement, I can wholeheartedly agree with the latter half of the late actress
    Butterfly McQueen’s famous line, “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I
    am free from the slavery of religion.” Amen to that. (Bermuda, too.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Masters-Hiatt/1089954620 Elizabeth Masters Hiatt

    I used to believe that if something was natural it was better. If I was sick I would go to the natural health store and buy some foul concoction of plant extracts and drink it faithfully, swearing that it made me get better faster. It didn’t, and the taste made me feel sicker, but by golly I believed. Bermuda.

  • baronvoncarson

    As I hit my teens I became a bit more sceptical of things, due to my love of science, but around 10-13 I used to think that maybe life was like a virtual reality game, and when you died it ended up being aliens that were playing us like a video game. Or beings from another universe/dimension. It was pretty kooky. I guess it’s how I handled death at the time, thinking that once you die, it just  turns out you were playing a VR game. Admittedly this was the mid 90′s, so things were a lot different then. :P

    Bermuda.

  • Anonymous

    I used to believe I would be employed and working throughout my life until reaching the “retirement age” of 65, then probably collecting Social Security, if I lived that long. Then I was laid off from where I worked for nearly 20 years at age 40 and ever since, I really haven’t recovered to find a sustainable form of employment. I also once believed I would meet a compatible, attractive woman, get married, have kids, own a house, aka, “The American Dream”. It didn’t work out that way.
    Bermuda

  • Drew M.

    I used to believe in ghosts pretty bad, especially La Llorona since I used to hear her wailing on hot summer nights. My friends and I would go ghost hunting in houses and near rivers and bridges, in the case of La Llorona. All and all, it was pretty fun and even though we never saw anything, I still believed since I still heard La Llorona crying at night.

    Then, one night while camping, I heard her again. One of the kids in the group said, something like, “Oooh. A coyote’s chasing something!”  /facepalm.

    Bermuda.

  • Phillip Moon

    I held a strong belief in ESP. When I turned 13, I started studying ESP and other elements of “mental powers”, and continued to do so through my first year as an atheist (age 25). The thing is, I felt that evidence was still needed to warrant such a belief, and even though I had yet to prove it, I couldn’t just let it go. You see, ESP and other aspects of the paranormal were part of what made it possible for me to continue to believe in a life after death. 

    If these powers existed, it could be a tie to being able to survive the physical death experience, and I just didn’t want to let that go. But as I had with religion, I ultimately did with ESP; science won. All the arguments for ESP fell one after the other just as the religious arguments for gods did. It didn’t hurt that I was involved in many secular and skeptic groups at the time. ESP isn’t a real phenomenon and after a year, I gave up life after death. Science won out.

    Bermuda. 

  • Daniel Krull

    I used to believe that Creationism was a verifiable truth, and that evolution was completely false (thank you, conservative Christian upbringing). My path to enlightenment on this issue did come in the form of atheism, as when I stopped following religion I started using my brain, which allowed me to discover the truth.. :) Bermuda

  • Alchemist

    I used to believe that human beings were not supposed to eat meat because we have a long intestinal track when compared to carnivores and thus meat passing through humans was “rotten”.
    Then one evening I was watching a doco on the evolution of man and saw that one of the key drivers of our larger brains was an increasing consumption of protien in the form of scavenged meat.
    Given this obvious benefit to our success as a species it became blindingly obvious that meat eating did us no harm, but rather, provided us with many nutritional benefits. Bermuda

  • Anonymous

    If there could be said to be anything like a life-long skeptic I once
    believed myself to be just that person. Dour and argumentative as a
    child I easily abandoned any faith in magical thinking (including
    Christianity) at a very young age; helped along by my older brother who
    felt compelled to disabuse me of any silly ideas about Santa Claus or
    faeries when I was very little (probably more out of an urge to be mean
    than to be really helpful, still it worked).

    However, for longer than I care to admit, I conceived of, did not
    articulate to anyone, though certainly fervently believed in something
    that I would later understand to be the religious idea of ‘karma’. I
    believed that my actions created other actions and that these actions
    rebounded upon me in ways both good and bad. Actually as a very small
    child who had never been introduced to eastern religious ideas I
    concocted the idea of some sort of life-long karmic bank ~ probably
    confabulated from Christian ideas of sin and Santa Claus and his list.

    Not only did I believe in this cosmic laundry list; I believed that
    various actions that I took or did not take affected events far from my
    own world. For example I believed that if I held off on eating treats
    for an afternoon that a child in some distant land would have more to
    eat. I was very concerned about the needs of others and the plight of
    those in want and I actually thought that if I conducted myself a
    certain way it would effect their fates. I believed that if I stole or
    lied then I would certainly pay for that with disease or fatal accident
    and guilt over even small misdemeanors was mingled with fear because I
    thought the whole system was very logical and inescapable.

    Furthermore I believed myself to be intellectually superior to other
    people by having figured this out. It seemed completely obvious to me.

    Life lived, experience and knowledge of events happening to other people
    and to myself both obviously unjust and obviously unrelated to prior
    acts ~ good or bad ~ caused this structured internal belief system to
    simply fall away. With the collapse of this belief structure and my
    realization that I was clinging to it and that it was just another form
    of magical thinking I was lead to the realization that I had not been
    such a logical thinker all along. This lead me to have more sympathy and
    understanding for others and their need for artificial explanations for
    life phenomena and simultaneously to a truly liberating freedom from
    the vestiges of that artificial ideological world.

    Bermuda.

  • Gordon Duffy

    I used to believe in the ideas of Daaniken…. very embarassing. I eventually realised there was a difference between “wanting something to be true” and it “actually being true”

    bermuda

  • Scott Jowett

    I used to be anti-nuke thinking that nuclear reactors were inherently dangerous and that no solution would ever be found for nuclear waste. I later amended that as I came to believe that nuclear power plants could probably be run safely but that governments and corporations were too incompetent and corrupt to trust with them. Also that they were just too damned expensive and took money away from alternative energy research.

    While I still believe them to be dangerous, I’ve since been reading articles  by nuclear proponents in the George Monbiot and Stewart Brand in the Guardian and the New York Times. Not only does it seem that the effects of radiation from nuclear power plants on human health have been grossly exagerated but that coal plants, which are replacing nuclear, are a much greater risk to human health as well as environmental well being of the planet. Not only do coal plants greatly exacerbate the risk of climate change but also spew massive amounts of heavy radioactive metals like uranium, thorium and pottasium 40. So much so that the amount of fissionable material spewed out by coal plants is greater than the amount used by nuclear power plants.

    Crazily enough Germany now has a moratorium on nuclear power plants which would be fine if they could cut their energy consumption instead of their plan to switch to the much more dangerous and environmentaly destructive coal. Here’s an interesting review of some of the issues, http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

    I think anti nuke like the anti seal hunt is popular partly because it allows us to take a stance without questioning our own impact on the environment, puts us in the camp of the good guys without having to make any changes to our lifestyles or  to make any sacrifices.

    Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/Kahomono Kahomono

    I used to believe that graphology could tell us important things about a person’s character, but then I came to see it just another example of the same sympathetic-magical thinking that brings us such winners as homeopathy and voodoo.

    Bermuda

  • Sharon Hypatia

    This is so embarrassingly stupid I don’t deserve the book, but when I was very young, I lived with my nose buried in a book and seemed to have escaped the reality outside my front door.

    So I believed that xtains didn’t die. Literally. Because that’s what they told me in church & Sunday school. Big shock when I realized hat xtians keeled over just like everyone else and  I was supposed to know it  meant “spiritual”  death.

    I also thought that modern science had cured all those horrible diseases that killed off children. And that racism, sexism, slavery were consigned to the dustbin of history.
    Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.

  • http://conuly.livejournal.com/ Uly

    I used to believe that the Bermuda triangle was specially cursed, and more ships went mysteriously missing there than any other part of the world.

    Then I learned a little about statistics and realized that the Bermuda triangle is just heavily traveled, and the more ships pass through an area in any given year, the more wrecks and disappearances you can expect to happen. Especially if it’s in an area prone to tropical storms.

    Also, many of those “mysterious disappearances” were made up or greatly exaggerated. Also, the Bermuda triangle is actually slightly safer than most other parts of the ocean, quite contrary to rumor.

    This is all very disappointing, and I call it a point against reason. I mean, honestly, if knowing things tells us that there’s nothing weird or scary about the Bermuda triangle, maybe ignorance really WAS bliss!

    Bermuda.

  • Kim

    I used to believe that friends and family just naturally accept you for who you are.. until I started expressing my own true self and found out otherwise :/ Bermuda.

  • John Zambri

    When I was young i believed that we only use 10% of our brains.  The idea was so ubiquitous and often cited that i assumed, like many people,  that it must be true.  It also seemed intuitively appealing,  just think what you can do if you unlock all that potential.  It has the appeal of making your short-comings seem trite compared to what you have the potential to do.

    Then one day I was asked to cite the source of that often mentioned fact.  I thought about it and thought about it.  I couldn’t do it.  I then decided to investigate this little detail that i assumed was fact and to this day i cannot find an original  source for it, although that does not stop it from being used to explain everything from psychic powers to the myriad number of self-help gimmicks available to consumers. 

    There was an additional problem for this pseudo-factoid as well.  psychology.  As I began to learn about the brain and the mind it became not just wrong, but laughable.  The absurdity of a species evolving such a costly organ (it terms of blood usage, difficulty it causes for childbirth, etc.)  alone makes one wonder why someone would think such a thing would be true.

    There was a skeptical lesson here for me:  don’t assume something is true because many people believe it!  It has also made consider the importance of sources when claims are made and my advice to others would be consider the source of the claim when you hear it, don’t judge the validity of a claim on how appealing it sounds and have the courage to consider the validity of a claim separately from how many other people believe it.

    #Bermuda

  • Julia

    Thanks to my shithead of an older brother, I believed in the Tennis Ball Monster.  Apparently the reason dogs like to chase tennis balls so much is because of their similarity to the dreaded beast.  It was neon green, about a foot in diameter, with giant claws, red eyes, and massive teeth.  It could also turn itself invisible whenever it wanted.  As a result, I ended up hopping around my parents’ furniture for a good week to avoid a most certain death.

    Bermuda.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      When I was five my grandparents took me and uncle (then 17) to Disneyland.  He delighted in chasing me around with his diving mask and flipper.  I finally stood my ground and said “Those aren’t for scaring little kids!”  He solemnly took off a flipped read me the fine print at the bottom: “For swimming and scaring little kids”.  I gave up and ran.

      He does not remember this incident.  Clearly it affected me more than him. 

  • Chakolate

    I worked in a maternity hospital for years, and we all ‘knew’ that there were more false labors during the full moon.  Every time we had a cluster of them, someone would say, ‘What, is this the full moon?’  And sure enough, it was. 

    Since I worked in admitting, I could easily have done an experiment with data I had at my fingertips, but being unskeptical, I just agreed that it was true, instead of questioning it. 

    Once I learned about confirmation bias, I finally had to admit that I didn’t have a clue whether there were more false labors during the full moon.  Admitting your own ignorance can be very freeing.  :-)

    Bermuda, please. 

  • Zachary Cheesebanana

    I used to believe that people were genuinely good at heart, kind, altruistic, and separated from the base natures of ‘lesser’ animals. Sadly, as you age you discover that the kindest person in the world is still an animal, driven by the instinct of survival, and will do anything motivated by their own self-interest, anything to ANYONE ELSE, when the chips are down and push comes to shove. This was beyond disillusionment for me…this was the death of innocence.

    BERMUDA

  • Terry Miles

    Amen! 
    “As my ancestors

    are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.”  

  • KarenLoe

    I actually believed that God knew my every thought.  My EVERY THOUGHT!
    OMGOSH, I would freaking mind-police myself constantly.
    What a nightmare that was.

    Bermuda.

  • Bm_marshall

    I used to believe in creationism, and during grad school I came to the realization that the bible was not the literal word of god. After that, I started considering the evidence for evolution and saw how much sense it made. Nearly all of my information on evolution during my childhood came from creationist propaganda (public school teachers pretty much never discussed the subject.

    Bermuda

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

    I used to foolishly believe that money doesn’t buy happiness and that booze can’t solve your problems. Boy was I wrong on both counts.

    Bermuda.

  • kate

    I used to think that babies were made when the sperm swam across the sheets from the dad to the mom.  That’s why they had to sleep in the same bed, you know.  To my credit, I was five.
    Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/hlnicaise Heather Nicaise

    I used to believe homeopathy actually helped my pain. I was so desperate to find some way to get relief that I was willing to try anything. At some point I took time to clear my head and do the research and of course found that I was ingesting nothing but sugar pills.

    Bermuda

  • Jake

    “Sexuality is a choice.”

    My first boyfriend led me away from this one and I’ve never been convinced otherwise.

    I wish I could say it happened in [BERMUDA]

  • Xxldave

    I used to chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo and read some funky prayer book sometimes more than 2 hours a day.  Then I’d go smoke pot with my Buddhist brothers until one day Jesus saved me from my evil ways.  Today I eat lotsa pasta!  Bermuda 

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com/ VeritasTruthseeker

    I believed that if I sang the national anthem every day, Santa would give me more presents.
    When my grade 1 teacher worked in the Lord’s Prayer, I added that.
    Then I realized Santa was mom and dad. Oops.

    As always, disregard me if this isn’t open to Canucks.

    Bermuda.

  • Elaine

    I used to believe tons of dopey things, ranging from the New Age beliefs I grew up with and the Wicca I dabbled in as a teen, to ghosts, to conspiracy theories like thinking that Flight 93 was shot down by the US government and someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK. But for me, what’s weirdest is how mad I get when I realize something I believe is wrong when it’s a “fact” I was taught by someone who should know better. I’m still so mad at my first grade teacher for showing us a video about how plants are hurt by heavy metal music and thrive with classical music, and my sixth grade science teacher for telling me glass is a liquid. In high school I almost got thrown out of astronomy class for arguing with the teacher because she kept insisting that there were canals on Venus. She also taught us that the sky is blue because of the reflection of the ocean. I also had a tenth grade English teacher who tried to teach  us creationism, but that’s a bit different, I guess.

    Bermuda.

    • Elaine

      Oh yeah, and the ghosts! Sorry if this is double dipping, but I want to tell this story kinda more than I want the book. I used to believe very strongly in ghosts. Everyone I knew had great stories about ghostly experiences that I truly believed. I thought I’d sort of had experiences like that myself, but deep down I knew I was fooling myself. Then the show Ghost Hunters came on. At first I would get so mad a skeptics and anyone who called paranormal investigation “pseudoscience.” When I watched those shows, I would be so convinced by the EVPs and video and whatever else. But the more I watched, the more frustrated I would get with their methods. I would be screaming at the TV, “JUST SET UP A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAMERAS AROUND THE ROOM AT DIFFERENT ANGLES WITH THE EM METERS AND THERMOMETERS ALL OVER, AND THEN IF YOU CATCH SOMETHING FROM A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT ANGLES WITH DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT, IT WILL BE PROOF!” Over time, as I watched those idiots waving their EM meters and stuff around and never catching anything meaningful, ever, I realized it was all bullshit. And that’s right about when I became a full-blown Skeptic.

      Bermuda again.

    • Mia

      GLASS ISN’T A LIQUID?!

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        FUCKIN’ SOLID GLASS!

        • Mia

          GLASS, YOU ARE SO MYSTERIOUS.  WHY CAN’T I DRINK YOU?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Heck with a book, I think Mia wins an Internet!

            (Or maybe a book about Fucking Liquid Glass Narwhals, Man!)

      • Elaine

        FUCKIN’ NARWHALS, MAN!

    • Alex

      Well… The sky is blue because it’s a reflection of the ocean… and the ocean is blue because it reflects the sky! See, it all works out! :)

  • UsedToBelieveJunk

    I used to believe in conspiracies, you know the Government hiding things and manipulating major historical events. Then, I really thought about it. I looked at the pseudo-credentials of the weirdos writing these books. I thought some more, and I guess I thought it would be more interesting to believe that garbage. 

    But, what ultimately cured me was that I graduated college and saw how  lazy everyone is.  There’s never going to be a big conspiracy, because people can’t be bothered with the effort to sustain that deception. There is never really a payoff for the conspirators in these crap theories. It’s the audience’s wish for an interesting show triumphing over the reality of a pretty boring show.

  • Scout

    I used to believe that I could link psychically with my dogs; you know, look intently at my dog and think, “look at me, look at me, look at me” or “poop now, poop now, poop now”.  And hey, presto! she would do it.  Then I turned 9 years old and realized that not only was my grandfather NOT Santa Claus, my dogs didn’t have a clue that I had a mind, much less that I was sending psychic messages.  Now I Cesar Milan them.  Pssssstttt!!  Bermuda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rmpryor Robert Pryor

    I used to hold beliefs in ghosts. Maybe it wasn’t a fervent, for-sure belief, but I was closer to belief than non-belief. How could all these stories NOT be true? How could a show of ghost-hunters be aired on TV without there being some kind of truth? 

    Ironically, it was that said show on the Sci-Fy network that led me to research more. Because of that show I was forced to look more deeply and discover skepticism. Now, thanks to Jason & Grant, I no longer accept paranormal claims without the requisite extraordinary evidence!
    Bermuda

  • Waltz707

    I used to belive that witches did not exist.. oops XD 
    bermuda

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I used to be a young-earth creationist, but was persuaded to change my mind by the book Science and Creation edited by Ashley Montagu, in which the scientists who contributed to the volume took time to explain in painstaking detail where creation science was not merely wrong but dishonest.

    I also used to believe in the Bermuda Triangle, but then I took a trip to Bermuda while wearing Bermuda shorts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hvandesa Heather Van De Sande

    I used to believe John Edward was a real psychic and watched his show, Crossing Over.  He blew me away and I felt like I had real proof that there was life after death (this is before I became an atheist.)  Learning about cold readings was actually very hard to accept.  But eventually I did accept the evidence and when I learned that Edward also performed warm readings by miking the audience – he crossed over from being something amazing to scum.
    Bermuda.

  • Mommiest

    I used to believe that the world was coming to an end, and soon. I read “The Late Great Planet Earth” over and over, and when Greece joined the ECM, or something, it was the exact right number of countries to equal the number heads on something in some prophecy, and I just couldn’t believe how those crazy people in Europe could blithely go on bringing about the End Times, and all the adults around me JUST DIDN’T GET IT.

    Yesterday, my husband and I were in a taxi in Clearwater, FL, being driven to the airport by a talkative, funny, hard-working man from Tunisia. We chatted and laughed about kids, arranged marriages, the Arab Spring, all the usual stuff, and then, he must have decided he really liked us, he had to warn us about something. The world is coming to an end; five years, max.

    Of course, Israel is going to be destroyed, but the first sign would be a war between the United States and the Middle East, and then, and I really want to see this, Jesus is going to come back and put and end to the war so that no one will be able to claim victory, we’d all just be standing around feeling sheepish, and the AntiChrist is also going to pop up in all this. This guy is Muslim, by the way. Anyway, one of them, either Jesus or the AntiChrist, is going to come from Damascus. I don’t remember which one.

    He was telling us this because he wanted us to recognize the first sign, the war with the Middle East. He wanted us to get our butts out of the city, and he didn’t have time to tell us where, exactly, we would be safe, but he was very concerned. As I said, he was a nice guy.

    Finally, I said to him, “I want you to know that this is the third time in my lifetime that I have seen a sudden peak end times predictions, the first was back in the 1970′s, with the book called, ‘The Late Great Planet Earth.’ This isn’t the first time people have seen these things in old prophecies.

    “You have a smart phone, right?” I asked.

    He did.

    “I want you to mark the date five years from now. You can do that in your calendar.”

    “OK, and I want you to call me when these signs start happening,” he said.

    “I’ll call you in five years when the earth still exists,” I told him.

    “She will, too,” my husband joined in.

    “OK, we’ll do it,” he said, and he gave us his card. “Call me if you come back. I will give you a free taxi ride.”

    Nice guy, and Clearwater was beautiful. But next time, I want to go to Bermuda.

  • Jeffnindo

    I was watching a show on Nostradamus on TV. Might have been the History Channel. I liked history and was getting into it. This was before 9/11 awoke me from my dogmatic slumber. The near the end of the episode Penn from Penn and Teller got time to speak and he ripped Nostradamus apart. I remember getting mad at this loud guy ruining the show!

    Fast forward to today and I am a skeptical kind of guy. No tarot cards for me thanks. 

    I also remember as a kind when someone said ‘magic’ I was disappointed it if turned out to be stage magic/illusions instead of ‘real magic.’ That also, is no longer the case.

    I now prefer hearing from Penn and James Randi and their ilk.

    Oh, Bermuda.

  • David Capito

    I used to believe that some magic tricks (such as Derren Brown’s mentalism) did somehow rely on psychology to “inception” ideas into people’s minds… something crack-psychologists call NLP.  In the same realm of thought, I did think that stage hypnosis did use some actually psychological hypnosis.

    Reddit brought me out of the first one by showing me a super-simple explanation behind one of Brown’s tricks, specifically the trick where he appears to make Simon Pegg change his birthday wish.

    Wikipedia taught me about skeptical hypnotists who actively try to show that stage hypnotism is based on simple tricks.

    Bermuda.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I used to think that if you went in swimming within 30 minutes after you ate, that you would get a cramp and drown.  My Mom said this was true – all the moms said this was true!  So after a snack,  I spent way too much time at the pool lying on a towel waiting for those magic mother-enforced 30 minutes to pass, so I could go back in. Of course I’d never actually heard of anyone drowning from this, but hey, Mom said it so that’s the rule.

    After I was grown, I heard that there never was any basis for this, and was really irritated at the amount of time this myth had wasted for me and my friends. 

    Bermuda

    • http://www.facebook.com/hvandesa Heather Van De Sande

      Well at least the amout of myth-time has gotten shorter.  I had to wait an hour.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mzmim Traci Miller

        I was told something similar but it was after you were finished swimming and instead of a snack it had to do with milk. When I’d visit my dad and siblings, we’d go to the lake once in a while and we’d always be told by the adults once we were done swimming that we couldn’t have any milk to drink until a half hour after we’d gotten out of the water or we’d get terrible stomach cramps. I’d thought it was bull at the time, because there was no such rule with my mom…but all the adults including my dad were in on it when I went to visit so what can ya do? :p

  • Bwp1984

    When I was a kid, I thought that I could get real close to the TV screen and see beyond the edges of the screen, as if peering at the corner of a window.  Yeah, I wasn’t the brightest kid…

    Bermuda

  • Janey

    I grew up in a strict Southern Baptist home (my dad is actually a Southern Baptist preacher) so I was a pretty gullible kid.  We were taught not to question things, but just accept them as fact which I did for many years.  Among the MANY stupid things I believed growing up, there are 2 that still embarrass me to this day.

    1.  My cousin told me that toothpaste was made out of African  boogers, as in people that lived in Africa would pick their noses and put their boogers into tubes labeled “toothpaste” and ship them to America.  I had a very hard time brushing my teeth after that and would only use the smallest amount of toothpaste possible.  I actually believed toothpaste was made of boogers for years until one day I told best friend about the boogers and she laughed at me.  In my defense I was very young and obviously gullible.

    2.  When I was about 7 that same cousin told me that if you saw Santa while he was in your house on Christmas Eve his elves would poke your eyes out.  She said she had heard it on the news.  From then on I lived in a constant state of fear every Christmas Eve until I was 11.   Now every year when Christmas comes around I think of Santa and his evil elves, and shake my head out of shame for believing such nonsense.

    Thankfully I went to college and became a skeptic.  I do still prefer to brush my teeth with baking soda instead of toothpaste though :)

    Bermuda

  • Riley

    For awhile after losing my belief in prayer, I still thought that the pope could talk to god. Bermuda

  • Anonymous

    Hmm.  This one might be a little close to losing belief in god.  You be the judge.

    My parents were very lax in my religious education (thankfully), so I never had a very clear idea about their Christian doctrine.  As a trusting child, I took their word about the whole prayer thing.  When I was in preschool, I used to pray for all sorts of things – super powers, toys, amusement park visits, etc.  But nothing ever came of the prayers, so I decided to try some experiments.  When I was 4 or 5, I placed stones on my windowsill (where god could see them better from up in the sky ;) and prayed before bed to have them change shape.  Come morning the stones were always as I’d left them.  After a few days of that, prayer was difficult to take seriously.

    Um, Bermuda.

  • Margy

    In my misspent youth, I used to think that people who were smarter than average were bound to be kinder and more compassionate than average, too. Then I joined Mensa. Yikes!
     
    To be fair, I have met some great people, including my husband, in Mensa. But I’ve also met a good number of snobs. I still maintain my membership to receive the newsletters, but I haven’t attended any sponsored events in years. Bermuda.

  • Isabel

    When I was young, I used to believe if it rained where I was at, it was raining all over the world.  One day the sun was shining and only a few dark clouds were around.  It was raining on one part of the street and not the other.  Bermuda : )

    • http://www.facebook.com/mzmim Traci Miller

      I remember the first time I saw something like that, I thought it looked incredible! Until then I’d had no idea it was possible for it to rain just on one part of the street. :p I was 10…

  • Alex

    I used to believe that we live in modern age of science and reason. Then I opened Answers in Genesis, and learned that some people have no shame.

    I used to believe in death penalty. Then I took a sociology class and discovered that it was much more complex than that.

    I used to believe in honest newscasting. Then I turned on Fox News and realized that some people have no shame whatsoever, for the second time.

    I used to believe in elections. Then I watched recent election campaigns and realized that the candidates are simply collecting campaign donations and dropping out when they had enough.

    Honestly, if it continues this way, I will end up a full-blown cynic.

    Hawaii.

    • http://conuly.livejournal.com/ Uly

      I used to believe in death penalty.

      So do I. Heck, I’ve seen credible sources telling me it’s been done!

      It’s an awful idea, but I still believe it exists.

      • Alex

        Ha ha.

      • Alex

        Ha ha.

  • AmyC

    I use to believe in adults (in general). I always thought if I had a problem they would be there for me, ready to come swooping in like Superman. I quickly learned in middle/high school that you cannot rely on anybody but yourself. Adults can do nothing but disapoint you, whether they be Parents, Teachers, or elected officials. The only time adults will help is when they profit from it as well. That is what my mother taught me. The teacher who I thought would always care, who could replace my mother, taught me that adults will only listen if the story is thrilling.
    I learned that you have to choose carefully who you believe in, and just because someone is your senior does not always mean they are believable. Now that I am legally an adult, I have decided that I will be the person who others can believe in.
    Bermuda

  • http://twitter.com/BrookLaa Andy Laa

    I used to staunchly believe in any and all conspiracy
    theories I could find.

     

    The one I used to argue so adamantly on was the idea that
    the moon landing was faked. It may sound like I was just young and grew out of
    it, but I actually believed it up until roughly 12 months ago when I was
    discussing it on an online forum – arguing is probably a closer phrasing to
    what was happening.

     

    It was in this forum that a guy I spoke to reasonably often
    and who I respected simply posted a link to the following website:

     

    http://www.clavius.org/ 

     

    For those who go by the mantra TL;DR, it simply debunks
    every bit of “evidence” to support the theory. This wasn’t enough to
    change me at first, but it certainly set the ball in motion for me to be more
    open to the thought I was wrong…and then I came across this Cracked
    article, for which I will quote the relevant section:

     

    Link: http://www.cracked.com/article_19468_5-logical-fallacies-that-make-you-wrong-more-than-you-think.html

    Quote:
    “#5. We’re Not Programmed to Seek “Truth,” We’re Programmed to
    “Win”

    “Think about the last time you ran into a coworker or family member
    spouting some easily disproven conspiracy theory — somebody who still
    thinks Obama’s birth certificate is a fake or that Dick Cheney arranged 9/11 to cover up his theft of $2.3
    trillion from the government. When they were shown proof that their
    conspiracy theory was wrong, did they back down? Did they get this look of
    realization on their face and say, “Wow … if this is untrue, then maybe
    the other ‘facts’ upon which I’ve based my fringe beliefs also aren’t true.
    Thank you, kind stranger, for helping me rethink my entire political
    philosophy!” That has literally never happened in the history of
    human conversation.”

    “…It’s called the argumentative theory of reasoning, and it says that humans
    didn’t learn to ask questions and offer answers in order to find universal
    truths. We did it as a way to gain authority over others.

    After understanding the science behind human nature I could see what I was
    doing – completely dissociating myself from facts so that I could
    come off as being right and knowing the “little-known truth”.

    It makes you feel special which is later explained in the
    article when it mentions “the trust gap” and discusses how “Facts don’t
    change our minds” in #1.

     

    It was an eye-opener for sure and I was in denial for a
    short while until it began to play on my mind and I got to where I am today – a
    rational, reasonable human being who tries his best to gain all the facts
    before coming to a conclusion.

     

    Oh and I really want that book, so: Bermuda.

  • Marci

    I used to believe that my parents knew everything!  Then I became a teenager. LOL
    Bermuda

  • mcarp

    I know you said God doesn’t count, but how about Mormonism? That a 17-year old farm boy dug up golden plates with the writings of the ancient Americans that came from Jerusalem 600 BCE and that God eventually told this same farm boy that he needed to have multiple wives and that somehow drinking coffee was evil. 

    Yeah. I used to believe all that and more. 
    Bermuda. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/mzmim Traci Miller

    When I was a kid I used to think that while someone was driving *I* was the one who had to keep my eyes on the road, because regardless if they did so or not if I dared look away from the road we’d crash and die in a fiery inferno. As a result, I was a rather well-behaved kid in the car. There was no specific reason for this belief that I can look back and say “that’s what started it all.” This went on for several years, probably from when I was 8 up until I was 12. By the time I was 12 I intellectually realized that this was a stupid belief to be holding, the only person that had control of the vehicle was the person who was in the driver’s seat. I was not. So, me looking at the road made no difference. But, knowing that intellectually and actually getting myself to accept it were not the same things. So…I finally decided to face my fear. During the summer of my 12th year, I forced myself to keep my eyes either shut or firmly looking out the window at the scenery that went by. If I was doing the latter, I made it harder for myself to cheat by making sure I sat in the back seat rather than sitting shotgun. I did this for 6 entire weeks. And not once did we have an accident. We didn’t even have any sudden scares. At that point, I was able to accept that as a passenger I had no control over the vehicle whatsoever and that it didn’t matter because the adults who were doing the actual driving were pretty good at keeping the car between the ditches and away from other vehicles and obstacles, and seemed to have a pretty good grasp of traffic laws. From then on, I was able to relax in the car when we went anywhere and it was such a wonderful feeling. I had no idea what I was missing until then.
    Bermuda

  • Greisha

    I have always believed that my wife is beautiful and my kids are smart and nothing can change this.  Bermuda

  • Bmcmicking

    I used to believe that old people knew more about what was going on and could give me some insights about life. They don’t know fuck all either.
    Bermuda

  • Matt

    I think I might be too late, but I wanted to talk about it anyway:

    I used to believe in UFOs and that I had been abducted more than once. When I was a young teenager I read Communion and watched several television shows about alien abductions. I experienced sleep paralysis about half a dozen times and had very strange and disturbing dreams about aliens beside my bed and being on a ship.

    I’m not really sure how I stopped believing in them, but I think the first step was overcoming the fear. I still believed in it a little bit, but I figured there was nothing I could do if super advanced aliens from another planet really wanted to do something. So I just kind of accepted it. After that I was able to think more rationally about it and eventually I just abandoned the whole idea, like if someone who was writing a letter were to stop, crumple up the paper, and chuck it over their shoulder into the recycle bin.

    I’ve since gone back and re-evaluated all the “evidence” and arguments that had initially scared and convinced me and found them to be laughably insufficient.

    Bermuda!

  • http://profiles.google.com/midtra52 keith dontmatter

    I’m crippled from a vaccine and I’d like to meet this author and ask him why he’s repeating sales pitches for the pharma industry and Dr. Offit rather than reading vaccine studies.  He didn’t read a single vaccine study and he didn’t read any of those studies that he claims disprove the vaccine autism link because they’re all fraudulent and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that.  Doctors and journalists need to take the time to read medical studies instead of repeating sales pitches.

  • michaelsmob@ hotmail.com

    I was looking online to purchase your book after finding my wife had borrowed it from the local library. It there is a way of winning one, of course I am interested. I grew up in a strange envivionment where I was first born to my parents with mixed religions ( Catholic and Anglican) but I also had genetic defects, Hermaphrodite, which led to a life of widened such sometimes wonderful experiences. My parents made the decision they wanted a girl but turned out I was not predominately that way. At 16 I ran away from from to try to sort out feelings , religion and the quirks that go with it. I believe I have been very lucky with where I was raised and sometimes a bit sneaky and creaky with what I got away with befor having majority of my gender belief in myself, after a lot of challenging, accepted and have had most of myselfput back the way I should have been in the first place. I have also been lucky, although a lot of tears later, that I found a partner that I have been with since 1984. We managed to manipulate a couple of systems and have four I.V.F. children that are genenitally my spouses eggs and resemble more of my family!

    I looked into every religion and found no answers to my queries or possible answers. I am definitely an atheist, I am 49 and dying of an Auto Imuume Desease. First thinking of it as pushingment for not believing in religious organizations, I decided it was because that is my next challenge. I believe that we can handle only what is capable of us and too many people rely on excuses to manage and survive their lives. My sister would be devistated with a broken nail, and yet I spent three years in a wheelchair after a car accident before we had our buetiful children ( her two are undergoing therapy).

    I realize this competition was probably over a long time ago, and if so I will still be looking on line to purchase the book, but it not then Bermuda.


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