The roots of misconception

The roots of misconception April 10, 2014

Think about all of the tall tales you were told as a child; that touching a toad would give you warts; that lightning never strikes twice; that going out into the cold will give you a cold.

We all have an image of George Washington walking around with wooden teeth, like a walking lumberyard. But the truth of the matter is that his dentures were made out of ivory, lead, gold and even a little donkey tooth.

We’ve all heard the great Chicago fire of 1871 was caused by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lamp. 

However, it

Misconception was a newspaper writer who invented the story to make colorful copy and sell some newspapers in the wake of a terrible fire. George Washington Carver didn’t invent peanut butter. Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the flush toilet. Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile.

Somewhere in the recesses of our minds we still believe many of these stories – these misconceptions. For some reason I thought a Twinkie had an indefinite shelf life, especially since the label was full of full of unpronounceable ingredients. I thought the snack would last forever. That’s why when I bought the last box of Twinkies off the shelf before their bankruptcy, I was confident I could snack indefinitely. Unfortunately, six months later, it was little more than a stale, inedible cake.

Like you, the movie Jaws probably rattled you. But did you know there have been just 152 reported Shark fatalities since records began in 1580? By comparison, there have been twice as many deaths from alligators in the U.S. than by sharks. Meanwhile, dogs are responsible for more than 200 human fatalities. And bees are responsible for 500 deaths worldwide on average every year.

See where misconception can lead us?

The lack of understanding has led bitter divisions of people groups, neighborhood feuds, wars, divorce, and even loss of life.

Companies have misconceptions about what motivates their employees.  Why won’t they do what we want them to? 

Couples have misconceptions about each other. Why doesn’t he understand? Why won’t she listen?

We have misconceptions about God. He is punishing me. Why doesn’t he care?

Misconception about faith is driving the gay debate right..and a host of other issues. It’s easy to slip the word “hate” into an argument and that changes the entire trajectory.

So, I’m interested. What are the misconceptions in your life? Have you recently learned something different about a long-held belief? Does someone have a misconception about you?


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