The internet offers unparalleled access to whatever information we want with the simple click of a mouse. Almost anything you need to know can be found in a matter of seconds if you use the right keywords to search for it.
As great as this access is, there are a lot of websites that purposely skew their facts—or completely spread misinformation altogether. And even though plenty of theories have been officially debunked, some people still choose to believe them.
Here are 10 theories that have been completely disproven by scientists and experts—and a portion of Americans still believe they’re real.
2. Barack Obama is a Muslim: Ever since former President Obama’s campaign began, he faced criticism having to do with his religious beliefs. In 2015, news channel CNN conducted a poll where nearly one-third of people actually believed Obama was a Muslim, despite the fact that he frequently spoke about his Christian faith.
4. Earth is less than 10,000 years old: A 2014 Gallup poll showed a shocking split between people who believe in what scientists say about the age of our planet and those who truly believe a supreme being created humans and the Earth sometime between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Just over 40 percent of respondents subscribed to this “Young Earth” theory.
5. The Civil War was fought over states’ rights: Still to this day, this topic is a heated point of debate between many Northern and Southern states. The seceding Southern states did disagree with the Northern states’ rights, but it was specifically the right to pass a bill that interfered with the regulations concerning slavery in the South that had the Southern states up in arms.
6. Sexual orientation is a choice: Over the last several years, there have been numerous scientific studies proving a biological reason for our sexual orientation. In 2015, however, the polling organization Pew found that over 40 percent of Americans describe homosexuality as “just the way some people choose to live,” despite all the evidence that contradicts that statement.
8. Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for 9/11: When it comes to the details of the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, Americans seem to be greatly confused. Despite Al-Qaeda’s worldwide prominence and President Bush’s statements saying Iraq had nothing to do with the incident, a 2016 University of Maryland poll found that over 50 percent of respondents believed Saddam Hussein worked closely with the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks.
9. Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were presidents: A Washington University study revealed that people knew Alexander Hamilton was a founding father to our country and made many great contributions to our nation’s progress, but nearly three-quarters of them also thought he was the President of the United States at one point. Respondents also firmly believed Ben Franklin was once president as well, and it was most likely because both of the men are featured on American currency.
10. Racism no longer exists: A recent Harvard study showed that white Americans have a severely distorted view of racism in this country. Recent statistics indicate African-Americans tend to get paid less than Caucasians, they have more health issues, they are disproportionately incarcerated, and they’re unfairly targeted by police. Despite this, many white Americans not only believed that blacks’ income and health levels were roughly equal to their own, but they also were likely to think that anti-white discrimination was actually a bigger problem.
It’s fascinating to try to understand why people believe certain theories even though there is plenty of evidence proving them wrong. Some people just tend to stick to their beliefs no matter what they read.
Share these debunked theories with your friends below!