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Author Topic: what are some scientific things belived in the 1800's, that are false today?  (Read 5761 times)
Atterton
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« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2014, 11:02:03 am »

I don't know if I would count these as scientific things, but you had optograms and maternal impressions. The first was the idea that the eye retained an image of the last thing a person saw before death. The second was how a fetus could be affected by what a mother saw during pregnancy. Such as the idea that the Elephant Man's mother had been scared by a wild elephant.
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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2014, 11:27:40 am »

There was also the theory of there being a fourth spatial dimension. It was suggested that ghosts might be four-dimensional beings. Such beings should be able to move through walls, see inside solid objects and such things. Supposedly cubism was inspired by how such beings see the world.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2014, 05:04:44 pm »

There was also the theory of there being a fourth spatial dimension. It was suggested that ghosts might be four-dimensional beings. Such beings should be able to move through walls, see inside solid objects and such things. Supposedly cubism was inspired by how such beings see the world.

The odd thing about that is that numerous times (as in string theory and such) it had been proposed that there a more than three spatial dimensions.  As many as 16 or even 25 in some string theories.  The difference being that the spatial dimensions hidden from us are "curled up" into subatomic scales scale (I'm not entirely sure how that works, other than having the ability ho temporarily hide subatomic features (such as strings or particles) , thus explaining some of the "bubbling" and seeming violations of energy and mass conservation of particles at those scales...  No Hounds of Tindalos here, though...
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2014, 09:13:25 pm »

There's some information on more modern (starting in the 1920s) interpretations of more-than-three-spatial-dimensions theory here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaluza%E2%80%93Klein_theory. Don't ask me about the math: I never got as far as tensors, and leave those to the smarter half of the household.
Ideas about higher spatial dimensions in the earlier human-scale "hyperspace" sense of things were certainly popular in the fiction of the early 20th Century, making it into the stories of authors as divergent as Lovecraft, Wodehouse, and EE Smith.
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Rockula
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2014, 09:25:50 pm »

Not scientific but 'nay-sayers' of the steam train thought people would suffocate if it exceeded 20mph.

The astronauts in the ISS are currently travelling about 5 miles a SECOND! Smiley
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Keith_Beef
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« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2014, 10:53:32 pm »

Not scientific but 'nay-sayers' of the steam train thought people would suffocate if it exceeded 20mph.

The astronauts in the ISS are currently travelling about 5 miles a SECOND! Smiley

But the air that they are breathing is travelling at the same speed, relative to whatever your reference point is… so in relation to the air that they are breathing those astronauts are just sitting around…
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Camellia Wingnut
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2014, 11:27:49 pm »

My Dear Sirs,
How about Victorian Vitalism (lovely phrase), the idea of a "vital fluid" or creative principle differentiating living biological entities from "mechanical" matter? It suggests the possibility of a non-material reality which might accommodate ghosts. Honestly, it is so Germanically complicated that I can't be certain.
C.W.
P.S. Yes, Mr. Bailey, what about the four elephants. And the Turtle.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 07:29:20 am by Camellia Wingnut » Logged

Take my camel, dear, said my aunt Camellia, climbing down from that animal on her return from high mass. The camel, a white Arabian Dhalur (single hump) from the famous herd of the Ruola tribe, had been a parting present, its saddle-bags stuffed with low-carat [sic] gold and flashy orient gems, from a rich desert tycoon. . . .
Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2014, 12:38:15 am »

Supposedly, in the early days of the automobile, which could not only travel fast, but had a much smaller turning radius than a train, there were those who said that cornering above a certain speed would render the driver unconscious. Humans turned out to have a much higher tolerance for G-forces than that, as it happens. I have a vague memory of seeing an article from an old magazine in which Barney Oldfield's publicists were still bringing this up to emphasize the daredevil nature of his driving.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 10:53:45 pm by Mr. Boltneck » Logged
Atterton
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« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2014, 12:59:54 pm »

There were also some who suggested that criminals were a kind of evolutionary throwback, as well as some who tried to identify the typical criminal face to be used to find new criminals.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2014, 04:47:43 pm »

Lamarckian evolution (Lamarckism): the theory that acquired traits are inherited by the organism's offspring, resulting in new species. Giraffes, for example, were claimed to have developed long necks and legs due to having stretched to reach high branches for hundreds of generations. This was dis-proven by an experiment involving cutting the tails off of multiple generations of mice.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2014, 06:48:48 pm »

Here's a bit more on the theory of "atavism" as the cause of criminality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesare_Lombroso
This, and such pseudosciences as anthropological craniometry (plus a lot of 19th Century anthropology, to be honest) played into European and American ideas about class, including the "criminal classes", race, and colonialism. Some of this lunacy didn't die until after the Second World War demonstrated the ultimate end-game of such thinking.
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pakled05
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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2014, 03:06:57 am »

"Isn't it turtles all the way down?"...Wink
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Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2014, 07:34:56 pm »

P.S. Yes, Mr. Bailey, what about the four elephants. And the Turtle.
I believe that was dismissed within scientific circles well before the 1800s.  Magellan's expedition of 1519–1522 provided some evidence on the matter, if observations of the skies from differing latitudes well before were not sufficient.
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2014, 08:20:31 pm »

P.S. Yes, Mr. Bailey, what about the four elephants. And the Turtle.
I believe that was dismissed within scientific circles well before the 1800s.  Magellan's expedition of 1519–1522 provided some evidence on the matter, if observations of the skies from differing latitudes well before were not sufficient.



I don't know; I can't help wondering if maybe the elephants are still there, but holding up the globe, and just walked away to a different hemisphere with the giant turtle when the explorers happened by.
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Camellia Wingnut
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« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2014, 09:18:26 am »

My Dear Sirs,
Quite true. It is not a 19th century discovery. First the Hindus:
and then in the 20th dear Terry Pratchett.
A pity.
C.W.
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Athanor
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« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2014, 10:53:37 pm »

...... or as the First Mate of the "Santa Maria" might have said;

"So what did I tell you, Chris? Look, there it is! THE EDGE!! And we're headed straight for it! How many times did I tell you, but would you listen? No, Not you. India, you said. Sail west and we'll hit India. Yeah, right. So now what are you going to do? Come about, for Chrissake!!......

"No, No, WE'VE LEFT IT TOO LATE!! WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT.... AAAAAAAAaaaaggghhh!!....."

Athanor.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 10:55:42 pm by Athanor » Logged

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MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2014, 10:57:38 pm »

...... or as the First Mate of the "Santa Maria" might have said;

"So what did I tell you? Look, there it is! THE EDGE!! And we're headed straight for it! How many times did I tell you, but would you listen? No, Not you. India, you said. Sail west and we'll hit India. Yeah, right. So now what are you going to do? Come about, for Chrissake!!......

"No, No, WE'VE LEFT IT TOO LATE!! WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT.... AAAAAAAAaaaaggghhh!!....."

Athanor.




Nah, they just pushed over the Big Wooden Lever (the BWL) and activated the RBM (Really BIG Magnet) and sailed under the edge. Simple.
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HideTheNines
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« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2014, 02:52:44 am »

How about the ether theory? The ether was supposed to be a sort of 4th dimension that light and other such inexplicable things moved through.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2014, 04:33:24 pm »

Ether was an intangible fluid substance that filled all of space, and was the medium through which electromagnetic waves propagated in a vacuum. If I recall correctly, an experiment was devised that discredited, ether, and physics eventually adopted the theory of space that can be warped, so that no media is necessary for the propagation of waves.
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Pantaleon
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« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2014, 03:28:11 pm »

At least during the early 19th century it was commonly believed that all other planets were inhabited. The main reasoning was that "God wouldn't let a perfectly good planet go to waste by not putting something on it to live there". At least during the Napoleonic era this idea was widespread, I believe. With better telescopes and more accurate measurements it became less popular though.
Percival Lowell's claim that Mars was inhabited by an advanced civilisation was popular up to the 1920s, at least among the common people. Many scientist had dismissed that claim a lot earlier already however, like Alfred Russel Wallace for example.
The Moon was also believed to be habitable for quite some time.

The idea that the earth was flat was still around, but only in a small niche. Check out this picture though:




After Darwin's theory of evolution became generally accepted there was a certain craze about it going on, and people were looking for parallels in many places. One of the "children" of that was Social Darwinism, which applied the idea of natural selection to modern social society.

In the Victorian Era some scientists claimed that elemental spirits existed and tried to explain natural phenomena as the actions of such spirits.

It has been mentioned before, but a very important belief would be the miasma theory. It was the accepted theory on the spread of diseases until the germ theory emerged through Louis Pasteur and especially Robert Koch.
The germ theory created a strong outcry in the medical community, almost comparable to the one following the theory of evolution.
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Athanor
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Keep them off-balance and brazen it out!


« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2014, 06:47:56 am »


It has been mentioned before, but a very important belief would be the miasma theory. It was the accepted theory on the spread of diseases until the germ theory emerged through Louis Pasteur and especially Robert Koch.
The germ theory created a strong outcry in the medical community, almost comparable to the one following the theory of evolution.

Right! Malaria was once thought to be caused by such a miasma. Even the name "malaria" is derived from Latin, and means "bad air".

Athanor.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #46 on: May 20, 2014, 10:50:15 pm »

One of the best of the Hollow Earth theories, that of John Cleves Symmes, Jr., dates to the early 19th Century. And by best, I mean well-developed, and with other people following along, while at the same time being utterly loopy.
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Camellia Wingnut
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Take my camel, dear. . . .


« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2014, 02:40:23 am »

My Dear Fellows,
Conan Doyle, in "The Horror of the Heights" (1913) fictionalizes early speculation about the upper atmosphere, when the idea of ascending in planes became practical. Since nobody had gone above 30,000 feet (??), he imagined creatures living up there in an "air jungle" dangerous to fliers. It is interesting because altitude sickness does cause hallucinations, and who could be sure? It is a miasma of sorts as well.
C.W.
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Rory B Esq BSc
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« Reply #48 on: May 21, 2014, 05:58:23 pm »

The four elephants hold the corners of the picture, being strong they can do it.

Of course the ultimate answer to those who claim the Earth is round is that it is actually an oblate spheroid. AS the old rhyme goes...' I quire realized said Columbus, that the earth was not a rhombus....but I was a little annoyed, to find it an oblate spheroid'.


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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #49 on: May 21, 2014, 10:27:37 pm »

Stress theory of ulcers:
That lasted until the 1980s. The ulcer-drug industry fought the discovery that ulcers were caused by a bacterial disease that could be cured outright with three well known antibiotics taken for a month.
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