Top 10 Most Famous Facts That Are Wrong


We all believe things to be true that are, in fact, quite wrong. Many of these “facts” we learned in school, while some of them we picked up from friends or on TV—or just “heard somewhere.” Whatever their source, however, they have subsequently proven to be erroneous, demonstrating once again that just because something is repeated often enough doesn’t necessarily make it so. In fact, it seems the only things we really know for certain is that we don’t know anything for certain, which is what makes it possible for revisionist historians to make a living and pundits like myself to pretend to be smarter than everyone else. (The “fact” is that most of the things I list below I once assumed to be true myself, demonstrating that even an old blogger like me can be taught a thing or two every now and then—dispelling yet another internet myth.)  While there are literally hundreds of erroneous beliefs, misconceptions, or just plain fables from both history and our modern culture to choose from, I’ve managed to narrow the list down to my top ten nominees for the ten most famous “facts” that are wrong. Enjoy—and remember everything I write here is subject to change without notice as new “facts” emerge to challenge my world view.

10. The United States Lost the Vietnam War


While it is a fact that the country known as the Republic of South Vietnam no longer exists (having been absorbed by its Communist neighbor to its north) the truth is that its demise was not because the United States lost its seven-year long war there. In fact, by the time the country was overrun by the North Vietnamese in the spring of 1975, the United States had been out of Vietnam for nearly two years, its active involvement having concluded with the signing of the Paris Peace Accord in January, 1973. The only reason the war is considered a “loss” for America was because of its great cost (57,000 Americans killed) and its general unpopularity at home. It could be considered a political defeat, however, in that America was essentially so worn down by the conflict that it lost the will to come to South Vietnam’s defense when the North Vietnamese launched their invasion, thereby effectively surrendering that nation’s sovereignty to its Communist neighbor and giving the U.S. a black eye that took literally decades to recover from. However, it did not “lose” the war in the traditional respect in that it was defeated militarily by a superior foe. In fact, the Paris Accord gave the U.S. everything it wanted from North Vietnam, bringing the war to what could be considered a positive close. Who could have guessed the North Vietnamese would renege on the treaty just two years later?

9. Charles Lindbergh was the First Man to Cross the Atlantic Ocean by Air

charles lindbergh

While “Lucky Lindy” became quite the hero when he made the first solo crossing of the Atlantic by air—a grueling 34 hour, 3,600 mile flight—he was not the first man to make the crossing by air. In fact, he was something like the 85th man to do so. The feat was actually first accomplished by a pair of British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Brown, eight years earlier when they flew a British Vimy bomber from Newfoundland, Canada, to Ireland in June of 1919. It was also accomplished by the entire crew of the German-built and manned zeppelin, the U.S.S. Los Angeles in 1924, when they flew the monster ship to America as war reparations. And, of course, this doesn’t include the men who may have made it but didn’t survive, such as the French aviators Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, who attempted the flight a mere three weeks before Lindbergh only to vanish somewhere between Paris and New York. (Many suggest, however, that they may have actually made it across, only to crash land in the uncharted forests of Newfoundland.)  Lindbergh was, however, the first to make the flight solo, which is what made it such an accomplishment—especially considering that as there was no autopilot in that day, he was forced to remain awake the entire 34 hours of the flight.  Talk about a bad flight!

8. Columbus Was the First European to Discover North America

christopher columbus

Though the idea that Columbus was the first European to discover America was held as sacrosanct for most of this countries’ history, it is becoming more commonly acknowledged today that he was probably not the first European to make the crossing. That honor generally goes to some Viking named Leif Erickson, who is believed by historians to have made his way from Scandinavia to Newfoundland a good five hundred years before ‘ol Chris was even born. In fact, the Vikings established villages in Greenland and on the Canadian coast, making them the first Europeans to colonize the New World as well. There is even evidence that the ancient Phoenicians—an eastern Mediterranean sea-going people who lived between 1550 and 300 BCE—might have accomplished the deed centuries earlier than that! Columbus was the first European to discover it in “modern” times, however, and the first to make the fact that a continent existed between Europe and Asia known to the “civilized” world. Another “fact” that needs revising is the one that imagines that Columbus set out on his quest in an effort to prove that the world was not flat. In fact, no one in 1492 believed the Earth was flat. What he wanted to prove is that it was possible to get from Europe to China by sailing west rather than east. In effect, he was looking for a shortcut and found a whole continent in the process.

7. The Wright Brothers Were the First to Fly an Airplane

Wright Brothers

While the accomplishments of the gifted brothers from Dayton, Ohio cannot be diminished, the fact is there are a number of people who may have accomplished the feat of being the first to fly a manned, heavier-than-air craft in powered flight (as opposed to unpowered gliders, which had been flown for years before the Wright Brother’s first flight). Probably the best claim to having been the first is attributed to a German immigrant named Gustav Whitehead, who may have made one and possibly two flights in a small monoplane of his own design (and powered by a tiny motor also of his own design) as early as 1901—two full years before the Wright Brother’s tried it. Unfortunately, ol’ Gustav was a better mechanic and aviator than an archivist and he neglected to get any photos of the flight or document it (although there was a reporter from a local paper supposedly present—along with a handful of witnesses—who allegedly saw a second flight in 1902). Had he done so, he might have changed aviation history rather than remaining just a footnote. Whitehead wasn’t alone in the claim of being the first, however, as some maintain that Frenchman Clement Ader may have accomplished the task in 1897 in a frail-looking plane named the Avion III and another Frenchman, Felix du Temple, might have done it as early as 1874. Even a Russian Army Officer, Alexander Mozhaiski, supposedly accomplished the feat in a monster steam powered aircraft in 1884, so the list of candidates who may have beat the Wrights into the air is considerable. The Wrights, however, did come up with the first truly controllable aircraft, making the previous claims fairly moot in that none of those earlier attempts flew very far (usually a couple hundred of feet) or were controllable—with the possible exception of Whitehead. If only the man had thought to buy a camera.

6. Alexander Graham Bell Invented the Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell

Not to take anything away from the prolific Mr. Bell, but he didn’t come up with this modern little irritant on his own, but was one of several men who were working the idea at the same time. What he did do was be quicker on the draw than his competitors by getting to the patent office first. In fact, some historians maintain that another fellow named Elisha Gray was the first to create a working telephone, only to see Bell get all the credit for it. (And Gray has a pretty good claim according to many, with over 70 other patents—many communications oriented—to his credit. In fact, he may have missed out beating Bell to the Patent Office by a few hours!) Other names frequently mentioned for their work on early communication devices are Antonio Meucci, who was experimenting—quite successfully—with the electromagnetic telephone in 1857; Innocenzo Manzetti—who may have invented a “speaking telegraph” as early as 1865; and the German inventor Johann Philipp Reis, who was working on the idea during the 1860s. However, it was a Hungarian inventor named Tivadar Puskas who made the telephone useful by inventing the switchboard and with it something known as the “party line”, thereby making it possible for people to use Meucci’s/Manzetti’s/ Reis’/Gray’s/Bell’s invention in a practical way.

5. Charles Darwin Was the First to Conceive of the Theory of Evolution


Like the telephone, no timely idea is birthed by a single mother. There is almost always more than one person working on a good idea at the same time, with one of them inevitably getting most of the credit in the end. This was not only true of inventions, but of scientific theories as well—in this case the (at the time) controversial theory of evolution. British naturalist Charles Darwin is usually credited with coming up with the concept, but the fact is there were any number of scientists and naturalists working on the thorny issue of how human beings got here (in a non-Biblical way). The foundation for the idea may have been laid down by the Greek philosopher and scientist Anaximander (610 BCE-546 BCE), who was the first to suggest that physical forces, rather than supernatural forces, create order in the universe. However, the basics for the modern theory of evolution were first articulated in 1745 by the French mathematician and philosopher Pierre Louis Maupertius. Additionally, Charles Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, wrote of the idea as early as 1796. However, few men did as much for the theory as did the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who came up with the first truly cohesive theory of evolution, in which he argued that there was a natural force that drove organisms up a ladder of complexity, and a second environmental force that adapted them to local environments through use and disuse of characteristics, differentiating them from other organisms—which was very close to Darwin’s concept of natural selection. Darwin’s greatest competitor, however, was the Englishman Alfred Wallace, who presented a very similar theory to Darwin’s to the prestigious Linnean Society in 1858 at the same time Darwin presented his. It was Darwin’s book, the Origin of the Species, however that made him world famous and is why to this very day it is Charles Darwin who gets all the credit (and, from some people’s perspective, all the blame) for the modern theory of evolution.

4. JFK’s Assassination was Part of a Larger Conspiracy


Though the idea that President Kennedy’s assassination was part of a larger conspiracy is actually an urban legend, the fact that it is believed by such a large percentage of the population—by some estimates, as much as 70%–makes it to many people’s way of thinking, a cold and hard fact. The idea that a lone nut job like Lee Harvey Oswald could have pulled off what was effectively the murder of the century without help is too much for some to accept, leading to nearly fifty years of all manner of conspiracy theories. These theories are generally divided into two groups: one which believes that Oswald was “set up” by someone—the CIA and the Mafia being the main suspects—and the other being that while he was in on the killing, he had help (and, in fact, may have been just one of several gunmen that day). Oswald’s death at the hands of a Dallas nightclub owner named Jack Ruby a couple of days later—in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters no less—seals the deal for most people, making the JFK conspiracy one of the most successful and lucrative cottage industries in America to this very day. Of course, no amount of evidence demonstrating that Oswald indeed possessed the means, motive, and opportunity to carry out the most heinous crime of the twentieth century all by himself or the lack of even a shred of solid evidence to suggest otherwise does little to dissuade the truly convinced, meaning that the idea that JFK’s death was the product of some massive CIA/Cuban/Russian/Mafia/Vice President Johnson plot a “fact” for millions that is unlikely to ever die.

3. We Only Use 10% of Our Brain


This “fact” has been so often repeated that most people don’t even question it anymore (thereby demonstrating that it may be true). However, even a moment’s consideration should demonstrate what a fallacy this idea is. The brain is a magnificent organ that does everything from making sure you don’t forget to blink once in a while to helping you remember where you put the car keys. To use only 10% of it, then, would render it little more than vestigial organ which, while making getting shot in the head more an annoyance than a catastrophe, is obviously nonsense. The fact is that despite evidence to the contrary, everyone uses 100% of their brain all the time; it’s just that different parts of it do different things. While it is possible that only 10% of the brain is used for the higher brain functions such as cognitive thought, reasoning, and memory, that doesn’t mean the rest of it is sitting idle. It’s just that those other parts are busy doing all sorts of other things like keeping your heart pumping and making sense of the millions of bits of data being sent to it by the bodies’ sensing organs. In reality, science is only just beginning to understand the complexities of the human brain and its capacity for doing all the stuff it does on a daily basis, making it more of a mystery than ever. The prospect that many of us don’t use our brain to its fullest capacity, however, may be worth considering, but that is a subject for another day.

2. Roosevelt’s New Deal Ended the Depression


It has been taught for over seventy years that FDR was responsible for ending the Great Depression of the thirties by enacting a dearth of government spending programs collectively known as the “New Deal”. In fact, the success of FDR’s massive spending programs is often pointed to by advocates of big government today as evidence that massive infusions of federal spending is the best hope for the poor, and has been the impetus behind some of the largest federal entitlement programs in history, from Medicare and Medicaid to welfare and food stamps. The only problem is that the New Deal was, in many ways, the Big Bust in that it did little to help the country recover from the Great Depression and, in fact, may have even delayed the recovery by years by raising corporate tax rates to such a level that it flat-lined business hiring for years. It was the Second World War that finally put most Americans to work which, combined with a reduction in tax rates in 1946, led to one of this countries’ greatest boom periods. Don’t believe it? Then just compare how long it took the United States to recover from the Depression compared to the countries of Europe which also saw a huge downturn in the early 1930s; England, France, and even Germany had put the worst of the depression behind them by 1935 while America continued to lumber on for years with high unemployment rates and a sluggish GNP. While no one can fault FDR for his noble intentions in wanting to ease the suffering of many people in this country, the New Deal actually demonstrated that the government that does the least to “fix” the problem actually does the most good by simply letting economic and financial forces heal themselves.

1. Thomas Edison Invented the Light Bulb

Thomas Edison

Like so many great inventions in history, this one too must fall into the “I wonder who really invented it first” category. Though Edison is given the credit, work on an incandescent light bulb had been going on long before ‘ol Tom wrapped his prodigious brain around the problem. As far back as 1802 a guy named Humphrey Davy passed an electrical current through a thin strip of platinum to create the first short-lived but impressive light show and after that the race was on to see who could be the first to find a filament that could last more than, say, five minutes. It wouldn’t be until 1841 when another Englishman, Frederick de Moleyns, would patent the first incandescent lamp using platinum wires in a vacuum as a filament. (However, the setup proved to be too expensive to be commercially viable, which is why no one speaks reverently today of de Moleyn’s remarkable invention.) After that, it was just a matter of time until someone stumbled upon a material that would be both economical and long-lasting, both of which would be required to make the light bulb useful. While Edison’s team did come up with a carbonized bamboo filament that could last over 1200 hours, thereby making the light bulb practical, another British physicist (clever folks, those Brits) by the name of Joseph Swan actually beat Edison when he came up with something that pretty closely resembled Edison’s later bulb by a couple of years. He had even begun installing the things in pubs around London while ‘ol Tom was still seeing if human hair would work as a filament. However, for some reason, history has not been kind to Mr. Swan and he remains largely forgotten (which probably explains why he could be frequently found afterwards drinking away his sorrows in one of London’s many well-lit pubs).

Honorable Mentions: General Custer (was not a General at Little Big Horn but a lowly Lieutenant Colonel. He had been a General during the Civil War but was reduced in rank afterwards, which is the reason for the confusion); George Washington’s Wooden Teeth (they were not wooden at all but made from gold, ivory, lead, and human and animal teeth!); George Washington and the Cherry Tree (Never happened); and The Emancipation Proclamation Ending Slavery (which did not end slavery in the North but applied only to those slaves living in Confederate States. There were thousands of slaves still residing in northern states at the time, though most were domestic servants or slaves by choice—usually for personal or economic reasons—at the time.)

Jeff Danelek is a Denver, Colorado author who writes on many subjects having to do with history, politics, the paranormal, spirituality and religion. To see more of his stuff, visit his website at

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  1. shawn corrigan on

    the example of the depression is a good one, it should be taught in shcools and dissected by everyone. here is my take. the world went into a dive (i believe from the banking groups plans)europe had a recession america worse,why? hoover made the mistake of punishing the source of prosperity the businesses who produce jobs and products,however it was appealing ,and is today to penalize them because of jealousy. hoovers mistakes were doubled down by fdr. the new deal was a huge disaster but like obama it is viewed as a great effort to steal from those who have and distribute to those who need,this is always seen as a political win. only those who have brains can see the failure in killing the horse that pulls the cart. then fdr does the unthinkable,after his failure and hoovers failure he does what any good communist idiot government control freak would do,he triples down ,he does the …get this… the new new deal ,look it up. how any people can survive communism is beyond me.


    Is everything you have been taught about Christianity fact or has there been a lot of fiction presented as Biblical truth?

    Here are some doctrinal positions, are they fact or fiction?

    1. The New Covenant was in force during the three year ministry of Jesus. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction.

    Hebrews 9:16-17 where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

    The New Covenant was not in force while Jesus was alive.

    2. The apostle Peter used the keys to the kingdom heaven (the keys to enter the church of Christ) before the Day of Pentecost. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction.

    Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven….

    Luke 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem.

    The apostle Peter first used the keys to enter the Lord’s church, at Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost. Three thousand entered the kingdom of God on earth. The kingdom of God on earth is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The three thousand who were saved and added to the church of Christ on the Day of Pentecost believed that God raised Jesus from the dead and that Jesus was was both Lord and Christ. They repented and were immersed in water so they could have their sins forgiven and then they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:22-41) They were saved under the New Covenant terms of pardon.

    3. The thief on the cross was saved from the punishment of his sins. Fact or Fiction? That would be a fact.

    4. Men today can be saved just like the thief on the cross. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction. The thief was not saved under the New Testament terms of pardon.

    The thief did believe in his heart that Jesus had been resurrected from the grave. (Romans 10:9 that is you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.)

    The thief was not immersed in water for the forgiveness of his sins. (Acts 2:38 …be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…)

    5. Moses, Elijah, Job, Enoch, Abraham and Noah were all men of faith and saved . Fact or Fiction? That would be a fact.

    6. Men living today can be saved just like Moses, Elijah, Job, Abraham, and Noah. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction. These men lived and died before the New covenant was in effect.
    Men, today, can only be saved by believing in Jesus. (Acts 4:10-12, John 14:6)

    7. Jesus did not say baptism was essential in order to be saved. Fact or Fiction? That would fiction.

    Jesus said “and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16)

    8. Peter and the apostles never taught water baptism was for the forgiveness of sins. Fact or Fiction. That would be fiction. (Acts 2:37-38)

    9. Men are added to the body of Christ before they are baptized in water. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction. (Acts 2:41)

    10. Saul was saved on the road to Damascus before his sins were forgiven. Fact or Fiction? That would be fiction. Men cannot be saved without having their sins forgiven. Saul had had his sins forgiven three days later, when he was in Damascus, not on the road to Damascus. (Acts 22:16)(Acts 9:9)


  3. Here’s #11 for your list: Claiming that Educators Teach that FDR’s New Deal Ended the Depression.

    There’s nothing quite like inventing a myth and then exploding it. People on the political right have been “debunking” the myth that FDR ended the Depression with the New Deal claim for decades despite the fact that schools and textbooks do not make this claim.

    I cannot speak to what any individual teacher may do or say in the classroom, but I can speak to what appears in curricula and textbooks. *At best* historians claim that the New Deal prevented the Great Depression from becoming worse or from carrying the U.S. into a state of social upheaval. Most agree that World War II truly “ended the depression”. In response those seeking to manipulate history to put government action in the worst light have engaged in moving the goalposts by claiming that WWII did not end the depression, rather the lifting of government controls at the end of the war was the “true end” of the depression.

  4. The part about the New Deal is very much opinion rather than fact. In fact, your whole write up on the issue sounds like talking points from Fox News or a Republican debate.

  5. Peter Boucher on

    There may be a geographical misunderstanding here. First, Columbus, correct me if I am wrong, landed in the West Indies. Where as the Vikings (as I well know were before Columbus) landed in Greenland and Newfoundland, Canada. I guess what it boils down to is who was it that actually discovered the land of the soon to be UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at that time. I think that’s where the confusion is.

  6. what is worse than peddling lies for years is polishing and re-packaging them to prolong their shelf-life. Christopher Columbus discovering America in 1492 sounded ridiculous when moors where trading with the continent since 60,000 BC! Amending it to say he was the first to discover it in “modern” times is nothing short of comical… worse still that 500 years before, the Vikings were travelling there as you mentioned it… at what time does your modern history begin and how exactly do you define it?

  7. Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz on

    Actually Bjarni Herjolfsen saw North America and told Leif about it but Leif landed there first Bjarni just saw it

  8. This author is very political in his writing. If you are a strong conservative or identify with the right, you may already think what this author thinks. If you are a liberal or “lefty” you may view this author’s history as suspect and a little light on details. His/her summations are highly debatable.

    Case in point – Kennedy assassination – The film and audio from the Zapruder film make it very clear how much time elapsed between shots. We “know” what rifle Oswald used to take the shots. Yet, to this day, not a single person in the world has been able to fire three shots from the rifle Oswald used in the time that he fired them. That is not even accounting for accuracy. Some of the best marksman alive (then and since) have attempted to make those shots with that rifle and have failed. While this does not point to the CIA or Mafia (or whoever) as a a likely candidate, it certainly puts compelling evidence out there that he did not act alone.

    The other one that is highly debatable (and highly political) is the FDR/New Deal thing. To say the New Deal is the reason we got out of the Depression is ignoring a whole host of other factors that could have contributed. However, to say it had nothing to do with the recovery is ignoring quite a bit as well. Are you an economics professor? do you have something other than “well if it was the New Deal, then why did Europe recover faster?”

    The truth likely lies somewhere in between. I can be sure of one thing, it is not in this article.

    We will never know the truth for sure, so it cannot be a fact.

    • Hello James. I read your post very carefully and found it to be very informative. What was the type of Weapon that Oswald used as I have heard that the one he used would be impossible to shoot it 3 times as fast as he did. I am also interested in the “grassy knoll” aspect of it. I was only 15 months old when it happened so obviously I was to young to remember. Just for the fun of it, speaking about the Kennedy’s conspiracy (John and Robert) study up on Aristotle Onassis. Not only was he a billionaire, but he married JFK’s wife and gave her a sum of $3,000,000 if she were to marry him (that’s a proven fact) but I also have read about how corrupt of a person he was. He had very strong ties with the Mafia, the Drug and Oil cartel and many other things. Let’s look at the chronology of it all. JFK, assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 ; RFK, assassinated on June 5, 1968, Aristotle Onassis marries Jackie on Oct. 20, 1968. Here’s my summary of the JFK assassination. If you watch the Zapruder film (and there are many more videos of it) in slow motion, you will see JFK putting both of hands around his throat which probably indicates the shooting from behind (Oswald) but just a couple of seconds later is when his head was blown off. You will see Jackie climb on top of the rear of the car and was quoted as yelling, “They have killed my husband” and also, “I have his brains in my hand”. So with those facts in mind, wouldn’t one think that his head and his brains would go into a forward direction as opposed to being on the back of the car ? Bottom line, Oswald did not act alone, but we will probably be both dead and buried by the time that the truth comes clear. After all, The Lincoln assassination conspiracy has yet to be fully cleared and that was 146 years ago.

  9. Just a tidbit note regarding this list about Charles Lindbergh and him crossing the Atlantic, here’s another one for you. Charles Lindbergh was also a PRO-NAZI. Had The Axis (or Adolf Hitler) had won World War II, he would have appointed Lindbergh as President or Dictator of the United States. Its been documented.

  10. list is terrible on

    number 10 alone discredits the entire list and proves it’s written by a bigot American…

  11. As a matter of fact the author of this article is correct in asserting that the US did not lose the Vietnam War. Some simple key facts:
    a) They beat the Vietcong soldiers during the Tet Offensive in 1968,
    b) Nixon’s ‘peace with honour’ proved effective in the Paris Peace Treaty in 1973 – the North and South Vietnamese would respect the border lines that separated them, and the US would return its forces home (this is what Nixon wanted as soon as he was elected)
    c) It was only in 1975, two years after the final withdrawal of US troops, that the North Vietnamese took the initiative to invade Saigon (April 1975 to be precise) and a few months later the ‘domino effect’ would take place in Cambodia and Laos.
    d) The ‘Nixon Doctrine,’ 1969 – moving away from Truman’s containment of Communism policy in Asia and making Asian countries have their own self-defence against potential Communist threats. In this respect, by 1975, Vietnam was irrelevant to the US (theoretically) as it became their own responsibility to fend off the Communists.
    e) The Vietnam War for the US ended in 1973 with no loss – every battle in the war was won – and the only reason the North was able to invade was for the reasons mentioned above.
    f) One historian – John Rohwer – suggests that actually, because the US involved itself in Vietnam in the first place, it inspired neighbouring countries (i.e. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) to fight against Communism, which is why today they’re not exactly Communists.
    g) In terms of the ACTUAL war, the Vietnam war was a success for the US as, up to the point where it concerned them, Communism was contained; regardless of the quantity that was absorbed by Communist expansion, that is North Vietnam, they were able to sustain one part that would remain democratic until two year later when the North would invade.

    I know I’ve repeated myself a few times above and that’s reduced the cogency of my argument, the point is: South Vietnam became Communist 25 months after the US had washed their hands and left the region. Yes, containment failed, but it was not in their interest (as seen in the Nixon doctrine) to contain with US involvement.

    I’m apathetic towards the other 9 points.

  12. I disagree with the usage of the brain one. They tested it on Mythbusters, and even though you don’t use only 10% of your brain, you only use something like 35%, even while your whole brain is working. This was stimulated by a person getting an MRI scan while he recited a story out loud.

  13. An interesting addendum to the Darwin entry, or well, it should actually come before, is that it was his grandfather who inspired him. I am not going to say ‘fact’ as it is a dangerous and dirty word. The countless rage-filled idiots with their ad hominem attacks prove that. Attack the idea not the person readers. Erasmus Darwin postulated a theory akin to C.Darwin’s theory. It was something like direct descendance, but I am open to correction. In any case, Erasmus was a great friend of James Brindley -an engineer. Brindley was the godfather of the modern canal in the UK and Ireland, whilst working, he and his navvies used find skeletons and fossils. He passed them on to Erasmus, who then thought about his theory, which in turn (along with others) influenced Charles Darwin. So one can, in part, thank the evolution of the canal for the theory of evolution.

  14. If I can say anything about this article it would be to do your own research about every single one of these topics and become enlightened that way rather then just going on the information in this article. These brief paragraphs are way to simplistic to have any kind of validity in my opinion. Especially on these topics. These topics have been studied by hundreds of thousands of people over hundreds of years and are way to complex to be generalized in a mere paragraph. To state a few fallacies in my own opinion, the war in Vietnam was a loss! Your argument about numbers is very similar to what the Army brass was focused on during the war; kill ratios and total deaths. The United States was trying to stop the spread of communism and they failed. The U.S. morale fell on the homefront, the troops became dissillusioned about what they were fighting for etc. . . There exist a lot of tallies that you can put in the loss column that I would say outnumber the amount of victories in Vietnam.
    As for the inventors argument, you could go on for days arguing who invented what. A lot of the time it comes down to who can sell it, who has the patent, or who documented it. I can promise you that there exist thousands of people that thought of and attempted to make the electric powered car or the solar-powered calculator, but it always comes down to the person that can produce a concrete idea and then sell it or document it. Inventing is also always a huge process of borrowing(euphamism for stealing) and sharing of ideas and a process of trial and error. Instead of calling them the inventors, call them the fathers of these products or whatever it may be, at the end of the day its all vernacular and semantics. These gentlemen were the key components to why we have light and a phone and why we believe in survival of the fittest and natural selection. As for the rest of the list I did not touch on, they need to be researched for yourself and draw your own conclusions because there exists a lot of information on all these topics and there exists too much to be summed up in a paragraph or two.

  15. Re: the Darwin item, Lamarck’s concept of evolution was VERY different from Darwin’s. The famous example of his understanding of how the environment influenced traits is that the necks of giraffes grew longer as a result of generations of them reached for higher leaves. Darwin’s concept is that the taller ones would be better equipped to survive, leading the long-necked ones to more successfully reproduce.

    And re: Vietnam, the U.S. is widely regarded as losing the war because it the Communists won, not because it was politically unpopular.

  16. The agreement ending the Vietnam War left 100,000 allowed the North to keep 100,000 troops in South Vietnam, that’s how we could have the country was going to renege.

  17. Stopped at the first one. “Hey um… the US didn’t like “lose” the war, they just sent a bunch of guys to die without achieving what they set out to achieve and then were “too tired” to help out when the north invaded. How does that count as a loss?”. Nice article.

  18. Just because you disagree with Government spending as a method to relieve the effects of an economic recession does not mean that the positive effects of the New Deal are historically inaccurate. First of all, Hoover believed that by letting the economy correct itself, that economic conditions would return to normal; however, anyone who has ever read a credible book can see that his “hands off ” approach to the economy was a miserable failure. Second, while I agree it was World War II that ultimatly brought demand to equilibrium with supply, that was only through MASSIVE government spending, which you have overlooked entirely. Third, the most grossly inaccurate statement you have made here is that a reduction in tax rates following the Second World War caused an economic boom, fact: taxes remained at 91% for a family who made more than 200,000 dollars and increased in the early fifties. reading before writing usually helps.

  19. 5. Charles Darwin Was the First to Conceive of the Theory of Evolution

    OMG – this is much more complicated that what is stated here, I guess the credit should go to both gentlemen. Definitely one cannot say who was the first one.

    I am just wondering, in how many others the author(s) got wrong too.

  20. On the question of Columbus being the ‘discoverer’ of America we have only to look at the name that the continent was given. Common practice for mapmakers is/was to name new discoveries for their discoverer. Hence America would have been Columbia or something similar if its discovery were attributed to Columbus. Modern opinion is that early map makers knew of the continent through the earlier voyages of Amerigo Vespucci and this is where the naming rights were assigned. It has to be said a lot of that argument is speculation though as surviving maps from that time are scant (they were considered strategic and closely held by the aristocrats who usually commissioned them) and of course there are no documents citing references or illuminating what sources the maps were developed from.

    As noted Columbus was not of the opinion that the earth was flat, he knew it was spherical, a theory that had been promulgated as early as the 6th century BC by Greek philosophers. Eratosthenes in the 3rd century BC even managed to calculate the circumference of the planet to within 5-20%. Columbus though had attempted to refine the figure and had produced a result which seriously underestimated the size of the Earth and thus the possible distance from Spain to the East Indies. The fact that the Earth was larger and that an entire extra continent lay in his path was not something he had expected.

  21. What about the first person to scale Mt. Everest, who we all attach it to Sir Edmund Hillary who scaled it in 1953 with Sherpa Guide Tenzing Norgay. Is there still an investigation to George Everest (who the mountain is named for) who set out in the late 1920″s ?

  22. Paul (not the same person) on

    Okay, two BS items: the first one about the Vietnam war and the second one about the New Deal. Let’s say a country invades another country. If that country fails to do so it has lost the war, even if its army hasn’t been defeated! In most cases, countries lose wars not because their army is destroyed but because their economies or people can’t bear the cost any more. The USA tried to protect South Vietnam from North Vietnam. It simply wasn’t able to continue due to financial and political (that is, the American citizens did not accept continuing the war) reasons and as a result the USA did not meet their goals. According to your reasoning, the Germans never lost the first world war (as their army hadn’t been defeated either; they just failed to conquer France and as a result of four years of fighting, the German people simply did not accept fighting any longer). As if the only possibility to lose a war is by being completely destroyed, as was Germany in WW2.

    Secondly, FDR and his New Deal. You compare it to situations in Europe. First of all, Germany did the same thing and look at what happened there (their economy grew so quickly they managed to defeat France, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and to invade – and almost defeat! – the Soviet Union). Now look at the Netherlands. The Dutch government did the exact opposite of the US government, cutting back its spending and generally screwing victims of the crisis. The crisis lasted longer in the Netherlands than in any other Western country. I’m studying economics and I really can’t stand this stupid belief in the government doing nothing during crises. The facts are not on your side.

    Really, if you’re going to correct others, do it right. Don’t say that facts which are completely right are wrong because of some ill considered arguments you heard somewhere else.

  23. Interesting article, but to attest that JFK’s assassination is “the most heinous crime of the twentieth century” – really?!

  24. No.9 Charles Lindbergh. Much to the dismay of most Americans who know this little known fact about him, he was PRO-NAZI. If Adolf Hitler had won World War II, it has been speculated that he would have appointed Lindbergh to be president of the USA. Or possibly dictator

  25. Am I the only one that was taught that Lindbergh was the first to fly the Atlantic solo? I never thought he was the first to do it *period*, nor do I remember it ever being presented that way by any of my teachers or texts. It was also generally understood that the New Deal merely dressed the wounds, and that the Depression was actually effectively ended by World War II and its resulting industrial and agricultural mobilization.

    You’re dead on with Columbus “discovering” America, however; the legend could not be farther from the truth with that one.

  26. What if I said that only 10% of the brain requires cognitive thinking, reasoning, memory subconscious instinct etc?That the brain is so vast, if you add up everything we know from the beginning of man to modern civilization, it would not dent what the brain has been capable of. If we use 100% of our brain then how come we don’t know everything? Far from it as a matter of fact. If you believe in God, then we acknowledge there are things intangible and infinite man may never comprehend. It’s not a matter of when for it may never occur, can you accept that reality? On the other hand, we are moving closer to understanding ourselves and the amazing things the human brain is can do, many once believed to be impossible. To believe certain parts of the human brain are dormant is in fact accurate.

  27. Yes. Wrong on the Vietnam war. The definition of “fact” here is interesting, I think instead, you are arguing for interpretation and alternative narratives….not objective facts that are somehow incorrect.

  28. About the Nam entry I can only say that the U.S.’s involvement early on seems to have been dedicated to keeping South Vietnam as a “slave” colony of France and thus we lost as soon as the first advisors stepped in. We went back on our ideals of freedom and betrayed everything we stood for by trying to squelch the South Vietnamese freedom movement. we were simply on the wrong side.

    With regard to the Edison entry, I would encourage people to look up the facts regarding Edison and Nikola Tesla. there is a general conception of Edison as a kindly old man who only wanted to help create the American dream. The truth is a little darker. But fascinating.

  29. No, Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, He developed it. There is a huge difference.
    I learnt a lot about Edison from this free eStory I got at

    It’s a great in-depth first person view on Edisons life.

  30. MadBiker Wolf on

    Interesting article.

    Only one commenter here had an accurate and logical objection to “The USA lost the Vietnam War”. As that poster stated, our objective was to contain communism. We failed to do that, so it can be argued that we lost.

  31. FDR was in fact a “progressive” and created a lot of issues that we are still dealing with now. And if you really like his policies stand by for further depression because Obama is using it as a play book minus government programs that put American’s to work. It wasn’t in FDR’s interest to make people financially independent. And what people don’t know is that there was such fear over what he was doing to the country that Congress passed a law limiting how many terms a president can rule. Generally that isn’t taught in school.

  32. Most people who have seriously studied the JFK assassination conclude that a conspiracy took place. There really is no other explanation. Besides, I interviewed Richard Helms, Director of the CIA and he confirmed that is what happened. He would know better than me.

      • It was many years ago. He admitted that persons involved with the Watergate burglary were also involved in the assassination. He did not give me any names. I have a tape recording of him calling me and giving me his private phone number so I can prove he contacted me. It was in response to a letter I sent him. He was older, in his 80’s at the time.

  33. Your list is a little wonky… Although all the evidence is circumstantial, #4 is most definitely wrong. To make your claim, you must explain away the below OFFICIALLY DOCUMENTED FACTS:

    -LHO worked for the CIA. At the same time as he was working for the CIA, LHO was an active informant for the FBI.
    Was Hoover keeping tabs on CIA activities? It explains why LHO was chosen as patsy and why he said ”now everybody will know my name” the day of his arrest. Not because he was proud of what they were accusing him of, but because his first thought was that his career was over!

    -The Allen Dulles Connection. CIA bungles Operation Zapata (Bay of Pigs fiasco), JFK takes the fall publicly and DCI Dulles is fired…. only to be placed on the Warren Commission by LBJ. Note also that Dulles oversaw Operation Mockingbird.

    -The General Charles Cabell Connection. DDCI who got the axe after Operation Zapata. Brother of the MAYOR OF DALLAS, Earl Cabell!! (think about that for a second)

    -The three ”tramps” and the E. Howard Hunt confession + Watergate.

    -Kremlin statement on the day of the assassination by Valentin Zorin.

    -Strange statements made by various people of interest over the years, especially George HW Bush’s remarks at Gerald Fords funeral (Ford was on the Warren Commission) and various claims made by people who knew LBJ.


    This isn’t ”conspiracy theory”, this is DEEP POLITICS. The truth is, we live in a day far enough away from these events that we can look up pictures of those involved in the assassination on Wikipedia, but still too close to the events that it is acceptable to discuss the underlying reasons and causes.

  34. That was an interesting read. Lots of facts I previously believed to be true, now set right, thanks :-). Especially the ones about the brain and Bell as the first to invent the telephone were facts I believed until now (shame on me – especially with the brain entry ^^).

    But I have one objection about the fifth entry, about Darwin: While it is true that Darwin indeed did not invent the idea of evolution – he did not even detail the evolution of humankind from the apes in the famous book “Origin of the Species” – he supported the “evolution” theory with facts that he collected during his journeys throughout the world. This makes the “Origin of the Species” the first scientifically sound prove for the “evolution” theory, while disproving another theory of the “created kinds”.

    I know that you wrote “Charles Darwin Was the First to Conceive of the Theory of Evolution”, which is a true statement, but theories are regularly conceived throughout history. I would go so far as to say that every theory ever conceived has had a history of perhaps 500 to 1000 years of being proposed – either in a drunken state of insight or stupor, or as thought experiments (that were dismissed after being laughed at by the whole group). As long as no evidence comes into play a theory is nothing more than an idea, or a phantasy. This makes this statement have less of an impact. Most theories are rightfully attributed to the persons who fully proved them, not those who conceived the idea the first time.

    After writing so much about that darwin entry (sorry about that ;-)) I want to repeat again: I enjoyed reading this article.

  35. Only thing wrong is: The ultimate goal for the Vietnam War was to contain Communism which it did not because, as you said, “by the time the country was overrun by the North Vietnamese in the spring of 1975, the United States had been out of Vietnam for nearly two years.” This did not go through with the Monroe Doctrine, which was the plan of Truman, Kennedy, and LBJ.

    And the number 1 myth should be that, everybody during the Middle Ages thought the world was flat. The book that made this myth believable was the book “A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus” written in the 1800’s.

  36. And beneath all of these cover stories lie the truth? Well, beneath the truths lie more truths. So much has been written out of history that is almost the point HIS STORY. Men without a desperate desire for power, recognition, wealth….WOMEN ALL AROUND…many people are forgotten by the err of history books.

  37. Number one is exactly the same i would’ve chosen, however, the vietnam and jfk facts shouldn’t be on here, JFK is virtually impossible to prove, and the US army was forced to retreat from Vietnam, ie losing the war. A fact that should be here is that Newton did not have an apple fall on his head.

  38. This site and its supposed “facts” are about as likely as finding a good storyline and actors in a porn film. It’s just not gonna happen.

    • Ouch. Thanks for reading in any case. Care to be a writer for us and write something that has some facts in it? I’m still waiting for the first critic to take me up on this offer – 3 years and counting. Will you be the first?

  39. Replacing “facts” with nonsense is not my idea of an answer. His take on the New Deal is asinine and grossly simplistic, and even begins with the mistake “enacting a dearth of government spending programs”. Dearth? Congrats you used the wrong word.

    And the American economy booming after WWII had little to do with lowering corporate tax rates and a lot to do with the fact that we were the only industrialized country that hadn’t been devastated by war and thus had virtually no competition when it came to manufacturing and exporting.

    He also writes, “the government that does the least to “fix” the problem actually does the most good by simply letting economic and financial forces heal themselves.”

    That’s supposed to be a fact? What simplistic fallacious nonsense. Why did the depression happen at all then? Things were laissez-faire leading up to it.

    Keep starving and dying people, the financial forces will heal themselves…until the next collapse of course.

      • I would have gone with “plethora”, but yeah – reading “dearth” in that context was like a journalistic slap upside the head. Sheesh.

    • The US economy was not even close to laissez-faire capitalism anymore since Hoover. They never truly were capitalistic but they were closer during the early 1920s. There was a depression in 1920. In the beginning it was as bad as the Great Depression of 1929. But, even though President Harding’s Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, tried to persuade him to “help out”, he never did anything. By the time Hoover actually persuaded Harding to do something, 18 months after the depression started, it was too late. The depression was already over.
      Now let’s compare this to the Great Depression. Hoover really was not a laissez-faire capitalist. He introduced very high tariffs, let the FED print money etc. This led to an economic collapse. He then tried to help with public works, unemployment benefits, spending etc. It didn’t help and Roosevelt was elected. One of Roosevelt’s advisors once said that the New Deal was solely based on things Hoover had done before. The New Deal failed to help, as well, though. Then came WW2. The popular belief right now is that this ended the depression. It didn’t. There was literally no wealth created. People were starving, food was rationed. Then the war ended, taxes and spending were finally cut and 18 YEARS later the depression finally ended.
      And btw, the business cycle is not caused by the free market. It caused by central banks printing money, lending money at extremely low interest rates (the FED has set its interest rates to 0% now) and by bail-outs for failed companies. In a free market, there might be minor, local busts, but not worldwide ones.

  40. I would have to agree with folks above, the New Deal explanation is so selective it is essentially guilty of the same framing of facts that you accuse people of doing when they say the New Deal solved the depression. You are right that WWII did ultimately brought the US out of the depression, but what was WWII but a massive government intervention in the economy? It was the stimulas of government contracts that drove unemployment down and the US economy out of depression.

    Furthermore, the limited government approach that you argue would have solved the depression does not explain why the depression worsened each year from 29 to 32 – for three and half years the economy worsened and worsened and the government in those years had a very limited role – based on your argument the economy should have started to see signs of improvement by 32, but it wasn’t, it actually appeared to be still worsening in 33.

    And on one level your Vietnam argument seems like semantics about what is a loss – the goal of the war was to stop the spread of communism into Southeast Asia (containment, domino theory, etc.), if you want to measure the war by the standards of its original goals then Vietnam was definitely a loss – it became communist in 1975 – yes, ok it took two years to happen but in terms of the length of US involvement (dating back to 1956) the two years is relatively short time period. This “traditional” definition of victory you are proposing is missing the point in my opinion.

    and “Who could have guessed the North Vietnamese would renege on the treaty just two years later?” is laughable, Vietnam had been basically fighting for this possibility since 1946 when the French Indochina war began, it should be surprising to no one including the US that North would eventually reunite Vietnam.

    • 1. WW2 did not end the Great Depression. Most people at that time lived under extremely bad conditions. Just saying that unemployment went down doesn’t mean anything. If we put every worker in the army, we’d have full employment but nothing to eat. And that’s basically what happened during WW2 (not as extreme obviously). The Great Depression really lasted until 1947 when government spending was cut and taxes reduced.
      2. Contrary to what most people think, Hoover was not a laissez-faire capitalist but an extreme interventionist. Everything Roosevelt did in the New Deal was based on things Hoover initially did. This has been acknowledged by one of Roosevelt’s advisors. Hoover really did a lot to “help” people, like public works, food stamps etc.
      3. If you want to see what happens when government doesn’t do anything during a depression, look at the Great Depression of 1920. Ever heard of it? Probably not, it doesn’t go very well with Keynesianist theories.The depression of 1920, caused by war time inflation which led to malinvestments, started out pretty much as bad as the one from 1929. Extremely high unemployment, quickly shrinking GDP etc. President Harding did not want to spend to stop the economic depression. His Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, however, wanted to. The two argued so long, that when Hoover finally persuaded Harding to spend, the depression was over (after only 18 months compared to 18 years for the Great Depression of 1929).

  41. Great list. I think that some issues might always be a matter of debate but I learned a great deal. Thank you.

    • wow that was really interesting reading i did not know anything of it…BEST LIST EVER……AND HAD TO BE MOST KNOW TO THE WORLD!!!

  42. There’s also a myth about the inventor of the first modern automobile. Many people will credit Henry Ford as the inventor of the car, but in actuality it is generally acknowledged as Karl Benz in 1885. There can also be many other honourable mentions, similar to the story of the invention of the telephone, not all the credit can be given to just one person. The first steam powered vehicle was probably designed by Ferdinand Verbiest in as early as 1672, though it is not known if it was ever built. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is credited with building the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile around 1769 when he created a steam powered tricycle. Many other similar inventions followed, but in 1807 Nicephore and Claude Niepce probably created the world’s first internal combustion engine which they installed on a boat in the river Saone in France. Coincidentally, Swiss inventor Francois Issac de Rivaz designed his own internal combustion engine in 1807 as well.

    When Karl Benz was granted his patent in 1886, several other German engineers were working on the problem including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Siegfried Marcus.

    Henry Ford is generally credited as the first to produce affordable automobiles in a large scale production line. However this concept was debuted by Ransom Olds in his Oldsmobile factor based on assembly line techniques by Marc Isambard Brunel. Henry Ford simply expanded greatly on the concept and was able to produce cars much faster than previous methods.

  43. jason stone on

    one of my well known fact busters has been the paul revere ride..he didn’t ride very far at all to warn the british were coming…but the man named Israel Bissel was the one that rushed on his horse throughout the various colonies to warn of the impending british invasion..this man has been slighted so badly by the history books that it needs to be rewritten once and for all..there is a fantastic 2 part series on hbo a long time ago called Assume The Position with the actor/comic Robert Wuhl. in the show he goes over many historical facts that have been mis-written about as fact and is a fascinating look in to the real history of famous events..the vids are on youtube if you wish to look it up

    • What’s interesting about that particular situation is neither Revere nor Bissell, or even William Dawes, who – among others whose names are lost to history – also rode that night, were remembered by history for their actions on 18-19 April 1775 until Longfellow wrote his poem in April 1860, just shy of 85 years later. And it wasn’t until the Colonial Revival Movement of the 1870s that Longfellow’s poem brought Revere to fame.

  44. man… you picked up in wrong facts and made it wronger.
    1 – USA did loose the Vietnam war.
    2 – Elisha Gray developed a prototype of a telephone, not the telephone itself.
    3- its impossible to know if the JFK assassination was part of a larger conspiration or if it wans’t
    4 – Thomas Edison did invent the light bulb.

    I love this website and it’s posts but this is the worst post ever

    • Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb. i Know because I researched him for about a year now, and he didn’t make it but he improved it to what everyone thinks he invented.

      And no one won because the veitnamese knew the land better than the americans but there was no champion, i am veitnamese just saying..

  45. There is no way to prove that the JFK assassination was not a conspiracy. Just by saying it is easier to say it was a single shooter with a motive and completely ignore any other evidence of a conspiracy, doesn’t make it not true. It’s like saying we should believe everything cause we’re told because it’s easier to believe.

  46. There’s so many interesting things we could discuss about this topic.

    One example would be that Rosa Parks was the first woman to spark the Civil Rights movement when she refused to move to the back of the bus. In actuality, she was not the first person to do so. There were others who refused to move to the back of the bus before Parks. However, those in the movement carefully scrutinized each case to ensure that the person was ‘morally straight’ and beyond any smear tactics by those opposed to civil rights. When Parks came along, she was the ‘ideal’ person in terms of character and so she was ‘chosen’ to forever became the symbol of defiance.

    • Rosa Parks wasn’t even sitting in the “white” section of the bus, but that’s how it is taught it elementary schools and even junior high and high school. She was sitting in the first row of the “colored” section but there were too many white people so the black people were made to move from their section to accommodate them.

  47. Your “New Deal” history is wildly wrong, in it’s overall “myth” idea and so many of the “supporting” details. For one thing, the New Deal programs brought unemployment down tremendously by 1937 when a concern over ‘deficits’ caused FDR to pull back, and unemployment took off again. And comparisons to the economies of other countries which “got out of it sooner by keeping government out” are just so painfully wrong. Germany, for instance, became almost entirely a “government” enterprise, marrying corporations and government, as it built the huge military. England’s depression was never as deep as ours in the first place.

    • I absolutely agree with berick. In fact, it was those same non-interventionists that prevented the New Deal from working to its fullest potential. And Great Britain had never experienced as much of the global downturn as had Germany and the United States, thanks in part to the fact that it already had a welfare state. Germany was in tatters from after the first war and the United States basically ignored all the warning signs, thanks to the inept Presidencies of Harding and Coolidge.

      Also, as Hubert Humphrey said “There are not enough guns, not enough airplanes and not enough bombs to fight a war not supported by the people.”

      This country lost Vietnam the moment it started.

  48. Woah I agree with everything but Vietnam and JFK ones I mean you must be too brainwashed to do not see that USA really lost Vietnam and that JFK death was a conspiracy bc he tried to make peace because he believed there were other ways than war but that didn’t serve to government interests so they had to kill him.

    • I respectfully disagree with you on the Vietnam War. While there’s no way we won that war, we didn’t really lose it either. I had the pleasure of speaking to a Vietnam War veteran a year ago, and he states that the real reason the U.S was not able to win the war was because they were not allowed to, due to political barriers.

      The U.S could have invaded Northern Vietnam and reunited the country, but not without severe consequences. China, and possibly the USSR, would step in which would create an even larger conflict in the region.

      As for the JFK assassination, I do believe there is more to the whole issue than just Oswald.

    • And I respectfully disagree with your take on JFK’s assassination. You’re using the appeal to consequences (a.k.a. argumentum ad consequentiam, or argument from final consequences). You’re basically saying because JFK’s death benefited somebody other than Oswald, somebody must be involved. In an investigation, it is valid to consider somebody a suspect if they had motive to commit the crime. But that’s it. Motive only establishes suspicion. After that, the investigator must find tangible evidence. If none can be found, move on. As the article states, nobody has produced solid, reasonably irrefutable evidence that anybody else was involved.

      Commentators RobH, Guerin, and Senpai are evoking the logic that an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Technically, that’s logically valid, but they’re not applying it logically. They’re using that logic as a smoke screen. If every judge and jury used that reasoning, nobody would ever get convicted. Countless criminals are walking the streets because their lawyer was able to convince a juror that there was so many alternate explanations, one of them must be true. Even if there’s no credible evidence to support any of them.

      Jesus seems to be making the mistake that I believe is the cornerstone of hardcore conspiracy thinking. Anomaly hunting. It isn’t suspicious that there would be so many strange anomalies and suggestive connections, like the ones that he sites. In fact, it would be bizarre if there WASN’T a plethora of suspicious anomalies. JFK was the president of the United States. He wasn’t some hermit that can’t be connected in some way or another with shady public figures (like Allen Dulles) and criminal organizations (like the mafia). Focusing on such flimsy connections is crucial to conspiracy mongering.

      As for Jim’s interview with Richard Helms, I’d like to get a copy of that. Regardless, he underscores one of the points that the article makes, which is that most people believe that there was a conspiracy. The phrase “he would know better than me” is practically the definition of the argument from authority. And the argument that an idea must be true because it’s popular is also a type of argument from authority. If there was a large consensus among historians on a specific conspiracy theory, that would be compelling. But the consensus among historians leans heavily to the other side.

      Keep an open mind, but know that a truly open mind isn’t only willing to accept new and extraordinary ideas, it’s also willing to reject them.

    • i have also talked to vietnam vets and they say that we lost the war politically in Dc. But with what the soldiers were ordered to do, they did it successfully

    • Technically speaking, it was the Vietnam Conflict. Congress never officially declared war on Vietnam.

      • Atta boy, Aaron! You can’t win or lose a war if one was never declared. This author is taking the 10,000 ft view that is the happy, clean, “American” version of what happened in Vietnam. The only way someone acquainted with the facts can view the Vietnam conflict in terms of “winning vs losing” is that it was a loss.

    • TwistedCross on

      Basically, they’re saying if you enter a conflict and are unable to sustain the objective indefinitely, then it’s not a loss. By that logic, Germany didn’t lose WWII, either. We pulled out, and they’re still around and doing fine. Japan didn’t lose WWII. Russia didn’t lose to Afghanistan. The South didn’t lose to the North. Mexico didn’t lose to the United States. Tenochtitlan didn’t lose to the Spanish. I guess only in the case of genocide, can you only meet the criteria of winning by some peoples’ definition. I supposed that last time a country actually lost a war was when Rome removed Carthage from existence. Go Rome!!