The tongue map - any other elementary science myths to debunk?


(Christy Hemphill) #1

@Homeschool_Forum So we just read in the fourth homeschool science book this year about the “tongue map” and how different areas of the tongue taste different foods. Luckily, I remember random things I heard years ago on Science Friday better than my cell phone number and kids’ birth years, and I knew I had heard some story on how this is just not right. It is evidently just a widely perpetuated myth, but it shows up in almost every resource we have used.

Are there any other pervasive bits of misinformation people are aware of that have not been weeded out of elementary science books yet? The fact that stuff like this doesn’t seem to get corrected, even in fairly recent editions of books makes me nervous.


(Jon Garvey) #2

But how can it be wrong? I was taught it at medical school, from science textbooks. Man, those books were produced by the latest scientific consensus (admittedly 45 years ago!).


(Mervin Bitikofer) #3

Don’t know how pervasive this one is, but the whole “water drains down toilets in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere” myth was one I remember picking up somewhere when I was younger. And now with a trip to Ecuador on my horizon, I’m told the itinerary includes something (a demonstration?) about that. I know there are tricks used to make it work to amuse tourists, so the question in my mind is … would I play along dumb if some cottage industry there was playfully perpetuating that myth? Or would I be a stick in the mud and spoil all the fun in the name of education? Given my as yet paltry use of Spanish, I’m sure I’ll look dumb wherever I go anyway --but still!

It would be interesting to me to see if any textbooks still perpetuate that one.


(Christy Hemphill) #4

They do. Well, I hadn’t heard toilets, but bathtubs. And it is wrong.

Here’s some links:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-somebody-finally-sett/

I am feeling very disillusioned about now.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #5

Sorry about that. I’m sure there are support groups you could look into. The direction they go around the circle to speak though may vary according to the hemisphere you’re in.