Myths, Misconceptions and Debated Theories in Biology

Research studies and novel discoveries continually reshape our understanding of the natural world, often refining—and sometimes contesting—prevailing scientific theories. While this influx of new information is important for expanding knowledge, it can also give rise to myths and misconceptions stemming from biases, media misrepresentations and overgeneralizations. In this blog, we’ll explore misconceptions that blur the lines between fact and fiction, some scientific myths that just won’t go die and theories that scientists can’t stop debating.

Humans Only Use 10% of Their Brain 

This myth, frequently perpetuated through movies like Lucy with Scarlett Johansson and Limitless with Bradely Cooper, has ambiguous roots. Some attribute this pseudoscience to Albert Einstein, despite no recorded record of such a claim, while others associate it with a misinterpretation of William James and his “Reserve Energy Theory” (8). 

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The Reality of Crime Scene Investigation. Part II: The CSI Effect in the Courtroom

Judge talking to a lawerIn a recent paper, Evan Durnal from the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Central Missouri listed common myths that are created and perpetuated by crime scene investigation (CSI) television shows and summarized the effects of these shows on the judicial system (1). In part I of this two-part blog entry, I presented Durnal’s four categories of myths about crime scene investigation. In part II, I discuss the effects of these television shows on the judicial system, including jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement officials and the criminals themselves.

In his paper, Durnal lists four main categories of myths: capabilities, roles and responsibilities, evidence and schedule. These myths all influence jurors’ expectations in the courtroom and affect the roles, responsibilities and tactics of judges, attorneys and law enforcement officials. Durnal describes it thusly “Nearly all definitions of the [CSI] effect stem from and refer to the impact that CSI and related shows have on the ability of trial juries to objectively hear testimony and make decisions without biasing those decisions on information obtained outside the courtroom proceedings”. He lists a number of examples demonstrating the CSI effect, originally published by Willing (2), including: Continue reading “The Reality of Crime Scene Investigation. Part II: The CSI Effect in the Courtroom”