How Gullible Are We?

Acid rain results on monuments
Acid rain results on monuments.

A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair on April 26, 1997. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in the environment.

In his project, he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical, dihydrogen monoxide, and for plenty of good reasons, since:

  • It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
  • It is a major component in acid rain.
  • It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
  • Accidental inhalation can kill you.
  • It contributes to erosion.
  • It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
  • It is present in very high concentrations, in almost every home in the United States.

The student asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Of the 50, 43 said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the “chemical” was water.

The title of his prize-winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?”

He believes the conclusion is obvious.

Of course, this is an old, old, fun story, but just wanted to make sure everyone has heard it. Rather proud of this guy.

Photo credit: wikipedia

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

8 thoughts on “How Gullible Are We?

  1. Heard the story before, but always fun to read a good classic. Even introduced my daughters to the horrors of dihydrogen monoxide as they began chemistry in school.

  2. We are all gullible in some ways to things like this. I receive emails all the time about such things and usually delete them but I have email contacts that believe every word without trying to check out what’s been written or said. I received two this morning about Obamacare and one about the demise of the Social Security system. I wrote back asking them when they had time to read the legislative documents that involved these emails. all three wrote back that a trustworthy friend told them about it and they didn’t need to read about the legislation. Unbelievable!!

    1. Well, considering most of Congress often does not have time to read the legislation, it being sometimes thousands of pages long, it’s not totally unbelievable. 😐
      It is so hard to know whom to believe, when even those we could vote out of office might brazenly lie to us
      However, although we should trust the trustworthy reporters among us, it is also difficult when even the newspapers and TV reporters do not agree on what the facts are. People who should be reading, should be reporting truth, are letting us down, so how can we know? That is the purpose of these people, the purpose of a representative type of government, after all, to keep all of us from having to go to D.C. and read all those docusments before Congress votes!
      I know what your mean, though. I get those silly things, too, that make us look so infantile if we pass them on. Got one about poison in laundry soap, once, from my close relative who snopes everything! Passed it on, then got an email from another close relative, who also snopes everything, and boy, was I embarrassed after that!
      I think what is fueling lots of it is that we live amidst freedom of expression, which is not supposed to be for falsely shouting fire in a theater, so we trust. We trust too much. We should realize the heart of man is desperately wicked, as God says, and check things out before we pass them on. We should at least go so far as to ask a lobbyist, don’t you think? Or should we all go to D.C.? Hope not.

  3. Loved that science fair project! What a great idea it was… far as trust, the media, freedom of speech, ~ well, i think your comment above really said it all…and better than I could say it, I add!

    1. Hey, Sans! I like it too. Almost always I find someone who doesn’t know the story and also doesn’t know chemistry enough — love telling it. Glad you liked it. 🙂

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