Redditors Debate Which of Our 'Deep-Rooted' Beliefs Are Actually Myths

A viral Reddit post is sparking debate over which commonly-held beliefs—ranging from silly to serious—are actually "myths." The question, posed by the anonymous Redditor u/Sera0Sparrow, has racked up nearly 30,000 upvotes in the "AskReddit" forum, amassing over 19,000 comments at the time of writing.

Asked u/Sera0Sparrow on Tuesday: "What is clearly a myth but is deep-rooted in our society?" The question has yielded a diverse range of answers.

"The belief that touching a fawn or a baby bird will make the mother abandon it," wrote u/SofaSurfer9 in the top-voted comment. Indeed, the often-repeated saying is a myth—one that many Redditors suspected has roots in preventing children from harming wildlife. "My dad told my siblings and I this as kids and I was always terrified of going near baby birds. He later told us that he just didn't want us to hurt the bird," noted u/JamnJ27.

Redditor u/didnsignup4dis, meanwhile, pointed out that the idea of waiting 24 hours before reporting a missing person is also a falsehood—one many blamed on fictional TV shows and movies. "If you sincerely think someone is missing, then report it," they wrote. "The faster that a missing person report is filed, the better chance there is that the person will be found."

Though wait periods to report missing persons were once common, the practice has been abandoned by law enforcement. Rather, it is encouraged that people report a missing person as soon as possible.

"Leaning your head back for a bloody nose," said u/ELpork, steering the conversation toward medical myths. As VeryWell Health noted, the natural instinct when faced with a nosebleed is often to tilt one's head back, to stop the blood flow. However, this can cause blood to run down the back of one's throat, potentially resulting in "nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea."

"You're supposed to tilt your head forward so the blood can run freely out of your nose, and pinch your nose gently together," advised u/ShiraCheshire. "Letting the blood flow out keeps it from getting into your lungs...or your stomach...and the pinching helps the broken vessel clot."

Redditor u/Vaivaim8 chimed in with another widely-believed myth, this time food-related: that "MSG is harmful" and that "East Asian cuisine is bad because of MSG." Rather, the stigmatization of monosodium glutamate (MSG)—a seasoning that provides food with a savory, umami flavor—is rooted in racism, not science, reported Colgate Magazine. Moreover, the myth stemmed from a single satirical letter that was once sent to the New England Journal of Medicine as a joke.

"It has been proven many times over that MSG is no more harmful than regular table salt," noted u/Askdrillsarge.

While these four examples were popular in the forum, they hardly encompass the intensity and range with which readers tackled u/Sera0Sparrow's question.

"The middle ages were less barbaric and dark than we think," commented u/BelicianPixieFry.

"That black ladybugs with red spots are poisonous," noted u/harleyhemp.

"Gum stays in your stomach for 7 years," added u/LiterallyAJackal.

Other popular "myths" included "astrology," "the food pyramid," and the idea "that hard work guarantees success."

Newsweek reached out to u/Sera0Sparrow for comment.

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A Redditor sparked an online conversation when she asked, "What is clearly a myth but is deep-rooted in our society?" in the site's "AskReddit" forum. A display of the Reddit logo, 2021. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images