“But everybody knows that…”

One phrase that I feel should be stricken from the English language is “…but/and everybody KNOWS that….” It is sometimes used in a logical if sarcastic manner (For example, “I’d love to buy a set of encyclopedias.  However I’m broke and everybody knows that money doesn’t grow on trees”)  More often, however, the phrase is used as a “common-sense” additive to any phrase that the speaker wants to indicate to their ignorant listener(s) is a bit of learning simply too far into common-knowledge realm to ever be denied; something undeniable, scientifically proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, something that is just part of “How the World Works”.

Trouble is, people that tend to spout this phrase as if they are the messiah of known facts reciting litanies about the workings of god, is spouting misinformation at best.  There IS no undeniable set of truths in the world that “Everybody knows”; there are, at best, a long list of misconceptions that have long been perpetuated as fact when they are basely rumor or based on shady science or spread as though no other version of reality could be accepted in its place.

Here are some things that “Everybody Knows” that I’d like to just bring up and have you think about.  Because, if “everybody knows” that this is how it is; why do science and people with critical minds sometimes have completely different and valid ideas on the topics?  Worth thinking about at least, right? Instead of just blindly accepting without consideration.  Right?

*sarcasm* Everybody KNOWS that… *sarcasm*:

Eating turkey will make you drowsy. Interestingly, the amount of the chemical “Tryptophan” (blamed for that drowsy feeling) found in turkey is no more than is found in chicken or beef.

Life couldn’t possibly have started to form on Earth before the Late Heavy Bombardment period (3.85 Billion Years ago when huge things were still pounding into the still settling Earth and its nearby moon). Then perhaps you’d be interested in reading this, which describes new research showing that Earth may have set the stage for a slow evolving life to begin over 4.4 Billion Years ago.

Fat is unhealthy! Obesity kills! “Weight itself is not a health problem, except in the most extreme cases (i.e., being [so] underweight or so fat you’re immobilized). In fact, [many studies show more evidence that] fat people live longer than thin people and are more likely to survive cardiac events, and some studies have shown that fat can protect against “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Yeah, you read that right: even the [...] diabetes.” (Taken from Kate Harding; bracketed sections are my additions/deletions)

Fat people are lazy gluttons lacking willpower. Recent research, building upon years of already established research, points to evidence that “healthy obese people eat and behave no differently than anyone else to explain why their bodies are bigger “; that in general people are not sloths; and that no amount of willpower will make a diet work permanently.

Science is infallible!  It is Absolute Proof! “A hallmark of scientific knowledge is that it is subject to revision when new information is presented.” Science is NOT synonymous with FACT.  Science is used to provide evidence, correlations, perhaps even after enough studies are done can be used to point to a possible causal relationship between two variables.  But there will never be 100% certainty.

Science is fluid, it is not static.  Things we “know” today are easily torn asunder and altered drastically tomorrow.  Learn to question assumptions that lie under any sort of “common knowledge” facts that are spread around as quickly and easily as Internet Friendship Week chain-letters.  Do not accept “common-sense” mandates as un-biased facts. Hear what isn’t being said but is being inferred from the comments people make.

Not every word spoken has a hidden message to ferret out.  However, knowing when to stop the phrase “everybody knows” and consider what it is that everyone supposedly knows, is a skill that would benefit us all every day not only in simple day-to-day interactions but also in social change struggles on a grander scale overall.

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10 thoughts on ““But everybody knows that…”

  1. Loved the post. You’re right, “everybody knows” is way over used. It only passes in polite conversation because the spewer is pretending it’s pre-vetted. I think it’s affective because people are either too polite or to insecure to say”…uhm,no”.
    To build on what April said, science is about the process of logically ivestigating and supporting a theory. Real Proof is almost impossible to find.

  2. Pingback: Oh to HECK with your “willpower” already « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

  3. Pingback: Morbidly Obese « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

  4. Pingback: Sick Earth = Fat Earth « I AM in shape. ROUND is a shape.

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