Changes in Strange Beliefs

Here are some views that declined in popularity from 1925 to 1950. The first number is the percentage of people who believed the claim in 1925, the second number is the percentage from 1950:

1. Long, slender hands show an artistic nature: 42.0, 6.4

2. Adults can become feeble-minded from overstudy: 56.0, 10.9

3. You can closely judge a person’s IQ from his face: 50.0, 3.6

4. Women are by nature purer and better than men: 38.0, 1.8

5. The position of planets affects your character 15.0, 6.4

6. Expectant mothers can affect the character of unborn children by thought: 38.0, 2.7

From Robert Ehrlich’s Eight Preposterous Propositions: From the Genetics of Homosexuality to the Benefits of Global Warming. I’ll be blogging more about this interesting book soon.

Those six views are, of course, all preposterous. But if I had to defend one of these in a debate, I would opt for number three. Number six would come next, then number four. Number five is totally stupid, but in a way we have grown to expect. So number one seems the craziest to me.


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