The Truth is Out There

Bob Sprankle, The November Learning Blog, Apr 08, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This was totally a new one to me, and also to Andrea, who comes from the U.S.: "Your blood is blue when it's inside your body and it turns red when it comes out and hits oxygen." My first reaction was, what? We had a long discussion in my home about who would believe such a thing and where the idea would come from. Bob Sprankle writes, "my entire class - 100% - was suddenly trying to convince me." How can this be? Sprankle develops the theme as an exercise in research and documentation via the internet, but there's a deeper issue at work here: how people can have such an idea and just be content to believe that it's true, no matter what the evidence says (and indeed to be completely disinterested in any evidence). "What bothers me," he writes, "is that the idea that blood is blue in our bodies until it comes into contact with oxygen is truly a 'magical idea.' It is on the level of something that would be possible in the movie Avatar, or as magical as actual Leprechauns coming to visit on St. Patrick's Day. In other words, because this seems so over the top, how could such a misconception (or myth) exist so long and so large in our culture and why did it take so much effort to prove to myself and to others I've been arguing with for weeks what the correct answer is?"
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