Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
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25-03-2014, 10:20 AM
Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
So locally there was a huge outrage because another child died at the jaws of a pit bull. It started the war on FB and social media between pit bull advocates and those who have been mauled or know someone who has been mauled by one.

The myth being spread around with no regard to facts was that the pit bull was once considered a "nanny breed." This is categorically false. At no point in history, as the pit bull ever been considered a nanny dog. The very first mention of a dog as a nursemaid was during the 1904 production of Peter Pan, with a nursemaid dog named Nana. Nana was patterned after a Newfoundland, but is sometimes portrayed as a St. Bernard or an Old English Sheepdog. Never once was Nana a Pit Bull, Bullmastiff, or Staffie Bull. The pit bull was never, not once, considered a nanny breed by a mass population of people. There just is no evidence to support this claim.

I watched this phenomenon unfold as the myth was told as truth, and those arguing against it, never bothered to even fact check. They would simply say, "Those were different times, its a different breed than it was before." NO!

In 1909, George Armitage authors part of the book, Thirty Years with Fighting Dogs. In it, he describes Caire's Rowdy as not a mere man-biter, but as a "man-eater," the most dangerous biter of all. AKC registry indicates that a substantial number of champion (CH), grand champion (GR CH) and register of merit (ROM) fighting dogs carry the title of a the Sire Rowdy man-biter or a man-eater. These pit bulls were championship-breeding stock, whose famed owners never for a moment considered culling the dogs. Some of the most well known dogs include sires Adams' GR CH Zebo, Indian Bolio ROM, Garner's CH Chinaman ROM, Gambler's GR CH Virgil and West's CH Spade (man-eater).

It is not a different breed. It is the same breed it has always been. The best fighters sired more fighters since the 1800 and 1900s. Genetically, the dog is not different than it was before. Therefore, people continue to give credence to the myth.

The point of the thread is not this particular myth - but why - WHY do people feel no responsibility for breathing life into a (potentially harmful) myth? Why is fact checking no longer an important consideration in debates?

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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25-03-2014, 10:24 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
(25-03-2014 10:20 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  The point of the thread is not this particular myth - but why - WHY do people feel no responsibility for breathing life into a (potentially harmful) myth? Why is fact checking no longer an important consideration in debates?

Because they are emotionally attached to their dogs, which may happen to be the exception to the rule. There are always exceptions to the rule, after all. Surely, not ALL pit bulls are aggressive baby eaters.
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25-03-2014, 10:26 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
Confirmation bias. The public likes to be "right," so they look for things that "prove" what they "already knew," and stop looking.

And education: A person who is not used to being proved wrong as part of learning.

β€œIt is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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25-03-2014, 10:36 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
(25-03-2014 10:24 AM)Foxen Wrote:  
(25-03-2014 10:20 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  The point of the thread is not this particular myth - but why - WHY do people feel no responsibility for breathing life into a (potentially harmful) myth? Why is fact checking no longer an important consideration in debates?

Because they are emotionally attached to their dogs, which may happen to be the exception to the rule. There are always exceptions to the rule, after all. Surely, not ALL pit bulls are aggressive baby eaters.

Of course not. Any dog, even a pomeranian is capable of hurting someone. The point is not that every pit bull is a man-eater, but that every pit bull has a significant more capacity, at least in genetics, to be unpredictable, and to lash out.

The reason that people say the media is "biased" and only reports on bulls is not because they are actually biased, but because the severity of the injury these dogs can inflict. They don't just bite. They bite, hold and shake. Their tenacity in an attack makes them nearly impervious to pain. Lots of pit victims have reported, "the dog just wouldn't let go."

As a dog trainer (I train Search and Rescue Dogs), I have never seen another dog be a bigger liar than the pit. I had been asked to review a few shelter dogs for temperament. There was a beautiful pit there that wagged his tail and play bowed toward me, an invitation to play. The second I got closer, he lunged for my face, teeth barred.

On the other hand, I have known many pits that are friendly, and appear to have great temperaments. I just understand the breed more than most.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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25-03-2014, 10:38 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
(25-03-2014 10:24 AM)Foxen Wrote:  
(25-03-2014 10:20 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  The point of the thread is not this particular myth - but why - WHY do people feel no responsibility for breathing life into a (potentially harmful) myth? Why is fact checking no longer an important consideration in debates?

Because they are emotionally attached to their dogs, which may happen to be the exception to the rule. There are always exceptions to the rule, after all. Surely, not ALL pit bulls are aggressive baby eaters.

I guess i sorta understand this. However, I am emotionally attached to my Golden Retriever, but I do not deny that Goldens can maul someone. (I was mauled by a Golden last year, in the middle of the street while I was out for a run. Lost my pregnancy and needed surgery to fix the torn ligaments)

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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25-03-2014, 10:41 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
Myths like gossip, often based on hearsay and fabrications, offer power to those who pass them along. Like they know something you don't know.

I don't like gossip and I really don't like myths. But if it weren't for the fragile egos of human kind, neither would exist.

The beauty of the heart, is the lasting beauty. - Rumi Heart
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25-03-2014, 10:45 AM
RE: Why is a myth so powerful as the truth?
(25-03-2014 10:41 AM)Deidre32 Wrote:  Myths like gossip, often based on hearsay and fabrications, offer power to those who pass them along. Like they know something you don't know.

I don't like gossip and I really don't like myths. But if it weren't for the fragile egos of human kind, neither would exist.

I agree. I find it so frustrating to deal with myths in a debate, as it often sidesteps the actual debate to address the fallacy of the myth.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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