Water in the brain: Mind blown!
Posted June 30, 2015on:
My rant yesterday about the analogy of eagles vs geese as leaders reminded me of a fallacy I had to shoot down.
A few years ago, I supervised a student teacher who made an off-the-cuff statement during a lesson. It had no bearing on the content, but she decided to explain why it was important for her students to drink lots of water.
Reminding kids to drink water was great. Telling kids that each water molecule consisted of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom was good general knowledge.
However, things went awry when the student teacher explained why water was good for the brain. She mentioned that water split up into hydrogen and oxygen and that the latter benefitted the brain and made you alert.
This does not happen in the human body. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to split water molecules and the human body does not do that. Even if it did, we would have two extremely flammable and explosive gases building up somewhere.
The video above illustrates how dangerous this can be. By the way, hydrogen gas was a possible cause for for the Hindenburg disaster.
The human body gets oxygen from the air via the respiratory system and transports it via the circulatory system. There is a lower and safer energy investment this way. It does not get the oxygen it needs by splitting water molecules up like you might with electrolysis.
The electrolytic process might be chemically feasible, but it was biologically impossible. If it did happen as my former student teacher described, the physics would have been incredible. It would blow your mind. Literally.
Now this is not an informal science lesson. This is about teaching responsibly and holistically. A fallacy like water providing oxygen for the brain might stick because it sounds believable and was based on other scientific phenomena.
Two wrongs do not make a right. Two rights do not necessarily make another right. A teacher must know her limits and not try to make things up as she goes along. If she does, the teacher might not destroy minds as quickly as an explosion might, but she does insidious long term damage.