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Difference Between Fact and Myth

story-mythFact vs Myth

The basic difference between fact and myth is the ability to gather scientific evidence to support a fact. For instance, we say smoking causes lung cancer. Until the medical science community was able to document and scientifically prove, beyond a doubt, that smoking cigarettes directly contributes to lung cancer, it was considered a myth.

The origin between fact and myth can also be considered a difference. Myths are often derived through word of mouth, or the reliance on being passed down from generation to generation. For instance, it has been said that eating hot pepper will help cure the flu. This has been traditionally handed down from one generation to the next, without any scientific back-up.

Myths commonly start, or are passed on, through the form of a story. The most glaring example of this is Greek or Roman mythology. The stories that were translated during these times were done so in order to help explain something that could not, at that point, be explained through scientific reasoning.

This brings us to the reason for their development. Myths are generally started to explain away something, or to give a sense of understanding or control over something. Whether you’re talking about an angry Zeus to explain a typhoon, or you’re speaking of a hot pepper remedy for the flu, there is an air of human contribution. We all want to be able to feel we understand and control our environment, at least on a personal level. Facts are derived, often by accident, by simply gathering evidence to explain something. There is not supposed to be an air of human quality. The disassociation from the answer, makes it all the more objective, provable, and reliable.

Just because something is considered a myth, does not make it false. Generally, a myth cannot be disproved, just as it cannot be proven. To some, the concept of heaven is a myth, simply because proving or disproving its existence is rather impossible in this life. On the other hand, a false fact can be disproven. When people believed that the world was flat, they took it as fact. By being able to disprove the fact, the opposite actually became the new fact.


1. Facts are based on the ability to gather scientific evidence as proof of the statement.

2. Myths originate from generational thoughts and beliefs, while facts are given as evidence.

3. Facts are details, while myths are often stories.

4. Myths are used to explain the unexplained. Facts are used to explain what can be explained.

5. A fact can be disproven, while most myths are neither able to be proven or disproved.

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