The cargo cult is a system of belief based around the expected arrival of ancestral spirits in ships bringing cargoes of food and other goods, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Sophisticated people also fall prey to such confusion.
Consider global warming, which connects the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide to any and all hot days.
On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its fifth report finally admitted the climate is not working the way their computer models predicted.
There has been no hockey stick spike in world temperatures since 1998.
Instead we are experiencing global samening, even as carbon dioxide has risen to a whopping 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.
"Many governments are demanding a clearer explanation of the slowdown in temperature increases since 1998," reported the BBC ahead of the official release of this report.
Skeptics laughed, most notably Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence," Lindzen wrote.
"They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase."
Physicist Richard Feynman predicted this nonsense nearly 40 years ago in a commencement speech at Cal Tech.
"We've learned from experience that the truth will come out," Feynman said.
"Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory.
"And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work.