Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions > How to Identify Half-Truths, Bullshit and Fraud Pushed as ‘Science’: 1

How to Identify Half-Truths, Bullshit and Fraud Pushed as ‘Science’: 1

Many of you might have recently heard dumb LIEbrals mindlessly repeat bullshit phrases such as “trust the science”, “we follow the science” or something else along those lines. If you have followed my blog for some time, you also know what I think about them. With that in mind, I have decided to write a short series on how to identify half-truths, bullshit and outright fraud as “science”. Some of what I am going to write in this series can be found in my older posts, but a lot of material will be new. So let us begin..

1] Anybody brandishing their supposed “credentials” or “institutional affiliations” as the main or one of the major reasons you should believe or trust them is confabulating, lying or trying to cover up their own lack of knowledge. See.. you do not require special credentials to say that the sky is blue, antibiotics can treat bacterial infections or the composition of fuel affects internal combustion engine performance. Also notice how these facts are not controversial. Similarly I can easily explain to an interested person with a 1st year university education how anti-histamines, anti-cholinergics, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics have similar structural features- and how many of the later three came out of research into anti-histamines.

2] Anybody who pretends that average people are too dumb to understand their theory or worldview is either pushing crap or lying. Any person of average intelligence, with a grade 12 level education and an interest in a given field can learn the basics of that field within a few months to a couple of years. Sure.. some might learn it faster or better, but most people who are interested in something will reliably learn its basics pretty fast. FYI- that is why we have schools, universities, courses and textbooks. If you cannot convey your ideas clearly to an interested 18-year old without brain damage, the problem lies with your own ability to teach.

3] Anybody who claims that they are somehow morally or ethically superior to all those other people should never be trusted as a source of knowledge. Anybody making a supposedly humanistic or moralistic argument for supporting their worldview is almost always lying, to the audience or themselves. The same goes for people who keep dropping acronyms in situations where they should know better. “Credentialed” people whose public image or income stream is heavily dependent on their books, lectures, videos, podcasts etc should also be not trusted. Similarly, membership in a NGOs and similar organisations is an automatic red-flag.

4] Anybody pushing “the science is settled”, “there is scientific consensus”, “science say..” is talking about religion aka scientism not science. Even well-studied areas of science devoted to study of simple systems such as particle physics, organic chemistry, geology, astrophysics etc contain huge gaps and holes in our understanding of some of the most basic concepts and phenomena in those fields. Perhaps I will explain this in a bit more detail in future parts of this series. This problem gets much worse in areas devoted to study of complex systems such as biology, medicine, ecology, climate etc. Anybody claiming definitive knowledge of poorly understood systems is talking out of their ass, trying to make money or both.

5] As a rule of thumb, the majority of articles published in peer-reviewed journals devoted to biomedical research are not reproducible. To make matters more interesting, the percentages of un-reproducible results is often higher for articles published in journals with higher impact factors than those in less prestigious journals. While the percentage of such articles is lower in other areas of science such as physics, chemistry or geology- they are much higher in journals devoted to nutrition, psychology, clinical research to say nothing about journals devoted to definitively non-STEM areas. To make a long story short, most research published in peer-reviewed journals ranges from exaggeration and bullshitting to outright lies and fraud.

6] While poorly quality, deliberately misleading or outright fraudulent research has been a problem since the beginning of science, it has become a far bigger problem in the past four decades- because of the manner in which research is funded and universities are run. I hope to soon write about how neoliberalism, financialism and credentialism have basically destroyed science all over the world. There is a reason why there has basically no large-scale scientific breakthrough in past 30-40 years, and most of what we call progress is either a development on, or improvement of, something discovered or invented before the 1980s.

In the next post of this series, I hope to go into more detail about some of the points raised in this post- with an eye towards what is going on around us right now. Yes.. you know what I am talking about.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. President Not Sure
    June 19, 2021 at 6:09 am

    The problem is not lack of knowledge for identifying bullshit, so although this article provides useful rules of thumb for such identifications, it’s completely useless in the world we live in.

    The problem is the human race is overcrowded with too many lowlife sellout losers among us, who are always willing to sell their soul and believe any contradictory non-sense if it makes their present moment more convenient, regardless of the consequences later.

    Example: I know people around me who only months ago were unwilling the take these new covid “vaccines” due to all the harmful effects they were seeing and hearing, and also because they were aware this so called “pandemic” is an overblown scare campaign by the goverment and mainstream media.

    But as soon as their coming vacation this summer was tied to the vaccine passport, they happily lined up to be injected with whatever was causing those “rare” blood clots in many others.

    They sold out their health for the slightest convenience.

    And these sellout losers without conviction are not a new fenomena, here’s a clip from soviet KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov describing them some 40 years ago (scroll to 2:50):

    • ...but AD kneads to get hiz dick whett
      June 20, 2021 at 3:11 pm

      “I know people around me who only months ago were unwilling the take these new covid “vaccines” due to all the harmful effects they were seeing and hearing, and also because they were aware this so called “pandemic” is an overblown scare campaign by the government and mainstream media.”

      AD: I ain’t trustin’ no rNA vaccination, besides, I’ll wait and see what the side effects are.

      Also AD: My favorite escort said I can no longer see her unless I am vaca’d. Guess it is time to lie and jump ahead in the line and say my asthema makes me vulnerable.

      Don’t you have better things to do like deliver packages for min wage? Besides, you too would visit escorts if you could afford it and knew how good a thumb in the anus was.

      Who cares?

    • pgrnk
      June 24, 2021 at 10:57 am

      This KGB guy clearly is the sellout you’re referring to, because he decided to suck American capitalist dick for whatever 15 minutes of fame he got.

  2. President Not Sure
    June 19, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Why didn’t my comment show?

  3. President Not Sure
    June 19, 2021 at 6:28 am

    It appears there’s some kind of censorship here, some of my posts can’t get through, AD take a look into it, if you haven’t implemented it yourself then wordpress.com is censoring posts behind your back (many other platforms do it too nowadays), maybe cause I mentioned the cough disease of the past year+…

  4. President Not Sure
    June 19, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Ok they appeared, there’s some kind of delay it seems.

    • doldrom
      June 19, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      My first thought was, User Error.
      There’s a lot of ways to divide people into two groups: Those who finish the old bread first, and those who start with the fresh.
      With computers it has always struck me how many people think there’s something wrong with the system before considering that they’re making a mistake.

      • President Not Sure
        June 19, 2021 at 1:44 pm

        No user error, it’s definitely the wordpress site, the synchronization was not right for some reason.

        I refreshed multiple times, I also checked it on another computer a few minutes later and it still wasn’t showing.

        Just look at the timestamps of each post, at least those were recorded correctly.

  5. MikeCA
    June 19, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    I recently looked into Andrew Wakefield and his paper that claimed to link autism to the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The paper was a study of only 12 children with autism and it only pointed out that most of the children had the MMR vaccine shortly before being diagnosed with autism. (This is because the age that autism is usually noticed is about the same age children get vaccinated.) it did not conclude that the vaccine caused autism, only noted the timing, but just after publication Wakefield held a press conference at which he did suggest that the MMR vaccine caused autism.

    Is that any worse than approving a 56k/yr drug with no therapeutic effect for Alzheimer? Or what about the fact that most anti-cancer drugs approved over past two decades do not improve overall survival rates, in spite of costing many tens to hundreds of times more than older drugs.

    This result was not reproducible and ten of the twelve co-authors published a retraction of the link. It turns out there were heaps of things wrong with this paper.

    Wakefield was paid a large sum of money by lawyers who wanted to sue the MMR vaccine manufactures to produce a study linking the MMR vaccine to autism. It also turns out that the 12 children in the study were provided by the lawyers. On top of that, Wakefield had outright faked some of the data in the paper.

    Wakefield had just patented a new measles vaccine. At the time of the 1998 paper Wakefield was trying to convince people to stop using the MMR vaccine and use separate vaccines, like the one he just patented.

    Wakefield was eventually fired from Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and had his license to practice medicine in England revoked. I believe Wakefield now lives in the USA. Back in 1998 he was only opposed to the MMR vaccine, but not to other vaccines. Now he is a full time anti-vaxer opposed to all vaccines.

    I think it is clear that it was money that corrupted Wakefield. He took bribes to do the paper in the first place and he hoped to get rich from his patent on a new vaccine to replace the MMR vaccine. After the fraud was exposed and he could no longer do medical research or practice medicine, he turned to the anti-vax movement in the USA who views Wakefield as a hero.

    In England where the Wakefield scandal was covered prominently by TV and newspapers, vaccination rates have generally recovered. In the USA though where Wakefield is almost unknown outside of anti-vax circles, there continues to be a lot of vaccine hesitancy. Before looking into this, I was aware there had been a shoddy paper linking autism to vaccines that had been later retracted, but I had never heard of the bribes and outright fraud that was involved.

    I suspect there are many others like Wakefield that just have not gotten caught.

  6. marlon
    June 19, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Didn’t know that, Mike. Thanks.
    As you say, imagine how much fraudulent “science” there is waiting to be discovered.
    No flying cars for us!

  1. July 3, 2021 at 10:56 am

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