12

votes

[META] What place does pseudoscience have on PaleoHacks?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Okay, so science vs. pseudoscience is something I care passionately about, and I expect at least some PHers to feel similarly. (Or maybe not... lol.)

So here is my general gut instinct on how PH should handle pseudoscience: if you post a question about a book, belief, journal article, or practice that is backed up by bad science or pseudoscience, I expect everyone at PH to chip in and point that out. I don't care if your belief is pro-Paleo, pro-vegan, pro-religious, anti-religious, pro-low-carb, or pro-low-fat. Bad science is bad science.

One common question I've been asked, in response to my very verbose comments in some relevant threads, is "Why do you care? Why can't you just leave us alone to look for pro-Paleo evidence in the Bible? This thread is a valuable resource to me and other Christians."

And my response is: well, I care because you are doing one of several things: looking only for confirmatory evidence of conclusions you already hold; disregarding contradictory evidence; thinking sloppily; or generally espousing ideas that are overwhelmingly contradicted by the data. This is the kind of thinking that plagues much of the medical/scientific literature on nutrition already, and it has caused significant harm in the last several decades. I don't want to see PaleoHacks become a place where those habits are encouraged -- do you?

My general premise is that pseudoscience, bad science, and sloppy thinking are to be avoided. And not just avoided, but rather actively sought out, exposed, and thoroughly criticized (politely!). Look at how Mat Lalonde criticizes the sloppy thinking behind some commonly held beliefs in the Paleo community. That is an excellent critical thinker at work, and that is the kind of standard to which we should all aspire. When we see others falling prey to sloppy thinking, we should be quick to point that out, all the more so when their conclusions are similar to ours.

I think there are some confounding factors here that make a level-headed discussion of this issue difficult:

  • Some people cross the bounds of civility. Not cool.

  • Some people interpret legitimate criticism of bad science as being "offensive" and "not respectful" of other people's religious beliefs. I have a real problem with this. I don't think pseudoscience or bad science should be given a free pass just because it's in line with your religious beliefs. If you believe that humans are not the product of evolution, I think it's legitimate for me to say "you have no idea what you are talking about, scientifically speaking, and your conclusions are contradicted by overwhelming evidence." I am not being disrespectful of your religious beliefs (as long as I state my criticisms politely). I am pointing out that you are a bad scientist.

I don't presume to speak for PaleoHacks. So, here is my initial proposal, on which I would love to have some input:

  • Questions ABOUT pseudoscientific or allegedly pseudoscientific books, beliefs, and practices are fine (in my opinion). For example, I asked a question about oil pulling and someone pointed out that the reasoning behind oil pulling appeared to be pseudoscience (and I agreed).

  • Actively spreading bad science or pseudoscience in the answers or comments is something that should be downvoted and criticized. For example: if I say that oil pulling makes your teeth cleaner because it's homeopathic or relies on your golden flower nature or because some extra-scientific text supports it, you should rip my argument to shreds (politely).

  • If someone criticizes your position politely, and on scientific grounds, this is not "bashing someone's faith." It is being a good critical thinker. It is pointing out other people's bad science, pseudoscience, and sloppy thinking. I would criticize bad reasoning whether it came from a theist, an atheist, a vegan, a Paleo-eater, a homeopath, or a Nobel-winning scientist. Or even Stephan Guyenet.

  • If someone criticizes your position (on any grounds) but not politely, then by all means accuse that person of faith-bashing, slap him or her with warnings and suspensions, and so on.

What say you all? Does anybody else care? Should people who propagate bad science on PH be allowed their discussions in peace? Or should we go after them relentlessly but politely? Or something else altogether? I know how some of you think, but I'm interested in hearing more voices.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:26 PM

I think the word "pseudoscience" makes some people very defensive. If it will enhance the discussion, I'm in favor of removing that word from my post altogether. I like the sliding scale idea.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 04, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Maybe we need some new terms within this (CLOSED) discussion. Good vs. Bad science may need to become a bit more gradated. Could we use a sliding scale like proven/strong/questionable/weak/pseudo-science/bunk? It might cut down on the name-calling.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 04:49 PM

Point taken on intimidating language. That was not my intent, and that whole bullet point was poorly worded. I've removed that language from the question. Thanks.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:54 PM

Finally, to beat the horse a little: whether an argument is sound/unsound has nothing to do with me. I don't decide them, just like I don't decide the principles that govern mathematics. If you get into a debate with somebody who says that 2 + 2 = 5 "because I believe it" or "because this book says so," you would know that this person doesn't understand the way math works.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:48 PM

But back to your response: if you are accusing me of "liking" sound reasoning and "disliking" unsound reasoning, I am guilty as charged. I'm not sure what alternative I have, though. You want me to like and respect unsound reasoning in the name of "respecting diversity"? No, thank you. I respect and welcome everybody's opinion, and I think everyone is entitled to their beliefs, scientific or otherwise. But if you present unsound reasoning, I'm not going to stay quiet out of some misguided understanding of "respecting diversity." Opinions are not all equally well thought-out or argued.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:39 PM

And for the record I think there are many valuable ways to contribute information that isn't purely empirical or scientific. Answers to moral or logistical questions, for example, don't always have or require rigorous scientific reasoning. Also, there is a great deal of speculation here that isn't based purely on empirical reasoning, and that's inevitable and necessary.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:38 PM

You act like I'm trying to change the rules around here to my own liking. It has nothing to do with things that I "prefer." There are many ways to make a sound argument when we are dealing with facts and causes and effects. There are many ways to make an unsound argument. I'm asking people to distinguish between the two. I don't want to "hamper" any discussion where people use unsound reasoning. I merely plan to point it out, politely.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on April 01, 2011
at 11:42 PM

Sorry Jae, I just don't find that believable. You're asking for "it to be welcomed and expected" that whenever someone reasons in a way you don't like, PHers should "correct" them with reasoning you prefer. And you're already using intimidating language ("If you hold ...beliefs XYZ, you better be prepared...") in regard to the standard you want to hold people to ("actual scientific reasoning and not purely extra-scientific or pseudoscientific reasoning"). You've plainly communicated your intent to hamper any discussion which isn't purely empirical-scientific.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 04:54 PM

I'm not trying to push out anybody's contribution or way of thinking. I'm just asking to be allowed to (politely) point out when someone's thinking seems faulty, without being accused of being disrespectful.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Well thanks! And I assumed your response was primarily to Dr. K - as was mine. I also think that Melissa is correct in that science tends to get hashed out here pretty well. I've been corrected on basic facts many times.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on March 31, 2011
at 12:02 PM

Thanks amanda, that means a lot to me.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:24 AM

rook: you are better at coherently expressing thoughts than i am. i've liked your contributions in the past, too. that is all. carry on.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:00 AM

Ha. I think it's perfectly possible to make the point I made and be diplomatic, but apparently I'm doing something wrong since Patrik says my tone is too harsh.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:51 AM

I'm just asking that PHers attempt to seek out the flaws in our own logic, especially on things that we are "sure" we know -- since that is precisely how our knowledge evolves over time. Look at how many people's attitudes toward fish oil and vitamin D have evolved over the last 3-5 years! I'm NOT saying that you should believe what I believe; I'm not telling you what you're allowed to believe or think or say. I'm just asking that we encourage critical thinking methods here at PH.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I'd like this to be expected especially when we agree with the conclusions, but not the reasoning. So if someone says "wheat is bad for you because no humans ever ate it before 6000 years ago," I'd expect everyone to say, "no, wheat is probably bad for you, but your reasoning is off." And if someone asks about a faith-based diet program that is similar to Paleo, I'd like people to chime in and say, "well, some of the conclusions look okay but the reasoning behind the conclusions may be problematic for these specific reasons...."

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:41 AM

**And further, I'd like PH to be a place where we encourage people to practice this kind of intellectual integrity.** I'd like PH to be a place where, when people present unsound reasoning, it's okay to say politely: "sorry, your dataset is problematic for these reasons" or "your interpretation is problematic because...." Actually I don't want it to be just okay. I would like it to be welcomed and expected.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:29 AM

Now, I think this language drives some people crazy because they think that I want to take away their right to believe X. No, that's not what I'm saying. You have the right to believe whatever you like! I'm just saying that **in the spirit of aspiring toward intellectual integrity, you should be trying to figure out ways to falsify X, test it, revise it with new data that seem to contradict X.** You should be assessing the quality of your data -- are you examining yourself for cognitive biases? And you should welcome it when someone politely points out a flaw in your logic or your dataset.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:13 AM

Patrik: I'm mystified as to how you think we disagree on the meaning of "science." Perhaps my articulation of my position has been poor. My intention has been to argue that science is a method, and moreover it is a method that demands us to be humble about what we think we know. What seems problematic to me is NOT that some people believe X and I believe ~X. What seems problematic to me is that some people think it's okay to believe X because of reasons ABC, where ABC = either incomplete/cherry-picked evidence, or unsound reasoning.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Jae: Paleohacks is already one of the most well scientifically sourced open discussion sites on the subject of health and diet on the web. The minor presence of extra-scientific ways of thinking is not repressing the discussion capabilities of the many intelligent people here thinking in strictly scientific ways. But what your proposal is functionally about is giving people a justification to attack and marginalize every other way of thinking with the aim of pushing out everything that isn't just pure science, or IOW just what you value. That's what makes it hostile.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 31, 2011
at 12:19 AM

Darn right I'm being too polite! One suspension was enough for me.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Patrik: I'm arguing precisely that science is a method.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 30, 2011
at 10:14 PM

@Jae -- I find your tone a little harsh for my tastes -- also, you are making a MASSIVE error in how you use words like science, pseudo-science, bad science etc etc -- "science" is a method (one that I favor), not a collection of knowledge (even though that is commonly accepted definition). The reason it cannot be the latter is that knowledge is fragile -- what is now unassailable to you in the Paleo world, may tomorrow be ridiculed.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:21 PM

@Kamal: I appreciate all of your comments in this thread, but in your last one, I think you are being too polite. Assessing quality of arguments/evidence is not always a clear-cut task, but in many cases it is trivial. Vitamin D levels measured by older and less accurate methods are less reliable than more modern methods, for example. Asserting p -> q and then "proving" p by asserting q is simply an invalid argument. A hypothesis that survives only by ignoring contradictory evidence is a bad hypothesis. None of these are tough calls.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Ben: you continually manage to misconstrue my words. I'm not making a plea for any "objective posting requirements." Anybody and everybody can post. What I'm asking for is that we hold people to high standards of intellectual honesty and be on guard for confirmation bias and other cognitive biases.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:35 PM

oh--i also find the codified language of the skeptic/science based medicine crowd (woo-merchant, quackery/quackademic/quacks, loons, etc.) really annoying, too, and the term psuedoscience used like 1.) we all have the same definition and 2.) the pinnacle of insults falls into that for me so it gets me all ARGH! on a gut level. Just admitting a personal bias.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:20 PM

Ben- it's a tough call, for sure. Determining what's relevant and what's silly is different for different people. Luckily we don't have to make the choice, the moderators do!

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:55 PM

oh--i also find the codified language of the skeptic/science based medicine crowd really annoying, too, and the term psuedoscience used like 1.) we all have the same definition and 2.) the pinnacle of insults falls into that for me so it gets me all ARGH! on a gut level. (Overuse of woo-merchant, quackery/quackademic/quacks, loons, etc. all drive me absolutely bonkers--yeah, every community develops its own shorthand and slang and all, but this crowd reminds me of cranky old ultra-rightwing guys who comment in local paper comment sections on political stories.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:46 PM

I find it disturbing that yours is the least-upvoted answer in this thread. Also, just to clarify: my comment above was meant as a response to Dr. K, not to your answer.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:39 PM

i think we are on a pretty similar page with all this stuff, probably. my hackles just go up when i come across things here/in the paleosphere in general/in life that present a really reductionist view of science (not accusing you of that, btw) and privilege the Enlightenment gods of REASON! and EMPIRICISM! (all hail!) over every other mode of knowledge and inquiry. science is rad, but it isn't everything.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:37 PM

i think we are on a pretty similar page with all this stuff, probably. my hackles just go up when i come across things here/in the paleosphere in general/in life that present a really reductionist view of science (not accusing you of that, btw) and privilege the Enlightenment gods of REASON! and EMPIRICISM! (all hail!) over every other mode of knowledge and inquiry.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:04 PM

I'm afraid that most people may like thinking and discovering to some degree, but having a science-bent-mind means that you also like doubting your own answers, re-thinking, and re-discovering different, (and hopefully more accurate) versions of the truth. What I hope to work out within this online community is an ever evolving view of the world that is accurate enough to promote my own health and happiness... the rest of it is great intellectual play, but *play* none the less.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I view "respect diversity" as "all viewpoints deserve consideration", not "all viewpoints have equal scientific merit or are equally true"

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:27 PM

@Kamal: thanks for your support. Basically I am asking people to (aspire to) think more like Stephan and less like (for example) the agenda-driven, bias-prone people over at 30BAD. I'm not sure why this is so controversial for so many people in this thread, as I am being accused of being "ideological" and "evangelizing" and "close-minded," and of claiming to have some kind of pretentious understanding of knowledge that allows me to pronounce what is valid evidence and what isn't. No. I'm just asking people to hold themselves & each other to high critical thinking standards, like Stephan.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:06 PM

@Bree: there is a passable definition over at Wikipedia, including a section that explains some of the problematic aspects of the definition. If you have a problem with my usage of the word, simply substitute "bad science" or "faulty reasoning" or "sloppy thinking" wherever I use it. For my purposes here, I don't need to make a sharp distinction between pseudoscience and bad science.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:01 PM

I am equally annoyed by what amanda calls "crude scientism." For example, I am open to the idea that oil pulling confers real benefits, although it is dismissed as pseudoscience by most self-described "skeptics." If I have any particular ideology I am "evangelizing" for, it is that I would like people to think critically, to be aware of their own inevitable cognitive biases (especially confirmation bias), and to carefully examine the quality of the evidence available to them. If you think this is a hostile ideology, then I don't know what to say to that.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

@Ignacio: I'm all for respecting diversity. However, I'm not in favor of using "respect diversity" as a cover for "all viewpoints have equal scientific merit," which is absurd. There are an infinite number of religious AND non-religious views that are less than logical. I have no problem with religious views per se. You are confusing the issue. I have a problem with bad reasoning wherever it occurs -- among scientists and laypeople, among religious and non-religious people. I'm not trying to dictate "what can be thought." I'm advocating for sound reasoning and good evidence.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:58 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a watchful eye on the science as it happens.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:57 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a wathful eye on the science as it happens.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:56 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a wathful eye on the science as it happens.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:26 PM

Hi Kamal! I agree that being objective can be great. But I think within the context of a forum, objectiveness (especially objective posting requirements) defeats the forum's purpose. Does that make sense?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:20 AM

I might weigh in on this some time later this week.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:05 AM

Ben- just one thing. When you said that Jae was being too objective, I wholeheartedly disagree with that mentality. Being objective is not being a heartless robot or an overly demanding nit. In behavioral econ terms, it is simply fully aligning your actions with your preferences. In logic/philosophic terms, it just means supporting your argument. Either way, being objective is great (and not necessarily synonymous with Objectivism!)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:45 AM

There is a fine line at play here. Some "alternative" healing practices may have biological plausability behind them that relate to paleo/indigenous practices, but no research dollars to find that plausability. Other things, I cannot even imagine a biological plausability for. The key here is as you said Jae--confirmation bias. Asking if something is confirmed by paleo that does not have a basis in logic is asking for trouble. Homeopathy, in my estimation, is bullshit. And in certain hacks, people have said so. But it shouldn't get nailed more than other beliefs, just from lack of adoption.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:40 AM

Jae- this is an excellent question, and well worded. Although I too question your inclusion of Stephan Guyenet, as his alchemic writing turns everything into easy-to-understand science.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:48 AM

this this this! i find straight up crude scientism way more off putting than occasional dalliances in "woo" here on PH and it has nothing to do with religion. (i would consider myself an atheist and pretty friggin' into science.) IMHO, it's a worldview that is anti-life, anti-bodily wisdom, and, ultimately, anti-science.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Jae - can you please tell me your definition of pseudoscience. It seems to becoming somewhat of a buzz word right now - I think it needs some clarification. Thanks!

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:29 PM

To respect diversity I do agree that we should not try to convert paleo into some uniform form of thinking, that would say what can or what can not be thought. Perhaps discussing religion and paleo is relevant here, perhaps it is not, but one way or another no one should claim that anybody else religious or philosophical views are "psuedoscience".

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:22 PM

I totally agree: I love scientific and even philosophical discussions, but often there is nothing as interesting as a good personal story!

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:54 PM

excellent point - we all have to be active critical thinkers!

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Ben: See my comment above. In a nutshell, some evidence is superior to other evidence. The trick is to be able to tell good from bad. This is both an innate ability and a learned skill.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Excellent comment Ignacio.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 10:43 PM

This is where "meta" comes in, and levels of intelligence. Some people can tell the difference between good and bad science even if they aren't specialists in a given field. Others are reliant on others to interpret not just raw data, but the overall meaning of it all and other such "big pictures". This is where it helps to be able to explain in clear and relatively simple language, for instance, why you choose to place credence in certain studies and not in others.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:11 PM

Sounds good to me. You too, Jae.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Ben: I can't make sense of your last comment. I'm done responding to you. Have a nice day.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:06 PM

@Jae- I see. Who decides evidence is valid? We can't even all agree on things like dairy, there is no such thing as evidence everyone can accept.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:03 PM

@Jack- HAHA! That's awesome! @Jae- Still....your definition is only subjective to your interpretation. Your worldview (I'm assuming-sorry!) would dictate that your definition only exist within you previously understood parameters. You know? You've already decided that I'm wrong (you have discredited yourself). No matter the source I give you, it won't matter. You can find a hole in A, B and C to make my sources not credible. So, like I said, your definition is too subjective. Just like your thoughts in evolution, whether we should drink milk, or if we should wear underwear.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:00 PM

At least, that is one way of interpreting my proposal. To be honest, I'm not sure I like that interpretation.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:58 PM

You don't have to think any particular thing to post on PH. You just need to be able to provide reasons that come from evidence that everyone can accept, not just people who hold the same religious beliefs as you do.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:56 PM

hey guys the discussion oliver just posted about whether we should all wear underwear is way more fun than this...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:56 PM

You are correct but we can be fairly confident in the general outlines of Paleo as a useful heuristic in thinking about nutrition. We should be less confident in the specifics, and good thinkers always are.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:54 PM

and btw... stephan would politefully eat dr fuhrman alive.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:53 PM

@Ben: please see my previous comment on what "credible" means. Right above Jack's reply that Stephan is fantastic.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:52 PM

And Stephan's confidence would be quite justified in this case. Similarly, my confidence in the general outlines of evolutionary theory is pretty well justified, whereas Ben's confidence that humans are not the product of evolution is misplaced. It blows my mind that you would argue about this.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:51 PM

@Jae- I think you're missing mine (and possibly Jack's) points. I think you're being overly objective in your arguments. For example: "you shouldn't have too hard of a time sending me a source from a major journal that specializes in evolutionary biology." So, in order for my source to be credible, and not pseudoscience, it has to fit inside your beliefs, or the beliefs of a major journal. We should all realize by now that mainstream ideas, and "major journals" are definitely not always true. So, given that scientists and major journals are continuously shown as wrong on PH, what is credible?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:50 PM

My point is Dr F and Stephan are NOT equally credible and their confidence is not equally valid. I'm pretty sure that Stephan understands the necessity of NOT being too confident in the specifics of what he believes. Hence he continually revises his opinions on the specifics, about nitrates, polyphenols, and the like. He is quite willing to say "I was wrong about this." But I'm also sure he would be very confident in saying "Dr F is wrong about these specific points." And he'd be pretty damn confident in saying "well, the general idea is to eat real, whole foods, avoid processed crap."

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I'm sorry mate. I don't mean to misconstrue your argument. I think we agree on many things Jae. Maybe not some specifics, but I bet we eat a lot of the same foods. In that regard, we level. And about Dr K's comment, I couldn't tell what he meant by that first part. But I like "Just put it out there and let people hack it".

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:33 PM

@Jack: I don't think this is intentional, but you continue to either miss my point or misconstrue my argument. Perhaps I am doing a poor job articulating my position. Dr F's arguments must be examined on the merits of available data. In this case I think someone like Stephan Guyenet would have a trivially easy task of showing A) how Dr F has an agenda to prove, B) how Dr F is specifically wrong in any number of his arguments (by presenting high-quality contradictory data), and C) how Dr F's confidence is misplaced.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:32 PM

Yah. Stephan is fantastic for sure.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:29 PM

@Ben and Jack: The question of what is "credible" is a genuinely philosophically interesting one. For my purposes I would define a credible source as A) someone who is erudite on a given subject and B) is capable of considering multiple angles of thought and C) repeatedly demonstrates a genuine interest in figuring out how he or she is WRONG rather than trying to prove that he or she is right. Stephan Guyenet fits that profile for me on the subject of nutrition and human health.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Start your own blog then. It would be plenty interesting.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:23 PM

@Dr K: are you criticizing one of us or all of us? Just curious.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

I dont think paleo has all its facts out......The paleolithic period saw huge changes in it from its beginnings to its ends. That very often gets lost in many of the paleo sites and paleo books.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Dr K - I don't know what this means "This is an epic fail thread no?", but I like your comment regardless.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

This is an epic fail thread no? The site is meant for free discourse. If youre a moron you will be left in the dark like Darwin says. Life has a way of settling the score. Arguing about it seems pointless. Just put it out there and let people hack it.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:02 PM

btw... I am TruthorDeath in the comments. I don't agree with everything the WAPF teaches, but much of it I do. I got a little worked up about Dr Fuhrman's approach, and his disgusting attitude.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:53 PM

Ben - your comments are hilarious to me. Very hilarious. Jae - I surely don't mean to frustrate (I'm not even certain I have). I just don't think that we are in agreement with what you believe is credible and what I (and possibly Ben here) thinks is credible. That's all. It's just difference of viewpoint. Dr Fuhrman calls WAPF pseudoscience, and convinces his readers that 30% of diet from animal products is far too high. He really truly believes he is correct. Is he? http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/debunking-diet-myths-weston-price-take-your-pseudoscience-elsewhere.html

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:51 PM

While I realize that peer review has its own problems and limitations, if you really have "cold hard facts" to support your hypothesis that humans are not the product of evolution, you shouldn't have too hard of a time sending me a source from a major journal that specializes in evolutionary biology. Any major journal will do. I won't claim to know all the titles of these journals but it will be easy for me to find out if it is a major journal or not.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Also, "hack my diet"; another forum for that...

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Slightly aside, I personally think here should be some filter for localized questions, I am just not interested in finding grass fed beef in North Carolina, no insult intended...

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:41 PM

@Jae- I'd love to send it to you. Tell me, what defines credible? ;-)

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:39 PM

@Jack: just because he "truly believes" and is "confident" I'm incorrect does not give him the same epistemic status. To determine the epistemic status of his argument vs. mine, you have to look at whatever evidence is offered up. On my side there are hundreds of articles/books demonstrating that Ben's specific claim is wrong. Can he claim to have any credible scientific sources that discredit my general acceptance of evolutionary theory? Since I don't seem to be getting anywhere with you and Ben, I will prob. just stop responding to both of you. Thanks for a civil discussion.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:36 PM

@Ben: I'd sincerely be interested in seeing it.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:35 PM

I'm not actually interested in a discussion with you on this topic, nor is it appropriate for PH. But if you'd like to send me a credible scientific text that supports your hypothesis, you can send it to my first name @bloomingtonpowerfit.com

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:34 PM

...or rather, are not the product of evolution, sorry for the poor wording there.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:33 PM

@Jae: That's definitely a discussion I'd like to have! But, that's not something appropriate for PH, right?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:31 PM

@Ben: I apologize for using you as an example. You specified one small part of your views on evolution, which made for a very convenient example. As for my alleged intellectual carelessness: if you could demonstrate one credible scientific text that supports your assertion that humans did not evolve, I would be happy to look at it. Since, historically, nobody has ever produced one, I will not apologize for being skeptical to the point of being dismissive.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:22 PM

@Jack- You got it.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:21 PM

@Jae. You're right. I don't believe humans came into being via evolution. That doesn't mean I don't believe we have evolved, or are continuing to do so. The problem, Jae, is that you have decided my views for me, based on little interaction. We BARELY spoke about my evolutionary views. For all you know, I could have cold hard facts to back up my views, but it seems that the stigma of my religion has made you careless. Please leave me out of your reasoning behind this proposal.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:21 PM

Ben's comment above perfectly proves my point (and I'd wager a fair sum that's why he wrote it). He truly believes that your understanding of evolution is incorrect, just as you said about his. does this make either of you a complete idiot, psychologically unbalanced, foaming at the mouth and fit for an insane asylum? nope.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:17 PM

@Ben: Just to make it clear to people who haven't read the other thread: you claimed, in print, that you believe in evolution BUT you don't believe humans are the product of evolution.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Please see my comment about epistemic asymmetry. It seems that you don't understand this concept, either. To paraphrase Nicholas Nassim Taleb: I prefer to be generally right, rather than specifically wrong. There is no "classical opposition of beliefs" in my argument with Ben. I am arguing general outlines and moreover sticking to a claim about a hypothesis that is almost surely wrong; he is arguing specifics about a hypothesis that he believes to be right.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:15 PM

N=1 is a special situation. It's definitely not scientific, but you can't really argue with it either. If someone feels better doing or not doing something, that's the bottom line for them. But you can't generalize from it. Like with epidemiology, you can only hypothesize. On the other hand, if you find yourself to be an exception to something that is taken as always true, then N=1 is significant, and defeats the argument.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:14 PM

Hey, Jae. I'm confident that your understanding of evolution is mistaken.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:01 PM

Jae - you definitely assert that your scientific understandings are concrete. I don't think I am falsely accusing you at all. It's possible to indirectly assert it by directly calling the opposite untrue, or at least certain specific aspects of it that only have an opposing viewpoint. Either way, you are making concrete statements against the beliefs of others and calling it rock solid science and calling their belief pseudoscience when maybe they believe there is solid science behind what they believe. That's just a classical opposition of beliefs… an argument, similar to my sat fat example.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:52 PM

I am confident in saying that Ben's understanding of evolution is mistaken. I am far less confident in saying that my understanding of evolution is correct. This is an epistemic asymmetry that he appears to be unfamiliar with.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:51 PM

As for scientists potentially being off by 54 million years: the difference between science and pseudoscience, as I see it, is that real scientists would be thrilled to discover something as earth-shattering as a 54MY discrepancy in their calculations, because it would mean that they had discovered a fundamental flaw in one of their assumptions. This is the meaning of science. Science is not about being RIGHT. It is about revising your understanding of the world by making sense of data that FALSIFY your current hypotheses. I don't claim "my" science is concrete, either. You accuse me falsely.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:48 PM

I'm with you on many of your points, but if you think that claiming that humans did not arise from evolutionary processes (but evolution otherwise occurred) is not pseudoscience, you are being a bit too generous.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:18 PM

Only looked quickly, but it appears that that author is making a somewhat finer conceptual point, and that the basic Taubes idea would still hold. You should ask a question if you're interested, but I wouldn't be able to contribute until later tonight. I'll have to read that post more closely in the meantime ... good stuff.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Ha. Well, I don't think I'm qualified to articulate what problems I had with it, other than I felt instinctively that there was something fishy about it. Then I read this and thought most of the arguments here made sense. http://segamartinez.blogspot.com/2011/03/set-point-versus-settling-point.html I hate to go against both Guyenet and Harris, though. A little disconcerting. If there is something I'm missing about the whole debate, I'd love to know. I'd be happy to open up a new question about it.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:58 PM

Other minor examples: we had a few threads on oil pulling before anybody ever mentioned that the reasoning behind it (removing toxins from the body) seemed pseudoscientific, and Buteyko breathing has been mentioned without comment. Both are especially interesting to me because I'm guessing that they confer real benefits on practitioners, but have been attacked as pseudoscience by mainstream -- similar to Paleo. My guess is that the actual mechanisms are still not well understood, and the proponents' explanations are either pseudoscientific or very poorly articulated.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Whoa, Jae, you're not comfortable with the body fat set-point theory? I may have to downvote this current, completely unrelated, question. Ha ha. But we'll have to discuss this sometime.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I think I agree with everything you say but your answer is hard to make sense of.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:49 PM

True. As for the other major thread, the top-voted answer is a great example of confirmation bias and ignoring contradictory evidence, and the author of that comment admitted as much in her comments. So I'd have to disagree that it's "never" been a problem on PH although I concede that the level of concern I have may be disproportionate.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:48 PM

I realize you were joking, but: especially Stephan! And the great thing is that he'd very much welcome having the holes in his thinking pointed out. Although I admit, it's not easy to find problems in his thinking. The only thing I can think of is that I've never been comfortable with his the set point theory.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 06:48 PM

Only tangentially relevant, but an absolutely hilarious comment from that FTA thread: "Perhaps I put too much faith in people’s reasoning abilities."

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Not Stephan Guyenet !

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 06:39 PM

well it's simply not a paleo book, it's a coincidence that it's like paleo. This is paleohacks not randomdietthatskindalikepaleohacks

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:37 PM

As for the BBG discussion, I thought your answer was good but nobody really got to the heart of the matter, which is basically that BBG seems to have conclusions that coincide mostly with Paleo, and that's great, but there is a serious issue of how the author arrived at those conclusions. Just because something agrees with basic Paleo ideas doesn't make it a reliable source of information.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I'm willing to entertain the idea that the only person who really cares about this issue is me (and maybe Kamal). We'll see what the votes look like.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 06:33 PM

A relevant quote from Frank Zappa: "Ingesting a substance does not magically bestow upon you the right to act like an asshole." The best thinkers, Christian or otherwise, were and are rigorous, meticulous and honest, and hlding to those standards benefits every peaceful, honest person.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I think I am in complete agreement with your position.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:26 PM

Okay. I did some further editing to make the other paragraphs make more sense in light of your edit.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 06:22 PM

I removed the references to your personal case so that this question is relevant to the matter generally and not about you.

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12 Answers

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1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:39 PM

In the words of Jack Webb (Dragnet) - "Just the facts, Ma'am."

The point of paleo (to me) is to go where the science leads and make corrections as we go.

If someone wants to know about alkaline water or homeopathy, I would be quick to say - no effect better than placebo, and someone's making a lot of moola on those scams.

I know people who swear by ph water or homeopathy or magnets - which is to say the mind is a powerful tool. But the hard science has to rule here, even if we don't know what it is yet.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

I dont think paleo has all its facts out......The paleolithic period saw huge changes in it from its beginnings to its ends. That very often gets lost in many of the paleo sites and paleo books.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:56 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a wathful eye on the science as it happens.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:56 PM

You are correct but we can be fairly confident in the general outlines of Paleo as a useful heuristic in thinking about nutrition. We should be less confident in the specifics, and good thinkers always are.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:46 PM

I find it disturbing that yours is the least-upvoted answer in this thread. Also, just to clarify: my comment above was meant as a response to Dr. K, not to your answer.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:58 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a watchful eye on the science as it happens.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:57 PM

Absolutely! This is what is meant by science must rule, not fantasy. Is honey "paleo"? Yes. But I'm not eating it because I know the effects. Is dairy "paleo". No. But I have no problem with butter and cream. Is supplementing with D, magnesium and fish oil "paleo". Yet again, no. But the science (for now) supports it and so I supplement. And so on. All the time checking my personal results, keeping the good and discarding the bad or ineffective with a wathful eye on the science as it happens.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Well thanks! And I assumed your response was primarily to Dr. K - as was mine. I also think that Melissa is correct in that science tends to get hashed out here pretty well. I've been corrected on basic facts many times.

8
C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:15 AM

As a site where people interested in Paleo can discuss and get information to better their lives, obviously scientifically respectable information is very valuable here. However there doesn't seem to me anything in the terms "paleo" or "primal" or even "evolutionary diet" that require anyone to accept science as the best or only way to think about this stuff, nor that they ought not also include things you might consider woo in their lives and decision making processes.

The suggestions you're making come across to me as being purely evangelical about your own ideology, and in some cases the way you have chosen to phrase things (eg - "the critical thinkers" implicitly only being those people who think the way you do) is flat out insulting. Now I don't particularly care about what your opinions of religions people are, nor even that you have your own ideology about the relative values of science and everything else. But the evangelical and conversion-oriented tone of your proposal here is a problem for me. I recall having seen that we've already had some mockery in threads about paganism or yoga. We really don't need any more of it; it's hostile and it helps no one.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:48 AM

this this this! i find straight up crude scientism way more off putting than occasional dalliances in "woo" here on PH and it has nothing to do with religion. (i would consider myself an atheist and pretty friggin' into science.) IMHO, it's a worldview that is anti-life, anti-bodily wisdom, and, ultimately, anti-science.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:37 PM

i think we are on a pretty similar page with all this stuff, probably. my hackles just go up when i come across things here/in the paleosphere in general/in life that present a really reductionist view of science (not accusing you of that, btw) and privilege the Enlightenment gods of REASON! and EMPIRICISM! (all hail!) over every other mode of knowledge and inquiry.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:39 PM

i think we are on a pretty similar page with all this stuff, probably. my hackles just go up when i come across things here/in the paleosphere in general/in life that present a really reductionist view of science (not accusing you of that, btw) and privilege the Enlightenment gods of REASON! and EMPIRICISM! (all hail!) over every other mode of knowledge and inquiry. science is rad, but it isn't everything.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:01 PM

I am equally annoyed by what amanda calls "crude scientism." For example, I am open to the idea that oil pulling confers real benefits, although it is dismissed as pseudoscience by most self-described "skeptics." If I have any particular ideology I am "evangelizing" for, it is that I would like people to think critically, to be aware of their own inevitable cognitive biases (especially confirmation bias), and to carefully examine the quality of the evidence available to them. If you think this is a hostile ideology, then I don't know what to say to that.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on March 31, 2011
at 12:02 PM

Thanks amanda, that means a lot to me.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:35 PM

oh--i also find the codified language of the skeptic/science based medicine crowd (woo-merchant, quackery/quackademic/quacks, loons, etc.) really annoying, too, and the term psuedoscience used like 1.) we all have the same definition and 2.) the pinnacle of insults falls into that for me so it gets me all ARGH! on a gut level. Just admitting a personal bias.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:55 PM

oh--i also find the codified language of the skeptic/science based medicine crowd really annoying, too, and the term psuedoscience used like 1.) we all have the same definition and 2.) the pinnacle of insults falls into that for me so it gets me all ARGH! on a gut level. (Overuse of woo-merchant, quackery/quackademic/quacks, loons, etc. all drive me absolutely bonkers--yeah, every community develops its own shorthand and slang and all, but this crowd reminds me of cranky old ultra-rightwing guys who comment in local paper comment sections on political stories.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on March 31, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Jae: Paleohacks is already one of the most well scientifically sourced open discussion sites on the subject of health and diet on the web. The minor presence of extra-scientific ways of thinking is not repressing the discussion capabilities of the many intelligent people here thinking in strictly scientific ways. But what your proposal is functionally about is giving people a justification to attack and marginalize every other way of thinking with the aim of pushing out everything that isn't just pure science, or IOW just what you value. That's what makes it hostile.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 04:54 PM

I'm not trying to push out anybody's contribution or way of thinking. I'm just asking to be allowed to (politely) point out when someone's thinking seems faulty, without being accused of being disrespectful.

C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on April 01, 2011
at 11:42 PM

Sorry Jae, I just don't find that believable. You're asking for "it to be welcomed and expected" that whenever someone reasons in a way you don't like, PHers should "correct" them with reasoning you prefer. And you're already using intimidating language ("If you hold ...beliefs XYZ, you better be prepared...") in regard to the standard you want to hold people to ("actual scientific reasoning and not purely extra-scientific or pseudoscientific reasoning"). You've plainly communicated your intent to hamper any discussion which isn't purely empirical-scientific.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:24 AM

rook: you are better at coherently expressing thoughts than i am. i've liked your contributions in the past, too. that is all. carry on.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 04:49 PM

Point taken on intimidating language. That was not my intent, and that whole bullet point was poorly worded. I've removed that language from the question. Thanks.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:48 PM

But back to your response: if you are accusing me of "liking" sound reasoning and "disliking" unsound reasoning, I am guilty as charged. I'm not sure what alternative I have, though. You want me to like and respect unsound reasoning in the name of "respecting diversity"? No, thank you. I respect and welcome everybody's opinion, and I think everyone is entitled to their beliefs, scientific or otherwise. But if you present unsound reasoning, I'm not going to stay quiet out of some misguided understanding of "respecting diversity." Opinions are not all equally well thought-out or argued.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:39 PM

And for the record I think there are many valuable ways to contribute information that isn't purely empirical or scientific. Answers to moral or logistical questions, for example, don't always have or require rigorous scientific reasoning. Also, there is a great deal of speculation here that isn't based purely on empirical reasoning, and that's inevitable and necessary.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:54 PM

Finally, to beat the horse a little: whether an argument is sound/unsound has nothing to do with me. I don't decide them, just like I don't decide the principles that govern mathematics. If you get into a debate with somebody who says that 2 + 2 = 5 "because I believe it" or "because this book says so," you would know that this person doesn't understand the way math works.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:38 PM

You act like I'm trying to change the rules around here to my own liking. It has nothing to do with things that I "prefer." There are many ways to make a sound argument when we are dealing with facts and causes and effects. There are many ways to make an unsound argument. I'm asking people to distinguish between the two. I don't want to "hamper" any discussion where people use unsound reasoning. I merely plan to point it out, politely.

8
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:44 PM

I think discussing these things is fine as long as they are in the context of healthy eating or some aspect of a healthy lifestyle (i.e. exercise, fitness, stress, etc).

But if you post something like: "I believe Jesus was probably Paleo even though he fed fish and bread to 5000 people. Do you believe that God wants us to be Paleo?", then you are off your rocker and the question should be immediately deleted.

But to Jae, I do not claim to believe in the 'science' that you claim is concrete. I also don't necessarily agree with the timeframes that scientists want to put on 'dating' objects, and that we can be certain that dinosaurs ruled the earth 65 million years ago. What if it was only 11 million years ago? That would put the scientists off base by a measly 54 million years. Whoopsie! That dinosaur deal is just a quick example. I know about radioactive and carbon dating. I know about layers of earth sediment, and redshift light theory, and the mathematical distances that our modern telescopes have measured. I am edumacated. But I have read some very reasoned and sound arguments against those things that make me, as a primarily rationally thinking person, question the integrity of those scientific ???facts???. Some people believe VERY firmly that saturated fat is unhealthy to put into your mouth and intentionally swallow. Some highly qualified doctors, nutritionalists, and well respected medical professionals believe it even now as I type this, and they would defend their position as absolute FACT, undeniable based on this report or that study. And yet I disagree, and it would (and does) upset them when I do so.

So why do say all this? Because you claiming what is and isn't pseudoscience is not as clear as you make it seem. Really intelligent scientists disagree with some of your assertions, and have some solid scientific reasoning behind their stance, but are normally squashed in mainstream when they try to trumpet those viewpoints. Is that right? Is that fair? How can we know for sure if that is fair? Even that very question is subjective, and morally driven.

I normally don't like to mix in my personal beliefs too much with this stuff, which is why I usually just take a outside viewpoint and analyze the situation almost as a third person looking in. That's the reason why threads that discuss personal religious beliefs and such get shut down. Because even the comments I am making here will likely awaken emotion within people and be taken as an attack on their beliefs, surely not my intention. It may also make people really not like me anymore, also not quite what I'm after.

So there you have it. This is why Melissa (and others, of course) are quick to head off these discussions if they fall outside the context of Paleo health and become too emotionally charged for people, especially when comments are made that disresepctfully attack the core beliefs of others, even if it???s not the commenter???s real intention.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:54 PM

and btw... stephan would politefully eat dr fuhrman alive.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:23 PM

@Dr K: are you criticizing one of us or all of us? Just curious.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:14 PM

Hey, Jae. I'm confident that your understanding of evolution is mistaken.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:22 PM

@Jack- You got it.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:56 PM

hey guys the discussion oliver just posted about whether we should all wear underwear is way more fun than this...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:51 PM

As for scientists potentially being off by 54 million years: the difference between science and pseudoscience, as I see it, is that real scientists would be thrilled to discover something as earth-shattering as a 54MY discrepancy in their calculations, because it would mean that they had discovered a fundamental flaw in one of their assumptions. This is the meaning of science. Science is not about being RIGHT. It is about revising your understanding of the world by making sense of data that FALSIFY your current hypotheses. I don't claim "my" science is concrete, either. You accuse me falsely.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:41 PM

@Jae- I'd love to send it to you. Tell me, what defines credible? ;-)

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:29 PM

@Ben and Jack: The question of what is "credible" is a genuinely philosophically interesting one. For my purposes I would define a credible source as A) someone who is erudite on a given subject and B) is capable of considering multiple angles of thought and C) repeatedly demonstrates a genuine interest in figuring out how he or she is WRONG rather than trying to prove that he or she is right. Stephan Guyenet fits that profile for me on the subject of nutrition and human health.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:33 PM

@Jack: I don't think this is intentional, but you continue to either miss my point or misconstrue my argument. Perhaps I am doing a poor job articulating my position. Dr F's arguments must be examined on the merits of available data. In this case I think someone like Stephan Guyenet would have a trivially easy task of showing A) how Dr F has an agenda to prove, B) how Dr F is specifically wrong in any number of his arguments (by presenting high-quality contradictory data), and C) how Dr F's confidence is misplaced.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:50 PM

My point is Dr F and Stephan are NOT equally credible and their confidence is not equally valid. I'm pretty sure that Stephan understands the necessity of NOT being too confident in the specifics of what he believes. Hence he continually revises his opinions on the specifics, about nitrates, polyphenols, and the like. He is quite willing to say "I was wrong about this." But I'm also sure he would be very confident in saying "Dr F is wrong about these specific points." And he'd be pretty damn confident in saying "well, the general idea is to eat real, whole foods, avoid processed crap."

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:52 PM

I am confident in saying that Ben's understanding of evolution is mistaken. I am far less confident in saying that my understanding of evolution is correct. This is an epistemic asymmetry that he appears to be unfamiliar with.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Please see my comment about epistemic asymmetry. It seems that you don't understand this concept, either. To paraphrase Nicholas Nassim Taleb: I prefer to be generally right, rather than specifically wrong. There is no "classical opposition of beliefs" in my argument with Ben. I am arguing general outlines and moreover sticking to a claim about a hypothesis that is almost surely wrong; he is arguing specifics about a hypothesis that he believes to be right.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I'm sorry mate. I don't mean to misconstrue your argument. I think we agree on many things Jae. Maybe not some specifics, but I bet we eat a lot of the same foods. In that regard, we level. And about Dr K's comment, I couldn't tell what he meant by that first part. But I like "Just put it out there and let people hack it".

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:33 PM

@Jae: That's definitely a discussion I'd like to have! But, that's not something appropriate for PH, right?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Dr K - I don't know what this means "This is an epic fail thread no?", but I like your comment regardless.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:35 PM

I'm not actually interested in a discussion with you on this topic, nor is it appropriate for PH. But if you'd like to send me a credible scientific text that supports your hypothesis, you can send it to my first name @bloomingtonpowerfit.com

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:48 PM

I'm with you on many of your points, but if you think that claiming that humans did not arise from evolutionary processes (but evolution otherwise occurred) is not pseudoscience, you are being a bit too generous.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:51 PM

While I realize that peer review has its own problems and limitations, if you really have "cold hard facts" to support your hypothesis that humans are not the product of evolution, you shouldn't have too hard of a time sending me a source from a major journal that specializes in evolutionary biology. Any major journal will do. I won't claim to know all the titles of these journals but it will be easy for me to find out if it is a major journal or not.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

This is an epic fail thread no? The site is meant for free discourse. If youre a moron you will be left in the dark like Darwin says. Life has a way of settling the score. Arguing about it seems pointless. Just put it out there and let people hack it.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:26 PM

Hi Kamal! I agree that being objective can be great. But I think within the context of a forum, objectiveness (especially objective posting requirements) defeats the forum's purpose. Does that make sense?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Ben: I can't make sense of your last comment. I'm done responding to you. Have a nice day.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:02 PM

btw... I am TruthorDeath in the comments. I don't agree with everything the WAPF teaches, but much of it I do. I got a little worked up about Dr Fuhrman's approach, and his disgusting attitude.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:21 PM

Ben's comment above perfectly proves my point (and I'd wager a fair sum that's why he wrote it). He truly believes that your understanding of evolution is incorrect, just as you said about his. does this make either of you a complete idiot, psychologically unbalanced, foaming at the mouth and fit for an insane asylum? nope.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:36 PM

@Ben: I'd sincerely be interested in seeing it.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:39 PM

@Jack: just because he "truly believes" and is "confident" I'm incorrect does not give him the same epistemic status. To determine the epistemic status of his argument vs. mine, you have to look at whatever evidence is offered up. On my side there are hundreds of articles/books demonstrating that Ben's specific claim is wrong. Can he claim to have any credible scientific sources that discredit my general acceptance of evolutionary theory? Since I don't seem to be getting anywhere with you and Ben, I will prob. just stop responding to both of you. Thanks for a civil discussion.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:11 PM

Sounds good to me. You too, Jae.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:21 PM

@Jae. You're right. I don't believe humans came into being via evolution. That doesn't mean I don't believe we have evolved, or are continuing to do so. The problem, Jae, is that you have decided my views for me, based on little interaction. We BARELY spoke about my evolutionary views. For all you know, I could have cold hard facts to back up my views, but it seems that the stigma of my religion has made you careless. Please leave me out of your reasoning behind this proposal.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:52 PM

And Stephan's confidence would be quite justified in this case. Similarly, my confidence in the general outlines of evolutionary theory is pretty well justified, whereas Ben's confidence that humans are not the product of evolution is misplaced. It blows my mind that you would argue about this.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:32 PM

Yah. Stephan is fantastic for sure.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:03 PM

@Jack- HAHA! That's awesome! @Jae- Still....your definition is only subjective to your interpretation. Your worldview (I'm assuming-sorry!) would dictate that your definition only exist within you previously understood parameters. You know? You've already decided that I'm wrong (you have discredited yourself). No matter the source I give you, it won't matter. You can find a hole in A, B and C to make my sources not credible. So, like I said, your definition is too subjective. Just like your thoughts in evolution, whether we should drink milk, or if we should wear underwear.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:17 PM

@Ben: Just to make it clear to people who haven't read the other thread: you claimed, in print, that you believe in evolution BUT you don't believe humans are the product of evolution.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:31 PM

@Ben: I apologize for using you as an example. You specified one small part of your views on evolution, which made for a very convenient example. As for my alleged intellectual carelessness: if you could demonstrate one credible scientific text that supports your assertion that humans did not evolve, I would be happy to look at it. Since, historically, nobody has ever produced one, I will not apologize for being skeptical to the point of being dismissive.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:53 PM

@Ben: please see my previous comment on what "credible" means. Right above Jack's reply that Stephan is fantastic.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:01 PM

Jae - you definitely assert that your scientific understandings are concrete. I don't think I am falsely accusing you at all. It's possible to indirectly assert it by directly calling the opposite untrue, or at least certain specific aspects of it that only have an opposing viewpoint. Either way, you are making concrete statements against the beliefs of others and calling it rock solid science and calling their belief pseudoscience when maybe they believe there is solid science behind what they believe. That's just a classical opposition of beliefs… an argument, similar to my sat fat example.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:34 PM

...or rather, are not the product of evolution, sorry for the poor wording there.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 31, 2011
at 12:19 AM

Darn right I'm being too polite! One suspension was enough for me.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:53 PM

Ben - your comments are hilarious to me. Very hilarious. Jae - I surely don't mean to frustrate (I'm not even certain I have). I just don't think that we are in agreement with what you believe is credible and what I (and possibly Ben here) thinks is credible. That's all. It's just difference of viewpoint. Dr Fuhrman calls WAPF pseudoscience, and convinces his readers that 30% of diet from animal products is far too high. He really truly believes he is correct. Is he? http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/debunking-diet-myths-weston-price-take-your-pseudoscience-elsewhere.html

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:51 PM

@Jae- I think you're missing mine (and possibly Jack's) points. I think you're being overly objective in your arguments. For example: "you shouldn't have too hard of a time sending me a source from a major journal that specializes in evolutionary biology." So, in order for my source to be credible, and not pseudoscience, it has to fit inside your beliefs, or the beliefs of a major journal. We should all realize by now that mainstream ideas, and "major journals" are definitely not always true. So, given that scientists and major journals are continuously shown as wrong on PH, what is credible?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:21 PM

@Kamal: I appreciate all of your comments in this thread, but in your last one, I think you are being too polite. Assessing quality of arguments/evidence is not always a clear-cut task, but in many cases it is trivial. Vitamin D levels measured by older and less accurate methods are less reliable than more modern methods, for example. Asserting p -> q and then "proving" p by asserting q is simply an invalid argument. A hypothesis that survives only by ignoring contradictory evidence is a bad hypothesis. None of these are tough calls.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:05 AM

Ben- just one thing. When you said that Jae was being too objective, I wholeheartedly disagree with that mentality. Being objective is not being a heartless robot or an overly demanding nit. In behavioral econ terms, it is simply fully aligning your actions with your preferences. In logic/philosophic terms, it just means supporting your argument. Either way, being objective is great (and not necessarily synonymous with Objectivism!)

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:00 AM

Ha. I think it's perfectly possible to make the point I made and be diplomatic, but apparently I'm doing something wrong since Patrik says my tone is too harsh.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:20 PM

Ben- it's a tough call, for sure. Determining what's relevant and what's silly is different for different people. Luckily we don't have to make the choice, the moderators do!

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:16 PM

Ben: you continually manage to misconstrue my words. I'm not making a plea for any "objective posting requirements." Anybody and everybody can post. What I'm asking for is that we hold people to high standards of intellectual honesty and be on guard for confirmation bias and other cognitive biases.

5
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on March 29, 2011
at 10:38 PM

The big problem here is what is it that you call "pseudo science". Of course, I agree with you that the logic should not be flawed, as in the case of someone looking just for confirmatory evidence, etc. Anyway, there may be some scientists here at PH but most people are not scientists, and even scientists often disagree with each other. So if you reject any view that does not have a strong, solid scientific proof most people would be unable to participate. Moreover there are a number of issues that are very much relevant, nevertheless are not appropiate for a scientific debate, for instance, "how do you like a certain meat" or "did anybody lose this much weight eating potatoes" (personal experience, hard to translate into real science). Both scientific issues and personal experiences are reasonable issues at PaleoHack.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:46 PM

Excellent comment Ignacio.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 10:43 PM

This is where "meta" comes in, and levels of intelligence. Some people can tell the difference between good and bad science even if they aren't specialists in a given field. Others are reliant on others to interpret not just raw data, but the overall meaning of it all and other such "big pictures". This is where it helps to be able to explain in clear and relatively simple language, for instance, why you choose to place credence in certain studies and not in others.

5
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Unfortunately this is the internet, most of us are anonymous, we don't have to pass any exam to answer questions on here. Whilst it stays this way both the questions and the answers will have to be allowed to fluctuate between the realms of pseudo-science and more sensible stuff.

Personally I don't trust anyone on here and am weary of everything, like if someone has a "Dr" infront of their name. But there is interesting stuff to be found here too.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Also, "hack my diet"; another forum for that...

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Slightly aside, I personally think here should be some filter for localized questions, I am just not interested in finding grass fed beef in North Carolina, no insult intended...

3
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:53 PM

What is science? Here is a great site: http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/science-definition.html

I am an environmental scientist by education and by trade. So, science (and the scientific method) is near and dear to me. I have been taught to question everything around me. And I really LOVE this site, because it combines a wealth of scientific knowledge as well as plenty of human knowledge (n=1).

I can find all the scientific papers I want (and you can find a paper to back up any viewpoint out there). Many have great information, many don't. I find that a lot of academics and high-level scientist have lost their ability to really truly impart their knowledge to the regular person, which to me is an epic failure - I digress...

I want to know what works for the regular paleo people out there and how they adapt to situtations. I guess I want to know more of the human side of paleo rather than the science.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:22 PM

I totally agree: I love scientific and even philosophical discussions, but often there is nothing as interesting as a good personal story!

3
Medium avatar

on March 29, 2011
at 10:44 PM

I don't subscribe to any sort of mysticism, but if one considers anecdotal evidence to be pseudoscience, then I would have to say that earnest anecodotes can be just as valid, if not more valid, than a peer-reviewed scientific study funded by a pharmaceutical company. We all love to fling scientific papers around, but I remain just as skeptical of those as of "I do this and this is the result."

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:54 PM

excellent point - we all have to be active critical thinkers!

3
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:32 PM

Ugh. I'm hesitant to say what I think, here Jae, especially since our discussion is probably largely behind this proposal. It will probably get me down votes, but that's OK.

I can't not include a reconciliation of my religion into the Paleo lifestyle. To me, my religion is more important than nutrition, or living paleo.

Personally, I see enough parallels between the Bible and Christianity to reconcile my beliefs. I have an evolutionary creationist viewpoint backed by the long-day and canopy theories.

Having said those things, I don't understand (and correct me here...) who is qualified to call what I think, "pseudoscience" (a pejorative term in our context-I think)?

"If you hold religious beliefs XYZ, and you want to discuss whether or not they are consistent with Paleo, you better be prepared to offer up some actual scientific reasoning and not purely extra-scientific or pseudoscientific reasoning for those beliefs"...How can you decide? Are you saying that there should be a canonical requirement for posting? i.e. 'You must think x,y, and z to post on PH, otherwise you will be relentlessly corrected by those who have a better view than yours.' How's that?

It's up to the moderators and Patrik, and it's an interesting proposal, for sure, but I think it's slightly pretentious and closed-minded.

End Opinion

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Start your own blog then. It would be plenty interesting.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:58 PM

You don't have to think any particular thing to post on PH. You just need to be able to provide reasons that come from evidence that everyone can accept, not just people who hold the same religious beliefs as you do.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:06 PM

@Jae- I see. Who decides evidence is valid? We can't even all agree on things like dairy, there is no such thing as evidence everyone can accept.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:00 PM

At least, that is one way of interpreting my proposal. To be honest, I'm not sure I like that interpretation.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:29 PM

To respect diversity I do agree that we should not try to convert paleo into some uniform form of thinking, that would say what can or what can not be thought. Perhaps discussing religion and paleo is relevant here, perhaps it is not, but one way or another no one should claim that anybody else religious or philosophical views are "psuedoscience".

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Ben: See my comment above. In a nutshell, some evidence is superior to other evidence. The trick is to be able to tell good from bad. This is both an innate ability and a learned skill.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I view "respect diversity" as "all viewpoints deserve consideration", not "all viewpoints have equal scientific merit or are equally true"

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

@Ignacio: I'm all for respecting diversity. However, I'm not in favor of using "respect diversity" as a cover for "all viewpoints have equal scientific merit," which is absurd. There are an infinite number of religious AND non-religious views that are less than logical. I have no problem with religious views per se. You are confusing the issue. I have a problem with bad reasoning wherever it occurs -- among scientists and laypeople, among religious and non-religious people. I'm not trying to dictate "what can be thought." I'm advocating for sound reasoning and good evidence.

3
Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:01 PM

Well (and this relates to my last posting), "just the facts" will only get you so far in the paleosphere. For example, "ketosis is bad for you"....fact or not? It seems to be up for debate, according to which expert/blogger one is reading. Or this: "You should/shouldn't consume dairy on a paleo diet." Again, it's up to individual schools of thought or even individual people and their own n=1 results. So to suggest that there is some kind of scientific acid test for every piece of information that passes our threshold here seems like a difficult argument to maintain, once we get even a little bit into the particulars.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 29, 2011
at 08:15 PM

N=1 is a special situation. It's definitely not scientific, but you can't really argue with it either. If someone feels better doing or not doing something, that's the bottom line for them. But you can't generalize from it. Like with epidemiology, you can only hypothesize. On the other hand, if you find yourself to be an exception to something that is taken as always true, then N=1 is significant, and defeats the argument.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 06:30 PM

I've actually never seen this be a problem. I thought that the thread about Body By God was pretty decent and there were many skeptical voices. However, I will delete answers that do that answer the question or that are rude (up to my discretion). I realize that many people on the internet do not know what is rude and not rude. It differs between cultures, but there are many diplomatic skeptical voices out there that I do not delete.

Overall, I've found that woo mongers here don't last very long. People downvote them and voice skepticism. They realize that this is not the sort of place that tolerates crap.

That said, I believe that these sort of question are off topic (Body by God is not a paleo book) and not something that can be hacked as I explain here and will solve us all a lot of problems by closing them. Religion and paleo is an interesting topic, but one that does not do well on this site because it's outside our scope.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 29, 2011
at 06:39 PM

well it's simply not a paleo book, it's a coincidence that it's like paleo. This is paleohacks not randomdietthatskindalikepaleohacks

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:49 PM

True. As for the other major thread, the top-voted answer is a great example of confirmation bias and ignoring contradictory evidence, and the author of that comment admitted as much in her comments. So I'd have to disagree that it's "never" been a problem on PH although I concede that the level of concern I have may be disproportionate.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I'm willing to entertain the idea that the only person who really cares about this issue is me (and maybe Kamal). We'll see what the votes look like.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:45 AM

There is a fine line at play here. Some "alternative" healing practices may have biological plausability behind them that relate to paleo/indigenous practices, but no research dollars to find that plausability. Other things, I cannot even imagine a biological plausability for. The key here is as you said Jae--confirmation bias. Asking if something is confirmed by paleo that does not have a basis in logic is asking for trouble. Homeopathy, in my estimation, is bullshit. And in certain hacks, people have said so. But it shouldn't get nailed more than other beliefs, just from lack of adoption.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:37 PM

As for the BBG discussion, I thought your answer was good but nobody really got to the heart of the matter, which is basically that BBG seems to have conclusions that coincide mostly with Paleo, and that's great, but there is a serious issue of how the author arrived at those conclusions. Just because something agrees with basic Paleo ideas doesn't make it a reliable source of information.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:58 PM

Other minor examples: we had a few threads on oil pulling before anybody ever mentioned that the reasoning behind it (removing toxins from the body) seemed pseudoscientific, and Buteyko breathing has been mentioned without comment. Both are especially interesting to me because I'm guessing that they confer real benefits on practitioners, but have been attacked as pseudoscience by mainstream -- similar to Paleo. My guess is that the actual mechanisms are still not well understood, and the proponents' explanations are either pseudoscientific or very poorly articulated.

2
9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 06:42 PM

As That Woman said: "There are no contradictions. If you think you see a contradiction - check your premises." Now some folks (often the most vocal and socially unpleasant) apparently believe that one drop of religious thinking taints a person's entire worldview seemingly so far as to render them "not paleo"...and then there's folks like Richard Nikoley, whose rampant invective rather put me off until he graciously defended Jimmy Moore's "Christianity versus paleo" thread, and made the distinction in his own comments between cult and culture.

Dishonesty is the fundamental issue. Bad logic, bad science, etc., are dishonest. While the voting process to some extent perpetuates its own groupthink and conventional wisdom, it's in the actual discussion -- when discussion actually takes place -- where we all come a little closer to the truth.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 29, 2011
at 06:48 PM

Only tangentially relevant, but an absolutely hilarious comment from that FTA thread: "Perhaps I put too much faith in people’s reasoning abilities."

2
A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

on March 29, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I agree, as long as more fundamentally, it's the bad logic that should be teased out. Science or pseudoscience, a lot of scientific results and claims can end up working really well for a lot of people, and produce results that people can point to, but the apparent verifications don't necessarily demonstrate the hypothesis. You know, "if this, then that. That, therefore this." A lot of that gets thrown around unchecked (not necessarily here, just in general on the Interwebs). Unfortunately, empiricism/observation is inherently problematic, for logically establishing a law or principle, even with large amounts of verifications. It's the question of the reliability of the senses, falsifications and black swans, and all that.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I think I agree with everything you say but your answer is hard to make sense of.

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