Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All your Truth are Belong to Us

The truth is not out there. The truth can only be found inside yourself. The interweb is full of lies, but the real truth can be found on the internet. The truth is obvious. You have to dig deep to find the truth. The earth is flat. Flat-earthers are idiots. The Twin Towers were downed by Islamic terrorists. The three towers were demolished by an evil government and business conspiracy. President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was killed by accident, by a secret service agent. Elvis has left the building. Only alternative medicines work. Only conventional medicines work. Vaccines are safe and should be mandatory. Vaccines are dangerous and should be banned. Only a chiropractor can cure your illness. Chiropractic is a pseudo-science.

These truths are not valid, they cannot be validated.  The truth that "these truths cannot be validated", cannot be validated. The only truth: "There is no truth."

Only the simplest of truths can be true. The simple truth is simply a lie. Simple truths are yes/no answers - with no room for variations, and no grey areas.  Real truths are perceived differently by every viewer, vary over time, are sometimes useful and sometimes useless,

The stronger you believe in your simple truths, the more complex it becomes to hold them, the less truth they contain, the louder you need to yell to maintain your belief. The people who yell the loudest have the strongest truths. The people who speak the loudest tell the worst lies. The person with the biggest stick has the most useful truth. The person with the biggest stick can believe the biggest lies. Truth is dead. If you don't believe - you might be too.

The true guru sees the absence of truth as the only truth. There are no true gurus.

Life is goal oriented. Health is goal oriented. Life is not truth oriented. Truths are goal oriented. We use truth to accomplish our goals. We pursue, use, and abuse our truths to further our goals. Your truths is not important to, not useful to your neighbor, your competitor, your enemy. Their truths are not valid, not useful to you. When you share truths, the result is not larger truth, the result is might be cooperation, and it might be competition.

I'm reminded of the famous teacher's quote: “We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.

We have not succeeded in finding all of our truths. The truths we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions about our truths, and about truth itself. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but our confusion is a higher level and about more important truths.

Life does not find truths, it searches for truth.  But look closely. Life searches for 'useful truths'. Life does not care if the 307th tree in the jungle in northern Brazil is young or old, has root rot, or an insect infection, or a bird's nest, or 5 bird's nests and a monkey colony that is passing through, is covered with rainwater, or dew, or mold. These truths are not useful.  When they change, they are not useful. Truth must be useful to be true. Useless truths don't matter, don't make any difference.  Truths that are useless, might as well be false. Only when truths are used, do they prove themselves useful.

When truths are used, they prove themselves.

Can you find the truth? Can you find the truths in the opening paragraph? Can you find your truth?Can you find my truth?

What if you genuinely want to know the truth? What if you actually want to find the truth, to learn the truth, what can you do? Who should you listen to? Me. Of course, it's true. It doesn't matter if you believe or not.  It's true.

But seriously.  Let's take a look at the truths in the opening paragraph. There are some insights there. We can learn from them. A guide for the perplexed, the confused, the bewildered, those who are puzzled, troubled, uncertain. Ask the dreamer. Ask the Red King. It's the same.
"The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked. 'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.' (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

The Internet: The interweb is full of lies, but the real truth can be found on the internet. Of course the internet has lies and truths. Calling it the 'interweb', plants a seed, calls attention to untruths. But finding for the truth on the internet is like entering a web of lies, and searching for dead flies. No one cares about 'the truths' on the internet. They care about 'their truths'. The truth that sells. If you want to understand 'their truth', ask what they're selling.

The Flat Earth: The earth is flat. Flat-earthers are idiots. These truths are not mutually exclusive, they can both be true.  They can both be false. Flat earthers tend to be very intelligent people. Check them out. "But it's obvious the earth is not flat?"  Yes, that's true as well. Think about it.

X is true, Y is false. These truths are not mutually exclusive. Either can be true, both can be false. Situations change. Absolute truths necessarily ignore some aspects of reality. Simplification is the only path to truth. Simplification can only lead to false truths.

The earth is flat - the earth is not flat. Simple, boring truths. Only one can be right. Both can be wrong. The earth is flat; the earth is spherical.  Not simple, not binary, not mutually exclusive. Beware of complexity masquerading as simplicity. Complexity masks truths, presents lies as truth.

The Towers: The Twin Towers were downed by Islamic terrorists. The three towers were demolished by an evil government business conspiracy. I have no idea. You don't either. Maybe we'll never know. Maybe our great grandchildren will never know. Maybe nobody really knows. We can only search for better truths, not for the ultimate truth.

Who Killed President Kennedy? The official documents are out there. Locked in a box, like Schrodinger's Cat. We don't know who has the key.  We're not sure if the box still exists, or has been destroyed. We're not sure if the documents still exist, or have been destroyed. We're not sure if the official documents contain the truth or not. The truth is "out there". The truth is not out there. Does any government, or any business, have the ability to reveal their true truths? Or does governing and running a business require their truth, but not 'the whole truth', not 'nothing but the truth'?

Elvis has left the building.  True. It makes us sad too.

Medicines: Only alternative medicines work. Only conventional medicines work. Conventional medicines are not well defined. There is no official standard to distinguish between a conventional medicine and an alternative medicine. The US FDA only approves 'drugs', not 'medicines'. Therefore: Fact: every medicine, every treatment, is an alternative. Alternative medicines do not exist. The truths about alternative medicines and conventional medicines get more and more complicated, the wider your study, the deeper your search. We can only find faith, beliefs, and marketers. Lots of salesmen, on both sides. Salesmen need to believe their truths, their lies, because those truths feed them and their children.

Vaccines: Vaccines are safe and should be mandatory. Vaccines are dangerous and should be banned. A vaccine is a thing, a thing that exists. Vaccines are a class of things. You can't see them, our touch them. Vaccines are a thing do not exist, with regards to truth about safety and efficacy. Each vaccine is 'grown', not manufactured. Every batch is different. There is always risk. Every vaccine type is different.  Vaccine types change over time. Vaccine schedules change over time. Vaccines target living organisms. Living organisms change over time. Some vaccines have proven very dangerous. Some have proven very safe. Some useful. Some useless. Some have are safe some of the time, dangerous some of the time. Some are effective some of the time, useless some of the time. Some are a waste of time and money - but the salesman still makes a profit. There are no simple truths. And then it gets more complicated. Vaccines are given to people. People are different too. There are no truths to be found about 'vaccines'. That's the only truth to be found about vaccines.

Chiropractic: Only a chiropractor can cure your illness. Chiropractic is a pseudo-science. Chiropractors are more complex than vaccines. Chiropractic, the practice, is more complex than the sum of all of the people who practice it, and all of the patients, and all of their illnesses. Sometimes, chiropractors cure, forcing pseudo-callers to dismiss the truth. Most of the time, chiropractors fail to cure. But take note: most of the time, every medicine fails to cure. Sometimes, chiropractors cause damage. Sometimes, every useful medicine causes damage. That's how medicines work. We want to believe in simple truths, and get on with life. Simple truths do not exist.

We cannot judge every chiropractor as good or bad, any more than we can judge every doctor as good or bad. Truth requires acknowledging variations.

Real truth lies ahead. Real truths lie on both sides of every fence, both sides of every argument. Real truths lie quietly, silently, not caring what you believe.  Only lies need to yell.  Only lies need to swell their truths. Only lies need to sell.

There are no real truths. All your truth are belong to us.

Only health is true. Health is whole.  Health is slow and steady. Health is wide, and deep. Health is honest and true. - the Healthicine Creed.

To your health, tracy

ps. The title "All your Truth are Belong to Us" is a play on the internet meme "All your base are belong to us". Translation: "you're busted". It is interesting to note that "all your truth are belong to us" contains a English error that makes the phrase technically wrong, technically untrue. If they belong to 'us', they are not 'yours' any more. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Where can you find a Pseudo-Scientist?

Did you hear about the scam called ‘pseudoscience’? 
I don’t mean things we call pseudoscience, I'm refering to the scam of ‘calling things pseudoscience’. I'm referring to the science of pseudoscience, and the witch-hunts that result from claiming something is a pseudoscience. It's the latest fashion, and it's a big scam. 
If you don’t want anyone to think about something, to discuss something, if you want them to ignore reality, just call it a pseudo science. There is no science of pseudoscience.
The science of pseudo science is a pseudoscience. 
How does the 'science' of pseudo-science work?  Start with an authoritative sounding website or company.  Something with 'science based' in the name. Calling yourself a 'skeptic' is a common technique. But don't worry, you don't need to be a skeptic, you don't even need to know what a skeptic is, to become a 'pseudoscience buster'. Calling something a pseudoscience works best if you cloak yourself in the guise of a critic. No one will notice that your pseudo scientist has no clothes. 
Next, pick something you'd like to criticize or dismiss. You can start with few common examples to get some experience. Pick something you can poke fun at (pick things you don't understand - probably nobody else understands them either) and poke fun at it. It's easier if you start with things that someone else has already said are pseudoscience. There is no shame for plagiarism in the science pseudosciences. Next take out a wide brush and paint the entire field with your criticism.  Call it a pseudo-science. Get serious about it. The wider you can extend your 'criticisms' the better.
If you need a list of pseudosciences to get started. Simply punt the word pseudoscience into Google where you'll find examples like: Welteislehre, N rays, Lawsonomy, Laundry balls, Specified complexity, Holocaust denial, Rumpology, Scientific racism, brainwashing, and more. 
Now, I know what you're thinking.  "What is he talking about?  I thought pseudoscience was about medical things like homeopathy, and chiropractic and stuff like that." Well yes, they are included, but the bar for being declared a pseudoscience is not nearly so high. In fact it's so low that "searching for Noah's Ark" is considered a pseudoscience, according to Wiki. Seriously. I'm sure there are people out there searching for Noah's Ark, but is there a science called 'searching for Noah's Arc? Nope. But there's a pseudoscience called 'searching for Noah's Ark'. No one has to think it's a science to be declared a pseudoscience. 
Pseudoscience is often used to dismiss medical systems and technologies. But take care.  It's not considered kosher to use pseudoscience science to dismiss 'western' medical technologies - only so called 'alternative' medical technologies.  For example, even though scientific meta-studies of cancer research studies have found that the 20 foods that 'prevent' cancer are also the same 20 foods that 'cause cancer' in different studies - that's science, not pseudoscience. 
Honestly, how then are pseudosciences defined? You just call yourself an expert  in something, and pick something you don't believe, and get started. There's no qualifications required. You might have a PhD of arachnology, or a grade school education from Afghanistan. It makes no difference. There are no qualifications required to pseudoscience.  And me?  I don't need any qualifications to pseudoscience pseudoscience either. There is no PhD of pseudoscience, not even a Bachelor's degree. 
What is the science used to define a pseudoscience? Faith. That's it. If you want to believe something is a pseudoscience, you only need to believe. You only need to say "X is a pseudoscience" and then start convincing people. The larger X is, the more ground X covers, the easiest it is to call it a pseudoscience, because you can find more things to criticize. You simply make a claim that whatever you name has no scientific basis, and proceed from there. 
Don't worry, there is no need to 'prove' anything is a pseudoscience. That's good, because it's generally impossible. 
There are no standards to prove something is a pseudoscience - and as we've noted, you don't even need to prove someone thinks it is a science, to prove it's a pseudoscience. 
The most obvious examples of pseudo-pseudo-science are in the medical fields. Anything considered 'alternative' is fair game for a claim of pseudoscience. 
One of the most famous, often cited ‘pseudosciences’ is homeopathy. Pseudo-scientists (typically geeks with high opinions of themselves and low opinions of everybody else) argue that homeopathy cannot work "because it cannot work". 
When you look closely at the arguments claiming homeopathy is a pseudoscience, they are simply pseudo-scientific. First of all, there is the ‘logic’ argument. That homeopathic medicines (a part of homeopathy) can’t work because of the dilution factor. But in real life, scientific tests, they work some of the time. What’s up? “Oh," the argument changes, "but they don’t work better than a placebo.” But there are clinical studies demonstrating that homeopathic medicines do sometimes work better than a placebo. “Oh, those clinical studies were not valid…” When practicing pseudoscience, it's important to be able to accept the research that supports your position, and dismiss any that is contrary to your argument. That way - the science always supports you.
Self proclaimed pseudo-scientists then leap to a second mistake. They say homeopathy should be banned, because the medicines can’t work. Duh. This is clearly a mixing of lines. If we want to know if homeopathy works, we need to test homeopathy, not their medicines. Surely you have met someone who claims to have been helped, or healed, or even cured, by homeopathy. Are these claims investigated by so called pseudo scientists? Nope. Nothing to see here.
The pseudo-science claimants don’t dare look too closely, because they might be forced to acknowledge a fundamental truth about most of today's medicines - which includes homeopathy.
Most medicines don’t cure. Most clinical studies, the Gold Standard of Medical Sciences, test medicines that don’t cure, to see which one ‘does not cure’ better. Sometimes homeopathic medicines do better. Sometimes prescription medicines do better. Sometimes placebos do better. 
What difference does it make if they don’t cure?
One clinical study that tested a homeopathic medicine vs a placebo, and reported that the homeopathic medicine worked better, but not by a ‘statistically significant amount’. Conclusion: the homeopathic medicine did not work better than the placebo. The catch? According the published research, the homeopathic medicine cured five patients (of 9) - the placebo cured only one (of 9). Duh. Homoeopathic versus placebo therapy of children with warts on the hands: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
Study conclusion: The homeopathic medicine showed no statistical difference in ability to ‘not cure’ warts. Of course they didn't use the word 'not cure', they used the word 'shrink'. There was no statistical difference between the placebo and the homeopathic medicine to shrink warts (when you ignore the cures). 
When the research was repeated 32 years later, the ‘does not cure’ results were identical. The conclusions of the researchers was identical. The only difference? In the 1998 study, ‘cured’ was not counted. Pseudo-scientists creates new pseudoscience to support nonsense pseudoscience.
Now, let me be honest, I don’t know if homeopathy works. I don’t know if homeopathic medicines work. But I do know that the pseudo-scientific geeks calling homeopathy a pseudoscience, don’t know what they’re talking about. And they don't want to know, to understand, they just want to be right. The goal of a pseudo-scientist is not science, it is simply to convince you to agree with their position. 
Acupuncture is often claimed to be a valid medical treatment, but many pseudo-scientific geeks refer to it as a pseudoscience. What’s happening here?
Acupuncture does not cure. It makes no attempt to cure. In a true scientific test, acupuncture can only be compared to other treatments that do not cure.
As a result, all of the scientific studies comparing acupuncture to other treatments is simply a test of which treatment “does not cure better”. Pseudo-scientific pseudoscience. If you punt ‘acupuncture pseudoscience’ into google, you will get statements like
- acupuncture doesn’t work because acupuncture results are only placebo effect.
The truth about placebos are that pseudo scientists don't even read the dictionary definitions, much less attempt to understand them. Pseudoscience pseudoscience. Pull out your dictionary. Turn to P. Scan down to ‘placebo effect’. It says “an improvement in the condition of the patient”. Does it work? Or not. 
Placebo effects by definition, are real, positive effects on the patient’s condition that as a result of the treatment, that could not be caused by the treatment.  Eg. We do not understand them. If we do not understand them, how can we call them ‘pseudoscience’? 
When we find 'placebo effects', we need to work harder to understand, not stop trying to understand. We need to study and learn what really happened, not dismiss the evidence. Claiming ‘placebo effects’ is just an excuse to not investigate further. 
But of course that's the goal of the pseudoscience of pseudoscience. To shame. To halt discussion. To halt learning.  To halt any attempts to understand.
Some pseudo-scientists cast the net wide, attempting to capture any unconventional belief in their net. Others stick to more strict guidelines, but all make serious mistakes in their analysis. Once something is declared a pseudoscience, the need for rational thought, for scientific thought disappears and the tone changes from science to witch hunt. Pseudoscience is an excuse to ignore real science.
Science, true science is about questions, not about truth. Science asks questions, attempts to understand. The answers found are seldom, if every ‘truths’. They are rather ‘interesting’, leading to different, more complex, perhaps more important. Scientific answers lead to more questions. That’s the way of science. That’s how science works.
Pseudoscientific questions and answers are designed to stop scientific investigation. They make nonsense measurements, using limited, nonsense assumptions, and produce nonsense results, which are often re-interpreted to create higher and higher levels of nonsense. The second homepathic wart study, in 1998, for example, was called “A double-blind, controlled clinical trial of homeopathy and an analysis of lunar phases and postoperative outcome.” Is this science? No. Is it an attempt to learn? No, it’s a blatant attempt to dismiss what we do not understand. It’s nonsense. But it’s scientific sounding nonsense, published by JAMA, available in PubMed, and often cited by other researchers.
Calling something a pseudoscience is not about science. It is a witch hunt. 
When we look closely at many ‘scientific’ treatment claims vs so called 'pseudoscience treatment' claims, we can see that both have some value, some danger, and some nonsense. We need to value the value, to avoid the risk and to dismiss the nonsense. Branding an entire practice as pseudoscience is simply a scam, an unscientific scare tactic, and a failure of science.
Calling things pseudoscience is a pseudoscience.  We can do better. 
to your health, tracy