The First Red Pill I Took (or Bullshit Detection)

I’ve always had the kind of mind that was going to be receptive to any kind of counter-cultural teachings. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always distanced myself from group movements. The more enthusiastically a group of people waxes on about the latest phenomenon, the more I seek to adopt a contrary stance, becoming deeply sceptical of it’s perceived values, and going out of my way to research the issue to find factual information by which I can justify my instinct.

It’s usually not wrong. You can usually tell how much bullshit is going to be involved in any given subject by the extent of the hyperbolic language that is used in conjunction with it. When people get totally ego-invested in a subject, they lose all ability to argue rationally, and adopt a position that effectively amounts to religious zealotry, where every new piece of information they receive is filtered through a blurry lens of cognitive dissonance, weighing up whether or not it fits into their existing belief systems before it is accepted or rejected.

A finely honed bullshit detector is an invaluable tool in any man’s arsenal, one that has served me well over the years, keeping me clear of scams, shysters, and preventing myself looking foolish when the latest fad that everyone has been raving on about turns out to be a crock of shit.

I recall the first such cultural frenzy that set my firmly on my path to red pill indoctrination was that of global warming, no less, in my early 20s. At some point, I noticed that it had gone from merely being a scientific issue to one that was now firmly mired in the realms of the social and political. People became more and more rabid in their protestations of the veracity of the issue, less and less willing to listen to any kind of debate.

All this served to set off my fledgling bullshit detectors on full blast. I found myself instinctively mistrusting the science, and set out on an internet related quest to start finding out the facts of the issue for myself. Within a short space of time, the flimsy nature of the case presented for global warming become abundantly clear to me, in no small way aided and abetted by the excellent blog, Watts Up With That, which I still read to this day. This isn’t the place to get into the science of the issue, there are many other websites for that sort of discussion.

Since then, I’ve become better and better at ferreting out bogus claims in the media, and trashing pseudo-science (broscience) wherever it rears its ugly head. Whenever you hear anything that claims to be based on science, don’t just take it at face value – go and find the cited paper yourself and read it, and see if you can spot any errors in the researchers’ methods and hypotheses. There are usually a lot. There is some sort of perceived aura of invulnerability around science and scientists, as if they are somehow on a different intellectual plane than the rest of us, but it really couldn’t be any further from the truth. They’re just people, some of them not even that intelligent, who are capable of churning out just as much fallacious crap as the rest of us.

You should cultivate and finely hone your instincts of bullshit detection. Bullshit is everywhere in this world, various people with various agendas (usually money or resources) trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Indeed, the very nature of the feminine imperative is the biggest pile of bullshit currently being foisted on males in western society, and the existence of the manosphere bears testament to the ability of those amongst us to spot it.

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “The First Red Pill I Took (or Bullshit Detection)

  1. Nice post. I think this is something all of us in the manosphere should be extra cautious of. Because of the un-pc nature of our opinions, it’s easy to dismiss us as a bunch of crazies. However it’s not so easy if our beliefs are backed up by real science.

    Just today I read this by Vox: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-anti-racism-creates-racists.html

    It’s easy to dismiss because the flaw is fundamental – his source. As a Brit, you know the Daily Mail’s reputation.

    ‘But that’s just leftist propaganda!’ some might say.

    Well then take a look at the Daily Mail article. Notice a glaring omission? How about a link to the study itself!

    Throwing “the study” and “the Dutch study” around like it’s going out of fashion does not pass my whiff test.

    • “Science by press release” is a terrible affliction of the modern age. Journalists merely parrot what they hear, instead of doing what they should be doing, and investigating the claims.

      Often, the original studies are extremely difficult to find, or are behind a paywall, making it hard to verify the results…

      …there – http://esr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/07/10/esr.jcr057.short – took me 10 minutes to track that one down. My stats isn’t up to checking through the paper’s methodology, but there are plenty of people that could if they had the inclination.

      Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit (http://climateaudit.org/), an accomplished statistician, was one of the first that started tearing holes in the global warming facade.

  2. Golbal warming isn’t an issue I’ve heard addressed by the manosphere – I’d be interested in hearing what the general census is (or if anyone has a link to what guys have said before, please share it!)

  3. If you take some statistics classes, or even teach yourself with some Khan Academy videos, you’ll be able to spot flaws in papers and particular regressions, models left right and center. An essential tool in the bullshit detector’s arsenal. What’s frightening is how big pharma use dubious regressions to push that a drug has a statistically significant effect on healing someone, which is why I’m paranoid in relation to visiting doctors and whatnot. Better eating a paleo diet and not getting sick ken.

    Nice one on the global warming links

    • That’s not a bad shout. I’ve always been sort of interested in that area, and I’ve got a bit of free time at weekends now I don’t booze any more…

      The amount of junk being peddled as science is truly shocking. Almost as shocking as the number of people prepared to take it at face value.

      • The Lucky Lothario

        If you’re interested in that then I’d recommend ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre, he’s just released another one called Bad Pharma, which is a bit of a heavier read. Bad Science, a little bit lighter, and is a pretty good intro to scientific bullshit detection.

      • Cool, I’ll look it up, stick it on my reading list. Of which I’ve made precisely zero headway into in the last 6 months… I need to make more time for reading, reading so many blogs every day has ruined my attention span for anything which isn’t in an easily digestible bite size block of text

      • i’m suffering the same problem. I got like 10 books and most of them are like 2 chapters in before something else piques my interest. I think the internet has destroyed my attention span gonna, have to cut it out soon man, worried i’m permanently damaging my brain always reading a different subject every 2 minutes dammit!

  4. I was majoring in Geology in the early 80s & just before that everyone was on a “new ice age” kick. One of my professors was ranting about it & said that temperatures were actually getting warmer, but that it was cyclical. He then went on that next the “scientists” would start saying that the warmer temps were here to stay & that warming would be the next crisis (until we started cooling again).

    Sure enough, that happened. The problem with “science” is that if you don’t toe the conventional wisdom line, you don’t get published, get grants, get tenure, etc. The only people in academia that are allowed to stay are the ones without anything new to say.

    • Of course, the gravy train – just one of many problems with the way science is conducted. The peer review process is also inherently flawed – reviewers know who the authors are of papers that they are given, and can deliberately go out of their way to be obtuse to satisfy a personal grudge. The whole system would work much better in a double blind setup.

      This warm cycle is pretty much at an end too from what I can gather… the recent total lack of sunspot activity from the last few years tells of a lagged cooling effect on the earth’s climate that we should be heading into over the next 20 years. Pack your thermals!

    • Manipulating data to fit a pre-formed conclusion is a favourite of mine. Or “pal review”, when all the peer reviewers know one another and conspire – goes on all the time in climate science.

      • The Lucky Lothario

        One of the examples from Big Pharma is having lots and lots of very small sample groups. So overall, N is quite large, but by having many studies to choose from and then performing a sort of fake meta-analysis but by including only those studies that gave a positive result, it is easy to skew a study that appears to follow good analysis techniques. This is only really possible for research funded by larger companies since it requires fairly large resources.

    • I remember that – the sheer amount of frenzied slacktivism amongst my Facebook morons, er friends, set the bullshit detector off hard. After doing some research into the situation, I actually ended up making a donation to a charity that is doing real, valuable work in the area, who stay in touch with me to the day – https://www.facebook.com/grassrootspeace

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s