The Lengths People Will Go To…

...to justify bad science.  With the tribalistic, religious cult-like behavior of "defending the hive" to which I referred to in my post on bashers and pumpers, it doesn't suprise me.  At the same time, I can't help but have a part of me feel astonished at the poor leaps in logic and irrationality that people will use to defend piss-poor science, and to defend the people spreading that piss-poor science.

The response of Richard Nikoley, and some of his readers, to my post was predictable, and is a perfect example of what I refer to here when I talk about people diving into the realm of absurdity to defend the indefensible.  Part of this blog post is a direct response to Richard's comments, and part of it is further commentary and observations on the behavior of people trying to defend bad science.  So, onto my response...excerpts from Richard's comments are in indented quotes.

There’s nothing hypocritical about beating up on a bully, taking stuff from a thief, or killing a wanton murder.

From a purely philosophical standpoint, one could argue that it is hypocritical to beat up on a bully, take stuff from a thief, or kill a wanton murderer.  In overly simplistic terms, it's the "two wrongs don't make a right" thing.  I'm not here to debate whether such a standpoint is valid or not; however, what is not valid is Nikoley's comparison of his own response to Evelyn and then somehow trying to compare it to beating up a bully.  Perhaps we should revisit Richard's original comment:

While “femmes importantes” are now setting their sites on the “sins” of the great Robert Lustig…because, hey, that’s what happens when you have no value to add to anyone, pretending instead you offer value by tearing down value…I’m off on a different track, and will continue to do so. It was fun engaging the c*** while it lasted

Sorry, but pretending you are on some sort of high road (i.e., different track), while at the same time using slurs that any sane person would consider as "tearing down", is the height of hypocrisy.  If you like using slurs against people, then fine; just don't pretend you are on some higher road when you are clearly not.

Your thinking is laughably muddled here.

It's actually quite clear as day.  Don't go around making statements about "tearing down value" when you do no different.  It really can't get less clear than that, but if you would like to use some other type of absurd leaps in logic to try to muddle it, then be my guest.

A better case for hypocrisy and one tougher for me to defend, is that I often rail against various reporters, dietitians, and even researchers whom I often refer to as “grant whores.”

Yet, you do not rail against individuals like Taubes who have exhibited the exact same behavior (if not worse) as the people you do rail against.  What is very apparent from your post, as well as some of the comments of your readers, is that people who you consider to be "on your side" get a free pass for the type of behavior you rail against.  Really, you illustrate the problems with the cultish groupthink that occurs when people divide into dietary "camps" or "tribes", including paleo.  If you aren't a part of the cult, your mistakes will be focused upon, but if you are a part of the cult, then your mistakes get a free pass.  For example, Taubes will be praised and cheered for pointing out how Ancel Keys cherry picked his data, but when Taubes cherry picks his data in a fashion that is 100 times worse, it's perfectly OK because it advances the cult's "cause".  Another example would include how Taubes rails against "establishment" scientists on a regular basis in a condescending fashion, which is perfectly OK, yet when Evelyn rails against Taubes in a similar way on a regular basis, suddenly she is "tearing down value."

There, I’m going against CW and institutionalized dogma that has clearly failed; as people keep getting fatter, more diabetic, more unhealthy.

Then by your own rationale, low-carb, paleo, etc. have failed as well, because they've all been around a while now, in some form or another, and yet people are still getting fatter, more diabetic, and more unhealthy.

. The individuals are simply convenient cross-hair targets of opportunity. I don’t keep chasing and chasing those individuals.

Whether you target one individual or 100 individuals is irrelevant.  If someone is promoting bad science, it should be exposed.  And if they repeatedly promote bad science over years and years, they should not get a free pass.  It should be repeatedly pointed out that the individual is promoting bad science.

The problem with the pump & dump analogy is that there are people who signed up for the risks and they’re on both sides of the trades.

In my analogy, I'm referring to the naive grandmother who gets a pump and dump mailer about a stock without understanding the true risk of a pump and dump.  Most stocks don't fall 50% within a few days, but pump and dumps do; when you don't realize something is a pump and dump, you may have no idea what you're in store for.  But let's assume for a moment that people are fully aware of the risks in the stock market.  Well, in the world of health and fitness, people are NOT fully aware of the "risks."  Most people don't have the background in physiology or biochemistry to discern whether someone like Taubes is feeding them B.S.  Naughton is one perfect example of what I would call an "armchair physiologist."  He reads Taubes, it makes sense to him, and suddenly he thinks he's an expert in physiology and nutritional science.  But Naughton doesn't have the background to discern whether Taubes's writing is legit.  It is very clear that Naughton has no clue what he's talking about and makes basic errors about chemistry and physiology when trying to argue his points.  Your average person won't even bother to look up Taubes's references, or bother to do PubMed searches to see if Taubes was truly thorough in his research.  Even if they do, they likely don't have the requisite background to analyze the research.  It's nothing more than "pop culture" science.

You don’t call it right on all your trades, either, James; and sometimes, it was because you got effed for whatever reason by those luckier, smarter, or with better information than you.

No, I don't call it right on all my trades, but that's what stop losses are for...realizing you were wrong and taking the loss.  See, people like Naughton and Taubes don't realize when they're wrong, and they don't admit it even if they know it.  Taubes is still promoting a junk hypothesis that can hardly even be considered a hypothesis.  He's been doing it for 10 years despite the plethora of evidence that he is utterly wrong about it.  If one is continuing to promote junk science for 10 years despite all the evidence that it's junk, then people should call him out on it on a regular basis.

  I went after Evelyn, again, because she seems to me to just want to entirely discredit Lustig rather than politely point out whatever errors she thinks he’s making while acknowledging a lot of the good he has done like raise awareness

You can raise awareness without promoting junk science.  And I would not consider calling something a "poison" as "raising awareness"...more like raising hysteria.

which to me comes down to: drinking a lot of sugar in juices, sodas and energy drinks that don’t satiate is very likely to have you eating several hundred calories a day more than you need.

You don't need to promote junk science to make such a point.  Perhaps the ends justifies the means to you; to me, the ends does not justify the means.

But then there’s all this stuff asserting that he even thinks whole fruit is bad when I am quite certain I heard him say on either or both of the Jimmy Moore podcasts he did that fruit is good (because it has fiber, which satiates).

Whether he said it or not is irrelevant, because that's not what people are hearing.  There are plenty of people who are avoiding fruit because of the fructose alarmism that he has promoted.  The message people are hearing is, "Fructose = bad, therefore fruit=bad."  This is what happens when you spew out junk science.

It illustrates exactly what I was talking about in my last post on this topic.  For every person that reduces their sugar intake because of Lustig's message, there is a person who will avoid fructose or fruit at all costs because of the message.  This is the problem with trying to use junk science to promote some type of goal.  Jimmy Moore and his struggles is another perfect example; Jimmy is so brainwashed by the insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis that he has resorted to many measures that will never be successful for him, including the recent trends of some to resort to low protein, low carb, and high fat.

So, to return to the very poorly thought out trading analogy, you might consider that the stock that just got pumped to $120 isn’t worth that, and soon people are going to figure that out, so go short. but you probably don’t think it’s worth zero (and trying to drive it to zero would likely involve securities fraud, not to mention plain unethical) and probably no less than $80.

A stock that is pumped to $120 certainly can be less than $80...evidently you did not trade during the NASDAQ bubble of the late '90's.

 Tell my she’s not trying to drive the stock of Taubes, Naughton, Moore, and now Lustig to zero. If you short enough shares and a stock does go effectively to zero then well, you get to go live the rest of your days on a tropical island with luscious brown skinned girls serving you drinks with fruit and umbrellas in them. And your conscience is clear.

A stock only goes to zero when it _should_ go to zero and I assume you know why.

There are no "shoulds" in the stock market.  The stock market is nothing more than human emotion.  Just because a stock "should" go to zero doesn't mean it ever will.  And a stock can go to near zero even when it shouldn't.  Along those same lines, there are plenty of stocks out there that actually trade for less than book value...the value that shareholders would receive if the company were liquidated.  They shouldn't be trading for less than that, yet they do.  Why?  Because nobody wants the stock.  It's nothing more than supply and demand driven by human emotion.

saw you cross posted this and so I’ll cross post this comment as well. I saw mention on the other post about Colpo and whole grains. First off, I’m on good terms with Anthony. Secondly, I told him Martin is cool, but he kinda made fun of me for that. Perhaps in time.

Some things that we can agree upon.

Evelyn and others like her, who have largely built whatever attention they have on the backs of people like Taubes, Naughton, Moore, Lustig, still haven’t figured out that “bad science” is not really what it’s all about if you care about people dropping the weight and improving health.

It certainly is about bad science, at least in part, because bad science can lead people down the wrong pathways for dropping weight and improving health.

Both good and bad science got us into this mess and both good and bad science will get us out.

Bad science will never get us out of this mess.  Bad science does nothing other than set you back, not move you forward.

What’s important is personality, drive, sensation, conniving, influence, and a whole list of human attributes people pay attention to, in the end.

To me, it sounds like you are saying that essentially the popularity and influence is what really matters, not what is factual or truthful.  This is nothing more than a form of the argumentum ad populum fallacy...if it's popular, then it must be true.  The characteristics you describe only demonstrate that people are easily swayed by things that are completely irrelevant to the truth.  Hitler had personality, drive, sensation, conniving, and influence....and 6 million people died as a result.

 Yes: good and bad results can be obtained by good and bad science. In the end, the best salesman wins.

But that only means the best salesman made the sale.  It doesn't mean he got you a good car.  He might have sold you a total piece of junk, and if you didn't have the background or ability to discern whether it was junk, then you lose.  This is why junk science doesn't help people, and why it should be exposed, just like a good car salesman who happens to be selling junk should also be exposed.

Thousands of people, including myself, can credit Taubes, et all, with being that one thing that got us on the right track.

Yet there are thousands more who are on the wrong track because of Taubes, including Jimmy Moore.  But since Taubes is on "your team", that doesn't matter to you.  The fact is, if Taubes truly got so many people on "the right track", then that would mean that low carb should have taken over by now as THE way to lose weight for the long run.  Then why hasn't it?  Why is it that low carb does no better than any other method in long term RCT's?  Why is that low carbers are a tiny minority of the people in the National Weight Control Registry (and in fact, the majority are, <gasp> ELMMers!)?  Really, by your own logic, the "establishment" should also get credit for "putting people on the right track", given that the vast majority of people in the NWCR follow typical "establishment"-type advice.  And yes, we are talking thousands of people here.

The ends doesn't justify the means.  You don't have to promote junk science to show people that low-carb diets can have benefits or "get you on the right track".

And as for Lustig, isn’t it so awful that perhaps thousands of people might be questioning the idea of having their kid down a quart or more of fruit juice per day because it’s cheap and “healthy,” all based on “bad science.”

When it also gets thousands of people questioning the idea of eating fruit, then yes, it is bad.  There is no justification for junk science.  There never has been and there never will be.  Taubes's, Naughton's, Lustig's, et al.'s junk science deserve to be exposed just as much as Ancel Keys's junk science or T. Colin Campbell's junk science deserved to be exposed.

 

 


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5 years ago

There is certainly a great deal to know about this issue.
I love all the points you have made.

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He sido surf 2 horas de hoy , sin embargo, nunca encontrado
ningún artículo interesante como la suya . Es bastante suficiente pena para
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lo hizo , la web serán mucho más útil que nunca.

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Bret
Bret
8 years ago

James, Kinda late to the game, here, but just wanted to drop some words of support and encouragement. I certainly appreciate your dedication to factual information and logical presentation. Not to mention your unceasing ability to spot BS from any camp and criticize accordingly. Nikoley is simply incredible with the hipocrisy. I cannot even believe this guy is for real. I’m glad his approach is working for so many people as demonstrated by his airtight evidentiary list of testimonials. Maybe he needs to watch a little less QVC and a little more PBS. Strangely enough his approach doesn’t appear to… Read more »

julie
8 years ago

Nikoley is a bully. i found out about him on Colpo’s blog, read a few posts, lost interest, the logic and conclusions didn’t sit right with me, and that whole Evelyn business really was beyond rude. Jimmy Moore is getting more obese every day, and with every pound, he digs in his heels further about how right he must be. The legions of Taubes zombies who go on every single blog and act like anybody who doesn’t buy into the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis is dumb, naive, uneducated, and needs to read Good Calories, Bad Calories immediately. Lack of scientific understanding even… Read more »

George Henderson
George Henderson
8 years ago

“Whether he said it or not is irrelevant, because that’s not what people are hearing. There are plenty of people who are avoiding fruit because of the fructose alarmism that he has promoted.” The first sentence makes Lustig responsible for the poor listening skills of others. Hardly his fault. As for the second, is there any evidence that avoiding sweet fruit in favour of green leafy veges (and usually tomatoes) actually does any harm? Do we all have to eat lots of fruit now for some reason? People haven’t always eaten fruit, nor is it eaten in every part of… Read more »

Mario Vachon
Mario Vachon
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

You’re trying way too hard James. Take a breath.

JJ
JJ
8 years ago
Reply to  Mario Vachon

I, for one, appreciate that James is putting forth effort for an intelligent exchange, rather than a glossed-over infotainment. Sounds like intellectual precision can be exhausting for some readers.

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

I think you do make some good clarifications and points here, James. In particular, yes, there is a problem with hyperbole. I’m not against hyperbole, per se, but I suppose scientists or people writing or speaking to science ought either to guard against it (poison, as you point out) or at least make it clear that they are being hyperbolic because of the medium, i.e., not a medical journal or speaking engagement at some society or other institution, but a sensational news program. So, point taken. I also wish to make it clear that none of this campaign on my… Read more »

Mar
Mar
8 years ago

You need to learn a thing or two about the stock market and corporate valuations. A stock’s book value usually has absolutely nothing to do with the liquidation value of its assets. It is the cost of those assets after their accumulated depreciation. For example, you could spend $10mm on an oil well that produces 1000 barrels of oil a day. It has a liquidation value of x, but its book value on completion is $10mm. On the other hand, it could be a gusher that is producing 50,000 barrels of oil a day. It will have a liquidation value… Read more »

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  Mar

Mar

This is exactly right. Investing for the long term capital appreciation, earnings per share, is a far more difficult problem than the pump & dump thing which works on chart technicals, sentiment, news, etc…in short, what’s potentially going to cause a move one way or another in the short term.

This was the essence of my original point with James.

cj
cj
8 years ago

richard is lost.he is truelly a harm to people.personalety gives junk science a pass?really?

Adria
Adria
8 years ago

Hi! I just found your blog by following the links here from Free the Animal. Lo! an behold, I completely agree with you and disagree with Nikoley. So I shall always be grateful to him for pointing to you and complaining that you used LOGIC and REASON to take apart his arguments, and that’s so unfair and, like, NO ONE who is cool on the internet does that anymore. I like logic and reason and science, and I hadn’t seen your blog before, and now because of him I have. Thanks, Richard! I’m going to go start reading through your… Read more »

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  Adria

Thanks, Richard

You’re welcome. I said you get to judge for yourself and I meant it.

Adria
Adria
8 years ago

It’s one of the reasons why I continue to read your blog!

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  Adria

Ha, Adria:

Know that I do not begrudge a single peeper or regular reader of James he gets from this. I hope he gets a lot, actually.

I do not at all think he’s in the same camp as Evelyn, which I attempted to make clear in my post.

Adria
Adria
8 years ago

IMO, you did make that clear. (And that is partly why I clicked though, too.)

ben
ben
8 years ago

The Alan Aragon post on fructose alarmism is epic! I think it’s safe to say, consuming fructose is NO MORE (OR LESS) dangerous than regular sugar.

But what about Taubes or the general hypothesis that a carb rich diet leads to elevated levels of insulin which lead to diabetes/fat gain/etc?

Is there **ANY** LC/Paleo contribution hypothesis or understanding that cuts the mustard? Or is it the same as it ever was… eat less, move more!

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 years ago

James, this was great. Richard had absolutely no clue about the science involved, that’s the problem here. His manners (especially toward Evelyn) was deplorable, shame on him.

Thanks for all your hard work. It is greatly appreciated by many.

Kyle
Kyle
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

^ this guy is serious? Richard is sort of an idiot but this James guy takes the cake. At least Nikoley does not represent himself as a nutritionist while trying to cram his ideas down uneducated readers’ throats.

JJ
JJ
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Judging purely by the rationale in his comment, it seems like he was commenting on his own education level.

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“Kyle, do you have anything of substance to add? I didn’t think so.” Asked and answered, eh? Here’s what you’ll never have, James, that I have in spades, all the time…and I’m hours off of presenting at the Harvard Law School, who sponsored the Ancestral Health Symposium with scientist and researcher luminaries from around the world (look at the program) on all sides of various debates (fructose, carbs, etc…Lustig was there, for example, as were others who disagree). I presented on………..Anarchism….. Video up soon. I have a blog that people love and hate. You have a blog that virtually everyone… Read more »

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“I consider it a conference of cult leaders and quacks (with a few legit people sprinkled in here and there)” So? I consider you a shill for the conventional wisdom that keeps people fat and unhealthy. In fact, the fat loss success throughout the Ancestral/Paleo communities puts you and the other purveyors of CW to shame. I’ve helped thousands to lose significant fat because I know how to inspire and motivate them. “For someone who is so indifferent to my blog, why the hell are you commenting on it or even bothering to read any part of it? ” That… Read more »

Richard Nikoley
8 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Laf. Yea, indeed, the authoritarian model, as though you need a doctor, a nutritionist and a personal trainer to lose fat and weight. Here, 7 pages of success stories, photos, video interviews—many with losses over 100 pounds, getting off meds, etc. http://freetheanimal.com/real-results And I have ton of them in an email folder still unpublished. And hell, I’m just an entrepreneur who knows personally what it’s like to be fat and to lose it by eating real food (meat, fish, fowl, vegetables and fruit). Guys like you rely on creating the illusion that all this supervision is necessary, that it’s complex,… Read more »

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