Conspiracy theorists misuse analytical evidence

The normal cherry picking and confirmation bias approach to science of the ideologically driven is annoying enough. At least we can discuss this and offer alternative scientific findings. And let’s face it – we are all prone to cherry picking and confirmation bias.

But some peopel carry this opportunist and naive use of science  to extremes. This is particularly true of conspiracy theorists obsessed with contaminants. For them, the very fact that a contaminant is detected, irrespective of its extremely low concentration, is “proof” of contamination. The means they can feed their obsession with analytical evidence which actually does not support their argument.

Reminds me of the old days when some people used to claim radioactive contamination of the environment because they could get a few background clicks on a Geiger counter.

Here’s one from NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND CHEMTRAILS WATCH. (It is hard to get a more extreme conspiracy theory than chemtrails!). In Rainwater Test Result From Nelson Shows Aluminium, Barium & Strontium Present  they cling to an analytical report showing the presence of “three elements known to be linked to geoengineering globally” in Nelson rainwater.

(Click image to enlarge)

ana-chemtrails

For them, simply the ability to detect something (or maybe even to include the elements in an analytical report, feeds their conspiracy theory.

Despite the fact  amounts detected are barely over the detection limit!

Of course, when we reject this sort of “evidence” as meaningless this becomes evidence for another conspiracy theory.

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28 responses to “Conspiracy theorists misuse analytical evidence

  1. So true, Ken. It takes 10 times the manufacturer’s recommended single use amount of HFA in order to detect any arsenic, whatsoever in fluoridated water. Even then it can only be detected in half the samples. The minuscule amount detected in those samples falls so far short of EPA maximum safety levels that it is ridiculous. Yet, to antifluoridationists……..

    Funny.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

  2. If the levels are so minute as to be barely detectable, the question arises; what’s the point a conspiracy of “chemtrails”?! We’d get more environmental contamination from dairy farming or urban run-off, in our rivers.

  3. Bananas contain high levels of radioactive material. Enough to make you bananas, I think

  4. That report cannot be trusted. It may have escaped your kotice, Ken, but at the bottom of the page is a logo resemblong a pyramid containing the all seeing eye. This lab is an illiminati front which will produce fake results to cover up chem trails.

  5. at the bottom of the page is a logo resemblong a pyramid containing the all seeing eye

    OMG!
    it’s true!

    – but, it’s far too obvious. I’m sure Vinny Eastwood isn’t taken in.

    The real purpose of the logo is to divert attention away from the Lizardmen.

  6. Yes Andy.
    Nothing to see there, another immaculate scientific analysis courtesy of a business columnist.

  7. mmm… I wonder how much F is in 76million Bananas…

  8. The “banana equivalent dose” is featured in Wikipedia even:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose

    Of course,we should ignore Timmy. He is rude and belligerent , but he did write a book called “Chasing rainbows”

  9. No No No,
    F…K involves scary radioactive stuff

  10. The idea of “the banana equivalent dose” is to show that radioactivity is quite natural and we get exposed to fairly high levels just through foodstuffs. I guess there are some parallels with your fluoride arguments

  11. “…we get exposed to fairly high levels just through foodstuffs”

    or

    “The banana equivalent dose was meant to express the severity of exposure to radiation, such as resulting from nuclear power, nuclear weapons or medical procedures, in terms that would make sense to most people”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose

    So how many bananas do I need to eat before I start to die of radiation poisoning?

  12. I would imagine that you might die of a banana overdose or a severe dose of food monotony if you tried to kill yourself by eating bananas

    Ask a monkey?

  13. So how many bananas do I need to eat before I start to die of radiation poisoning?

    Doesn’t matter, the real issue is whether the GOVERNMENT is forcing you eat bananas.

  14. My point is that people get worried about trivial levels of something they can’t see, whether it be radiation, “contaminants” from frakking, CO2 etc, when there are far bigger problems we have to deal with

  15. just testing…

    [IMG]https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/240x240q90/577/r3md.png[/IMG]

  16. The answer to the banana questions can be found on this great banana resource I found
    http://www.30bananasaday.com/forum/topics/how-many-bananas-can-you-eat

  17. My point is that people get worried about trivial levels of something…

    It’s not your conclusion that’s important.
    It’s your methodology.
    “X” is at a trivial level.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    For that to be convincing, have to show that your methodology is better that those that say it’s not trivial.

    Take mercury in fish, for example.
    Some samples of fish might indeed have toxic levels of mercury.
    It does happen.
    Other samples might still have traces of mercury but not enough to reject the fish.

    This is where measuring comes in handy as opposed to just going with your feelings.

    they cling to an analytical report showing the presence of “three elements known to be linked to geoengineering globally” in Nelson rainwater.

    Detecting the presence of something (in this case) aluminium, baruim and strontium doesn’t mean anything by itself. You’ll find that in almost anything if you look hard enough. You have to look at the concentrations too.

    Nelson rainwater is toxic from aluminium, barium and strontium? Sounds shocking. You have a lab report? What does the lab report actually claim as opposed to your claim.
    Ah huh.
    Ok. So what happened when you releases this information on an unsuspecting world?
    What did the scientific community say?

    Yeah, this science thing. You’re doing it wrong.

    26 — Science vs. the Feelies

  18. Andy,

    “My point is that people get worried about trivial levels”

    Can you see any valid comparisons between Bananas/radiation poisoning and F/water toxicity?

  19. I see uber-crank Ken Moon is a commenter on Northland Chemtrails Watch.
    Figures.

  20. Mmmm…on the ChemTrail site, there is a treasure trove of crazy,

    A new one for me, Morgellons

    http://chemtrailsnorthnz.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/cdc-releases-study-on-morgellons-disease-january-26-2012/#comments

    Words elude me

  21. Here’s a goody……..

    Judging from all the police sirens (as well as her grasp on reality), it sounds like she recorded that after scoring in her crack-dealing ‘hood.

  22. “Can you see any valid comparisons between Bananas/radiation poisoning and F/water toxicity?”

    Yes

  23. A new one for me, Morgellons.

    Also for me. So I googled it.

    Morgellons is not recognized as a unique disorder, and currently has no list of symptoms or differential diagnosis that is generally accepted by the medical community. Patients usually self-diagnose based on media reports and information from the Internet.
    The main purported symptom of Morgellons is “a fixed belief” that fibers are embedded in or extruding from the skin.

    This sounds oh-so-very familiar.
    Do go on.

    Morgellons patients usually self-diagnose based on information from the Internet and find support and confirmation in online communities of people with similar illness beliefs. In 2006, Waddell and Burke reported the influence of the Internet on their self-diagnosed Morgellons patients: “physicians are becoming more and more challenged by the many persons who attempt self-diagnosis on-line. In many cases, these attempts are well-intentioned, yet wrong, and a patient’s belief in some of these oftentimes unscientific sites online may preclude their trust in the evidence-based approaches and treatment recommendations of their physician.” Dermatologist Caroline Koblenzer specifically faults the Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) website for misleading patients: “Clearly, as more and more of our patients discover this site (MRF), there will be an ever greater waste of valuable time and resources on fruitless research into fibers, fluffs, irrelevant bacteria, and innocuous worms and insects.” Vila-Rodriguez and MacEwan said in the American Journal of Psychiatry that the Internet is important in spreading and supporting “bizarre” disease beliefs, because “a belief is not considered delusional if it is accepted by other members of an individual’s culture or subculture.”

    The LA Times, in an article on Morgellons, notes that “(t)he recent upsurge in symptoms can be traced directly to the Internet, following the naming of the disease by Mary Leitao, a Pennsylvania mother.” Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied the Morgellons phenomenon, states that the “World Wide Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and it (Morgellons) seems to be a socially transmitted disease over the Internet.” According to this hypothesis, patients with delusions of parasitosis and other psychological disorders become convinced they have “Morgellons” after reading Internet accounts of others with similar symptoms. A 2005 Popular Mechanics article stated that Morgellons symptoms are well-known and characterized in the context of other disorders, and that “widespread reports of the strange fibers date back” only a few years to when the MRF first described them on the Internet.

    The Dallas Observer writes that Morgellons may be spread via the Internet and mass media, and “(i)f this is the case, then Morgellons is one in a long line of weird diseases that have swept through populations, only to disappear without a trace once public concern subsides.”The article draws parallels to several mass media-spread mass delusions. An article in the journal Psychosomatics in 2009 similarly asserts that Morgellons is an Internet meme.

    In 2008 the Washington Post Magazine reported that Internet discussions about Morgellons include many conspiracy theories about the cause, including biological warfare, nanotechnology, chemtrails and extraterrestrial life.

    So the medical consensus is that this disease a delusion.
    The “sufferers”, however continue to self diagnose.
    They prop up their thinking with support and confirmation from internet communities.
    Their physician’s recommendations can go hang.

    Yep, very familiar.
    A ritual dance.

  24. Hmmm, yes, sounds very much akin to that extremely debilitating contagion, fluoride sensitivity. Spreads like wildfire through contact with the internet……

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

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