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> Anonymous, hacktivism and Wikipedia
Peter Damian
post Sun 5th February 2012, 11:09am
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This http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16881582 was in the news a couple of days ago. (a) To what extent do the ideals of these 'anonymous' hacktivists overlap with those of orthodox Wikipedians? (b) To what extent are they one and the same people?

I'm thinking the ideals overlap a lot. The love of anonymity and secrecy when it comes to themselves. The paradoxical hatred of anonymity and secrecy when it comes to the establishment and state and any kind of government. The obsession with hackerish things and computers. The whole 'Occupy' thing.

As to whether the people are one and the same, I don't know.

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lilburne
post Sun 5th February 2012, 11:36am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 5th February 2012, 11:09am) *

This http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16881582 was in the news a couple of days ago. (a) To what extent do the ideals of these 'anonymous' hacktivists overlap with those of orthodox Wikipedians? (b) To what extent are they one and the same people?

I'm thinking the ideals overlap a lot. The love of anonymity and secrecy when it comes to themselves. The paradoxical hatred of anonymity and secrecy when it comes to the establishment and state and any kind of government. The obsession with hackerish things and computers. The whole 'Occupy' thing.

As to whether the people are one and the same, I don't know.


Anonymous seems to get a lot of traction amongst the 'woo' contingent. They seem to be regarded with awe in some of those circles, but I think that is mainly due to the V masks.

OTOH people that write for WP aren't regarded at all, are almost never mentioned, WP articles are never used as evidence for anything. Instead they prefer naturalnews, mercola, Press TV, RT TV, Alex, Jones, David Icke, and Brian Gerrish.




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Selina
post Sun 5th February 2012, 6:06pm
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Why not just call them conspiracy theorists? they really hate that.. most people would have no idea what you are talking about when you talk about "woo" as a noun smile.gif

Why we need conspiracy theories, BBC News, 24 September 2001
QUOTE
According to Psychology Professor Cary Cooper we are trying to stave off fear of random violence and unpredictable death. "They do that because they can't come to terms with the fact that it could be just a few people," said Professor Cooper, who lectures at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. "If you think it's a rogue person or an unsophisticated group you start worrying about your daily life. If this can happen, what sense of security can you have?"

We create alternate realities because we reject the world where a single madman can bring down a president, a reckless driver can snuff out a princess... and a few men with knives can terrorise a country.
Why People Believe in Conspiracies: A skeptic's take on the public's fascination with disinformation, By Michael Shermer, Scientific American, September 10, 2009
QUOTE
patternicity (the tendency to find meaningful patterns in random noise) and agenticity (the bent to believe the world is controlled by invisible intentional agents). Conspiracy theories connect the dots of random events into meaningful patterns and then infuse those patterns with intentional agency. Add to those propensities the confirmation bias (which seeks and finds confirmatory evidence for what we already believe) and the hindsight bias (which tailors after-the-fact explanations to what we already know happened), and we have the foundation for conspiratorial cognition.

Examples of these processes can be found in journalist Arthur Goldwag’s marvelous new book, Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies (Vintage, 2009), which covers everything from the Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group to black helicopters and the New World Order. “When something momentous happens, everything leading up to and away from the event seems momentous, too. Even the most trivial detail seems to glow with significance,”
The psychology of conspiracy, Dr Patrick Leman; Psychologist, Royal Holloway University of London; BBC News, 14 February 2007
QUOTE
My own research suggests that people think that a major or significant event must have been caused by something similarly major, significant or powerful.

However, often official accounts for events, or more mundane, everyday explanations, fail to seem big enough.

We do not feel particularly comfortable with the idea that something unpredictable or accidental like a car crash could have a big effect like the death of a Princess, or that a single mad gunman could assassinate the most powerful man in the world.

That troubles our sense of the world as being a relatively stable, safe place to live in.

Sometimes we try and cast around for an explanation that matches the magnitude of the event that we see in front of us, and conspiracy theories can provide that explanation.

[..]People are also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories if they feel powerless in the face of large social authorities or institutions, and not part of the mainstream of society.
[..]
People show other cognitive biases in how they evaluate ambiguous evidence.

For example, if someone is adamant that the moon landings were faked they will insist that there is clear evidence of this in NASA pictures - why is the flag fluttering when here is no wind on the moon? They will ignore alterative explanations that do not support a conspiracy theory - for example in a vacuum, there is no friction so it takes longer for a flag to roll up.

So if we accept a conspiracy theory to be true we are more likely to accept explanations that are consistent with a conspiracy and less likely to accept evidence that runs against a conspiracy account.[..]
Paranoia and the Roots of Conspiracy Theories: September 11 and the psychological roots of conspiracy theories, Dr Ilan Shrira (visiting professor of social psychology at the University of Florida) and Joshua D. Foster, Psychology Today, September 11 2008
QUOTE
we humans have an assortment of cognitive biases that can distort our judgments and allow us to maintain beliefs despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Some of these biases include the tendency to see patterns where none exist, and to interpret new information and recall old information in ways that confirm our expectations and beliefs. However, most of the time we're unaware of these biases and overly confident that our perceptions represent the objective truth.

[..]an excellent book called Empire of Conspiracy by Tim Melley explores this issue. Melley seeks to explain why conspiracy theories and paranoia have become so pervasive in American culture in recent decades.
It's just another type of religion really, looking for a safe sense of order because the alternative is too scary for them to face.
QUOTE
Melley proposes that conspiracy thinking arises from a combination of two factors, when someone: 1) holds strong individualist values [..]what Melley calls agency panic, "intense anxiety about an apparent loss of autonomy" to outside forces or regulators.[..] and 2) lacks a sense of control. [..]trait anxiety (or neuroticism) has been rising dramatically in both children and adults over this period.
[..]
people have come to hold an increasingly stronger external "locus of control"; this refers to the feeling that external forces are determining what happens to you, as opposed to an internal locus of control, the feeling that you dictate your own outcomes. psychologist Jean Twenge [..]suggests that the stronger external locus of control reflects our ever-increasing exposure to uncontrollable events
[..]
The rise in anxiety, individualism, and external locus of control may therefore underlie the rise in conspiracy thinking.
[..]
Conspiracies assure us that bad things don't just happen randomly. Conspiracies tell us that someone out there is accountable, however unwittingly or secretly or incomprehensibly, so it's possible to stop these people and punish them and in due course let everyone else re-establish control over their own lives. Conspiracies also remind us that we shouldn't blame ourselves for our predicaments; it's not our fault, it's them! In these ways, believing in conspiracies serves many of the same self-protective functions as scapegoating.[..]
It's the same deal with "tea partiers" and their fear of "big government" whilst they parade around for much more powerful corporations, who unlike governments, couldn't give a crap abut their children's health unless it gives some kind of profit boost with the shareholders always in mind...


Back on topic though, as for anonymous, well, they're both good and bad, cos they're just people, saying "anonymous" is like saying "hackers" there is no "group" or whatever - there's a lot of kids that get into breaking things for the sake of breaking things to try feel powerful sure, but really a lot of is a form of political protest where marches don't really have any effect on corporations as they do governments - as we've moved into the era where big corporations have a larger effect on social change than governments, the only way to deal with them is hit them in their pocket it seems like. Like humanity in general, a lot of bad or willing-to-go-along-with-bad-people-without-speaking-up (ala the police states of China and Iran, the people defending SOPA and ACTA in western countries) but some people are genuinely good too. *shrug*
♠♦♣♥wikipediareview.com/?showtopic=36274&view=findpost&p=296251

theregister.co.uk/2011/10/24/anonymous_fight_child_abuse_network
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Sun 5th February 2012, 7:35pm
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I dunno... it seems natural to me that people would conspire with other people to achieve objectives that are important to them (particularly if they have the means to do so.) I do it all the time. It certainly worked for the American Revolution and any number of other revolutions. I would naturally concede that there is an abundance of bogus and incompetent conspiracy theories. I would also note that there are some real whoppers, like the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,) that are embraced by the mainstream opinion shapers and subjected to very little skepticism.
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carbuncle
post Sun 5th February 2012, 7:54pm
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sun 5th February 2012, 11:09am) *

This http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16881582 was in the news a couple of days ago. (a) To what extent do the ideals of these 'anonymous' hacktivists overlap with those of orthodox Wikipedians? (b) To what extent are they one and the same people?

I suspect that the demographics of Anonymous are very similar to those of WP. I am sure that there is an overlap, but perhaps someone like Seren is better placed to comment on that.

This post has been edited by carbuncle: Sun 5th February 2012, 7:55pm
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Selina
post Sun 5th February 2012, 8:18pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 5th February 2012, 7:35pm) *

I dunno... it seems natural to me that people would conspire with other people to achieve objectives that are important to them (particularly if they have the means to do so.) I do it all the time. It certainly worked for the American Revolution and any number of other revolutions. I would naturally concede that there is an abundance of bogus and incompetent conspiracy theories. I would also note that there are some real whoppers, like the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,) that are embraced by the mainstream opinion shapers and subjected to very little skepticism.

That's true, there's very little pre-made "grand conspiracies" but people DO naturally form together in cliques and tribes and sometimes, yeah, bad people stick together or create a culture around getting what their aims in society - like religion... There's no more "Muslim agenda", no "Christian agenda" as in a grand conspiracy, but they all push their way as much as they can and at the sort of hive-mind of religions, their aim in the end is always a world where everyone plays by their rulebook... Whether they want to or not:
skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html
skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/nt_list.html
skepticsannotatedbible.com/Quran/int/long.html
— The whole mindset of religion is based on creating a xenophobic complex to provide justification for the dehumanising of competing tribes, to encourage people feeling righteous in saying convert or die :/
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radek
post Sun 5th February 2012, 8:39pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 5th February 2012, 1:35pm) *

I dunno... it seems natural to me that people would conspire with other people to achieve objectives that are important to them (particularly if they have the means to do so.) I do it all the time. It certainly worked for the American Revolution and any number of other revolutions. I would naturally concede that there is an abundance of bogus and incompetent conspiracy theories. I would also note that there are some real whoppers, like the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,) that are embraced by the mainstream opinion shapers and subjected to very little skepticism.


Conspiracies tend to have two problems though:
1. They don't scale up well. "Small conspiracies", like a bunch of people manipulating the local city council to pass some zoning ordinance or something might work. Taking over the world financial system secretly doesn't. Hell, even real secret underground organizations ("resistance movements", legit and not so legit, run into problems even when 98% of their members are deeply committed to the cause - the 2% who will squeal is enough to cause them problems)
2. In many situations the individual incentives conflict with the group incentives. Take a type of conspiracies that actually do often appear in real life; price fixing cartels. Even if they survive for short periods of time, without some external means of enforcing compliance by members (which usually means they ain't that secret, like OPEC) these things tend to be unstable. The individual incentive says that you want everyone else to play their part in the conspiracy but you yourself want to deviate (by cutting price and getting larger market share).

I agree on the general public being too accepting of some fashionable "conspiracies", the "Muslim Conspiracy theory" being one of them. But that's a lack of skepticism about conspiracies, not too much of it - and it sort of contradicts your initial assertion.
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Mon 6th February 2012, 1:23am
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QUOTE(radek @ Sun 5th February 2012, 12:39pm) *

I agree on the general public being too accepting of some fashionable "conspiracies", the "Muslim Conspiracy theory" being one of them. But that's a lack of skepticism about conspiracies, not too much of it - and it sort of contradicts your initial assertion.
Not really, because my initial assertion, in a nutshell, is that the criticism of conspiracy theories operates on a double standard: everyone is supposed to believe the officially sanctioned conspiracy theories, while scoffing at the non-conformist ones. To put it another way, the conventional wisdom about conspiracy theories operates very much like a Wikipedia "core policy."
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Peter Damian
post Mon 6th February 2012, 7:47am
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All very interesting but we don't know whether Anonymous is a conspiracy or not. The question was about the ideals and objectives of this loose collective, about how these overlap with the ideals and objectives of Wikipedians, and whether the people overlap. All I know is what I learned from this article in Vanity Fair http://www.vanityfair.com/business/feature...04/4chan-201104 , which connects Anonymous with 4chan.

Anonymous clearly like to think of themselves as a conspiracy because they like the Guy Fawkes mask and the Guy Fawkes conspiracy was a classic example of, er, a conspiracy.

What I imagine, from my experience of activist groups in the past, is that it is a mixture of large number of sympathisers, fellow travellers and useful idiots, with a small number of dedicated and passionate activists.

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Mon 6th February 2012, 7:49am
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Retrospect
post Mon 6th February 2012, 1:06pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 5th February 2012, 7:35pm) *

the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,)

Hey! I know someone whose brother died in 9/11. Were the Jews being charged a hundred years ago with killing huge numbers of people by crashing aeroplanes into buildings?
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Mister Die
post Mon 6th February 2012, 1:41pm
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QUOTE(Retrospect @ Mon 6th February 2012, 1:06pm) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 5th February 2012, 7:35pm) *

the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,)

Hey! I know someone whose brother died in 9/11. Were the Jews being charged a hundred years ago with killing huge numbers of people by crashing aeroplanes into buildings?
They were charged with being either inhuman or otherwise profoundly evil and ungodly in most cases. tongue.gif
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Mon 6th February 2012, 3:55pm
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QUOTE(Retrospect @ Mon 6th February 2012, 5:06am) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Sun 5th February 2012, 7:35pm) *

the Muslim Conspiracy theory (like the Jewish Conspiracy theory a hundred years ago, under similar circumstances,)

Hey! I know someone whose brother died in 9/11. Were the Jews being charged a hundred years ago with killing huge numbers of people by crashing aeroplanes into buildings?
In case your question is actually serious, the way that groups are demonized is by taking the bad actions of a few individuals and placing the blame generally on an ethnic or religious group to which they belong. The "similar circumstances" to which I refer is that there was a collapse of the financial system and most European countries responded to this not by changing the financial and economic policies which caused the problem, but rather by inventing phony enemies and mobilizing their citizens for wars of aggression, and/or instituting police state measures to guard against the phony threat.
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Peter Damian
post Mon 6th February 2012, 3:59pm
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What has the muslim conspiracy theory to do with Anonymous? Are they muslims?
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Wikifan
post Mon 6th February 2012, 9:44pm
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QUOTE
In case your question is actually serious, the way that groups are demonized is by taking the bad actions of a few individuals and placing the blame generally on an ethnic or religious group to which they belong.


this would be a fair argument if a minority of people were being used to demonize an entire population but that criticism is typically a strawman to prevent any criticism of islamists/muslim states.

plenty of serious arguments demonstrating a serious lack of cultural and behavioral development in the islamic world. arguments that suggest al qaeda=all muslims is lazy but not comparable to the 2,000+ year history of the expulsion and mass persecution of jews.

i always thought anonymous was just another mutation of 4chan?
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Mon 6th February 2012, 10:28pm
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QUOTE(Wikifan @ Mon 6th February 2012, 1:44pm) *

QUOTE
In case your question is actually serious, the way that groups are demonized is by taking the bad actions of a few individuals and placing the blame generally on an ethnic or religious group to which they belong.


this would be a fair argument if a minority of people were being used to demonize an entire population but that criticism is typically a strawman to prevent any criticism of islamists/muslim states.

plenty of serious arguments demonstrating a serious lack of cultural and behavioral development in the islamic world. arguments that suggest al qaeda=all muslims is lazy but not comparable to the 2,000+ year history of the expulsion and mass persecution of jews.



You are so tedious, plus I think you are a genuine bigot.
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Wikifan
post Mon 6th February 2012, 11:18pm
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QUOTE

You are so tedious, plus I think you are a genuine bigot.


lol.
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radek
post Mon 6th February 2012, 11:38pm
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QUOTE(Wikifan @ Mon 6th February 2012, 5:18pm) *

QUOTE

You are so tedious, plus I think you are a genuine bigot.


lol.


Tarpit time.
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Wikifan
post Tue 7th February 2012, 12:04am
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QUOTE(radek @ Mon 6th February 2012, 11:38pm) *

QUOTE(Wikifan @ Mon 6th February 2012, 5:18pm) *

QUOTE

You are so tedious, plus I think you are a genuine bigot.


lol.


Tarpit time.


haha no need. back on topic, can someone please define what this anonymous group actually is? i remember the scientology noise, and then the ows movement. and they love those masks.

i still think it's just an extension of 4chan.
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Mister Die
post Tue 7th February 2012, 12:30am
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I'm sure it has other elements by now, but when it initially emerged to attack Scientology it was probably like 95% 4Chan-based.

This post has been edited by Mister Die: Tue 7th February 2012, 12:31am
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Abd
post Tue 7th February 2012, 1:53am
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QUOTE(Selina @ Sun 5th February 2012, 1:06pm) *

Why not just call them conspiracy theorists? they really hate that.. most people would have no idea what you are talking about when you talk about "woo" as a noun smile.gif
Okay, so I looked up "woo." Fascinating. It's a pseudo-skeptical term for what those stupid people believe, people who are not properly skeptical, like us.

Except that pseudo-skeptics aren't skeptical, they are arrogant.

That is, they aren't real skeptics. Since real skeptics do get involved with skeptical organizations, sometimes, I don't want to toss everyone into the "arrogant" basket. I was a fan of Martin Gardner since my teen-age years, in fact, and it's one of the pleasures of my life that he once quoted my work.

So when I looked at the article on "woo," cited above, I looked, then, at RationalWiki. Is this wiki actually "rational"? Or is it faith in a collection of beliefs, shared loosely by the members?

There are a few fields where I know that the "common wisdom" is bogus, and where a sane definition of "scientific consensus" is different from the beliefs held by many people who are, in some field or other, scientists. A sane definition would mean the consensus of the knowledgeable. It requires a knowledge of the experimental and theoretical work in a field, and this can, under some circumstances, tease out the difference between pseudo-skeptics and genuine skeptics, who don't forget to be as skeptical of their own ideas as they might be of the ideas of others.

So, cold fusion, obviously. I edited a paper published in Naturwissenschaften, Status of cold fusion (2010), and there is another Wikipedia editor who managed to get a letter critical of cold fusion researchers in a minor peer-reviewed journal. He complained that they wouldn't let him reply again. Apparently those cold fusioneers have taken over the journals.

Basically, a review that is totally critical of cold fusion will have difficulty getting published under peer review any more, there is way too much evidence to the contrary. Specific criticisms of specific results are still being published, though there isn't much of this -- there should be more! The background of these criticisms is not an alleged impossibility, that's been discarded, the criticisms are now being written by people working in the field. Meanwhile, I found sixteen peer-reviewed secondary source, reviews of the field, that treat it as established, if not explained, over the last six or seven years. None negative.

RationalWiki/Cold fusion. I thought it would be there. Some interesting stuff. However, very sloppy. There is a standard argument against cold fusion, called the "dead graduate student effect." If the reaction found by Pons and Fleischmann were ordinary deuterium fusion, half the reactions would produce an energetic neutron, and anyone approaching the experiment would have received a fatal dose. Q.E.D., eh?

Very powerful argument in fact, and completely irrelevant, because, almost certainly, for lots of reasons -- not just the (mostly) absent neutrons -- that isn't the reaction. Pons and Fleischmann, in their published article, did not call it "cold fusion", they called it an "unknown nuclear reaction." Pretty much, it still is. Unknown, i.e., we don't know what it is. There are some theoreticians who have ideas, though, and one of them might turn out to be right.

This is typical pseudo-skeptical cant:
QUOTE
Although it retained a strong following of true believers for over a decade, most now consider Pons-Fleischmann electrochemical cold fusion to be pseudoscience.
Anyone who accepts the evidence and who decides to work with it, perhaps to confirm results, or to explore new possibilities, is a "true believer," implying a lack of proper skepticism. The actual evidence isn't even considered; rather, there is an immediate appeal to "most." Most what? Most human beings, most scientists, most particle physicists, most experts on solid state quantum mechanics, most electrochemists, what?

The experimental work has mostly been done by electrochemists. It was a difficult experiment for them, and required many weeks of preparation to build up deuterium concentrations to the value necessary for the effect to show. For particle physicists, completely untrained in the techniques of electrochemistry and the difficulties involved, impossible; and they did not wait, generally, the required time. They assumed that if it was going to happen, it would happen quickly. Basically, they had no concept. From later work, all the early negative replications were quite predictable. The early negative replications actually confirm the more mature understanding. (And that's especially true where they looked for helium along with heat, finding neither.)

Even Pons and Fleischmann only saw the effect in about one out of six cells. Often pseudo-skeptics see this and jump on it, imagining that this means the effect is close to the noise. No. When the effect appears, it is often way above noise. It does not disappear with increased accuracy of measurement, that is a claim founded in the fact that the CalTech replication effort made a mistake, corrected it, and an initial small positive finding disappeared. An anecdote, improperly extrapolated to the work of others. The argument, however, should have been over by about 1994, when the work of Melvin Miles became known. He found conclusive evidence that the ash was helium, and he found that the anomalous heat correlated with the helium found. His work had also gotten more successful, he saw anomalous heat in 21/33 cells. The 12 cells with no heat, he found no helium. The cells with heat, 18/21 showed helium in amounts commensurate with the heat, at a value consistent with deuterium fusion. But it's not the d-d fusion reaction that was rejected as an explanation (d+d -> He-4 would produce heavy gamma radiation, there goes the dead grad student effect again). Its likely something else that starts with deuterium and ends with helium. That is, by definition, a nuclear reaction, but we don't know what reaction it is.

The particle physicists hate this. They don't want to accept the experimental evidence until there is an explanation they can understand and accept. Hatred of the unknown. .... isn't that similar to the love of conspiracy theories mentioned in this thread? My training, though, leads me to see ignorance as the foundation of knowledge. When we know everything, we can't learn, we can't grow. In fact, we will never know everything.

I's not clear to me just when, but cold fusion has definitely turned the corner, in the academic press. Compared to the nadir, where there were only about a half-dozen papers being published under peer review a year, it's exploded. The American Chemical Society is publishing books on cold fusion, with Oxford University Press. Springer-Verlag is publishing and so is Springer. The holdouts are a few journals held in high respect by ... nuclear physicists, journals that heavily committed themselves, years ago, to the concept that cold fusion was bogus, a huge mistake, incompetence, etc.

Sooner or later the publishers will notice that others are eating their lunch.... You'd think they would, at least, publish a critical review to counter all the "nonsense" that they might think is being published.

Real skeptics might say, mmmm.... maybe I should take another look at this. Robert Duncan (physicist) did, when asked by CBS News to look into cold fusion. But pseudo-skeptics believe in nothing more than their own rightness, and they rarely look back and say "oops!" Some of them will take this to their graves, muttering at about how gullible everyone else is. Until it literally is heating their tea. Which might never happen. Not all rare physical phenomena can be used to boil tea!

The RationalWiki article implies that only a few die-hards are still researching cold fusion. You'd never know that the Pons-Fleischmann reaction, producing anomalous heat, has been confirmed by 153 peer-reviewed papers, and that it's being routinely done by now. Explaining the reaction is another matter, but it's almost certainly *some kind of fusion*, just not the kind that everyone thought was impossible, probably because that reaction is indeed impossible.

"Pseudoscience?" No, in fact, this is science, controlled experiment, attempt to falsify, all that. There is plenty of news in the field that isn't science, and they are sure to mention that, Andrea Rossi, for example. Funny, twenty years of scientific research with no coverage. One year of outrageous claims from someone who certainly looks like a con artist, plenty of coverage. That's how pseudo-skeptics operate, they will describe a bad apple in intimate detail, implying that all the other apples in the barrel are similar....

And then I looked at coverage of low-carb diets. There is a neat cross-over with cold fusion, because one of the major skeptical books on cold fusion was written by Gary Taubes, who was just getting started. Taubes later wrote on salt, and then on low-carb diets, or, more accurately, on the pseudoscience that abounds and that is often the "common wisdom" on diet, that is *not* based on research, or on poorly done research. The authors of the low carb article are apparently utterly ignorant about all this. The Atkins Diet was science-based. Atkins was a cardiologist (as is Agatston, author of the South Beach Diet, which they mention without mentioning the cardiology connection.)

Taube's work on cold fusion was very well-written but he obviously had an agenda, a pre-determined conclusion, which he pursued, alleging fraud, for example, that was not found to be so. On carbs and fat, however, Taubes has written the best book in the field, Good Calories, Bad Calories. It's about one-third footnotes, quite a tome. It's about diet and disease and the history of the "fat myth," which the RationalWiki article simply states as if it were fact. Here is the RationalWiki lede:
QUOTE
The basic low-carb theory

In theory, foods with a high glycemic index, such as most sugars and refined carbohydrates, cause the body to retain more body fat and cause increased hunger due to fluctuating insulin levels.
That's not the best description of the process, but it's not wrong. Carbs in the blood, aside from fiber, which is indigestible, end up in the blood as glucose, which is toxic. However, our bodies evolved to handle this through the action of insulin, which triggers the conversion of sugar into fat, which is then stored for future use as fuel. The body has an independent metabolic system which can burn ketones for fuel, and is able to break fat down into ketones. However, fat is generally conserved by the body, it won't be burned if glucose is available. Yes, when the blood glucose levels has been reduced to non-toxic levels, the insulin continues acting, and glucose levels fall further, inducing hypoglycemic hunger.
QUOTE
With some of these diets such as Atkins, an "induction phase" at the beginning of the diet seeks to induce a state of ketosis, tricking the body into consuming its own body fat and shedding water retention by reducing the carbohydrate intake below a certain threshold.
Atkins begins with an induction phase, yes, where carb intake is held below 20 grams per day. The patient is encouraged to eat all they want of fat and protein, and within the 20 gram allowance, quite a few vegetables fit. Salads are a favorite. Atkins dieters often will measure ketone levels in the urine using Ketostix, the goal is to induce moderate ketosis. It's not some "trick," though. Ketone metabolism is very possibly the "design" for humans. Carbohydrates are not necessary for health *at all.* A diet without protein or fat is truly dangerous. In any case, the body has stores of fat, and when glucose is no longer available in large quantities to build those stores, they will become available for burning as ketones, and the Ketostix simply show that this is happening. Ketone metabolism is not like glucose metabolism, because the body has those large stores of fat. It doesn't run out, except upon serious starvation, blood glucose levels remain stable (the glucose needed can be synthesized by the body, and is, but because insulin is not being released, because it isn't needed to clear the blood of toxic levels of glucose, those are only created from carb consumption, new fat isn't being stored.)

Atkins' primary contribution would be the realization that fat in the diet regulates appetite, get enough fat and the appetite is suppressed, and that weight could be controlled simply by regulating how much carb is in the diet, that calorie counting wasn't normally necessary.

Water retention is commonly asserted as the cause of early weight loss in Atkins diets. It might be true, but that's a transient phenomenon. Atkins is designed as a "Nutritional Approach," not as a restrictive diet. If one does Atkins just to lose weight, and loses the weight (and people often do), and then goes back to prior eating habits, i.e., much higher carb, regaining the weight is inevitable. One of the reasons that Atkins is highly successful as a long-term diet is that it emphasizes eating foods that satisfy. Some people, believing that fat is unhealthy, try to do low-fat Atkins. That is, then, necessarily a high-protein diet, which is apparently dangerous. Atkins is high-fat, moderate protein.

(The Atkins plan involves a phase where one determines the carb level that causes weight to remain stable, and that's recommended as a long-term level. It might be 40 to 60 grams of carb a day, and Atkins himself would occasionally eat a baked potato. I presume with butter and sour cream, yum! (Fat slows down the digestion of starches, thus reducing insulin release and the impact of eating something like a potato.)
QUOTE
In practice, advertised low-carb diets are usually high in saturated fats and excessive in protein intake, leading to increased risk of several diseases from kidney stones to heart disease.
Atkins is not "excessive in protein intake," that's a myth. None of this alleged increased risk has ever been shown, and there is plenty of contrary evidence. Saturated fats, in themselves, aren't harmful and may, in fact, be among the healthiest of foods. (Let's confine this to natural saturated fats, like butter, like coconut oil, not trans fats, an artificial creation.) The connection between fat and heart disease was a major blunder of the 1970s, resulting from an epidemiological study where the studied countries were cherry-picked. Taubes does a fantastic job of showing the history of this. It should have been a clue that high consumption of butter, in the long-term Framingham study, showed no correlated increase in heart disease. Further, more recent studies have shown that the Atkins diet produces better blood chemistry, in terms of measures of heart risk, than low-fat and officially recommended diets. I'm on a very low carb diet, and my blood chemistry is good, if analyzed intelligently. I have very high cholesterol, probably familial, but the HDL/LDL ratio is fine, triglycerides are low, and CRP is very low, and I've had a cardiac CAT scan to check calcification of the arteries. Agatston score, 26. That means that 74% of men my age will have more calcification. Agatston, isn't that the Sourth Beach guy? Yup. Cardiologists, recommending low carb diets. Agatston stayed more toward "saturated fat is bad," Atkins dumped the entire concept, but they really are similar in certain ways.
QUOTE
Critics note that the same weight loss could be achieved through other diets which do not involve such an unhealthy intake of saturated fats.
Most diet plans don't work, particularly because of this myth about saturated fats. The plans leave you hungry, unsatisfied, as a result.
QUOTE
Low-carb diets became popular after sensational stories of rapid weight loss, but the real reason for the weight loss is low-carb diets are so restrictive that most people who try to follow them wind up drastically reducing their caloric intake, especially that consisting of sugary foods. Proponents claim the diet makes the subject want to eat less in total.
Fat is higher in caloric content per unit weight than carbs, much higher. It's not rocket science. Fat tends to suppress appetite. I find that, on a low-carb, high fat diet, I eat much less food! And I'm happy, I'm eating what I truly like, what I ate and loved as a child, just with much less potato! As a kid, they said to me, "have some bread with your butter!" What was my favorite part of a cake? Yup, the frosting, and it wasn't the sugar, it was the fat. You can get low-carb ice cream (sweetened with sucralose) and low-fat ice cream, which might as well be made out of plastic, so unappetizing is it.

I'm rarely hungry. I enjoy food. These "rational skeptics" are fools, believing in their own myths, imagining that their thinking is superior.

Cold fusion and low-carb diets are two fields where political decisions created massive propaganda in a particular direction. It's been amazing to watch. Atkins eventually, having been challenged to do it, funded some research. Even though he chose a researcher who was skeptical of his work, it was, naturally, attacked, because of the funding source. Research showing that butterfat wasn't a problem was attacked as being supported by the dairy industry. But, consider this: the dairy industry and Atkins were small fry compared to Archer Daniels Midland and the corn syrup industry,, and the carb food industry in general. Those who focused on Atkins were straining at a gnat -- or at nothing -- and swallowing a camel. Or a container-load of corn syrup. Yum!

Now, I'll go drink some half-and-half, which, if it's unhealthy for me, would be through the lactose. I use heavy cream in my coffee. And I'll die someday, which will prove?
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