Friday, 28 December 2012
On supermyths and the braced myth subtype
1. the creation of a fallacy, myth or error by an orthodox expert
2. it being used by another expert who in turn promotes it as being ‘true’ and
3. whilst still thinking that it is true, promotes it as a good example of the need to be healthily sceptical of bad scholarship. Moreover, fourthly:
4. Braced myths are supermyths that have been pointedly deployed by orthodox scholars in order to bust another specific myth or fallacy. The braced myth hypothesis is that using one myth as a specific mythbusting device in this way braces the supermyth to make it further entrenched and therefore more difficult to prevent it being credulously disseminated as veracious knowledge.
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Ahh but Ahh
this link to my other blog to learn more about quite possibly the best way to refute any article or website online with a reference to veracious knowledge.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
What do we know about the impact of modern myths on society by way of their misinforming and therefore misdirecting central and local policy making, professional practice, teaching, learning and the media?
What is a supermyth?
Sunday, 24 June 2012
Cambridge Empirical Study Adds Support to My Theoretical Criticism of Crime Opportunity Theory
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Repeat Victimization by Theft: Re-configuring Crime Reduction and Policing Post-Ratortunity Mythbusting
So be it, but how might this new knowledge that ratortunity cannot be a cause of crime configure the way we actually tackle crime any differently? To answer that question I have taken the following text from my latest article on Best Thinking (Sutton 2012b), which is based upon two incidences of ram-raiding of my neighbour’s garage this year.
My Neighbour’s Garage: a specific and real-life example of disconfirming evidence for ratortunity as a cause of crime
Considering this hypothesis, even if it is indeed supported by evidence, it may appear futile because one might conclude that the only policy recommendation that could possibly flow from it being confirmed would be that people should be advised to not replace stolen items - or else to secure their premises with exceptionally expensive, tough and cumbersome target hardening measures and other forms of guardianship that would thwart the most motivated and otherwise capable offenders. However, from the property owners perspective, it shows that the chances of them being re-victimized - in terms of suffering both theft and property damage - would be less if they waited longer to replace items stolen earlier; and, moreover, if they were, anyway, by-chance re- burgled before previously stolen items, which they intended to replace promptly, were replaced. The telling question is this: So long as active offenders never again saw my neighbours storing any more expensive bicycles in their garage, would those bicycles be safer in the future than they would have been (had they been in the garage) the day before yesterday? And if the answer is yes, then that provides a clear research-informed policy recommendation to crack down on active offenders who are surfing areas for crime ‘opportunities’. And here by ‘opportunity’ I mean typical dictionary definitions of the word – not the irrational ratortunity notion. Moreover, there may be further findings from future research into how offenders perceive opportunities that would question the current practice of assigning convicted offenders on 'community pay-back' orders to residential areas, where they can legally loiter in order to better spy suitable targets. And finally, if research does not disconfirm the Pec-Tap-Pec hypotheses, there might be a need to reconsider the effectiveness of beat policing and other police work – not in terms of the numbers of offenders caught in the act of stealing but in terms of what serves best as an effective deterrent for those who are currently out walking and driving around our streets with criminal intent by purposively scouting for opportunities to steal.
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Higher Superstition Posing as Science
For those unfamiliar with Crime Opportunity Theory (ratortunity): the three components of a so called crime opportunity are: (a) a capable offender in the presence of (b) a suitable target and (c) an incapable/absent guardian, which are said to jointly comprise the most important cause of crime. The logic of such a claim that these three elements represent an ‘opportunity’ can only rest on the irrational premise that every successfully completed crime and every failed attempt somehow caused itself to happen (see Sutton 2012 for an exhaustive explanation of the complete irrationality of this claim).
Saturday, 19 May 2012
The Crime Opportunity Theory (Routine Activities Theory, Situational Crime Prevention and Crime Science) notion of opportunity (ratortunity) as a cause of crime is 100 per cent wrong because, unlike ratortunity, good scientific explanations of the physical world are (1) easy to refute (2) difficult to vary. And (3) the ratortunity explanation for crime is a mere truism. I have demonstrated point (3) in my peer-to-peer paper Opportunity Does Not Make the Thief
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Ratortunity Theory Is Based on the Notion that Wizards Cause Crime
If the title of this blog post appears odd it won't if (1) you know that Crime Opportunity Theory is based on the infinitely variable and impossible to refute Routine Activities Theory notion of crime opportunity and (2) After you've watched this excellent video on what makes a good explanation in science - and what makes a bad one - by the remarkable Professor David Deutsch:
THIS VIDEO SHOULD BE COMPULSORY VIEWING FOR ALL UK CRIME SCIENTISTS
Monday, 14 May 2012
The Displacement Brief: Another Home Office Myth?
In a first class dissertation published in the Internet Journal of criminology a Nottingham Trent University Student looks at the parts of research that others failed to reach and exposes odd failure to interview offenders, further weird decision making and underlying premises behind the conclusions reached in influential research that has been used for over a decade to claim (1) that target hardening property does not displace crime and (2) that is leads to the opposite - the so-called diffusion of benefits claim. Click here to read The Displacement Brief..
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Saturday, 28 April 2012
The Eleventh Principle
The figure below does not, as its originators claim, represent an opportunity. It's a Ratortunity because the event is over by this stage if the offender is KNOWN to be more capable than the guardianship. As every dictionary definition will tell you, an opportunity exists before the event - not after it. And yet Crime Opportunity Theory tells us that ratortunity is not only a cause of crime, but the most important cause.
Spoof on Crime Science faith in ratortunity as a cause of crime reveals that many a true word is written in jest: visit the Crime Science blog: click here to check out the all important eleventh principle.
Monday, 23 April 2012
Pragmatism or Quackery?
DysologyTOWARDS A SCIENCE OF VERACITY THROUGH REVEALING MYTHS AND FALLACIES AND UNDERSTANDING REASONS FOR BAD SCHOLARSHIP, WEIRD BELIEFS AND STRANGELY UNEXPLORED AREAS OF RESEARCH
Pragmatic quackery or a rational way to proceeed?
Why Not Join the Dysology dscussion group at Linked[in} today: http://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory?results=&sik=1335182640833
Should individual scientists care about this? What about religious leaders? What about political leaders?
Sunday, 22 April 2012
If you are not already a member of Linked[in] you will need to sign up to see it. The debate is among those in the American Society of Criminology group in Linked[in]. If you are a member and signed in to Linked[in] then the link to the debate is here.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
The Vitamin C and Iron Myth: Death by Quackery?
Research across the board shows that the evidence is at best inconclusive regarding whether or not vitamin C can help us to better absorb iron from non heme iron sources such as spinach and other plants (see Sutton 2011).
Official advice that vitamin C is known to enhance the iron absorption from plant and other non heme sources is wrong. This advice is wrong because the overall evidence, from the results of many properly conducted trials is that we have a mixed bag of disconfirming and confirming research findings. In sum, evidence of the iron absorbing benefits of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in our diet is at best inconclusive.
Unfortunately, the websites promoting vitamin c in this way ignore all the disconfirming evidence.
In light of the facts revealed in a paper published by Best Thinking (Sutton 2011), I am grateful to the USDA for deleting their misleading spreadsheet from the Internet, which claimed that drinking Florida grapefruit juice would help humans to absorb two to four times as much iron from spinach as would otherwise be possible.
Unfortunately the US Government Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) continues to claim that vitamin C will increase the iron absorption form non heme iron sources, such as spinach, as (ironically) does the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html. Unsurprisingly Wikipedia makes the same erroneous claims.
Many other websites - including one run by MIT (http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrminerals.html) also continue to boldly claim that vitamin C helps with iron absorption.
Since low iron levels - linked to poor diet - kill people in large numbers (see http://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/social_sciences/sociology/mike-sutton?tab=blog&blogpostid=9942,9942 ) there should be more care taken to get the facts right.
Here are just few of the very many web sites that still promote the fallacy (or at least to promote vitamin C in this role when the evidence is inconclusive) some are giving advice on cancer - other are for children's diets.. Just Google ‘iron vitamin c’ and the list seems endless:
If poor nutrition directly kills, and in other cases takes years from life spans, it seems reasonable to speculate that erroneous nutrition advice, if relied upon, might do likewise.
We can only hope that not a single one of the tens of millions of lost years of life globally - and the many hundreds sometimes thousands of deaths that happen as a direct result of iron deficiency each year in the USA - are due to that earlier bad science promoted by the USDA. And we can only hope that the hundreds of thousands of deaths occurring each year on Earth (Stoltzfus 2003) from iron deficiency are not due to current US Government and private sector bad science promotion of vitamin C as a miracle way for humans to better absorb iron non heme iron sources, such as spinach. Because,surely, that should be 'criminal' quackery.
Stoltzfus RJ . (2003) Iron deficiency: global prevalence and consequences. Food Nutr Bull. 2003 Dec;24(4 Suppl):S99-103
Sutton, M. (2011) SPIN@GE USA Beware of the Bull: The United States Department of Agriculture is Spreading Bull about Spinach, Iron and Vitamin C on the Internet: http://www.bestthinking.com/articles/science/chemistry/biochemistry/spin-ge-usa-beware-of-the-bull-the-united-states-department-of-agriculture-is-spreading-bull-about-spinach-iron-and-vitamin-c-on-the-internet
Sunday, 11 March 2012
DOG IN THE MOON
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Monday, 27 February 2012
Crime as Opportunity Theory is Wrong
Spuriofact: Crime as Opportunity Theory is Wrong spuriofact.blogspot.com/2012/02/crime-…— Dr Mike Sutton (@Criminotweet) February 28, 2012
How can something that has not yet happened make you do it? Obviously it can't. Someone should tell all those US and UK police forces and Government departments that believe in the Routine Activity Theory notion that every successfully completed crime is the cause of itself. Check out the debunked myth at the Dysology website:
Sunday, 8 January 2012
Dysology Prize: would you wager your reputation on your claims?
Do we really all have psychic powers? If so then how come I never knew? And how come no one has won the Randi Prize?
In September 2011 The Dysology Challenge was first laid down on BestThinking.com to two professors of physics. The prize offer and conditions were and remain as follows:
The Dysology Challenge – For Cold Fusion Energy
“If cold fusion produces commercially viable free energy in 2 years time you win and get to present me (Mike Sutton) with a prize for Dysology (bad scholarship) that I'll fund at a cost of £1000 in the form of a bronze trophy depicting the theme of veracity versus claptrap – with my name engraved on it.
And if that happens I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.
If it does not produce such energy then I get to present you with the same trophy that I paid for. In this event you fail, but you still get to keep the prize even though it happens that you are wrong. Only now it is your name that will be engraved on it .”
On September 15th 2011 the Nobel Laureate and Cambridge professor of physics Brian D. Josephson refused to put his reputation where his brain is by boldly declining to accept the Dysology Challenge regarding our difference of opinion regarding whether or not George Washington University Professor Simon Berkovich was right regarding his belief in mysterious free energy existing in the universe. Birkovich, similarly failed to take up the Dysology Challenge. (click here to read the comments section on this article to see how the challenge was made, refused by Josephson and weirdly ignored by Berkovich).
Today I am extending the Dysology Prize to include proof of genuine psychic powers existing beyond coincidence, fraud, methodological bias, or measurement error.
I am in good company. Because the Dysology Prize will be added to the current total of one million three hundred and 64 thousand pounds ($2,105,000 US) offered by a total of nine organisations and individuals, including the massive $1m Randi Prize for anyone who can prove that psychic powers exist. Despite being on offer for many years, and despite the extreme simplicity and fairness of the conditions required, no one has ever succeeded in winning any of these prizes.
Today (8th Jan. 2012) I hereby challenge
The Dysology Challenge – For Proof of Psychic Powers
I hereby challenge
“If you can demonstrate in controlled conditions of the kind laid down by the James Randi Prize and can win the Randi Prize by proving that psychic powers exist then you get to present me (Mike Sutton) with the Veracity versus Claptrap trophy prize for Dysology (with my name engraved on it for bad scholarship) that I'll commission at a personal cost of over £1000. If the outcome is not obvious the British Royal Society will be invited to determine the winner.
And if you win then I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.
If, on the other hand, you fail, then I get to present you with the same prize that I paid for. Only you also get to keep the prize – with your name engraved on it - for your bad scholarship.”
I am prompted to publically challenge Dr Sheldrake following his article in the Daily Mail today (Sheldrake 2012) in which he claims that we all have psychic powers.
I strongly suspect that Dr Sheldrake wrote the article in order to sell his latest book: The Science of Delusion - which is released this week. If he is right then he will win the Dysology Challenge and there is no reason why he should not win a further whopping great pay out of £1,364,000 to add to whatever he makes flogging his book.
If Dr Sheldrake fails to apply for the Randi Prize, and all the other significant cash prizes and accept the Dysology Challenge then we must draw our own rational conclusions about his audacious claims. If he is right then surely winning the Randi prize would sell far more copies of his book than his article in the Daily Mail.
Finally, what kind of newspaper editor or journalist worth his or her salt would not ask Sheldrake why he has not applied for the Randi Prize?
Dr Mike Sutton (Dysology.org)
Sheldrake, R. (2012) Why we ALL have psychic powers. Daily Mail. pp.56-57. Jan 7th.
Note on Sheldrake
According to his page on Wikipedia today: “In September 2005 until 2010, Sheldrake received the Perrott-Warrick Scholarship for psychical research and parapsychology, which is administered by TrinityCollege, Cambridge.Sheldrake then took his current position as Academic Director for the Learning and Thinking Program at The Graduate Institute in Bethany, Connecticut.”