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Old 12th June 2007, 11:00 PM   #1
R.Mackey
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Testing for Absurdity, or The Gravy Line

This idea is an outgrowth of the "Skepticism vs. Cynicism" thread, in which we attempted to clarify the difference between the two. I first floated this idea in this post, and it seemed to resonate with some readers. This also follows my previous efforts to treat Conspiracy Theories in the abstract, such as my Inflationary Theory and its limiting case.

Introduction

In evaluating alternate theories, and conspiracy theories in particular, one often desires to distinguish whether a theory is plausible, if unlikely, or whether a theory is absurd. This distinction is important to a skeptic, because a skeptic should always respond logically and rationally to a plausible theory, even if it contradicts previous theories and especially if it contradicts poorly supported belief and conjecture. An absurd theory, on the other hand, may and in many cases should be simply dismissed. No amount of logical analysis can salvage an inherently illogical proposition.

Unfortunately, the question of how to identify an absurd theory remains open. The problem of evaluation is in many respects parallel to determining the burden of proof, in the sense that the more plausible theories have a lower burden of proof, or conversely that an argument partially or wholly satisfying its burden of proof is inherently more plausible. This consideration, however, does not give us any actionable formula, since burden of proof is also subjective. While some attempts to quantify burden of proof exist, primarily in the field of trial law, this standard is not directly applicable to philosophy or science.

In the absence of a clear standard, perceptions of bias are inevitable, as effort is spent debunking some theories that are entirely without merit, whereas other competing ideas may be judged and rejected prematurely. We will attempt to rectify this situation through a general process.

Description

Sorting the plausible from the absurd is inherently a subjective process, and no truly abstract quantification is possible. However, we can look to methods of estimation present in the engineering sciences for inspiration. In particular, I will draw upon the process of Probabilistic Risk Assessment, or PRA.

Risk management through PRA is an attempt to quantify individual risks in a given process, project, or product according to likelihood, potential impact, and possible mitigation. In a PRA exercise, these quantities are often gathered from the strictly subjective opinions of experts, supported with more focused studies or historical statistics where possible and needed, and propagates these quantities in order to arrive at an aggregate risk estimate. This process is similar to ours in that the inputs are inherently subjective, a large number of individual factors affect an overall conclusion, and we desire a quantfied result with enough fidelity to make a decision.

Using this as a guide, we will model a skeptic evaluating a Conspiracy Theory as a simple engineering process, with characteristics of the Theory and the ensuing discussion as contributors or mitigations to overall risk. The risk itself in this case is the risk that a Conspiracy Theory is in fact absurd, leading to an ultimately fruitless discussion with no grounding in reality.

Method

All quantities in the following discussion are subjective. Users of this method may adjust the numerical parameters as they see fit.

Baseline

We begin our approach by assessing the type of argument offered. This is broken into three categories. We assign a numerical score according to the best classification of the argument, hereafter referred to as the plausibility score, as follows:
1. Complete Theory (Score = 1.0): An argument that is complete and self-consistent, allowing examination of a single coherent hypothesis.

2. Partial Theory (Score = 0.5): An argument that is generally complete and self-consistent, but vague in at least one major detail, requiring examination of an entire family of related hypotheses.

3. Anomaly or Artifact (Score = 0.25): An argument that criticizes an existing theory while proposing no competing hypothesis of its own, such that if the argument is accepted, uncertainty actually increases.
The three categories are separated by a factor of 0.5 -- one step from Complete Theory to Partial Theory, and another step from Partial Theory to Anomaly or Artifact. This multiplicative approach and valuation is consistent with the following steps, as we adjust the plausibility score according to specifics of the argument.

Adjustments

We will model adjustments to the plausibility score as either positive or negative, and either major or minor, as follows:
1. Major positives: Attributes or events that significantly improve the quality, plausibility, and verifiability of the argument. Examples include presentation of repeatable and verifiable calculations, predictions that are made and confirmed, and adaptation of the argument to new evidence that strengthens the argument through discussion with non-advocates.

2. Minor positives: Attributes or events that have a secondary or circumstantial improvement on the plausibility of the argument. Examples include peer review or concurrence by relevant independent experts, testable (but so far untested) predictions, and verifiable anecdotes or sub-scale experiments that support the argument.

3. Minor negatives: Attributes or events that circumstantially cast doubt or add uncertainty to the argument. This includes dependence on assumptions that are plausible but unsupported, vagaries in the argument that leave possible alternative explanations, logical fallacies peripheral to the main argument, criticism by relevant independent experts, and verifiable counterexamples that are typical but not definitive.

4. Major negatives: Attributes or events that substantially diminish the argument's credibility. These include dependence on unsupported and exceptional assumptions, logical fallacies in the main argument, and a failure to correct the argument for serious errors found during discussion and analysis.
Each incidence of an adjustment should be noted and classified. One by one, each adjustment has a multiplicative effect on the cumulative plausibility score as follows:
Major postive: Multiply by 2 (i.e. divide by 0.5)
Minor positive: Multiply by 1.25 (i.e. divide by 0.8)
Minor negative: Multiply by 0.8
Major negative: Multiply by 0.5
Following the method above, the higher quality an argument has, the higher its plausibility score will be. The score will change over time, as discussion either reveals or corrects flaws in the argument, and new evidence permits a more accurate assessment. This may cause a previously plausible argument to be revealed as absurd, and in rare cases, an absurd theory may be salvaged. In like fashion, a Partial Theory without flaws has an equivalent score to a Complete Theory with one major flaw, etc.

Decision Threshold

Much as individual project managers have different tolerances for risk, individual posters may have different tolerances for a hopeless argument. The author recommends a threshold value of 0.05, signifying an approximate confidence level of 95%. Any argument with a plausibility score below this value may be said to be "absurd," and unworthy of further contemplation, until it is significantly improved. This process also captures why the argument fails the test, and further provides an estimate as to how much reworking is needed for it to become a useful point of discussion.

This threshold is referred to as the "Gravy Line." In sporting terms, this is reminiscent of the "Mendoza Line," a threshold of futility below which performance can be considered not up to professional standards.

Why the "Gravy Line?" The plausibility threshold resembles a "water mark" in that it attempts to classify a wide range of arguments against a single limit. Gravy, like water, seeks its own level, but unlike water is opaque, and also viscous, with arguments falling below the Line unlikely to ever resurface or to be seen again. Arguments that fail this test can be said to have been debunked by Gravy.

Examples

We close with two brief case studies to illustrate the process.

1. With Pakistani Intelligence serving as a link, the CIA supported the September 11th attacks. (thread)
Given that the premise accepts the other features of the attacks as reported, only adding this important detail, this can be viewed as a complete theory. Its initial plausibility score is 1.0.

From reading the thread, there is only one potential positive adjustment, that being the single unnamed source cited by CNN and others, claiming a $100,000 money transfer. We will choose to accept this as a minor positive adjustment.

There are, however, several negative adjustments:
  • $100,000 is surely not significant in the eyes of the CIA, thus the unsupported but plausible assumption that there was more trading hands
  • Revealed through discussion, confusion over the identities of the supposed actors, leading to a vagary in the argument
  • The entirely credible alternate explanation that certain individuals in the ISI might have had a selfish interest in supporting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, or even the attacks themselves, without requiring CIA involvement at all
  • The assumption that the CIA is, in fact, directing the ISI -- this is an unsupported and exceptional assumption
We thus have one minor positive adjustment, and three minor negatives plus one major negative adjustment. The plausibility score is thus equal to 1.0 * (1.25) * (0.8)3 * (0.5) = 0.32

While a low score, this is significantly above the Gravy Line, and therefore this topic is potentially worthy of further discussion. Even though the discussion so far indicates that it is false, this is not an "absurd" theory. This theory breaks no laws of physics, demands no miracles, and is definite enough to support an actual investigation.
2. Analysis of television news footage proves that, instead of jetliners hitting the World Trade Center as was widely reported, the event was hoaxed using digital video editing techniques and special effects. (thread)
The theory presented is not complete, because it does not describe how the attacks really were carried out (and leaves no readily apparent candidate), who did this, or why. We must treat this as an Anomaly or Artifact, and assign an initial plausibility score of 0.25.

The evidence presented in support of this theory is disputable on its face, and the theory makes no predictions, testable or otherwise. Methods of calculation are ad hoc and nonstandard, permitting no easy review. There are no positive adjustments. There are, however, several negative adjustments:
  • The unsupported and exceptional assumption that video editing capabilities of this sophistication exist
  • The assumption that all major news organizations are complicit in this plot
  • The repeated refusal to address those who witnessed the impacts, rather than finding out about them through news organizations
  • Repeated arguments from personal incredulity regarding the phenomenology of the collapses that eventually followed
More negative adjustments accrue as the discussion progresses, but as we can see, the discussion is itself unnecessary. Even if we stop with the four major negative adjustments listed above, the aggregate plausibility score of this argument is 0.25 * (0.5)4 = 0.016, well below the Gravy Line.

This is fitting, as the argument presented above violates the laws of physics, ignores current technological limits, gainsays witnesses, and rankles common sense. Major work is required before anything derived from this theory should be given the floor.
Disclaimers

All effort in this whitepaper was conducted using my own materials on my own time. All opinions are strictly my own. I do not represent any agency, public or private. The method outlined above is only the barest approximation of a true PRA approach. Use at your own risk. The discussion above contains no export-controlled technology or schematics. Enjoy.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:19 PM   #2
beachnut
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This sounds like an El Segundo paper.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:22 PM   #3
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Brilliant!

Someone should write up a program to more easily calculate the Gravy Line, and store arguments for future reference and adjustment.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:24 PM   #4
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So the "Gravy Line" is all theories within 2 standard deviations of the Normal Population. Which makes perfect sense since the other 5% of theories and those that support them are not part of the normal population

Well done Mackey.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:24 PM   #5
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For beachnut, aero guy to aero guy, off-topic, it may interest you to know that there is now a winery called Six Sigma, makers of a particularly crisp if pricey Sauvignon Blanc. The founder is among the developers of the PRA tool by the same name.

Cheers.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:24 PM   #6
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Excellent work as usual Mr Mackey.
Is it possible to group theories below the Gravy line into sub-categories?
Just barely below the line might be considered to be part of a group of theories designated "Rodrigan" or "Averyan". While those deeper in the Gravy might be "Bakered" or "Half-Bakered" perhaps...
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:31 PM   #7
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Nice post Mackey, that was good reading. Most of the truther theories require numerous negative adjustments. I wonder how much is left to debate if all necessary adjustments are made
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by R.Mackey;
For beachnut, aero guy to aero guy, off-topic, it may interest you to know that there is now a winery called Six Sigma, makers of a particularly crisp if pricey Sauvignon Blanc. The founder is among the developers of the PRA tool by the same name.

Cheers.
And for those of you less inclined to the scientific method, there is a winery whose founder certainly falls on the other side of the Gravy Line, but makes an exceptional Cipes Brut.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:42 PM   #9
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Awesome. Well reasoned. I'd love to see Truthers try anything like this.

Now we just need to get a database going.


ETA: No, a spreadsheet, Truthers love spreadsheets!
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:44 PM   #10
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Mackey: I think your post itself is absurd, if you don't mind my saying. It's a lot of fancy postulates and formulas and estimates, all held together with stuff one pours over smashed taters. And for all that: It says nothing, and solves zip.

This is a joke, right? Your tongue was firmly buried in your cheek whilst you pounded out this gem?
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by R.Mackey View Post
For beachnut, aero guy to aero guy, off-topic, it may interest you to know that there is now a winery called Six Sigma, makers of a particularly crisp if pricey Sauvignon Blanc. The founder is among the developers of the PRA tool by the same name.

Cheers.
That sounds familiar, thanks.

OK, who saw me pick up my futures and pack the Honda with cases Sunday?

Your scoring method is okay. Why score the 9/11 truthers, you would use it to identify targets worth move investigation. Tools are used with less method, and much more madness.

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Old 12th June 2007, 11:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ConspiRaider View Post
Mackey: I think your post itself is absurd, if you don't mind my saying. It's a lot of fancy postulates and formulas and estimates, all held together with stuff one pours over smashed taters. And for all that: It says nothing, and solves zip.

This is a joke, right? Your tongue was firmly buried in your cheek whilst you pounded out this gem?
I think the best way one could describe this is a joke that is funny because one can see the merits of applying it.
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Old 12th June 2007, 11:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mobyseven View Post
I think the best way one could describe this is a joke that is funny because one can see the merits of applying it.
I suppose. However, sure as ten dimes buys a buck - I'll never apply it. Something (woman's intuition) tells me neither will James Randi.

I develop software as an engineer. I guess I could come up with a good program model for debunking that would make as much sense.

THAT'S IT!!!111one!! I'll subroutine the twoofer pukes into an endless loop!!!1111eleventy!1111
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Old 13th June 2007, 12:02 AM   #14
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Two boats up!



Despite coming from an engineer – and one who is known for his "spacey" thinking, no less – I think this system has great promise. It could be an excellent educational tool for truthers and debunkers.

I'll need to test it for a while before it replaces my current method, which is to drop a claim in a mug of beer and if it sinks it's plausible; if it floats it's absurd.

I propose calling this boundary of Bozotude the "Mackey Mark" or the "Demackation."*




*'Cause I sure as hell won't have it named after me!
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Old 13th June 2007, 12:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ConspiRaider View Post
This is a joke, right? Your tongue was firmly buried in your cheek whilst you pounded out this gem?
'Fess up: you're just mad that no schematics were included.
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Old 13th June 2007, 12:05 AM   #16
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Very nice, but at the moment I'm pursuing a different tack - I'm trying to determine a way to "bound" the stupidity of conspiracy theories. Is there a maximum level of stupidity that even the most stupifying theory cannot exceed? Thoughts on this are appreciated.
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Old 13th June 2007, 12:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Gravy View Post



I propose calling this boundary of Bozotude the "Mackey Mark" or the "Demackation."

That brought to mind Marky Mark But that "Mackey Mark" would actually have the names of both of you in it.

Absurdoline, anyone?

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Old 13th June 2007, 12:26 AM   #18
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The opening post was like . . . really long.


Is there a version done in comic strip form, since those are the only threads I read any more?
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Old 13th June 2007, 02:11 AM   #19
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I can make a program for calculating this. It'd actually be rather easy, seeing as the maths and options are simple.

Let me know if you think it's a good idea.
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Old 13th June 2007, 02:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Doc View Post
I can make a program for calculating this. It'd actually be rather easy, seeing as the maths and options are simple.

Let me know if you think it's a good idea.
Do it! Do it!

Then make one for my Palm so I can identify kooks in the field.
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Old 13th June 2007, 04:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by NoZed Avenger View Post
The opening post was like . . . really long.


Is there a version done in comic strip form, since those are the only threads I read any more?

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Old 13th June 2007, 05:46 AM   #22
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I'm all for this "Gravy Line", but the bigger question is, what happened to the "Gravy Train"?

TAM
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:14 AM   #23
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I would have thought the scientific method would have been good enough.

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Old 13th June 2007, 06:19 AM   #24
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The problem with this metric is it's too difficult to calculate in your head. I shall help! The good news is it can be faithfully described in log space as an additive metric instead of a multiplicative metric! Aren't you excited!?

I propose an alternate metric, A, which is a transformed version of the original metric, M. My metric faithfully represents all the properties of the original but with the added benefit of being incredibly easy to calculate in your head.

I'll save you all the derivation but...

Every initial theory starts off at 0.
A partial theory counts as a major negative.
An 'artifact' counts as an additional major negative.

Major negatives are -1.0
Minor negatives are -0.333 (or -1/3)
Minor positives are +0.333 (or 1/3)
Major positives are +1.0

In this revised system, you add, not multiply (which should be fairly easy to do mentally). And the Mackey Line (M=0.05) corresponds to an A=-4.333... or negative 4 and 1/3.

In case you care, my metric is merely a transform of Mackeys, where M = 2^A, where M is the original metric, and A is the anti-sophist metric! Since mine is an exponent, multiplying Ms is actually adding As. Voila!
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:29 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Anti-sophist View Post
The problem with this metric is it's too difficult to calculate in your head. I shall help! The good news is it can be faithfully described in log space as an additive metric instead of a multiplicative metric! Aren't you excited!?

I propose an alternate metric, A, which is a transformed version of the original metric, M. My metric faithfully represents all the properties of the original but with the added benefit of being incredibly easy to calculate in your head.

I'll save you all the derivation but...

Every initial theory starts off at 0.
A partial theory counts as a major negative.
An 'artifact' counts as an additional major negative.

Major negatives are -1.0
Minor negatives are -0.333 (or -1/3)
Minor positives are +0.333 (or 1/3)
Major positives are +1.0

In this revised system, you add, not multiply (which should be fairly easy to do mentally). And the Mackey Line (M=0.05) corresponds to an A=-4.333... or negative 4 and 1/3.

In case you care, my metric is merely a transform of Mackeys, where M = 2^A, where M is the original metric, and A is the anti-sophist metric! Since mine is an exponent, multiplying Ms is actually adding As. Voila!
That made my brain hurt. Come here so I can stab you with a porcupine.
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:37 AM   #26
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I have a horrible suspicion that R.Mackey copied this from the character creation section of GURPS: Troother.

Respectfully,
Myriad
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:44 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I have a horrible suspicion that R.Mackey copied this from the character creation section of GURPS: Troother.

Respectfully,
Myriad
Well, it certainly isn't complex enough to have come from Shadowrun.
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Old 13th June 2007, 06:45 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I have a horrible suspicion that R.Mackey copied this from the character creation section of GURPS: Troother.

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You know, this does have a distinct Gurps: Illuminati feel to it, doesn't it?

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Old 13th June 2007, 07:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by T.A.M. View Post
I'm all for this "Gravy Line", but the bigger question is, what happened to the "Gravy Train"?

TAM
The "Gravy Train" travels on the "Gravy Line". We're all riding the "Gravy Train" and trying to throw the less-than-spectacular theories off the train (on the wrong side of the "Gravy Line" tracks).
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Old 13th June 2007, 08:00 AM   #30
8den
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Originally Posted by Arkan_Wolfshade View Post
Well, it certainly isn't complex enough to have come from Shadowrun.
2nd edition right? 1st Edition had a loophole were in you could bring down a small helicopter with a derringer in the right circumstances.

Oh rule8! my nerd is showing!
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Old 13th June 2007, 08:05 AM   #31
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Perhaps it should be submitted to the Journal of Irreproducible Results.
Although, since the calculations are reproducible, it may not qualify.
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Old 13th June 2007, 09:33 AM   #32
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I like the concept although of course it gets a bit slippery when one tries to decide whether something requires a major negative adjustment and of course you are actually analyzing the claim in order to determine whether it is worth analyzing, which seems a bit circular to me.

However, I do think all debunkers have a mental Gravy Line beyond which they will not bother. For example, Killtown often begs me to try debunking his claim that Val McClatchey's photo was faked. I've never quite felt inclined to bother for the simple reason that it means nothing. You could argue that it amounts to an anomaly or artifact, but scoring it at .25 seems quite a bit generous.

For me the key becomes more "If true, what does this imply?" And in the case of Val's photo, the answer is "not much". Indeed, it does nothing for the "Inside Job" theory. It's just one of those shiny objects that the Deniers seem to collect like packrats. It's much like this ridiculous fascination with the BBC's announcement that WTC 7 had collapsed before it actually did.
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Old 13th June 2007, 10:38 AM   #33
chipmunk stew
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I like it! I think it would be particularly useful for comparative purposes. I'd love to see a plausibilometer graph of Truther arguments.

It does seem to apply particularly well to a discussion, such as keeping score of a theory in a forum thread.

You should cross-post this in the General Skepticism forum and see what they think.
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Old 13th June 2007, 11:22 AM   #34
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Plausibilometer. I like it. Can we make it so that if you input an absurd theory a spring launches a boxing glove into yer kisser?



NOZ PLANZ HITTED THE PENTIGON PWNED!


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Old 13th June 2007, 11:43 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by 8den View Post
2nd edition right? 1st Edition had a loophole were in you could bring down a small helicopter with a derringer in the right circumstances.

Oh rule8! my nerd is showing!
I know a guy that tried to argue that since his char was a dwarf, he would be able to survive a fall off a skyscraper if he aimed his PAC at the ground and started shooting. He thought the recoil would be sufficient to slow his descent.

Did I mention I was once a Tourney GM for Shadowrun at Gencon and serveral of the developers are friends of mine?
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Old 13th June 2007, 12:50 PM   #36
Darth Rotor
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Originally Posted by R.Mackey View Post
Why the "Gravy Line?" The plausibility threshold resembles a "water mark" in that it attempts to classify a wide range of arguments against a single limit. Gravy, like water, seeks its own level, but unlike water is opaque, and also viscous, with arguments falling below the Line unlikely to ever resurface or to be seen again. Arguments that fail this test can be said to have been debunked by Gravy.
I suggest that such arguments be called giblets, since those tend to sink below the surface of gravy.

By the way: nominated.

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Old 13th June 2007, 01:15 PM   #37
SYLVESTER1592
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post

By the way: nominated.

DR
Seconded

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Old 13th June 2007, 01:56 PM   #38
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Interesting Idea...

I would also suggest proofing the math through a historical example. For example take a subject that at one point was a conspiracy theory, but later after the release of documents, further evidence, etc. the conspiracy theory becomes a conspiracy fact.

If the math shows the particular conspiracy theory to be absurd, when in fact the conspiracy theory at the time was actually a conspiracy fact, what does that say about the formula? Is it a junk formula?

Send the whole thing through a case example and see how it plays out.
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Old 13th June 2007, 02:07 PM   #39
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Mr. Mackey, sir, when you resort to such overt falsehoods, so often, you reveal the weakness of your own position. Below is your "no planes" example, with errors explained.

Originally Posted by R.Mackey View Post
Examples

2. Analysis of television news footage proves that, instead of jetliners hitting the World Trade Center as was widely reported, the event was hoaxed using digital video editing techniques and special effects. (thread)
The theory presented is not complete, because it does not describe how the attacks really were carried out (and leaves no readily apparent candidate), who did this, or why. We must treat this as an Anomaly or Artifact, and assign an initial plausibility score of 0.25.



The theory does so describe how this aspect of the attacks were carried out, and does so offer readily apparent candidates. Video of planes was inserted into live pictures of the towers. Towers were hit by either pre-planted explosives, missiles, or directed energy weapons.

Quote:

The evidence presented in support of this theory is disputable on its face, and the theory makes no predictions, testable or otherwise.
False. The theory does so make predictions. My velocity study predicts that velocity graph lines derived from legitimate videos will smooth out upon stablilization. This is a testable, falsifiable prediction. It also predicts that a known composite video made by the methods I describe will display the opposite effect upon the graph lines, and this too is falsifiable.

The same can be said of other aspects of the entire no-planes argument. We do not believe it possible for such an aircraft to break completely through a steel frame as it is alleged. Though it would cost a lot of money, in theory this too is testable.

Quote:
Methods of calculation are ad hoc and nonstandard, permitting no easy review. There are no positive adjustments.
My method appears to be original, as far as I know. However, my methods of calculation could not be more simple to review. One only needs to count pixels.

Quote:

There are, however, several negative adjustments:
  • The unsupported and exceptional assumption that video editing capabilities of this sophistication exist
What planet have you been living on? Video overlay technology has been operational since the 1960's. This old school approach may have been used. Much more sophisticated overlay technology has been operational since 1998, as mentioned in my paper.

Quote:
  • The assumption that all major news organizations are complicit in this plot
Organizations do not act, individuals act. The notion that individuals within the major news organizations are complicit
is not an assumption, it is a conclusion that is reached to explain the data.

Quote:
  • The repeated refusal to address those who witnessed the impacts, rather than finding out about them through news organizations.
I, for one, have repeatedly asked for witnesses to contact me. The witnesses recorded on television all sound rehearsed and quite phony. Something like 95% of them work for news organizations. Eyewitness statements take a back seat to physical evidence anyway.
Quote:
  • Repeated arguments from personal incredulity regarding the phenomenology of the collapses that eventually followed
No government reports even deal with the phenomenology of the "collapses". A few individuals have attempted to tackle this, prominently Bazant and Greening. These guys rely on provably false assumptions, such as "accumulating mass" above the "collapse front". There is no basis in reality to assume such a phenomenon, as all the videos show mass being rendered into fine powder, and ejected sideways. In the end, there is no evidence for very much mass at all left in the footprint, so Greening and co. baselessly claim that "it all went in the basement".

Quote:

More negative adjustments accrue as the discussion progresses, but as we can see, the discussion is itself unnecessary. Even if we stop with the four major negative adjustments listed above, the aggregate plausibility score of this argument is 0.25 * (0.5)4 = 0.016, well below the Gravy Line.
Debunked.

Quote:
This is fitting, as the argument presented above violates the laws of physics,
No, it is the belief that objects can crush themselves into fine powder under their own weight that violates the laws of physics. The belief that an aluminum passenger aircraft could break completely through a steel frame defies the laws of physics.

Quote:
ignores current technological limits,
debunked, above

Quote:
gainsays witnesses, and rankles common sense.

Major work is required before anything derived from this theory should be given the floor.
Mackey, your approach is correct. If you could just be honest, you would see that the no planes theory survives your test, and sits comfortably above the gravy line.

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Old 13th June 2007, 02:10 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Swing Dangler View Post
I would also suggest proofing the math through a historical example. For example take a subject that at one point was a conspiracy theory, but later after the release of documents, further evidence, etc. the conspiracy theory becomes a conspiracy fact.

Can you suggest an example of something that was once considered a kooky conspiracy theory but later became generally accepted as authoritative?
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