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Oddthinking deleted this answer single-handedly. While I understand his reasons for doing so, his reasons do not conform to any valid philosophy of science. That much I can easily demonstrate on request. My answer is itself both reasonable and sound (if not, perhaps, perfect); it's a critique of methodology, which seems perfectly adequate for this topic, and which does not (as such) demand 'evidence'. Methodology precedes evidence, so analyses of methodology are sufficient to address problematic scientific claims.

Look, I came here more-or-less at random following a link on another Stack I participate on. I have neither the time nor the interest in squabbling with people who won't discuss things reasonably, be they administrators or regular members, and if this is the nature of this Stack — blind, unthinking adherence to some ill-defined and misunderstood set of quasi-empiricist principles — then I will simply un-join and get on with less annoying pursuits. I don't want to make that decision based on my experience with one (possibly misguided) administrator; particularly since I'm aware that I can be abrasive, and do occasionally trigger unfortunate egoic reactions in people.

I am who I am, and I have to deal with it as much as everyone else...

Please give me a broader understanding of whether Oddthinking's expressed attitude and behavior is typical of this site, or whether he is out-of-true on this particular issue. I'll figure out what I'm going to do after I get a broader perspective.

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    TLDR: don't answer the bad questions here. "Frame challenges" are NOT welcome on this SE site, unlike on many/most other SE sites. – Fizz Dec 7 '20 at 19:45
  • @Fizz: It's worth a short discussion to see if there's some daylight here. But if he's that kind of skeptic then I'll just write this site off as a lost cause. This isn't a debate I'd lose on a level playing field, but it isn't worth it if I have to play a bulldozer just to get the field leveled. – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 19:46
  • @Fizz: really? Frame challenges are the heart of scientific skepticism; that makes no sense to me at all... – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 19:47
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Here are some references that give background to this site and its policies.


One of the things I always wish I had already done, but am never willing to put in the effort to start, is to create a list of the previous answers that are based on unreferenced logic and "common sense" that eventually turn out to be contradicted by empirical data to demonstrate how unsafe the method is.

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  • Thanks, I'm already aware of your opinion and position, and you've already linked these to me previously. I disagree with your assessment and interpretation, and unless you're willing to engage in a conversation on this matter, this answer is both redundant and pointless. Are you willing to engage in a conversation, or are you just going to stick by your opinion? – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 19:32
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    @TedWrigley Do you always talk this way to people? It's quite off-putting. There's very little indication you are receptive to any suggestions. – fredsbend Dec 7 '20 at 20:43
  • @fredsbend: Always? No. But I'm not shy about speaking my mind when it's required. Oddthinking has demonstrated an unwillingness to communicate, and since I'm reasonably convinced he's in the wrong I'm finding myself in an ungenerous state of mind. If he were willing to have a proper discussion, then we would come to a proper consensus, and I'd have a much more congenial attitude. But he seems to think he can make me toe some line by throwing boilerplate links at me and opining about empirical data in ways don't stand up to analytic scrutiny, It's irksome. – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 21:03
  • @fredsbend: perhaps you'd care to pick up the thread. All I'm looking for is a decent discussion about the nature of answers on this site so that I can express my philosophical differences. Maybe I'll come to agree with you all, maybe you all will come to agree with me, maybe we'll just come to understand our differences better. But I'm well beyond the 'do as your told' stage of life, and prefer to face things I see as wrong directly. – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 21:07
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    @TedWrigley "But he seems to think he can make me toe some line by throwing boilerplate links at me." If that's your takeaway, then we can't help you. The site has guidelines, just like the others you participate on, and moderators that enforce them. Your answer fell afoul of several of those guidelines, which are documented in those links. So, yes, we do expect you to "toe" a line, just like everywhere else. – fredsbend Dec 7 '20 at 21:09
  • And it's really a modest line with a purpose, which, again, is explained in those links and others on this meta site. I might consider engaging your offer if there was indication that you've already taken the suggestions thus far. Have you read the links? Do you recognize your answer's failure to meet the guidelines? – fredsbend Dec 7 '20 at 21:12
  • @fredsbend: Of course I've read them. They're fine, within limits, and with the aforementioned point that they do not conform to any consistent or rigorous philosophical understanding of scientific knowledge. I can see their value as moderation controls, but that's not my particular concern. As guidelines they work (with generous applications of common sense); as rigid rules they are a failure. Do you want me to go into detail? – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 21:34
  • @TedWrigley So then you recognize how your answer was outside those guidelines, justifying the deletion? Your initial complaint was specific to yourself, not generic to the site. If we've moved from specific complaint to generic complaint, your further details might be better expressed in a meta post suggesting a policy change, or informally in main chat. I'll see either activity and follow up. – fredsbend Dec 7 '20 at 21:47
  • @fredsbend: My intention was always generalized, or so I thought; I'm not much given to personal complaints. Perhaps I miscommunicated... At any rate, I'll probably keep it informal and put something in main chat when I get a chance. Thanks. – Ted Wrigley Dec 7 '20 at 22:21
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    @TedWrigley: If your question is "Will you engage in a conversation with a belligerent person who wants to insult you because this site is not set up the way they like it?" the answer is "Not for very long, no." If your question is "If I make a persuasive argument that this entire community is based on some sort of fallacy, will you suddenly follow my rules rather than those established by the community over the past 9 years?" the answer is still no. Even if I agree with you, you need to convince the community. – Oddthinking Dec 7 '20 at 22:36
  • @Oddthinking: The only way to convince anyone of anything is through words, which you have (thus far) seemed loathe to use. And I'm not belligerent; I'm knowledgable and self-assertive. You think I'm belligerent because you believe I have nothing meaningful to say, and you are annoyed that I'm making noise regardless. And yeah, I'm no good at sugar-coating things, which doesn't help. But it also doesn't help if you dig in your heels and refuse to listen. I'll make my case elsewhere as I'm able. Let's leave this for others to comment. – Ted Wrigley Dec 8 '20 at 0:23
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    @TedWrigley: Your continued mischaracterisation of me ("loathe to use words"? Me? Ha ha. That's a new one!) and my position continues to undermine your point. I suggest you look up the definition of belligerent. I have given you many links to consider because your position has been raised repeatedly before. Maybe you have brand new arguments, but so far you are just threatening us with them. The unreferenced logic in your answer to the original question was flawed, so I am not holding out much hope. – Oddthinking Dec 8 '20 at 3:05
  • @Oddthinking: Sigh... I never asked you for links. I asked you for a discussion. I don't know how you are in other contexts, but with respect to me you seem to do nothing except toss around vapid boilerplate and the occasional (mild) ad hominem. You seem impatient for me to state my case — I was planning on setting aside some time on that tomorrow, since it take sore than off-the-cuff comments — and yet it's blatantly clear that you haven't reflected on what I've said so far. – Ted Wrigley Dec 8 '20 at 4:07
  • @Oddthinking: let's be frank with each other. I generally grant people a measure of respect on first meeting, but I've lost that for you. You apparently never had any marginal respect for me in the first place. I do not believe you are open-minded enough to be convinced of anything you don't already believe (though feel free to surprise me), so I won't be making my case with you in mind. Further conversation between us at this time is both unnecessary and unwise, so I'm going to stop responding to you until and unless you say something substantive. Do me the consideration of following suit. – Ted Wrigley Dec 8 '20 at 4:13

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