January 31, 2011


me+ME: The gentle art of bullshitting the public for money


 "The mild and the long-suffering may suffer forever in this world. As long as the patient will suffer, the cruel will kick."
     -- Sidney Smith

I am still around, but not disposed to write much for NL, mostly because my heart is not in it, and not - this time - because of radically failing health.

One reason my heart is not in it, is that it got thoroughly poisoned by rot I received about and around Ellen Goudsmit, who is a dangerous nuisance:

But more about her manner of bullshitting the public later - here are just a few nice and educational quotes about the subject.

First, is a piece of text that describes much medical posturing, by the Princeton philosopher who wrote what seems to be a study on this rich and inspiring subject:

From: On Bullshit (<- Princeton University)

In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

Quite - and see the prose of Wessely, White, Reeves, Jones, Bleijenberg, and lately Nancy Klimas. Also, my dear superintelligent readers probably are already aware of the pomo-angle, for which see my Scientific Realism versus Postmodernism  and Morningstar shines a bright light on postmodernism - to which one should add that nowadays it is considered morally very proper and very admirable if anybody "contributes" anything about anything whatsoever, and indeed all deserve "much respect" from the audience. "That is awesome", dear reader, is the appropriate PC reply, if yonder ignorant idiot, who can neither write nor think, and read five books in his life, discusses quantum mechanics and mysticism, modern philosophy and Heidegger's contributions to freedom, soccer, sex and spirituality, or whatever, including diseases and ME.

Indeed, for bullshitters, whether professional, or simply by education, for indeed most education of people younger than me - I am 60 - consisted these days of the art of bullshitting or of articles full of bullshit, as for bullshitters there is no more truth, at all: There only is Politically Correct Doublespeak, the pomo way, for which reason it is most disrespectful if you say this, or even hint at it, and also morally very reprehensible of my readers to read this, since among pomo bullshitters, whether in North-Korea, in China and of late in the USA, the only allowed language is what The Leaders Of Our Community (and their moderators or secret police) allow as "a p p r o p r i a t e". Generally, all terms and statements that state the truth objectively are "i n a p p r o p r i a t e language", lacking in respect and refinement. (I have spaced "a p p r o p r i a t e" because it is such a nice, bland, meaningless, manipulative typical bullshit term: Whoever tells you that your language is not "a p p r o p r i a t e", is telling you in effect he or she is of the PC Thoughtpolice, and if this were Mao's China or Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia you were much better of dead.

From: Bullshit - Wikipedia, minus some links and my bolds:

Bullshit is commonly used to describe statements made by people more concerned with the response of the audience than in truth and accuracy, such as goal-oriented statements made in the field of politics or advertising.
"Bullshit" does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication; with only basic knowledge about a topic, bullshit is often used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about the topic by feigning total certainty or making probable predictions. It may also merely be "filler" or nonsense that, by virtue of its style or wording, gives the impression that it actually means something.

In his essay On Bullshit (originally written in 1986, and published as a monograph in 2005), philosopher Harry Frankfurt of Princeton University characterizes bullshit as a form of falsehood distinct from lying. The liar, Frankfurt holds, knows and cares about the truth, but deliberately sets out to mislead instead of telling the truth. The "bullshitter", on the other hand, does not care about the truth and is only seeking to impress:

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

Quite so: Here we are at the Wesselys, Klimas, Bleijenbergs etc. And indeed also at cubic miles of philosophy, psychology, medicine, and theology. Which is also why I so often mentioned pomo - and Frankfurt agrees:

Frankfurt connects this analysis of bullshit with Ludwig Wittgenstein's disdain of "non-sense" talk, and with the popular concept of a "bull session" in which speakers may try out unusual views without commitment. He fixes the blame for the prevalence of "bullshit" in modern society upon anti-realism and upon the growing frequency of situations in which people are expected to speak or have opinions without appropriate knowledge of the subject matter.

Here we are on the patients forums - and indeed in almost any university in the West (all but the best, indeed): Spiegeloog-columns. The sad thing is that it is not so much that "people are expected to speak or have opinions": They think they have the right to speak on anything whatsoever, and demand r e s p e c t for themselves and that right.

And while they seem to be discussing, in fact they are playing games, bullshit games: "Look at me, look at me! See me participate in Our Community!" Finally, for all the feminists I have met in my life: As patients forums for ME show, were women are in a considerable majority, women are at least as good at that as men, who tend to be about as gifted in the great art of bullshitting as they are.

Not only that:

The vast majority think that bullshitting is good, bullshitting is social, by bullshitting they contribute to Our Community, and nobody has any right to point out to any bullshitter that he or she is bullshitting, wasting time, propounding nonsense, posturing, pretending, play-acting, and behaving as authentically honest and sincere as a common cheap whore.

O no! One who says that used "i n a p p r o p r i a t e   l a n g u a g e", and the only reason the democratic majority of Our Community doesn't throw him or her for the beasts (ad bestia) in the circus, or burn him or her alive to make a nice moral lesson full of human warmth and the glow of sincerity, is that, these days this is not PC. \

At present.

P.S. Corrections must wait till later.

And yes, readers: I realize I am a thoroughly bad man, undoubtedly immoral too. What's worse: My only defenses are that I am uncommonly smart, and my deviances of the PC norms, in intelligence and morality, are genetical.

So really: I can't help it, as little as I can help I see colours.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)

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