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February 12, 2005


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reminds one of a quatrain by Housman:

To think that two and two are four
And neither five nor three,
The heart of man has long been sore
And long 'tis like to be.

I like the entire post, but the orange was a brilliant punchline. And so true.

When does the manifesto get written?

Good post, but it sounds like the Star Trek TNG episode where the Cardassian was trying to get Picard to say that there were 5 lights when there were only 4.


There's a fifth apple stuck up your grassy knoll.

If I may, the analogy is actually quite skewed. You seem to forget that the question of God and material existence, whom I presume to be the missing 5th apple, is a question of comparing apples and oranges. Life is apples, but not ONLY apples. God is the orange to the monotony of our apples. More importantly, the "point" of God is that he is the very basis on which we say our life is more than just apples. As the source of life, he is the moreness of life.

Alas, the narrow focus in this analogy on apples only leads you all too conveniently to forget to mention where you got the four apples in the first place. There are such things as apple trees and THEREFORE we all know what apples are and where they come from. God is not simply another apple, nor is he simply an orange, but is in fact the rational, metaphysical and moral basis -- the apple tree -- by which we count, let alone recogne, and let alone enjoy, apples. Soren Kierkegaard, Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstoff are very helpful in this line of thought. I also suggest you have a look at Thomas Dubay's _The Evidential Power of Beauty_.

Finally, God is not a 5th apple, because God is a person. Hence, the fundamental error in the analogy is that rather than looking for the missing 5th apple, believers are looking for (and have found) the Person himself that provides us so graciously with all our apples. The inherently personal nature of the world cries out for a Person in and above the world. Apples are gifts and all gifts are personal. Having eyes for apples only, whether 4 or 40, is not God's fault, but ours.

Actually you have misunderstood the analogy. I am alluding to things that are testable: psychics, alternative medicines, and astrology etc., not God.

Okay, cool.

It seems the votes are against you, therefore there must be 5 apples.

But the truth is not decided by a how many people believe in something; it is decided by whether the thing is actually true or not.

Brilliant. This is an incredibly succinct synopsis of antiscientific thinking. Kudos.


Damn, I forgot how good this was...

It seems the votes are against you, therefore there must be 5 apples.

I must have missed out when they voted on the laws of physics. Considering that it probably happened over 10 billion years ago (if time was even relevant back then), it wouldn't surprise me.

Next election, I'm going to vote for the Force, probably D&D style magic, and definitely going to vote for an increase to the universal speed limit.

It seems the votes are against you, therefore there must be 5 apples.

Perhaps instead of my previous appeal to ridicule, I should have said "Five apples, number 3" and included a link back to here...

How do you post a link on here? I haven't had much luck with my earlier attempts.

Skeptico, about your 5 Apples piece,
are you kidding us? Is this the shit that is supposed to knock our soxs off? Is this the best working idea that you could have composed? It is very embarrassing. I would have torn this idea up into tinny little pieces and thrown it into someone else’s garbage can. Come on, you are supposed to be the maverick around here. I understand that this piece was presented in 2005, but your commentaries are getting worse and worse. Break out the bed. It’s snooze time with Skeptico. Classic post??

Funny, Diathermic. This post very well covers all the usual bad arguments made by woos. It also shows how they effectively, though usually unknowingly, prevent us from learning. I suspect that you missed that, though, considering that you don't have any specific, constructive criticisms, just a contentless flame.

"Contentless flame", yes! That is it! That sums up this post! Well done.

You still have yet to post any criticism, Diathermic.

Let me get this straight: A post that demonstrates the fallacies of appeal to other ways of knowing (#s 1, 6, 13), appeal to authority (#2), appeal to popularity (#3), argumentum ad homenim (#4), McCarthyist rhetoric (#5, #15: Remember that folder full of evidence he wouldn't show?), shifting burden of proof (#7), appeals to "science was wrong before" (#8, #10), appeal to tradition (#9), appeal to the future (#11), baseless assertion (#12, #13), immunization against evidence (#14) is without content?

Watch out for that zebra crossing.

Wow, you told me…like this post, you are preaching to the choir…why not put up a post that challenges your own choir??? Like I said, Skeptico is supposed to be the maverick around here…. Challenge yourselves…


Why don't you challenge yourself by finding fault with the Five Apples thing?

The fault is that it was composed.

Funny. Can't find any REAL fault, can you?

I think you're just angry because the article exposes the sorts of flawed rhretoric you probably like to employ.

Right you are.. Wow!

My troll detector's flashing...

For everyone else, just remember, the reason you only see four apples is that you refuse to believe in the fifth.

Maybe that should be #16. :)

So, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

Listen closely.

*slaps fingers against his palm*

Or, if you don't consider that "clapping", the answer is "Mu."

"Mu"... no, you mean woo....

Maybe you and/or your buddy Rock Star could answer this; what is the sound of 7:6 nested polyrhythm within a measure of 13/8 with a dotted 16th note metric modulation of a quarter =76? After reading his “intense” awakening of going from 6/8 to 4/4 or whatever it was, this example may be more sonically challegening. Like in the spirit of your war of biochemistry against homeopathy, if he can’t read this sonic example, then get out of music. He is a quack musician.

Oh, no! StrawDog! Why did Diathermic mortally wound you shortly after creating you?! WHY?!

Of course, the actual reason we're against homeopathy is that it doesn't work.

The fact that they claim it works, and that they don't know how it works is just an amusing but largely irrelevant tangent.

First, thanks for answering my music theory question.

"The fact that they claim it works, and that they don't know how it works is just an amusing but largely irrelevant tangent."

So, the fact that they claim to be musicians, and that they don’t know music theory (orchestration, analysis, sonic design, etc.) or how music works is just amusing but largely irrelevant tangent.

Yup. You don't have to know music theory to be a good musician. You just have to play music that people enjoy.

You don't have to know how a medicine works for it to be good medicine.

The problem with homeopathy is that it isn't good medicine: It doesn't get results beyond placebo. In other words, it doesn't work at all.

Not true…
In the same sentiment as Quack Watch, there are music societies like the Society for Music Theory or Speculum or many other educated music societies that say, “ If one is not a doctor of music, with the proper music theory education then they are a charlatan.” Hack musicians. If one cannot get an article in Perspectives of New Music or in Sonus, then they should quit. Just like quack watch says about someone who practices “fake” medicine without a proper PhD and all of the rest.

....“play music that people enjoy.” Where is the science behind that statement? Are you talking about emotions? Enjoy??? Feelings? Beyond science? Now that’s a no no….

No, not StrawDog Jr., too!

Homeopathy doesn't work. That's the primary objection. If you bothered to read the actual content of skeptical arguments, you'd know that.

The credential stuff is just a quick and easy tool for sorting, but it's never intended to be a complete debunking, so don't bother with it. If you find someone who "debunks" solely for that reason, direct me to their statements so that I can give them a tongue-lashing.

....“play music that people enjoy.” Where is the science behind that statement?... Are you talking about emotions? Enjoy??? Feelings? Beyond science? Now that’s a no no….

Funny, and full of more straw. Sorry, but your analogy falls apart because music appreciation is (apparently) subjective. Medicine and science are objective.

i did not know that we had to follow rules....
Wrong again...
Now I am going to put up a Tin man…

The arts are objective. It is un-artistic "artists" who think that it is subjective.


Your analogy is dishonest and misleading. I showed the way creating a song evloves as analogous to "irreducible complexity" being complete bullshit. It was tongue in cheek. If you have anything to add to the discussion (5 Apples post) go ahead. If you continue to troll, The Man is going to close this post to comments which would be a shame...

P.S - Since no one made a claim relative to music, we owe you no answers.

"P.S - Since no one made a claim relative to music, we owe you no answers."
This is a reason why you should not be in music because you do not know it's history... this is the real shame....
Oh well this is over...

This is a reason why you should not be in music because you do not know it's history

That's a mighty big claim. Do you have evidence to back it up?

Yes, your music is very poor... Nothing new about it… Same old same old…. No invention… Just cooperate coward music…. Can you tell me how to resolve a Neapolitan 6th chord?

So you won't be coming to any of our shows? They're really fun - we just wrote a song about how Ness from Mother II goes to Grimalkin and meets a dwarf who tries to convince him that homeopathy works. But guess what? It doesn't work!

P.S - What's "cooperate music"? They didn't teach me that at Rockstar Academy. Were you implying corporate? If so, it's spelled "corporate", not "cooperate". I suppose they don't teach that in your music theory courses. Second - get it right, man! We're corporate sellout cowards - as in sellout every show!

Now are you going to show where we're wrong about homeopathy or are you going to continue with ad hominem logical fallacies? I assure you - using cowshit logic here gets one nowhere.

[C:/cast Bullshit Shield + 2]


OK I’ve had enough. Please quit making off-topic comments. This is not a general discussion board.

You win... i will see you at your show....
Can i bring Dr. Steven Barret???

Published in 1989 in the British Medical Journal dealt with fibromyalgia. The double- blind, controlled trial was also "crossed over," meaning the treatment lots were switched after one month so the subjects could be compared, not only with each other, but also with themselves. The results were evaluated by a rheumatology professional who was not a homeopath. The study found that the homeopathic remedy provided highly statistically significant improvement in both subjective and objective symptoms.

In a double-blind controlled study conducted in Britain in 1980, 82 percent of those receiving the homeopathic remedy enjoyed improvements in rheumatoid arthritis versus 21 percent of the control group on placebo. The subjects in this study received remedies that were individually prescribed.

Osteoarthritic Pain: A Comparison of Homeopathy and Acetaminophen
American Journal of Pain Management, 1998;8:89-91
A double-blinded study to document the relative efficacy of homeopathic remedies in comparison to acetaminophen for the treatment of pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) among 65 patients. An IRB approved protocol. Results of the study documented better pain relief in the homeopathic group (55% achieved measured relief from homeopathy as compared to 38% from acetaminophen); however, the superiority of this treatment, in comparison with the acetaminophen group, did not reach statistical significance. The investigators conclude that homeopathic treatments for pain in OA patients appear to be safe and at least as effective as acetaminophen, and are without its potential adverse effects including compromise to both liver and kidney function. Many of the patients asked to continue with the homeopathic treatment.

J. Jacobs, L. Jimenez, S. Gloyd,
Treatment of Acute Childhood Diarrhea with Homeopathic Medicine: A Randomized Clinical Trial in Nicaragua,
Pediatrics, May 1994, 93,5:719-25.
This study was the first on homeopathy to be published in an American medical journal. The study compared individualized high potency homeopathic preparations against a placebo in 81 children, between ages 6 mo. and 5 yrs., suffering with acute diarrhea. The treatment group benefited from a statistically significant 15% decrease in duration. The authors noted that the clinical significance would extend to decreasing dehydration and postdiarrheal malnutrition and a significant reduction in morbidity.

ENOUGH. This is not a homeopathy thread.

Final warning.

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