The Dysology Hypothesis

Letting scholars get away with publishing fallacies and myths signals to others the existence of topics where guardians of good scholarship might be less capable than elsewhere. Such dysology then serves as an allurement to poor scholars to disseminate existing myths and fallacies and to create and publish their own in these topic areas, which leads to a downward spiral of diminishing veracity on particular topics.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Braced Myths Wanted

In 2010 I discovered a problem that seems to have stemmed from orthodox experts engaging in unscholarly attempts to identify and bust myths. I discovered this problem while fact checking a most famous story of the impact of bad data on policy making.
I named the phenomenon the Braced Myth and defined it as precisely as I could.

Note: Braced Myths are started by orthodox experts and are then braced by orthodox expert sceptics who - by way of their own scholarship - think they are true and so use them, with painful irony, as examples of the need to be healthily sceptical.

Are you aware of a case where orthodox experts have created myths, fallacies, pseudo scholarship or other junk science that has then been believed by experts who, with unintentional irony, in turn, used it as an example to support the need to be sceptical of 'bad science', pseudo scholarship and other counterknowledge? As you can see, what I am looking for has three very specific components (1) the creation of a fallacy, myth or error by an orthodox expert and (2) it being used by another expert who in turn promotes it as being ‘true’ and (3) promotes it as a good example of the need to be healthily sceptical of that which is not so.

I suspect that braced myths are likely to be quite rare. But once found, each one will most certainly be a case of the most exquisite irony.

To date, I have found two examples where this has happened, which it led me to name them Braced Myths:

In 2011 I found my second braced myths. Both are in criminology.
What is the Social Significance of Braced Myths?

To seek to gauge the social significance of Braced Myths I am looking for further examples from any field of knowledge.

I would be most grateful if anyone could kindly let me know of any others. Email: