The Dysology Hypothesis
Friday, 28 December 2012
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Here . Is this a pre-supermyth?
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
This week I bought the domain name Supermyths.com and published the home page ready to launch the book I am writing on the subject.
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Rebutter is what we should all be using. It's excellent. Here comes the future of verity online. Ahh, but ahh, does it? Click this link to my other blog to learn more about quite possibly the best way to refute any article or website online with a reference to veracious knowledge.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
What do we know about the impact of modern myths on society by way of their misinforming and therefore misdirecting central and local policy making, professional practice, teaching, learning and the media?
What is a supermyth?
|Created by Experts, Spread by Skeptics, Destroyed by Evidence|
In the case of enduring and pervasive supermyths, experts rely upon an original myth as a premise upon which to build others.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Natural scientists Paul Gross and Norman Levitt (1994) are authors of a biting critique of the claptrap that many postmodernist social scientists have published on science. Yet, like so many writers on the so called academic Right they have paid scant regard to the claptrap published from those claiming to be among their own ranks. Here I refer to the self-proclaimed crime scientists, who claim to be natural scientists, and yet seem to understand nothing of the lessons that science teaches of:
- The need to seek disconfirming evidence for your own hypothesis,
- the meaning of causality,
- the need to keep scientific explanations separate from the data you are seeking to explain and
- the need for explanations that are both refutable and difficult to vary.
Saturday, 19 May 2012
The Crime Opportunity Theory (Routine Activities Theory, Situational Crime Prevention and Crime Science) notion of opportunity (ratortunity) as a cause of crime is 100 per cent wrong because, unlike ratortunity, good scientific explanations of the physical world are (1) easy to refute (2) difficult to vary. And (3) the ratortunity explanation for crime is a mere truism. I have demonstrated point (3) in my peer-to-peer paper Opportunity Does Not Make the Thief
Crime Scientists, having abandoned social science and criminology, claim now to be natural scientists. I think, therefore, they should perhaps take a look at what scientific reasoning actually is. Oxford scientist and expert in quantum computing, David Deutsch, has recorded a superb video lecture where he explains that easy to vary and impossible to refute thinking such as ratortunity is no better than saying about crime "a wizard did it" because it does not tell us how crime happens with a theory that is either true or false. Ratorunity, therefore, is a hopeless post-hoc explanation that tells us nothing more than that crimes happen because they can and the classic RAT crime triangle, which is a description of the essential elements of a successful crime in commission, amounts to a useless causal explanation that every crime caused itself to happen. Crime opportunity theory (ratortunity), which underpins Crime Science, is not about opportunity, it is not a theory, it cannot rationally be a cause of anything - never mind a cause of crime - and it certainly is not scientific.
Saturday, 12 May 2012
Counter-intuitively, it is not a myth that earwigs enter human ears, or that ants may get into your pants, but it is very unlikely to happen to you inside your home or while walking about outside. Hence, we tend to say that the risk of either of these events happening to anyone is extremely low. If however you were to fall asleep in a flower bed of dahlias or beside a nest of ants then the risks of personal earwig or ant infestation would be significantly increased. And so it is with crime. The chances of being robbed, burgled or murdered may be relatively low – across the board - at a national level. But the risks faced by individuals living or working in high crime areas will be significantly higher.
For those living in high crime areas, the orthodox view that fear of crime is greater than the reality of crime could well turn out to be another super myth that affects thinking and diverts attention away from tackling real problems and from identifying effective crime reduction and policing practice. Muddled academic and official thinking can occur in this area because at a national level, at least in the industrialized western world, the overall level of fear of crime, or incidences of specific anxiety of crime is greater than the actual risk. That said, people living in particularly notorious high crime areas may have an overall level of anxiety or individual incidences of fear of crime that are more commensurate with their actual risk of being victimised.
The problem is that the British Crime Survey (BCS) does not sample real high crime areas – it takes a proxy sample instead, which in reality involves analysts of the data creating a high crime area sub-sample of respondents according to the housing architectural type they live in. In doing this the BCS high crime sample is created on the basis of two assumptions: (1) that certain housing architectural types are public sector built and (2) when combined with other variables such as low household income and unemployment they are in high crime areas. In fact, they may be neither. By determining what are and are not high crime areas in this way, the BCS proxy sampling most probably waters down its sample of respondents in real high crime areas with a sample of respondents from low or medium crime areas.
In order to seek to know whether those living in real – geographically defined – high crime areas fear crime more than those in lower crime areas the Home office should conduct a regular booster sample of respondents living in real high crime neighbourhoods. Until this is done, policy making and policing that is based on the belief that fear of crime is greater than the reality of crime is likely to lead to practice based on dubious information. The need for a booster sample of notorious high crime neighbourhoods is something that I and my colleague Machi Tseloni call for in our recently published paper:
Sutton, M. and Tseloni, A. (2011). Area Crime and Fear of Crime Levels: Has analysis of the British Crime Survey diluted crime concentration and homogenised risk?' Criminology [εγκληματολογία ](Special Issue): Fear of Crime: A Comparative Approach in the European Context. pp. 32-39. In. C. Zarafonitou. (Guest Editor) October 2011 Athens: Law Library.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Sunday, 22 April 2012
If you are not already a member of Linked[in] you will need to sign up to see it. The debate is among those in the American Society of Criminology group in Linked[in]. If you are a member and signed in to Linked[in] then the link to the debate is here. Better still you can join the Dysology conference group and join or start your own discussion.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Research across the board shows that the evidence is at best inconclusive regarding whether or not vitamin C can help us to better absorb iron from non heme iron sources such as spinach and other plants (see Sutton 2011).
Official advice that vitamin C is known to enhance the iron absorption from plant and other non heme sources is wrong. This advice is wrong because the overall evidence, from the results of many properly conducted trials is that we have a mixed bag of disconfirming and confirming research findings. In sum, the current evidence of the iron absorbing benefits of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in our diet is at best inconclusive.
Unfortunately, the websites promoting vitamin c in this way ignore all the disconfirming evidence.
In light of the facts revealed in a paper published by Best Thinking (Sutton 2011), I am grateful to the USDA for deleting their misleading spreadsheet from the Internet, which claimed that drinking Florida grapefruit juice would help humans to absorb two to four times as much iron from spinach as would otherwise be possible.
Unfortunately the US Government Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) continues to claim that vitamin C will increase the iron absorption form non heme iron sources, such as spinach, as (ironically) does the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html. Unsurprisingly Wikipedia makes the same erroneous claims.
Many other websites - including one run by MIT (http:
Since low iron levels - linked to poor diet - kill people in large numbers (see http:
Here are just few of the very many web sites that still promote the fallacy (or at least to promote vitamin C in this role when the evidence is inconclusive) some are giving advice on cancer - other are for children's diets.. Just Google ‘iron vitamin c’ and the list seems endless:
If poor nutrition directly kills, and in other cases takes years from life spans, it seems reasonable to speculate that erroneous nutrition advice, if relied upon, might do likewise.
We can only hope that not a single one of the tens of millions of lost years of life globally - and the many hundreds sometimes thousands of deaths that happen as a direct result of iron deficiency each year in the USA - are due to that earlier bad science promoted by the USDA. And we can only hope that the hundreds of thousands of deaths occurring each year on Earth (Stoltzfus 2003) from iron deficiency are not due to current US Government and private sector bad science promotion of vitamin C as a miracle way for humans to better absorb iron non heme iron sources, such as spinach. Because,surely, that should be 'criminal' quackery.
Sutton, M. (2011) SPIN@GE USA Beware of the Bull: The United States Department of Agriculture is Spreading Bull about Spinach, Iron and Vitamin C on the Internet: http:
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Monday, 27 February 2012
Obviously it cannot. And yet the Routine Activities Theory (RAT) notion of Crime as Opportunity as a cause of crime would have you believe it can.
Read how this pathological myth was busted on the Dysology website
Sunday, 8 January 2012
Do we really all have psychic powers? If so then how come I never knew? And how come no one has won the Randi Prize?
In September 2011 The Dysology Challenge was first laid down on BestThinking.com to two professors of physics. The prize offer and conditions were and remain as follows:
The Dysology Challenge – For Cold Fusion Energy
“If cold fusion produces commercially viable free energy in 2 years time you win and get to present me (Mike Sutton) with a prize for Dysology (bad scholarship) that I'll fund at a cost of £1000 in the form of a bronze trophy depicting the theme of veracity versus claptrap – with my name engraved on it.
And if that happens I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.
If it does not produce such energy then I get to present you with the same trophy that I paid for. In this event you fail, but you still get to keep the prize even though it happens that you are wrong. Only now it is your name that will be engraved on it .”
On September 15th 2011 the Nobel Laureate and Cambridge professor of physics Brian D. Josephson refused to put his reputation where his brain is by boldly declining to accept the Dysology Challenge regarding our difference of opinion regarding whether or not George Washington University Professor Simon Berkovich was right regarding his belief in mysterious free energy existing in the universe. Birkovich, similarly failed to take up the Dysology Challenge. (click here to read the comments section on this article to see how the challenge was made, refused by Josephson and weirdly ignored by Berkovich).
Today I am extending the Dysology Prize to include proof of genuine psychic powers existing beyond coincidence, fraud, methodological bias, or measurement error.
I am in good company. Because the Dysology Prize will be added to the current total of one million three hundred and 64 thousand pounds ($2,105,000 US) offered by a total of nine organisations and individuals, including the massive $1m Randi Prize for anyone who can prove that psychic powers exist. Despite being on offer for many years, and despite the extreme simplicity and fairness of the conditions required, no one has ever succeeded in winning any of these prizes.
Today (8th Jan. 2012) I hereby challenge
The Dysology Challenge – For Proof of Psychic Powers
I hereby challenge
“If you can demonstrate in controlled conditions of the kind laid down by the James Randi Prize and can win the Randi Prize by proving that psychic powers exist then you get to present me (Mike Sutton) with the Veracity versus Claptrap trophy prize for Dysology (with my name engraved on it for bad scholarship) that I'll commission at a personal cost of over £1000. If the outcome is not obvious the British Royal Society will be invited to determine the winner.
And if you win then I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.
If, on the other hand, you fail, then I get to present you with the same prize that I paid for. Only you also get to keep the prize – with your name engraved on it - for your bad scholarship.”
I am prompted to publically challenge Dr Sheldrake following his article in the Daily Mail today (Sheldrake 2012) in which he claims that we all have psychic powers.
I strongly suspect that Dr Sheldrake wrote the article in order to sell his latest book: The Science of Delusion - which is released this week. If he is right then he will win the Dysology Challenge and there is no reason why he should not win a further whopping great pay out of £1,364,000 to add to whatever he makes flogging his book.
If Dr Sheldrake fails to apply for the Randi Prize, and all the other significant cash prizes and accept the Dysology Challenge then we must draw our own rational conclusions about his audacious claims. If he is right then surely winning the Randi prize would sell far more copies of his book than his article in the Daily Mail.
Finally, what kind of newspaper editor or journalist worth his or her salt would not ask Sheldrake why he has not applied for the Randi Prize?
Dr Mike Sutton (Dysology.org)
Sheldrake, R. (2012) Why we ALL have psychic powers. Daily Mail. pp.56-57. Jan 7th.
Note on Sheldrake
According to his page on Wikipedia today: “In September 2005 until 2010, Sheldrake received the Perrott-Warrick Scholarship for psychical research and parapsychology, which is administered by TrinityCollege, Cambridge.Sheldrake then took his current position as Academic Director for the Learning and Thinking Program at The Graduate Institute in Bethany, Connecticut.”