Re: Quackery heuristics (was: DETOX)

Alex Future Bokov (
Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:34:52 -0400 (EDT)


On Mon, 26 Jul 1999, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> Of course ignoring for the moment that automated searches will
> exclude sites that contain these terms in order to ridicule them,
> and that "immortality" would block much of ExI, Alcor, and other
> such sites, that's good start on a list. You can also add anything

It would, and I reeeeeally wish they'd consider the PR ramifications of using the I-word in their materials!

  1. Who knows how many scientists are alienated from our movement because to them *immortality* is a quack buzz word.
  2. If the universe's lifespan is indeed finite, then immortality is not possible. Ways of preventing such a death are sheer speculation on par with time travel and FTL-- ie, interesting, but not to base RL decisions on. More accurate is "indefinite lifespan". Much like redwoods and IBM PS/2's.
  3. The public is so ingrained with the idea of a <70 yr lifespan that their eyes will simply glaze over when they hear the I-word, and anything else you say will not register with them.
  4. Immortality is a very loud word. It broadcasts our plans loud and clear to all the right-wing godheads and the left-wing luddites. We don't want the villagers kicking down Dr. Frankenstein's door before he even has a chance to unleash his experiment!

The above is meant as constructive criticism. I'm all for ExI, when I have the cash for a full-body contract, I'll send it to Alcor. So, don't get me wrong here.

> that claims to "boost/support the immune system", "melt fat",
> "increase energy" or any site that supports iridology, applied
> kinesiology, ayurvedic medicine, therapeutic touch, "straight"
> chiropractic, and many other long-established frauds.

increase energy = too close to casual phrase that could be found in other


chiropractic = has that been debunked? Any refs?

others = good ones; I'll add them to my search scripts

Perhaps an automated method of quack detection should give certain phrases weighted scores instead of immediately disqualifying the document completely. That way, a quack-rating can be generated for any document. Perhaps using software similar to that paper-grading bot someone mentioned on one of the lists a while ago.

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