0016 - Reproducing Evidence but Not god

Sqeaky and Mako open up about their histories with religion and share their stories leaving faith. They also discuss how to experts reproduce evidence and determine whether or not they are just guessing. Read the transcript and see the sources in the show notes: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/reproducing-evidence-but-not-god

*Guitar riff*

MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including reproducible levels of willful ignorance.

SQEAKY: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.

MAKO: This episode was released on September 15th, 2021.

SQEAKY: And we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of ivermectin drinkers are suffering from it.

MAKO: We discuss logic and evidence because we had to teach ourselves and divine revelation wasn't working.

SQEAKY: You can support us by becoming a patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia.

MAKO: If you spent all your money stocking up on sheep drench you can like, subscribe, and leave a review to help us out.

SQEAKY: If you have a paper you have written or a small business you would like to plug let us know.

MAKO: Today we are going to discuss how we left faith and the reproducibility of evidence.

SQEAKY: It's more fun than it sounds!

MAKO: But first, Sqeaky is going on a rant.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Normally I get most my interstitials? from this.

MAKO: Do you have any sarcasm before you go ahead and stop recording?

*Mako exhales loudly into his mic, clearly deep in thought*


*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Being correct is difficult on hot-button issues like abortion, except for abortion.

SQEAKY: Other hot-button issues are contentious because there is often a tradeoff, good points on either side, or maybe even a real judgement call based on evidence or a lack thereof.

SQEAKY: Not abortion, the facts and ethics on this one are simple… unless you are informed by religion.

SQEAKY: One side shouts “Baby killer” and the other claims rights to control their own bodies. If both of these groups are correct there is a serious ethical dilemma. The argument is often framed like there is validity on both sides and we need to make a hard ethical decision.

SQEAKY: Both sides are not equally valid, one side is clearly talking about something real. No matter what some incels think, women are clearly real and clearly should have a right to bodily autonomy. The other side frames the argument as “killing babies”, and a clump of cells with no organs clearly isn’t a baby, unless you believe in souls. Show me some evidence of souls and we can start taking this childish argument seriously. Look at actual numbers the more zealous the believer the more likely they oppose abortion, I link to a pew survey in the show notes. Millions of Americans are willing to force harmful things onto their fellow Americans because of an invisible insubstantial thing that has never been observed.

SOURCE [2:18] 63~77% of religious people oppose abortion depending on race and specifcs, 82% of religiously unnaffilated support choice - https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/

SQEAKY: No one is seriously advocating for aborting late term pregnancies that might survive birth, there are other options. People want the right to choose what their body is doing before then, so they aren’t saddled with the life-long costs and physical trauma and changes that come with bearing a child. And that is before considering the quality of life of an unwanted child

SQEAKY: Seriously, try to come up with a non-religious argument against abortion, feel free to pause this and try. Here are a few seconds if you want to pause and play along. 3, 2, 1,

SQEAKY: Unpause. Most people go straight to the sanctity of life. Did you? Maybe you did better than most and went straight to human potential and human dignity. Both of these are bullshit as arguments for opposing abortion.

SQEAKY: Where is the sanctity of life when most people eat meat or, fuck, we all eat plants? Clearly that is bullshit, just as evidenced by our daily behavior. If reality based arguments against abortion are to hold water they needs to be based on why humanity is special.

SQEAKY: People try to compare a hundred cell zygote to sleeping people or people in a coma. One chucklefuck on twitter even tried to use this last week in public discussion with me. Fuck you “Schwall ins All”. Of course you did this without acknowledging how much bullshit it is. Sleeping people and comatose people have history, people that care about them, and they have greater than 50% chance of surviving to the next morning on their own. See science alert in the notes, per the researcher miscarriage is the norm. More than half of pregnancies end on their own.

SOURCE [3:56] Most pregnancies end in miscarriages - https://www.sciencealert.com/meta-analysis-finds-majority-of-human-pregnancies-end-in-miscarriage-biorxiv

SQEAKY: Even if that researcher is off and only 10% of pregnancies end on their own then this is still a great way to know that people pushing anti-abortion non-sense are full of shit, because 0% of them are doing shit to address that. If the unborn actually mattered the many millions of miscarriages would be a major fucking issue.

SQEAKY: In the US it gets worse and the bullshit more obvious. Most of the people supporting abortion bans are republican, see that same pew survey from before. Most Americans support social safety nets like food stamps but more than half of republicans don’t want to feed the baby once that baby is born, I will link to another Pew survey.

SOURCE [4:31] Feeding the babies once born is pretty popular in the USA, but half of republican want to defund it - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/26/few-americans-support-cuts-to-most-government-programs-including-medicaid/

SQEAKY: These people care about the baby while in the womb, but not after? Clearly these people don’t care in aggregate this must be about something else. This is definitely supported by religion and likely misogyny, but one thing it certainly isn’t supported by is evidence.

SQEAKY: Please, don’t get sucked into random arguments about when is the appropriate time to draw a line. There are countless value judgements and real considerations and most of these discussions are distractions from the real issues and real attempts to ban this completely despite it being a useful tool for family planning and preventing real poverty. At some point that clump of cells does gain personhood if it is in the minority of pregnancies that don’t miscarry. But that is a different discussion and it needs to be had with honest informed people with actual facts and not zealots working from ancient myth.

SQEAKY: We know that is a separate discussion because people pushing these laws have reprehensible and dishonest standards. The current Texas ban has no exception for rape or incest. Despite being pushed by self proclaimed supporters of “family values” and “limited government” if an uncle rapes his 12 years old niece and hides it for just a few weeks Texas will force that 12 year old to carry that fetus to term. Keep in mind the same people deciding that is reasonable are statistically likely to be the same people who won’t pay to feed that child or her child and claim to do it for the “will of god”.

SOURCE [5:57] Brief summary of the Texas abortion ban and obvious holes in the anti-rape plan - https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/09/07/gov-abbott-claims-texas-will-eliminate-rapists-in-defending-abortion-ban/?sh=6bf9ad14593e

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including open-bracket closed-bracket.

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: We were too focused on everything else.

SQEAKY: The first fucking line and we missed it.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Okay so let's start off with some corrections.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: For once, this one's not on me.

MAKO: I did say I was going exclusively off of memory on the spot.

SQEAKY: You did. You couched it really well.

MAKO: Yeah and I did get one of the two names correct.

SQEAKY: You got a lot- You got everything else correct about the story.

MAKO: Well there's that, okay.

SQEAKY: You've got the star... like the random star name that I can't even recall now. Whatever.

MAKO: That was Zeta Reticuli I think it was.

SQEAKY: Yeah I think so.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: If you're wrong now you were correct on the last episode, I checked.

MAKO: Uh the guy of the couple- Like I got Betty's name right but I believe I said Harvey, Henry- Honestly I don't even remember what it is regardless. His actual name is Barney.

SOURCE [6:50] Early Abduction Story From the Hills - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_and_Betty_Hill

SQEAKY: Yeah Barney and Betty Hill were the very interesting abductee story generators.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Onto my mistakes!

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: There's more of those. Sorry. I said there were more stars in the galaxy than grains of sand on a beach. I meant universe. And also same sort of thing: When I cited the amount of stars we cited sources claiming that there were like 10^24 or 10^25. For less math inclined people it is literally a one followed by twenty-four or twenty-five zeroes. A lot of experts have a big range. Some of those ranges go down as low as 10^21 so ten followed by twenty-one zeroes stars in the known universe. Which is still more than all of the grains of sand on all of the beaches here in Earth. That's a lot of stars.

SOURCE [7:33] How many stars? - https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Herschel/How_many_stars_are_there_in_the_Universe
SOURCE [7:33] UCSB Science Line disagrees with - http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=3775#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20stars%20in,stars%20in%20the%20observable%20universe!

MAKO: Quite a few, yeah.

SQEAKY: We've got sources for that. We've cited the ESA, the European Space Agency. We've got something from was it Berkeley I believe? We also offhandedly commented about remdesivir. I think this one was on me also. It actually is an antiviral and actually when used correctly and as administered by a doctor, it can reduce how long someone is sick with COVID. But it's not a prophylactic so it won't prevent you from getting COVID.

SOURCE [7:56] Remdesivir recovery study - https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2007764

MAKO: Does it temper any of the actual symptoms?

SQEAKY: My understanding is it kind of takes the edge off. If you were gonna die you'll still probably die, but it might take someone who is on a marginal case who is like... If the doctors are deciding if they will or won't go on a ventilator. If they'd started on remdesivir early on, it might make the difference and keep them off a ventilator.

MAKO: That's more than nothin'.

SQEAKY: It's about what it is. It's more than nothin'. But there are people taking it and drinking it in order to prevent COVID, but it doesn't work. It's a medicine that you inject or, more specifically, you have a doctor inject.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: So yeah, we're linking to the New England Journal of Medicine, yeah. We have a specific paper in there. There's a study that says how effective this is and what the doses and all that are.

MAKO: Good to know.

SQEAKY: Anything else? Have I made any mistakes already this episode?

MAKO: Uh... No that I've caught yet but we'll get there.

SQEAKY: Okay, cool. Then you haven't noticed.

MAKO: We will get there.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Hey Mako, can you help?

*Mako sighs*

MAKO responds, reluctant: What is it this time?

SQEAKY: My computer is slow and shitty. I was doing some machine learning research and well... just look.

MAKO: How the hell did you even manage this?

SQEAKY: I downloaded every flat earth and anti vaxx meme. I filled this completely. I even filled all these Dysevidentia flash drives.

*Flash drive sounds*

SQEAKY: Look, even the wallpaper is telling me to eat horse paste.

MAKO: This is repulsive. If it were a dog I'd take it out back and perform a mercy killing. Don't worry, you can get a new one.

SQEAKY: Well it can't be that bad I'll just...


MAKO: Are those popups for Illuminati recruitment?

SQEAKY: Can't be- Wow. Look at that!

MAKO: Apparently they offer health insurance.

SQEAKY: This is amazing! It looks like my computer has developed artificial stupidity!

MAKO: Do you mean artificial intelligence?

SQEAKY: It's trying to tell us that the Illuminati is real and that their health insurance covers dick pills. Clearly this is too dumb to be artificial intelligence.

MAKO: Yeah... This may need to be preserved for study by future generations and away from anything that could network with it.

SQEAKY: It does... But I still need a computer to work and game on.

MAKO: You need ABK Kustomz.

SQEAKY: What's ABK Kustomz?

MAKO: They make custom computers. Low-end affordable or high-end custom. They can get you a great new gaming work computer.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah, uh that sounds great. I know some of those guys. They know their stuff.

MAKO: Be sure to use code "evidence" to get ten percent off.

SQEAKY: What was the web address again?

MAKO: Go to ABK Kustomz.com. That is abk-

*Audible typing*

MAKO: -dash k u s t o m z.com.

SQEAKY: And look! It wants to put me directly in contact with an expert who can help.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: And here is code evidence, it's good for ten percent off and can you build me a computer that won't be artificially stupid.

MAKO: I'm sure they can build it that way but, you're a fuckup.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: So now for the COVID minute.

MAKO: Probably won't be a minute but yes.

SQEAKY: Hey we'll drag it on to like ten or twenty or...

MAKO: Billion.

SQEAKY: Billion. Twenty billion minutes.

MAKO: Yup. Whatever works for us really.

SQEAKY: Okay. We sorta have like three main topics.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Ivermectin, the new variant, and misinformation.

MAKO: Mmm... Misinformation is pretty broad, there's quite a bit of it.

SQEAKY: Okay so, lots and lots of people are talking about taking ivermectin.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: Like the most famous one is Joe Rogan. He sort of just went on idiotic rant. He just had a video posted online where he was throwing the kitchen sink at it including taking ivermectin.

SOURCE [11:09] Podcaster Joe Rogan Reveals COVID-19 Diagnosis, Ivermectin Treatment - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a33oJ7_Qjt4

MAKO: Mhm.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: I mean at least he had the decency to admit that he himself is an idiot.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Quoting Joe Rogan he says quote "I'm not a doctor, I'm a fucking moron."

MAKO: Yep. He says 'I don't understand why people would take medical advice from me, I'm not a doctor' then proceeds to promote vaccine hesitancy.

SQEAKY: Yeah, he doesn't realize how famous he is, how big his reach is, and how just with a reach comes an amount of people who will listen to any dumb thing he says.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Uh, other dumb people. There was a Georgia cop who was pushing ivermectin. He just died from COVID, of course.

SOURCE [11:44] Georgia cop pushing ivermectin dies - https://www.rawstory.com/ivermectin-dewormer-horses

MAKO: Of course.

SQEAKY: There was a story that was in the Rolling Stone that has been making rounds in misinformation. I actually saw memes about it on LinkedIn from anti vaxxers. But it started off claiming that uh, gunshot victims were waiting in the ER because of uh, so many people taking horse dewormer that is what clogging up the ER system. Official statements from hospitals came out and contradicted this, and of course all the reputable outlets issued retractions.

SOURCE [12:09] Stories exaggerated about Gunshot victim waiting is in ER for horse dewormer ODs - https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/gunshot-victims-horse-dewormer-ivermectin-oklahoma-hospitals-covid-1220608/

MAKO: Of course.

SQEAKY: I'll link to the Rolling Stone which will include this but uh, seriously, ivermectin is not good stuff. OD'ing can literally cause blindness and kill you and put you in a coma. If you don't know what you're doing with it it is just as dangerous or more dangerous than COVID.

MAKO: And that seems to be pretty common for people that are using a drug that is not designed, attended, or being professionally administered to treat COVID, but yeah, here we are.

SQEAKY: You're just shaking your head at it and you're just like how many times can we say "Don't put random stuff in your mouth."

MAKO: Yeah it's... It's up there with the whole notion of "Oh, bleach can cure autism." No, just stop.

SQEAKY: Yeah. On the... The uh misinformation related to this thing. Lots of people are calling news outlets that actually reported on this, 'cause there was a doctor that came out and said that these hospitals in Oklahoma were doing this. And then the hospitals countered and said hey that doctor doesn't have the full staffing information so it looks like his one thing was exaggerated.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: 'Cause he did make it and it was true in like one tiny corner case area but not for all the hospitals in Oklahoma so lots of people are taking this to mean that "Oh, all mainstream media is bad" and they're trying to push that even though mainstream medias already issued retractions. And again for a great example, Rolling Stone.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: Why don't you tell us about the Mu variant?

MAKO: This is a variant that has existed for --that we know of-- for a little while. We first spotted it earlier this year, I think around April, maybe a little bit sooner. It's not spreading very quickly. It has very few cases compared to other variants. A little bit north of five thousand worldwide, so it's not particularly threatening, it's not particularly infectious, but it is very noteworthy in one specific respect. It seems to have the ability to bypass the protections that we currently have against COVID which is resistance from previous infections and vaccines. It seemed to be able to bypass both of these things. So if you get infected then you are just going to have to deal with the full brunt of COVID again full stop.

SOURCE [14:10] The WHO is tracking a new COVID-19 variant called Mu - https://www.insider.com/who-is-tracking-covid-19-mu-variant-evade-vaccine-immunity-2021-9

SQEAKY: So this means masks, social distancing, taking care of our HVAC systems to make sure they are filtering well.

MAKO: Standard pandemic stuff.


MAKO: But again, case count is low and there's no reason to be particularly alarmed by it but yeah, be careful.

SQEAKY: Now our sources varied on how many states it was in. Some were saying it was in forty-seven, some forty-nine...

SOURCE [14:30] Wiki page for the Mu variant - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SARS-CoV-2_Mu_variant

MAKO: Well those were probably taking information from the same place at different times.


MAKO: A week ago it was in all but three states. At this point it's probably safe to presume that it's in all fifty, maybe.

SQEAKY: This doesn't mean to panic or to freak out, just stay on top of precautions.

MAKO: Yeah.


*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: So, there's some COVID misinformation.

SQEAKY: Well I mean, when isn't there.

MAKO: There's some specific misinformation you're going for.

SQEAKY: So Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. They've all been pretty good about deleting blatant misinformation. If you just lie and say "COVID is the flu" or "COVID isn't lethal" or "the vaccine doesn't work", these places have been deleting you, quaranting you, isolating you to prevent you from killing people.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: They tend to let trolls that don't say things that get people killed, they tend to let them linger. But Reddit has stuck out. They've been letting people spread and foster whatever brand of misinformation, up to and including people putting forward bad medical advice and claiming it is medical advice. So people saying "the vaccine will kill you", they're not getting deleted from Reddit. They haven't been.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: Reddit finally took action against this, but only after a ton of subreddits got together and signed a open letter to Reddit --and our dysevidentia subreddit's on this-- but it was demanding action from Reddit to ban some subreddits that existed strictly to spread vaccine and COVID misinformation.

SOURCE [15:58] Reddit finally takes action on covid misinformation - https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/09/reddit-bans-r-nonewnormal-and-quarantines-54-covid-denial-subreddits/

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: This didn't prompt Reddit to action but one sub, NoNewNormal, was taking action, and they started doing things including many of their members to go to other subreddits and fill them with misinformation. This violates a rule on Reddit, it's not allowed to brigade. You can't get a team of people from one subreddit to go and manipulate another subreddit and this got the NoNewNormal subreddit banned.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Not the lying to tens of thousands of people who were subscribed. The brigading. Anyway.

MAKO: Yep. Well that kind of tracks with previous actions been taken with problematic subreddits like TheDonald.

SQEAKY: Yeah. They didn't do anything about TheDonald even though, on paper, Reddit has rules against terroristic threats and TheDonald- They were openly planning how to kill and hurt people. Whatever. It wasn't until Jan- Uh the Jan six insurrection that they finally did anything about it.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And as part of this they did quarantine fifty-four other subreddits. Now quarantine just means it's a little harder to get in, but that's not terribly difficult.

MAKO: Yeah you get a page notifying you "Hey this subreddit is quarantined" you have to confirm to go further, so it is a minor barrier. You have to do a couple extra clicks but that's about it.

SQEAKY: We linked to ARS Technica which has a fully summary of this activity from Reddit.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And we also link to the open letter and there's all the signatories that are listed there.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: More on misinformation. There's a website that we just learned about sorryantivaxxer.com. Now if you really enjoyed when Mako crushed my spirits by continually reading off people who died from COVID and were anti vaxxers, then you'll love this website 'cause it's nothing but a big list of anti vaxxers and anti maskers who died from COVID.

SOURCE [17:36] An ongoing list of public antivaxxer who died - https://www.sorryantivaxxer.com/

MAKO: Yeah. It seems to be focused on people who were publicly and outspokenly antivax.

SQEAKY: Yeah it's not listing every single one.

MAKO: Yeah well, namely the difference between one I crushed your spirit and this-

SQEAKY: That's true.

MAKO: -they're not gonna list five year olds that happened to die to COVID.

SQEAKY: Yeah, some of the people in Sorry Antivaxxer, we even get to see the memes they shared and links back to their social media profiles. Some of them are deleted now but some of them still have some of this just obvious misinformation. There are people who are like "The vaccine kills!" and then you see their different feed and then the last couple tweets are like "I shoulda taken the vaccine" and then they died.

MAKO: That seems to be not a terribly common sentiment but common enough.

SQEAKY: Yeah it seems like about half the people who die from COVID who were anti vaxxers realize their mistake in the end and about half are literally diehards.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: How about onto any other topic? Anything lighter than this?

MAKO: Uh, I would imagine both of our other topics are lighter than this.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Yeah, alright, let's cut it there.

MAKO: Mhm, think that's good.

SQEAKY: Yay, we did two whole things.

MAKO: Oh boy.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: We recently tried to have a conversation with someone who we thought would fit right in on the podcast.

MAKO: I would say we did more than "tried", we succeeded in having a conversation with someone.

SQEAKY: We definitely had a conversation with someone.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: There's a public atheist, Damien Marie AtHope. We definitely discussed with them and we agreed to share links. They'll link to us, we link to them, and we didn't feel that that discussion was appropriate for the podcast so we let him share the video in his normal style.

SOURCE [19:10] Damien Marie Athope - https://damienmarieathope.com/

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: We'll make sure to link to him but it did lead Mako and I to ask what really brought us around to our current stances on religion.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: You give me a side eye here.

*Mako sighs*

SQEAKY: I can't call you an atheist.

MAKO: Well, I mean, plenty of people would but no I do not label myself as an atheist.

SQEAKY: I have a label maker, I can do it.

MAKO: I'm sure you do and you could but no.

SQEAKY: They stick to anything. You just pull the little paper off. It just goes right on, man. We can label you atheist. That's not a problem.

*Mako sighs heavily*

MAKO: For reasons you are-

*Sqeaky laughs*

MAKO: -purposefully ignoring it is, in fact, a problem. But-

SQEAKY: You mean being in Nebraska, being in the American midwest?

MAKO: It ki-

SQEAKY: I've seen people denied denied jobs because they weren't they they weren't the right kind of Christian. Yeah it can be problematic.

MAKO: I believe you.

SQEAKY: It wasn't that long ago that we were worried about violence. It still might be a thing today.

MAKO: Y- Yes. I mean I wouldn't necessarily describe them as being super common but there are demonstrable documented cases of violence over- like the even in the U.S. heartland, violence against people for religious reasons.

SQEAKY: Yeah, well, which one of us wants to go first and start talking about how we left? 'Cause we both had somewhat religious parents.

MAKO: Uh, more than somewhat in my case. Like-

SQEAKY: Oh. The clarification sounds like a great segue into an anecdote.

MAKO: Oh fun, so... Both of my parents were pretty heavily religious and they had parents that were even more heavily religious. My father was was uh... very very Catholic. And my mother... she kind of went along with the whole Catholic thing, her parents were Catholic. But the specific church that... that I went to when I was really really young, I don't think was a Catholic church. They may have rebranded at some point, last I checked on their sign they claimed themselves to be an Episcopal church.

SQEAKY: Episcopal?

MAKO: Episcopal? Is that it? Let me look it up.

*Audible typing*

SQEAKY: Did you say Epi-scopal?

MAKO: I dunno.

SQEAKY: Like an epigenetic church? Eh, this level of detail probably isn't needed.

MAKO: Okay. Yep yep yep. I found the exact church.

SQEAKY: Drop a link in the show notes.

*Mako glitches out*

MAKO: Uh... so anyway. Escopal, sure.

SQEAKY: Episcopal?

MAKO: Episcopal.

SQEAKY: That seriously how it's pronounced? You're fuckin' with me now. Dammit!

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: Do that to people all the fucking time. It never gets old.

SQEAKY: Escopal?

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Okay. So you went to this escopal church.

*Mako laughs and sighs*

MAKO: Now I've actually confused myself. Which one's the real one?

SQEAKY: It's epic scalpel.

MAKO: Epic scalpel.


MAKO: Wow.

SQEAKY: They'll cut you.

MAKO: Yeah- So-

*Sqeaky laughs*

MAKO: Yeah, I'm not gonna say the name of the church itself uh but in the... They're in a different building now compared to when I was younger and they're not Catholic so I'm not sure what the relation is there or if like they kinda just changed brands at some point- I don't... I don't know. I have no idea.

SQEAKY: A lot of people treat Episcopal as Catholic-lite.

MAKO: That seems fair. So, anyway, yeah I went to church regularly when I was very very young. Even attended Sunday school regularly --every Sunday in fact-- and I mean so much of just church life was normal. 'Cause I mean I was too young to really think anything else about any of these topics and I learned something and forgive me, my memory is a little hazy here, this was like when I was six, give or a take a year, old, and-

SQEAKY: You gonna get one of the two names wrong from a story you heard off-handedly twenty years ago but get like the Latin words perfect or something?



MAKO: Yeah I was really really young, about like all these things. Didn't really think much of it. And I remember- I believe I had learned something about Noah's Ark from Sunday School and I asked my mother some clarifying question about it. I don't really recall the nature of the question but I don't know, might have been something about like the global flood and what exactly that means for something else and I don't know, doesn't really matter. And my mother surprisingly, I don't know if she was just having like a bad day or what but my mother told me in response to my question that not everything in the bible was real.

SQEAKY: What?! Really?!

MAKO: Yeah. So-

SQEAKY: Sorry.

MAKO: So yeah, she was... I don't know what exactly was going on with that response but yeah, that's what she told me. And a little bit later, I think it was the same night, I sought clarification on the whole Noah's Ark thing again, and my mother motioned for me to look it up and she had a big set of encyclopedias that was accessible to me and so I just went over to the encyclopedia and I tried to look it up. So between being told that not everything in the bible was real and when pressing for an actual answer being told to look at an encyclopedia, that implicitly tells me that the encyclopedia is more authoritative than the bible.

SQEAKY: And to six-year-old you, the fact there's, y'know, twenty or thirty volumes of an encyclopedia versus the one book that is the bible.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: There's a lot more going on in encyclopedias than the thickest holy book.

MAKO: Not only that but just the readability. Like, you're trying to read text that is presumably thousands of years old and not exactly readable to the modern inquisitive mind where encyclopedias kind of literally are written for the modern inquisitive mind.

SQEAKY: Absolutely.

MAKO: It is easier to process and digest information in the encyclopedia than it was the bible. Few things are left to interpretation in comparison on top of that.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah, it's not like the bible has particularly bad translations... And this is... an atheist telling you the bible is accurate. The bible has survived many translations with minimal errors. I'm not gonna claim it's perfect, but there are some people out there who will claim that it's terrible and it's like a game of telephone. I've even used that argument before. The translation errors are really tiny. Like sometimes, when they're talking about washing feet, there are some scholars that thing that feet is a euphemism for dick, but uh...

MAKO: Okay.

SQEAKY: The rest of it's pretty accurate.

MAKO: Sure, uh...

SQEAKY: Just don't wash someone's feet in the bible- by accident. I mean if you want to do it on purpose.

MAKO: Yeah if you're consenting and for whatever reason then you- more power to ya. Uh, so yeah. Like I had this lesson --if you want to call it that-- about what is real and what isn't really early on before I really could develop any strong emotional attachment to any of the things in the bible. Uh I do remember being kind of upset that I had one authoritative figure telling me one thing, and another telling me another thing and it's like well, okay, I'm a kid, how am I supposed to figure out what is what, but my mother being my mother, kind of won by default after the anger subsided 'cause I mean that's how kids do.

SQEAKY: Yup. Sometimes I do wish we had cameras. Your body language, your shrugging, you're just like 'Yeah what the fuck else am I gonna do?' That's what your- your whole body language is saying that.

MAKO: Yeah. In retrospect that's how I feel, like, it seems like the just- this is the obvious conclusion that a child would come to bareing any other anonylmous inputs. And I'm pretty sure... Okay. So my parents were already going through a separation and divorce at the time. And had my father been around I'm sure he would have quite a bit to say on the topic and try to set me back on the religious path but he wasn't around to do that so I guess in a way bullet dodged there.

SQEAKY: We both seemed to have had parents where one of them was worse than the other, and the worse one seemed to be more strongly linked to religion in both of our cases.

MAKO: Mhm. That sounds accurate. There was one other thing that I think played a part in this because having that initial lesson of like okay, the encyclopedia more authoritative. That's, that's helpful but in order to get it to stick you need a little bit more than that. Like if I had kept on going to church, even having internalized that lesson there would have been some influence from the church just 'cause that's how social groups work. Even if I don't quite take everything a hundred percent at face value that's being told to me by people who go to the church, just by the volume of people around me who do accept that behaving that way towards me, I'm going to give it more credibility than what it might deserve.

SQEAKY: Absolutely. People definitely absorb facts, knowledge, demeanor, perspective from their communities whether or not they intend to and this is kind of important because we can't all be experts in everything so we default to what our community does for anything that we don't specifically invest the time and effort and understanding more precisely.

MAKO: Mhm. So what ended up happening a little bit after this... this lesson in encyclopedias being better than the bible. I want to say it was like a year or two later. I'm not gonna go into huge amounts of detail but the short version is the- There was a deacon at our church that filed a false report with Child Protective Services alleging abuse claims against my mother. The state acted on it and took both me and my brother away from mother. Mind you that me and him are her only children.

SQEAKY: That is fucking heavy. Damn.

MAKO: Yep so, I spent a few months in a state facility before being transferred to foster care where I spent another ten-ish days before I was given back to my mother. And this whole experience caused my mother to be scared of churches and their ability to take children away from their mothers in a pro-mother so she just didn't bother with churches for more than the next decade and that pretty much cut any kind of religious ties out of my life through all of my formative years. So I just dodged the whole social pressure from churches.

SQEAKY: That is both unfortunate and fortunate.

MAKO: Silver lining.

SQEAKY: It sucks that you didn't have church friends growing up but it's probably kind of awesome that you weren't pressured into believing untrue things just because of your peer group.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But that is kind of ridiculous that a church official was able to convince state officials to act against your family.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: That's- and I don't think we need to go deeper into that, that'll-


SQEAKY: -ID who you are and ID your mother and stuff and it's just not necessary. I was there when you were talking about your mother about this and I remember the call in detail.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Well my story isn't nearly so vivid or amazing but it also includes a lack of real social connection to the church. Because I remember being a kid and being kind of awkward throughout childhood. Not ever going to church because neither of my parents were that religious and being a military brat --and both my parents served-- we bounced around all over the place so we didn't connect with any church.

MAKO: Makes sense.

SQEAKY: But being surrounded by a bunch of people who were religious, probably one of the least religious people in my life was my father who was a lapsed Catholic is the best phrasing for it?

MAKO: That sounds accurate based on what I know.

SQEAKY: Yeah. And then my mother who was randomly very religious and she would invoke God, y'know, whenever it suited her. Demand prayers, hand me a bible, whatever. But it wasn't like an everything day thing. It wasn't as a punishment I'd go say, y'know, ten hail marys or anything but when she wanted a reason for something God could be that reason.

MAKO: That seems to be how God is often invoked.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah. In a recent episode of the Skathing Atheists, Noah Lusions? had a diatribe where he says that God is just a way for people to deflect how they view their own bigotry and it's a way for people to get- be bigoted without having to take the blame for their bigotry. And he says it really emotionally, really forcefully, and with a great deal of clarity. I'll find that diatribe and put a link in the show notes.

SOURCE [30:49] Scathing Atheist how theists use words - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095F4oMqs68
SOURCE [30:49] Scathing Atheist how theists invoke god - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey5lCXaPTD4

MAKO: Okay.

SQEAKY: Great, we're talking about atheism and we just linked to the biggest atheist podcast. There go all our listeners. And for me as a kid it was- I was super awkward as a kid.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Being this awkward I would notice people around me invoking God for various reasons. And I would try to invoke God a couple of times to like discuss it with them or to... to try to understand it with people and they I remember one of the first times that someone invoked God at me, there was trash out by the curb, like a big packing... piece of packing phone like somebody bought a TV or something, and this girl --we were both like six or seven or something-- she was taking pieces of foam and just breaking them up in her hand and like scattering them in the wind and I'm like y'know that's that's not good, you're littering or you're polluting or some-

MAKO: Making a mess?

SQEAKY: Some white knighting six-year-old shit that I said.

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: Totally cringy now I'm sure. Y'know today I would've just been like stop that shit and taken it from her and put it in a bag, moved on. But I tried to talk her out of it and she explained to me that it was God's will. God was totally shut down to this 'cause I didn't have a good argument. And later on when I tried to say things were God's will, people were just like "No, you're just making that shit up" and I'm like oh, that's a really good argument, just accuse someone of making that shit up and then shut me down 'cause they were right.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Yeah it didn't work. Later on, still trying to understand the whole God thing. Right I mean at this point like I'd been exposed to the bible, I'd read a bunch of it, I got what the stories were. And I really didn't have an alternate explanation for it so I kind of defaulted to kinda thinking these stories were kinda real and and I you know this God thing seems plausible, everyone around me think thinks it's real. Let me try to understand how people are using religious phrases in context and there were people thanking God for things. Where if just a thing is good, you say thank God for blank, right?

MAKO: Yeah. That's, yeah, a common thing to say during like dinner prayers.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Yeah, or just even like a when people were just looking at a good phrase for the moment, is what I had noticed-

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: -as a kid. And I remember people thanking God for... y'know just if something good happens like 'Oh, thank God for beer."

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: They're drinking at the barbeque. It's like oh, okay.

MAKO: They're just trying to express positive sentiment for some circumstance.

SQEAKY: Yeah and if you don't have another noun to thank, thank God.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: That's what I was thinking. So I was at a barbeque I think, and the chef cooked some food- or the, they grilled some food and I put some barbeque sauce on a hotdog or a burger or something, and I said "Thank God for barbeque sauce" and I deeply offended the chef 'cause was like no, I cooked that, and I'm like "But didn't God make the beef" like what did I say or do wrong here.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And I didn't understand that what I'd just done was stolen credit from his effort and it took me a while to figure that one out 'cause in retrospect a bigger stink of it was made than really needed to be. It was like a whole argument and stuff and I- I guess this group thought I was taking God's name in vain. It was a shitshow, whatever. I was a little kid saying stupid little kid shit.

MAKO: So you were angering both the religious people and the non-religious people with your comment?

*Sqeaky exhales*

SQEAKY: Nobody was happy.

MAKO: Wow.

SQEAKY: It was a bunch of conservatives and I stepped on whatever they were conserving.

MAKO: Good job.


MAKO: The start of a life-long hobby.

SQEAKY: Oh great... I see what you did there. Well, I didn't start really focusing on how the world actually works until much later. I had this one asshole friend, who will go unnamed-

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: -me and asshole used to argue for the fun of it. We both actually enjoyed arguing. Often we would shitpost online and debate people, and I did all those dishonest arguing tactics where I'd dig into the semantics of what they said if they attacked my core point and I was a total shithead about it. And this was during my teenage years and I did a lot of this online, some of it in person, and I'd gone so far as to learn like logical fallacies and to call people out on them, even if they were absolutely correct with everything else like here's your logical fallacy, give me an argument without one. Until me and him started arguing, I believe climate change, and then later it segued into evolution. But when we started arguing climate, I started digging into actual peer-reviewed science on it. 'Cause we were both very Republican, both being raised in religious households, both by military parents, both by conservative parents. So I started digging into actual evidence and the whole climate change thing, the evidence wasn't even that difficult to understand. Climate change is really really easy. Co2 absorbs heat. We are increasing the amount of Co2 in the air. The amount of heat is going to go up, too.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: That's it. That's it, that's the whole thing. It's that complex. So we did the thing where we went back and forth and he kept calling me out for logical fallacies and other bullshit and eventually I got down to, to an argument that was extremely resilient and robust because the science was extremely resilient and robust. And when I got down to the core argument of "We are releasing Co2. It is an amount that matters and it is warming the planet up." I realized that he wasn't attempting to argue honestly at all. And sure, I wasn't doing it honestly earlier, but at least I figured out that I should be appealing to facts eventually, not that this upset things too much between us, we did other things. Me and Asshole played cards together. Me and Asshole did other activities together. But then when we started discussing things like evolution, right I dug into the evidence too and I started understanding how the world works. And in the same way that I got to truth on climate change, I got to truth on evolution. I looked at academic papers, I looked at evidence, I skipped past anything that could resemble a bad argument, and even arguing with him I did eventually get him to come around on the world not being five thousand years old 'cause that's annanity even for a sixteen-year-old to try and argue.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: So he backed out of that, not before us having a long argument about Last Thursdayism. He tried to briefly argue that the Earth was created with the illusion of age and I'm like nah, that's... that's garbage. Here's falsifiability. Let's discuss that. And we did that last episode if you want to hear about it. So with all these papers, all making predictions, all discussing how to reproduce the operation, how to get at truth. I started to think that hey, this religion thing, this Noah's Ark thing is kind of incompatible with both climate change and evolution. How do we, how do we reconcile that?

SOURCE [36:28] We discussed Last-Thursdayism and falsifiability in Episode 15 - https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/0015-the-limits-of-evidence

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And it wasn't until my twenties or so when I was, y'know, in college, and I'm like yeah, we just kind of have to reject this whole religion thing. And by that point I'd actually sat down and read the bible like front and cover to cover and taken in all the stories and I'm like okay, what actually went on here. And I started reading up on the "Documentary Hypothesis." This notion that the bible has multiple authors, each author in parts of it for their own reason indignant to the history of how the book was made, why it was made the way it was made, and what purpose it served to different peoples and different cultures at different times. And it really is that simple. It's- We have history for how the whole bible was made. We know why it exists in its current form. And they're all secular and human reasons. So, I just kind of dropped evolution- I dropped evolution. I was- I was created in my current form perfectly last Thursday.

MAKO: Hmm.

SQEAKY: By perfect form I mean spherical.

MAKO: Bold claim. Not the spherical part but pretty much everything else.

SQEAKY: Damn. So I kind of just dropped religion painlessly because it wasn't... Y'know I didn't have strong social ties to it either and what social ties I did have were with assholes. And I did have to eject a couple assholes from my life but uh, my life's gotten a lot better since then. If I walk into a room I want to be the biggest asshole in it. That's my threshold.

MAKO: Uh... Well, that can be a faulty threshold depending on how much effort you put into being an asshole.

SQEAKY: Well I think this desk counts as a barrier. You can be a bigger asshole on that half.

MAKO: I don't think that's the healthiest take.

SQEAKY: Is that not what you meant-


SQEAKY: -by threshold moving?




SQEAKY: Alright, let me rephrase that. I have lines where I'm an asshole to certain people. Anyone being more of an asshole than me personally- And I'm not advocating that as a golden standard where everyone should seek to be the biggest asshole, that's... that's a path to escalating assholery.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Other people should do other better ethical things than that.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: I don't know, our stories aren't super amazing, but they're also not a lot of what those Christian movies make us out to be.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: We're not angry at God or whatever.


SQEAKY: Yeah I was deconverted by academic white papers. You were deconverted by Encyclopedia Britannica.

*Mako finds this funny*

MAKO: Okay. Combination of my mother pointing me in the direction of and the encyclopedias.

SQEAKY: Yeah. And y'know my story doesn't involve my one horrible parent being horrible, 'cause that wasn't really related to religion.

MAKO: Yeah I mean it doesn't really involve that for me either, but that's largely because they were absent.


MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Well my mother was there. Blah. But I guess that doesn't really relate to the story.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So if people want to hear the whole story about how terrible my mother is, go to patreon.com/dysevidentia.

*Both laugh*

MAKO: Exclusive Patreon reward: Have a one-on-one conversation about how terrible Sqeaky's mother is.

SQEAKY: I mean there are people who will win that contest but, I've got a good head start.

MAKO: You have a strong contender. And yes, things can get worse but I don't think very many people are going to have those stories.

SQEAKY: Eh. Do we actually have to record a thing now and put it up on Patreon?

MAKO: Let's wait 'til we get more subscribers.


MAKO: But maybe.

SQEAKY: Dammit. There anything else we wanted to talk about on...

MAKO: On that? No.


*Guitar riff*

MAKO: I'm despaghettifying the thoughts in my head.

SQEAKY: Oh so it wasn't a church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: So we wanted to discuss reproducibility.

MAKO: Yeah we touched on that briefly last episode, uh then just kinda segued into other topics and we felt that it's a strong enough topic on it's own that we should come back and put a little bit more emphasis on it.

SQEAKY: Totally. So in principle reproducibility is just the ability for any observation, experiment, or piece of evidence to be regathered, reobserved, or redemonstrated, right?

MAKO: I was gonna say gathered or observed-


MAKO: -regardless of who's doing it over and over.

SQEAKY: Like every time I step on a scale. Regardless of the scale or what doctor's weighing me, they all tell me I'm fat.

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: That is crude but accurate.

SQEAKY: Well I bring that up 'cause a scale is just one tool for gathering evidence that the LAPD really should have used a few months ago.

*Sqeaky laughs*

MAKO: Uh, yup.

SQEAKY: Well they blew up a truck because they put like twice as much fireworks in it as it was rated to handle and they launched the lid of it a few hundred feet and they did something like nine hundred million-


SQEAKY: -dollars worth of damage. Nearly a billion dollars in damage.

SOURCE [41:06] LAPD fail to reproduce accurate explosive numbers - https://la.streetsblog.org/2021/08/11/anatomy-of-an-officer-involved-explosion-a-post-mortem-on-lapds-e-27th-street-fireworks-blast/

MAKO: They just eyeballed it and said it was good enough.

SQEAKY: They did. Uh, I put a link to la.streetsblog.org and it evicerates the LAPD on this disposal of fireworks.

MAKO: Yeah. I mean they deserve it.

SQEAKY: Yeah they skipped like a dozen safety protocols, they cut corners, it was a shitshow. More seriously on other topics related to reproducibility.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Stepping away from the LAPD and blatant shitposting.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: Reproducibility seems really important today because of things like masks and the spread of COVID, right?

MAKO: Like the use of, y'know, veterinary drugs that are not approved for COVID treatment.

SQEAKY: Yeah and reproducibility shows up in every medical test for ivermectin. Like what does it actually work on? But it can't- It can't be easy every time to see what is effective and what isn't.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: So I grabbed some quick statistics on some things that are not emotionally charged. I grabbed some statistics on seatbelts, right?

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: We all know they work more or less, but we also know that they don't work everytime. People still die in car crashes wearing seatbelts.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: It's just so much less common.

MAKO: Yeah it's a statistical thing depending on the nature of the crash and a bunch of other things that you can't predict ahead of time.

SQEAKY: Exactly. On statistics, some real simple statistics from the National Traffic and Safety Administration. Something like ninety-one percent or ish- Ninety percent or so of people are wearing seatbelts routinely, so only about ten percent aren't.

SOURCE [42:43] NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on seat belt effectiveness - https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And uh pretty much half- That's forty-seven percent I think. Half of car crash deaths are from people missing seatbelts. So half of the deaths are from one tenth of the people. Clearly seatbelts work. Now, this isn't the ideal way to gather this if you don't know how big your effect is because what if the effect is a one percent greater chance of surviving, right?

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And that might not be a safety measure that you want to use but if you don't have any better safety measure, that sounds good.

MAKO: I feel like- Maybe it's unnecessary but a quick clarification. Some people might think that "Oh, among the deaths, half of them had seatbelts the other half didn't, so it's a wash it's a fifty-fifty whether or not I'm actually going to die so what's the purpose of using a seatbelt" and that's the wrong way of looking at the numbers. If it was actually an even distribution for both of these assertions, then assuming, y'know, like you said, ten percent are not wearing the seatbelt, then when you're looking at just the automobile deaths, th ten percent of them would be.

SQEAKY: Yeah that's a really good point that you're making there. Some people look at the quantity of outcomes instead of the likelihood of each outcome.

MAKO: Yeah. It's just these are different ways of looking at the numbers and one of these you can- You're making a bad claim because that's not what the number is saying. So yeah if it was even and it actually didn't matter, then ten percent of the deaths would be people that didn't have seatbelts instead of fifty. It's just a much larger number than you would expect assuming it had no impact.

SQEAKY: Yeah or just to flip that around. Since ninety percent of people are wearing seatbelts, if they did nothing to prevent death you'd expect ninety percent of the deaths to come from people wearing seatbelts.

MAKO: Yeah, exactly.

SQEAKY: Or to flip this around totally, right? Uh I'm pretty sure that t-shirts don't do anything to prevent deaths in a car crash. So I would expect the percentage of people who die in a car crash to match the percentage of people driving while wearing t-shirts because they don't change that at all, there's other reasons to wear t-shirts.

MAKO: There's no correlation or causation. There's no interactivity. So you just expect it to blend in with the-


MAKO: - rest of the data.

SQEAKY: So we can look at things like masks and see how effective they are. And we can reproduce this data and we've linked to experiments showing this. And that's the whole reason we make experiments, is to reproduce results.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And that's the reason why experiments are rigidly controlled to make sure that you're controlling exactly what thing changes so you can make a clear determination about that thing. Now, sometimes it's not super easy.

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: So sometimes it isn't easy to know. As if you have two... two groups of data, if you have two bell curves- If you have two groups of data and you wanna ask which one's better for something. If you have two bell curves and you want to know if if this is just chance that made this happen or if this is really a difference in the data. There's a way that scientists get to this probability that this is just random chance, and it's become even more common to hear about this in more mainstream places. If you've heard of P, or what was the P value of a study. That's talking about the probability that a thing happened by chance. So you might have heard P is less than zero point five or point zero five.

MAKO: Yeah, point zero five.

SQEAKY: P is less than point zero five, means that the probability of this outcome being random chance was five percent or less. Most people take that as a pretty good indication that there's real evidence here but it can still be subject to abuse or subject to manipulation if people are being unscrupulous. So I've linked to a video: Three statistical tests every game developer should know. Right, even if you're not a game developer this is a great explanation of how to run data into Excel and-

SOURCE [46:17] Three Statistical Tests Every Game Developer Should Know - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl9V0U2SGeI
SOURCE [46:17] T Test explained - https://towardsdatascience.com/the-statistical-analysis-t-test-explained-for-beginners-and-experts-fd0e358bbb62

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -how to run the T test is what they cover in this video. And a T test is a mathematical statistical formula you can do approximate how likely that your data would look this way by chance. And the same T test is what scientific papers do to get this. Now uh, five percent chance is still one-in-twenty, so if somebody wanted to they could just run their test twenty times and pick the result they like and they could use that to lie to you.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But then we get back to reproducibility. When somebody else goes to reproduce that experiment, they'll get a different result ninety-five percent of the time.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: So uh, I linked to uh... An XKCD.

SOURCE [46:55] 1 in 20 chance is not enough to be certain, but it hints at further exploration - https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/882:_Significant

MAKO: They do a really good job of simplifying the problem that you just described.

SQEAKY: Yeah. What is the link between jelly beans and acne?

*Mako laughs*

SQEAKY: Consult Randall Monroe to find out.

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: The TLDR is: There isn't one. But it's easy for people that are quick to try to grab something that's clickbaitable to derive something that's clickbaitable.

SQEAKY: What's the link between a brass cone and thrust?

MAKO: So, an important lesson on reproducibility is- or an example of an important lesson on reproducibility would be the EM drive. Originally it was published back in 2001 but more recently it got really popular in media, particularly in 2014, 'cause they reported that there was some actually measured thrust from the EM drive. It was minut, it was very very small. And originally the belief was that if you just pump more power into it you'd get more thrust.

SOURCE [47:48] The “Impossible Drive” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EmDrive

SQEAKY: Now one noteworthy thing about this EM drive. This was some scientists in a NASA-like environment or something, right?

MAKO: No not the- In one of the tests that was conducted to try to-


MAKO: -reproduce the result was done in a NASA laboratory, yes.

SQEAKY: Okay so these are real scientists making a real device but the weird thing about the EM drive was it didn't have propellant.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And according to Issac Newton, y'know this guy that came up with three really good laws about how motion works, if you're moving in one direction and you're gonna accelerate, you've gotta send something in the other direction. Everytime I take a footstep, I'm pushing against the ground. And rockets push against rocket fuel.

MAKO: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

SQEAKY: The EM drive doesn't have anything, doesn't eject anything.

MAKO: Well, at the time of publication, that was- It was just a big question mark. 'Cause-


MAKO: Yeah people did acknowledge those laws that you're referencing but if it still produced thrust --and one experiment appeared to produce thrust-- then it's violating that. But still, if you have a result and you are reproducing that result and it seems to violate every law of physics that you currently have, well you have to go over with it with a fine tooth comb but if you do get to that point where you've exhausted every possibility and still violated physics, thing is at that point it's really not violating physics, you just have a bad understanding.

SQEAKY: Yeah you need to revise your understanding of physics. And that's all I was trying to say. That's why this was a big deal.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: There was an experiment from a reputable laboratory that looked like there was a motor that could be used in space that didn't have repellent-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -and that would have been a huge deal.

MAKO: Yeah the immediate application that most people in... like in NASA thought of --assuming it panned out-- was as a uh orbit correcting thruster on satellites.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah, have satellites that never fall down that never run out of rocket fuel, yeah.

MAKO: Yeah. That's a pretty good application for that.

SQEAKY: Yeah, all rockets right now- I'm sorry. All satellites right now either expire or need to be refueled and that's not practical most the time so rockets are kind of disposable.

MAKO: Yeah. So the EM drives' propulsion. We didn't understand how it worked. We threw a bunch of experiments at it uh from a number of different labs and none of the labs or experiments were able to reproduce the thrust. None of them. So that brings into question how the original laboratory that produced that result actually managed to produce that result. And the TLDR there is there was a whole mix of errors that they made. They were not accounting for all the variables, there were mistakes in calibration for their machines, so they were getting slightly off measurements. They weren't accounting for just the exhaust from the machine, exactly what the machine was exhausting I'm not entirely clear on, but they made a lot of very tiny errors.

SQEAKY: Didn't the original lab wind up figuring out a new way to verify it was their equipment or verify it wasn't the equipment by pointing the engine straight down? Because normally they were running it on a like a centrifuge like a merry-go-round and they would fire it and the thing would spin and the idea was well if you turn the engine around and it spins the other way, it's the engine. So they did that and it spun the direction the engine was pointing each time, they're like okay we won't get the merry-go-round to spin if we point the engine straight down. And then it still spun and that really threw a wrench into their thing because that meant that there was some other effect and that's how they found some of these errors. Or am I just-

MAKO: I'm unclear on those details that might be true, that might not. So yeah, just that there was an observation that couldn't be reproduced led to asking more questions and debunking the claim all together.

SQEAKY: Yeah it can be hard if you're a world-renowned scientist and you put your reputation on a thing and you're like yeah this new thing is going to be revolutionary, it's going to be revolutionary new rocket motor.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And if it turns out to not work, well you kind of have two options. You can knuckle down and fight it and dig harder for evidence and try to understand what went wrong and what you can document so other people can duplicate your findings or you need to acknowledge that you're wrong and, y'know, publish about how you were wrong, what you messed up, so that way other people can avoid those same mistakes in the future. And which way you go about it pends entirely on well, whether or not you're right, which is hard because everybody wants to be right-

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -but there are plenty of examples of real scientists succumbing to dysevidentia.

MAKO: Yeah.


MAKO: They're still humans too.

SQEAKY: Like the whole uh, paper where they linked vaccines to autism. That was nonsense. There's other doctors, scientists, linking other unrelated things to each other. Doctors and scientists are people too and you just said that, didn't you?

MAKO: Yes.


MAKO: That's even before you start getting into people who are malicious like the studies that try to refute climate change.

SQEAKY: Yeah, then you just have to go back to why does this one group that disagrees- Why can nobody else reproduce their findings except for the people funded by oil companies.

MAKO: Yup.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Yeah. The reproducibility is a very important part of the scientific process. Like the whole idea of science is that you are gathering knowledge for the betterment of everybody. And if only one person is able to reproduce the result, even if it's like over and over, that's a form or reproducibility, but it's not really the reproducibility science in particular cares about. Other people have to be able to generate the result as well, and that is even baked into the scientific method and I do have a Wikilink where they specifically label it as retest as the name of the step they give it, and that's a part of peer review. Anytime science gets solidified, and I mentioned the EM drive earlier as an example of people attempting to peer review it and it not passing that test. But if only one person is able to produce a result, then it's not for the benefit of everybody, it's not science.

SOURCE [53:42] - Reproducibility/Retesting is a critical part of the Scientific Method - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Elements_of_the_scientific_meth

SQEAKY: So making that more approachable for the listener, 'cause we're aiming to arm people with information to help the people with dysevidentia in their lives, right?

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: I'm imagining people who just got done- or who just heard about some miracle cure for the first time or people who just heard about some multi-level marketing scheme for the first time or people who are seeing some cure all and then this scientist says "I know this thing nobody else knows take my special magic pill that will heal you", all of these, they're greatly dampened by reproducibility, right?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: If this thing worked, more people would be doing it and you don't bring a product to market if it's not incredibly reproducible. I don't know. I don't know if I'm phrasing this very well. Didn't you have an experiment recently where you were able to reproduce some results but maybe not perfectly?

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: It is an imperfect problem, yes. But I had to pretty much be a cat sitter for a friend while they were gone and this cat was a very prolific vomiter, unfortunately. To try to curb that habit a little bit I just decided I want to test a few things, see if I can influence the rate at which the cat vomits.

SQEAKY: Hang on. How is someone or something prolific at vomiting?

MAKO: Uh...

SQEAKY: Was it distance? Volume?

MAKO: I mean, uh, kinda both. Depending. And also where the cat vomits. Like, a cat vomiting from the top of a cat tree is particularly bad to clean up 'cause you just have waterfalls of vomit.

SQEAKY: Oh God. Okay. That was not the- not the result- not the answer I was expecting. So you experimented to prevent waterfalls of vomit, okay.

MAKO: Among other things, yes.


MAKO: Mhm. So the first thing I thought of was okay, well maybe the cat's eating too much. That seems like an obvious starting point. So I dialed back the food a bit and where I thought would be a good point.

SQEAKY: No wait. You just started feeding it less? Or you fed it the same amount but more spread out? Or...

MAKO: Uh... Well I mean overall like the daily intake was reduced but I also changed the scheduling. The cat before was given a large quantity of food upfront and that was it. It was just one dumping of food per day. And I reduced the quantity to about two-thirds of the previous amount and I spaced that quantity over two feedings. So I did a little bit of both. Reducing quantity and spacing it out. And this had a pretty much immediate effect on the amount that the cat vomited. But okay, I can't readily prove that- or declare that y'know, my hypothesis was correct, 'cause there are other key factors like the owner's gone, so there might be some effect from the owner that's causing the cat to vomit as well.

SQEAKY: The cat could be allergic to the person.

MAKO: Could be. But I mean, yeah the amount of food that they're being fed seems like a reasonable take on all of it, or at least I thought so. But I was like okay, well we will see, we will try to keep the food exactly where it was and we'll collect data with this extra variable coming back into the picture. And the cat started vomiting more. And initially I thought that okay, it's probably something to do with the owner. And then I saw the owner scooping the food, putting in the bowl, and noticed that they were actually- They had reverted back to the original amount of food that they were giving the cat before they left. They weren't doing the same feeding that was I was doing. So I was like okay, all of this information since you got back is now useless. Actually do this, this is the amount that you should be giving the cat, let's resume for another week. And that reduced that the amount that the cat vomited. So I'm like alright, there definitely seems to be a strong causation in the amount of food that the cat receives and the amount of vomiting that the cat does at that point. I was able to reproduce the result with somebody else administering the food.

SQEAKY: So the cat just wasn't vomiting because it didn't like the way the owner looked or something.

MAKO: Well that argument still can technically be made because the vomiting wasn't reduced to zero.


MAKO: It was just reduced to less than half, but not zero.

SQEAKY: So the cat didn't vomit when it looked at you?

MAKO: Well there have been individual circumstances where the cat walked over to me, looked at me, then just vomited.

SQEAKY: Alright then I'm going to presume most of the vomiting was from looking at you. This just comports well with my understanding of everything.

MAKO: Uhuh.

*Sqeaky laughs*

SQEAKY: This is why we podcast. We're so photogenic we make cats barf.

MAKO: Ignoring all of the vomiting that the cat did before it met me, sure.

SQEAKY: Gah, gotta go and rub logic in. Why would you ruin it?

MAKO: That's what our podcast is all about.

*Guitar riff*

MAKO: Alright, as we get larger we're gonna have to dial it back a little.

SQEAKY: We say fuck. No one under eighteen's listening.

MAKO: It's not how that works and you know it.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Thanks to Qeldaar for video and graphics work. Thanks to AlphaWolf294 for transcription.

MAKO: Thanks to all of our Patreon supporters. Our supporters at the evidence investigator level or higher include Jarrod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Lazori78.

SQEAKY: Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.

MAKO: Copyright 2021, BlackTopp Studios Inc.

SQEAKY: Intro music was Slow by PitX. Used with permission.

© 2021 Copyright BlackTopp Studios Inc