Sunday, 28 June 2009

Take down of Sandy S, not

Sometimes it's hard not to feel sad about the way this whole non debate around fatness just repeats itself, revolving around its debased heart. It doesn't even feel like debate at all, just a collection of redundant word rituals specifically designed to go nowhere whilst pretending they've gone somewhere.

The purpose is to preserve the hypothesis of dieting as the answer to fatness, not to discuss it. The best debates are supposed to have a life of their own, surprise, provoke, illuminate.

It's usually really hard to ge anything out of discussing weight with most people, they've taken fat people must diet as absolute. This supposed take down of Sandy Szwarc has already decided what it thinks yet tries to kid us it is drawn logically from scientific fact rather than personal inclination. The writer cannot back up his hyper no matter how hard he tries.

Like other critics, he deals in the worst kind of gossipy bitching inference damning through insinuation, making supposed links between Sandy and organizations which may or may not be dubious as if he is critiquing a scientific paper not a blog post.

Rather rather than trusting us to make up our own minds from carefully wrought assessment of her arguments. It's all about who said what about her and links to x, y, z, what has that to do with the defining principles of mechanics?

Thank goodness one contributor had the capacity to bring some sense of balance to the thread, which unsurprisingly ended it! Obviously, the people who run this blog are supposed to be A Grade brains, but on this particular occasion this man shows why 'obesity' has caused me to question assumptions of what intelligence is supposed to be and how it functions.

Having the nerve to question anything about the received wisdom is predictably linked by inference to creation science - that's the belief that god is the instigator of the universe and if there is evolution or a big bang then god did it, scientifically. This sounds far more like the accusers who've already decided dieting, for sure is going to succeed in making millions of fat people thin if they just stick with it, even though it hasn't yet. It will. Somehow. At some time in the unforseeable future for no reason.

Without them even so much as identifying the crucial missing factor that has prevented it from working thus far. Well, in order to do that, they'd have to admit the truth now and as you can see they can't.

They really, truly believe it in their heart of hearts and that's supposed to be good enough for those of us who know better.

Basically, Sandy did something simple and very clever, whether she pulled it off or not I cannot be sure, she used the rules of thermodynamics to explain why calorie restriction fails. The riposte seems to my amateurish eyes to be largely Blimpish windbaggery.

Making ludicrous gaps between things you couldn't slip a piece of fat reduced soyham, or sham between. There's apparently a distinct division between those who believe a calorie is a calorie-just cut intake and expend energy. And those who believe some calories count more or less than others-cut whole food groups-based on a deeply compelling premise-so that what you eat becomes so unpalatable your intake is reduced.

If he's having a quarrel with Sandy, you'd think he'd be getting pissy about the latter, but no, he treats both perfectly civilly, doesn't even mention in terms of results they are both as crap as each other. Must be out of politeness. He claims her argument is "bizarre" and "incoherent" when his own flummery it's not clear that he fully understood what she was saying nor could explain why he thought she was wrong. 
It is as if she had a reasonable, but dense, argument to make about the complexities of weight control 
There's no such thing as "weight control" the only principle on offer doesn't work. She was explaining why that doesn't work. Nor is it for this man to tell her what the scope of her own efforts should be. It's not up to her to come down to his level.

 And using that weird funky language;
"Thermodynamics must be obeyed...."
Obeyed, is he sure? Surely thermodynamics exposes the functioning of reality? It is not 'obeyed' it just is. It is a function of planet Earth that gravity pulls you toward it and keeps you down, if you jump up, you swiftly return to the ground, you do not 'obey' gravity you just do because it works. Which is more than we can say for bullshit pseudoscience.

This odd use of paternalistic authority crops up when people are trying to impress upon you that you aren't allowed to think for yourself, no matter how unavoidable that is.

I don't know if Sandy's explanation is right, but I do know he's defending what is defunct and claims to be using science, therefore I know he is bullshitting.

I have always thought there must be a way physics-thermodynamics-must be able to explain why diets don't work and it even though my grasp is virtually non existent, just the idea of it feels very exciting.

See if you can sense any of that in the post.

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