The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit | Quillette

Source: The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit | Quillette

the trick is to unleash so many fallacies, misrepresentations of evidence, and other misleading or erroneous statements — at such a pace, and with such little regard for the norms of careful scholarship and/or charitable academic discourse — that your opponents, who do, perhaps, feel bound by such norms, and who have better things to do with their time than to write rebuttals to each of your papers, face a dilemma. Either they can ignore you, or they can put their own research priorities on hold to try to combat the worst of your offenses.

It’s a lose-lose situation. Ignore you, and you win by default. Engage you, and you win like the pig in the proverb who enjoys hanging out in the mud.

As the programmer Alberto Brandolini is reputed to have said: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”


Science isn’t the only place this asymmetry exists: see marketing, advertising, politics.

A Tale of Two Water Systems – The Atlantic

California’s population growth enables it to build top-of-the-line infrastructure—something that isn’t possible for Rust Belt cities.

Source: A Tale of Two Water Systems – The Atlantic

the infrastructure that gets that water to homes is expensive, and the cities are increasingly unable to afford it as more people move out and the tax base dwindles and there are fewer customers to bill


Population decline, like financial deflation, poses serious problems to systems not designed to anticipate and manage it.

Pokemon at 20 Years – The Atlantic

The Pokémon Company generates $2 billion a year in revenue. Since its inception 20 years ago today, the franchise has made ¥4.6 trillion, which at the current exchange rate is just over $40 billion—which ranks Pokémon among the most successful franchises, roughly in line with the Star Wars franchise, which has brought in roughly $42 billion since the first movies came out in 1977.

Source: Pokemon at 20 Years – The Atlantic