Bad Scholarship

What were the shorter misquotes?

This headline is wrong, incompetent, and grossly irresponsible. I’ll leave identifying the article’s error as an exercise for you guys. The headline is:

80% of all US dollars in existence were printed in the last 22 months (from $4 trillion in January 2020 to $20 trillion in October 2021)

Hundreds of papers promoted its use, though all relied on a single double blind, placebo controlled trial as support for its efficacy. Mentioned almost no where was that this trial did not show any superiority over placebo.

Harry Binswanger wrote:

Thus, gold is not “a barbarous relic” (Keynes)

This appears to be a misquote.

The’Barbarous Relic’ – It’s Not What You Think | James Turk Blog

This gold pejorative is attributed to Keynes. But here is what he really wrote in 1923 in A Tract on Monetary Reform : “already the gold standard is a barbarous relic”.

Is Gold A Barbarous Relic? | Seeking Alpha

Many claim that John Maynard Keynes said that gold is a barbarous relic. In reality, it was the gold standard he was referencing in his 1924 book on monetary reform.

Sudden Media Infatuation With Keynes' "Barbaric Relic" - Gold

In 1924, the seminal macro -economist, John Maynard Keynes, called the gold standard (and by proxy gold) “a barbarous relic”.

I haven’t checked the actual book but this looks pretty damning for Binswanger.

The original book is available at and the only mention of the word “barbarous” occurs on p. 172 in the sentence:

In truth, the gold standard is already a barbarous relic.

So Binswanger misquoted Keynes.

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I watched by Philion and saw this:

That is not what a “set” means. He made this up and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I guess he assumed it’s like a comedy set. The image he put behinds the words looks like a comedy set.

The main people Philion is talking about including Mystery and Style (Neil Strauss). Strauss wrote a popular book, The Game, which Philion already brought up.

Having read The Game, I remember that it has a lengthy terminology section at the end. Since Philion is trying to teach pickup terminology in his video, you might expect him to have just copied all the definitions from the book. That’d be pretty easy. But he definitely didn’t do that because the book says:

SET- noun: a group of people in a social setting. A two-set is a group of two people; a three-set is three people, and so on. Sets may contain women, men, or both (in which case they may be referred to as mixed sets). Origin: Mystery.

A “set” refers to a group of people, not a pickup routine.

This one mistake seems to indicate that Philion didn’t actually do his research for this video; he’s just being a cheerleader for hating a particular outgroup without bothering to learn about the outgroup first. For example, he mocked the reality TV show The Pickup Artist, but after seeing this error I doubt he actually watched it.

Philion got a few more terms wrong, seemingly on purpose, to mock PUA. But here’s another one where I think he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about:

Compare with what The Game says a neg is:

NEG- noun: an ambiguous statement or seemingly accidental insult delivered to a beautiful woman a pickup artist has just met, with the intent of actively demonstrating to her (or her friends) a lack of interest in her. For example: “Those are nice nails; are they real?” 2. Verb: to actively demonstrate a lack of interest in a beautiful woman by making an ambiguous statement, insulting her in a way that appears accidental, or offering constructive criticism. Also: neg bit. Origin: Mystery.

Note how negs are ambiguous rather than negative. Negs are one of the most controversial and criticized ideas in PUA, so anyone very familiar with PUA, or with the debate about PUA and criticism of PUA, ought to know what it means. Philion’s ignorance is really showing.

Philion showed some bad things done by individuals like RSD Tyler and Julien. He did not attempt to actually explain or critique PUA’s ideas, and he doesn’t actually know what those ideas are (he should find out what they are before concluding that they’re bad). He’s a tribalist who wanted to flame the outgroup for views.

After text searching many of the ~2000 YT comments I was unable to find anyone who noticed the glaring factual errors. I did find this defense of PUA which I partly agree with:

Ola Bassey

1 month ago

bro, i watch your videos on fitness frauds and on misogynists but this is just pure clownery. the fact that you mentioned peacocking as something pickup artists do and promote today is telling enough for how wrong and outdated your information is. pickup artistry itself is just strategy, i am a hardcore feminist, and i go through pickup artist content (mostly john anthony lifestyle) regularly and don’t engage in predatory behaviour or coercion or maniupulative tactics. i’ve been using it since I was 18 and it has helped me immensely with my dating life. the fact that you mentioned negging and peacocking as tactics puas use in 2022 shows how shallow your knowledge is. i admit and know that the manosphere itself is full of misogynists, red-pillers, black pillers, incels, alpha males etc, but that is different from outright saying that pua which is just structured dating strategy for men, doesn’t work or is inherently misogynistic. all men need to do is find the right information, there are tons of frauds out there. yes there are frauds out there and yes some men are misogynistic, but that doesn’t mean you’re a loser because you’re interested in improving your social skills or ability to achieve the dating life you require. you just have an unsubstantiated belief that the right woman (or man, if that’s your deal) will automatically land in your laps, which is frankly laughable, and magical thinking. this is just a sad hitpiece on pua, but unless you’re going to ban men from talking to women they find attractive, your hitpiece will do nothing about men seeking out structured dating strategy, its redundant. all you’ll do is reduce harrassment, which is a good thing. i hope this comment convinces some men that improving your dating skills or social skills is not a bad thing or something to be mocked just avoid coaches who hate women, i suggest John Anthony Lifestyle or A.G Hayden.

I also saw another comment that I partly agree with:


1 month ago (edited)

great video, amazing quality.

I think the PUA scene is just, overall and extremely simply put, taking advantage of how our society makes your average man non desirable to your average woman.

PUA sky rocketed at around 2005-2013 or so.

Who were the main audiences at those times? 16 to 30 year olds. If we look at what the media was portraying for those people when they were growing up, you had backstreet boys (and i love many of their songs to this day) who sang mostly about emotional men that unless you were a backstreet boy, would not be attractive to many women.

Same with N-Sync, as much as I loved N-Sync, lets be real about the content of their music

As well as many movies. I am not saying men should be extra dominant or force women ofc, all im saying is that it made young men confused, and think that by “showing their emotions” is what women wanted. The PUA community was an “overcorrection” and oversimplified what a man needs to do to get girls, because lets be real, if u r in highschool at those times, unless you are the jock, you aint getting girls, which was also further reinforced by media(specifically movies)

This made a lot of people extra shy and “traumatized” to approach women, and thats why you had that one guy that did a practice set with the woman in this video where he just stood there and stared at her even when she said if he would like to take a seat, the guy is frozen stiff, to portray him as cringy rather then a poor soul that had what I could assume as a terrible childhood when it comes to socializing is rather mean, poor sod was just looking for solutions to his problem.

At the end of the day, I’d say many grow out of the “need” for PUA guidance and realize that they don’t need help getting women they just need to go out and do shit and it will happen naturally, not for all, but for most. there is a lot more that can be said and specifics I have skipped here such as fantasies created by social media (think Dan Bilzarian type) but that’s would become a book rather then a comment at that point :)

I found this one searching “set” and noticed that it misuses the word “set” based on the misinformation in the video. I also disagree with the attitude like just try to interact with women and improve naturally. It’s reasonable for men to seek some actual advice and guidance. And women don’t actually like it when men with terrible social skills try to flirt with them, ask them out, etc. Women prefer if men become more competent before approaching.

Both of these long comments had zero replies and zero upvotes. YT is a terrible place for thoughtful discussion.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us says:

Forget what we learned in school from that old diagram called the tongue map, the one that says our five main tastes are detected by five distinct parts of the tongue. That the back has a big zone for blasts of bitter, the sides grab the sour and the salty, and the tip of the tongue has that one single spot for sweet. The tongue map is wrong. As researchers would discover in the 1970s, its creators misinterpreted the work of a German graduate student that was published in 1901; his experiments showed only that we might taste a little more sweetness on the tip of the tongue.

I haven’t fact checked this but it plausibly claims that other people failed really badly at scholarship and then got their confusions taught in schools.

EDIT: I put salt on the tip of my tongue and I could taste it.

Just 10% of reviewers of a test paper recommended acceptance when the sole listed author was obscure—but 59% endorsed the same manuscript when it carried the name of a Nobel laureate.

Wow, I wouldn’t have predicted that big of a gap. I guess my viewpoint isn’t negative/cynical enough to match reality :frowning:

I used youtube comment suite to download 1984 of the 2150 comments (idk why it doesn’t get all of them) for the video and searched for the term “neg” and got 44 results, 1 from Mystery mentioning its misuse. I skimmed the 43 other comments and I don’t think they mentioned it as being misused.

I found out that Mystery (Erik Von Markovik) posted 9 comments on the video. 2 of them being about the misuse of set and neg.

Erik von Markovik:

SET means a group of people. a 3-set is 3 people, a 4 set 4 people,etc. You got it wrong and then went down the wrong train of thought. Im on comment 3 telling you as the man who coined the term, you got it wrong. You didn't read the glossary to my books. pressing play.

Erik von Markovik:

OK you described NEGGING incorrectly. You made up the definition yourself, changed it to an insult. Here, from the very man (ME!) to coin the term and to define it, is the definition. "A neg is a statement or action to briefly disqualify oneself from being considered a potential suitor." Its build comfort.also the result is laughter, not offense. pressing play.

I searched “set”, got 31 results, and found one person other than Mystery mentioning it’s misuse:

Marek Lame:

SET is not the routine. SET is the group of girls.

link to all Mystery comments:

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Thanks for sharing.

So Mystery was called a “predator” to 327,000 people by a guy who doesn’t get basic facts right. He used to be on TV but he doesn’t have enough of a platform to respond today, so he wrote YT comments that got ignored. Sad. Another example of how the world would be a better place if Paths Forward were common.

The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef quotes a blog post:

“Well, that’s too bad, because I do think it was morally wrong.”[14]

But the words in the sentence are different in the original post:

Well that’s just too bad, because I do think it was morally wrong of me to publish that list.

She left out the “just” and also cut off the quote early which made it look like the end of a sentence when it wasn’t. Also a previous quote from the same post changes the italics even though the italics match in this one.

The book also summarizes events related to this blog post, and the story told doesn’t match reality (as I see it by looking at the actual posts). Also I guess he didn’t like the attention from the book because he took his whole blog down and the link in the book’s footnote is dead. The book says they’re engaged so maybe he mistakenly thought he would like the attention and had a say in whether to be included? Hopefully… Also the engagement may explain the biased summary of the story that she gave in her book about not being biased.

She also wrote about the same events:

He even published a list titled “Why It’s Plausible I’m Wrong,”

This is misleading because he didn’t put up a post with that title. It’s a section title within a post and she didn’t give a cite so it’s hard to find. Also her capitalization differs from the original: “Why it’s plausible I’m wrong”.

The book has many other flaws but it’s primarily the misquote that changes the wording that I wanted to share. BTW I checked archives from other dates. The most recent working one doesn’t have any edits to this wording nor does the oldest version.

What is going on? This book is from a major publisher and there’s no apparent benefit to misquoting it in this way. She didn’t twist his words for some agenda; she just changed them enough that she’s clearly doing something wrong but with no apparent motive (besides maybe minor editing to make the quote sound more polished?). And it’s a blog post; wouldn’t she use copy/paste to get the quote? Did she have the blog post open in her browser and go back and forth between it and her manuscript in order to type in the quote by hand!? That would be a bizarre process. Or does she or someone else change quotes during editing passes in the same way they’d edit non-quotes? Do they just run Grammarly or similar and see snippets from the book and edit them without reading the whole paragraph and realizing they’re within quote marks?

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TV show lying

super bad research by author

Multiple examples of very bad scholarship by medical researchers. And compares the incentives between medical research and gaming. In gaming, catching and punishing cheaters gets you views and praise. The community hates cheaters and goes after them aggressively. But in academia, there’s little reward for catching cheaters after they’re published, so journals often try to ignore problems instead of taking action.

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Around 16min:

it was a battle marked by lasker’s employment of the queen’s gambit and marshall’s use of the french defense

This makes no sense. The Queen’s Gambit is a white opening, while the French Defense is a black opening, and they’re incompatible. Lasker cannot play the Queen’s Gambit when he’s white and also, simultaneously, Mashall plays the French Defense in the games when he’s black, which are the same games.

Any experienced chess player should know this. It’s basic. This video is made by which has lots of very good chess players on staff. I see in the YouTube description a list with some strong players who were involved.

What actually happened in the match?

Reviewing the games, I see that Lasker with white always played e4 and Marshall played the French Defense. Lasker didn’t ever play the Queen’s Gambit. That was misinformation. Marshall did play the Queen’s Gambit multiple times, but not Lasker.

People who should know better just get stuff factually wrong – in videos meant to educate viewers who mostly don’t know a lot about it and will be easy to fool. They don’t really mind spreading misinformation to 280,000 people (and counting) and don’t take effective steps to avoid doing that.


Fact checking things like citations reveals that many people just repeat falsehoods (like that a particular number is in a particular book, when it just isn’t) without ever checking.

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Another whistleblower from academia:

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David Deutsch’s associate tweeted a Popper misquote. Here’s the azquotes page they were using but didn’t link to, and the text of the misquote that they only provided as an image:

Optimism is a duty. The future is open. It is not predetermined. No one can predict it, except by chance. We all contribute to determining it by what we do. We are all equally responsible for its success.

No source is given, but I found the quote with a source. It’s misquoted from Popper’s book All Life is Problem Solving. I’ll copy/paste the most similar part of the book:

Peace is necessary. Perhaps it will have to be fought for and defended for a long time to come. We must be prepared for that. And also be prepared for ourselves and the United Nations to make mistakes. But optimism is a duty.

Before I finish, I should just like to clarify this phrase, ‘Optimism is a duty’.

The future is open. It is not fixed in advance. So no one can predict it – except by chance. The possibilities lying within the future, both good and bad, are boundless. When I say, ‘Optimism is a duty’, this means not only that the future is open but that we all help to decide it through what we do. We are all jointly responsible for what is to come.

So we all have a duty, instead of predicting something bad, to support the things that may lead to a better future.

The quote being spread around on a bunch of different quote websites is like a rough paraphrase. It’s wrong by a lot of words. It’s so far off that it looks like maybe whoever made that version originally wasn’t even trying to quote, just to state a similar idea more succinctly, but somehow it’s now being spread as if it were a quote.

As context, note that David Deutsch put misquotes in his books.

Also, related to this, someone asserted on Facebook that the optimism is a duty idea is original to Kant, but that people now mistakenly believe it was Popper’s original idea:

“Optimism is a moral duty”
Immanuel Kant
(so often quoted by Karl Popper that many people now think that it’s an original popperian quote).

It appears that they did misquote.