Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pseudo-Scientific Sophistry: The Dangers of a New Dogma




There has been a deluge of news articles about American’s distrust of science, which is typically attributed to scientific illiteracy.

These articles usually homogenize scientific opinion, representing it as a unified category, which is pitted symbolically against the illiterate and distrustful public. There have been examples of this reasoning recently in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The argument developed in these articles rests upon a fundamental error: the argument presumes homogeneity within scientific opinion on the key issues used to demonstrate scientific illiteracy, including the tendency for these articles to represent unified scientific consensus on issues such as GM, when in fact the scientific community is divided upon the safety of the entire GM food chain – from genetically engineered mutations to Round-Up ready agricultural practices.

I fear there is a new witch hunt brewing that uses the code of scientific/scientifically-illiterate as a weapon. Scientists who question consensus will risk censure if their research questions and/or findings tread too closely to privileged practices, such as the GM “food” production model. Non-scientific authorities will be delegitimized and marginalized even when they deploy scientific deduction and induction in their analyses.

A certain authoritarian and myopic scientific dogma may become the official religion and dissenters, even those who deploy the scientific method, will be cast as ignorant and incapable of reason

In truth, science doesn’t work optimally when consensual, and totalitarian societies are notoriously unpleasant.

The authoritarian and dogmatic discourse of science is being deployed quite actively across the social field, including at my blog. Recently, critics have assailed my character, charging I am deluded by romantic ideas and that I do not deploy or understand science. These individuals ignore the fact that I draw upon scientific findings to make my arguments about the risks of ionizing radiation and the likely environmental causes of rising incidents of neurological, immunological, and endocrine diseases. 

Critics are particularly inclined to label my blog posts on radiation health effects as non-scientific.  Yet, I am particularly fond of warranting my claims about radiation using data/conclusions from scientific research paid for, or influenced by, the nuclear complex (e.g., such as Project Gabriel, Project Sunshine, BEAR, etc.). 

I am always careful to delineate my fact-based reasoning from my more intuitive inferences. Yet, both forms of knowledge are based on systemic analysis of relevant literatures and empirical observations of local ecologies.   

As a scholar, I am quite comfortable searching data bases, reading scholarly publications, and assessing assumptions and debates defining fields of study.  I’ve followed closely the scientific discourses of the Anthropocene and environmental genomics, which together explain and predict the eco-shocks now becoming increasingly visible, as the legacies of industrialization, war, and population explosion are revealed in collapsing ecologies and genomes. 

The science – data and analyses – of tipping points and mass extinction events BELIE the technologically utopian tales told by the chemical, food, carbon, and nuclear industries, among others who are often the peddlers of the new dogma.

The narratives of collapse found in the discourses of the Anthropocene and environmental genomics have relevance for my understandings of media reports of mass mortality events, occurring along the North American Pacific coast, including polar bears, walruses, seals, sea lions, orcas, starfish, sea urchins, moose, sea-birds, etc. etc. etc.   

The scientifically documented pattern of ESCALATING MASS MORTALITY EVENTS has relevance for my observations of deteriorating numbers of insects and birds in my environment and for increased incidents of deteriorating health, especially cancer rates and reproductive problems, among those around me. 

My intuitive inferences are based on my scholarly pursuits and my everyday observations of the world we live in. I look for patterns and possible contributing factors. I have hiked for years in the same mountainous areas and during those hikes I watch the sky and the animals. I am closely tied to my natural environment for it is there that I am most at home. My intuitive observations are hypotheses that evolve in relation to the range of data available.

The move to homogenize scientific consensus and pit it against the unreason of the masses is a move of power that is motivated by the desire for greater ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY.

I contend that the complexes seeking sovereignty through deployment of the code of scientific/scientifically-illiterate are not motivated by sustainable agendas.

If the end of human civilization truly beckons, then it is scientific sophistry that may well cause us to embrace our extinction.



44 comments:

  1. Maija I am a scholar as well, in radiation health physics, and nuclear science and engineering. I have devoted my life's work in the safe application of nuclear science. I hold an earned doctorate in my field and am widely published. We hold opposite views and I feel justified that my efforts move humanity forward. My field of study and those that are within my community are not evil nor work in an evil enterprise as you claim. I believe so many in your camp in se the excuse of scientific illiteracy to go down the wrong path and cone up with unsubstantiated conclusions. You can not argue the merits of science and technology without the right focus on the facts. Even with 3 major nuclear events humanity and the planet will survive and the consequences are no where where your side claims. Life on earth is a tradeoff between risk and benefit and the benefits of nuclear have far exceeded the risks. You can say otherwise but until you have clear conparitive understanding you will only speak to a homogeneous constituency. My constituents are everyone else that has derived great benefit from people's efforts such as myself

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    1. you need to start posting on EENews
      and back up your claims with scholarly
      articles etc…. The community there
      always enjoys " experts." You will find
      a healthy robust discussion of your
      point of view. It is a world wide forum.

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    2. I've been banned from enenews for the sole reason of being pronuclear. Enenews is an antinuclear echo chamber with no real authoritative voice.

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    3. It is my request to the One which creates and sustains my biosphere, that social parasite experts be weighed in the balance and meet their dessert. The evil treatment by them and their mercenary colleagues of minor offenders caught up in the "scientifically managed" archipelagos, is stunning. What kind of beings are they? "Just doing my job" will not cut it come the judgement day. If anonymous above is one of them I wish him conversion/repentance or immediate painful cessation.conclusion. Industrial "science" is the baby of the evil bankers who truly despise their maker and the naive who have to deal with pragmatist Synopticon.

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    4. LIke many scientists you present statements of fact when what you should do is present hypotheses. Induction not deduction. There is an obvious arrogance present in the scientific fields. Like someone who has very large number you overlook that the positive integers are infinite in number and so your very large number is hardly a start towards the unreachable end. However, you confidence alone tags you as a professional scientist as humility would clearly be very out of place.
      No one knows how many nuclear events the life on this planet can handle--certainly not you. Please consider what you do not know as more important that what you know. Remember Socrates was said to be the wisest of men because he knew nothing and knew it!

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    5. Technology did not evolve by knowing nothing. Even after 100 years of automobile and aircraft disaster the risks associated with nuclear are still much lower. Even given the non perfect record. You do not seem to understand that the consequences of major nuclear accidents are more psychological than radiological. This we know for a fact. There is no large scale bio accumulation occuring and all the antinuclear side has is hyperbole not fact.

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    6. There is a difference between science and engineering skill sets. Your arguments are with the wrong demographic.

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    7. Humanities degrees never built bridges, skyscrapers, massive electric distribution systems. Mankind has moved out of the Industrial revolution. Technology drives information, commerce, and progress. It must be nice to wax philosophicallly however many of us are building and designing future technologies all to move the human condition forward.

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  2. Brilliant article Majia, of course the New York Times et al the mouthpieces of the rich and powerful (now only 80 individuals control half the world's wealth) are going to attempt to refute their critics, they have the money to do so. I'm surprised they also did not throw in the CIA coined term "conspiracy theorists" in order to smear their opponents, but that is a new one on me, "scientific illiterates" (given the modern education system denies scientific education to the masses who are supposed to work at MacDonalds or be replaced by robots.

    As for the scientists themselves, ethics is not something they spend a lot of time thinking about, it is mainly, can we get the funding and will this make some corporation a lot of money. Of course not all scientists are evil, just like not all lawyers are liars or all bankers are thieves (but that forms the exception to the rule).

    Please check out my new paper that challenges the captured opposition and how they defend nuclear poisoning of the Earth:

    http://www.activistpost.com/2015/02/captured-opposition-defends-nuclear.html

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  3. No one is captured. Working in nuclear is a higher calling and only for those passionate about improving the human condition through responsible application of the power and benefits of the atom. At the end of the day a million people strong work in this enterprise.

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    1. Higher calling? Next war, history suggests is unavoidable, civilian nuke reactors will be targeted. A reactor is a dirty bomb primed to spread denial of areas and worse secondary, multi-year effects. There are more reasonable ways to generate steam

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    2. All professions are "captured" in some way.They are captured mentally by the mind-set of their chosen profession and financially by the pay-cheque at the end of the month.

      Nuclear, is captured by false safety claims, as is the medical profession. Both believe that ionizing radiation can cure a condition(Cancer), which is now known to be caused by ionizing radiation, using a machine which was declared to be a cure for Cancer, 30 years before we discovered ionizing radiation caused Cancer. They also use ionizing radiation to search for Cancer, but this will not cause Cancer - even if applied repeatedly, over a number of years, at a time when humans are considered mote susceptible to Cancer (later life). The same profession cannot explain the causes of Cancer, but feels able to offer "treatment". This "treatment" is highly profitable to the profession. Cancer is on the rise.

      Doctors also believe all ailments can be cured by chemistry, but only those chemicals which are 1) under patent 2)profitable 3)supplied by someone in their profession 4)invented by big pharma.
      They also believe that herbal remedies don't work and proponents of those remedies are frauds which cause harm. How something can 1) be ineffective and 2) cause harm - is never explained. This is despite the number of pharmacological interventions prescribed by their profession which rely on chemicals derived from nature (herbal remedies) and suppliers of those chemicals scouring the world and patenting other herbal remedies for future use - but only those which are 1)patentable, 2)profitable etc.

      Vitamins, which are in fact chemicals, are of no help whatsoever, despite being responsible for the greatest improvements in health in human history( along with improved sanitation) for which doctors claim credit.

      Psychiatrists believe mental illness is a chemical imbalance which they can neither prove nor test for, the cure to which is the application of chemicals which result in a chemical imbalance. The mental illnesses they claim to cure(treat) can be invoked in non-ill patients by the ingestion of those same drugs. Mental illness is on the rise. As is suicide.

      All I ask from anyone is a healthy scepticism regarding the claims of those who profit from those claims.

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    3. You drive a car, use electricity, you contribute to the consumption of resources. You want people to burn wood and live in tee pees good luck with that. Grow a pair and join the human race.

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    4. Why do socialist antinukes hate capitalism and believe those that offer a different opinion must be paid for by businesses or governments they feel threatened by? This collection of society must feel disenfranchised in done way. They are full of sound and fury signifying nothing. The painful truth they face is that the silent majority is on to their bafoonery as evidenced by how they are being portrayed in media and film. I watched a recent documentary and these fools were eating bananas while obfuscating facts and lamenting no safe radiation mantra. What an embarrassing group of misguided delusional brainwashed humans. Definitely not humanity at their best.

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    5. Are the last 2 comments addressing any points in particular? It's very hard to tell. Socialism? Capitalism? Wood burning and tee-pees? A reply is supposed to be a response - you know like a conversation...

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    6. Why does your side hate people involved with technology you hate? No one is captured. I've seen many come and go in many professions. We all can't live off trust funds. Healthy skepticism doesn't mean making things up. Do you really believe all cancer is due to radiation exposure of the most minute degree? The science doesn't support that "healthy skepticism". I think when the facts are presented your arguments are shot down. There is a fine line between skepticism and conspiracy theory. So why continue believing in such? Occam's razor says the simplest explanation is usually correct. Simply put, the effects of trace and minute quantities of radiation do not pose a human health risk sine the human population is on an exponential increase. That increase needs power not to tax the planet and increase global warming. Nuclear is the logical choice.

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    7. Well, that's a slightly better response. I will try to address each point.

      Why do you assume that I hate anybody or hate technology or that I have a side? Disagreement is not hate. I work in IT and I code for a living - I don't hate technology - I love it.

      My premise of "captured" is summed up as the willingness of people to compromise their principles and ethics to remain employed. Some will even break the law. I never mentioned people employed to disseminate falsehoods. A soldier's mind-set could be described as captured, as they have to believe they are right and the enemy deserves to die.

      Sorry, I don't have a trust fund - wish I did. I never said all cancer - I said ionizing radiation is known to cause cancer and outlined a logical impossibility with regards to cancer treatment using radiation. In order to invoke Occam's razor you would have to supply an alternative theory - which you haven't. Also, I'm not suggesting a conspiracy theory - I'm stating a known fact "ionizing radiation causes Cancer. Period". I'm talking about radiotherapy - ionizing radiation powerful enough to destroy human cells and damage DNA leading to mutation - not small trace exposure.

      Nuclear is just one option. There are others. Nuclear carries a significant penalty - if you get it wrong as well as on-going environmental impact, huge costs, radioactive waste and a problematic clean-up - that is all people are saying. We are also saying - science is not infallible or nor are people. For technologies which lack serious consequences - fine, but for nuclear, a little more public consultation may be in order.

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    8. Ya atomsforpeace, "putting it on the line"....funny how you call going to work "putting it on the line" and then state how safe they are.

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    9. The new nuclear is not your fathers or your grandfather's nuclear. Ionizing radiation of a specic acute amount leads to deleterious effects. There is no evidence for a LNT dose-cancer relationship. Many many studies say 100 rem is the threshold for acute effects. There are many IT specialists in nuclear.

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    10. Sorry, difficult to tell if it's the same person responding. "deleterious effects" - yeah, cancer.
      LNT dose relationship is not relevant. I'm talking about radiotherapy - a known deleterious effect - cell death. I don't need to be a nuclear expert to spot a logical impossibility.

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    11. You must be very young to be so naive. Are you fimiliar with the word avarice which means an excessive love of power and wealth. We already as humans have too much power for our good. Look at what it has done to the planet and many many innocent people. For example DU has been used in Iraq and has poisoned the land worse than when the Romans salted the land around Carthage. I could go on but surely you must have read about the vast contamination of the planet by chemicals, etc.. I realize that the universities are now very corrupt and that graduate students take decades if ever to recover from the indoctrination they receive. And beyond intelligence and knowledge there is wisdom which I find the owner of this blog to display but not you! As for higher calling perhaps it is true that scientists use a lot of pot? And hear voices?

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  4. Notice that the Trolls are always "anonymous". Who could possibly defend the insanity of the nuclear enterprise, and this cowardly troll does not even bother to read my article or refute the arguments presented in the link above. Conflicts of interest up the wazoo on behalf of the nuke industry whose mortal enemy is renewables. CIA paid trolls have a big budget fun for the whole family don't try this at home kids. USG now wants to censor websites critical of their vast criminal empire, See: The Gulag Archipelago. Rw

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    1. You are replying anonymous. That's hypocrisy. Enenews is a waste of bandwidth and only serves antinuclear sheeple.

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    2. Quote: "Full Definition of HYPOCRISY
      1: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
      2: an act or instance of hypocrisy "
      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrisy

      She identified herself in her comment. It is so telling that you fail to properly frame your many opinions as such, nor do you provide supporting evidence to those opinions you claim are fact. You could thank her for not having banned you (yet).

      "Your notions, though many, are not worth a penny"

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    3. Antinuclea activists do more harm than good. More radiation comes from burning coal than nuclear. I'll leave it at that. Enenees is for the brainwashed. Get a real job. But first a bath and haircut might be in order.

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    4. We are not anonymous, we are legion, and we are going to war against those who have sold out for their self interest, and lie causing damage to humanity.

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    5. LOL, ya, I nailed the troll in question as the atomsforpeace, even before I saw his classic
      Get a real job. But first a bath and haircut might be in order." the unwashed hippies are the enemies...

      that there is the level of thinking of these "higher calling" asshatas

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    6. Oh the nuclear wannabe surfaces. My Gladwell hours are well above any that you can obtain in your self taught self styled blog. I see you are trying desperately to link a Borax style explosion to Fuku 3. Where were the large acute neutron doses associated with a moderated prompt crit? Read LA-13638 then get back to me. I'm in good with those that know the subject real well. You never proved how a reactor can go from $100 dollars shutdown to prompt critical. Do you even understand reactor theory and kinetics or would another email from Gundersen who himself is no expert or authority suffice. And who cares if you saved all my snippets. At the end of the day you are still dealing with someone much much more knowledgeable than you in the subject. Take it easy and stop trying to explain something you have no formal or professional understanding. I did offer to tutor you in the specifics.

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    7. I wasn't replying anonymously like the CIA paid Trolls and garbage they post, I cited my article at Activist Post, see: Richard Wilcox

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    8. ActivistPost is an oxymoron. Activists do not contribute to the common good or greater good. Its a waste of time for antinukes and sets humanity back a notch.

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    9. The Troll strategy: ad hominem smears (spread hate); invective (spread viciousness); special pleading (ignore evidence). Need I say more about this coward anonymous troll? - Richard Wilcox

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    10. I'm not the one calling people names (troll) and spreading hate. Get a life. Nuclear technology is far reaching. For example if you rely on GPSin your phone its made possible by atomic clocks which help synchronize sattelites. So don't forget nuclear tech is pervasive.

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  5. It would nice if Anonymous's numbered themselves so they could be more easily distinguished. This is the first time I have seen so many in one place. Sorry for Maija that she has this on her blog. I have come here for some time and found the material of great value. I hope the naughty Anonymous will do some more reading in the humanities and spend some time with dogs, cats and nature so that he will have a chance to reflect on his education and thoughts.

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    1. I have a dog, just played with her. I am allergic to cats. I am not young. I am semiretired. You would do well to thank those that make technology you take for granted. We live human n a modern world. Let's not make this about how people versed in humanities and social sciences try their hand at nuclear science and engineering. As stock has shown on his blog nuclear science and technology is not for the unqualified, unstudied, and unskilled. I am very familiar with radiation sciences and technology and those that patronize this site and other antinuclear fear sites like Enenews are just deluded in their own ignorance. Pink clouds from Fukushima? Give me a break. No self respecting individual versed in nuclear physics, or tech would even fathom such nonsense. Their pseudoscience IS their undoing. So when you read Maija's repons consider antinuclear "science" as just that. The ICRP has already dismissed Busby and ECRR as an example. They do not teach their methods because it is plain wrong. Something to think about when you villify those that have real knowledge.

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    2. There was a time when the follies of men would be washed away by the passing of time. But now with the invention of things like DU by clever scientists and engineers we have a contaminant that no amount of human time will take away. I have not without reluctance come to the conclusion that many of our so called best scientists are sociopaths. And many of the rest, cowards. No, technology has not made life so much better that we should bow down and scrape the earth when they come our way. Science and technology now are bringing death and more death and more until this planet shall be stripped of life.

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    3. DU is less radioactive than natural uranium that is mined from the ground. Without science and technology man is back in the Dark Ages.

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  6. The Earth is SICK because the Science Base is wrong. The entire atomic theory is False. There is no safe usage of Biological Life destroying Nuclear energy. Only fools think this can be done.
    To understand the New Atomic structure and the billions of new inventions that help the earth not destroy it can be found at joecellwaterscience.com

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  7. 40 billion dollars stolen by NASA on fake moon landings! Talk about scientific fraud...

    http://s37.podbean.com/pb/27b12a6b3bbf8e016e8d71d31c785518/54deb8e5/data1/blogs60/722245/uploads/TheRealDealep16mp3.mp3

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    1. And this is a perfect example why US science education is in the dismal state of affairs as it is currently. When people like this can come out with wild-a** conspiracy theories then no wonder pseudoscience moves in to fill the vacuum in between these people's ears. Case closed.

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    2. Anonymous Troll ignores evidence (special pleading), right of the CIA paid troll textbook. Not that the mainstream engages in conspiracies, no, no, no, as Activist Post has documented ad nauseum... chemtrails, 911, false flag terror, etc. Trolls look the other way... - Have a nice troll day! - Richard Wilcox

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  8. Eat your GMO gruel and shut up.

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  9. Quote: "Curious. Coinkydink?
    http://nuclear-news.net/?s=roger+helbig "
    http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2014/11/virus-laden-troll-links-at-enenews.html?showComment=1418581330743#c5662934258659333634

    Thanks to MBP/MarineBiologyHelthP/WKM/MoFoe/MFX/aunavoz/FactChucker/TurdFergusson/Niall/Atoms4Peace/GoodPu(AKA General(in-depth)ProctologyPractitioner)/Nessie/DCduff/SOCREF(etc,etc), for self-informing! Your PR for the "nukular" industry is very reminiscent of "own-goals"!

    Quote of "NoPu_IsGoodPu: "Time for a new name. I only have 17 registered so far."
    http://enenews.com/fukushima-student-documentary-japan-going-insane-like-about-killed-gotten-better-government-abandoned-anyone-please-please-save-lives-fukushima-people-children-video/comment-page-1#comment-602814

    It seems no wonder to me that the soddish Focker(s) keeps getting banned, imhpo!

    Why not surprise us, and expound upon Carrington Event protection, flood control, drone risk, and other genuine concerns and challenges for the declining nuclear industry?

    Otherwise, kindly Sod-Off, Baldrick!

    Quote: "Blackadder: Right. Now all we have to do is fill in this MP application form. "Name"...Baldrick. First name?
    Baldrick: Er... I'm not sure.
    Blackadder: Well, you must have some idea.
    Baldrick: Well, it might be Sod-Off.
    Blackadder: What?
    Baldrick: Well, when I was little and I used to play in the gutter, I used to say to the other snipes "Hello, my name's Baldrick." And they'd say "Yes, we know: Sod-Off Baldrick."
    Blackadder: All right, "Mr S. Baldrick." Now then, "Distinguishing features".... None.
    Baldrick: Hold on. I've got this big growth in the middle of my face.
    Blackadder: That's your nose, Baldrick. Now, "Any history of insanity in the family?"... Tell you what. I'll cross out the "in." "Any history of sanity in the family?" ... None whatsoever. Now, "Criminal record?"
    Baldrick: Absolutely not.
    Blackadder: Oh, come on, Baldrick, you're going to be an MP, for God's sake! Look, I'll just put "Fraud and sexual deviancy"."
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Blackadder#Dish_and_Dishonesty

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