Malcolm Kendrick


Subpage of anglo-pyramidologist/darryl-l-smith/skeptic-from-britain/ 616 replies 460 replies

Dr. Kendrick’s blog came to my attention because I was accused of being Skeptic from Britain. When I looked, it was clear who this was and I have verified the identity through a review of contributions, both on Wikipedia and on RationalWiki, a hangout for “skeptics” who are, much more often, pseudoskeptics.

Dr. Kendrick’s Wikipedia article, and low-carb food plans and related information, in general, were attacked by that faction. It has not been uncommon. The same faction attacks and attempts to suppress “non-mainstream” information in Wikipedia, far more than policy would allow, and often being decades out-of-date.

This page will examine the issues, and hopefully provide some guidance for those who tangle with that faction. Misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works is very common, so perhaps some of that can be cleared up.

It is possible that Dr. Kendrick’s biography could be restored, but what many in the public could think would be the way to accomplish that could backfire, I’ve seen this many times.

Dr. Kendrick has said that he doesn’t know whom to believe. There is a simple answer to that, which should be familiar to any genuine skeptic: don’t believe as “truth” anyone or anything. Not even — or not especially — y0urself.

However, there are choices to make, and a decision to trust something means to rely on it, “belief” is not necessary and can even be harmful.

In making such choices, we will properly consider the evidence available, and one critical point: trusting someone who is anonymous, concealing their identity, is very risky.

Wikipedia, as a community, decided early on to trust anonymous users. Instead of being realistic, and allowing anonymous users to make suggestions, to then be verified by trusted users, with real identities, actually responsible people, they went for what made the project grow quickly, but with massive inefficiency, and, then, it became, over time, highly vulnerable to factional editing and administration.

Before I proceed with examining what Dr. Kendrick wrote, I watched some videos of him.

I recommend both of these, but the second had me ROTFL, when the image of Ancel Keys was shown. If you know the history of the “lipid hypothesis,” you will understand. Kendrick is a skilled speaker.

Both Kendrick and I have respect for the science journalist, Gary Taubes. Taubes wrote “Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion.” Taubes’ book represented common thinking at the time, and those times were indeed “weird,” and judgment was “short,” or, more accurately, rushed. That book remains the best early history of the topic. There is work under way that I intend to show to him when it’s published.

Taubes is not a fanatic believer in his prior opinions, but neither will he drop them without clear evidence.

Taubes went on to write a 2002 New York Times Magazine piece “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?”, and followed with  Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease in 2007. What the Wikipedia article does not mention is that he also researched the “commons wisdom” on dietary salt, which I’m sure Dr. Kendrick also appreciates.

Skeptic from Britain did edit the Wikipedia article on Gary Taubes. I will cover what happened on another subpage, it reveals possible sock puppets of Skeptic of Britain. SfB is a highly sophisticated long-term Wikipedia Point-of-View pusher, and the argument made for the restoration of the SfB edit is what he’d be expected to say. It was against policy, and that IP was blocked by a checkuser.

(SfB also may create straw man socks that will appear to argue the opposite of his point of view. And then the world is filled with people who just casually write whatever pops into their head. To identify clear socking, I don’t just look at single signs and hint, but rather at overall patterns and correlations.) Since

one of the purposes of this page is to help low-carbers and others help make Wikipedia neutral, start with this principle:

  • Do not make claims on Wikipedia that another user is a sock or a paid editor with a conflict of interest, unless (1) it is necessary, (2) you have verifiable proof, (3) you know how to do this within policy — not a great idea for anyone without a great deal of experience. I did it with a few thousand edits, but I studied policy extensively and still made lots of mistakes. If you offend a faction that includes administrators, it can be wiki-suicide.

Let’s look at Dr. Kendrick’s first post:

Dr Malcolm Kendrick – deletion from Wikipedia 

I thought I should tell you that I am about to be deleted from Wikipedia. Someone sent me a message to this effect. It seems that someone from Manchester entitled User:Skeptic from Britain has decided that I am a quack and my presence should be removed from the historical record.

Dr. Kendrick, fortunately, was not about to be deleted. Rather, an article, a biography, was nominated for deletion. This happens all the time. The nomination was abusive, to be sure. I don’t see that anyone with experience knew what to actually do. The first issue would be to protect the content. First of all, it is not actually “deleted.” Rather, it is hidden, so that only administrators can see it. There is a process for reversing a deletion decision, but if the issues that led to deletion in the first place have not been addressed, it would be a waste of time to follow it. The subject of the biography being a “quack” is irrelevant to keeping a biography, or to pretty much anything, and was unnecessarily uncivil. Rather, SfB was canvassing for votes from the “skeptical” faction, and that’s a dog-whistle for them.

Just in case, if I were interested in an article, and I deletion were proposed, I would download the XML for the article, including complete edit history. It may be possible to recover that, if it matters, from the regular “dumps,” but recovering deleted pages from dumps, expecially with history, can be very difficult. Revering the last version of the article is easier, but any administrator could assist. One may request, for example, that the page be restored to one’s own user space for further work (and then later, when the article is ready for prime time, it can be moved back into mainspace.

A copy of the article as of December 5, 2018.

The nominator, Skeptic from Britain, did not call Dr. Kendrick a “quack,” not in the nomination. Here it is, my emphasis:

Malcolm Kendrick is a fringe figure who agues [sic] against the lipid hypothesis. He denies that blood cholesterol levels are responsible for heart disease and in opposition to the medical community advocates a high-fat high-cholesterol diet as healthy. Problem is there is a lack of reliable sources that discuss his ideas. His book The Great Cholesterol Con was not reviewed in any science journals. Kendrick is involved with the The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, I suggest deleting his article and redirecting his name to that. Skeptic from Britain (talk) 20:29, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

The nomination is almost entirely gratuitious, there is only one real and relevant reason given, a lack of “reliable sources,” which is a term of art on Wikipeda, it does not have the ordinary meaning. Reliable sources, by Wikipedia policy, can be very unreliable in ordinary meanings, and the reverse. For a biography of a living person, there must be adequate secondary reliable sources (newspapers would be an example) *about the person,* more than “in passing.” The article as it stood had not one single fact about Dr. Kendrick from a reliable source. There was a list of works published, and works by Dr. Kendrick would not be reliable source for anything but themselves (subject to editorial consensus). And then the only “notes” were references to the books by Dr. Kendricks.

The pseudoskeptical faction will emphasize an alleged position of the “medical community,” which can, in fact, represent cherry-picked opinions, often holdovers from earlier idea that gained currency before being rejected. In the case I’m most familiar with, recent peer-reviewed reviews of “cold fusion” were disallowed by the faction, simply by revert-warring them out, while 20-year old reviews were maintained. Science moves on. I never pushed for a claim that cold fusion was no longer “fringe,” but “emerging science.” However, publication in journals over the last 15 years indicates it. “Fringe” is not a synomym for “wrong,” and fringe medicine is not quackery, unless it pretends to what it is not.

SfB wrongly presents Kendrick’s ideas, and he may have done the same with Taubes. Kendrick, quite simply, is not as far out on the fringe as this faction would believe. It is far more honest to present the reversal of the demonization of fat and the debunking of the lipid hypothesis as emerging science, still controversial.

However, the question for Wikipedia is not what Dr. Kendrick, or Skeptic from Britain, or his friend JzG who closed the AfD discussion, or the “medical community” think. It is what is in “reliable sources,” so that information presented in articles can be verified. That is true for all articles on Wikipedia. I may be an expert on this or that, but I cannot properly write an article off the top of my head, no matter how well I *know* it. However, if I truly know the subject, I should also be familiar with sources that can be cited.

But it can be tricky. Wikipedia wants secondary sources, not primary sources, though it can be rather inconsistent on that. A research paper is a primary source except as it reviews other papers. It’s a secondary source on them.

So review of Dr. Kendrick’s books could be secondary sources, if the publishers are such as to make them “reliable.” (“Reliable” is about the publisher, not the author, though the faction will claim that an author is “fringe” and therefore not reliable, but that’s in violation of guidelines.

But is this about Dr. Kendrick or about his book.?

I have no idea who this person is, perhaps it is possible to find out? It seems a bit harsh as I recently contributed money to Wikipedia to keep it going. Was this a terrible mistake?

That’s another issue. I find Wikipedia quite useful, but it is also, at times, an abusive organization. There are actually two “organizations.” There is the WikiMedia Foundation, legal owner of Wikipedia, and, in theory, the Foundation cedes all content control to the other “organization,” the Community, which is unstructured and chaotic and … unreliable. The money goes to develop software, maintain the servers, and only a little subsidizes a few editors in various projects (which will not generally be controversial).

Who the person is, is normally irrelevant on Wikipedia. Attacking the nominator is a classic losing argument on Wikipedia. The nominator will not be making the decision to keep or delete. In this case, SfB actually suggested what might have been a better outcome, nobody picked up on it and supported it. JzG would be heavily disposed to delete anything fringe (I would say he has a general conflict of interest on the “fringe.”) If “redirect” had been properly proposed, then the article could have been edited into a redirect and the page history kept public. I was active on Wikipedia up to about a decade ago. It is as if they have learned nothing, and they seem to be devolving.

Given the policies, the close as deletion seems reasonable. It is not a final decision, and it certainly is not removing Dr. Kendrick from the “historical record.” It is simply a decision that, as it stood, the article was inadequately sourced. Now, did anyone come up with adequate sources in the discussion?

Some users appeared and argued that Kendrick’s ideas were valid. Again, that is a losing argument. SfB easily skewered them. What I notice is that he implied that reliable sources should be peer-reviewed journals. That was incorrect, but the last thing he wanted was to help low-carb supporters figure out that popular magazines and newspapers and some web sites are reliable source. Blogs normally are not, unless he wants to use one, as he did in the Taubes article.

Skeptic from Britain argued uncivilly and might have been blocked for it. He was warned. He has high experience, and he knew what was coming. His brother had pointed to him on Encyclopedia Brittanica and he could see it coming that he’d be outed. So he used it to indirectly attack an enemy, because, at that point, nobody had actually given his real name.

The AfD Talk page is full of completely irrelevant arguments (mixed with radical misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works.) For example, SfB did not make the decision to delete the article, he merely proposed it and made some arguments, which were poor in many respects and helped trigger the outraged response, but that was all irrelevant to Keep/Delete.

Policy is clear on biographies of living persons. Again, any sources?

Keep – author of several books, and a 5 second google news search show mentions in Guardian and Telegraph [2], and many other news sources. Deletion request seems to be more of a response to Kendrick’s stance which is critical to the mainstream, but notability is pretty clear here. ATren (talk) 00:06, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

You haven’t been active on Wikipedia since 7 May 2015 yet you turn up here today. The socking and meat-puppetry on here has gotten out of hand. Other new accounts are still leaving comments here Articles_for_deletion/Malcolm_Kendrick talk Skeptic from Britain (talk) 00:32, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Perhaps you can address my substantive points rather than attacking my lack of activity? ATren (talk) 04:42, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes there is some newspaper coverage, but this sets up a false balance, the Guardian article [3] was written by Kendrick himself and the others only mention Kendrick in a single sentence or two. In the Telegraph article [4] the British Heart Foundation disputed a study which Kendrick co-authored and claims was “robust”. But none of these articles are specifically about Kendrick. Aseem Malhotra an associate of Kendrick has reliable sources on his article and newspaper coverage. Kendrick lacks reliable sources that discuss his ideas in any detail. Skeptic from Britain (talk) 05:21, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Atren is a well-known editor to me, an old-timer. Many old-timers have disappeared. These were attempts to provide reliable sources, but were they put in the article? This is a problem with AfD process. People are reluctant to work on an article if it is likely to be deleted! Years ago, “junkyard space” was suggested, or “pure wiki deletion” which would be blanking and deprecating a page, but leaving the content accessible. Instead, Wikipedia went to a system that increasingly empowered administrators and disempowered the community.

SfB is arguing just as I would expect Darryl to argue. There is a major misdirection in it. The problem is not a lack of reliable sources that discuss his “ideas.” What is missing is sources that discuss *him*. A Wikipedia bio is primarily about the person. Ideas can be discussed and covered without the person. Indeed, Kendrick’s books may be reliable source, it appearing that John Blake and Columbus Publishing are independent publishers, not vanity press. His own books cannot be reliable source about him, though sometimes once notability is established by sufficient coverage in reliable sources, some statement might be or cited. It’s an arcane process, it can take some years to become accustomed to it. It works, sort of. But the system of enforcing the policies and guidelines is badly broken. SfB was acting up, creating a huge mess, unnecessary, by accusing Kendrick of being fringe, etc.

And he lied about the disclosure of his identity. He was attempting to confirm the claims that a certain person (originally full name, then with three initials given) was him. But that was not him at all, and his real identity (at least what I recognize, having a great deal of experience with the faction and with this particular person) was not revealed until after he “vanished.” But he could see it coming, I’m sure. There is more I could write about this but I want to protect the unfairly accused person. There were many “people” — or one with many names — who claimed to know this person was SfB, calling him a “vegan,” pursing the story that vegans hate low-carbers. And is Kendrick a “low-carber”? The pseudoskeptics have a common trope, people are pigeon-holed into categories with the idea being, more or less that “they” are all alike. They are all irrational, pseudoscientific, not rational like us skeptics.

Except Kendrick is a genuine skeptic (as is Taubes). It’s obvious from how he speaks, he’s careful, not dogmatic. He does have a collection of ideas he has accepted, most people do, but he does not assert them as articles of faith. He’s always looking that the research, considering and weighing evidence and alternatives. He’s not pushing a fad diet. In fact, he’s claiming that the role of diet in heart disease has been way overstated. (But especially the role of fat; I would say that Kendricks ideas are part of an emerging new consensus. I would think that big pharma might be behind the attacks on Kendricks, except for knowing who actually is behind them. It’s not big pharma.

It’s “professional skepticism,” or “activist debunking,” and those who take their world-view from that clan. If there is an organization involved behind SfB — he has claimed to be paid, confirmed by his brother, who then later claimed he was lying all the time, including lying to a well-known skeptic (Tim Farley) about being his brother . . .  and these guys lie like others might put spaces between words.

(If there is an organization involved, it could be the James Randi Educational Foundation.  (But I have no specific evidence. It shows, however, organizational support for “skepticism.” Which is not really skepticism, but belief in “scientism,” a kind of worship of science that fully trusts the mainstream (as distinct from provisionally trusting it. I certainly do trust the mainstream usually. But there are exceptions! Is science a vote?)

And then if someone claims they are paid trolls, they then claim this person is a “conspiracy theorist,” it is one of their favorite allegations, when anyone finds out who they are and mentions it. “RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory,” they created an article on RationalWiki with that title, then when I commented on it as being the red herring it obviously was, my sysop privileges there were revoked and I was then blocked. But I did not create that article, MrOrganic did, and who was that? It was Marky that created the article on me. and who proposed the deletion. Both appear to be Darryl Smith, but it is possible that one of them was the brother Oliver. This was before the editing period of SfB, but many Darry accounts have the name “Skeptic” in them. Notice that Marky proposed deletion of the article, David Gerard (who had tried and failed years before to ban me from RationalWiki) deleted it as “obvious harassment,” but the creator (MrOrganic) and Marky are in complete agreement. MrOrganic doesn’t care if the article he wrote is deleted, because he was stirring the pot for the RationalWiki community. Which appears to have taken the bait.

I’m watching for anti-low carb propaganda to appear on RationalWiki. The most negative comment about low-carb that I’ve seen there is in the article on me.

The language there is identical to that of Skeptic from Britain, but I have far better evidence than that.

Fun Guys, the plural of fungus?

In any case, they have been doing this kind of thing for years. If the article had been kept, they would continue to try to fill it with as many negative “facts” as they can find. As with what SfB did on the Gary Taubes article. They do not always succeed, their power on Wikipedia is limited. They are, after all, banned there, their accounts will be blocked on sight, if recognized. But who is looking?

Did Atren come up with adequate sourcing? Probably not. As SfB points out (he strongly attempted to dominate that AfD, a sign of a strong Point of View, and he goes over the edge of civility), the Guardian article was written by Kendricks. The issue for keeping an article is notability, which is narrowly defined. It does not mean “famous in his field.”

People are presumed notable if they have received significant coverage in multiple published[4] secondary sources that are reliable, intellectually independent of each other,[5] and independent of the subject.[6]

If the depth of coverage in any given source is not substantial, then multiple independent sources may be combined to demonstrate notability; trivial coverage of a subject by secondary sources may not be sufficient to establish notability.[7]
Primary sources may be used to support content in an article, but they do not contribute toward proving the notability of a subject.

The Guardian article is not independent of the subject, being written by him. In ordinary language, we might think him notable because he wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian. That is not enough for Wikipedia.

As to the Telegraph article, this is indeed a relatively brief mention. SfB, quoted above, misrepresents it.  ATren had actually referenced a google search, which is poor practice. Rather, a set of links or references would have been a more powerful practice. Some sources that may qualify, at least weakly.

The Telegraph article. Dismissed by SfB because of irrelevant alleged “rejection,” nevertheless could contribute to notability. To SfB the big issue is unorthodox views, and so he wants to establish that Kendrick’s ideas are allegedly rejected, as they are by some. But by name? The source does not show that. What is called “synthesis” is rejected by guidelines on Wikipedia, but the faction commonly generates “fact” through it. What is in a source will be interpreted by the faction in the direction of their point of view, to make it stronger. better. There are other biznews comments by the same author. Opinion, may contribute. apparently considers Kendrick an “expert.” Again, weak reference. Another article there. is behind a paywall. There is no rule that reliable sources be free on-line. I saw a copy from Google cache. Weak source. passing mention. Another article has more facts, still thin.

A collection of weak sources can, sometimes, establish notability. The proof would be an article citing them, that can withstand scrutiny. If there is criticism of Kendrick in reliable source, that would increase notability.  At this point, though, I would not recommend attempting to undelete the article, and a new article should not be created, at least not on Wikipedia. Rather, given that opposition can be expected (that faction is much larger than SfB), the article should be bulletproof, and the faction will give up.\

There is another issue: if there is an article, the faction will attempt to fill it up with negative references and synthesis, and it can be a death from a thousand cuts. Over time, many articles on “fringe authors” become hit pieces, effectively. It takes constant vigiliance by editors with skill. And they burn out, because Wikipedia is incredibly inefficient. It should not take enormous, multi-year discussions to make basic editorial decisions. Wikipedia abandoned traditional encyclopedia publishing practice in favor of something quick (“wiki”) and it was quick initially, until stubborn factions appeared, among experienced editors. If these factions had been stubborn about neutrality, that might have been a good thing, but some were not, and they have been quite persistent.

In the AfD, SfB wrote:

Comment Please note Malcolm Kendrick is on the Medical Advisory Board for “The Institute for Natural Healing”. A naturopathic practitioner is also on their advisory board… (!) They claim on their website “We are fed up with the lies and stupidity of the medical establishment and are committed to exposing these falsehoods to the public.” [6]. The website advertises “Your Cancer Risk in Half—7 All-Natural Ways to Activate Your Body’s Healing Forces to Defeat Cancer” and promotes dubious vitamin supplements. This is cancer quackery. The institute has been described by the American Institute for Cancer Research [7] as misrepresenting data. Skeptic from Britain (talk) 08:30, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

This, besides being “guilt by association,” as a dog whistle for the anti-quack “skeptical faction,” was completely irrelevant to the issue of keeping the biography. SfB was obviously experienced. Why would he do it? My guess: to outrage Kendricks supporters, to create the mess that did arrive, which, then, gave the closing administrator, “Guy,” (JzG, famous for his anti-fringe point of view pushing), more cover for closing as delete. Given the condition of that AfD, that close was not, in itself, improper. But the impression was created, which may affect future developments, that Kendricks’ supporters were fanatics. That would be more in line with SfB’s purpose. There were also straw puppets that appeared. And Wikipedia mostly, wants to forget all this and move on. They dislike “beating dead horses.” It is all about today’s decision, and long term behavior? SfB is gone, why are you bringing him up.

But there are other editors who became involved, with long-term agendas quite aligned with SfB. The problem of inexperienced users showing up and making irrelevant arguments is normal. But more happened here than that.

Back to Dr. Kendrick’s blog

To be frank, I am not entirely bothered if I no longer appear on Wikipedia, but I am increasingly pissed off that self-styled anonymous ‘experts’ can do this sort of thing without making it explicit why they are doing it, what their motives are, and if they have any disclosure of interest.

It is irritating, indeed, I’ve been struggling against this behavior for more than a decade. I was supported by a minority on Wikipedia, whenever it was “ordinary discussion.” The faction would outnumber others by about 2:1. However, when major process was initiated, the faction would often lose. They dominate because most users don’t pay attention to central process. If you put Administrators Noticeboard/Incidents on your watchlist, the traffic is overwhelming, so the only people who watch it are some administrators (certainly not all) and . . . fanatics and factional editors. In addition, if someone is mentioned on ANI, a notice will be put on their talk page. The faction, quite naturally, watches the talk pages of other factional editors, so they will show up if one of their own is in trouble. When the report was over clear abuse by an administrator ( filed one like that), enough of the faction shows up — they are very recognizable, they are a small minority of editors) to prevent “consensus” from forming. Only if someone takes the matter to a Request for Comment (which will also have biased participation, I studied that, documenting how the same editors were showing up over and over), and then to the Arbitration Committee may something be done.

And then, I found, what is actually done is to put a Band-Aid with no adhesive on the problem. The problem of factional editing, they don’t want to touch with a long pole. It is too difficult, and involves too many “valuable volunteers.” I took JzG to Arbitration successfully. The net result: he was pissed off and resigned, but then because he had resigned after the decision, it was “not under a cloud,” and so he got his admin tools back simply by asking for them. And then began years of revenge. I am banned on all WMF wikis now, and he is apparently one of those who complained, even though he had nothing. That process was completely private, star-chamber. I’m pretty sure they lied about the facts. I had not violated policies, nor terms of service. What I actually was doing was exposing the widespread activity of the sock family called “Anglo Pyramidologist.” Anything else they complained, if they did, about was an excuse. And that activity was actually common, normal.

Why would JzG intervene to protect or further the agenda of AP socks? I was not the first to notice that these highly disruptive editors, banned on Wikipedia, were used as attack dogs, they will do things that a “good hand” editor will not do. Useful. I found many examples of this, with the “attack dogs” being protected until their behavior became so outrageous that protection was impossible. That has happened over and over. Wikipedia is like the story of Sisyphus, only instead of just one boulder, it’s a landslide.

Structural transformation would be necessary to make Wikipedia into what was originally intend. And once an organization forms strong habits, as Wikipedia did, it becomes extremely conservative and any transformation will be resisted.

As Wikipedia defines it, most of these factional editors do not have a “conflict of interest” (COI) .The definitions are defective, thinking only of paid editors. It is completely obvious that there are editors with a very strong and non-neutral agenda. They are heavily invested in that, as an identity. This creates harm similar to and sometimes more harmful than paid editing. Paid editing, actually, is only harmful if not disclosed. The Terms of Service require disclosure, but . . . it is extremely difficult to prove, if someone is not openly an employee, but is merely confidentially supported, as Darryl Smith claimed. The real question would be the quality of the work, and conformance with policy. Problem is, if one does claim a COI, the user may be heavily attacked, and may be banned from contributing to the topic. So someone highly involved in a negative way with a subject, writing for years with a strong point of view, heavily invested in it, has no COI, whereas experts are often employed or may profit from their expertise. And experts are famously banned in short order on Wikipedia.

I wrote for years about how this could be transformed. I might as well have been writing how chimpanzees could keep their hands clean by using silverware or chopsticks. The Wikipedia critical community (there is one!) prefers to complain loudly, rather than take action, calls to specific and easy action were ignored. So . . . I gave up on Wikipedia and even eventually on the much more neutral Wikiversity, because the structure was highly vulnerable, they were not safe places to work and write — and edit. All it takes is some fanatic to come along and file processes, and canvass for support from other fanatics, and it can all disappear quickly.

Perhaps user Skeptic from Britain would like to reveal himself and provide some information as to why he is so interested in trying to wipe me out? Perhaps one or two of you here could join in the discussion and see what emerges.

This is a misunderstanding of his agenda. His agenda was not to “wipe out” Dr. Kendrick. It was to discredit him and his ideas, and agreement from others, as “quackery.” It is highly likely that SfB has already “provided information” on the blog, through trolling comments. It was misinformation, generally intended to confuse and upset (trolling is activity designed to create anger in targets or to make a community angry with targets). He is not interested in serious discussion. That is not how he works. He is interested in winning, in defamation. He lies routinely.

The suggestion for “one or two” to join was naive. The blog has a substantial audience. There were people who took up the suggestion, but they had no clue what they were diving into. It is possible that if not for those activities, the nomination would have failed. (But better sources would have needed to be found. I have been a paid consultant to notable people or companies who had articles on them on Wikipedia. If they wanted the article to survive AfD, I always asked them for the best sources, and carefully explained what that meant, because most people will get it wrong. Wikipedia is arcane, difficult to understand, often counter-intuitive.)

I will look at who commented in the AfD and on the talk page. There are other possible AP socks (Jytdog has long been on my radar as a possible suspect. That is *not* — yet — an accusation. But Darryl claimed that he had many active accounts on Wikipedia. Where are they? Was he lying? While it’s possible, knowing the history, probably not. He was bragging, attempting to intimidate another user.

Running multiple accounts on Wikipedia is possible. It is dangerous, because a checkuser may discover the identity at any time, but . . . checkuser detection can be avoided by strictly following certain practices. I have a way to see beyond that, but it’s not well known, I am testing it, including with controls. Can I tell the difference between two active accounts and a single person running two accounts with twice the number of edits? I don’t think it’s difficult. I saw an attempt to do this many years ago in a famous case. The evidence was rejected because it was “merely statistical.” As if statistical evidence cannot rise to the level of “strong.” Why was that evidence rejected? In a word, politics. What was being shown was that an editor favored by Jimbo Wales was actually running more than one account. And behind that editor, it has been reported, was a billion dollar corporation. Actually many billions, as I recall.

Was Wales corrupt? I actually don’t think so. He was naive, and that naivete shows up in this SfB affair as well.

The faction substantially consists of what would stereotypically be called “basement-dwelling fanatics.” Consider Jytdog,  over 38,000 edits per year. Wikipedia becomes an obsession. I very much doubt he was paid. His edit timing shows no sign of his editing being interrupted by a job or other major activity. (Now, I’ve shown activity like that at times, after I retired.)

So there were many comments. Trolls show up, and probable false flag accounts. People who are not accustomed to how the Smith brothers work will be blindsided, and as well, there is simply a lot of lack of understanding of Wikipedia process. An outstanding misunderstanding is the idea that somehow Kendrick’s ideas are being suppressed. As gets pointed out in the AfD, it is quite possible that the effect of the article could be negative on Dr. Kendrick’s message.

Delete Good grief, he’s a doctor, he shouldn’t be allowed to write such crap, but fortunately he isn’t notable, and we don’t have to have an article about him. –Roxy, the dog. wooF 13:10, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Of course, if the article were kept it would have to discuss the fact that Kendrick’s theories are pseudoscientific; I suspect the many meatpuppets don’t quite realise that. –bonadea contributions talk 13:27, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

Roxy the dog is very recognizable as factional. His user page (linked above) is explicit:

yes, we are biased towards science and biased against pseudoscience.

And that was prefaced by a naive statement from Wales, showing terminal cluelessness on the demarcation problem. The Roxy the dog statement is actually a direct challenge to the rulings of the Arbitration Committee on “pseudoscience” and “fringe science.” (Malcolm’s ideas might still be “fringe,” but they are not at all pseudoscientific, because they are testable. Taubes is actually best known for confronting pseudoscience masquerading as “scientific consensus.” There are factional activists who are actually scientists, but who leave science behind in favor of political activism.

bonedea does not look like an obvious factional editor. But he’s repeating an idea about Kendrick and pseudoscience. Where did he get that idea from? Did he check Kendrick’s sources (I mean the scientific studies that Kendrick’s cites, i.e., sources for his ideas, not the sources about Kendrick, which are weak, but which do not declare Kendrick’s status as “pseudoscientific.” The opposite, in fact.

These editors have an idea about science that is not scientific. Science is a method, not actually a body of conclusions. That is, conclusions are drawn, but they are always subject to revision, and even major revision (though revolutionary revision is pretty rare. Science that persists is usually right, at least in some way). But the lipid hypothesis, the big banana here, was new in the 1970s or so, and was never demonstrated by adequate controlled studies, and Kendrick, in the videos, completely skewers the hypothesis, because there is major evidence against it. The faction will simply repeat, over and over, “not accepted by the mainstream,” which is generally unsourced. It’s their opinion, and is greatly oversimplified. Is the Wikipedia article balanced?

No. The lede should be (1) rigorously neutral and (2) uncited, because whatever is in the lede would be covered in the article, which is where the sources would be given. One sees this principle violated routinely in battleground articles, where someone is pushing a point of view.

The lipid hypothesis (also known as the cholesterol hypothesis) is a medical theory postulating a link between blood cholesterol levels and occurrence of heart disease. A summary from 1976 described it as: “measures used to lower the plasma lipids in patients with hyperlipidemia will lead to reductions in new events of coronary heart disease”.[1] Or, more concisely, “decreasing blood cholesterol… significantly reduces coronary heart disease”.[2]

An accumulation of evidence has led to the acceptance of the lipid hypothesis by most of the medical community;[3] however, a minority of fringe researchers contends that the evidence does not support it, and that mechanisms independent of blood cholesterol levels are responsible.[4][5]

Let’s accept the description of the lipid hypothesis as reasonably accurate. [1} considered recommendations to the public “premature.” Nevertheless, at that time, recommendations were being made, definitely prematurely. They became a kind of consensus, hence the problem.

However, the second, “more concise statement,” presents the hypothesis as if a fact. Does decreasing blood cholesterol significantly reduce coronary heart disease? Apparently, in some populations, yes, but it also apparently does not reduce overall mortality. [2] indicated a lower mortality, but not significantly lower. {2] is a review of a major intervention study. There was then a panel, convened in 1984, covered in detail in [2] (which appears to have been written by someone highly involved in that intervention study) which notes that there has been controversy over that Panel. Was it unbiased? Regardless, the Panel did conclude unanimously (in the presence of expressed dissent) that lowering cholesterol would “help prevent heart disease”. The Panel did not conclude what the lede says, the lede has “significantly reduces heart disease.” Presenting that as a scientific fact is confusion predictions with effects. Does it? Further, there were concerns about effect on all-cause mortality.

It should not be difficult to verify material in a lede. But it gets worse.

The lipid hypothesis was indeed accepted by the majority, but it never became a full consensus. ” [3], written by the same author as [2], I find shocking in a scientific article. It is really a promotional piece, full of peacock words. He is reviewing the product of his own work, which was, indeed, very successful politically. But this is the kicker: I will repeat from the lede:

An accumulation of evidence has led to the acceptance of the lipid hypothesis by most of the medical community;[3] however, a minority of fringe researchers contends that the evidence does not support it, and that mechanisms independent of blood cholesterol levels are responsible.[4][5]

First of all, there are really two relevant communities, the “medical community” and the “research community.” I have personal experience with the former, and have found many physicians who are quite aware of the weakness of the lipid hypothesis. That’s anecdotal, but it leads me to notice the difference. The research community, when the lipid hypothesis was forming, was largely skeptical, but Keys was very effective politically, and it became very difficult to obtain funding for research that might contradict what was becoming “standard of practice.” But that’s my own conclusion. What I see above is that “a minority of fringe researchers” is conclusory language. What are the sources?

[4] is a page by Uffe Ravnskov on the Cholesterol Myths. This is not usable as a source, and it certainly does not show anything about minority or fringe. What does “minority” mean? Researchers into what? All researchers, including, say, nuclear physicists? What, and how would we know? It would take a review in a reliable secondary source to make that claim as if it were a fact, and even then, such claims are almost intrinsically controversial, and should then be attributed, “According to ….”

Strictly,  “a minority of fringe researchers contends” would mean that most fringe researchers do not make the contention.

“Fringe researchers” was added by Skeptic from Britain. The plot thickens.

SfB commented on the article Talk page.

Lack of papers from 2016 to 2018
This article needs an update. Many of the sources are 1980s up until 2006. I will see if I can help, but needs an expert on the subject. Skeptic from Britain (talk) 11:12, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

This is recent [4] “Consistent evidence from numerous and multiple different types of clinical and genetic studies unequivocally establishes that LDL causes ASCVD.” Skeptic from Britain (talk) 11:24, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

An “expert” on the topic would likely be attacked. However, what one would want, in a neutral encyclopeida project, would be experts willing to comment and advise. Decisions should not be made by the “experts,” but by ordinary editors with high Wikipedia experience in generating neutral text. But this faction wants a “scientific” point of view, without being scientists. I actually suggested to the Arbitration Committee that experts, who would generally be employed in their field of expertise, be invited to participate on Wikipedia, and welcomed an protected, while, at the same time, being held to have a conflict of interest. That was thought preposterous, because “conflict of interest” to many Wikipedians is a dog-whistle for “harass and ban.” But this is exactly what would be needed, advice from experts, showing reliable sources to use, and then ordinary readers making judgments, considering advice. What actually happens is that Randy from Boise reads the sources, fails to understand them, interprets them differently from how experts will read them, is unaware of contrary sources (which an expert worth his salt would know), and so articles go south. Happens all the time. If an expert shows up and tries to correct the errors, Randy from Boise lures him into a revert war and then takes the issue to a Noticeboard, and the expert’s account,  he or she not being expert on Wikipedia process, and, as an “outsider,” not being supported, is toast.

So here, SfB points to this 2018 article. “Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. 1. Evidence from genetic, epidemiologic, and clinical studies. A consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel.” From the abstract

Consistent evidence from numerous and multiple different types of clinical and genetic studies unequivocally establishes that LDL causes ASCVD.

Wow! They didn’t mince words. That absolutely nails it. I have a statin in my medicine cabinet. I should immediately start taking that crap. Right? SfB calls it “recent.” August 21, 2017.

I have a prejudice against conclusions about cause from correlation, and assertions that some conclusions are “unequivocal.” I.e., that they certain, inescapable, and any contrary evidence must be wrong. Fini. End of topic, and take dissenters out back and shoot them, because if people believe them, THEY ARE GONNA DIE!

It’s a prejudice. Just because someone overstates a case — if they did — does not mean they are wrong. It’s merely a sign that someone has an axe to grind.

However, SfB did not point to some other papers:

A Reappraisal of the Lipid Hypothesis. (September, 2018)

From the summary, bolding is my emphasis:

The lipid hypothesis, which postulates that lowering serum cholesterol saves lives and prevents cardiovascular disease, has been supported by a prodigious volume of evidence over the past 30 years.1 Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has become the foundation of cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines, yet not all of the evidence supports this recommendation.2 A reappraisal of the lipid hypothesis may hold the key to understanding this inconsonance.

Clinical Trial Results

The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is the gold standard for validating or rejecting a medical hypothesis. Initial proof of the lipid hypothesis came from some of the earliest RCTs of cholesterol reduction, such as the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial of cholestyramine and the first statin trials (Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study [4S], West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study [WOSCOPS], and Cholesterol and Recurrent Events [CARE]). More widespread trials over the next 20 years produced mixed results, however.2 Regrettably, some clinical trials prior to 2004 have been tainted by scandals that led to new clinical trial regulations intended to safeguard patients and lend credibility to subsequent trials.3, 4 The table summarizes 29 major RCTs of cholesterol reduction reported after the publication of these regulations (Table). Notably, only 2 of these 29 studies reported a mortality benefit, while nearly two-thirds reported no cardiovascular benefit at all. These unfavorable outcomes and inconsistent results suggest that the lipid hypothesis has failed the test of time. Alternatively, some have suggested that this lack of benefit could be due to inadequate intensity or duration of treatment, insufficiently powered studies, targeting LDL-C instead of apolipoprotein B, or perhaps these trials are attempting to lower LDL-C too late in the course of the disease.

Notice the hedging, the mention of contrary conclusions to their “suggestion.” That is characteristic of good science. Certainty is characteristic of Bad Science.

Final Thoughts

LDL-C is considered the primary constituent of atherosclerotic plaque. Therefore, it stands to reason that lowering serum LDL-C should prevent cardiovascular disease. Three decades of RCTs, however, have yielded inconsistent and contradictory results. We must acknowledge these anomalies and either modify or reject the lipid hypothesis. Clearly, some individuals do benefit from lipid-modifying therapy. I believe the real question is how to identify them. Our current approach of focusing almost exclusively on lowering LDL-C for everyone does not consistently work, may result in unnecessary treatment of some healthy individuals, and likely reflects the fact that the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is far more complex than originally thought. Our LDL-C-centric approach to cardiovascular disease prevention may have distracted us from investigating other pathophysiologic mechanisms and treatments. Last, we should not ignore the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Although changing our patients’ lifestyle is more difficult than prescribing a pill, the benefits are far more robust.22

N0r this paper:

A Critical Review of the Consensus Statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel 2017 February 2018

Summary: Our review points out that different interpretations are possible for the results of Mendelian randomization studies. As for prospective cohort studies, many inconsistent reports on the association of LDL-C and ASCVD were disregarded when drafting the Statement, reports with and without genetic factors related to LDL receptor function should be analyzed separately, and the term ASCVD in the Statement is used inappropriately because myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction differ in their association with LDL-C. As for RCTs, clinical reports on statins published before and after the implementation of new regulations affecting clinical trials (2004/2005) should not both be included in meta-analyses because the evaluated efficacy of statins changed markedly, and the irreversible adverse effects of statins need to be evaluated more rigorously now that their mechanisms have been elucidated. 

Key Messages: Apart from the EAS hypothesis that LDL causes ASCVD, recent pharmacological/biochemical studies, as summarized in this review and elsewhere, have revealed that atherosclerosis is caused by statins taken to lower LDL-C, as well as by warfarin and some types of vegetable fats and oils, in the absence of significantly elevated LDL-C levels. Thus, the promotion of statin treatment by the Statement is rather risky and we do not feel that the conclusions are justified for the prevention of ASCVD.

How does a Consensus statement end up not actually representing a consensus? Answer: always consider who was invited to the party and who controlled the participation.

I found an article that actually discusses the overall controversies about dietary fat.

Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance June 13, 2018

(Taubes is an author).

The medical literature is still full of articles arguing opposing positions. For example, in 2017, after a review of the evidence, the American Heart Association Presidential Advisory strongly endorsed that “lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD”.1Three months later, the 18-country observational Prospective Rural Urban Epidemiology (PURE) Study concluded much the opposite: “Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality”.2 The devil, as always, is in the detail, including the inherent complexity of human diets, methodological considerations, and the role of bias and confounding.

Notice that the authors do not proclaim that the AHA was wrong and the study was right. This is a scientific approach, and is how Taubes approached the role of dietary fat (and carbohydrates) in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. He was looking at the science, how research was being done, how conclusions were being drawn, and what he uncovered was a mess, so debunker of Bad Science that he has always been, it exposed it.

Pathophysiological and genetic studies and randomised clinical trials with different cholesterol lowering drugs have led to a consensus that low density lipoprotein (LDL) particles are a cause of coronary heart disease.3 The effect of saturated fat on LDL cholesterol levels145 and the association of LDL with coronary heart disease13 have led to the inference that dietary saturated fat directly promotes the development of coronary heart disease. However, direct evidence of the benefits of lowering cholesterol or LDL cholesterol by changing the fat content of the diet is lacking. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews still place emphasis on the results of a few small trials done 40 to 50 years ago, supplemented by the observations of prospective epidemiological cohort studies.46789 This evidence has not been sufficient to resolve controversies as both the randomised trials and the observational evidence have many methodological and interpretive problems. Moreover, as the science has evolved, fat consumption itself and its relation with health have become more complex.

Reference [3] is to the “Consensus” article. The consensus was not a “scientific consensus,” which would be a consensus of all those who have studied the topic, or approaching that, and it would not pretend certainty even if individual members are certain. If the group was preselected as “congenial,” perhaps on the basis of agreeing with whoever made inclusion decisions, garbage in, garbage out. Even if they are right, it misrepresents the scientific community.

This paper makes it clear that there are extant controversies, where scientific evidence is not sufficiently available to clearly resolve them. The article was commissioned by the BMJ. This is the kind of review that should be, by Wikipedia policy, as it has been interpreted by the Arbitration Committee, golden. The authors were not in agreement, but cooperated to produce a common paper that outlined their various positions. That is what a sane Wikipedia might look like.

But Wikipedia is not sane. There are many good-faith editors, but the structure is unreliable.

Back to Kendrick, who is quite sane. But occasionally clueless.

LA Chefs
December 3, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Is there anyone at Wilkipedia that I or anyone else can write to in order to express a contrary opinion?

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
December 3, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I don’t really know. I am sure that people can go on and have a pop in some way.

He was correct. (1) He didn’t know. (2) He was sure that people can go on and have a pop. And they could. The problem, however, is the effect of that, if people who are clueless go to Wikipedia, and make anonymous comments by IP, or register an account, or already have one, and express opinions that are totally irrelevant to the decision being made. Dr. Kendrick’s blog is popular. His bringing up the discussion would lead many to do exactly what he was suggesting. It fed right into what may have been the intention of Skeptic from Britain, to discredit Kendrick and his supporters, in the eyes of regular Wikipedia editors.

I’m going to look at all the comments that showed up. It was more or less the usual usual, when the faction is involved. And there are editors who had accounts for a long time that had obviously never learned the ropes, I’ll cover that.

There is a problem revealed, a tendency to blame groups with different opinions as enemies, like, in this case, “vegans.” Some vegans are fanatic animal rights people, and PETA, the poster boy for fanatic animal rights, was heavily involved in attempting to discredit Atkins. But most vegans are not fanatics. What did show up were trolls pretending to be vegans. While I can’t prove that, I don’t need to. They were clearly trolls, coming into a place and expressing opinions they know would be seen as outrageous. That’s what trolls do, seek to arouse outrage. I’ve been impersonated by these people many times. Say, on RationalWiki, one of them creates an account with a name that makes it appear to be me. It might be, as real examples, coldfusioncommunity, or CF, or my street address has been used, or my birth name. They want me to know that they know where I live. They also may take something I have written and vandalize with it. They threaten others with lawsuits or other harms, in my name, harassing them. They have done this to many people.

And then they list all these accounts and activities as proof of how disruptive I am.

And if there is an article, indeed, people like that may be adding “quack” to it. Over and over. It is not all Darryl or Oliver Smith. They work with others who are less obviously insane, but who find them useful.

Back to the blog comments

December 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm

You should contest it. Log in, edit the deletion discussion page, and add your say. It’s important to not lose diverse viewpoints about lipid theory on Wikipedia.

And some did apparently take this advice. Because there were so many trolls, I don’t yet know who was who and which was which. However, donkeyrock, no surprise, doesn’t really know what would be important. First of all, is Wikipedia important? Some think so, and if one thinks it is important, the first step would not be to dive into a deletion discussion, having no idea what is necessary to keep an article, and having a strong personal point of view. It’s easy to get blocked doing this. If one wants “diverse points of view” on Wikipedia, the first step would be for those with those points of view to learn how to work collaboratively, in that environment. To learn the local language, so to speak. The presence or absence of the biography of Dr. Kendrick is not going to make any significant difference to him or anything of importance, and, given what actually happens on Wikipedia, it can be a huge distraction. No, of far higher importance for Dr. Kendrick is his books, videos, and other information channels. Wikipedia cannot be used for that. Publishing in journals, on the one hand, can accomplish much. Publishing in the popular press will reach people more effectively than a bio on Wikipedia, and without the negative side being promoted.

However, there are articles on the lipid hypothesis, on low carboydrate diets, etc. Are those balanced? People who have a strong point of view may tend to dive in and push that point of view, but that only works when the point of view is established and supported by a faction that includes administrators. Rather, to really make a difference, learn to write in encyclopedic style and to not only be neutral, but also appear neutral. It’s not easy, but that’s what’s needed to actually make a difference. Just showing up on the page that was linked could be expected to do exactly what it did. It accomplished nothing and it looks like one of Kendrick’s supporters got herself blocked. Or was that her or an impersonator? So far, I have not resolved that question!

I don’t recommend putting much hope into improving Wikipedia. Many people have been trying for decades.

December 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm

Your entry should stay so that more people can learn from what you have written. Can you recruit someone to add more to your Wiki entry? I would think stuff like this book review would be good: “…this book is a triumph of substance over style. For Dr Kendrick makes no statement without supplying a reference, almost always from a peer reviewed journal, and often from one of the major heart disease trials, all of which feature in the book.”

Wow! That’s a better source than I found in my own relatively shallow search.  It is possible, by the way, that the book(s) are more notable than Dr. Kendrick himself. That review says almost nothing about Kendrick himself, but plenty about how he expressed himself in the Great Cholesterol Con. Now, I had not yet read all the comments in the AfD. I had not noticed this review. Was it mentioned there?

Yes. It was mentioned by Anarchie76.

Comment Skeptic from Britain, you stated that ‘his book The Great Cholesterol Con was not reviewed in any science journals’. Here is one As for my contributions to Wikipedia, they are very variable in frequency, depending on my workload, and many take place in other language versions. Your slur is unjustified. Anarchie76 (talk) 23:04, 3 December 2018 (UTC) — Anarchie76 (talk • contribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Each wikipedia has its own notability rules. Your almost complete lack of experience in the English Wikipedia is reflected in your tenuous grasp of policies here. EEng 23:05, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

I was going to review Anarchie76’s contributions. First of all, he made the mistake of arguing with SfB. Practically nothing will irritate closing administrators was much as endless argument, and trolls will attempt to stimulate it. What was needed in that discussion, to keep the biography, was sources, and this was better than anything mentioned before, but buried in a back and forth, and in a “comment” instead of an actual argument for Keep or Delete. AfDs are famously suppose to be Not a Vote, but often they are, in fact, Wikipedia lies to itself about it’s own process, but a closing admin — who is, in theory, whoever is uninvolved and who happens to come by after the discussion period ends and decide that consensus is clear — will disregard all the irrelevancies. Or will they? It’s a social process, and unreliable, but … deletion decisions can be appealed. Not by recreating the article, which was tried, bad idea. There is a process, but I don’t recommend it until there is a draft article that is ready for prime time. That source could help, but articles about the books might come first. Meanwhile, someone will write a story about Dr. Kendrick. With all the minor weak sources, one good story with more about him would suffice. But that will not necessarily be good news. After all, “Skeptic” and others of his ilk will be popping “quack” and “contradicts mainstream medicine” into it, year in and year out until the cows come home and the lipid hypothesis is truly dead.

Skeptic from Britain was massively disruptive during the AfD. My sense is that he was using the account, planning on taking it out, not attempting to conceal his strong POV-pushing. However, his general position has enough popularity that he might have survived. Jytdog blew it by making a harassing phone call to a low-carber, if I have the story right.

Anarchie76 was disengenous about his history. He has 94 contributions on the English Wikipedia, but claimed he was active on other wikis. In fact, he has one edit on Commons, and 26 edits on the French Wikipedia. He was naive and inexperienced, and it was obvious. He participated in another AfD.  Not one of the long list of “sources” he presented was usable. He also commented in the Fat Head AfD. None of it was relevant. The only actual relevant comment I saw was the mention of the Kendrick book review, and instead of being part of his actual !Vote, it was an additional comment.

It was not noticed.