Debunker's challenge: Davis throws down gauntlet : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This was posted on Biffy by Paul Davis:

"When I was reading the replies to the post of the Horn/Fed info on Yourdon's board, I realized that I have evolved a technique for judging just how bad a post is and for showing up the logical errors in the post. I thought you all might like to see my technique from the 'inside' so to speak, and perhaps you will find it useful.

1. Look for hidden assumptions. On the Horn thread, one of the primary assumptions was that the govt. has no idea as to which systems are critical and which are not. Another is that no remediation work is being done on systems judged to be non-critical. Both assumptions are false to fact.

2. Try to establish a date. Information from 97 or early 98 crops up constantly. A month is an eternity in terms of Y2K information.

3. Try to establish a motive for the post. Many posts have been made by people with dishonorable motivations re the Y2K bug. Such people include vendors of software, consultants, food vendors, info sellers and test marketers. Pointing out a conflict of interest is NOT character assasination.

4. Does the logic of the poster hang together? Or do they jump from introduction to conclusion with no intermediate steps? Example: If one bank puts out bad data they will all go down. Come on, give us something real.

5. Does the post contain known factual errors? Many do. Example - the circuit boards 'buried' where no one can get to them. No one has yet managed to give an example of such a device - evidence is strong that no such device exists.

6. And finally, before posting any answer I always ask myself - is this post real? Or is it just noise made by someone who wants attention? I try not to reward the limelight lovers.

I am sure the rest of you have other ideas on how to identify bad information. And perhaps this post will motivate you to share them. "

The gauntlet has been thrown down. If we "doomers" are to be taken seriously then we should be able to meet Davis' challenges in this post.

-- ariZONEa (, June 17, 1999


I believe Paul Davis is also somewhat disturbed by the efficiency demonstrated by our community. This was another biffy post this morning:

"Big sewage overflow in LA because a Y2K test was bungled. Seems as if they cut all the power to a sewage pumping station and the backup did not kick in.

The doomers at Yourdon's sure get on top of this sort of thing in a hurry. Thread was started by someone watching live feeds on a satellite receiver."

Those who do not know their opponents arguments do not know their own. AZ

-- ariZONEa (, June 17, 1999.

I just wonder... who pays Paul? And why.

Curious, huh?


-- Diane J. Squire (, June 17, 1999.

Some secret - I have posted who I work for a dozen times, here and elsewhere. Look it up!

-- Paul Davis (, June 17, 1999.

Paul works for the Army Corp of Engineers, Memphis, TN. So apparently, unless he's taking off today, the US GOVERNMENT is paying Paul to post here *G*

-- polly411 (polly@corp.eng), June 17, 1999.

Paul --

This posting was with all due respect. I get tired of reading some of the posts on this forum, even though I am what would be considered GI. I like your approach to the debate and can only hope that people make an effort to verify, clarify, and reason through their thoughts before posting.

As much as the "biffy" site annoys me, it's good to scout the "other side" once in a while. I notice that there is no lack of name- calling and general nastiness over there either. Maybe we can raise the level of the discussion on this forum by meeting your challenge.

Yes, this forum is quick to pounce on any news that seems to verify the GI viewpoint, but it appears that the debunkers are equally quick to post "good news". Let's hope we can all begin to rationally examine the information that will increasingly pour in in the near future.

-- ariZONEa (, June 17, 1999.

most of Pauls own posts wouldn't be able to stand up to what he's outlined here


-- gag me (paul, get some work, June 17, 1999.

Oh this is priceless. "4. Does the logic of the poster hang together?"

In Paul refutes cold weather power outage problems in major northern cities by refering to the fact that his relative in Eagle River, WI (pop.1,374) already has back up heating. And this is going to help a person on the 9th floor of a Mpls. apartment HOW? Talk about disconnected from reality. Of course if you've ever seen some of the proposals coming out the Army Corp of Engineers, being totally disconnected from reality is par for the course.

-- Ken Seger (, June 17, 1999.

Earlier post from Paul...

"Knock - you know, I think they must have an email ring where they plan this stuff. Notice how some threads are filled up with a dozen 'YOU DA BOSS' posts by the time they have been up 10 minutes? That is a dead giveaway. So is the way certain things get spread around - just recently, and all very close together in timing - North prints a gas/oil doom essay, Y2Knewswire has another one, some guy who has been 'studying Y2K for two years and just heard about this forum' (where was he studying? under a rock?) puts out supposed FIRST HAND stuff from engineers in the oil industry - and I am told a couple of other fora had similar posts. If this kind of thing happened once in a great while, I would pass it off as chance. But when it happens over and over, chance starts taking a real beating as an explanation.

Something is going on behind the scenes that isn't kosher on open forums - some organized group of D&G's is trying to pull strings behind the scenes. I just wonder if they are connected to the Y2K commercial interests or just think they are doing a service to the community."

-- Paul Davis (, June 17, 1999.

Does this meet Paul's criteria?

-- polly411 (polly@corp.eng), June 17, 1999.

ssshhhh polly411, didn't you get the secret memo?


as Andy says




Mike ====================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, June 17, 1999.

So let's take a quote totally out of context and use it in our logic. Paul you forgot number 7. It never ceases to amaze me how you doomers shit ice cream.

-- Polly (but@no.cracker), June 17, 1999.

A Few Words about Paul Davis,

Paul has been a regular and civil poster to this forum as long as I can remember. Although he sometimes presents El Toro Poo-Poo arguments (the one that comes most prominently to mind is when he attempted to use the astronomically large numbers of orbital miles logged by the space shuttle as "proof" of something other than basic laws of physics), we all "miss the mark" at one point or another and he should no more be singled out for such than any of us. That he views the Y2K situation from a different perspective than most here is his simple right; no more and no less.

He has been quite forthcoming with personal information and has frequently indicated that he is employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis. Unless someone has evidence to the contrary, I see no reason to believe otherwise. None of his writings that I have ever seen would indicate that he is not exactly who and what he says that he is. Some of you surely must believe that I am a very suspicious person, and with good reason, but FWIW, I have to tell you all that I have no suspicions about Paul.

As for his "challenge", simple fairness and honesty demands that it be noted that he did not present his words as such. He was not even addressing anyone in this forum!

The fact remains however, that his words have been presented here for discussion, so for anyone who may be interested, here is what have to say about them.

Paul describes his technique as a method, ". . .for judging just how bad a post is. . ." This says to me that he as already made the judgment that the post is "bad", and he is now only attempting to determine "how bad". I believe that his method is generally appropriate for determining the quality of a post, be it good or bad.

It is certainly vital to search out hidden assumptions; at least if you are searching for an accurate conclusion. Paul's assertion that most here assume that the government does not know a critical system from a non critical one however, seems to me to be not as likely as that most here believe that while the government does indeed know one from the other, they label such systems according to criteria of political expediency rather than true criticality of the system. His assertion that the government is performing remediation on "non-critical" systems is one that I have not seen made or supported anywhere else, but he could well have personal knowledge of such. If that is the case, I would like to see the evidence.

While knowledge of the motives of the poster is certainly a valuable asset in making a judgment as to the honesty of unsupported statements, a known liar who states that "two plus two equals four", is no less correct. In the matter of conflicts of interest, I must point out that the simple presence of such a conflict is not proof that the entity in question has given in to temptation and done something dishonorable. All to often the appearance of such a conflict is taken to be evidence of wrongdoing. This is such a universal human failing that wise men avoid even that appearance.

I agree strongly with Paul's sixth point and attempt to do just that myself. Ultimately however, it is a matter of judgment and it behooves us all to use the very best judgment that we can muster when judging another's words.

-- Hardliner (, June 17, 1999.

Testing and fixing govt. systems is part of what I do Hardliner. Lots of them are not mission critical. Some of them don't even have to be Y2K compliant - if they will run with a set back date and the function they are used for does not depend on the date. And the user has to sign a wavier to that effect, too, before it can be entered as a "don't care about Y2K" system. So yes, in this case you got it from the horses mouth. (And no joking about that one! Anyone who would touch that line - - -)

And I don't claim that every post has to meet the requirement I stated - and my casual posts are just as likely to have something silly in them as anyone elses. I was referring to posts that claim to release unknown or insider information - and then kick these rules all over creation. Just write a logical post that does not violate the rules, and you can call yourself bulletproof.

And yes, I do have the opinion that something is a trifle smelly in the way certain things are presented over the web. That is an opinion, and stated as such. It won't be a proven fact unless someone on the inside comes out and spills the beans. It is hardly as silly as some of the opinions I see presented here as fact every day!

And BTW - here is an interesting link back to Michael Adams. Read what is contained in this site. Implication is very strong that Y2KNewswire was a marketing experiment.

-- Paul Davis (, June 17, 1999.

An interesting point here - while I was getting ready to leave (some seem to think the Corps shuts down at dark) I noticed that seven new threads have been posted in the time it took me to read the responses to this one, and post the last thing I posted. Five of the threads are by names I have not seen before. The accusation has been made before that an effort is being made to push undesired threads down in the forum so most will not read them. I don't really hold with this - but as I said before, chance seems to be taking a beating with Y2K related matters.

ariZONEa - I wish the level of discussion was higher. If you go back through the older threads, you will find that it was much higher before the beginning of the year. I try to keep on a level keel - though I will admit that delibrate trolling and cursing at anyone who does not hold to a 10 sometimes makes me annoyed enough to post things I would not have if I was not annoyed. CIAO.

-- Paul Davis (, June 17, 1999.


As I am a non tech person I have to rely on the information on both sides. You and Flint have provided sane commentary on the problem and solutions. But in search for infomation there is lot of reason for folks to be worried and the sources are often from the industry and or the association involved with the industry.

The Gas and Oil problem is a case in point. There are real problems and it has been well documented on the forum and other sites. Yet you fence sitters often do not do the "digging" required to answer your own statements. The Water - Wastewater problem has also been well documented and is a serious risk (as noted by the incedent today) and putting a polly spin is doing a real diservice to your arguements when there is a clear risk health and home wise for folks.

This concerns me. While the bulk of sewage systems may operate OK some may not. People have to be prepared for the effects of the risk and it is this clearity of the situation that is needed. Putting your head in the sand will not make the problem to go away.

I hope realizing this will help give a balance in your efforts to help others keep an even keel in looking at Y2K failures or the lack there of. Things fail, and for that reason folks have to know that the risk exists. It may not be TEOTWAWKI but it may be The End Of Life As *I* Know It.

-- Brian (, June 17, 1999.

In the last day or so, oboy began a thread on this forum entitled Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks. This prompted Sayn't Paul to write --

"This fellow was fairly resistant to the meme - so when he got it, it hit him pretty hard..."

The rest of the thread looks like this --

1304. Beautiful description of the impact of catching the meme. by Paul Davis, Jun 16, 07:43 1. Doomer plant post. Seen it a couple dozen times already, Jun 16, 09:11

(_ Actually, the Fed thread was on Yourdons yesterday. by Paul Davis, Jun 16, 12:46

(_ here is another fake post., Jun 16, 15:58

(_ I have to wonder by Paul Davis, Jun 16, 21:23

(_ This post is suspect as well... by Mutha Nachu, Jun 17, 13:33 (_ A HAH HAH HAH! HERE it is! by Mutha Nachu, Jun 17, 15:20

The oboy post is said to be suspect by Anonymous. In the next post Sayn't Paula accepts the fakery charge as gospel. Then MN refers to the Rooster Gogburn post as being suspect. Talks about "the meme" too. No matter how polite anyone is, how can you give them the slightest bit of credibility when they believe an accusation from someone they don't know without evidence of any kind and also believe that a "mind virus" called a "meme" has infected us all at this forum?

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), June 17, 1999.


To directly answer your question ("No matter how polite anyone is, how can you give them the slightest bit of credibility when they believe an accusation from someone they don't know without evidence of any kind and also believe that a "mind virus" called a "meme" has infected us all at this forum?"); you cannot. Credibility goes in the other direction, that is, one appears credible or not by virtue of his behavior or words. To put it another way, you cannot give anyone credibility; they must give it to themselves. This is not the double-talk that it might seem on first examination.

The story of the man who experienced a flat tire next to a mental institution is illustrative. In the course of changing to his spare tire, the lug nuts were lost beyond finding. When an inmate of the "loony bin" (who was playing golf in a tuxedo on the other side of the fence) suggested that he "borrow" one lug nut from each of the other three wheels and drive slowly and carefully to the next town where he could obtain new lug nuts, the driver exclaimed, "That's a great idea! What are you doing in this place anyway?"

The inmate replied, "Mister, I'm crazy, not stupid!"

Neither manners, the lack of them, nor belief in ideas which you adjudge incorrect are a bar to the other person presenting credible arguments. Each must be judged on its own merits. Although this is sometimes difficult to do, it is usually essential in arriving at the correct results.

-- Hardliner (, June 17, 1999.

Great joke Hardliner. When I was growing up, my Dad always taught me to look at both sides of a question. Most times, this is a great aid to your objectivity. However, I tried this on a few of the sacred cows. and I changed my point of view on some of them.

When it comes to Y2K, I've never understood why everyone gets their shorts in such a twist over posts by pollys. In fact, I've wondered why they're called pollys or trolls, when it's just another point of view. I think we should all look at both sides, but it's not a popular point of view.

I've prepared for y2k, but haven't made any far out changes like moving to a compound or bunker and stocking 100,000,000 matches, or wearing camo for working in the garden.

Speaking of bad information. Gary North should be sued for fear-mongering.

-- gilda (, June 17, 1999.

Hardliner, OutingsR admires your work tremendously and is always willing to learn. So how about, How can you give credence to someone who, etc. Or we can make it, How can you trust someone who, etc. Or we can say, In our opinion anyone who believes the statement of a complete stranger and also believes in mind viruses lacks credibility. Actually, in our fairly credible opinion, anyone who believes either of those things is far from being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but we don't want to go ad hominem so we won't insist on it. Perhaps you might suggest a better means of conveying the point.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), June 17, 1999.

Ya know, Outings old girl, I would not mind if you posted a link or gave something besides your very slanted synopses of posts on other boards. Do I gripe when someone copies a whole thread I started elsewhere over here? Or when they post links? This synopsis crosses the line in a big way - here is what was posted: ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Doomer plant post. Seen it a couple dozen times already Forum: Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Forum Re: Beautiful description of the impact of catching the meme. (Paul Davis) Date: Jun 16, 09:11 From:

When they need to "juice up" the ranks or distract from things like the NERC report, one of them posts a "scary" piece like this. I don't buy it. I havn't seen the NERC report mentioned over there yet. I wonder why. ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, the Fed thread was on Yourdons yesterday. Forum: Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Forum Re: Beautiful description of the impact of catching the meme. (Paul Davis) Re: Doomer plant post. Seen it a couple dozen times already Date: Jun 16, 12:46 From: Paul Davis

As usual, they are playing silly semantic games to make it sound as bad as possible. I used to bother to answer that stuff, but got tired of the constant fight. The assumptions they are making are so bad it is just silly - and they hide most of them so the fast reader will accept them without question.

The biggies here are: 1. - the govt. has no clue as to what systems are really critical and what systems aren't critical - 2. ONLY those systems identified as critical will be remediated in any way.

Simply taking note that this is 90% of the doomer defense, lets you really see the poor quality of logic on this thread.

I did not know the other thread - catching the meme - had been around that much. It still sounds like a guy who had a mild infection suddenly going into the full blown meme. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now lets see what I said - I actually defended this place by telling anon the Fed data was already up the day before he asked, I bemoaned the bad logic being tossed around on the Fed thread on this board, which link I gave so the questioner could see for himself whether or not I was correct. I said I did not know the MEME post had been around the net that much, AND I SAID IT STILL SOUNDED LIKE SOMEONE WHO HAD JUST CAUGHT THE Y2K BUG IDEA IN A BAD WAY.

YOU CLAIMED I SAID: The oboy post is said to be suspect by Anonymous. In the next post Sayn't Paula accepts the fakery charge as gospel. Not the first time someone has told untruths about me on this board - but they seldom do it where I can totally prove it.

The rest of what was posted? Here you go

-------------------------------------------------------------- here is another fake post. Forum: Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Forum Re: Beautiful description of the impact of catching the meme. (Paul Davis) Re: Doomer plant post. Seen it a couple dozen times already Re: Actually, the Fed thread was on Yourdons yesterday. (Paul Davis) Date: Jun 16, 15:58 From: its all crap just like the inside of doomers heads. ------------------------------------------------------------------ And my response was

------------------------------------------------------------------ I have to wonder Forum: Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Forum Re: Beautiful description of the impact of catching the meme. (Paul Davis) Re: Doomer plant post. Seen it a couple dozen times already Re: Actually, the Fed thread was on Yourdons yesterday. (Paul Davis) Re: here is another fake post. Date: Jun 16, 21:23 From: Paul Davis

Just how many real posters there are on Yourdon's board, and how many are doomers with a dozen different names. I would give ten bucks for a print out of the IP addresses used to post on each thread, sorted by date and time of post with the handle and email used printed next to each IP. Since most people stay on line a while, it would sure show some interesting things. --------------------------------------------------------------------

Come on Outings, you old she-troll, tell me just how many handles you have. Three? Five? This is the most trolled board on the Internet- everyone from Flint to RDHerring to myself has bemoaned that fact on occasion. And you are the worst of the bunch!

-- Paul Davis (, June 17, 1999.


Your point, as best I can tell, is that since Paul has taken the word of a stranger in a situation where you would not have and since Paul is one of the "meme" crowd, he is fairly stupid and nothing that he has to say is worthy of consideration. That, if it is in fact your position, is yours by right to determine.

I suggest that you deprive yourself of much opportunity by such.

Will you refuse a weather report from a stranger simply because of its source? It appears to me that the substance of the report itself would be far more relevant than who brought it to you. That example is an extreme but it clearly illustrates my point. Each "report" from a stranger will be required to rely on its own merit rather than getting a "pass" because of the previous experience one may have with another. I'm simply saying that if you draw a line at strangers, you will deprive yourself of much in the way of input.

As for the "meme" stuff, I'll tell you it's just jargon. When it first showed up here, I went to the referenced material and read what the guy had to say. He didn't say anything new or even really anything that I disagreed with. What he did do was create a new jargon to describe old and well known human thought patterns. Jargon, as you may well know, is simply a "code" that insiders use to hold off outsiders. Simply put, if you don't know what someone is talking about, you can not argue credibly with them. Paul's usage of this jargon tells me who he has identified with, but no more.

To summarize, your point was well made, but I argue against it. I think it imprudent and usually disastrous to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

-- Hardliner (, June 18, 1999.

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