To Fred and others,
First, we thank you for taking the time to send us your thoughts about our first post on this subject. We always appreciate feedback. However, we feel that there are many problems with Fred’s rebuttal and with much of the information present in his book. The number of non-sequiturs, hasty generalizations, and straw-man types of faulty reasoning found throughout the book is astonishing.
This will be a long; no, very long rebuttal (to make it much easier to read you may want to download the PDF version). The length is necessary in order to give clear and well supported responses to the many problems we feel are presented in the book and in the follow-up replies by Fred Hahn and others. However, I guess, for brevity and apparently a valid method for stating a position (see comment below), we could have just said “Our friend Dr. X said that everything we say is correct” therefore we are right and you are wrong. Well that would certainly be a very bad response and we would want someone to tell us that we were idiots for using that type of justification for our arguments.
We will cover a few things mentioned in some of the comments from our first post on this subject first and then will go through the book, chapter by chapter, highlighting the many bold statements and then demonstrating that there are many problems with them. Before proceeding there is one more thing to clear up.
Apparently the word “crap” was not well received. This was said to be mean-spirited and unprofessional. We don’t really agree with this assessment, due to the format for which it was presented, a blog. Also, the word crap is a common slang word generally used to describe something that is not very good. In fact, according to Wikipedia crap can mean “used to describe something substandard”. Dictionary.com states the following for the slang use of the word crap; “a. nonsense; drivel; b. falsehood, exaggeration, propaganda, or the like”. But, we will concede this point and have changed the wording in our original post so that the word crap is removed. Instead we have changed it to; “We feel that this book is filled with misleading, incorrect and unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of a type of exercise referred to as Slow Burn. Therefore, it is not worth reading.”
Please feel free to send us your comments, debate and intelligent discussions are great learning opportunities. However, we ask for two things; the comments must be logical and have some quality evidence to support them.
“ ‘The likelihood of one individual being right increases in direct proportion to the intensity with which others are trying to prove him wrong.’ That about sums up this review in a nutshell.”
Matt & Jeff’s response;
Really Fred, this quote sums up our review? There are so many instances that this is wrong. For example, should the creationist think they are right because virtually every scientist feels that the evidence for evolution is strong and creationists are wrong? There is “intense” opposition to the creationist view; does that make them right? There are typically many people, yes often one side has more opposition than another, who disagree with a particular viewpoint, i.e., Lipid Hypothesis, eating fat makes you fat, and doing cardio is the best type of exercise and so on. However, there is usually one view that has the preponderance of evidence to support it. The view that has greater validity may or may not be the side that has more “intensity” against it. Come on, this is a poor argument and in no way sums up our review in a “nutshell”. Talk about a red herring argument!
“First, the editor of our book chose NOT to put a bibliography in the book. She also did not want too many technical references. She also felt that since two physicians were writing the book, this was authority enough.”
Matt & Jeff’s response;
We are not asking for a bibliography we are looking for in-text citations to material that supports your claims. Apparently the editor allowed 10 footnotes with 3 of them referring to peer-reviewed research to support your statements. Those were great, but how come they were so few and far between? Why have any at all? Why were there no footnotes/references for the many bold statements you made? Here are a couple of examples. We will be highlighting many more shortly.
“Slow Burn is a form of exercise that has been shown to provide all the benefits you seek from an exercise regime in only thirty minutes per week, with negligible risk of injury” (p.10) (no references)
“Performing a Slow Burn workout will set in motion biochemical forces make you less hungry and get rid of the aches and pains that may have seemed to be inescapable part of getting older” (pp.14-15) (no references)
“Although it’s true that conventional strength training – if it’s done properly done – can bring about gains in muscle, strength and fitness, it can be tedious and dangerous” (p.22) (no references)
“Instead of spending hours in the gym, grunting, sweating and straining, you’ll learn how to do a controlled Slow Burn that will improve your strength, rebuild your bones and muscles and restore your vitality and post-pone the aging process more safely and effectively than any other single form of exercise, in just thirty minutes a week” (p.23) WOW! (All underlining was added for emphasis)
As long a medical doctor is writing a book there is no need to support statements, particularly statements that are debunking the typical paradigm, with quality evidence? Really? Do you believe this? No offense to M.D.’s, but just because a person has any type of education, here a medical degree, does not allow them to go spouting anything they want and not give evidence for it. So for fallacious reasoning, here is one, “appeal to authority”. It would have been better, but still not excusable, if one of the co-authors was an exercise physiologist/physical therapist, i.e., someone who specializes in human movement. Anyway, we are so sick of the excuses such as the “editor/publisher said” or “people don’t care about references” or some other lame excuse for not properly supporting arguments. The excuses are bollocks and have no place in quality writing. There are rules for non-fiction writing. We agree with the following overview of what non-fiction writing should entail.
Definition of Nonfiction Writing
By Robert Vaux, eHow Contributor
Nonfiction writing is essentially factual writing, intended primarily to provide information rather than entertainment or speculative truths. Though the details and conclusions may include a certain amount of opinion, they must be backed up by concrete date and stem from a belief that the details are factual.
Nonfiction includes newspaper articles, magazine articles, autobiographies, travel essays, political essays and product reviews.
Thesis and Support
Many forms of nonfiction start by positing a thesis, then citing pieces of evidence in support of it.
Because nonfiction can be colored by conjecture and opinion, proper citation of sources is very important. A piece of nonfiction backed up by hard data becomes much more persuasive.
Objective nonfiction means nonfiction that presents only concrete, verifiable facts. A list of historical dates is an example of this kind of nonfiction. (underlining added for emphasis)
Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/facts_5506969_definition-nonfiction-writing.html
Yes, there still can be problems. People can misinterpret the information and/or the study/paper itself may be flawed. That is all the more reason to do proper citations. People can actually check to see if what you are saying is really true, not that many people will do this. But that does not matter. This can help to weed out bad information and allows the scientific method to work. We do our best to put forth quality information, but we can certainly mess-up. Being transparent and citing the evidence we use will hopefully lead to good discussions and a greater validity of what we have said or potentially to a change a recommendation if new evidence, sometimes offered by others, supports such a change.
Additionally, using the “Dr said” or some other authority said so often leads to many problems and tends to perpetuate recommendations that actually have no quality evidence to support them. This appeal to authority can often end up producing recommendations that have, for support, nothing more than a repeated reference to a statement made by an authority/expert that never had any good support to start with. I am sure you understand this aspect when it comes to low-carb eating and the “aerobics is the best type of exercise” view. There are experts, both with a lot of formal education and those without, and we can and often should listen to them, but nobody is above the requirement to support their views with good evidence. Finally, why have any footnotes/references at all? On pages 9, 38 and 57 you have footnotes referencing a few studies. So the editor allowed you a few references. Why bother with these? When making strong statements it is your responsibility to support them properly.
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