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The Principle of Mediocrity

. . . You Can Observe A Lot By Just Looking . . .

 

In this essay, we examine whether the “products” touted over the Internet have any validity, if indeed they even have legality. Can men make their penises bigger with “Penis Enlargement Creams”? Can women make their breasts bigger with “Breast Enlargement Creams”? Can we all lose weight with “Miracle Hunza Diet Bread”? Can we all become billionaires by sending out reports to five other people?

The answers to these questions and many others of like ilk can be obtained by what one famous astronomer called the Principle of Mediocrity, and you apply the principle to scam testing by the simple expedient of Just Looking Around You.

Have a significant fraction of the women in your area increased the size of their breasts, or do they all look more or less the same now as they did a year ago? If they all look more or less the same, either they have not taken advantage of the miracle creams, or, more than likely, the miracle creams don't work.

Have a significant fraction of people in your area lost weight, or do they all look more or less the same now as they did a year ago? If they all look more or less the same, either they have not taken advantage of Miracle Hunza Diet Bread, or, more than likely, Miracle Hunza Diet Bread doesn't work.

 

Let us look at an example. At least once a week for the past several years, I (and presumably millions of others) have received a Spam that spouts, more or less, Ohio Housewife Discovers 2,000 Year Old Secret to Miracle Hunza Diet Bread! The Spam Scam continues with how Hunza Diet Bread can help you lose weight, and it is liberally larded (no pun intended) with fake “testimonials” as to how Joseph M. Schnook of Epsilon Minus, Montana (why are they always out in some place in Montana?), changed his life by consuming Miracle Hunza Diet Bread.

 

So Just Look Around You. Are a significant fraction of people in your area thinner now than they were a year ago? Or are the majority of people (eighty-five percent in America) still overweight? Chances are, Miracle Hunza Diet Bread didn't do the trick. Neither did all the well-known chains of weight reduction outfits.

 

Next time you are waiting in the supermarket checkout line, take a look at all the magazines targeted mostly at women. How many of them are touting some new way to lose weight? How many of them were touting some new way to lose weight last month? The month before? How many do you think will be touting some new way to lose weight next month and the month after? What do you conclude from this simple exercise of Just Looking Around You?

 

And let us ask one more question. How likely are the chances that an Ohio Housewife Discovers 2,000 Year Old Secret to Miracle Hunza Diet? The Hunzas live in the Himalaya. Now we know, from the events involving the war in Afghanistan, that the average American could not point to Afghanistan on a map. How likely is it that some Ohio Housewife could find the Kingdom of Hunza? Assuming the Hunza even eat bread at all (unlikely), how did the Ohio Housewife discover it? By Internet telepathy, possibly?

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Page Updated 2011 December 10