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The Tenuous Evidence Pitch

Pitch Type:  Analytical 

The Tenuous Evidence Pitch claims the evidence for a position is at best inconclusive.

What's a Pitch?

A pitch is a label for a commonly used argument or persuasion strategy.

Blog Post on Pitches


Robert Carter    Marine Geophysical Professor
With the complete discrediting of the ‘hockey stick’ curve of recent temperature change (McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003, 2005; Wegman, Scott and Said, 2006) that was the icon of their report, the IPCC case for dangerous human-caused warming now rests only on ambiguous anecdotal evidence, unvalidated computer models and misleading attribution studies (IPCC, 2007).

S. Fred Singer    Head of NIPCC, Astrophysics Professor
The gap between the satellite observations and existing theory is large enough to cast serious doubt on all computer-model predictions of future warming. Whatever the cause of the gap, we cannot rely on GCM (General Circulation Models) forecasts of future warming. (GCMs are not even consistent with each other; their temperature forecasts vary by some 300 percent.) Until GCMs become validated by actual climate observations, they should not be used as the basis for policy.

There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape... ...We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects.

Robin Hanson    Economics Professor
So we don’t have clear evidence that smoking kills; it could be that most or all of the death-smoking correlations are due to selection effects, and not smoking causing death. ... Apparently we need bigger trials if we are going to see clearly if smoking kills. Alas the era of the large risk trial seems to be over, at least for now; it seems it will be a long time before we really know.

Viera Scheibner    Geology Professor; Prominent Modern Medicine Skeptic
I did not find it difficult to conclude that there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines or any kind are effective in preventing the infectious diseases they are supposed to prevent. Further, adverse effects are amply documented and are far more significant to public health than any adverse effects of infectious diseases. Immunizations not only [were ineffective], they caused more suffering and more deaths than has any other human activity in the entire history of medical intervention.

John Christy    Climatology Professor, Former IPCC Lead Author
Atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to increase due to the undisputed benefits that carbon-based energy brings to humanity. This increase will have some climate impact through CO2's radiation properties. However, fundamental knowledge is meagre here, and our own research indicates that alarming changes in the key observations are not occurring.

Stephen Barrett    Psychiatrist
[in addition to cancer, Protocell] has also been promoted for the treatment of AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, "extreme cases of emphysema and diabetes," and several other diseases. ...Laboratory tests conducted between 1978 and 1991 by the NCI found no evidence that [Protocell] was effective against cancer.

American Cancer Society    Health Organization
After study of the literature and other available information, the American Cancer Society has found no evidence that the use of Cancell/Entelev results in objective benefit in the treatment of cancer in human beings. Lacking such evidence, the American Cancer Society strongly urges individuals with cancer not to seek treatment from practitioners utilizing this compound.

Richard Black    Environment Journalist, BBC
No-one [of the skeptics I invited to discuss bias] said they had been refused a place on the IPCC, the central global body in climate change, or denied a job or turned down for promotion or sacked or refused access to a conference platform, or indeed anything else. If there is an anti-sceptic bias running through the institutions of science, it is evidently keeping itself well hidden.

Annie Murphy Paul    Journalist, Author
Perhaps no other personality test has achieved the cult status of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. ...the Myers-Briggs has also been embraced by a multitude of individuals who experience a revelation (what devotees call the "aha reaction") upon learning about psychological type. Their enthusiasm persists despite research showing that as many as three-quarters of test takers achieve a different personality type when tested again, and that [it has] no scientific basis whatsoever.

Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
The people at CPP [who own the rights to MTBI] aren’t too concerned if the list doesn’t seem to match your type. They advise such persons to see the one who administered the test and ask for help in finding a more suitable list by changing a letter or two in your four-letter type. ... Furthermore, no matter what your preferences, your behavior will still sometimes indicate contrasting behavior. Thus, no behavior can ever be used to falsify the type, and any behavior can be used to verify it.

Jason Pontin    Technology Journalist
In short, SENS is highly speculative. Many of its proposals have not been reproduced, nor could they be reproduced with today's scientific knowledge and technology. Echoing Myhrvold, we might charitably say that de Grey's proposals exist in a kind of antechamber of science, where they wait (possibly in vain) for independent verification. SENS does not compel the assent of many knowledgeable scientists; but neither is it demonstrably wrong.

Bertrand Russell    Iconic Philosopher of 20th Century
My conclusion [to the question: is there a god?] is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity.
Context: Does God exist?

Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
We know that there is virtually no scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective.