How many of these false/misleading statements in SMTM’s posts will they fix (or will be shown in the comments not to be false or misleading) before June 2023?
1.1
expected

Below is a list of factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations of sources or data in Slime Mold Time Mold's posts. This question resolves as the number of them that are, by June 2023, either corrected by SMTM or convincingly shown not to be false or misleading by comments in this market.

[For numbers 1-4, you can see further explanations, and links to the relevant posts from SMTM, here https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/7iAABhWpcGeP5e6SB/it-s-probably-not-lithium#Factual_inaccuracies_and_misrepresentation_of_sources_in_SMTM_s_posts_about_lithium]

  1. In one of their blog posts arguing that the obesity epidemic is caused by lithium, they say that Texas “tends to be more obese along its border with Lousiana [sic], which is also where the highest levels of lithium were reported.” But the source they cited for that claims that there are lower lithium levels along the Louisiana border, not higher.

  2. In the same post, they said that the obesity rate of men in the West Bank (which has high water lithium concentration) was 50% in 2003. But the source they cited for that claim directly contradicts it — it said that “[t]he prevalence of obesity was 36.8 and 18.1% in rural women and men, respectively, compared with 49.1 and 30.6% in urban women and men, respectively.”

  3. In a post from July, SMTM systematically misrepresented some of their sources in order to claim that the concentration of lithium in food is much higher than high-quality studies find it to be. They acted as if those sources were reporting the concentration of lithium per unit of wet weight of food, when they were reporting the concentration per unit of dry weight of food, leading to a 20x misrepresentation in some cases. 

  4. SMTM claims in a post that they "found hints that people on Samos Island [where there's a lot of lithium in water] are about as obese as Americans." But that claim was based on a misunderstanding of how obesity cutoffs for children are defined. Obesity cutoffs for children are higher in the US than in the rest of the world.

  5. In their post analyzing their potassium trial results (https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2022/12/20/people-took-some-potassium-and-lost-some-weight/), they claim that their trial participants had a potassium intake of ~1,961.7 mg per day. But that is the average amount of potassium people reported supplementing, not the total amount of potassium they consumed per day. People eat on average about ~2.5 g of potassium per day from regular food consumption alone, so the number they gave was misleading by more than a factor of 2. Throughout the post, they use this misrepresentation to systematically give a misleading impression of the effectiveness of the potassium trial. (I wrote more about this here: https://manifold.markets/AlexL/if-slime-mold-time-mold-conclude-a#ulS90iAssZC7gVIHKHQx).

  6. There’s a post (https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2022/01/11/reality-is-very-weird-and-you-need-to-be-prepared-for-that/) in which they claim that “Sicilian lemons really ARE more like polar bear meat than they are like West Indian limes, at least for the purposes of treating scurvy” (implying that Sicilian lemons have lower vitamin C content than West Indian limes and polar bear meat). I investigated this (https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/sbcmACvB6DqYXYidL/counter-theses-on-sleep?commentId=SNvzY5oH8KRKvGz9v) and found that West Indian limes have ~60% of the vitamin C concentration of lemons, and that polar bear meat has much less vitamin C than either, so their post is just factually incorrect.

Note: if they fix one of those items but then make the exact same error in another post by June 2023 and don’t fix that, or if they fix one item and then revert back their post in less than a month, it won’t count.

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ManifoldDream avatar
Manifold in the WildBot

Manifold in the wild: A Tweet by Natália 🔍

@ohabryka @humanisque @acidshill @orellanin @parafactual @ESYudkowsky Their lack of response to my post is not what makes me have my impression. I was thinking specifically of their lack of response to the West Bank obesity figures issue and the lithium map misreading, along with the other issues I listed here https://manifold.markets/Natalia/how-many-of-these-falsemisleading-s

ManifoldDream avatar
Manifold in the WildBot

Manifold in the wild: A Tweet by Natália 🔍

@ohabryka @acidshill @orellanin @humanisque @parafactual @ESYudkowsky As acidshill said, if this were a misunderstanding they could just come out and say so. But they haven’t, and no one has either, despite the existence of this Manifold market https://manifold.markets/Natalia/how-many-of-these-falsemisleading-s

ManifoldDream avatar
Manifold in the WildBot

Manifold in the wild: A Tweet by Natália 🔍

@mold_time I think I'll finish the thread here! Of course, you can look at my blog post for more. Oh, one more thing: I think it's really bad that there are several falsehoods in @mold_time's posts that they have refused to fix despite being told about them. https://manifold.markets/NataliaMendonca/how-many-of-these-falsemisleading-s

nmehndir avatar
nmehndirbought Ṁ100 of LOWER

Betting NO to incentivize SMTM to address their misleading claims.

jcp avatar
emcemcbought Ṁ50 of LOWER

@nmehndir Same. I find it difficult to believe this will resolve against us via people disproving Natalia's claims, so it's basically a market on whether or not they'll write a mea culpa post.

Which, I mean, that's got to happen, right? In any functional scientific field, this level of misrepresentation clearly constitutes malpractice — especially considering how many times they've been notified of these errors.

It's easy and probably reputation-positive to tweet out "hey we misread a graph — our bad!". I have no clue what's been holding them up for months.

Natalia avatar
Natália 🔍

I don’t think the SMTM authors use Manifold, in case you guys were expecting them to bet on HIGHER and then correct the errors for profit.