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Instead of consulting reference works, pseudo-masters simply spout bogus "facts" where needed. These fictions are often central to their argument. Moreover, pseudo-masters rarely revise their ideas. The first edition of a martial art book based on pseudoscience is almost always the last one, even though the book remains in print for centuries. For liars, the technique is to standby you original lie, no matter what. Even books with obvious mistakes, errors, and misprints on every page may be reprinted over and over.
Research is invariably sloppy. Pseudo-masters clip newspaper reports, collect hearsay, cite other pseudoscience books, and pour over ancient religious or mythological works to prove their theories. They rarely, if ever, make an independent investigation to check their sources.
Research is ususally done to try to find support for their theories, not to find the truth. Pseudo-masters tend to perform streetlight research, only researching where it is easiest. This is illustrated by the following parable:
A policeman saw a drunk crawling around on the sidewalk under a streetlight and asked him, “Are you having a problem?” The drunk answered, “I lost my wallet.” The policeman asked, “Did you lose it here?” The drunk answered, “No, I lost it on the other side of the street.” “Then why are looking for it here?” asked the policeman. The drunk replied, “Because the light is better over here.”
- Begins with a false hypothesis. The hypothesis pseudo-masters start with is usually one that is appealing emotionally, and spectacularly implausible. Then pseudo-masters look only for items that appear to support their hypothesis; conflicting evidence is ignored. The aim of pseudo-masters is usually to rationalize their strongly held beliefs, rather than to investigate or to test alternative possibilities. Pseudo-masters specialize in jumping to conclusions, grinding ideological axes, appealing to preconceived ideas, and to spreading misunderstandings.