an absolute advantage: the intelligence of experience

1906 Patent for Wireless Telegraphy

1906 Patent for Wireless Telegraphy (Photo credit: Wesley Fryer)

The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method (Photo credit: afagen)


An “absolute advantage” involves being the best at something. While other advantages (like competitive prices or convenience) are valuable in business, they may be irrelevant.
For instance, consider a technological gap like between telephones and telegraphs. Telegraphs might be cheaper than telephones, but telephones have an absolute advantage over telegraphs, right?
Now, do you know what AT&T stands for? If not, and you asked 10 people what AT&T stands for, and the first nine said “no,” would you give up and not ask the tenth person or even ignore a single answer of “yes” or even (“maybe”)?
AT&T stands for American Telephone & Telegraph. They may have had a lot of business in both categories at one time, but that time has passed. They had to adapt to the reality that the faster they stopped working with telegraphs and concentrated exclusively on telephones, the better for their business. Now, much of their business is mobile devices like cell phones.
Let’s review a few more absolute advantages. The examples will cover physique, relief of health complaints, and investments.
Dr. Doug McGuff, M.D. and the famous marathoner Mark Sisson are among the advocates of “high intensity training.” Requiring only 15 minutes per week, their methods produce faster and safer results than lengthy weight-lifting routines and cardiovascular aerobics so popular in gyms today. Their methods are designed around the latest scientific research on high-efficiency cellular metabolism and muscle-building.
Dr. McGuff and Mr. Sisson are also advocates of radically effective diets. By reducing or eliminating the foods that produce unhealthy weight gain, cardiovascular distress, and hormonal chaos, they focus specifically on the fuels that the human body is designed to use. However, even they do not go as far as Aajonus Vanderplanitz. He is among many people who have been treated for diabetes, cancer, and autism, but while conventional treatments were total failures for him, he experienced total relief from all of those ailments simply by altering his diet.
Now, let’s imagine that ten specialists offered services relating to promoting health. If 9 of them said that they do not understand a particular physiological development, but they do know some ways to relieve some symptoms temporarily, those results may be attractive.
However, what if 1 of them said that they do understand a particular physiological development, that they personally had the same issue and know a method that resulted in them not having that issue? What if they added that they understand the physiology of why certain people who perform certain behaviors never get that condition, why certain behaviors are very likely to result in that condition, and why replacing particular behaviors in particular ways consistently results in specific predictable changes?
Interval Training

Interval Training (Photo credit: Greatist)

What has more credibility and relevance: nine people who admit ignorance of something or one who offers to demonstrate competence? For instance, if 9 people say that they do not know what AT&T stands for and 1 person claims to know, how relevant are the 9 who admit ignorance? Does the admitted ignorance of 9 out of 10 change the relevance of the one who claims knowledge?
How about this: I ask 10 people what AT&T stands for and 9 answer “yes,” but this time only 1 of them answers “no.” Does the admitted ignorance of 1 out of 10 change the relevance of the fact that the other 9 agree and offer evidence to back up their claims? What about if 9 out of 10 admit ignorance? Do any number of admissions of ignorance change the relevance of even a single claim of the capacity to demonstrate competence?
9 people who admit not knowing what AT&T stands for do not change that AT&T stands for something. 9 people who admit not knowing what AT&T stands for also do not change what AT&T stands for.
Likewise, 9 people who admit ignorance in how to address a medical condition labeled incurable (such as scurvy) do not change the physiological sequence that results in the medical condition labeled scurvy. Either there is an actual sequence that produces the medical conditions known as scurvy, cancer, diabetes, and autism or there is no such thing as any of those conditions. If there is an actual metabolic sequence that produces particular medical conditions, then any individual may or may not admit ignorance or offer to demonstrate competence in relation to it.
Also, if 9 people are not familiar with high intensity training and the results it consistently produces or the scientific logic of how, so what? 9 people who admit ignorance (or demonstrate it through resignation or cynicism) do not change the physiological sequence that results in the biochemical results of a particular increase in muscle tissue.
So, while the vast majority of health practitioners may presume that such diagnoses as diabetes, cancer, and autism are currently incurable, many researchers suggest that a lack of competence in physiology by a physician is not proof that something cannot ever be cured. Even the existence of research to find pharmaceutical “cures” is itself evidence that what may be called “incurable” by most physicians at a particular time is recognized as possible to cure. However, regulatory organizations funded by certain commercial interests may do their best to advance the commercial interests of their funders, which may include promoting the idea that the best response to a particular medical condition is a particular treatment that is extremely profitable to the ones providing it. Therefore, we might say that it is not that Vitamin C cures “scurvy,” but that the conventional use of the diagnostic label “scurvy” was simply a sloppy or negligent use of language.
Do we “cure” an empty gas tank by adding fuel? No, adding fuel to an empty tank just allows for a vehicle to move.
Would we say that the results or symptoms of having no fuel are caused by the presence of air in the fuel tank? No, we do not cure the tank full of air by adding fuel. The air that fills the tank in the absence of fuel is not the issue at all. Similarly, the absence of nutrients and physiological functionality that result in what can be called scurvy or cancer is really not “cured” by providing the relevant nourishment.
So, consider that there is clearly such a thing as normal metabolism. In the presence of certain amounts of Vitamin C, normal metabolism is possible. Vitamin C does not cure the absence of Vitamin C. Similarly, Vitamin B-17 does not cure the absence of Vitamin B-17. Vitamins like C and B-17 are simply required for normal metabolism. In the absence of any of the ingredients required, different results are produced.
If you attempt to bake cake without yeast and the cake does not rise and instead of cake you get brownies, that does not mean that you have brownies with yeastlessness or a cake with brownieness. You simply have brownies and not a cake.
Citrus fruit slices

Citrus fruit slices (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you eat enough Vitamin C, you have enough Vitamin C. If you do not eat enough Vitamin C, you do not have too much scurviness. There is no presence of a biochemical scurvy. Scurvy is just a linguistic label. Scurvy does not kill anyone. Vitamin C may result in survival, but a diagnostic label, like a label on a jar, does not have any effect on the content of a jar.
So, calling a label incurable is not especially intelligent or useful. A jar that does not contain any Vitamin C is not filled with too much incurable scurvy. Labeling a jar that does not contain Vitamin C as a jar that contains scurvy reminds me of another diagnostic label though: “quackery.”
Now, while many people may be interested in the distinctions in language that I just mentioned or even in the competencies in physiology that I just mentioned, I used all of the preceding simply as an introduction to the following. Even the question about 9 out of 10 people who admit ignorance about what AT&T stands for was just to lead to this.
First, remember that AT&T stopped investing in the telegraph business because telephones provided an absolute advantage over telegraphs. Mark Sisson stopped putting several hours a day in to exercising when he found a reliable way to produce better results in a tiny fraction of the time, right?
Now, how much would it be worth to have the insight of someone who understands how investment trends begin and end? Again, 9 people might admit ignorance, but thousands of admissions of ignorance do not make scurvy incurable or trends unpredictable.
Investors who used a competent advisor like Jim Shepherd received early warnings for the last 29 years before the beginning of every major rise and fall in the US stock market, as well as advance warning of the US real estate decline (I saw him refer to the emerging decline by 2002). I recently compiled a list of 10 forecasters who published alerts of at least one of the major economic developments of recent years.
So, if 10 out of 10 of them agreed about something being predictable for the near future, would you be interested in knowing the opportunities and risks that they agree are predictable? But wait! What if 6 billion people admit ignorance about those same opportunities and risks?
Would you be willing to stop what you are doing for a few minutes to learn how you could have the absolute advantage of vastly superior investing results at much less risk to you, much less cost to you, and much more security? Remember, even the best telegraphs do not compete with any basic telephone that is functional. The best-trained aerobics instructors do not compete with a personal trainer who is competent in “high intensity training.” The best-trained pharmaceutical “medicationists” do not compete with a single competent physiologist. Further, if you want to prosper economically, you might value even a brief consultation with someone who understands economics, trends, markets, court systems, legal issues, and, last but not least, language.
9 people who admit that the Greek language does not make any more sense to them then investment trends do not compete with a single person who understands that prices are like stickers on a jar. Prices do not change the content of the jar. People who only watch prices and follow them may not even understand what changes prices predictably.
In economics, different methods get different results, as in rewards or losses. It is no different in economics than in anything else.

However, you do not need to understand the science behind high intensity training to experience the absolute advantage that it has over more popular methods. Likewise, you do not need to understand the logic behind the reliable forecasts of competent analysts to benefit from them. All you have to do is demonstrate that you are more interested in one person who claims to be able to demonstrate competence than in 9 people who admit ignorance (or even 6 billion).

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