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Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

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Thanks for this video Matt. I think this is valuable, insofar as there are those on these boards who are fond of smearing the Russian researchers as bad actors who are peddling a clearly fraudulent conspiracy wrt. Calment. Whether you are persuaded by this video or not, if nothing else, this video proves that the Russians are quite thorough and hardly wild-eyed conspiracy peddlers. They provide very, very well-argued evidence - and by contrast, the French validators of Calment's age are quite sloppy (f.ex. pointing to the wrong person as Jean).

This proves again that the ugly habit of ad-hominem attacks against researchers, especially the inexcusable invoking of their ethnic background (Russian), is a stupid and destructive practice. 

Let this be a strong refutation of this ugly practice. I don't want to ever hear again - and you know who you are - idiotic ad-hominem arguments. If you have an argument against a thesis, please present it, and desist from bringing in personal attacks against researchers or anyone who is arguing for or against any thesis. 

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Ah, just like Pizzagate and the Moon landing, this will live forever on the internets....

But of course, let's trust a random Youtube videos using (and flattering) De Grey as a "strong refutation" to the "ugly" Washington Post allegations below. Because, as the saying goes, nobody has lost money underestimating the gullibility of the populace.

"The world’s oldest person record stood for decades. Then came a Russian conspiracy theory.
 

The email came just hours into the new year, landing in the inboxes of the two renowned French gerontologists who had validated the age of the oldest person ever documented in the modern world.

Also copied was the consultant who analyzed age-related cases for Guinness World Records, which had given Jeanne Calment the title before she died at 122 in 1997.

“Colleagues, take action, take evidence for verification,” read the message, from the email account of Russian doctor Valery Novoselov, continuing in cryptically rendered English. “Otherwise, there will be many people who will want to participate in this show.”

Novoselov, the chairman of gerontology for a naturalist society at Moscow State University, had recently conscripted a researcher to write a report contesting Calment’s record. The study made an explosive claim: that Calment was not Jeanne but her daughter Yvonne, who had stolen her deceased mother’s identity to avoid paying inheritance taxes, and was therefore not older than 100. It kicked off a storm of media attention that was cresting when Novoselov’s message was sent.

Novoselov made a vague threat about law enforcement in the email to the three men.

“Do not write about the war between Russia and the West,” he wrote. “Concerning the behavior of one of the participants of the show, a complaint was written to the NIA. Last week I wrote a request to the SK RF (similar to the FBI). Next week there will be an appeal to the FBI.”

The gerontologists who received the email said they already were questioning the soundness of the Russian study. Now one of the people behind it was saying he had made a complaint to the United States’ National Institute on Aging and the SK RF — a federal investigative committee in Russia that deals with politically involved crimes, as well as terrorism and theft.

There were other strange events.

Random accounts had been popping up on the 110 Club, an online forum dedicated to supercentenarians, to talk about the case. The Wikipedia page for Jeanne Calment had recently undergone edits that wove in doubt about her age. And an internal message from the 110 Club’s administrator’s board appeared on Novoselov’s Facebook page.

This was not how academic disputes were typically settled. And Russia was not particularly well thought of in the close-knit world of people who study the exceptionally old in Europe and the United States. At least one of the scientists started wondering whether something else was going on.
...

 

The gerontology department of the naturalist society that he heads prominently displays one of its main goals for 2019 on its website: “to invalidate” Calment’s record. It lauds the research done by Zak, among others.

They showed how much the freedom of scientific thought and the level of Russian knowledge sometimes surpasses Western science,” it said."


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/12/how-madame-calment-worlds-oldest-person-became-fuel-russian-conspiracy-theory/?noredirect=on

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Yep, same old drivel peddled here again and again - aspersions cast on those who bring forth arguments that undermine group-think. In typical fashion, it focuses on personal attacks and vague accusations of conspiracy ("strange events") while carefully avoiding engagement with the actual evidence and arguments. When you can't argue the merits of the case, attack the messenger - the video is "random", "DeGray is being flattered and used", it's Russians, can you believe it Russians, on and on and on. Oh, and after all, an article appeared in the Washington Post - as if the sorry history of terrible reporting had not been part of TWP and TNYT - because it's all about an argument from authority (The Washington Post, ooh, la, la!). Never about the merits of the case, always about arguments from authority and ad-hominem.

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Tom, what's your beef with The Washington Post?

You seem to be oh so eager to defend conspiracy theories, from claims of millions of "missing" Japanese centenarians, to this Calment nonsense.

Please stop and think of the implications of this particular conspiracy theory.

Do you really think it's plausible that the whole town was in on the conspiracy to switch the identities of the mother and daughter? All the neighbors, friends, shopkeepers? And the administrative authorities?

Why would all these people be in on such conspiracy? Because they planned to set a record three quarters of a century later?!! And wouldn't anyone spill the beans to a tabloid somewhere for 15 minutes of fame, or some cash?

And do you really believe that the French government is in on it? Across party lines? For the glory of France, perhaps?

And do you really believe that all those Western scientists are in on it, too? Because a number of them have verified and studied Calment (UCLA has a whole page on her). Why would they do this?

Perhaps you have good answers to all these questions? I am all ears.

Edited by Ron Put

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Tom, what's your beef with The Washington Post?

The same beef as with any source - none and all. I am interested in the argument/evidence and not so much the source. So if someone argues (as you appear to have done) "but it was published by TWP!" then yes, I have a beef, insofar as that's not an argument for me at all. If someone says the opposite "oh it was the terrible TWP" then I have no beef, because again, I care about the merit of the case and not the source of the argument. In other words, it's irrelevant to me. Make your case, don't try to bolster your case - or deprecate the case - based on the source, the nationality of those who make the case, or any other conspiracy mongering "Russian KGB theory!" "the Russians want to undermine the Calment claim!". Again, for the thousandth time: make the argument, and not irrelevant attacks against sources. 

Same with your "is the French government in on it" and the rest of your points about French researchers and Guiness records investigators and so on. You keep focusing on who is saying what - always and forever - whereas I'm only interested in the "what is being said" Have you noticed? You really can't seem to grok the point that it's not the who that matters but the what. Because why someone says something or other is completely irrelevant - there are a million explanations and not one of them is relevant to the merit of the case - you don't need the French government actively conspiring, you only need the hidebound inertia of bureaucracy for false data to be perpetuated. You seem to believe that somehow all records are forever pure and never wrong and it would take a smoke filled room of conspirators for the data to be simply wrong for a million reasons. And again - none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the quality of evidence for and against! You can save yourself a lot of time if you ignore the completely irrelevant sideshow of conspiracies and personalities and focus exclusively on the evidence. But that's how we differ and always have. For you it's all about the sideshow and that's the crux of your argument - ad hominem, arguments from authority, all about evil agents from goverments for and against. For me it's all about "never mind who says this or that - what is the evidence for or against". And since we have such radically different approaches, we can never find common ground.

You seem to be oh so eager to defend conspiracy theories, from claims of millions of "missing" Japanese centenarians, to this Calment nonsense.

Round and round we go. I'm not going to play this game anymore for the simple reason that the pattern is always (1) you make the claim that it's a conspiracy theory along the lines of pizza parlor or whatnot, and provide zero arguments; (2) I then carefully lay out the argument, citing the evidence and where it is found, all in lengthy posts (3) you then ignore the arguments and go back to (1) claiming it's a conspiracy along pizza parlor lines. Round and round. It's therefore pointless for me to refute anything, since you don't engage in arguments, only in attacks against sources and ad-hominem attacks against me (how I'm supposedly super credulous and conspiracy minded). I therefore will no longer repeat the arguments as there is no point to it, since you simply ignore them. If you are interested, go re-read those arguments in this very thread from the previous page where I addressed your one sentence dismissal yet again for the millionth time:

 How often am I supposed to do this, only for you to come back with the same lame one sentence dismissal about "missing centenarians" and "Calment nonsense" - there simply is no point, so I will not - basta. Go scream about the evil Russians and how terrible the messengers and what a stellar paper your case was published in, and how "random" the video was that laid out the case. You focus on that. I will henceforth ignore your ad-hominems, and continue to focus on the merits of the evidence. I reckon we'll therefore continue to talk past each other. 

There can be no meeting of minds with such disparate approaches. It's as if we were discussing a mathematical proof (or scientific theory, or arguments for a historical event etc.), and all you can do is discuss the backgrounds and motivations of the mathematicians (scientists, historians, investigators etc.) and why they'd make this claim and that and where they published and which paper printed their papers etc., and I keep trying to focus on the actual proof, the actual theory, the actual evidence for and against. There is no way to resolve such disparate approaches.

You keep trying to get me to discuss the motivations of the French government, the motivations of village people, the French investigators, the Guiness investigators, how terrible the Russians are, how great the Washington Post is and how can anyone have a "beef" with them and on and on, and on. None of which I see as relevant at all. And I keep trying to focus on the evidence itself. So while I look at the math behind Pythagoras Theorem, you keep looking for skeletons in Pythagoras' closet. C'est la vie. 

 

Edited by TomBAvoider

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1 hour ago, DHL said:

I wholeheartedly believe from the evidence and arguments I have seen and heard, that Calment was a fraud.

Watch out, you'll get accused of spreading pizza parlor type conspiracy :)... personally, I have not made up my mind. What I will say, is that I absolutely think there are serious questions about the veracity of her record. I kinda agree with DeGray - I'm very torn. I maintain skepticism of both positions. The days of blithe assumption of the legitimacy of the J. Calment record are long gone, IMHO. It is indisputable in my mind that there are serious questions surrounding this and those questions absolutely need to be answered. Until then, I'm assuming nothing.

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Aubrey has claimed this could be resolved if the body was exhumed and analyzed.  If that isn't done it seems reasonable to consider existing evidence inconclusive.  Personally I don't see how it matters much one way or the other.  She was either a liar or a freaky outlier.  Either way it doesn't say much about what we can expect for human longevity through ongoing scientific advances.

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LOL, because nobody took samples or examined Ms. Calment?!! 

Here is the relevant excerpt from Wikipedia:

"Medical follow-up[edit]

Medical student Georges Garoyan published a thesis on Calment when she was 114 years old in January 1990. The first part records her daily routine, and the second presents her medical history. She stated that she had been vaccinated as a child but could not remember which vaccine(s). Apart from aspirin against migraines she had never taken any medicine, not even herbal teas. She did not contract German measles, chickenpox, or urinary infections, and was not prone to hypertension or diabetes. In April 1986, aged 111, she was sent to hospital for heart failure and treated with digoxin. Later she suffered from arthropathy in the ankles, elbows, and wrists, which was successfully treated with anti-inflammatory medication. Her arterial blood pressure was 140mm/70mm, her pulse 84/min. Her height was 150 cm (4 ft 11 in), and her weight 45 kg (99 lb), showing little variation from previous years. She scored well on mental tests, except on numeric tasks and recall of recent events. Analysis of her blood samples were in normal ranges between ages 111–114, with no signs of dehydration, anemia, chronic infection or renal impairment. Genetic analysis of the HLA system revealed the presence of the DR1 allele, common among centenarians. A cardiological assessment revealed a moderate left ventricular hypertrophy with a mild left atrial dilatation and extrasystolic arrhythmia. Radiology revealed diffuse osteoporosis, as well as incipient osteoarthritis in the right hip. An ultrasound exam showed no anomalies of internal organs.[7]:22–42 At this stage, Calment was still in good health, and continued to walk without a cane.[7]:22–42 She fell in January 1990 (aged 114) and fractured her femur, which required surgery.[2] Subsequently, Calment was bound to a wheelchair,[6]:1–13 and she abandoned her daily routine.[6]:85–92

At the age of 115, Calment attracted the attention of researchers Jean-Marie Robine and Dr. Michel Allard, who collaborated with her attending doctor, Dr. Victor Lèbre, to interview her, verify her age and identify factors promoting her longevity. According to their year-long analysis, Calment's vision was severely impaired by bilateral cataracts, yet she refused to undergo a routine operation to restore her eyesight; she had a moderately weak heart, a chronic cough ("caused no doubt by her previous use of tobacco"), and bouts of rheumatism. On the other hand, her digestion was always good, she slept well, and did not have incontinence. During the last years, she was 137 cm (4 ft 6 in) tall, and weighed 40 kg (88 lb); she confirmed that she had always been small, and had lost weight in recent years. Her eyes were light gray, and her white hair had once been chestnut brown.[6]:1–13

At the age of 118, she was submitted to repeated neurophysiological tests and a CT scan. The tests showed that her verbal memory and language fluency were comparable to those of persons with the same level of education in their eighties and nineties. Frontal brain lobe functions were relatively spared from deterioration, and there was no evidence of progressive neurological disease, depressive symptoms or other functional illness. Her cognitive functioning was observed to improve slightly over the six-month period.[42] Calment reportedly remained "mentally sharp" until the end of her life.[15]"

Of course, none of it matters to some.... They will always find their god in the gaps.

 

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1 hour ago, Ron Put said:

LOL, because nobody took samples or examined Ms. Calment?!! 

Here is the relevant excerpt from Wikipedia:

"Medical follow-up[edit]

Medical student Georges Garoyan published a thesis on Calment when she was 114 years old in January 1990. The first part records her daily routine, and the second presents her medical history. She stated that she had been vaccinated as a child but could not remember which vaccine(s). Apart from aspirin against migraines she had never taken any medicine, not even herbal teas. She did not contract German measles, chickenpox, or urinary infections, and was not prone to hypertension or diabetes. In April 1986, aged 111, she was sent to hospital for heart failure and treated with digoxin. Later she suffered from arthropathy in the ankles, elbows, and wrists, which was successfully treated with anti-inflammatory medication. Her arterial blood pressure was 140mm/70mm, her pulse 84/min. Her height was 150 cm (4 ft 11 in), and her weight 45 kg (99 lb), showing little variation from previous years. She scored well on mental tests, except on numeric tasks and recall of recent events. Analysis of her blood samples were in normal ranges between ages 111–114, with no signs of dehydration, anemia, chronic infection or renal impairment. Genetic analysis of the HLA system revealed the presence of the DR1 allele, common among centenarians. A cardiological assessment revealed a moderate left ventricular hypertrophy with a mild left atrial dilatation and extrasystolic arrhythmia. Radiology revealed diffuse osteoporosis, as well as incipient osteoarthritis in the right hip. An ultrasound exam showed no anomalies of internal organs.[7]:22–42 At this stage, Calment was still in good health, and continued to walk without a cane.[7]:22–42 She fell in January 1990 (aged 114) and fractured her femur, which required surgery.[2] Subsequently, Calment was bound to a wheelchair,[6]:1–13 and she abandoned her daily routine.[6]:85–92

At the age of 115, Calment attracted the attention of researchers Jean-Marie Robine and Dr. Michel Allard, who collaborated with her attending doctor, Dr. Victor Lèbre, to interview her, verify her age and identify factors promoting her longevity. According to their year-long analysis, Calment's vision was severely impaired by bilateral cataracts, yet she refused to undergo a routine operation to restore her eyesight; she had a moderately weak heart, a chronic cough ("caused no doubt by her previous use of tobacco"), and bouts of rheumatism. On the other hand, her digestion was always good, she slept well, and did not have incontinence. During the last years, she was 137 cm (4 ft 6 in) tall, and weighed 40 kg (88 lb); she confirmed that she had always been small, and had lost weight in recent years. Her eyes were light gray, and her white hair had once been chestnut brown.[6]:1–13

At the age of 118, she was submitted to repeated neurophysiological tests and a CT scan. The tests showed that her verbal memory and language fluency were comparable to those of persons with the same level of education in their eighties and nineties. Frontal brain lobe functions were relatively spared from deterioration, and there was no evidence of progressive neurological disease, depressive symptoms or other functional illness. Her cognitive functioning was observed to improve slightly over the six-month period.[42] Calment reportedly remained "mentally sharp" until the end of her life.[15]"

Of course, none of it matters to some.... They will always find their god in the gaps.

 

Uhm... is this some kind of elaborate jest? What is this Wikipedia excerpt supposed to establish? Going by "none of it matters to some.. They will always find their god in the gaps" it seems it's somehow supposed to establish her claim to her age, which the dumb conspiracy peddlers stupidly fail to recognize?!? Hoooly Moses! What in the everloving world?? How, pray tell, does any of this establish her age?? Words fail. Not a single thing in that whole excerpt establishes her age - it's a report about her health, which could be of any elderly person within a pretty broad range of ages. This quality of argument?! Just wow.

It also seems that Ron has not watched the video where there's a lengthy discussion of blood samples taken from Calment, particularly one - not mentioned in the passage Ron cited - taken at the purported age of 117. The scandal of that sample is that it has never been discussed in the context of any genetic tests - it simply is omitted altogether. It would be super interesting if that sample - or any other sample - were to be examined for the genetic identity information - not the standard blood panel info that says zero about her precise identity and age. Now - a genetic examination of the samples - that might provide clues to her age by if nothing else perhaps establishing the likelyhood of her identity (throwing light on the possibility that an identity fraud being perpetrated). The HLA system DR1 allele is present in centenarians, but it says nothing about her precise age. The rest: diabetes, heart failure, atrial issues, arthritis - what does that have to do with the central question of her precise age and identity?

LOL indeed.

 

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Yeah, it's an extremely elaborate ruse, by me, the residents and government of Arles, all of Calment's friends and neighbors, and of course all of the researchers who have examined her.

All to fool you and to affirm French gene superiority (unless you know the REAL reason for the conspiracy...).

Also from Wikipedia:

"Belgian demographer Michel Poulain said that although Zak's paper was detailed and made a good case, Jean-Marie Robine, one of two validators of Calment, said that she had correctly answered questions about things that her daughter could not have known.[34][35] Robine also dismissed the idea that the residents of Arles could have been duped by the switch.[35][36] Michel Allard, the second doctor who helped verify Calment's records, said that the team had considered the identity switch theory while Jeanne was still alive because she looked younger than her daughter in photographs, but similar discrepancies in the rates of aging are commonly found in families with centenarian members.[9] Allard said the evidence brought forward by Novoselov and Zak was inconclusive.[9] The Washington Post, after interviewing several experts, noted that "statistically improbable is not the same thing as statistically impossible".[5]"

This nonsense is tiring.

Edited by Ron Put

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This is what happens when you concentrate on personalities and conspiratiorial thinking. In your universe, the way to establish the truth of a claim is not to examine the evidence, but to establish whether the investigators or people making arguments are involved in a conspiracy or are good blokes who of course are not conspiring hence ipso facto must be correct in their claims. And so you talk of "extremely elaborate ruses" which by their nature are implausible as they'd have to involve residents, governments, friends neighbours, researchers etc. - all in keeping with your preoccupations. I don't know what to say other than yet again - again - that you are focusing on the background of Pythagoras as if examining his life will give us the answer as to whether his theorem is correct. In your world, the evidence doesn't matter - what matters are the motivations of the people involved. The problem with that is that you don't need conspiracies for mistakes to occur and be perpetrated by others who also rely on the authority of others (who therefore operate just like you!) - all without mustache twirling villains and outlandish smoke filled back rooms.

Which is why - yet again - I point out: stop judging the evidence by who proffers it and the personalities behind it. There is no point to it, and it leads nowhere good.

Instead, focus on the evidence itself. And when you do that, you suddenly discover that it is hardly ironclad in favor of the 122 year claim - in fact it is so lacking that the very passage (oh the irony!) that you yourself cited (LOL!), takes a surprisingly unassertive tone: suddenly we find out that "Zak's paper was detailed and made a good case" - hmm, what happened to the "tiring nonsense" that's on the level of pizza parlor conspiracy? Does anyone say the pizza parlor conspiracy is detailed and makes a good case? I thought you said it was "tiring nonsense"? And you are still handicapped by not examining the counter argument and evidence (as presented in the video Matt posted) - because in that video they do discuss the counter-arguments from Jean-Marie Robine and Michel Allard - and address the issue of Calment's interview and what she supposedly knew and didn't know, and came to the opposite conclusion! Remember, a conclusion by the very same Zak who was praised as so "detailed" and thorough and making a "good case" by the French validator himself!

So you have a choice - you can continue to rummage around in the various closets and backgrounds of people and rumors and smears and character assasinations and attempt to divine the truth of the matter from such detritus, or you can examine - shocking! - the evidence on its merits.

We already know what you choose - and yes, that nonsense is tiring. I choose the evidence. 

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2 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

...

We already know what you choose - and yes, that nonsense is tiring. I choose the evidence. 

LOL. What evidence is that? Innuendo and conjecture spread by trolls and fake accounts, and by random videos pushed to social media?

The real evidence is available, both from official records and from a bunch of researchers.

Based on the evidence, it is far, far more likely that Calment was a true outlier and was as old as claimed. You choose to disregard the real evidence and embrace the crackpot/disinformation nonsense, defending it with zeal.

There are always people who will do this: the religious, those who still claim that the Rosenbergs were innocent, those who voted for Le Penn and for Brexit "because the Turks are coming." The last time I was in Moscow, someone explained to me that the US didn't have engines capable of delivering Apollo 11 to the Moon, "proven" by some article they had read.

The only reason I engage with you on topics like this, is because if nobody challenges this garbage, it spreads.

Here is some more "evidence" to rile you up....

https://www.history.com/news/moon-landing-fake-conspiracy-theories

Edited by Ron Put

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I think there's a straw shortage that's developed due to all the strawmen you've been building assiduously. True to form, you only know how to launch ad-hominems, all based on exactly nothing, attributing all sorts of views to me, which you then get to refute in true strawman style, like fake moon-landing conspiracies which you claim must rile me up, since you imply I'm partial to those. More of the same - made up attacks against the person, while carefully ignoring the evidence.

What evidence you ask - odd, since you have no interest in it, preferring to focus on personal attacks. If you did have interest in the evidence, it's been cited extensively, including in the video that Matt posted. But you won't watch it, since you have no interest in evidence and arguments only in personal attacks. Rather than engage with the substance of the video, for example, you prefer to attack it as "random". What makes it "random" nobody knows - the video in question is moderated by a respected researcher into questions of aging DeGray, and has the key people give presentations to a fairly large audience that features a Q&A. Nonetheless, with zero justification you can simply dismiss it as "random" - a nonsensical and meaningless claim, but that way you can dismiss it without engaging with the evidence. Why ask for the evidence one wonders, when you are unwilling to examine it when presented - a pretty "random" request it seems.

And true to form, you dismiss contrary evidence as "innuendo and conjecture spread by trolls and fake accounts" - while immediately contradicting yourself with quotations that are supposed to bolster your case and which actually directly undermine it. The very researchers - f.ex. Zak - whose thesis and evidence is presented in the video is called in your very quote "Zak's paper was detailed and made a good case" - so how is Zak a troll with a fake account who spreads innuendo when your very French researcher (Jean-Marie Robine) whom you hold up as a paragon characterise Zak in the exact opposite way? But asking for logic from you, when you operate in a world of smears, personal attacks, calumny, strawmen and made-up attributions is clearly asking for too much - it seems you are like the operators who engage in projection; you project your practices of made up attributions to others and hence the accusations of bad faith, all based on your own behavior.

The other researcher in that quote (Allard) says this about the evidence brought by the Russians "Allard said the evidence brought forward by Novoselov and Zak was inconclusive" - from your very quote. Not exactly a ringing denouncement of trolls and frauds who operate on innuendo - rather a much more reasonable "inconclusive" which means one cannot conclude one way or another. I-n-c-o-n-c-l-u-s-i-v-e. Like in "cannot conclude she was 122, cannot conclude that she was not" - that's an invitation to a discussion and careful further research, not a denunciation of fraudulent innuendo spread by trolls. Those are the words of the other of your two prime French researchers into the case of Calment. YOU cited this quotation - and it devastates your case.

And then of course, your favorite appeal to authority The Washington Post which is quoted in that passage you cited as " The Washington Post, after interviewing several experts, noted that "statistically improbable is not the same thing as statistically impossible".[5]-

Oh the humanity! LOL! The "several experts" apparently agreed that the likelihood Calment's claim being true was statistically improbable (which Zak, being a mathematician, tackled on probabilistic distribution grounds in the video) - but the they pointed out that improbable is not the same thing as impossible. Bwahahah! Talk about a weak, weak case. I don't know about you, but I like it when the evidence that makes my case is statistically more likely and my opponents case "statistically improbable". I usually go with the probable over the improbable, and the opposition now is reduced to claiming "but not impossible" - love it! "Sure your Honor, it is highly improbable that the defendant ran from the scene of the crime with a speed twice the world record for a marathon distance, but it's not impossible, he might just be an outstanding athlete!" - that's essentially what the consensus of those experts TWP interview was. I don't know, I feel when you have to resort to pointing out such highly unlikely possibilities as the foundation of your case, the preponderance of the odds are in favor of the much more likely - it's just math.

In any case, again, not exactly a ringing denunciation by the TWP experts of the counter-arguments built by the Russians - "sure, seems the French claims are highly improbable, but not statistically impossible" - LOL. And these are the strongest arguments for the Russians being trolls and frauds? The two top French experts showering the Russians with praise ("detailed and made a good case"), and the evidence in their case is "inconclusive" (Allard), and TWP experts interviewed "not statistically impossible (age 122), but highly improbable".

Oh, how weak, weak, weak - hung by your own citations. One can only wonder if you even think before you post, because we already know you don't actually examine any evidence (as in the video). Because what you post only manages to contradict and undermine your case. As the guy whose argument tactics you emulate - who shares with you your habit of projection - would say "SAD!".  

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There is a fascinating, in-depth article in the latest issue of the New Yorker about the Jeanne Calment controversy. The writer seems to come down on the side of her extraordinary age likely being legit. 

--Dean

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Thanks, Dean.

The Russians are probably the best in the world at using disinformation in less than obvious ways and they have been doing it for much of the 20th century. Sometimes they target seemingly inconsequential subjects, such as this, but the broad goal is to simply undermine trust in democratic and civil institutions, which provide wedge opportunities to be exploited later. The use of Western "celebrities" like de Grey, or Angela Davis, or Depardieu is another common thread.

Crazy, stupid, but I guess it works on occasion.

"S. Jay Olshansky, a gerontologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me, “I did not find the paper to be of a very high quality. If I were the editor, I would not have accepted it.” Many readers were confounded: why had de Grey decided to bestow the imprimatur of academic respectability on Zak’s work? Outlandish conspiracy theories proliferated. Was de Grey, an “international adjunct professor” at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, somehow in league with the Russians? Was it Big Pharma? Was it Putin? Or was there a plot involving the Lifeboat Foundation, a techno-survivalist organization to which de Grey and Zak both belonged, which had been infiltrated by Russian spies? “These are bad guys, playing nasty games,” Robert Young, a consultant for Guinness World Records and a director of the Gerontology Research Group, which maintains a database of supercentenarians, told me. “This is a manufactured controversy—we don’t even consider the case to be disputed. ...

... As the controversy continued, Zak’s theories became increasingly baroque. As soon as one idea was disproved, he came up with another. Calment’s late-life height, it turned out, was really a hundred and forty-three centimetres, reflecting the loss of stature that one would expect. The caption that the validators had used for the photo of Jeanne and Yvonne—“Which one is which?”—seemed to come from the slogan for a brand of soap. Zak eventually dropped the fibroma argument.”

Edited by Ron Put

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