Friday, March 6, 2015

Levels of Proof

I have been scratching my head over the fact that I felt I had provided irrefutable logic that the truth has been revealed about the Merkur34HD razor being more aggressive, less face friendly than its cousin the 33 Classic.
Levels -- of proof?  ;-)

As a nod to the skeptics, I have taken some steps to strengthen the evidence that I provided. I confirmed with my friend that his 34HD has been checked for defects and none exist. He has also confirmed that not only does he follow Merkur's recommended process for inserting a blade (with the razor inverted), but he has also confirmed that he checks the blade for proper seating and alignment.

He further confirmed that he liked the closeness of the shave of the 34HD. Like me, apparently, he highly values a close shave, even when it means some blood may be shed. He told me on the phone yesterday that he still rotates through his small stable of razors (34HD, Lord L.6, and the last one I had sent to him, the Rimei RM2003), and he remarked, unprompted, how he continues to be surprised by how differently the razors shave; he had previously thought that a DE razor was a DE razor -- not much difference. He likes the closeness of the 34HD, but was frustrated that he couldn't get a wound-free shave. He likes the wound-free shaves of the L.6, but doesn't like the effort, the extra passes, required to get a close shave.

So what is requisite proof? Smoking gun? Video evidence of the crime? Circumstantial evidence?

I thought OJ Simpson should have been convicted, was totally guilty -- still do. Yet some were unconvinced and remain so. At what level of proof will most be convinced?

Long ago, Copernicus argued that the Sun is the center of the solar system, yet many were unconvinced. It wasn't until Galileo provided observational evidence that the issue became more clear. Yet Galileo was placed under house arrest because it was thought by those with a bit of conflict of interest and a lot of power that Galileo was subverting their point of view and their authority. At what level of proof would most be convinced? Who is objective?

There are still to this day those who think U.S. astronauts never landed on the moon in 1969. All done on a Hollywood-type sound stage, they cry. As evidence of the alleged conspiracy, they cite the film of the flags on the moon moving in the "breeze". And don't try to convince them with reason and logic about esoteric facts like spring-like behavior and momentum completely explaining the apparent effect of the "breeze". They need more proof. But at what level of proof would most be convinced?

There are even those who still maintain that Hitler's genocide, the Nazi persecution of Jews, is untrue, a conspiracy. They deny the Holocaust ever happened. Are they objective? Do they have a self-serving bias? What level of proof do they need?

Today astronomers know the distance of stars through the process of ratiocination, inference, circumstantial evidence. No one can put a tape measure on those spans, yet we know the lengths. The evidence is logical, but indirect. Yet I'm sure there is somebody who will assert that the stars are twinkling lights on transparent spheres in the sky as was once theorized by some ancients.

And then there are razor-shaving characteristics. I would further submit that those experienced DE users with sensitive skin might be the best (not the only, just the best) judge of shaving character because their instrument (their skin) is the most sensitive.  I think this accounts for some of the ridiculous (yes, I mean silly, unfounded, WRONG) relative ratings of razors on in some shaving forums on the Internet.

Everyone has an opinion, but the truth, the fact, is that some opinions are just more valuable than others; that's not a politcally-correct statement, I know -- but it's true.  Rightness, truth isn't subject to a vote. The framers of the U.S. Constitution recognized this when they did NOT make our government a democracy. It is a constitutional republic in which a minority of ONE can (via the Supreme Court) override a law passed by Congress or voted on by the masses.

I, personally, encourage skepticism. Hey, I'm the guy who said "question everything." But my requirements for levels of proof are reasonable. I wasn't saying to demand overkill before your skepticism is extinguished. But, we are different; we think differently. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

However, as a result, I'm not holding my breath for the hope of peace in the middle east.

Happy shaving -- and question everything (within reason)!


  1. By "ridiculous (yes, I mean silly, unfounded, WRONG) relative ratings of razors on in some shaving forums on the Internet." ... do you mean this?

    1. I have been genuinely trying to help (and promote) your blog, but if you don’t want me to read/comment that’s fine. You definitely don’t need to attack me or my many months of consumer advocacy work in the survey-based relative aggression ratings of razors.You are a very good writer, but your seeming, “question everything” _except_ you and your friend’s subjective experience … where only one of the razors being compared even overlaps between you ... is logic that seems so far off that I wonder if you have ulterior (financial) motives. Are you just trying to stir up controversy to get more ad revenue?


  2. I am still seeking suitable photos of the 34HD to satisfy those who would prefer additional evidence as to whether the 34HD and 33 razor head designs are identical twins or merely distant cousins.

    Regarding my articles, they are intended to be both entertaining and thought provoking. Sometimes I may be tempted to lapse into a bit of hyperbole or subtle sophistry, but without goring anyone's ox specifically. (To twist a phrase by Shakespeare: "If the shoe DOESN'T fit, DON'T wear it.") ;-)

    I got to thinking about today's subject, and out came this article. There is no doubt that my position isn't hermetically sealed on the 34HD-33 issue, but I remain convinced that the odds are very strong that I have reached the correct conclusion and for the right reasons. That said, most of the time I don't try to take myself too seriously, and I would encourage readers to do the same.

    I appreciate your contributions to this web site and in the larger arena. You deserve a pat on the back for your efforts. -- Sincere best regards. DH

    1. Shawn, I was specifically directing the last paragraph of my comment above to you. Thanks.

    2. Doug, how is calling my work, "ridiculous (yes, I mean silly, unfounded, WRONG)" ... and saying that without arguing any specific aspects of the charts (the one on B&B and the ShavingScience) ... how is this showing a shred of appreciation or respect?


    3. Hey, Shawn.... If you read my article carefully, I didn't call YOUR work anything -- other than in a comment to specifically point out that you've worked hard, made a contribution, and deserve acknowledgement for that.

      However, again I must paraphrase the Bard:
      If the shoe fits, wear it.
      (In other words, if you feel your work is ridiculous etc, then go ahead and take offense at being called out -- even if it wasn't called out. Otherwise have confidence that the truth will eventually be recognized -- to everyone's benefit.)

      Best regards. DH

    4. Doug, to my knowledge, my two charts are the ONLY "relative ratings of razors on in some shaving forums". What other relative ratings could you have been referring to? Also, if you think my charts are "WRONG" ... perhaps you could provide some constructive ideas for improving them?

    5. (Sigh) The statement that you find troubling seems to be this: "...some of the ridiculous (yes, I mean silly, unfounded, WRONG) relative ratings of razors..."

      Key phrase: "... some... relative ratings of razors..." This is not saying that ANYONE's body of work is anything. It is saying that some of the relative ratings on some razor rankings are obviously (hence, ridiculously) incorrect.

      And I have already provided information on erroneous ratings within the universe of shaving opinion and myth. Somewhere in the information I've provided (and am certain is correct such as the Merkur 33 being a bit milder shaver than the Lord L.6), I'm pretty sure it conflicts with any rankings or stated opinions that suggest otherwise (I don't know if your chart does or doesn't). My whole point in discussing the 34 relative to the L.6 and the 33 is another attempt to get more information out there.

      I try not to be a last-word kind of guy. So feel free to point out further how you have been impugned, wronged, insulted, and, if you like, what an insignificant, small-brained weenie am I, with the logical capability of a garden snail. You have an open pulpit. Best regards. :-) DH

    6. Well, that is much less offensive than what you previously wrote.

      As for the relative aggression of the L6 and Merkur 33 ... the sample size of survey responses was especially small on the "extremely" mild razors. Also, the aggressiveness rankings are clearly labeled as being probably only accurate within plus or minus 2 points ... which is more than enough leeway to accommodate the 1 point difference between those two razors. Also, the Lord razor in particular is specifically labeled as less accurate/precise by being grayed out and with the added text "(needs more votes)"

      The ShavingScience chart is even more broadly labeled where both models are simply labeled as being "mild" ... which I suspect you would agree that both are in the mild (relatively protective beginners razor). An example of a "medium" razor for instance is the Merkur slant....

      Thank you for the clarification.


  3. Doug, this article is more absurd than the previous. I read through the comments on your 33 vs 34HD thread with awe. The commenters correctly pointed out the insignificance of your indirect comparisons and qualitative sample size of one (or two sans correlative variables). At best you have a vague hypothesis, but that you've reached a definitive conclusion with no methodology at all is, at best as one commenter put it kindly, premature.

    The best you could validly assert is that "despite dozens of reports to the contrary, it seems to me, without direct comparison, that the Merkur razor heads are different."

    1. My wife also frequently implies that I'm an idiot. ;-)