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The margarine effect

 
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There is something I want to describe, but I have trouble articulating it.  I want to explain my thoughts on why people get so angry and violent when confronted with new ideas, especially ideas about health and ecology.

So I thought up an analogy.

I call it: The Margarine Effect.

My grandmother used a lot of margarine.  They could easily eat half a cup a day.  They did so because Margarine was healthy, frugal, and good for the planet.  They were taught to avoid animal fats, eat more starches, and be frugal.  They were told the best way to do this was to replace all animal fats with margarine.

She valued keeping her loved ones healthy above all else.  So she fed them margarine.

The goodness of margarine were soo deeply embedded in her education, that she really believed this.

Now we know that it's kind of the opposite.  Unprocessed animal fats like butter are far better for you than highly processed plant oils.  All these things: health, eco, frugal - margine is not.

So you would think, she would have switched to butter in her old age.  Butter, after all, tastes better.  Margarine is a lie.  

But she didn't.  She was fiercely opposed to butter.  

She had been doing what she thought was right her whole life.  If she switched to butter, this would be admitting that she was wrong.  Worse.  It would admit to the world that she had spent her life harming her family.

Instead of saying "I did what I thought was right, but it turns out I was lied to.  I shall endeavour to do what is right from here on forward", she stuck to margarine.



I see people upset and angry when they are told that what they thought was right, wasn't.  They seem to worry that if they admit what they did was wrong, this will make them bad people.  

But it's nothing to do with that.  They were lied to.  Low-fat diets, changing your lightbulbs... it doesn't matter what the thing is.  

I haven't described it well, but hopefully, it makes sense to someone.  
 
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My mom did that to me with tomatoes. I tested 4 out of 5 on the allergy scale. But she still tried to sneak it into my food because the diagnosis couldn't be correct. She also poisoned me with, religion but that's a different story.:-)
 
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Sounds like a perfectly clear description to me.

The thing, I think, why considering you've been lied to is so difficult, is that it opens the door to "all other things you ever believed also being lies", because now you realize there are agendas rather than honest well meaning authorities... Scary sh#t!
 
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I think that's a great analogy. I think this kind of misleading dishonesty on grand scales that influence culture and entire generations needs a name, and I like The Margarine Effect.

Are we in the ulcer factory? Oh good, we are. Are we discussing different kinds of margarine effects? I can think of a couple to share. These sort of things always seem to be deleterious, sold as safe until otherwise proven unsafe, instead of the other way around with research to prove safety before being approved for sale or consumption. Sodium fluoride in municipal water supplies is another good one. I also think the whole sugar is the devil, so use aspartame instead thing was way worse than just having real sugar. I remember the nutrasweet tv commercials in the early 80's when it blew onto the scene. I don't know if that type of poison is still on the market or if it was finally pulled for causing health problems like red dye #2 was banned.
 
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R, I think you've not only described it perfectly, but named it perfectly, as well! My mom was a margarine gal, too - At first, because it was cheap, but then, because my step dad had a heart attack, and the doctors preached hard against anything with saturated fats. Now, (thankfully), she's accepted that it was bad information, but also looks at Philip Morris and many other corporations, without the taste of their koolaid in her mouth. She shakes her head, now, thinking back to her exasperation with me, arguing - pre-surgery - with my surgeon, over his insistence on me quitting breastfeeding, instead of him using a different anesthetic. She still asks me what made me think that it was ok to get into a yelling match with my surgeon, when she'd always taught me to 'defer to authority'. But, her tone is very different now. Now, instead of exasperation, it's more like admiration, lol.

I guess what I'm getting at is that yes, it's absolutely about the size of the pill you have to swallow, when you admit that you'd been mislead, but I also think it's a lot to do with embarrassment at being gullible to it. We're all human, and make our own mistakes, but there seems to be a certain level of shame that comes with that 20/20 hindsight, that just shouldn't be there, especially when the misinformation is coming from someone you should be able to trust, like your doctor. That whole generation or 2 were deliberately mislead... But, it's still happening - butter isn't being demonized so much anymore, but other things are, that shouldn't be, and many things are being lauded as panacea, that are toxic as hell. I keep wondering what's next.
 
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I wonder why some people are capable of admitting "I was misled, confused, or just plain ignorant" whereas others find admitting such a thing nearly impossible, like walking on broken glass.

How do people get raised up thinking they are perfect and never make mistakes, get confused, or don't know everything?

 
Dale Hodgins
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Remember Susan Powter?  She wanted to get us off of healthy food and onto sugar and starch. Fat was her worst enemy. She may have been our worst enemy.

Stop the insanity, she said.
 
Carla Burke
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I wonder why some people are capable of admitting "I was misled, confused, or just plain ignorant" whereas others find admitting such a thing nearly impossible, like walking on broken glass.

How do people get raised up thinking they are perfect and never make mistakes, get confused, or don't know everything?



I think it's more about fear. Fear of rejection, failure, disappointing or worse, hurting people they love. And, in many cases, I'm sure pride plays into it heavily, too.
 
r ranson
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I think fear is a big part of it.

What really gets me is the anger that comes with The Margarine Effect.  How to explain to someone that the other isn't angry at them, but they are angry at being forced to face this new fact.

They thought they were doing the right thing.  If they admit that this new, opposite thing is true, then it's saying that they have been deliberately doing the wrong thing.  People take this personally.  They don't want to face up to this.  


 
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This is why I don't go all the way on anything. I don't think that all carbs are bad, or all fat is bad, or stuff like that. I am a moderation girl. Most of all, I think suffering is bad, so that medical group that told me that because I liked something meant it was bad for me is dismissed. They obviously had preconceived opinions because they never told me to stop eating cauliflower just because I love it. I know that it is difficult to admit that you believed the lie, but such is life. I'm dealing with a lot of this right now with my vegan daughter. She told me at first it was because of her disdain for CAFO places, and I agree with her about that, but things quickly devolved into classic vegan rhetoric, which feeds back into the margarine thing, because margarine is vegan, but I won't touch it. I'm okay with substituting olive oil or avocado oil, but I won't use margarine, and she doesn't get it.
 
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I've changed my mind about many things in life as I've studied and opened my mind to new things.  Funny thing is, I've had family members who were mad at me for changing my mind on something.  I tend to take after my Grandfather who, at the age of 90, was talking about something he read in a book and said "If a fella keeps his mind as open as he keep his eyes, he might just learn something."  I aspire to still be learning when I'm 90.

For now, I'm still stuck in industry for a couple more years.  I see the margarine effect all the time.  Spend money on a machine or set up a procedure that just doesn't work, then spend all kinds of time and energy trying to make it work instead of rethinking and redoing.  Instead of admitting a mistake, keep making more mistakes trying to make the original work.  So much wasted time and money.
 
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Some interesting bits of psychology involved it that way of thinking. It can range from sheer pigheadedness through to complete irrational beliefs.

To take the ‘Margarine Effect’ literally:

Like a lot of people, I was diagnosed with unhealthy levels of cholesterol. So, the Quacks suggested I stop using saturated fat (butter) and move to so-called cholesterol reducing margarine.

Over a few years and subsequent blood tests, my levels actually went up, by a lot!

So, I went back to butter and ever-so-slightly modified my diet and voila, the blood chemistry improved dramatically.

Further discussions with the Quacks was revealing: science has changed their opinions and margarine is now considered VERY nasty shit.

So, the ‘Margarine Effect’ was overcome by questioning everything and conducting some basic experiments that have known margins of error.

To be fair, it’s important to realise that SCIENCE FACTS have a ‘use-by date’, they remain true until disproven. It is amazing how many people dismiss science altogether simply because it changes tact – everything evolves over time as knowledge is gained.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I wonder why some people are capable of admitting "I was misled, confused, or just plain ignorant" whereas others find admitting such a thing nearly impossible, like walking on broken glass.

How do people get raised up thinking they are perfect and never make mistakes, get confused, or don't know everything?



I think this happens because there is so much "spin" in the world today.

The Maragine Effect conveys that margarine eaters are wrong, and that butter eaters are right, but a person could easily find conflicting scientific tests that show both are right. I am not trying to argue in favor of margarine, what I am saying is, there is always so much conflicting information in the world today due to the information overload era we are in.

Here are some examples:

Coffee...is it good for you or bad?
Wine...is it good for you or bad?

Over the years I have heard compelling arguments both good and bad for both of these products. And the conspiratist theorists step in and claim the pro coffee tests were influenced by the coffee industry, and the negative coffee tests were done by the tea companies to influence consumer spending. That is why I refrain from that silliness because finger pointing is just pointless in my opinion.

The point I am trying to make is, I can easily see why people maintain their stance on a products viability or not. If a scientific test proves something is bad, just wait a few months when another test will show that it is good. Why is that? Because human's are fickle...if something becomes a standard, we like to turn it around and do something different from everyone else.

Take margarine as an example, "what is old is new again", is almost a law of mankind, and mark my words, in just a few short years people will again flock to it as a food staple again.

But "The Margarine Effect" just does not work, at least for me.

My Grandparents consumed margarine, yet they had dairy cows and all growing up we had butter churns and made homemade butter that we SOLD. My grandparents thought real butter was too salty. Myself, I like real butter, but I am sure I will not have to wait long before a study proves how bad it is for me. That is not "The Butter Effect" in use, it is just preference.

 
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I think the hard thing is not to preach. Whether it is religion, or diet, or exercise program, or boxers or briefs, we tend to extrapolate from what we find works for us and assume it is right for everyone. And people tend to take these things very personally. They are key decisions that people make about how they nourish and care for themselves and interact with the world. Sometimes those choices are very self-destructive - illegal drugs, too much alcohol, junk food, and, yes, margarine (at least in my view).

Now, trying to convince a smoker to stop smoking, or an alcoholic to stop drinking, is probably a whole nuther level, given the addiction issues. But food choices and religion choices (and political choices) tend to spark similar strong emotions and reactions. And to paraphrase Paul poorly, it can seem like we are commanding others to obey when we try to convince. There can be an element of self-righteousness mixed in there, or at least a perception of it, for those on the receiving end.

I like to think we are all on a journey, and are all at different points on that journey, with different levels of self awareness and insight. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and if we wait till the ground is fertile (i.e., wait until we are asked - why don’t we eat margarine, why do we build hugels, what are all those Swales for, etc...) then we can have that conversation and cast those seeds, without “should-ing” on them.  And those seeds might take root right away, and sprout into loveliness, or they may lie dormant for a while, or they may never sprout, and our loved ones keep eating margarine for the rest of their lives. Will it kill them a few years early?  Maybe, maybe not. But none of us gets out of this alive, so maybe we should enjoy whatever ride we get more, and try to persuade others to get on our ride less?

Invariably, some will observe that your behavior is different than theirs, and by that fact alone, get angry, reading all sorts of judgement into that. It’s OK - they are coming from a different place, and no amount of logic or rational debate is likely to change their mind any time soon. Meeting anger and hate from a place of love, hearing what they say and acknowledging that they are free to make those choices, can sometimes defuse that anger.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:I wonder why some people are capable of admitting "I was misled, confused, or just plain ignorant" whereas others find admitting such a thing nearly impossible, like walking on broken glass.

How do people get raised up thinking they are perfect and never make mistakes, get confused, or don't know everything?



I think it's more about fear. Fear of rejection, failure, disappointing or worse, hurting people they love. And, in many cases, I'm sure pride plays into it heavily, too.



Since we are in the 'Ulcer Factory', I'll just add that our current (USA) commander-in-chief is a sore reminder of just how authoritarian our culture really is.  Even without that particular example, our culture in general is the opposite of 'question authority', and out of expediency, we tend to blindly accept what those with greater power or age tell us.  There can be a time and context for that kind of thinking, but as noted here, when the great body of evidence suggests we are poisoning ourselves, then it's time to ask why we are holding on to something so self-defeating.  I will just offer as well that, in the context of the many over the past several decades who have argued that our industrial/technological/social trajectory has a tinge of the suicidal to it, that there is a veiled self-harm aspect to continuing to engage in behavior that is known to be lethal or to shorten lifespan.  That, too, I wager is a by-product of authoritarian upbringing which tends to stunt or deaden the development of the self in an effort to assuage the demands of authority.
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Weiland wrote:our culture in general is the opposite of 'question authority', and out of expediency, we tend to blindly accept what those with greater power or age tell us.



Yes, it shocks me when I hear fellow American citizens talk about needing leaders, as if they are incapable of taking action on their own.  I wonder if this attitude stems in part from our roots as religious refugees and "pioneers" who moved West following various charismatic characters.  It seems a lot of folks are sitting around waiting for someone else to tell them what to do.

 
Carla Burke
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I think what it boils down to, is something along the lines of propaganda can be downright dangerous. Sifting through it, to eliminate the chaff is something some do better than others. There's an old saying that fits, here - disclaimer: no, I'm not calling anyone a pig! It's just an old analogy. 'Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It will only frustrate you, and annoy the pig.'
 
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I coined a saying for myself when I was working as a service plumber: "It's OK to get smarter"
I use this to allow myself to stop going down the wrong road.
I would have a plan for fixing something, get half way through it, and find that that one of the steps just wasn't working.
Trying something different meant admitting I had made the wrong call.
Precious hours of work would have been for naught.
But that kind if thinking is a classic example of sunken cost fallacy.
Throwing more good effort after bad is a mistake that compounds your original mistake.
We do it to protect ourselves from admitting we are wrong.
By default, Wrong=Bad in our greater culture .
What if the default was Wrong=Incorrect?
What if it didn't have moral baggage?
If I get the wrong answer on a quiz,  do I feel bad about putting down a different answer on test?
No,  I don't.
In fact,  I would feel foolish and remiss if I didn't change my answer, even if I still didn't know the right answer, I would try something,  anything else instead if the answer I know is wrong.
Real Iife isn't usually as clear cut.
Knowing you are on the wrong path can be hard.
If changing is seen as improving your future decisions and self rather than damning your past decisions and self,  change comes easier.
It becomes an opportunity, rather than a threat.

This I remind myself "It's OK to get smarter", because "Stop being stupid" is not kind if even accurate,  and certainly not as winning and argument.
 
r ranson
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Travis Johnson wrote:

The Maragine Effect conveys that margarine eaters are wrong, and that butter eaters are right, but a person could easily find conflicting scientific tests that show both are right. I am not trying to argue in favor of margarine, what I am saying is, there is always so much conflicting information in the world today due to the information overload era we are in.



I suspect that things will change and margarine will be good again.  They could change the recipe or new information might be found.  That's why I choose margarine - because the goodness/badness of the substance changes as our understanding changes.  

You hit the nail right on the head with this: "that margarine eaters are wrong, and that butter eaters are right"  To me, it's the core of the issue.  The eaters aren't right or wrong.  The understanding of the substance has changed.

This is where I have the most trouble expressing myself - I want to say it has nothing to do with the person.  My grandmother wasn't a bad person.  She wasn't wrong.  She looked around her world and choose the thing that was healthiest for her family because she loved her family and wanted to give them the best possible care.  Choosing margarine doesn't make her wrong.  

But she felt like the new health status of butter was a personal attack on her.  That pro-butter said she was bad.  This upset her.  This made her angry.



As I said, I didn't say it well.  

 
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Just drifting around on the ocean, with your movement controlled by wind, tide and waves, is a good way to end on the rocks if your near shore.  Alternatively,  you might just waste a hell of a lot of time and resources and potentially dying.

Anchors of some sort, along with a way of controlling direction are an important accessory on most boats.  A second requirement, if you out of sight of land is a compass or some means of determining direction.  (I know you have the sun, but that's not good when it's overcast or stormy for a couple of weeks).

When someone finds that their 'anchor' or 'compass' that they've been charting their life from is not reliable, pointing the wrong way, there is anger, panic, frustration, but also worry that the other 'anchors & compasses' might be bad.  It really messes with out heads and our reactions are often extreme, either to deny there is a problem or we throw out the baby with the bath water and assume other  'anchors & compasses' are bad also.

Everyone starts out learning from authority figures, (mommy and daddy).  Every society learns and accepts 'facts' from their elders, otherwise we would be somewhere below chimpanzees in culture (because they also teach their young).  There is a point in most peoples teens when they realize "mom and dad don't know much".  Anchors and compasses are suddenly suspect.
There is a time a decade or two later when most people figure out that mom and dad didn't know everything, but they are a hell of a lot smarter than I thought. (Although some parents (and kids) are dumb as stumps).

My larger concern is not people doing their best, but flawed.  It's those who use misinformation to manipulate people, to the peoples detriment and the manipulators gain.  I have a pretty old testament view on that kind of behavior.  As has been pointed out, generations, in some ways, whole societies have been lead down the garden path by evil leaders.

The whole point of permaculture is to find reality (observe) and base our lives on that.  It is a long path, because there is a lot of bullshit out there.  Some of it is from the dominate culture, some is from a reactionary counter culture.  Some is misinformation, some is just good hearted souls who are wrong.  Some is a reactionary response to these things.  It makes quite a stew.  Kind of like trying to navigate a boat in a heavy fog.

We need to be kind to each other and bear with each others differences where we can.  I base that statement on my observations of what makes life in a group with other shaved monkeys bearable at worst and downright pleasant and fun at best.

 
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I believe in eating food in its simplest form. Butter is the simplest form. The simplest meat is a roast or steak. You look at it and know what it is. Not much that can go wrong with it. Substitute that roast for a hotdog and it's not so simple anymore.

Yet the world continues to move to the opposite. I remember McDonalds getting harrassed for the actual chicken content in their mcnuggets. It was apparently very low. Now "no meat" burgers are being applauded and factories are racing to be the first chickenless nugget to the market.

Simple foods cooked simply sounds so.... simple. It would solve a lot.
 
Mick Fisch
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I am quietly delighted by the name you've given this very human reaction.

THE MARGARINE EFFECT

Simply Brilliant!!!
 
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You are describing Cognitive Disonance. I happened to write about it in a different context two days ago:

_______________________

Cognitive dissonance seems to be one of the big challenges preventing TF being accepted. People avoid thinking about things that discomfort them, and the principles behind TF clash squarely with other firmly held ideals.

“We should care for our animals” vrs “we should care for the population”

These two are in direct conflict, as what is best for an individual hive may harm wider populations at a genetic level.

“Colony survival is a measure of my worth as a beekeeper”

The metrics we use to value ourself are terribly important. Much of the narrative in casual discussion between beekeepers is based on survival rates. Novices benchmark themselves against more experienced beekeepers they interact with. High survival rate directly conflicts with the processes of natural selection. Some losses are essential year to year to ensure resistance traits are maintained in the population. Survival rate as a metric is in direct conflict with natural selection.

Other such conflicts exist.

When we communicate with other beekeepers we are as much helping them resolve these conflicting ideologies in themselves as we are convincing them with facts. The emotions behind the decisions are as important as the facts in most cases.
_____________________

Wikipedia - Cognitive Dissonance
 
r ranson
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I think the Margarine Effect is a lot like Cognitive Dissonance.  Maybe with a different focus.  

I'm thinking about the anger and the violence that goes with new ideas.  The best words I can think of are 'pig-headedness' - although that's not fair to our porcine friends.

Like the reaction to Greta Thunberg.  Rather than talk about the issues that she raises, some people react violently to what she stands for: new ideas that contradict the old.  
Or people's virement reaction to when Paul Wheaton talks about LED lights not being all that eco-friendly after all.  

I like Mick's metaphor of the anchor.  People seem to need a fixed point to base their decisions on and I suspect that once established, these points need to be defended.  Else, if everything they have done in their life so far is based on a lie, then they fear this makes them a bad person.  
 
Mick Fisch
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I think a possible clarification is in order.  Many people fear looking like a foolish or stupid person more than looking like a 'bad person'.

Many societies have a sneaking admiration for the 'bad guy', but I don't think anyone admires the, foolish, stupid person who is the 'catspaw' for the bad guy.
 
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Mick Fisch wrote:... (Although some parents (and kids) are dumb as stumps).


Ain't that a sad truth. In my experience the vast majority of those have been indoctrinated into the dumbness. It is really sad.

______________________________________________

But I digress. I think here in the midwest I could use an offshoot of the Margarine Effect and call it the RoundUp Effect. It tends to elicit the same anger and violence when questioned. I received my box of Paul and Shawn's book the other day and told my wife it was everyone's Christmas presents. As I started to read the back cover to her she stopped me and asked me not to give one to her father lest we be written out of the will. She was only partly joking. One of the most challenging aspects of it to me is that he is a very smart farmer, and I don't think in principle he would argue too much in the book. But he's in his 70's and make joking comments about "raising my daughters on RoundUp and GMO corn, where did I go wrong" when conversation turns to organic food, pastured beef and poultry, and such. He refuses to believe that any studies on glyphosate (RoundUp)persistence are anything but doctored and can't be true because the manufacturers documentation says the half-life is only... and that when I try to change the topic. He does not want to listen, or change at this point.

Part of that comes from what I have observed to be a tendency to group people completely. For example, in politics and I'll just use Democrat and Republican for this, I see the different parties as on a scale. You have a left and right and at some point you have a division that separates them, but you could have a Republican and a Democrat who are virtually the same in what they believe yet they are at opposite sides of the very middle point. Unfortunately what I have observed is the labels of "left" and "right" or "Democrat" and "Republican" to be viewed as absolute and the opposite ends of the scale and there is no middle. The same thing happens with terms like "Environmentalism". It's a trigger that totally shuts down any rational conversation because "we" couldn't possibly be like "them".  


So I am doing my best to teach my children better ways to grow things, and how to be critical thinkers and to try and develop an openness that allows for change. We must make the best decision possible with the information we have, yet be willing to adjust as new information comes along.

 
Travis Johnson
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wayne fajkus wrote:I believe in eating food in its simplest form. Butter is the simplest form. The simplest meat is a roast or steak. You look at it and know what it is. Not much that can go wrong with it. Substitute that roast for a hotdog and it's not so simple anymore.

Yet the world continues to move to the opposite. I remember McDonalds getting harrassed for the actual chicken content in their mcnuggets. It was apparently very low. Now "no meat" burgers are being applauded and factories are racing to be the first chickenless nugget to the market.

Simple foods cooked simply sounds so.... simple. It would solve a lot.




Oh you mean the IMMIIDNEI Diet.

If Man Makes It, I do Not Eat It...Diet also known as, Shop the Outside Walls of the Grocery Store Diet...

But why keep it simple, Adkins people can get rich off something so simple! (Tongue in Cheek Humor)
 
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Travis, you stay the hell away from my coffee.

I think cognitive dissonance is going on as part of this Margarine Effect, but what I think is actually at the heart of the matter is identity politics and moral courage, or lack thereof.

People can tend to identify with their positions so much so that to be confronted with the possibility that what they think isn't what exists is jarring; therein lies the cognitive dissonance. Those with sufficient moral courage to overcome the amount to which they allow themselves to be defined by their labels are able to look at the situation and reassess their position. Those without, cannot.

But I do like the name. Quite appropriate.

And coffee is good for you. And wine, especially red. And beer, while we're at it. And dark chocolate. And grass-fed red meat.

And you know I'm joking. But there are no absolutes. And people like absolutes, even though they don't exist. They want one way, because we've largely been told that there's one way. There must be one easy solution, one perfectly packaged plan, one pill you can take, and then eat all you want.

We want to have our cake, and eat it too. We don't want to change, to give anything up, and that's part of the problem. We don't even want to admit the possibility we can be wrong, and without that, we can't even identify errors and correct them.

It's human nature. The margarine effect. I like it.

-CK
 
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I fully admit to The Margarine Effect influencing my view on coffee and how healthy it is for my brain.  
 
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Am I the only one that is like....that's it, margarine? Such a small thing in such a big world. I grew up eating it. My parents are still margarine people. I've used butter since getting married (the hubs was a, "give me real butter or give me death" kind of guy). We've never commented on each others choices. I never thought of my Mom as poisoning me. *shrugs*
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Travis, you stay the hell away from my coffee.



Chris...10,000 apologies headed in your direction, this being International Coffee Day and all. (LOL)

I forgot coffee is in the middle of the store!


 
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It's funny, the opinions that people stake out as part of "who they are" and defend it to the death.  I have a son who started wearing black hoodies in high school as camouflage to avoid bullying, and now sees it as "who he is" although he realizes the 'creeper look' is doing him no favors now.  (I'm not criticizing black hoodies in particular, but there is a time and place for everything.  People are multi faceted, you can let more than one side show).

It reminds me of a great plains native American custom, where a warrior would go into battle with a rope and a stake.  The rope was tied to his ankle and he would drive the stake into the ground and fight within the circle the rope allowed him.  He wouldn't retreat, but would stand and fight until he died.  (I'm not giving a full description here, just a basic overview).  

It was, of course, seen as quite heroic.  I think it was also stupid as hell.  He purposely handicapped himself.  He couldn't pursue the enemy, he couldn't support his friends outside the circle, and he couldn't retreat to fight, and maybe win another day.

I think the observation "it's ok to learn" is brilliant.   I'm writing that on my bathroom mirror,  so I look at it every day.
 
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Carla Burke wrote: But, it's still happening - butter isn't being demonized so much anymore, but other things are, that shouldn't be, and many things are being lauded as panacea, that are toxic as hell. I keep wondering what's next.



Grain. As in, not just that people with celiac should avoid wheat, but there is a whole company, called Wild Foods, with a blog and everything, that tells us everyone should avoid all grains (and sugar). I think his reasons have something to do with the "paleo" diet? But I think the keyword here is "company." Someone with something to sell has to find ways of creating a market; and demonizing the thing you want your product to replace is one way to do that.
 
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Thinking some more about margarine in general.

plus:
-Margarine can use up excess crops that would otherwise go to waste
-the recipe for Margarine can change to become closer to health trends
-it's vegan-friendly
-easily customizable to different dietary needs

minus
-highly processed
-difficult to make at home (butter is so easy)
-buying this feeds the monster
-we have to trust that the ingredients on the packaging match the ingredients inside
-packaging pollution

Pretty much, I feel that margarine is a fairly balanced thing - It has many good and many bad features.  Which is stronger depends on where we are as individuals and what we value as a society.

But once people choose "marg is good" or "marg is bad", they seem to get stuck. (I'm moving away from marge qua margarine and using it as an analogy here).  Any attempt to show the opposite point of view is responded with violence and anger.  
 
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I think that the issue with most vegan products is exactly the same as the chief issue with margarine: they're processed in an industrial food processing environment. You have to trust that they haven't accepted as "best practice" something that makes their product bad for you.

I think that, just as with plant-based milk alternatives, margarine is great if you have specific food sensitivities or allergies. But the fact that it is difficult to make at home without fancy tools makes it less attainable, and forces reliance on companies whose jobs are to make money, and only care about your health as it pertains to their bottom line.

Just as some people won't eat something if it had a face or a mommy, I don't want to eat things if they came out of a test tube. Do I? Of course. How do you avoid it entirely? But if there's a better alternative, I will choose it.

People don't like to be wrong. I think it really is just that simple. Just talk to people who voted for unpopular politicians, who then went on to do stupid, short-sighted, nonsensical things that also proved dangerous to global peace initiatives and markets. I think there are a few recent examples. They won't want to talk to you if they haven't already jumped ship, and if they do, it'll be to embrace their contrarian streak, even if it goes against their personal best interests, in some cases.

Some will quietly just stop participating. Others will demonstrate surprising moral courage and change their opinions. And some will just keep eating the margarine until their arteries clog and they don't have to worry about being wrong anymore.

-CK
 
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Not sure if this fits neatly in this thread but I have observed that we tend to get really upset if what we intend to prove cannot be [easily] proven. When we have a cogent argument, that is what we use. For that reason, I do a double check on my knowledge if I find myself really emotional about a truth in which I believe when someone contradicts me. Religion is a perfect example: By definition we "take it on faith", meaning we have no way to prove or disprove the existence of God/ Buddha/ Allah etc. But we will kill in their name.
Yet the truth of this "knowledge" is so strong that we do not take kindly to being contraried.  Folks have been tortured, decimated, killed on their faith or lack thereof. The Crusades, The Inquisition are the most famous examples.
That is the main reason I really like Science. Like the Tee shirt says: "The beauty of Science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it". Truth exists outside of ourselves, that is why we need to do serious research, ask for advice or counsel on important questions, compare notes, do experiments.
We need to keep our eyes open for the ever present "conflict of interest".
If the Margarine company tells you there is not a thing better... they have a financial reason for saying so. Just for sh*t and giggles, do a search of old advertisements. It is astounding what they purported, yet we are so bombarded [=brainwashed] by nonsensical advertising on TV that we just let it go: We are tired of fighting, and that is what they count on: We allow this shifty nonsense to wash over us, drown us. They know we cannot scream at the TV, so...
A long time ago, research was independent from private companies and done at Universities who would stake their honor on the veracity of their statements. Then, since they could afford it, private companies thought: How about doing the research ourselves... and praise the absolute goodness of our own products. Ahh! the INDEPENDENT LAB. [R.I.P.]
 
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That is the main reason I really like Science. Like the Tee shirt says: "The beauty of Science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it".  



The problem is people rather than science or religion.

Science has it's own dogmas, and those who challenge them may be destroyed professionally if their proof is not strong enough.  Once a strong enough proof is presented, things change, but I Pity the Fool (an A team quote) who presents evidence that is less than absolutely air tight.  Scientists are people, although we tend to idealize them, and all people are potentially subject to the "margarine effect".  When the 12,000 BC line for human presence in the new world was finally broken,  several additional findings were presented in the next year or so.   Most of the findings had been discovered before, but the scientists realized their evidence was not absolutely airtight (most findings aren't completely airtight) and rather than be ruined professionally and labeled a crackpot, they simply put it on the back shelf.

 
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Mick Fisch wrote:

That is the main reason I really like Science. Like the Tee shirt says: "The beauty of Science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it".  



The problem is people rather than science or religion.

Science has it's own dogmas, and those who challenge them may be destroyed professionally if their proof is not strong enough.  Once a strong enough proof is presented, things change, but I Pity the Fool (an A team quote) who presents evidence that is less than absolutely air tight.  Scientists are people, although we tend to idealize them, and all people are potentially subject to the "margarine effect".  When the 12,000 BC line for human presence in the new world was finally broken,  several additional findings were presented in the next year or so.   Most of the findings had been discovered before, but the scientists realized their evidence was not absolutely airtight (most findings aren't completely airtight) and rather than be ruined professionally and labeled a crackpot, they simply put it on the back shelf.



Well, I think that if you're counting not coming to definitive conclusions until they can be proven by most metrics that determine veracity, yes, science can be a bit dogmatic. The science community tends to jump down the throat, feet first, I might add, of people making unsupportable claims, for the very reason that a little bit of knowledge can be very dangerous, especially out of context, or if the person in question is dabbling in a controversial or contentious field.

We could end up with "scientists" being paid off to discredit good science, or to lend credence to hogwash. Think of the chaos to which that could lead, everyone thinking that science is bunk, and that the internet can teach them everything, and is never wrong.

-CK
 
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The biggest strength of science is that it cannot prove anything.  The scientific method can only disprove theories.

But then we fall into psychology again.  As humans, we want to have facts and truths and foundations we can build our lives upon.  This is why margarine was healthy - because science hadn't disproved it wasn't.  

Then time occurred.  More data flowed in.  Science disproved the health claims that Margarine had.

But the thing about time is that it keeps on happening.  As time keeps happening, more data is gathered and we might disprove that margarine is unhealthy.  (aka, marg becomes healthy again).

The margarine effect is looking at the human reaction to this new information and how people cope (or fail to).
 
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