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Andreas Brevitz
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This, along with the book "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial" (I sincerely recommend it)  was an eye opener for me.
I am not interested in hearing from anyone who is going to be angry or narrowminded in their responses, but I am prepared to discuss this in a scientific and mature manner.
The reason to why I am posting this is that, although I've only been on here shortly, I love you guys, I love permies who are trying to make the world a better place, and I'd love to spread some usefull information in return.
I have noticed that there are a lot of idea's within the permaculture community that I don't agree with and I've been struggling to discuss these ideas in a constructive way. So, now I'm simply throwing this out there.

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_specter_the_danger_of_science_denial.html

What do you think?
 
paul wheaton
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From the video:

"let's be honest" - so the rest of the time he is less than honest?  Or is he suggesting that others are not honest?

"When you get proof, you need to accept the proof."  What about when there is a group of people in suits saying "this is proof" and it isn't proof.

Then he gets started on autism connection to vaccines.  This again?

I stopped watching it.  I've heard this crap a hundred times before.

He started talking about scientific method:  try lots and lots of stuff and see what works.  Well, a lot of people tried the vaccines and had problems that were serious enough that they are shying away.  Show a little respect for the numbers.

Let's also respect that a lot of studies are done and then they yell out "proof!" and later we find out about mountains of shenanigans.  "Proof!" turned out to mean "lies!"

I'm moving this to the meaningless drivel forum where it belongs.



 
Tyler Ludens
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paul wheaton wrote:


He started talking about scientific method:  try lots and lots of stuff and see what works. 


I think a lot of people are unaware that in the case of many pharmaceutical treatments, how a product "works" does not seem to be known and it only needs to "work" slightly better than placebo.

http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all

In my opinion many pharmaceuticals probably "work" because of the placebo effect, not because of actual function.  This would not be a problem except pharmaceuticals are very expensive and many seem to have dangerous side effects.  An inexpensive or perhaps home-grown herbal treatment which does not seem to have dangerous side effects but which "works" with or without the placebo effect would seem to be a better choice than an expensive potentially dangerous drug.  Many herbal remedies have been used for centuries with little or no apparent side effects.  These may be the best choice of all, in my opinion.
 
Andreas Brevitz
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I don't know what he meant by "let's be honest". Maybe just a bad choice of words. Kind of seems insignificant to me.

Regarding proof, there seems to me that there is no such thing as absolute truth, but the closest thing we have is the scientific method. And I agree, if you are more concerned with the possibility of getting what ever the vaccine is for than you are with possible side effects from the vaccine it is up to you to choose. That is not something that science can decide for you.

I don't know what you heard about the MMR vaccine controversy, but the paper that showed the connection to autism got retracted and declared fraudulent. But I don't really care about that.

I'm sorry you stopped watching, Paul, and maybe I should have mentioned that he talked about a lot of stuff. There is a part further in to the clip, I think, regarding herbal medicine or alternative medicine and that part is the one that I would like people to listen to and that was why I posted it in that section of the forum. I understand this is your forum and you do what you will, I don't mind.

What I think was the point of his talk, and the point that I wanted to share is that there is a way to distinguish what is scientific "fact" and what some people claim to be scientific "fact". As there will always be frauds and mistakes I would suggest to anyone, reading this and who is interested, to look up the terms "systematic review" and "meta-analysis". There is a lot of research like this on a wide variety of substances and herbs and treatments and I think that you will find that you can really see what is true and what is fiction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-analysis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_review

And really the book "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial" is a goldmine. Regardless of what your stance on this subject is now, I think it would be counter productive to reject something before looking at it. I will certainley, at least, look at information from sources I would not concider trustworthy. If armed with a critical mind, what harm could it do?

Also, I completely agree that there are conventional medicines not suitable for consumtion! And there IS natural remedies that work! The thing is that there is a way to see which those are. Not everything used in China for 5000 years really does work. Most things don't. Some do.
 
Tyler Ludens
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
Not everything used in China for 5000 years really does work. Most things don't. Some do.


It might depend on what one means by "work."    Placebos "work" for a lot of people a lot of the time. 
 
jacque greenleaf
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Scientists are human. We are all subject to confirmation bias. Still, it's the best we got, and while I often think there's more to the story, I am still inclined to go with the preponderance of scientific opinion. Usually, it is more right than wrong. And, a hallmark of science is that when a scientist is wrong, the reason s/he is wrong is very interesting in itself, and eventually productive of further knowledge.

Smallpox really is gone from the wild. And I for one am really glad.

I speak here of honest, and honestly wrong, scientists. I have about as much respect for data fakers as I do for anti-gay preachers caught having sex with men. No tree is too high to hang them from.

 
Len Ovens
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Science has to be paid for. It costs a lot of money..... so it has to make someone some money before it gets done. A lot of those someones who are paying for the "Science" expect to get a certain result. Circumstantial evidence may be more trustworthy in most cases. Science is(was once?) great, if its done right, but those who can afford it generally already have the answer and only need proof of that answer so they can get permission to manufacture a product. Roundup was safe to eat for how many years before they were forced to put the word poison on their product?
 
Andreas Brevitz
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I feel as though my point is not getting across. As Michael says in the video; "We hate big pharma, we hate big government. We don't trust the man, and we SHOULDN'T. Our healthcare system sucks! It's cruel to millions of people... ... So we run away from it, and where do we run? We leap into the arms of big placebo."
Individual scientists are subject to bias, absolutely. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis changes that. The thing is, ONE scientist doesn't make science. You need lots of independent studies by lots of different, independent scientists and you need them to produce the same evidence independent of eachother. Then you have science. One study is NOTHING.
It's when ONE paper is over representated by the media that people think "science says this and science says that and it's never right!", when in fact science hasn't even made it's statement yet.
How many studies regarding Roundups safety did you look at before you decided it was safe/unsafe, Len? I don't know what Roundup is actually, but there probably never was any science behind that product.
 
Andreas Brevitz
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Another quote that comes to mind; "Science is not a company. It's not a country. It's not even an idea. It's a process."
 
Tyler Ludens
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We leap into the arms of big placebo.


And why shouldn't we, when placebos "work" as well as expensive pharmaceuticals in many cases?  Acknowledging that placebos "work" as well as some expensive pharmaceuticals is not "denial of science."



 
Andreas Brevitz
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And I don't think I've said it is. If you think that "big placebo" is better than "big pharma" I'm almost inclined to agree. I think there is a method to see what truly does work. And it's not listening to medical companies, it's not listening to government, it's not listening to gardeners, it's not listening to anyone. It's accepting and understanding the scientific method.

"The Cochrane Collaboration is a group of over 28,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries who review the effects of health care interventions tested in biomedical randomized controlled trials. A few more recent reviews have also studied the results of non-randomized, observational studies. The results of these systematic reviews are published as "Cochrane Reviews" in the Cochrane Library."

http://www.cochrane.org/about-us
 
Len Ovens
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
I feel as though my point is not getting across. As Michael says in the video; "We hate big pharma, we hate big government. We don't trust the man, and we SHOULDN'T. Our healthcare system sucks! It's cruel to millions of people... ... So we run away from it, and where do we run? We leap into the arms of big placebo."
Individual scientists are subject to bias, absolutely. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis changes that. The thing is, ONE scientist doesn't make science. You need lots of independent studies by lots of different, independent scientists and you need them to produce the same evidence independent of eachother. Then you have science. One study is NOTHING.

That kind of science is stifled. A study is done... it has little meaning on it's own, but before it can be reviewed systematically, it has to be published. In order to be published it has to pass a review board (first bias here) then maybe someone else other than the scientist can look at it. If it gets published and to hurts someones bottom line, there will be a scientist hired to somehow have the study rescinded.... That is they will pick it apart and lie about it if needed... if the industry is big enough there may even be more than one counter study. Now the person who originally did the study has lost their name and maybe profession. Anyone else who wishes to study the same thing has real problems getting the money to do so and in general they will be unable to get anything published if they do, because that idea has already been proven false.

Unless a study is published... it does not exist. Unless there is money to do the study, the information to review does not exist. Big money spends huge money doing studies. They do good  studies, but they are only published internally until they are sure the study will help the bottom line. So there is a great deal of info and study that is never allowed to make it to the public for review.... for the scientific process to happen.


It's when ONE paper is over representated by the media that people think "science says this and science says that and it's never right!", when in fact science hasn't even made it's statement yet.
How many studies regarding Roundups safety did you look at before you decided it was safe/unsafe, Len? I don't know what Roundup is actually, but there probably never was any science behind that product.

Actually, I suspect there was a great deal of science that went into the development of roundup (which almost every person in the world ingests daily). The company who sells it (along with the genetically modified seed to go with it) was well aware that the product was toxic for over 10 years, but kept that information to themselves. They only started to put that on the label when that info leaked. Even though there were studies being done that showed the product had problems during that time, they "disproved" them.

The public does not distrust science, they are fully aware that science is not happening in any real way except behind closed doors. Science has a bad name and for good reason. It has been used as the name for studies to allow big money to make more big money at the expense of their customer. The general feeling is that there is no real science happening in todays world. That is why people are more willing to use circumstantial evidence to base their decisions on.... it is more often true. The problem is not "Science denial", but Science withholding and blocking.
 
Tyler Ludens
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
And I don't think I've said it is.


Ok, in that case the title of this thread seems confusing.
 
Jonathan Byron
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
This, along with the book "Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial" (I sincerely recommend it)  was an eye opener for me.  I am not interested in hearing from anyone who is going to be angry or narrowminded in their responses, but I am prepared to discuss this in a scientific and mature manner.


What do you think?


I think we should be fair and put all medical practices on trial. I think that if you want to divide medicine into mainstream vs alternative, fine. But I am certain that there are many practitioners who are charlatans or idiots on both sides of this dichotomy.  When it comes to seeking help for a problem, it is rolling the dice regardless of which general path one takes. I had a medical condition that got three different diagnoses from 3 different doctors, and the first two who got it wrong prescribed medicines with rather disturbing potential side effects.

And the notion that most doctors are all about the science is far from the truth. They practice the medical arts as they were trained, or simply as they decide they want to.  Mainstream doctors routinely act from coarse heuristic rules, faulty generalizations, and I have seen case after case where they don't have time to research the particulars or deal with the patient's unique circumstances... they dismiss critical information from patients, they ignore lesser known studies, they are biased towards using heavily marketed pharmaceuticals, they often treat symptoms instead of causes.

Most recent case in point from my personal experiences:

I recently had an ultrasound done - gallstones were detected and I got referred to a specialist. The doc said "Gallstones - you need surgery."  I said fine, how many are there, how big are they, where in the bladder are they, what else can you tell me, please lay out the options. After a bit of himming and hawing, the doctor ultimately admits he doesn't have a copy of my ultrasound report and can't provide me with details ... but goes on to tell me it doesn't matter, because "these things always require surgery." I ask him if there are any lifestyle factors that can be changed, and he says no, aside from avoiding fatty foods if I find that causes symptoms.  And I go home and do real science, finding that there are a number of interesting scientific studies that point to routes where a person might be able to reverse gallstones - for example, a single aspirin a day reduces mucin in the bile, while also increasing the flow of bile and reducing the saturation, leading to a lower lithogenic index ... there are studies showing that aspirin has a decent preventive effect in people with arthritis who have taken it for long periods of time, and decent preventive effect in people who had been treated for gallstones (but did not have their bladder removed) and who went on low dose aspirin for other reasons. But the odds that a doctor will tell a patient about these studies is disturbingly low.  Insurance companies pay for surgery, doctors believe that the gall bladder serves no real purpose and that we are fine without it (!!??!!).  Surgeons have a hammer, they see every problem as a nail.

Modern, high tech medicine has some strong points. For acute conditions, they can be very effective. But the fact that they can do a better job at saving a person having a heart attack does not carry over to preventing heart attacks. I propose that relatively simple things like the Mediterranean Diet, physical activity, and stress reduction would go much farther in preventing heart attacks in the first place, and on these issues, 'alternative' health practitioners have been out in the lead for the past 50 years.

And then there are huge issues related to the distortion of the scientific literature by for-profit companies; they will commission multiple studies to 'prove' their drug is safe and effective, and those that find otherwise are buried instead of being published - the researchers who discover anything negative are silenced by confidentiality agreements.  The end result is that our 'scientific' literature is not giving us science, it is highly skewed towards those with money and a patent medicine. Years ago, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine took a bold stand to curb this by requiring that studies pre-register so that we would at least see how many unfavorable studies were being hidden. Yet even that modest measure has not been embraced by the medical scientific community.  Because too much science would change the way that business is done.
 
Peony Jay
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There's a lot of bologna out there so...

The Bologna Detection Kit to help you be more skeptical/scientific about claims.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU

The late Carl Sagan wrote a number of great books. His book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon-Haunted_World

What I'd like more people to think about is the scientific adage "correlation is not causation" and the the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy.


Thanks. That's my 2 cents for the day.
 
Chris Lumpkin
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Hhhmmmmm... I am feeling this funny thing that seems to pull at most of us, that wants us to choose a side. I am going to go with Peony Jay on this one, and say that it is more important how you have this conversation than what facts you think you know. I don't have to turn my back on science to choose not to consume vaccinations and GMO foods. This whole talk is like a hedge fund: mixing some ideas that are science-based and some that are extremely biased opinions, and insisting that it will be great if you buy the whole thing. Here is an example:

This is the greatest time there's ever been on this planet by any measure that you wish to choose: health, wealth, mobility, opportunity, declining rates of disease ... There's never been a time like this. My great-grandparents died, all of them, by the time they were 60. My grandparents pushed that number to 70. My parents are closing in on 80. So there better be a nine at the beginning of my death number. But it's not even about people like us, because this is a bigger deal than that.


Your relatives and mine are not showing the same correlation, pal. I had a grandma who ate bacon and eggs, and drank beer, into her 90s, all in violation of her doctor's orders. Many scientifically inclined people actually see a decline in the health of American children, including the CDC:

The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.


So, these kids are taking more vaccinations than any previous generation, and they're getting fatter and fatter every day... HOLY SHIT, those vaccinations must be causing obesity!!! Sorry, just applying that same "logic" from a different perspective.

Then he goes on to imply that, because smallpox was eradicated with the assistance of a vaccination campaign, then all vaccinations must be good. Does this guy have any kids? If he did, and he took his kids to the doctor, he would be recommended the following vaccination schedule (CDC):

Hepatitis B vaccine:
First dose at birth before discharge
Second dose at 1 to 2 months
Third dose at 6 to 18 months

Hib vaccine:
First dose at 2 months
Second dose at 4 months
Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of Hib vaccine given)
Fourth dose at 12 to 15 months

Inactivated polio vaccine:
First dose at 2 months
Second dose at 4 months
Third dose at 6 to 18 months
Fourth dose at 4 to 6 years

DTaP vaccine:
First dose at 2 months
Second dose at 4 months
Third dose at 6 months
Fourth dose at 15 to 18 months
Fifth dose at 4 to 6 years
Tdap is recommended at 11 years

Pneumococcal vaccine:
First dose at 2 months
Second dose at 4 months
Third dose at 6 months
Fourth dose at 12 to 18 months

Rotavirus vaccine:
First dose at 2 months
Second dose at 4 months
Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of rotavirus vaccine given)

Hepatitis A vaccine:
First dose at 12 months
Second dose at 18-30 months

Influenza vaccine:
First dose at 6 months (requires a booster one month after initial vaccine)
Annually until 5 years

MMR vaccine:
First dose at 12 to 15 months
Second dose at 4 to 6 years

Varicella vaccine:
First dose at 12 to 15 months
Second dose at 4 to 6 years

Meningococcal vaccine:
First dose at 11 years
Second dose at 16 years

Human papillomavirus vaccine:
First dose at 11 years
Second dose two months after first dose
Third dose six months after first dose


Some of those are sexually transmitted diseases, some have low risk of serious complications (pertussis, chicken pox, influenza), and not a single one of them is a 100% guarantee against the targeted pathogen. All of them come with their own costs, and risks; at least, there is no science I am aware of that proves otherwise. I am not demonizing science or the medical profession, but I don't have to resign my children to be pincushions for the benefit of "herd immunity" (and yes, big pharma). I can cherry pick things like tetanus, polio, and Hep B, because I am "thoughtful, educated, and decent", as he said.

Then the same logic is applied to GMO crops:

Now, the most mindless epidemic we're in the middle of right now is this absurd battle between proponents of genetically engineered food and the organic elite. It's an idiotic debate. It has to stop. It's a debate about words, about metaphors. It's ideology, it's not science. Every single thing we eat, every grain of rice, every sprig of parsley, every Brussels sprout has been modified by man. You know, there weren't tangerines in the garden of Eden. There wasn't any cantaloupe. (Laughter) There weren't Christmas trees. We made it all. We made it over the last 11,000 years. And some of it worked, and some of it didn't. We got rid of the stuff that didn't. Now we can do it in a more precise way -- and there are risks, absolutely -- but we can put something like vitamin A into rice, and that stuff can help millions of people, millions of people, prolong their lives. You don't want to do that? I have to say, I don't understand it.

We object to genetically engineered food. Why do we do that? Well, the things I constantly hear are: Too many chemicals, pesticides, hormones, monoculture, we don't want giant fields of the same thing, that's wrong. We don't companies patenting life. We don't want companies owning seeds. And you know what my response to all of that is? Yes, you're right. Let's fix it. It's true, we've got a huge food problem, but this isn't science. This has nothing to do with science. It's law, it's morality, it's patent stuff. You know science isn't a company. It's not a country. It's not even an idea; it's a process. It's a process, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but the idea that we should not allow science to do its job because we're afraid, is really very deadening, and it's preventing millions of people from prospering.

You know, in the next 50 years we're going to have to grow 70 percent more food than we do right now, 70 percent. This investment in Africa over the last 30 years. Disgraceful. Disgraceful. They need it, and we're not giving it to them. And why? Genetically engineered food. We don't want to encourage people to eat that rotten stuff, like cassava for instance. Cassava's something that half a billion people eat. It's kind of like a potato. It's just a bunch of calories. It sucks. It doesn't have nutrients, it doesn't have protein, and scientists are engineering all of that into it right now. And then people would be able to eat it and they'd be able to not go blind. They wouldn't starve, and you know what? That would be nice. It wouldn't be Chez Panisse, but it would be nice.

And all I can say about this is: Why are we fighting it? I mean, let's ask ourselves: Why are we fighting it? Because we don't want to move genes around? This is about moving genes around. It's not about chemicals. It's not about our ridiculous passion for hormones, our insistence on having bigger food, better food, singular food. This isn't about Rice Krispies, this is about keeping people alive, and it's about time we started to understand what that meant. Because, you know something? If we don't, if we continue to act the way we're acting, we're guilty of something that I don't think we want to be guilty of: high-tech colonialism. There's no other way to describe what's going on here. It's selfish, it's ugly, it's beneath us, and we really have to stop it.


Let me just lob some hand grenades into this bunker of jackassery that is barely even worth arguing:

  • The food plants in the world today has been bred by crossing plants of the same species, a gradual process whose health effects can be observed over generations. I'm not saying GMOs are causing cancer and allergies, but you can't say otherwise either... I will wait for "Service Pack 2" before I install any more of that shit in my body, thankyouverymuch.


  • Maybe some people want to outlaw GMOs, but the overwhelming majority simply want labels to indicate which products contain them. Are YOU saying that is somehow contrary to the dream of "feeding the world", simply to know what you are eating? Is this like ObamaCare, where we all are being force fed that shit so the people who want it can afford it?


  • Who is the "we" that "needs" to grow 70% more food, and why exactly is anyone incapable of feeding themselves? If you want to know the answer, you will have to study economics, and you will have to get your hands dirty growing some food yourself. Lots of people in many different climates feed themselves, their families, and even provide food to others without using GMO crops or NPK fertilizers. I am going to go with Vandana Shiva and many one-time "beneficiaries" of these foreign aid programs in those countries you are referring to and say, "No thank you". You couldn't give me that seed for free, nor pay me to grow it.


  • So, just to sum up: total crock of shit. In my opinion.
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    Chris Lumpkin wrote:
    So, just to sum up: total crock of shit. In my opinion.


    Bingo!

    "For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields.

    That promise has proven to be empty, according to Failure to Yield, a report by UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman released in March 2009. Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields."

    http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html
     
    Noah Figg
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    Science, the real idea and process of discovery, is great, but it's current controlled, subverted reality sucks, and that's what people are turning away from. Saying that our health is improving is a doubtful proposition. Many disease rates are increasing, not decreasing, and we live in an increasingly poisoned environment. Even if we can treat diseases better, we're doing something wrong as far as being healthy to begin with.

    I think that perhaps if we didn't have all these corporate controlled government agencies claiming to validate and ensure safety in food and medicine, some real science could be done and we could benefit from it. I think real science is being forced to go DIY/grassroots. It's very unfortunate, but it's not about denial, it's about serious failures of trust by the scientific community and the valid reactions to them. And most often, when someone is called "denier" of something, it's of a government sanctioned lie, and the name-calling is merely a stand-in argument for actually arguing facts.

    I thank you for bringing this important topic up!

    -Noah Figg
     
    Noah Figg
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    I forgot to include this page from the FDA, listing statistics on the rates of Adverse Drug Reactions (meaning negative side-effects from taking medicines according to directions):

    http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/DrugInteractionsLabeling/ucm114848.htm

    Highlights:
    -Over 2 MILLION serious ADRs yearly
    -100,000 DEATHS yearly
    -ADRs 4th leading cause of death ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths
     
    Ray Cover
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    This is a tough issue. I do beleive in absolute truth and I do beleive in science. I am not one to run from every boogie man on the grocery store shelf or every chemical in every manufactured product. Yes the post for my grape trellis are treated. I guess I would consider myself a fence sitter on a lot of these issues.

    I think with most people it is not the science or the scientific method that is distrusted. Its the scientist and the corporate money behind the product that we distrust along with the unintended consequences that often show up later on down the road. For example. My mother has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis for years. The doctor gave her a medicine that sure did make the arthritis hurt less. IT gave her cancer but it made the arthritis hurt less. Now I am happy to say that she is cancer free today and has been for a while. But sometimes with a lot of the drugs coming out of these big corporations the unintended consequences can be worse in the long run than the ailment itself. I think that is one reason that element of distrust is there.

    I think marketing is another reason that people are distrustful of the medical establishment. Again, I say its not the scientific method that most people distrust, its the corporate establishment of the pharma companies. We are lied to on a daily basis by almost every company that sells a product. We are lied to on a daily basis by those who are supposed to be our leaders in gov. We find that this group of scientist fudged their findings to push this agenda or get that grant. When your lied to so often you become very skeptical of anything anyone tells you good or bad. Its not the scientific method or proven scientific fact, it's the human element working with that method that is the target of distrust.

    Vaccines that have been around for ages and have been shown to be safe for 99.999999% of the population. Sure I think they are safe and effective. I got them. My kids got them. No problems in this family. That being said, I think a lot of new drugs are being pushed now days that just are not safe or have side effects that are just not worth the cure. Being a hard core conservative Libertarian I don't believe anyone should be forced to be vaccinated against their will in any case. IF they want to take the risk with their own health, its their own health.

    My 2 cents
     
    Fred Morgan
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    One should never use a tool, if you don't know its weaknesses and dangers. A chainsaw is a wonderful tool, but you better know about kickbacks, etc.

    Science is great, but it has a weakness. Conclusions are based on available data. Also, the human body is incredibly complex and variable. Give a drug that will save one person's life to the wrong person, and you killed them - like penicillin.

    Bad scientist and people who worship scientist tend to try to make everything an absolute. A good scientist won't, because they know just how little we know. Anytime I hear someone talking like science has all the answers, I know how little they actually do know.

    Now, speaking of longevity. Those who live the longest in the world (we are talking those communities that have a lot more than average numbers of those who break 100) don't tend to be in areas where medical care is more than just the basics. Those who live in cities near the best of hospitals are definitely not in the group. Why? Because clean water, clean air, good food, plenty of exercise is what makes you live long, not medical care.

    I am anything but against science since I am a big fan of science and my daughter has a Phd in Physics. But scientist need to be humble, too.

    Oh, and Roundup had a huge amount of research put into it, and the crops that were developed to grow with it. But nature will have her way and bats last, always. Weeds are developing that are Roundup resistant, and many of the vegetables developed to be grown commercially have no flavor in my opinion, but that might be partly the soil depletion of micro-nutrients.

    I am pro-doctors without a doubt, but I understand their weaknesses too. They are dealing with a clientele that wants a pill or surgery so they can go back to their unhealthy life style. I had two situations that really brought this home. One, I had pain in a knee (mainly from too much driving) and so the doctor gave me a pill for inflammation. About the same time, I had started hiking for exercise. Lo and behold, the pain went away. When I mentioned this to the Doctor, he told, "yes, exercise will work too". Another time I was diagnosed with GERD and given Priolesec, well I develop problems from it (and most drugs) - so I did the right thing, I lost weight. Now I never have problems. They say as many as 75% of all GERD cases can be fixed by weight loss. But who wants to hear that? Nope, pop a pill and GERD goes away (never mind that by lowering your acidic level in your stomach, you are now not nearly as good as digesting nutrients you need)

    Science is still very very new, and many things aren't that fair way honestly from folklore because we just don't know what the long term repercussions are, and my generation, and the current one is one big lab rat to medical science. I do use at times folk lores here in Costa Rica and in all honesty, they work well. What is even more amazing is the doctors here (who are VERY good in my opinion) will actually recommend them at times. Herbal remedies at times do work, what they don't do is gain a huge amount of money due to have a patent - which is why medicines are pushed.

    There is a reason big Pharmacy is in Costa Rica, they are scouring the jungle looking for remedies. And they interview a lot of older people too and indigenous people. One should never discount drug trials (and herbal remedies ARE drugs) that have gone on for centuries.
     
    Ray Cover
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    Location: Missouri
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    I wander how much of our increased longevity the past couple generations is due to very simple things like a better understanding of cleanliness and good hygiene? I have no statistics, just wondering out loud.

     
    Fred Morgan
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    Ray Cover wrote:I wander how much of our increased longevity the past couple generations is due to very simple things like a better understanding of cleanliness and good hygiene? I have no statistics, just wondering out loud.



    From what I have read, sanitation and understanding diet has done much more than medicine. It sure is true regarding livestock. I swear at times the vet arrives to tell you there is no hope... and of course leaves a bill.
     
    wayne stephen
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    I enjoy reading Skeptical Inquirerer and watching the Amazing Randi expose flim flammers , con artist evangelists , and gullible believers in bullshit. But just because a study or two has shown that echinacea does not shorten the life of a cold or comfrey contains carcinogens does not mean that herbal lore is all bullshit. It is important to apply Occams razor to our endevours , and apply it to science claims also . I was watching a panel of "scientists" discussing food production into the future. You could obviously see that the GMO supporter was as much of a " believer " as the organic guy. She would just poopoo all the concerns of the enviromentalists and not offer up any data to refute their concerns. Is that scientific? One concern was that using corn for fuel was taking all this precious nitrogen out of the food cycle , I thought that concern was profound and frightening. Her reply was a simple "Phttt" . Not hard science. I have performed an "experiment" on myself over and over , if you wish to test its validity repeat it on yourself. Every spring before you begin the flurry of work that is to come as organic gardeners purchase a months supply of high quality ginseng - in any form. Take it daily and use the slowly gathering strength to get yourself into fit shape and out of your winter slump. Work out and eat well , but then be aware of a stoutness and endurance that was not there a month before.
    Repeat this experiment and turn others onto it . Try to scientifically deny the new sense on life you feel , and the spring in your step. If anyone disagrees with you take a small pinch of ginseng out of your vial and toss it just over their heads. Small pinch - the shit is expensive!
     
    P Thickens
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    Test it, if it works in many different circumstances, use it! This applies to acupressure (cured my allergies -- and fully paid by Health Insurance!) as well as big pharma. So I use my brain. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that the chemicals leaching out of plastic are really really bad for you (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, reduced fertility in males, aborted male foetuses) but there's no hard science on it. THat's okay, I'm avoiding them anyway.

    Unsure about:
    * Things that haven't yet been proven (such as Agave Syrup in blood glucose levels)
    * Things that have been proven to be safe BY BIASED SCIENTISTS (RoundUp assholes)

    Sure about:
    * Things that have been proven from many sources (great-grandma used to cook and mash earthworms to ease her arthritic hands... guess what? Worms have cortisone!)
    * NSAIDS to reduce pain & inflammation (yeay painkillers!)

    If you want to be sure of something, look at the SOURCE. Accepting something based solely on who said it is stupid.
     
    Peony Jay
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    wayne stephen wrote:I enjoy reading Skeptical Inquirerer and watching the Amazing Randi expose flim flammers , con artist evangelists , and gullible believers in bullshit. But just because a study or two has shown that echinacea does not shorten the life of a cold or comfrey contains carcinogens does not mean that herbal lore is all bullshit. It is important to apply Occams razor to our endevours , and apply it to science claims also . I was watching a panel of "scientists" discussing food production into the future. You could obviously see that the GMO supporter was as much of a " believer " as the organic guy. She would just poopoo all the concerns of the enviromentalists and not offer up any data to refute their concerns. Is that scientific? One concern was that using corn for fuel was taking all this precious nitrogen out of the food cycle , I thought that concern was profound and frightening. Her reply was a simple "Phttt" . Not hard science. I have performed an "experiment" on myself over and over , if you wish to test its validity repeat it on yourself. Every spring before you begin the flurry of work that is to come as organic gardeners purchase a months supply of high quality ginseng - in any form. Take it daily and use the slowly gathering strength to get yourself into fit shape and out of your winter slump. Work out and eat well , but then be aware of a stoutness and endurance that was not there a month before.
    Repeat this experiment and turn others onto it . Try to scientifically deny the new sense on life you feel , and the spring in your step. If anyone disagrees with you take a small pinch of ginseng out of your vial and toss it just over their heads. Small pinch - the shit is expensive!


    @ Wayne. Amen , brother!
    I love Randi and he has inspired other skeptics to be more vocal about flimflammery.
    Occam's Razor comment. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor, Latin lex parsimoniae) is the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness. It is a principle urging one to select among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect.
    Wouldn't it be nice if science class in Grade 1 explained this to the kiddies? Wouldn't it be great if people applied O.R. to everyday life?
    Hmmmm.

    My 2 cents.
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    I think it's great that more people are learning more about the scientific process. While it's not perfect, nor are the people involved in scientific work. There are mistakes and fumbles on the way but let's not forget that since the dawn of "humanity" we've been using science to solve problems. We may not have always been aware of the forces involved but we continue to build a knowledge base that eventually transformed wooden and stone tools into heavy excavators and space shuttles. We've taken tree bark and refined asprin. We've made crude oil into all kinds of things including plastics, fuels, fertilizers and bombs. Some good some bad. Some good for a time, then problematic later on. Just think of the technology that let's us all communicate. SCIENCE!

    Some people get hung up on the mistakes like BPA, CFC, poisoned drinking water and the like but there have been very large gains in most cases despite those mistakes. Somebody mentioned chicken pox above so I'll use that example.
    There is a vaccine for chicken pox now. It wasn't available when I was a kid so I ended up with the disease and missed one week of school for it at age 6. I itched and scabbed and took oatmeal baths and I was somewhat miserable for that time. At that time about 100 healthy people died every year from the disease. These were not people who were immune compromised or had other health problems. So while it was a bad week for me and my parents, who missed work and income, some people had it far worse. Since the introduction of the vaccine, death rates have dropped to single digits. Most of those healthy people who die from chicken pox are either adults who contract the disease from unvaccinated children or the unvaccinated child themselves.

    Are there some risks to a vaccine. Yes, there are some but they are rare and minor in the majority of cases. In all cases a trained medical professional has determined that the risks are outweighed by the benefit of the vaccine.

    Of course it's not the same for every person or every vaccine, but let's not let a bias or misunderstanding get in the way of doing real good for as many as we can. I think we can agree that life is better without polio, smallpox, and many other dieases. Life is also better due to computers, fuels, and mechinization. It's not all roses but I'll take sound science over prayer and curses.

    I do think it's interesting that a lot of people complain about science or specific scientific avenues while standing atop the mountain of scientific advancements that we enjoy today. As if all science was evil. Even the humble campfire is a scientific marvel.
     
    Cris Bessette
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    Andreas Brevitz wrote:
    I have noticed that there are a lot of idea's within the permaculture community that I don't agree with and I've been struggling to discuss these ideas in a constructive way. So, now I'm simply throwing this out there.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_specter_the_danger_of_science_denial.html

    What do you think?


    I think science denial is a subset of the lack of logical thinking processes for many people.

    I saw this on a plastic bottle of peanuts: In big "green" letters "84% less packaging" and in half size text "than glass jar by weight"
    Many people would say "wow, 84% less packaging!!!"
    More logical thinkers would say "umm.. so, glass is quite a bit simpler to recycle, plastic is a non-renewable resource- the package is actually LESS environmentally conscious than before!"

    Another example I think is hilarious is basically every hair conditioning formula advertisement I have ever seen says that it makes hair "more healthy", when the fact is that hair is DEAD, nonliving matter when it leaves the follicle. Sure, you can make that dead hair more silky and smooth, but it sure ain't getting healthier.

    On the other hand, regardless of lots of science behind some of these drugs and medicines, people might accept "scientific authority" as good reasoning for TAKING some of these drugs. There are so many medicines that seem to me more harmful than good, or have perfectly good safer alternatives.
    (marijuana could safely replace 10s-100s of drugs/medicines if people could see the lack of logic or science behind drug war claims)

    I think classes in logical thinking should be given to high school students.

     
    Dale Hodgins
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    Denial of scientific evidence is a given in many religious communities. Whether the deity is a carved monkey, a great thinker or a magician who can raise the dead, scientific scrutiny is generally met with hostility.
     
    Logan Simmering
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    I think the problem isnt so much denial of science, as misrepresentation of science. To really get a good idea of the reality of an option you need to look at the actual research, understand its conclusions, be aware of the researchers biases, look for shoddy methodology, cross check it against other research, be aware of your own biases... that shits exhusting, no one has time to do that for every controversial topic, so instead were left trusting what ever authority suits our biases and filtering information based mostly on convienance.
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