The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Naturopaths in Ontario

A buddy of mine hipped me to this article which talks about how regulated naturopathic clinics look like they're coming to Ontario as they have in other provinces, starting with British Columbia in 2010.

The article has some interesting quotes that I would like to examine a bit. Firstly, there's this one:
The intern overseeing Ms. Degabriele’s care is garbed in a crisp white lab coat. So is the clinic’s lead supervisor, Jonathan Tokiwa, who bustles around toting patient files, a stethoscope slung around his neck.
I can put a white lab coat on my four year old and hang a stethoscope around his neck, that doesn't make him a doctor. What is on the outside is irrelevant, it's the methodologies they use to diagnose and treat you that are important. Dressing up nonsense doesn't make it valid, it just make it a pile of shit covered with icing.

Next is this:
Those who support expanding the scope of practice say Canadian naturopaths, who require at least seven years of post-secondary education to earn a licence, can help alleviate the burden of chronic, lifestyle-related diseases using natural techniques such as dietary advice, vitamin treatments, herbs, teas, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, water therapy and homeopathy, among others.
Ok, about the "seven years of post-secondary education": if you spend seven years learning that your body has "innate wisdom" and that you need to find something that causes the same looking symptoms to what your patient has and then dilute that substance in water beyond Avogadro's limit and put a drop of that liquid on a sugar pill to cure what ails the patient, you've only succeeded in wasting money and seven years. You can study phrenology for 20 years, you're not going to help anyone.

Also, the "argument" that these people can alleviate the burden on the healthcare system is laughable. So you're going to give acupuncture, TCM, homeopathy and other bogus "therapies" to people in need? There is no other field where this would even be given the time of day. Imagine if someone wanted to approach the Ontario Building Code to offer the "alternative" of letting people choose to build the foundation of their houses out of Lego blocks. C'mon, man, it's a viable alternative! A lot of people would WANT that in their homes! The blocks are literally FOR building! It's stupid and don't even start with the, "But there are studies that show that homeopathy/acupuncture/herbal medicines/Bach floral remedies/crystals/ear candling/reiki/chiropractic/reflexology/coffee enemas/therapeutic touch/my personal favorite remedy actually WORKS, man!" When you look at the entire body of research (as you're supposed to), and take only the best quality/size/controlled studies, the mass majority of them show that your pet theory is not viable. If it was viable or worked in any sort of reliable/repeatable/testable way, it would be used and it would be the norm. The fact that it is not tells you that the people who do medicine for their lives know bullshit when they see/smell it.

"But it's a conspiracy, man, of all the Big Pharma companies, man, to keep us sick and dependant on their poisons, maaaaaannnnn." No, it isn't. Pharmaceutical companies have, to a large degree, a bunch of douchebags working for them who only give a shit about money, BUT - don't for get that the best, the absolute BEST way to get famous and well-respected in science is to overturn an established paradigm. Scientists are always trying to undercut each other and overturn well-established ideas or scientific theories. If some scientist discovered that homeopathy actually worked or that reiki actually helped people in real medical danger, that person would be on every news agency, all over the internet, and would be world famous in very short order. It just doesn't happen because the mass majority of anything called "alternative" medicine doesn't work.
“Over the last 12 years there have been no recorded incidents of patient harm,” he (Bob Bernhardt, the president of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine) said. “So how can people say that it’s not safe when actually it’s happening in other places with incredibly good records of safety?”
Great question, Bob. There are two kinds of harm: active and passive. By offering nonsense like homeopathy and acupuncture alongside conventional (real: "real") medicine, you're only convincing the patient that the nonsense works while it is a combination of the real medicine and time that is making them better. What you're setting the patient up for is a massive dose of uncritical thinking and leading them to believe that if/when something really harmful rears its head, they just might treat it with water on a sugar pill...sorry, "homeopathy".

Leading patients to believe in "treatments" that don't actually work is unethical. Period.
“We can’t just wish that this body of people who we consider quacks, frankly … would just go away,” he (Dr. Stanbrook, a staff respirologist at two Toronto teaching hospitals) said in an interview. “I think we have to acknowledge that our patients are seeking this group of people out and come to terms with that.”
Yes, Dr. Stanbrook, that's true, but the answer is not to regulate the quacks - it's to FIX what you're doing wrong or ineffectively. You wouldn't hear, "Well, the Lego foundation people aren't going to just go away, so I guess we'll have to acknowledge that people are going to want Lego foundations in their homes and come to terms with that." It's ludicrous.

Finally a patient quote:
"...I believe, a mixture of natural products plus medication is good for you.”
Well, she's half right.

Note: Thanks Ryan

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Missouri and the Embarrassment that is Bill Brattin

Can you even imagine your kid going to a school, and in that school the science teachers got together and decided to take a radical stance and teach Heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth and all the other planets in our solar system went around the Sun? The science teachers, through the school, then had to send a notification home to let parents know what a crazy idea was being taught to their sons/daughters so that the parents could get their kids to "opt out" of being instructed in this subject so as to keep their belief that the Earth is the centre of the solar system (nay, THE UNIVERSE!) intact.

Insane, right?

Well the equivalent is happening right now in Missouri. State Rep. Rick Brattin (what letter do you suppose came after his name in brackets denoting to which political party he belongs? Hmm...) was quoted as saying:
"Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side...It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach."
One side. It boggles the mind how insular the population is that believes in creationism. There is nothing getting inside from popular culture, and this is the proof. The 22 Signs from Creationists after the Bill Nye/Ken Ham "debate" are face-palmingly soul-destroying in both their (mostly) dumbness and for their having been discussed/refuted thoroughly at length previously. Yet, there they are, smugly holding their signs asking about why monkeys are still here and how the second law of thermodynamics "disproves" evolution.

Side note: if anyone ever tries that on you, ask them, "What are the other laws of thermodynamics?"

Brattin then said:
“What’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion."
Well there it is, hey? Just dangling out there all pink and naked. He says that religion is, "pulled out of the air." He has not, apparently, been doing any science reading and he certainly hasn't taken any classes on evolutionary biology.

Can you imagine someone who has never driven a car, never looked at a combustion engine, never even driven in a car, trying to tell a 30 year veteran mechanic that the engines in all the cars on the road run on the urine of Unicorns and the so-called "exhaust" is nothing and doesn't exist? The insanity of that assertion is almost on par with what the creationists are actually saying.

Many people think that the Nye/Ham "debate" wasn't worth it because no minds were likely to be changed and it unfairly put creationism on level ground with actual science. I don't think it did the latter because the hundreds of thousands of people watching online (was this the most-viewed "debate" ever?) may have included just a couple of actually open-minded people (unlike Ken Ham) who would have seen how poorly Ham did against Nye, and may have had some questions brought up in their heads that they will now go check into.

If a couple of people question the nonsense and investigate, it was worth it in my mind. We're certainly unlikely to change this woman's brainwashed opinion.


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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Snoop Dogg

The term "low-hanging fruit" comes to mind when I watch the linked video below.

I find it hysterical that our favorite homeopathic apologist, Dana Ullman, linked to this clip with the comment:
Dana Ullman, MPH CCH ‏@HomeopathicDana · Feb 1
Even Snoop Dogg won't go near a flu vaccine! Keep aluminum out of his veins!
Yeah, aluminium. If you want to check it out, the crew over at Science Based Medicine did a piece (among others) dealing with the contents of vaccines and chat about aluminium in there. It's worth the read.

But...this video clip. Snoop Dogg says:
"You don' need that (flu) shot, nigga they shootin' some shit in yo' ass...I think they shootin' some...controllin'...some shit to take control of ya...you know, where they have your mind, body, and soul, you know, slow you down a bit."
Amazing. A guy who is known to smoke half a pound of weed a day, sitting behind some Colt .45, is worried about flu shot ingredients? Dana Ullman implies that the aluminium content of the flu shot is harmful and he endorses what Snoop Dogg says - apparently unaware of how little aluminium is actually in the flu shot or, perhaps more importantly, how much aluminium he is ingesting on a daily basis just by, you know, breathing. Most people ingest 7-10mg/day. I mean, there's 10-20 mg of it in just one buffered aspirin tablet and you get less than one mg in a flu shot.

Weird that Ullman and the other anti-vaccine loons aren't up in arms at aspirin and antacid manufacturers. They're not anti-headache/anti-heartburn medicine, they're "pro-safe-headache/heartburn medicine". I guess if I want reason and rationality, there are perhaps better places to check out.

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