Category Archives: Education

A review of the evolutionary claims in the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet trend was kicked off with the publication of a book by Dr. Cordain published in 2002. Since then it’s popularity has increased steadily. Dr. Cordain believes that by eating as he believes our ancestors ate you can lose weight, and cure many diseases. Despite Dr. Cordain’s claims of expertise on Paleolithic diet, heath, and nutrition the majority of his claims are suspicious at best. The majority of the book relies on the appeal to nature fallacy whereby Dr. Cordain repeatedly claims that the only natural and safe diet for humans is the way our hominid ancestors allegedly ate. In order to understand the problem with many of Dr. Cordain’s statements you must first understand human evolution.

The Paleolithic period, which means Old Stone Age began approximately 2.5 million years ago when hominids began making stone tools. It ended approximately 10,000 years ago when the Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, began with the advent of agriculture in the archaeological record. The Paleolithic period can be further broken into the Lower Paleolithic period that lasted from 2.5 mya (million years ago) to approximately 200,000 ya (years ago).  For much of the Lower Paleolithic period stone technology was quite simple, and did not change much despite significant changes in hominid species and their brain capacity. Approximately 200,000 ya the Upper Paleolithic began when our species, Homo sapiens, evolved. Now this distinction is not merely human ego, but is based on the more advanced stone technology that humans displayed compared to other hominid species.

During the Paleolithic hominids learned to control fire, and it is thought that the first signs of human culture date back to the Paleolithic. Archaeological sites from this time are very rare. Any hominid remains from this time consist solely of fossilized skeletons that are fragmentary and often quite degraded.The archaeological evidence suggests that Homo erectus was the first species to be able to control fire, and therefore to begin cooking food. This is a very important factor in human evolution. It has long been known that eating meat was important to human evolution, particularly in allowing our brains to grow to unprecedented size and complexity compared to our body size.

Our hominid ancestors most likely started out as scavengers before learning to hunt animals for food. However there is another aspect of meat eating whose importance is often under estimated, and that is the ability to cook the meat and other foods so that the nutrients are more easily absorbed. As cooking developed we see morphological changes such as decreased molar and mandible size as large jaws and teeth were no longer necessary to process tough food.

It is undeniable that humans evolved by eating an omnivorous and very adaptable diet. The evidence for this is written all over our bodies if you know how to read it. Perhaps the most easily identified evidence of our omnivorous origins lies in our teeth. We have teeth that are designed for chewing plant matter as well as consuming meat. As tooth morphology is almost completely controlled by genetic rather than environmental factors it is very slow to change and an excellent source of information about human evolution.

The consumption of meat was undeniably a very important nutritional source for hominids, however Dr. Cordain is incorrect in overstating how frequently hominids and early humans ate meat. Archaeological evidence suggests that most hominid species and archaic Homo sapiens were primarily vegetarian with meat being an occasional dietary supplement when available. This is supported by studies of modern hunter-gatherer populations.

Now it is important to understand that direct comparisons between modern hunter-gatherer populations and prehistoric populations are not possible. The environment has changed dramatically since the Paleolithic, even since the Mesolithic the environment has undergone rapid change. This means that the environments that modern hunter-gatherers live in is not necessarily similar to the environment that prehistoric populations lived in. Additionally modern hunter-gatherer populations have been pushed to areas that are not conducive to agriculture, while prehistoric populations would have lived in all environments. Yet that direct comparison is something Dr. Cordain attempts to do on several occasions.

Studies of modern hunter-gatherer populations are useful, but it is very important to remember that there is no single dietary pattern than hunter-gatherer’s utilize. They are known to be very flexible in their food sources. Modern population’s diets range from extremes such as the Inuit whose diet is predominantly meat based, to the predominantly vegetarian !Kung. Some hunter-gatherer populations are also well known to consume large quantities of starchy vegetables that according to the Paleo diet they should not be consuming.

Dr. Cordain states that during the Paleolithic humans had a longer life span, did not suffer from tooth decay, did not have “modern” diseases and were taller than in the Mesolithic and later periods. In order to examine these claims you need to understand a little bit about biological anthropology, which is the study of human and hominid skeletal remains. It is generally accepted that only a very small proportion of diseases leave a mark on the skeleton, and very few of these are specific enough to diagnose. As the majority of our bodies are made of soft tissue, therefore the majority of our illnesses are found in the soft tissue. Due to how long it has been since the Paleolithic no soft tissue has ever been found from this time. That means the only way to assess health is through the skeletons. Now we can determine their estimated height, age, and the sex of adults if the skeletal remains are complete enough, but this becomes more difficult to accurately assess as the remains become more fragmentary. As there is no soft tissue we cannot determine if the individual had diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, nor can we tell if they were obese as there is no consensus on how to identify obesity in the skeletal record at this time. We can look at indicators of health and nutrition called non-specific stress indicators, such as bone porosity or interruptions of dental enamel formation in childhood.

Linear Enamel Hypoplasia, an enamel defect that can be caused by malnutrition or disease in childhood. Source: The Museum of London

The average stature of a population has cycled many times throughout history. Our adult height is affected by a combination of factors including genetics, nutrition and health. In some populations stature and general health did decrease after the advent of agriculture, but to associate that strictly with nutrition would be incorrect. With the advent of agriculture we suddenly had large populations living in the same place for extended periods of time, and there was not exactly good hygiene or sanitation. The communicable disease load increased dramatically as populations grew. In some areas malnutrition also increased, but this trend is not universal. There is a pattern of negative affects on health in the archaeological record as agriculture was adopted. However not all populations that transitioned from being a hunter-gatherer society to agricultural society  experienced this decline. In particular it does not appear to be associated with societies that began depending on wet-rice agriculture. The decline in health is particularly noticeable in societies that depended on maize as their main crop.

Life span is another factor that is harder to determine. Once an individual reaches adulthood it becomes more difficult and less accurate to determine their age at death based on the skeleton. It is not impossible, but the age frames become wider than with children that can be accurately aged based on tooth eruption patterns and bone growth. The average life span of a population is difficult to estimate. In the past there were high rates of child and infant mortality. We do not know how high these rates were in the Paleolithic as the bones of children are more delicate than the bones of adults and do not preserve as well. We do know that if one survived into adult hood the next biggest threats to their lives were infection from injury, and for women childbirth. This is one of the reasons that in the archaeological record we see more men surviving into old age than women. These death patterns also skew the population’s average age at death downward. The fact is  the archaeological record shows that the average age of death for humans and hominids in any period was far shorter than it is today. While some individuals did survive into old age, even during the Paleolithic the average lifespan of an individual was what we would not consider not quite middle age.

The archaeological record does not support the claim that hominids and humans prior to agriculture did not have tooth decay, or caries. Neanderthals lived during only during the Paleolithic with the last Neanderthals dying out on Gibraltar approximately 28,000 ya. The skeletal remains of Neanderthals and other hominid species show signs of periodontal disease, and caries. While we do not know the rate at which caries and dental disase were present in the Paleolithic, we do have evidence that it was at lower rates than in societies that practice agriculture. In this Dr. Cordain is correct that agriculture had a negative impact on our health.

Dr. Cordain repeatedly claims that the so-called modern diseases such as cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases did not exist prior to agriculture. The evidence does not support this either. The oldest known case of cancer in hominids is a 1.7 mya osteosarcoma found in the metatarsal from an unknown hominid species. Cancer is found across species, therefore it is likely that cancers in hominids are older than this, but we do not have evidence to conclusively state this.

We do not know when the first case of heart disease, diabetes or autoimmune disease occurred based on skeletal material and that is where we must start looking at genes. After death the DNA in the body degrades until it is impossible to be extracted for analysis. At this time it is only possible to extract DNA in skeletal remains up to 30,000 ya, therefore Neanderthals are the only reliable source of non-human hominid DNA. The Neanderthal genome was sequenced several years ago and has provided a wealth of information. We now know that they had the genes for some autoimmune diseases such as lupus and Crohn’s disease. They also had genes that indicate a predisposition to several diseases that are considered modern diseases. These include type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, heart disease, and depression. This is contradicts Dr. Cordain’s claim that eating his version of a Paleolithic diet will cure or prevent these diseases as they are complex disease that include both genetic and environmental factors.

In 1991 one of the oldest mummified human remains were found in the Ötzal Alps. Ötzi, as he is known, dates back to the Neolithic (New Stone Age) approximately 5,300 ya. Ötzi was found in a glacier, which preserved his body remarkably well. Analyses of his genes show a predisposition to heart disease, and the presence of the world’s oldest case of Lyme disease. A CT scan confirmed the diagnosis of atherosclerosis. Now agriculture was present in the Neolithic and in fact Ötzi’s last meal did contain some unleavened bread however; studies of remains including those from hunter-gatherer societies suggest that atherosclerosis was prevalent in antiquity contrary to Dr. Cordain’s claims that it is only caused by agriculture.

A reconstruction of what Ötzi would looked like at the time of his death. Source: The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

The Paleo Diet does have some good points about choosing lean meats over fatty meats, reducing salt and sugar consumption,  and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. These are all recommendations routinely made by dietitians. However it also states that all grains, legumes and dairy should be avoided. Dr. Cordain repeatedly claims that our hominid ancestors did not eat grains or dairy, and therefore we should not either. The argument against legumes is never explicitly stated, except for his statement that they contain lectins that aggravate autoimmune diseases. There does not appear to be a scientific consensus on this point at this time. Some research implicates lectins in some autoimmune diseases, but there is no clear evidence for the method by which this may occur. Also legumes contain protease inhibitors that have anti-inflammatory properties after cooking. Furthermore there is evidence of Paleolithic peoples consuming legumes and processing grains long before they began growing them.

Grains, legumes and dairy can all be excellent sources of nutrition. The agricultural revolution that occurred approximately 10,000 ya in multiple locations around the world dramatically changed human history. Humans were no longer nomadic hunter-gatherers. As agriculture spread some populations settled in location permanently and their population size exploded.

The process of domestication of plant and animal species was not as fast as Dr. Cordain implies. In order to domesticate a plant or animal species it’s entire life cycle, and especially it’s reproductive cycle needs to be well understood. The process of domestication takes generations. Not every attempt at domestication was successful either. In order to domesticate a plant or animal species it had to be very familiar and useful to the population, which means they had to eat or use it regularly. The species of fruits and vegetables available today have changed dramatically from the species that would have been available in the Paleolithic due to selective breeding for thousands of years.

The argument against dairy is one of the more illogical arguments in the Paleo Diet. Dr. Cordain once again commits the appeal to nature fallacy and argues that we have not had enough time to evolve to eat dairy. This is patently untrue for individuals who are lactose tolerant. Lactose intolerance is indeed the” natural” human state, however approximately 7,500 ya in Europe a single allele mutation allowing for lactase persistence emerged. This adaptation allowed adults to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. Due to positive evolutionary pressure these genes became fixed in the populations very quickly. Today the rates of lactase persistence vary in Europe from as low as 15-54% of the population in eastern and southern Europe, to 62-86% in central and western Europe, to a high of 89-96% in the British Isles and Scandinavia. While lactase persistence has been most intensively studied in Europe, it is also found in other populations around the world including populations in Africa and India. Lactase persistence is found societies that were historically pastoral, that is they herded cattle. Perhaps more interesting is that there are multiple derived alleles allowing for lactase persistence that evolved independently.

One further claim Dr. Cordain makes regarding dairy is the body does properly not absorb the calcium in diary products and that eating too much dairy can increase osteoporosis risk. This has been hypothesized but further studies have found no evidence to support this conclusion. Dr. Cordain makes this claim as part of his discussion of the need to keep the diet more alkaline than acidic. This brings in elements of the alkaline dietary trends, which are also unsubstantiated by current research available. Furthermore idea of balancing acidic and alkaline foods suggested by Dr. Cordain is not actually upheld in studies of hunter-gatherer societies.

The Paleo Diet makes repeated claims that eating the way Dr. Cordain believes our ancestors did will cure diseases that he believes are caused by eating “unnatural” foods such as grains, legumes and dairy. These claims are not supported by the archaeological record, which shows no single Paleolithic diet or dietary pattern, and as previously discussed is not supported by the study of ancient remains. Specifically Dr. Cordain believes that heart disease, autoimmune diseases and even skin cancer can be prevented by eating his diet despite there being no evidence to support this. The book also relies heavily on anecdotes provided by people who claim the diet has cured them along with a brief explanation about how this allegedly works that does not actually provide any scientific information in the second half of the book. Any time personal anecdotes are being provided instead of scientific evidence it should be a red flag to begin to look more deeply into the claims.

Sources

Adler, J. (2013, June). Why Fire Makes Us Human. Retrieved from Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-fire-makes-us-human-72989884/

Barras, C. (2016, December). Ancient leftovers show the real Paleo diet was a veggie feast. Retrieved from New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2115127-ancient-leftovers-show-the-real-paleo-diet-was-a-veggie-feast/

Bradt, S. (2009, June 1). Invention of cooking drove evolution of the human species, new book argues. Retrieved from Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/06/invention-of-cooking-drove-evolution-of-the-human-species-new-book-argues/

Coolidge, F. L., & Wynn, T. (2013, November 22). The Truth about the Caveman Diet: Faulty premises behind hte paleo diet. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-think-neandertal/201311/the-truth-about-the-caveman-diet

Cordain, L. (2002). The Paleo Diet: lose weight and get healthy by eating the food you were designed to eat. New York, NY, USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Dunn, R. (2012, July 23). Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegatarian. Retrieved from Scientific American: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/

Freed, D. L. (1999). Do Dietary Lectins cause disease? . BMJ , 318.

Gerbault, P., Liebert, A., Powell, A., Currat, M., Burger, J., Swallo, D. M., et al. (2011). Evolution of lactase persistence: an example of human nice construction. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci , 366 (1566), 863-877.

Grine, F., Gwinnett, A., & Oaks, J. (1990). Early hominid dental pathology: Interproximal caries in 1.5 million-year-old Paranthropus robustus from Swartkrans. Archives of Oral Biology , 35 (5), 381-386.

Itan, Y., Powell, A., Beaumont, M. A., Burger, J., & Thomas, M. G. (2009). The Origins of Lactase Persistence in Europe. PLOS Computational Biology , 5 (8).

Larsen, C. S. (2015). Bioarchaeology: Interpretting Behavior from the Human Skeleton. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Leech, J. (2017, June 9). Authority Nutrtion. Retrieved from The Alkaline Diet: An Evidence Based Review: http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/the-alkaline-diet-myth#section1

Lewis, D. (2016, January 8). Thank Neanderthals for Your Immune System. Retrieved from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/thank-neanderthals-your-immune-system-180957761/

Lozano, M., Subria, M. E., Aparicio, J., Lorenzo, C., & Gomez-Merino, G. (2013, October 16). Toothpicking and Periodontal Disease in a Neandertal Specimen from Cova Forada Site (Valencia, Spain). Retrieved from PLOS one: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0076852

Neanderthals’ genetic legacy: Humans inherited variants affecting disease risk, infertility, skin and hair charactheristics. (2014, January 29). Retrieved from Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129134956.htm

Richards, M. (2002). A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithich and Neolithic subsistence. European Journal of Clinical Nutration , 56.

Schwalfenberg, G. K. (2012, Oct). The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J Envron Public Health .

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). Introduction to Human Evolution. Retrieved from http://humanorigins.si.edu/education/introduction-human-evolution

St. Pierre, B. (n.d.). The Paleo problem: Examining the pros and cons of the Paleo Diet. Retrieved from Precision Nutrition: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/paleo-diet

St. Pierre, B. (n.d.). The Paleo Problem: Examining the pros and cons of the Paleo Diet. Retrieved from Precision Nutrtion: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/paleo-diet

Weyrich, L. S., Duchene, S., Sourbrier, J., Arriola, L., Bastien, L., Breen, J., et al. (2017). Neanderthal behavior, diet and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus. Nature , 544, 357-361.

 

There Is No Conclusive Evidence That Cannabinoids Actually Cure Cancer

 

 

On the subject of cannabis:

Many healthcare providers can agree that cannabis can alleviate some symptoms associated with cancer, like pain and nausea, as well as the side effects associated with the various kinds of cancer treatments available. But there is no conclusive evidence that it targets any one of the thousands of different and unique types of cancer systemic to the human population. Cancer isn’t just a simple disease: it has multiple causes and multiple ways of causing death and bodily harm. The drugs that can treat these various cancers can be extremely diverse, and one drug that will work with one particular type of cancer won’t work with another. In addition to the many varieties of cancers, each person has unique genetic characteristics which must be taken into account when designing a treatment plan.

The study people like to cite is this one:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171598/

When you look at the actual facts, cannabis isn’t a miracle cure. The conclusion in the paper states that the  study was inconclusive and needed more research. The paper makes no mention of cancer cell destruction, either. It does talk about slowing down metastasizing factors, but not actually killing cancer cells themselves. It even acknowledged that in some cases cannaboids enhanced tumor growth:
“Furthermore, endocannabinoids- AEA and 2-AG are broken down into secondary metabolites like prostaglandin (PGE2) and epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (EE) which enhance tumor growth and metastasis in diverse cancer types.”

Even if it was shown to have an effect on receptor sites or outright kills pancreatic cancer cells for example, without damaging the surrounding tissue, that’s still just 1 cancer out of many other varieties with multiple variables. With that being said another study even showed that cannabinoids actually had carcinogenic factors that increased the risk of pancreatic as well as other cancers for that matter:

http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/64/6/1943.short

“In contrast, Grand and Gandhi recently presented a case study of acute pancreatitis induced by cannabis smoking, indicating that cannabinoids may be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.”


Above are test results that presents a potential link to cancer from cannabinoids. See the above citation for further information.                                 

Thinking a plant or a single chemical can cure cancer is ridiculous and shows a fundamental lack in understanding medical science. Cannabis has become the new herbalism that quacks and charlatans are using pushing without any evidence to back up their claims.

So in, conclusion, there are specific cancers that cannabinoids may have an effect on reducing metastasis in cancer cells but in others it enhances tumor growth. The current state of the research does not support cannabis as a miracle cancer cure, or even a particularly effective cancer treatment.

A typical method utilized by alternative medicine and quacks are using the plea to emotion to bolster their position rather than using empirical evidence.

Can’t we just agree that it’s simply fun to enjoy without all the nonsense attached to it?

A Beginner’s Guide to David Avocado Wolfe

https://www.facebook.com/SkridjetPersonal/videos/1347400945289579/

 

I put this video together because I don’t think enough people truly understand who and what David Avocado Wolfe is. He has somehow amassed over 7,000,000 Facebook followers, and I’m sure many of those followers aren’t aware that they’re essentially supporting dangerous ideas that border lunacy. Some may argue that he’s just a guy who has strange beliefs and we should leave him alone, but the ideas he pushes become hazardous and have real-world consequences when he starts giving ‘medical advice’ to people who are suffering from diseases that require real medical treatment.

Daniel Bennett of AAPN has also written a great article that completely dismantles David’s claims on salt.

#DontCryWolfe

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Here is a great explanation on the David Avocado Wolfe phenomenon.

Here is another great article on David Wolfe.

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Video clips taken from:

JonasSunshine

Chris Rathouz

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Music: CFCF – Oil

Logic, And Why God Isn’t The Answer

Originally published by our friends at www.answers-in-reason.com Jan 10 2016

I have come across many different types of believers in my time. Those that believe because of Indoctrination, those that believe because of fear, those that believe because of personal experiences, and many more. But the one thing that I struggle with understanding more than any other are those that believe that God is the logical conclusion, otherwise intelligent people who genuinely believe that a belief in the supernatural god is logically sound.

I have to assume that this is because of a misunderstanding of logic itself. Just because you have intellectually justified something, does NOT mean that it was done so through logic.

To demonstrate this, I will guide you through the three different types of logic first, and then explain why God cannot be the conclusion for them.

Deductive:

Deductive Logic is the most accurate way of finding a definitive answer. It is looking at a complete set of information that unquestionably points to a specific answer.

For Example: I have left a chocolate cake alone in a room with my son. I have locked the door when I left, and there are no windows in the room. When I return, the cake is gone, the room is clean, my son has chocolate crumbs around his mouth, and a stomach ache from a sugar crash.

In this example there is enough evidence to point to only one answer. My son has definitely eaten the cake.

Inductive:

Inductive Logic is a good way of predicting results, but is not definitely right. It is looking at an incomplete set of information, but that is enough to indicate a pattern from which we can estimate other results.

For Example: I have repeated the example from the Deductive Logic section several times, and the result has always been the same. I repeat the actions again. I leave my son locked in a room with a chocolate cake. As I approach the door I can hear him moaning in pain on the other side.

In this example it is entirely reasonable for me to induce that my son has eaten the cake again. But the important difference is that I don’t actually know. He may have fallen over, or had a sudden onset of Appendicitis.

Abductive:

Abductive logic is another way of figuring out what is likely, but not necessarily true. It is making an observation, and working out the simplest answer to fit.

For Example: Similarly to the original example, I have left a cake in a room, but this time I have left the door unlocked. When I return i see my son hurrying away from the door, and find that the cake is gone.

In this example the simplest solution is that my son has eaten the cake, and hurried away so as to not get caught. But there is no way of proving this with the information that is available at the time.

And now why God cannot be the reasonable conclusion for any of these.

Deductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Deductive Logic, we would have to have an amount of evidence that CANNOT be attributed to anything else. The evidence would have to point to God as the ONLY possible solution.

Inductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Inductive Logic, we would have to have empirical evidence of the supernatural. For a supernatural entity to be the conclusion through Inductive Logic, there has to be proof of enough supernatural happenings or entities to indicate a pattern.

Abductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Abductive Logic, it would have to answer more questions than it raises. Where this may have been the case in the past, in times when science hadn’t answered so many of the fundamental questions that we have, it is certainly not the case anymore.

Conclusion:

You may be able to find a way, as a Theist, to intellectually justify your belief in God. But PLEASE stop saying it is logical. It isn’t. You are doing a disservice to logic, and you are doing harm to your own intelligence in the eyes of people who know how logic works.

Kriss Pyke

Using Genetics to Disprove Biblical Stories

In genetics we can look at genetic diversity in everyone and everything and find common genetic traits which would indicate a significant reduction in a given population. This is done by finding and identifying genetic traits that only a small breeding population would have in common and would be subsequently carried down through subsequent generations. If the story of Genesis and Noah were true, we would see genetic bottlenecks showing a breeding population of a very limited number and we would be able to identify roughly when it happened; but this is not the case at all.

wrong

If you don’t know what a genetic bottleneck is, it is a sharp reduction in the size of a population due to environmental events (such as earthquakes, floods, fires, disease, or droughts) or human activities (such as genocide). Such events can reduce the variation in the gene pool of a population; thereafter, a smaller population with a correspondingly smaller genetic diversity, remains to pass on genes to future generations of offspring through sexual reproduction. Genetic diversity remains lower, only slowly increasing with time as random mutations occur. In consequence of such population size reductions and the loss of genetic variation, the robustness of the population is reduced and its ability to survive environmental changes can be reduced.

Our last genetic bottle neck is estimated to have occurred over 100,000 years ago and even then there were still thousands of genetic variances belonging to a few thousand individual ancestors.  In 2000, a Molecular Biology and Evolution paper suggested a transplanting model or a ‘long bottleneck’ to account for the limited genetic variation, rather than a catastrophic environmental change. This would be consistent with suggestions that in sub-Saharan Africa numbers could have dropped at times as low as 2,000, for perhaps as long as 100,000 years, before numbers began to expand again in the late stone age.

worldpopulat

 Now with that being said, we would see this same genetic bottleneck in every animal on earth happening at the exact same times if the bible was accurate, and yet there is zero evidence to support these ridiculous conclusion. What is so frustrating to scientists is that creationists think that the only evidence for evolution is fossils and educated conclusions. This is entirely incorrect since evolution is also written in your genes and thus not only debunks the story of Noah, but the Genesis story as well. This is yet another reason why we know evolution is a fact and that the bible is not factual by any scientific standard.

-AAPN

References:

http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/human-diversity-bottlenecks.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_bottleneck

Hawks J, Hunley K, Lee SH, Wolpoff M (January 2000). “Population bottlenecks and Pleistocene human evolution”. Molecular Biology and Evolution 17 (1): 2–22. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026233. PMID 10666702.

The Ancient Aliens’ Atrocity

The ‘Ancient Aliens’ Atrocity

This post was originally published on Mar 19 2015 here

Today Atheists Against Pseudoscientific Nonsense takes its proverbial baseball bat to the skull that is the intellectual clusterfuck known as the ‘Ancient Aliens.’

Before treading any further down this alley, we would like to take a moment to make something clear. It is quite commonly acknowledged by many that given what we know of the mechanisms of life – its prerequisites, emergence and gradual evolution -, it is more than reasonable to assume that some forms of life can be found elsewhere in this wondrous galaxy of ours. As a group that is sincerely dedicated to the promotion of rationality, skepticism and informed thinking rooted in hard science, it is our firm conviction that these principles must be applied to the pursuit of the knowledge of whether or not we are alone in the universe. That being said, when it comes to tackling profound questions like this, there is a right approach and there’s a wrong approach. ‘Ancient Aliens’ doesn’t only sit firmly on the ‘Wrong’ side of the line – it’s so far on that side it almost disappears behind the horizon.

Skipping over the broader and clearly more fruitful debate on the possibility of extraterrestrials existing, we can turn our attention on what makes ‘Ancient Aliens’ such an atrocity. We could, of course, bombard it with the same accusations we have leveled against other brands of pseudoscience we’ve covered so far but it would be an exercise in repetition. Ultimately, the greatest sin of the Ancient Aliens Theory is that is the proverbial ‘other side of the coin’, the first side being creationism. At first glance, these two may not seem related but they are, in fact, shockingly similar.

Both muddy up the waters of any meaningful discourse on how to better understand our past and origin by presenting questionable, poorly construed, wildly speculative, insufficient and – at the very best – biased ‘evidence’; both shamelessly promote and glorify their application of demonstrably false claims, logical fallacies and non sequiturs as a sign of enlightened, independent thinking and love to portray themselves as the victims of the exclusion and persecution by “elitist” academic establishment; and both rely on sensationalist, populist and emotionally evocative arguments to win approval. Most crucially, however, they both promote intellectual and scientific laziness by playing the Argument From Ignorance and God of the Gaps argument – creationism literally so; the AA advocates substitute ‘aliens.’

The fact that ‘Ancient Aliens’ is into its seventh season with some 1.5 MILLION regular viewers – despite the avalanche of negative reviews from critics and the scientific community – is a clear sign of a major intellectual bankruptcy in our society.

AnAL

  • Corax

 

When woo memes get DANGEROUS and DEADLY!

When woo memes get DANGEROUS and DEADLY!

woo memes

Woo memes like this need to be pointed out as being dangerous nonsense, gullible people can actually die from bad advice such as this.

According to the World Health Organization:
Cardiovascular disease is number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke .Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries. Out of the 16 million deaths under the age of 70 due to noncommunicable diseases, 82% are in low and middle income countries and 37% are caused by CVDs. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies. People with cardiovascular disease or who are at high cardiovascular risk (due to the presence of one or more risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia or already established disease) need early detection and management using counselling and medicines, as appropriate.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

According to a large case study in the Journal of the American Collage of Cardiology on Short- and long-term mortality for patients undergoing primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack): .METHODS: New York’s coronary angioplasty registry was used to identify New York patients undergoing angioplasty within 6 h of AMI between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 1996. Statistical models were used to identify significant risk factors for in-patient and long-term survival and to estimate long-term survival for all patients as well as various subsets of patients undergoing primary angioplasty. RESULTS: The in-hospital mortality rate for all primary angioplasty patients was 5.81%. When patients in preprocedural shock (who had a mortality rate of 45%) were excluded, the in-hospital mortality rate dropped to 2.60%. Mortality rates for all primary angioplasty patients at one year, two years and three years were 9.3%, 11.3% and 12.6%, respectively. Patients treated with stent placement did not have significantly lower risk-adjusted in-patient or two-year mortality rates. CONCLUSIONS: Primary angioplasty is a highly effective option for AMI.
http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1126729

Five years after the procedures, 90.7% of the bypass patients and 89.7% of the angioplasty patients were still alive -source Web MD
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20071015/bypass-angioplasty-similar-survival

It is absolutely imperative that woo like this is pointed out as the dangerous nonsense that it is.

Child Abuse Through Pseudoscience

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Jim Hubble has to be one of the worst alternative medicine wackloones/ quacks out there. His solution he has come up with is comparable to industrial bleach,
http://miraclemineral.org/ roughly 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. MMS is falsely promoted as a cure for HIV, hepatitis viruses, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, autism, acne, cancer, and much more. There have been no clinical trials to test these claims, which come only from anecdotal reports and Humble’s book.

Sodium chlorite, the main constituent of MMS, is a toxic chemical that can cause acute renal failure if ingested.
Small amounts of about 1 gram can be expected to cause nausea, vomiting and even life-threatening hemolysis in persons who are deficient in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. When citric acid or other food acid is used to “activate” MMS as described in its instructions, the mixture produces an aqueous solution containing chlorine dioxide, a toxin and a potent oxidizing agent used in the treatment of water and in bleaching. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum level of 0.8 mg/L for chlorine dioxide in drinking water.

Horrible testimonials like:

Mms Helped Autistic Son
Nil from Potomac, Maryland, United States: “Hello, my autistic son dropped his ATEC scores from more than a 100 to 3 in less than a year using MMS. Autism/ASD recovery is possible at any age, my son is almost 16. It is never too late.
Free ATEC score at: autism.com and MMS Protocol info at: mmsAutism.com

Chilling stories of gullible people who are using alternative treatments that are inherently very dangerous to people. There have been suits against this product but people still continue be be duped into this kind of extreme quackery. Children are suffering unnecessarily at the hands of this extreme form of unfounded pseudoscience. –AAPN, best wishes.

The case against creationists and religious fundamentalism

case against creationists
Religious fundamentalists really do have a habit of wearing down on those of us in the scientific community. They tend to say something nonsensical and disingenuous, then when people point it out they either don’t respond or when they do, it’s often always the same rhetoric some other fool quoted, just in a different religious context. The typical quote: “I have proof of God and (insert religious passage) and you need to believe because of some outlandish or obscure claim, then insert a logical fallacy or Pascal’s wager, or even better talk about some anecdotal nonsense. Then they claim that because they ‘feel’ something which they interpret as the presence of a god is evidence enough and that we are damned to some ill fate for not believing.” -end typical quote. We’ve all seen it, it’s the same argument every time, just a different religion or slightly adjusted for the circumstances. And they all claim they have all the answers and the rest are wrong.   Continue reading The case against creationists and religious fundamentalism