Dan’s Rant on Fad Dieting

There’s a woman here that is one of our clients that happens to be a vegan…how do I know she’s a vegan? She won’t stop fucking talking about it and it’s purported moral and health benefits.

It pains me to hear nonsensical ideology and woo presented as facts from what’s really just a lifestyle choice (and more power to you if it makes you happy). We get it, you’re a vegan and a business woman who’s income allows you to eat fad food and enjoy an eccentric diet that gives you a smug sense of self- gratification and moral superiority in your quest for who’s the healthiest person in the room. In all honesty, I see it as a form of middle aged image insecurity.

Guess what, your genetics already has your count down timer set and there’s only so much you can do to extend it, “welcome to the lottery.” So while you stuff you face with chickpeas, kale chips, gluten free bread, and wash it down with fluoride free alkaline water from Japan; I’m going to enjoy my burger and fries, with a coke because guess what lady, you only live once; enjoy it and for fucks sakes smell the flowers every once in a while. You’ll be happier and who knows, you might even live a little longer in doing so.

The problem with E.T.

It’s statistically possible (and likely even in our own solar system) for there to be life on other planets, even intelligent life for that matter. But because our universe is so vast, the likelihood of our species making any contact with another intelligent alien species is extremely remote… I’m just being realistic.

The next closest star Alpha Centauri takes 4 years for its light to reach us, this would make space travel very difficult for the long distances it would take to make physical contact. And even if they had the technology to visit, what would compel such a highly advanced alien race to seek us out?

Here’s the problem with our simplistic view on aliens in the universe. Typically pop culture displays them as being only about a few hundred years more advanced than we are. The reality is the universe is vastly old, 13.4 billion years and counting. It would not be entirely improbable that a potential visiting alien species would be millions of years more advanced than us.

A species that was theoretically 5 million years more advanced than us would be unfathomably ahead in technology and we wouldn’t even comprehend the advancements that they were making. There would be technology we would have no idea would be even possible. As for those ancient aliens conspiracy theories, it is laugh worthy to think that a highly advanced alien species would visit this planet and not leave a massive technological imprint on our species in the process; that is if they did decide to help us out.

It’s safe to assume that any reasonable person has at one time or another gazed up at the night sky and dreamed of what or  who was out there just waiting to be discovered. Afterall, it would be fantastic to finally answer the question “are we alone in the universe?” Optimistically most likely we aren’t, but chances are we will never meet. Even if they did visit us, would we even know it or be worth their time?

AAPN on Chiropractic

“Chiropractic is a freak offshoot from osteopathy. Disease, say the chiropractors, is due to pressure on the spinal nerves; ergo it can be cured by “adjusting” the spinal column. It is the sheerest quackery, and those who profess to teach it make their appeal to the cupidity of the ignorant. Its practice is in no sense a profession but a trade – and a trade that is potent for great harm. It is carried on almost exclusively by those of no education, ignorant of anatomy, ignorant even of the fundamental sciences on which the treatment of disease depends.”
Journal of the American Medical Association, 1913

Chiropractic is considered to be one of the most accepted forms of quackery practiced in alternative medicine and, unfortunately, ACTUAL medicine as well. It is responsible for major injuries like arterial tearing/strokes, major nerve damage, fractures, infections due to poor sanitation practices, haphazard and poor regulatory practices, poor or incorrect medical advice, and every year is associated with preventable death and serious bodily harm.

The history of chiropractic began in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer of Iowa performed an apparent neck adjustment on a partially deaf janitor, Harvey Lillard. Mr. Palmer claimed that this subtle neck adjustment completely restored Mr. Lillard’s hearing; although this makes absolutely zero anatomical sense as the nerves for your hearing do not intersect your neck. This experience led Palmer to open a school of chiropractic two years later. Rev. Samel Weed later coined the word “chiropractic” from Greek roots.

Similar to the idea of chi practice where they believe in energy flow disruptions causing the root of all illness, “vertebral subluxation” is the misalignment of the spinal column which leads to body dysfunction, disease, and interferes with the bodies “innate intelligence”. Granted many chiropractic care providers choose to ignore the origins and bases for chiropractic, the problem is there are major inconsistencies with care provided by Chiropractic clinicians.

Chiropractors are not medical doctors or medical professionals and have a very short schooling period that varies from school to school depending on that particular institution’s ideology and curricula. A United States Department of Education staff analysis found that the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) was not in compliance with 44 of the criteria for accrediting agencies outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations. This included failure to comply with regulations governing conflicts of interest, record keeping, processing of student complaints and the adequacy of its site review of accredited chiropractic colleges. The schooling they do receive has shown to be suspect and contrary to accepted scientific facts and evidence. A survey of a 1999–2000 cross-section of students of CMCC reported that fourth-year students opposed vaccination more strongly than first-year’s, with 29.4% of fourth-year’s opposing vaccination. So when it comes to being a “healthcare provider” this is extremely contradictory and dangerous.

Chiropractic Care and Placebo have historically scored about the exact same but there has been an egregious lack in clinical trials and studies. The research on chiropractic has been far from rigorous unsurprisingly. One of the problems is that studies of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) can’t be double blinded, and it is very difficult to even do single blinding. So most studies resort to non-manipulation control groups like “usual care” or “wait list” or “pain medication.” Those studies are practically guaranteed to lead to false positive conclusions: they make SMT look more effective than it would look if you could provide a control that patients couldn’t distinguish from real SMT. This has been one of the ways Chiropractic has been able to get away with their claims consistently without having to provide burden of proof and efficacy. Chiropractic usually goes hand-in-hand with naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism, holistic care, and other unfounded alternative medicine practices.
Therefore Chiropractic is not a recognized form of Medical Science and is not based upon empirical evidence but on anecdotal testimony.

One of the best ways to see this is by using what is known as Hill’s criteria. Sir Austin Bradford Hill established contemporary epidemiology as strength (strength of association), consistency, specificity, temporality (temporal sequence), dose response, experi-
mental evidence, biological plausibility, coherence, and
analogy. They form the fundamental prerequisites and assessment criteria of the cause-effect relationship. In reguards to Chiropratic, Hill’s criteria are the most commonly used epidemiologic model for suggesting a causal link for any diagnostic or treatment approach. There is a significant lack of evidence in the literature to fulfill Hill’s criteria of causation with regards to the chiropractic subluxation. No supportive evidence is found for the chiropractic subluxation being associated with any disease process or of creating suboptimal health conditions requiring intervention. Regardless of popular appeal this leaves the subluxation construct in the realm of unsupported speculation. This lack of supportive evidence suggests the subluxation construct has no valid clinical applicability.

Sources:

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/chirostroke.html

Coroner’s Jury Concludes That Neck Manipulation Killed Canadian Woman.

Did chiropractic neck manipulation kill Katie May?

http://www.chirobase.org/15News/lewis.html

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X08009511?via%3Dihub

Dept. of Education to Council on Chiropractic Education: “Straighten Up!”

An epidemiological examination of the subluxation construct using Hill’s criteria of causation, 2009

https://chiromt.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1746-1340-17-13?site=chiromt.biomedcentral.com

A Credible Placebo Control for Chiropractic Research

Atheist in Wonderland

At some point or another many on-line atheists are drawn towards an enticing rabbit hole. A singularity of rabbit holes among the broad array of rabbit holes to be found in the bazaars of bad sectors and binary bullshit the the Internet has to offer. Shock and horror awaits, lurking in dark dot coms and netherworld news feeds. Snatched up by a search engine from the gallows of Google, it forms, sucking you in like the brutal after effects of a supermarket shootout, you cant look away, you can’t escape.

“Hey atheists, if evolution is real…”

And so it begins. Your body and mind stretch as things become blurred and time becomes meaningless, as you’re drawn into the black hole of intrigue, lies, betrayal, and conspiracy. As the gravitational pull stretches your mind to the limit, even the simple becomes complex.

“Evolution is a proven scientific fact!”

Logical laws collapse in the infinity of fallacy which has led you thus far. You passionately defend all you know about science and evolution in the face of conspiracy theories, equivocation and talking animals.

Image Source

Meanwhile, your opponent wasn’t talking about evolution. Also lost in the infinite singularity was that the question is irrelevant. An even more distant issue from your mind is that the pseudoscience involved has little to do with biology.

Lets face it, many times we find ourselves defending evolution, the issue is the origin of life and the argument a statistical one, not a biological one. Given the reams and reams of crap out there about evolution, you’ll probably be shocked that an article on a page opposing pseudoscience would say what I’m about to say. I really don’t think there is much reason to bother with defending evolution against deniers, because the problem is normally not evolution, the origin of life, or any other scientific issue. The problem is that there exist beliefs which are held as irrefutable by many, and which are in direct opposition to certain biological and cosmological tenets of modern science.

“Surely this is a good reason to debate them?” You may well ask. No, because the dogma is too strong. To borrow from (ironically) a Biblical parable, seeds that are sown in hard ground don’t grow. Although I’m a big fan of “Thank You For Smoking” and the debate lessons it gives (the crucial acknowledgement of the audience in the ice cream debate), I feel more can be achieved even among debate audiences, if a different approach were considered.

This is a site focused on science and empirically observable phenomena, but I think certain things need to be covered before empiricism takes hold of us. What is the logical reasoning being applied? For example, we will assume the origin of life is in question and the argument is “what are the chances of life randomly forming without being directed by an intentional force?”

  • The origin of life is the question, evolution is what happens to life that has formed. Don’t defend evolution, you’re defending the wrong thing.
  • The question isn’t about biological research into the origin of life, it is about the statistical probabilities of random events leading to a particular event assuming all possible events share equal probability. Don’t defend biology, this isn’t the field for which a pseudoscience is being built.

Having established this, it is easier to proceed:

  • How do we know all the random events have equal probability?
  • How do we know the events are random, and that due to the ways particles interact, some are simply not going to happen given the environment available?
  • How do we know that this isn’t the only possible outcome and isn’t random at all?
  • At what point mathematically is an event considered impossible?

Unfortunately n=1. There is only one universe that we have observed, so we only have empirical evidence that one like this can exist, all the other possibilities are merely hypothetical.

It is also true that the origin of life wasn’t observed, and that this is equally problematic for biologists and theologians. It is easy for believers to claim that they don’t accept a natural origin of life because it has never been observed. This is ironically an “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” argument. Aside from this, it would be entirely rational and intellectually consistent to then conclude that one must also reject the idea of a divine origin for life, as it has also never been observed. While possibilities abound on this matter, the honest answer is, “I don’t know”.

At this point, one may say that the response to the above is usually an appeal to ignorance, “that we don’t know, is proof that ancient people with livestock did know.” So what? Point it out and read on for more.

The entire premise hinged on a false alternative. Simply broken down, it either happened completely randomly, or gods did it. This cannot eliminate other possibilities (some I alluded to earlier). Perhaps this is merely a simulated reality designed for us. We can’t prove this, but we can’t rule it out, and thus saying it must be a god or random process is fallacious. But either or arguments need to be exhaustive, life was made by god/s, or it wasn’t; it is random, or it isn’t and so on. The argument here would require a kind of omniscient awareness of every possibility available and what rules them all out. This is the reason why any theological debate about evolution is fallacious. even if the subject were evolution, this response is still the most valid, and simplest, and doesn’t land on the hard ground of evolution. Formal logic isn’t as easy to deny, as we all make basic day-to-day assumptions based on it. but the rational response if the subject is evolution is revealing this fallacy.

If we answer the final question in the list, then we have a simple answer. According to most modern stats textbooks, impossible events have a probability of zero, but the converse is not the case. Mathematical reasoning can assign a zero probability to a possible event. This would normally involve an infinite countable set, like the rational numbers between 1 and 2, and an equal assignment of probability to each member of the set randomly being called. The thing is, the origin of life is not an infinite countable set, but a finite countable set, and thus will produce a positive probability, although miserably small. The event is possible.

Another issue is that while origins of life are improbable unusual events, by gods or nature, they are not less likely than any other of the possible events, given complete randomness. Something had to happen with reacting chemicals, and all the possibility had equal probabilities, then a low probability outcome is the expected result. Therefore, we have an event with an expected probability. Given that origin of life was a random event, the mathematical probability is what we would expect it to be.

I’m going to wrap this up. Perhaps you think I should offer more. I haven’t won, I have proved nothing, I have merely provided some possibilities, and pointed out that the stats aren’t unexpected, given the information they provided. I also mentioned the false alternative, and how the question doesn’t bear much relevance to being and atheist, or that it is very helpful in providing a good reason to believe in god. I have merely planted some seeds in the softer soil beneath the hardened surface of the anti evolution movement.

Image source

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?

From Superstition to Reason: Journeys to Humanism/Atheism by HAPI

 

 

At long last, the very first secular book has come out from the printing press in Manila, Philippines. Soft launching is today, Good Friday for the Roman Catholics all over the world, a symbol of death for them, while it is a symbol of  love and education for us in HAPI (Humanist Alliance Philippines, International).

This book took about 6 years to make, with bittersweet memories, headaches and sleepless nights. We are lucky to have found a better personnel this time in HAPI, who made this book a reality. A long and grueling collaborative effort, with down to earth leadership, we finally did it.

With over 70 different journeys, from tearjerker to something serious and noble : from being religious to agnosticism and finally atheism,  and to make it better, we call it  humanism, as an act of love to our fellowmen in the Philippines.

It is only available via HAPI based in the Philippines for now,  at PHP 300 equivalent to $ 6 USD.

The profits,  if any,  will be utilized to buy more prints of this book to be donated to local libraries of schools and universities.

Education is our route in combating religiosity in the Philippines and for exponential growth.

My legacy will continue, I can die anytime.

I am not afraid.

By:

Marissa Torres Langseth, RN, MSN, ANP, Retired

Chairwoman Emeritus

HAPI Founder

 

https://hapihumanist.org/events/catch-em-young-exponential-growth-vision/

Mob behavior and the feeling of being right

People don’t want to understand, people want to feel they are right.

herdMentality

Disagreeing online has become a dangerous thing to do, the internalization of beliefs and the fanatization of those who hold said beliefs puts an end to rationality and opens the door for visceral discussions.

“Attacking my beliefs is attacking me, as I am what I think”

When a person disagrees with the notion a group holds dear, the usual reaction includes personal disqualifications, personal attacks, public mocking and exposure of personal information to shame that who dared to have a different opinion.

This happens because when a person feels the support of a group in which he or she is part of the majority, what the majority believes is taken as the truth.
If you were to go to an online group or forum dedicated to a certain topic, whether it is politics, conspiracy ideas, social movements, even fan clubs, and said “I’m not X”, sooner or later the conversation would devolve into an insult fest, in the case that the post is not deleted from the site and the user banned before the mob notices the one that is different.

I’d like to attach this behavior to those who I disagree with, but I’ve seen this kind of irrational and tribalistic behavior occurring within certain circles I’m part of, ending up forming eco-chambers where differing opinions and cognitive growth go to die.

“Understanding why the other person thinks he is right is more important than being right oneself”

Maslow constructed his model based on how people behave and what they need to do in order to achieve self-realization, forming part of a group and feeling one belongs is one of the most important factors in the process of achieving self-realization.
I’m mentioning this part because peer-pressure and the desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves is usually the reason why we, as humans, tend to behave in certain waves that include attacking those who are different, those who disagree, those who don’t have opinions and beliefs like ours.

Are we really far from our cousins the chimps or are we still following our instincts in order to survive while we keep self deluding ourselves into thinking we are “the rational ones”?

groupsInternet

How I became an Atheist in Pakistan

Pakistani Muslim students attend a religious madrassa, or school, to learn the Quran, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Religious schools in Pakistan, most of them in mosques, are the only source of education for thousands of children. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore at dusk.

 

This story is being posted on behalf of a member of the AAPN community. Our friend Adeel.

I am no different from anyone around me. Being born in a Muslim family I was no different from every other Muslim baby. When I was born my parents felt that I was blessing of Allah forgetting that in fact it was completely their effort. The first words I ever heard were “Azzan”, which is said in my right ear and ” Aqamat” which was said in my left. Being the first boy of the family I got a lot of love and attention from my family. This included religious indoctrination. While growing up the first word I learned was “Allah”. Muslim parents love to hear “Allah” as the first word from their baby’s mouth. When I learned to speak, the first class I had was about the Koran. I was like every other kid, waking at 5:30 AM in the morning to go to the nearby “Madrassa” (Islamic School) before going to primary school. Even primary school stressed religious instruction.

The girls, 5 to 5 years old, were supposed to wear “hijab” as part of their training. I was taught to pray when I was 7. We learned the prayers through nursery rhymes. We also attended a mandatory class called Islamic Studies. This was where we were brained-washed with Islamic stories and so-called Islamic values. We were not to question our religion nor its concept of a God. As I was to find out, there is no space for question in religion. Like every other Muslim child I was indoctrinated with their concept of heaven, about how beautiful it is and about the many beautiful women I would get if I lived my life acting on the rules of Islam. Like every other kid I was told that only Muslims are going to heaven because God loves only Muslims and he created heaven only for Muslims. Like everyone else I was told to hate other religions. I was to feel proud for being a Muslim. I was told how important it is for girls to wear hijab so that no man can see them. I was conditioned so well to accept this that I started to force the women and girls in my family to wear the hijab. As a teenager I joined Islamic groups who travel from city to city to invite people to Islam. I grew the beard and I was happy that I was born a Muslim; imagining myself going to heaven and getting 72 virgins gave me great motivation to become even more devoted to my religion.

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul…Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN – Tags: RELIGION)

This was all to change. It shocked me when I started to study other religions and I realized that every religion has the concept of heaven and hell, and every religion promises its followers to let them enter into heaven. I read that every religion tells its followers to hate other religions and that followers of every other religion are going to hell. This opened my eyes and really made me question my own beloved Islam. I began to see how all the Islamic sects spread hate against the other sects. The more I read the more the more I started to hate my own religion, to hate any religion. I tired of it all, though I didn’t lose my faith in God.

Then when I was 20 my grandfather had an attack of paralysis. I visited him in the hospital. That visit to the hospital was a game changer. I was walking through the childrens ward, thinking of my grandfather, when I heard some children crying in pain. This event really made me question my beliefs about God. I wondered how God could really exist if he could not help these children. After that visit I saw several accidents on the road. As I saw that they were all man-made accidents, it dawned on me that really God, too, is just a creation of man’s own mind. Later I began to see that this concept of a God is also something that is used to help rulers control the poor, for a few to exert power over the rest of mankind. I saw that religion is used to divide people and make them fight each other for personal gain and advantage.
So this is how I turned from being Suni Muslim to an atheist. I will never look back.

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The Illuminator Comic: Bob the believer!

I created this character called Bob the Believer (Believer Bob),  the quintessential religious, Bible thumping, fundamentalist  whack job.
Believer Bob tries unsuccessfully to stump Triangle Head every time.  You’ll notice that Bob totally rejects every scientific theory and favors Creationism at every turn. Cognitive Dissonance!
Enjoy! 🙂

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto

The Illuminator Comic: A few decision trees.

Here are a couple of decision tree strips I did.

 

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto