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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 29,329

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The Myth of the Altruistic Organic Industry


NO! REALLY! Basic Science Should Inform Clinical Science



At some point, however, there is a line below which you are no longer practicing SBM, but rather pseudoscience or witchcraft. Clear clinical evidence of lack of efficacy, or extreme scientific implausibility are below this line.

I can imagine, however, a scenario in which a treatment that seems highly implausible actually works by some unknown mechanism. In this case, however, the clinical evidence would have to be of such a nature that it offsets whatever basic science evidence says the treatment is implausible. The more implausible, the more rigorous the clinical evidence should be.

By contrast, CAM apologists want to promote treatments which are simultaneously highly implausible and not backed by rigorous clinical evidence. In fact they want to go out of their way to conduct only weak clinical studies that are of essentially no value in determining efficacy. Further they want to practice this type of unscientific medicine in a regulatory environment without a science-based standard of care.

Conducting clinical studies in this context is the very definition of a waste of resources. Even worse, such research is used to market unscientific treatments that most likely don’t work to a public which is likely to assume there are standards in place to protect them. An assumption which unfortunately is increasingly wrong.



How does a community allow CAM "therapies" to proliferate without dissension?

I live in Portland, Oregon, where it's rather unusual to point out the reality of the science of CAM "therapies." Still, even here, the majority know that they are not valid. However, silence hurts those who get sucked in to such scams.

I can't tell you how much suffering I have seen because of the scams pushed by Naturopaths, Acupuncturists, etc... and I can't tell how hard I've had to work to soothe the guilt of parents who fell for their scams once their kids received genuine treatment and made progress.

That's not to say that "science based medicine" has it all figured out. However, I will never lie to a family about a treatment's plausibility, and possibilities. The same cannot be said of the your typical scam provider.

It's time to stand up against health care scams!

"Only Organic" Promotes Chemophobia in #NewMacDonald Delusional Utopia, Throws Failed Twitter Party



Indeed, the New MacDonald vision is so extreme, and paints such a false dichotomy, even organic farmers took offense. My regular readers will know that I am staunchly pro-biotech, and have chosen to boycott the organic industry. This type of proselytizing has served to reinforce my position that the organic industry has no redeeming qualities in its current state. I stand by my stance that organic agriculture, especially if used exclusively, will fail to feed the world’s growing population and will squander the earth’s resources.


This is one of those "you have to see it to, uh, 'see it' pieces."

Seriously, it does the job in bringing to light the ridiculousness of the "organic," anti-GMO goofiness that is promoted so vehemently by some.

Cheers to all!

Shiva: "Screw All Ya'll Florida Farmers!"


Kevin Folta covers another chapter in Shiva's voluminous BS attacks on science and actual farmers.

Authenticity, Anti-Science/Evidence, And The Rise Of Neoprimitivism



From the paleo diet to the “ancestral health” craze to the criminals leading the anti-vaccine movement, we live in neoprimitivist times, in precisely the manner sketched by William Gibson. A disturbingly large segment of society has adopted a highly skeptical and antagonistic relationship to the main tributaries of modernity. But as in (Gibson's book) The Peripheral, these people are not opting out of modernity, going off the grid or deciding to live in caves. Instead, they are volunteering for “another manifestation” of modernity, living in the modern world, without being entirely of it, or even understanding it.


As recently as a decade and a half ago, organic food was the almost exclusive bastion of earnest former hippies and young nature lovers — the sort of people who like to make their own granola, don’t like to shave, and use rock crystals as a natural deodorant. But by the turn of the millennium, organic was making inroads into more mainstream precincts, driven by an increasing concern over globalization, the health effects of pesticide use, and the environmental impact of industrial farming. The shift to organic seemed the perfect alignment of private and public benefit.

It also became an essential element of any “authentic” lifestyle. Yet as it became more popular, the rumblings of discontent within the organic movement became harder to ignore. What was once a niche market had become mainstream, and with massification came the need for large-scale forms of production that, in many ways, are indistinguishable from the industrial farming techniques that organic was supposed to replace. Once Walmart started selling organic food, the terms of what counts as authentic shifted from a choice between organic and conventional food to a dispute between supporters of the organic movement and those who advocate a far more restrictive standard for authenticity, namely, locally grown food.


The growing resistance to agricultural breakthroughs and long-standing public health initiatives takes place not despite a scientific consensus that they are safe, but in many cases because of those assurances. We have become techno-mysterians, living in a world we don’t understand. We happily play with our smartphones all day, and spend all night worrying that they are giving off rays that are causing depression.


The four paragraphs don't do a good job of showing the content of the piece. It really calls for a full read, and it's a thought provoking one, IMO. And now I have to get the book in question!

The Naturopathic Diaries: Confesssions of a Former Naturopath

She's posting some good pieces here, and she will have some guest work on Science Based Medicine!



Facebook Page:

Bringing light in the discussion about GMOs?


The guy was incredibly thorough with this post. It's a great place to start to dig in for anyone who hasn't done so yet.

Why Does The Media Have A Blindspot On Food Science? -- The Guardian

Recent claims about the safety of certain supermarket foods highlights the lack of awareness that the media has when it comes to food science. Robin Bisson takes a look

"Last week the news told us to be scared of our salad. The story came from food journalist Joanna Blythman, who had a lengthy feature article in the Guardian’s weekend magazine that took readers around a food manufacturers’ trade show, informing us of the unearthly sounding gunk lurking unseen, and sometimes not on the label, in our favourite convenience foods.

The article is peppered with unnatural sounding products: Glucono-Delta-Lactone, potato protein isolate, texturised soy protein, monosodium glutamate, phosphoric acid, acetone, L-cysteine, glutamate, carrageenan, acetylated distarch adipate, gelatine, lipases, proteases, permeates … The list goes on, and the yuck factor is definitively invoked – who wants their salads “sloshed” with chemicals or their meat “gassed”? But on closer inspection, it’s not too clear why we should be disgusted.

Many people equate “chemical” with “bad”, and “natural” with “good”. But as chemists are at pains to point out, natural things are made up of chemicals too and not all of them are good for you. Deadly nightshade anyone? Potatoes are in the nightshade family, and eating too many green potatoes might deliver you a toxic dose of solanine. Even the humble apple has a complex chemical makeup, including such exotic compounds as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. So while hijacking the professional language of chemists and food technologists may sound scary, it’s not enough to put me off my salad quite yet.

But Blythman is suggesting it is the chemicals added to foods that we should be concerned about. On the face of it, it seems reasonable to approach these additives with a raised eyebrow. And that’s exactly what food toxicologists do. They work out the lowest amount of a substance that can be eaten at which there is any negative biological effect, and then set thresholds around 100-fold lower for acceptable levels in food.



A very strong, enlightening piece on an issue that is becoming a very real problem, IMO. Please give the whole piece a read.

Thanks, and cheers!

Genera Database On Studies Re: GMOs.


AAAS Scientists: Consensus on GMO Safety Firmer Than For Human-Induced Climate Change


Also see:

Infographic: Climate change vs. GMOs: Comparing the independent global scientific consensus
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