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Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Yet another database (7067 hits)
By Ari Jokimäki Date 2010-02-18 05:59
I received an e-mail of this:

Dissidents' database. I'm there. Once again my homepage seems to be this forum. :)
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-18 09:20
This is doomed to be your home page forever :)

A bit of an odd list, that. You're on there, but you have no X under any keywords, and there's someone on there listed as "anti-UFO", which hardly seems a dissident position :)

What are you supposed to do with such a list?
By Ari Jokimäki Date 2010-02-19 06:12
I wondered about that too. I can understand the point in making a list of few people interested in the same thing than you, but what is the point of listing all the people who are against of something possibly science related? Perhaps these people are against of everything and are looking to see who agree with them at least on something. ;)
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-19 09:40
Ari said:

Perhaps these people are against of everything and are looking to see who agree with them at least on something. ;)

Maybe! I would expect more keywords, though. Perhaps they were just not quite good enough programmers to create an alternate science dating/friendship site? :)

*laugh* I must say that peoples' sanity and discourse are not particularly proportional to how many mainstream things they disbelieve, or believe alternatively.

"What, you just believe in a non-expanding universe? Well, I believe in that, Reiki, drawing out toxins through my feet, mind control drugs in vaccines, Sasquatch, UFOs, Reptilians, Atlantis, Thor, quantum healing and telekinesis!"

It made me cringe a fair bit when I saw Arp being a bit interested in Expanding Earth 'Theory', Hoyle and his constant influx of viruses from space, Van Flandern and his Cydonia.

Here was a fun little tidbit I ran across today... a lot of people try "Liver Cleanses" - it's epsom salts, lemon juice and olive oil, with a few variations on the theme.

What I didn't realize is that some people actually poo in a colander, rinse it and take pictures of what comes out. They believe it to be stones from the gallbladder, and the pictures are certainly impressive (do a Google Image search for "liver flush" if you don't know what's good for you :), but strangely, you can repeat this cleanse and, despite the fact that there should be a lot less next time around (after all, didn't you just flush 20 years of these gallstones out last time?), there are in many cases as many or more.

Someone figured out what was going on. These amazing "gallstones" are saponified (essentially the soap reaction) from the ingested olive oil, so the "liver flush" is causing the very same "gallstones" that it claims to be flushing. Oh boy!
By lyndonashmore Date 2010-02-19 20:12
They may have sorted it out but try as I may even I am unable to convince my wife of this. She will not have it. The proof of the pudding in in the ??????
fasting /dieting is inbuilt in our history and people will go on believing.
How do we explain Lent?
Why do Muslims fast over the Holy month of Ramadan?
Why did/do catholics only eat fish on a friday?
people want to improve their lot in life.
If it gives them comfort, who are we to complain?
Be happy.
cheers, Lyndon
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-19 22:16
Lyndon said:

If it gives them comfort, who are we to complain?

Were it merely a fast, and advertised as such, I would have no problem with it. There are plenty of fasts about, religious and otherwise. As sacrifice, dietary aid or demonstration of raw willpower, by all means go ahead.

As it is, though, the liver cleanse comes with claims of being able to do something medical to your liver. Even if the FDA prevents such claims from being made on the packaging, the practitioners seem free of such restrictions. They post disgusting pictures of fleshy excised gallbladders filled to the brim with disgusting green stones to turn peoples' stomachs, and produce "stones" similar to the illustration so that the disgust turns to word-of-mouth worry or panic. "I didn't think I had gallstones, either, but oh my god it was disgusting. Trust me, you have to try it just once!" A few are claiming this gets rid of liver flukes, too. Look at these claims! Apart from this are untested claims of liver function improvement and what have you.

If the claim is that these "stones" come from the gallbladder, people will believe that they had horrible gallbladder problems, whether or not they do. That's pretty crappy. Ultrasound can pick up actual gallstones, and especially stateside do not requires a lot of certification to run, but people offering the cleanses do not run 'before' ultrasounds, never mind 'before and after', near as I've ever been able to tell. It's conjuring in the modern sense of the word.

If products are using basic chemistry to perform tricks to make people think they just avoided or recovered from an illness that they did not have, then we are in the right to complain.
By lyndonashmore Date 2010-02-20 18:47
According to (and i quote) Ann Helm of the Oregon Health Sciences University, between 35 and 45 of all medical prescriptions are placebos.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone (hopefully, it wont be a gall stone!!!!).

source; A Helm "Truth-Telling, Placebos and Deception" Aviation, Space and Medicine, January 1985, p69
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-20 19:44
Lyndon said:

According to (and i quote) Ann Helm of the Oregon Health Sciences University, between 35 and 45 of all medical prescriptions are placebos.

It looks like the original paper would be pretty interesting to look at, especially for the context of the quote. From the abstract:

Abstract said:

The issue of truth-telling is very complex. There is variance among patients in the amount of information they want to be told and variance among professionals in the amount of information they want to tell. Truth is conditioned by our knowledge limits and understanding. Technological advances in health care have made this arena even more complex. Placebos have been viewed traditionally as a kind of benign deception. Few studies have looked at treatments and tests as placebos. There are many myths associated with placebos and placebo therapy. There are five primary theories for withholding the truth or promoting deception with patients. Ethical and legal principles generally support veracity and the concept of a duty to tell the truth. One of the remaining issues is whether the placebo effect can be achieved without deception.

I would surmise from the context that there are people who either don't want to hear that the doctor can't find anything wrong with them, want something really definitive even if the diagnosis is tentative, or are just "sure" that they've got whatever's been "going around", and doctors on the other hand that do not want to appear unknowledgeable or are just flustered by patient insistence.

I'm pretty sure that the medicines actually have specific activities to them, but that many of the more "harmless" ones (e.g. if you do not have the issue, the side effects are minimal to nonexistent) are prescribed in a "take two of these a day for a week and see if it gets better" manner.

I would contrast this to the alt-med habit of ascribing treatments and substances specific curative powers for many syndromes, many curative powers of which have not been established, and some of which have been debunked in properly-designed trials.

Any regular MD even minimally worth their licence to practice would not treat actual gallstones so lightly or try to convince you that their pills had cured you of gallstones which you didn't know you had.

For minor anxieties, or to help people think they're "doing something" about anything from viruses that need to run their course to general malaise, go nuts on the placebos.

To convince people they had major health-threatening conditions which they have now been "cured" of is quite frankly a scam, regardless of whether people feel better on the treatment. Gallstones are no minor thing - the actual condition is horrible and excruciating. There are medical treatments to shrink the stones, but people who have had the condition say they would go for the surgery over waiting three weeks in excruciating pain.

Would it be okay to do the same thing to people and convince them that the green globules in their poo were cancer instead?

Does the fact that the "gallstones" never go away with repeated cleanses not set up a false dependency? "Oh god, I still have them! What's wrong with me??"

Such things weigh upon my mind of late because the wife of a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the woo people just started crawling out of the woodwork, including close relatives that were convinced of the "acidity is the cause of all disease" woo and others who regard all disease as karma. That sounds really quaint until someone has been sitting there wondering aloud what you must have done to deserve the disease. Not just "oh, you're so nice - this shouldn't happen to you", but "I wonder what you did".

People do "scam themselves" in all sorts of minor ways. I've got pretty limited tolerance for those making their money by lying to people.

*laugh* Sorry, Lyndon, I'll get off my soapbox now. I'm glad your wife enjoys the cleanses or at least feels proud for having worked through the yuckiness of imbibing them, but really, if she feels like she is constantly suffering from gall bladder disease or liver disease and is starting to panic or get desperate, please try to convince her otherwise.

Damn, how'd that soapbox get back under my feet again? :)
By lyndonashmore Date 2010-02-20 20:12
I have tried to convince her but to no avail!! Valia read this book in Russian language from a Russian source (INTERESTING TO SEE THE PUBLICATION DATES TO SEE WHO HAS PRIORITY- russia or the west)
BTW she has a degree in electrical engineering from one of the top russian universities and on things technical she is very good. But on health....
people will try.
but now it is lent. Fasting again.
Sorry about your friend with cancer, but if I had it I would try everything.

If we do not believe conformity and say that the universe is not expanding then why should we accept conformity in medicine?

Life is so fragile that we all want to keep it.

If we are to lose it then self survival will kick in and we/I would try everything.
Onsecond thoughts,  No I wouldn't, i would make the best of what I have left!!!
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-20 22:50
Lyndon said:

I have tried to convince her but to no avail!!

Convince her of what? Does she do the liver cleanses and exclaims how many gallstones she had?

If she's just fasting with Russian Tea instead, that's alright :)

There are some pretty odd medical beliefs common in Russia, too. Have you asked her about how high your body temperature should be before you're considered really sick, or how people would rub salt under their armpits to get out of school? :)

Lyndon said:

BTW she has a degree in electrical engineering from one of the top russian universities and on things technical she is very good. But on health....

As many skills as engineering requires, it's an applied science framework and doesn't seem to instill what is truly required of research science. I can understand that - I've seen the sort of coursework it entails, and it's an incredible amount of math, laws and if there is any labwork involved, it is to retread well-worn ground as an exercise.

Now, engineering doesn't necessarily instill its students with any particular vulnerability to woo, but for those who end up attracted to woo, it does seem to make them try to come up with explanations... but the explanations seem rather slippery instead of testable. I ran into a considerable number of engineers in my minor campaign to educate people about the baselessness of the newer Intelligent Design movement. Trying to pin them down on whatever would actually be diagnostic of their "life force" or whatever they happened to be proposing was nearly impossible, and moreover, for the hypotheses that science had more or less disproven, they seemed to believe they would have heard of it somehow, even though it was never in their subject area.

If I needed a cool device to test out the R-value of insulation, though, I'm pretty sure that I could totally have trusted them to it.

My own electrical engineering friend (who made one of the aforementioned contraptions :) is more of a proper skeptic on things alt-med :)

Lyndon said:

but now it is lent. Fasting again.

What did you give up for Lent?

Lyndon said:

Sorry about your friend with cancer, but if I had it I would try everything.

The problem is in what "everything" entails. People have had their bank accounts cleaned out making trips down to Mexico for alt-med treatments. Sometimes "trying everything" means "stopping chemotherapy" - which initially feels great, of course, because chemotherapy is of necessity a differential poison. Of course, their survival rate goes back down.

Suzanne Somers is one of those folks who tells people not to get chemotherapy. She got surgery, though, and a oncologist has pointed out that the stage of breast cancer she had was above 80% already for five-year survival - chemo adds a couple of percentage points, and that may be worth skipping for quality of life. This is certainly not the case for the likes of leukemia or any number of other cancers.

Some people add herbals to their chemotherapy... and then thank the herbals for their survival. That seems weird to me.

Lyndon said:

If we do not believe conformity and say that the universe is not expanding then why should we accept conformity in medicine?

That's actually not why I'm here. I'm not here because of mere or general anti-conformity. I'm here because the conformity in cosmology is too theory-based and axiom-based; it is not observation-based enough, at least not in the sort of sense that theories can get thrown out due to observation. It's the same thing that gets me about string theory.

Medical research, evolutionary biology and geology are actually scientifically observation-based; if you posit something, people can replicate it (or not!) and tackle thorny problems of mechanism from other angles. Psychology is more so now, but it wasn't - Freudian and Jungian psychology cannot survive the rigors of scientific study... and it wasn't really all that long ago that they were nearly the only games in town!

I really wouldn't mind alt-med so much if they would go through the rigors of scientific study themselves. Basically, they're positing the existence of magic (will-based and sympathetic) and toxins and seem content to rely on little more than anecdotes, and when they design experiments, they are often poorly shielded from bias, missing blinding, using self-reporting or not using proper controls. When the experiments they do have fail to reproduce their hypotheses, out come the streams of excuses, and the negative result is eventually forgotten.

They could have done the damned testing themselves on those "gallstones" and compared them to real ones, but they won't and/or don't.

Admittedly, it can take some imagination to put together the controls. The big acupuncture experiment from a few years back had "sham" acupuncture (felt like needles were going in, but they weren't) and regular acupuncture. The "sham" acupuncture beat the real one by a small margin. The non-acupuncture group did not do as well, but there was no controlling for placebo effect in that group. Needless to say, despite sham acupuncture working as well (better in this case, but the group size was small enough to allow for this amount of variation), alt-med practitioners considered it a success for acupuncture due to the non-sham non-real control group.


There's a good thread re: what people do in the face of cancer discussing dying of cancer with chemo versus dying "unaided". The comment section is the most interesting bit. For the significant number of cancers that do not let you go gently into that good night, chemo often does, despite its common reputation, allow much more for dying in dignity.

Anyhow, I love discussing this stuff, too.

Just to note: if medicine were doing now what cosmology was doing, I would be all over them, too.

*hugs his soapbox*

Thanks for putting up with me venting, Lyndon :)
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-21 02:09
Just to make liver cleanses even funnier, I looked up a Facebook group (that's something you can do in addition to Twitter and YouTube, Lyndon ;) for the liver cleanses.

There was one person in that group who actually had gallstones, and this is what she had to say:

NG said:

i did this myself lots of time still gotta have my gallbladder out as its very diseased infact i had pancras attacks bcause of it and im pretty sure liver flushing made me worse so be very careful it dsnt work for everyone trust me you dont want pancras pain i would rather have my gallbladder out than ever do this again !!!

I can't necessarily extrapolate that, but I can sure elbow people in the ribs about it :)
Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Yet another database (7067 hits)

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