Tag Archives: Dietary supplement

Mike Adams Pretends to know the Minds of Skeptics

Brussels Sprouts
Image via Wikipedia

In a recent article on the inter-webs, Mike Adams, self-proclaimed “health ranger” and an editor at NaturalNews.com, pretends to know something about skeptics.

Wow.

In a word: fail.

In his opening paragraphs he says,

skeptics” claim to be the sole protectors of intellectual truth. Everyone who disagrees with them is just a quack, they insist. Briefly stated, “skeptics” are in favor of vaccines, mammograms, pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy. They are opponents of nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, chiropractic care, massage therapy, energy medicine, homeopathy, prayer and therapeutic touch.

“Sole protectors?” “Intellectual truth?” Hyperbole much?

Yes, most skeptics are in favor of science-based medicine, which is what vaccines, mammograms, pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy have in common. They’re all based on science and evidence to support their efficacy. Are they without faults? No. Of course not. But their faults are generally well understood and physicians who make use of them are always ready to revise their protocols accordingly and appropriately.

Are we opponents of nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, chiropractic care, massage therapy, energy medicine, homeopathy, prayer and therapeutic touch (crap like reiki)?

Perhaps. I’m partial to nutritional supplements that make sense. I try to have broccoli and brussel sprouts now and then. Perhaps some cauliflower. Definitely asparagus. Love that stuff. And nutritious! Supplements that come pre-packaged and unregulated in little pills at $29.95 for 250? Nah. Thank you, but I’ll pass.

I’m not all that knowledgeable about massage therapy, but it seems okay. I got a massage once while I was overseas. It wasn’t unpleasant and it seemed to help a sore muscle or two.

But I see no good reason to accept “energy medicine” (whatever that is) or chiropractic or homeopathy (water with a memory? Bollocks). Herbal medicine. Maybe. If I was stranded in the wilderness and couldn’t get to a Walmart pharmacy for real medicine. I’d rather have some sudafed or ibuprofin than an untested, weak herbal remedy. At least they work and you don’t have to worry about who prepared it (some unlicensed, unregulated, undereducated nut probably).

Prayer? Why? No demonstrated efficacy for that. In fact, studies conducted by the religious and funded by the religious found that out.

So, in just the opening paragraph or two, Adams was completely and utterly wrong about skeptics. Buddy, you would first have to be a skeptic to know how they think. I’ve been gullible before, I know what that’s like.

What about his other claims? Adams claims that skeptics aren’t skeptical about a few other things. I’m going to answer them one-by-one. The first dozen or so, anyway. I didn’t want the spam I’d likely get from natural health nuts from registering on his site.

• Skeptics believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective (even if they’ve never been tested), that ALL people should be vaccinated, even against their will, and that there is NO LIMIT to the number of vaccines a person can be safely given. So injecting all children with, for example, 900 vaccines all at the same time is believed to be perfectly safe and “good for your health.”

Untrue. Skeptics (at least the ones I know) believe in the efficacy of science-based medicine, which means that they would not support untested medicines (including vaccines). Yes, all people should receive vaccines -there’s no good reason not to prevent diseases like polio, rubella, measles, and chicken pox. Small pox was eradicated by vaccination. Polio is all but a memory in the U.S. thanks to vaccination. But I know of no skeptic that would agree that taking “900 vaccines all a the same time” is ether necessary or wise. Nor is it evident that even a sizable minority of skeptics believe someone should receive vaccines against their will. But, then, my children should be able to attend public school knowing that their peers are vaccinated and the children of anti-vax nuts are not permitted to attend.

• Skeptics believe that fluoride chemicals derived from the scrubbers of coal-fired power plants are really good for human health. They’re so good, in fact, that they should be dumped into the water supply so that everyone is forced to drink those chemicals, regardless of their current level of exposure to fluoride from other sources.

This is an example of a false premise. It simply doesn’t follow that because fluorine is present in an industrial plant that it should necessarily be unhealthy for my toothpaste or my water. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be drinking any water since it contains hydrogen and oxygen, both found in the same coal plants along with various carbonates, such as that found in soft drinks.

But at least it gives us an idea of the sort of intellect we’re faced with. I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with Adams that skeptics believe that they are the “sole protectors of intellectual truth,” but its clear that he isn’t concerned with it to begin with.

• Skeptics believe that many six-month-old infants need antidepressant drugs. In fact, they believe that people of all ages can be safely given an unlimited number of drugs all at the same time: Antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, blood pressure drugs, diabetes drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping drugs and more — simultaneously!

I think he’s just making shit up now. Like I said earlier, skeptics believe in science-based medicine and evidence-supported treatments. I see no evidence from Adams that the above sentiment is held by even a single skeptic.

• Skeptics believe that the human body has no ability to defend itself against invading microorganism and that the only things that can save people from viral infections are vaccines.

Again, he appears to be making it up as he goes along. What he presents here is a false dichotomy, which is to say that either the body can defend itself or it cannot. The answer is something very different, which is to say that the immune system of the human body protects us behind the scenes every day, which, believe it or not, Adams, skeptics are aware of (scientists, after all are necessarily, skeptics). But, occasionally, the immune system is inadequate or ineffectual. Thus medicine. If this weren’t the case, no one would ever die of small pox, anthrax, rubella, or even diptheria.

• Skeptics believe that pregnancy is a disease and childbirth is a medical crisis. (They are opponents of natural childbirth.)

Again with the hyperbole. “Medical crisis?” Medical risk, definitely. And, as with all risks that can be mitigated through science and technology, why take unnecessary chances? Sure, natural childbirth happens all the time. People are pretty good at it as evidenced by our evolutionary achievements. But we also evolved to have brains and the wherewithal to put them to use and, low and behold, infant mortality in the United States is at an all-time low. Why? Give you a hint: it wasn’t natural childbirth.

• Skeptics do not believe in hypnosis. This is especially hilarious since they are all prime examples of people who are easily hypnotized by mainstream influences.

This is mostly an ad hominem, so there’s little reason to do anything but respond with a well placed ad hom: dumb ass.

Now… that felt good.

• Skeptics believe that there is no such thing as human consciousness. They do not believe in the mind; only in the physical brain. In fact, skeptics believe that they themselves are mindless automatons who have no free will, no soul and no consciousness whatsoever.

Tempted as I am to again respond with dumb ass, I’ll refrain (I used to know the term for that sort of insult where you claim to refrain from a particular insult but, by making it known, have done the insult anyway… damn if I can remember now).

I won’t pretend to know what “consciousness” is. I’ve read some good works that have explored it, but they all end with questions and directions that research should go or still needs to go. Francis Crick’s The Astonishing Hypothesis and Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained are both worth reading. Neither of these preeminent author/scientists presented any reason that consciousness must be something other than material substances gone wild (neurochemical processes in the brain), but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the brain is the key since its about the only organ that has never been removed or lost where “consciousness” is still retained by the patient. The brain is a material object, after all. Believers in an immaterial mind or “soul” or whatever else they claim “consciousness” to be have yet to outline any suggestions that are reasoned or rational for their claims. They’ve provided no reasonable mechanisms other than a material brain to explain “mind” or “consciousness.”

• Skeptics believe that DEAD foods have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!).

I really don’t know what the hell he’s going on about here. I do tend to take my steak closer to the rare side than well done, but I’ve yet to try it straight off a grazing cow. I’m thinking there’s probably not enough difference to warrant getting it that fresh.

• Skeptics believe that pesticides on the crops are safe, genetically modified foods are safe, and that any chemical food additive approved by the FDA is also safe. There is no advantage to buying organic food, they claim.

I’m skeptical of pesticides. Which is why I wash my vegetables (most of which are still “alive” by any scientific definition of the word, since if I place them in water, roots would quickly develop.

• Skeptics believe that water has no role in human health other than basic hydration. Water is inert, they say, and the water your toilet is identical to water from a natural spring (assuming the chemical composition is the same, anyway).

I’ve honestly never given it much thought. Water from my toilet is probably cleaner than water from a natural spring, given the nature of peculated toxins and chemicals from nearby sewage treatment plants, land fills, and highway and agricultural runoff. I still wouldn’t drink either without filtration or chemical treatment if I had a choice.

• Skeptics believe that all the phytochemicals and nutrients found in ALL plants are inert, having absolutely no benefit whatsoever for human health. (The ignorance of this intellectual position is breathtaking…)

Read my bit about brussel sprouts and broccoli above.

It would seem that Mike Adams is fractally wrong about what skeptics think, believe, or understand.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]