Thursday, January 19, 2006

NEWSFLASH! SCIENCE PROVEN WRONG! Oh wait, it's just some idiot

I recently came upon the site Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc. and decided that people are becoming crazier by the day. Not only do they want to a believe in invisible people in the sky, they also want to completely ignore over 500 years of research and evidence to prove that au natural is better than science.

Although I don't completely disagree with Jock Doubleday that science has led our society into a bit (small, slight, miniscule) of a physiological demise, I still think that it's absolutely necessary and even, dare I say it, beneficial for most. Let's give a little background: Jock Doubleday is some guy from CA that
believes the following:

  • In a society in which hospital birth is at least twice as likely as midwife-attended home birth to lead to infant mortality;
  • in a society in which the mother-child bond is continually broken by hospital obstetric care, bottle-feeding, and day care;
  • in a society in which medical research is funded by the multi-billion dollar food processing, chemical, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries;
  • in a society in which three-quarters of the annual incidence of breast cancer is caused by mammograms and other forms of ionizing radiation, primarily from medical sources;
  • in a society in which the diseases of civilization (cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, emphysema, tooth decay, and senility) are seen as "natural";
  • in a society in which poisons are routinely sprayed on fruits and vegetables;
  • in a society in which male sperm count falls dramatically each decade;
  • in a society in which a normal meal is a recipe for cancer;
  • in a society in which cancer causes and cures are known but are disregarded by the so-called "nonprofit" agencies, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society;
  • in a society in which milk, which leaches calcium and other minerals from the bones--and is therefore a prime cause of osteoporosis--is touted as a cure for osteoporosis;
  • in such a society, there must be a focused defense of the truth. Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc. is that defense. We are, and will continue to be, a spearhead for rationality in an irrational culture.

Alright, I don't even know where to begin with this lunatic. First of all, I'd like to tell him to shove everything up his ass. If he wants to push "natural living" upon others, fine, so be it. Let him fuck up their lives. As far as I'm concerned, I like my lifestyle. I like being able to go to the drugstore and buy medicine to help with my cold/flu. I like knowing that there's a hospital to go to if I somehow jab myself in the hand with a knife. And I like the idea that I can eat whatever food I want and someone will have a cure for my artherosclerosis when I'm 45.

But I don't like fuckheads who claim that their lives are so much less bearable because of modern medicine/science. Being a student of science myself, it's agonizing to hear an idiot like this try to persuade others that everything my colleagues have worked for is bullshit. Honestly, what a dickhead he is.

But I'm thinking this man can't be for real. On his site, he states that he does not have a medical degree, though he belives his eight years of research in childbirth should be applauded. I've found minimal research on his site to back up all claims he's made, and most of what I did find is extremely biased. There's no possible way for me to sit here and type an entire article about the bull spout from this man's mouth, but I would like to point out a couple of things I noticed dealing with childbirth:

1. The hospital obstetrics community wants us to believe that the steady decline in infant mortality in the U.S. (and in all developed countries) is due to modern technological birthing procedures. In fact, the decline has nothing to do with birthing procedures. The decline is due to the widespread use of antibiotics. Essentially, what studies show is that antibiotics are saving babies at a rate faster than the routine use of obstetrics technology is killing them.

Does this not seem contradictory to his previous claims that modern medicine is messing up our lives?

2. Infant mortality is defined in the medical literature as: "Death, by any cause, of infants under one year old."

The number of live births in America from 1948 to 1997 was 180,456,000. The infant mortality rate (IMR) for this period averaged over 15 deaths per 1,000 live births.
During those 50 years, hospital births accounted for more than 95% of all U.S. births. Ninety-five percent of 180,000,000 (rounded down from 180,456,000) total live births = 171,000,000 live hospital births. Infant mortality for those 50 years, with an IMR of 15, is 2,565,000 (171,000 times 15).

It should be noted that the figures used in these computations, all generous to the hospital obstetrics community, do not count higher hospital rates of infant morbidity [Henci Goer, Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature, (Bergin & Garvey, 1995, p. 332)]. Nor do they count higher hospital rates of maternal morbidity or mortality [Ibid., p. 332]. Nor do they count damage done to the baby, and to society, when the mother-child bond is broken, as so often happens in hospitals. (Joseph Chilton Pearce writes in Magical Child: "In 1982, the state of California completed the largest study ever undertaken on the root causes of crime and violence. The number one cause was found to be medical interference with childbirth in our hospitals.") Nor do these figures count higher rates of child abuse that occur with hospital-birthed (specifically C-section) infants [Nancy Cohen, Open Season: Survival Guide for Natural Childbirth and VBAC in the 90s (Bergin & Garvey, 1991, p. 25)].

Note the numerous "reliable" sources he cites. He fails to mention other things that his calculation lacks. He has not taken into account that the IMR is defined as the death of an infant under the age of one. Not all infant deaths occur in hospitals days after birth (as is the case with SIDS), nor are they all caused by obstetric procedures. In addition, it may be seen that 95% of all births are done in a hospital, so obviously the amount of deaths in hospitals will look immense compared to the amount of deaths in "natural" childbirth. The numbers for home childbirth: 135,342 out of 9,022,800. Now I'm sorry, but that's too many dead babies for my blender to handle! (I'm so sorry to all I've offended by simply mentioning dead baby jokes, but I get a kick out of 'em.) Argh! Also, the man didn't realize that the average IMR was taken over 50 years, THE 50 CRUCIAL years in which our modern technology was developed. Another thing, you can not take an average OVER 50 YEARS of an IMR and say it applies to both sides. The IMR may have been higher for home births rather than hospital births, but he only gives the AVERAGE. Maybe he's hiding something.... One more point for the final paragraph of this: appeal to emotion. This guy uses so many logical fallacies in his reasoning that it makes my head spin trying to think of them!

3. Breast cancer is a cultural disease.

Hahahahaha...I do believe that cancer is caused by a specific cell's DNA being altered to enhance the mitosis of the cell. This produces a mass of cells that uncontrollably reproduce. The DNA alteration is mostly caused by carcinogens, though I believe some types of cancer have been linked to genetics. Although one can see this as a cultural disease because our society has helped in the output of many known carcinogens, I just see this as an attack on society itself. This man is mad at the world, and that's all there is. Get a fucking real job, you twit, and stop cashing in off people's ignorance, as religion does.

[Appeal_to_Ridicule] #1

And Fore Sam's bad grades have nothing to do with the complete lack of references, data, or even showing of work.

That's what it's been like arguing with him at Prometheus's blog in the "Field Guide to Quackery" Part 2 and Bartholemew Cubbin's blog on autism. Lots of accusations, straw men, subject changes, and misrepresentations, too.

So, without further ado, a script based on our argument, and suspiciously similar to an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law:


Fore Sam: Oh, no! My office has been burgled! Robbed! Purloined! Ha-ha... Loin... *buzzes on the intercom* Everyone, get in here! "Someone has stolen my baby-grand piano!"

BronzeDog: *thinking* "Was there ever a piano in here? I don't remember seeing it."

Fore Sam: "Of course there was! You can still see the dimples in the carpet where it stood... right next to the 40 foot tall gold Buddha. How dare you accuse me of never having a piano!"

BronzeDog: *Starts looking for dimples. Never finds any, since no one will point out their location in the giant office. Continues thinking,* "Now, I'm pretty sure I've never seen a 40 foot gold Buddha in here."

Fore Sam: "Of course there was a 40 foot Buddha in here. How dare you accuse me of never having one! And keep your thoughts to yourself, BronzeDog!" *sniff* "I'm a victim."


BronzeDog: "Uh, sir, can you show me a photo of the piano and gold buddha? And have you considered you might have just misplace-"

Fore Sam, interrupting: "BronzeDog! I can't believe what I'm hearing!" *gets in BronzeDog's face.* "Do you support the thief?!"

BronzeDog: "N-no, I just want to make sure there isn't another explanation."

Fore Sam: "Well, I don't want to hear any more of these photograph or misplacement sophistries. All you need to see is my empty office to know that my stuff was stolen."


On second thought, would that merely be a reducto ad absurdum?

[Appeal_to_Ridicule] #1.0
[Appeal_to_Ridicule] #1.1

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Interesting Anagrams

Over on the LABELED Music News forum we recently started an anagram thread. We found some interesting ones using the anagram genius to make full sentences. Some anagrams of note:

Ryan Michael Whitmore (Your Rockstar) = Limey rich woman hater.

George W. Bush = He grew bogus. (ouch!)

Sadaam Hussein = A minus asshead.

United States of America = Dine out, taste a Mac; fries. (truth in anagrams)

Ariel Sharon = Oh, ran Israel. (creepy!)

Jesus Christ = Such jest sir.

Skeptic's Circle Number 25, uh, I Think

The 25th meeting of the Skeptic's Circle is up at The Saga of Runolfr. Go there to find out about all types of new and used horseshit that's making it's way around the world.

Lord Runolfr uses some pretty cool avatars for the different bloggers. I can't seem to figure out mine though ---------------->

Who the hell is that guy? I think it's someone from "The 13th Warrior" or something like that. I thought it was Steven from "Braveheart", but it's not.

Our buddy Skeptico got my favorite character from "The 13th Warrior", Hergard the Joyous. Apparently in the Skeptical blogging world, Skeptico gets to be the one guy that lives to save the day, and Your Rockstar is "Guy Who Gets Killed in the Beginning of the Movie Number 5".

Wait. Just got it. I'm Weath the Musician. Who said Rockstarring required a brain...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Irreducible Complexity is Ridiculous - Even in Music!

I was reading a Creduloid blog today (no, it doesn't receive the honor of a link) that placed "irreducible complexity" as one of the top reasons they believed there is a magical man in the sky that made us all in present form from dirt. For those not familiar with pseudo-science, irreducible complexity is used by proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism, and states that some structures in biology cannot be simplified without causing the entire structure to fail, and that therefore they could not have evolved naturally. After all, how can a mouse trap work without all its parts? Remove the spring and it no longer works, right? So we couldn't have evolved, as our structures had to be created together.

That last statement shows how the ID/Creationist con-artists peddle their "science" - they preach it to the undeducated. Of course it is a
completely bogus concept that has been debunked a million times over - evolution doesn't concern itself with the end product. But it makes sense to the credulous among us.

LABELED (Your Rockstar's band; he's on the far left) was finishing a new song for our fourth album last night when it, for lack of a better word, evolved.

See, we needed a transition from a 6/8 time in the key of "E" to a 4/4 time in "D".

Stick with me here.

Initially there were two parts in the bridge: one to change the tempo and one to change the key. We then added another segment to the bridge that removed the necessity of a tempo change; that part was no longer needed so it was removed. We now have one part taking the place of two in a much more efficient way.

Much like evolution, we now have a song that is irreducibly complex; we can't take the bridge or any of its parts out or the song will not work. But that doesn't mean it was created from nothing.

Evolution - it's pretty kick ass, no?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Peace of Mind, Please Report to Bronze Dog's Office. Peace of Mind...

Bronze is an alloy usually made from copper and tin. Since I'd rather not waste my additive on foil hats or ratchet my threat level up to "Blackwatch Plaid," I'd like to know where I can get some reliable information on RFID tags. Most of the stuff I've bumped into seems to involve people wearing said hats, and I'm not too trusting of Wikipedia.

Some specific questions that come to mind:

Is it really illegal to remove them from tires?

Is it illegal to fry them?

From how far away can they really be read? (Of course, I doubt the whole "from orbit" stuff.)

Can you really interfere with RFIDs by wrapping them in aluminum foil? (Or should I just go ahead and wrap my head?)