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I Get Email From a UK Heart Surgeon

Whilst engaging in cooking on last Saturday and entertaining family for an early Christmas dinner — periodically checking email — I received a missive from a new heart surgeon in training in the UK. He took umbrage with my derogatory remarks directed at another UK heart surgeon some time ago.

I need to advise you that your post is not only unacceptable and distasteful, it is also highly defamatory and you are vulnerable to a law suit to this effect.

It is entirely reasonable that you disagree with the views expressed by Dr. Kolvekar, but the sheer wanton disrespect you display to this person who is a highly accomplished, talented individual (by definition, he is a heart surgeon), is reprehensible and a reflection of your state of both mind and body.

You should foremost concentrate on losing weight, and preventing yourself getting heart disease, rather than insult obscenely those very people who may one day cure you of the illnesses to which you are most vulnerable.

I’m not sure to which of my posts featuring Dr. Shyam Kolvekar he’s referring, but here’s the list:

I suspect he’s referring to the latter. I dunno, perhaps they don’t get the Dos Equis commercials in the UK and he didn’t get the humor. But no matter; he got the rage, which was real.

Before I get into that, something from a subsequent email (we exchanged a few over several hours).

…my argument is with the careless, wanton way you choose to denigrate people who have done nothing but work very hard most of their lives in medicine.

More, amongst much mutual virtual chest beating:

I can tell you that heart surgeons go through years and years of hard work, dedication, and accomplishment to become who they are, usually sacrificing large parts of their personal lives. The work they do is invaluable to society and they perform the most complex operations on the most high risk patients.

My interlocutor seems to hold somewhat to Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, as have others in previous and similar exchanges, such as Dr. Stephen Benoit, who did not like my characterization of his and his colleagues’ work as "Grant Whore[ing]."

In the end it’s pretty clear to me that I was wrong to target them. I do have two disagreements with Dr. Benoit.

1. In all of his communications he has emphasized the level, intensity and length of the work. I’m not an adherent to the Labor Theory of Value. I’m now satisfied that their work is sound, and so it has value. But it matters not to me whether it took 5 minutes or 10 years to produce.

I suppose that if anyone is to be forgiven for such an ethical misstep (I can expound upon that in comments, later) it could be doctors and especially, surgeons. It is indeed a long and arduous path. But in the end I think it’s fallacy to regard their value to others and society as based principally upon that, and not on their competence or more: their correctness and effectiveness.

Butcher surgeons exist. They "worked hard," too. I’ll not belabor the point. I’m of the mind, principally for illustration, that a prodigy who worked hardly a lick but can do a competent heart transplant or valve replacement creates more value than a board-certified physician with a decade of tough training, yet is so-so in the operating room. Quantity of work has nothing to do with anything.

There was a second point to that quote of mine, above.

2. I firmly believe that there is room and justification for the sorts of vitriol I spew, human beings or not. But I recognize that I spewed at the wrong folks this time and I regret that. Thankfully, there are plenty who actually deserve it. I will probably do better in the future to primarily direct public hangings to news media unless I’m particularly familiar with a piece of research.

Now Kolvekar — so far as I can determine as of this time of posting — certainly does not deserve the courtesy, nor the correction extended to Benoit. Benoit contacted me; we discussed, he explained, and he convinced me. Anyone can do that, if they’re right. And I suspect Kolvekar to this day would be unrepentant in his stance against a natural food used for centuries vs. industrial machine lubricants re-dubbed as "food." 

Fat chance. But I should explain the sorts of distinctions I form and engage in as a part of this blogging work. This is actually from the beginning of a reply email, before I realized it was time to put it in a post.

First, I’m a blogger; not a journalist…not a representative of some institution — not anyone speaking in any official capacity. I’m a self-admitted Hit & Run artist. It’s my style, I do it for effect & attention. And it gets attention; I get 100,000 visits and 200,000 page views per month. And it helps people. Browse through some of these unsolicited testimonials from readers.

A few of particular note, among the dozens I’ve blogged and the hundreds contained within comments to those posts and others:

Continuing with the draft of the email response…

These are all real people with real lives who have finally stopped listening to the dietary crap peddled by Kolvekar and his ilk, and the medical profession in general which, I might add, has been a dismal failure these past decades as people get fatter and fatter, and more diabetic, year by year and yet they still get the same advice to lower the fat and even to not eat too much protein (well, they have to eat something so what’s it gonna be then: sugar). And Kolvekar is going to admonish them to drop the butter? Fucker.

And if you don’t understand metabolism 101 and that it’s sugar, especially refined, that principally makes us fat then go ahead and get to know Kolvekar. Get chummy. Get press. Get rich.

Granted that I am somewhat emboldened in all of this. But that’s only because over the years I have somehow managed to attract the attention of many MDs and PhDs who have to their great credit put health above their immediate livelihoods and notoriety, and have either directly or indirectly encouraged my muckraking. …And these aren’t the contrarian for contrarian’s sake quacks who sell books through direct mail and ebooks, where all modernity is some ill conspiracy.

These are simply real people who care more about their patients and, well, reality: common sense, logic, reason, self respect and a host of other things that ought to define us as humans…above the silly, sensational, magic-bullet, fuck-all crap peddled by guise like Dr. Oz on fucking Teevee.

See, they’re just naive enough to believe that holding to a long-term view of health is going to be better in the end for their personal bien-être, as too: for the patients they truly care about.

Before I move on to the last topic, I want to address something about how I personally view surgeons as somewhat distinct from the rest of the medical community. I may be wrong and stand to be corrected, but to me we’re talking about mechanics.

Don’t get me wrong. A mechanic who competently switches out a water pump, while performing a valuable service, is in no way the same as one who can switch out a blood pump in a human being. The latter have my utmost respect — not for the obvious years, expense, singular dedication and almost insurmountable obstacles they must overcome to ever be trusted with it — but because they actually do it. They pioneered it and by damn, they do it — and it can be — hell, is — awe inspiring and amazing. I am once again compelled to link to my touchstone in the matter. Now, watch that minute of footage and tell me that I slash & burn indiscriminately.

The short story is that I don’t believe in gods but surgeons are the real archetype, if gods did exist. But, and I stress: there is no more necessity for a surgeon to really know what causes a blood pump to need repair than does an auto-mechanic need to know what makes water pumps fail.

It could be well argued that it’s actually a distraction and in the case of blood pumps, so critical that the distraction is unaffordable. Which means: surgeons are off the hook in general, in my book, and get a pass; but only so long as they just stick to the business of physically and mechanically repairing the damage reeked by the Standard American Diet (and the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry that promotes it).

But alas, it appears my new friend pretty much tows the party line.

…to me it is simple: too much fat/not enough exercise = heart disease. 

Is it that simple? How about some distinction between kinds of fat? Maybe modern vegetable and seed oils with high levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 polyunsaturated fats have a different impact on heart and blood vessel tissue than do natural, saturated fats that humans have been ingesting for hundreds of thousands of years as part of their natural selection as biological organisms.

While I have done many posts on saturated fats, as well as the cholesterol con over the years, this link and post that follows is probably the most recent, comprehensive…and covers epidemiology, prospective studies, and a review study:

Saturated Fat and Coronary Heart Disease, Part V: The “Science”

It’s also worth pointing out this; as for one, I have not mentioned it in a long while anyway and two, it addresses the health of the population that eats the most saturated fat in the wold. Roughly 50% of total energy for the folks of Tokelau comes from saturated fat. Make sure you get a whiff of Dr. Stephen Guyenet’s links there.

Of course, I’m not the only one saying this stuff. In fact, so are plenty of…

Enlightened Heart Surgeons and Cardiologists

…some being even world renowned and not just a shill for Unilever and their industrial spreads, like Dr. Shyam Kolvekar.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

54 Comments

  1. Tim Starr on December 22, 2010 at 14:49

    I just love it when ignorant Brits threaten Americans w/ libel, as if we didn’t free ourselves of their tyranny in 1983…

    • Eegah! on December 22, 2010 at 16:23

      What were those Brits doing to you poor folks in 1983? I was never a great fan of Mrs Thatcher, but I didn’t think her foreign policy was that ambitious! 😉



    • Tim Starr on December 22, 2010 at 23:18

      Typo, meant 1783.



  2. VW on December 22, 2010 at 14:50

    Was it the doc himself who was emailing you under a fake name?

    Looking this surgeon Kolevekar up at least led me to this silly site here: http://www.satfatnav.com/ It looks as though he has some sort of potential relation with that site, and that site extols the “goodness” of margarine. Surely he’s not on any payrolls of any special interests or anything like that.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 15:08

      No, it wasn’t Kolvekar



    • Michael on December 22, 2010 at 17:21

      “SATFATNAV. Your Route to Lower Saturated Fat …Brought to you by Unilever”

      LOL no conflict of interest here, nope. Hopefully those soy peddlers will soon have to at least hide behind neutral sounding fake health foundations to push their crap i.e. The Soy Institute for Heart Disease Prevention



  3. Melissa on December 22, 2010 at 15:37

    ” I need to advise you that your scroll is not only unacceptable and distasteful, it is also highly
    defamatory and you are vulnerable to a inquisition to this effect.

    It is entirely reasonable that you disagree with the views expressed by Pope Urban VIII, but the sheer wanton disrespect you display to this person who is a highly accomplished, talented individual (by definition, he is a pope), is reprehensible and a reflection of your state of both mind and body.

    You should foremost concentrate on your eternal soul, and preventing yourself getting eternal damnation, rather than insult obscenely those very people who may one day cure you of the
    sins to which you are most vulnerable.

    I can tell you that popes go through years and years of hard work, dedication, and accomplishment to become who they are, usually sacrificing large parts of their personal lives. The work they do is invaluable to society and they perform the most complex theology to the most high God above.”

    We only think we’ve replaced religion 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 16:00

      Heh. Now we worship “authorities.”



    • Hermes on December 22, 2010 at 20:39

      Amen, Melissa.



  4. ben on December 22, 2010 at 16:08

    Great point on a surgeon as mechanic. This is something ive thought about ever since (seriously) i started watching Scrubs years ago. They really, for comic effect, brought out the differences between surgeons and non-surgeon doctors.

  5. Ned Kock on December 22, 2010 at 16:27

    He gets close to threatening a lawsuit. Well, it should be noted that the lawsuit would be under the English rule, which unlike its American counterpart (except for some states, like Alaska) is quite a deterrent to frivolous lawsuits:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_rule

    By definition the claim made must be malicious and false to be defamatory. Proving that convincingly is not that very easy, especially when there is published evidence to the contrary.

  6. Arlo on December 22, 2010 at 17:00

    Libel laws in the UK are TERRIBLE. See the case of Simon Singh, who is now fighting for lessening the ability of people in the UK to sue for libel. (In his case he was given a reasoned argument against chiropracty).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Singh

    Other countries will use loopholes to hold their libel cases in the UK because they have more freedom to sue.

    So much for free speech. I realized lately that I really have no use for feeling “offended”. I doubt most people even really know what they mean when they use that term.

  7. Sue on December 22, 2010 at 17:01

    Kolvekar didn’t reply back to Briffa with the studies showing any link with sat fats and heart disease so he was just spouting bullshit party line.
    http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/01/21/heart-surgeon-waging-war-on-saturated-fat-seems-seriously-short-on-science-to-support-his-claims/

  8. Michael on December 22, 2010 at 17:06

    “My interlocutor seems to hold somewhat to Marx’s Labor Theory of Value,”

    it reminds me of the part in Robert Heinlein’s book ‘Starship Troopers’ where Colonel Dubois demolishes the Labor Theory of Value with a culinary analogy:

    “Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous. All the work one cares to add willl not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet.”

    • Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 17:18

      Michael:

      You remind me of how much I love my commenters.

      Excellent quote. Havent’s read SST, but I might. Economics via literature.



    • Dave Mc on December 22, 2010 at 21:55

      Richard,

      Please tell me you’ve read Heinlein’s ‘Moon is a Harsh Mistress’. I’m sure you would relate to the character Professor De La Paz:

      “A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world . . . aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”

      Heinlein sci-fi is the shiznit.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 23, 2010 at 15:43

      Read it many years ago but it’s on my shelf to read again sometime.



    • Bushrat on December 23, 2010 at 22:33

      Speaking of Heinlein’s political views:

      “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

      – R.A. Heinlein (Time Enough For Love).



    • Ned Kock on December 22, 2010 at 19:40

      Marx’s theory was absolutely correct, except that he got the species wrong.



  9. Dan on December 22, 2010 at 17:06

    Hi Richard,

    You said:

    “There is no more necessity for a surgeon to really know what causes a blood pump to need repair than does an auto-mechanic need to know what makes water pumps fail.”

    Your distinction between a surgeon’s knowledge of nutrition and bodily repair is quite accurate. However, I feel you may have overlooked what separates a good heart surgeon, or even a bad one, from a great one. The first two can cut and stitch just fine. The mechanics of surgery take a remarkably short time to learn.

    But greatness comes from dealing with sudden changes. For example, the surgeon is operating and suddenly the patient’s blood pressure plummets to a level that will kill him in just under a minute. What now? Or maybe the surgeon finishes stitching up an aortic valve and suddenly every surface around the heart starts gushing blood. Why? Those split-second decisions are something that a car mechanic will never encounter, and cannot dream of encountering. These decisions make surgeons (or cardiac surgeons, at least) more akin to generals commanding battlefields. The danger of heart surgery lies not in the cutting and stitching, but in (among other thins) the life-and-death tightrope of blood thickness. (In surgery, blood too thick = 10,000 brain clots and death / blood too thin = bleeding everywhere.) It takes a very bookish and obsessed kind of general to walk that tightrope more than once a day.

    That said, many surgeons, especially cardiac surgeons, can be stubborn egomaniacs. (If you’ve been thinking of Napoleon, he still applies.) Surgeons think they’ve earned a lot of say once they’ve spent more than a decade preparing to do what they’ll do over and over for the rest of their lives. And so for some of them, all that training is tragically misinformed in the realm of nutrition, and their stubbornness does not help when it comes to changing minds. Even more tragically, better informed heart surgeons could potentially reduce the number of patients who they have to see again, if these doctors could only give their patients a more fitting picture of how to stay healthy.

    But that doesn’t mean you should think of them as puffed-up auto mechanics. If anything, when dealing with these wily UK surgeons, you should think of them, for better or worse, as a couple of modern-day Napoleons and Alexander the Greats.

    Thanks for all the work you do,
    Dan

    • Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 17:23

      Excellent, Dan.

      Funny, really, because I anticipated this specific complaint but figured that 1) i don’t want to get too embroiled in the analogy and 2) maybe i won’t get caught anyway.

      So, thanks for that catch. You’re right, of course, but maybe better that this is in comments than muddling up the essentials of the post.



    • Dan on December 30, 2010 at 10:41

      I agree, it would have gotten complicated.



    • 100% vegan on December 23, 2010 at 06:47

      “These decisions make surgeons (or cardiac surgeons, at least) more akin to generals commanding battlefields.”

      Last time I checked, surgeons are only allowed to kill (or save) one at a time from a split-second decision.



    • Dan on December 30, 2010 at 10:39

      Um, well no one’s saying they’re actual generals. They’re just more like generals than auto mechanics. Do you really disagree? You could watch a heart surgery sometime.



  10. Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 17:11

    Let me be clear to everyone: I never, ever have fear of litigation, even here in the US. I happen to have been in a business over 20 years that gets me threatened with lawsuits all the time.

    Lawyers who send such letters get them back via fax, with choice words in the widest black marker I can scrounge at the time.

    And in 20 years I’ve actually been in court one single time having to do with that. I argued my own case, and I prevailed. It was not a full blown lawsuit, I should add. For that, I’d have hired a pro (and I have, for those, like legit disputes over money). No, this was a motion to have me, my mom (who worked for me) and my company added to the existing complaint against a client. Plus, a 2nd motion for sanctions for ignoring his subpoena duces tecum (document production). I prevailed on both motions all by my little self.

  11. Sean on December 22, 2010 at 17:19

    It simply isn’t reasonable that you, or anyone else, should disagree with our highly accomplished overlords, oh sorry did I say overlords? I meant talented individuals.

    I mean, of course you can disagree, that is entirely, uhm, reasonable, but you must do it in a respectful manner. These are highly accomplished individuals after all. And you are just a dirtbag blogger.

    Superbeings like Dr Kovlekar have been known to actually be wrong, but they should never be mocked in the least because they are highly accomplished. Anyone who dares oppose us, I mean, doesn’t find this obvious is sick in mind and body.

    Get help, Richard, before it is too late.

    • Michael on December 25, 2010 at 13:49

      Sean that is hilarious. 🙂

      And Dan, excellent comments but I must say the Napoleon and Alexander the Great analogies don’t make me feel all that good about surgeons. 😉



  12. Emily Deans, M.D. on December 22, 2010 at 17:38

    There’s an old joke in medicine – a neurosurgeon knows everything and does everything, a neurologist knows everything and does nothing, and a psychiatrist knows nothing and does nothing. However, the truth of the matter is that a surgeon better damn well be a good diagnostician and knowledgeable about symptoms related to surgical matters (and that includes cardiovascular disease for heart surgeon) – you certainly wouldn’t want someone carving you up without doing the appropriate pre-surgical work-up, nor would you want someone cutting you open with very little pathophysiologic knowledge of disease. Surprises can happen and during surgery, they happen all too quickly. Defining a surgeon as a mechanic is rather… 19th century. In the 20th century medicine in general became elevated to science and the gentlemanly class, and all doctors now by virtue of a modern rigorous medical education have an obligation to consider evidence and science along with the individual patient at hand. Or so one might think in the 21st century.

    I’m not certain why the surgeon in question cares whether or not you defame his brethren – his email dignifies your post, really, when it by all accounts it should be beneath his notice 😉

    The downfall of doctors is our hubris, and this surgeon seems to be no exception. However, we did not go through this insane training and spend all these hours combing the literature to be the shills of vegetable oil companies and statin manufacturers and make people ill. No, we are supposed to be healers. We are supposed to be the best and the brightest. We are supposed to be the good guys. Cardiovascular surgeons save lives every day. They cut out the disease and keep the hearts beating. And, frankly, the vascular surgeons do a heck of a lot of research about cholesterol and the like. They aren’t used to being continuously questioned as we psychiatrists are. And we doctors do not have the liberty that every nutritionist and self-styled health promoter on the internet has to back every new idea under the sun. We have to be conservative – we have to follow the evidence. To have read Good Calories Bad Calories and to realize the deck was stacked, the interpretation of the evidence horribly flawed, the holy tenets of medical research were leading us in the direction of disease and death and obesity and diabetes and limbs lopped off and blindness… well, GCBC is a hard pill to swallow every time I read it.

    As a psychiatrist I have to examine the entire body, and I have to listen to the entire story. It makes it easier for me, outside the regular system, to see the whole picture, and to mouth off about statins. (I don’t have to be in the position to prescribe them, after all.) And I’m relatively young. I haven’t dedicated my whole career to a devastating fallacy. I hope.

    But the whole lipid hypothesis being false is pretty devastating. Nearly unthinkable. I have small children, and I have no interest in my small children becoming teenagers with diabetes. So I swallowed the bitter pill and moved along. Cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons have more at stake? I don’t know; I can’t explain it. I was only steeped in the lipid hypothesis for so long. I have a good pedigree and I am young and I can afford to be a little nuts about my blogging proclivities.

    Well, I’ve only been interrupted by my aforementioned small children 50 zillion times while crafting this comment – I hope some of it makes sense. Doctors do deserve respect and we do try to be the good guys. Sometimes it isn’t as easy as you might think.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 22, 2010 at 17:51

      Thanks, Emily, and don’t read too much into the analogy. It’s imperfect, as I already mentioned in another comment.



    • Emily Deans MD on December 23, 2010 at 00:55

      CV surgeons are more likely than not to be egomaniacs – but in some respects they must be, to do what they do. Dan said it more eloquently than I did.

      However the very issue of modern medicine and what doctors are came up in clinic today. No details can be divulged, obviously, but today saw a patient who was suffering a very serious medical problem, and came to me after 7-8 months of seeing other doctors who, along with her, sort of decided the symptoms were psychological. They could have been, but I recommended a more complete work-up (as was certainly indictated) and (somewhat serindipitously) discovered the serious problem – she credited me, however, as I was the one who finally spent a bit of time to ask a full series of questions so that she could put her symptoms together. She ended up seeing quite a famous doctor for her problem, and his major schtick is that doctors ought to be humble and to spend less time focused on our wee areas of specialty and more time knowing and examining the whole body. So it all came together, and while I didn’t actually diagnose her problem, I did score a bit of a win in helping her figure it out. It is interesting though as I doubt another doctor would have a full hour to see someone for an initial evaluation as I do.



    • Emily Deans MD on December 23, 2010 at 01:04

      (my point being that my patient’s particular problem should really never be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and yet here I am as the only one with enough time to diagnose it! It is a mad world.)



    • Jim on December 22, 2010 at 19:23

      Thanks for taking the time for that post Emily. Very thoughtful and personal. Life does come chock full of complexity and subtlety, doesn’t it?



  13. Sam on December 22, 2010 at 19:44

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” Mahatma Gandhi
    You are almost there Richard – Do you think they would have even cared to read you a few years back..

  14. Lewis on December 22, 2010 at 23:23

    You do go on, Richard.

    Fancy hauling out comments about Marx’s Labour Theory of value because some man has told you that you ought to have more respect for highly qualified people! The second doctor doesn’t seem to have been discussing the first doctor’s remuneration so “value”, in the sense in which it’s used in economic theory, seems beside the point.

    You then say “I think it’s fallacy to regard their value to others and society as based principally upon that, and not on their competence or more: their correctness and effectiveness.”

    However, this is a distinction without a difference. A surgeon’s long training at a teaching hospital is also an ongoing process of assessment of his competence. If he doesn’t satisfy those best able to make an assessment of his competence, he doesn’t go on to the next stage.

    I really not going to follow the link to find out what you said about the first man. I assume you disagreed with some dietary recommendation that he gave, and likely you’re right. But to come out with all this nonsense about Marxian economics is just ridiculous. To be blunt, this surgeon may be issuing poor dietary advice, and if he is that’s a shame, but his training *does* count for something, and no amount of casuistry from you can change that. Put it like this: I shouldn’t allow you to cut me up.

    I guess it’s unrealistic of the second fellow to write you. (Is he going to roam the Internet “correcting” every blogger he disagrees with?

    At the end of the day (as you would say) the second fellow seems to be saying that you should have used more courtesy towards the first. Washington, who transcribed some “rules of civility” into his daybook at sixteen would probably have agreed:

    http://www.history.org/almanack/life/manners/rules2.cfm

    However, those “rules” are much older than that and, I understand, originate with the Jesuits. So perhaps that’s something else you can hold against the Christians.

    All that long and fussy post! It’s just so ridiculous.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 23, 2010 at 15:46

      “All that long and fussy post!”

      Jesus. I know what you mean.



  15. CPorter on December 22, 2010 at 23:56

    Interestingly enough, the Brits can even run their own pitiful socialized medicine system. To Wit:

    NHS Direct ‘at breaking point’: Patients waiting two days for help in worst flu outbreak for ten years (And that just for a phone call.)

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340969/NHS-Direct-breaking-point-Flu-patients-waiting-2-days-help.html#ixzz18v48ntDW

  16. Duncan on December 23, 2010 at 03:48

    Revolt of the Plebs!

    Illegitimati Non Carborundum.

    Keep it coming, Richard

  17. michaelf on December 23, 2010 at 05:38

    Exposing doctors as idiots is brilliant. The Ghandi quote above was perfect and they’ve got to be antagonized to get them into a fight. We(“paleotypes”) can win the fight because their evidence is so perfectly lacking. I’m just glad there are guys like you Richard, because I just want to walk away from them as they spit and stammer about useless nonsense, or kick them in the taint.

    A heart surgeon saved my fathers life about 5 years ago, but in the end cost him because of the silly dietary advice. They are amazing at what they do mechanically, but they just fail so miserably at the small stuff.

    I say fuck’em!

  18. Mike on December 23, 2010 at 06:04

    Great post Richard. I enjoy reading your blogs. Your piercing wit and eloquent attacks are interesting and mildly comical.

  19. JCA on December 23, 2010 at 06:08

    The last time this topic came up (Jan 2010) it really got my hackles up. Now I don’t usually rise to the bait, but my gripe is that some foreigner, (prestigious qualification or not – its cuts no ice with me) comes here to my shores and starts dictating to us about what we should or should not put in our bodies. Bombastic twat. At the time, I made a comment on the article in the Daily Mail 🙁http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1244048/Ban-butter-save-thousands-lives-says-heart-surgeon.html) stating that ‘he didn’t know his arse from his arteries’. Typically that post has been removed by the newspaper which is no more than I would expect in this softly softly nanny state which we have allowed to rule over us and insult our collective intelligence. My Grandfather (who lived to be 90 on home fed bacon, eggs, lard, roast beef, pork dripping, and butter, and who thought that margarine wasn’t even good enough for greasing down his hair) would turn in his grave, and his forebears would no doubt have sent the gunboat off up some foreign coastline and shelled the arseholes who peddle such shit talk

  20. Jimmy Moore on December 23, 2010 at 09:02

    Richard, if I had a dollar every time some numbskull said something like this about something I wrote, then I’d be a very rich man. Give ’em hell!!!

  21. Rusa on December 23, 2010 at 12:20

    One “toes the line” not “tows the line.”

    Just a little ad hominem grammar attack.

  22. JCA on December 23, 2010 at 12:40

    CPorter … NHS Direct has always been a joke. Pick up a phone and ask for advice? all the call handler does is suggest ‘you should call an ambulance’, would you, in his/her shoes risk dishing out medical advice without the patient in front of you?? I have a friend in the Ambulance Service, a paramedic, who jokingly refers to this service as ‘NHS Re-direct’ (straight to Ambo control).

    Rich, keep up the good work kid.

  23. Kellgy on December 23, 2010 at 22:04

    Your angst is well placed Richard, especially since doctors are experts and are held to a higher standard. If people like us, without degrees in medicine or even researched based, can see the science behind a paleo type principled diet and all it’s health benefits, doctors should rightly be held to the fire. They are responsible for dispensing treatment that can either cause an obesity epidemic or longevity and a predominantly disease free existence.
    Like the gentleman you referred to in your post, I too have lost 110-115 pounds in 7 months. The first month and a half was hard, but it became a smooth ride after freeing my body of the whittling effects of wheat and sugars. There is so much science available on the net. It is nice to see bloggers in particular beginning to have impact on the general public and some enlightened physicians.

  24. Jason on December 23, 2010 at 23:12

    There is no legal basis for any such lawsuit. So far as I know an American cannot be sued in America for exercising his or her free speech rights; so, unless you have business interests in the UK, you can’t be sued nor affected by any attempted lawsuit. However, this is what really jumped out at me while reading this post. It’s times like these, when I see examples of how people in other modernized countries are basically little more than slaves with no free speech rights, that I get happy that at least we have some a fighting chance to preserve freedom in this country. I don’t know, maybe anarcho-capitalists would see that as jingoism, but just imagine if you actually were a citizen of the UK; you, literally, could be taken to the cleaners and shut down simply for speaking your mind. I just don’t know how people live in places where you aren’t really free to at least say what you think, without the state empowered to attack you for it. Last point – I have a lot of family members who are physicians and I have had frustrating conversations with them. So I think I can give a glimpse into their psyche and the reasons that they won’t even look at other views (I speak here, not of those who are crooked, but of the majority who are simply ignorant that they are wrong). When the Doctor expressed to you his labour theory argument, he was not claiming that ones hard work proves that they’re right. What he was actually doing was betraying his unconscious feelings; basically what he was saying is, ‘listen, us Doctors study far more than you so I am not even going to consider the possibility that you are correct. Nor am I going to waste my time looking into the research, because Dr so and so is a brilliant expert and because the advice of the entire system cannot possibly be mistaken.’ It is a kind of faith in experts and the medical establishment as being the most scientific and studied approach, that is the feeling and belief most docs have. Lastly, in their training they got garbage information mixed in with good science, so they believe that the garbage is just as above reproach as the real science; so that for example, in this Docs mind, to question saturated fat as evil, is the same to him as if you were to question whether the human heart really has four chambers. Since he learned both in the same place and since both ideas were presented with the same gravitas of scientific fact, therefore, in his mind, they are one and the same in terms of resting on equally provable solid scientific ground. Lastly, Lastly (really this time lol), kudos for your blog and for all you bloggers, because, quite frankly I would go crazy and get really pissed off if I had to constantly answer attacks from morons/ignoramuses/fools what have you. I have no patience for explaining or trying to teach things to people, let alone to those who don’t want to listen or who a priori reject, so kudos to you and to all you bloggers. All the best and Merry Christmas.

    • Helen on December 24, 2010 at 07:34

      Very well said, Jason…you just made my day 🙂



  25. Andy on December 26, 2010 at 16:03

    Jason
    You’re entirely correct, us Brits really are little more than slaves with no free speech rights. Especially our press, which is world renowned for it’s timidity and lack of appetite for any sort of controversy.

    Oh, bugger, got to go, the men in black have just arrived to shut me down for speaking my mind….

    Idiot.

    • Jason on December 26, 2010 at 19:25

      Apologies for any insult; though it was not intended that way. My comment was more of a free flow of ideas, rather than a well thought out and constructed argument. Perhaps the word ‘slaves’ was a bit over the top. I understand that the UK and the people who live there are far freer than most countries and people on the planet. However, I believe (colorful language notwithstanding) that my point stands. If you had such a blog, not just in the UK but all over Europe, where you said similar things, and you got an e-mail threatening legal action, then that would be a serious legal issue as opposed to something bs which you could laugh at. In other parts of Western Europe you could be tried for stating opinions ie Geert Wilders. Your free speech rights, and thus your ability to freely and publicly express yourself, are not as strong a those in the U.S. That is just a fact. Certainly the word ‘slaves’ was a bit much; however, what I was saying (and I stand by it) is that I simply could not tolerate living somewhere where I could be sued (UK) or imprisoned (Netherlands) for simply stating my opinion. That was my only point; it was not a knock at the Uk, nor was it a jingoistic statement about the US (we have our own problems). It was a point made about those specific free speech issues and my feelings about that, and my inability to give in on that or any constitutional principle which I consider sacred. Lastly, my last point about bloggers was reinforced by my being forced to clarify my comment in order for it not to be misinterpreted as an attack or screed. I haaaaaaate this. All the best, and a belated Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to you Andy, and Helen and everybody.



    • Alex B on December 30, 2010 at 08:09

      I find your observations interesting as I’ve always considered there to be a greater inclination towards suing for libel and the like in the US than there is in the UK. This may be no more than an impression garnered through bits and pieces of American news one tends to pick up from across the pond, and therefore in actuality may not reflect the reality of the situation, but it’s still surprising to hear someone considering the UK to be some sort of totalitarian state suppressing freedom of speech. It seems to me that the surgeon was making an idle threat; doesn’t mean that this sort of thing is the norm over here.



  26. Distant Observer on December 28, 2010 at 01:17

    Whether you are wrong or right in your dietary preferences (having just lost exactly the same amount of weight in exactly the same proportion as you, using a roughly similar, although non-paleo diet, you can guess where my sympathies lie on this) I was expecting a much more persuasive case for the paleo approach.

    Unfortunately, this blog fails to do a good job, owing to the unscientific noise pollution you add.

    Vitriol, ‘justified’ or not, is a repulsive weapon, favoured by cowards.

    You come over as a chronic bully instead of passionate advocate. See the difference?

    Regardless of the radical differences in opinion between you and your two interlocutors, I must agree with the heart surgeon who wrote to you. Ideally, you’d man up and apologize for your ridiculous ad-hominems and knee-jerk cynicism.

    Go on, I dare you.

    If this is an impossible challenge, I have a cure, but it will be hard going: while you and I have lost a shitload of fat in a manner not approved by most (or any) heart surgeons, I’d suggest you sit down now and draw up a plan to lose an equivalent amount of bile.

    Good luck.

    • damaged justice on December 28, 2010 at 05:29

      Richard should apologize…for cynicism? Have some cheese with that whinge.

      I don’t care for Richard’s writings on religious matters, and you know what I do? I take what I can use, and let the rest go by. You should learn to do likewise.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2010 at 09:08

      Apologize? Not a fuckin’ chance, man.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2010 at 11:38

      I never ceased being amused by busy bodies who come to my blog and waste their time complaining about my “vitriol.”

      “Vitriol, ‘justified’ or not, is a repulsive weapon, favoured by cowards.”

      That’s just an utterly bullshit bromide spouted by people given to spouting sound-good bullshit made up by other people and repeated often enough that nobody questions it any more.

      The fact is that what’s easy to do is what everyone else does, using their cutesy #*%@)$ stuff and asterisks in place of letters and granting fake respect to the those who don’t deserve it.

      Cowardly? Hell if I know but what I do know is it’s easy. I simply say exactly, word for word, what I fucking mean and I fucking do it day in and day out and all I really give a shit about is that people understand I’m not lying to them, sugar coating things, blowing smoke up their asses, or trying to win some popularity contest.

      So what am I to do, dear Distant Observer — so concerned about appearance of cowardice that you don’t even use your name — take any stock in what you have to say, or continue to pay attention to the fact that for the last year about 100,000 visitors per month seem to take some stock in what I have to say?

      http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s20sense&r=33



  27. […] And suddenly, on the very last day of the year this blog went from a respectable 40,000 average visits per month to over 80,000 in December, and it carried over to January where there were about 125,000 visits and a quarter of a million page views. But the best part of it is that somehow, I managed to not squander the opportunity. Some way, some how, average visits and page views more than doubled month to month to over 80,000 and 150,000. And now, the average over the last three months has climbed to over 100,000 and nearly 200,000 monthly (which is why I just love getting whiny complaints about my No Bullshit, vitriolic style from anonymous commenters). […]

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