Archives for January 2013
…the state of Colorado, apparently, still wants to live in the 15th century: Just a few days ago, a bill was introduced into my home state’s legislature that would allow teachers “to miseducate students about evolution, whether by teaching creationism as a scientifically credible alternative or merely by misrepresenting evolution as scientifically controversial.”
We have the Internet and it’s for smart, thinking people, including inquisitive kids. Creationism is effectively dead, and it’s time to stop kicking the corpse. Let it go. Let them teach their kids to be ignorant, to be rightly laughed at for their ignorance.
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. [emphasis added]
Those kinds of numbers and the rate of change is a tide swell. Ignorance, lies…fantasies taken for literal…always lose eventually. In the Information age, it accelerates. Parents and pastors are about the last place young people go for valid information, anymore—as it should justly be, because they have defaulted on their responsibility by teaching them their fear-based bullshit superstitions, instead of hard-nosed reality. Now, thank His Noodlyness, with just a little effort, anyone—kids too—can find far better and more accurate information on the Internet than their parents, pastors, and in some cases even teachers, possess on most topics. This is a wonderful thing.
This week, Morning Edition explores the “nones” — Americans who say they don’t identify with any religion. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that’s their answer: “none.”
In October, the Pew Research Center released a study, ‘Nones’ on the Rise, that takes a closer look at the 46 million people who answered none to the religion question in 2012. According to Pew, one-fifth of American adults have no religious affiliation, a trend that has for years been on the rise.
You can go to the link at Pew and really dig into the mounds of data, but even a cursory look will demonstrate to you that just about no matter how you slice the data…by ethnicity, gender, income, politics, education, age etc., etc….people are getting smarter and smarter, dumping stupid, ineffective superstition for reality in real numbers and as a trend. Eventually a tipping point will be reached and the trend will accelerate more and more. It will someday be completely unfashionable to be seen as so ignorant as to believe literally in a religion. Fun, wholsome traditions will likely remain—rather like lots of atheist Jews practice today.
Alright, now for some graphs and data.
See the acceleration? Means you’re toast, Bible Thumping Wankers
C’mon Womyn, before I go all misogynist on you.
Shit, even the geezers trending up.
Slam Dunk Data!
How wonderful. I knew I was solidly on the right track when I literally raised my middle finger to the heavens in October of 1990 and never looked back for a second. My life improved immediately and immensely.
Kids: If your parents, relatives, or friends profess belief in any sort of supernatural being (God, Jesus, Allah, Ghosts) or places (heaven, hell, purgatory) they are not dealing in reality and no matter how wonderful they may be as parents, family, or friends and no matter how good their intentions, they are giving you false, primitive information based on superstition and ignorance that will likely make you uncompetitive, and potentially, a laughing stock in this modern, increasingly informed and critical world.
Tell ’em you love ’em, but then go get your information elsewhere. And kids? You’re not the only one (see: Kids Without God).
Made me chuckle, so why not a post so you can too?
It came via one of those emails this morning. Y’know, the ones you get from your health care provider—in this case, Kaiser Permanente—because they want to see you making better lifestyle choices in the pursuit of lower costs and hence, greater profits. Nothing wrong with that. Imagine what a huge HMO could do by talking and admonishing paleo to their customers, managing the process? Just imagine it.
It’ll never happen, though, because the externalities would just never work anytime soon. They’d get hammered and lose customers. Big companies would switch providers. It would all be explicitly engineered by the USDA and its whores in the media. There would be…SHUDDER…Press Conferences! And that’s not even to say that an HMO itself wouldn’t resist even if they believed it would truly help people. After all, they like their economies of scale and having a huge percentage of patients go managed paleo would shrink their whole enterprise over time.
Well, they’re all fuckers. What did you expect?
“Dress your pasta in this traditional, healthy sauce.”
My first thought after the chuckle? Bet it’s got no meat in it. My second chuckle was that it was a recipe for WhoreSauce—Puttanesca—the traditional pasta sauce Italian prostitutes devised for after a night of hard work on their backs. How fitting. It’ll put ’em to sleep until noon, I guess.
Here’s the recipe, in case you’re interested. And oh, it does have the virtue of 3 whole entire anchovy filets!!! to detract from its healthfulness pasta-bilities.
I’d received a link to this particular new journalist screed from some readers back when I was on vacation in Mexico over holiday. Scanned through it, figured Atossa Araxia Abrahamian (nor Marlene Zuk, biologist at U.C. Riverside, who wrote: What Evolution Really Tells us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live) wasn’t really into paleo. Did a quick Google search (about her, not the article), chalked it up to ignorant/big student loan/daddy and/or mommy to please…any, all, or some of foregoing…youth, motivated by “journalism” prestige. I yawned; moved on. Dime a dozen: especially the young hot chicks, ’cause that’s the only place “journalism” is, now. A decent profile pic is dandy, now.
They just keep getting taken for whores; over and over. Are men moving out of journalism? I don’t know and really don’t care to search out a reference, but it would be interesting, if true. The article stayed in the back of my mind. …As an admonisher of just going all the way from statist libertarianism to statelessness, I supposed I’d have to put out a word or two, eventually.
First up, the lie in the title: Natural’s Not In It. It is a lie absolutely, but obvious enough to go unnoticed, taken as hyperbole at worst. But, I haven’t even gotten to the lede, yet. Very simply, whatever errors anyone may ever make as subjects of new articles written, always watch for the lie in the title of a newsy piece. When you know it is, you know the rest of the story is going to be filled with static truths of the most convenient fashion (Famous journalist H.L. Mencken could have taught you this in the 1920s).
Nature’s Not In It is published in “The New Inquiry.” I like the title of the publication on face; should you really live up to it and really do serious “Inquiry.” Otherwise, you’re just cheaper than all who’ve come first who didn’t need to bother to imply a lie in their name.
The tagline, leading to the lede: How do you make a food fad appeal to libertarians? Invoke human nature.
Food fad. Well, at least she reads, too, because that schtick is at least two years old or more. Whilst all of us watch daily, as we go to market and see most people and families filling their carts with sodas, frozen or dried stuff in boxes, cans, more boxes, fruit juice boxes and on and on—while we, differently, channel our inner grandmother or ancient ancestor and fill our cart with meat, fish, fowl, vegetables and fruits we’re gonna take home and cook at home in myriad fashion, maybe pic it—we’re doing the fad thing.
2nd sentence. 2nd lie.
Every dietary preference has its corresponding political stereotype. Vegans are to Ralph Nader as meat-and-potatoes types are to Dubya. Artisanal pickle-loving hipsters gravitate towards the Obamas, and anti-soda activists have a friend in Mike Bloomberg, at least for now. Omnivores, though seemingly agnostic, are split into two camps: those who will truly eat anything, and those who will eat anything so long as it contains organic ingredients their grandmother could pronounce.
Omnivores, lumped in with vegans, people who eat only simple meat & potatoes based, those who eschew sugar, and lumped in with omnivores who’ll eat anything. Which is simply not the same but a single long shot.
…Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they teach in journalism school that three tight lies in a row = truth, as in, you can sell ’em? Well, if they don’t, they sure should. It works. The rest of the entire article is is just banal filler. You already saw all she had to offer. Three lies. The rest is just a random assortment of various random truths, some mildly relevant, others non-sequitur and I’m sure, one or two tossed in for contravention, to bolster the three initial lies that must stand as truth or the entire article is a bust.
It’s the title, the sub and the lede that’s important. She probably worked more on the rest, but it was all to bolster the three lies, because that’s all most people are going to read and at least half of them just look to the proceeding volume and make the desired conclusion.
Did I use the word whore, yet? Oh, yea, up above.
The filler is a bunch of stuff that taken alone, ought show how wildly varied Paleos are…and she’s 6 months to a year behind (it takes that long to research an article? I’m writing this in the space of a hour), as starches, often plenty of them, are now fairly mainstay for many Paleos. ….We’ve been looking for the catechism like everyone else has, but have yet to find it; and so we keep muttering & puttering along, mired in the morass of our own experience, learning from it, commenting about it on blogs and we’ll be damned but some people take up the charge and take it forward. We learn more and godammit but we’re off again. How so convenient it would be to have a Dietary Guideline(s) for All Americans.
It’s so fucking messy. It’s not neat & tidy. …Like having journalists edited by elites who get to go to important cocktail functions and so on.
So long as we can still buy meat, fish, fowl, vegetables and fruits we cook at home in various proportions that strike our peculiar fucking faddish fancies, we’ll be doing just fine and are happy to leave you to your boxes and journalism—but I repeat myself.
…Well, so much for that huge difference between Democrats & Republicans, but I digress, after having already repeated myself. I’ve already spent more time than a 3-strike liar is worth for a whole blog post. I’ll leave the rest to commenters. Fresh meat. Go for it if you like.
This, from The New York Times, came to me a while back and initially gave me a raised eyebrow.
Our Absurd Fear of Fat. Interestingly, the original working title is likely this: Our Imaginary Weight Problem: (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/opinion/our-imaginary-weight-problem.html). This tells me that the author, Paul Campos, changed his title in draft, not bothering to go back and change the automatic hyperlink that most blogging platforms will generate based on the original (I’ve been bitten myself).
Perhaps it’s neither here nor there, but it is an interesting insight into the author’s thinking. The final title is more ambiguous. Does he mean a fear of fatness? Fear of dietary fat? That one causes the other, but it doesn’t matter? I don’t know. Here’s his entry into the piece:
ACCORDING to the United States government, nearly 7 out of 10 American adults weigh too much. (In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorized 74 percent of men and 65 percent of women as either overweight or obese.)
But a new meta-analysis of the relationship between weight and mortality risk, involving nearly three million subjects from more than a dozen countries, illustrates just how exaggerated and unscientific that claim is.
The meta-analysis, published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed data from nearly a hundred large epidemiological studies to determine the correlation between body mass and mortality risk. The results ought to stun anyone who assumes the definition of “normal” or “healthy” weight used by our public health authorities is actually supported by the medical literature.
The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.
To put some flesh on these statistical bones, the study found a 6 percent decrease in mortality risk among people classified as overweight and a 5 percent decrease in people classified as Grade 1 obese, the lowest level (most of the obese fall in this category). This means that average-height women — 5 feet 4 inches — who weigh between 108 and 145 pounds have a higher mortality risk than average-height women who weigh between 146 and 203 pounds. For average-height men — 5 feet 10 inches — those who weigh between 129 and 174 pounds have a higher mortality risk than those who weigh between 175 and 243 pounds.
Yep. We’ve all known overweight people who seem relatively healthy. My own hypothesis is that so long as it’s not totally overboard, overeating probably also correlates with higher quality essential nutrition and there’s likely a large grey area where full nutrition trumps body fat accumulation (and all the “anti-nutirents,” too). And this doesn’t even get into the distinction between relatively benign or, inert, sub-cutaneous fat vs visceral, adipose tissue fat around organs.
I was all set to blog this as somewhat of a question, food for thought, etc. It is and should be no surprise that in the general paleo paradigm, lots of people are abandoning the idea of being super lean and ripped, feeling fine with 10-20 “extra pounds.” It’s so age, gene, gender and lifestyle dependent it does seem rather absurd to hold everyone to that sort of standard.
…So I Googled around and this was the top hit critiquing the piece and I must say, it’s a very fine job by Dr. David Katz, MD: Fat, Fear, and the Truly Absurd: The Perils of Ping-Pong Science.
According to a widely circulated op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times by Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado with whom I don’t believe I have ever managed to agree on anything, our “fear” of fat — namely, epidemic obesity — is, in a word, absurd. Prof. Campos is the author of a book entitled The Obesity Myth, and has established something of a cottage industry for some time contending that the fuss we make about epidemic obesity is all some government-manufactured conspiracy theory, or a confabulation serving the interests of the weight-loss-pharmaceutical complex.
In this instance, the op-ed was reacting to a meta-analysis, published this week in JAMA, and itself the subject of extensive media attention, indicating that mortality rates go up as obesity gets severe, but that mild obesity and overweight are actually associated with lower overall mortality than so-called “healthy” weight. This study — debunked for important deficiencies by many leading scientists around the country, and with important limitations acknowledged by its own authors — was treated by Prof. Campos as if a third tablet on the summit of Mount Sinai.
We’ll get into the details of the meta-anlysis shortly, but first I’d like to say: Treating science like a ping-pong ball is what’s absurd, and what scares the hell out of me. Treating any one study as if its findings annihilate the gradual, hard-earned accumulation of evidence over decades is absurd, and scares the hell out of me. Iconoclasts who get lots of attention just by refuting the conventional wisdom, and who are occasionally and importantly right, but far more often wrong — are often rather absurd, and scare the hell out of me.
And so does the obesity epidemic. […]
The first, obvious limitation of this study is that it examined mortality (death) but not morbidity (illness). The Global Burden of Disease Study, recently published in The Lancet and sponsored by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is widely acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive epidemiologic assessments in history. What it shows, among countries around the world, is that we are living longer, but sicker. Thanks to the cutting edge of biomedical advance, we can often forestall death; but high-tech medicine is not remotely as useful for cultivating health and vitality.
So, it’s no surprise that overweight and mild obesity do not increase mortality. They could cause an enormous burden of chronic disease and still not do so.
But why would overweight and mild obesity be associated with a lower rate of mortality, as the meta-analysis suggests? For one thing, when people get sick, they generally lose weight. The new study was in no way adjusted to exclude from the analysis people who were thin because they were sick. We have long had evidence that among older people, hanging onto weight is associated with better outcomes than losing weight.
And so on and on. I encourage you to read the whole debunking. He finishes:
We can, of course, become unduly focused on body weight. In fact, as a culture we do so routinely. Weight is not the issue; health is the issue. It is possible to be heavier and healthy, or thinner and sick. We should keep our eyes on the prize. And the new meta-analysis may suggest that the range of “normal” for weight could be expanded, although it by no means proves it.
But at the population level, epidemic obesity is incontrovertibly established as a clear and all-but-omnipresent danger. It is absurd to suggest otherwise. And it’s those who do so, who play ping-pong with science because of misguided bias or motivated self-interest — who threaten to forestall the societal action needed to turn this toxic tide — who frighten the hell out of me!
Nice job, Dr. Katz. I purposely didn’t look into your background or general recommendations, etc., fearing you might advocate veganism or some evil like that which would spoil it for me. I didn’t want to bias myself, because this is an excellent critique of a meta-analysis which ought to be seen as suspect in the first place. So, I remain ignorant as to your general recommendations.
Me? Easy: real food, home cooked. All of it.
Nonetheless. Good job, sir.