Don’t Stop Reporting II

I didn’t really do a blog post celebrating a year of A Million Gods, but today’s events kind of reminded me of when I started.

Today Marie Colvin and Remie Ochlik were killed in Homs as part of the Bashar Al-Assad Government’s offensive on the Syrian people. It is rumoured that they were killed as a deliberate attack on  journalists.

This reminded me of when I wrote about the sexual assault of Lara Logan. It’s almost precisely a year to the day…

I deeply admired Marie Colvin’s work across the world particularly in areas such as Sri Lanka and the work of Remie Ochlik is frankly astounding considering his age. The world is a poorer place for the loss of these people.

I feel that this event shows the level of the brutality of the fighting in Syria and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Her final report was about a child dying as no one could treat him. It does make your eyes prick between bath and pre-lunch beers. But we so quickly forget that there is a world of suffering.

The war journalist and photographer brings war to life. We forget that in this day and age of easy publishing the value of a professional observer in the ground has reduced. Their lives are more unsafe than ever since a press pass is no longer the protection it once was. We shouldn’t forget their sacrifice and the best way we can do that is by being aware of the international world rather than the latest celebrity gossip. And by acting on this information. The information to put pressure on the Syrian government is in our hands. The question remains is whether we actually use it to try and create a democratic society in Syria or do we go back to our beers.

Cults and You

I spent most of the weekend reading the very lovely Suzanne Schumacher’s blog about leaving a cult. The cult is quite famous as the Follower’s of Christ. They were involved in a bunch of people refusing medical care for their children and praying instead.

I advocate reading Does Air Exist, but urge readers to be respectful. Her beliefs are a product of a cult and she is not an atheist. It’s hard to be polite regarding this sort of thing considering the level of information control the average cult has.

It’s a good read to see what life was like in a cult and she has said that she will be having a faith healer on it as a guest blogger. It’s interesting to see what the medical luddite movement really believes in and it’s interesting to see what arguments they use as a learning experience.

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

My good sir! It’s so nice to meet you! I couldn’t possibly trouble you for a
sausage in a nice bap with some good cheese?

I saw this little bugger in the pound when I was taking a dog there to get rescued after it had accidentally got run over after it fell asleep under a car and kind of fell in love with him. I figured I was moving to a new house and that I wouldn’t mind taking him in for the time being.

His name is Tigger and he is dopey and funny and attempting to eat fudge and climb on me at the same time.

Oh his name is a spelling mistake. It’s supposed to be Tiger, but he hops around if he wants things so I figure the name is appropriate!

The Ninth Commandment

It amazes me how easily some christians breaks the commandments while claiming to be good. I have no qualms about someone who isn’t a “holier than thou” christian not following the more stupid rules of christianity. I have no issues with them. They realise that their faith isn’t perfect and adapt it to fit the reality of modern life.

There are plenty of catholic women who use actual birth control rather than wishful thinking and there are plenty of catholics who think the church’s behaviour is reprehensible. And then we have the American Life League whose lying bullshit is so noxious that one can scarcely believe that they can actually claim to uphold the ninth commandment.

A few points?

  • Abortion is not Killing. Life is not viable in any significant way till around the 24th week. Claiming it is life is completely true while also being completely dishonest since it is discussing potential life. By this logic life never really starts and stops but is a continuation. The idea is that conception is this mystical act which imbues a zygote with a soul which is a laughable concept since there is no soul (It’s an illusion. The soul is wishful thinking that our brain’s thought pattern will survive the destruction of the brain.) The sperm and egg are both alive. By this argument abortion may be murder, but ejaculation is genocide.
  • Mountains of birth control sounds like a good thing. One notices that the Catholic church encourages it’s members to not use birth control but doesn’t actually feed the children born from the lack of birth control. The ability to decide when and where we have children enables us to provide the best situations for our children. The game is quality not quantity and sensible people understand that. 
  • Obsession with Sex is planned parenthoods job. Their entire job is to encourage people to have safer sex, use contraception when avoiding pregnancy and finally to provide abortions if all that advice falls on deaf ears. A fairly health attitude to sex. While the Catholic church is just as obsessed with sex. Only with an unhealthy attitude of celibacy, masochistic beliefs, unsafe sexual practice and plain stupidity. The rules of catholicism with regards to female health are drawn up by a bunch of celibate men, many of whom are virgins whose qualifications are not based on science and medicine but in the idea that somehow belief in an imaginary friend entitles you to discuss biology, sociology and genitalia that you are unfamiliar with. 
  • Plenty of catholics use sex toys and have wide and varied sex lives. Sex isn’t bad. Of course a bunch of celibate people are going to think it’s bad. They aren’t having sex. They don’t know how good it is and indeed how to be safe and following their advice is a terrible plan. 
  • Vagina Macaroons sound pretty awesome
  • The things that play a central role in planned parenthood’s community activities just sounds retarded. One can easily say that alcohol, biscuits and crushing guilt feature heavily in catholic activity but that isn’t strictly true. The silliness is a means to an end, which is the discussion of safe sex.
  • For a group of people whose clergy have become synonymous with paedophilia, these catholics are awfully daft at accusing planned parenthood of perversion. What’s truly shocking is the double standards we apply to priests many of whom have escaped prosecution or been handed light sentences. Perverse? Sex is fun. Teaching kids to be safe and have respect for themselves is what sex education should be about. Because teaching them that about evil vaginas and penises just is a lie.
  • Planned Parenthood may get government money to teach “unrestrained sex” but the catholic church pays no taxes.
  • Only morons would think science and pornography are interchangeable. Oh baby, your fallopian tubes make my vas deferens spasm. Enough vocalisation, let us engage in coitus.
  • I don’t think sex is that addictive. Sure it’s nice, but I don’t get sick if I don’t have any sex. 
  • Masturbation is not a gateway to sex. By their logic eating is a gateway to obesity so you should NEVER EAT.
  • It’s Perfectly Normal is about puberty and the changes that occur. It teaches that the hormonal feelings are perfectly normal. The changes are perfectly natural. And the desire to masturbate and explore sexuality is perfectly natural in the context of a respectful relationship. Obviously the church wouldn’t like this. How can they make people feel guilty of unnatural desires if people figure out that those unnatural desires are actually pretty natural.
  • Cartoon people having sex is funny. Not sexy.
  • Anatomical drawings are informative, even if they are cartoons. Not sexy. Do you know what kills most people’s masturbation? Seeing cutaway sections of penis. 
  • If a dirty old man showed these things to a kid in a church, he won’t be arrested either. There is a massive difference between paedophilia and sex education. A dirty old man wants to fuck the kids. Planned parenthood prepares kids for these kinds of situations by teaching them respect. 
  • I don’t think I was told anything stimulating and intimate about sex in Sex Education. How sexually repressed do you have to be to find sex education titillating?
  • A lot of their argument consists of “ZOMG PENIS! VAGINA! DRAWINGS! Good grief? I have dissected human vaginas and penises and even helped in sectioning cadavers for educational cross sections. Trust me, it’s not sexy to see anatomical drawings of the damn things. At no point have I masturbated to Netter’s Anatomy.I am sure someone somewhere has but different strokes for different folk. I prefer my ladies real and alive and without cross sections. 
  • Oh no! Planned Parenthood are telling the truth about mastrubation! Now catholics cannot say that it makes you go blind or that masturbation can cause your cock to fall off. 
  • Orgasms are pretty sweet (if you hadn’t had one? Look forward to it). Anal Sex isn’t for everyone, take precautions and you will be fine. Oral sex is amazing. Just thought I should state the obvious. Good grief, this video paints a dire picture of catholic sex. 
  • All sexual orientations between consenting adults are perfectly acceptable. The ALL’s guilt tripping nonsense is responsible for the culture of bullying and hatred towards homosexual teenagers that results in their higher than average suicide rate. It can only get better when we completely marginalise people like these from modern society and make them irrelevant to normal discourse.
  • Encouraging the use of condoms and dental dams reduces pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Abstinence doesn’t work. It really doesn’t because sex is hardwired into human beings. It’s why catholic priests fuck up so easily. It’s because the most unnatural thing on earth is denying sex on purpose solely because you believe that it gives you magic powers to talk to some magic being. 
  • Being gay is precisely like being left handed. I didn’t have the best childhood upbringing as a left hander. I was routinely treated by other indians as broken and people did try and correct my hand usage. You are born left handed, the catholics once beat the fuck out of you if you were left handed. Today it’s
    the gays. The word Sinister comes from “left handedness”. Incidentally if you want a fun fact of trivia the opposite of Sinister is Dexter. 
  • Oh noes! The kids will have to meet gays. Seriously? Have you seen what the average 13 year old watches on TV? Have you seen a Rihanna video? The Pussy Cat Dollz? Christina Aguillera? How is this any different from that? 
  • 1/4 girls has an STD. That is true. The majority being HPV. Nearly 90% of STD cases are due to HPV. Not all STDs are alike. 
  • Planned Parenthood throws sexy parties? That seems unlikely. 
  • This man’s definition of sexy scares and terrifies me. Raise your hands if you think penis tentacled monsters are sexy. Raise your hands if you think condom balloon kama sutra is funny. 
  • Showing people dressed up as genitalia during a demonstration about sex rights is pretty retarded. It’s planned parenthood supporters making a stand. Planned Parenthood probably don’t dress up as penises and vaginas for normal work. If they did it would be highly amusing but also highly inappropriate.
  • It doesn’t matter what a woman wears, no means no. Neither Burkha nor Bikini are permission for rape of any sort. 
  • This fisting kit blatantly says “how to make a dental dam” on it. And straight people like fisting too. It is estimated that more straight men enjoy receiving anal sex than gay men. And if that is the case? No glove! No love! 
  • Japanese culture has a penis festival? They sound pretty awesome.
  • Planned Parenthood gives out free contraception. I don’t know about you but “get the kids addicted to sex so we have to give out more contraception” doesn’t seem like a solid business strategy. Remind me again, in order to run a business are we supposed to make money or put it into condoms that we give out for free?
  • Birth control in the form of condoms reduces STD tests and Abortions
These are roughly all the lies. I lost count, I really did. Do any real people believe in this nonsense or is this group a parody? I cannot tell.

But just to be on the safe side, fund Planned Parenthood. At the best, your money will go to guaranteeing your children and your daughters in particular receive healthcare and education about sex  that is untainted by people whose qualifications are belief in magic. At the very worst you will piss off the ALL.

I disagree with JT Eberhard – Valentine’s day is actually kind of fun

I actually disagree that Valentine’s Day sucks. I quite like it, it’s a silly day where you are encouraged to be silly and romantic. You don’t need that excuse on other days but sometimes it’s nice to be part of the crowd. 
Look, days like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and all the other days are just days where people do something special. The meaning of christmas to some people is Jesus and all that jazz, but I was a Hindu. Christmas was about sitting with your family and laughing as you try to make “white people food”, complain about it being too bland and then spicing up the recipes (My turkey used to be cooked in a tandoori and we had curry rather than gravy). You can still enjoy something even if it doesn’t mean the same thing to you. 
Yes, it sucks to be single on Valentine’s Day. But you know what? If you are single and you think it’s a problem then every event where you are in contact with people in relationships is irritating. A simple dinner with my cousins often turns into me looking awkwardly at the ceiling while they discuss “married people things”. Being an odd numbered wheel sucks sometimes. Being the odd wheel around a public display of affection sucks. The only difference between Valentine’s Day and any other day is the quantity of people who are doing the whole PDA thing. It’s the same at Christmas or Easter or any day where people get together in large groups with their significant others and you are on your own around a lot of booze.

And I had to spend Christmas holidays this year by myself locked in a room with medical textbooks instead of with my family. I had a break for a few days for a friend’s wedding but my holiday was mainly educational. Let’s just say that calling it a “depressing holiday” is an understatement. Imagine knowing that you HAVE to sit and study while every person you know is out eating, drinking and having fun? Imagine seeing all your friends get married, settle down and have a kid while you don’t even have the time to go out and get a beer. It all sucks when you aren’t getting it but you know what? It’s my choice to trade in my 20s in exchange for a medical degree and it’s my choice to get my degree in India. So I can complain but I cannot change the reality of the situation. 

I have been single for 2 years and 8 months now. In that time period I have had a single proper fling and that was less about a feasible relationship and more about “high school reunion with someone who I fancied and vice versa who lives on the other side of the globe and who I hadn’t seen since I was 15″. And it frankly sucks, but what makes it suck isn’t the fact that all the people in relationships are having fun or have a day where they rub it in my face. It sucks because I have an issue with it. I mean that’s like saying that I shouldn’t hit on women around my friends who are in monogamous relationships because they cannot. I am pretty much doomed to a bare minimum of another 3 years of being single. I pretty much live and work in a place where 
  1. The normal dating arena is way too expensive for me. I make roughly 700 rupees a week. A drink in a bar is 120 rupees .Entry into most clubs is often more expensive than what I get a week as a stipend and my stipend mainly is spent on food and treats.
  2. Where I have a completely different cultural upbringing to the people who surround me and so have absolutely nothing in common 
  3. Where my baldness is a major issue to the point where people have stopped me in the street to ask me if I had an accident or cancer and where people actively pity me for my hair loss at such a young age.
  4. My course treats me as a dog’s body and tends to give me the worst jobs. HIV/AIDS patients are the modern day lepers and thus I am stuck working with them. My choice of who I work with makes me a social pariah to a lot of people.

And what would insult me more is if people treated me like my feelings were so delicate and fragile that I would be insulted if I were to see people having fun on Valentine’s Day. No more so than my feelings being insulted for seeing people having fun on Christmas or Easter or St. Patrick’s Day or pretty much any other day of the year. And you know what? One day I will not be stuck here, one day I will be back home and one day I will have a social life. And at that point, I wouldn’t want to have to pussy foot around someone else worrying about their feelings with regards to my relationship.

So don’t worry about us single people. We don’t have someone to date, it doesn’t mean we are big giant babies. Most of us can handle Valentine’s Day just fine!

Valentine’s Day Massacre: Indiana’s Drones and the Temple of Dumb

Why are we even discussing whether religion and science should be taught on the same footing in a classroom? It is 2012, and we have touched the moon, made smallpox extinct, created the internet and routinely chose to hurl ourselves through the air in metal cylinders powered by dead monsters.

And somehow despite all this technology that science has created to make our lives better in every single possible way, you still have people like the members of the Indiana Senate who tried (and will probably try again) to get a bill that allows for the teaching of creationism in schools.

It’s such a faulty premise that something that has been repeatedly proven to be true has to be taught alongside the notion that the world was created as it is by magic. It beggars belief that we are even discussing this in this time period with what we know. At its heart it is an attempt to shoehorn Jesus into children and hammer home the idea that religion also has answers that should be treated as equally valid to science. After all, it’s rather embarrassing to claim divine knowledge and be so ignorant about the functioning of the world. Science just makes religion look bad by exposing the depths of wilful ignorance that it encourages.

The teaching of Creationism irrespective of its source does not align at all with reality and therefore with science. They are stories, nothing more and nothing less than that. Teaching them in a classroom as fact doesn’t harm you. It harms your children by creating a group of people who do not question things properly and who simply blindly accept the fact that magic exists. 

As a United Methodist pastor, I am part of a Christian tradition that looks to Scripture, church tradition, critical thinking and relevant experience to reflect on God and make decisions about life in relationship to our Scriptures. Within this framework, there is plenty of room for science, including the science of evolution. What can be measured and tested and studied through scientific methods informs my theology, and my theology informs how I understand the results of that scientific method. I am not an expert on other faith traditions, but I imagine that many of them could make similar claims.

Brenda Freije doesn’t get the point in the best way. Her attitude is that reconciliation between science and wishful thinking is possible. She chooses to treat the account in Genesis as a guideline or story, stating that there is tremendous wisdom in the bible as its defence. There is tremendous wisdom in Harry Potter (honour, courage, intelligence, hard work, bravery, friendship, sacrifice, doing what’s right, love, responsibility and universality) but I wouldn’t want it to be read in schools in lieu of actual science. To me the bible has some really terrible things in it. So does Harry Potter, but the terrible things in Harry Potter are done by people who are clearly villains while a lot of the terrible things done in the bible are due to the direct action of men who are considered “good” and by the deity who claims to be good. Her vision of Christianity is a very mellow and mild one that simply ignores a lot of the text of the book.

Rather than stating that science is right because it is based on experiment and proof and that the biblical account is based on allegory, she goes for the “we don’t know what’s right” argument. The truths in the Bible have been repeatedly proven empirically wrong and the only way to deal with that is by claiming that there is mystical truth that only comes from belief and study. 

Science and religion ask different questions and apply different methods of study. This doesn’t make them incompatible. It does make them distinct. Claims about God as the creator of life are claims of faith. Claims that there is no divine power behind the created order are claims of a different kind of faith. It is the role of parents and our communities of faith to teach about these claims and to help our children think critically about the science they are learning. 

Science asks questions, religion makes up answers. Science does study and experiment and test while religion does not. The claim that there is no divine power in the universe is based on the observable fact that there is no divine power in the universe. To date not one person who claims to believe in the divine has been capable of providing evidence that the divine exists. The day proof is provided; we will accept a god exists. But till now there is none.

Next we have Donald Lacy, a United Methodist Pastor.

First, and likely the most difficult, has to do with what understanding(s) of creationism is to be presented to students. I suggest the place to begin for our great state is to seek out scholarly representatives of those that can trace their beginning to Father Abraham: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Perhaps the Senate itself could do this. But what branches of each should come together? Christianity alone has numerous denominational groupings. Potential chaos? Is consensus possible? 

Firstly, the USA has a establishment clause banning the promotion of religion in a classroom. It doesn’t matter what god you believe in, you cannot flog it in a classroom. And none of the Abrahamic faiths have a grasp on how old the earth is by a factor of nearly the entire existence of the earth. Islam has been around for less than 2000 years. The world has been around for 4.5 billion years. This isn’t philosophy where all views are equal. This is science, and it’s not a democracy. It’s a meritocracy. If your view has evidence then your view stands. If your evidence is flawed then your view falls. And the evidence for all abrahamic faith is faulty at its very core. It doesn’t matter how much you agree about it if you are agreeing about the existence of unicorns. 

Second, if some agreement can be reached on what is to be taught as creationism and implemented, we must look into the future. Who or what has the authority, responsibility and accountability to decide the validity of such teaching by providing objective testing? We may very well have a menacing wall that only partially comes down. Will each proponent insist on his/her way? Again, is consensus possible? 

Secondly, creationism shouldn’t be taught. Not until they can provide empirical evidence. Because so far there has been no empirical research out of the movement let alone any
thing that substantiates their proof. We hear about research but close examination shows it to be laughable and unacceptable at the level at which a 12 year old child would do science. We cannot and should not teach anything this faulty. 

Third, we must at least mention Buddhism and Hinduism. Our state definitely has devotees. In the late 1950s, we had a brilliant Christian professor at Butler School of Religion (Christian Theological Seminary) whose name was Joseph Smith. I relished every minute of his comparative history of religions and wrote essays on both religions. Often, after classes, I was ready to convert or find a way to incorporate them into Methodism. Well, dear friends, is consensus possible?

Thirdly, Hinduism’s creation mythos is clearly entrenched in magic. And hindus themselves tend to not believe in their own creation mythos relying heavily on science because that explains the world better. The Buddhist mythos varies wildly depending on the influence of Hinduism but it was originally a atheistic/agnostic belief system with the flaw being that it believed in a series of personal laws that apply to behaviour. Neither of these religions have enforced creationist mythos to the same level as the nonsense portrayed by the Abrahamic faiths. Encouraging them to be just like you just adds to the whole problem. And their creation mythos is completely alien to Abrahamic Faith.

Fourth, the crossing of lines between church, synagogue, mosque and state is probable. Aligning creationism with science may simply seem politically practical. Simply? Really now, it gets at the heart of who and what we are. We Christians should seriously propose a major interfaith event — inviting Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists to a spacious classroom for prayers. The governor, legislature, Supreme Court and state superintendent of public instruction should join us. 

Fourthly, Why? This seems like a giant waste of time and money. The USA has a tonne of problems regarding education without dragging magic into the mix. And it does not get at the heart of who we are as human beings.

We are the product of 3 billion years or so of evolution. We are a product of death, destruction and pain since the wheel of evolution is based on the deaths of others. Those who live to breed were lucky or were the best. We are the product of that. We have evolved to use tools and to solve problems using tools. And those two skills have allowed us as humans to break the normal cycle of evolution and become a force of nature unto ourselves. Our tools and brain have allowed us to create a society where we are not subject to the normal pressures of evolution. We have come from a history of incredible cruelty, brutality and strife to create a society that doesn’t need to be those things. We have the luxury as people to explore ideas such as kinship, universality and knowledge. At the heart of it, a human being is a powerful brain coupled with artifice mixed in with the right measures of cunning, dexterity and brute force to have become the most powerful and most self aware species that we are currently aware of. And it is these abilities and the appropriate application of them that allow us to get along with each other and become more.

To claim that we are the magic offspring of some mythical entity is to insult our true nature, and to forget what we truly are.

And finally we get to Greg Manship. An instructor in ethics at the University of Indianapolis.

Creationism aligns with science because both seek to bring understanding to the origins and fundamentals of the material world as we know it. Both science and faith help us to understand ourselves as human beings living with other human and nonhuman beings in a finite, material world within an infinite universe.

Creationism is not science, it is faith. It tries to ally with science because every time it has raised its ugly head it’s been defeated by empirical evidence which is what science is based on. It is trying to pass itself off as science in the same way that chiropractors and homeopaths try to pass themselves off as doctors. It does so in order to get acceptance into schools and so that it can replace genuine education with “Jesus”.

By faith, we understand the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Scriptures to reveal God as creator of the sun and the moon as “great lights . . . to mark day and night.” By science, we understand the nature of the sun’s light to be a massive release of visible and invisible electromagnetic energy, and the nature of the moon’s light to be the reflection of the sun’s light. 

Why has this man been hired to teach at a university? This man blatantly doesn’t even grasp how stars are formed. In this idiot’s world the sun and moon’s existence are to mark day and night as the world’s largest clocks. That god created the goddamn sun (a ball of nuclear fire that is a million times larger than the earth) solely for us to be able to tell when morning begins. Does God not intend for us to live in the Arctic or Antarctic where the sun often doesn’t set for months and where night can last an entire winter? No! Because that is clearly moronic because the “Ancient Hebrew Text” assumes the sun exists solely for human benefit.

On the other hand, by science we understand that the Higgs boson is a hypothetical subatomic particle that is the theoretical cause for mass and matter, which constitutes material reality as we know it. And by faith (defined by the author of the Book of Hebrews as “confidence in what we hope for . . . evidence of what we cannot see”) we understand that despite the lack of evidence so far, with more experimentation and explanation, the Higgs boson (which the media have labeled the “God particle”) will be found, thus completing our understanding of the material world (according to the Standard Model of particle physics). 

I will raise my hand here. I do not understand the science behind particle physics. I understand it is science, but my education diverged from physics down the route of biology which is closer to chemistry than it is to particle physics. To me it is a mysterious world of strange names and I feel like the average physicist when confronted by the strange names of medicine. However? I understand that there is a logical position on why physicists make the statements they do. I understand that they test their hypothesis and are not making assumptions or guesses but are working towards understanding the world slowly and painfully.

I will not however assume that a bunch of 3000 year old Jews knew anything about the Higgs Boson just because a single line in a book, nor apply the term faith to what is effectively an educated guess or a prediction. The Higgs Boson is a prediction; mathematics and logic postulate the existence of the Higgs Boson in much the same way that Mendeleev predicted the existence of Noble Gases and even left space out for undiscover
ed elements in his periodic table. These were not based on faith but logic and actual hard science. A biological example would be the Darwin Orchid, where Darwin predicted it was pollinated by a moth whose tongue was of unprecedented length. 21 years after his death the moth was discovered vindicating his theory based on the fact that the plant had honey whose sole purpose is the attraction of insects, but it was honey placed deep within the flower which had a long flower that needed a long tongue. So since Darwin noticed no hummingbirds that would have the necessary tongue and bill to drink, he postulated it must be a night living moth since he hadn’t seen the creature and humming birds are diurnal. His education in entomology and biology allowed him to make the postulation. It wasn’t a leap of faith but a calculated jump made using knowledge and understanding.

There is no faith without science, for even Jesus challenged Thomas to gather empirical evidence by touching Jesus’ resurrected body. And there is no science without faith, for even scientists have faith and believe in the possibilities of what they have not yet seen with their own eyes. We fail our students and we fool ourselves when we “believe” we have “proof” of the “incompatibility” between science and faith. 

And finally it’s the assumption that faith in science and in religion is equivalent to each other. Faith is the absence of science, and the faith of a scientist in possibilities that are yet to come is not based on faith but by the theoretical application of a new discovery or an existing piece of technology. We do not live our lives based on that technological future and we apply logic and common sense to it as we develop a greater understanding that religion simply does not.

What fails the American student is the introduction of non-real things to education. We are not discussing creationism, we are discussing magic. We are discussing a belief in a hypothetical entity possessing the ability to break the known laws of the universe at whim in order to create an entire universe solely for the benefit of around 7 billion people who have to worship it in order for an unknown benefit that is poorly defined. Creationism is not science; it is superstition attempting to masquerade as science in order to flog more superstition. It is entirely incompatible with science as science requires proof.

If creationism is allowed to enter our schools, then science should be allowed to enter your church. After all, if we are trying to be fair and balanced we should be fair and balanced in all aspects. All in favour say aye! 

Valentine’s Day Massacre : Secularism denies History and Destroys Identity

Hello whine whine whine? I would like to call a Waaahmbulance for Tim Stanley.

The argument he makes is one made by racists and morons across the fair isle I like to call as home. And it can be summarised as….

“My privilege! How dare you stop me from exercising my right to be privileged! Don’t you know we are a Christian nation? How dare you destroy that! Can’t you see you are destroying culture with your heathen ways of secularism!”

It beggars belief that we have people who think like this. This man who thinks that British history being defined by faith is a good thing. Our history is filled with complete and utter bastards because of religion. The British Museum is a museum and also a crime scene in progress from all the stuff we nicked and all the stupidity of religious intolerance. It’s the past but it’s also the truth. We stuck flags in various places and took a lot of stuff from people who didn’t have the maxim gun. It’s the truth. We really cannot change that truth. We also did a lot of fairly insane things when the UK went through it’s fundie christian phase. When we were running around stabbing other christians because they believed in a slightly different set of events in the bible.

She opened with “Tim, they’re trying to outlaw Christianity in England.” I think she had slightly misread the effort to ban prayers at council meetings, but I understood what she meant. My mom is an unapologetic, born again Baptist, and – from her perspective – she lives in frightening times. “

It just shows how silly this is. No one’s trying to outlaw christianity in the UK. It’s just that we don’t think prayer is inclusive, sensible or acceptable as a public option. We have grown out of our christian nation and become a humanist secular society. And it is for the better. Our society is much better off than it ever was even in times of a recession. The only people who don’t like it are the religious right (who are thankfully rare) and the racists (who are surprisingly not).

One of the things that I love about America (I’m currently living in Washington DC) is that it’s a country where religion is part of the geography and language of everyday life. For someone who grew up in a religious household, that’s normal and nice. But it’s certainly not the norm for most contemporary Britons. Religion has been slowly squeezed out of mainstream British culture. I find – and I recognise that this is a subjective appraisal – that this makes the UK quite a sterile place to live. For you don’t need to believe in God to see the cultural value of belief. For good and bad, it has shaped global history for thousands of years. To eradicate it from the public sphere is to eradicate one’s own history. It leaves us without a shared identity. 

Indeed! We should be more like America where they would NEVER have elected any member of the GLBT to their equivalent of parliament because of the choice of who they love. We should be like America where millions of people think the most important skill of a politician should be how much he believes in their god. We should be like America where they regularly attempt and sometimes succeed in denying the basic rights of a woman to access healthcare and contraception. We should be like America where 45% of the people believe that the man on our currency is wrong (Darwin) and that humans were divinely created from two individuals who lived around 4000 BC.

We do see the cultural value of belief. We see it when hypocrites such as the Catholic Church deny sex education, contraception and abortion to women across the world while they protect paedophiles from justice and indeed give them the opportunity to offend again and again. We see it in the various protestant groups whose anti-science stances and anti-gay stance makes them a danger to freedoms of all. We see it in the various muslim groups who routinely threaten free speech and indeed encourage and validate young men and women to fight and die for a stupid cause while treating women as little more than property. We see jews being guilted into supporting Israel whose behaviour recently has been nothing short of super villainous. We see hindus being conned by little more than stage magicians and being whipped up into a frenzy over a variety of nonsense. The culture of belief is frankly one of terrible ideas that belong in a museum. You can believe in a god or gods as long as they do not harm anyone and as long as you keep your belief away from how society functions.

Where has Britain’s once proud religiosity gone? In America this week,Barack Obama attempted to force Catholic organisations to provide contraception as part of their employee healthcare packages.  The American people rose up in outrage and he backed down. He won’t try that again. Why is it that a country that has separated church and state in its Constitution is more respectful of faith than a country that has an established church? It is a question that the Anglican hierarchy needs to address as soon as possible.

And you are proud of that? The Catholic Church’s stance on contraception is infamous for being part of the problem in which roughly 23 million people in Africa are going to die from HIV and AIDS. DIE. Not get hurt, or get crippled but DIE. The Catholic Church may think that sex education is a muttered warning about Father Smyth, but the rest of us think that a bunch of virgins and celibate blokes who have no idea about sex shouldn’t be giving advice on how to have it. And that in the USA there is no NHS so women do not have access to equal levels of healthcare and that in areas where catholics are giving out healthcare, they may ignore basic healthcare.

It has been empirically proven that a sex positive attitude to sexuality is the best. Sex positivity is the idea that sex is fun but you should never be pressured into having sex that you don’t want and you should respect yourself. Even if your fantasies are the most degrading ever (I have dated someone with a rape fantasy before), they are explor
ed in a fashion involving consent and respect and boundaries. And one of those is contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted STDs. This actually reduces pregnancies and empowers a lot of women and men who have healthy attitudes to sex. The american method of abstinence is like not providing soldiers with body armour while claiming that the best way to survive a gun battle is to dodge bullets. True, but it is incredibly impractical and the bad guys do so very much insist on shooting at you rather than around you. And it’s a lot harder to deal with an actual pregnancy or a STD when you could have simply avoided it by insisting your man friend puts a condom on.

We have come a long way as a country because we have embraced multiculturalism and secularism. We will go a long way because of that. The USA should serve as a warning that any country can become a near theocracy if we simply don’t pay any attention and fight for what is correct rather than what is discriminatory and superstitious. 

Back to the Grind

So I am done with exams (finally!) and can get back to regular posts and the like. And this seems like a good time to discuss the whole abortion issue that has raised it’s ugly head.

See the problem with abortion is that it’s not a good thing. None of us like abortions, even the doctors who do them. An abortion isn’t celebrated with balloons and ice cream and get well cards. It’s a tragic but necessary procedure. The final throw of a dice to deal with a pregnancy. Not one person says “I LOVE ABORTION”. Instead it’s a serious decision made when people cannot care for a child at all.

Oh it’s easy to say “Spend 9 months being pregnant then give it up for adoption!”. To which our response is “sure”. First find a way to adopt every single bloody child from the already full to the brim adoption system and foster care system. There are always more children than people willing to adopt. And while new born babies are easier to adopt, you are placing pressure on a system which is already full to the brim.

Abortions happen whether you like it or not. The difference between a Medical Termination of Pregnancy and some yahoo with a coat hanger is that it’s safer (by a lot) to get it done by someone who knows how all your bits function. It’s also less traumatic since some abortion methods are the equivalent of being punched in the stomach or having bits jabbed into your cervix and uterus which can cause infections or even shock and death. (Trigger Warning)

A non medical abortion is a terrifying incident. If the likes of Mitt Romney have their way this poor girl who was so terrified into harming herself in such a horrific way would be prosecuted for murder. Do you think it’s right or fair?

It’s insane that we can even discuss the banning of abortion as a legal alternative. Will the Republicans fork out money to care for these children? Not bloody likely! Quantity of life is not quality of life unless you think that somehow more people = better which simply makes you dumb. It shows a complete lack of grasp of any reality in the republican and indeed the various Christian denominations which rally against abortion.

The truth remains that it matters if you ban abortion. It’s not that abortion rates drop but it’s that abortion safety drops. Abortion rates drop with the adoption of responsible sex education and placing the onus on both genders to keep safe. Pro-life education however is a big fan of abstinence only education. And these are things that americans who are pro-life do know about.

Many pro-life organisations in the USA do missionary work in the Philippines. I have wrote about them before and I feel it’s only fitting for us to revisit the topic. If only to see what a world would be like where pro-lifers have their way. It’s a terrifyingly graphic article with graphic videos produced by Likhaan. It may not be suitable for all.

But I do feel it’s worth seeing what the reality on the ground is in a country with no choice. The reality on the ground in places like the USA was before the legalisation of abortion. 

It Gets Better – Do Something Good

Rolling Stone carries an article about the war on teenagers who merely belong to the GLBT minority and it is heart rending to read.

Show your support. Don’t just say that “it will get better in some nebulous future”, try and make it change now.

Be the change you want to be. Don’t let people suffer in silence. Bullying is wrong, and society sponsored bullying is just as unacceptable. 

Clearly you are a moron if you think medicine works anything like this.

Some people have some very strange ideas on what we do in the medical field. It’s quite strange that people explicitly spread such utter bullshit and indeed believe such nonsense. I write this article in response to an anti-vaccine comment that medicine is close minded because it matches these ideas. And I figured I should break it down. I shall post their arguments here (It is a TL:DR post so I am warning in advance) as well. As a short key all points labelled (a) refer to medicine, all points labelled (b) refer to quackery in general (really? Take your pick)

1a. One-sided: Different or opposing views are either ignored, misrepresented, under-represented, or denigrated. 1b. Many sided: Issues examined from many points of view; opposition fairly represented.

1. We only represent evidence. In the same way a science class is not going to teach you about how the aztec gods sacrificed themselves to create humanity or the stork theory, science isn’t going to accept anything that is not grounded in demonstrable proof. Not all points of view are equal.

2a. Uses generalizations, “allness” statements, and lack of specific references and data. 2b. Uses qualifiers: Statements supported with specific references and data. 

2. Generalisations are for the lay public. You clearly cannot understand what we say so we are forced to use generalisations to help you understand. Because you don’t have the necessary education to understand in much the same way that a theoretical physicist would have to generalise things for me to understand.

3a. Card Stacking: Data carefully selected – even distorted – to present only the best or worse possible case. Language used to conceal. 3b. Balanced: Presents samples from a wide range of available data on the subject. Language used to reveal.

3. We actually have to compare worst case outcomes and state those. We also have to use our rationale in using a middle figure between best and worst figures and we do post all our stats and have to ensure they are available.

4a. Misleading use of statistics. 4b. Statistical references qualified with respect to size, duration, criteria, controls, source and subsidizer.

4. Actually it’s because anti-vax simply do not understand stats. There is a 100% decrease in the amount of smallpox cases from 1985 to now because we made it extinct by vaccination. Prior to the 1970s roughly 2 to 3 million people would die from it across the globe and prior to european vaccination schemes roughly a million people would die from it in Europe alone. The earliest mass vaccination scheme for smallpox was actually seen during the American War for Independance where the americans adopted smallpox vaccination while the british did not. The deaths were spectacularly different from smallpox. (It was balanced out. The british rum and lime rashion ensured they never got scurvy.)

And medical statistics are famous for their use of controls, duration, sizes of research and sources use have to be heavily documentated as plagiarism is treated as a serious crime in medicine. It’s career suicide to plagiarise someone’s work particularly in the world of the internet. And I assume subsidiser means sponsors? Plenty of research is government sponsored.

5a. Herding: Ignores distinctions and subtle differences. Attempts to bring together superficially similar elements together. Reasons by analogy. 5b. Discrimination: Points out differences and subtle distinctions. Use analogies carefully, pointing out differences and non-applicability.

5. We actually realise that most people are basically the same internally. No matter how special a flower you think you are, your bowels still function like everyone else and your faecal samples still smell and are filled with bacteria just like everyone else.. There are few exceptions and we recognise those better than the alt med quacks. The Alt. Med however recognise non existent differences which is completely bonkers. We may as well determine which people are sanguine and which people are choleric.

6a. False Dilemma (either/or): Only two solutions to the problem or two ways of viewing the issue – the “right way” (writer or speaker’s way) and the “wrong way” (any other way). 6b. Alternatives: There are many ways of solving a problem or viewing an issue.

6. There are multiple ways to solve a problem. There is however the most effective way and lesser effective ones. The problem is that the alt. medicine way is practically as useless as a chocolate teapot made with poisoned chocolate.

7a. Appeals to Authority: Statements by selected authority figures used to clinch an argument. “Only the expert knows” approach. 7b. Appeals to reason: Statements by authority figures and concerned parties used to stimulate thought and discussion. “Experts seldom agree”.

7. Doctors treating people is not an appeal to authority in the same way that licensing a car driver is not an appeal to authority. A doctor is someone trained and tested in treating patients while a car driver is someone who is trained and tested in driving cars. They are both licensed for a reason. In addition you wouldn’t hire a non qualified person to wire your electricity, you wouldn’t hire some guy on the street to represent you in a court of law and last I heard NASA and the LHC aren’t given to asking lay people to make decisions for them. I mean, I wouldn’t give you my car to repair. I would give it to a qualified mechanic. I know I am not qualified to repair the damn thing. I know the mechanic is. It’s not an appeal to the mystical authority of the mechanic. It’s an acceptance that mechanics have knowledge that I do not, and know how to apply that knowledge. I could learn if taught but I have better things to do with my life.

And not every “expert” is a good one. There are plenty of “experts” who think laetrile is good for treating cancer. Doesn’t make them right! It makes them dangerously stupid.

8a. Appeals to consensus or bandwagon approach: “Everybody’s doing it so it must be right”. 8b. Appeals to fact: Facts selected from broad data base. Logical, ethical, aesthetic and psycho-spiritual aspects considered.

8. Medicine has made incredible stances on really bad practices ranging from installation of sewages to construction of clean drinking water. The original cholera epidemics were combatted by doctors. The father of epidemiology was a doctor with a wrench who would steal pump handles in cholera striken areas to stop the sprea
d. Added to which our stance on exercise and healthy eating is well known even if you don’t chose to recognise it. No proper sane doctor has recommended eating burgers or pies. We accept that those things are delicious so we say “Make it a treat” because life is to short to go without burger and pie. Similarily our drives to get healtheir eating habits for children at schools and to stamp out smoking and to decrease the amount of salt people consume are all well known.

And the application of the words Logical and Ethical to alternative medicine is frankly oxymoronic while aesthetic and psycho spiritual healthcare is just plain moronic.

9a. Appeals to emotions and emotional responses: Uses words and pictures with strong emotional connotations. 9b. Appeals to people’s capacity for thoughtful, reasoned responses: Uses emotionally neutral words and illustrations.

9. The Autism MMR campaign is the textbook defintion of this. And medical textbooks look at suffering objectively. It is testament to the fact that anti-vax have never read a medical document in their lives. If you think we use charged and emotional language in medical literature then you must be a vulcan. An illogical vulcan.

But that’s the catch 22, if we use charged language your response is “See they are appealing to your fear and compassion. How dare they!” and if we treat it objectively your response is “How can you soulless automatons treat human beings like that? Don’t you feel anything inside! You logical bastards!”.

10a. Labeling: Uses labels and derogatory language to describe proponents of opposing viewpoint. 10b. Avoids labels and derogatory language: Addresses the argument, not the people supporting a particular viewpoint.

10. The individual who prompted me to write this is clearly extremely smart and a wonderful person which is why she is incapable of understanding the most basic of science and math, fails at reading and comprehension, and is actively delusional to the point of being a textbook case of it. To top it off she actively deny the deaths of millions of people across the world to diseases and are actively part of the group of people whose ideology helped spread the disease going so far as to support the work of the South African president Mbeki who was responsible for the infamous Salad Bar at a HIV and AIDS conference and is responsible for nearly 3 million extra HIV cases due to his policies which caused an increase in rate as he pulled money from functional HIV programs and retroviral therapy to put money into vitamins and “healthy eating”. Clearly she is a role model for all time. Quick! Let’s take down statues of Albert Schweizer and put up statues of her! Oh wait, she is clearly a moron of the highest order and an all around opposing force to human development and progress. It’s a statement of fact. I don’t have to respect idiots. If you came out and stated that NASA shouldn’t be allowed to fly rockets lest it punch a hole in the tapestry on which the stars are held up we would call you a fucking moron. Same rules apply here.

11a. Promotes attitudes of attack and/or defense with the aim of selling a position or product. 11b. Promotes attitudes of openness and inquiry. Aim is to discover.

11. This point doesn’t even make any sense. We attack and defend our position because it’s not a game to faff around with. It’s actually people’s lives. Alt. Med are parasites feeding off the fears of real medicine portraying their bullshit as harmless. Either treating healthy people as if they were sick or convincing healthy people that they must use supplements that are often extremely expensive while charging them for water and things that simply do not work while encouraging them to ignore things that do work with horrific consequences. And lest we forget that Alt. Med do not work for free and charge (often quite steeply) for their consultations.

12a. Ignores assumptions and built-in biases. 12b. Explores assumptions and built-in biases.

12. We don’t make assumptions. They are confusing educated guess with assumption. If you have a painless lesion and peripheral neuropathy with systemic infection signs, but with no viable culture, I can use my knowledge of disease to infer that it is leprosy because it fits the hallmark of symptoms and M. Leprae cannot be cultured in vitro. We can culture it on mice feet but you know what? It’s simpler to start the treatment and poke around 10,000 fields (yeah that’s right… 10,000 microscope fields) for Acid Fast bacteria from the exudate of the lesion. And we actually are phenomenally good at identifying bias. It’s why we keep hamstringing the frankly criminally stupid posts of the anti-medicine luddites. We can clearly identify bias, we clearly understand your motivations for lying and we clearly point it out. We are completely unforgiving to other people’s research. We don’t accept research without hardcore evidence and often repeat research.

13a. Language promotes lack of awareness and unconsciousness. 13b. Language usage promotes greater awareness and consciousness.

13. What does that even mean? I shall assume it means the language is difficult and confusing to them.

It’s very very simple. Offside! Now this word means a lot to the average european or the average african or the average south and central american. To the average USAmerican? Fuck All. Do you know what travelling is? No? The average american does. A googly or a doosra? Or Reverse Swing? Most brits will not, american simply would think I am having a stroke, but ask an Indian or a Pakistani and they will go into immense detail about such cricket terms. Now why do these terms exist? Because they describe things that occur in a specific context and allows people withing that context to communicate. The same rules apply to car mechanics who know names of parts of machines that I do not and to people who understand things like quarks and indeed to medics. It’s because you are uneducated in medicine that you do not understand the language and terminology. It’s there for us to communicate specifically with other doctors across the globe using the same notions and terminology about things. It’s not there for obfuscation purposes since we actually explain terminology online and are willing to explain it.

A lot of the terminology you see is infact pharmaceutical short hand which stops errors from occurring. It’s just short hand to ensure we can write a lot of information in a single line of note paper so that pharmacists can read it easily. 300 mg. Paracetemol. Stat means patient can take 300 mg of paracetemol when the fever requires it. If we wanted to obfuscate we would actually use the old medical terminology in Latin or not tell people our secret language on the bloody internet. A lot of the names we use are descriptive. I mean Bone tumour is just cancer to you but there are different types of bone tumours ranging from benign to malignant. Osteoma, Osteosarcoma, Giant Cell tumour, Haemangioma, Neurofibroma, Multiple Myeloma, Osteochondroma… And many more. Each are different and each have different prognosis and outcomes. An osteoma is awkward and painfu
l. An osteosarcoma is practically a death sentence if it’s not caught early since it metastasises easily.

14a. Can lead to tunnel vision and bigotry. 14b. Can lead to breadth of vision and understanding.

14. Most medical practitioners are extremely broadly based. And many are insanely talented at many other things. And the medical profession are some of the least bigotted people on earth. I think you mean bigotted against bullshit. As I said, empirically prove your nonsense. We will give you a million dollars. Because not one person has been able to prove in a moderated and unbiased test that their nonsensical quackery actually works. In the words of Tim Minchin.

Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.
If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I’ll spin on a fucking dime
I’ll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It’s a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!
You show me that it works and how it works
And when I’ve recovered from the shock
I will take a compass and carve Fancy That on the side of my cock

15a. Referenced studies conceal conflict-of-interest funding sources.. 15b. Referenced studies reveal conflict-of-interest funding sources.

15. While anti-vax refer to people such as Mercola, Andrew Wakefield and Mike Adams who directly profit from their research. Most papers are published as part of hospital research with little to no funding or with hospital grant funding such as my friend’s reasearch into GPU heart modelling or another friend and his medical research into detection of patent foramen ovale through ultrasound and microbubbles. They actually don’t get any money from “conflicting interests” and even when sponsored, doctors tend to be incredibly untrustworthy of non transparent research. We often compare multiple independant studies before we adopt a medicine. It takes roughly 10 to 15 years to adopt a new drug.

16a. Statistics always presented to show maximum damage from problem and minimum damage from solution. 16b. Statistics presented to show many aspects of problem, not always from a non-max/min approach.

16. Statistics show minimum effective dose and maximum tolerable dose to provide a therapeutic dose value. And it’s the maximum damage from the problem we are trying to prevent. I mean if 80% of the cases of untreated meningitis is death, why are we so worried about the 20% of cases. I mean good grief we also take in median values of cases and a whole bunch of other statistics.

17a. Emphasis on removing symptoms. Aims for quick results. 17b. Emphasis on removing causes through knowledge and its integration into living habits. Aims for long-term results.

17. Shows that the individual clearly has no fucking grasp of medicine beyond chronic diseases. We have plenty of treatments for acute diseases. The treatment for amoebic dysentary are both symptomatic and causative. Metronidazole for causative organism (Entamoeba Histolytica), ORS for rehydration, anti-pyretic for fever and stomach ache and anti motility drug to reduce diarrhoea. Three symptomatic reductions and one curative. We rarely even use a single drug for most things because we understand what synergistic drug use means. We understand that we can combine drugs to improve their effect far more than the individual drug and we understand that many diseases require combinations that work together to both alleviate symptoms and cure causative agent. The diseases that are treated purely symptomatically either have no cure (Eg. Diabetes Mellitus because we cannot yet regrow bits of pancreas or Atherosclerosis because we don’t know how to reverse fatty infiltration once it gets past the initial stage or HIV because we don’t have a cure yet.) or aren’t worth the cure (the side effects of interferons aren’t as bad as the actual effect of the common cold.) One day we will have a fucking cure, just 15 years ago we didn’t have a cure for endemic stomach ulcers, now we do. (Omeprazole 6 weeks, 2 weeks clarithromycin and amoxicillin) We keep curing things all the time. It’s just that the average anti-vax conveniently ignore the hundreds of cures out there.

18a. Emphasis on management and control. Professional “manages” while patient “follows orders”. 18b. Emphasis on patient participation and recovery. Professionals “give guidelines” and patient directs his own therapy.

18. Patient management is the ability to see multiple patients over a day. Patient management is also the ability to increase compliance with a treatment regimen because people who don’t follow treatment regimens do poorly. Patient management is giving a child a lollipop so they associate visits with lollipops and come more often. And we expect patients to follow our instructions because not following instructions has dire consequences. We don’t write “Take before food” on medicine for shits and giggles. We don’t say “finish course of antibiotics” for no reason. There are reasons for that. Not following instructions is pretty much how most people hurt themselves with medication. Do not exceed this amount means do not exceed this amount. Take before food regularly means take before food. Do not miss dose means do not miss dose. Keep sugar pills on you means keep sugar pills on you. These aren’t suggestions but orders for a reasons. If you fuck up then it is our job and our livelihood on the line. Every Single Death That Occurs In A Hospital is subject do a mortality and morbidity meeting. Where department heads get together and discuss how and why each death occurred and indeed discuss deaths that could have been prevented. And believe me, if it is a doctor’s fault they will attempt to get you struck off unless the fault was patient centred.Since every death is a bad statistic. Even if a patient comes to the hospital with multiple gun shot wounds, the M&M meeting takes place for someone who clearly died from being shot.

19a. Assembly line methods geared for profit. 19b. Client-centered methods geared for autonomy.

19. Mercola and Mike Adams run stores… For Profit. As does every single homeopath out there. Last I heard most people in the western world live on money that they earn by working. So I don’t know where this “profit is bad malarky is leading” but alt. med actually have higher profit margins since homeopathy is basically water that’s been smacked around and is effectively marked up by a ludicrous amount. Some of the biggest charities in the world are the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders who are medical charities where doctors work for free often in warzones and places where no one else dares to go.

And there is autonomy in medicine, we offer a range of treatments to suit the needs of people. However in some cases you have no choice because there are f
ew actual options.

20a. Reliance on technological intervention and substitution, e.g., organ transplants, insulin injections, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, synthetic and frequently toxic drugs and vaccines. Focuses on replacing organs or systems and their functions. 20b. Reliance on harmless, noninvasive therapies and substances. Focuses on regenerating organs and systems and restoring their function.

20. Organs don’t always regenerate and many organs such as the brain and heart do not heal ever. I would like to see them regenerate a heart or a simple brain lesion… And seriously? They are bitching that we like to use technology? How the fuck do you diagnose a pregnancy without a HCG test? How the fuck do you diagnose a heart arrhythmia without a steth and an ECG. How the fuck do you diagnose a broken bone without an XRay and by very definition superficial examination cannot tell you any fucking thing about internal anatomy because unless your surname is Kent you cannot see through a human chest. It’s such a laughable little thing to claim “Well they use technology and technology is bad!”. Of course! Without technology a lot of diseases are wishy washy rather than concrete things and you can bullshit a lot of money out of people by making grandiose claims from superficial examinations rather than someone pulling out hard evidence from something like an MRI.

Without technology a lot of those diseases are eminently fatal such as diabetes and cancer. And a lot of toxic drugs are quite useful. I don’t know how we would ever treat Myasthenia Gravis without neostigmine (poisonous) or pesticide poisoning without atropine (also poisonous).

21a. Cost and dependency escalating. 21b. Cost and dependency de-escalating.

21. Cost of medicine actually has gone down. There are some really expensive things in medicine but we don’t need to use them all the time. And the profit margins on homeopathy are phenomenal considering it is just water… For example the Patrick Holford monthly nutritional pack is £60… In the UK we give out Insulin for a price included in your taxes. It costs the government £30 for Insulin which is recombinant DNA technology and insanely fancy technology. The price has actually gone down since the cost of hasn’t risen with inflation. When human analog insulin came out in the 1994s it was £28 ($50) and now it’s £30 ($55) while inflation should make it cost around £50 ($75) if the cost of production stayed the same. Cost of medicine drops all the time to the point that I can get a week’s worth of retrovirals for HIV (one of the more expensive drugs) for just $2 when during the 90s it was $20 a day… In short? The people who wrote this are lying.

22a. Disease and disability seen in terms of victimization and melodrama. 22b. Disease and disability seen as preventable.

22. We actually produce a lot of drugs to improve quality of life and to reduce melodrama. Many HIV patients live long lives. My dad has had diabetes for nearly 30 years now and hasn’t died because of the medication. Untreated it would have killed him in 3 to 5 years. Hell my aunt survived for nearly 20 years with no functioning kidneys because of dialysis machines. She actually would work in the mornings then come home in the evenings and go on the machine because “she could work” and “it gave her something to do”. And her work wasn’t “She works in a shop”. My aunt was a orthopaedician. She was a fucking doctor and she died unretired as a doctor and as an all round badass.

And we live in the world where medical science in ortho has reached the point where able bodied people are refusing to run with disabled people because disabled people may have an advantage. We live in the world of Oscar Pistorus. The Fastest man with no legs.

This man is insanely badass.

We are actually at a stage where we are seriously considering whether or not to regard some disabled people as normal because prosthesis technology has reached the stage where they have human equivalent movement. We may actually be on the cusp of a technological advance where artificial legs exceed the capacity of a human leg. We may actually see people replace healthy limbs with artificial limbs to improve functionality. Plenty of people today would like to undergo below knee amputation to use a prosthesis which functions better than say… a foot with palsy or partial paralysis or a fused ankle. It’s a matter of time before someone says “You know what? A robot leg would make me better at my job” or “That robot hand makes me insanely good at what I do” and treat it as no different from purchasing a screwdriver. We are seriously getting close to that level of technology and the idea of a cyborg. And all because we told disabled people that they can live a normal and healthy life and we provided them with technology that lets them do so and tried not to stop them and cuddle them like they were made out of glass.

23a. Mechanistic: Body seen as mass object containing discrete parts. 23b. Organic: Body seen as mass under which lies energy, living patterns and interacting fields.

23. We are biomechanical entities. Not “energy, living patterns and fields”. Our muscles work by a molecular ratchet mechanism. One molecule isn’t much… A couple of billion however is a force to be reckoned with. And energy? Seriously? Energy in our body is transferred via a chemical energy currency called Adenosine Triphosphate. And that the electrical field we generate is by calcium ion depolarisation which creates a net electron flow and is indeed chemically mediated?

Of course not. Because they have fuck all idea how the body works and would rather it be “mystical energy” than “ATP”. And we don’t treat the body’s systems as discrete. Holy fuck this is stupid and I really need a drink to deal with this tower of ignorance. Are they seriously confusing the speciality of a doctor as the assumption that the doctor only understands his system? A doctor’s speciality simply means that he sees cases pertaining to his speciality but he also knows how the rest fit together.

24a. Fragmented: Body and mind treated separately. Parts of body regarded separately and treated singly. 24b. HolisticL Body-mind treated as unity. Parts of body treated in relation to other parts and aspects of the body-mind.

24. The mind is a construct of your brain architecture and psychology is taught to every doctor. We actually know the value of psychology. W
e can prove this in motorcycle injuries since they normally show up with head injuries which shows that changes to brain architecture result in changes to personality and mind. Infact… the whole “mind” as a unique unchanging thing is just an extension of the religious soul concept. It’s this nebulous thing used by quacks to make it seem like they take care of your brain somehow.

25a. Atavistic: Disease seen as entity separate from patient. 25b. Contemporary: Disease seen as process inseparable from patient.

25. Diseases are breakdowns of normal physiological function… They aren’t normal. And they are part of the patient. Because I know of things that kill 100% of cancer cells but you simply cannot use in a normal human being… (Let’s see. Cyanide, Rattlesnake venom, Anthratoxin, Pneumolysin, Perfringolysin O) because they would also kill normal human beings. Nearly every disease is treated in context of a normal human being.

26a. Adversarial: Disease seen as enemy. 26b. Unifying: Disease seen as reflecting a self-corrective aspect of body-mind complex in response to internal change in body environment.

26. Disease is your obviously your friend! HIV just loves your CD4 Lymphocytes so very much that it hugs them to death… C. Perferingens loves you so much that it wants to move in with you and change all the curtains in your legs.

You can pray all you want to whatever gods you may have chosen to believe in. You can grovel in front of your quacks but not one of them can save you from acute appendicitis. Not one of them has cured a single leper and not one of them could treat a meningitis case or a case of Status Epilepticus or Pneumonia. Because your mind and body relationship means fuck All when compared to real physiology, pathology, biochemistry and neurology. Fuck A Duck point 26 is the most inane nonsense ever.

27a. Externalizes Casuality: Focus is outside the patient: viruses, bacteria, and stresses in the environment, while ignoring toxic environmental factors in the food, water and air that may be grounds for corporate litigation. 27b. Internalizes Casuality: Focus on patient, choices, attitudes, habits, and reactions to environmental influences.

27. Now look who is generalising. Diseases have various causes. Microbial, Genetic, Environmental, Habit,  Dietary, Age, Gender, Trauma, Psychological, Psychiatric. I take that back… Point 26 ties with point 27 for retardedness because I just fucking named eight more causes of disease than “Duhh… Environment”. They all cause diseases. (Common Cold,  Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, Hypothermia, Emphysema, Atherosclerosis, Parkinsons, Testicular cancer, Hypovolemic shock, PTSD and Schizophrenia if you need examples of each).

28a. Disease Oriented: Focuses on labeling, controlling and destroying disease entities. Research focuses on nature of condition as represented by symptoms, not causes. Absence of disease seen as result of technological intervention. 28b. Health Oriented: Focuses on support of natural healing, immune system, and addresses causes of conditions instead of symptoms. Absence of disease seen as by-product of health.

28. There is an entire field of medicine called preventative (or Community) medicine. Which is about education and infrastructure. You don’t see many practitioners in the UK (They basically are GPs) but in many third world nations they are the frontline doctor. SPM (social and preventative medicine) are the cutting edge of response to infectious disease in third world nations. Oh and labelling disease is vitally important. Because knowing what the disease is lets you treat it and recognise it earlier. Natural Healing? Oh good fucking lord! If you naturally healed from disease we wouldn’t give two fucking fucks about the disease. Do you see doctors bitching about Common Cold? No? Rhinovirus is not dangerous. Does this moron seriously think that not treating syphillis is a good way of treating T. Pallidum infections? Because it generally clears up after 3 years of dealing with lesions and being infection city.  (T. Pallidum is so infective that mere contact with healthy skin can transmit it even through such thick skin as palms). So you should totally walk around for 3 or so years without having any sex or touching people! Oh and it can also go quiescent after 3 years and return as neurosyphillis which is a horrible disease. But then again what do I know. I just treat early syphillis in the time it takes to give an IM injection and late syphillis in under a fortnight of pills and don’t really see any cases of neurosyphillis because I can treat syphillis in under 10 minutes and have it clear up in under two weeks. Now I am no mathematician statistician whizkid but I am of the belief that 10 to 14 days is a smaller number than 3 years. Maybe someone else can check my mathematics…

29a. Uses military rhetoric: “building defenses”, “fighting”, “battle against”, etc. 29b. Descriptive language suggests harmony and cooperation.

29.  Seriously? By that logic then one can use that argument to bitch about football too? I mean Attack, Defence, Midfield General and Goalkeeper are all also military terms. As are flanking and formation. It uses military terms because it’s the easiest way to describe a infection in terms of what people understand. And seriously? Do you know the level of cooperation your body’s immune system possesses to defend your body? Of course not! And because the army has no idea of harmony and cooperation at all. They just line up and run screaming at their enemies.

30a. Monolithic and coercive. 30b. Pluralistic, voluntary and multi-optioned.

30. Not all opinions are the same value. It’s why NASA doesn’t give credence to flat earthers and gravity fairy experts. Everything that works is medicine. We don’t give any value to stuff that doesn’t work. It’s not monolithic and coercive, it’s just that alt. med bullshit doesn’t work at all or doesn’t work as well as the alternatives.

31a. Negative: Builds on fear and distrust of the natural world (Darwinian Paradigm). 31b. Positive: Builds on cooperation with the natural world. A system of healthcare.

31. Darwinian Paradigm? Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution is basically the idea that nature selects against deletrious traits via the idea of “nature’s war” which eliminates the weakest members often preventing them from breeding. AKA if a strategy lets you breed then you are more likely to breed even if your strategy is likely to kill you. Eg. Peacocks. Their plumage is a liability. However the male peacock only has it and is basically a very flashy sperm delivery system. His death means bugger all in terms of survivability as long as the females survive and have sex with males before they get eaten by whatever predator catches them. Female Peahens are actually very drab and camoflauged. Survival of t
he whole species matters, the individual does not. Which is why plenty of species have really horrible life cycles such as “lytic birth” where the parent animal is eaten by it’s young from inside. Nature is not this nice cuddly thing.

The deer and buffalo are food for the tiger, we are food for pathogens. Now the deer fights back with speed but eventually it will get old then the tiger will catch it. The buffalo fights back with power and devastating horns. Eventually it will get old and the tiger will catch it as it can no longer fight. Eventually… the tiger will get old and either starve or be killed by a buffalo. That’s how life is. Horribly brutal and not some magic happy place. It’s sad to think but that’s what we came out of as humans and that’s what shaped our skills. .

The disease is a tiger. Sometimes we can beat it, sometimes we cannot. Medicine is a monsterous equaliser which means that more often than not we can beat it. In the same way that the spear turned us into the predator of the tiger rather than vice versa. This is the most hippietastic bullshit ever. It’s the assumption that even in a quiet field of grass nature is in some mystic harmony rather than a series of competitive species. Just because the animals that die are very small doesn’t change the fact that it’s merely a smaller scale equivalent of a tiger eating a baby deer.

Or a Crocodile

One of the best descriptions of nature comes from the phenomenal Terry Pratchett

“I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children.” –  The Patrician

The problem with the anti-vax movement (Or should that be the anti-medicine movement?) is that they simply live in a delusional fantasy. Where you can somehow reason with bacteria and viruses and that the power of wishful thinking, prayer and self belief somehow can overcome bacteria.