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Author Topic: An excellent hatchet job
Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 03:34      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
on a contemporary snake oil merchant. I do hope this unattractive woman has not had an impact outside the UK, but the article does suggest that you treat any advice written by someone that calls themselves a nutritionist with great caution.

I thought I'd better post this in the politics forum, as recent discussions about diet have been at least as inflammatory as politics or religion! It is not surprising as "you are what you eat" is no mere catch phrase, the food we make and eat is for many if not most, central to our sense of identity. If you come from a country with a strong food culture it is part of your national identity. It is also intimately bound up with your emotions about your own family, your children and your parents, the kitchen is always the heart of any loving home. My mother is the most marvellous cook, and my feelings about food are inseparable from my (good) feelings about her. It also has a powerful religious meaning, the main Christian ceremony, Mass, is a symbolic recreation of a meal, and the importance of food and kitchen in Judaism is also central. So perhaps it is not too surprising that it is hard to keep a discussion on these matters rational and courteous.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 04:26      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting stuff.

I try hard to be a skeptic, and I'm often surprised at the sort of things people will believe in, and often almost angry at them for "being so stupid".

Yet this is real, and it's here and now, and I bet that some people I know believe in it. Perhaps I'd believe in it if I had watched it. It reminds me that the people that believe in crazy stuff like this are the victims rather than the perpetrators.

Posts: 1085 | From: London, UK (Powys, UK in hols) | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 08:57      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
on a contemporary snake oil merchant.

Calli, knowing your usually meticulous respect for Truth, I'm sure you meant to say "flax oil merchant". [Wink]

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Reedius
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 09:57      Profile for Reedius     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
HAHA!!A 14-year old boy ruined her scam!!One more victory for nerds! [Big Grin]

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Geek or Nerd?

Posts: 55 | From: aveiro, portugual | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 10:22      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Doesn't surprise me at all. People are dumb.

You might like Skep Chick. This is a multi-person blog from several scientists, and usually quite an amusing read.

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

Posts: 1192 | From: Los Angeles | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 10:27      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
She says DNA is an anti-ageing constituent: if you "do not have enough RNA/DNA", in fact, you "may ultimately age prematurely".
That part's true, kinda. If you run out of DNA, you die. But I don't know where she gets off saying we can replennish it by eating algae. Or that we need to replennish it at all- did people actually believe this bs? I would have seen most of it for the crap it is before I graduated from highschool.

quote:
"In laboratory experiments with anaemic animals, red-blood cell counts have returned to normal within four or five days when chlorophyll was given," she says.
That's strange- there isn't any iron in chlorophyll- plants use magnesium.

quote:
These are not modest goals, but her thesis was that it was all possible with a diet rich in enzymes from "live" raw food - fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and especially live sprouts, which "are the food sources of digestive enzymes".
Hey, didn't we talk about raw food somewhere else?

quote:
McKeith even offered "combination living food powder for clinical purposes" in case people didn't want to change their diet, and she used this for "clinical trials" with patients at her clinic.
Um, isn't there some heating involved in producing and packaging a powdered vegetable? Doesn't that kill them?

Don't worry, I'll not go through the entire article and pick out the dumb parts. I'm just absolutely amazed that she wasn't challenged more often. I picked out some things that everyone who's been through college and taken such classes as 'Chemistry for Business Majors' should know. Too many people ascribe mystical powers to the appelation PhD. Too many people are allowed to abuse the title Dr. Like Dr. Phil. Did you know that doctors of psychology aren't allowed to participate in broadcast therapy? That means he's probably the wrong kind of doctor, if he's a doctor at all.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 10:34      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I doubt she was challenged too much because she was so quick with the lawsuits.

Well, that and any intelligent person would simply say "Whatever", like I do when presented with Penta [Big Grin]

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An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 12:03      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Scholastic, you are an educated person. Would you believe how many people just go "oh! that sounds impressive" when they hear any scientific mumbo-jumbo, be it legit or out-of-whack? I had an uncle who believed one of those pseudo-scientist who pretended that eating lots of carrots would prevent him from getting cancer (he's a heavy smoker), and that drinking cow milk is only good for little cows and bulls, but bad for humans. Oh, and that only human would drink another specy's milk. (Well, our cats didn't mind the cow milk.) And he wanted me to believe it too because that person "had made studies". What kind of studies: abusing people's credulity, maybe?

It takes someone with a strong scientific base to tell the real thing from the scammers, but not everyone has this. Think of the over-thirthy women who thought, while in high school, that taking typing classes was their best option carreer-wise. Think of those between 40-55 who were raised right in the hippy era. And think of the older ones who only hoped for a steady job, buying a car, and raising a family in a middle-income neighbourhood. Hey, if people can fall for the Nigeria scam (which isn't even scientific), how many will for the new gurus? (A lot, based on how well the "miracle diet" books sell.)

(Reedius: I strongly doubth the author is a 14 years old - he only says a 14 years old should be able to, considering the level of science taught in class by that age.)

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 12:25      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Scholastic, you are an educated person
Because I was just angry about assumed credentials, I must point out here that I'm a highschool drop-out, recently returned to the edumacational system at the age of 31. It bothers me that so many people allow themselves to be so easily controlled. Even as a retail zombie I knew enough to avoid these false claims. It isn't hard- all that is required is the commitment to spend a moment thinking critically. Most of these scams fall apart on consideration without even resorting to looking stuff up. Horny goat weed, for example, is something that gave me a giggle when I saw it, but I never for an instant believed it offered any benefit beyond placebo. I first encountered horny goat weed under the influence of mild halucinogens and I was still able to think critically enough to see through its claims. (Literally, in this case, and the walls were dripping, too.)

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 13:36      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You're right: self-educated can be as good as school-educated when critical thinking is involved. When you know the word placebo, chances are you also know what the placebo effect is, and how it is measured. Thus, you know enough to dispell most false claims. But when one can't make the difference between a reality show and the news, there's a problem.

It's almost a shame that still today, so many in high school believe the most important thing is to "fit in", rather than learn. Buy the same clothes as the hip gang. Listen to the top-10 music. Good thing is, technology is more prevalent than ever before (but probably less than in a few more years), and science has been touted as cool.* Bad thing is, there still are girls who's greatest dream is to be a super-model, and guys who think they can become sport multimillionaires.

Sure, a few of them will; the others will spend incredible amount of money to still pretend it could happen. And those are the future (and even present) preys for the dream sellers, because those poor kids don't want to think; they want to believe their dreams can become real if they wish for it hard enough. (Work for it? Come on! Talented as they are, how could it not happen? It _must_ fall down from the sky right into their hands. [shake head] )

*Am I the only one who think the "Bratz" TV show and similar as a good thing? Even though they are presented as total fashion slaves (well, the producers have to sell the new line of clothes and accessories for the doll versions, after all), they are also smart girls - and so are their male sidekicks - who win the game in the end because they know how to use their brains too. The equivalent show I used to listen to when I was a teenager was "Jem and the Holograms", and those got to win by their kindness. I'd say that's quite an evolution of what is presented to be "good behavior" to (pre-)teen girls. (BTW, I thought the coolest thing from Jem was Synergy, the hologram-maker/computer/AI. I guess I always was a geek.)

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 13:44      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Eh... she's a straight up con-artist, which isn't all that entertaining. The real entertainment is when you find a wacko who tries to document the 'science' that's being preached...

Like this one
NOTE: I am not responsible for blurred vision, migraines or any other mental trauma caused by reading the linked page... especially if it involves Mr. "Shoes" and Mr. "Barefeet"

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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ScholasticSpastic
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Icon 1 posted February 19, 2007 14:39      Profile for ScholasticSpastic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The thing that bugs me about the earthing pad is that it's made of carbon fibers and those don't conduct very well at all. I can see where they might claim that additional electrons can reduce free radicals- a free radical is merely a reactive chemical species with an unpaired electron. However, claiming that a positive net flow of electrons will just happen to travel between the ground and a person is silly. There's no reason for the electrons to travel all the way up into a person when they're already in a low-energy state.

Electrons will travel between the earth and a human body. It's called lightning.

Dude, the Misfits were totally cooler that Jem and co.

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"As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts, one action follows another by a sort of rhythm; if a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought..." (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Posts: 540 | From: Vernal, UT | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged


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