Friday, October 9, 2015

Science & The Institute of Manufactured Consensus

It seems like one of the core tenets of the common skeptics of unconventional, non-mainstream lifestyle advice such as the kind blogged about here, is that one must have the weight of SCIENCE to back up one's assertions or you're just a bloviating blowhard, advocating lunacy to the detriment of those foolish enough to follow such advice.

Advice like avoiding GMO-grain based foods; getting regular sun exposure without sunscreen at mid-day; refraining from ingesting fluoride in toothpaste and fluoridated public water supplies; or eating saturated fats, whole-fat dairy, salt, red meat and mercury-laden ocean fish etc., will all usually be met with at least a few folks saying "Wheres your links to peer reviewed science?"

Here's the problem with these SCIENCE based attacks on such advice...if one spends enough time doing relevant key word searches on PubMed, one can almost find seemingly corroborative evidence from research articles, abstracts, journal entries and other peer-reviewed documents on any topic they like. 

I received the following comment on my old Fluoride post back in 2010 :

"Just some evidence fluride works. I could spam research all day at you HL. Typing 'water fluridation' into PubMed (with filters for systemic reviews and clinical trials) produces over 5000 results."

All one needs to do, is to begin actually reading the contents of a few of those results to discover that in fact all 5000 results do not prove that "fluoride works." What you do in fact find, is a wide variety of results indicating all sorts of recommendations and conclusions. What one really needs to consider when reading PubMed articles are the following variables: 1) Who is financing and conducting the study; 2) what was the methodology used in carrying out the study (statistical chicanery or the actual use of the scientific method?); 3) what was the conclusions drawn from the study; 4) do the conclusions actually match the results of the experiment or study?

Read enough PubMed abstracts and peer-reviewed articles, and you'll begin to see a pattern. You can find articles that will state a hypothesis to justify the research, read the methodology involved in conducting the research, and in fact see that the research either corroborates or disqualifies a particular hypothesis...and the conclusion will be vague or inconclusive, often concluding that further research is required. This is very common when the topic you are researching is already widely considered to be "settled science." But not always. Sometimes, you can find PubMed articles that clearly support a politically incorrect hypothesis and it draws conclusions that go against the prevailing wisdom of conventional, consensus-derived wisdom.

Other means of corrupted and compromised PubMed studies involve studies with blatantly corrupted variables - such as conflating margarine and butter in a single categorical designation as "fats" or studying  red meat consumption by surveying respondents on how much pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers they've eaten in the last year.  Using experiments with such categorical errors is common, but usually does not inhibit "science journalists" and "professional nutritionists" in making recommendations based on conclusions from such inherently flawed studies.

Beginning with the topic first referenced by Anonymous comment five years ago, let us take a closer look at how PubMed does in fact contain corroboration for a few of the more common "conspiracy theory" topics regarding health and nutrition.


Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

"A recent report from the National Research Council (NRC 2006) concluded that adverse effects of high fluoride concentrations in drinking water may be of concern and that additional research is warranted. Fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in laboratory animals, including effects on learning and memory (Chioca et al. 2008; Mullenix et al. 1995)."

Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among children and adolescents in the United States: an ecological association

"Parents reported higher rates of medically-diagnosed ADHD in their children in states in which a greater proportion of people receive fluoridated water from public water supplies. The relationship between fluoride exposure and ADHD warrants future study."

Additional research is warranted! In the meantime, I'll take a pass and continue to avoid fluoridated toothpaste.

Genetically Modified Organisms  


There's a lot of mis-formed dis-information on the topic of GMOs. Mice genes spliced with jellyfish genes to create rodents that glow in the dark, or papaya crops genetically modified to resist crop destroying diseases are all aspects of the topic of genetically modifying organisms for various, purported reasons. Some of these GMO experiments have indeed given some supposed benefit to humanity...but that's neither here nor there.

All you really need to concern yourself with when it comes to this topic is simple: It's all about GLYPHOSATE.

The majority of the Big Agricultural Industrial Complex feed producers that manufacture 95% of the ingredients found in all processed - fast - convenience - junk food, is based on GMO crops, modified to survive repeated glyphosate pesticide spraying. If you really do a thorough search of PubMed, you'll find a lot of articles documenting the real problems with GMO's and what they are doing to human health.

Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles.

"Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup {glyphosate} was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested."

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance

"Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup(®), is the most important causal factor in this epidemic.Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria."

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies.

"Manganese (Mn) is an often overlooked but important nutrient, required in small amounts for multiple essential functions in the body. A recent study on cows fed genetically modified Roundup(®)-Ready feed revealed a severe depletion of serum Mn. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup(®), has also been shown to severely deplete Mn levels in plants. Here, we investigate the impact of Mn on physiology, and its association with gut dysbiosis as well as neuropathologies such as autism, Alzheimer's disease (AD), depression, anxiety syndrome, Parkinson's disease (PD), and prion diseases."

Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors

"Glyphosate is an active ingredient of the most widely used herbicide and it is believed to be less toxic than other pesticides. However, several recent studies showed its potential adverse health effects to humans as it may be an endocrine disruptor....

...These results indicated that low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used for soybean cultivation, and our results also found that there was an additive estrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a phytoestrogen in soybeans."

Sure seems like there's a lot more to this topic than just the fevered rantings of my fellow Conspiritards who believe in Food Magic and are consumed with paranoia about Biotech in the food supply...

Seafood, Mercury & Selenium

Let us consider another topic near and dear to my palate, the mercury content of seafood:

Selenium and mercury in pelagic fish in the central north pacific near Hawaii

"Protective effects of selenium against mercury toxicity have been demonstrated in all animal models evaluated. As interactions between selenium and mercury and their molar ratios in seafood are essential factors in evaluating risks associated with dietary mercury exposure, considering mercury content alone is inadequate."

Omega-3 fatty acids, mercury, and selenium in fish and the risk of cardiovascular diseases

"Fish consumption is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Some fish species also contain methylmercury, which may increase cardiovascular risk, as well as selenium, a trace element that could counter the effects of methylmercury or have beneficial effects itself. These potentially conflicting effects have created public confusion about the risks and benefits of fish consumption in adults. We examined the evidence for cardiovascular effects of fish consumption, particularly effects of marine omega-3 fatty acids, methylmercury, and selenium. Compelling evidence indicates that modest fish consumption substantially reduces cardiovascular risk, in particular cardiac mortality, related at least partly to benefits of omega-3 fatty acids."
As I told you more mercury!

Sun Exposure, Sunscreen and Vitamin D 

Of all the ideas I ever try to discuss with other people in teh real life regarding politically incorrect health and nutrition topics, this one is the hardest to try and overcome the average sheeple's regularly scheduled programming.

The Sunscreen Industrial Complex is the most formidable front in the war on Vitamin D and good health. You can find 10000000000+ articles on PubMed regarding sun exposure and skin cancer, or the efficacy of sunscreen in preventing sunburn etc. But hidden amongst all the pro-solarphobia articles, you will still find a few that make the same arguments I've made in the past for prioritizing proper sun exposure as a key measure in attaining good health:

Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Although chronic excessive exposure to sunlight increases the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, the avoidance of all direct sun exposure increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can have serious consequences.

Sunlight, UV-radiation, vitamin D and skin cancer: how much sunlight do we need?

"Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin for good reason. During exposure to sunlight, the utraviolet B photons enter the skin and photolyze 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3 which in turn is isomerized by the body's temperature to vitamin D3. Most humans have depended on sun for their vitamin D requirement. Skin pigment, sunscreen use, aging, time of day, season and latitude dramatically affect previtamin D3 synthesis. Vitamin D deficiency was thought to have been conquered, but it is now recognized that more than 50% of the world's population is at risk for vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency is in part due to the inadequate fortification of foods with vitamin D and the misconception that a healthy diet contains an adequate amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency causes growth retardation and rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis and increase risk of fracture in adults. The vitamin D deficiency has been associated pandemic with other serious consequences including increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease. There needs to be a renewed appreciation of the beneficial effect of moderate sunlight for providing all humans with their vitamin D requirement for health."

The takeaway from all this, is that PEER REVIEWED SCIENCE as referenced by those who consider PubMed to be the holy scripture and the be-all-end-all arbiter of authoritative proscriptions for human health and nutrition, is never "settled." One can always find conflicting reports to back up whatever assertions they wish to prove with PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH.

The ultimate point is to manufacture consensus to produce a coordinated narrative that cannot easily be fact-checked, so as to confuse interested laymen and laywomen researchers with a plethora of conflicting articles and abstracts, so as to hide the truth amongst a blizzard of mis- and dis- information. It's hard to discern what is truth and what is lie when their are 5000+ conflicting search results to sift through, so most sheeple take the path of least resistance and comply with our regularly scheduled programming.

But if you look carefully through all the doctrine and scriptures of the Holy Church of Peer-Reviewed Consensus, you can find enough heretical content to justify and rationalize anything....which is why I usually don't bother with citing articles on PubMed as a means of proving anything to skeptics.

No matter how many search results can be referenced in the archives at the Institute of Manufactured Consensus, I'll continue to stick with my conspiritard food magic and avoid fluoridated water and toothpaste (no cavities yet), I'll continue to avoid GMO feed as much as possible (I've never felt better,) I'll continue to get sun exposure at mid-day with no "protection" (haven't been sunburned in years,) and I'll continue to eat as much seafood as I damn well please (no apparent signs of mercury poisoning other than the existence of this blog chock full of raving lunacies...).

As always, take this all with a grain of salt, N=1, your mileage may vary, etc.

Don't take it from me, I am no Doctor...I only play one on teh Interwebz.


donny said...

Nice article. We should not believe everything we are told by scientists for our own good

Do you have an opinion on the hiv-aids hypothesis? Almost every scientist have accepted it as he truth

Mindstorm said...

What about the vitamin D from other sources than sunlight? Could it compensate for the sunlight deficiency?

Anonymous said...

Wheat is sprayed with round up at harvest so that massive fields will "dry up" all at the same time (this is a harvest technique, not to get non-GMO weeds). I don't know about other grains but this means anything with wheat in it also has round up in it. Also it is impossible to get flour that isn't "fortified" unless you grind the wheat yourself, which is suspicious.

Andrew Spooner said...

Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen started the "Sad Puppies" movement. Vox Day along with his compatriots started the "Rabid Puppies." I am am starting a new movement. The "Hungry Wolves" movement. Don't play by their rules, don't try and beat them at their own game. Don't play checkers with somebody who can't play chess just so you can make them look stupid in order to get more views for your webpage or customers for your books. Fuck 'em. Strategically edit them out of the equation completely. That is how we win. Don't just "beat them at their own game." CHANGE THE GAME. This isn't about Science Fiction, it isn't about video-games. This is about nothing less than the future of western civilization.

offthegrid said...


The form of Vitamin D made by the skin is Vitamin D3-sulfate; a form not found in any foods that I'm aware of EXCEPT raw milk.

The repeatability rate of 'landmark' studies is horrendous. Science is a rather poor guide. All we need to do is look at the shocking rates of modern diseases compared to our recent forebears to know something id dreadfully wrong with modern life. At least for those that even existed more than 50 years ago.

Hell, you don't even need to go back that far; just look at the spiking rates of diabeties and autism.

Anyone defending the status quo in the face of that is out of their mind. The only safe presumption is that its all wrong.

ElectricAngel said...

Always a worthwhile drop-by, Dave. Merci.