Category: Pseudoskepticism/ Scientism
Made an all-vegetable curry for dinner last night. Martha picked up some bok choy, which I used to use in my cooking many years ago, so we threw it in, with onions, garlic, tofu and a few other ditties. I made an effort to use more of the bulb or fleshy part of the plant, as opposed to too much of the top leaves. If you're using regular bok choy you'll want to cut the leaves from the stalks because the stalks will take longer to cook, however if your cooking with the â€˜baby bok choy' you can just chop up everything and throw it all together. What I liked about the taste of bok choy was its kind of silvery texture; smooth but not slimy. Try it sometime. It's pretty much neutral for everyone.
Neutral has been pretty much on my mind these days. I've been hanging out on the message board a bit more than usual, this attendance being occasioned by my current stationing at the computer for lots of other reasons (writing, tech stuff, etc.)
A recent blog discussed my frustration with the depiction of my work on the Wikipedia Encyclopedia site, where the prime author, in a work of titanic stupidity, characterized the BTD a â€˜flim-flam.' He is apparently a medical doctor with some expertise in menopause. Now, what that does to qualify him as an expert in what I do is still open to question.
One of the things I like best about the Wikipedia concept is that the knowledge base is additive; we all can add information to entries on the site. If we disagree with the biased point of view of an entry, we can contest it. In general, it is better with technical stuff, but some of the pop culture information is pretty good as well.
One of the best concepts put forth over there is the idea of the Neutral Point of View (NPOV), the ideal of representing all majority and significant-minority views fairly and without bias.
The article on the BTD is missing some NPOV.
Now, I think a lot of us in alternative medicine can benefit from a good dose of the NPOV, since much of the alternative health information flying around the internet these days is emotionally charged and tinged with personal experience. Witness the â€˜soy is bad' stuff all over the internet. I've spent hours looking at some of the supposed problems with soy (glutamate and excitoxins, â€˜dangerous hemmaglutinins', thyroid interactions, etc.) and almost all of these points are routinely presented as absolute truth when in fact they are often over extrapolated from basic research which never actually said what many of these people claim it implied.
Now before you go ahead and think I'm a soy defender, I'm not. It's not for everyone. But then again, it's also not, not for everyone.
So with that in mind, I share with you my new* Three Aphorisms on Nutrition Information:
- If you think something could be either good or bad for you, do it with the acceptance of the reality that with a thought like that, it probably is.
- If your preaching villianizes a particular food for everyone, you must also accept and realize that, right now, someplace on the planet it is probably getting somebody better.
- If your preaching glamorizes a particular food for everyone, you must also accept and realize that, right now, someplace on the planet it is probably making somebody sick.
And this final thought:
We should always evaluate recommendations in the light of what works for each of us as individuals. Similarly, we should also guard against the inadvertent foisting off of our own specific results as any sort of universal truism. That is what makes the whole individuality thing so great.
Reading Stewart Brand's How Buildings Learn. Interesting book on how certain architectural designs become 'old' if only because they've become adaptable over long periods of time, and how so very few of our most recent architectural 'gems' shown any of this tendency.
Probably the most interesting story is one in which he discusses an analysis of how office furniture gets moved around over time. Apparently the most common second location for furniture is simply just back to its original site. As in so many other areas of life, first impressions often lead to the most workable solutions.
This last issue of Newseek magazine was devoted to 'Diet and Genes', so not surprisingly, there was no reference to blood type whatsoever. During an MSNBC chat with the article author, Anne Underword, the following interaction occurred:
Fredericksburg, VA: Did you ever hear about Dr. Peter D'Adamo, who has been advocating for over 20 years to eat according to your genetic profile: your blood type?
Anne Underwood: I'm amazed that his ideas have proven so popular. I certainly know people who swear by his books, but I've never seen any hard evidence backing up his ideas. Blood type is just one genetically determined trait among thousands. Tiny changes in genes, known an single-nucleotide polymorphisms, can determine the functioning of any gene in your body, including those that control the way you process different nutrients. Why would those tiny mutations, occuring randomly, have anything to do with blood type?
Perfect non-answer. 'We are doing an article on genes and diet, but the part about genes and diet that we want to talk about are the SNPs, and since blood type has nothing to do with SNPs, it must have nothing to do with diet.'