Print Story The Naturalistic Fallacy
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By Clipper Ship (Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:28:15 AM EST) (all tags)
Why do you think people fall prey to this kind of idea?


It's one of those strange cultural blips that pervades nearly all cultures. If the medicine you're taking is made form 'all-natural' ingredients, it won't contain anything bad; if this food was grown by the hands of oppressed monks you will derive more nutrients from it; large amounts of water every day will cleanse your body of toxins; etc, etc, etc.

All of these are, of course, completely ridiculous notions, but they sound so good to our ears. Why is that? Is this just a knee-jerk reaction to an increasingly process-driven planet? Or, is it an attempt to re-center personal morality and values now that most people do not follow a strict religion?

Natural medicines are not medicines at all. They are products overloaded with contaminants, but they deliver such a muted dose of the desired active ingredient that they are not even regulated for product quality. Organically grown food may sometimes taste better, as does farm fresh food, but if industry moved entirely in that direction it could cause many people around the world to go without food. And, barring that, Western love of specialty items generally ignores the fact that many poor people on the planet would do a lot just to have the crumbs from our tables, so to speak. And, drinking lots of water not only does not cleanse you of toxins, but a recent study shows that it could leave vulnerable to minor sicknesses. At best, it does nothing.

I can't get my mind around it, but logic just doesn't seem to enter into it.

What do you think? What drives people to make these giant leaps of non-logic?

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The Naturalistic Fallacy | 61 comments (61 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
large amounts of water every day by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:31:31 AM EST
My doctor told me to drink lots of water daily. In combination with a low-salt diet. It's to control Menieres.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Well, not sure if water has any direct effect by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:42:58 AM EST
on Menieres, but most people don't have that.

Newspaper summary of the paper here.

It's also entirely possible that water has not effect on your Menieres, either. Doctors are not generally known for keeping up to date on current research, let alone old research.

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[ Parent ]
She keeps up. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:11:13 AM EST
The water intake dilutes the salt, which reduces water retention in the inner ear.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Enough of the banalities, by komet (4.00 / 2) #2 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:42:20 AM EST
What are your views on bicycles and guitars?

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
Bicycles are superfluous. by Clipper Ship (4.00 / 2) #4 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:43:55 AM EST
Guitars have the ability to rock.

I also have interesting views on other things.

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[ Parent ]
`Natural medicines are not medicines at all.' by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:54:08 AM EST
That is a categorical error. It is almost certainly the case that natural medicines are not really medicines. That said, a significant minority of them can be effective medicines or have medicines easily derived from them: opiates, spider silk, marijuana salicylic acid, etc.

Is it really so hard to understand that the word `natural' triggers thoughts of health and vitality to most people? Most of us don't give much thought to the fact that uranium and arsenic both occur in nature. This is probably for the same reason that Mother Nature is usually viewed as a benevolent mom who provides the sun and the rain for her children rather than a mean-spirited bitch bent on bringing death to all.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Almost every medicine you take is derived by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:17:04 AM EST
from a natural source. But, not as a giant cache of impurities like you get in 'Natural Medicines'. That's the point. It's all natural. None of it arrived here from the 6th dimension. All of this natural stuff has to be synthesized properly, though.

Why do people hate that idea, I wonder?

To your other point, no, I don't think it's simple enough to say that Mother Nature just makes us feel all good. 250 year ago people saw nature as a frightening and dangerous thing. The less natural something was the better.

Now, if you say that you have fruit in your shampoo, people buy it up even though fruit in your shampoo would infect your hair with all sorts of bacteria and make your hair stink.

You don't find that change in consciousness to a full-on belief in a lie to be interesting?

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[ Parent ]
The idea of Mother Nature is older than 250 yrs by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:57:38 AM EST
The myth of Demeter, the earth mother, for example portrays a loving goddess responsible for making the crops grow who can be fiercely vengeful, but only when provoked. The personification of Mother Nature was also very popular throughout the middle ages.

And opiates, willow bark and marijuana barely have to be synthesized.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
everyone on the planet should eat? by clock (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:01:43 AM EST
interesting idea.  says who?  maybe the culture is broken and we're confusing our desire for survival with a "right."  just a thought.

...and everyone wants a quick fix and a free lunch.  the logic surrounding the desire for a maximum positive effect for minimal work is pretty sound.  if i get more for less, i win.  but wanting that doesn't make it so.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

I think humans have always thought of their by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:18:19 AM EST
lives as a right. As does every other organism on earth, in a sense. It only follows that we would as well.

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[ Parent ]
Nope. by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:02:04 AM EST
Feel free to explain by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:03:13 AM EST
And include the other ways in which I'm wrong, oh great sage.

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[ Parent ]
to start with, most organisms on earth don't think by lm (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:11:13 AM EST
Just sayin'

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That and by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:17:03 AM EST
for ages whole civilizations of people thought there were here at the whim of whatever god they believed in. Some still do. They don't think they have a "right" to be here, they're here by god's grace. Or the state. Look at Sparta for an example of that.

Thinking you have a "right" to exist is a recent phenomenon and still not universally accepted.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
I'll bet you get nitpicky over spelling, too by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #29 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:26:36 AM EST
I think it's fairly obvious most organisms don't think. What a great point you make. However, all of them have a drive to live. Attach whatever euphemistic term you want to it, but you get my point.

And, as for the way society thinks about its right to life, you're splitting hairs. All societies but the most recent Buddhist ones generally have taken human life as being superior to most other forms of life.

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[ Parent ]
that's a bit more than splitting hairs by lm (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:29:37 AM EST
A drive or instinct to go on living is something entirely different than thinking one has the right to go on living.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That was lm's point, not mine. by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #32 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:31:16 AM EST
I think your problem is that you use too many absolutes. "All societies" is pretty sweeping. I think what you really mean is "All societies that prove my point".

Having a "drive to live" is not the same as thinking you have a right to live. It's not hair splitting.

People don't misspell. They make typos.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
Lots of water. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:05:43 AM EST
Lots of water as a singular argument isn't a good one. However, lots of water instead of massive quantities of coffee, pop, sugared sports drinks, alcohol or whatever other beverages you may be replacing does make sense, and is a big part of why the phrase "drink lots of water" has become so popular. It keep people from drinking things that actually are ACTIVELY bad for them.

Outside of that, I agree with the core of your argument, so I've little else to say.

Water as opposed to other things is obvious by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:13:06 AM EST
However, the notion is that more water = more health. Not water is better than coffee. That's what I'm getting at.

That article does say that anything liquid pretty much hydrates you, though. My cases of Coke also remind me of this.

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[ Parent ]
Wrong there too by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:03:59 AM EST
coffee and alcohol are both diuretics.

Ever had a hangover?
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
Ever read that paper? by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:05:02 AM EST
They hydrate, but they bite back.

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[ Parent ]
I see no paper by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:26:30 AM EST
I (eventually) found a link to a newspaper summary of a paper. So, no, I haven't read the paper.

The newspaper says the paper says drinking "large quantities" of water shows no benefit "for the average healthy person". A "healthy person" would have to be one who is fully hydrated to begin with.

There is nothing in the newspaper about the size of the study, who it was done by, who sponsored it, what are the affiliations of the authors, what journal it was published in, or, indeed, anything at all that can be used to show the validity of the study.

"Scientists say" is a close as it gets. It's unclear whether the people quoted are affiliated with the study or were asked to comment on it by the newspaper.

Indeed, the newspaper only says "eight glasses a day is unnecessary". How about six?
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
The paper points out that any liquid will by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:28:40 AM EST
provide hydration. The point of the paper was to dispel the myth. You go ahead and drink 6 glasses of water. It won't kill you and won't make you more healthy. It will just hydrate you. As would orange juice, Coke or milk.

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[ Parent ]
Which paper? by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:34:26 AM EST
The study or the newspaper?

If the point of the paper was to dispel the myth, there's little point for a study. Kevin Trudeau has been doing that sort of thing for years.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
Wow, you should have let them know. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:42:37 AM EST
They could have funneled that money into something more useful. I'm sure you'd have a suggestion.

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[ Parent ]
I'm friends with someone by garlic (2.00 / 0) #57 Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:29:22 AM EST
named Kevin Trudeau. He hates the other Kevin Trudeau.


[ Parent ]
unlike orange juice, coke, or milk by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #43 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:23:33 AM EST
water contains no calories and so won't contribute to making me fat.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
That's a good reason to drink it, then by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #45 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:28:06 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
true, but concentration matters by lm (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:33:10 AM EST
If memory serves correctly, alcohol by volume of less than 9% or so will still hydrate a person. I may be wrong on that number. I do know that most beers will hydrate a person more than they will dehydrate a person.

Caffeine is similar. The amount of caffeine in your average cup of coffee is insufficient to cause more dehydration than the amount of hydration the person drinking the coffee will get from the liquid in the cup of coffee.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
In the short term, undoubtably so by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #35 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:36:36 AM EST
but the net effect overall (when your liver has completed its job) is still as a diuretic.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
[ Parent ]
I doubt that very much by lm (2.00 / 0) #36 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:38:48 AM EST
If that were the case, I'd have been dead years ago as coffee is my main form of liquid consumption. But I'm willing to change my mind on the matter.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Maybe you are dead. by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #37 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:42:07 AM EST
I know some people that wish I were dead by lm (2.00 / 0) #39 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:45:18 AM EST
They seem to be disappointed, so I must not be dead yet.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I disagree somewhat by theboz (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:26:50 AM EST
It's true that there are lots of fads in all the things you mentioned, but that doesn't mean none of it is true.  For example:
Natural medicines are not medicines at all. They are products overloaded with contaminants, but they deliver such a muted dose of the desired active ingredient that they are not even regulated for product quality.

Really?  When I drink aloe juice or chamomile tea, my stomach feels a lot better than when I take pepto bismol.  The fact is that there are natural cures and treatments for a lot of things, but when you take something natural and try to put it in a pill, who knows what will happen?  I also don't know why an aloe plant grown on a farm would have any more contaminants than an alka seltzer.
Organically grown food may sometimes taste better, as does farm fresh food, but if industry moved entirely in that direction it could cause many people around the world to go without food.

Really?  Who?  We have more than enough food to feed the world as it is, and personally, as a member of the first world, I'd like my food to be of good quality.  Just because there are starving kids in Africa (who are only starving because of political issues) doesn't mean I should be forced to eat at McDonalds.
And, drinking lots of water not only does not cleanse you of toxins, but a recent study shows that it could leave vulnerable to minor sicknesses. At best, it does nothing.

There have been other studies that suggest the majority of people in the U.S. at least are chronically dehydrated.  The suggestion to drink lots of water is a good one for those people.  Sure, you can drink too much, but that's different than telling dehydrated people to drink more water.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
"Natural" medicines by Herring (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:54:36 AM EST
Anyone who's ever smoked weed must be aware of the differences in potency between samples. If you extracted pure THC from the plant, then you would know what you had and how much of it. With raw leaves, you have an unknown quantity of other stuff - mud, dust, pesticides, earwax ....

I'd be interested to see the results of these studies on dehydration. And who funded them.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
And, as any good no-pesticide advocate will by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:04:20 AM EST
tell you, all plants have toxins in them to protect them. We've just selected out the ones that we don't like.

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[ Parent ]
While this is true by theboz (2.00 / 0) #52 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:07:05 AM EST
Marijuana is grown in many different varieties, in different climates, in different ways, and when prepared to be smoked, often cut with different substances.  There are varieties of "medical marijuana" that have a more consistent potency and are consistently grown and prepared.  I think there's a big difference between the argument of quality control, and the argument against natural "medicines" being ineffective.  Quality control can easily be addressed, while you'll never get a plant to cure something it never has before.
I'd be interested to see the results of these studies on dehydration. And who funded them.

There's always Google, and I'm not trying to be flippant, just that I don't have anything invested in the topic and don't care enough to do a lot of research to find things.  I just know I read something in the past about it.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
See, all those points are exactly what by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:57:59 AM EST
I'm talking about.

Your tummy might feel better, but there's a reason it's not considered medicine. Extend your theory, as many people do, and you have cancer patients drinking wheat grass juice because an Herbalist told them that the scientific community is telling lies and their snake-oil will cure them.

As for aloe, is works great on burns, but has no significant medicinal effects. And, you get all of the natural contaminants/toxins the plant is equipped with to keep people from killing it. The same goes with all natural remedies.

The only thing that saves us is selecting out the more harsh individuals and the fact that only in concentrated doses can they have an effect, anyway.

As to the food issue, we will have to face the fact that a return to 19th century food production, as many so-called open-minded people advocate, would essentially starve the developing world at his point.

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[ Parent ]
You're eliminating the common sense factor by theboz (2.00 / 0) #51 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:43:02 AM EST
Your tummy might feel better, but there's a reason it's not considered medicine. Extend your theory, as many people do, and you have cancer patients drinking wheat grass juice because an Herbalist told them that the scientific community is telling lies and their snake-oil will cure them.

There's a difference in the two.  When I drink aloe juice, my stomach feels better quickly and there is a clear cause and effect.  Cancer patients drinking wheat grass juice aren't going to notice any effect.  Simple observation and common sense have to be used.
As for aloe, is works great on burns, but has no significant medicinal effects. And, you get all of the natural contaminants/toxins the plant is equipped with to keep people from killing it. The same goes with all natural remedies.

The same could be applied to any foods.  As far as the medical effects of aloe, it does cure things like heartburn.  Unless you have some unusual definition of medicine or illness, I don't see how you could eliminate burns and stomach problems as medical issues.  Sure, I don't think it will cure diabetes, but neither do any modern medicines.  Anyone taking aloe to cure cancer or something is an idiot just as much as someone who thinks taking sudafed would cure cancer.
The only thing that saves us is selecting out the more harsh individuals and the fact that only in concentrated doses can they have an effect, anyway.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at, so I won't comment on that.
As to the food issue, we will have to face the fact that a return to 19th century food production, as many so-called open-minded people advocate, would essentially starve the developing world at his point.

I'm not so sure that is a fact, or how you came to believe this.  From my observations, our way of producing food is causing more problems than it helps.  Humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years eating naturally.  While I think it's good to tweak that process to allow for improvements and progress, our new ways of producing food are resulting in more problems than they solve.  I really don't find it to be helpful to the third world for us to give them HFCS-laden soft drinks and lettuce with e-Coli.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
It became a selling point by debacle (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:49:05 AM EST
And now, it's hyped up. Products I saw recently at the store:

Organic shrubs
All-natural butter (pasteurized)
All-natural dish-soap
Organic toilet paper
Salmon, anti-biotic free, hormone free

The fact is, organics are important - I only eat organic chicken and beef (and fish, but I would contend that all fish is organic). I eat all-natural peanut butter, jelly, honey (Who ever heard of hfcs in honey? wtf?), tomato sauce, soy sauce, and basically anything else that comes in a can or a jar because: 1. It has fewer calories 2. It is better for me 3. It tastes better. I drink soy milk because I don't like the taste of real milk anymore, don't eat margarine because there's nothing wrong with butter, prefer olive oil over vegetable oil for the flavor, drink green tea because it has a preferable taste, etc.

I drink a lot of water because it keeps me cool (or warm, as the season warrants) and it keeps my kidneys happy.

I think that some people go overboard (organic milk, cheese, and eggs, for one) because they think they have to. The media has said "This things are better for you" and the guilt that would be present after not putting those things into your body would be too great to handle. If you get cancer, and you haven't been drinking organic free-range buffalo milk from a glass container less than two mornings after it's left the cow (meaning female cattle), you've got no one to blame but yourself. You had it coming, after all.

I don't buy into that, but there are some things that warrant being "naturalistic" because that's what they are.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

True dat. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:02:35 AM EST
I'm all for cleaning up the food. That only makes sense and there are probably ingredients added that have no value or need whatsoever, as you allude to. Don't quote me on it, but I can see it happening.

Marketing and media need for stories is likely a reason for the popularity. I just wonder why it's so pervasive. I mean, it's fairly clear that the largest market sector for these products is the Western middle class, and mostly women, as these products are almost exclusively aimed at them.

But, why does this resonate so much with people? What is it about female culture that says the word 'natural' will force her to buy more responsible toilet-paper or more natural tomatoes?

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[ Parent ]
Organic fish by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:10:28 AM EST
Interesting question. RLY.

Do you differentiate between fished fish and farm raised fish?

Do you differentiate between species of fish? Deep sea tuna and mackerel can be full of mercury.

Do you differentiate between fish and shellfish?

This is one area I haven't really come to any conclusions about.
--
The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.

[ Parent ]
there are examples of badness in all of them by garlic (2.00 / 0) #58 Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:37:22 AM EST
farmed fish farmed aggressively can put a lot of antibiotics and fish crap in local rivers that mess with local wildlife.

fished fish gotten aggressively can destroy natural breeding populations.

Which means to be correct about it you need to know more about the fishers and farmers to know if they're messing up their local systems or not.


[ Parent ]
Err by R343L (4.00 / 1) #26 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:12:12 AM EST
Why is organic chicken a "reasonable" consumption of organic food, but organic chicken eggs are not? Organic beef is fine, but organic milk and cheese are silly?

(There is also a side issue that in California, at least, "organic" has an intersection with "raised in a manner that isn't disturbing" as well as an intersection with "raised just like in factory farms but their dwellings are kept like clean rooms because we can't give them antibiotics".)

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
factory farms like clean rooms by garlic (2.00 / 0) #59 Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:43:49 AM EST
might be nicer for the cows, right?


[ Parent ]
I've done some research on this by Herring (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:56:48 AM EST
and it appears that people are idiots.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
do you have a newsletter? by gzt (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:48:25 AM EST
this sounds groundbreaking.

[ Parent ]
I've got one. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #44 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:25:16 AM EST
Yours for only £120 a month. A bargain, I'd say.

[ Parent ]
But mine is published using organic HTML. [n/t] by Herring (2.00 / 0) #46 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:50:10 AM EST


christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
If it's not Free Range XHTML by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #50 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:32:14 AM EST
I'm not interested.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
There's some truth to it by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #41 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:50:30 AM EST
One of the major problems with pills is delivering the active ingredient in such a way that will allow it to be absorbed effectively, and the key obstacle is concentration. Natural sources generally have lower concentrations.

Coffee is great for mild asthma and other things, tea is a self limiting source of caffeine for children too young to take in coffee or pills. Caffeine is generally a great enhancer of analgesics.

Tea is great for the stomach, if you might drink it anyway, what's the difference? Seaweed in food has alleviated nausea so intense I couldn't keep water down for a second.

There's prejudice on both sides of the road. Saying 'natural' medicines aren't medicines at all is partly correct, but only because they're not all regulated. Meanwhile, their doses often are measured effectively, and some of them simply aren't regulated not because of their source or concentration, but because they're safe beyond measure.

As for the junk, we've got digestive systems and endocrine systems and immune systems to take care of that. That junk can be better for you than trying to deal with the drug in concentration. Not always. But if you were tell me that refined sugar is better for me than (say) honey because the dosage is more exact I'd just laugh.

Anyway, the natural = good mantra is idiotic. Medicine as medicine is simply natural. Medicine (derived, refined or no) as something in your body is usually not, and that's the point.

Organic food. GM foods are as organic as anything else. Call GMOs unnatural if you must, but I don't care if the pope declares them to be abominations in the eyes of The Lord; they're still organic even if they're not part of God's Creation. It's sad that I have to pretend to be religious to make that point to my own satisfaction.

Chill out, snowflake.

I agree about GMO's. Good point. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #42 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:09:08 AM EST
The reason the FDA and most other countries don't regulate natural medicines is because you simply cannot take enough to do very much in most cases. The rare exceptions usually are regulated, such as marijuana.

There is prejudice on both sides of the argument, but the basic fact is that there are no studies to show that natural health products can do very much for anything significant. They can cure nausea, but then, so can placebos. Studies show that, too.

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[ Parent ]
No studies? I doubt it. by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #47 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:57:28 AM EST
Why do doctors recommend coffee for asthmatics then? I have asthma and I medicate 100% with coffee. They'll tell you about babies and tea, too. Respiratory issues are significant last I checked.

I think you might be selecting your concepts to match the argument. Sure Echinacea is overhyped and belladonna diluted to oblivion is par with placebo, there are a hell of a lot of drugs (most/all refined derivatives) that owe their modern existence to the very fact that they were effective when naturally sourced. Cocaine (maybe all the -caines?), ergotamine, Aspirin, Tylenol, all the opiates, etc. It doesn't matter what the FDA has to say about them, their original sources still make up part of the natural medicine category. And cocaine is far less dangerous as a stimulant when naturally sourced.

Finally, there's naturally sourced drugs on the horizon that haven't made their way through the FDA. Some are simply poisonous, some are potent recreational drugs, and some are potent medicines.

I don't blame you for hating on the 'natural movement.' The best thing we could do is run the proponents through a wood chipper. But in the meantime I refuse to waste headspace on the politics generated by these sorry excuses for afterbirth, so I'm very uncompromising with the concepts and language involved.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
I screwed up on the no studies thing. Typo. by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #48 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:03:49 AM EST
Few studies showing evidence for it, I'd say. Showing significant effect.

I don't specifically hate the natural movement. I hate the silly propaganda and I am fascinated as to why people are so willing to believe certain things, even when they make no logical sense.

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[ Parent ]
It's a boggle by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #49 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:17:52 AM EST
but it's probably just that they want to. I'm not sure I can blame them when not everyone is equipped to judge the difference. I still think they need the wood chipper treatment.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
Hey-- by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #53 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:49:15 PM EST
Will you be summarising the bitesreplies over on Kuro5hin?
I'm a pretty busy guy, and I didn't have time to read all of this.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Never heard of K5. by Clipper Ship (1.00 / 1) #54 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:55:34 PM EST
I'm playing nicely, so I doubt it.

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Destroy All Planets

[ Parent ]
Drink lots of water by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #55 Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 09:04:24 PM EST
I've been told to have maintain high fluid intake, preferably water, a few years ago after having kidney stones.

You use the fully hydrated argument; many people are unknowingly not "fully hydrated", hence the drink lots of water meme. A recent report has noted a dramatic improvement in wellbeing at a care home and a decrease (I can find a link to the news item but I think there is a corresponding study also).

I'm also not entirely opposed to natural medicines. Science often finds the major active ingredient in such medicines, but I often wonder whether there are secondary and tertiary active ingredients which go unnoticed.

P.S. Nice Troll


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
There are undoubtedly other effects in place by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #56 Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 02:49:50 AM EST
with natural medicines. And, they may be just be just as useful as placebos which can have amazingly powerful effects.

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Destroy All Planets

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #60 Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:28:58 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by ObviousTroll



By the way... by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #61 Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:33:15 AM EST
I was digging through your diaries because I thought I remembered you raising some interesting questions - and I found this one.

The Naturalistic fallacy, as you term it, is much wider than just medicine. It's the same attitude you find in people who love wolves and hate ranchers, who demand that we leave stone age tribes "untainted", who simply cannot accept the idea civilization has made the lives of humans (if not animals) better than they were before.

The roots of this, I would argue, are in the romantic movement. Up until then, westerners saw the natural world as a thing to be feared. The romantic movement, and the movement (does it even have a name) to "protect" our children from harsh realities, created a culture that saw "nature" as full of fluffy baby animals, green, peaceful forests, and meadows laden with things to eat. Coupled with the apparently instinctive urge to see the past as a "golden age", this movement has so completely permeated modern life that we can no longer perceive how entities as diverse as Disney and the Sierra Club distort our view of nature, except to occasionally notice that the people who are most "environmentally correct" are inevitably the ones with the least exposure to it.

The flip-side is just as powerful. Just as Percy Shelley was wooing the world with stories of the Eden we'd left behind, his wife was tormenting it with the fear of the world we were entering. Fear of Frankenstein has permeated the world as completely as the longing for the neolithic society that spawned us, driving us to automatically reject anything tagged with his name.

Now, this isn't to say that Science is always beneficial, or that there is nothing to be gained from the careful preservation of our natural heritage, it simply addresses your question about why "people" (for which I read "westerners") have such irrational preferences for things called "natural".

--
Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

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