There are 6.8 billion reasons why holistic organic tofu farming won’t take off

4 08 2009

You may remember I offhandedly posted a link to a new hard-hitting piece of environmnetal investigative journalism “Food Inc” back ago. You can read a bit more about it at ERV (Her non-judgemental words: “a new movie bitching about GMOs and food production in the US”).

Unsurprisingly the US meat/livestock/poultry industries have put together a debunking website: safefoodinc.org which includes an enlightening myths & facts section.

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Book tearing

10 06 2009

Is this the real reason why Skeptics practice phone book tearing in pubs?





Naylor’s Law – You’re just like Big Tobacco

24 05 2009

I’m naming this after the lead in Thank You For Smoking. I couldn’t find reference to this particular phenomenom anywhere.

I saw it twice in one day.

Here. An ad for the hippie doco Food Inc. in reference to the processed foods/factory farming industry.

And Here. A passing reference to anti-alcohol campaigns on a Radio National show.

I also here it plenty of times from the anti-vax crowd.

The law is:

As a discussion on the health effects of a product for human consumption progresses, the probability that one side will bring up a comparison to the tobacco industry approaches 100%.

Should this be grounds for forfeture of the debate?

I can definitely see myself comparing the alcohol lobby to the cigarette lobby. A “cool”, addictive, mind-altering substance associated with a myriad of ill-health effects – hell, they even have the same occasional claims of health benefit (red wine for heart disease). I suppose the main difference is there isn’t such a thing as passive drinking (is there?)





Anti-vaccinationists winning the war against healthy children

21 09 2008

Re-emergence of diseases like measles and mumps amongst Canadian communities (see Respectful Insolence) is starting to show what the totally unfounded (see The Stats Blog)  fear surrounding the MMR and other children’s vaccines has the propensity to cause.

I also had a link to similar outbreaks emerging in the UK. Outbreaks in other parts of the world are also likely to happen.

Part of reading this stories has helped me learn another horrible fact about the ramifications of less children being vaccinated. It does not just affect children who aren’t being vaccinated. Vaccination relies upon a concept called “herd immunity”.

We all have heard how vaccines aren’t 100% effective in the first place. This is an anti-vaccinationists selling point. Every time you are exposed to the contagion there is a chance of your vaccine failing. Think of it like brakes on your car, you can only be in so many “near-miss” situations before you bang something.

The idea of mass vaccination is to reduce the number of gambles. If every child is vaccinated, there is virtually no entry point for the contagion to enter your community. Every unvaccinated child is a bad driver on the road with no brakes. Not only are they relying on the brakes on your car to reduce danger to their children, they are an additional risk that your children need to avoid.

Some savvy parents are taking this into mind. Daycares that allow unvaccinated children (or do not have data on enrolment vaccines) are seeing health informed parents remove their children to other institutions that provide. The link I lost had a story of a mother who found out one of her children’s friends mothers had bought into the anti-vaccinist screed – and promptly stopped their children playing. A similar incident is found on MSNBC:

Karey Williams [47, Chicago] never thought a parenting decision would come between her and a good friend. The two had known one another for a decade, supported each other through infertility treatment and had their first babies around the same time. But when she told the friend that she had stopped vaccinating her daughter at age 1, the relationship abruptly ended. “She said, ‘Well then, your child can’t come into my house,’”

You might think this is harsh. But these are serious deadly diseases, no parent should be reprimanded for ensuring the health of their children. Lifelong complications (such as deafness) are very very common amongst victims of these diseases.

The positive impact of mass vaccination has a very clear and positive record. Science-Based Medicine has put up the stats for major vaccines. All of them have efficacy rates of over 80%, and save thousands of lives every year (if not more). And none of them have autism as a proven side effect. Science-Based Medicine’s author, Mark Crislip also points out that if GP/Big Pharma was really some sort of evil diabolical institution, they’d be joining the anti-vaccinists. More vaccines, means less disease. Less disease, means less business.

“I am an Infectious Disease doctor. I make a living from treating diagnosing and treating infections. I don’t make dime one if people do not get infected, so I am against any and all vaccines as they cut into my bottom line” – Mark Crislip, Science-Based Medicine weblog

Mandatory safety measures such as bicycle helmets, seat belts, standardised testing of car breaks are important for road safety. Shouldn’t similar safety measures be mandated for children’s health and safety.





Christian sect called a cult

28 06 2008

The “Christian” part must have given it away…

The Brisbane Christian Fellowship (and their Toowoomba counterpart) is in the Courier Mail (“Church sect holds its faithful in grip of fear”, 28/06/08, M. Wenham) and on ABC’s Four Corners. The Christian Fellowship is one of those proliferating fundamentalist groups that pride themselves on devotion (read: mindlessness) and purity (read: xenophobia).

Flick through the 4Corners’ flash site and you can access a tract made by the church to help pubescent teenage girls through “changes” – complete with a section titled “What was Eve’s Deception” and helpful advice like:

Do you want to grow up to be a godly woman who is willing to be given and serve (remember we were created to be a helper) or rather spend your whole life like a sponge, desiring everyone else, (especially a future husband) to fulfil your self-centred needs?

Blessed! What may come if girls actually desire fulfilment?

The Fellowship also appears to be one of those great churches that thinks bad things are God’s way of punishing sinners. After a man suffered a heart attack, induced by the stress of the treatment he received leaving the church, the church actually has the gall to send him a letter, and then read it in church the next Sunday, explaining how this was God’s way of punishing the guy.

Hopefully exposure of groups like this will dispel the myth that Church makes nice people. Though I really doubt anything will come out of this. Australia is just as capable of protecting asshats under the guise of religious freedom as other countries.