I Smell A Rat

Every time a story breaks the headlines claiming that the results of some research has indicated that red meat or saturated fat is linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hemorrhoids, global warming, the war in the Middle East, murder, mayhem and mass genocide, you can bet your ass that 99% of the time the volunteers were buck-toothed little rats.  Are rats that similar to humans and are they a reliable analog for the effects of our food on our body?

Metabolically speaking, rats are very similar to human beings and many tests using them as subjects can be quite valuable.  My concerns have less to do with drug testing and more to do with dietary effects.  When looking at a rat study, I always take into consideration the digestive and dietary variance between humans and rodents, and how easily these experiments can be manipulated based on those differences.  Assuming that most research is rarely unbiased, can the experiment be constructed to achieve a desired result?

How are Mickey and Minnie different from humans?  Though nobody likes to vomit, it is often a life-saving technique evolved to rid the body of undesirable toxins, pathogens or just overindulgence.  Unfortunately for the rat, they lack that ability for three reasons:

  1. Rats have a powerful barrier between the stomach and the esophagus. They don’t have the esophageal muscle strength to overcome and open this barrier by force, which is necessary for vomiting.

  2. Vomiting requires that the two muscles of the diaphragm contract independently, but rats give no evidence of being able to dissociate the activity of these two muscles.

  3. Rats don’t have the complex neural connections within the brain stem and between brain stem and viscera that coordinate the many muscles involved in vomiting.

    (For more details on why rats can’t vomit)

A study of food can be easily manipulated by feeding a rat an amount of food that a human would typically throw up.  Feeding high quantities of a particular nutrient, even essential ones, can cause serious and even deadly results.  This is no basis for vilifying a nutrient.  An example would be iron.  People who suffer from a gene mutation called, “Hemochromatosis absorb iron at much higher levels than normal.  The human body has no mechanism to get rid of excess iron, so it begins to store the iron surplus in the joints and organs . This “iron overload” ultimately leads to crippling arthritis, heart damage and cirrhosis of the liver.

I could easily feed excessive iron to a rat and show definitive results that iron is a deadly nutrient.  We all know that a small amount of iron is not only healthy, but essential.  Without iron, we cannot make blood cells and become anemic (a life threatening condition).  This same principle is true with nearly every nutrient.  Sodium, potassium, zinc, copper, calcium are all essential for good health, yet are deadly in high concentrations.  So the first question is how much red meat or fat was force-fed to the stinking rats?

If you think they are wining and dining these varmints on prime rib, you’re sadly mistaken.  Every study I have read used highly processed meats in their experiments.  That is fine if your final conclusion is going to read that bologna is linked to colon cancer, but that is never what they report.  It will always proclaim that it was red meat that caused the problem.  The equivalent to the type of “meat” used in these research experiments are more similar to Spam than steak.  So the conclusion should read, “If you are eating Vienna Sausages for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, you may develop colon cancer”.  How many other compounds and chemicals are used in the processing of hot dogs, cold cuts or potted meats?  Maybe it’s the nitrates, nitrites, sulfur dioxide, monosodium glutamate, salts, sugar, cereal fillers or hydrogenated oils used in this embalming that triggered the disease.  But the final report will always single out the meat or saturated fat.

What about the fat?  This is the second piece of chicanery perpetrated by rat researchers.  Do you really believe they are slicing the fat from a nice T-bone for the rats?  Think again.  More often than not, when lard or coconut oil are used in rat experiments, they have historically been hydrogenated, creating a trans fat.  Trans fats have been proven to lower HDLs and raise LDLs.  Seed oils are liquid at room temperature and are hydrogenated to simulate saturated oils and make them solid.  Unlike seed oils, coconut oil and lard are naturally saturated and solid at room temperature.  There is no advantage to hydrogenate them, except to achieve a negative result.  So, the next time you hear that researchers have linked saturated fat and heart disease, remember that the rats were most likely fed the equivalent of Crisco.

Studies on dietary fat have other problems, namely the fact that rats have no gall bladder.  Rats do produce bile from the liver, but the absence of a gall bladder would suggest that they didn’t evolve on a high fat diet.  Herbivores and omnivores that exist on mostly plant dominated diets, have either no gall bladder or very tiny ones.  Meat-eating animals all have highly developed gall bladders to handle the load of fat in their diet.  This fact alone makes any study on the effects of animal fat on rats irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.  This explains why rats refuse to eat lard or other fats in these research experiments.  In order for the researchers to get the rats to eat high quantities of fat, they have to mix it with sucrose.  How are we to determine if the negative effects are from the fat or the sugar? Just another deception.

Another favorite slight-of-hand by rat researchers is the isolation of animal proteins such as casein, and force feeding huge quantities to the test subjects.  Any isolated protein can be toxic.  People who consume protein in the absence of fat or carbohydrates suffer from “rabbit starvation”, a life threatening illness.  I could certainly kill a lot of rats if I fed them isolated gluten from wheat, but we never see researchers test that one, because the target is always animal products.  Salt is a necessary nutrient, but isolating it and jamming large quantities down any animal’s throat would result in their extermination, but wouldn’t prove that we should remove salt from our diet.

Rodents are one of the few mammals that seem to do well eating grains.  All livestock mammals become sick when fed grains and need antibiotics.  There is mounting evidence that humans are more like the majority of mammals and become sick on grains, thereby making rodents a poor analog for humans in these experiments.  It is my belief that you could target any particular food and adulterate it, feed it to rats in massive quantities and make the them sick.  This is why it is so easy to poison rats.  They are extreme opportunist and will eat just about anything.  If what they consume is poisonous, they are unable to throw it up to reduce the amount of poison that will enter their bloodstream.

I think that most people believe that an equivalent amount of studies are conducted on the effects of other foods, such as grains, vegetable oils, or high amounts of sugar.  This is simply not true.  Animal products are far less profitable than grain commodities and processed oils, so it is much easier to get funded for any study that will further denigrate animal foods.  Laboratory research cost money and must be funded by someone with deep pockets.  Many times they are funded by corporations on their own products.  I certainly see no conflict of interest there.

Many other studies are funded by government agencies.  The USDA is committed to the marketing of grains.  The more people are frightened about animal products, the more they will replace them with cereal-based foods.  Gary Taubes, science writer for the New York Times wrote in his book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”:

Scientists were believed to be free of conflicts if their only source of funding was a federal agency, but all nutritionists knew that if their research failed to support the government position on a particular subject, the funding would go instead to someone whose research did.”

There is an obvious bias, as a rule, in the majority of the research community.  The customer is always right, and in this case, the customer is whoever is granting the funds.  This is true in any occupation.  I have worked in the commercial arts.  I have had clients instruct me to do the most distasteful and hideous things to sculptures, but if I want to get paid, I did as they wanted.  Oftentimes, I am embarrassed by the results and would not add the work to my portfolio, but I happily spent the money.  So I can easily imagine that researchers also have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed.

In conclusion, I am always skeptical of any dietary study performed on rodents because they can be force-fed, can’t vomit, are naturally herbivores, but more so because they can’t tattle.  Though they may squeak, they can’t squeal… on their researchers, that is.  We’re never going to read a rat’s manifesto of their treatment as a research subject.  This leaves us to rely on the integrity of the researcher, or more accurately, whoever is funding the study.  I am way too cynical for that.  So when I read a headline touting a study not involving human subjects specifically, I always smell a rat.

Is Meat Eating Causing Global Warming?

Here is another retarded soundbite recital I hear repeated all too often.  The basic theory is that cattle emit methane gas as a result of digestion and those clouds of hydrocarbons rise up to the stratosphere and trap in heat.  They claim that this is one of the major contributors to the recent warming.  Of course, it’s the fault us meat eaters!  We have helped proliferate ruminant species beyond anything that the world has encountered before, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of all….. Bwaahahahaha…. Sorry, it’s hard to keep that going.

What kind of simpleton is convinced that there are more ruminants now than ever before?  Let’s break out our history books and take a look at a time, just 233 years ago.  It was 1778; North America was in the throes of a revolution and the world was also suffering a mini ice age.  As Washington’s troops froze at Valley Forge, record low temperatures stretched across the globe.  At this same period in time, North America also had a buffalo population estimated at over 75-100 million.  The amount of cattle in North America presently is estimated to be a little less than 100 million.

You also have to take into consideration that the population of moose, elk, caribou and deer were much higher than they are today.  All of these animals are ruminating mammals, just like the cow, and create just as much methane pound for pound.  That’s right, they fart as much as cows and many of them are larger animals than cattle, so their gas emissions are considerably higher.  So with all that methane being created on the prairies of North America at the time, how was there a mini ice age?  Because this theory is a bigger load of crap than any cow pie gassing off in some pasture.  Maybe it’s the greenhouse emissions gassing off of all the piles of vegan bullshit that are destroying the environment.

Let’s all try to keep a straight face and pretend we agree that it’s cow farts causing some type of global warming.  Then how is the solution of not eating meat going to fix it?  Are cows going to stop farting because we stop eating them?  If we look at one of the nations with the highest number of vegetarians on earth, we would expect to see a reduction in cattle based on this vegan sales pitch – right?  Well India has one of the highest populations of vegetarians, yet the estimated number of living cattle in that country are over 400 million!  More than four times the meat-eating United States!

Does PETA have a secret plot to destroy all of the cattle once they are set free?  This would be the only way to put a stop to the emissions, and we all know that PETA are no strangers to the euthanization of animals. [article]  And once the cattle genocide is completed to save the vegan from their fear of global warming, won’t there be huge methane emissions from the decomposing cattle corpses?  The reality is that the cow doesn’t produce these gasses, but the bacteria within the cow.  The same type bacteria will ultimately decompose a carcass, releasing methane as a by-product.

When a grain field is harvested, it is only the seeds that are taken and the rest of the plant is composted; releasing tons of methane into the atmosphere as it decays.  Around 22.8 billion gallons of diesel fuel is consumed annually by tractors, harvesters, irrigation pumps and other machinery for agriculture.

Add that to the fact that rice paddies produce around 13% of global methane and I fail to see how a vegetarian diet lessens the emission of carbon gasses.  Those numbers could ten-fold if the entire world changed to a solely plant diet.  As usual, the perpetrators of this fabrication haven’t thought this one out too far, but then again, the words “thinking” and “PETA” have never been synonymous.  They react based on feelings, never critical thinking.

And lastly, what about the increased emission from the vegan themselves?  How is a vegan fart superior to a cow fart?  Because of their high fiber diet, vegans are more flatulent than their omnivorous counterparts.  If the entire human race become vegan and billions of colons struggle to digest bran fiber, soybeans and Kashi Gofart cereal, what will become of the atmosphere when they all unleash their cocktail of carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide?  At some point an entire vegan population would make an equivalent contribution to the carbon emissions as today’s cattle.

All propaganda and the Gore-y half truths aside, carbon elevation does not cause global warming, it is the warming that causes the rise in carbon emissions [source] [second source].  Proof of this is that the rise in CO2 levels always lag behind the rise in temperature by an average of two years, making the entire theory of carbon causing global warming complete bullshit.  As temperatures rise from solar activity, organic matter decays and gasses off more quickly (does your garbage smell worse on a hot day than on a cold day?  Of course it does.).  Solar activity would explain why temperatures have risen equally on Earth, Mars and Venus within the last few decades.  I guess it’s time for the Martian and Venusian to “go green” and drive hybrids.   It is nothing humans cause, nor can prevent – but is quite profitable to those who exploit the Gore-y lie.

Can We Feed The World?

We could feed the world” is the anthem of everyone who supports the proliferation of massive mono-cropping of wheat and other grains.  Vegetarians and vegans use this phrase as if it were the exclamation point ending every sentence.  The theory is that if we didn’t feed so much grain to livestock, we could feed the world with those grains.  That’s fine with me, because I don’t consume products made from grains nor from livestock raised on grains.  All livestock animals, including cattle, sheep, goats and even chickens didn’t evolve to eat a grain based diet and their health suffers as a consequence.  Feedlot animals require antibiotics to stay alive and render inferior food products.  The reason grains are fed to livestock is simple – to fatten them up for slaughter quicker.  Yet, somehow TPTB have convinced people that these same “Heart Healthy Grains” that make livestock fat and sick will somehow make humans lean and healthy.  How’s that working out for us so far?

So if we were to allow livestock ruminants to thrive on their natural diets of grasses, would we truly feed the world with all that extra grain?  We actually produce enough food now to feed the world, even in spite of the grains fed to farm animals.  Excess grains are purchased to produce tons of processed foods, snacks and other confections.  Corn is processed into high fructose corn syrup for sodas, juices and a whole host of processed swill.  Wheat is used for the baking of snack cakes, cookies, pies, donuts and every other baked goodies you can think of.  Tons of grains are used annually in the brewing and distillation of alcoholic beverages.  Funny, I have never heard anyone reciting; “If we just gave up junk food, sodas and beer, we could feed the world.”.  And it goes far beyond edible products.  Grains have thousands of industrial uses.  Wheat is used to make industrial adhesives, soaps, cosmetics and many other products.

So much grain is produced in the world, that inventors stay up nights designing more products that can utilize them – we even burn them as fuel.  Why are they not being used to “feed the world”?  The answer is simple economics.  Selling grains to the impoverish is less profitable than selling Little Debbie Snack Cakes to people with money to burn.  We also have the problem of dictatorships.  Many starving people live in nations where their leaders are the cause of their starvation.  These dictators and warlords can use hunger as a weapon to control their populace or sell grains on the world market in exchange for weapons, fuel or any other commodity that will empower them, rather than distribute the food to their people.

When first world nations, such as the U.S., have sent tons of grains into starving countries, the cheaper cost of the imported grains only served to put the local farmers out of business.  The poverty-stricken farmers cannot afford the huge tractors, combines, irrigation, petroleum fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that make agriculture more abundant in the U.S., not to mention the government subsidizing, which lowers the cost.   They are often times driven out of work and have to abandon their farms.  This huge inflow of grains to the market has historically proven to only cause more starvation and disruption of the local economy.

Some people live in a fantasy world, where simply reducing or abstaining from animal products will somehow “feed the world”.  This is a pretty anemic effort which may somehow boost their self-righteousness, but does nothing to solve the problem.  If there is no profit in raising grain crops, growers will simply stop raising them and go into a more lucrative venture.  Plenty of U.S. Tax dollars go to shipping grains to third world nations only to make their governments fatter, not the people.  How is dropping meat from your diet going to change that?  Are those people suggesting that we overthrow every rogue government in the world and occupy their country?  Should we behave as an empire?  Truth is, such idealists have never given it enough thought to understand why there are starving people.  They are the masters of “soundbite recital” and it becomes that much more laughable when it comes from a rotund individual.

According to William Davis M.D., in his book “Wheat Belly”, geneticists created a new hybrid of dwarf wheat that could yield more grain per acre less than 50 years ago.  The mission statement of these scientists was the promise that it would “feed the world”.  They were successful in creating this frankenwheat and it increased the production of wheat in the western world.  Did it feed the world?  No, it only drove down the wheat prices and made flour cheaper and readily available for more junk food and confections.  It was also successful in creating new strains of gluten protein, causing a quadrupling in celiac disease and a multitude of other gluten related illnesses.  I’m not against feeding the world – it’s a great idea.  I just don’t believe that abstaining from meat and increasing grain harvests will accomplish that.  It will only create more products for consumption by the richer.

World hunger is more of an economic and political issue than the lack of food.  Excess production of grains only led to cheaper food prices which made it possible for people to gorge themselves into obesity.  Maybe we could liposuction all the fat from overweight westerners and feed it to the poor.  People are always more willing to give up their extra fat than their snack cakes and chips.  Hell, I imagine even saturated human fat is healthier than grains.  These foreign nations would most likely become more robust on human lipids than our lardbutt, sickly, grain-eating society and turn around and kick our ass.  As far as I’m concerned, we can send every last grain grown here to the starving people of the world – I have no use for them.

Is Air linked To Heart Disease?

The most deceptive term in science and the media today is the usage of the phrase “linked”, as in claiming that a particular food product is “linked” with a certain disease.  Most people are left to assume that this association proves the causation of the illness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  To pronounce that saturated fat is linked to heart disease, really says nothing of value.  This just says that many people who consume saturated fat will suffer a heart attack.  Well, everyone in the United States consumed saturated fat at some point in their life and nearly half of the U.S. population will develop heart disease.  They will also consume many carbohydrates, proteins and a whole host of other garbage.  If we’re going to make this kind of connection, then could we not notice that all of them also consume lots of air?  Therefore, air is “linked” with cardiovascular disease.  Sounds pretty insane, but about as useful as the saturated fat theory.

Why?  Because not everyone who consumes air has heart disease nor does everyone who eats saturated fat.  There are vegans and vegetarians that will develop heart disease and diabetes.  But do people who eat the most saturated fat suffer more from heart disease?  Well, according to William Castelli, MD, Director of the Framingham Study, one of the largest medical studies ever done on the effects of fat and cholesterol on the heart:

“In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the lower people’s serum cholesterol.  We found that people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories weighed the least, and were the most physically active.”

George Mann, MD, Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University and co-director of the Framingham Heart Study went as far as saying:

“The diet-heart idea (the notion that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease) is the greatest scientific deception of our times.  This idea has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies.  The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.”

Even Ancel Keys himself, father of the lipid hypothesis with his seven country study, was quoted in 1997:

“There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood.  And we’ve known that all along.  Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.”

The media loves to definitively accuse one nutrient for every disease, as if there are people whose diet are made up of just one food.  For example, former president Bill Clinton was notorious for his love of fast food and especially McDonald’s fries (parody on SNL).  Remember, McDonald’s fries are a high carbohydrate white potato, fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil (a trans fat).  There is also a bun made of white flour and some sugary ketchup, not to mention the large sweetened soda he probably washed it all down with, yet somehow the burger patty was singled out as the perpetrator of Clinton’s heart problems.

In 1993 Clinton sought out the tutelage of Dr. Dean Ornish to adjust his diet.  Adopting the rather restrictive Ornish diet, extremely low in saturated fat, Clinton still required angioplasty and stent surgery in 2010.   Even after seventeen years of this tasteless, bland diet that any self-respecting maggot would turn its nose up at, Clinton’s atherosclerosis had worsened to the point of surgical intervention.

Anyone short of an imbecile would realize that this lipophobic diet was unproductive because it only restricted fat, not the carbohydrates that Clinton was so fond of.  Of course no one ever accused Dr. Ornish of being short of an imbecile, so Dr. Dean concluded that his fat restriction was not harsh enough and as a result, Bill Clinton announced that he has become a vegan.  Actually, this might be a brilliant move on Bill’s part.  A vegan diet will lower his testosterone (a hormone made from cholesterol), thereby lowering his sex drive and could solve many of the problems that have plagued his legacy.

Certainly high cholesterol is linked to heart disease?  Yeah, so is air!  If serum cholesterol is the obvious culprit, then why did a study published in The American Heart Journal (January 2009) analyzing nearly 137,000 patients admitted to hospitals in the United States with a heart attack demonstrate that almost 75% had “normal” to low cholesterol levels? [source]  Not much of a link, is it?  The cholesterol theory was born in 1910 when Adolph Windaus discovered that cholesterol was present in arterial plaque – but so too is calcium.  I have never heard of anyone suggesting a diet low in calcium, nor any pharmaceutical company proposing a calcium lowering drug.

If certain elements are elevated in the blood in association with an illness, are we always to assume that the elevated substance is the cause of the illness?  For example, we will always notice that a fever is associated with an elevated white blood cell count.  So based on the cholesterol hypothesis, are we to conclude that high levels of WBCs (White Blood Cells) are the cause of fever?  Maybe we should develop a drug that reduces the body’s ability to manufacture WBCs and we will reduce fevers.

Why would we behave differently when it comes to an underlying cause that we cannot identify?  An attempt to lower what may well be produced by the body to help combat the problem is an irresponsible and dangerous procedure.  Our brains and nervous system are made of cholesterol, most of our hormones are derived from it (including vitamin D) and every cell membrane in your body depend on cholesterol to prevent it from leaking.  Yet somehow, the media has demonized cholesterol as a toxin that must be stamped out in our lifetime.  Low density lipoproteins(LDL) carry cholesterol to damaged arterial walls in an attempt to patch them.  Inflammation is the problem, and the causes of inflammation can be numerous.  High blood sugar is caustic to the arterial walls (which I will cover in an upcoming post), fat is not.  Blaming cholesterol is like blaming doctors for causing all illness.  After all, doctors are associated or “linked” to sick people.  Maybe Pfizer will create a drug that reduces doctors!

There is another association that is better “linked” to heart disease risk than cholesterol.  As I mentioned earlier, high cholesterol is not always associated with heart attacks, but elevated homocysteine levels are a much better predictor of a problem.  Dr. Kilmer McCully has studied and written extensively on this association.  Dr. McCully reported that children born with a double gene mutation called homocystinuria causes their homocysteine levels to be very high.  These unfortunate individuals often die of a heart attack or stroke at ages as young as their teen and twenties.  But is homocysteine actually the cause?  Researchers have known that treatment with high doses of folic acid significantly lowers homocysteine levels in the blood.  Several clinical studies have been conducted using folic acid therapy and were extremely effective at lowering the homocysteine levels of the test subjects receiving it compared to the group receiving placebo.  Unfortunately, the mortality rate of the subjects with the lowered homocysteine were no better than those on placebo. [source]

We cannot single out homocysteine as the cause of the problem, because lowering the levels has not proven to cure the disease nor improve the outcome.  In the same way, lowering cholesterol by use of statins has never proven to reduce the incidence of heart attacks, at least by that mechanism.  There is some evidence that statins may prevent a second heart attack in victims who have previously had a cardiac event, but that protection happens too rapidly to be due to any cholesterol lowering effect.  Since the broad use of statins was implemented, it’s safe to say that americans have lower cholesterol now than ever in history.  Has heart disease started to decline?  The mechanism that leads to atherosclerosis is certainly more complicated and elusive than the media would lead us to believe.  Settling on treatments and diets based on guesses has been unproductive and may have helped increase the development of heart disease in western societies.  

So the next time you read or hear how saturated fat or cholesterol, or anything else are “linked” to a particular disease, remember that hundreds of other things are “linked” also.  It really just depends on what the researcher wants to accuse.  Was it Kellogg’s, General Mills, Nabisco or the USDA funding the study?  If so, you can bet they never considered carbohydrates or they would have found an association there also.  I really can’t see how scaring people into swapping bacon and eggs for breakfast cereal and bagles could possibly profit those companies.  And if it’s the manufacturer of cholesterol lowering drugs putting up the bucks for the research, you can bet your ass they never considered anything other than cholesterol to blame.  Unless you read or hear the word “causes” in place of the word “linked”, the article or study has as much relevance as blaming air.

The Magical Land Of Oz!

Mehmet Oz once said that butter is solid at room temperature, so it solidifies in your arteries.  That’s funny, because butter melts to liquid in my hands.  He is also the genius doctor who wrote in Time magazine that a low carb diet causes ketoacidosis.  There is a big difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis, maybe Oz can read it here.   He continues to hawk his high fiber diet as healthy for the intestines, in spite of the fact that he has had precancerous polyps removed from his own colon.  Dr. Oz’s diploma must be written in crayon.  Yet, Oz has finally been awarded an honor befitting his service – I am referring to the not-so-coveted Pigasus award.  This makes Oz the first person to receive the award for two consecutive years.  For those who don’t know, the Pigasus is an award given by world renown psychic investigator James Randi to any celebrity bozo advocating pseudoscientific or paranormal advice.

Oz received the award for using his syndicated television show for promoting faith healing, “energy medicine,” and other quack theories that have no scientific basis.  Oz has given legitimacy to the claims of Brazilian faith healer “John of God,” who uses old carnival tricks to take money from the seriously ill.  He’s hosted Ayurvedic guru Yogi Cameron on his show to promote nonsense “tongue examination” as a way of diagnosing health problems.  In March 2011, Dr. Oz endorsed past Pigasus winner John Edward, who supposedly talks to dead people. Oz even suggested that bereaved families should visit psychic mediums to receive messages from their dead relatives as a form of grief counseling.  A Dr. Oz medical clinic would look like a Coney Island side-show.  How does anyone, other than his ringmaster, Oprah, take this buffoon serious?

Did Dr. Oz serve his surgical fellowship performing alien autopsies?  Can he bend scalpels with the power of his mind?  Even if John Edwards could actually speak to the dead, I’m sure that Oz wouldn’t want to hear what many of his dead patients would have to say to him.  It’s really not surprising that Oz believes in all this hocus-pocus bullshit, because I always felt that his dietary advice was less believable than a Miss Cleo cold reading.

Is this just media sensationalism, or are there really doctors this ignorant?  The largest misconception in medicine is the belief that doctors are scientists; Very few are.  Doctors are more often simply practitioners, studying diagnosis of symptoms and treatment with drugs – researchers are the scientists with the biochemistry knowledge to create the drug, medical device or procedures.  An analogy might be an automobile designer creates the car from the ground up, whereas the mechanic strictly diagnoses the problem and changes the faulty part.  The doctor plays the role of the mechanic.

It is not just alternative medicine that has turned into a performing monkey for profits, but it has encroached into mainstream medicine as well.  It’s getting harder and harder to find the blurred line between science and pseudoscience in modern medicine.  James Randi, Mike Shermer, Brian Dunning and Penn Jillette like to brag in their ability to “spot the looney”, but I have found them to be just as “taken in” by some of these charlatans, just because they “belong to the right club”, so to say.

Shermer, Randi, Dunning and especially that know-it-all Jillette, claim to be true skeptics, but in the larger picture, they tend to resemble that of a pseudoskeptics, because their faith in a particular science is not always based on the default position of disbelief until proven to be true (as is mine), but is contingent on whether the author of the thesis has a particular degree or follows what is deemed as “peer-reviewed” or backed by government regulators or researchers.  “Blind faith” is blind faith.  Their position assumes that there is no influence of money, power or corruption in mainstream science or government, which is wishful thinking at best and every bit as blind in its ideology as those that they criticize. (I would love to cover this in more detail in a future post).  I am the only true skeptic that I know of.

I have been more than shocked by some of the clueless utterings from some doctors I have encountered.  For instance, my father had by-pass surgery about four years ago and has since been under the care of a cardiologist.  This lipophobe is constantly badgering him to lower the saturated fat in his diet and focuses all his efforts on LDL levels.  I explained to my father that the body synthesizes most of our cholesterol and saturated fat intake has little to do with it.  His doctor replied that all cholesterol is acquired through diet and that vegetarians have NO cholesterol in their blood!  What!?  This doctor must have gotten his degree from the Ringling Brothers Clown College.

The real kicker had to be this chucklehead who somehow achieved the rank of executive medical director at a hospital I had the misfortune of ending up at.  I had been rushed there for a blood sepsis from a medi-port line infection and was heavily treated with antibiotics.  After a week-long bombardment of anti-bacterial agents, my sister inquired whether the doctors would use a prophylactic anti-fungal treatment?  Even she was knowledgeable enough to realize that yeast would proliferate after such an aggressive antibiotic session.  This doctor confidently stated that, “men do not get yeast infections – only women do”!  This is no joke people!   An M.D. actually said this!  A week later I came down with a systemic candida infection that nearly killed me.  Close to 45% of people who develop a systemic yeast infection die [source] (and closer to a 90% mortality rate among patients on TPN, as I was) and it could have been prevented if this moron hadn’t skipped school on the day they taught that yeast can breed in places other than vaginas.

Fortunately there are knowledgeable doctors, but never assume that everyone with an M.D. after their name has a superior knowledge of human biology or science.  And certainly never trust a doctor dishing out advice from your television.  Dr. Oz has earned his two Pigasus awards and the smart money is on him to win a third one.  Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”.