Low fat isn’t science, it’s a religion

While cruising around one of my favorite websites I found a link to the following flow chart for the scientific method.

science.PNG

As you can see, this is an accurate diagram of how real science works. An idea or an hypothesis is posited, then tested experimentally. If the experimental evidence doesn’t accord with the hypothesis, then most scientist will make another run or two at it just in case something was wrong with the experiment. But if a number of experiments don’t confirm the hypothesis, the hypothesis is abandoned or modified and the experiments start again. If the evidence does confirm the hypothesis, then a new and useful piece of knowledge has been added to the sum of knowledge. This is science.

Here is a flow chart for religion

faith.PNG

Notice the difference?

Now, think low-fat. In the old days (i.e. 6 or 8 years ago) whenever anyone made the claim that low-carb diets worked better than low-fat diets in helping people lose weight, drop blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, alter lipid levels in a good way, eliminate GERD, get rid of sleep apnea, etc., all the low-fatters would sneer, ‘Yeah, show us the papers.’ Well, now dozens and dozens of papers have been published showing all the above. In every single paper that has been published (at least all the ones I’ve seen; if someone out there has one showing different, send it my way) comparing low-carb diets head to head against low-fat diets, the low-fat diet has at the very best held the contest even, at the very worst had its brains beaten out. If you average the results of all these studies, the victor by a large margin is the low-carb diet.

All the low-fat zealots who hang in out there continuing to come up with ad-hoc hypotheses to explain the failures of their own nutritional hypothesis are ignoring contradictory evidence, which as the chart above demonstrates is the hallmark of faith or religion.

And we all know what it’s like to argue about religion with someone who believes differently than we.

Because low-fat is a religion, I fear that it will take a long, long time for low-carb to become the dominant diet in America, although by all evidence it should.

Incidentally, while prowling through the guy’s website who came up with these charts, I read some of his journal, which is worthwhile reading. He is an American who grew up in the eastern part of the country but who now lives much of the time in Europe. He decided to take a solo journey by car through the heartland of America just to see what it was like. His journal of his trip is fascinating, especially the segment about the never ending fields of corn.

Here is a taste:

As the darkness grew, the rolling sea of corn took on a disquieting feel. In that black, any horror could leap out of the fields and drag me off into the endlessness of it all. The only spaces in the corn opened onto lonely farms. These were no better. Without lights they looked sinister, with lights they illuminated sharp, torturous machines. While my cerebral cortex recognized that salt-of-the-earth folk certainly lived within those occasional dwellings and not the cinema-style crazy, isolated and murderous hicks I imagined, my reptilian brain feared the worst. That, and the dark forms by the side of the road my tired eyes conjured for me, didn’t induce me to step from the warm safety of the car. The children of the corn waited out there.

Then, a beacon in the darkness: a single gas station in a clearing where US-20 intersected with an even more deserted looking road. I pulled over, tired buttocks, empty gas tank and full bladder greatly relieved.

But — oh good god — the bugs.

The light from this isolated outpost of civilization attracted every flying thing with compound eyes for a hundred mile radius.

Unbelieving, I took out my camera and tried to snap a few photos to capture the essence of it. When I show these photos now to gentle Englishmen, they assume the station is undergoing a blizzard. Only when I inform them that it’s actually bugs, do they drop the photograph in horror and revulsion.

I stepped inside the gas station, brushing the insects off my clothes and out of my hair, nostrils and mouth. Inside I beheld two fat, ugly people: one behind the counter, a woman, and the other a man. I stood for a moment, waiting for a break in their low, conversation about God’s gift of corn and its varied uses. Long moments went by before the fat man took notice of me.

“Oh,” he said to the fat woman, “you better take care of him, he’s a…” and then trailed off, failing to finish the sentence.

`A what?’ I dearly wanted to know but, before I could ask, the woman turned to me suspiciously.

“Saw you taking pictures out there,” she said. She had a round head, lacking in facial features, like a baby, except with pimples.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m a photographer,” I lied.

Her pimply face betrayed no understanding of my words, so I continued the lie. “I’m from London on a road trip to photograph America.” Well, not exactly a lie, but very close and vastly overemphasizing my importance. I tried to give the impression of one who works for the BBC with purpose, instead of a lost, dumb tourist on a road not meant for tourists.

“You’re at a gas station,” she said, as though this structure’s purpose would be unknown to one from England. “What you photographing here?”

“Well,” I said, gesturing to the vast blizzard (not-a-blizzard-oh-the-horror) of crawling, flying things outside the window. “The bugs.”

“You came all this way to photograph the bugs?”

She misunderstood me, thinking that I had intentionally journeyed to US-20 after hearing legendary stories of the bugs along it and the great gas station to which they swarm.

“But there are bugs around all gas stations” she continued.

“But not like that,” I said.

The pimples on her forehead came together in a way to indicate to me that she was furrowing her brow.

“All gas stations have bugs,” she said, then added for clarification: “at night anyways.”

To her, it seemed that the island of light in the middle of corn may well have been the only point of brightness in the Universe. I imagined her father telling her, as a little girl, creation myths of a world of endless corn with only their town at the center, the way primitive island people imagine there to be nothing but water beyond their shores.

“Well,” I said, not sure how to continue, “it’s the most impressive bug storm I’ve ever seen.”

The fat man took this moment to give his companion a knowing glance, and they resumed their previous corn-based conversation as though I wasn’t there. I paid for my gas and left.

The entire piece is funny and illuminating. I especially enjoyed his tour of the Mitchell Corn Palace somewhere in South Dakota replete with audio recording of the tour guide. And reading of his travel through this part of the country makes one realize just how much corn there is and why there is such a compulsion to put it in everything.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

21 thoughts on “Low fat isn’t science, it’s a religion

  1. I like the premise, although the graphic is actually lacking of important steps. This is probably good for the purpose of your article, but my objection to much of the other junk science in the world requires more detail.

    Science requires that the idea (the hypothesis) be rounded out enough that a model of how it could be tested and falsified (proven wrong, if it turns out to be mistaken) can be done effectively. Until you do provide the means for falsifying the hypothesis, it cannot be a theory. Not even if you test it.

    There’s some methodological debate over how much credibility can be given to validating experiments, but they can never be as effective as a falsifying one. In other words, if you say “I have come up with a test, if my hypothesis is true then the results will be X” is not enough to make a theory…because OTHER things might conceivably cause X, too. But if you say “I have come up with a test, and if my theory is wrong then the result will be X”, then if X doesn’t happen, you have a valid theory.

    Anthropogenic, greenhouse-based global warming is an example of junk science avoiding this absolutely essential step.

    They, like the fat-fearers, have an IDEA, nothing more. They then “test” it in ways that do NOTHING to determine if the hypothesis is false. Indeed, most of their “tests” are nothing more than correlation of data, which is something else that “scientific method” forbids.

    You can never, ever call it hard science to say “we noticed that this and that happen at about the same time, therefore this causes that”. You must have actual, active, controlled tests. When that’s physically impossible, like how we don’t have two thousand planety climates to control in a double blind experiment, you first say “this is not hard science, we are not only not certain, but are almost guessing”, and then you go on to at least try to create a model of the situation, and see if it can be used to predict things you know happened in the past.

    EVERY greenhouse-effect climate model that ASSumes anthropogenic CO2 causes atmospheric heating fails EVERY historic data test.

    Wait…this was about fat, not global warming. Sorry, it’s the poster child for junk science these days, so I get on a roll.

    My diatribe certainly does apply there, though. If we hold dieticians to the full scientific method, they barely even have a hypothesis. They have a “blind assumption” based on “inductive logic”. “We are wanting to lose fat, therefore we obviously should not EAT fat”.

    Even if they actually conduct a double-blind test in which they give some people fatty foods, and other people lowfat foods, and the latter lose more weight, this doesn’t even get them to “hypothesis”. They need to:

    (A) Provide a proposed mechanism for exactly how fat makes people fat. No, think about that…it’s more significant than it sounds. “Fat makes you fat” isn’t really a mechanism. They need to be able to outline the whole chemical process, from mouth to cellulite.

    (B) Outline a test where, if they are wrong, the outcome either will be X, or at least cannot possibly be Y.

    (C) Conduct the test. And, of course, it has to be controlled in all the ways required by scientific methodology.

    (D) If they “pass” the test, they now have a theory, but can only say “it hasn’t been disproved, so far”, NOT “it has been proven”. That is a core tenet, as you allude, for science.

    And, like the gay gene, human-caused greenhouse-driven global warming, the 200 nanometer limit for cellular life, et cetera, they have not even started down the road to doing this.

    Sorry, I tend to ramble. I tend to justify this by considering the sharing of my immense wisdom and knowledge to be a moral obligation. I’m an info-philanthropist, noteworthy for my exceptional humility, of course.

    Hi Kaz–

    Don’t worry too much about the humility part.  You’re right in what you say, but Karl Popper beat you to it by abot 50 years.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  2. Care to comment on the increased stress supposedly ?

    A Steady, High-fat Diet Is Bad, But The News Gets Worse

    Science Daily — So much for the adage, ‘All things in moderation.’ Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that people who consume a single, high-fat meal are more prone to suffer the physical consequences of stress than those who eat a low-fat meal

    Published this month in the Journal of Nutrition, the study looked at the stress responses of two groups of students: one group consumed a fast-food breakfast from McDonald’s, the other ate dry cereal with skim milk, cereal bars and non-fat yogurt.

    “What’s really shocking is that this is just one meal,” says Dr Tavis Campbell, a specialist in behavioural medicine and senior author of the study.

    “It’s been well documented that a high-fat diet leads to artherosclerosis and high blood pressure, and that exaggerated and prolonged cardiovascular responses to stress are associated with high blood pressure in the future. So when we learn that even a single, high-fat meal can make you more reactive to stress, it’s cause for concern because it suggests a new and damaging way that a high-fat diet affects cardiovascular function.”

    In the study, 30 healthy young adults fasted the night before, then consumed either a high- or low-fat breakfast. Both meals had the same number of calories and the low-fat breakfast included supplements to balance it for sodium and potassium.

    Two hours later the two groups were subjected to standard physical and mental stress tests while having their cardiovascular responses measured. They performed a mathematical test designed to be stressful, completed a public speaking exercise about something emotionally provocative, held an arm in ice water, and had a blood pressure cuff inflated around an arm, which gradually causes a dull ache.

    “Regardless of the task, we recorded greater reactivity among those who consumed the high-fat meal in several cardiovascular measures we recorded, including blood pressure, heart rate and the resistance of blood vessels,” says Fabijana Jakulj, a U of C student who used the study as the basis for her honours thesis.

    Campbell cautions that despite the grim message that even one high-fat meal is unhealthy, more research is needed to fully understand how the mechanisms work. “Telling people to never eat something is probably not a good way to promote a better diet,” he says. “At the same time we do have an epidemic of obesity in North America and it’s important that people try to make informed choices.”

    Other students affiliated with the University of Calgary who took part in the study include Kristin Zernicke, Laura E. van Wielingen and Brenda L. Key. Simon L. Bacon, Concordia University in Montreal, and Sheila G. West, Pennsylvania State University, were also co-authors.

    Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Calgary.
    Ads by Google
    Advertise on this site
    Grapefruit diet
    Find Diet Recipes! Huge Selection. Get Quick & Easy Daily Recipes Now.
    http://www.Starware.com/DietRecipes Diet & Nutrition Inf

    Hi Simon– 

    Didn’t you ask me about this already?  I’ve pulled the paper, but I haven’t had the chance to read it critically yet.  I will, however, and let the world know my thoughts.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  3. Getting the initial ‘theory’ close to correct, is the trick. One of my favorite stories:

    A science teacher asks his students, “Why was it that for so many centuries, people thought the sun revolved around the earth?”.
    One student answered “Because when you look up into the sky and watch things for awhile, that’s what it looks like is happening”. So the teacher then asks “Well, what would it look like if the earth were revolving around the sun?”

    Best,
    John

    Hi John–

    It would certainly look the same both ways.

    Your story reminds me of one I read about a clever kid who was asked on a test to explain how he could calculate the height of a certain skyscraper by using an altimeter.  The answer the prof was looking for, of course, was to take a reading from the altimeter at the top of the building then subtract the reading from the ground level to get the difference, which would be the height of the building.  The kid came up with about 30 different ways of calculating the height without subtracting the bottom reading from the top.  For example, he said he could take the altimeter to the top of the building and drop it.  By timing how long it took to hit the ground he could calculate the height.  He could tie a piece of string onto the altimeter and lower it from the top to the ground, then measure the string.  The last way was that he could take the altimeter to the guy who designed the building and say, ‘Hey, I’ll give you this really cool altimeter if you’ll tell me how tall the building is.’

    So, as this kid proved, it’s all in how you approach the problem.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  4. There is an old saying that “insanity is doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome.” Same goes for the stubborn adherence of the medical community/nutritionists to the low-fat diet. Don’t know when this will change as they just as stubbornly refuse to see the evidence that the low-fat diet doesn’t work and blame the epidemic of obesity and diabetes on “lack of patient compliance”! Aaaacckk!!

  5. Really, the two people who can’t see beyond their one gas station give me the shivers.

    Then we wonder why the smartest people leave these places for LA and NY. Some as soon as graduating high school. Some by going away to college and never going back.

    I firmly ascribe to the scientific method to explore and explain the physical universe. I don’t depend on metaphors or beliefs. When necessary I do my own research of available data, which is why I never depend on information given out by any corporation.

    …do you know who taught me to do this? The Irish nuns at my first Catholic school! Those women never allowed us to get away with spouting anything we couldn’t prove; if we made a declaration of some kind or other, especially if we said something like “well my daddy told me so,” off to the encyclopedias we were sent!

    The thing is, there are too many people who resemble the gas station couple. No curiosity, no imagination, no need to question themselves. Believing garbage like the low-fat theory doesn’t happen in a vacuum, you need compliant and ignorant people to make headway. Heck, I believed it for years because I ASSUMED the people presenting it had already developed studies proving it. What would the nuns of my past say to me after hearing that! No more assuming for me!

    Hi LC–

    I guess the rubes working the gas station have a purpose in life after all, which is to provide a moral lesson for us all.

    You’re right about questioning everything.  It’s hard for me to do, but I question the assumptions underlying my belief in the superiority of the low-carb diet from time to time.  I sometimes even ask myself the question:  What if Dean Ornish is right?  I seriously doubt that Dean Ornish asks himself the same question about me, but that’s a different matter.  By asking the question, it keeps me probing.  So far, I haven’t found much evidence that Dean Ornish is right, and I’ve found loads of evidence that low-carb is the best way to diet for health, but I do keep looking.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  6. Gosh my broswer has the comment text so small I can’t read it! I hope it’s just my browser.

    Anyway, I didn’t care for the excerpt. Anyone who needs to describe people by associating the words fat and ugly has a bias and I intensely dislike it when people fallback on the old fat stereotypes: fat, ugly, pimples, and stupid. Good writers don’t have to do that.

    As a fat person who is not fat by choice or from lack of effort, I found the descriptions in this gentleman’s work demeaning and derogatory.

    M

  7. The piece about driving through corn country reminds me of my many forays up the I-5 from Los Angeles to the Bay area. Driving through the Central Valley is depressing, mile after mile of a single crop and automatic irrigation equipment. There are no people, no signs of human habitation and not even any animals until you get within nose shot of Coalinga, which signals the coming visual flash of the Coalinga feedlot, a depressing and outraging monoculture of animals. Another striking feature is that there are no birds.

    I contrast this picture with my experience of driving through the Midwest and Great Plains states when I was a teenager on a cross-country road trip in 1962. I remember neat rows of variegated vegetation, farmhouses dotting the landscape, traffic slowed by farm equipment going down the road, and grazing animals every few miles, and lots of birds. This land was something people cared about: they lived on it, made their living from it, tended it carefully, and the love and respect showed.

    The current Central Valley, on the other hand, is a landscape no one cares about. People live in towns and run their businesses by computer. There’s no need to even visit the land as the owners simply contract for whatever services they need, irrigation, bees for pollination, agricultural laborers, fertilization, chemical pest control, etc. Central Valley landowners are called growers, not farmers.

    Agribusiness has created a landscape of dreary monoculture, and the consequences of eliminating biodiversity have been devastating. Without biodiversity, you need chemicals: fertilizers, pesticides, etc. Monocultures breed insect plagues like the one the writer saw in corn country because there are no bird predators to control the insect pests that live on the single crop, The insects adapt quickly to the chemicals in the pesticides the way bacteria adapt to antibiotics.

    The monocultures of animals is even more destructive since it requires massive use of antibiotics to control the diseases that run rampant in animal concentration camps like the one at Coalinga. Those antibiotics and other chemicals, like growth hormones that make the steers grow faster, which reduces the need for feeds since the animals take less time to grow to maturity, enter our food supply. Those corn and soy based feeds are unnatural. They reduce the nutrition in the food supply and produce dealy strains of e coli, which are now plaguing the monoculture vegetable industry.

    The dreariness of the agricultural landscape is a consequence of the agribusiness takeover of what used to be family farming. This kind of pastoral lament has been going on for a long time, at least since Virgil complained about the loss of the organic agricultural community in his Georgics. But that tendency seems to be at a crisis point now, much like global warming, and one solution is to produce food for people, not profits. That will begin to restore humanity to the agricultural landscape.

    Hi Chuck–

    Good to hear from you.

    I agree with everything you wrote except for the penultimate sentence.  For one thing, I’m not sure global warming exists, at least as a man-made problem.  Second, without profits, you wouldn’t have food for anyone.  Even the small farmers toting their home-grown foods to the local farmer’s markets do so in the anticipation of making a profit.  It they didn’t earn more than it cost them to produce the food, they wouldn’t do it.  And that difference is their profit, and, in my mind, at least, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    If enough people start eating locally Big Ag will be in trouble because it will cost them more than they will make, meaning a loss, which is the opposite of a profit.  Enough loss and they will change their ways.

    It used to be that small farms produced most of the food everyone ate.  And people thought food was food, i.e. one carrot or one egg or one side of beef was the same as the next.  Food became commoditized.  Once that happened, it became more profitable for Big Ag to produce it.  Now people are slowly realizing that food really isn’t a commodity, and that locally or organically produced foods are better.  All carrots aren’t the same.  As demand changes, so will the food production landscape.  But just as it took years for food to become commoditized and the small family farms disappear, it will take years for it to go back the other way.  As far as I’m concerned, it can’t happen soon enough.  But it won’t happen because it’s food for people, it will happen because producers will make a profit providing a different kind of food for people who don’t view food as a commodity.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  8. You’re correct about Popper, and Pierce of course. They are to the scientific method what von Mises and Hayek are to economics and social organization.

    And they’re also dismissed by pseudoscientific bureaucrats, these days. There are actually several ridiculously fallaceous attempts to dismiss them, that are accepted uncritically by academia.

    But we need to resurrect them, in order to save science.

    I agree.  Looks like you and I share an admiration for the same philosophers and economists.  I’m working my way through a good biography of Peirce right now.  I was aware of his philosophy, but not much about him.  Interesting guy.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  9. I don’t agree with Kaz in re global warming. My feeling being that even if it’s not definitively proven, it’s pretty clear that there is a finite limit to fossil fuels. Is it such a bad idea to kill 2 birds with 1 stone even if one may only likely be there? This is more of a sociopolitical problem than a scientific one.

    As to LC, it is my sad observation that most people find thinking to be difficult painful work best avoided if at all possible, especially when it challenges one established beliefs. There is probably a quote by some like Mark Twain to that effect. Thanks for the time and space to comment.

    Hi Mark–

    Call me an idiot, but I’m a little more in Kaz’s corner with this one than in yours.  But Kaz seems convinced there is no global warming whereas I’m not totally convinced but my suspicions are that it’s overblown.  But, I’m not a climate experts, and many respected climate experts are arguing over the issue, so, for me, at least, it’s far from resolved.

    I’m in total agreement about the lack of critical thinking found today.  I agree with LC: it’s hard work, so why do it if you don’t have to.  And most people seem to do fine without having to.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  10. Thank you for linking to my site.

    -Grey

    Hi Grey–

    My pleasure.  It’s a great site.  I hope many of my readers roam through it as well.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  11. Quick hit on Global Warming:
    (Not scientific, but makes you think)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/world/europe/30cnd-europe.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    Key passages for me:

    “April 2007 was the eighth consecutive month of higher-than-normal temperatures in Germany, and the 13th straight month of unusually warm conditions in France.””The British Met Office said last week that April — and the 12 months ending in April — were set to be the warmest in the 350 years that records of what is known as the Central England Temperature have been kept.”

    “In Italy, Luca Ciceroni, a meteorologist for Sky Italia’s 24-hour news channel, said … that the month will probably end as the hottest April on record there.”

    Again, it’s an observation, not a full dataset, but I would suggest that Western Europe isn’t gonna sit around and wonder if there’s something they ought to do.

    Hi Max–

    I read this article, too. And enjoyed looking at the picture.

    I’m not an expert on global warming, but I read a little on it here and there. What makes me think there is less to it than all the blather one reads constantly is that there is great expert dispute on the subject, which leads me to believe its far from settled. Then I read accounts about people being denied tenure or being ostracized academically if they don’t toe the party line on the issue, which really makes me wonder about the validity of the whole idea. Sounds like low-carb redux. All you had to do 10 or 15 years ago to be relegated to the academic dog house was to profess any kind of public faith that maybe the low-fat diet wasn’t The True Diet. Same thing is happening now with global warming.

    One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject was in last months Atlantic by Gregg Easterbrook, a pretty even-handed environmental writer. He has plenty of alarming statistics but also takes some of it with a grain of salt.

    Temperatures are rising on average, but when are they rising? Daytime? Night time? Winter? Summer? One fear about artificially triggered climate change has been that global warming would lead to scorching summer-afternoon highs, which would kill crops and brown out the electric power grid. Instead, so far a good share of the warming—especially in North America—has come in the form of nighttime and winter lows that are less low. Higher lows reduce the harshness of winter in northern climes and moderate the demand for energy. And fewer freezes allow extended growing seasons, boosting farm production. In North America, spring comes ever earlier—in recent years, trees have flowered in Washington, D.C., almost a week earlier on average than a generation ago. People may find this creepy, but earlier springs and milder winters can have economic value to agriculture—and lest we forget, all modern societies, including the United States, are grounded in agriculture.

    Even better than the article is his online interview about it.

    If your goal is reduce greenhouse gases, it’s far more logical to spend your money and invest your capital in China and India than it is in the United States, because the bang for your buck in terms of greenhouse gas reduction there is many orders of magnitude higher there than it is here. A lot of the people who talk about greenhouse gas reduction focusing on the United States just seem to want some sort of punitive measure that harms American industry so they can feel good and go back to their Chablis and brie…

    If American capital and expertise did nothing in the next 20 years except raise the efficiency of Chinese coal-fired power plants—if that’s the only thing we did—it would be probably the single greatest contribution to slowing the rate of greenhouse gas accumulation that anybody could make in the world. It would certainly exceed any possible reform here in the United States.

    And his take on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

    You don’t need this silly Hollywood exaggeration. So a lot of elites have made doomsday claims about global warming destroying society and things like that, though the doomsday scenarios are statistically unlikely and statistically unlikely things don’t happen very much.

    But the likely and scientifically credible scenarios are plenty worrisome enough. And to the extent that the media has been pushing doomsday on this, one of my worries is that the press corps has totally shot its credibility in a classic crying wolf exercise all through the ‘80s and ‘90s. The big deal press corps—The New York Times, everybody—has repeatedly demonstrated total incomprehension of the relative risks of environmental issues. We’ve heard an awful lot about arsenic in drinking water and electromagnetic emissions from power lines and things that even in the worst case analysis are really marginal threats and affect only very small numbers of people and only very slightly raise risks.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  12. No Sir i read this the other day ..on Sunday i ‘tink’

    Sinc

    Nope.  Take a look at the first comment on this post.  It’s the same paper.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  13. One little complaint about the Faith flow chart, should the original writer read this. It is a little insulting to people “of Faith.” I am NOT one of them but have friends who are and would be insulted by “ignore contradicting evidence.” There is no contradictory evidence. It would still ring true if it read, “ignore the lack of evidence,” and remain just as funny.

    Hi David–

    A valid complaint.  But the way I used the chart makes more sense when the “ignore contradicting evidence” is presented as it is.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  14. So, I read a lot of Easterbrook, and his general take is that technology will catch up before it’s a real problem. I think that’s about his take on the looming obesity/diabetes crisis. I am a technologist too, so yeah, that maybe works for me. But at the same time, he (like me) is at core, an economist. So, his understanding of the ecological and agricultural impact of warmer nights and winters and earlier blooms is about as useful as mine, yours or the average person with an advanced degree in something other than agriculture or ecology. Maybe a little better that mine, but enough to set policy on?

    Yeah, fix China first. Because we’ve had such great success in moving China on anything else that was important to the western world. Successes that come to mind: floating the currency, human rights, women’s rights, negotiating with north korea… We should definitely encourage China to use the best technology for coal burning that GE and Westinghouse can develop. As we all know, you have the model the change you want to see in others. So, if we’re gonna ask that of them, we need to do it here. We probably burn cleaner the China, but we’re not at the peak.

    PS- China has emissions standards for autos that make ours look positively slack worthy.

    Comment unnecessary.

  15. The controversy is manufactured by corporations. Out of more than 9000 papers randomly sampled, not one was against global warming. How many were sampled? 900

    All the so called experts against the idea of gw are paid by the corporations. Not one belongs to an academic institution without corporate ties.

    Hmmm.  How about Dr. Richard Lindzen, a chaired professor of atmospheric science at M.I.T?  Or is M.I.T. an academic institution with corporate ties?

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  16. “Ross Gelbspan reported in 1995 that Lindzen “charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.” (“The Heat is On: The warming of the world’s climate sparks a blaze of denial,” Harper’s magazine, December 1995.) Lindzen signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.”

    You may read the rest at:
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=17
    ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Richard Lindzen

    When you have so many scientists from all around the globe coming to a similar conclusion, and then one or two go against the work of thirty years of said scientists, you gotta go looking for the money.

    Hi LC–

    Just the kind of political debate that I’m trying to avoid because neither you nor I are experts in global warming, but I’ve got to indulge in this instance.

    As you wrote:

    When you have so many scientists from all around the globe coming to a similar conclusion, and then one or two go against the work of thirty years of said scientists, you gotta go looking for the money.

    This is precisely the opposite of what has happened with the low-carb movement. For years, thousands of academic physicians and scientists concluded that the low-fat diet was The Optimal Diet for all humans. They laughed at the few of us who stuck to our low-carb guns. By your analysis of the situation, that means that we tiny group of low-carbers must have been on the take because we were the “one or two” who went “against the work of thirty years” of the low-carb scientists.

    As low-carb has proven, in many cases the masses are asses. Just because ‘everyone’ does it or says it is no reason to believe it. Nor is it a reason to assume that anyone with an opposing opinion is on the take.

    And next time come up with something that supports your cause better than some publication with the obvious bias of Exxonsecrets.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  17. I, too, think the religion flowchart is a bit over the top. As a man of faith and a man of science, I find that they do not contradict. If there is an obvious fact that is in direct contradiction to my religion, my religion must have an issue. Facts will always win, it just may take awhile. Galileo, were he alive today, could attest to that. He was exonerated by the Catholic church in the 1990s for the “heresy” of saying the earth rotated around the sun (no flames, please, I am Catholic). I have a hard time with a God who doesn’t take the time to get his facts straight. Someone once said that an unexamined faith was not worth believing in, and I heartily agree.

    This applies equally well to science as to faith. An unexamined theory is not worth believing in. I happen to believe that some global warming is being caused by humans, but only because I have seen the data. Some is also caused by sun cycles. Some is caused by volcanoes. I think most of the political debate is caused by the ramifications of knowing we are causing global warming. The same could be said of low-carb vs. low-fat. An awful lot of our economy would tank if we all adopted a low-carb diet. Some parts would be way over-stressed. However, being an optimist and learning from history, I don’t think there is anything we can’t solve. Predictions of Malthusian doom weren’t any more correct in the 19th century than they are now.

  18. Dr Mike

    exxonsecrets is irrelevant. The man takes money from oil interests. That’s been documented–I just clicked on the closest one. Harper’s, a respected investigative magazine, ran this article in 1995, way before the current administration started its denial, way before it came onto the public’s attention. Go read the original article on cache:

    http://dieoff.org/page82.htm
    THE HEAT IS ON (Global Warming Disinformation)

    Hi LC–

    What’s irrelevant is your insistence that if someone in academia takes money from some entity then that person is automatically biased and his/her opinion doesn’t count. 

    I know that I constantly point out that all the jerks who endorse statins get paid by the statin companies, but that’s different.  They are endorsing a product that their own research shows is worthless, so what other reason do they have for doing so other than money?

    Global warming is a theory, not a proven fact.  The human brain seeks to find reasons for everything.  The human brain doesn’t like to believe that things happen randomly or are driven by larger, non-understandable (at least at this stage in our intellectual development) forces (and I’m not talking religion here, but physics, atmospheric science, etc.).  So, the weather is unpredictable.  We can’t count on a 5-day weather forecast by the same atmospheric scientists who are assuring us that global warming is taking place.  Think about it.  If the summer is too hot: it’s global warming.  If the winter is too cold: it’s global warming.  If the bees are vanishing: it’s global warming.  It’s great.  It works for everything.  It gives the human brain a cause to cling to to help understand non-understandable phenomena.

    Now that I think of it, global warming is a statin-like phenomenon.  All the mainstream academics cling to the idea that statins are a cure-all for everything (I just read a paper purporting to show that statins may prevent lung cancer), and anyone who goes against them is considered a crackpot.  You write a paper glorifying statins, it gets published easily.  You write a paper taking statins to task, and you play hell getting it published.  Why?  Because the journals are peer-reviewed.  If you are a ‘peer’ on a journal review board and you’ve written 20 papers singing the praises of statins, are you going to approve one that basically demonstrates that all your own papers are worthless?  It’s highly doubtful.  But why are these people ‘peers’?  Because they are considered the ‘experts,’ and who better than the experts to evaluate a paper on statins?

    It’s the same thing with global warming.  If you read a little about not just the theory, but the politics of global warming, you’ll find that it’s difficult to climb the academic ladder if one goes against global warming.  You’ll find that your papers don’t get published.  Just like has happened with the anti-statin people.  Then when one of them points out the worthlessness of statins in an interview, the question always follows: where are all the papers confirming what you say?

    The statin situation is a financial one.  The global warming situation is a political one.  Most major universities are liberal.  The liberal branches of politics are firmly in the camp of the global-warming-is-real ideology.  Therefore, the major universities are in the same camp. Which is what makes the idea that a chaired professor at M.I.T, a major university by anyone’s estimation is anti-global warming.

    I’m not saying that global warming isn’t real.  I don’t even know that much about it.  But I do know how academic politics works.  All I’m saying is that there is plenty of opposition to it and plenty of disagreement among the people who know much, much about these things than I to give me pause before buying into it whole hog.

    I sense that you are so adamantly opposed to Big Oil (and probably Big Anything in the corporate world) that you are blinded from seeing anything from an opposing perspective.

    I once gave a talk in Chicago for which I was paid (and all my travel and lodging expenses paid) by the Slow Foods movement, which is heavily pro-pasta, pro-bread, pro-starch, and anti-red meat (not entirely, but they recommend no more than a couple of servings per week as I recall).  I gave another talk once in Montreal paid for by the Wheat Board.  In both talks I presented the Protein Power diet and why I thought it a better nutritional regimen that the one the groups that paid me were proffering.

    I suppose that sometime someone who it into conspiracy theories can dig into all this and warn low-carbers to ignore anything I have to say because Dr. Mike Eades has sold out to the grain industry.  Why?  Because he’s been paid by them to give talks or to consult.

    If you want to continue to ignore or disbelieve anything anyone has to say because that person may have consulted with a corporation that you believe is evil, then have at it.  I just don’t believe that’s the optimal way to search for the truth.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  19. When an organization like the Slow Foods one, pays someone to present an opposing view, I consider that a sign of integrity. No one would consider you to have “sold out” for presenting the view you have always presented, Dr Mike.

    When an academic like Lindzen comes before a Senate committee to testify, having been paid by a private interest to show up INSTEAD OF HIS OWN ACADEMIC INSTITUTION, I see a problem.

    Big Oil, Big Food, Big Pharma,etc., have proven over the years that they DO NOT have my best interests at heart. Their bottom line has nothing to do with my welfare and beyond that, the political or financial welfare of the American population. Their lobbying actions, are overt–they don’t bother trying to hide what they’re doing to the public at all. We are the only industrialized country which has a governmental medical agency, Medicare, which CANNOT negotiate with drug companies for better prices. This is insane, and the Big Pharma lobbyists had that written into the Medicare bill.

    Royal Dutch Shell, an international oil company, keeps very silent in THIS country regarding global warming, but in the Netherlands, its home territory, it’s very active in the global warming movement. The Netherlands will cease to exist if the oceans rise, and Shell knows this. You can bet they’re very proactive against gw right now, spending big money to put programs into place, yet they seem to think it’s okay to go along with the naysayer lobbyists here.

    The corporate media in this country routinely ignores the low carb representatives like you, and only presents the low fat/high carb nonsense–thus making it seem more legitimate than it is–after all, if our trusty news anchors and daytime talk show hosts are alway touting low carb, it must be the correct way to eat, right? Likewise, corporate media has only been presenting the “contrarians” like Lindzen regarding global warming. You never see the other academics in the majority–the ones who have come to the conclusion that gw exists and something must be done. Thus, the idea that there is a big opposition movement is completely manufactured by the corporate interests that own our media. It’s always the same handful of scientists being brought out, and the 2500 plus scientists from all over the world who have written 9000 papers on global warming are rarely seen.

    Hi LC–

    You wrote:

    The corporate media in this country routinely ignores the low carb representatives like you, and only presents the low fat/high carb nonsense–thus making it seem more legitimate than it is–after all, if our trusty news anchors and daytime talk show hosts are alway touting low carb, it must be the correct way to eat, right? Likewise, corporate media has only been presenting the “contrarians” like Lindzen regarding global warming. You never see the other academics in the majority–the ones who have come to the conclusion that gw exists and something must be done. Thus, the idea that there is a big opposition movement is completely manufactured by the corporate interests that own our media. It’s always the same handful of scientists being brought out, and the 2500 plus scientists from all over the world who have written 9000 papers on global warming are rarely seen.

    You’re arguing circuitously in the above paragraph, but the last few sentences you use to bolster you argument in favor of GW could be applied to the low-carb movement.

    For every paper written touting the existence of global warming, I could pull up three or four touting the benefits of statins.  The truth is the truth irrespective of how many people tout it or not.  Ten million people claiming a falsehood don’t make it right, so quit with the argument that since vast numbers of ‘scientists’ believe something it must be true.

    Once again, I’m not saying global warming doesn’t exist; I’m saying that I’m not an expert in it, and since the real experts are in disagreement, I’m not convinced it’s real.

    As to the Slow Foods and integrity statement you made…perhaps I didn’t use the best example.

    MD and I stumbled into the low-carb diet ourselves, worked our way through all the complexities of it, used it and refined it on thousands of patients, then decided to write about our techniques in a book that ended up being called Protein Power.  The cattle ranchers and the beef industry liked what they read in our book and invited us to speak.  We have spoken at innumerable beef/cattle events and have been paid for each one.  It could be said that since we promote beef and have been paid by Big Beef that we are in the pocket of the beef industry.  But it isn’t true.  They simply hire us because they like what we have to say.  We came up with what we have to say on our own without any beef industry involvement.  It’s the same with many academics and authors.  Why would Exxon hire someone whose beliefs they disagreed with.  Exxon finds someone who publishes what Exxon likes to hear, then hires that person to speak or consult.  The person probably came up with his/her views independently.

    Cheers–

    MRE 

  20. Dr Mike

    I finally found the link I was looking for that better explains my position by a public relations man who has come to the conclusion that the oil and energy corps have crossed the line from public relations into propaganda. He founded http://www.desmogblog.com in order to combat the misinformation being handed out by corporate interests. Below is the link to the purpose of his blog.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam
    Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam | DeSmogBlog

    There is also a place where you can check out the credentials of 61 signatories who presented an anti-climate change petition to the Canadian prime minister. Interesting people.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/node/1272
    Timothy F. Ball (Tim Ball) | DeSmogBlog

    Hi LC–

    And here is a blog link that often diputes GW and links to others disputing GW. The internet is crawling with both sides of the debate.

    It looks to me as if you are not really searching for the truth, you are instead searching for all the information you can find to support your bias and trying to discredit anything you come across that undermines your bias.

    I’m freely admitting that I don’t know.  I’m listening to both sides in the debate.  In my opinion the issue is far from settled.  And I always view anything with skepticism that tends to use the same argument for opposing facts, i.e., it’s a bad winter, therefore global warming is at fault; it’s a warmer than usual winter, therefore global warming is at fault.  As an old redneck friend of mine always said about such things, “It just don’t make no sense.”

    Cheers–

    MRE