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10:23

Mote Prime > Paranonsense

What Skeptics Really Believe

Mike Adams, the "Heath Ranger", writes about what Skeptics believe. I've been wondering about that, being a skeptic myself, and I'm glad someone was around to clarify my beliefs for me. Because I sure wouldn't have noticed them on my own.

Natural News To Me

Until this week, I had not heard of the Natural News, or the "Health Ranger" Mike Adams. I had heard of Dr Rachel Dunlop, otherwise known as Dr. Rachie from the Skeptic Zone podcast, and it was her clash with him at the Shorty awards that brought him to my attention.

At the Natural News, Mike has written an article entitled ''What 'skeptics' really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe''.

Now of course I cannot speak for skeptics as a whole, unlike Mike, but I can address some of his points as they apply to me. I am an instance of a skeptic, so any general characteristics should apply to me, shouldn't they?

Prelude: I Agree!

After a tour around skeptic websites, he writes: "What I found will make you crack up laughing so hard that your abs will be sore for a week."

To risk giving away the ending, I agree. What Mike writes is indeed comedic, but not for the reasons that he intends.

Point 1: Vaccines

"Skeptics believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective (even if they've never been tested)"

Wrong. Vaccines must be tested and approved. Some vaccines are more effective than others.

"that ALL people should be vaccinated, even against their will"

Wrong. Some people are immune-compromised and cannot be vaccinated. It id for these people's safety that we need to ensure that herd immunity levels must be kept up.

"there is NO LIMIT to the number of vaccines a person can be safely given. So injecting all children with, for example, 900 vaccines all at the same time is believed to be perfectly safe and 'good for your health.'"

Wrong. There are practical limits. 900 vaccines would be a volume of at least 900c, a significant amount of fluid. The point he was probably picking up on was that skeptics challenge contradictory assertions made by anti-vaxxers. Apparently, 3 vaccines at once is too much, but at the same time, childhood diseases are better than the vaccines. A disease has an uncontrolled dosage, many orders of magnitude higher than a vaccine dose. They can't have it both ways.

Point 2: Flouride

Note the emotive language in the next bit (my emphasis).

"Skeptics believe that fluoride chemicals derived from the scrubbers of coal-fired power plants are really good for human health."

Well, yes, in appropriate doses. Overdoses can have side effects, of course - everything does. It is worth pointing out that fluoride occurs naturally in mineral water. And natural means good, right?

It was the observation that people who live in areas where the water is naturally highly fluoridated have lass dental decay that triggered the whole floridation debate. I live in the UK, where fluorodiation is commonplace and generally uncontentious.

And if the flouride is pure, what's the problem with where it comes from? Do we really have the nice, natural fluorine atoms on the one hand, and the second-hand knock-off fluorine atoms with the bent nucleus and the resprayed protons on the other? Of course not.

"They're so good, in fact, that they should be dumped into the water supply so that everyone is forced to drink those chemicals"

Dumped? Flouridation levels need only be very low. Forced? All UK salt is iodized for health reasons. All bread has added vitamins, for health reasons. Are we being forced to eat these? Technically, you can defend the word. But the imagery is loaded.

Point 3: Drug Cocktails All Round

"Skeptics believe that many six-month-old infants need antidepressant drugs."

What? Seriously? Not me, mate. Oh, and how many is many?

"In fact, they believe that people of all ages can be safely given an unlimited number of drugs all at the same time"

This is getting more and more indefensible. I am certainly well aware of the problem of drug interactions, even between conventional pharmaceutical drugs and herbal preparations.

Point 4: Vaccines

"Skeptics believe that the human body has no ability to defend itself against invading microorganism"

What? What? Utter, utter rubbish. What does the immune system do, then, exactly?

"the only things that can save people from viral infections are vaccines"

Nonsense. Vaccines boost the initial immune response by priming the immune system (that Mike doesn't seem to believe exists) so that it is less likely that the initial infection gets a foothold. They require an immune system, they do not replace it.

Point 5: Childbirth

"Skeptics believe that pregnancy is a disease and childbirth is a medical crisis."

Not at all. However, we acknowledge that there are risks during pregnancy and childbirth that may require specialised medical care.

"(They are opponents of natural childbirth.)"

I'm not an opponent per se, but I believe that it is in best interest of both mother and child to be in easy reach of a medical "safety net". Many of the techniques taught in modern childbirth classes are a return to more natural posture and delivery, where they make sense. Who wouldn't want the best of both worlds?

Point 6: Hypnosis

"Skeptics do not believe in hypnosis."

There's definitely something going on with hypnosis. It almost certainly has nothing to do with mental healing, past lives or repressed memory however.

Point 7: Consciousness

"Skeptics believe that there is no such thing as human consciousness."

Utter rubbish. I am fully conscious, although of course you only have my word for that.

"They do not believe in the mind; only in the physical brain."

That's like saying that I don't believe in numbers, only the physical calculator. Numbers are what calculators do. Minds are what brains do. Just because I don't believe the mind is some paranormal force existing independently of the brain doesn't mean that I don't believe in the mind.

"In fact, skeptics believe that they themselves are mindless automatons who have no free will, no soul and no consciousness whatsoever."

Well, I'll grant you the "no soul" part. But I'm not a mindless automaton. I'm an automaton with a mind.

Ffff. I give up

At this point, everything else pales into shambolic insignificance and I couldn't be bothered to Fisk this any more. Perhaps it's because I'm a mindless automaton, fed on dead food laced with pesticides and drinking water from my toilet.

A Gish Gallop of Guff

As it applies to me, I don't recognise this grotesque caricature. It's simple to make a load of assetions, especially if they don't actually have to be true. It takes longer to explain why they are, with all due respect, guff.

At least as they apply to me, a skeptic.