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3 Things To Consider Before Calling BS On Scientific Information

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There seems to be this endless war separating science from nature. We’re given two opposite polarities to choose from:

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#1 : You either swear by scientific authorities and pharmaceutical methods while judging alternative information as “pseudo-scientific naturopathic propaganda.”

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#2 : Or you’re a “hippie” living off herbs and crystals while rejecting all modern knowledge as a conspiracy out there to get you…

But does it need to be so black and white? IS IT so black and white? Before going any further, let’s remind ourselves of something important: The truth isn’t about defending an opinion. It doesn’t care about opinions. It isn’t an opinion.

“Opinions are made to be changed – or how is truth to be got at?” – Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)

As long as we swear by anything without a shadow of a doubt and refuse to remain flexible and open to new information that may add on to – or change – our current perspective, we cannot evolve. We cannot genuinely learn if we prefer picking sides and identifying ourselves with rigid opinions and judgments. Because attaching to an opinion is essentially about giving power to a single angle of view and sticking to it, which greatly filters the way we process information.

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The voice in our head that says “this is how it is, all else must be bogus” isn’t in service of the truth, it only serves our ego’s need to be “right,” to judge and to avoid uncertainty. But as much as we may believe something to being true, in order to remain objective and advocates of truth, we need to at least remain neutral, flexible and be open to altering our perspective. Not with a “Oh yeah? Try and prove me wrong and I’ll consider but let me ridicule you in the meantime” type of attitude. Neutrality, curiosity and observation is much more powerful than finger pointing – it is the best foundation for true learning.

People are culturally conditioned to have to be right. The parents are right, the teacher is right, the boss is right. Who is right overrules what is right. Couples have huge quarrels about considerations that are forgotten as the struggle for who is right rages on.

Political parties have institutionalized having to be right. How often has a political party welcomed the position of the other side? Imagine if all the energy that goes into trying to prove the other side wrong were channeled into actually thinking about what was best for whatever the dispute is about. Worse, having to be right becomes a barrier to learning and understanding. It keeps you away from growing, for there is no growth without changing, correcting, and questioning yourself. 

If you have to be right, you put yourself in a hedged lane, but once you experience the power of not having to be right, you will feel like you are walking across open fields, the perspective wide and your feet free to take any turn.” – John Naisbitt

Here are 3 points that we should all be reminded of before jumping to conclusions within the world of health and science.

1. For The Love of Science: Question ALL Science!

It is a common trait of the human ego to want to put all faith in something – anything, and treat it as the be-all and end-all answer to all of our questions. The scientific community often accuses the herb loving “hippies” (using stereotypes playfully here) for blindly trusting alternative medicine without critical thought – which can be true in some cases. However, the scientific community itself often puts complete faith in today’s scientific authorities, claiming they cannot possibly be wrong about anything. In both cases, such faith has little to do with the truth and more to do with the assumption that some authority will provide the unbiased truth for us.

Now before I get bashed for questioning science, let me explain what I mean. It is not to say that the scientific method itself is inadequate. But unfortunately, we live in a world of many interests and agendas. We can trust that the scientific method itself works, but can we be sure that it is always used fairly, extensively and honestly – at all cost – by today’s leaders of industries? 

Is it really safe to assume that all authority:

  • Has no vested interests or conflicts of interest?
  • Has perfect intelligence?
  • Has all the facts for both sides of the fence?
  • Is totally neutral and unbiased?
  • Has perfect integrity?
  • Has your best interests in mind?
  • Is truly open-minded?
  • Loves truth more than benefits?
  • Does not let money or power influence what it teaches?

In fact, there have been numerous cases of scientific fraud amongst science-based medicines, just as there has been fraud amongst alternative health methods. If the scientific community is often so keen in calling alternative practitioners charlatans who are in it for money and fame, why not hold the same level of skepticism for mainstream health businesses? Doesn’t the word “business” itself signify the sale of something in an attempt to make a profit?

Choosing to put faith in any authority – without actually witnessing elitist meetings, relationships between scientists and government and seeing what goes on in sponsored scientific studies – is merely speculation. Without investigating further or hearing out what insiders and whistleblowers have to say without prejudice, we are simply adopting the opinion that “of course, greed would not come in the way of leaders working for the greater good. Anyone saying otherwise is a conspiracy nut.” This is an assumption, it is not questioning. 

The same message applies for the natural alternatives crowd: believing that ill motives are the only thing fueling all modern practices and experts is merely speculation as well. It is a generalized judgement without precise investigation. 

That being said, it is important to question everything and assume nothing. Questioning doesn’t mean pointing fingers or being paranoid. It just means questioning. It just means valuing the truth more than the comfort of opinion.

“Science is supposed to be adaptable, able to evolve and falsifiable. However, in our society, we tend to get stuck in ruts with science. When we find a solution to something, we often treat it as the be-all-end-all solution to our problems. When an alternative solution is suggested, or an attack is made on the current solution, people tend to get defensive and criticize these new propositions without allowing the research to be done. Instead of remaining opened minded and thinking ‘Oh, maybe that would work better!’ they usually retaliate.” – Garrett Melee

Article from theguardian.com: The Way We Fund and Publish Science Encourages Fraud 

2. Avoid Association Fallacies. See every situation as UNIQUE

“The warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.” – Paulo Coelho

To avoid association fallacies, every issue brought to the table should be regarded as unique. It should be explored individually for the sake of knowing the truth about a particular case, not for generalizing or picking sides once again. For example, there is currently a lot of noise being made about the use of cannabis oil to cure cancer. Someone who holds prejudice against natural alternatives will probably resort to ridicule or claim that “if it was legitimate, it would have been acknowledged by mainstream science by now.” Once again, this reaction stems from choosing faith in one thing and prejudice against another – rather than neutrally questioning and investigating the issue as an individual case.

On the other hand, believing that no mainstream advancement in medical treatments deserves acclaim is also biased. Believing that all modern practices are founded in corruption isn’t research, it’s putting every individual case in a box. As much as conspiracies do exist in this world, the conspiracy mindset is just that: a mindset. 

If we’re interested in the truth, we need to go beyond mindsets and beliefs and become as neutral as the lens of a microscope. The lens of a microscope does not filter, it is not emotionally engaged, it does not generalize what it sees, it does not associate it with anything else. It holds no agenda. It does not deny some aspects of what it sees while sugarcoating others. The lens of a microscope simply looks at what is right there in front of it. Simple.

“Your drive to produce hard-edged opinions stoked by hostility is likely a sign that you’ve been brainwashed by the pedestrian influences of pop nihilism.” – Rob Brezsny

3. END THE WAR: Science is not the opposite of Nature, Nature is not the opposite of Science

Since when did nature become “bogus” or “unscientific?” Does it make sense to make science and health be exclusively about high-tech machines and artificial chemicals, while dismissing what already exists in nature? The “science vs. nature” debate is all in our heads. They are not opposites. True science is about unbiasedly researching all aspects of life. Technology innovation and the creation of new materials – whether it be synthetic chemicals or genes – is great (I know some would debate this but let’s pretend we lived in a purely ethical world for a second). Exploring nature and all of its properties is JUST as great. There is equal value in both worlds and they should complement one another, not ridicule and compete with each other.

We can see this needless separation in today’s healthcare methods. When an unhealthy person visits the doctor’s office, rarely will he be told to eat healthier and more natural foods in order to detoxify and reset to body to its natural state. Drugs, however, are pushed right away as if health was solely about managing symptoms of unhealthiness. But isn’t dealing with the cause of unhealthiness just as important? As the American philosopher Wendell Berry said, “People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health… and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food.”

An optimal health-care system would have nature and science work hand in hand. It would focus as much on maintaining health naturally (prevention) as it would on dealing with symptoms. Otherwise, we might as well call it a sick-care system.

“The only reason why one would ridicule what comes from nature is if they have divorced themselves from nature. Yet we are a part of nature. We are nature. If you think you’re smarter than nature, think again. Nature made you.” – unknown

No Matter What Conclusions We Arrive To, It Shouldn’t Be About Feeding Sides or Opinions.

Once we integrate these 3 insights in the way we process information, whether our research leads us to the conclusion that most of our society is corrupted or not shouldn’t matter or make us more judgmental and one-sided.

If Bob, for example, after 20 years of research, feels the need to speak out against Big Pharma or scientific authorities, it does not NECESSARILY mean he is biased. Maybe he has decided to undertake research in a neutral manner and has simply arrived to those conclusions. If John, after 20 years of research, feels the need to correct conspiracy theories, it does not NECESSARILY mean he is a shill working for the government either. Maybe he too has decided to undertake research in a neutral manner and has simply arrived to those conclusions.

In the end, the message I wish we all take from this – including myself – is to stop resorting to fighting and judging without caring to understand. We need to get off our high-horse, shake each other’s hands, be curious – not opinionated – about the truth and agree to value the common good more than our personal egos. If this wisdom was collectively integrated, I bet all corruption would fall away by itself anyways and debunking would no longer have to be such a fight ;-).

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ― Isaac Asimov 

EBOOK-thin-ad

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Vancouver Council Votes Against Mandatory Mask Mandate: They’re Not Required

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vancouver, Canada will not have a required mask policy in civic facilities, and instead will simply recommend that people wear them.

  • Reflect On:

    Should governments recommend what they feel we should do and present the science instead of forcing certain measures on the population that many people and health professionals clearly disagree with?

What Happened: The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will not mandate masks inside city buildings and will “strongly encourage” people to wear them instead. This is a bold move as many cities across the globe have mandatory mask measures in place.

The proposal by Counc. Sarah Kirby-Yung, which would have required masks inside city buildings, was opposed by more than a dozen speakers who pleaded with the city council to vote against it.

“Please consider our forefathers fought for our freedom, and if we release that choice, it’s the first step towards a dictatorship,” said one speaker according to City News. “Masks are used as weapons and they have certainly been used as weapons against me and others to silence and marginalize us and it’s not fair.”

According to Coun. Christine Boyle, public health experts encourage wearing masks, but a mandatory policy is not needed.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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