Belief and Truth
Pop psychology has a habit of taking ideas from psychology and science and transforming them into half-truths – ideas that can be simplistic and misleading.
Some examples include ego and intuition.
With the help of Alice (from Alice Through the Looking Glass), we will also explore the concept of EVIL.
Colin Campbell was a nutritional biochemist at Cornell University. In the 1960s, he was involved in nutritional programs in the Philippines to help families provide for their critically undernourished children. Peanuts were one of their preferred sources of protein. It is a legume— great for improving the soil, easy to grow, and is nutritious and tasty.
At the same time, children younger than 10, were dying at alarming rates from liver cancer. Normally liver cancer is an adult disease— and the children dying from the disease were from the most affluent suburbs in Manila. These are the families that could afford the best housing and the best food.
Whilst in the Philippines, he read a paper in an obscure medical journal. Rats were fed aflatoxin— one of the deadliest carcinogens known. One group of rats was given a diet of 20% protein —and they all died of liver cancer. The second group was given a diet of 5% protein— and they all lived. 100% deaths compared to zero deaths. They were all fed aflatoxin— but only those rats that had a high protein diet died.
A 20% diet of wheat protein, gluten, or pea protein did not result in liver cancer deaths whereas casein, which comprises of 80% of the protein found in cow’s milk, and albumin, which is found in egg white, did result in liver cancer deaths. Plant-based diets are often considered to be lysine deficient. However, adding the amino acid lysine to the wheat protein to match the level found in casein also resulted in cancer deaths.
Significantly, peanuts and corn in the Philippines were often contaminated by aflatoxin— and the wealthy ate Western-style diets, one rich in protein.
A truly wise person is able to see the world exactly how it is – free from any filters or preferences, judgments or undue optimism or pessimism.
Almost the truth simply does not work.
A quest for truth is only valid is you are prepared to change your beliefs based on what you have found.
A quest for truth is only useful if you are prepared to take action on what you have discovered.
Masaru Emoto is a Japanese writer and photographer. He published six books, including The Secret Life of Water, that shows consciousness affects the structure of water and ice. In The Secret Life of Water, Emoto describes his methodology. Emoto takes a sample of water and distributes amongst 50 petri dishes. The water is then frozen following a prescribed procedure. Emoto then assigns a number ranging from 1 to 8 that describes the beauty of the resulting crystal formation. From the 50 petri dishes, Emoto chooses one that he feels best describes the attribute being investigated.I admit that the selection process is not strictly in accordance with the scientific method, and the whim of the person doing the selecting certainly comes into play. When making the selection for a collection of crystal photographs, it is best if one person chooses all the photographs for consistency, which is why all the photographs in this book were selected by me.
Popular commentators often contend the The Enlightenment and The Age of Reason was accompanied by a loss of connection with our emotional and intuitive instincts resulting in a purely mechanical view of nature and the universe.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is one of the modern instigators of the “Age of Reason” although similar sentiments can be found in other cultures such as ancient Greece and Islamic civilisations. He believed that knowledge must be found in sensory experience - in observation. However, he was aware that our senses can be deceived. He was a supporter of Nicolaus Copernicus' (1473-1543) view that the sun was at the centre of the solar system even though each day we see the sun rise in the east and set in the west.
Everything in moderation is a near unanimous response by health professional, health support organisations and media commentators to solving our health crisis.
The same argument was used in in the 1950s and 1960s to convince people to reduce smoking. After all, you would not want to deprive people of the “solace, relaxation and enjoyment to mankind” that smoking has provided for more than 300 years. These days, doctors do not suggest that people reduce smoking but to stop.1
One problem is that moderation cannot be defined. One person may consider a hamburger or packet of cigarettes a week as being moderate. This can easily become two hamburgers a week or just one more cigarette.
Doing things in moderation does not change a habit. To change a habit requires consistency and commitment over a period of several weeks or months.
Stephen Colbert defined a new word: Truthiness, The belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.
A number of popular commentators write that we should trust our intuition (without explaining what that may be) rather than relying on what we read. Most of these commentators have written many, many books to tell us that we do not need these books.
Edward Lorenz was a mathematician and meteorologist. Whilst his name may not be familiar, you would have heard about the results of his work. Whilst he is best known for his work on Chaos Theory, he made very valuable contributions to other areas of mathematics including climate theory. Lorenz presented a paper at a meeting in December, 1972 in Washington, DC, the title of the talk being, Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? The title was a question. The answer is - of course it does not. If it did we would be creating tornadoes every time we clapped our hands. Lorenz conclusion was that long-term weather forecasting was doomed. The problem of accurate, long-term weather forecasting has been recognised for some time - and seagulls, grasshoppers or butterflies are not part of the problem or solution.
Richard Smith’s wrote an article Are some diets “mass murder”? in The BMJ on 15 December 2014. He uses a work of a popular commentator to reach his conclusions in this article. Smith's claim that Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, demolishes the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease fails with just a little scrutiny.