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Humanist House Cleaning
Posted: 19 November 2011 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I’ve seen Dunning’s short feature; it is an excellent introduction to critical thinking.

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Posted: 19 November 2011 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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dougsmith - 19 November 2011 08:12 PM
Write4U - 19 November 2011 03:22 PM

I (native european) am married to a native american woman and have noticed that she is allergic (sensitive) to certain modern synthesized medicines while she tolerates the less potent natural herbal versions. This may indeed be a genetic adaptation in people from different geographic areas of the world.

This doesn’t make any sense. It sounds like it’s based on some notion that “native” people are “more natural”, as though any of us were “non native”, and as though there were a difference between “natural” and “artificial” chemicals.

I used the word “native” to indicate native to a particular natural environment and flora. Of course all human adaptions are natural. But where it concerns foods and their properties, some people are allergic to strawberries, fish, pollen, etc.

Eskimos can tolerate living exclusively on meat and fat, where people from other parts of the globe must have vegetables to survive. It is a matter of bodily chemical processing and extracting nutrients from available food sources.
There is a species of monkey that eat a plant which is pure poison to all other species of monkeys. Interestingly they like to hang around human habitats as they also like to eat charcoal (from the fire pits) to help in the digestion of that poisonous plant.

As to natural and artificial chemicals, I believe some modern synthetic chemicals are indeed not natural, i.e. not found in nature. They may be effective for some diseases in certain individuals, but may trigger severe reactions in other people with less chemical tolerance.

[ Edited: 19 November 2011 09:42 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 20 November 2011 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Write4U - 19 November 2011 08:47 PM

I used the word “native” to indicate native to a particular natural environment and flora. Of course all human adaptions are natural. But where it concerns foods and their properties, some people are allergic to strawberries, fish, pollen, etc.

Eskimos can tolerate living exclusively on meat and fat, where people from other parts of the globe must have vegetables to survive.

I’m not sure about that. I’d like to see some data on it.

Write4U - 19 November 2011 08:47 PM

It is a matter of bodily chemical processing and extracting nutrients from available food sources.
There is a species of monkey that eat a plant which is pure poison to all other species of monkeys. Interestingly they like to hang around human habitats as they also like to eat charcoal (from the fire pits) to help in the digestion of that poisonous plant.

As to natural and artificial chemicals, I believe some modern synthetic chemicals are indeed not natural, i.e. not found in nature. They may be effective for some diseases in certain individuals, but may trigger severe reactions in other people with less chemical tolerance.

Well, the issue isn’t a generalized “chemical tolerance”. Everything in our environment is chemical in nature. It’s a tolerance to particular, specific chemicals. As you note, ‘natural’ chemicals can trigger severe reactions in some people, or even in most all people, as well. (Pollen, peanuts, not to mention hemlock, poison ivy, snake venom, etc., etc.)

FWIW we’re all to a certain extent ‘native’ to our environment, and to a certain extent all of us are ‘native’ to the environment of southern Africa where humans first arose. My only quibble was the apparent association of a particular socio-ethnic group with high sensitivity towards a particular chemical or two. First off, this high sensitivity most likely has nothing to do with her socio-ethnic group. The only way to know for sure would be to do a well-designed cross-correlational study. Second, even if high sensitivity to a particular chemical was correlated with belonging to a particular socio-ethnic group, that would not establish that it was the chemical’s being ‘artificial’ that was responsible. Indeed, really it couldn’t be because there is no chemical difference between a ‘natural’ and an ‘artificial’ chemical. While it’s true that some chemicals produced today are not usually found in nature, that doesn’t mean that humans (or Germans, or Asians, etc.) are going to be more sensitive to them in any particular context. Since ‘artificial’ chemicals are new to all humans, one can’t reasonably assert their newness makes Native Americans (or Germans, Asians, etc.) more sensitive to them.

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Posted: 20 November 2011 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Thanks Doug for demanding more info re Eskimo diet.
Apparently they received their vitamin C from the “raw” meat diet. Cooking meat (as most other people do) destroys the vitamin C which is present in raw meat. In addition “chewing” the skins of large animals also provided additional vitamins and nutrients. And some areas also had seasonal berries which provided supplemental vitamins.
In any case, eskimos seemed to enjoy long life free of many diseases which plague modern society.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2374/traditionally-eskimos-ate-only-meat-and-fish-why-didnt-they-get-scurvy

However, this diet did created a specialized metabolism and a lack of natural defenses against diseases, which left them vulnerable to “modern” foods and preparations.
http://www.inuitdiabetes.ca/

Perhaps these contrasting examples are proof that raw and untreated foods provide better nutrition that today’s processed foods and that many of our diseases can be attributed to destructive food preparations, which may taste good but are less healthy in general than organic veggies and steroid free meats.
Of course, it must be noted that prolonged extreme cold in the arctic regions does not allow many harmful organisms to flourish, keeping the foods sources pure and free from disease. I am sure the tropics and densely populated areas in moderate climates also provide an environment for harmful organisms and would not allow for such unadulterated diets.

[ Edited: 20 November 2011 02:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 20 November 2011 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Write4U - 20 November 2011 01:56 PM

Thanks Doug for demanding more info re Eskimo diet. Apparently they received their vitamin C from the “raw” meat diet. Cooking meat (as most other people do) destroys vitamin C.
In addition “chewing” the skins of large animals also provided additional vitamins and nutrients. And some areas also had seasonal berries which provided supplemental vitamins.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2374/traditionally-eskimos-ate-only-meat-and-fish-why-didnt-they-get-scurvy

However, this diet created a specialized metabolism, which left them vulnerable to “modern” foods and preparations.
http://www.inuitdiabetes.ca/

It’s definitely true that certain socio-ethnic groups are prone to obesity and diabetes. See e.g. HERE. (I didn’t find much at the inuit site you linked to).

IIRC the background here is that these socio-ethnic groups were in their (recent) ancestral environment less able to find caloric intake, and so their bodies are more metabolically efficient, hence more prone to these ‘modern’ ills when they are provided with too many calories. That’s rather akin to certain of these groups having been less exposed to alcohol and hence more prone to alcoholism (apparently they have relatively less of the alcohol-metabolizing agents in their digestive system).

But again, it isn’t an issue of ‘natural’ vs. ‘artificial’. It’s much more complex than that.

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Posted: 20 November 2011 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Yes, and it is interesting that diabetes in Asians, which traditionally ate a lot of raw or only partially cooked vegetables (stir fries), poses a greater danger. At the other end of the spectrum, Eskimos, traditionally eating more raw or patially cooked meats and fish, are similarly at risk of diabetes.
Fruit (sucrose) eaters apparently developed metabolisms which can process sugars better

As you observed, it is a complex subject.

[ Edited: 20 November 2011 03:16 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 21 November 2011 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I just spent my lunch hour watching the movie online. Based on some of the comments, I expected some controversy and was looking for anything that sounded off. Instead, I discovered a gem I hadn’t known about. There was nothing new here for me, but a very accessible introduction to skeptical thinking that I can share with friends who haven’t already devoured every book they can find on the subject. Thanks to the OP for pointing out the existence of this great resource.

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Posted: 21 November 2011 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Besides, Skepchick is very pleasant to look at….. cheese

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