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  1. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    Excellent, excellent link (http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/). The author put a huge amount of effort to critique Forks Over Knives. And unlike FOK, it’s loaded with studies and actual scientific evidence, rather than a bunch of opinions from layman with a financial interest (yes, doctors are layman when it comes to science).

    I really hope Wiley reads it. There’s no shame in getting caught up in enthusiastic support for someone selling miracle cures. We all get caught up, because we want a simple answer to our fear of dying. And that’s what people pushing this stuff depend on. Now, the FOK doctors may actually be sincere in their beliefs. They may be just as deluded as the people who buy into oversimplistic answers (though, the critique suggests powerfully that they know exactly what they’re doing, since it’s so misleading, but I won’t make a conclusion). But everyone should read that link, if only to see exactly how half-truths and leaving out details can used to manipulate.

    I hope that when at some point Wiley realizes “Hey, maybe biochemistry is a tad more complex than I thought…” (and I’m confident he will), he will do a follow-up strip to hopefully undo some of the damage he’s done. There really is a danger to giving publicity to quackery. Real people can be harmed. I was just reading on another site a story from someone whose aunt had breast cancer. Doctors wanted to do a mastectomy, but she was afraid (not surprisingly). She waited, and instead went to a “nutritionist” who put her on a wacko diet. The cancer spread into her bones, and she now has only weeks to live. How sad is it that she’s going to die from something that was treatable, but fear led her to quackery and magical thinking?

  2. over 7 years ago on [Deleted]

    “There is nothing I hate more than learning about something that negates something of which I am already certain.”

    It’s almost as if… life is so complex and difficult to understand, that absolutism is nearly always wrong. Almost… almost as if wisdom is something like — now, not trying to be crazy here, but try this out: “everything in moderation”.

    Sorry, I lost my head for a second there. Clearly there must be a simple answer to every problem, especially the oh-so-simple subject of human biochemistry.

  3. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    Sorry, I should let this go, but this is too funny. From the F.O.K. web site: “We believe … That nature knows exactly what our bodies need.”

    Indeed. And funny how our digestion system is designed to process both meat and plants. And how meat supplies many nutrients that are difficult to get in plants, such as B12, which you CAN’T get in plants, but you (naturally) can in animal products. Also funny how we can’t digest much of the fiber in plants that herbivores can naturally make use of.

    It’s almost as if our bodies are designed to be omnivores… almost like nature knows exactly what our bodies need. Hmm.

  4. over 7 years ago on [Deleted]

    From the article you linked: “Within one week, he went from being able to walk only a block before feeling tightness in his neck to walking 25 blocks without incident!”

    Seriously? “Mr. J.”? And they’re claiming — seriously — that a “whole food” diet cured his blockage in one week. One week. ONE WEEK. Really roll that around in your head.

    And even if this isn’t an outright made-up story, it never occurs to this “doctor” clown that it was a simple misdiagnosis? Nah, that couldn’t be it. It must be this diet from this clinic, where he just happens to be the founder and director.

    And, just for comparison, can we get a study that shows how many idiots walked out of the hospital, ignored the doctor’s advice, and keeled over dead within the next week? I’m sure that will be in this guy’s next article.

    Wiley. Are you seriously basing your comic on a single, anonymous anecdote, told by someone who has vested financial interest in your believing it? How can the king of cynical comics not see this?

    Of course, lest Doctor Clownfeld be sued over killing someone, he has this at the bottom: “While many heart patients may reverse their disease with lifestyle change alone, Mr. J also continued his prescribed medications, given the severity of his condition, and their doses were lowered as his health improved. Please note that I am not recommending lifestyle change over medical intervention for any particular person, as every case is of course different. Some cases are fraught with more risk than others, so please consult with both your physician and a physician trained in lifestyle medicine before making significant lifestyle changes.”

    Yeah. Mr. J. kept taking his CONSPIRACY-CREATED USELESS MEDS, and recovered.

    Sigh… Wiley is a great example of the cute zealousness of the new convert, who believes they’ve found THE ANSWER (cue the heavenly trumpets). I suppose we all succumb sooner or later. But in this case, it could literally kill someone. Yes, diet is important. No, a meatless diet is not scientifically proven to be better than moderate meat.

  5. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    I never said diet wasn’t very important — obviously it is. But to say that diet can cure an artery apparently so severely blocked that it caused a trip to the hospital and a recommendation of a bypass is magical thinking.

    As I’ve said before in these threads, there is no doubt – NO doubt — that diet is crucial to health. Duh! Everyone knows this. And science has proven over and over that more plants and less meat is beneficial. But there is NO proof that a meatless diet is better than a moderate meat diet, and in fact, moderate meat is probably better because it’s easier to ensure that you’re getting all amino acids.

    Believing that a meatless diet will cure a severely blocked artery to such a quick enough extent that it renders bypass operations completely unnecessary (which is the point of this strip) is magical thinking and quackery at its absolute worst. You might as well claim that meatless diets can cure a broken arm so you don’t need to put a cast on it.

    But perhaps Wiley would also claim that setting broken arms is a conspiracy by orthopedic doctors.

    I care about science. And there is no scientific proof that meatless is better than moderate meat. And certainly a couple of doctors selling their Miracle Diet™ is not science in the least.

  6. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    sigh And we get the final bit of “magical thinking”. Just change your diet and it can magically fix a blocked (!!) artery! And the evidence is so conclusive. Just watch a “documentary” by a couple of people pushing their diet books and videos. Are they medical researchers? No, of course not. Just a couple of doctors, who might be sincere — but they’re only doctors. People need to understand that doctors are NOT scientists or researchers.

    “Drs. Pulde and Lederman joined Whole Foods Market in 2010 where they serve as health and wellness medical experts.” Hmmm. Whole Foods Market, the home of where a small bottle of SOOPER DOOPER VITAMINS costs $80. They have a whole quackery section there, it’s disgusting.

    I shouldn’t care this much, it’s just a comic strip, but I hate this kind of thing. These doctors take a seed of a good idea (more plants, less meat) and they manipulate people into buying books and believing that they have some secret answer. It’s just plain quackery and manipulation.

    And they’ve manipulated someone with a relatively broad audience into telling people that a diet can cure a blocked artery that needs immediate attention. That’s the danger of quackery. Delaying procedures based on science in favor of magic cures.

    Actually, my respect for Wiley would increase 100x if the brother died like Steve Jobs for ignoring the doctor’s advice. :)

  7. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    You seem to confuse anecdotes with science. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

    Take your “athlete” link, for example. You have one guy who trains constantly and decided to do a Vegan diet. And lo and behold, he becomes a great athlete! Great Scott! It must have been the diet! It couldn’t have been the training…

    But hold on, you say. It PROVES plant-based diet is superior! Or at least, it isn’t harmful! But let’s examine the claim. World-class athletes are notorious for doing anything to get an edge, from steroids to human growth hormone to flat-out cheating. Do you really think plant-based diets are some new idea? If a plant-based diet were really so superior to a meat-based one for athletic performance, why wouldn’t we see Vegan or vegetarian athletes dominating professional sports or the Olympics? Why is the idea of a veggie athlete so unusual, to the point that you have to pull out this anecdotal evidence?

    In other words, if it were so clearly superior, why does nearly every world-class athlete eat meat?

    There’s a simple answer. Because it depends on WHAT meat. Chicken breasts are one of the healthiest and leanest sources of protein, which is vital to training, as one example. And meat provides all of the essential amino acids in once place, whereas with vegetables you have to be very careful to eat the right variety.

    Now, that’s not to say that vegetarians or Vegans can’t be healthy or world-class athletes. They clearly can. It’s just much harder, because you have to plan your diet much more carefully. And there is no clear advantage to it.You don’t want to hear this, but the fact is that excess calories are most of the reason most Americans are unhealthy.

    Now, are more vegetables healthier than less vegetables? Yes! Science has proved that over and over. But saying that NO MEAT is better than moderate intake of healthy meat is a completely different thing, and that is not remotely proven by science.

    I’m now imagining a strip in your style where ScienceMan and AnecdoteMan are debating in front of a crowd. ScienceMan has a mountain of literature behind him, but looks boring, lab-coated and academic. AnecdoteMan has nothing but a big grin and slick hair, and the crowd stares open-mouthed as AnecdoteMan spins them a beautiful tale of “what I just know”.

    If not for your readers, then for yourself: reject magical thinking. Nutrition is so complex that it can not be reduced to simplistic things like “Veggies: gooooood! Meat: baaaaad.”

  8. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    The key is to change your food method Before crises occur.

    Which is great, except the strip is advocating changing a diet as an “alternative” to a coronary bypass surgery. If Wiley wanted to make the point that a better diet is better (duh), it would have make infinitely more sense to do it in the context of before the crisis, rather than at the point of surgery to save his life. (and despite Wiley’s cynicism, doctors don’t do open-heart surgery willy-nilly.)

    Or, maybe, Wiley really believes that diet can fix an artery so blocked that a coronary bypass was necessary. And can fix it fast enough that heart failure isn’t a risk in the meantime. If so, I’d like to see him in that exact situation with his doctor, looking at a clogged artery, and see if he still thinks diet cures all ills. That idea worked so well for Steve Jobs.

    The thing is, I agree with him that diet makes a huge difference to health. But this strip way, way, way in the realm of magical thinking rather than making a good point.

  9. over 7 years ago on Non Sequitur

    This is an utterly idiotic strip. If you’re getting coronary BYPASS operation, then you have a blocked artery. Diet is not going to fix an artery. I would call it unbelievably irresponsible, if it wasn’t just a comic strip. Hopefully people don’t take medical advice from a comic strip. But who am I kidding, idiots think vaccines are harmful and cause autism, so they’ll believe anything.

    And heck, Steve Jobs died because he tried a diet instead of using modern medicine early enough.

    I wonder if, somewhere, this strip will convince to skip a bypass operation in favor of trying a diet, and Wiley will have been responsible for someone’s death. I suppose we (and he) will never know.

  10. almost 8 years ago on Doonesbury

    I’d think very few young up-and-coming cartoonists are eyeing the newspaper as their ticket to future fame. I’m 50, and I actually take a newspaper (LA Times), but what’s the rate of people under 30? 2%, maybe? And I don’t even know why I take it. I almost canceled it at one point, and the LA Times called me and gave me an “offer I couldn’t refuse”. Almost free daily delivery, just so I’d keep it.