Hooray for Science (and Common Sense)!

As many of you may have noticed, I stopped writing substantively about politics two or three years ago, and I’m not planning to start up again.  I’ve grown… weary of it all.  As a result, I don’t really go on long, frustrated rants anymore. However, there’s still a handful of issues I feel the need to address, and I’m going to go ahead and do it all in one post.  Ya know, just get it out of the way. So here we go…

Vaccines do not cause autism.  They just don’t.  There is not now nor has there ever been even the slightest bit of actual, scientific evidence for this allegation.  The man who started spreading the rumor in the first place, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was widely discredited and lost his medical license over his unsubstantiated (and dangerous) claims.  As confirmed by countless studies, vaccination is both safe and effective, and it is highly recommended by literally every credible medical organization, including the CDC, the FDA, the NHS, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, etc.  You know what? Measles, smallpox, and polio are all super bad and can kill you. Herd immunity is important. Jonas Salk was not a fraud. I can’t believe we have to keep saying these things. Please, folks… uneducated quacks like Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider are not reputable sources.  Neither are YouTube videos or blogs full of anecdotal evidence from strangers on the internet.  You know what sources are reputable, though?  Actual doctors and scientists, all of whom agree that the anti-vaxxer movement is total nonsense.

Speaking of nonsense, let’s talk about all those crash diets, juice cleanses, herbal wraps, coffee enemas, and other vague miracle cures intended to “remove toxins” from your body.  Actually, you should be skeptical of any health product that’s marketed as a “detox” or a “cleanse,” because they’re all fake.  The human body removes toxins all by itself through the liver and kidneys. That’s their purpose!  If your body were actually overloaded with toxins, it would mean that your liver and/or kidneys have stopped working and you need to go to the hospital immediately, or that you have overdosed on heroin or something and (again) need to go to the hospital immediately.  Also, the next time some naturopath quack claims that toxins are accumulating in your body, ask which ones. Specifically. Is it asbestos? Rattlesnake venom? Crystal meth? I bet they can’t answer. Why? Because they’re just using “toxins” as a non-specific buzzword.  It means nothing.

And while we’re discussing fake health issues, please note that there is absolutely no science behind the claim that 90% of people have problems with candida overgrowth.  In fact, the whole idea of “candida hypersensitivity” is unproven, speculative… in short, it’s a made-up condition, and any diets or supplements marketed to fight it are placebos at best.  Candida is a real fungus that is naturally present in the body. It’s usually harmless but can become an infection at times of stress or immunocompromise.  The most common manifestations are thrush (a infection in the mouth) and vaginitis, commonly known as a yeast infection.  While it’s possible for Candida to cause serious systemic infection, this is very rare and only happens to those with compromised immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or with advanced AIDS.  In other words, no, your random assortment of non-specific symptoms (fatigue and anxiety are popular) were not caused by candida.  But wait… you feel better after going through a candida cleanse diet?  Of course you do! Heck, if you stop eating sugar and white flour, you’ll generally wind up cutting out most processed foods, which tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutritional value.  Eating nothing but fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, will obviously make you feel healthy and lose weight, because that’s just how normal dieting works.

Okay, this is the last health-related hoax I’ll mention.  A lot of people have bought into the hype surrounding the trendy “Alkaline diet.”  It’s based on the theory that eating certain foods can change the body’s pH levels, and proponents claim that changing pH levels can somehow improve your health and help you lose weight or even prevent cancer.  However, it is completely impossible for the foods you eat to alter the pH level of your blood.  It just can’t happen. The body’s pH is a very tightly regulated system.  Changing your diet might result in changes in the pH of your urine because, ya know, that’s one way your body keeps the level in your blood steady.  But your stomach is so acidic that no food can ever change its acidity, and there’s no way you could eat enough that it impacts your blood. Promoters of these diets claim that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment, which is true… but neither can any of the other cells in your body.  So even if you could somehow change the acidity in your body (which you can’t), doing so would make you very sick and probably even kill you.  Oh, and all those new brands of bottled “Alkaline water” are totally useless as well.

Just to wrap things up, here are a few more things people should know:  Facebook is not trying to steal the rights to all your photos and personal information, but even if it were, copy-pasting a bunch of pseudo-legalese nonsense in your status update will not have any effect on anything.  Stop it. Also, chemtrails are not real.  There are no shape-shifting reptilian aliens.  Nelson Mandela didn’t die in the 1980s.  The moon landing actually happened. Jay-Z and Kanye West are not agents of the so-called Illuminati.  FEMA is not building concentration camps.  Bill Gates is not going to send you free tickets to Disney World.  The Pope did not endorse Donald Trump.  9/11 was not an inside job.  Obama is not the Antichrist.  The Earth is not secretly flat, and it baffles me that the “Flat Earth Society” actually exists in the first place.  Why is this even a thing? I mean, who benefits from somehow tricking the population into believing the Earth is round?  NASA? We’ve known that the Earth is round since the 3rd century B.C. when it was established by Greek astronomers. Please just find a new hobby.

I guess that’s all I have to say.  Rant over. But people, for the love of God, check Snopes.com before you post something on social media.  Maintain a healthy level of skepticism when you read things that other people post.  Stop perpetuating ridiculous conspiracy theories.  Do some legitimate research before buying into weird diet fads or “alternative” health claims.  April 1st should not be the only day of the year on which we think critically about what we read on the internet.

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