Paul Strand Misses the point completely

An article over at CBN by Paul Strand has this to say about the American Humanist Association’s Newest, and Biggest Ad Campaign, Consider Humanism

In the past, the group’s campaign was more subtle, with simple messages like, “No God, No Problem.”

But the latest string of commercials, billboards and print ads takes scriptures about subjects such as smiting, slavery and women’s submission, and uses them negatively.

*Emphasis Mine

I don’t think he realizes that all of those things are viewed as big negatives nowadays.  Hopefully he’ll realize that slavery and misogyny have no place in today’s world. Truly, I’m not surprised by this as it is CBN.

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Supplement My Ethnicity?

Someone in my Family recently sent me this link to  MiGenetics this vitamin/supplement site that said that most of our unhealthiness is based upon use not eating the foods that our ethnicity is used to eating.

Just taking a look at their website under the benefits section lists like 15-20 different things that are all basically unrelated that it says it helps with, that’s a tip-off to me to say that doesn’t really sound plausible, As well as them saying things like our genes determine our nutrition. While evolution may have made it easier for some ethnic groups to get more nutrients out of some foods than others it doesn’t mean we’re lacking in nutrients as the site implies.  The adaptations to process more nutrients by some ethnic groups than others most likely makes up for a lack of a supply of that nutrient that another ethnicity had.  And even those adaptations are most likely not there as the culture will most likely adapt their food supplies/what they eat, to make up for the lack of those nutrients before evolution will kick in.  A good example of this would be Indian culture. Since most meats are not used as food there, they’ve made up for their lack of protein they receive in their diet by eating lentils,beans,etc. to make up for it.  This doesn’t mean that their nutritional needs are not being met any better or worse than any other culture’s.  When you look at the incidents for disease rates and take into account the skewed nature of things such as the level of medical care, prevention efforts, etc.  most health issues seems to fall along a nice Bell Curve, in that they’re pretty evenly distributed when you take those factors into account.  In fact most of the health issues listed that they claim their supplement can cure can be directly related to how many calories a person consumes and their overall weight.  Such as this recent item, a professor lost 26 lbs eating Twinkies for meals but while he did so, limited his caloric intake to 1800 calories a day instead of the 2600 calories a day in a balanced diet, when he lost the weight his overall health had improved significantly.  Not only did his lipids, and triglycerides drop the doctors said that his good cholesterol went up and his bad cholesterol went down. This would tend to violate the hypothesis put forth by this site that their supplement would  and most of the common understanding of “eating Healthy”.  you can check out the info on this more at CNN, and on the benefits of just eating less.

Another big tip-off that this product is basically a sham is that under their research page has no mention of the scientific journal they’re product has supposedly been studied in, if this thing was as amazing as it says it is, they’d definitely list any/all scientific journals they’re product had been in.  Looking at the ingredients for the European Version of this, it looks like it is nothing more than your standard multi-vitamin with a few things switched around to make it fit for their description of ethnic groups.  The good old consumer adage, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is” applies here I’d say, probably something better to do than order something like this would be to follow Michael Pollon’s advice from the New York Times Magazine, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

A few interesting things…

I figured I’d post a few links to some sites/blogs/podcasts I frequent

  • Friendly Atheist – Hemant Mehta’s site, features an advice column from an atheist as well as general atheism/secular news.
  • Pharyngula – PZ Myers’s Blog featuring topics confronting evolution denial to general secular news to polls and more.  A great site if you’ve only got time to read one blog out there.
  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe – a weekly podcast covering lots of topics from the skeptical point of view.  They also do interviews with lots of skeptics/freethinkers and bring up good news, with a focus on medicine,biology, and emerging technology.
  • NPR’s Science Friday – A great show that is all about scientific discoveries and debates that are ongoing in science, as well as Science’s role in the government and politics.
  • Bad Astronomy – Phil Plait’s blog about Skepticism, Astronomy news and general “sciency” stuff.

I also tend to use the SkepDad’s link site for lots of good blogs and podcasts and such.

First Post

Well this is my first little adventure into the blogosphere, one I hope that
will last for a while.  I'm guessing I should provide a bit of background
on myself and how I got here to start with. 

I grew up in a town in central Kentucky about an hour away from Louisville;
I started my education with a Montessori School run by the Sisters of Charity
and stayed there through kindergarten.  There I learned my first intro
into science and my first intro into religion through their approach at
teaching.  They let us kids explore and pick the subjects we wished to
study, providing hand's on activities that showed us the concepts and skills we
needed to think about subjects ourselves.  These were much more than the
simple puzzles with different shapes, I specifically remember the teachers
there sitting down with each individual student to go over items with us. One
activity sits in my mind; it had a series of beads divided into units that the
teacher would explain to us. A single bead showed us ones, ten beads strung
together showed us tens, ten of those strings strung together showed us what a
hundred looked like, and ten of those showed us what a thousand looked
like.  Another interesting byproduct of that exercise I realized later was
that it got us thinking in dimensions early on.  One bead being a point,
tens being a line, hundreds being 2d objects and thousands being 3d
objects. 

This sort of interactive thinking I believe had some part in coming to where
I am today as a skeptic, atheist and more.  While this sort of teaching
that my preschool/kindergarten gave me was well and good they started with the
Christian teachings early too.  I remember us always doing a Christmas
program and an Easter program recounting the specific tales of Christ being
born, the magi coming to visit, the Stations of the Cross and the story of the
resurrection being shown to our parents in sheets made to be tunics and robes,
with fake beards and miniature props for us tiny kids. 

After kindergarten my parents proceeded to enroll me in the local Catholic
grade school, there a new subject was added to my curriculum besides the usual
of math, spelling, reading, science and social studies.  Religion of
course wasn't just any ole religion it was basically Catholic Sunday school
during the afternoon.  Here I went through all the rituals of my first
reconciliation and Eucharist, I also later completed the act of Confirmation at
school however I was already on my way to where I am today at that point. 

I do have several things to be grateful for though for attending the school
I did, mostly in the junior high years there.  I had a few teachers whom I
greatly appreciate now for challenging my ability to think critically. 
One was my7th grade reading/social studies teacher.  He introduced us to
the other religions besides just Catholicism or Christianity, something nearly
all the other teachers at the school had done.  He introduced these
through his blend of Christianity and eastern religions, specifically Buddhism. 
He taught us some about the 7chakras of the body and some about karma; he also
showed us several films on Buddhism and Hinduism the title of which have long
since eluded me.  This started my thinking of how in the world we knew
that Catholicism or any other religion was correct and how we knew what in the
bible was true and what wasn’t (something I decided to look into on my own when
I reached college) 

The other teacher whom I very much appreciate now is my junior high science
teacher, a man that was a RN at a local Nursing Home in his time not at
school.  Our first few weeks we had him in6th Grade he made us memorize
all of the major bones of the body, all of which I can name still to this
day.  He also instilled in me and my classmates an understanding of the
scientific method and, something to which I'm very, very thankful for and think
needs to be taught in all schools, the difference between a scientific theory
and the general language usage of theory.  He also gave us a pretty great
understanding of general science and biology (sans evolution, though most high
school people have trouble with this).  He opened my mind to the wonderful
world of science and helped start me on my path to skepticism. 

That basically gives some background on me, and kind of how I got started to
me being here.  I'd love to hear feedback from anyone out there and look
forward to blogging more. It will probably be more of my background and whatnot
for now until I find my stride with this.