Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathic medicine is probably one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine there is. Infact it was invented in the late 1700's by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, and has been with ever since.

Now there are lots of claims about homeopathy and what it does, and after looking into them I've noticed several different things about homeopathic medicine.

So here are five things I've noticed about homeopathic medicine:

5. You can make it at home.

Homeopathic medicine is very easy to make. You don't even need a complex chemistry lab inorder to make it. You can make it right in your kitchen!

Got a headache and you want to make some homeopathic aspirin inorder to get rid of it? Well here's what you do:

Step 1: Get one tablet of aspirin and about ten bottles of water.

Step 2: Crush aspirin and put it into one of the bottles of water.

Step 3: Shake up bottle.

Step 4: Take one drop from said bottle and put it into the next bottle.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 until done doing so with all bottles.

Now if you do all of this you will have homeopathic aspirin and your headache should go away in a few hours... same as any other normal headache would if you were to take nothing at all.

Actually this might not work, and this is because...

4. You're suppose to use something that can cause the problems that you currently have inorder to cure them.

Inorder for homeopathic medicine to actually work (atleast according to people who make and deal with homeopathic medicine) you don't use heavily diluted medicine that would cure whatever it is that you have. What you actually are suppose to use is something that could cause the symptoms that you're having rather than actually cure them. Think of it as a kind of like a vaccine, minus any backing from the scientific and medical communities.

So if you want to cure that headache of yours using heavily diluted aspirin isn't going to work. What you actually want to use is something that can cause a headache if you take it in it's pure form, like beer, only it has to be heavily diluted.

So using homeopathy logic the best thing to take when you have a headache is a ball park beer, because those things are watered down all to hell.

3. A lot of it is REALLY watered down.

If you think that the homeopathic aspirin that I gave instructions above on how to make sounds really diluted (probably to the point where three to four bottles in you're not going to find any aspirin molecules) that's nothing (pun intended) compared to what some homeopathic medicine makers sell.

Some homeopathic medicine that is currently on the market is so diluted that you would have to consume the equivalent of all the water on the Earth inorder to have a chance of getting one molecule of whatever the original ingredient was...

Then there is Oscillococcinum, which is so diluted that one would have to consume it equivalent of 10321 times the number atoms in the known universe inorder to have a chance of consuming even one molecule of whatever ingredient it is that the that the manufacturers used.

Now I bet many of you at this point are probably wondering how exactly is homeopathic medicine suppose to work? There is actually a explanation for that...

2. It's suppose to work off of water memory.

According to homeopathic practitioners water has memory, and that water can somehow contain the memory of whatever it is that it has come in contact with, and somehow this memory transfers over to us, and thus the more you dilute something the more memory the water retains of it...

If water memory is real then how would putting something in our water that is suppose to make us sicker make us better? Infact if water memory actually is real then drinking any water should kill any one of us instantly due to water memory retaining memory of all of the pollutants and toxins that's ever gone into it.

Fortunately we are all still here, so it leads me to think that there is nothing to this water memory stuff, and that much like the rest of homeopathic medicine...

1. It all sounds like BS.

Multiple dilutions. Using something that's suppose to make you sick inorder to cure you. Water memory. It all sounds like BS, right?

Well there's a reason why it all sounds like BS. It is.

Homeopathic medicine has never been proven to work. At best you may get a placebo effect where you think it's curing you but really you're healing no faster than you would if you took nothing at all.

Homeopathic medicine is a fraud. It always has been and it always will be.

The only reason why anyone would believe that homeopathic medicine works is either they have been tricked into believing that it works, or they are so into alternative medicine that they refuse to believe that it doesn't work.

Monday, February 17, 2014

67 claims about Coconut Oil: Which ones are true, and which ones are BS?

Recently I came across this picture that were making all of these claims about coconut oil (67 claims to be exact).

Now normal when I see something like this and it has the word "Proven" in the title, I automatically assume that most or all of it is just a bunch of BS.

But I decided to give these claims the benefit of the doubt and examine all of them to see if there is any truth behind them.

1. To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils.

This one is true. You can cook with it, but it's advised by many health organizations not to, or not to use to much due to it's high amount of saturated fat.

2. In your coffee/tea instead of creamer.

Sure. Infact non-dairy creamers are often made out of coconut oil.

3. To wash your face with instead of soap.

Yes, this is true. Also most hard soaps are made with coconut oils.

4. To brush your teeth with.

You could. There's nothing dangerous about coconut oil (except maybe increasing your chance of having a heart attack if you eat to much of it) but I would stick with good old fashion (and proven) toothpaste.

My advice is that you should ask your dentist first before using coconut oil toothpaste and see what they have to say.

5. For oil pulling.

Yes, you can use coconut oil for this, although oil pulling itself hardly does anything and only really decreases the amount of tooth decaying bacteria in your mouth. Mouthwash is far more effective to use, and takes less time. Vodka also works to, and unlike mouthwash, you can actually swallow it!

6. As a body moisturizer.

Yes, this is true.

7. As a sun-screen.

Lets go back to #1 on the list, shall we. It's used as a cooking oil. What do you think it's going to do to you?

For those who answered incorrectly, it's going to cook you!

8. As a hair conditioner.

It does reduce protein loss in hair, so yes you could use it as a hair conditioner.

9. As a supplement.

For what? That's kind of vague. Plus considering how high coconut oil is in saturated fat, I wouldn't use it as a food supplement.

10. As a massage oil.

You can use it for that.

11. To reduce scars.

It helps with dry skin, and it might help acne scars, but scars from a cut it's not going to help.

12. To treat for lice.

Yes, you can, but you have to use a lot of it to work, and you have to leave on for 12 to 18 hours, and it probably won't kill the eggs.

13. To soften cracked heels.

Yes, you can use it for this.

14. As a hair serum.

Yes, this is another thing you can use it for.

15. As a buttery spread.

Sure you can... if you don't mind increasing your risk of having a heart attack in a few years.

16. To treat fungal infections.

No, you use use anti-fungal medication to treat fungal infections. Coconut oil might help with the dry skin, but that's it.

17. As a glaze for cold desserts.

Yes you can, but again most health experts would not recommend it.

18. To season cast iron pans.

Yes, but it's better to use healthier types of oils.

19. To improve Parkinson's disease.

There are a lot of claims going around the internet about coconut oil and Parkinson's disease, and there really hasn't been a lot of research into this, but so far it's believed that the "successes" you hear about is really just a bunch of anecdotal evidence, and there is not enough information to confirm if coconut oil can help with Parkinson's. Regardless of this more research is said to be needed.

20. To condition wood cutting boards.

You could, but considering how slick the stuff is, I wouldn't.

21. To bake in place of butter.

You could, but it's actually probably better to use butter.

22. As an ingredient for making coconut butter.

Yes, because coconut butter IS coconut oil!

23. As eye make-up remover.

Since coconut oil is used in soaps, it could probably be used as an eye make-up remover. It probably depends on what type of make-up you use with how effective it will be.

24. As a natural remedy for diaper rash.

Probably not, since diaper rash is a result of moisture, and coconut oil is used to treat dry skin.

25. To add to your protein shake.

See #1.

26. To relieve itching from bug bites.

If the bug bite causes dryness of the skin it might help, but other than that it will just be a placebo.

27. To help lower blood pressure.

NO!!! It will do the opposite.

28. To lessen the damaging effects of dementia.

Much like with Parkinson's disease there are claim that coconut oil helps with dementia, but that those claims appear to be anecdotal evidence rather than real evidence, but research into these claims are still needed.

29. To heal wounds.


30. To reduce puffiness around the eyes.

Probably not. The best way to reduce puffiness is a change in diet.

31. As a lip balm.

You can if you want to...

32. To enhance nutrient absorption.

No, it does not do this.

33. To improve osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease, and coconut oil does nothing for your bones. Infact considering how much saturated fat is in coconut oil it's probably better not to consume the stuff if you have osteoporosis.

34. To relieve sun-burn.

No, it won't help. The best thing to do is to either take lots of cold showers, or use lotions with aloe vera, or wait it out.

35. To improve your memory.

If it does, or you think it does, then it's probably the result of whats called the "placebo effect" and has nothing to do with the coconut oil.

36. To make lotion bars.

Yes. Infact most lotion bars are made out of a certain amount of coconut oil.

37.  To make soap.

Most hard soaps are already made out of coconut oil. It's a key ingredient in the manufacturing of hard soaps.

38. To make laundry detergent.

You could probably try it. The worst thing that could happen is that your clothes don't come out clean.

39. To get hemorrhoid relief.

I'll forgo the gross details about what hemorrhoids are and just tell you that it won't.

40. As a hair gel.

You could use it for that. I'm not sure how good it would work, but you could use it.

41. To remove stretch marks.

All studies into this have found no evidence that any oils or creams can reduce or remove stretch marks.

42. As a shaving cream.

You could, but I would go with good old fashion shaving cream.

43. To make a nourishing hair mask.

Yes, you can use it for that.

44. To make a after-shave cream.

Yeah, it can be used for that

45. To make a nourishing lotion for your skin.

Yes, again you can use it for that.

46. To make a salt scrub.

I don't see why you can't.

47. In a cough syrup.

No, coconut oil does not help coughs.

48. In a sore throat cure.

It can't cure sore throats either. It's better to just eat ice cream, and probably healthier too.

49. In a homemade natural deodorant.

You could try it if you want, but it's probably not going to work since coconut oil doesn't actually absorb sweat. Infact it might actually make it worst, or at the very least leave you smelling like stink and coconuts.

50. To promoth hair regrowth.

I'm assuming the person who wrote this actually meant to say "promote", and no it doesn't, otherwise it would be the main ingredient in Rogaine.

51. To make your own cuticle oil.

You could try it. Even if it doesn't do any good the only harm you did was waste your money.

52. To stop nose bleeds.

No, tissues or bags of ice do that.

53. To prevent nose bleeds.

No, no picking your nose all the time and not getting your nose broken does that.

54. To fuel your workouts.

Considering it's full of saturated fat it will probably do the opposite, and maybe give you a heart attack while you're working out.

55. To build more muscles.

Protein and exercise does that, not something with lots of saturated fat.

56. As a testosterone booster.

No, and any type of natural product that claims to do this is BS.

57. As first aid.

For what? Dry skin. That's pretty much all it's good for for the human body.

58. To kill off candida yeast growth.

No, a yeast growth is a fungal infection and you need anti-fungal medicine to treat that.

59. To help cure Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

No, you need antibiotics to treat that.

60. To decrease an insulin spike.

Probably better not to. The best thing to do is to drink juice and eat dried fruits.

61. To stimulate your thyroid.

No, it doesn't.

62. To remove chewing gum from hair.

Pretty much the only way to remove chewing gum from hair is to cut it out, but go ahead and try it if you want to.

63. To burn fat around your stomach.

Considering coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, it's probably going to add to the fat around your stomach.

64. To clean and restore leather.

Leather oil would work better, but you could always try it.

65. To season stoneware.

You can, but it's not recommended, see #1 for the reason why.

66. To make good healthy mayo.

There's lots of ways to make good healthy mayo. Using coconut oil is not one of them.

67. In a natural vapor rub.

You could try it, but at best it would probably just be placebo effect.


In the end I have to conclude that is just classic food woo and alternative medicine BS. While some of what is claimed will work and is actually good for you, the rest is just stuff that either won't work but is harmless, or is actually bad for your health, and in a few claims can give false hope in improving your health, especially with certain serious medical conditions.

When you see stuff like this on the internet it's best just to ignore it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And down goes the DMCA hammer... or does it?

As many of you are probably aware of one of my favorite skeptics and debunkers, Myles Power, is being harassed by the creators of the HIV/AIDS denialist film, House of Numbers, by filing false DMCA takedown notices on Youtube concerning a set of five videos that Myles has made criticizing and debunking that film and showing the world just how deceptive it is.

Now, the creators of House of Numbers have made the killing blow and filed a forth DMCA takedown notice that will get his channel deleted in about a week from now.

This is wrong on so many levels. It is censorship of the worst kind. The makers of this film are trying to suppress the truth about their film and this can not be allowed!

Fortunately one of his friends, Science of Sarcasm, has uploaded all five videos on another video sharing website.

Now you can go to SoS's website and watch the videos there, or you can watch all five videos right below:

Debunking House of Numbers Part 1 by scienceofsarcasm

Debunking House of Numbers Part 2 by scienceofsarcasm

Debunking House of Numbers Part 3 by scienceofsarcasm

Debunking House of Numbers Part 4 by scienceofsarcasm

Debunking House of Numbers Part 5 by scienceofsarcasm

You if have a program that will allow you to download these videos (I'm using YTD Downloader myself, just incase you don't have a program that will let you download from Dailymotion, I recommend this one) please do so and reupload these videos on ANY of the popular video sites.

Do not let these people get away with this! Let them find out what the Streisand effect is, and let them find out just what happen when you try to silence free speech on the internet, or anywhere.

I hope that Myles fights this, and that he continues making more videos debunking House of Numbers, and Myles if you are reading this on behalf of the skeptics community we are with you!

Update: Petition asking Youtube to lift the DMCA takedown notices against Myles Power

A petition has been started on Change.org asking Youtube to lift the DMCA takedown notices. I ask everyone here to please it and tell Youtube to lift these notices against Myles and to stop these false DMCA takedown notices being brought against him!


Update: Parts 1, 2, & 3 are back up

I just check out Myles's Youtube page and parts one, two, & three are back up. Part five is still down, but you can still find that everywhere on Youtube, just search for "debunking House of Numbers" and you should easily find it.

Hopefully part five will be back up soon and that Myles will be able to finish what he started, but atleast his page is no longer in danger of being taken down.

Update: Part 5 is back up

Part Five of Debunking House of Numbers is finally back. All five videos are back up for all to view.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Myles Power and his DMCA Situation

A very messed up situation has been going on for the past few days concerning a series of videos by one of my favorite science promoters and debunkers on Youtube, Myles Power.

His videos in which he debunks the AIDS denialist movie House of Numbers are being sent illegal DMCA takedown notices by Martin Penny and Knowledge Matters, the creators of House of Numbers, and this is after he got sent a takedown notice by a conspiracy theorist by the name of Liam Scheff (which he later retracted), who was interviewed in the film and presented as an investigative journalist, but as you can see in this screen shot you can tell just what type of person he really is:

So, why is it that these people do not want you to see these videos? Could it be that they do not wish for you to not know the truth about their film, and how deceptive it is? Could it be that they don't want you to find out the truth about HIV/AIDS denialism, and how dangerous and deadly it is?

Well, I think that you do deserve to know the truth!

So please watch the fifth part of Myles's debunking of House of Numbers and see what Liam and the creators of that movie do not want you to see:

Also, please listen to Myles's statement on this whole situation as well:

If you wish to read his statement on this situation please go to his Facebook page and his blog.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Should we call Conspiracy Theorists "Conspiracy Theorists"?

Of all the things that I have observed about conspiracy theorists one of the things that has always stood out about them to me is that they hate the terms "conspiracy theorist" and "conspiracy theory". This is for two different reasons:

The primary reason is because they consider the terms to be insulting. This is actually understandable because skeptics and debunkers have used these terms in insulting tones and in an insulting way.

The secondary reason is because they claim that both terms to be "shill" words that were created by the CIA to discourage people from believing in a conspiracy theory (the terms actually first came into use in the late 1800's to early 1900's and pre-dates the CIA, it only came to be used in a derogatory way in the mid 1960's, but there is no evidence to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with that). Some even claim that only "shills" use the terms conspiracy theory and conspiracy theorist. Whether they actually believe this or are just claiming this inorder to get people to stop using these terms and/or to scare a skeptic off is another question entirely.

Regardless of the reasons why, the fact is that conspiracy theorists do not like the terms conspiracy theorist and conspiracy theory, and to be all honest I don't really like those terms either. The reason for this is that simply put a theory is based off of facts and evidence. Conspiracy theories are rarely made up of facts and evidence, and even the ones that do have some facts and evidence behind them are often mangled by conspiracy theorists and is manipulated into something that it is infact not...

To put it bluntly in my personal opinion using the word "theory" in conspiracy theory (and by extension conspiracy theorist) is actually inaccurate and inappropriate.

So what would be an accurate and appropriate term to replace conspiracy theory and theorist with?

From the conspiracy theorist side I've heard the terms "conspiracy realist" and "conspiracy fact". Both are obviously (atleast to a skeptic) inaccurate as hell due to the fact that conspiracy theories are rarely proven to be fact (most conspiracy theories that exist today either have been either disproven, or atleast have never been proven) and that most conspiracy theorists (especially the hardcore ones) aren't that realistic about... well anything really.

On the flip side however you have suggestions by skeptics like myself who have suggested terms such as "conspiracy lunatic", "conspiracy nut", and ofcourse paranoid conspiracy theorist and theory. While these terms may be more accurate (although the last one still uses the word theory) it is inappropriate because it does blatantly insult a person that seriously believes in conspiracy theories.

So the question remains is this: if none of these terms are either accurate and/or appropriate, then what would be an accurate and appropriate term to use in place of conspiracy theory and theorist?

Well, I have heard one suggestion that I feel is both appropriate and accurate, and it comes from a surprising source: Conspiracy theorists.

The term I am talking about is conspiracy hypothesis and hypothesizer.

These terms would be far more accurate as a hypothesis is what a person logically guesses (this varies from person to person) based off of an observation, as this is what a conspiracy theorist (or should I say hypothesizer) tends to do (minus the logic part): make observations. The only difference is that they often time just jump straight to the conclusion without gathering any real evidence.

I know that some of you will disagree with me on this, but think about it, aren't all conspiracy theories just based off of the opinions based off of someone's observations rather than actual facts and evidence?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Alternative Cancer Cures

Alternative cancer cures.

These so called cures have been around with us for as long as science based cancer treatments have been around with us. Infact some of them have been around even longer than that.

These so called cures, while different, also have many things in common, which I have narrowed down to five different things.

So here are five things I've noticed about alternative cancer cures:

5. There's a lot of them.

One of the biggest things that I've noticed about alternative cancer cures is that there are a lot of different types of "cures" floating around the internet and alternative medicine communities, and that there seems to be a new one that comes out every few weeks.

I've seen claims that balancing your ph levels, vitamins, organic foods, "detoxing" your body of chemicals, breathing in pure oxygen, and soursop can cure cancer, and in ways and speeds that would make conventional treatments obsolete.

The most recent claims I've seen concern cannabis oil. Along with doing all sorts of other stuff, the rumors spreading around the internet is that either cannabis oil can cure or atleast stop the growth of cancer cells.

While there are a lot of different alternative medical treatments that are claimed to cure cancer, there are a few things that they all have in common, such as the fact that...

4. Many of the claims are exaggerated and dubious.

Of all the alternative cancer cures that I have seen floating around the internet they all just sound blatantly exaggerated, and when I do some research into these claims I find out that they are often times full of half truths, or are outright false. Examples of this would be Soursop which is claimed to be 10,000 times more effective than chemo (both exaggerated and false), and vitamins are often claimed to kill cancer cells because it can kill them in a petri dish (that doesn't mean it can kill them in the human body).

Many people who promote these so called alternative cancer cures also claim that there is a "conspiracy" by "big pharma" to suppress these so called "cures" (which they have done a terrible job at) and is the reason why doctors won't even mention these alternative "cures". This is ofcourse made up nonsense and BS conspiracy theories. The real reason why doctors don't recommend alternative cancer cures is because...

3. They don't work and are dangerous.

As the old saying goes "You know what they call an alternative medicine that works? Medicine."

The fact is that these so called alternative cancer cures don't work. They have been tested in scientific laboratories, and have been shown not to work and do nothing to reduce or stop the spread of cancer cells. The only thing that has been shown when a person purely uses alternative cancer cures is that a person will die of cancer just as fast as if they had used no cancer treatments at all. This is why no legitimate medical doctor would ever recommend any alternative cancer cures.

Worst yet is that some of these cancer cures are actually harmful. Soursop for instance has neurotoxins in it that can cause a person to develop symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease, and cansema, another so called alternative cancer cure is corrosive and destroys your skin. There are also many different herbs that are floating around that are said to cure cancer, but in reality are poisonous and can kill you.

Ofcourse no one who believes that alternative cancer cures work would know this, nor would some of them really care primarily due to the "statistics" that the profiteers... I mean promoters of alternative cancer cures often times use. And speaking of those statistics...

2. The statistics alternative cancer cure promoters use are exaggerated and flawed.

Many times accompanying articles about alternative cancer cures (especially on websites that promote these "cures") and are some kind of statistics and information about how many people have been cured of cancer by taking whatever it is they are promoting. What many of these so called statistics and information may or may not tell you is how many of those people were using conventional cancer treatments during, or before, or after they took the alternative cancer cures. To most people this would create a cross contamination in the data as it could be argued that it is just as likely (much more likely actually) that the conventional cancer treatments are what cured a person of cancer and not the alternative cancer treatments.

Now when you remove all the people who admit they used conventional cancer treatments and only include those that claim to have purely used alternative cancer cures, the number of people who believe that they successfully rid themselves of cancer is shockingly small, and can be explained as either the body healing itself (it's rare, but it does happen) or the person was given a false diagnosis (which is why a second diagnosis is always needed after a first positive diagnosis is made inorder to confirm if a person has cancer), or that some of the people questioned could be outright lying and actually did have conventional cancer treatments, or have never been diagnosed with cancer, they just claimed they had it.

What these statistics do not tell you is how many people actually died while using these alternative cancer cures, either indirectly as a result of foregoing conventional cancer treatments, or directly as a result of being poisoned by some of these "cures".

Also another thing that the promoters of alternative cancer cures tend to do...

1. The promoters of alternative cancer cures love to talk about the negatives of conventional cancer treatments, but never the positives.

As a way to help promote alternative cancer cures the promoters of these so called cures love to talk about all of the bad stuff about conventional cancer cures, primarily how harsh some of it can be, and how expensive it can be, and that sometimes conventional treatments do not work. While this is true it's still fear mongering that's done inorder to scare people into foregoing conventional cancer treatments and use the alternative ones.

What's almost never mentioned is how conventional cancer treatments have consistently increased the life expectancy and survivability of people who were diagnosed with cancer for over the past 50 years, and that there are new treatments for cancer that are based off of science based research that are coming out all the time. Infact I know a person who recently was completely cured of a type of cancer that ten years would have meant a death sentence, and this is all thanks to science based medicine. His story is just one of millions of examples of how science based cancer treatments have prolonged peoples lives, or rid people of cancer!

Ofcourse you'll never hear that from a person whom promotes the non-science based "cures".