Hippocrates and TED…

I spend a great deal of time reading about issues that affect health.  I talk to people all of the time about nutrition.  I have one friend who is great to bounce thoughts off of, and from her I’ve learned a lot–especially about the science of food.  I’ve made new friends who are interested in how what we think, eat, and feel affects our health.  It’s just fascinating to me!   I’m not sure why I am so fascinated with it, other than the fact that many years ago I was very ill, and I was blessed to be made better.  I love when someone says it was just that I started eating better or taking some medicine or was divinely healed….it could be any or all of those things, well not the medicine since I didn’t end up taking anything.  The point is, while I am open to many possible reasons for my renewed health, I want to continue to feel healthy and do what I can to take care of the body I was given.  If I do all I can and still fall ill, I can know that it isn’t for not trying.  I started studying all of the science I could that might help explain how to keep my body running on all cylinders (I think that’s the correct mechanic’s terminology).  I started with a fellow I had heard about named “Hippocrates.”  He is known as the Father of Medicine.  Doctors supposedly try to follow his wisdom.  Read about him here.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

I also like words.  (My parents really encouraged me to know and love words)  It would seem that dogma is the word I was looking for this morning as I tried to come up with an answer to this question:  “What do you call it when someone wants to control what you believe as truth?”  And in two places this morning I have seen how people in our nation are trying to control what we could even consider as truth.  It is disturbing.  In our home, we encourage people to investigate and decide what they believe–in religion and in life.   What works for me just might not work for you, though my husband and I are happy to offer what has worked for us as an example of what might work for you. 🙂  We all believe what we have come to know as the truth for ourselves–in science, religion, and life there are truths that sometimes can be misrepresented and even proven wrong eventually.  If I tell you what you must believe, I think I would be what is called dogmatic.  

“Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.[1] It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. They can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2

The term “dogmatic” can be used disparagingly to refer to any belief that is held stubbornly, including political[10] and scientific[11] beliefs.”

So, why a post on this?  Glad you asked.  For a long time, I would watch these great speakers on a thing called TED TV….TED Talks, as they are called.  I LOVED watching TED Talks.   I learned a lot from scientists and doctors and semi-regular folks who had been able to show a connection through eating different foods, practicing different techniques and helping change the way the body is able to respond to various diseases.  In recent months, though, I have been unable to find some of the videos I had watched before.  In fact, I couldn’t find any video about many topics I wanted to hear.  There are only 3 talks available that even use GMO in their speech.  I was disappointed that there wasn’t more out there, but I moved on to look for other sources.  

Then I learned of the letter last December in which the TED folks said they wouldn’t completely throw someone out, BUT they should be scrutinized if they didn’t match up to the TED basic guidelines for good science and bad science.  Here is what they said, and I uninstalled my TED app after realizing they wouldn’t offer what I was looking for:

“But here are some basic guidelines.

Marks of good science:

  • It makes claims that can be tested and verified
  • It has been published in a peer reviewed journal (but beware… there are some dodgy journals out there that seem credible, but aren’t.)
  • It is based on theories that are discussed and argued for by many experts in the field
  • It is backed up by experiments that have generated enough data to convince other experts of its legitimacy
  • Its proponents are secure enough to accept areas of doubt and need for further investigation
  • It does not fly in the face of the broad existing body of scientific knowledge
  • The proposed speaker works for a university and/or has a phD or other bona fide high level scientific qualification

Marks of bad science:

  • Has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth
  • Is not based on experiments that can be reproduced by others
  • Contains experimental flaws or is based on data that does not convincingly corroborate the experimenter’s theoretical claims
  • Comes from overconfident fringe experts
  • Uses over-simplified interpretations of legitimate studies and may combine with imprecise, spiritual or new age vocabulary, to form new, completely untested theories.
  • Speaks dismissively of mainstream science
  • Includes some of the red flags listed in the two sections below

2. Red flag topics

These are not “banned” topics by any means — but they are topics that tend to attract pseudo-scientists. If your speaker proposes a topic like this, use extra scrutiny. An expanding, depressing list follows:

Food science, including:

  • GMO food and anti-GMO foodists
  • Food as medicine, especially to treat a specific condition: Autism and ADHD, especially causes of and cures for autism

Because of the sad history of hoaxes with deadly consequences in the field of autism research, really look into the background of any autism-related talk. If you hear anything that sounds remotely like, “Vaccines are related to autism,” — RUN AWAY. Another non-legitimate argument: “We don’t know what works, so we have to try everything.” Pretty much all the time, this argument is designed to cause guilt in suffering parents so they’ll spend money on unproven treatments.

More:    

  • “Healing,” including reiki, energy fields, alternative health and placebos, crystals, pyramid power
  • “Free energy” and perpetual motion machines, alchemy, time travel
  • The neuroscience of [fill in the blank] — not saying this will all be non-legitimate, but that it’s a field where a lot of goofballs are right now
  • The fusion of science and spirituality. Be especially careful of anyone trying to prove the validity of their religious beliefs and practices by using science

Look carefully at talks on these topics: ask to see published data, and find a second source, unrelated to the speaker and a recognized expert in the field, who can validate the research.”

The word DOGMA came to mind.  

This morning, I read an article from a researcher/scientist of sorts.  It brought all of the things I knew together into one pretty easy answer:  Monsanto.  As I continue to read that other countries don’t want our genetically modified products, (read here and here for examples) I am baffled about why our smart politicians haven’t made big changes in the way we do things.  

If you’d like to read the article, it is here from a site called Natural News.  I know, some of my really intelligent friends reject any site that isn’t ordained by the government and/or Monsanto.  I can live with myself for choosing this source.  He aligns with several other sites that might be more to your liking.  

Just educate yourself.  Don’t believe everything you read or hear–question.  I question so much, get called out for following certain lines of thinking, and I’m ok with it.  If I find that what I’ve followed is undeniably wrong, I won’t hesitate to announce it.  I’m just so disappointed that a platform like TED has decided they know what the absolutes are, and the words of the Father of Medicine are wrong in their eyes.  “Let thy food by thy medicine” would fall into the RED FLAG TOPICS.  They would never have bought into so much that science has proven to us over the years if they could have decided what would be allowed.  Do only the well-known scientists have the facts?  If my food can withstand RoundUp, I personally don’t want to eat it.  It’s a personal choice.

So, all of the information that has been unfolding is reason enough for me to decide that I probably can’t believe much of what the TED Talks have to say. You might think I’m throwing the baby out with the bath water, but it seems to me only speakers who say what the powers that be want them to say will be allowed–it’s like saying my kids must believe everything I’ve told them because I am smarter than they are.  What a sad day.

See ya, TED.  

4 Responses

  1. Sherry Hall
    Sherry Hall September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am | | Reply

    Wow- so beautifully said Susan! I’m framing that quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and putting it up here at BodyWise. I applaud you for your wise & thoughtful approach!

  2. Jennifer
    Jennifer September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm | | Reply

    Hm. I always thought the TED thing was pretty well open to all opinions. I guess that goes to your point of doing one’s own research and learning things for yourself, not just believing everything you see or hear. 🙂

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