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Oprah Winfrey for President? Does anyone remember all the pseudoscience and quackery she’s promoted?

Oprah Winfrey gave a rousing acceptance speech while accepting the Cecile B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, sparking talk of her running for President in 2020. It’s time to throw some cold water on that idea by reminding everyone that Oprah is not a force for reason and evidence. Quite the contrary.

On Sunday night, like a lot of people, I was watching the Golden Globe Awards. To be honest, I was using the broadcast more as background noise than anything else, as I do for most award shows, as I did other things. During the ceremony, Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is given for for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Certainly no one can argue that Oprah hasn’t made major contributions to entertainment based on her long-running and enormously popular talk show, her movie roles, her TV network, and the entertainment empire that she built. She also gave what I though to be a very good acceptance speech that covered equality, sexual harassment and opportunities for girls, especially girls of color. After it was over, I didn’t think much more of it. Apparently, my reaction was not shared by many, who thought the speech so amazing that they thought she should run for President in 2020. Some think that, were she to run, she could dominate the Democratic field. Prediction markets even have her as the third most likely person to be elected President in 2020, after Donald Trump and Mike Pence:

Other news reports suggest that Winfrey is actively thinking about running. Others doubt that she will based on her own words:

Not surprisingly, I was underwhelmed. Those of you who’ve been following the blog already know why. Those of you who haven’t probably don’t because I haven’t written about Oprah in quite a while. The reason is quite simple. Once her talk show went off the air in 2011, there was a lot less reason for me to blog about her because her enormously popular and influential platform for spreading pseudoscience and quackery was gone.

Pseudoscience and quackery? Oh, yes. In the early years of this blog, Oprah was a frequent topic of Orac’s Insolence, and for good reason. She was one of the foremost promoters of pseudoscience, quackery, and general New Age BS in the world. If you think I’m exaggerating, just think of it this way. For starters, Oprah inflicted upon the world America’s quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the foremost promoter of pseudoscience in mental health, Dr. Phil McGraw, who also stands accused of providing alcohol and drugs to addicts featured on his show in order to ramp up the drama factor. It would be bad enough if that were all she’s done, but it’s not.

I first remember becoming aware of Oprah’s promotion of pseudoscience and mystical New Age nonsense more than ten years ago, when I learned of her promotion of The Secret. The Secret, if you’ll recall, is a spectacular bit of New Age woo that basically claims that, in essence, wishing makes it so. No, that’s not quite right, although it is close. Basically, the idea behind The Secret is the Law of Attraction, which states that you will attract from the universe the things you want. Basically, if you want something badly enough, the universe will manifest it for you. Of course, on one level, there is a grain of truth to this idea. Obviously, people who want things badly work hard to obtain those things and are thus more likely to get them. The Secret, of course, takes that simple concept beyond the reasonable and into the realm of wishing making it so. I find The Secret to be a particularly pernicious bit of wishful thinking because it is at the heart of so much quackery. Indeed, I have argued that the central dogma of alternative medicine is in fact The Secret, or the idea that wishing makes it so.

But that’s not all, either.

Let me tell you a story. It was a story that I began telling eleven years ago, and it’s about a woman named Kim Tinkham. That name might only sound familiar to you if you’ve been reading this blog longer than seven years, because that’s the last time I wrote about Ms. Tinkham. Basically, Ms. Tinkham was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, she was also inspired by Oprah and her promotion of The Secret to pursue quackery. It wasn’t just any quackery, though. It was the quackery of Robert O. Young, whom you might remember as the man responsible for the “pH Miracle Living” quackery, where acid was The One True Cause of All Disease, particularly cancer but also sepsis and viral illnesses, and who is now in prison for practicing medicine without a license. Tinkham was fortunate in that she did fairly well for three years after diagnosis. During that time, she wrote a book about her story and promoted cancer quackery. During that time, even though she admitted that her cancer was still there, palpable as a lump in her breast, she convinced herself that Young’s treatment had rendered it harmless.

As you might imagine, although Kim Tinkham did better than expected for longer than expected, ultimately her story did not end well. Her cancer recurred in her liver, and, soon after it became known that Tinkham was dying, she passed away. There was a brief campaign to try to let Oprah Winfrey knowthat Kim Tinkham was dying, but it had no visible effect. In fairness, when Tinkham was on Oprah’s show, Oprah briefly looked appropriately startled and horrified when Tinkham related her plans to treat her cancer “naturally,” but also in the end didn’t do much to try to talk her out of it.

But that’s still not all.

The list of abuses of science and promotion of mysticism go on. Perhaps the most egregious example was Winfrey’s promotion of the faith healer known as John of God. This particular faith healer is a rather obvious fraud. Indeed, John of God uses rather obvious carny tricks, like the “forceps up the nose” and the “cornea scraping” tricks. Not surprisingly, investigators have been unable to find any evidence that John of God can heal anything.

Then, of course, there’s Jenny McCarthy. At the height of McCarthy’s “warrior mother” phase as a newly minted leader of the antivaccine movement, Winfrey had McCarthy on her show twice to lay down her characteristically scientifically ignorant nonsense about her son Evan having become autistic after vaccination and how she was treating him with all manner of “autism biomed” interventions (i.e., quackery) to “heal” him. You might remember this one. It was famous because McCarthy told Winfrey that her “mommy instinct” told him that it was the vaccines that were responsible for her son’s autism. In response, Oprah mildly “challenged” McCarthy’s view, as even friendly hosts sometimes do in order to give their guests a chance to respond to criticism in a safe environment. In this case, Winfrey read a response from the CDC about how science does not support the idea that vaccines cause autism. McCarthy, full of her usual arrogance of ignorance, scoffed, speaking of Evan, “He is my science.” During the show, she also said:

The universe didn’t mean for me to do anything else besides what I did. But if I had another child, I would not vaccinate.

It was so bad that the pro-vaccine group Every Child By Two (ECBT) wrote a letter to the producers of the show and urged its supporters to do the same, asking that credible scientists and physicians be featured on the show to discuss vaccines. At the time, I thought this was a very bad idea because I knew where it would go. Pisanti would have been paired with antivaccine advocates and perhaps an antivaccine pediatrician, and there would have been a useless “debate” stacked in favor of the antivaccine side. Indeed, antivaxers were salivating over the possibility that Oprah Winfrey might actually do this. None of this stopped Winfrey’s Harpo Studios from inking a deal with Jenny McCarthy to do a talk show. Fortunately, not much came of it.

Besides her support of faith healing and antivaccine pseudoscience, examples of Oprah’s lack of concern for science include:

Oh, and did I mention that she foisted Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil on us? It’s worth mentioning again. The list goes on. Through it all, Winfrey justified having quacks on her show by basically disavowing any endorsement of guests’ ideas. For example, here’s what she said regarding the Jenny McCarthy deal:

Asked if Oprah or her show endorses McCarthy’s views, a representative for Oprah’s program said, “We don’t take positions on the opinions of our guests. Rather, we offer a platform for guests to share their first-person stories in an effort to inform the audience and put a human face on topics relevant to them.” When McCarthy’s views have been discussed on the air, statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics saying that there’s no scientific evidence of a vaccine-autism link have been read.

Overall, Oprah had a malign influence on the science of medicine, driven by the “Oprah effect,” an observation that anything featured on Oprah’s show would suddenly sell quite a lot. Meanwhile, her show went out of its way to minimize skepticism and, whenever a skeptic was on her show, to make it difficult for him to be taken seriously. An excellent example was recounted by James Randi himself. It was the story of Oprah basically using selective editing, timing, selection, and staging of a “debate” over psychic abilities to make the psychics seem more credible and the skeptics look stupid. Indeed, so pervasive was the Oprah effect that I once referred to it as the “Oprah-fication” of medicine and even got an op-ed published in The Toronto Star making that same point.

So you’ll excuse me if I don’t jump on the Oprah Winfrey bandwagon for 2020. Even if there wasn’t all that credulity towards New Age bullshit like The Secret, I’d still say that replacing one celebrity with no government experience with another celebrity with no administrative experience is not the way to get out of the era of Trump. (The same goes for you, too, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!) That Oprah is not a hateful person compared to Donald Trump is not enough, particularly given that she’s almost as bad on science and critical thinking as he is. There’s a reason I feel the bile rising in my throat whenever I see someone on Twitter or other social media using Winfrey’s Golden Globe acceptance speech as a reason to hope that she runs in 2020.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

181 replies on “Oprah Winfrey for President? Does anyone remember all the pseudoscience and quackery she’s promoted?”

I find it rather curious that even the lowliest plumber needs to have at least some credentials before (s)he can start working in people’s homes, but that what is perhaps the single most difficult and responsible job in the world can be given to utter nitwits with no qualifications whatsoever(*). I think it would be a very good idea if presidential candidates should pass an exam to show that they master some basic political knowledge and skills; and oh, some sort of certificate that they are of sound mind would also not come amiss, given what you poor Americans are stuck with now.

*: Mrs. Winfrey is undoubtedly a very pleasant and maybe even diplomatically gifted person, but it takes a lot more than that to lead the US in a sensible way.

Ever see what the requirements are to get to the Chinese politburo?

All it takes is 25-30 years of progressive government (exec branch in US terms) service in various positions and various parts of China (possibly overseas?) with extreme 360 exams every year

This approach has some severe problems, but it does mean that the President of China may have a good grasp of how the country actually works and where other countries are on a map.

That didn’t stop either Ronald Reagan (a B-grade actor from 40’s & 50’s from running for, and winning the seat of POTUS. Ditto with George W. Bush. Sometimes pure charisma is what wins the day. I doubt VERY much that Donald Trump is fit to be POTUS, but there he sits …. enabled by his base of supporters who so-hated Hillary Clinton that they chose a man who has failed (gone bankrupt) at far more business endeavours than he’ll ever let on. He’s no Stable Genius (his words).

Four words that make me happy: Ronald Reagan is dead. Just like so many queers are, sadly, due to his refusal to acknowledge the AIDS crisis. (Nancy Reagan, too, despite her old friend Rock Hudson begging her to. Screw her too. And here Hillary Clinton was trying to raise her up as addressing AIDS…)

And Donald Trump won’t be around much longer either, I hope. Let’s hope he doesn’t do too much irrevocable damage while he’s alive.

Aah yes, Reagan. If only we could go back to the days when the president could authorize selling weapons to terrorists on two continents and order our law enforcement to look the other way while terrorists to our south smuggled drugs into the country to finance their actions, and not face repercussions. Good times for the right.


Although Ronald bore much responsibility for the many AIDS deaths among gay men, the gay men themselves are also partially responsible.

Even when it had become obvious that hiv was transmitted by unprotected sex and that bath house encounters helped spread it like wildfire, the gay men still chose to see a public health crisis as an assault on their “sexual liberty” and fought tooth and nail to block efforts aimed at curbing promiscuous behavior.

Both Reagan and Bush 43 served as governors of very populous and diverse states prior to ascending to The Presidency.

If Winfrey gets elected, odds are that Dr. Oz is nominated for Surgeon General!!!

In addition, the solution to a dabbler with no real understanding of our constitutional and administrative systems is not to appoint another dabbler, even if her values are more in line with the left. We do actually need someone who knows something about running the country running the country. Running a media empire is not exactly the same set of skills.

That’s not to downplay how far Oprah came, but she didn’t do it in government.

Of course, I, too, would rather not see Dr. Oz as surgeon general and Jenny McCarthy as Director of CDC.

I’d still say that replacing one celebrity with no government experience with another celebrity with no administrative experience is not the way to get out of the era of Trump.

Exactly. Why do people elevate celebrities to such status? I will never understand that. A country’s leader is a hard job with with qualifications that inexperienced celebrities just don’t have and it’s not a position for on-the-job-training.

I suppose there are all those celebrity shows, where celebrities do all kind of things, one would expect people should have talent for.
Don’t know how it is in the US, but here in the Netherlands we have had celebrities:

I suppose running the country is just taking this to a whole new level. And of course the US has had some actors in politics, like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which doesn’t mean any celebrity can run the country.

True, but Reagan cut his teeth as president of SAG and then governor of California. He also ran unsuccessfully for President in 1976, seriously threatening to unseat Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination, before being elected in 1980.

Nothing wrong with celebrities engaging in any of those five activities, as nobody’s life is endangered should they be done incompetently (possibly excepting diving, where it’s the diver’s own life that might be endangered). Leading a country is something that, if done incompetently, actually does endanger people’s lives.

Even more of a danger in cases like this is you get a Dunning-Kruger sufferer in the position. That’s certainly true of Trump, and I haven’t seen any evidence that Oprah would not be susceptible to the same thing. Say what you will about the fictional President Camacho of Idiocracy, he at least understood that he wasn’t capable of dealing with a crisis, so he sought out the smartest person he could find, and followed that man’s advice.

It’s complex, but as younger generations grow up with the TV and other visual media, including social media, an ever-present companion, reality has become whatever is in your face at the moment. Reality TV and dumbing down of basic education are aiding the shift. My grandchildren live in an environment (which is typical I think, for a large population percentage) of TV from the moment they awake until they sleep and it is mostly reality programming or cartoons. They eat, play, “study” and interact with family in front of the TV. Their parents, while educated, find this acceptable and “normal”. Family discussion involves nothing more than Mom’s take on Bachelorette or whatever. They didn’t vote and they don’t much care who is President. Three days of this left me in quite a state and I don’t know if I can visit again. Oh yes, there are three books in the house, and two were sent to the baby by me.

The other day I say a three year old in a grocery cart playing with an iPod (expertly I would add). While talking with what turned out to be his nanny in the line, I was told that this tiny child has three of these and while the nanny imits time with them, the parents allow it nonstop on weekends, which makes things tough for the nanny on Monday.

I see electing celebrities to office as transitional. Eventually we’ll see fictional characters elected and all government business and diplomacy will be conducted via Twitter. Thankfully, I will be dead.

They eat, play, “study” and interact with family in front of the TV.

Not that different from my childhood in the ’70s, when you get right down to it, although we did usually eat dinner at the table sans TV. Then again, there was the Golden Age of Radio.

What worries me a bit more in my dotage is, say, fifth-graders who can’t be disconnected from video games. All. Day. Long. I mean, we didn’t really have any books in the house, but at least I checked age-inappropriate material out of the library.

The onion on your belt is showing, KMT. Almost all people born in the US in the 1960s or later, and most born in the 1950s or later, do not remember an era without omnipresent TV. Many of my childhood peers (I was born in 1967) had a TV in their bedroom. Then as now, the overwhelming majority of it was dreck. We have had celebrity politicians for almost as long: George Murphy was elected to the US Senate from California in 1964, and two years later Ronald Reagan became governor of that state. The only thing that has changed since then is the quantity: now we have hundreds of channels instead of only two or three on which to have nothing to watch, and we have more celebrity politicians than ever before.

Media usage with the children is definitely a challenge. I see it as a double-edged sword. It has a place when moderated and curated appropriately. Both of my kiddos have been operating their tablets since they were about 2. My oldest is in Kindergarten right now, where they utilize ipads as part of the curriculum. My limits are no TV’s in the bedroom. In general, we don’t have TV playing in the background (I refuse to pay the outrages fees for cable TV). We try to limit total screen time to 2 hours a day, though I admit we likely go over on the weekends (mostly so mom and dad can sleep in an extra hour). They still get plenty of exercise, reading, and regular play. Everything in moderation seems to be the best advice out there.
I’m not looking forward to dealing with social media when they get older, but it is what it is. Just like I was the first generation in my household to build a computer, interact in online chat rooms (loved IRC chat), and play video games (much to the bewilderment of my parents), so must my children forge their own paths and I have to figure out how to educate them so they can make good choices and also know how to operate in a digital world. It’s a much different childhood than I had, but I think it’ll probably all balance out in the end.

I believe it’s because there’s a false sense of intimacy with these people, especially people like Oprah who invite you into her house and let you eavesdrop on her chats with Dr. Oz.

Why do people elevate celebrities to such status?

I suspect that people do that because they’re celebrities. The logic appears to be “They’re famous, so they must know what they’re doing”. If it’s any consolation, this has been the case for centuries. There’s a story told in Slide Rule, the autobiography of Nevil Shute.

A wholly apocryphal story is told of a shareholders’ meeting of a great London store at a time when it was not doing so well. An infuriated shareholder, who was no gentleman, got up to castigate the distinguished Board of Directors. “When our country is in peril on the sea,” he announced in measured tones, ” ‘oo better to turn to than Admiral Sir Duncan Frobisher? When our country is in peril on the land, ‘oo better to turn to than Major General Lord Banklington? But what the bloody ‘ell do they know about ‘ams?”

Yeah. If my choice is Trump v. Winfrey, certainly I’d vote for her. Or Pence v. Winfrey. But I would weep all the way home.

DRR: We do actually need someone who knows something about running the country running the country.

The problem is, after Clinton, most of the qualified Democrats simply won’t run. Clinton was superqualified, had all of the right credentials, and she ran straight into a meatgrinder and lost. Mostly because she was a woman and the Republicans are great at playing off insecurity and character assassination. But we should still keep in mind that a woman with all the right credentials can’t win and will never win.

If the electorate don’t want qualified people running the country, then why should any experienced politician bother? Frankly, we deserve Oprah.

And seriously, who do the Democrats have? Elizabeth Warren won’t stand a chance, Ellison’s Muslim, Franken’s a creep, no one outside of Wisconsin or Minnesota knows who Amy Klobochar. Betty McCollum and Tammy Duckworth are, Biden’s given up politics, Gore’s too educated, Kerry’s just given up, as has Schumer. Clinton really shouldn’t run again, and Edwards has tanked. Maybe Tim Kaine, but we might have to wave goodbye to Roe vs. Wade and birth control.

But we should still keep in mind that a woman with all the right credentials can’t win and will never win.

It’s better to keep in mind that TINW. Your public service in highlighting this simple principle is duly noted.

I might note that Bernie Sanders is still kicking, and is the most popular politician in the country.

no one outside of Wisconsin or Minnesota knows who Amy Klobochar. Betty McCollum and Tammy Duckworth are,

I’m pretty sure the people of Illinois are aware she’s our Senator.

PGP, I remind you again that Clinton won the popular vote. She would have won the election if she had won in the Midwest, which she did not win because she did not campaign there. She came so close despite not campaigning that it seems quite evident that she would have won if she had. She did not run into a meatgrinder any more than other candidates.

But we should still keep in mind that a woman with all the right credentials can’t win and will never win.

Hmm. Whoopi Goldberg 2020!

It’s pretty simple, literacy tests have a history. Even if we could apply them fairly and even if we could we someone overcome the general idiocy and put basic topics like evolution them, rich fools would be able to afford the SAT coaches of politics, and poor fools would get left out. Fools or not, they have as much right to representation as the rest of us.

Yesterday one of my gentlemen told me that his ( clueless) nephew wrote that Oprah would be a “great candidate”..
which started me on the various issues already pointed out
she just doesn’t have the basic abilities to handle the job BECAUSE she obviously fell for nonsense like that which she showcased on television- it doesn’t say much for her judgment.

Unlike mem_somerville, I don’t know which candidate I’d chose if presented with a choice like that
And I am a person who believes that you should vote for the candidate who supports the same issues as you do even if you don’t like them personally or find flaws in their character . Oprah would probably support the same ideas that I do for the most part.
In a case like that I might NOT vote or write in someone- the choice is so bad .I never thought I’d say that.

Because I studied psychological skills ( cognitive as well as social), I’ll speculate that although she may be a people person I wouldn’t say much for her general and academic skills. I don’t think she could handle the complex issues and tons of reading a leader would have to tackle on a daily basis WITHOUT having others doing the actual work and analysis. Who would she choose?
I doubt anyone much better than what the Donald has chosen. Look whose careers she’s help launch.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m opposed to her for biased reasons- I have no problem with voting for black people or women and have done so. If Harris, Booker, Gillibrand or Warren ran, I’d send money as well as vote for any of them…

Oprah for president makes me want to scream!

-btw- even though Reagan had some executive experience, I wasn’t thrilled with his performance,

I get you on the “write in” part. I’ve always voted Republican and in this last election I considered that my side lost when Trump won the primary. There was no one left for someone who believed in small government to vote for. I had friends tell me, just as yours will tell you, “Oh, but but voting is a vote for [X].”
Like you said, one should vote for the candidate that supports the same issues that he believes. But when both candidates either don’t support those ideas or least supports far more that you oppose than that you support, what are you to do but abstain? And so I did. Unfortunately my “fellow” Republicans (I shudder to call myself that now, but in the presence of Democrats it’s the simplest term) have opened the door to the celebrity President game.
I’m just going to write in Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in 2020.

Denice, you make excellent points. I do think Oprah comes off as a people person because she has an ability to inspire, and make people feel like they want to be her friend. But I question how much she really even is that. If you saw her show in the later years, she was horrible at dealing with the guests who weren’t celebrities or hawking whatever New Age fad she was currently into. She’d interrupt them, talk about herself, look disinterested, and so on. There is one episode that stands out in my mind where she was interviewing grieving parents and kept repeating graphic details (that are too horrific for me to describe here) to them and to camera over and over for sensational effect. It was cruelly insensitive to the point of being utterly heartless. I’ve never been able to shake that image of her.

@ Mini Dragon:

Whilst I have hardly ever seen her show, I’m assuming that she understands people in general because somehow- perhaps with help from assistants and producers- she was able to gauge exactly what guests her audience would enjoy watching. I imagine that over the years she developed skill in interviewing people and in addition, she has abilities as a theatrical actor. She also seemed to have ability in convincing others to accept her views on medicine as well as politics.

What you describe is interesting because I assume that one of the reasons people liked her show was because she treated people well: she was friendly, patient and sympathised with their problems.
Plus, she distributed free cars.

Perhaps mega fame changed her or she felt she needn’t keep up the act.

-btw- by people skills, I am referring to various abilities like person perception, recursive thought and diverse interpersonal communication skills in contradistinction to purely cognitive or educational abilities.

@Denice (had to reply to my own message since there was no reply button to yours, so this may perhaps show up out of order): I understand what you mean, and you’re right, she is skilled at those things. It just was striking to me how you could tune into any episode in the later years of her show where she was talking to ‘regular’ people and see how blatantly bored she looked – and that she could still retain that idea of being this beloved, caring matriarch. I think the only people who kept watching were her devotees who believed she could do no wrong, and I doubt they observed what she was really like. I only ended up watching any because I was chronically ill and bored, and would then get a bit fascinated by the awfulness of what I was seeing and how it contrasted with the image of her that persisted.

I think both your suggestions are right – that she couldn’t keep up the act, and especially that fame and power changed her. Combine fame and fortune with investing deeply in lousy ideologies about manifesting your every desire through the power of your mind (i.e. ‘The Secret)’, and it’s a good recipe for extreme narcissism.


I have to disagree with you on not voting or a pointless write-in vote. I suppose if the choice were between Stalin or Hitler and nobody was running a viable write-in campaign then that might be a conundrum. However, it also should cause you to question whether you had done enough before the general election. Could you have, say, helped persuade a better candidate to run? Did you support a better candidate during the nomination process? Did you encourage people to nominate a better candidate? Did you participate in the primaries, caucuses, or conventions as appropriate to your area?

I admit to some blame for The Donald. I was going to vote against him in the local “caucus” (separate from the primary election to accommodate someone who wanted to run for president and his Senate seat, and state law doesn’t allow for someone to be listed on the primary ballot twice), but got out late and the line was too long and I didn’t. I should have helped promote another candidate, but I didn’t. All I did was vote against him in the general election.

The Los Angeles Times yesterday published an editorial, “Oprah for President? Have we learned nothing?” They basically conclude that electing a TV personality with no experience has proven to be a terrible idea, and one America should not repeat.

While there’s plenty to criticize, it doesn’t seem fair to condemn her for statements made by guests on her show because she only provided mild criticism. I seem to recall that she brought the woman who decided to use The Secret to cure her cancer on the show to try and talk her out of it, and persuade her to get some real medical care. People can learn from their mistakes; she may regret those endorsements. There are even some commenters here that once bought into the woo, but now follow science-based medicine.

No, I don’t watch her show, and I’d never vote for her for President… unless she were the only other candidate opposing the current one. Experience counts, and running her business empire no more qualifies her than the current occupant of that office.

@ Julian Frost:

Beyond the medical concerns listed, she got middle class women ( mostly) to crave over priced luxury goods and manufacturers followed en suite so that ( this is true) it is virtually impossible to get quality cotton bed sheets without checking the ((shudder)) thread count and paying a veritable fortune for mediocre products. She made luxe housewares a fetish.

Probably similar nonsense about over priced cosmetics and skin care. And Spa treatments.

“There are even some commenters here that once bought into the woo, but now follow science-based medicine.”

What evidence is there that Oprah has experienced a conversion to rational thought?

Absolutely none. Nor do I see any evidence that she still embraces the woo, though I agree it imore likely. One major problem with our politicians, and perhaps most of the population is lack of science literacy and the embrace of fantastical and fictional concepts as true.

I’ve been reading a book called Fantasyland about just this, how the American psyche has been primed since the beginning to accept all kinds of fantastical notions as The Truth. I’m not that far in yet – I just got it from the library, I had it on hold – but so far it is promising.

I also highly recommend Alt-America, which deals with the alternative reality that right-wingers live in, starting with Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio hosts, and continuing through Fox News, right-wing militias, the alt-right and so on.

Narad: A woman with all the right credentials can’t win and will never win in the US. That better?

There is no evidence for that. One woman ran a misdirected campaign (racking up votes instead of focusing on the Electoral College; assuming she had it won and neglecting to campaign in winnable States) and she lost. Someone loses in every single presidential election. The next woman to run — or the next man, for that matter — will not make Clinton’s mistake of overconfidence.


You forgot to mention Newsweek’s cover story of June 8 2009, Crazy Talk, in which Oprah is taken to the woodshed for her promotion of medical quackery as well as The Secret.

Wow! That article about Dr Phil is informative. I am a family doctor with a mental health interest (i.e. I am not a psychologist), and I have a love/hate fascination with Dr Phil. His advice is often common sense and I agree with him often, but not when he strays in to the religious or the absurd, or the product-pushing. I even went to a taping of his show when I was in LA (for other reasons, I wouldn’t fly there from Australia for that). In person, he was a bit disappointing, no warmth and a real sense of disinterestedness, even when taking questions from the audience. I had no idea he is not actually a therapist. Is he technically a psychologist? He certainly gives the right amount of information to let people infer things about him that aren’t accurate. He sure has taken a PhD in the psychological aspect of the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (in 1980, the year I was born) and run a long, long way with it.

Dr. Phil has a PhD in psychology but I’m not sure he can legally use the protected title of psychologist. He surrendered his license before it could be stripped away by Texas authorities for serious ethical violations – he had sex with a patient and gave her a job in his office. This is behavior in the world of mental health practice about as bad as it can get, on a par with physical violence or counseling a patient to commit suicide.
Some of his advice is foolish, ridiculous, or even dangerous. His program on Aspergers’s syndrome was so bad that the heads of eight major autism organizations jointly demanded that the network pull the show. Thousands of us rank and file Aspies joined in on their own, me included. The episode was withdrawn from rotation.
There is a new TV show based on Dr. Phil’s work as a jury consultant. The name of the show couldn’t be more apt: “Bull.”

It’s hard to accept an argument against Oprah as POTUS by ANY American at this moment in time because of the incurious, narrow-minded, selfish, indulgent POTUS they have now, who is quite frankly the stupidest person to ever hold that position in that great country’s history.

What would the last 12 months look like under President Winfrey? Surely President Winfrey would not have eased up on a regulation that now allows coal companies to pollute waterways again.

She would not have allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire, leaving at least 9 million of America’s poorest children more vulnerable than they are now without adequate healthcare.

Surely she would not have dared the North Korean leader to prove whether his button works.

She would most certainly have pushed for the passage of the Dream Act, which helps and does not hurt America.

She would not have sneakily made cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to help pay for one of the largest tax cuts for the rich in U.S. history.

America would be in better hands today if she had been in office all year. And you know she’d have been in Washington more because she’s a dedicated professional and long time executive of her own damn company who doesn’t insist on effing off from her responsibilities in order to go golfing almost every single weekend.

@Christine Rose

Fools or not, they have as much right to representation as the rest of us

Representation, yes. But fools should never, ever, be allowed to rule the rest of us.

“It’s hard to accept an argument against Oprah as POTUS by ANY American at this moment in time because of the incurious, narrow-minded, selfish, indulgent POTUS they have now”

It’s even harder to accept the argument that we must elect any dingbat celebrity President because they’re not as bad as the current one.

Aside from the idea of Dr. OZ in cabinet, I think we have had more than enough neoliberal economic thinking. Celebrity worship is not doing much to help deal with real problems. It does, however, make it easier for the voting public to avoid thinking very deeply. Our form of representative democracy is not working well and the rest of the world in noticing. Ignorance based leadership will continue to degrade our institutions. We need another Sputnik moment but we may not be that lucky again.

Interesting post with broad appeal.

Forget about Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Orac getting into politics.

This trio is destined for Hollywood in a remake of the Three Stooges.

Moe = Dr. Orac
Curly = Dr. Phil
Larry = Dr. Oz

Now that’s great entertainment, especially if Oprah Winfrey became the Executive Producer.

Q. How is Moe’s (Dr. Orac’s) hammer like respectful insolence.

A. They’re only used for entertainment.

If you youngsters are wondering what I’m talkin’ about (i.e., Three Stooges) watch this video. Moe (a.k.a. Dr. Orac) is the aggressor.

I see that RI’s own Joe Besser doesn’t even really understand the Three Stooges.

Narad, I sometimes wonder if MJD’s comparisons / analogies are not the product of human cognition but merely the result of inserting nouns/ names into a random phrase generator much like the Chopra one.

Old Rockin’ Dave says that it’s ironic that MJD says that MJD compares Orac to the Stooges. ORD says that MJD does the work of two men, both Laurel and Hardy.
MJD is Wiley Coyote without the intellect, Yosemite Sam without the polish, Mothra without the Shobijin, Godzilla without the gracefulness, Donald Trump without the humility, Jar Jar Binks without the ingratiating ways, Mr. Ed without a front end.
Still, something would be lacking without MJD – comic relief.

I sometimes wonder if MJD’s comparisons / analogies are not the product of human cognition but merely the result of inserting nouns/ names into a random phrase generator much like the Chopra one.

I’m not even going to bother the retirees from the Th1Th2bot Service Center. But Dr. Phil as Curly Howard? The stupidity beggars belief.


Brilliant, very brilliant…but, that part: Donald Trump without the humility doesn’t compute? p(trump|humility) == -14.0000000000428


Interesting post with broad appeal.

Forget about Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and Dr. Orac getting into politics.

This trio is destined for Hollywood in a remake of the Three Stooges.

Moe = Dr. Orac
Curly = Dr. Phil
Larry = Dr. Oz

Now that’s great entertainment, especially if Oprah Winfrey is the Executive Producer.

Q. How is Moe’s hammer like Dr. Orac’s respectful insolence.

A. Both are only used for entertainment.

MovieJay: The ‘narrowminded electorate’ is why Ms. Winfrey would never get close. Imagine the freaking out about Mrs. Obama, times a million. And frankly, Ms. Winfrey has demonstrated on a number of occasions that while she is intelligent, she’s also very credulous. I mean, do you seriously think she’d fund CHIP when she’s against childhood vaccines? Or that she’d understand why DACA is a thing or be able to grasp all the issues regarding North Korea? And then there’s economics, which is so much cargo-cult science, that you might as well sacrifice chickens until the dow goes up.

All I can say is I sure do wish Trey Gowdy would run….if you don’t know who he is, do yourself a favor no matter which political party you associate with and look him up, watch him in action. There are so many videos on YouTube of Senate committee meetings where he speaks or is a moderator and he makes so much sense and is fair and just and enforced the Constitution while calling out others who do not.

Trey Gowdy, Mr. All-Benghazi-All-TheTime?

Funny joke you’ve made there.

Also, I think the response to a whiny electorate is to take the toys away. We don’t need a sputnik moment, we should simply shutter NASA, and close most of the national parks to anything but international tourism. (Seriously, how are we going to make people care about the stars when most of them are forbidden to look up?) If people protest, the simple truth should be told: “You didn’t want this, so we’re not going to fund it.”

For crying out loud, PGP. Just because some people don’t appreciate these things you would deny them to every U.S. citizen? As you have been repeatedly told, collective punishment doesn’t work.

In PGP’s dystopia, I wouldn’t be able to visit the National Forest just miles from where I live and which I have been going to since I was an infant, just because some Americans, according to PGP, don’t appreciate parks enough.

Yeah, whatever. It’s not like it’s actually ever going to happen.

In PGP’s dystopia….

Etymologically, it’s really closer to ‘utopia’, a nonexistent place. “Dentopia” has unfortunate supervenient English connotations, and “kataphronetopia” lacks a certain oomph, as well as almost certainly being a grammatical travesty. “Misotopia” is dicey, based on a glance at Strong, but at least a bit catchy. I’m also a bit meh on “authotopia,” but there must be a decent neologism to be had.

Also, I think the response to a whiny electorate is to take the toys away.

Apparently you have forgotten that you are a member of that whiny electorate..

Actually, there’s another dystopia that I envision happening- and it’s already started-

certain parties – and because of fiscal concerns by everyone-
don’t believe in public funding of museums, nature preserves and historical monuments so if people want to visit these national treasures they have to pay fees or higher fees.

-In California, there are parking fees even for small state parks – if you want to explore the bay or watch surfers at the ocean or see redwoods, you either pay at a booth or leave the money in an envelop.
-For years, you could go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY and pay whatever you liked- now that will be available only to residents and students
– Other places nearby have increased admission prices at smaller venues. Even NY state parks have parking fees in many areas. They used to be free most of the time..

Yeah, for some yeas now you’ve had to buy a “forest pass” to visit the National Forest and other parks, when you didn’t used to have to. I forget how much it is per year.

I stand corrected: you don’t need a pass to enter the National Forest, only to use certain trailheads and so on within it, and also state parks. It costs thirty bucks for a year, which is cheaper than the hundred dollar ticket if you get caught without one.

At least Oprah won’t ask, as Trump did, “What good is having nuclear weapons if you don’t use them?”.
She won’t push for new nuclear cruise missiles that can be launched from aircraft, ships, and ground launchers, like Trump is doing.
She won’t play “my dick, I mean, Nuclear Button, is bigger and more powerful than yours” games with Kim Jong Un.
Even with all her woo peddling, and even though something about her gets my hackles up, right off the bat she is far preferable to any Republican out there, and all in all, her heart at least is in the right place.

PGP isn’t interested in accomplishing anything — she doesn’t care if her proposal works. She just wants to hurt the public as a way of acting out her hatred and spitefulness.

She just wants to hurt the public as a way of acting out her hatred and spitefulness.

“Kakotopia” might just work.

The problem of funding state/national parks and museums can easily be solved by selling the naming rights.

Wouldn’t you still want to visit the Merck Museum of Modern Art, or Smucker’s Jellystone National Park?

LW:She just wants to hurt the public as a way of acting out her hatred and spitefulness.

No, that’s not it at all. By taking away those things, the perceived value would skyrocket. Look, the logic here is simple: if you have two kids, and one doesn’t want to eat his veggies, you take the veggies away and convince the other kid to loudly enjoy the vegetables, while you yourself talk up the value of veggies. The reluctant kid will start demanding carrot sticks.

So if you can point to how much the Australians are enjoying their space program, or how much fun all these foreign families had at Yosemite, Americans will come to value those things much more and demand proper funding, hang the tax cuts. Same thing with vaccines: talk up the value, create scarcity, give perks away like mad, and even the most paranoid housewife will run to the doctor’s office.


The reluctant kid will start demanding carrot sticks.

Spoken with the smug assurance of someone who does not have children.

Perhaps if you spent time truly interacting with people instead of just fearfully stereotyping and avoiding them you might understand why your ideas won’t work.

(Hope the blockquote works; I didn’t have time to test way back in the day)

Spoken with the smug assurance of someone who does not have children.

Yah, I don’t have children, but I live with them, and this is the weirdest Skinnerian projection that I’ve ever seen.

By taking away those things,

Out of my cold, dead hands.

Like the cold dead children that would be the result of your idea to create a “scarcity” of vaccines.

Oh, and let’s not disparate “housewives,” shall we? It’s a perfectly valid path, for both women and men who want to pursue it.

If we were only allowed to elect Presidents based on actual experience and qualifications, we would have made Bill Richardson President-for-Life

She’s only marginally better than that hateful kakistocrat in the Oval Office today.

JP: Well, what really counts is the perception of scarcity. The parents don’t have to know that the doctor actually has 500 flu shots stashed in the back of the clinic. And my program would start with places of low attendance anyway- the big earners like Yellowstone would still be open.
ORD: I’d plump for Fred Rogers myself. Pity they couldn’t make him immortal.

The parents don’t have to know that the doctor actually has 500 flu shots stashed in the back of the clinic.

Nor would it matter if they did know, since PGP would make it a crime for the doctor to do anything with those shots but pour them down the drain.

Of course, the 80 to 95 percent of parents who vaccinate their children right now would either conclude that the antivaxxer are right and vaccines are so dangerous that the Feds had to take them off the market, or else, in desperation, bribe the doctor to provide vaccines on the black market. So PGP’s bright idea would have the effect of permanently increasing antivax sentiment and producing the kind of organized crime that was seen during Prohibition, only this time corrupting the whole of medicine.

If PGP’s goal were to encourage vaccination, this would be a negative outcome. But since her goal is merely to punish as many of the despised public as she can by hurting, maiming, and killing them and their children, it’s all good.

But PGP, what you advocate would have doctors lying to patients and the government selecting a special class of people to get say,higher education or admission to parks.

Creating scarcity and ‘talking up value’ of a product are what unscrupulous businesses do as it is: would that be a good model for a professional’s or a government’s actions? I’d like to think that they’re better than that or more fair at least..

Many western ( and eastern, come to think of it) countries have histories of treating people based on beliefs that one class deserves something more than others do. Even now, in some parts of the US, it’s harder for people to vote based on their race. In some areas, less affluent people are excluded because of housing prices but governments try to even the score by creating lower cost housing in those areas or assisting with rent payments. That’s true right now where I live.
Women are usually paid less but there are legal efforts to change that.

Since you do advocate for education, wouldn’t that be a better way to level the playing field? I must admit that with vaccines normal educational processes haven’t been effective** BUT this is a very isolated case. In public heath, information about smoking and other bad habits have worked although slowly. Many people do try to eat better- although some woo-fraught notions encourage bizarre choices. Still, I see that healthy choices have even become a selling point.

And I know that you are as disgusted with anti-vaxxers and woo-meisters as I am: stupidity is frustrating. Aren’t Orac and his many minions out first of all to educate readers and fix what is wrong on the internet?

** because of the flagrant misinformation on the internet

And my program would start with places of low attendance anyway

Oh FFS, I’ve never been to Yellowstone, and it wasn’t what I was talking about, though it should be open to everyone. I was talking about “MY” National Forest, which is “a place of low attendance,” I’m pretty sure.

And your “perception of scarcity” still comes out to denying babies vaccines. Enjoy the imaginary baby blood on your hands.

“And my program would start with places of low attendance anyway”

It wouldn’t end with them, though.

LW: Nope. The doctor could use them; again, it’s all about perception, which is not based on facts- or if it is, the facts can be changed. It’s not like anyone knows the precise amount of inventory in their local clinic. We don’t have to deny anyone anything.
JP: But at the end of the program, your park will still be protected, and it’ll have better attendance than before.

DW: “what you advocate would have doctors lying to patients and the government selecting a special class of people to get say,higher education or admission to parks.”

Most people think their doctors are lying anyway. As for the government selection, we could have lotteries every few months to determine access to parks or colleges.

DW: “Since you do advocate for education, wouldn’t that be a better way to level the playing field?”

In theory, but people don’t learn. In some cases, the problem is that they are forbidden by their religion to learn, but in most cases it’s that an education is presented as a step, not a goal in itself, and few, if any, Americans read for pleasure any more or go to lectures. Or for that matter, know anything outside the topics they were required to study to graduate in their chosen field.

But PGP:
most people do vaccinate their children: look at rates.

The squawking naysayers we observe are a very vocal minority. It’s hard for them to get over 50K likes on their pages. AND they probably have everyone they know- including the family dog- sign in.

What bothers me is that most of the faithful on AoA and TMR are college graduates, Blaxill has an MBA. So it’s not education alone but the lack of science and mathematics as well as having an axe to grind and an inability to self-evaluate. I doubt that that particular constellation of flaws is very prevalent in society at large. Some of their issues are personality driven

One aspect of general education involves critical thinking. How are people fooled by charlatans and mis-informers? Looking at how AGW denialists ( and tobacco companies) operate are popular on the net. There’s an audience for this. It’s not everyone.

Similarly, there’s an audience for over confident self promoting know-it-all know nothings. Not a large number though.

But at the end of the program, your park will still be protected, and it’ll have better attendance than before.

Something tells me there isn’t really and end to your program; the end goal is punishment, nothing more nothing less, and punishment doesn’t work.

Besides, what makes you think I want “better attendance” in the Gifford Pinchot?

But at the end of the program, your park will still be protected, and it’ll have better attendance than before.

Man, I made the mistake of eating during the day and started to doze off at the library. I read that as “pork” rather than “park.” Make of it what you will; I just blew $2 on stale coffee.

From an op-ed in today’s Wall St. Journal*, detailing Oprah’s giving Jenny McCarthy an antivax pulpit on her show in 2007:

“Despite employing dozens of producers and support staff, Ms. Winfrey failed to challenge Ms. McCarthy’s data or inform her viewers about the substantial body of scientific studies showing vaccines to be safe. Ms. Winfrey also failed to mention that major medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association affirm the safety of vaccines. Instead, the famous tastemaker put her trust in the famous actress, who, when asked about her own expertise, answered, “My science is [my son] Evan. . . . That’s my science.”

In Ms. Winfrey’s world of personal truths, this approach makes sense. Ms. McCarthy’s “truth” defied truths showing the opposite. She believed her son had been harmed by a vaccine. Therefore all vaccines are bad. Her “truth” didn’t have to make room for facts, such as a steady decrease in world-wide mortality rates because of widely available vaccines for diseases that once killed millions of people.

Ms. McCarthy benefited greatly from being a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She used her association as a springboard to other programs—“The Doctors,” “The Larry King Show,” “Ellen,” “The Rosie Show” and others. Ms. Winfrey’s blessing also helped Ms. McCarthy land a season-long spot on “The View,” where she continued to promote her antivaccine message. The support of her beloved benefactress may have allowed Ms. McCarthy to convince thousands of parents to forgo vaccinating their children, which could be to blame for the resurgence of measles and other infectious diseases in the U.S.

While many Democrats seem thrilled that Ms. Winfrey could run for president, her vague and shifting sense of the truth is the very thing they often claim to despise about Republicans. The left was quick to criticize President George W. Bush’s “truthiness” and decries Mr. Trump’s use of “alternative facts.” But the antivaccine hysteria Ms. Winfrey helped incubate was more dangerous than mere “fake news.” It actually put people’s lives at risk.” (behind paywall)

*the WSJ again impresses with its pro-vaccine stance; too bad it also embraces climate change denialism.

The left was quick to criticize President George W. Bush’s “truthiness” and decries Mr. Trump’s use of “alternative facts.” But the antivaccine hysteria Ms. Winfrey helped incubate was more dangerous than mere “fake news.” It actually put people’s lives at risk.”

And the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq that was premised on what we now know to be lies cost literally hundreds of thousands of Iraqis their lives and destabilised the entire Middle East, allowing the rise of ISIS/DAESH.
The hypocrisy in that sentence.

“Illegal 2003 invasion”

Who, in your mind, is the custodian of the official approved permit to eage war?
Does Iran have such a permit for their has ball operations?
Did Russia apply for one for their involvement in Syria, or the taking of Crimea?
Did Gabriela open sap apply for such a permit before sparking World War I?

The Iraq war of 2003 was an entire disaster, but petulantly whining that it was illegal entirely misses the point.

“their has ball operations?”

Spellcheck and Autocorrect are NOT YOUR FRIENDS.

@ Smut Clyde:

“Gabriela open sap” for “Gavrilo Prinzip” has the hallmarks of a voice-recognition snafu.

Of course, voice-recognition is 100% snafu….

Something is seriously screwy when the House of cards actors demostrate better skills at running the country when compared to the current POTUS.


And this is why we will continue to get the celeb you try to act the part, rather than adults who can do the part.
Harry Truman would stand no chance with today’s electorate.

DW: most people do vaccinate their children: look at rates.

Mm, I prefer not to rely on statistics. It’s another dodgy math thing. What people say they do and what they do is entirely different.

@ PGP:

I don’t think that school districts and state public health facilities rely upon self report of vaccination status for their data .
In California, that’s why they need compliant woo-meisters for exemptions: parents can’t just SAY they vaccinated their kids.and leave it at that.

If you look at data, rates are quite high except in particular woo-bent enclaves- e.g. UNFORTUNATELY my beloved Marin County has clusters of low rates/ Waldorf schools .The problem is that to keep VPDs at bay , you need very high rates- a 90% rate overall may have pockets of areas much lower than 90% may need 90+ for protection.

AND statistics are as good as their source: whilst I wouldn’t trust any thing Mikey or Null quoted there are legitimate sources such as those Orac has used.

Mm, I prefer not to rely on statistics

You could rely on observation.

Measles is a highly contagious disease, more contagious than influenza. Every so often measles is imported into the United States, as is influenza. Influenza circulates through the population; measles does not. There are outbreaks of measles; there are epidemics of influenza.

This observation is only explicable if there is widespread immunity to measles but not to influenza. Where does widespread immunity to measles in the United States come from? Not from suffering the actual disease, so it must come from vaccination. Ergo, measles vaccination rates must be quite high in the general public. The same is true for other contagious diseases for which there are effective vaccines (which excludes influenza most years, alas).

Your contention that vaccination statistics are exaggerated is exactly as reasonable as the antivaxxer’s claim that vaccines don’t work.


I prefer not to rely on statistics.

No. You prefer to rely on pre-conceived notions and stereotypes, and you ignore all information that contradicts your poorly informed perceptions.

In CA, the state provides immunization cards for children. The parents are required to submit a copy of those when the child enrolls in daycare/preschool, kindergarten, a new school, and now at 7th grade. The schools then report the immunized vs enrolled rates to the state. The state publishes each year’s rate by school on line.

Is it possible that there is massive corruption and falsifying data in this process? Yes. But that’s about as likely as massive voter fraud cost Donald Trump the popular vote in the 2016 election.

@ Box of Salt:

” Is it possible that there is mass corruption and falsifying data in this process?”

Right. That was exactly the point I made when arguing with Jake ( and a few others elsewhere on hiv)-
sure, it’s POSSIBLE but is it LIKELY?

Some anti-vaxxers and woo-meisters shop around stories of vast webs of corruption at the CDC or by medical researchers that would take an army of full time operatives to keep going. They would involve thousands of people over decades: how likely is it that NO ONE would EVER spill the beans?

If the “lie” was about vaccines not causing autism, wouldn’t there be at least ONE doctor or researcher of the thousands who was personally affected- perhaps with a “vaccine injured” child- who got fed up or felt underpaid for his or her silence? Or perhaps someone felt guilty or wanted to be a whistleblower and get interviewed on television? Or write a tell-all book?

Sure it’s possible. BUT
If Scientology and the Freemasons couldn’t keep their secrets under wraps- even with religious stricture and inevitable damnation as threats- how could money making corporations/ associations do so?

[…] Pseudoscience and quackery? Oh, yes. In the early years of this blog, Oprah was a frequent topic of Orac’s Insolence, and for good reason. She was one of the foremost promoters of pseudoscience, quackery, and general New Age BS in the world. If you think I’m exaggerating, just think of it this way. Oprah not only gave the world America’s quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the foremost promoter of pseudoscience in mental health, Dr. Phil McGraw, who also stands accused of providing alcohol and drugs to addicts featured on his show in order to ramp up the drama factor. It would be bad enough if that were all she had done, but it’s not.… […]

I ran into your site and read the article about the quacks and non-quacks by chance and liked it a lot. I am not joking.
If I am not mistaken, there is an element of humor in what you people write. Since I love laughing I thought to be even more insolent. So I present you with “the insolence from below”.
In an age where even the existence and non-existence of God is proven scientifically, when science makes the the most extravagant promises, when quacks and non-quacks base their claims on Science that is the most authoritative God ever existed, I believe it is time to laugh at both, quacks and non-quacks.
My mother used to read coffee cups of poor young girls in the neighborhood. She always saw a man in a uniform. Army officers were the best paid, lived best the best life at the time. Now the coffee cup readers see doctors, lawyers, engineers and businessmen.
Was she a quack?
The beggars in North African “shithole” countries, when given alms used to say “May Allah get you to paradise”. Now they say “May Allah get you to Europe or USA!
Are they quacks?
C. Hill in his book “The World Turned Upside Down” describes people that N. Cohn consider quacks.
Who really is the quack? Hill or Cohn?
When your ancestors reached the Americas, the Indians called them “forked tongued” meaning white men can lie and tell the truth at the same time, like both quacks and non-quacks. As is well known, propaganda always and more and more contains elements of truth. The owner of Facebook is one of the richest men thanks to advertisement.

Are advertisers quacks?
Are white men quacks?
An African said “when the white men came, he had the Bible, we had the land. Now it is the opposite”
Was he a quack or a prophet?
If Trump can become president, so can Oprah Winfrey, no?
Who really are real quacks? The two above or respectfully oblivious non-quack scientists and quacks who intrigue to catch the gullible ones in their net?
After all there is one and one truly scientific God, no? In other words, this God really works. It is not like old gods whose thinking, wishes were hidden, whose intentions were unknown, who played hide seek, showed up in different disguises in different location and in different times.
I really like your intention. I am simply worried about the fact
that you confine yourselves to the palace dwellers.

“In an age where even the existence and non-existence of God is proven scientifically…”

You begin with wrongness and proceed to wander incoherently. If you have a point you have failed to make it.

“You begin with wrongness and proceed to wander incoherently. If you have a point you have failed to make it.”
You must be a new breed of thought police! Or at least with no sense of humor, you don’t even get the humor. What is absolutely certain is that you are a typical of modern times: ahistorical social media gossip addict.

Humor? Your word salad had humor?

Wow, you really fooled us! It must be some newfangled type that is full of absolute nonsense, Sorry that we were not sophisticated to notice it.

By the hammer of Thor, which “god” are you referring to? There seem to be too many, it gets kind of confusing.

I hate bungled grammar:

Wow, you really fooled us! It must be some newfangled type that is full of absolute nonsense. Sorry that we were not sophisticatedenough to notice it.

Edit to add: could you clarify which deity science should be looking for?

“By the hammer of Thor”
When I added my first comment I noticed that I was being already spotted by Big Brother (my name, my e-mail address). I did get scared. Now I know better.
Mr. Chris, by the name dropping of Thor, your blue-eyed blond hammer god, shows that you are sophisticated.
I must confess that I also sense anger and sarcasm.
I am afraid that you may leash the updated versions of your blue-eyed blond god, Trump, May, Putin or Xi Jinping etc. who thanks to the milk cows, politely called scientists, may attack where I live with their updated hammers called smart bombs .
Your blue-eyed drug companies, who thanks to very honorable milk cows, politely called scientists, peddle their tested and approved very safe drugs that cause hundreds of deadly side effects. Drugs that keep people alive without healing them, multiplying lives without quality. This is one of the reasons why the numbers of quacks multiplied exponentially in recent decades. Somewhat like governments and mafias. They simply complement each other.
But ignorance is always bliss as 90% of diseases disappear by themselves or by the placebo effect.
You should read some eminent thinkers who show the inhumanity of your blue-eyed blond science. You should read some eminent medical scientists who discussed the inhumanity of modern medicine.
But then Mr. Chris enjoys being a lackey in palaces.

Mr. Chris, your writing show that you are also somewhat uptight.
“I hate bungled grammar:”
Have you ever heard a 5 year old say “Is Chris something Mr. bothering .” instead of ” Something is bothering Mr. Chris.”?
Education is one of the biggest industries wherever people are stripped of direct knowledge of their social and natural world.
But then Mr. Chris enjoys being a lackey in palaces.

Mr. Chris, your writing shows also that you do not speak for yourself like I do. “We”, “us”, équipe work quoi. Sheep quoi. In fact, what is disgusting is that team work is based upon the factory assembly line to increase production.

Wow, so much wrong. Truly I don’t care about your imaginary sky friend. Get over yourself. I only use that phrase because the cartoon amused me when I was young:

Koca Kelle,

There were some remarkable scientific discoveries last year
but the confirmed existence of a being “with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men” or a god in other words was not one of them.

Would you please link to the site where that was scientifically documented?

FWIW, I chose the proved existence to reply to because science in general cannot prove a negative. For instance, we cannot prove there is not a god Thor or Ganesha or even Gautama residing on a planet orbiting a star in some other galaxy somewhere in the universe. And even with Kelvan technology it would take too long to travel there and back.

[…] As others have already pointed out, she is responsible for making the likes of Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Jenny McCarthy famous. She promoted all sorts of pseudoscience and nonsense, like The Secret, Deepak Chopra, New Age spiritual delusions, and every flavor of dangerous alternative medicine. Her show has largely been a platform for mainstreaming and promoting pseudoscience and fantasy at the expense of science and reason. […]

@ Chris:

Ha ha!
How well I remember Mr Chris: he used to hang out with Dennis and the other guy.

Well it was an amusing reaction to a silly phrase that I heard Saturday mornings in the 1960s. I wonder what would have happened if I had quoted Yogi Bear, Rocky the Flying Squirrel or Mighty Mouse. 😉

Wow, someone hit the LSD too hard. Also, I’ve heard of tea leaf reading, but not coffee reading, has anyone else heard of coffee reading? The only thing my mugs of coffee tell me is ‘you are about to enjoy a delicious beverage.’


blockquote>has anyone else heard of coffee reading?



Yes. After you drink Turkish coffee, you set the cup upside down on the saucer and then “read” the grounds like tea leaves. My friend Yana and I used to do it (for fun.)

Anybody can claim that a writing lacks coherence. But it takes some effort to prove it, if it can in fact be done.
In my very first visit to this site I enjoyed and admired the article: “Epigenetics does not mean that thinking makes it so”
Pointing to a much wider horrors caused by some good official sciences was declared to be incoherent. We must forget scientific eugenism, racism, social Darwinism and much more. That is history and geography.
I will continue with my undomesticated insolence and show that the article, “Epigenetics does not mean that thinking makes it so” may be “incoherent”.

“Eastern mysticism rather than Christianity”
Oxford blue-eye blond definition of mysticism:
“Belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.”
Hence, God knows what is meant by seemingly implied difference between east/west mysticism. Perhaps, eastern mystics eat curry and western mystics eat fish and chips?
Should I conclude then that the article is incoherent?
In truth I have never heard of Deepak Chopra or Joe Mercola mentioned later. I wouldn’t want to know who Oprah Winfrey is if I could help it.
“If there’s one thing that the quack world is all about, it’s control. ”
The very essence of modern science is control.
But apparently there are different controls.
We simply have to forget that vice and virtue come together. We simply forget that the type of control promised by the quacks in health industry finds a fertile ground in blue-eyed blond rich countries and official good science non-quacks in poor countries. We simply have to forget that the official science health industry first originated inthen the paragons of scientific thinking: communist countries. Soon spread to the USA where the age old navel gazing was baptized as “lifestyle” and was aped by the health bureaucracy in England and other blue-eyed rich countries. I think it has been amply shown that the “true” science is not immune to fashion.
The article ignores that poverty and lack of hygiene cause and caused many diseases. And that the progress in health owes much more to these “modest” factors than non-quack scientists’ tour de force. It ignores that epigenetics and mother genetics is a luxury topic. It continues with the usual litany about the good giants -Newton, Einstein etc. – standing on each others’ shoulders etc. It ignores a fact acknowledged by the scientists themselves: the placebo works, they simply do not know how it works. Naturally the racketeers, be it advertisers or health quacks move in.
In democratic, free, rich countries under the iron rule of free market economy where everyone is against everyone and God against all, it is perfectly normal that there is a perpetual war between different teams of racketeers. People in rich countries do not want to die, get sick, feel pain, be upset etc. Go to see a doctor and see how he/she will explain the cut in your finger is due to stress. Freud has nearly succeeded to institute a scientific dogma called “death wish”. In fact, the respectful scientists are working on AI and other mouth watering future prospects for the blue-eyed blond super races, including moving to another planet.
Should I then conclude that the article lacks coherence because it does not cohere with people’s world even in rich countries, nor even asks what despair move people to seek help from quacks? Not at all.
I think the article is an excellent critique of unscrupulous racketeers as well as an excellent exposition of what epigenetics is not. In fact, I visited the site to understand epigenetics better.
I think that the tragedy is almost nearly universal but humor is not. It is cultural and personal. If my humor seemed incoherent why such fury and thought policing sarcasm? It should have made you laugh and forget it. That is what I do not understand.
In any case, I have nothing against your Internet muckraking busy-ness. It seems to be booming business in freest of all free market economies. Goodbye.

Koca Kelle: “Anybody can claim that a writing lacks coherence. But it takes some effort to prove it, if it can in fact be done.”

Hahahaha, no. Did you go to school? Like at all? Generally, in discussions and explanatory writing, the structure goes like this: topic, supporting sentence, supporting sentence. As the discussion goes on, one may use more examples. It is more complex than that, but that is the grade school kiddy edition.
Your paragraphs go: allegation, sentence made of snarl words, paranoia, allegation, garble, garble. It might improve your writing if you could find a point and stopped using concepts that make sense to only you. Also, what do you have against blue-eyed people?

When I was very young I had a friend who would tell me that there are reall only two kinds of people in the world, suckers and hustlers.
My parents were more discrete and more indirect. They would tell me to study my lessons hard.
“politicalguineapig85” must have too had such parents.
He may also be jealous of some Internet hustlers who are sharper and more successful than him.
You people are so well brain washed in schools that you do not seem to know that the people lived quite well for thousands, even million years without knowing about your fetish-like science.
It is said that the modern man is more religious than any man that came before him. You people are perfect examples of science idolaters.

So then…are you a sucker or a hustler? By your own claim you are one or the other. Or perhaps both?

“You people are so well brain washed in schools that you do not seem to know that the people lived quite well for thousands, even million years without knowing about your fetish-like science.”

I have to wonder what sort of school you went to that they failed to teach you any factual history.

Further, when the first words from a stranger’s mouth (or keyboard) are falsehoods and insults I make the appropriate judgment of their character. Bye.

“You people are so well brain washed in schools that you do not seem to know that the people lived quite well for thousands, even million years without knowing about your fetish-like science”

Obviously you have not read any actual science, nor done any genealogy research on your own family. Hubby’s grandfather did their family back to the 1600s, where the list of children went into about a dozen kids. The thing is several of those kids had the same name.

Do you know why that is? Because the ones who had the name first died.

There were even cameras a century ago, so some of the suffering experienced by families was documented. Trust me, things are much better now than they were in 1900, and science had much to do with that progress:

By the way, I love the way we are called “science idolaters” by someone using an electronic device connected to teh internets. That did become possible by spontaneous creating.

Politicalguineapig is female, so that the first thing where you are wrong.
People lived for thousands of years without science. Don’t really think they faired really well. Most died relatively young and most children didn’t make it to adulthood. Only if you were lucky not to get some deadly illness, you might have lived long. Lot’s of those illnesses aren’t deadly nowadays, thanks to science, that brought us all kinds of medicine and vaccinations, to prevent a whole array of childhood-diseases that were potentially deadly, or had other effects, that made life a whole lot less pretty.
And without science, you wouldn’t be able to communicate with people, from all around the world.

There’s a delicious irony about comments on internet sites from posters complaining about science.

It is said that the modern man is more religious than any man that came before him.

I don’t think that part of a line from Andrew Greeley really merits a construction based on the copula.

you do not seem to know that the people lived quite well for thousands, even million years without knowing about your fetish-like science.

Except that they didn’t live.

I was reading an English novel this weekend, published in 1932. One of the characters comments about a couple in their small seaside village that they would go on to have eight or ten children, and two or three of those children would grow up to have more children.

Sorry about not knowing that Politicalguineapig is female.

It is said that the modern man is more religious than any man that came before him. You people are perfect examples. Your religion is Science, actually Progress, but Science is its handmaid, its motor.

A reading list for the zealots of Science. May your Science give you long lives, amen!

Paul Feyerabend: “How to Defend Society Against Science”,” The Tyranny of Science”, “Against Method”.
Ashis Nandy: Science, Hegemony & Violence: A Requiem for Modernity
Fredy Perlman: Against His-story, Against Leviathan; a must.
Jacques Ellul, Bernard Charbonneau (French).
Some journals: The Fifth Estate, Moins! (French), La Décroissance (French).
Some other names randomly picked: Lewis Mumford, Günther Anders (German), Ivan Illich and of course Samuel Butler’s Erewhon.

As for the history, you may read a rather a mild mannered Toynbee’s 1976 book “Mankind and Mother Earth” where he already warned the devotees like you of possible destruction of life on earth.
You people should read history. Perhaps you will learn that before the agriculture and hence before cities people lived healthier lives and above all they were free not slaves who repeat what the masters in schools taught them.
“when I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword, and death to preserve only their independence, I feel that it does not behoove slaves to reason about freedom.”
J. J. Rousseau
Read Sahlins’ “Stone Age Economics (Original affluent society) 1972” And if you are curious about blue-eyed blond, read his “The Western Illusion of Human Nature. 2008”
You should also pay closer attention to how the life expectancy is calculated. Even a settled society like China had always large population not because of your beloved Science but because of their use of the land. What you call with such a reverence science, is a name given by university professors. It is now called techno-science. Can you people really imagine that your beloved science could exist without Capitalism and State? It is clear to me that you people are supporters of the rich and powerful.

But honestly, I do not like to get involve in what I call “beggars’ talk”. Obviously the Roman political philosophy, “panem et circenses” is well and alive among the team members of this site.
About 2 600 years ago Upanishads (here is that east/west business again), attending a religious ceremony, use to call out “Om! Give us bread!, Om! gives us drink!” They were mocking, you people are serious!

“It is clear to me…”

Nothing is clear to you. Every word you type demonstrates that. You wave your ghostly ignorance as if it were a cudgel and wonder that you touch nothing and no one with it.

Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Though the threads are swollen
Keep them comments trollin’,

Cherry pick!
(Head em’ up!)
Move goalposts!
(Move ’em on!)
More insults!
(Head em’ up!)
Make stuff up!
(Paste ’em in!)
Change topics!
(Cut em’ out!)
Whine some more!
Paste ’em in,
Keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
Though they’re disaprovin’
Keep them comments trollin”,
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope, laugh, and ignore ’em
Soon we’ll be discussin’ right without ’em

It is said that the modern man is more religious than any man that came before him.

By whom? How is modern defined in that sentence? Inquiring minds want to know!

Renate: I don’t mind, really. Happens a lot, and some people tend to dial back the insults (or at least, use different ones) when they think they’re dealing with a dude. Maybe I type aggressively.

Ali/ Koca: “People are so well brain washed in schools that you do not seem to know that the people lived quite well for thousands, even million years without knowing about your fetish-like science.”

Well, like everyone said, if your standard of “living well” is ‘lived to adulthood and died at fifty,’ is living well, then yes. A lot of us aspire to having more than one kid out of ten survive childhood, and speaking as a lady, I like to know that me and my friends are a lot more likely to survive pregnancy, or that the ones who don’t want kids can avoid the whole thing. But, hey, no one’s stopping you from going back to your cave. Also your latin’s wrong and you completely fail at understanding the internet.

Before you get banned, lemme tell you about one of those ‘blue-eyed scientists’ you snarl at. See, here in the US, we have a national bird, called the Bald Eagle. By the 1960s, these guys were almost extinct. And then there was my grandpa. A blue-eyed wildlife pathologist. His research, along with a lot of other people’s work (some of them male, some of them female, some with brown eyes, and some with blue,scientists and civilians alike) helped save those and a lot of other species from extinction. But I suppose you’re fine with having those species wiped from the Earth, and would rather have the smallpox around instead.

Oh, and funny thing, you know where the first vaccines were developed? Turkey and China. I wonder how many evil blue-eyed people call those countries home?

Reading this page makes one think of American suburban middle class peoples’ small talk, happily simpering about how great it is to live in the most progressed, most developed country in the world. Or perhaps college kids who were born in Internet and grew up in it.

30 years after the publication of Brave New World Huxley was asked what he thought of his book at present. He said that he falsely thought the book was about future where in fact he was living in it.
Gandhi was asked what he thought of the Western Civilization. He answered that it was a good idea.
Ilich was asked what he thought of the future. He said, “To hell with the future, only the machines have future. People have hopes!”
A middle class uptight woman told Wittgenstein that she’d rather live in present than to live in (that famous Hollywood +Television) caves like (sub-)humans, he replied: “The cave dwellers wouldn’t think so.
Wittgenstein wrote one of the most important books on the limits of science.
The surexcited progressive monkeys, be it middle class suburb dwellers or college kids, do live in perpetual present, called “The Society of the Spectacle”. They are mesmerized by Capital+State+Science show. They never tire of climbing higher and higher, these surexcited monkeys. Their gods, being males, dwell in the sky not like the goddesses who dwell on earth.
For the people who may hopscotch Internet to be informed about the current events, I recommend infinitely more profound Chomsky.

I take it that Mses. Ortega and Kelle have met before.

Reading this page makes one think of American suburban middle class peoples’ small talk, happily simpering about how great it is to live in the most progressed, most developed country in the world.

Haven’t actually heard any, have you?

Self Banishment and Apology
I use Internet to look up words, seek encyclopedic information and information in general. This is in fact how I ended up in this site: I sought some information about epigenetics, read “The Guardian” which gave me the link.
I must confess that I do not know the ins and outs of Internet like you people. I have seen the words “troll” and “trolling” but never had the interest or need to know more about them. So, I looked them up. I am guilty but not as charged. I think it is vicious to indulge in trolling intentionally. But it is also true that my first comment may have been seen as a troll. It is also true that after the first one, I felt attacked unjustly and responded aggressively and they too may be construed as trolling.
I am against Civilization and Science. I am also against State and Capital, be it Western or Communist version. I do not think any one one of them is beyond criticism. I believe they have caused tremendous harm to human communities.
I should also state that when I use the term Western or Western Civilization, I mean the locomotive that has been pulling for the last 500 years, the train called Civilization that was put in motion 4-5 thousands years ago in Mesopotamia by Sumer.
There are books called “History Begins at Sumer” and “Sumer is Now”, to mention only two.
And though we live in an age when indifference passes as tolerance, I do value tolerance. And though I am not an anarchist, if a gun were to put to my head, that is what I would choose to be. Therefore I wish to be tolerant but not complacent.
In short, I apologize to those whose feelings I may have hurt.
I repeat, my guilt is being rather inattentive than trolling intentionally.

Koca Kelle: For a guy who claims not to know anything about the internet, you sure seem adept at the art of sock puppetry. You’ve used three different names here: Ali, Vilma, and the main one, all claiming to be different people from different parts of the world. And yet you claim to have a halo.

I also find it amusing that you disdain literacy. In most slave-owning societies, and Imperial Russia, teaching the slaves and serfs to read was forbidden. Now why might that be?

Having apologized, I did not think it to be important to write again to mention that those two other comments were from me. I truly am not as knowledgeable about Internet as you think. My neighbor’s young son is an advance student in computer science and works at the computer center in the university. I do ask him to help me sometimes and he does. He even told me that if one is competent in using Internet, it’s possible to identify the sender. I thought the same but for different reason: my writing.
Why did I do it? I am going to explain how I felt and what I thought.
1. Because I did not care what you thought. I felt your servitude to power, as La Boétie said it 5 centuries ago, was voluntary. I even consider it possible that you were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies to expose the quacks who have been cutting severely into companies’ profit
2. There is the realm of freedom and there is the realm of necessity. I prefer being in the realm of freedom if I can help it. With you people I entered into the realm of necessity. Where there are no ifs and buts. You MUST do what is necessary. To be more concrete, you must kill even your brother in a war if he’s on the opposite camp. And I believe most people have been living in the realm of necessity.
3. I realized soon that you people are specialists and defending the model specialists, called scientists, uncritically. There are many definitions, one I like is: specialist is one who knows more and more about less and less. At the end he/she will know everything about nothing. This is why, in fact, I realized that the fault was mine and I wanted to banish myself from your site.
4. And this is the most important one. I detest people who want to eradicate evil from the world. They do more harm than the evil-doers. For example, Nazis, fascists, communists, totalitarian regimes and even the capital-technique that replaced bourgeois-capitalism. There is a wonderful character among the Indians (though after its discovery it was found all over the world) called the trickster. It is the symbol of the community’s recognition that evil is not beyond the mountains and clouds. It is always in the present, it is always with us. All one can do is to keep it in check. But there are no longer communities; instead we have states, scientists, scholars, specialists, research centers, universities, i.e. those who really know, etc., in other words, intermediaries. A friend of mine wrote a book which was a send-up of revolutionary leftists. The book, called “Handbook for the Revolutionaries” and it was printed in a printing co-op. The number of demands that flowed in surprised us but more surprisingly people took it in earnest. I find those who want to clean the earth from its salt and pepper to be repulsive, be it from right, middle or left. They want everybody to be middle class citizens like themselves. The tragedy is that there is really not much left to hope for. We have either simpering complacent members of the middle class or its aspirants.
5. Some of the responses I got from you people made me think you you do not have the slightest knowledge of history, philosophy, history and/or philosophy of science, anthropology, myths, religions, etc. Here are some examples.
One of your colleagues wrote that I did not know factual history. There are no facts without theories. A scientist invites another to visit his laboratory to see a very interesting thing that he discovered. The other scientist asks: “What am I suppose to see?” Certain particles present in Wilson’s chamber were not seen until theoretical calculations insisted that they must be there. Aristotle thought that things fell because they were seeking their natural places. Newton thought because things attract each other. Einstein thought because the space is warped.
Here is a part of a quote from a spectacular example (grammar errors are in the original):
“In fact, one of the founding experiments in history of chemistry, was about 1640 or so, when somebody proved to the satisfaction of the scientific world, all the way up to Newton, that water can be turned into living matter. The way they did it was—of course, nobody knew anything about photosynthesis—so what you do is you take a pile of earth, you heat it so all the water escapes. You weigh it, and put it in a branch of a willow tree, and pour water on it, and measure the amount of water you put in. When you’re done, the willow tree is grown, you again take the earth and heat it so all the water is gone—same as before. Therefore, you’ve shown that water can turn into an oak tree or something. It is an experiment, it’s sort of right, but it’s just that you don’t know what things you ought to be looking for.”
I can give you even more examples.
Here is a quote to mock the insane obsession with science by one of the greatest men ever lived, W. Blake: “Newton told you that the reason why the earth goes around the sun is that the sun pulls the earth, I am telling you that it is because two angels behind the earth are flapping their wings!”
I am now glad that I didn’t write this before. The scientific inquisition or the witch hunt would have been set in motion: “troll”, “troll”, “troll” … In fact, I think that Newton was a scientific version of an accountant or a real estate agent of burgeoning capitalism.
Furthermore Kant already told us that we see the world after filtering it through mental constructions such as time, space, matter, cause and effect, quality, quantity, etc. whose existences cannot be proven but must be assumed since without them we cannot even think and/or communicate.
History is reconstructing the past through documents. Archeology does that by artifacts. In both cases the goal is to give meaning to the past or in your language, facts. And it is done according to some theories. Here are some names: Spengler, Toynbee, Hegel, Marx and many more. One that I like best is by Huizinga, advanced in his book called Homo Ludens.
Here are two reconstructions of the past by two historians:
1. R. Drinnon, “Facing West: Indian Hating & Empire Building”. The chapter I starts with an epigraph, “Jollity and gloom were contending for an empire”. And I know who won.
2. Frederick Turner, “The Western Spirit Against Wilderness”. And here is a quotation from the book:
“See … how cruel the whites look. Their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think they are mad.”
Words of an old Pueblo Indian related to Jung.
I can go on. But I am afraid a sentence from you people will destroy all I said and could say. Either you will ask me why I am not living in a place called nowhere, utopia, or find a sentence that is not grammatically correct or call me a liar or that claim that I am trolling or that I have a halo.
You people remind me of a saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It was a good idea to make doctors be responsible for their mistakes, but it fattened the insurance companies and produced charlatans who would sue doctors to earn quick money. Now the doctors are scared to even make diagnostics or touch you.
I am very sincere, whether you believe it or not. I sincerely believe that it was my fault to get involve with people who live in another world.
A crossed-eye son and father are watching the sky at night. The father turns to his son and says: “The trouble with you my son is that you see everything double.” The son replies, “It is impossible father, I only see two moons!”
If you want me to write about reading I can. I already have tons of notes put together. It in itself can be a book but there are excellent books already written about “reading and writing” being a source of oppression in the hands of the powerful. As matter of fact, some of the best ones are written by feminists. Also, as you people remarked already, I do not have much writing skills if at all.
But because of the fable above I will mention one about “reading” here.
“In most slave-owning societies, and Imperial Russia, teaching the slaves and serfs to read was forbidden. Now why might that be?”
Very simple doctoresse politicalguineapig85, because right from the beginning reading (and writing) was a source of power. And those who held the power, like the wealth now, did not want to share it. What you say about reading applies now to giving wealth away: from the leftists to other extremist such as Jewish conspiracy theorists claim now. But since I am in the company of future oriented people, hundreds of years from now, some enlightened and progressive minded people like you, oblivious to the fact that the wealth may no longer be the real source of power, would find it great that the poor are given a greater share of the wealth. A famous historian of economics, I. Wallerstein, in his book called “Utopistics: Historical Choices of the 21st century” already mentioned that the rich and powerful are considering that as a possibility to get out of the mess. But being a substantivist, he added that it would defeat the purpose of brain washing, if the rulers “put the dot on the ‘ı'”, and may cause panic among idiots closer to the bottom.
So, you and I look at the same fact and see differently because you worship power and I hate power. It really is as simple as that.
If you think this is yet another trolling, please do not keep asking questions and I will not write anymore. Because I truly believe you and your colleagues are not at all sophisticated enough to understand what I am talking about.
For instance, for me, humans always knew how to read (and interpret, of course, what is read). They domesticated space (spear), time (calendar), matter (chipping of stone), plants, fire etc. by ‘reading’. Whereas, you people are talking about “reading” when it became the object of oppression. And it is well known that multitudes of the oppressed love their oppressors and would do anything to be like them.
You people know much too much, I am the ignorantest par excellence.
But at the least, you should do some research on the great geneticist and Nobel-prize winning biologist Sydney Brenner who think the “real” scientists can be as unscientific as the quacks.

Koca Kelle: So, an illiterate peasant, who lived a life of perpetual risk, at the mercy of nature, disease, and the whims of local strongmen and armies was better off than any school kid or worker alive today? Not buying it.

Seriously, lay off the lsd. You got it half right; reading and writing were and are tools to improve human lives, but you persist in saying that literacy is a bad thing. (And then, bizarrely, you recommend the very things you hate.)

You’re wrong about tricksters. They were not exclusive to Native American tribes; they’re a universal archetype. I mean, seriously, you’re suggesting that every other culture stole the idea of the trickster, despite that it shows up again and again in cultures that had zero contact with each other.

Next you’ll be saying that the Vikings stole the idea of ravens being divine advisors from the Inuit or the Northern Pacific tribes, or that they kidnapped ravens from North America. In case you don’t know, ravens and crows occur worldwide.

“There are no facts without theories. ”

Again, mostly wrong. Historians don’t theorize about things that happened. They know how the thing happened, because of records and artifacts, though there might be differing opinions about why people did the things they did. No one is disputing that, say, the Mongolian invasion happened, or that Mt. Etna or Mt. Vesuvius erupted. People might theorize that the pyramids were built by aliens, but most serious people laugh at them.

Finally, most of this blog is full of lay people, not experts. You insist on using ‘experts’ as a snarl word, because you don’t like the way the world works, and think that people SHOULD die of disease, alone in caves. No one’s stopping you from living your dream.

“people SHOULD die of disease, alone in caves. No one’s stopping you from living your dream.”

Speaking on behalf of SPOCK (Society for the Protection Of Caves from Kooks) please please please don’t send any more of these our way.

Preface to the 2nd part:
Since I do not know how to write and hence cause “total lack of understanding”, I will summarize the essence of my view in this altercation.
I am about 79 years old. My brother died at 97, my father at 93. My mother died young, my two sisters in their 40s. I smoked for the last 65 years, took all sorts of drugs, I don’t eat well,sleep very little yet I work in open air markets loading and unloading crates of fruits and vegetables from trucks for a living. So, I know my “good health” is most likely due to my male-line genes. There are people in their 60s and 70s who live in the same building where I live who suffer from all sorts of ailments and take many drugs prescribed by their non-quack doctors and products sold by quacks. They ask me how I do it. I try to explain that there are no miracles, it probably is pure luck, I may have inherited some genes, etc. They look at me like I am a new and improved quack. What are genes? They wonder.
They need to end their suffering not a discourse.

It is said when the immediate needs are not satisfied, ideologies, gods, religions, theories, science, money, economy, school etc., in other words, the lullabies replace them.
You do not know the difference between the two. Even worse, you think that the lullaby that put you to sleep is the best. Also, though I use harsh words, I may like you as a person if we were to meet. I am responding to your persona not to you as a person as such.
Your talk is devoid of sense. You should start by boycotting Internet and start thinking with a little help from books.

Somebody told you who you are: ‘A voluntary inmate.’
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.
Only the riff-raff and an Indian did not belong in the insane asylum. The rest were voluntary inmates like you middle class people. Perhaps you should contact the publisher to complain that the book is a troll against middle class society and glorifies unworthy people who do not want quack or non-quack psychiatric treatment.

You are extremely spiritual without knowing it.
” The great spirituality of our age means that we are all physically repulsive to one another. The great advance in refinement of feeling and squeamish fastidiousness means that we hate the physical existence of anybody and everybody, even ourselves. The amazing move into abstraction on the part of the whole of humanity – the film, the radio, the gramophone – means that we loathe the physical element in our amusements, we don’t want the physical contact, we want to get away from it. We don’t want to look at flesh and blood people–we want to watch their shadows on a screen. We don’t want to hear their actual voices: only transmitted through a machine. We must get away from the physical.”

You only see the smoke-screen and not what is behind it.
“But since the king did not like the idea that his liberated daughter politicalguineapig85, straying from the main roads, should be wandering all over the land to obtain her own opinions of the world, he presented her with a carriage and horses. ‘Now you do not need to walk’, were his words. What the words meant was: ‘You are no longer allowed to walk.’ The effective reality: ‘You can no longer walk.'”

Again you are singing the middle class blues. With or without the refrain “what is good for us middle class domesticated individualists without being individuals is good for HUMANITY.” Always forgetting to add “with a little fee”.
George Sand answered you people in 19th century: “You gave up living to live well!”
I may be on lsd of some sort. You wear what Reich called character armor, hundreds of them. They are layers of masks the domesticated (called civilized in polite circles) voluntary slaves wear. Even if you remove the last mask, it would simply mean the end of yourself. Even Herodotus knew that 25 centuries ago.
You fail to understand the difference between the reading that I mentioned and a particular type of reading that you take to be one and only one, universal reading.

I do not know how to write but at least I know it. You have a bigger problem. If you do not see that you are blind, you are blind. If you see that you are blind, you see.
“There is a wonderful character among the Indians (THOUGH AFTER ITS DISCOVERY IT WAS FOUND ALL OVER THE WORLD) called the trickster.”
How did you not see that I recognized the existence of the trickster throughout the world? Furthermore, neither is it implicit nor explicit that the Indians invented the trickster. As matter of fact what you said showed me that your knowledge of anthropology is nil, zero, Internet gossip. I should also mention that you have a habit of using words and terms not realizing that they take on different meanings in different contexts: archetype, reading, human lives, humanity, facts, ravens, crows, etc. That the words and concepts may acquire different meanings depending on contexts and cultures is not important, since sooner or later everyone will be like the archetype of UNIVERSAL suburban middle class. Thus sang the school girl politicalguineapig85. Your usage admits no controversy, no disagreement. A totalitarian fascist if there ever was one.
You did not understand what Kant pointed out. What is important is how we understand facts. Us mortals cannot know them as goddess politicalguineapig85’s does, who sees them as they really are.
“People might theorize that the pyramids were built by aliens, but most serious people laugh at them.” You are just taking pot-shots at me. I am saying we have no choice but to interpret facts. You refuse to acknowledge the ideology that you’ve internalized and that in-forms your interpretation.

An Eskimo was given tour of New York for two weeks. He was then asked if he saw anything interesting. He replied, “no”. They pressed. Finally he said: “Yes, a white bear!” I suppose for your literal, non-lsd, clean mind, I should add “behind a showcase”.
He then was put in a middle class school to learn about your precious middle class valued facts since everything that has infinite value for you did not mean a damn thing for him.

Even animals pick and choose what matters to them. Again us mortals cannot take in all at once, like you goddess. You are born in Internet, grew up in Internet, knows it all like Internet or AI. Read Tristram Shandy and then forget that your a goddess and try to tell all that you saw, felt, smelt, touched, remembered, thought on your way to work. It might take you a nanosecond as a goddess but some months as a mortal being.

When the first voyagers, who set out to spread your precious UNIVERSAL culture and real HUMANITY, exchanged colorful glass beads in exchange for diamonds, gold, rubies, turquoises, emeralds, and others “precious” commodities, some historians think that it was the natives who ‘won’, though wiped out physically. They preferred beauty “facts” to your precious “money” facts. I might as well continue with my lsd delirium (by the way, read ” Hans Peter Duerr. “Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary between Wilderness and Civilization.”, you may wake up from your “reality” dream.). Civilization is oppression inside and conquest outside. Columbus wasn’t only looking for a different way to reach your precious commodities. He was also seeking the way to the lost paradise that cartographers located more or less where the Emirates are now. Some historians think that your ancestors found paradise but did not recognize it to be a paradise ‘fact’.

I admit that I was sloppy about the word ‘expert’. Yet you do seem to be defending expert views, those who “know”, really “know”. Furthermore, you are an expert of sort in Internet gossip. Also an expert on right/wrong, quack/non quack. As your farting ancestors’ father Hobbes said it “naked savages who lived in perpetual fear, with no arts; no letters; no society; and worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” contrasting with your super race white American suburban comfortably numb middle class member of lonely crowd.


Has it occurred to you that I write and try to answer questions that you raise and you hide behind your racist European white farting fathers who destroyed life and cultures wherever they set foot on and ended up only to produce middle class mediocre cheer leaders like you who sing FOR HUMANITY, NOT IN CAVES, FACTS, WE LIVE BETTER NOW, etc.
It may help you to educate yourself a bit more. Read Dickens for example who already in “Hard Times” mocked your moronic ancestors:
“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the mind of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”

You may benefit from reading P. Clastres’ “Society against State” and Stanley Diamond and hundreds of other anthropologists to learn about cave dwelling naked savages who are not uptight and tight ass as the domesticated cheer leaders like you. These cave dwelling naked savages think they have 15-20 souls (minds, for you scientifically brain washed people), and do not have such insane crutches or dualities such as mind/body, logos/physis, or as in your case civilized precious middle class/cave people. You might begin with Descola and Viveiros de Castro.
Here is an excerpt from one of the most eminent anthropologists of 20th century Lévi-Strauss in ‘The wanton humanism’.
“I feel that all tragedies we experienced first with colonialism, then with fascism, finally the extermination camps, is not in opposition or contradiction with the alleged HUMANISM as we practiced for several centuries, but, I would say, almost its natural extension. Since this is a single stride that man began by tracing the border of rights between himself and other living species. Then applied this border within the human species, separating certain categories as truly recognized humans, others as categories which then undergo degradation conceived on the same model that was used to discriminate between human and non-living species. A true original sin that pushes humanity to self-destruction.
The respect of man by man can not have its basis in certain special honors attributed to some, because then a fraction of humanity can always decide it embodies the most eminent dignities. Rather, it should act from a kind of principled humility. Man, starting with respect for all forms of life outside his own, would protect himself from the risk of not respecting forms life within humanity itself.”

I cannot believe that you claim ” They know how the thing happened”. Implying that your experts “know” now. We would have no science, no arts, no myths or religion, no literature, no history, etc. if we knew what happened or what happens. One reasons in the dark not in daylight when one sees. I learned that from cave dwelling primitive people.
At any rate, you should read “For America To Live Europe Must Die ” (1980) by Russell Means. He talks about your precious enlightenment carrying ancestors who brought sword and fire to the Americas and the racism that is latent in your denigrating comments about naked savages and cave people and peasants who fed the world until the technological age.
Did they tell you in your middle class school that more than 90% of the white people who joined the Indians never returned and more than 90% of those Indians who joined your precious farting white racist ancestors returned to their “cave-living” communities. And those who joined the Indians urged them to kill your white racist ancestors foreseeing the coming of you middle class people better described by Yeats:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
I am a pipsqueak and I know it. I do not have the pretensions of a great thinker like you who talks with universally valid abstractions. The only way that God makes “an illiterate peasant” happy is to make him lose his donkey and then find it. If so, I am that illiterate peasant. Or as a Persian poet said: those who take this path never tire, for the path and the goal are the same. The same poet said, in 11th century (almost a cave dweller, perhaps an ancestor terrorist) when you ancestors were getting ready to “wake up”, that the world is like an old manuscript of which the first and the last pages have been lost. Read Radhakrishnan’s (oh no!, here is that east/west business again) “History of Philosophy: Eastern and Western” madame or demoiselle or whatever is Internetly correct now, politicalguineapig85.
But minimally here is a passage that may help you to begin to understand.
” Some strange sort of inferiority complex seems to inhibit us—the representatives of European culture—from talking about primitive cultures in just and unprejudiced terms. If we attempt to describe the logical coherence of an archaic culture and discuss its nobility or humanity without stressing the less favorable aspects of its sociological, economic or hygienic practices, we run the risk of being suspected of evasion or even obscurantism. For close on two centuries the European scientific spirit has made prodigious efforts to explain the world so as to conquer and transform it. Ideologically, this triumph of science has manifested itself in a faith in unlimited progress and in the idea that the more ‘modern’ we become the more likely we are to approach absolute truth and the full plenitude of human dignity. However, for some time now the investigations of ethnologists and orientalists have revealed the existence of highly estimable societies in the past (and in the present too, for that matter) which, although quite devoid of scientific prowess (in the modern sense) or any aptitude for industrial achievement, had nevertheless worked out their own systems of metaphysics, morality and even economics, and these systems have been shown to be perfectly valid in their own right. But our own culture has become so excessively jealous of its values that it tends to regard with suspicion any attempt to boost the achievements of other, primitive or exotic cultures. Having for so long (and so heroically!) followed the path which we believed to be the best and only one worthy of the intelligent, self-respecting individual, and having in the process sacrificed the best part of our soul in order to satisfy the colossal intellectual demands of scientific and industrial progress, we have grown suspicious of the greatness of primitive cultures. The stalwarts of European culture have now reached the point where they wonder whether their own work (since it may no longer be regarded as the peak of man’s spiritual achievement or the only culture possible to the twentieth century) has been worth all the effort and sacrifice expended upon it.”
The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy, Mircea Eliade (1956)
And hopefully stop your soulless cheerleader hopping. Amen!

They are layers of masks the domesticated (called civilized in polite circles) voluntary slaves wear. Even if you remove the last mask, it would simply mean the end of yourself. Even Herodotus knew that 25 centuries ago.

Where’s Patrick McGoohan when you need him?

Infrequently Asked Questions
I have been reminded here many times here how wonderful it is to live in the present epoch. In a relentless bloody war, man and now woman too, against nature, my interlocutors kept reminding me that it has been a win-win victory for both sides. Thanks to their beloved scientists we now have the best of all possible worlds. Clean water, clean sky, clean soil, clean seas, clean food and most of all the best humans.
Since I am a pipsqueak, with no talents to write or understand or stay in the straight path without divagations I wanted to find out from the people who are most knowledgeable how it is that the people in the good, better, best, bested country called Amer-ica, where people live most, consume most, know most, kill most, in short all that any decent human would ever want, voted for Trump, Bush, Reagan? And they may vote for Oprah Winfrey, too. It is a mystery why Obama, a real murderer, is left out from this television watchers and social media junkies chit chat page.

In a relentless bloody war, man and now woman too, against nature, my interlocutors kept reminding me that it has been a win-win victory for both sides.

That’s not what “interlocutor” means, you pompous git.

It wasn’t a win for the Great Auk, the Passenger Pigeon or the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, to name just a few.

But since we have DNA samples, science might be able to resurrect those species.

Citizens are able to vote for anyone they wish.

As for Oprah, she has done nothing to indicate she has abandoned her woo proclivities. I could only hope she would choose better advisors than Donald and listen to them.

One of my big concerns about Donald Trump a year ago was whether he had the ability to lead instead of just getting people to cheer and vote for him. His performance on the DACA resolution and government shutdown negotiations shows he is clearly lacking that regard.

Ah, missed this one:

I have been reminded here many times here how wonderful it is to live in the present epoch.

O RLY? Where? For what values of “many”?

I’d rather be pompous than brief and intense like Narad who repeats his/her middle class alienated greeting, “Hi! How are you! Good to see you! Goodby!”, differently.
This moron doesn’t know anything about the farting father of his farting scientists F. Bacon, who said that the goal of knowledge (not just science, mind you) is to dominate nature . Nor does this little child of the wild marriage between tv & school has ever noted the war language, such as “killing pain”, that permeates the “true” medical science literature that the site is promoting, for a little fee from the pharmaceutical companies.
Listen to a clone of Narad, squirrelelite:
“It wasn’t a win for the Great Auk, the Passenger Pigeon or the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, to name just a few.
But since WE have DNA samples, science might be able to resurrect those species.”
Substitute for the birds mentioned, the victims of Hiroshima, Vietnamese people, Indians, and millions of others murdered and keep being murdered by YOUR US armies you get to meet the quack of quacks who resurrects the dead people. Notice also the word “WE”.

“The land! don’t you feel it? Doesn’t it make you want to go out and lift dead Indians tenderly from their graves, to steal from them—as if it must be clinging even to their corpses—some authenticity, that which—”

But there is always a positive side. The pharmaceutical companies may employ you anew to collect DNA samples in forests destroyed by the investments of YOUR banks and industries to carry to a new planet.

No wonder you hate quacks, they are your mirror images and you hate to see it. Melville described you people well long time ago in his book “Confidence Man”.

As for ” O RLY? Where? For what values of “many”?”. Read your other team members’ praises of present age here in this page for “many” and “Where?”. Read the racist remarks about cave people. As for the “values”, count how many “interlocutors” I had, Mr. (Con)Nard, the image junky.

Do you support the John Lennon thesis that if we just got rid of religion, all wars would go away and we’d live in perfect peace and harmony?

At least Hiroshima helped bring World War II to an end, unlike the Rape of Nanking, which helped get the war started.

And there are many people who chose to move here from Vietnam because they think it’s better here. Some of them run an excellent restaurant right across the parking lot from where I work.

But none of that makes Oprah a good choice for president.

“Citizens are able to vote for anyone they wish.”
What a schmaltzy typical middle class drivel.
Citizen “squirrelelite” has laid a golden egg:

I think you should listen to the band called “the layabouts” who sang that citizenship make the sucker and hustler brothers and sisters and if necessary die stupidly in the hustlers’ wars.

Listening to Fine For Me, I’m not surprised they have so few followers on Spotify.

P.D.Q. Bach was a more creative composer. If I’m in the mood for that style of music, I’ll pick the Ramones any day.

At least they were brief and to the point.

What a schmaltzy typical middle class drivel.

What “class” do you consider yourself to belong to?

When Oedipus found out that he slept with his mother he gouged out his eyes. Ex-communists who committed horrible crimes say simply that they did not know.
What about the scientists who blindly helped industries and states commit horrors in their countries as well as in foreign countries? The scientists who contributed to the worst killings, helped create a world where you cannot drink water, breathe air, eat food, eat sea food, the soil has more chemicals than dirt, chain saws howl in the forest of despair, animals disappear exponentially like the cave dwelling ignorant savages. Iatrogenesis is rife and life itself has been medicalized. You no longer die, you die of uncountable Greek and Latin names only to be found in medical dictionaries and hospital archives. Where only the super rich and super poor die in dignity, the rest die with a tube in every hole he/she has.
An American philosopher said: “If I am in the presence of scientists who are discussing the uncertainty principle I would be ashamed to enter into discussion, having heard the scientists discuss philosophy, I have no shame.”
At any rate these scientists are simply curious about the perennial “curiosities”. Since they are too well fed and hence puffed up by their masters, too ignorant outside their specialty, paid or voluntary moronic lackeys speak for them, according to whom these criminals are heroes, giant, agile monkeys who keep climbing on each other to see more curious things and who keep peeling the onion, learning by killing, pardon, learning by learning.
An experiment on Nazism at the University of Michigan already showed who they are, but the scientists are honorable men, and now, honorable women too.

An American philosopher said: “If I am in the presence of scientists who are discussing the uncertainty principle I would be ashamed to enter into discussion, having heard the scientists discuss philosophy, I have no shame.”

Who would that be? What do you know about the uncertainty principle?

This a story adapted for TV and Internet and Navel Gazers.
Once upon a time, before TV and Internet, in troubled China, great Confucius used to navigate or browse China blogging as to how to live well. He exposed the phony bloggers, warned innocents about the unprincipled bloggers or trolls.
His thoughts were so great that they re-emerged in contemporary China, became the unofficial-official ideology and is exported overseas. His precious ideas are now being disseminated all over the world, but most intensly in the USA by Confucius Institutes which command astronomical sums of money. They recruit and/or sponser the best of the best among natural scientists, physicists, chemists, biologists, microbiologists, geneticians, medical scientists, robot scientists, AI scientists, computer scientists, social scientists etc.
In one of his interactive Web navigations, Confucius runs into a total idiot who couldn’t even spread fake news even if he wanted. He talked complete nonsense. Confucius ran back to his disciples and told them though he understands all living beings he had just met a man who must have missed out on the great theory of evolution and defied even the cosmic law of entropy, evolving backward instead of forward.

This is what the man tells Confucius:
We live only 35 years (though in the original story it is 70 years, I did not want to be accused of trolling), we don’t really know what is going on the first 5 years. We sleep one third of the rest, that leaves us 20 years. Cultivate our gardens for food, fetch wood to cook and warm ourselves, fetch water to wash and cook, clean etc. takes up another 17 years. We are left with with 3 years. You busy bodies, you do gooders do not let us enjoy even that, you keep meddling with our lives! You want us to work even the 3 years to live better! Why don’t you stop putting your nose into other people’s affairs. Why don’t you buzz off!

It has been a very long 2600 years since then and we haven’t found a way to get rid of this three headed monster: good quack (commerce), bad quack (cowboy, military, or state), spiritual quack (official religion). Tripartite society quoi. Holy Trinity quoi.

Why don’t you stop putting your nose into other people’s affairs. Why don’t you buzz off!

Oh, the irony. As I recall, Cúchulainn spends a third of the day sleeping, a third watching the boys at sport, and a third drinking, but it’s been a while.

Welcome back, Koca.

Since we are waxing philosophical, I am reminded of a 16th century English playwright who contemplated whether it was better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to strive to end them.

Unfortunately Oprah’s strategy of just wishing doesn’t work very well in practice, so most of the regular commenters here are on the side of striving to end those diseases which we can and reducing the spread of others.

The 18th century philosopher Voltaire faced a similar dilemma when he considered whether this was the best of all possible worlds or the worst. Since you are concerned with making the best use of the 3 years of free time available in your life, I suggest you follow Voltaire’ s recommendation and cultivate your garden.

I am assuming that you’re sincere. I agree that I am pompous (as Narad pointed out) but it is not by choice but by necessity. I agree with a profound anti- philosophy philosopher who said that philosophy should consist of aphorisms. I agree even more with the Eskimo who said, referring to those who studied them, “they torture us with their questions.”
I know John Lennon as much as I know the planet Mars, I’ve heard of it. All my life I have watched TV at the most 100 times because of relatives and friends who had TV.
Any child would point to two world wars and hundreds of other wars to falsify “if we just got rid of religion …”. Furthermore, even the wars that were “motivated” by religion seemed to be much more complicated than reducing to religion alone.
Here is an example:
politicalguineapig85’s religious attachment to the wonders of her particular “reading” is identical to that of Muslims. Muslims massacred “people without the book” for Quran literally means “read”. Bible literally means “the book”. White Christian colonists did, what Muslims did before, wherever they went. Enlightened nation states achieved the same ends within their frontiers in the name of progess and education. Which of these are just truly religious, just economic, just total lack of understanding. People have run away (and are still running away) for all of these reasons. OPPRESSION AT HOME AND CONQUEST ABROAD.
What I know is we haven’t yet found any society without religion (myths, really but … ) in its most general sense, to conceive of “the whole” which is found only in humans. Science has helped to reduce the unknowns about the whole, it explained many of its mechanisms, etc. Humans know that no event takes place without cause. Philosophy pointed to the bad habits in language such as to say therefore the whole must have a cause, etc.
*** a pedantic hiatus ***
Perhaps it was a good thing to awaken to the beauty of nature and humans in the Renaissance that culminated by the Enlightenment that promised universality. But it failed, and failed in the most miserable way. Instead of universality it has delivered uniformity. It is not a simple coincidence that some thinkers of the 9th century tried to see if the reasons for the failure of the Enlightenment were hidden from reason. I am sorry to say but this site is a perfect example of this uniformity, spiced with yet another religion called individualism. The first law of reason is that no two things are the same. I don’t see the point of getting carried away with such a truism. You people talk what I jokingly call “tv+school talk”. I hope, sincerely hope, that I am wrong. But yet realizing the chasm between us, I banished myself from this site with an apology but instead of accepting it with grace, I had more snubby and cocky responses. As for the crusade against the quacks, I agree, but the enemy of my enemies are not my friends. Furthermore, I believe the quacks represent quintessentially what was already stated several centuries ago by the first theoreticians of the science of economics: “economics is a calculus of quantities, it admits no morality”. I’m obliged to add yet another pompous reminder: “law can discover crime but cannot eradicate it.” Therefore, I believe that the crusaders against the quacks are only seeing one side of the same coin.
***********end being pedant***********
Some innocent observations of primitive people, such as remembering or dreaming of their dead parent and hence concluding that what they “saw” wasn’t the real thing resulted in the incredibly lucrative business of body/soul dualism as well as if causing infinite damage to our being. People are not stupid, they are made stupid by the insane religion that only a small elect minority, like the gods, can know. The old myths and religions were much more sane. Most admitted (except the most fanatical monotheists) that even the gods cannot change destiny, now called the “laws of nature”.
A Hindu philosopher was able to explain the existence of all but when he reached the humans, he wasn’t at all sure. He thought to himself “perhaps the supreme god Indra knows it” and then he thought again and said “well, perhaps he doesn’t either”. I attack scientists for being infinitely naïve and stupid milk cows of vicious political imperatives, babbling platitudes about “humanity” or “history” and who ignore what is called quantifiers such as some, all, any etc. in logic. But the really great scientists are much more modest than the devotees of a modern religion called Science.
I believe it would be infinitely difficult to find someone who is as non-religious and non-believer as I, but I detest infinitely more the adherents of new religions who believe that they are not religious. Most, not all, substitute one for another. Even Science does it but calls it “metaphysics”. The most radical empiricist Berkeley said if you want to believe and if it helps you to explain the world more simply, go ahead and believe in “matter”, but we do not perceive it with our five senses. Hume advanced a similar argument about cause and effect. Even the scientists admit that they can only explain “hows” and not “whys”.
I am sorry to be so long winded. So I will be more glib about wars. First, it is true that when the atomic bomb was dropped, Japan had capitulated, the war was already over. Two factors that played a role and are causes of endless bickering among historians as to why the bomb was dropped are: racism, use the worthless yellow people to demonstrate the power of the bomb; and to demonstrate it against the Soviet Union.
But I believe much more profoundly that the only beneficiary of war is war itself.
As for the people from Vietnam or any other people, I have already given my fundamental belief that PEOPLE ARE NOT STUPID. Coming out of Africa, they ended up in Tierra del Fuego in almost “no time “. A friend of mine, who was a very learned man and spoke many languages, visited New Mexico for his book on history told me: “you know I was passing by a bush in the desert that I normally wouldn’t even notice, I saw a note and read it. People who lived there made food, juice, dye, fabric, baskets etc. from it!” The same friend when he visited my native country told me that in some dinky village they would take him to show proudly a dinky fountain and say that it was “their” fountain. We are surrounded by these mind boggling immense monuments but cannot have the pride that the villagers have and say that they are ours!”
Please try to use your imagination to fill the holes in my narration and not ask me what is meant by “humanity”, “ours”, “pride”, “war”, etc. Since I don’t know. And most of all, at the risk of offending your sensibility, try to understand living beings in their complexity and not be satisfied with clichés that are ways of “explaining away”.
The ultimate message of the “explaining away” is: “Get to work and don’t bother about things that are beyond you!”
Most succinctly, the universal message is: “If you are so smart, why aren’t you rich?”

“Who would that be?”
The philosopher is John Seise. You won’t find him in your voyeurism, called TV watching; nor will you find it in only things you seem to have read, called comic strips.

“What do you know about the uncertainty principle?”
Most obvious examples are in this site, you in particular: Being Quack and non-quack, insolent and servile, religious and non-religious etc., at the same time. Or that I cannot measure the location of the mickey mouse TV characters that you grew up with and the speed with which they travel through your damaged brain at the same time.
But I will be kind to you, if you can figure out why sometime 1+2 may not be equal to 2+1, you would stop being mystified by it.
No wonder you people are so attracted to quacks. They too make business from what mystifies the suckers. They are just like you, except that they are in the opposite camp and make big money. You are probably jealous.

War of Religions: Old religions against new religions.
Old: Real insolence against the laws of nature.
New: Fake insolence who are good citizens and obey the law.

Old:Traditional warlike religions offer imaginary promises, such as eternal life, heaven in heaven where there will be abundance without work, etc. It is essentially the works of quacks such as God, Church, priests, etc.

New; Modern religion(s) capitalism (and has-been Marxism) based on real promises such as eternal life through real cloning and/or becoming purely spiritual by being reduced a bodyless brain, heaven on earth and /or in heaven (other planets), abundance without work since robots would do all the work. It is essentially the work of non-quacks such as Capital, Research Centers, Scientist-Technicians, etc. And the devotees are tv+school+Internet citizens, such as the people in this site.

Non-quack believers fight against yet other opponents, New Age devotees, who are exactly like non-quacks except that they dabble in traditional quackery.

We would have to wait, as do the Hopis, until these violent vicious dogs eat each other. Then life can be resumed as it was before these dogs came to this continent. Let’s hope this happens before the entire earth is destroyed.

Based on the rest of the thread (how did I miss this fun?) I’d say somewhere between “too much” and “not enough”. Or maybe it’s a generator and not a person at all?

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