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Science

Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience 794

Posted by Soulskill
from the pseudoscience-makes-pretty-good-cakes dept.
__roo writes "Many Americans get riled up about creationists and climate change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods. It's all pseudoscience — so why are some kinds of pseudoscience more equal than others? That's the question the author of this article tackles: 'From the probiotics aisle to the vaguely ridiculous Organic Integrity outreach effort ... Whole Foods has all the ingredients necessary to give Richard Dawkins nightmares. ... The homeopathy section has plenty of Latin words and mathematical terms, but many of its remedies are so diluted that, statistically speaking, they may not contain a single molecule of the substance they purport to deliver.' He points out his local Whole Foods' clientele shop at a place where a significant portion of the product being sold is based on simple pseudoscience. So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently?"
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Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

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  • God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:12PM (#46371073)
    Don't 90% of Americans still believe in God? Why should their believe in any other myth be surprising.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:14PM (#46371087)
    Go to Safeway or any other supermarket and take a look around. Or do you really think that post cereals promote heart health? Hell, it took a law suite to stop "vitamin" water from claiming health benefits from their sugar water.
  • Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by engineerErrant (759650) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:16PM (#46371107)

    While Whole Foods does sell a lot of homeopathy items, that is *hardly* its entire character as a store. I, along with no doubt many others, go there because it's a specialty grocery store that has a lot of interesting foods that you can't find other places, including (and especially) a big variety of craft beers and vegetarian stuff. Their produce and bulk sections are also hard to beat for variety and freshness, and the prepared-foods section is great when you're on your way home and don't feel like cooking.

    I'm no Whole Foods shill, and it does have its share of silliness. But comparing it to the Creation Museum is completely ridiculous and has no place in serious discourse.

  • ahh homeopathy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:17PM (#46371115) Homepage

    so diluted that, statistically speaking, they may not contain a single molecule

    ...but THAT is what makes it so effective!
    Looks like Dice and _roo are in teh pockets of big pharma and big grocery !!!1!

    Here's another alarming trend: people are starting to use "homeopathy" to mean "holistic, nature-based, alternative medicine". When you tell them what homeopathy really means you will get "well that's not what it means to me! i mean in the more general sense" or "meanings change over time!".

  • Food. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:17PM (#46371117) Homepage Journal

    AFAIK, Whole Foods main business is not quack snake oil - it's organic produce. (Or is it? I mean, it's been so long since I entered one of these over-priced supermarket...)

    Here is another example: a lot of newspapers have an astrology/horoscope section - or even a religion section - does that make them entirely anti-science? Nope.

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:17PM (#46371119)

    Whole Foods has many products that regular grocery stores do not. I go there, buy the product I want, and leave. Yes, there are some aisles full of oddness, but I just skip those ones. In the end, it's just a store; buy what you want, leave what you don't.

    It's kind of like Best Buy; just because Monster cables are such a stupid overpriced quasi-religion doesn't mean I shouldn't go to Best Buy; it just means I shouldn't buy those cables.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:19PM (#46371137)
    Yeah, but at Whole Foods, this kind of bullshit is at the core of their business model. In comparison, Safeway are just pseudoscience opportunists/dabblers.
  • Harm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:19PM (#46371139) Homepage

    Creationists brainwash school children into believing fairy tales.
    Climate change deniers prevent necessary environmental laws to be passed.
    Homeopathy only hurts gullible people.

    Some evils are just more evil than others.

  • Re:God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moblaster (521614) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:22PM (#46371153)
    Long-story-short-summary: Go to Whole Paycheck, buy the food, skip the ONE WORLD! ONE MIRACLE! DR. BRONNER SOAPS! and you'll narrowly avoid being labeled a vegetarian hippie pagan whose holistic massage business is doing particularly well.
  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:23PM (#46371163)

    ... no one, even well educated people, have the time to sift through all the bullshit. Many well meaning people confuse terms marketers came up with to purposefully obfuscate the product with "healthy food". If you don't keep up on that stuff (which most people dont), it would be trivial to be mislead by healthy sounding words through relentless advertising and association.

    When you name yourself something like "Whole foods" you give yourself a different aura, you project "healthy food" not pseudo-science. Not to mention we've had vitamin/mineral half pseudo-science for a while that kind of gave hucksters an in to sneak their bullshit in under "healthy foods". The science for a lot of stuff is difficult/vague and takes a long time to do studies and companies can't wait to exploit the health conscious aspects of peoples brains by confusing them with marketing speak and over promoting the benefits of marginal "health aiding" products.

  • Re: Climate Change (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:23PM (#46371171)

    Either you're a troll, or you're very very stupid. Or possibly both. Who am I to judge?

  • Re:Because... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:24PM (#46371183) Homepage

    Whole Foods is nothing like the Creation Science Museum.

    It's just a store. It offers options. It caters to a particular niche.

    It's really just a pretentious grocery store. The original article is a nonsense propaganda piece trying to attack a consumer alternative. It's just Monsanto/ConAgra trying to slander the choices of that part of the market that's not buying what Monsanto/ConAgra is selling.

    No one running the local Whole Foods is trying to subvert science education in your local school district. No one at the local Whole Foods is trying to impose their beliefs or customs on you our your secular government.

    The article is just mindless tripe for the Monsanto shills.

  • Re:Harm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:25PM (#46371197) Homepage Journal

    Homeopathy only hurts gullible people.

    ...and the people they make medical decisions for. I've personally known people who give their kids homeopathic water to treat stuff they really should be seen by a doctor for. It's not the kids' fault that they have stupid parents, but the kids are the ones suffering harm./p

  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:26PM (#46371205)

    So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently?"

    It's easy -- because in many ways "science" has become a religion to many. However, many people lack a firm understanding of scientific principles and methods. So, if something looks "science-y" with Latin words, molecular drawings and other intelligent-sounding but hard-to-understand descriptions.

    These days people have "faith" in "science"..and if that so-called science goes along with their worldview (which Whole Foods is self-selecting in that a certain worldview makes someone more likely to become a shopper there), then they may blindly accept it. Very few people have the skills and motivation to actually analyze the claims of these manufacturers and just go with their biases when making a decision.

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:26PM (#46371211)

    So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently?"

    1) Whole Foods is a grocery store, the Creation Museum claims to be a museum.

    2) Certain states aren't trying to teach children the "controversy" surrounding dandelion root extract supposedly curing my ailments. There isn't a national debate surrounding gluten-free pancake mix. Politicians don't get elected to office by appealing to the "this organic sea salt is only 4000 years old" crowd.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:27PM (#46371221)

    I agree. And this is stupid.

    From the summary:

    So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently?

    Maybe it is because the stuff the author finds objectionable is just a segment of the stuff available there? But the Creation Museum is 100% about creationism.

  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:28PM (#46371229) Homepage

    Homeopathy is not silly; it is a lie. If you sell it, you're lying to people. So it matters that Whole Foods sells it, as it casts doubt on their grasp of science, which indicates their "healthly" foods are just marketing to the credulous.

  • Re:Because... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xevioso (598654) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:30PM (#46371261)

    "No one at the local Whole Foods is trying to impose their beliefs or customs on you our your secular government."

    Well, that isn't necessarily true, because many of the same people who shop at Whole Foods are active in the anti-GMO movement. They shop at WH because they fervently believe at GMOs are bad for themselves and everyone else, and many folks are politically active, at least in California, in trying to put anti-GMO statutes on the ballot whenever they can. So while whole foods isn't necessarily doing those things, they certainly cater to people who do.

  • Re:Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:31PM (#46371281) Journal

    The left is just as full of religious whackos as the right is.

    Ding ding ding! I've been snickering quietly to myself about the recent spate of right-wing editorial authors discussing how liberals are trying to eliminate "intellectual diversity". Amazingly, these authors have discovered fundamentalist liberals, and the fundamentalist liberals discovered "purity tests" and "with us or against us" and somehow the right-wing editorialists just don't see the connection, probably because they were blinded to it when it was their side doing it.

    As for the rest of us non-fundamentalists, I don't buy into the homeopathy mumbo-jumbo either.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:35PM (#46371323) Homepage

    Either they need to admit that nitrates are OK to eat, or they need to stop selling things that defeat the point of their own restriction.

    They can't admit that because a lot of their customers are idiots who shop there because of the "no nitrates" stickers.

    Nitrates from celery are obviously more natural than the industrial chemical nitrates used in bacon, right?

    And that's the point of the summary: Why do seemingly-sensible people believe that sort of crap?

    Me? I don't want sea salt. Not with all the mercury and PCBs floating around in the ocean. You think they refine it or anything? Nope, they just evaporate the water and package it.

    I want the stuff that's been underground for millions of years, unmolested by humans until they dig it out. Give me the most refined, chemically pure salt they can possibly manufacture. Sodium and chlorine in equal amounts, that's it (well, maybe a bit of iodine as well).

    You try telling one of the people in the store that sea salt may not be better. They'll chase you out of the shop with a slab of tofu!

  • Re:God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:38PM (#46371353)

    Myth: "a traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events."

    By that definition, god is absolutely mythological, whether he's real or not.

    There are, of course, other definitions for myth, especially in the vernacular.

    Both the Plato and the Old Testament discuss atheists. I'm willing to bet that there has never been a time in recorded human history when every person believed in a god or gods. That means in no point in recorded human history has god shown himself to all humanity, beyond any reasonable doubt. So if you believe in gods, especially a particular god, it's because somebody told you about him.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:39PM (#46371373)

    Whole Foods, and in my part of the world, Sprouts, are fantastic places to find in-stock fresh vegetables at a fair price, as well as spices in bulk well under the price that a bottle of Shilling or McCormick will cost me. Similarly I can get some deli items (cheeses, specifically) and microbrews my normal grocery store might not carry.

    For that, I love them.

    ...and then there's the homeopathy aisle, and the gluten-free-because-it's-trendy-not-because-I-have-an-allergy aisle.

    For that, I hate them.

  • Re: God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinnwn (677715) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:41PM (#46371407)
    My wife likes to buy organic fresh vegetables, fruit and free range meat because of the less intensive farming and ranching practices. She claims Whole Foods prices are generally cheaper than other grocery stores and even our farmers market for those items. But the processed and prepared food is much more expensive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:41PM (#46371413)

    I hope you're joking. People vehemently opposed to GM foods and vaccines are exactly the Whole-Foods-shopping crowd we're talking about here. If you've ever had a conversation with one of these people about things they feel strongly about, you'd realize that they are, in fact, zealots of the same level as religious creationists.

  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:46PM (#46371457)

    Lets assume you're right. How does their grasp of science effect the freshness of their kale? Cause I really don't care about the former when compared to the later.

    It's not their grasp of science that Catbeller calls into question, it's their ethics.

    Everybody with an IQ above room temperature knows that homeopathy is complete and utter bullshit. If they sell homeopathic items, they are, undeniably, participating in wholesale fraud. If they're willing to take your money in exchange for vials of water (priced like toner cartridges!) which they profit from, then why would you possibly believe that their kale hasn't been doctored to remain fresh - exposed to chemicals to keep its color, picked by slave labor, whatever.

    tl'dr? Anyone who'll sell you homeopathic crap is a liar and should be treated as such.

  • Re:ahh homeopathy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:50PM (#46371499)
    How do homeopathic purveyors stay in business? One could buy a single bottle, and keep diluting it, making a both stronger (so you'd use a smaller dose) and longer lasting at the same time. If you bought a bottle, how would it ever run out so you'd need to buy another?

    (...and if one dumped one of those tiny ml bottles into a public swimming pool, would that constitute a terror attack, due to the obvious overdose everyone in the pool would get?)
  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon (30274) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:52PM (#46371531)

    Homeopathy is not silly; it is a lie. If you sell it, you're lying to people. So it matters that Whole Foods sells it, as it casts doubt on their grasp of science, which indicates their "healthly" foods are just marketing to the credulous.

    Products in regular supermarkets are also filled with lies, and both have products that better than the other in some way or the other. Solution: make your own decision rather than expecting a corporation to base their decisions on science rather than on what sells best.

  • Re:Troll (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:01PM (#46371611)

    But comparing it to the Creation Museum is completely ridiculous and has no place in serious discourse.

    You can't relate the entire store & it's patrons to the bogus claims of the homeopathic medicines any more than you can claim that the Westboro Baptist Church is the mouth piece of the entire Christian faith or that Al Qaeda speaks for every Muslim. But you can question why unscientific claims from 1 place are any different than from another. Why does Whole Foods get a pass on selling things of dubious nature, but a religious museum does not? If you are going to impose a high standard of scientific proof on what people are allowed to believe, then shouldn't it be imposed on everything?

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeMo (521697) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:02PM (#46371627)
    In the Old Testament, the Jewish people, while wandering in the desert, after seeing the parting of the Red Sea and all the miracles Moses brought down on Egypt, continue to fall away from God. He even had an actual presence in their Temple, and would show up as a flaming column from time to time. Nonetheless, they would turn to idols and he'd have to "smite" them from time to time.

    So, yes, even though literally in the presence of God, some people don't believe. Odd, that.
  • by dtribble (821508) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:08PM (#46371667) Homepage
    "So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently?"

    Because Whole Foods appeals to the liberal crowd, while the Creation Museum appeals to the fundamentalist conservative crowd. The former is the base of the main-stream media, while the latter is the former's target of ridicule and derision. So which enterprise do you think is naturally going to be cast in a better public light by most media reporting?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:09PM (#46371677)

    Meanwhile my friend with Celiac's (diagnosed by a real medical doctor, not some homeopathic nutjob) doesn't care who else shops in that gluten-free aisle, just as long as it stays profitable enough to continue to exist.

    I see those people as a willing tax-base to subsidize my friend's medical bills. It works better than any controversy-soaked healthcare laws that will ever be passed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:25PM (#46371825)

    I'd say that the distinction is more about how harmful to society it is to tolerate someone's belief.

    Creationists want to teach their fairy tales in schools and want to make public policy based on something someone was purported to have said 2000 years ago. Believers in homeopathy want to spend ridiculous amounts of their own money on water.

    One of these groups can be dismissed with the proverbial, "A fool and his money..." The other cannot. Also, the placebo effect is not pseudoscience and can make homeopathy at least marginally effective. But no amount of belief in creationism can prevent climate change, mitigate the effects of homophobia or generally ameliorate the toxicity of the hate and ignorance that comes from the creationist camp.

  • Re:Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curunir (98273) * on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:30PM (#46371875) Homepage Journal

    I don't give a rats ass about whether GMOs are healthy or not. I want them labeled because I don't want a dime of my money to go to Monsanto. I want Monsanto to die because of their patent policy, exploitation of the third world and general willingness to endanger our ability to feed ourselves.

    Fuck anyone who frames the labeling of GMOs as a health issue, be they for or against. It's an informed consumer issue, nothing more.

  • Re:Food. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by david_thornley (598059) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:32PM (#46371903)

    I find that organic veggies typically taste better than the other ones. I'm well-off enough to pay more for food that tastes better. If there's some sort of health advantage, that's nice, but it isn't why I buy it.

  • Re:God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:34PM (#46371913)

    I'm not sure that "many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently" as far as belief systems and evaluation of empirical evidence are concerned.

    I perceive them differently because Whole Foods isn't trying to shove their beliefs into the public schools. Everyone should have the right to believe silly nonsense, but no one has the right to impose their beliefs on others, and they especially don't have the right to use the instruments of government to do so.

  • Double Standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by floobedy (3470583) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:01PM (#46372127)

    Whole Foods is treated differently because of the moral and intellectual double standards which prevail on the left. Leftists and rightists both treat things differently when they are done by people on "our side" and so practice double standards. The left, however, is particularly bad in that regard.

    One example of this was the extremely widespread holocaust denial (or something akin to holocaust denial) which is rampant on the left and has always been. I am not talking about the mass murder in Germany. I am referring to the mass murder in the Soviet Union in the 1930s through the 1950s and even after; the mass murder in Cambodia in the 1970s; and the ongoing mass murder and severe political repression in almost all explicitly "socialist" countries which until recently were the darlings of far leftists everywhere. Those mass murders were denied or disputed by considerable numbers on the left. What's more, the denial of mass murder is ignored by a great many other leftists who do not deny that those murders occurred. There is a double standard. Whereas most leftists would vehemently protest (and rightly so) when someone disputes the Holocaust, they are strangely silent when one of their own disputes the mass killings of leftist regimes.

    The denial was especially severe with regard to Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge murdered 1/4th of the population of that country within a few years. A whole industry of professors and leftist figures exist to deny the mass-murder there. Even Noam Chomsky tried hard to deny the killing fields, and tried hard to dispute the reports of massacre emanating from that country. The reason for this denial (I suspect) is because the mass murders followed a socialist revolution and were orchestrated by far leftists who had been educated in Paris, and who had been supported enthusiastically by the far left. The fact that it resulted in mass murder is difficult to accept for people who are convinced of their own ethical superiority. Thus, a double standard evolved.

    If Noam Chomsky had been a Nazi sympathizer and had denied the Holocaust, he would be a forgotten figure by now, as he deserves to be, for various reasons. However, he spent his time denying the mass murder in Cambodia, so it was forgotten.

    These double standards prevail everywhere. My leftist friends cannot stop laughing at young earth creationism, but are in thrall to pseudoscientific nonsense which makes creationism look sophisticated in comparison. There are all kinds of T-Shirts meant to mock creationism, with a "Teach the Controversy" byline beneath a Triceratops attached to a plow. There are not, however, T-Shirts worn by my leftist friends mocking homeopathy, or all kinds of ancient medical quackery, or "energy medicine", or "multiple chemical sensitivity", or the recent widespread belief that vaccines are dangerous and aren't worth it. Granted, these things are not practiced by most people on the left. However, they are ignored by people on the left who have a scientific understanding, who reserve their vitriol for the pseudoscience of the other side.

    There are also double standards with regard to doomsday groups. Each side of the political spectrum mocks the doomsday groups of the other side. People who are waiting for "the end times" are mocked by those on the left. However, peak oiler doomers (almost all of whom were on the far left) who assured us that civilization certainly would collapse before 2008 are largely exempt from that mockery.

    I suppose double standards are easy to fall into. It's difficult to condemn one of your own.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:18PM (#46372243)

    Cognitive dissonance is a human trait. You are engaging in it yourself when you try to cast the left as engaging in it more than the right.

    Your whole argument is itself simply an expression of a double standard when you try to claim the left engages in this more than the right.

    It's simply something that arises out of our own human limitations.

  • Re:Food. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:28PM (#46372301)

    I'm well-off enough to pay more for food that tastes better.

    Me too. I'm well-off enough to pay more for gold-plated connectors on all my digital audio cables that sound better.

  • by cas2000 (148703) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:31PM (#46372339)

    Many anti-GM people are ignorant idiots - anti-science hippies and other woo-believing fuckwits. They are, however, useful idiots because the problem with GM foods is *not*, in most cases, the fact that they are genetically modified or what the modification is, but that the modifications are patented by corporations like Monsanto.

    The issue is that GM foods are an attempt by corporations to establish an "intellectual property" monopoly on the world's food supply. THAT must be resisted by any means possible....this is more than just the *control* of the food supply that corporations have now, it will be an actual monopoly where it isn't legally possible to have any alternative (like growing your own or buying from small, independant farmers) because it will be impossible to do so without infringing their patents.

    If simpletons need simple reasons to be against the corporate monopolisation of food, then so be it. they may not know exactly why and how their opposition benefits them, but they still reap the benefits anyway.

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by excelsior_gr (969383) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:38PM (#46372387)

    You know, we have soap here in Europe as well...

  • Re:God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:47PM (#46372449)
    Those are just scare stories concocted by priests to keep their particular flavor god in power. No god ever really showed up and *smote* and most certainly no god ever took up residence in some back room. Only Oz did.
  • by OneAhead (1495535) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:16PM (#46372635)

    You could have made a point of "deniers" indicating bias 30 years ago. Welcome the the 21st century; science has advanced, and at this point, "climate change denier" is about as biased as "evolution denier".

    With that out of the way, I do fully agree with the rest of your post. The article indeed seems to consist of the author fantasizing about associations between things he doesn't like. No evidence is given whatsoever to support his central thesis that Whole Foods' entire business model is based upon unscientific snake oil; no evidence but horrible populist stereotyping. Among the scientists I know (ie. most of my friends), many go to whole foods on occasion - including myself. They go there mainly for the rich selection of specialty items (like cheeses). Some also go there because they can buy animal products that have an independent animal welfare label, or because they don't want to contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is partially caused by gratuitous use of antibiotics in farming. Of course, they shun the more hippie new age parts of the store, but as you correctly pointed out, they have to do the same thing at other stores. And one can disagree with any of the above viewpoints, but calling them "snake oil" is hardly justified.

    Even the crowd who thinks the FDA does not sufficiently apply the precautionary principle in assessing the heath effects of growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, and buy organic meats and/or dairy and/or vegetables, arguably has a point; one can accuse them of being somewhat irrationally cautious, but not of believing outright falsehoods.

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hermitdev (2792385) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:29PM (#46372703)

    Yes, but it is more rational to disbelieve in that which, by definition, can never be proven, than to believe in the same. That is, at least, if you believe in rational thought.

    As an Atheist, I'm more than willing to accept there is a god (or gods) if any rational proof can be exhibited (I've yet to see it). And no, a book such as the Christian bible, does not suffice. It is known to have been written by man, and the portions chosen to be included by committee/monarch so Charlemagne could subvert and control the ever growing Christian populace. The "books" we now know as the "New Testament" were voted up by man circa 400AD. It is not the word of god. It is a carefully selected sets of works that allowed a king to more effectively control his subjects.

    I, too, can write about walking on water, turning water into wine, etc. But it doesn't make it true. In our time, we call it a novel or a work of fiction.

    I cannot read Arabic, but the select translations of the Koran I've read lead me to believe it would be far less attractive.

    I'm not personally familiar with any other religion, but there is not one I've been exposed to that makes any sense. Every single one is designed as a means to control the minds of a mass of people. They demand sacrifice in this life for promise of an afterlife (that has never been proven).

    Finally, if there was a god or many gods, all of the worlds' religions cannot be correct. And seeming as so much of the mythology around these religions seem to indicate rage and jealousy when they are disrespected, why is it that all of these religions that so fundamentally disagree are allowed to exist? Is it because they're all correct (in which case, there is no one god), or do we cite Occam's Razor and that the reason all of the religions exist is because there are no gods?

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davide marney (231845) <davide.marney@ne ... org minus author> on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:49PM (#46372825) Journal

    You've got to be kidding, right? Imposing beliefs on children is EXACTLY what schools do, every day. Ever hear of political correctness?

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Smooth (32514) on Friday February 28, 2014 @09:36PM (#46373049) Homepage

    Why do reasonable people always try to find some way for bible stories to have their foundation in some actual event? What if it's just straight-up bullshit? You know, like Greek myths, or 8-armed Hindu gods, Cthulu, FSM, etc.? Sometimes I think that even trying to find a way to fit biblical stories into reality is like accepting that there's some modicum of truth to these stories.

    But if you really think about it, what stories could possibly survive 2000 years of sharing and still resemble their origins? Have you ever played the telephone game? Within 10 minutes, the story is so distorted that you can't even recognize the original. Add in centuries of illiteracy, dozens of ulterior motives, and there is no reason to think that *any* story in the bible has any basis in reality.

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Friday February 28, 2014 @10:59PM (#46373435)

    Then why are the anti-GMO crazies, who make creationists look like the physics staff at CERN by comparison. ripping up stands of golden rice, an open-source project that has nothing to do with Monsanto? And why do said crazies use Monsanto's legal bullying as an argument against the company's biological science?

  • by skids (119237) on Friday February 28, 2014 @11:51PM (#46373689) Homepage

    the sellers are con artists and shouldn't be allowed to prey on them

    There are con-artist products in every grocery store. Singling out Whole Foods for that is really just an excercise in hippie-punching. If we really want to crack down on false advertising claims, then 1) we should first actually verify them false with research rather than kneejerk skepticism and 2) concentrate on claims most detrimental to public health first, and then after that, those most detrimental to the economy.

  • Re: God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Friday February 28, 2014 @11:52PM (#46373701)

    My wife likes to buy organic fresh vegetables, fruit and free range meat because of the less intensive farming and ranching practices.

    I don't buy organic because, among other reasons (promoting socially unsustainable rigid pre-scientific pre-enlightenment appeal to nature type dogma being the main one), I prefer the more intensive farming practices. You might feel good supporting less intensive practices, and that's fine, but there's a reason organic production is not a universal practice; among other things, lower yield per acre, which is to say, more land requirements to produce the same amount of food. If everyone went all natural there'd be no nature left.

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denzacar (181829) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @12:18AM (#46373785) Journal

    Read it again.
    The entire article is a "I'm smarter than these sheep ho-ho-ho. Look at how knowledgeated I am." love letter from the writer to himself.

    I'd have to use at least three different colored highlighters and the Wikipedia's list of fallacies to comb through that article.
    He might as well be arguing that all those kids and talking animals on boxes of cereals and candy ARE ONLY PRETENDING TO BE ECSTATIC about those products - ergo, they are as evil as creationists.

    But this is my favorite part.

    " I invited a biologist friend who studies human gut bacteria to come take a look with me. She read the healing claims printed on a handful of bottles and frowned. âoeThis is bullshit,â she said, and went off to buy some vegetables."

    What is? What are you not telling us?! WHAT DID SHE READ!!!? What is it that the magical scientist won't tell us!!? WHAAAAAT!!!?

    You don't go arguing about something being "OMG not scientific" and then build that argument on the fine art of appeal to authority and... well, bullshit.
    Presenting someone calling something "Bullshit" as an argument is a whole list of fallacies of its own.

    Instead, one should say "Product A claims this, this and this. That is false, because this, this and this study either proves it to be false or shows no proof of it being true or having any other provable effect."
    And then give us links to those studies cause if there is one thing we know for sure - JOURNALISTS DON'T UNDERSTAND MATH AND STATISTICS.

    That's why they went to study stuff that does not require math AND/OR statistics.

  • Re:God (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @05:47AM (#46374665) Journal

    There are some differences but they are not material enough to change the stories.

    This happens because unlike the telephone game, men and women of the jews were required to memorized the scrolls that made up the torah. When someone recited portions of it and got something wrong, they were corrected by the others who knew the correct versions. Almost all people in the villages participated in this so the stories are reasonable the same as they always were.

    So there is little to no leading away from the originals until it started getting translated into other languages from translated versions. Then you see some differences that could be considered material but the stories seem to work out the same. BTW, the chapter and verse numbers everyone cites today are an artifact of copying that made it easy to double check translations and copies. But that does remind me of a joke. It has something to do with a monk asking to see the original scrolls because he thought if someone made a mistake, they would be copying that mistake. So he asked the Great Schema and he said go down and take a look for yourself, the originals are in the catacombs but it's dangerous down there. So the monk went and was gone for three days. Finally, they got worried and sent someone to look and he found the monk sitting in the corner crying while mumbling we missed the R we missed the R. After a few days rest, they asked him what was it about the R that he kept mentioning? He replied, we missed the R it says celebrate not celebate.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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