The Independents

Tonight on The Independents: "I'm Skeptical," With Michael Shermer, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Andy Levy, Michael Malice, and More!

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Don't believe in yourself; don't deceive with belief; knowledge comes with death's release, ohhhh ohhhhhhh ohhhhh ohhhhhh….. |||

Friday episodes of The Independents (Fox Business Network, 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT, with re-airs three and five hours later) are organized around a theme, and tonight's is "I'm Skeptical" (pictured). It's all about modern-day (and occasionally historical) skepticism, and how it might be applied to such disparate topics as Ebola, voting, ISIS, global warming, organic foods, vaccines, and so on. Joining to discuss are:

* Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine (read about him and stuff by him in the Reason archive).

* Beloved Reason Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward (read her Reason archive here).

* Amateur historian and professional hair model Michael Malice (read his great 2013 Reason feature "My Week in North Korea").

* TV's Andy Levy, whose real name is apparently "Andrew."

It is a lively and entertaining news program that I recommend consuming audio-visually.

Follow The Independents on Facebook at facebook.com/IndependentsFBN, follow on Twitter @ independentsFBN, and click on this page for more video of past segments.

NEXT: Police Body-Cam Captures Puppycide

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  1. KMW, Malice & Levy? Sounds like a good show.

    1. Be interesting to see how Shermer goes up against that crew.

  2. Skeptic Magazine. Bringing you all the global warming you can believe in!

    1. I won’t necessarily fault Shermer on that but I will fault him for publicly declaring that An Inconvenient Truth was what persuaded him because Gore got the science essentially correct.

      1. Anyone who endorses shit like this, holds up Holdren (how’s that population bomb coming along, John?) as an authority on anything, and engages in endless appeals to authority doesn’t come close to my definition of “skeptic.”.

        This is especially true in light of the number of papers finally starting to admit that there are serious problems with the models of doom.

        1. There are Skeptics critical of AGW? Next you’ll be telling me Unicorns are real.

        2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of Shermer, I’m just saying that believing in AGW in and of itself doesn’t do you in (look at Ron Bailey for example).

          But Shermer is a dick on a number of other levels:

          – He’s the exact kind of person you don’t want on your side in public because he’s smug & condescending.

          – He tends to accept government standards without question.

          – He glomed on to the idea that what Kenneth Arnold saw in 1947 was a flock of pelicans (I don’t believe in UFOs but that explanation is idiotic).

          – He’s more than happy to break his own rules of critical thinking. In Why People Believe Weird Things he casually noted that The Bell Curve was published by the same publisher that published some holocaust denial books. He then moved on to his next point making no connection having assigned guilt by association.

          – He believes that anyone who believes in god is, by definition, neither a skeptic nor rational.

          1. Glad I’m not the only one unimpressed by the “skeptic community.” Some years ago I attended a talk by Shermer and realized there was a gulf between what he was skeptical of and myself. Looking at the Skeptics Society page right now, I don’t find anything groundbreaking. Bad science, junk science or mysticism about our physical world is quite easy to disprove and don’t do nearly the damage that bad ideas do. I wouldn’t want to put a fundamentalist christian who believes in the young earth theory in charge of a geology department. At the same time, I wouldn’t put a socialist in charge of government. The latter is just as wacky but causes a lot more damage.

            1. Agree. In large part it’s a testimony to the role that liberal arts degrees play in America.

              Jane goes to college and falls in love with, let’s say, chemistry. She takes all the classes, and then some, that she needs for her major. She takes physics, math, and a bunch of other science classes too.

              However, she also has to take polisci, history, sociology. She has no real interest in those classes, doesn’t dig into them and just regurgitates statism by osmosis.

              So, there goes Jane the chemist who also believes the government should be controlling most of our lives. This is now someone like Seth Shostak can be a rigorous scientist but blithely declare that we should all follow the FDA diet guidelines.

              1. Meh, I think it’s more that engineers and scientists have a certain mindset that solidifies their trust in order, design, and the expectation that there is always a solution to every problem, if only the “right people” are allowed to find and implement it.

                The workings of the free market and liberty in general are antithetical to this. They depend on lots of moving parts, many of which are doing contradictory things, to make things better on average (though there will be a lot of losers from free market activity). The engineers’ response is “why not just have everyone cooperating in a directed fashion, we could accomplish so much more, and everyone would win”. Well, the answer is you can’t do it, and if you try you’ll fuck things up even worse. But that’s hard for a person used to solving big problems with technology to accept.

                1. Actually, no one knows better than engineers (including software engineers) how certain things have so many moving parts and how that all works together, it’s just that they also have an appreciation for how precarious that can be. But the free market is a lot more robust than a machine or some software.

                  People who have an itch for CONTROL will have it whether they are a scientist or a poet or a teacher or whatever.

                  1. Yes, but engineers (a) consider a lot of that to be a fault of bad designers, and (b) believe such problems can be fixed by better engineers. If you said to a software engineer that in view of the Heartbleed and the recent SSL3 bug, we should just leave the code alone because shit happens and there might be bad effects from patching the code, they’d mock you mercilessly and tell you to get out of the way of the people who know what they’re doing.

                    But the free market is a lot more robust than a machine or some software.

                    Says you (and me too), but they aren’t coming from that perspective. They see a ruined economy that fell apart during the administration of a guy who talked about deregulation and free markets (whatever he actually did), and ever since a bunch of slack-jawed yokel bible-thumpers getting in the way of a sharp guy from Harvard with a bunch of ideas and a hella crease in his pants.

                    People who have an itch for CONTROL will have it whether they are a scientist or a poet or a teacher or whatever.

                    OK, but that itch for control can be reinforced by being very good at controlling and designing things in your own area of specialty.

                    1. Speaking as an engineer, I call bullshit. Engineers have a very robust appreciation for what is in our control and what isn’t.

                2. Is there any evidence of biologists being more Hayekian?

                  1. Is there any evidence of biologists being more Hayekian?

                    Q: What do you call a chemistry major who can’t do math?

          2. Yeah, sorry if it came across as if I thought you were. It just annoys me that someone who claims the name “skeptic” is so willing to be completely unskeptical.

            I get the sense that there’s still hope for Bailey. It seems like he’s starting to wake up to all the goal post moving lately, and I don’t see nearly the amount of appealing to authority.

            1. No prob. And the thing with a lot of the AGW types is that you get the distinct impression that, if the progressive position was “no global warming” and that AGW was something believed in by conspiracy nuts, many of the so-called skeptics would just jump over the fence.

              One more thing that bugs me about Shermer and other skeptics is how they always salute one another’s “courage” in standing up for science. Listen to SGU or Skepticality podcasts sometime. They really do believe they are a tiny enlightened minority about to be swamped by the forces of ignorance.

              1. Exactly. Shermer smugly destroys the new age nuts, but refuses to believe the facts that disprove AGW. He is worse than a fraud.

                Shermer:skepticism::Shreek:libertarianism

  3. OT: Watched the other Hobbit movie yesterday.

    I hate most movie sword fights. There’s a part where an elf has his sword raised with both hands over his head. Why didn’t the orc just stab him in the gut? The elf’s torso was completely exposed for almost 2 seconds.

    And don’t even get me started about the spinning. Just stab the bastard in the back when he’s turned around!

    1. That movie really seems like an exercise in revenue generation. there’s no reason that book couldn’t have been done in one movie. Three? GTFO.

      1. I am a big fan of the Hobbit and LOTR and even found most of the second movie uninteresting. At least the crap that was added on to extend the length. I disagree that it could have been done in one movie without coming off like a Reader’s Digest condensed version of the Bible. Two movies would have been fine.

        1. I don’t remember the frozen lake town from the book. And what kind of idiot builds a town on a half-frozen lake? There has plenty of shore nearby. Or why not just rebuild from the ruins of Dale?

          1. Lake town was in the book. It wasn’t nearly so dreary and frozen as in the movie. The townsfolk welcomed the dwarves and gave them provisions, which eventually happens in the movie.

            Not sure why they didn’t rebuild Dale. Maybe they were smarter than the people in NOLA?

            1. *geek alert* Dale was too close to the mountain, the lake was pretty long so Laketown was far enough away to seem safe.

      2. The backstory was that the movie/s were/are being developed not only from the original book but also from a lot of unpublished material in Tolkein’s manuscripts.

        1. To me, the scene with Smaug and the dwarves was over done. It was too long, too CGI-tastic, and made the movie seem overly long. Not sure how the wind lance aspect was needed either. Bard just used an old black arrow and his bow.

          1. I liked Smaug, but yes, too much- with the running and the leaping and the GLAVIN!

            And pardon me, but couldn’t Bilbo have killed Smaug by just putting on the ring and then stabbing him with arrow?

            1. I’m assuming because Smaug could hear and smell Bilbo, and feel the movement of air, that Bilbo could not get close enough to kill Smaug, even if he had the strength to push an arrow or spear in far enough to hit vitals, which is unlikely. It would also be a suicide mission, as the last convulsing act of the dragon would be to crush its attacker. Dragons are like that.

          2. But when your CGI dragon is the size of Godzilla it would look just plain dumb for Bard to shoot him with a regular old arrow. In the books it worked fine. On screen it would look silly.

      3. It’s especially hilarious given that PJ cut tons of stuff from book LOTR out of the movies for “pacing” reasons. But now he’s got dollar signs in his eyes, and is stretching the Hobbit story out with absolutely horrible pacing, and plenty of implausible appearances by LOTR old faves.

    2. Most sword fights are terrible. One of the things that bugged me about Willow was all the damn spinning. Now, spinning can be an effective martial arts tool. When Chuck Norris was competing, many of his opponents were unfamiliar with his spin techniques and he kicked a lot of asses. Most of the time in movies, it’s just contrived.

      1. Agreed. Turning your back to an opponent in any kind of fight is generally a bad idea.

        Here, let these Vikings explain why:

        http://youtu.be/xFiIDl_mt2c?t=1m35s

        1. That was cool.

          1. On the one hand, I think I should spend less time on youtube. On the other hand, I have found a lot of neat things.

            1. No shit. Story of my adult life.

        2. The Secret of the Viking Sword

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt22…..fn_al_tt_1

          Interesting little show on the making of.

      2. As someone who was a college fencer, most swordfights in entertainment are beyond ridiculous. They are constantly exposing themselves egregiously and I usually find myself, within the first seconds of a fight, saying “and that’s where you would have died”.

        Incidentally, the long epee/rapier duel between Inigo and Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride is one of the best, most realistic swordfights you will see on the screen. Kudos to Rob Reiner for getting that so right.

        1. I’m guessing the old Errol Flynn films probably had much more realistic sword fights, but I might be wrong.

          1. If I recall correctly the Errol Flynn swordfights were inane and totally stage-type unrealistic swordfights.

              1. Older is not better in that case. I guess if it was OK for hollywood to use pudgy white guys as stand-ins for Indians and Africans, one can’t expect realistic sword fights.

        2. My guess is that most sword fights in reality would be over in 3 seconds or less. Not very entertaining. The gladiator team owner in Gladiator knew what was up. “Listen to me. Learn from me. I was not the best because I killed quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd and you will win your freedom.”

          1. Your guess is wrong, assuming the participants both know what they are doing. Again, the Princess Bride swordfight is an excellent example of a “real” swordfight, and that goes on for quite a while.

            The greater the disparity between the sword skills of the participants, the faster the fight will be over, though. Just like a fistfight.

            1. Eh, the gymnastic moves sort of take away from the realism.

              Here is a real life sword fight caught on film:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e68nuAcSuWQ

              Not very exciting.

              1. Ignore the stupid gymnastic moves and the hand-switching, the actual parry-riposte flow of the fight is where it’s so accurate. Yes, it can be very boring, like watching a chess game; it’s boring until the checkmate when someone fucks up and their opponent can strike.

    3. Just go re-watch the final duel from Rob Roy, and you’ll feel all better.

      1. I also rented Seven Samurai. Maybe that will do the trick. I love the doorway scene.

        1. The only thing wrong here is that you don’t own Seven Samurai.

      2. I think the final sword fight in “The Patriot” is the one that pisses me off the most. Gibson’s character gets sliced six ways to Sunday, even the fucking tendons on the back of his leg, and yet he is able to quickly stand up and stab his attacker.

    4. When I heard Jackson decided to drag out The Hobbit into a trilogy I decided to not see any of them.

  4. ” Michael Shermer”

    I always mix him and Michael Specter (author of ‘Denialism’) up with one another

    because he writes about “global warming, organic foods, vaccines, and so on” as well

  5. Mary Stack aka Calzon Kraphole is still butt-hurt at us. Her reaction to the ginseng busts and the comments are priceless:

    Reason’s anarchist chair-moisteners and chat-puppets might be surprised to learn that cops don’t write the laws, but they are sworn to enforce them. Don’t like a law? Take it up with your legislators. Better yet, bitch about it ineffectually on YouTube!?

    here

    It’s always amusing to me that so many of ReasonTV’s devoted apologists fail to recognize that they are the gullible targets of comically transparent anarchist propaganda. This latest installment of Don’t Cops Have Better Things to Do?!, like all its predecessors, isn’t about law-enforcement priorities. It’s about mocking, in typically loutish, adolescent libertarian fashion, the very concept of objectively defined law.

    Libertarians, being anarchists at heart, will never accept the fact that their fellow citizens have enacted laws that conflict with their delicate sensibilities. So to whom do they vent their impotent rage? Not their neighbors. Not their elected officials. They blame the cops. Because cops are easy scapegoats. They’re the perfect whipping boys for cynical, intellectually lazy, disaffected libertarian nihilists.?

    1. Isn’t she madly in love with one of the old-timers around here?

      Reminds me of an incident at work. One of the female managers was following one of the younger men around haranguing him incessantly. He stops, turns around, and as loudly as possible, in front of a large group of fellow co-workers, says “All right! I’ll show you my penis if you’ll just shut up!’

      A moment I’ll never forget.

    2. Go-Go-Gadget Godwin:

      Reason’s anarchist chair-moisteners and chat-puppets might be surprised to learn that cops Polizisten don’t write the laws, but they are sworn to enforce them. Don’t like a law? Take it up with your legislators F?hrer. Better yet, bitch about it ineffectually on YouTube the Front!?

      It’s always amusing to me that so many of ReasonTV’s devoted apologists fail to recognize that they are the gullible targets of comically transparent anarchist communist propaganda. This latest installment of Don’t Cops Die Polizei Have Better Things to Do?!, like all its predecessors, isn’t about law-enforcement Aryan priorities. It’s about mocking, in typically loutish bourgeois, adolescent libertarian fashion, the very concept of objectively defined law authority.

      Libertarians, being anarchists liberals at heart, will never accept the fact that their fellow citizens rightful leaders have enacted laws that conflict with their delicate sensibilities. So to whom do they vent their impotent rage? Not their neighbors Volk. Not their elected officials Chancellor. They blame the cops Gestapo. Because cops Soldaten are easy scapegoats. They’re the perfect whipping boys for cynical, intellectually lazy, disaffected libertarian nihilists Untermenschen.?

    3. Hmm… cops are volunteers, not conscripts. They deserve blame too.

    4. It’s about mocking, in typically loutish, adolescent libertarian fashion

      I, respectfully, contend that most people that frequent Reason and identify as ‘libertarian’ have a greater capacity to compose an argument than the author of this bs, if only because we can leave our emotions at the door.

      I also, respectfully, propose that Mary is a narcissistic, deluded bitch. (see: above)

    5. delicate sensibilities

      Yea, like not having the shit beat out of me by a government agent because I questioned it’s authority because it has approached me and produced no valid reason for doing so.

    6. Yeah, libertarians never rail against elected officials or their neighbors. Or prosecutors. Or judges. Or bureaucrats. Or regulators. Nope, never.

  6. I’m Skeptical

    Psh…

  7. Who’s drinking?

    I’m finishing off a glass of Epicurean Coffe & Fig Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Epic Brewing in Auckland, New Zealand. I saw it in a shop while travelling. I looked at the label and said, “This will either be terrible or damned good”. It’s surprisingly good.

      1. Unibroue is awesome. I have a bottle of theirs in the cabinet. Grande Reserve 17 if I remember correctly.

      2. But, but, but Frida was a communist. How can this be?

    1. Jetzt trinke ich K?lsch von Lancaster Brewing. Naturlich im k?lscher Glas.

  8. 19 days until we see the real Obama in action. I fear we may remember, remember the fifth of November for a long time, not in a fond way either.

  9. So, how reliable is Judicial Watch anyway? (Given the Independents thread is usually the late-night free for all one.)

    Obama Plans to Let Ebola-infected Foreigners Into U.S. for Treatment Not much meat on the bones; in fact, the money quote is this:

    Specifically, the goal of the administration is to bring Ebola patients into the United States for treatment within the first days of diagnosis.

    It is unclear who would bear the high costs of transporting and treating non-citizen Ebola patients. The plans include special waivers of laws and regulations that ban the admission of non-citizens with a communicable disease as dangerous as Ebola.

    Because Dallas handled this so economically, precisely, with a minimum of fuss. The 3-4 BSL-4 practiced hospitals could do it, and competently, with their whopping, what, 20 beds total?

    Meh, the CDC’s got money to burn, why not?

    1. Any other administration I’d say it sounds like a conspiracy theory.

      But we’re 19 days from finding out what Obama does when he’s got nothing left to lose.

  10. Gray Ghost opened the door, so I’m going early with the Late-Night Links?…

    Here is some statistical and demographic red meat for you fools who don’t read EconLog regularly.

  11. Prediction: Ebola Catchers

    1. I guess hoops could count as an Ebola catcher.

  12. The livestream is choppy again.

  13. Kennedy’s just a floating head.

  14. You, my friend, might be a ‘skeptic’.

    Psh…

  15. YOU MIGHT JUST BE A REDNECK.

  16. I’m taking it with a pinch of salt.

  17. “Good afternoon…”

    Ah-HA!

  18. Is this segment with Shermer intended to be comedy?

  19. You know what happened to Doubting Thomas, don’t you? He got punched in the face by Jesus.

    1. I missed it. I’ll drink anyway.

    2. There isn’t enough Unibroue in the whole state for this fucking game…

  20. I’m skeptical I’m investing this hour wisely.

  21. Not “war”. “Aggressive Negotiations”.

  22. Kmele, you’re just anti-ferret.

  23. Dude lost the plot by failing to point out WHAT ‘cynicism’ is.

  24. I’m skeptical that these new ads at reason.com, goddammit, are worth the extra money.

  25. Gun Control

    I always use both hands.

    1. …Glad it’s a pint bottle.

  26. For those who will get bored with the show, here is the story of German soldier who survived the destruction of 9 tanks:

    lucky bastard

    There used to be an English language documentary about him on youtube, but it looks like they’ve all been blocked in the US.

    One time in Russia, he was driving through a grave yard when he got hit by an artillery barrage. The shells tore upon the graves and bones, corpses, and coffin shards were raining down on the tank.

    The last tank he got blown up in was destroyed by Germans who thought it was an American tank. The war ended the next day.

    1. I’m skeptical. The burden of proofs on him.

  27. Oh, for fuck sake. Vaccinations again? Why not just revisit the epic guacamole debate.

  28. Whoa… was that a little flirting there?

    1. *Francisco stumbles to bar for refill*

      1. I might need a refill too.

    2. I am NOT opening my pint of Schneider & Sohn for this…

  29. Well, someone’s vote will determine it.

  30. “Group thing”? Hmmm…

  31. So voting machines should have glory holes?

  32. “Straight up weirdo”. Nice.

  33. In my precinct, none of the workers are under 98 years old.

  34. I worked at my polling place.

    It is safe to say that Kennedy has, in fact, worked a ‘poll’.

  35. Electoral college down to the district level. Split it up.

  36. The electoral college preserves the notion of State boundaries. Eliminate it, and you eliminate State boundaries and the very concept of divided sovereignty.

  37. The Independents Attire Review, 17 October 2014

    Drowned By Beer-Edition

    – Kennedy: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark has had a breast reduction. We never liked the big-hair thing anyway. We remain befuddled that the producers of the show allow K. to Go Goth every now and vanish into the background. But then I remember they allowed Matt to dress like a Party Clown for a while. +1 Nihilism

    – Matt: Nice Blue On Blue On Blue mix. We hope to see this alternated with the Royal Blue tie on a weekly basis because it is one of the best things Matt has going. +1 Fist Bump

    – Kmele: Tweedmaster Flex is in the house; we like this as the Fall season’s “go-to” jacket, replacing the Khaki as a base platform. We’ve seen this tie a bunch and every time i tell myself i need to go get one of my own. It seems to work with almost everything. We give Kmele the Win tonight = +1 glass of Chivas & Romeo y Julieta.

    Bonus: Andy Levy gets +1 “Dude, nice tie”

    Cheers

  38. OT: I noticed recently that youtube requires age verification for Nazi and Confederate songs but not Communist songs. I wonder why that is….

    Also

    Nazi badges are cool.

    1. Young Pioneers were better than die Hitlerjugend?

      1. I think it might be related to my observation that while there are many communist college professors, there aren’t any Confederate or Nazi professors.

        1. Oh, we’re being serious? Because if so, it’s because communism is “good in theory” while fascism and racism are “bad to the bone.”

          What do I win?

          1. Nothing. Communism does not even work on paper. In practice, it has killed countless millions. That is all.

            1. “does not even work on paper”

              That is almost as good as “not even wrong”.

            2. Shit, I thought I’d at least get a free copy of Mises’s Socialism out of that comment!

        2. What is Thomas DiLorenzo, chopped liver?

          1. I didn’t know he was a professor. I thought he sold buttons and hand-minted silver coins at libertarian conventions.

            1. That’s only because the Jesuits at Loyola don’t pay very well.

  39. CVS, I quit using your services because of your decision to stop selling cigarettes. I don’t smoke, but fuck you.

  40. Keep expanding the definition of “autism” and that is what you get.

  41. I can’t take the uptalk anymore.

    1. Exactly. Who give a fuck what she thinks about vaccines? She can’t even put a sentence together.

  42. What is rupe? Chopped liver?

  43. Also, I believe that you should be able to get vaccinated. However, you should not be required to.

  44. Mississippi and “one other place”?

  45. Next they’re going to tell you that autism doesn’t exist.

  46. What we have here is an absence of Malice.

    1. Paul Newman was good as always, but Sally Field was badly miscast there.

      1. “You don’t like me. You really don’t like me.”

  47. I remain Skeptical of Michael Malice’s alleged heterosexuality

    1. Apparently, none of them listen to classical music, because “klavier” was a dead giveaway it was piano related.

      1. Or know German.

      2. I knew this, and I also knew katzen was cat, but I thought “it couldn’t possibly be a cat piano.”

  48. a cat piano

    Usually, I just throw cats at hobo’s while driving through downtown.

  49. Labi Siffre, ‘I got the’

    used in Eminem’s “my name is”… and some other Jay Z tune

  50. Kennedy coming on to KMW…. hmm… I’m intrigued…

  51. ORGANIC IS DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT!

  52. Is Levy working off of notes?

  53. because science

    The term that is hurled by every AGW proponent ad nauseum…even though they understand precious little (if any) “science”.

    1. Every reason given for organic food is bunk.

      It doesn’t have more nutrition. It’s not safer- manure is not cleaner than chemical fertilizer. Most of it is made by evil corporations. And it’s worse for the environment because it requires more land. But it is presented as being these things.

      So naturally, progs love it.

      1. And it’s worse for the environment because it requires more land.

        Yea, it is rather fascinating telling that they would prefer that to the ability to use less land to produce more.

      2. Incidentally, I once proposed a thoughtful argument about carbon dioxide to an environazi proggie fb acquaintance and the response I got was: What is science?. I pursued it further but never got an actual argument in response.

      3. “it’s worse for the environment because it requires more land”

        and water. and the more water means more runoff of the organic fertilizers…which themselves are mostly “shit”, and require lots of energy to collect and reprocess relative to others. And the more labor required to farm it (vs No-Till GMO) means more energy and carbon footprint per acre.

        there are some people arguing that No-till methods could be mixed with Organic farming… but they mostly simply ‘alleviate’ the parts of organic farming that are worse.

        re: Nutrition

        *Some* organic produce DOES have more of *some* nutrients. The differences, however, is ultimately negligible in 1) the context of a ‘balanced meal’, and 2) if the goal was ‘more nutrient-rich food, then Organic can suck GMO’s balls, because it is 1000% better at delivering more-nutrient-density per acre than organic

        1. i should add, for posterity =

          the differences in organic vs. non-organic produce ‘nutrient content’… in the few places they exist? (and there, minor)….

          …these differences are often usually completely eradicated *when cooked*

          There’s 1000 examples like this. They will go on at great length about some isolated characteristic of Organic farming and how it produces X more skin density or lycopene or Vitamin Q… none of which actually provides any actual difference to a consumer after you go through how we actually process and consume food.

          its the Big Lie of a lot of these food claims.

          They will be like “25% more of something!!”

          … that you piss 99% of out anyway, because it isn’t bioavailable in high concentrations…

      4. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it has no pesticide or herbicide usage. In fact some of what they are allowed to use is much nastier than non-organic.

        1. “nastier” usually comes with variety… like parasitic infestation. Nothing says “organic” like a stool sample that moves.

          The point i always make to the Organophiles is that *everything is a trade-off*. And ‘natural’ is a mostly-meaningless term.

          1. I like to remind my organic friends that botulism and cyanide are completely natural.

  54. Matt spends too much time in the comments.

  55. I have a medical condition that says bacon and a beer is appropriate with every meal.

      1. As do I.

  56. Simple rule of most food claims =

    – The shit people say is ‘bad’ for you is much less bad than anyone thinks
    – The shit people think is ‘good’ is generally, “yeah ok”, but don’t justify either the cost nor actually have any particular health benefit *by themselves*.

    ‘Lifestyle’ trumps diet every time. My ‘fat and sugar and salt’-guzzling southern relatives all lived into their 90s. Because they never were stressed and spent lots of time walking around outdoors all day.

    1. Were they all, um, the same relatives?

      …Because genes play a significant role here

      1. +1 family tree that looks like a telephone pole

      2. Of course genes matter.

        But people often act like ‘diet’ is the #1 factor in human health; and people spend huge amounts of their life freaking about diet to the exclusion of other factors.

        If you add ‘stress’ to the ‘southern diet’ = you get NYC puerto ricans, who have ridiculous levels of childhood diabetes and obesity.

        1. I hate to point this out, but a lot of Southern people look like that too.

          1. ….
            of course

            Are you claiming = “diet matters more than physical activity and lifestyle”

            1. No, not at all. I’m claiming that genes affect both of those, and other things to boot.

              1. aren’t “Genes” things we can’t change, while the other things mentioned *are*?

                  1. My original point = that diet is lower in priority to lifestyle/activity

                    regardless of your genetic makeup, if you’re going to make some effort towards ‘healthfulness’, focusing on diet alone is idiocy

                    Your genes? you’re just fucked. No amount of Kale is going to prevent some genetic predisposition.

                    1. Genes can determine the relative importance of various activities and choice-sets, however.

                    2. Like being irritatingly pedantic?

                    3. It isn’t a minor consideration.

                      Your Southern relatives might be perfectly capable of living relatively healthy lives with diets that would be quite detrimental to the health of others.

                    4. Does your point ever get to claiming that Diet IS more important than lifestyle, or is this hairsplitting in order to endlessly repeat ‘genes matter’?

                      No one said genes were not significant. We said, diet is less relevant than lifestyle. Genes may be more important than both – but that is ‘besides the point’, as the saying goes.

                    5. My earlier point was that using your relatives as an example could be very misleading.

                    6. “My earlier point was that using your relatives as an example could be very misleading.”

                      you mean if you just niggled about the example while ignoring the larger point?

                      I wasn’t suggesting everyone start drinking jars of jelly and move to South Carolina as a New Live Forever Diet.

                    7. And in case i am misunderstood = no i don’t think diet is ‘irrelevant’. Its hugely important. Just not the way it is conventionally understood, ‘on its own’ = a la, the way Frau Obama would have us believe. As though if we could only slip one or two servings of kale into the Fattyfat person’s diet, Great Strides Towards Health would follow.

                    8. I never disagreed with your larger point — I just thought it was incomplete.

    2. Death by Food Pyramid

    3. Yeah, I think stress, smoking, and heavy drinking are pretty much the only habits that actually effect your lifespan.

      1. Shoot and snort ’em if you got ’em, boys!

  57. What? Malice is over here now?

    1. A nice addition to the list!

      Wake Up
      Fuck the queen
      Take a shit
      Kill the queen
      Eat six chickens
      Get married
      Kill the new queen
      Eat a cow
      Take a shit
      Start dating
      Belch for an hour
      Eat a sheep
      Kill my date
      Defy the pope
      Eat a goat
      Take a shit
      Fuck a bishop
      Get engaged
      Kill my fiancee
      Eat a pig
      Marry a pig
      Kill the pig
      Eat the pope
      Vomit
      Go to sleep

      George Carlin

      1. ^ A day in the life of Henry VIII

  58. Not the relevant question, Shermer.

  59. Except for the last 17 years.

  60. SHOULD THERE BE AN EBOLAZAR??

    1. Ye, and Obamahud begat Ebolazar, who begat…

      1. Obama Ebola Czar Makes First Announcement:

        “”BOW TO KALIIIII MAAAAA!!!””

        1. Should have been Moloch, though.

          …Man, I’m just picking those nits tonight. Sorry guys.

          1. William Blake Moloch, or WWE?

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