Friday, August 26, 2016

Beware homeopathy: it poisons!

(Bulgarians can read this post here.)

Shortly before the end of the summer semester, I caught laryngitis. I was drinking tea every hour and other liquids every 3 minutes and nevertheless I had no voice. Two friends advised me to try the homeopathic remedy Homeovox that were allegedly very useful to them in a similar situation.

Now, I agree with those who say that homeopathy is "science for idiots". I had used it only once when I had contracted sinusitis while pregnant and an otorhinolaryngologist had prescribed me the homeopathic remedy Cinabsin. Doctors avoid prescribing true drugs to pregnant women because they could harm the baby, as if the best for the baby is to develop amidst an untreated infection. I tried the tablets, to no avail. Nevertheless, I decided to try the Homeovox as well, hoping that they could help after all.

I bought a package from the nearest pharmacy and sucked a tablet. No improvement at all. The highly recommended remedy could not even compare in efficiency with the cheap mint candy offered by a third friend. I looked into the list of ingredients to see what is (or is presumed to be) inside. You can see it here. I mentioned in the list the ingredient Mercurius solubilis, that is, soluble mercury. The medicine claims to be "toxin-free" and one indeed expects it to be safe because it is produced in France. So what was this mercury doing there? Indeed, many vaccines used to contain the mercury compound thimerosal (thiomersal) as preservative, and a few still have it; but tablets do not need such a preservative. Besides, Mercurius solubilis was listed among the active ingredients.

I searched the Web and found out that mercury is a regular component of homeopathic "remedies". The explanations why it is there, and generally how these "remedies" act, read as if their authors have some serious psychiatric diagnosis, and no adequate treatment. Here are some examples:

Jonathan Hardy, the site of the British Homeopathic Association: "Mercury is an element which has been known to man and used in medicine for millennia. Used homeopathically it is a very deep-acting and wide-ranging medicine. As is often the case we can see fascinating parallels between the chemical nature, properties, toxicology, as well as associated mythol­ogy and psychology and the homeo­pathic application of the substance... Highly toxic, mercury is most poisonous when inhaled but dangerous amounts can be ingested and absorbed through the skin over time. Our homeopathic knowledge of Mercury comes partly from the provings carried out by Hahne­mann and others and also from the extensive toxicological knowledge that has been built up over the centuries. The symptom picture gained is similar to many common diseases and Mercury is thus a frequently prescribed homeo­pathic medicine." Got it? Because mercury is toxic and the symptoms of poisoning with it resemble those of some other diseases, homeopathy considers it therapeutic! Of course, if you obtain your mercury not from a homeopathic potion but from a vaccine, do not expect any therapeutic effects, only toxic ones! The author claims below: "The FDA in the United States has admitted that children have been ex­posed to unsafe levels of mercury through vaccines containing thimerosal" - a statement that is just a blatant lie.

A site called Home Remedy Central: "When we hear the word “mercury” many of us automatically assume that it’s bad. Though high levels of it can be toxic to humans, it has also had some fantastic healing properties that have been used through the years.It was used in mainstream medicine until it was found, in its natural form, to have adverse side effects. Since homeopathy dilutes to the point that not a molecule remains, it is safe and we can reap all of the healing benefits."

For the record: in the dark ages of medical history, mercury was used by (what passed for) official medicine for treatment of syphilis, until the team of Paul Ehrlich developed a drug based on the less toxic arsenic. Other "healing benefits" of mercury do not exist. Is it at least safe at the levels used by homeopathy, as its promoters claim? Not always. In 1991, Montoya-Cabrera and co-authors published in a Mexican medical journal an article with the following abstract:

"Mercury poisoning caused by a homeopathic drug
We report an infant with diaper dermatitis and mild respiratory and enteral infections, treated with a homeopathic mercurial medicine: Mercurius 6a (cinnabar dilute 1 x 10(6)), who thereafter became seriously ill with exacerbation and dissemination of the dermatitis as well as irritability and albuminuria. Mercury urine levels were 60 micrograms/L (reference less than 10 micrograms/L). The homeopathic medicine was suspended but symptoms persisted. Therefore the chelating agent D-penicillamine was administered per os (50 mg/kg/day during 10 days). The clinical conditions improved and urinary levels of mercury decreased to normal values. We concluded that homeopathic medicaments should be recognised as potentially harmful substances.
The good news is that at least some consumers show critical thinking abilities. Below, I am copying a short discussion from the Mothering forum.

1st participant: "Sorry if this is a dumb question, but my exposure to homeopathics has been limited to just a few remedies, so far. I purchased Traumeel drops for pain, then saw "Mercurius solubilis 8X 2 ml" listed in the ingredients. I looked it up online, and the info I saw said "also known as quicksilver" "mercury" "nontoxic." It seems odd that it is a good thing to consume. What am I missing?"

2nd participant: "Sorry, not sure about your question, but I know that Arsenic (yes, the poison used in many crime novels) is a homeopathic remedy (very much diluted of course as all remedies are)."

3rd participant: "This, the arsenicum, and Uranium Nitricum made me skeptical of homepathy. While there is good from the herbal remedies (undiluted arnica for ex.), to assert that 100 million-fold dilution of mercury is good and useful? (Esp. when we're worrying about million-fold dilutions in vaccines?) Eh. It reads like a Victorian medicinal primer. Some good, some bad, and some hocus pocus..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How covering of Muslim women affects others

"Burkini" is all-covering swimming outfit beloved by fundamentalist Muslims. (Do you imagine staying in such a garb under the sun for hours? Or how it feels after swimming, wet all over your body, as if you have accidentally fallen in water with all your clothes on? Grrrrr!)

This summer, after France suffered three major Islamist terrorist attacks in a year and a half, various French resort municipalities ban burkini. As said David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes: "Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order... I simply forbid a uniform that is the symbol of Islamic extremism..." His head of municipal services Thierry Migoule added: "We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach… But ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us."

The text below is from the Hill, by Hala Arafa, a retired news editor at the Arabic Branch of the Voice of America.

"The burkini is a toxic ideology, not a dress choice

It is very difficult to understand the uproar caused by the French government’s decision to ban the burkini. This was a reaction to the chaos and turmoil caused by the Islamic fundamentalist sect in the Muslim world and in Europe.

The fundamentalists are the ones who reject participation in the 21st century. They prefer to isolate themselves in seventh century ideas and dress; despite that no one is denying them the right to practice their religion in private. They don’t have the right, however, to invade the public space  and impose their ideology  and belief system represented by their dress.

Any dress is a culmination of a social experience  and a representation of its core values. The fashion worn in the 21st century reflects the progress of our thoughts on equality, human rights,  and women’s rights.

Civilized nations worked very hard for centuries to achieve the freedoms we enjoy today. The clothes worn by Muslim fundamentalist women are based on seventh century beliefs. They say that a woman’s honor is directly tied to her clothes and a man is not responsible for his actions if he is tempted by a woman. This is an ideology that absolves men from any responsibility of committing the crime of rape  and blames the victim for not protecting her honor by covering up.

This old ideology was revived in the early 1980s by the introduction of hijab, a seemingly innocuous piece of cloth, under the guise of modesty  and piety. It revived ideas of women’s servitude, promoted a rape culture and led to the political  and social instability we witness today.

The hijab ideology is why young Muslims today think they have the right to sexually assault uncovered women. This was demonstrated by Muslim immigrants gang assaults in Cologne, Germany, last January. Similar attacks happened in March in Sweden  and other European countries that took in Muslim immigrants.

To say the burkini ban stifles cultural diversity is to focus on the superficial garment, not the rape ideology it promotes. That also ignores the deterioration in every aspect of social & political life in the Muslim world since the introduction of this extremist ideology. This isn’t a choice of dress. This is a choice of a very specific ideology that has proven harmful to society.

To say the ban limits their religious freedom is also an invalid argument. Religious freedom means practicing religion in private without fear of intimidation or reprisals. It doesn’t mean people are free to impose their religious beliefs on others. Then of course the Islamic fundamentalist claims that it is Islamophobia, an accusation that assumes that they represent all of Islam & not merely one sect with extreme behavior and ideas whose time had passed 1400 years ago.

The French government’s ban finally shines the light on the glaring contradictions between the fundamentalists’ words  and actions. “Hijab” means to cover/to hide. Yet, they want to participate in every aspect of public life  and invade every public domain. Since neither the hijab nor the burkini is an invisibility cloak, we must wonder: Do they want to hide  and cover their women or are they using religion as a tool to make unquestioned political/social gains?

If we are to take into account the experience of the past 35 years in the majority-Muslim countries, we must conclude that Islam is being used as a means to an end. If the hijab or burkini had anything to do with modesty or piety, the Islamic fundamentalists would have sought private beaches, not insisted on forcing themselves on the public. But as they did before, they want to become part of the accepted social scene and part of the new norm of the society.

The French government’s burkini ban, unlike Iranian laws that enforce hijab, takes into account the experience in Muslim countries where the introduction of a religious element into the public sphere led to the current strife.

The ban removes an element that has proven to be a corrupting influence and morally destructive, unlike Iran where the law is based on an untested extremist religious dogma. The ban takes into account the effect of the Islamic fundamentalist ideology on future generations.

If hijab becomes an accepted public phenomenon, a modern society cannot teach its future generations that a woman’s dress is not an excuse for rape.

Islamic fundamentalists should be allowed to worship freely. Their beliefs must be properly defined as solely theirs. The whole society  and future generations must never regard them as acceptable or allow them to become part of the shared common public scene. All groups espousing ideas that veer off the accepted norms of a society isolate themselves  and practice their beliefs in private. Nudists have private beaches. Islamic fundamentalists should not be any different.

The burkini ban is an act of a socially conscious, morally courageous and responsible government with extreme prudence  and futuristic foresight."

Update: I have added a brilliant Jesus & Mo cartoon copied from Prof. Jerry Coyne's site.

Update: The burkini ban has been overturned by court.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Using sport to promote Islam, part 2

In my previous post, I reposted text from the blog of Prof. Jerry Coine about using the Olympics to promote the hideous religion of Islam. This post will be on the same subject, because Islamophiles continue (ab)using the Olympics to glorify Islam. The text below is copied from yesterday's post by Prof. Coyne.

"More on the Western fetishizing of Islamic worship

The Canadian ex-Muslim Eiynah, also known as “Nice Mangos” —it’s telling that many ex-Muslims, but not ex-Jews or ex-Catholics, must hide their identity—drew my attention to an article in Time Magazine with this tweet: