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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Hero Worship Is Bad

It should be ob­vi­ous to any­one that tak­ing the words of any­one, in­clud­ing some­one you like (or even spe­cial­ly some­one you like) with­out skep­ti­cism is a dan­ger­ous path. For ex­am­ple, you may like Gand­hi's phi­los­o­phy of non-vi­o­lence, or ad­mire him for what­ev­er rea­son.

That is hard­ly an ex­cuse to take any­thing he said as worth much, spe­cial­ly when it's about sub­jects he had ab­so­lute­ly no idea about, be­cause he had a ten­den­cy to be ab­so­lute­ly sure he knew ev­ery­thing about ev­ery­thing.

For ex­am­ple, did you know he wrote a book about health? Here's a quote from it:

One ques­tion which I have asked my­self again and again, in the course of writ­ing this book, is why I of all per­sons should write it. Is there any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion at all for one like me, who am no doc­tor, and whose knowl­edge of the mat­ters dealt with in these pages must be nec­es­sar­i­ly im­per­fec­t, at­tempt­ing to write a book of this kind?

My de­fence is this. The “science” of medicine is it­self based up­on im­per­fect knowl­edge, most of it be­ing mere quack­ery. But this book, at any rate, has been prompt­ed by the purest of mo­tives. The at­tempt is here made not so much to show how to cure dis­eases as to point out the means of pre­vent­ing them. And a lit­tle re­flec­tion will show that the pre­ven­tion of dis­ease is a com­par­a­tive­ly sim­ple mat­ter, not re­quir­ing much spe­cial­ist knowl­edge, al­though it is by no means an easy thing to put these prin­ci­ples in­to prac­tice. Our ob­ject has been to show the uni­ty of ori­gin and treat­ment of all dis­eases, so that all peo­ple may learn to treat their dis­eases them­selves when they do arise, as they of­ten do, in spite of great care in the ob­ser­vance of the laws of health.

Do you no­tice the bait and switch? He knows lit­tle about the mat­ter, but he will write the book any­way be­cause it's re­al­ly about the sim­ple sub­ject of dis­ease pre­ven­tion. But read­ing it "all peo­ple may learn how to treat dis­eases them­selves". And not just a few dis­eases but all dis­eases. That para­graph reeks of false mod­esty and sim­ple dis­hon­esty.

But hey, did you know that he could cure the plague?

I have tried this sin­gle treat­ment [a mud poul­tice] for all va­ri­eties from sim­ple fever up to Bubon­ic Plague, with in­vari­ably sat­is­fac­to­ry re­sult­s.

Of course, in the next sen­tence it says:

In 1904, there was a se­vere out­break of plague among the In­di­ans in South Africa. It was so se­vere that, out of 23 per­sons that were af­fect­ed, as many as 21 died with­in the space of 24 hours; and of the re­main­ing two, who were re­moved to the hos­pi­tal, on­ly one sur­vived, and that one was the man to whom was ap­plied the mud-poul­tice.

I won­der what is a re­sult less than sat­is­fac­to­ry.

There are ob­vi­ous mis­un­der­stand­ings of ba­sic fact­s, such as how res­pi­ra­tion works 1 what the stom­ach does 2 and even how many bones there are in a hu­man chest, and there are, of course, things that are just weird:

Co­coa is ful­ly as harm­ful as cof­fee, and it con­tains a poi­son which dead­ens the per­cep­tions of the skin.

Even ha­bit­u­al cof­fee-­drinkers will be un­able to per­ceive any dif­fer­ence in taste be­tween cof­fee and this sub­sti­tute. Good and well-sift­ed wheat is put in­to a fry­ing-­pan over the fire and well fried, un­til it has turned com­plete­ly red, and be­gun to grow dark in colour. Then it is pow­dered just like cof­fee. A spoon of the pow­der is then put in­to a cup, and boil­ing wa­ter poured on to it. Prefer­ably keep the thing over the fire for a min­ute, and add milk and sug­ar, if nec­es­sary, and you get a de­li­cious drink, which is much cheap­er and health­i­er than cof­fee. Those who want to save them­selves the trou­ble of pre­par­ing this pow­der may get their sup­ply from the Satya­gra­ha Ashram, Ahmed­abad.

The first class, which is the largest, con­sists of those who, whether by pref­er­ence or out of ne­ces­si­ty, live on an ex­clu­sive veg­etable di­et. Un­der this di­vi­sion come the best part of In­di­a, a large por­tion of Eu­rope, and Chi­na and Japan. The sta­ple di­et of the Ital­ians is mac­a­roni, of the Irish pota­to, of the Scotch oat­meal, and of the Chi­nese and Ja­pa­nese rice. 3

Wheat is the best of all the ce­re­al­s. Man can live on wheat alone, for in it we have in due pro­por­tion all the el­e­ments of nu­tri­tion. Many kinds of ed­i­bles can be made of wheat, and they can all be eas­i­ly di­gest­ed. 4 [...] man can re­tain his strength by liv­ing on mere wheat boiled in wa­ter.

And fi­nal­ly, there are the bits which are not just wrong, but al­so ab­so­lute­ly fuck­ing dan­ger­ous.

Did you know he says small­pox is not con­ta­gious, and is re­al­ly a di­ges­tive tract con­di­tion?

[S­mall­pox] is caused, just like oth­er dis­eases, by the blood get­ting im­pure ow­ing to some dis­or­der of the bow­el­s; and the poi­son that ac­cu­mu­lates in the sys­tem is ex­pelled in the form of smal­l­-pox. If this view is cor­rec­t, then there is ab­so­lute­ly no need to be afraid of smal­l­-pox. If it were re­al­ly a con­ta­gious dis­ease, ev­ery­one should catch it by mere­ly touch­ing the pa­tien­t; but this is not al­ways the case. [...] This has giv­en rise to the su­per­sti­tion that it is a con­ta­gious dis­ease, and hence to the at­tempt to mis­lead the peo­ple in­to the be­lief that vac­ci­na­tion is an ef­fec­tive means of pre­vent­ing it.

Oh, vac­ci­na­tion! You see, this book was pub­lished in 1921. By 1921, small­pox was al­ready dis­ap­pear­ing in Eu­rope be­cause vac­ciona­tion worked. And small­pox vac­ci­na­tion had worked for decades. He ei­ther knew noth­ing about how ef­fec­tive it was, or did not care.

I think the prob­lem here is, un­sur­pris­ing­ly, that to some­one with Gand­hi's back­ground vac­ci­na­tion was evil and just could­n't be ac­cept­ed as some­thing pos­i­tive.

Vac­ci­na­tion is a bar­barous prac­tice, and it is one of the most fa­tal of all the delu­sions cur­rent in our time, not to be found even among the so-­called sav­age races of the world.

[...]

More­over, vac­ci­na­tion is a very dirty pro­cess, for the serum which is in­tro­duced in­to the hu­man body in­cludes not on­ly that of the cow, but al­so of the ac­tu­al smal­l­-pox pa­tien­t. An av­er­age man would even vom­it at the mere sight of this stuff. If the hand hap­pens to touch it, it is al­ways washed with soap. The mere sug­ges­tion of tast­ing it fills us with in­dig­na­tion and dis­gust. But how few of those who get them­selves vac­ci­nat­ed re­alise that they are in ef­fect eat­ing this filthy stuff!

[...]

As has been well said, cow­ards die a liv­ing death, and our craze for vac­ci­na­tion is sole­ly due to the fear of death or dis­fig­ure­ment by smal­l­-pox. 5

[...]

I can­not al­so help feel­ing that vac­ci­na­tion is a vi­o­la­tion of the dic­tates of re­li­gion and moral­i­ty. The drink­ing of the blood of even dead an­i­mals is looked up­on with hor­ror even by ha­bit­u­al meat-eater­s. Yet, what is vac­ci­na­tion but the tak­ing in of the poi­soned blood of an in­no­cent liv­ing an­i­mal? Bet­ter far were it for God-fear­ing men that they should a thou­sand times be­come the vic­tims of smal­l­-pox and even die a ter­ri­ble death than that they should be guilty of such an act of sac­ri­lege.

And there you have it, the clas­si­cal moral arith­metic of the re­li­gious: it is bet­ter for your son to die in hor­ri­ble suf­fer­ing or be dis­fig­ured than for a drop of cow serum to be in­ject­ed in him. How's that for non-vi­o­len­t?

Fuck that shit, Gand­hi. Fuck that shit.


1

"The oxy­gen of the air which we in­hale pu­ri­fies this blood and is as­sim­i­lat­ed in­to it, while the ni­tro­gen ab­sorbs the poi­sonous mat­ter and is breathed out­." -- Gand­hi

2

"If the stom­ach ceas­es to work even for a sin­gle mo­men­t, the whole body would col­lapse." -- Gand­hi

3

My great-­grand­par­ents came to Ar­genti­na from Italy a few decades be­fore this book was pub­lished. If some­one called them veg­e­tar­i­an­s, they would prob­a­bly smack you in the head with pro­sciut­to.

4

Ex­cep­t, of course, by those who can not di­gest wheat.

5

Hell yeah!

Lucio / 2013-09-16 03:38:

I think i once read Gandhi saying something along the lines of "non-violence if for courageous people, if you don't have the courage for that, better to use violence than do nothing."

Roberto Alsina / 2013-09-16 03:41:

I suspect he may have said "it is for men of good a righteous path that cake be had and also the cake be eaten".

Lucio / 2013-09-16 03:39:

I think i once read Gandhi saying something along the lines of "non-violence is for courageous people, if you don't have the courage for that, better to use violence than do nothing."

gour_atmarama / 2013-09-21 07:40:

Hiya,

it's not that I'm admirer of Gandhi who was wrong in so many things, but if you take time to read some book about Ayurvedic medicine you *might* get some background for some of his ideas which may sound totally wrong. :-)

Moreover, having a doctor in my own house (wife), I e.g. know something about the uselessness of most of vaccinations which is admitted even in the medical circles, but it's not (yet) known to the more general population due to being too big business of pharmaceutical lobby including WHO/UNICEF etc. ;)

Our small 17 months daughter was not vaccinated and was not ill even for a single day having strong immune system which would be destroyed by so many vaccinations put in the bodies of other children in the neighborhood being ill every so often.

The point is that the so called science is also often not a source of trustworthy information being bribed in so many ways by $$$s. ;)

Roberto Alsina / 2013-09-21 12:51:

Your child is still protected by the herd immunity of her peers who have been vaccinated. Being old enough to have seen friends and brothers suffer through the many diseases my son and his friends have never seen (measles, whooping cough, dyphteria, etc) parents who don't vaccinate are endangering not only their own kids but others.

Disease statistics show that once vaccination goes below a certain threshold, those diseases come back, and regardless of the vaccination oponents theories, their kids will get sick. And so will those of parents who have done the right thing and vaccinated theirs (although luckily in lower rates).

Have you ever seen someone suffering from the effects of polio? I have. It's *not* something I want to come back. Have you ever seen someone suffering smallpox? I have not, but I have seen pictures, and it's *not* something I want to see in real life.

What anti-vaccine advocates never seem to address is *why* if vaccines are so bad there are so many fewer cases of smallpox, rubeola, chickenpox, measles, etc. correlating with vaccination? While correlation doesn't imply causation, here the link is fairly undeniable.

Why, if vaccination is bad, has smallpox and polio disappeared?

Please get informed from as many sources as you can and vaccinate your daughter. You will not only help her be healthier, but you will be doing your share to make every other kid in your community healthier too.

In any case, I hope she's never sick a day in her life from now on, too.

gour_atmarama / 2013-09-21 21:36:

> Why, if vaccination is bad, has smallpox and polio disappeared?

There are many reports, here is the one of the top Google hits: http://www.vaccinationcounc...

Another question, if vaccinations is good why is e.g. TBC increasing?

I won't give you any evidence - Google is full of them. ;)

Roberto Alsina / 2013-09-21 21:54:

Do you know what Viera Schneiber is not? A doctor in medicine. Do you know what else she is not? An epidemiologist. She's a PhD indeed. In geology.

She misquotes and misunderstands inmunology and epidemiology papers for a living. She apparenly claims broken bones and skull fractures are caused by vaccination (and misattributed to SIDS)

That "international vaccination council" is mostly a collection of cranks who are not only not right, but usually are not even wrong.

But it's ok. I don't expect I can convince you. So, feel free to post a last comment and then I'll close the thread. Deal?

gour_atmarama / 2013-09-22 05:28:

> But it's ok. I don't expect I can convince you. So, feel free to post a last comment and then I'll close the thread. Deal?

OK.

My wife *is* MD and as part of ongoing education she is going to different conferences, lectures etc. given my experts from the field and those experts are admitting that e.g. for TBC from which people are vaccinated for quite long time, the official medicine, according to their statistics, does not know whether the vaccination is at all effective, how it works, whether it works etc. and they are puzzled that TBC is in increase despite of it.

That why it is not at all astonishing that e.g. in the most developed countries within EU, the vaccination is NO longer obligatory as in some less developed countries.

If you wonder why it is so, I'm leaving up to you to e.g. do your research about e.g. vaccination & Bill Gates. ;)

Logically, vaccination means to slow down your program frantically expecting some kind of error to happen instead of using appropriate exceptions handlers to handle *specific* error condition only *when* it really happens. :-)

Roberto Alsina / 2013-09-22 13:26:

I am trying really hard to be a better person. That includes not engaging in perennial arguments with those I disagree with, and nitpicking and debating to death every misguided thing they say or write.

It's hard.

Have a nice day, I am closing the comments here.