5 simple chemistry facts that everyone should understand before talking about science

One of the most ludicrous things about the anti-science movement is the enormous number of arguments that are based on a lack of knowledge about high school level chemistry. These chemistry facts are so elementary and fundamental to science that the anti-scientists’ positions can only be described as willful ignorance, and these arguments once again demonstrate that despite all of the claims of being “informed free-thinkers,” anti-scientists are nothing more than uninformed (or misinformed) science deniers. Therefore, in this post I am going to explain five rudimentary facts about chemistry that you must grasp before you are even remotely qualified to make an informed decision about medicines, vaccines, food, etc.

 

1). Everything is made of chemicals

This seems like a simple concept, but many people seem to struggle greatly with it, so let’s get this straight: all matter is made of chemicals (excluding subatomic particles). You consist entirely of chemicals. All food (even organic food) consists entirely of chemicals. Herbal remedies consist entirely of chemicals, etc. So, when someone says something like, “I don’t vaccinate because I don’t want my child to be injected with chemicals,” they have just demonstrated how truly uninformed they are, and you can be absolutely certain that they don’t know what they are talking about because all matter is made of chemicals.

A “chemical-free lifestyle” is totally impossible. You can only survive without chemicals for 1-2 minutes, after that you will suffocate from a lack of oxygen. Right now, you are breathing in dioxide (aka oxygen) and your body is using that chemical as an electron acceptor for a process known as cellular respiration. This process takes carbohydrates such as glucose (which is a chemical) from your food, and breaks those carbohydrates down in order to release carbon dioxide (a chemical), water (also a chemical), and energy stored in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules (still chemicals), and it is ATP which fuels your entire body. This process also involves numerous enzymes and electron acceptors such as acetyl coenzyme A and nicotine adenine dinucleotide (NADH), all of which are chemicals. Are you getting the picture here? You are a biochemical machine and every single thing that you do is driven by chemical reactions inside of your body. Even just reading this post is causing various chemical reactions inside your nervous system which are allowing you to process information. So there is no inherent reason to fear chemicals. You and everything else on this planet are made of chemicals and you would quickly die without them.

It’s also worth noting that the length of a chemical’s name does not indicate how toxic it is. The internet is full of scare tactics and fear-mongering over chemicals with long scary- sounding names. For example, Vani Hari (a.k.a. the Food Babe) is famous for proclaiming that you shouldn’t eat anything that you can’t pronounce or spell. This is patently absurd. For example, consider the following chemicals: retinal, cyanocobalamin, ascorbic acid, and cholecalciferol. Having taught college biology and listened to my students butcher scientific words, I am confident in saying that a large number of people would struggle to pronounce those, and many of them would likely freak out over things like ascorbic acid which sound like they should be bad for you. In reality, those are simply the chemical names for vitamins A, B, C, and D. Similarly, all living things contain DNA, and as a result, virtually all food contains DNA, but DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. Again, its a long, difficult to pronounce name, and it sounds bad because it’s an acid, but it is essential for life and it is in nearly all foods. It is naive and childish to base your diet or medical practices on your pronunciation skills.

 

2). The dose makes the poison

There is no such thing as a toxic chemical, there are only toxic doses. Let me say that again: essentially all chemicals are safe at a low enough dose, and essentially all chemicals are toxic at a high enough dose. This is a fundamental fact that people in the anti-science movement routinely ignore. Vani Hari is notorious for rejecting this fact by making claims such as, “there is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever.” The reality is quite different. For example, everyone reading this currently has mercury, arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde, aluminum, lead, and a host of other “toxic” chemicals in your body right now. Further, you would have those chemicals even if you had spent your entire life hundreds of miles from anyone else, ate only organic food that you grew yourself, never used pharmaceuticals or vaccines, etc. These are chemicals that are normally in our environment and we acquire them through our food, water, etc. Some of these (such as formaldehyde) are even produced by our bodies. Even radioactive chemicals like uranium are often present. So clearly there are safe levels of “toxic” chemicals since all of us normally have them in our bodies. Inversely, “safe” chemicals such as water are toxic in high enough doses. People have, in fact, overdosed on water. To be clear, they did not drown, they overdosed. Water is actually dangerous to your body at high enough levels.

The importance of this fact cannot be overstated. No chemical is inherently safe or inherently dangerous. So, the next time that someone tries to scare you about the “toxic chemicals” in your food, medicine, vaccines, detergents, etc. ask them for two pieces of information:

  1. What is the toxic dose in humans?
  2. What is the dose in the product in question?

Those two pieces of information are absolutely crucial for evaluating the safety of the product. You simply cannot know whether that chemical is dangerous without knowing the dose in the product and the dose at which it becomes toxic. So, if your friend, blogger, etc. cannot answer those two questions, then they have just unequivocally demonstrated that they haven’t done their homework and don’t know what they are talking about; therefore, you shouldn’t listen to them. Indeed, a great many anti-science arguments crumble under the realization that the dose makes the poison. For example, we have all no doubt heard people rant about the “toxins” in vaccines, but the reality is that the supposedly toxic chemicals in vaccines are present in completely safe doses and, therefore, are totally safe.

 

 3). There is no difference between “natural” and “synthetic” versions of a chemical

I often hear people claim that “synthetic” chemicals (a.k.a. chemicals made in a lab) are not as good for you as their “natural” counterparts. The reality is that this represents a misunderstanding of literally the most fundamental concept of chemistry. The most basic unit of matter is the atom (again, excluding subatomic particles), and there are several different types of atoms known as elements. We combine these elements to make various molecules, and the combination of elements determines the molecule’s properties. The process by which those elements were combined is completely and totally irrelevant to how the final chemical behaves.

For example, water (a.k.a. dihydrogen monoxide) consists of three atoms: 2 hydrogens and 1 oxygen (hydrogen and oxygen are both elements). There are literally thousands of different chemical reactions that will produce water. In other words, we can make water thousands of different ways, but water always behaves in exactly the same way no matter how it was formed because it always consists of the same three atoms. Further, if given a vial of pure water, there isn’t a chemist anywhere in the world who could tell you how that water was produced because it would be completely identical to all of the other water everywhere on the planet. So, as long as the chemical structure is the same, it doesn’t matter if the chemical was extracted from a plant or synthesized in a lab.

 

4). “Natural” chemicals are not automatically good and “artificial” chemicals are not automatically bad

I often encounter people who will claim to agree with everything that I have said thus far, but they still insist that “artificial” chemicals (a.k.a. chemicals that simply are not found in nature) are bad for you and shouldn’t be consumed, injected, etc. There are several critical problems here. First, remember again that esentially all chemicals are dangerous at a high enough doses and safe at a low enough dose. That is just as true for artificial chemicals as it is for natural chemicals. Second, this claim is nothing more than an appeal to nature fallacy. Nature is full of chemicals such as cyanide and arsenic that are dangerous at anything but a very low dose, so there is no reason to think that the “naturalness” of a chemical is an indicator of its healthiness.

Further, remember that chemicals are nothing more than arrangements of elements. There is absolutely no reason to think that nature has produced all of the best arrangements or that we are incapable of making an arrangement that is safe or even better than what nature produced. I constantly hear people say that we cannot improve on nature, but that is an utterly ludicrous and unsupportable claim, and I would challenge anyone to give me a logical syllogism that backs it up. Really think about this for a minute, if you are of the opinion that artificial chemicals should be avoided, try to defend that position. Ask yourself why you think that. Can you give me any reason to think that they are bad other than simply that they aren’t natural (which we have just established is a fallacy)?

 

5). A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals that it is bound to

Chemical compounds are made by combining different elements or even molecules, and the final product may not behave the same way as all of its individual parts. Sodium chloride is a classic example of this concept. Sodium is extremely reactive and will literally explode if it contacts water, and chlorine is very toxic at anything but an extremely low dose. Nevertheless, when we combine them we get sodium chloride, which is better known as table salt. Notice that table salt does not have the properties of either sodium or chlorine. It does not explode when it contacts water and you cannot get chlorine poisoning from it no matter how much of it you eat. The combination of those two elements changed their properties and it would be absurd to say that “salt is dangerous because it contains sodium.” The sodium in salt no longer behaves like sodium because it is bound to the chlorine. Therefore, when you hear a claim that something contains a dangerous chemical, make sure that the chemical isn’t bound to something that makes it safe.

Thimerosal in vaccines makes an excellent illustration of how little anti-scientists actually understand about chemistry. You have no doubt heard that vaccines are dangerous because they contain mercury, and mercury is toxic. Ignoring the fact that currently only certain types of flu vaccines contain mercury and the fact the mercury is present in very low doses, there is another serious problem here. The mercury in vaccines is in a form known as thimerosal. Thimerosal is mercury bound to an ethyl group, making it ethyl mercury. The mercury that causes poisoning (i.e., the form that accumulates in seafood) is mercury bound to a methyl group (a.k.a. methyl mercury). Ethyl and methyl mercury are not the same thing. They do not behave the same way. Just as the properties of the sodium were changed by the chlorine, the properties of the mercury are changed by the ethyl group. So, claiming that “mercury is dangerous and vaccines contain mercury, therefore vaccines are dangerous” is no different from claiming that “sodium is dangerous and salt contains sodium, therefore salt is dangerous.”

 

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483 Responses to 5 simple chemistry facts that everyone should understand before talking about science

  1. Garth says:

    Mortein made a stupid ad for their NaturGuard automatic sprayer, claiming “its odourless formula contains 98% natural ingredients, so it’s tough on pests not people.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKBvqPqntBw
    I can only conclude the thinking that lead to this was:
    “Nature good, so is good for people! Pests bad, so nature bad for pests!”

    I’m surprised they left the ad up. While I was looking for the ad earlier, I found a later version where changed the language, but still left a little of the naturalistic fallacy in there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dxzr8Zhpnw

    Like

  2. garyes805 says:

    I like science. I don’t like tobacco science.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NONAME says:

    I think they refer “chemicals” to everything that they think is harmful

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Susan Werb says:

    As with me, I think he prefaced his comments with this background because of the many personal attacks on anyone critical of this article as being stupid, uneducated, ignorant or dumb ins teach of discussing actual ideas and logical fallacies.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. drjohntas says:

    I have one point of disagreement.
    This is related to point 3)… which claims” There is no difference between “natural” and “synthetic” versions of a chemical.”
    With regard to biological proteins.. the same (as written down on paper) sequence/arrangement of atoms/subunits/amino acids in a complex molecule such as a protein can be constructed (in 3D) in either one form or in a mirror image of that form. This is conveniently termed “left handed” or “right handed”.
    The mirror-symmetry between three dimensional structures is important biologically because nature usually prefers only one version … either the “left handed” or the “right handed” version of the active protein. In simple terms .. if you wish to join two proteins together in order perform a biological action, only one form (either the left handed or the right handed) version of a complex molecule will do the job. Try to shake hands with a friend .. you with your right hand.. your friend with their left.. it doesn’t work.
    Synthetic production of biologically important substances may result in a mixture of “left handed” or the “right handed” versions of the same protein. A test tube does not discriminate. Nature, on the other hand is very careful to produce only one form of a desired protein. It produces 3D proteins using a biological (DNA/RNA) mold. For example most amino acids are left handed.
    “So what” you may say.. well.. what if the “wrong” version does nasty things?
    For example… many people take heaps of “antoxidant” vitamins produced by drug companies (companies with nice names and cool reputations) .. in the belief that they reduce cancer risk. Alas.. the result is actually an INCREASE in cancer risk.. why?… well my reading is that is is because the laboratory process produces significant quantitiies of ” wrong handed” vitamin molecules. These rogue molecules muck around with our “natural” biology.
    I may be wrong in all this.. if you have a counter.. let me know.

    Liked by 4 people

    • James says:

      While biological enzymes do often produce a single form (enantiomer) of a compound, they are also capable of producing mixtures (racemate). There are methods to synthetically produce enantiomerically pure compounds, or purely ‘left handed’ compounds as you called it, and in order for a drug to be released both forms of it have to be isolated and tested for adverse effects. I dont think any/many racemates have been approved without this check since around the 80’s when the whole thalidomide tragedy went down.

      source(s)- I major in organic chemistry

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      • Lemmus says:

        I recently saw a talk about a drug that became twice as effective a new synthesis method. That is, it was now enantio pure and a racemate before. Racemates are still approved as long as they are tested as such.

        I would regard enantiomers, or in a broader sense epimers, as different compounds. Think of all the sugars that are each others epimers, they have the same atomic connectivity, but we give them different names for a reason.

        You could synthetically make compounds that are worse than their natural equivalent by mucking about with different isotopes of the elements involved. This is done on purpose sometimes for radio-labeling. I don’t think this happens by accident though.

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      • Igor Alexandre Dutra e Silva says:

        What about cis/trans isomerism? Although they are not exactly the same compound, for they don’t have exactly the same characteristics, they are made of exactly the same amounts of atoms of each element. The most common example of it is the trans fat, that, we all know, is bad for our health. And it is bad exactly because they are trans instead of cis. And, ultimately, the fact that make them bad for us is that, because they never appeared in nature before, our organism never learned how to process it.

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        • Anders says:

          But trans fats DO exist in nature. The fat in cow’s milk is about 4% trans fat. And that trans fat, even though natural, is as bad for us as manufactured trans fat.

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          • Maija Haavisto says:

            Huh? The trans fat in dairy is mostly CLA and while there is conflicting evidence of some of its properties, several studies have shown benefits in fat metabolism. Vaccenic acid may have some benefits, as well. Man-made trans fats are different fatty acids, hence they may also have different effects, and are not thought to have any benefits whatsoever.

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        • The very first antigen must have been cooked grain( bread): subsequently antibiotics from dying grain- penicillin.

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      • MikeFright says:

        Minor correction: Thalidomide tragedy occurred in late fifties, not eighties.

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    • Sue says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I read an article about right-handed and left-handed nicotine enantiomers earlier this year. Here’s an excerpt: “A few years ago, the team tried to develop a vaccine that would target nicotine, but their vaccine was not very effective: it only worked for 30 percent of patients. They persevered, and the team hypothesized that a vaccine which only targets the left-handed form of nicotine, the most common form, would be more effective than the previous vaccine, which worked for both the right-handed and left-handed forms of nicotine.” They developed a vaccine focusing on the left-handed version, and it seems quite promising.

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      • Cory says:

        kinda confused here cause its my understanding that a vaccine works by training your immune system to recognize an intruding ORGANISM and to attack it upon its entry into your system… is something that targets a chemical compound still a vaccine? and how does it function?

        Liked by 1 person

        • One says:

          Maybe he was referring to a specific antibody uses to attack the molecule of nicotine, which is similar to a vaccine but it doesn’t stimulate the memory of the immune system.

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          • ron says:

            adrenergics are complicated indeed: then, epigenetically, i suppose those bees are just stupid animals and not above being “TRAINED” to be all worthless queen bees via tampering with royal jelly where are those pesky bees, anyway.?

            Like

        • ajjunn says:

          Actually, the immune system works *specifically* by targeting chemical compounds, like the surface proteins of a virus, via molecules of its own. There’s no other way for it to recognize anything. So yes, you can be vaccinated against compounds other than those attached to viruses or bacteria: for example the tetanus shot is not against the Clostridium tetani bacterium but against a toxin produced by it.

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    • Hi Dr Johntas. I think the author addressed this issue while making the statement of “structure being key to the properties”. Particularly in biology the conformation (shape) of molecules is key to their functionality. Sometimes there is little or no difference between isomers, sometimes one “works” biologically and one doesn’t, sometimes one can be more toxic than the other.

      You are right that a test tube does not discriminate, but we tend to isolate substances when one is important before ingestion or combination in a medication.

      Nature will always produce a mixture of isomers even if one is heavily preferential. In the lab you have the option to instill controls. While your point is valid its still based on the notion of “if” and is therefore largely based on speculation.

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    • Clsmark says:

      “Right” and “Left” handed versions would be considered different chemicals, if we are discussing compounds and their effects on humans. The version providing the action of interest would be considered different than the other, which would be considered a contaminant.

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    • Brian Scott says:

      Ever since the Thalidomide disaster scientists have been extremely careful as to which form is produced. It is often the first evaluation of any potential medicinal compound. There are stringent systems in place to monitor every compound produced at each intermediate step towards the final product. This is an example of how synthetic compounds are better than natural ones as the unwanted form is completely removed. It is not a case of ‘mucking about’ with nature. I have devoted much of my working life to developing detection and monitoring methodology for isomeric forms in medicinal synthesis so feel competent to reply to this question.
      Brian Scott (Retired Analytical Chemist, Roche Research Centre, 1973- 2001).

      Like

      • Richard says:

        “it is not a case of ‘mucking about’ with nature.” is a subjective opinion. I respect your education and experience, but methinks researchers have an almost impossible task of being totally objective. “Mother Nature” has had a long time to weed out what works and what doesn’t. Synthesizing new forms can too easily be forced – and without much knowledge of what happens in combinations with other forms. I fear Mother Nature works within much tighter controls when creating or allowing anomalies. Her motivation is life. Most researchers motivations are not so humane.

        Like

        • ron says:

          your genderizing is laughable and then so is the supreme court: how do you find mankind synthesis, that is nature. a sample of pluto may produce the oracle for the ultimate noncarbonated soda.

          Like

        • exarch says:

          Nature doesn’t care whether you live or die. Science does.

          Like

    • Titus says:

      solved long time ago

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantioselective_synthesis

      for a chemist left and right handed molecules are not “the same”.

      Like

    • The reason different ent-isomers are used is to negate an undesirable side effect of the naturally occurring isomer, thus creating a better critical for human consumption.

      Like

  6. Graham says:

    shame this article isn’t scientifically accurate. Many chemicals have no measurable safe level, and any exposure will in theory increase your risk, based on current scientific understanding. Where there is a threshold, of which there will actually be many depending on exposure and outcome, the ‘safe’ levels are changing as new evidence emerges. I was disappointed reading these five ‘facts’ that are clearly a biased and uninformed view of those facts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dave says:

      Chirality can be identified and separated if needed, using special chirality columns. as for proteins, the solution is even easier – use L-amino acids only…

      Like

    • Dave says:

      Sorry, that was meant for the other contributor.
      As for your comment – I would be thrilled to know if you claim that zeptomole of fluorine is lethal.

      Like

      • Graham says:

        It’s not just about lethality. Look up lead and neurodevelopmental effects on children. Look up genotoxic carcinogens. Look up ultra fine particulate matter in air. Look up radiation. If you find levels that are deemed safe then you aren’t looking at the most scientifically authoritative sources such as the committee on carcinogenicity or toxicity or mutagenicity or medical effects of air pollution. It’s all about risk.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Eric says:

          I think you are missing the point. He implies there is a safe level of risk whereas you seem to believe it’s possible to have zero risk. Not possible in the real world, even with natural chemicals. It’s a very grey scale world yet people want to make it black and white.

          Like

          • Graham says:

            I never mentioned zero risk, I know there is no such thing. I am talking about the evidence of harm from exposure to chemicals and what SCIENCE tells us about those potential harms. It tells us that for quite a few substances there is no threshold. COMMON SENSE tells us that very low exposures are unlikely to make much of a difference. I also don’t think anyone was implying there can be a safe level of risk, as that statement makes literally no sense. What you perhaps mean is an acceptable level of risk, which is something science will never be able to answer as it is a societal judgement, and individuals will draw their acceptability criteria in very different places. Anyway whilst this topic is fascinating the real point of my comment was disappointment that an article about science failed to represent the scientific consensus in relation to non threshold hazards. 😕

            Liked by 1 person

            • At 1 week of age( + Gestation) I was exposed to 3.events of maximum Rem radiation saturation of my thymus..700 units, I believe. I’m radioactive though I’m also 70 yo.

              Like

            • At 1 week of age( + Gestation) I was exposed to 3.events of maximum Rem radiation saturation of my thymus..700 units, I believe. I’m radioactive though I’m also 70 yo…how are you receiving ‘ludicrous, car lost, does it hurt much..?

              Like

            • Your posts are unfortunately inaccurate on a number of levels Graham. In scientific terms risk is qualified statistically – its not a point of social opinion at all.

              You also state quite a few substances have no safe threshold – may I ask which ones? As a research scientist of almost 20 years ive never encountered any such element or compound.

              Like

            • Graham says:

              Hello, this medium is really not great for this type of discussion but I will try my best! Science can estimate a level of risk, I do this for a job, but it can’t tell you when that level is acceptable. Is it one in a million? 10 000? 100? I gave examples of substances with no KNOWN thresholds (lead, most genotoxic carcinogens eg benzene, particulate matter, radiation). This doesn’t mean there is no threshold, only that there isn’t sufficient evidence to identify one. Google ‘committee on toxicology and non threshold’ and you will find the UK position on risk characterisation for genotoxic substances where there is no mechanistic data to suggest a threshold. I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say!!

              Liked by 1 person

        • Fil says:

          Elements that we are dependent on are needed in a certain concentration – that’s what they are stating. Too little and we are deficient. Just the right amount is good (varies of days, situations and life phases of course). Too much is poisonous. Things you take up might fall into a category that only is poisonous, however, it might also turn out that some (for example) carcinogens are actually needed in low amounts for survival. So it is about concentrations (in most cases). One thing about science education is that it often has to be boiled down to easily digestible information, often making statements a bit… wrong.

          I would also argue that some poisons, at below threshold will be cleared from your system with absolutely no adverse effects on your overall life quality or health. Although, this is obviously hard (almost impossible) to prove.

          It is good that someone (the authors of this text) try to educate, but it is also important to keep a ongoing debate around scientific topics since, as you state, new evidence constantly emerge and old gets re-evaluated.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fil says:

            Change “wrong” to ambiguously interpretable… and I think Eric has a point too.

            Like

          • exarch404 says:

            Also change “poisonous” to “toxic”.
            Snakes and spiders are poisonous, chemicals are toxic.

            Like

        • ron says:

          as are your blitherings and certainly if you ever intend to convince anyone of anything you will have to invest some time in language..you don’t currently have one at your disposal.

          Like

    • ron says:

      as are your blitherings and certainly if you ever intend to convince anyone of anything you will have to invest some time in language..you don’t currently have one at your disposal.

      Like

    • Nathan Hoyt says:

      I agree with most of the intentions of the article but felt the need to add that with some toxins, specifically ones that mimic hormones, the most dangerous dose is a very low one, similar to the natural biological concentration of the hormone that it mimics. This effect is called a nonmonotonic dose-response curve. Generally the higher the dose of a toxin the more dangerous it is, but every rule has an exception.

      Like

  7. Ian says:

    The scientific method is an ongoing process that requires room for modification. The knowledgeable and wise know to avoid presenting anything as fact. There will always be something to be learned from things that at this point are not scientifically verifiable.

    I’m guessing there may be some differences in health effects between “natural” and synthetically derived chemicals. Any one have any conclusive evidence for either side they care to share?

    Like

    • Clinton says:

      The evidence has already been presented in the article. As the article said, there is NO difference between synthetically made and naturally made chemicals. NaCl (salt) is made of 1:1 ratio of Sodium and Chlorine. It doesn’t matter if you got the salt from the sea or if you made it in a lab, it will always be one Sodium atom (11 Protons, 11 electrons) bound to one Chlorine atom (17 Protons, 17 Electrons). Since atoms are the smallest units of matter, it can’t be any different. Every single proton is exactly the same, as is every electron. If a chemical is in any way different from another chemical, it will have a different name.

      Like

      • Jeff Idyle says:

        This isn’t really true. The “chlorine” in salt is actually the chloride ion, which has an extra electron, which is what makes it nontoxic. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is bound to the sodium, as the bond is not covalent. Salt is an ionic compound, not a molecule. The sodium and chloride dissociate in water, and neither the chloride nor sodium is toxic (again, it’s a sodium ion, not true atomic sodium. The sodium ion doesn’t combust when exposed to water, and the chloride ion, with it’s octet state and decreased electronegativity, doesn’t need to steal electrons from your favorite organs.

        Like

      • David says:

        I always chuckle when I see recipes call for sea salt. To me that’s like saying wet water. Salt is salt for cripes sake. The only difference one might have is that naturally produced salt will usually come with a bunch more other things (Iodine for example) rather than salt produced in a lab.

        Like

        • rosross says:

          No, it is not. Sea salt is salt before it has been processed and ‘purified, ‘ i.e. it contains many other minerals and one could argue, the sum of all is therefore less harmful and more nourishing than what people call salt in highly processed form.

          If you want a comparison then look at white sugar compared to dark brown sugar, where, in the less refined latter there is far more nourishment and flavour for that matter. White sugar is crucial for some recipes and absolutely fine, but it does not have the natural nourishment which less processed sugar has.

          Ditto for white flour or anything which has had the guts and life processed out of it and the mix of chemicals, minerals, nutrients removed.

          Like

          • Katherine says:

            Brown sugar is actually more processed tha white sugar, as the molasses has been removed then re-added. I think the comparison that you’re looking for is white sugar to turbinado.

            Like

          • John Hedtke says:

            Yes, Katherine is correct: brown sugar is white sugar with re-added molasses. It is certainly more flavorful than white sugar, but as far as “more nutritious?” No, not happening. It’s still a disaccharide, so it “burns” at the same rate, and it may have minute trace elements and minerals of some kind, but the quantity thereof would be vanishingly small. “Nutritious” in this case is a popular myth. Health claims of brown or turbinado sugar over white sugar are highly dubious.

            There is a very slight advantage to honey, which, containing natural BHA & BHT, are mildly antiseptic and can last for literally thousands of years: sealed jars of honey found in tombs in pyramids have been rehydrated and are still tasty and safe to eat. It may be possible to argue some slight nutritional advantage to honey on those grounds, but we’re again talking about trace additives and not the “nutrition” of the sugar itself, which is pretty much constant.

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            • rosross says:

              No, Katherine is not strictly correct. Yes, much brown sugar which is generally sold is refined white sugar with molasses added to it but one can purchase organic brown sugar which is simply less refined.

              However, even white sugar, with molasses added to make it brown, is still more nutritious since molasses contains a number of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorous, chromium, cobalt and sodium. In addition to this, molasses offers various vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamine and riboflavin…… which are not, of course, present in pure white sugar. Ergo, even molasses ‘doctored’ white sugar is nutritious in ways pure white sugar is not.

              One only needs ‘vanishingly small’ amounts of minerals generally. The key thing is to get them and highly processed things like white sugar, simply do not have them. Ditto for highly processed artificial table salt.

              Nutritious is no more a myth than the mineral components of any food, or the Vitamins present. Health claims for vitamins and minerals in general are not dubious, as anyone who understands malnutrition will know, and so any food where they are present, is, by its nature, healthier.

              We were never, ever, ever talking about the nutrition of sugar per se: We were talking about the nutritional value of foods high in sugar, like cane, honey, beet and of course fruit! The sugar itself is not the issue, it is the whole food with the sugar content and the minerals and vitamins which is the issue.

              And honey is more than mildly antiseptic which is why it is being revisited for wound treatment. It is also a natural antibiotic.

              Quote: Abstract: Honey has been used as a wound dressing for thousands of years, but only in more recent times has a scientific explanation become available for its effectiveness. It is now realized that honey is a biologic wound dressing with multiple bioactivities that work in concert to expedite the healing process. The physical properties of honey also expedite the healing process: its acidity increases the release of oxygen from hemoglobin thereby making the wound environment less favorable for the activity of destructive proteases, and the high osmolarity of honey draws fluid out of the wound bed to create an outflow of lymph as occurs with negative pressure wound therapy.

              Honey has a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, but there is much variation in potency between different honeys. There are 2 types of antibacterial activity. In most honeys the activity is due to hydrogen peroxide, but much of this is inactivated by the enzyme catalase that is present in blood, serum, and wound tissues. In manuka honey, the activity is due to methylglyoxal which is not inactivated. The manuka honey used in wound-care products can withstand dilution with substantial amounts of wound exudate and still maintain enough activity to inhibit the growth of bacteria. There is good evidence for honey also having bioactivities that stimulate the immune response (thus promoting the growth of tissues for wound repair), suppress inflammation, and bring about rapid autolytic debridement. There is clinical evidence for these actions, and research is providing scientific explanations for them.
              – See more at: http://www.woundsresearch.com/article/honey-biologic-wound-dressing#sthash.AGZR4ljy.dpuf

              Like

  8. Brian says:

    Two points. First, I have recently learned that for certain chemicals, extremely low doses of the chemical act like hormones. For these chemicals, therefore, there is a toxic dose, a safe dose, and a hormonal dose, in that or ed er from largest to smallest dose.
    Second, so called natural chemicals are often extremely difficult to extract, so that the natural version often is accompanied by trace amounts of the solvents used to do the ectraction. Their artificial counterpart will be purer, being relatively easy to create.

    Like

    • Kerry says:

      You are right that natural versions of chemicals can contain impurities, but there is no guarantee that any artificial counterpart will be purer than a natural extract.

      Like

  9. nohbdy says:

    I… I want to thumbs-up and ‘like’ this post every time I see it – it’s been showing up a lot in my social media circles – but… I mean, it’s kind of disingenuous, isn’t it? These arguments don’t actually sway people or add to the dialogue – and that’s really what we should be doing if we want to stop the spread of misinformation – they just sound kind of pedantic or willfully ignorant. If you’ll indulge me, I would like to go through this post one-by-one.

    Like the idea that: (1) “Everything is made of chemicals.” Yes, that’s absolutely correct. It is correct in the way that Futurama reminds us is the best kind of correct – technically. Like, in a vacuum. Considering that the person likely to say ‘I live a chemical free lifestyle’ clearly still exists, they are very obviously not living a chemical free lifestyle, by technical standards. It seems obvious to me, however, that a fundamental misunderstanding of the word ‘chemical’ does not change the position that there is a class of materials that they forbid themselves from using. Sure, point out that they used the wrong word. However, pointing out that ‘chemical’ doesn’t mean what they think it means just distracts from the actual point – their logic for not USING certain chemicals is flawed. This distraction makes it harder for the folk you’re trying to convince to separate wheat from chaff – if you want to convince someone, don’t throw up this ‘LOL U USED THE WRONG WORD BRO’ smokescreen. It makes you look pedantic, and like you’re trying to convince them through logical fallacies (which is exactly what you’re trying to stamp out, right?).

    I’m really happy with part (2). It should have been number 1. This is something that isn’t stressed enough in these arguments. Your liver is a phenomenal beast. “Drinking is self-poisoning,” someone might say! I would respond that my cells contain a leftover metabolic pathway from a glycolysis-only lifestyle that would have produced alcohol, and bitch, I got the enzyme that turns that metabolic pathway backwards. You say toxin, I say source of metabolic intake – but in reality, that’s just a smokescreen. Yup, my liver passes it. And it can still kill me if I drink a lot. And most of the troubles these people have with ‘chemicals’ (meaning the non-technical term) can really just be explained by “the dose makes the toxin.”

    (3) “There is no difference between “natural” and “synthetic” versions of a chemical.” Yes, and let’s invoke our buddy from Futurama again – technically correct. You wanna bang on down ‘honey, I shrunk the kids’ style to the molecular level, yup. You got the the right stereoisomer, you got the right atoms, and sure enough, that chemical is the same no matter what the hell made it. Trouble is, if you want to ingest or use a substance at a HUMAN level, you’re not dealing with pure chemicals anymore. My work is in particle forensics (not the cool CSI shit, I do the really dull ‘who is this impurity’s daddy and what does he do’ shit), and let me tell you – there is NO such thing as clean. Substances made from a natural process include impurities, substances made in a laboratory include impurities, and these impurities have varying effects – taste, for one. My god, as a human, you are INCREDIBLE at tasting impurities, so you don’t have to take my word for it that impurities make a difference. So yes, in a vacuum, synthetic and natural chemicals are the same. Willfully ignoring that they have different IMPURITIES when manufactured/collected in bulk, however, is not going to sway any minds. In my experience, other than a few ‘LOL CHARGED WATER’ wackos or patently silly talking heads (Food Babe), the anti-chem types I’ve met DO realize that any molecule is indistinguishable from any other molecule regardless of its origin. Lecture them on simple chemistry if they truly don’t know it, but pay a little attention to the impurity dialogue. You’ll sway a lot more minds by being transparent about the differences and explaining why they’re still safe than smokescreening with big words like ‘stereoisomer.’

    While you’re at it, drink water ‘made’ from different methods – distilled, filtered, milliQ, WFI, whatever. I think you’ll enjoy the water from some methods more than others! This is the crux of the problem – you KNOW that water is water is water on a scientific level, but as a HUMAN, you are clearly tasting a difference due to presence (or absence) of other non-water impurities. EXPLAIN THAT DIFFERENCE if you want to get through to people.

    (4) Your stance is correct – this is the appeal to nature fallacy – but I feel like this is just going to fall on deaf ears. Nobody likes to be told they are making a logical fallacy. To make matters worse and further alienate those who fall in the anti-chem camp, the second paragraph blindly goes on the offensive – indeed, you challenge the reader to construct an argument in favor of aversion to artificial chemicals, expecting that you’ve pre-empted it by pointing out a logical fallacy. Ignoring that this is insulting to those who already recognize the fallacy of the argument, this is disappointing in that you aren’t showing a willingness to hunt for counter-arguments to your own point, in an attempt to acknowledge and respond to them. As an answer to your challenge, “Artificial chemicals are often released either without regard to safety, or without full knowledge of their consequences. As an example, I would point out DDT (a synthesized pesticide responsible for nearly wiping out the bald eagle). Because synthetic chemicals are generally younger and therefore less studied, aversion to artificial chemicals – at least until significant data has been amassed to vouch for their safety – is a good course of action.” The argument here is not that artificial is inherently bad (which is a fallacy), but that artificial chemicals are often (not always) accompanied by less data and years of human experience than their natural counterparts, and therefore may have more hidden dangers. this supports the stance that avoiding artificial chemicals is a ‘good’ plan. PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT PERSONALLY IN THIS CAMP. This argument alone deserves a rich discussion, but I am not its champion. I am just trying to illustrate how other arguments beyond logically fallacious ones can exist for this particular stance, and pointing out that stopping one of these points at ‘DON’T BE FALLACIOUS BRO’ is pretty disingenuous for an article attempting to make people better at discussing science.

    And then we come to (5), “A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals that it is bound to.” You approach this one pretty well, and everything is again technically correct. I think it might be worth discussing how the human body treats similar chemicals, though. We’re pretty cool animals – we have metabolic pathways for a lot of things – but they aren’t EXCLUSIVE pathways. Pretty much any protein gets chewed on by proteases and turned into amino acids – even though their configurations are very different. This is an example of an interesting phenomenon: although elements MAY have different properties depending on their bonding partner (the same is true of larger molecules), the human body often treats similar molecules the same. This is extremely important to note – chemicals with different properties due to their bonding partners may in fact result in the same metabolite in the human body, and may exhibit the same effects on the body. Thankfully, this is not particularly true of MeHg and EtHg – EtHg clears the body much faster than MeHg, and the inorganic mercury that comes as a metabolite of EtHg is not as toxic as that of MeHg (though it is still a similar compound that does in fact end up sitting in the brain for a long friggin’ time). However, to illustrate the point, consider the case of varying proteins in your body – swapping a phenylalanine for a tyrosine will absolutely change the molecular structure of the protein… but it may have exactly no effect on the protein’s action, or how the body deals with the protein. In fact, I would put dollars to donuts that more than one person reading this has a mutation that has produced a protein with exactly this substitution… and the cells using that protein are cranking along just fine, because the substitution did not change the secondary structure of the protein and the functional group is right where it needs to be. In short, yes – ‘mercury is dangerous and vaccines have mercury, therefore vaccines must be dangerous’ is flawed thinking… however, ‘methylmercury and ethylmercury are similarly structured molecules so it is likely the body treats them similarly’ is a legitimate hypothesis – one that was in fact legitimate enough to be studied.

    It really just boils down to transparency. A lot of the statements made in here are good, but some of the arguments backing them up are somewhat insulting and not at all in line with the statement of the blog, “Rather, I think that [most of the people in the anti-science movement] have been misinformed and misguided.” If you think this, then spend more time attacking their arguments on a level that deserves attacking – present ALL the information as accurately as possible, including information that may run counter to your own argument. Do not debunk arguments based solely on word definitions. When a statement that runs counter to reality is made, feel free to slap down the arguments based on logical fallacy… but don’t discount that a rational (though misinformed) argument may exist – work on correcting that one. Continue to be accurate and careful with your statements (you usually are), but consider touching on common misconceptions that may have spawned the misguided thinking, rather than barreling on with your argument – especially recognize that if your opponents don’t have a chemistry background, they are informing their decisions based on the reality of their lives (as someone who has acted as an adjunct lecturer, I expect you have some skill with putting yourself in the shoes of new learners).

    In short, and TFL;DR – respect the other side if you want to change their minds.

    (DISCLAIMER: I am actually 100% on the author’s side. I vaccinate, have a graduate degree, work in pharmaceuticals, use synthetic products, eat synthetic chemicals, recognize that everything is a chemical, and know that simple statements like ‘mercury in all forms is bad’ are bullshit. I would get tremendous schadenfreude watching the “Food Babe” be publicly debunked in a televised, laboratory-based science-class marathon where she was taught how to science and how to pronounce big words. I am also significantly inebriated, so please forgive me if I completely forget to come back and field responses 😦 ).

    Lots of love, hope that’s a little food for thought. I’d like to be able to ‘like’ articles like these when I see ’em on my FB page in the future!

    Liked by 5 people

    • MsE says:

      Thank you for this thoughtful response!!! I am a science teacher and suffer from being a generalist in my training. I am so grateful for your tone, your specific details, and your willingness to write this even with a buzz! I am happy to be riding the planet with you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan M says:

      Oh my goodness. If only every response to every article I read could be like this. You sir are a grand mind and I feel like I want you to teach me everything about the world (with a nice drink of course). I 100% agree with the original article but I had a similar taste as I was reading it.

      Thank you to the original author of the article and thank you to Mr. NOHBDY for your additions.

      Like

    • The very first antigen must have been cooked grain( bread): subsequently antibiotics from dying grain- penicillin.
      Quantifying for classical physics is not progressive: you’re moving parallel to elision for scientific validation( method)…no, I intend quanta, not quantity, in language, at least, one requires aniphase prior to epiphase/ analog is preface to any digital assessment.nor, your tirade goes somewhere you expect we haven’t been…well, ..think acetylcholine

      Like

      • Since you know nothing, why do keep making ludicrous assertions to mislead those without specialized expertise? Don’t they deserve real information. Here you claim that the first antigens were in response to bread! Since most antibodies are made commercially by rabbits and goats, do you think that rabbits and goats started makinng bread early in their evolutionary history? Or how about fish: I can buy zebrafish antibodies. Did the ancestors of zebrafish learn to bake bread underwater by a process we can only dream of? One can only imagine the herculean effort those tiny fish must have exerted as,clad in their water filled suits, they wriggled ashore to harvest the grain.
        Or maybe the immune system evolved to protect us from infection. What a novel idea! in that case, the first antigens would have been the surface proteins on infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites). Hey, guess what, that’s how we make vaccines! What a coincidence!
        Now that I’ve provided some real information, the timing is perfect for you to say something that makes no sense at all. Go for it.

        Like

        • ron says:

          perfect: your synthetic analyses for: lyses= the very first for man was, of course, internal response to germination- all that other shit came later as reactivity to allergic reactions probably exhacerbated by following suggestions from morons like this uncelebrated, unresolved imbecile.

          Like

        • ron says:

          and joe gia, why not discover another word than ludicrous..you really are a simpleton..

          Like

        • ron says:

          i responded, it was expunged somehow: regardless, for anyone who knows , the inanity of your declaration is obvious

          Like

          • Everything you write should be expunged because it is know-nothing drivel. Your attempts to argue with scientists are, dare I say it, ludicrous. You remind me of Bobby Jindal talking about evolution.

            Like

            • ron says:

              your dreamy world of unified scientists is conceded for, moron, just keep throwing ‘ ludicrous’ out there, its bound to contextualize someday

              Like

    • unom says:

      You, you are a wonderful human.

      Like

    • henrebotha says:

      I try to live by the mantra “don’t read the comments”, but hey.

      In response to your criticism of (1), I think the implied problem is that people will read the word “chemical” in e.g. a scientific journal, and see the word “chemical” used by an anti-vaxxer, and think those two sources mean the same thing by the word, thereby confusing the issue.

      Like

    • Ron J Belin says:

      It really just boils down..your long-winded tirade must really impress you..none else

      Like

  10. L says:

    Roystadoysta – YES!!!

    Like

  11. kiqueflo says:

    Dear author: First of all, thanks for your article. This issues are very important to discuss in our actual world. I agree with you in many senses but I guess you state facts from a very general and inorganic chemistry point of view.
    As a medical doctor and clinical research I may add a classical and simply daily example about your point 3 were you are not completely right: the manufacture of margarine makes the fatty acids become trans due to heat of oils. It’s well known the detrimental effects of the consumption of trans fatty acids in the cardiovascular health as it increases LDL cholesterol levels in blood. This product was created and still commercialised as cholesterol free which is completely true. However, what nobody says it’s that this is many times worst than normal butter in terms of cardiovascular outcomes. So, not only the impurities cited by “nohbdy”, or the 3D configuration of proteins may affect the power or the effect of a substance. Many others (often uncontrolled) effects can influence the final product in real life.
    Science is great because it is the only way our minds works to find out how the universe work, as the ancient Greek stated. However, even the most sharp and genius mind is a simple tool in the huge universe to date. We must remember and teach that Science is based on comparison and relativeness as there is no single absolute true were we can develop knowledge…how many times in history we saw a solid theory or paradigm completely destroyed by new conceptions?. Even today, we are far of be sure what is matter under the light of quantic physics and the world of subatomic particles. What I want to say is that we have to be very open minded when it comes to science to avoid the engulfment of our own scientific ego.
    Again, I see your point about the post and agree with your intensions. However, if we want to win the war against ignorance we need to convince masses about the beauty and greatness of science. Perhaps you wrote this after a personal negative situation, Nevertheless, I guess it is better and more clever to avoid “slandering” or “pedantic” post that only revenge attacks in and endless spinning way.
    I wish the author and the rest commenters the best. I Hope you work hard for searching possibles trues as well as enjoy life intensely.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Apsyrtus says:

    nohbdy “As an example, I would point out DDT (a synthesized pesticide responsible for nearly wiping out the bald eagle)”.
    An unfortunate example… Check the scientific method and statistical analysis that resulted in that common fallacy and you may be shocked. The old issue of confusing cause and result resulted in DDT getting a bad rap when there were other environmental issues which were far more significant.

    Like

  13. Will says:

    There is a lot of good logic in this article but what is safe for the majority isn’t necessarily safe for everyone.

    Like

  14. karyyl says:

    I have college chemistry and physics, but I *also* have college biology, and I have to (mildly) disagree on a few points here. One point of disagreement is with the Western Medicine idea that only ONE molecule matters, in, say, a medicinal or nutritious plant, so a synthetic version is just as good. That can be true, but it’s not guaranteed to be true. A lot of herbal remedies turned out to also have something bad in them, and so are being abandoned by those “in the know” (I like Rodale better for this than some sources, but I use multiple sources.) But others have co-factors that greatly enhance either absorption or action, but were never studied by Big Pharma because the delta in extraction methods would not be compensated for by the delta in price.
    Another is that “the dose makes the poison” is much more true for things that are not persistent in the body. So when nicotine prohibitionists keep saying nicotine is a pesticide and an outdoor whiff might hurt a pregnant woman’s child, they are lying their behinds off. But by using the word “pesticide” they are deliberately associating it with pesticides that are persistent and accumulate, which nicotine is not. Third, the point about the same elements reacting differently based on how they are bound together is not the usual fallacy people are using to slander chemicals, the usual nasty fallacy is “x, an ingredient in BadThing Y, is in . This is stupid-false even for identical molecules. My usual rebuttal is “Restaurants put an ingredient in toilet cleaner in your salads.” — quite a few “green” toilet cleaners include vinegar.

    Like

  15. Mark G Keen says:

    I like this article. I like the first four chemistry facts. However for fact five, “A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals bound to it .” reads better than, “A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals that it is bound to.”

    Like

  16. Wayne Hansen says:

    How did they know that water from a comet is different than water on earth? Water is water except when it’s not? Chemistry, like life and science, is mostly probabilistic.

    Like

  17. Since this is my first exposure to your site, and I am not 100% sure what you mean by ‘anti-science movement,’ rather than speak presumptuously, I was wondering if you could answer a couple questions to improve my understanding of science:

    1) How might ‘biosimilars’ or follow-on biologic molecules relate to point 4 of your post?

    2) If chemicals are made up of atoms, what are atoms made of?

    3) When you go out with friends to enjoy a nice thimerosal-preserved lager or mixed drink, do you ingest the drink rectally, or do you drink it the boring, old-fashioned way?

    Like

  18. Carlos says:

    As for the ludicrous comment about radioactivity, and that “no acceptable level exists”, sorry to inform you that the average person receives around 300mRem/yr. That is not an insignificant amount. We forget about all the natural sources of radioactive decay that we are exposed to everyday.
    Unless you want to live in a lead lined box (and it better be a very thick one) with no access to the outside world, and better make all your food synthetic, because it too is contaminated with radioactive isotopes, you had better come to grips with the fact that we live in a world with chemicals And radioactivity.

    Like

  19. feyd2blak says:

    I have a question to ask, and this is from ignorance…!

    Not all water is good for us??

    I know we need water and water is H2O, I know no consumption is no good and we will suffer from overdose.

    My question is: I thought distilled, pure H2O was bad for us?

    The reasoning I heard was that the impurities are what makes water OK for us to drink. Filtered, bottled, tap and drinking water all have impurities. If there are no impurities, i.e. distilled water then water will strip us of minerals?

    I’d appreciate if anyone can enlighten me.

    Thanks to the author and all contributors, this is a thorny one to tackle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, great question. Ill try and simply answer.

      Firstly, when you drink bottled or tap water it isn’t 100% water. There are other molecules (in small amounts) that are not H2O in the liquid. When you distill or deionise water you remove many of these other elements and compounds leaving mostly H2O.

      Secondly, your body requires these trace elements (primarily sodium ions) for water to be absorbed in the gut. Without the presence of sodium the gut wall remains impervious to water molecules (like your skin) and a person will become dehydrated. This is why drinking distilled water is not recommended and can be dangerous. It’s also why sports drinks contain electrolytes (again sodium is one) to aid uptake of the water contained in the liquid.

      Thirdly, your body will uptake many chemicals contained in the water you drink. This is why its important the water you drink is deemed as “clean”.

      Lastly, most body fluids are primarily water molecules but also contain other compounds. The same is true of the fluids inside your cells. If body fluids become too concentrated with solutes or too diluted then the water balance in the body is upset and this can have some fairly dire consequences. This is why hospitals administer saline drips that have the same concentration (or tonicity) as normal body fluids. If they infused only water the cells would overfill swell and burst by the process of osmosis and you would kill the patient in a very short time.

      So solutes can be harmful but the right ones in the right quantities are essential for life.

      Like

    • This is in reply to you and to johnandrews1990s; distilled water isn’t bad for you, and it is rapidly taken up in the gut without sodium. See for example https://www.webmedcentral.com/article_view/2554
      Otherwise it would cause immediate diarrhea. This doesn’t ever happen. My old running group and I sometimes drank the equivalent of distilled water (deionized and filtered water, equibvanet or purer by conductance criteria) and I’ve drunk distlled with no problems. There is lttle difference beween drinking distilled water and high quality tap water. Sports drinks are another matter. There are situations when immediate electrolyte replacement might be advantageous enough to warrant them (two-a-days in Alabama summer heat). I’ve had no problems re-hydrating with plain old bottled water after 10 mile runs, and I don’t need all that sugar,

      Like

  20. Some Guy says:

    1 – Men’s intelligence never will be equal earth intelligence.
    2 – I trust in all plants, I don’t trust in all mens.
    3 – Men discover necessities and think that know everything. Go to lab, manipulate it and nothing more need to be done. After some years spend money with cancer treatment.
    4 – I think that is only one thing big as earth intelligence, men’s ego.

    … but I like synthetics, sometimes they are usefull.

    Like

  21. Jo says:

    This is a bit simplistic isn’t it. Some people can smoke cigarettes, (a known carcinogen) their entire lives and never get lung cancer and others can die as a result of a bee sting or ingesting a peanut. Why? due to chemical reactions in their body. There is no way of knowing beforehand how the combination of vaccine chemicals will react in a child’s body. The prevention could potentially be worse than the disease, even death can and does result… childhood diseases last a week or two, symptoms are generally mild and voila… you have lifetime immunity, no need for adult booster shots. It’s ridiculous to think that a “one size fits all” vaccine is appropriate, it’s just not It’s all about big pharma making $$$ at any cost.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. tres says:

    Is ron stoned?!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. po8crg says:

    if given a vial of pure water, there isn’t a chemist anywhere in the world who could tell you how that water was produced because it would be completely identical to all of the other water everywhere on the planet.

    Might not be a chemist that can do that, but there should be a physicist. Different sources will have different isotope balances, both in the oxygen and in the hydrogen. The overwhelming majority in any real-world sample will be O-16 and H-1, but there will be some O-17 and O-18 and some deuterium; there may also be some radioisotopes, which will tell you that the sample is relatively recent in geological terms: water than hasn’t been in contact with radiation recently will only have three oxygen and two hydrogen isotopes.

    I do appreciate that wasn’t the point you were making, but it’s interesting how much you can tell by isotope analysis.

    Like

  24. Evon says:

    Very good. Now, how to I get thru the mindset, “My mind is made up…. Don’t try to confuse with the facts”!

    Like

  25. Everyone know’s they will eventually die from everything they consume anyway, that’s science. Whether one dies before the age of the average life span is immaterial, as was life( sad but true, all we did was screw, kill, and eat what we kill, or make more of ourselves ). I don’t think science is completely evil or anything I just think it’s confused. And by the way nothing about chemistry is simple. For instance, given the way protons and neutrons are both made of quarks ( which attract in a super colider ), even hydrogen nuclei with only two electrons to separate it from another atom nucleus wont merge with other atoms unless put under Sun pressures and temperatures. Why? So what’s stopping all atom nuclei from combining through either gravity or quark attraction? We don’t know anything. Sorry if that sounds callous. I’m spiritual.

    Like

    • Of course a difference exists in the state of density for a human heart displayed in a human chest and the same heart on ice minutes/seconds later..Schneider wider wiener..maybe we do ‘t care what saddens you, boo.

      Like

  26. John says:

    I’m saddened when I read of your rigid lack of openness to the possibility of anything metaphysical, to anything that can’t be measured and documented accurately, to any intelligence greater than what your (our) puny brains can comprehend; I’m angered when I read your dogmatic, condescending machine speak that you believe to be the only truth with a closed-minded Fundamentalist-Christian conviction, as well as by your over-the-top semantic, pedantic ramblings in general. You’re extremely opinionated and driven by your ego and your politics, which is not what this blog (nor science) claims to stand for.

    There seems to be no poetry in your hard-hearted existence. But hey, to each his own.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Macker Melchor says:

    Took me just a few sentences to realize, you sir are a fucking idiot. Good day.

    Like

  28. Ron J Belin says:

    Too simplistic and forgiving from chemists..the poison of cancer therapy, the va farming out 180, 000 c hepatitis cases because the treatment at va caused the disease..these are issues, not your silly blither

    Like

  29. I like the article a lot, but not the somewhat condescending tone of it. It is also a bit simplistic, as people pointed out, in that enantiomers may have the same chemical formula but not be the same chemical, in terms of properties. And, I am reasonably certain that the benefits of some chemicals, isolated as pure substances are not the same as the same chemicals consumed in the food they are naturally found in. There are enzymes and minerals that help us metabolize certain vitamins for example. In many other cases, an isolated substance may not have the same effect alone as it does in combination with other substances. Any food we eat cannot be properly digested without bacteria in our gut, and that usually doesn’t come from processed, sterilized “ingredients”, but rather from the variety and freshness of the foods we eat. I think people do correctly make a distinction between natural foodstuffs and isolated synthetic or natural ingredients in powder or tablet form, but we do not use the terms natural or organic correctly.

    Like

  30. junican says:

    I have been very impressed by the quality of the responses to this article. I wish that I had the knowledge to understand them all!
    What always bothers me is that it is rare that people ever mention timescales when discussing the toxicity of chemicals. It always seems to be that a dose is either, a) lethal, b) damaging, or, c) harmless.
    I’ve known for a long time that arsenic can accumulate in the body (but an article in Wikipedia also shows that arsenic is excreted). I would assume that for a person to accumulate sufficient arsenic for ‘the dose’ to become lethal, he would have to absorb significantly more arsenic than his body is excreting.
    And this is where my unhappiness with timescales comes in. It is possible to assume that most human bodies will excrete arsenic at a roughly equal rate. Thus, it ought to be possible assess what difference there needs to be between the amount of arsenic absorbed and the rate of excretion for symptoms of arsenic poisoning to be observed. The actual amount of arsenic absorbed on any particular occasion would also be very important, of course.
    But here is my main point. We know that the water supply contains arsenic in small volumes. Let us suppose that a particular water supply was delivering a little more arsenic than is excreted, what period of time would elapse before damage was done? Is it likely that a person could live a normal lifetime without symptoms of arsenic poisoning and die for other reasons?

    The reason that I mention the matter of timescales is because of certain comments here which have claimed that certain substances/carcinogens have no no known safe dosage. For example, I understand that the Surgeon General of the USA said that there is no safe level of second hand tobacco smoke inhalation. Is there some sort of mental reservation involved?: such as, “Provided that a person lives for hundreds of years”?

    Like

  31. David says:

    Loved the article and happily read all the responses. No trolls. Very nice respectful tone to everything. See, we can do this.

    Like

    • Ron J Belin says:

      These oh so basic elementary facts are in left field and Co ceded for, moron: because you memorize sonerhing someone told you does not make your 3rd grade teachers’ assessment of you legitimate..dumb ass

      Like

  32. Enrique says:

    Is Ron J Belin on cocaine or what the actual flying fuck :S?

    Like

  33. Fallacy man, I came across your post on 5 simple chemistry facts from friends and was especially amused. In crafting a recent public lecture, I discuss 4 out of the 5 points you made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_INU1NBAV4&feature=youtu.be.

    Like

  34. hi! thanks for the informative description! for one who has not studied a lot of this kind of science, but believe that it´s an important part of our understanding, it´s nice to get a “refresh” of this.
    There´s only one thing i struggle here. who are you talking to exactly?
    It seems like you want to teach the ones who are sceptic about science some groundrules, and still you´re writing in every second line of how pathetic they are.
    yes, you explain your topic well, but I´m not sure that you are thinking of the ones you´d like to teach with the use of your words. If it was me having different opinion, I would only get the parts of me being pathetic, and not the informative parts.
    looking forward to see an article with this teaching, where it looks like you want to teach “they who know little and want to be ignorant of the knowledge”, and not just make fun of them so all you who know best can laugh about it.. they are not going to be positive to learn unless you meet them, and prove that you want to show them something important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron J Belin says:

      To teach the ignorant, one needs be Freed of the ailment.. Ot knowing what you think you know is not ignorance: ignoring all that discredits what you pay to maintain your sense of superiority is assuredly.

      Like

  35. rosross says:

    Any article which begins with the term ‘anti-science’ movement is demonstrating high levels of subjectivity and bias which one would have thought, had no place in the realms of supposedly objective and rigorous science.

    The label ‘anti-science’ is as silly as calling someone anti-Australian or anti-American simply because they challenge orthodox beliefs and do not simply fall into line with mass thinking.

    In reality, many of history’s greatest scientists should be called ‘anti-science’ because they dared to think out of the box. Quantum Physics could only have arisen because some scientists challenged conventional thinking in Classical Physics and were, for their time, what is now called ‘anti-science.’

    The author also completely overlooks the fact that many of those who question conventional, orthodox scientific dogma, theory or practice, are perfectly aware that basic chemistry ‘facts’ are elementary, they simply take the view that classical chemistry, as was shown in regard to classical physics, is one way of ‘thinking’ and theorising but not the only way.

    Yes, these chemistry facts are fundamental, but not so much to science in any general or true sense, but simply to classical chemistry as it is now understood and materialist-reductionist science as it now functions.

    What on earth is an ‘anti-scientist’ position? Is that like an ‘anti-priest’ or ‘anti-religious’ position where because you don’t follow like a brainwashed sheep, but ask questions and make up your own mind you are vilified?

    How does asking questions and demanding accountability of a system constitute wilful ignorance?

    And what is a science denier? Is that like a religious denier? It sounds very similar which is why many now perceive the debasement of science into Scientism, or rather, the religion of science where dissenters are burned at metaphorical stakes for challenging. Well, those within science can be more literally ‘burned’ in terms of losing jobs, professional prestige, peer approval and profits.

    Then again, more within the world of science are speaking out about the terrible and dangerous flaws within science as a system.

    Are they ‘science-deniers?’

    Quote: Slay peer review ‘sacred cow’, says former BMJ chief
    Richard Smith, who edited the BMJ between 1991 and 2004, told the Royal Society’s Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication conference on 20 April that there was no evidence that pre-publication peer review improved papers or detected errors or fraud.
    Referring to John Ioannidis’ famous 2005 paper “Why most published research findings are false”, Dr Smith said “most of what is published in journals is just plain wrong or nonsense”. He added that an experiment carried out during his time at the BMJ had seen eight errors introduced into a 600-word paper that was sent out to 300 reviewers.

    Or:

    Quote: The1960 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, Peter Medawar, famously remarked in 1983: “In terms of fulfilment of declared intentions, science is incomparably the most successful enterprise that human beings have ever engaged upon.”
    Compare Medawar’s sentiment with the 2009 statement made by Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and quoted in PLOS Medicine in October 2010: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/william-reville-something-has-gone-very-wrong-with-science-1.2245846

    And okay, everything is made of chemicals but not all chemicals are equal. There are naturally occurring chemicals in the natural world and in our body and then there are synthesized chemicals produced in a laboratory.

    There are chemicals which occur in our food and our body which we either ingest or produce and then there are chemicals which are injected into our bodies through vaccination or synthesized chemicals ingested in medication.

    And why is it that research has never been done into the COMBINED effect of various chemicals in vaccines? Sure, each has been looked at in isolation and deemed safe but what about together? More to the point, what about the completely artificial process of not just having such a collection of chemicals received by the body, but having it received in a way impossible in nature, i.e. injected for quick uptake by the bloodstream, thereby bypassing the first lines of immune defence?

    We eat salt on our food but would we inject it into the body of a baby? Probably not.

    No-one is talking about a chemical-free lifestyle but the sensible people are talking about chemical-reduced and chemical-minimal lifestyles.

    Beyond the arrogant and patronising nature of the article to all those ‘non-scientific’ sorts, the fact is that human beings in general are generally smarter than some might suppose and some of the most stupid people have a string of academic degrees a mile long and PhD’s in plenty.

    And yes, there are only toxic doses, but, where you inject a myriad of chemicals at non-toxic levels in ways utterly impossible in nature, surely someone should be wondering just what the cocktail effect might be doing?

    And sure,

    everyone reading this currently has mercury, arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde, aluminum, lead, and a host of other “toxic” chemicals in your body right now.

    but, the interesting study would be on the unvaccinated compared to the vaccinated where the former only have levels which can be acquired naturally and which are in natural form and the latter have levels which are acquired unnaturally, in unnatural (synthesized form) and which have been injected into small babies and children in ways for which the human body has never evolved.

    And no, those chemicals are not normally in the environment because what is normally in the environment has not been concocted in a laboratory. This is where science gets disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.

    And yes, our body does produce formaldehyde but it does not produce synthetic formaldehyde and neither does it inject it into the body of a baby or small child along with (brackets are mine)

    Live and dead, synthesized and ‘natural’ DISEASE in bacterial and viral form;
    ALUMINIUM (linked to dementia and Alzheimers);
    MERCURY thimerosal( and yes still used in some vaccines);
    GELATIN FROM PIGS;
    SERUM FROM HUMAN BLOOD;
    SORBITOL a stabiliser (used in food which is not meant to be injected because it is a cardiac toxin and diabetes exacerbater )
    EMULSIFIERS,( the sort of thing which holds processed mayonnaise together and which has links to obesity);
    ANTIBIOTICS;
    EGG AND YEAST PROTEINS;
    FORMALDYHYDE(a chemical linked to cancer and used to preserve corpses);
    ACIDITY REGULATORS (another food additive);
    HUMAN CELL LINES FROM ABORTED FOETUSES grown in laboratories;
    ANIMAL CELL LINES;
    GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS
    Source: http://www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/

    3). There is no difference between “natural” and “synthetic” versions of a chemical
    That is the conventional or orthodox view but it is the view which suits the pharmaceutical industry which pays for most research and which makes the most profits. It’s a bit like the difference between the original Mona Lisa and a copy – they look the same but they are not the same. They have not been created in the same way and they are not applied in the same way.

    Herbal medicines offer chemical treatments in natural combination. Allopathic medicines offer synthetic chemical treatments, unnaturally created and delivered in unnatural form.

    But not all agree there is no difference:

    http://jeffreydachmd.com/why-natural-thyroid-is-better-than-synthetic/

    Quote: Herbs are medicinal plants (also called phytomedicinals) that can be administered as the whole plant or plant parts or by extracting one or more ingredients with solvents to yield tinctures, tea or other extracts. Synthetic drugs (what the drug industry calls “pharmaceuticals”) are synthesized chemically in the laboratory to produce drugs not found in nature. One quarter of these drugs used in the U.S. are derived from plants (i.e., opiates, digitalis, Taxol) by extracting the active ingredient from a plant, replicating its structure in the lab and mass-producing it.

    Herbal drugs are considered less potent than prescribed medicines. The latter usually contain one highly concentrated active ingredient, while herbs may have several active ingredients that are chemically similar. Herbal ingredients work synergistically to contribute to, or detract from, the therapeutic effect of each individual ingredient.

    – See more at: http://www.doitgreen.org/green-living/herbal-and-synthetic-drugs-comparison#sthash.AYDPZYS6.dpuf
    You said: Further, if given a vial of pure water, there isn’t a chemist anywhere in the world who could tell you how that water was produced because it would be completely identical to all of the other water everywhere on the planet.

    Well, no, there is no proof it is completely identical but yes, no chemist at this point in scientific knowledge and history could tell you how or where it was produced but that does not mean that there are no differences. It just means science is not advanced enough to detect them in the same way that bacteria existed long before science developed enough to identify its existence and then to see it.

    There is not a shred of proof that all water is the same. There is only proof that using current knowledge and technology it all appears to be the same.

    4). “Natural” chemicals are not automatically good and “artificial” chemicals are not automatically bad.

    That is not what people are saying. Your so-called ‘science-deniers’ are saying that the body has evolved to work with natural chemicals, in natural form but it has not evolved to deal with synthetic chemicals delivered in unnatural formers. Ergo, erring on the side of caution would be wise.

    The point is not whether a natural chemical at certain doses is dangerous as is a synthetic chemical, but that natural chemicals found in nature or produced by the human body are different to synthetic chemicals contrived in a laboratory and ingested or injected into the body in ways impossible and unknown in nature and for which the body has not evolved. Not yet anyway.

    Your patronising tone indicates high levels of either ignorance or prejudice in regard to the mental capacity and knowledge base of many if not most of those who question science in this regard.

    The point is not that nature has produced the best the point is that which nature has produced is better than what scientists concoct in laboratories, in the same way that butter is vastly better than the chemical concoction called margarine.
    5). A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals that it is bound to

    Which validates my point that it is the combination of chemicals, experimental combination I might add, in vaccines which is questionable and which should be thoroughly tested and has not been.

    As to your explanation of why mercury is not dangerous in vaccines, it fails to address the issue that the body receives the mercury in ways impossible in nature and it does so while a human organism is a baby or small child, before viable immune function has been reached. Full immune function arrives around the age of fourteen.

    As to your explanation of why mercury is not dangerous in vaccines, it fails to address the issue that the body receives the mercury in ways impossible in nature and it does so while a human organism is a baby or small child, before viable immune function has been reached. Full immune function arrives around the age of fourteen.

    Not only that, babies and small children receive the mercury in an ‘eye of newt and toe of toad’ brew which few of us would drink if it were offered and yet which science/medicine considers appropriate to force into a baby’s bloodstream.

    Particularly in the US which does everything to excess, including vaccination, a baby within hours of birth and through the next five years may have 40 or 50 vaccinations. Overkill don’t you think – and perhaps literally given that forty years ago children survived and thrived on three or four and given at much older ages?

    And given the fact that the US has the worst infant mortality rate of any developed nation and worse than some Third World nations, logic suggests some pondering on the vax-max approach might be wise.

    If one runs the terrible risk of being called ‘anti-science’ by questioning such theory and practice then logic and common sense suggest it is a risk worth running.

    By the way, would you inject sodium into a baby’s body?

    Like

    • ron says:

      your full of yourself and your full of shit: to one end, there is no threshhold for immune maturity. you base that on synthetic reasoning and of course you would, its your (syn) thesis. exposure to malaria is natures’ vaccination.? to acute vivax and the most intensive form of compromise.? or just mild infestations.? or are those who are never treated and live the local influenza..? is humankind systemic( one looks at india or cairo, egypt) is the latency of medical intervention historically the basis for success in that geography ? [ the population explosion]

      Like

      • rosross says:

        Abuse is an indicator of lack of argument.

        Disease is about the terrain, not the pathogen, or everyone would have succumbed to the Black Death and everyone would have died.

        What makes the most dramatic change to our ability to resist or recover from infection or disease, is improved nutrition, sanitation and hygiene.

        Engineers, not doctors have played the biggest part in improving health. In centuries past the entire world was a malarial zone…. it got fixed.

        Like

  36. Ron J Belin says:

    Not knowing…correction

    Like

  37. Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering should all be called Chemical Engineering, since everything is chemical.

    Like

  38. Dario Colombera says:

    AS BIOLOGISTS, I DO NOT AGREE WITH N. 2 AND 3. MOREOVER,

    LIVING BEINGS ARE MADE BY MOLECULES, BUT THEY CANNOT BE FULLY DESCRIBED AT CHEMICAL LEVEL..

    Like

    • ron says:

      human beings are made as such; molecule is a word and a separately investigated manifest of some of the dummer ones

      Like

  39. Alexis says:

    Quite interesting to have the bounty of perusing through such an eloquent discussion! What fascinates me is the thirst for knowledge with which many are approaching the discussion. I however feel compelled to share my opinion and hence my understanding on the same. My profession is in health and I guess its one of the most dynamic areas. I believe in and support current science but with some reservations and limitations. I believe in the fundamental belief that ALL KNOWLEDGE IS FROM GOD. And that all knowledge is purposed for our progress, which we can term civilization. There are two kinds of knowledge in general terms; spiritual knowledge and intellectual knowledge. I believe they are as a result of the human nature, consisting of the mind and the soul. Conflicts always arise when these two kinds of knowledge are in opposition. I believe that the two must go hand in hand to slowly alleviate the common scientific errors most prevalent. Science is very harmful when it advances in isolation with religion and vice versa…

    “Material civilization is like a lamp-glass. Divine civilization is the lamp itself and the glass without the light is dark. Material civilization is like the body. No matter how infinitely graceful, elegant and beautiful it may be, it is dead. Divine civilization is like the spirit, and the body gets its life from the spirit, otherwise it becomes a corpse. It has thus been made evident that the world of mankind is in need of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Without the spirit the world of mankind is lifeless, and without this light the world of mankind is in utter darkness. For the world of nature is an animal world. Until man is born again from the world of nature, that is to say, becomes detached from the world of nature, he is essentially an animal, and it is the teachings of God which convert this animal into a human soul”.

    I also believe that science is still at its infancy and its only when it works hand in hand with religion
    will it mature enough to solve most of the worlds problems. When I refer to religion, I mean that Spiritual force that gives us discipline in what we do, that reminds us of our nobility from other created things, that informs and enables us acquire the human virtues which are inevitable for any enterprise we engage in. The purpose of religion is to enhance human consciousness of the spiritual nature, and its obvious that without science, we cannot comprehend religion adequately.

    “……religion is a mighty bulwark. If the edifice of religion shakes and totters, commotion and chaos will ensue and the order of things will be utterly upset, for in the world of mankind there are two safeguards that protect man from wrongdoing. One is the law which punishes the criminal; but the law prevents only the manifest crime and not the concealed sin; whereas the ideal safeguard, namely, the religion of God, prevents both the manifest and the concealed crime, trains man, educates morals, compels the adoption of virtues and is the all-inclusive power which guarantees the felicity of the world of mankind. But by religion is meant that which is ascertained by investigation and not that which is based on mere imitation, the foundations of Divine Religions and not human imitations.”

    It might not directly link to the discussion, but the main point am trying to put across is that science has not reached the peak as to enable man to fully comprehend mother nature, though remarkable steps have been and are being made. And that there is some other spice that has to be added to it to make it delicious to everyone and not just to some as is the case now. That spice is none other than religion. I call upon you, therefore, to open more the discussion on true religion and its influence on science. Please any ‘other’ questions are welcome.

    Cheers!

    Like

  40. Alexis says:

    In addition, human beings for the consummation of all that is in nature. “… these endless beings which inhabit the world, whether man, animal, vegetable, mineral — whatever they may be — are surely, each one of them, composed of elements. There is no doubt that this perfection which is in all beings is caused by the creation of God from the composing elements, by their appropriate mingling and proportionate quantities, the mode of their composition, and the influence of other beings. For all beings are connected together like a chain; and reciprocal help, assistance and interaction belonging to the properties of things are the causes of the existence,  development and growth of created beings. It is confirmed through evidences and proofs that every being universally acts upon other beings, either absolutely or through association. Finally, the perfection of each individual being — that is to say, the perfection which you now see in man or apart from him, with regard to their atoms, members or powers — is due to the composition of the elements, to their measure, to their balance, to the mode of their combination, and to mutual influence. When all these are gathered together, then man exists.”

    What exists that science needs to discover is the levels of all existence. These begin with the mineral level, then the vegetable level, then the animal level, then the human level. The mineral level consists of elements combined in certain proportions. We can call them compounds or molecules. The vegetable level consists of these compounds and molecules combined in certain proportions to give a finer meaning to the former. The animal is yet another level of yet a
    comparably finer combination of the compounds and molecules. The human level now sums the finest combination. The mineral depends on individual elements combination. Elements are formed as a result of a certain combination of atoms, which are formed from a certain combination of protons, electrons and neutrons. Naturally, the kinetic nature of the atoms makes them combine meaningfully with other atoms to form meaningful elements and molecules. These will produce both poisonous and non-poisonous compounds at certain doses or levels. The process of kinetism continues forming more and more advanced levels of existence. The advanced levels also combine to form meaningful forms. As you can realize, one of the properties of atoms is that they are always in motion and its this kinetic energy that leads to chemical reactions and combinations. The amount of kinetic energy needed for a certain compound to be formed naturally determines whether an atom will react with and combine with the other or not. This explains why some atoms cannot naturally combine with others, but if we conduce the environment for their combination in the lab, then they still can combine. To me this study of nature is what informs scientific experiments. At the higher levels of existence, the same happens in their combinations. Remember that stable states do exist where the kinetism of atoms in the compound is too low that it cannot produce a reaction. That is why humans or animals can move freely in the environment without reacting with the surroundings easily, though special cases exist where we term it ‘allergy’ in medical terms. It is because the combination in the human are in a relatively stable state.

    It is true that plants and animals move. The movement in plants is fixed. That in animals is not and hence we call it locomotion. Humans and animals have basically all the movements from the atomic level to the locomotive level. Plants dont locomote because they naturally grow where all the minerals required for their growth and development exist. This explains why naturally, different species grow in different soils and climates. This also applies to animals, that they are naturally found where all they need is found. They are free to move within their environments to satisfy their natural desires.

    As for humans, they too move to satisfy their natural desires, but their movement is not confined to just where they were born, because of the nature of their mind. Their minds are meant to explore the whole creation, including what they havent been exposed to. This is to me what science enables man to do. In this process, there are guiding principles in religion that enables man not to overstep the bounds. Otherwise, in this process to move and ‘combine’ with nature, man can as well produce harmful as useful results……….

    Like

    • ron says:

      another blithering idiot

      Like

    • rosross says:

      Alexis, I agree with the gist of what you say although I would replace the word ‘religion’ with ‘spirituality.’ Religion is a system, just as science is a system and while religion should be spiritual, often it is not. Religion, like science, locked itself into a blind alley of belief and the fantasy it was the only source of answers.

      The irony and tragedy of modern science is that it has become a religion itself, simply because it was set on a path of being ‘other’ than religion at its worst and so it has become science at its worst, and another version of religion, sitting at the end of a spectrum.

      Fanatical science and fanatical religion are the same thing. The best of each lies in the middle ground.

      Like

      • Ron J Belin says:

        and while your etiologies. May be formatted reasonably, you’re still god posturing and neglected to allow for your lack of provenance; both have nothing to do with extancy= not reality, that would require”so -to-speak”..extancy: what is

        Like

      • Alexis says:

        I believe religion is progressive and not an end in itself. It always addresses the needs of a certain age. Religion is always renewed as per the requirements of an age. This renewal is not done by humans, but by God through the so called Messengers or Manifestations of God. As long as human life lies in God’s hands, He alone diagnoses human needs every time and sends a remedy. This remedy comes normally at a period when humanity is in the greatest challenge and darkness to salvage them from the darkness of error to the light of Divine Guidance. Research on the circumstances and periods under which the Messengers of God appeared and you will realize the validity of this claim. Look at the time of Moses as an example, when Israelites were in the fierce hands of Pharaoh and there was no hope for them, read about the times of Jesus and realize how the Jews had converted religion into trade and had formulated inhuman laws , read the history of the beginning of Islam when Muhammad appeared among the Arabs where there was the peak situation of lawlessness. These are just but a few citations of when religion normally appears. It serves to guide humanity back to the straight path. Religion in itself is a force carrying system as you said, which encompasses the material and the spiritual. If you pause a little and think of the plight of humanity, you will realize that its the right time for a new religion. Ecclesiastical religion is too dogmatic to address today’s needs hence the ‘new religion’ am talking about has just appeared to address the needs.

        We are told in the new religion, the Bahai Religion, that humanity has come to a stage that we can refer to as adolescence, where it is maturing at a very fast rate. The principles that will govern humanity in this stage are found in this new Revelation. The Manifestation Who revealed this Message is called Baha’u’llah, which means ‘The Glory of God’. This new Faith was born in 1844 in Shiraz. Among its principles are quoted below:

        “Among these teachings was the independent investigation of reality so that the world of humanity may be saved from the darkness of imitation and attain to the truth; may tear off and cast away this ragged and outgrown garment of a thousand years ago and may put on the robe woven in the utmost purity and holiness in the loom of reality. As reality is one and cannot admit of multiplicity, therefore different opinions must ultimately become fused into one.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the oneness of the world of humanity; that all human beings are the sheep of God and He is the kind Shepherd. This Shepherd is kind to all the sheep, because He created them all, trained them, provided for them and protected them. There is no doubt that the Shepherd is kind to all the sheep and should there be among these sheep ignorant ones, they must be educated; if there be children, they must be trained until they reach maturity; if there be sick ones, they must be cured. There must be no hatred and enmity, for as by a kind physician these ignorant, sick ones should be treated.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that religion must be the cause of fellowship and love. If it becomes the cause of estrangement then it is not needed, for religion is like a remedy; if it aggravates the disease then it becomes unnecessary.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that religion must be in conformity with science and reason, so that it may influence the hearts of men. The foundation must be solid and must not consist of imitations.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that religious, racial, political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of humanity. As long as these prejudices prevail, the world of humanity will not have rest. For a period of 6,000 years history informs us about the world of humanity. During these 6,000 years the world of humanity has not been free from war, strife, murder and bloodthirstiness. In every period war has been waged in one country or another and that war was due to either religious prejudice, racial prejudice, political prejudice or patriotic prejudice. It has therefore been ascertained and proved that all prejudices are destructive of the human edifice. As long as these prejudices persist, the struggle for existence must remain dominant, and bloodthirstiness and rapacity continue. Therefore, even as was the case in the past, the world of humanity cannot be saved from the darkness of nature and cannot attain illumination except through the abandonment of prejudices and the acquisition of the morals of the Kingdom.
        If this prejudice and enmity are on account of religion consider that religion should be the cause of fellowship, otherwise it is fruitless. And if this prejudice be the prejudice of nationality consider that all mankind are of one nation; all have sprung from the tree of Adam, and Adam is the root of the tree. That tree is one and all these nations are like branches, while the individuals of humanity are like leaves, blossoms and fruits thereof. Then the establishment of various nations and the consequent shedding of blood and destruction of the edifice of humanity result from human ignorance and selfish motives.
        As to the patriotic prejudice, this is also due to absolute ignorance, for the surface of the earth is one native land. Every one can live in any spot on the terrestrial globe. Therefore all the world is man’s birthplace. These boundaries and outlets have been devised by man. In the creation, such boundaries and outlets were not assigned. Europe is one continent, Asia is one continent, Africa is one continent, Australia is one continent, but some of the souls, from personal motives and selfish interests, have divided each one of these continents and considered a certain part as their own country. God has set up no frontier between France and Germany; they are continuous. Yea, in the first centuries, selfish souls, for the promotion of their own interests, have assigned boundaries and outlets and have, day by day, attached more importance to these, until this led to intense enmity, bloodshed and rapacity in subsequent centuries. In the same way this will continue indefinitely, and if this conception of patriotism remains limited within a certain circle, it will be the primary cause of the world’s destruction. No wise and just person will acknowledge these imaginary distinctions. Every limited area which we call our native country we regard as our motherland, whereas the terrestrial globe is the motherland of all, and not any restricted area. In short, for a few days we live on this earth and eventually we are buried in it, it is our eternal tomb. Is it worth while that we should engage in bloodshed and tear one another to pieces for this eternal tomb? Nay, far from it, neither is God pleased with such conduct nor would any sane man approve of it.
        Consider! The blessed animals engage in no patriotic quarrels. They are in the utmost fellowship with one another and live together in harmony. For example, if a dove from the east and a dove from the west, a dove from the north and a dove from the south chance to arrive, at the same time, in one spot, they immediately associate in harmony. So is it with all the blessed animals and birds. But the ferocious animals, as soon as they meet, attack and fight with each other, tear each other to pieces and it is impossible for them to live peaceably together in one spot. They are all unsociable and fierce, savage and combative fighters.
        Regarding the economic prejudice, it is apparent that whenever the ties between nations become strengthened and the exchange of commodities accelerated, and any economic principle is established in one country, it will ultimately affect the other countries and universal benefits will result. Then why this prejudice?
        As to the political prejudice, the policy of God must be followed and it is indisputable that the policy of God is greater than human policy. We must follow the Divine policy and that applies alike to all individuals. He treats all individuals alike: no distinction is made, and that is the foundation of the Divine Religions.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the origination of one language that may be spread universally among the people. This teaching was revealed from the pen of Baha’u’llah in order that this universal language may eliminate misunderstandings from among mankind.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is voluntary sharing of one’s property with others among mankind. This voluntary sharing is greater than equality, and consists in this, that man should not prefer himself to others, but rather should sacrifice his life and property for others. But this should not be introduced by coercion so that it becomes a law and man is compelled to follow it. Nay, rather, man should voluntarily and of his own choice sacrifice his property and life for others, and spend willingly for the poor, just as is done in Persia among the Bahai’s.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is man’s freedom, that through the ideal Power he should be free and emancipated from the captivity of the world of nature; for as long as man is captive to nature he is a ferocious animal, as the struggle for existence is one of the exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of the struggle for existence is the fountain-head of all calamities and is the supreme affliction.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that religion is a mighty bulwark. If the edifice of religion shakes and totters, commotion and chaos will ensue and the order of things will be utterly upset, for in the world of mankind there are two safeguards that protect man from wrongdoing. One is the law which punishes the criminal; but the law prevents only the manifest crime and not the concealed sin; whereas the ideal safeguard, namely, the religion of God, prevents both the manifest and the concealed crime, trains man, educates morals, compels the adoption of virtues and is the all-inclusive power which guarantees the felicity of the world of mankind. But by religion is meant that which is ascertained by investigation and not that which is based on mere imitation, the foundations of Divine Religions and not human imitations.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that although material civilization is one of the means for the progress of the world of mankind, yet until it becomes combined with Divine civilization, the desired result, which is the felicity of mankind, will not be attained. Consider! These battleships that reduce a city to ruins within the space of an hour are the result of material civilization; likewise the Krupp guns, the Mauser rifles, dynamite, submarines, torpedo boats, armed aircraft and bombers — all these weapons of war are the malignant fruits of material civilization. Had material civilization been combined with Divine civilization, these fiery weapons would never have been invented. Nay, rather, human energy would have been wholly devoted to useful inventions and would have been concentrated on praiseworthy discoveries. Material civilization is like a lamp-glass. Divine civilization is the lamp itself and the glass without the light is dark. Material civilization is like the body. No matter how infinitely graceful, elegant and beautiful it may be, it is dead. Divine civilization is like the spirit, and the body gets its life from the spirit, otherwise it becomes a corpse. It has thus been made evident that the world of mankind is in need of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Without the spirit the world of mankind is lifeless, and without this light the world of mankind is in utter darkness. For the world of nature is an animal world.
        Until man is born again from the world of nature, that is to say, becomes detached from the world of nature, he is essentially an animal, and it is the teachings of God which convert this animal into a human soul.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the promotion of education. Every child must be instructed in sciences as much as is necessary. If the parents are able to provide the expenses of this education, it is well, otherwise the community must provide the means for the teaching of that child.
        And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah are justice and right. Until these are realized on the plane of existence, all things shall be in disorder and remain imperfect. The world of mankind is a world of oppression and cruelty, and a realm of aggression and error.
        In fine, such teachings are numerous. These manifold principles, which constitute the greatest basis for the felicity of mankind and are of the bounties of the Merciful, must be added to the matter of universal peace and combined with it, so that results may accrue. Otherwise the realization of universal peace by itself in the world of mankind is difficult. As the teachings of Baha’u’llah are combined with universal peace, they are like a table provided with every kind of fresh and delicious food. Every soul can find, at that table of infinite bounty, that which he desires. If the question is restricted to universal peace alone, the remarkable results which are expected and desired will not be attained. The scope of universal peace must be such that all the communities and religions may find their highest wish realized in it. The teachings of Baha’u’llah are such that all the communities of the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient or modern, find in them the expression of their highest wish.
        For example, the people of religions find, in the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the establishment of Universal Religion — a religion that perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain, and bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison. For if we wish to arrange and organize the world of mankind in accordance with the present religious imitations and thereby to establish the felicity of the world of mankind, it is impossible and impracticable — for example, the enforcement of the laws of the Torah and also of the other religions in accordance with present imitations. But the essential basis of all the Divine Religions which pertains to the virtues of the world of mankind and is the foundation of the welfare of the world of man, is found in the teachings of Baha’u’llah in the most perfect presentation.”

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        • Ron J Belin says:

          You’re a fucking dunderhead of a lost cause: try janitorial services.

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          • Ron J Belin says:

            Lets replace religion with spirituality and humans with monkeys, monkey

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          • rosross says:

            Ron, your name-calling and abuse reflect on you, not others. Desist.

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            • Ron J Belin says:

              And I’m concerned for the quantafication in those reflections like , well, like you haven’t the imagination for: dunderheadedness is my cause for reflection by the same parameter, dumb head..when anyone here gets that you don’t get kudos eventually for petuating lies , even via ignorance, you can pretend to instruct me by any fashion and I’ll just ignore you

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        • rosross says:

          Alexis, that is probably far too long a post to attract many if any readers and you need more paragraph breaks to make it readable.

          And I am not sure a discussion of religion is relevant here. I really don’t do He as God although I have a great deal of time for God and none for religion, having studied many and found them all wanting, beyond the few shared gems of wisdom. Religions are God made in men’s image – not even man in a generic sense – but small, petty, patriarchal, fearful, left-brain, analytic, men. The same lot who have ‘created’ science as we see it today with all the same fears and flaws.

          There is absolutely no historical evidence for Moses, Jesus or any Hebrews in Egypt. The Egyptians were consummate scribes – they are not mentioned. Jesus was not mentioned by any scribe, writer or historian of his time. He appeared three hundred years later, draped in the stories which had once been attributed to Horus, Mithras and many other saviour-redeemer gods.

          I read the history of Islam – it is a religion created by a bloke who clearly had some mystical experiences and came up with a set of rules which would help him run his tribe. Like every other religion, it was later tinkered with to write in all sorts of rot about what to eat, how to dress and lots and lots of fear and hatred of women. None of it had anything to do with God so no, I don’t believe if divine messengers were involved they came from any God worth bothering about.

          If religion served to draw us back to being the best we can be then so much slaughter, misogyny, fear, hatred and horror would not have been done in the name of any religion and still being done.

          We do not need a new religion – we need a return to our innate spirituality and that is happening. Save us from religions.

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          • Alexis says:

            Thanks Rosross for your honest reply. Its true this might not fit the discussion at hand, because sometimes fundamentalism limits knowledge gain. Being focussed on the topic is as important as allowing more ideas which were even unexpected to spice it even. You have heard of inattentional blindness, which is the most common feature in many studies and undertakings. There is too much conflict in the current scientific and religious worlds that each sees another as an opposer. What I am just trying to add to the discussion is the unheeded truth of the strong connection between the two. Science in itself is not an end, neither is religion. The two were meant to compliment each other not to oppose. That is why, as I put at first, it is important to appreciate that all knowledge comes from God.

            As to the history part that I shared, I know it may take many words, but it is important to appreciate the fact that every Messenger had supporters and oppossers, both of whom wrote about them. Many popular histories about Muhammad are from the enemies of Him at that time and the ignorant of His age. Just like there exist stories from the anti-Christ. It may be wise to be scrutinizing in the sources of this information. It is important also to avoid judgement basing on someone else’s judgement. This topic may need a little more discussion. To be fair, maybe you can respond to me via my email; matoalex@yahoo.com, if you so wish so that I may share with you some more on the same.

            Lastly, concerning your take that we dont need a new religion, I agree we may not. But mostly people formulate attitudes towards religion basing on the so called religionists of the age, who have their own limitations in understanding and diversity. Religion is one, and when I say new religion, I dont mean we forget past religions. What happens is renewal of religion basing on the needs of an age. The fundamental Teaching of religion will never change but the flexible part of religion, which applies to the laws governing human interactions and progress will always modify as per to the needs. I dont want to dig deep into this issue, for the pages here wont suffice. No human being can save us from misunderstanding, except God Himself. It is also not in the power of any human to decide when to have and what religion to have at a certain period. Sometimes it is important to appreciate that you never know what you have been missing untill it arrives, or untill you meet it. Our innate spirituality, which you mentioned, is the purpose of religion; to recreate and renew it.

            One of the principles of science is independent investigation and experimentation, and not just mere acceptance, imitation or mere rejection of information. Calling oneself a supporter of science, in itself, binds us to this principle…… Please in case you feel like you are not convinced, you are then well provoked to investigate and not to run into conclusions prematurely.

            Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Ron J Belin says:

          You’re a blithering moron, lex

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        • jydytsty says:

          you obviously have no life

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      • Ron J Belin says:

        The irony and tragedy..? Perhaps in your arena, where you have not a clue..

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  41. William Polk says:

    Statement 3 is wrong, but it is not about chiral it as that defines different chemical entities. Instead, it is wrong because of the tiny percent of trace chemicals that exist in all products. In chemical preparations from natural sources, the trace contamination is typically closely related chemicals produced by metabolism in the source. Industrial preparations contain side reaction products. This is why natural vanilla and synthetic vanilla taste different to some people. And to those that don’t think the minor products are of concern, Google 2,4d and 3,4,5t. That being said, natural does not mean safer or better, just produced differently.

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  42. Mike Lathouras says:

    I’m no longer feel the value of intellectual propositions in this type of forum. In my view the gems are from people who have a contrary view on the subject, in the comments. I want to read a contrary view – not see it attacked or have the author derided. Problem for me is wading through the volume of ancillary information from people who virtually regard themselves as co-authors. But they’re not co-authors. Original thought in the construction of a dissertation like the above trumps any responsive position that follows in the comments, unless a) it challenges accuracy or b) they open with ‘I don’t agree because…’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron J Belin says:

      Latent whore, sawwy, you don’t get to lay the ground rules either; when there is purpose here, these insignificant borders will extinguish

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  43. Ron J Belin says:

    Your ancillary proposition is not intellectually metered, its a tip your third grade teacher honored you with:

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  44. Reblogged this on aperi mentis and commented:
    Reblogged from The Logic of Science

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  45. Kevin Schmidt says:

    Here’s another chemistry fact. The article neither proves nor disproves the safety and effectiveness of any vaccine.
    If it was the author’s intent to use illogical strawman arguments and ad hominems to prove all vaccines are safe and effective, then the article is ironically anti-science.

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    • Oscar says:

      The article explains how some of the objections against vaccines are faulty.
      The article doesn’t claim to prove that all vaccines are safe and effective; you are the one who is guilty of using a strawman.

      Like

      • ron says:

        anyone having to resort to cliches, ‘strawman’, is one

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      • Ron J Belin says:

        and those same nobodies who even anticipate an ‘article’ ” proving” or ” disproving” anything can grapple with why there is an issue toward those expectations..so insipid, this post

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  46. Ron J Belin says:

    The history of use can’t even prove that

    Liked by 1 person

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