another weird science letter

This one seems to be firmly in the ‘nature good, man-made bad’ camp.

Doctors, drug companies and journalists alike refuse to acknowledge that what they manufacture, prescribe and pontiificate about is harmful to each and every human being. If children become poisoned, as reported [the writer is referring to a recent case where a child died after swallowing an adult’s heart medication], then why should adults be less vulnerable? Certainly not. Simply more and more body cells are destroyed.

I’m sure those whose lives have been saved by modern pharmaceutical products (including antibiotics, anaesthetics, painkillers, and yes, chemotherapy) would disagree. Where chemo is concerned, doctors freely admit that the drugs are toxic – they have to be, to kill cancer cells. The oncologist must judge the treatment carefully to avoid killing too many healthy cells as well. (And yes, I know that statyement’s ripe for quote-mining!) And of course, dosage is important – the amount of a drug that can treat an adult ailment will quite likely be dangerous for a child.

Science can only succeed in making one form, whereas nature makes many forms (isomers).

I’m guessing that here our writer is referring to the fact that many molecules are chiral, whereby a very small change in the molecule’s physical form can have very large effects on its biological activity. However, he’s wrong on a couple of counts. First, chemists are quite capable of manufacturing more than one isomer of a particular chemical, and second – for chiral molecules anyway – living things utilise only one form of each molecule. What’s more, one ‘stereoisomer’ can be safely used by the body, while in some cases the other can be highly toxic – these days great care is taken during the manufacturing process to ensure that only the correct isomer is used in the final product.

Nature’s pure essential oils harmonise our cells; drugs, by contrast, being created synthetically increase disorder. .

Not quite sure about this ‘harmony/disorder’ thing.  Cells by their very nature are highly ‘ordered’, complex systems. OK, I’m sure an aromatherapy session is pleasant, relaxing, and improves one’s overall feeling of well-being. But more than that? I notice that essential oils are pushed by Mercola as having ‘significant therapeutic benefits’, which by itself makes me cautious 🙂 But anyway. This site advises that they shouldn’t be taken internally, which would rather tend to limit their effectiveness on internal ailments. And some are certainly not without their side effects:a 2007 study of gynecomastia (breast development) in prepubertal boys found that in some cases this could be traced to the use of lavender and tea-tree oils.

Show me where manmade intervention is as good as nature provides.

Ever taken an aspirin? The active principle in aspirin was originally obtained from willow bark. Modern methods of producing it mean that dosage can be standardised & the drug used more effectively. Nor is ‘nature’ this gentle, caring, universally beneficent thing. There are many entirely natural substances that will kill you very dead – including ricin, from the castor oil bean: the toxin of choice used to kill Georgi Markov back in 1978. (And – I can’t resist – won’t someone warn people about dihydrogen monoxide?)

Ignorance and arrogance play big parts in the lack of acknowledgement of the powers of nature, in the interest of money-making benefits rather than for health.

Any doctor who’s seen a patient die of an intractable ‘superbug’ infection, or from cancer that’s advanced beyond the ability of oncologists to offer anything more than palliative care, is all too aware of the ‘powers of nature’. They don’t see why nature should always simply run its course – bear in mind that that 200 years ago, most people could expect to live only around 40 years. Modern medical and pharmaceutical advances have done a lot to change that. 

2 thoughts on “another weird science letter”

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Nature’s pure essential oils harmonise our cells
    If it’s Nature, it’s not pure; if it’s pure, it’s not Nature. Hard to argue with someone so deep into the magical thinking that they don’t notice or care about the contradiction between two consecutive words.

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