Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Medical Bigots

According to Webster's, a bigot is "a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc." What is a medical bigot?  A medical bigot strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc in various fields of medicine.  A medical bigot sees things in black and white, devoid of color, or complexity. A medical bigot wants simple answers, the simpler the better.

"A strong or unfair dislike for other people, ideas, etc." perfectly describes the bigot. A bigot has a strong dislike for strange persons, unfamiliar ideas, difficult questions, challenges, controversy, etc., preferring the safety of their current knowledge, and position. Medical bigots don't make good scientists, because scientists are always ready, willing and able - eager even, to challenge their current knowledge.

When you see, read, or hear someone expressing a "strong dislike for...", that's their bigot side coming out.

Here's a commonplace example: "WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO TAKE DOWN CHARLATANS". The author takes NO POSITIVE position on anything, simply spewing negative thoughts, fear and loathing, stopping just short of suggesting lynchings. He opens his post with "F**K YOU", and closes it with "so there" He gives us a list of 'charlatans', which he also refers to as 'those f**kers', to 'take down'. He also provides a list of 'the good guys'. If he had used the words 'those f**kers' to describe Negros, while providing a list of 'good white guys', we could easily recognize it as prejudice, as bigotry, as nonsense. If he had used the words 'those f**kers' for 'homosexuals', and a list of 'straight white guys', it would be a clear example of homophobia. But because he is bashing people's choices in medicine and health, it is not seen as bigotry. The unfortunate thing is the amount of support he has got, and the number of people who have shared his post - without noticing his bigotry, arrogance, and frankly, his stupidity.

People are not divided into 'good people' (eg. our white friends, those we agree with) and the 'bad people' (black people, people we don't agree with, our enemies).  Every person is valuable.  Every person's ideas are valuable. Every person is capable of having good ideas, of doing good, and of having faulty ideas, and of doing bad things. Blaming the person, or their profession, ignores the facts, allows the accuser to judge, without evidence, without jury, without opportunity for defense. That is simply bigotry. The author is not a scientist, not a doctor. To be honest, neither am I, but I am not a simple minded bigot, lashing out at the 'dangerous people who dare to choose alternatives' to his beliefs.

Ideas are also not divided into 'good ideas', those of our friends, and 'bad ideas' - those from people we don't like.  To suggest that all 'alternatives' are bad is simply fear driven bigotry.

There are lots of different medical bigots. With lots of overlap and common ground between the groups - like attracts like, after all.  Let's survey the field.  I'm sure I'll forget some, maybe you can help me out in the comments?

Let's begin with the latest fashion: Gluten Bigots - take pride in bashing people who are, or who believe they are 'gluten intolerant', or to have celiac disease or tendencies. The gluten bigots spin tales of "these idiots" who "do not understand simple truths". They clearly dislike people who want to choose food that does not contain gluten. They put forth 'science' that says only a small group of people are gluten intolerant, thus claiming the offenders must be liars. I think some of the anti-gluten free posters were simply jokers, comedians, trying to have a laugh.  Maybe this one "If Someone Ever Tells You They Have A Gluten Allergy, Show Them This". The problems arise when people don't get the joke, and pile on as if it was a science, creating a new field of bigotry out of a small irritation (to them).

Do bigots believe in freedom?  No. They do not believe in freedom. They don't believe we should be free choose what we eat. In their "strong and unfair dislikes other people, ideas, etc.", even of people they have never met, ideas they do not understand, the bigots jump to insult, jump to make fun of other people, their beliefs, and their choices.

This is a blog about health, and about health freedom.  The Gluten Bigots, like many medical bigots, do not believe in freedom, they believe in 'their truths, their whole truth, and nothing but their truths'. They believe that 'truth' lies in their ideas, and that other opinions and other facts are lies, and those who espouse them are liars.

Once we see the pattern, "a person who strongly ... dislikes", it's not hard to find other examples.

There are lots of people who do not 'believe' in natural, or alternative medicines. All people should be free to choose their beliefs, and free to change them.  But some people take it to the extreme, expressing outright disdain, even hatred, for people who choose to believe in natural and alternative medicines. These are the Natural Medicine Bigots "who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.". Pretending, even believing, that only medicines that are accepted and used by conventional doctors are valid cures. This is simplistic nonsense.  It is also a 'pretend world' where medical doctors are not allowed to disagree with each other, as if the science of medicine was closed and compete. Science, including the science of medicine, is not about truths, not about 'good vs bad' medicine. It is about searching for better medicines, simpler medicines, about challenging all of our current ideas.

The simple truth, is much more complicated.  Most conventional medicines, Most patented drugs, do not cure any disease, and are not designed to cure disease.  They are designed to treat symptoms of disease. This is easily seen by reading the packet information. And there are many, many, well known diseases that cannot be cured by medicines, and are only cured by 'natural treatments'. The stronger the opinions of the Medical Bigots, the farther they stray from reality.

The Vax-Bigots trust the vax, not the facts. I believe everyone has the right to make their own choices about vaccines - and in the past year I have chosen to be vaccinated in two cases, and refused to be vaccinated in one other case. My decisions were based on my own personal beliefs, and my understanding of the vaccines offered. The truths about vaccines are very, very, very complicated. Science clearly stands on both sides of almost every vaccine question. But the Vax-Bigots have no shortage of "strong dislike for...people, ideas", etc. You can recognize them not by their knowledge and opinions, which are mostly irrational and unscientific, but by their openly expressed fear and hatred of people who believe differently.

The Homeopathy Bigots take ridiculousness to the extreme.  Homeopaths should not be allowed to practice, homeopathic medicines should not be sold. Medical bigots do not believe in your freedom to choose. This despite clear evidence that homeopathic treatments have never killed anyone, while conventional medicines kill thousands of people every year. Sometimes I think the medical bigots need someone to strike against 'everyone else' because the medicines and treatments of conventional medicine are so dangerous we need a bigger  boogeyman to deflect our attention.

Then there's the GMO bigots. They would like to cover the planet in GMO foods to feed the starving. But they don't want the starving, or anyone else, to feed themselves with non-GMO foods. The strong GMO bigots do not believe in choice, and they express it openly by fighting labeling.

Are GMOs dangerous?  It's worse than that. Most GMOs are not just foreign foods, they are designed to take heavy doses of pesticides and herbicides, or to create their own pesticides. They are often toxic by design. The GMO Bigots will cite numerous studies that these foods 'do not harm people', conveniently forgetting that 'negative' studies only prove what we don't now, not what we know. GMO Bigots, like other medical bigots, don't want free choice, and actively work to ensure that your freedoms are limited to their choices.

These Medical Bigots, like racial bigots, like everything to be 'black and white'.  There are no shades of grey, no colors, no brown, nor red, nor yellow.  Black and white is simple.  Either you are on their side, or opposed.  That's the extent of their opinions.  Medical bigots also like to gang up. They like to pile onto the opposition, because when there are lots of friendly voices - it's easier to ignore facts that might distract from their cause.

There are lots of other opinions along the health and medical continuum.  There are four important types of medicines, or healthicines:
 - emergency treatments - modern medicine excels in this area.
 - symtpomicines - most medicines, natural or conventional, are in this category, treating symptoms, but curing nothing at all.
 - cures - there are very few conventional medicines that can cure a disease. Because most diseases that can be cured are caused by common dietary deficiencies or excesses, most actual cures are to be found in foods, or dietary changes, eg. natural medicines.
 - preventatives - there are very few preventatives in conventional medicines as well, the majority of those are vaccinations.  There are a few medical preventatives that are targeted at symptoms, not at disease - like statins and bio-phosphates.  The most effective preventative medicines are healthicines. Health is the best preventative.

Believing, or pretending that only conventional medicines 'work' and that alternatives, or natural medicines do not work is simplicity to the point of ignorance.  Taking those simplistic ideas, and using them to hate people, is bigotry: "A strong or unfair dislike for other people, ideas, etc." .

Health comes from freedom.  Freedom to choose, freedom to consume what we choose.  Freedom to medicate, and freedom to avoid medications.  When we lose freedoms, we lose health. When we hate, we all lose. We all lose health.

Life is complicated.  Health is complicated.  Food is complicated. Medicine is complicated. There are no easy answers - we each need to decide for ourselves, and to be free to decide for ourselves.

The purpose of a true democratic government is to create and enhance the freedoms of individuals, and of groups, not to restrict them. Laws should be created, specifically designed to create and enhance freedoms.

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.

to your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Vaccine Debates: A Healthicine View



The internet is awash with vaccination posts.  Everybody, it seems, has an opinion, and want you to see their point of view. Punt "vaccine myths and facts" into Google today and you will see over 700,000 hits. Many of the so called "myths" are not myths at all. The 'myths' chosen, and the 'facts' that follow are opinions, designed to support each individual author's objectives.

Let's forget myths.  What vaccine facts are actually important? What vaccine questions are important? What answers are important?

This post presents some important questions about vaccines - as a test.  Can you answer these questions?  Check it out, move the cursor over the answer of your choice and see your results.

1. What is the purpose of a vaccine?
To create immunity to a disease To create immunity to a disease, ✓ Website: Wikipedia: "A vaccine is a biological preparation theat provides acquired active immunity to a particular disease.
To improve immunity to a disease. To improve immunity to a disease. ✓ Website: World Health Organization: "A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease"
===========================================================

2. How effective are vaccines?
Not as effective as better food, clean drinking water and improved sanitation. Not as effective as better food, clean drinking water and improved sanitation. ✓ Website: Child Health Safety: "The main advances in combating disease over 200 years have been better food and clean drinking water.  Improved sanitation, less overcrowded and better living conditions also contribute. This is also borne out in published peer reviewed research"
===========================================================

3. Do vaccines save millions of lives?

Vaccines save lives, but we're not sure how many. They cause deaths as well. Vaccines save lives, but we're not sure how many. They cause deaths as well. ✓ Legal Document: "There is established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to be administered by the Secretary under which compensation may be paid for a vaccine-related injury or death."
===========================================================

4. How many deaths were caused by vaccines in the USA, in 2014?
None proven: Correlation is not Causation None proven: Correlation is not Causation ✓ Website: Government: " Note that the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not infer causality."
============================================================

5. Is the data in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) accurate?
No, it's too high. No, it's too high. Website: News: "In many cases, the side effects reported to VAERS are coincidences."
Yes, it's good data. Yes, it's good and it's our best source. ✓ Website: Government: " VAERS data contains coincidental events and those truly caused by vaccines."
============================================================

6. Can vaccines cause autism?  
Maybe Maybe: US Federal courts have awarded compensation for at least 83 cases of vaccines causing autism. But "in settled cases, the court does not determine that the vaccine caused the injury".✓ Website: Blog: "83 Cases of Autism Associated with Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensated in Federal Vaccine Court "
Yes. Yes, at least 22 published research studies, published in multiple medical journals, provide evidence that vaccines cause autism. ✓ Website: "22 Medical Studies That Show Vaccines Can Cause Autism"
============================================================

7. Can you get a disease from the vaccine that’s supposed to prevent it?
Yes, and you can get other diseases too. Yes, and you can get other diseases too. ✓ Medical Clinical Practice Guideline: "the increasing prevalence of H. influenzae among other upper respiratory tract infections of children, particularly AOM, since the introduction of conjugated pneumococcal vaccines"
============================================================

8. What is "herd immunity"?
the proportion of subjects with immunity in a given population the proportion of subjects with immunity in a given population. ✓ Research Paper: Medical: "the proportion of subjects with immunity in a given population"
occurs when a significant proportion of the population have been vaccinated occurs when a significant proportion of the population have been vaccinated, ✓ Online Medical Dictionary: "occurs when a significant proportion of the population (or the herd) have been vaccinated"
a reduction in the probability of infection that is held to apply when a significant proportion of the individuals are immune a reduction in the probability of infection that is held to apply when a significant proportion of the individuals are immune. ✓ Medical Dictionary "http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/herd%20immunity"
The term herd immunity carries a variety of meanings The term herd immunity carries a variety of meanings ✓ Medical Journal Article: "The term herd immunity is widely used but carries a variety of meanings"
============================================================


9. If people are vaccinated for influenza, does"herd immunity" protect those who cannot be vaccinated?
No, not even with everyone vaccinated. No, not even with everyone vaccinated ✓ Website: Government: Influenza Vaccine effectiveness ranges from 10 to 60 percent over the past 10 years.
============================================================

So, how's your score? If you have chosen an answer to every question, you have a score of 100 percent, because every answer can be supported by evidence. If you chose more than one answer, you get more than 100 percent, because you learn more.  The only ways to get less than 100 percent are to not choose, because you don't know, or to not choose, because you are so certain you don't need to look.

Is this some kind of trick?

No. Let's look at a simple example:  Answer this question

Is a zebra a black animal with white stripes?

Yes Yes, ✓ Of course it is. 
No No, ✓ It's a white animal with black stripes. 
Of course not. Of course not. ✓ A zebra is a black and white striped animal.  
============================================================

  Equus quagga

When multiple answers, opposing answers, to a question are found to be correct, science does not assume that one answer is correct, it concludes that better questions are needed.

But, if you really need to answer that specific question, it depends, the answer does no depend on any element of the question:
 - it depends on what you choose to accept.
 - you can choose. You can decide.
 - you can change your mind,
 - and you can change it again later.

This is the reality of much of the vaccine debates, they are not science, they are debates. Debaters often use 'science' in their arguments, but that does not make the debate scientific. Everyone has an opinion, and many opinions can be supported by more or less reliable sources. There are few absolute truths, and fewer absolute 'negative truths' (eg. X is NOT caused by vaccines), because most negative truths are impossible to 'prove'. As a result, you can easily find thousands of people, articles, research papers, websites, etc. using science to convince you of their view about vaccines. They simply do not understand science. And they usually do not care - their debate is not about science.

I am in favor of science. Science is about finding interesting questions, searching for and testing answers, and then looking for better questions and better answers.  Science does not find 'truth'. Science is about the search, not about the truth.

I am in favor of choice.  I am in favor of the right to decide, or not, and to choose, or not, and the right to change our decisions and our choices. The issues around vaccines are very complex.  Some of us want simple choices, and that's OK.  Some of use want to understand the complexities, and make our own decisions on a case by case basis.  That's OK too.  That is the nature of freedom. This is a blog about freedom.

Only one person can make your choice. You. You need to choose. You have a right to choose. You can choose to give that right to someone else, but it will still be your choice. You are the only person who is responsible for your choices. You cannot give that responsibility away, although some people want to take it away from you.


Debate Posts

Most posts about vaccines are simply 'debate' posts.  One side wants to defend vaccines, or even to propose mandatory vaccination, the opposing side either wants the right to choose, or opposes vaccines entirely.  There is a spectrum of opinions about vaccines, but that spectrum is very one-dimensional, as shown in this diagram.


The truth about vaccines is very, very complex, and is different for each vaccine, sometimes different for each batch. That's why the government's VAERS system tracks immunization by batches. When we add the complexity of each disease, from smallpox and polio, to measles, to influenza, the complexity rises.  Then we add the layer of vaccine schedules and vaccine combinations it rises again. Then we add people into the mix; we have babies and seniors - who might not be able to make full use of vaccines, who might be more prone to damage by vaccines, we have people with very serious allergies to vaccines, or less serious allergies, we have people who want to exercise their personal belief with regards to vaccines, both for and against vaccination, and we have people who simply want to understand the science as best they can, and make the best decision for themselves and their children.  It make no sense to make one dimensional decisions about 'vaccines' as if they were 'one thing', and attempt to apply those decisions to all cases.

The people we hear, the people in the news, the people blogging, are those with strong beliefs, we are hearing the people at either end of the diagram.


The majority of people are in the middle, believing that knowledge, freedom, and free choice are important. There are small numbers of people on both ends, working hard to get everyone 'on their side'.  Proselytizing their personal beliefs, using 'selected science', to support their faith.

Healthicine

When science finds questions that cannot be answered, it breaks them down into smaller, answerable questions, or steps up to a higher perspective, in order to understand more. When we break the vaccine questions down into smaller questions, we get more answers.  We need to step the questions up to a higher level, from the level of medicine, to the level of healthicine.

There is one question, a very important question, that has not been asked, much less answered, about vaccines. We need to use science to consider, to study this question:

Do vaccines make us healthier?

Today, we simply do not know.  We have no idea.  We don't study health seriously.  Our current medical paradigm operates under the simplistic assumption that 'not sick' equals healthy.

Healthiness is not binary, not a YES/NO question, not a YES/NO answer.  Healthiness is a scale, ranging from very, very healthy, to very, very unhealthy.  It is possible to be very healthy, and still sick (with a cold, for example). It is also possible to be very unhealthy, but not sick.

When we learn to study healthiness, to measure healthiness, the science of vaccines might become more complex, not simpler. But we will understand more. And we will need better questions.

And that will be science. And that will be good.

to your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Toronto Star vs the Vax-apologists

The Toronto Star recently published a report about the HPVvaccine Gardasil. The result was a firestorm from vax-apologists. The vax-apologists would like the story to disappear. There are reports of people cancelling their subscriptions to the Star.
Maybe the Star should reconsider the title of the story, and the point. Let's suppose the Star had printed a different story.  A different heading.  But the same facts, minus the vaccine references. The Star might have reported a story like this:
==============================================
Young Girls Suffer and Die, But No-one Cares

Sixty girls and women in Canada have convulsed or developed disabling joint and muscle pain and other debilitating conditions, and no-one is investigating. In the cases discussed in this article, it is the opinion of a patient, or doctor that they know the cause. Official documents have been filed making that claim. But there are no investigations, no-one cares.
The girls, and their parents have nowhere to turn. Some of the girls have, after several years, made partial recoveries and are trying to live normal lives. Others are still bouncing from doctor to doctor, looking for answers.

These numbers are from voluntary reports, and it is likely that the true numbers are higher.
Although no cause has been clearly identified, and it appears that there are similar circumstances. Some risk factors have been identified, but no-one is analyzing the data. No one is investigating.

=============================================
That's the true story. It's not (yet) a story about vaccines.  It's a story about irresponsible medical systems, that fail to investigate cases of illness and death that have a common theme.

If you read this story, what would you think? You might wonder: "if the parents, the girls, the women, or any of the doctors believe they know the cause, why didn't the Star have the guts to print what they said?"

Thousands of Canadians eat hamburgers, and pizza, with no ill effects.  But when someone is harmed, when someone gets seriously sick from eating hamburgers, or pizza, an investigation is warranted.  If we found that eating a particular company's hamburgers sometimes appeared to result in disability or death, would we look further? Or would we cover it over with a blanket, ignore those who are sick, and the families who lost members? Eating hamburger is safe.  Real safe.  But when it becomes dangerous, we investigate.
When someone's health is damaged, or a death occurs, after a vaccination, investigation stops.  And that's shameful. 

What's the difference? Maybe we understand how death and disability can occur from eating tainted hamburger.  Maybe we can test the hamburger to clearly identify the cause.  Maybe we can investigate and learn how to prevent this from happening again.

With vaccine injury claims, we don't understand. We don't know what to check.  And we're not trying to learn either. If we don't look for the cause, how can we expect to find it?  Is that scientific?  Frankly, no, it is not. It's hiding our heads in the sand, and hoping it doesn't strike our family next.

Who is investigating the health of these girls and women?  Certainly not the vax-apologists. Seriously, we have 60 girls and women who appear to be suffering from similar illnesses, possibly similar causes. Who is looking into this?  Who should be looking into this? Did any of the vax-apologists suggest that each case should be investigated? Not likely.  The only real course for the girls, women, and their parents is ?what? If it was a hamburger, or a pizza, they could take someone to court.  But if the cause is a vaccine. Nobody cares.  Actually, somebody cares - somebody doesn't want investigations.

Imagine you are a parent, or a girl, or a woman, going from doctor to doctor, without any answers.  What is this disease?  What is the cause? What's the treatment? Nothing. Nobody knows and nobody cares. Dead bodies don't matter. If they're not dead, it's not important. 

Don't print it.  That's the response the Toronto Star received.  For shame.

================
Vax-apologists like their mantras "there is no proof that..." and with regards to items in vaccine reporting systems "correlation is not causation..."

That message is simply wrong, simply backwards. The vaccine reporting systems collect "evidence" supported by medical professionals, and patients. There is "no proof that the evidence is wrong." Nobody checked. Saying "there is no proof that the evidence is right", is irresponsible nonsense. If you care, truly care, about proof: check.  If you care, really care, about these young girls, check until you know what happened.

In the situations reported by the Toronto Star, there is "no proof that the vaccine caused the injury", because no-one attempted to check. Proof starts with evidence, but it requires due diligence, not undue ignore-ance.

Medical Error: There is clear evidence of medical error. Anyone can read the vaccine package insert for Gardasil, and see that it clearly says:

"------------------------------CONTRAINDICATIONS------------------------------- • Hypersensitivity, including severe allergic reactions to yeast (a vaccine component), or after a previous dose of GARDASIL. (4, 11) ----------------"

Some of the people reported in the Toronto Star story had "Hypersensitivity, including severe allergic reaction to... or after a previous does of GARDASIL", but the second injection, and sometimes a third injection, proceeded anyway. Should we blame the vaccine?  The medical staff? The poorly written, message hidden in plain sight, in the 27 pages of vaccine packaging insert?

Unfortunately, for some of the subjects, the initial "hypersensativity" was so severe that no further doses were administered, but they have still not recovered completely, according to their testimony. 

Did the Toronto Star fail? Or did they simply do a poor job of reporting a very important set of events?

==============================
There are two more important things that the Toronto Star didn't say about Gardasil, and the vax-apologists don't mention either.

First: Effectiveness. Vaccine effectiveness differs from vaccine to vaccine.  According to current scientific research, the measles vaccine is very effective.  The influenza vaccine, in comparison is not very effective and is very ineffective for people over the age of 65 - one of the target populations.

How effective is Gardasil?  We have no idea.  We have no science.  We have scientific theories, but no scientific studies that measure the science of Gardasil.

Why don't we know how effective Gardasil is? Because Gardasil is a vaccine designed on the theory that reducing HPV infection will reduce cancers later in life. Gardasil is being administered to teenage boys and girls.  The cancers resulting from HPV infections typically occur 20 to 40 years later. The scientific results of today's Gardasil immunizations will be available for study in about 30 years - in 2145.

Everyone who takes a Gardasil vaccination, and anyone who does not take a vaccination is 'essential data' for research studies in the 2140's that attempt to understand the results of today's vaccinations. In order for those studies to make science based conclusions about Gardasil, we need people who take the vaccine, and people who do not take the vaccine. 

Second: Health.   This is a blog about health and healthicine. But no-one is studying the health effects of vaccines.  Many researchers study the illness effects of vaccines, but no one can answer these questions:

Do vaccines make you healthier? 
Do some vaccines make you healthier?
Do some vaccines make you less healthy?

No-one is studying these questions.  Health is bigger than illness, health is a super-set of illness, as healthicine is a super-set of medicine.  But there are no 'health experts' and no 'health studies' that do not focus solely on illness.

==============================
Something needs to change.  And changes don't happen as a result of denial and apologies. They happen as a result of investigation and understanding. Kudos to the Toronto Star for their investigation.  We need to encourage them to look further.

.....disclosure...
I am not anti-vaccine.   In the past year, I have had two vaccinations, and refused an offer of a third. I am pro-choice. This is, after all, a blog about health freedom.

to your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A New Equation for Stupidity

In a TED talk filmed in November 2013, Alex Wissner-Gross offers "A new equation for intelligence".  I'm not sure if there was an 'old equation for intelligence'? The talk was based on the concepts of a research paper published in April 2013: Causal Entropic Forces. I must confess that the mathematics of this paper is way beyond my understanding. However, many of the statements made in the TED talk simplify the concepts to the point where we can understand and make sense (or perhaps nonsense) of them.

According to Wissner-Gross, "Intelligence is a force F that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. With strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures S, to some future time horizon 'tau'."  This is a complex statement, but in does make some sense.  In a much simpler way, we might say that "Intelligent things are things that attempt to optimize and maintain their future flexibility, their future options."

Wissner-Gross describes a number of experiments that demonstrate this theory and support this formula for intelligence.  The experimental descriptions in the TED talk, and in the research paper are deliberately simple. They are designed to 'optimize or maintain their options for future states'.

How can this be done?  You can only create a system that can "optimize it's future options", if you make the system, in some way,
 - aware of it's current state in some trivial representation
 - able to make choices and to take actions (modeled as entropy)
 - and able to count resulting future options, eg. aware of ALL OF the consequences of it's choices.
and one other point, which is not discussed by the Wissner-Gross presentation, ignorance of external systems and variables.  We shall come to discuss this later.

In other words, Wissner-Gross created a system with a fundamental level of 'self consciousness' although no sense of 'free-will'. They are computer programs designed, driven to seek actions that 'optimize future options' by creating 'simulated entropy' models. There is no free to chose other options.

What Wissner-Gross observed was that when we build a self-aware simulation and force it to 'choose', actions that result in the most 'future possible choices', we get a system that appears to be 'intelligent'. Is it intelligent? We might say that, if it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If it looks intelligent, and acts like it is intelligent, then it is intelligent. Or maybe not?

Wissner-Gross gives us a mathematical formula, or equation for intelligence: Intelligence is a force F that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. With strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures S, to some future time horizon 'tau'.

F(intelligence) = T ∇ Sτ

It's an interesting formula. Intelligence the force, the drive that results when an entropic system falls into a state where it naturally chooses actions that maximize future options. When we consider that for a moment, we can rephrase the formula. We originally described it as:

F(of intelligence) = T ∇ Sτ

We might instead view it as:

F(of healthiness) = T ∇ Sτ

Thus, the force of healthiness acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. With strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures S, to some future time horizon 'tau'.


We can look at this formula from another perspective.  Maybe it's the formula for 'life'?

F(of life) = T ∇ Sτ

The life force is the tendency for systems that make choices that increase their future options - to live longer and build complexity. Health is a result of life and does not exist without life. Life, intelligence, and healthiness emerge and become more complex as the system becomes more complex. Intelligence and healthiness are different ways of looking at the same thing. The systems created in Wissner-Gross's simulations are not 'alive', and they are supported by external decision systems that make their choices. Real life evolves from simple, similar situations, that facilitate a rise in complexity.  That 'rise in complexity' occurs when simple systems encounter other systems with similar and complimentary properties and discover, or evolve, the ability to cooperate with other systems.

Life is a result of freedom to choose, including choosing to cooperate with other entities (systems) that have freedom to choose, thus increasing the freedoms of all involved.

Which came first: intelligence or life?  Is it a chicken-egg question? Or does it depend on how we define intelligence, and how we define life?  Does life, or does intelligence exist as soon as a system gains 'freedom to choose'? Or does 'freedom to choose' arise out of system complexity, as it approaches 'life' and 'intelligence'? Can intelligence exist without life? Can life exist without intelligence? Or does 'freedom to choose' simply not exist, except as an illusion we believe, because our life systems are so complex that the give us the illusion of choice?

It is also interesting to consider the 'time horizon', because different time horizons can lead to very different results - in more complex systems. An action that might be intelligent when considering a daily activity, might be stupid when we consider it from a month, year, or lifetime perspective.

And that leads us to the question of 'stupidity'.  If we have a formula for intelligence, is there a formula for stupidity? Is stupidity the inverse of intelligence, and intelligence the inverse of stupidity. Is a rock stupid? No. A rock is dumb, because it cannot hear, it cannot see, it cannot speak, it cannot think or decide, and it cannot act.  But it is not stupid, because it cannot make stupid decisions nor take stupid actions. Stupid things (or stupid systems) are things that take stupid actions.

What is a stupid action?  What is stupidity? If "Intelligence is a force F that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. With strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures S, to some future time horizon 'tau'."

Then Stupidity is "a force F that acts so as to limit or minimize future freedom of action. With strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures S, to some future time horizon 'tau'."

F(stupidity) = T ∇ Sτ

Intelligence is a set of actions that are deliberately considered and chosen to keep the system alive and as active as possible.  Stupidity is the set of actions that are deliberately considered and designed to shut down the system.  Entropy is naturally stupid. It works inexorably to diffuse energy in a system.  But stupidity is even worse. Stupidity is 'system suicide'.

Now we can see that something is clearly wrong.  In real life, stupidity is not 'suicide'.  Stupidity does not lead directly to death - in real life. Sometimes it even does quite well, thank you very much. Stupid luck exists.

In the model of healthiness and unhealthiness discussed in the post Embracing Unhealthiness, we recognized that healthiness is linked to unhealthiness such that the sum of healthiness and unhealthiness equals 100 percent of our health potential.  The sum of healthiness and unhealthiness is your 'potential for healthiness'.

What about the sum of intelligent choices and stupid choices? Now we can see the cracks in this model of 'intelligence'. The model is not 'free to choose', it can only choose what is calculated as optimal in terms of future freedoms within the specified time period.

It reminds me of an old joke about an uncle, and a small boy.  The uncle calls over one of the relatives and says "Watch this!". Then he turns to the small boy and asks "Would you like to have this nice, shiny silver dollar, or would you prefer this old, dirty, crumpled up five dollar bill?" The young boy chooses the shiny silver dollar.

But when the relative talks to the boy later, and asks "Don't you know that you could buy 5 silver dollars with that bill?", the young boy answers "Of course I do.  But, as soon as I take the paper money, he'll stop offering me the silver dollar."

The boy has figured out something intelligent.  He does not make the 'optimal decision'.  He does not have a specific 'time horizon' in mind.  He would prefer that there is no time horizon, as long as he keeps getting paid.  He has used his intelligence to look 'outside the system'.  This is one thing Wissner-Gross's models cannot do.  They are designed to take all of the information available, and calculate the best option. There are no external variables, no external facts.

Intelligence is making good decisions when you DON'T have all the facts. If you have all of the facts, you don't need intelligence to decide - a machine can decide.

There is another serious flaw in the Wissner-Gross model of intelligence. Real intelligence must acknowledge that other intelligences exist, learn to cooperate with them, and to compete with them. One of Wissner-Gross's models seems to present 'cooperation', but it's not cooperation between two systems, where each gets to 'choose to cooperate or not', it's simply a complex model that searches for the best solution, and as a result, looks like it is cooperating.

The goal of a real intelligence is to understand more.  And when it understands more, to find better questions. And sometimes, the goal of a real intelligence is suicide.  We are all going to die.  Some of us want to choose when and how to die.  The Wissner-Gross model of intelligence ignores this aspect of intelligence.

The Wissner-Gross model is missing two more fundamental elements of intelligent decisions.  Memory and risk.  A real intelligent system has a memory of past decisions, and can make rapid decisions, when necessary - based on memory, not on calculation.  Decisions based on memory free up the calculation parts of the brain for decisions where time is not a priority. Risk assessment is also a fundamental factor in intelligence.  What good does it do to choose the 'most future options' if what you are choosing is the number of bee stings you might receive?

If the Wissner-Gross model is not 'intelligence', what is it? It is a formula for self interest, based on rational calculations. The formula can drive the system towards a longer life, a more stable life. Maybe even a more boring life. But, boring can be intelligent if you are an accountant, trying to make money.

In real life, we often use our intelligence to rationalize our decisions. And that's a good way to succeed. If we attempt to only make 'rational' decisions, that are rationalized before the decision is made, we will make very few decisions - because all of the facts are not available.

The Wissner-Gross formula is a powerful tool for decision making.  Much like a calculator, or a spreadsheet.  But it is not a formula for 'intelligence'. Intelligence requires irrational thought.

This is a blog about health freedom. What has this got to do with health, and health freedom? There are some powerful implications for freedom, and also for health. Freedom to choose increases our ability to make intelligent decisions. Constraints on freedom reduce our ability to make intelligent decisions, resulting in more stupid decisions. This is not stated directly by the Wissner-Gross model, because the model is not actually free to choose.  It can only choose the option that has the most future freedoms.

In a similar fashion, we can also see that the sum of intelligence and stupidity (unintelligence), the sum of decisions that maximize future options and decisions that minimize future options in any system - the total potential for action in any system is 100 percent.  None of the systems created by Wessner-Gross exceeded their systemic limits of intelligence. None of the systems exhibited 'exceptional' intelligence. This might seem obvious, but it is worth understanding.  No single system can exceed its own limits of intelligence.

The best way to increase intelligence is to increase the complexity of the analysis, not to limit it.  The best way to increase intelligence is through communities, not rationalization by a single individual. The best way to improve healthiness is to recognize that healthiness is not just an individual trait, it is also a measure of the success of our societies, our communities. The best way to create healthy communities, is to work to create healthy communities, not to create selfish independent models of intelligence.

to your health, tracy

tracy
Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine: 


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Embracing Unhealthinesses

















In Healthicine, a healthiness is a measure of health. Measures of illness are often direct measurements of signs or symptoms.  Measurements of healthiness are more complex.  A measurement of healthiness must, at the very least, contain a ratio.  

For example, height is not a measure of healthiness. Nor is weight.  When we combine the measure of height with the measure of weight in ratio – as we do when we calculate BMI (Body Mass Index), we begin create a crude measure of healthiness.

However, BMI is not a useful measure of healthiness without a goal. Different people have different BMI goals, and therefore one BMI result might be very healthy for one person, and not so healthy for another person.

When we have a goal, we can rank the health measurement against the goal, and create a percentage of healthiness. If my BMI goal is 20 and my BMI is 25, then my BMI health score might be calculated as 20/25 or 80 percent. Of course that calculation technique is arbitrary, and a different method of calculating might determine that my health score is actually only 65 percent.  At present, there are no standards for measuring or calculating health scores – and the field is very, very complex. We can expect that, as the science of healthicine advances, some calculating techniques will have more value than others. We need to learn to measure healthiness, and to calculate healthiness scores.

Once we can calculate a score for a specific healthiness, we can see that it has an inverse.  If you BMI health score is 65%, then the inverse is 35%.  What is the name of the ‘inverse’ of your healthiness score?

The inverse of the healthiness score, when the score is calculated as a percentage is your ‘potential for improvement in healthiness’. You can improve your BMI healthiness by 35%, and no more – because at that time your BMI healthiness will be 100 percent. Each different healthiness score gives a specific healthiness rating and a corresponding level or potential for improvement, a corresponding level of unhealthiness. 

There is another important term for ‘potential for improvement in healthiness’: unhealthiness.  When we measure healthiness, and map it to a percentage scale:

 the inverse of healthiness is ‘unhealthiness’.

Unhealthiness is not ‘bad’.  It is simply your potential for improvement.  This is an important concept of healthicine. If we do not have any unhealthiness, we have no room to improve our health. A very unlikely situation, less likely to last for any length of time. 

If we are to learn about health, to improve our health, we need to embrace the concept of 'unhealthiness', to recognize that we each have many levels of unhealthiness, many types of "room for improvement" in our health, We need to learn to use that room, that unhealthiness, to improve our health. When we do, many so called 'illnesses' and 'diseases' will be understood to be unhealthiness, which cannot be cured by medicine, only by health

tracy
Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine: 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Is Medicine harming your Health?

Is your medicine making you healthier, or sicklier? Many medicines are designed to be very strong, so strong that they harm your healthiness - to fight your sickness rapidly. Which medicines improve your healthiness?

Is Medicine harming your Health? Is the field of medicine harming our health?  Are you taking medicines that are decreasing your healthiness?

Modern medicine is blind to health.  You'll often hear phrases like 'keep your health', 'restore your health', 'regain  your health', 'protect your health' from practitioners of medicine.

What's wrong with that?  Each of those phrases suggests that health can only be 'present', or 'absent'.

Health is always present, unless you are dead. You cannot 'lose your health'. When you are sick, you 'haven't lost your health'. It's still there, fighting your illness. Your health is only 'lost' when your life ends.

Medicine, is a tool we use to fight illness. In many cases, the medicines we use to fight illness also fight healthiness. But this is not printed on the label.

Which medicines harm your healthiness? Which medicines improve your healthiness?  Which medicines harm your healthiness, so that it can improve?  Which medicines improve your healthiness, so it can fight your illness? Which medicines improve your 'symptoms' while harming your healthiness?  Which improve your symptoms while improving your healthiness?  Which might make your symptoms worse, while improving your healthiness?

A medicine improves your state of wellness, decreasing your illness, but does little to change your healthiness.

A symptomicine can improve your symptoms of illness, while actually decreasing your healthiness. Most medicines sold today are symptomicines - because they appear to give positive results.

A healthicine increases your healthiness, and can also improve your state of wellness, decreasing your illness, at the same time.

The wrong medicine can only harm your health. We need to track wrong medicines, because they are often administered by medical professionals as well as by ourselves.

None of this is printed on the label. None of it is studied by medical science.

The label lists 'side effects'.  What are side effects? Side effects are usually negative health effects. But medicine, the science of medicine, is blind to health, does not study healthiness - and thus cannot put 'healthiness' information on the label.

What can you do?  If you are prescribed a medicine, ask two very important questions:

1. Will this medicine cure my illness.  If it does not cure, it is not a true medicine.
2. Is this a medicine designed only to treat my symptoms.  Most medicines are symptomicines. But if you really want to improve your healthiness, to beat your illness, you need more than a symptomicine.

If we are to find health, we need freedom, not just freedom to act, we also need free access to information, real information, about the medicines we are using.

to your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine: 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vitamin Victory over Corporate CODEX Shame?


Scott Tips is fighting for all of us, when he says “If Codex wants to remain relevant to consumers, then it must create food standards that are truly healthy and make sense.”

Scott C. Tips is a man I can support. As far as I know, he is the only person in the world who is actively fighting for your health. Scott works for the National Health Federation, an organization that fight for your health rights. Although I might quibble with the NHF's definition of health, I support their goals and many of their actions. I want more.

As far as I can tell, Scott Tips has, for many years, been the only 'human' representative at the meetings of CODEX, an organization of organizations of organizations, setting up worldwide standards for commerce, including the commerce of nutrition, thus health.

CODEX is a corporation of corporations.  It has no interest in the health of people, only in the 'persons' who are corporations.  CODEX knows nothing about health, and cares less.

CODEX defines, among other things, Nutrient Reference Values - recommend amounts of essential nutrients 'for health'.  But in truth, NRVs are not defined for health, and are often defined by 'as much illness as we can tolerate'.  All CODEX standards are defined by illness. There is no organization in the world that studies health and healthiness, much less a world wide organization devoted to the study of health.  Someday....

Scott Tips recent report on Vitamin C, gives some insight.  CODEX has for many years, discussed setting the Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for consumption of Vitamin C at 45 mg. There is danger in nonsense, and this value is nonsense.

Health is not meeting a 'minimum' need. Health, true health, is searching for the optimal intake of all nutrients, not just essential vitamins and minerals.  How can we find the optimal intake? We need to look for it.

Health cannot be found by setting worldwide limits on the sale of essential nutrients to people, worldwide limits on what you can purchase.  True health is found in true freedom, not in legislation designed by and designed to support goals of corporations.

Yesterday, the NHF and Scott Tips report that CODEX has agreed to set the NRV for Vitamin C at 100 mg per day, and the suggested level of 45 mg per day has disappeared from the discussion.  I don't know how much the efforts of Scott helped facilitate this decision, but I applaud him for being there and reporting on the proceedings - as our the representative of the people.

If you want to learn more about CODEX, check out some of Scott's blog posts.

My hat's off to you, Scott Tips, and to the National Health Federation. Keep up the good work!
tracy
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 


Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Cesar Millan Cures Chronic Illness

The Center for Managing Chronic Disease says "Chronic Disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured." They are simply wrong. What they should have said is:

Chronic disease cannot be cured by medicines. 

How can we know? Let's take a walk with Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer.  If you've seen Cesar's popular television show, you will recognize the themes, but you might be surprised at some of the details.