nature, systems, biology, genetics, weight, evolution, efficiency

We’ve become too efficient at feeding ourselves

Obesity, its causes, and solutions are not a soundbite or two.

We’ve evolved to what we are today because of improvements in efficiency.

We are so efficient now at producing food, we waste 30% of it globally.

It’s so easy to feed ourselves, we need to go against our genetics and do things with the sole purpose of removing excess food stores.

Biologically, we want to do things the quickest, simplest way.

Hence fad diets, extreme diets.

Hence arguments about the one cause or cure of obesity.

As Nobel Prize winner, economist and psychologist Daniel Kahnemann’s many studies show, the very act of thinking hard in itself depletes us of energy.

We want a quick fix, like our quick reactions in simply running from bears or hunting them.

Our bodies including the brain organ don’t like expending energy we will then have to replenish.

In the 12,000 years since we started farming, we have grown taller, and are now living longer, becoming more obese, but it’s not obvious we have evolved in such a short time.

Instead, though, our knowledge has grown.

It’s up to us to use the collective knowledge of our tribe to help each other make learning easier, buying the right food easier, and to help make regulating our weight easier to do and understand.

It’s up to us to stop insisting on extremist, over-simplified, and/or fad approaches that we can’t sustain long enough to make all the required changes.

12 Illogical Reasons You Have For Believing in Acupuncture

12 Illogical Reasons You Might Have For Believing in Acupuncture:

1) “It’s an ancient tradition.” (Appeal to Antiquity fallacy.) Slavery is an ancient tradition, but does being old mean something is good?

2) “Eastern Medicine works when Western Medicine fails.” (Appeal to the Orient. False dichotomy.) There are neurosurgeons in Asia, and cardiologists, obstetricians, radiologists, gynaecologists, and do I have to go on? Your belief is condescending, racist superstition.

3) “I had instant relief.” (White coat syndrome. Confirmation Bias.) People think tinfoil hats instantly stop “mind control.” People feel better when someone says they’re praying for them. They think this will help, so the expectation is enough for them to relax when the ritual starts.

4) “I got better.” (Correlation is not Causation.) Your ailment was mild, vague, ; you may have been using other therapies, ; it was an imaginary ailment “cured” by an imaginary cure, and/or it cleared up of its own accord, and/or it seems better but the underlying condition won’t have changed and will recur.

5) “It works for me”. (The Placebo Effect.) Without proof of its mechanism for healing, you’re expecting me to assume the universal laws of Pphysics rearrange themselves magically in your presence.

6) “Chi pathways are real.” (Bald assertion.) There is no mechanism by which acupuncture works, unless you believe in spirit/Chi/energy against all known laws of Physics, and if you do, then you must believe in Voodoo, since that’s an old tradition of pushing pins into forms to alter spirits. In which case, I have some Bitcoin to sell you.Acupuncture, Spirit, Voodoo, Superstition, Logic, medicine, health, TCM, bullshit, woowoo, skepticism

7) “It helped the Chinese for thousands of years.” (1. 6. & 3.) Mao Zedong exaggerated it mostly from obscure ancient bloodletting superstitions to promote patriotism. The Communist Party suppressed any negative study results about it. Then it waned in favour of modern medicine to aid national health and productivity, and now they’re trying to revive it again because superstitious beliefs make money.

8) “It helped my dog.” (Confirmation Bias. Correlation is not Causation.) Your dog’s ailment was vague, non-acute, you may have been using other therapies, it was an imaginary ailment “cured” by an imaginary cure, and/or it cleared up of its own accord, and/or you think the dog seems better but the underlying condition won’t have changed and will recur.

9) “It helps lots of people.” (Appeal to Popularity.) Lots of people believe throwing spilled salt over their shoulder gives them good luck. Does that mean it works? Kidding oneself isn’t logical no matter how many people do it.

10) “I have been (or I have been seeing) an acupuncturist for 20 years.” (Sunk Cost Fallacy.) Believing and investing in something for a long time isn’t evidence of a cure any more than putting $10 on Black 15 all evening and every Roulette spin for 20 years is any evidence that you should keep doing it.

11) “Alternative Medicine is better because Big Pharma are just after people’s money.” (Diversionary tactic. Missing the point.) I’m not going to say, “Big Alternative Medicine are just after your money”, though it sells billions through supplements, treatments, media. You must give good evidence of any treatment’s mechanism of healing.

12) “Scientific studies show Acupuncture works.” (Appeal to Authority.) Do you understand the scientific method? Quality scientific studies show that there are NO good studies giving evidence for it.

That’s 12 reasons you might believe in acupuncture that are not logical.

Now try to give me 12 different reasons why you still think it is.

More information

PainScience on Acupuncture:

Wikipedia Logical fallacies:

Cognitive biases:

Current interests helping me thrive

“Whole of Life” list of cool things I’m enjoying doing and exploring.

1. Circular economy.

2. Recycling industry boom.

3. Local recycling collection points.

4. Did a CPR course.

5. 2 Day hiking event in the mountains last weekend. Superlatives are lacking.

6. Not getting distracted by other subjects when I go to look up something online.

7. Prudence.
Classics, minimalist, style, linen, bargain, Prudence, white shirt,

Linen shirts from Target marked down after summer. $10 and $5. Amazing what classics you can pick up if you walk around a lot patiently and see so many things you can choose the best bargains for a style you’re after. Plus, I used $10 worth of flybuys points!

8. Been making and bringing my lunches to work for months like I’m a proper grown-up.

9. Running regularly for joy not kudos.

10. Researching before buying things.

11. Tax planning.

12. Using Scholl Eulactol balm twice daily which has fixed my heels after they became dry and cracked from wearing Birkenstocks all summer.

13. Not replying in anger when someone makes an extremist comment.

14. Not checking the news outlets as often to avoid joining angry mobs or giving extremist clickbait articles any ad revenue.

15. Duolingo Greek lesson daily for 263 days so far.

16. Drawing daily for 10 months now.

17. Sewing pockets on things.

Also, some thoughts I haven’t had time to put into a separate blog post:

A. Fear of guilt or regret as a driver for action can help with:

B. Caterpillars in the stomach that people get when faced with doing something new.

C. People’s cognitive dissonance between:

Guilt about being unfit and overweight; and

Wanting to feel fit and healthy.

D. A can help us by being able to recognise when we’re doing B and C.

What’s got you thinking lately?

logic, thinking, reason, psychology, cbt, compassion, patience, communication, skepticism, honesty,

The hidden years, logic, and why we hate clicking on links

In 1999, my life purpose changed. Instead of avidly devouring information telling me WHAT to think, for the next 20 years I’ve spent all my spare time learning HOW to think.

I began to investigate the many types of Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases and how to recognise them being used by others, and, very importantly, when I was using fallacious reasoning myself.

I learned that we all simplify ideas into concepts that are easily explained due to the fundamental nature of communication, and that simplifications are nearly always wrong.

I learned that thinking about thinking is physically tiring, and to try and be compassionate and patient when trying to explain new information to someone.

Ideas and beliefs can be tribal, and some of the most anxious moments come from questioning things that bind us to our tribe(s).

Ideas are tribal and also genetic (nurture and nature). We have an instinctual, genetic reaction to rejecting different explanations that seem a threat to our tribal bonds, and that are an imposition on our time and energy.

Fight or flight is in our nature: We fearfully avoid or flee from rethinking beliefs, or we fight aggressively to defend them.

Rarely do we think it’s worth the time “re-wiring” a conclusion our neurons have already recorded (though we are also creatures of doubt and uncertainty, and this can help being open to new explanations).

I’ve loved reading about the scientific method and the history of how global standards of evidence and methods of proof, testing, and analysis have improved and been built upon exponentially.

I’m aware of how pride is important in our standards of evidence. We can be proud of our tribal or patriotic beliefs, our emotional breakthroughs, and our “Sunk Costs” (time spent maintaining a habit).

I’m also aware that I’m proud of what I’ve been learning and practising, and that makes me vulnerable, and sometimes appear aggressive or defensive.

I have some bad memories of being verbally abused for questioning an idea when I’ve tried to explain HOW to think logically about that idea.

I have learned and must remember that before, during, and beyond all this, honesty, patience, and compassion are the key to meaningful communication.


Thought Challenge:

Did you notice I didn’t write about the reason why we hate clicking on links?

Maybe what I DID write about might make you think of some reasons.


Further information:

Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet (Possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.)

List of fallacies (Wikipedia)

About Me (Zenmode)

How I lost weight (Zenmode)

The Psychology of Running (Zenmode)

An Adaptive Spiral (Zenmode)

Less Alcohol (Zenmode)

How I started running (Zenmode)

How to spot a weight loss scam (Zenmode)

Transformation, Identity, and the “True Self” Myth (Zenmode)