Month: September 2014

Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil

Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia

Nice short essay in Time on the campus rape panic, and the promotion of the Victorian “fragile flowers of womanhood” idea under new feminist management. It’s really all about getting 5% more votes from young single women, of course, but it’s dangerous and illiberal. It’s a short read, but here’s the best bit:

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women’s modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense.

Current educational codes, tracking liberal-Left, are perpetuating illusions about sex and gender. The basic Leftist premise, descending from Marxism, is that all problems in human life stem from an unjust society and that corrections and fine-tunings of that social mechanism will eventually bring utopia. Progressives have unquestioned faith in the perfectibility of mankind.

The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light….


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More Reading:

Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government

Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained

In a well-balanced article (very unusual from major media) “#GamerGate – An Issue With Two Sides,” Allum Bokhari writing for TechCrunch tells the whole story–including the censorship imposed by popular discussion sites like Reddit. If you want to catch up on the controversy (which is directly of interest to gamers, but also a very interesting example of influence-peddling and media censorship by politically-correct SJWs), read the whole thing, but here’s some tidbits:

The hashtag campaign has opened up a chasm between the gaming press and their audience. Currently standing at close to a million tweets (over twice that of #Destiny), #GamerGate shows no signs of stopping. A related tag, #NotYourShield, has cleared 120,000. But what lies behind it? Why did it come about? And why are people so angry?

If you were to believe Tadhg Kelly, it’s a reactionary, right-wing movement of white, male gamers trying to protect their hobby from an invasion of women and minorities. On the other hand, the games editor of Cinemablend claims it is a multi-gender, multi-ethnic uprising against corruption and nepotism. Meanwhile, David Auerbach of Slate suggests that it is simply a predictable and justified response to a press that regularly professes to hate its own readership.

These competing opinions are hard to unravel, because they are a symptom of something that has up till now been blissfully absent from the world of gaming.

It’s politics.

I should know. I work in politics for a living. Gaming was once my escape, but unfortunately, this no longer seems to be the case….

These awful, anonymous misogynists have ploughed close to $23,000 into The Fine Young Capitalists, a charity project to help women design video games. Not only that, but they created an entirely ordinary, non-idealized female role model to be used as a character in their videogames. Those bastards!

Anti-gamers would like to characterize the current divide as one between inclusivity and exclusivity, but reality will always confound this narrative. Men, women, minorities, left-wingers, right-wingers, and even feminists have taken the side of GamerGate in recent weeks. It’s hard to find a movement that is more open to diversity – both of opinion and background.

This is in stark contrast to the intolerant lock-step of their opponents, who have sought to shame and browbeat developers and other journalists into accepting their worldview.

One of the reasons why TFYC’s popularity continues to grow among gamers (and decline among their opponents) is precisely because they do not use these methods. Despite holding almost identical views to the ‘Social Justice Warriors’, they find themselves excluded from the activist clique due to their relatively tolerant attitudes. They are against attacking gamers’ current choices, preferring to create new ones alongside them. They do not seek to ferment fear and panic, or shame existing developers into altering their design process. They don’t want to ‘change the world’ – they just want to add to it….

When I began writing this article, I was pretty sure that GamerGate was a serious and multifaceted enough issue to write about. Enter Julian Assange, answering a question on GamerGate-related shadowbans on Reddit, confirmed it beyond all doubt:

It’s pathetic. But censorship by companies control privatized political space is now almost a norm. Facebook is implementing its own “laws” for social behaviour and politics. Even Twitter has now folded; censoring for example, leaks about the New Zealand prime minister just this week and some time ago banning Anonymous Sweden after a request from that country. High volume publication + control of publication by powerful organisations = censorship, all the time. We have to fight to create new networks of freedom. The old and powerful always become corrupt….

GamerGate is a warning of the perils of unaccountable and secretive moderation systems. The initial days of the controversy saw false DCMA notices, a culling of 25,000 user comments on Reddit, and a mass-banning of users on neoGAF. Users continue to be shadowbanned on Reddit. Even 4chan’s /v/ board initially prohibited threads on the topic.

I was personally shadowbanned on Reddit for linking to an especially bash-y story from the politically correct side; I posted it because it was such a good example of propaganda. It was several days before I noticed I had become a non-person there (“shadowbanning” is devious, because instead of blocking your activity there, it simply makes you invisible to everyone else–including hiding all your previous posts from everyone but you. So you look at your account and have no idea why no one is responding to anything.)


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


Emma Watson’s Message: Intelligence Trumps Sex

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

I’ve made a point here of coming out against “third wave feminism” and its demonization of men. But the well-publicized speech by Emma Watson calls for an equity feminism which is equally concerned with men’s rights, and she touches on many of the points made by MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) in calling for equal treatment of individuals regardless of sex.

Emma Watson is very, very smart, and wise beyond her years in negotiating the difficult no-man’s-land between politicized left-wing feminism and equity feminism from a platform representing the UN’s agency for women. Naturally her speech was excerpted and used by slanted media to make whatever points they wished to make, and was then followed by even more publicity when someone created a site called “Emma You Are Next” and left messages on 4Chan threatening to post nude photos of her. This was a hoax by a scurrilous viral marketing company, but left-wing sites ran with it since it confirmed their biases, as seen in this breathless ThinkProgress report:

Meanwhile, Business Insider is reporting that a 4chan user “has created an ominous countdown site that hints at the release of leaked naked photographs of actress Emma Watson in just over four days.” The site, called “Emma You Are Next,” shows a countdown ticker and the message, “Never forget, the biggest to come thus far.” Though this comes on the heels of round two of a celebrity photo hacking, the Business Insider report is quick to add that this site is likely just a “prank.” You know, just one of those super-funny pranks where garbage people try to intimidate and silence women by threatening to invade their privacy and, as Anne Hathaway put it to a leering, totally out-of-line Matt Lauer, “commodify the sexuality of unwilling participants.”

Most such reports failed to note that these actions might be less than representative of male 4Chan users.

One point to remember: the mistreatment of individual women is close to a non-problem in the highly-educated, wealthy precincts of the Anglosphere, where third-wave feminists now have to fudge statistics about rape and equal pay to justify an ever-more-intrusive sex-based HR bureaucracy. While some women still encounter slights and difficulties because of others’ prejudices, the remaining issues are not materially greater than what everyone suffers when stereotyped.

But in less rarified heights, in some of the world just coming to terms with industrialization and global trade, women are still treated unjustly and have little recourse. These societies do little to protect the rights of individuals–your safety is based on family, tribe, and custom, and these can be a prison that limits and harms people of both sexes.

Here are some excerpts from her speech (full text here):

I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not. When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.” When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive….

These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are. And we need more of those.  And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.

Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence….

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals….

And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.” In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.

My headline makes the point that “Intelligence Trumps Sex”–this is the most important (if unspoken) message. The smart and civilized aren’t spending their time nursing grievances based on sex, gender, race, or religion. If only the most intelligent voices were as amplified as the voices of ignorance and hate promoted by the grievance-mongering misandrists of third-wave feminism as well as insecure male misogynists.

[PS–this piece was republished at A Voice for Men and was quite controversial, so it was removed. There’s a long and possibly interesting story about how that happened which I will try to write up later. Since a lot of people are reading it here now that it’s censored (!), here’s how I would have rewritten the last paragraph for a larger audience:

My headline makes the point that “Intelligence Trumps Sex”–this is the most important (if unspoken) message. The smart and civilized shouldn’t be wasting their time in foxholes fighting over grievances based on sex, gender, race, or religion. Most people agree no one should be held back or harmed because of some class they belong to, but entrenched political camps make it very hard to discuss these issues without heated attacks. Would that the most intelligent voices were as amplified as the voices of ignorance and fear promoted by the grievance-mongering misandrists of third-wave feminism, as well as the (small number of) true misogynists online.]


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


Social Justice Warriors: #GamerGate Explained
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Life Is Unfair! The Militant Red Pill Movement
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
Madmen, Red Pill, and Social Justice Wars
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Stable is Boring? “Psychology Today” Article on Bad Boyfriends
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
Ev Psych: Parental Preferences in Partners
Purge: the Feminist Grievance Bubble
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Modern Feminism: Victim-Based Special Pleading
Stereotype Inaccuracy: False Dichotomies
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Gaming and Science Fiction: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government

Dismissive-Avoidants as Parents

Darth Vader - Dismissive Dad

Darth Vader – Dismissive Dad

[Note: if you arrived here looking for insight into a dismissive spouse or lover, this post is now a chapter in the book I’ve just published on the topic: Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner. Right now available from Amazon Kindle for $3.99, and a trade paperback is also available.]

Avoidants tend to be unresponsive to partner needs and unconcerned with the negative effect their lack of supportive communication has on their partners. How much does this lack of caring extend to their care for children? If you are married with children, you may have observed moments of caring interaction with them, but not as often as perhaps might be appropriate; and studies have shown that the typical avoidant is a somewhat negligent, emotionally distant parent:

Edelstein et al. (2004) videotaped children’s and parents’ behavior when each of the children received an inoculation at an immunization clinic, and found that more avoidant parents (assessed with a self-report scale) were less responsive to their children, particularly if the children became highly distressed; that is, when the children were most upset and most in need of parental support, avoidant parents failed to provide effective care.[1]

The dynamics that make the Dismissive/Anxious-Preoccupied partnership so unsatisfying are repeated with children who try to get more attention from an avoidant parent. A child either learns not to expect emotional support (thus growing more avoidant themselves) or falls into the trap of requesting more and being brutally rebuffed by a parent who sees their needs as weaknesses to be despised:

As expected, avoidant individuals exhibited a neglectful, nonresponsive style of caregiving: They scored relatively low on proximity maintenance and sensitivity, reflecting their tendency to maintain distance from a needy partner (restricting accessibility, physical contact, and sensitivity), and tended to adopt a controlling, uncooperative stance resembling their domineering behavior in other kinds of social interactions….[2]

Over time, children with an avoidant parent will look to their other parent for support. If the other parent is a sensitive caregiver, the child will model future attachment styles on that parent; but if the other parent is, for example, anxious-preoccupied, the child will more likely end up with some variety of insecure attachment type. Between the Scylla of the coldhearted dismissive and the Charybdis of the clingy, preoccupied parent, the child will not have a healthy model to work with.

If your partner is avoidant and you have had or intend to have children, it is especially important that you provide a good model of caregiving: there when needed, and only when needed; calm, cheerful, responsive, but not hovering. Consider carefully (if it’s not too late) how you might encourage your avoidant to handle your children’s needs with more attention and care; and if you are considering bringing up children in the critical years from birth to age 2, whether it might be wise to wait until either your partner has learned to be more supportive or you have found a better partner. Because a steady parent’s love and attention is so important to the emotional health of children, if you find you can’t be the steady one to give your children a good model because you yourself are off-balance from your avoidant partner’s lack of support, do what you have to do to make the environment better. It’s not just your current suffering that you should worry about—your children may suffer a lifetime of attachment dysfunction as well.

Here’s a report from a mother who has just about had it with both her husband and her dad, who show the same dismissive pattern:

My son was crying last night as he talked about how he could not ever talk to his dad about anything. I very much relate and I have great compassion for him. I want to be stronger for HIM.

This morning I went to the gym and there was some show about weddings. The fathers were walking the daughter down the aisle, so proud. Then the other day I saw an ad about graduation…again, the fathers were so proud standing right next to their daughters.

It hurts very badly. I recall inviting my dad to my college graduation and he said he had to work. He doesn’t care that I was with an abusive man in my marriage. Instead he speaks so highly of him, how he is the father of his grandchildren (who he can’t stand and had nothing nice to say about)…

Once when we were visiting, my son (then 10) had a febrile seizure. I told my dad I was taking him to the doctor. My dad criticized me for overreacting. When my older son had a seizure at 5 years old from a high fever, my stepmom acted like I overreacted when I took him to the ER.[3]

And this adult survivor of dismissive parenting talks about how it felt:

My father is passive abusive. His emotional abuse is very covert. Mostly he just doesn’t care, doesn’t listen when I talk to him, doesn’t know anything about me, my life or my kids because he doesn’t care to know and he doesn’t listen to anyone who tries to tell him. To the general public, (and according to my siblings) my father is regarded as this ‘nice’ guy and he is never violent, never mean and never hurtful with his words, but the truth is that his relationship style is dismissive and disinterested all of which is very hurtful. I spent many years in childhood and in adulthood ‘begging’ (in all kinds of ways) my emotionally abusive father to notice me. The fact that he didn’t was and is very hurtful. There is a very loud message that is delivered to me when I am disregarded. The message is that I don’t matter, that I am not important, that I am not worth listening to and that I don’t have anything to contribute to his life. My father is emotionally unavailable, and that is very hurtful. Love is an action and love doesn’t damage self-esteem. Love doesn’t define a ‘loved one’ as insignificant.

After years of trying to tell my passive abusive father that his constant cutting me off whenever I tried to tell him about me, and that his lack of interest in my life was a problem for me ~ and due to the fact that there wasn’t any change on his part, I gave up; I finally realized that he wasn’t going to change.[4]


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
Anxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
“Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management

[1] Mikulincer, Mario. Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change. Kindle edition, loc. 8408. The Guilford Press, 2007.
[2] Mikulincer, Mario. Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change. Kindle edition, loc. 8418. The Guilford Press, 2007.
[3] http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/emotional-abuse-discussions/general-support/10708676-small-ventwhen-dad-is-uncaring-and-dismissive
[4] “Emotionally Unavailable Father; The Message of Passive Abuse :: Emerging From Broken.” Accessed September 21, 2014. http://emergingfrombroken.com/emotionally-unavailable-father-the-message-of-passive-abuse/.

Soy Protein Blunts Testosterone Response

Soy vs Whey

Soy vs Whey

It’s long been rumored that soy products are similar enough to natural estrogens that males should beware heavy consumption. Bodybuilders especially were concerned that soy protein supplements might be doing them more harm than good. The mechanism for this effect is unclear, but it does seem to exist.

A study (“The Effects of Soy and Whey Protein Supplementation on Acute Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise in Men”) from researchers at the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut seems to confirm this; from the abstract:

Objective: For many resistance-trained men concerns exist regarding the production of estrogen with the consumption of soy protein when training for muscle strength and size. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on sex hormones following an acute bout of heavy resistance exercise in resistance trained men.

Methods: Ten resistance-trained men (age 21.7 ± 2.8 [SD] years; height 175.0 ± 5.4 cm; weight 84.2 ± 9.1 kg) volunteered to participate in an investigation. Utilizing a within subject randomized crossover balanced placebo design, all subjects completed 3 experimental treatment conditions supplementing with whey protein isolate (WPI), soy protein isolate (SPI), and maltodextrin placebo control for 14 days with participants ingesting 20 g of their assigned supplement each morning at approximately the same time each day. Following supplementation, subjects performed an acute heavy resistance exercise test consisting of 6 sets of 10 repetitions in the squat exercise at 80% of the subject’s one repetition maximum.

Results: This investigation observed lower testosterone responses following supplementation with soy protein in addition to a positive blunted cortisol response with the use of whey protein at some recovery time points. Although sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was proposed as a possible mechanism for understanding changes in androgen content, SHBG did not differ between experimental treatments. Importantly, there were no significant differences between groups in changes in estradiol concentrations.

Conclusion: Our main findings demonstrate that 14 days of supplementation with soy protein does appear to partially blunt serum testosterone. In addition, whey influences the response of cortisol following an acute bout of resistance exercise by blunting its increase during recovery. Protein supplementation alters the physiological responses to a commonly used exercise modality with some differences due to the type of protein utilized.

Blunted testosterone response would be expected to reduce muscle gains from intense exercise. So it appears the widely-held view that soy products and soy protein are counterproductive when trying to build muscle mass is likely correct. The alternative, whey protein, is presumably preferable. Muscle and Fitness Magazine disagrees.

More on Diet:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?
Study: Gut Bacteria on Artificial Sweeteners Create Insulin Resistance?

Study: Gut Bacteria on Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

Since nearly everyone consumes artificial sweeteners in something (toothpaste, protein shakes, diet sodas), there’s impressive coverage of any new study on the topic. This of course is an incentive for the study authors to take their conclusions a bit further than they really should, and the headline writers then compete to jump to even more unwarranted conclusions.

So this Israeli study is everywhere: this writeup, “Saccharin solution? Sugar substitutes may mess with gut bacteria—causing obesity in the process,” from The Economist, is among the responsible ones that carefully mention the context of other studies showing no such effects.

In short, researchers gave mice water with sugar substitutes, sugar, or nothing. These researchers were especially interested in the microbiome and investigated the effects on gut bacteria of the different diets; after a week they dosed them with glucose and noted that the mice on sugar substitutes had higher blood sugar, meaning they had not processed the glucose as effectively (which normally occurs by release of insulin.)

They then killed off the gut bacteria in the mice, and the processing of glucose returned to normal, which supports the theory that the gut bacteria themselves had changed in the presence of artificial sweeteners to increase insulin resistance.

This is very interesting and suggests lots more research possibilities on the influence of our biomes on body processes; it tells us something about mice and artificial sweeteners. But it also reminds us that the response of mice to saccharin was the reason cited to attempt to ban it in the US, but further research in primates showed no significant health concerns at reasonable levels of consumption (though it still tastes bad!)

Reaching for significance (and headlines), the researchers then did something very interesting before publication: they tried to tie their results to human obesity. Noting that some correlation studies show consumption of artificial sweeteners is correlated with weight gain, they suggest the possibility (without claiming it) that human obesity is caused by artificial sweeteners interacting with the gut biome. They recruited 7 (7!) nonusers of artificial sweeteners, gave them maximum allowed doses of saccharin, and observed changes in the gut biomes of 4 of the 7 which looked much like the changes seen in the mice. This result, even if accurate, barely reaches statistical significance.

What can we conclude here? That 90% of human nutrition studies can’t be replicated, meaning no single study means much; that there may well be some very interesting research to be done on the gut flora and fauna, since there are many clues showing the microbiome significantly affects digestive and metabolic processes; that researchers are tempted to direct their results toward headlines which get them notoriety and funding; and that since most studies show reasonable use of artificial sweeteners to substitute for sugar is an aid to weight loss and critical for real diabetics, no one should change their habits because of this study.

Let’s look at the headlines generated by the study:

NYTimes: “Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls”
FT: “Israeli researchers link artificial sweeteners with obesity”
Israel Hayom: “Artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes, Israeli study finds”
ABC: “Study: Artificial Sweeteners May Promote Diabetes”
CBC: “Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity epidemic, scientists say”
WSJ: “Research Shows Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Can Raise Blood Sugar”

Note the better-quality publications (NYTimes, WSJ) avoid sensationalizing the results–it’s especially reprehensible to suggest diabetics should be terrorized and stop using artificial sweeteners, which allow them some semblance of sweetness and have been used for decades without causing problems. The weasel word “linked” in “Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity epidemic, scientists say,” should be a clue to the lack of scientific backing for that headline’s claim.

For further reading, I can recommend the WSJ’s relatively cautious coverage: “Research Shows Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Can Raise Blood Sugar,” by Gautam Naik:

“The scope of our discovery is cause for a public reassessment of the massive and unsupervised use of artificial sweeteners,” said Eran Elinav, a physician and immunologist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and lead author of the study, which appeared Wednesday in the journal Nature….

They transplanted bacteria from artificial-sweetener-fed mice or sugar-fed mice into other mice that were bred to have no gut bacteria of their own and that had never consumed a sweetener product. They found that the bacterial transfer from the sweetener-fed mice raised the blood sugar levels in the transplant recipients—suggesting that the gut microbes had triggered the higher sugar levels in mice fed fake sweeteners.

Was the same link true for people? Dr. Elinav and his colleagues examined the relationship between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and various metabolic measurements in some 380 nondiabetic people.

They found that the bacteria in the gut of those who regularly ate fake sweeteners were notably different from those who didn’t. In addition, there was a correlation between the sweetener consumption and a susceptibility to glucose intolerance, which is a disturbance in the blood glucose level.

Correlation, however, doesn’t necessarily mean causation. In the next experiment, seven volunteers who normally didn’t consume fake sugar were asked to consume products high in the sweeteners. After four days, four of them had significantly higher blood-sugar levels as well as altered populations of bacteria in their gut—an outcome similar to what was seen in mice.

“This susceptibility to sweeteners [can now] be predicted ahead of time by profiling the microbes in the people,” said Eran Segal, a co-author of the study and computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute.

The results need to be corroborated through a study with many more participants.

Our lead author certainly wants to take artificial sweeteners away from people, or at least require prescriptions! Can’t have anything go unsupervised. Such attitudes tend to indicate a less-than-objective scientist.

Here’s a blog post from Suppversity which goes into detail–they have actually read the paper, while I have only seen pieces. Not all the mice suffered ill effects, and the paper’s authors also managed to not publicize the fact that the effects were seen most strongly with saccharin, less with sucralose, and hardly at all with aspartame. So the news trumpeted around the world was (to be charitable) incomplete.

More on Diet:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?

Progressive Neighborhoods: Low Vaccination Rates Create Epidemics

Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy

This story is getting a lot of coverage, but no amount is enough: pseudoscientific anti-vaccine proponents like Jenny McCarthy, Vani Hari “Food Babe,” and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are in part responsible for increasing illness and deaths from formerly vanquished childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough. The Hollywood Reporter has done an in-depth investigation of how fashionable pseudoscience is endangering children:

Vaccination rates are plummeting at top Hollywood schools, from Malibu to Beverly Hills, from John Thomas Dye to Turning Point, where affluent, educated parents are opting out in shocking numbers (leaving some schools’ immunization rates on par with South Sudan) as an outbreak of potentially fatal whooping cough threatens L.A. like “wildfire….”

Across California, thousands of children and babies are coughing so violently that their bodies convulse, uncontrollably wheezing and fighting to breathe for weeks. Nearly 8,000 pertussis cases have been reported in 2014 to the state’s Department of Public Health as of Sept. 2, and 267 of those patients have been hospitalized, including 58 requiring intensive care.

Adults can contract the disease, but 94 percent of all cases reported statewide involve children — and the youngest suffer the most. So far this year, three infants under 2 months of age have died statewide from pertussis, a disease commonly known as whooping cough (named for the high-pitched sound that kids make when they inhale after coughing)….

Whether it’s measles or pertussis, the local children statistically at the greatest risk for infection aren’t, as one might imagine, the least privileged — far from it. An examination by The Hollywood Reporter of immunization records submitted to the state by educational facilities suggests that wealthy Westside kids — particularly those attending exclusive, entertainment-industry-favored child care centers, preschools and kindergartens — are far more likely to get sick (and potentially infect their siblings and playmates) than other kids in L.A. The reason is at once painfully simple and utterly complex: More parents in this demographic are choosing not to vaccinate their children as medical experts advise.

Progressives taunt “flyover country” sorts for the anti-scientific beliefs of the minority who don’t believe in evolution and want their religious creation story taught in schools. Meanwhile, progressives are killing people and hurting their own children by adopting pseudoscientific beliefs about harmful side-effects of vaccines that have long since been debunked.

There are risks to vaccinations–idiosyncratic reactions and unusual syndromes have occurred in a miniscule portion of children receiving vaccinations. But having forgotten the much greater danger of death and permanent damage from childhood diseases, these parents believe their own child is better off without vaccines. This goes along with a pseudo-religious belief that “all natural” is a good thing.

It was “all natural” for 50% of children to die before adulthood. It was “all natural” for most people to die before the age of 40. Modern vaccinations and public health measures like improved sewers and water treatment meant you could love your young children without risk of losing them, as used to be the case; and have only two to be likely to see two to adulthood, when before you might have eight to have only three survive. The CDC comments on what a world without vaccination would look like:

Before the middle of the last century, diseases like whooping cough, polio, measles, Haemophilus influenzae, and rubella struck hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults in the U.S.. Thousands died every year from them. As vaccines were developed and became widely used, rates of these diseases declined until today most of them are nearly gone from our country.

Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only one case of diphtheria has been reported to CDC since 2004.

An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. In 2012, 9 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.

It’s great that people are catching on to the benefits of less processed foods and more natural diets. It’s not great that they are starting to believe quacks who promote pseudoscience that will let dangerous diseases run unchecked.

Lemmings gotta lem!


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Pseudoscience and Quackery:

Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Vani Hari, “Food Babe” and Quack: Where the Money Comes From
Vandana Shiva: Quack
More on Quacks: “Dr. Oz” Testifies He’s a Victim!
“Parallel Science Propaganda Machine”
Mike Adams: Quack Suggests Murdering Monsanto-supporting Scientists
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Quack