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    posted a message on Mapster Debates

    I know some of you enjoyed the science vs religion thread, but there were many that didn't like the direction. To help facilitate this I'd like to know if there is interest in a more diverse and organized platform for debates. The moderators are currently talking about this, but I want to make sure there are those who like the idea. Just understand that if we do this, it would be respectable discussion and not mudslinging. Let us know what you think.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?

    I have been away for several days and was hoping to come back and continue particular discussions but this has crossed several lines. Personal attacks and threats are not okay. Using athiesm to "enlighten" through intellectual attacks on anyone religious is not okay. Using religion to "brand" non-religious or opposing religions as blasphemous and corrupt is not okay. For now, everyone needs to take a break and remember that this is a community for cooperative works. Mocking those you disagree with does not fit within this goal.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    I never denied this possible explanation. But again, you're not acknowledging the fact if there was no appendix, this problem would not exist in the first place.

    I have repeatedly acknowledged and dismissed it because I disagree. It is not a fact because other scientists ALSO disagree. This has nothing to do with religion or "creationist agendas." There is a longstanding opinion of the appendix that, until recently, was unchallenged. This opinion is mistakenly being represented as accepted fact.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    That is not the point. There are plenty of ways for a designer to keep beneficial bacteria in reserve without having to hope that it gets trapped in some semi-rotting orifice and doesn't start causing problems.

    You are quick to point out alternatives but you don't support them. What are some of these other ways a designer could "more safely" keep bacteria in reserve for the colon? I also think you're exaggerating far too much. "Semi-rotting orifice" is not an accurate description of the appendix. This is your own characterization (opinion) of it.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    The authors are also biased because this experiment invalidates their original hypothesis. If they don't know anything about the true function of the appendix, then their quotes on the subject are meaningless. It's the results you look at in a scientific study, even if they don't suggest causality. To say that the authors' speculation (which has already been proven wrong) supports your position is dishonest to say the least.

    You're running in circles now. If you claim they are now biased, then their conclusions can't be trusted. Their conclusion was diagnostic bias and this is what you were pointing to as undermining my position. If we discard this and look only at the results, they support my position and are consistent with the second study I provided. That study went on to conclude a likely relationship between appendectomies and Crohn's.

    There is nothing dishonest about what I am saying. I'm playing by the rules you put forth and continue to change. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you change them, they still prove to support the points that I am making.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    I refuse to acknowledge this "unique" issue because it's brazenly false.

    Again, not the point. The bowels are 20 feet long, and yet appendectomy remains one of the most common surgeries. Sure, you're going to get bowel obstruction, but this one tiny segment has caused way more grief for humans than it had a right to.

    You don't get to make a bold statement like "a flaw that does not exist in the rest of the GI tract. . . which you refuse to acknowledge" only to brush it aside when I proved it unequivocally false. This is PRECISELY what backpedaling is. You attempted to argue that the appendix is the only part of the GI tract to have this flaw. The flaw being that it could be obstructed. You didn't say "most likely" or "most commonly," you said "does not exist in the rest of the GI tract."

    I refuse to let this go. If you are going to accuse me of dishonest and untoward behavior I expect you to maintain the same standards.

    To return to your (revised) point, appendectomies are actually on the decline as antibiotic treatment becomes more popular. It has been suggested that, eventually, antibiotics will be the primarily method of treating appendicitis with appendectomies reserved for more severe cases. A whole slew of other cardiovascular diseases are likely to push appendectomies out of the spotlight.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    If the appendix wasn't a ticking timebomb, then surgeons wouldn't routinely remove it even during unrelated surgeries. This is a brute fact.

    "Brute fact". . . this is a pretty popular term and is used more often to push opinions than it is actual fact. You should read up on the Mitrofanoff procedure. It is becoming less and less likely that the appendix is removed for unrelated surgeries. As I stated earlier, it may eventually stop altogether. That doesn't sound like "ticking" to me. . .

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    They do the same thing with wisdom teeth. Luckily I still have mine because they never gave me any trouble, but there are plenty of people for which this is not the case.

    I am aware of this (I had mine removed after three years of braces), but new dental practices are preventing this from being an issue. My youngest brother (in elementary school) is having his palate widened to make room for all of his teeth. He will not need to have any teeth pulled, including his wisdom teeth. I, on the other hand, had 8 teeth pulled prior to my wisdom teeth. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how much changes in such a short period of time.

    You could use this to argue against intelligent design and I'd happily concede the point. Even though we are moving to avoid removing teeth, we have to alter the body in the process. That said, I'm less concerned with the argument of intelligent design than I am you using the appendix as a flag bearer.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Humanity had god-awful hygiene for the vast majority (100k+ years) of its existence. Are you acknowledging then that appendicitis killed off way more than its fair share of people in ancient times? Wouldn't an omnipotent creator have accounted for this?

    You should read my reply to Eiviyn. I address this specifically. You're warping a lot of points here to imply that God or space magic or a designer should have known we'd treat our bodies like crap. Religion believes we've been given instructions on how to care for our bodies, but many choose to ignore it.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    To say that appendicitis caused by infection has nothing to do with diet is ignorant at best.

    Where did I say appendicitis has nothing to do with diet? See, I can be pedantic too.

    Right here:

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Only a small percentage of cases of appendicitis aren't caused by any actual obstruction. In these cases, it has nothing to do with diet or the appendix filtering "toxins", it has to do with an infection that spread throughout the GI tract until it got to the weakest part: the appendix.

    Nice try. I even provided the proper context in which you are clearly stating that diet has nothing to do with infections that lead to appendicitis. I state this exact sentiment in my quote, which you are now attempting to side-step.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Ugh. You can't give me an article that you link as "increased risk of Crohn's disease following an appendectomy" when the article demonstrates that this is actually a myth. I realize that you may be on the defensive here, but there is no saving face from this and I didn't think that you would actually try to play it off like you meant to do it all along. It's not a big deal, I know you don't have time to read every giant article, but it looks a tad hypocritical when you accuse me of not reading.

    Except that it doesn't and the new "rules" you lay out dictate we ignore their conclusions. As mentioned above, removing the conclusion removes the idea of diagnostic bias. This causes the article to correlate with the other studies I provided. I'm definitely not on the defensive. If anything, you're defending my point for me by failing to properly assess your points before you make them. I did not, originally, expect to follow up because I didn't think you would fail to understand the article. I did, however, prepare such support and, upon realizing the angle you were taking, hoped you'd allow me to do so. There's nothing hypocritical about being able to consistently point out the flaws in your arguments.

    You really have no idea what kind of person I am. I believe in the philosophy that "how you do anything is how you do everything." If I don't have the time or knowledge to discuss a topic, I don't. This is why I've stayed out of most of the subjects in this thread because I didn't feel comfortable arguing points I lack a communicable understanding of. Most specifically, a lot of the theoretical sciences (of reality) being discussed are beyond me because I haven't taken the time to investigate them. I am aware of membrane theory, but I couldn't hope to use it in arguing for or against anything.

    When I DO decide to participate, I do so with great care. I do not make a point unless I can support it with other points. I am careful to avoid making polarizing claims such as "always, never, 100%" because generalizations are always poor tools for debate. If my points are false, I will admit them. I check and recheck everything I type before I post it and I read everything to avoid this. I am an avid reader, I read very quickly and I enjoy it. If the detail and organization of my posts (and mapping tutorials of old) are not indicative of this fact, you will probably never understand this about me.

    I argue to be accurate, I don't argue to be right (win).

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    There are some animals that don't have an appendix. . . Cows don't have an appendix but a fully functional cecum, and that's because they still eat leaves like our ancestors used to.

    You raise a good point with regards to the caecum in other animals, but I'd argue this has to do with the fact that humans can be omnivorous while cows are herbivores. I happen to think (this is definitely theorycrafting) that the appendix is important in balancing the relationship between herbivorous and carnivorous diets in omnivores. Specifically, that it protects herbivorous bacteria when meats are in the colon. I don't have solid evidence to support this though.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Here's an interesting article that talks about the vestigiality of the human appendix and it's suboptimal design:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/vestiges/appendix.html

    But I suppose you'll tell me how this link only serves to prove your point.

    No, it doesn't prove either point. It simply shows that what we're talking about is a real problem. It even admits the appendix is "one of the most disputed" vestigial organs. What this article DOES do is clarify what, specifically, the appendix is useless at: digesting cellulose like a caecum. I don't find this statement unreasonable because it is very specific and accurate.

    It also suggests the appendix is designed poorly but ignores important details by focusing on ulcerative colitis. I've already pointed out (the linked studies do as well) that an appendectomy is not a risk factor of ulcerative colitis. Several studies (as this article mentions) do, indeed, suggest appendectomies lower the risk of ulcerative colitis. However, smoking lowers the risk of ulcerative colitis as well, but I don't consider that a good reason to start smoking. Chemotherapy is a method of treating cancer, but it harmful side-effects. The point being that just because its removal has perceived value doesn't mean we should remove it. Crohn's is closely related to ulcerative colitis, but appendectomies and smoking have the opposite affect. Chances are you would trade ulcerative colitis for Crohn's.

    This article is primarily about whether or not the appendix IS a vestigial organ, but that's not something I contest. I take issue with the idea that the appendix should be removed. I attribute many of the negative issues outlined in this article to hygienic practices. You attribute them to the liability of the appendix as a result of evolution or inefficient design.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    It's the same way that you like to say that the more you learn about science, the stronger your faith becomes (an oxymoron). The problem with creationist agendas is two-fold:

    1) Assume that a god exists.
    2) Assume that everything is proof of god.

    You really don't understand my beliefs at all. I don't support this as I'm not a creationist. I support theistic evolution. It is not an oxymoron that my faith grows as my understanding of science grows. I choose to believe that God exists. As such, I also choose to believe that science is our way of understanding the laws that govern our existence as laid out by God. I do not assume that science proves God, I do not claim that I can prove God and I argue that religion can't prove God.

    I don't have an agenda. What I am doing is pointing out that your polarizing claims are not as accurate as you believe them to be. The only time I've mentioned God is when you claimed that you or others could do a better job designing the body. I contest this by saying that we, scientifically, do not have such an unshakable understanding of the human body that we can support this claim. I am very careful to address religious points with religion and scientific points with science.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    1) I used the words "intelligent designer", not god. The design of the appendix is not remotely intelligent and everyone here knows it.

    2) It's an argument because this 8 mm. part of our 20 feet bowel is one of the most common causes for surgeries. 7% of people in the USA get a problem with this one small segment. Despite everything that recent studies are finding, you can't deny that this design where shit gets clogged so easily is sub-optimal. Think about it. It's a long finger-like tube. It is hard to clean it up even with a high fiber diet.

    1) My mistake, I'll use "designer" in our continued dialog. However, your statement is false. I am part of "everyone here" and I disagree. Many others disagree with you as well. You're generalizing and it serves no purpose.

    2) I'll make the same point I did with Eiviyn: You're talking about less than 10% of the human population. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of human death in the world. These and cancer account for close to half of all deaths in the United States. A great deal of these issues are being linked to man-made problems, diet being a major contender. These percentages are continuing to grow.

    I think it is a mistake to conclude that the appendix is a major liability when we're doing a much better job killing ourselves. Considering how many of these issues are in areas close or related to the appendix, I don't think we should isolate it from the idea that appendicitis, also, could partly be our fault.

    I don't agree that the appendix has a sub-optimal design. I agree that it wasn't designed for the diet we have today, so in that way it could be viewed as sub-optimal, but I feel this only proves that we are sub-optimally caring for our bodies. And I have thought about it. If you let your appendix clog up with a crappy diet and THEN switch to a high fiber diet, I completely agree that it's hard to clean it out. If you have a high fiber diet from the start, it is far less likely to need cleaning, if at all.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    Until we understand why disease is increasing again (after a period of rapid decrease), we can't honestly claim that they are no "major adverse effects" to appendectomies. Smoking was once considered harmless! We now know better...

    Yes we can totally claim that. Sure, it's less than optimal to live with a removed appendix, but the appendix does not have essential functions necessary to our survival. Are you really comparing smoking to appendectomy?

    Yes, I am, because we once claimed smoking had no side-effects. We claimed a number of harmful substances and practices had no side-effects. Do you know why disease is increasing? No? You can't tell me appendectomies aren't contributing to this if we're still not sure what is causing the increase in disease.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    ...you just gave me an entire spiel on the appendix's functions when I explicitly told you that I never denied that they exist. Who is strawmanning?

    How is my attempt to educate you on suggested functions of the appendix and its relationship with diet and IBD "strawmanning?" You claim that there are no "major adverse effects" to removing the appendix. These studies suggest otherwise. Are you saying that you didn't make this claim and that a straw man typed it for you?

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Give it a rest already. You should be more humble after totally failing to read your own article on Crohn's disease & appendectomy.

    As I point out above, I didn't fail to read anything. Your circular logic continues to get you nowhere. Being humble does not require me to be passive. You are aggressively pushing false information. I do not tolerate this.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    You conveniently ignore the link you provided "proving Joseph's Smith fraudulent behavior" that turned out to be nothing of the sort. I addressed it part way through this post.

    No. Just no. You asked for the proof that he was arrested. . . I gave it to you in the form of his arrest record:

    http://byulaw.blogspot.com/2005/09/joseph-smiths-arrest-records-found.html"

    I picked that site because it had the cleanest picture. Just because I don't want to get into a debate about dubious, unfalsifiable history does not mean I'm "ignoring" anything. I realize that there is probably no way I'll be able to convince you that Joseph Smith was a fraud, you can google that stuff for yourself or watch the south park episode. A picture of his arrest record is enough for me, but not for you.

    You truly don't understand the importance of context:

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Unfortunately for Mormonism, Joseph Smith's fraudulency has been rather well documented. Hell, the guy was already arrested once for banking fraud.

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    I’d appreciate it if you’d provide what you consider to be reliable documentation for this. This is consistently cited in criticism against us, but I have never found the evidence reliable.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Well here's the actual records from a google search: http://byulaw.blogspot.com/2005/09/joseph-smiths-arrest-records-found.html

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    Neither banking nor fraud are mentioned anywhere in the link you provided. It even states that some of the reports are contradictory. The only thing this is evident of is that Joseph Smith was arrested for "Glass Looking". That is, the act of looking for "treasures" which some might construed as fraudulent behavior. The problem is that the article closes with the following statement:

    "However, the fact is that Rev. Walters broke the chain of custody of evidence. He had a vested interest in making Joseph Smith look as bad as possible. He did, in fact, use some of these records for that purpose. His conduct therefore gives rise to not-untenable suspicions about whether the complete body of evidence made it through his hands."

    The problem that I frequently encounter is that evidence surfaces that claims against Joseph Smith were made, but not that the claims themselves had any validity. I am fully aware that many, many efforts have been made to discredit Joseph Smith, but I have not found any of these to be objectively sound in their documentation. The link you provided is no different.

    You need to practice reading comprehension. I asked for documentation of the fraud that you claimed was "well documented." You gave me a picture of an arrest record that the containing article points out is suspicious. You even state that he "was already arrested once for banking fraud," so even if I did ask for the arrest record, the picture doesn't have anything to do with banking fraud. I pointed it out then and I'm pointing it out again now. This picture loses all credibility when you inspect its source. Something you failed to do.

    If this picture is enough for you to believe Joseph Smith was committing bank fraud, then I could easily use photoshop and an anonymous blog site to convince you aliens are living inside your brain. You have the audacity to label those participating in this thread that disagree with you "a cesspool of unbridled ignorance & stupidity," yet your actions would readily include you in this group.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    You said "Appendicitis is brought on by poor hygienic practices as a result of the appendix attempting to remove toxins from the body."

    This is wrong, appendicitis is brought on by obstruction or infection. The creation of toxins is a symptom. So you backpedal and say "An obstruction caused by improper hygienic practices". You then tell me how the appendix can remove toxins, when everybody knows that the entire problem with the appendix is that bacteria gets trapped in there too easily, which creates pus and eventually releases toxins.

    Actually, I am correct. You don't understand how appendicitis works:

    Step 1) Poor hygienic practices create fecaliths, promote infection/hyperplasia and contribute to a number of causes for appendicitis

    Step 2) The appendix is obstructed, infected or affected by hyperplasia (cell growth similar to cancer, linked to diet)

    Step 3) Mucus fills the appendix (swells) both in an attempt to lubricate and dislodge obstructions or deal with infection/hyperplasia. This is not yet appendicitis.

    Step 4) When that fails, bacteria trapped in the appendix create pus and toxins leading to inflammation. This is the onset of appendicitis. This is because "itis" refers to the inflammation of an organ. Thus appendicitis is when the appendix becomes inflamed.

    Step 5) If the appendix bursts or is perforated, its contents spill out leading to peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum) and/or septicemia (toxins reach the blood causing widespread inflammation)

    The problem with appendicitis is we're only now getting a handle on what contributes to Step 1.

    To address your misunderstanding: Toxins are NOT a symptom of appendicitis. Toxins and infections cause inflammation. The toxins/infections that cause inflammation can escalate to ischemia (lack of oxygen) or necrosis if they are not dealt with. This can certainly precipitate toxins/infections, but only because they were already there and not because inflammation suddenly created them. The body doesn't send blood to inflame the area if there isn't something to deal with: toxins/infections.

    Additionally, I did NOT backpedal. Some more context:

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    Appendicitis is brought on by poor hygienic practices as a result of the appendix attempting to remove toxins from the body.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    No. Appendicitis is brought on by obstruction, usually of feces. The appendix does not remove toxins.

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    An obstruction caused by improper hygienic practices such as overeating, poor diet and a plethora of other situations predominately perpetuated by the human responsible for said appendix. And yes, the appendix can and does remove toxins from the body. Nearly every part of your body can, in some way, absorb and mitigate toxins.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Yes, a poor diet without fiber will lead to appendicitis because food gets lodged in there. A flaw that does not exist in the rest of the GI tract, and the point which you refuse to acknowledge.

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    I refuse to acknowledge this "unique" issue because it's brazenly false.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Again, not the point. The bowels are 20 feet long, and yet appendectomy remains one of the most common surgeries. Sure, you're going to get bowel obstruction, but this one tiny segment has caused way more grief for humans than it had a right to.

    I didn't take anything back rather I clarified my points, deepening and further committing to them. I am not abandoning my points and this precise exchange culminates in your false statement. You got caught and try to escape the point. THAT is backpedaling.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    I've simply tried to demonstrate the correct etiology of appendicitis. I know that religious people love appealing to authority, but as far as I'm concerned, there is no reason you should be considered as one. So you have Crohn's disease and read many articles. Well I have headaches and I've read many articles on headaches; that still doesn't make me an authority.

    The problem is your understanding of its etiology is wrong. I'm sure you'd love to label me a religious zealot on the matter, but the fact is I've largely avoided using religion in this discussion. I've used science to contest science. You can continue to paint verbal caricatures of me in hopes that somehow that will detract from my position, but the reality is that my personal experiences and a considerable portion of the scientific community contradict what you're saying.

    You repeat that I'm not an "authority" on the subject, but I never said I was. I pointed out that I know what I'm talking about because I did the research and I'm living the results. Maybe you should read up on authority as well. I'm not leading anything, I don't advance the field, I have no social position.

    On the other hand, I AM an authority on the Data Editor for StarCraft 2. I not only understand this area but I expanded its knowledge base. Someone could take the tutorials I create and furnish a solid understanding of the subject matter such that they do not need me to utilize it. This doesn't make them an authority, it makes them well informed. If they took this information and used it to explore the Data Editor in a similar matter, they would then become an authority.

    If you spent as much effort verifying your own claims as you did trying to label me, you probably wouldn't need to attack my character so desperately.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    I should have said "modern medicine". My point was that humanity has existed for the past 100,000 to 250,000 years. For 99% of that time-frame, appendicitis was death. Furthermore the age range appendicitis affects the most is 16-20; prime breeding age.

    One of the major points I'm trying to illustrate is diet plays a significant role in the prevention of appendicitis. Certainly isn't foolproof, but few things are. The particular diet that is shown to be most effective is one that is largely vegetarian/vegan with limited quantities of grains, dairy and meat. In some cases, complete departure from these food groups is recommended. When you go back to this earlier time period, this is precisely the kind of diet they maintained.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    The old "we're corrupt because of original sin" argument. I can't refute this, because it's not falsifiable.

    On that note though, the instructions are incredibly vague and typically don't mesh with modern life. The mormon "hot drinks" instruction is something I feel would be the best example to give. I'm sure you know the story. Poor coca-cola.

    If I were a god and I gave instructions, they'd be crystal clear. God is meant to be omnipotent, after all.

    First, I'm not pointing to the Fall of Adam or original sin. I'm pointing to our individual actions and their consequences. Let's remove God from this problem. If 50-100 years from now we prove that humans maintain optimum health through a vegetarian/vegan diet, we'd look back at the majority of the growing illnesses/disease present today and facepalm. This would have nothing to do with God and everything to do with lack of information or sufficient scientific evidence. What many religions suggest is that God (or whomever they worship) already told us this and we're ignoring it.

    Second, the word of wisdom (which you are referring to) is the Mormon version of this. It is actually very specific and "hot drinks" refers to coffee and (some) teas. Both contain caffeine, an addictive and harmful substance. Coca-cola has caffeine and is a destructive mix of chemicals. Not surprising why we don't want these in our bodies.

    Third, omnipotence is power over everything. I don't agree that you have to give "crystal clear" instructions in order to be omnipotent. Mormons believe that God is intentionally obscure to prevent interference with our ability to choose. The path you describe is precisely that of Lucifer's (not an insult). He wanted everyone to know exactly what they needed to do and he was going to make sure everyone succeeded. In doing this, he deprived us of the ability to choose as you would a slave. This agency is the most important part of the process we experience on Earth. We can't exercise faith if God is so provably obvious that we fear NOT to follow him. I fully agree that this makes the science vs religion argument rather dubious, but I've never suggested otherwise. This is why I find attempting to "prove" religion pointless because to do so is contrary to what religion is.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    How do you reconcile this statement with the idea of a benevolent creator? Just curious. It seems rather malicious to plant a biological bomb in every human's body that detonates in 1 out of every 20 people.

    To me, the benevolence of God is in his willingness to let us choose for ourselves, even though we may choose wrong and reject him. He then sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, through the atonement to shift the burden of sin such that we could repent. Had this not happened, we would all be damned as we could not wipe away our sins through repentance. By allowing us to choose, it opens up consequences that God would not want us to suffer, but does not prevent us from suffering. Appendicitis is something I truly believe is largely avoidable and self-inflicted.

    This doesn't mean much to someone who doesn't believe in God, but I feel it is selfish to believe that if God were truly benevolent, he'd never let us suffer or sin. You see how important independence is to many in the world today. Much like a parent coddles a child, God would "spoil" us if he made our life sunshine and rainbows. How can we be truly "good" when we've never been tempted with "evil?" These definitions are up for debate, but the idea is that through contrast, our choices gain a substantive weight. We saw both and chose A over B. In this case, we're choosing the delight of harmful foods over the comfort of a healthy body; the problem being we're not quite making this connection.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    I disagree, and this is one of my pet peeves about religions. Plenty of religious people can look at a beautiful setback and say to themselves "Isn't God's work beautiful?" Few feel that when looking at the underbelly of a taranchula.

    Secondly, that recent earthquake I think validates my point. People are quick to thank God for saving them from natural disasters, but pretty quick to blame their fellow man instead when the opposite happens.

    It was deGrasse who first made this point, but this is just the nature of humans. Everyone recognizes beauty differently. There are those who DO consider tarantulas beautiful, and snakes, and rats. I think it's unfair to say that this is limited to religion though. If you weren't religious, not much changes: "Isn't that beautiful?" vs "OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE!" The difference being that one incorporates God.

    Your point about the earthquake has less to do with religion and more to do with the fickleness of people. We always try to blame something because it's hard to accept what is beyond our control. If we can blame someone or something, we can act on that. There is a reason why "Who did this!?" is commonly heard when someone rushes to an injured/dying loved one. They are trying to place blame. Alternatively, some place blame as a way of avoiding accountability. If you blame someone else, it can't be your fault and you don't have to feel bad about it. There are also those who try to take the blame for everything as a way of punishing themselves. This delves into psychology, but there is a great deal of discussion on this you can find.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    Firstly it's not a "lack of understanding" regarding these inefficient parts. We can trace WHY they are in this dysnfunctional state because of our ancestors. The primate hominids we evolved from used their appendix to store bacteria which could digest plant cell walls, allowing them to better subsist of a diet of plants. We don't do this anymore, and the organ has been relegated to the dustbin along with a variety of other parts.

    As for "well we don't have to be made perfect for there to be a god", you're right, we don't. I don't have an argument against that and I agree with the statement. I just want it to be clear that the human body could be improved by a medical student in a few hours by only taking things away, let alone a god.

    I disagree on both points. The only reason we don't subsist on a diet of plants is because we have chosen not to. This is where I point to for our lack of understanding. We're led to believe that eating lots of meat, dairy and grains is acceptable and preferable. Evidence is beginning to show that we are healthier when we eat primarily as herbivores and occasionally as omnivores. Just because we CAN eat these foods doesn't mean we should always eat them. Many religions support this and not without respectable results. I'd encourage you to look up the average health of Mormons and 7th Day Adventists. Both promote a semi-vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but Mormons tend to be less strict about following it.

    Because of this, I disagree with the idea that a medical student could improve the body by simply cutting things out. If our diet is a major cause of appendicitis and related factors, then removing it doesn't make sense. Especially if we've already identified that it was used for storing bacteria to digest plants, something many suggest we should be doing more of. This is too similar to liposuction, gastric bypass or the new gastric imbrication. Rather than address the root problem (usually diet), we begin to physically alter the body to compensate.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    You're right, but it's not the same thing. You can die of a heart attack, but you need a heart. It's a requirement. You can die of appendicitis but you don't need an appendix. At all. If we could edit out the genetic code that forms the appendix, we'd have less people die.

    Furthermore we know exactly what appendixes are for, because they exist in many other animals who do use them. It's not a case of ignorance.

    You can't make the statement that we "know exactly what appendixes are for" when there are scientists that disagree with you. Everyone accepts that the heart pumps blood through the body. Not everyone accepts that the appendix is useless and should therefore be removed. What they DO accept is that, as of yet, we haven't successfully linked negative consequences to its removal. I've already pointed out that it might play a role in the development of immune systems in infants. Gradius asked why it doesn't shrink when we're done with it, and while I disagreed, it still is a better solution than preventing its formation entirely.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    There's "useless", there's "could be safely removed" and then there's "having it inside you is a danger".

    The plantaris muscle in the back of your foot is useless. It's from the days where we required greater foot manipulation and control to hang onto trees. It is found in many primates. We are no longer capable of this control, yet still retain the muscle. It, however, doesn't cause much harm and can simply be labeled as useless.

    The plantaris muscle isn't useless. It still provides minor functions in the body. It seems like you're viewing anything that isn't mandatory or largely important to our body as "useless." The appendix, tonsils, coccyx and plantaris muscle have each been associated with minor to potentially major functions of the body. Just because we can get by without them (to some degree) doesn't make them useless.

    I don't agree with your classifications. I think each example only fits into "could safely be removed."

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    The difference is that science is self-checking. Many scientists do jump to conclusions. In fact, starting with a proposed conclusion is the first thing you do in every test. An error in a scientific field will eventually be corrected.

    Science isn't as self-checking as we would hope. Science rarely bothers to check itself unless considerable opposite or criticism is raised. Even then, it often rejects and ignores this opposition/criticism unless it is from a source close to the originating idea. Right now, most doctors outside of nutritional health believe diet plays a minor role in most diseases and that medicine is the best answer. It has reached the point that we are creating new diseases as we go (obesity). Nutritionists are pushing the idea that diet is a major part of disease management and prevention. They are even putting forth significant evidence to support it but are being largely ignored.

    Sure, errors can be corrected, but sometimes it can take so long that considerable damage is done. I believe that the points you are supporting reflect this. Religious or not, I don't support the idea that removing parts of the body make it better. If this were the case, the majority of humans would suffer similar and consistent issues until these parts were removed.

    Right now you're talking about less than 10% of the human population. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of human death in the world. These and cancer account for close to half of all deaths in the United States. A great deal of these issues are being linked to man-made problems, diet being a major contender. These percentages are continuing to grow.

    I think it is a mistake to conclude that the appendix is a major liability when we're doing a much better job killing ourselves. Considering how many of these issues are in areas close or related to the appendix, I don't think we should isolate it from the idea that appendicitis, also, could partly be our fault.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    I chose the coccyx because it's another relic of our primate hominid ancestors. You can see the bone being put to use today in primates as part of their tail structures.

    And I agreed with this point, but you included it in a list of body parts you considered useless and/or harmful to the body. The coccyx doesn't fit either description. It also isn't really a relic considering we can have tails during the embryonic stage of human development which later turns into the attachment point for muscles/ligaments/tendons. I'd consider the plantaris muscle more of a relic than the coccyx. They ARE both vestigial, though.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    I feel like you're close to invoking god of the gaps here. Furthermore we have a solid understanding of most of human biology, and the evolutionary history of most of our organs. Organs like your brain still retain an air of mystery. Your appendix does not.

    There is an important distinction between what I am saying and invoking god of the gaps. I am not using the appendix to prove God exists, I'm not suggesting that our lack of understanding means God exists and I'm not saying "Goddidit." I'm stating that regardless of God's existence, the appendix is not as readily understood as you claim it to be. I agree we have a decent understanding of how human biology works, but not so much what affects it. This is evident by the fact that we don't understand how to handle many diseases, cancers, infections and their increasing prevalence.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    As I said, a junior medical student could upgrade a human body by only removing things in an hour in a fashion that would, overall, improve human survivability and the efficiency of the human body. I provided a list of things that are wrong with our "design". You can question the integrity or use of these items, but be aware that you are going against established medical consensus.

    "Established medical consensus" is a poor word to use here as there are those within this "consensus" who mirror my sentiments. It doesn't matter how you put it, I will continue to disagree because I find the idea that removing parts from the body as anything but beneficial when the parts you routinely point to are not as clear-cut or "wrong" as you suggest.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    On what planet? The study is very explicit:

    "Conversely, patients who tested positive for C. difficile were more likely to have an intact appendix than those who tested negative. These results suggest that rather than being protective, an intact appendix appears to promote C. difficile acquisition, carriage, and disease."

    My point is that appendicitis is being linked to improper hygienic practices, a major one being diet. The study doesn't detail the dietary norm for patients meaning that it is missing a huge variable with regards to accuracy. This is important because a poor diet contributes to an imbalance of bacteria in the colon. This imbalance contributes to our susceptibility to C. difficile overpopulation. Fecal bacteriotherapy is a method of addressing this imbalance.

    The study even points this out in the limitations section of the article by stating that their methodology "makes it impossible for us to demonstrate causality." I encourage you to go back and read all three paragraphs. This makes the conclusion seem less explicit than it does ambiguous.

    C. difficile lives naturally in some adults and typically becomes problematic only when other bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics. This suggests that proper diet reduces the risk of C. difficule overpopulating. Knowing this, my original point still stands. If the appendix can store bacteria, it follows that C. difficile would find its way inside. In a balanced colon, this wouldn't matter as the other bacteria would prevent it from overpopulating. Without this balance, C. difficule leaves the appendix and runs rampant.

    Logically, having an appendectomy removes this hidey-hole (preventing C. difficile rampancy in colons with poor diets), but also precludes other bacteria that may or may not be beneficial from residing there.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    I don't know why you're giving me the authors' opinions as proof of anything, especially when this study contradicted their original hypothesis that the appendix provided protective functions against the bacteria.

    I provided their opinion because it undermines the point you're trying to make with this study. You state that we know removing it has no consequences, but the quoted segment shows that they probably don't have a complete understanding of the "true function of the appendix." You can't claim "we know" when most sources make an effort to point out that we don't actually know what the appendix does yet.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Yes, a poor diet without fiber will lead to appendicitis because food gets lodged in there. A flaw that does not exist in the rest of the GI tract, and the point which you refuse to acknowledge. You're also naive if you think everyone with appendicitis is guilty of poor diet.

    I refuse to acknowledge this "unique" issue because it's brazenly false. There are a plethora of examples where food gets lodged in both the small intestines and colon. Crohn's is a common reason for elevating to a colectomy/bowel resection (similar to appendectomy) whether due to blockage caused by strictures (narrowings) or severe inflammation.

    I also don't believe all appendicitis is brought on by poor diet. Show me where I said this, because I didn't.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Yes, every part of the body can absorb harmful substances. But saying that the appendix removes toxins is disingenuous, considering how anybody who knows anything about the appendix knows that it's a festering sack of latent disease.

    The liver removes toxins. The appendix just sits there like a ticking timebomb.

    Inflammation is one of the body's many ways for dealing with toxins. If you would like to argue semantics here, I will correct myself by clarifying that your body is removing the toxins, but as the appendix is inflamed, that points to the appendix containing the toxins thus it's trying to rid itself of them. I am not saying that the appendix removes all toxins in the body, but the liver is not solely responsible for removing toxins either.

    You're dramatizing the "negative" aspects of the appendix. It is by no means a time bomb. If your statement held any merit, the majority of people would suffer appendicitis (to later burst) compared to the present minority. There aren't enough "explosions" to warrant such a generalizing statement.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Stop backpedaling. You originally said: "Appendicitis is brought on by poor hygienic practices as a result of the appendix attempting to remove toxins from the body."

    Only a small percentage of cases of appendicitis aren't caused by any actual obstruction. In these cases, it has nothing to do with diet or the appendix filtering "toxins", it has to do with an infection that spread throughout the GI tract until it got to the weakest part: the appendix.

    How am I backpedaling? I haven't taken back any of my claims and clarify when confusion occurs. I never said appendicitis is always caused by obstruction. My very first point was hygienic practices, not obstruction. This also applies to infections, as you describe. Also, diet plays a significant role in the prevalence and severity of infections. A poor diet contributes rotting food in the colon that allows bacteria to thrive. Without this rotting food, it is much harder for infections to reach the appendix. To say that appendicitis caused by infection has nothing to do with diet is ignorant at best.

    One of the main things every doctor I've visited asked me about was my diet. In most cases, they recommended dietary supplements and complete removal of various food products; milk and gluten (until they realized it wasn't celiac) being most common.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    This study you linked was a clinical/statistical analysis. They determined that the perceived risk for an increase in Crohn's is likely due to diagnostic bias. . . . But if you were too lazy to read the entire article, you could have just...you know, looked at the conclusion at the top of the page:

    "The transient increased risk of Crohn's disease after an appendectomy is probably explained by diagnostic bias."

    I was worried you might miss this, but thankfully you didn't and now I get to follow up.

    Another study mirrors the results of the previous indicating that an appendectomy is a risk factor for Crohn's. It even goes further to suggest that a tonsillectomy is also a risk factor for Crohn's. Ulcerative colitis appears unaffected by either. I guess we found you a good reason for cutting out your organs!

    Looking closer at Crohn's, we find that diet plays a significant role in preventing relapse. While this particular study used a semi-vegetarian diet described in the article, it explains the benefits of similar diets:

    "Although we designed our SVD with gut bacterial flora in mind, both plant-only (vegan) and plant-based (lacto-ovo-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian) vegetarians are shown to have low rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and total mortality. Plant-based diets are recommended for prevention of cancer and other lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Therefore, SVD will not only be effective for gut inflammation, but also promote the general health of IBD patients."

    So if diet can be used to treat IBD's, it stands to reason that the risk of appendicitis could be reduced given the tentatively established relationship with Crohn's. Especially considering that inflammation is a key component in all of the above.

    Even if you doubt these relationships, we've already agreed that low-fiber diets contribute to appendicitis. The diets described above are high in fiber. If, for whatever reason, you change your mind, I'll leave the relationship between low-fiber diets and the prevalence of fecaliths (or fecalomas) here for you to review. Fecaliths being the most common cause of obstructions leading to appendicitis.

    One study suggest that some cases of appendicitis could be triggered by air pollution, which is consistent with an increased risk of Crohn's for smokers (Crohn's is considered an incurable chronic disorder with "remission in less than one third of the patients with colonic CD," yet the study on SVD diets successfully prevented relapse; score one for diet?).

    I'm aware that this isn't scientific fact, but it would be silly to ignore the growing evidence of connections between these issues. There are many, many more studies/articles detailing these findings, but I limited them to ncbi exclusively to avoid "religious bias."

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Newsflash: I never denied that the appendix might have yet-undiscovered important functions.

    This is really getting old. Where, exactly, did I say you were denying anything? You're suggesting that if God really was intelligent, he'd make the appendix shrink to avoid later complications. You base this on the incredibly limited understanding we have of its function. You attempt to defend this by claiming that we only notice the appendix when it has problems. How is that an argument? I don't notice most things in my body unless their given me problems. That's the point of a healthy body. . . it doesn't get in your way.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    You are not acknowledging the underlying point that yes, in fact, we have been removing appendices without major adverse affects for a long time, and that yes, people can die from sepsis from this one organ because it gets clogged with shit so easily. If you're going to get all sanctimonious it helps to actually read what I say and respond to that instead of some strawman.

    Saying that I'm not acknowledging your point doesn't make it true no matter how many times you say it. I can address your point and still disagree with it.

    I argued that "we don't know that removing it has no consequences. . . that's what these studies are discovering." Various forms of disease are becoming more prevalent in the world and in most cases we don't know why. Until we understand why disease is increasing again (after a period of rapid decrease), we can't honestly claim that they are no "major adverse effects" to appendectomies. Smoking was once considered harmless! We now know better. . .

    I find it ironic that you use the straw man defense because I've been very careful to address only the points you raise, as you raise them. On the other hand, you seem to enjoy putting words in my mouth, skewing facts and ignoring anything that doesn't support your opinions.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Right back at ya. You're going to fail to read my arguments, fail to read my articles, fail to read your own articles, link me creationist sites which talk about how much air is inside of a whale's stomach even though the stomach is not connected to the whale's lungs....and then you're going to complain about my links. Got it.

    I've more than demonstrated my ability to read AND comprehend both your points and the subject matter. You continuously fail to do so. You conveniently ignore the link you provided "proving Joseph's Smith fraudulent behavior" that turned out to be nothing of the sort. I addressed it part way through this post.

    Instead, you scrutinize a link I provided outside of the context it was used in:

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    7.) A lot of explanations are admittedly thin, but this article in particular has portions that explain the natural methods by which this could have happened. Ultimately it's not a matter of whether or not a man could be swallowed whole (because they can), but how long, exactly, Jonah was in the fish/whale and whether or not he could survive that long.

    I get that you are completely biased against creationist sites, but I do a respectable job presenting multiple sides in an objective fashion. I even prefaced the link with my own reservations and in no way suggested it was fact. I contest your links because they have consistently contained information that was contrary to the point you were trying to make with them. You're fishing here.

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    Should I be surprised that most of your knowledge is restricted to blaming everything on "toxins" - a magical substance that is the cause of all our ills?

    If you take offense to me using the medically accurate term, toxin, in relation to inflammation, (note the causes) perhaps you should consider the fact that you really have no idea what you're talking about. I didn't blame "all our ills" on toxins. For the Nth time, you're putting words in my mouth.

    Every instance I used toxins in:

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    Appendicitis is brought on by poor hygienic practices as a result of the appendix attempting to remove toxins from the body.

    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    And yes, the appendix can and does remove toxins from the body. Nearly every part of your body can, in some way, absorb and mitigate toxins.

    You're right, toxins ARE the cause of all our ills. . . oh wait. . .

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    We, as a species, would be better off without the appendix. Appendicitis is fatal without surgery. 5-8% of the human population experience appendicitis.

    I'm not going to assume that you meant ALL cases of appendicitis are fatal without surgery, because that's false. I am, however, going to suggest that you look into what causes appendicitis or where appendicitis is most common. Obviously we're still in the research phase, but we're beginning to see a relationship with appendicitis in diet, race/geography (often affects diet), smoking, pollution and several other intestinal problems (Crohn's in my case).

    I can see "all of this only proves how much of a liability the appendix is" coming, but let's think about the religious side of this. God instructed us on what to eat and how to treat our bodies (each religion has different interpretations) and many of us ignore these instructions. Is it His fault for allowing our choices to harm us, or our fault for making those choices?

    Whether or not you believe in God doesn't matter because to argue against God requires you to be willing to adopt the context of God. In this way, to suggest God designed us poorly is misguided if we do not operate our bodies in the way God instructed us to do so. If God doesn't exist, this doesn't matter and your point is moot. If God does exist, your point is still moot because it is forfeiting the responsibility we have for our bodies. You are focusing on possible negative outcomes rather than how they were derived.

    We falsely use this exact argument in a wide variety of situations, an easily relatable one being video games. Someone might say, "[FPS title] sucks balls because you don't command an army of thousands." Others will argue, "The game wasn't designed for RTS, you're doing it wrong."

    Stepping back into the realm of science, we are quick to reject God when religion tries to credit Him for what we don't understand, but are equally quick to blame God for what we don't understand when doing so would undermine His existence.

    The line of thinking most arguments against intelligent design employ often devolves to, "Why didn't God make humans the most perfectest peoples ever in the history of evers!? Why aren't we invulnerable!? Clearly God is an idiot and I could do better." I'm exaggerating the point, but I think you can see what about this I find unreasonable. I agree parts of the body could be more efficient, but I credit much of this to a lack of understanding. If science is really about the truth, it should be focused on discovering it rather than ignoring it.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    I don't understand why you'd argue this point.

    This organ can be the sole cause of your death.

    This organ can, and does, kill people.

    It's either a divine joke or a result of our imperfect evolution.

    I've repeatedly mentioned that I believe God used evolution to create humanity. Why do you and nearly everyone here insist that they must be separate?

    Every organ in the body can kill you. . . This is a generic template for arguing why any organ in the body is "imperfect" because in reality they all are. I argue this point because I view our understanding of the appendix the same way most view bloodletting or former uses of electroshock therapy. We hardly understand what the appendix is for yet jump to the conclusion that it has no use. This then misleads us to assume it is safe to remove, should be removed and God is an idiot for letting us have it.

    The tonsils are another part of the body we don't understand and routinely remove. Just because we can remove these things doesn't mean that doing so is desirable and we are better off for it. We could certainly remove an arm or leg (or both) and survive, but you don't see people claiming God is an idiot for this. If anything, the resilience of the body (google "man with half a brain") in spite of severe damage says more about why we can lose our appendix or tonsils than the actual purpose of either. The body adapts to suit our needs. If we dubbed every replaceable or removable part of the body "useless" we'd have quite the list. Much of the body is designed to facilitate removal in the case of irreparable damage.

    It bothers me that science enthusiasts rail against religion for jumping to conclusions, yet have no qualms doing so themselves. I agree that religious people have a tendency to jump the shark and make factual statements that can't be supported, but many use science to do the same thing. You can't attack religion or ideas supported by religion by employing the same methods you deride religious individuals for using.

    I didn't get to address your point that the coccyx has no use, but that's not true either. It is important for muscles, tendons and ligaments. Wisdom teeth would have been a much better part of the body to point to, but I doubt that would have been as dramatic or effective at linking death to God's "unitelligent design."

    I feel that on this particular point, you are making the mistake of believing we have such definitive knowledge of the appendix that what you say is fact. Most respected sources specifically mention "we don't know/understand" somewhere in their description. You can't call it a "fatal flaw in our design" when we don't have a complete understanding of what that design is.

    I've looked over your list and I can agree that some of the points make sense, but this particular point is not one of them. I don't consider the "inefficiency" of the human body a "brute fact" when many of these points lose validity as our understanding of them grows.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    Careful of "modern information". Most are just non-peer reviewed articles written with a religious agenda, like the source you use for the following. If it doesn't appear on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, you can safely bet that it's a junk article.

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    This is a half-truth. It contributes to this effect because the organ has no use, and hence gets infected easily. Because it gets infected so readily, it exposes the body to extra pathogens which it then has to fight off. This will boost your immune system, but no more than catching a cold would.

    A rotting lump of flesh would have a similar effect. Actually, that's essentially what your appendix is.

    We, as a species, would be better off without the appendix. Appendicitis is fatal without surgery. 5-8% of the human population experience appendicitis.

    There simply is no excuse. It is a fatal flaw in our "design".

    I'd refer you to the post I just made. I disagree with this portion of your post.

    I'll take a look at the link and respond to the second half of your post when I find the time :)

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    No. Appendicitis is brought on by obstruction, usually of feces. The appendix does not remove toxins. A bacterial infection causes appendicitis because the lymph nodes enlarge and obstruct the appendix, leading to inflammation. The digestive system has plenty of effective ways of removing toxins, and the appendix only gets in the way.

    An obstruction caused by improper hygienic practices such as overeating, poor diet and a plethora of other situations predominately perpetuated by the human responsible for said appendix. And yes, the appendix can and does remove toxins from the body. Nearly every part of your body can, in some way, absorb and mitigate toxins. This is precisely what inflammation is: the body sends blood to the location to allow the proper handling of harmful substances. Thus when the appendix is inflamed it is trying to deal with harmful substances. The problem is that we react incorrectly by taking anti-inflammatory medication that hide the problem without addressing the root cause: diet.

    My family/relatives have a long history of diabetes, celiac sprue, Crohn's and a whole slew of other related problems. As a result, we are intimately aware of the affect diet has on the body, specifically how it affects the colon, intestines and the surrounding area. I have Crohn's and, as such, have learned that it is possible to reverse the majority of these diseases through proper diet.

    I'll continue this thought after addressing your next point:

    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    That's just idle theorycrafting. We already know that removing it has pretty much no consequences. And if it's so important in fetal development, then an intelligent designer would have made it shrink/deform upon birth (like the falciform ligament) so that obstruction and inflammation would not be an issue.

    Besides, there are also studies which show a higher incidence of disease in people with an in tact appendix. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279496/

    The point is that 320,000 people are hospitalized each year. The only time people notice their appendix is when it gives them a problem. An intelligent designer would have put the immune processes of the appendix into another organ, and got rid of the appendix all-together.

    Actually, we don't know that removing it has no consequences. . . that's what these studies are discovering. Seriously, are you even reading what you're using as evidence against me? This study supports my statement more than it undermines it. They even go on to say, "These results probably reflect some naivete on our part regarding the true function of the appendix." It is NOT theorycrafting on my part if the people who conduct these studies state the same things.

    We're only beginning to grasp at what the appendix does for us, so to suggest what an "intelligent designer" would really do is silly. For someone who espouses the humility of science, you are quick to use it to support truly ignorant claims. Given that I have Crohn's, I have learned a considerable amount about this precise subject matter. I've even read this exact case study before as it relates to another article posted by the SAME SITE on the increased risk of Crohn's disease following an appendectomy. Oh hey, whadya know. . .

    Going back to the previous study, it makes perfect sense why having an appendix would increase the likelihood of C. difficile for the precise reason they speculate:

    "While our study cannot show causality, a possible interpretation of our findings would be that the appendix is indeed a microbial reservoir, and that C. difficile is among the harbored organisms. Under the selective pressure of antimicrobials, C. difficile is able to emerge and colonize the lower gut."

    If you're diet sucks, your colon isn't going to be able to fight off C. difficile when it presents itself. In fact, nearly every kind of bacteria in the body has a beneficial purpose for being there, but through improper diet, becomes harmful as a result of overpopulation; E. coli being a perfect example. If the study does not cover what, exactly, these people are eating it won't provide an accurate understanding of why they tested positive for C. difficile. It's like studying what promotes lung cancer without asking whether or not you smoke.

    While it's cool that you can use google and read the first few sentences of a study, you are horribly misinformed in this situation. I know what I'm talking about because my life literally depends on it. I'd appreciate it if you verified your claims before you make a fool of yourself in the future. This is the second time you've posted a link in an effort to bolster your claims that results in the opposite upon closer inspection. I'm wondering if I shouldn't go through all of your posts and provide the same treatment.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
  • 0

    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Gradius12: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    Not really, because it still shows a failure on the part of the designer. The risk of appendicitis (5-7%) far outweighs any minor immune benefits it gives. It can be fatal, and it definitely was in pre-modern times when appendix removal wasn't an option; and even now an appendectomy costs a median of 30000 dollars.

    This is incorrect. Appendicitis is brought on by poor hygienic practices as a result of the appendix attempting to remove toxins from the body. That is not a fault of the "designer" because he doesn't control what you put in your body. The majority of health problems today are caused by faulty nutritional education and medicine. It's like blaming a computer for overheating when the user refuses to clean/dust it or replace the thermal paste for the CPU.

    It's also incredibly ignorant to say "outweighs any minor immune benefits it gives" when we don't have a definitive understanding of what it does. When you consider the rise of diseases in the world it's not hard to believe that maybe the appendix has a much greater role in the human body with regards to long term health that we still haven't discovered. This is especially true in the US where disease is running rampant. The worst part being that most of these diseases are self-inflicted and we don't even realize it.

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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @EternalWraith: Go

    Because we're imperfectly evolved primates who still retain half the useless features of apes (appendix and coccyx, for example) with inside-out, upside down eyes and an entertainment complex inside our sewage system perhaps?

    I'd just like to point out that a couple of these points are inaccurate. I watched deGrasse's presentation you linked earlier and found several of the points he made at the end to be incredibly ignorant of modern information with regards to the human body.

    For example, the appendix isn't as "useless" as we thought it was. Recent studies are suggesting it plays an important part in building immune systems for growing infants and preserving bacteria for immune systems in adults during times of illness. An example being that bacteria can "hideout" in the appendix prior to diarrhea purging the colon of harmful substances. The bacteria is then released and quickly repopulates the colon with beneficial bacteria. Additionally, the removal of the appendix during surgeries is no longer standard practice as it can be used to reconstruct a damaged bladder.

    Also, urination shortly after sex is beneficial both for males and females (especially when not using protection) as it reduces the chance of various forms of infection. Specifically, women are less likely to develop various UTIs and men "clean out the pipes" preventing ejaculate from building up to harmful levels. If these bodily functions were separated into different areas, we'd subject ourselves to a number of health risks including many STIs.

    I wish I had more time to talk about more of the points being raised. I just wanted to point out how the common point about "God sucked at making the human body" is becoming less and less true given how our incredibly poor understanding of the human body is beginning to grow.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from EternalWraith: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    You certainly aren't very tolerant of beliefs you disagree with

    I am, I only question hard. May not seem that way, true.

    There are no questions, hard or otherwise, to stating that I am "in deep error" for my "blasphemy and utter nonsense." It is one thing to reject my beliefs in disagreement as you are expressing your opinion. It is another thing to attempt to supplant my own with yours by correcting what you perceive as erroneous. It is foolish and vain to believe that you have a factual understanding of the Bible because such a thing simply isn't possible. All understanding is through faith and thus is humble and respectful. Knowledge is shared, not forcefully imposed.

    Quote from EternalWraith: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    I feel as though you are missing many of the key tenets for being Christ-like

    In this thread, most definitely. However, here we argue on truths and knowledge and its because I care that Im quick to point out error, or even challenge people in an effort to resolve our conflicts in opinion and understanding. Im more than happy when Im challenged like wise and have to contend my beliefs with what I think I know.

    There is no excuse for deciding not to act in accordance with what you believe. If your desire is to be Christ-like, you will emulate him in all your dealings. To do otherwise is to be of two minds.

    I've already stated that I am not here to argue matters of faith. I find no value in discussing my beliefs with you if you're going to disrespectfully discard and denounce anything you disagree with as if it were factually incorrect.

    I think you need to re-examine yourself by reading James. I use the King James Version of the Bible, but I've supplied both your version and my own:

    NIV James 1:1-27

    KJV James 1:1-27

    I'm done with this conversation unless your tone changes. You once became upset to the point of unwarranted personal attacks over the word "idiot." How you justify your current use of language as acceptable after the fact is beyond me.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    Couldn't disagree more. I'd state the exact opposite. Societal pressures are what keep people religious. I'm sure you'd disagree as a mormon, because you're not surrounded by others of the same faith. Most people, not just Christians, are surrounded by people of identical faith. Christians socially exile apostates. Muslims just kill them.

    You make a fair point about religion in areas where the local government fails to properly separate church and state. Muslims are a prime example of intolerance of... well... anything different. I should have been clearer in my statement as I was focused on Western Culture where science plays a more significant role in daily life. I doubt Muslims care what science has to say at present. It's unlikely this will change soon.

    With regards to Western Culture, I feel my point still stands. People of any clique tend to "exile" those that are different. This is not a phenomenon that is unique to religion. I agree that some take their beliefs a tad far such as the father that kicks his son to the curb for rejecting God, but these actions don't line up with what Christianity is "supposed" to represent: tolerance. The anti-gay movement is another situation where the actions of those participating are contrary to what they claim to believe. As much as it sounds like I'm rationalizing discriminatory behavior, the reality is that people make mistakes. For many, religion serves as a convenient shield to hide behind.

    This brings me to why being surrounded by people of the same faith doesn't mean much in the bigger picture. I've found that it's just as likely to drive people away as it is to keep them tethered. A prime example of this is what many call the "Weekend Christian." These individuals "follow the rules" on Sundays, but live contrary lives the rest of the week. The idea that they can "repent for it later" being a common rationalization. This creates tension given that Weekend Christians tend to adopt many social values that oppose Christian beliefs.

    Christianity teaches chastity and sexual purity before marriage. Modern entertainment advocates sex as a normal, healthy activity that everyone should participate in regardless of marital status. From an objective standpoint, these directly oppose each other. Masturbation, pornography and other sexual acts have also become more socially acceptable, opposing religious beliefs. I find it hard to attribute the rise of sexual freedom/independence to scientific advancement.

    At the end of the day, people are far more likely to engage in various forms of entertainment (Game of Thrones anyone?) than scientific anything. That modern entertainment is so integral to our social lives causes many to abandon their faith to avoid guilt over fitting in. Modern society is steadily growing to oppose religious values, such that, it's easier for social norms to push people away from religion than it is for science to show them the "unreasonableness" of their beliefs.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    This sounds more like a rant than a point. I think you're associating religious decline with moral decline?

    If so, I disagree. Some of the world's most atheistic and secular countries like Sweden, Norway and Japan, are also the ones with the lowest rates of crime.

    "No affiliation" atheists/agnostics makes up <1% of the US prison population, while being 15% of total US population.

    I'm definitely not associating religious decline with moral decline. I'm also not suggesting that refusing religion makes you a criminal. My point is that what religion considers unacceptable used to line up with Western Culture, but society now finds various forms of self-indulgence acceptable that religion would not. This is what I mean by selfish.

    Quote from Eiviyn: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    The fire has to be kept burning. Although I do sincerely believe that as the world's scientific literacy improves, religion will decline. You already see this. 85% of Americans believe in a god. 7% of NAS (American's top scientists) believe in a god. Belief declines as education improves. This, like it or not, is a brute fact. There could be other causes (I personally doubt it), but numbers do not lie and do not care for opinions.

    I've found that the more I learn about science, the stronger my faith grows. I know I'm not alone in this. I also find it funny that you would use statistics just before stating that "numbers do not lie and do not care for opinions." Mark Twain would disagree with you.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from FDFederation: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    What? Can't you guys understand embryonic morphology, cladograms, fossil morphology, electrophoretic analysis, and genetic distribution/migration maps? Even the pictures have words and descriptions (if you can't read them, learn how to view the image in another window that allows you to expand the image). The first link is a simplified explanation and the pictures are used to visualize the text format of science that you religious people can't seem to comprehend.

    I don't care what the images are about. Posting 13 images (30+ the time before) in succession without any commentary to explain why you are doing so is wasteful as I have to load your images each time I navigate to this page. I happen to read this thread primarily through my phone making your posts (which frequently have a slew of random images) incredibly annoying and time consuming.

    So again: if you're going to use a lot of images, reference them through links instead. If you continue to post walls of images I will edit your posts and remove them.

    Quote from EternalWraith: Go

    @ProzaicMuze: Go

    You have this very mixed up. Jesus , is the spirit that became man, that ascended to the father. Simple, and finished. No confusion , for god is not the author of confusion. God has no father lol. God also has no eternal partner(Aka we dont have a separate Godly mother up there). This is like bad catholicism of worshipping Mary, the mother of Jesus. Not the same, but like that.

    I don't have anything mixed up. I am quite clear in my understanding of my beliefs. Don't make the mistake of assuming that because I disagree with you I am incredulous of what you "believe" to be true. What you're saying is not fact, it is your interpretation and therefor merely your opinion. I happen to believe my interpretation is the correct one, but I'm not about to demean you for it because I understand that it is no more factual than your beliefs.

    I think it's cute that you're trying to "correct" my understanding of the Bible, but I have no interest in throwing verses back and forth when you don't believe in the sources I trust in and I don't believe in the interpretations of the Bible you trust in. It is a fruitless argument because my conviction in my faith is equal to your own.

    I'm not here to argue you into adopting my faith, merely provide information for those interested. Doing so provides others with the ability to choose for themselves what they will without my influence. I feel as though your attitude is that you can argue someone into believing the Bible in "your way." For someone boasting conviction and knowledge in Christianity, I feel as though you are missing many of the key tenets for being Christ-like. You certainly aren't very tolerant of beliefs you disagree with.

    I'm not interested in continuing a discussion with you about Mormonism if you are unwilling to maintain a neutral perspective in which you can entertain the idea that you might be wrong. I have no problem questioning my beliefs in such a way, but I expect reciprocity in the matter.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?

    @FDFederation: Go

    I'm really getting tired of the image walls. Start turning them into descriptive links or I'm going to edit them into links for you. It's one thing to post 1-3 pictures with commentary and another to just spam images without any explanation at all.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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    posted a message on Do you consider yourself part of an organized religion?
    Quote from EternalWraith: Go
    Quote from ProzaicMuze: Go

    I believe present-God came after the Big Bang.

    Why is that?. By present God, you refer to the biblical God?. Thats almost a Gnostic teaching. But I would like if you explained your view on this further.

    I've actually talked about this a few times already, but my posts tend to get lost in the scuffle of link/meme wars.

    Posted in: Off-Topic
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