I love hate mail

The following exchange is a result of an op-ed from July 2012 where I debunked the utter nonsense that naturally occuring and plant-based drugs are better and safer. Someone took exception. Couldn't resist.

"You're just joshing."

No I'm not.

"Several Native Nations herbal healing traditions observe the benefits of the use of white willow bark for pain relief".

Big deal. The Chinese used to use elemental mercury as a laxative. Because something was used 5000 years ago, this means that it is somehow superior to what we use today? Can you say "Luddite?" And FYI, aspirin was invented to mitigate the stomach problems that salicylic acid was causing. Plus it actually works. And salicylic acid is used to remove warts.

"One would think the practice would have been discarded generations ago if the conditions associated with salicin had been widespread."

It should have been. Yet some people are so ideologically blind that they cannot accept the fact that medicine is just a *little* better off than it was back then.

"oh, that's right, you indirectly group Native Nations herbalists with ignorant Europeans who believed in a flat Earth, an Earth-centered solar system and alchemy's base metal to precious metal conversion myth."

Nice logic. Because people were scientifically ignorant 2000 years ago, that means that they are now. If I read you right, since the majority of people on earth didn't accept Copernicus 600 years ago, that means you shouldn't take an aspirin. Give me a few years and I'll try to figure out your logic. Make that a few centuries.

"Don't forget the "medical practitioners" who believed in bleeding for gout, who administered liquid mercury for a wide variety of medical complaints, and who refused to observe hygiene as a basic protection against bacterial infection until a blind researcher stumbled on the discovery of the association of certain strains of bacteria with certain disease processes."

You need to fact check. I don't think John Snow (who put 2 and 2 together, solving the 1850's cholera epidemic) was blind. But he may have needed reading glasses.

"You appear to debunk the people's chemist's assertions about aspirin by selectively attacking his advertising mis-statement that Mother Nature is the source of aspirin, and his hyperbole about the chemical giant, Bayer's motives for patenting its creation, aspirin. Granted: aspirin is sourced from plants".

No it's not. Aspitin is synthesized from salicylic acid, which is in plants. There is NO aspirin in plants.

"Granted: Bayer is legally able to patent the processes it developed for synthesizing aspirin from plant life. Common sense."

Absolutely, except for the common sense part. The patent for aspirin ran out 15 million years ago, so I have no idea what you are talking about. Nor do you, it seems.

"however, as a debunker who surely is interested in balancing both sides of the argument."

No I'm not. I'm interested in the truth. Science is not a democracy. And if I had to spend my time responding to every crackpot conspiracy theory. I would simply not have time to take care of more important priorities in my life, such as sorting lint and collecting Sponge Bob memorabilia.

"why no discussion of the people's chemist's scientifically justifiable attack on industrially derived aspirin's horrifying range of documented side effects?'

1) Because I didn't feel like it. 2) If aspirin is so bad, please explain why Americans consume 80 billion pills per year, yet the zombie apocalypse has yet to happen. Except on The Walking Dead, which is just plain awesome. (P.S.-should you choose to watch it, I'm just letting you know that it isn't real. And if you somehow believe it *is* real--not unlikely, given what I've read from you--please feel free to blame the pharmaceutical industry, which we all know is responsible for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway and the price of pork bellies on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

"internal bleeding, potentially deadly ulceration of tissue in the lining of the stomach and small intestine, Reyes syndrome in flu and chickenpox sufferers who have been administered aspirin, aspirin allergy-induced asthma."

I guess that explains why the lifespan of Americans is going up every year.

"According to the Mayo Clinic, "Side effects and complications of taking aspirin include:
1) Stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
2) Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer or bleeding anywhere else in your gastrointestinal tract, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent.
3) Allergic reaction. If you're allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
4) Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.
Do you accept the authority of the Mayo Clinic, Josh?"

I sure do. But you don't. You are taking all the potential side effects of a drug (and this applies to *any* drug). Failing to take into account both the risks and benefits of a drug is de facto proof of an illogical and ignorant analysis. Such a trite mindset. According to your "logic" there isn't any drug in on earth that should be taken, unless it comes from some weed or whatever.

Normally I wouldn't bother to respond to this, but 1) I'm in a bad mood today 2) your comments were so obnoxious that I just couldn't resist 3) Just in case we have any future encounters, don't try to out-obnoxious me. It's like pulling a sword on Zorro.

I mean this with love.

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