Value-added facts

SECVALDES

Last fall, I addressed the assertion that one needs religion to be moral. In that post, I focused on the views of Dennis Prager and Frank Turek, but they have many teammates on their God Squad with similar positions.

TV host Steve Harvey veers sharply from his congenial nature when the topic of atheism is broached. While it’s not the nastiest thing he has said about them, Harvey insists atheists have no place from which to draw their morals.

Then earlier this month, the prolific conservative Catholic blogger Matt Walsh launched this strawman at nonbelievers: They feel life is “objectively meaningless,” they are without a moral code, and their “only logical position is moral relativism.”

A column for The Washington Post by sociology professor Phil Zuckerman challenged those notions. Zuckerman cited the studies of USC gerontology and sociology professor Vern Bengtson, who for four decades has conducted the Longitudinal Study of Generations, the most thorough study of religion and family life in U.S. history. He has said, “Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic, and rudderless, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children. The vast majority of nonreligious parents appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

Bengtson has more secular families to choose from than when his study began. The number of persons raised in such households has tripled in that time. According to the Post, 23 percent of U.S. adults say they have no religion, a number that creeps up to 30 percent in the 18-to-29 demographic.

This underscores the principle that you have to get them while they’re young. A person raised in a religious home may try another denomination or may not place as much emphasis on rituals and worship attendance as their parents did, but they are unlikely to forsake the faith altogether. Likewise, adult converts from atheism to religion are rare. Similarly, a person raised Hindu is extremely unlikely to start practicing Shinto, while few lifelong Muslims will eschew Islam to embrace Wicca.

While Walsh and Harvey insist religion in necessary for morality, countries with the lowest religious rates also have the lowest crime rates, i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, and New Zealand. The lack of religion may not be the reason for the low crime, but it does throw a theological monkey wrench into Walsh’s and Harvey’s assertion that a lack of spiritual beliefs leads to calamity.

Bengtson also noted that many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate when outlining their ethical principles compared to their religious counterparts. I think that’s because they are required to justify their beliefs. For Harvey, it is wrong for a woman to speak in church because a First Century religious figure wrote as much in an epistle to parishioners. There is no need to further consider the issue or to entertain competing notions. By contrast, a secular person may think it over and look to the writings of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Nellie Bly, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Susan B. Anthony when deciding whether both sexes should be allowed to have their opinions known.

Of course, a secular individual could have a moral compass that is stellar, compromised, or deplorable. There would never be one set of secular values just like there would never be one set of guidelines for religion, a specific religion, a denomination, or one church within that denomination. There are so many ways to interpret the same text and so many texts to choose from that seven billion people will never come to the same conclusion about what the rules are.

But Bengtson and Zimmerman have found that nonreligious families generally emphasize rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independent thought, continual questioning, and the bypassing of corporal punishment. In my household, the focus is on honesty, responsibility, teamwork, equal rights, being well-rounded, and consideration of others.  

Such tenets might be consistent with religion – the 10th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita encourages honesty. Or they may reject religion – the 33rd chapter of the Koran endorses slavery. But whether an idea is promulgated in a religious text will have no bearing on whether I promote it. Religious dictates are not necessarily good or bad, but if the idea is sound, I teach it to my children. The Golden Rule appears in many religions but following it requires no belief in the supernatural, an afterlife, or the miraculous.

If one does ply their children with religious instruction, I recommend augmenting it with secular values. That’s because the offspring will be inclined to keep the latter no matter where their spiritual quest leads. But if their morality is connected to a god and they end up questioning that deity’s existence, does the morality go with it? Would it now be OK to steal since they have rejected the 10 Commandments? Not if a secular version has been taught as well. At the same time, if my children end up adopting religious beliefs, they can still keep the secular morals I’m imbuing in them.

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“Chance of a ghost” (Spirit photography)

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For a decade, Kenny Biddle has hosted workshops and maintained a vlog in order to explain the causes of ghostly images in photographs and videos. These apparent apparitions are usually the result of long exposures, lens flare, and dust particles, though sometimes fraud is the answer. His expertise in photography and his focus on this specialized area have made him the go-to skeptic on such matters.

This year, Tim Scullion put out a book he described as the “world’s first photo study of ghosts,” which naturally attracted Biddle’s interest. Where Scullion was seeing floating transparent corpses, Biddle was seeing lighting and equipment issues.  

In a column for the Center For Scientific Inquiry, Biddle wrote, “Long exposures seem to be the technique of choice, evidenced by motion blur, use of ambient light  in low light environments, and even examples of light painting, a technique where a light source such as a flashlight is used as a “paint brush” to paint designs or words with light during a long exposure. Ghost hunters often accidentally get this effect when they turn the camera flash off, causing the camera to take long exposures. Any background lights or other ghost hunters who are carrying devices with lights can cause streaks of light to appear in photos.”

In the early days of “ghost photos,” the pictures were of humanoid apparitions somehow still in clothes. This interpretation was consistent with an era of Dickens and Poe. Today, the ghost is more likely to be an orb, echoing the notions of auras and transcending spiritual planes. Biddle noted that in many of Scullion’s shots, a straight line can be drawn from the orbs to an overexposed light source. Also, most of the orbs form hexagons, which Biddle explains is a common feature of lens flare which occurs when light reflects off the inside of an aperture.

Scullion addresses these criticism in his book, writing, “Until I can get a thorough, scientific explanation that debunks anything paranormal, I have to dismiss the lens flare explanation of these light anomalies. If my camera is stationary on a tripod, then by the definition of a lens flare, the lens flare would not move nor would it shape-shift!”

But even if it were not lens flare, Biddle is not allowed to go unchallenged when he tries to make ghosts the conclusion. He is saying nothing more than, “We don’t know what this image is, so it has to be a disembodied spirit.” This is the argument from ignorance, a logical fallacy where a fact is assumed because of a lack of contrary evidence.  

Scullion is also inverting the burden of proof, putting the onus on skeptics, scientists, and photography professors to prove he’s NOT taking pictures of floating dead persons.

While Biddle has no such burden, he still offers a retort, citing Scullion’s failure to employ proper testing controls when trying to get snapshots of Casper. He wrote, “Rather than taking multiple images consecutively from the same angle using the same camera without moving the camera/tripod, he changes multiples variables with each image. He took the images at different times of the year, different angles, different lighting conditions, and different cameras. The camera was in a different position each time, which changed the angle of the images, thus changing how the light entered the lens.”

This reveals sloppy research and a misunderstanding of intermediate photographic principles. However, another example from Scullion’s collection morphs into outright fraud. He blogged about visiting Gettysburg and taking images of ghosts – this time the throwback variety, fully upright and dressed in military garb.

According to Scullion, “I picked up a white figure near the trees, and it turned navy blue — indicative of a Union uniform.” Biddle examined this image and, with help from his friend and Gettysburg resident Andy Keyser, quickly determined it was of a statue that had been reworked in PhotoShop.

There may be still more intentional deception from Scullion. Biddle wrote, “Looking through more images on his blog, I found many faces, most of them appearing in window panes from various historic sites and a few appearing in fog or mists. They are not actual human faces such as in a photograph or real life. They appear to be paintings and/or chalk drawings that have been edited into the photos. The faces share an artistic style, the proportions are slightly out of proportion and/or irregular, and it’s painfully obvious they are artwork, not ghosts.”  

Biddle offered to interview Scullion and go over his work. Scullion initially agreed, but since then his only response to Biddle’s inquiries has been to remove the altered Gettysburg photo from his website. Not that he’s been quiet. He’s been plying gullible, credulous media with tales of his poltergeist photography.

When geniuses bestow a monumental change on society, they want it known and their methods revealed. They announce what they did, how they did it, and welcome questions and scrutiny. That’s how Copernicus, the Wright Brothers, Alan Turing, Jonas Salk, and Albert Einstein operated.

Uncovering proof of an afterlife would be a substantial development that would have monumental impacts far beyond the photography field. Scullion has been offered the chance to have his potential proof put to the scientific test by arguably the planet’s foremost expert on ghost photography. So far, he has bypassed that offer to instead have chummy chats with TV news producers and to blog that skeptics, whom he won’t meet with, have yet to prove him wrong.

“Time of the signs” (Secret hand signals)

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Perhaps preparing for the annual Congressional baseball game, Senate Republicans lobbed softballs at Brett Kavanaugh, who revealed little about his positions beyond expressing a fondness for theocracy. But for a few observers, the focus was less on the man representing a historic swing of the Supreme Court and more on the woman sitting behind him. More specifically, they were captivated by her hand gesture.  

While sitting in camera view, lawyer Lawyer Zina Bash brought her thumb and index finger together while jutting the three remaining fingers skyward. The symbol has long meant “OK,” but some interpret this digital juxtaposition to mean “White Power,” with the hand supposedly spelling WP. The third, ring, and pinkie fingers come close to forming a W, but the circle created by the index finger and thumb looks nothing like a P. This more sinister meaning of the traditional OK sign likely started as joke or a Poe, but has come to be taken as gospel in some swaths of the no-evidence-required Internet.

Like alien and cryptozoological enthusiasts who ignore the amazing astrological and biological wonders of our world to chase after something still more, those who find racist code in the OK sign flashed at the Kavanaugh hearings are trying way too hard. Dr. Eugene Gu Tweeted that the hand gesture equated to “flashing a white power sign. They want to bring white supremacy to the Supreme Court.” His fellow Twitter warrior, author Amy Siskind, agreed that the gesture was inherently bigoted and should sink the Kavanaugh nomination. But with reports surfacing of the Trump Administration deporting U.S. citizens of Hispanic lineage, government actions are terrifyingly racist right now without having to make stuff up.

The situation is reminiscent of the Procter & Gamble Satanic panic during the 1980s, when the company’s bearded man-in-the-moon logo was said to form three sixes. It took extremely creative interpretations to reach this conclusion, and even then, the connected celestial facial hairs didn’t much resemble the number in question. More recently, Monster energy drinks have been subject to the same slander, as the company’s logo, when turned outside down, is said to vaguely resemble the Hebrew symbol for 666, even though 666 wouldn’t be written in such a way in that language. The funk rock group 311 has had similar baseless allegations thrown at it. The band takes its name from the Omaha police code for indecent exposure, but a rumor had “311” referring to three consecutive iterations of the alphabet’s 11th letter, or KKK. It speaks to a conspiracy theorist’s motivation that their deducing of a letter equivalent for 311 would end up being KKK instead of CCCCCCCCCCC. 

Back in the present day, Bash is from Mexico and she has a Jewish parent, making her a supremely unlikely white power proponent. But maybe she’s a self-loathing conspirator. That’s as good a reason as theorists have come up with for this or any other furtive silent message supposedly sent by the rich and powerful. Such allegations lack any proof and believers are unable to provide specifics on why the message is being sent or for whom it is intended.

While famous persons may sometimes be photographed with unexplained or unusual hand positioning, skeptic leader Benjamin Radford has a good explanation. He wrote, “Any high-profile person in the public eye enough may be photographed tens of thousands, or even millions, of times in a wide variety of contexts. Anyone wishing to spend the time and effort to comb through photos searching for a specific, seemingly significant wave or position of the hand or fingers can surely do so.”

Most of us prefer patterns over ambiguity, which explains why were see animals in clouds, sailboats in Rorschach blots, a face on Mars, and Jesus in our linguini. While we are all subject to this pareidolia, those with conspiracy leanings add sinister meaning to hand symbols. This is all the easier since they are determined to find it. During a Beyoncé Super Bowl performance, the megastar posed with her hand making a diamond shape. This could have been her expressing love for solid forms of carbon, a reference to her husband’s Roc-a-Fella record company logo, or something else. But for some conspiracy theorists, it could only mean endorsing world domination by Illuminati overlords who may have reptile tails.

But all this comes with a massive contradiction. Theorists insist the conspirators have a secret plot to subjugate or destroy us, yet they ensure clues about this are broadcast worldwide. They ignore this contradiction and spread their slander. And that’s not OK.

 

“Carb berater” (Keto diet)

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All successful diets involve decreasing calorie intake and/or increasing the amount of calories burned. The only other relevant factor is metabolism. There are tricks one can do to help it along, such as drinking water to feel full, consuming satiating foods, or having a workout partner since one is less likely to stand up a friend than to skip the gym out of laziness.

But for a diet to work, it has to fall under the less calories in, more calories out umbrella. That’s why the most successful long-term ones are not so much diets as sustainable lifestyle changes, to include  moderate meal portions and snacking on baby carrots instead of baby Snickers.

Fad diets might work, but again, only if it involves more calories going out than in. One of the more prominent these days is the keto diet. While it’s touted as the latest and greatest, the SciBabe, Yvette d’Entremeont, wrote that the diet has its genesis in 1921, when doctors noticed that fasting improved cognition and decreased seizure frequency in epileptics. A little while later, it was discovered that cutting out carbohydrates caused the same metabolic change as fasting did. That’s why Mayo Clinic doctors created a formula that manipulated this effect by limiting a patient’s carb intake. This became known as the ketogenic diet and was recommended for child epileptics.

The diet was rendered unnecessary by advances in anti-epilepsy medications. And it would never have been especially beneficial to someone who was not epileptic. It could work for weight reduction, but only for the same reason that any other diet would. But like the no-gluten-for-celiac-regimen has been unnecessarily coopted by those who don’t suffer from the condition, low- and no-carb diets have become the rage among those who don’t have childhood epilepsy.

And it won’t work better for them than any other diet. The SciBabe cited a study where, for a year, 609 dieting subjects were randomly divided into low-fat or low-carb diet groups. She wrote, “Initially, low-carb dieters experienced more weight loss because glycogen molecules bind with water, and once you’ve burned through your most readily available source of energy, you’re also down a few pounds of water weight.” But eventually, the low-carb group’s weight loss evened out with the low-fat one, and similar studies have consistently yielded this result.

As noted earlier, the sustainability of dietary choices are a key factor to success and diets that exorcise an entire food group or nutrient are unlikely to be maintained for a decade. Low-carb diets can work in the short term, but only if more calories are being burned. The amount of carbohydrate intake is going to have a negligible impact.

Penn Jillette lost over a hundred pounds by dining exclusively on carb-laden potatoes and limiting his daily intake to 1,000 calories. By contrast, continual gorging on low-carb salmon, cauliflower, almonds, and yogurt, will lead to weight gain if consumed in enough quantities.

“Gem membership” (Crystal healing)

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Despite being one of the oldest substances on the planet, crystals have a futuristic sci-fi look and this may partially explain some persons embracing them as an elixir, though gullibility is a more pronounced factor.

Good Morning America profiled persons who believe crystals are imbued with healing properties. This included Taryn Toomey, whose New York City studio features crystal-lined floors intended to “clear the energy and renew balance and confidence.” Unexplained were what type of energy it is, what it is being balanced with, and how standing on them raises one’s self-esteem.

Energy means “measurable work capability,” and Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning suggests replacing that definition with the word “energy” to see if a claim makes sense. When saying “Measurable work capability equals mass times the speed of light squared,” it’s understood what is being asserted. By contrast, “Clear the measurable work capability and renew balance and confidence,” takes a meandering sentence and leaves it even more muddled.

I once stopped by a mall kiosk once where two ladies were hawking healing crystals. It was a learning experience for all, as I was told amethyst works for backaches, anxiety, and rosacea, and they learned what a double blind study was. There have been many such peddlers over the years, but new spins are still being put on the notion of crystal power. For example, the GMA piece featured Mariah Lyons, who is likely the first person to imbed these structures in shoes. She did so after getting tired of carrying crystals in her pocket. Yes, I could see how that would get annoying.

But regardless of the method of transport, what is the owner getting out of possessing apatite and citrine? Lyons told GMA, “Crystals balance your energy.” Oh that’s right, Toomey already explained that. Me and my spotty memory, maybe there’s a gem to help with that.

Then there’s the question of how crystals access the energy and transmit it to a biological entity. For that, we look to crystalline.com, which states: “How do we access it? Crystals and other tools of transformation are just one way to get that rock star centeredness. They’re just waiting to be put to use to help us create the life of our dreams and our spirits to GLOW!” That didn’t even attempt to answer the question they posted – although the exclamation point and all caps shows that what they lack in evidence they make up for in enthusiasm.

With that, let’s go to the third crystal consumer connoisseur interviewed by GMA, Jennifer Salness, and she if she can explain how crystals transfer energy to people. She said, “Having the energy of the crystals around you transfers the vibrations of the stone to you. The longer we have it around us, our bodies can retain that same vibration as the crystal.” That wasn’t any better and we didn’t even get distinctive punctuation and lettering out of the deal. Salness just said crystals transfer energy by having the energy transferred. She prefers bottles that are embedded with crystals, saying, “I think because the water gets infused with the crystal energy and then you’re drinking that, it comes into our system.” I won’t drink to that.

Next, she said, “I think if you believe it will have some effect to it, then it will. I’ve seen the results in my life and others.” But no amount of belief makes anything true and she is also falling prey to subjective validation and preferring anecdotes over data, which is rife in the alternative medicine community. For instance, another crystal merchant, Colleen McCann, told GMA, “I had to experience a whole bunch of really mystical things to get on board with this.”

But a whole bunch of things does not equal one piece of data. Perceptions are prone to error, people experience good, bad, and indifferent days, and most illnesses fluctuate. Because of this, double blind studies are required to find out what is effective. Without any guidelines, certification, standards, or reliable data, there’s no way to determine what crystal would work for what malady, or whether they work at all.

McCann, who is releasing a book this fall entitled Crystal Rx, described herself as skeptic who fought the notion of healing crystals “tooth and nail.” In that case, she would have been better off buying dentures and metal fasteners than quartz and jasmine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Not so fast” (Speed reading)

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I used to collect Easton Press books, which are extremely ornate copies of classic works. I would go through one or two a week, then enjoy them even more on the bookshelf, owing to their opulent appearance. Then the children came along and with them, the shoving, crinkling, and tearing of the terrific tomes. Additionally, the time available for reading dropped drastically. After previously going through two books a week, I now congratulate myself on finishing one ad-heavy magazine a month.

There’s nothing I can do about the torn pages, damaged ears, or sewn-in silk bookmarks ripped out. But according to claims made by speed-reading proponents, I could still markedly decrease the time it takes to get through a book and could once again be reaching for Austen, Dickens, and Dostoevsky.

These claims range from being able to manage an impressive 500 words per minute to the utterly implausible 25,000 words per minute asserted by late-night infomercial mainstay Howard Berg. This pace means Berg could order a delivery pizza, start reading Clarissa, and have the book finished before his last bite of cheese and pepperoni.

One person who did credibly attain five figures per minute was Kim Peek, whose life and abilities were loosely portrayed in Rain Man. Peek had no corpus callosum, which connects the brain’s hemispheres, and this congenital condition likely explains his superhuman ability to read two pages simultaneously, one with each eye. But while this would double his speed, it fails to explain how he managed to read and comprehend about 10,000 words per minute with a 98 percent retention rate. He consistently displayed this ability, whether he was reading Highlights or an advanced astrophysics journal. Since no one, including Peek, knew how he did it, his techniques are not taught to others and they are not the focus of speed-reading courses.

Indeed, among non-savants who did not inspire Academy Award-winning films, results from speed-reading courses are far more modest. Berg’s claim of being 2.5 times faster than Peek was never independently verified, but studies have shown show that some of his students quadrupled their speed and hit about 800 words per minute. But this comes with a substantial caveat. The technique is mostly a form of skimming, where swiftness takes precedence over comprehension.

Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning cited author Ronald Carver, whose research included extensive testing of different speed reading techniques. In his work, Carver consistently found that the maximum pace attained was 600 words per minute, with 75 percent retention. The average person reads about 300 words per minute and, if they pay attention and are without distractions, will retain most of what they’ve read. This means the 75 percent rate is a fairly steep tradeoff for the doubling of speed. The technique has some value, but it usually comes down to the reader’s goal. If cramming for an exam, it may be the way to go; if wanting to enjoy the latest from a favorite author, probably not.

Speed-reading emphasizes gulping down roughly 10 lines at a time, eliminating pauses. But these brief stops are likely integral to retention. Readers need to occasionally reflect or soak in what they’ve read. It may take just half a second to do so, but eliminating all the pauses greatly decreases the time it takes to read something, though again, there is a sizable drop in knowing what you’ve just read. And clearly, going back to re-read for clarity or confirmation is out.

In short, speed reading is like me listening to my wife when football is on. I get some of what is being put out, can maybe form a general outline, but there’s a good chance I’m missing the key point.

Sometimes it’s not even that good. According to Cecil Adams at Straight Dope, several trained speed readers were once asked to read a manuscript in which the even-numbered lines came from one source and the odd-numbered lines from another source. The speed readers averaged 1,700 words per minute, yet none of them found the script’s juxtaposition odd. They were so focused on getting through the text rapidly that they failed to notice it was the written equivalent of Take the Skinheads Bowling, a Camper Van Beethoven song in which every line is an intentional non sequitur.  

In another study, researcher Michael Masson tested three groups: Speed readers, normal readers, and skimmers, whose only “training” was being told be read quickly. The results showed that speed readers plowed through 700 words per minute, skimmers clocked in at 600 words, and those going at a normal pace read 240. However, those in the last group easily had the best compression, followed by the skimmers and then the speed readers. These types of studies have usually found that speed readers have a poor grasp of a text’s specifics, but they can generally pick out the main theme and could probably produce a decent outline of the script.

The name most synonymous with speed reading, Evelyn Wood, instructed students to move their hand rapidly across the page. But Masson’s research has shown this caused the hand to perform more like metronome than a pointer. It and the eye moved at the same pace, but the eye was not following the hand.

But all is not lost. There are ways to pick up the reading pace without a drop in comprehension, according to Cal-Berkeley education professor and reading expert Anne Cunningham. In the Skeptic’s Dictionary speed-reading entry, Cunningham says reading faster with high retention rates can be managed through building vocabulary, improving study skills, and polishing reading comprehension abilities. So unless you read and understood this post in 15 seconds, those methods are the ones to try.

  

“Internal combustion” (Concentrated hydrogen peroxide)

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Online, there are tantalizing testimonials and awesome anecdotes about concentrated hydrogen peroxide’s amazing ability to slay a number of serious conditions. These include Lyme disease, cancer, heart ailments, brain tumors, diabetes, HIV, and Parkinson’s. This long string of anonymous praise does not have a corresponding lengthy list of studies cited by PubMed, which ascribes no power to the fizzy concoction’s efficiency, outside of an ability to whiten teeth.

In fact, when ingested in enough quantity and at a high enough concentration, hydrogen peroxide results in mucosal burns, ER trips, permanent disabilities, and even death. In an article for Undark, Karen Savage interviewed Dr. Brendan Byrne, who has seen patients who overdosed on hydrogen peroxide, necessitating that he give them hyperbaric oxygen treatment. This is normally reserved for scuba divers who surface too fast. Not that any concentration should be considered safe for consumption, he warned.

“Hydrogen peroxide at any concentration, if drank, reacts with a natural enzyme in the body and produces very high volumes of oxygen,” Byrne said. “That oxygen has to go somewhere. It crosses the membrane of the gastrointestinal tract into the blood vessels and those resultant bubbles block up the blood vessels, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and other complications.”

At concentrations under 10 percent, hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect scrapes and as a cleaning solution. Higher concentrations are employed in wastewater treatment and sometimes in swimming pools. Extremely high concentrations can be used as rocket fuel. Often, Food Babe will issue an alarm about a certain food ingredient also being used is something like, well, rocket fuel. She ignores or is ignorant of the fact that what a substance is mixed with will change its properties. But in the case of gulping hydrogen peroxide at a high enough concentration, the person IS downing a rocket fuel, yet Food Babe is silent on this since it’s an alternative medicine treatment. Hydrogen peroxide in drink form has another element that alt-med proponents normally eschew, as it is an oxidant.

Our bodies produce hydrogen peroxide and this promotes health, but Scott Gavura at Science-Based Medicine wrote that ingesting it for still more benefit is futile:  “Consuming or injecting peroxide and hoping for some sort of medicinal effect is the medical equivalent to spraying gasoline all over your car’s engine and interior and then wondering why it doesn’t make the car run better. Like gasoline in an engine, you need the right substance in the right place at the right time and under the right conditions in order to have a useful effect.”

Not all proponents favor drinking it; some think it should be sent straight into the veins. Advocates of this approach mistakenly believe that a lack of oxygen in the tissues allows toxins, viruses, and bacteria to accumulate, and that the release of oxygen from intravenously administering hydrogen peroxide is beneficial.

While they are wrong about the lack of oxygen having the specific deleterious effects they mention, Dr. Saul Green at Quackwatch explained that shooting up  hydrogen peroxide wouldn’t help even if they were right. He wrote, “When arterial blood leaves the lungs it is 98 percent saturated with oxygen and so it becomes impossible for the intravenous infusion of hydrogen peroxide to further increase the amount of oxygen carried to the tissues.”

Misuse of this product is partially associated with the notion that humans need to regularly cleanse and purify ourselves. This mindset acts as a secular version of exorcising demons and atoning for our sins. But as noted, internal use at high concentrations can kill you, although you will be laid to rest with immaculate teeth.