Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Birth Pains of Creation: Animal Death and Suffering Before the Fall of Man

The following was a presentation I gave on 20 Feb 2016. I claim to be no expert in these matters, so if you can find any factual or historical errors I'd be greatly obliged if you'd bring them to my attention in the comments below. Likewise, if you disagree with my scriptural exegesis then I'd appreciate hearing your input.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Glorious Glycine

Note: The goal of this post is to provide simple, practical advice for my friends and family regarding glycine supplementation. If you want to dive in to more detailed research regarding the benefits of glycine---and I recommend you do!---then you can start by perusing the links at the bottom of this post.

Methionine is an essential amino acid, prevalent in meats and animal foods like eggs and milk. Excess methionine is harmful to humans, and leads to all sorts of problems, causing inflammation and probably contributing to cancer, heart disease, early death, etc. It's probably a good idea to think of excess methionine as the #1 endogenous toxin in the human body. There are two basic strategies for dealing with excess methionine:

Friday, 12 December 2014

Phytoestrogens: maybe good?

Natto is a fermented soybean food---super slimy, super stinky, and super healthy. I'm interested in it primarily for its Vitamin K2 MK-7 content and its nattokinase content. I've been wanting to make it at home for a while, in order to save money (we currently buy an MK-7 supplement for Sarah), and because I enjoy the taste.

However, I've been hesitant about using soybeans as a base. Soy is notorious for its phytoestrogen content (though it's certainly not the only food containing phytoestrogens), and I've always tried to avoid it whenever possible. I know that fermenting soy reduces phytoestrogens dramatically---I often hear folks talking about a 300% reduction, although I don't know how reliable that is---but surely it'd be better to avoid them altogether. Why not just cut out the soy completely and use some other, more benign bean, I thought? Therefore, I started Googling for non-soy natto recipes.

Along the way, I stumbled across this article: The Truth About Soy and Man Boobs
...the phytoestrogens in soy have a very weak effect compared to normal human estrogen or estrogen from animal sources. These phytoestrogens compete for the same hormone receptors and so reduce the effect of normal estrogen which has a much more potent effect on the body. They act as what’s known as ‘competitive inhibitors’ of estrogen...

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Patriarchal Inbreeding

I've often thought that inbreeding depression might be part of the reason why the Patriarchs' wives had difficulty producing children. Abram married his half-sister. Isaac married his double-first-cousin-once-removed. Jacob married two of his first-cousins who were also simultaneously his double-second-cousins-once-removed. And those are just the genealogical details that we *know* about; if we knew more details about the wives beyond Terah's generation I'm sure it'd be even worse. These are not healthy practices. It's reminiscent of European royalty! Thankfully this pattern seems to have dissipated as the Israelites became larger and vastly increased their gene pool (presumably by marrying slaves/converts/Egyptians/Canaanites/whomever).

Adam and genetic diversity

Proponents of Young Earth Creationism often claim that Adam* possessed more "genetic diversity" than modern man, and that all the different races and traits we see around us today were gradually selected out of the "genetic potential" present within Adam.

Nonsense. Adam couldn't possibly contain all the genetic diversity of humanity within him. He was only one man, and only had the DNA of one man. It's not as if Adam had more chromosomes than us, or as if his genome was bigger or longer than ours. Adam did not simultaneously possess all the genes coding for blood types A, B, O, AB. Adam's blood was not simultaneously Rh positive and negative. There are 35 different blood group systems identified so far (Rh and ABO being the 2 basic systems everybody knows about), with over 600 identified antigens so far, and there's no way a single individual or pair of individuals could contain that much diversity. Nor could Adam have the genes coding for every inch of possible human height, from the shortest to tallest, nor the genes for every type of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fiber, every hair colour and hair type, etc. That's simply not how DNA works. Adam had the genes for his blood type, not all the other thousands of blood type combinations. Therefore---in the proposed YEC scenario---the different traits and diversity we see today must've evolved afterwards, based almost entirely on mutations to Adam's genomes. We're not just talking about selection of existing genetic material; we're talking about new traits arising, which we observe still arising in human populations today.

Spirulina and Wheatgrass Juice: not really superfoods after all

Spirulina is a single celled blue-green algae commonly sold as a nutritional supplement in wealthy nations like ours. People rave about it, praising it as a superfood, making incredible claims like "the nutritional value of 1kg Spirulina is equivalent to 1000kgs of assorted fruits and vegetables" (source). Wheatgrass juice is given similar acclaim: "One ounce of Wheatgrass Juice is equivalent to the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in 2-1/2 pounds of green leaf vegetables" (source).

Well, I'm sorry to say the hype is unwarranted. Spirulina and wheatgrass are certainly good, but not really any better than green vegetables like broccoli and spinach. 1 lb of fresh spirulina or wheatgrass juice is roughly equivalent to 1 lb of fresh broccoli or spinach.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

What is Cognitive Disinhibition?

The name of this blog was inspired by an article I read in Scientific American a few years ago entitled, The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric (if you want to avoid the paywall, click here).

The article resonated deeply with me. I'm pretty sure that I'm blessed (and cursed) with the cognitive disinhibition described by the author.

I named the blog "cognitive disinhibition" partly because (a) I think it's a fascinating psychological concept, and partly because (b) I intend to write on here about whatever subject I happen to be researching/pondering. Essentially it's a fancy way of saying that I expect the content here will probably seem pretty random. :-) So, consider this a disclaimer.