Ox of Boll

The Ox of Boll (also variously spelled Bolle, Bulle or Bull) is a figure from North British popular culture from around the mid 12th century onwards, which has given rise to a common British English term.

It is thought that Boll may be a variant of Bull, as in John Bull, a suitably generic fictional English name.

The full story of Boll and his oxen is lost, but it is clear from various authorities that one of these oxen was particularly fine (some versions have it that it had horns of gold, others that it was unusually large, still others that it had prodigious strength and was able to plough fields in half the normal time). As is to be expected the qualities of the beast subject to various examples of hyperbole, but scholars believe that the beast was probably a large one of perhaps 450-500 lb, big enough to be remarkable at the time but not exceptional today.

Based on these folk tales it became common to describe an excellent example of any item as being “as good as Boll’s Ox”, or “The Boll Ox”. Over the years this became contracted to “the bollox”, and this is still in common parlance as a measure of quality (e.g. “that car is the bollox”).

The story of Boll and his ox is said to have finished with the ox being unmasked as a fraud, which may explain why “bollox” is also English slang for something of dubious veracity (e.g. “that story is bollox”).

It is typical of British slang that the same term can be used in two diametrically opposed senses with, for the most part, little chance of confusion. This has evidently been the case for some time, since Chaucer in The Reeve’s Prologue has Osewold saying of the Miller that “Hys bredde was as thee Bolle Ocks”, clearly exploiting the possible double-meaning.

Dana Ullman has a dream. No, wait, it’s a hallucination, brought on by cranioproctosis-induced anoxia.

It seems to be the season for deranged zealots to hijack the murder of people who stood up for issues of conscience, in order to promote self-serving ideology.

I have a dream that delusional cretins with no medical knowledge will stop trying to hijack suffering and death to promote their profitable scams. It’s about as likely as science validating homeopathy.

First Donald Trump used Charlie Hebdo to promote gunwanking. Then Lynne McTaggart abused the same murders to promote her right to an unpolluted SEO ranking. And now Dana “Mr Uncredible” Ullman takes his turn at the front.

In honor of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King…

For non-traditional values of “honor”.

Just prior to her death, Coretta Scott King went to Mexico to a hospital that specialized in alternative medicine. Her family told the media that she was specifically interested in homeopathic treatment. It is rarely surprising when “cultural heroes” seek homeopathic treatment at some point in their lives.

Coretta Scott King went to “Dr” Kurt Donsbach, a quack twice prosecuted for practising medicine without a license (hey, where have we heard that before?) where he “holistically” gave her the same bullshit he “holistically” gave everyone else, and then she died.

The clinic was shut down. Because, you know, the guy’s a fraud.

In fact, there is a significant body of literature that shows that 11 U.S. Presidents and various world leaders, six popes and various leading clergy and spiritual leaders, Nobel Prize Laureates and other leading scientists and physicians, literary greats, sports superstars, musical geniuses, world-class artists, women’s rights leaders, philanthropists and corporate leaders, and monarchs from all over the world have used and/or advocated for homeopathy.

The thing is, even if that were true, it would have precisely zero relevance. You could no doubt find a similar number who had at some time advocated any number of scientifically refuted ideas, from megadoses of vitamin C as a cancer cure to Biblical creationism.

What matters is that there is no reason to think homeopathy should work, no way it can work, and no proof it does work.

And actually I don’t believe you, because you have form. You claim Darwin could only write the Origin because of homeopathy, but it’s a big fat lie. You claim that Florence Nightingale advocated homeopathy, but that’s a big fat lie too. And when a judge reviewed your “evidence” in favour of homeopathy, he found you to be “not credible”.

So frankly, you’re asking us to accept a fallacious argument on the word of a serial liar with no credibility. Maybe not, eh?

Further, history has confirmed and dozens of modern surveys have verified that people who seek homeopathic treatment tend to be more educated than those who do not.

That’s a proxy for being richer. It’s undoubtedly true that homeopathy is most successful in treating the worried well. Countries with real health problems tend not to want magic sugar pills.

I have a dream that Hippocrates’s wisdom of “First, do no harm” will be operationalized by the inclusion of natural and homeopathic medicines in primary care.

The Hippocratic oath would prevent the use of surgery, so it is correctly recognised as archaic. Your version of “first do no harm” involves lying tot he patient, taking their money, and giving them a worthless sugar pill on the pretence that it’s powerful medicine.

Some people might argue that this stretches the definition of doing no harm rather a long way past breaking point.

I have a dream that augmenting the body-mind’s own immune and defense system will be a primary goal of medical treatment.

First, it would have to be a good idea. It really isn’t.

I have a dream that health care professionals will strive for “integrative health care,” that is, the use of various natural therapies and conventional medicines, in efforts to create safer and more effective health care results.

“Integrative healthcare” is probably the greatest con of the 21st Century.  It relies on the idea that medicine will somehow be improved by “integrating” all the things that got left out when medicine tested existing practices and discarded the ones that didn’t work.

I defy you to find a single definition of “integrative medicine” that would not accept bloodletting and purging. The only reason they are not included is that the people who practised them – doctors – took a decision to follow the evidence. Acupuncturists, homeopaths and the like never took that decision, that’s why they got left behind, and they want back in, just as they always have, but they can’t do it the orthodox way, through evidence, so instead they rebrand and use special pleading.

No supporter of quackery has been able to come up with a satisfactory test that would exclude provably bogus therapies. That’s why bullshit like therapeutic touch and reiki are often included in “integrative medicine” despite the fact that there is substantial evidence that they are worthless.

I have a dream that people will understand that no disease is “local” or isolated from the whole person and that all disease is part of a syndrome that can and must be understood in this more complex context.

It’s odd, isn’t it, how these diseases that are not local or isolated, often succumb to a single treatment, the same treatment for every patient?

If only doctors would learn that the cure for malaria will be different depending on the time of day the patient feels fever, the side of the body most likely to be numb and so on. Instead the reductionist scientific medics insist on administering one-size-fits-all antimalarials that kill the plasmodium falciparum and make the patient better.

The bastards.

What Dana can’t accept is that these dreams of his won’t happen until the underlying assumptions are true.  Medicine won’t change to understand that “all disease is part of a syndrome” until all disease actually is part of a syndrome, and since most of the last hundred and fifty years has been an exercise in proving the exact opposite, it’s pretty unlikely.

I have a dream that people will really respect the wisdom of the body-mind and realize that our symptoms are our organism’s best effort to respond to stress or infection.

The wisdom of the body-mind. That sounds like the Wisdom of Chopra.

Thing is, there’s no such thing as a body-mind, and no way it could have wisdom. Humans are pretty stupid actually, it’s been a struggle over millennia to rise above superstition and false inference.

I have a dream that people will become aware of the real problems that result from using conventional drugs that suppress symptoms, thereby disrupting the body’s defensive efforts and pushing the disease deeper into the organism.

Which symptoms do vaccines suppress? They do exactly what homeopathy falsely claims to do – work with the body’s immune system – only they do it in a way that can be objectively proven to work, through antibody tests.

What symptoms do antibiotics suppress? They do exactly what homeopathy falsely claims to do – tackle the root cause of the disease, not the symptoms.

What symptoms do insulin suppress? Is remedying a deficiency in the body’s endocrine system actually suppressing symptoms? How come homeopaths have singularly failed to convincingly prove a single cure of Type I diabetes (or cancer, or any other objectively testable serious or fatal organic disease)?

Me, I think all disease is caused by the neutrinos mutating. But then, science doesn’t know everything.

I have a dream that people will appreciate the multi-factorial nature to most disease processes and that people will no longer be fooled by oversimplified single-causational factors to disease.

I can just see Dana explaining to a stabbing victim about the multi-factorial causes of his bleeding to death.

The problem of course is that homeopathy has precisely no insight whatsoever into disease processes.

This is what real insight into biological processes looks like. Go on, watch it, it’s far more interesting than me taking the piss out of a quack

The really brilliant thing about Rothman’s lecture is how he paints the picture of science as a process, incrementally building on discovery after discovery, to reveal ever greater insight into the truth.

This is why homeopathy pisses science advocates off. It relies on the idea that one man in about 1796 dreamed up the mechanism by which disease is caused, and the sole valid means of cure, and nothing since has changed this divine truth. Remedies come (and remedies never go, there being no mechanism for rejecting remedies after introduction, homeopathy, alone in human endeavour, is without error), but the Truth never changes.

In fact everything we have learned since 1796, by patient inquiry and experiment, is wrong, because it conflicts with Divine Truth.

And it’s science that is arrogant, apparently.

I have a dream that a diverse body of scientists and health care professionals will develop guidelines that will help assess “overall quality of life” improvements — not just symptomatic differences, as a means to determine if treatments really work.

Already done. And homeopathy makes no difference, though sympathetic chats do.

I have a dream that a diverse body of scientists and health care professionals will soon explore the dimensions of and potential for ancient and futuristic concepts of “energy medicine”, not only for medical applications but for varied technologies that will help create a healthier, sustainable planet.

Energy is measured in Joules, it comes in a number of forms which can be exchanged or expended but not created or destroyed.

As soon as you show the form of energy used in “energy medicine”, demonstrate a device that can measure it, in Joules, and show how it is converted, then it will be studied.

In other words, before “energy medicine” can be studied, you first have to define “energy” in a form that is objectively different from “magic”.

I have a dream that biggest critics of natural medicine will apologize for continuing a history of antagonism that should never have started in the first place.

Oh that is rich. It was Hahnemann who set up homeopathy as distinct from medicine, invented the pejorative term “allopathy”, and disdained those who practised both as committing “treason against divine homoeopathy”.

Sectarian medicine is the bailiwick of quacks, not science.

One more thing: there is nothing natural about homeopathy. That’s another con. It’s as synthetic as any medicine, and often made by large industrialised manufacturers.

I have a dream that homeopathy and natural medicine’s history of success in treating many infectious epidemic diseases will help us reduce antibiotic use and provide a safer tool for treating people with infections.

It already has, in that it’s history of absence of success has led to it not being used in these outbreaks.

I have a dream that the homeopathic principle of similars, which has long been utilized in vaccination and allergy treatments, will be appreciated for its power in augmenting immuno-competence.

No, vaccination does not work by the doctrine of similars. The clue here is in the word similar: vaccines rely on the same biological component. Also vaccines provoke an objectively measurable immune response, whereas homeoapthy produces no objectively measurable response of any kind.

There is no way that homeopathy can augment immunocompetence, because the vast majority of remedies contain nothing. A physiological effect requires bioavailability, and no study, anywhere, ever, has demonstrated any objectively testable biavailability form a homeopathic remedy at normal potencies. Which is just as well: many remedies are toxic in quite small quantities, and they usually have absolutely no objectively provable connection with the diseases they purportedly treat.

Let health and freedom ring from the home to the clinic to the hospital.

Freedom from what? Scrutiny or exploitation? You argue for your freedom from the former, skeptics argue for patients’ freedom from the latter.

Let health and freedom ring from the pharmacy to the health food store.

Ker-Ching! Health is a multi-billion dollar marked, and Dana wants some  of the action.

Let health and freedom ring from doctors, from patients, and from insurance companies.

It already does. Many don’t cover homeopathy and other quackery, but that’s a good thing.

Let health and freedom ring from drug companies, drug regulators, and health policy experts.

Freedom from what? Scrutiny or exploitation? You argue for your freedom from the former, skeptics argue for patients’ freedom from the latter.

Let health and freedom ring from the media and from the internet.

Good luck with that. That won’t happen until whale.to is shut down.

I have a dream today.

No, it’s a hallucination, brought on by anoxia secondary form acute cranioproctosis.

Any other dreamers out there?

Many. Luckily most of them have dreams that are at least grounded in reality.

Je suis Charlie

Yesterday in Paris two deranged zealots decided that their feelings had been so badly hurt by some cartoons that it would be appropriate to murder those responsible. Within hours the Internet was awash with supporters retweeting and blogging the pictures, and everyone who can draw a cartoon appears to have presented an homage.

So, after literally hours of nothing but liberal coverage, surely it’s time to redress the balance and try to hijack events for their only legitimate purpose: supporting the wingnut agenda. But who would be so classless, so base, so totally without shame, as to be able to lead the charge? Enter @RealDonaldTrump:

trump1

How foolish of the liberals not to notice that America, with its lax gun laws and gunwanking culture, never has mass shootings at all, especially in places where everybody is armed.

Obviously the world has no idea how inoffensive the cartoons wer because, as The Donald notes,

trump2

That may have been true of the US media, whihc is notoriously craven when it comes to hurting religious people in the feels, but the entirety of the European news media was awash with the images. What seems more likely is that Trump simply didn’t see enough gratuitous baiting of Muslims. Because Obama, or something.

So Trump gets the Golden Knob Award for most gratuitous attempt to hijack a tragedy to promote an agenda. Well done, Donald.

An honourable mention goes to Meryl Dorey, deranged antivaccinationist and attacker of the families of children who die of infectious diseases. She likened @StopTheAVN to the Charlie Hebdo attackers because they challenge her vile propaganda and don’t want Dr. Turdpenny coming to Australia.

Well done, Meryl, obviously murdering people because they mock your religion is exactly the same as pressing not to allow dangerous propaganda that causes deaths and serious illness in babies.

Proud member of the reality-based community

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