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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 16:23


Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
I submit that the number you can name may be an incomplete list, based on the blind spots that are apparent from above posts.


Really, if you were to name the most life saving pharmaceuticals ever created, how many would there be? Complete with statistics to substantiate your claims.

Pointing out where others have erred does not solve the problem unless you provide a solution.




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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 16:50


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

When will people realise that the risks outweigh the benefits for most of the drugs we have made thus far? I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.


You made the risible claims, you provide evidence to substantiate them. None of this burden-of-proof judo.




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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 17:47


Do any of our drugs fix problems from the root? Or do they just delay the problem? The way I see it, drugs that have truly revolutionised medicine are chemicals that eliminate the root cause of an illness. With this in mind, there are few chemicals that truly fit this image, if any at all.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (Benjamin Franklin). Why take Valsartan to lower your blood pressure, when you can take care of yourself and watch your salt intake every day of your life? By developing new drugs to treat diseases that arise from an unhealthy lifestyle, we are justifying malconduct and irresponsibility. There is something deeply troublesome about that.

Only in the past 150 years have cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma been serious issues in our society. This is traced back to the industrial revolution, where our way of life changed fundamentally. Bacteria were no longer a threat with the advent of penicillin and the development of germ theory.

Today, we slowly destroy ourselves with all these synthetic chemicals we are using to "treat" these diseases that were not a problem only a century and a half ago. We are only starting to pay the price of these new developments.
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/drugs-in-our-dri...

We fight a losing battle, the more "diseases" we cure, the more we develop, the cycle repeats, and pharma companies pocket the profits.




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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 18:19


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Do any of our drugs fix problems from the root? Or do they just delay the problem? The way I see it, drugs that have truly revolutionised medicine are chemicals that eliminate the root cause of an illness. With this in mind, there are few chemicals that truly fit this image, if any at all.
You raise a rather high barrier in terms of a definition of a valuable drug.

I have to wonder if you are a pharmacologist or a teenager with some moisture posterior to the pinna.

You seem to imply that there have been no advances in antimicrobial therapy since Fleming discovered penicillin.

One of my medical school professors was herself the daughter of one of my professors. When she was 12 years old she was diagnosed with a very agressive lymphoma, but her life was saved by the newly discovered nitrogen mustards and vinca alkaloids. She is alive now 50 years later. Whenever we made a new diagnosis of lymphoma in a child she took an hour to explain how she had been saved by chemotherapy to the child and impart some hope for the future to them.

I wish you could make your specious arguments regarding drug efficacy to this grand lady. She would cut you to shreds.
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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 18:23


I am moving this to Legal and Societal Issues where the philosophic fat can be chewed over a pie, a pint and a pipe.
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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 22:03


I've thought a couple of times about posting some responses, but backed away... however, the level of pain induced by some of the statements made has crossed the threshold. I apologise for the length... Picking on some that stood out (and trying to avoid ones which have already been covered) from the top:


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I asked some guy if antibiotics killed viruses and instead of pointing out that viruses cannot be "killed" he said yes


Sophistry - you really expect the general public to make a distinction between "killed" and "inactivated"? As far as the average patient is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the virus is dead, alive or otherwise, as long as they're no longer infected - that is, the results are the same no matter what terminology you use. (Side note, though - I do agree that the "antibiotics are ineffective for viral infections" message must be pushed harder amongst the general population).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
the only way to keep people healthy in the long run is to use chemicals that stimulate the immune system, not to make chlorinated organics that kill bacteria.


Another name for someone with a "stimulated" immune system is "patient with autoimmune disease". Your immune system exists in a delicate balance - active enough to destroy what needs it, without going into overdrive and killing you. And, while there is some recent research showing methods which might one day be useful for SELECTIVELY stimulating the immune system to target a specific threat (eg tumor cells), and there's always vaccines, as a general rule firing up the immune system in response to an acute threat (such as an infection) is more likely to kill the patient than to cure them. That (along with the relative ease of targeting foreign rather than host cells) is why we administed drugs which target the pathogen, not the host.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Don't you find it suspicious that there are very few chemicals that don't pass the FDA inspection?


Nope - drug companies employ people specifically to ensure that all the criteria for FDA approval of a new drug are met prior to application. They do NOT submit unless they think there's a very good chance of approval being granted. Therefore, it's no surprise that a large proportion ARE approved by the regulator.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Some drugs hold potential that is just too good to pass and every day spent testing it represents millions of dollars lost. Result: FDA is rushed and publishes results on short term effects while ignoring the long term effects.


The lost money for time wasted is one of the main reasons why drug companies do their best to have everything in order before submission - being told by the FDA "nope, go back and run another trial" can kill a drug because of the costs (both in terms of actual expenses as well as lost income).

And as for the short vs. long term effects issue - you'd deny life saving therapies to thousands or millions by insisting that a drug be tested (in patients!) for what, 20 years? 40? Surely we can accept that it's simply impossible to do some of these test (which, in an ideal world, we would do) but make sure we keep an eye out for anything that shows up later on in the real world? Oh, and what about the trial patients - they're LITERALLY guinea pigs, and you want to ensure they stay that way for a few decades?


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
We as consumers become guinea pigs. I'm not comfortable with that because corporations are faceless and heartless. They don't care about consumers, so long as they keep buying their products and their reputation is not hurt too badly by a recall.


A company is in business to make money - simple as that. And it could lead to the situation you describe. That's why we have regulations and standards for things where it matters - health care, vehicle safety, etc. These are what keep corporate greed in check (and the effects of the lack of regulation is evidenced in a number of recent events - but for the most part the drug industry has relatively smaller scandals).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
rosiglitazone. A drug that should be taken off the market in light of data collected AFTER the approval of the drug by the FDA. The FDA is restricting its use but is leaving the door open to any company that can prove that the benefits outweigh the risks.


Yup, and despite being imperfect, this is how the system is MEANT to work! It's not perfect because the world isn't! It's not possible to catch all possible side effects of a drug in a clinical trial, no matter how large, because some side effects are just too rare.

And, ultimately, ALL medical therapies are considered on a risk-vs-reward basis - do the toxic effects of drug X (and EVERY drug has side effects) outweigh the benefits of taking the drug to treat condition Y? Sometimes, they don't - and a physician won't prescribe the drug. Other times, a few side effects are the far better option (would you rather lose hair and suffer severe nausea, or die of a treatable cancer? Slightly increased risk of a heart attack, or definite reduction of lifespan through chronic diabetes?).


Quote: Originally posted by AJKOER  
I believe quite accidentally it is possible to place an ineffective drug (or worst, dangerous?) on the market with FDA approval. How? Start with a billion in seed capital and run 20 simultaneous (or, do it sequentially) studies on your 'wonder' drug. If one (or better, perhaps more) happens, due to pure statistical error at the 95% significance level, to show a statistically significant positive result just once, your in the money! No need to cheat on the drug trial, although I wonder if this is always the case.


Yes, and that's going to work in real life... First, one trial is not enough to satisfy the FDA. Even if we simply consider one phase I, one phase II and one phase III trial - there's a minimum of 60 trials you need to run to get the hits you need. Know how many hundreds of millions of dollars that'll take? And, given the number of staff required, what's the chance that you have just one honest guy blow the whistle?

Also, on a later point - regulators don't like subgroup analysis. Usually, if you want to claim approval for a subgroup, you need to run a new trial designed to show efficacy in that group - and if it IS efficatious in that group, well, you have a real drug, don't you?


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
If we find a cure for cancer or a cure for AIDS, we will just endorse unhealthy behaviour.


Yeah, because contracting (most) cancer is a lifestyle choice... and nobody ever contracted AIDS through a needlestick injury, for example - you can only get it from having "gay sex" or shooting up drugs, don't you know? [/sarcasm]


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
For example, immunosuppressants repress spring fever, but they also increase your chances of developing a tumour. The choice is yours, spring fever or cancer.


They also allow us to perform organ transplants. Generally a life saving therapy, and often used to treat conditions which, once again, have nothing to do with a person's lifestyle.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
When will people realise that the risks outweigh the benefits for most of the drugs we have made thus far?


Please provide specific examples. I'll be happy to counter them for you. Bear in mind that ther will be MANY cases where the risks do outweigh the benefits (aspirin, for example, can be deadly to children, for example - but is generally harmless and helpful for the treatment of acute pain in adults). This is why we visit a doctor, who attempts to consider those risks before suggesting a treatment.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.


Well, if we assume that there's more than a dozen antibiotics available (in fact a quick count on the Wikipedia "list of antibiotics" includes 22 CLASSES of antibiotic, along with an "other" group), we've already smashed your argument out of the water. Most of those are used to treat life threatening infections - the risks are massively outweighed by the benefits.

Sticking with infectious diseases - the USA recommends a total of 16 vaccinations for children. Rare side effects can include febrile convulsions and anaphylactic shock (and please don't cite autism - there's no evidence in support of it). Most of the parent diseases cause death in a large number of patients (eg. measles, 2% of cases; influenza, 1%; tetanus, 50%) or serious long term injury (polio, for example). The risks definitely outweigh the benefits - and again your "dozen or so" is knoked down by a single class of drug (and one where we're only counting the specific drugs recommended for children in the USA!).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.


I don't know what else you expect... all medical interventions are designed to postpone death - nobody I've ever heard of has managed to eliminate death. Sometimes our efforts provide years or decades of additional life - sometimes just weeks. Either way, the patient is still going to die at some point.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Why take Valsartan to lower your blood pressure, when you can take care of yourself and watch your salt intake every day of your life? By developing new drugs to treat diseases that arise from an unhealthy lifestyle, we are justifying malconduct and irresponsibility. There is something deeply troublesome about that.


Case study - you are genetically predisposed to high blood pressure; how do you avoid said disease? And, if we can only sell our fancy blood pressure drugs to those who are "worthy" (ie. their symptoms are not caused by lifestyle), how do we pay for them to be developed in the first place? But, of course, that's not the issue - so what if a few people die through absolutely no fault of their own, as long as we send a strong message to people that "if you eat crap, we're not going to help you out because you don't deserve it" - that's certain to improve society.

Furthermore, who are you to decide what is "malconduct and irresponsibility"? Yes, people should take responsibility for their own actions - but not all consequences can be predicted, and certainly not all people do take responsibility (nor will they ever do so, despite your wishes to the contrary). But again, bugger those people who can't or won't control their salt intake - it's their own fault, let them die of a heart attack.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Only in the past 150 years have cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma been serious issues in our society.


Turns out, if we ignore asthma from your list, the others tend to occur more frequently in older people. Therefore, as people live, or average, longer now than they did 150 years ago, statistically we should EXPECT these diseases to be more of an issue. The "cause" of this increase in incidence is not the "synthetic chemicals" we're exposed to, it's that we live longer and therefore have a higher probability of developing such diseases with our without said chemical exposure.

As for asthma, first of it's another one of those diseases caused by an over-active immune system; second, it is believed to have a large genetic component, too.

(Another aside - given that this discussion is taking place on a board dedicated to CHEMISTRY, the "synthetic chemicals" statement - which implies a distinction with "natural chemicals" - REALLY gets my goat).


I think that covers most of the points I wanted to... I would recommend you get some information from sources that are not biased against modern medicine, and which do not include popular news outlets - and keep an open mind whilst reading (you are, after all, proclaiming an interest in science by being on this board - which should mean you're open to changing your mind based on superior facts).
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[*] posted on 23-3-2012 at 23:30


Thank you so much ziqquratu and entropy, for shining light on this situation with your (presumed) inside qualifications/experiences.

I also found this quote a tad offensive -
Quote:
If we find a cure for cancer or a cure for AIDS, we will just endorse unhealthy behaviour.

though he may not have fathomed the implications. Just how can I avoid all suspected carcinogens? Attempting to do so would not be a life at all.

[Edited on 24-3-2012 by Bot0nist]




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 06:23


Bot, entropy51, when I said that a cure for cancer and AIDS will endorse unhealthy behaviour, I meant it as a generalisation. I posted a warning because I know it's a blunt thing to say. Of course some people are naturally predisposed or have the illness from birth, and I do feel sympathy for them. In fact, I know a few myself, and contrary to popular belief, they can still lead normal lives.

Take a look at these statistics:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/commoncancers
An excerpt from this source:


"Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other
cancer in both men and women. An estimated 160,340 deaths,
accounting for about 28% of all cancer deaths, are expected to
occur in 2012. Death rates began declining in men in 1991; from
2004 to 2008, rates decreased 2.6% per year." page 15

Lung cancer is mostly, but not exclusively, caused by smoking. Thankfully, death rates are declining because people's attitudes on smoking are changing for the better. So in a sense, we've already found the cure for lung cancer.

Surprisingly, rates of prostate cancer and breast cancer are rapidly increasing. If any of you happen to know why, please post.

Moving on to AIDS:
http://www.avert.org/usa-statistics.htm
These statistics will show you that the majority of people who contract HIV do so through promiscuous sex, gay and otherwise. "Other" causes only make up for about 2% of the pie. This figure is expected to grow if no curb develops in the next decade or so. Promiscuity is a sign of decay in society, Ancient Roman society featured much of it before it collapsed.

Remedy for the damage done by mass media (which encourages promiscuity and says it's OK) will be very difficult to fix, if the possibility even exists.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 13:43


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.
If you can only name a dozen or so, either you don't know much about drugs or you are not trying very hard.

My quick list would include the following:

General anesthetics
Several classes of local anesthetics
Aspirin
Arsephenamine
Sulfanilamide and successors
Insulin
Vitamins
Diphenhydramine and other anti-histamines
Narcotic analgesics
Corticosteroids
Multiple classes of anti-hypertensives
Neuromuscular blocking agents
Anticoagulants
H-2 receptor blockers
Multiple classes of anti-psychotics
Multiple classe of anti-depressants
Halothane and other nonflammable anesthetics
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory agents
Insulin
Oral hypoglycemic agents
Anti-malarials and other anti-protozoal agents
Antimicrobials (tens of classes, hundreds of agents)
Multiple classes of anti-neoplastic agents
Multiple classes of anti-viral agents
Immunomodulatory drugs that allow organ transplants
Non-sedating anti-histamines

The list could go on and on and be expanded to include individual drugs (probably 1,000) and classes of drugs but most people will get the idea.

The use of these drugs over decades would seem ample evidence of favorable risk to benefit ratios. Dangerous and ineffective drugs tend to fall by the wayside as better drugs are developed. Those of us who have treated patients are well aware of the efficacy of drugs like the ones summarized above. Anyone lacking such experience can find statistical evidence in the literature, including the comprehensive reviews conducted by the FDA on older drugs during the 1960's.

And one should not dismiss the benefits of delaying death too casually. There is often a benefit in living a few more years to watch your grandchildren grow up. I suspect that when your time comes to face death you may find considerable benefit in delaying that even by a few months or years.

[Edited on 24-3-2012 by entropy51]
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 14:11


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

Moving on to AIDS:
http://www.avert.org/usa-statistics.htm
These statistics will show you that the majority of people who contract HIV do so through promiscuous sex, gay and otherwise. "Other" causes only make up for about 2% of the pie. This figure is expected to grow if no curb develops in the next decade or so. Promiscuity is a sign of decay in society, Ancient Roman society featured much of it before it collapsed.

Remedy for the damage done by mass media (which encourages promiscuity and says it's OK) will be very difficult to fix, if the possibility even exists.


Ah, so you don't really want medicine to cure major ills. You dislike anti-retroviral drugs not because they fail to cure completely but because they stop AIDS from being a certain death sentence. You want some medical problems to remain untreatable so you can use them as control mechanisms against social trends you don't like.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 16:05


Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
Ah, so you don't really want medicine to cure major ills. You dislike anti-retroviral drugs not because they fail to cure completely but because they stop AIDS from being a certain death sentence. You want some medical problems to remain untreatable so you can use them as control mechanisms against social trends you don't like.


I respect life, it is sacred from birth until natural death. But what we do with it in between is our decision, our free will. Everything you do has a price to pay, when you drink soda, you destroy your teeth and you increase your likelihood of developing cavities. When you eat too much, you get fat (there at least you have a second chance). When you go out in the sun every day for hours without protection, you damage your skin and you increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

The exact same goes for promiscuous sex. You take a risk every time and similarly you have to pay. You NEVER get something for nothing.

Quote:
social trends you don't like


I'm a bit offended by that, not by what you wrote, but by the indifference this implies. I am desperately trying to keep religion out of this, but sex was intended to strengthen the relationship between one man and one woman, not two men, not two women and not any number of each either. As soon as we start destroying the family as a social unit, the society as a whole collapses.

In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity. Unfortunately, the media is bringing back out caveman instincts and tendencies. How far will this go, only time will tell.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 16:40


But contracting HIV is not always, or even most of the time, the person's fault! A person could be having a long-term relationship with somebody, which has HIV but the symptoms hasn't shown up yet (symptoms can hide for years or even, in cases, decades). The person then contracts HIV. Is it the person's fault? No! It might not even be the other person's fault, as the other person might have the same scenario, etc. Another example is a mother contracting HIV, then giving birth to a child. The child gets the disease. Does the child have to suffer because of what the mother has done? By not finding a cure, you are denying all these innocent people, who has done nothing morally wrong, a cure. Sure, you might be cleansing polygamers out of society, but is it really worth it to take innocent people with them?

The same thing with lung cancer . Tobacco smoking might be the first cause, but radon exposure is the second! Do you want all those people who did not think that there's radon in their basement to die with lung cancer, without any hope of curing or at least delaying their death?

The same with other diseases, which I won't attempt to list here.

I'm sorry to say, but not everyone is religious and follows the same set of moral rules as you do. People might not consider gay relationships wrong, and there are no studies to prove on how it is unhealthy scientifically. HIV will eventually strengthen the family, but with a quarter of the entire planet, and almost the whole of Africa dying! Do you really want to make that sacrifice, just to stop gay relationships and polygamy?
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 17:05


Quote:
The same thing with lung cancer . **Tobacco** smoking might be the first cause, but radon exposure is the second!

Marijuana smoking also causes lung cancer. There are more marijuana smokers than people with radioactive basements. As for radon, the solution is simple, build above ground. The basement used to be a place where machinery would be stored, where the noisy boiler would do its thing, now it's just an extra room, as if houses in America were not big enough already.

"Do you really want to make that sacrifice, just to stop gay relationships and polygamy?"

Aren't there other diseases to this day that are just as deadly as AIDS and cancer, yet still incurable to this day? Why do you pay so much attention to AIDS (transmitted through caveman-like behaviour), aren't people dying from cystic fibrosis as well? I would focus more on curing genetic diseases that cannot be transmitted through mostly irrational behaviour.

As for contracting HIV at birth, this case presents itself as 2% of all the cases of HIV. If you glanced at the statistics, you would not have made such a weak argument.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 17:10


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  


In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity.


Yeti, can you hear me back there in the fifties? It is almost as if you believe HIV to be a good thing. That statement backed up the phrase that offended you from Polverone.
As far as promiscuity is concerned... I don't know about Yeti girls, but women around here are quite lovely, and that is why Jesus Christ invented condoms. ;-)

Oh, and how many "innocents" (not gay, or promiscuous, etc) have to die for AIDS to be bad Yeti. How many dead is that 2%?

[Edited on 25-3-2012 by Bot0nist]




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 17:25


Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
It is almost as if you believe HIV to be a good thing. That statement backed up the phrase that offended you from Polverone.[Edited on 25-3-2012 by Bot0nist]


Suffering has its place in the world. Yes, bad things happen to good people, but it's all part of life. To be honest, I don't know at which point AIDS and cancer showed up in this thread, but what about the countless other diseases that take the lives of many other people? I mentioned cystic fibrosis but there are countless others, which are not contracted through irrational behaviour.

Imagine a world without diseases, no pressure valve on population growth, no way to be grateful for your health. Too many people take health for granted. It's the same thing as the "why is there evil in the world" question. Similarly, you cannot be grateful for your health without there being disease as well.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 17:39


The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there. But we still have to work on developing countries, where diseases kill lots of people off, but they respond to that by giving birth to more children, often six or seven per family! It is a lose-lose situation, both with people dying and overpopulation not being controlled, eventually having mass starvation(like in Africa). To stop this, we need to both develop better medicine (or ways to make more medicine) for these countries, which will reduce the mortality rate of children there, and encourage them to give birth to less children and use protection, which will both help in reducing the number of children being born, which will resolve the starvation issue some years later because of the decrease in population. That way, we have both less people, starvation issue resolved, and lower death rate by diseases, using just medicine!
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 17:47


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

I am desperately trying to keep religion out of this, but sex was intended to strengthen the relationship between one man and one woman, not two men, not two women and not any number of each either. As soon as we start destroying the family as a social unit, the society as a whole collapses.

In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity. Unfortunately, the media is bringing back out caveman instincts and tendencies. How far will this go, only time will tell.
What a self-righteous little twit!

If you were trying to keep religion out of this you would not be telling us what sex was intended for. Intended by whom pray tell? You must be like 13 years old if you think you can read God's mind with such clarity.
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 18:11


Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there.


Spreading this message is not the answer either. Countries with collapsing populations (Germany much?), have just as many problems as those with populations getting out of hand. Issues with social security and pensions will have to be faced one way or another. The only solution is to have a slowly increasing population worldwide. When we find ways to colonise the solar system, then we can alleviate population by sending people to other planets, and later, to the stars.

I did not think it would come to this, but it seems like none of you guys gives a shit about triclosan.

@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 18:27


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.
It sounds like you have Him on speed dial. Just let me have His number, I'm not at all sure that I trust your transcription of His word.
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 18:38


Speed dial:
Clear your mind of every distraction, create complete silence, and you will hear God. God appears in the silence.




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weiming1998
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 18:54


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there.


Spreading this message is not the answer either. Countries with collapsing populations (Germany much?), have just as many problems as those with populations getting out of hand. Issues with social security and pensions will have to be faced one way or another. The only solution is to have a slowly increasing population worldwide. When we find ways to colonise the solar system, then we can alleviate population by sending people to other planets, and later, to the stars.

I did not think it would come to this, but it seems like none of you guys gives a shit about triclosan.

@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.


There would be an economy issue if populations are decreasing and a population is suffering from ageing, but you can't do anything about it. If we just let the population grow and wait for us to colonize the solar systems, eventually either our technology will not be advanced enough to move further into the universe, and mass starvation will ensue or we will become parasites of this universe, draining the life out of planets and continue expanding until eventually every resource in our universe is going to be exhausted. Not to mention that we are certainly going to kill off the original inhabitants of some planets. Economic issues are hard to resolve and a pain, but this is much worse.
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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 19:14


Population growth will be curbed in some way or another. You mentioned ageing, aren't the medicines we are making allowing people to live longer? This is such a blessing! Economies collapse because of ageing populations. Imagine the entire world population was like that of Europe. Europeans, although few in number use lots of resources and are charged with taking care of their elderly.

You cannot have the population of the world remain constant, a decreasing population causes all sorts of problems, only a slowly growing population will provide the kind of stability we need.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 19:58


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Too many people take health for granted. It's the same thing as the "why is there evil in the world" question. Similarly, you cannot be grateful for your health without there being disease as well.


Historically documented suffering is enough to inspire gratitude for its absence. You don't need to be beaten every Tuesday to enjoy all the days you aren't cringing before the rod. You don't need to reintroduce smallpox to appreciate its previous eradication.




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[*] posted on 24-3-2012 at 20:20


Yeti, since this thread has degenerated into a discussion of morality (and, for now, I'm not even going to try and address your arguments on population growth), I'm going to put to you again a question I posed above.


Let's assume that, for any given disease, the number of patients who have "legitimate" reasons for having it (eg. genetics, accidental exposure, injury, etc.) is 5 %. This is probably a massive overestimate for some diseases, and quite reasonable for others - but for the purpose of this scenario, an overestimate is useful to show the point.

Now, it is a widely reported fact (if you pay any attention to valid information about the drug industry, and not to less reputable sources) that a large proportion of drugs never manage to pay for themselves - that is, the profits made by selling them are less than the expenses incurred in development.

Given this, we can infer that if only 5% of current patients were to take drugs (because we wouldn't prescribe them to the people who could have avoided the disease by making some appropriate, moral choices), then NO drug would ever pay for itself. And the lower the percentage of "worthy" patients, the more true this statement becomes.

Now, if it were impossible to make a profit off of developing drugs, then no company would do so (and government funded research is notoriously poor at producing viable pharmaceuticals - although, to be fair, this may not hold true if it were the only option). Therefore, the drugs to treat that 5 % would never exist.

So, should that 5 % just suck it up and die so that the 95 % are given a "strong message" about moral behaviour? (Side note - it worked REALLY well during alcohol prohibition, and that whole "war on drugs" thing is going just swimmingly - even in the many Asian countries where drug trafficking can get you the death penalty).


Drugs are an effective tool in the treatment of a wide range of diseases - some avoidable, some not; even in some where risk is increased by "immoral behaviour". Either way, denying a person a life-saving therapy simply because you think they made a wrong choice or two along the way can NEVER be a moral position. If you hold such a philosophy, well, I'm not sure you can actually be qualified to lecture others on morality (something about those without sin casting stones...?).
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[*] posted on 25-3-2012 at 05:28


Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
So, should that 5 % just suck it up and die so that the 95 % are given a "strong message" about moral behaviour?


I don't even think we need to go that far. Say tomorrow someone patents a cure for cancer. Let's be idealistic, no side effects and it applies to all kinds of cancer. You can only imagine the multibillion dollar market that will develop. Depending on where you live, insurance policy may be different, but if you live in the United States, only the rich can afford expensive life saving procedures. With this in mind, the poor usually do welding, are exposed to carbon monoxide from machinery and are more likely to develop cancer. Do you think they will receive the treatment they deserve? Of course not, insurance companies will cover the cheaper chemotherapy/radiotherapy alternative, and deny coverage on the new treatment. Once the technology matures, then maybe insurance will cover it

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
(Side note - it worked REALLY well during alcohol prohibition, and that whole "war on drugs" thing is going just swimmingly - even in the many Asian countries where drug trafficking can get you the death penalty).


Actually, the prohibition was not a complete failure. It may not have stopped the consumption of alcohol in the United States, but it changed people's attitudes about alcohol consumption, leading to a decline in popularity:
http://edgeofthewest.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/prohibition...

The war on drugs in another issue. The problem with drugs is that there are many different kinds and chemists are worsening the situation by making derivatives which are not "illegal" per se. This makes restriction and regulation a nightmare.

Government intervention is not all that futile. Thanks to the government, supply is held back and purity of drugs in decreasing (dealers cut the product more and more). What dealers cut drugs with is not my problem, but I've heard that some use powdered glass. Even the dumbest addict knows that powdered glass is not something you should be introducing into your body intravenously. The result, cocaine and heroin are decreasing in popularity, but other drugs (a very long list) are increasing in popularity. Whether we like it or not, drugs are here to stay.





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