I have written several postings related to Various topics including the military, Voting, the economy, religion and etc in America. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address additional issues in these topics.
Table of Contents
-The Greek Alphabet
-Did Kyle Rittenhouse Save Our Legal System?
-Transparency in Medical Billing?
-What has happened to our attention span?
-Is the production of Soy Products a sinister plot to destroy masculinity in America?
-Are Religious Exemptions Valid For Covid-19 Vaccinations?
The Greek Alphabet
Greek alphabet, writing system that was developed in Greece about 1000 BCE. It is the direct or indirect ancestor of all modern European alphabets. Derived from the North Semitic alphabet via that of the Phoenicians, the Greek alphabet was modified to make it more efficient and accurate for writing a non-Semitic language by the addition of several new letters and the modification or dropping of several others. Most important, some of the symbols of the Semitic alphabet, which represented only consonants, were made to represent vowels: the Semitic consonants ʾalef, he, yod, ʿayin, and vav became the Greek letters alpha, epsilon, iota, omicron, and upsilon, representing the vowels a, e, i, o, and u, respectively. The addition of symbols for the vowel sounds greatly increased the accuracy and legibility of the writing system for non-Semitic languages.
Before the 5th century BCE the Greek alphabet could be divided into two principal branches: the Ionic (eastern) and the Chalcidian (western). Differences between the two branches were minor. The Chalcidian alphabet probably gave rise to the Etruscan alphabet of Italy in the 8th century BCE and hence indirectly to the other Italic alphabets, including the Latin alphabet, which is now used for most European languages. In 403 BCE, however, Athens officially adopted the Ionic alphabet as written in Miletus, and in the next 50 years almost all local Greek alphabets, including the Chalcidian, were replaced by the Ionic script, which thus became the Classical Greek alphabet.
The early Greek alphabet was written, like its Semitic forebears, from right to left. This gradually gave way to the boustrophedon style, and after 500 BCE Greek was always written from left to right. The Classical alphabet had 24 letters, 7 of which were vowels, and consisted of capital letters, ideal for monuments and inscriptions. From it were derived three scripts better suited to handwriting: uncial, which was essentially the Classical capitals adapted to writing with pen on paper and similar to hand printing, and cursive and minuscule, which were running scripts similar to modern handwriting forms, with joined letters and considerable modification in letter shape. Uncial went out of use in the 9th century CE, and minuscule, which replaced it, developed into the modern Greek handwriting form.
The table indicates the Modern Greek alphabet.
|capital||lower case||combinations||name||equivalents||approximate pronunciation|
|Γ||γ||ghámma||gh before α, ο, ου, ω, and consonants other than γ, ξ, and χ, y before αι, ε, ει, η, ι, οι, υ, υι; n before γ, ξ, and χ||wit, yet, sing|
|γκ||initial, g; medial, ng||go, finger|
|Δ||δ, ∂*||dhélta||dh; d between ν and ρ||then, wondrous|
|μπ||initial, b; medial, mb||bake, ambush|
|ντ||initial, d; medial, nd||dog, fender|
|Υ||υ||ípsilon||i initially and between consonants||even|
|**Pronounced with a long a.|
Why WHO skipped two letters of the Greek alphabet in naming Omicron
Since May the World Health Organization has been using letters of the Greek alphabet, in order, to name coronavirus variants. Delta was the most dominant one, followed by eight others — including Epsilon, Iota and Lambda — that so far have mostly fizzled out.So after a new variant with the unwieldy scientific name of B.1.1.529 was discovered last week in South Africa, observers might have expected WHO to name it after the next Greek letter on the list: Nu.
But the health agency skipped Nu, along with the letter after that — Xi — and instead went straight to Omicron — the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet.https://a9a26f94056510298ecf290e33462783.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The Greek alphabet has 24 letters.”Nu is too easily confounded with ‘new’ and Xi was not used because it is a common surname,” the organization explained in an emailed statement to CNN.
“And WHO best practices for naming new diseases suggest ‘avoiding causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.’
Coronavirus variants: Here’s what we knowTo avoid these stigmas, WHO has been avoiding associating viruses with specific regions of the world. Some believe use of the terms “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese virus” to describe Covid-19 have led to persecution of people of Asian descent.On its website, WHO said it’s identified best practices for the naming of new human diseases, “with the aim to minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.”
So that’s how this latest coronavirus variant became named Omicron. And if even newer variants emerge, there are nine more letters in the Greek alphabet. The next one is Pi.
How Omicron, the New Covid-19 Variant, Got Its Name
The World Health Organization began naming the variants after Greek letters to avoid public confusion and stigma.
Markets plunged on Friday, hope of taming the coronavirus dimmed and a new term entered the pandemic lexicon: Omicron.
The Covid-19 variant that emerged in South Africa was named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
The naming system, announced by the World Health Organization in May, makes public communication about variants easier and less confusing, the agency and experts said.
For example, the variant that emerged in India is not popularly known as B.1.617.2. Rather, it is known as Delta, the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.How do you say ‘Omicron’?Nov. 30, 2021
There are now seven “variants of interest” or “variants of concern” and they each have a Greek letter, according to a W.H.O. tracking page.
Some other variants with Greek letters do not reach those classification levels, and the W.H.O. also skipped two letters just before Omicron — “Nu” and “Xi” — leading to speculation about whether “Xi” was avoided in deference to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
“‘Nu’ is too easily confounded with ‘new,’” Tarik Jasarevic, a W.H.O. spokesman, said on Saturday. “And ‘Xi’ was not used because it is a common last name.”
He added that the agency’s best practices for naming diseases suggest avoiding “causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.”
Some of the better-known variants, such as Delta, rose to a variant of concern. Others in that category were named Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Others that emerged, which were variants of interest, were named Lambda and Mu. Other Greek letters were used for variants that did not meet those thresholds but Nu and Xi were the only ones that were skipped.
The W.H.O. has promoted the naming system as simple and accessible, unlike the variants’ scientific names, which “can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting,” it said.
Some researchers agree.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan, said she conducted many interviews with reporters this year, before the Greek naming system was announced, and she stumbled through confusing explanations about the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants. They are now known as Alpha, which emerged in the United Kingdom, and Beta, which emerged in South Africa.
“It makes it really cumbersome to talk about when you’re constantly using an alphabet soup of variant designations,” she said, adding, “Ultimately people end up calling it the U.K. variant or the South African variant.”
That’s the other big reason that the W.H.O. moved to the Greek naming system, Dr. Rasmussen said: The older naming convention was unfair to the people where the virus emerged. The agency called the practice of describing variants by the places they were detected “stigmatizing and discriminatory.”
The practice of naming viruses for regions has also historically been misleading, Dr. Rasmussen said. Ebola, for example, is named for a river that’s actually far from where the virus emerged.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, I remember people saying: ‘We called it the Spanish flu. Why don’t we call it the Wuhan coronavirus?’” Dr. Rasmussen said. “The Spanish flu did not come from Spain. We don’t know where it emerged from, but there’s a very good possibility it emerged from the U.S.”
The W.H.O. encouraged national authorities and media outlets to adopt the new labels. They do not replace the technical names, which convey important information to scientists and will continue to be used in research.
After omicron variant, let’s ditch the COVID-19 Greek alphabet
“Xi” and “nu” didn’t work, so experts should consider other names. Von Trapp variant?
The Greek alphabet is causing drama. Developed in the 9th century B.C., ithas become a political flashpoint destined for a cable news chyron reading CHAOS AND HYSTERIA: ANCIENTGREECE TO BLAME? All I’m saying is, Glagolitic script should watch its back.
The World Health Organization has been naming coronavirus variants after Greek letters since May. We all know delta, which ruined our summer outfits. Epsilon and iota disappeared without much fuss. Butwhen the WHO got to nu, the meetings turned into an Abbott and Costello sketch. Around xi, concerns about China came up, and the WHO was all, “Alexa, Skip!”
Now, here we are at omicron. Experts say it will take weeks to figure out if it’s more deadly or contagious than others. Do not panic! But if you’re prone to panic, Greek Lettergate is a handy distraction from imagining a world in which we are destined to get boosters like free koozies at minor league baseball games (I will do it).
I propose the World Health Organization dump the Greek alphabet before it gets to the next letter, pi. We had pi variant at Thanksgiving, anyway. A pumpkin pi, an apple pi… Sorry, that joke was low-hanging fruit. I’m so sorry. I can’t be crusted.
Scientific names are hard to remember. Delta, for example, was B.1.617.2, which also is the classroom your kid has to be in Wednesday at 3:30 for holiday chorus, or was it math tutoring at 3:15? There has to be a better way.
For instance, Sound of Music characters are plentiful, with the added public relations bonus of being beloved. It’s time to make room for the Liesl variant, the Friedrich variant and, I guess, the Kurt variant, if we have to. When the children run out, we move to the misunderstood Baroness Elsa von Schraeder variant, and the most likely to have commitment issues, the Captain von Trapp variant.
How about the zodiac? The new variant sounds complicated, like a Cancer sun with Sagittarius rising. Or maybe it’s a Scorpio with Venus in Gemini and a Virgo moon variant. All we need to figure it out is the exact time, date, latitude and longitude where the variant was born. It’s simple! Wait, this is a bad idea.
Rabbits? That would be comforting. Holland Lop variant, Flemish Giant variant, Netherland Dwarf variant, Soviet Chinchilla vari… gah, too political.
Variant names should translate across borders. Experts, please consider common wordless expressions, such as the eye-roll variant, the heavy-sigh variant, the eyebrow-scrunch variant, the cheek-puff variant and the I’m-gonna-hurl-face variant. Eventually, we will reach the just-resting-my-eyes-for-a-second variant.
Maybe we should simplify things entirely with numbers. That way, when we get to variant 4,567, it will align perfectly with the years spent living in a pandemic.
Did Kyle Rittenhouse Save Our Legal System?
After a trial that gripped the nation and a sometimes frustratingly long deliberation process, the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse delivered its verdict: not guilty on all charges.
It seemed to be an open and shut case of self-defense to anyone who watched the footage of the shootings in good faith, but still the spectre of wokeness hung over the entire trial. The prosecution’s case was flimsy, and it led to conjecture that the trial was wholly political — brought before a judge and jury merely to placate leftist activists who bayed for retribution.
It seems that every day the laws of this nation are being flaunted in the name of a political cause. While leftists refuse to enforce the law at the border and in major cities where crime has spiked to record levels, they seemed determined to use the weight of the American justice system to crush Rittenhouse.
A small group of 12 people, however, pushed back on that, and the jury chose to uphold the objective nature of our legal system and refused to allow American justice to be subsumed by political fervor.
Rittenhouse crossed state lines to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to help protect businesses from rioters and render medical aid to anyone who might need it. Instead, the night ended in tragedy after the 17-year-old shot three people in self-defense, killing two of them.
Leftist politicians and every media know-it-all immediately branded Rittenhouse as a white supremacist domestic terrorist, and they gleefully called for a swift conviction and merciless punishment. These are the same people who advocate for “prison reform” and want to let violent criminals back onto the streets, mind you.
Democratic New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said, “Lock up Kyle Rittenhouse and throw away the key,” while “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley slammed media outlets that tried to offer an objective account of the events, proclaiming, “A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15. He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives. Fix your damn headlines.”
Even then-candidate Joe Biden tried to tie Rittenhouse to white supremacy even though there was not a shred of evidence to support the claim. He criticized former President Donald Trump’s performance during a debate by tweeting, “There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night.” A video accompanying showed a picture of Rittenhouse as well as footage from white supremacist rallies like Charlottesville.
Those same activists are now doubling down on their initial ignorance and reinforcing the lie that the verdict represents a victory for white supremacy.
Democratic Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, who was involved in the equally spurious Ferguson riots of 2014, called the verdict “white supremacy in action.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones of 1619 Project infamy seized the opportunity to promote her widely discredited “history” project by saying “In this country, you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619.”
The Maryland chapter of the ACLU, an organization founded to “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States,” commented that the verdict was “dangerous, disgusting, unacceptable white supremacy.”
Protesters gathered outside the Kenosha Courthouse every day to advocate a guilty verdict. They were soon met by counter-protesters who supported Rittenhouse. Tensions rose several times outside the courthouse, but overall it remained mostly peaceful (For once that’s not a dig at CNN).
But as the deliberation dragged on, some people speculated that the jury might have been intimidated into charging Rittenhouse on at least one charge in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s fiery riots.
We might see some violence in the wake of the verdict, but it is a triumph for the justice system that the jury did not bend to political pressure or compromise the rule of law for fear of the consequences of going against the woke mob.
The Rittenhouse Trial Shows Us Why Cameras in Courtrooms Are the Proper Move for Our Legal System
The past couple of weeks showed it was beneficial that we were able to watch the Rittenhouse trial for ourselves.
Make no mistake, there has been no shortage of imbalanced visuals and cerebrally-challenged commentary surrounding the case over the past weeks that is the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. From a prosecution team that had dreams of a post-verdict TV career to a judge who was very comfortable in his robe or the defendant who became social media fodder after breaking down on the stand and a lawyer whose face-palm became a meme after his witness unraveled their case with one answer — this had all the earmarks of a legal jesters’ cabaret.
And we need to be grateful that it was captured live for us to see.
I know, there are plenty of people saying this was a fiasco of torts, and that the presence of the cameras not only added to the hysterics but they quite probably encouraged many of the shenanigans. It was apparent early on lead prosecutor Thomas Binger felt he had a further career of some sort in front of cameras; he managed to derail that dream with a performance of ineptitude, capped off by his pointing a gun at the jury, displaying worse gun management than the 17-year-old he was attempting to show was reckless.
Judge Bruce Schroeder has also enjoyed his time before the lenses, boisterously condemning some of the actions of the prosecutors but also allowing their sham of a case to continue, despite numerous reasons to call a mistrial. Considering that this prosecution team has been such a disaster that airbags should have gone off at the plaintiff’s desk, the trial has not been curtailed. That would cut short the camera time.
Then there was the debacle we saw play out involving MSNBC/NBC News, with potential jury tampering. A stringer for NBC was chasing down the juror’s vehicle, seemingly looking to learn who they were, in defiance of the safety protocols set up for them. But don’t you dare call the press the “enemy of the people.” The past few weeks, the journalists have been behaving like jackals, as there has been no shortage of wild claims about this case made in the press. The mistruths, misrepresentations, and misapplication of the law are rather lengthy.
- Kyle Rittenhouse did not cross state lines. He has family in Kenosha, works in the town, and had been lending help in the area for days.
- Kyle’s mother did not drive him to the riot. He had worked that day and then remained in the area.
- He did not bring his gun illegally. It was being kept at the Kenosha home of a friend.
- Kyle did not illegally possess his firearm. Wisconsin law permits people his age to have the type of gun he brandished that night, hence the weapons charge against him being tossed.
- Charges of Rittenhouse being a white supremacist have never been proven. FBI searches found no evidence of such a claim.
- Kyle was accused of wearing gloves the night of the shooting in order to hide his fingerprints. This idiocy is dispelled by the photos showing him at times without gloves, and in the gloved photos, his face is clearly visible.
- The press is uniformly calling this trial race-based, when every single player involved is white.
- Press reports have said Kyle enforced violence in the city when he was inspired to go to Kenosha, because conservative media brainwashed him with false tales of strife. For this fable to hold up, they need to ignore the days of violence that had been taking place prior to his arrival.
- Kyle did not shoot first; those he shot instigated all the conflict.
- While demonizing Rittenhouse for possession of a weapon the press has to ignore Gaige Grosskreutz had a gun and pointed it at Rittenhouse prior to being shot.
- Grosskreutz conducted interviews after his appearance on the stand and contradicted his own testimony.
- Joe Scarborough claimed Rittenhouse discharged 60 rounds of ammunition. His statement was so wildly wrong it was referenced in the closing arguments to show the behavior of the press during the trial.
These are not even close to being all of the errors, misrepresentations, and lies that have been broadcast about the case. It has been a complete circus of narrative-building and slanderous representations in the media. But the great thing about all of this is there was a tonic to all this delirium — we were able to see the facts for ourselves. By watching the trial, we did not have to rely upon the melodramatic musers with an axe to grind; we could see and hear things for our own edification.
The fact that cameras were allowed in this courtroom had a two-pronged effect — we could ascertain the facts of the trial, and it exposed the media as the corrupt cabal that they are. Joe Scarborough unintentionally proved there was a need for these proceedings to be televised. After he was shamed for delivering amazingly inaccurate facts about the case he raged in defense, declaring he was supposedly embarrassed on behalf of the defense lawyer for mentioning his irrationality on the official record of the court.
But then Joe took an amazing step further. He lashed out at anyone who heard his ridiculous claim that Kyle Rittenhouse discharged 60 rounds and took his words as being accurate. Consider this for a moment; a TV pundit is mad at the audience for listening to what he said and believing him.
The noteworthy part is that Scarborough makes my point for me. Since we were able to follow the trial, his asinine charge was refuted in short order. He was called out, and his corrections were then issued in response, all because we could see the facts, evidence, and testimony ourselves. If we did not have cameras in that court, think of just how many of the falsehoods dispensed in the press would have become entrenched in the public opinion.
Now, yes, there is a tendency of the cameras to have an effect on the proceedings in a trial. The participants surely behave in a different manner with the arrival of the Panaflex battalion. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that the media does not behave in a different fashion; they have their agenda to push out, and they are incapable of steering their coverage in any other fashion. The remedy is for us to see things for ourselves and then measure just how poorly the media is behaving.
Kyle Rittenhouse verdict reactions: From ‘Justice system broken’ to ‘Justice system worked’
As Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges against him, including intentional homicide, emotions rippled across the nation and the world.
The verdict unleashed debates across the country; some people were outraged over the lack of justice, citing the role of white privilege, while others praised the upholding of the Second Amendment.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz in a summer 2020 protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, faced charges including intentional homicide to attempted homicide.
Anthony Huber’s parents, Karen Bloom and John Huber, said they were heartbroken and angry over the verdict, which they said did not deliver justice for any of Rittenhouse’s victims.
“…Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system,” the statement read.
Justin Blake, Jacob Blake’s uncle, said the verdict was an example of the city’s inherit racism.
“This is a very racist city, it’s been shown through and through … the judge displayed that,” Blake told local reporters.
Politicians also shared their thoughts on the outcome via social media, with Democrats calling out a lacking justice system and “alarming” new precedent.
“A system that legitimizes vigilante murder is deeply broken,” said U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee in a tweet.
Wisconsin Sen. Kelda Roys of Madison said in a tweet that the verdict was “devastating.”
“The fix seemed in from the beginning, given the judge’s blatant and inappropriate bias for the defense,” she said. “Even if (people) buy that throwing a plastic bag requires ‘self defense’ with an AR-15, Rittenhouse broke multiple other laws and should have served years in prison.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network said Friday was a “dark day” for the Black community and called the verdict “dangerous.”
“This verdict was not only outrageous and dangerous, it was also an obvious signal that encourages and notifies “vigilantes” that they can continue to use violence to assert their power, and more importantly that they are above the criminal justice system when they do. While it is disheartening that we take one step forward, then several steps back, let this be a reminder that our activism cannot take a backseat,” the statement read.
Republicans praised the courts for delivering, what they believed to be justice.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker weighed in on Twitter, saying that those who knew what actually happened in Kenosha last year assumed this would be the outcome.
“Thankfully, the jury thought the same,” he said. “Pray that the kind of violence seen then does not happen again.”
Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin, shared a similar sentiment.
“Our justice system worked today,” she said in a tweet. “The prosecution in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was a complete disgrace, praising the mob that burned our streets as ‘heroes.'”
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson also said in a tweet that justice had been served.
“I hope everyone can accept the verdict, remain peaceful and let the community of Kenosha heal and rebuild,” he said.
Civil liberties and gun prevention organizations are also hitting back against the verdict. Shaadie Ali, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin said the events in Kenosha stem from deep white supremacy roots.
“But Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t the only one responsible for the deaths that night. The events in Kenosha stem from the deep roots of white supremacy in our society’s institutions. They underscore that the police do not protect communities of color in the same way they do white people,” Ali’s statement read.
The gun violence prevention organization March For Our Lives questioned why Rittenhouse had an AR-15 rifle in the first place, and said firearms always yield violence.
“It it so very clear that Kyle Rittenhouse embodies the very danger posed by a toxic mix of a white supremacist culture that values property over human life, and wide proliferation of high-powered guns with fewer limits than a drivers license,” March For Our Lives said on Twitter.
The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, explained: ‘If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him’
If and when they do, they’ll probably be asked: Where did they find reasonable doubt?
But that’s the wrong question, civil rights attorney Jamie White told USA TODAY after the Illinois teen was found not guilty Friday in a polarizing case that further split America along political and racial lines more than a year after he shot three men, two fatally, during a night of protests last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“They didn’t have to come up with reasonable doubt,” said White, a Michigan-based criminal defense attorney who has represented dozens of sexual abuse victims in high-profile cases involving the Boy Scouts of America and Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. “They never got there. It was all about: Was he (Rittenhouse) acting reasonably at the time of the shootings?”
The “reasonable doubt was self-defense,” contended Lara Yeretsian, a veteran criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles.
“If you’ve got them convinced of self-defense, if you’ve got them to believe that everything he did was to defend his life and his life was at risk, that if he wouldn’t have shot those men he’d be dead himself – that’s it,” said Yeretsian, who has defended high-profile clients such as Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson.
“As far as his testimony goes, the jurors clearly found him credible, and that in itself is huge,” she said. “If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him.”
Other legal experts also expressed little surprise with the verdict
“I think that anyone who saw the evidence could see that the jury might have a difficult time coming to a unanimous decision that Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t defending himself,” Julius Kim, a Wisconsin defense attorney and former prosecutor, told NPR.
“They were not deciding here who do they believe more. They were deciding a very specific legal question: Do they think the prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t self-defense?” ABC chief legal analyst Dan Abrams said on “World News Tonight,” adding that he believed videos of the shootings had a significant influence on the jury.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger didn’t help the state’s case, legal experts told USA TODAY.
While White, who acknowledged he didn’t have access to all the evidence, said he “wasn’t impressed at all by the prosecutor,” he did agree with Binger’s argument to the jury that “when you talk about self-defense, it has to be proportionate – and using a semi-automatic rifle on someone who’s kicking you or hitting you with a skateboard is not proportionate.”
“If anything was going to turn the table, I thought it was going to be that argument: that you can’t bring a gun to a fistfight,” White said. “But in this case, the jury ruled that you could.”© SEAN KRAJACIC, APAssistant District Attorney Thomas Binger holds his gaze to the ceiling as he waits for verdicts to be read in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday.
Binger’s inability to sway the jury on proportionate use of force was a pivotal moment in a trial that began with him already facing “an uphill battle,” Yeretsian told USA TODAY.
“Even the prosecution’s witnesses, they were supporting the defense’s argument – when the one survivor testified that he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse and that’s when Rittenhouse shot him, that gives the jury enough,” she said.
Putting Rittenhouse on the stand, Yeretsian said, was “risky but the right move, especially in a trial with the entire nation watching it.” Rittenhouse’s emotional testimony – he cried at one point – worked in his favor, she said.
“He’s got this baby face, he shed some tears, that could pull at some heartstrings – defense attorneys count on those things,” Yeretsian said. “But other than the few moments of crying and him being emotional, he was pretty calm and able to explain his side. He came across as credible.”
She added that the jury “bought the self-defense argument, and that’s really the bottom line.”
Kyle Rittenhouse Proves that Leftists are Incapable of Civilized Society
Sweet, sweet victory has been had, friends, but at much cost. And even so, it is not as sweet as it may seem. Kyle’s torment outside of prison aside, what has the world come to when the Right is forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for something to celebrate? Kyle’s acquittal was not a victory, but simply the status quo being maintained. In a sane world, he would have never even been charged in the first place. Nevertheless, so much was on the line that a mere lack of a loss is seen as a win.
The Left rejects the very ideological building blocks of civilization itself, likely due to a spiritual and physical dysgenics and a high time preference, which is a major poison of late-stage civilization. In other words, they act like young children before they understand the concept of sharing, whose only concern is their daily hit of dopamine. The logical conclusion of this infantile value system has been achieved, and can be observed in Twitter orcs and their Twitter-berg masters. In contrast, our “ideology” of civilization, so taken for granted by us Westerners, is hardly an ideology but an ultimate, absolute truth that only sophists and their spellbound hordes could dismiss.
The first tenet of this ideology is the sacred and eternal right to self-defense. As all sane and rational people know, Kyle is and has always been innocent of any wrongdoing. These people attacked him, and he fought back with the proportional force available to him. The forces of chaos wish to reign unabated, and self-defense gets in their way. The result is an impotent rage and the wish to abolish this right that every civilized society must have to survive.
The Left, of course, know that they will be able to defend themselves under a “fortified” self-defense regime. This is no problem for them. Rather, the problem is our very existence. They wish to tear down civilization, but not have any of the physical risks associated with such an endeavor; not exactly reminiscent of Alaric, Ghengis Khan, Atilla, or Lenin, are they?
The ripple effects of the abolition of self-defense would be the complete destruction of civilization as we know it. The in-group, like a mob of black rioters during Katrina, would live high and wild for the first few days or weeks. However, once all the civilized conservatives flee, they will starve for want of food. This irrational hatred for the concept of white self-defense can only exist via savage high time preference or Semitic malice.
It seems that the forces of chaos are unable to see the value in such things. People often spend their entire lives building a business. It is almost like a child to them. It is an extension of them. Whites build, and sadly it is usually the lowest elements of the black community and their race-traitor lackeys who destroy. Of course, a hood rat whose entire life has been paid for by the taxpayer knows nothing about how property insurance works or how much time goes into starting a small business without (((banking connections))) and powerful friends.
With the de facto abolition of private property, civilization ends, as cooperation becomes impossible. This is the main reason that black areas look like something out of a dystopian, post-apocalyptic science fiction film. The risk-reward calculation is simply not conducive for a rational person to invest in the hood. If it were, there would be thousands of investors trampling over each other in the auction houses hoping to scrounge up cheap and profitable properties for new enterprises.
The Left in all their wisdom, are unable to see that property versus life is a false dichotomy. While life might be lost in the defense of such an important tenet of society, neither need be lost on any large scale. The right to self-defense and of private property work in tandem to protect lives and property. If property can be protected with deadly force, only the foolhardiest will attempt to destroy. If life can be protected with deadly force, the same applies. More lives and property will be saved. It is a rare case of a true best-of-both-worlds scenario. Everyone, blacks included, would be able to live a much better life by adhering to these absolute principles. Only the maliciously high time-preferenced could possibly find any disagreement with such a staple of reasonable logic. Only the maliciously low time-preferenced would want to manipulate these tendencies and empower the rabble, to the detriment of both blacks and whites.
These insights provide a startling sneak peek into America’s future. While we still technically have the right to self-defense, the right to protect private property is nevertheless completely gone in the US. Kyle may have won, but he was still bludgeoned by an abuse of the judicial process. I doubt many people want to gamble with having to endure a similar ordeal. The right to destroy while black or adjacent is also de facto legal, meaning that free enterprise outside of the mega-corporation cartel headed by Amazon is all but impossible near culturally-enriched areas.
We can celebrate Kyle’s freedom. God knows we deserve some good news. But we must never forget that the fight continues, and that we have only won a defensive struggle against the complete de jure elimination of the right to self-defense in America. From here, it will only get worse.
Transparency in Medical Billing?
Under the Trump presidency enacted an initiative for price transparency in the medical field and Biden signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to continue enforcing the act. I just came back from a two day stay at the hospital, which included two ER visits. If not not for my insurance, I would be bankrupt. The bill came to over $68,000 and that does not included the ER doctors bill yet. I will include the itemized bill to show you what “transparency” means. However, I want to cover the Executive order a little more completely.
President Biden signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue enforcing the “price transparency initiatives for hospitals, other providers, and insurers” that were put in place by the Trump administration. The transparency rules aim to increase competition by allowing consumers to make an informed choice about their medical care.
A basic economic assumption is that, in each transaction, people seek to maximize their benefit and minimize the cost. If the cost outweighs the benefit, the transaction will not take place. This principle is what allows for competition. In order for markets to be free, fair, and functioning, both the cost and benefit must be known to consumers—there must be an informed decision. Therefore, when the cost is difficult to ascertain and consumers are unable to find or compare prices, a great issue arises. Price transparency laws seek to remedy this situation by requiring hospitals to be open with consumers about their prices. It is true that consumers do not always have the ability to shop for the lowest price, such as in emergency situations, but a 2018 Federal report on healthcare reform notes that “the vast majority of healthcare services are routine or elective services that can be organized by markets to enhance patient welfare.”
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hospitals are required to “make public a list of the hospital’s standard charges.” Since the ACA’s enactment, HHS merely required hospitals to post their chargemaster, or price list, to satisfy this requirement. When the chargemasters were initially released in 2013, there was significant backlash over the enormously high prices. In response to the outrage, then-vice president of the American Hospital Association, Carol Steinberg, told the Washington Post that chargemasters are “confusing because it’s highly variable and generally not what a consumer would pay. Even an uninsured person isn’t always paying the chargemaster rate.” Essentially, the information was useless and unhelpful for consumers.
In light of this history, the Trump-era rules sought stricter enforcement of the ACA’s price transparency provision in a way that would be benefit consumers and promote competition in the healthcare marketplace. A June 2019 Executive Order called for regulations requiring hospitals “to publicly post standard charge information” as ACA already mandated. But it also went on to clarify how it would be defining this information. The new definition includes “charges and information based on negotiated rates and for common or shoppable items and services.” They must be reported “in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly, and machine-readable format using… standards that will meaningfully inform patients’ decision making and allow patients to compare prices across hospitals.”
The rule was immediately challenged in court; however, the rule was upheld by both the Federal District and Circuit Courts. So, as planned, the rule went into effect at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, enforcement has been lacking. By the beginning of April, 32% of hospitals had not posted any of the data required by the rule. Even those who posted some prices did not publish everything. In fact, a March 2021 study found 65 of the nation’s largest 100 hospitals were “unambiguously non-compliant.” This information led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to write a letter to HHS Secretary Becerra asking him to enforce the rule. With President Biden’s latest Executive Order, reinforcing these existing price transparency rules, there is much reason to hope that enforcement will soon follow.
ALEC has had model policy on health care price disclosures that is very similar to the current rules since 2012 and states are also acting to make it easier for consumers to find price data. Nine states have online price comparison tools. States as diverse as Colorado, Florida, and New York have embraced price transparency, providing mechanisms to make it more useful and consumer-friendly.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reported earlier this month that the information released by hospitals already “illustrate[s] the huge differences in prices — nationally, regionally and within the same hospital.” They write that the information is particularly helpful in 3 situations:
Patients who are paying cash or who have unmet deductibles may want to compare prices among hospitals to see if driving farther could save them money.
Uninsured patients could ask the hospital for the cash price or attempt to negotiate for the lowest amount the facility accepts from insurers.
Insured patients who get a bill for out-of-network care may find the information helpful because it could empower them to negotiate a discount off the hospitals’ gross charges for that care.
However, this pricing data will only benefit consumers if they know about it and choose to use it. While a 2019 poll showed 88% of Americans support price transparency initiatives, a recent KFF survey showed only 9% are aware of the federal price transparency rules and merely 14% had researched hospital prices in the past 6 months. After enacting these policies, raising public awareness and encouraging usage is crucial for transparency to be a successful policy.
Because most Americans are not used to shopping for health care and our current third-party payer system makes it even more difficult, the benefits of transparency likely won’t happen overnight. But the latest rule pushes price transparency forward, and it makes healthcare in the United States more open, costs more clear, and health care markets more free.
The concept behind this bill is that transparency will increase competition and therefore drive the prices down. The problem is that your insurance only covers certain hospitals so there really is very little competition. While is is true that you do have independent labs, and day surgery and walk in clinics, they are limited with what services they can provide.
So now I am going to provide the bill I received, and if you can figure out how much the insurance company was actually billed and how much was written off by the hospital you are smarter than I am. I guess what matters is that I only had to pay $75.00. So don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about that. I am complaining about the actual charges for the services provided. When the charge over $100.00 for one pill. This is a pill I take at home. My co-pay is 10.00 a month for the prescription. I take one pill a day. So that amounts to 10 months worth for just one day at the hospital.
So while there is transparency in the bill, is there really transparency?
What has happened to our attention span?
There is no doubt that technology has improved our lifestyles. The advances made in the last 40 years has truly been miraculous, but at what price? While this article is going to deal mainly with the effects it has had on our attention span, I will briefly touch on some of the other effects it has had as well.
Here’s how technology affects our life
According to studies, the average millennial picks up the smartphone 150 times a day. This over-dependence on tech is known as technology addiction.
ET checks this perpetual influx of new technologies in our lives. Let’s have a look
In 2008, a study conducted at Scotland’s Dundee University found that adults over the age of 55 who grew up in a household with a black-and-white TV set were more likely to dream in black and white.
Younger participants, who grew up in the age of Technicolor, nearly always experienced their dreams in colour. The American Psychological Association seconded these findings in 2011.
Over-usage of technology damages the brain systems connecting emotional processing, attention and decision-making.
A new study links anxiety, severe depression, suicide attempts and suicide with the rise in use of smartphones, tablets and other devices.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is defined by The New York Times as “the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media”.
Social media is bombarded with pictures and posts of scrumptious dinners, raging parties and enviable travel check-ins.
These activities might not be one’s idea of fun, but when one recognizes that pang, “Should I be doing something else right now?”, that’s FOMO.
Phantom Vibration Syndrome
This is the perception that one’s mobile is vibrating or ringing when it is not. It is characterized as a tactile hallucination since the brain perceives a sensation that is not present.
Psychologists suggested that physical sensations, such as an itch, may be misinterpreted by the brain as a vibrating phone.
Majority of cell phone users report experiencing phantom vibrations, with reported rates ranging from 27.4% to 89%.
Shortened Attention Span
The constant use of technology has shortened our attention span from 12 minutes to 5 minutes. Constant news feeds and videos that are 10 minutes or less has rewired our brains.
People who are online an average of 5 hours a day have trouble remembering people’s names.
The constant stimulation from electronics makes our brain accustom to “popping”, fast-paced stream of information that we find on the internet.
This is why we are becoming increasingly less adept to handle the slower pace of real life. This condition is known as “popcorn brain”.
Technology has altered human physiology. It affects memory, attention spans and sleep cycles. This is attributed to a scientific phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to alter its behaviour based on new experiences.
Tech addiction may be a risk factor for alcohol and other drug abuse. People who overuse technology develop similar brain chemistry and neural patterning to those who are addicted to substances.
Brain scans of people with tech addiction disorder are similar to those of people with substance addictions to alcohol, cocaine and cannabis.
What Does Technology Do To Our Brains?
In the Star Wars series, we witness the slow transformation of good to evil with the character of Darth Vader. Before he became a disciple of the dark side, Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, a good-hearted Jedi and hero of the Clone Wars. While he was considered one of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy, Anakin had a weakness in that he let his raw passions, at times, guide his contemplation. Consequently, he became infatuated with a woman. He ended up breaking the Jedi code by secretly marrying Senator Padmé Amidala. This decision then snowballed. Anakin began to have visions of his new wife’s death in child-bearing. At this point, he opened himself up to become seduced by the dark side of the force. An influential figure named Chancellor Palpatine be-friended Anakin and fed him the false idea that he could use a certain power to cheat death and save Padme’s life. Of course, those familiar with the story know that Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord in disguise. He slowly brain-washed Anankin to think the Jedi were holding him back and keeping him from the power he deserved. In the Star Wars saga, we notice how a demonic figure slowly seduces someone through emotion and promises of self-gratification to obtain ultimate power. Had Anakin simply followed the wise order of the Jedi and learned to channel his emotions, he would have never fallen trap to the cunning tricks of the dark side.
Today, we witness how this “dark side” formula of slowly seducing someone through short-term emotional gratification can pull a person away from their pure, natural state and usher them into a dark place. This “dark side” today represents the pop culture luring kids away from God, the Church, and their well-meaning parents.
One of the tricks of the demonic is to use seemingly harmless instruments as their starting point in order to infiltrate their ideas into a person. Just like the demonic used Anakin’s love of Padme as its entry point in which to begin brain-washing him, the pop culture exploits certain situations to make the slow transformation from good to bad. What are these things in our world that demonic forces are exploiting?
The more scientists study the negative effects of cell phones and social media on teenagers the more it becomes clear that the pop culture is using devices to indoctrinate teens and young adults from their pure, innocent state to a rebellious addict that wants nothing to do with God or the Church.
Many psychologists have repeatedly outlined the numbing effects that cell phone use does to the human brain – especially kids. Obviously, a cell phone in-and-of-itself is not dangerous. However, the texting, social media, staged photos, and access to anything on the internet allows the phone to be a risky and addictive tool in the wrong hands. Author Simon Sinek talks how texting and social media becomes addictive through the release of dopamine to our brain. Dopamine is a chemical released by nerve cells to transmit signals to other nerve cells. It’s a key player as it shapes (or un-shapes) the reward center of our brains. Sex, eating tasty food, getting texts and “likes” on social media all trigger a large release of dopamine to the brain. To be sure, a modest amount of dopamine to the brain is healthy. With a little dopamine, the reward center of the brain will appreciate natural stimuli such as a sunset, the mountains, or picturesque cathedrals.
However, as this dopamine process keeps penetrating the brain in a constant, overload fashion, the more that person’s reward circuitry in their brain becomes damaged and eventually will re-wire the brain. Here, the brain no longer finds rewards in natural beauty but is rather drawn to shallow things that hold little meaning and happiness. Picture a bunch of kids standing inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. And instead of taking in the beauty in which surrounds them they are fixated at the cell-phone in front of them.
Psychologist Jim Owens states that the definition of addiction is compulsive, repeated behavior despite negative consequences. With the addictive nature of dopamine, we see how cell phones substitute as a drug. The more and more a person sees how many “likes” or “texts” they get, the more they are ushering volumes of dopamine to their brain. According to Owens, too much dopamine overwhelms the brain. The brain then retreats and trims back its dopamine receptor sites. The brain has a built-in mechanism that basically tells dopamine, we will now reduce the way we receive you so you can’t flood us anymore. Now, two problems result from this. First, you’ve just caused brain damage from excessive dopamine. Second, because the dopamine receptors have shrunk, you’ll never reach that temporary euphoric experience you first felt when all that dopamine rushed into your brain. Here is where addiction surfaces because you’ll constantly be searching for that initial experience but will never attain it. Addicts will usually admit that they are relentlessly chasing after their first “high.” The problem is they will never get there. Therefore, they are trapped in an endless cycle in which they are continuously looking for that first rush that no longer exists. But, the addict is under the delusion that this high is somewhere out there. So, they go harder and harder into their addiction to get at this.
When it comes to teenagers, they don’t stand a chance to the addictive nature of cell phones. Psychologist Katie Hurley showcases that over 50% of teens openly admit they are addicted to their phones. Surveys also show that 72% of teens feel the need to immediately respond to texts and social media responses.
The problem with this addiction is it ruins a person’s ability to think correctly. Psychologist Jim Taylor outlines how cell phone use decreases children’s ability to focus. He indicates, “Attention has been found to be a highly malleable quality and most directly influenced by the environment in which it is used. Children’s immediate environment determines the kind of attention that they develop. In generations past, kids would read more. With reading, children would develop strong attention spans in which there were few distractions. With the advent of television, children were exposed to more visual stimuli. This resulted in the slow process in which their attention became fragmented. Then the internet was invented and children were thrust into a vastly different environment in which, because distraction is the norm, consistent attention is impossible, imagination is unnecessary, and memory is inhibited.”
Technology conditions the brain to pay attention to information very differently than reading. The analogy is much like the difference between scuba diving and jet skiing. Book reading is like scuba diving in which the diver is submerged in a quiet, visually restricted, slow-paced setting with few distractions and, as a result, is required to focus sharply and think deeply on the information in front of them. In contrast, using the internet is like jet skiing, in which the jet skier is skimming along the surface of the water at high speed, exposed to a broad array of stimuli, surrounded by many distractions, and only able to focus fleetingly on any one thing.
The idea that fast-paced stimuli ruins your brain’s ability to focus, and to think for that matter, began to surface several years ago. The psychology department at Virginia University produced a finding that demonstrated how fast-paced cartoons, such as Sponge Bob Square Pants, deteriorates children’s focus, memory, problem-solving, and processing ability. Dr. Dimitri Christakis went on to write, “Connecting fast-paced television viewing to deficits in executive function … has profound impacts for children’s cognitive and social development.” The study found that far from helping the child, the fast-paced stimuli eventually lead to behavior problems and literally stunted the child’s logical faculties.
This brain drain from fast-paced stimuli is now primarily channeled through cell phones. In her book, How To Break Up With Your Phone, Catherine Price articulates the long-term effects of cell phone addiction and how it ruins our attention span (see also here). According to Price, when we read digital content, the cluttered landscape of links, ads, notifications, and the short bursts of attention that are required by scrolling, swiping, and tweeting result in a distracted state in which the person throws out his or her critical thinking ability. She goes on to explain that this type of frequent distraction in the online environment rewires the human brain in a way in which it can’t focus with clarity.
In fact, psychologist Jim Taylor further highlights that studies have shown that reading uninterrupted text, such as a book, results in faster completion and better understanding and learning than those who read online text filled with hyperlinks, ads, videos, and other stimuli. As he states, “reading develops reflection, critical thinking, problem-solving, and vocabulary better than visual media.” (see here).
Even more so, recent scientific studies thoroughly show that cell phone and overuse of technology destroys our attention span. Sadly, the human attention span is now at a paltry 8.25 seconds (this helps explains why people don’t like it when I write an article of 3,000 words). In fact, a growing number of pediatricians believe that the fast-paced stimuli that surrounds the child’s environment likely leads to ADHD.
In short, the increase in fast paced-stimuli through smartphones have made us an attention deficit society. As Taylor indicates, “Frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring their brain in ways very different than in previous generations.”
If we think about this, it becomes stunningly clear. Children 200 years ago were incredibly more mature than they are today. It was common for teenagers back then to be trusted to take on more adult responsibility such as working on the farm and even raising kids. Kids got married earlier precisely because they were more responsible. Today, teenagers and millennials are incredibly immature and can barely take on any basic accountability let alone become parents (see here). Once upon a time, teenagers were a mature, trusted group that could think clearly, but thanks to the “toys” of technology, the teenager has now been altered into an immature, untrusting, self-absorbed person that holds little clarity of thought.
In short, far from helping teens, smartphones have turned them into intellectual zombies. Psychologist Romeo Vitelli writes how smartphone usage makes people more absent-minded and unable to concentrate in their cognitive ability. In fact, in his book, Nicholas Carr articulates that access to smartphones and the internet has made us lazier thinkers. Jim Taylor summed this up in a recent lecture saying that “excessive screen time literally ruins a person’s brain” (see also here). More of these reports are surfacing that technology clouds the logical function of the brain. A study at UCLA highlighted that those who had less use of smartphones and social media had better cognitive ability and more increased blood flow in their brain’s dorsal anterior cortex, prefrontal cortices, and lateral parietal cortices compared to the higher users of social media. A more detailed finding by doctors in Europe show that teenagers brain development has been stunted the last two decades with limited use of their rational center and increase use in their emotional center. The study also outlines an increase in dopamine activity in the logical channel of the brain – the prefrontal/cerebral cortex area. Not only does cell phone use destroy one’s thinking, the addictive nature of phones also fragment and breaks up the natural sleeping patterns that young people desperately need.
The human brain develops through neural connections throughout life. This mapping of the brain starts from the back and ends at the front, when the logical center of the brain, the cerebral cortex, reaches maturity. However, before the cerebral cortex can cultivate, the amygdala, located in the lower center of the brain, is in charge. The amygdala is responsible for immediate “gut” reactions such as fear, anxiety, and all responses that elicit emotion. Therefore, a teenager doesn’t really think correctly because their cerebral cortex has not fully matured. Rather, their mind is guided by their passions and feelings, not their intellect. In other words, they don’t use reason; they use emotion to guide their thinking. Don’t assume that this phenomenon is confined to teens. The more adults reach for the self-gratification toys of the pop culture, the more their logical center of the brain shuts down and they become ruled by their overzealous passions. Here, we begin to see that much like the dark side took advantage of Annakin’s raw passion in order to change him for the worse, the pop culture takes advantage of the youth’s brain immaturity to alter them away from the pure person they were created to be.
What all this research cited in this article suggests is something we can figure out with common sense. That is, the toys of the pop culture (smartphones, social media, video games), that elicits fast-paced stimuli destroys a person’s ability to think and comprehend reality. Once a person’s losses his or her ability to reason, they become easy prey to be manipulated into believing the false ideas of the pop culture. Here, is how it happens. The pop culture uses devices, messages, and experiences that usher in an overflow of dopamine. Dopamine then rewires the reward center of the brain and essentially shuts off the rational area of the brain. From here, a person goes from wanting to pursue thinking and learning to now merely wanting to be entertained. Being rewired, the reward center now does not crave truth as people did in centuries past. Rather, the brain has been wired to merely want to be entertained through immediate gratification. At this point, the pop-culture has shut off your brain from thinking and now can more easily manipulate your thinking through appealing to emotional imagery.
In other words, the pop culture has cleverly wired our brains away from quiet contemplation now towards constant noise in which our rational center has been jettison in exchange for constant entertainment. It is no wonder people are bored at Mass and we hear that tired slogan “I don’t get anything out of Mass.” It is because their brain has been overly compromised by the pop culture.
In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, the “senior demon” Screwtape reveals an interesting plan of the devil. In order to drive us away from God, Satan chooses to distract us with “noise.” He knows that if we are overrun by countless distractions and noise in all directions, that we will lose our focus from God and our true self and usher us into our fake self. In fact, the Church has long been aware of the noise of constant media messaging long before electronic communication reached the frantic pace today. In a Vatican document issued in 1986, the Church cautioned against “a culture of constant acceleration of instantaneous communication.”
With all the modern noise we no longer are able to sit quietly in adoration to hear God. As Scripture suggests, “The words of the wise are heard in silence, more than the cry of a prince among fools” (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
Not only do cell phones make us addicted, unintelligent lifeless zombies, a new study by psychologists show that heavy use of social media causes stress and depression. And yet another research team at the University of Pittsburgh concluded that the more time young adults used social media, the more they experienced depression. In a recent article, Psychologist Caroline Miller explains that the correlation between social media and depression is likely due to the superficial relationships established on social media. She goes on to say, “The less you are connected with human beings in a deep, empathetic way, the less you’re really getting the benefits of social interaction…The more superficial the relationship is, the less likely it’s going to cause you to feel connected.” She goes on to articulate that with a lack of real relationships the person will likely fall into depression. She’s drawing off scientific findings that show as a person’s brain becomes re-wired, they will cease to hold any normal, healthy relationships, and, instead replace them with fake cyber relationships solely based on visual imagery.
The recent movie “Ingrid Goes West” illuminated this depression state. Bishop Barron’s insightful commentary shows how the characters in this movie become obsessed and ultimately near suicidal by social media. Why? Because social media distorts reality and creates an artificial world in which friendships and experiences are staged through pictures. Consequently, this fake world doesn’t satisfy people because they become further detached from real connections and experiences. This, in turn, leaves the person in a desperate, worthless state. Social media isolates us from the deep, meaningful relationships we need in our lives and often scares us from reaching out to talk about real conversations. Instead of our conversations being centered around meaningful topics like life, death, and God, the conversation in our relationships revolve around mundane topics about whatever is trending online.
In short, cell phones, social media, and the dopamine it produces is a poor substitute for God. Just look what it produces. It turns you into an addict. It destroys your attention span, cognitive ability, and prevents you from having real experiences and real relationships. Therefore, the pop culture’s “solutions” only end up exacerbating the human problem. It’s like throwing gasoline on the fire in hope to calm down the fire.
Despite all the negative effects of smartphones for teens and millennials, there is an antidote that will cure their addiction. Turning towards God and away from the pop culture while at first might seem hard, acts as the renewal of the person. If anything, seeing the ugliness of the addiction will likely jump-start the person toward Jesus. After all, a person won’t run to a savior if they first don’t see their problem. But, one practical, simple way I can suggest to undo the damage of the noise from the pop culture is through prayer. In a previous article, we showed scientific evidence of how prayer can alter your brain to a healthy state.
Even though the pop culture has grabbed children and ushered them into the dark side by stripping them of the basic human elements to think and to be happy, there remains hope. As dark as some people get in the pop culture world God can use certain events and experiences as a way to break through. In fact, a recent finding revealed that raising children within a structured religious environment protects their mental health.
In the Star Wars story recall what happened to Darth Vader at the end of Episode VI? He was saved by the persistent love of his son Luke. If, even Darth Vader had a death-bed conversion then there is always hope for anyone that seems sucked into the dark-side.
Over the years I have been noticing how short the segments are on TV, before a commercial break comes on. So I actually sat down with the help of my wife and timed three shows on different channels to see what we would see. It is amazing that the news shows seem to follow the same formula. The initial segment is by far the longest and as they figure your attention span is waning they get shorter and shorter to where the commercial breaks are almost as long as the TV show, which is about 3 to 5 minutes. A regular sitcom follows a slightly different formula, where the times are pretty consistent, with 8 minutes being the longest show segment, and commercials average 3 minutes in length. Over the years I have noticed this trend, but I never took the time to actually measure it. I thought it was just an attempt to increase revenues to cover the ever increasingly expensive shows. But now that appears to be an ever shortening attention span in our country, I am beginning to wonder if has all been intentional? Radio has been with us the longest, but it has been a long time since the family unit has just sat in front of the radio to listen to shows and do nothing else. This trend pretty much ended with the advent of the television. Now people listen to radio as a source of background noise, while they perform some other task. So I don’t think it has had any real affect on our diminishing attention spans. But TV is a totally different matter. By its very nature, you have to pay attention to it because it is visual in nature.
Today that has begun to change as well because of the cell phone and the internet. I actually think video games have helped with our attention spans. because of the amount of time spent on a single subject matter. But it has changed us in what it now takes to gain and maintain our attention. Movies and TV shows have to be much more explosive and even contain increased levels of sexual content. Anybody who enjoys watching action movies can attest to this. Action movies of the past are pretty tame when compared to the present. Special effects and action have replaced plots and conversation.
The Internet Is Probably Ruining Your Life, Marriage
Scientists have begun to examine the ways we absorb and process information now, what with our Internets and social medias affecting the way we read. In short, humans are losing the capacity to understand complex sentences and our attention spans are rapidly shrinking. Hopefully we didn’t already lose you.
The Washington Post reports some scientists have noticed that the way we read on paper and on a screen is changing the way the brain processes information. Reading novels after a long day spent emailing, Facebooking, tweeting and IMing can be difficult, which is a drastic shift away from thousands of years of brain function:
The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading, and it has been documented in academic studies. Some researchers believe that for many people, this style of reading is beginning to invade when dealing with other mediums as well.
Humans now are trained to scan for the most important bits of information and move on, like how we read online. But that’s not how you’re supposed to read Moby Dick, or Middlemarch. Longer sentences require concentration and attention, not a break to check Twitter every 45 seconds. The Internet, and how it has changed our reading habits, is making it difficult for people, particularly young people, to read classic works of literature because our brains are trained to bob and weave from one piece of writing to the next. And 600 pages is just so many pages, you know? Pagination is like, the worst thing to happen to my life, and without a “Read All” option? Melville definitely needed a UX developer.
There is some hope the brain won’t completely shift from one form of reading to another. “We should be simultaneously reading to children from books, giving them print, helping them learn this slower mode, and at the same time steadily increasing their immersion into the technological, digital age,” Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist, told the Post. We need to train our minds to read both on the page and on a screen, and incorporate a healthy diet of both into our daily lives. That means putting down your tablet to read a physical copy of a newspaper, a magazine, or — gasp! — a novel.
If you don’t learn to regulate your digital diet, your relationship could suffer too. Russell Clayton, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri’s school of journalism, performed two studies from which he discovered that social media use, whether on Facebook or Twitter, increased a couple’s chances that their relationship would end in disaster — either a break-up, a divorce, or an affair. The sample size is relatively small, so this should be taken with a healthy grain of salt, but generally you should look up from your screen more often and talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend, in real life. Don’t tweet how much you love them, or they’ll leave you.
Educational Dangers of Shrinking Attention Spans
Have you noticed you stop reading articles before coming to the end? Or that professional development books have fewer pages? Has attention span been affected by Email and Twitter? Many notice these changes in their own behavior and the behavior of the learners in their classrooms. This attention reduction changes the way information is obtained and will ultimately affect the manner in which teaching and learning takes place.
We have already heard about the addictive effects of our smartphones. Recently 60 Minutes reran Anderson Cooper’s segment entitled, “Hooked on Your Phone? The report revealed how easily we are distracted by a sound coming from our smartphones and the difficulty most have ignoring it. How often have you allowed your attention to wander during a meeting or at a conference and a check of the phone has become the norm? We use the word “allowed” because we do, after all, have an ability to control our attention. Partial attention is devoted to most things. Students who listen while texting split their attention between where they are physically and where their minds. The latest adaptation of short attention span teaching is found in the videos that now appear on Facebook and Twitter. One thought, one idea, one instruction…no reading necessary.
The ability of the adults to remain ‘present’ both in their role as learners and their role in their relationship with those learners in their classrooms is challenged. The shrinking attention span of the students is influenced by the manner in which information is shared in the world outside of school. With buzzing in pockets and peer pressure to be constantly connected and available, the distraction from the moment is increasing. The beep, even if it isn’t yours, is like a magnet drawing you in to the world calling from the smartphone. Student engagement has long been of concern to educators. It is increasingly at risk.
We do not mean to disparage the competition the digital environment is presenting. Nor do we suggest succumbing to the shrinking attention span by yielding to shorter time on task for learners. But, it is a moment to pause and consider how to proceed with how teaching and learning in this context. We can both recognize the power of the digital distraction and the value of personal, self fueled, dogged attention to a task.
It begins with adults analyzing one’s own attention span, how it is changing and whether the same is happening in the students. A tension needs to be held between the shrinking capacity to focus and the need to strengthen an attention ‘muscle’. We don’t want focus lost if lessons are shortened and time on task decreased in the name of ‘responding to the students’ needs’. On the other hand, refusing to recognize this distractibility leaves us in a lose-lose situation. What is at risk is focus and time on task, both key elements of student engagement. Regardless of the interest and attention students bring to the door, it remains the responsibility of educators to capture and hold their attention. How can lessons develop over time to grab students and motivate them to learn? What are the considerations teachers and the leaders who supervise them making with regard to developing longer attention abilities of their students? How, if one’s own attention span is at risk, can the educators in charge of lesson planning and school activities themselves work to capture and maintain the attention of the students in their charge?
Now is a very good time to take a system wide look at what students are being asked to do as learners. Ask how and where their variety of strengths and interests, distractions, and limits interfere with learning. Ask what can we do to counter the societal influence that has even impacted how we do business in our personal lives and as professionals. It is an important facet of how schools think about teaching and learning. If we don’t begin to address it now, what will be the length of time anyone can attend to a task? Hopefully, schools will intervene so that the surgeons of the future don’t need replacements in a surgery after a few minutes or pilots shorter flights. And, we don’t want educators to shorten classes to 15 minutes because of their own inability to stay focused for longer than that. Watch yourself this week. What is the longest time you stay focused on a single input. What does that say about the faculty and the students?
Attention Spans and Technology
We seem to know a great deal about attention spans, those constituents of character that have become the digital-age equivalent of souls.
Everyone has an attention span. It can be short or long. Long is good. Good scholars, good citizens and good children have long attention spans. Attention spans used to be robust; now they are stunted. Technology — MTV, the Internet, the iPhone — shriveled them. Nicholas Carr, who argued in “The Shallows” that Web use practically causes brain damage, told PBS that technology is “pushing even more distractions and interruptions on us” and thus will never “return to us our attention span.”
At the same time, there is a pro-technology view of attention spans — rarer, but no less confident. Science writers like Jonah Lehrer have pointed to studies that seem to demonstrate perfectly respectable attention spans in gamers and Web users.
And so polemicists of various stripes continue to calibrate the effect of technology on attention spans. But I’m surprised that anyone ventures so far into this thicket of sophistry. I get stuck much earlier in the equation. Everyone has an attention span: really? And really again: an attention span is a freestanding entity like a boxer’s reach, existing independently of any newspaper or chess game that might engage or repel it, and which might be measured by the psychologist’s equivalent of a tailor’s tape?
Maybe my own brain is faltering in a Web wasteland, but I don’t get it. Whether the Web is making us smarter or dumber, isn’t there something just unconvincing about the idea that an occult “span” in the brain makes certain cultural objects more compelling than others? So a kid loves the drums but can hardly get through a chapter of “The Sun Also Rises”; and another aces algebra tests but can’t even understand how Call of Duty is played. The actions of these children may dismay or please adults, but anyone who has ever been bored by one practice and absorbed by another can explain the kids’ choices more persuasively than does the dominant model, which ignores the content of activities in favor of a wonky span thought vaguely to be in the brain.
So how did we find ourselves with this unhappy attention-span conceit, and with the companion idea that a big attention span is humankind’s best moral and aesthetic asset? In other eras, distractibility wasn’t considered shameful. It was regularly praised, in fact — as autonomy, exuberance and versatility. To be brooding, morbid, obsessive or easily mesmerized was thought much worse than being distractible. In “Moby-Dick,” Starbuck tries to distract Ahab from his monomania with evocations of family life in Nantucket. Under the spell of “a cruel, remorseless emperor” — his own single-mindedness — Ahab stays his fatal course. Ahab’s doom comes from his undistractibility.
In 19th-century American literature, the resting state from which characters seek distraction is sorrow or fury. No wonder distraction seems kind. In “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Tom, the prototypical hyperactive rascal who plays with a beetle rather than sit still in church, resists sadness “not because his troubles were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man’s are to a man, but because a new and powerful interest bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the time — just as men’s misfortunes are forgotten in the excitement of new enterprises.”
In the 1920s, a decade before T. S. Eliot recognized being “distracted from distraction by distraction” as part of the modernist plight, Bertolt Brecht made the case for a “smokers’ theater,” which encouraged the audience to light up cigars during plays. Condemning his fellow Germans for being “uncommonly good at putting up with boredom,” he hoped that by smoking during a play — or pacing, talking, walking out — they could also cultivate individuality and ideally an immunity to tyranny. A healthy fidgetiness would keep them from sitting silently, sheepish and spellbound.
And speaking of sitting silently without fidgeting: that’s essentially what we want of children with bum attention spans, isn’t it? The first sign that a distractible child is doing “better” — with age or Adderall, say — is that he sits still. This is why the A.D.H.D. diagnosis, which popularized the idea of an “attention span” that can be pathologically short, grew out of the old “hyperactive” diagnosis. The hyperactive child squirmed at church and at the dinner table, embarrassing his mother.
At some point, we stopped calling Tom Sawyer-style distractibility either animal spirits or a discipline problem. We started to call it sick, even after an early twin study showed that a relatively short attention span is virtually synonymous with standard-issue irritability and distemper. But the fact that the attention-span theory makes news of what was once considered ordinary or artistic behavior is not what’s wrong with it. These cultural transitions — disruptive as they are — happen all the time as society’s demands on individuals change.
Instead, the problem with the attention-span discourse is that it’s founded on the phantom idea of an attention span. A healthy “attention span” becomes just another ineffable quality to remember having, to believe you’ve lost, to worry about your kids lacking, to blame the culture for destroying. Who needs it?
The ability to pay attention to important things—and ignore the rest—has been a crucial survival skill throughout human history. Attention can help us focus our awareness on a particular aspect of our environment, important decisions, or the thoughts in our head. Maintaining focus is a perennial challenge for individuals of all ages, and people have long sought out strategies, tricks, and medications to help them stay on track.
Why Attention Matters
Attention helps us learn in school, get ahead in the workplace, and build successful relationships, but when it’s compromised, achievement of any kind becomes far more challenging. Some individuals may seem naturally to have more control over their focus, but most people’s ability to pay attention varies depending on the situation, the number of distractions they face, and whether they are employing the aid of stimulants like caffeine or Ritalin. And others—particularly those with ADHD or other mental health concerns—may struggle to pay attention even when it matters most.
Do some people have shorter attention spans?
The ability to focus on a particular task for an extended period of time can vary widely among individuals. Evolutionary psychologists speculate that individuals with long and short attention spans both had value in early human societies. The latter, for example, might have been novelty-seekers, more adventurous and quicker to migrate than others.
Is it possible to multitask?
Many people attempt to perform two or more tasks at once—driving while texting, for example, or reading while listening to a podcast—but a growing body of research finds that attempting to split our focus actually leads to lower efficiency on both tasks, greater stress and distractibility, and even reductions in the brain’s grey matter.
How to Focus
People can be distracted both by internal forces, like wandering thoughts, and external cues, like the inviting ping of a text message. When the mind seeks, or is hijacked by, distraction, it can feel almost impossible to force ourselves to refocus or attention on the task at hand, especially if it’s boring or challenging.
Some researchers who study attention view it as sort of muscle that can be strengthened with practice, and have hypothesized that certain strategies or techniques may be especially effective at building capacity over the long-term. One strategy that’s gained ground in recent years is mindfulness, which cultivates the brain’s ability to direct attention to specific cues.
Will meditation improve my focus?
Mindfulness training can help people stay calmer and more focused when their mind wanders. With greater mindfulness, many individuals find it easier to accept and sit with negative thoughts, develop greater personal awareness, and sustain attention. There is mixed evidence, however, on whether meditation is any more effective at heightening focus than other mindfulness techniques.
How can we help children focus?
It’s tempting to surround children, especially young children, with an array of toys, crafts, and games. But research suggests that when children are presented with an abundance of play options, they get quickly distracted and the quality of their engagement suffers. When they have only a few toys to choose from, they play with more focus and creativity.
When the Mind Wanders
People seen as daydreamers are often dismissed as inefficient or infantile. The truth may be far different. Psychologist Jerome Singer proposed that “happy daydreamers” drew on self-generated images, fantasies, and interior monologues to plot their futures, amuse themselves, and generate creative solutions for their challenges. Today, living in an environment full of distraction, some experts suggest that we should consider spending more time lingering in our daydreams. Rather than representing a lapse in attention, occasional mind-wandering could help us remember more effectively, solve problems more creatively, and maintain greater mental health.
What are the benefits of daydreaming?
In studies, people who tracked their episodes of daydreaming reported feeling refreshed and more effective after they snapped back to attention. Unfocusing and refocusing, some experts believe, may be a secret to solving personal and professional challenges, as when we walk away from a vexing problem only to have the solution pop into our head quickly when we return to it.
Are there benefits to distraction?
Distractions, when properly managed, can be highly beneficial, if they pull us away from negative thoughts or unhealthy activities. Video games, for example, can draw our attention away from overeating or alcohol and drug use, and music can help us stick with a strenuous workout. But while distraction can be a useful short-term aid in suppressing negative emotions, it can backfire as a long-term solution.
So how do we fix this? turn off the TV and put down the phone and pick up a book, preferably one without photos and read it. Actually read it from cover to cover. Better yet join a book club where you meet once a week or month and discuss the chosen book. It is a simple fix, but it will take time to rewire your brain. The good thing is that you can do both. I do, I love the internet and TV and movies, but I love to read even more. If you do this you will thank me. You will find that a whole new world will open up to you. Your knowledge level will increase and you may actually gain a mind of your own.
Is the production of Soy Products a sinister plot to destroy masculinity in America?
Does Soy Lower Testosterone?: The Myths and Reality
Soy protein is one of the most abundantly eaten food sources around the world. Many have suggested that due to phytoestrogen content, this food may decrease testosterone- this has led to many discussions about the benefits and dangers of soy in the diet.
But does soy lower testosterone?
In this article we weigh up the evidence, myths and realities about the effects of it on testosterone levels, and answer the bigger questions regarding this food, and if it really can damage your T-levels. We cover:
- What is soy?
- Does it decrease testosterone?
- What are the benefits of soy?
- Can you be allergic to it?
- Final word and conclusion
What is soy?
Soybeans are legumes that originated from East Asia and are now used worldwide in a variety of products.
They can be eaten whole – although they must be cooked first as they are poisonous when raw due to trypsin inhibitors. Edamame beans for example are young, green soybeans. A number of products this food as an ingredient- tofu, soy milk, soups and meat substitutes are all examples.
We don’t just find soy from the food source itself – it is found in all sorts of foods as an additional ingredient – soybean oil, soy lecithin, textured vegetable protein (TVP) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) to name just a few.
This means that you could find it in any number of products including Asian cuisine, vegetable gum, cereals and cookies. The bodybuilding fraternity might even find it in the more regularly used protein bars, canned tuna and low-fat peanut butter.
Why is it used so much?
8.52 million metric tons of soybean oil were consumed in 2012, and with an increase in GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, it is cheap additionally ingredient. In fact in the US 90% of the amount produced goes into GMOs.
Key point: Soy can be found in all sorts of foods- oils, lecithin, textured vegetable protein and hydrolyzed vegetable protein to name just a few.
Does soy decrease testosterone?
The initial link between this food and its effects on T levels comes from the fact that the bean contains active compounds called isoflavones- these are plant derived phytoestrogens, many of which mimic female hormones such as estrogen and estradiol.
It is reported that once isoflavones are metabolized, the gut produces equol- this non-steroidal estrogen has previously been reported to inhibit prostate growth, as well as reduce dihydrotestosterone (DHT) activity – an important androgen and form of testosterone.
There are a number of studies that suggest that soy does indeed have an estrogenic effect on the body, which in turn decreases T levels-
#Study 1: Dillingham et al
In this study 35 men consumed a range of protein isolate drinks (including low and high content soy isolates) over a 57 day period. The results reported both decrease in testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and an increase in estradiol in both the low and high doe groups.
The study concluded that this food, regardless of isoflavone content, decreased testosterone and DHT with minor effects on other hormones, providing evidence for some effects of soy protein on hormones.
#Study 2: Chavarro et al
This study investigated the potential association between soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters while adjusting for personal characteristics. The study was conducted using 99 infertile males.
The results found an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration with those eating the most soy having the lowest count.
#Study 3: Siepman et al
This case study reported a 19 year old diabetic man with sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet. His T and DHT levels were both reduced.
It is worth mentioning though that this case study had an existing metabolic disease, and relied on large amounts of this food to satisfy his protein needs- 9-10 times the norm for an extended period of time.
All symptoms normalized after a 1 year period of reduced his intake of it and once the vegan diet had ceased.
So it does decrease T levels?
It might not be as clear cut as that- there’s also evidence to suggest that it doesn’t reduce T levels at all:
The first defense of this is context- many of the studies mentioned previously used large amounts of soy– far more than what the ‘typical’ person would eat.
Secondly, a large review paper by Messina clinically evaluated concerns that isoflavone exposure from this food or supplements had ‘feminizing’ effects on men. To do this the study used research from 9 human and animal studies.
The paper concluded that there is essentially no evidence from the nine identified clinical studies that isoflavone exposure affects circulating estrogen levels in men.
Additionally, a meta-analysis (one of the most robust scientific research methods) also suggested that neither soy foods nor isoflavone supplements alter measures of bioavailable T concentrations in men.
This was an analysis of 15 control groups, 32 reports and 36 treatment groups, so again the research covers a broad range of independent studies.
So it seems that the risks are not as clear as first thought- and if these large clinical studies are to go by, there is no risk at all.
There are also a number of benefits that this food might provide too…
Key Point: The evidence is far from conclusive – In very large amounts soy has been seen to lower testosterone, however in larger clinical studies soy doesn’t decrease testosterone or increase estrogen. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, it may not be that bad.
What are the benefits?
Now that we’ve seen that soy is not the demon it’s made out to be, we can start to look at the potential benefits of including it in your diet.
- It has a high protein content – one cup of cooked soybeans will give you around 22g of protein- about the same as a tuna fillet.
- May reduce your risk of coronary heart disease – studies have found that ingestion of vegetable proteins in place of animal protein appears to be associated with a lower risk of heart-related illnesses.
- It could be anti-carcinogenic – Some research suggests that consumption of soy foods is associated with a reduction in prostate cancer risk in men. However this protection may be associated with the type and quantity of soy foods consumed- so obviously its important to ensure your soy sources are healthy.
Can you be allergic to it?
It’s very unlikely.
Around 0.4% of children have a soybean allergy, although evidence would suggest that most outgrown it by the age of 10. Typically any allergic reactions are mild, although in very rare cases more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis may occur.
Does Soy Lower Testosterone?
Soy is an amazing source of plant-based protein. Enriched with essential amino acids, people mostly use soy for fitness purposes throughout the world. It is easy to find soy in various forms around you, such as in protein-rich smoothies and post-workout bars.
According to the FDA’s guidelines, you should consume some amount of soy in any form for potential health benefits of your heart and cardiovascular system.
Some people consider soy as a testosterone killer and an estrogen booster. So today, we are going to discuss whether soy lowers the level of testosterone in the body or not.
Different Types of Soy
There are different types of soy that we can consume, processed or otherwise. Here are some of the most popular forms of soy:
Whole Soy Products
Whole soy products include edamame and soybeans and are the least processed form of soy protein. These are green and immature soybeans. Tofu and soymilk come from whole soybeans (Source). However, in Asian cuisines, edamame is among the population’s favorite high-protein foods.
Producers extract soy milk through a process that includes soaking whole soybeans and grinding them. After that, they boil them and filter out all the solids. People who avoid dairy products or suffer from lactose intolerance commonly use this as a milk alternative.
You can make tofu by clotting soy milk and then pressing the curds in the form of blocks. Tofu is a common source of protein for vegetarian diets as it is a plant based-based protein.
The traditional methods help process fermented soy and contain natto, miso, tempeh, and soy sauce (Source). Soy sauce is in liquid form made up of:
- Roasted grains
- A type of mold
- Fermented soy
Tempeh has its origins in Indonesia and is a fermented soy cake. It is not as popular as tofu. People usually use this as a source of protein in their vegetarian diet.
Miso is a paste that originated from Japan traditionally and includes:
- A type of fungus
Soy-based Processed Foods
Soy is an ingredient in various processed foods, such as:
- Different types of cheese
- Vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes
You can find soy flour, soybean oil, and texturized vegetable protein, many packed foods.
This isolated soy protein is the result of grinding soybeans in flakes and then extracting the oil. Then, producers blend these flakes with alkaline water or alcohol.
They heat the resulting solution and spray the residue into powder (Source). These isolates of soy protein are one of the ingredients in various protein powders as well as processed foods, for example, shakes and protein bars.
Other soy-based supplements are soy isoflavones, available as capsules, and soy lecithin, which comes as both powder and capsules.
Why Eat Soy?
Soy is a source of affordable, high-quality protein and many other nutrients that are useful for the body. You can eat these beans directly or turn them into imitation meat, tempeh, tofu or even milk.
Adding these beans with the meat and cooking can add additional flavor and protein. Furthermore, these are also available in protein powders. When people try to quit eating soy, they quickly experience withdrawal effects throughout their bodies.
Manufacturers often use it in whey protein powder as soy lecithin. This fatty substance present in the oil works as an emulsifier and is good for improving mixability in the product. Moreover, soybean oil is also important to fry food, baked goods, and candy bars. It is a common ingredient in soap. Soy is hard to avoid.
Here are some benefits of soy that you should know:
♦ When you eat soy, you increase the plant protein in your body. Adding more plant protein in the diet is beneficial for your cardiovascular system. For instance, it helps in lowering your blood pressure.
♦ Foods processed with soy are naturally low in saturated fat and are cholesterol-free. Foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat increase your risk of creating cardiovascular diseases.
♦ You can consume soy in order to reduce your risk of various diseases and help to cut saturated fats.
♦ You can boost your intake of fiber by consuming soy-based foods. Fiber helps in promoting a healthy gastrointestinal system, reducing the risk of creating cardiovascular disease in the body, and lowering cholesterol levels. You can add black soybeans, green soybeans, soy nuts, tempeh, and soy flour in your diet as these are fiber-rich foods and helps in boosting your daily dietary fiber.
♦ Soy foods are one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fat. They offer a number of benefits in terms of heart health, thanks to polyunsaturated fats, for example lowering the levels of cholesterol. You can benefit from choosing these processed foods to build these heart-friendly fats.
♦ Other than polyunsaturated fats, soy foods also contain omega-3 fats. These fats help in lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
♦ Soy foods are also essential for various minerals and vitamins. These nutrients include zinc, iron, antioxidants, B-vitamins. Furthermore, many soy foods also contain calcium, B 12, and vitamin D that help vegetarians in completing their nutritional needs.
♦ Soy is also a great source of phytochemicals. The phytochemicals present in soy are These phytochemicals are essential in preventing certain cancers and bone loss. For further information regarding the role of soy for cancer treatment, you can contact the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.
The Soy and Testosterone Relationship
Some studies are fueling the frenzy on this topic. However, most of these studies are the result of a small number of tests and do not contain crucial data. We can clearly say that these tests are flawed, and our understanding can’t depend on these studies.
In a small study that includes young and healthy males, it was found that by taking two pure soy protein powder scoops, testosterone levels decreased by 19 percent. If they skip protein powder, their levels increase within two weeks. But still, this is a study based on a small group of people, so we cannot depend on this study.
Soy protein contains an abundant amount of phytoestrogen isoflavonoids, which changes into estrogenic substance. These substances have properties of potential hormones.
According to a study on fertility and sterility, 15 placebo treatment, and 32 reports by the researchers suggested that soy protein does not affect the level of testosterone in men.
Is Soy Bad for Men: The Truth About Soy Products and Testosterone
Soy food products are rumored to wreak havoc on men’s hormone levels, and in extreme cases, cause hot flashes and the dreaded man breasts.
Well, we have the science-backed evidence that gives the true answer on whether the effects of soy consumption are good or bad for men’s health.
In this article, we detail what soy is, explain the effects of this protein-packed legume on testosterone, and finally break down the one ingredient that started this false rumor in the first place.
Key Takeaways: Does Soy Affect Men?
- Soy does not turn men into women, cause infertility, prostate cancer, man-boobs, or affect reproductive hormones.
- Similar to whey protein, soy may increase energy and improve recovery time during resistance exercise training and other athletic workouts.
- Isoflavone is a phytoestrogen compound found in soybeans with estrogen-like effects, but these effects are much weaker than estrogen found naturally in the body.
- Isolated soy protein supplements like pills and powders are not as healthy as soy foods and should not be taken for an extended period.
- A balanced diet containing soy may lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar and blood pressure, protect your heart from disease, and may prevent some men from developing prostate cancer.
Does Soy Affect Testosterone in Men?
Soy does not negatively affect testosterone in men. There are numerous scientific studies proving that neither soy foods nor soy protein affect hormones in men in any way.
In fact, most studies show that soy consumed in moderation has beneficial effects on men’s health as well as women and children, proving there’s no reason for most people to avoid soy.
The few clinical studies that show soy having a negative effect on hormones were performed on animals, mainly mice and rats.
But there was one study conducted on humans that resulted in hormonal disturbances. However, the subjects involved consumed an extraordinarily high and unrealistic amount of soy on a nutrient-deficient diet—about nine times the amount consumed by most older men.
There are foods that kill testosterone and likewise, foods that increase testosterone, but soybeans and soy food products are not one of them. Soy does not have a hidden dark side and is not a dangerous food for men.
How Much Is Too Much Soy?
The Food and Drug Administration recommends eating 25 grams of soy a day for a balanced diet, equal to 2-4 servings per day. Too much of anything, even if it’s healthy, could have adverse side effects and lead to health problems.
That being said, it’s very difficult to overeat soy. Men in Asian countries, especially Japanese men, consume the most soybeans globally, and some eat anywhere between 60-120 grams of soy per day without any adverse side effects.
It would be best if you watched out for highly processed foods containing soy, such as soy protein bars, soy powders, and soy meat substitutes. These tend to have more unnecessary ingredients like sugar and salt, and if consumed in large amounts can lead to negative health effects like cardiovascular disease.
Soy and Estrogen: How Does It Affect Men?
Soybeans contain a high concentration of a compound called isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen also known as phytoestrogen. This compound can bind to estrogen receptors and mimic estrogen properties found in the human body. However, the impact of isoflavone is much weaker and does not affect estrogen levels.
Fortunately, the effects of plant estrogens on men’s health are very positive. Isoflavones are antioxidant compounds that may prevent some types of cell damage. Incorporating a diet with soy isoflavones may reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
The binding effect of isoflavone that mimics estrogen may help improve bone density, improve memory impairment, and reduce hot flashes in older women. This same effect may also block the overproduction of estrogen, lowering your risk of certain cancers, but scientists must perform further research in this area.
Can soy reduce the occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women?
Will Soy Increase Estrogen Levels in Men?
Absolutely not! Testing has shown that eating soy protein and foods containing soy isoflavones does not increase estrogen levels or decrease testosterone levels in men. But there are other ways that men can increase testosterone naturally without worrying about increasing estrogen.
Where Did the Soy Estrogen Myth Start?
The soy myth has been around since the 1950s when animal studies on soy first began but has subsequently been debunked multiple times since.
Soy was initially shown to negatively affect male rats and mice, including lowering testosterone, decreasing sperm count, and affecting litter size. A later study tested the effects of soy on 20 men for 83 days, and two of those men reported female-like changes in their bodies once the experiment concluded.
But before you toss out your tofu, let’s take a deeper look into these studies.
First of all, rats and mice are not humans and therefore process food differently. Furthermore, the rats and mice involved in these studies consumed a diet primarily consisting of only soy in extremely high amounts. It would be very difficult for humans to consume the same amount of soy in relation to what scientists provided for the animals in these experiments.
But that didn’t stop some from jumping to the conclusion that if soy intake has a negative impact on lab rats, they surely have similar effects on humans.
As for the one study that found two men having feminizing of the chest? Again, dosing is an important factor here. Administrators gave these men 18-36 servings of soy each day and in supplement form, not food.
The soy intake by using isoflavone supplements would be abnormally high for anyone. Other human studies have concluded that soy foods are safe to eat and beneficial to any healthy diet.
Why You Should Eat Moderate Amount of Soy
If you have abnormal hormone levels, you should check the amount of soy you are consuming. As estradiol converts in body fats from testosterone, we can say that men with higher body fat percentage have higher levels of estradiol.
If your body has high levels of estrogen, you should consume moderate amounts of soy. This will decrease the overall levels of estrogen. Excessive soy consumption will increase your estrogen levels.
How Much Soy You Can Eat
It is obvious that you cannot get all the protein from soy only. You need to add a variety of foods in your diet for balanced nutrients. Here is a list of soy foods that you can include in your daily diet. However, you need to add other protein sources also.
24 grams of soy protein
- 3 ounces of tempeh
- 1 cup of soymilk
26 grams of soy protein
- 1/4 block of extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 cup of shelled edamame
- 1 cup of sweetened soy yogurt
58 grams of soy protein
- 1 soy protein bar
- 1 scoop of soy protein powder
According to experts, if you’re consuming soy-rich food throughout the day, you are consuming too much of it, which is harmful. You need to keep yourself in the range and depend on two to three servings.
You should also take into consideration that many processed foods that we consume contain soy, and we don’t even know.
Most men eat edamame, which is nutrient-rich and high in fiber. Some consume whole soy as it is concentrated. Foods like salad dressings, bread, cereals, etc. contain whole soy.
Consuming excessive amounts of soy will only put excessive stress on your body. Moderate quantity is sufficient for the body. You should also consume a variety of other protein sources.
Final word – Does soy lower testosterone?
If you are consuming a regular soy diet, you do not have to worry. You can get plant protein with other beans, also such as nuts, quinoa, lentils, and seeds, to preserve your active lifestyle. We do not have any proper data concluding that soy affects muscle growth negatively and lowers the levels of testosterone in men.
A clinical trial found that 22 grams of soy protein supplements did not alter the testosterone level. Researchers performed the study on young men who worked out and continued the study for three months (Source).
If you are consuming a normal amount of soy and are still concerned about low levels of testosterone, your diet is not the issue. You should consult your doctor or try consuming natural testosterone boosters.
While some independent studies have claimed strong links between soy consumption and reduced testosterone, larger clinical analyses have found no link at all.
Data at present suggests that neither soy foods, nor isoflavone supplements alter measures of bio-available T concentrations in men, and that due to the many health-related benefits that come with soy, mean should not be afraid to include it in their diet.
What is important however, is that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, clever choices regarding food choices need to be made.
So far my research has shown that Soy is actually beneficial if taken in moderation and does apparently have an adverse effect on testosterone levels. But if you take more than the recommended doses will it have an effect on your T levels?
How Much Soy Can You Really Eat Before It Affects Your Testosterone?
The soy and testosterone relationship
Studies suggesting that soy affects testosterone have fueled the frenzy around this topic, however, many of these studies are flawed — from lacking control groups to focusing on a small number of test subjects to neglecting to collect crucial data.
According to Jason Kovac, MD, PhD, of the Men’s Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, “Soy proteins contain significant amounts of the phytoestrogen isoflavonoids that change to estrogenic substances with potential hormonal properties.” But eating plant estrogens doesn’t mean you’re going to grow man boobs.
Kovac highlights the 2010 meta-analysis published in Fertility and Sterilityas the best literature to consider, where researchers reviewed 15 placebo-controlled treatments and 32 reports. The results suggested that soy protein and isoflavones do not affect testosterone levels in men — regardless of age.
Soy may not affect everyone in the same way
Kovac asks his patients with abnormal hormone levels about how much soy they eat to make sure they’re not eating excessive amounts, but not for the reason you might think. “Since estradiol is converted from testosterone in body fat,” Kovac says, “there is an explanation for higher levels of estradiol in men with higher body fat. If you are prone to high estrogen levels, eating a moderate amount of soy should decrease your overall estrogen levels, while too much can increase it.”
The amount of soy per day that has been studied
We only know as much as what researchers studied and for how long. The amount of soy scrutinized in the Fertility and Sterility meta-analysis, up to 71 grams soy protein and 20 to 900 milligrams isoflavones per day for 10 weeks,was much higher than what the average Japanese adults eats, which averages 6 to 11 grams of soy protein and 25 to 50 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day.
The studies each used a specific type of soy, such as soymilk, tofu, soy grits, isolated soy protein (up to 56 grams), supplemental isoflavones, or a mix of traditional and processed soy.
How much soy you can eat
Since a varied diet is usually better for getting a balanced range of nutrients, not all of your protein should come from soy. Here are a few soy scenarios that fall within the ranges studied that could be included daily with other protein sources.
24 grams soy protein
- 1 cup soymilk
- 3 ounces tempeh
26 grams soy protein
- 1 cup sweetened soy yogurt
- 1/4 block extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame
58 grams soy protein
- 1 scoop soy protein powder
- 1 soy protein bar
You can see that two to three servings per day keeps you within the range of soy studied. But if you’re downing soy 24/7, including highly processed foods that often contain hidden soy, you may be getting too much, according to some experts.
“Guys occasionally chomping on edamame can have at it, since it’s high in fiber and nutrient-rich,” says Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN, author of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies and a nutritionist who coaches military men. While Peterson is a fan of whole soy, she is leery of isolated soy protein since it is so concentrated. “If I’m finding processed soy in a lot of their staple foods like cereals, breads, and salad dressings, I take note.”
Peterson refers to one small study without a control group that included young healthy males. The study found that two scoops of pure soy protein powder (56 grams) decreased blood testosterone levels by 19 percent after four weeks. T levels increased within two weeks of skipping the protein powder.
Peterson questions whether men under extreme stress are represented in soy studies. “There’s no reason to add more stress to an already stressful situation,” she says, but for guys that have low testosterone, “Adding the stress of whether or not soy is increasing testosterone is not worth it.” In cases of duress and low testosterone, she steers guys towards other proteins, while allowing for some whole soy.
The bottom line on soy and testosterone
“Men shouldn’t worry about consuming a regular diet of soy,” advises Kovac. Just get plant proteins from a variety of beans (including soybeans), lentils, quinoa, nuts, and seeds — even if you keep an active lifestyle.
“There is no data showing that soy negatively effects muscle growth in men,” says Marie Spano, MS, RD, a board-certified sports dietitian for the Atlanta Falcons. Spano refers to a recent clinical trial that found 22 grams per day of a soy-dairy protein supplement for three months did not alter testosterone in young men doing resistance training. Muscle strength and thickness increased similarly to the whey protein and placebo groups.
All that said, if you’re still worried about low testosterone, the cause may not be your diet. See a urologist or endocrinologist who specializes in men’s health and get your levels tested.
When I write my articles I try to look at both sides of the argument. So far it appears that soy is not so bad. But I would be remise if I did not continue on with my research.
4 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Soy Products
You should avoid soy products for your own good. Soy has been on the receiving end of much negative publicity recently, despite pushes to replace meat with plant-based alternatives. But we will give you 4 reasons why you should avoid soy products, starting with a recently popularized study concerning long-term soy consumption and altering monkeys’ social structures.
Trying to avoid soy products is very hard to do under current conditions. To be frank, soy is almost everything prepackaged in one way or another.
If you are decidedly against consuming soy products, you will have to be committed to a diet of almost exclusively whole foods prepared at home over eating out.
The dangers of other foods such as ultra-processed food, vegetable oils, and other phytoestrogens have been long documented.
The reality is that we are facing a monumental health crisis; obesity is out of control in conjunction with insulin resistance; testosterone levels and fertility in men is downward spiraling; pro-inflammatory foods are ubiquitous in almost every area of modern life.
But for this article, we shall focus on the dangers of soy — and why you should avoid soy products.
Reason #1 To Avoid Soy Products: It is a Phytoestrogen and Can Lower Testosterone Levels
What Are Phytoestrogens
Quite simply, phytoestrogens are chemicals that are produced by plants and mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body, in exactly the same manner as xenoestrogens, which are artificial chemicals produced through industrial processes.
Because of their estrogenic properties, plants and herbs containing phytoestrogens have been used to treat women’s problems, especially the menopause, which results from a drastic decline in estrogen production in an older woman’s body.
Take hops, for instance. Hops are a traditional remedy for many of the symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness. In fact, the phytoestrogens in hops are so powerful that there are many anecdotal reports of female hop-pickers experiencing menstrual disturbances simply on account of touching the plant.
Like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, this gentleman soon changed gender after touching these hops
If that’s the case, you can well imagine the effects phytoestrogens might have on the hormonal balance of men. At least studies two – here and here – have shown that consumption of hopped beers lowers men’s testosterone.
One phytoestrogen in hops, 8-prenylnaringenin, has been shown to have an estrogenic activity ‘greater than other established plant estrogens,’ through tests on cells from rat uteruses. [R] The study of 8-prenylnaringenin states that although this phytoestrogen can be detected in beer, ‘the levels are low and should not be any cause for concern.’
However, more recent research has shown that levels of this chemical can be massively amplified within the body by the body’s own gut flora. Another phytoestrogen in hops, isoxanthohumol, can be converted into 8-prenylnaringenin at up to a 90% rate, as one study showed. [R] This may be one reason why 8-prenylnaringenin can be detected in the urine of beer drinkers for days afterwards: because the body’s gut flora is still continuing to produce it. [R]
More detailed research needs to be done on the hormonal effects of long-term consumption of hopped alcoholic drinks, but the already-existing evidence, including what we know about the estrogenic effects of hops per se, is clear enough that you should give hopped beer a wide berth if you can. It’s worth noting, though, that excessive alcohol consumption in any form has been linked to lower testosterone levels too. At least two studies have shown testosterone decreases in men as a result of alcohol consumption per se [R][R].
Soy and Testosterone
Although soy is a potent phytoestrogen — something we have written about in the past — it has other deleterious effects besides lowering your testosterone. Drinking a diet of liquid soy will damage your facial physiognomy, and large-scale soy cultivation, despite what the activists for vegetarianism and veganism say, is also massively damaging to the environment.
As noted in our article on 5 Foods That Lower Testosterone:
Scientific research has shown that regular consumption of soy products like edamame, tofu, soy milk and miso may also lower testosterone levels.
For example, one study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in lower testosterone levels [R].
As well as lowering testosterone levels, soy consumption has also been found to reduce male fertility [R].
Be in no doubt: soy is bad for your testosterone levels and fertility if you’re a man.
But hang on: what’s so important about testosterone?
Testosterone is the hormone most associated with masculinity, and although it’s also important to women’s bodies and their health, the increased levels of testosterone in the male body are responsible for the host of traits that make men men, rather than women.
Body hair, muscle mass, bone density, strength, aggression, dominance and competitiveness – increases in all of these things are associated with increased testosterone in men.
Falling testosterone levels are a fact of life for all men as they age. After the age of 30, a man can expect to lose 1% of his testosterone every year for the rest of his life.
But the natural reduction all men can expect to suffer pales in comparison with the society-wide collapse in testosterone levels that has occurred over the second half of the twentieth and the first quarter of the twenty-first century.
Men today have considerably less testosterone than men of the same age even a single generation ago.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed a significant reduction in the testosterone levels of men since the 1980s. A 60-year-old American man in 2004, for example, had 17% less testosterone than a 60-year-old American man in 1987.
These findings were corroborated in a study of Danish men, who displayed a two-digit decline between the 1920s and the 1960s.
Reason #2 To Avoid Soy Products: It Wreaks Social Havoc in Monkeys, Turning Them More Aggressive, Anti-Social, and Submissive
A study in the journal Hormones and Behaviour from 2004 claims that long-term soy consumption can make monkeys more aggressive and isolated from their fellow primates.
The authors note the important role of aromatization of male hormones on aggressive behaviour and the mediating role of estrogen in this process.
‘Estrogen produced by aromatization of gonadal androgen has an important facilitative role in male-typical aggressive behavior that is mediated through its interaction with estrogen receptors (ER) in the brain. Isoflavones found in soybeans and soy-based dietary supplements bind ER and have dose- and tissue-dependent effects on estrogen-mediated responses.’
They note that, although this relationship is well known, studies had yet to be carried out on the effects of soy-rich diets on aggressive behaviour.
Their study took place over a period of 15 months, and involved feeding different diets to groups of adult male macaques living in nine stable social groups. The diets differed only in terms of the protein source the monkeys received: casein and lactalbumin (no isoflavones), soy protein isolate containing 0.94 mg isoflavones/g protein, and soy protein isolate containing 1.88 mg isoflavones/g protein.
The results of the experiment were striking.
‘In the monkeys fed the higher amount of isoflavones, frequencies of intense aggressive (67% higher) and submissive (203% higher) behavior were elevated relative to monkeys fed the control diet (P‘s < 0.05). In addition, the proportion of time spent by these monkeys in physical contact with other monkeys was reduced by 68%, time spent in proximity to other monkeys was reduced 50%, and time spent alone was increased 30% (P‘s < 0.02).’
This led the authors to conclude that ‘long-term consumption of a diet rich in soy isoflavones can have marked influences on patterns of aggressive and social behavior.’
It’s worth noting that the mechanism of action for the soy isoflavones appears to be different than for the soybean oil in the more recent study. The former works through aromatisation of androgens, while the latter appears to work by causing up- and down-regulation of particular genes, including those relating to the production of oxytocin.
Reason #3 To Avoid Soy Product: It’s Destructive to Environment
Finally, it’s worth saying something about the terrible environmental effects widespread soy cultivation, often referred to as ‘soy monoculture’ (where soy is the only, i.e. mono, crop grown), is having on some of the world’s most fragile natural environments, especially the precious Amazon – the ‘lungs of the world’.
Contrary to what many vegans and vegetarians will tell you, the ethics of replacing livestock agriculture with an entirely vegan alternative aren’t quite so simple.
Here’s a quotation from the WWF’s website on the soy industry.
‘Without proper safeguards, the soybean industry is causing widespread deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe. To ensure that soybean expansion does not further harm natural environments and indigenous communities, WWF is encouraging the development of better production practices. We call for transparent land-use planning processes and promote responsible purchasing and investment policies.’ [R]
Soybeans are big business, and as a result soy cultivation is one of the major drivers of deforestation in the Amazon basin. As well as being used to produce your favourite soymilk, seeds from the soybean plant provide high-protein animal feed for livestock. In fact, 80% of Amazon soy is destined for animal feed. Today Brazil has 24-25 million hectares devoted to the growth of this crop, and is currently the second largest producer of soybeans in the world. [R]
On one side, rainforest; on the other, soybean plantations
In 2006, Greenpeace and other environmental groups traced the impact of the global supply chain of soy, from commodities consumers like Cargill and McDonalds, two of the largest soy-consuming companies, to the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. The negotiations that followed resulted in the so-called ‘soy moratorium’, a collaboration that prevented purchase of soy from recently converted rainforest.
While this moratorium on soy was welcome news, deforestation of the Amazon, including as a result of soy monoculture, continues and is only likely to grow in pace as commercial demand for vegetarian alternatives to meat increases, whether artificially stimulated (i.e. by the sort of farming crash Bill Gates appears to be attempting to precipitate in the US by buying up vast swathes of agricultural land) or through natural increases in demand as people turn their backs on less supposedly ethical foods like meat and dairy.
If you have been reading articles from my blog you will know by now that I am thorough if nothing else. So I have included information on foods that can reduce testosterone levels.
Top & Worst Foods For Natural Testosterone Production
To wrap up this article, I will discuss the conspiracy theory behind soy. This is after all why I wrote this article.
Inside the “soy boy” conspiracy theory: It combines misogyny and the warped world of pseudosciece
This is why the alt-right believes that soybeans are part of a left-wing plot against manhood.
Nutritionists have had many debates about the health benefits of soy products; some are very pro-soy, others are critical of it. Their debates are scientific in nature, but on the alt-right, soy is being discussed in stridently political terms—and one of the leading alt-right conspiracy theories is the “soy boy” conspiracy, which claims that soy products are a vast left-wing conspiracy designed to emasculate men and turn their bodies estrogenic.
The alt-right has an abundance of vocabulary that one doesn’t find in more traditional conservatism. In 2018, the term “soy boy” is as common on the alt-right as “cuckservative” (right-wingers who aren’t right-wing enough) and “snowflake” (a hypersensitive liberal or progressive). “Soy boy” isn’t a term that one typically encounters in more traditional conservative outlets like the National Review and the Weekly Standard, but alt-right outlets — from Alex Jones’ Infowars to the misogynist Return of Kings website—have been a frequent source of anti-soy conspiracy theories.
Jones has long been promoting conspiracy theories involving government operatives and “The New World Order” using products to turn male bodies estrogenic. In 2013, Jones argued that juice boxes were feminizing male children, declaring, “After you’re done drinking your little juices, you’re ready to go out and have a baby. You’re ready to put makeup on. You’re ready to wear a short skirt….You’re ready to put lipstick on.”
Jones has asserted that left-wing male commentators are often “latte addicts” and “soy addicts” who lack masculinity—and earlier this year, Jones’ colleague, Paul Joseph Watson posted an eight-minute video describing the alleged attributes of a “soy boy.”
Watson asked, “What is it about soy that turns men into such spineless wimps? Soybeans contain high amounts of phytoestrogens: organic compounds that mimic the female hormone estrogen in the human body. This reduces testosterone and lowers male sperm count.”
Watson elaborated, “Men with high estrogen take on feminine traits. They find it harder to handle stress. They become less assertive. They become low-energy. Their voices get higher, their genitals shrink.”
According to Watson’s video, “environmental estrogens” are causing males to develop female-like breasts—and one of the most prominent “environmental estrogens” is soy. The use of soy baby formulas, Watson said, suggests that “rather than people with already preexisting left-wing beliefs being attracted to vegan-style tofu soy diets, we’re actually creating an army of soy boys from birth.”
Alt-right blogger Mike Cernovich is not only a leading proponent of the bizarre Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which in 2016, claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in a Washington, DC pizzeria—he is also a strident critic of soy products, arguing that there is a correlation between liberal and progressive beliefs and use of soy products. And “soy boy” is one of his favorite insults.
Roosh Valizadeh’s misogynist Return of Kings website has also been the source of numerous anti-soy diatribes, and on April 1, 2018, Valizadeh devoted an entire article to “soy face”—an open-mouth smile the alt-right believes is specific to “soy boys.” Valizadeh wrote, “There is no doubt that decreasing testosterone levels among American men are causing them to behave in childish and feminine ways. This is most clearly displayed in the ‘soy boy face’ pose that combines the feelings of excitement and fear.”
In one on his anti-soy videos, Watson focused on “soy face” exclusively—arguing that because “soy boys” have lower testosterone, it shows in their facial expressions. Watson declared, “Look a little closer and see what soy face truly represents: weakness and fear….The globalist chemical warfare program to make men effeminate so they vote more like women and generally vote for left-wing policies and big government is still in full swing. But now that the testosterone-decimating effects of soy and plastics are being exposed, the reign of the soy boys is coming to an end.”
Health-related websites will continue to debate the merits of soy products, doing so in a non-political way. But to the alt-right’s conspiracy buffs, the use of soy is very much a political issue—and nothing says “giant left-wing conspiracy” like the abundance of mythical “soy boys.”
Why might veganism be more popular with women than men?
This year saw a record number of people signing up to Veganuary. With growing anxiety about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and evidence that a plant-based diet can be beneficial to our health, the number of vegans has doubled across Europe and the US.
This year, the “urgent need” to reduce our intake of meat, dairy and eggs has received more coverage than ever as experts have pointed to farmed animals as a possible origin for COVID-19.
From eco anxiety to concerns around animal cruelty, it’s clear many more people are turning to veganism as a way of life. One factor, however, seems to significantly increase our chances of abandoning animal products altogether. That factor is being a woman.ADVERTISING
In the UK in 2016, the Vegan Society found that twice as many women as men were vegan. It’s not just the UK though, with statistics showing an incredible 79 per cent of vegans in the US identify as female.
Perhaps this isn’t a surprise to some as animal rights and feminism have long gone hand in hand. Activists in the past saw the refusal to eat meat as a form of rebellion against the patriarchal status quo.about:blank
There are other aspects of gender politics at play too. In a culture where media around dieting is distinctly gendered and which categorises meat as a ‘male’ food choice, there is an increased amount of pressure on women to change the way they eat. Those that don’t often feel guilt for eating the ‘wrong’ things or ‘too much’.
Masculinity and meat
Whether or not you subscribe to this way of thinking, the figures suggest something must be going on. So why do fewer men choose to adopt a plant-based diet?
Meat and gender are thought to have been linked since the beginning of time. Hunting was important to early humans with food gathering tasks split into gendered roles.
Men went out to kill large game animals while women typically ate smaller portions of meat and collected plant foods. For our close relatives, the chimpanzees, the more successful a male is at hunting, the better his social status. This may have also been true for our hunter-gather ancestors where studies have controversially suggested eating meat could have meant a bigger brain.
Men in most western societies today aren’t likely to be out tackling game to feed their families, but they are still more likely to associate meat with ideas of health and strength. A 2018 study found that concepts like “virility” and “power” were a part of the relationship we as a species have with eating meat and conventional masculine stereotypes.
If millennia of social conditioning causes us to associate meat and masculinity, it’s perhaps inevitable that men who go vegan can be discouraged by a negative reaction from those around them.
Lecturer in Human Geography at Newcastle University, Dr Michael J Richardson, is currently researching the link between meat and masculinities. He says that the way people react to this apparent challenge to masculinity can vary.
“It really depends on who you speak with regarding which defence mechanism they’ll draw upon – as in young men who already consider themselves as fit, gym goers and into health and fitness tend to defend their meat heavy diets more adamantly.”
Richardson is publishing a book on the topic later this year entitled Redefining Masculinity: feminism, family and food, but it was reactions from people he knew that piqued his initial curiosity. When he first made changes to his diet over three years ago, he saw some of these defensive responses from his friends.
“My experience, as a sport-loving, football playing, fit, young, heterosexual white man was entirely expected within the friendship group,” he explains. “Like any other challenge to the structures of hegemonic masculinities, once ‘outed’ as vegan, the immediate accusations of weakness and homosexuality come to the fore.”
Insults like “soy boy”- defined by urban dictionary as a phrase to describe “males who completely and utterly lack all necessary masculine qualities”, show how this attitude easily pervades popular culture. Widespread a few years ago on sites like Twitter and Reddit, the term gained traction with far-right commenters seeking to distance themselves from anything deemed “feminine” or “weak”.
After doing a thorough investigation on soy and soy products there doesn’t appear to be any governmental conspiracy to destroy male masculinity. I think we are our own worst enemy. We in general over eat, and consume fatty foods full of processed chemicals. We live a sedentary lifestyle. so what can we expect when our testosterone levels are low. I know I am guilty of this as well. The key is to do everything in moderation. We as a species are always looking for an easy way out. It turns out that there is no easy way to stay healthy. It requires hard work. By the way the vast majority of use could stand to loose a few pounds. Oh, and ladies stop the twerking. Your asses are big enough as it is.
Are Religious Exemptions Valid For Covid-19 Vaccinations?
I want to start this article out with the following statement. I don’t believe in Mandatory Vaccine Mandates. I think that they are unjust and unconstitutional. But I don’t believe that religious exemptions are a valid excuse for not getting vaccinated. Frankly I don’t think you should even be asked why you don’t want to get vaccinated. Your body, your choice. I guess I could stop there, but what would that get me and you the reader? A very short article, with no real information. I believe information and knowledge is strength. So lets plow forward and investigate the subject of religious exemptions. I will start first with the federal mandate and then go on to what exemptions are acceptable. I will then finish up with my argument against religious mandates.
The Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
The OSHA Mandate
On November 5, OSHA published its emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring private employers with over 100 employees to “develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.”
The OSHA Mandate had an exception that employers could also adopt a policy requiring employees “to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.” However, the employees were to bear the costs of COVID-19 testing. OSHA predicted the costs of compliance (another term for coercion) would cause more employees to be vaccinated.
A number of lawsuits were filed across the nation once the OSHA Mandate was published. The Fifth Circuit court of appeals issued a stay of the OSHA Mandate on November 12, stating:
“Enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ‘COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard’ remains STAYED pending adequate judicial review of the petitioners’ underlying motions for a permanent injunction.
In addition, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that OSHA take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”
As stated by the Fifth Circuit, the OSHA Mandate “runs afoul from the statute from which it draws its power and, likely, violates the constitutional structure that safeguards our liberty.”
This stay is still in place, despite the collective OSHA cases essentially being consolidated for consideration in the Sixth Circuit. What does this mean? It means the OSHA Mandate is not in effect. (The OSHA Mandate was to be implemented on January 4, 2022 – but that is on hold as well.) OSHA recognizes this and has “suspended all activities relating to the implementation and enforcement” of its mandate.
We previously addressed the unconstitutionality of the OSHA mandate, arguing (among other things) that OSHA ran afoul of the major questions doctrine (also known as the major rule doctrine), in that OSHA issued a major rule without clear Congressional authorization.
“Legal experts” disagreed – and Twitter was aggressive in assuring the public that the OSHA mandate was legal.
It’s a bit early to take the victory lap (save that for after the Supreme Court makes its ruling – fingers crossed), but the Fifth Circuit made the same observation as we did back in September – that under analysis from the major questions doctrine, the OSHA Mandate exceeds the agency’s authority.
The CMS Mandate
11 states recently filed a lawsuit in a Louisiana federal court challenging the Biden Administration’s rule requiring vaccination of staff of Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers (which we will refer to as the CMS Mandate). Read the lawsuit here and the press release here.
The CMS Mandate requires the first dose of the vaccine by December 6, 2021 and the second dose (if Pfizer or Moderna) by January 4, 2022. Health care companies/providers must ensure that all applicable healthcare workers “are fully vaccinated” by January 4, 2022.
While the lawsuit has been filed, the court has not stayed the CMS Mandate. There is no guarantee that the court will pause the CMS Mandate pending the results of litigation. This means that if you are under the CMS Mandate, it is essential that you aggressively pursue a medical or religious exemption (or both).
The Federal Contractors Mandate
Finally, we get to the Federal Contractors Mandate. On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination of federal contractors (or employees of federal contractors). Lawsuits have already been filed asking courts to stop the implementation of this mandate pending litigation.
Like the CMS Mandate, no court has paused the implementation of the Federal Contractors Mandate, which requires covered federal contractor employees to be vaccinated by January 18, 2022. I repeat myself that if you are covered by this mandate, you must not rely on the courts for protection and be proactive with your religious and medical exemptions.
If you are considering a medical exemption, pay attention. The good exemptions follow a straightforward formula and provide citations to prove their claims:
- State with particularity the ailment or health issue the person suffers from, whether currently or in their past.
- Explain that the COVID-19 vaccine has not been tested on persons with this particular ailment or health issue.
- Explain why the lack of testing means the COVID-19 vaccine has not been confirmed to be safe for people with your particular affliction. (For example, if you have history of irregular heartbeat, the medical exemption letter might discuss how there are no studies proving the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for those with an irregular heartbeat. Make them prove otherwise.)
It is your right under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e to make a religious exemption. I’ve seen them work for employees and for students.
The religious exemptions i’ve seen find success have been where the person tells their employer that their sincerely held religious beliefs preclude them from taking the COVID-19 vaccines, as they are derived from aborted fetal tissue cells. If you hold these beliefs, then you might want to consider this type of argument: This vaccine is thus harvested from sin, and my acceptance of such a vaccine would make me complicit in the desecration of God’s creation.
Do not copy and paste someone else’s religious exemption letter. Use it as a template, improve upon it – you must be proactive. Applicable verses/links:
- 2 Timothy 3:16-18 (“All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.”)
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”)
- Psalm 139:13-14 (“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”)
- Romans 12:2 (“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”)
- US Conference of Catholic Bishops and other leading Christians stating that no Americans should have to choose between their conscience and the vaccine. Link to their letter.
- This lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel challenging denials of military exemptions is a good resource. It lays out the history of the fetal cell cultures, the Biblical basis for an exemption, and additional verses for reference.
Also called personal-belief exemptions. I won’t spend any time with these, since they are not going to be given any credence anyway.
Although some people in religious groups cluster and refuse vaccination, they are often actually claiming personal-belief exemptions and not true religious exemptions.
Among the few religions with an absolute objection to vaccines include:
- Churches that rely on faith healing including small Christian churches such as Church of the First Born, End Time Ministries, Faith Assembly, Faith Tabernacle, and First Century Gospel Church.
- The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Scientist) believes in healing through prayer and that vaccines aren’t necessary.
Except in Mississippi and West Virginia, members of these churches and other people who have religious beliefs against immunizations can be exempted from school immunization requirements.
Although there are few religions with an absolute objection to vaccines, there are many more groups within other religions who are opposed to getting their kids and themselves vaccinated, which helps explain some of the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that have occurred recently.
These religious groups include:
- Some Amish
- Some Dutch Reformed churches
- Some Muslim fundamentalists
There is no absolute objection to vaccines within these faith traditions, though. Even among the Dutch Orthodox Protestants, there is a subset who describe vaccines “as a gift from God to be used with gratitude” and vaccination rates in these communities have been on the rise.
For many religious groups, their anti-vaccine views aren’t always about religion.
For some Muslim fundamentalists, for example, opposition to the polio vaccine in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan has had much more to do with social and political issues, rather than theological issues. Some have even believed that the polio vaccination effort was a conspiracy to sterilize Muslims in the area. Unfortunately, these are the countries where polio is still endemic.
One argument against the vaccines is that they are made from aborted fetuses. This is a fallacy, the vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells. Fetal cell lines were however used in the vaccines’ development, as they commonly are in developing new pharmaceuticals. So where is the righteous indignation regarding those meds?
Several outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases have ravaged religious communities in North America and Europe since 2010. These include:
- At least 16 people in Texas with measles are linked to Eagle Mountain International Church, which is a part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries and is described as “anti-vaccine” and “vaccine-refusing.”
- At least 21 people in North Carolina with measles are linked to Prabhupada Village, a Hare Krishna community.
- At least 158 cases of measles in Quebec began in an outbreak that originally started when unvaccinated members of an anti-vaccine eugenics community group took a trip to Disneyland.
- At least 2,499 cases occurred in the Dutch “Bible belt” with at least one case of measles encephalitis and one death (a 17-year-old girl).
- Nearly 400 cases of measles in British Columbia were linked to a religious group called the Netherlands Reformed Congregation.
- Nearly 300 people, mostly connected to Orthodox Jewish communities in Borough Park and Williamsburg, Brooklyn developed measles—the largest outbreak in the United States since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated.
None of these religions doctrinally prohibit their members from getting vaccinated. The Eagle Mountain International Church even had a few vaccine clinics at their church during their measles outbreak.
Unfounded Safety Fears
Even though they are clustered in a church or religious group, for many the root cause of their unwillingness to be vaccinated relates to concerns over vaccine safety that drives them to avoid vaccines—and not any real religious doctrine.
While orthodox Hasidic Jews were at the center of the large measles outbreak in New York, for example, most other orthodox Hasidic Jews in New York are fully vaccinated and some have even participated in trials for the mumps and hepatitis A vaccines. So instead of a true religious exemption, these are more of a personal-belief exemption.
The main problem is that these groups of unvaccinated people become clustered together at church and other activities, helping to fuel large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
This phenomenon isn’t rare. In addition to the measles outbreaks described above, there have been clusters of other preventable diseases, including:
- A rubella outbreak in Europe, in which 387 cases of rubella occurred in an unvaccinated religious community in the Netherlands. Twenty-nine women got rubella while pregnant. At least three women had babies with congenital rubella syndrome and one pregnancy ended in intrauterine death.
- Multiple outbreaks of polio among Amish communities, with the latest occurring in 2005, infecting four members of an Amish community in Minnesota.
- Several cases of Hib disease, including an unvaccinated 7-month-old who died in Minnesota in 2008 and at least three unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children in Pennsylvania who died in 2009.
Another problem is that some of these churches do mission work overseas in areas where many of these vaccine-preventable diseases are still very common.
An unvaccinated worker may go to one of these countries, catch measles, pertussis, or some other vaccine-preventable disease. They then return home and infect family members and other people in their church congregation who are also anti-vaccine, too young to be vaccinated, or who have a medical contraindication to getting vaccinated.
Vaccine Support From Religious Groups
One study of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks among religious groups found that “while the church was the common link among cases, there was no formal advice regarding vaccination from the church before the outbreak. Instead, vaccine refusal was attributed to a combination of personal religious beliefs and safety concerns among a subgroup of church members.”
Most religions offer no formal advice regarding vaccination. Rather, many religions have clear positions in support of vaccination including:
- Catholics: While some people still believe that Catholics are opposed to some vaccines, the Catholic Church is clearly pro-vaccine. Even for the vaccines that some parents question, especially those for hepatitis A, rubella, and varicella, which are cultured in cells that were originally derived from aborted fetuses, the Church teaches that “if no safe, effective alternative vaccines exist, it is lawful to use these vaccines if danger to the health of children exists or to the health of the population as a whole.”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses: Although Jehovah’s Witnesses had a past opposition to vaccines, in 1952 they stated that vaccination “does not appear to us to be in violation of the everlasting covenant made with Noah, as set down in Genesis 9:4, nor contrary to God’s related commandment at Leviticus 17:10-14.”
- Jews: Confusion still exists among some people over the fact that since some vaccines contain components with porcine (pig) and gelatin components, then it must be against Jewish dietary laws for their members to be vaccinated. However, the use of vaccines is “judged based on concepts of medical law contained in halachic codes” and is therefore encouraged.
- Muslims: Except for areas where polio is still endemic, several imams and other Islamic leaders issued clear statements and fatwas describing how immunization is consistent with Islamic principles.
- Hindus: None of the four major branches of Hinduism are opposed to vaccines and countries that are majority Hindu, including Nepal and India, have high vaccination rates.
Evaluating requests for religious exemptions is thorny
“Employers are being flooded with these requests [for religious exemptions], and are having to evaluate them in large numbers,” says Alana Genderson, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law at the firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Because employers are wary of wading into assessing questions of religion and personal belief, Genderson says “employers feel more comfortable judging undue hardship, and whether there is an accommodation where the person would not be a direct threat to others.”
A person receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles in April.Mario Tama/Getty Images
The idea of evaluating sincerity is particularly thorny.
“Sincerity is like, what’s true in your heart. There’s no way to judge that as religious or not, or as sincere or not,” says Kira Ganga Kieffer, a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Boston University, where she’s writing a book on vaccine skepticism in America.
But there is a legal basis for employers to assess sincerely held religious belief.
Genderson says that according to federal guidance and previous court decisions, employers may consider several factors when assessing the sincerity of a religious belief.
“Those factors can include whether the employee’s behavior is inconsistent with the professed belief; the accommodation constitutes a desirable benefit likely to be sought for secular reasons; the timing of the request renders it suspect; or the employer has an objective reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons,” she explains.
Employers can request additional information from the employee, such as asking whether they take other medicines that also used fetal cells in their development, like Tylenol or Motrin.
A tension between religious freedom and public safety
When Kieffer started her research, she was originally looking at measles outbreaks in places where parents had opted out from school-required vaccinations.
But the politicization of this virus has changed that.
“The folks that are most angry now or most objecting now are kind of a new cohort, I’d say, that is much more traditionally politically motivated,” Kieffer says.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. As religious exemptions are now being sought in droves, their use raises concerns that they pose a serious public health risk.
Participants bow their heads in prayer during a COVID-19 prayer vigil on the National Mall honoring and mourning those who have died due to the coronavirus pandemic in Washington, D.C., in July.Win McNamee/Getty Images
“We believe firmly that religious freedom should not be a license to cause harm to others,” says Rachel Laser, CEO at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She says it’s problematic to have public safety hinge on difficult-to-assess questions of individual religious sincerity.
“What that created is a situation where we are actually seeing herd immunity being put at risk, and public safety being put at risk, where religious exemptions are sort of so voluminously being claimed,” Laser says.
“What we need to do is is draw a line where religious freedom would put lives at risk and where it would cause harm to others,” she says. “So we don’t even have to get to that calculation of sincerity.”
A Word From Verywell
Although many of the large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases occur among religious groups, few religions actually oppose vaccines. Instead, most actively encourage their members to get vaccinated and prevent vaccine-preventable diseases. Additionally, there is absolutely no truth behind the fear that vaccines are not safe. Vaccines save millions of lives each year. So as I stated, there are really no valid religious exemptions.
So now that I have debunked religious exemptions, lets return to the mandates themselves for just a moment.
Some see mandates as the wrong approach
“I actually think a mandate is a blunt instrument at this stage in the game, because it’s all so new,” says Jason McKnight, lead pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Kinston, N.C.
“Obviously, scripture does not talk about vaccines,” he says, laughing. “So how do we seek principles and use wisdom to apply rightly, how someone needs to live in their consciences, but not in a way that’s silly?”
He says vaccine concerns are something that some people are struggling with, among many other questions in their lives. He hears concerns that the vaccines are still too new, too untested — but people might not have a choice about getting vaccinated, if they want to keep their jobs.
McKnight says if a member asked for his signature on a religious exemption, he thinks he would sign it.
“Part of my role is to stand with the underdog. That’s what Jesus did,” he says. “And that’s why we’re working at trying to figure out how to get Afghan refugees here, why we’re working at trying to help migrant workers. Nurses that are going to lose their job because they’re just not ready to be vaccinated just seems a little harsh right now in a civilized world.”
Sharon Lofquist raises her arms to religious music as demonstrators gathered to protest vaccine mandates outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing in August.Emily Elconin/Getty Images
Others suspect resistance to vaccination is politically motivated
Randall Balmer was raised in the evangelical church, and is now a professor of religion at Dartmouth and an Episcopal priest.
He suspects much of the opposition to the vaccines is politically motivated.
“I have to believe that something else is at work here, that there is some sort of underlying ideology that says, I don’t know: ‘We don’t want the Biden administration to succeed in vanquishing this public health crisis,’ ” he says.
“There’s certainly no theological basis for this sort of opposition.”
And he thinks many churches could be doing a greater public service in the pandemic, noting that they enjoy tax-exempt status.
Balmer says “a reasonable approach to this dire public health crisis would be for these churches, these religious organizations to say, ‘Listen, we understand that the public has been subsidizing us for a long time. In return, we think we have a civic obligation, and we’re willing to assume that obligation not only to be vaccinating ourselves, but to vaccinate others.’ “
The Greek Alphabet
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