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Everything posted by Marat

  1. I read about an experiment not long ago in which physiological aspects of sexual arousal in response to stimulating sexual imagery were recorded in males and females and then compared with whether the subjects reported being aroused or not. The study found that while males were accurate in reporting awareness of arousal which corresponded to the physiological measures of arousal, women considerably under-reported arousal awareness compared to their biological measures. This suggests that women are culturally trained to become insensitive to their own biological drives, perhaps in order to gain social power by creating an artificial scarcity of female sex partners compared to available male sex partners. This artificial shortage then creates the need for males to court women and regard them as more valuable than women need to prove themselves to be, while men in contrast have to demonstrate courtship bravery, cleverness, reliability, and income potential to 'earn' the value women already have without doing anything just because of the shortage of willing females. The first wave of feminism in the 1960s and early 1970s favored the sexual liberation of women as a device to normalize the relationship between men and women by eliminating this artificial tilting of the supply and demand curve by the female pretense of sexual disinterest, but the following waves of the feminist revolution became simply anti-sex and so this problem remains uncorrected today. As a result, it is difficult to measure 'real' male and female sex drives in the strange sexual 'market' that society has created, in which men are induced to be over-eager because of the shortage of partners and women are socially rewarded by posing as under-eager. In Magaret Mead's studies of polynesian sexuality, where this artificial market did not exist, the typical Western dissonance between male and female sexuality was not found.
  2. I want to propose, provocatively, a conservation of disease theorem analogous to the conservation of energy principle, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can only be changed in form. The conservation of disease theorem states that disease can never be cured, but it can only be changed in form, and the altered forms of disease are now labelled 'the burden of therapy.' Thus in diabetes, the disease untreated would itself produce death from metabolic acidosis, or if the blood sugar were inadequately controlled, it would cause neurological and vascular complications. Medicine cannot cure, but can only treat the disease, and the treatment simply transforms the burden of disease into the burden of treatment, with the treatment being a cruel and punishing, ceaseless effort by the patient to count carbohydrates consumed, measure blood glucose many times a day, endure repeated insulin injections every day, and finally suffer damaging and potentially lethal hypoglycemic episodes. In renal failure, the disease untreated would result in death from uremia, but the treatment for the disease requires the patient to spend four hours hooked up to a dialysis machine by pencil-thick needles in the arm three times a week for the rest of his life. The dialysis process is exhausting, damaging to the body through its associated cytokine release, and can cause cramps from fluid loss, cancer from chemicals leached out of the tubing, and potentially lethal hypotension. The burden of treatment is so horrible that 25% of all patients eventually die by voluntarily withdrawing from dialysis. In cancer, the disease untreated could lead to death, but the treatment of the disease by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery leaves the patient profoundly anemic, disfigured, exhausted, cachexic, and often results in death from the severity of the treatment rather than from the disease. The examples could be multiplied, but the point is clear: What modern medicine has been able to do is merely transform the misery of the natural disease into a nearly equivalent or worse misery of the iatrogenic disease known as the 'treatment.' I say worse because aggressive cancer chemotherapy can kill people more uncomfortably than cancer itself can, and renal dialysis can be such a burdensome treatment that it forces patients to go through the stress of choosing suicide by withdrawing from treatment rather than accepting an inevitable and natural death from uremia as they would have had to do prior to the development of the 'miracle' of dialysis. Similarly, cancer patients who might have quietly wasted away a century ago are today brutally assaulted by toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy or radical surgery, and the apparent gains in life expectancy from these interventions may in fact just be statistical artifacts resulting from our ability to diagnose cancers earlier so the natural time line to death appears longer. Now of course this theorem is deliberately overstated to be provocative, since medicine can achieve some cures or genuine ameliorations, such as in mending broken legs or overcoming infections. But still, in the growing field of chronic illness, medicine seems unable to accomplish much beyond transforming disease symptoms into equally bad treatment symptoms. Even worse, the recommended treatments in diabetes, renal failure, and cancer are becoming ever more harsh as the results of existing treatment regimens are found to be ever more disappointing.
  3. Marat


    An important additional issue to note is that since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, it is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease, and it is not uncommon to find patients with both conditions.
  4. Aritificial organs have a very poor history. The iron lung provided patients with a miserable quality of life; the artificial heart tortured poor Barney Clark so badly that the results were hidden from the public for years after the experiment; the artificial pancreas has been under continuous development since the mid-1960s and has never succeeded in imitating normal physiology; and renal dialysis yields a life expectancy of 13 years for a 40-year-old and a quality of life so poor that 25% of all dialysis patients die by voluntarily withdrawing themselves from treatment. The old debate between vitalists and mechanists in the 19th century over whether the organic and mechanical realms were irreducibly separate seems to have been won for the foreseeable future in medicine by the vitalists. But what else promises significant progress over the next few decades? Since it now takes about 15 years for a new drug, medical device, or treatment to proceed from concept to clinically available therapy, you could almost say that the answer has to be that there will be no significant progress in the near future. In 2008, the FDA sent out a panic bulletin noting that for the first time in its history, the number of new drugs submitted for approval had declined, and the stagnation of medicine in many areas of cancer treatment, endocrinology, and nephrology over the last generation has been striking. I would guess that twenty years from now very little will differ in medical practice from what it is now.
  5. Your whole theory seems to arise from a culture-bound linguistic imagination which assumes that what appear to be 'natural' ways to diagram concepts and grammatical relations in Western belief systems are somehow universally necessary -- and thus give us significant trans-cultural information. You should have a look at Willard Quine's writings on ontological relativity which show how radically different the 'natural' ways to relate ideas and ideas to their linguistic, symbolic, or imagistic representation can be. Thus to take just one move you make in your analysis, why assume that 'First there was God doing X' should be represented as a line defined by two separate points, one representing 'first' and the other representing 'God'? If God is essentially first, as the Bible generally seems to assert, then wouldn't 'God' and 'first' best be represented as two perfectly overlapping points? Or again, why should conceptual opposites best be represented as images spatially displaced from each other? Aristotle says that all definition is via distinction, so differentiae are logically closely related, since they are co-determinative, so perhaps they should be set close to each other, or intersecting, rather than in opposition to each other in any diagram representing their conceptual relation. The possibilities of representation of any text in graphic form are endless, so making any one representation 'fit' says more about how your imagination can make a picture fit a text than about anything really 'out there' in the real world.
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