Modern Alternative Mama admits she doesn’t believe in science; who would have guessed?

Scientific method word cloud concept with abstract background

You can’t make this stuff up!

Yesterday, Modern Alternative Mama Kate Tietje posted this to her Facebook page:

I don’t believe in science…

I appreciate the process of science. I like to use science to inform my choices. But I do not “believe” in it.

Who would have guessed?

Science is a process of inquiry; alternative health is a belief system.

How about anybody who knows the difference between science and the nonsense that Tietje peddles? … And I do mean peddles since this is a money making proposition for her.

Let’s parse her words to see what I mean.

…[S]cience is NOT a belief system!!

Science is a process. It is a method of inquiry. It is a way in which we try to understand the world around us.

It appears that Kate is trying to justify the fact that she routinely ignores scientific evidence. In doing so, she conflates the process of science with scientific evidence, the yield of that process.

What is the process of science?

  1. Make an observation or observations.
  2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information.
  3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what’s been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
  4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.
  5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary.
  6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory.

Let’s contrast that with the “process” of alternative health.

  1. Make an observation.
  2. Conclude that the observation is reproducible, generalizable and immutable.

In other words, while science is a process, alternative health is a belief system. You see it; you believe it.

Here’s the critical distinction:

Science tells us that what we think may not be true. Alternative health tells us that what we think must always be true.

Kate continues:

If you believe in science, and think the science is settled and clear and will never change of any topic, then you do not understand what science is. You are worshiping that topic like a religion instead.

Please, join me in saying: ‪#‎ScienceIsNotaBelief‬ We can’t change how people think until we understand what science actually is and use it appropriately. That means continuing to question, continuing to look for new information and new interpretations of the available information. This is critical to our future.”

But believing in “science,” does not entail thinking that scientific evidence is settled and clear. In fact, confidence in the process of science means that you DON’T think that scientific evidence is settled and clear. The process of science is based on the assumption that there will ALWAYS be new evidence and that the new evidence will help us come closer to understanding the truth about the particular issue under study.

In contrast, believing in alternative health means that you DO think that the truth is settled. The truth is whatever you have observed (or believe that you have observed). It will not change. For people like Kate Tietje, their belief that vaccines cause autism is immutable. It cannot be changed by any amount of contradictory information. That’s why purveyors of alternative health don’t bother to subject their beliefs to testing; what would be the point?

The massive power of science comes precisely from the fact that it is not a belief system, but a system of constant inquiry that allows us to approach the truth of the matter. The central defect of alternative health, like all pseudoscience, is that it is a belief system and that it involves no inquiry.

And the process of science, far from being a highly technological endeavor, is an innate process. Babies are little scientists. They sit in a high chair and drop food and toys over the side, repeatedly checking to make sure that objects fall down, not up. They’re testing a hypothesis and will modify it based on what they find. They don’t learn about gravity by reading a book. They learn by testing.

Alternative health, in contrast, is a belief system like religion. It is taught in books and on websites and message boards. There are no hypotheses and there is no testing. It is a matter of faith.

When we say we “believe in science,” we mean that we believe that the process of science provides the best approximation of the workings of the natural world and the most predictive power. We believe that scientific evidence is the most accurate evidence. The virtue of science is that it isn’t a belief system. The problem with alternative health is that it is.

  • LM

    Whoa whoa whoa. Alternative medicine doesn’t test hypotheses?? Where do you come up with this stuff? You really should spend some time on PubMed looking at research on biologivally active plant substances, green tea and cancer prevention, the LACK of data regarding saturated fat and heart disease, etc. Hey guess what?? i have a PhD in health education with a Masters degree in nursing and a bachelors of exercise science and you best believe I also believe in science. But I also understand the limits of modern medicine. And I know that when you test a food using the scientific method you break it down into its parts and assume that part represents the whole food. You have driven yourself into such a tizzy over alternative health you’ve lost site of the fact that there are highly intelligent people conducting research on food, diet, lifestyle, and disease prevention. AND there is even a governmental branch for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (gasp!!!).

    Not everyone who believes medicine has limits is out of their mind. I believe it is actually the people who can’t admit fault with the scientific method who need some continuing education. Nutrition science is the PRIME example of the scientific method gone seriously wrong.

    Let me guess, you believe that universal medical access is the key to increased life expectancy? Or that low fat, high carb diets prevent heart disease? Both assumptions that are false. Both assumptions that at some point have been proven by “science.” Just let it go. You quit medicine to raise a family now get off the back of the people who are actually questioning the roots of disease instead of masking symptoms.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Did you know that having spent billions of dollars investigating complementary and alternative health that same governmental branch found NO EVIDENCE that any of it worked and considerable evidence that NONE of it worked.

      • LM

        I’m sorry. To what are you referencing? All of the research on CAM?? You’re kidding me right? NIH has a branch for complementary medicine who TESTS hypotheses and uses the scientific method (https://nccih.nih.gov/). And what about the German Commission E who approves herbs/supplements for use in medicine based on evidence??? So anyone who wants to examine the plant-based alternatives to drugs instead of man-made pharmaceuticals is a nut??? The entire country of Germany is crazy? Or how about China who practices Qi Gong? Or Japan where medicinal mushrooms and CoQ10 are approved for disease prevention?

        You realize our health outcomes in the US are horrible compared to other industrialized nations? And our social outcomes are even worse? So how can you continue to promote a culture of medicine where most people die of preventable disease???

        • Wren

          What do they call alternative medicine that is proven to work? Oh yeah, medicine.
          When it is proven, it is taken in and used in real medicine. When it isn’t, it just stays in alternative medicine (because why would they stop using it just because it doesn’t work?).
          As for herbs, many pharmaceuticals are developed from plants, but the active ingredient is isolated, purified and specific doses can be given as opposed to taking in however many other (potentially harmful) chemicals from the herbs in an effectively unknown dose.
          The US’ biggest problem in comparison to the health outcomes of other industrialised nations is not the lack of CAM, but the lack of decent health coverage for so many.

          • LM

            Actually having universal medical access is only estimated at increasing life expectancy by 5-10% at the most. Our biggest problem is the lack of SOCIAL reform. We isolate medicine as the only contributor to health but ignore access to healthy foods, walkable neighborhoods, property tax funding and access to good schools, clean air, clean water, etc.

          • Wren

            Increased life expectancy is hardly the only issue in health outcomes.

          • PhDGirl

            Exactly. Which is why social policy and reform is more important than medical care access.

          • Wren

            Your conclusion does not follow from my single statement you agreed on.
            Do you imagine that Europeans all have access to cheap healthy food, walkable neighbourhoods, access to good schools (better than those in the US), cleaner air and water than much of the US and property tax funding (why that matters to health eludes me)?
            None of those, with the possible exception of clean air, would have anywhere close to the massive impact on my son’s asthma, my fertility issues or any of the illnesses we have had that the NHS has had. I’m currently watching some of my friends struggle to pay for the epipens that keep their children from dying from allergic reactions in the US while my friends here needing epipens are only concerned that they need to remember to put the repeat prescription in. I have never had to weigh up whether we can afford healthy food or medical care. All the healthy food in the world would not help my son with an asthma attack.

          • PhDGirl

            1) you need to do some more research on social determinants of health and 2) I suggest you look into the underlying cause of asthma (chronic inflammation) and how diet/lifestyle can mitigate attacks.

          • corblimeybot

            Thank god none of the severe asthmatics in my family believe in this bullshit. They’d be dead several times over.

          • Wren

            So do you imagine everyone in industrial nations outside the US have access to your list of things that are oh so much more important than access to health care? You kind of didn’t bother to answer that one.
            My kids have access to healthy food (and plenty of it), relatively clean air, clean water, a relatively walkable neighbourhood (it’s a village so few shops), fantastic schools, and we pay council tax, which somehow matters, right? He’s also plays multiple sports and is pretty darned fit. None of that seems to address his reaction to cold air, exercise (despite his sports) or any kind of upper respiratory illness as well as an inhaler. Given the family history of asthma, I’d be willing to put a whole lot on the genetic influence there. Admittedly, I could dramatically reduce the need for his inhaler if I changed his lifestyle to keep him indoors all winter and not exert himself, but we’re both happier with free at point of access medical care and inhalers.
            I don’t deny that there are influences other than health care, but to ignore the importance of access to healthcare is ridiculous. If all it took was money, rich people wouldn’t get sick and wouldn’t need healthcare. Instead, they tend to have the best healthcare money can buy.
            I don’t think you’ll get too far on this blog with your blame the victim approach to illness.

          • Sonja Henie

            Access to HEALTH care, PhDGirl is part of social policy.

        • Dr Kitty

          https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/19/edzard-ernst-outspoken-professor-of-complementary-medicine

          CAM will not improve health outcomes.
          Reducing poverty, inequality and addiction will.

          What is your PhD in, BTW?

  • jenny

    OT: http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2012/06/14/a-young-mothers-birth-story-told-with-photos/

    Post is 4 years old. No clue what state. Allowing for the fact that sometimes patients are completely mistaken about what occurred during treatment/labor, this mom reports being given Pitocin for augmentation twice during her home birth. With no visible saline lock or telltale gauze and tape, one might infer that the Pitocin was either a placebo, or IM…. and no mention of how fetal tolerance was monitored.

    “I am dilated to a shy 3cm and rocking through a contraction. They are so slow. I received and asked for some pitocin to help me speed things a bit. My contractions were just honestly…very…slow.”

    At 4cm: “Just received some more pitocin, simply because my contractions were slowing down a whole lot again, and I was being too dramatic to walk around. I wanted to lay down, especially hardly getting sleep. Big cry baby. I needed Shane.”

    And then she has what sounds like a PPH afterwards and gets herbs…

    “Whoohoo! I am in shock obviously. I receive some kind of liquid therapy herb tincture for my dizziness and shock. I have also lost a lot of blood.”

    Yup.

    • AA

      People are wondering how she had pitocin for augmentation at home by a HB midwife. The answer is actually pretty easy. Some states allow CPMs to carry pitocin for hemorrhage. So the MW uses this pitocin in small amounts subcutaneously on a repeated basis to augment labor. No “interventions” requiring IV access or electronic fetal monitoring, because that would be so unnatural. a previous article on skob talked about a “granny midwife” that used pitocin in this way.

      • jenny

        Wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t licensed to carry it at all and bought it from Mexico.

    • AA

      Crazy stuff from a midwifery group below. Fortunately the doula who posted this question ultimately decided to not accept this client.

      “G4P1A2
      Back story: previous labor was 9 days long and
      unassisted, transferred to hospital after passing some small clots
      during labor. P1 was stillborn.

      Client is very against doppler use, but would agree to use during
      pushing. Client has stated (indirectly) that she absolutely will not
      have a cesarean, even if it means another stillbirth. Serious white coat
      syndrome.

      How do you approach this with love and compassion
      while also getting her to understand the gravity of the choices she
      would currently make?

      * I am not seeking medical advice for said client.”

      • jenny

        Holy crap, I hope that woman is able to get psychological help.

    • moto_librarian

      And the midwife let her push for 3 HOURS with intact waters!

  • CSN0116

    “Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby” or “Breast milk is the best food for your baby”

    Can we talk about those statements for a moment? Because I’m truly curious.

    Assuming that the breast milk in question is free from all drugs, alcohol, and communicable diseases, and that there is enough of it and its contents are sufficient (fats)…

    … what these statements actually mean is that breast milk is the most complete nutrition for your baby, because, indeed, formula is not a 100% replication of breast milk, and therefore it cannot be considered “complete.” I would not argue this.

    But since when do we need complete nutrition to thrive or even supersede others? So examples of complete sources of protein are things like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Examples of incomplete protein are things like nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables. But not only can one eat very few complete proteins and thrive, one can even eat zero complete proteins and still thrive. This would apply to other nutritional sources as well. One does not need complete, or perfect, or best to survive and thrive (or supersede).

    Breast milk is a source of nutrition. But the reality is that one’s nutritional choices can be dicked around with a lot and still allow the person to be 100% OK, or even better off, health-speaking, than his counterparts who make different, “more complete” choices. Because health is complex and nutritional differences, so long as they include the bear minimums (which formula does), carry little to no weight in influencing outcomes.

    Am I making sense? Thoughts? I feel like the rebuttal by formula feeders to “breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby” is often “well formula is a safe and acceptable choice that produces healthy babies” – which is true but does not address the uselessness of the original claim.

    • Jules B

      It’s a great point – when those breastfed babies are weaned, do they move onto only solid foods that are “perfect” and “complete”? Or do they end up eating mostly a diet of goldfish crackers and buttered pasta noodles like most toddlers? 😉

      I kid, but I agree that since when should perfection ever be the *minimum* required – as seems to be the expectation of many lactavists? It is absurd to make perfect be the standard that all mothers are supposed to somehow live up to. Yet they seem to think it a reasonable ask. It’s just another indicator of how abusive their tactics really are.

      • Charybdis

        Oh, sweetie, no. Those lactivists are still nursing their toddlers as often as the kid wants, so any and all gaps in their nutritional intake (goldfish crackers and buttered pasta noodles) are magically and miraculously filled in like supplemental Spackle (TM) by Mom’s breastmilk.

        • corblimeybot

          This is actually a really accurate insight about the people I know who are doing extended breastfeeding.

        • Jules B

          Ah yes, silly me, I forgot that with the magic of breastmilk, it literally does not matter what else your kids eat! Or if they eat at all!

    • guest

      You make sense to me. I say this about adult diets all the time, particularly when people throw “empty calories” around. Not every calories needs to come with high levels of sixteen different vitamins and minerals (there are very few truly empty calories that have none at all). As long as you get *enough* vitamins and minerals and *enough* calories, you can thrive even if some of your calories were just calories, and not also protein, vitamins, etc. But human beings evolved to be able to survive periods of scarcity and we just don’t need one perfect food all of the time – not even breast milk.

      (I also wonder how often breast milk is tested to see if every woman’s milk is equally nutritious. Lactivists say that it is, but then other folks talk about fore/hind milk imbalance and still others say a woman needs to eat healthy food to produce healthy milk – so what’s the truth?)

      • CSN0116

        Back when I used to work with breast feeding moms – when I decided I would NEVER breast feed a child lol – the difference in milk was clear …literally. Milk that accumulated a small or non-existent fat layer at the top, milk which light could shine through, was shit milk. It produced fussier, hungrier, less content babies who were slower to gain and often went on to need supplementation. Milk that looked like whole milk, that light could not shine through, and that developed a nice, thick layer of fat when left still was much better milk.

        Moms who just barely made the “normal” for BMI, insisted on yoga and pilates daily, lived on non-fat soy lattes, and who merely picked at food throughout the day, tended to produce the shit milk.

        Moms who really paid attention to their food (high protein) and water intake, and were not obsessed with losing the baby weight, faired much better.

        Each group *could* produce enough, but the quality was like night and day. And the effects on baby were also crystal clear. The moms with the weak milk were more likely to quit breast feeding due to starving, fussy babies.

        It’s a shame, if lactivists would stop the drivel that what you eat, and how much of it, doesn’t really matter and your body will compensate (because God knows we can’t make it look inconvenient) – more women would continue breast feeding. Stay away from stuff like broccoli, cauliflower and curry, and make sure you’re eating every calorie your body REQUIRES to nurse. Things will go a lot better for you 😉

        • AnnaPDE

          I have to admit that happily eating whatever I want in large portions and still losing the baby weight is one of the things I like best about breastfeeding. And for me at least, the difference between a small or large lunch is noticeable in milk supply. (I haven’t checked the fat content recently but then, I was never big on low-fat anything ever, so there’s not much to increase anyway.)

          • guest

            Sadly, I happily ate whatever I wanted to satiety, and I gained twenty pounds.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          N of 1, but a friends daughter was very slow to gain weight and she told me afterwards that her breastmilk was always very watery. I must say that her daughter has looked much healthier since she switched to 100% formula.

          Also anecdotal, I was never sure if it was coincidence but anytime that I cut back on my food intake I seemed to drop my milk supply. I’ve still got a little bit of pregnancy weight that I wouldn’t mind losing but I’ve put any dieting I hold until breastfeeding is over (which will hopefully be in the coming month or two)

        • Chi

          My milk was like that. Watery, very thin fatty layer. Mostly because it was a vicious cycle of me not being able to take time to eat anything decent and substantial before the baby wanted to feed again.

          When my midwife mentioned that after examining some that I’d pumped, I relayed that to the local milk sharing group and they all told me that I was being lied to, that there is NO such thing as inferior breast milk and if women in 3rd world countries could nourish their children on less nutrition than I was managing I simply had NO excuse.

          But as soon as I gave my daughter formula she was a completely different baby. Satiated, happy, and sleeping.

          I don’t think people talk enough about the fact that mothers need to look after themselves too and that they do need calorie rich food in order to make good milk.

  • Jules B

    OT, but has anyone seen this article on Medium? https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/on-breastfeeding-my-body-my-choice-6ce8d5b9611c?source=linkShare-f1a29cc819b2-1470492297 – it sounds like it could have been written by one of the regulars here :-).

    Of course, when I commented on the article in support of the author’s message, and going a bit into my own experiences, I was told by someone that I was wrong to feel validated by the article. Gas lighting again!

    • fiftyfifty1

      Its arguments seemed very familiar, no? Anyway glad the message is getting out in multiple places.

    • Madtowngirl

      Great article! But why did I read the comments………….

      • Charybdis

        Cynical optimism? You *know* they are going to be awful, but you keep hoping that they *might* not be.

    • Kelly

      Thanks for the article. I just shared it on Facebook. I got one person giving me sympathy but I just replied that I didn’t feel guilty. I just want everyone to know how dumb it is to make people feel bad about feeding their child. I have been through the emotional rollarcoaster of breastfeeding and have helped another friends as she just went through it. It is not worth it at all and I am glad that the media is starting to turn the tides on this issue even if just a little bit.

  • Stephanie Rotherham

    My bunny is a little scientist- her favourite game is to sit on the couch next to me and push stuff- her willow sticks, her toy penguin, etc- off, and peer down on it on the floor. Then she waits for the silly humans to pick it back up and does it again, testing gravity. She also throws sticks off if you give her any; interestingly, she seems to be ‘left handed’, since she always turns to the left to toss away anything she has in her mouth.

    • mabelcruet

      She’s being a philosopher and testing object permanance, and coming to terms with the realisation that if something vanishes, it doesn’t mean its gone forever. She’ll carry on testing the theory for a while, and then go through the stage of ‘if someone else is holding me and its not mummy, mummy is still here even if I can’t see her, so if I scream very loudly she’ll come back!’.

      My cats also do the dropping things on the floor trick-usually from the bookcase, but they do it because cats are complete dicks, no other reason.

      • Eater of Worlds

        I don’t know that the rabbit is ever going to get beyond object permanence, and a rabbit screaming is definitely not screaming for that reason 😉

      • Stephanie Rotherham

        Hee, funny and interesting! That actually reminds me- I watched a programme years ago, about animal intelligence, and one of the at home ‘tests’ you could do was to set up a box or something in front of your pet, drop a treat behind it, and tell them to find it. If they went around, they understood object permanence, and if they tried to go through they were stupid. Or something like that.

        Amy doesn’t really like to be held, but she actually does look for me when I leave the room- she’ll go to the end of the couch facing the door and stare at it until I come back.

        Cats can totally be dicks. My gran told me when my mum was little, they had a cat that would sit up high and ‘clipe ye’- swat, I suppose- any small crying children.

  • mabelcruet

    OT a bit-something that has completely passed me by is the breast crawl (putting the newborn baby on the abdomen and letting it drag itself up to the breast unaided). I found a newspaper article about it recently-is this really a thing? What other mammal stands by and lets their cold, wet, half-blind newborn drag itself to the nipple on its own? I’ve seen chimps give birth, and they have other chimps as attendants and even though their babies have far better motor control than ours do at birth, they are still picked up, cuddled, dried off and put to the breast. Even newborn puppies and kittens are dried off and then nudged into place by mum for breast feeding. So how is letting human babies find the nipple themselves natural?? Is it me, or does this seem really cruel? Babies are born with lots of inbuilt reflexes-just because they have them doesn’t mean to say we should force them to use it. Unless of course, the natural parenting cabal are going for survival of the fittest-those who can crawl on delivery get fed, those who don’t, well, they weren’t meant to live, obviously.

    • Aine

      Snap, I have always thought this and never seen anyone express it before. It is on average at least six months before your newborn is capable of independent locomotion, it has just been through the exhausting endurance game of labour and yet you won’t pick it up and help it to where it can find food and comfort? Cruel, cruel, cruel. And yet these women paint themselves as loving their babies more than the rest of us do. I really don’t get it.

      PS fascinating about the chimps.

      • mabelcruet

        Sorry, got the wrong cousin-its a langur monkey who was observed to act as midwife. My fun fact about chimp babies-chimps are the only other hominid apart from us witnessed to have given birth to babies backwards i.e facedown.

    • AnnaPDE

      Yeah no, that sounds like a horribly stupid and cruel interpretation. If people are doing it, they should stop.
      I was shown a kind of “advanced rooting reflex” version of it to put (dry, warm, not so new) baby to the breast for so called baby-led latching. While it may result in a good position in terms of tummy-to-tummy, it was rubbish otherwise, as LO was headbanging while looking for the nipple and smashed his face into my somewhat bony chest. Never tried it again.

    • Irène Delse

      “What kind of mammal”? Marsupials do this: the youngs are born even more immature than human babies, with eyes closed and underdeveloped back legs, but very strong hands. They use them to grab the hairs on their mother’s abdomen and crawl up to her pouch, guided by the smell of the teats.

      We already have “kangaroo care”, maybe the AP/NCB/lactivist crowd wants women to emulate marsupials in other ways too… But I doubt they really think about it like that!

      • mabelcruet

        But marsupials have to do it like that because they don’t form placentas-once the embryo has used up the yolk sac then it has to get to an alternative source of food, hence the crawl to the nipple. Placentas are a far better system for in utero nutrition for a complex organism. I almost get why some of the alternative mamas want to bury the placenta at home to show it respect or reverence-placentas are amazing things and we just chuck them away!

        • AnnaPDE

          Placentas may be great, but I like the idea of getting the embryo out while it’s still a reasonable size and then growing it in an easily accessible pouch with an elastic opening. Kangaroos got that right!

          • T.

            You know, now that I think of it… It could be great. Think on how easier it would make a lot of things!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Are marsupials subsets of mammals?

        • Irène Delse

          Yes. Infra-classs Marsupialia is a subset of class Mammalia. What we call “mammals” in common language is actually the infra-class Placentalia or “true mammals”.

  • mabelcruet

    It’s just like creationists with their ‘Evolution is just a theory’, stance, showing that they have absolutely no understanding of what the scientific definition of ‘theory’ actually is.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    Proud to be a Scully.

  • Sue

    It always amuses me when the anti-scientists and woo peddlers claim to promote science. It’s just paying lipservice to a fashionable stance. When they then start telling scientists how they should do, and interpret, science, it really becomes hilarious.

    The term “evidence-based research” is always a red flag.

  • J.B.

    And we could expand on this theme to discuss how science and research are utterly misrepresented. I mean, when there’s a law saying test to x standard and then you do and tell people what the results are, the answer is to make you stop talking about the results, not assess what standard you should me measuring to, amirite? (Sorry, off topic and intentionally vague but le sigh.)

    You know what theory I don’t believe in? Gravity. I have decided it no longer applies because of my own belief 😉

    • guest

      My son (who is three) gets mad at gravity all the time. He wants his toys to do something that gravity won’t allow, and then he wants me to “fix” this and I explain that I can’t, because that’s how gravity works, and then he tantrums, screaming “I don’t WANT gravity to work like that!”

      • J.B.

        Three year olds are ridiculously adorable in the abstract when they are being ridiculously crazy making in your own house 🙂

        • guest

          It was also pretty adorable when he was 18 months old and the very concept of magnets, they stick together made him cry every day for two weeks. (If he could talk then, he probably would have been wailing “But I don’t WANT them to stick together!)

      • BeatriceC

        Charlotte is having some issues with gravity as well. She’s getting braver and braver, and with her missing wing, physics isn’t working like she expects it to (birds put out their wings to steady themselves when they lose their balance, and sticking out her only wing just makes the issue worse for her). I’m sure if she knew the right words, she’d be complaining about gravity as well. For now she only knows “NO!” and makes rather constant use of it. She shouts “NO!” when she doesn’t want to do something, or when she gets upset about something.

        • guest

          I always think parrots are very toddler-like.

          • BeatriceC

            I describe them a genius toddlers with a can opener on their face.

          • Azuran

            Whenever I eat something ‘bird appropriate’ I always share with my two birds. Ramses will usually take a bite, drop it, then start yelling because Kiwi still has food and she doesn’t.

          • demodocus

            You have a girl bird named Ramses?

          • Azuran

            Yea….I’m not her first owner and they just basically decided she was male without ever checking.

    • Roadstergal

      Can we tangent on trying to communicate the idea that “IVD-approved” does not mean ‘validated,’ or often ‘all that well qualified’?

  • CSN0116

    The fact that this woman has the followers she does proves that we are failing our children miserably regarding teaching them proper critical thinking skills, statistical understanding/interpretation, biology, and the scientific method.

    • FortyMegabytes

      Not to throw politics into this, but four years ago the Texas GOP put this statement in their platform:

      “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs”

      There are people who have a vested interest in keeping people ignorant and uneducated.

      Link:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/texas-gop-rejects-critical-thinking-skills-really/2012/07/08/gJQAHNpFXW_blog.html

      • Azuran
      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        While I love my state, it’s freaking weird in some areas, and education’s probably the biggest one. I’m planning on homeschooling in no small part because of this sort of thing, and outsourcing those subjects I have no business teaching (see: high school science and math) to those who are much more knowledgeable than I.
        I will say that TX does at least have a program wherein high schoolers, homeschooled or not, attend community college and get college credit for free, so good on them (us) in that regard.

        • CSN0116

          We pay big bucks (well for one kid it wouldn’t be, but we have five) for a private STEM school. It does not reject all Common Core Curriculum – of which I find cumbersome, developmentally inappropriate, and a half-ass attempt at a decent idea (i.e. Singapore math’s reject step-sibling) – but the school does not adhere to APPR and high stakes testing, thus removing the need to “teach my kids to a test” and creating a free learning environment. As young as kindergarten there are robotics classes, cooking, Lego Clubs, classes where you design and build cities, coding, lots of art, etc. The school is heavy in “thinking outside the box” and “maco level thinking”. Next to homeschooling, it is our best option. And we’re very happy. I understand your choice.

        • Yeah, but TX has precisely ZERO regulation over homeschooling. You can literally tell the school district you plan on homeschooling, do absolutely nothing about schooling, and the child and the state both have no recourse.

          So it’s great that Texas lets homeschooled kids go to community college for free, it really is, but a lot of them go in so far behind that they’re not ready for high school work. You seem to be taking steps to avoid that- good. But homeschooling in a place where you have no regulation means you also have a hard time seeing if your schooling is going off the rails or not because you have no checks whatsoever.

          I’m also very much against homeschooling as a concept because dammit, public schools are necessary for those people who cannot or do not want to homeschool. Every single dollar those schools get is important, and taking kids out of them steals money from those schools. Either you do it well, with tutors and museums and such that you could also do in conjunction with public school (which reproduces your privilege while fucking over other students), or you do it poorly and fuck your kid over. I don’t like either outcome.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Well, homeschoolers don’t have state-issued checks here, true, but there’s nothing to stop us from requiring our kids to take standardized tests each year. That’s our plan, because as you say, it can be quite hard to determine how your own kids are doing when you’re their primary educator.
            (Also, to clarify: the CC thing applies to all high schoolers regardless of school, so those kids in public or private schools are as welcome to attend CCs as their homeschooled peers.)
            Our local public schools are ranked very poorly from K up and have serious gang and violence problems in the upper grades in addition to the aforementioned dreadful educational standards. Do I think that homeschooling is ideal per se? Nope. It has its problems, just as any schooling method or environment will have. However, my daughter won’t get constantly groped between classes because the administrators refuse to do anything about the gang members sexually harassing/assaulting girls in the hallway. My daughter won’t, like a friend’s daughter, get punched, hit, and spat on by another child in KINDERGARTEN while the teachers threaten the victim with punishment if she complained. Do I think that the way things are in this school district are acceptable for ANY student? Hell, no! But I can’t save every kid there. I can (and do) vote to try to get the current idiots in power out. That’s about it. Until things are much better there, or until something drastically changes in our situation, we’ll plan on homeschooling.

          • And I do understand why individual parents choose to do what’s best for their kids. Those schools sound dreadful.

            But from a societal standpoint, I wish we could ban homeschooling (with rare exceptions for medical issues and unaddressed school issues like bullying) and all private and parochial schooling, then get our act together and actually get the public school system working. The ability to check out of the public school system is NOT good. If rich and poor alike had to deal with the same school systems, it would help a lot. And yes, we’d have to do something about districts and how we fund schools, because that’s also FUBAR right now.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I know you and I have the same experience with being home schooled, so I know that you are going to be a good home schooler and not the type of home school parent that we grew up with.

  • Elizabeth A

    O T, massive, so sorry.

    Can someone talk to me about the benefits and appropriate use of bed rest in pregnancy? I am hearing a lot about how it doesn’t help and shouldn’t be used. However, I spent some time on bed rest during my last pregnancy (which is not classified as disastrous because local emergency responders got us to a safe c-section), and a good friend is currently on hospital bed rest because of a short and partially dilating cervix (she’s 20-some weeks pregnant with twins). In both cases, very well-respected doctors and hospitals are involved.

    Are the popular articles about the uselessness of bed rest missing a key point somewhere? If so, what is it? Or is bed rest genuinely pointless?

    • Amy M

      Not a Doctor, but I was put on hospital bed rest when pregnant with twins, for the same reason as your friend. I was further along, 30wk, by the time I was hospitalized. A few weeks before that, my doctor put me on partial bedrest—meaning, I wasn’t allowed to go to work, or walk a lot or travel far. However, I was able to walk around my house, and a quick trip to the grocery store to buy bread was ok too. I did find that physical activity tended to increase the braxton hicks, but the actual pre-term labor seemed to start and stop regardless of what I was doing.

      In the hospital, they gave me tocolytics also, which I think doctors are not doing much any more, because there was question if they are effective. I believe (though I can ask next time I’m there) that my OB felt that bedrest might not help, but it wouldn’t hurt and if the pre-term labor (I had several episodes) didn’t stop, at least I’d already be in the hospital and the babies and I could get care asap. Ultimately, my babies held out to 36 weeks, and I had been sent home from the hospital as stable, at 34 weeks. Was it the drugs, the bedrest, some combo of those two, or just luck, we don’t know.

    • Daleth

      I wasn’t put on bedrest with my twins when complications arose, and my docs explained that it was because the risk-benefit ratio wasn’t where it needed to be; that is, the benefits of bedrest were marginal, particularly compared to the risk of blood clotting as a result of immobility. I think they even said they never recommended total bedrest.

      They did, however, tell me to be only minimally active–I should rest a lot in various places (bed, chair, couch), get up to pee, eat, walk around the house or yard, etc., but no working (though as a lawyer my job is completely sedentary), no lifting, no exercise etc. I seem to recall that they even called this approach “modified bed rest”–in other words, lots of rest interspersed with a good deal of walking around the house/yard.

      • Clorinda

        My last pregnancy, I was on modified bed rest. Same. minimally active.

      • guest

        I was also put on modified bedrest for pre-e with twins. I can’t say how much it helped the pregnancy (but I was able to keep them in for another month), but even modified bed rest had serious negative effects on my health. I was so weak after they were born that I quickly developed tendonitis in my wrists, and when I started work out again, I promptly injured both of my knees.

        I think if doctors put patients on bed rest, they should also put patients on a rehab program after. I got nothing but warnings to not exercise for another six weeks after my c-section and then “go slow.” I thought I was going slow; still got injured.

    • MI Dawn

      The thing I’ve heard about bedrest is that it helps take the pressure off the cervix for premature labor. But I think it’s often used more as a preventative then a treatment. I was on it for my first (pre-e) pregnancy, modified in that I could move around the house but was expected to rest as much as possible to keep my blood pressure lower. For long term bedrest, I know we recommended at least some room walking, and often bedside PT to keep muscles a bit more active.

      • FormerPhysicist

        I was also on modified bed rest for pre-E. Maybe my BP would have stabilized and slightly reduced anyhow, but something worked and I went another 4 weeks.

    • Azuran

      After 10 early miscarriages in the last 3 years, one of my coworker was put on bed rest by her doctor as soon as she became pregnant. She is now 16 weeks, it’s the first time ever that she made it past 8 weeks…
      It could be a total coincidence. After being tested for basically every possible cause of infertility out there without ever finding any explanation, her doctor probably reached the point where they had absolutely nothing to lose in trying anything.

      • Sue

        I suspect that desperation and the desire to try to “do something” were operating there.

        If you think about first trimester miscarriages, where there is a tiny fetus trying to develop, buried deep in a thick uterus with lots of amniotic fluid and protected deep in the pelvis, it’s clear that neither physical activity nor gravity can save a failing implantation or development.

        The vast majority of miscarriages occur very early. There is either failure of implantation, or fetal development, or both. We also now know, through early ultrasounds, that, by the time the cramps and bleeding start, fetal loss has already occurred,a nd the unsuccessful pregnancy is being expelled.

        This is different from bleeding in early pregnancy from small blood collections like subchorionic hematoma, where the fetus remains intact.

        I make a point of advising women with threatened miscarriage that resting makes no difference, because I don;t want them to think that they caused the miscarriage through something they did.

    • mostlyclueless

      From uptodate:

      Is bed rest beneficial? — There is no evidence supporting bed rest as an effective intervention for prevention of spontaneous preterm birth in singletons [3,4] or twins [5]. Bed rest has known potential harms: It promotes loss of trabecular bone density, increases venous thromboembolism risk, produces musculoskeletal deconditioning, and places significant psychosocial strain on individuals and families [3,6-12]. Based on lack of evidence of efficacy in prematurity prevention, and known significant risks, we do not recommend bed rest for women with a recent history of [preterm labor].

      Refs:

      3. Goldenberg RL, Cliver SP, Bronstein J, et al. Bed rest in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 1994; 84:131.

      4. Sosa CG, Althabe F, Belizán JM, Bergel E. Bed rest in singleton pregnancies for preventing preterm birth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015; :CD003581.

      5. Crowther CA, Han S. Hospitalisation and bed rest for multiple pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010; :CD000110.

      6. Allen C, Glasziou P, Del Mar C. Bed rest: a potentially harmful treatment needing more careful evaluation. Lancet 1999; 354:1229.

      7. Kovacevich GJ, Gaich SA, Lavin JP, et al. The prevalence of thromboembolic events among women with extended bed rest prescribed as part of the treatment for premature labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2000; 182:1089.

      8. Maloni JA, Schneider BS. Inactivity: symptoms associated with gastrocnemius muscle disuse during pregnancy. AACN Clin Issues 2002; 13:248.

      9. Maloni JA, Kane JH, Suen LJ, Wang KK. Dysphoria among high-risk pregnant hospitalized women on bed rest: a longitudinal study. Nurs Res 2002; 51:92.

      10. Maloni JA, Alexander GR, Schluchter MD, et al. Antepartum bed rest: maternal weight change and infant birth weight. Biol Res Nurs 2004; 5:177.

      11. Maloni JA, Park S. Postpartum symptoms after antepartum bed rest. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs 2005; 34:163.

      12. Promislow JH, Hertz-Picciotto I, Schramm M, et al. Bed rest and other determinants of bone loss during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004; 191:1077.

      uptodate article: http://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-pregnant-women-after-inhibition-of-acute-preterm-labor?source=machineLearning&search=bed+rest&selectedTitle=1~150&sectionRank=1&anchor=H24606278#H24606278

      • Elizabeth A

        I’ve seen the Google results, thanks. I was hoping that someone with better knowledge could help bridge the gap between the unilateral rejection of bed rest presented to laypeople and the observed fact that women nonetheless wind up on hospital bed rest at their doctors’ recommendations.

        • Sue

          See my response above. No evidence of benefit but most obstetricians advise it – probably for the reasons I suggest.

    • Bugsy

      Complete anecdote, but it helped me. I was put on four days of full bed rest plus twelve weeks of modified bed rest following unexplained bleeding at 28 weeks with Preschooler Bugsy. The bed rest got me out of a stressful job situation, and although I had some additional scares, I made it to 39 weeks with that pregnancy after that. I have no doubt that the bed rest was what enabled me to carry him full-term. Keep in mind it was modified bed rest – I rested at home, spent a lot of time watching the 2012 Olympics, and in general tried my hardest to limit time spent upright. Even cooking dinner would cause my uterus to become irritable and start contracting.

      I never went on bed rest w Baby Bugsy. It was a wildly different pregnancy – he came at 40 weeks with zero complications throughout.

    • Sue

      First-trimester spontaneous miscarriage is essentially non-preventable – it relates to the inability of the early foetus to implant or to develop. In this case, women need to understand that there is nothing they did to precipitate the miscarriage, and resting won’t prevent it. In general, advice to rest in this situation can be detrimental because, if the miscarriage proceeds, a woman can blame herself for “not resting enough”.

      Bed rest to prevent fetal loss or early labor from mechanical causes like incompetent cervix or short cervix seems to make more sense, but it doesn’t work.

      This paper from Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2014 summarises the situations and the evidence:
      “What Is New in Bed Rest in Pregnancy? Best Articles From the Past Year”

      The author looked at the following situations:
      SHort cervix
      bed rest for treatment of : threatened
      abortion (two trials, 64 patients), hypertension (four
      trials, 449 patients), prevention of preeclampsia (two
      trials, 106 patients), preterm birth in singleton gestations
      (one trial, 1,266 patients), preterm birth in multiple
      gestations (seven trials, 713 patients), and impaired fetal
      growth (one trial, 107 patients)

      In each case, there was no evidence for benefit, but evidence for harm (increased risk of thromboembolism and bone demineralisation).

      In short, there is no evidence for benefit for bed rest for any condition, but evidence of harm.

      The author remarked that “Most physicians prescribe activity restriction, most believe it does not work. It costs $2-7 billion
      and affects almost 1 million families annually.”

      I suspect it is used for two main reasons:
      1. To maintain a close eye on the mother, especially if there is PIH etc, and
      2. To appear to be “doing something” when the family is anxious about the pregnancy failing.

      • Elizabeth A

        As someone who was on modified bed rest for a while, reason 2 is a lot to swallow. Bed rest was a terrible time for my whole family. I was in hospital for a while. I was not fantastic at actually resting at home. I have no idea whether bed rest got me a single minute more of pregnancy, and I am quite clear about its toll on my body, my family, and my marriage. But believe me, it was not instigated from my end.

        In the final analysis, I wish there had been more hospital rest. Starting to hemorrhage at home was terrifying. Putting me in hospital to keep an eye on me made total sense. Even there, though, the nurses wouldn’t let me walk further than the bathroom.

  • mostlyclueless

    I would point out to her that there’s a world of difference between not believing in science and not understanding it, and she seems to fall into the latter category.

  • Amy M

    Where is she getting the idea that scientists have decided that we have concrete, immutable answers for everything? Aren’t people like her the ones who keep insisting that “even science says evolution is a theory” and decry people who change their minds upon learning new evidence as flip-floppers? I mean, how can we trust those scientists, they are always changing their answers! Aren’t these the same people who can’t handle “We don’t know, no one knows yet” as an answer, so they make stuff up like “Vaccines cause autism” and “God created the world in 7 days”?

    Does she really not understand that she is saying the exact opposite of what she does, or is she just counting on her followers to be bigger idiots than she is?

    • Sue

      If she had insight into this, she would not be saying what she does.

  • Irène Delse

    So basically, Tietje builds a massive strawman, then announces to the world that she doesn’t believe in it? Count me among the unimpressed.

    Of course, if she were just resenting the world “belief” as applied to science, she would have made it clear by suggesting instead that we say “I trust science”, or accept it, or value it… As things stand, she does “appreciate” science as a wasp appreciate wood pulp: she picks some bits that she uses to build her nest, mixed with the secretions of her wacky imagination.

  • Liz Leyden

    I guess there’s a reason Tietje calls herself Modern Alternative Mama, not Modern Science Mama.

  • LaMont

    I do agree that science isn’t a belief system, which is why I actually don’t love the phrase “believe in science” either. I prefer “accept science,” because I think “believe,” with its religious usage, does imply a comparison between things like evolution and creationism, as if they’re dueling but equally valid choices we could choose to believe. I agree that Tietje’s particular breakdown of this issue is bizarre and nonsensical, but I do like to disengage science from the language of belief systems to better distinguish that it isn’t one.

    • BeatriceC

      I say “I believe the results of science”, or “I believe that science gives us the best answers with the knowledge we currently have”, or things along those lines.

      • AlisonCummins

        I skip “I believe” unless I’m trying to be careful to outline my biases and thought processes before making a possibly controversial statement.

        If I believe something it’s because it’s true. So I just say it. I don’t say ‘I believe I’m fifty-two’ or ‘I believe cotton is a cellulosic fibre’ or ‘I believe Toronto is the capital of Canada.’ I might be wrong about any of those things, in which case I’m mistaken and can be corrected. But my belief has no bearing on the facts, is an unnecessary distraction and should be omitted for clarity.

        So I would simply say, ‘science gives us the best answers with the knowledge we currently have.’ If I’m wrong, someone can tell me why.

        • Valerie

          “Believe” is such a weird word that it can be added to express uncertainty or conviction, depending on context. Eg, “I believe I’m available then, but I’ll check my calendar,” or “I believe all men are created equal.” In your examples, it’s not only unnecessary, but ambiguous, and it changes the meaning of what you are communicating. “I believe Toronto is the capital of Canada” could imply a significant level of uncertainty, or it could express an opinion that Toronto should be the capital instead of Ottawa.

        • Caylynn

          Well, Toronto is certainly not the capital of Canada, despite what its inhabitants think! 😉

          • AlisonCummins

            You guys are so smart!

        • Charybdis

          Every time I read “I believe…” , I immediately think of Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White and Bill Engvall doing their “I believe…” routine.

          “I believe the only thing worse than having diarrhea is trying to have it quietly in a public bathroom.”

    • Roadstergal

      Exactly. The scientific method works whether you believe it or not.

    • Kerlyssa

      pfft, she’s just being a pedant. saying ‘i believe in the process of scientific methodology to produce increasingly accurate results’ is a bit of a mouthful. saying you believe in science, or believe in ‘technology’, is well udnerstood

    • Madtowngirl

      I’m very likely in the minority here, in that I do believe in God (don’t worry everyone, I know the burden of proof is on me, and I have none, which is why I think it’s pointless to try and convince anyone to agree with me), so the phrase “believe in science” rubs me the wrong way, too. In science, we get evidence to support our hypothesis. It’s not so much about believing. I like how the great Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it – “the good thing about science is it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

      • MI Dawn

        No worries. Since you respect others’ right to not believe, your right to believe should also be respected.

        I don’t “believe” in science. I accept what’s been shown to be likely true (gravity, evolution), and let those who are researching other questions keep at it.

      • Sue

        What you say makes sense, Madtowngirl. In my view, it’s perfectly acceptable to hold beliefs that you recognise as beliefs and don’t try to “prove” to anyone else, while, at the same time, understanding what valid evidence means.

        I would suggest that most people have both rational and spiritual sides – the only issue is confusing the two.

    • Valerie

      Yeah, there is a ton of ambiguity and baggage with the expression “believe in.” I think when people say “I believe in science” they mean it the same way as when they say “I believe in our gymnastics team” or “I believe in Hillary Clinton.” They mean that they think it’s effective- capable, producing results, etc. They aren’t convinced of it’s existence or morality (like belief in Santa or a woman’s right to choose). It muddies the conversation when people can verbally compare “I believe in the holy bible, but you believe in science.”

      • Roadstergal

        Yeah, we need a better word/phrase. “Trust in”?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        This is all just a dig against Hillary Clinton and here “I believe in science” comment.

        • Valerie

          I’m happy when politicians say encouraging things about science, even if they don’t word it optimally. It’s scary that so many people elected to offices in the US don’t “believe in” evolution or climate change (or birth control, etc).

    • Sue

      I agree – science is neither about belief nor about “truth” – it’s the best available evidence or model at any particular time.