Raw stupidity


Raw water. It’s the latest health craze, and no, I’m not making it up.

According to the Washington Post:

Hold your canteen under a natural spring and you’ll come away with crystal clear water, potentially brimming with beneficial bacteria as well as minerals from the earth.

That’s what proponents of the “raw water” movement are banking on: selling people on the idea of drinking water that contains the things they say nature intended without the chemicals, such as chlorine, often used in urban water treatment processes.

In some areas of the country, including the West Coast, it has become a high-dollar commodity — water captured in glass bottles and sold straight to you.

“Naturally probiotic. Perfected by nature,” boasts Live Water, which sells raw water sourced from Oregon’s Opal Spring.

It signals a rise of what I call “raw stupidity,” to distinguish it from highly processed stupidity.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Raw stupidity arises spontaneously from deeply held, nonsensical beliefs.[/pullquote]

What’s the difference?

Highly processed stupidity does not arise spontaneously but requires technology for propagation. Anti-vax is the classic example; indeed it’s the stupidity equivalent of Cheetos. The anti-vax movement has existed for more than 200 years, but it didn’t really take off until the advent of computers, Wi-Fi and Facebook.

No one wakes up one morning and says, “I think vaccines, which I know absolutely nothing about, lead to unusual diseases, which I also know absolutely nothing about.” Most anti-vaxxers adopt views they have acquired from proselytizing of other, equally ignorant anti-vaxxers. The primary mode of transmission is through websites and Facebook groups.

Moreover, highly processed stupidity seeks to claim the mantle of science and technology by invoking the copy-paste skills of its advocates who faithfully reproduce long lists of scientific citations that they have never read and wouldn’t understand if they did read. Andrew Wakefield is its avatar, a “scientist” who faked his science for profit and lost his medical license as a result.

The raw water craze, in contrast, is raw stupidity. Like most raw stupidity, it arises spontaneously from two deeply held nonsensical beliefs:

1. If it’s natural, it must be good.
2. It’s true if I can see it with my unaided eyes.

Everyone knows that nature is benevolent, that lions lie down with lambs, that the population of the earth used to be much larger and decreased steadily with the advent of technology, and that health is all about eating as nature intended.

The paradigmatic example of raw stupidity is flat eartherism. Obviously the earth is flat because it looks flat. Obviously the earth can’t be round because the people in Australia would fall off.

The belief in the beneficial properties of raw water is similar. It couldn’t possibly be more natural than bubbling up direct from the ground, right? It’s clear; you can’t see any bacteria or parasites so there aren’t any bacteria or parasites. So what if large animals or even people defecate nearby? Everyone knows that feces contains only beneficial bacteria because it comes directly from inside all natural fauna.

In addition to raw stupidity and highly processed stupidity, there’s an amalgamation involving both.

Consider the wisdom of Kelly Brogan, MD holistic psychiatrist. What’s a holistic psychiatrist? It’s a pro-wrestler of healthcare, a fraud who profits from the gullible.


Goodbye to germ theory! Can we really maintain the childish illusion that there are a handful of identified “bad germs” out there trying to kill us?

Brogan is obviously invoking raw stupidity: we can’t see bacteria and even if we could they would be beneficial because they are natural. On the other hand, Brogan transmits her stupidity almost exclusively through technology and invokes the imprimatur of science by constantly alluding to her medical degree. It’s the clever combination of both raw stupidity and the highly processed stupidity of someone like Andrew Wakefield that makes her particularly dangerous.

It’s hard to know what to do about either raw stupidity or highly processed stupidity. As Einstein supposedly said:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Perhaps we should just take the natural approach and let only the fittest survive. Those who are stupid enough to buy raw water or believe a quack like Kelly Brogan are swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool as it is. Unfortunately, there’s no drug to treat stupidity; sadly, we’re limited to hoping it will burn itself out.

  • J.B.

    The article that was carried in my local paper made me cringe, and wonder when lawsuits would happen. If as a comment below suggests they are piping muncipal water then yes, there are some circumstances where it might not be treated – you can see water quality reports for Madras OR and Deschutes Valley Water District who sells them water to view details.

  • MI Dawn

    The funny thing is that they are actually selling tap water (copied from a comment on RI) for a lot of money! Grifters gotta grift…

    “They all like to sorta imply that they’re filling bottles right outta Opal Springs,” Edson Pugh, the general manager, told me. “They are not down at our spring bottling directly from the source. It’s the same water that we’re serving our customers.”

    In other words, Live Water’s pricey “Fountain of Truth” is just the tap water from Jefferson County, which residents get piped into their homes for about one-third of a cent per gallon.

    When we asked Live Water to confirm this, Singh was open about it.

    “The town of Madras, Oregon, has been drinking raw unsterilized Opal Springs water from their taps for over half a century and no one has ever gotten sick,” Singh said in an email. “Our water is indeed the same water that comes out of their taps.” Shortly before publication, Live Water updated its site to acknowledge this fact.

    • MaineJen

      LOL! Yes, I’m SURE that a town pumps untreated water through the taps. That is a thing that happens.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Um, the “water treatment facility” is called that for a reason.

        Municipal water is highly treated and regulated.

      • J.B.

        Depends on the source. A spring might get away with being classified as groundwater. In that case depending on state requirements disinfection might not be required. You’re basically relying at that point on protection of the source and proper construction of the well.

        The longer such water sits (in transport), the more potential there is for bacterial growth.

  • Allie

    Well, this does jive with the lactivist belief that it’s the formula, not the lack of safe drinking water in developing countries, that harms babies. I think the worst part of this is that people die every day from contaminated water, and some have to walk for miles every day to access it. To refuse that to which we are privileged to have ready and unlimited access, 24/7, is utterly ridiculous.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Hmmm, this line of thinking seems familiar…

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    let richie rich drink his dirty ditch water since he’s too good to drink the tap water us poors do. let nature takes its course.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Meanwhile, people around the world without their heads up their privileged asses are working tirelessly to make sure people aren’t forced to drink “raw water.” And then be infested by parasites or watch their kids die of dysentery.

    • It was inevitable from the time the “mineral water” craze began. In Israel at least, tap water is actually cleaner than “spring water” in many instances. What the public doesn’t know is that most mineral and spring water is fitered and irradiated with ultraviolet before being bottled to get rid of impurities and pathogens.

      And there are warnings now about the unsuitability of mineral water for use with baby formula powder. Mineral water is, surprise! loaded with minerals in concentrations too high for small infants.

  • namaste

    I hope they enjoy the all-natural intestinal parasites they are almost certain to contract from this foolishness.

    • Mishimoo

      New all natural weight loss trend!

    • I hope they contract cholera and other waterborne diseases and the company which bottles the stuff gets sued for mega-bucks.

      • Tigger_the_Wing

        Well, I sort-of agree with you: I hope the pushers of this nonsense get all the nastiest diseases, and the poor deluded customers get just enough of the squits to make them realise their mistake.

        Except they’ll probably believe that it is the water ‘detoxing’ their bodies. Until one or more dies. 🙁

        • kilda

          and even after that. We’ve seen plenty of evidence that people will cling to their woo even after it kills someone.

  • Jack Sprat

    Now if I had a truck load of empty jugs to dispose of, it would cost me a couple of dollars to drop them at the recycle centre. Were I to fill them full of pond water, people will pay me for the privilege? I am so miffed I didn’t think of this. Damn it.

  • Sue

    “Perfected by nature” LOL

    In parts of China and India, natural fluoride levels in ground water are so high as to cause true toxicity (as opposed to controlled town water fluoridation, which gives the dental benefits of fluoride without the toxicity).

    Many parts of the world have naturally very low Iodine levels in soil and ground water. Without supplementation, this leads to congenital hypothyroidism. Naturally.

  • Russell Jones

    This is breathtakingly moronic even by woomeister standards. Can advocating consumption of actual, literal shit sandwiches be far behind? I mean, shit is all natural, right? After all, one of our dogs is a big-time poop eater, and dogs are just overflowing with natural evolutionary wisdom!

    Also, lol Kelly Brogan. Some things never change, and it appears that Dr. Brogan remains the poster child for the “Peddling Woo to Dunning-Kruger Rubes is Easier and More Lucrative than Practicing Medicine for a Living” movement.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “Peddling Woo to Dunning-Kruger Rubes is Easier and More Lucrative than Practicing Medicine for a Living”

      I’ve said it many times, it’s too bad I have ethics. It’s so easy to rip people off.

    • You haven’t heard of fecal transplants?

      • Russell Jones

        I have NOW. Thanks a lot! >:-(

      • Claire Secrist

        They aren’t woo, though.

        • Azuran

          Give it time, I’m sure eventually some woo guru is going start peddling for some bastardized ‘natural’ fecal transplant.
          coffee enemas are already mainstream woo, it’s only a matter of time before someone start pushing black ivory coffee as the best enema coffee because it combines both the best elements of poop and coffee and then eventually they will just go straight to elephant poop enema

          • Kerlyssa

            i have already seen painfully earnest people who thought the gold standard for fecal transplants was the shit of an unvaccinated newborn fed only on breastmilk. the phrase ‘virgin gut’ was bandied about.

      • Heidi

        At least fecal transplants go in the butt where E. Coli is supposed to be.

        • Zornorph

          I said what-what in the butt?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Boogie in the butt, put your boogie in your butt

            Hey, I ain’t puttin’ no boogie in
            Nobody’s butt, that’s nasty man
            What you talkin’ about, putting
            Boogies in peoples’ butt, you out
            Yo’ mind or something? You’d go to jail
            For doing something like that!

            Well, step aside my friend
            I’ve been doing it for years!
            I say, sit on down
            Open your eyes, and open up your ears!

            Say, put a tree in your butt!
            Put a bumblebee in your butt!
            Put a clock in your butt!
            Put a big rock in your butt!

            Say, put some fleas in your butt!
            I say, start to sneeze in your butt!
            I say, put a tin can in your butt!
            Or put a little tiny man in your butt!

            I say, put a light in your butt!
            I say, make it bright, in your butt!
            I say, put a TV in your butt!
            I say, put me in your butt!

            Everybody say..

            Iiiiiiiiin your butt, put
            The boogie in your butt, put, put
            The boogie in your butt!

            I ain’t- wha, hey- that’s- man
            I ain’t puttin no TREES in nobody’s
            Butt, no BEES in nobody’s butt
            Puttin’ nothin’..

            No- You must be out your mind, man!
            Do y’all get paid for doing this?
            Cuz it’s.. You got to get some kind
            Of money cuz it’s.. don’t sound like
            The kind of.. I’d rather golf, to be
            Perfectly honest, than put something
            In somebody’s butt, to be truthful

            Well, step aside my friend
            And let me show you how to do it
            When Big Bad E just rock rock to it

            Put a case in your butt!
            I say, put a metal case in your butt!
            I say, put her face in your butt!

            I say, put a frown in your butt!
            I say, put a clown in your butt!
            I say, sit on down in your butt!

            I say, put a boat in your butt!
            I say, put a moat in your butt!
            Put a mink coat in your butt!

            Put everything in your butt!
            Just start to sing about your butt!
            Feels real good, when you sing about your butt!

            Iiiiiiiiin your butt, put
            The boogie in your butt, put, put
            The boogie in your butt!

            Now wait a second now.. Do y’all get
            Paid for this, for doing this, putting
            In the butt and all that stuff? Really?
            Hey, what’s this? A hundred dollar bill? I
            Get to keep this hundred dollars if I be
            Puttin’ stuff in peoples’ butts? Really?

            Step aside!

            Put a telephone in your butt!
            Say, put some dust in your butt!
            I say, it’s a must in your butt!
            I say, pizza crust in your butt!

            Say, put a telephone in your butt!
            Put a dinosaur bone in your butt!

            Put a radiator in your butt!
            I say, see ya later, in your butt!
            Put an alligator in your butt!

            I say, put some money in your butt!
            Sure feels real funny, in your butt!

            Ha, I say, squeeze it! Please it!
            But don’t tease it! Put it in your butt!

            Well, lemme just say
            Put a hot cup of Brim
            Fill it to the rim
            And put it in your butt!
            A-to the beat, ha, two sugars
            Soft so sweet

          • Zornorph

            Well, I certainly can’t respond with the lyrics to What-What in the Butt – I don’t think everybody here would care for them!

          • Heidi

            A Vitamixed poop enema!

        • Eater of Worlds

          My friend swallowed a shit pill for his fecal transplant. Poop pills are routinely swallowed and not used as suppositories. Fecal transplants are often done with a colonoscopy, an enema or with a naso-gastric tube, but not limited to the rectum.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Those actually work and are evidenced-based. Also, they don’t involve people actually eating shit.

        • Sue

          They’re evidence-based for Pseudomembranous Colitis caused by C difficile, but not for the range of “wellness” indications that are now chasing them.

    • The Vitaphone Queen

      You just don’t Trust Poop Sandwiches™️!

  • Montserrat Blanco

    If I tell my grandmother I drink that kind of water she will call me stupid. The same as if I tell her that I would try a homebirth.

    She is old enough to have been near death on my mom’s birth and old enough to remember typhoid fever.

  • mabelcruet

    My cats will drink water from the shower tray (with soap bubbles and all), water in puddles and circling the drain outside, and scummy water from the base of plant pots. They won’t touch the tap water that’s left out for them in their bowl. That just proves that all nature is perfect and harmless, and processed water is evil and poisonous. My cats know the TRUTH.


    On the plus side, Giardia is bound to become more common if this catches on. We get duodenal biopsies taken if a child is losing weight or failing to thrive and we always look for Giardia, it being a cause of diarrhoea or weight loss. I’ve seen it twice in 10 years-its not common at all in the UK-but the little organisms are very striking, it’ll be nice to see more of them….

    • Roadstergal

      The smaller of our two dogs prefers water licked off of my legs when I step out of the shower. Perhaps I should market that.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        That’s hot…

        • Roadstergal

          Perhaps under other circumstances, but when an adorable and not-too-smart pup is desperately trying to dry you off from the ankles-up as you’re brushing your teeth, it’s more hilarious than hot. So sayeth Mr R.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Still, you wouldn’t sell that through heath food stores. Sex toy stores, that’s your market.

            The beauty is that could separate them into “ankle”, “calf” and “back side of the knee” shower water. And be sure to charge a premium for “inner thigh” shower water.

            Auctioneer: We’ll open this auction with this pair of panties confiscated from a prostitute.
            Quagemire: Fifty bucks!
            Auctioneer: She had nine STDs.
            Quagmire: Forty-five bucks.
            Auctioneer: And when we caught her she wet herself.
            Quagmire: Fifty bucks!

          • Roadstergal


          • mabelcruet

            I’m sure there’s some way you could train the pup to apply body lotion at the same time, that would save you a few minutes….

          • Roadstergal

            Her tongue has exfoliating properties. :/

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            My cat’s tongue has excellent exfoliating qualities too – we’ve joked since I got him two years ago that we should hire him out to beauty parlours. He particularly loves licking faces that have just come out of the shower, but also likes grooming hair.

            We need to get together and set up a pet parlour with a difference!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s no crazier than sticking a glass egg up your hoo ha.

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            And a great deal safer!

            When I read about that, I thought it was one of the weirdest sexual fetishes I’d ever read – encouraging other women to insert dangerous things where they shouldn’t be. Then I thought that perhaps she was trying to get rid of all possible competition in the most sadistic way possible. What with scalds from steaming, and infections from porous rocks, any woman following her advice would soon find herself not wanting any kind of love life. What amazes me to this day is how many people will willingly put themselves in harm’s way, just because some celebrity tells them to.

            Remember how our parents used to discourage dangerous imitative behaviour, by appealing to our common sense? “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” It seems that common sense isn’t as prevalent as it used to be.

          • sdsures

            Is it possible Paltrow gets a power trip from advising women to insert dangerous objects into their vaginas? 🙁

          • mabelcruet

            It could be a fetish, a sexual Munchausen-by-proxy!

          • sdsures

            I hope you’re wrong, because the alternative is too disgusting to contemplate.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Jade! A jade egg!

          • The Vitaphone Queen

            Why don’t we make it a glass jade egg?

            A glass jade egg a day keeps the toxinz away!

      • kilda

        one of my cats liked to drink my bath water. While i was in it.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Our Boston Terrier likes to go into the shower after the kids are done and drink the water off the floor.

    • Liz Leyden

      My cat prefers toilet water to the water in the dish. Maybe I should market that.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        “Cat’s Choice Brand” Water.

        The water that preferred by cats is now available for you!

        • mabelcruet

          This just isn’t any water: this is nature’s bounty, lightly garnished with algal bloom and seasoned with nematode juice, served with a side order of Shigella for that genuine dysenterial experience…

    • Alie

      I once caught my daughter (about age 2, I think) drinking water from the toilet brush holder. Can’t wait until she’s old enough to be super embarrassed every time I tell that story : )
      I’m guessing the infant/toddler drive to do things like lick the bottoms of shoes and eat things off the floor is adaptive, but I won’t be trying it any time soon, regardless.

    • Tiffany Aching

      One of my cat will only drink running water from the tap and will bawl his eyes out if I don’t come running to open it for him, which makes him an asshole, but also a much wiser drinker than the people who buy into this “raw water” shit.

  • Kim

    So Kelly Brogan is a qualified psychiatrist? Extraordinary.

    • kilda

      I’d like to know what medical school she went to, and if they can revoke her diploma.

      It’s like saying “we can jump off cliffs with no fear! It’s just a childish illusion that there’s this malevolent ‘gravity’ force that wants to kill us!”

      • Alie

        In fairness, that did seem the be the case for Wile E. Coyote, so there is anecdotal evidence in support : )

    • Sue

      What does a person have to do to lose their medical license in NYS?

  • fiftyfifty1

    LOL. What’s old is new again! My parents were into this back in the 70’s. We drove miles to fill up at a natural spring my mother had heard about. I remember helping to fill up the multiple gallon bottles, or lugging up a new one from the basement. Luckily, public health officials found out it was a “thing”, tested the water, found it was contaminated with benzene, and blocked it off.

  • Ozlsn

    There is a somewhat awesome meme going around “proving” that Australia is a giant hoax. Unsurprisingly a lot of us find it hilarious.

    Brogan also doesn’t believe in germ theory? Now there’s a surprise. Wonder if she’d volunteer to be a subject testing Koch’s postulates on, say, Ebola. Or even something “milder”, H1N1 perhaps?

    Somehow I doubt it.

  • Who?

    Am I the only one smelling a lawyers’ picnic coming round the mountain?

    • Roadstergal

      Has there ever been a lawsuit over raw milk, or dangerous ‘natural’ remedies (I’m thinking of the teething tablets that contained a non-homeopathic level of belladonna)?

      These folk really seem cult-like in their ability to insulate themselves from any real consequences of selling a low-quality, dangerous product.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        It’s like the victims of CPMs. They won’t hold them responsible even when it is clear they fuck up. Gotta get those defense mechanisms up and protect the bastards.

      • Allie

        I stayed well away from the lineup of natural remedies marketed for newborns/infants. I do not trust such things as they are pretty much unregulated, although I confess I did try a homeopathic colic remedy (it was mass-marketed by one of the bigs, like J&J or someone, so I’m guessing there was nothing seriously harmful in it). It sort of worked – I don’t think there were any effective ingredients in it, but some combination of the taste and texture shocked her quiet for a spell, so I was happy with that : )

    • Sarah

      Speaking as a lawyer, no you’re not.

      • Who?

        I’m a recovering lawyer. 😉

        The obvious barrier is, that like birth hobbyists, the defendant isn’t likely to have much money. And, as Bofa notes, people seem to feel bad about suing someone they have been taken in by on an emotional/values level.

  • Anion

    I swear that a glass of mineral water from the well in the Roman Baths in Bath cured my cold a few years ago (seriously; I was feeling lousy when I drank it and two hours later I felt perfectly fine). But no way would I have accepted that glass and swallowed that water if it hadn’t been thoroughly tested on a daily basis.

    • AnnaPDE

      Funnily enough the same Roman Baths had been closed (except as a museum) for years after it was suspected to have played a role in several meningitis infection. The discussion about whether to reopen it as a bath or similar was still swirling when I had a guest semester there in 2003.

      • Anion

        Oh, yes. The original well was found to be contaminated as heck; then they dug deeper or sunk a separate well, I don’t recall exactly, and found an area that was safe (I drank it in 2010, and that was all explained on the tour if memory serves).

  • Tigger_the_Wing

    We have a well that is almost two hundred feet deep, through rock. Under no circumstances would we drink the water from it, or even bathe in it, without it going through a filter first (we have a massive filter installed just inside the house, where the pipe from the well enters. We also have it tested regularly for a list of possible contaminants. Mainly because we aren’t stupid and don’t have a death wish.

    We are surrounded by beef and dairy farms, and keep sheep ourselves, so inevitably there will be the occasional tummy bug going through the family anyway. Why take the risk with filthy water? (I refuse to call it ‘raw’; raw is for certain vegetables, like salads, nothing else!).

  • Eater of Worlds

    I’m all for fresh unfiltered water. Where I grew up some of the managed open areas had natural artesian wells. All you had to do was start the hand pump and you got all the ice cold fresh water you wanted. But the key word is “managed”. That water was tested down to the last drop of beaver piss that could kill you. They swab the pump to make sure that contamination didn’t happen there either. That’s how they kept little kids and dogs free from giardia (among other things) on their fun day hike.

    I have a crystal clear creek I can see from my back window that I can avail myself of. It’s ice cold, has cute little minnows (or just small fish of some kind) in it. Just like bears shit in the woods, minnows crap in the creek. 28 deer just put their tootsies in that water today too. That’s 27 more tootsies than I am comfortable with in my water sources. So I turn around from looking out the window, and I lift the faucet since I’m not a fool.

    I don’ really have anything to say, I just wanted to talk about buck trotters and doe toes.

  • StephanieJR

    She doesn’t believe in germ theory?! Great balls of fire, how fucking stupid can you be!

    There are people in countries that are bloody dying from ‘raw water’, and these gormless idiots are willingly buying and consuming it. Excuse me for the cliche, but I can’t even.

    • Mariana

      If only the people who don’t have access to clean water could find a way to sell that water to raw water enthusiasts… then maybe they would be able to afford clean water…

      • Roadstergal

        Puerto Rico is interested. 🙁

        • Allie

          Flint, too.

      • Allie

        That’s actually an awesome idea!

  • PeggySue

    As always the problem is that the eedjits will give the “raw water” to babies, with predictable results.

  • Charybdis

    Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli O157, Legionella, Norovirus, Shigella, Pseudomonas, Naegleria fowleri, cyanobacteria, Vibrio cholerae, and Leptospira.

    Just to get the party started. What in blue blazes is WRONG with people?

    • Allie

      Those are just poor, innocent, naturally occurring animals that have been demonized by you big-water shills!

      • The Vitaphone Queen

        OT, but I played this CD-ROM game called Barbie Pet Rescue when I was a little Vitaphone Princess. As its name suggested, it was about…Barbie rescuing pets. (Who were all girls, and you had to pick their names from a list, UGH. But that’s not the point.)

        There was this one quest where you had to save an animal (I can’t remember, for the life of me, which species) from a playground at a park. Barbie needed to find drinking water to lure the animal off the playground. I kept clicking on this lake in the background, but Barbie kept responding, “Where can we find some drinking water?” (The answer was this water fountain nearby, but I don’t think I saw it.)

        Barbie, Y U NO TRUST RAW WATER®?

  • KQ Not Signed In



    We’re a beautiful state, but my god the stupid runs wild here.

    • Liz Leyden

      Vermont is similar.

      • Roadstergal

        And the California Bay Area.

        • BeatriceC

          SoCal here, and not much better. MrC’s daughter, a public health administrator who works for a major hospital and is the daughter of a biotech scientist and a pediatric ICU nurse, questions vaccines.

          • Empress of the Iguana People


          • Roadstergal

            I work at a long-standing and fairly prestigious biotech, and the amount of woo that has been infiltrating this place is alarming to me. We recently got our gym relocated and renovated as a one-stop ‘hub’ for health/fitness/banking/other personal stuff, and they have been doing a LOT of woo. I stopped at the grand opening to talk to the person who seemed responsible for all of the woo, including in-house acupuncture, asking why, as scientific institution, we don’t demand some degree of rigor around what we choose to fund on-campus. She got my name and promised to send me articles on the efficacy of the stuff they were promoting. Needless to say, I got nothing from her. I have a hunch she took my name so she could complain to my manager, but let her complain. My job is to be skeptical and demand evidence.

            Ugh, I hate this planet.

          • BeatriceC

            I would like to be able to say I’m surprised, but sadly I am not.

          • Sue

            Acupuncture seems to be the last bastion of placebo within conventional medicine. Much of its popularity in the US followed the misunderstandings of journalist James Reston who thought he had his appendix removed with “acupuncture anaesthesia” (actually it was done with local anaesthetic and intravenous sedation) – around the time of the Nixon visit to China.


          • PeggySue

            Nnnooooo, I hate to disillusion you, but there is a “holistic nursing” group that promotes things like therapeutic touch, Reiki, etc. as nursing interventions. And there are plenty of nurses who claim competency to deliver “spiritual care” though I don’t know what they mean by that.

          • It was suggested to me, when the hospital where I worked went belly-up and we all lost our jobs, that I might want to “retrain” as a “reflexologist”. It was the head of the nurses’s union who thought it was a good idea. I was flabbergasted.

          • Sue

            Sadly no illusions here, PeggySue – I’ve heard it all. Even that type of therapeutic touch that doesn’t actually involve touching!

            J Adv Nurs. 1998 Jul;28(1):117-25.
            Therapeutic touch as a nursing intervention.
            Meehan TC
            Therapeutic Touch (TT) is being proposed as a nursing intervention. Its proponents claim that it is integral to the art of nursing practice and can facilitate comfort and healing in a wide range of patients. However, the practice of TT is also controversial, primarily because it does not usually involve physical contact and is based on energy field theoretical frameworks. The development of TT and its conceptualization as an energy field interaction are reviewed, and points of controversy discussed. The method of practice is described. Review of controlled efficacy studies indicates limited and inconclusive scientific support for its proposed effects. The intrinsic relationship between TT and the placebo phenomenon is discussed. The potential of TT to enhance the placebo effect requires further exploration but should not be discounted in seeking to relieve discomfort and distress and facilitate healing. For some patients, TT may serve as a beneficial adjuvant nursing intervention.

            PMID: 9687138 DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00771.x
            [Indexed for MEDLINE]

          • MaineJen

            I CANNOT EVEN with the goddamn Reiki. “I’m not even going to touch you….I’m just going to put my hands NEAR you…that’ll be $100” What????

          • Allie

            I actually found acupuncture extremely relaxing. Perhaps just the accompanying massage, soft music and warm, dark room, but still, harmless if not strictly effectual. When I was nearing the 40 week mark, I underwent a “sweep” (basically, they jam a fist up your cooter and poke you in the cervix to try to get labour going), and also went for acupuncture for the same purpose. I don’t know if either worked, but the acupuncture was a damn sight more pleasant! (Gave birth at 39+6, in the end, btw).

      • MaineJen

        Midcoast Maine…the woo is strong

    • Spamamander (no mall bans)

      Up here in WA we’re laughing mightily at the people freaking out over the prospect of pumping their own gas. But the stupidity has a fine streak running around up here too.

      • Allie

        Oh my goodness, there’s only one municipality in my area that doesn’t let you pump your own gas, and I avoid it like the plague. I’d far rather pump my own gas than have to exchange pleasantries with someone doing it for me!

        • MaineJen

          Seriously. Whenever I have to drive through New Jersey, I get super annoyed that I can’t pump my own gas. It’s like…get your hands off my car! What are you doing back there???

  • Well, that’s Brogan’s problem- she doesn’t understand germ theory! Nothing is “trying to kill us”. It’s just trying to live and propagate itself- us getting sick and/or dying is an unintended consequence. If we die too fast, we aren’t even good hosts because it can’t find another one fast enough and the epidemic burns itself out.

    Most germs aren’t going to kill us, because we evolved a pretty sophisticated and multi-layered defense system to kill them first. That being said, our immune systems are not perfect, and germs spent just as long evolving ways to trick, trap, and evade that same defense system. As they say, it’s not personal. It’s just the business of survival.

    • Casual Verbosity

      Germs even evolve faster than we do. Hence the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    • Sue

      She appears to have forgotten the difference between pathogens and commensal/environmental organisms. Maybe she was sick that day.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    These are the types who drank stream water once on a camping trip and so that “proves” the stuff is fine.

    • The Vitaphone Queen

      Trust Water™️!

  • Liz Leyden

    Where I live, well water has naturally-occurring arsenic and radon. Homes near farms have to worry about nitrates and e. coli. Wells in the western US can contain naturally-occurring uranium.

  • Anonymous

    I predict a lot of traveler’s diarrhea if this catches on

    • Box of Salt

      I just hope the guy ends up out of business before too many people are injured.

    • Kris

      I think, depending on how many animals frequent these springs/streams, they may be enjoying full-blown giardia as well.

    • Russell Jones

      Which is just fine, of course, since diarrhea is all-natural and natural = inherently good.

      • Roadstergal

        I wonder how many buyers of this ‘raw water’ would warn you against drinking tap water in Mexico? :p

        • Sue

          Why avoid it – they probably sell it as a ‘cleanse’!