SEB makes it onto a popularity list and is trashed by a Noni Juice nutcase.

The folks over at  Common Sense Atheism have put together a list of the 20 Most Popular Atheism Blogs and I was surprised to see Stupid Evil Bastard listed at number 9. I have to admit that it was quite nice to see my humble little site listed among many others that I read daily and consider to be of much higher quality than what I manage to cobble together here.

I was also amused, however, as at least one commenter there felt that I was worth taking the time to bring down a peg or two for being yet another damned liberal:

I see the author of the “Stupid Evil Bastard” site is, from his comments on Iraq, Bush, etc. a just another Clueless Clod member of the Loony Left.

Just another Atheist who may use logic & critical thought when considering subjects of gods / religion. And who then totally LOSES the same abilities when it comes to the Iraq War and/or some (many?) other issues.

Yep, just another Atheist who, I will bet, wonders just how can the Programmed Robots of the Religious Right just refuse to learn, and/or Deny the MANY facts which PROVE Evolution is a Fact and Homosexuals are born.

Who, at the same time, either Refuses to Learn and/or Denies the MANY, MANY FACTS which more than PROVE the Iraq War is Both FULLY JUSTIFIED & a Very NECESSARY part of World Wide War on Terrorists who have been killing us and our friends for over 30 years,

I PITY him and all others of his irrational. illogical, unknowledgeable & self-deluded
ilk of fools. They seem to live in some world where their infinite Ignorance on some subjects is not surpassed by their Astronomical Arrogance they have the slightest clue.

And Children, if any of you are so foolish as to believe you can PROVE, with REAL FACTS I am wrong, I sure welcome you to give it a try!

religionsucks@webtv.net

What’s particularly amusing about Mr. Reinhardt’s little rant is the fact that not two comments later he goes on about the wonderful curative properties of Noni Juice.

For those of you not familiar with the product, Noni Juice is made from the fruit of the Noni tree (Morinda citrifolia). The tree is known by a number of different names depending on where you are with noni being the Hawaiian name for it. Powder made from the fruit is high in carbohydrates and fiber with reasonable amounts of vitamins C and A, niacin, potassium, iron, calcium and sodium. Nutrient-wise it’s similar to a raw orange with about half the vitamin C and a little more sodium, but that hasn’t stopped the woo-woo alt-med crowd from claiming it has all manner of healing properties.

For someone who had just bemoaned my apparent failings of throwing logic and rationality to the wind with regards to politics it was rather amusing to read the following from Mr. Reinhardt:

Something I’ve been drinking for over 12 years which really works well at both speeding the healing and reducing the pain of dental problems is NONI JUICE! As there are over 300 brands you can find it at health food stores, Cosco, other stores and as an mlm product.

As with everything else the quality, quanity and price very. While what I drink costs more & less than others, I think it is the highest quality. IF I could not afford the one I drink now, I would be down at COSCO in a flash.

Even after more than 12 years, my results from noni are so remarkable, it still AMAZES ME! For one of MANY examples, I USED to have the Aches & Pains of old age until I was around 62 & started
drinking it. I NO longer suffer from them and have not for over 12 years. (I am now 75)

Being a RABID Atheist Activist, it is a Miracle when I call anything a “Miracle” and yet that is what I consider the immune boosting power of Noni Juice to be. It is NOT the Noni Juice which effectively treats and/or cures over 90 different medical problems, rather IT IS YOUR own BOOSTED Immune system which does it. (In it’s natural state, Noni has been very effectively used for OVER 5,000 years!)

And then in a follow up comment:

IF you want know all the MANY great things noni Has done for me (aside from lowering both my Cholesterol Levels and Blood Pressure, taking the pain away and curing burns quickly, healing athletes foot in half the time and curing a toe nail fungus (which several years of prescribed medications did not) please e-me.

Noni not only is very effective on treating the insides & the outsides of our bodies, it does the same for all other mammals as well as animals, reptiles and birds.

Please see this generic website for a picture of a noni fruit, some of it’s history, and a little of the (much) research done on it.

http://www.noniresearch.com

This website has more information on Noni and you can also read and/or listen to various people’s experience of drinking and using Noni topically.

http://www.noni-is-good-for-you.com/

The following “store” has audio and video tapes, brochures, tri-folds, newspapers, books and CD’s. ALL of which are about Noni Juice.

http://www.nonitools.com

It seems I’m not the only one capable of throwing logic and rationality out the window on certain topics.

From what I’ve been able to determine in the small amount of time I’ve bothered to look into the uses for noni fruit, it was looked at by medical researchers as a possible treatment for cancer to no avail and it’s been used by Hawaiians for years to draw pus out of boils. According to its Wikipedia entry it’s also used to “treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities and urinary tract infections”, but there’s no scientific support for those uses. There may be some use of oil from the seeds as they are “abundant in linoleic acid that may have useful properties when applied topically on skin, e.g., anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention.”

None of that has stopped the alt-med industry from putting some 300 different products out making all manner of wild claims. It was bad enough that the FDA issued several letters to various companies producing Noni Juice products warning them that the claims being made violated section 201(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)].

For example, here is an excerpt from a letter to Peter W. Manville of NJP Products, Inc. (PDF file) in September of 2006 over claims made about his Noni Juice and BarleyGreen products:

The therapeutic claims on your web sites establish that the products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The marketing of these products with these claims violates the Act.

Examples of some of the claims observed on your http://www.noni-juice-plus.com web site include:

Noni Juice

Your web site contains disease claims in the form of personal testimonials about the use your Noni Juice product for a wide variety of diseases, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, allergies, asthma, bipolar disorder, depression, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and others. Examples of some of the disease claims observed on your testimonials page include:

“I just want to take the time to let you know that after a month of taking the Noni Juice you supply I noticed a difference in my symptoms, you see I have Lupus Erythematous [sic] and suffer from arthritic like symptoms. The first two weeks after taking I noticed that I did not have joint pain, the swelling in my fingers had disappeared, the fatigue disappeared and I had a lot more energy. Also, I had been suffering from chronic back pain and even that seemed to have disappeared. … It has helped with my depression. … It has vastly improved my irritable bowel condition. The relief from pain that I have had from arthritis [sic], fibromyalgia and lingering nerve pain(from shingles) is absolutely amazing. And I haven’t had a migraine since I started taking it. My allergies have improved. And slowly, but surely, my acid relux [sic] is getting less and less every day. … ”

“I recently broke 3 bones in my leg. … Being depressed, and not having much circulation in my leg i [sic] needed something that would benefit my situation. I was talking a friend and he told me when terrel [sic] owens (nfl football star) broke his ankle in the 2004-05 football season just 7 weeks prior to the superbowl, he took Noni juice to help him, and was back in time for the superbowl where he had 7 receptions! This influenced me to start using Noni juice and after taking it for a week, it helped my depression a whole lot, help get circulation in my leg …”

“… [A]fter my extensive back surgery, where I had two discs removed and nine pieces of titanium placed in me…. my one month post op x-rays looked like what they expected at three months. I thank the NONI juice for major assistance in healing this almost 50 yr. old spine.”

Wow, sounds like all the other woo-woo natural cures that you receive endless amounts of spam in your inbox for. (Açaí Berry juice anyone?) Needless to say, to be trashed by someone for my supposed arrogance and ignorance who then turns around and spouts woo-woo so enthusiastically is quite amusing indeed.

You’ll have to go to the entry over at Common Sense Atheism to see my reply, but I ask you not to turn it into a flame thread while you’re there. I’m sure Mr. Reinhardt will feel compelled to chime in here at some point as all of us Loony Leftists are probably way too tempting a target for him to resist and then you can have your fun. In the meantime, marvel at the lunacy on display.

25 thoughts on “SEB makes it onto a popularity list and is trashed by a Noni Juice nutcase.

  1. don’t worry. anyone that uses the terms “LEFT” “LIB” “DEM” could benefit from having a lobotomy for being a brainwashed insane crazy person.

  2. I have known a noni-juice convert. It’s like a cult – there’s no reasoning with them, so I wouldn’t bother trying.

    And it’s CosTco. Cosco manufactures baby carseats and other infant gear. Costco has a great deal on these HUGE rotisserie chickens….and apparently sells Noni Cult supplies. Gotta wash your big chicken down with something, eh?

  3. I would not lose sleep over what that old fuck thinks about anything. I live on NAKED RAW foods. ( The Green Machine ) Trust me this is the best thing you can put inside you.

  4. Congratulations! Number nine is good and well deserved. It must be terrific to be attacked so viciously. I am jealous. But the best part is the Astronomical Arrogance. I am on my way to the store now. Got to get me some Astronomical Arrogance. Hope it is on sale.

    I am really glad the black background is back. Looks nice.

  5. Paul, I’m not worried about what he thinks. I only shared it because I find it very amusing.

    As for Noni Juice, I don’t think consuming it is a bad thing. It sounds like it’d be right along the same lines as consuming orange juice in terms of nutritional benefit. That alone is a good reason to drink it if you like the taste. There’s no need, other than pure greed, to claim it’ll cure everything that ails you.

  6. Grats on your Atheistic Recognition. You are as a God Amongst Atheist Bloggers (If They Actually Believed in a Blog God).

  7. Seems Mr. Reinhardt has been making a nuisance of himself for quite awhile. I’m surprised he hasn’t shown up here at SEB previously.

    Or perhaps he has and I just found him incredibly forgettable.

    Me? A God among atheist bloggers? I think I still have a ways to go before I could claim that. I haven’t even managed my first miracle yet.

  8. “Gotta wash your big chicken down with something, eh?”

    ROFLMAO

    I don’t know why but that line just cracked me up.

    As for the Reinhardt guy…being an atheist doesn’t automatically make you smart. Pity him for his ignorance.

  9. “They seem to live in some world where their infinite Ignorance on some subjects is not surpassed by their Astronomical Arrogance they have the slightest clue.” That statement did raise Ire in my mind.

    There seems to be a lot of people who whether it be religion, health cures, politics, or any one of a number of issues seem to know it all. Ignore the facts if it doesn’t fit your agenda. Criticize people who try to speak the truth because they don’t agree with you. Speak loudly because that makes what you believe true. Well guess what people you are wrong! But the saddest part of all is that others who are easily led will follow you. Then the truth will disappear.

  10. The problem is that a lot of self-styled members of the skeptics’ movement is that they’re not really skeptics. They take skeptic by it’s common vernacular, ‘one who disbelieves’ or some equivalent distinction.

    These people feel that, because they believe or disbelieve in a way they feel is unorthodox, that they are skeptics, regardless of rigorous evidence. 9/11 conspiracists are one of the most obvious groups of such people.

    It’s good that the skeptic community is quick to dismiss and distance such people. This is in stark contrast to main-line Xians that constantly refuse to shout down their extremist brethren.

  11. You seem to have gone into your noni fact-finding mission with a bit of bias and little knowledge of the field.

    I’m just going to point at the paper entitled “The effects of Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) on the immune system: Its molecular mechanisms of action” because some terms in the abstract caught my attention when I google.scholar’ed ‘noni immune’…

    While I won’t claim to be any sort of medical expert, and so can’t comment on things like the decreased Interleukin-4 or increased interferon-gamma levels we see in mice fed noni (other than that these are messaging chemicals for the immune system), endocrinology is a interest of mine, and I can tell you that when you start consuming something which is a strong & selective cannabinoid-2 receptor agonist, many of these medical claims start making sense…

    It’s well supported that activation of the CB-2 receptors has strong effects on the immune system, and I’ve actually read papers which would support the claims on:
    *Arthritis
    *Fibromyalgia
    *Nerve pain
    *Migraines
    *Increased bone turnover (and thus, presumably, bone healing)

    And, given my (somewhat non-mainstream) interpretation of acid-reflux, it’d be reasonable to give credence to the claims of an improvement in that syndrome…

  12. So I did some digging to see if I could find the more of the paper you mentioned in your reply other than the abstract — It’s a bit dodgy to draw conclusions based on an abstract alone, don’t you think? — and managed to find it here.

    First off, there’s a huge red flag in the fact that the paper was prepared by the Noni Benefits Research Department of the Tahitian Noni International Research Center which just so happens to be a part of Tahitian Noni, one of the 300 companies selling Noni Juice products. Oddly enough, this company is based in Utah and not Tahiti as you might otherwise presume from their name. They also seem to be involved in a number of Multi-Level Marketing schemes.

    A company that’s putting out research that claims their products have amazing curative powers? There’s certainly nothing fishy about that, right?

    I won’t pretend to have the scientific background to evaluate the paper’s methods and conclusions, but I did read it and I was struck by the fact that they mention it’s effects being similar to the herb Echiinacea, which many studies have shown doesn’t have any significant effect in boosting one’s immune system. The primary conclusion drawn by this paper is that further study is needed and I would have no problems with that recommendation be followed, but it would be best if it was done by labs not directly connected to the company selling the product. At the very least the wild claims about what it cures should be discontinued until more research is done.

    As for bias, of course I went into it with a bit of a bias, the same can be said of its supporters as well. That’s just part of being human. Beware of anyone who claims to have no bias at all. I also never claimed to be an expert in the field, but I am familiar enough with snake oils to recognize the pitch when I see it. The sheer number and diversity of the claims made about its benefits is a red flag without doing any research at all. Nine times out of ten that’s a sign of snake oil.

    Is it possible Noni Juice is as amazing as claimed? Sure, but from what I’ve seen of the research done on it it’s more than a tad premature to be making such claims. The FDA apparently feels the same considering how many cease and desist letters they’ve sent out to various companies pushing it as a cure-all. They hit Tahitian Noni with such a letter back in 1998:

    Morinda Inc. agreed to stop claiming in its advertising that Tahitian Noni Juice could treat, cure, or prevent a wide range of diseases including diabetes, depression, hemorrhoids, and arthritis after the attorneys general of four states cited the company for making the claims. The agreement called for the company, which is also known as Tahitian Noni International, to pay $100,000.

    The web site for the product no longer makes claims about its ability to prevent and treat specific diseases. Instead, more vague health claims are found.

    The juice is touted on the web site as having “superior antioxidants” and for helping to “maintain a healthy immune system.” Athlete and celebrity endorsements also make no mention of specific diseases. Actor Danny Glover claims in one testimonial that after drinking the juice for a few days he “slept better, felt stronger, more refreshed, and more alert.”

    The web site recommends drinking 1 to 3 ounces of the juice a day. Four liters of the product sell for $168.00, or roughly $3.70 per 3-ounce serving.

    $168 a bottle? I’m sure no one at the company would pressure the folks in their lab to come up with data that supports their claims just because they charge a lot for the juice, right? That was back in 2006 though. It can be had a tad cheaper these days. One 750ml can of it will set you back a mere $20 on their website and a 2 liter only costs $80. What a deal!

    Consuming Noni Juice is probably good for you, unless your diabetic or have Addison’s Disease and thus need to keep your potassium levels down, in the same way that consuming orange juice is, but until you can come up with some research done by someone other than the company selling it at outrageous prices, well, I’ll continue to think it’s bullshit.

  13. Foltz, there are quite a few foods, “superfoods” if you will, that are significantly better for you than the average edible item. Blueberries, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, walnuts, pumpkin, blah blah blah – I’m sure you’ve heard the lists. Maybe Noni is similarly *really* good for you – it wouldn’t surprise me as many fruits are. But it still doesn’t warrant a cultish following, nor, as mentioned above, a ridiculous pricetag. If it holds up in peer reviewed and replicable scientific research, then I’m all for it and will be waiting for those results if and when they appear,

  14. Congrats on your ninth place, Les, and may there be many years of such blogging ahead. As far as what Mr. Noni said, I can’t improve upon what Paul and Elwed have already said.

  15. > It’s unwise to only read the abstract

    Indeed, it would have been… not that it did me any good to actually read the article, as I missed the significance of a detail in a testing method that they employed:

    Palu et al. (2008) investigated commercial noni fruit concentrates obtained from the fruits of Morinda citrifolia L. and they found that 1.5 mg/ml (!) of their extract activates the cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor but inhibits the type-1 (CB1) receptor.

    There are two problems. First, it is unusual and problematic to apply 1.5 mg/ml of an extract to a radioligand assay because typically 10 μg/ml are enough to detect a positive signal, i.e. displacement (Gertsch et al., 2008). For instance, a Cannabis sativa L. extract (2% THC) results in a Ki value of

    The FDA is upset that they are claiming medical benefits; they aren’t convinced that it has them

    The FDA is also upset with some suppliers of fish oil, because those suppliers make claims that their products improve some measure of health… however, there’s an FDA-approved prescription fish oil (lovaza) which is allowed to make very specific claims (“Lowers triglycerides in people with high trigs”).

    Because my fish oil is a nutritional supplement, it didn’t have to go through a rigorous human trial, and so, unlike lovaza, it’s only allowed to claim that it “helps maintain heart and vascular health – these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA”.

    The active ingredients are exactly the same: triglycerides of DHA and EPA, and the claims mean essentially the same thing (given the significance of high fasting trigs), but those are the rules.

    > Superfoods, like broccoli
    Oh, antioxidants. What a confusing field of research… off topic research.
    And walnuts… well, the english ones will be helpful if you are consuming grain and seed oils. Otherwise, not so much.

  16. D. Foltz writes…

    The FDA is upset that they are claiming medical benefits; they aren’t convinced that it has them

    My point exactly. Again, from what I’ve seen of the research, there’s no reason to assume it has any medical benefits beyond that of drinking any other kind of citrus juice. You even admit that their own research paper has problems (though you seem to cut off before explaining the second problem).

    The FDA is also upset with some suppliers of fish oil, because those suppliers make claims that their products improve some measure of health… however, there’s an FDA-approved prescription fish oil (lovaza) which is allowed to make very specific claims (“Lowers triglycerides in people with high trigs”).

    Because my fish oil is a nutritional supplement, it didn’t have to go through a rigorous human trial, and so, unlike lovaza, it’s only allowed to claim that it “helps maintain heart and vascular health – these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA”.

    The active ingredients are exactly the same: triglycerides of DHA and EPA, and the claims mean essentially the same thing (given the significance of high fasting trigs), but those are the rules.

    No, the active ingredients might be the same. The difference is that as an herbal supplement there’s no one checking to see if you’re selling 100% fish oil or if you’ve watered it down with something or stuck a bunch of other crap in there that would impact its effectiveness.

    There have been numerous studies of herbal supplements such as this one that show there is a large variation in what may be in any given bottle:

    Background Patients who report use of herbs to their physicians may not be able to accurately describe the ingredients or recommended dosage because the products for the same herb may differ. The purpose of this study was to describe variations in label information of products for each of the 10 most commonly purchased herbs.

    Methods Products for each of 10 herbs were surveyed in a convenience sample of 20 retail stores in a large metropolitan area. Herbs were those with the greatest sales dollars in 1998: echinacea, St John’s wort, Ginkgo biloba, garlic, saw palmetto, ginseng, goldenseal, aloe, Siberian ginseng, and valerian.

    Results Each herb had a large range in label ingredients and recommended daily dose (RDD) across available products. Strengths were not directly comparable because of ingredient variability. Among 880 products, 43% were consistent with a benchmark in ingredients and RDD, 20% in ingredients only, and 37% were either not consistent or label information was insufficient. Price per RDD was a significant predictor of consistency with the benchmark, but store type was not.

    Conclusions Persons self-medicating with an herb may be ingesting ingredients substantially different from that recommended by a benchmark, both in quantity and content. Higher price per label RDD was the best predictor of consistency with a benchmark. This study demonstrates that health providers and consumers need to closely examine label ingredients of presumably the same or similar herbal products.

    It’s about more than just making the FDA happy, it’s about being held to a specification about what is in your product that has been shown to have beneficial effects. Penicillin is very effective at prescribed doses, but if you just take random amounts of it then it’ll either have no effect or it could harm you.

    Again, there’s probably nothing wrong with consuming Noni Juice (though studies seem to indicate there’s more benefit to eating raw fruits over just drinking their juices) so if people insist on paying the outrageous prices for it then more power to them. They could probably get the same effect from a glass of much cheaper orange juice, but it’s their money.

  17. Ah, it’s disappointing that my post somehow got mangled. I’m sure it’s my fault, so no need to worry.

    To summarize the paper I was quoting, because I don’t feel like tracking it down again, and the exact content is really more technical than anyone wants:
    Due to the very high concentration of extract used the test in the noni molecular mechanisms study, and the behavior of many of these plant compounds if present at high concentrations, we have to wonder if the measured effects were clinically meaningful.

    I then noted that, given that quirk, the source of the funding, and that I couldn’t find other papers reporting that noni possesses CB-2 agonist properties, it would be reasonable to conclude that the paper doesn’t demonstrate any useful conclusions.
    Sorry for wasting your time responding to such a poorly researched post – I had just assumed that someone would have bothered to check such a concrete, lab testable, characteristic. Apparently not…

    But, for fun, here’s a really fun quote I found:
    [quote] If dietary supplements have or promote such biological activity, they should be considered to be active drugs. On the other hand, if dietary supplements are claimed to be safe because they lack or have minimal biological activity, then their ability to cause physiologic changes to support “structure /function” claims should be challenged, and their sale and distribution as products to improve health should be curtailed. Manufacturers of dietary supplements are trying to have it both ways. They claim their products are powerfully beneficial, on the one hand, but harmless on the other. To claim both makes no sense [/quote]

    They are right, of course – and while it may be beneficial to consume a drug with the activity profile offered by noni every day, given the rather messed up endocrine state of the average American, I personally wouldn’t do it.

    ***

    To be fair, the paper you cited didn’t actually test the contents and see if it matched the label, they just compared the recommended dose on the label to that recommended by a handbook they found – all they really demonstrated is that, because there hasn’t been a great deal of research into how big the dose should be, recommendations on how much to take varies wildly.

    And it is incorrect to say that nobody checks the content of these nutritional supplements; the USP does random off-the-shelf product tests, and my understanding is that the FDA supposedly requires that they be manufactured in a safe fashion and contain what they say they do.

    But I looked into it a bit, and frankly, I’m surprised that the amount of active ingredient doesn’t vary more than it does. I would have figured that it’d be hard enough to monitor them all that some naughty companies would abuse the system more than this:
    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/1/3/305

  18. I attracted the attention of Mr. Reinhardt on a political website a year or so ago. He seems to be one of those borderline-mentally-ill people who’s basically crazy, but just functional enough that he never actually gets institutionalized. Don’t be surprised if you start getting nasty e-mails from him. If that happens, just ignore him and he’ll eventually stop.

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