Advice column for pet owners can’t leave out the woo.

Being an Ann Arbor resident I regularly visit the Ann Arbor.com news website to keep up with what’s happening locally. Generally it’s a pretty decent news source, but I’ve found myself stunned on two different occasions by the advice column for pets because it contained references to “alt-med” woo-woo nonsense that’s usually associated with humans. It’s kind of the same feeling I get when on those rare occasions I visit The Huffington Post blogs and come across an article by woo-meister Deepack Chopra.

Today’s surprise came in this article about a dog suffering from a snake bite from a Massasauga rattler, the only venomous snake native to Michigan. They’re pretty rare — I’ve lived here my entire life and spent plenty of time in the woods as a kid and have never encountered one  — and as a result a lot of vets are not prepared to deal with pet that has been bitten by one.

Overall, the column is well written and contains much useful advice. The author, John Spieser, is a professional dog trainer and much of what he recommends didn’t raise an eyebrow until I got to this particular suggestion:

If you are a believer in homeopathics (which I happen to be, based on personal experience), having a few appropriate remedies on hand as a first course of action is a good idea.

It really is amazing how one stupid comment can put doubts in your head about all the rest of the advice being proffered. Homeopathy? Really?? Hey, why not give him a Milkbone while you’re at it. I’m sure it’d have just as much curative effect. Plus it’ll help to clean his teeth!

What’s really interesting is the fact that, despite the amazing curative powers of homeopathic water, in the case being discussed it’s never said that that approach was tried. Instead there’s a desperate search for anti-venom which none of the vets called had stocked because this is such a rare occurrence and few people are even aware that Michigan has a native rattlesnake. By the time some anti-venom was procured from the Toledo Zoo (at great expense) it was too late to administer it. Ultimately the dog was given a blood transfusion which seemed to do the trick.

Given all of that, you can understand why I’m puzzled the author would even bother suggesting a homeopathic treatment as something folks should keep on hand. The rest of his suggestions are good ones, but earlier in the article he mentions the fact that “vital time was lost due to unfamiliarity” on the part of the vets the dog was brought to. How much time would be lost if someone administered a homeopathic “remedy” expecting it to actually have some effect?

As I said, this is the second time I’ve been surprised by woo in a pet advice column at Ann Arbor.com. The first time was back at the start of April when author Lorrie Shaw wrote an article promoting the benefits of Penetrating Laser Therapy for your pets:

Anyone who has a pet has likely had the experience of monitoring their four-legged friends’ minor injuries or painful strains, and for the most part, the body will deal with it on its own, given a little time and/or rest.

When there is a chronic problem, like stubborn wounds or bone injuries that need extra attention, or perhaps when a pet is rehabilitating from injury and the healing process needs a little boost, holistic therapies or treatments can prove to be very useful — especially Class IV Penetrating Laser Therapy.

Now the first red flag this article raised for me was the use of the word “holistic” as that’s a popular word among the woo-woo faithful, but I admit that I hadn’t read up much on Penetrating Laser Therapy so I trudged on through the very brief article. It turns out that it’s not so much an article as it is a lead-in to free advertising for Dr.Taryn Clark and Dr. Jessica Franklin at the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital. That’s where the second red flag popped up as they are described as “veterinary acupuncturists” by the article.

Oh boy.

Like I said, I had not looked into whether or not  Class IV Penetrating Laser Therapy is legitimate or not. So I did a Google search that reveals that it’s very popular with Chiropractors and Veterinary Clinics. One such example can be found here where they promote it as a near-miracle cure for chronic pain:

The K Laser is an FDA approved Class IV laser. Early Class III therapeutic lasers are effective, but literally thousands of times less powerful than the new technology available today. Class III lasers are capable of penetration of only a few millimeters, while Class IV lasers can penetrate over 4 inches into the deep musculoskeletal tissue. The perfect blend of chiropractic and laser therapy produces phenomenal results in extremely short periods of time.

[…] The laser works by creating vasodilatation, bringing oxygen to the cells. It stimulates the lymphatic system, pulling edema and inflammation from the area. ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) production is stimulated in the cells helping them have the energy to function normally. The pain reflex is broken, offering immediate relief. In other words, “it brings in the good stuff and gets rid of the bad stuff”.

Sounds amazing, right? I looked up the K Laser on the FDA website(PDF), no small feat given the amount of stuff they publish, and this is how it’s described there:

Klaser provides infrared therapy for the following allowed claims:

Infrared therapy to provide topical heating for:

– Temporary increase in local blood circulation

– Temporary relief of minor muscles and joint aches, pains and stiffness

– Relaxation of muscles

– Muscles spasms

– Minor pain and stiffness associated with arthritis

The Intended Use/Indications For Use stated herein are identical to the cleared indications for the predicateddevice.

The device is indicated for emitting energy in the Infrared Spectrum to provide topical heating for the purpose of elevating tissue temperature for temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain, muscle spasm, pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and promoting relaxation of the muscle tissue and to temporarily increase local blood circulation. – March 25, 2005

So it does have some effect, but it doesn’t sound quite as exciting based on the FDA description. Still, it at least has some benefit, right? So what do the folks at the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital claim is the benefit for pets? Here’s a quote from their “Ask the Expert” column at the Ann Arbor.com website:

Laser therapy provides a sterile, pain-free, surgery-free, drug-free treatment that is used to treat a variety of injuries, wounds, fractures, neurological conditions, numerous dermatological problems, and pain (post-surgical, neck & back).

Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds, or simply aging, your companion might benefit from this holistic approach to treating pain.

Wow, according to the experts, this laser therapy stuff does more than stimulate temporary increases in blood circulation and pain relief, but did you note the escape clause I highlighted in bold? “Might benefit” is a favorite of woo-wooers trying to ensure they don’t get sued.

But how does it work you ask? Here’s their explanation:

Like veterinary acupuncture, laser therapy stimulates the body to heal from within. Non-thermal photons of light are administered to the body and absorbed by the injured cells. The cells are then stimulated and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. This results in increased circulation from the body, an anti-inflammatory reaction, relief from pain and an acceleration of the healing process.

Non-thermal photons of light! That DOES sound impressive, but what the fuck does that mean? And how can it be non-thermal when the FDA specifically says that a Class IV Penetrating Laser delivers Infrared topical-heat therapy?

Well, trying to explain what a non-thermal photon is gets into some heavy physics concepts which even the experts say they don’t fully understand, but from what I can gather it’s not the sort of thing that’s easily producible as it tends to come from stuff in space like supernovas, pulsars, radio galaxies, Seyfert galaxies, BL Lacertae objects, and GRBs. As far as I know, and I could be wrong, we don’t have anything on a commercial scale that could produce non-thermal photons that you’d use in medical therapy.

You’ll note that they don’t explain how a non-thermal photon stimulates the cells to a higher rate of metabolism, they just say that it does and expect you to trip over the buzz words enough that you accept the claim. For true humor, however, you have to consider their list of symptoms that you may want to consider Laser Therapy to treat:

Most of our laser therapy patients are older dogs with musculoskeletal ailments. Some signs that your dog is experiencing pain that laser treatment may be able to assuage:

Abnormal sitting or lying posture

Whining, groaning or other vocalizing

Limping, unable to get up or lie down

Difficulty getting into car or down stairs

Lack of grooming

Won’t wag tail

Licking or biting area

Lack of appetite

Trembling

Could you possibly be any more vague while still covering as wide a range of possibilities?

Again, it’s not that the therapy doesn’t do anything because it does. So does a warm compress or a heating pad applied to the affected area and for the same reasons. Heat is a traditional treatment for sore muscles and joints as it promotes blood flow and relaxes muscles. The folks at AAAH say that your dog may go to sleep during treatment and your cat will purr. Well of course they will, it’s a warm massage.

The next question is, how much does it cost? According to the representative I spoke to on the phone (prices aren’t listed on the website) the initial treatment is $50 on top of $55 office visit fee and then $40 for each additional treatment. Or you can sign your pet up for a series of six treatments for $210. The number of treatments varies depending on the specific problem your pet is suffering from, but seeing as many of the problems this treatment is dealing with are age-related it’s likely that you’ll need to go back more than a few times. Depending on your income level that may or may not be an unreasonable amount of money to spend, but when you can get similar results from a heating pad or a heated pet bed, well, you have to wonder if it’s worth the money. Still, at least it actually does something as opposed to acupuncture or giving your dog homeopathic water.

Finding this nonsense in the local news website, however, really bugs the shit out of me. Especially when it’s presented in such a non-critical fashion. We already spend billions on our pets every year because we consider them to be part of the family. Is it too much to ask that we not be fleeced by questionable treatments from supposed professionals? It makes me loathe to read the Ann Arbor.com website the same way that all the woo-woo crap on The Huffington Post makes me loathe to read that website. Which is a shame because both sites have plenty of good stuff to offer which is just undermined by the bullshit.

Still, there’s always a silver lining and this one comes in the comments to both of those articles. First, from Rick Kuick in the article about the snake bite:

“If you are a believer in homeopathics (which I happen to be, based on personal experience)…”
I believe – I believe they contain water and little else.

And then in the earlier article on penetrating lasers there were two comments that brought a swell of pride to my chest. The first from Amlive reads:

With all due respect, I smell nonsense and snake oil here, not unlike many other questionable science permeating the field of “holistic medicine”.

For an alternative view –

http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2010/05/cold-laser-therapy/

When studies confirming benefits and science of these therapies show up in NEJM, I might start listening. Until then, I have to put this up there with homeopathy (which means I’m sure there’s a market for it here in Ann Arbor).

And the latter from Trespass:

Is this news reporting? Even soft news should be generally accepted medical/scientific fact not holistic nonsense. It damages the credibility of a news organization.

Yes, it does this skeptic’s heart much good to see there our others out there questioning this nonsense being in a supposedly legitimate news source.

SEB Pro Tip: Just because the voice on the phone claims he’s from the corporate office…

Pic of Charlie Brown.

I'm right there with you on that one, Chuck.

…that doesn’t mean you should gather up all the money in your store and hand it over to someone you’ve don’t know at a McDonald’s:

The manager wasn’t available, so the caller told the employee who answered that he was from the corporate office and was calling about a customer who had lost her wallet at the store. He said a wallet was turned in the prior week with $1,200 but the money was missing when the owner came to claim it. He went on to say surveillance footage showed an employee taking the money, and it needed to be replaced to avoid being sued by the rightful owner.

The man instructed her to gather all the money in the store, get in a taxi and meet a man described as the owner’s fiancé at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee. Because of the ongoing internal investigation, she was to tell no one of her activities.

She followed his directions and handed off more than $400 to a man. After returning to the store, the man called to tell her she did a good job and would be receiving a raise. If the store took in any more money that day, she was to deliver that, too, he added.

You see that part I highlighted up there? That should be a big red warning flag that someone is trying to scam you. Why the hell would you be sent to a McDonald’s to hand over something as important as all of the store’s cash to the fiance of someone you’ve never met?

But don’t feel too bad, you weren’t the only idiot person to fall for it:

A second incident, this time at Things Remembered, never got to the point where a money drop was mentioned. But the caller did ask the employee to step into a bathroom, back office or hallway so he wouldn’t be overheard discussing a sensitive matter. He didn’t believe it was a coincidence that jewelry boxes valued at $120 were missing after the conversation.

The good news is that several other people at other stores, not yours, managed to realize it was a scam and hung up on the caller. You really have to be pretty gullible not to realize you were being scammed based on the stories you were being told, but perhaps the fellow sounded really authoritative so I probably shouldn’t judge.

Here’s a big surprise: Serbian video of dead “alien” is a hoax.

Over the weekend one of my relatives asked me if I had seen that Russian dead alien video that’s been racking up hits on YouTube. I replied that I had not. Then they asked me if I thought it was a fake. Absolutely, I said.

But how can you be so sure when you haven’t seen the video, they asked. Because it would take more than a video clip by some random yahoo on the Internet to convince me, I said. At which point the conversation got into whether or not I think life exists elsewhere in the Universe (I do) and if so then why can’t they have visited us (because I understand the problems of travel between star systems and while life may be abundant, sentient life may be less so). So on and so forth.

And it turns out I was right:

A video of what was claimed to be a mutilated alien corpse, which scored hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, has turned out to be fake.

The tiny “dead alien” is just skin from chicken filled with bread, reports the website 7d.org.ua. Police questioned the men who claimed to have found the “body” and they allegedly confessed to creating it themselves.

It’s amazing how quickly some hoaxers will fess up when they think they’re about to be charged with a crime”

The chief editor of the local Kabansk-Info newspaper initially thought that it was the body of an infant in the video and alerted the police.  Officers immediately started the investigation and identified the alleged author.

They went to his house and asked him about the infant’s body.  The scared man reportedly showed a fake alien corpse.  It was even painted in “alien colors”.  Scolding is the only possible punishment for such a stunt as it cannot be considered a crime, the report says.

Yes, even in Russia, stupidity still isn’t a crime.

Tim Minchin’s “Storm” has been animated.

This is technically a repeat as I’ve posted this beat poem by Tim Minchin previously, but this time it’s been turned into an animated short so that makes it new-ish. Besides, it has a message that is worth repeating:

Good God Fearing man scams his fellow church members with a Ponzi scheme.

Gullibility Demotivational

If you'll believe this, I've got a bridge I'd like to talk to you about...

Religion, we’re often told, will make you a more moral person and people who aren’t religious have no morality. Yet if you pay attention you can find example after example where the above simply isn’t true. Take, for instance, 84-year-old Stephen Klos who was considered an upstanding and moral person by the fellow members of his church. So much so that when he started offering to invest money on behalf of various members several of them handed over huge amounts with no questions:

Klos was charming and talked about his real estate that was worth millions. Invitations to friends and churchgoers to invest — sometimes with promises of returns of 24 percent a year — were met with open checkbooks.

But King County prosecutors Wednesday painted a different picture of Klos, who was charged with 28 counts of securities fraud in a scheme involving the alleged theft of $3.5 million from dozens of churchgoers and others, including more than $3 million from six elderly women in the church.

Prosecutors say Klos and another man, Robert Justice, 52, paid later investors in the scheme with money from new clients, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way. Justice is named in five felony counts.

Ponzi schemes always fall apart because they rely on the constant addition of new suckers investors to keep the illusion going and in any given church there’s only going to be so many people who have money to invest. Note I didn’t say that they could afford to invest, just that they had money to invest.

Naturally, the pastor and congregation are shocked, SHOCKED, that such a good man could be capable of such a crime:

Asimakoupoulos said relatives of many widows told him about their loved ones handing money over to Klos, who in turn assured the pastor that his financial plan “was aboveboard.”

One family lost $600,0000, money inherited from a loved one, the pastor said.

“He gained access to family funds and was promising returns that were too good to be true,” Asimakoupoulos said, adding he was stunned that “someone as well-versed in the Bible as he was could have this side to him.”

Because we all know that if you’re well-versed in the Bible you’re automagically a more moral person than someone who isn’t. (By which standard there are a lot of atheists who should be stunningly moral despite not believing in Gods.)

This is an all-too common scenario in part because religion tends to promote magical thinking and derides skepticism. When you accept that a man 2,000 years ago was born from a virgin, walked on water, turned water into wine, and died and rose from the grave in three days, well, believing you can get a 24% return on investment in a year isn’t that far-fetched. And if you can’t have faith in your fellow congregation members then who can you have faith in? Combine that with a natural human tendency for greed (e.g. did the six elderly women who invested $3 million really need more money?) and you have a money tree ripe for the picking.

Worse, once you’ve invested that kind of faith into something (or, in this case, someone) often it can be hard to accept the reality of the situation:

The charges say Klos is “romantically involved” with one 85-year-old suspected victim who has given him more than $350,000. She continues to turn over her Social Security, despite warnings from investigators and family, according to the charges.

You know what they say about fools and money.

The truly amazing thing is that this isn’t the first time Klos has been in trouble for running a Ponzi scheme:

Klos was barred from securities and financial dealings in 1992 for running another Ponzi scheme that raised more than $3.4 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records. No criminal charges were filed in the case, which involved two other men, although SEC records indicate he had to pay back more than $380,000.

No criminal charges and he only had to pay back $380,000 out of the $3.4 million he stole? Is it any surprise he’d try it again? Hell, is it any surprise these people fell for it?

Jesus and his Mom team up for appearance on pizza pan.

Josh Mather feels he’s had a miracle occur in his life. He and his brother used to own a sports bar, but they had to close it down due to the bad economy. They ended up storing some of the cooking utensils in a garage and promptly forgot about them until the day before this past Ash Wednesday when Josh saw this:

The Holy water stains made manifest.

“I think it’s amazing, actually,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s spiritual. The way I see it, it’s Jesus on the left, and on the right I would believe it to be Mary.”

[…] “As I opened the two garage doors, this image was right on the left door, looking at me in the face,” he said. “It totally stopped me.”

Then he says his life changed.

“When it truly hit me, it took my breath away,” he said. “It was just – it was amazing.”

via WHDH-TV – Mansfield man: holy image appeared on baking tray.

It seems Josh hadn’t been to church in 20 years, but after seeing how Jesus had ruined one of his unused baking pans he felt it was time to return to the fold before the pair started wrecking stuff in his kitchen:

“Wasn’t really a believer, I saw this, I went on Ash Wednesday and got my ashes,” he said. “It was the first time in 20 years I walked into church on my own.”

Something that he says is a ray of hope, in tough economic times.

“It’s one of those things they say you’re going to get a sign at some point, and all of a sudden it’s there,” he said. “I don’t know how to say it happened, I don’t know if it will ever be explained.”

Holy Christ on a cracker, it’s a water stain. If it’s a sign of anything it’s that your garage roof may have a leak and you might want to do a better job of cleaning your pans. Seriously, if this is all it took to send you running back into your local church then I have a hard time accepting the idea that you weren’t “really a believer.” You were just lazy.

Jesus takes time out from destroying Japan to show up in a tree.

That Jesus fellow is very busy, but never so busy that he can’t appear in some random object:

Pic of tree that supposedly has image of Jesus on it.

The bearded wonder in all his glory.

MCLEAN, Va. — The Norton family says an image of Jesus is engraved in a tree in their front yard, right where a limb once was.

“I noticed the hair and then the beard and then it came together,” said 12-year-old Bella Norton.

“I think that is Jesus,” said Bella’s mom, Lamya Norton.

[…] “It’s a sign that we’re all safe and it’s, everybody is loved in our family,” said Bella.

Norton says she even called her priest.

“Of course, my priest reminded me maybe it’s a reminder you should be coming to church more,” she said.

via Family sees Jesus – in a tree! | wtsp.com.

I dunno. Looks more like a Predator to me. Perhaps they should be less concerned about going to church and more concerned with setting some traps and covering themselves in mud to hide from the impending arrival of alien hunters. There are several very fine documentaries available on how to fight the Predators which they may want to review.

[SEB Guest Post] Historical WooWoo Next Door

Homeopathy demotavational poster.

That'll be $150, kthxbai!

I came across the following entry on my home town’s list of historical sites for Allentown, PA:

Homeopathic Healing Art Plaque

31 S. Penn Street

The Homeopathic Healing Art Plaque is a bronze plaque on a rock that marks the location of the world’s first medical college exclusively devoted to the practice of homeopathic medicine. Called “The North American Academy of Homeopathic Healing Art,” it was founded on April 10, 1835.

The technique of homeopathic medicine – the idea that a drug which will produce certain symptoms in a healthy person will cure a sick person with the same symptoms – was developed in Germany by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann and carried to America. A pioneer in this field was Dr. William Wesselhoeft of Bath, Northampton County. Wesselhoeft, who started a small school in Bath, was one of the founders of the Allentown institution. The Academy flourished until 1843 when it was discovered that its treasurer, Allentown banker John Rice, had embezzled the school’s funds. It then moved to Philadelphia and developed into what today is the city’s Hahnemann Hospital.

I can’t believe this is right down the street and I haven’t taken the time to absorb the historical significance that is offered there. I’ll be sure to visit and send pictures. Of course I will dilute the pixels by a factor of ten, shake vigorously and repeat until I achieve optimum visual effectiveness.

Definition of Skeptical illustrated.

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up:

Pic of Skeptical Demotivational Poster

I’m one of the dicks Phil Plait is complaining about.

At the last The Amazing Meeting skeptic conference scientist/blogger Phil Plait gave a talk that has come to be known as the “Don’t Be a Dick” speech. In it he bemoans the fact that there are some skeptics out there who are less than… tactful… when it comes to addressing the idiots overly-credulous members of the general populace. Needless to say it has prompted quite a bit of discussion on the skeptic/atheist blogs out there. The video of the talk was made available about a month ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until today.

As I sat watching the video it became clear to me that I was one of the people he was complaining about. Phil has since said that he feels that he was misunderstood by some of the folks who have responded to his talk so he tried to be more specific about what he considers being dick-ish:

Perhaps I should have been more clear on what I mean by being a dick. I thought I had been clear, but a lot of people seem to think that I meant anyone who gets upset, or angry, or argues with emotion. I wouldn’t include satire in that category, or comedic work, or even necessarily using insults; tone and attitude count here. Think of it this way: when someone argues that way do you think to yourself, “What a dick”? I don’t; at least not necessarily. I think that way when the person belittles their opponent, uses obviously inflammatory language, or overly aggressively gets in their face.

Y’know. Being a dick.

Yep, done that on more than a few occasions and I don’t regret it at all. The reason why is simple: It’s what they needed to hear.

At the start of the video Phil rhetorically asks the audience how many people had their mind changed by someone calling them an idiot or a retard. In the video you can see that a few people actually raise their hands and he brushes them off as “probably kidding.” I can only assume the brush off occurs because it doesn’t jive with the point of his speech, which is that being a dick to someone will never change their mind. Yet there are many people out there, and I am one of them, who will honestly say that they have had their mind’s changed by being told what an idiot they are. There’s been more than a few topics on which I had wrong beliefs and was acting like an idiot until someone pointed out what an idiot I was being about the subject.

Phil says all that does is make people defensive and resort to knee-jerk rationalizations and that is often true, I’m certainly guilty of it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t stop to consider the accusation of idiocy later when they have cooled down and are no longer in the midst of the argument. Not everyone will, but people who are anything like I am probably will and prompting that self-reflection can be the beginning of change.

Which isn’t to suggest that it’s always a good way to convince people of the wrongness of their beliefs or that it’s a tactic that will work on everyone you come across. It’s not even necessarily the first, second, or third approach you should take in any given situation, but to say that it never works is to deny reality. Some people need a swift metaphorical kick to the ass.

It should go without saying that the context of any given situation plays a hand in determining how much of a dick one should be. It’s probably not the best approach when in the middle of a formal dinner party, though I doubt that would stop Tim Minchin, and work is probably better saved for doing actual work. If the person you’re addressing shows any signs of being open to discussion then dickishness could indeed be counter-productive. The truth is that even us dicks aren’t dicks all the time. Anyone who has met PZ Myers first hand — often one of the first people pointed to as an example of a skep-dick  — will tell you he’s hardly the spittle flecked raving monster in real life that his detractors paint him to be. For that matter, neither am I. Despite what I may have named my blog. We can be more than reasonable and pleasant, and often are, but we can also be dicks when the situation calls for it. Which it sometimes does.

Pic of "Mistakes" demotivator poster.Of course there are some people out there for which no amount of ass-kicking will change their mind. But then nor will any amount of accommodating them with nicey-nicey non-confrontational presentations of the facts. Phil makes the mistake of assuming that it’s always the objective of the “dick” to change the mind of the target of their dickiness. I can’t speak for anyone else, but often times the person I’m in the middle of ridiculing is not the person I’m trying to reach. My real targets are the people who are watching the spectacle.

Phil is quite right when he says that the dream that someday all of humanity will reach some form of critical thinking Nirvana where all forms of pseudo-science and woo-woo are but faded memories will probably never happen. Critical thinking, as he points out, is hard and not the way we’re wired to think. Logically this means that there will always be some people who will believe even the stupidest of ideas no matter what facts and evidence you’re able to provide or how nice you are to them. We have a term for those people. We call them Lost Causes. As the satiric poster I included says: “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.” I suppose if you wanted to be cynical about it, and I’ve never been afraid to be cynical, you could call these people “useful idiots.”

So yes, I’m a dick from time to time. Especially to the obvious lost causes who show up spoiling for a fight. If the chances of changing their mind are pretty much nil then I’m not sure I see the point in being nice about it. I’m definitely not going to hold back against the ones that are being dickish themselves. I don’t claim that being a dick is the only approach one should take or even that it’s the best, but I do feel that it has its place.

Phil metaphorically argues in his video that swinging wildly at a nail with a hammer will only destroy the wall. I say that when the wall is what’s preventing the truth from getting inside then destroying it should be the goal. I mean, why the fuck would you want to nail it closed any more than it already is?