in praise of folly: an amusing deodorant and its entertaining defender

Quack, quack

Another MUA Classic Greatest Hit, and a classic bit of marketing-bashing BS-disentangling. The individual concerned (or rather, that avatar) having since departed the MUAverse, it seemed safe to share some of the joys of this delightful, delight-filled relationship … exemplifying some of the nonsense that passes as 21st-century intelligent life by what’s purported to be the Head Species on this planet.

In this post: Myth! Magic! Bullshit-busting! Proof of extra-terrestrial life! See Ginger get baffled! Flat Earthers are amongst us (and some of them might be aliens, too)! Sarcasm! Ginger fails to save the world, one pseudo-mind at a time! But watch her fighting valiantly against the forces of unreason anyway!

The product in question is this:

$9.95 / 0.47 oz, $19.95 for the “full-size” 2.5 oz. Yes, you read that right. For a *deodorant.* That doesn’t /can’t even do–see further below–what it says on the tin.

It contains this:

Beeswax (Cera flava), *Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), *First Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Olea europaea), * Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis), *Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Shea Butter Sustainable (Butyrospermum parkii), *Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), *Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), *Tapioca (Cassava derived), *Olive Leaf (Oleae europaea), *Kelp (Laminaria digitata), *Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Herbalix™ Organic Preservative.

*Certified organic ingredient.

And it claims to do and be all of this:

Detoxifying deodorant is a new concept designed to keep you fresh by removing impurities from your skin that contribute to odor. Pure, organic detoxifying ingredients work at night, providing 6 to 8 hours of safe, efficient absorption of accumulated debris and odors.

Herbalix Detox Deodorant attracts, absorbs and cleanses bacteria and metal ions from your underarms without any form of aluminum. Your daytime deodorant will be more effective because it doesn’t need to work as hard. Use for 30 nights and then begin a maintenance program of 2 to 4 times a week.

Herbalix™ Botanical and Sea Vegetable Blend is a major key to the effectiveness of all Herbalix products. It synergistically boosts the action of the other ingredients and works as a superb organic preservative. (Made from 60 energetically live herbs and sea vegetables from the world’s oceans and three continents). It works comprehensively with Detox Cleansing Deodorant’s kelp, coriander and olive leaf to promote the body’s own natural, healing rhythms.

  • Dilates sweat ducts to enhance flow of waste fluids
  • Alkalizes underarm pH
  • Removes all types of aluminums
  • Encourages a reduction in daytime odors
  • Effective for both men and women

Why use Detox Cleansing Deodorant?
One way the human body excretes waste materials is by sweating. Wastes that aren’t completely secreted remain trapped in the body. Regular cleansing helps the body function properly.

How to Use Detox Cleansing Deodorant
Leave it on your bedstand or sink as a reminder. Apply to clean, dry underarm skin nightly before retiring to bed. In the same way daily tooth brushing to remove plaque is critical to good dental hygiene,  nightly use of Detox Cleansing Deodorant is important in combating the bioaccumulation of aluminum and other impurities in your underarms.

How Does Detox Cleansing Deodorant Work?
Herbalix believes daily use of Detox Cleansing Deodorant has the ability to help protect you from the presence of metals.

In the 21st century everyone is exposed to environmental contaminants. The absorption of these can result in an increased burden to the body. Aluminum is everywhere in our environment and therefore present in our everyday lives. Along with lead and mercury, it is found in our drinking water, gasoline, jet fuel, medicines, antiperspirants, toothpaste, hair sprays and most importantly our food supply.

The aluminum the body tries to release through your underarm ducts may interrupt the function of the sweat glands by plugging your sweat ducts. To manage this, Detox Cleansing Deodorant can help reduce impurities to allow the normal release and cascading of the fluids.

A combination of key ingredients have been shown in clinical tests to safely remove impurities from the acrosyringium duct (a spiral duct comprising the eccrine or sweat glands). Ingredients include Laminaria digitata (kelp), which when absorbed trans-dermally results in optimum reduction of impurities and metals; Coriandrum sativum (coriander), which when applied on underarm skin traps moisture like a sponge and dislodges buildup; and Oleae europaea (olive leaf), which has been proven effective in cleansing and removing odors.

How Soon Can I Expect Results?
Detox Cleansing Deodorant can start to work after one application; however, many factors contribute to the cleansing process. Your body may require additional time to eliminate trapped impurities. For best results, Herbalix recommends Detox Cleansing Deodorant for nighttime use and Tropical Cove or No Added Fragrance Deodorant during the day. It is recommended that no other products be applied, such as powders, lotions, perfumes, oils or other commercial deodorants or antiperspirants.

How Safe is Detox Cleansing Deodorant?
Detox Cleansing Deodorant is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores) and non-invasive. Although individual results may vary, in a clinical test, all subjects showed no adverse effect or allergic reaction. Herbalix Restoratives Preservatives system is a trademarked industry first. It tested 99.999% negative for the five major microorganisms at an FDA-approved scientific research laboratory.

Shaving and waxing may contribute to skin irritation. Wait a day or two before reapplying. Should slight swelling of the underarm area occur, or slight pustule development appear during the first few days of use, do not be concerned. This is a visible sign that your body is cleansing impurities. This is a temporary sensory reaction and should subside within a few days. Discontinue use if signs of irritation or pain persist. Herbalix does not recommend using Detox Cleansing Deodorant while pregnant, nursing, or for children under seven years of age.

How Long Does Detox Cleansing Deodorant Last?
A 2.5 oz container may last up to three or four months when applied nightly (Herbalix recommends two or three swipes under each arm). Once on the maintenance plan, this time will double depending on how many times a week you choose to apply the deodorant. With the everyday absorption of impurities, the need to cleanse will never diminish. This deodorant is safe to use on a regular basis as a cleansing maintenance program.

Isn’t it just an uproarious treat?

I’m eternally grateful to Ermintrude (as ever, MUA-names have been changed, except my own) for having discovered it, as I’d never have been looking for something quite so recherché myself:

Ermintrude 3/1/2011 10:23AM
Interesting. Not ever seen or heard of such, anyone else? I think I’ll give it a try. http://www.whitelotusliving.com/herbalix-detox-cleansing-deodorant-p137.html

I thought it was funny; though also sad, and bad in preying on the weak, foolish, gullible (and–hopefully, for their sakes–rich), who worry too much about appearances and how others view them.

Oyez: if you ever think you’re in danger of vacillating in such a Dark Side direction, go visit a stonking ballsy feminist website, that should sort you out fast. My favourite for such rapid therapy and reality-check is I Blame The Patriarchy. There will be a post about this genuinely marvellous healing potion in a few days.

Anyway. Some point later that day (time zones on MUA are not my own, sorry for confusion…) I was having a peruse of the Green Board, saw the post, looked at the Amusing Deodorant, laughed, wept, and regretted that it was too early in the day for a stiff drink.

How to pickle a ginger: 60 ml dark rum + ginger beer + lime (squeezed and wedged). Repeat until “The Dark And Stormy” is equally applicable to both the drink and the drinker.

Alas, that nice drink was not to be. Might explain why I was slightly more direct and abrasive than usual.

gingerrama 3/1/2011 4:22PM
not tried, but 100% unconvinced: the detox and “protect you from metals” stuff is BS. Sorry, but as they themselves point out, this is the 21st century. That kind of talk wouldn’t even pass muster as science 1000 years ago (yes, there were doctors and scientists around then… and also marketing BS. Some things don’t change.)

Would have a happy home in mid-20th c. anthropology texts on sympathetic magic and suchlike. The only reason this stuff could actually work is through belief. Inc. belief made the stronger through paying $20 for 2.5 oz…

See also: HC Andersen, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Sorry.

😦

It could have been worse–I mean, give me credit, I did dignify the post with a response, and the response wasn’t this

PFFF… (raspberry optional, may be substituted for current olive)

… which would have been rubbing salt in the wound of my drink-less state.

Nor this

Then I finished my lunch, had a nice cup of tea, and settled down to the afternoon’s work. Continued work into the evening. Went home, had dinner, conversed, watched amusing things on YouTube, read, further conversed, probably had our usual late-evening whiskies, performed ablutions, went to bed, did whatever people do in bed, woke up the next morning, showered, dressed, broke fast, went in to work, got on with my usual business, stopped for lunch. Something along these lines–this was five months ago, so I’m reconstructing based on usual behavioural patterns.

Meanwhile, the shit hit the fan:

Ermintrude 3/1/2011 6:18PM
Will you provide me with your sources showing this is BS? I always need more education, thanks! –& I like the story link. That was my favorite childhood story! Thanks.

Brian 3/1/2011 7:20PM
I’m looking at the ingredients, and no joke it looks like lip balm ingredients. Beeswax, oils, cocoa and shea butter? Sounds like a nice lip balm! haha Rather then asking gingerrama to explain why this product is BS, I would rather ask the company who makes that product how their lip balm-type deodorant works to remove metals from the body :o) I’m curious what sort of chemical process they claim this deodorant uses…

Ermintrude 3/1/2011 8:27PM
I wasn’t speaking to contradict, gingerrama without question has the answers, she speaks with knowledge, I’m sure she knows why it is BS. I would assume the company would defend their product if they are selling it, their facts might not be useful. Why not ask gingerrama who has said has the facts? Gingerrama, I’d appreciate your information, I was not making an invasion if it looked as much.

Brian 3/1/2011 11:09PM
Oh I didn’t mean it in that way, I was just saying that you should ask the company how their product works, as right now they just say it does x and y but doesn’t really say HOW, you know?

Oops, silly me, how insulting: everyday life aside, I was working. You know, those things some people do when they’re not on MUA. Oh, and in a different time-zone. Popped back in mid-sandwich to see what was what on the old Alley. Saw said excrement. Responded more fully, treating this as sensible scepticism. Only later would I realize that I might have been giving more than the benefit of the doubt to a–loon? or merely a stupid and vicious person? anyway, someone who would later be implicated in MUA outrageous abusive dramarama and whose MUA account no longer exists. Incidentally, my apologies to HCA for one of his finest stories being thus doubly wasted on the idiotic: clearly not understood on first or latest reading.

gingerrama 3/2/2011 4:17PM 
sorry for absence, and for hasty reply earlier! here’s my full commentary (part 1)

(my comments are in caps, to differentiate them from the original text on the website)

keep you fresh by removing impurities from your skin that contribute to odor.
SO DOES WATER AND CLEANSER, AND IT’S A FRACTION OF THE PRICE, AND MOST HYGIENE-CONSCIOUS PEOPLE USE IT TWICE A DAY ANYWAY. PERSUADE ME: WHY IS THIS STUFF BETTER, AND WORTH THE PRICE DIFFERENCE?

Pure, organic detoxifying ingredients work at night, providing 6 to 8 hours of safe, efficient absorption of accumulated debris and odors.
(A) PURE AND ORGANIC: NO EVIDENCE THAT WORKS BETTER (THOUGH PERSONALLY I’D BUY ORGANIC FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS).
(B) PURE: INGREDIENTS HAVE TO BE, BY LAW.
(C) DETOXIFYING = MYTH.
(D) SAFE, EFFICIENT ABSORPTION: PROOF, STATISTICS ON EFFICIENCY, DEFINITION OF SAFETY? COMPARISON OF RESULTS AGAINST ALL OTHER DEODORISING PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET, AND AGAINST CONTROL OF USING NOTHING (AND OF JUST CLEANING ARMPITS TWICE A DAY)? THIS IS THE POINT WHERE I WONDERED IF THE PRODUCT IS TARGETED AT A MARKET OF BORDERLINE-OCD PEOPLE OBSESSED WITH AN HG OF TOTAL CLEANLINESS AND PURITY…

attracts, absorbs and cleanses bacteria and metal ions from your underarms without any form of aluminum.
(A) “ATTRACTS” BACTERIA & METAL IONS? BY FLIRTING? ESP? MAGNETISM?
(B)”ABSORBS AND CLEANSES”: SO DOES WATER, APPLIED ON SPONGE/CLOTH/OTHER WIPING DEVICE (AND THEY HAVE NO ALUMINIUM EITHER)

Your daytime deodorant will be more effective because it doesn’t need to work as hard.
THERE IS NO NECESSARY CAUSAL LINK HERE: FLAWED ARGUMENT. I WOULD BE CONVINCED WERE PROOF TO BE PRODUCED FOR THIS CLAIM

synergistically boosts the action of the other ingredients and works as a superb organic preservative.
kelp, coriander and olive leaf to promote the body’s own natural, healing rhythms.
(A) SEE FURTHER BELOW: THIS COULD POTENTIALLY BE A USEFUL CLAIM–BUT
(B) “PROMOTE THE BODY’S OWN NATURAL, HEALING RHYTHMS” IS AT BEST UNPROVABLE (NOTE ALSO USE OF “PROMOTE”: DOESN’T NECESSARILY DO ANYTHING, BUT DOESN’T HINDER EITHER…), AT WORST FLOWERY NONSENSE. I’D BE CONVINCED BY FACTS, EVIDENCE, PROOF. I’M NOT CONVINCED BY FLOWERINESS, BE THAT RHETORICAL OR POETIC (PROBABLY AS MY DAY-JOB IS WORKING ON LITERATURE…)

3/2/2011 4:19PM (commentary part 2)

Dilates sweat ducts to enhance flow of waste fluids.
(A) TO THE BEST OF MY MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS FALSE RE. MECHANISM OF SWEAT-DUCT DILATION.
(B) ALSO, THE FLOW WILL ONLY INCREASE IF THERE IS STUFF TO EXIT; AND TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OTHER FACTORS SUCH AS POSITION, GRAVITY, HEAT/COLD.
(C) “ENHANCE” FLOW = ANOTHER NEUTRAL-BUT-POSITIVE-SOUNDING WORD, LIKE “PROMOTE”.

Alkalizes underarm pH.
(A) HOW?
(B) WHY IS THAT USEFUL? SKIN IS NORMALLY ACIDIC, AND THAT’S HOW IT WORKS BEST (RE. “GOOD” SURFACE FLORA); ALKALIZING USUALLY LEADS TO DRYNESS, IRRITATION, AND EVENTUALLY ALSO DAMAGE.

Removes all types of aluminums.
(A) “ALL TYPES OF”: ALL FORMS AND COMPOUNDS? INCLUDING THE ONES THAT ARE USEFUL OR NEUTRAL TRACE ELEMENTS? THROWING BABY OUT WITH BATH-WATER EXTREMISM
(B) EVEN IF THEY ARE ALL UNDESIRABLE: PROOF THAT REMOVAL IS TOTAL?

Encourages a reduction in daytime doors:
(A) “ENCOURAGES” IS VAGUE (LIKE “PROMOTES” HIGHER UP), OFTEN USED FOR UNSUBSTANTIATABLE CLAIMS (LOOK AT ADS FOR ANY “ELIXIR OF ETERNAL YOUTH” PRODUCTS IN ANY WOMEN’S MAGAZINE…). IT DOES NOTHING ACTIVE, NOR DOES IT HINDER.
(B) THIS IS NO DIFFERENT FROM USING ANY OTHER DEODORANT, OR INDEED A SCENT (WHICH COVERS UP ODOURS)

Effective for both men and women.
SO ARE OTHER DEODORANTS (EX. MITCHUM–℅ REVLON, CRUELTY-FREE–MEN’S AND WOMEN’S VERSIONS HAVE IDENTICAL FUNCTIONAL INGREDIENTS BUT DIFFERENT SCENTS–EXCEPT THE UNSCENTED VERSION–AND AT SAME PRICES).
PRO: THUMBS UP FOR NOT PRODUCING GENDER-DIFFERENTIATED ONES IN DIFFERENT PACKAGING AT DIFFERENT PRICES

One way the human body excretes waste materials is by sweating.
TRUE

Wastes that aren’t completely secreted remain trapped in the body.
FALSE, AND FALSE REASONING: THE BODY SECRETES WASTE BY OTHER MEANS TOO (STATEMENT ABOVE–TRUE–DOES NOT LEAD TO THIS STATEMENT). URINATION AND DEFECATION ARE THE TWO MAIN OTHERS.

Regular cleansing helps the body function properly.
POSSIBLE–BUT THAT CLEANSING COULD BE JUST *CLEANSING*, I.E. WITH SOAP/CLEANSER AND WATER.

In the same way daily tooth brushing to remove plaque is critical to good dental hygiene, nightly use of Detox Cleansing Deodorant is important in combating the bioaccumulation of aluminum and other impurities in your underarms.
SO DOES CLEANING ARMPITS (SOAP, ANY CLEANSER) AT THE END OF THE DAY.

3/2/2011 4:24PM (commentary part 3)

Herbalix believes daily use of Detox Cleansing Deodorant has the ability to help protect you from the presence of metals.
(A) “BELIEVES”? WHAT HAS THAT TO DO WITH A PRODUCT THAT’S CLAIMING ANY RATIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC BASIS TO ITS FUNCTIONING?
(B) OR IS THIS SAYING “WE’RE NOT SURE, WE KNOW WE’RE ON SHAKY GROUNDS, COVERING OURSELVES”? OR USED AS A NEUTRAL VERB LIKE “PROMOTE” & “ENCOURAGE” PREVIOUSLY?
(C) METALS ARE NOT ALL BAD. THIS SMACKS OF “CHEMICAL ARE BAD” SILLY-TALK, FEAR-MONGERING, AND MANIPULATIVE SCARE TACTICS. WHICH ARE AT BEST UNETHICAL, AT WORST EVIL.

In the 21st century everyone is exposed to environmental contaminants. The absorption of these can result in an increased burden to the body.
TRUE

Aluminum is everywhere in our environment and therefore present in our everyday lives. Along with lead and mercury, it is found in our drinking water, gasoline, jet fuel, medicines, antiperspirants, toothpaste, hair sprays and most importantly our food supply.
EVEN IF I GRANT YOU ALUMINIUM, SURELY THE LOGICAL SOLUTION–AS PER YOUR OWN ARGUMENT–IS TO DEAL WITH FOOD FIRST? AND THOSE OTHER MAJOR CAUSES? TREAT THE PROBLEM AT ITS ROOT?

The aluminum the body tries to release through your underarm ducts may interrupt the function of the sweat glands by plugging your sweat ducts.
(A) EVIDENCE?
(B) I NOTE A “MAY”, SUGGESTS MANUFACTURERS/MARKETEERS NOT SURE AND BEING WARY…
(C) SWEAT GLANDS MORE OFTEN BLOCKED BY SWEAT, BYPRODUCTS OF SWEAT DIGESTION BY BACTERIA, FLUFF FROM CLOTHES, HAIR,… SOLVED BY CLEANING ARMPITS REGULARLY.

DCT can help reduce impurities to allow the normal release and cascading of the fluids.
(A) DETOX MYTH
(B) “CASCADING FLUIDS”? REALLY? I LIKE THE IMAGERY, BUT I’VE NEVER ENCOUNTERED CASCADING BODILY FLUIDS OTHER THAN BLOOD, SEMEN, AND VOMIT.

A combination of key ingredients have been shown in clinical tests to safely remove impurities from the acrosyringium duct (a spiral duct comprising the eccrine or sweat glands). Ingredients include Laminaria digitata (kelp), which when absorbed trans-dermally results in optimum reduction of impurities and metals; Coriandrum sativum (coriander), which when applied on underarm skin traps moisture like a sponge and dislodges buildup; and Oleae europaea (olive leaf), which has been proven effective in cleansing and removing odors.
PRO: THIS IS THE MOST SCIENTIFICALLY POSSIBLE (AND INTERESTING) CLAIM.
CORIANDER’S USEFULNESS WELL KNOWN; EVIDENCE FOR OTHERS?
IF I WERE DRAFTING THIS, THIS SECTION IS WHERE I’D BE FOCUSSING…

3/2/2011 4:36PM (commentary part 4)

can start to work after one application; however, many factors contribute to the cleansing process. Your body may require additional time to eliminate trapped impurities.
= THE DETOX MYTH. SEE FURTHER: BAD SCIENCE (BEN GOLDACRE, GOOGLE IF NOT YET ENCOUNTERED…)

For best results, Herbalix recommends DTC for nighttime use and Tropical Cove or No Added Fragrance Deodorant during the day. It is recommended that no other products be applied, such as powders, lotions, perfumes, oils or other commercial deodorants or antiperspirants.
(A) SO I HAVE TO BUY 2 x $20 DEODORANTS?
(B) NO OTHER PRODUCTS= CLASSIC MARKETING: BUY ALL OUR PRODUCTS, AND ONLY OURS. ALL OTHERS ARE BAD/BAD FOR YOU AND WILL STOP OURS FROM WORKING. SAME PSYCHOLOGICAL MODUS OPERANDI AS CULTS.

non-comedogenic (does not clog pores)
FALSE: NON-COMEDOGENIC = DOES NOT LEAD TO THE FORMATION OF COMEDONES. ONLY USE TECHNICAL VOCABULARY IF DOING SO CORRECTLY. THIS IS NOT COPY-PASTE LIP-SERVICE: IT HAS A PRECISE SCIENTIFIC AND LEGAL MEANING (AS DOES OTHER MATERIAL IN THIS FINAL PART OF THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION)

and non-invasive.
SO’S WATER, SO WHAT?

Although individual results may vary, in a clinical test, all subjects showed no adverse effect or allergic reaction.
SAME FOR WATER, SO WHAT?

Herbalix Restoratives Preservatives system is a trademarked industry first. It tested 99.999% negative for the five major microorganisms at an FDA-approved scientific research laboratory.
THIS COULD BE INTERESTING, BUT PLENTY OTHER PRESERVATIVES PERFORM THE SAME TASK

Should slight swelling of the underarm area occur, or slight pustule development appear during the first few days of use, do not be concerned. This is a visible sign that your body is cleansing impurities. This is a temporary sensory reaction and should subside within a few days.
(A) NO, IT’S MORE USUALLY IRRITATION.
(B) AGAIN, THE “BODY CLEANSING ITSELF OF IMPURITIES” = NONSENSE.

Discontinue use if signs of irritation or pain persist.
HO HUM. STANDARD CLAUSE (THERE ARE OTHERS, EX. PREGNANCY) OR COVERING OURSELVES IN CASE OF LAWSUITS?

A 2.5 oz container may last up to three or four months when applied nightly (Herbalix recommends two or three swipes under each arm). Once on the maintenance plan, this time will double depending on how many times a week you choose to apply the deodorant.
TRUE OF ANY DEODORANT ON THE MARKET. I’M NOT SOLD!

With the everyday absorption of impurities, the need to cleanse will never diminish.
DETOX MYTH

This deodorant is safe to use on a regular basis as a cleansing maintenance program.
(A) THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING TO TEST OUT: JUST USE THIS STUFF, NO CLEANSER OR ANYTHING ELSE. MONITOR SCENT ETC. BEFOREHAND. MAKES FOR A PROMISING RESEARCH PROJECT–FROM HIGH-SCHOOL LEVEL TO PHD–WITH SUFFICIENT SAMPLE POPULATION, DOUBLE-BLIND TESTING, LONGITUDINAL MONITORING, CONTROL GROUP, CONTROL FOR OTHER FACTORS E.GG. DIET, LIFESTYLE, …
BUT: THAT KIND OF *PROPER* STUDY NEEDS DECADES OF RESEARCH.
(B) I’D BE CONVINCED ON PRODUCTION OF EVIDENCE THAT SUCH A PROPER STUDY HAS BEEN DONE, DATA COLLECTED AND ANALYSED, PUBLISHED AND READ AND CRITIQUED IN INDEPENDENT (I.E. ACADEMIC) PEER-REVIEWED SCIENCE JOURNALS. LET ME KNOW WHEN THAT’S BEEN DONE, AND I’LL REVIEW MY COMMENTS THEN AND MAYBE EVEN GIVE THE STUFF A TRY.
(C) I NOTE ALSO THAT NOWHERE HAVE I BEEN TOLD *HOW* THIS STUFF WORKS: I WANT CHEMICAL FORMULAE, REACTION PATHWAYS, DIAGRAMMES. PLUS TABLES, CHARTS, GRAPHS. FACTS. DATA.

I was tempted to add “QED” but didn’t. It would have earned me more flack. Well, I was already in it up to my neck anyway, as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, and so on. But as we’ll see, it would have been entirely inappropriate and perceived as insulting to use such abbreviations let alone Latin or logic. Foreign languages both–mind you, correct proper English seems to be too, to dear Ermintrude; Spanish might be her first language, but it’s a more “rationally coherent” language than English, sort of, and besides, rational thought and indeed logic work in/on any human language. Further, logic–like maths and programming languages–transcends natural language.

gingerrama 3/2/2011 4:41PM
Brian, that is in a nutshell my main point! I don’t trust “we say it works so it does so buy it”
[re. Brian 3/1/2011 11:09PM: “Oh I didn’t mean it in that way, I was just saying that you should ask the company how their product works, as right now they just say it does x and y but doesn’t really say HOW, you know?”]

After which, I sent Ermintrude one of those personal-message things

From gingerrama
Subject hiya!
Date 3/2/2011 6:03:08 PM

Hi there–
This is just a quick note to say that I’ve replied (in probably tedious detail…) to your post and questions. And you were absolutely right to ask me: I mean, if I’m saying “don’t believe THEM when they say something is true”, there’s no reason for you to do the same for me either! That’s all very sensible and wise and properly sceptical!
Anyway. I have allergic reactions to marketing, partly because I have to work with this sort of material a lot (and other writing of a more persuasive nature) in my everyday work. But that aside, I’d be genuinely curious to see (a) if they produce any actual answers to questions, and (b) if their stuff works.
Yours in continuing support of healthy scepticism,
and the pursuit of beauty and happiness,
Ginger xox

And back to the board…

Dougal 3/2/2011 9:29PM
On the metal absorbtion thing – I agree it’s total nonsence for the deo, but the source of the belief that kelp can absorb heavy metals is actually true. In the ocean, some seaweeds can absorb metals (and there are studies regarding whether dried kelp can be used to treat polluted water). To jump from the fact that living seaweed can absorb heavy metals from the water to the idea that dead, pulverized seaweed could do the same when applied to your skin is a LONG leap. Especially given the miniscule amount of kelp that would actually be in the deodorant.

Zebedee 3/3/2011 12:37PM
LOL!!! @ commentary #3, cascading fluids!

Brian 3/3/2011 2:26PM
Well, and if seaweed can soak up metals, does that mean the seaweed is going to sink into your bloodstream, lurk about your body, find the metals, soak them up, then take them back out of the body? Very different process with seaweed in water and seaweed extract in your bloodstream.

I agree with Dougal. Long leap.

Meanwhile, over in the PM-verse…

From Ermintrude
To gingerrama
Subject RE: hiya!
Date 3/4/2011 2:13:29 AM

Hiya fellow greenie. Sure glad to see you take the time to read up on the deodorant, and more to answer me with a personal mail. I meant no hard feelings but I do see so much on any “green” situation where people just come up and say “It is not true” not giving any reason except their opinions. Allegorical reasoning with The Emperor’s New Clothes, while cute diminishes their claims validity but does nothing to support why the opposing side is correct. It’s a sore point with me because anybody can say, “I don’t believe that.” and that is their right, and I never have a problem with that but I don’t see that enough, more often it’s me seeing “this is not true” instead of “I don’t believe” I will say “Why isn’t it true? What is it you know that the rest of the world is not in on because at best it’s up for discussion in these times.”
I’m the first to believe that radical claims should be called out, don’t get me wrong, but on the other hand there is a lot of unknown in this planet we share. There was a time when one who speculated this world we reside on might be an orb was laughed at. “Naturally, the world is flat. Take a look at it”, one would declare! So, let it be said, we both have allergic reactions to the same thing, from different sides! All the better to come to the proper conclusions with both of us on the job, I would say! Thanks again for setting things back on level plane!

Oh dear. I honestly have no idea how one is supposed to respond. It looks like it’s in English. A lot of the words and some of the syntax look familiar; I can squint and block out the errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But the sense–is either absent or contrary to standard usage and common sense. Utterly alien. Baffling. What little sense I can make of it is not good. Well, nonsense really. I didn’t even bother highlighting particularly hair-raising bits in red. Yes, that grim and despondent.

Back to the board:

Ermintrude 3/4/2011 2:15AM
gingerrama! Thank you for taking the time to respond with a personal mail. 🙂

Ermintrude 3/4/2011 2:18AM
and I will repeat: All the better to come to the proper conclusions with both of us on the job, & Thanks again for setting things back on level plane!

Ahem. I hardly know where to start. There’s such a lot of WTF and gittishness along here. I leave it to the intelligent reader’s discernment and entertainment. I’m quite sure that “level plane” is actually, genuinely, sincerely, THE FLAT EARTH. And this is one of those tea-party types.

I tried to finish off, or attain some sense of closure, hopefully save a soul from the eternal damnation of terminal folly of the worst sort. Alas, to my eternal shame, I failed.

a state of wishful thinking

Over in PM-land, at some obscene hour of the morning, pre-caffeine (this was the weekend, hence actually being off MUA for the odd day–I know, these excuses of “work” and “life” really are wearing thin):

From gingerrama
Subject RE: RE: hiya!
Date 3/6/2011 9:39:52 AM

Entirely agreed! Especially people saying “I don’t believe that”–so long as they are fully aware that this is belief, and no relation to factual or rational truths.

Some folks would claim that belief is a matter of truth too–indeed, higher–highest–truth of all. I happen to disagree (but will fight tooth and nail for people to have the right to believe whatever they want). I am a sceptic, a rationalist, and (therefore?) an atheist.

Highlighting, though: there’s a crucial, and much-misunderstood, difference between opinion (view, personal position, etc.) and argument.

Some opinions are also well-formed properly-reasoned arguments; some arguments may start with, or incorporate, opinions; but the two are not one and the same thing, and the terms are not interchangeable.

In logic: both the informal kind–informal fallacies, like appeals to authority or personal attacks–and the formal kind–as in philosophy and math, with Ps and Not-Ps and other symbols. Being the basis to the construction of well-formulated arguments and debate: in, well, debating like the high-school kind, but also in law and in (some) parliaments/houses of representatives etc.

Arguments can be true:: a true one is, synonymously, valid, or reasonable, or rationally acceptable. It need not have any basis in fact or evidence; but it can act as proof just like facts can.

An argument (and, indeed, any statement / proposition) can be true or false. Sometimes it may be beyond the scope of proof, and/or unprovable. Some opinions are rational, logically well-formed / proper statements/propositions; and can therefore be proven or disproven, logically. Many are not; are beyond the scope of logic (and, therefore, reason…).

So when I say “X is not true” I either mean “it is not FACTUALLY true” or “it is not logically true”. These two being the meanings of “true.” (I do a lot of work in logic and on reasoning, and do not choose my words lightly…)

So, to be fair, an opinion can be part of a reason. But also, absolutely, we should–I should too!!!– be careful to add caveats: “to the best of our current knowledge”, “based on current available information”, “but there is a data gap”, and so on. And that in itself is a good and valid reason for not using a certain ingredient or product; I know that’s why plenty of people avoid, for example, paraben preservatives. But on the aluminium in deodorants–avoiding *all* AL-based compounds simply shows ignorance of basic chemistry…

Cheerio,
Ginger

From Ermintrude
Subject RE: RE: RE: hiya!
Date 3/13/2011 9:32:37 PM

Hello Ginger,
I’m sorry it has taken me some time to get back with you, my schedule is quite sporadic, few days home, many days away. My away-work, thankfully, keeps me away from offices and computers. I am truly lucky in that aspect of my life, for sure!
It was delightful to receive your detailed email, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me and thoroughly enjoyed reading it; you are so much like my best friend in your ideas. I love seeing the different viewpoints – Your words: (I do a lot of work in logic and on reasoning, and do not choose my words lightly…) and (I am a sceptic, a rationalist, and (therefore?) an atheist. I on the other hand call that a realist. So on to word choices,
For example, of your comments, when you say:
So when I say “X is not true” I either mean “it is not FACTUALLY true” or “it is not logically true”. These two being the meanings of “true.” (I do a lot of work in logic and on reasoning, and do not choose my words lightly…) I found that to be among the most interesting of all you said. I could not begin to carefully choose my words, (why would I?) the final effect is what I am after, who cares what words got it there!
Different languages cause different thought patterns. I had dinner with a friend in English leaves a a great deal of curiosity, perhaps, as to the gender of the friend, but in Spanish the answer is there, it’s mandatory! (more on this below!) And your “it is not logically true” a basis for saying “X is not true” – But, what about the bumble bee? Logically it cannot fly, so when I say “the bumble bee flies” you would counter with “that is not true.” But, indeed it is true, the bumble bee does fly!
And another favorite of your mail –
Entirely agreed! Especially people saying “I don’t believe that”–so long as they are fully aware that this is belief, and no relation to factual or rational truths. No! How beautiful this difference of beliefs. I can not imagine living in a world where belief has to have any logical “aware that this is belief, and no relation…..” That would sap my life forces, lol! – It is the abstract, that which is not understood or known but is there that gives the flavor to a bland hour! That is my truth!
As my friend Florence and I have amassed this volume of how bad/how good it is. She is so happy to be recently at a higher ladder rung in her career in the company she works, greater responsibility, much greater salary and slightly more time behind the desk – and bad weather she gets to work at home. I cringe, shudder! Sitting behind a desk, looking at a monitor screen is punishment for me when the fresh air beckons me every dawn and she is overjoyed at the concept. Which is truth, which has logic, which has or has no reason?
For me to have to shop for “appropriate” attire in which to dress in order to sit at a desk seems somehow to defy any logic known to man. It is wrong! Florence would argue that’s the placing of the square peg in the square hole.
++++

From Ermintrude
To gingerrama
Subject –a continuation
Date 3/13/2011 9:36:10 PM

(so long winded, lol)

I’d love to go on, perhaps we may be able to later, but I’m behind in other correspondence this evening, and have a tight schedule for the next few days. Ginger, I have sincerely enjoyed reading what you had to say.
Let me pass this on to you, in fact, this was passed to me by another green board mua member some short time back, I think you might appreciate this as I have. Concepts. I actually referenced this in text and thought tonight.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html
Until then,
Ermintrude

Words fail me, good sirs… also, granny/eggs/suck

One comment

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