Friday, 18 February 2011

Factivism


Oh, the Internet... where anyone can cherry-pick the information they like that suits their beliefs, compile it together, and then set it free into cyberspace.  I cannot count the number of times someone has written or remarked "But studies have shown that (insert whatever it is the writer/speaker feels passionately about) is proven to ___________________ !!!!!!!!!"

That irritates the fuck out of me.  If you would like to discuss something with me, I want you to know more about it than a controversial sound byte or story clip you got off of the Internet.  Don't get me wrong, you can find plenty of factual and useful items to support your claims... but more often than not, it's not going to be on the first page of Google search.  Those are not listed by "most factual first," they are listed by "greatest number of people who believe this" first.  Know the difference.  Even better - do a Deep Web search via Ebscohost, ProQuest, NewFirstSearch, Lexis-Nexis... you get the idea.  Politifact also has a strong fact-checking team.

Obviously facts are not (mainly) what you need when discussing moral issues, and they don't always play a major part in social issues.  But if you're going to be discussing the "rampant number of illegal aliens on welfare", or the "oodles and goodles of information that says vaccination is BAD", you'd better have links and citations to back that up - and not from Fox "News."  In return, I won't cite from Huffington Post.  Sound fair?

So in the spirit of debate, if you have a topic you'd like to discuss you can email me at a(dot)leah[at]yahoo(dot)com, find me on Twitter or facebook, or comment here. 

I won't bite.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

okay so BFing is in the media lots right now with mrs obama discussing how it prevents your kids from becoming obese and having asthma, plys ear infections, stomach infections and plenty other childhood illness. it has been proven over and over that BFing SAVES LIVES. aap and wic program all over the world state this. but you say its a woman choice. how about when CHOICE interferes with SAVING LIFES.a

Christopher said...

Well, anonymous, I'll take a stab at that.

There are literally millions of babies on this planet that have never been breastfed and they're still kicking. I firmly believe in breastfeeding (my mother is a lactation consultant) but, it's not for everyone and we should all keep our noses in our own damn business.

Now, I don't have my facts checked on this (sorry Aleah) but I guaran-damn-tee that more babies are killed by automobile accidents ever day, week, month, and year than by consuming Enfamil. Driving is way riskier. Driving is a choice. Really, wouldn't we all save tens of thousands of lives every year if we didn't drive?

Sharonmanc said...

Anon - what you said really had nothing to do with this post, and if you read the post - FACTS ONLY - we all know the benefits of breastfeeding - but still it is a choice - and it should not be pushed on anyone or used to shame them, or score points - women do this to each other, and it is sad - if more women stopped beating up on each other over THEIR choices and supported each other it would be a better use of energy.

Not everyone has the choice - some people cannot breastfeed for many reasons - I have been a breast milk donor for women whose babies have come too soon and their bodies have not been able to support those children, a breast feeding moma, and i have also been a Formula feeding moma when I was consumed with griefwhen my own mother died, and working every hour to feed and cloth my children when my husband walked out on us. Formula milk is not going to kill anyone, it is an option, and a damn good alternative. Parents feed their children man made food every day without a second thought, formula milk is no different. We all know the breast is best mantra - but the societies we live in do not reflect this, often women have to work long busy schedules which make it virtually impossible to do so, if you are lucky enough to be financially stable, and are able to stay home so that your only concern after having a child is to breast feed then fine, but dont judge others - every womans decicision/choice is different for differing reasons, and it is their right as a parent to make that choice - without the breast is best brigade, looking down on them - wow went off on a tangent - ahh well

Stacey said...

I'm with you. On a related note, I think people should stay off the damn medical reference websites in order to diagnose themselves. Jesus H. Christ, WebMd should be renamed to www.enjoyyourcancer.com

SuziG said...

I completely agree with you Stacey, and with what Chris said to Anon. Seriously Anon, look up the facts on this. While the research is there, there are just as many formula fed people out there who don't have those issues. And what do you do to those who can't breastfeed? Force them?

Aleah said...

Okay. First, there have been absolutely NO controlled studies of breast milk vs. formula. Not a single one. Why? Because in order to do a randomized controlled study, you have to assign breast milk to one group and formula to another, which is unethical (like having two groups of HIV positive mothers, and in determining whether antiretrovirals definitively prohibit their babies from seroconverting, having one group take the meds and one take a placebo). So, all we have is self reporting. In fact, the only thing we can actually say is that it likely has more to do with the ACT of breastfeeding in relation to obesity - a mother who is stridently committed to monitoring everything that goes into her infant's mouth via breast milk is hardly going to start feeding her child Mountain Dew and corn chips once he's ready to eat on his own. Thus a mother who formula feeds can be JUST as committed to her child's diet. Same with the intelligence factor. If you eliminate all other variables and break it down to breast milk and formula only, there is no discernible difference - EXCEPT when it comes to necrotizing enterocolitis, which occurs more often in premature infants. And yes, even in those cases, the evidence is more speculative than definitive.

Anonymous said...

one there are chemicals in formuyla that do not happen in breastmilk two it not only prevents obesity in your babies but the mother will burn 500 calories an hour when she is BFing and also prevention of breast cancers and also other cancers in women. those HAVE been studies.

Anonymous said...

women also use the excurese that their medicines keep them from being able to BF. the amount that goes to the baby is very small but doctors will counsel women to stop BF. and i cant COUNT the number if times i have been in the hosptial just after giving birth and the nurses are no help with BF. in fact you are sent home with bottles and formula "just in case." hosptials are VERY pro formula. but BF is free. you can only bond and BF with your child for such a short while is that too much to ask?

Aleah said...

*sigh* Seriously? First, you must not have read my post, otherwise you wouldn't be coming here spouting your opinion. Then again, maybe you would, because your tone exemplifies the moralizing position that breastfeeding mothers are superior, while those that choose formula are inferior. I'll start with your claim that breast feeding burns 500 calories per hour... where the hell did you come up with that? A 130 pound woman running 5 miles per hour doesn't burn 500 calories. If you're mistakenly referring to the recommended calorie increase PER DAY for a breast feeding woman, that WAS an increase of 500 calories per day - however that would not be the intake of a woman trying to lose baby weight (that number was for someone to maintain their current weight) and now the medical standard is actually 300 calories. So, thank you for illustrating a perfect example of the misinformation and myths surrounding breast feeding: you go from possibly burning 500 calories in one day to burning 500 an hour. Regarding cancer prevention: cite me the studies. Keep in mind that correlation does NOT equal causation - although if you're also anti-vaccine I guess that'd go right over your head.

If you wish to comment further I would appreciate some links and data to back up your claims. And to the second comment, really? Only mothers who breast feed can bond with their babies? Again, the moralizing tone is just that - you're making an erroneous assumption with absolutely no proof (and I imagine that millions of fathers would beg to differ with you).

Aleah said...

And Chris, Stacey, Suzi, and especially Sharon - thank you for commenting. Suzi - did you know Gisele Bundchen actually said in an interview that she thought that breast feeding should be a law? Really?!?

Mandy said...

Wow. I just had to comment about how entertained Anonymous kept me on this lonely cold night. :) Some people just baffle me.

staceyjw said...

FACTIVISM- great word, may have to steal it. Too few facts, too much crap these days!