Epigenetics.

As I’ve described before, to alternative medicine practitioners, epigenetics seems to mean something akin to what the word “quantum” means: Magic. I’ve covered, for example, the woo-filled stylings of Deepak Chopra invoking things like “quantum consciousness,” and seemingly for quite a few years the best way to slap a patina of “sciencey”-sounding credibility on a pseudoscientific medical treatment has been to add the word “quantum” to it. Perhaps the epitome of this tendency was the infamous Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface promoted by a rather—shall we say?—flamboyant huckster named Bill Nelson. Truly, it was a headache-inducing computer interface allegedly designed to allow for the tracking of virtually any form of quackery known to human beings.

Of course, alternative medicine is nothing if not imaginative, with a voracious appetite for co-opting the latest science and turning it into woo. One of the latest examples has been epigenetics, which to quacks has become the new quantum, sometimes mixed with The Secret. For those not familiar with biology, epigenetics is a new branch of genetics that describes cellular and physiologic trait variations that are not caused by changes in DNA sequence. Rather, epigenetics describes traits that are due to changes in the expression of genes; these changes may or may not be heritable. Common epigenetic processes include the methylation of DNA (a chemical modification that attaches methyl groups), a method of silencing genes or histone modification. Histones are the proteins around which the DNA is wrapped to form chromosomes and how “tightly” parts of the DNA are wrapped around histones can make certain stretches of DNA available to the transcriptional machinery of the cell and others unavailable. There are a lot of other mechanisms too, such as short stretches of RNA called microRNAs that can bind to specific DNA sequences and silence specific genes. Some of these changes can be inherited, an observation that has led some creationists to claim that epigenetics “disproves Darwin.” It doesn’t, because there’s no reason selection processes can’t operate on epigenetic mechanisms as well.

Be that as it may, I thought I had seen it all from quacks, with claims that epigenetics means that thinking makes it so (i.e., that you can modify your gene expression consciously by influencing your own epigenetics) or that you can radically change your gene expression through thought, diet, exercise, and a host of other things, all to make yourself virtually immune to disease. Of course, one joke we like to make about homeopathy, acupuncture, and a lot of other woo is that no one ever relies on it for birth control because, well, the reasons are obvious. Birth control has a rather binary outcome: Pregnancy or no pregnancy. There’s little wiggle room for claiming success if pregnancy results in spite of what you’re doing.

Or so I thought until I saw this video, Epigenetic Birth Control_YOU are in control!:

It features a guy named Markus Rothkranz, whom I’d never heard of before. His website, however, is chock full of as much quackery as Joe Mercola’s or Mike Adams’ website. Indeed, I doubt that even Joe Mercola or Mike Adams would go so far as to recommend epigenetic birth control:

An exciting new world is unfolding around us.Little by litte, people are learning to let go of their fears and replacing it with power and freedom. The more in control you are of your physical, emotional and mental health, the more control you have of your entire life- including birth control. It’s not something you take. The answer is not “out there”. It’s inside you. The same thing that frees you from radiation poisoning (see last newsletter)- is the same thing that frees you from so many other things we fear. Women- claim your power. You deserve it.

The video opens with a woman proclaiming, “I never used birth control, and I never got pregnant again.” Then Rothkranz shows up, saying:

Eight years ago, I introduced you to the power of raw foods and cleansing. That’s only first grade level stuff. I’m about to take you to high school. This episode is about epigenetic birth control. You are more in control of your life than you ever thought.

Now here’s the funny part in the intro:

Something interesting happened to women who who went completely, 100% raw, and cleansed their bodies as clean as could possibly be, living the way nature intended. They stopped having periods. And they also found something else interesting. Even though they weren’t having periods, some of them still got pregnant. They were the ones who wanted to get pregnant. Those who didn’t, didn’t. This opens up a fascinating new field called epigenetics.

My first thought upon hearing this was simple. Women also stop menstruating when they’re malnourished. In addition, just because a woman stops menstruating under these circumstances doesn’t necessarily mean she is not ovulating or that she is completely infertile, either. So right away, we can potentially explain this observation, if it’s even true. While a carefully chosen vegan diet can be healthy, it’s not hard to imagine how an extreme raw vegan diet, coupled with extreme cleanses favored by many of these raw food faddists, could result in the cessation of menstruation. To be honest, it’s difficult to parse the medical literature with respect to the effect of a raw vegan diet on menstruation and fertility. For instance, this small, old study suggests a higher incidence of becoming anovulatory associated with a vegetarian diet, and other studies suggest a correlation between long term raw vegan diets and amenorrhea. Consistent with these observations, it’s well established that heavy exercise can result in cessation of menses in female athletes. Let’s take this claim at face value for a moment, though. If women of reproductive age who go on raw vegan diets and various cleanses cease menstruating, that is not a good thing. Rather, it’s an indication that something is wrong. Yet here it is being sold as a good thing!

It’s also not hard to imagine a combination of confirmation bias, where Rothkranz remembers the women who got pregnant who wanted to be pregnant and forgot the ones who got pregnant who didn’t want to be pregnant (not to mention the ones who didn’t get pregnant who wanted to be) plus perhaps women who wanted to be pregnant trying harder, causing the appearance that this “epigenetic birth control works.”

In any case, the video consists of three women telling their stories. First up is a woman named Cara Brotman, who tells a tale of how “baby crazy” she was, how she had wanted a baby ever since she was a little girl, to the point where when she was 20 she got pregnant with her first serious boyfriend, had a baby, and was overjoyed. She then fast forwards five years later, to when she’s 26. At that point she’s running a vegan raw food restaurant, and in telling the story she practically brags about being “up and running” from 7:30 AM to 12:30 AM. Of course, my first thought was: What happened to that baby she was so crazy about? He would have been only five years old or so when she opened that restaurant, and apparently she was working 16+ hours a day. How did she take care of her child?

Funny I thought that, though, because her next complaint is that, with all the restaurant work, she had lost time “for me.” She became pregnant again at age 27, and she really didn’t want this baby. So what did she do? Her story is a bit disturbing in its level of self-absorption. According to her tale, the night after she learned she was pregnant, she wished very, very hard. No, I’m serious. She “focused on her body” and wished that she was not pregnant any more. The next morning, she relates with satisfaction, she had a miscarriage:

And I realized that I can never lose focus on myself again if I am to continue this sort of mental birth control that I have been on since I was in my 20s. After that, it was mind over matter, and I’ve never been pregnant after that.

Brotman basically brags about “making love” up to six times a day with no pregnancy or pregnancy scares. Of course, one wonders how one has a pregnancy scare if one is not menstruating, which Brotman hasn’t been doing since she went 100% raw vegan. Indeed, she relates going years without having a period, after which Rothkranz blathers about how menstruation is just the “body doing dishes” or cleaning up and that if there’s nothing to clean there’s no reason to menstruate.

If this sounds a lot like The Secret, you’re right, although Rothkranz tries very hard to deny it, saying it’s not “wanting something” and it’s not “positive affirmation.” He claims it’s just “living” the way you’re supposed to and as a result getting what you really want. In other words, it’s not unlike religion, where your righteous way of living is rewarded.

He also provides a ready excuse for failure, claiming that you have to be absolutely certain and that “if there’s just 1% doubt” it’s all null and void:

If either of the partners has a little bit of a desire or a doubt or a fear, guess what’s going to creep into their situation and become real. You have to be completely, completely living what you know you deserve.

Later:

The ability to have children when the time is right or not have them when the time is not right is just the tip of the iceberg. Epigenetics and quantum physics is your passport to freedom.

Oops. I spoke too soon. I thought this would all just be epigenetics, but he brought quantum physics into it too. Of course he did.

The second woman featured is Katrine Volynsky, who on her website describes herself as “truth seeker, researcher, teacher, author, coach, sports nutritionist, athlete, foodie and Chernobyl Survivor.” Well, there’s a new twist. I hadn’t heard of Chernobyl survivors selling epigenetic quackery before. I guess that, even a decade into this, there’s always room for me to learn something new. In any case, she seems to contradict Rothkranz in that she goes on and on and on about how becoming pregnant or not becoming pregnant is a “conscious choice” for your life, that “choice” somehow “sets up a pattern in your body” and “your body responds.”

Rothkranz asks her if she uses the rhythm method; she says no. He asks her if she can have sex while ovulating; she dances around the question a bit but basically answers yes. She even goes on to say that it’s basically all up to her and her partner whether she becomes pregnant or not. In fact, she even claims that there are souls out there who are waiting to come in during the act to result in a pregnancy whom she and her partner can choose to let in or not. No, I’m not kidding. That is what she claims, all with a whole lot of blather about the “cosmos” and how during the act of making love she encompasses the whole universe. I’m only touching the surface here. You have to watch for yourself. Volynsky’s segment begins at 6:20.

Of course, given that Volynsky says on her website that she was a survivor of Chernobyl as a child and that she’s had multiple health problems as a result, one wonders how fertile she is to begin with. Add to that this:

Throughout my journey to true health, I’ve been to many extremes. I have been a hardcore raw foodist, I’ve fasted for 45 days on water, I’ve eaten pounds of enzymes and probiotics at a time, lived on juices, had weekly colonics – you name it. Each experience brought me closer to understanding the body, the mind and the amazing health technology that is out there.

None of this sounds particularly healthy. Indeed, Volynsky relates a story of becoming pregnant, because, of course, she had had a moment of wanting it during sex, to put it more crudely than she did. So she “had a conversation with the soul that’s coming in” telling it to “take another flight” and asking her body to “shift course.” I kid you not. I can’t make up stuff like this, and I’m glad that I can’t. Volynsky then goes on about how awesome it is to have this power of “conscious creation,” apparently not realizing that, if she really did induce her own miscarriage, that’s conscious destruction. Be that as it may, unlike Brotman, Volynsky never really comes right out and says that she “thought” her own miscarriage. In fact, she says she conceived, but one wonders if that was all in her mind as well, given the sheer quantity of nonsense she lays down in this segment.

The final woman to be featured is Kathrine Clark, who runs a website called Simply Superfood. Her segment might as well take a title stolen from Marvin Gaye, as in Sexual Healing, because Clark lets loose a barrage of woo about how the creator gave us sex not just for procreation but to help us in our “awakening” and to increase the “life force” and “vitality.” She reiterates how women on a 100% raw diet experience fewer and fewer periods, sometimes even ceasing menstruation altogether. In fact, she states that every woman she knew who went “completely raw” eventually stopped menstruating, as though that were a good thing! It never occurs to her that this might in fact be an indication that her diet is not healthy.

While watching this video, I kept waiting for a woo-tastic explanation of how epigenetics is supposedly allowing these women to control whether or not they became pregnant. I never heard one. It became clear to me by the end of the video that the word “epigenetic” was utterly meaningless to these people, other than as a sciencey-sounding buzzword like “quantum” that they used to tell themselves how their pseudoscience and mystical beliefs work. In fact, it’s clear that Markus Rothkranz, Cara Botman, Katrine Volynsky, and Katherine Clark have even less understanding of quantum and epigenetics than Deepak Chopra, who, quantum con man that he is, must at least understand enough about quantum theory and epigenetics to be able to pontificate about it in a way that sounds as though he knows what he’s talking about. These clowns don’t even bother with that. They might as well say “God” or “The Secret” or the “universe” is what allows them to do what they claim they can do while ignoring that that their lack of menstrual periods is almost certainly not due to anything they’re thinking but quite possibly to their extreme raw vegan diets coupled with the rest of the “cleanses” they do.

Come to think of it, that’s just what they all did.

Comments

  1. #1 herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2015

    menstruation is just the “body doing dishes” or cleaning up and that if there’s nothing to clean there’s no reason to menstruate

    So menstruation is the body cleansing itself of the evil toxins? There’s some old-school purity-of-essence misogyny right there. Those women with their filth-ridden bodies. UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!

  2. #2 StrangerInAStrangeLand
    May 21, 2015

    I don´t think that this concept will be very successful because “epigenetic” has the word “gene” in it. And we all know from the discussions agout GMOs that gene = evil and noone in his/her right mind wants to have any genes in him-/herself, food or medicine!

  3. #3 JP
    May 21, 2015

    Of course, given that Volynsky says on her website that she was a survivor of Chernobyl as a child and that she’s had multiple health problems as a result, one wonders how fertile she is to begin with.

    I’m not sure what she means by “survivor of Chernobyl.” To me, it brings to mind the guys who were actually doing the damage control, who were mostly dead or very sick and then dead pretty soon afterward. Or maybe someone who was actually from Pripyat’.

    In any case, “multiple health problems” from Chernobyl strikes me as completely made up. People in largish swathes of Eastern Europe who were kids during the accident are more likely to develop thyroid cancers, but that’s really pretty much it. (Even that could have been largely avoided if the Soviet Union would have been a little bit quicker in terms of distributing iodine pills and notifying Eastern Bloc countries about the accident, but that would’ve required the USSR to be at least a little bit on top of its sh*t.)

  4. #4 ChrisP
    Australia
    May 21, 2015

    It really is a case of just when you think you have seen it all a woo that is wooier than all the other woos appears.

    I did describe the lifestyle of Cara Brotman to Mrs P; working 16 hours a day in a restaurant and then having sex six times a day. Mrs P described it as complete bullsh!t. I offered to let her off the restaurant work, but her response was still unprintable.

  5. #5 MI Dawn
    May 21, 2015

    So Ms Brotman works 16 hours a day, has sex 6 times a day (even at – say – 10 minutes per act, that’s still another hour). Her poor baby obviously gets little or none of mother’s time – hey – let’s go to bed and sleep. Then you’ll be with mommy. Attention? You want me to pay attention to someone other than my self? Why?

    I’m really, honestly hoping that her child is either in someone else’s care who loves and pays attention to them, or is a figment of her imagination.

  6. #6 Quark
    May 21, 2015

    And what is the price of the “epiquantumic” (or “quantogenetic”, this one sound very very good i think) diet sold with all this garbage ?

  7. #7 KayMarie
    May 21, 2015

    Oh.My.Heck.

    See that is why the woo has no side effects, every side effect is a sign of the woo is working better than any other woo. With the usual dose of it’s all your fault that often comes with the altie view point. I just hope none of these wackos have anyone close to them dealing with infertility.

  8. #8 palindrom
    May 21, 2015

    Working in a restaurant and having sex 6 times a day?

    Where did she work, an In-N-Out Burger?

  9. #9 Helianthus
    May 21, 2015

    @ hdb

    There’s some old-school purity-of-essence misogyny right there.

    I was funnily coming to the same conclusion. Of course, we must just be imagining it, with our dirty Old Europe mindset.

    @ StrangerInAStrangeLand

    I don´t think that this concept will be very successful because “epigenetic” has the word “gene” in it.

    I respectfully disagree. In another thread, a peddler of vitamins is all about epigenetics, and how it’s going to free smart people like him of the tyranny of big pharma drugs. It’s a sciency buzzword.

    It’s easily linked to personalized medicine for all the special snowflakes outa here.
    It’s quickly explained at being about the fuzzy stuff surrounding our genes, but, big emphasis, it’s not about the genes themselves (OK, in reality yes it is, there are physical modifications of DNA, and other molecules interacting in non-covalent ways, and all of these molecules have to come from somewhere).
    So from the start it’s a bit otherworldly, and from here talking about aura, positive thinking and quantum is just a little step away.

    tl;dr: “gene” is perfectly fine inside “epigenetic”. Don’t expect consistency from people afraid of “chemicals” but nonetheless gulping colloidal silver, bleach and industrial chelators.

  10. #10 Young CC Prof
    May 21, 2015

    I’m just stuck on this terrible idea that you can cause miscarriages by wanting them. There are so many problems with that, I don’t know where to begin. I mean, if you believe that idea, it makes women responsible for miscarriages, which is disgusting, because medicine has shown us that most early miscarriages are the result of karyotype errors or other critical problems with the embryo, and are entirely unpreventable. And of course, then you get to arresting women for miscarriages, which has happened.

  11. #11 nutritionprof
    May 21, 2015

    Epigenetic magic notwithstanding, I wonder how well their bones are holding up while wishing away the estrogen.

  12. #12 Mrs Woo
    May 21, 2015

    Of all the silly malarkey I have ever…

    If wanting something bad enough made it happen, all these women and men going to fertility clinics, etc., would have had oodles of children by now. Absolutely ridiculous…

    And arrogant – it boils down to “we are more focused, better wishers than everyone else and if you practice, you, too, can control your fertility with nothing more than thought!”

    People can honestly be that deluded?

    I will have to practice my wishing. Lately I have been really unwell and things like packing, etc., fall farther and farther behind, even with all the self-discipline I learned in boot camp.

  13. #13 Roger Kulp
    @herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2015

    @

  14. #14 Roger Kulp
    May 21, 2015

    @ herr doktor bimler

    It isn’t about women,or any implied misogyny.It’s simply the toxins.It doesn’t matter what the problem is with these people.Everything is toxins.Except Chernobyl for some reason.I don’t get this.

    Interesting news article,from Ukraine,about how radiation from Kiev impacted female fertility and birth rates. http://www.day.kiev.ua/en/article/society/how-radiation-affected-ukrainian-gene-pool

  15. #15 Roger Kulp
    May 21, 2015

    Edit function pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. #16 Delphine
    May 21, 2015

    If ONLY I had seen this video when we were trying. We would have saved all the $$$ we spent on ART, not to mention the time/energy/discomfort. And to think I could have somehow prevented losing 4 desperately wanted children. Maybe we just didn’t want them badly enough. Had nothing to do with their aneuploidy, my age, my lousy eggs, nope. We just didn’t really really super-want them.

    Nobody who has ever experienced bleeding out their child in an ambulance would ever talk so flippantly about wishing for a miscarriage.

    A$$holes, all of them.

  17. #17 MI Dawn
    May 21, 2015

    @Mrs Woo: you missed the point that those people in the infertility clinic OBVIOUSLY aren’t eating all the RIGHT ORGANIC/VEGAN/RAW FOOD THINGS and DETOXING and EXERCISING and all those other things doctors don’t know anything about (besides the detoxing) and they must not REALLY want children or they would get pregnant!!!111!!! /sarcasm

  18. #18 JGC
    May 21, 2015

    IF wanting something really, really badly made it happen, every 16 year old girl in England would have been dating a Beatle back in the 60’s.

  19. #19 c0nc0rdance
    May 21, 2015

    Argh! How dare they use epigenetics so flippantly.

    If I want to determine if something is regulated through DNA methylation or histone sequestration, I have to do weeks of work in the lab… all they do is mis-read some pop science article and come up with a new agey way that it explains something.

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    I’m sure that Markus and the first two women epigenetically selected their illuminated blondness by the same method .

  21. #21 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 21, 2015

    @Roger Kulp

    It isn’t about women,or any implied misogyny.

    Actually, I think there is some implied misogyny in it. If menstruation is the body eliminating toxins, then that implies that women inherently have more toxins in their bodies than men, since men do not menstruate. Whether the reasoning behind that is that women are inherently “dirtier” or their bodies are less capable of eliminating “toxins” via urine and stool than men, there’s an unspoken premise that women are inferior to men.

  22. #22 Eric Lund
    May 21, 2015

    Of course, one wonders how one has a pregnancy scare if one is not menstruating

    In healthy women of childbearing age, the cessation of menstruation ought to be in and of itself grounds for a pregnancy scare. That’s the one possible way that cessation of menstruation would not indicate something horribly wrong (worse than pregnancy, that is).

    As for Volynsky: 45 days on water alone? That’s not necessarily fatal, but it probably did some serious damage. The other stuff she did doesn’t sound too healthy either. Couple that with her claim to be a Chernobyl survivor (which, as somebody upthread mentioned, probably means she lived within the evacuation zone–but if she did, she must have gone west shortly thereafter, as she uses the German spelling of her given name), and you wonder how she manages to walk around.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    Unfortunately, I’ve heard woo-meisters ( and it’s mostly men- excepting Brogan) carp on the dangers of standard, chemical birth control methods – that are -btw- reliable- and instead, recommend more pure or spiritual options that are usually based on a fertile imagination.

    This works against women – it doesn’t empower them.

    Personally I spent a few years without the monthly bother myself:
    I was in grad school, writing, had illness in my family, needed to travel, managed commercial property I owned and had a complex relationship -all of which, along with the attendant stress, caused me to lose about 20 pounds.
    No magic was involved.

  24. #24 JP
    May 21, 2015

    Couple that with her claim to be a Chernobyl survivor (which, as somebody upthread mentioned, probably means she lived within the evacuation zone–but if she did, she must have gone west shortly thereafter, as she uses the German spelling of her given name),

    Honestly, I doubt she was living even in the exclusion zone at the time of the accident, let alone the evacuation zone. It’s a pretty limited population, really. (Of course, if the prevailing winds had been a little different, it would be another story, and Kiev would be a ghost town.)

    She’s all hot and bothered about Fukushima, too, and the way she writes about the “devastation” of Chernobyl makes me think her whole shtick is complete BS. “Chernobyl survivor” probably basically means that she’s from the Kiev area or something, but that she knows what effects the radiation REALLY had.

  25. #25 JP
    May 21, 2015

    ^ Possibly “evacuation zone” somewhere above was meant to mean exclusion zone, which is the usual term, but I was thinking it maybe referred to basically the town of Pripyat’, which was evacuated within the days after the disaster.

  26. #26 Ellie
    Earth
    May 21, 2015

    I have just visited a page at Volynsky’s website. Could someone please explain “intesristual water” to me? Apparently, I had lots when I was born, but I’ve lost 30% of it.

  27. #27 SelenaWolf
    Ontario, Canada
    May 21, 2015

    And yet another instance where woo basically posits an “it’s all your fault” mindset if the desired outcome fails to materialize. And don’t get me started on the view that women’s bodies, and menstruation in particular, is dirty. Argh.

  28. #28 capnkrunch
    May 21, 2015

    Young CC Prof@10

    I’m just stuck on this terrible idea that you can cause miscarriages by wanting them.

    Right? “Conscious creation” my @ss.

  29. #29 ken
    May 21, 2015

    Why the hell are you wasting your time writing turgidly on such garbage?

    • #30 Orac
      May 21, 2015

      Why the hell are you wasting your time commenting turgidly on it?

  30. #31 JJ
    May 21, 2015

    Palindrom @8

    Please post a warning! Thanks to a mouthful of food, my keyboard now suffers from severe mucous overload!

  31. #32 ken
    May 21, 2015

    succinctly not turgidly

  32. #33 Helianthus
    May 21, 2015

    @ Todd

    there’s an unspoken premise that women are inferior to men

    I’m not sure I would interpret it that far.
    I would not call it misogyny by comparison (“women are inferior to men”), but misogyny by qualification (“women’s body are messy – clean it up, please”).

    Body-shaming rather than gender-shaming, in short. But I may be splitting hairs.

    It seems that Markus Rothkranz has a specific market in mind – the successful thirty-ish woman with an active social life, obviously.
    But between the design of the epigenetic box (pink, “for single women in their 30’s”, the lady’s little wink) and his choice of testimony (a sex athlete, to say the less*), I have the feeling he has some prejudices showing up about that type of social life a young unmarried woman may have.
    To start with, birth control, as he presents it, seems to be about casual sex, not about family planning.

    Of course, my comment may just show that I know even less about women than Mr Rothkranz.

    * if any woman who is enjoying sex 6 times a day is reading this, please don’t take it personally and don’t let a French vieux garçon spoil your fun.

  33. #34 ken
    May 21, 2015

    Sorry but I turned on the video and burst out laughing- is this a skit from Saturday Night LIve? It’s hilarious – on second thought thanks for the laugh.

  34. #35 ken
    May 21, 2015

    Where does he go from here? How he always wanted a baby, sex change operation-voila he becomes pregnant on raw food diet!!

  35. #36 Christine Rose
    May 21, 2015

    Psychic birth control was actually a “thing” in the 1970s and 80s. I don’t recall it being “quantum” or “epigenetic” though. I think they preferred pseudopsychology. “Mind body healing” that sort of thing. I knew a couple who was into it. I’ve lost track of them–I hope their son is doing well.

  36. #37 Candy
    In a state of shock
    May 21, 2015

    OK, what if you really really want to get pregnant, but your partner, equally cleansed and a raw foodie nut too, really really wants you NOT to get pregnant? Does it boil down to who wants what more? Or who’s cleaner? Or holding your mouth right?

    This story actually gave me a headache. Look! It is magic!

  37. #38 Rich Woods
    South of the Wall
    May 21, 2015

    If either of the partners has a little bit of a desire or a doubt or a fear, guess what’s going to creep into their situation and become real. You have to be completely, completely living what you know you deserve.

    Well, that excuse for blame is going to break up some relationships when nature takes its course. Of course it gets Rothkranz off the hook, oh so conveniently.

  38. #39 ken
    May 21, 2015

    Further on in the video-All I can say is that the women are deluded. My best friend was actually a vegetarian in her late 30’s, tried so hard to have a baby. Adopted 2 beautiful children from Korea.

  39. #40 shay
    waiting for the weekend
    May 21, 2015

    Something interesting happened to women who who went completely, 100% raw, and cleansed their bodies as clean as could possibly be, living the way nature intended. They stopped having periods.

    Even to a non-medical professional (like moi), that right there is a red flag.

  40. #41 Alia
    May 21, 2015

    Well, I am a survivor of Chernobyl, too – I had to drink this awful Lugol’s liquid when I was a kid. And I got it faster then others because my mom was a nurse at that time. So far no health issues, thankfully.

    This post reminded me eerily about something I read on a forum I moderate, aimed at people with psychological problems and their families. It was our own raw vegan diet fanatic, who claimed that a period is really a pathological symptom and healthy women should not menstruate. Imagine all the damage reading this did to a woman with a long history of anorexia, who finally got her period back. She needed all support we could give her and then some to get over this.

  41. #42 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 21, 2015

    But between the design of the epigenetic box (pink, “for single women in their 30’s”, the lady’s little wink) and his choice of testimony (a sex athlete, to say the less*), I have the feeling he has some prejudices showing up about that type of social life a young unmarried woman may have.

    I very much agree that Rothkranz has more issues that a whole collection of National Geographic, but he didn’t design the pink box – it’s all over the web.

    http://www.tineye.com/search/fcd9055eedc1d2bd0ee2831fd79de8b1a8879dd8/
    (the above link will expire after 72 hours)

    As far as six times a day goes, I have to admit that my personal best is five, and I was a lot younger 40 years ago.

  42. #43 Orac
    May 21, 2015

    I borrowed the pink box because the particular birth control advertised is about as likely to work as “epigenetic birth control” and I thought it was rather amusing, to boot.

  43. #44 shay
    May 21, 2015

    As far as six times a day goes, I have to admit that my personal best is five, and I was a lot younger 40 years ago.

    Messalina could trounce the both of you.

  44. #45 Militant Agnostic
    Feng-Shui advisor for the Large Hadron Collider
    May 21, 2015

    Or holding your mouth right?

    If your goal is to become pregnant, either you or or your partner are doing it rong. However, you may have a future as a Rebublican congressional candidate.

  45. #46 Helianthus
    May 21, 2015

    pink box

    Oh (blush). My mistake, then.

    Since my visit to a Toys’r’Us shop with the blue and pink sections, I’m regularly overreacting to any hint of “pink-is-for-girl” stuff.
    Women friends tried to explain to me there is nothing wrong with pink, but sometimes it gets the better of me.

    Err, back on the topic of weird ideas about women and pregnancy, or the prevention thereof, wasn’t there a US politician who went on the record last year for believing that women become pregnant because they want to, à la Bene Gesserit?
    The idea seems to be floating around quite permanently. Of course, because its an easy out to a lot of social and cultural issues.

  46. #47 JP
    May 21, 2015

    Err, back on the topic of weird ideas about women and pregnancy, or the prevention thereof, wasn’t there a US politician who went on the record last year for believing that women become pregnant because they want to, à la Bene Gesserit?

    You mean Todd “legitimate rape” Akin? He famously claimed that, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down” and not become pregnant, yes. The idea is that, I guess, abortion should be opposed even in cases of rape, because if a woman gets pregnant, it means she wanted it. Disgusting, I know.

  47. #48 EBMOD
    United States
    May 21, 2015

    “If ONLY I had seen this video when we were trying. We would have saved all the $$$ we spent on ART, not to mention the time/energy/discomfort. And to think I could have somehow prevented losing 4 desperately wanted children. Maybe we just didn’t want them badly enough. Had nothing to do with their aneuploidy, my age, my lousy eggs, nope. We just didn’t really really super-want them.

    Nobody who has ever experienced bleeding out their child in an ambulance would ever talk so flippantly about wishing for a miscarriage.

    A$$holes, all of them.”

    First, my condolences on your painful experience in trying to have a child. Your post cuts right to the heart of the issue of why this isn’t harmless, why this isn’t a waste of time to oppose it.

    The more I read on various forms of woo, the more and more open I am to the idea that the majority of it is due to an underlying cause of weapons grade narcissism on behalf of the participants…

  48. #49 has
    May 21, 2015

    palindrom@8:

    Working in a restaurant and having sex 6 times a day? Where did she work, an In-N-Out Burger?

    Try Starbucks.

    As for the “no menstruation” thing, there are not enough facepalms in all of the internets to respond adequately to such self-inflicted famine victims. More compelling evidence that all Homeochiroquacktic consultations should include a free complementary tubal ligation, for the good of the species.

  49. #50 Orac
    May 21, 2015

    The more I read on various forms of woo, the more and more open I am to the idea that the majority of it is due to an underlying cause of weapons grade narcissism on behalf of the participants…

    Certainly there’s weapons grade narcissism in all three of these women, particularly the “Chernobyl survivor,” who practically drips smugness and self-absorption, although admittedly it’s a close battle with our 16-hour-a-day (and up to six screws a day) vegan restauranteur and child neglecter.

  50. #51 Orac
    May 21, 2015

    As for the “no menstruation” thing, there are not enough facepalms in all of the internets to respond adequately to such self-inflicted famine victims.

    Yup. In general, even most lay people know that if something a woman of reproductive age is doing causes her to stop menstruating (with the exception of voluntarily becoming pregnant) that’s generally not a good thing because it can often indicate some sort of malnutrition or stress. Yet these clueless wonders think it’s a good thing, an indication that their lifestyle is the way they should be living and that they can control their fertility with the awesome power of their minds.

  51. #52 Chemist
    Canada
    May 21, 2015

    It seems to me that the more abstract language needed to describe recent science advances, the more readily it can be perverted into woo or marketing for pseudoscience. The low level of science literacy / education (or attention span) of the general public will ultimately lead to a very ugly place for the human race (think Idiocracy level society.)

    The only real skill anyone needs to counter such nonsense is critical thinking. However, this skill appears to operate on a fairly limited basis when you consider all the traction crap like this gains.

  52. #53 RobRN
    May 21, 2015

    Imagining fertility or infertility… Isn’t this what teen-age girls are doing when they think “You can’t get pregnant the first time!” ?

  53. #54 Interrobang
    May 21, 2015

    The thing that scares me most about that video (which I haven’t watched because I’m at work) is how scarily blonde the people are in the still. Yike.

  54. #55 Eric Lund
    May 21, 2015

    @JP: Akin said that “legitimate rape” line during the 2012 campaign, but that may be what Helianthus was thinking of. Or maybe not: there are too many idiots among US politicians to keep track of them all, and Akin is unfortunately not that far out of his party’s mainstream thought.

    @RobRN: The same could be said for a few other urban legends about the subject, such as the Coke bottle douche as contraceptive. Ignorance on the subject runs rampant in this country, and the squeamishness of too many alleged adults does not help.

  55. #56 herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2015

    Messalina could trounce the both of you.
    “Trounce”? Is that what the kids are calling it?

  56. #57 johnny
    May 21, 2015

    “epigenetics is a new branch of genetics that describes cellular and physiologic trait variations that are not caused by changes in DNA sequence” Orable

    Yes genetics is a pile of woo – if 60% of people with the ‘gene for breast cancer’ don’t get cancer, why the fook are they wasting time not studying the ones who don’t get cancer.? I suppose the hero surgeon wouldn’t find that too sexy really. shame

    Real johnny, accept no limitations

  57. #58 johnny
    May 21, 2015

    “The low level of science literacy / education (or attention span) of the general public will ultimately lead to a very ugly place for the human race (think Idiocracy level society.) ” sorcerer

    Wot u mean cos we, the public, see through the woo of vaccination – your teddies don’t stay in the pram?

    Real Johnny

  58. #59 Gray Falcon
    May 21, 2015

    If 60% of people with the ‘gene for breast cancer’ don’t get cancer, why the fook are they wasting time not studying the ones who don’t get cancer.?

    To find out why they aren’t getting cancer, and how to prevent cancer in others. Next up, I’m sure you’re wondering why people eat when they get hungry.

  59. #60 johnny
    May 21, 2015

    “The more I read on various forms of medical failed claims and predictions, the more and more open I am to the idea that the majority of it is due to an underlying cause of weapons grade azzholism on the part of the occupants…

  60. #61 johnny
    May 21, 2015

    “As far as six times a day goes, I have to admit that my personal best is five, and I was a lot younger 40 years ago.

    Messalina could trounce the both of you.” Shay

    Talk to NobRed, if you count the one arm bandit hole in one candidate, he could be measured in tissue boxes – just stick him in front of a Pubmed scroll and he’ll be off for ages.

    Real Johnny

  61. #62 Gray Falcon
    May 21, 2015

    Wot u mean cos we, the public, see through the woo of vaccination – your teddies don’t stay in the pram?

    Do you remember the hundreds of thousands of people who died of smallpox last year? Or the thousands of children crippled by polio? No? That’s because of vaccines. You’re welcome.

  62. #63 johnny
    May 21, 2015

    “You mean Todd “legitimate rape” Akin? He famously claimed that, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down” and not become pregnant, yes. The idea is that, I guess, abortion should be opposed even in cases of rape, because if a woman gets pregnant, it means she wanted it. Disgusting, I know.” turdi

    Just check out what stress did to aborigine cultures way down under when the invading westerners oppressed them – virtually all the tribes became infertile. Having babies is more than the deed, their is a whole context around it happening. It is why ‘proper doctors’ are relatively crap, they think all you have to do is harvest eggs, mix them with tadpoles and shove them back in! You got let down by an old fashioned biology lesson. It is why it is so hard to breed wild animals in captivity.

  63. #64 Gray Falcon
    May 21, 2015

    Lowercase johnny- Have you ever considered that being an asshole has not done you any favors?

  64. #65 Old Rockin' Dave
    Sitting in a nest of bad men, whisky bottles pilo.
    May 21, 2015

    “Working in a restaurant and having sex 6 times a day? Where did she work, an In-N-Out Burger?”

  65. #66 Old Rockin' Dave
    Sitting in a nest of bad men, whisky bottles piling high...
    May 21, 2015

    “Working in a restaurant and having sex 6 times a day? Where did she work, an In-N-Out Burger?”
    Maybe Chick Fill, eh?
    (It was so obvious somebody had to say it.)

  66. #67 sadmar
    May 21, 2015

    Did y’all miss that Cara “4-6 times a day” Brotman is Rothkranz’s girlfriend? That she’s boinking HIM 4-6 times a day? Maybe he’s shooting blanks…
    Brotman is now (reportedly) 45. The vegan restaurant in SF was called Raw, and was owned and operated by her brother Juliano. It opened in ’94 and in 2000, Juliano moved it to LA. Her given name is Carol, but when she met Rothkranz he re-dubbed her Cara. Rothkranz appears to have gotten the raw food thing from ‘Cara’, who in turn got it from Juliano, but they have turned it up to eleven. The raw vegan diet cures EVERYTHING, and reverses the aging process!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRFl4ERBOrs

    Anyway, the multi-boink and long restaurant shifts wouldn’t seem to be contemporaneous. But then there’s this rather uncomplimentary (and NSFW) comment about Brotman on IMDB: http://tinyurl.com/k7ew2t6

  67. #68 justthestats
    May 21, 2015

    I don´t think that this concept will be very successful because “epigenetic” has the word “gene” in it. And we all know from the discussions agout GMOs that gene = evil and noone in his/her right mind wants to have any genes in him-/herself, food or medicine!

    You ever notice there aren’t any epigenetically modified organisms? 😉

    @Mi Dawn

    So Ms Brotman works 16 hours a day, has sex 6 times a day (even at – say – 10 minutes per act, that’s still another hour). Her poor baby obviously gets little or none of mother’s time – hey – let’s go to bed and sleep. Then you’ll be with mommy. Attention? You want me to pay attention to someone other than my self? Why?

    I’m really, honestly hoping that her child is either in someone else’s care who loves and pays attention to them, or is a figment of her imagination.

    Makes you wonder what kind of clientelle he’s hoping to attract.

    @Delphine

    Nobody who has ever experienced bleeding out their child in an ambulance would ever talk so flippantly about wishing for a miscarriage.

    Sorry for your tragedy, and I completely agree.

    @herr doktor bimler

    So menstruation is the body cleansing itself of the evil toxins? There’s some old-school purity-of-essence misogyny right there. Those women with their filth-ridden bodies. UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!

    You got it backwards. Men are the filthy ones that never bother to clean their bodies. I don’t see how you could interpret it any other way.

    @c0nc0rdance

    Argh! How dare they use epigenetics so flippantly.

    If I want to determine if something is regulated through DNA methylation or histone sequestration, I have to do weeks of work in the lab… all they do is mis-read some pop science article and come up with a new agey way that it explains something.

    Obviously, you’re not wanting it enough. If you wanted it enough it would come to you quicker.

  68. #69 Delphine
    May 21, 2015

    johnny, you are one stupid, obnoxious waste of a tadpole. The reason for the decline in fertility with respect to colonisation had to do with plummeting survival rates…new diseases and loss of land being two chief culprits.

    My tadpole/egg/lab created child farts in your general direction.

  69. #70 GWD
    May 21, 2015

    This was a pretty entertaining form of woo. Its not even an actual product just some guy in a very new agey shirt telling you to believe.

  70. #71 Vicki
    May 21, 2015

    So, what we have here is a birth control method that requires 100% commitment and attention from both partners? And this is supposed to be an improvement over what’s available now?

    I don’t want to try to focus on “no I don’t want to be pregnant” the whole time I’m having sex, and I don’t want my partner to have to focus on that. Asking a man to wear a condom only puts our attention there for a little while.

    (I will leave the effects on same-sex relationships to someone else, since neither I nor my girlfriend wants to be pregnant.)

  71. #72 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 21, 2015

    Its not even an actual product just some guy in a very new agey shirt telling you to believe.

    Other than the $25 book and $50 DVD that have all the details, right?

    Proper Johnny
    Accept no substitutes

  72. #73 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    Unfortunately, in woo-topia, many women are scared away from standard birth control like the pill or IUD.

    I’ve heard so much from the usual suspects that I decided to check the topic quickly:
    the internet is rife with ‘natural methods’ which are recommended by those who eschew pharmaceuticals; risks associated with the pill are exaggerated and expanded. for example,’ Mercola / birth control’ brings up articles that advocate natural methods like the basal thermometer, calendars and monitoring mucous Articles warn of the dangers of the pill across PRN and Natural News as well. Fearless Parent/ Green Med Info’s Kelly Brogan is especially adamant about the pill being unnatural and even dangerous

    I sometimes wonder if their desire for a return to the good old days of natural living includes frequent pregnancies and less self-determination for women.
    Or is that just me?

  73. #74 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    May 21, 2015

    I spoke too soon – he sells a whole lot more.

    http://markusrothkranz.com/online-store/index.html

  74. #75 capnkrunch
    May 21, 2015

    johnny@63

    Having babies is more than the deed, their is a whole context around it happening.

    I was going to comment on how scummy your impersonation of the proper Johnny is but in agreeing with the disgusting “legitimate rape” idea you’ve demonstrated that you are far, far more of a scumbag than I had previously imagined. Congratulations.

    Real Johnny@74
    I like the Irish moss seaweed on his site. The description says “Eat it, put it on your skin.” Nothing like wearing your food.

  75. #76 herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2015

    Kelly Brogan is especially adamant about the pill being unnatural and even dangerous

    IIRC, Campbell-McBride the GAPS-diet grifter is also down on the pill, as apparently destructive of gut biota, therefore leaky gut therefore autism. This has made her a darling of the theocratic wing of alt-health circles.
    She knows her target audience.

  76. #77 has
    May 21, 2015

    Gray Falcon@64:

    Lowercase johnny- Have you ever considered that being an asshole has not done you any favors?

    Other than immortal fame you mean?

  77. #78 herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2015

    Could someone please explain “intesristual water” to me?

    That will be interstitial (intercellular) water, which opens up whole new territories of Woo.

  78. #79 justthestats
    May 21, 2015

    @Denice Walter

    Fearless Parent/ Green Med Info’s Kelly Brogan is especially adamant about the pill being unnatural and even dangerous

    What could possibly be more natural than estrogen and progesterone?

  79. #80 shay
    May 21, 2015

    I sometimes wonder if their desire for a return to the good old days of natural living includes frequent pregnancies and less self-determination for women.
    Or is that just me?

    Given how much extra work is created (usually for the woman of the house) by the so-called natural lifestyle, you have a point.

  80. #81 Narad
    May 21, 2015

    Given how much extra work is created (usually for the woman of the house) by the so-called natural lifestyle, you have a point.

    This omits the cases in which that is the desired result of self-determination. This isn’t even the worst case of gunning for an “oopsie” that I’ve seen at MDC, in that at least Mamma suggests that DH actually wants more children.

  81. #82 Eric Lund
    May 21, 2015

    I sometimes wonder if their desire for a return to the good old days of natural living includes frequent pregnancies and less self-determination for women.

    Do they mean a pre-agricultural society, or an agricultural society? The first is hard enough on women, but these societies had to limit population growth in order to avoid outstripping the food supply, so they weren’t that much worse for women than for men. Once agriculture got started, though, things got really rough for women. That’s when women were basically turned into baby factories, especially once diseases that had a tendency to kill children became commonplace. The one advantage an agricultural society had over nomadic societies, militarily speaking, was numbers, so the rulers needed spear (and later cannon) fodder to hold off the barbarian hordes. Once you have planted your crops, you can’t just move out of the way of that aggressive rival tribe; you have to stay until harvest time.

    It is a possible explanation for why so many alt-med modalities look attractive to those of the religious right persuasion.

  82. #83 doug
    May 21, 2015

    I spoke too soon – he sells a whole lot more.

    Oh, lord! I had a quick look, and almost everything about everything I looked at was wrong. Some examples:
    He flogs Irish moss as containing collagen. He says you need a supply of silica to produce collagen. He sells an activated charcoal mixture that he claims will absorb alcohol and treat cleaning fluid poisoning. I can’t tell if he’s profoundly ignorant or just a common liar.

  83. #84 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    May 21, 2015

    I don’t understand all this concern about Cara’s (?) son. She takes good care of him: he’s chained to a table in the back of the restaurant peeling potatoes and carrots. In a year or two he’ll graduate to the juicer.

  84. #85 Ellie
    May 21, 2015

    herr doktor bimler@78
    Thanks for the explanation.

  85. #86 shay
    May 21, 2015

    @Narad — I was referring more to cooking, gardening, mending, knitting, weaving, washing, etc.

    I grew up experiencing the natural lifestyle only back then I think it was referred to as making ends meet. My mother made most of our food from scratch, sewed/knitting our clothes and bedding, mended, patched and darned (I can darn socks invisibly, which is a skill that in this country is damned near extinct), created toys for us (rag dolls, sock monkeys, building blocks), had a huge vegetable garden and a washer/dryer that ran constantly along with a mangle and a steam iron. It was very hard work and it never let up.

    AND when we became old enough, we got to help her. Great larks.

    You can put the natural lifestyle where the sun don’t shine.

  86. #87 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    @ herr doktor:

    Brogan has a website, kellybroganmd.com, where her views are expounded. Looks like she like the GAPS diet.

  87. #88 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    @ justthestats:

    But the hormones in the pill are UNnatural!
    And whilst the hormones in HRT are natural , they’re from horse p!ss which is Unnatural for women.

  88. #89 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2015

    @ shay:

    Believe it or not, I was raised in a much different household. My mother worked in the fashion industry and enjoyed visiting exotic ethnic restaurants. She did however know how to fix damaged clothing- that is, if something she really liked was damaged. Otherwise, she’d toss it in the charity bin.

  89. #90 kfunk937
    May 21, 2015

    Rothkranz’s comments on Angelina Jolie’s prophy mastectomy are also revealing, if predictable. Ugh.

    Meandering through his website has left me with flashbacks to the late 60s/early 70s’ “Human Potential Movement,” through which I passed briefly, tagging along with my family of origin. He may be plagiarising from The Secret (2006), but I also recognise the precedents of Napoleon Hill, Quigley & New Thought at work.

    Curse you, Proper Johnny! I’ll never get that hour back.

  90. #91 ken
    May 21, 2015

    Not that anyone cares but my mother was raised on a farm in Hungary where chicken was a special meal on Sunday. She spun flax on a spinning wheel for cloth and bathed in a tin tub.
    I think the term is peasant farming.
    No thanks.

  91. #92 Narad
    May 21, 2015

    @Narad — I was referring more to cooking, gardening, mending, knitting, weaving, washing, etc.

    This gets to a distinction between the Original Mothering denizens and the newer crop. There was a great comment, which I’ve never been able to locate again, that really stressed the back-to-the-land roots, including the part in which deaths in Natural childbirth should properly be regarded as par for the course.

  92. #93 Young CC Prof
    May 21, 2015

    Yes, exactly. There is a rather large branch of the natural-health movement that’s tied up with religious fundamentalists. Women should be barefoot, pregnant, and give birth with minimal to no medical assistance.

    Here’s where it gets really weird: They managed to trick quite a few feminist thinkers into letting this nonsense under the tent. Because hey, medicine is a tool of the patriarchy, and bleeding to death after bearing six children in ten years is totally empowering.

  93. #94 Gil
    May 21, 2015

    That reminds of the joke of:

    Q. What do you call people who use the rhythm method of contraception?

    A. Parents.

  94. #95 JP
    May 21, 2015

    Here’s where it gets really weird: They managed to trick quite a few feminist thinkers into letting this nonsense under the tent. Because hey, medicine is a tool of the patriarchy, and bleeding to death after bearing six children in ten years is totally empowering.

    Yeah, this bothers me as well. I was staying with some friends in Portland a couple years ago when my nephew was born, actually – I was getting updates on my phone* that morning, and I mentioned that my brother and sister-in-law were in the hospital. My friends were like, “What happened?” and I replied that, duh, Hayley was about to have a baby. “Oh, right, because having birth is a medical condition that needs to be taken care of in a hospital. They had recently been spending time with a “natural birth” maven, a midwife or a doula or something, and had absorbed a lot of ideas from her.

    Personally, I’m glad my nephew was born in a hospital, just in case. There weren’t any complications, beyond the typical ones of my sister-in-law cussing my brother out and telling him “We’re not having any more f*cking babies after this, but there could have been. One of my best friends, in fact, was born with some sort of complication – I forget exactly what the condition was, something involving the lungs – and he wouldn’t have survived if he hadn’t been born in a hospital, and a good one in Minneapolis at that, one with equipment that was fairly state-of-the-art in the early 80s.

    *It’s not that I’m a bad sister or anything – okay, maybe I am, but my brother’s no saint either – but I didn’t feel like waiting around in the boonies for the little one to decide to come out, and anyway, as much as birth is kind of an awesome thing, and of course very momentous for the parents and all, it’s still a very messy biological process which involves shoving a human being out through an orifice that really just isn’t the right size for it, and I was perfectly okay with just letting them take care of that whole part. I took the train out first thing the next day to meet little Garrett. Who, of course, is the cutest little boy to arrive in the world thus far, and highly intelligent.

  95. #96 palindrom
    May 21, 2015

    JP @ 95 — You’re quite the proud auntile!

    I’m sure my daughter was cuter as an infant, but your statement stands as she was not a little boy.

  96. #97 JP
    May 21, 2015

    JP @ 95 — You’re quite the proud auntile!

    I am, although that was mostly in jest. He is adorable, though. A bunch of us were staying out on the Oregon coast, and he was running around making some obnoxious screeching noise – managed to wake me up at 6 in the morning or so doing it, to – but I figured out what he was doing. He was imitating the seagulls, and very convincingly, too. Maybe he’ll grow up to be an actor or a linguist or something.

    I also like sending him presents I’ve picked up from far-flung locales with him in mind. I figure the boy needs to know that there’s a world out there.

  97. #98 JP
    May 21, 2015

    * Managed to wake me up at 6 in the morning or so doing it, too. Oh, for a preview function.

  98. #99 Chris
    May 22, 2015

    JP: “Personally, I’m glad my nephew was born in a hospital, just in case”

    My first child could have died, along with me, if we had not been in a hospital. When he was two days old he had seizures and was transported to a children’s hospital.

    But we are all here, including the other two kids. And Child #1 is still autistic. Stuff just happens, but bringing him in the world was better than the alternative. And not only am I alive and better educated, my younger kids were free to just be kids. They are fine.

    We are working for the oldest to get the services he needs.

  99. #100 Lancelot Link
    May 22, 2015

    It looks like most of those people are using an awful lot of Miracle Mineral Solution in their hair.

  100. #101 Julia
    Canada
    May 22, 2015

    “…she even claims that there are souls out there who are waiting to come in during the act to result in a pregnancy whom she and her partner can choose to let in or not. No, I’m not kidding.”

    I was told something along similar themes by an alt-med provider recently. When I stated that I chose not to have children to avoid a 50/50 chance of passing on a painful, debilitating genetic condition, she told me that of I did have an afflicted child, it was because I would have ‘chosen that myself’ at the time of that child’s creation. She went on to imply that even considering these risks was ‘asking for it.’

    Needless to say, I sought out a new massage therapist. She was skilled with her hands, but I couldn’t contain my indignation over her victim-blaming mentality any longer. I’m all for positive outlooks, but wishing doesn’t make it so…and twisted philosophy is no decent background for anyone peddling medical or family planning advice.

    The harm I experienced is insignifcant compared to so many other examples shared, and I don’t expect my anecdote to be moving or to be considered any form of evidence. But there are many faces of reproductive challenge and choice, and misinformation campaigns like that of Rothkranz hurt a larger portion of society than some might realize, so thank you for considering the impact and opening the discussion.

  101. #102 Deb
    Oz
    May 22, 2015

    Sooooo, this is supposed to be birth control, and two of the three anecdotes supporting it had an unwanted pregnancy. Somehow those odds just aren’t working for me.

  102. #103 Eric Lund
    May 22, 2015

    she told me that of I did have an afflicted child, it was because I would have ‘chosen that myself’ at the time of that child’s creation

    <boggle>

    I’m having trouble envisioning the mindset that would produce this statement. Lots of parents learn to love their children who have debilitating conditions, but it’s not normal to think, “Let’s have a child with a debilitating condition,” while trying to conceive the kid. It’s also rational for people in your situation to decide that the risk of having your kid turn out that way is too great, so you would rather not have a kid. You were quite right to bail on this provider.

  103. #104 Renate
    May 22, 2015

    “…she even claims that there are souls out there who are waiting to come in during the act to result in a pregnancy whom she and her partner can choose to let in or not. No, I’m not kidding.”

    Reminds me on an article I read a long time ago in some hippy dippy magazine in which someone stated that an abused child had choosen to be born in a family where it would be abused, because it was for the better.

  104. #105 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 22, 2015

    @Julia

    I guess your massage therapist just really wanted one less customer, huh?

    This all reminds me of some brands of Buddhism with the whole karma notion. I knew some members of Soka Gakkai International that had no problem saying that if bad things happened to someone, it was because of something they did or thought, in this life or a previous one. It’s a very insidious and damaging message. More so if the listener suffers from episodes of depression.

  105. #106 herr doktor bimler
    May 22, 2015

    The next morning, she relates with satisfaction, she had a miscarriage:

    I’m getting the impression that there is a distinction here between a legitimate abortion, the natural kind, where the fetus wasn’t really inhabited by a soul anyway so it’s OK if the mother uses the force of her will to expel it, and the illegitimate kind used by those promiscuous people who need to go to prison for murder.

  106. #107 dingo199
    May 22, 2015

    Making love 6x per day and not getting pregnant?
    Her partner was probably firing blanks what with all the effort involved.

  107. #108 herr doktor bimler
    May 22, 2015

    Making love 6x per day and not getting pregnant?

    DOIN IT RONG, Mr Backdoor Man.

  108. #109 capnkrunch
    May 22, 2015

    herr dokt

    I’m getting the impression that there is a distinction here between a legitimate abortion, the natural kind, where the fetus wasn’t really inhabited by a soul anyway so it’s OK if the mother uses the force of her will to expel it, and the illegitimate kind used by those promiscuous people who need to go to prison for murder.

    It definitely seems like a natural being good and unnatural medical procedures being bad. What I can’t wrap my head around is how happy she seems about it. I have a friend who had a spontaneous abortion of an unwanted pregnancy and she still felt terrible and guilty. I can’t imagine how terrible it would have been if her doctor said “this only happened because you wanted it.”

  109. #110 JP
    May 22, 2015

    Reminds me on an article I read a long time ago in some hippy dippy magazine in which someone stated that an abused child had choosen to be born in a family where it would be abused, because it was for the better.

    I remember this one time when some Steinerites told me that I had chosen my parents and siblings and everything before I was born. I was all like, “Hahaha whut.”

    It’s true that you see this version of things in some types of “Buddhism,” (*cough* lamaism *cough*) too, although the Buddhist understanding of karma is that it is simply the law of cause and effect. I don’t see how you can believe in the Steiner/Theosophist/”Hindu” version without accepting frank soul/body dualism, and, more to the point, a bunch of separate atmans out there with their own akashic ledgers or whatever.

  110. #111 GregH
    United States
    May 22, 2015

    This remind anyone else of that clueless Republican who ran back in 2012 on the idea that women can’t get pregnant from being raped because their bodies can “shut that down”?

  111. #112 JP
    May 22, 2015

    This remind anyone else of that clueless Republican who ran back in 2012 on the idea that women can’t get pregnant from being raped because their bodies can “shut that down”?

    Yep.

  112. #113 Jonathan Graham
    Canada
    May 22, 2015

    Every day I really strongly, sincerely believe and will that The Secret (and all it’s derivatives) do not work for anyone and will never do so.

    Now…

    If The Secret works…then I have just willed it out of existence.
    If The Secret doesn’t then I don’t have to.

    Ok now that we’re done with that nonsense…what else ya got?

  113. #114 THS
    out there
    May 22, 2015

    …”I’m about to take to you high school.”…
    Great. I can’t wait for collej. What there, Dark Matter Medicine? Oh, wait: http://www.spiritualmedicine.com/DMH.html

  114. #115 Kristina
    May 22, 2015

    Hey now, I use fertility awareness/ natural family planning/ symptothermal method/ whatever you want to call it, and we’re talking about a real method with a scientific basis with a real method effectiveness of 98% (according to “Contraceptive Technology” anyway). Let’s not lump it into wooful thinking just because there’s not a prescribed external mechanism at work. And while my personal history of infertility makes me the least reliable anecdote, I know several other couples who have prevented for years before and between planned pregnancies, as one would expect from a method that works. It may seem onerous at first glance to some, but it’s a legitimate choice, and really it takes no more time to take your temperature than to pop a pill before breakfast.

    Delphine, I am right there with you on so many levels- and my egg/sperm/doctor facilitated child has been called mythological on the internet before. Too bad my grocery bill doesn’t know she’s not a real person eating real food. So as to fart in the general direction of ignorance all the better, of course.

    And even certain trolls couldn’t keep this from being the most entertaining thing I have encountered this week. In fact, the crazy may have made it even funnier. Very much worthy of Friday Woo, since I didn’t read it on Thursday.

  115. #116 JGC
    May 22, 2015

    Let’s not lump it into wooful thinking just because there’s not a prescribed external mechanism at work.

    But there is an external mechanism at work here–it’s you, electing to let whether or not you are more or less likely to conceive at any given point in time inform your decision about whether or not to engage in intercourse.

  116. #117 justthestats
    May 22, 2015

    @doug

    I can’t tell if he’s profoundly ignorant or just a common liar.

    One thing that is certain is that some lying was going on at some point.

  117. #118 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 22, 2015

    Soooooo….that pesky messed up gene that makes me hang onto “bad” cholesterol tighter than a bargain-hunter at an 80% off sale hangs onto cheap lingerie, I can just think that away? Don’t need that pesky, pesky statin every day?

    Question: if my Dad had had the wisdom *cough* to wish away his genetic cholesterol problem before I was born, would I have been born without it? Or does epigenetics just “wish away” the problem for the individual, but does nothing to prevent it from expressing in offspring? Considering how many people since people first evolved have prayed or wished away health problems, you’d think there wouldn’t be many genetic-caused ailments. Or do you have to think of the particular gene in order for this to work? So many questions….

  118. #119 CanonicalRabbit
    PNW, USA
    May 22, 2015

    @capnkrunch #109 Having had a number of miscarriages, I would’ve been horrified. While my head knows it could’ve been any number of factors leading to a non-viable fetus, it was hard enough hearing, “Well, at your age….” I can’t imagine what my reaction would’ve been to hearing “this only happened because you wanted it.”. It may have involved a baseball bat, though.

  119. #120 RobRN
    May 22, 2015

    “…she even claims that there are souls out there who are waiting to come in during the act to result in a pregnancy whom she and her partner can choose to let in or not. No, I’m not kidding.”

    Sounds a little like the Latter Day Saints’ “Spirit Children” meme!

  120. #121 justthestats
    May 22, 2015

    @Jonathan Graham

    Every day I really strongly, sincerely believe and will that The Secret (and all it’s derivatives) do not work for anyone and will never do so.

    Great, now you’ve ruined it for everyone!

  121. #122 Gemman Aster
    May 22, 2015

    This is such an emotive topic, even without the Alt-med angle.

    Obviously every word out of this egotist’s mouth is bollocks. That goes without saying. However what bothers me rather more is the damage his testament does in a wider sense.

    Although some amount of this ‘epigenetic’ approach is applied to becoming pregnant by choice, the majority is focused on contraception. I cannot stand the implicit attitudes these three people project on to the rest of the contraception-using populace. The egotism, the self-absorption, the selfishness – all traits the child-bearing world are already too happy to accuse those of us who do not want children of displaying.

  122. #123 Mrs Grimble
    May 22, 2015

    It looks like most of those people are using an awful lot of Miracle Mineral Solution in their hair
    And on their teeth – do those things in their mouths glow in the dark? And I suppose all that makeup they wear is totally natural, organic and free of chemicals?

    There is a rather large branch of the natural-health movement that’s tied up with religious fundamentalists. Women should be barefoot, pregnant, and give birth with minimal to no medical assistance.
    I once read a blog post by a woman who had escaped from one of those Christian Dominionist churches, where families had to be self-sufficient, growing their own food etc. That included hand-grinding wheat to make bread; she and her daughters had to spend hours each day in this tiring and time-consuming task, wheat-grinding being regarded as strictly female work. This was in addition to all the other “female” tasks she had – cleaning, laundry, cooking and so on, all done by hand. One year, somebody gave her an electric grain grinder; her husband made her give it back. On the grounds that time-saving electrical gadgets in the home made things too easy and that was against God’s wishes (or somesuch garbage).
    The writer noted bitterly that at the time, her husband had a whole workshop full of power tools and evidently it was God’s wish that men be spared too much hard work.

  123. #124 shay
    May 22, 2015

    “Hey now, I use fertility awareness/ natural family planning/ symptothermal method/ whatever you want to call it, and we’re talking about a real method with a scientific basis with a real method effectiveness of 98% (according to “Contraceptive Technology” anyway). ”

    So did my parents, which is why I have six brothers and sisters. After my youngest brother was born my mother said screw the Pope* and went on the Pill.

    (*in a manner of speaking).

  124. #125 Kiiri
    May 22, 2015

    Yeah, this one got my hackles up. Having done two rounds of fertility treatment, currently pregnant with my second child, and having suffered a devastating miscarriage with the first pregnancy. Yeah, they can all go jump off a cliff. Because if any child could be conceived by sheer wanting it to be, I’d have been pregnant many moons ago and without the money and time and pain spent in fertility treatment. These people make me very, very angry. I have watched many women crying in the fertility office, and I have been one of them. They were all there to have a desperately wanted pregnancy and not getting it. If wishing made it so, we’d be hip deep in babies and I guarantee you the fertility docs would be out of business. @shay – correct, while the rhythm method or however you want to spin it can work (particularly if one or both parties isn’t particularly fertile) it is not close to the reliability of any other contraception method. People on ‘natural’ birth control are generally called parents.

  125. #126 herr doktor bimler
    May 22, 2015

    the rhythm method or however you want to spin it can work (particularly if one or both parties isn’t particularly fertile) it is not close to the reliability of any other contraception method.

    I think of it as “selective abstinence” birth control, and we know how well abstinence works.

  126. #127 Denice Walter
    May 22, 2015

    @ Kiiri:

    My best wishes to you! I hope it works out well.

    I have been a strong advocate for birth control- real birth control- from a different perspective: I never wanted children.
    I assumed I was most likely fertile- as all of the straight women in my family had children- but I never took any medical tests or any chances. I used SB birth control instead of wishes AND guess what?- I got what I wanted.

    Ideas like those presented by Markus & Company can be harmful in many ways to women. Shame on them!

  127. #128 herr doktor bimler
    May 22, 2015

    I came across a Talibangelist-acceptable rhythm-method computer, the Pearly, advertised in any number of natural / organic websites (Dr Kelly Brogan MD shills it, for instance). All the Totally Independent advertising sites claim 99.99% reliability, but links to independent published studies are as infrequent as the pregnancies.

  128. #129 justthestats
    May 22, 2015

    @herr docktor bimler

    links to independent published studies are as infrequent as the pregnancies

    I feel like you’ve just inadvertently invoked the Liar’s Paradox.

  129. #130 Kristina
    reality. for now.
    May 22, 2015

    @ MCG # 116: exactly, there’s a real mechanism at work, which is why it’s not woo.

    Not being Catholic, I can’t speak to abstinence only. Making decisions during a fertile phase is a lot easier with several options at one’s disposal. And why anybody would need a whole computer, I have no idea. That’s true shilling there.

    Oooh, and in other news, I made the secret “pro-vac troll” list!

  130. #131 JP
    May 22, 2015

    What with all this talk of unreliable birth control methods, I am reminded of this very apropos installment of Life in Hell.

  131. #132 Militant Agnostic
    Eating more chicken than any man ever seen
    May 23, 2015

    HDB

    DOIN IT RONG, Mr Backdoor Man.

    Thanks a lot – I am now afflicted with dueling ear-worms. Howling Wolf’s version of Backdoor Man and Powder Blues Doing it Right on The Wrong Side of Town

  132. #133 Cate K
    May 23, 2015

    I wish these people would find another word than vegan to describe themselves. I’m sure the commenters here could think of a few. Real vegans are concerned about animal welfare and/or environmental issues, not the glowingness of the skin or cleansedness of these self-absorbed arrogant idiots.

  133. #134 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 23, 2015

    Serious question – is the concept of epigentic* birth control reasonable or ludicrous? How do we know?

    * I mean proper epigenetics, not wishing and fad diets.

  134. #135 KayMarie
    May 23, 2015

    #134 Serious answer, I suspect it is likely there might be epigentic factors which effect fertility.

    Rampant speculation:

    I suspect most are things you can’t turn on and off rapidly at will. Especially the just wishing it so will. But at least hypothetically if you could target methylation or demethylation or other such mechanisms to specific genes in a safe way you might just be able to make someone more likely or less likely to get pregnant without doing things like retroactively starving a grandparent or stopping a famine. Although I suspect those will be longer term effects rather than a month by month thing depending on how likely the body it to try to undo what you did and in what time frame.

    Although how safe or effective compared to other things is anyone’s guess, I suspect more of a slightly alter the chances that probably wouldn’t be worth the expense or may come with too many side effects of turning on or of other genes to be all that useful.

  135. #136 shay
    May 23, 2015

    Oooh, and in other news, I made the secret “pro-vac troll” list!

    Ooh, nifty!. Did you get a t-shirt?

  136. #137 Tony
    NY, NY
    May 23, 2015

    “The same thing that frees you from radiation poisoning …”

    Radiation poisoning? Methinks Markus Rothkranz has been watching way too many 1950’s flicks about giant monsters.

  137. #138 justthestats
    May 23, 2015

    I think we can all agree that the heritable kind of epigenetic birth control is most likely to be effective.

  138. #139 kfunk937
    May 23, 2015

    Teh Sooper Sekret Trolls list, for those who’re interested. #30K names, wow. They only got one of mine, but I’ll still donate on behalf of each ‘nym of mine.
    H/T Voices for Vaccines and Anti-Vax Wall of Shame.

  139. #140 shay
    May 23, 2015

    I’m not on there, but I’m waiting until I retire from the Health Department to petition Lord Draconis for my Pharma Shill, 1st Class designation.

    (I am not dependent on my HD salary; I’m merely considerate of my sweet, lovely boss, who doesn’t deserve to take flack on my behalf).

  140. #141 Dorothy Mantooth
    US/UK
    May 24, 2015

    I’ve also used NFP effectively.( It’s not really what was previously known as the rhythm method; the old-style rhythm method involved assuming you would ovulate on Day 14 and abstaining then, whereas NFP involves charting your temperatures/cycles so you know the day you personally ovulate, and abstaining around that time. In a nutshell. I’m just clarifying, I’m sure most of you know the difference.)

    In our case the use of NFP had nothing to do with thinking the pill was “dangerous.” I didn’t like taking the pill; it made me gain a little weight and break out, which wasn’t a huge deal, but after a few months it killed my sex drive. That wasn’t ideal. So we charted and used condoms during the “unsafe” periods, and it worked quite well for us–and technically still does, since we use a very modified version now (which basically means condoms most of the time, bleh).

    Yes, we had a “surprise,” baby, but it wasn’t a failure of the method so much as our taking a risk one day, and we were thrilled, so oh well. (After she was born I got a Mirena coil.)

    The unfortunate fact is–as far as I’m aware–there simply aren’t a ton of unobtrusive options for women who may want children in the next few years (thus precluding IUDs/coils) but don’t want to take the pill. Condoms, diaphragms, etc. are of course available, but not everyone wants to run off to the bathroom to mess with a diaphragm every time and some of us find condoms less pleasurable/enjoyable. I’d rather take my temperature every morning and enjoy sex more for part of the month.

    Point is, NFP isn’t necessarily woo used by idiots. Some of us just preferred a non-hormonal method, and some of us–including me–actually liked knowing exactly what my body was doing every month. It isn’t perfect and does require some focus and responsibility, but it’s not just rolling the dice.

  141. #142 sadmar
    Another secret?
    May 24, 2015

    JP’s link to Life in Hell reminded me of a song for this topic:
    https://youtu.be/ZNXjsPJTKwE?t=1m21s

  142. #143 Vicki
    May 24, 2015

    There is also a world of difference between checking fertility daily and not having PIV intercourse on those days, or using a condom then, and just thinking very sincerely that you don’t want to conceive.

    Conversely, if someone is using those methods because they specifically do want a child, it will work better to make sure they do have PIV intercourse at their most fertile time, instead of random timing but saying “let’s make a baby” beforehand.

  143. #144 Narad
    May 24, 2015

    not everyone wants to run off to the bathroom to mess with a diaphragm every time

    Random anecdote:

    Some people do keep them closer to hand. Perhaps I just have a helpful streak, but I learned how to insert a diaphragm properly back when I was in college. It’s not that much of a mood killer when one’s partner is a participant, in my experience.

  144. #145 kfunk937
    May 25, 2015

    Another random anecdote.

    I stand a personal reminder to my parents that the diaphragm is NOT an example of “spooky action at a distance.”

    Back on topic, I’m starting to wonder if those that buy into this think that (their concept of) epigenetics, is.

  145. #146 Demodocus
    May 28, 2015

    We have a saying for this: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

    Not to mention that my son would not be an only child.

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