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Why Do You Believe Anything?
By Michael Goodspeed

"The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity." --Dr. Robert Anthony
"What you hear repeatedly you will eventually believe." --Mike Murdock
The most disturbing yet apt analogy to the human mind is a blank computer disk. When we are born we have only two choices -- receive the necessary programming for the maintenance of life, or die. But it is the great affliction of the human condition that the mind has little or no ability to keep out the "bad" data in preference of the "good." Just like the Internet surfer who may unwittingly download a virus, the mind has little or no awareness of the false and/or harmful information that penetrates its defenses. And in fact, human consciousness is far more susceptible to corruption than computer files. Because unlike these files, human beings have the innate need both to continuously learn, and to form beliefs.
>From the time you roll out of bed in the morning you begin acting on your beliefs. In a matter of moments, you will have made a number of choices that profoundly impact your life in ways you have probably never imagined. And these choices are often based on tacit assumptions that have little or no foundation in reality.
Why do you brush and floss your teeth? Because you have always been told that you have no choice. Toothbrushes, dental floss, and fluoridated toothpaste are considered essential items for good dental health. Likewise, the fluoride in your drinking water (which was added without your consent) is, according to officialdom, a necessary preventive measure against tooth decay. But what if I told you that the individuals with the healthiest teeth and gums have never brushed or flossed their teeth or drunk fluoridated water?
It is has long been demonstrated that residents of non-Western, undeveloped countries such as Kenya who stick to their native diets suffer little or no tooth decay. Dr. Lendon Smith discussed this in his article, "Nutritional Supplements, ADD & Children's Health." (Well Being Journal Vol. 7, No. 3 ~ May/June 1988):
Smith writes, "...Dr. Weston Price...went around the world in the 1930s hoping to find the cause of tooth decay. He examined the teeth of Masai in Kenya, Maoris in New Zealand, Aborigines of Australia, New Guinea people, North Canadian Indians, Eskimos, and people living in the isolated valleys of Switzerland. He found these people had decay-free teeth if they stuck to their native diets. They retained their teeth. Skulls showed perfect teeth with no crowding and no cavities. (In Western, developed countries most of us have cavities, and after age 60 about half the population is edentulous.) Once they had access to sugar and white flour, and they deviated from their native diet, they developed cavities..." (Link:
Consider the extraordinary financial (about $70 billion a year) and human cost of tooth decay in the United States -- more than 40 million Americans wear full or partial dentures, and approximately 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth. And our teeth rot and die for the same reason we are chronically overweight and diseased: we eat "foods" that were produced artificially in laboratories and factories rather than grown naturally from the earth. Most of us have been "trained" to eat this way all of our lives. In our publicly-funded schools, we were fed meals in strict accordance with the Government decreed "four food groups" -- heavily processed meat, dairy, starch, and canned produce have long been the staples of public school lunches. Throughout childhood, our parents, who only wanted the best for us, fed us what was available at the neighborhood grocery store. In adulthood, we have continued eating foods that we've always been told are part of a nutritious diet. We have been eating ourselves to death for the last hundred years or so because we make dietary choices based on fallacious and/or limited beliefs.
Why do you drink milk? Because, you think, if you don't your teeth and bones will grow weak and brittle. But for many decades, countless experts have questioned the wisdom of human beings drinking hormone and chemical-laced bovine excretions. In fact, overwhelming evidence exists that green leafy vegetables and other produce are the ideal calcium source for both youngsters and adults.
Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., and colleagues write in their March 2005 paper "Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence" (Pediatrics, 115:736-743):
"We found no evidence to support the notion that milk is a preferred source of calcium... Although milk and other dairy products are reliable sources of calcium, many factors affect the availability and retention of the calcium from these products. For example, the calcium in dairy products is not as well absorbed as that in many dark green leafy vegetables but has an absorption fraction similar to that of calcium supplements, calcium-enriched beverages, calcium-set tofu, sweet potatoes, and beans. Dairy products... clearly increase the urinary excretion of calcium as a result of their increased sodium, sulfur-containing amino acid, and phosphorus content."
But despite the ever-growing substantive arguments against the healthfulness of cow's milk for humans, Americans are eating and drinking more dairy than ever. Today, dairy consumption in the U.S. is greater than in 1970 -- over 600 pounds by each American per year. The dairy industry nets countless billions each year in the USA, which is more than enough to finance Goliath political lobbying and marketing campaigns to maintain public perception that dairy is not only safe, but essential to life.
When we don't know our actual choices, we cannot make informed decisions, ergo no real "freedom of choice" exists. Institutional officialdom and corporate monoliths shape our beliefs through propaganda that distorts our perception of our choices. In the United States (and most of the world) the scope of the deception is nearly unfathomable -- almost all of our beliefs about ourselves and reality have been programmed by people who never had our best interests at heart.
In our purportedly "Christian" nation, many people try to live their lives in accordance with the teachings of the historic figure known as Jesus of Nazareth. But even if one accepts on "faith" that Jesus was the Son of God and all of his teachings were valid, one still faces the arduous, perhaps IMPOSSIBLE task, of discerning what he actually taught. The language and meaning of the Gospels varies dramatically from one interpretation to another. In the King James version (translated from Greek), Jesus on the cross is quoted as saying, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" But in the Assyrian author George Lamsa's interpretation of the Bible (translated from the Aramaic Peshitta), Jesus says, "My God for this I was spared." The sentiment of the two statements could not stand in greater contrast. Yet surprisingly few Christians display any real skepticism toward biblical literalism and "official" interpretations of the Gospels.
What we call "the Bible" has passed through many phases of sectarian modification and censorship. Yet many Christians of every denomination unwaveringly regard it as "the word of God." In fact, the dogma of most every institutional religion in the world has been shaped by the hands of self-serving interests. Ancient myths are taught as divine truth. Puritanism is promoted to instill fear and control behavior. Spiritual teachings that originally exalted such concepts as unity, equality, peacefulness, and forgiveness, have been corrupted by ideological concepts of racial and nationalistic superiority, vengeance, and warfare.
Spiritual nourishment outside of religion is also not easily attained. Volumes of spiritual and "new age" literature promote ideas that might seem very evolved on the surface, but may actually create greater confusion and distress in spiritual aspirants. A common theme in much of the literature is that both the external world and the perception of oneself as an autonomous individual are illusory. These concepts are heavily derived from Eastern thought systems that promote "non-duality" as the ultimate truth. Many self-styled gurus extol these ideas while offering little or no explanatory foundations -- they make statements such as "there is no you," "the belief in self is false," "there is only oneness and universal consciousness," and then leave it to the aspirant to work through the existential quandaries on his or her own. Should the message be that individuality itself is an illusion, or rather that the false self -- the worldly personality built upon fear, insecurity, and competitiveness -- can be shed for a much larger, more inclusive, invulnerable identity that might be called "spirit"?
Wherever we look for the answers to life's questions both big and small, it is better to trust one's own internal compass than to blindly accept the assertions of seemingly impressive "experts." This is even true in the intellectually intimidating domain of "hard science." In fact, many scientists believe fervently in things that have little or no support in reality.
The "consensus of leading scientists" tells us that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago with a primordial "Big Bang." But the underlying reasoning behind the Big Bang -- the belief that cosmic redshift is a reliable indicator of distance, thus proving an expanding Universe -- has, in the minds of Big Bang critics, been definitively refuted. As far back as the 1960s, astronomer Halton Arp began documenting instances where two or more galaxies and/or quasars were associated, or even physically connected, in contradiction of the assumption that their different redshifts meant that one should be millions or even billions of light-years farther away than the other.
The Big Bang theory was always hampered by the problem of "inhomogenity." Raw subatomic -- or preatomic -- material exploding outward at nearly the speed of light would produce an evenly distributed cloud with no force present to generate cosmic structure. But in fact, we observe cosmic structure everywhere we look, and the distribution of matter is profoundly uneven. Astronomers see great "voids" where no galaxies are apparently visible for many millions of light years, and they see great concentrations of matter, both of which falsify the inherent, logical "predictions" of the original theory. Nevertheless, mainstream astronomy and science media almost always refer to the Big Bang as if it were an unassailable FACT, and no real challenges exist. (For background, see Scientists See Nothing - Call it Parallel Universe
http://www.thunderbolts.info/webnews/120507parallel.htm )
In the world of medicine, the pervasive mechanistic view of the human body, combined with the savage self-interest of Big Drug companies, has led to the present situation where almost half of all Americans take at least one prescription medication. This might not be so bad, if the FDA were not perfectly content to approve drugs that kill people. After the lid was blown on the Merck/FDA Vioxx scandal, in which untold numbers of Americans died due to FDA's cover-up, Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the highly respected medical journal the Lancet, publicly stated: "In the case of Vioxx, the FDA was urged to mandate further clinical safety testing after a 2001 analysis suggested a 'clear-cut excess number of myocardial infarctions'. It did not do so. This refusal to engage with an issue of grave clinical concern illustrates the agency's in-built paralysis, a predicament that has to be addressed through fundamental organizational reform....with Vioxx, Merck and the FDA acted out of ruthless, short-sighted, and irresponsible self-interest."
Big Drugs' ability to buy important officials is further demonstrated by the case of Sir Richard Doll, a British epidemiologist whom Monsanto paid under the table for more than 20 years. Sarah Boseley, health editor of The Guardian newspaper, writes:
"Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.
"While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer." See http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/dec/08/smoking.frontpagenews
Every year, the amount of money drug companies spend on "direct-to consumer advertising" for prescription medications increases, along with their profits. Despite the long list of "potential side effects" enumerated with every sales pitch (which include everything from brain hemorrhages to chemical castration), the campaigns are ridiculously deceptive. Super-fit, attractive actors in their 40's and 50's are shown popping cholesterol and blood-pressure medication, because for them, "diet and exercise aren't enough." In truth, diet and exercise usually ARE enough -- just ask 91 year-old Jack LaLanne -- and the drug companies know this. But lies that are repeated ad nauseam through the mouths of pretty people are easy to believe.
Above, I have enumerated only a few examples demonstrating that it is best to be skeptical of one's own programmed beliefs, no matter how "obviously true" they might seem. Even the habit of brushing one's teeth will come into question for any person who is empowered with all of the necessary information to make an informed choice. The point of this essay is not that one should reject every "official" message (although it is easy in this time and place to reach such a jaundiced viewpoint). Rather, given the ease with which humans, both individually and collectively, can slip into insanity, it cannot be advisable to accept the consensus opinions of others as "truth," no matter how powerful or accredited such people might be.
The word "skeptic" has been terribly misrepresented and abused in recent years. The word literally describes a person who habitually and thoughtfully questions widely accepted beliefs. People who call themselves "skeptics" tend to do this quite rarely -- in fact, most spend all of their time DEFENDING widely accepted beliefs (as long as such beliefs are endorsed by scientific or governmental officialdom), while attacking those who genuinely seek out alternative perspectives. Perhaps the highest goal a human being can have is to become a genuine skeptic, to refine his discernment and expand his base of knowledge using every possible resource available. When one develops the habit of true skepticism, one can unleash the shackles of the world's programming and begin taking his first steps toward an authentic and empowered life.
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