Letters May 27, 2021

Column needs a warning label

I have shied away from the “Duty to Warn” for some time now, so I was dismayed, yet not shocked to see no change in his column when I read the May 20th response to criticism. Anyone who has developed skills of reading bad science on the internet could easily recognize his use of words like “Big Pharma,” “well documented,” “read and studied,” and “legal right to be fully informed.”

Gary relies on readers being impressed by the time he has spent on this topic and volume of data that agrees with him. At the same time, he denies any value of the time and volume of information that disagrees with him. There really is no comparison.
However, my one letter to the editor here will add less than a drop to that volume and make no difference. Each person who finds themselves assessing this information, for whatever reason, must develop the skills of evaluating this for themselves. We can’t all be experts in all of the fields of study that effect our health and wellbeing on a daily basis. We make decisions in the grocery store and at the many offices we visit and do so based on trust.

The skills I’m talking about are; understanding the scientific method, knowing what peer review is, so we can then look up a name or study and find if it is cited often, if it has been withdrawn, or if it was ever reviewed and published in the first place. More detailed questions include; was the dataset adequate, or did they disclose their methods? These questions can be answered without knowing how psychotropic drugs work or what a neuron is. They can be applied to any of the difficult decisions we all face all the time.

Gary tells you he doesn’t use these methods. In the middle of the article he says, “being an essayist, extensive documentation is not required.” The Reader has on occasion printed a disclaimer for these articles. In my opinion, that should be in bold right under the title, every week.

John Wolforth
Barnum, Minnesota

Learn to control yourself

Front page: Thursday, May 20,2021

Everything is connected. The death of 6-year-old Aniya Allen, a casualty of a gun battle between teens using aggressive means to resolve a conflict.  Teens wanting to control everyone and everything around them – except themselves, of course.

The patriarchal male Republicans in Texas passing laws that halt most abortions. Another example of patriarchal white males wanting to aggressively control those around them who differ from them. Abortion is not the issue – controlling others is the issue.

And on other recent pages, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians where both factions want to use aggressive means to resolve conflicts in order to control everyone and everything around them – except themselves, of course.

I could give an endless list of examples.

To those who want to control others, there will always be someone out of our control. That’s what former President Trump was always afraid of.  The big lie that the election was stolen is Trump’s way of lying to himself that he’s still in control.

It’s my belief that ALL the problems in the world begin when one person or group of people, wants to control the choices of another person or group of people, without their consent or agreement. The desire to control how others respond to us, so we can think we’re better than others, is an indication of a fear underlying one’s behaviors and reactions. This allows people to assume they have some “power” in the world.

It’s not rational to act this way, because the only person in the world we have any control, over is ourselves.  Those who are afraid can spend all kinds of time and energy trying to control how others respond, when it would be more productive learning how to control oneself.

Gary Burt
Marble, Minnesota