About

I’m Mark Hanna (pronouns he/him), a nerd living in Aotearoa who tries to do the right thing. I write primarily about consumer protection with a focus on the alternative health industry, but also about other topics that I think are important.

The name of this blog, Honest Universe, comes from the idea that the universe we live in is honest – if you ask the right questions in the right way you’ll be able to find the truth. This is the premise upon which the scientific method is based. It also reflects my own philosophy of putting a high value on honesty and integrity.

If you wish to contact me, I can be emailed at mark@honestuniverse.com.

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8 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello, Mr. Mark, I feel happy by reading this post. Same philosophy is used in Ayurveda. Our body & mind is made up of natural things, so use of natural things in treatment gives best results.

    1. I’d argue that in this case, everything in existence can be considered ‘natural’, as it is all made up from the results of hydrogen fusion.
      That being said, go try arsenic. I’m sure it would be very effective in your treatment.

      1. Thanx, for ur suggestion. We use mercury, sulpher,pearl,copper,iron,gold,diamond,silver and many more things. Ayurveda is a medical science. I can give results. And if u want more information, try to search sushrut sanhita, charak sanhita, sarth vagbhat. Ayurveda has its own physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, medicines, diagostic methods. I am surprised, that ur a science lover, and instead of knowing truth ur ignoring, or best said hating Ayurveda. If u have any bad experience through so called advertises, its ur bad luck. But if u consult a CERTIFIED Ayurved practitioner, I promise u get satisfied.

  2. I believe RForder was trying to point out that the “naturalistic fallacy” (the incorrect idea espoused in your comment that, if something is natural, it must be good) by pointing out that arsenic, being entirely natural, is nonetheless a deadly poison.

    It takes more than saying “Ayurveda is a medical science” to make Ayurveda a medical science. That “Ayurveda has its own physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, medicines, [and] diagnostic methods” is not necessarily a point in its favour. In particular, that it has “its own physiology [and] anatomy” is almost certainly indicative that it is *not* science-based.

    To my knowledge, Ayurveda is based on a very similar system to humourism, except instead of humourism’s 4 humours (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) Ayurveda is based on the 3 “doshas”, which are “Vata”, “Pitta”, and “Kapha”, each of which consists of a different combination of the five elements (Vata is air+ether, Kapha is earth+water, and Pitta is fire+water).

    Whereas science moved past these simplistic and demonstrably wrong ideas centuries ago, Ayurveda still clings to them. This adherence is based not on science, but tradition, as science changes its conclusions as new evidence becomes available but tradition is bullheadedly closed-minded and unyielding.

    If you feel able to promise me that a “CERTIFIED Ayurved [sic] practitioner” will be able to satisfy me (I’m not sure what problems you feel they will or won’t be able to treat) then surely this confidence is based on some pretty strong evidence. If you have access to evidence in support of Ayurveda I’d love to have a look. If your conclusions are justified by the data then surely, upon analysing them, anyone else could be expected to come to the same conclusions.

    1. thanx……
      I have some strong evidence, but don’t have its data. I myself is asthma patient, but after taking Ayurved treatment, i am perfectly able to live normal life. Also, i was treated patients of LUCORRHEA, URINARY CALCULUS, LUCODERMA, SCITICA, URTICARIA, ARTHRITIS, RHEUMATIC ARTHRITIS, PARALYSIS, COMPLICATIONS OF PARALYSIS and much more patients succesfully. I m sorry, but i dont have any data.
      If u want proofs, just try anything in my posts. I think that EXPERIENCE is the most eligible proof.
      I just want to help the people, who needs this treatment. Ayurved is not only based on 3 doshas, but also based on 7 dhatus, that are, ras(lymphatic system), rakt(blood), mans(muscles), med(fat), asthi(bones), majja(brain and nervous system), shukra(reproductive system).
      As u said, “science moved past……”, but i want to ask u, tell me just one thing which is changed its base. If u want to understand physics, u must know its basics, that is atom, molecule, Neutons laws etc.
      Without these basics, u are unable to do anything in physics. Just like that vat, pitta, kuf is the base of Ayurveda. Without this base, u cant do anything. This is not tradition, this is a science with logic.I explain u. Just observe yourself, in summer season, u love sweets, in winter season u love spicy food. when u have acidity, u feel to take lime juice, or sweet milk. this is what the Ayurved is!!!!

      1. Without data, what you have is only anecdotal in nature. Anecdotes do not constitute strong evidence because they have no predictive power. You may have an anecdote that you felt better after receiving a particular treatment, but that does not mean you should necessarily expect the same to be true for others, or even for yourself if the experience were to be repeated.

        Even if it is the case that the treatment made you feel better, how have you ruled out the possibility that what you have experienced is entirely a placebo response, and that the particular treatment given played no specific part in your apparent recovery?

        In a real medical science, anecdotes are useful only for informing hypotheses. For example, from your anecdote you might form a hypothesis that a particular Ayurvedic treatment can help treat asthma in some identifiable, measurable way. This hypothesis can then be tested, and data obtained from a rigorous experiment can then be used predictively. This is what it means to be a medical science.

        If your practice is based on anecdotes and not data, then it is not based on science. You may think that “EXPERIENCE is the most eligible proof”, but the most dangerous words in medicine are “in my experience”. The story of Bill Silverman is a great example of this (his own written account can be found here: http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/essays/cautionary/silverman.html).

        ———-

        Dr Silverman was a pediatrician who, in 1949, was given a patient who also happened to be the child of the professor of biochemistry at his university. The infant showed signs of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a newly described disease that caused crippling blindness in babies. In desperation, he tried treating the child with what was that the time a new anti-inflammatory drug called ACTH, and the child recovered! Powerful proof that ACTH works, right? But the story does not end there.

        Following this instance, 31 more infants that showed the early signs of ROP were treated with ACTH. Of these, 25 recovered, 2 became blind, 2 lost all vision in one eye, and 2 had useful vision but some scarring. In comparison, of 7 untreated infants at another hospital, 6 had become blind. This was only a small sample, but certainly much stronger evidence than a single anecdote. I’m confident you’re entirely convinced by now, if all it takes to convince you of a medicine’s efficacy is a single anecdote and here I have 25. However, the story does not end there either.

        Following this small preliminary experiment, instead of advising that the treatment become widely adopted, Dr Silverman set up a randomised controlled clinical trial involving 2 hospitals in order to settle the question once and for all with rigorous evidence.

        The result of this trial, which involved many more participants, showed that infants treated for ROP with ACTH actually fared significantly *worse* than those that did not receive the drug. The doctors had been mislead not only by the initial isolated anecdote, but also by the following case series in which the treatment had appeared successful.

        Only because they had the intellectual integrity to seek rigorous data was the potential catastrophe of widespread adoption of this treatment able to be averted. Surely you can see that, if a man of your principles were in Dr Silverman’s place, this harmful treatment may have been adopted and could have led to blindness in many infants who may otherwise have been spared that fate.

        ———-

        “tell me just one thing which is [sic] changed its base.”
        Examples of this abound in science, although it should not be surprising that scientific revolutions are uncommon nowadays. Indeed, that the basis of much established medical science differs to the fundamentals of Ayurveda should be interpreted as implying that the fundamentals of Ayurveda are in conflict with reality.

        One example of a change in science is the introduction and adoption of the germ theory of disease following Louis Pasteur’s experiments in the 19th century, prior to which medical science relied upon the theory that infectious disease was caused by “miasms”. Indeed it is from this idea that the name of the disease “malaria”, now known to be caused by a parasite spread by mosquitoes, was derived, as “mal aria” refers to the “bad air” previously thought to cause the illness.

        ———-

        In science, every existing piece of knowledge can be traced back to the original observations that justify it. This includes medical knowledge. Everything we know about anatomy, physiology, pathology etc. can be traced back to the experiments from which this knowledge was derived, and these experiments can even be replicated in order to confirm this knowledge.

        What of Ayurveda? What experiments have been performed to confirm, for example, that the vata dosha is composed of air and ether? Have the dosha been isolated or measured? Surely the observations used to justify your system of knowledge are not so simplistic and generalised as asserting (wrongly, I might note) that I love spicy food in winter.

        I repeat myself: where are the data on which these predictions are based? If you have, as you say, no data, then on what authority do you make these predictions? Do you treat the sick on the authority of anecdotes alone? If that is the case, then you cannot call your practice science-based in any rational way.

  3. Hey – really awesome blog, it’s nice to finally find something on the internet that truly makes me think. Thank you :)

  4. Hi Mark.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It does not surprise me that there are people making misleading claims to support their own agenda.

    After-all I myself have grown rather incredulous and rightfully sceptical when atheistic naturalists and atheistic humanists use dodgy pseudo-scientific “evidence” to somehow prove that the universe came about in the absence of a supernatural creator.

    When I dig deep and place the spotlight on such bogus claims and baseless assertions, it seems to me that such people are merely replacing one religion or faith with another (i.e they instead worship creation at the altar of scientism and atheistic naturalism).

    My understanding of and experience of human nature is quite revealing in showing me how we can contrive all sorts of justifications and warped rationalisations to claim the moral high ground or make a god out of the universe/our own limited reasoning faculties.

    To me, that we can do science or make sense of the universe (e.g assert that the universe is “honest”, whatever “honest” means to you) very reasonably and logically suggests to me that science pre-supposes a supernatural and transcendent mind (e.g God).

    I.e if there’s no such God, then I find it logically unfathomable and utterly arrogant to claim that the necessary order and rationality required in order to do good science somehow created itself out of nothing and developed from a mindless, disordered, unguided and undirected process.
    I.e I’ve never seen any evidence (scientific, mathematical or philosophical) whatsoever that supports such a claim (i.e you get order from disorder or purpose and meaning from randomness).

    Therefore that we can even attempt to do science pre-supposes a God (I.e science proves God).

    People who say that science can prove there’s no God are deceptively perverting science’s own limitations and can rightfully be accused of scientism (i.e that science is the primary source of truth and knowledge).

    I.e What scientific process or experiment is there that proves that science is indeed primary and foremost as the most reliable source of all truth and knowledge?

    I trust you are intelligent and honest enough to understand the limitations of the scientific method and what it can tell us (and tells me especially: I.e it’s utter meaninglessness and laughable futility if there’s indeed no God).

    I appreciate your well-meaning and sincere blogs. The more and more I read your blogs, the more and more I realise that each one of us has something bigger than ourselves that we believe and have faith in.
    Wishing you my best. Paul Burns

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