Belief and Reality - Truth or Consequences
By Don Bennett, DAS

The sun revolves around the Earth. If I said that to you, and I was serious, you'd think I was nuts. But if I said it at an earlier point in human history, you'd have replied, "So tell me something I don't know!" Yes, there was a time when everyone believed the Earth was the center of the Universe. But I'm willing to bet that when most people thought the sun spun around the Earth, it didn't, even though everyone believed it did.

So what does this mean today? It means that what you know to be true, may not be so. It means that one's beliefs may not have anything to do with reality. How does this affect your life? If someone mentions to you that something you're doing is harmful to your health, but you believe otherwise, you may be basing your belief on misinformation, or worse, on disinformation (knowingly false information that is purposely made public). And when it comes to health information, there's plenty of both.

Take it from someone who's been seeking truths for over 45 years; there's a lot you know, that just ain't so. When I was in my teens, I discovered that when I asked an adult a question that warranted a yes or no answer, I got definite yes's and definite no's to the same question (and hardly any I don't know's by the way). Imagine asking someone if the sun revolved around the Earth or the Earth revolved around the sun, and you got an answer of yes to both questions. And everyone answering you seemed so sure of their belief, so confident in their certainty, and could even tell you why they were right, and why the other person was wrong. As a little kid, you'd be confused. As an adult who knew the truth about our solar system, you'd realize that human beings are the only animal on the planet capable of believing in something that isn't true. Only humans have the ability to dismiss, out-of-hand, compelling evidence that challenges their beliefs. For many people, choosing to reject reality, where it concerns their health, will subject them to disease, unnecessary suffering, and premature death.

Being able to choose is a double-edged sword; it can work for you, or against you. Regarding belief, you have a few choices. You can believe:

1. What everyone else believes

2. What people and/or industries want you to believe

3. What you'd rather believe

4. Reality / the truth (they're the same)

Which one do you think is in your best interest? Which one is in industry's best interest? Which one would most other people like you to embrace?

If you love dairy products for example (cheese, milk, ice cream, etc.), and someone presented you with evidence that dairy products are not only not good for your bones, but are actually a cause of osteoporosis and cancer, which of the above four choices would dictate your reaction? Would you dismiss the info without a second thought because you didn't like what you were hearing?

Your decision-making depends on what's most important to you. If your health is higher on your sub-conscious list of priorities than self-indulgent-pleasure-seeking-behavior, then you'll look into it, and you'll try to make decisions that are in your best interest health-wise. If however, self-indulgent-pleasure-seeking-behavior is more important to you than your health, then you'll likely utter those magic words that protect you from internal conflict: "I don't believe it" and you'll continue to feel good about doing something that, in reality, is harming you.

Industries that make items that are harmful to your health depend upon our ability to dis-believe the truth about the damaging effects of their products. They give billions of dollars to the media for advertising, and to politicians for support (protection), so that truthful information that would have a negative effect on sales is either kept from you or discredited. They do their very best to influence your beliefs so that you are not just a customer, but a loyal supporter who will defend their products by telling anyone who brings you truthful information about the products' dangers that you don't believe a word of it. Every time someone refuses to believe what is true about, say, dairy products for example, the dairy industry sits back with a big grin on its face, delighted that their best-kept secrets are safe from the public, and pleased that these people are unwittingly helping to support their deceptive practices as both a consumer and defender of their health-damaging products.

"If you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." – Joseph Goebbels

What are the consequences of living in a fantasy world regarding your health? Cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, lessened quality-of-life and premature death. Yes, I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because there's way too much of it, and most of it is avoidable because it's caused by mistaken beliefs.

Here are some strong sentiments from Michael Crichton, author of The Lost World:

"Human beings rarely think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told, and become upset if they are exposed to a differing viewpoint. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight over their beliefs."

To paraphrase W. K. Clifford, if a person, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and avoids the company of those who call into question or discuss it, and regards as sacrilegious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it, the life of that person will not be as glorious as it could have been.

Have as glorious a life as possible! Think not with the thoughts of others, but with your own. Truthful information plus an understanding of that information is when knowledge is power. Don't dismiss what disturbs you to hear. Investigate. Set off the "Independent Thought" alarms at corporate offices around the globe. Reality will do right by you, but only if you believe it.


P.S. Another tip is to learn as a researcher and not as a student. Students rarely question what they learn. Oh, they may ask questions of clarification, but they will generally not question what they are taught or question their teacher. Researchers however question everything as a matter of course.

And also, embrace the conflicting information! It's actually a good thing to come across it, because somewhere within all that conflicting info is the truth, so it's an opportunity to see if you've been following correct or incorrect info.

And since I've not found a program that has 100% correct info, a multi-source approach to education, filled with conflicting info is best if it's the truth that you seek. So have many sources of information, not one singular teacher/guru/program.




What Do We Base Our Beliefs On?
By Don Bennett, DAS

First, let's define "belief"...

"Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty."

If I were to ask you, "Do you believe there is other intelligent life in the Universe?" what would you base your answer on? Since there's no way to know the answer with 100% certainty, you have a few options...

A) Base your answer on what you'd like to believe.

B) Base your answer on statistical probability taking into account what it took for life on this planet to appear, and the availability of the building blocks of life elsewhere in the Universe, and the likely number of "life-friendly" planets in the "Goldilocks Zone" (refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – for liquid water to exist on a planet).

So we can generalize that you can believe something based on science and the scientific evidence, or on how you feel about the issue.

When it comes to the question of whether or not there is any intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, your answer has no bearing on your health outcome. But what about the questions that do?

The question...

"Are humans designed to run primarily on carbs or fat?"

...is an objective question, and unlike the "life in the Universe" question, this one should have an answer. After all, we have a lot of tools in our toolbox to figure this one out (empirical evidence, comparative anatomy, physiology, biology, logical rational critical thinking skills, the scientific method, a desire for the truth though the heavens may fall). And it's not like we're living 100,000 years ago... it's the 21st Century. And yet, there are people who consider themselves Health Educators who will say something like this...

"Ketogenic diets, which are generally lumped together by critics, have gotten a lot of bad press. While experts have generally recognized their effectiveness for weight loss, very low carb diets that result in ketosis (like Atkins) have been criticized on health grounds. The problem with these criticisms? They’re based on diets that allow for 20 grams or less of carbohydrates a day. While I believe we are not meant to run primarily on carbohydrate energy, I do believe we depend on the nutrients offered by low carb vegetables and even some low glycemic fruits."

– Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple.com

Let me repeat that in case you missed it, "...I believe we are not meant to run primarily on carbohydrate energy..." Yes, Mr. Sisson believes that humans are meant to run on fat. I would think that this issue is one where we can base our belief on empirical evidence, comparative anatomy, physiology, biology, logical rational critical thinking skills, and on the scientific method, and when we do, it is crystal clear that humans – like all other anthropoid primates – are meant to run primarily on carbs – simple carbs like from fruit, not the complex carbs found in grain products. In fact, this is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact! And although everyone is entitled to their own opinions, everyone is not entitled to their own facts, and just because the current President of the United States appears to feel that he is entitled to his own facts does not mean that it's now okay for all of us to label anything we prefer to believe as an "alternate fact".

I've written extensively about why some people choose to believe what they prefer to believe rather than what is true and what squares with reality, and why people employ confirmation bias to only consider info that supports what they want to believe while dismissing out-of-hand anything that calls into question what they believe. So if a person loves eating a high fat diet, and they do not have their health as their #1 priority, and instead have self-indulgent-pleasure-seeking-behavior as their #1 priority, and they are not wise enough to realize that investing in their future health is a prudent thing to do, they may believe in statements like the above. And they may also try and discredit, deride, and insult anyone who offers contradictory information.

And if someone, like Mr. Sisson, holds themselves out as a "Health Educator", and tries defending their position with pseudo science, junk science, and loaded studies, they are not qualified to be calling themselves a Health Educator IMO. And worse, if they know the truth, but also know that they'll be more popular and make more money if they promote the less healthy high fat diet, my wish is that these miscreants are immediately transported to another planet... one that is not in the Goldilocks Zone because they are violating the oath that all Health Educators take; "First, do no harm."

But there are other reasons people can believe something that doesn't square with reality, like their morality. Take for example this question...

"Are soy products healthy or not?"

This is also an objective question, and a definitive answer should be possible (and is). But when a question like this is posted to a Facebook vegan group, and someone like myself comments with a, "On balance, they are not, and here's why..." reply, my post is deleted (in fact the entire thread was deleted). Was this because my reply was fraught with inaccurate and misleading info? No. It was most likely deleted because if the admin are vegan mainly for the moral and ethical reasons surrounding animal agriculture, they will want as many people as possible to go vegan for the sake of the animals, and being able to eat soy-based foods like hotdogs, hamburgers, milk, cheese, ice cream, pizza, etc, will enable more people to adopt a vegan diet, so no negative comments about soy will be tolerated. And some ethical vegans resonate with the pro soy info and will not consider the negative aspects of soy. And the huge soy industry is happy to provide tons of pro-soy info, even though it is filled with inaccuracies and disinformation.

So if you base your soy beliefs on what you prefer to believe, and you're a vegan advocate, in reality you're caring about the non-human animals and not caring about the human ones (because soy is not good for humans' health and wellbeing). But a staunch vegan once told me, "I love animals, and I dislike humans, so I'm fine misrepresenting soy products." I asked him, "Do you eat soy products?" 'No' was his answer. Human nature... what are you gonna do.


Don Bennett is an insightful, reality-based author, and health creation counselor who uses the tools in his toolbox like logic, common sense, critical thinking, and independent thought to figure out how to live so we can be optimally healthy.