Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Slate.com's "Throwing out the Wheat" and responses

I just came across the Slate.com article "Throwing out the Wheat: Are we being too intolerant of the gluten-intolerance?" and then Dr. Ron Hoggan's Response on Celiac.com

Good gravy. Can we be a little more tolerant of intolerant and intolerance?

I do not agree with main of the "facts" that Engber puts forth in his Slate.com piece, but there are so many aspects to gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease that are still unclear or unknown by the western, medical community's standards. There are theories, but no specific, known, defined triggers for the onset of Celiac Disease.

Whether something can be proved in a lab or not, is only one way of knowing. The common cold existed before there were microscopes to view it. Just because we do not have the technology, equipment or knowledge to analyze or "prove" something in a lab does not mean it does not exist. (Hoggan does go on to list what tests and how gluten intolerance can be proven/tested for in a lab by looking for specific antibodies.)

That said, Hoggan's poking fun via speculations of Engber's love life not only detracts from the merits of the argument, treating the disagreement as a pissing match rather than a serious attempt to discuss/clarify terminology.
How can we (those who need to live and eat gluten free) demand that people take us seriously about our health and safety if response are demeaning and off-topic? Taking the "if you don't listen to me and believe what I say I am going to make fun of you" tactic is at the best baiting and at the worst detrimental to continuing the conversation and quite possibly ending an occasion for education.

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