PoliticsSkepticism

Justin Trudeau Endorses Bullshit Pseudoscience

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Sorta transcript:

As Barack Obama was ending his final term as president and we prepared for a semi-literate game show host to take the reins, US liberals looked to our neighbors to the north for a glimmer of hope in world leaders. Justin Trudeau seemed like a sexy, shining angel of liberalism when he took office and formed a bromance with our own sexy commander-in-chief, and I’ll admit, I was a bit blinded myself. After all, liberals in pretty much any other country seem a million times better and more progressive than the democrats here in the US. Hell, most conservatives in other countries lean to the left of our liberal politicians.

But over the past few months, I’ve been paying more attention and have discovered, much to my shock, that Justin Trudeau is not a perfect representation of both my political and physical desires. For a start, he applauded Donald Trump’s approval of the Keystone Pipeline, an environmental disaster pushed by the fossil fuel industry that will move oil from Alberta to Mexico through the US and various indigenous people’s lands against their wishes.

It’s kind of funny, because his hypocrisy involves him pushing for a reduction in emissions for Canada while continuing to try to suck up to the oil industry, and basically now everyone on both sides of the issue hates him as he quite obviously is speaking out both sides of his mouth.

The other day, I found a new reason to cross Trudeau off my list of sexy politicians I’d like to bonk: a photo of him surfaced showing clear bruises from “cupping.” Cupping is the practice of putting a cup over your skin and creating a vacuum inside for five or ten minutes, making a bruise. It’s been around for several millennia, and a version of it was approved by the Prophet Muhammad, making it still fairly popular in Muslim countries. It’s also become an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine.

I should mention that the “version” of cupping popular amongst the Muslims is “wet” cupping. Unlike “dry” cupping, it actually gets even grosser because the practitioner cuts the skin before putting the suction cup over the wound. Painful and pointless!

And yes, it is pointless. A few studies have been done, and a meta-analysis found that there’s no solid evidence for any of the things it’s supposed to treat, including pain relief, which only had the slightest chance of being effective. But it definitely does not help cure cancer, or any other disease, and it doesn’t make you a better athlete like Michael Phelps and other pros seem to think.

Cupping is pseudoscience, plain and simple, and it’s a danger when a powerful politician buys into that because that’s how “alternative medicine” gets sneaked into public policy.

So, sorry, but Justin Trudeau isn’t quite the science-loving political idol we wanted. Let’s just hope Angela Merkel doesn’t show up with a bottle of homeopathic pills one day.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. April 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm —

    As a Canadian I will be the first to agree that Justin Trudeau is far from the ideal leader, however Canada is far from the ideal nation when it comes to governance. Canadian Provinces are far more independent than U.S. states are and their governments wield far more power relative to the federal than in just about any other country. For example, while there may be free trade with our neighbours to the South, there are still restrictions on interprovincial trade in goods and services. All this to point out that the Prime Minister of Canada often has to balance regional and national goals, and the severe depression in the Alberta oil patch made it almost impossible for the feds to block the Keystone Pipeline.

    As for the cupping, well we’ve all known he is far more his mother Margaret’s son than his father’s, Pierre, which is perhaps a good thing as senior was an arrogant SOB that wouldn’t have been able to hide his contempt for the current resident of the White House, and Canada would have paid heavily for that, I’m sure.

  2. April 28, 2017 at 4:31 pm —

    I’m still chuckling at the notion of a list of sexy politicians you’d like to bonk.

    I mean, “sexy” and “politician” to me are oxymorons.

    That’s just so wrong… but it just goes to show, there’s no accounting for taste in such things.

    So, Angela Merkel is on the list?

    • April 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm —

      My own hypothetical list might be even more wrong:
      “I’ve been a Socialist all my life, Mistress Sarah. I’ve been bad. I can’t be punished enough.”

    • April 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm —

      Some people find power sexy…

  3. April 28, 2017 at 7:33 pm —

    Re: Angela Merkel and homeopathy. Being she a physicist with a PhD in quantum chemistry, she is likely familiar with the Avogadro number and the absence of active ingredients in what is sold as homeopatic remedies, after all repetitive dilutions. I’d bet she thinks it’s all bulls*t.

  4. April 29, 2017 at 10:02 am —

    Cupping is also used in massage, and not uncommon in kink circles. I don’t think having bruises from it necessarily endorses a specific aspect of its practice when there are other explanations. And c’mon, you know that dude’s a little freaky.

  5. April 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm —

    I assume in Trudeau’s case it’s an athlete thing. You’d be surprised how many athletes, bodybuilders, etc. endorse bullshit treatments. Most of them endorse herbal supplements, after all.

    And yeah, the whole KXL/DAPL thing does put him in a bad place. He’s also been just as silent on missing Indian women as Harper was. One big problem for a lot of pols (I mean, except for the right-wing ones, of course.) has been how to deal with the question of jobs versus the environment. The ideal is what Obama called a “just transition”, but that involves raising taxes on the upper class to fund such a transition, something those in the center are loath to do.

    This actually has a huge effect here in the States too: That failure is the difference between President Clinton and President Trump.

  6. April 30, 2017 at 5:31 pm —

    Again while I am not a big supporter of Trudeau, (or the Liberal Party of Canada) the fact is the present government HAS addressed the missing and murdered Indigenous women file by launching the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls under Part I of the federal Inquiries Act. This last point is important as it gives the commissioners the power to subpoena to compel them to give evidence as is vested in any Canadian court of record.

    So while we can hang him over his support for these unneeded and dangerous pipeline projects, and some flaky personal notions, he has done more for the missing Indian women issue than any previous prime minister.

  7. May 2, 2017 at 8:16 pm —

    Great video Rebecca. JT is the politician i love to hate in some ways. one thing to realize is that the Liberal party in Canada is actually our moderate party. We have a 3 party system. NDP are our social democrats, and we have the creatively named Conservative party.

    While I do think the cupping thing is really silly, and i’ll mock him for it to my liberal skeptic friends, he’s an athlete and as so many other people pointed out that sort of woo is common place in such endeavors. However he has been a friend of science, first by unmuffling the scientists that the previous government had silenced, appointing a scientist to the cabinet position for ministry of science and technology, appointing a doctor to the minister of health position and by implementing a country wide carbon tax.

    The approval of the Keystone pipeline is one of those weird things where Canada had already sort of figured out how to keep the Canadian economy afloat with the approval of other pipelines to get our oil to market, and then Trump went ahead and was like have this extra pipeline… you no longer need, of course Trudeau is gonna come out in support of that, has to appease the child in the Whitehouse. Plus gotta keep those votes coming, politics is that sort of game. While i get that building new pipelines now is probably not the best idea in a lot of cases, like the keystone. But one of the pipelines we’re building is to transport natural gas to Asia which will let them shut off coal plants, a net gain for the planet. The other pipeline we’re trying to get approved would supply our east coast with the oil that’s produced in the prairies, rather than shipping it in from questionable sources like Saudi in a ship. These are the pipelines we need in Canada, and while i think it would be great to see the demand for oil drop much faster, and make this obsolete, the truth is the world needs oil for things like cars for the next decade or two, especially in Canada where electric cars still kind of suck. But the things we can do in Canada, like stop burning fossil fuels for power generation we’re doing, Alberta is offsetting a lot of it’s oil production, by converting all of the coal plants into clean Nat gas plants in the next 12 years, paid for by a carbon tax.

    Another point is that we’ve had Conservative governments for 45 years in Alberta, and like a decade at the Federal level who refused to acknowledge climate change putting us years behind, and unfortunately we have a country who’s too dependant on fossil fuels for both our energy and our economy, and we need to transition from that to a more modern society, JT is only a year or so in, Give him time to make changes, change takes time.

    And i just want to close out by saying i don’t even really like the liberal party on a lot of stuff, and i think pretty boy is even worse, but i just wanted to give some Canadian, Albertan perspective on the issue.

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