30 Bananas a Day!

The B-D Debate For Dummies

at long last, the work no one was waiting for, is finally here!
just don't tell rex and audrey, ok?

in friendship,
prad



Scenario

Have you been baffled by what's been going on regarding the China Study discussions over the summer of 2010? Has Denise Minger's long and detailed postings stressed you out? To make matters worse, there is this new kid on the block B, who writes with equal analytic fervor and is challenging the content of Denise's enormous work in detail!!

Do you have trouble keeping up? Do you get restless as the arguments get nested deeper and deeper? Do you look at a word like schist.., schistoso.., um .. schistoso ..so ..so what!! and lose your composure? Do you just stop reading after two paragraphs and post some sort of adulatory comment in the hopes of making people think you actually know what is being discussed?

Well worry no more because this document is for you! Through it you will be able to follow and understand the essential points of the argument. It is written with sufficient simplicity, enough explanations and opulent orientation so that anyone can 'get it'! In our humble opinion, it is very important to 'get it', because this discussion focuses on health - your health and you should not be a passive bystander.

We have taken into consideration the educational background of the protagonists. B was heading to do graduate work in musicology and Denise majored in English. So what do you get when you put English and music together? You get a musical!

This musical will draw upon Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady. However, to avoid plagiarism charges our title will be My Fair Malady. The role of Eliza Doolittle will be substituted for by Deliza, while Professor Higgins will appear as Professor Biggins. (I do the best I can with the limited budget and creativity I have, ok?)

We have uploaded the screenplay and here is the official poster:



So on with the show!

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Synopsis

The background for this performance stems from Dr. Colin T. Campbell's ground-breaking work The China Study (TCS) which is the "most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted" . The book severely rattled the composure of the animal product eating community which had already lost much ground to a growing vegetarian movement throughout the 90s and into the new millenium. There had already been numerous studies showing the detrimental effects of animal product consumption, but TCS was huge both in scope and effect.

The book is a bit of a misnomer because only one chapter deals with the actual massive study done in China which is known as The China Project (TCP1 done in 1983 and TCP2 done in 1989). The vast majority of the book presents Dr. Campbell's findings on nutrition through half-a-century of experimental research as well as examination of the work of many other professionals some of whom were physicians who put plant-based diets to the test in their practice).

Despite these realities, critics of the work continue to take the results from TCP itself in isolation, ignoring the vast amount of supportive evidence contained in the rest of the book.

When Deliza went on stage she followed the same pattern as her predecessors, but by their own acknowledgment, she did it all much better, analyzing the TCP data which she hand-typed from a monograph into her computer. She produced a series of credible preliminary posts culminating in a 30 page document
The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response.

Deliza enjoyed being the darling flowergirl of her neighborhood for a couple of months ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly") and then one day she found she was being studied by a gentleman of considerable expertise and educational prominence, Professor Biggins ("Why Can't the English Learn To Speak?") who tried to smooth out the rough edges and reveal the various problems in her presentation
Has Denise Minger Read 'The China Study'? -- A Collective Rebuttal.

Well, this is where our musical will start. Most of you likely know how the original Lerner and Lowe production went and ended. My Fair Malady though hasn't dropped the curtain, so we'll just keep it going as it develops so stay in your seats ... except at intermissions, of course.
Deliza's Case: Wouldn't It Be Loverly

Lots of choc'lates for me to eat,
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?


Indeed, it does conjure a 'loverly' scene if you eat chocolates and aren't aware of the dangers of coal heating!

Deliza, in her formal analysis, made her case against Dr. Campbell for nine items [read --> as correlates with]:

  1. Don't blame animal protein for cancer because of cholesterol: she says Dr. Campbell claims that cancer is linked with cholesterol which comes from animal protein, but that he doesn't make a case for it because he hasn't considered other cancer-producing factors. Specifically, her idea is that
    animal protein --> cholesterol --> cancer
    doesn't mean
    animal protein --> cancer.
  2. Don't blame animal foods for breast cancer because they contain fat (lipids): she says Dr. Campbell claims breast cancer is linked with eating fat which is linked to animal products, but that he doesn't make a case for it, because again,
    animal foods --> fat --> breast cancer
    doesn't mean
    animal foods --> breast cancer.
  3. Don't blame liver cancer on plasma cholesterol increase: she says Dr. Campbell claims animal products and cholesterol increase liver cancer,but that it ain't so and even the opposite because of an analysis she did [footnote 19]. Then she says that only fish protein correlate strongly with liver cancer and concludes with the idea that just because
    cholesterol --> liver cancer,
    it doesn't prove that cholesterol causes liver cancer.
  4. Don't say green vegetables protects against heart-disease: she says Dr. Campbell claims green vegetables reduce chance of heart disease, but that this is a result of frequency of eating greens and not quantity of eating greens. Furthermore, she says geography has a lot to do with not getting heart disease. In other words,
    geography --> greens --> less heart disease,
    therefore
    geography --> less heart disease.
  5. Don't say plant foods give protective benefits: she claims Dr. Campbell cites correlations which show
    greens --> less stomach cancer,
    but doesn't cite correlations which show the opposite. Then she claims he doesn't cite correlations which show
    non-rice grains --> more heart disease.
  6. Don't blame animal foods for “Western” diseases because of cholesterol: she says Dr. Campbell can't argue
    animal foods --> cholesterol --> western diseases,
    because there may be other things which cause these diseases and suggests a plausible theory might be that
    sitting around on your rump a lot --> cholesterol --> western diseases.
  7. Don't blame cholesterol when you can blame blood glucose: she suggests Dr. Campbell should blame blood glucose instead of picking on cholesterol because the former seems to show some correlations with disease too, though these are nonlinear (ie messy) instead of linear (ie tidy).
  8. Don't dismiss relevant variables: she says Dr. Campbell is being illogical by claiming small increases in animal foods is bad, but small increases in other foods is irrelevant just because they are eaten in lower quantities.
  9. Don't blame animal protein for being cancer causing because of caesin: she says Dr. Campbell claims that because caesin is an animal protein and
    caesin --> cancer
    that means
    animal protein --> cancer.
    Then she argues that the real problem isn't animal protein, but any complete protein.

So that is the essence of her arguments. It would be a 'loverly' set as some would wish, but from behind a pillar out steps Professor Biggins who had been making notes on Deliza's song and especially her rendition of English!
On her Case: Why Can't The English

Oh, why can't the English learn to ...
set a good example to people
whose English is painful to your ears
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears
There even are places where English completely disappears
Why, in America they haven't used it for years!


The 'putting on english' is a pastime that needs careful scrutinization.

Biggins points out the following specific areas of impropriety in Deliza's criticisms.

In the first verse (Minger's Misuse of The China Project Data), Biggins highlights Deliza's misuse of TCP data:

  1. She did her analysis on incomplete data utilizing only 1983 (TCP1) figures. The 1989 (TCP2) data which reveals changes in terms of disease and risk factors never came into the picture.
  2. She may have done well to contact Dr. Campbell to find out how to properly use and interpret the more updated online data instead of typing in figures from the 1990 monograph which only contain the TCP1 information. [Director's note: It should be pointed out that neither Biggins nor Deliza realized that TCS was based only on TCP1 at the time of their writings. Biggins after further research confirmed this fact and wrote an acknowledgement to Deliza and his readers in his main post. Despite this 'slip-up'with their lines by both, it should be considered reasonable to expect that anyone wishing to explore the validity of Dr. Campbell's claims would utilize all relevant data presently available rather than restrict themselves to a subset which pertains to a single chapter in the book.]
  3. She doesn't omit the Tuoli results from her analysis even though Dr. Campbell reported that the data from that county is highly questionable. This realization came after TCP was done and it was discovered that the Tuoli were not eating their usual fare in order to impress the researchers.
  4. She ignored Dr. Campbell's cautions about improper usage of raw TCP data by treating correlations at face value. A correlation of data between two items should not be interpreted to mean that the items necessarily bear any relationship to one another unless it can be properly demonstrated by various means. [Director's clarification: For instance, you may notice that on a given weekday day the number of cars on the road increase between 7am and 9am as the weather gets warmer (correlation between temperature and number of vehicles),however, it would not be reasonable to conclude that a rise in temperature has anything to do with the increase of automobiles.]
  5. She insists her improper use of correlations was somehow intended to instruct Dr. Campbell on his misuse of data.


In the second verse (Plant foods good; Animal foods bad), Biggins reveals that Deliza does not seem to understand the central message of TCS:

  1. She describes Dr. Campbell as claiming animal products are universally harmful.
  2. She claims Dr. Campbell's message is that animal protein unequivocally causes cancer and other diseases.
  3. She ignores Dr. Campbell's cautions that absolute proof is non-existent in this field because the involvement of multiple factors make it difficult to determine cause and effect.
  4. She neglects the reality that Dr. Campbell uses a broad range of evidence to support his case against animal products in TCS.
  5. She insists that Dr. Campbell is biased in favor of plant foods without understanding that his extensive research over half-a-century gives him good reason to develop such bias.
  6. She paints the picture that Dr. Campbell doesn't acknowledge that refined plant foods may play a role in development of disease even though he clearly makes recommendations and criticisms of various refined plant foods.
  7. She does her readers a disservice by misrepresenting the message of TCS and what Dr. Campbell actually says.


In the third verse (There's Carcinogens and There's Carcinogens), Biggins demonstrates that Deliza doesn't appear to understand the role of animal protein (specifically casein) in the development of cancer.

  1. She insists that Dr. Campbell claims animal protein unequivocally causes cancer when he does no such thing.
  2. She fails to understand that TCS never says animal protein is a necessary and sufficient cause of cancer.
  3. She likely requires the explanation that the cancer potential is genetic in nature, but can be promoted by diet. In other words, different diets can cause, prevent or even reverse cancer afflictions.
  4. She likely requires Dr. Campbell's analogy that cancer growth is similar in nature to a lawn. Feed your lawn too much fertilizer (animal protein) and the grass (cancer cells) grow rampantly.


The song highlights Deliza's refrain where all causes of disease are attributable to everything on the planet other than animal foods:

  • fish doesn't cause cancer, it's hepatitis B
  • animal foods don't cause cancer, it's canola oil
  • meat and eggs don't cause cancer, it's schistosomiasis
  • cholesterol doesn't cause disease, it's blood sugar
  • animal consumption doesn't cause heart disease, it's wheat
  • animal protein doesn't cause disease, it's refined plant foods

And then it ends on the finale that Deliza is more interested in discounting Dr. Campbell's claims regarding diet and disease than in understanding what he's arguing and presenting.

Biggins performed with such gusto that he was immediately called back for not one but two encores!
Encore One: The Street Where You Live

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour Out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where you live!


While it requires considerable skill to provide enchantingly appealing diss-ertations, it requires even more to address these and reveal them for what they are.

In the first encore, Biggins deals with the question of whether animal protein promoted hepatitis B virus (HBV) induced liver cancer. Here he credits Deliza for making the effort to examine the correlation animal foods may have on cancer, albeit in an accidental fashion.

Dr. Campbell has stated that those at risk of liver cancer (from HBV), increase their chance of getting it by eating more animal products. Deliza wonders if TCP data really shows this to be the case and pointing out that the correlation is weak.

Biggins acknowledges the weak correlation between eating animal products and dying from liver cancer, but emphasizes that such does not disprove Dr. Campbell's original point: "For those at risk for liver cancer ... increasing intakes of animal-based foods ... are associated with a higher disease risk." since "we don't know whether the individuals infected with HBV are consuming lower, equal, or higher amounts of animal foods than the average intake, and hence what their risk of liver cancer should be with respect to this."
Encore Two: With A Little Bit Of Luck

Oh, you can walk the straight and narrow;
But with a little bit of luck You'll run amuck!


Well, may be not so easily when others are watching.

The second encore handles the criticisms against Dr. Campbell's statement "there are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants" which appears on page 230 of TCS.

Deliza ran the usual CLA (conjuated linoleic acid) cancer-preventing argument that others often do. However, Biggins points out that CLA is a trans-fat produced by bacteria in the stomach of grain fed cattle and that the studies supporting its miraculous properties were funded by the dairy industry. Nor is it an essential nutrient for humans, though linoleic acid is essential and appears with abundance in plants.
Dancing All Night

I could have danced all night!
I could have danced all night!
And still have begged for more.
I could have spread my wings ...


Deliza tries to argue that the instances Dr. Campbell cites specific correlations, the numbers match TCS1, but not TCS2. Biggins reminds her that Dr. Campbell's studies based on TCP data are not all referenced in TCS - only one chapter deals with this. Therefore, to argue that TCS isn't supported by TCS data, is rather pointless because the book isn't based exclusively on the TCS data.

Deliza tries to say she couldn't find anything in TCS2 which shows a convincing link between animal foods and disease. Biggins suggests that those who have examined both sets of data have found some key differences between TCS1 and TCS2 and therefore, both sets of information should be considered before pushing through conclusions.

Deliza tries to maintain that she did not find Dr. Campbell said anything negative about vegan foods from the TCS data. Biggins jokingly admonishes with how he found it disturbing that Dr. Campbell "overlooked some astonishingly strong correlations between several major diseases of affluence and the consumption of tofu burgers with soy cheese." Then he again reminds her that Dr. Campbell's focus of a plant-based diet, not a highly refined plant based diet which is where Deliza was pulling her detrimental correlations relating plant foods to disease from. In fact, by doing so, she has merely reiterated one of the very points that Dr. Campbell makes.

Deliza insists that her 'interpretation' of the TCS is unavoidable. Biggins agrees with her that when you don't read the whole book properly and don't really try to find out what it is saying and work with only partial data (even though Dr. Campbell has made the raw data available on the web for researchers), it may well be that her interpretation is unavoidable.
there are some corrections which should be made thanks to the astute eyes of fruit loves me - specifically instances where the script says TCS data when the screenplay writer meant TCP data. for instance, we have a statement such as

"Therefore, to argue that TCS isn't supported by TCS data, is rather pointless because the book isn't based exclusively on the TCS data."

when it should say,

"Therefore, to argue that TCS isn't supported by TCP data, is rather pointless because the book isn't based exclusively on the TCP data."

and then there is this stuff with "TCS1 and TCS2" when it should be "TCP1 and TCP2".

if you figured this out as fruit loves me did, kudos to you ... and to her many thanks!
we will make corrections in the next version of the screenplay, after firing the present proof-reader!

in friendship,
prad
Finale: I've Grown Accustomed ...

I've grown accustomed to the trace
Of something in the air


And so it is. While there were a few other mild exchanges between Biggins and Deliza, the ideas that repeatedly showed up were similar to those of all critics of TCS:

  1. You can't legitimately take isolated correlations and pass them on as causations.
  2. You can't say that Dr. Campbell did the same thing, since he didn't, and expect to get away with it.
  3. You can't say that Dr. Campbell is using the TCS data to argue that animal food products cause disease and plant food products prevent disease, because he is using much more than the TCS data to base his conclusions on.
  4. You can't pass off disease causation to everything other than animal foods, because you want to eat animal foods, and not be noticed for your slight transgression.

That is quite the 'something in the air' and some are admittedly accustomed to it. However, thanks to dialogues like these between Deliza and Biggins, whoever listens in and makes the effort to understand the details will likely see what is happening and how the evidence lines up.

Indeed, one day Biggins may actually be able to exclaim with relief and joy:

I think she's got it! By George, she's got it!
Do you just stop reading after two paragraphs and post some sort of adulatory comment in the hopes of making people think you actually know what is being discussed?

LOL - how did you know? I haven't any patience for statistical analysis, but I am glad others do. Again, I am impressed with the amount of work that has gone into this project, including summarising it for mere mortals such as myself.

PS In the reply, Dancing all Night are there instances where it says TCS when it should read TCP?
thank you and well spotted!!
i've left your observation above as a reply for the unwary who will benefit from your excellent observational skills!!

in friendship,
prad

Thank you sir.  Its not crystal clear but its clearer.

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