So, I was having a discussion with Karl (yeah, I know)…..and happened to mention onion rings.

Karl proceeds to go off on one of his barely-coherent rants.  To the extent that I could pull anything intelligible out of it, I got the following:

  1. Onions are “not food”.
  2. They are not “meant” for human consumption
  3. They are “toxic”

Now, the fascinating thing is: Karl is a die-hard believer in just about any and all of what Wikipedia designates as “pseudosciences”.  As such, he is also obsessed with (although not particularly well-versed in) so-called “natural” remedies.

Quite frankly, I find that sort of person’s use of the term “Toxin” to be extremely problematic.  Anyone who is ignorant of the idea of “LD50” — the dose at which 50% of a given test-population dies — has no business using the term “toxin”, or designating anything as “toxic”.

As Rationalwiki describes it:

“Toxin” in the scientific and medical sense refers specifically to a metabolic product of a living organism that has deleterious effects either in itself or another organism at a sufficient dosage.

Now, here’s the fascinating thing: Not only is the stupid fuck utterly ignorant of the concept of “LD50” (the notion that “toxicity” is dose-dependent), he is also ignorant of  the phenomenon of “Hormesis”:

The absolute best explanation of hormesis I have ever encountered is this:

Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses.

Ironically, the ignorant fudge-plug is always going on about antibiotics/germicidal agents, on the grounds that the human immune system is “supposed to” be exposed to bacteria, etc..

(Note the oddly “teleological” framing of his “reasoning”: onions are a ‘toxin” which isn’t “supposed to” be eaten by humans.  Humans are “supposed to” be awash in bacteria, etc.)

The amusing thing is: anyone who understands the two facts that “toxicity” is dose-dependent, and that low doses of so-called “toxins” can actually be BENEFICIAL to an organism — would be FLATLY INCAPABLE of karl’s level of “Alliumphobia”

(Of course, the stupid fuck probably doesn’t even know that onions and garlic are related.)

Sometimes, I find Karl amusing.  Most of the time, I regard him as pathetic, and utterly beneath even the minimal level of respect I would extend to any random stranger.  At this point, I basically pretend to find his gibberings to be of interest, more than anything else.

I recognized long ago that he is genuinely too stupid to ever comprehend his own glaring  idiocy.



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