Monday, 26 September 2011

Beliefs

This post requires the definition of three words; Belief, Fact and Fallacy.

 

Be·lief

1. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Fact 

1. A thing that is indisputably the case.

Fal·la·cy

1.      A mistaken belief, esp. one based on unsound argument.

We all have beliefs. Whether it be in an unproven God, unseen Ghosts or simply word of mouth stories yet to be confirmed, we all have something to believe in. The classic one being the origin of our existence.   Did man really tread in the Garden of Eden? Or did two atoms collide and boom the universe appeared?  Deep theological questions that will never be proven in my lifetime but nonetheless, everyone has a opinion about it.


I want to focus on smaller yet still profound beliefs. Superstitions, and they fall into the more ‘irrational’ category. How many of us scout the room for a piece of wood before saying something that might ‘jinx’ us, or refuse to go somewhere on Friday the 13th for fear of something unlucky happening? As a child I used to jump around like a lunatic when walking for fear of stepping on ‘pavement lines’ which I had been told bought bad luck. And if someone broke a mirror then my world fell apart. They were intense, yet entirely unreasonable fears installed at a young age. I am now glad to say if I can walk down a path normally but many people don’t grow out of this phase.

I learnt a very interesting fact today. In China, parents feed their children Shark fin as they believe it stimulates brain growth and ultimately increases intelligence. At first I could see no connection whatsoever but after really thinking about it, I realised something. Sharks are a fish. A big one, but still, they are a fish. Fish contain omega 3, which is widely known for health benefits. Our brains after all are made from fatty acids, and require certain oils to work efficiently and it just so happens that the oil in fish is perfect. However there is no proof that it stimulates brain growth, that is a lie. What these parents don’t realise is that big marine life that consume smaller fish (aka Sharks, Dolphins, Whales etc) contain very high levels of mercury. An incredibly toxic substance that causes a number of health problems such as male impotence. So lets add the ‘stimulates brain growth’ with the ‘Manta Ray gills aid blood circulation and boosts the bodies immune system’ to my Fallacy list. 
 
In Japan there is a coastal town called Minamata and it was in 1956 that the first case of Minamata disease was discovered. The town’s people relied on two things to survive; their jobs at the local chemical factory and fish. The horrendous yet ironic thing is that the factory disposed so much toxic chemicals into the sea that the fish became poisonous. The people ate the fish and poisoned themselves. This illness is a neurological disorder caused by severe mercury poisoning and it had devastating effects. Women who consumed the fish gave birth to severely disabled children, some who are still alive today. And it also controlled epileptic type fits in those that ate it.


Now they didn’t eat the fish due to beliefs but simply for survival. What I want to know is why are Asian parent’s  voluntarily feeding themselves and their children a harmful substance ,when there is so much proof that it's dangerous, simply because of a belief?  And more importantly, Why are the Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, Korean and Thai governments allowing their own people to consume a deadly chemical. As echoed in many of my other posts there is, and will always be one answer. Money It is said that the shark fin business is the third richest in the world, coming just under trafficking and drugs. However unlike the involuntary passing of people from one place to another and growing plants to get high off, sharks are unsustainable. We can’t simply ‘grow more’, ‘find more’.  They are dying. And we will be left without a crucial member of the oceans ecosystem and mercury ridden humans.

Stop eating Sharks. They will become extinct at the rate they are being fished. That is a Fact.

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