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Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the type-A-negative-personality dept.

Idle 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

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219 comments

Not surprising. (4, Interesting)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291096)

If you lived in Ottawa, like I do, you'd understand that we're nearly the most absurdly "politically correct" place on earth. This is reflected by a common effort to be "inclusive" to other schools of thought. Also, there are more complainers and "letter writers" in Ottawa than any other city on Earth. I'm sure, so none of this seems out of the ordinary to me.

Re:Not surprising. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291168)

Wearing one of these [wearscience.com](I am not affiliated with or profiting from, merely amused by) or being sure to use the phrase "So open-minded your brain has fallen out" is the only viable response to such behavior.

Teach the Controversy Riddle-runes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291672)

Wearing one of these [wearscience.com]...

Very amusing... I can figure out most of these, but some of them still baffle me. Third one in the second row: this is an airplane flying over a volcano, which either has a tree growing out of it, or more likely a cloud of ash? And ghosts are being emitted?

MIddle one, next row: there's a teapot between the Earth and Mars? Is this Sagittarius?

Some help here?

Re:Teach the Controversy Riddle-runes (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291794)

The teapot belongs to Russell, see here [wikipedia.org].

The aircraft scene is a Scientology reference. See the entry on Xenu [wikipedia.org].

Re:Teach the Controversy Riddle-runes (2, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291810)

Third one in the second row: this is an airplane flying over a volcano, which either has a tree growing out of it, or more likely a cloud of ash?
Xenu [wikipedia.org]
Middle one, next row: there's a teapot between the Earth and Mars? Is this Sagittarius?
Russel's Teapot [wikipedia.org]

Re:Teach the Controversy Riddle-runes (5, Funny)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292728)

Mouse over picture,
Tooltip appears.
Read message it carries
All will be made clear.
Burma Shave.

Re:Not surprising. (1)

g-lock82 (993180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292166)

"So open-minded your brain has fallen out"

Obligatory Tim Minchin link [youtube.com]

Re:Not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292438)

This one [youtube.com] is also relevant(and pretty fucking brilliant).

Politically correct? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291456)

If you lived in Ottawa, like I do, you'd understand that we're nearly the most absurdly "politically correct" place on earth. This is reflected by a common effort to be "inclusive" to other schools of thought. Also, there are more complainers and "letter writers" in Ottawa than any other city on Earth. I'm sure, so none of this seems out of the ordinary to me.

It's still stupid, and as a Canadian I'm just glad that I live in Quebec and we run our program separately [hema-quebec.qc.ca]. english version [hema-quebec.qc.ca]. ... though someone should tell them the blink tag is dead!

Re:Politically correct? (5, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292038)

You're lucky you live in Quebec. I had to endure the torture of "What's your blood type?" from all my friends the whole five years I lived in Korea. I obnoxiously answered "I don't know" (even when I did) just to avoid being typed. Of course, I answer the same to Thais when they ask "What days of the week were you born on?" and to westerners' "What's your sign?" Unfortunately, I can't pretend I don't know my birth date. Western culture doesn't seem to take the matter too seriously, but Korean and Thai cultures do.

These practices all need to die. Do you want to understand me? Get to know me.

Re:Politically correct? (3, Interesting)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292140)

I answer the same to Thais when they ask "What days of the week were you born on?" and to westerners' "What's your sign?" Unfortunately, I can't pretend I don't know my birth date.

If you can even give a toss about this, try figure out what the LEAST compatible sign for each sign is, then ask them theirs and adjust yours to fit. Not like you want someone who really buys into that around you a lot anyway, right?

It's a joke. Laugh. (5, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292642)

I find that mostly the people who buy into these things are either Libras or Scorpios. Us Virgos don't fall for all that bunk.

Birth Sign (3, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292950)

When I'm asked what sign I was born under I usually respond that I'm not sure but it probably said something like "Maternity Ward". Depending on the response you can then easily tell whether it is worth continuing a conversation....

Re:Politically correct? (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292198)

Unfortunately, I can't pretend I don't know my birth date.

[_] "I was adopted, you ignorant clod!" (and watch them go "Oh ...")
[_] I was born February 29th so I only have a sign every 4th year.
[_] What sign was I born under? Yellow Cab | Maternity Ward | Abortion Clinic ("I was a screw-up even back then")
... or if you really want to scare them off ...
[_] What's my sign? Well, I was born a [insert bogus info] and I was born again in [insert month] so now I'm really a [insert bogus info], so let me tell you all about Jeebus so you too can have two birthdays!

Re:Politically correct? (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292212)

Western culture doesn't seem to take the matter too seriously, but Korean and Thai cultures do.

You are clearly a Sagittarius, with the Moon rising over the plain of Mars in retrograde.

I'm not sure about you, but I know plenty of Americans who seem to take astrology and numerology a little too seriously.

I'd love to go on the show Deal or no deal (The one with the women holding the suitcases), and select my suitcases in numerical order (1, 2, 3, etc)-- because my chances are EXACTLY THE SAME as someone who selects the cases according to their own numerological theory.

Many American gamblers also tend to believe in numerology a little too much. The dice, cards, etc. are random (Unless the house or a person cheats). Sure, some people play the odds, but many people believe in some sort of mystical numerical theory.

Re:Politically correct? (3, Interesting)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292952)

I'd love to go on the show Deal or no deal (The one with the women holding the suitcases), and select my suitcases in numerical order (1, 2, 3, etc)-- because my chances are EXACTLY THE SAME as someone who selects the cases according to their own numerological theory.

I'm not so sure about that. The only thing required to make the game fair is to ensure the contestant has no idea which suitcases contain which prizes. There is no reason some person on the show can't be distributing the cases according to their own idea of 'randomness'.

Re:Politically correct? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292986)

I obnoxiously answered "I don't know" (even when I did) just to avoid being typed. Of course, I answer the same to Thais when they ask "What days of the week were you born on?" and to westerners' "What's your sign?"

Can't speak to the others, but if a westerner asks you what your sign is, they were hitting on you.

Or so I have heard. Oh wait... you're on slashdot too. Yeah, she was trying to steal your credit card, so good job.

Re:Politically correct? (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292108)

It's still stupid, and as a Canadian I'm just glad that I live in Quebec and we run our program separately [hema-quebec.qc.ca]. english version [hema-quebec.qc.ca]. ... though someone should tell them the blink tag is dead!

Nonsense. I lo

ve having to sto

p reading every h

alf second while the

text is blinked ou

t.

Re:Politically correct? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292266)

They should also get rid of those "news crawler" tickers along the bottom of tv shots. Put the text up a line at a time and we'll read the at our own speed.

Or how about 2 feeds - one with the stupid crawlers, and one without.

Or maybe if I fiddle with my remote, there's a custom setting so I can stretch the screen enough to hide it.

Re:Not surprising. (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291498)

If you lived in Ottawa, like I do, you'd understand that we're nearly the most absurdly "politically correct" place on earth.

From what I've seen, the Japanese take this only slightly more seriously than people here in the US take horoscopes. If Ottawa is actually concerned about not offending Japanese Ottowans, I think they should probably be more concerned about not assuming the Japanese are that stupid.

Looking at the website in question though, it seems like it's just a gimmick to get people to donate.

For type O here is the full extent of the information:

So, you’re an O. You already know that having type O blood suggests that you might be competitive, goal oriented and a real meat eater. Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type O is the oldest and most common blood type, originating in Southern Africa?

[next page]

45% of Canadians have type O blood. Group O blood is like no other and can only receive blood from other people who are group O.

One unit of your blood can help save up to three lives, and we know that giving blood is in your nature.

Many experts believe that your personality, career and even your diet can be influenced by your blood type. In addition to your tendency towards romanticism, an aptitude for writing and a love of hearty eating and exercise, here are a few other things you should know about being an O [3x3 chart here with fluff]

[next page]

All Types

Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. Blood is used to help save the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary health situations.

If you are unsure of your eligibility, please take a look at our basic eligibility and temporary and indefinite deferral information, or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) for assistance.

If you have already made an appointment to donate, thank you. If not, please review our clinic locator and call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to book an appointment or to find a "What's Your Type" even in your community today.

For more information on blood and blood types, please browse our Web site or visit:

Re:Not surprising. (2, Informative)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292080)

There are plenty of Americans who take Astrology WAY too fucking seriously

Re:Not surprising. (0, Troll)

charlieman (972526) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292572)

People all over the world take age/maturity serious.

How come the amount of revolutions the earth gives around the sun can determine if you are eligible for drinking, having sex or driving?

Re:Not surprising. (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292622)

Because there are general ages that are pegged within brain development and rational thinking. While these ages aren't set in stone and some individuals never truly do get to that point of rationality, if you want to draw a line you have to draw it somewhere.

Now does astrology have any scientific basis like developmental psychology does?

Astrology has some Scientific Merit (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292984)

There are plenty of Americans who take Astrology WAY too fucking seriously

Astrology is not a complete waste of time. To paraphrase a well-known British astronomer: "Astrology has proven one law of science: there really is a sucker born every minute!".

Nonsense peddlers often sneak in... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291122)

The thin edge of the wedge with this sort of thing is its popularity with the public at large. I'm sure the logic at CBS HQ was (unless the staff are themselves woo peddlers) "Well, yeah, it's pop-nonsense; but if it will draw attention, we'll get more blood donors, and we really need all of those we can get." That can be a compelling argument, and the compromise can seem so harmless at the time.

You also see this sort of thing happen when otherwise respectable medical schools will get endowed institutes in nonsenseology because some big donor has $200 million; but also believes that squirting coffee up his ass cures cancer.

Re:Nonsense peddlers often sneak in... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291154)

Also note that "not for profit" doesn't mean that the people who work there cannot make mad cash in personal compensation...

Re:Nonsense peddlers often sneak in... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291548)

Ok, explain to us why you think this is NOT harmless. It's not like they are saying that HIV doesn't cause AIDS and telling infected people to donate.

Re:Nonsense peddlers often sneak in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292522)

The thin edge of the wedge with this sort of thing is its popularity with the public at large. I'm sure the logic at CRU was (unless the staff are themselves woo peddlers) "Well, yeah, it's pop-nonsense; but if it will draw attention, we'll get more supporters and money, and we really need all of those we can get." That can be a compelling argument, and the compromise can seem so harmless at the time.

You also see this sort of thing happen when otherwise respectable universities will get endowed institutes in nonsenseology because some big donor has $200 million; but also believes that cow farts cause global warming.

Re:Nonsense peddlers often sneak in... (4, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292796)

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. It clearly states that "The What's Your Type? program is a recruitment program with information provided for the participants' enjoyment" (emphasis added). It's just a silly recruitment program, and it blatantly says so. They're not claiming that there is any science behind it. This is not the science-oriented people in CBS backing this, it's the PR-oriented people.

There is no conspiracy here to to drive a wedge of Japanese pseudoscience into an otherwise scientific organization. This is a bit of silliness to get people interested in donating blood.

Seriously people. Relax. Loosen your tinfoil hats. "They" are not conspiring to take your precious science away.

Barking up the wrong tree (3, Informative)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291156)

After looking through the site, it's pretty clearly just a marketing ploy to engage with people who believe it to be true.

It even says right up front: 'The What's Your Type? program is a recruitment program with information provided for the participants' enjoyment. You should seek medical supervision for all matters regarding your health.'

I don't care if you believe in pseudo-science, if I need a transfusion and you're a blood match as long as it's clean _Go team blood-donor!_

Re:Barking up the wrong tree (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291196)

But, but, what if I end up getting a blood transfusion from a donor whose blood predisposes them to believe in blood-based pseudoscience? What then?

Re:Barking up the wrong tree (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292654)

Just hope you don't get too many stem cells from them that survive in your body.

A few might lodge in your brain[1] (or your stomach "brain"[2] - which might change some of your dietary preferences[3]).

[1] If fetal stem cells can end up in their mother's brains, why not other transplanted stem cells?
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18725134.300-baby-comes-with-brain-repair-kit-for-mum.html [newscientist.com]

[2] See "Enteric Nervous System"
[3] See: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k51335l4k4676577/ [springerlink.com]
That's somewhat anecdotal but I won't be surprised if your organs and other parts have some say on what you feel like eating (it'll be an evolutionary advantage if done "right").

Re:Barking up the wrong tree (2, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291442)

After looking through the site, it's pretty clearly just a marketing ploy to engage with people who believe it to be true.

It's not even that. It's a way to break the ice with people who would be bored to tears with "facts" about blood. It's meant for fun, not education, other than educating people that giving blood is a good thing.

It's not the Canadian Blood Service's job to teach every person on the planet every fact about blood nor are they required to UNteach every superstition.

As for the "skeptics", they need to get a life or borrow a sense of humor. And get some honesty . The disclaimer they say you'll miss if you blink was quite visible to this reader, even while blinking.

It's a shame that organizations who claim to have such high purposes waste their time and image by ranting about such stupid meaningless things.

Re:Barking up the wrong tree (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292310)

They also mostly steer clear of the dangerous stuff. The personality types are basically a horoscope and all they do is suggest two of the types might benefit from a "healthy diet" (no duh), the third might enjoy vegetarianism, and the fourth might be a meat eater.

It's stupid, but not like the summary suggests.

It breaks down as follows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291256)

Type A: Asshole

Type B: Bitch/Bastard

Type AB: Asshole and a Bastard

Type O: Okay

Re:It breaks down as follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291612)

Type O: Oblivious of how big an Asshole/Bitch they are

There, fixed that for you

Re:It breaks down as follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291824)

Type Orangutan.

Re:It breaks down as follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30293048)

No no no.

Type B: Dicks

Type O: Pussies

Type A: Assholes

Type AB: Dickassholes

Odd name for the group (5, Funny)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291258)

The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the Nation's capital

If they're based in Toronto, why are they called the Ottawa Skeptics?

/Go Boomer!

Re:Odd name for the group (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291310)

Skeptical of the actual location of the capital?

Re:Odd name for the group (2, Informative)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291360)

You've obviously never lived in Toronto. They think they're not only the centre of the universe, but that "Canada" and "Toronto" are the same thing.

Those who have actually passed (the local version of) geography assume that because "Ottawa" is in "Canada" that it must be a suburb of Toronto.

Don't knock Toronto (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291706)

It's been great for National Unity - some of us can remember life before Toronto replaced Brian (Bullwinkle) Mulroney as the one thing the rest of the country can hate (who had replaced "and God Damn the CPR!") [google.com].

Re:Odd name for the group (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292460)

Mod parent up - he's totally right on this one. I know a guy from Toronto who's lived in a rural town West of Ottawa for almost (over?) two years now, and he still won't shut up about how Toronto is better in almost every way. (For those wondering why he even moved, it's because his wife's parents are out there.)

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:Odd name for the group (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291798)

If they're based in Toronto, why are they called the Ottawa Skeptics?

Maybe they moved and couldn't decide on a new name. Or maybe they had a membership drive in Toronto one year.

Re:Odd name for the group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292114)

The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the Nation's capital

If they're based in Toronto, why are they called the Ottawa Skeptics? /Go Boomer!

WTF?
 
Ottawa is Canada's capital... Toronto is the capital of Ontario.

Re:Odd name for the group (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292482)

The joke is that most Torontonians (and a lot of foreigners) treat Toronto like it's the capital of Canada, not just Ontario. (In fairness to them, were a new capital to be chosen today, Ottawa probably wouldn't even make the shortlist, but that's not the point.)

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:Odd name for the group (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292806)

Ottawa was chosen precisely because it isn't Toronto. Or Montréal. Either of those were the two "obvious" choices in the 19th century. Both were the largest cities of their respective provinces, the largest cities in Canada at the time, and Canada consisted of only Ontario and Quebec (Upper and Lower Canada). But choosing one or the other would have been too controversial for anglophone or francophone Canadians. The choice of Ottawa was actually a pretty wise one for a variety of reasons [wikipedia.org], because it sits right on the border of the two and is further from the U.S. border.

Of course, at the time it was a hick logging town in the middle of fricking nowhere, but it probably was better than the other options. You're possibly right that were a new capital to be chosen today, it might not be Ottawa (e.g., being further from the U.S. border isn't an issue anymore), but I suspect it would still end up being close to the Ontario/Quebec border somewhere, and there aren't that many options.

Re:Odd name for the group (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292762)

If they're based in Toronto, why are they called the Ottawa Skeptics?

Everyone knows that Toronto thinks they're the center of the universe.

Who cares? (1, Interesting)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291268)

It isn't doing any harm by being there, whether it is true or not.
This isn't like teaching creationism in biology, which directly conflicts with something of greater scientific worth. The only thing this conflicts with is the view that it is wrong.

Re:Who cares? (2, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291354)

OK...well if this does no harm in perpetuating stereotypes about blood typing and behavior, you know something the Nazis liked to spout, then how the hell does creationism in school hurt anyone?

Whats the difference in saying A+ people are more likely to be mass murderers and saying Jesus rode a Dinosaur when he salted Carthage?

Re:Who cares? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292022)

I don't think your comment should have been modded down as flamebait; it is a reasonable question. However, it has a simple answer: Like most pseudosciences, this has directly harmful results. In some countries where this belief is common (especially Japan) people will not go on dates with people if they have the wrong bloodtype. Or people will not hire someone with the wrong bloodtype for a job. Thus, economic productivity and general happiness are being directly impacted. Additionally, this is unfair to the people who have personalities that are generally considered to be bad under the system. In that regard, this isn't substantially different than standard racist beliefs (fill in some comparison to Jews, blacks, or some other group here).

Re:Who cares? (2, Interesting)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292486)

I see your point, and I would agree with you if the website described any of the blood types in an undesirable manner, but from what I have seen the website makes a few positive affirmations (along the lines of "you are independent"), suggests a diet (not sure how that one works, I will leave it to someone else to comment on), and then state where and when the blood type is thought to have emerged.

It may be pseudoscience but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291280)

Is it justified if it saves lives? The vast majority of people don't donate blood because they can't be bothered to. If there can be a successful "social" motivation to donate blood (such as emphasize the alleged importance of blood type in social relationships), and the result is more blood donated and more lives saved, is it justified? Lies or not lies, to me it seems like a much better alternative than a mandatory blood "donation" quota that many countries have.

Re:It may be pseudoscience but... (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291632)

Is it justified if it saves lives?

No, because in the long run, promoting ignorance will cost lives.

Re:It may be pseudoscience but... (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292618)

Not that I'm defending CBS' promotion (even in fun) of the "blood type determines personality" theory - it's crap and I think putting it on their site is a mistake - but I think your statement that "promoting ignorance will cost lives" doesn't hold up (feel free to demonstrate that I'm wrong). For instance, if I were to suddenly become convinced that blood type does in fact determine or influence personality, and went through the rest of my life believing so, it is highly unlikely that said belief would cost my life or anyone else's, or even have an material impact on my quality of life (or anyone else's).

It's not like, say, promoting ignorance regarding birth control (for example, the belief that you can't get pregnant the first time, or in some positions) or HIV (for example, the belief helf in some parts of Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS). Those beliefs, if promoted, will have substantial negative impact on lives, and will cost lives in some cases. But believe in blood type personality theory? I don't buy it. Sure, it's ignorance, but it's not particularly harmful ignorance. It just makes people who believe it look foolish to people who don't.

I lived in Japan for 8 years and never heard of anyone losing her/his life because of belief that ketsueki-gata (which just means "blood type" and does not refer to the belief that blood type determines personality) may determine or affect personality.

There are more important issues to complain about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291306)

Gays and anyone who visits Africa cannot give blood. This is far more serious.

Re:There are more important issues to complain abo (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291380)

I can't give blood, had blood cancer, and the restriction isn't about visiting Africa...

"You may not donate if you received a blood transfusion in certain countries in Africa since 1977. This requirement is related to concerns about rare strains of HIV that are not consistently detected by all current test methods"

Re:There are more important issues to complain abo (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291412)

Gays and anyone who visits Africa cannot give blood. This is far more serious.

What's wrong with that, at least the Africa bit? In fact, I believe it's if you've visited any place prone to malaria within 12 months, not just Africa. Obviously, they're trying to keep malaria and HIV out of the bloodstream, so they're eliminating anyone who's in a high-risk group for having contact with those pathogens. Why is that a problem? Testing all blood is also important, but tests can fail sometimes, and eliminating high-risk people is a good insurance policy.

Hopefully, this will all be moot soon when artificial blood is commonly available. As a person with O negative blood, I think that time can't come soon enough. (Even though I'm the universal donor, I can only receive O negative blood. Since O- is commonly used every time they're not sure about a recipient's blood type, and also because O- is fairly rare (~5% of the population), this means that there's a perpetual shortage of O-, which is bad if it's all you can have. Until artificial blood is available, or they at least come up with some way of stripping off the extra proteins and turning other blood types into O-, I hope I never need an emergency transfusion.)

Re:There are more important issues to complain abo (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291796)

what about anybody that spent more than 5 years in Europe cannot donate blood ever period? or if you have spent more than 6 months in France or the UK between 1980 and 1996, or if you were ever treated with blood products made in Europe at any time since 1980?

I think the vCJD policy is way, way, way excessive and basically making any European immigrant ineligible to donate blood is extremely shortsighted, also considering how far out of the way CBC goes with advertising and campaigns to get people to donate blood.

...or being British (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30293064)

More surprising is that being British (and no, that is NOT synonymous with gay) means that you can't give blood in Canada. Apparently we are all contaminated with mad cow disease. I've tried explaining the the British government has been that way since well before BSE existed but CBS just aren't interested.

America has a governmental version! (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291320)

NCCAM [nih.gov] started as a promise to put "complimentary and alternative medicine" (CAM) to scientific scrutiny, with politically predictable results [csicop.org].

As much as I love science (and how!), I'm ambivalent about even the idea of NCCAM. Testing herbal remedies... I don't know, maybe we'll find something great. But testing things like homeopathy, which even NCCAM admits "a number of its key concepts are not consistent with the current understanding of science, particularly chemistry and physics," is just a waste of resources.

Re:America has a governmental version! (0, Redundant)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291534)

There's a reason it's called "alternative medicine": it doesn't work. Because if it works, you know what they call it? Medicine.

Re:America has a governmental version! (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291820)

Eh... there are some legitimate herbal, non-mainstream medicines which are reasonably effective (yet which I assume most people would call alternative medicine). You could drink willowbark tea for your headache or smoke pot to alleviate symptoms of chemo for instance. The active ingredients -- salycilic acid and THC, respectively -- certainly have the desired effects.

Re:America has a governmental version! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291932)

Or, when it isn't then it is like:

full-spectrum lighting for SAD
zinc lozenges for emerging URIs
a multi-vitamin (the same thing the AMA said gave you "expensive urine" in 1996 is a "good idea" in 2007 from the same folks)
capsaicin for pain
stress-relief practices (yoga, meditation, mindfulness) for BP, immune competence
etc.

or it is, then it isn't, then it is again like:

leeches
maggots
spinal manipulation
dietary intervention
etc.

 

Re:America has a governmental version! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291542)

How about testing remedies that hold promise, but are not patentable. To me this is something government should step in and do. For example, you can read on the NIH.gov website how "elderberry extract" is effective against the flu virus, but only because some limited European double-blind studies have been done and proved its effectiveness, and really it hasn't been tested for safety in children (even though they sell a "for children" version of this medicine. Also, we don't know how it compares with the much more expensive (and patented) "Tamiflu" product, which the government has stockpiled at who-knows-what expense.

Re:America has a governmental version! (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291834)

On this subject, I'm kind of interested in the use of bacteriophage viruses instead of antibiotics (a direction pursued in Russia before penicillin was available there).

Re:America has a governmental version! (2, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292662)

Bacteriophage treatments would be effective, no doubt. But the problem is bacteria have much greater genetic variability than eukaryotic organisms we're used to thinking of. Bacteriophage treatments, to be effective, usually have to be tailored specifically to each patient individually, which is an expensive and time-consuming task. The nice thing about most pharmaceuticals (as opposed to phages) is that once your drug has been invented, generally producing more of the drug is dirt cheap.

Street Fighter (1)

Demize (55201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291322)

I always wondered why they listed the blood type for the characters in Street Fighter. Now I know. Thanks Slashdot!

Re:Street Fighter (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291352)

I always wondered why they listed the blood type for the characters in Street Fighter. Now I know. Thanks Slashdot!

You mean thanks Canadian Blood Services.

Re:Street Fighter (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291372)

I always wondered why they listed the blood type for the characters in Street Fighter. Now I know. Thanks Slashdot!

Nice. But maybe that really is why it's listed in the game...

Re:Street Fighter (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292488)

As far as I can tell, that's why it's listed in a lot of games that originate in Japan. More often than just it seems to be there just to give you a quick idea of the characters personality than anything else.

Why is this news? (4, Insightful)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291436)

This seems like a fairly harmless "just for fun" type thing. This is like ripping on someone for reading a fortune cookie.

Re:Why is this news? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292288)

Yeah, seriously. It even says so clearly on the page:

"The What's Your Type? program is a recruitment program with information provided for the participants' enjoyment. You should seek medical supervision for all matters regarding your health."

Gogo stupidity in idle?

Another form of pseudoscience (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291654)

There's another form of pseudo-science that is more rampant in the clinical world -- genetic testing. Or, more specifically, carrying out genetic tests for things that only contribute a small fraction (say 2%) of the total variation, and making it out that it's closer to 100%:

"Oh, you have type O blood, that means you're at risk for cardiovascular disease."

Donor restrictions (1)

alannon (54117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291696)

Canadian Blood Services has already proven themselves to be an organization that makes decisions according to myth and rumor rather than fact. Despite a large amount of controversy (and a grilling of one of the organization's leaders on CBC radio) CBS not only refuses to take donations by homosexual or bisexual men (despite the fact that every unit of blood that is donated is tested) who have been sexually active since I believe the late 70s, but refuses to take donations from women who have been sexually active with a bisexual man within the last several years. This is despite the fact that there has never been any statistical evidence that women in this group have any higher risk than the general population of an HIV infection.

Re:Donor restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291728)

I will drink to that, Mr AlAnnon !
    -- the comicjk cocaine troll

Re:Donor restrictions (4, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292714)

You may not remember this, but back in the 90s blood services in Canada were run by the Canadian red cross. They infected tens of thousands of people with HIV and Hepatitis, due to improper handling and care. CBS was created in response to this scandal, so unsurprisingly they have always been enormously risk-averse when it comes to infectious disease. I, for example, am not allowed to donate blood because of time I spent in the UK- they're afraid I may be a mad cow. It seems a bit silly, but I understand the reason. Not everything is bigotry.

Re:Donor restrictions (1)

yorktown (947019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30293092)

Despite a large amount of controversy CBS not only refuses to take donations by homosexual or bisexual men (despite the fact that every unit of blood that is donated is tested)

There is a window period [sfaf.org] where a person will test negative to HIV yet still be infectious. Thus testing alone is not enough to keep HIV tainted blood from the blood supply.

Type AB (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291760)

When I worked in Japan 20 years ago, I read an article that Sony had established a research center staffed only by people with type AB blood.
"Isn't that ridiculous," I snorted to my high-tech colleagues.
"Sure is," replied one. "Who would want to work in such a group?"

quick silence these heretics!!! (3, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30291870)

Can someone remind me why ANYONE needs to do something about a private non-profit expressing views that haven't been vetted via the scientific method?

Disclaimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30291950)

Right on the page: "The What's Your Type? program is a recruitment program with information provided for the participants' enjoyment. You should seek medical supervision for all matters regarding your health."

Give them a break. This is no different than someone telling you how your day is going to play out based on the time of the year you were born. If people want to eat differently or act differently based on the fact that they fall into one of a few large groups, they can go right ahead.

Japanese Science and Pseudo (1, Troll)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292150)

I've run across several things from Japan that are either science not supported elsewhere or pseudo-science, depending on -- well, on which you believe.

There's 10 times more schizophrenia in the US than Japan. Environment? Cultural? No, books. The diagnostic criteria used in Japan is far more stringent, with 90% of what we'd call schizophrenia being called something else by them. How do you tell who's right? Either by where you're standing, or by knowing a lot more about schizophrenia than anyone else on the planet, because both are based on correct but incomplete science, thus conflicting results.

In EEG research Japanese studies often include analysis of 'midline frontal theta', and hardly anyone other than them ever does. It's there, but western research only notes the existence. Japanese science claims it correlates to personality and clinical diagnoses. There are other constructs they include in studies that are otherwise complete and correct in western terms, most of them also relate to the same personality construct.

Here's where culture shoulders in. The clinical construct so often studied in Japanese science is that of 'extroversion'. In western science that's one end of a range, the other being introversion. In western culture the latter is more often a social problem, being related to shyness and to that ubiquitous fear, speaking in public. If anything, extroversion is preferred here. In Japan, where the culture of conformity can be described with the phrase "the nail that stands out gets pounded down", introversion is closer to successful cultural adaptation than its opposite.

Related, when researchers started looking at the perceptual crossover effect called synesthesia, they were amazed to find that it did not exist in Japan. When neurological evidence was found explaining its nature, they started to wonder why Japanese did not have this unusual wiring. When they went to study it experimentally, they included a test to check for non-conscious manifestations of synesthesia. Lo and behold, the Japanese have this just as often as everyone else. But they deny it and claim nothing unusual happens. Far be it from the Japanese to go around admitting to being different.

I personally have a beef with the construct 'personality' and how it's studied. But the research constantly shows something there, and biochemical testing does support some of it. In our tobacco and Parkinson's studies we examined monoamine oxidase activation in the mitochondria of platelets. That's the stuff that deactivates dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin and a few other neurotransmitters prior to recycling. Differenes in MAO activation mean differences in the amount of those chemicals, and so a difference in brain operation. Now this is nuts and bolts stuff I can wrap my pragmatic methodologist's head around. Hell yes there's scientific backing. NIH's National Library of Medicine database PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez [nih.gov] shows about 150 if you simply search for "blood mao personality". With other search terms related to blood or its components, and personality one can probably get a good idea that personality is based in the physical body, and can sometimes be detected in blood.

But ABO typing related to personality? Preposterous. So don't go to PubMed, don't put the three words "blood type personality" into the search term bar, and don't look through over 1,000 results, 75 of which are reviews covering up to decades of research and 175 having free full text available should one want to not read any of the actual work done. That's what today's "skeptic" does. Rather than researching claims to see if there's support, they simply criticize, often using derogatory language. It is not skepticism to assume one is correct and someone else wrong. That's pre-judging, the latin term often used being a direct translation of that: prejudice. There's safety in ignorance -- it makes one correct, and skeptics seem to need to be correct very badly. And that's very often how they do it. Now, anyone looking would see that many of the results happen to fit the search criteria, but not the subject under scrutiny here. But some do. The point I'm making is "somebody looking", as opposed to not looking and armed with nothing spewing out claims of correct vs. incorrect, often getting away with it, but when it comes down to no support at all vs. some valid results that actually support it, occasionally hitting the speed bump of real data but failing to slow down and notice.

The publicity and/or money seeking, self-appointed guardians of scientific thought focus their attention on pseudo-science. They do not very often focus their attention on science, with many adherents being unable to actually evaluate it as it is presented to professionals. Sometimes a scientist becomes a "skeptic" and despite having the education and experience is the field, act in much the same way, simply assuming their target it wrong without proving anything. Even more scientists engage in research on subjects less than fully accepted. That happens to describe all of science prior to the accumulation of sufficient evidence. Many times they either come from, or ally themselves with someone from, a little past the edge. The true scientist (being the true skeptic) will consider those things and the construction of the study and see if the results (null or otherwise) make sense. I can think of no instance of scientists allying themselves with "skeptics" in order to provide a source or a means of analysis. For those of us who consider science in the full range from such as the philosophy behind accepting things as "laws" to the data from experiments that "prove" the "law" in question, I have to say we can do our job for an entire career without taking in anything from the "skeptics", except perhaps as entertainment. I'm not sure who they think they are working on behalf of, but it's not us. Same for science. It would be exactly as it is if there were no "skeptics" around, because it doesn't care what people think or don't think.

If I want a useful critique of some music, I'll read what a musician says. If I want a critique of science or something studied using science, I'll read what a scientist has to say. I have no patience for things produced by people who believe things, like science needs their defense, like their deadly rhetoric actually squashes opponents, and like doing what they do makes them buddies with scientists. Maybe with a few of them, but there's more that dislike the "skeptics" approach, and then there's the vast majority who prove the point that skeptics are not useful to science by doing a fine job doing it while remaining ignorant (purposeful or not) of "skeptics" and the supposed help they think they're giving us.

I reckon I could read more of their skeptics' newsletter, but I'm not going to get anything out of it, whereas I have other things I'm interested in for which I can get information produced by science. The skeptics don't produce any results except paper studies an the like, on their own efficacy, so are of no use to me. And when they're as wrong as the guy in TFA, they waste far too much of my time by being such boneheads that I have to drag out the data and results tp prove them wrong, then explain why they're wrong before the first datum gets got. Like now. They've gotten too much tonight, so no more.

It's not Pseudoscience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292258)

Assuming we are all using the same definition of pseudoscience:

Pseudoscience is a methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific, or that is made to appear to be scientific, but which does not adhere to an appropriate scientific methodology (Wikipedia)

Nowhere on that website does it claim that ketsueki-gata is scientific, neither does it make it out to be scientific.

You might as well call interior decoration pseudoscience because your decorator said 'this room would look best in green'

Perhaps the national symphony orchestra are practicing pseudoscience because they don't adhere to appropriate scientific methodology

Pseudoscience is the new heresy, people use it to discredit people and interpret it as they see fit. Please don't abuse the language.

What's new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30292432)

"The not-for-profit agency, EPA, has a section of their website based on the Environmentalist cultural belief of Global Warming which claims that a person's carbon footprint determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed "science-based" organization. The AGW Deniers, based in the Nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

How is this any different???

Is handwriting analysis also bunk? (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292446)

I don't know much about this blood type thing, but a cursory look suggests that the foundation holds some logic.

The blood types, like any difference owed to evolutionary forces, have roots which can be traced with relative ease across anthropological history.

For instance, type O's owe their genetic origins to hunter-gatherers; they thrive on foods available to such cultures, i.e., red meat and complex animal fats whereas they are not primed for efficient digestion and use of grains and similar plant materials. I know this from direct experience; I lived in a vegetarian household and gave up meat for the years that I was there. I turned into a pasty zombie and had head-aches all the time. Whereas one of the other guys living in the same place somehow managed, on essentially the same diet, to maintain a robust and healthy body. When I moved out and started eating meat again, literally within a couple of days, suddenly had color in my face again and felt strength flow back through me. It was like I'd woken up. Out of interest, we compared blood types, and sure enough, his was one of those which thrives on grains and plants and doesn't do well at all with meats. I turned out to be a type-O, and so the opposite is true for me in terms of diet. In any case, this isn't contested science.

Now how might this affect personality. . ?

Well, sheesh, I'm no anthropologist but I can certainly follow the logic wherein evolutionary genetics would favor those individuals who are successful on the hunt and filter out those characteristics which make for unsuccessful hunters of red meat. Further, brain chemistry and hormone balances are a huge part of the whole human equation, much of which is controlled through genetics. --And as brain chemistry and hormone balances make a huge impact upon behavior, I can easily see how generalized behavior patterns across populations might group with differing blood type on a Venn diagram.

I'm not saying that I know this for certain; I'd have to study it more closely to get a better idea, but the logic appears reasonable on the surface, and my own personality lines up with the claims. So based on this, my reaction is not that of the post author who without any examples lays down accusations of pseudo-science and calls for "Something" to be done about it. Sounds like a spooky bit of witch-hunting to me.

Now I can see how pop culture can take an idea like blood-type personality reading and spin it out of control into ridiculous places, but all in all, there is a lot more logic based on accepted science here than one can find with Astrology for instance, and yet the knee-jerk sceptics are reacting as though they've been stung. --Now THAT reaction is something I find worthy of investigation. What is it that the sceptics are so afraid of here that they are willing to act before thinking whilst supposedly championing the tenants of science?

There needs to be a word for "sceptics" of that nature. Personally, I like the fact that the word can be spelled in two ways; with a "C" and with a "K". --And that "Sceptic" when pronounced with a soft "c" refers to sewage. But for some reason people look uncomfortable when I bring that up. Probably in the same way those emu glance across the veldt at the lions. (Sorry. Couldn't resist. ;-)

-FL

Re:Is handwriting analysis also bunk? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292620)

And that "Sceptic" when pronounced with a soft "c" refers to sewage. But for some reason people look uncomfortable when I bring that up.

People look uncomfortable because *you're* full of shit. Sceptic means exactly the same as skeptic. Septic is the spelling that refers to a tank for holding sewage.

Re:Is handwriting analysis also bunk? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292972)

An emu glancing at lions??? Only in some sort of weird wildlife park, last time I checked we didn't have any lions roaming around Australia... a dingo maybe, but the emu is just worried that it's going to take his baby :)

For recruitment and entertainment purposes only (3, Informative)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292592)

The Canadian Blood Services "What's Your Type" page (linked in the summary) says (emphasis mine):

The What's Your Type? program is a recruitment program with information provided for the participants' enjoyment. You should seek medical supervision for all matters regarding your health.

No matter which blood type you select, it gives you a few tidbits of bullshit about what your personality and preferred diet might be, then a few tidbits of bullshit about what careers you might do well at. Then it tells you that no matter what your type is, it is important to donate blood, how you can donate, etc.

So I don't think this is an example of Canadian Blood Services promoting or believing this pseudo-science. I don't have a problem with them having a "fun" online activity like this, if it encourages more people to give blood. However, I would prefer if it more explicitly said on the first page that these are beliefs from the Japanese culture, and state that they have no basis in science, but that they can be fun and interesting to read about.

Scary moment (1)

desertfoxmb (1122201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30292920)

Did anyone else read that as "Canadian Blood Sausages Promote Pseudo-science"? I was staggered. I mean, first it was global warming (ClimateGate) and now meat products (GrinderGate)? My worldview was devastated for a moment.
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