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How To Lose a Friend On Facebook In 3 Easy Steps

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How To Lose a Friend On Facebook In 3 Easy Steps

So we all have that flaky friend on Facebook. I have several. Probably you do, too. I have one in particular, who posts all kinds of crazy things. Some of it amounts to newage (actually a lot of it), and some of it is stuff that a single google search will take care of. I ignore a lot of the first kind of post, because there’s probably nothing I can do other than roll my eyes, and because I have indications that she’s had a rough time at various points in her life and she can take solace wherever she likes. I’d prefer she take solace in the people around her instead of conspiracy theories and so called spiritualism, but some changes are harder to make.

It’s the second thing that I find easier to deal with, and while I let a lot of it go by, I do google something for a lot of them and post an article or two to point out what’s really available.

Sunday, things took a more dramatic turn, when she posted this:

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The usual, as far as I could tell. An article about how eating cannabis extract oil (hash oil) cures not just Cancer, but Arthritis, Crohn’s, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s, among other things. The author contends that “There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of scientific studies showing that cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as whole plant formulations, are effective against nearly any disease you can think of.” He offers a place to click for that “incredibly extensive list” but there’s no hyperlink. I do wonder if he’s referring to the large amount of science done backing up marijuana as a pain management medicine, but that’s something entirely different from a cure for anything.

Read the article a little further, you’ll find out he’s apparently been giving it away to people for years with incredible results, there’s a conspiracy to keep people from finding out about how awesome it is, and he’s produced his own documentary to explain the benefits and the conspiracy.

After a little reading at a few more reliable sources, I picked my favourite, a quick article from the Canadian Cancer Society that addresses the curing cancer claim. It boils down to how there’s no reliable evidence that cannabis/hemp/hash oil can treat/cure cancer, but that some cannabis extracts and synthetic THC are effective and licensed for pain management and relief of nausea from cancer treatments. They have a separate page on medical use of marijuana, still talking about pain/symptom management, not a cure.

So I posted this:

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Now, I’ve since gone back and read a lot more on the subject and the article’s author, and in a variety of places, and there doesn’t seem to be a direct indication that he’s selling it, so I’m fine with being wrong about that.

So, business as usual, as far as I was concerned, and expecting that my raised eyebrow would come through with her as it always has before. And yet…

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Um, wow. We went from lmfao to finding out I’ve lost my heart and soul in under a minute. “You people”… and other less veiled insults. Not good. Try to get back on track:

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Okay, so I should have specified which ‘your’ I wanted to correct, and maybe it was the wrong time for the grammar nerd to be raising his head, but I was looking for ways to bring her up short and didn’t manage to stop myself. I could have gone back and edited, but chose not to.

Still, there were a lot of exclamation marks in place of the missing question mark, so I picked blunt for my response.

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I’ve made this point with her before, usually in a more joking manner, but it seemed like she was deliberately trying to goad me here. Maybe, I thought, it was time to put the card actually on the table.

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Or maybe not.

I haven’t yet denied that weed might help people. As I’ve said, there’s a lot of science that indicates it assists with pain and nausea management. Cure? Not so much. The winky face gave me pause with last comment, at odds with the rest of the string. Let’s lay out another card or two to completely express my real argument.

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Typo for me! But it’s not “tonne”—that’s the Canadian spelling.

Am I being unreasonable in my expectations? Evolution has given us some pretty good tools for the most part. Why sacrifice them because we want to believe something? Shouldn’t we figure out if it’s real or not?

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No, I’m not. But apparently I’ve derailed the argument. At this point, I’m a little bewildered, wondering how I got sucked into an argument that wasn’t. Where did I go wrong? Probably in responding in the first place.

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And another typo. What I get for trying to get the words out quickly on a touch screen, I suppose.

But the response this time was silence. I didn’t know if I’d actually made her angry enough to walk away from the computer or it was dinner time at the house on the other end of the “conversation”. As far as I can tell, she wasn’t even on Facebook for the rest of the day.

The silence continued until late yesterday afternoon after I finished the draft of this post. An apology along the lines of “I wasn’t being serious and you couldn’t hear me laughing. Hope I didn’t offend you.”

I’m not offended or upset—the first is difficult at a personal level, and the second I try to save for special occasions—though I think I did push things harder than I might have once or twice and that bothers me a bit. Maybe the thing is that it’s not actually my job to point this stuff out.

Except I feel it should be. In fact, I feel it should be everyone’s job. Like I said, evolution has given us some pretty awesome senses and quite a large number of brain cells. We owe it to ourselves, and to the people around us, to look at the world, and particularly the things in front of us, critically with the benefit of those. Blind acceptance of things just because we want them to be true doesn’t help anyone, least of all ourselves, and it’s worse when we decide other people should blindly accept those things too.

Be well, everyone.

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2 Comments

  • Andrew Billyard

    Lance, you’ve put yourself in a difficult position, but it was the right one. When someone makes a claim and asks friends/family/acquaintances to check out an article, they are in fact trying to educate those people, trying to bring to light something that they suspect that their companions are not aware of. For you to return the favour should have been equally acceptable. If not, then this person does not see you as an equal but as a subordinate in some way. Given the vitriol that you received, followed by “still love and respect you” and “you couldn’t hear me laughing. Hope I didn’t offend y” simply doesn’t ring true. I’d be leery of people with such manic responses.

    By the way, “tonne” is not the Canadian spelling, it is the spelling of the metric version of the imperial “ton” (that is, 1 ton = 2,000 pounds, 1 tonne [or “metric ton”, as many U.S. documents will write] = 1,000 kg).

    Finally, although I agree that our brain has evolved into a great analytic organ, the fact that critical thinking is something that is taught rather than innate tells you that it is still susceptible to being duped. Even critical thinkers are prone to this when not actively exercising their skepticism. The brain, as evolved as it is, still automatically looks for false positives over false negatives which is why there is still such a huge following of many pseudo-science fads out there.

    Keep up the healthy skepticism, but just don’t be surprised when it is met with such adverse reactions.

    • Lance

      Never surprised. Disappointed sometimes, but never surprised. And never worried about that kind of difficult position.

      There are different types of open minds, I’m learning, and I’m working at understanding the kind that catches all kinds of bizarre things, accepts them as truth without any evidence or backup, and then demands that the rest of us believe it as well. Haven’t done enough reading yet by any stretch, but I’m tentatively convinced that it’s learned behaviour as well, not a natural predisposition to believe whatever an authority figure, however nebulous, happens to spout.

      I wonder if false positive vs false negative is more of a pattern recognition thing, our seemingly innate ability/desire to see two data points as a trend or fact. The issue there becomes whether we’ve been taught to blindly accept or think for ourselves.

      Tonne vs ton. Agreed. Guilty of oversimplification, me. Caught up in the moment, perhaps? Or a moment of laziness on my part because I don’t generally shy away from tangents. Curious.

      Thanks for taking the time. Been a while.

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