Art Kunkin's blog: "Prevent Your Brain From Turning Into Stone By Using Apple Cider Vinegar"

I like Art Kunkin, the octogenarian founder of the 1960s underground paper, the LA Free Press, and I like the title of his recent blog entry even more: "Prevent Your Brain From Turning Into Stone By Using Apple Cider Vinegar."

Here's more abut Kunkin: a profile from Fortean Times reveals that he eats an apple or pear every week that has been sitting in a jar of uranium ore. He says:

“It’s a very simple procedure. I have a jug full of Pitchblende rocks and I put a pear or apple in. I’ve been eating a piece of this fruit every week for nearly a year now, taking a risk at this point because I really don’t know how strong the radioactivity is. The latest theory of aging has to do with mitochondria, saying that while they are the source of life and energy for the body, they also kill each other off in the process of producing the ATP. What I am assuming is that the radiation is affecting the mitochondria inside the still living apples or pears that are in my jug, helping those mitochondria to be healthy and reproductive . Then when I eat this fruit, I am absorbing healthy mitochondria that transmit their energy to my mitochondria, a process of adding life energy to my body from the inside out. This is an energetic process far different from that of simply replacing depleted chemicals in our body by eating food or vitamins or using medicinal hormones. I explain in my book the exact safe methods by which I handle this otherwise dangerous radiation."
artkunkin.com - The Immortality Blog

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  1. A friend of mine who lived to be 100 (Grim Natwick, the artist who created Betty Boop) drank pickle juice right out of the jar and said it was the secret to his long life.

  2. It’s a good thing that genetics is the new bogeyman. If it were 1950, we’d be facing down a giant, radioactive worm in short order.

  3. I explain in my book the exact safe methods by which I handle this otherwise dangerous radiation.

    Yes, yes, I’m sure he does “explain”. I expect it involves an “energetic process” which “transmits” the “otherwise dangerous radiation” to some innocuous place. Or something. Maybe chi is involved.

  4. This is bogus science. “workshops of 4 days or less that often concluded in a truly unusual psychic experience, a surprisingly accurate medical intuitive diagnosis of a total stranger many miles away.”

    These people lie. These claims have never been proven in a scientific manner.

    http://www.randi.org/

  5. I’m 127 and my secret to a long healthy life is baby toes and raw onion. I don’t eat them, rather I absorb their nutrients and spiritual essence rectally. Take it from me, an unqualified stranger.

  6. Radiation woo is old school. The Revigorator was a classic.

    “Radithor” was the bottled version. Its brief spell of popularity was ended by a WSJ article punchily entitled “The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off”

    As for the “absorbing life energy”, the persistence of vitalism in the face of all evidence is practically enough to make one believe in spontaneous generation…

    1. … the persistence of vitalism in the face of all evidence is practically enough to make one believe in spontaneous generation…

      You make it sound as if spontaneous generation “just happens” — when in fact “spontaneous” generation has to really, really want to happen. I mean really want, even more than Uri Geller wants to bend that spoon.

  7. My Grandfather ( Moms side ) Live to be 101.. Smoking 2 packs of Lucky Strike Cigarettes a-day for at least 50+ Years. Passed away, in his sleep after a day of working in his garden.
    Tho.. I Doubt his smoking was his key to long life. Some folks are just lucky.
    ;)

  8. Of those people who didn’t die outright, or within a few months from radiation sickness, the residents of Hiroshima had an average life expectancy that was significantly longer than the Japanese average. This does not imply it is a good idea to walk face first into an atom bomb blast.

    Radiation damage is a quantum phenomenon and quantum phenomena are fundamentally random. This means there are always a few anomalies way out out the tail of the normal distribution. Some of them even invent crackpot explanations for their randomness. If you follow their advice, you are personally unlikely to find your destiny on the statistical tail.

  9. “I am absorbing healthy mitochondria that transmit their energy to my mitochondria”

    I have serious doubts that any mitochondria, healthy or sickly, would survive a trip through the stomach. That’s even assuming there is a way to absorb them into the bloodstream, deliver them to cells, and incorporate them.

    And regarding the article, while there are conditions where excess calcium intake can cause calcium deposits; calcification is a feature of atherosclerosis; and there are conditions (medial calcific sclerosis) of which the exact cause is unknown and which involve calcific deposits correlated with advancing age, diabetes and chronic renal disease, I think exercise and a lowered cholesterol intake would be much more effective ways to avoid those problems.

    1. I have serious doubts that any mitochondria, healthy or sickly, would survive a trip through the stomach.

      Don’t tell him that, next thing you know he’ll start mainlining radioactive applesauce!

  10. “Of those people who didn’t die outright, or within a few months from radiation sickness, the residents of Hiroshima had an average life expectancy that was significantly longer than the Japanese average.”

    I have two great grandfathers that came over from Cork and served as riflemen for the North during the Civil War. Both men survived the crucible of war, hunger and disease and both lived to be over 100 years old. Their secret? Good genes.

  11. “Art Kunkin” was actually one of Walter Bishop’s lesser-known aliases, before his commitment to St. Claire’s.

  12. I unfortunately cannot find an online source, but when I was doing summer research for a dark matter team I had to do some research on Radon gas. One of the books I read had a chapter on Radon daughters and quackery such as the revigorator mentioned above. It also mentioned radioactive personal lubricants that were apparently in use until the mid to late forties. I guess it’s probably no worse for you than drinking the water, but definitely more amusing.

  13. What a nut case. Either he’s digesting the mitochondria like everyone else, or he is (everyday) performing every week, millions of times over (for every mitochondrion), an engulfment event that has occurred only a couple of times in the history of life on earth (leading to the evolution of mitochondria and plastids).

    It boils down to the fact that we are innately superstitious hyper-chimps that rarely use reason in our lives. What an idiot.

    1. “hyper-chimps”.. yes, i love it! animal freaks with cognitive wherewithal for no good reason. thank you for a new word. <3

  14. We’re assuming he’s honest — come on! If you lived a long time, wouldn’t you make up some crazy ritual to explain your long life, just to see if people believed you? I know I would.

    1. “We’re assuming he’s honest — come on! If you lived a long time, wouldn’t you make up some crazy ritual to explain your long life, just to see if people believed you? I know I would.”

      Actually, there very well could be a placebo effect due to him believing it’s helpful. Maybe he only needs a little protection, his good genes will take care of the rest.

  15. Science question from a codger: Why is my poop glowy green and humming?

    Also, is this perhaps passing radioactive substances/residue into the local sewage system? Reclaimed water is fairly common for industrial uses and landscaping operations ’round these parts, southern Florida.

  16. Wow. Talk about jawdropping stupidity. Well…enjoy your esophageal/stomach cancer, fella!

  17. Wasn’t there some evidence that slightly-elevated doses of radiation (such as the “safe dose” received by nuclear power plant workers and other similar professions) was actually slightly beneficial?

  18. Wow. This man really wants to die faster. The number one rule of working around pitchblend is not to injest it. Between the alpha, beta and gamma particles…

    Gamma passes through you so you want to have distance and reduced exposure time. Alpha and beta bounce off your skin, esp as distance increases. If you injest dust or respire dust that is radioactive, you’re letting the alpha and beta particles into your body, where they’ll likely cause some kind of cancer. Eating foods that have these particles on them is definately no good. Unless he’s isolating the food with a plastic barrier or something (at which point, he’s simply irradiating the food, which happens all the time) he’s safe.

    Definately quackery.

    I’ve spent quite some time around the stuff as a part of my job and the numnber one control to exposure is distance, time and injestion prevention.

  19. My grandfather used to smoke 5 packs a day. He lived to be 101 – he was run over by a bus! You couldn’t make it up.

  20. Repeat after me : Radiation is not contagious.

    Just putting fruit IN the ore will not cause the fruit to be radioactive – there is nothing radioactively decaying in it. The fruit will be sterile, and some of it’s genes may have taken damage, but it is NOT radioactive.

    He’s basically doing small-scale irradiation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irradiated

    That said, the guy is still a quack

  21. I can’t believe this kind of junk science is on BB in the first place. Promoting the ingestion of raw eggs is one thing, promoting the idea that ordinary water will turn you to stone is another. I suggest that any future articles about Art Kunkin refer to him as “the crackpot octogenarian..” to make sure that readers know that he is, indeed, half a bubble off plumb and should not be believed.

    1. Mentioning something and promoting something are two very different things. Most of the audience here is mature enough to make up their own minds about this without having the lunacy pointed out to them on every other line in the post.

      1. @Pantograph: The phrase “I like Art Kunkin” doesn’t sound like an endorsement to you?

        @mokey: I’ve got nothing against them, I just want them to be labeled for consumer protection. BTW try using the greater than and less than symbols rather than the brackets and I think your code will work better.

        1. Not to me. I like the writings of Francis E. Dec even though he was a creepy kook who was completely out to lunch and I don’t agree with any of his ideas.

          Just because you like something doesn’t mean you agree with it. For me, “apple cider vinegar” was the first giveaway that we were entering loony territory. (I’m sure it’s wonderful stuff, but I’m not convinced that it has any medicinal qualities that other forms of diluted acetic acid lack.)

  22. Of course it’s easy to just chuckle about the idiocy involved, or even wonder if it’s a spoof piece. Still, I’ve seen so much of this, and then I think about how many people in the world take their religions literally, and I realize what this is. It is what I would call “scientism.” It’s a new religion. It’s not scientific, but it uses scientistic language (“mitochondria,” “minerals,” “arteries,” “radiation”) but without regard for or knowledge of rational thinking. Thus, he could irrationally state that there are mitochondria in his drinking water that will get into his cells. How is that different than someone who truly believes water was turned to wine by a savior figure?

    The difficulty is that whereas one can temper one’s religious views by realizing the events and ideas described are figurative and allegorical, there isn’t the same shift in scientistic thinking. Real Science is itself quite figurative. It is a model of reality and at some level that underlying reality is always more complex than what our science understands of it. Science procedes on the basis of theory and hypothesis testing, on statistical measures and mathematical and visual representations of reality.

    Scientism, however, claims to be the literal truth. People who seek the literalistic religious view that scientism offers would also have trouble with the allegorical/metaphoric level of religion, even if they might also be interested in new-age religions, which can be just as literal as any of the old age ones. It reminds me of the creationists who argue that evolution is “just a theory.” It’s also present in many people who think they are defending science by refusing to look at new and interesting data and theories that conflict with older established theories (see Thomas Kuhn, Popper, and others for more on that).

    Anyways, that’s what I see at work in this kind of silliness. Some parts of his brain just aren’t being activated in the same way because he’s seeking a fundamentally different way to order his reality. We can promote change either by arguing on the details which doesn’t work well with literalists, or we can work to shift them away from the need for literal certainty. Not an easy task but better than just taking shots at all their nonsense, because they’ll just generate more.

    1. “Anyways, that’s what I see at work in this kind of silliness. Some parts of his brain just aren’t being activated in the same way because he’s seeking a fundamentally different way to order his reality. We can promote change either by arguing on the details which doesn’t work well with literalists, or we can work to shift them away from the need for literal certainty.”

      I’m sorry, but you seem to be under the impression that today’s topic is literary criticism. You would be wrong. This, is science. We have things like “correct” and “incorrect”, without a middle ground. Relativism doesn’t apply. What Kunkin has written, as quoted above, is very plainly incorrect. There is no room, under any circumstances for it to be correct, because this is *not* a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. The universe does not care what any of us think, and it continues onward without regard for our opinions.

      1. Um, actually, science doesn’t have “correct” or “incorrect”. It has “testable” and “untestable”. The former breaks down into “testable and tested” and “testable but untested”. The former (again) breaks down into “testable, tested, and confirmed” and “testable, tested, and unconfirmed”. After enough iterations of these last two, the statement under test can be said to be generally true or false.

        Aristotelian two-valued logic is of only marginal use in the real world (which usually has more than two things in it), and lets people get treat things like the fallacy of the excluded middle (e.g. “Either you accept our belief or you’re a pigfucking heathen who beats his wife with a sack of doorknobs.”) as if they were legitimate representations of reality or reasonable debate tactics.

  23. “The latest theory of aging has to do with mitochondria, saying that while they are the source of life and energy for the body, they also kill each other off in the process of producing the ATP.”

    Wow, that’s just fucking -incorrect-! Don’t they fucking well teach SCIENCE in the US anymore?? WTF?!?!?

    1. Considering that the guy is an octogenarian, I think this may be more about how we used to teach science.

  24. He is wrong. It’s not “mitochondira” that absorb the radiation. Duh.

    It’s midi-chlorians (starwars.wikia). Didn’t you listen to anything Qui Gon Gin said to Obi Wan? Geesh!

  25. “All the minerals found in the body originate in the soil, in the solid stones of mother earth. However, we can’t directly eat this earth. If we did, if we normally took inorganic earth minerals directly into the body, we would eventually turn into stone ourselves.”

    He’s apparently never heard of Geophagy.

  26. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that irradiated Chernobyl mushrooms are available for purchase at markets in Berlin. Allegedly, “they’re a delicacy!”

    1. Yeah, I heard that joke — the shopper says “Why would anyone buy Chernobyl mushrooms?!” and the clerk says “They make great gifts for bosses and mothers-in-law.”

      (Not to over-explain, but something about how mushrooms grow concentrates the radioactivity of the soil, even compared to other types of plants/animals)

  27. I fear it is too late for me and my brain. I will take it on board as I never give up but as I think my brain goes on strike on occasion, do you think this would be a sort of restorative for ailing grey cells?

  28. There is an old-time soft drink made with vinegar called a “shrub.” The usual thing to do is to cover some fruit with vinegar, mash it up, let it sit for a week or so (in the fridge, if you’re worried about mold/bacteria) and then strain. Put an ounce in a glass of carbonated water.

    I have preserved a lot of my fig crop in plain vinegar, and I love to drink some as a shrub, but many people find it just too tart to take. No matter, blend some fig vinegar with some honey and some oil and use it as a salad dressing.

  29. WHATS THAT GREEN STUFF ON MY BREAD ! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    DONT EAT THAT! ! ITS PENNNNNNICILLLLLLIN !

    And everyone knows that doesnt work anymore.

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