Sunscreen accelerates cancer (and other stuff you don’t know)

Almost every sunscreen on the market accelerates cancer, the public learned last week. What, you didn’t know?

Guess what? Saturated fat is also not the culprit for heart-disease. Yet every article we see about health still calls it “artery-clogging saturated fat,” as if it were one word that can’t be separated.

Did you know either of these things? Most people don’t, and they never will. The strength of their assumptions is too solid. Unfortunately, they are also wrong, and either one may seriously endanger your health.

How many assumptions do you have that are also wrong? You don’t know, of course. No one ever does.

Do we know the stuff we’re repeating? Or are we just parroting stuff that’s been said to us in a convincing way?

Always be testing. Never stop questioning things you think are true, no matter how solid they may seem.

The danger with this is that everything seems solid. What we believe has to seem true or we wouldn’t be able to go about our daily lives. We’d be paralyzed, so we choose a frame and stick to it. This wouldn’t be so bad if our ideas were self-contained, but instead we listen to our friends and media (including social media) as if it were holy writ.

Any meme’s believability in the arena of ideas is not based on supporting facts, but on its emotional resonance and how many people believe it. Kind of dangerous.

The strength of the most robust thinkers is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in their mind at once. Can you do that?

The world is too nuanced for you not to be able to. If you can’t think for yourself on many levels, what you take for granted will keep you running through other people’s mazes instead of making progress on your goals, such as, you know, living longer.

Are you willing to give up 5 years of your life to the mazes and falsehoods that others have set up for you? Learning about the two things above may just give you those 5 years back. But the real question is: How many more of these are there that we don’t know about?

What do you think?






9 responses to “Sunscreen accelerates cancer (and other stuff you don’t know)”

  1. Siddhartha Avatar

    Man, you are singing my song. I’ve felt this way for years.

    As I was reading this I had two thoughts: 1. this guy’s a genius and 2. I’m doing the very thing I abhor in others, believing people are authorities just because they are supporting my already held belief.

    Ah, well. What can you do?

  2. John McLschlan Avatar

    Julien, you identify the big problem and that is that we usually don’t know it until after something happens that lets us see something in a different way.

    The best thing is to have time to reflect. Usually, we are way too busy to stop and reflect, to be alone and silent. Is you diet the best thing for you? Should I do this exercise or that? Is driving in rush hour two hours a day making sense? The list goes on and on and on.

    On this note, I’ve been reaching saturation point with social media blogs. It’s like so many people are writing about it, but not actually doing it (you are an exception). We’ve become little robots, spitting out the same old, same old.

  3. Stephen Fowler Avatar
    Stephen Fowler

    This is something I’ve been thinking about lately.
    And I’ve come to this conclusion:

    Sooner or later, everything I know (or think I know) will be proven to be wrong.
    And that proof will turn out to be bullshit.

    As Siddhartha says, “What can you do?”

  4. Jim Spencer Avatar

    I don’t think that the point is that there is nothing true. Truth exists. And when you come across it are you intelligent enough to listen and consider changing your mind? That is the point.

    Testing and practicing those truths is what makes life exciting, don’t you think?

  5. Kevin Avatar

    The point is to do our own research and educate ourselves to prevent becoming autotomitons in a world where money is the focal point. We need to expand our horizons and our state of mind as a people instead of further degenerating the the meaning of life.

  6. Dave Sohnchen Avatar

    I agree that truth exists but also that most of our truths will, at some point, be proven wrong as Stephen says. But just because at some point they may be proven wrong does that devalue the truth that exists today?

    It’s like you said, “What we believe has to seem true or we wouldn’t be able to go about our daily lives.” The trick comes with our willingness to live in tension knowing that at any moment we may realize that world is not in fact flat. We, especially in our western culture, like black and white, not gray. We need things to be nicely packaged so we can understand them and God forbid someone question our version of truth.

    If we could somehow collectively embrace the tension of holding opposing ideas and not hold onto today’s truths so tightly, recognizing that tomorrow they could be gone, the world would be a better place.

  7. Jeff Maystruck Avatar

    Wow, that’s a wake up call. I love this style of thinking Julien! As the younger generation of young professionals I believe it is our duty to be skeptical about, well anything that peaks your interest. I like listening to Radio Lab ( and Skeptoid ( podcasts to begin to understand the science behind many myths in our lives. I guess we just need to keep our heads on a swivel and not trust information until we drill down to the source.

    Thanks, and great post!


  8. Adam Daniel Mezei Avatar

    Julien, I was thinking exactly this recently in terms of some Middle Eastern breaking news that’s been tearing across the air waves over the past three days… 😉

    Still, I wonder what the actual physical effect is of holding two thoughts together in your mind simultaneously…I mean, how does that look?

    As always, such a well-crafted post from a first-rate thinker. You’re one of the originals, J. Keep punching, my man.

  9. Merrill Ciprian Avatar

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

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