Practice Makes Perfect Villains

Fiction writers have an advantage in life that centers on the need to develop a rare skill for objectivity in creating a villain.

Memorable villains need to believe that the harm they’re causing is necessary and right. To accomplish this, their logic must be accessible and human. Villains can’t all be masochists and cardboard psychopaths. Even serial killers can believe they’re doing good work, or at least think the universe is a random place without right and wrong.

Having read, The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle, I’m all about focused practice. But how do you practice objectivity?

Here’s an idea: select a highly controversial topic for which you have a strong personal bias, and see if you can make yourself realize that a decent, rational person could exist on the opposite side of the argument.

Personally, I might start with the war over vaccinations and this video…

The pediatrician on the left of the screen claims to be in the middle ground of this complex fight, catching hell from both sides. He has written a book he claims is pro-vaccination. He says he has given many vaccinations to his young patients and continues to. Yet because his book promotes temporal spacing of the inoculations, he says pro-vaccine people want his book banned.

The interviewer is fully in the anti-vaccination camp and says he’s devoted his professional life to the cause. Yet he seems supportive of the “pro-vaccine” pediatrician. Something is going on beneath the surface.

The offstage villain in the video is the CDC / mainstream medical community with their rigid vaccine schedules that seem to expand each decade, supporting a commercial industry that cannot be held liable in court for any mishaps or negative side effects of their product. That’s unique, isn’t it? Fortunately, our politicians didn’t grant Monsanto the same deal for their big product, RoundUp, touted as saving countless lives from starvation through the virtues of genetically modified crops that can tolerate glyphosate, the poison in their weed killer.

Since I’m highly disenchanted with mainstream medicine despite my degrees and indoctrination, my challenge here would be to give the “vaccine villain’s” logic and data a fair hearing, both intellectually and emotionally.

To do this, I would need to see the historic cause-of-death stats for all the relevant communicable diseases in the US prior to vaccinations. Then, to sense the emotional viewpoint of this villain, I would need to read historical accounts written by parents whose children suffered and died from the diseases in question.

Having done that, I would probably have enough objectivity to avoid ascribing two-dimensional evil to a pro-vaccination villain of a fictional tale.

But this superficial preparation wouldn’t be enough. I don’t write primarily to entertain. Wish I could, but it doesn’t hold my interest. I need to also teach. Because of this character flaw, I would strive to determine if I was placing my villain on the genuinely misinformed side of the vaccination war.

I’d have to read the relevant medical literature objectively and develop an informed opinion. My present opinion, though strongly biased, is weakly informed despite years of interest in autism. As a scientist and lifelong teacher, I need to know my biases and either abandon them or justify them with data. As a fiction writer not satisfied with entertainment, I have to do the same.

The side effect of realistic villain creation is a blessing to all who write fiction. The process, if we practice it, will force us to become skeptical of real-world character assassination, authoritative emotional claims we can’t verify, and the outraged black-and-white political reporting on all news outlets.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


This man could save your life.

Einstein began as an outsider. If today’s gatekeepers had run the journals in 1905, Einstein’s “miracle year” papers would have been rejected because he wasn’t employed and controlled by a university.

After he pulled the ripcord on space and time, Einstein faced rejection by his peers. That’s said to be the single most depressing thing that can happen to a person.

Physicists called him a mathematician. Mathematicians called him a physicist.

When the Nobel Committee finally realized his new-fangled universe wasn’t going away, they awarded Einstein the Nobel Prize for a fairly concrete paper he wrote on the photoelectric effect. With narrow minds, they passed over his impossibly radical discoveries — the flexibility of time and space, the equivalence of mass and energy, and the gravity of General Relativity.

To be fair, all of us have sacred-cow beliefs that we “know” are accurate beyond question. The Nobel Committee of the early 20th Century wasn’t so different from the rest of us.

But today, science’s devotion to skepticism has become a reflex for protecting certain key dogmas and assumptions that are felt to be “proven,” when in fact, some of them are not even testable.

An example would be “scientific materialism,” an assumption that is mistakenly considered to be foundational to science.

It’s the belief that the universe is composed of matter and energy alone. Nothing else. Therefore all information in our heads or in our DNA, as well as our sense of personhood are ultimately derived from matter and energy through random interactions that have accidentally created in us an “illusion of consciousness” with a sense of purpose which, like everything else about us, doesn’t actually exist except as a cruel and false illusion.

Scientific materialism, if anyone thinks about it, is as untestable as the assumption that intelligent consciousness is somehow at the foundation of the Universe and is the one thing that can’t be divided into mindless components.

Either way, the assumption is a choice that most of us make subconsciously without knowing when we made it.

Especially the highly educated people — we swim in a sea of scientific materialism. Like fish, we don’t focus much on what we’re swimming in until an outsider’s net hauls us into an unfamiliar world where air replaces the thing we’ve assumed was unchangeable.

So no one should be surprised that an outsider has hauled mainstream medicine up in his net.

This time it’s Ivor Cummins, an engineer with no medical background — the perfect outsider.

Listen to this guy, now. His speech could easily save your life if you can understand and remember it in full detail…

Cummins is teaching the medical establishment the shocking truth about two of today’s top killers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He tells us that…

  • Type 2 diabetes (including “pre-diabetes”) causes the vast majority of heart attacks (MI’s).
  • Between 49 and 65 percent of adults in the US have type 2 diabetes or “prediabetes” (which is a fairly unscientific division).
  • Testing insulin response (not glucose) for five hours after a glass of glucose gives the most accurate and info-rich diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (and “prediabetes”), as well as a uniquely valuable MI-risk predictor.
  • A $100 scan of the heart’s arteries (a coronary calcium scan) performs far better at determining MI risk than the various cholesterol measurements we use today in the US.
  • Improving your insulin response to sugar (by limiting carbohydrates, which reverses insulin resistance) prevents heart attack (MI).
  • Simply grinding up healthy food into powder causes an unhealthy insulin response in lab mice. The same thing probably applies to humans, but who would you ask to fund the study, C&H Sugar?

Why is an engineer able to put the vast and complex medical literature on heart disease and diabetes together logically, while the entire medical establishment can’t do it?

  1. Ivor Cummins is an unbiased thinker who personally faced a high risk of fatal heart disease despite his quite “healthy” lifestyle.
  2. As an engineer, he specialized in fixing novel problems within various complex systems. MD’s don’t have “complex systems analysis” as a specialty.
  3. Medicine is divided into specialties and subspecialties that cater to the info limits of the human mind. Busy MD’s struggle to stay current within their own specialties and rarely if ever do an exhaustive literature search outside their own narrow focuses, let alone doing an original analysis on a broad literature review outside their given specialty.
  4. Money influences the medical literature more than we care to admit. In the same way biased news is easily created by a bias selection of news stories, so modern medical science is hindered by an unbalanced selection of things to be studied. For instance, imagine there’s a plant in the rainforest that cures a disease. Scientists are unlikely to obtain funding to discover the plant and far less likely to find a grant large enough to cover the huge costs of the randomized, blinded trials required to show its worth to the FDA. Why no funding? Because a wild plant cannot be patented. This fact alone has created a gigantic bias in mainstream medical literature. The result is a multi-billion dollar industry of over-the-counter “dietary supplements” that go permanently untested and unapproved by the FDA.

If Ivor Cummins message doesn’t save your life, he does offer you another gift… the wisdom to refrain from shouting down the outliers in your fields of expertise. The wisdom to listen respectfully to those who “couldn’t possibly” be right because you already know the truth.

The greatest scientific, political and spiritual breakthroughs of history have come mainly from outsiders who were free of the mainstream dogmas and assumptions of their time.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD