Accolades & Quackolades


"There are ~20 published reviews of my book, but this one must be THE BEST! THANK YOU."
Edzard Ernst

"Best blog of the day IMHO."
Simon Singh

"This blogpost is simply brilliant."
Mark Burnley

"You are a rude argumentative bully. You are a typical "skeptic" - not sceptical at all."
Andrew, anti-vaxer

"Your piece about House of Commons Science and Technology sub-Committee’s ‘evidence check’ on homeopathy was one of the best I’ve seen. Strength to your elbow."
Tony

"...an individual calling themselves ‘scepticat’ or ‘sceptikat’- a highly volatile dictatorial site run by a wannabe megalomaniac. A truly disturbed person with a anger management issue venting via their little site to their own personal herd of sycophants."
Centella, one of Dr Andrew Jones personal herd of sycophants.

"Excellent report, which I can vouch for completely."
Jack of Kent

"The ludicrous nature of the complaint, and some of the responses by Dr Ranj and the BBC, has already been expertly documented on the Skepticat UK blog".
Dean Burnett

"Choke on your own vomit and die in agony..."
r wesley edwards, aka @CommonCormorant, author

"A very good rebuttal…"
Anna Watson, anti-vaxer Arnica UK

"A staggering amount of pathological disbelief allied with a staggering amount of arrogance."
Antony J Palmer, homeopath

"I just love this blog, and this post is a fine example of it’s content – ‘Inside the spine wizard’s den’ – Skepticat. Why do some of us feel that we are above challenging argument and peer review? I just wish that I could write as well as some of these bloggers!"
Jonathan Hearsey, osteopath

"Skepticat is a particularly venomousness (sic) skeptic, a humanist who lives by the "golden rule", she refused to let me follow her on twitter because I am "bonkers" which may endear her to many in the chiropractic profession..."
Richard Lanigan, chiropractor


Facebook image helpfully captioned by Sandra A Hermann-Courtney (@brownbagpantry)


"Die Die die die!"
r wesley edwards, aka @CommonCormorant, author

"Loved that article. It really shows what chiropractors are really all about. What I call the "chiro show" Exposing people to totally unnecessary X-rays should be criminal. Thank you!"
mt

"I think skepticat is plain mad at not having children of her own. Hatred projected out to the world. It's sad to see someone with so much self hatred, destroying themself internally without even realising it."
Bebo, chiropractor (Note: In fact I'm the proud mother of two brilliant children, whom I mention frequently. Glad of the excuse to do so again.)

"Hooray for Reason! Just want to thank you for writing this. Even though the arguments presented are tired, and played out, they still must be refuted."
Elijah

"I understand that you have been traumatised by your experience and that this is your way of coming to terms with the emotional scars."
Stefaan Vossen, chiropractor

"All you really seem interested in is banging your repetitive drum and preaching to the converted."
Rick, osteopath

"All the entries I’ve read are excellent. I’ll be coming back to read more. Love the cat logo as well."
Derrik

"Research in Homeopathy Conference - Skepticat's hilarious account. She went to it."
David Colquhoun

"Her site is Skepticat UK... she wouldn’t know a punchline if it raped her. Or maybe she’d thank it."
Scott Cappurro, comedian

"I rather love the lunacy of the anti-Homeopathists, such as yourself."
James Pannozzi, acupuncturist & would-be homeopath

"Good blog from a skeptic which examines the "science" of Homeopathy in a very detailed way. Skeptics will love this. Proponents of homeopathy? Not so much."
SidDithers

"I really shouldn’t waste my valuable time with someone who obviously has at the very least a borderline personality disorder."
Erika Alisuag, homeopathist

"I’m finding it difficult to come up with some suitable words to say how good and interesting your stuff is. So, in the absence of suitable hyperbole can I say what a very well written and presented blog you have here. Really well thought out and researched. And passionate about it too! Complimenti!"
pv

"You’re whole life is worthless because you lack reason."
Antony J Palmer, homeopath

"Great stuff Skepticat."
Lifelinking

"When you have learnt some big words and also studied your history books you’ll find that the world was once thought to be flat…by people just like you."
Sarah Hamilton, homeopath

"Thanks for keeping the banner of reason flying high."
John Willis Lloyd

"This is just a general comment. I love this well-written an unfussy little blog (I don’t mean little in a derogatory way, but in the sense it’s not bombastic, self-important and posturing). Excellent material and a worthwhile focus, keep up the good work."
xenophon19

"Her website is a temple to diatribe – I have no sympathy for the homeopaths, etc, with whom she battles, but she clearly gets off on confrontation."
JF Derry

"Skepticat is strictly logical and attacks in unparliamentary words what she deems to be “quackery” – or suggestions that she sounds a little strident."
Andy Reporter

"LOVE the badass attitude! Seriously...KEEP IT UP!"
HelpIzOnTWay

"You were a playful little diversion for a. moment, but I do have better things to do with my time than waste more than half an hour of it stooping down to play your ego supporting self delusional mind games……"
Susan Elizabeth, homeopathist

"An excellent read, thanks for taking thr time to compose it."
Alan C

"You need to do a course in anger management."
katenut, nutritionist

"FWIW I think you manage your anger rather well...mostly by focusing it into a thin, narrow beam of incisive rage which you then use to inscribe words on screen. ;)"
Despard

"Excellent description of the events."
Simon Perry

"You seem to be of probably well-meaning, but bigoted and fundamentalist disposition, just parroting slogans from others without any really knowledge or insight yourself."
Neil Menzies

"Superb, as usual"
phayes

"You seem only interested in ranting against an enemy which you are apparently still struggling to come to terms with “fifteen years” later."
Rick, osteopah

"Bravo, great post!"
RBO

"One day if you are not very careful you will be left behind in the dark ages. I’m sure this will not be printed..but hope it is read by you poor little scaredy cats."
Sarah Hamilton, homeopath

"Brilliant piece!"
crabsallover

"While you babble on like a total airhead about Myhill, you ignore the real doctors who are a danger in the UK".
struck-off doctor, Rita Pal, 'NHS whistle-blower'

"I sincerely hope I never get to your stage of wilful ignorance. You know absolutely diddly squat about the subject but you think your opinion is the only opinion."
Antony J Palmer, homeopath

"Keep up the spin, you manky old chicken's foot."
JB, chiropractor

"I am forced to conclude you are blogging on behalf of a specific entity that does wish to remain anonymous."
Antony J Palmer, homeopath

"The person writing all this negative press on homeopathy must be getting a big fat check from one of the pharmaceutical companies who would dearly love to push homeopathy off the map."
Erika Alisuag

"Such reporting lands you clearly in the realm of fundamentalist extremism–much noise, no substance, and money from those who have something to sell. It is so unfortunate that your listening skills are in need of repair."
Tanya Marquette, homeopath

"She seems to revel in presenting the many insults that she has attracted as a column of “Quackolades” on her site, as if war wounds on display,"
JF Derry, self-publicist

"Oh shut up SK. You write hot air and spew rubbish as usual."
Rita Pal again.

Hurray for female quackbusters

‘Female quackbuster aims to protect the vulnerable’, is the irresistible title of a paper that was Tweeted a few days ago. The paper is brought to us by the Zeus Information Service, a website whose stated aim is to “unite people and organisations worldwide who believe in the value of natural health therapies and want to continue to use them.”

Given the source, it’s not altogether surprising that the title of the paper is the only thing about it that is strictly true. Rose Shapiro is female and, since the publication last year of her book, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, the term ‘quackbuster’ would seem to be a fitting accolade. But the author of the paper — one ‘Lady Medea’ — isn’t enamoured with her, for some reason.

On and on drone these champions of the public good. Frankly we are tired of their boring diatribes and sick and tired of them. These Quackbusters must be really getting desperate, in order to warn the ‘vulnerable’ public that their health is being ‘put at risk’ by these alternative charlatans practising on the fringes yet another book has been hatched.

Suckers is a book I have a particular affection for and not just because the author was an occasional drinking companion in the pubs of Clerkenwell when we were both young hacks in the late 1970s. I like this book because it is informative, intelligent and irreverent. I’m not saying I would choose it over Ernst & Singh’s Trick or Treatment, which came out around the same time. In fact, if I could only pick one of the two books to re-read, I’d probably pick the latter because, ultimately, I think I got more from it. But they complement each other and, ideally, everyone should read both books.

I’ll happily admit that part of the reason I feel strongly about Suckers is that the face of the skeptics movement is mostly male and geeky while, as Shapiro reports, the majority of alternative therapy users are people like me: “middle-aged mothers in the moneyed and educated ABC1 group”. When somebody like me writes a book like that or, for that matter, does anything in furtherance of the noble cause of quackbusting, they earn a special place in my heart and I’m bound to leap to their defence when they are targetted by enemy agents.

So what does Lady Medea say about the book? Not a lot, to be honest. On reading her paper, I could only surmise that she hasn’t read the book properly and isn’t interested in its arguments because these are not even mentioned, let alone addressed. Instead, she calls the book a “diatribe”, then uses it as a springboard into a cathartic rant of her own about the increasing number of challenges against charlatan horseshit peddlars, both from well-informed individuals and from legislative bodies. (She doesn’t put it quite like that, obviously).

She is indignant about Shapiro having the temerity to write the book:

What are her alternative health qualifications? And if she has none, why is she pontificating on these subjects?

This is probably the scariest comment in the whole piece, if only for the Orwellian vista it evokes. Imagine a world where the only people allowed to “pontificate” on quackery are those who’ve passed exams in it like Lady Medea, who lists her own qualifications as: BSc, MSc [High Hons] Nutritional Therapy/Traditional Herbalism. No doubt these courses were of full of handy tips on how to restore balance, raise vitality, optimise wellness, etc, but they evidently lacked a module on critical thinking and how to make an argument. Instead they ran the usual ones on Big Scary Pharma, the Evils of Orthodox Medicine and How to Look like a Right Twat to Skeptics. Look at this:

For a very long time orthodox medicine has been in the saddle and has been smelling like a rose with the public, although the rose who wrote this book has the putrid stench of big, some very big vested interests, swirling all around her and the smell resembles anything but a rose, more like the reek of a rotting dungheap.

(She may have done an optional module on communicating like a 19th century tub-thumper on Speakers’ Corner).

Lady Medea isn’t a pleasant sucker, is she? And although she thinks most people are not qualified to criticise natural therapies, she considers herself more than qualified to pontificate about proper medicine. As what she says makes her sound as mad as a box of frogs, I’ll confine myself to just one example to give the flavour:

And now we have one of the world’s most famous icons Michael Jackson, dead, because of conventional drugs. These must have been prescribed and this can only be done by a state-registered orthodox doctor from the world of organised medicine.

That said, probably the only thing about the paper that really annoyed me was the misinformation about Simon Singh:

A certain doctor who was taken to court by the chiropractors has lost his case because in the opinion of the Judge, they are not bogus which means they are deliberately setting out to defraud the public.

Oh dear me! This refers to the preliminary hearing of the BCA v Simon Singh, when Mr Justice Eady ruled that the word ‘bogus’ implies deliberate dishonesty and, since Singh had used it about the promotion by the BCA of therapies for which there is not a jot of evidence, then he does have a case to answer in this libel action. (Singh maintains he did not intend to imply deliberate dishonesty, simply that the therapies are scientifically unsupportable).

The Judge did not express a personal opinion on whether or not chiropractic is bogus. I trust the inclusion of this shamless falsehood in the paper attests to the general quality of papers at the Zeus Information Service.

None of this will come as a surprise to those familiar with how quacks carry on and for those who’ve not read Suckers, I am happy to step up to the plate and tell you what Lady Medea forgot to say about the book, which is that it’s a well-researched and witty exposé of a multi-million pound industry that is based on nonsense and lies and which leeches resources from evidence-based medicine.

The book provides histories and some surprising facts about several major therapies and debunks all the myths about them. There is also useful information about how to spot a quack, not just by the language they use — buzzwords like ‘balance’, ‘wellness’, ‘harmony’, ‘quantum’, etc. — but also by the strategy of shrieking accusations about Big Pharma any time they are challenged and diverting attention away from their worthless therapies and on to the perceived failings of proper doctors.

It’s hard to imagine a better example of that strategy in action than Lady Medea’s paper. I’m most grateful to her for writing it and for the excuse to remind everyone of just how great a book Suckers is. It’s available to order here.

Female quackbuster aims to protect the vulnerable, is the very appealing title of a paper http://www.zeusinfoservice.com/Health/FemaleQuackbusterAimstoProtecttheVulnerable.pdf brought to us by the Zeus Information Service http://www.zeusinfoservice.com/mission.htm, a web service whose stated aim is to “unite people and organisations worldwide who believe in the value of natural health therapies and want to continue to use them.”Given the source, it’s not surprising that the title of the paper is the only thing in it that is strictly true. Rose Shapiro is female and, since the publication last year of her book, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, the term ‘quackbuster’ would seem to be a fitting accolade. But it soon becomes apparent that the author of the piece – one ‘Lady Medea’ – isn’t enamoured with her.

On and on drone these champions of the public good. Frankly we are tired of their boring diatribes and sick and tired of them. These Quackbusters must be really getting desperate, in order to warn the ‘vulnerable’ public that their health is being ‘put at risk’ by these alternative charlatans practising on the fringes yet another book has been hatched.

Suckers is a book I happen to have a particular affection for and not just because the author was an occasional drinking companion in the pubs of London’s Clerkenwell when we were both young hacks in the late 1970s. I like this book because it is informative, intelligent and irreverent and written by a non-scientist in a way that non-scientists can understand. This isn’t to say I would choose it over Ernst & Singh’s Trick or Treatment, which came out around the same time. In fact, if I could only pick one of the two books to re-read, I’d probably pick the latter because, ultimately, I think I got more from it.

I’ll happily admit part of the reason I feel strongly about suckers is that the face of the skeptics movement is mostly male and geeky while, as Shapiro reports, the majority of alternative therapy users are people like me: “middle-aged mothers in the moneyed and educated ABC1 group”.

When somebody like me writes book like that or, for that matter, does anything in the noble cause of

quackbusting, they hold a special place in my heart and I’m bound to leap to their defence. So what does Lady Medea else say about the book? Not a lot, to be honest. On reading LM’s post, I surmised that she hadn’t read the book properly and wasn’t interested in its contents. Rather, she wanted to use it as a springboard to have a cathartic rant about
the increasing number of both informed challenges from individuals and proposed legislative measures designed to protect the public from charlatan horse-shit peddlars. (She didn’t put it quite like that, obviously.)

About Shapiro she is indignant:

What are her alternative health qualifications? And if she has none, why is she pontificating on these subjects?

This is probably the scariest comment in the whole piece if only for the Orwellian vista it evokes. Imagine a world where the only people allowed to “pontificate” on quackery are those who’ve passed exams in it like Lady Medea, who lists her own qualifications as: BSc, MSc [High Hons] Nutritional Therapy/Traditional Herbalism. No doubt the syllabus was full of handy tips on how to restore balance, raise vitality, optimise  wellness, etc, but LM but it evidently lacked a module on critical thinking and how to make an argument. Instead it ran the usual one on Big Scary Pharma, the Evils of Orthodox Medicine and How to Look like a Right Twat Attacking Them. Look at this:

For a very long time orthodox medicine has been in the saddle and has been smelling like a rose with the public, although the rose who wrote this book has the putrid stench of big, some very big vested interests, swirling all around her and the smell resembles anything but a rose, more like the reek of a rotting dungheap.

(She may have done an optional syllabus on communicating like a 19th century tub-thumper on Speakers Corner).

Although LM thinks most people are not qualified to criticise natural therapies, she considers herself more than qualified to pontificate about conventional medicine. However, as what she says makes her sound as mad as a box of frogs, I’ll confine myself to just one example to give the flavour:

And now we have one of the world’s most famous icons Michael Jackson, dead, because of conventional drugs. These must have been prescribed and this can only be done by a state-registered orthodox doctor from the world of organised medicine.

None of this will come as a surprise to those familiar with how quacks work and for those who’ve not read Suckers, I am happy to step up to the plate and tell you what Lady Medea forgot to say about the book, which is that it’s a well-researched and witty expose of a multi-million pound industry that is based on nonsense and lies and which leeches resources from evidence-based medicine. The book provides histories and some surprising facts about several major therapies, including the one that some of the ‘ancient wisdom’ from which they are supposedly drawn is less than a century old and that some of them have proved to be dangerous. There is also useful information about how to spot a quack not just by the language they use – buzzwords like balance, wellness, harmony, quantum, etc. – but aso by the strategy of meeting challenges by shrieking accusations about being in the pay of big pharma and diverting attention to the failings of proper doctors.

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htmFemale quackbuster aims to protect the vulnerable, is the very appealing title of a paper http://www.zeusinfoservice.com/Health/FemaleQuackbusterAimstoProtecttheVulnerable.pdf brought to us by the Zeus Information Service http://www.zeusinfoservice.com/mission.htm, a web service whose stated aim is to “unite people and organisations worldwide who believe in the value of natural health therapies and want to continue to use them.”

Given the source, it’s not surprising that the title of the paper is the only thing in it that is strictly true. Rose Shapiro is female and, since the publication last year of her book, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, the term ‘quackbuster’ would seem to be a fitting accolade. But it soon becomes apparent that the author of the piece – one ‘Lady Medea’ – isn’t enamoured with her.

On and on drone these champions of the public good. Frankly we are tired of their boring diatribes and sick and tired of them. These Quackbusters must be really getting desperate, in order to warn the ‘vulnerable’ public that their health is being ‘put at risk’ by these alternative charlatans practising on the fringes yet another book has been hatched.

Suckers is a book I happen to have a particular affection for and not just because the author was an occasional drinking companion in the pubs of London’s Clerkenwell when we were both young hacks in the late 1970s. I like this book because it is informative, intelligent and irreverent and written by a non-scientist in a way that non-scientists can understand. This isn’t to say I would choose it over Ernst & Singh’s Trick or Treatment, which came out around the same time. In fact, if I could only pick one of the two books to re-read, I’d probably pick the latter because, ultimately, I think I got more from it.

I’ll happily admit part of the reason I feel strongly about suckers is that the face of the skeptics movement is mostly male and geeky while, as Shapiro reports, the majority of alternative therapy users are people like me: “middle-aged mothers in the moneyed and educated ABC1 group”.

When somebody like me writes book like that or, for that matter, does anything in the noble cause of

quackbusting, they hold a special place in my heart and I’m bound to leap to their defence. So what does Lady Medea else say about the book? Not a lot, to be honest. On reading LM’s post, I surmised that she hadn’t read the book properly and wasn’t interested in its contents. Rather, she wanted to use it as a springboard to have a cathartic rant about

the increasing number of both informed challenges from individuals and proposed legislative measures designed to protect the public from charlatan horse-shit peddlars. (She didn’t put it quite like that, obviously.)

About Shapiro she is indignant:

What are her alternative health qualifications? And if she has none, why is she pontificating on these subjects?

This is probably the scariest comment in the whole piece if only for the Orwellian vista it evokes. Imagine a world where the only people allowed to “pontificate” on quackery are those who’ve passed exams in it like Lady Medea, who lists her own qualifications as: BSc, MSc [High Hons] Nutritional Therapy/Traditional Herbalism. No doubt the syllabus was full of handy tips on how to restore balance, raise vitality, optimise wellness, etc, but LM but it evidently lacked a module on critical thinking and how to make an argument. Instead it ran the usual one on Big Scary Pharma, the Evils of Orthodox Medicine and How to Look like a Right Twat Attacking Them. Look at this:

For a very long time orthodox medicine has been in the saddle and has been smelling like a rose with the public, although the rose who wrote this book has the putrid stench of big, some very big vested interests, swirling all around her and the smell resembles anything but a rose, more like the reek of a rotting dungheap.

(She may have done an optional syllabus on communicating like a 19th century tub-thumper on Speakers Corner).

Although LM thinks most people are not qualified to criticise natural therapies, she considers herself more than qualified to pontificate about conventional medicine. However, as what she says makes her sound as mad as a box of frogs, I’ll confine myself to just one example to give the flavour:

And now we have one of the world’s most famous icons Michael Jackson, dead, because of conventional drugs. These must have been prescribed and this can only be done by a state-registered orthodox doctor from the world of organised medicine.

None of this will come as a surprise to those familiar with how quacks work and for those who’ve not read Suckers, I am happy to step up to the plate and tell you what Lady Medea forgot to say about the book, which is that it’s a well-researched and witty expose of a multi-million pound industry that is based on nonsense and lies and which leeches resources from evidence-based medicine. The book provides histories and some surprising facts about several major therapies, including the one that some of the ‘ancient wisdom’ from which they are supposedly drawn is less than a century old and that some of them have proved to be dangerous. There is also useful information about how to spot a quack not just by the language they use – buzzwords like balance, wellness, harmony, quantum, etc. – but aso by the strategy of meeting challenges by shrieking accusations about being in the pay of big pharma and diverting attention to the failings of proper doctors.

7 Responses to Hurray for female quackbusters

  • As far as I can tell from reading HolfordWatch, Lady Medea could as well ask this question of Patrick Holford.

    What are her alternative health qualifications? And if she has none, why is she pontificating on these subjects?

    Am I correct in thinking that in Patrick Holford’s case, the answer would be “None”?

    Has Lady Medea written to Patrick Holford to express her disapprobation? I think we should be told.

    And yes – Suckers is a splendid book and well-deserved kudos to Rose Shapiro for writing it.

  • Watch out for some shocking information about Zeus and the sort of company kept there in a day or two on the Quackometer blog.

  • “On reading her paper, I could only surmise that she hasn’t read the book properly…”

    On reading the first paragraph of her paper, I can only surmise that she didn’t even read the cover of the book properly. She writes, “It has a vitamin bottle on the front with the word SUCKER printed large.” Now what was the title of the book again?

  • Good analysis. I do like it how alties argue that to offer criticism you need qualifications in CAM, but none in conventional medicine.

    I must say that I enjoyed Suckers very much and it is, as you say, a good companion for Treatment. Interestingly the other half was much more inclined to read the former than the latter (and she did).

    I had some brief dealings with Zeus a little while ago.

    Maybe I am behind the times or coming at this from a strictly UK presepctive, but I have never heard of an offical degree classification of “High Hons”. Can anyone else shed light on this?

  • Adrian

    I’ve never heard of it either and I suspect the ‘High Hons’ is a simple bit of self aggrandisement, done to deliberately impress/fool the masses.

    I’ll read you blog post later – looks interesting!

  • Bravo, great post.

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