Accolades & Quackolades

"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."
AJP, 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


"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


"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, 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."
AJP, 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."
AJP, 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."
AJP, 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.

The importance of being Ernst (2)

Ernst is vociferously campaigning against the very libel laws he has just invoked to threaten not me, but my 21 year old website designer who isn’t remotely connected to complementary therapy and had never even heard of Edzard Ernst until yesterday.

So says the diabolical blogger whose nasty, vicious and unsubstantiated attack on Edzard Ernst, I blogged about yesterday. Chris Holmes had posted three articles entitled ‘Edzard Ernst is a fake’ on a blog called Truth Will Out. Less than 24 hours later, I’m pleased to report that all three of these articles have been removed.

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The importance of being Ernst

Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine, has always struck me as a sweet and mild-mannered German teddy bear of a man, yet the quacks hate him with a passion that makes them look even uglier than they are already. It’s no longer a surprise to me that quacks ignore the science and prefer instead to vilify their critics – they don’t have many proper arguments, after all. But it was a bit of surprise that someone sent me a link to a post on the ironically named ‘Truth Will Out’ blog entitled, Edzard Ernst is a fake-3. As that post is a particularly vacuous attempt at character assassination, I assume it was sent to me so I could give it the treatment it deserves.

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Bugger the burkha

I started this post yesterday, feeling I should write one to commemorate the anniversary of this blog, which began a year ago on International Women’s Day.

On the same day 37 years ago today, I went on my first march for women’s liberation in central London. We demanded an end to discrimination in education and the workplace, as well as contraception, abortion and nursery places for all who needed them. We protested about the demeaning way women were presented by various media and we challenged the ideology that women were responsible for the hateful way we were perceived and portrayed and for the sexual harrassment and violence visited upon us. 38 years ago, if I’d looked this far into the future, I would have expected International Women’s Day 2010 to be a day of celebration. Continue reading

Inside the spine wizard’s den

The first thing that struck me, when I visited a chiropractor recently, was that the surgery looked almost exactly like a normal doctors’ surgery. The only difference was a folder full of glowing customer testimonials sitting on a low table in the waiting room, together with a supply of the General Chiropractic Council’s Patient Information Leaflet ­– the one that was the subject of a successful complaint to the Advertising Standars Authority (ASA). The leaflet was in Polish but that hasn’t stopped it finding its way to the ASA. Continue reading

Why internet discussion boards are fab and Dawkins is wrong

Here’s a quick post to express my sympathy with all the posters at the richarddawkins.net forum (RDF) —  a place I hardly ever visited and never posted at but which must have had something going for it because when it was closed earlier this week it had over two million posts.

Reading some of the reactions to it, I am again reminded that people who’ve never been part of an internet forum community don’t have a clue about how important are these places that allow people from all over the world in engage with each other. To thousands of atheists they are a godsend, so to speak. And many of those who do know the benefits and spend most of their free time on one just can’t comprehend why not everyone feels as they do. Continue reading

My complaint to Boots about their Learning Store website

The open letter to Boots on the 10:23 campaign website currently has 1450 signatures on it. I hope everyone reading this has added theirs. I know many of you will be in Red Lion Square overdosing alongside me next Saturday morning. I’ve already bought my ‘poison’ and I compensated myself for the embarrassment of buying a homeopathic remedy by leaving piles of leaflets about the 10:23 campaign by the shelves of these remedies at the both the Boots stores in my nearest town centre. To my fellow overdosers: in case things don’t go according to plan, I’ll take this opportunity to say it’s been a privilege and a pleasure…

And to all those who argue that homeopathic remedies are individualised, that it needs a consultation with a homeopath to build up a ‘symptom picture’ and that getting the remedy and dosage right is highly skilled work for which homeopaths are comprehensively trained, I trust you will join the campaign because otherwise you’ll look a bit silly.

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Homeopathy: there’s nothing in it. Part 3

Real life has got in the way and I haven’t had time to blog recently. No big fat cheques from Big Pharma for me so far this year! Let’s see if I can’t squeeze a few bob out of them now.

Who’d have thought I’d end up writing a part 3? Having, in my previous two posts, made a genuine attempt to engage with homeopaths and deepen my understanding of the therapy they invest so much in, I envisioned writing a post entitled, Homeopathy: there’s something in it after all!

But not a single homeopath has deigned to respond to any of the questions I raise in my previous post. So, in spite of my extensive reading on the subject, homeopathy remains an unfinished jigsaw to me and nobody seems prepared to step up and help me complete it. The more I’ve learned about homeopathy, the more I’ve come to understand that it’s not a case of bits of the jigsaw being missing; the bits are mishapen and simply don’t fit together to make a coherent whole.

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Homeopathy: there’s nothing in it. Part 2

Ever open-minded and keen to unlock the mysteries of the supposedly great healing art known as homeopathy, here’s another post primarily for my friends who are users and practitioners. I hope your responses will bring me to greater understanding.

I can’t help but notice that homeopaths themselves don’t seem to agree on what homeopathy does. In a TV discussion with David Frost and Simon Singh, Jayne Thomas of the Society of Homeopaths, gives her version of what homeopathy does:

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Homeopathy: there’s nothing in it. Part 1

As the year draws to a close, I’d like to pay tribute to my many fans who use alternative therapies, especially those who have kindly commented on my various posts over the ten months since I started this blog. I’ve selected some of those comments for display in my new ‘Quackolades’ column below left. It’s my way of saying thank you for making my case better than I could. Please keep them coming.

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Quack blogger censors inconvenient truth

I’m delighted to draw readers attention to this fascinating insight into the mind of a quack blogger by reproducing a post from elephants and mice and, more importantly, the comments beneath it.  I wouldn’t normally do this but, for reasons that are not clear, the blogger has decided to censor one of my comments and to misrepresent what I say in it, which I’m not entirely happy about.

I’m sure he understands and is grateful for the publicity.

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How the spine wizards tried to trap me

I was unpleasantly surprised to find a bunch of spine wizards touting for business in front of my local Sainsbury’s superstore recently. At a time when the chiropractic branch of the…um…’healing arts’ in the UK is fighting tooth and nail to hang on to any vestige of credibility during the current onslaught of challenges by quackbusters, it seemed a strange way for people claiming to represent a serious healthcare discipline to behave. The only other hucksters I’ve seen hanging round Sainsbury’s are car washers.

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Confession time for Boots the chemist: homeopathy is crap

It was a borderline decision for me whether it was worth getting out of bed early to sit in on the House of Commons Science and Technology sub-Committee’s ‘evidence check’ on homeopathy yesterday and since the whole thing would soon be available online, I have to wonder why I bothered. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy witnessing the reassuring predictability of the top drawer defenders of homeopathy such as Dr Peter Fisher and Robert Wilson who, as it turns out, are no better at defending the indefensible than any of the common or garden homeoquacks and punters who keep themselves busy spreading their crap all over the web.

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No Sharia here, then?

On 31st October 2009, thousands of Muslims from up and down the country plan to converge in the heart of Central London in a spectacular procession to make their demands for the overthrow of the British establishment clear.

At the time of writing, that message, which was posted on 4 March 2009, is still on the website of Islamist nutjobs, al-Muhajiroun. But a few days ago they added another message, in the form of a press release, saying that it had

become apparent that certain right-wing/anti-Islamic organisations had become intent on preventing the march from going ahead, using threats of physical violence, including bomb and death threats to any member of the Muslim community who happened to attend the march.

In light of this, organisers of the March4Shariah campaign, after careful consultation, have decided to relocate the march in favour of securing the safety of the hundreds of Muslims who may have attended the march to voice their support for the Deen of Haq (Truth). Continue reading

Chiropractic is crap

I’m aware that I’ve blogged rather a lot about homeopathy being crap because I just love the lunacy of it so much but today I thought I’d redress the balance a bit by writing an equally objective and unbiased post about why chiropractic is also crap. I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Take a look at this:

What I like to do is live a life of health and vitality by eating well, exercising every day, making sure I receive Chiropractic every week, take no medications, not getting vaccinated, drinking pure water, taking wholefood supplements/fish oil/probiotics, no smoking or alcohol and making sure I treat my body with respect.

When a chronically ill skeptic tells me that my lifestyle is quackery, I only feel sorry for them being trapped in a belief system that suppresses their quality of life. It’s not my job to change that belief system.

I like the fact that it is a free world and I get to choose what I do with my body.

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In defence of humanist funerals

My father was a humanist and he should have had a humanist funeral. But he died many years ago, when their provision was far more limited than it is today. On being told my father had no religious faith in adulthood and his only ‘funeral request’ had been for cremation rather than burial, the funeral director simply said he’d let the vicar know. If he knew about humanist funerals, he wasn’t letting on, so he probably didn’t.

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The BCA v Simon Singh Pt 3: Time the quacks quacked off

In contrast to the preliminary hearing of the British Chiropractic Association v Simon Singh back in May, a good time was had by all of us in the public gallery at today’s hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice. All the more so because, given the illiberal judicial decisions made thus far in the case, there’d been a cloud of pessimism hanging over us at the start of the proceedings. We didn’t really expect it to go our way.

If we were surprised that nobody from the other side had turned up to the hearing, our surprise was short-lived. It took about a minute from entering the courtroom for the judge to tell us that he’d decided to allow a full appeal. This is catastrophic news for the BCA, who would have had advance notice of it. They probably didn’t feel like turning up and who can blame them?

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EDL, UAF…WTF?

I see that both the English Defence League (EDL) and their opponents in Unite Against Fascism (UAF) are in the news again after a bunch of EDL supporters turned up in Manchester today to stage a protest against Islamic extremism. Apparently, the UAF didn’t like it so staged a counter-demonstration. The short clip viewable here shows EDL placards saying ‘Patriotism is not racism’ and ‘No more mosques in England’, while crowds of UAF people shout “Nazi scum: off our streets!” Predictably, EDL supporters commenting on the web today saw the UAF counter-demo as an attempt to suppress free speech and called them ‘Unashamed Actual Fascists’, and suchlike.

Anyway, aware that the messages of the newly emerged EDL (which seems to have evolved from a group calling themselves Casuals United) and the Stop Islamification of Europe group (SIOE) have resonated with at least a few nice, respectable, secularist folk, I decided to take a closer look at what they and their opponents are about.

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The cervical cancer vaccine saves lives, actually.

Didn’t we all feel horrible last week, on hearing the news that 14-year-old Natalie Morton died a matter of hours after receiving the HPV vaccine at school? How long would it be before we’d hear whether the vaccine actually caused her death or whether something else did? Not long, as it turned out. Three days later, an inquest was told that she’d died from a large and previously undetected tumour in her chest that could have killed her at any moment.

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Scott Capurro: the cremation

Hey, I’ve arrived! A celebrity (well, sort-of, he’s been on TV), who didn’t like what I wrote about his excrutiatingly awful gig back in July, has penned a petulant little post on his blog about me in return. Credit where it’s due, however. Unlike his stand-up performance in Belsize Park, in his blog post Scott Capurro actually proves he can come up with a funny line or two. And I’m not being sarcastic!

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The magic powers of Adrian Pengelly

The BBC Watchdog programme’s treatment of self-acclaimed “healer, energy worker, teacher and psychic”, Adrian Pengelly, which aired last week, seems to have upset a few people. Pengelly has many satisfied customers who did not appreciate the humiliating exposure of someone they know to be a very nice man who has helped them.

According to a sycophantic piece in today’s Daily Mail, more than 200 of his clients lobbied the BBC in protest before the programme was aired. I’d add that every mention of the programme since has drawn fresh testimonials of his amazing power (see the comments beneath the Mail article for examples) and protests about the evil Watchdog team who cruelly tricked this kind and gentle man.

Kind he may be, but there are some pretty preposterous claims on Adrian Pengelly’s website. Continue reading

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.”

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WHO needs to grow a pair?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally come out and whispered that, in spite of its public policy of supporting the integration of alternative therapies into national health systems, it doesn’t actually recommend the use of homeopathy for HIV, malaria, TB, influenza and infant diarrhoea.

Goodness me! I do hope this staggering confession, which was squeezed like blood from a stone by researchers and medics from the Voice of Young Science network, offends anyone with quackish sensibilities.

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The power of prayer to kill a child

I almost found myself in the unprecedented position of defending alternative therapies recently. Well, not the therapies themselves but those who believe in them. Given that I devote much of this blog to attacking these very same people as deluded morons, this admission will come as a surprise to regular readers. But after reading the story of the child who died of diabetic ketoacidosis because her parents — Dale and Leilani Neumann — failed to get medical help and relied on the power of prayer instead, I was feeling almost charitable about the father of Gloria Thomas, who’d relied on homeopathy to save his desperately ill child’s life. At least homeopathic ‘remedies’ — as they are laughingly called — are tangible and some people swear that they work as they’re supposed to and not just as a placebo. Obviously, these people are wrong but at least I can see where they’re coming from (a place of  astonishing ignorance).

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Sense and Solidarity: Beware the Spinal Trap

On request from Sense about Science and together with countless other websites that are concerned with truth and justice, I am pleased to post on this blog Simon Singh’s article, which originally appeared in the Guardian newspaper’s Comment is Free column on 19 April 2008 and which gave the British Chiropractic Association the hump. (I blogged previously about this story here and here.)

The Guardian has taken the article down, thereby depriving the public of access to the very useful information and arguments it contained. However, the more websites that carry it, the more accessible it will be. So up yours, BCA.

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Thought for the Day has had its day

I see the utterly tedious topic of the religious Thought for the Day slot on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme has been back in the headlines lately after Radio 4 Controller, Mark Damazer, said the BBC Trust is considering complaints made by hundreds of disgruntled atheists. It’s very nice, I’m sure, of the BBC to finally consider the complaints when everyone I know who has ever complained received a standard rejection letter from Damazer taking the same daft ‘secularists get a big enough slice of the pie already’ line as many religionists do.

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