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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
‘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.”
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.
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.
It’s high time I took another pop at homeopathy. I know more and more people are wising up to this particular brand of quack lunacy but, as someone who each morning receives a new list of web articles written by delusional homeopaths happily promoting their bogus therapies, I believe it’s important in the interests of balance to keep ridiculing it.
Quacks love anecdotes. They seem to love them even more when they’re not true. On the web I’ve seen, for example, homeopaths claiming to have successfully cured cancer and kidney disease to the rapturous applause of their imbecilic devotees. I recall one even claiming to be able to treat third-degree burns better than conventional medicine and encouraging his sceptical critics to go burn themselves badly so he could prove it. Ethics aren’t something common or garden quacks like to bother their pretty little heads about, evidently. Continue reading
Awww…just when I was planning a blog post examining some of the outrageous and unsubstantiated claims being made on the websites of countless British chiroquacktors, I come across the email — courtesy of Chiropracticlive.com and copied below — telling them to take down their websites. As I’ve been sitting back munching popcorn for the last week while others have been toiling away in pursuit of truth and justice I can’t, alas, take any of the credit for provoking this extraordinary panic action, so I feel I must at least do my bit to help spread the good news. It’s only fair.
Ever open-minded and keen to learn about the complexities of one of the most popular alternative therapies and unwilling to rely on the biased news media and sneering science blogs, I tried to find a trustworthy source of information about the homeopathic product, Malaria Officinalis 30c, which has been in the news a bit lately.
“I’m a Lib Dem, so you’ll have to forgive me but this is the biggest crowd I’ve seen…” said Dr Evan Harris, MP, to an audience of fired-up skeptics in the Penderel’s Oak pub in London last night. He was joking but the turn-out to the meeting in support of Simon Singh was impressive, nevertheless.
Yesterday I sat in an English courtroom and and witnessed a travesty. I was in a public gallery packed with Simon Singh’s supporters for the preliminary hearing of the BCA v Simon Singh at the High Court. The BCA had objected to an article Dr Singh penned for The Guardian newspaper, which appeared during ‘Chiropractic Awareness Week’ in April 2008. The article has since been removed from the newspaper’s website but can currently still be viewed here.
This post is dedicated to the memory of baby Gloria Thomas, who died in May 2002 and whose mother and homeopath father are standing trial in Australia for manslaughter by gross criminal negligence because they failed to get professional help for their child in spite of her “bleeding, crying and malnutrition”.
Matthias Rath is a German scientist, physician and vitamin pill salesman who went to South Africa — a country where 6.3 million people are HIV positive — and launched a misinformation campaign which claimed, amongst other things, that the life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV patients were, in fact, poisoning them and they should taking his vitamin pills instead.
In this article I will take a calm and objective look at what the therapy invented 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann and known as ‘homeopathy’ is and why it is absolute crap. Continue reading
It’s common to use the abbreviation ‘CAM’ to refer to complementary and alternative therapies and I shall do the same as an occasional alternative to my preferred descriptions, which include ‘quackery’ and ‘bollocks’, even though I don’t really like an umbrella term that lumps potentially useful complementary therapies in with other so-called therapies that are quackery/bollocks. Continue reading
To get the answer, skip to the penultimate paragraph. The rest is preamble. Continue reading