It’s good to see that Edzard Ernst’s latest book is already selling so well but if you haven’t yet got a copy, I hope a few reflections of my own will encourage you to buy it — especially if you are a devotee of any kind of ‘alternative’ or complementary medicine and especially if you think you already know all you need to know about Edzard Ernst.
A Scientist in Wonderland is more than an autobiography and I’m not sure I can do justice to the riches to be found in its pages. Sometimes it’s reminiscent of a black comedy, other times it’s almost too painful to read. If you already understand what is meant by scientific rigour and how medical ethics depends on it, there are parts of Edzard’s story that will probably make you despair.
But what if you don’t understand? What if you are one of those who accuses the man of being a liar, a fraud, a pharma shill — not because you’ve ever seen an iota of evidence that he is any of these things but because you are so deeply invested in what he famously opposes that this kind of vilification sounds intuitively right to you? Are you open-minded enough to read and learn from this book? I doubt it but I would love you to prove me wrong.
Although it only appeared last month, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, written by Stephanie Messenger and published by Trafford Publishing, was raising hackles more than a year ago on the strength of the author’s promise to “[take] children on a journey to learn about the ineffectiveness of vaccinations and to know they don’t have to be scared of childhood illnesses, like measles and chicken pox. There are many health messages for parents to expand on about keeping healthy”.
A recent article by Tom Chivers of the Telegraph mentions the book in the context of reports that “306 children died in Pakistan because of the infectious disease in 2012, a dramatic surge from the 64 children in 2011”. On Amazon the book got over 70 reviews in three days, every one condemning it.
But of those of you leaping to criticise, I have to wonder how many have actually read the book? I mean, are you not open to the possibility that it might actually contain valuable information that could protect our children’s health?
Over the past decade or so, Martin J Walker has self-published a bunch of books on the evils of Big Pharma. The latest one, which is an update of an earlier one, is entitled, ‘Dirty Medicine the Handbook’ (DMTH). Its message, in a nutshell, is that every individual or organisation who dares to challenge or criticise alternative therapies and food supplements, together with anyone who recommends vaccination, is an agent of evil Big Pharma.
Hardly original, I know. But kudos to Martin for his entrepreneurial spirit in finding a way to charge £15 for the privilege of reading him repeat what his target audience already believe to be true.
The unique selling point of DMTH is, as one reviewer put it,
It names the players, the committees, the organizations, the networks, the back room people and the front men and women who provide a distraction and tie up resources while the bricks are put in the wall.
OK, the second half of that sentence is gibberish but you get the idea. It names names and Martin’s target readers have bought into his notion that knowing who their enemies are will help them in their endeavours to continue conning us into buying their soothing chit-chat and worthless cult therapies.
Oscar Wilde regarded the theatre as the “most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being”. I’ve no idea what he was talking about but I often feel I don’t want to read or write another word about homeopathy, so it’s nice to blog about something else for a change.
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!
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.”
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.
I’m seeing a guy who is so black, he’s purple. It’s like fucking a mood ring. I can’t wait until he dies so I can see what colour he turns.
It was at this point in Scott Capurro’s gig at the Hampstead Comedy Club last night that I decided to switch off, get out my ipod and play a game of poker. I’m not easily offended but I am easily bored and last night I was bored out of my skull watching Capurro tossing off. Seriously, he reminded me of a saddo in a dirty raincoat getting off on revealing his willy to an unsuspecting crowd, whose unappreciative reaction makes him want to jerk off even harder. Continue reading
Do you consider yourself a good person?
Have you ever told a lie?
Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
Have you ever coveted anything?
You need to answer ‘yes’ to all of the above to hear 13-year-old Deborah Drapper say, in all seriousness,”So you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemous, coveting person. Do you still think you’re a good person?”
BBC documentary, Deborah 13: Servant of God, which aired on Tuesday 11 March 2009, was a programme that changed the way I think. Continue reading