Respectful Insolence

A homeopath unplugged from reality

Yesterday’s post made me sad. It always makes me sad to contemplate a 14 year old boy facing the loss of his father to an aggressive form of leukemia, as Danny Hauser is. The kid just can’t catch a break. First he himself develops Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Because he happens to live in a family that has taken up a faux “Native American” religion that claims its “natural healing” is better than chemotherapy, he resists undergoing treatment, and his family supports him. After a judge orders him to undergo chemotherapy, Danny and his mom then take off on the lam from the law, heading for Mexico and the sanctuary of quackery that exists in Tijuana. Fortunately, they aren’t on the run for long, and Danny’s mom brings her him back and turns herself in. Ultimately, the family agrees to see to it that Daniel undergoes chemotherapy, which he does and as a result is alive and well today.

Then his father contracts a rare and aggressive form of leukemia that is likely to kill him within a year.

See why I’m sad? Fortunately for me, there’s Dana Ullman. No matter how sad I am contemplating a boy losing is father, good ol’ Dana’s there to unintentionally cause a big, silly grin on my face. Unintentionally, you ask? Yes, unintentionally, because Dana is always pretty much dead serious about promoting the outrageous quackery that is homeopathy, and his doing what he does best is what brought a smile back to my face–although again, completely unintentionally. I’m referring to Dana’s latest bit of propaganda for homeopathy published in–where else?–that repository of quackery, anti-vaccine propaganda, pseudoscience, and New Age woo, The Huffington Post (a.k.a. HuffPo). It’s a little gem our “expert in homeopathic medicine” calls Unplugging From Your Medicine Cabinet: Respecting the Body’s Intelligence.

Thanks, Dana! I needed that!

I’m going to start with the end first, because it’s most telling. You’ll notice an asterix at the end very first sentence. Scroll down to the end of Dana’s post, and you’ll find:

* I am primarily referring to taking a vacation from over-the-counter drugs, but if you’re taking prescription drugs (Rx), I suggest you to talk with your doctor about creating a plan to diminish the doses of whatever drugs you’re taking, with a goal of stopping the medication(s) for a period of time, if possible and appropriate.

Dana, Dana, Dana! But I thought you had utter confidence that your watery homeopathic magicks were every bit the match-nay, the superior!–of anything that the evil, reductionistic “Western,” science-based medicine could come up with! After all, wasn’t it you who said that there was no science in science-based medicine, comparing it unfavorably with his favorite magic, homeopathy? Yet here Dana is, using weasel words in the form of an asterix leading to a disclaimer that he wasn’t really that serious. Perhaps someone told him that recommending that people stop their medications wasn’t such a good idea. Someone on coumadin for atrial fibrillation, for instance, might end up having a stroke. Type I diabetics stopping their insulin would end up in diabetic ketoacidosis, and type II diabetics stoping their medications might end up in a hyperosmolar coma. Perhaps someone told Dana that, if something bad happened to someone as a result of following his advice to “unplug from his medicine cabinet, a big, fat lawsuit might be the result. I can just see HuffPo’s lawyer reading Dana’s post, seeing that he’s recommending that people stop taking their medications, and suggesting that such a post might expose HuffPo itself to legal liability; that is, after the lawyer stopped clutching his chest.

In fact, one other thing just occurred to me. Besides the fact that over-the-counter drugs in general aren’t meant to treat serious illnesses, recommending that people “unplug” from over-the-counter drugs includes within it a rather interesting unintentional implied suggestion. Think about it. Many of the over-the-counter remedies sold in this country are vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies. Heck, some over-the-counter remedies are even homeopathic remedies (or at least herbal remedies with the moniker “homeopathic” slapped on them). “Unplugging from ‘over-the-counter’” medications thus implies unplugging from all those “natural” herbs, supplements, and homeopathic nostrums!

You know, I think Dana just suggested something I could actually agree with.

The rest of Dana’s article is predictably full of Ullman-speak, which in general consists of science-y sounding word salad with the words “homeopathy” and “homeopathic” sprinkled here and there, mixed with terms like “bodymind” and “wisdom,” like, well, sprinkles added on top of a turd cupcake to try to mask the flavor of New Age homeopathic woo contained therein. Here’s an example. In the midst of the preamble, in which Ullman blathers on about the evils of “drugs,” he says:

You’ve probably also experienced other symptoms and syndromes for which you’ve been encouraged to take additional drugs. If you’re smart enough, you’re wondering what interactions the drugs have. Your doctor has told you that “there are no problems” taking two, three, four or five medications together, but he cannot point to ANY research that has ever studied that question.

I guess that’s why each PDR entry and virtually every entry on every drug in medical reference manuals will contain somewhere within it a list of known interactions that drug has with other drugs–and even food! I guess that’s why, if I search PubMed for the term “drug interactions,” I get 185,012 entries (as of yesterday), and a search for “polypharmacy” brings up 2,278 entries. I guess that’s why drug companies and the government spend millions–even billions!–of dollars researching drug interactions. I even remember 25 years ago in my second year pharmacology class in medical school, when we had to know the interactions of every drug and drug class we studied; that is, if we wanted to pass the class and move on to our third year. Then there are all the articles we see warning against the dangers of polypharmacy, particularly in the elderly.

So what does Dana propose as an alternative? Against the evils of scientific, reductionist, “harsh my buzz” medicine, Dana proposes this:

The logic and wisdom of “unplugging” from various stressors in your life is that there is an inherent intelligence of our bodymind that continually strives to defend and heal ourselves. Living systems have certain innate self-organizing and self-healing propensities, and unplugging is simply an important strategy that enables your bodymind to work its every-day magic as it manifests its magnificent survival strategies.

Sadly, many of us are so arrogant that we think that we are smarter than our own bodies. We think that we can do better than what nature has provided us. The idea that we can or even should “conquer” nature is so 19th century. Some people today actually think that our bodies are not very smart and that we could and should overcome its weaknesses by the use of pharmaceutical agents that can rid the body of its symptoms.

I love the term “bodymind,” but I wonder: Why “bodymind” and not “mindbody”? Is it that Ullman values the body over the mind? Given the quality of his writing and logic, it wouldn’t surprise me. But I digress.

Or maybe not. Perhaps the reason Ullman says “bodymind” is to emphasize his seeming lament that we unimaginative reductionistic physicians think we’re “smarter than our own bodies.” Of course, it’s not so much that we think we’re smarter than the body; it’s that we have come to understand many of the ways our body can malfunction, with the result being disease. For many of these diseases, we now have an adequate understanding of the physiology and biochemistry to be able to design drugs that counteract the abnormalities in these processes that lead to disease. This has nothing to do with the body being “smart” or “dumb.” The body just is, and it functions the way evolution led it to function.

Dana also seems profoundly confused. (What else is new?) In his post, he goes on and on and on lauding the “wisdom” of the “bodymind” for its self-healing ability, a self-healing ability that pharmaceutical drugs apparently interfere with by “masking symptoms.” However, if the body were so miraculous at always healing itself, then, even if it worked, homeopathic medicine would be as unnecessary as pharmaceutical medicine. Yet Dana can write:

Our human body has survived these thousands of years because of its incredible adaptive capabilities, and one of the ways that it adapts is through the creation of symptoms. Whether it be through fever and inflammation, cough and expectoration, nausea and vomiting, fainting and comatose states, and even the variety of emotional and mental states, each symptom represents the best efforts of the bodymind in its effort to fight infection and/or adapt to physical and psychological stresses.

Although symptoms may be the best effort of the organism to defend itself at that time, it is not usually effective to simply let the body try to heal itself. Most often, some treatment must be provided to help nurture, nourish and augment the body’s own wisdom. The challenge to physicians, healers and patients is to determine when to help aid this inner wisdom of the body and when to intervene to make certain that the body does not harm itself.

Wait a minute! I thought the “bodymind” was so wise that it could heal itself! If that’s the case, then why on earth does it require the intervention of a healer to “aid this inner wisdom”? Maybe the “bodymind’s inner wisdom” isn’t so wise after all.

The fact is that sometimes it isn’t. Dana mentions that symptoms are the best effort of the organism to “defend itself,” but the very term “defend itself” implies an outside attack. Many of our most common ailments these days are due to aging and lifestyle, be they diabetes, heart disease, or whatever. One can argue that these diseases are heavily influenced by diet and lifestyle, which they are, but ultimately they represent a malfunctioning of the body, not an external attack of some kind that needs to be defended against with symptoms. Diabetes, for instance, represents either a failure of insulin production (type I) or the development of resistance to the actions of insulin (type II). The end result is hyperglycemia, high blood sugar, which itself results in all sorts of other problems.

Dana also puts far too much stock in the “wisdom of symptoms,” as well. For instance, type II diabetes may be completely asymptomatic. A better example is hypertension, which isn’t known as “the silent killer” for nothing. As blog bud PalMD points out, hypertension is usually completely asymptomatic right up until a person has a heart attack or a stroke or develops peripheral vascular disease that results in symptoms such as claudication. During the (usually) years or decades leading up to the appearance of catastrophic symptoms such as chest pain or neurological compromise due to a stroke, the “bodymind” does an absolutely crappy job of warning itself about the danger it is in because the “bodymind” usually has no symptoms. Some “wisdom”!

It goes the other way, too. I know I’ve used this example before, but I’ll use it again. Dana speaks of fever and inflammation as symptoms serving a purpose. And so they do in many cases. However, they are also fairly easily turned upon the “bodymind” itself. Again, the example I like to use is sepsis. Sepsis is not, in and of itself, infection, but rather the reaction of the body to severe infection. This reaction can get quite out of control, to the point where it is the massive dilation of blood vessels leading to a collapse in blood pressure and the heart pumping mightily to try to bring it back up (I’m simplifying, obviously) that results in more damage than the actual infection. Moreover, the mechanisms behind sepsis can be triggered by stimuli not involving infection. Serious trauma, for instance, or even just a significant operation, can result in a septic-like syndrome called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). SIRS looks all the world like sepsis, but there is no detectable infection present.

One last example is from the dreaded realm of psychiatric problems. I say “dreaded” because if there’s one area of medicine that the “natural” crowd detests the most, it’s psychiatry. This example is anxiety disorders, specifically panic attacks. The “fight or flight” response is one of the most useful survival responses evolution has produced, as it gets the “bodymind” ready either to flee or to fight for its life. Unfortunately, when this response is triggered inappropriately or too easily the result can be panic attacks; when this response is turned on far more often than is adaptive, to the point of chronically being turned “on,” the result can be anxiety disorders.

Maybe the “bodymind” isn’t always so wise after all.

The odd thing is, though, that Dana essentially admits this. He says it is “usually not effective” to let the body heal itself and that “something” must be provided to “nurture, nourish and augment the body’s own wisdom.” How on earth could this be, if nature and our “bodyminds” are so wise and self-regenerating? Why does the “bodymind” need Dana’s magicks to heal itself? And if the “bodymind” needs a little “something” to augment its wisdom and help it heal, what is the difference between homeopathy, which, as you might recall, is based on the principle of “like cures like,” as in like cures like symptoms. Samuel Hahnemann based homeopathy on treating symptoms, not causes. In marked contrast, for many diseases modern scientific medicine knows the cause well enough to intervene and attack the cause. For example, antibiotics treat infections by killing the infectious organisms causing the disease.

Regardless of the nonsense quotient that precedes it, no Dana Ullman screed is complete without some quantum woo thrown in, the way a chef throws various spices in for seasoning:

Concepts in new physics offer further support for the notion that living and non-living systems have inherent self-regulating, self-organizing and self-healing capacities. This ongoing effort to maintain homeostasis (balance) and to develop higher and higher levels of order and stability have been described in detail by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ilya Prigogine in Order Out of Chaos, Fritjof Capra in The Turning Point, and Erich Jantsch in The Self-Organizing Universe. In systems thinking, “perturbations” are understood as efforts of a system to re-establish balance and to increase its complexity so that there is greater dynamic homeostasis.

All of which is probably true, but irrelevant to whether homeopathy is anything other than magical thinking, which it is, no matter how much Dana tries to hide it with science word salad, although he still uses the same old lame homeopathic apologist claim that vaccines and allergy treatments are based on the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.” This is, of course, nonsense, not the least of which because there is–you know–actual substance in vaccines and allergy remedies. They are also designed based on an actual understanding of human physiology, rather than the principles of sympathetic magic, including a variation on its Law of Similarity and Law of Contagion.

Homeopathy is perhaps one of the silliest of “alternative medicine” modalities; it’s nothing more than the purest quackery. It’s so ridiculous because not only does its precepts violate many of the known laws of physics and chemistry, meaning that, for homeopathy to be correct, much of what we know about these disciplines would have to be very, very wrong, but also because the concepts behind homeopathy involve what is in essence prescientific knowledge fused with magic. Because this is so, even the glibbest of the glib who defend homeopathy can’t come up with anything less ridiculous than what Dana just wrote. In fact, Dana can’t even come up with anything new. His HuffPo post contains a bunch of recycled text from previous stints on NaturalNews.com and Gary Null’s website.

Sometimes Google is your friend, and if there’s anything that needs to be “unplugged,” it’s Dana’s access to the Internet. He’d embarrass himself a lot less if that were the case.

Comments

  1. #1 Anon
    May 21, 2010

    I wish my body were as smart as Dana’s. My body doesn’t tell me a damn thing when I am under stress. It just gets me ever so subtly hyperventilating until hypokalemia sets in and I do a faceplant.

  2. #2 Rene Najera
    May 21, 2010

    A homeopath unplugged from reality? Nice post, but I’d be more interested in your assessment of one that was plugged into reality. If that one even exists.
    (Of course, they’ll fall back on the placebo effect as some sort of “alternative” medicine, I’m sure.)

    DISCLAIMER: It’s hard for me to come up with new disclaimers every time I post. Will the ethics committee just hand down your ruling already? (I know they read Orac’s blog. Who doesn’t?)

  3. #3 Lawrence
    May 21, 2010

    Of course, one other situation to consider is the 1918 Spanish Flu – where evidence points to an over-aggressive reaction of the immune system caused the high mortality rate among “heathly” young adults.

    So much for the “body healing itself.”

    Woohoo – first comment!

  4. #4 superdave
    May 21, 2010

    Someone close to Ullman needs to tell him that tearing down western medicine doesn’t prove homeopathy works, it just makes him come off as arrogant and rude.

  5. #5 D. C. Sessions
    May 21, 2010

    One more for the “wisdom of the body” is the catastrophic response to cranial trauma: intracranial hemorrhage and edema reduces perfusion, which the body compensates by raising BP, which increases the rate of bleeding and swelling, which …

  6. #6 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2010

    Exemplifying the *ne plus ultra* of opportunism, woo-meisters want to have it *both ways*: they pooh-pooh SBM,rejecting its “soul-less” “reductionism” as well as its results,however being ever quick to point to research or scientists to “make their case”-being especially enamored of physics.It always makes me laugh when I read deleterious references to SBM or the “medical establishment”,only to have them followed up a few sentences later by a glowing description of research at a(usually) distant university investigating the effects of say,hibiscus leaves* or quercitin* on GERD* or lymphoma*(*totally made-up examples)or citing the prestigious academic credentials of someone with whom they agree.

  7. #7 Kristen
    May 21, 2010

    It’s hard for me to come up with new disclaimers every time I post. Will the ethics committee just hand down your ruling already?

    I don’t know details, but I am pulling for you.

    My Grandmother used to say: “you won’t be feeling this way in five years”. I guess she meant; no matter how hard things are now, everything passes (good and bad).

    As a side note, I think your disclaimers are hilarious.

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2010

    @ Rene Najera: but I *love* your disclaimers!(and everything else as well).

  9. #9 Anonymous
    May 21, 2010

    A homeopath unplugged from reality

    Redundant headline is redundant.

  10. #10 Jojo
    May 21, 2010

    Hmm…so according to Dana, I should stop taking my synthetic thyroid hormone and let my bodymind heal my damaged thyroid. Interesting. And I guess he would like my mother to stop taking the medications that keep her autoimmune disorder under control.

    What’s that? You mean to say that our diseases are the result of our mindbodies attacking themselves? But, but, but…how can that be? Dana, oh Dana, please make sense of this for me. I’m so confused!!11!!1!!

    *facepalm*

  11. #11 Jojo
    May 21, 2010

    @Rene Najera – I too am pulling for you, but I will miss the disclaimers if they go away. I look forward to reading them every day.

  12. #12 Kausik Datta
    May 21, 2010

    Bodymind, my arse! Excessive and persistent inflammation in the gastric mucosa (as in case of H. pylori infection) often leads to gastric cancer. Dana Ullman can take his body’s intelligence and shove it into where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Homeopaths! Disgustingly dissociated from reality, yet pretending to know it all, and willing to lie and misrepresent for the sake of their bit of sympathetic magic!

  13. #13 NoAstronomer
    May 21, 2010

    “Our human body has survived these thousands of years…”

    Well that’s wrong for a start. No-ones body has survived over 120 years and even after just 50 years most bodies (like mine) have significant wear.

  14. #14 D. C. Sessions
    May 21, 2010

    Our human body has survived these thousands of years

    I read that as DUllman being a YEC. Crank magnetism strikes again, perhaps.

  15. #15 Andyo
    May 21, 2010

    I hate asterisks. There’s a reason why they put asterisks in your phone plan ads, dammit.

  16. #16 Dangerous Bacon
    May 21, 2010

    Dana: ” We think that we can do better than what nature has provided us. The idea that we can or even should “conquer” nature is so 19th century.”

    And the idea that we should live into our seventies or beyond is sooo late 20th century. Fortunately we have healers like Dana Ullman who know that we should die much sooner, like in Hahnemann’s day.

    We betray our bodyminds by wanting to live longer, healthier lives.

  17. #17 Mojo
    May 21, 2010

    @Lawrence:

    Of course, one other situation to consider is the 1918 Spanish Flu

    Homoeopaths love the 1918 Spanish Flu; it’s one of those long ago epidemics for which homoeopathy can be made to appear to have been more effective than the orthodox medicine of the day.

    They never seem to come up with an explanation for homoeopathy having become so ineffectual over the last century or so…

  18. #18 MikeMa
    May 21, 2010

    How does Dana’s bodymind intelligence explain the appendix?

  19. #19 Ray
    May 21, 2010

    Having lost a wife to an asthma attack several years ago, I am not so impressed by the wisdom of the “bodymind” either, Orac. Keep up the good work.

  20. #20 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 21, 2010

    I find it amazing that nobody before has noticed that “Living systems have certain innate self-organizing and self-healing propensities” and that, indeed, it takes “new physics” rather than boring old biology to show this.

    Out of curiosity, is bleeding in heavy spurts a symptom? If so, should I allow my bodymind to deal with the underlying cause with that symptom?

  21. #21 Karl Withakay
    May 21, 2010

    “I am primarily referring to taking a vacation from over-the-counter drugs”

    No need to worry about consulting a physician before discontinuing something like aspirin for stroke prevention, right?

    “…with a goal of stopping the medication(s) for a period of time, if possible and appropriate.”

    If it were both possible and appropriate to stop a medication, wouldn’t most physicians usually be working towards that goal without the patient having to ask for it?

    “Your doctor has told you that “there are no problems” taking two, three, four or five medications together, but he cannot point to ANY research that has ever studied that question.Your doctor has told you that “there are no problems” taking two, three, four or five medications together, but he cannot point to ANY research that has ever studied that question.”

    Does Dana have any quality scientific research showing that various naturopathic remedies can be taken in combination with each other and in conjunction with various preparations of water (homeopathic remedies) and other woo modalaties without dangerous interactions? Of course, one would assume he first had quality scientific research as to the effectiveness of any of these before worrying about possible interactions.

    “inherent intelligence” = innate intelligence = chi = qi= mystical energy = vitalism

    “Sadly, many of us are so arrogant that we think that we are smarter than our own bodies. We think that we can do better than what nature has provided us.

    Who are we to think we need to provide things for our body that it does not provide for itself? Who needs clothes? Surely if we needed food and water, our bodies would just take those needs in automatically from our surroundings like plants do. Screw clothes, food, and water. Did nature provide a bed or house for me to sleep in, refrigeration to preserve food, or fire to cook food? Let’s all go live naked in the woods until we die of thirst, assuming we don’t get mauled by bears first.

  22. #22 Karl Withakay
    May 21, 2010

    Left one step off:

    “inherent intelligence” = innate intelligence = chi = qi= mystical energy = vitalism = woo

  23. #23 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmqD_mcUIrSfOTlK3iGVsnEDcZmI43srbI
    May 21, 2010

    @20…
    No. Spurting blood is not a “symptom”. It is merely your mindbody trying to purge itself of excess fluids.
    You’ll be fine in a little bit. When you see the white light, follow your mindbody instinct.

  24. #24 Pablo
    May 21, 2010

    I find it amazing that nobody before has noticed that “Living systems have certain innate self-organizing and self-healing propensities” and that, indeed, it takes “new physics” rather than boring old biology to show this.

    Don’t be too amazed, MOB. Given the extent of the lunacy in there, there are a lot of things to talk about if we have time.

  25. #25 Lindsay
    May 21, 2010

    “In systems thinking, “perturbations” are understood as efforts of a system to re-establish balance and to increase its complexity so that there is greater dynamic homeostasis.”

    This is jibberish as far as I can tell from reading the article. Perturbations are something you *do* to a system, not how the system reacts. (Like, reading this article was a perturbation to my system, so stupid it shocked me a little off kilter.) The “efforts of a system to re-establish balance” is a response to a perturbation.

    And “to increase its complexity so that there is greater dynamic homeostasis” doesn’t mean anything, but it does use a lot of fancy science-words like “homeostasis,” “dynamic,” and “complexity!”

  26. #26 DaveD
    May 21, 2010

    No-ones body has survived over 120 years and even after just 50 years most bodies (like mine) have significant wear.

    Not correct — one person (Jeanne Louise Calment) is known to have lived to be 122. However, the odds of living past 115 are extremely low.

  27. #27 Kimberly
    May 21, 2010

    “One last example is from the dreaded realm of psychiatric problems. I say “dreaded” because if there’s one area of medicine that the “natural” crowd detests the most, it’s psychiatry. This example is anxiety disorders, specifically panic attacks. The “fight or flight” response is one of the most useful survival responses evolution has produced, as it gets the “bodymind” ready either to flee or to fight for its life. Unfortunately, when this response is triggered inappropriately or too easily the result can be panic attacks; when this response is turned on far more often than is adaptive, to the point of chronically being turned “on,” the result can be anxiety disorders.”

    I am so glad that you mention this, Orac. I come from a long line of overly-anxious people who suffer from panic attacks and GAD, and after numerous physical and psychological assessments, this is exactly what I was told by my physicians. My system is like a radio that is turned on too high, all the time. It doesn’t stop, even when I sleep.

    People who buy into this homeopathic/”natural” health mindset are always eager to tell me that there’s no “need” for me to take medication just for anxiety. Apparently all I need is meditation, or exercise, or a special diet, or an herbal concoction, or…the list goes on. Just as long as it’s not from Big Pharma.

    Of course, strenuous exercise, a careful diet, and meditation all help. That’s why I do them. Of course some drugs have had side effects I didn’t like. That’s why I don’t take those. But the insinuation, or outright declaration, that I’m “not trying hard enough” to address my anxiety issues, or that I’m doing some sort of irreparable harm to my system, because I take daily medication is not only ignorant, but condescending. It’s that same snotty, “You know, if you really took care of yourself, you wouldn’t be sick” attitude that you see from so many of these charlatans.

  28. #28 knotfreak
    May 21, 2010

    Good for you Kimberly–a nice bit of insolence for the whackaloons. I have a child with a serious “psychiatric” (neurological) problem and some of these whackos have suggested I am committing “child abuse” for treating him–for finding well-regarded experts to treat him I should say.

    I’d like to UNPLUG Dana Ullman and all his fans.

  29. #29 Ian Musgrave
    May 21, 2010

    Rene wrote:

    DISCLAIMER: It’s hard for me to come up with new disclaimers every time I post. Will the ethics committee just hand down your ruling already? (I know they read Orac’s blog. Who doesn’t?)

    I’m on your side as well. If they want an independent evaluation from someone who is on an Australian Ethic committee, get them to contact me :-)

    DISCLAIMER: My university would be astonished that I have opinions, let alone that anyone would think that I speak for my University.

  30. #30 Gorgeous
    May 21, 2010

    Does this Dana chacter think we live in some version of the Big Pharma Matrix, waiting to be unplugged? lol.

    I love the line ” if you’re smart enough, you’re wondering what interactions the drugs have”. Such low standards for intelligence.

  31. #31 Doctor Smart
    May 21, 2010

    I don’t get it. If this father wishes not put put himself through the torture and hell of chemotherapy, then that’s his business. His boy must understand that each indvidual has to make his/her own personal indivual choices in life. If he chooses an alternative to this expensive poison called chemo and it fails to cure him, then at least he tried and died happier than he would have writhing from the pain induced by chemo.

    I saw my mother die from cancer in 2001. She was first diagnosed in 1997 with breast cancer. She took chemo six times. The cancer, as it usually does under chemo, hid inside her body and re-emerged stronger than before in 1999. She fought and the damned HMO assholes and ended up dying anyway. I vowed that I would rather die than take that poison. There are alternatives to chemo.

    Cancer is the result of a disease, not the disease itself. Repairing the immune system will heal slower growing cancers. Faster grwoing cancers, not so much. Still I would rather face Heaven and paradise after death than face hell and torture of chemo on earth. It’s my decison. I cannot be forced to do otherwise, at least not conciously.

    Same goes for open heart surgery. I have seen my grandfather spend five weeks in a hospital and nearly die twice due to botched surgery and dumbass doctors and non-caring nursing personell. We should have sued. The misery he went through for over a year was not worth the extra ten years of life to me. Of course he is okay now, except the open heart surgery caused him to be diabetic as it does so often. I am glad to have him around, but as for me, I refuse open heart surgery. Let me die. I better not find out some assface doctor refused my order and went ahead with it anyway. When I get able, he’ll be needing face surgery to repair damage done by the claw hammer in my hand. Do not force people to do things the do not wish to do and bad things will not happen. Simple.

  32. #32 Doctor Smart
    May 21, 2010

    NoAstronomer ,

    Well there wera a few people with long lives -

    Adam, Noah, Methuselah, etc. They all lived over 800 years. Methuselah was 967 years old when he died. He could have very well know Noah personally. Noah was ver 800. Adam was over 900. Many people lived longer before the global flood happened and the canopy was destroyed. If we still have the same conditions today as we did 6000 years ago when the earth was brand new, we would all be living to be an average of abot 700 to 800 years or so. Of course if Adam and Eve would not have sinned, they themselves would be about 6000 years old now and we would all live forever without sickness. I hope that fruit was well worth it.

  33. #33 Nick
    May 21, 2010

    Is Doctor Smart a confirmed troll? I love this guy’s act, I should have created such a sockpuppet a long time ago for use on Respectful Insolence and Pharyngula.

    Keep up the good work, smart.

  34. #34 Kemist
    May 21, 2010

    @32

    mmmkay…..

    And you actually believe that crap.

  35. #35 Doctor Smart
    May 21, 2010

    @34:

    No I do not believe in crap, aka evolution, global whining, socialism works, etc. I do however believe that the Bible is the indestructabe, infallable, word of the living God. Yes I believe as the Bible indicates through lineage and geneology that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. If you say otherwise, it’s okay. You are completely entitled to your opinion, in this case “science” (if that’s what it’s called these days).

    I often wonder when science included the justification of total annihilation of religion. Funny, how Issac Newton never mentioned any of that. Funny How Newton never mentioned that God was non-existant. I guess he wasn’t much of a scientist after all sice in order to be a scientist you are requiered to be a marxist socialist and a secualr humanist who worships the environment while denying it’s creator the worship instead. Is that the new scientist mentality these day? In order to study science you have to be this hardcore leftists marxist neocommie enviroment worshipping God denying atheistic christian killer? Funny how Issac Newton was the direct opposite. Oh well, his discoveries doesn’t count since he gave the CREATOR credit.

  36. #36 Doctor smart
    May 21, 2010

    What is a homopath anyway? Is that like a sociopath or pshychopath, only gay? Homopath? Do you have homopthic tendencies? See Dr. Smart. He has a cure. Call 1-800-be Normalagain. The chemical imbalances in your brain caused by toxins in today’s fake foods (GMO)required by the government has left you abnormal. Taking you to church and feeding you raw foods will cure you of this disease.

  37. #37 Dangerous Bacon
    May 21, 2010

    “Is Doctor Smart a confirmed troll?”

    He’s a board-certified DC (Doctor of Crazy).

  38. #38 Calli Arcale
    May 21, 2010

    Doctor Smart:

    No I do not believe in crap, aka evolution, global whining, socialism works, etc.

    Okay, I recognize there are those who deny evolution for personal reasons, and socialism is certainly debatable, but how can any person not believe in global whining? The evidence is overwhelming, especially to anyone who has a toddler in the house.

  39. #39 anonymous
    May 21, 2010

    Tell me something- what do you do when a school assigned nurse supports this kind of quackery, and encourages you not to judge a family who is refusing to provide medical care for a child. I am talking a nine year old, who believes in positive thinking, who disparages vaccinations and hospitals, but who has a bizarre syndrome that causes the child to be not well on a scary basis. Rather than real medicine there are mineral drops. Rather than treating a skin virus with medical treatment, one uses homeopathic remedies. And I can’t judge. Nor do the “authorities” see a problem. Like nurses and social workers and other professionals. Are you kidding me? It is to the point that I try to just not process the next stupid thing I hear, because there is no way to intervene. Because- well, apparently some people really do think that parents have the right to ruin their children’s lives. (this family owns a mcahine that can scan your body and find out what is wrong with you- you did a smackdown of one of those machines a while ago, and when i saw the pamphlet i immediately googled your article.) I am so tired of worrying about this child. Things like this should just be illegal.

  40. #40 Dan
    May 21, 2010

    Oh, Doctor Smart, you need to read your Bible. God condones medicine. In fact, God told Moses to “take these tablets.”

  41. #41 Christina
    May 21, 2010

    @Dr Smart #32

    Even if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit, God would’ve found some way to get them. It was obviously a trap. The bastard was just waiting for an excuse.

  42. #42 Christina
    May 22, 2010

    Also, “Dr Smart”, are you so stupid as to think all scientists are socialist atheists? There’re lots of religious scientists. I think they’re mistaken about there being a god, but they exist today.

    And your precious Newton doubted the Flood

  43. #43 Otto
    May 22, 2010

    Why “bodymind” and not “mindbody”? Is it that Ullman values the body over the mind?

    “Bodymind” strikes me as a better neologism typographically and euphonically, which could be helpful if one wants to invoke the “subtle body” without opening up the sausage factory to tourists.

  44. #44 JustaTech
    May 22, 2010

    Just to pile on:

    Doctor Smart: 1, wrong thread. 2, homEopath, not homopath. I can’t imagine what a homopath would do, believe that everyone was the same? (homo=same) 3, As a believer in the infallible word of the bible, please note two things. There’s no voting in the Bible, and there’s no Internet, so shoo.

  45. #45 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 22, 2010

    And Dr. Smart apparently believes in unicorns, too. They’re in the bible. You know, inerrant word and all.

    UNICORNS, BABY!

  46. #46 Tamakazura
    May 22, 2010

    Hahaha. My grandma says “you won’t feel that way in 5 years too” but she usually means “maybe when you’re not young and stupid you’ll be a republican like me.”

  47. #47 han
    May 22, 2010

    @JustaTech

    “Dr. Smart” aka Medicien (sic) Man, aka Orac’s Whackosphere, was not mispelling the prefix “homeo”. In addition to being cetifiably insane, the guy is a rampant homophobe.

  48. #48 Doctor Smart
    May 22, 2010

    han in addition to being insane and brainwashed by satanic forces, is a rampant Godophobe.

  49. #49 Katharine
    May 22, 2010

    Oh no, Doctor Dumb the Poe is back again.

  50. #50 clayton
    May 22, 2010

    @Doctor Smart
    Please refrain from allowing satan to pervert Gods love into your vitriolic hate. Your behavior is not christlike.
    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ( John 13:34-35)
    “Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ( Matthew 7:12)
    “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” ( Luke 6:35)

    Second. Go and reread Orac’s first 2 paragraphs.
    His post is not on the sad affairs of my fellow Minnesotans, he grieves for them in his own way. But rather a shrewd dissection of Dana Ullman’s latest blog. Science is a gift god has given us. Science is a practice like loving ones neighbor. The individuals involved may have faults, but the end result is investigating, reporting and removing personal bias from the research. How well does it stand up? Well if other people can repeat the results it’s good. Just like baking bread, that is the simplest of chemistry, science asked how and why, and got answers. God gave us our intellect and EMPATHY, we can be servants by using BOTH.

    Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” ( Mark 10:43-45)
    “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” ( John 13:14-15)

    When jesus died for our sins, his father quit punishing us to gather our love, he gave us love so we can receive it and give it back. The scientific process isn’t about separating the world from god, it is beautiful like poetry, the suckling of a newborn and the love between my grandparents. It is also a way fro god to show us his marvels beyond our direct senses. And for the sciencey geeks here, I don’t mean a god of the gaps, nor a god who moves things around such as cancer cells. God is simply love…

  51. #51 Amenhotepstein
    May 22, 2010

    I’m always a bit conflicted about clicking the HuffPo links to check out the latest whackaloonery. I don’t want them to give these idiots any more airtime than they already have, yet every click boosts their page views. At least it was refreshing to see so many science-based posts in the comments.

    Also, I loooove Ullman’s tiny disclaimer at the end:

    Article:
    STOP taking your meds!!!
    STOP taking ALL your meds!!!
    STOP taking ALL your meds RIGHT NOW!!!

    Postscript:
    * unless, you know, they’re prescription meds, ’cause those can save your life!

  52. #52 Kemist
    May 22, 2010

    @49

    *snort* – oh, look, new word “godophobe”.

    Can I play too ?

    unicornophobe

    leprechaunophobe

    santaclausophobe

    spongebobsquarepantsophobe

    All right dear, if you behave, you may have crayons.

    The rest of us adults will do all that hard “thinking” stuff.

  53. #53 Jarred C
    May 22, 2010

    Speaking of homeopathy, I’d like to recruit some help from some of you commenters. My coworker is under the belief that homeopathy is valid. When I told him of my own doubts, with the evidence to back it up, he sounded surprised. To him, modern or American homeopathy is not true homeopathy. He said to go back to the old German journal articles from the 1920s(ish), and there you will find evidence that homeopathy works in certain circumstances. He also tried explaining the hormesis effect, to which I countered, yes, the hormesis effect does work, but homeopathy is not hormesis.

    So what I am asking help in, is finding and/or explaining the difference between these older German homeopathic principles to the modern ones (if a difference exists), and if a difference does exist, did it actually work back then?

  54. #54 Çuval
    May 22, 2010

    Because- well, apparently some people really do think that parents have the right to ruin their children’s lives. (this family owns a mcahine that can scan your body and find out what is wrong with you- you did a smackdown of one of those machines a while ago, and when i saw the pamphlet i immediately googled your article.) I am so tired of worrying about this child. Things like this should just be illegal.

  55. #55 Çuval
    May 22, 2010

    Because- well, apparently some people really do think that parents have the right to ruin their children’s lives. (this family owns a mcahine that can scan your body and find out what is wrong with you- you did a smackdown of one of those machines a while ago, and when i saw the pamphlet i immediately googled your article.) I am so tired of worrying about this child. Things like this should just be illegal.

  56. #56 vic
    May 22, 2010

    Is it OK to use a surrogate mindbody? The one which works best for me is owned by my primary care physician.

  57. #57 natural cynic
    May 22, 2010

    Oh, for shame – pedantFAIL. Right off the bat, Anon at #1:

    My body doesn’t tell me a damn thing when I am under stress. It just gets me ever so subtly hyperventilating until hypokalemia sets in and I do a faceplant.

    Uh, its hypocapnia – low CO2. Hypokalemia is low K+.
    And Why “bodymind” and not “mindbody”?

    Mind-body seems to be an older term. I seem to remember it from at least as far back as the early 70s. In one sense it meant that certain autonomic functions and symptoms could be partially controlled by certain mental activities [biofeedback, meditation, etc.], i.e. overcoming pain, cold temperatures, anxiety …]. Bodymind seems to be a newer term. As such, it can mean whatever Ullman wants it to mean.

  58. #58 DLC
    May 22, 2010

    Right. . . stop taking your meds and start taking water instead!
    hahaha !

  59. #59 Rene Najera
    May 22, 2010

    @My Supporters: Thank you. It means a lot to know that I’m not alone on this. However, if the ethics committee says there is a “conflict of interest” in me writing about science while working where I work, what path should I choose? Find a new job? Or stop writing?

    @My Detractors (and that includes you, Kim): Thank you, also. Your constant whinning and bitching about things I didn’t do (and things I did but were not wrong) just gives me a reason to keep on trucking. Seriously, the joke’s on you. I’m the kind of person that, left alone, just fades into the background and goes away.

    DISCLAIMER: Yea and God said to Abraham, “You will kill your son Issac.” And Abraham said, “I can’t hear you, you’ll have to speak into the microphone.” And God said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check… Jerry, pull the high end out, I’m still getting some hiss back here.”

  60. #60 Bill in NC
    May 22, 2010

    Sure, some people refuse treatment.

    It’s the right of any competent adult.

    My grandmother saw her husband go through multiple open heart surgeries, with significant complications that tanked his quality of life for his last decade of life.

    So she now has a bright yellow DNR posted where you can’t miss it.

    Of course, she’s also nearly 95, and understands her chances of ever getting back out of a hospital were she admitted.

  61. #61 maydijo
    May 23, 2010

    Sorry, Dana, I’m not about to unplug from my birth control pills. The last time I tried that I ended up with some rather drastic (but much loved) unintended consequences.

  62. #62 Calli Arcale
    May 24, 2010

    clayton @ 51: that was beautiful. Thank you.

  63. #63 Samantha Vimes
    May 24, 2010

    Maybe “bodymind” is stupid-speak for autonomic functions like immune response and heart rate control? Which, for many people, don’t function well enough (allergies, asthma, arrhythmia)– and the medicines we can take to better control those responses are proof we are smarter than our bodies. And I value my OTC allergy medicine almost as much as my asthma meds– without it, my stomach has a nasty reaction to airborne allergens. And Ibuprofen can make the difference between a good day and a bad one in the short term, and in the long term, if you have chronic pain, not treating it leads to depression and high levels of stress hormones.

    However, I’ve yet to find an OTC treatment for Teh Stupid Burn!

  64. #64 maydijo
    May 24, 2010

    @64 – I have found a cure for Teh Stupid Burn. Hemorrhoid cream, applied liberally to your eyes at regular intervals, will keep you from reading Teh Burning Stupid, and thus keep you from feeling Teh Stupid Burn.

  65. #65 SkydiverIm
    May 25, 2010

    Dr Smart @ 32: “If we still have the same conditions today as we did 6000 years ago when the earth was brand new, we would all be living to be an average of abot 700 to 800 years or so. Of course if Adam and Eve would not have sinned, they themselves would be about 6000 years old now and we would all live forever without sickness. I hope that fruit was well worth it.”

    I’ve had a shit day at work (and believe you me, when my job goes bad, it can go REALLY bad), but this made me laugh! Devvoed I couldn’t have met Adam, though, because Eve ate some fruit. But as fruit is healthy and natural, how come it made them die before their natural lives were lived out? I don’t get it…

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