Respectful Insolence

In the wake of the revelation that Kim Tinkham is dying of what was almost certainly metastatic breast cancer to bones, lungs, and liver after having rejected conventional therapy for her disease in favor of Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo, Young’s response is now (possibly) known. In the comments after part 6 of Young’s interview with Kim Tinkham (discussed by me here), a commenter by the ‘nym of inhisgrace7 reports:

I wanted to find out for myself the truth so I wrote to Dr. Young and here is his response. Kim has always made her own decisions about cancer. Before I met her she had decided on her own that she did not want to have tradional cancer treatments. I have had very little contact with her in the last few years.

Apparently enough contact to have taped an hour-long interview back in March 2010. I call bullshit. For one thing, Kim has only had cancer for less than three years, and he’s been featuring her on his website all along–indeed right up to this very writing. Look for it to disappear down the memory hole, which is why I’ve downloaded web archives and copies of the six parts of the video.

The rest of Young’s reported response:

She called me a few weeks ago to tell me she had had breast surgery and her cancer was now in other parts of her body. She felt embarrassed to tell me this news because she had not been living an alkaline diet. Kim and their family are gratiful for the help I had given her over the years. She believes in the program, as well as the family for improving the quality and quantity of her life.

Despicable. That’s the only word to describe Robert O. Young. He’s despicable. Look at him try to backpedal, now that he’s faced with a woman whom he promised to cure and who is now dying.

As expected and as is typical of cancer quackery, the victim is being blamed for not adhering to the quack’s regimen, for not believing enough. Coward. Even worse, if this response truly came from Robert O. Young, he has just admitted that he’s been lying about Kim Tinkham on his website for at least a few weeks–ever since he got that phone call from her. After all, if this report truly came from him, Young has just admitted that he knew a few weeks ago that Kim Tinkham’s breast cancer had recurred and that she is dying of her disease. Yet he left the videos of her testimonial on his website and YouTube and the blog posts about how well she is doing on his blog. He didn’t even write addenda to update readers on Tinkham’s current condition. Rather, he left these glowing testimonials on the web in order to sell his woo. Look for those to disappear down the memory hole soon, too. Good thing I downloaded copies of Young’s webpage and his videos interviewing Tinkham, too.

Finally, inhisgrace7 reports that Young’s response finished thusly:

I received a beautiful letter from her son thanking me for all the help and sevice I gave to his mother. Thanks for your inquiry although the person who wrote you has no clue about what she is talking about – Kim has No regrets for the path she chose. All the best, Dr Young

I have to walk away from the computer now. I’m so angry that I might write something I’ll later regret.

Comments

  1. #1 Lawrence
    December 6, 2010

    What an ass!

  2. #2 Erika
    December 6, 2010

    Nice. “She felt embarrassed.” Ahh…it must be her fault! I don’t know what’s worse, thinking that she and her family will be under the misapprehension that she would have lived had she only followed the diet, or thinking that they’ll be wondering what would have happened had they chosen standard medical treatment.

    What a waste…

  3. #3 Chris
    December 6, 2010

    Mr. Young has a link on his pH miracle page to donate to his legal defense fund. Where can we donate to get that quack permanently put behind bars?

  4. #4 Prometheus
    December 6, 2010

    Wow. That is despicable.

    Assuming this truly is Dr. Young’s response, it would appear that he’s using quack evasive pattern delta: show that the patient didn’t follow the prescribed therapy exactly. As an example:

    “She felt embarrassed to tell me this news because she had not been living an alkaline diet.”

    For those not familiar with the quack evasive patterns, here the top six in concise format:

    [1] “You should have come to me sooner.”
    [2] “It’s just the toxins coming out.”
    [3] “I know I told you that the therapy would work in [fill in time interval]; you need to give it more time to work.” (Sometimes phrased as “Don’t stop now when you’re so close!”)
    [4] “You’re not better because you didn’t follow my complex and arduous regimen to the letter.”
    [5] “You can’t get better if you have doubt.”
    [6] “Don’t believe what those allopaths tell you, you are better!”

    Prometheus

  5. #5 Raging Bee
    December 6, 2010

    If this is really “Dr.” Young responding here; and if he’s lied about the extent of his contacts with Tinkham, then he could well be lying about the phone call from Tinkham and the letter from her son as well.

    OTOH, the phone call and letter could just as easily be real. One of the reasons quacks and fraudsters get away with it is that their victims are reluctant to admit that they had been defrauded or had made such colossal mistakes.

  6. #6 Janet Camp
    December 6, 2010

    I am very sorry for this woman in the sense of basic human compassion; BUT, it was her “choice” and she seems happy with it. People want to “believe” and they freely choose to do so. Information contrary to Young’s woo is readily available and the woman was more than likely aware of her options. Yes, I deplore that Young and his ilk are allowed to peddle their crap, but it takes a seller and a buyer to make it work. Few who truly “believs” are going to be moved by this case–they will agree that she didn’t “follow the program”, just as christians believe that they are spared this or that disaster, while others perish, because their “belief was strong enough”.

    If you want to change this, I think you have to attack it at the fundamental educational level of questioning the whole basic inclination to “believe” in magic and imaginary beings. Since we seem to be hard-wired, I think it’s an uphill battle. Personally I quit believing in gods and such the same time I gave up Santa and the tooth fairy – about age 7 (the age of reason?)–but I think that is rare and perhaps I am the one who is “defective”.

  7. #7 Zach Miller
    December 6, 2010

    Wow. Just…wow.

  8. #8 oldebabe
    December 6, 2010

    Such a sad story, ugly, really, but it seems a choice was made.

    @ 6.
    Maybe not so “rare”. I figured out Santa at age 8, and kept on doubting what seemed improbable, and do so to this day. Children are more perceptive than they are given credit for, if they are left alone to evaluate and question, rather than being encouraged (and in some instances indoctrinated) to accept the magical thinking.

  9. #9 erbyj9vj98
    December 6, 2010

    “Kim and their family are gratiful for the help I had given her over the years. She believes in the program, as well as the family for improving the quality and quantity of her life.”

    Ha! I fucking KNEW it. This is why I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Kim does not deserve support unless she’s willing to speak out against this quackery. Otherwise, I’m afraid she’s an enabler and is allowing ‘Dr.’ Young (if he can be called that) to continue taking advantage of people.

    “Rather, he left these glowing testimonials on the web in order to sell his woo. Look for those to disappear down the memory hole soon, too. Good thing I downloaded copies of Young’s webpage and his videos interviewing Tinkham, too.”

    If Kim dies, I wonder how many people will see those videos long afterwards and won’t realize that her cancer came back and ended up killing her? I’m so delighted we have such wonderful human beings like ‘Dr.’ Young in the world who would continue using the people they took advantage of to ensnare further victims. Isn’t this illegal? I mean, it should technically be deceptive advertising at this point.

  10. #10 Chris
    December 6, 2010

    Janet Camp:

    If you want to change this, I think you have to attack it at the fundamental educational level of questioning the whole basic inclination to “believe” in magic and imaginary beings. Since we seem to be hard-wired, I think it’s an uphill battle.

    Which is what the skeptic movement, and blogs like this and ScienceBasedMedicine are attempting to do. And, of course, sometimes you see that there is “progress” with the recent attack on a Skepchick contributor by some of the anti-science goons elsewhere. Plus there are these cute little gems like the one I found by searching “Robert O. Young medical”, it is his blog: Is Modern Man Being Dumbed Down?:

    Is there a deliberate effort by the government to dumb down the masses? The statement is hard to prove but there exists a great amount of data proving that the ruling elite not only tolerates, but effectively introduces policies that have a detrimental effect on the physical and mental health of the population. This article looks at the many ways the modern man is being dumbed down. Part I looks at the poisons found in everyday foods, beverages and medications.

    The whole article is ridiculous, and he even pulls a Godwin. But there are people who lap it up, and no amount of reasoning will change their mind. It sent one relative to a grave, and I am worried about another.

  11. #11 Janet Camp
    December 6, 2010

    @oldebabe

    Yes, I agree (from one old babe to another).
    The indoctrination of children is surely the worst thing about even conventional religion–let alone the fundamentalist versions. This is one of Dawkins’ basic complaints in “The God Delusion”, and elsewhere. I certainly went to Sunday School and church, but lost interest as soon as my mother couldn’t answer my question about whether or not people and dinosaurs co-existed and why no dinosaurs were mentioned in the Noah story. Any remaining vestiges of belief were wiped out by the time I was fourteen or so and had read a number of books about the actual historical development of the bible and the beginnings of christianity.

    My own children were brought up without religion and heavy doses of basic science and critical thinking. None of the four have succumbed to religion or woo. Even Star Trek had its non-science tenets pointed out–such as species hybridization!

  12. #12 Scott Cunningham
    December 6, 2010

    Not surprising in the least. I’d call the man a slippery eel, but that would be a slap in the face to eels.

    To those who insist mainstream medicine loses patients to medical errors, at least medical malpractice doesn’t stay filed as a glowing success and linger on YouTube to bring in new marks long after the patient has died.

    Holy cantalone, Batman!

  13. #13 Pernille Nylehn
    December 6, 2010

    Hi, thanks for informing us about this sorry turn of events, and of Young’s despicable response.

    The six videos from this website http://www.phmiracleliving.com/htmlmail/2010/pHe3_25.html have now mysteriously disappeared …

    All the best
    Pernille Nylehn
    MD
    Norway

  14. #14 Orac
    December 6, 2010

    Of course, I downloaded all six videos and kept web archives of Young’s site BEFORE he got rid of the videos. If he tries to lie about the videos and what they say, I’ll be more than happy to show them to anyone who wants to see them.

  15. #15 ferp
    December 6, 2010

    Disgusting. Now that Kim is evidence that their products don’t work, they sweep her under the rug. Of course, they’ve still got at least 4 video testimonials of people who think that their cancer has been ‘cured’ by them.

    Truly, Robert O. Young is a sickening individual.

  16. #16 LovleAnjel
    December 6, 2010

    @6 & 8

    If you leave kids to it they not only figure it out, they figure out tests they can use to find out what’s really going on.

    I was so young when I figured out Santa that I don’t even remember truly believing in him. When I began to question the tooth fairy I came up with a scheme to test it…I told mom, put the tooth under my pillow, and pretended to sleep. I could tell it was my mom by her smell as she leaned over and slipped her hand under my pillow.

    No one “pushed” the Santa thing but up through college my brother & I would “pretend” Santa was coming & put out some of mom’s favorite cookies before we went to bed.

  17. #17 Tsu Dho Nimh
    December 6, 2010

    Young claims, She felt embarrassed to tell me this news because she had not been living an alkaline diet.

    Great, now he can blame the victim for not following his “life-saving advice”.

  18. #18 ferp
    December 6, 2010

    Great, now he can blame the victim for not following his “life-saving advice”.

    Hey, the only way to stay in business as a successful scam-artist is by learning to cover your ass. It’s the whole reason Quack Miranda Warnings tend to be plastered all over alt-med snake oil sites.

  19. #19 Jeff Cahill
    December 6, 2010

    Hi Orac,

    I don’t want to hijack this. I posted a question in another blog that you posted, but doubt you will check it again as it is quite old, so I just wanted to direct you to it. Thanks.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/04/compared_to_robert_o_young_andrew_weil_l.php

  20. #20 ferp
    December 6, 2010

    @Jeff

    With regards to your question, the human body’s pH is largely regulated by buffers dissolved in the blood. It isn’t affected all that much by what you eat (certainly nowhere near what woo-promoters would claim) as your pH needs to remain relatively close to 7.4 in order to, well, live. Nothing ‘leeches’ out of the body or its bones, any balance is maintained by the buffer that’s constantly present in the blood.

    This page seems to be outline the chemistry behind it pretty nicely.

    http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Buffer/Buffer.html

  21. #21 henry barigian
    December 7, 2010

    Orac, why don’t you spread your anger around, such as the drug companies and the orthodox physicians and the FDA and the gov’t that supports these despicable money makers who send thousands to their graves every year with their worthless medicines. Billions have been spent on so called cancer research, have you seen any results?
    I saw a friend of mine dying from cancer in the Kaiser hospital being fed food I wouldn’t feed my dog.
    If you knew the history of medicine in this country your blood would not only boil but you probably would have a stroke.

  22. #22 Chris
    December 7, 2010

    So, Mr. Barigian, your argument is that because you see no value in real medicine then Mr. Young’s protocol can cure cancer. So why is Ms. Tinkham now dying?

  23. #23 Travis
    December 7, 2010

    henry barigian,
    There is a search function on the left hand side. You should use it before posting. Orac has written about the problems in medicine more than a few times. As for your question about progress in cancer research, which I doubt was a question but more of a statement indicating you think there has been little, there has been a huge improvement in the treatment of many cancers. Once again that search function would be useful.

    Of course showing that medicine has problems does not make a single alt med treatment correct. You can show that modern medicine has problems all you want but until alt med practioners show due dilligence and actually do good research they are going to have scorn heaped upon them. Certainly none of the problems surrounding medicine make Robert O. Young correct.

  24. #24 DLC
    December 7, 2010

    Congrats, Robert O Young, you just killed a woman with your quack nostrums and unfounded nonsense! what are you going to do next ?

  25. #25 Chris
    December 7, 2010

    Um, go to Disneyland? In Hades?

  26. #26 NZ Sceptic
    December 7, 2010

    #21 – I watched someone I love literally rot away thanks to the ‘alkaline diet’ she was recommended, and the ‘quantum booster machine,’ sold to her for thousands of dollars by a conman just like Robert O Young. On the other hand two other family members have survived – and thrived- thanks to science and evidence-based medicine such as chemotherapy. It thrills me to see the advances made in these areas, yet I feel incredibly sad seeing people like Kim Tinkham, who looks so pleasant and ordinary on her website, effectively being killed by quacks. I hope her suffering isn’t too awful right now and I feel for her family. Yes, she’s been grossly misled, but this kind of quackery is both persuasive and pervasive, and she had heaps of affirmation and encouragement – not just from Young, but from attention-seekers who should know better, such as your over-hyped Oprah!

  27. #27 Giliell
    December 7, 2010

    I have a really hard time at the moment not puking, but that would probably get me banned from the library…

    Mr. Barigian
    So, simple question: If the food was so bad, why didn’t you just go out and bring your friend some nice food? You know, that’s the way to change things.
    And yes, in spite of billions spent on cancer research, billions spent on cancer treatment, paople still die horrible, painful deaths of cancer. But much less people die of cancer now than they did 50 years ago. And I’m pretty confident that we can lower those numbers still.
    Get a clue. Read the blog, read the story of Kim, read some basic biology textbook, if you then still have no clue try peer-reviewed scientific papers and until you got yourself an education: STFU

    Sorry to all the other readers for being rude.

  28. #28 Orac
    December 7, 2010

    Orac, why don’t you spread your anger around, such as the drug companies and the orthodox physicians and the FDA and the gov’t that supports these despicable money makers who send thousands to their graves every year with their worthless medicines. Billions have been spent on so called cancer research, have you seen any results?

    Why, yes, actually. I have seen results. Progress may not be as fast as we like, but there hvae been numerous improvements in cancer care just in the course of my career.

    As for big pharma, I’ve written about the misdeeds and problems with big pharma many times on this blog. Not my fault if you’re a newbie here–and a clueless newbie at that. There’s a search box in the upper right hand corner. Use it if you don’t believe me about what I’ve written over the last five years here.

    I saw a friend of mine dying from cancer in the Kaiser hospital being fed food I wouldn’t feed my dog.

    Uh, so because the hospital your friend was treated at had crappy food, you think all medicine has blood on its hands?

  29. #29 jim
    December 7, 2010

    @henry barigian: In one of Terry Pratchett’s “Witches” books he had Nanny Ogg considering bad rhetorical questions to ask a king. Things like “who died and made you king?” and “you and whose army?” These are bad rhetorical questions because your debating opponent knows the actual answers and can tell you.

    In a similar vein, you have just, in what you apparently believe is a masterly rhetorical flourish, asked somebody who is a) a clinical oncologist, b) a research scientist, and c) known to have an advanced case of verbal diarrhoea, if he has seen any results from cancer research. This is a very bad rhetorical strategy, because he is quite capable not only of telling you exactly what results he has seen, but of spending weeks doing so.

  30. #30 Ender
    December 7, 2010

    Yeah Janet Camp and Oldebabe the problem with this fraudster promoting false science and medical quackery is that Religion promotes magical thinking!

    The problem with psuedoscience is not the same problem as faith healing and other religious nonsense, it’s that it cloaks itself in the mantle of science to gain the respectability and convincingness it needs to persuade people that it is the correct ‘scientific’ answer. It doesn’t say “Cancer is real but if you pray it will go away” it says “Cancer is just acid/toxins, take this pill and it will be cured.” – There’s a very real difference, and we cannot respond usefully to them if we can’t tell the difference.

    Also, I’m very sorry to hear that your mother couldn’t answer your question Janet. Perhaps it would have been more intelligent and inquisitive of you to try to find out what other people said about it when it turned out your mother was a moron/was ignorant rather than simply losing interest- like a Chav presented with a four syllable word.

  31. #31 Militant Agnostic
    December 7, 2010

    But much less people die of cancer now than they did 50 years ago.

    Even it the same number of people die of cancer progress has still been made. I count a 4 year old who is cured of leukemia or a 30 year old cured of Hodgkins as a success even if they go on to die of prostate cancer at 84 as progress. Even buying someone 5 more years is progress. Of course, in the simple world view of barigian cancer is a single entity and math is ignored so these don’t count.

  32. #32 stripey_cat
    December 7, 2010

    This thread is bringing back happy memories of setting Santa traps… One year (I think I was four, maybe five) I managed to both smooth the ashes over the hearthstone and stick black threads across the flue without my parents noticing. The year before I’d set a stack of toy pans on the top of my bedroom door.

    Ender, I’d guess Janet’s quite glad that no-one managed to fast-talk her into prolonging her religious delusions. I know I am. Three cheers for atheist infant-schoolers.

  33. #33 augustine
    December 7, 2010

    Orac, why don’t you spread your anger around, such as the drug companies and the orthodox physicians and the FDA and the gov’t that supports these despicable money makers who send thousands to their graves every year with their worthless medicines.

    This is a frequent gripe and the answer by many of the apologists is “use the search option”. Yes there are some lip service articles that give a front of objectivity. SBMers do not really see these complaints as a real problem. Their true skeptical passion is in attacking “woo”. Count the number of articles and comments directed against the medical profession and it’s corporate partners and then count the ones that are against woo. You tell me where they think the main problems are.

    If you want to look into it deeper, look at the quality of the articles. You’ll see the pseudomedical/pharmaceutical attacks are partially defended and rationalized making it not much of an attack at all. You won’t see that too much in the woo attacks.

  34. #34 augustine
    December 7, 2010

    militant agnostic: Even buying someone 5 more years is progress.

    Not if it’s lead time bias.

    Of course, in the simple world view of barigian cancer is a single entity and math is ignored so these don’t count.

    Then you shouldn’t lump blood cancers in with solid tumor treatment failure/success. The cancers you speak of are rare in relation to all cancers.

  35. #35 Ender
    December 7, 2010

    Atheist infant-schoolers reject an infant-schoolers conception of religion. Kudos to you if you managed to fairly consider and reject an adult understanding of religion.

    Having a different opinion from you about the existence of God, even if it is wrong and you are right, does not automatically make a person delusional. I suspect you know that of course, but wish a subtle slam on religious belief. Well done, was it fun?
    Or perhaps you were merely characterising Janet’s particular religious beliefs as delusional, in which case, I would say don’t be so rude, you can’t possibly know whether she was delusional as a child, and nothing she has said so far indicates that she was.

  36. #36 Scott
    December 7, 2010

    Young is sufficiently evil that I almost wish I believed Hell existed so that I could console myself by thinking he’d burn there for eternity.

  37. #37 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2010

    Atheist infant-schoolers reject an infant-schoolers conception of religion. Kudos to you if you managed to fairly consider and reject an adult understanding of religion.

    Actually, Ender, many adults have done just that — which could explain why you’re being so thin-skinned and defensive. Care to tell us exactly which “adult understanding of religion” we have failed to debunk?

    And no, there’s really not that much difference between fatih-healing and pseudoscience; the vocabulary of misused words is different, but both share many of the same logical fallacies and appeals to emotion and ignorance.

  38. #38 Militant Agnostic
    December 7, 2010

    Here is a quote from Robert Young’s “About Us” page: “In 1994, Dr. Young discovered the biological transformation of red blood cells into bacteria and bacteria to red blood cells.”

    What I want do know is why is this guy allowed to practice “medicine”. Where are the professional bodies? The above quote is so absurd that it is obvious to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of biology that Robert Young is either batshit insane or knowingly committing fraud. In neither case should he be allowed to practice.

  39. #39 MosesZD
    December 7, 2010

    Henry the Troll:

    Orac, why don’t you spread your anger around, such as the drug companies and the orthodox physicians and the FDA and the gov’t that supports these despicable money makers who send thousands to their graves every year with their worthless medicines. Billions have been spent on so called cancer research, have you seen any results?

    I have. She’s my niece. She had leukemia.

    When I was a boy, kids that got leukemia mostly died (it had a 5% 5-year survival rate). Now 85% survive five years.

    And it’s like that across the board. When I was a kid most cancers were a death sentence. Now a days huge swaths of cancer-death sentences have been repealed.

    So suck on it, troll.

    I saw a friend of mine dying from cancer in the Kaiser hospital being fed food I wouldn’t feed my dog.

    Bullshit. Hospital food is so regulated it’s not funny. OTOH, your dog food could be full of Chinese poisons or non-digestible chicken feathers to skew the “protein results” on the lab tests.

    If you knew the history of medicine in this country your blood would not only boil but you probably would have a stroke.

    I know the history and I routinely criticize “big Pharma” and “big Medicine” for many reasons. But I don’t live in Delusion Land like you.

    Science based medicine WORKS. Unlike everything else.

  40. #40 MosesZD
    December 7, 2010

    Here’s some more for you, Henry-the-troll:

    Tamoxifen — Taken over five years, it reduces the chance of subsequent breast cancer by 50%.

    Mammograms — Early detection of cancers has helped the survival rates of early-detected breast cancer jump from 80% in the 1950′s to 98% now.

    Digital Mammograms — All the fun of mammograms without many of the old-fashioned mammogram downsides. UNFORTUNATELY, it’s not the most widely used method because it’s four times as expensive and many insurance companies fight it.

    Aromatase inhibitors slow the growth of estrogen dependent tumors. These are more effective in post-menopausal women than tamoxifen.

    And there are more. All of which, because of the billions spent in cancer research have substantially increased our chances of surviving a, in the old days, virtually certain painful death.

  41. #41 Ender
    December 7, 2010

    “Actually, Ender, many adults have done just that — which could explain why you’re being so thin-skinned and defensive”

    This makes no sense. Many adults have rejected an adult conception of religion, this has [somehow] caused me to be thin skinned and defensive and therefore I am insisting that we differentiate between pseudoscience and magical thinking?

    “Care to tell us exactly which “adult understanding of religion” we have failed to debunk?”

    No. Care to list all the understandings of religion you’ve proven to be false?
    I wouldn’t bother, it’s irrelevant. You could disprove all religions in the world to 99.9999% accuracy and that wouldn’t make an infant schooler’s understanding of religion any more credible.

    “And no, there’s really not that much difference between fatih-healing and pseudoscience; the vocabulary of misused words is different, but both share many of the same logical fallacies and appeals to emotion and ignorance.”

    I’m sure you’re a smart guy Raging Bee, I’ve seen you say intelligent and perceptive things on this or other local blogs, but you’re letting your antipathy for religion (I can only presume) get in the way of your logic.

    They use different words to describe different things, that’s why they’re not using the same words.
    One posits false medical and scientific information and can fool even the science minded and atheists by replacing correct evidence with false evidence. The other posits Divine Intervention and only fools theists. Et viola, they are different.
    Their effects may be similar, they might appear the same to a quick glance, but they are not. They don’t operate the same way, they don’t prey on the same people and they don’t posit the same thing.

    Those who defend faith healing and pseudoscience may use the same logical fallacies but that has no impact whatsoever on the content of their individual brands of Woo. People who defend correct things often make the same sort of logical errors and mistakes of human cognition that we are all prey to, it does not mean that we are all defending the same thing!

  42. #42 Scott
    December 7, 2010

    Science based medicine WORKS. Unlike everything else.

    That’s not entirely fair. Some other stuff does work. The proportion that works is immensely smaller, and there’s no good way to tell WHICH other stuff works. The latter point in particular means that even the proportion of other stuff which does work isn’t especially USEFUL, but it does exist.

    To “borrow” a phrasing from Orac, there’s stuff we know works, stuff we know doesn’t work, and stuff where we don’t yet know. Some of the third category will indeed turn out to work. (Though the classic CAM techniques fall firmly into the second.)

  43. #43 Calli Arcale
    December 7, 2010

    Scott # 34:

    Young is sufficiently evil that I almost wish I believed Hell existed so that I could console myself by thinking he’d burn there for eternity.

    I know what you mean. I’m not an atheist, but I don’t believe in Hell, or at least not in the eternal flaming torture and punishment conception of Hell. I believe Young’s forgiven by God, no matter what he does about it, and that I have to operate on the assumption that he’s saved and genuinely love him as myself.

    That’s the kind of Christianity I believe in, and it’s very hard sometimes. (There are harder times, though. There really are worse things people can do to their fellow man. Much worse. People turn out to be amazingly inventive when it comes to inflicting anguish.)

  44. #44 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2010

    Wow, Ender, now you’re getting defensive about being called defensive…

    “Care to tell us exactly which ‘adult understanding of religion’ we have failed to debunk?” No.

    Exactly — either there’s no such “adult understanding,” or the “adult understanding” really isn’t that different from the child’s understanding.

    Care to list all the understandings of religion you’ve proven to be false? I wouldn’t bother, it’s irrelevant.

    Then why did you ask the question? You know damn well it’s relevant, but you need an excuse to ignore whatever specific answers you might get. Oh well, thanks for being honest about what a waste of time it would be trying to reason with you.

    …your antipathy for religion (I can only presume)…

    Exactly — you can only “presume” because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Oh, and you “presume” in error: I’m sure I worship more Gods than you do, and there’s plenty of religious people I get along with just fine. My antipathy is toward stupidity and dishonesty, not religion. (Of course, if you’ve never seen one without the other, your thin-skinned response would be understandable.)

    They use different words to describe different things, that’s why they’re not using the same words.

    I notice you didn’t deny my asseretion that both pseudoscience and faith-healing rely on the same logical fallacies and appeals to emotion and ignorance. Also, when the words used represent meaningless abstract concepts, how can you be sure the concepts are really different?

  45. #45 mikerattlesnake
    December 7, 2010

    “sophisticated belief”, like bigfoot, is often talked about at great length despite never actually showing up to the party.

  46. #46 Ender
    December 7, 2010

    So denying something is being defensive? Do you beat your wife? Don’t get defensive now.

    It’s clear you are chomping at the bit to “debunk” something, but it’s puzzling why you think that it would be relevant.
    Well it’s not really, you think you have the answer, and you think I’m smug or annoying and you’re just itching to ‘take me down’, and therefore don’t care whether it’s relevant or not.

    FTR, it’s still not.

    If you want to have a debate about whether there’s an ‘adult’ understanding, perhaps you should find someone who isn’t of the opinion that you are pissed off and incapable of taking anything I say seriously.
    You can try and bait me by saying “You haven’t addressed it – Therefore It Does Not Exist!!!”, but both you know and I know that that’s a stupid thing to say. An illogical statement where B clearly does not follow from A. Why would I bother responding substantively to that?

    “Then why did you ask the question? You know damn well it’s relevant, but you need an excuse to ignore whatever specific answers you might get.”

    No. I asked the question simply as a mirror to your own equally irrelevant question. I presumed (incorrectly) that you would see how irrelevant my question was and reconsider the relevance of yours.
    They’re both still irrelevant.

    But please, if you really care, have at it. I’ll read and respond to anything you’ve got.

    “Exactly — you can only “presume” because you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Yes, well done, that is indeed the meaning of the word ‘presume’. Now can you guess why I used it in that sentence? Talk about getting defensive. I added that word deliberately, and it appears you understand what it means, so why the hostility?

    If that is not the reason that you are collating two different things and claiming that they are the same, then I don’t know why you’re doing it. To be honest it was stupid of me to even mention a motivation, you can never know why people think what they think after reading a short amount of their opinions.

    So I take that back. You are have the opinion that two things which claim different results, through different mechanisms, using different world philosophies (supernatural vs scientific) are the same. I am not going to speculate why, perhaps you can tell me.

    “I didn’t notice that you addressed my assertion that both pseudoscience and faith-healing rely on the same logical fallacies and appeals to emotion and ignorance. Also, when the words used represent meaningless abstract concepts, how can you be sure the concepts are really different?”

    There, fixed that for you.
    I explicitly mentioned that while the tactics of those who defend it are the same (logical fallacies, appeals to emotion and ignorance) that the actual content of the ideas is not the same. Therefore they are not the same.

    Pseudoscience claims fake science and incorrect evidence to claim a real physical (chemical or energetic) effect will occur with beneficial results due to the principles of science and a material mechanism.

    Faith healing claims theistic magic and no evidence to claim beneficial results due to Divine intervention without a material mechanism.

    What about those two things is the same apart from that they are both untrue (and claim to heal)?

  47. #47 Gizmo
    December 7, 2010

    Looks like “Doctor” Young has just re-posted an abridged version of the testimonial to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzHbqsifqqE

  48. #48 Knightly
    December 7, 2010

    I had something to say about this but now I look at the comments and see it’s a battle between idiot know-nothing atheists and idiot know-nothing believers. It ever occur to you guys that no one really cares about your personal philosophy, or for your opinion on someone else’s?

    This is ridiculous. I thought Science Blogs was supposed to be a sanctuary from this kind of immature nonsense.

  49. #49 augustine
    December 7, 2010

    This is ridiculous. I thought Science Blogs was supposed to be a sanctuary from this kind of immature nonsense.

    Because it’s not science Blogs. It’s atheistic/skeptic science BASED blogs. It’s science used as a sock puppet.

  50. #50 Vicki
    December 7, 2010

    A good rule from Usenet (so not remotely new): post what you would like to read.

    In this case, instead of kvetching that the thread has gone off topic, take the same time to post your on-topic comment.

  51. #51 Rorschach
    December 7, 2010

    Knightly, if the quality of the discourse here is not to your liking, feel free to go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.

    Sometimes the talk is good. Sometimes it’s not. Either way it’ll get on fine without you here.

  52. #52 Pernille Nylehn
    December 7, 2010

    Hi everyone, there’s one thing I don’t understand: As far as I know “Dr.” Young har been charged and sentenced for quackery several times. How can he still keep up with his nauseating business? I don’t know enough about the US legal system, can someone explain it to me?

    I hav recently become aware of Young and his theory. As you may know, he travels around the world to spread his happy news, and to train new “microscopists”. Most (all?) of them have no formal training in medicine whatsoever, but after two weeks with the Big leader they are “certified” and can set up shop.
    Here in Norway he has rather a lot of followers, and his bleach drops and green stuff is very popular. We only have 4 mill inhabitants, but these two products alone sell for more than 50 million NOK (9 million dollars) per year.

    One of the central persons in this network is a former flight mechanic (!). One consultation with him costs 300 dollars …
    I’ve talked to him several times, and tried to explain how several of Young’s dogmas are physically impossible (like magnesium turning into iron inside the body), but he is unable to believe that Young could be wrong in any way.

    If people don’t understand such elementary truths about elements, where do we start?

    Pernille Nylehn
    MD
    Norway

  53. #53 Pernille Nylehn
    December 7, 2010

    Here’s something that might interest you about Robert Q (quack) Young’s “healthy og natural” products:

    Cosnumerlab.com have tested several “green powders”, among them Innerlight/Young’s SuperGreens.
    https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Greens_Whole_Foods_Powders_Supplements/greens/

    They found Lead and/or Cadmium Contamination in 25% of the powders. In superGreens they found 19,6 mcg of lead per daily serving. Which is rather a lot …

    Innerlight are of course informed about this, but as far as I know they have done nothing at all.

    Some more from the report here: http://perpelle.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/supergreens-inneholder-bly-mye-bly/#more-1356

    (the first part is in Norwegian, but if you scroll a little bit down you’ll find an excerpt from the report in English.)

    All the best
    Pernille Nylehn
    MD
    Norway

  54. #54 Raging Bee
    December 8, 2010

    I explicitly mentioned that while the tactics of those who defend it are the same (logical fallacies, appeals to emotion and ignorance) that the actual content of the ideas is not the same. Therefore they are not the same.

    The tactics used to defend both pseudoscience and faith-healing are the same (as you just admitted) precisely because they’re based on, and supported/”proven” by, the same logical fallacies. (Generally speaking, the basis of an argument is the same as how it’s defended.)

  55. #55 Amando
    December 8, 2010

    An extended discussion of the rational and irrational ways treatments are judged effective. Recommended.

    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/altpsych.html

  56. #56 Amando
    December 8, 2010

    The personal experience of cancer is surreal at the start. One feels okay, but a test says one has a frightening disease. One is then told that certain treatments attack the disease, but it is these treatments that make one start to look and feel sick.

    The situation is one that rings the dinner bell for quacks.

    The quack says ‘Those MDs are lying to you. You’re not really sick.’ The quack says ‘Those toxic treatments are the real problem!’ The vulnerable sufferer says ‘I knew it!’

    The sufferer ‘knows it’ not because the sufferer really knows, but because the quack’s words seem to validate the way the experience feels. The person has been told contradictory things by individuals perceived as having some training or authority. Of the two, it is the quack who whose words describe the experience presenting itself to the subject.

    We are talking, of course, only about the experience of cancer at its onset. But that early stage, and the immediate reactions people have to it, count for a great deal in quackery.

  57. #57 AndyD
    December 9, 2010

    I see no shortage of Kim Tinkham testimonials on Young’s blog.

  58. #58 mikee
    December 12, 2010

    why is this guy able to put Dr in his name or PhD after it, if his “qualifications” are from and unaccredited college? His wikipedia site calls him a microbiologist but I haven’t been able to find any qualifications to back this up. I loathe toadies like this guy.

  59. #59 Pernille Nylehn
    December 22, 2010

    Hi, just to inform you that Young still talks about Kim Tinkham’s story as a “successful journey towards health” and bla bla bla.
    http://www.phmiracleliving.com/

    “Two days before her 50 birthday, Kim Tinkham was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. That day she began her journey of healing. After consulting with medical doctors and holistic doctors, even appearing on the Oprah show, Kim ultimately found what she was looking for in Dr. Robert and Shelley Youngs pH Miracle program. Excited by the healthful prospects that program afforded, she entered into a new world of health and optimism. This is her story.”

    I think maybe he has simply forgotten to remove her name, since her story is written as an introduction to another breast cancer miracle story, but the video with Tinkham is not among the videos.

    Either way, the guy has no shame and no sense of propriety. He makes me want to puke.

  60. #60 Josephine Jones
    October 14, 2011

    I’m outraged. Young continues to proudly claim he can reverse breast cancer. Just today, he tweeted “Try this link for reversing terminal metastatic breast cancer http://www.youtube.com/user/pHMiracleCenter?blend=3&ob=5#p/u/6/apk_5m877s8http://twitter.com/#!/drrobertyoung