Two women died of breast cancer yesterday. One was named Kim Tinkham. One was named Elizabeth Edwards.

In some ways, these women were similar. True, one was older than the other, but both of them died far sooner than they should have, one at age 53, the other at age 61. Both engaged in activism about breast cancer. Both were ambitious, driven women. Both died in the presence of their friends and family. Both died within hours of each other. Both demonstrated the implacable killer that breast cancer can be.

There the similarities end. One of these women (Kim Tinkham), for example, died because she chose quackery instead of effective therapy. The other, Elizabeth Edwards, died in spite of choosing science-based therapy. I expect that it will not be long at all before promoters of quackery like Mike Adams come out of the woodwork, as they frequently do when a celebrity dies of cancer, sometimes to truly despicable extremes. They will come out and claim that, because Elizabeth Edwards chose standard-of-care treatment but ended up dying anyway, science-based medicine is useless. At the same time, some will decry criticism of the quack whose nostrums deprived Kim Tinkham of her one best chance at surviving her tumor because women die every day of breast cancer, as though that were a valid reason, as though the situations were equivalent.

Let’s take a look at Elizabeth Edwards first. Edwards, as you recall, was married to former Senator, 2004 Vice Presidential candidate, and 2008 Presidential candidate. This time was the time when Elizabeth Edwards fought her battle with breast cancer:

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, in the final days of her husband’s vice presidential campaign. The Democratic John Kerry-John Edwards ticket lost to incumbent President George W. Bush.

John Edwards launched a second bid for the White House in 2007, and the Edwardses decided to continue even after doctors told Elizabeth that her cancer had spread. He lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

I wrote extensively about the recurrence of Elizabeth Edwards’ breast cancer not long after it happened in 2007. In brief, Edwards was diagnosed with bone metastases, one of the most frequent sites to which breast cancer metastasizes. At the time, I discussed Edwards’ likely prognosis, pointing out how variable breast cancer biology can be and, in particular, how not all stage IV breast cancer is created equal. At the time, I observed that the median five year survival for metastatic breast cancer is on the order of 20%, with a median survival in the range of 16-24 months. However, by report Edwards had low volume disease only in her bones and no other organs (although it was unclear to me from reports whether she also had lung metastases). If she had bone-only disease, it would have implied a better, with some series reporting median survivals higher than 40 months. Moreover, from what I could discover, Edwards apparently had a stage II cancer that was estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-negative. In retrospect, Edwards probably did either better than a woman with stage IV breast cancer would be expected to so, except in the case of a woman with bone-only disease, in which case she probably lived fairly close to what would be the expected median survival. Her total survival was approximately six years from the time of her original diagnosis.

Either way, it saddens me greatly that Edwards’ life was 20 or 30 years shorter than it should have been, thanks to breast cancer.

Now, a cancer quack would argue that Edwards “only” lived six years. He would complain that science-based medicine failed to save her. He would argue this as though the failure of conventional medicine to save Elizabeth Edwards somehow validates whatever quackery he advocates. We’ve already seen it in the comments in my post from Monday about Kim Tinkham (whom we’ll get back to soon enough) and my call for everyone to remind Oprah that Tinkham has died because of choices facilitated and encouraged by Oprah’s promotion of pseudoscience and quackery on her show.

So what did Elizabeth Edwards do with the time she had? Among many other things, including helping her husband run for President, this:

Elizabeth Edwards had focused in recent years on advocating health care reform, often wondering aloud about the plight of those who faced the same of kind of physical struggles she did but without her personal wealth.

She had also shared with the public the most intimate struggles of her bouts with cancer, writing and speaking about the pain of losing her hair, the efforts to assure her children about their mother’s future and the questions that lingered about how many days she had left to live.

And, yes, she did pursue science-based medical therapy, and she did not survive. She did, however, try her hardest and choose the most effective therapy out there that we yet know about. She did it with class and clear-eyed knowledge of the risks and benefits.

Contrast this to Kim Tinkham. For whatever reason, when confronted with her diagnosis, instead of considering what needs to be done and making a cold-eyed assessment of the risks and benefits based on science, Tinkham embraced the New Age mystical woo known as The Secret. That very same New Age mystical woo led her to Robert O. Young, a man who claims that cancer is not a disease but rather a reaction to cells “spoiled” by too much acid and promised her that she could survive her cancer if she followed his “pH Miracle” lifestyle. This includes an “alkaline diet” and sodium bicarbonate, among other things, even though there is zero reliable scientific evidence to support Young’s claims that cancer is caused by “excess acid” or that “alkalinization” will cure it. However, as I pointed out, Tinkham did not want surgery and was clearly afraid of chemotherapy. That fear led her to reject her only good chance at survival, even though science-based medicine offered her a good chance of survival. Unfortunately, Tinkham made this decision even though she was clearly intelligent. However, somehow, something about The Secret and Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo resonated with her to the extent that it struck her as more appealing and reasonable than science-based medicine. The reason, I suspect, is that she was the type of person who needed answers. Remember, she wasn’t satisfied that conventional doctors couldn’t tell her why she got this cancer. Even though conventional doctors could treat it with a fairly high likelihood of success, they could not tell her with 100% certainty the answer to the question: Why me? Robert O. Young did not have the answer to that question, but he was able to convince Ms. Tinkham that he did, and she believed him.

You might remember that I estimated Tinkham’s chances of suriving ten years at around 50-50, In retrospect, it occurs to me that I probably made a fairly pessimistic estimate of the likelihood of Tinkham’s survival if she accepted therapy. Not all stage III is the same. Depending on other characteristics of her tumor, Tinkham might have had as high as a 70% chance of surviving 10 years or as low as a 30-40% chance. So I split the difference in my original (and admittedly) very rough estimate. Looking over her story again, I think that, in retrospect, Tinkham probably had one of the more favorable stage III tumors, which, if true, would mean that her chances were probably on the order of 60%, possibly even higher. Compare this estimate to an estimate of her odds of survival in the absence of treatment, which was probably no more than 3.6%. In essence, Tinkham chose to throw her life away. She was simply fortunate enough to have taken nearly four years to do it, lasting longer than the estimated 2.7 year median survival of untreated breast cancer. Yes, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that Tinkham did not have recurrent breast cancer. (After all, I do not have access to her medical records.) It is, however, very likely that she did, particularly given that she was described as having “cancer” in the liver, lung, and bone, the three most common sites to which breast cancer metastasizes.

Yes, unfortunately, despite choosing two very different courses from each other, both Kim Tinkham and Elizabeth Edwards died of their disease yesterday. This happened even though Elizabeth Edwards did the right thing to treat her disease and Kim Tinkham did the wrong thing. What does this mean?

Nothing at all, at least in terms of proving that “alternative” medicine should be taken as seriously as science-based medicine.

What we have are two anecdotes that both end badly. In the case of Kim Tinkham, we know from the biology of breast cancer that her choice virtually guaranteed that the course of her disease would eventually end in death. In contrast, assuming that Elizabeth Edwards did indeed have a stage II tumor, she should have had a roughly 80% chance of surviving ten years after her cancer diagnosis. The tragedy is that Edwards was, through no fault of her own, on the “wrong” side of that survival curve. Based on random chance alone, she was one of the unlucky 20%. Unfortunately, in the case of early stage breast cancer, because the vast majority of women survive, we all too frequently forget that a few still do die of their disease. In any case, The tragedy of Elizabeth Edwards’ death from breast cancer does not “prove” that science-based medicine is ineffective any more than the facts that seat belts and airbags do not save everyone who gets into a major automobile crash and occasionally there are people who even suffer injury and death due to seatbelt or airbag injuries mean that seatbelts and airbags do not work to save lives. Rather, it simply reminds us that even some women with favorable breast cancers still die of their disease, even after we throw everything we have at it. It also shows that we still have considerable room for improvement in our treatment of breast cancer. It shows that cancer is a formidable foe that we have not yet entirely beaten.

It does not invalidate science-based medicine or in any way validate quackery. It does not demonstrate that Tinkham was wise to choose her woo or that Edwards was a brainwashed dupe to choose conventional science-based therapy.

It is also instructive to compare the practitioners who treated Elizabeth Edwards with the one who “treated” (if you can call it that) Kim Tinkham. I’ll leave aside the obvious difference that the practitioners who treated Elizabeth Edwards were renowned cancer specialists using the latest in Science-Based Medicine and the other practiced rank pseudoscientific quackery, although that difference can’t be ignored. No, I want to contrast how these practitioners counseled their patients. Although I can’t know for sure, it’s very likely that Edwards’ doctors laid out the treatment options, the odds of success for each one, and their recommendations. When her cancer recurred in 2007, judging by the statements Edwards has made to the press and what she reportedly wrote in her book, they were quite honest that her disease was no longer curable and that all they could do at that point was to delay its progression and palliate her symptoms as they showed up. In the end, they told candidly when there was no longer any hope and even apparently told her that it was “pointless” to continue therapy. I have no way of knowing whether they waited too long to come to that point and suggest hospice. Possibly they did, given that Edwards only lived a day or so after announcing that she was discontinuing treatment. In any case, science-based practitioners know that cancer is a formidable foe and that we don’t always win, even against early stage breast cancer. We’ve all seen patients recur with stage IV disease. Usually, we know our limitations. We say to patients like Elizabeth Edwards, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing more we can do for you. I wish there were.”

Contrast this to the “practitioner,” Dr. Robert O. Young, who “treated” Kim Tinkham. By Tinkham’s own reports, Young promised her that he knew the cause of cancer and that it was treatable with an “alkaline” diet and sodium bicarbonate to “alkalinize” her blood. He told her she didn’t need surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation; indeed, if his website and blog are any indication, he probably told her that they would hurt her by making her more “acid.” Apparently, based on Tinkham’s own reports, at some point Young told her her tumor couldn’t hurt her, even though it was still there, because she herself said that in an interview. He also used her testimonial on his website and YouTube channel to sell his woo and, if a comment on one of his YouTube video pages was an accurate representation of what he said, apparently continued to do so, leaving the Tinkham interview videos on YouTube channel long after he knew that Tinkham was dying. In his response, instead of taking responsibility, young implicitly shifted the blame to Tinkham, claiming that she told him when she called him to let him know that her breast cancer had recurred and that she was dying that she had not “lived an alkaline lifestyle” lately. He tried his best to absolve himself of responsibility, claiming that he hadn’t seen her much in several years, even though he taped a lengthy interview with her in early 2010. When confronted with the public revelation that Tinkham was dying, Young abruptly removed all the videos, save the “abridged” edition, which appears to be a short compilation of highlights of the hour long interview.

In other words, his words and deeds after learning of Tinkham’s relapse indicate that Young was desperately trying to duck responsibility, in essence saying that it’s Tinkham’s fault that she died because she didn’t follow his regimen closely enough or didn’t believe enough and that, even if she did, he hadn’t seen her much in years anyway.

One other question comes to mind. It’s almost certain that, when informed of their diagnoses, both Kim Tinkham and Elizabeth Edwards felt the same emotions, the same fear of their disease, the same worries about whether or not they would live, the same anxiety about the treatments that were to come. Yet one managed to keep her rationality about her and choose science-based therapy, while the other retreated into a world of fantasy, in which she believed in The Secret and relied on a quack peddling quackery so bad that it doesn’t even qualify as pseudoscience. One maximized her chances of survival, while one rejected her one best chance at survival. The only other difference between the two was that one was simply unlucky and one was lucky enough to last longer than expected with in essence no treatment. With that in mind, my question still remains: Why do people run into the arms of quacks, particularly in the case of being diagnosed with a treatable disease, even if life-threatening? More importantly, how can we as doctors try to facilitate the understanding of cancer biology and science-baed medicine so that it’s more likely that patients will be like Elizabeth Edwards and less likely that they will be like Kim Tinkham?

Comments

  1. #1 Todd W.
    January 10, 2011

    @Chris

    Heh, oops. My bad. Mr. Young.

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    January 10, 2011

    Dave,

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m not trying to attack you, or to discourage you from eating a healthy diet. When you’re fighting cancer, a healthy diet is extremely important, and every doctor I’ve known personally would agree on that point. My only point is that it isn’t magic. The nutrition is vital to surviving the chemo, which is usually not pleasant, but any food that’s good for you is almost certainly good for the tumor too — that’s the hell of cancer treatment, really; tumor cells are very much like normal cells, so things that poison them aren’t likely to be very fun for the rest of you. There’s more to it than that, of course, but it’s why chemo sucks so much.

    And why you need to eat well during that time. It will weaken you, and it may also make it hard to eat — many people suffer severe nausea, and some even lose their appetite altogether. Eating without an appetite is torturous, which is why that’s been a significant focus of research — how to help cancer patients get hungry again. There was hope THC would help (marijuana does give people the munchies, after all) but it was a disappointment. Work continues, which just goes to prove that doctors really do feel that it is important. It’s just not magical, any more than breathing oxygen is magical. It’s vital to your continued existence, but it won’t make the cancer go away.

    So keep eating well! If you’re already used to it, especially, don’t give it up. And should you be declared cancer free, keep eating healthy. It’s worth it!

    Anecdote time….

    Andreas Katsulas was an actor beloved of the sci-fi community for his portrayal of the alien ambassador G’Kar on “Babylon 5”. He was also famous for living a somewhat hedonistic lifestyle, which was occasionally reflected in his portrayal of G’Kar. He was a good man, but a man who clearly loved life’s little pleasures. One of his cardinal pleasures was smoking, and he’d often be found out behind the studio, still in full Narn costume and makeup (including the red contacts), smoking a cigarette. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that he developed lung cancer. The moment he got the diagnosis, he quit smoking, cold turkey. But he didn’t stop there. He started exercising and eating properly. He also began treatment for the lung cancer. His condition was bad at the start, and he only lived a year after the diagnosis. However, at one of his dinners with his old Babylon 5 colleagues, he remarked that since being told he was about to die, he’s never felt better.

    He knew the truth; he knew he was going to die of the lung cancer no matter what was done. But because he took up a healthy lifestyle, by all accounts the last year of his life was much more pleasant. It’s not a story with a *lot* of hope, given that he died, but it’s still a good story to hear because this is a man who looked at his prospects and made a clear decision — focus on making the most of what he had.

    I hope your outcome is better than his was; from what you’ve said about percentages, it sounds as if your odds are quite a bit better. (He was given basically 0% survival chance right at the beginning.) But one lesson I take from Katsulas’ story is that healthy living can improve the quality of your life, even if you don’t have much *quantity* of life left.

  3. #3 Dave
    January 10, 2011

    Pablo…. yes, food is snakeoil. Keep buying the cheap stuff (pop, chips, sugar, processed food) and you’ll go far.

    Calli…. Kim, in her video, said that within the first two months there was no sign of cancer by ct scan. Where did it go? Kim elected nutrition as her treatment which is a very time consuming task. If I decide to skip some of my treatments, would that not be same as Kim cutting back on hers?

    Chris…. short version…. Kim was an adult. She was smart enough to make her own decisions. Dr Young did not prevent her from doing anything… nor does my doctor force me, or prevent me, into any treatments. I guess if you bought something that doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, you blame the salesmen huh? It looks as if Kim did her research, weighed the pros and cons, and made a decision. But since everyone in this blog feels Dr Young killed her, and I don’t, I must have some reading comprehensions according to you. Ms. Edward’s doctor didn’t cure her either so I guess they technically KILLED her too. But she did as she was told so it makes it ok, doesn’t it?

  4. #4 dave
    January 10, 2011

    Great advice T Bruce…. I love it…listen to the concensus of others. Afterall, it’s not their life, or their kids they have to worry about leaving behind. Wow…that was a brilliant response. Thank you so much.

    Calli… thank you.

    Todd… I’m just amazed at how so many experts in nutrition here can say that a healthier diet can not help heal the human body. Smart people. Guess there will be a lot of nutritionist out of jobs.

    Dr Chris…. you obviously can’t get over the whole diploma thing with Dr. Young can you? You know my best and most successful clients are some of the ones that never went to college. Experience is everything…. I bet you have your diploma framed on the wall huh?

    OK…. I promise this was my last comment. Way to negative for me here. So you get the last word, talk about me, call me a quack, wonder if I’m still alive. It’s coffee time Dr Chris courtesy of Max Gerson, followed by some raw veggies, a light workout, and a prayer to God thanking him for another day! God bless and have a great life everyone. (PS T Bruce… you’ll grow if you learn to make decisions that sometimes may not be the most popular among others. Thats my advice to you. )

  5. #5 Todd W.
    January 10, 2011

    @Dave

    Todd… I’m just amazed at how so many experts in nutrition here can say that a healthier diet can not help heal the human body. Smart people. Guess there will be a lot of nutritionist out of jobs.

    You seem to be misunderstanding. A good diet is important for good health. But that is quite different from saying that a certain diet can cure cancer (or some other disease). Certainly, a good diet can be supportive, but a good diet in and of itself is unlikely to cure (i.e., get rid of) cancer. Claims like that need to be supported by robust evidence, otherwise you have people believing that all they need to do is eat right, forego cancer treatment, and have their lives cut considerably shorter than it might have been.

    If there is evidence, then present it! Go find some articles published in high-quality journals that show that a given diet cures cancer.

  6. #6 Scott
    January 10, 2011

    Kim was an adult. She was smart enough to make her own decisions. Dr Young did not prevent her from doing anything… nor does my doctor force me, or prevent me, into any treatments. I guess if you bought something that doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, you blame the salesmen huh?

    Young systematically lied to her. Nobody, however smart, can make informed decisions based on lies. And yes, if a salesman tells me he has a car for sale, and I buy it, and he gives me a potted petunia, YES I blame the salesman for that! (Though a closer analogy would be if the petunia had a bomb buried in the pot.)

    But since everyone in this blog feels Dr Young killed her, and I don’t, I must have some reading comprehensions according to you. Ms. Edward’s doctor didn’t cure her either so I guess they technically KILLED her too. But she did as she was told so it makes it ok, doesn’t it?

    The difference is that what Young-the-fraud recommended had no chance of helping her, while he steered her away from the treatment that COULD have.

  7. #7 Chris
    January 10, 2011

    I am not a doctor, and Dave is now just trolling.

  8. #8 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 10, 2011

    (PS T Bruce… you’ll grow if you learn to make decisions that sometimes may not be the most popular among others. Thats my advice to you. )

    On the other hand, you may die unnecessarily. That’s my advice to you.

  9. #9 MJ
    February 7, 2011

    May I suggest that you modify or amend your original blog post, to take into account that Elizabeth Edwards most probably had Stage III, not Stage II, cancer at diagnosis? I’ve read several places Mrs. Edwards commenting on how “large” the tumor was — “plum sized”, “the size of a half dollar”, etc. The 9 cm guesstimate might be off base, but I would certainly guess 5+ cm guesstimate would be accurate.

    This would put Mrs. Edwards vs. Mrs. Tinkham’s relative survival in better contrast.

  10. #10 Jason
    February 8, 2011

    I have wrote a rebuttal to this person’s comments on my blog..

    http://www.thepheffect.net/?p=286

  11. #11 NJ
    February 8, 2011

    Jason @ 210:

    I have wrote a rebuttal to this person’s comments on my blog..

    From Jason’s website:

    Jason Kelsey is a Holistic Wellness Consultant…

    Bafflegab != rebuttal.

  12. #12 ruth
    April 18, 2011

    ORAC,
    now that you have successfully analyzed Kim’s death. can you also take some time how this Korean woman died of cancer?

    http://shinscancerblog.blogspot.com/

    This is a typical case of an over-insured and over-treated Breast Cancer patient who died because of a lung infection called “pleurisy” – a complication related to Herceptin pleural effusion.

    Can you also call this Death by Conventional Medicine?

  13. #13 youmakenosense
    June 5, 2011

    Blaming “The Secret” for Robert O. Young is an absurd leap of logic. His theory has nothing to do with “The Secret”. And Oprah specifically told Kim to her face that she should seek conventional medical care. This blog is ridiculous.

  14. #14 Chris
    June 5, 2011

    Have you actually read the article you are spamming?

  15. #15 kaymon
    June 5, 2011

    “Have you actually read the article you are spamming?”

    I’ve read the article and its incoherent gibberish. Kim allegedly died after following the theory that cancer is caused by cells spoiled by acid. People die after following every kind of treatment which is why no scientists depends on a single anecdote to draw conclusions, however even if the acid based theory is dangerous, it has absolutely no logical connection to “The Secret” which is a book that argues that positive thinking is beneficial, which has actually been proven by “The placebo effect” and studies on “internal locus of control”.

    Obviously however if you rely exclusively on positive thinking (or exercise, or nutrition) you will not be successful which is why Oprah went out of her way to tell millions of people and kim to her face that “The Secret” is not the solution to disease or all problems and that she should seek conventional medical treatment. Kim agreed that “The Secret” was not sufficient, however some people will never be comfortable with conventional medical care because it involves chemotherapy and surgery so Kim eventually ended up pursuing the acid theory (which has nothing to do with “The Secret” which is why this blog makes no sense)

  16. #16 Chris
    June 5, 2011

    Any particular reason why we should care what a repetitive Necromancer has to say?

  17. #17 Krebiozen
    June 5, 2011

    @kaymon
    Just because you don’t have the education or intelligence to understand something doesn’t mean it is “incoherent gibberish”.

    Do you seriously believe in ‘The Secret’? Please don’t pretend it is about the placebo effect or internal locus of control. Proponents of ‘The Secret’ clearly preach that our thinking has objective effects on the world around us. Rhonda Byrne suggested that the 2006 tsunami victims were to blame for their misfortune because they were “on the same frequency as the event.” Byrne even claims that, “illness cannot exist in a body that has harmonious thoughts.” Most people grow out of that sort of delusional magical thinking by the time they are about 6 years old.

  18. #18 kaymon
    June 5, 2011

    “Just because you don’t have the education or intelligence to understand something doesn’t mean it is ‘incoherent gibberish’.”

    Ah, the old “anyone who doesn’t agree with our great wisdom must be stupid or ignorant” argument. How conveniently circular, unfalsifiable and self-aggrandizing.

    “Do you seriously believe in ‘The Secret’?”

    I believe in the power of positive thinking, internal locus of control, hope, vision, and the placebo effect. Anything else is just window dressing.

    “Please don’t pretend it is about the placebo effect or internal locus of control.”

    Why not? Because then you’re whole crusade against some transient self-help book is exposed as hopelessly inane, frivolous, and cowardly?

    “Rhonda Byrne suggested that the 2006 tsunami victims were to blame for their misfortune because they were “on the same frequency as the event.”

    And Darwin believed blacks were genetically inferior, but just as we don’t reject evolutionary theory because it’s founder held politically incorrect views, why would we reject “The Secret” because Rhonda Byrne’s is offensive.

    “Most people grow out of that sort of delusional magical thinking by the time they are about 6 years old.”

    And most people grow out of selective logic, anecdotal evidence, sophistry, and guilt by association thinking by the time they post on science blogs, but you people evidently have not.

  19. #19 NJ
    June 5, 2011

    kaymon @ 218:

    And most people grow out of selective logic, anecdotal evidence, sophistry, and guilt by association thinking by the time they post on science blogs, but you people evidently have not.

    …and the winner in the category Best Example of Projection is…

  20. #20 Krebiozen
    June 5, 2011

    @kaymon

    Ah, the old “anyone who doesn’t agree with our great wisdom must be stupid or ignorant” argument. How conveniently circular, unfalsifiable and self-aggrandizing.

    You didn’t say you disagreed with Orac’s post, which is perfectly well-written and coherent, you said you couldn’t understand it. The definition of “incoherent gibberish” is “incomprehensible, confusing, unintelligible or meaningless”. If you are unable to understand simple English (either the blog post or what “incoherent gibberish means) I have to assume you are lacking in either education or intelligence.

    I believe in the power of positive thinking, internal locus of control, hope, vision, and the placebo effect. Anything else is just window dressing.

    Then you disagree with the core principle of ‘The Secret’, which is that positive thinking can affect the universe out there, by magic. I agree that positive thinking is helpful on an individual psychological level, but I don’t think there is any evidence it affects the world out there, as Byrne claims it does.

    “Please don’t pretend it is about the placebo effect or internal locus of control.”
    Why not? Because then you’re whole crusade against some transient self-help book is exposed as hopelessly inane, frivolous, and cowardly?

    No, because the book and the film of ‘The Secret’ make it clear that it is not just about the placebo effect and internal locus of control, it is about wielding an imaginary supernatural power.

    Darwin believed blacks were genetically inferior, but just as we don’t reject evolutionary theory because it’s founder held politically incorrect views, why would we reject “The Secret” because Rhonda Byrne’s is offensive.

    I’m not saying that we should reject ‘The Secret’ because Byrne’s views are offensive (though I think they are), I’m saying we should reject it because her entire premise and the principles of ‘The Secret’ are absolute nonsense, and are contradicted by plenty of evidence.

    You might look at studies of depression and cancer, or the effects of positive thinking and visualization on cancer survival, or at the power of prayer on illness. Most and certainly the best designed studies show no effect at all, despite popular belief.

    And most people grow out of selective logic, anecdotal evidence, sophistry, and guilt by association thinking by the time they post on science blogs, but you people evidently have not.

    I really don’t know what you are referring to here. I haven’t used any selective evidence, anecdotes, sophistry or guilt by association, as far as I am aware, and I don’t think these are normal psychological stages that most children go through and grow out of.

    I object to ‘The Secret’ partly because it is clearly childish nonsense, but also because it encourages people to believe they can change the world by simply thinking pretty thoughts instead of taking action. You mention the placebo effect, but that only works on the psychological elements of illnesses. The placebo effect will not make a tumor shrink nor will it put money in your bank account.

  21. #21 kaymon
    June 5, 2011

    You didn’t say you disagreed with Orac’s post, which is perfectly well-written and coherent

    It’s incoherent because it’s not logical. Robert O. Young’s theories have nothing to do with “The Secret”, and “The Secret” does not endorse him in any way. Just because one woman happened to be attracted to both viewpoints, doesn’t prove anything. It’s post-hoc sophistry. The blog is just desperate for concrete evidence that “The Secret” is evil and is thus inferring causation from anecdotal correlation. If anything Kim is a perfect example of someone who was so determined to find an alternative to the trauma of chemotherapy and surgery that even after Oprah herself convinced her on national TV that “The Secret” is no substitute for modern medical care, she decided to look for other alternatives.

    Then you disagree with the core principle of ‘The Secret’, which is that positive thinking can affect the universe out there, by magic.

    Everything seems like magic until you identify the causal mechanism. The bottom line is “The Secret” works. People who think positive, feel empowered and believe they will be successful are more likely to be successful than people who think negatively and believe they will always be a helpless victim of circumstances. And I’ve never met anyone who believes “The Secret” is magic. That’s not what most people took from the book, during the brief period it was popular, regardless of how they may have tried to market it. Humans are very smart. If you wish to grow 6 inches taller and the next week you’re still the same height, I think you’ll get a clue.

    No, because the book and the film of ‘The Secret’ make it clear that it is not just about the placebo effect and internal locus of control, it is about wielding an imaginary supernatural power.

    If people are going to believe in the supernatural (which seems to be hardwired in our DNA) I’d much rather they believe in something like “The Secret” that encourages positive thinking, than in organized religion which teaches that there is only one path to God and anyone who isn’t a heterosexual Christian is going to burn in hell. I just find it incredibly amusing that folks spend so much time trying to discredit a silly self-help book that was little more than a passing summer fad, as opposed to organized religion which has influenced billions of people for centuries and changed the trajectory of history and caused countless wars and problems such as over-population. If you spent half as much energy attacking politicians who carry around Bibles or attend prayer breakfasts as you spend discrediting “The Secret”, we might have achieved a secular society by now.

    The placebo effect will not make a tumor shrink nor will it put money in your bank account.

    Neither will prayer, and a million times more people believe in that than believe in that than believe “The Secret” can shrink tumors.

  22. #22 Krebiozen
    June 5, 2011

    Post hoc sophistry my ass! The subject of this blog post is Kim Tinkham who had breast cancer that we know could probably (better than 50% chance of ten year survival) have been successfully treated with conventional treatment. She was attracted instead to two different alternative approaches, ‘The Secret’ (which Orac mentions only in passing) and Robert O. Young’s quackery. Both promised to cure her cancer and both, predictably and inevitably, let her down. Both are based on nonsense that cannot possibly cure cancer. That’s not post hoc sophistry, that’s the truth.

    If ‘The Secret’ is just “a silly self-help book that was little more than a passing summer fad”, why are you defending it so passionately? The book has sold 19 million copies, and though it was published more than 4 years ago still ranks #170 at Amazon (in the top 4 of the New Age rankings). I would say it is more than a passing fad. I would say that a worryingly large number of people seem to take it very seriously.

    It’s not true of Kim that, “Oprah herself convinced her on national TV that “The Secret” is no substitute for modern medical care, she decided to look for other alternatives”. You can still read Kim’s blog where she explains her decisions, and her deep faith that if she believed hard enough her cancer would vanish. Sadly it does not mention there that Kim has since died, so who knows how many people it still inspires to reject life-saving treatment in favor of useless nonsense.

    Just to make my point, here are some quotes from the book, ‘The Secret’ that demonstrate it is all about magical thinking:

    “Disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state.” p130

    “Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity’s ills, including disease, poverty, and unhappiness.” p130

    “You can think your way to the perfect state of health, the perfect body, the perfect weight, and eternal youth. You can bring it into being, through your consistent thinking of perfection.” p131

    “You cannot “catch” anything unless you think you can, and thinking you can is inviting it to you with your thought.” p132

    I love that last one. All those millions of people who used to get smallpox, just because of their negative thoughts. All those children in developing countries who die every year from measles, they should try some positive thinking, right?

  23. #23 Narad
    June 5, 2011

    If people are going to believe in the supernatural (which seems to be hardwired in our DNA) I’d much rather they believe in something like “The Secret” that encourages positive thinking, than in organized religion which teaches that there is only one path to God and anyone who isn’t a heterosexual Christian is going to burn in hell.

    The fly in the unguent here is that positive-thinking ideology is historically a product of organized religion.

  24. #24 kaymon
    June 6, 2011

    The subject of this blog post is Kim Tinkham who had breast cancer that we know could probably (better than 50% chance of ten year survival) have been successfully treated with conventional treatment.

    Which means she also had a nearly 50% chance of not surviving with conventional treatment, and even if she had survived for ten years, you also have to consider the quality of life which would have been greatly diminished by the trauma and physical stress of chemotherapy and breast surgery.

    She was attracted instead to two different alternative approaches, ‘The Secret’ (which Orac mentions only in passing) and Robert O. Young’s quackery. Both promised to cure her cancer and both, predictably and inevitably, let her down.

    She was informed in no uncertain terms by Oprah herself on national TV that “The Secret” was not a cure for cancer and that she should pursue conventional treatment, and she obviously agreed with the first part otherwise she would not have pursued treatment. Now it’s tragic that the treatment she chose was not conventional, but the fact that she was getting treatment at all proved that she was aware that positive thinking is not sufficient for curing cancer, however she was unwilling to endure conventional treatments (chemotherapy, surgery) because the trauma is far too great and even conventional treatment only has about a 50% success rate, thus she chose Robert Young.

    If ‘The Secret’ is just “a silly self-help book that was little more than a passing summer fad”, why are you defending it so passionately?

    Because I find it hypocritical the way new age ideas are attacked so aggressively while organized religion is seldom criticized even though the latter has done far more harm to far more people for a far longer time.

    The book has sold 19 million copies, and though it was published more than 4 years ago still ranks #170 at Amazon (in the top 4 of the New Age rankings). I would say it is more than a passing fad.

    19 million is nothing compared to the number of copies sold for the Bible or the Koran and far more people watch the Superbowl. A lot of those sales figures get exaggerated, and millions of people who read it dismissed it as silly, millions of others only read it so they could criticize it, and those who took it literally were already prone to believe in silly things. If not “The Secret”, they would believe in astrology or religion. The fact that it got them to believe in something other than the narrow minded intolerant dogma of the Bible is certainly a good thing.

    I’d say the vast majority of people who read it only believed the beneficial parts (positive thinking, good attitude, positive communication, internal locus of control etc) because anything else is so patently false, and especially since Oprah told millions of people that the “The Secret” is not the answer to all problems and certainly not a cure for disease. And most people don’t even remember 5% of what they’ve read a year after they’ve read it so I don’t think “The Secret” had a lasting impact on society.

    Just to make my point, here are some quotes from the book, ‘The Secret’ that demonstrate it is all about magical thinking:

    A lot of the quotes you cite are largely true generally speaking. There is a mind body connection. The brain is ultimately just a physical organ and what goes on in the brain affects the physiological system. Look at the toxic effects of stress on human body. Chronic stress release cortisol which has all kinds of disastrous effects. Blood becomes sticky, thyroid and cognitive function are impaired, blood sugar becomes imbalanced, bone density and muscle mass are decreased, blood pressure is increased, immune and inflammatory responses are affected. I think any book that make people more aware of the benefits of positive thought has done an enormous service. It’s unfortunate that a few of the ideas in “The Secret” are a little nutty, but if that’s what it takes to get millions of people to get the message, then it was a book worth writing. It would be helpful however if more people emphatically underscored the point that it is not a substitute for conventional medicine as Oprah did, but I think anyone who would even want to use it that way would be someone who already found conventional treatment intolerable.

  25. #25 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 6, 2011

    “First, you must use his properly earned title: Mr. Young.”

    Incorrect. His properly earned title is ‘twat’.

  26. #26 Krebiozen
    June 6, 2011

    you also have to consider the quality of life which would have been greatly diminished by the trauma and physical stress of chemotherapy and breast surgery.

    You have a great quality of life dying of breast cancer with liver metastases, as Kim did, right? You really think that a slow and unpleasant death like that was better than a few weeks of treatment, and then a good chance of ten more years of healthy life? Surgery alone would have given her a fighting chance.

    She was informed in no uncertain terms by Oprah herself on national TV that “The Secret” was not a cure for cancer and that she should pursue conventional treatment, and she obviously agreed with the first part otherwise she would not have pursued treatment.

    If you read her blog, as I suggested, you will see that she was already following Young’s advice before she was on Oprah. She believed that by using ‘The Secret’ she had attracted a healer who could cure her. She was upset by Oprah, but that didn’t change her views.

    I find it hypocritical the way new age ideas are attacked so aggressively while organized religion is seldom criticized even though the latter has done far more harm to far more people for a far longer time.

    So you are defending idiotic magical thinking because there are worse things out there? There must be a name for that logical fallacy. It’s like defending a murderer because there is genocide going on in the world. I criticize religion too, but in this context it’s irrelevant.

    19 million is nothing compared to the number of copies sold for the Bible or the Koran and far more people watch the Superbowl.

    ‘The Secret’ is a small part of a multi-billion-dollar positive-thinking industry. I come across far more people promoting positive thinking than I do religion (though I live in the UK, which might explain that). It seems to me positive thinking is an irrational idea that has infested our culture.

    A lot of the quotes you cite are largely true generally speaking.

    Oh come on, that’s just silly. “Disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state.” Really? “Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity’s ills, including disease, poverty, and unhappiness.” You really believe that is “largely true”? So epidemics are caused by what? An outbreak of “imperfect thoughts”? Those Africans are too screwed up to be healthy? They just need copies of ‘The Secret’, instead of clean water, adequate nutrition, medicines and mosquito nets? An emotionally healthy person bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria wouldn’t get sick?

    Chronic stress release cortisol which has all kinds of disastrous effects.

    That may be true to some extent, but I don’t see how a book full of idiotic lies is an effective treatment for stress. There are much better ways of dealing with emotional problems than impotent wishful thinking.

    It’s unfortunate that a few of the ideas in “The Secret” are a little nutty,

    That’s a gross understatement. The central premise of the book, ‘The Secret’ itself, is a big, fat, nutty lie.

    It would be helpful however if more people emphatically underscored the point that it is not a substitute for conventional medicine as Oprah did, but I think anyone who would even want to use it that way would be someone who already found conventional treatment intolerable.

    Kim did not find conventional treatment intolerable. She did not have conventional treatment. She believed the lies in ‘The Secret’ and the lies told to her by a bogus doctor, and threw away her only chance of life. I think you are defending the indefensible.

    I’m with Barbara Ehrenreich, who suggests that it was an idiotic belief in the power of positive thinking that contributed to the recent global economic collapse we are currently enjoying. As Thomas Frank wrote:
    “”We’re always being told that looking on the bright side is good for us, but now we see that it’s a great way to brush off poverty, disease, and unemployment, to rationalize an order where all the rewards go to those on top. The people who are sick or jobless—why, they just aren’t thinking positively. They have no one to blame but themselves.”

  27. #27 Dr. Sauda William Morris III
    June 6, 2011

    Dear Krebiozen

    I think you dramatically underestimate the dangers of negative thinking and the toxic effects of stress. I was a chronic pessimist, unemployed, grossly overweight, but reading “The Secret” helped me to think positive. What you focus on expands; I focused on the positive which made me a more cheerful stress-free person which allowed me to make friends, get married, find an employment and go to medical school.

    As for Kim thinking she attracted Young into her life; had she met a conventional doctor she liked she would have thought she had attracted him into her life too. The issue was not the Secret, but Young’s ability to appeal to his patients.

    As for “The Secret” saying “Disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state” or “Imperfect thoughts are the cause of all humanity’s ills, including disease, poverty, and unhappiness” These are just childish ways of saying that stress causes disease (as a doctor I can tell you that’s 100% true) and negativity and stress certainly causes poverty and unhappiness in a lot of cases, including during my unemployed years.

    As for positive thinking contributing to the economic collapse because we feel the rich deserve their money; this is not even a positive thought. As a positive thinker I feel I deserve to be as rich as anyone else so I support more economic equality. And actually what caused the economic collapse was the belief that the poor deserved quality housing. Banks gave mortgages to people who weren’t qualified because they believed no one deserves to be poor which is the opposite of your argument.

  28. #28 Chris
    June 6, 2011

    Looks like a sock puppet shilling for a silly book.

  29. #29 Kat
    June 6, 2011

    Chris, krebiozen is not shilling for Barbara ehrenreichs book and I dont think she’s barbara’s sock puppet. Barbara actually makes a compelling case against positive thinking that I hope Chris and other fans of ‘the secret’ will read.

  30. #30 Calli Arcale
    June 6, 2011

    Dr Morris:

    Banks gave mortgages to people who weren’t qualified because they believed no one deserves to be poor which is the opposite of your argument.

    No, I used to work for a financial institution. They are not generally known for their magnanimity, and are typically quite happy with some people being poor, as long as it’s not them, personally. If they were really driven by wanting to make sure poor people had nice houses, they wouldn’t have given out so many ARMs (which are basically suicide mortgages if given to someone not intending to flip the property), and they would have resumed lending after being bailed out.

    Truth is, they wrote these junk mortgages not because they are nice and friendly and want poor people to be happy but because a) the loan officers wanted their commissions, and b) the banks figured they could make a nice profit off these high-risk loans if they could manage to sell the debt off before they defaulted. It’s a scheme that works fine if there are just a few risky mortgages out there, but when the risky mortgages become a majority of new loans, there is a very serious problem, because you can’t possible dump enough of them before they inevitably default.

    It’s sort of like a game of hot potato — the banks wanted the profit from starting the potato, but were hoping not to be holding it when the bell rang. It had nothing to do with being nice to poor people.

    Now, it is true that negative thinking can hurt you. Financially speaking, it can lead to insufficient risk-taking, which means your assets are unlikely to grow very much. But positive thinking can actually be even more dangerous. What the banks were doing with these loans was not that dissimilar to somebody going to Vegas and blowing their paycheck on blackjack. If you win several times in a row, you start becoming very enthusiastic about the process, and start betting far too much money. Sooner or later, you lose. Positive thinking is very dangerous if it encourages excessive risk-taking. What you need is moderation.

  31. #31 Chris
    June 6, 2011

    Kat, I was referring to Dr. “Positive Thinking” directly above my comment. The Secret is a stupid book and it is a silly that exist shills posing as “doctors.”

  32. #32 triskelethecat
    June 6, 2011

    My goodness. The Secret MUST be magic. After all, it’s only been out since 2006, and in that time, Dr Sauda William Morris III has

    make friends, get married, find an employment and go to medical school.

    And not only GO to medical school, but graduate.I’m quite impressed, personally. I MUST run right out and buy the secret.

  33. #33 Chris
    June 6, 2011

    Yeah, it seems “Dr.” Morris skipped that whole internship and residency bit.

  34. #34 triskelethecat
    June 6, 2011

    Well, it is just barely possible that this person DID finish medical school in that time; especially if they had already been accepted. And, once you graduate from medical school you are entitled to the title of Doctor. (internship and residency not required for the title.)

    But since Dr Sauda William Morris III in that time (made) “friends, found an (sic) employment and go to medical school”, I doubt Dr Sauda William Morris III is really an MD or DO. Perhaps one of those (s)CAM schools where people come out calling themselves Doctor although they are not truly physicians.

  35. #35 triskelethecat
    June 6, 2011

    Well, it is just barely possible that this person DID finish medical school in that time; especially if they had already been accepted. And, once you graduate from medical school you are entitled to the title of Doctor. (internship and residency not required for the title.)

    But since Dr Sauda William Morris III in that time (made) “friends, found an (sic) employment and go to medical school”, I doubt Dr Sauda William Morris III is really an MD or DO. Perhaps one of those (s)CAM schools where people come out calling themselves Doctor although they are not truly physicians.

  36. #36 Dr. Sauda William Morris III
    June 6, 2011

    I knew negativity was a problem in this society but I never dreamed it would rise to the level where even someone like me would be attacked. How sad that I feel compelled to respond. I read “the secret” in 2006; I only recently got my MD. While in medical school I found employment as a research assistant. I am not a shill for Barbara Ehrenreich’s book or for “The Secret”. I am not here to help them sell books; you don’t need to waste your money on their books because I am giving you the message for free:

    Think positive, focus on the positive, always see the glass as half full. Nothing in life is good or bad; it’s all about how you interpret it. See every tragedy as an opportunity. What you focus on expands. I used to focus on how fat I was and I became depressed and ate more which made even fatter. After reading the secret, I focused on the positive. I was 300 lbs but that became positive because thank goodness I wasn’t 500 lbs. As I continued to be thankful for being only 300 lbs, I found the energy to go out and play sports and before long I was 260 lbs, then 250 lbs, then 240 lbs, now 190 lbs. Each success inspired more positive energy which created more success. Success breeds success. Success attracts love and marriage which creates more positive energy and more success which attract more love in the form of friends and job offers and professors who would invest all their energy in making me succeed.

    I’m not here to proselytize but it’s frustrating to see so many people who are so blind to the totally obvious. On your death beds your last thought will be “Oh it was so easy, we spent our wholes lives and struggling, wasting our time away on message boards being angry and bitter, and it could have been so easy and now it’s too late.” Please read what I have to say over and over and over again before it’s too late because you’re not getting any younger. Most of you will never be doctors no matter how positive you think, but you can be the best that you can be.

    Now Calli Arcale, politicians actually forced lending agencies to give homes to the poor and disenfranchised because they believed home ownership was a basic human right that no one should be denied.

  37. #37 triskelethecat
    June 6, 2011

    @Dr Morris: as you saw, we were questioning your statement. The Secret was published in November of 2006. For you to have gotten into medical school and finished within that time is quite amazing. Not impossible, as you must have entered medical school in 2007 and just finished (as you stated you just received your MD).

    I don’t think most of us are “angry and bitter”. I am actually a very happy person, I enjoy my life and I am a skeptic. There is nothing wrong with that. I do, however, continue to believe that although my attitude will effect how well I work and how well people relate to me, I don’t believe that my attitude will keep me well in an epidemic, nor do I think it will cure other diseases. It won’t make me a millionaire. My work ethic may make me a millionare, but that is because I worked for it, not because I just sat back and believed in it.

    Likewise, you worked for your weight loss. You did not simply sit back and believe you would lose weight. You went out and exercised. You may have exercised more and more effectively because you believed in it. But you did the WORK for it.

  38. #38 Beamup
    June 6, 2011

    @ Sauda:

    Trouble is, that’s not what The Secret says. What it in fact says is that, for instance, if you get caught in traffic on the way to work it’s because you WANTED to get caught in traffic. Or if you get hit by lightning that’s similarly because of what you were thinking. It has very, very, little connection to the actual effects of positive thinking.

    “Errant nonsense” is far too kind a description. “Mind-boggling stupidity” is much closer.

  39. #39 triskelethecat
    June 6, 2011

    Oops. Accidentally deleted part of my comment. For

    For you to have gotten into medical school and finished within that time is quite amazing. Not impossible, as you must have entered medical school in 2007 and just finished (as you stated you just received your MD).

    please read (bolding added to show addition):
    For you to have gotten into medical school and finished withing that time frame without having already been working towards that goal already is quite amazing. Not impossible, as you must have entered medical school in 2007 and just finished (as you stated you just received your MD).

  40. #40 Calli Arcale
    June 6, 2011

    Now Calli Arcale, politicians actually forced lending agencies to give homes to the poor and disenfranchised because they believed home ownership was a basic human right that no one should be denied.

    Not exactly. The government provided incentives and certain other programs to help the poor get mortgages. But the banks went waaaaay beyond that. Now, you might be one of those who thinks that it’s only poor people who get foreclosed on, but that’s not actually true. A great many of the loans that defaulted were to the middle class and even upper middle class, as people used the opportunity to upgrade to much bigger houses, posher neighborhoods, or simply refinancing to consolidate debt. These are loans that would never have qualified for the “help the poor” programs that the government was pushing, yet the banks were writing them all the same — and certainly not because the government was forcing them to. They were writing these loans because the math was, for a short while, working on. They were able to make the risk appear to go away through bundling and various types of hedges. It was a complicated game, but the bottom line is that a negligible risk became a huge one, and you cannot blame it all on the government trying to be nice and do the right thing.

    Of course, given your claim that it’s all the government’s fault for trying to be nice to poor people, I wonder how you meant that to support your argument in favor of positive thinking. I’m claiming that the root problem was lenders thinking far too positively. You’re claiming, in effect, that the problem was the government thinking too positively. How does this help your case?

  41. #41 Kat
    June 6, 2011

    Positive thinking is at the root of all far leftwing liberal policies from affirmative action, foreign aid, welfare, sending everyone to college to the belief that all people and all races are equal and can succeed if only given an opportunity to work hard. Even Obamas campaign was based on positive thinking, hope, change, progress, post racial. The secret is the bible of the leftwing. Conservatives are much more realistic

  42. #42 Krebiozen
    June 6, 2011

    @Dr. Morris
    I’ve said about all I want to about ‘The Secret’. I’m very glad you turned your life around, it’s great, really it is. I’m just surprised that someone intelligent enough to get an MD needed to read a book promoting an irrational belief in sympathetic magic to lose some weight, learn some skills and get a job. Please don’t think the rest of us have to follow the same path to be the best we can be.

    I’m a great believer in optimism myself, as a matter of fact, as long as it is not delusional. I think life is much more pleasant if we are optimistic, but sometimes shit happens, and I don’t believe it is healthy to keep smiling when it does. Express your anger and frustration, grieve if necessary, make a rational assessment of the problem, learn from it, explore possible solutions, put a smile back on your face and move on. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. That’s my philosophy anyway.

    Here’s Barbara Ehrlich talking about positive thinking, accompanied by a talented cartoonist (but a terrible speller). http://teddietz.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/an-animated-look-at-the-powerlessness-of-positive-thinking/

  43. #43 Krebiozen
    June 6, 2011

    @Kat
    Ugh, politics. Ehrenreich (whose name I somehow misspelled above) seems to me to be pretty close to being a socialist.

    I wouldn’t describe the idea that “all people and all races are equal and can succeed if only given an opportunity to work hard” as positive thinking. I thought those were the foundational ideals of the US of A (I’m not an American though, so perhaps I misunderstand).

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    Sounds familiar?

    It’s delusional optimism and magical thinking I object to. Not realistic optimism about achievable goals, or a desire to make the world a better place for everyone.

  44. #44 Kat
    June 6, 2011

    Krebiozen, believing that all races and all people are equal is delusional positive thinking. Just because such delusions are politically correct and the foundation of left wing ideology does not change that fact. Liberals have wasted trillions of dollars on the irrational positive belief that if they just give people enough opportunity, enough education, inequality will disappear. Reality is that inequality is highly genetic

  45. #45 Chris
    June 6, 2011

    Oh, crap, Kat. The GI Bill must have just ruined this country. Oh, wait, actually your vitriol is pretty much reserved for a septic system. Go spew your nonsense elsewhere.

    (disclaimer: my father got his college degree in 1950 due to the GI Bill and his service during WWII)

  46. #46 NJ
    June 6, 2011

    Kat @ 244:

    Reality is that inequality is highly genetic

    Yes, but we restrain ourselves from pointing at you and snickering. Usually.

  47. #47 NJ
    June 6, 2011

    Kat @ 241:

    Conservatives are much more realistic

    Sarah Palin:

    He who warned uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.

    QED.

  48. #48 Mark
    November 28, 2011

    Shame on all sides of this ongoing argument for using the passing of two beautiful lights to further their agenda. You slam Mike Adams and possibly rightly so but then go on to do the same thing he is frequently guilty of. Agendas have no place in health and healing.

  49. #49 Gray Falcon
    November 28, 2011

    Mark, do you have any evidence for your statements, or is it just noise?

  50. #50 Chris
    November 28, 2011

    Mark, the Necromancer:

    Agendas have no place in health and healing.

    And how should we treat those who take advantage of the sick? How should we treat a guy who bought a degree online and has no clue on why things are acidic or alkaline? How should we treat a former computer salesman that writes idiotic stuff just to sell his supplements?

    Do you have any ideas, or are you just late to the party?

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