Respectful Insolence

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 DLC
    December 8, 2010

    My Condolences to both families.
    and the sad comment that Ms Tinkham might still be with her family today had she taken the choice of science-based treatment instead of “Dr” Young’s horrible quackery.
    Speaking of which, don’t you find yourself wishing that Young could be forced out of business ?

  2. #2 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    “Speaking of which, don’t you find yourself wishing that Young could be forced out of business ?”

    Yeah, as if that’d happen. He’s already managed to evade a few fraud charges, I wouldn’t be surprised if the slimy bastard doesn’t even lose face over this. After all, alt-meddies seem to be too busy crying about ‘evil scientist conspiracies’ instead of focusing on the fact that his treatments do not work whereas actual medical science does.

    I really hope Kim Tinkham’s family and her supporters on her Facebook page see this series of posts and realize that this isn’t just a case of cancer taking away a loved one – it’s a medical fraudster (who likely knows what he’s selling is bullshit) helping to end her life prematurely by letting her throw it away.

  3. #3 Jen
    December 8, 2010

    More than that, DLC – I think Young should be arrested for manslaughter. Kim Tinkham undoubtledly died much sooner than she should have if she had been treated properly by an actual doctor, and Young should be held accountable.

  4. #4 Jackie Fox
    December 8, 2010

    I was planning to blog about this comparison too, and still might, but I may just point people to yours instead. Well done.

    There was a weird, perhaps cosmic symmetry in both of them passing on the same day, and perhaps some good will come of it. May they both rest in peace. And as I said in my blog in June, there’s a special place in Hades for Mr. Young (and others like him).

  5. #5 Jackie Fox
    December 8, 2010

    I was planning to do this kind of comparison blog too, and I still might, but I may just point people to yours instead. Well done.

    There is a weird, perhaps cosmic, symmetry in both of them passing on the same day. Perhaps some good will come of it. May they both rest in peace. And as I said in my blog in June, there’s a special place in Hades for Mr. Young (and others like him).

  6. #6 Composer99
    December 8, 2010

    I think one of the most salient points is this:

    Edwards was unlucky enough to be on the wrong side of the survival curve, despite doing everything she could using established oncology. Given what actually happened, if she had gone the Tinkham route she would most likely have died much earlier.

    Tinkham was lucky enough to be on the right side of the survival curve given she did not get her cancer treated at all. Given what actually happened, if she had gone the Edwards route she would not only be still alive today, but could be looking forward to several – perhaps even many – more cancer-free years.

  7. #7 Christy
    December 8, 2010

    My sister died within 8 years of being diagnosed with breast cancer. She tried both science based medicine and alternative, with the emphsis on science. However, she did not have the monetary resources to be able to get the full benefit of medical treatment, didn’t have the thousands of dollars it would have cost — which is why I’m such a strong advocate of health care coverage for all Americans and fear a retraction of such coverage ability with the current Congress.

  8. #8 WLU
    December 8, 2010

    Yeah, what’s probably going to happen is advocates of alternative medicine will claim that this demonstrates Young’s rank quackery is superior to the best conventional care available. Because, you know, cancer is cancer, and if one survived longer than the other then that means the treatment was more effective.

    Alternative medicine is all about making complicated things simple; never mind that there are hundreds of thousands of researchers still working on cancer because it’s a complicated disease intimately tied up with our ability to survive. Nope, cancer is caused by X, and if you can just have enough willpower to do Y, you’ll be saved. Praise Xemu! Or Xenu.

    End rant.

  9. #9 PRN
    December 8, 2010

    Has anyone been able to distill to what degree history based fear of finances, surgery, chemo or radiation might have played in her(KT) initial choice?

    Before anyone jumps me again, my grandmother lived 14 years after breast cancer surgery as sole therapy in the 60′s, and lived NED to a ripe old age. However I do have my suspicions about prior use of estrogen and pharmaceutical grade horse pee extract quackery.

  10. #10 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    Christy – it must really, really suck sometimes to be an American. I couldn’t imagine living in a country where you were basically told you were fucked for getting a disease you had no control of. “Oops, got cancer? Too bad for you, you should have had more money before you thought of getting ill!”

    “Has anyone been able to distill to what degree history based fear of finances, surgery, chemo or radiation might have played in her(KT) initial choice?”

    I could be wrong, but from interviews with her and articles on her I gather the initial thing that seems to have gotten the ball rolling on this tragedy is that Kim read this book at some point:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_%28book%29

    She may have simply been watching Oprah or something and decided to buy it, not knowing it was idiotic “all your problems are cause by not thinking happy thoughts” garbage. From there, she apparently got the idea in her head that her ‘soul’ knew what was best for her instead of trained medical professionals, and then at some point discovered Robert O. Young’s bullshit.

  11. #11 ಠ_ಠ
    December 8, 2010

    The owner of the CaringForKim Facebook page is deleting any posts that attempt to inform them about Oprah and Robert O. Young’s involvement in Kim’s death. Her close friends may have already been suckered into believing the same woo that just killed Kim…

  12. #12 Martha Harrison
    December 8, 2010

    Kim Tinkham is a personal friend of mine and she did NOT die of breast cancer! She was very suddenly struck ill the day after Thanksgiving and, upon being admitted to the emergency room & subjected to tests, was told she had stage 4 liver cancer–a cancer that is in no way linked to breast cancer.

    The fact that people on this site are willing to sit in judgment of a woman who, more than 5 years ago, acted in faith–and, won–is a sad indictment of society today!!

    You did not know Kim! She was strong, determined, vivacious, talented and smart! Everyone who loved her, understood that while she made a different decision than what most people would do today–she made the right one for her. We admired her faith in God! I didn’t meet her until 2 years ago but, I was in awe of her strength & character.

    Your comments also do not address the fact that, as a self-employed person, Mrs. Tinkham did not have a substantial health insurance policy. She was an entrepreneur who was well respected in her field of expertise. Alternative medicine was a more fiscally responsible choice in her case.

  13. #13 J. Camp
    December 8, 2010

    Thanks for explaining the differences in the cancers of these two women. I posted something last night on the previous article, asking about that. I was thinking that the woo miesters would quickly seize on this situation without any clarification of the differences in the two women’s sub-type of cancers.

    I will now have relevant and fact-based answers if I run into anyone claiming that Young may have helped KT to live longer. Shockingly, whenever I have known someone to die in spite of woo treatments, the friends of that person always claim that “at least she probably lived longer because of _____(fill in the woo)”. Even the idea that CAM may extend life needs to be taken down if it cannot be established. It only encourages desperate people to “try anything”–usually at considerable expense.

    Just as important, is to consider that many people get into all this because they do not have adequate (if any) insurance. When you’ve been abandoned by the system, it’s easy enough to start listening to the nice New Agey people who seem to care so much about you. It even almost happened to me when I did not have insurance–and I am a staunch skeptic, believe me. So what doctors can do (as you asked), is to fight hard for continued health care reform that truly makes basic care available to everyone (preferably without ties to employment and insurance companies). Secondly, it is necessary to get into the media–get on Oprah (and all the rest) and make the case against this nonsense. A tall order, to be sure, but as long as this stuff goes unanswered, vulnerable people will continue to be sucked in. And what has happened to the office of Surgeon General lately?

  14. #14 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Ms. Harrison, do not try to fool Orac, an oncologist. The liver is where the cancer metastasised. That is the problem with cancer, it spreads.

    I am sorry for the loss of your friend. But her life was shortened by the Robert Young’s quackery.

  15. #15 Angel Tessier
    December 8, 2010

    WOW..talking about uninformed reporting!!! I am one of Kim’s good friends. As a matter of fact, Kim, I and Elizabeth Edwards all attended school in Iwakuni, Japan for whatever that is worth.

    Kim was an EXTREMELY intelligent woman. She didn’t give in to the “WOO” as you so inappropriately call it. She made choices that she felt were appropriate for herself. God gave her…gave all of us that ability to make choices. Your choices can be your choices, and I thank God that you don’t make choices for me!

    Your posts were deleted from Kim’s site because they were totally disrespectful to a family who is grieving.

    The bottom line is that both of these well-loved and respected women have lost their …THEIR….battle with cancer yesterday. We grieve for the loss of them in our lives, but rejoice in the life that they lived. How dare you demean the person they are by making speculations when you know NOTHING about who they are, where they came from, and what brought them to make the choices they made.

    I am using my real name…for I am not ashamed of standing up to defend Kim’s honor.

    Speculate all you will on proper medical proticols….NEVER speculate on a person you know nothing about!!!

    Angel Tessier

  16. #16 Vicki, KSC
    December 8, 2010

    Martha,

    I am sorry for your loss. I am also sorry that our health care system is so messed up that your friend, and other people, had to make decisions on a basis other than the medical one. A person’s choice of whether to use unpleasant but often useful medicines should be based on how well they expect the medicine to work, and on what they think of the side effects. It should not be “I can do this, or I can pay the bills for my family.” (I believe some of the financial issues were discussed in other threads, by the way.)

  17. #17 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Angel Tessier:

    She didn’t give in to the “WOO” as you so inappropriately call it.

    Then explain the videos with the unqualified woo known as “Robert O. Young.” Do yourself a favor and read up about him.

  18. #18 Lawrence
    December 8, 2010

    She may have been very smart, but was lacking in common sense. She chose to believe in an unproven & unsupported method of “treatment” that ultimately killed her. By not addressing the original breast cancer in any productive way, she allowed the disease to spread to other areas of her body.

    If she had undergone real treatment, there is a good chance that she would still be alive today, with her family and loved ones.

  19. #19 Militant Agnostic
    December 8, 2010

    Alternative medicine was a more fiscally responsible choice in her case.

    In what way was wasting money on a ludicrous (even by alt med standards) treatment fiscally responsible. We have quotes of Robert Young making ridiculous claims that blood cells turn into bacteria and bacteria turn into blood cells and that magnesium turns into iron in the body. In case you’re science education ended in elementary school, magnesium and iron are elements. You need a nuclear reactor or a particle accelerator to change one element into another.

    Skydiving lessons would have been more fiscally responsible than giving one cent to a quack like Robert Young.

  20. #20 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    “Kim Tinkham is a personal friend of mine and she did NOT die of breast cancer!”

    Do you honestly not know what the word ‘metastasis’ means?

    “acted in faith–and, won”

    Ah, proof from her own friends that you’re just as badly informed as Kim was.

    “You did not know Kim! She was strong, determined, vivacious, talented and smart!”

    And what does any of this have to do with the fact that she was scammed by a quack doctor? Lots of smart people can be gullible at times.

    “Alternative medicine was a more fiscally responsible choice in her case.”

    If she wanted to choose an option that had 0% efficacy in curing cancer, she could have spent the money and used it to enjoy her life, like vacationing around the world, instead of flushing it down the toilet for scam treatments. She wasted money on scam cures. Seriously, is this that difficult to comprehend? You would think her own friends would at least be a bit outraged by how she was taken advantage of.

    “Kim was an EXTREMELY intelligent woman. She didn’t give in to the “WOO” as you so inappropriately call it.”

    And yet she chose to take a fraudster’s ‘treatments’ over medical science that actually works. That doesn’t seem like the sort of choice you should be defending. I mean, I’m all for people choosing to let the disease run its course and not seek treatment, instead living out their life with palliative care. But wasting money on quack doctors? I’m sorry, but as her friend, you should know better than to claim this was wise.

    Your posts were deleted from Kim’s site because they were totally disrespectful to a family who is grieving.”

    I seriously, seriously doubt that, especially since you’re apparently so quick to defend her quack doctor and the people responsible for killing her, instead of wanting to speak out about how your friend was taken advantage of and get the word out about medical quackery.

    “How dare you demean the person they are by making speculations when you know NOTHING about who they are, where they came from, and what brought them to make the choices they made.”

    ‘Speculation’? What an odd choice of words, considering we have rather significant evidence of what led to her death, and Robert O. Young’s covering of his own ass.

    “Speculate all you will on proper medical proticols….NEVER speculate on a person you know nothing about!!!”

    I’ll be blunt – if you really, genuinely gave a shit about Kim, you would be speaking out against the people who had a hand in her death so we can prevent further victims of quackery from dying.

  21. #21 Ian
    December 8, 2010

    As someone who has lost a close family member to cancer (actually a few of them), I’d ask that we lay off the criticisms of both Kim and her friends for the time being. The woman died yesterday, guys. Anything other than glowing praise is going to be interpreted as an attack, and while your defense of your position is reasonable, you’re just going to talking past each other. It doesn’t hurt you any, but these people really are grieving.

    I think the focus of the discussion should be addressing Orac’s question at the end: how do we make sure this happens less? Arguing with Ms. Tinkham’s friends for coming to her defense the day after her death is likely counterproductive at best, and hurtful at worst.

  22. #22 Gizmo
    December 8, 2010

    How dare you demean the person they are by making speculations when you know NOTHING about who they are, where they came from, and what brought them to make the choices they made.

    Misses Harrison & Tessier, I’m sorry for your loss but I think your anger is largely misplaced. From his postings, Orac has been quite sympathetic to your friend’s plight. He also clearly has been upset at what was clearly a likely preventable early loss of Kim’s life. As for speculation, Orac has had copious amounts of public statements (both in video and written word) on Kim Tinkham’s part where she has described her medical condition and treatment choices. Orac is not pulling his assessments out of thin air.

    The bottom line is that your friend made what was almost assuredly a series of very poor choices. Yes, perhaps her finances may have played a part in her path, but in her public statements it appeared to be secondary to her faith in “self-healing” and the importance of avoiding possibly disfiguring surgery and very unpleasant chemotherapy and/or radiation. Instead she decided to embrace a dubious huckster (who has now implied that your friend’s death was her fault) who advocated a “treatment” that might was well been the prescription of daily sprinkling herself with confetti and then turning in a circle ten times while clapping her hands. As Orac pointed out, the attraction to such people is understandable, but frustrating to others who can see the fraud in progress.

  23. #23 Triskelethecat
    December 8, 2010

    OT: Can anyone else get into SBM or is it just my computer having issues?

    On Topic: Wow. Look at the people jumping in all of a sudden to defend Kim. Orac’s been posting on her for almost a week, and just now, after her death, they are responding? As I said before, my sympathies for those who lost a loved one, but not for the quacks who lead her down the path to this result.

  24. #24 Miss Grace
    December 8, 2010

    How very sad for their families. How very lucky I am to live in the UK where (for the time-being at least) your treatment is not determined by the amount of money you have in the bank or the health care plan of the company for which you work.

    (Not that I am saying that the NHS is perfect and not that I am saying that the UK is free of poverty based health inequities…that’s a discussion for another day though)

    Very glad to have my lovely mum here, healthy and cancer free 14 years after initial BC diagnosis thanks to nationwide screening and prompt evidence-based treatment.

  25. #25 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    “I am using my real name…for I am not ashamed of standing up to defend Kim’s honor”

    Do you actually think that people the people here are discussing this for kicks, like we’re all just doing this to point and laugh at Kim? Do you not realize that a lot of the people here are heartbroken because we’ve had our own friends and family fall prey to quack doctors and fraudulent medicine? We’re telling Kim’s story precisely because we care about her, and we care about anyone else in her position because we don’t want to see any more Kims in the world die needlessly because they were duped into using a quack’s ‘treatments’.

    The only thing you’re doing by not doing speaking out against those responsible for Kim’s death is defending their honor. I’m sorry if you can’t see that, but I’m not going to stop speaking about about a woman whose death could have been prevented.

  26. #26 Orac
    December 8, 2010

    As someone who has lost a close family member to cancer (actually a few of them), I’d ask that we lay off the criticisms of both Kim and her friends for the time being. The woman died yesterday, guys.

    I agree 100%. I do not support arguing with or taunting Kim Tinkham’s friends if any of them come here to comment. I do not want to get into arguments with them, and I was aware when I wrote these posts that I risked causing Tinkham’s family pain. Even so, I was angry that this happened, because it was a death that did not have to be. However, you’ll notice that my anger has not been directed at Ms. Tinkham in any way. Yes, as I said, her case angers me, but that anger is not directed at her. Rather, it’s been directed at Robert O. Young and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom bear a major share of the blame for Kim’s death, in my opinion. As far as Ms. Tinkham goes, I want to understand what sorts of things lead an otherwise intelligent woman to reject potentially life-saving therapy in favor of quackery, the better to prevent deaths like Ms. Tinkham’s.

    When it comes to her family and friends, all I offer is my sincere condolences.

    So, please, people, in the short term at least, do not post links to my posts on Kim’s Facebook page or otherwise comment there unless it is to offer condolences. As Ian points out, arguing with Ms. Tinkham’s friends and family accomplishes nothing and is likely to exacerbate the grief they are feeling at this moment. Do you honestly think that you’ll get someone who knew Kim to agree with you publicly?

    Finally, I have been in correspondence with two people who knew Kim. Suffice to say, they do not give the same story as the person who posted here. Is it possible that I’m wrong when I make the educated guess that Tinkham’s breast cancer recurred? Sure. I don’t have access to Kim’s medical records. Is it likely that I’m wrong? I would argue that, based on the natural history of untreated breast cancer, it is not likely that I’m wrong.

    Finally, don’ t think that I don’t know the pain of losing someone to cancer. Regular readers know that my mother-in-law died of metastatic breast cancer in 2009. I still second-guess myself regarding whether there was some sign I should have recognized earlier that might have made a difference. I probably will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

  27. #27 Vicki, KSC
    December 8, 2010

    OT: I can’t get to Science-Based Medicine either.

  28. #28 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Dawn:

    On Topic: Wow. Look at the people jumping in all of a sudden to defend Kim.

    I think it is because people started to post that her death was caused by Robert Young on the Facebook page. They may not have known about Orac’s postings before hand.

    I would agree with Ian, that was not a productive thing to do. But I do not agree that we ignore what happened to her for some specific mourning period. It is important to let others understand that she chose an unqualified naturapath as a “doctor.” It is important for her friends to know there is a vast difference between someone who gets degrees from mail order diploma mills like Clayton College, and a medical doctor who has gone to a real medical school.

    Friends of Kim Tinkham, please learn about Mr. Young’s Alma Mater. Do not get fooled yourselves.

  29. #29 Ian
    December 8, 2010

    A friend of mine recorded a message on Youtube for Oprah. It’s pretty decent, imo, and I’m sure he’d appreciate the views or even video responses from yourselves.

  30. #30 Orac
    December 8, 2010

    OT: I can’t get to Science-Based Medicine either.

    Science-Based Medicine has been down since last night for reasons that are currently unknown. I’ve e-mailed Steve Novella about it.

  31. #31 Rene Najera
    December 8, 2010

    When even the Bible Answer Man attacks “The Secret”, you know something really, really weird is going on. I’m using “weird” loosely, though.
    Given that, however, I was visualizing myself eating a well-done cheeseburger about an hour ago, since I’m hungry. I’m really, really visualizing it: eyes closed, humming, the whole bit. So much so that I can taste it.
    Where’s my cheeseburger?

  32. #32 NoAstronomer
    December 8, 2010

    My sincere condolences to both families.

    Michael.

    “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%.”

    And of course the difference between woo and science is that eventually we’ll figure out why Elizabeth was on the wrong side of that curve and we’ll work out how to change the curve.

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    December 8, 2010

    Like our esteemed host, I too, am imagining the reactions of web woo-meisters to these two untimely, tragic deaths, and they are rather disturbing. However, checking NaturalNews, I can see no signs of grave-dancing ( re: Ms. Edwards) or medal-pinning ceremonies ( re: Ms.Tinkham) at this time. I fully expect a rant** from Null against SBM forthcoming . As much as I despise the quacks, I think that they do share one quality ( afterall, they *are* human, I suppose) with their victims: an overwhelming fear of the disease that blots out what little reason these snake-oil peddlars possess. Unlike those with sufficient education ( Edwards was a lawyer) and stability to deal with the intricacies of cancer biology and risk/ benefits of treatments, I have come to believe that these rants ( spoken or written) are fueled primarily by their own personal fear of illness, especially cancer and mental illness, as well as the love of money for “cancer preventive treatments” ( e.g. supplements) that they talk up and then sell in their websites’ “stores”. I’m sure that many websites will be selling “special antioxidant phyto-nutrients superfoods” in the days followimg Ms. Edwards’ demise.

    **( Actually, right now, Null is hawking megadoses of vitamin C for stage 4 cancer *and* talking about how Ms. Edwards *rejected* advice from his followers- all shows will be archived at progressiveradionetwork)

  34. #34 anjou
    December 8, 2010

    Something a friend wrote highlights the importance of work that Orac and sites like quackwatch do by exposing hucksters (eg. Robert O.Young) who prey on cancer patients:

    “Surprising to me was the feeling of desperation I felt at having read that MCL (mantle cell lymphoma)is incurable; that life expectancy is 3-5 years (I now understand that I was reading outdated information). Out of desperation I found myself ready to accept numerous alternative treatments because “incurable” was unacceptable. I suggested (and my husband rejected) macrobiotics, any number of juices, and supplements in an effort to help his body fight back.

    It is in those fearful moments that deception is allowed to take hold.

    Looking for balance online:

    The problem was that the sheer number of treatment related articles and opinions was overwhelming. To demonstrate my point I searched Google for the following. Here are the results:
    Alternative lymphoma treatments = 3,860,000
    Pharmaceutical lymphoma treatments = 892,000

    Alternative lymphoma cures = 998,000
    Pharmaceutical lymphoma cures = 242,000

    In both cases the alternative results outweigh pharmaceuticals by more than 4 to 1. They were about 4 times easier to understand as well. I was dismayed at the number of websites selling expectations of long life to those of us who cling to hope by a sometimes slender thread.”

  35. #35 Sid Offit
    December 8, 2010

    Can anyone else get into SBM

    Julian Assange related DDoS attack?

  36. #36 Jackie Fox
    December 8, 2010

    I think her death was a shame and that she could have stayed longer too, but I don’ think people should be posting that sort of thing on her Facebook page, or trying to educate her grieving friends on Young/Oprah/etc. That page is for her friends to honor her and I’d be deleting that stuff too.

    I apologize if this shows up twice-my previous one did–keep getting timed out.

  37. #37 NYBGRUS
    December 8, 2010

    @12:

    She had a second liver primary tumour? Considering that she had known breast cancer before and the likelihood of anyone having a liver primary is extremely low anyways, it is perfectly clear that she had metastatic breast cancer. Because it metastasized to her liver (and likely bones and lungs since those are the 3 most common sites for metastatic breast cancer) does not mean it was anything other than her BREAST cancer that killed her.

    I (and many on here, including Orac) are saddened that you have clearly bought into this insane “theory” of cancer and cancer treatments. Young’s assertion that cancer is caused by acid “spoiling” cells and that “alkalinization” can cure cancer is absolutely, unequivocally, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt WRONG. Better yet, of course, he even modified his stance with Kim since her tumor obviously didn’t go away he said that it was “rendered harmless” by the special diet. And now that she has died from untreated breast cancer he backpedals and says she (admittedly) did not “live the alkaline lifestyle” and THAT is why she died. So let me get this straight – you still think this was the right choice and that Young “cured” her cancer when falling off the alkaline wagon for even a little bit allows it to come back and kill you?

    You are correct, that she is an adult and has the right to make whatever decision is right for her. If she had decided to go see a voodoo shaman in a Louisiana bayou that would still be her rightful decision. However, to claim that anything she did made scientific or medical sense, or that Young is anything but a shameless pseudo-scientific quack is completely ludicrous. The point of posts like these is to keep other women from being deluded into the same insanity and believe that baking soda can “cure” any cancer.

    In today’s world of tolerance and understanding (which IS a great thing) people have taken it too far. There ARE things in this world that are just plain WRONG and we know that to be the case. Making a claim that she was a “spiritual” person who “believed” in Young’s idiotic claims about cancer does not make her (or his) view correct or even an equal or viable alternative. There are things for which we do not know the answers and on which rational and intelligent people disagree. This is NOT one of them. The arguments for Kim’s choices as viable and reasonable are exactly on par with arguing that for some people, walking through a solid steel door is a viable and reasonable option because they “believe” they can. I will stress this again – there ARE things we KNOW to be wrong and this is one of them. Orac giving any credence to Young’s claims would be akin to a parent telling their children that it is OK to play on the freeway.

    As for “fiscally responsible” – Young charges for his advice and Kim’s diet and lifestyle cost money as well. It is regrettable that she did not have insurance and that the US has such a poorly constructed health system. However, ask yourself this: does insurance cover an “alkaline lifestyle” treatment for cancer? Do you think MediCare or Aetna or BlueCross covers Young’s services? No! And why? Because it DOESN’T WORK. And no rational person or business would like to pay for things that do not work. If she were so incredibly strapped for finances the “fiscally responsible” thing to do would to be save as much as possible, take those limited funds, and invest them in the treatments that would have the HIGHEST chance of success. Think about it – if you had a small and limited amount of capital, would you take that and put it all in a stock that had no track record of success, was against everything that was KNOWN about the economy, and had a long list of failures or would you look hard to find a stock that had the best outcomes and the highest chance of success (even though there was still a chance of failure)? Of course you would pick the best chances of making money. Here Kim took whatever small funds she had and whatever chances she MAY have had at success (i.e. living) and decided to put all of that in the complete and utter nonsense that is “the secret” and Young’s completely disproven, discredited, and insane ideas. I have a bridge in Manhattan to sell you if you are interested in investing in some real estate.

    We are all sad at anyone dying – as a medical student and former EMT in trauma and critical care at a busy hospital I have seen many people die, some in my hands. I can’t tell you how sad I have been every time someone in cardiac arrest dies as I have sweat pouring down my face from doing chest compressions for 45 minutes. I even once worked on a friend’s 14 year old only child for 90 minutes knowing that he had very little chance of survival since he had been in complete arrest for 35 minutes before arriving at the ER. I sat in the trauma room crying after that. But, does that mean that I should have stopped giving chest compressions and said “wait! it is his spirit that needs help, not his heart! We should get some crystals and a little homeopathic tincture and then have a reiki master wave his hands over his heart while an old chinese man puts needles in his skin to re-align his meridians and get his chi flowing back to his heart while a reflexologist massages his feet to jump start the nerves to his heart!” In reality, he only had about a 5% chance of survival from the second he arrived. And we all knew it. But those other things had exactly a ZERO percent chance of survival. So we worked hard and long using every means we possibly could to try and get him into that 5% that makes it. And let’s be honest – if that is your child coming to my ER with his heart stopped which would you rather have us do? Would you honestly start exploring anything other than the proven science of CPR and cardiac drugs, central lines, endotracheal tubes, and shocking his heart to try and get it started again? Of course not. But when it comes to something we know a little less about, and especially something that isn’t going to lead to your death in the next 90 minutes, suddenly equally insane ideas become “reasonable” and we all become evil for saying they are not. For treading on Kim’s right to make her own decision. You still feel sad for the 18 year old drunk driver that dies but you do not defend his/her “choice” to drink and then drive. You take that sad case and make a learning opportunity for others not to make the same mistake. And that is what has happened in Kim’s case.

    You can have all the faith in God that you want – that is a separate discussion – but when you or your loved one has a heart attack and collapses I doubt (and hope) you would not just stand over them and pray they survive. No, I’d bet dollars to donuts you would call 911 and get them over to the nearest STEMI receiving facility where the same science, the same medicine, and the same caring people will practice the same proven techniques to save you (or your loved one). Do we save 100%? No. But we save a LOT more than standing around praying does. Kim would very likely (though not certainly) be alive today if she had actually sought out proper medical care. One thing is certain though – her path of following “the secret” and listening to charlatans like Young is absolutely what lead to her death.

  38. #38 René Najera
    December 8, 2010

    Still no cheeseburger! (Let’s see how long I can remember to update you all on this…)

  39. #39 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    NYBGRUS:

    . I even once worked on a friend’s 14 year old only child for 90 minutes knowing that he had very little chance of survival since he had been in complete arrest for 35 minutes before arriving at the ER. I sat in the trauma room crying after that. But, does that mean that I should have stopped giving chest compressions and said “wait! it is his spirit that needs help, not his heart!

    It is stories like this that made stop going to the website on HCM, much too depressing. But I still take my son to the cardiologist, and make him take his medication. Even though the new stuff is much more expensive. It certainly beats prayer.

  40. #40 ¬_¬
    December 8, 2010

    If someone else caused the death of someone you love and you didn’t know, how long would you like to have to wait before you found out? A week? A month? A year later, after you’d gotten over it and they’ve become just another statistic to the rest of the world? Or would you rather find out while the death is still fresh in your mind so you could turn the tears into anger and make sure their death was not in vain?

  41. #41 Erika
    December 8, 2010

    My one question about Elizabeth Edwards’ disease course–an obituary reminded me that she’d discovered the lump during the 2004 campaign, and due to the rigors of the campaign, she waited until it was over to have it evaluated. At that point it was 9 cm in diameter. Impossible to know, of course, but I can’t help but wonder if her prognosis would have been better had she been diagnosed earlier.

  42. #42 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 8, 2010

    Erika:

    Your information that Ms. Edwards’ tumor was 9 cm. when evaluated is a real eye-opener. That is a large breast tumor, at least Stage 3, and would be considered advanced disease. I don’t know whether the delay in evaluation would have made a difference in her case, but immediate diagnosis and treatment would have improved her odds.

  43. #43 augustine
    December 8, 2010

    This ENTIRE article isn’t about Elizabeth OR Kim. It’s about defending conventional oncology and bolstering the belief in SBM.

    It attacks Kim’s choices and glorifies Elizabeth’s. They both had cancer. They both died.

    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%.

    She (Tinkham) 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.

    So all ORAC can do is pull the “luck card” for an explanation? I guess the “luck card” for an SBMer is kinda like the “god card” for a believer.

  44. #44 Erika
    December 8, 2010

    Hmm…now I can’t find where I read that. I read a number of obits yesterday, but perhaps someone made an error & corrected it? NYTimes says it was the size of a half-dollar, which is still large, but nowhere near 9 cm.
    http://nyti.ms/gQHIcA

  45. #45 Beatis
    December 8, 2010
  46. #46 Erika
    December 8, 2010

    In any case, my main reason for bringing attention to that is in response to those like Augustine who would hold her death up as evidence of the failure of “western medicine.” If she’d been diagnosed & begun treatment earlier, things might have been different.

  47. #47 Jackie
    December 8, 2010

    I strongly recommend the new book, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It will leave you with no doubt that Kim’s treatment was sheer hokum. The book reads like a who-done-it, a complete history of medicine’s evolving understanding of cancer and how to treat it. By the way, I am an eleven year survivor of breast cancer.

  48. #48 Angel Tessier
    December 8, 2010

    To everyone…

    My heart is breaking. My friend is gone.

    The argument should not be what she chose as her path. If you want to battle those you consider “quacks”, do so…but not at this dear lady’s expense.

    No medical treatment is infalliable. There will never be a guarantee for a true cure. No one can provide that. Perhaps the medical option may be statistically more successful…but no guarantee.

    Our medical system functions on hypothesis, and theory, and occassionally a law that is completely proven. Cancer treatment isn’t a law…it is a hope, a theory…. It has it successes. It has it failures.

    Kim considered her options, and chose (for a variety of reasons known to her) to take her chances with a non-traditional method. She didn’t seek “WOO”…she sought hope. She sought to live life to its fullest. She sought to fight the battle on her own ground. She choose to be lucid and not doped up and not spend thousands and thousands of dollars on possible operations, drugs and chemotherapy type treatments hoping for a cure. She considered not only today…but the future of her family. She chose to be surrounded and loved by her family and friends. And in the years since her original diagnosis, Kim did what she did everyday before that…she truly lived!

    Many people opt to do so. That this differs from your choices shouldn’t make you angry, especially without a true outcome guarantee of a cure with either method.

    There are a lot of battles out there worth fighting. Let’s get medical inurance so that it is reasonable and affordable for everyone. Let’s find a CURE for cancer. Let’s solve the homeless and education issues in our country. Let’s find better uses of our natural resources. And of course there is always the desire for World Peace.

    Many many years from now, someone will look back at the medical treatments we currently try for those diagnosed with cancer…and these treatment too will be considered “Woo”.

  49. #49 augustine
    December 8, 2010

    Erika:

    If she’d been diagnosed & begun treatment earlier, things might have been different.

    http://www.moviewavs.com/php/sounds/?id=bst&media=WAVS&type=Movies&movie=Napoleon_Dynamite&quote=fourthquarter.txt&file=fourthquarter.wav

    Uncle Rico: “Yeah, If coach would’ve put me in fourth quarter, we’d have been state champions, no doubt. No doubt in my mind. You better believe things would have been different. I’d have gone pro in a heartbeat. I’d be makin’ millions of dollars and livin’ in a big ol’ mansion somewhere. You know, soakin’ it up in a hot tub with my soul mate.”

  50. #50 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Angel Tessier:

    She didn’t seek “WOO”…she sought hope.

    Then explain why there are videos of her talking to Robert O. Young. Tell us exactly how he is qualified after buying a diploma from the now closed Clayton College.

    Actually prove to us that you read and understand the criticism of Mr. Young.

    As for the “cure for cancer”, need we remind you that it is not one disease. It is several diseases. Here, look at this because it will help you understand: Tales from the Road.

  51. #51 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    Angel… there are so many fundamentally wrong things in your latest post (that have already been addressed by Orac no less) that I’m frankly not sure how to respond. All I can suggest is that you make an effort to go back and actually read what people have been saying on the posts about Kim. I find it frankly insulting that you think what Orac has been doing has been at Kim’s ‘expense’.

  52. #52 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Jackie, The Emperor of All Maladies looks like a good book. Thank you.

    It looks like something Ms. Tinkham friends and relatives should read.

  53. #53 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 8, 2010

    Angel Tessier:

    I think I can speak for most of us commenting here when I say that we are not angry with Kim Tinkham for her choices. We are angry at those who told her lies and gave her false hope while blithely taking her money and using her story for self-promotion. We find it particularly appalling that at the end of Kim’s life, these same people turned their backs on her, blaming her for her condition and erasing her from their websites. I cannot understand how a friend can stand by and not be moved to fury by such dealings.

  54. #54 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    “I cannot understand how a friend can stand by and not be moved to fury by such dealings.”

    I don’t think her friends understand the seriousness of her situation; this is not a case of a woman simply taking ‘her chances with a non-traditional method’ but rather a case of Kim being deceived by both Rhonda Byrne’s book as well as scammed out of her money by Robert O. Young, both of them only too happy to peddle false hope to vulnerable people in a time of need. Instead of choosing a method that could have saved her, she was suckered into pseudoscience by quacks. I know I would be livid with rage if I found out a friend of mine was abused this way, and I would sure as hell want to make them answer for their crimes.

  55. #55 Kristen
    December 8, 2010

    I just want to second T. Bruce’s comment. It is exactly how I feel, but worded far more elegantly than something written by me.

    Orac said in his post that Kim was an exceptional woman. She believed wholeheartedly in someone who was taking advantage of her, which is infuriating. She should have lived longer.

  56. #56 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    I think it’s important for all of Kim’s friends who think that Orac is out to ‘wrong’ Kim in some way read comment #10 in this thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/01/a_horrifying_breast_cancer_testimonial_f.php

    “Kim is my [REDACTED]. She is an intelligent, strong woman, and is inspiring for her family, especially her younger sisters. But when I heard last year that she had breast cancer and was going to treat it with alternative medicine – I had my own vision. I had a vision of walking up to our grandmother, her parents and all our family, and looking at their tear filled eyes during her funeral.

    She announced recently to us that she was cured. Since I don’t believe in miracles, I doubted if she’d ever had cancer in the first place. But according to this article, she really was diagnosed with breast cancer – and still has it. She truly believes she is cured. It makes my heart sink.

    Now I hear that her parents plan to start the special “Dr. Young Diet” she’s been on for the past year. Although I don’t subscribe to any “woo woo”, I do think that her strict diet and exercise routine probably has resulted in her situation not getting any or much worse for the moment. Kim has amazing self-discipline, but I fear it won’t be enough to save her life.” – [NAME REDACTED] | January 9, 2008 3:00 PM

  57. #57 John Heileman
    December 8, 2010

    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.

    And then her doppleganger said this:

    “If this isn’t dealt with by tomorrow, everyone’s health care at the PAC will be cut off until it’s fixed,” [Elizabeth Edwards] barked. “I don’t care if nobody has health care until John and I do!”

  58. #58 John Heileman
    December 8, 2010

    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.

    And then her doppleganger said this:

    “If this isn’t dealt with by tomorrow, everyone’s health care at the PAC will be cut off until it’s fixed,” [Elizabeth Edwards] barked. “I don’t care if nobody has health care until John and I do!”

  59. #59 MadScientist
    December 8, 2010

    Poor Tinkham. She could still do some good if she’s chronicled her suffering through many of those woo-laden years. However, for the most part physicians are honest and will tell the patient that the disease is horrible and that the treatments are pretty horrible too. The woo peddlers claim they have magic treatments which are not awful like that science-based stuff. Unfortunately too many people believe the fantasy and ignore the horrible reality.

  60. #60 nybgrus
    December 8, 2010

    I can see where Angel’s impassioned plea comes from. And I am sure it makes sense from that internal perspective. But the point we are all trying to make is not that we are angry at her choices. As a future physician I would be saddened at a patient choosing not to treat a disease at all and die from its natural course. But I would respect that decision as being fully informed. What we are fighting against is the notion that her decision to listen to Young was anything other than complete ignorance and confabulation by Young himself. You correctly state that medical science currently does not have a 100% effective cure for all breast cancer. Yet you incorrectly assert that this means medical science doesn’t know what it is talking about and it is all just a matter of “chance.” Suddenly Young’s idea that cancer is caused by acid becomes a “search for hope and a chance at life.” But while medical science does not yet have the answer for ALL cancer, we do know a LOT about it. And we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the notion that cancer is caused by acid and can be cured by leading an alkaline diet is completely and utterly wrong. There is absolutely no question about this. And THAT is what makes it woo. The cure for cancer will come from the rigorous exploration of scientific fact – not the willy nilly “chance” that baking soda may cure breast cancer or that colonics and pancreatic enzyme supplements with macrobiotics can cure pancreatic cancer. As long as people do not understand this distinction, smart, robust people will look at someone like Young and someone like Orac and feel justified in saying that they are both doctors offering hope for a cure from cancer and that their methods both have failures and choosing one or the other is a completely rational and reasonable alternative. What is missing is the fact that concrete empirical fact has shown us that Young’s ideas are irrefutably wrong and that ANY pursuit down his path is NOT hope – it is completely misguided wishful thinking.

    I will end by expounding on my previous point. When I was in high school, we had a display from D.A.R.E. and M.A.D.D. where a car that was totally wrecked in a nasty car accident was on campus. They put up a photo of the driver – a 17 year old girl from our community who had died just a month prior – on the car. She had been drinking and then drove head on into another car and killed that driver as well. Everyone was sad at her death. Nobody looked at her and said “she deserved it for drinking and driving.” But everyone, including her family, were quick to use her as an example to what can happen when you do not make informed and rational decisions. Her choice to drink and then drive, herself not fully understanding the consequences, was questioned and used as an opportunity for the rest of us to learn and to (hopefully) not drink and drive ourselves. Nobody came and said that maybe it wasn’t her drinking that was the problem, and that even sober people die in car accidents too. Nobody tried to say it was her “choice” to do so and that it was completely equivalent to any other option. The difference is only that the case of drinking and driving is very clear cut, simple, and easy to understand. There is not much minutiae necessary for a deep enough understanding to make a truly informed decision about driving while intoxicated. Breast cancer (and much of medicine) is much more nuanced and complex and requires a deeper understanding to fully appreciate the consequences and likelihoods of outcomes. Shedding light on that reality is what we here are all trying to do and is just as important for saving lives as showing some teenagers a wrecked car and a picture of a dead 17 year old girl.

    The fact that it is a difficult and understandably emotional thing to do is not carte blanche to keep re-iterating the same non-points over and over. If you truly did care about this woman, it should be an opportunity for you to truly understand what and why the people are saying – to look at the actual facts for yourself so that you and others you love wont have to go through the same tragedy that Kim (and her friends and family) have gone through.

    Start by asking yourself if a mail order degree from a now discredited and defunct “college” and 2 charges of medical fraud make for a good second opinion.

  61. #61 Scott
    December 8, 2010

    @ nybgrus:

    If you truly did care about this woman, it should be an opportunity for you to truly understand…

    This is exactly the sort of comment which is rather hurtful to her friends and family at this particular time. Let’s all try to be respectful of their grief. I’m quite sure Angel cared very much about Kim, and it’s not at all helpful to (even inadvertently) suggest otherwise.

  62. #62 Orac
    December 8, 2010

    Agreed. I don’t like to hear such things in my comments. It’s very, very disturbing to see my commenters accusing friends of Kim Tinkham of not caring for her.

  63. #63 LovleAnjel
    December 8, 2010

    Kim’s friends:

    Stay off the internet for a few days. Give each other a call. Call Kim’s family. Kim was a wonderful, loving person. Tell funny stories about her. Talk about the time you spent with her. Laugh. Cry. Grieve. Ignore this blog. Ignore other blogs. Ignore the idiot trolls. Ignore the world for awhile.

  64. #64 augustine
    December 8, 2010

    Angel Tessier:

    She didn’t seek “WOO”…she sought hope.

    Then explain why there are videos of her talking to Robert O. Young. Tell us exactly how he is qualified after buying a diploma from the now closed Clayton College.

    Actually prove to us that you read and understand the criticism of Mr. Young.

    She doesn’t haven’t to prove or explain anything to you. You’re being distasteful and rude. Why don’t you just keep playing seargent at arms and self appointed “necromancer” police.

  65. #65 ebohlman
    December 8, 2010

    OT, but Patricia Callahan and Trine Tsouderos have just taken on “chronic Lyme Disease” quackery. I hope they’ve got good bodyguards.

  66. #66 Orac
    December 8, 2010

    Lovely. Now we have John Heileman showing up to piss on Elizabeth Edwards’ grave with his muckraking book. Stay classy, John. Stay classy.

  67. #67 Michael
    December 8, 2010

    “So all ORAC can do is pull the “luck card” for an explanation? I guess the “luck card” for an SBMer is kinda like the “god card” for a believer.”
    augustine,unless a treatment has a 100% success rate, then BY DEFINITION, some people taking the threatment will die.

  68. #68 augustine
    December 8, 2010

    micheal

    augustine,unless a treatment has a 100% success rate, then BY DEFINITION, some people taking the threatment will die.

    40,000 should not be considered “some”.

  69. #69 ferp
    December 8, 2010

    Um, John Heilemann has two n’s. It’s probably some troll who doesn’t know how to spell his name pretending he’s him.

  70. #70 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    Perhaps the same troll is posting that stuff elsewhere. There is some reason for this reaction on NPR:

    And there was constant sniping at her from anonymous sources. Anyone who read “Game Change,” the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, couldn’t help notice the very negative portrait of her; it described her as churlish, rude and vindictive.

    Interesting that the sources were anonymous.

    Anyway, I read her obituary in the paper this morning. It was so sad, especially about her son. After the accident they did not change anything in his room, and sometimes she would lie down next to his grave. She is being buried next to him. It is all so terribly sad.

  71. #71 Mark P
    December 8, 2010

    “So all ORAC can do is pull the “luck card” for an explanation? I guess the “luck card” for an SBMer is kinda like the “god card” for a believer.”

    Some people who always wear safety belts die in car accidents.

    Some people who never wear them may survive just fine.

    Yet only an idiot would conclude from those facts that there is no point wearing a safety belt, as it is all luck anyway.

    There is a chance element in life that we cannot avoid. Wise people try to minimise bad luck, and maximise the possible good, but it’s never a sure thing.

  72. #72 prn
    December 8, 2010

    “So all ORAC can do is pull the “luck card” for an explanation? I guess the “luck card” for an SBMer is kinda like the “god card” for a believer.”

    Citing “Luck” in this century IS disturbing. After guys like Orac do their job (snip, snip), I’ve found the medical oncologists a little slow to utilize the existing science literature well(eg. last 20 yrs) to apply some highly cost effective treatments on a (cheap biomarker) molecular basis for their treatments where I mean $2-4 per month for a generic drug, vs $XXXX per month for FDA approved snake oils that have worrisome side effects.

  73. #73 Chris
    December 8, 2010

    prn:

    little slow to utilize the existing science literature well(eg. last 20 yrs) to apply some highly cost effective treatments on a (cheap biomarker) molecular basis for their treatments where I mean $2-4 per month for a generic drug, vs $XXXX per month for FDA approved snake oils that have worrisome side effects.

    Please be more specific about what you are talking about. What are the inexpensive treatments and what are the “snake oils”? Try to post the the evidence, or you will not be taken seriously.

  74. #74 augustine
    December 8, 2010

    Some people who always wear safety belts die in car accidents.

    Some people who never wear them may survive just fine.

    Yet only an idiot would conclude from those facts that there is no point wearing a safety belt, as it is all luck anyway.

    There is a chance element in life that we cannot avoid. Wise people try to minimise bad luck, and maximise the possible good, but it’s never a sure thing.

    Wow! another seatbelt gambit analogy yet this time it’s with oncology. So chemotherapy is like a seatbelt to this scienceblogger?HMMMM!

    I wonder what would happen if all healthy people got chemo, radiation, and or surgery, for “prevention”?

    And the critical thinking skills continue to erode in this group of science bloggers.

  75. #75 prn
    December 8, 2010

    Example: An old biomarker, CA19-9, correlates highly with improved survival in various solid carcinomas adding a generic drug that is a VEGF inhibitor, EGF signaling inhibitor, unmasks dendritic cells, and stimulates granulocytic attack. It’s not FDA approved, never will be under the current structure.

    Figs A (CSLEX) and D (CA19-9) for colorectal cancer. The 5FU portion (ca 1989) of the following paper is superceded by other oral 5FU chemo, but p=0.0001 might be interesting:
    http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v86/n2/fig_tab/6600048f3.html#figure-title

    Subsequent research indicates high CA19-9 biomarker (cheap marker) results combined with high CSLEX biomarker results may be a quantitative treatment indicator in, at least, stage III CRCs.

    Vs not-so-impressive mabs for VEGF and EGFR inhibition with expensive testing for a lower population percentage AND expensive treatment for mostly poor results with significant side effects. The pharmas appear to be belatedly copying the VEGF and EGF application of the unacknowledged, cheap predecessor, poorly.

    Whereas, an oncologists’ group meeting dropping in on my social turf earlier this summer were absorbing the latest incentive scheme of the relevant multinational pushing bevacizumab for breast cancer, contemporaneous with the FDA’s deprecation.

  76. #76 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 8, 2010

    I’ve found the medical oncologists a little slow to utilize the existing science literature well(eg. last 20 yrs) to apply some highly cost effective treatments on a (cheap biomarker) molecular basis for their treatments where I mean $2-4 per month for a generic drug, vs $XXXX per month for FDA approved snake oils that have worrisome side effects.

    I’m not an oncologist, but as a surgical pathologist, I am well acquainted with the field. Your statement is gobbledygook.

  77. #77 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 8, 2010

    prn:

    You do not explain things well. The cimetidine study you cite is impressive, but it is dated 2010. If it pans out, it will be used. The drug may be cheap, but the molecular testing is not. It requires verification of its usefulness and standardization of method before being incorporated into standard treatment. BTW, molecular testing is now routine for guiding therapy, particularly in breast cancer and hematologic malignancies. However, it is still a new field, and more research (also not cheap) is needed for further development.

  78. #78 prn
    December 9, 2010

    One of the consumer/patient problems here is getting post-op tissue stains done. Many US trained doctors don’t seem familiar with this biomarker/treatment area.

    Please consider reading the paper, by five MD-PhDs . The CA19-9 – CSLEX based assessment to targeted therapy represents over 20 years of investigation overseas by a number of medical research groups.

    Applied correctly it might totally change the future prospects for 2/3 of the IIc – IVa CRC patients, who otherwise face dire odds. I would be very interested if you could estimate the effort and material costs to duplicate the technique on an ongoing basis.

  79. #79 Roadstergal
    December 9, 2010

    prn: Biomarkers – “You keep on using that word – I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Thanks to Jackie for the rec of The Emperor of All Maladies. I downloaded it this afternoon, and it’s a beautifully written book.

  80. #80 Chris
    December 9, 2010

    I was only a lowly engineer, I have no idea of the stuff prn posted. But I had confidence that there are those here that would!

    Plus, I put a hold on the book Jackie recommended at the library (sorry, I am old and need real books!). I do remember hearing about it on NPR’s Science Friday.

  81. #81 prn
    December 9, 2010

    @75 I have a longer reply ca 1130am, mentioned held up for “approval”

    @77 “Biomarkers” has (d)evolved into a huge set of relevant test categories. “tumor marker” would be more specific. google(CA19-9 biomarker)~17,500 hits; google(CA19-9 tumor marker)~23,700 hits

  82. #82 Rorschach
    December 9, 2010

    Of course, prn, a smart guy like you realizes that cimetidine (aka Tagamet) was originally developed by big pharma and marketed (no doubt at a good price) for heartburn, right? It’s not like some magical Generic Drug Fairy came along and sprinkled it down upon us.

    There’s plenty of criticism to be leveled at big pharma, no doubt, but to suggest everything the industry produces is ‘snake oil’ is to ignore real progress that’s been made in treating human illness.

  83. #83 zackoz
    December 9, 2010

    Oprah Winfrey is making a royal visit to my unfortunate country at present.

    Here is a letter I just sent to our foremost daily, the Melbourne “Age”. Thanks to Orac for the background on which much of the letter was based.

    Sir

    The mostly fawning and uncritical coverage of Oprah Winfrey’s visit has so far not mentioned her endorsement of dangerous and unscientific “alternative” medical treatments. She is well-known in the United States for encouraging and publicising a variety of unproven treatments for medical conditions, especially the completely unsubstantiated notion that vaccines cause autism.

    The Australian press should be asking her hard questions about her support for the US anti-vaccine movement, which has helped generate recent outbreaks of quite dangerous childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough.

    She should also be asked about the case of the unfortunate Kim Tinkham, who appeared on her show a few years ago, announcing that although she had cancer, she was not following normal treatment modalities but was instead using an “alternative” approach (ie quackery). Tinkham died this week, and Winfrey bears some responsibility for this unhappy result.

    Oprah Winfrey deserves much praise and respect for what she has made of herself from humble beginnings. She is rightly a role model for anyone from modest or minority backgrounds who wish to make good.

    But when Australian parents watch her show, they should be especially suspicious of anything this credulous woman says about medicine or health, particularly the health of children.

    (sgd) “zackoz”

  84. #84 Noddin
    December 9, 2010

    OK… as much as I think ORAC is a hack i don’t think he is way wrong here. I dont think chemo works well but it is based on reality….. these other treatments are based on what? Nothing. You really all need to go drink a dick…. this topic is not going to be resolved unless scientists find a cure for all this shit. I have been reading articles for a few days. I feel I have a good, horizon view on this conversation. When I look at this crap, as a dad and a worker i feel like saying, “what the fuck are they thinking? Let’s take a look at all our options. What happened here was bad luck, that’s plain and simple. I wont go into my views on organic diets affecting cancer (it does, by the way)…. i’ll just say this: you all need to step back and stop believing all the shit you read on the internet. If you go and watch people with disease; you’ll see their NOT like ORAC babbles about. This is not a game of giving people pills and electric shocks, people. This is life…. you cant beat cancer with herbs OR chemicals…. only smart decisions. Start a live with fruits and vegetables and you wont go down later in life. Peace.

  85. #85 Hey Zeus is my Homeboy
    December 9, 2010

    “i’ll just say this: you all need to step back and stop believing all the shit you read on the internet.”

    That’s the most unintentionally hilarious thing I’ve heard all week. Thanks for the cool story, bro.

  86. #86 Katharine
    December 9, 2010

    LOL, Noddin doesn’t know shit about cancer biology.

  87. #87 ferp
    December 9, 2010

    I think Noddin is a pretty cool guy. eh lies about cancer and doesn’t afraid of anything.

  88. #88 Lawrence
    December 9, 2010

    It is very funny to watch people/woo-meisters try to argue against an ONCOLOGIST about Cancer treatments – I mean, seriously?

  89. #89 embertine
    December 9, 2010

    I feel I have a good, horizon view on this conversation

    Sadly, I suspect Kim Tinkham felt she had a good, horizon view on her treatment. That didn’t make it so.

    Condolences to her friends and family.

  90. #90 Ender
    December 9, 2010

    So… Noddin has learned all he knows about cancer from the internet and just assumes that everyone else has done the same?

    Theory of Mind dude, get yourself some.

    You may have ‘watched people with cancer’ but some people here actually treat people with cancer, and see them all the time. They also understand the biology of cancer and the research that is being done.

    I think I trust them more than you.

  91. #91 andrew
    December 9, 2010

    Awesome article. I want to cry :(.

  92. #92 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2010

    So all ORAC can do is pull the “luck card” for an explanation?

    So all augustine can do is lie about what Orac said? That just goes to show what a nasty, petty, useless, uncaring ankle biter he/she is.

  93. #93 augustine
    December 9, 2010

    raging bee

    So all augustine can do is lie about what Orac said? That just goes to show what a nasty, petty, useless, uncaring ankle biter he/she is.

    Lie? The article is right above. You can read it for yourself.

    Here’e the strategy for you guys so your egos can keep consistency with your SBM BELIEF system.

    If an SBM approved treatment works, it’s science not luck. If a non SBM treatment works then it’s luck not science. If an SBM approved treatment doesn’t work then the patient was unlucky.If an alternative treatment doesn’t work then it proves SBM was right all along.

    Now that is some sound logic right there.

  94. #94 todthegod
    December 9, 2010

    You really all need to go drink a dick

    Should I do this before or after I smoke a bowl?

  95. #95 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2010

    OK… as much as I think ORAC is a hack i don’t think he is way wrong here…

    Well, that blows Noddin’s credibility pretty quickly. But the upside is, that save me the trouble of having to read the rest of his dumbass comment.

  96. #96 prn
    December 9, 2010

    Clarifications:
    @77 The webpage I linked, its *general copyright notice* is 2010 without any publication date showing. The graphs are actually, Matsumoto (2002), a study started ca 1987, with its first breakthrough results, published in Lancet, 1994, and then the terrific 10 year followup survival results with sialyl Lewis tumor markers in 2002. There are more recent papers in 2009 and 2010 that appear to justify both tumor markers’ combined use for quantitative determinations. Matsumoto’s great results in 1994 should have set off bells and whistles in NIH-NCI-FDA-ASCO on colon cancer treatment. After the 2002 paper and subsequent papers, that nothing happened, the world can only wonder.

    @82 Of course Tagamet was the first billion dollar blockbuster drug. It’s really too bad SmithKline didn’t figure the cancer use out earlier.

    My comments do not address all drugs nor legitimate profits. First I criticized two monoclonal antibodies’ performance vs a better generic treatment in the initial perioperative period, when tumor markers indicate it. Then I criticized contemporaneous promotional efforts and kickbacks for a mAb breast cancer treatment that even the FDA retracted recently for lack of benefit.

    “snake oil” applies equally to any highly promoted product with little, or negative, net benefit for the stated application, “conventional” or “alternative”. High price merely allows improved lubrication and packaging.

    @83 Re: Kim T
    My question is: “If credibly effective, convenient, low toxicity, low side effects, chemo treatments were available for $100-200 of medicine per month, without insurance, where part of the treatment components were nutrients, what percentage of future Kims might do treatment then?”

  97. #97 Kemist
    December 9, 2010

    @prn :

    I have worked in a semi-private pharma lab, and so did a friend of mine who was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer.

    There are many problems with the way the development of new drugs is handled. But they are rather mundane ones, and there is no need of a FDA-based conspiracy to explain them.

    The number one problem is the sheer amount of money needed to test drugs. My lab spent years developping a SERM for breast cancer that had both lower bone-and-heart side-effects and a higher efficacy than existing drugs for treating the disease. It did quite well on phase-I studies. Then the economy crashed, and the main developper of the drug, an MD-PhD who was involved in the development of Lupron, could never find any investors to sponsor the phase-II – wrong place, wrong time. He is now working on DHEA for wrinkles, because that is a good investment for l’OREAL. Our new SERM is now gathering dust, with probably a great many other promising new or old-with-new-possible-use drugs.

    The development of new cancer drugs is a messy, high-risk business that does not inspire many investors. And it is the testing phase which carry the highest costs. The development phase can be, and is regularly done by smaller, or academic labs, who cannot foot the bill for human testing. For that they need investors with deep pockets, and chemo drugs are not blockbusters like statins, asthma drugs, or glucose tolerance factors.

    The second problem is that the sheer amount of information in biological fields makes it hard for the best doctors to keep track. After my friend’s surgery, her MD, a super-specialized gyneco-onco-surgeon who also does research, prescribed premarin because my friend in her early 30′s had just had a total hysterectomy.

    It was quite sensible, except for the fact that some ovarian tumors are ER+ and/or PR+, and premarin is fertilizer for them. Since I worked on hormonal treatment of cancer, I asked my friend, out of curiosity, if her tumor had been tested for ER/PR. It turned out that no, it hadn’t been. She asked for a tissue sample, and had it tested in our lab. It turned out positive, and when my friend informed her MD, she turned pale and told her to throw away the prescription. She just hadn’t thought about it, and it is just the special focus of my work which made me think of it. It is still not, to my knowledge, a generalized practice to test ovarian cancer for ER/PR.

    I have no solutions for these problems, and if anybody has any ideas, I think a lot of people would like to know.

  98. #98 René Najera
    December 9, 2010

    It’s been over 24 hours, and my cheeseburger is yet to materialize. I thought “the law of attraction” dictated (since it’s a law) that whatever I visualize and think of will magically come to me.

    Heck, not even prayer works that way.

    Now, where’s my cheeseburger?

  99. #99 ferp
    December 9, 2010

    “It was quite sensible, except for the fact that some ovarian tumors are ER+ and/or PR+, and premarin is fertilizer for them.”

    Sadly, I’m sure there people who would be willing to jump on this shouting “MALPRACTICE” when it’s really just another example of how many different factors there are that make it so incredibly complicated to treat each of the many different types of cancer. The webcomic Chris pointed out in #50 really sums up nicely everything that makes cancer such a bitch to deal with for doctors and researchers alike.

  100. #100 Mandrake
    December 9, 2010

    Lovely. Now we have John Heileman showing up to piss on Elizabeth Edwards’ grave with his muckraking book. Stay classy, John. Stay classy.

    Speaking of real class, I heard on the radio a little while ago that Westboro Baptist Church will make an appearance at Edwards’ funeral. Something about her having “challenged God” by having more children after her oldest son died. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

  101. #101 Fuzzzone
    December 9, 2010

    Mandrake: “I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.”

    It’s coming from WBC; it is devoid of meaning. Waste no further time trying to find the logic at the bottom of that empty well.

    Noddin: “you all need to step back and stop believing all the shit you read on the internet”

    Says the guy who notes, mere sentences earlier, that his entire base of knowledge is sourced from Google U. “I’ve been reading articles for a few days” is supposed to make you expert enough to dismiss the views of those who have spent their entire lives studying these issues and pushing forward the boundary of human understanding on the subject? The arrogance is staggering.

  102. #102 Yojimbo
    December 9, 2010

    Yes – the arrogance should not drink so much.

  103. #103 augustine
    December 9, 2010

    Rene Nejera

    Now, where’s my cheeseburger?

    Don’t worry. It will come. I promise. Just keep thinking about it.

  104. #104 Phil
    December 9, 2010

    Maybe the person who chose the woo option was frightened, and the inevitable consequence of admitting herself to the rational regime, ie. doctors telling you your chances are X%, was not something she wanted?

    Also, as you noted, she was apparently frightened of surgery (not much irrationality about that, absent future conditional negative events (ie. dying of the unpredictable cancer they didn’t remove)) and of chemotherapy (I’ve heard it’s not a laugh myself, although I’m not aware of the mortality stats). These all seem to me to be reasonable motives for choosing something that was effectively “do nothing”.

    When we are all Spock-like ice-cold reasoning machines, especially in terms of something so trivial as our own existence, I will accept your critique as fair-minded. Even though I understand your target is the provider, not the user, perhaps you ought to concede that people will be people? However much Popper they ingest.

  105. #105 ferp
    December 9, 2010

    Phil – how does your post have any relevance whatsover to the fact that all quack ‘doctors’ should be held responsible for the people they harm, maim and kill? It’s not as if we haven’t said we understand the reason why she might have been suckered into choosing a quack doctor, but how does that make such a choice any better? How is wasting money ‘reasonable’ compared to, at the very least, choosing palliative care?

  106. #106 Chris
    December 9, 2010

    Phil:

    These all seem to me to be reasonable motives for choosing something that was effectively “do nothing”.

    Do you think there should be consequences for the guy who lied to her? She paid money to him for essentially nothing.

  107. #107 Calli Arcale
    December 9, 2010

    Phil, I can agree with someone consciously choosing a “do nothing” approach. The problem is that in Tinkham’s case, that is definitely not what happened. She chose life. That wasn’t what Young actually gave her. The problem isn’t deliberately choosing death over a painful treatment not guaranteed to succeed. The problem is being lied to by someone who purports to have a cure.

    My grandfather deliberately chose palliation only when he developed symptoms suggestive of pancreatic cancer. Being a physician himself and satisfied with his long life, he did not even feel it was worth the biopsy required to diagnose it. He chose hospice care, and consequently, was able to die with dignity in his own home, and with a reasonable degree of comfort, while still possessing all of his faculties. He knew exactly what he was choosing, and chose it of sound mind. (He was also an assisted-suicide and euthanasia proponent, but was determined not to cause any difficulties for his personal physician or the very kind ladies from the hospice or for the family, and so never exceeded his prescribed morphine dose, allowing nature to run its course.)

    That I can definitely respect, and even, on a certain level, admire.

    But Tinkham was not really given that option. Her doctors made one recommendation, and she did not like it. Then she stumbled upon Young, who gave her another recommendation. He did not tell her she was likely to die, or that his treatment amounted to doing nothing. He told her that it would cure her completely. When her tumor failed to disappear, he told her that it had been neutralized, and she proudly called it her “badge of honor” for defeating cancer. When the cancer metastasized and ultimately killed her, Young declared that she hadn’t followed the protocol correctly.

    She did not choose to do nothing. She chose to embark on a costly regimen which she’d been promised would cure her illness. She was given false hope, and prevented from realizing what the real sets of pros and cons for each choice really were.

    It’s a bit like the old joke about a computer software executive dying and being told he gets to pick whether he goes to Heaven or Hell. In Heaven, he sees everybody sitting around on clouds, smiling peacefully and chatting. In Hell, he sees a raucous, 24/7 party with booze and great music and lovely ladies. So of course he picks Hell. When he arrives, he finds that the party isn’t there; instead, it’s a barren wasteland. “What happened to the party?” he asked the Devil. “Oh,” replied the Devil, “that was just the demo.”

    That’s the sort of choice Tinkham made. She didn’t know what she was getting into, so in the end, it really wasn’t her choice after all. It should have been, and that is what we rail against.

    I agree that people will be people. That is precisely why we must call out the charlatans and the con artists whenever we can. People have the right to make whatever choice they wish with respect to their health care; they also have the right to receive honest and complete information with which to make that decision.

  108. #108 Lawrence
    December 9, 2010

    And here lies the problem – she didn’t expect the “woo” to do nothing, she expected it to cure her. And since the “treatments” she received had no basis in any kind of medical science, they never were going to either cure her or improve her health in any way, shape or form.

    When you approach conventional therapies, you at least know that these treatments have undergone batteries of studies and testing – and have a proven efficacy for the ailments on which they are used. Doctors can give you a pretty decent prognosis, based on past experience, check-ups on the patient’s current condition, etc & make change or additional recommendations on the treatment options as the patient’s condition changes.

    In this case (and just about all other “alternative treatments”) there is no testing, no evaluation of the patient state; just – follow my diet & you’ll be cured. Or, takes these supplements & you’ll be cured, or whatever & you’ll be cured.

    This is what kills people – because these “alternative” treatments have no basis in any actual science or research to show that they do anything at all – ever!

  109. #109 Sibyl
    December 9, 2010

    Sociopaths are charming. They lie very well and manipulate others for their own gain. They are also fond of taking risks, especially when those risks involve other people actually suffering the consequences. Being a pretend doctor sounds like a perfect occupation for a person with no conscience.

    How easy is it to practice alt-med? How hard is it to get put in jail? We may have left the door wide open for all the disgusting wreckage of society to come crawling through. They think it’s a game, and whether people die or not makes no difference to them as long as they “win”.

  110. #110 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2010

    Our esteemed host predicted that it wouldn’t be long before Mike Adams commented** on the tragic fate of Elizabeth Edwards, so true to form, today @ NaturalNews : ” Elizabeth Edwards joins long list of victims killed by chemotherapy”. He compounds his remarkably insensitive screed by noting that, ” In fact, there are many cures for cancer”. As if this isn’t horrendous enough, a later post discusses Aretha Franklin’s illness . I was always taught to be a “lady” and not curse in public, but these woo-meisters are fu@king beyond belief- cashing in on other families’ tragedies and revelling in the self-glorification of their paltry intellectual short-comings. B@st@rds.

    ** Yesterday at noon( see my comment above ), Gary Null predictably responded in a similarly despicably fashion. ( paraphrase) ” My listeners *told* her about my protocols and she wouldn’t listen”. Ad nauseum.

  111. #111 ferp
    December 9, 2010

    I just read those articles on NaturalNews – shit, Mike Adams truly is a scumbag. I take it back, that’s actually insulting to pond scum.

    I like how he says that “the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 35 percent” and therefore “That tells any intelligent person that conventional oncology doesn’t work”. Seriously? 35% is not “doesn’t work”, that’s what 0% is! It usually kills you because the symptoms of pancreatic cancer only manifest once it has progressed to the point of becoming untreatable, so it is rarely detected in time!

    “Send your blessings to Aretha today and pray that she soon realizes cancer industry doctors are quacks who harm far more people than they help.”

    Emphasis not mine. That lying bastard pisses me off so much, especially when I think about how his misinformation could lead to more cases like Kim’s in the world…

  112. #112 herp n. derpington
    December 9, 2010

    just found this ridiculous article written by none other than our very own dr. young

    http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Critical-Role-of-Sodium-and-Chloride-%28Salt%29-in-the-Diet!&id=1292668

    in it he claims that our bodies create the elements necessary for life via nuclear fusion of sodium atoms with ions (hydronium, oxygen, etc), all at body temperature, all without harmful radiation. what a fucking nutcase.

  113. #113 Travis
    December 9, 2010

    Wow…he needs to write up those results and publish them. Fleischmann and Pons would be proud.

  114. #114 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2010

    Interestingly enough, a quick glance at Young’s “pH Miracle” site reveals that he runs health retreats – in Hawaii and Thailand ( @ $4995 weekly) and private retreats at Rancho del Sol (CA) at $1950-2900 per day. Alkalinized water, green juices, and other “amenities” provided; participants must be “ambulatory” ( see website for details). Seriously, I can think of many live-enhancing ways to spend $2000 in CA and none of them would involve green juices.

  115. #115 Chris
    December 9, 2010

    Oh my! I am having trouble figuring out who would pay that kind of money! I know taking two teenagers to Disneyland for four days was costly, but not like that (even with airfare)!

    Oh, if you want to feel young… first take kids to Disneyland when they are small. They go on the little rides, but refuse the roller coasters and Indiana Jones Adventure. Then take them as teenagers! Woo hoo! Lots of runs on the fast rides, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure and others. It is really fun to hang out with great teenagers. (Daughter and I rode the Alice in Wonderland ride for nostalgia sake, since she made me ride multiple times when she was six years old, it was fun seeing her reaction eight years later)

  116. #116 alison
    December 9, 2010

    @ herp (#111) funnily enough I just blogged on that particular piece: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/bioblog/2010/12/nuclear-transformation-at-body.shtml. ‘Nutcase’ is the least of it!

  117. #117 David N. Brown
    December 10, 2010

    @113:
    Good to throw perspective back at apologists crying about Tinkham’s lack of insurance. This reminds me of a “horror story” I heard on Christian radio years ago, by a frustrated pastor who recounted an engaged couple who declined pre-marital counseling on the grounds that they didn’t have the money. Then they spent several thousand on flowers for their wedding.

  118. #118 Militant Agnostic
    December 10, 2010

    alison @115

    Your link is broken – it should be
    http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/bioblog/2010/12/nuclear-transformation-at-body.shtml#more

    Yikes – what a whackaloon – Robert Young is at least 0.7 timecubes. I wonder if he believes his bullshit or he just gets a thrill out of making more and more outrageous claims. The latter is the sort of thing a sociopath enjoys.

    I think a lot of the people who are defending Kim Tinkham’s choice seem to think that making shit up is as valid as science validated by evidence and replication.

  119. #119 alison
    December 10, 2010

    Militant Agnostic: thank you!

  120. #120 Jud
    December 10, 2010

    Angel Tessier -

    Don’t know whether you’re still reading, but I wanted to say the following to you:

    My condolences on the loss of your good friend.

    Though most of the folks commenting here would have turned their hopes for treatment in a different direction than Kim did, that says nothing about the type of person she was. She obviously had many dear friends, and that says a great deal about the type of person she was.

    I know we all wish for the day when various cancers will no longer rob us of years with dear friends and family. Perhaps some of us will seek that end by contributing to scientific research; that’s the path I’ll choose personally. But whatever direction you choose to go: Peace.

  121. #121 dedicated lurker
    December 10, 2010

    Okay, I read the words “nuclear fusion” and started giggling uncontrollably.

    I wonder if Young pronounces it “nuk-yu-ler.”

  122. #122 Gray Falcon
    December 10, 2010

    I think a lot of the people who are defending Kim Tinkham’s choice seem to think that making shit up is as valid as science validated by evidence and replication.

    It seems quite a few people think that science is a bunch of stuff people made up. I blame standardized testing. Student are taught things, but not how we know them.

    Also, my condolences to the friends and family of Kim Tinkham.

  123. #123 Jason
    December 11, 2010

    It is funny that you see how victim mentality is so ingrained into our everyday culture.

    Since when is good nutrition considered a quackery? It does not take too much research to come up with the fact they have known how cancer exists since the Nobel Prize was give out to Otto Warburg in 1933, who discovered cancer survives only in an acidic environment.

    If the current Cancer Treatment that is promoted through our health care system is consider truly effective, then we would not be raising 100′s of millions of dollars every year to fight this cancer or that cancer.

    Dr. Young has taken the teachings found in the Bible, and also found in other places like the, Bhagavad Gita, Sumerian, Egyptian and Greek Texts.

    The quacks are those mind controlled idiots who can’t think for themselves and when they see something go wrong are quick to add judgment and place the blame on someone else.

    I have followed the pH Miracle program it has helped me and many others from there not so serious to very serious health challenges. I have found when I do not follow it some of those expressed symptoms I had before come back.

    I see is what he teaches is a way of life that many choose not to follow because they are so addicted to crap food, or the yeast in there body is.This conditioning is what the propaganda machine thrives on for financial gain. Do you not think that McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Big Pharma, Meat Industry Lobbyist, Media, advertising giants and the FDA are all separate industry’s with their own agenda? The only agenda is wealth creation and control for the elitists. That does not include us Goy.

    The ones who have even taken the path of the ph miracle program know that it can be hard to follow if you start bringing in how you lived before. It is a permanent lifestyle change and if one can fully stick to it one’s life can feel enhanced.

    Let’s also take something else into consideration. When your time is up it is up and sometimes you may not consciously have any control over it. There are higher powers that be and govern our universe. Us being apart of that are here to enjoy and make the most of our lives.

    My condolences to Kim and here family. Seeing her video’s has brought inspiration to many others who are working through other similar challenges.

    As she had known it takes a lot of dedication to the body heart and mind to change one’s lifestyle.

    It should never be a sad time when someone’s life ends. It should be a celebration. Kim was an amazing women, her friends would tell you that. She accomplished a lot in her life time and now she has moved to her next journey.

    The fact is we are all going to die at some point. This roller coaster ride does not live for ever. The chances are you are going to die of:
    1) pharma drug intervention or hospital surgeries (#1 killer when combined)
    2) Heart Disease
    3) cancer

    Why because of the victim mentality. Take life back in your hands do give it to someone else. Does one think Kim blamed Young. I doubt it. The teachings of the Secret do teach victimization as one of it’s virtues. Those teachings are not New Age but are Old Age. When has taking accountability been a crime and why would Young take accountability.

    Young’s science is no quack job. Nasa has has him and his wife Shelley on the Vegetarian and Fasting Committee for the Nasa Sapce Missions to care after those Astronauts. Would our space agency hire quacks? No I think not.

    I know our government does but that is to carry out the dirty work of the Military Industrial Complex, Zionism, and Globalization (probably all connected there).

    So there you have it. It is easy to shoot the messenger or or even the message first without going through the experience your self.

  124. #124 Chris
    December 11, 2010

    Jason, show us one verifiable study that nutrition alone ever cured cancer. Also, on what planet are lemons not acidic? Tell us exactly how the claims of Mr. Young have any basis in reality, especially the bit about elements changing to other elements through transmutation in the body.

    By this statement “pharma drug intervention or hospital surgeries (#1 killer when combined)” is a lie. Especially when the average age of death in the USA is over 77 years old. Show us from this table what is the most common cause of death.

    Come on, show us something more than a rant full of assertions. Support those assertions with real evidence!

  125. #125 ferp
    December 11, 2010

    Wow – I don’t think Jason could possibly have been fed more bullshit than if Young sat his ass directly on Jason’s mouth.

    “separate industry’s” “Seeing her video’s” “places like the,” “Why because of the victim mentality.”

    PROTIP: if you want to be taken seriously, don’t act like you’ve had a lobotomy, and learn to pluralize and use punctuation properly.

    Oh, and take a high school biology class – your body’s pH never ever changes due to what you eat. Your blood has to stay almost exactly at 7.4 pH or you will get critically ill (as in die), and it is regulated by a very reliable buffer system in the bloodstream. The only thing that changes is the pH of your urine, and that has absolutely zero effect on the rest of the body.

  126. #126 Chris
    December 11, 2010

    From Jason’s website:

    Jason Kelsey is a Holistic Wellness Consultant, is a member of the International Microscopy Association, pH Miracle Trained Nutritional Microscopist (by Dr. Robert O. Young, author of “Sick and Tired” and “The pH Miracle”), PSYCH-K Level 1 Facilitator, UNSUI Trained Reiki Practitioner, and is currently studying for his Degree in Metaphysical Sciences with a desired Ph.D. in the Metaphysical field.

    Sounds like he has both drunk the kool-aid, and gave himself an enema with it.

    Oh, then on the Psych-K he writes:

    If your life feels like you’re trapped in a prison of limitations, or you’re just not living up to your full potential, chances are you have a conflict between your conscious desires and your subconscious beliefs.

    Jason, deer, your limitations are caused by your lack of science education and basic literacy. Perhaps you are just an idiot, but if not only you can change that by actually learning some reality based chemistry and biology.

  127. #127 geri09tgi340998h89
    December 11, 2010

    http://www.eatshrinkandbemerry.com/blog/archives/53/top-nutritional-supplement-2/

    There are two Food Networks hosts promoting this nonsense. Food Network hosts, selling pseudoscience bullshit. I also just saw an episode of their show where they promoted it (it was some episode where they were cooking for firemen, I didn’t watch it, just happened to catch them talking about “meat is acidic”, and then promptly RAGED).

    I need a really stiff drink.

  128. #128 novalox
    December 11, 2010

    @123

    Lord, how many idiotic comments, ad hominems, conspiracy theories, innuendos, and overall general lack of basic science can be placed in one comment.

    That was worth a nice laugh over such stupidity.

    Anyways, it would be a great laugh to see Jason try to find any “evidence” for his kooky theory, such as a published scientific paper from a major journal.

  129. #129 Militant Agnostic
    December 11, 2010

    This does not go

    Young’s science is no quack job. Nasa has has him and his wife Shelley on the Vegetarian and Fasting Committee for the Nasa Sapce Missions to care after those Astronauts. Would our space agency hire quacks? No I think not.

    with this

    I know our government does but that is to carry out the dirty work of the Military Industrial Complex, Zionism, and Globalization (probably all connected there).

    The first quote indicates Young has worked for the Reptillians in the government, doing the dirty work of Military Industrial Complex etc.(I wonder if Jason knows who coined that phrase). I also see Jason is an anti-Semite – lovely, but not entirely unexpected. – I do not conisder people opposed to Isreali expansionism to be anti-Semites, but in the this context it is clear that Zionism is a code word for “International Jewish Conspiracy”.

    By the way it is customary to capitalize acronyms. It was thoughtful to link to you website though so we could tell you were not a poe.

  130. #130 Chance Gearheart, AAS, NREMT-P
    December 11, 2010

    Orac, I think you have an infestation of /b/tards, Ala 85, 88.

  131. #131 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 11, 2010

    It should never be a sad time when someone’s life ends. It should be a celebration.

    Really? Have you ever lost a close friend or relative at a young age? I have lost several, and speaking from that experience, I suggest that you fuck off and die.

  132. #132 Louise
    December 11, 2010

    Doc, Your comment “Either way, it saddens me greatly that Edwards’ life was 20 or 30 years shorter than it should have been, thanks to breast cancer.” is absurd!

    Do you have ANY idea what life as a 81 to 91 year old woman is like in this society???? After years of volunteering with senior citizens I will tell you that any woman that aspires to be that old is CRAZY! Our society strips women of their dignity, self reliance and usefulness when they are no longer of childbearing age. (Edwards is a prime example – husband goes for younger fertile woman, even after his wife gives birth at 50!!!)

    I am 66 and diagnosed with lobular breast cancer (I don’t want to know stage or ER status just yet) in August of this year. I have refused “standard” treatment (ie. mastectomy and chemo/radiation) but am on standard dose of anastrozole merely to give my doctors/family/friends the reassurance that I am doing “something”. I’ve looked at all the “woo” on the net, I’ve done my own regression analysis on the raw data from the 2008 Annuals Of Surgery and my conclusion is that doing NOTHING leaves me with a 50/50 chance of living for another 5 years. I will be 71 if I live that long, but whatever time I have left is a blessing because I can put my affairs in order, prepare my adult children and enjoy my garden, WITHOUT the side effects from surgery/chemo/radiation! I have NO interest in becoming a “professional pink ribbon patient” or living until my bones give out and I have excruciating pain from spinal stenosis or any of the other pre-existing conditions I am susceptible to.

    Let me also remind you that we live on a planet with a carrying capacity of 2 million people that is currently straining to support 4.2 million people in excess of that number! If all of us demand that extra 20-30 years you speak of, our children will have no future and all of the earth’s resources will be used up maintaining non-productive elders!

    Death/cancer is not the “enemy”, it is the natural progression of LIFE. I am content, even happy, that cancer has given me the time and insight to prepare for the end of my earthly existence and, like Peter Pan, I say “Dying shall be a GREAT ADVENTURE”!!

  133. #133 Vicki
    December 11, 2010

    I have some idea of what life as an 81-year-old woman is like: my mother and I talk regularly, and she will turn 80 next month.

    She has dignity and self-reliance, and I think she would agree that her life is useful. She’s also enjoying it. She told me a few weeks ago that she wouldn’t be coming to visit in February, because she’s fulfilling a long-held dream and spending three weeks in India.

    Not everyone has those genes for good health, but I suspect that your volunteering with senior citizens is self-selecting in the other direction: you won’t see a woman like my mother, who isn’t getting volunteer help, she is volunteering in the schools. (Her younger sister does go to her local senior center occasionally: there’s a Shakespeare class she enjoys.)

  134. #134 Chris
    December 11, 2010

    I also have an idea of what life is like for an 80 plus year old woman. I often do the noon swim at the pool, and there are many vibrant women who swim at that time who are in their 70s and 80s, even 90s. This includes one who has two long scars from a radical mastectomy, she is not slowing down.

    Another of those lovely over-80 women just had to bury her mother, who lived to be over a 100 years old. She is not slowing down.

  135. #135 Louise
    December 11, 2010

    Chris and Vicki – your limited experience with the elderly is showing! Vicki, your mother is “spending three weeks in India” and Chris you “do the noon swim at the pool”. Do you have any idea that 95% of older women do not have the financial resources to eat three nutritious meals a day say nothing of a trip to India and swims at the pool? PLEASE – do not let the fact that you and the older women you know are blessed with wealth and health blind you to the fact that the majority of we elders are not so well situated and that we cannot expect the young people to provide us with luxuries when THEY cannot put food on the table. Get an accurate (how 90% of people live) view of life and then accept that death is a natural end to it!

  136. #136 Louise
    December 11, 2010

    I wasn’t going to say this but I can’t sleep if I don’t. The arrogance of wealth and privilege shown by Chris and Vicki’s responses is typical of the self aggrandizing, self deluded wealthy people in this country. If either one of these women had spent 5o years on her knees scrubbing other peoples floors for less than minimum wage,no benefits and no retirement funding, I would listen to their comments. Trips to India and daily dips in “the pool” are not in the picture for the majority of women over 60 in this country. Try living on $500 a month SS and then talk to me of dignity and respect! Try living in one room with no heat in winter and no a/c in summer and having no access to health care because you are unable to get down the stairs of your walk-up and even if you could you have no transportation to the doctors office and no money for co-pays. I may have cancer and a limited life span but I thank what god’s may be that I don’t have to deal with “privileged princesses” like these two!. I am also thankful for my home, my family, and my friends who are aware and caring for those less fortunate!

  137. #137 Chris
    December 11, 2010

    Loise, the average lifespan of Americans is over 77 years old. There are plenty of women who grow older who are healthy. I would say that your experience is quite limited.

    But that does not matter when a woman my age died from breast cancer for no good reason. Ms. Tinkham was robbed. Are you going to deny that?

  138. #138 Louise
    December 12, 2010

    She had no chance, as I understand it she did not have adequate insurance, nor did she have adequate information thanks to all the “woo-woos” including “O”, and all the other scam artists out there. But how are you any different? Are you willing to give up your pool fees to provide adequate health insurance for people like her. And don’t you DARE say my experience with the elderly is limited – not until you’ve spent 15 years working with and for services for the elderly and disabled!

  139. #139 Chris
    December 12, 2010

    “privileged princesses”? I’m from a family that homesteaded in the western USA a century ago! The women I speak of grew up on farms and more than one endured Nazi Germany! Some grew up where there was no plumbing until the they were adults, and at least a couple spent time in a concentration camp (including my husband’s aunt… even though she was Catholic Dutch… the problem being that her father was in the Dutch Resistance).

    How dare you make lots of presumptions, you need to actually back up your statements.

    Though you are right about the social services in the USA. Our older relatives in Canada and the Netherlands do much better. But that still does not mean that most women over 80 are unhealthy.

  140. #140 Chris
    December 12, 2010

    Ms. Tinkham had a choice. Even if she had no insurance, she did not have to pay Mr. Young his outrageous fees.

    Also, Ms. “Assumption”, it is a public pool. There are no “fees”… I pay a whopping $3.50 per swim. Compare that to Mr. Young’s $2000+ per day retreats.

  141. #141 Drivebyposter
    December 12, 2010

    Let me also remind you that we live on a planet with a carrying capacity of 2 million people that is currently straining to support 4.2 million people in excess of that number!

    HOLY SHIT!
    How did I miss the nuclear holocaust or whatever that whittled down the world’s population that much?

  142. #142 Chris
    December 12, 2010

    Oh, and the “fees” per swim for anyone over 65 years old is $2.75, and there is an unlimited pass for seniors at $35 per month.

  143. #143 Chris
    December 12, 2010

    Louise, I live in a state with six million people. I guess we are the whole world!

  144. #144 Louise
    December 12, 2010

    Make that billion – damn spell check can’t read intent

  145. #145 Louise
    December 12, 2010

    Chris, $35 a month would pay for TWO elderly diabetic’s part D drug coverage for a month! But that’s not really fair since you staying healthy by swimming each day IS keeping the cost of maintaining we elders down. So yes, I made an assumption that your “pool” was of a fancier variety like the one my own mother paid outrageous fees to lounge next to. BUT STILL, none of the women I’ve worked with are as blessed as we are to 1.) Have access to a public pool and 2.) Have the $35 to pay for it.

  146. #146 Composer99
    December 12, 2010

    Louise:

    Unless you have data showing that on average the elderly are much poorer than others in the US, then you are working with only your personal experience and anecdotal information, which means there is no reason to conclude it can be generalized – that is to say, you cannot reasonably conclude that Chris’ and Vicki’s anecdotes of elderly women they know are any less typical than yours.

    Also, if memory serves Chris has a disabled child, so you are inaccurate in suggesting she has no experience dealing with the disabled.

  147. #147 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 12, 2010

    Do you have any idea that 95% of older women do not have the financial resources to eat three nutritious meals …

    Oh, bull.

  148. #148 Travis
    December 12, 2010

    Louise,
    There are plenty of challenges for seniors in our society but please do not do them a disservice by making statistics up. You have been asked for data, people have discussed why your personal experience is likely biased, and so far you have provided nothing.

  149. #149 AndyD
    December 12, 2010

    Louise, I don’t think anyone’s arguing the world is perfect or that everyone truly has equal opportunity in all things at all times.

    If you’d choose to die at 71 rather than live a difficult life into your 80s, then that’s a choice you can make. The two women in this story didn’t seem to want to die – they tried to live regardless of how bad things might be for some old people.

    You seem to think doctors should send older people away to die rather than try to help them because you think it’s not worth getting older…?

  150. #150 Vicki
    December 12, 2010

    I could accuse you of being self-centered right back, in your assumption that poverty and ill health are only problem’s for the elderly. My point was, simply, that age does not necessarily equal impairment, loss of dignity, or “uselessness.”

    Nor does poverty make a person’s life “useless,” or you’ve just written off a billion or more people.

    Oh, and that volunteer work my mother does in the schools: it’s Holocaust education, which includes talking about her and her parents’ experience. Every remaining person who can talk about that from direct experience is of the age that you assume makes their lives worthless.

  151. #151 Robert O Young
    December 12, 2010

    “Condemnation without examination is the height of ignorance.” (Albert Einstein)

  152. #152 Orac
    December 12, 2010

    What would you have me “examine” about your pseudoscience, Mr. Young? Do you have any scientific data or randomized clinical trials to try to persuade me from my current personal opinion that what you do is the rankest quackery? Anything? Anything at all that might persuade me that what you do is worth the thousands of dollars you charge people to come to your ranch? Seriously. I will write a retraction of everything if you can show me some solid scientific and clinical evidence from well-designed experiments and clinical trials that you can cure cancer with your pH Miracle Plan. Preferably, they should be in the peer-reviewed medical literature, but I’ll even consider evidence that is not.

    Anecdotes don’t count, though. I need real science and real clinical trials.

  153. #153 Composer99
    December 12, 2010

    Mr. Young:

    Your proposed etiology of cancers has no discernable relationship with what is known of cellular biology. Since your proposed treatments for cancers are based on your purported chain of causation, we can conclude for the time being that there is little merit to them.

    Unless, of course, you are able to come up with some clinical trials of sufficient quality.

    Until the, however, consider your quackery duly examined and rightfully condemned.

  154. #154 Militant Agnostic
    December 12, 2010

    Mr. Young:

    Your pseudoscience has been examined by many of us and found to be risible and/or batshit insane. Your pH nonsense is eclipsed by your claim that elements are transmuted in the human body. I am sure Einstein would rotating in his grave at a rate beyond the redline of any race engine if he knew were quoting him.

    I hereby award you 0.75 time cubes.

    You are an odious vile quack. The question is not whether you should be incarcerated, but where – mental hospital or federal prison.

  155. #155 novalox
    December 12, 2010

    @155

    Oh,m I’ve examined your “ideas” enough. Ideas that go against any basic high school biology, chemistry, and physics.
    Ideas that can potentially prevent someone from receiving proper medical care. Ideas that have never been scientifically proven nor published in any respected scientific journal.

    So I have no qualms about condemning you and your ignorant quackery.

  156. #156 novalox
    December 12, 2010

    Whoops, quote was to be directed at Mr. Young

  157. #157 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 12, 2010

    “Condemnation without examination is the height of ignorance.” (Albert Einstein)

    Examined – check

    Condemned – check

  158. #158 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 12, 2010

    So yes, I made an assumption that your “pool” was of a fancier variety like the one my own mother paid outrageous fees to lounge next to.

    Somebody has issues.

  159. #159 Chris
    December 12, 2010

    T. Bruce McNeely:

    Somebody has issues.

    It does look that way, doesn’t it. I keep reading articles that say activity, both mental and physical, can make a person healthier as they get older. Of course, there is a great deal of variation in results.

    Not everyone can go out literally laughing like my dad’s stepmother. She was over 80 and having lots of fun at a rec center’s casino night when she had a brain aneurysm and died. Yes, she was laughing at the time… though it ruined the evening for the others. Better yet… she died in debt. My dad had to pay her bills.

  160. #160 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 12, 2010

    Mr. Young…

    There are many very good reasons to not like Finland (the country in which I live) but one of the things that I love about here is that someone like you couldn’t even begin to think about getting away with the shit that the US lets you get away with. And quite rightly.

    You’re an arsehole, and everything that comes out of you is shit.

  161. #161 Composer99
    December 12, 2010

    David @ 159:

    Channeling ‘Team America’?

  162. #162 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 13, 2010

    @Composer99

    I wish I knew who they are… are they a good thing?

    *looks up Team America*

    Hell, no!

    I’m channelling me and a shit-load of other people who are disgusted with that pillock for what he’s done. I wish I could think of something snappy, but I can’t.

    But seriously… he wouldn’t last two minutes here. They’d be on him like a ton of shit.

  163. #163 a-non
    December 13, 2010

    @Orac: 152,

    If the subject wasn’t so serious, your request to “Dr.” Young would have elicited a chuckle. I do not expect the good doctor will be providing the information you request anytime soon. Or ever.

  164. #164 Calli Arcale
    December 13, 2010

    Louise @ 132:

    I wasn’t going to say this but I can’t sleep if I don’t. The arrogance of wealth and privilege shown by Chris and Vicki’s responses is typical of the self aggrandizing, self deluded wealthy people in this country. If either one of these women had spent 5o years on her knees scrubbing other peoples floors for less than minimum wage,no benefits and no retirement funding, I would listen to their comments

    I wish I could introduce you to my grandmother. She is 95. She’s a salty old Cajun lady, who was born into abject poverty. You’ve got a computer — that tells me already that you’re better off than she was. She remembers fondly the time she got an apple for Christmas — it was the only time she ever got a Christmas present as a child. Her parents were so poor they could not always feed her, and she spent much of her childhood bouncing around various relatives’ households — whoever had a job at the time. Eventually, she managed to work hard enough to actually get into college, studying to become a nurse. This allowed her to take a job with Branff Airlines — all stewardesses had to be nurses, back in those pre-pressurization days, so they could treat cases of altitude sickness. Then she joined the military, and served in the Pacific Theater of WWII as a nurse at field hospitals in the South Pacific, which is where she met my grandfather. Several years his senior, they fell in love, married, and eventually settled down. She raised their five children; he re-upped to serve in Korea. He died a few years ago, after choosing palliative care for his suspected pancreatic cancer. He was 91, and had only given up his 5-mile daily constitutionals about six years earlier.

    Don’t make assumptions, that’s all.

  165. #165 Calli Arcale
    December 13, 2010

    Jason @ 123:

    Young’s science is no quack job. Nasa has has him and his wife Shelley on the Vegetarian and Fasting Committee for the Nasa Sapce Missions to care after those Astronauts. Would our space agency hire quacks? No I think not.

    I’d like to know more about that. I’m a big NASA fan, and I’ve never heard of such a thing. NASA has never promoted vegetarian diets for their astronauts; in fact, their most popular menu item is shrimp cocktail. Tortilla cheeseburgers are also popular, as are cheese tortellini and meatballs. In general, the priorities are: sticky, shelf-stable, not too smelly, tasty, not too gas-producing, “low residue”, and satisfies dietary intake requirements.

    Sticky: this is obvious. You don’t have gravity, so food has to either be drinkable thorugh a straw or sticky enough that it doesn’t drift out of the container. You don’t want a nice ionized (read: conductive) substance floating into a circuit panel, or you may have much bigger problems than the crews’ future risk of colon cancer.

    Shelf-stable: given that missions can be delayed by months (Discovery’s final flight has been delayed from November to December and now to NET February), it has to keep, because they don’t want to have to worry about food poisoning on orbit if Florida’s notoriously fickle weather causes too many delays. Some of their food is so stable that they’ve reflown leftovers. (Mainly the tortillas, though they do also sell leftovers via the Internet. Actual space food, not the stupid dehydrated “astronaut ice cream” stuff, which astronauts do not actually eat because it’s nasty.)

    Not too smelly: it’s pretty close quarters up there, and for some reason, people seem to develop more acute senses of smell up there. Might just be due to the tigh quarters themselves. Absolutely every item to be flown inside the habitable volume of a spacecraft is tested first by professional sniffers to make sure it is inoffensive. Seriously. Even books.

    Tasty: sanity becomes a major issue on long-duration spaceflights. Gentle reminders of home are hugely important, and food is a way to do that. There are definitely limits to what they can do, but the NASA kitchens have gotten fairly creative. Shrimp cocktail, for instance. Most people think space food is dehydrated fruit and baby food in a tube, but it’s not anymore. They try to make it as pleasant as possible, within their limits. Still, most crewmembers, when asked what they’re most looking forward to upon their return, say their families, and then list some favorite food item which they’ve terribly missed. SUbjecting them to a vegetarian diet or worse, making them fast would not be very friendly. Bad enough they have to do that nasty fluid-loading stuff before reentry.

    No too gas producing: it’s not like you can roll down a window up there. The ISS is roomy, but the Shuttle is anything but. (Yeah, it’s big, but most of that space is for the payload and propulsion systems. The crew just gets that little bit in the front.) Broccoli, beans — eat those, and you won’t be very popular for a while. (Mind you, the Russians seem to mind that less. They pack raw onions.)

    Low residue: fiber’s important, and helps combat the inevitable constipation that results from weightlessness and not really wanting to try out the space potty until absolutely necessary. But there are times when you really really really would rather not have to poop. Like during launch, entry, and EVA, when you will be wearing a diaper. And when the space potty breaks down and you have to use the “Apollo fecal canisters” which actually manage to be quite a bit less glamorous than they sound. (It’s a self-adhesive bag that you tape to your butt. Yay, the romance of spaceflight!)

    Vegetarian diets? Pretty low on the priority list, I would think. I have little doubt that Young claims to have been hired by NASA. I have a great deal of doubt that he actually was, at least in the capacity which he claims.

  166. #166 a-non
    December 13, 2010

    Jason @123:

    The only proof that I can found online that Young is involved with NASA comes from his own CV and credulous websites. Nothing on the NASA website itself. Again, I’m not shocked in the slightest.

  167. #167 Brian
    December 13, 2010

    you guys are seriously mis-informed. My father cured his prostate cancer with Dr. Youngs science. They wanted to remove his prostate. He has been alive for years, and there is no cancer. And there are thousands of others who have healed themselves naturally. Just because one person dies to does a natural approach mean’s it’s quackery, when thousands die a death by chemotherapy and nobody says a thing. It goes to show how sick our society and medical system is. Also the science is clear that diet and lifestyle can heal cancer. There are countless studies on plants and essential oils. I also have other friends who healed themselves naturally also many of whom used Dr. Robert O. Youngs science. Wake-Up people, the mainstream sickness system is killing people with their Toxic Therapies and Repression of Natural Chemicals versus Toxic Synthetic Chemicals.

  168. #168 Militant Agnostic
    December 13, 2010

    @167
    One person apparently is cured of an often slow cancer by “Dr.” Young and thousands are cured by chemotherapy and we are expected to believe that everything we )and the entire scientific community) know about biology, chemistry and physics is wrong.

    If you think natural chemicals are not toxic, stick your dick in a rattlesnake’s mouth.

  169. #169 Chris
    December 13, 2010

    And yet, Brian, Ms. Tinkham has actually died. She is not the only one. Why do you worship someone who “graduated” from a mail-order diploma mill? Who claims that lemons are not acidic?

  170. #170 Gray Falcon
    December 13, 2010

    I’m no oncologist, but I thought prostate cancer was something people generally died with, rather than died of. “Curing” it hardly seems like that great an accomplishment.

  171. #171 Composer99
    December 13, 2010

    Brian:

    Robert Young’s approach is definitely not natural. It is also neither plausible nor effective.

    His assertion that a healthy pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.5 is unsupportable, as a blood pH of 6.0 is fatal to humans. How is that natural?

    His treatments for cancer are based on a complete misunderstanding of cancer etiology.

    His regimen involves taking an extraordinary number of pills on a regular basis (which is a feature of numerous quacks). How is that natural?

    Further, unless those pills entail taking toxic doses of nutrients, minerals, &c. his marks patients’ bodies will simply pass on the extras in urine, without them having any discernable effect (unless they happen to have dietary deficiencies of any of those nutrients &c, of course, in which case the pills will inadvertently be of help).

    So while I am pleased that your father is presently cancer-free, and I sincerely hope he remains so, I must disagree with your claim that Young’s particular brand of quackery has any credit in his recovery.

  172. #172 a-non
    December 14, 2010

    Brian,

    I do not believe that your father was “cured” of prostate cancer thanks to Dr. Young. Whether you are deluded or intentionally lying is really the open question.

  173. #173 novalox
    December 14, 2010

    @172

    Depends on his response, if he gives any…

    A quick response – deluded

    No response/response filled with ad hominems and insinuations – liar

  174. #174 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 14, 2010

    Brian:

    Would you mind answering a few questions for me?

    Was your father’s cancer confirmed with a biopsy?

    If not, how do you know that it was cancer? There are other causes of raised PSA and prostate nodules.

    If it was, do you know the Gleason Grade? That makes a huge difference. A low grade means a tumor that in many countries is treated by monitoring without surgery. Men can live for years, even decades, without spread using this approach. In Canada and the USA, the approach tends to be more aggressive, with prostatectomy recommended early.

    What I’m saying is that, without more information, your testimonial is worthless.

  175. #175 Kristen
    December 14, 2010

    My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was 76. He is now 85 and his doctor is still keeping an eye on it but doesn’t think it needs to be treated. If he were much younger at diagnosis it would have been treated more aggressively IIRC.

  176. #176 herr doktor bimler
    December 14, 2010

    The bottom line is that your friend made what was almost assuredly a series of very poor choices. Yes, perhaps her finances may have played a part in her path

    The whole point of The Secret is that if Ms Tinkham didn’t have enough money to pay for proper therapy, it’s her own fault for not wanting the money strongly enough.

  177. #177 the bug guy
    December 16, 2010

    For those interested, a story from NPR’s “Fresh Air” on a breast cancer specialist diagnosed with the ailment:.

    Mostly balanced, but she seems to go a bit wooish in her fear of certain ag chemicals and made a few factual errors, such as claiming there is a genetically modified corn resistant to atrazine.

  178. #178 augustine
    December 16, 2010

    The whole point of The Secret is that if Ms Tinkham didn’t have enough money to pay for proper therapy, it’s her own fault for not wanting the money strongly enough.

    If she lived her life by scientism aka SBM, then she could could blame her lack of money for overpriced/underperforming conventional oncology for being just too stupid and not thinking critically enough about all of the facts.

  179. #179 Gray Falcon
    December 16, 2010

    If she lived her life by scientism aka SBM, then she could could blame her lack of money for overpriced/underperforming conventional oncology for being just too stupid and not thinking critically enough about all of the facts.

    Augustine, do you have any evidence for your accusations? And most scientific thinkers know there are multiple reasons for a lack of money, most of which involve pure chance. Was there a point to your nonsensical claim?

    When it comes to debating, all you seem to do is play mirror chess, copying your opponent’s moves without making any attempt to understand them. In both cases, the one using this “clever” strategy always ends up losing, and badly.

  180. #180 Calli Arcale
    December 16, 2010

    Grey Falcon — when I got my first computer, I was introduced to a game called Shufflepuck — a basic pong/airhockey game, with black-and-white raster graphics typical of those late 80s, early 90s Macintosh applications. (Think Hypercard.) You had to play against all the characters in a seedy alien space bar, and they varied widely in difficulty. The hardest *seemed* to be the robed, cowled, Grim-Reaper-like character (who inexplicably had a face that would pop out of the midsection of his robe to howl at you if you managed to sink the punk in his goal). He was amazingly fast, and returned the puck with a startling violence. The trick lay in realizing that he was playing a sort of mirror chess — his opening serve would always EXACTLY mimic your last serve, so you could get him to serve the puck exactly how you wanted him to. After that discovery, he went from terrifyingly difficult to depressingly easy.

  181. #181 augustine
    December 16, 2010

    Augustine, do you have any evidence for your accusations?

    LOL! It’s a parody, Gary. #176 itself was a joke.

    In both cases, the one using this “clever” strategy always ends up losing, and badly.

    Only if one repeats the pattern until the very end.

  182. #182 Dave
    January 7, 2011

    What is wrong with everyone here? Who are you to judge? Do you have the answers? More importantly… have you ever had cancer? Have you ever experienced the fear that goes through you when you hear the news? Have you ever told your teenage kids that you have cancer…. and the outlook is grime? Have you ever looked at the fear and sadness in your parents eyes when you tell them the news? Well, unfortunately, I have. I have stage 4 cancer (melanoma)that has metasized to my lungs. Seriously, come walk in my shoes for a day. Come to the doctor’s office with me and sit on a table and watch my doctors shrug their shoulders because they are not sure if anything will work. Yes, I’m on a chemo med, but i’m also eating and doing everything possible to eat a very healthy diet. And so far I have had results. I still have a long way to go, but there have been results. What most don’t understand here, is what Kim has given me, and alot of individuals going through the same diagnosis, is HOPE. HOPE is all we have. Hope that something could work. Whatever it may be. Kim was a fighter. I hope you never experience hearing the words “it’s cancer” Rest in peace Kim… it’s a shame you are not being remembered for the life you lived.

  183. #183 Chris
    January 7, 2011

    The blog owner is a surgical oncologist, he has a bit of experience dealing with people who have had cancer.

    Please understand that Ms. Tinkham was the victim of a man who bought credentials from a mail order diploma mill. Unlike you, she put herself into the hands of an unqualified quack. Mr. Young stole her money and any chance she had for survival.

    It is nice she have you hope, but you have two things she never had: competent medicine care and a real chance. Good luck.

  184. #184 Calli Arcale
    January 7, 2011

    Dave, none of us are opposed to hope; it’s stealing time away from people by lying to them that bothers us.

    My late aunt also developed cancer while her kids were teenagers. It was a form of cancer that is nearly always fatal within a couple of years, and the doctors were like yours, doing what they could but telling her honestly that her chances were not good. They never are with ovarian cancer. But she made it fourteen years, long enough to see all of her children married, long enough to meet some of her grandkids. Hope is a wonderful thing; it can sustain you through those dark times. I wish you the best of luck in your battle with cancer; be strong, live your life, and do what is right in your eyes when it comes to the difficult questions, and have no shame in whatever you choose.

    I hold no ill will towards Ms Tinkham. She fought. I am only angry with the likes of Mr Young, who took advantage of her at a very vulnerable time, and without whom Tinkham might still be alive today.

  185. #185 Dave
    January 8, 2011

    Thank you Chris and Calli. I do believe there is a lot of truth in the statement that the body wants to heal itself. In order to heal, it needs the right foods to boost the immune system and build a healthier overall body. Again this is my hope that there is more out there than just medicine. Trying to fuel my body properly gives me some control in my daily “fight.” Dr Young is not too far off by suggesting eating more alkaline food. There are many doctors and nutritionist that suggest the same. I’ve approached my fight by hoping that a combination of medicine and nutrition will help me get through this. As I mentioned before, I have had a number of tumors that have vanished and the remaining ones are much smaller…. so you better believe I am going to continue eating a healthy diet. My heart just dropped when I learned that Kim passed away. Keep in mind that her tumors did go away by just diet alone. That’s incredible…. and even more encouraging to someone like myself who was diagnosed in May. She, along with other stories of cancer survivors, helped me get through some very dark days 8 months ago. What bothered me, beside her unfortunate death, was the way people are judging her here. We make decisions everyday… some that our lives depend on. I know… I have had a number of treatment options I can “try” as my doctor puts it. It’s stressful to think that you are making the right decision. I guess where I relate with Kim is that I feel I’m being judged as well. I have a group of friends/family that think I am nuts for taking such a belief that nutrition could save my life. It’s easy for them to judge when they are not living this nightmare day after day. It’s hard to be disiplined to eat the right foods at the right time throughout the day. I swear it is a part time job to do this. Kim obviously had a strong will to fight her disease. I admire her for that. Just hope and pray that you never have to type a search for “alternative cancer treatments.” If you do, you’ll understand what fear she faced.

  186. #186 Chris
    January 8, 2011

    Dave:

    ” Dr Young is not too far off by suggesting eating more alkaline food.

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

    He is not a doctor. His stance on “alkaline” foods is pure nonsense. Think about it, lemons are not alkaline, they are acidic. It is basic high school chemistry, and he cannot get that right. The acidity of lemons is also basic Cooking 101, which he can also not get right. This is why he had to buy fake credentials from a mail order diploma mill. I repeat: he is not a doctor!

    Yes, eating healthy is good for you and will help you fight your illness. But arbitrarily assigning foods a pH value that has nothing to do with their hydrogen ion concentration is not valid and has nothing to do with diet.

    Sure, you may chase around for an alternative cure, but do some basic research. First the credentials, is he a real doctor or does he have a mail order diploma? Is it a old scam or a new scam? Some of the more infamous old scams are black salve (it literally burns the skin, one woman had half her face removed after trying it), the enzyme/coffee enema scam (Kelley/Gerson/Gonzalez, all reviewed here), and then there is the laetrile scam (basically cyanide poisoning).

    The dividing foods into arbitrary pH groups is a fairly new scam. Some reading of basic chemistry in real science books should have prevented Ms. Tinkham for falling for that scam.

    You can find an overview of alternative cancer cures here:
    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/

  187. #187 Dave
    January 10, 2011

    It looks as if you can tell what a scam is…. tell me where the scam is her then.

    So far I have bought….
    Gerson Therapy (book) $17.00
    Beating Cancer with Nutrition (book) $24.00
    PH Miracle (book) $16.95
    Juicer $220
    Enema bag $6.95

    Total…. around $275 plus the cost of healthy food and coffee. Since I made a huge change to my diet 9 months ago (I gave up sugar, diary, alcohol, red meat, anything processed, salty foods), even though I am on a chemo med, I feel healthier now than I have in the past 5 years. You’d never even know I had cancer if you saw me. More energy, working full time, etc. I don’t think chemo makes you feel that way. You know my doctors never suggested changing my diet. When asked, they said just to keep eating everything that I was eating before. I guess they were looking out for me so that I wouldn’t be “scammed” by those evil nutritionist. I guess I’m a quack for falling for it and spending $275 to save my life.

    Now this is what my health insurance has paid in the last 9 months for conventional treatments…

    1 month of daily interferon treatments $25,000
    2 months self injections of interferon $5,000
    6 ct scans (radiation free to take home)$35,000
    18 blood test to see what damage the treatments are doing to my blood, liver, kidneys, etc $9,000
    6 months of oral chemo (5000/mo with a list of side effects a mile long) $45,000

    Estimate total….. $120,000

    The med I’m on has a 8 to 10% chance of working. So far, something is working for me since I have had tumor shrinkage. My doctors say I must be one of the lucky ones. Hmmm… is it the medication? Is it the diet? A combination of both? I guess we’ll never know. But isn’t it interesting that Kim got rid of her cancer in just two months by changing her diet. No side effects, no possible organ damage, just better health. Why doesn’t the article talk about how quickly her treatment worked and why she had no side effects? How bad was Ms. Edwards side effects? What was her quality of life during her fight? No, the article doesn’t mention that huh? I’m sure Dr Young had to really twist Kim’s arm on this sell! Try my way and feel great during your fight versus going through hell physically under conventional treatments. What did he charge her? A couple thousand? What did Ms Edwards medical bills amount too?

    It sounds as if Kim got away from her diet… the very thing that was working. What if Ms Edwards stop taking her meds? How long would she have lasted?

    My point here is this…. from what I see from my own experience… my medical doctors ( and probably like the that wrote this article) will not give diet and exercise one bit of importance in the fight with cancer. Everything can be cured with modern medicine. Don’t worry about the side effects… there is a med for that too. They’ll spend thousands of dollars treating you…. all for free. Oh wait…. they do make money huh? But they are not going to suggest spending a few dollars to eat healthier. No profit in that huh? Or to try enemas to help detox your system. That is just too simple and makes way too much sense.

    I see it Chris…. and the only reason I am writing this is to give someone that has cancer, or knows someone that does, some hope. There is more we can do to fight this. It doesn’t cost much, all it takes is some time and a lot of effort. We owe it to the people that love us. So don’t be so quick to label things as scams…. I wish the author of this article would say “you know, Kim might have been on to something. What if she combined both natural and modern medicine” Would it give a guy like Dave a better chance at a 7% five year survival? Thank God I came across my research before I came across articles and blogs like this one. The easy road for me would have been to keep the same diet, pop a pill everyday and pray for the best. Looks like that doesn’t work for 93% of the people in my situation. So I admit it….I’ve been scammed….. those expensive books were so wrong….. eating better, whether you have cancer or not… makes you sick with a long list of side effects. People here should try it. Better yet…. please tell anyone you know that may have cancer to strongly consider the benefits of changing your diet. What can it hurt?

    Thanks for listening…. time for me to find more positive articles and information. God bless!

  188. #188 Dave
    January 10, 2011

    It looks as if you can tell what a scam is…. tell me where the scam is her then.

    So far I have bought….
    Gerson Therapy (book) $17.00
    Beating Cancer with Nutrition (book) $24.00
    PH Miracle (book) $16.95
    Juicer $220
    Enema bag $6.95

    Total…. around $275 plus the cost of healthy food and coffee. Since I made a huge change to my diet 9 months ago (I gave up sugar, diary, alcohol, red meat, anything processed, salty foods), even though I am on a chemo med, I feel healthier now than I have in the past 5 years. You’d never even know I had cancer if you saw me. More energy, working full time, etc. I don’t think chemo makes you feel that way. You know my doctors never suggested changing my diet. When asked, they said just to keep eating everything that I was eating before. I guess they were looking out for me so that I wouldn’t be “scammed” by those evil nutritionist. I guess I’m a quack for falling for it and spending $275 to save my life.

    Now this is what my health insurance has paid in the last 9 months for conventional treatments…

    1 month of daily interferon treatments $25,000
    2 months self injections of interferon $5,000
    6 ct scans (radiation free to take home)$35,000
    18 blood test to see what damage the treatments are doing to my blood, liver, kidneys, etc $9,000
    6 months of oral chemo (5000/mo with a list of side effects a mile long) $45,000

    Estimate total….. $120,000

    The med I’m on has a 8 to 10% chance of working. So far, something is working for me since I have had tumor shrinkage. My doctors say I must be one of the lucky ones. Hmmm… is it the medication? Is it the diet? A combination of both? I guess we’ll never know. But isn’t it interesting that Kim got rid of her cancer in just two months by changing her diet. No side effects, no possible organ damage, just better health. Why doesn’t the article talk about how quickly her treatment worked and why she had no side effects? How bad was Ms. Edwards side effects? What was her quality of life during her fight? No, the article doesn’t mention that huh? I’m sure Dr Young had to really twist Kim’s arm on this sell! Try my way and feel great during your fight versus going through hell physically under conventional treatments. What did he charge her? A couple thousand? What did Ms Edwards medical bills amount too?

    It sounds as if Kim got away from her diet… the very thing that was working. What if Ms Edwards stop taking her meds? How long would she have lasted?

    My point here is this…. from what I see from my own experience… my medical doctors ( and probably like the that wrote this article) will not give diet and exercise one bit of importance in the fight with cancer. Everything can be cured with modern medicine. Don’t worry about the side effects… there is a med for that too. They’ll spend thousands of dollars treating you…. all for free. Oh wait…. they do make money huh? But they are not going to suggest spending a few dollars to eat healthier. No profit in that huh? Or to try enemas to help detox your system. That is just too simple and makes way too much sense.

    I see it Chris…. and the only reason I am writing this is to give someone that has cancer, or knows someone that does, some hope. There is more we can do to fight this. It doesn’t cost much, all it takes is some time and a lot of effort. We owe it to the people that love us. So don’t be so quick to label things as scams…. I wish the author of this article would say “you know, Kim might have been on to something. What if she combined both natural and modern medicine” Would it give a guy like Dave a better chance at a 7% five year survival? Thank God I came across my research before I came across articles and blogs like this one. The easy road for me would have been to keep the same diet, pop a pill everyday and pray for the best. Looks like that doesn’t work for 93% of the people in my situation. So I admit it….I’ve been scammed….. those expensive books were so wrong….. eating better, whether you have cancer or not… makes you sick with a long list of side effects. People here should try it. Better yet…. please tell anyone you know that may have cancer to strongly consider the benefits of changing your diet. What can it hurt?

    Thanks for listening…. time for me to find more positive articles and information. God bless!

  189. #189 Chris
    January 10, 2011

    Except one has an actual possibility of working and the other doesn’t.

  190. #190 Dave
    January 10, 2011

    It looks as if you can tell what a scam is…. tell me where the scam is here then.

    So far I have bought….
    Gerson Therapy (book) $17.00
    Beating Cancer with Nutrition (book) $24.00
    PH Miracle (book) $16.95
    Juicer $220
    Enema bag $6.95

    Total…. around $275 plus the cost of healthy food and coffee. I’ve also bought a number of supplements like vit e,c, d, selimium, curcumin, etc which might be another $200? Since I made a huge change to my diet 9 months ago (I gave up sugar, all diary, alcohol, red meat, anything processed, salty foods), even though I am on a chemo med, I feel healthier now than I have in the past 5 years. You’d never even know I had cancer if you saw me. More energy, working full time, etc. I don’t think chemo makes you feel that way. You know my doctors never suggested changing my diet. When asked, they said just to keep eating everything that I was eating before. I guess they were looking out for me so that I wouldn’t be “scammed” by those evil nutritionist. I guess I’m a quack for falling for it and spending $275 to save my life.

    Now this is what my health insurance has paid in the last 9 months for conventional treatments…

    1 month of daily interferon treatments $25,000
    2 months self injections of interferon $5,000
    6 ct scans (radiation free to take home)$35,000
    18 blood test to see what damage the treatments are doing to my blood, liver, kidneys, etc $9,000
    6 months of oral chemo (5000/mo with a list of side effects a mile long) $45,000

    Estimate total….. $120,000

    The med I’m on has a 8 to 10% chance of working. So far, something is working for me since I have had tumor shrinkage. My doctors say I must be one of the lucky ones. Hmmm… is it the medication? Is it the diet? A combination of both? I guess we’ll never know. But isn’t it interesting that Kim got rid of her cancer in just two months by changing her diet. No side effects, no possible organ damage, just better health. Why doesn’t the article talk about how quickly her treatment worked and why she had no side effects? How bad was Ms. Edwards side effects? What was her quality of life during her fight? No, the article doesn’t mention that huh? I’m sure Dr Young had to really twist Kim’s arm on this sell! Try my way and feel great during your fight versus going through hell physically under conventional treatments. What did he charge her? A couple thousand? What did Ms Edwards medical bills amount too?

    It sounds as if Kim got away from her diet… the very thing that was working. What if Ms Edwards stop taking her meds? How long would she have lasted?

    My point here is this…. from what I see from my own experience… my medical doctors ( and probably like the that wrote this article) will not give diet and exercise one bit of importance in the fight with cancer. Everything can be cured with modern medicine. Don’t worry about the side effects… there is a med for that too. They’ll spend thousands of dollars treating you…. all for free. Oh wait…. they do make money huh? But they are not going to suggest spending a few dollars to eat healthier. No profit in that huh? Or to try enemas to help detox your system. That is just too simple and makes way too much sense.

    I see it Chris…. and the only reason I am writing this is to give someone that has cancer, or knows someone that does, some hope. There is more we can do to fight this. It doesn’t cost much, all it takes is some time and a lot of effort. We owe it to the people that love us. So don’t be so quick to label things as scams…. I wish the author of this article would say “you know, Kim might have been on to something. What if she combined both natural and modern medicine” Would it give a guy like Dave a better chance at a 7% five year survival? Thank God I came across my research before I came across articles and blogs like this one. The easy road for me would have been to keep the same diet, pop a pill everyday and pray for the best. Looks like that doesn’t work for 93% of the people in my situation. So I admit it….I’ve been scammed….. those expensive books were so wrong….. eating better, whether you have cancer or not… makes you sick with a long list of side effects. People here should try it. Better yet…. please tell anyone you know that may have cancer to strongly consider the benefits of changing your diet. What can it hurt?

    Thanks for listening…. time for me to find more positive articles and information. God bless!

  191. #191 Pablo
    January 10, 2011

    Except one has an actual possibility of working and the other doesn’t.

    It may be snakeoil, but at least its cheap!

  192. #192 Chris
    January 10, 2011

    Hint on which one has the possibility of working: the insurance is paying for it.

  193. #193 Calli Arcale
    January 10, 2011

    But isn’t it interesting that Kim got rid of her cancer in just two months by changing her diet.

    Dave . . . Kim didn’t get rid of her cancer. It *killed* her. How can you possibly use her case to support a claim that you can cure cancer through diet alone?

    Oh, I see, by assuming she must’ve screwed up on the diet. By blaming her for her own death. If you take the special diet and live, it’s because of the diet. If you take the special diet and die, that’s evidence enough you were just a wimp who couldn’t stick to it. How convenient.

    I do notice you are using conventional medicine in addition to the supplements and such. I also notice which one you’re crediting.

    By the way, my doctors have always pushed healthy eating. I have noticed, however, that most patients don’t like to listen to the advice since the doctors aren’t usually willing to lie about whether or not it will make cancer go away.

  194. #194 Chris
    January 10, 2011

    So, after the article and the rest of us keep saying that Robert Young essentially killed Ms. Tinkham from preventing her getting real treatment, Dave still thinks she cured her cancer?

    Dave, are you having issues with reading comprehension?

    Short version:

    Ms. Tinkham was diagnosed with cancer and decided to skip real treatment. She believed an unqualified quack.

    And she died.

  195. #195 Dave
    January 10, 2011

    Sit behind your computer and judge all day you two…. you obviously know so much more than me. Again, this post wasn’t for someone like you. It’s for people that actually want to think outside the box. When my kids come home from school today I’ll tell them that I’m going off my diet, supplements, and detox program. “But Dad…. you were doing so well!” Yeah… sorry guys…. Calli and Chris said I’m having issues with reading comprehension. Can you believe I actually thought someone could improve their chances of survival by changing their diet? Wow… thanks you two. This frees up alot of time.

    This will be my last post…. I’ve been scammed into wasting my time responding here. I tried to give a little hope… and get this in return. I have my own group of family/friends that think I’m a quack. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut with them…. I should learn to keep it shut here!

    By the way Chris… Dr Young, I’m sure, did so much to prevent her from getting other treatment. Kim spoke with more Doctors because of being on Oprah than you could imagine. She made a decision based on what she thought was right. But, in a typical American way, blame someone else if something doesn’t work. Poor Kim was such a victim here…. just like Ms Edwards!

  196. #196 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 10, 2011

    I have my own group of family/friends that think I’m a quack. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut with them…. I should learn to keep it shut here!

    When family and friends as well as lots of other people you encounter think that you’re a quack, well, you just might want to sit back and think about why that’s happening. It’s just possible that you may, in fact, be a quack.

  197. #197 Todd W.
    January 10, 2011

    @Dave

    I think you misunderstand Chris and Calli. If you changed your diet from an unhealthy one to a healthier one, then stick with it. All they are saying is that a diet change is not going to cure cancer.

    As to feeling healthier and more energetic, that may or may not be related to your diet. For another anecdote, take a look at James Randi. He underwent chemo and, from all the reports that I heard about his treatment, he was his usual lively, spritely self the whole time. I don’t think he had any particular changes in his diet, but you can probably shoot him an e-mail (contact info is on the JREF web site) to find out.

    As it was, Kim too the advice of a quack and did not get proper medical treatment for her cancer. She paid for that decision with her life, and that is very tragic. No one is blaming her for her treatment choice not working. We do, however, blame those who promote bogus treatments, like Dr. Young. If he had actual, robust evidence that his treatments worked and had meaningful, significant outcomes for his patients, then we wouldn’t be bashing him. But he doesn’t have that evidence, and the treatments he promotes are dangerous for individuals with cancer.

  198. #198 Scott
    January 10, 2011

    It’s also important to remember that a healthy diet is a simple thing. Less fats and sugars, more fruits and vegetables, don’t eat too much overall. Everyone knows the principles.

    Superfoods, supplements, etc. are almost invariably a sign of something made up that’s not known to actually be good for you at all. Much less good enough to justify the claims made of them.

  199. #199 Todd W.
    January 10, 2011

    @Scott

    Not to mention that supplements may miss essential nutrients that are found in fruits, veggies and meats, not to mention carrying the potential for vitamin overdose.

  200. #200 Chris
    January 10, 2011

    Dave:

    Yeah… sorry guys…. Calli and Chris said I’m having issues with reading comprehension…. Dr Young

    Todd W.:

    We do, however, blame those who promote bogus treatments, like Dr. Young

    Once and for all, both of you: use his properly earned title: Mister!

    For the umpteenth time: Buying credentials from an online diploma mill does not qualify him as any kind of “doctor.”

    And I never said that a good diet was not a good idea. I said getting advice from from an unqualified quack was not a good idea. What part of that do you fail to understand?

  201. #201 Todd W.
    January 10, 2011

    @Chris

    Heh, oops. My bad. Mr. Young.

  202. #202 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.

  203. #203 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?

  204. #204 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. )

  205. #205 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.

  206. #206 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.

  207. #207 Chris
    January 10, 2011

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

  208. #208 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.

  209. #209 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.

  210. #210 Jason
    February 8, 2011

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

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

  211. #211 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.

  212. #212 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?

  213. #213 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.

  214. #214 Chris
    June 5, 2011

    Have you actually read the article you are spamming?

  215. #215 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)

  216. #216 Chris
    June 5, 2011

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

  217. #217 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.

  218. #218 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.

  219. #219 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…

  220. #220 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.

  221. #221 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.

  222. #222 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?

  223. #223 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.

  224. #224 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.

  225. #225 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’.

  226. #226 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.”

  227. #227 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.

  228. #228 Chris
    June 6, 2011

    Looks like a sock puppet shilling for a silly book.

  229. #229 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.

  230. #230 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.

  231. #231 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.”

  232. #232 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.

  233. #233 Chris
    June 6, 2011

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

  234. #234 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.

  235. #235 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.

  236. #236 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.

  237. #237 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.

  238. #238 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.

  239. #239 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).

  240. #240 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?

  241. #241 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

  242. #242 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/

  243. #243 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.

  244. #244 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

  245. #245 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)

  246. #246 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.

  247. #247 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.

  248. #248 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.

  249. #249 Gray Falcon
    November 28, 2011

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

  250. #250 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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