Respectful Insolence

If there’s one quack who both amuses and appalls me at the same time, it’s Robert O. Young. You remember Robert O. Young, don’t you? He’s the guy who thinks that all disease is caused by excess acid. I’ve written about him quite a few times over the last several years. For instance, he amused me when he declared that cancers are all liquids, and this liquid is the “toxic acidic waste product of metabolism or energy consumption.” In fact, he goes beyond that by saying that the tumor making up the cancer is the body’s protective mechanism to encapsulate “spoiled” or “poisonous” cells. And what does the “spoiling or poisoning”? Why, acid, of course, because to Young acid is the One True Cause of All Disease. Consistent with this world view, Young also believes that viruses are all molecular acids. Even more amusing, Young took woo-meister Andrew Weil to task because he was too reasonable. Well, Young actually didn’t see it that way. He really, really didn’t like it when Weil pointed out that water alkalinizers and home water ionizers are useless.

I was less amused–actually, not amused at all–when Young declared that sepsis is not caused by bacteria, but rather by excess acid. He wrote this in conjunction with discussing the case of a Brazilian model named Mariana Bridi da Costa, who died of massive sepsis after what was apparently a urinary tract infection. Young blamed her death on lifestyle and the use of antibiotics to–oh, you know–treat sepsis. Finally, I was appalled when I saw Robert O. Young “treating” breast cancer in a woman named Kim Tinkham, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although it was difficult to tell just how bad Tinkham’s case was from the descriptions she gave in various interviews and writings, it wasn’t difficult to tell that by trusting Young she was endangering her life. Unfortunately, ultimately she paid the ultimate price.

Truly, Young is a one-note quack in that to him everything is due to “excess acid” and that everything he views as causing disease supposedly causes more acidity. Other quacks like to take a Secret-like attitude in which they seem to believe that wishing literally makes it so and that you can cure yourself of anything if you just want to be cured badly enough. While this has the not-so-salutory effect of “blaming the victim” when such quackery doesn’t work. After all, if it doesn’t work, the victim must not have wanted it badly enough. Yes, that really is the unspoken assumed premise behind this sort of quackery. Be that as it may, Young appears to be combining the sort of thinking that claims that thoughts and feelings determine disease or health with his acid-base woo to produce a brew that’s toxic, appalling, and amusing all at the same time. In a post titled Can Positive or Negative Thoughts and Emotions Affect Your Body, Mind and Spiritual Health? he claims that your thoughts become biology. Actually, your thoughts are a result of biology, given that your brain is what creates them. As usual, Young gets it exactly wrong. Be that as it may, let’s see what he has to say:

So your thoughts are critical. Your thoughts or words do become matter, and can affect your physiology in a negative or positive way. Your thoughts do become biology. And the way that thoughts become biology is as follows:

  1. When you have a thought or say a word, it requires electrical or electron energy for the brain cell(s) to produce those actions.
  2. As you carry on with that thought, you are burning or consuming energy.
  3. When you are consuming energy in your thoughts, you are producing a biological waste products called acids which are an energetic waste product which can be measured in pH, oxidative reduction potential (ORP), hertz and decibels.
  4. Next, if the metabolic acids from your thoughts are not properly eliminated through the four channels of elimination which are urination, perspiration, respiration or defecation, then the acids from your thoughts are moved out into your connective and fatty tissues because it must not be allowed to affect the delicate pH of the blood. The delicate balance of the blood must remain quite constant at 7.365 to remain healthy.
  5. What happens next is this. As the excess and overload of acid are thrown out into the body tissues, this can easily lead to all sorts of symptomologies: lupus, fibromyalgia, Lyme’s, arthritis, muscle pain, fatigue, tiredness, obesity, cancerous breasts, a cancerous prostate, a cancerous stomach and/or bowels, indigestion, acid reflux, heart burn, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, dementia, autism, and the list goes on and on.

This is profoundly silly. Utterly ridiculous, actually. The reason, of course, is that by Young’s own “reasoning” (such as it is, if you can call it that), thinking happy thought also requires electrical energy, also consumes energy, and also produced waste products. How does he know that thinking nasty thoughts burns more energy and producing more acid than thinking happy thoughts? He doesn’t. Young’s idea is also profoundly ridiculous because the body controls its pH within a very narrow range through getting rid of acid through urine and respiration (primarily). You can’t change that by thinking bad thoughts. Young also doesn’t seem to understand that the extracellular fluid is freely exchangeable with the solution that makes up the blood. The pH of the two compartments (blood and extracellular fluids) is usually pretty darned close. Finally, there’s no evidence that “excess acid” causes all those conditions and diseases that Young attributes to it.

Of course, Young has an explanation, but first let’s take a look at perhaps the most annoying part of this post. You know how various quacks like to refer to “dis-ease” instead of disease? Young takes that one step further with the word “emotion”:

First of all, emotions are energy in motion. When you are (e)motional, you are energetic, either in a positive or negative way. And if you are energetic, you are literally energy in (e)motion. You are now producing metabolic acids at a very high rate which is a waste product of such (e)motions.

The rate of acid production in an (e)motional state can be even greater than that of someone who is jogging or working out. So, your thoughts do become biological or metabolic acids that can make you sick, tired, depressed, angry and even too fat or underweight.

Let’s see. We have “dis-ease” and now “(e)motion.” One wonders what the next word is that quacks will butcher. “Can-cer,” as in “we can cure this”? “Die-abetes”? The possibilities are, unfortunately, endless.

In any case, Young then goes on to butcher acid-base physiology yet again. it’s not worth rehashing too much because as I write this it’s late and I’m tired, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve dissected just how little Young understands about the mechanism by which mammals maintain acid-base homeostasis. Truly, what Young says about acid-base physiology and how acid-base physiology actually works in real human beings are related to each other mainly only by coincidence–and areas of knowledge that Young apparently didn’t bother to butcher yet.

However, even if you accept Young’s mistaken premise that cancer and all “dis-ease” are caused by excess acid, a large part of which is, according to him, caused by our “(e)motion” (which is “energy in motion”), that still doesn’t explain why happy emotions don’t cause just as much acid production as sad emotions? After all, does anyone think that happy emotions can’t be just as intense as emotions of anger? Not to Young they’re not:

Now this next thought is very important! The negative emotions of anger, resentment, and fearĀ­being the most powerful and acidifying of all emotions are all highly acidic to the blood and tissues and in many ways are paralyzing to all bodily functions. Over time, the fear of the unknown is probably the most powerful and acidic of them all. Fear is so devastating to the body that even if you’re on an alkaline diet, overcoming a serious health challenge is practically impossible.

In contrast, apparently:

On the other hand, positive (e)motions, such as love, peace, hope, faith, joy, forgiveness and charity can be alkalizing to the blood and tissues. These (e)motions require far less energy and can cause you to be relaxed in your mind and stop the playing of some acidic movie in your head. Students of higher consciousness know that you can even enter into a state of bliss wherein you have no thoughts and wherein you are producing no metabolic acid.

I have no doubt that Young is very adept at entering states where he has no thoughts inside of his head. He’s generally there at least 90% of the time anyway if his post and blatherings about metabolic acid, hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and basically anything else about health and disease. In any case, there’s little doubt that negative emotions seem to be associated with certain chronic health conditions, but teasing out whether this is causation or merely correlation is anything but simple. For certain conditions, however, there is no good evidence that negative emotions impact outcomes. Cancer, for instance. It’s long been claimed that a positive attitude results in better outcomes in cancer, but more recent evidence finds no correlation between various interventions designed to improve the mood of cancer patients (psychotherapy, for instance) and improved survival in cancer.

Particularly hilarious is the part where Young exults over how much he loves his exercise regimen and his yoga “alkalinize” his body:

That is why I am addicted to why I Love this type of alkalizing exercise that I do every day. It’s called a Positive Addiction. I Love to have my friends and guests work out with me as I lead them through the steps. I teach them the Young version of Yoga. I tell them that it is known as Younga Yoga. They Love that. (Well, at least they laugh.) It incorporates proper breathing, stretching, toning, mediation, relaxation, and of course some sweating to remove yesterday’s dietary and metabolic acid and to help bring me into a state of happiness and bliss.

Did it ever occur to Young that any sort of aerobic exercise generates acid, as in lactic acid? Actually, come to think of it, so do stretching and “toning” exercises. Why is that acid any different from acid that, according to Young, comes from “negative emotions”? Even if negative emotions caused that much “acid” and that acid actually caused all the horrible diseases and conditions that he attributes to “excess acid.” Apparently yoga produces happy acid that’s good for you because it ultimately leads to “alkalinization,” while negative emotions destroy you.

But that’s not all. Remember how I mentioned above the “Secret”-like aspect of alternative medicine. One of the most vile aspects of such thinking is that it blames the victim. If the woo being used isn’t working, it’s not because it’s quackery. Oh, no. It’s because you’re not following the regimen perfectly enough, or you’re not believing enough, or you’re thinking negative thoughts that are interfering with the magic. Lo! And Behold! Young says just that in this post. If his “alkalinization” cure isn’t working for you, then it’s your fault for thinking negative thoughts. Sure, he doesn’t phrase it that way. He tries to put a positive spin on it. But, when you strip it down to its essence, that’s what he’s saying:

In such a dire case, with what may seem to be little or no improvement, you might be wondering if the pH Miracle Lifestyle and Diet may not be working. You may be asking, “What else am I not doing that I should be? How come I feel the way that I’m feeling? I’m eating the right way, I’m drinking the right alkaline electron rich water, but I can’t seem to achieve the type of extraordinary health and energy that I’m seeking.”

In most cases like this, when you are eating and drinking correctly, it will come down to your negative acidic (e)motions or thoughts that are holding you back from achieving extraordinary health, fitness, mental clarity, happiness, and bliss. However, keep this in mind:

When you’re eating an alkaline diet and you are doing everything you know how to do, and yet you are overwhelmed with worry, doubt and negative emotions, thank God you’re eating an alkaline diet! If your body were not seriously in the alkaline direction, you might very well be experiencing a struggle for your life. Your acidic (e)motions can literally kill you. So the alkaline lifestyle and diet is the saving grace. Knowing that should give you the positive hope that you can hang on to, get through the emotional stress, and still come out physically and mentally able.

Translation: If my quackery isn’t working, it’s because you have a negative attitude. But be thankful! If you weren’t using my quackery, you’d be in even worse shape than you are not. To Young, that means it’s time to double down and “hyperalkalinize” yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to undergo an extreme attitude readjustment. After all, wishing makes it so. That, and baking soda, apparently.

Comments

  1. #1 Lawrence
    March 15, 2012

    Holy-Cow! Now we can determine that our emotions are acidic or basic? I’m heard about having an acidic personality, but this is just plain nonsense.

  2. #2 Antiquated Tory
    March 15, 2012

    And he seemed like such a responsible doctor in Marcus Welby, MD.

  3. #3 Vicki
    March 15, 2012

    If he doesn’t realize that positive emotions can be intense, he should either seek out more orgasms for himself, or at least consider how other people talk about theirs.

  4. #4 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 15, 2012

    So don’t do too much thinking? Reminds me of that World Weekly News piece regarding a chess player whose head exploded due to a rare condition. They produced some of the following symptoms that may indicate you too have this rare condition (see esp #4).

    1. Does your head sometimes ache when you think too hard? Head pain can indicate overloaded brain circuits.

    2. Do you ever hear a faint ringing or humming sound in your ears? It could be the sound of electrical activity in the skull cavity.

    3. Do you sometimes find yourself unable to get a thought out of your head? This is a sign of too much electrical activity in the cerebral cortex.

    4. Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook, or other thoughtful activity? A common symptom of HCE is a tendency to over-use the brain.

    5. When you get angry or frustrated, do you feel pressure in your temples? Friends of people who died of HCE say the victims often complained of head pressure in times of strong emotion.

    6. Do you overeat ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets? A craving for sugar is typical of people with too much electrical pressure in the cranium.

    7. Do you tend to analyze yourself too much? HCE sufferers are often introspective, over-reflective of their lives.

  5. #5 palindrom
    March 15, 2012

    I guess Tums is the cure to all dis-ease. After all, it consumes 47 times its weight in excess stomach acid!

    The fact that I remember that phrase this many decades later is troubling. Maybe I should get a hole drilled in my head so that all the useless information can come flying out, like Dave Barry suggested. Although, as he pointed out, one would have to get it plugged at just the right moment, or else all the good stuff would come flying out too, leaving you suitable only for employment as a state legislator.

  6. #6 Eric Lund
    March 15, 2012

    Antiquated Tory @2: That’s a different Robert Young. IIRC the actor always admitted he wasn’t a real doctor, he just played one on TV.

    Robert O. Young is apparently (if I’m understanding his Wikipedia entry right) not a doctor either, just an entrepreneur pushing a particular diet. Unlike the actor, this Robert Young doesn’t seem to be emphasizing his lack of medical credentials.

    Interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: Robert O. Young claims to be the great-great grandson of Brigham Young (yes, that Brigham Young) as well as of Jean Bernadotte, founder of the Swedish royal dynasty.

  7. #7 Denice Walter
    March 15, 2012

    Nasty thoughts burn more energy? Guess that’s how why I can control my weight so easily. He really says that? Dolt.

    Unfortunately, the idea of *toxic* – if not corrosively acidic- emotions *and* relationships is blown about and used to justify meditation and yoga as curative. You see, it’s the stress that is destructive: then Hans Selye is usually dragged out and lauded. Stress, worry, fear and aggression destroy natural health and lead to illness such as cancer and CV dis-ease. Stress causes dis-stress. ( Please pardon my illustrative mangling of our beautiful language.)

    However, the very same woo-meisters who spout this nonsense- supported by cherry-picked so-called studies advertised in wank journals- go on and on about what will happen to you if you continue upon your current self-destructive path of self-immolation by oxidative in-flammation, as you go on eating hamburgers, pizzas, cakes and candies, while drinking coffee, soft drinks and ((shudder)) alcoholic beverages!

    As if that isn’t enough, they fear-monger about vaccines, pharma, inadequate nutrition, the medical establishment and all and sundry authority. You are living in a police state. The seas are rising due to AGW. The media lie. Gangs will take over the suburbs. Markets will crash. There will be food shortages as corporations manipulate food supplies. Nuclear power generators will melt down. Increased solar storms will wipeout the electrical grid and we will be back in the Dark Ages.. slowly being poisoned by radiation and pharmaceuticals excreted by pill poppers into the water supply.

    And all of this is the fault of those who don’t follow the sage advice graciously and humbly offered.

  8. #8 JGC
    March 15, 2012

    Hydrogen ion concentrations can be expressed as decibels–who knew?

    Wonder what the pH of a live Metallica performance is…

  9. #9 Karl Withakay
    March 15, 2012

    Young doesn’t seem to understand (pH)ysiology very well.

    “Students of higher consciousness know that you can even enter into a state of bliss wherein you have no thoughts and wherein you are producing no metabolic acid”.

    Ergo brain death=optimum health.

    Why does Young never specify which acid is produced by all these negative (e)motions? An acid is a type of chemical, but it is not a specific acid, like lactic acid, acetic acid, and hydrochloric acid are. What is the specific acid he is trying to neutralize?

  10. #10 Michael
    March 15, 2012

    In other words, Mr. Young is trying to revive Humorism. Maybe he’ll be starting his own product line of emetics and organic leeches to be sold on QVC.

  11. #11 anarchic teapot
    March 15, 2012

    hydrochloric acid in the stomach

    Point of order, Mr Dr Orac, sir!
    Robert Eau Young says the stomach secretes bicarb of soda! And I believe him!

    The stomach is not an organ of digestion but an organ of contribution. The main contribution from the stomach is the secretion of sodium bicarbonate to alkalize the food and liquids ingested. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach is a waste product of sodium bicarbonate production

  12. #12 lsm
    March 15, 2012

    Ugh. The final nail in the coffin in which lay my brush with woo-dom was when my dentist, who is a wannabe “healer”, held me hostage in the dental chair and explained ad nauseum about the unimaginable energy and good health I would get if I drank alkaline water. He provided the water; I actually drank it for about 2 months, by the gallons, while my husband rolled his eyes.

    It was then I became convinced that this was all a load of crap, I didn’t feel any different, and I started my study of science based medicine (and my husband still likes me, dear man). The dentist since moved on to $100/a can “Enliven”, a “powerful, life changing” vitamin powder, and now it’s all about the thyroid. I’ve moved on too, thankfully.

  13. #13 viggen
    March 15, 2012

    pH, oxidative reduction potential (ORP), hertz and decibels.

    You can tell he’s a quack the moment he throws in a bunch of meaningless units. Not sure what “hertz” or “decibels” have to do with pH: one is an oscillator frequency and the second is typically sound wave intensity. It says to me, “Beyond this point there is no meaningful discussion.”

  14. #14 Prometheus
    March 15, 2012

    My favorite quote, right after the one about viruses being “molecular acids” (are there non-molecular acids?):

    “When you are consuming energy in your thoughts, you are producing a biological waste products called acids which are an energetic waste product which can be measured in pH, oxidative reduction potential (ORP), hertz and decibels.”

    OK, I can imagine someone measuring acids in pH or oxidative reduction potential (Eh), but hertz and decibels? Sounds like Dr. Young needs to take a break from the hash pipe for a few months.

    Other amusing quotes included:

    “…the acids from your thoughts are moved out into your connective and fatty tissues because it must not be allowed to affect the delicate pH of the blood. The delicate balance of the blood must remain quite constant at 7.365 to remain healthy.”

    And here I thought, based on all the human physiology I learned, that the blood removed waste products in order to preserve the pH of the tissues – Dr. Young seems to think it’s the other way ’round. After all, the delicate function of the blood cells is far more critical to health than the function of the other tissues, like, I don’t know, the brain!

    I would love the opportunity to ask Dr. Young exactly where in the circulatory system the pH of the blood is constantly 7.365 (in, of course, a perfectly healthy person). Or is he arguing that the pH of the blood – in perfect health, of course – is 7.365 everywhere in the body? If the latter, that would imply that there is no metabolism in any of the body’s tissues, which is almost always followed shortly (if not preceded) by death.

    Somewhat on topic – a local strip mall has a shop that advertises “alkaline ionised water”. Being somewhat scientifically literal, I always imagine being served a refreshing glass of plasma, as that is the only way I can envision “ionised water”.

    As scary as it is to think that someone calling himself “Dr.” thinks that all of this makes sense, it is doubly scary that there are people gullible enough to believe him…and they have the right to vote.

    Prometheus

  15. #15 Poe
    March 15, 2012

    I dunno, Young might be on to something…

    What do we find in cancer cells? DNA, right? And what does the ‘A’ stand for? Acid, right? And if we could neutralize the DNAcid in the cancer cells, the cancer would die, right?

    ‘Nuff said.

  16. #16 Krebiozen
    March 15, 2012

    On more than one occasion I have pointed out to people who have bought into this nonsense that there is a very quick and easy way to alkalize your body (I don’t recommend actually trying this). Just hyperventilate until your muscles cramp and you feel like you are going to pass out. Hyperventilation lowers blood CO2 and increases blood pH temporarily, and can induce a significant respiratory alkalosis. The muscle cramping is because alkalosis interferes with ionised calcium. Alkalosis can also have bizarre effects on consciousness and appears to be the basis of some “rebirthing” techniques, such as the “holotropic breathworks” used by Stansislav Grof.

    If supreme good health comes with disorientation and extremely painful muscle cramps, I’ll stick with my chronic metabolic acidosis, thanks.

  17. #17 Old Rockin' Dave
    March 15, 2012

    “[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.
    Probably a good philosophy if you’re a Danish prince whose uncle murdered his father. Not so good if you’re looking to treat cancer.

  18. #18 Krebiozen
    March 15, 2012

    Also maybe worth mentioning is that neither venous nor arterial blood is acidic, and that all living tissues are constantly perfused with blood with a pH of about 7.4 – venous blood pH is only about 0.05 pH lower than arterial blood. There must be some strange kind of hydrogen ion that doesn’t dissolve in blood, or somewhere acids hide that blood can’t get at.

    I think this is why Young and others of his ilk talk about a mysterious colloidal part of connective tissue (they call it Schade after a German scientist) where the body stores excess acids, hidden away where we can’t measure them. He also claims that obesity is due to stored acids – fatty acids are acidic right?

    Why our bodies squirrel this acid away instead of eliminating it through respiration or urination, Young never explains. Every seriously metabolically acidotic person I have ever seen has been desperately hyperventilating as a compensatory mechanism.

    It’s all such nonsense, yet if you Google it you will find thousands of websites repeating similar rubbish.

  19. #19 Angel
    March 15, 2012

    (pH)ysiology

    @9 Karl Withakay you cracked me up today.

  20. #20 palindrom
    March 15, 2012

    Obviously this guy is a scientific illiterate pushing wackadoodle ideas, but to clarify, decibels are often used for things other than sound, e.g. for electronic signals. In the wider context they’re an all-purpose logarithmic unit, so that 10 dB = 1 power of 10. The astronomical system used for stellar magnitudes, for example, has 5 magnitudes = a factor of 100, so that 1 magnitude = 20 dB / 5 = 4 dB. Electrical engineers understand it right away when it’s explained this way.

    Oh, and I think I erred earlier — it was Rolaids, not Tums, that consumed 47 times its weight in excess stomach acid.

  21. #21 Chris
    March 15, 2012

    me4623, it is bad form to tell a blogger what to write about. Discuss it on your own blog.

  22. #22 Andreas Johansson
    March 15, 2012

    Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook, or other thoughtful activity? A common symptom of HCE is a tendency to over-use the brain.

    Last time I read for more than five hours in a single day, ’twas because I was too sick for anything more mentally taxing (like, frex, work). I guess it’s a wonder I’m alive.

  23. #23 Calli Arcale
    March 15, 2012

    Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook, or other thoughtful activity?

    I’m a full-time engineer. You do the math. :-D However, I think it’s pretty clear that Young doesn’t spend more than five hours a day on thoughtful activity. I wonder if he spends any.

    Honestly, this piece is so hilariously target-rich that I’m tempted to do my first MiSTing in years.

    Prometheus:

    Somewhat on topic – a local strip mall has a shop that advertises “alkaline ionised water”. Being somewhat scientifically literal, I always imagine being served a refreshing glass of plasma, as that is the only way I can envision “ionised water”.

    Well, de-ionized water is basically filtered water — the idea is to remove all of the ions in it, which are there because of dissolved salts. Ionized water would, by that logic, be water that has ionic compounds dissolved into it. Salt water, for instance, or, heck, plain old tap water. Hey, is Young actually supporting fluoridation? :-D

  24. #24 Eric Lund
    March 15, 2012

    I was also struck by the precision Young specified for the pH of the bloodstream. He said that the pH must be constant to three places past the decimal point, which implies (pH being the negative of the base 10 logarithm of the proton concentration) a maximum variation of 2.3 parts per thousand. Sure, the body pH should stay within tight limits–but that tight?

    Young may be counting on people to mistake precision for accuracy. They are not the same thing. My favorite example: Archbishop Ussher’s estimate for when the Earth was created (at a specific hour on a specific date in 4004 BC) is quite precise (about one part in 50 million, limited because we don’t know exactly where the Garden of Eden was), but it’s not at all accurate.

  25. #25 Cynthia of Syracuse
    March 15, 2012

    Acids measured in decibels. Hmmm, let’s see if we can figure out how the brilliant Robert O. Young deduced this … the stomach is full of hydrochloric acid. When it’s empty it growls. So obviously when we eat properly it raises the pH and turns down the volume! Eureka!

    (This example of woo-think has been brought to you by the words ‘torpid’ and ‘lasagne’ and the number 15.7309.)

    Oh and me4623- Spam, spam, spam, spam! Lovely spam! beautiful spam!

  26. #26 stuv.myopenid.com
    March 15, 2012

    The 3 decimal places is just for sounding sciency, of course. It’s the same thing as the intelligent design jackwagons looking up the number of parts in a 747 to “support” the “747 from a junk yard” canard.

  27. #27 stuv.myopenid.com
    March 15, 2012

    By the way, am I the only one envisioning this clown implanting seismographs and microphones to measure all them acid-induced Hertzes and decibels?

    Wait, I have to stop thinking now… I think my skull is melting.

  28. #28 Sue
    March 15, 2012

    “I have no doubt that Young is very adept at entering states where he has no thoughts inside of his head. He’s generally there at least 90% of the time anyway…”

    This made me laugh out loud. Thanks for making my day :-)

  29. #29 Lawrence
    March 15, 2012

    But, if you throw around terms like “hertz” & “decibels” it sounds like SCIENCE!

  30. #30 Sastra
    March 15, 2012

    Denice Walter #7 wrote:

    Stress, worry, fear and aggression destroy natural health and lead to illness such as cancer and CV dis-ease… However, the very same woo-meisters who spout this nonsense… go on and on about what will happen to you if you continue upon your current self-destructive path of self-immolation…

    Yes, there’s quite a contradiction there, isn’t there? One of my alt med friends is beginning to be concerned that her view that all physical problems are caused by stress and “holding on to resentment” is starting to clash a little bit too obviously with her fear-mongering conspiracy theories. So she’s come up with what she thinks is the ultimate fix, a way to reconcile both beliefs: metaphysical idealism. Nothing exists except thoughts: all matter is a manifestation of consciousness. Yes, Big Pharma, evil corporations, and politicians are going to destroy the world — but that shouldn’t break our calm because the world does not really exist. We just think it does.

    I’m not as impressed with her ‘solution’ as she is.

    Other quacks like to take a Secret-like attitude in which they seem to believe that wishing literally makes it so and that you can cure yourself of anything if you just want to be cured badly enough. While this has the not-so-salutory effect of “blaming the victim” when such quackery doesn’t work.

    From what I’ve seen, the people who take this approach seem to think that they’re not really “blaming the victim” if they think that the victim is themselves a victim. The reason you can’t keep up a good attitude and wish your sickness away with happy thoughts, they say, is because you were/are damaged by other people — people who hurt you, blamed you, criticized you, failed to support you, poisoned your thoughts. People who were negative and judgmental.

    Yes, you failed, but it’s not your fault. It’s ultimately the fault of the toxic people who don’t affirm your self-worth and identity.

    This way, they can wash their hands of all responsibility for no results and still come off as a deeply caring, understanding, compassionate refuge from the cold, mean world. It also, I think, has the benefit of cutting off the option of the patient getting all negative and judgmental on your ass.

  31. #31 rw23
    March 15, 2012

    Do you spend more than five hours a day reading…

    If I didn’t, I’d get the sack.

  32. #32 Chris
    March 15, 2012

    Lawrence, remember Young is the same guy who thinks lemons are alkaline. Never mind the definitions of the words, just if they sound sciencey.

  33. #33 stuv.myopenid.com
    March 15, 2012

    Wait, Sastra, are you serious? We’re all living in The Matrix according to her?

  34. #34 rw23
    March 15, 2012

    @sastra #30:

    Your friend reminds me of one of my friends, who confidently declared that she believed the Universe existed only through the exercise of emotion. Since she’s not a Godite I asked her how the Universe managed to maintain itself before conscious beings developed within it. I’m still waiting for an answer.

  35. #35 Prometheus
    March 15, 2012

    Calli Arcale (#23):

    “Well, de-ionized water is basically filtered water — the idea is to remove all of the ions in it, which are there because of dissolved salts. Ionized water would, by that logic, be water that has ionic compounds dissolved into it.”

    Even “de-ionised” water has ions in it – 10^-7 M H+ and 10^-7 M OH- at a very minimum. However, “ionised” water would be water that carries a net charge, which would only exist as a charged (and probably very hot) gas. Even very salty water – which has lots of ions in it – carries (essentially) no net charge.

    The “ionised water” folks have about as much understanding of chemistry and biology as my cat – and maybe not even that much. The same goes for “Dr.” Robert O. Young and his “acid hypothesis of disease”.

    Prometheus

  36. #36 Ang
    March 15, 2012

    Thanks for addressing the victim-blaming aspect of these new-age ideologies.

  37. #37 Karl Wihtakay
    March 15, 2012

    Prometheus, as far as I can find, the first time the term “molecular acid” was used was in in the 1979 science fiction movie “Alien” when referring to the alien’s blood.

    If anybody can find any reference to the term being used anywhere prior to the movie “Alien”, I would be interested to know.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_example_of_molecular_acid

  38. #38 Renate
    March 15, 2012

    Is mr Young thinking about acid rock? It would explain the herz and the decibels, though not the pH.

  39. #39 Roadstergal
    March 15, 2012

    @Cali 22: I’m a full-time engineer. You do the math.

    I refuse to do the math. It’ll acidify my blood. :p

    Has the bad pun been made about Young’s basic misunderstanding of science? If not, consider it done, we’ll move on.

  40. #40 herr doktor bimler
    March 15, 2012

    Prometheus:
    The “ionised water” folks have about as much understanding of chemistry and biology as my cat

    Your feline owner is no doubt an expert on cat ions.

  41. #41 stuv.myopenid.com
    March 15, 2012

    Young’s basic misunderstanding of science

    You win one Internets. Spend it well.

  42. #42 Miltant Agnostic
    March 15, 2012

    Interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: Robert O. Young claims to be the great-great grandson of Brigham Young (yes, that Brigham Young)

    If that is true, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Both were/are con-men and purveyors of outrageous bullshit.

  43. #43 Mark M
    March 15, 2012

    Robert O. Young claims to be descended from royalty? Always the way with the shysters. Internet degrees or mail-order titles, desperate to impress.

    Like how Burz the Bastard claims to be a Count.

    (Acid can be measured in decibels? Tangy = loud??? Sweet Jesus – how is this criminal shit-for-brains not in jail for helping to kill that poor woman?)

  44. #44 Krebiozen
    March 15, 2012

    Prometheus,

    Somewhat on topic – a local strip mall has a shop that advertises “alkaline ionised water”. Being somewhat scientifically literal, I always imagine being served a refreshing glass of plasma, as that is the only way I can envision “ionised water”.

    A while ago I came across someone’s explanation of how to make alkaline and acid “ionised” water, a DIY cheap version of the machines you can buy that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. What you do is get two glasses of water and connect them with a strip of damp filter paper (the machines use a semi-permeable membrane I believe). Stick a stainless steel electrode in each and apply a voltage. You will get hydroxide ions forming at one electrode and hydrogen ions at the other, which will combine with whatever salts are present. For example if there is sodium chloride dissolved in the water you will get sodium hydroxide in one glass and hypochlorous acid in the other NaCl + H2O –> NaOH + HClO. In this case alkaline water is a dilute solution of lye, and acid water is a kind of bleach, touted as a fantastic disinfectant, as a little Googling will quickly reveal.

    It seems to me you would get the same results by simply drinking dilute lye solution (I do not recommend anyone actually does this). There is a lot of talk about ORP, free negative hydrogen ions and clathrates that I strongly suspect is utter BS. Even if these gadgets did produce free negatively charged hydrogen ions that somehow survive long enough to be ingested, they would disappear as soon as they hit the acid in our stomachs, or the bicarbonate buffers in our blood.

  45. #45 Tom Herling
    March 15, 2012

    @19 “…but to clarify, decibels are often used for things other than sound, e.g. for electronic signals.”

    Yes, those different uses can be identified, usually, with the suffix indicating to what the ratio is in proportion, examples are the dBm (milliwatts), dBV (voltage), and dB-SPL (Sound Pressure Level). People often leave out the suffix because which unit in question can be derived from its context of use.

    Gee, I finally get to trot out my audio engineering geekdom.

    What any of this has to do with medicine beats the hell out of me.

  46. #46 attack_laurel
    March 15, 2012

    Meh, being descended from Brigham Young isn’t that big a deal – my ex-Mormon friend says something like 2/3 of Utah Mormons are “descended” either from Brigham Young or Joseph Smith. The reason? Both men had multiple “wives” “married” to them after their death. Who took on the honours of the bridal bed is best left unanswered. Also, being descended from either isn’t that big a deal – the most revered Mormon in the US isn’t revered because he’s a direct descendent of either Smith or Young (I can’t remember); he’s revered because he’s a well-known football player.

    Even Mormons smile gently at the idea of Mormon “royalty”.

    …As do most Swedes about their own (perfectly nice) royal family, AFAIK.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    March 15, 2012

    @ Sastra:

    About ratcheting up fear: I think that it serves a few purposes- it gets you worried and feeling in need of advice, products or a guru; it encourages your mis-trust of standard authoritative sources ( experts in medicine, the government, the media); it distracts you from examining the woo-meister’s motives or COIs and possibly, it engenders thankfulness for this ‘enlightenment’.

    You may be told that your horrendous lifestyle and dietary choices are currently setting up deadly consequences: right now, your coronary arteries are filling with plaque; silently and secretly, toxins you’ve ingested for decades are damaging DNA; perhaps microscopic cancers are increasing in size, unbeknowst to you. Did you forget something today- ah, don’t you know that that’s how dementia *starts*?

    Similarly an apocalypse of natural and cultural disasters is recited: all just around the corner. A litany of corruption, greed and negligence is trotted out and attributed to the government, the medical establishment, pharma, corporations, universities, banks and the media- not one is trustworthy. You’re on your own.

    So who will help you through these dire straits? He wot can teach you to be independent of the mainstream and tap that ever-flowing font of wisdom and health that is available exclusively for you. Paradise found, naturally.
    Am I engaging in the much-vaunted ‘rhetorical hyperbole’? No, my account is but a pale shadow of the originals.

  48. #48 Andreas Johansson
    March 16, 2012

    Interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: Robert O. Young claims to be the great-great grandson of Brigham Young (yes, that Brigham Young) as well as of Jean Bernadotte, founder of the Swedish royal dynasty.

    I can’t find any claim to royal or prophetical descent on the page the WP footnote links to, so either he removed it or WP got it wrong.

  49. #49 Happy Heyoka
    March 16, 2012

    Poor Robert, obviously his orgone accumulator is broken.

    “Too much acid is a bad bad trip.
    Take too much and your mind will flip”

    Lyric by Pineapples From the Dawn of Time, circa 1984

  50. #50 palindrom
    March 16, 2012

    This reminds me of the old joke about Woodstock revivals with all the late-middle-aged folks:

    “There’s some bad antacid going around … “

  51. #51 CanonicalKoi
    March 16, 2012

    @48 –

    I can’t find any claim to royal or prophetical descent on the page the WP footnote links to, so either he removed it or WP got it wrong.

    You can find the referenced Wiki quote here: here.

  52. #52 ken
    March 16, 2012

    All you anti “alt med” fanatics will eat humble pie when your illnesses kick in as you age and you find that Big Pharma can’t save you.

  53. #53 herr doktor bimler
    March 16, 2012

    That’s a very negative emotion, ken. I’m worried about its effect on your health.

    Few people realise that ‘Dr’ Young does in fact have a qualification in blood acidity — it’s his pH.D.

  54. #54 ken
    March 16, 2012

    It’s a statement of fact, not an emotion. Hopefully one achieves wisdom and tolerance as one ages gracefully.
    I’m not against chemotherapy but I’ve seen the ravages of it on too many family
    members and friends.

  55. #55 Chris
    March 16, 2012

    Seriously, ken, what was the last grade you attended in school? You are still acting like a child. And the Pharma Shill Gambit is both childish and boring. Try something new, like a substantial statement supported by real evidence.

  56. #56 CanonicalKoi
    March 16, 2012

    “Ravages”, Ken? Tell me, are the “ravages” of chemotherapy worse than death? Is it harder to stand by while someone experiences nausea, pain, hair loss or any other effect of chemo than it is to mourn the loss of a life? Surgery, chemo and radiation gave my Grandmother 50+ years of life that she would have otherwise not had due to cancer. It gave my Mother 20+ years. Believe me, the “ravages” of chemo were nothing for any of us compared to losing them.

  57. #57 Shay
    March 16, 2012

    Ken@54.

    Gosh. I’ll have to tell my brother that the sickness and the hair loss were so not worth it. I mean he just, y’know, survived.

  58. #58 ken
    March 16, 2012

    They all died after chemo.They were all over 55 yrs of age when they received chemo.
    It works better when you are young.

  59. #59 Shay
    March 16, 2012

    Guess what, Ken? Unless he magically acquires immortality, my brother’s going to die after chemo, too.

    Just much later than he would have without it.

  60. #60 Krebiozen
    March 16, 2012

    All you anti “alt med” fanatics will eat humble pie when your illnesses kick in as you age and you find that Big Pharma can’t save you.

    Why would I eat humble pie? I’m not going to find out that alt med can save me, because it doesn’t work.

    I’m not against chemotherapy but I’ve seen the ravages of it on too many family members and friends.

    How does it compare to untreated cancer? Or cancer treated with an alkaline diet (same thing really), like Kim Tinkham’s?

  61. #61 herr doktor bimler
    March 16, 2012

    Why would I eat humble pie?
    It’s a traditional alt-med remedy for age-related diseases!

  62. #62 Krebiozen
    March 16, 2012

    It’s a traditional alt-med remedy for age-related diseases!

    Mmmm, alkaline humble pie, containing sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydroxide and ammonia for added aroma. Cures chronic subclinical metabolic acidosis permanently. [tinyprint]This statement has not been assessed by the FDA. May cause serious esophageal and gastric burns, hypernatremia, respiratory arrest and death.[/tinyprint]

    Acid-base trivia alert – sodium bicarbonate poisoning does occasionally occur, usually in older people who have ODed on antacids. This can induce a metabolic alkalosis that has the unfortunate side effect of slowing your breathing, in an effort to retain CO2 to compensate. Since alkalosis doesn’t often occur naturally, our bodies aren’t very good at coping and severe alkalosis can lead to respiratory arrest. Respiration is stimulated by CO2 levels and low pH rather than low oxygen. That’s why breathing pure nitrogen or helium can lead to rapid unconsciousness and death from hypoxia without the person feeling like they are asphyxiating. Since high pH shifts the oxygen dissociation curve to make hemoglobin hold on tighter to oxygen, low oxygen and high pH is a particularly dangerous combination. End trivia.

  63. #63 DLC
    March 17, 2012

    Could Mr Young please explain to me how one gets hydrochloric acid as a byproduct of bicarbonate of soda production?

  64. #64 g724
    March 17, 2012

    Y’all got so close but missed it! The magic meme that you can use in public forums where this quack is being promoted:

    “Young is on an acid trip again.”

    There are lots of variations: When he goes on about dB and Hz: “He says he can _hear the sound of blood_? Yep, he’s on an acid trip alright!”

    If you have the chance to intercept him at any public gathering (plead poverty so you don’t have to give a donation at the door), when it’s time for Q & A, ask him:

    “Dr. Young, did you take LSD when you were in college?” Whatever his answer, reply with “Because you talk about acid so much, I have to wonder if it ever wore off!”

    The point here is to associate his “acid” rants with “acid = LSD” and “taking too much acid makes you say crazy things”. Humor is one of the most devastating weapons when dealing with quacks, dogmatists, the religious right, etc. Don’t try to “explain” why something is bunk, just make a joke about it that deflates its pretentiousness.

    —-

    That said, it really ticks me off when these quack-a-doodles use yoga and meditation as part of their BS, thereby making both out to be pure woo with no redeeming features.

    Yoga is useful as light exercise. Exercise is generally good, and getting people motivated to do exercise isn’t always easy, so if someone is motivated to do regular exercise, wonderful! As a clinical matter, it’s useful to agree with them that doing yoga is good exercise, and then offer a cautionary note to the effect of “just don’t let anyone try to convince you that it cures diseases.”

    Meditation is useful for reducing stress and improving concentration through practice, both of which are beneficial in and of themselves. I know a handful of working scientists and engineers who meditate regularly, to help relax and clear their minds of routine clutter. That’s not quackery, it’s just practical, and it doesn’t come with nonsense belief system baggage.

    Those of us who find these things useful would do well to make clear that they do not presuppose (or lead to) magical thinking.

  65. #65 Kamela
    March 19, 2012

    Oh, this is really special. Ohhhh my.

    This is especially sad to me as the heads of my training program (in Rubenfeld Synergy Method) also used the “e-motion” formulation, but in a way that made so much more sense than this…acid trip, as someone said above. Oh dear.

    In my work, “emotion” is about a feeling that is actually moving through your system, thus the temptation toward the pun. When we laugh or weep or seethe with rage, it’s a total-body experience, with all kinds of biological stuff going on; you can feel the literal physical experience of emotion.

    But wow, this guy just needs to put down the litmus paper and back away slowly. It makes me mad when people like this make people who are doing exciting, legitimate work look bad.

    Found your blog through this list, by the way. Looking forward to more!

  66. #66 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 19, 2012

    DLC,

    CO2 + H2O + NaCl -> NaHCO3 + HCl

    Assuming, of course, that standard reactions run in reverse.

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