Respectful Insolence

Here we go again.

Because he’s been in the news lately, I’ve been writing a lot about the “brave maverick doctor” known as Stanislaw Burzynski who claims to have spectacular results treating normally incurable cancers using something he calls antineoplastons. Unfortunately, the reason Burzynski has featured prominently in the skeptical blogosphere over the last two weeks is because, unfortunately, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) dropped its case against him. Basically, Burzynski got off on a technicality.

For purposes of this post, I don’t want to dwell on this case, because I’ve already pretty much beat it into the ground. I don’t even want to visit any patients of Burzynski who trusted him but are dying or have died anyway. Sadly, we’ve met several of them over the last year, most recently Amelia Saunders. Rather, what I want to concentrate on is the perception of Burzynski by his followers versus the reality, and the way I want to get at that issue by going straight to the source. It just so happens that not too long ago, an alternative medicine rag published an interview with Burzynski, which Burzynski has posted on his very own website. (Hat tip to the reader who pointed this interview out.) The usual self-serving blather is there, of course, but it’s the contrast between the picture of Burzynski as a misunderstood scientific and medical genius on par with Pasteur that his followers like to promote. And, of course, this genius is “persecuted” by the dogmatic medical establishment, who only wants to “cut, poison, and burn.” Burzynski himself promotes both memes, but particularly the paranoia:

Do you think that understanding in the medical community about your research is improving with time or evolving? Dr Burzynski: Absolutely. Some of the brightest oncologists are working together with us. We have a group of about 100 top oncologists. We are treating patients together with oncologists from all over the world. We are talking about the brightest guys. The rest of the club does not understand what we do at all and hate us. They would like to get rid of us. They hate to see our good results. But this crowd also will change if the breakthrough comes. So at this moment, we have to convert oncologists one by one. Of course, I am giving lectures at the oncology congresses, but only a few of these doctors will pay attention to what I have to say because I am not from a big medical institution. They don’t believe something can come from a small clinic, a small research center. They all assume research must come from a big pharmaceutical company or big institutions. Unfortunately, not much good came from these institutions within the last decade. But a number of doctors are beginning to understand what we do, and the number of those who would like to be trained in our strategy is increasing all the time. We have oncologists coming to us from various countries almost all the time to learn how to use our approach.

This is about as unbelievable a paragraph as I’ve ever seen. In reality, oncologists shun Burzynski—and rightly so, given that he has yet to publish anything resembling a convincing result suggesting the efficacy of his antineoplastons against cancer. That’s not to say he doesn’t publish (although he hasn’t published anything in a PubMed-indexed journal before 2006, not counting this interview, which is in a journal that should not be PubMed-indexed and isn’t even an original research paper anyway). It’s painfully obvious from this paragraph that Burzynski doesn’t know academic oncologists. None of them whom I’ve ever met assume that nothing useful can come out of a small clinic or research institute. That’s just rank stupidity if Burzynski really thinks that. The reason oncologists don’t respect Burzynski is because of how he hasn’t show that his treatments work better than conventional treatments—or even that they work at all—and because of the way he abuses patients by charging them huge sums of money to participate in a clinical trial. Those are the reasons legitimate oncologists, at least those familiar with Burzynski, look askance at him. How could they do otherwise? The ones who don’t take him seriously are the ones who know him best.

Indeed, one could argue that that’s why the FDA and the NCI couldn’t work with him. They didn’t know him when they agreed to work with him in the 1990s, but as they worked with him over the course of a few years they learned his true nature, leading to an inevitable schism, which taught the NCI a lesson about the consequences of dealing with pseudoscientists. Now here’s where we see the sheer arrogance, the sheer ignorance of theman:

Dr Burzynski: I published the review article in a peer-reviewed journal almost 20 years ago on the principles of personalized gene-targeted therapy. But it was not understood yet at that time that cancer is a disease of the genes. The cancers have names like breast cancer or lung cancer but what is really causing cancer is abnormality in our genes. Now everybody knows about it, but 20 years ago, very few people realized it. The right way to treat cancer is to treat the genes that are causing the cancer. Do not treat just the name of cancer. Every case is somewhat different; that’s why we need to have a personalized approach. We need to identify changes in the genes and treat the genes which are “sick.” If we are successful, then we can have very good results. It’s not so difficult to understand.

When antibiotics were introduced for the first time, they were used for the treatment of infections such as pneumonia or kidney infections or whatever. But after a number of years, the doctors realized that what they need to do is treat microorganisms which are causing the infection rather than the name of infection. Do not treat just pneumonia by the same antibiotics, but identify the germs which cause pneumonia and treat the germs. And then we can have success.

Now the same principles are being applied to the treatment of cancer. We identify the genes which are causing the problem and treat the genes. It may happen that the same genes may cause breast cancer or stomach cancer, and then we would use the same medication for one patient’s breast cancer as well as another’s stomach cancer. Certainly, 20 years ago, this was heresy. And frankly speaking, very, very few medications could work on genes at that time.

I had to choke back a rising bile in the back of my throat as I read this. I mean, seriously, such a combination of arrogance (Burzynski apparently thinking that he really was the first person to think of the idea of personalized therapy and targeting genes for cancer) and ignorance of the entire field of cancer genetics and genomics is breathtaking! Let’s put it this way. I was in graduate school 20 years ago, and was taught back then that cancer was primarily a genetic disease.. There’s a term called “oncogene,” which describes genes that, when either mutated or too much is made, can result in cancer. When do you think this term was first coined? Robert Huebner and George Todaro first coined it in 1969, and the first oncogene, src, was described in 1970, twenty years before Burzynski claims to have understood that cancer is a genetic disease. Has Burzynski ever heard of the term “tumor suppressor gene”? Tumor suppressors are genes that normally put the break on cell growth or other phenotypic changes necessary for cancer. When tumor suppressor function is lacking, cells can become cancerous. The first tumor suppressor gene, the retinoblastoma gene, was characterized in 1986, at least six years before Burzynski’s apparent “revelation” that cancer is a “genetic disease.” As usual, science was way ahead of Burzynski. In fact, the genetic basis of cancer was suspected at least as far back as 1902, when German zoologist Theodor Boveri proposed the existence of cell cycle check points, tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes. Boveri even speculated that cancers might be caused or promoted by radiation, physical or chemical insults or by pathogenic microorganisms! That’s 90—count ‘em—90 years before the time when Burzynski claims that it was “not understood yet at that time that cancer is a disease of the genes.”

Curious as to just what the heck Burzynski was talking about here, I searched PubMed for this alleged review article. I couldn’t find it on PubMed. His only publications from the 1990s had nothing to do with cancer as a “genetic disease” or “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy” and everything to do with antineoplastons. Perhaps Burzynski proposed this “revolutionary” new idea in a peer-reviewed article that’s not indexed in PubMed, but if he did I couldn’t find it using Google and Google Scholar. (In fact when I entered “Burznski” and “personalized gene therapy” into Google Scholar, I got the article containing the transcript of Burzynski’s interview that I’m discussing at the top of the hit list!) The earliest publication by Burzynski that I could find that dealt with genetics at all was one from 2003 entitled, Aging: gene silencing or gene activation?, published in 2003 in—surprise! surprise!—that rag of a vanity journal, Medical Hypotheses.

I will give Burzynski credit for inadvertently making an analogy that has a grain of truth, but even in making that analogy he mangles history. Yes, antibiotics were used to treat specific infections, but that was because it was known which bugs antibiotics killed and which bugs tended to cause which infections. So back in the early days of antibiotics, treatment tended to be more empiric because it wasn’t always possible to culture the causative microorganisms. That doesn’t mean that antibiotics were being used to treat “pnemonia” or “kidney infections” without little respect to the causative organisms. After all antibiotics are defined as antibiotics on the basis of their ability to kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms! One could draw an analogy in that we now target various genetic abnormalities in cancer much more precisely than ever, in sort of the same way that antibiotics today can be much more specifically targeted to specific organisms causing specific infections than we used to do. It is also true that our considerations of subtypes of cancer are, thanks to the genomics revolution, becoming less organ-specific (i.e., based on what organ the cancer originates in) and more gene signature-specific, but it’s a slow process, and the empirical knowledge of how to treat different cancers from different organs is still very useful. We haven’t yet developed an organ-independent classification of cancers that is clinically useful, although it is possible that we might succeed in doing so in the next ten or twenty years. If we do, you can be certain that Stanislaw Burzynski will have had nothing to do with it and nothing to do to developing real “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy.”

I could go on and on, picking apart virtually every paragraph of this interview. They’re all chock full of howlers like the passage above. But it’s getting late, and even Orac needs down time; so I’ll look at one last howler. Maybe I’ll come back to this article sometime when I’m bored. In the meantime, consider this statement by Burzynski:

The first medication which worked on genes was Herceptin for the treatment of breast cancer. Even today, oncologists will attack you if you try to use Herceptin for something else. But suddenly a year ago, Herceptin was approved for the treatment of stomach cancer. If the patient has abnormality of the gene on which Herceptin works, it can work very well. The crowd of oncologists learns the medicine by heart without understanding of what’s going on. However, they have started to realize that there is a need to identify what is causing cancer in every patient who is coming for treatment and to use the right combination of medications.

Unfortunately, we have a totalitarian approach toward treatment: Everybody should receive the same regimen for the same name of cancer. This is foolish. It contributes to billions of dollars in losses because typically the medications—single medications— work for less than 10% of patients. If you identify which patients will benefit from a particular medication, you can have good results and you can save a lot of money. But unfortunately, this approach still persists. I have been attacked by the Texas Medical Board for going overboard and using a logical, scientific approach toward treatment of the genes.

First off, Herceptin does not exactly “work on genes,” and no oncologist would characterize it as doing so. Herceptin is a humanized mouse monoclonal antibody that targets the HER2 protein, which is the product of the HER2 oncogene, which is overexpressed (i.e., too much of it is made) in some breast cancers. It’s been enormously successful in that HER2(+) breast cancer used to be considered a very bad actor. It still is a bad actor, but we have a targeted therapy that makes it less so. In any case, if Herceptin is a drug Burzynski defines as “targeting genes,” then he’s clearly wrong that it’s the first one. It was not. Arguably, Tamoxifen was. Tamoxifen, after all, specifically targeted a gene product (the estrogen receptor) in the same way that Herceptin targets HER2, and Tamoxifen has been around since the 1970s. Be that as it may, it is not “heresy” to use Herceptin to treat other forms of cancer besides breast. It is true that Herceptin was first used in breast cancer, but that is because HER2 is frequently overexpressed in breast cancer. As soon as it was discovered that HER2 was overexpressed in other cancers, oncologists and scientists proposed using it for those other cancers. We cancer researchers are very happy to apply new drugs to new cancers if we think they might be useful, but unlike Burzynski we insist on testing them in clinical trials first, to make sure they work.

As for Burzynski’s lament that we have a “totalitarian” approach towards treatment, all I can say is that it might seem that way to someone who has a “make it up as you go along” approach, like Burzynski. It’s just another example of cranks pulling out the “fascism” gambit when they are told by scientists they are cranks. For instance, the TMB didn’t go after Burzynski simply for off-label prescribing where there is a legitimate scientific argument. It went after Burzynski for mixing and matching targeted therapies willy-nilly in a reckless manner. Truly, it was personalized targeted gene therapy for dummies done by dummies.

In the end, it’s hard not to be shocked by the combination of self-absorption, arrogance, and downright scientific ignorance that the “hero” of “alternative” cancer therapy demonstrates. I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am. And it takes a lot to shock me these days.

Comments

  1. #1 elburto
    December 5, 2012

    Hubris personified.

    No doubt the Burzynski Borg will appear soon to tell us how wrong you are.

  2. #2 Heliantus
    December 5, 2012

    When antibiotics were introduced for the first time, they were used for the treatment of infections such as pneumonia or kidney infections or whatever. But after a number of years, the doctors realized that what they need to do is treat microorganisms which are causing the infection rather than the name of infection. Do not treat just pneumonia by the same antibiotics, but identify the germs which cause pneumonia and treat the germs.

    How can someone be so right and so wrong at the same time?
    It’s true that when the first antibiotics were discovered (starting with mercury salts, if one wants to go that far), they were used on many infections – but that’s because there was no or few alternatives.
    It’s true that ideally, a antibiotic specific of the infecting bacteria should be used rather than a large-spectrum antibiotic, or worse, an antibiotic to which the germ is resistant.
    But again, reality is more complex. There are reasons why the same antibiotics will be used in most infections of a specific organ. Some antibiotics are quickly excreted by the kidneys, and thus are prefered for infection of the urinary track, while others molecules tend to accumulate and are much more efficient at fighting infections of the throat or ears.

    He is really good a communication, he has this nice story full of appreciated tropes and people want to hear it. He should be a politician.

  3. #3 Krebiozen
    December 5, 2012

    There’s a specific example of this on the trailer for the new Burzynski movie. It mentions a patient called Betty Whyte (or possibly Wright). Her story is told on thousands of websites, for example this one, and it is claimed that Burzynski treated her Merkel cell cancer with a chemotherapy drug called Sutent (sunitinib) after “building a a molecular cancer genome” (whatever that means) on Mrs Wright/Whyte. Sutent is not usually used for Merkel cell cancer.

    I can’t find out anything else about Mrs Whyte/Wright or her cancer, but wondered if any oncologists might be able to comment further on this apparent off-label use of Sutent (which is an extremely expensive drug BTW).

  4. #4 Mark McAndrew
    United Kingdom
    December 5, 2012

    Holy crap, the guy is a genuine nutter.

    What next; he invented penicillin?

  5. #5 MarkL
    London
    December 5, 2012

    Krebiozen,

    I should preface my remarks by saying that I am not an oncologist nor medically trained – I just have long standing (and unfortunate) family ties to cancer and its treatment.

    Hasn’t there been a flurry of research in the last few years looking at Sutent’s efficacy for the treatment of all Neuroendocrine tumours? Perhaps the brave maverick read a paper somewhere and thought it prudent (financially if not medically) that he stock another item in his pharmacy at huge mark-ups.

    Stan’s scattergun approach to treatment of his patients certainly wouldn’t inhibit him from throwing another ingredient into the chemical soup he sells.

  6. #6 Sastra
    December 5, 2012

    Yes, he’s a good communicator — partly because he’s telling stories which have a lot of surface plausibility. They make sense to the ordinary person because they sound analogous to familiar situations and common mistakes.

    “I used to think an ointment to clear up a foot rash should only be used on the foot — but it cleared up the rash on my arm, too! So I can understand how all those doctors for all those years were all getting it wrong about just treating the name of the cancer — like a “foot” cancer or a “breast” cancer.. And I can also see how Burzynski must have had one of those ah-ha moments, like I did, where you see there’s an underlying connection to things. It’s so good to be able to follow along like this.”

    Good and easy, if you lower the standard of making sense.

  7. #7 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 5, 2012

    When I first posted the link to this interview, I assumed Alternative Therapies was a consumer magazine, similar to the freebie hand-outs they have in every health food store touting supplements, acupuncture and homeoquackery. But I now realize this publication is aimed at the medical profession, including real medical doctors.

    I understand how easy it is to fool a lot of the general public, but how many health professionals are actually going to believe the drivel in the story? Won’t they all see the flaws, inconsistencies, distortions and lies like Orac did?

  8. #8 THS
    December 5, 2012

    @ Marc Stephens is insane:
    Agreed, it’s drivel. But not all health professionals see though flaws, inconsistencies, etc. There are plenty of woo-infested health professionals. Examples: operating room Reiko or whatever it’s called; nurses “healing touch”. The list goes on.

  9. #9 S
    December 5, 2012

    I understand how easy it is to fool a lot of the general public, but how many health professionals are actually going to believe the drivel in the story? Won’t they all see the flaws, inconsistencies, distortions and lies like Orac did?

    Don’t forget that there are health professionals using energy readings to diagnose patients and salt water (ASEA) to treat cancer and other diseases.

  10. #10 Calli Arcale
    December 5, 2012

    Ignoring that cancer has been known to be caused by defective genes for a very, very long time, I went “WTF” at this bit:

    When antibiotics were introduced for the first time, they were used for the treatment of infections such as pneumonia or kidney infections or whatever. But after a number of years, the doctors realized that what they need to do is treat microorganisms which are causing the infection rather than the name of infection.

    Seriously? He thinks antibiotics were *not* originally used to kill bacteria but acheived their goal by chance? That doctors who used antibiotics were unaware of germ theory originally? Wow. So he *seriously* hasn’t heard the story of how antibiotics were first discovered? That it was all based on the surprising observation that penicillium colonies were making a toxin that killed bacteria?

    Wow. And this guy calls himself a doctor. (Mind you, he probably isn’t this stupid. He’s just really bad at constructing an argument.)

    Even today, oncologists will attack you if you try to use Herceptin for something else. But suddenly a year ago, Herceptin was approved for the treatment of stomach cancer.

    This is another amazing thing about Burzynski — his ability to completely reverse himself in one sentence, without noticing. Oncologists will attack you for using Herceptin for any other cancer, except when they don’t because they’re busy using it against another cancer. What a genius.

    Burzynski clearly doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking anything through, given the poor construction of his arguments. This explains why he seems to find it too difficult to actually publish his work, why he clearly doesn’t understand what the state of the art even is, and why he probably doesn’t even understand the stuff he’s doing. He’s clearly a hack.

    BTW, sometimes you do need to treat “the name of the infection” rather than the microorganism. It can take several days to grow a big enough colony to identify what the organism is sensitive to. If you wait that long, the patient will be much sicker before you start treatment — and possibly even dead. Of course, we know from Burzynski’s record that dead patients don’t trouble him overmuch.

  11. #11 MarkL
    London
    December 5, 2012

    Why don’t these quacks ever invent a cure based on the consumption foie gras and Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases 2000?

    Sound just as scientifically valid as baking soda/fungicides/antineoplastons and much more appetizing.to the patient.

  12. #12 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 5, 2012

    @Calli Arcale

    This is another amazing thing about Burzynski — his ability to completely reverse himself in one sentence, without noticing. Oncologists will attack you for using Herceptin for any other cancer, except when they don’t because they’re busy using it against another cancer. What a genius.

    I suddenly have this image of Burzynski as The Sphynx from Mystery Men.

  13. #13 David N. Brown
    December 5, 2012

    One of the more subtle but significant ironies here is that, to the extent that Burzynski makes any sense at all, it flies directly in the face of his own hype. It’s axiomatic that the biggest flaw in the very idea of a “miracle cure” for cancer is that the condition is a very heterogeneous phenomenon. All Dr. B’s talk of “personalized” and “targeted” treatment would seem only to maximize the problem: Taken to its logical conclusion, that means that the same “targeted” treatment could completely cure one person, but literally do nothing for anyone else. I recently thought up a line that seems completely applicable: “Even a magic bullet is just one bullet.” Yet, Dr. B and his PR men still use the standard “magic bullet” hype…

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  14. #14 David N. Brown
    December 5, 2012

    @Calli,
    “doctors who used antibiotics were unaware of germ theory originally…”

    This could be a reference to accounts of pre-modern applications of things like moldy bread to wounds. It’s defensible to call this an early use of antibiotics.

  15. #15 Renate
    December 5, 2012

    @MarkL
    You should know, if it tastes good, it can’t work.

  16. #16 Fiona
    December 5, 2012

    I’ve heard Steve Novella talk about whether quacks are true believer or charlatans, and how sometimes they can fit into both camps at the same time. Burzynski might need his own category: the megalomaniacal quack.

  17. #17 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    I understand how easy it is to fool a lot of the general public, but how many health professionals are actually going to believe the drivel in the story? Won’t they all see the flaws, inconsistencies, distortions and lies like Orac did?

    For starters it depends upon what you consider a health professional. There are plenty of woo-drenched “health professionals” (naturopaths, chiropractors, homeopaths, etc.) who would lap this crap up and suspect who this “journal” is targeted towards. That said, there are quite a few credulous physicians who would also fall for this for a variety of reasons; a couple that come to mind are the “brave mavericks” and simply those who don’t have the critical-thinking skills to properly evaluate this drek. Physicians =/= Scientists so not all will be possessed with the innate skill and/or education to keep them from falling victim to pseudo-science*.

    *Sadly, being a scientist doesn’t insulate one from being a dolt either as we have seen many examples from our esteemed host.

  18. #18 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2012

    When antibiotics were introduced for the first time, they were used for the treatment of infections such as pneumonia or kidney infections or whatever. But after a number of years, the doctors realized that what they need to do is treat microorganisms which are causing the infection rather than the name of infection.

    IIRC streptomycin was first used to target pulmonary M. tuberculosis infections. Penicillin had wider applications and was tried against streptococcus and staphylococcus (and anything else gram-positive).

    The “or whatever” is the giveaway that Burzynski doesn’t care what he’s talking about, as well as not knowing.

  19. #19 Peebs
    December 5, 2012

    Herr Doctor,

    You are correct. I remember being taught that Para Amino Salacyllic (sp? It’s been a long time since I’ve written that) Acid and or Streptomycin were the drugs of choice in the treatment of TB. The RN were terrified of the disease and annual CXR’s were compulsory right up to the mid 80’s.

    I also remember patients had to have an audiogram before and after being treated with streptomycin as the drug was well known for damaging the 8th Cranial Nerve.

  20. #20 Judith
    December 5, 2012

    I notice there is not peep about the patients for whom the treatment seems to be working or to have worked, e.g., Laura Hymas and Hannah Bradley. Why not?

  21. #21 Beamup
    December 5, 2012

    Because any treatment, even one which does absolutely nothing (or worse), will “seem to work” for some. Cherry-picking successes means precisely nothing. Only rigorous testing – which Burzynski refuses to do – can tell whether it ACTUALLY works.

  22. #22 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 5, 2012

    @Judith

    I notice there is not one peep about the people who do not get into car accidents after drinking a glass of grapefruit juice, e.g., me. Why not?

  23. #23 dingo199
    December 5, 2012

    If there was any case in history that conspiracy of the government and pharmaceutical companies is documented, this is the case.

    I used our attorneys to force them to stop because we didn’t want them to kill people just to prove that the antineoplastons don’t work. So then they decided to work against me with the FDA. The doctor who worked with us at NCI suddenly went to the FDA. He became deputy commissioner of the FDA. We were the subject of numerous grand jury investigations, and finally, they wanted me to go to prison for life so that they could steal my invention.

    Why is it that delusional, paranoid, egotistical, and megalomania are the words that spring to mind?
    Never before have I read stuff from someone who is so far up himself he’s in danger of choking.

  24. #24 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    I notice there is not peep about the patients for whom the treatment seems to be working or to have worked, e.g., Laura Hymas and Hannah Bradley. Why not?

    Judith, could you please tell me what the survival rates, treatment regimes and cancer types were for Burzynski’s patients as compared to those treated with standard oncological treatments? Thanks.

  25. #25 JGC
    December 5, 2012

    Judith, regarding Hannah Bradley you are aware she underwent surgery for her cancer before becoming involved with Burzynski, right? According to the Team Hannah website “”The operation was a success and they managed to remove nearly all of the tumour.” (bold for emphasis)

    Despite thisl surgical intervention, however, you seem to be presuming that any success she’s experiencing must be a result of antineoplaston treatment.

    Why?

  26. #26 lsm
    December 5, 2012

    Judith: It’s not that the scientific community is picking on Burzynski willy-nilly. When he first came to their attention in the 1990s, the NCI and others were interested in seeing what he had. He couldn’t (wouldn’t) pass scientific muster, using the same crazy tactics he uses today, and he has been professionally dismissed because of his own behavior: including refusal to show any results.

    Can you (or he) showj definitively that his successes are not due to previous surgery or chemo, but to antineoplastins? Where are the results?

    The entire scientific community is bound by rules and ethics, to protect against false claims. We all benefit from those rules. That’s why there is a problem with Burzynski, who flouts them. If he were right, everyone would rejoice.

  27. #27 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 5, 2012

    @Judith – To emphasize what’s already been said, individual apparent successes or failures are not sufficient to prove the treatment is successful (or not). Discussion of individual cases provides a good, emotional face onto the situation. They don’t prove anything in isolation.

  28. #28 thenewme
    December 5, 2012

    From a cancer patient perspective, it’s shockingly tempting to believe in these kinds of things. Upon being diagnosed with cancer, our world is completely turned upside down and we’re plunged into an entirely unfamiliar, overwhelming, and terrifying world that we have little or no experience with. We aren’t doctors or scientists and we don’t know who to believe. Doctors give us devastating news (“…you have cancer!) and describe the surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation they’re planning, which scares us even more. We go looking for other options. Surely, there must be *something* easier, better, more natural, etc. that would work or help instead! We find ourselves online and join a cancer patient support forum, which offers us a huge sense of comfort, cameraderie, support, and helpful tips from other patients in a similar situation. Then we read about a miracle cure like this, and you can imagine how enticing it sounds, especially when it’s coming from a fellow cancer patient (or so you think). We decide to look more into it, and see claims like this from Burzynski, and it’s easy to see how we could fall victim:

    “If we use medications like antineoplastons… we can get rid of every one of the cancer cells and they will never come back. We have patients who are now surviving over 20 years with incurable cancers and are perfectly free from cancer. ”

    Ack.

  29. #29 Bronze Dog
    December 5, 2012

    It’s awfully convenient that Judith has forgotten a central point we’ve been making in our arguments for the whole time we’ve been dealing with her.

    Anecdotes aren’t good evidence. Cherry picking is a sign of and/or a cause of bias. Sometimes people get lucky, and it’s other factors that are responsible for improvement and not the treatment. That’s why we do blinded clinical studies with large numbers and compare against control groups. Why feign ignorance of this essential point, Judith?

  30. #30 KenDom
    December 5, 2012

    Wow, talk about “making it up as you go along” – Orac, have you ever once set foot in the Burzynski clinic? have you met him? Have you met any of his patients? If you answered “no” to one or all of these questions—you are the biggest ignorant asshole of them all. Your readers are morons too. You know, if you call yourself a scientist, it would help “looking” at the science before blogging endlessly your cherry-picked propaganda. Anyone here also realize this guy is on the payroll of the National cancer Institute and worked for a NCI backed hospital? Put down your “Burzynski for Dummies” handbook, get on a plane, and see the fucking clinic for yourself, you fucking retard.

  31. #31 evilDoug
    somewhere under boot #2
    December 5, 2012

    Has there ever been a “brave maverick” in any science who has produced a significant discovery that subsequently found its way into main-stream science? I mean specifically maverick-against-scientific-knowledge, not someone-against-religious-dogma.

    Burzynski’s propaganda, I suspect quite deliberately, gives the impression that his therapies repair genes and sends them forth to sin no more. The cancer goes away because the naughty genes have mended their ways. This would sit very well with the notion of fixing the root cause.
    Is there such a thing as a “gene therapy” that truly acts on genes directly -“fixing” “broken” genes, or even directly destroying errant genes without destroying their environment
    (“…the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.”)
    ?

  32. #32 Yodelady
    December 5, 2012

    @thenewme
    I agree, people want so much to believe there’s a cure available to them, they fall into the arms of anyone who will say they can cure them. Against all reason and all odds.

    I think there’s another vulnerability — with some cancers, you can’t be cured but you can keep going, sometimes for many years, using chemo to mitigate the disease and palliate the symptoms. At first glance that looks like a fate worse than death to the patient. But it’s not. It’s life; it’s living with cancer. Burzynski’s crazy chemo cocktails are worse than any chemo combination my doctor ever gave me, and they rob the patient of the months or years they might have had to lead comfortable, valuable lives. People feel they have “nothing to lose.” If the patient is well enough to travel to Texas and walk into Burzynski’s office, that patient does have a lot to lose, IMO.

  33. #33 bad poet
    December 5, 2012

    How, pray tell, is it possible to destroy cancer cells without destroying other non-cancerous cells? Removing the mass may require removing some surrounding tissue or lymph nodes. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may destroy other non-cancerous cells. Burczynski can’t give these poor, last-hope patients his “magic” antineoplastons along with other chemotherapy and expect miracles. Some people attribute miracles to $deities$, and Burczynski certainly couldn’t be considered one of those by anyone, living or dead. The only miracle here is that people are willing to give that fool money.

  34. #34 palindrom
    December 5, 2012

    evilDoug — I suppose that guy who figured out that heliobacter pylorii causes ulcers might qualify as “brave maverick”. Others may know better than I.

    Interestingly, one example that cranks love is Albert Einstein, who was famously working in a patent office when he had his miracle year in 1905. However, his discoveries were NOT rejected by the scientific establishment, but got traction very quickly. Also, his theory did not overturn all previous knowledge, but rather uncovered truths about the structure of physics that had eluded others (Maxwell’s equations were already Lorentz-invariant, but no one had figured this out yet). He had an incredible knack for formulating his thoughts in the simplest possible manner, too, so his brilliance was apparent pretty much immediately.

    I have a colleague who asserts that the crankosphere would be a very different place today if Einstein had been a University professor somewhere, because then he wouldn’t have inspired so many of our “brave maverick” cranks today.

  35. #35 thenewme
    December 5, 2012

    @Yodelady,
    Yeah. Why subject ourselves to cut/burn/poison when we can just get an easy medicine from Dr. B that will fix those cancer cells right up without the bother of worrying about recurrence? I agree with you-I’d take all my chemo, surgeries, and rads over Burzynski’s woo ANY DAY. It’s tragic that real patients are conned into the “nothing to lose” crap.

  36. #36 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ bad poet:

    There is something called “targeted therapy” that zeroes in on particular celluar activities- herceptin is an example used for breast cancer. There should be good general articles about these new developments.

    I have unfortunately been reading a great deal about this recently because I have just learned that one of my myriad far-flung cousins has just been diagnosed with a particularly nasty cancer. You see, other family members use me as an information filter.

  37. #37 thenewme
    December 5, 2012

    Sonali Patil is a Burzynski research scientist with an interesting YouTube video discussing the Burzynski clinic goings-on. Of course she includes the requisite persecution conspiracies and maverick-ness, but the most interesting part is almost 6 minutes in, where she admits the Burzynski clinic is going about it backwards. She says most researchers do preclinical research first and then give it to patients, but they’ve been giving it to patients first and then they’ll do the research! GAAAAHHH!

    Again, I just can’t fathom why the authorities allow this to happen. It’s arrogance of ignorance at its very worst, and real patients continue to suffer. How is this okay?

  38. #38 thenewme
    December 5, 2012

    @DeniceWalter,
    So sorry to hear about your cousin! Your family is lucky to have you as an information filter. Wishing her the very best.

  39. #39 Denice Walter
    December 5, 2012

    @ thenewme:

    Thanks. It’s a guy who has NSCLC; I used herceptin because it is one of the most familar examples .

  40. #40 thenewme
    December 5, 2012

    @Denice,
    Ah. Well then, I wish *him* the very best. Hopefully you’ll be able to help fend off the woo-vultures he’s likely to encounter. They’re truly salt in the wound for us.

  41. #41 Bronze Dog
    December 5, 2012

    @KenDom

    Here’s a hint: Fluffy ad hominems don’t work here. The point is that going to see only the patients who appeared to benefit while ignoring all those who didn’t is cherry picking. We want results that aren’t created through biased means like the one you propose, but through real research and statistical analysis of all the results, good and bad. We want Burzynski to publish the results of his clinical trials. The fact that he’s been avoiding publication should raise your suspicions. Why doesn’t it?

  42. #42 Narad
    December 5, 2012

    Why don’t these quacks ever invent a cure based on the consumption foie gras and Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases 2000?

    Are you kidding? They have, but they keep it to themselves, just like Big pHARMa. The outward-facing enterprise is just to rake in the dough. No difference at all.

  43. #43 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 5, 2012

    Wow, talk about “making it up as you go along” – Orac, have you ever once set foot in the Burzynski clinic? have you met him? Have you met any of his patients?

    There’s a famous line which I’m going to make even more pointed for you, Ken: one does not need to wait until one has consumed every last bite of an egg to know it’s bad. Your idea that one can’t judge Burzynski’s science based on, y’know, the science, but must instead include such dubiously relevant factors such as what sort of personal impression Burzynski makes when you meet him, is even more ridiculous; it’s like insisting that you can’t tell if an egg is bad even by eating the whole egg, but must have a personal interview with the chef first.

    You know, if you call yourself a scientist, it would help “looking” at the science

    Funny; from what I’m seeing, Orac’s the one discussing the science and you’re the one trying to drag the subject onto irrelevancies such as “has Orac ever met Burzynski?” I notice you don’t have any answer for “Why does Burzynski erroneously refer to herceptin as the first drug that works on the genes when it doesn’t work on the genes? If he means ‘works on a gene product’ why does he refer to herceptin as the first when tamixofen preceded it?”

    before blogging endlessly your cherry-picked propaganda.

    No, “cherry-picked propaganda” is when Burzynski and his PR reps both paid and self-appointed take the cases of people who had tumor-removing surgery and then followed it up by Burzynski’s “antineoplastons” and promote it as if it means that the positive outcome proves the antineoplastons did something; THAT’S cherry-picked propaganda.

  44. #44 herr doktor bimler
    December 5, 2012

    Your readers are morons too.

    Before KenDom can call us morons, I believe that he is morally obligated to get on a plane and visit each of us face-to-face.

  45. #45 Narad
    December 5, 2012

    Your readers are morons too.

    You sound oddly similar to another recent commenter, FemDom (“Joe”? Not finding it.). I guess being completely ignored here didn’t cut it.

  46. #46 MarkL
    London
    December 5, 2012

    Hey KenDom,

    I am sure Orac and all his moronic readers would be delighted to read the science behind the brave maverick’s lucrative enterprise. Would you show us said evidence? The man you are defending won’t (or is it can’t?).

  47. #47 Narad
    December 5, 2012

    Wow, talk about “making it up as you go along” – Orac, have you ever once set foot in the Burzynski clinic? have you met him? Have you met any of his patients? If you answered “no” to one or all of these questions—you are the biggest ignorant asshole of them all.

    This, just by the by, is a variant of the magic three questions suggested by Merola in the movie “FAQ”.

  48. #48 S
    December 5, 2012

    Hey There, KenDom,

    You should know that everyone here is being way too polite to you. I can’t post my response because it would be edited.

  49. #49 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 5, 2012

    You should know that everyone here is being way too polite to you. I can’t post my response because it would be edited.

    Nah, just held in moderation for a spell.
    Do eet.

    This, just by the by, is a variant of the magic three questions suggested by Merola in the movie “FAQ”.

    Wouldn’t you think Burzynski would have the wherewithal to get himself a better class of “PR” people. You’d think after the Mark Stephens fiasco (“snort my taint” is ingrained into my brain forever) he’d have learned a bit.

  50. #50 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 5, 2012

    JGC,

    Hannah Bradley also had radiation post-surgery. But yeah, it was Stan.

  51. #51 Alain
    December 5, 2012

    @ KenDom,

    quote: you fucking retard

    Who are you treating fucking retard?

    Alain

  52. #52 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 5, 2012

    Hey KenDom you effin’ ignorant asshole retard…

    I am an expert in my particular field. University degrees, 25 years professional experience, I have taught, and have a local reputation as an expert. If I read in one of my industry’s trade journals an interview with someone else who does what I do, I can easily recognize truth from lies, and can tell if that person knows what he is talking about. I don’t need to see his office, meet him or talk to his clients. I can judge by his own words in an interview if he’s full of it or not.

    That’s what Orac was doing in this thread: a professional critique of an interview done by someone in the same line of business (well, sort of…) Orac is eminently qualified to recognize the truth from the lies in the “science” Burzynski himself discusses in the interview. There is nothing subjective here, and even if Orac and Stan were best friends Orac would still be able to recognize the good science from the bad.

    What can you contribute to a discussion about the science in the interview?

  53. #53 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 5, 2012

    Something tells me KenDom is like those big fat smelly annoying seagulls that drop turds and then fly away, never to be seen or heard from again. By the time you wipe yourself off, the big smelly bird is long gone.

    At least people like Didy, Judith, Marge et al stick around to engage in discussion. They make an effort. KenDom just drops turds and flies off. A lazy, ignorant, asshole moron retard. And I never use the “r” word except in this very special case. I don’t mean to seen insensitive but I am angry at the comments aimed at Orac and the lack of respect for his knowledge, experience and commitment. Call me anything you want, but Orac saves lives. KenDom is like pus here.

  54. #54 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 5, 2012

    @MSII – I know you’re responding in kind, and I know I’ll be accused of being a tone troll, but I’m informed that the term “retard” is not considered to be in good taste.

    Otherwise, carry on.

  55. #55 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 5, 2012

    I realized that and felt horrible. I followed up with an explanation and apology. I never, ever use that word. I’ve chastised others for doing so. It was hypocritical of me, but I was so angry that I was being juvenile and turning KenDom’s words back on himself (or herself).

    Not that it makes it right, but KenDom used the word in his post, so I figured I throw it back in his face. Sorry everyone. Back to our regularly scheduled programme.

  56. #56 Terri C
    December 6, 2012

    Besides relieving his patients and their families of money by the truckload, Burzynski also seems at least sometimes to imbue these folks with his own arrogant disdain for the medical profession. Doing a spot of googling after Orac’s last Burzynski post led me to the blog of a parent whose child was being treated with “antineoplaston therapy in a hospital away from Burzynski’s clinic. It was easy to tell that the parents did not have a lot of medical knowledge; notwithstanding, they spent precious time arguing with their child’s doctors and blogging very unfavorably about them. Sadly if predictably their child died.

  57. #57 Terri C
    December 6, 2012

    To me, if you’ve persuaded someone to use your invention as part of a trial–I’m being generous about motive here–and that someone is working with actual professionals who are allowing the trial, you should play nice. Not arrogant.

  58. #58 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Terri,

    I think that disdain partially starts even before Burzynski enters the picture; it begins when “conventional medicine” gives a negative prognosis. That leads patients to Dr. B, who then reinforces the “us against them” mentality.

  59. #59 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Terri,

    This is the same guy who said in an interview I posted somewhere else, “To hell with them” when commenting on why a reputable journal wouldn’t publish one of his bogus studies.

    Diplomacy is not in his vocabulary. “Listen your little brain” and “In three years maybe I’ll win the Nobel Prize and you’ll look like a shit” are two quotes from a 2008 Houston Press interview with a less-than-believing reporter.

  60. #60 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Terri,

    From The New York Times in 1996:

    Most researchers who find a promising treatment publish their results in a prestigious medical journal. Dr. Burzynski said he had submitted a paper to The New England Journal of Medicine, but that it had been rejected. “So to hell with them,” he said.

    Dr. Burzynski said that as with Einstein and Pasteur, history will prove him right. Cures like his, he said, “have never happened before in medical history, so if The New England Journal of Medicine refuses to publish my paper, why should I waste my time with these fools?”

    The F.D.A. has not approved antineoplastons because Dr. Burzynski has never completed clinical trials, controlled tests involving patients taking a new drug intended to prove whether a drug works and is safe.

    Google the 2008 interview in the Houston Press to read the other glimpse into the deranged mind of a lone, brave, persecuted maverick doctor who “came to this country with only $15 in his pocket.”

  61. #61 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/
    December 6, 2012

    [off-topic]

    Is it just me, but is Respectful Insolence returned—aka comments—showing stuff that’s way out of date?

  62. #62 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    You need to post a comment (which you just did) to update your cookies. I have no idea why it happens but it always reverts to about two weeks ago if my computer crashes or I lose cookies. That’s why you’ll often see a comment that says “need a cookie please” or something similar.

  63. #63 Yodelady
    December 6, 2012

    @Denice Walter
    I’m sorry about your cousin’s situation.

    The “targeted therapies” are different from the old-style chemos, but they’re not innocuous by any means. I’m being treated with Avastin in combination with an older chemo which is a topoisomerase inhibitor. My oncologist is thinking “out of the box” — Avastin is not registered for my cancer, but it has gone through extensive testing for it. Many but not all oncologists are using it off-label, but cautiously.. Avastin can cause extremely high blood pressure, stroke, pulmonary embolisms, bowel perforations, fistulas, and internal bleeding. I’m monitored carefully.

    Burzynski’s combinations are something else again. In the Texas Medical Board’s lawsuit, Burzinski was treating “Patient A” with capecitabine (an older chemo), phenylbutyrate (his antineoplastin precursor), and four “targeted” therapies — erlotinib, dasatinib, verinostate, and sorafenib. I haven’t been able to find out what dosages he was using, but that sounds like an awful lot of stuff.

    A woman on a message board for my type of cancer reported Burzynski was giving her Avastin, Herceptin, Zolinza, Nexavar, and Sodium Phenylbutyrate simultaneously — again all off-label. She believed she was nearly cured after two months. She continued on the treatments for about five months longer, remarked that she was having “horrible” gastrointestinal symptoms throughout that time, and then stopped posting. I doubt very much that she’s alive.

    That patient said instead of stopping one cancer pathway at a time, the strategy was to stop all of the cancer pathways at once. I see that there’s an appealing logic to that. But the art of the oncologist is to damage the cancer without killing the patient, and that’s a fine balance.

    The only one of those drugs I’m familiar with personally is Avasitn. It prevents the growth of new capillaries. That slows the cancer down because to grow bigger, tumors need to attract a bigger blood supply. But it also prevents the body from growing the new capillaries it needs to heal wounds and to do things like grow new blood vessels near the heart if the major arteries start to narrow. There’s real risk involved. If a bleed starts in the brain or the lung or if the bowel perforates, the Avastin interferes with the body’s attempts to stop the damage. And Avastin has a half-life of about 20 days, so every treatment stays in the body for a long time. If my doctor suggested adding any other chemicals to the mix, I would sure be asking a lot of questions about how they would affect the things the healthy parts of my body need. I trust my oncologist to suggest these things only if she’s quite sure she knows the answer to those questions.

    Denice, I hope you’ve found the cancergrace.org website — a group of mainstream oncologists there answer questions specifically about lung cancers. They’re very generous with their information and talk a lot about how they balance treatment with the patient’s quality of life and ability to tolerate specific side effects.

    Best of luck to your cousin!

  64. #64 Grant
    December 6, 2012

    Marc Stephens Is Insane – Figured that out immediately afterwards! :-) Weird I haven’t noticed before, but then maybe it’s not an issue in some of the other browsers (I juggle between them for different tasks).

  65. #65 Grant
    December 6, 2012

    Yodelady,

    Sounds like Richard Saunders might want to try visit cancergrace.org. Not sure he’s still following comments at the older threads, but worth a try? (He wrote in comments a few days ago; Orac has since put up a post based around his comment.)

  66. #66 lsm
    December 6, 2012

    Wondering about the physicans who would work for Burzynski. The Burzynski site describes 4 Senior Physicians on staff. A quick google search shows Jose Valladares, MD, has 8 office locations; none of which are the Burzynski clinic:
    http://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Jose_L_Valladares.html.

    The second, Zan Yi, is nowhere to be found on google or PubMed (Burz praises his many basic research papers). Maybe confusion with the Chinese name.

    The third is Gregory Burzynski. Enough said.

    The fourth is Alejandro A. Marquis, not an oncologist (family practice) who had a little trouble with the TMB himself in 2008, 2 years after joining Burz.
    http://www.i-dineout.com/pages2008/tmb.2.15.08.html.

  67. #67 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    Grant,
    Firefox just installed an inept update that wiped out my cookies, I suspect you suffered something similar.

  68. #68 Heliantus
    December 6, 2012

    Dr. Burzynski said that as with Einstein and Pasteur

    I hope Dr Burzynski has installed large doors for his office, his head may be too large for standard doors.

    Both Einstein and Pasteur published their research.
    Einstein’s first public presentation of his ideas about the peculiar effects of gravity on space and light was indeed not well received, which, like any extraordinary scientific claim, is as it should, (although, according to a biography I read, the reactions of his German colleagues were tainted with antisemitism)
    However, Einstein did propose a soon-to-come solar eclipse (IIRC) as a perfect opportunity for his colleagues to check on his theory on their own. Which they did.

    Dr Burzynski, I knew Dr Louis Pasteur.
    Dr Louis Pasteur was a friend.
    You, sir, are no Dr Pasteur.

  69. #69 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/12/04/help-ted-com-editor/
    December 6, 2012

    Krebiozen,

    My thinking too, but they might have to clear out cookies for some types of security updates (perhaps).

  70. #70 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/12/04/help-ted-com-editor/
    December 6, 2012

    Heliantus,

    I recall reading that Eddington championed Einstein’s work, which would have helped too.

  71. #71 flip
    Wondering at the lack of enforcement of regulations
    December 6, 2012

    When antibiotics were introduced for the first time, they were used for the treatment of infections such as pneumonia or kidney infections or whatever. But after a number of years, the doctors realized that what they need to do is treat microorganisms which are causing the infection rather than the name of infection.

    What now?

    I have no clues as to antibiotics and even this sounds wrong to me. It’s also kind of a reverse ‘argument from antiquity’, as if to say “those guys over there are stuck in the dark ages and I’m not”. All the while creating smoke and mirrors from the fact that he hasn’t published anything recently and real scientists have.

    I have been attacked by the Texas Medical Board for going overboard and using a logical, scientific approach toward treatment of the genes.

    Or perhaps they and the rest of the world would appreciate some evidence that those medications work for those cancers, instead of just scatter-shotting your way and hoping you hit the target.

    … Burzyinski is very good at playing the lone Galileo card. One wonders at what point he stopped keeping up with medical literature and new advancements. It seems like he was ‘cutting edge’ a few decades ago, and never managed to stay there.

    His lawyers should teach him to keep himself out of the press though. By not saying anything, and not doing any marketing, he’s made a fortune out of the human shield of his followers. By opening his mouth he continues to show he’s deserving of criticism.

    @Heliantus

    He should be a politician.

    Please don’t give him any ideas.

    @Sastra

    “I used to think an ointment to clear up a foot rash should only be used on the foot — but it cleared up the rash on my arm, too! So I can understand how all those doctors for all those years were all getting it wrong about just treating the name of the cancer — like a “foot” cancer or a “breast” cancer.. And I can also see how Burzynski must have had one of those ah-ha moments, like I did, where you see there’s an underlying connection to things. It’s so good to be able to follow along like this.”

    It’s a very subtle nod to the concept that science isn’t holistic. You can tell right away from the language he uses who he’s promoting himself to: the noble warrior moms and freedom advocates, and people who like to go against the grain. He’s saying “those mean doctors will only give you labels; I give you cures”. No wonder his fans defend him, he indoctrinates them with how he portrays himself vs others.

    @Judith

    I notice there is not peep about the patients for whom the treatment seems to be working or to have worked, e.g., Laura Hymas and Hannah Bradley. Why not?

    Perhaps, as has been explained ad naseum, because those are just anecdotes? Two people does not a good clinical trial make.

    Where’s your clinical trials of reiki, huh?

    @dingo199

    We were the subject of numerous grand jury investigations, and finally, they wanted me to go to prison for life so that they could steal my invention.

    Why is it that the conspiracy is always trying to ‘suppress the truth’, up until they want to ‘steal’ the inventions? Sheesh, they need to make up their minds…

    @Thenewme

    Surely, there must be *something* easier, better, more natural, etc. that would work or help instead!

    Whilst I kind of get this type of thinking, what worries me is that ‘easier, better, more natural’ is wanted, but ‘proven to work better and is safer’ isn’t necessarily included in that least; let alone being put before the other two. The problem is that people overestimate their ability to judge what works, because they’re not educated in medicine and presume their ‘research’ is good enough or equal to whatever a doctor can find out.

    I don’t like the steroid inhaler I’m currently on; but I prefer it to trying vitamins and sitting on my ass hoping it works.

    @Kendom

    Orac, have you ever once set foot in the Burzynski clinic? have you met him? Have you met any of his patients? If you answered “no” to one or all of these questions—you are the biggest ignorant asshole of them all. Your readers are morons too.

    One doesn’t need to walk into the clinic to read published results from his trials: unless of course, the only place those results are available to read are in his office, at which point it still shows that he’s unwilling to publish them for peer review.

    You know, if you call yourself a scientist, it would help “looking” at the science before blogging endlessly your cherry-picked propaganda.

    And yet you post no links to this science. Quelle surprise!

    Anyone here also realize this guy is on the payroll of the National cancer Institute and worked for a NCI backed hospital? Put down your “Burzynski for Dummies” handbook, get on a plane, and see the fucking clinic for yourself, you fucking retard.

    Pharma shill gambit. Sigh… one wonders if Burzyinski offers a ‘debate the critics’ handbook. You all come up with the same boring crap.

    Oh, and by the way, that was real convincing. No evidence AND ad hominems. Yep, that’s really going to change people’s minds. *rolls eyes

    @HDB

    Before KenDom can call us morons, I believe that he is morally obligated to get on a plane and visit each of us face-to-face.

    Touche! (Hmm, need to learn the html to that accent…)

    @Terri C

    To me, if you’ve persuaded someone to use your invention as part of a trial–I’m being generous about motive here–and that someone is working with actual professionals who are allowing the trial, you should play nice. Not arrogant.

    Having recently discovered via another thread and website many files on signing with Burzyinski for ‘treatment’, I believe that most of the parents/patients don’t actually think they’re part of a trial. B’s clinic goes out of its way to gloss over the fact that antineoplastons aren’t a new treatment, but very very experimental; they also gloss over the fact that treatments are part of a trial. I suspect that the arrogance is ignored because of this misconception, mainly created by the clinic’s own antics. — I also agree with MSII that the idea is already in their head and subtle language like the above interview reinforces it.

    @Ism

    Regarding the backgrounds of some of the other doctors, it’s interesting that Burzyinski is practically throwing people under the bus, who also happen to be dubious themselves…

  72. #72 Adam
    December 6, 2012

    Burzynski comes off as fantastically defensive and arrogant in interviews. There was an interview in a Houston paper where he immodestly suggested he might be down of a Nobel prize in medicine without 3 years. That was 4 years ago.

    Of course if he released actual evidence that proved beyond doubt and in a reproducible fashion that his treatment worked better than other treatments, or at all, he might actually get it. I don’t think there is any fear of that.

    What I find outright bizarre is how this man has managed to assemble a defence force. I don’t know the mechanics behind cognitive dissonance but these are people who are asserting his treatment works seem to be experts at it.

    – Asserting his treatment works but making excuses whenever people ask where the evidence is. They usually provide a link to some pitiful Youtube video.
    – Railing against big pharma and its profits while defending a man who makes obscene profits.
    – Proclaiming the man as a healer while he fails to disclose evidence which could see more lives saved through widespread adoption of his treatment.
    – Railing against chemo and other drugs when Burzynski is really doing no different.

    It goes on and on.

  73. #73 Elihphile
    December 6, 2012

    (Largely) off topic:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but we’ve had a case of a mother running off with child, in the UK to avoid him having treatment for cancer, in favour of “natural” therapies:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243542/Neon-Luca-Roberts-Mother-ran-away-seven-year-old-son-stop-having-life-saving-cancer-treatment-tracked-Sussex.html

  74. #74 Denice Walter
    December 6, 2012

    @ Yodelady:

    Thanks for your kind wishes.
    I actually have some knowledge about how the therapies work. In my cousin’s case, it appears that he may be getting one of them already. However I am very pessimistic because he seems to be quite far along- diagnosed late in the game, possibly due to a physician not checking into symptoms earlier. At any rate, that disease often is not suspected until a late stage from what I understand. We’ll see what happens.

  75. #75 Renate
    December 6, 2012

    (Largely) off topic:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but we’ve had a case of a mother running off with child, in the UK to avoid him having treatment for cancer, in favour of “natural” therapies:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243542/Neon-Luca-Roberts-Mother-ran-away-seven-year-old-son-stop-having-life-saving-cancer-treatment-tracked-Sussex.html

    Poor child. I suppose the mother thinks she wants the best for her child, like most of these kind of mothers do.

    I don’t understand why the newspaperarticle ends with a list of negative consequences of radiation therapy. I don’t think this is doing any good.

    (Completely unreleated) In the Netherlands a moviemaker did two documentaries about a mother and her son. The mother is into raw food and drags her son into this as well. According to doctors, the kid is undernourished. The mother now is homeschooling the boy, to avoid him getting in touch with food, she thinks is unhealthy.
    I wonder

  76. #76 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    Judith,

    I notice there is not peep about the patients for whom the treatment seems to be working or to have worked, e.g., Laura Hymas and Hannah Bradley. Why not?

    I’m sure I have mentioned my mother-in-law here before. She was diagnosed with breast cancer but despite advice to the contrary she refused surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and would only consent to taking an estrogen-blocking drug. Instead she self-medicated with scotch and cigarettes. Her tumor shrank and disappeared and she is still alive, coming up for the third Christmas she wasn’t expected to see (she has been under home hospice care all that time). Am I promoting whiskey and tobacco as miracle cures for cancer? Of course not. Do you understand why?

  77. #77 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    Renate,

    I don’t understand why the newspaperarticle ends with a list of negative consequences of radiation therapy. I don’t think this is doing any good.

    It’s the Daily Mail, that’s why. It’s a notoriously unreliable source of information on health.

  78. #78 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Oh lookie lookie:

    Some misguided fool has decided to make the Burzynski Clinic her “holiday charity of the year” and is trying to raise donations for Stan on Yelp:

    Dr. Burzinsky has a cure for cancer! If you are interested keep, reading.
    Every year I review a charity for holiday donations. This is a cancer clinic and they have a cure for cancer and need donations!
    If you wait until you have enough you will never give! The Burzinsky clinic is in need of donations because insurance will not pay for the treatment! …Burzynski had tried to get the FDA to review and approve antineoplastons since 1977, to no avail. To make sure he would not get into trouble for using the experimental therapy in his practice, his legal team confirmed that he was acting within the law and could use antineoplastons in his own practice “to meet the immediate needs of patients.” But in the 1980s the Texas Medical Board (TMB) charged him with breaking a law that didn’t actually exist and tried to revoke his medical license…The Burzynski cancer clinic operated with the approval of the FDA and was rather successful with a cancer remedy DR Burzinsky paid for with his own money! Nevertheless the clinic was raided several times and Dr Burzynski brought before four federal grand juries. Each time he was acquitted. A committee of the US Congress is investigating the FDA on charges of abusing the grand jury process in order to harass and persecute Dr Burzynski…I am not a fan of the FDA. They tried to shut down cherry farms! It is all about money with the FDA. They can’t benefit from cherry farms and people with arthritis might get better so they wanted to shut down cherry farms of all things!…I found out about Dr. Burzinsky through friends in online cancer support groups who were cured by him and one has a grandson who was cured by him! There are blogs about him being a scam which I believe are set ups to sue him. The persecution of him is evil and something I can relate to because I went through something similar. I only saved the lives of 2 people but Dr Burzinsky has saved the lives of hundreds and has the potential to save the lives of millions in the future if his cancer cure was approved by the FDA and was used in hospitals treating cancer patients…
    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets cancer from all the stress they are putting him through! I do believe stress from unjust persecution contributed to me getting cancer that and genetics. I won’t make this review too long I want to get to the point. If you know someone who has an incurable cancer you have nothing to lose by looking into this clinic…
    Because Dr. Burzinsky uses his own money the clinic needs donations.

    Lots of links to Merola commercial and other woo sites.

    http://www.yelp.ca/biz/burzynski-clinic-houston

  79. #79 Narad
    December 6, 2012

    The second, Zan Yi, is nowhere to be found on google or PubMed (Burz praises his many basic research papers). Maybe confusion with the Chinese name.

    It’s Zanhua.

  80. #80 Cecille Chan
    California
    December 6, 2012

    Most people read one information or two and run with it as if their life depended on it. I dislike loud discourses as most people involved in it are the ones not too well informed. They may think they are. I read an average of 65 books a year. I read anything I can get my hands on as I always maintain that not looking at both sides of an equation makes for an incomplete view of anything. I also keep myself open to changing my mind over anything should I later find out new information to the contrary. So far, I am on the side of Dr. Burzynski , Dr. Simoncini, Nikola Tesla….and more. What we narrow-mindedly see as our only reality is not. Get a clue from the movie “Thrive”. I used to give chemotherapy and take care of patients with radium implants. I regret it to this day. I saw the coldness of the medical practitioners I was involved with and was virtually helpless to do anything about a lot of things my heart was against. I also saw those who actually believed in what they were doing and were pouring their heart out in trying to help people, but everyone should wake up to the fact that the mainstream science which I think I wasted too much time studying, is not what it is made out to be. If you are too lazy to research this any further, you would be akin to a charlatan misinforming those around you. Most often these days, I bite my tongue. Everyone is sinking in disinformation for the benefit of the negative cabal who is controlling virtually everything in our lives. Our lives are changing soon enough and I am looking forward to letting out that big sigh of relief. What I would never be part of is the group bashing those who are trying to wake up the rest of us who are wallowing in ignorance. And yes….ignorance is not bliss.

  81. #81 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Narad,

    That’s weird: when you Google the doctor’s name, on the first page of results every link except one shows he works in New York. Does he split his time or has he left Texas?

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=Zanhua&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca:IE-ContextMenu&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADFA_enCA458&redir_esc=&ei=ic3AUIOmHbKQ0QHB54GoAQ#hl=en&tbo=d&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca%3AIE-ContextMenu&rlz=1I7ADFA_enCA458&sclient=psy-ab&q=dr.+Zanhua&oq=dr.+Zanhua&gs_l=serp.3…9575.10446.0.10885.4.4.0.0.0.1.212.723.0j2j2.4.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.fc6BfaJgnBQ&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=fa7ef9f8ad822c61&bpcl=39650382&biw=1220&bih=783

  82. #82 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2012

    @MSII

    Using the various state medical license lookup pages would be a better resource, I think. I have links to all 50 here. Zanhua Yi is licensed in Texas, with a practice address for the Burzynski Clinic.

  83. #83 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    From the WebMD page I linked to above:

    Sheryll Acelar, MD , Internal Medicine
    Shah Alam, MD , Internal Medicine
    Gregory Burzynski, MD , Internal Medicine
    Stanislaw Burzynski, MD , Internal Medicine , Medical Oncology
    Lourdes Deleon, MD , Internal Medicine
    Kathy Ford, ,
    Armgan Khan, MD , Internal Medicine
    Arslan Khan, MD , Internal Medicine
    Muhammad Khan, MD , Internal Medicine
    Eva Kubove, MD , Internal Medicine
    Alejandro Marquis, MD , Internal Medicine
    Madhavi Raju, , Medical Oncology
    Tolib Rakhamov, MD , Internal Medicine
    Anita Shrout, ,
    Barbara Szymkowski, MD , Internal Medicine
    Jose Valladares, MD , Internal Medicine , Medical Oncology

    How can Stand call himself a “medical oncologist”? He has no training nor certification. Is there some legal or ethical prohibition behind this?

  84. #84 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Also weird that Barbara Burzynski, Stan’s wife, uses her maiden name Szymkowski on the listing. Is she trying to distance herself from the Burzynski name? :-)

  85. #85 Narad
    December 6, 2012

    If you are too lazy to research this any further, you would be akin to a charlatan misinforming those around you.

    If you’re on the side of Simoncini, you really don’t want to be popping off about the research abilities of other people.

  86. #86 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    And yes….ignorance is not bliss.

    Well then Cecille, you must be a long way from blissful.

  87. #87 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    What happened to my italics? Cecille’s quote should have been italicized…

  88. #88 Todd W.
    http://harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 6, 2012

    I read anything I can get my hands on as I always maintain that not looking at both sides of an equation makes for an incomplete view of anything. I also keep myself open to changing my mind over anything should I later find out new information to the contrary.

    You just described just about everyone here.

    So far, I am on the side of Dr. Burzynski

    Oh, good. Then perhaps you can post a link to some of Dr. Burzynski’s published clinical trial results showing that his treatment regimen is at least as safe and effective as conventional treatment. None of the other Burzynski supporters has yet been able to do so. But you seem like a person who takes the time to really make sure of things before making a decision, so perhaps you can succeed where they have failed.

    How about it?

  89. #89 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille Chan:

    I read an average of 65 books a year. I read anything I can get my hands on as I always maintain that not looking at both sides of an equation makes for an incomplete view of anything.

    Have you read The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee?

  90. #90 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Isn’t it fun to Google to names of the commenters who use their real names? Cecille is into David Icke, Area 51, Bill Maher the anti-science guy, anti-GMO, anti-Obama, etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPVXSlLI-CJiiUgL_T1DTXg

    She also posted this on the “Team Hannah” (Burzynski patient) YouTube page:
    Dear Hannah,
    My love around you. And thank you for spreading the word about Dr. Burzynski, a man who is trying to do a lot of good despite the rogue FDA being a thorn on his side.
    Cecille Chan

  91. #91 JGC
    December 6, 2012

    So far, I am on the side of Dr. Burzynski …

    What exactly have you read that placed you on the side of Dr. Burzynski? Be specific.

    In fact, let’s make it as simple as possible: what do you believe to be the single most convincing piece of evidence arguing that antineoplastins are effective effective at treating advanced stage cancers?

  92. #92 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    Hanna,

    So far, I am on the side of Dr. Burzynski , Dr. Simoncini, Nikola Tesla….and more.

    Simoncini?! Simoncini is even less credible than Burzynski. How can anyone with a medical education take him seriously for a moment? You badly need to learn some critical thinking skills. Some people make terrible mistakes and end up believing nonsense, and others simply lie to line their own pockets. You need to be able to tell the nonsense from the truth, or you will end up in the first category (it looks like it may be too late).

    As for Tesla, coming to a science blog and putting him in the same category as a couple of charlatans is simply asking for trouble.

  93. #93 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    When I wrote “Hanna” I meant “Cecille”, obviously.

  94. #94 elburto
    December 6, 2012

    Anyone got any croutons for Cecille’s word salad? Needs more crunch.

    have you ever once set foot in the Burzynski clinic? have you met him? Have you met any of his patients? If you answered “no” to one or all of these questions—you are the biggest ignorant asshole of them all. Your readers are morons too.

    I’ve never met the following people:

    Rose West, Nicolai Ceaucescu, Mao Tze Dong, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Beverley Allitt, Harold Shipman, Andrew Wakefield, Ken Ham, Rush Limbaugh, Professor Sir Roy Meadow, Jimmy Savile, George Osborne, Peter Tobin, Peter Sutcliffe, or Hulda Clark.

    Are you honestly saying that we may not judge people we haven’t met, regardless of the agony, fear, and death that they’re responsible for?

    I judge the hell out of every single person on my list. Every one. If that makes me a “moron” then I can live with that. I just wonder how much anoxia you suffered, in order to achieve such staggering mental prowess.

    I mean, I have a fair bit of brain damage, I’m practically a Muppet, direct from the Creature Workshop, but you’ve taken the hollow head thing to new heights, haven’t ya?

  95. #95 Dangerous Bacon
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille: “So far, I am on the side of Dr. Burzynski , Dr. Simoncini, Nikola Tesla….and more.”

    Cecille supports Burzynski – and in the same breath assures us she’s on the side of Simoncini, a man who thinks “cancer is a fungus” and recommends bicarbonate to treat it.

    While it’s revelatory that Cecille apparently ranks both Burzynski and Simoncini as Brave Martyrs of the System, it is depressing that she apparently has or had a role in health care.

  96. #96 elburto
    December 6, 2012

    That quoted bit was KenDim, btw.

  97. #97 FU
    Too Angry to Comment
    December 6, 2012

    I also saw those who actually believed in what they were doing and were pouring their heart out in trying to help people, but everyone should wake up to the fact that the mainstream science which I think I wasted too much time studying, is not what it is made out to be.

    There needs to a rehab facility established to help people overcome being so fucking angry at people making comments which inevitably mislead unsuspecting, vulnerable and desperate patients into some fucking crooked quacks office to be medically raped, robbed and otherwise exploited.

  98. #98 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille,

    MR. Simoncini is no longer a doctor. He does not have the right to call himself a doctor anywhere on the planet.

    And he only escaped manslaughter charges on an Italian court technicality, which to this day I still don’t understand.

  99. #99 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille,

    Can you explain how Simoncini can be correct that “cancer is fungus” and Burzynski also be treating cancer effectively, as he does not claim to treat a fungal infection? How can you be on the side of both?

  100. #100 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    That’s what I don’t understand about people who read Suzanne Somers’ book, for example. She showcases a number of cancer quacks (including, and most prominently Stan) who all have conflicting “theories” and modalities of treatment per those theories. How can they all be correct? Does anyone ever question that?

  101. #101 Narad
    December 6, 2012

    And he only escaped manslaughter charges on an Italian court technicality, which to this day I still don’t understand.

    Oh, no, he was convicted and sentenced, but he didn’t have to serve the sentence by virtue of Italy’s 2006 general clemency.

  102. #102 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Oh, that’s even better. I knew he escaped on some technicality. So he has no criminal record, the lucky bastard?

  103. #103 Narad
    December 6, 2012

    So he has no criminal record, the lucky bastard?

    No, the conviction stands. They just needed to free up prison space.

  104. #104 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    So it’s convicted criminal Mr. Simoncini.

    Ex-cel-lent.

  105. #105 Grant
    December 6, 2012

    flip:

    You wrote: ‘Touche! (Hmm, need to learn the html to that accent…)’

    It’s not HTML, but a Unicode character – you should just be able to type it at the keyboard. On a Mac option-e followed by ‘e’ gives me: é

  106. #106 MarkL
    London
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille,

    Your post is so choc a bloc full of air-headed conspiracy theories melded with vacuous crap that it is hard to make any sense of it. The one thing it DOES have in spades is to be totally fact and evidence free.

    You may have well just posted :
    “Saint Burzynski = good. Baelzebub Big Pharma = bad”…………………………. because you have a bad case of religion there sister. Faith without evidence.

  107. #107 Grant
    December 6, 2012

    Cecille Chan,

    You wrote: ‘I read an average of 65 books a year.’

    Leaving aside that what those books are would matters (you’d want them to be textbooks, not novels, thrillers, etc!) some of us read a lot of scientific papers.

    A problem with book is that they’re not peer-reviewed so they have a mix of the truly awful and relatively few really good works.

    Chris suggested earlier The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

    My own choice of book is The biology of cancer by Robert Weinberg. My copy is now a few years old (2007) – there is likely to be a newer edition out now. My copy come with a DVD and a poster, too.

  108. #108 Grant
    December 6, 2012

    flip: should add, there are HTML character entities for the various accented characters, but my experience is that blog comment form processing tends to strip those out. The again, I’m just lazy and just type the things in from the keyboard :-)

  109. #109 Krebiozen
    December 6, 2012

    So it’s convicted criminal Mr. Simoncini.

    He has left a trail of blood across Europe. Unlike Burzynski he doesn’t only prey on terminal cancer patients, but persuades people who stand a very good chance of being treated successfully to reject conventional treatment. There used to be a hidden camera video on YouTube of Simoncini illegally diagnosing and agreeing to treat a man’s prostate cancer, and giving a discount if the patient didn’t demand a receipt for the cash, just like a dodgy used car salesman. Unfortunately the video is no longer available.

  110. #110 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    AND…since Burzynski uses conventional meds, some of his patients have a fighting chance. Baking soda, on the other hand, is useless and dangerous.

    NOT defending Stan in any way, shape or form, but I agree there’s a world of difference in practice between what Tulio did (does?) and what Stan does. They’re both equally evil though, driven by greed and ego.

  111. #111 flip
    December 6, 2012

    @MSII

    Some misguided fool has decided to make the Burzynski Clinic her “holiday charity of the year” and is trying to raise donations for Stan on Yelp:

    It’s a wonder that the the person didn’t ask Burzyinksi to sell his multi-million dollar home. I guess his money is not allowed.

    To make sure he would not get into trouble for using the experimental therapy in his practice, his legal team confirmed that he was acting within the law and could use antineoplastons in his own practice “to meet the immediate needs of patients.”

    I doubt his lawyers are that stupid. He has a good knack of walking a fine balance of being just within the law, and yet not quite enough.

    The Burzynski cancer clinic operated with the approval of the FDA and was rather successful with a cancer remedy DR Burzinsky paid for with his own money!

    Mm, yeah the money he takes from the people who aren’t supposed to pay for being in clinical trials.

    They can’t benefit from cherry farms and people with arthritis might get better so they wanted to shut down cherry farms of all things!

    The woo is strong with this one.

    I only saved the lives of 2 people but Dr Burzinsky has saved the lives of hundreds and has the potential to save the lives of millions in the future if his cancer cure was approved by the FDA and was used in hospitals treating cancer patients…

    Pity there’s no actual verifiable evidence of this.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets cancer from all the stress they are putting him through!

    Ah, of course – the ‘stress causes disease’ proponents fit right in with Burzyinski’s claims and vagueness.

    If you know someone who has an incurable cancer you have nothing to lose by looking into this clinic…

    Aptly reflecting the “nothing to lose” comments previously made on this site.

    By the way, isn’t Yelp a review site? Couldn’t people go and respond by posting ‘reviews’ in the form of links to newspapers of patient deaths?

    @Cecille Chan

    So basically your assessment is “be open minded because postmodernism”? Or “read everything, but ignore the absence of evidence and side with the guy who has a baseless assertion”? Or “a movie is absolutely 100% representative of life”?

    Perhaps it is “I don’t care that the guy is charging heaps of money for participation in clinical trials”.

    The rest is just logical fallacy twaddle about Big Pharma conspiracies. Yawn…

  112. #112 flip
    December 6, 2012

    @Elburto

    I’m practically a Muppet, direct from the Creature Workshop

    Muppets are from the Jim Henson Company, the Creature Workshop made/makes animatronics and non-muppety things. /end pedant

    @Dangerous Bacon

    While it’s revelatory that Cecille apparently ranks both Burzynski and Simoncini as Brave Martyrs of the System, it is depressing that she apparently has or had a role in health care.

    From the way she phrased it, I would guess that she has made up her mind based on old treatments that were used at the time, and assumes that the treatments have no improved since then.

    @Grant

    flip: should add, there are HTML character entities for the various accented characters, but my experience is that blog comment form processing tends to strip those out. The again, I’m just lazy and just type the things in from the keyboard

    I was literally just about to correct you. At the time I posted my comment I couldn’t be bothered finding the html code for it, although I do have a cheat sheet bookmarked. Let’s see if this works: é
    I use a PC anyway, so keyboard’s not an option.

  113. #113 JGC
    December 6, 2012

    I only saved the lives of 2 people but Dr Burzinsky has saved the lives of hundreds and has the potential to save the lives of millions in the future if his cancer cure was approved by the FDA and was used in hospitals treating cancer patients…

    Of course, the reason that the FDA can’t even consider whether or not it chould approve Burzynski’s ‘cancer cure’ for use in hopsital’s treating cancer patients is because he refuses to release the results of any of the clinical trials he’s supposedly been conducting for the past couple of decades.

  114. #114 flip
    December 6, 2012

    Using the html &#233 with a semi-colon on the end works fine for creating accented characters.

  115. #115 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 6, 2012

    Where did Didy and KenDom go? Did they realize they were out their league? Nothing intelligent to post?

    Crickets…

    I was looking forward to seeing some of their responses to some of our responses. I made popcorn.

  116. #116 evilDoug
    December 6, 2012

    Flip, I may come away from this mit Fuß in mouth, but on many blogs all you have to do is insert the appropriate character (in Windows, use Character Map, usually in System Tools)

    Oh, bébé, it is über easy. Þ

    The comment about should contain an eszet, e with accent acute, u with umlaut and a thorne. Or the accents may be dumped.

  117. #117 evilDoug
    December 6, 2012

    Everything looks OK on my computer. Others?

  118. #118 Politicalguineapig
    December 6, 2012

    Elihphile:
    Largely) off topic:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but we’ve had a case of a mother running off with child, in the UK to avoid him having treatment for cancer, in favour of “natural” therapies.
    Not surprised; we’ve had at least two cases in the States like that. Both involved leukemia. One was a mother kidnapping her daughter in Arizona- just this week. The other one was a teenage boy from MN who was also kidnapped by his mother. That happened a couple of years ago- I forgot what happened to him. The mother and daughter are still on the run, as far as I know.

  119. #119 S
    December 6, 2012

    Politicalguineapig, Activists are using the excuse of ‘parental rights’ to enforce their religious conservative right wing values onto the rest of society, all under the guise of parental and constitutional rights. They are trying to take as much power as possible away from the United States federal government and give it to the individual states. It is in this manner that the same activists (constitutional lawyers, alternative medicine doctors) are attempting to pass the health freedom laws. Health freedom, religious freedom, parental rights, but all in attempt to force others into their factions – the opposite of freedom.

    http://www.parentalrights.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={C9F22266-3A2E-4BBE-A087-BFD53580E2F9}

    I was so glad that Michigan’s Parental Rights Law of 1994 (that I had a hand in writing) was on the books when I was litigating for the Stieler family who were being prosecuted because they dared to make independent medical decisions for their son, Jacob.

    About that quote regarding Jacob, that stunt by the Parental Right’s activists totally backfired for Jacob. Orac blogged about Jacob a long time ago. May I mention again that Orac was right and the parental rights activists were wrong, again.

    Here’s one follow-up story about Jacob. The parental rights lawyers conveniently forgot to mention that Jacob’s cancer returned, and they should have followed the advice of the medical experts, just as Orac stated. Eventually, they had to drop their ‘landmark’ case; it was no success for them and their misguided antics will likely prove fatal for innocent Jacob. They neglected to adequately treat his cancer against medical advise, and it has returned.

    Renate: The mother is into raw food and drags her son into this as well. According to doctors, the kid is undernourished. The mother now is homeschooling the boy, to avoid him getting in touch with food, she thinks is unhealthy.

    @Renate, The parental rights activists are the same group as the Home School Legal Defense Association activists. Constitutional lawyer, extreme right wing religious activist Michael Farris was Jacob’s attorney. Farris is now trying to stop the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, because he believes that the treaty is incompatible with American constitutional law.

  120. #120 S
    December 6, 2012

    That should read advice, not advise.

  121. #121 S
    December 6, 2012

    That should read advice, not advise.

    That correction of word usage is for my comment being held for review. This should make sense once the comments are released.

  122. #122 Yodelady
    December 6, 2012

    @EvilDoug, it’s beautiful! I never new the names of those characters.

  123. #123 bad poet
    December 6, 2012

    You çan dø speciål charactërs on ÿour Android phoñe, too.

  124. #124 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 6, 2012

    Simoncini?! Simoncini is even less credible than Burzynski. How can anyone with a medical education take him seriously for a moment?

    I take it you haven’t heard of the Patriot Nurse?

  125. #125 S
    December 6, 2012

    In continuing my comment from above, the same political action committees and organizations alleging to defend parental rights, which include ParentalRights.org and the Home School Legal Defense Association, are also supporting the anti-vaccine movement. Right-wing religious conservative constitutional lawyer Michael Farris is featured on the Natural News “Constitutional Literacy Series”. http://programs.naturalnews.com/Constitutional_Literacy_Complete_25-Part_Series__NN.htm

  126. #126 Politicalguineapig
    December 6, 2012

    S: Perhaps you misunderstood me. I support neither case; I stated that I wasn’t surprised because I have a very low opinion of my fellow humans.I do remember the Jacob case, but the one I was referring to involved a fifteen-year-old, who was also illiterate due to bad homeschooling/parental idiocy. I can’t really get behind blanket bans on homeschooling, because sometimes it’s neccessary because of learning difficulties (which are rarely addressed in public school) or bullying, or both. Sadly, in most cases it’s a way to isolate a child from the world or as a way to hide abuse.

  127. #127 Marg
    December 7, 2012

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20121207,1,655208.column?track=rss&utm_source=latimes.com&utm_medium=twitter

    It appears that your doctor’s drug salesman now has a first amendment right to sell him or her drugs for off-label uses never proven by double-blind studies.

    To hell in a handbasket, children; to hell in a handbasket. That’s where medicine is headed.

  128. #128 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Everything looks OK on my computer. Others?

    If you want to be thorough, a lynx 2.8.7rel.1 test failed on the uppercase thorn and Esszet, although this is probably a matter of what the terminal knew what to do with. Not that ISO 8859-1 was well considered in the first place, mind you.

  129. #129 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    It appears that your doctor’s drug salesman now has a first amendment right to sell him or her drugs for off-label uses never proven by double-blind studies.

    Did you just totally miss the fact that the most recent blog entry is on this very topic? Do you have anything intelligent to say about it?

  130. #130 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Actually, let me be more succinct, Marg: Would you happily subject your energy-healing magic to the same standard that you are now ignorantly carping about laxity in?

  131. #131 flip
    December 7, 2012

    @Marg

    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG, the contemptible purse-snatcher of science, HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS.

    Your tu quoque was fun for the first 2000 comments, but now it’s just old hat. Come back when you’ve completed your clinical trial into energy healing. Not that you will, because you certainly don’t seem to give a rats about anything other than logical fallacies, postmodernism and circular arguments.

  132. #132 flip
    December 7, 2012

    @evilDoug

    Yes, I could copy and paste the character too… either way it would have required me to find the character, and at that moment I couldn’t be bothered.

    The characters you posted looked fine to me.

  133. #133 Chemmomo
    Where education is taken seriously
    December 7, 2012

    Politicalguineapig

    I can’t really get behind blanket bans on homeschooling, because sometimes it’s necessary because of learning difficulties (which are rarely addressed in public school)

    I’m sorry, but how are parents who have absolutely no training in education or child development even going to recognize that their homeschool-ee has a learning difficulty? The public schools are much better at identifying those cases and getting children the help they need than you seem to believe.

  134. #134 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Cydonia Planitia
    Trying to get the red dust out of my crest . . .
    December 7, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS————————-

    Shills and Minions,

    I’m taking a moment away from the task of getting the new PharmaCOM digs set up here on Mars. Actually we’ve taken over the old Fifth Invader Force Base and Implant Station and let me tell you, some Brunschwig wall coverings and some Thassos Marble can make even dreary Marcabian penal colonies feel homey, but I digress . . .

    What’s all this I’m hearing about cherries? Do they do something “natural” or “healing” that might interfere with our profits and campaign of planetary subjugation? The hive queen of the Kthraakxx eats them by the kilogram, but, of course, she’s a bug. We prefer delicacies of a . . . meatier nature. In any case, do let me know what’s up with the whole prunus avium thing.

    And now onto other business: Obsidian Team 7, you are to pick up and “handle” the dreaded rebel Cecille Chan at once. She clearly knows too much about us and our nefarious cabal of off-worlders, as well as the identities of our human turncoats. She has seen Thrive and now knows about our Sooper Seekrit™ Power Torus©® Thingy that we keep locked away with the Sooper Seekrit™ Kancer Kure-all. These two simple, clean and natural devices would turn your world into a magical fairyland of pure bliss and hand holding almost overnight (except for your troublesome chimp DNA and the whole Malthus thing).

    Shills and Minions, this must not occur! Our profits depend on our pharmaceuticals being dispensed and consumed, thereby creating an army of drooling, subservient monkeys to do our evil bidding! Our terraforming depends on pumping ever more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to warm the planet so that we can live on this rock without heat lamps (those things cost a fortune to run).

    So continue your mockery and disinformation campaign against Burzikini, but let’s look into this cherry business as well, and by K’throbey’s ventral spines, get that Chan woman under control, she’s done enough damage for now!

    Stay evil, my Minions, stay evil . . .

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Grand Vitara of Hapatcong, Still Doesn’t “Get” Cheese

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Cydonia Planitia
    00000011101011010101110101010011001010101011

    ——————————–MESSAGE ENDS

  135. #135 al kimeea
    December 7, 2012

    To hell in a handbasket, children; to hell in a handbasket. That’s where medicine is headed. – the blatherer’s blatherer

    Why you call us children? You promote childish ideas and foolish nostrums as solution to real world problem using arguments any mature six year old can see through.

  136. #136 Mark McAndrew
    United Kingdom
    December 7, 2012

    “What I would never be part of is the group bashing those who are trying to wake up [b] the rest of us who are wallowing in ignorance.”[/b]

    You certainly are…

    To Hell in an energy basket! #morons

  137. #137 Bronze Dog
    December 7, 2012

    Since you missed it, Marg: Big Pharma wins a battle on off-label prescribing, posted right here with a lot of regular commentators being worried about the consequences alongside Orac.

    And you don’t even realize that I consider you to be on the same side as Big Pharma in this. Try using your brain, not the guru’s playbook, to guess why.

  138. #138 Krebiozen
    December 7, 2012

    I notice that Cecille writes:

    Our lives are changing soon enough and I am looking forward to letting out that big sigh of relief.

    Oh yes, of course, December 2012 is upon us, and (as the eternal cry goes) salvation is just around the corner. With luck Cecille will be one of those enlightened ones who, any day now, will let out that big sigh of relief as they dematerialize, are picked up in a spaceship, are physically taken up to heaven in The Rapture or whatever.

    How foolish we will all feel when January comes along and all the True Believers have disappeared. What a sad world it will be, populated solely by people who don’t believe in idiotic nonsense. [/sarcasm]

    Sadly the True Believers will still be with us in 2013, like it or not. [/realism]

  139. #139 Marg
    December 7, 2012

    Don’t you know, @Krebiozen, that it’s supposed to be a dimensional shift, and that if you don’t notice anything changing, it just means you missed it?

  140. #140 Marg
    December 7, 2012

    @Narad
    Orac doesn’t seem to like this ruling much either.

    @Bronze Dog
    Well, I guess energy healers now also have free speech rights that trump the FDA. Is that what you are getting at?

  141. #141 JGC
    December 7, 2012

    It appears that your doctor’s drug salesman now has a first amendment right to sell him or her drugs for off-label uses never proven by double-blind studies.

    So your position is that people should not be allowed to promote and/or sell a medical intervention for an illness or injury unless double blind studies have shown it can effectively treat that ilness or injury?

    Wonderful! I trust that having arrived at this position you’ve immediately ceased promoting or providing energy healing treatments to anyone, for anything, until such time as double blinded studies demonstrate efficacy.

    What? You haven’t….?.

  142. #142 Krebiozen
    December 7, 2012

    Marg,

    Don’t you know, @Krebiozen, that it’s supposed to be a dimensional shift, and that if you don’t notice anything changing, it just means you missed it?

    Since you are conversant in these matters, and rub shoulders with physicists, perhaps you could explain precisely what “a dimensional shift” actually is supposed to be. Is it another one of those mysterious things that cannot be detected by science?

    You would think some scientists would have noticed a dimensional shift (whatever it is). Wouldn’t it interfere with particle accelerators or something? Is that what has happened when I perceive the world as being somehow flat? I was attributing that to seasonal affective disorder.

  143. #143 Denice Walter
    December 7, 2012

    Actually, we’ve got dimensional shifts around here ALL the time- you just have to be *sensitive* to notice it.

    Everybody, c’mon- sing along with Mr Newman:
    “Oh, it’s lonely at the top.”

  144. #144 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Well, I guess energy healers now also have free speech rights that trump the FDA.

    Did you even try to imbue this collection of words with some sort of semantic payload? If you want to say incredibly stupid things about Caronia, go do it in the freaking comments about Caronia.

  145. #145 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Wouldn’t it interfere with particle accelerators or something?

    Clocks will run backwards when viewed in a mirror if you hold a 9 V battery to your tongue, I’m pretty sure.

  146. #146 JGC
    December 7, 2012

    “Supposed to be a dimensional shift”, Marg? Supposed by whom exactly, and for what reason?

  147. #147 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    “Supposed to be a dimensional shift”, Marg? Supposed by whom exactly, and for what reason?

    It’s string theory, man. And people say that it makes no testable predictions. Sheesh. Anybody who can channel healing energy from the Multiverse knows better, let me tell you.

  148. #148 JGC
    December 7, 2012

    String theory, huh? Me, I’m still tangled up in blue.

  149. #149 Politicalguineapig
    December 7, 2012

    Chemmomo: In my experience, public schools are balls at identifying learning disabilities and providing help for same. And bullying? Do not get me started on the half-assed policies that dominate the schools. The only thing I learned at public school from the ages of five to eight was how to underperform and lie so the pack animals masquerading as my classmates would leave me alone. I learned more at home during that time then I ever did at school, thanks to geography games, a library card, and a copious collection of books. I do support the public schools, but I recognize that in America, they will always be a flawed system and they will fail many children. But that’s what the public wants.

  150. #150 Bronze Dog
    December 7, 2012

    Marg, it’s simple. Quacks depend on medical regulations being too weak to protect consumers from fraud and malpractice. Anything that weakens regulation for pharmaceutical companies is going to provide the same benefit to alties as well as shift the culture towards more quack-friendliness.

    If pharmaceutical companies don’t need to prove their product is beneficial for a particular medical condition in order to advertise the product for that medical condition, what incentive does anyone have for seeking approval for any condition? What incentive do they have for proving their product is safe and effective?

    I have no interest in living in Rapture from Bioshock.

  151. #151 Marg
    December 7, 2012

    @Bronze Dog
    So do the pharmaceutical companies. They count far more on regulations being too weak to protect consumers than the alt-med folks do.

  152. #152 herr doktor bimler
    December 7, 2012

    Don’t you know, @Krebiozen, that it’s supposed to be a dimensional shift, and that if you don’t notice anything changing, it just means you missed it?

    Left behind by the Rapture. AGAIN.

  153. #153 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Anything that weakens regulation for pharmaceutical companies is going to provide the same benefit to alties as well as shift the culture towards more quack-friendliness.

    Well, except for Marg’s favored modality, which is subject to the same regulation as before: unlicensed practice of medicine. Whether she is actually so thick as to think this decision somehow lends legitimacy to her own hornswaggling, I’ve yet to fathom. Perhaps she should petition the FDA to have “magic hands” regulated as Class III medical devices.

  154. #154 Marg
    December 7, 2012

    @Denice Walter
    Generally I find things like pens, half pairs of socks, and the occasional key or pair of glasses disappearing into dimensional shifts. Sometimes they even return.

  155. #155 Denice Walter
    December 7, 2012

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    I am very glad to be left behind again: all of the interesting people are here.

  156. #156 Bronze Dog
    December 7, 2012

    She’s already given a cultural free pass, and from my point of view, adding more free passes to the world will make it harder to get hers rescinded.

  157. #157 Not a Farris Fan
    December 7, 2012

    And bullying? Do not get me started on the half-assed policies that dominate the schools.

    Speaking of bullying tactics at school, the same Michael Farris as mentioned above, who is a leader in the home school, parental rights, religious freedom, and now the health freedom movement seems to think that freedom only applies to his actions, and not that of his students. He attempted to sue bloggers who opposed his views under the guise of breach of copyright. The bloggers being his own students!

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/12/patrick-henry-gay-queer-farris.html

  158. #158 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 7, 2012

    When I first saw the teaser for this story about a little girl with DIPG whose parents were taking an “unconventional” approach, I was afraid I was going to read another story about Burzynski. Instead, this is completely the opposite of what I expected. It’s a heartbreaking story but worth reading. Basically, the parents are making the maximum of the little time the girl has left, andthey’re not fighting anything.

    It’s part one of three, so I’ll follow the other two parts to see if the parents were ever tempted or lured by woo.

    Surprisingly, in the few comments posted so far no one has suggested any kind of alternative therapy or criticized them for stopping any further attempts at treatment. I’m sure those will pop up as the story ages.

    Have some Kleenex ready:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1298845–given-3-months-to-live-stella-delights-in-the-moment

  159. #159 Grant
    December 7, 2012

    Some readers might like this: Cath Ennis on the subject of cancer conspiracies over at the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/occams-corner/2012/dec/07/cancer-conspiracy-theories

  160. #160 Peebs
    At the moment, purgatory.
    December 7, 2012

    Thanks to Marc.

    A lovely story and unusually, well written by a journalist.

  161. #161 herr doktor bimler
    December 7, 2012

    Cath Ennis on the subject of cancer conspiracies over at the Guardian:

    Some entertaining nutcases emerging from the woodwork in the comment thread there. “It is unfair to call us Conspiracy Theorists just because we have a theory about a conspiracy!”

  162. #162 Grant
    December 7, 2012

    hdb,

    “It is unfair to call us Conspiracy Theorists just because we have a theory about a conspiracy!”

    Isn’t that priceless :-)

  163. #163 Shay
    December 7, 2012

    Grant — I was recently informed that the fact that there are no reported deaths among seniors from vaccine-induced influenza is proof that flu vaccines are giving seniors fatal cases of flu. ‘Strewth.

  164. #164 herr doktor bimler
    December 7, 2012

    I paraphrase. The actual complaint was that the author was using the hateful phrase “smear your detractors”.

    Within the comment thread there is also agitation that the author’s failure to mention the Curcumin cure made her part of the conspiracy to suppress it, and that she is part of the conspiracy to promote the HPV vaccine, and P.S. we are not conspiracy theorists.

  165. #165 herr doktor bimler
    December 7, 2012

    Feck. Should read using the hateful phrase to “smear your detractors”.

  166. #166 Narad
    December 7, 2012

    Within the comment thread there is also agitation that the author’s failure to mention the Curcumin cure made her part of the conspiracy to suppress it

    Hell, one of my mom’s doctors (whether primary or oncologist I don’t recall) was perfectly willing to suggest curcumin when she tried pressing for dietary adjuncts to her actual treatment, which she’s mostly compliant with. I remained far calmer in explaining the quantity issue on this one than when she mentioned Suzanne Somers’s volume.

  167. #167 Denice Walter
    December 7, 2012

    Hilariously, I’ve heard lots about curcumin as a cancer cure or preventive, courtesy of Gary Null. He even goes as far as to suggest that people who consume spices ( curcumin, cayenne, ginger) heavily have much lower rates of cancer. He used to sell 1 g capsules of the stuff at his web store.

    Now I might be a bit premature but I suspect that if this were true, we’d already see lower rates in certain countries vs others based on diet. Somehow I think that this is not the only factor involved.

  168. #168 Mark McAndrew
    United Kingdom
    December 7, 2012

    Had to share this… Guidelines for TEDx organisers about how to avoid masters of the wooniverse and assorted quackery: http://blog.tedx.com/post/37405280671/a-letter-to-the-tedx-community-on-tedx-and-bad-science

    Read it and weep, nutters.

  169. #169 Chemmomo
    Away from the internet most of the day
    December 8, 2012

    Politicalguineapig

    In my experience, public schools are balls at identifying learning disabilities and providing help for same. And bullying? Do not get me started on the half-assed policies that dominate the schools.

    I’m basing my comments on many conversations I’ve had with multiple individuals in several different US states, some of whom are public school teachers, including specialists in (for lack of a better yet still simple term) special ed — not my own personal experiences. That’s my bias: I know people who do/did this (teach!) for a living. I also know people involved, past and present, in home schooling.

    There’s no doubt that bullying continues to be a problem at just about any at any school, but that’s not the subject of my question to you.

    Would you care to look beyond your own experience and explain to me why you would suggest home schooling parents would be better at identifying and dealing with learning disabilities than the trained public school teachers who failed you?

  170. #170 Pareidolius
    Between Dimensions, Will Work for Energy.
    December 8, 2012

    Now, as a former denizen of Wooville, I am well versed in “dimensional shifts” that never actually happen. This failure to materialize, of course, requires re-setting the goalposts of said shift and then shifting them when said shift takes a shit and doesn’t show. It’s akin to the alties who make big claims about energy healing, but whenever the Evil Cold Scientists™ try to test them they invariably fail because of “negative vibrations” from the aforementioned ECSs make it impossible for them to perform. What you get is more hand waving and wishful word salad from the Axis of Me-ville.™

    Marg, you’ve got to know, deep down that this stuff doesn’t work. I’ve been there, I know the mental gymnastics it takes to keep the rainbows shiny and unicorns fed while reason and logic are hog tied and locked in the basement. The problem was that pesky kernel of reality that I always tried to cover up with positive thoughts and confirmation bias (those blinders are so uncomfortable). The damn thing just wouldn’t go away, and the whole, “how can I be right and 99.99% of the scientists in the world be wrong” thing lurked in the shadows just beyond the flickering circle of pink fairyglow. How do you deal with that one? What mental gymnastics do you find keeps reality at bay most effectively? For me it was selective avoidance, a habit I still have to watch out for, even without magical thinking.

  171. #171 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    @Pariodoloius
    Sorry, luv, but deep down I do know that the stuff does work. And there are scientists out there who agree. No mental gymnastics are necessary. The ones doing the mental gymnastics are your lot.

  172. #172 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    Here is the Mayo clinic on curcumin:

    “Laboratory and animal research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy. Curcumin is being studied for use in many types of cancer.

    Studies of curcumin in people are still in the early stages. Clinical trials are under way to investigate curcumin as a way to prevent cancer in people with precancerous conditions, as a cancer treatment, and as a remedy for signs and symptoms caused by cancer treatments.

    Research is ongoing, and there isn’t enough evidence to recommend curcumin at this time. As always, talk with your doctor before using any herbal supplement.”

    They can’t recommend it because there haven’t been human studies, but it does look promising, does it not?

  173. #173 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 8, 2012

    Marg,

    Name them, please.

    Thanks.

  174. #174 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 8, 2012

    @Chemmomo,

    Would parents be better at identifying learning disabilities? Probably not. Would they be better at dealing with them? Perhaps, depending on the nature of the disability.

    Home schooling can provide more individualized instruction than a standard classroom setting, making sure to keep the student’s attention. The structure of the lesson can be as rigid or flexible as needed. The points of the lesson can be repeated (with additional examples if appropriate) as needed to ensure that the one pupil understands the material. The student would not be distracted by the other students in the class, and would not serve as a distraction to the class as a whole. They can also access technology on demand that might help with learning.

    Of course, a professional teacher in a one-on-one (or one to few) basis would likely do better. However, this becomes a question of affordability. Given a choice of an affordable classroom setting, affordable home schooling, or unaffordable private tutoring, home schooling performed by the parents might provide better results.

  175. #175 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    All the scientists involved in the SSE, which you guys love to slag. http://www.scientificexploration.org/about_sse.html Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see all the PhDs involved in the running of this organization. Also, scientists involved in the Noetic Institute, the scientists interviewed in What the Bleep Do We Know, and the scientists Lynn McTaggart writes about in The Field.

    And now see this recent announcement from the American Psychological Association, of particular interest to @Denice Walter:

    http://acepblog.org/2012/11/19/apa-approves-acep-to-provide-ce-credits-for-psychologists/

  176. #176 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    Marg,

    Curcumin may have potential against cancer, but the concentrations that have been shown to have benefits are much higher than those achievable using turmeric as a spice, and higher than those achievable taking curcumin itself. Curcumin comprises approximately 2-5% of turmeric.

    Curcumin is very poorly absorbed from the gut, and doses of as much as 2 grams of curcumin (equivalent to 40-100 grams turmeric) result in very low levels in the blood. If given with bioperine, which inhibits metabolism of curcumin in the intestinal wall, absorption is greater. Doses of 30 mg/kg (2.1 grams in a 70 kg person) with bioperine in humans produced maximal serum concentrations of 0.2 µg/ml.

    One study in mice reported that the concentrations of curcumin that induced apoptosis in cancer cells was in the region of 25 micromolar. The molecular mass of curcumin is 368.38 g/mol, so 25 µmol is about 9.2 µg/ml. This is more than 40 times higher than the peak serum concentration achieved after ingestion of about 2 grams of curcumin with bioperine.

    Another study reported that 4 µg/ml curcumin induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells. This is 20 times higher than the peak serum concentration achieved after ingestion of about 2 grams of curcumin with bioperine.

    It seems unlikely that it is possible to achieve therapeutic levels of curcumin by ingestion, and even if you could, we have no idea what the adverse effects of this might be.

  177. #177 Agashem
    Beside Cheryl's Place
    December 8, 2012

    I thought hand waving was all you needed.

  178. #178 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    Marg,

    All the scientists involved in the SSE, which you guys love to slag.

    Personally I love the SSE, it ranges from fascinating to hilarious to infuriating; I have read almost all the on-line issues of Edge Science, and enjoyed them in the same way I enjoy Medical Hypotheses, or Fortean Times.

    However I do remember to turn my suspended disbelief back on afterwards, and reexamine what I have read with a critical eye. Please don’t mistake SSE for a serious scientific society; it isn’t.

    When I looked for SSE articles by people who believe in energy healing, the first name I found was Daniel P. Wirth, a convicted fraudster and all round dodgy character. You couldn’t find a less reliable source of information if you tried.

    Then there’s Bengston, who we have discussed ad nauseam, and a paper by some Dutch authors which looked at rats with cancer which had to really squeeze the data to find anything even barely statistically significant.

    There’s also Bruce Greyson’s ‘Distance Healing of Patients With Major Depression’ which found no statistically significant results at all, which doesn’t stop him from commenting on how “favorable outcomes were significantly correlated with number of healing sessions received and with healers’ ratings of the “strength” of the healing sessions”.

    At this point I gave up. This is very thin gruel indeed to support the claim that there are any serious, reputable scientists who believe in energy healing.

  179. #179 Denice Walter
    December 8, 2012

    Seriously Marg: credits are not a measure of reality. Nurses can get them for woo IIRC, EBCALA gives them to lawyers for vaccines-cause-autism courses and I’m sure that Orac and other physicians can fill us in about what nonsense available for them.

  180. #180 Denice Walter
    December 8, 2012

    Why do none of these arcane, magical essences of nature I keep hearing about- year in, year out – ever seem to pan out?

    A few examples:
    I’ve been hearing about curcumin for many years YET has it ever been transformed into a SBM cancer treatment? Similarly, reishi ( as well as other mushrooms- turkey tail, meitake, shitake), cited by commenter PRN here- where has that gone? Yet these elixirs of life have acquired a reputation by continuous repetition and dispersal throughout woo-world. Gary Null often recites their merits; I have a mid-1990s encyclopaedia of woo ( written by an ND)
    that talks of their great promise. There is also- supposedly- an alternative arthritis treatment that alleviates pain/ restores damged tissue without pharmaceuticals based upon red fruit ( especially cherries).

    These are promises that are never delivered- like Dr B’s cancer cure. They’re enough to keep hope alive for consumers who are wishing for an alternative to reality-based treatments which can be harsh, uncomfortable and NOT 100% guaranteed.

    Promises of a nature-based treatment for a serious illness suggests that paradigm-shift ( is that a sort of dimensuonal shift, I wonder?) is on its way: you can be ahead of others by stocking up NOW on books, videos and highly desirable products that other folks are hardly aware of. Lucky you.
    Promises are part of the sales pitch.

  181. #181 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    There was one of those quack alternative cancer clinic seminars offered last year that also offered CE credits. I remember reading about it here. The kind of seminar where they take patients on a bus trip of various “clinics” in Mexico.And where the speakers have names like Gonzalez and Gerson.

  182. #182 Bronze Dog
    December 8, 2012

    Credentials are a shortcut for people who don’t have time to spare. It’s a quick, dirty, and easy route to a conclusion. We’re more interested in the scenic route. We want the experiments, not authorities.

    Oh, and fun referring to the scientists in What the Bleep. You might want to ask them what they think of the movie. David Albert was pretty unhappy:

    I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film … Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed.

  183. #183 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    As for the “scientists who agree” from McTaggart’s tome (love her promo photo with the inexplicable equation floating next to her and seemingly Khan-inspired tunic), from the acknowledgments:

    Jacques Benveniste, William Braud, Brenda Dunne, Bernhard [sic] Haisch, Basil Hiley, Robert Jahn, Ed May, Peter Marcer, Edgar Mitchell, Roger Nelson, Fritz-Albert Popp, Karl Pribram, Hal Puthoff, Dean Radin, Alfonso Rueda, Walter Schempp, Marilyn Schlitz, Helmut Schmidt, Elisabeth Targ, Russell Targ, Charles Tart and Mae Wan-Ho [sic]

    A decidedly mixed bunch. The Marcer–Schempp collaborative papers are highly recommended.

  184. #184 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    Fritz Albert Popp is finding some support at MIT for his theories on biophotons.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/427982/biophoton-communication-can-cells-talk-using-light/?ref=rss

  185. #186 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    Oh, and fun referring to the scientists in What the Bleep. You might want to ask them what they think of the movie.

    Indeed, this attempt at coattail-riding screamed out not bothering to think about how to handle the petard.

  186. #187 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    I’m trying to find the schedule and list of speakers from that alternative Mexican cancer clinic seminar. If I remember, it was a multi-day event and CE credits for nurses increased the more days one attended. I remember at the time several of the health professionals here posted to express their outrage that this event was being legitimized with CE credits.

    I believe it was run by these charlatans:

    http://www.cancure.org/links.htm

    By the way, if Orac is ever stuck for inspiration for subject matter, the “links” here could provide fodder for several posts, especially the Supplements, Herbs and Immune Support category which lists tools to combat EMF, a special coffee blend endorsed by Gerson to squirt up you-know-where, and a psychologist who uses her Siamese cat to help cancer patients.

    Although Burzynski isn’t part of this merry little gang, one day when he’s banished from the US he might have to set up next to Hulda Clark’s and the Gersons’ little shops of horrors in Tijuana.

    This Cancure site was one of the first I discovered when I fell into the world of quack-watching, and it’s still one of the worst examples of scumbaggery. You can spend a couple of hours there getting more and more angry and frustrated. It’s like a general clearing house, or portal, into dozens of useless, dangerous, expensive “treatments” being sold to desperate and unwitting people.

  187. #188 Denice Walter
    December 8, 2012

    Oh what do you know! I am currently being moderated for a non-ultralong post ( no links, no verboten language) about the so-called promise of curcumin, anti-cancer mushrooms and red fruits for arthritis. At any rate, I’ve been hearing and reading about these for a LONG time and so far, no real results. I guess that this being discussed in a post about Dr B is apropo.

  188. #189 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    Fritz Albert Popp is finding some support at MIT for his theories on biophotons.

    Heh. Marg, the “MIT Technology Review” in its current form is not exactly a house organ of MIT.

  189. #190 Shay
    December 8, 2012

    Speaking as a conference organizer, getting continuing education credits for RNs involves paying a whacking big fee to the accreditation agency and making sure that all your paperwork is submitted on time. Our last attempt was awarded 6.25 RN credits. And EMT, Social Worker, CHES and LPC/LCPC’s as well, for the same workshops.

    I taught one of them and it was most definitely not rocket science.

    MD credits are more expensive and a little more complicated, but not much.

  190. #191 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    This kind of listing is an example of what’s on that CanCure website. There are dozens of listings under “Directory of Clinics”.

    This ND (NOT a doctor) offers a Costco approach to cancer, and it’s not even the prime focus of his clinic!

    It’s also nice to know he believes in the scientology sauna crap for detoxification. That’s what the reference to Hubbard is at the end. I wouldn’t be surprised if this crackpot is a scientologist himself. A lot of chiropractors, alternative healers and dentists are drawn to the cult and are in fact targeted.

    The First Resort in Green Valley, AZ is run by Bryan McConnell, ND. It is mostly a general practice, but he does treat cancer using a variety of approaches. He uses IV vit C, IPT, diet, exercise, colon hydrotherapy, detox, cleansing, chelation, EDTA, trained in Gerson and other diet programs, juicing, classical homeopathy, darkfield microscope, hoxsey, essiac, bio-oxidative therapies, constitutional hydrotherapy, hydrazine sulfate, Poly MVA for cancer cytotoxic action, DMSO, and dry sauna similar to Hubbard protocol. Call 877- 399-9212 or 520 399-9212. http://www.thefirstresortaz.com/

  191. #192 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 8, 2012

    Fritz Albert Popp is finding some support at MIT for his theories on biophotons.

    Did you read the blog post? it talked about a single set of experiments performed by Sergey Mayburov at the Lebedev Institute of Physics in Moscow and his interpretation of said results. The notion that cells can emit photons is not outrageous – cells produce all kinds of chemical reactions, some of these can emit energy in the form of photons or heat. We certainly know of cells that react to photons and produce an effect (such as tanning, vision, or photosynthesis). I find the notion that photons emitted and received by cells are a form of intercellular communications is speculative at best, but if there’s sufficient evidence then it would be an interesting finding.

    Still doesn’t mean that there’s evidence that someone can control their emissions of photons, direct them to an individual, and use them to communicate with that individual’s cells in order to heal. But if you’ve got evidence, it’s something to consider.

  192. #193 herr doktor bimler
    December 8, 2012

    Personally I love the SSE, it ranges from fascinating to hilarious to infuriating; I have read almost all the on-line issues of Edge Science, and enjoyed them in the same way I enjoy Medical Hypotheses, or Fortean Times.

    Did you ever read “The Scientist Speculates”, I. J. Good’s compilation of what he called “partly-baked ideas”? It was part of my adolescent introduction to the fact that playing with concepts is both legal and fun.

  193. #194 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    Hey, Marg, quick, what’s the effective distance scale and flux reported by Mayburov in this conference presentation? Hint: Seriously fails to help Bengston.

  194. #195 herr doktor bimler
    December 8, 2012

    Fritz Albert Popp is finding some support at MIT for his theories on biophotons.

    Michael Persinger has moved on from experiments with magenetic-field cerebral stimulation that no-one can replicate, to researching the “hypothesis that photons released from chemical processes within the brain produce biophysical pictures during visual imagery”.
    http://5mp.eu/fajlok2/bokkon-brain-imagery/dotta_et_al_2012_www.5mp.eu_.pdf

    Last I heard, he had moved on again (non-replication might have been an issue) and was exploring the parallel between nerve axons and lightning strikes.

  195. #196 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    Just an aside, but is anyone having problems accessing The 21st Floor site? It’s been gone for close to a week, at least on my computer.All I get is a message that says “no site configured at this address”.The URL is fine and I get the message no matterhow I try to access.

    I’ve become hooked on The 21st Floor along with RI. Keir Liddle does a great job keeping the magnifying glass on Burzynski and his adventures. He also covers a lot of cult-related woo: Steiner, Hubbard, exorcists, messianic doomsday cults, all that stuff.

  196. #197 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    HDB,

    Did you ever read “The Scientist Speculates”, I. J. Good’s compilation of what he called “partly-baked ideas”?

    No, but I shall make a point of seeking out a copy, thanks.

  197. #198 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    @Narad
    Different animal.

  198. #199 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    @Marc Stephens

    They have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the21stfloor/info

    But when I tried to get to their website through the FB page, it was unknown.

  199. #200 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    Thanks Marg. Nothing you can do to distance heal the website? :)

  200. #201 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    @Marc Stephens

    No :) But do you want me to ask them on Facebook what the heck is going on?

  201. #202 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    Sure, if you don’t mind. I don’t do Facebook.

    See, even if we diasgree us Canadians can be polite and cordial…

  202. #203 flip
    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG, the contemptible purse-snatcher of science, HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS
    December 8, 2012

    @Marg

    And there are scientists out there who agree

    And naturally you’ll post their data/studies proving it? Nah, Marg never does that!

    Marg has such low standards of evidence that it doesn’t matter anyway. Argument from authority was pointed out *how* many comments ago?

    @MSII

    darkfield microscope

    Two questions: WTF is that, and do I want to know?

  203. #204 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    flip,

    I think it might be related to living blood analysis. I didn’t look it up yet, but it appears on other wellness and healing clinics’ menus.

  204. #205 flip
    December 8, 2012

    @MSII

    I did a little sleuthing and it looks like the site is having a DNS error. Someone should post this on Facebook: I don’t do it either.

  205. #206 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    flip,

    Yup, it’s live blood analysis. If you just Google “darkfield microscope” you find out it’s an actual scientific tool with real uses. But if you Google “darkfiled microscope cancer” you get all the woo:

    http://www.google.ca/search?q=darkfield+microscope&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca:IE-ContextMenu&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADFA_enCA458&redir_esc=&ei=DqHDULmsH_O90QG8x4DwCw#hl=en&tbo=d&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca%3AIE-ContextMenu&rlz=1I7ADFA_enCA458&sclient=psy-ab&q=darkfield+microscope+cancer&oq=darkfield+microscope+cancer&gs_l=serp.3..0i13i30j0i22i10.30214.34069.0.34380.11.9.2.0.0.1.396.2137.0j2j4j2.8.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.UTGgM9LWYQc&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=8306cc0be30e730c&bpcl=39650382&biw=1219&bih=783

  206. #207 flip
    December 8, 2012

    Whoops, cross posted. Thanks MSII. I think I may have heard of living blood analysis. Sounds like yet more attempts to claim real terms for their own purposes:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_field_microscopy

  207. #208 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    flip,

    Maybe the scientologists, Steinerists and exorcists got the site shut down.

    Conspiracy theory, anyone? Maybe it was chemtrails. Or monkey pus.

  208. #209 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    flip,

    Not to go off topic (this deserves a thread of its own) but have you ever heard of Errol Denton? He passes himself off as a physician and when skeptics criticize him, he cries racism and Nazi-ism. I think Josephine Jones, as always, has written plenty about him and his counterattacks.

    He’s the exclusive live blood tester for Nick Gonzales, if I recall.

    http://www.livebloodtest.com/about/meet-the-consultants/errol-denton.html

  209. #210 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    flip,

    Sorry, it was Robert O. Young who Denton was involved with. Young “taught” him about LBA.

    And Denton is also a iridologist and is studying NLP.

  210. #211 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    @Narad
    Different animal.

    Ah, goody, a definitive statement: biophotons have nothing to do with Bengston’s energy healing. Why, then, do you suppose that he himself invokes them in perfectly analogous “geomagnetic probe” fashion?

    After Konstantin Korotkov, a Russian physicist, developed sophisticated equipment for measuring Popp’s bioenergy fields, Russian doctors began using his tests to diagnose illnesses such as cancer. When Korotkov measured the coronas of healers while they transmitted energy, he discovered remarkable changes in the intensity of their emissions, consistent with what Ben Mayrick and I discovered while working with a crudely constructed Kirlian photography device.

  211. #212 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    Darkfield live blood analysis is utter nonsense. I showed a hematologist friend of mine a live blood analysis website, and he was close to apoplectic.

  212. #213 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    Marg,

    And then of course there’s my buddy Sheldrake:

    I did laugh at the irony of Sheldrake complaining that “bad science is like bad religion”. As I have pointed out here before, Sheldrake is a religious fanatic who has mistaken his own mystical visions for reality and is upset that no one else can see them. Let’s not forget that Sheldrake denies that DNA contains a blueprint of morphological development (which will come as a surprise to Drosophila researchers, amongst others).

  213. #214 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 8, 2012

    Kreb,

    Of course it’s nonsense. Spend a few minutes at Denton’s website and it’s obvious he’s another scam artist. What I noticed is there’s no reference to cancer, as he’s in the UK and is covered under the Cancer Act. If he were in Arizona, for instance, his website would be full of cancer-cure claims.

    Just check the websites and videos (I love when people use YouTube to post “evidence”) you get when you Google “darkfield microscope cancer”. This one, for example, called “Cancer Is Curable Now”. Here’s their page on LBA, under “treatment options”:

    http://maxawareness.com/members/treatment-options/medical-treatments/laboratory-testing/darkfield-microscopy/

    I love this paragraph on their “recommended products” page. Way to slither around the law, a-holes:

    We are not allowed to offer you products other than educational books and DVD’s on this website.

    That’s why we have merged with many suppliers and created a shopping cart which is separate from this website.

    This shopping cart contains everything we recommend to you. You will find many products which we found very helpful. All of them are used with great success in clinics around the world. All products here have been tested and researched and discussed with many doctors and health practitioners to be very effective.

    It’s all useless detox crap (pardon the pun) and supplements.

  214. #215 Marg
    December 8, 2012

    @Marc Stephens
    Okay, I posted a query on their FB site. Someone else did likewise earlier this week, but there was no response.

  215. #216 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    Let’s not forget that Sheldrake denies that DNA contains a blueprint of morphological development

    That’s just silly. Everybody knows that DNA is the busiest little beaver in town (PDF).

  216. #217 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    There’s something screwy with the 21st Floor’s DNS. The domain registration (Dreamhost) is good, but it’s resolving to OpenDNS space for me.

  217. #218 Krebiozen
    December 8, 2012

    I can’t resist posting a link to Robert O. Young’s hilarious guide to live blood analysis. It really requires little comment, since pretty much everything he says is wrong. What you are seeing is a drop of blood slowly drying out under the hot darkfield lights, not red blood cells fermenting like a rotten banana, as he claims. And ‘diabetes mellitus’ means ‘sweet urine’, not ‘to melt into sugar’. Laughable.

  218. #219 S
    December 8, 2012

    I generally hear Darkfield microscopy as being used to diagnose infectious diseases like Lyme. Mark Crislip discussed it on Science-Based Medicine. Quite the funny article, on the other hand, should one laugh at other people’s misfortunes in following bad medical advice? Umm, sometimes, yes. Pointing out the absurdity can be a real attention getter for some patients, maybe even save someone’s life.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/live-blood-analysis-the-modern-auguries/

    One of the adjunctive treatments that physician’s around here recommend are (I kid you not) colonics. Not your average colonic, but 35 gallon’s each, 3 to 5 times a week. My question is this, can someone drown from the inside out, or perhaps better stated, from their bottom up?

  219. #220 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    Further running down the Different Animal, I was wondering whether Marg could bother herself to quit endlessly pretending to change the subject (it doesn’t really matter whose shoes you’re horking on) and address this item, which would appear to be some sort of zorse (not to be confused with zenergy [PDF]) by her collisionlessly emitted standard.

    (Passing slogo winner, Quantrek: “BESt POSSiBlE FUtURE tHROUGH FRONtiER SCiENCE,” I kid you not.)

  220. #221 Calli Arcale
    December 8, 2012

    Narad — that slogan reminds me inexorably of Robert E McElwaine…..

  221. #222 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    that slogan reminds me inexorably of Robert E McElwaine…..

    Ah, yes, how time flies. A classic, with the benefit that RADIONICS intersects with the de la Warr* camera, which naturally circles right back to authoritative scientist Marcer and QuantaGraphy®.**

    * Apparently a very challenging phase phrase in the vibrational lexicon.
    ** Does not appear to actually be a registered trademark.

  222. #223 S
    December 8, 2012

    @Narad, Unless I am misinterpreting something, those German biophysical experiments that prove the reality of Reiki have some tough requirements for their evidence,

    “It is imperative to show modern society not only the efforts of the healer in scientific research. It is also essential to prove the anticipated medical effects on people.

    All it takes is a little effort and anticipation, but on the condition that you are attuned to the “take” energy mode and thus able to accept the energy. I must have flunked Attunement 101.

  223. #224 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    (And now I’m getting all nostalgic about the Monster Truck Neutopians.)

  224. #225 Narad
    December 8, 2012

    If I may go on in this reverie, Lib Hubbard (long ago stalker of Dorion Yes-That-Sagan, BTW) now appears to be trying to emulate the late, inimitable Jack Horkheimer but hasn’t quite figured out that blue-screen thing yet. I hope this doesn’t slow down the implementation of the Moontopia biosphere.

  225. #226 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 9, 2012

    Narad – You really shouldn’t wear blue clothes when you sit in front of a blue screen, though the stars in her scarf are pretty trippy.

  226. #227 Chemmomo
    on a siding, not trying to de-rail
    December 9, 2012

    Mephistopheles O’Brien, and Politicalguineapig

    Would parents be better at identifying learning disabilities? Probably not. Would they be better at dealing with them? Perhaps, depending on the nature of the disability.

    Well, that actually depends not only on the disability, but also on the parents, and their circumstances.

    But if you missed the first part, the rest doesn’t matter.

  227. #228 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Kreb,

    A bit more on Robert O. Young. Josephine Jones referred to this page from his blog written this past summer, where he addresses his critics.

    http://articlesofhealth.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/a-message-to-my-critics-read-study.html

    From this blog post, we “learn” the following things:

    He couldn’t afford to go to good schools. He’s been called the Martin Luther King of the 21st century. A “noted scientist” is using his work without giving him credit. No one can prove HIV causes AIDS. Diabetes can be cured overnight by giving up meat. All animal proteins are acidic and cause degenerative disease. Eggs cause diabetes. He’s a visionary like Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg. It goes on and on.

    This guy is certifiable.

    But perhaps the biggest gem here is his own explanation, toward the bottom of the comments, for why Kim Tinkham died. Of course it was her own fault, she went off the Miracle pH regimen. And he claims she called him to apologize for that right before she died.

  228. #229 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    December 9, 2012

    “No mental gymnastics are necessary.”

    no thinking required at all really

  229. #230 herr doktor bimler
    December 9, 2012

    Narad:
    not to be confused with zenergy [PDF]
    I am going to assume that the PDF was constructed with one of those gibberish-generating programs, because the thought that someone actually took some trouble to string together that random collection of symbols is just too depressing to entertain.
    I have not seen such an abundance of non-secateurs outside of a gardening shop.

  230. #231 flip
    December 9, 2012

    @MSII

    Not to go off topic (this deserves a thread of its own) but have you ever heard of Errol Denton?

    No, I haven’t – that biography screams “woo”. “I was a tennis player, then I got interested in health so I learned TCM”… I’m all for back up careers and career changes, but that just sounded… weird. If you’re a legitimate health professional, who cares if you were previously a tennis player? Why mention it at all except to say “hey once I was like you and found SBM to be lacking”?

    @Narad

    while working with a crudely constructed Kirlian photography device

    Hilarious, you should have highlighted that bit instead.

  231. #232 Krebiozen
    December 9, 2012

    I remember reading an impressive debunk of Kirlian photography back in the early 80s (it was in ‘The Unexplained’ magazine as I recall). Some researchers had figured out a way to control humidity and the effect disappeared. That was it for Kirlian photography, I thought. It’s a bit depressing to see it is alive and well 30 years later.

  232. #233 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 9, 2012

    @Chemommo,

    But if you missed the first part, the rest doesn’t matter.

    True enough. However, parents typically get all kinds of assistance in determining whether their child has a learning disability, so they don’t need to do it alone. I agree the effectiveness of home schooling – particularly for children who have issues learning in a conventional classroom environment – depends on the parents. I have seen it done effectively.

  233. #234 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ Kreb:

    Those who believe in auras often use Kirlian as ‘proof’ of their authenticity.
    About 10 years ago, I attended a presentation by a yoga teacher I knew who was the opening act for an aura-reader, medium, sensitive and healer ( she also had some material on Christian saints and roses IIRC). She discussed Kirlian photography, showing images.

    For her grand finale, she put up a movie screen and had several audience members stand in front of it- including yours truly ( I always get picked).
    Seems I have a very nice blue and lavender aura ( I have a scarf like that actually).Looking up what that is supposed to *mean* ( courtesy of a reiki site), I should be very happy about my good fortune. Unfortunately, I dont believe in auras.

  234. #235 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    You should all be reading Dr. Marty Makary’s book “Unaccountable” about what really goes on behind the scenes in SBM and hospitals. It will make your hair curl. It makes the sins of alt med pale in comparison.

    E.g., organs transplanted from an HIV/Hep C positive donor into four different people, all of whom became infected. E.g., surgeons allowed to practice who everyone in the hospital knows are incompetent and no one is willing to call out, including one whose nickname was “Dr. Hodad”, for “Hands of Death and Destruction”. Complications benefit hospitals to the tune of about $10,000 per case. When in a surgical conference with an audience of thousands the speaker asked if anyone knew a surgeon who was unsafe, ALL THE HANDS went up. Studies cited: 1 in 4 patients harmed in hospital through medical error; 50% of cancer patients are receiving chemotherapy the week of their death; 50 per cent of stents placed in angioplasty unnecessary. Dr. Makary works with pancreatic cancer; he says that chemo for pancreatic cancer adds 1 month of life with wretched side effects and if he himself were diagnosed, he’d certainly not have it. But hospitals and doctors make money from chemotherapy drugs and are profit driven in prescribing chemotherapy. He says the real life complication rate for surgery is about 7 times higher than in the studies because only the best case scenarios are reported. And so on and so on. He even quotes a memo sent to surgeons telling them that the end of fiscal year was nigh and they should be upping their number of operations because their bonus would be performance driven. Unbelievable. It’s really time for you all to drop those rose-coloured glasses: this is real medicine.

  235. #236 Narad
    December 9, 2012
    while working with a crudely constructed Kirlian photography device

    Hilarious, you should have highlighted that bit instead.

    It actually manages to implicitly tie together reiki and homeopathy.

  236. #237 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    It makes the sins of alt med pale in comparison.

    Not generally, and especially not what you do, which is simple fraud.

  237. #238 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @Narad
    A lot of what they do is simple fraud, my friend. What I do is not.

  238. #239 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Judith,

    Every word of what you wrote may or may not be true. But what does an of it have to do with whether Burzynski knows what he’s talking about in the interview Orac is discussing? The man passes himself off as an expert in a particular field but his own words in the interview betray him.

    That’s the subject of this post. Not the sins of the medical profession. All you are doing, again, is deflecting the discussion.

  239. #240 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    What I do is not.

    Every penny earned through “energy healing” is ill gotten. At least we can agree that what you do most certainly is not, as you sign off with, “real medicine.”

  240. #241 LW
    Terra firma
    December 9, 2012

    Judith, you still haven’t grasped the fact that tu quoque doesn’t work here, have you? It doesn’t *matter* what happens in hospitals, or how doctors are paid, or what Big Pharmacy does. You need to prove that you — you personally, Judith — can do what you claim you can do. Otherwise we will not believe you.

    By the way, in case you are not aware, The Amazing Randi offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove a psychic ability. Being able to instantly cure a documented case of poison oak would probably qualify. You should look into it. That million dollars would relieve you of the need to ask for donations while spreading the joys of Rejoin.

  241. #242 LW
    December 9, 2012

    Reiki, not rejoin. I love autocorrect. It was also determined to turn the word into reining.

  242. #243 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @Narad
    Is unnecessary back surgery not fraud? Is angioplasty that is not warranted by the patient’s condition likewise not fraud? Allowing a surgeon who lost six patients in a row during routine by-pass surgery, who routinely takes hours longer to complete the operation than his fellows, to operate on a seventh patient is worse than fraud: it’s reckless endangerment. It’s being an accessory to someone’s untimely and unnatural death. In effect, it’s licensed manslaughter.

  243. #244 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    But what does an of it have to do with whether Burzynski knows what he’s talking about in the interview Orac is discussing?

    Well, it is tangentially related in that Burzynski, like Judith, won’t publish any results (ironically, the same sort of lack of transparency that Makary advocates against).

  244. #245 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Makary’s book is intended to help people make better and more informed health care choices, not to run off to a hand-waving magical woo-salesman instead of using real medicine.

    Makary is also a TV star (a la Oz) who likes to drum up controversy and publicity for himself. PLUS he’s married to a Fox news celebrity.

    I’m not saying that negates anything he claims as a physician: by all accounts he’s a good doctor. But he’s got another agenda and all the publicity this book generates furthers that agenda. He’s also campaigning to be named Surgeon General.

    And almost all of Judith’s points are irrelevant in mnay parts of the wortld with socialized medicine. Hate to tell you, Judith, but the US is NOT the center of universe. Doctors in Canada don’t get “end of year bonuses” based on the number of surgeries they perform.

  245. #246 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Is unnecessary back surgery not fraud?

    “Unnecessary”? Nobody has back surgery for the hell of it. Can PT and painkillers be just as effective disk disease? Sometimes, sure. That’s not “fraud,” though.

    Is angioplasty that is not warranted by the patient’s condition likewise not fraud?

    You are again trying to proceed post hoc (presumably from this) and pretending that patient choices do not at all factor into whether PCI is performed. But no, a need for better dissemination of more up-to-date guidance is not fraud.

    Allowing a surgeon who lost six patients in a row during routine by-pass surgery, who routinely takes hours longer to complete the operation than his fellows, to operate on a seventh patient is worse than fraud: it’s reckless endangerment. It’s being an accessory to someone’s untimely and unnatural death. In effect, it’s licensed manslaughter.

    You here cite a single anecdote and even manage to do it badly, as though, again, people are having coronary bypasses for fun. It is indeed irresponsible and an example of what lack of transparency can lead to. Unfortunately, you again find yourself squarely in the crosshairs on both these fronts.

  246. #247 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    ^ “effective for degenerative”

  247. #248 herr doktor bimler
    December 9, 2012

    But hospitals and doctors make money from chemotherapy drugs and are profit driven in prescribing chemotherapy.

    Not in my corner of the world.

    Dr. Makary works with pancreatic cancer; he says that chemo for pancreatic cancer adds 1 month of life with wretched side effects and if he himself were diagnosed, he’d certainly not have it

    What in the name of Beelzebub do Dr Makary’s hypothetical health decisions have to do with anyone else?

  248. #249 Bronze Dog
    December 9, 2012

    One way to put it: The sins of the pharmaceutical industry are more than likely much smaller than the unrecorded sins of the old days. Crimes don’t get recorded in lawless areas. We know about the sins of pharmaceutical companies because we have the FDA, scientists, doctors, and various watchdog organizations keeping a close eye on them. Alties generally work under the radar, and their lobbyists have been generally more successful in providing them with loopholes that allow them to work without regulatory oversight.

    Early “medicine” did stuff the old guard anecdotalist way, which is why bloodletting was so popular despite being dangerous, not merely useless. They so deluded themselves via natural human cognitive biases that they thought they were helping more than they were hurting.

    Then science came along and provided ways to minimize the influence of human biases. Science forced us to acknowledge our shortcomings as humans so that we could gain more accurate methods for determining causation in complex systems, instead of simply allowing ourselves to assume good outcomes were attributable to our interventions instead of other potential factors. We had to face the idea that we’re naturally bad at establishing causation in complex systems like the human body. We also started recording bad outcomes along with the good, instead of instinctively and naturally handwaving them away for the sake of softening wounds to our egos.

    The old guard, however, didn’t get the message and continue to push for deregulated anecdotalism as the method of discovery where practitioners can and will delude themselves because, in their hubris, they think their biased human nature (and lack of imagination mixed with ignorance of well-known confounding placebo factors) can’t lead them to misinterpret causation in anecdotes. They just want to go back to the good old days of blind trust, easy outs, and worship of the doctor as an Absolute Authority.

    The scientific way means doing things the hard way so that you can reasonably know that you’re helping people before you reward yourself with self-esteem. The old way involves ignoring all the red flags and warning signs a humble, self-critical person observes. It’s the quick and easy path to inflate one’s ego. That way leads to the dark side.

  249. #250 MarkL
    London
    December 9, 2012

    Judith,

    Much as I am sure everyone is delighted to welcome you back to the thread today, the argument you are using fails on so many levels.

    This thread is about Burzynski, his evident lack of knowledge and his arrogance in assuming that, in lieu of real evidence of efficacy, that his “word” is an acceptable substitute.

    Your hatred of Big Pharma is irrelevant. Your belief in hand waving and wishing really hard as treatments is irrelevant. Your discovery that some human beings are capable of being incompetent or dishonest (wow, what an original observation that is) is irrelevant.

    What do you actually want to add to the subject at hand?

  250. #251 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Dr. Makary works with pancreatic cancer; he says that chemo for pancreatic cancer adds 1 month of life with wretched side effects and if he himself were diagnosed, he’d certainly not have it…

    My father died of pancreatic cancer. This is exactly what his doctor us–chemo would be of no use in his late stages and the benefits of the few extra days or weeks would not outweigh the agony my dad would be in during that time.

    Of course this is in Canada where doctors don’t have “quotas” to fulfill to earn bonuses, or earn commissions peddling chemo. The ORs are backlogged for months and the system can’t keep up as it is. Why would anyone encourage a doctor to perform more surgeries?

    And if handwaving worked, countries with socialized medicine would pick it up in a heartbeat to take the stress off the hospitals. Cheap, fast, effective: when the government is paying, that’s exactly what they are looking for.

  251. #252 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Of course this is in Canada

    So is Judith.

  252. #253 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 9, 2012

    Krebiozen

    Some researchers had figured out a way to control humidity and the effect disappeared. That was it for Kirlian photography, I thought.

    Ah, the naivety of youth. Is there any bull$hit that has not been resurrected after it was debunked?

  253. #254 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @MarkL
    I submit that the persecution of Burzynski is not on any kind of ethical grounds but chiefly because he takes revenue from “legitimate” doctors. The patients he treats could spend their money on chemotherapy in a regular hospital as easily as at his clinic and likely not obtain better results. It would seem, at least anecdotally, that at least some patients obtain better results at the Burzynski clinic.

    Dr. Makary points out in his book that once a doctor is licensed he can legally do anything – brain-surgery, electro-shock therapy, even chiropractic. So it would seem that Burzynski is not in violation of any law for using his own method of chemotherapy. I guess that’s why they try to get him on technicalities like mail fraud.

    @Narad
    Studies have shown that pain management and PT are better than back surgery. Makary also quotes a study that showed that half of all angioplasties are unnecessary, and he has his own story about a relative who he did not think should have one who did, and died during the operation. As to the anecdote about the surgeon who lost six consecutive patients in routine by-pass operations, that comes from the book as well, straight as told, and the issue is not whether the seventh patient should have had the surgery but that the surgeon, under whose hand six people in a row have died, should not have been allowed to operate on a seventh.

  254. #255 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    So people in the GTA turn down free real medical care to go pay Judith with their precious after-tax loonies for no treatment?

    OK, let’s spin it from Judith’s side, to save her the trouble:

    As I said myself, the hospitals up here are backlogged and the system is clogged. So Canadians really have no choice but to seek out alternatives because the government is failing them. And these alternatives are so effective people are willing to pay for them.

    Did I come close?

  255. #256 herr doktor bimler
    December 9, 2012

    The patients he treats could spend their money on chemotherapy in a regular hospital as easily as at his clinic and likely not obtain better results.

    Perhaps someone from the UK commentariat could address Judith’s wrongness about the finances of Burzynski’s UK-sourced patients.

    No, wait, they already have but Judith ignores them.

  256. #257 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    I submit that the persecution of Burzynski is not on any kind of ethical grounds but chiefly because he takes revenue from “legitimate” doctors. The patients he treats could spend their money on chemotherapy in a regular hospital as easily as at his clinic and likely not obtain better results. It would seem, at least anecdotally, that at least some patients obtain better results at the Burzynski clinic.

    Judith, you keep ignoring the fact that many clients of Stan’s choose to pay for his services rather than use the free socialized medicine available to them. How many Burzynski clients have we read about recently from the UK, Australia and even here in Canada. Our doctors don’t get paid per patient, so in many parts of the world your argument is hockey pucks. Doctors persecute Burzynski because he’s never shown that his stuff works.

    Did you happen to read the three-part story on the little girl in the Toronto Star dying of a brain tumour–a DIPG which is exactly what Burzynski claims to specialize in. Rather than fight it and make her last few months miserable, the parents are taking her to the farm every day (she loves farm animals) and giving her birthday parties every few days to make up for all the birthday parties she’ll miss in the future. (I’m tearing up even as I type this.) Her oncologist gave her a year to live and that seems to be accurate. She’ll probably die in a few weeks.

    Had she gone to Burzynski a year ago, he would have said he might be able to give her a year. She got that same year without him.

    It was heartwarming to read the story and the comments and NOT see any plugs for alternative quackery or any negativity toward the parents for not trying anything further once the doctors in Toronto said it was hopeless.

  257. #258 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Herr Dok,

    Once again, great minds etc. etc.

  258. #259 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Makary also quotes a study that showed that half of all angioplasties are unnecessary

    No, Judith. I already provided you with the full text of what he’s citing. (It is not “quoted,” and it sure as hell isn’t “half of all angioplasties.”) Try not to bumble your own damn sources.

  259. #260 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 9, 2012

    I see Judith is totally OK with the basic dishonesty of charging people to participate in clinical trials, and of claiming to conduct clinical and never publishing the results.

    As for anecdotal evidence, there is more anecdotal evidence that aliens are traveling dozens of light years in order to probe people’s butts and steal cow anuses than there is for Burzynski curing people of cancer.

    I assume from there lack of response form either Judith or Marge to my thermodynamic calculations indicating that cloud busting requires an energy expenditure on the order of burning a railcar load of high grade coal, that Bengston’s cloud busting antics are fictional.

  260. #261 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    About that “unregulated anecdotalism” ( Bronze Dog):
    I’d like to add- “selective reportage”.
    One of the idiots I survey tells spectacular tales of all of the ‘cures’ he has effected through getting people to change their diet, lifestyle, spirituality and laying-on-of-hands.

    OK. I have NEVER heard him admit of a failure UNLESS the other person somehow ‘brought it on’ her- or him-self by not following through, losing the faith, quitting or ((shudder)) going over to the dark side, i.e. taking meds, seeing real doctors etc. Including his tales about his own family.

    Just step back a bit and take a look at this:
    if the person gets well, it’s due to woo ( or the woo-meister);
    if the person stays ill or dies, it’s attributable to SBM or that person’s actions/ beliefs.

    Doesn’t that all-or-none dividing line look just a little suspicious? Doesn’t it seem unlikely that one person should have such perfect results and that the enitre field of SBM should fail so terribly?
    Then, isn’t it just oddly, incredibly co-incidental that the person who reports this should also be the person who succeeds AND just happens to make money on anti-SBM media and products?
    And just happens to be un-regulated by governmental agencies- unlike SBM?

  261. #262 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Isn’t it ironic how the only people who do speak out on behalf of Burzynski are the other quacks for whom Burzynski truly is the competition?

    People or representatives from Gonzalez, Young, Gerson, Clark, Simoncini etc. all seem to support each other in a kind of unholy alliance. And yet if someone goes to Burzynski they probably won’t also go to Gerson, for example. You’d think they’d all be fighting for same piece of the pie.

    Not to mention the oft-repeated statement here that if one of those people is right, all the others are wrong. You can’t believe in Gerson, and Burzynski, and Simoncini at the same time. Their theories contradict each other.

  262. #263 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Ah, the naivety of youth. Is there any bull$hit that has not been resurrected after it was debunked?

    It’s not as though Kirlian photography is total nonsense; corona discharges obviously exist. It just seems that the variations in what’s recorded are mainly due to moisture, at least in contact images of living subjects. (I don’t have access to the full text of this one to look further; there are also noncontact ways of going about this, as I understand it.)

  263. #264 Bronze Dog
    December 9, 2012

    People could get the best tested treatments pretty much for free in countries with socialized medicine, or they could sign up for experimental treatments dedicated to proper record keeping, also pretty much for free.

    Instead, Burzynski, a guy who’s been experimenting on patients in almost a Frankensteinian manner for thirty years without publishing any of his results, milks them for five or six figures each, even though his lack of peer reviewed, published results means that he can’t promise them results. He only publishes marketing propaganda in the form of testimonials. The FDA, consumer watchdog, can’t touch him because of various loopholes, and when they can touch him, they’re only permitted a slap on the wrist.

    How is this guy not trigger red flags in observers? I can understand cancer patients being deceived as a result of desperation, but how can non-desperate onlookers not see this?

    My first guess in the case of Judith: Political convenience and identity politics. Alties see themselves as a tribe, where who you side with is more important than the truth and what’s best for the patient.

  264. #265 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Denice,

    Just step back a bit and take a look at this:
    if the person gets well, it’s due to woo ( or the woo-meister);
    if the person stays ill or dies, it’s attributable to SBM or that person’s actions/ beliefs.

    Just yesterday I posted a response from Robert O. Young to his critics on his own blog. In the comments someone posted that he’s a quack and mentioned Kim Tinkham. (I’m surprised he didn’t delete the comment.) Guess what he answered: it was her fault she died! And she knew that and called him to apologize for going off the Miracle pH!

    I posted the link someone here: we have three Burzynski threads going so I don’t remember which one. If you didn’t happen to see it I can find it again.

    He actually blames her for dying!!!

  265. #266 Bronze Dog
    December 9, 2012

    Doesn’t that all-or-none dividing line look just a little suspicious? Doesn’t it seem unlikely that one person should have such perfect results and that the enitre field of SBM should fail so terribly?
    Then, isn’t it just oddly, incredibly co-incidental that the person who reports this should also be the person who succeeds AND just happens to make money on anti-SBM media and products?
    And just happens to be un-regulated by governmental agencies- unlike SBM?

    Exactly the sorts of questions Judith should be asking herself, but won’t because Burzynski is a fellow tribe member. Going against the tribe would be betrayal, so if her inaction leads to unnecessary suffering for the little consumers, all she can do is shrug her shoulders because loyalty to the tribe comes first.

  266. #267 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Ah, the naivety of youth. Is there any bull$hit that has not been resurrected after it was debunked?

    I saw an ad this week for a mood ring.Only 10 $CDN.

  267. #268 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 9, 2012

    Judith,

    I submit that the persecution of Burzynski is not on any kind of ethical grounds but chiefly because he takes revenue from “legitimate” doctors.

    For the sake of argument, let us suppose that your statement is to some extent true – that some people look for ways to “persecute” Burzynski because he threatens to rob him of their livelihoods. How, then, do you address the actual concerns raised?

    Suppose a large pharmaceutical firm had done exactly what Burzynski did? Would it be more or less in the wrong? Would the people who spoke out against it’s practices be persecuting the pharmaceutical company’?

  268. #269 Lawrence
    December 9, 2012

    @Judith – I’d have the exact same problem with Dr. B even if he was doing what he was doing for free, because there is no evidence that what he does is effective – that’s the problem.

  269. #270 Krebiozen
    December 9, 2012

    I think Dr. Makary has done some great work, with checklists for example, and many of the points he makes are well made and should be discussed more openly. Many of his examples are of medicine being practised badly, and against the very principles of SBM. There is no doubt that there are some big problems in medicine, many of them political and indeed financial, which I’m sure all of us would like to see put right. In point of fact a lot of these problems are being tackled, certainly in the UK where, for example, league tables of surgical outcomes and mortalities are going to be made publicly available within a couple of years. I believe similar schemes are already active in some US states.

    It would be extremely foolish to allow these problems to overshadow the astounding successes of modern scientific medicine, or to think that alternative medicine of any flavor would be any sort of substitute. Of course no one wants to seen unnecessary stents and back surgeries, but it is as well to remember there are such things as necessary stents and back surgeries. Is there anything useful energy medicine can do for such situations? Is there such a thing as necessary energy healing? I really don’t think so.

  270. #271 LW
    December 9, 2012

    I especially like this: “Dr Burzynski: I published the review article in a peer-reviewed journal almost 20 years ago on the principles of personalized gene-targeted therapy. But it was not understood yet at that time that cancer is a disease of the genes.”

    Isaac Asimov wrote an essay in the very early 70s arguing that the breakdown of Carbon-14 is a major cause of cancer because Carbon-14 is incorporated right into the DNA and its breakdown causes genetic damage that can lead to cancer. He wasn’t presenting a revolutionary idea that cancer is due to genetic damage; that was a given. So Burzynski was *at least* twenty years behind popular science understanding, much less medical science.

    Besides, cancer *has* to be due to genetic damage. What else would it be? A fungus? An acidic liquid? Oh, wait…

  271. #272 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Liver flukes. Don’t you know anything?

    Every time I see that Zap2It commercial I think of dear departed Hulda Clark.

  272. #273 LW
    December 9, 2012

    Liver flukes. Of course. How could I forget (no matter how hard I try).

  273. #274 herr doktor bimler
    December 9, 2012

    LW is thinking of “At Closest Range” — collected in 1974 — but Asimov had made the same point about Carbon-14 in his earlier essay “The Explosions Within Us”, published in 1957.

  274. #275 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Either that or it’s due to trauma earlier in your life. Resolve the trauma and your cancer goes away.*

    *Biologie Totale, a French offshoot of German Non-Medicine.

  275. #276 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @MSII
    I thnk the little girl died. The article in the Star had a photo from memorial. Her two mothers made a courageous decision.

  276. #277 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ Bronze Dog:

    You see, the reason I get to ask questions like that is because I am a finely honed product of the elitist establishment, having been educated in posh universities and ‘schools’ of social science. In other words, what alt med folk really don’t like.

    I hardly expect any of our alt med friends to be able to think that way:
    a serious education gets you to doubt most of what you encounter. You try to subtract your needs and wants from the equation to understand what is REALLY going on. In the real world, things are not simple; events transpire from multiple causes; variables interact with each other. People are also complex and changeable: unpredictable. Records and statistical analysis provide brief glimpes beyond the surface- they’re the equivalents of other scientific instruments, letting us see farther or closer.

    Whenever I hear a woo-meister give a simplistic explanation, I immediately prick up my ears because I know that fiction is apt to follow in its wake. But there is comfort in a world that works that way- just like having black-and-white good and evil. That doesn’t make it true. Just easier in the short run, until you get walloped by reality.

    It would be wonderful if prayers were answered, dreams came true and wishing made it so. If that were true, we’d already know about it and it wouldn’t be any great news.

  277. #278 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    For those wondering what we’re talking about, here is a link to the first two installments of the story. Part three appears Monday. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the two stories.

    No paywall at the Toronto Star yet.

    http://www.thestar.com/

  278. #279 LW
    December 9, 2012

    Thank you, herr doktor bimler. I meant to mention “At Closest Range” but forgot. I didn’t know he had written about it even earlier. But it just shows even more how ludicrous Burzynski’s claims are.

  279. #280 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Judith,

    Yes, you’re correct. She died in early November. It’s confusing because the series is written in the present tense, so it appears to be current. I guess out of consideration for the family they waited a while before publishing the series, and writing in present tense makes the narrative more compelling. The Star’s writer is excellent. I can’t believe the paper allowed her so much space for this.

  280. #281 S
    December 9, 2012

    Either that or it’s due to trauma earlier in your life. Resolve the trauma and your cancer goes away.*

    *Biologie Totale, a French offshoot of German Non-Medicine.

    Of course it’s not just trauma from this lifetime, but also from intrauterine and past lifetimes. I see little distinction between practitioners who attribute a patient’s illness to their past-life deeds, and those who inculcate false memories from the present lifetime. In fact, those that inculcate traumatic memories from both the present and past lifetimes seem to have the potential of doing much more damage to the patient.

    More on German Non-Medicine, http://www.klinghardtacademy.com/Articles/The-Neurophysiology-of-Light-The-Five-Pathways.html

  281. #282 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @Denice Walter
    You should hear what “real” scientists say about the social sciences – I think they call them “soft”, and therefore no science at all. In my humble opinion one shouldn’t let a posh elitist education get in one’s way in trying to figure how reality really works.

  282. #283 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ Judith:

    And exactly how would you know what a “‘real”’ scientist is?

  283. #284 S
    December 9, 2012

    @Judith, That makes no sense. An education shouldn’t get in the way of understanding how reality really works? Are you saying that ignorance is bliss?

  284. #285 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    In my humble opinion one shouldn’t let a posh elitist education get in one’s way in trying to figure how reality really works.

    Or having nothing but a baccalaureate and simply pretending to channel the mysteries of the universe, for that matter.

  285. #286 MarkL
    London
    December 9, 2012

    Judith,

    You are crossing the line from argumentative to trolling. As usual with all the alt-med crazies you refuse to answer even the most simple questions about your particular favourite flavour of woo, yet sit in the corner throwing out condemnatory statements about Big Pharma and the Medical Establishment, all the while reassuring yourself and others that you know you are right and you dont need evidence let alone proof because you are special.

    Do you know what that says to the rest of the world?That you are a batshit crazy, tin-foil hatted loon.

  286. #287 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    S,

    What you posted was a link to some extreme woo, but it isn’t the German New Medicine (GNM) to which I referred. GNM is the invention of Ryke Hamer, who dreamt it up after his son died. He contends there are five biological laws and that the cause of all disease is some sort of conflict or trauma. Lose your job, get a divorce, you get a disease.

    Here’s his premise concerning breast cancer, for instance:

    We do not develop either intra-ductal or breast gland cancer without reason. The specific nature or feeling behind the conflict will determine precisely what brain location will receive the impact of the conflict-shock (DHS) and whether it will be the duct or the gland affected.

    Breast gland cancer has to do with the woman’s nest in the sense that she has a “worry”, “quarrel or argument” going on in her nest. The worry could be over a health concern of a loved one, or even being thrown out of the nest by her mother! The overall issue concerned however is really a separation from a loved one.

    Milk duct cancer has quite specifically to do with the conflict of, “my child, mother, or partner has been torn from my breast!” Again it is a separation conflict and the rules of laterality also apply here.

    Here’s one of their websites, supposedly Hamer’s official English site:

    http://www.newmedicine.ca/german-new-medicine.php

  287. #288 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Forgot to mention, Hamer is another former doctor who was stripped of his license.

  288. #289 S
    December 9, 2012

    MSII, It is SHOCKING to learn that there are so many nutcase doctors out there.

  289. #290 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    FORMER doctors.

  290. #291 Krebiozen
    December 9, 2012

    You should hear what “real” scientists say about the social sciences – I think they call them “soft”, and therefore no science at all.

    Well as someone who was educated in both natural and social sciences at different (eminent and highly regarded) institutions, I have to say I have never heard any such thing. That’s not to say that a lot of nonsense hasn’t snuck into social sciences in recent years; it has. But I found a lot of useful stuff as well as the post-modernism. I learned a great deal about statistics, economics, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychology, law, philosophy, medicine and more I have no doubt forgotten during my 3 years studying social anthropology (BA Hons at SOAS). It was hard work, with an enormous amount of reading, different to the biomedical sciences studies I had been through previously, but nothing soft about it at all.

  291. #292 S
    December 9, 2012

    @Judith, Is this testimonial from your website?

    JoAnna D., Toronto
    This is a brief note off appreciation for the help you gave my lacerated finger — your attention and care not only relieved pain; I am convinced you also hastened the healing process. Thank you immensely.

    (The laceration was an amputated fingertip that had not been healing.)

    Judith, Are you attempting to use Reiki to treat an amputee who has a non-healing surgical wound?!

    Clearly, that is outside the scope of Reiki – WTF! What if their wound was infected and your bogus treatments resulted in their not receiving appropriate medical care, and their condition became even worse? Don’t you have ANY sense of ethics?

  292. #293 S
    December 9, 2012

    MSII, I could give you a list of many such doctors who are still in practice right now.

  293. #294 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 9, 2012

    Oh I know…I just don’t like to let people forget about the ones who have been disbarred. I hate when people write Dr. Wakefield, or Simoncini, or Hamer, or Lanctot…does Geier still have a licence anymore in any states?

  294. #295 Politicalguineapig
    December 9, 2012

    Judith: Dr. Makary points out in his book that once a doctor is licensed he can legally do anything – brain-surgery, electro-shock therapy, even chiropractic.
    Uh, no. There are licensing boards that will discipline doctors who step outside their specialty or prescribe out-dated and dangerous methods. The only reason that Burzynski is still practicing is that Texas’s medical board is apparently a legal fiction. In any other state, he’d’ve been shut down.

  295. #296 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    does Geier still have a licence anymore in any states?

    Hawaii is still standing, IIRC. I believe that some of the others are merely suspended but not revoked.

  296. #297 S
    December 9, 2012

    MSII, I think Geier still can practice in Hawaii. The Hawaii medical board website link does not appear to be working, so I can’t verify it.

  297. #298 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Uh, no. There are licensing boards that will discipline doctors who step outside their specialty or prescribe out-dated and dangerous methods.

    You’re grossly overstating the case. All state medical licenses allow the grantee to practice the full scope of medicine, last I heard.

  298. #299 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    Sorry, @DW, I should have put “real” in quotation marks. I would like to point out that one of the charges leveled at Bengston is that he is “merely” a sociologist trying to do real science; and that was said somewhere on this board.

    @Politicalguineapig
    One of Dr. Makary’s points IS that those licensing boards are pretty damn useless when it comes to weaning out substandard physicians. He likens them to the Catholic Church; a really bad doctor just gets moved to another state or another “parish”, maybe demoted to work in a clinic for poor people. The ones they go after are not the ones who kill and maim but the alties who don’t really don’t toe the line.

    @S
    Strange, her doctor did not seem terribly concerned. It had been that way for a while. I just treated it to see if “Reiki” would make it feel better. And you know what? Not a penny exchanged hands.

  299. #300 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ Politicalguineapig:

    Here’s food for thought:
    recently, the chief woo-meister @ PRN, instructed his fervent believers to re-locate to Texas- especially Austin**- because there are “less laws” that interfere with ‘health freedom’ and the business of selling supplements, bad information and cures for whatever-ails-ye- as he is speaking to both woo-recipients as well as woo-meisters. He is not exactly thrilled with how his own state monitors business and taxes alt med providers.

    He operates a RL and a virtual store for health products: you may call or visit to be “counselled” about ANY health issue ( including psychological and developmental problems) by his staff of nutrition “experts” ( i.e. sales reps) ; supposedly he reserves his own services for the terminally ill- however, he oftens talks about “counselling” people in bad relationships or with relatively minor ills, so his definition of “terminal” might vary from the norm. He appears to be worried that the dieticians’ professional organisation is seeking to shut out nutritionists- a mainstay staffing solution in woo-topia.

    ** where both AJW and Mike Adams reside.

  300. #301 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 9, 2012

    MSII, http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2012/11/mark-geier-on-his-last-leg.html
    Suspended and revoked depending upon the state. Hawaii is the last but we should* hear about some action from them at some point given what has been going on in other states.

    *Depending upon Hawaii’s reciprocity or legal matters which I know not of.

  301. #302 S
    December 9, 2012

    Strange, her doctor did not seem terribly concerned. It had been that way for a while. I just treated it to see if “Reiki” would make it feel better. And you know what? Not a penny exchanged hands.

    Judith, Did you go to her doctor’s appointment with her? If not, then you do not know what concerns her doctor expressed. She could have misinterpreted her doctor, and you would be supporting and facilitating that.

    Why are you putting Reiki in quotes now, “Reiki”?

    Is it not outside of the scope of Reiki to treat an infected surgery wound from an amputee? Yes or no?


    And you know what? Not a penny exchanged hands.

    So it is Ok to mislead people with bogus treatments as long as they are free? Let me fix your car next time. I’ll do it for free, just don’t complain when it doesn’t work and your brakes soon fail on the freeway.

  302. #303 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    I should have put “real” in quotation marks. I would like to point out that one of the charges leveled at Bengston is that he is “merely” a sociologist trying to do real science; and that was said somewhere on this board.

    Unfortunately, you’re trying to stretch this into more than it is. Bengston appears to have no meaningful training in experimental science. (The dissertation is “The Relationship of Theory to Policy: A Case Study of the President’s
    Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.”) Indeed, he appears to have no meaningful scientific publications. Pointing this out does not in fact amount to an indictment of the whole of the social sciences that you can then trot out in some sort of sorry jujitsu attempt.

  303. #304 Denice Walter
    December 9, 2012

    @ Judith:

    What Bengston was doing with healing was not sociology – which like psych or ec- can be data-based or not: it is one of the reasons social scientists are forced- like it or not – to study tons of statistics and experimental/ research design ( which I did for both clinical and experimental psych) as well as learning to critique research. Which takes years, I should note.

    Anyone can put forth a hypothesis in psych, ec or another area, in any manner, and produce data: that doesn’t mean that serious people will accept it. Certain hypotheses ( e.g.AJW’s/ supply side) do not seem to be related to other data we’ve accumulated about the subject. There is also bad stat and bad methodolog that shriek out to anyone who has been adequately introduced to problems with research.

    Many anti-vaxxers talk about producing studies that are either unethical ( vaxed/unvaxxed) or fundamentally flawed ( surveys biased by self-selection). A person who has studied an area knows this already. Certain research postulates ideas that are un-falsifiable- those will get you nowhere fast.

    It’s late. I have to go lie down.

  304. #305 S
    December 9, 2012

    A lot of what they do is simple fraud, my friend. What I do is not.

    You are using testimonials to mislead patients into believing that your Reiki or “Reiki” treatments can successfully treat an amputated fingertip that had not been healing. That is FRAUD.

    (The laceration was an amputated fingertip that had not been healing.)

  305. #306 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @S
    It was an amputated fingertip, not an amputated leg. But even if it had been an amputated leg, once it had been seen to by a doctor and bandaged up, I would have been happy to treat it, so long as it was monitored. It’s not the same as your car analogy. It would be the same if the car was still being looked after by the mechanic. But the analogy is telling, because it shows how you think of the body.

  306. #307 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    Really, @S, you have NO way of knowing.

  307. #308 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    Judith, would you care to get back to your attempt to shuck and jive about angioplasty, or is this just going to be the same miserable crap-dance that has reduced Marg to nothing but flinging petulant, stupid one-liners every now and then?

  308. #309 Judith
    December 9, 2012

    @Narad
    From now on until you learn the rules of civil discourse I will just ignore you.

  309. #310 Narad
    December 9, 2012

    From now on until you learn the rules of civil discourse I will just ignore you.

    L-rd knows you’re good at ignoring things, Judith. How are your calculations about the energy balance of Bengston’s cloud-busting working out?

  310. #311 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2012

    one of the charges leveled at Bengston is that he is “merely” a sociologist trying to do real science; and that was said somewhere on this board.

    I think this translates into “Let’s you and him fight”.

  311. #312 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    I see that Judith is willing to proffer medical advice in the form of suggesting that thyroid malignancies be preferentially “treated” with her own psychic specialty.

  312. #313 Bill Price
    December 10, 2012

    254 Judith December 9, 2012:

    So it would seem that Burzynski is not in violation of any law for using his own method of chemotherapy. I guess that’s why they try to get him on technicalities like mail fraud.

    Do you inform your patients about your cavalier attitude towards telling lies in order to enrich yourself to the detriment of the person you lie to? If you don’t see the significance of that sentence, go look up and understand the meaning of ‘fraud’.
    Most people (those not in the woo business, anyway) have a thing about telling lies — it’s often called ethics; sometimes called morals. Honest folks tend to take fraud seriously — to an honest person, fraud is not a technicality. By calling fraud a technicality, you have admitted all that anyone needs to know about your personal and/or professional honesty (or lack thereof).

  313. #314 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    Let’s not forget that the “technicality” was insurance fraud, not “mail fraud.” Perhaps they could nail him for violations of “the rules of civil discourse.”

  314. #315 flip
    I can't believe it's not Marg
    December 10, 2012

    @Judith

    So that’s yet more comments in the ‘no peer-reviewed clinical trials that energy healing works’ category then?

    I wish there were some sort of comment filter that took out all the tu quoque arguments. Maybe then we could discuss something else for once.

    @Narad

    It actually manages to implicitly tie together reiki and homeopathy.

    Oddly enough, I misread that page as saying that *mime* was included. I think actually that’s an apt description of what those ‘experiments’ are. Miming actions over people’s bodies, pretending they’re doing something real.

    A lot of what they do is simple fraud, my friend. What I do is not.

    Yeah but we can’t tell because you don’t have any evidence to back you up. Post some extraordinary evidence will you?

    Is unnecessary back surgery not fraud? Is angioplasty that is not warranted by the patient’s condition likewise not fraud? Allowing a surgeon who lost six patients in a row during routine by-pass surgery, who routinely takes hours longer to complete the operation than his fellows, to operate on a seventh patient is worse than fraud: it’s reckless endangerment. It’s being an accessory to someone’s untimely and unnatural death. In effect, it’s licensed manslaughter.

    Let’s turn this around and see if you get it:

    Is unecessary reiki not fraud? Is energy healing that is not warranted by the patient’s condition likewise not fraud? Is ignoring underlying conditions because you have no medical training not fraud? Allowing a reiki healer who lost six patients in a row because they never followed up and didn’t keep records, who routinely takes hours to complete their hand waving, to wave over a seventh patient is worse than fraud: it’s reckless endangerment. It’s being an accessory to someone’s untimely and unnatural death. In effect, it’s unlicensed manslaughter.

    And shouldn’t we have evidence that BOTH surgery AND reiki work and are safe?

    I submit that the persecution of Burzynski is not on any kind of ethical grounds but chiefly because he takes revenue from “legitimate” doctors.

    Of course you do *rolls eyes

    So you’ll happily criticise Big Pharma and surgeons for doing wrong, but won’t do the same when it comes to another doctor doing it? Ah yes, you’re just being contrarian because we’re the ones doing the criticising. Why if we’re doing it, he must be right!

    It would seem, at least anecdotally, that at least some patients obtain better results at the Burzynski clinic.

    Do we have to re-explain every logical fallacy you use every time? Or can you just stop using them?

    Dr. Makary points out in his book that once a doctor is licensed he can legally do anything – brain-surgery, electro-shock therapy, even chiropractic.

    Hahahah – it’s like you’ve never heard of law suits before!

    So it would seem that Burzynski is not in violation of any law for using his own method of chemotherapy. I guess that’s why they try to get him on technicalities like mail fraud.

    No, he’s allowed to use antineoplastons only in a trial setting. He hasn’t been doing that, therefore yes, he’s doing something fraudulent.

    You seem to think that one shouldn’t have to be honest in one’s own marketing. I wonder how that applies with you and your reiki. It’s clear you already have double standards as to who should be criticised and who shouldn’t.

    It would be the same if the car was still being looked after by the mechanic.

    You missed the point: you assume that the mechanic knows what he’s doing. S’s point was that they don’t know how to fix the car, and therefore shouldn’t be doing it for money or for free, because whatever they do will either fix nothing, break something else, or be entirely useless either way.

    Really, @S, you have NO way of knowing.

    Neither do you. No studies, no records, nothing but anecdotes and bias.

    @S

    Don’t you have ANY sense of ethics?

    Of course she does. It just only applies when it comes to medical care provided by SBM doctors, and not her.

  315. #316 flip
    December 10, 2012

    Ah, damn it… Edit button now please…

    Everything after

    Oddly enough, I misread that page as saying that *mime* was included. I think actually that’s an apt description of what those ‘experiments’ are. Miming actions over people’s bodies, pretending they’re doing something real.

    is directed at Judith.

  316. #317 Politicalguineapig
    December 10, 2012

    DW: Doesn’t surprise me at all. Texas is pretty dysfunctional as far as regulations go. I wish they’d just secede already.

  317. #318 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 10, 2012

    Judith & Marg , I “showed my work” on the energy balance of Bengston’s cloud busting. I haven’t seen yours.

    The now defunct Righteous Indignation podcast interviewed a Reiki practitioner who’s claims were much more modest (although still unsubstantiated and implausible). She said she always advised clients get medical help for medical conditions with Rieki as an adjunct. This seems to be in keeping with what I have seen of recommended practice. Judith is making claims well beyond this.

    As others have pointed out, it is very telling that Judith considers “mail” (actually insurance) fraud to be a technicality. Also telling is the her conclusion that Burzynski is being “persecuted” out of greed. She appears to incapable of understanding that people might be concerned about people wasting money and what little time they have left on a bogus cure while enduring very unpleasant side effects.

    And in a per-emptive rebuttal to Judith claiming that “anecdotally Burzinski’s has cured some people”, I would like to re-iterate that anecotally there is better evidence that extraterrestrials are shoving probes up people’s butts and stealing cow anuses.

    Judith – before you prattle on about the ineffectiveness of palliative chemotherapy, I would like to point out that thaks to palliative chemo, Jeff Healey was able to give his last live performance only 4 weeks before his death. For those of you who are wondering Jeff who? I offer this off topic YouTube example of this master of the Stratocaster.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=76lV-knCYws

  318. #319 Krebiozen
    December 10, 2012

    It’s a little late, but maybe worth pointing out that a systematic review of ‘Therapeutic touch therapy for healing acute wounds’ concluded:

    There is no robust evidence that TT promotes healing of acute wounds.

    Let’s not forget that, as Marg told us, the esteemed Ben Goldacre described systematic reviews as:

    an unbiased survey of all the evidence on a given question [...] the best-quality evidence that can be used

    Let’s also remember that when Cochrane says there is no robust evidence for something, in layman’s terms it means it doesn’t work. There is no robust evidence that an elephant was blundering about my back yard last night. If I have looked carefully, and found no footprints, no knocked-over garbage cans and none of my buns are missing, I can be fairly confident in saying that in this case, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

    BTW, S’s car analogy amused me since a few years ago the end of my finger was amputated by a car while I was trying to fix it. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

  319. #320 S
    December 10, 2012

    @Judith,
    Do you have some sort of mental disability or other emotional challenges that are effecting your judgement? If so, you should not be in practice. Otherwise, you are clearly a fraudulent practitioner, a con artist, and should be investigated as such.

    Just to summarize things a bit,

    1.) You are actively dissuading patients from seeking appropriate medical care: “suggesting that thyroid malignancies be preferentially “treated” with her own psychic specialty.”

    http://i.imgur.com/crOKF.png

    2.) You are failing to provide patients with enough evidence so they can make informed decisions about their healthcare. Before you object to this comment, you have failed to provide us with any evidence; I seriously doubt you do otherwise with your clients. Treating patients from a distance using Reiki energy does not allow for a proper clinical exam and resultant findings to allow for fully informed decisions.

    3.) You are exploiting and manipulating patients’ vulnerabilities and ignorance by employing clearly false testimonials so as to further the success of your business.

    4.) You are ignoring the fact that the information you post online is available to everyone and has the potential to be misconstrued. As such, you should not be giving medical advice online, especially in regards to treating possible malignancies and infections. Other patients could read your claims and misconstrue Reiki as if it of were a valid medical treatment. Your use of disclaimers are a technicality and for your protection, not that of the patient and they only serve to assist you in weaseling out of being held responsible for your actions. False claims are just that, false, regardless of whether there is a disclaimer suggesting the patient seek other medical advice or not.

  320. #321 Judith
    December 10, 2012

    @S
    “Clearly false testimonials”? You are aware that that is libelous statement, are you not? Every one of those people are real, and every one of them could attest to the testimonial they gave.

    People don’t need to read my testimonials to “misconstrue” Reiki as a valid treatment; all they need to do is watch the endorsement by Dr. Oz, who has far more clout than I do with the masses. I believe he said that every American owed it to themselves to try Reiki, and if they had a condition doctors could not handle, they should see a Reiki practitioner. That’s very strong endorsement.

  321. #322 Judith
    December 10, 2012

    You all are getting out of hand again. Civility, ladies and gentlemen. Civility.

  322. #323 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Dr. Oz is married to a reiki salewoman. He’s hardly an impartial, objective observer in this. And Oz has embraced all kinds of nonsense on his show, as has his creator Oprah. Oz has now become a laughing stock in real medical circles.

    I heard that some doctors are putting up signs in their examining rooms stating “I don’t care what you heard on Dr. Oz.”

    Green coffe extract, anyone? One of the biggest weight loss scams of this century, and Oz featured it on his show.

  323. #324 Bronze Dog
    December 10, 2012

    Texas is pretty dysfunctional as far as regulations go. I wish they’d just secede already.

    Thankfully, they’ve been patient enough for me to get my MS, so I’ll be able to get a decent job once I make the mad emigration dash.

    As for Judith, why do you keep using anecdotes? Why haven’t you learned to feel shame when trying to make a scientific case based primarily on anecdotes?

  324. #325 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    I was looking for a place to post this, and since Judith has derailed the thread yet again and brought up Dr. Oz, I just found my opportmunity.

    PalMD is a doctor who runs a blog called White Coat Underground. He attended a seminar last week where Oz spoke, and wrote an account of both the speech and his chance to shake hands with Oz afterward.

    Not only did Oz make a very tasteless joke at the end of his speech, but he told PalMD he was was doing no harm with the misinformation on his show because he “doesn’t sell any products”.

    Orac has posted about Oz here, reinforcing that Oz has been losing credibility ever since he started his TV show. Does he even practice medicine anymore? At least he finally stopped wearing those idiotic scrubs on TV.

    It’s a short, entertaining read:

    http://whitecoatunderground.com/

  325. #326 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 10, 2012

    “Clearly false testimonials”? You are aware that that is libelous statement, are you not? Every one of those people are real, and every one of them could attest to the testimonial they gave.

    Oh put your big girl panties on Judith. You are relying upon biased, regression-to-the-mean testimonials and giving medical advice via Twitter. You’re hardly in a position to be whining about libel.

    People don’t need to read my testimonials to “misconstrue” Reiki as a valid treatment; all they need to do is watch the endorsement by Dr. Oz, who has far more clout than I do with the masses. I believe he said that every American owed it to themselves to try Reiki, and if they had a condition doctors could not handle, they should see a Reiki practitioner. That’s very strong endorsement.

    Anyone who has to rely upon a television doctor known for endorsing rubbish and not taken seriously by his peers any longer, is clearly out of their league. Reiki efficacy is falsifiable with testing so show the proof it works above and beyond placebo effect.

  326. #327 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Here’s a cut-and-paste of the salient points for those who won’t click over:

    The surprise of the evening was an appearance by Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most disruptive forces in medicine, and someone who in my opinion, confounds sideshow barker nonsense with real medical science. He gave what was supposed to be an inspirational talk, but really, he just rambled from topic to topic, often contradicting himself. And everyone was starstruck.

    It seems famous people like other famous people for being famous. I cannot think of a thing Dr. Oz has to offer American health care, other than his retirement from public life. But they flocked to him in the low-ceilinged gallery, jostling each other in the close space as if fighting for a New York cab, the kind that’s never around when you need it.

    I nudged slowly through the crowd of admirers and introduced myself, as a “fan and a critic.” I told him I was a fan of his ability to communicate, but that my patients don’t bring to me the message he thinks he’s delivering. They would rather find some raspberry ketone than exercise and eat better.

    “I don’t sell any products. People use my image. Blah blah.”

    I thanked him for his time and nudged my way back out of the crowd.

    The telling moment for me was during his speech. He closed with a joke, about a patient who had made use of a ton of “complementary medicine” during her hospital stay. When confronted with the bill, she replied, “but it’s complementary!

    That’s not funny. Health care is expensive, people struggle to pay their bills and are terrified for their lives. To joke about billing them for services that are worse than useless, like reiki and acupuncture, is cruel and shows a lack of compassion.

    Oz is one thin wafer away from turning into Mercola.

  327. #328 S
    December 10, 2012

    MSII, I read PalMD and I highly recommend his blog.

    As for Dr. Oz, he is a joke, and he IS doing harm to patients. Both he and his Reiki wife. They may not sell products, but the people they ‘educate’ do sell those products and Reiki services to patients. Furthermore, Judith, if you get Dr. Oz to provide some evidence that Reiki is a suitable and effective treatment for an infectious disease or an infected amputation site, I will go on television and tell him that I think he is full of shit. Why does Columbia University Hospital employ him? Seriously, why?

  328. #329 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    PalMD on Oz, from earlier this summer:

    Take Dr. Oz, the cardiovascular surgeon who has risen to prominence through his appearances on Oprah and now has his own show. Many of us in practice dread his name. It’s hard to find a doctor who hasn’t had to debunk Oz’s wild claims which often waste our time and our patients’ money. One of the latest wild, unfounded claims from Oz (“claims from Oz”; I’ve got to remember that one) is “Raspberry Ketone: Fat Burner in a Bottle“. His unbridled enthusiasm for this product is embarrassing.

    His video makes him look like a sideshow barker, with the hyperbolic language, grandiose gestures, and distracting tricks (the balloons and liquid nitrogen—liquid N2 is always cool). But the content is far worse.

    Raspberry ketone (RK) is a chemical compound which gives raspberries their characteristic aroma. Some have hypothesized that it may have a role in fat metabolism and potential as an aid to weight loss. This hypothesis has been tested—a little bit. A study in rats found that RK, when fed to rats getting a high-fat diet, may mitigate their weight gain. Another study found that certain kinds fat cells in the lab behaved differently (expressed different cytokines, accumulated fat differently) when exposed to RK.

    There are a couple more similar articles—and not one study of the affects of obesity in humans, the one claim exuberantly advertised by Oz.

    This is unconscionable behavior from a physician. His show is an infomercial in all but name. People suffering from obesity deserve better than a doctor who shills for the latest patent medicine.

  329. #330 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    Oh put your big girl panties on Judith. You are relying upon biased, regression-to-the-mean testimonials and giving medical advice via Twitter. You’re hardly in a position to be whining about libel.

    Watch out, you’ll be haled into Energy Court and wind up being assessed punitive vibrations for lack of civility.

  330. #331 S
    December 10, 2012

    Watch out, you’ll be haled into Energy Court and wind up being assessed punitive vibrations for lack of civility.

    Too late, my comment is being held in moderation – something about Dr. Oz being full of somethin’-or-other. I’ll blame the lack of civility on the bad energy from next full moon or my missing out on the ascension to wherever.

  331. #332 Calli Arcale
    December 10, 2012

    Judith:

    Is unnecessary back surgery not fraud? Is angioplasty that is not warranted by the patient’s condition likewise not fraud? Allowing a surgeon who lost six patients in a row during routine by-pass surgery, who routinely takes hours longer to complete the operation than his fellows, to operate on a seventh patient is worse than fraud: it’s reckless endangerment. It’s being an accessory to someone’s untimely and unnatural death.

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    So what’s your excuse for doing something unfounded and claiming it’ll help people? That reiki can’t kill anybody directly, therefore it’s okay to do it without evidence? Therefore it’s not fraud to represent it as something that works when you don’t actually really know that? You are confident that it works. But you don’t really know. There’s a difference.

    STS-112. The Space Shuttle Atlantis roared into space in October of 2002 on a mission to the ISS. It carried the first “rocketcam” of any Shuttle mission, which failed to record an event on the other side of the External Tank — a piece of foam separating from the bipod ramp area. This was later observed during review of the post-separation photography of the discarded ET, and found to be responsible for the large dent observed on one of the recovered SRBs. The dent was near the lower SRB-ET attach ring — roughly a foot away from the SRB’s flight computer. Had that foam struck just a little bit over, and the SRB would have completely lost control, which likely would’ve given us another Challenger-style accident.

    But it didn’t. It was a very lucky escape. However, at the time, nobody seriously believed that foam could cause that much damage — even after seeing the SRB from STS-112. They *knew* the foam was light and fluffy, and hey, here a big impact didn’t kill them. So it wasn’t classified as the anomaly it should’ve been. There had been other concerns during processing and launch of Atlantis, and these took precedence. Concerns about part of the main engine plumbing, and concerns about the pyrotechnics on the pad, which themselves had nearly cost the mission when not all of them fired. (SRBs igniting and not being released would be extremely bad. Loss of vehicle, personnel, and probably the entire pad structure.) They *knew* the foam wasn’t as big of a problem. Foam can’t kill anybody. Right?

    A few months later, they learned that what they *knew* was wrong. Foam shed from the External Tank on STS-107, the last flight of Columbia, and punched a hole in a wing leading edge. They thought they knew how much force foam could exert; they thought they knew how tough the panels were. They were wrong, and seven people died. The space program nearly died. It was certainly instrumental in the decree shortly thereafter that Shuttle would terminate no later than 2010.

    You *know* reiki works. You *know* that since you’re not working with something dangerous, you can’t be causing harm. You’re wrong. If reiki works, it stands to reason it can work incorrectly. And if it doesn’t work, it also stands to reason that your promotion of it delays people getting effective treatment. Treat a person’s cancer with reiki for two months, and that’s two more months of it getting bigger and more entrenched. Something that could be cut out safely may now require chemo. Or worse.

    If nothing else, it drains their wallets. Bogus devices such as stickers you put on your cell phone to improve reception, or markers you use to color the edges of your CDs to improve sound quality, or many of the devices sold to improve your fuel economy, really do nothing except enrich the seller. They are frauds, but not ones easily prosecuted, as there is really no law against being mistaken. Go ahead, keep practicing reiki. But know that if you don’t produce evidence (not just testimonials), a lot of us will put you in the same bucket as the hucksters who sell lunar real estate, which also is not what the buyers really expect to be getting.

  332. #333 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 10, 2012

    Dr Oz has now had gay conversion therapy quacks on his show.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2012/12/03/dr-oz-is-an-increasingly-dangerous-promoter-of-denialism-and-quackery/

    This is bullShit that leads to depression and suicide. It seems that it is harmful nonsense, Dr. Oz will promote it. Judith’s argument appears to be that because the lizard of Oz has much wider reach than she does, what she does is OK.

  333. #334 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 10, 2012

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dr Oz has now had gay conversion therapy quacks on his show.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2012/12/03/dr-oz-is-an-increasingly-dangerous-promoter-of-denialism-and-quackery/

    This is bull$hit that leads to depression and suicide. It seems that it is harmful nonsense, Dr. Oz will promote it. Judith’s argument appears to be that because the lizard of Oz has much wider reach than she does, what she does is OK.

    Orac – please delete my comment that is in moderation – it is redundant

  334. #335 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    If reiki works, it stands to reason it can work incorrectly.

    Moreover, unless reiki is in fact nothing,* Judith is in violation of section 27 of the Regulated Health Professions Act. Can’t have it both ways.

    * Including being in the nature of prayer or “spiritual” healing; actually being a form of delivery of electromagnetic or acoustic energy is right out.

  335. #336 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 10, 2012

    Watch out, you’ll be haled into Energy Court and wind up being assessed punitive vibrations for lack of civility.

    You mean I’m a bad, bad girl? That could be fun. :D

  336. #337 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    Interestingly enough, Militant Agnostic, the woo-meisters are scurrying away from him as well as sane SB people.

    A week ago, Gary Null wrote to Oz ( Letter to Dr Oz; prn.fm/ also appears, courtesy of Mike Adams @ Natural News) mentioning that Oz once appeared on Null’s public TV fundraisers but now has gone over to the dark side because he wrote ( in Time) that organic and GMO free foods are not all that they’re hyped up to be.

    The true woo instructs the semi-woo to “set aside your ego and any special interests that will have propagandized you, and that you will seek the truth, speak out and write a rebuttal”. He is awaiting a response.

    Ms Oz apparently used Null’s studios** recently to record anti-GMO poppycock with Jeffery Smith: Null advises that the TV doc listen to her: “Certainly your own wife, a dedicated, conscientious and highly educated activist would be a great resource for you”.

    I see. Of course. Right.

    ** supposedly he maintains state-of-the-art studios from which he broadcasts his tripe and tripe created by others for both land-based and internet radio as well as piecing together barely comprehensible snippets from hardly knowledgable advocates into so-called “ground-breaking” documentaries.which are often used to raise money for non-commercial media as well as his own scrawny arse.

    I guess I’m not civil either.

  337. #338 Edith Prickly
    December 10, 2012

    @MSII

    I heard that some doctors are putting up signs in their examining rooms stating “I don’t care what you heard on Dr. Oz.”

    I need a T-shirt with that on it.

  338. #339 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    I find it very hypocritical of Judith, who has shown her utter contempt for doctors and the medical industry here and in other threads, trots out Dr. Oz, a member of that same medical industry, when it suits her.

    There’s more nonsense coming up later this month on The Oz show: an episode dedicated to integrative medicine and nutrition. His guests: a nutritionist from Canada and some guy named Dr. Soram Khalsa “who is one of the leading practitioners of integrative medicine in the United States, and author of The Vitamin D Revolution”.

    http://www.orleansonline.ca/pages/N2012121001.htm

  339. #340 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Another sidebar question, but it does concern Oz. I was recording a show that comes on immediately after Oz, so my tape included the last few seconds of an Oz show last week.

    The credits were already running but it looked like Oz and a female assistant on stage were snorting tea out of Chinese-looking teapots. Squat, round teapots with long thin spouts. Almost like watering cans for plants, but much smaller.

    Anyone have any idea what they were doing and why? Is it some new weight loss scam? Inhale your tea, don’t drink it. You save 50 calories a day this way…

    I tried Googling “snorting tea” but that took me to a whole ‘different place.

    I wouldn’t subject myself to the wonderful land of Oz by visiting his website either.

    Maybe one day, like the Wizard of Oz, he’ll be exposed as a phony hiding behind a curtain pulling strings.

  340. #341 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    @ Marc Stephesn Is Insane:

    from your cited article:
    Ms Smart succinctly summarises Oz’s major appeal to viewers: he’s “good-looking”
    Seriously, I’m entirely as superficial as the next person but don’t the woo-meisters ( and semi-woo-meisters, like Oz) seem to depend on their looks a little too much?

  341. #342 JGC
    December 10, 2012

    I’m guessing they were using a neti or netti pot (I’ve seen both spellings), which is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for nasal irrigation. Supposedly good for allergies, sinusitis, etc. You’re supposed to pour water or saline in one nostril and let it run out the opposite nostril if I understand it correctly, essentially ‘flushing out the pipes’..

  342. #343 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Boy, that Khalsa guy is also one big stinking pile of steaming woo. Seems like he’s another real doctor, well educated and trained, who has gone over to the dark side.

    He claims to be a homeopath in addition to an MD. That alone proves he’s faking it.

    There’s a big picture of him with Wayne (“I went to John of God who healed me”) Dyer. Of course Khalsa has a commercial website where he sells vitamins, books, CDs, and a $75 home blood test to make sure you have enough vitamin D coursing through your body.

  343. #344 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Denice,

    My first thought looking at the Canadian nutritionist was “she’s kinda hot…bet she gets her own TV show after the Oz exposure.”

    Yes, it’s too bad that a big part of Oz’s appeal is his looks. As a heterosexual male I can’t judge, but do women really find him good looking? I find that pomposity and pretentiousness can negate anyone’s good looks and become a turn off, and that’s happened to me with some women I’ve known.

  344. #345 Judith
    December 10, 2012

    Just think how boring this thread would be if everyone got on it just to agree with Orac. Someone’s got to be on the other side, otherwise it’s just a chorus line singing “Bad Burzynski, Bad Burzynski!”

  345. #346 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    JCG,

    OK, that I can understand. I have chronic congestion issues and use an expensive pressurized sea water spray from France. Something called Hydro something or other (I’m too lazy to move the laptop off my lap and go check). If a cheap little clay pot and tap water and salt do the same thing, I would try it.

    I have to do some research on that. Ayurvedic or not, water up the nostrils is water up the nostrils. It’s not like Oz is recommending any kind of magic water or solution in the pot.

  346. #347 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Judith,

    According to another poster here all the comments agreeing with Orac are in fact posted by Orac using a database of alternate personalities.

    What if Judith, Marge, Didy, Mel and KemDom are all the same person?

  347. #348 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    @ JGC:

    My exact thoughts. In addition, isn’t tea astringent? Also green tea ( the woo’s choice) is high in anti-oxidants ( ORAC value) and other Gaia-blest components of the elixir-of-life?**

    ** Lord! I am becoming conversant in woo parlance..it just flows.

  348. #349 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Edith,

    There’s an online company that will do one-off print jobs of anything you want on T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, etc. They use an automated printing system so it’s cheap and fast. I can find the link if you really want.

    Love your ‘nym too! Was/am still a major SCTV fan and Andrea Martin fan. I also loved her foreign character Pirini Sclerosa. Might have spelled that wrong/

    Andrea’s a fellow Canuck!

  349. #350 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2012

    OK, that I can understand. I have chronic congestion issues and use an expensive pressurized sea water spray from France. Something called Hydro something or other (I’m too lazy to move the laptop off my lap and go check).

    Artist’s Reconstruction.

  350. #351 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    @ Marc Stephes Is Insane:

    He’s not bad but not especially good either- and I am usually attracted to the Mediterranean-ish types. I also don’t think much of his fellow woo-tastic hottie-boy’s ( AJW’s) looks either. And it’s not just all of the bad stuff I know about him biasing my judgment: I am experienced enough to be able to separate looks from other factors. I know plenty of good-looking idiots and everyday-looking, brilliant people who have other charms.

  351. #352 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Herr Dok,

    That illustration is hilarious!

    I am a homebrewer but never got into kegging. I still bottle. If I did use kegs I could simply fill a soda keg with salt water and then use a CO2 tank to blast it through my nasal passages at 10 or 15 PSI!

    That’s kind of what the drawing looks like.

  352. #353 Calli Arcale
    December 10, 2012

    Regarding neti pots:

    There was a study a while back which concluded that they do work (which shouldn’t be too surprising, since they mechanically flush the sinuses — what could remove snot better than, well, removing the snot directly?), but that prolonged use can cause damage, by drying out the sinuses. (You want *some* mucus in there, after all.) The study was using saline solution, IIRC. They found it worked about as well as nasal irrigation bottles. It really is basically the same principle anyway, only in one case you’re squirting it and in the other case you’re getting gravity to do the work. So if the whole idea doesn’t totally gross you out (it does me, and I can’t stand nasal sprays), go for it! But if you need it for months, you probably have a bigger problem that needs fixing.

  353. #354 Bronze Dog
    December 10, 2012

    Judith, you have a poor imagination if you suggest we always agree with Orac on everything. We do agree quite often, since he typically backs up his arguments and uses valid logic. But that’s exactly the reason to agree with someone, and not evidence of hive-mindedness or political loyalties.

    Of course, specifically with Burzynski, I see no legitimate controversy. He’s a for-profit quack who refuses to publish results after decades of quite evidently shoddy “research.” The excuses offered for Burzynski tend to be rather cavalier about ignoring the consumers’ rights, privileging profitability over ethics, or dismissive of Burzynski’s status as a mere human being, deifying him as beyond moral or epistemological reproach. Even if Burzynski’s treatments actually work, he’s still a monster for suppressing his own results instead of showing us the data that will convince scientifically-minded people. If he’s not a monster, why would he only have people offering cherry-picked anecdotes like all the other quacks?

  354. #355 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Denice,

    OT, but since when is monitoring the antics of Mikey Adams ever off topic? (Did I get that intro right? It’s my tribute to you…)

    My blood is boiling. Mikey promotes the scientology front group CCHR (Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights) in one of today’s postings. It’s a piece on “How Our Children Are Being Poisoned” or some nonsense. His last example is psych drugs given to kids, and then he recommends the CCHR for their work fighting psych drugs.

    The CCHR’s motto is “Psychiatry: An Indsutry of Death” and they have a museum dedicated to that purpose on Sunset Blvd. (or Hollywood Blvd.?) in LA. They blame the holocaust on psychiatrists. Their sole purpose is a gateway to scientology.

    I find it ironic that Mr. Freedom Fighter Mikey is supporting an organization (scientology) that strips away every shred of personal freedom and turns its members into mindless, unthinking zombies who hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilige of reading some kooky science fiction.

    If I was a member I’d post a comment to let others know that CCHR IS scientology. I have a feeling many of Mikey’s readers would have a problem supporting that.

    Sorry again to go OT (a pun there, for any other scilon watchers) but I had to vent. Besides, it’s better than hearing about Judith’s handwaving.

  355. #356 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    Just think how boring this thread would be if everyone got on it just to agree with Orac. Someone’s got to be on the other side, otherwise it’s just a chorus line singing “Bad Burzynski, Bad Burzynski!”

    So you think your aimless, error-prone subject-changing and trying to play Emily F*cking Post when this is pointed out is some sort of improvement?

  356. #357 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2012

    That illustration is hilarious!

    It puts me in mind of a Glen Baxter cartoon gone horribly wrong. I think that’s James Joyce on the left, in the bowtie, explaining to his newly-hired secretary (Sam Beckett, on the right) the full range of his secretarial duties.

  357. #358 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    And to bring this around full circle, one of the CCHR’s advisors is our good friend and noted anti-psych doctor, Julian Whitaker.

    Who also happens to be one of Burzynski’s sole supporters.

    They are cooking up something to do with their anti-aging products. I see a chain of Burzynski-Whitaker anti-aging clinics across Asia soon.

  358. #359 JGC
    December 10, 2012

    For what it’s worth, my internist–who’s about as hard core SBM as they get–is always trying to convince me to give neti pots a try if I’ve got a cold/allergies. But if I’m sick and congested, last thing I want is to waterboard myself…

  359. #360 Bronze Dog
    December 10, 2012

    Of course, even in the case of Burzynski, we can discuss exactly why he’s wrong in detail and use him as an illustration of how not to do medicine or how to spot a flagrant fraud using textbook con artist rhetoric.

    Yes, there is such a thing as reasons why something is wrong, and they are independent of the political or corporate affiliation of the wrongdoer.

  360. #361 Lawrence
    December 10, 2012

    @Judith – did it ever occur to you that the you can find (and criticize) the efficacy studies on Conventional Cancer treatments for the very reason that they are put up to be scrutinized, studied, replicated, and posted publicly?

    What doesn’t Dr. B have to go through the same process? What makes him so special?

  361. #362 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 10, 2012

    So you think your aimless, error-prone subject-changing and trying to play Emily F*cking Post when this is pointed out is some sort of improvement?

    So much for me addressing this. I guess it’s naughty vibrational energy purgatory for us. Squeeee.

  362. #363 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    @ Marc Stephens Is Insane:

    Pretty close- the intro should be a tad longer. It’s all in the meter…( e.g. OT: BUT is mildly-entertaining but totally unrealistic speculation by alt media honchos EVER TRULY OT @ RI? – or suchlike) but thanks, it’s nice to be quoted or emulated..flattery will get you everywhere.

    The anti-psychiatry movement ( Hubbard’s Folly) recognises woo-meisters like Adams. Null and his PRN croney, Peter Breggin are also in the loop.** Orthomolecular woo fits right in with mega-doses of vitamins. Orac cited Tufted Titmouse’s ( see RI search fx) video of ( possibly) a young MIkey as Scientologist.

    ** as well as loopy.

    At any rate,

  363. #364 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Actually, Judith would probably get along well with the scientologists. They believe in something called “touch assists” which is very similar to handwaving, except you actually have to touch the person you’re “helping”.

    Travolta and Cruise have both claimed to use touch assists at accident scenes. In fact Cruise said scientologists are the “only ones” who can help at accident scenes.

    The cult sends out “volunteer ministers” in bright yellow T-shirts to disaster areas to administer these touch assists and hand out scientology pamphlets.

    What’s dispicable, and is well-documented, was their behaviour at Ground Zero after 9/11. They kept sneaking into the restricted areas, lying about wanting to give the emergency workers bottles of water. They set up their tents inside these areas and then tried to divert the police, fire and rescue workers away from the psychological help that was being offered to the traumatized.

    There are actual e-mails available online from scientology leaders dated 9/11 and 9/12 instructing exactly how to lie their way into these areas and interfere with genuine help.

    NYPD kept escorting them out but they’d always find a way to sneak back in.

  364. #365 Alain
    December 10, 2012

    @ Marc Stephens Is Insane

    Would you be on the MontreAlers mailing list by any chances?

    Alain

  365. #366 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Maybe Judith can add Hubbardian touch assists to her wellness centre’s menu of services?

    Here is Hubbard’s handook on touch assists.

    http://www.scientologyhandbook.org/SH6_4.HTM

    In fact this entire scientology handbook is pretty hilarious.
    Lots of content on Hubbard’s view on illness, injuries, stress and relationships.

    http://www.scientologyhandbook.org/SH6_4.HTM

  366. #367 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Alain,

    Oh oh…do we know each other?

    Yes, but not actively. I was one of the founding members with DB et al back in the early 2000’s. I haven’t brewed in a long time and am looking to sell my entire set-up. Some very high-end stuff.

    In fact DB and I went to Concordia together, lost touch for two decades and then “reunited” through homebrewing.

    But how can that be? I’m Orac!!

  367. #368 Alain
    December 10, 2012

    @ MSII

    Look me up, Alain Toussaint on the mailing list. Recently, I was speaking about SMaSH (single malt, single hops) brewing for research purpose on hops.

    In my case, I have about 200$ worth of brewing equipment and I do partial mash recipes (with at most 1kg of grain and 1kg of dry malt extract for 2 imperial gallons of worth).

    Alain

  368. #369 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    But if I’m sick and congested, last thing I want is to waterboard myself…

    My preferred demonstration of the use of the neti pot.

  369. #370 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    OK…I hate to sound paranoid but there are enough clues now out there if someone really wants figure out who I am.
    I’ll get in touch with you privately but let’s keep this off the ‘Alers board since I use my real name there.

    Other people here have been threatened and since I use a rather, err, contentious ‘nym I’d prefer to keep my real name private.

    We’ll have to set up a meeting at Benelux or DDC sometime soon.

    A bientot!

  370. #371 Alain
    December 10, 2012

    À bientôt and don’t worry.

    Alain

  371. #372 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Denice,

    Thanks for the tip. As always, Orac’s already done that. I only started reading the blog earlier this year so there’s a lot I haven’t seen.

    That video has been ridiculed many times by Tony Ortega (the Orac of scientology blogs) since the leader of the cult David Miscavige is about 5’3″., singing “We Stand Tall”. In pictures with his boyfriend Tom Cruise, Cruise towers over him and Cruise is barely 5’6″ himself. But never did I realize that might be Mikey in the clip.

    And the entire reason scientology hates psychiatry is simply because it’s competition. Hubbard invented scientology to be a form of therapy, that why he used all the scienc-ey names. When he was laughed out of the room he declared war on psychiatry and changed scientology into a religion.

    As we say, there is no science in scientology!

  372. #373 Krebiozen
    December 10, 2012

    Judith has inspired me to put in another plug for my magic carpet. Consider how many perfectly healthy people are killed by cars and trucks on the roads every year. Think of all the unsafe vehicles on the roads; faulty brakes, cars that rip off the end of your finger, or burst into flames unexpectedly (I have personally experienced all of these). There are those who drive when they are tired, drunk or on drugs, and other drivers who turn a blind eye to this. Think of all those unnecessary journeys that end in tragedy. It’s terrible.

    That’s why you should buy my magic carpet. My magic carpet is a wave-like system that works on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Quantum physics tells us that we can’t be sure where the magic carpet is if we know its velocity; we always know its velocity because its velocity is always zero, so we can never be sure where it is at any time without looking. By sitting on a magic carpet and closing your eyes, you and the carpet enter a state of quantum uncertainty, in which you might or might not be at your desired destination. What decides whether the state vector collapses into a reality in which you and the carpet are at your destination? Consciousness, of course. It does take someone with a moderately advanced state of consciousness to use the magic carpet effectively, so if it doesn’t work, its your fault for not using it right.

    Magic carpets don’t kill anyone*, they don’t function if the user is drunk or on drugs, they don’t need brakes or tires, they have no moving parts, cost nothing to run and are environmentally friendly – no greenhouse gases! I know that there is little evidence to support their efficacy, but that’s because it costs a lot of money to research a new mode of transport, and I don’t have the sort of money petrochemical companies have. Anyway, they fake all their studies and cars don’t really work anyway.

    * OK there may have been a couple of incidents when people didn’t get to a hospital in time to get life-saving treatment, but that was their fault for panicking and not concentrating hard enough, or perhaps it was the blood loss, or their negative attitude or something. Anyway they should have called an ambulance – I do tell people the magic carpet is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for other forms of transport.

  373. #374 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2012

    it’s just a chorus line singing “Bad Burzynski, Bad Burzynski!”

    The concept of “Burzynski: The Musical” fills me with trepidation. Especially if Andrew Lloyd Webber is involved.

  374. #375 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    No, let’s get Trey Parker and Matt Stone on it. They could skewer Burzynski the way they skewered Mormonism on Broadway.

  375. #376 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 10, 2012

    Krebiozen,

    I prefer to attach a strong Brownian motion generator (say, a cup of really HOT tea) to an Infinite Improbability Drive, with similar results.

  376. #377 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 10, 2012

    Krebiozen,

    My way avoids the risk of near fatal rug burns.

  377. #378 Krebiozen
    December 10, 2012

    My way avoids the risk of near fatal rug burns.

    True, but I’m working on a homeopathic ointment for that, and my method does have thousands of years of tradition behind it.

  378. #379 janerella
    Oz ( the hot dry continent one)
    December 10, 2012

    hdb, and MSII and anyone else interested in a concise summary of the pros and cons of neti-pots….http://sci-ence.org/the-mucosa-of-oz/

  379. #380 Politicalguineapig
    December 10, 2012

    Chemomo: Would you care to look beyond your own experience and explain to me why you would suggest home schooling parents would be better at identifying and dealing with learning disabilities than the trained public school teachers who failed you?

    Just saw this comment way upthread. First of all a few parents might be suffering from learning disabilities themselves, and might be able to teach the child coping strategies. A busy, overworked teacher has no time for that. Secondly, they’d provide a safe environment (not found at public schools), and unlike the teacher, they’d get out of the way while the child is learning.

    MSII: Isn’t there some risk of introducing an amoeba into the soft tissue? I seem to remember hearing about people who died that way.

  380. #381 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    MSII: Isn’t there some risk of introducing an amoeba into the soft tissue? I seem to remember hearing about people who died that way.

    PGP,

    Not sure to what you’re referring with this comment…

  381. #382 S
    December 10, 2012

    @MSII, PG, Only distilled or purified water should be used in a neti pot. There have been a few deaths from infections transmitted when people use tap or regular filtered water.

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/InfectionControl/30283

    I haven’t seen neti pots used with tea. Next they will be putting coffee in them, just like the enemas. I recently read about someone using cayenne pepper enemas. Do you recommend those too, Judith? Dangerous stuff.

  382. #383 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    Not sure to what you’re referring with this comment…

    This, presumably. (The CBS hed is way better, though, because they use “brain-eating.”)

  383. #384 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Oh, OK. Now I understand. Thanks for the warning.

    I never thought there was really tea in the pot. I was referring to the shape of the pot as a teapot and said it looked like Oz was snorting tea.

    If Gerson says it’s OK to squirt coffee up your bum, then tea up the nostrils must be like a walk in the park…

  384. #385 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    If Gerson says it’s OK to squirt coffee up your bum, then tea up the nostrils must be like a walk in the park…

    It’s illustrated in the demonstration video above, as well as one final test liquid.

  385. #386 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    Haven’t watched the video yet. I’m running my computer in safe mode trying to isolate a redirecting virus I picked up somewhere.

    Maybe I need some homeopathic anti-virus software.

  386. #387 Alain
    December 10, 2012

    @ MSII,

    Do you have a ubcd4win dvd around? I do and I’m in Montreal next Thursday.

    Alain

  387. #388 Narad
    December 10, 2012

    Actually, it’s coffee in the video. Enema talk tends to distract me like that.

  388. #389 Denice Walter
    December 10, 2012

    I swear, whenever our esteemed and gracious host is absent for a while, people start discussing-
    cooking, brewing alcoholic beverages and/ or shoving liquids up nether-parts. 2 out of 3 here.
    I am never disappointed.

    -btw- I am the proud descendent of a fellow who created a spectacular gin which earned him a great deal of money. I am very glad about that.

  389. #390 herr doktor bimler
    December 10, 2012

    I’m running my computer in safe mode trying to isolate a redirecting virus I picked up somewhere.

    I hear that coffee into the output port works wonders.

  390. #391 S
    December 10, 2012

    You must use caffeinated coffee in order for it to be effective.

  391. #392 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 10, 2012

    I’ve already sprinkled baking soda over the keys and might rub some black salve on the screen.

  392. #393 herr doktor bimler
    December 11, 2012

    That’s why you should buy my magic carpet. My magic carpet is a wave-like system that works on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

    Does it come with an irascible and self-important talking bird?

  393. #394 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Anyone know if Mercola or Adams sell a USB/MMS interface?

  394. #395 Shay
    December 11, 2012

    They do, but it comes with a bleach enema.

  395. #396 Narad
    December 11, 2012

    Look, if you can get power out of a USB port, you can put it right back in. Just get a UART adaptor and feed that thing a nice strong 30 kHz square wave, like Hulda said.

  396. #397 Krebiozen
    December 11, 2012

    HDB,

    Does it come with an irascible and self-important talking bird?

    Just a Psammead, but you have to be a truly skilled meditator to be able to see it. I do love C. S. Lewis (joke).

  397. #398 flip
    December 11, 2012

    @Judith

    “Clearly false testimonials”? You are aware that that is libelous statement, are you not? Every one of those people are real, and every one of them could attest to the testimonial they gave.

    … needs to spend some time over at Popehat.

    Exactly what is libellous about the statements? Remember, the more vague your threats, the more likely they are hollow. Not to mention that hyperbole and opinion is not usually considered as slander/libel.

    People don’t need to read my testimonials to “misconstrue” Reiki as a valid treatment; all they need to do is watch the endorsement by Dr. Oz, who has far more clout than I do with the masses.

    Yeah, why pay attention to things like evidence and peer-reviewed trials when they can just get their info from the TV! I mean, the TV has never been wrong before has it?

    I believe he said that every American owed it to themselves to try Reiki, and if they had a condition doctors could not handle, they should see a Reiki practitioner. That’s very strong endorsement.

    From a guy who believes that you can tell what medical problems you’re having by *smelling your own urine*.

    Sure, ok… nice argument from authority you got there.

    You all are getting out of hand again. Civility, ladies and gentlemen. Civility.

    POST SOME FRICKING EVIDENCE and then maybe we’d be less inclined to get annoyed over your continuous repetition of the same boring old arguments over and over and over and over and over …. and over and over and over …. and over and over…

    Disagreement is fine, but do we have to rehash the same disagreements every comment?

    Seriously, how long has this reiki argument been going, since August? And yet still no clinical trials saying it works!

    And thank you for once again ignoring my points. Feel free to sue me for calling you a crank and a hypocrite.

  398. #399 flip
    December 11, 2012

    @MSII

    Not only did Oz make a very tasteless joke at the end of his speech, but he told PalMD he was was doing no harm with the misinformation on his show because he “doesn’t sell any products”.

    Seriously? How can anyone be that stupid?

    @Militant Agnostic

    Popehat recently discussed conversion therapy – it got banned in California.

    @DW

    Ms Smart succinctly summarises Oz’s major appeal to viewers: he’s “good-looking”
    Seriously, I’m entirely as superficial as the next person but don’t the woo-meisters ( and semi-woo-meisters, like Oz) seem to depend on their looks a little too much?

    Considering the makeup of the target audience of Oprah, are you really surprised? 90% of her fan base will be middle-aged women. Translate that across to Oz and Phil, and you get more ‘good looking’ and less of anything else.

    It’s TV for goodness sakes. It’s always going to be about looks, especially in Hollywood-fantasy land.

    @Krebiozen

    Love the magic carpet! Where do I send my bucks? I will buy 50. Be warned though, my money may or may not exist. If it doesn’t appear in 5 days, you will need to remote view it into your hands.

  399. #400 S
    December 11, 2012

    Ms Smart succinctly summarises Oz’s major appeal to viewers: he’s “good-looking”
    Seriously, I’m entirely as superficial as the next person but don’t the woo-meisters ( and semi-woo-meisters, like Oz) seem to depend on their looks a little too much?

    The more I hear and see Oz, the less attractive he becomes. I can barely stand to look at him anymore. Although I don’t personally know PalMD, I’ve come to trust his statements as many of them parallel with my own experiences and views. Oz implying that he does no harm because he does not sell any products is despicable. He is indeed on TV promoting the remedy du jour instead of sound medical advice.

    He closed with a joke, about a patient who had made use of a ton of “complementary medicine” during her hospital stay. When confronted with the bill, she replied, “but it’s complementary!

    That’s not funny. Health care is expensive, people struggle to pay their bills and are terrified for their lives. To joke about billing them for services that are worse than useless, like reiki and acupuncture, is cruel and shows a lack of compassion.

    It’s not funny, not in the least. I have to go now and douse my television with water. I see it now, it’s melting, it’s melting.

  400. #401 Judith
    December 11, 2012

    @Flip
    You need to read up on the rules on libel.

  401. #402 Krebiozen
    December 11, 2012

    flip,

    Love the magic carpet! Where do I send my bucks?

    As soon as I’ve finished setting up my sweatshop ethnic carpet workshop, and my Seychelles bank account I’ll let you know.

  402. #403 Politicalguineapig
    December 11, 2012

    S: Thanks. My memory is random access sometimes. I should really have remembered more, considering that we had two deaths caused by amoebic infection over the summer. Same thing as the neti pot; we had no spring turnover or frost last year, so the lakes became rather swampy.

  403. #404 Shay
    December 11, 2012

    Judith:

    You need to talk to a lawyer. In the US, at least, expressions of opinion are generally not actionable. See Keohane v. Stewart, 882 P.2d 1293. 129 (Colo. 1994). among many, many others.

  404. #405 MarkL
    London
    December 11, 2012

    @ Judith

    please, please, please, please, PLEASE try and sue for libel. Then you will have to prove that your medical treatment of hand waving allied with wishing REALLY hard works in order to prove that the testimonials are not “clearly false”.

    Could someone arrange to film the ensuing debacle? It would be comedy gold…………….

  405. #406 flip
    I can't believe it's not Marg
    December 11, 2012

    @Judith

    You need to read up on the rules on libel.

    And which ones would those be? Can you cite precedent of any law suits as an example? Can you sue someone of libel if you’re in one country and they’re in another, and how likely is it that you’d win given the different “rules” that apply in different countries?

    Three comments to define what comments and where were libellous. The third, and you admit that you are being vague because your threats are hollow.

    But I see that again you pick and choose what you respond to. 90% of my comment was ignored…

    @Krebiozen

    As soon as I’ve finished setting up my sweatshop ethnic carpet workshop, and my Seychelles bank account I’ll let you know.

    Sure, just shoot me a message via the universal consciousness when you’re ready to sell.

  406. #407 S
    December 11, 2012

    “Libel, defamation: a false and malicious published statement that damages somebody’s reputation.”

    @Judith, Please post here the evidence that Reiki is an alternative, safe and effective means of treating amputation site infections in humans, poison ivy, thyroid cancer, etc. Otherwise, I fail to see how anyone expressing an opinion that Reiki is a fraudulent treatment for such infections, or a practitioner as fraudulent who either treats such infections with Reiki or makes misleading use of claims and testimonials to that same effect, is guilty of libel. Perhaps others here who are more experienced can clarify this misunderstanding.

    Calling a false statement false, is generally known as speaking the truth. In this case, the truth is backed up by solid evidence, and the Reiki claims are not.

  407. #408 Narad
    December 11, 2012

    You need to read up on the rules on libel.

    Or, perhaps, you need to read up on the Competition Act, because you make numerous performance representations that likely fail the “adequate and proper test” standard, such as this:

    I have helped numerous clients with chronic injuries. Frozen shoulders, painful knees, post-surgical impairment have all improved with bioenergetic care.

    In fact, you may not even have gotten those testimonials adequately sanitized from assertions of causality.

  408. #409 Denice Walter
    December 11, 2012

    Just some speculation following S’s words:
    I think that one of the reasons that woo-meisters are able to garner and maintain an audience is because many people ASSUME that these informants not lying-
    they might suppose that those who broadcast mis-information or write up nonsense would be subject to legal intervention SO therefore it must be true!

    So prevaricators rely upon the trust of the gullible and the latter’s belief in an oversight system that somehow punishes fabricators ( who aren’t haunted by their own consciences).

    If it’s in a book, on the radio, on television, in the papers, on the internet… it must be true or else those responsible would get into trouble. The fact that it is public and said with confidence assures the audience. Add to this that it usually answers the audience’s wildest dreams.

    I hear and read lies that make me sick. I have heard and read incredible amounts of outright fabrication as well as mis-representaion / mis-understanding of data . And I do feel sumpathy for the victims because they probably just don’t have the skills to decipher or the strength to withstand alt media’s assault.

  409. #410 S
    December 11, 2012

    @Denice, I hear you. It boils down to the fact (my opinion) that patients should be able to trust that their medical practitioner is acting in the best interest of the patient. Exploiting and misleading patients, regardless of the means, does not classify as acting in the best interest of the patient. I’ve come to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on this matter. It’s certainly not winning me any friends locally, but at least some people here seem to understand, and. I deeply appreciate and need that understanding and support.

  410. #411 Narad
    December 11, 2012

    So prevaricators rely upon the trust of the gullible and the latter’s belief in an oversight system that somehow punishes fabricators

    Canada can be quite severe in this regard. In Richard v. Time, the plaintiff recently received a $16,000 judgment under the Quebec Consumer Protection Act over one of those idiotic mailings that are made to draw one in by looking as though they are a notification of having won a sweepstakes, and this was in the absence of any compensatory damages whatever.

    Of course, any Canadian readers who would like to inquire with the Competition Bureau as to the legality of Judith’s representations in advertising Toronto Bioenergy Associates may do so conveniently.

  411. #412 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Narad,

    Quebec actually has some of the toughest consumer protection laws anywhere in North America. Many times a national contest by a major advertiser (like, say McDonald’s giving away trips) is not valid in Quebec because the laws surrounding contests and prizes are much stricter. Advertisers simply opt out of Quebec rather than change the contest to comply with our laws.That applies to contracts, store purchases, door-to-door sales, leases, health club memberships, everything.

    And someone mentioned Popehat: this thread really is beginning to look and sound more like that blog. In fact I strumbled onto RI only because of Popehat (the original Burzynski threats last November that spawned the immortal “snort my taint” reaction).

    If Judith did try something stupid like a lawsuit, Ken and his lawyers at Popehat would be here helping us immediately. I don’t think Judith wants to experience the “Streisand effect” or the worldwide humiliation that Ken and his alliance of bloggers and legal writers would surely bring her.

    Next thing you know, Orac will be asking for ponies!

  412. #413 Shay
    December 11, 2012

    I dunno, MSII; Judith has demonstrated an insanely high tolerance for public humiliation, thus far.

  413. #414 Narad
    December 11, 2012

    Quebec actually has some of the toughest consumer protection laws anywhere in North America.

    The actual decision in this case, however, appears to exend the “credulous and inexperienced consumer” standard to the interpretation of all such provincial law. Moreover, the Competition Act provides more severe penalties for those who satisfy a test that includes targeting the vulnerable. You know, kinda like this:

    In the words of a client of mine, your doctor has given up on you and you have given up on your doctor. What more can be done?

  414. #415 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Merely a prologue to what Ken et al would subject her to. Have you ever seen what Popehat doesn’t to “censorious asshats”, as Ken calls them?

    I’ve written him privately about a few issues up here. I think he’d be keen to shine the light on Judith’s rants.

    And that’s something she does not want.

  415. #416 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    DOH!

    Should have typed “…what Popehat does to ‘censorious asshats'”…

  416. #417 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Here, we can give Judith some fuel to start her lawsuit.

    In my opinion, every single word on Judith’s corporate website is a lie and I believe she made up every one of those testimonials. I do not belive Judith can successfully treat any medical condition except by placebo effect and I believe either the testimonials o her site are fake or the people who gave them are lying.

  417. #418 Interrobang
    December 11, 2012

    I will bring popcorn. I want to see this. Of course, we’ve rather wandered afield of Burzynski, but we’ve got the arrogance of ignorance on display in spades.

    I use a sinus irrigation bottle regularly; I’ve had issues with chronic sinusitis for years (they keep doing CT scans of my head and can’t find any physical issues), and it does seem to help. Instead of getting infections at least quarterly, I’m down to about 1.5 a year on average, and their severity has gone way down. (I believe I can probably also thank HiB vaccinations in small children for the dramatic decrease in really bad sinus infections I’ve had in the last 10 years or so. That nasty little bug *loves* sinuses, and I used to get *incredibly* bad infections on a relatively regular basis.)

  418. #419 flip
    Avoiding the distinct pungency of taint wafting this way...
    December 11, 2012

    @MSII

    And someone mentioned Popehat: this thread really is beginning to look and sound more like that blog. In fact I strumbled onto RI only because of Popehat (the original Burzynski threats last November that spawned the immortal “snort my taint” reaction).

    That was me. And I happened upon it in the opposite way. I found it via this site I think…

    Speaking of advertising: do Americans have some sort of media watchdog? We have one here, but it’s both toothless and self-administered, making media rather free to do what they like with the truth. There’s been some controversy over it recently – thanks to Murdoch and his ilk – because the government would like to implement a more stringent watchdog organisation, but naturally the media don’t want to know.

    Anyway – can you report Oz, etc to some sort of media watchdog?

    Next thing you know, Orac will be asking for ponies!

    LOL! I think he would be asking for replacement light bulbs for his blinking box ;)

    In my opinion, every single word on Judith’s corporate website is a lie and I believe she made up every one of those testimonials. I do not belive Judith can successfully treat any medical condition except by placebo effect and I believe either the testimonials o her site are fake or the people who gave them are lying.

    I agree. Furthermore, I will add that I do not believe Judith could provide one whit, one sentence, one data point, to prove that reiki works.

  419. #420 MarkL
    London
    December 11, 2012

    I missed my bus today – by just a few seconds because I had to walk slowly to the stop because of icy conditions. I arrived just in time to see the bus pull away. I waved my hands and hoped the driver would see me. He didn’t, so I had to wait in the freezing cold for the next one.

    Two questions spring to mind..

    1) Does that make me a Reiki Master (especially since the hand waving and wishing didn’t work)?

    2) Can I too invest in the Magic Carpet?

  420. #421 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Why did The Who song “Magic Bus” just pop into my head?

  421. #422 Bronze Dog
    December 11, 2012

    Just to point out something obvious: I don’t seriously assert the testimonials are intentional deception, at least not when they were provided by the speaker. The unintentional falsehood is born of self-deception and the easy trust alties ask for.

    We expect that some people will feel better after a quackery treatment. Without placebo-controlled experiments, we can’t justify the interpretation that reiki or antineoplastons were responsible for any anecdotal improvement. We can’t justify that interpretation because we know that there are numerous, more parsimonious explanations such as natural healing, spontaneous remission, the self-limiting nature of some conditions, dumb luck, the regressive fallacy, confirmation bias, selection bias, post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacy, the use of proven treatments alongside the quack treatment, and so on and so on. Those things happen because we’re dealing with humans.

    Of course, because it’s expected that some people will feel better, quacks who are knowing, deliberate frauds can expect a supply of positive testimonials so long as the fake treatment isn’t more dangerous than bloodletting. We know that they know this and that they’d try to exploit their victims’ cognitive biases by using testimonials, which is why we aren’t convinced by testimonials and demand they run clinical tests and publish results. It’s much more difficult for a knowing fraud to perform valid scientific trials and get the results they want. They also typically lack the incentive to try if they think they can convince people to go down the easy path of anecdotalism.

    Burzynski’s an odd but unsurprising case because he went through some legal hoops to earn the facade of being scientific, but now that he’s got that, he relies on anecdotalism like a knowing, anti-science quack and lets people freely make the sloppy interpretation that his treatments are responsible even though he’s been dragging his heels for decades when it comes to publishing the scientific results that really matter. Gee, I wonder why.

  422. #423 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    To break up the frivolity for one moment, last night someone posted an update on the little Burzynski patient whose father wrote to us. (Response to a Burzyski parent thread.) They’ve temporarily suspended the antineoplastons and are consulting with real doctors at Great Ormond Street. That hospital seems to have to clean up its fair share of Stan’s messes.

  423. #424 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Bronze Dog,

    Exactly. Burzynski plays both sides of the FDA game–he’ll mention his Phase II and III (sic) trials up the wazoo, as if he’s part of the system, but then spins everything to make them into his mortal enemy. Listen your little brain, Stan: which one is it? Ally or enemy?

  424. #425 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Bronze Dog,

    re: Intentional Deception

    A similar discussion often comes in my cult-related threads (and if reiki isn’t a cult, I don’t know what is). The question is, how many people involved in the organization are “in on it” (i.e. know it’s a scam and are merely doing it for the $) and how many people are sincere, genuine believers? And how high up the power pyramid do you have to go to switch over from one to the other? I think in a cult like scientology there’s a combination of both; the brainwashed and the corrupt. If Judith is “in on it” I bet her staff are real believers though.

  425. #426 Krebiozen
    December 11, 2012

    I think in a cult like scientology there’s a combination of both; the brainwashed and the corrupt.

    Aren’t the higher echelons told we are all literally possessed by space aliens? Or was that just Elron’s little joke?

  426. #427 flip
    December 11, 2012

    @MSII

    To break up the frivolity for one moment, last night someone posted an update on the little Burzynski patient whose father wrote to us. (Response to a Burzyski parent thread.) They’ve temporarily suspended the antineoplastons and are consulting with real doctors at Great Ormond Street. That hospital seems to have to clean up its fair share of Stan’s messes.

    If true, I sincerely hope that the family did not take too harshly to our words. And that those words helped… and that they all receive respite, care and love.

  427. #428 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    I just posted another update on the specific thread. It’s up at the top of Insolence Returned. Not good news.

  428. #429 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    Kreb,

    Yup, scamology is all about getting rid of those pesky body thetans. Space cooties. From 75 million years ago, after Xenu blew up prisoners in volcanoes. Their souls floated through the atmosphere and attached themselves to meat bodies. Get rid ofthe BTs and achieve happiness and immortality.

    You used to have pay a quarter-million or so to learn this. Now you can just watch “South Park”.

  429. #430 Judith
    December 11, 2012

    Hey, @Mark Stephens Is Insane, it’s easy to hide behind a pseudonym. Come and say all that to me in person. You are a Canuck; I bet you are polite and decent in person, but give a man a pseudonym and a computer screen to hide behind, and he feels free to let loose with all manner of incivility and insults. And that goes for @Narad too, and some others.

    @Denice Walter
    I personally am sickened by the fraud, incompetence and greed perpetrated by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies. I said before, read Marty Makary’s Unaccountable. Here is why he quit medicine:

    “I felt disillusioned. It seemed as if, despite all the book knowledge I gained, nearly half of the patients I saw in the clinics had problems for which modern medicine had nothing to offer except phony names for diseases we didn’t understand. The other half … seemed to be sick because they were obese, smoking, or not taking care of themselves — preventable problems.” (emphasis mine)

    He did in time return to medicine & resolved to practice it honestly, which he essentially felt many of his colleagues did not do.

    Do you know that between July 2009 and September 2010 there were approximately 17,000 totally unwarranted angioplasties done on nonacute patients, to the tune of $15,000 to $100,000 per operation, even though a study published in 2007 showed that nonacute patients had no better outcomes with angioplasties than with medication and lifestyle changes? The same with back surgeries. Most patients do just as well if not better with medication, physiotherapy and exercise. But, hey, someone’s got to pay for those cardiac surgeons’ and back surgeons’ expensive tastes. Preventive health would do them out of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. In the meantime people go bankrupt paying their medical bills; America itself goes bankrupt paying for medical bills.

    And do you think that pharmaceutical companies keep getting fined upwards of two billion dollars because they perpetrate fraud on a small scale?

    And did you know that hospital administrators send emails to surgeons reminding them that it’s the end of the fiscal year and it’s time to step up those surgeries because their bonus depends on their performance?

    Burzynski is a small-scale operator compared to some of these guys, but they all get a free pass from you and your brethren here because, oh my God, they are DOCTORS, don’t you know! Doctors, the very next thing to God! Yes, let us all bow down to doctors and the holy institution of medicine in America! It’s a religion, and Makary compares it to the Catholic church in the way it protects its own against scrutiny and censure.

  430. #431 S
    December 11, 2012

    @Judith, it is because of people like you who despite the evidence continue to sell bogus treatments to patients that I continue to post here. If bogus practitioners would stop feeding off vulnerable patients, blog posts like this would not be necessary. You did not respond to my request.

    “Libel, defamation: a false and malicious published statement that damages somebody’s reputation.”

    @Judith, Please post here the evidence that Reiki is an alternative, safe and effective means of treating amputation site infections in humans, poison ivy, thyroid cancer, etc. Otherwise, I fail to see how anyone expressing an opinion that Reiki is a fraudulent treatment for such infections, or a practitioner as fraudulent who either treats such infections with Reiki or makes misleading use of claims and testimonials to that same effect, is guilty of libel.

    If Reiki is used to treat an infection, then Reiki is being used in a fraudulent manner.

  431. #432 JGC
    December 11, 2012

    Judith, it’s s been explained to you multiple times now that no one is arguing that anyone be given a free pass. No one has argued that doctors are priveleged much less divine.

    Burzynski is ripping off desperate people when they’re most vulnerable. Small fry or otherwise such behavior demands exposure.

  432. #433 Judith
    December 11, 2012

    @S
    Did you know that Reiki is used in some of the best hospitals in North America? Or that Dr. Oz was not the only one to introduce a Reiki practitioner into his operating room, but so did, more recently, his colleague Dr. Sheldon Marc Feldman, Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery in New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center? He gave a talk about his experiences at a Reiki conference last fall. The title of the talk was “Optimizing surgery with Reiki”.

    Reiki is not used to treat an infection; Reiki is used to help the person’s body fight off the infection. There is a difference. Generally speaking, both Oz and his colleague Dr. Feldman found that people who received Reiki during their operations tended to do better post-operatively than people who didn’t. I know several doctors who either do Reiki themselves or go for treatments; I have treated doctors and even a scientist. So don’t set yourselves up as judge and jury on this; you are just showing your ignorance.

  433. #434 MarkL
    London
    December 11, 2012

    @JGC

    It is pointless trying to reason with Judith. She has amply demonstrated that she is either incapable of understanding or unwilling to understand that her point of view is irrelevant to this thread.

    To her all medical establishment types must be bad because………….errr ……….. they belong to the medical establishment.

    Stan the man on the other-hand is just a poor, downtrodden, maverick, misunderstood genius. Reiki is scorned here, and she KNOWS that that cant be right, so her tortured logic tells her that Burzynski is being unfairly persecuted too.

    She just keeps throwing in the same red herring time after time:

    “All human beings are capable of dishonesty and incompetence”

    It is laughable.

  434. #435 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    MarkL,

    Did Judith not see the half-day of comments here discrediting Oz and showing what a laughingstock he is? It is pointed out to her that HE IS MARRIED TO A REIKI SALESWOMAN and is therefore hardly impartial. He is close to being considered a quack himself these days. And yet she still comes back with Dr. Oz this, Dr. Oz that. We are not impressed and we don’t care.

    And Judith, I have told psychic type people they are frauds and phonies to their faces. I don’t use obscene language and I don’t consider that to be insulting. If I said they were fat and phony, or ugly and phony, that would be insulting. But to call out someone as a fraud when they are indeed a fraud is not insulting.

  435. #436 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 11, 2012

    I’ll save Judith the trouble of posting this link. Yes, this Dr. Feldman is connected to Oz and shills for of reiki. I’m still digging into his history to find something like he’s also married to a reiki saleswoman. The closest I’ve come is that Oz’s reiki person is business partner with the reiki guy that Feldman uses.

    Dig that groovy Oz quote at the very top of this page:

    http://www.ravenkeyes.com/node/6

  436. #437 S
    December 11, 2012

    Did you know that Reiki is used in some of the best hospitals in North America?

    Your point? Simply because a hospital uses a product does not mean that the product or service is effective. It only means that the product is in demand, people buy into it. No one is saying that the relaxation effect of Reiki is not soothing or helpful. So is knitting, listening to music, massage,…

    You like to talk in circles when you can’t provide any evidence, don’t you? Hopefully you’ll have to explain that to a judge one day – try and jerk one of them around.

    Dr. and Mrs. Oz have a lot to lose when more people become aware of their practices. As do their friends, the other medical predators in New York that he likely teaches.

    I’m past the bounds of civility with you for the night. I’ll let MSII, Narad comment. It seems you mistake their evidence as being rude. No surprise there. You don’t want to hear the truth..

    Reiki is not used to treat an infection

    Bull! Reiki and other energy woo-medicine practitioners are using Reiki to diagnose and treat infections and other illnesses. Your testimonials seem to indicate that you do as well.

  437. #438 Militant Agnostic
    In a house where we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
    December 12, 2012

    Judith – I could give a flying f*ck what Dr. Oz “found” given that he has shown himself to be a gullible, credulous unethical scumbag who will do anything for ratings. He has promoted such vile charlatans as John of God and John Edwards. He has recently promoted gay conversion therapy, something which has been shown to cause depression and suicide and which is based on the archaic notion that homosexuality is a mental illness. Do you think a dishonest gobshite like Dr Oz would ever “find” that Reiki was ineffective given his vested interest and given his track record? Could you point us to the where Dr. Oz and Dr. Feldman have published their results (in the unlikely event they have any) or is everything based on memory and impression without any objective measurement.

    I also note that neither you nor Marg have stepped up to explain where Bengston gets the huge amount of energy required to make a cloud dissipate. I will take this as a concession that hos “cloud busting” claims are fictional.

  438. #439 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 12, 2012

    I know this is only from The National Enquirer, and Judith will jump all over me for posting this, but I love how it exposes Ozand brings the issue to the attention of the public. And besides, the Enquirer has been correct about most things in the past couple of years. They’re almost like a slighlty more abrasive TMZ these days.

    Anyway, this whistle-blowing story on Dr. Oz includes a quote from a Dr. David Gorski.

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/experts-dr-oz-quack

  439. #440 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 12, 2012

    I just had a comment go into moderation and I just realized why. It’ll make sense once Orac releases it–it’ll be the National Enquirer piece on Dr. Oz. Let’s just say a “friend” of Orac’s is quoted and the moderation filter probably watches for that friend’s name.

  440. #441 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @S
    You did not address the issue of Dr. Feldman using Reiki practitioners in his operating and finding it correlating with positive results.

    The very level of emotion that gets generated in you at the merest idea that Reiki might be real and that it might be taken seriously by some doctors shows you just how irrational you are being about it.

  441. #442 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    “operating room”

  442. #443 JGC
    December 12, 2012

    Please explain to me as clearly as possible the difference between being “used to treat an infection” and ” used to help the person’s body fight off an infection”.

    How exactly can one objectively distinguish whether an experimental treatment X is working by treating an illness or instead helping the body fight off the illness?

    And finally, what evidence demonstrates reiki is any use at
    doing either?

  443. #444 JGC
    December 12, 2012

    Re: people doing better with reiki post surgery ” generally speaking” doesn’t cut it: it’s just more anecdote. Show us the results of a study where people getting reiki did better than people getting an appropriate faux-reiki control and you’ll have the beginning of an argument.

  444. #445 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    Do you know that between July 2009 and September 2010 there were approximately 17,000 totally unwarranted angioplasties done on nonacute patients

    Oh, look, Judith is trying to refine her previous, repeated assertions predicated on failing to actually read Chan et al. without for a second copping to the screaming errors in the original attempts. Sad Trombone notes that she blows it again. Leaving aside the fact that the “between” is wrong, the characterization as “totally unwarranted” is… totally unwarranted.

    Good effort finally vibrating in the general direction of the abstract, though, after failing to at the outset dowse the location of endnote 11 in the relevant chapter of the book she’s assigning as homework.

  445. #446 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    It is pointless trying to reason with Judith. She has amply demonstrated that she is either incapable of understanding or unwilling to understand that her point of view is irrelevant to this thread.

    I’m willing to go for “constitutionally dishonest.” Judith is willing to try to get away with anything.

  446. #447 herr doktor bimler
    December 12, 2012

    Did you know that Reiki is used in some of the best hospitals in North America?

    Excuse me, but is this coming from someone who elsewhere complains that medicine in the US is too contaminated by the profit motive to be taken seriously?

  447. #448 Bill Price
    December 12, 2012

    430 Judith December 11, 2012:

    I personally am sickened by the fraud, incompetence and greed perpetrated by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies.

    But you have told us that fraud is a technicality. (ref comment 254 Judith December 9, 2012) Or do you consider fraud just a technicality only when woo hustlers do it?
    I’m sure that most of us are unhappy about the occasional “fraud, incompetence and greed” that can be found in the medical field. Any honest person would be at least as upset about the fraud, incompetence, greed, and lack of concern for the marks’ health that permeates the woo hustle. It doesn’t seem to bother you; at least, you haven’t expressed any negative attitude towards the woo hustle (and hustlers) that I can recall.

  448. #449 S
    December 12, 2012

    You did not address the issue of Dr. Feldman using Reiki practitioners in his operating and finding it correlating with positive results.

    @Judith, Many people who go into surgery are terrified* for their lives. They are under a lot of stress, they are ill, and they are afraid of negative outcomes. Facing such a scary and unfamiliar ordeal alone can be frightening. Having another person stand beside them during this time so as to listen to their fears and offer soothing reassurance would understandably benefit some people. If Reiki is shown to have any benefit, it is likely due to this reassuring effect of human companionship and empathy.

    Unlike Reiki practitioners, hospitals do not allow a family member or friend in the operating room to provide emotional support for the patients. Given no choice, a patient in need will accept whatever support they can get. Call it Reiki or call it a paid surgical escort and companion service, it’s still just a paid companion – nothing mystical about it. It just sounds better to call someone a Reiki Master rather than a paid companion.

    You need to evidence that a Reiki practitioner can offer benefits beyond what any other compassionate and supportive person would offer. Do patients who receive Reiki heal more quickly than those who receive pseudo-Reiki, and why?

    (*especially patients at Columbia where Dr. Oz works)

  449. #450 S
    December 12, 2012

    @MSII, On that link you provided, they offer a service called ProReiki™ targeted toward athletes. How many football players would object to having a pretty blonde woman lay her hands on them? The magic of Reiki… what a load of garbage. I have no doubt that it is soothing and feels good, but just call it what it is and don’t deceive the patients as is being done..

    Unlike some Reiki practitioners, I would have a bit of moral objection to selling myself to touch strangers for a living. Craigslist is full of such offerings. But, to call it Reiki, now there’s a marketable idea, takes the trashiness out of it and dresses it up so that it is marketable to more people.

    http://www.ravenkeyes.com/node/6

  450. #451 LW
    December 12, 2012

    “Do you know that between July 2009 and September 2010 there were approximately 17,000 totally unwarranted angioplasties done on nonacute patients, to the tune of $15,000 to $100,000 per operation, even though a study published in 2007 showed that nonacute patients had no better outcomes with angioplasties than with medication and lifestyle changes?”

    Lifestyle changes — aye, there’s the rub. Lots of problems would be solved with lifestyle changes, but if doctors can’t get their patients to change their lifestyles, what are they supposed to do? Leave them to die? Or refer them to a specialist to try to get a surgical result equivalent to what medicine (profits to evil Big Pharma) and lifestyle changes would achieve?

    I also note that Judith seems to view “doctors” as the Borg, so that general practitioners would send their patients on to cardiac surgeons without making any efforts at solving the problem through medicine and lifestyle changes first. Or maybe she isn’t aware that cardiac surgeons do not, in general, snatch patients off the street and haul them in for unnecessary surgery.

  451. #452 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel."
    December 12, 2012

    @Judith

    That’s one comment.

    I personally am sickened by the fraud, incompetence and greed perpetrated by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies.

    And yet see no compulsion to hold yourself or your alt med colleagues to the same standards. One wonders why…

    The rest is just yet another tu quoque argument that you seem to be playing again and again. Change the record will you?

    Burzynski is a small-scale operator compared to some of these guys, but they all get a free pass from you and your brethren here because, oh my God, they are DOCTORS, don’t you know! Doctors, the very next thing to God! Yes, let us all bow down to doctors and the holy institution of medicine in America! It’s a religion, and Makary compares it to the Catholic church in the way it protects its own against scrutiny and censure.

    Or, as has explained numerous times, you’re making a strawman and we have and will turn criticism on “Big Pharma” when required. But omigod we’re currently criticising you, so that’s not ok! *roll eyes

    That’s two.

    Did you know that Reiki is used in some of the best hospitals in North America? Or that Dr. Oz was not the only one to introduce a Reiki practitioner into his operating room, but so did, more recently, his colleague Dr. Sheldon Marc Feldman, Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery in New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center? He gave a talk about his experiences at a Reiki conference last fall. The title of the talk was “Optimizing surgery with Reiki”.

    Wow, yet more arguments from authority (celebrity) and popularity. Yes indeedy, that’s so much better than posting RCTs!

    So don’t set yourselves up as judge and jury on this; you are just showing your ignorance.

    Educate us by posting some actual evidence for once.

    That’s three. Judith you have just admitted that your threats of libel are hollow. (For those who can’t remember, I requested Judith explain in detail)

    Apparently you know as much about law as you do about science. Your threats of libel are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.

  452. #453 S
    Reiki is Religion without Informed Consent
    December 12, 2012

    ProReiki™ is provided by an “Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Hypnotherapist, Master Meditation Teacher, Workshop Facilitator, Ordained Interfaith Minister

    ProReiki™ is religion. ProReiki™ is not evidenced-based medical care, but religion and religious beliefs and religious healings being effected upon patients without their full informed consent.

    http://www.interfaithministry.com/institute/minister.htm

    It is the Interfaith Minister as spiritual counsellor that works consciously with their spiritual awareness, responsibly allowing it to be a tool to help others. OIIM Interfaith Minister has developed his or her innate ability to work with the subtle unseen forces of the unconscious and the Spirit realms – they are able to tap into those intuitive skills that are a natural part of being a soul.

    OIIM Intuitive Registered Spiritual Counsellor has the authenticated gift of intuitive insight and spiritual mediumship. This means that the Interfaith Minister with the Intuitive Spiritual Counsellor designation has the validated ability to tap into the unseen world to share with individuals information which would otherwise be unaccessible to them. Additional services offered by the Interfaith Minister with the Intuitive Spiritual Counsellor designation includes intuitive/psychic readings and communication with departed loved ones, angels and spirit guides so as to empower individuals with insight and ‘heavenly messages for the soul.’

    Most training in psychic mediumship draws on either the Modern Spiritualist movement or the field of parapsychology and the study of the paranormal or the study of mysticism in the major religions. NTI is inclusive of all approaches, embracing both the scientific as well as the religious aspects and explorations of the field. Our students benefit from this breadth of training.

    —————
    The course work for this designation is exactly the same as the spiritual counsellor designation with a few additional courses and an internship in mediumship. These supplemental courses draw on the Modern Spiritualist movement as well as parapsychology and the study of the paranormal and draws on the tradition of mysticism found in the world’s major religious traditions.

    provide an understanding of holistic wellness and complementary therapies;

    provide a comprehensive understanding of personal spirituality, intuition, gifts of Spirit,
    energy work, death & dying, life after and before death, and communication with the spirit
    or heaven world;

    train wellness and other helping professionals in the human services field to understand
    and utilize the basic concepts of energy work, intuition, visualization, mind over body
    techniques, prayer, spiritual healing and gifts of spirit recognizing the uniqueness of every
    person and their unique cultural perspective;

    elevate spiritual counselling and the relevance of intuitive insights through the context of an
    Interfaith Ministry so as to give them the recognition they deserve in the helping professions;

    empower its students and ministers to be officially recognized and its graduates to work
    through and maintain professional status and a sense of community through OIIM.

  453. #454 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Judith,

    This is a blog that supports science-based medicine and is entitled “Respectful Insolence”. Are you really surprised that people give you a hard time here when you try to convince them that reiki, which is seen by the vast majority of scientists as utterly ridiculous, is real?

    As for doctors getting a free ride, I don’t think that that’s really true. I have seen many posts and comments here over the years that criticize issues of the kind that you have mentioned. It seems to me that many of them are related to the political and economic systems within which medicine in the US is practiced. Certainly I haven’t come across much evidence of these problems in the years I have spent working in UK hospitals. I’m sure everyone here would like to see medicine improved, but these are institutional and systematic problems that need to be tackled using the sorts of measures that Dr. Makary has championed, and which I for one wholeheartedly support.

    As a matter of fact I have actively worked for many years to increase the use of evidence-based medicine. I have supported whistle-blowers initiatives and measures to hold drug companies accountable, I have written to medical journals on these issues, corresponded with people who are working to improve medicine in many areas, attended meetings, signed numerous petitions, supported patients in pursuing medical negligence cases and more. I see my involvement with the skeptic movement in general, and this blog in particular as part of my efforts to improve medicine.

    What have you done to make things better? It does seem to me that you and other alternative practitioners are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Burzynski is another matter. He is trying to evade the systems being put in place to protect patients from the bad behavior of doctors, systems like the ones advocated by Marty Makary. Makary calls for transparency and for patients to be able to access doctors’ success rates so they can make informed decisions about their treatment. This is the antithesis of what Burzynski has done.

    There is a large propaganda campaign going on to make people believe that Burzynski is a poor persecuted genius who has found a cure for cancer. Desperate people with cancer and those whose children have cancer are being taken in by this propaganda, and making poor decisions with unpleasant consequences as a result of the misinformation being spread. I think it is only right that the truth about him should be trumpeted far and wide. I am proud to be a small part of this.

  454. #455 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @S
    In some states in the US, e.g., Florida, you can’t do hands-on healing unless you are an ordained minister. It doesn’t make it a “religion without informed consent”.

    You are all up in arms about Reiki, but there are healing modalities out there that go a lot farther than Reiki in what they try to do, with no overt spiritual overlay. Reiki is accepted in hospitals because it can be used in “adjunctive care”. If you listen to Pamela Miles, who was the Reiki person invited to do it on the Dr. Oz show, it claims to offer very little, mostly “balancing” and “relaxation”. When people are relaxed, they heal better. So I don’t know why you feel so threatened by Reiki in particular.

  455. #456 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    Kudos for your efforts and may many others follow in your footsteps in trying to make medicine more transparent and accountable.

    The problem with this blog is that while it calls itself “Respectful Insolence” it’s anything but respectful. Both Orac and the commenters feel entirely free to heap scorn indiscriminately on all forms of alternative medicine.That’s what prompted me to respond in the first place, to point out that medicine is no whited sepulchre itself and that within alternative medicine there are differences and gradations.

  456. #457 MarkL
    London
    December 12, 2012

    @Krebiozen

    You ask what Judith has done, you already know the answer. She has waved her hands in the air and wished really hard.

    Tangible results are not necessary in reiki-world. It is the being there, the knowledge that you are part of a superior group of people, knowing that you are one of the select few who are open minded enough to be able to deny the laws of physics, biology and chemistry.

    Reiki is a religion. It requires faith without evidence, in short, bullsh*t.

  457. #458 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @MarkL
    We made up a lot of those laws.

  458. #459 JGC
    December 12, 2012

    Judith, your tone-troll concerns are noted.

    The problem, however, is that a great deal of alternative medicine is entirely deserving of any amount of scorn that comes its way.

    Homeopathy. Miracle Mineral Solution. Chelation therapy for autism. Gerson’s coffee enema protocol. Geir’s chemical castrations with Lupron. Or your personal favorite, Bengston’s energy healing: proven in laboratory mice to be just as effective as absolutely no treatment whatsoever.

    The list of alternatives that are undeserving of any degree of respectful consideration is all but endless. Don’t begrudge them the scorn they’re receiving.

    They’ve earned it, in spades.

  459. #460 MarkL
    London
    December 12, 2012

    @Judith

    You are a troll, pure and simple. You refuse to provide evidence for either your support of Stan “give-us-your-money” Burzynski or for the claimed medical efficacy of your religion.

    You are, in effect, the ignorant child in the corner with her fingers in her ears shouting “lalalalalalalalalalalala” because you dont want to hear reasoned debate, you just want to be “right”.

    Time to put up or shut up Judith.

  460. #461 Lawrence
    December 12, 2012

    @Judith – hmmmmm…..made up laws of physics? Really?

    Have you ever even stepped inside an advanced physics classroom or spoken with researchers?

    My guess it not & you just make a ton of assumptions about what is and is not reality…..maybe a few hundred years ago, you’d be an incredibly rich and powerful “healer” since people didn’t know any better – but today, we do have a pretty good idea how the Universe operates – and how to apply actual scientific methods to determine what is and isn’t bullshit – unfortunately, your particular area of expertise resides firmly in the bullshit category.

  461. #462 Lawrence
    December 12, 2012

    @Judith – oops, comment in moderation (my language, probably).

    @Judith – hmmmmm…..made up laws of physics? Really?

    Have you ever even stepped inside an advanced physics classroom or spoken with researchers?

    My guess it not & you just make a ton of assumptions about what is and is not reality…..maybe a few hundred years ago, you’d be an incredibly rich and powerful “healer” since people didn’t know any better – but today, we do have a pretty good idea how the Universe operates – and how to apply actual scientific methods to determine what is and isn’t bullshi*t – unfortunately, your particular area of expertise resides firmly in the bullsh*t category.

  462. #463 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    A little bit on slagging SBM:

    As everyone knows there are unethical practitioners in SBM as well as pharmaceutical companies that worship the profit margin above efficacy. Not one of us would issue them a free pass because they may BEGIN with a scientific foundation- although they wind up elsewhere. Corruption and waste are despicable wherever they occur. Their problems are a separate issue from alt med’s sins.

    However it is distinctly another matter to focus upon malfeasance in SBM in order to distract attention from alt med’s misuse of the public’s trust and monetary assets.

    If you peruse alt media ( Natural News, PRN, Mercola, AoA, Info Wars et al) you will witness similar manoeuvering around the inconvenient fact that they don’t have data .And -btw- they also lie. How do I know this?

    1. If you have data, you submit it to public scrutiny via the usual channels ( SB journals) rather than broadcasting exposes and creating docu-dramas about cures. You do not need to rely upon testimonials from your satisfied clients and partisans. You allow others to criticise your work and attempt replication of it in other settings.

    Alt med that has been tested in standard fashion and found efficacious becomes SBM.

    2. The alt media companies I list above routinely lie in order to sell products and garner an audience:
    Mike Adams tells his followers that they should eschew medical care entirely and rely upon NDs and other alties to provide care: all doctors are corrupt and all pharmaceuticals are useless or dangerous.
    Gary Null proposes that ALL illness is due to lifestyle and that his advice – if followed to the letter- can cure people of cancer, hiv/ aids ( which doesn’t really exist), Alzheimer’s, CVD, MS, ASDs, LDs, SMIs etc. A person who eats correctly, exercises correctly and de-stresses in the proper manner should live to be 140.

    In addition, since about 2008, both of these prevaricators give advice about investment based upon their own idiosyncratic ideas about economics that – if followed- would have lost their advisees money, e.g. at the depths of the recession ( March 2009) Null advised people to sell their stocks and bonds and take money out of banks. People who complied would not have benefitted from the recovery – as I have. Both advise stocking up on precious metals and foods that will survive long-term storage for the apocalypse that is on its way, soon to engulf us all.

    However their criticism of economic theories and governmental poliicy goes hand-in-glove with their criticism of ALL experts- especial SBM. They have to do this so that people will listen to them as contrarians and brave maverick thought leaders. They lie, exaggerate factual material and take it out of context in order to make their case for unrealistic health practices and unlikely long-term personal financial strategies.

    They present themselves as a news service and relish their audience’s dependence upon their twisted facts rather than the despised mainstream media: it also guarantees that their products will be considerd first as payment for the elightenment with which their audience has been graced.

    ( I have to leave now )

  463. #464 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 12, 2012

    Do you know that between July 2009 and September 2010 there were approximately 17,000 totally unwarranted angioplasties done on nonacute patients, to the tune of $15,000 to $100,000 per operation, even though a study published in 2007 showed that nonacute patients had no better outcomes with angioplasties than with medication and lifestyle changes?

    How do you know this to be true? Wait, did you just say that someone published a study and that’s why you think the angioplasties may not have been necessary? That’s very science based of you.

    Where are the published, peer-reviewed, replicated studies on the other topics we’ve discussed?

  464. #465 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 12, 2012

    So I don’t know why you feel so threatened by Reiki in particular

    I don’t feel threatened by Reiki at all. I lump it together with other unproved “energy” therapies such as therapeutic touch, faith healing, necromancy, and so on, and based on lack of credible evidence that it works better than placebo (e.g. someone saying, “there, there”) feel those who promote it should either prove their claims or stop promoting it.

    But you’re right, there are a lot of more dangerous forms of quackery out there – coffee enemas, detoxification, master cleanse, antineoplastons, blood letting, and so on. Those get covered as well. You only hear about Reiki because that’s what you talk about, and you’re hearing repeated echoes of “and where’s your evidence that it works”.

    Frankly, if someone were to tell me that they’d prayed for me or given me Reiki while I was unconscious, I wouldn’t be the least bothered by it (as long as I didn’t get charged for it). I’d be far more concerned if the told me they’d give me a coffee enema.

  465. #466 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Judith,

    Both Orac and the commenters feel entirely free to heap scorn indiscriminately on all forms of alternative medicine.

    I know you probably spend most of your time, both physically and on line, with people who either believe in reiki and other forms of energy medicine, or think it is quite possible that it works through some mechanism yet undiscovered by science.

    You have to understand that from our point of view alternative medicine is medicine that has either not been adequately tested for safety and efficacy, or has been adequately tested and found to be unsafe and/or ineffective.

    I think most of us here consider that most alternative medicine, including reiki and therapeutic touch, falls into the latter category, and many of us are exasperated that forms of medicine that have been, for all practical purposes, proven not to work (PDF), are still in use, even in respectable medical establishments.

    I think that the neutral language of science can be misleading. Science rarely says that anything has been disproven, only that there is no evidence to support a particular hypothesis. When you look at the large numbers of trials of reiki and related therapies that are equally scientifically implausible, overall they look very much like trials of other forms of things like acupuncture and homeopathy. There are few trials that show any positive results, and those that do are barely statistically significant, and when they are they are not clinically significant.

    You may remember some time ago I looked at the analgesic efficacy of therapeutic touch compared to methadone for cancer pain, since pain is one area where these therapies are supposedly most effective. In summary, opiates have a reliable clinically significant effect on pain, but reiki and therapeutic touch do not.

    I think that on the basis of those results reiki and therapeutic touch should be abandoned for the treatment of pain, in favor of effective treatments. I do find it annoying that they are still in use, even by doctors who should know better who I think should only be using treatments that have been proven effective. That’s why I’m inclined to be scornful, because I think patients are being put at risk by the use of these treatments.

    I also think that their use encourages people to believe in pseudoscience, which is a very bad thing, and that it is a great shame that some people, like yourself, are still allowing themselves to be misled by their own cognitive biases when we have known about these, and have had effective ways to overcome them for over 200 years. This is willful ignorance, and I do think that willful ignorance deserves scorn.

  466. #467 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel."
    December 12, 2012

    I have a comment in moderation. Keep your eyes peeled for the same tagline I used as this one.

  467. #468 Orac
    December 12, 2012

    .The problem with this blog is that while it calls itself “Respectful Insolence” it’s anything but respectful.

    Judith obviously does not understand irony.

    In any case, I show disrespect to those who in my eyes deserve it.

  468. #469 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    In some states in the US, e.g., Florida, you can’t do hands-on healing unless you are an ordained minister.

    That’s a peculiar way of stating the situation. What is actually the case is that Florida is willing to bust fakirs for the unlicensed practice of medicine, so fraudulent ministerial credentials are used in an attempt to make an end run. You know, just like phony religious exemptions for school immunization. Licensed massage therapist? THAT’S HARD! (Note also that the only actual limitation on “hands-on healing” is doing it for money. I WANT MY DONATIONS!)

    It doesn’t make it a “religion without informed consent”.

    No, it makes it irrefutably sleazy out of sheer laziness. (Look, Ma, no ministers!)

    If you listen to Pamela Miles, who was the Reiki person invited to do it on the Dr. Oz show, it claims to offer very little, mostly “balancing” and “relaxation”.

    And if we listen to Bengston, it cures cancer. And if we listen to Domancic, what you do makes “every illness curable.” So what does Pamela Miles have to do with anything? She’s not here.

  469. #470 Bronze Dog
    December 12, 2012

    Both Orac and the commenters feel entirely free to heap scorn indiscriminately on all forms of alternative medicine.

    Reversing cause and effect. They’re arbitrarily labeled “alternative” to make special pleading excuses to explain away their failures in scientific tests. If a treatment is shown to work, there’d be no reason to label it “alternative.” It’s marketing spin for reinforcing a counterculture that’s more about blind rebellion and a sense of entitlement than any sort of principles. Conveniently, it also creates gullible consumers.

    There really is no such thing as “alternative medicine” as far as I’m concerned. From my point of view, alternative medicine is more defined by what it isn’t and who its enemies are, rather than what it is. Beyond the ideas involved in perpetuating credulous thinking, there really doesn’t seem to be any consistent foundation other than convenience.

    Pharmaceutical companies, using science, can usually show objective results for their treatments under controlled conditions (though they do cheat on occasion and science is used to catch them), which provides the under-performers with a political and financial motivation to join under one big tent for using rhetorical legerdemain instead of science. I call people “alties” because they perpetuate the false dichotomy rather than drop affiliations.

    There is one trend I’ve been seeing, though: In my youth, I tended to see “alternative medicine” as generally a far left wing thing, but over time, as I got more involved, I’ve been seeing more and more crazy right-libertarian rhetoric.

  470. #471 Bo
    USA
    December 12, 2012

    Oh no,! Now Narad and the “pandemic squad” have a “There is no God” idea for a vaccine. Another round of shots. (facepalm)

  471. #472 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 12, 2012

    Better not tell Judith that Orac’s “friend’s” other blog just posted a scathing piece shredding energy medicine to pieces. We can thank Dr. Novella for posting it.

    Good thing comments there are a little more difficult to post than they are here or else Judith would start her hand waving there too.

    Let’s not tell her the URL and see if she’s smart enough to figure it out.

  472. #473 Bronze Dog
    December 12, 2012

    I feel like doing a jab at the “made up” assertion about the laws of physics, chemistry, and so on. These laws are founded on and tested by reality. They’re approximations, but they’re very accurate ones.

    I’ve used Newtonian physics in high school. The teacher made us design balanced mobiles using math to calculate how much torque our selected objects would exert on the rods based on their distance from the point of rotation and their weight. To be balanced, the torque on both sides of each rod had to be equal. And we were expected to do it asymmetrically, with varying weights and distances. I did the math very thoroughly and my mobile stayed balanced with no tweaking the first time I hung it. The laws I premised the project on predicted the real world result quite accurately.

    I also took AP Chemistry for two semesters. I saw many laws and suddenly a lot of the little things in life made sense. I understood why soap and detergent are good for cleaning. I understood why warm sodas generally fizzed up more than cold ones. I understood why oil and water didn’t mix. I understood how batteries worked. I understood the principle behind neon lights. I understood why air conditioners need an exhaust vent to the outside. I understood why gold didn’t tarnish as easily as other metals. I understood why iron was so easily and strongly magnetized compared to other materials. Our everyday world is built on these laws of chemistry even if your average layperson is unaware of them. We aren’t talking about weird events in unusual laboratory conditions, we’re talking about everyday things. If the laws of chemistry were simply “made up” without reference to reality, how do we accomplish all the various little everyday things we do as a technological society? If they’re fiction, why do they explain and predict things so accurately?

    That’s one thing that irritates me about arrogant woos. They don’t grasp the scope of the things they’re talking about. They’re focused on convincing us that they’ve got a grasp on something exotic without showing any signs that they grasp the familiar, as if they think “boring” things don’t really count as science. They ask us to throw aside the laws that make all the countless things in the familiar world understandable so that their one questionable idea for one questionable phenomenon can be privileged above our alternatives.

  473. #474 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 12, 2012

    Reiki is not used to treat an infection; Reiki is used to help the person’s body fight off the infection. There is a difference. Generally speaking, both Oz and his colleague Dr. Feldman found that people who received Reiki during their operations tended to do better post-operatively than people who didn’t. I know several doctors who either do Reiki themselves or go for treatments; I have treated doctors and even a scientist. So don’t set yourselves up as judge and jury on this; you are just showing your ignorance.

    Now appeals to authority. This would be so easy to test Judith so why aren’t they? Reiki is BS and people shouldn’t be paying for it and frankly, I would be pissed as hell if some hand-waving weirdo was allowed into the theatre while I was under anesthesia.

  474. #475 Calli Arcale
    December 12, 2012

    Judith:

    Reiki is not used to treat an infection; Reiki is used to help the person’s body fight off the infection. There is a difference.

    That most certainly *is* treating an infection. You may think you’re able to wordsmith your way out of a charge of practicing medicine without a license, but reality isn’t swayed by semantics, and helping the body fight an infection is a treatment. Remember, treatment is more than just drugs. The usual treatment for a broken arm is to help the body heal the bone by setting the bone in the proper alignment, stabilizing it so it stays steady while the body does it’s work, and controlling pain and swelling (and, if pain is enough to interfere with eating, providing extra nutrition as well).

    Of course, you may be saying more than you intend. Because I do believe that indeed, reiki does not treat an infection. It just pretends to.

  475. #476 Bronze Dog
    December 12, 2012

    You know, it’s funny when I see a woo start making appeals to authority. Science is essentially about the rejection of authority, and they don’t seem to get that. The “authority” is not in any person, it’s in the methodology they use to conduct experiments or collect observations and the cogency of their logic for interpreting their results. Woos have typically trapped themselves into thinking everything’s a matter of dueling tribe leaders, charisma, and marketing propaganda between enemy tribes.

    In science, there are no prophets. There are no dictators. There are no chieftains. There are no saints. There are no idols. There are no god-kings. There are no sacred books. There are no enlightened gurus meditating their way to truth at the top of ivory towers. Assertions are only as good as the work done to back them up. If you want your idea to be accepted, you have to get in the dirt and work for it, like everyone else. You’re not inherently above the human condition, so don’t use your perceived authority as a free pass.

    Holding a person up as an authority is a quick and risky shortcut at best. Rely on it too much, and you can easily find yourself lost in the wilderness.

  476. #477 Shay
    December 12, 2012

    There are no god-kings.

    Lord Draconis will get you for that.

  477. #478 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel." Your threats of libel are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.
    December 12, 2012

    My comment finally appears here.

    I’d also like to add a thumbs up for Krebiozen’s post.

    @Judith

    If you listen to Pamela Miles, who was the Reiki person invited to do it on the Dr. Oz show, it claims to offer very little, mostly “balancing” and “relaxation”. When people are relaxed, they heal better. So I don’t know why you feel so threatened by Reiki in particular.

    You either don’t or won’t read, or have some trouble understanding English. If you posted some reliable evidence that it worked, nobody would have a problem with it. You don’t, so we do.

    Both Orac and the commenters feel entirely free to heap scorn indiscriminately on all forms of alternative medicine.That’s what prompted me to respond in the first place, to point out that medicine is no whited sepulchre itself and that within alternative medicine there are differences and gradations.

    Nah, you came here to defend reiki, which was the topic we were discussing, because one of your fans brought it up.

    If Big Pharma started going on about some magical mystical cure but refuses to post evidence for it, we’d heap insolence on it to. In fact, it’s been done already, not that you care to look. In fact, if you’d been paying attention, we’re criticising *Burzyinski* who is using fairly well-known medicines in an unethical manner. (But oh yes, he goes against the grain by being the lone maverick, so he doesn’t count in your fairyland)

    We made up a lot of those laws.

    Postmodernism rears its head again. I’m surprised you haven’t stated that gravity is just a theory…

    If it weren’t for the fact that Orac doesn’t allow it, I’d swear you were just a sock puppet of Marg.

    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that neither MARG or JUDITH, the contemptible purse-snatchers of science, HAS ANY EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS

  478. #479 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel." Your threats of libel are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.
    December 12, 2012

    @Lawrence

    My guess it not & you just make a ton of assumptions about what is and is not reality…..maybe a few hundred years ago, you’d be an incredibly rich and powerful “healer” since people didn’t know any better – but today, we do have a pretty good idea how the Universe operates – and how to apply actual scientific methods to determine what is and isn’t bullshi*t – unfortunately, your particular area of expertise resides firmly in the bullsh*t category.

    I suspect most of these alt medders, other than touting snake oil, would actually be people who turn up at parties, hired for their entertainment factor rather than their actual knowledge. Like bringing in the local medium for a seance, or the latest importation (food, spices, animal, ‘exotic’ person) to prove that you have money, class and clout.

    @MOB

    So I don’t know why you feel so threatened by Reiki in particular

    I don’t feel threatened by Reiki at all.

    Following on from this, I am personally coming from a somewhat neutral position, and am looking for a reason to be convinced. Every time I ask for evidence though, I am ignored or given anecdotes, or given studies that don’t live up to expectations. I am not being negative at all, I am actively requesting more information because I *want* to change my mind.

    If reiki actually worked, I’d try it in a heartbeat. But nobody can prove to me that it does.

    And if anything, my bias is that I’ve tried various alt med things before – including those like energy healing, such as qi gong – and have a soft spot for postmodernism – because of my background in the arts – and found those alt med ideas wanting. Why is it they work for so many people but not for me? It wasn’t for lack of trying, nor belief in what they could do.

    As for my tone, I lose patience after a while when the other person in the conversation refuses to move off of previously discussed points; or refuses to respond to comments; or refuses to leave fallacies out of their arguments; or refuses to provide adequate evidence despite repeated asking. This patience is generally lost over a period of time and I’m far nicer to begin with. You avoid those things that make me lose patience, you’ll have a better chance at not receiving so much insolence from me.

    @Bo

    Oh no,! Now Narad and the “pandemic squad” have a “There is no God” idea for a vaccine. Another round of shots. (facepalm)

    Is there any reason you bring vaccines into a discussion not related to vaccines other than to jump up and down on them? We’re talking about Burzyinski and/or reiki here.

    @Bronze Dog

    I’ve used Newtonian physics in high school. The teacher made us design balanced mobiles using math to calculate how much torque our selected objects would exert on the rods based on their distance from the point of rotation and their weight. To be balanced, the torque on both sides of each rod had to be equal. And we were expected to do it asymmetrically, with varying weights and distances. I did the math very thoroughly and my mobile stayed balanced with no tweaking the first time I hung it. The laws I premised the project on predicted the real world result quite accurately.

    This sounds like a fun project I’ll have to try sometime!

    They’re focused on convincing us that they’ve got a grasp on something exotic without showing any signs that they grasp the familiar, as if they think “boring” things don’t really count as science. They ask us to throw aside the laws that make all the countless things in the familiar world understandable so that their one questionable idea for one questionable phenomenon can be privileged above our alternatives.

    I suspect that it has something to do with wanting the universe to be more exciting or special than it really is.

  479. #480 herr doktor bimler
    December 12, 2012

    I suspect that it has something to do with wanting the universe to be more exciting or special than it really is.

    The universe *is* an exciting and special place. Part of that specialness is its regularity — the underlying rules that make some of its behaviours predictable (or at least understandable in hindsight).

    Sadly, the exciting and special aspects of the universe do *not* seem to include a special status for the desires of human beings.

  480. #481 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    I suspect that it has something to do with wanting the universe to be more exciting or special than it really is.

    Substitute “self” for “universe,” and I think you’re closer.

  481. #482 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    Casting aspersion on experts:

    One of my hobby horses involves reviewing a little song and dance routine popular in woo-topia entitled ” the cult of the professional ( or expert)”;

    and I do seem to hear its lilting strains around here as well.
    The woo-meister solemnly proclaims that the experts really know VERY little indeed and moreover, they are chained to staid conformity by their masters and never seek wisdom beyond the confines of their tiny, little area of expertise. They are unable to think grand, paradigm-shifting thoughts and venture stalwartly into untrammeled, virgin territory.

    Now who are the people who are providing this critique? Who can stand above and criticise ALL of science? Indeed, all of social sciences as well and some of the arts.

    In truth, the folks I’m talking about have probably never studied science beyond secondary school except for b@stardised versions from alternative, woo-centric institutions. Distance learning from places advertised on matchcovers and universities with names like Wisdom, Nature or Freedom. I am assured that the University of Google is well represented also.

    Criticism without understanding science and statistical analysis can be done by any person in a bar or pub, perched on a barstool, spouting truisms and lofty thoughts: it doesn’t mean that there is anything solid behind the words. Actually a drunk person would probably be much more entertaining than the ones I hear.

    How can a person with a minuscule background presume to prognosicate like this? Despite having neither the ability nor the experience, they carry on like this for their enraptured audiences as if they are indeed in an appropriate position – ABOVE IT ALL.

    Remember I said, ‘as if – because it IS posturing and play-acting.

    However, if you cast aspersion on experts perhaps your audience will ignore them and listen to YOU instead. What these fellows presume to do is outside of most real experts’ capacities: how can you be arrogant enough to criticise science in ALL fields- medicine, biology, psychology, epidemiology, virology, oncology, pharmacology et al and THEN start blathering on about your studies in economics or political science or philosophy? No one can do ALL of this- let alone a person with average intelligence without a decent formal educational background. These guys aren’t that bright but they are SALESMEN and know their trade.

  482. #483 Heliantus
    December 12, 2012

    From Judith

    Burzynski is a small-scale operator compared to some of these guys, but they all get a free pass from you and your brethren here because, oh my God, they are DOCTORS,

    But? Burzynski is a DOCTOR!
    And so is DOCTOR Oz.
    And so are a lot of other providers of Alt-Med – like this half-competent doctor in Texas who hired the local sheriff to help him peddle his own supplements to his patients (breaking hospital rules), and when needed to track down the nurses who blew the whistle on him.

    So let me get this straight: we give a free pass to DOCTORS, except when we don’t.

  483. #484 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    Come and say all that to me in person. You are a Canuck; I bet you are polite and decent in person, but give a man a pseudonym and a computer screen to hide behind, and he feels free to let loose with all manner of incivility and insults. And that goes for @Narad too

    Judith, if you think I would “play ball” with your Cosmic Condescension by virtue of experiencing the quivering tendrils of your Great Soul in person, you’re sorely mistaken.

  484. #485 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Denice,
    I’m currently reading the late Stephen Jay Gould’s posthumously published book, ‘The Hedgehog, the Fox and the Magister’s Pox’, which is about the different approaches of
    natural and social sciences. It’s shaping up to be an interesting read which I think you might enjoy, should you not have read it already. I am a big fan of Gould, I should point out, though I don’t always agree with him.

    BTW, foxes are not my favorite creatures at the moment; my late lamented cat’s decomposing corpse made an unexpected reappearance yesterday. It seems I did not bury her quite deep enough in our back yard when she died a few weeks ago, and the foxes must have gotten hungry in this cold weather. It’s not really how I want to remember a beloved pet!

    I’ll forgive them, of course – in fact they got an extra bag of chicken this afternoon.

  485. #486 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    @ Krebiozen:

    I am also a fan of Gould.

    Yes, the foxes. I am sorry to hear about their recent ,,, uh, activities.
    A certain gentleman I know is currently feeding the park foxes expensive cat food- gourmet chicken with greens, I believe. He is quite enamoured of them.

    Relating this to my Irish friend, I learn that there are many at HER end of the park; while she doesn’t feed them YET she enjoys watching them- especially when they have kits. I imagine that they will eventually all have Gaelic names to which they will answer prompty.

    All I’ve seen lately in parks are stupid geese, ducks and swans.

  486. #487 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    All I’ve seen lately in parks are stupid geese, ducks and swans.

    “America’s marsupial” should be moving closer to daytime activity soon.

  487. #488 S
    December 12, 2012

    @Krebiozen, I sure hope the foxes let your cat rest in peace. Keep feeding them extra chicken for at least another 6 months or so.

  488. #489 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    S,

    @Krebiozen, I sure hope the foxes let your cat rest in peace.

    I have to confess she’s double-bagged in the garbage and headed for a landfill burial. Sentiment be damned, I’m not going to risk another zombie apocalypse scare.

  489. #490 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Narad,

    “America’s marsupial” should be moving closer to daytime activity soon.

    I was just recently about possums, opossums, and their differences, bifurcated penises and all.

  490. #491 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    “recently learning” – hit [Insert] in error.

  491. #492 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Denice,

    gourmet chicken with greens

    I’m a little lost for words, and worried my wife will get ideas*. At least I have talked her out of using the homeopathic mange medication that a UK fox charity sends out free of charge. It does seem to work, but I’m pretty sure that’s because they advise it should be administered on jam sandwiches. Chicken sans homeopathy seems just as effective anyway.

    *One of the zombie cat’s favorites was chicken and spinach in a white sauce – I sometimes found myself pondering that the world has definitely gone a bit crazy when I adopt a stray and before long it appears to be eating better than me.

  492. #493 S
    December 12, 2012

    @K, I must admit I had to look up the word bifurcated. The Wikipedia photo led me to this rather sinister looking beetle.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/02/photogalleries/spiky-beetle-genitals/photo3.html

    Better to be a possum than a beetle.

  493. #494 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    @ Narad:

    A few years ago ( 2007), I was walking around the woods in Monterey ( CA) by myself; later on in the day, I came across a home-made sign at the lighthouse that said ( in both English AND Spanish) “Watch out for mountain lions.” I learned that they were hanging out in the area- especially around the golf courses and wooded-areas. Where I was.
    I didn’t see any.
    I only see the boring animals.

    Later reports ( 2011) reported the cats at the Presidio and walking down streets of residential areas.

  494. #495 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    There was an episode of House in which the Great Dr. House finally diagnosed a dying patient as suffering from some kind of horrid parasite that can only be gotten from foxes. So please keep your distance from the critters, for a variety of reasons.

  495. #496 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @Narad
    Are you a Canuck?

  496. #497 Lawrence
    December 12, 2012

    @Judith – how about keeping to the topic at hand. Are you defending a charlatan that charges hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sham treatment & offering false hope to the dying?

  497. #498 Narad
    December 12, 2012

    @Narad
    Are you a Canuck?

    Perhaps you would like to reexamine the construction of your paragraph. Hold your hand to the screen; it will sort itself out.

  498. #499 Judith
    December 12, 2012

    @Lawrence
    Actually, not.

    His anecdotal evidence does not seem to bear out.

  499. #500 Liz Ditz
    Down by the bay
    December 12, 2012

    Denice — no mountain lion sitings that I know of on the golf courses for a while — IIRC, it’s usually young males looking for a territory. On the other hand, the deer population might have crashed on the Monterey peninsula — don’t know.

    On feeding wildlife — back when I bought hay in 35 to 55 ton increments, we had a clan of bobcats policing the hay barn for rodents. They never really were “tame” but would observe activities in the barnyard with interest. The flight distance for humans on foot was about 4-5 meters, but mounted on horseback I could practically reach out to touch Mr. Sits On The Fence & Supervise.

    In the last few years, the ranch were I lived then has had a coyote population explosion — we think for two reasons — the former foreman used to terminate with extreme prejudice, and once he’d been gone for a few years (ie, it was safe to show your canid head here and there) the population exploded.

    Anyway, there were a pair of coyotes, male and female, that we called “the show coyotes” — very beautiful pelts, well-conformed and so on. Finally figured out that they had learned how to get in and out of the garbage dumpster and were eating high on the hog.

    One of the ranch neighbors started the rumor that the ranch was breeding coyotes for show….

  500. #501 THS
    December 12, 2012

    This summer I saw mountain lion 3 times out here in the Oregon Coast Range. First sitings for me in 16 years. We’ve found cougar kills (deer) twice in our property in since 1996. This evening I saw a pileated woodpecker working on an apple. They do that this time of years if the bears have left any on the trees.
    OK, nice to break with nature, and where were we? Arrogance of ignorance. Vexing, how it runs the gamut from SB railing at someone’s “small brain” to woo-bleatings about “open-mindedness” and let’s not forget paradigms. (I’ll see you that & go for a quarter, please.) One thing, I got out to the West Coast & saw reference to Reiki and I sure was disappointed when I learned what it was & what it purported to do. You don’t even get a decent massage. Someone’s likely pointed that out already.
    I continue to enjoy the comments of Orac’s minions.

  501. #502 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    @ Krebiozen:
    @ LIz:

    Interesting about how the diets of small carnivores resemble our own.

    I have a very large, male cat- looks like a wildcat- because of his IBD ( oh, I know), he is on a special diet which has helped his symptoms AND vastly improved his coat. He is a luxurious-looking, opulently striped and spotted creature.

    The ingredients of his food consist of chicken, brewers’ rice, corn, yeast and loads of vitamins and oils. He eats better than I do.

  502. #503 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel." Your threats of libel are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.
    December 12, 2012

    @HDB

    The universe *is* an exciting and special place. Part of that specialness is its regularity — the underlying rules that make some of its behaviours predictable (or at least understandable in hindsight).

    I know that and you know that, but some people out there haven’t figured it out yet. I would guess this comes back to spiritualism too, and wanting to feel connected to some larger, more meaningful … thing … in order to deal with the randomness and cruelty of nature.

    Sadly, the exciting and special aspects of the universe do *not* seem to include a special status for the desires of human beings.

    Indeed, which was what I was getting at.

    @Narad

    Substitute “self” for “universe,” and I think you’re closer.

    Again, agreed.

    @Heliantus

    Burzynski is a DOCTOR!

    Has anyone actually managed to confirm his credentials? Last I remember, there was doubt about his actual degrees.

    @Krebiozen

    I have to confess she’s double-bagged in the garbage and headed for a landfill burial. Sentiment be damned, I’m not going to risk another zombie apocalypse scare.

    I have to say of all the weird things I’ve read about on this blog, this one is the weirdest. My apologies about your cat.

    @Judith

    There was an episode of House in which the Great Dr. House finally diagnosed a dying patient as suffering from some kind of horrid parasite that can only be gotten from foxes. So please keep your distance from the critters, for a variety of reasons.

    Hehe, fiction, reality, what’s the difference? If it’s on TV it must be true!

    His anecdotal evidence does not seem to bear out.

    But naturally, anecdotes are just fine for you when you want to use them. I think we should nickname you Double Standards Judith.

  503. #504 Alain
    December 12, 2012

    The ingredients of his food consist of chicken, brewers’ rice, corn, yeast and loads of vitamins and oils. He eats better than I do.

    I’m jealous (but not so much)….pretty nice diet.

    Alain

  504. #505 Krebiozen
    December 12, 2012

    Judith,

    There was an episode of House in which the Great Dr. House finally diagnosed a dying patient as suffering from some kind of horrid parasite that can only be gotten from foxes.

    Thanks for the warning, though the foxes do keep their distance, and I’m always careful handling cadavers, of whatever species. I do find it hard to take House seriously, being familiar with Hugh Laurie’s earlier work – such as Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster etc..

  505. #506 AdamG
    December 12, 2012

    His anecdotal evidence does not seem to bear out.

    Right but your anecdotal evidence TOTALLY DOES for, you know, reasons.

  506. #507 Narad
    December 12, 2012
    There was an episode of House in which the Great Dr. House finally diagnosed a dying patient as suffering from some kind of horrid parasite that can only be gotten from foxes. So please keep your distance from the critters, for a variety of reasons.

    Hehe, fiction, reality, what’s the difference? If it’s on TV it must be true!

    Well, TV with a typical Judith extrapolation. This is House S02E07, and it is not the case that E. multilocularis “can only be gotten from foxes.”

  507. #508 lilady
    December 12, 2012

    Judith: Burzynski doesn’t claim to cure foxes…or humans…of echinococcosis….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_%28House%29

  508. #509 Denice Walter
    December 12, 2012

    @ THS:

    I also enjoyex the nature break- yes, urban and suburban animal wildlife.

    I suppose I could try my hand at writing a few paragraphs of observations of furry creatures in their native habitat such as those populating overgrown river banks, burgeoning life amongst the variegated,
    dense foliage.
    Who was that guy in the Evelyn Waugh novel with a newspaper column called “Lush Life” or similarly? Totally hilarious IIRC.
    Not today.

  509. #510 herr doktor bimler
    December 12, 2012

    Who was that guy in the Evelyn Waugh novel with a newspaper column called “Lush Life” or similarly? Totally hilarious IIRC.

    From “Scoop”, right?

  510. #511 THS
    December 13, 2012

    Denice,
    Due to my Wisconsin roots I was inculcated with a bit of the John Muir & Aldo Leopold sensibility. Sand County Almanac & Thinking Like a Mountain. (These ideals I can’t match.)
    My eyes continue to be opened by the comments of the cadre you senior Minions & Shills.

  511. #512 THS
    dropped a word: of
    December 13, 2012

    that’s: cadre of you senior Minions..

  512. #513 Krebiozen
    December 13, 2012

    I’m a little envious of these OT diversions going on while I’m sleeping that I come to cold the next day.

    Denice,

    He is a luxurious-looking, opulently striped and spotted creature.

    A Maine Coon by any chance? A neighbor has a Norwegian Forest Cat, which is very similar, a gorgeous creature, more like a lynx than a domestic mog. He thinks he lives at our house, much to his owner’s chagrin.

    Flip,

    I have to say of all the weird things I’ve read about on this blog, this one is the weirdest.

    I feel a warm glow of pride.

    My apologies about your cat.

    I’m OK about her now, even her unexpected resurrection, though I was ridiculously upset when she died. She turned up on our doorstep a couple of years ago, a half-dead stray, with her face almost entirely hairless from fleas and mites. We were unable to catch her to get her to the vet, so we made her a little hut to live in outside, out of the elements, and slowly nursed her back to health. Gradually she gained the confidence to come indoors, and became a house cat of sorts, though she remained afraid of literally everything, and was by no means a lap cat. I’m a sucker for a lame duck (or cat).

  513. #514 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    A kid in the US caught bubonic plague burying a dead squirrel. Just sayin’.

    Not generally a fan of the fictional Dr. House. He always half-killed his patients, or watched them half-die, before he figured out was wrong with them.

    @Narad, I just asked whether you were Canuck out of curiosity, not because I was relying on my paragraph construction. Whatever nationality you are, I think “dyspeptic” and “curmudgeonly” are appropriate epithets to add.

    @AdamG
    I know my own anecdotal evidence; I suppose you are right that I shouldn’t expect others to be willingly reliant on it, nor should I be reliant on other people’s anecdotal evidence based on what I know about mine.

    @Krebiozen
    What a lovely thing to do for a stray cat.

    @All
    Happy holidays.

  514. #515 LW
    December 13, 2012

    Hi Judith, did you miss my comment pointing out that The Amazing Randi has a cool million dollars waiting for you to prove that you can instantly cure the poison oak rash? There have been a lot of comments so I can see how you missed it. But I wouldn’t want you to miss this golden opportunity to not only prove Reiki once and for all, but to pocket a million dollars at the same time!

  515. #516 Lawrence
    December 13, 2012

    @Judith – I second LW’s comment. If you are so convinced of your own “power” please do apply for the $1mil dollar prize.

    Just like Dr. B, all you have to do is “put up or shut up” and put yourself to a real test.

  516. #517 S
    December 13, 2012

    @Narad, I just asked whether you were Canuck out of curiosity, not because I was relying on my paragraph construction. Whatever nationality you are, I think “dyspeptic” and “curmudgeonly” are appropriate epithets to add.

    @Judith, Feel my energy.

    @Judith, I third LW’s comment. “Put up or shut up” and find a new line of work.

  517. #518 al kimeea
    December 13, 2012

    “The same with back surgeries. Most patients do just as well if not better with medication, physiotherapy and exercise.”

    You lying sack of feces, several back surgeons in Toronto told me the same thing, hence no surgery. One even spoke of the history of back surgery in Toronto which led to what he called the “failed back surgery clinic.” All the worry aboot hillbilly heroin abuse meant very limited access to painkillers.

    And the physioclinic was going to send me to chiroquacks and quackupuncture next. So I stopped going while continuing the stretching I was doing before I saw them and they recommended it…

    That you have any sort of practice selling false hope via obviously false means is a sad commentary on Canadian education.

  518. #519 Denice Walter
    December 13, 2012

    @ Kreb:

    I adopted what I thought was a small, intelligent-looking young cat with intriguing markings but it was actually a giant kitten whose exuberant actviities broke many objects in my place, including a large antique mirror that he flung himself into a fews months on.

    I think he is a regular cat but he looks rather wild: he has a longer, narrower face and is rather huge with gigantic ears and feet. ( see images of European wildcat). Doesn’t have long hair like the breeds you mention. He has elaborate stripes, swirls, spots and a few rosette-like spots like a wild thing. He’s beautiful and knows it.

    Another gentleman I know ( not the fox guy) adopted a long-haired stray who was later hit by a car: many tears over her.

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    Yes, he got the job after the gossip columnist did himself in.

  519. #520 Denice Walter
    December 13, 2012

    @ THS:

    I always appreciate your kind words. Where do I send the money?
    We minions aim to please.

    @ al kimeea:

    I am often treated to alt media loons wringing their hands over the current state of education in the western world- most recently @ PRN.

    I have no idea why they’re upset because the lack of education and critical thinking guarantee enrichment for people who:

    provide expensive, un-tested cancer treatment,
    discourage vaccination,
    fix data and benefit from their folllowers’ adulation,
    offer un-tested services for physical and psychological ills,,
    sell supplements on the internet,
    sell ads on their websites,
    write up their martyrdom experiences as books,
    provide alt media microphones and documentaries for like-minded woo-spreaders,
    frighten people about the future and
    make a career of sliming SBM

    in other words, themselves and their cronies.

    It is truly ironic because the dudes most likely to complain have in-adequate educations themselves- and I’m not basing that solely upon their acceptance of bad science ( which after all, can be an act to hawk their own products) BUT
    from their generally sub-par usage of language, figures of speech, allusions and construction of their arguments.
    They are probably not as bright as their average audience member. Their emotional-manipulation of human weakness is the only place where I see any evidence of sophistication in all of the years I’ve reviewed this tripe.

  520. #521 AdamG
    December 13, 2012

    I know my own anecdotal evidence; I suppose you are right that I shouldn’t expect others to be willingly reliant on it

    But isn’t that precisely what you are doing to people you offer to treat? What can they base their decisions on other than being ‘willingly reliant’ on your own anecdotal data?

  521. #522 shadow1458
    Always lurking, never commenting...
    December 13, 2012

    @ Denice Walter

    Perhaps he’s a Bengal or a Savannah, they can be quite hyperactive and look very much like wildcats. He may even be the offspring of a domestic and a small breed of wildcat.

    @ Krebiozen

    I applaud you good sir, for your love of you dear departed cat. Some people wouldn’t look twice at a stray, let alone one in need of medical care. Personally, I’m a sucker for a stray and have tamed(some are never truly tame) quite a few feral strays in my lifetime. Due to my work with the strays in my area I’ve also seen some of the cruelties that people can inflict on the little guys, so it truly warms my heart to hear about people taking them in and giving them love.

  522. #523 Bronze Dog
    December 13, 2012

    Excellent point there, AdamG. I think it highlights one of the problems with anecdotalism.

    The thing about science is that you have to be able to prove something to others. To do that, you have to put yourself in their shoes (and not the ones attached to a straw man). You have to be able to show them that you’ve done the work to eliminate known alternative explanations, that you’re not biasing your selection, and so on. You also can’t trust your personal recall, since you’re supposed to be aware that humans are capable of biasing their memories toward their preferred outcome, hence you maintain records of all outcomes, good and bad.

    And that’s where humility is supposed to come in. If you can’t prove it works to someone else using science, that means you haven’t proven it to yourself. If you can’t eliminate alternative explanations, that means you don’t know which explanation is true. If you rely on logical fallacies, that means you’re trying to fool others the way you’re fooling yourself.

  523. #524 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    Hey, @Al Kimeea, did you also call the back surgeons “lying sacks of feces”? I guess that’s the difference between the American and Canadian medical systems — in America any number of back surgeons would have been happy to operate on you for a small consideration of twenty or thirty thousand dollars.

    I am sorry that you are in pain, though. What’s wrong with your back?

  524. #525 Lawrence
    December 13, 2012

    @Judith – why do you need to know? Just wave your hands in the general direction of the patient & your amazing energy healing powers will do the rest, right?

    So, when are you signing up for the Randy Challenge?

  525. #526 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    @Lawrence
    Absolutely :)

  526. #527 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Whatever nationality you are, I think “dyspeptic” and “curmudgeonly” are appropriate epithets to add.

    It’s the only appropriate approach in dealing with occultists.

  527. #528 al kimeea
    quackademiology.com
    December 13, 2012

    Why hellooo Judith, no I didn’t call the back surgeons lying sacks of feces because they aren’t selling bovine feces for healthcare.

    Read and meditate on what Bronze Dog said just a few comments up.

    I’m sure there are back surgeons here who would operate just as there are docs who push pills.

    Why don’t you tell me what is wrong with my back, don’t you claim distance healing and such?

  528. #529 herr doktor bimler
    December 13, 2012

    There is nothing wrong with curmudgeons. Without them, we would be unable to make rude limericks about “gudgeon” and “high dudgeon”.

  529. #530 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    Speaking of cats, this is my kind of distance healing. I watch this kitten cam for a while and it always makes me feel better!

    The kittens were fixed yesterday so they’re a bit lethargic today, but usually they’re very active.

    http://animal.discovery.com/tv/too-cute-kittens/kitten-cam/

  530. #531 S
    December 13, 2012

    @Judith, Why don’t you listen to what Bronze Dog says? Don’t you understand what he wrote? Is it too complicated for you to understand the meaning of those words? What gives?

    If you rely on logical fallacies, that means you’re trying to fool others the way you’re fooling yourself.

    Patients seek care to get real medical help, not to be made fools. I am rather enjoying an energy doc such as yourself proving to be a fool here on RI for all to see.

    Whatever nationality you are, I think “dyspeptic” and “curmudgeonly” are appropriate epithets to add.

    So you can’t provide us with evidence of any of your claims, you take money from your patients targets for worthless services that they could get elsewhere for free (yarn shop), and you object and insult when others get angry at you for exploiting patients. Yeah, uh huh, at this point, I have little objection to Narad saying any dam.n thing he wants to say to you, dear Judith.

  531. #532 LW
    December 13, 2012

    Gee, Judith responded to Lawrence but totally ignored his question about the Randi challenge, as she ignored my comment and the two that supported it.

    I wonder why. If I had the psychic ability to heal poison oak rash with a wave of my hand, I’d run, not walk, to meet his challenge. That million dollars would make a big difference in my lifestyle, and having The Amazing Randi *confirm* my abilities… Well, I can’t even imagine what that would do.

    Of course I don’t have any psychic abilities, but I guess if I were pretending that i did, and someone urged me to try the challenge, I’d probably just pretend the question didn’t exist. That can’t be why *Judith* is ignoring the question, though, because she’s not a fake.

    Maybe she’s so wealthy that another million more or less just isn’t worth bothering about.

  532. #533 S
    December 13, 2012

    This is a great animal and scenic nature video cam site. They’ve had these great dane service puppies on camera since their birth a few weeks ago.

    http://explore.org/#!/live-cams/player/great-dane-service-puppies-indoor-puppy-room

  533. #534 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    “In other words carrying on a debate with an occultist is not like carrying on a debate with a person of honor and intellectual dignity. Before the actual debate can begin, you must get him to admit that he is engaged in a debate instead of a demonstration of your moral or psychopathological inferiority, and you must show your audience, if any, what kind of a devious and dishonest scoundrel you are dealing with.”

  534. #535 S
    December 13, 2012

    Judith, Narad’s smarter than you.

  535. #536 AdamG
    December 13, 2012

    Judith won’t acknowledge the points Bronze Dog and I made because she knows that we’re right. She acknowledges that Burzynski’s anecdotes are not sufficient, and further acknowledges that it’s not reasonable to expect people to buy into any anecdotal evidence.

    That she is able to recognize this, yet still preaches reiki (and accepts money for these services), is further evidence that she’s a pure scammer.

    What is it like to know that you’re intentionally misleading people for personal gain, Judith? Or are you at the point where you’ve told the lie so many times that you believe it yourself?

  536. #537 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    @S

    Judith, Narad’s smarter than you.

    My cat is smarter than Judith – it doesn’t believe in Reiki.

    It also is more honest, providing affection in return for food, a straightforward deal where we are both aware of what we are getting.

  537. #538 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Judith won’t acknowledge the points Bronze Dog and I made because she knows that we’re right.

    Related to this is the flitting from point to point and acting as though those that didn’t work out (essentially everything) never happened in the first place. The fallback is then a return to the Great Soul routine and trying to cozy up to those she perceives as more sympathetic characters.

  538. #539 Peebs
    December 13, 2012

    In fairness, at least Judith has hung around to argue her point.

    Bo however.

    Bugger, I was going to say something about jabs. But my smallpox inoculation in 1978 has given me short and long term memory loss.

    Luckily I’ve never suffered from smallpox but I put that down to the superbly efficient soap.

    My memory loss has nothing to do with my spectacular intake of Real Ales.

  539. #540 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    @Al Kimeea
    I thought you called me a lying sack of whatever because I had the temerity to suggest that exercise and physio etc. were just as effective for backpain as surgery — just like your doctors did. If you think that a surgeon here will fix it, why don’t you pursue that route?

    @MarkL
    Someone somewhere suggested that cats invented Reiki and that they were very particular about it :) I once read a book called Qu whose author included a variety of energy exercises, one of which involved the use of a cat. If you did the exercise right, the cat would purr; if you did it wrong, it would scratch you and run away. I never tried the exercise.

    Really, lighten up everybody. What we are talking about here is an exercise between consenting adults. If for instance I were to encounter Al, I would see that he was in pain, and I would suggest to him that he try Reiki. I would say to him that it works for some people but not for others and that you never know whether it works for you until you try it. If he agreed I would wave at him for a few minutes and then ask him how he felt. I might ask him to rate the pain before and after from 0 to 10. If he felt no difference, I might wave at him a few minutes longer, and ask again. If he still felt no difference, we would smile at each other and acknowledge that it didn’t work, and we would both go on our way. If he felt better, say he said that the pain was a 7 before and is now a 4, I would wave at him a while longer, until he said 0, or 1 or 2. Then I would say cheerio to him, and suggest that if he found that the treatment was useful, and he wanted to do more, he could contact me. If he actually felt enough relief to go down on the scale to anywhere between 0 and 2, that pain relief would probably last at least a few hours if not days. In the meantime he could read up on Reiki and choose whether or not to contact me again. Would it be a net gain to him to be in less pain? Would it be a loss to him in any way to try?

    According to the NIH, “Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported.”

  540. #541 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    “a book called Qi

  541. #542 Shay
    watching the Geminid shower on the Huntsville cam
    December 13, 2012

    Of course there are no side effects. Reiki doesn’t actually do anything.

    How has that escaped you?

  542. #543 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    @Judith

    According to the NIH, “Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported.”

    Seriously?

    You can read this (and paste it here) without bursting out laughing at the utterly farcical nature of that? Surely the words “serious” & “side” are superfluous in that sentence?

  543. #544 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Really, lighten up everybody. What we are talking about here is an exercise between consenting adults.

    When you explicitly bill it as “for entertainment purposes only,” then you can label it in this fashion.

  544. #545 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    I have experienced Reiki, and you have not. It’s as simple as that.

    @Narad
    I might take up your suggestion. So what do you say, @Al Kimeea, for your entertainment, would you try it?

  545. #546 S
    December 13, 2012

    Really, lighten up everybody.

    You may think that this is all in fun and just a little disagreement between consenting adults, but I disagree. You are selling ill people a bogus service. That is not harmless. It’s not nice to sell people a product that doesn’t and has N-E-V-E-R been shown to work. That’s called health fraud, in my opinion.

    What we are talking about here is an exercise between consenting adults.

    Define ‘consent’? Why do you think you are qualified to determine if an ill patient is able to give consent?

    According to the NIH, “Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported.”

    @Judith, You neglected to mention this statement from the same NIH-cited study,

    The study showed that neither direct touch nor distant Reiki affected pain or any of the other outcome measures. The researchers concluded that adults with fibromyalgia are unlikely to benefit from Reiki. They noted that energy medicine therapies such as Reiki should be rigorously studied before being recommended to patients with chronic pain.

    The study based its primary outcome on subjective pain. The secondary outcomes were physical and mental functioning, medication use, and health provider visits.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18991519

    RESULTS:

    Neither Reiki nor touch had any effect on pain or any of the secondary outcomes. All outcome measures were nearly identical among the 4 treatment groups during the course of the trial.

    Find another line of work, Judith.

  546. #547 S
    December 13, 2012

    I have experienced Reiki, and you have not. It’s as simple as that.

    I have experienced it and I say it is a bogus, predatory medical practice, which should be banned. “It’s as simple as that.”

  547. #548 S
    December 13, 2012

    According to that study, Reiki has no effect on pain, physical functioning, mental functioning, medication use, or the number of health provider visits. There is nothing else left for it to effect. It’s bogus.

  548. #549 Judith
    December 13, 2012

    @S
    Nothing works on fibromyalgia.

    It’s still a matter between consenting adults. You can say no to it. You can allow others the right to choose.

  549. #550 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    @Judith

    I have experienced Reiki, and you have not. It’s as simple as that

    No Judith, that should read “I haven’t experienced Reiki, and neither have you”.

    You are either a liar or delusional (I suppose you could possibly be both), no-one has ever experienced Reiki, because it isn’t real. Even NCCAM admits that there is no scientific evidence for its efficacy.

  550. #551 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    It’s still a matter between consenting adults. You can say no to it. You can allow others the right to choose.

    Would you characterize three-card Monte in the same fashion?

  551. #552 Denice Walter
    December 13, 2012

    @ shadow1458:

    Thank you for de-lurking.

    My cat is much more massive looking than those cats and has a mix of patterns: stripes and swirls like a tabby, spots like those you mention and rosette patterns ( spots within a larger circular outlined spot). He’s nearly 20 lbs, muscular and tall.

  552. #553 AdamG
    December 13, 2012

    You can allow others the right to choose.

    Well sure, just like people can choose to buy whatever used car they desire. However, if the person selling the car was being fraudulent about their product, that wouldn’t be ok with you, would it?

    I would say to him that it works for some people

    This statement is precisely what I’m talking about. When you tell this to people, you are lying to them. You’ve already told us that the only evidence you have for this statement is anecdote, and you agreed that people shouldn’t be “reliant on other people’s anecdotal evidence.”

    How, then, are you different from the used car salesman who lies about the condition of their vehicle?
    You’re basically claiming that a salesperson can lie about their product in order to sell it, because the transaction is occurring between “consenting adults.”

    Consent alone is not sufficient. It must be an informed consent.

  553. #554 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Nothing works on fibromyalgia.

    Why? What’s the theoretical underpinning? As we know, Bengston “can cure cancer” but not warts. No explanation is given for this, even within the internal spiritualist/fake-physics framework. Domancic quite proudly advertises that the so-called method makes “every illness curable,” so what’s now special about fibromyalgia?

  554. #555 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    (Amusingly, Domancic’s primary advertising site, which does in fact target the U.S., is hosted in the same place as “Is Anybody Down,” a reference that MSII will likely get, although it’s not patently absurd in this case.)

  555. #556 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Let me just reinforce the need for an answer to this “why fibromyalgia” question. From Domancic’s own marketing copy,

    Supported with documented results both medically and scientifically, the Domancic Method of Bioenergy Therapy has effectively treated many “incurable” diseases including Diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s, Gangrene, Alzheimer’s, Asthma, Arthritis, Hepatitis C, tumors, effects on stroke victims, Sinusitis and many other undesirable conditions.

    Gangrene and sinusitis? No problem. Fibromyalgia? What do you think we are, miracle workers?

  556. #557 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    OK, I can no longer control this mirth.

    The therapist helps jump start the immune system so the body can heal itself.

    Shooting a little extra current from the cosmos into the immune system is, of course, a really bright idea when it comes to autoimmune disorders such as those purported to be treated above.

  557. #558 herr doktor bimler
    December 13, 2012

    My cat [...] doesn’t believe in Reiki.

    Our cats are quite insistent that field-manipulating movements of hands in the vicinity of an aura is no substitute for actual hands-on contact with their fur.

  558. #559 Denice Walter
    December 13, 2012

    We might ask: what’s the harm?

    Reiki doesn’t sound bad.
    Here’s the huge problem with ANY unproven treatment that makes promises about cures or assisting with problems:

    people often experience inertia in persuing SB treatment for serious concerns- a possible malignancy, cardiac problems, symptoms of mental illness- they become hemmed in by fear. There may be denial or wishful thinking that the situation might improve all on its own- all of which leads to delay. Many illnesses progress rapidly beyond easy treatment.

    Alt med treatments that promise help -EVEN if it is carefully worded or very mild- speak directly to the inertia that avoids SBM and realistic self-assessment, adding additional time to the process.They’re telling people that help is available OUTSIDE of SBM. Perhaps hopeful patients jump to the conclusion that alt med may be ENOUGH in of itself- SBM is superfluous. Does anyone say OTHERWISE? No, they promise a gateway into the unknown miracles and mysteries of the universe. Science hasn’t ALL the answers, they say.

    Of course, they may protect themselves with a disclaimer but that doesn’t protect patients.

    I hear many criticisms about how SBM is corrupt or useless by alt med advocates who simultaneously recommend nutritional treatments ( Natural News today: the DSM-5 article says that mental illness is basically a nutritonal issue, the experts are wrong et al).

    Alt med adds more time to the delay in finding appropriate treatment.

  559. #560 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    Narad,

    “Is Anybody Down” as discussed on Popehat?

  560. #561 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Our cats are quite insistent that field-manipulating movements of hands in the vicinity of an aura is no substitute for actual hands-on contact with their fur.

    My eldest is firmly of the opinion that the latter is just foreplay for the former, which is why I have a stockpile of topical clindamycin and some oral doxycycline in reserve. Maybe it has to do with the bottle-raising.

  561. #562 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    @Denice

    Alt med adds more time to the delay in finding appropriate treatment.

    Quite. That delay in seeking real treatment.

    So Alt Med kills more patients than it saves (given that 1>0)

  562. #563 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    edit: That delay in seeking real treatment can kill/

  563. #564 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    “Is Anybody Down” as discussed on Popehat?

    Yup. Bulletproof hosting, although, of course, it’s not really “offshore” in this case.

  564. #565 MarkL
    London
    December 13, 2012

    I am beginning to suspect that Judith weighs the same as a duck.

  565. #566 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    Other things that Judith’s preferred modality works for, from Domancic Central:

    N. has improved on his spelling tests, and his Spanish and piano teachers say he has been performing much better. He has also begun to take initiative and has started to sleep in his own bed.

  566. #567 S
    December 13, 2012

    Judith, You’re messing with people’s minds when you lie to them about the cause (bad energy) of their symptoms and then sell them bogus energy treatments. Do you also enforce upon them how much better they look and feel after your treatments?

    N. has improved on his spelling tests, and his Spanish and piano teachers say he has been performing much better. He has also begun to take initiative and has started to sleep in his own bed.

    N may have very well benefited from the attention and human interaction, especially from someone anyone who treated him/her in a pleasant, or even non-abusive, non-neglectful manner. You have no evidence that any special Reiki energy helped N. You should teach people to spend quality time with their kids, instead of this bogus Reiki garbage.

  567. #568 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    Narad,

    I just checked out the Domancic website. I read these two testimonials and got sick to my stomach.

    “My cancer patient had some great news, the metastases on the brain vanished within a month, tumor on the lung is shrinking and the metastases on his kidney has gone as well! the gentleman is feeling well enough to go on a holiday with his family for 10 days! “
    – Level 3 Therapist

    -I am so honored to tell the results of my client with Acute Leukemia. She was diagnosed on Dec. 4. She began the Bioenergy sessions on Jan 7. After a session of 4 days, she went for a blood test. Her leukocyte count went from .3 on Jan 4 to 3.5 on Jan 11. Normal is 4.0. Her hemoglobin was almost normal too. Her oncologist was very pleased.”

  568. #569 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012
  569. #570 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    Another wave of nausea:

    “I’ve just had an incredible result. A woman I treated distance for breast cancer, is cancer free. Her doctor watched the tumor shrink, asked what she did and she gave him my card. I did only two 4 day sessions, one, only days after she was diagnosed and the other about 6 weeks later when he told her there was just a tiny bit left. Very exciting.”

    – Level two therapist

    These people are seriously dangerous.

  570. #571 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    S,

    And I bet this kid “N” was also several months older when this testimonial was given. Kids develop very quickly and it’s normal for kids to improve at spelling, Spanish and piano and give up sleeping in their parents’ bed as they get older. It would be like saying reiki made him grow taller.

  571. #572 AdamG
    December 13, 2012

    Wow, those testimonials are something else. I suspect that they are completely bogus. This one in particular sets me off:

    “I cannot tell you, Zoran, how much better I feel after having the therapy with you. I have not had an incident of depression since…I don’t think I could get depressed even if I tried. This has set my life in a different course.”
    – Client with Depression

    As someone who has dealt with depression for all my life, I can tell that whoever wrote this clearly has no understanding of how depression works, what it feels like, or how to treat it. Managing depression isn’t about freeing yourself from feeling depressed. It’s about strategies to deal with those feelings when they do in fact arise.

  572. #573 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    I think the take-home lesson for Judith here may be that “lighten up, everybody” may be an ever worse gambit than insinuating legal threats.

  573. #574 Alain
    Why does Judith ignore me?
    December 13, 2012

    @ Judith,

    I have tried reiki sex, giving it a free pass exactly for entertainment value, not health care; exactly as you propose it and it didn’t work, at all.

    Why are you ignoring me?

    Alain

  574. #575 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 13, 2012

    And what’s the obsession with anonymity? Why would the “therapists” be reticent to use their names? It’s not like they’re mentioning their clients’ names or anything. If I could distance heal breast cancer I’d WANT my name used. Are they afraid they’ll have more customers than they can deal with?

    And in this digital age when every Burzynski patient puts the most private and intimate details of their lives on Facebook, why would satisfied energy customers not want their names used either? Is there anything to be ashamed of or embarassed about having had cancer? It’s not Alcoholics Anonymous…

    Maybe they’re embarassed that they got sucked in by energy healing.

  575. #576 S
    December 13, 2012

    Maybe they’re embarassed that they got sucked in by energy healing.

    If they’re still alive, the embarrassment likely takes time to sink in. I do wonder how many of these people would agree to the content of their testimonial years later.

    @Alain, I think the paid service of the other kind, which you previously mentioned, would be more effective than Judith’s version.

  576. #577 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    “a book called Qi“

    I remember to this day
    The deep red aura rays
    And how they stuck to the haragei
    After the summer rain

    Willpower made that energy flow
    A woman’s mind told me that’s so
    Oh how I wish
    We were back on the scam again

    Me and ye and a book named Qi
    Standin’ and-a wavin’ with our hands
    Me and ye and a book named Qi
    How I loved bein’ a free man.

  577. #578 Narad
    December 13, 2012

    ^ OK, it needs work.

  578. #579 Alain
    December 14, 2012

    @ S

    I agree that regular sex (free or not) offer better benefits over the reiki one.

    Alain

  579. #580 Shay
    December 14, 2012

    DAMN you, Narad. My Pepsi went up my nose.

  580. #581 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad

    Don’t leave your day job to become a poet or a song writer.

  581. #582 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith:
    Nothing works on fibromyalgia.

    As a fibromyalgia sufferer, I can say the following has greatly relieved my problems:
    * Massage carried out by a qualified therapist
    * Diet
    * Exercise
    * Tricylic Antidepressants
    * Paracetamol based pain killers

    All these therapies were prescribed and are overseen by a REAL DOCTOR, a rheumatologist in this case – not some person who insists waving hands can cure cancers.

  582. #583 Christine (the public servant Christine)
    December 14, 2012

    @herr doktor bimler, like your cats, I feel certain that Tilly, my British Shorthair, would be most annoyed if I tried reiki instead of patting. I think anyone who tried reiki on her would find their hands being pulled down into proper stroking position.

  583. #584 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Don’t leave your day job to become a poet or a song writer.

    I would have supposed you old enough to get the reference.

  584. #585 Alain
    December 14, 2012

    New post:

    http://www.securivm.ca/2012/12/growing-up.html

    Significant beef but still a prelude of what’s to come next.

    Alain

  585. #586 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    December 14, 2012

    I have experienced ReikiThe Lord, and you have not. It’s as simple as that.

    As for entertainment value, Judith, I can have more fun on my own. Maybe you can help with the callouses?

    Can’t you diagnose at a distance or was that The Divine Miss M?

    @ Narad – Boo heh heh

    Oh phuque, just saw this – “We made up a lot of those laws.”

    Really, which ones are no less fictional than your wavery fixery?

  586. #587 S
    December 14, 2012

    Don’t leave your day job to become a poet or a song writer.

    @Judith, You took an inaccurate reading. Read it again and feel the energy of the vibrations. Is this a reflection of the lacking in your other energy reading’s diagnoses and treatments?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fgGNZYR5QM

  587. #588 flip
    Judith said "You need to read up on the rules on libel." Your threats of libel are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith

    I know my own anecdotal evidence; I suppose you are right that I shouldn’t expect others to be willingly reliant on it, nor should I be reliant on other people’s anecdotal evidence based on what I know about mine.

    And yet you refuse to post actual evidence, take records, or make any attempt to use science to prove your ideas. And why? “Because I know what I know, and you don’t, so :P to you” You’ve basically just admitted you have no proof it works anyway.

    I will fourth the comment: take Randi’s challenge and put up or shut up.

    Really, lighten up everybody. What we are talking about here is an exercise between consenting adults.

    Now we are down to quack mirandas and “it’s only for entertainment” disclaimers that people use with astrology. Yeah, good luck with convincing us that you’re doing something that works. Evidently you’ve run out of ammo.

    I would say to him that it works for some people but not for others and that you never know whether it works for you until you try it.

    Read: I would give him anecdotes, there’s nothing wrong with anecdotes. Except I just admitted there’s a problem with them, but shhhh, I never said that.

    I would wave at him a while longer, until he said 0, or 1 or 2.

    Here’s a question, and it’s a serious one: how come the Queen doesn’t heal people by waving at them when she goes by? She does it enough, surely she would be curing Brits left, right and centre every day she goes outside?

    According to the NIH, “Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported.”

    Nowhere in there is a statement saying that it is efficacious though. (Care to link to the NIH page?) – Ah, I see S has responded and posted what you left out. Nice cherrypicking Judith, that’s a surefire way to convince us you’re a liar and a fraud.

    I have experienced Reiki, and you have not. It’s as simple as that.

    I’ve experienced qi gong – isn’t that close enough? Besides, the whole point of science is that we *don’t* have to experience something to know it works. I have never experienced riding a roller coaster. That doesn’t mean I have to take my friend’s word for it that it goes up and down really fast.

    It’s still a matter between consenting adults. You can say no to it. You can allow others the right to choose.

    And now we’re back to the “health freedom” bullcrap. Here’s a clue: you want people to be “allowed” to use reiki. I want people to have an informed choice. Lying to your patients by holding back information about efficacy is not freedom, not unless you’re the only person allowed to have it. What you’re really saying is “I think this works, I’ve experienced it” and hoping that they don’t have the brains to ask “yes, but has it worked for other people too?” When they do you give them a wishy-washy answer that it sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t. That doesn’t instil a lot of confidence, so you simply redirect them around the question *and* answer.

    You’re saying that only your experience is a hallmark for what you do, which is fine if you were only doing it to yourself.

    God forbid the reiki practitioner is held to some sort of medical standards, right Judith?

    This is nothing to say that you threaten people with comments about libel. You clearly don’t want other people to have the freedom to criticise you. Between consenting adults, this is one consenting adult who is telling you to PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

    But you won’t, because like the threats of libel, you have nothing up your sleeve.

  588. #589 flip
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad

    (Amusingly, Domancic’s primary advertising site, which does in fact target the U.S., is hosted in the same place as “Is Anybody Down,” a reference that MSII will likely get, although it’s not patently absurd in this case.)

    I got it – and found it somewhat amusing.

    I think the take-home lesson for Judith here may be that “lighten up, everybody” may be an ever worse gambit than insinuating legal threats.

    I think we’re getting to Marg-level devolutions now, where she’s got nothing better than to throw random snide comments.

    @Krebiozen

    I’m glad the stray cats of the world have you to rely on :)
    Sigh… it’s quite clear she, like Marg, is never going to get it.

    @AdamG

    As someone who has dealt with depression for all my life, I can tell that whoever wrote this clearly has no understanding of how depression works, what it feels like, or how to treat it. Managing depression isn’t about freeing yourself from feeling depressed. It’s about strategies to deal with those feelings when they do in fact arise.

    Same here: and I agree. That testimonial is insulting.

    @MSII

    And in this digital age when every Burzynski patient puts the most private and intimate details of their lives on Facebook, why would satisfied energy customers not want their names used either? Is there anything to be ashamed of or embarassed about having had cancer? It’s not Alcoholics Anonymous…

    To be fair, I’ve had a number of customers who don’t want their names plastered on the net as testimonials, for privacy reasons. You’re also assuming that the testimonial comes direct from the person who received the treatment and not passed on through another party. (Ie. mother books session for son, sends back what the son says) Of course, that’s assuming the practitioner is ethical enough to hold back the person’s actual name due to lack of permission or whatever.

  589. #590 flip
    December 14, 2012

    I put this sentence

    “Sigh… it’s quite clear she, like Marg, is never going to get it. ”

    In the wrong place. I really have to stop doing things like that….

  590. #591 Krebiozen
    December 14, 2012

    Judith,

    Lighten up? If it really was just a matter of harmless handwaving between consenting adults I wouldn’t be too bothered, to be honest. It is your claims about cancer patients such as, “people do better with palliative energy treatments than palliative chemo”, that seriously piss me off. You have claimed here that you can extend the lives of terminal cancer patients, presenting a handful of anecdotes as evidence, and you have repeated several horror stories about conventional treatment that are clearly designed to scare people away from chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

    This is nothing to lighten up about, it’s dangerous, and puts people at risk. As I have said before, oncologists are seeing more and more patients at a late stage of cancer because they have pursued ineffective alternative therapies for months instead of getting real treatment.

  591. #592 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    Yes, you all need to lighten up about Reiki, in particular. You are using Reiki as a generic term for all forms of energy healing. It’s not. For what is claimed for Reiki, watch and read Pamela Miles. The claims made are for generic relaxation, which has been demonstrated in studies.

    @Krebiozen

  592. #593 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    I stand by what I said on the subject of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Conventional medicine’s track record on cancer is pathetic.

  593. #594 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad
    I remember to this day
    The bright red Georgia clay
    And how it stuck to the tires
    After the summer rain
    Will power made that old car go
    A woman’s mind told me that so
    Oh how I wish
    We were back on the road again

    Me and you and a dog named boo
    Travellin’ and livin’ off the land
    Me and you and a dog named boo
    How I love being a free man

  594. #595 MarkL
    London
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith

    The claims made are for generic relaxation, which has been demonstrated in studies.

    No Judith, you claimed that YOU have used it for its medicinal qualities, healing wounds and clearing infection. Don’t tart back-peddling now.

    I stand by what I said on the subject of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Conventional medicine’s track record on cancer is pathetic.

    And yet this track record you dismiss is still light years ahead of any results achieved by Reiki or any other form of batsh*t crazy woo you can name.

  595. #596 S
    December 14, 2012

    The claims made are for generic relaxation, which has been demonstrated in studies.

    @Judith, Your own businesses claims and client testimonials do not support that you only recommend Reiki for “generic relaxation”. You statements here on RI contradict that time and time again. You are scamming ill patients. When confronted by people who can challenge your claims you attempt to slither out of your misleading statements by telling them to lighten up and that Reiki is only a generic form of relaxation.

    Your behavior of misleading and exploiting the ill for your own financial gain is contemptible. If you have a disability or other unfulfilled emotional need, I suggest you see a professional and stop luring vulnerable and ill patients into your web.

  596. #597 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 14, 2012

    Cookie please. Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip, preferably…

  597. #598 Krebiozen
    December 14, 2012

    Judith,

    I stand by what I said on the subject of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    But it’s not true! Even in the very worst case scenarios of terminal pancreatic cancer or non small cell lung cancer, palliative chemotherapy not only adds months to patients’ lives, but it significantly improves their quality of life. I have posted links to systematic reviews that demonstrate this beyond any reasonable doubt. Energy medicine, on the other hand, can do practically nothing for these conditions.

    Conventional medicine’s track record on cancer is pathetic.

    That’s not true either, in many areas conventional medicine has made huge advances. Look at childhood leukemia, for example – in 1975 only 37.4% of patients survived for 5 years, now it is over 80%. Similar improvements have been made for lymphomas, breast cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer and others.

    In any case, energy healing’s record on cancer is even worse than conventional treatment.

    Thus, best evidence syntheses for effects of biofield therapies for cancer populations may be summarized as follows: There is moderate (level 2) evidence for positive effects on acute cancer pain. To date, there is conflicting (level 4) evidence for longer term pain, cancer-related fatigue, quality of life, and physiologic indicators of the relaxation response.

    Now that’s pathetic.

  598. #599 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    This is the issue. Conventional medicine has been at trying to discover a cure for cancer for decades. Success has been measured in very small increments. Overall success is still something like 8 per cent. I was shocked to discover while I was reading up on chemotherapy that something like 75 per cent of treatment is palliative.

    So maybe it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle than that employed by pharmaceutical companies.
    Poisoning and burning have not had such good results; cutting, so far, has been the best. When it can be done.

    Then along comes Bengston with his mice. Everybody is too busy shooting him down because his in-house control mice didn’t die, totally overlooking the fact that none of his mice should have survived, control or experimental, and that his off-site controls DID die, and that geomagnetic probes showed odd effects simultaneously around the cages both of the mice that were being treated and the controls, that were not being treated.

    You would think that people would say that’s interesting, let me try to replicate that. And if they tried to replicate it and they failed, then Bob’s your uncle. BUT NO ONE HAS EVEN TRIED. So everyone jumps on Bengston that his experiments have not been replicated, although he has done it 10 or 12 times, even with others doing the healing, but no one has actually tried to replicate them to prove him wrong.

    Everyone is happy to believe that 10 or 12 experiments in five different university labs all used flawed mice provided by Jackson labs or that all these labs had incompetent personnel caring for these mice who somehow sabotaged the experiments.

    You would think that at least some people would be curious enough to replicate the experiment if only to shoot it down. But in fact even if they are, they can’t get mice to perform the experiment because apparently it’s ethical to irradiate mice, to inject mice, and to sacrifice mice in the name of pharmaceutical research, but for some reason it’s not ethical to wave at them.

    I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.

  599. #600 S
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith, No one is stopping you from conducting your own proper studies. You have an opportunity to earn one million dollars with the James Randi Challenge. Evidence your clams and stop whining that other people are supposed to do this for you.

  600. #601 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    The claims made are for generic relaxation, which has been demonstrated in studies.

    So we’ve come right back to “Why not try energy healing? It’s just as effective as knitting or a short nap.”

  601. #602 MarkL
    London
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith

    …..it’s ethical to irradiate mice, to inject mice, and to sacrifice mice in the name of pharmaceutical research, but for some reason it’s not ethical to wave at them.

    No Judith, there are no ethical objections to waving at mice, just ethical objection to waving at mice AND telling them it is a proven therapeutic modality.

  602. #603 S
    December 14, 2012

    @Alain, I read your blog. If your treating physician did indeed promise you a career in research at the hospital where he worked, then I would think he may be stepping outside of his ethical boundaries by getting too involved in the personal lives of his patients. If he is supposed to be treating and overseeing your care, and he has only seen you once in a years time then this also raises some questions. I am sorry you have been bullied and treated so poorly, and wish you a better new year.

  603. #604 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    Then along comes Bengston with his mice. Everybody is too busy shooting him down because his in-house control mice didn’t die

    And they’re correct to do so, since the failure of the control mice to die indicates soemthing went so very very wrong with the experimental procedure that no meaningful conclusion can be drawn from the study.

    Take it out of the realm of cancer and energy healing and consider an identical outcome looking at an antidote for poisoning. We give 20 mice what should be a lethal dose of poison (ricin, for example), after which they’re split into two groups of ten. One group is treated with the proposed antidote and one group left untreated.

    The outcome is that ALL the mice survive.

    Would you really conclude that the antidote was so specatacularly effective it must have saved the mice that didn’t get any, and the mice really did receive a lethal dose of poison even though it didn’t kill any of them?

    If not, why are you giving Bengston a pass?

  604. #605 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    A woman’s mind told me that so

    Um, yes, Judith, I already knew what it was. Moreover, I also have the sense not to trust random lyrics sites, which is why I didn’t get this line wrong.

  605. #606 shadow1458
    Always lurking and uhh... I guess commenting very rarely...
    December 14, 2012

    @ judith
    I don’t like to comment on these matters because I’m not a doctor or a scientist, I am but a lowly artist. But frankly my dear you are starting to get on my nerves. Several years ago I was sucked into the woo pretty bad, reiki especially, I even got the d@mn attunments. I focused that energy and visualised all the healing I could and reiki doesn’t do a fu¢ing thing. It doesn’t work on humans, it doesn’t work on animals, it is complete and utter bull$hit. It’s time you stop lying to your customers and most of all stop lying to yourself. Magic doesn’t exist, it’s just a fairy tale to make us feel better. Reiki is just a lie to make the practioners feel special. No person on this planet should need such lies to feel better about themselves. We are, each and every one of us unique and special in our own ways and it’s time to stop all the bull$hit.

  606. #607 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 14, 2012

    Oh lookie…Pamela Miles has a full page of crap she sells, just like all good woo-peddlers.

    http://reikiinmedicine.org/helpful-products/

    Of note, she shills for that multi-level marketing scam that sells “high antioxidant” Xocai chocolate.

    This stuff is absolute nonsense and has been discredited as a yet another pyramid scheme. The company has run into problems in many parts of the world for their absurd claims, yet not absurd enough for the reiki crowd.

    Peter Bowditch of Ratbags has had a lot of fun exposing this company–he’s been threatened, etc.

    Back to Ms. Miles: her website has a page of “medical papers” she’s written, most of which have appeared in the same rag as the Burzynski interview that Orac criticizes in this post, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

    http://reikiinmedicine.org/medical-papers/

  607. #608 Scottynuke
    December 14, 2012

    @MarkL —

    Did Judith turn you into a newt? :-)

  608. #609 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 14, 2012

    Over on Orac’s “friend’s” other blog, Mark Crislip wrote a piece today on naturopathy, and started by outlining the four levels of alternative medicine. I love how he worded this:

    Type 1: Total nonsense with zero prior plausibility. These are SCAMs based on ideas divorced from reality as I understand it, cannot have efficacy and do not have efficacy. It includes, but is not limited to, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, ayurvedic, reiki and other energy therapies, iridology, applied kinesiology, craniosacral therapy, water therapy, and on and on and on.

    People who inflict these modalities on others may be well intentioned, but as we all know “the road to Hell is paved with frozen type 1 providers. On weekends, many of the younger demons go ice skating down it.”

    All type 1 SCAMs are useless, non-reality based magic*. I would think anyone who proposes any type I SCAM for diagnosis and treatment should be kept as far from providing medical care as is feasible*.

  609. #610 MarkL
    London
    December 14, 2012

    I got better Scotty.

  610. #611 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    Noticed this above:

    I know my own anecdotal evidence; I suppose you are right that I shouldn’t expect others to be willingly reliant on it, nor should I be reliant on other people’s anecdotal evidence based on what I know about mine.

    Why do you believe that you should not be reliant on other’s anecdotal evidence, and not expect they be reliant on yours? It seems to me as if you’re suggesting that the problem with relying on anecdotal evidence is that it the anecdotes themselves may be fictitious in whole or in part, and therefore you can’t rely on second hand accounts, but of course everyone can rely on their own anecdotal evidence because they’ve effectively “seen it with their own eyes”.

    If so, you’re mistaken: the problem with anecdotes is that, accurately rendered or not, they represent single observations without context. So while you may indeed have had people tell you “My pain has gone from 8 to 2 on a 1 to 10 scale” after handwaving, that isn’t evidence in support of efficacy. You need the missing context (If I wave hands at 500 people how many will report improvement? is that greater than the number of people who report improvement if I only pretend to wave hands 500 people? Etc.)

    So while you’re correct that you shouldn’t expect that others rely your anecdotes, the part you’re missing is that you shouldn’t rely on your own anecdotes either.

  611. #612 Heliantus
    December 14, 2012

    @ Judith

    I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.

    Why should we be afraid? If it was possible for humans to mentally shape and use energy fields, or whatever it would be named, even the sky wouldn’t be the limit to what we can do.

    I am a fan of fantasy and steampunk novels, and talented writers have thought of hundred of applications for fictional magic beyond mere fireballs and puny healing spells. Just in food production, if a bit of handwaving can strengthen crops and cattle and keep vermin at bay, the benefits would be fantastic.

    When I was a child, I wanted to build a rocket, so that I could fly my family away from Earth, away from death.
    And then my grandpa died.

    My parents are not getting younger, and are starting to develop old age infirmities. So is my cat.
    My sister has some birth defects. She is autonomous, but need someone around.
    If all I have to do to make them better was to wave at them, I would do it in a heartbeat.

    But I learned that the universe is not working this way. It’s not enough to wish to get that you want.

  612. #613 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    This is the issue. Conventional medicine has been at trying to discover a cure for cancer for decades.

    You’re going to try to trot out that line? Here?

    Success has been measured in very small increments.

    Heavens to Betsy, this medical research thing is hard! Let’s skip that part and just elevate ourselves to the clergy! Wheeee!

    So maybe it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle than that employed by pharmaceutical companies.

    Yes, let’s get a criminologist with training from a cold-reader to examine this problem. Preferably one who makes moronic claims about being able to dissolve clouds. Why didn’t we think of that before?

    Poisoning and burning have not had such good results; cutting, so far, has been the best. When it can be done.

    Yes, it’s the parade of cancer-quack tropes. Explain for everyone how trastuzumab works, Judith. It’s not “burning” or “cutting,” so it must be “poisoning,” right?

    Then along comes Bengston with his mice. Everybody is too busy shooting him down because his in-house control mice didn’t die, totally overlooking the fact that none of his mice should have survived, control or experimental, and that his off-site controls DID die, and that geomagnetic probes showed odd effects simultaneously around the cages both of the mice that were being treated and the controls, that were not being treated.

    Great, the “geomagnetic probes” again. Have you ever wondered why this usage is basically exclusive to Bengston? Oh, wait, we’ve been through all this sh*t before.

    You would think that people would say that’s interesting, let me try to replicate that.

    And yet all they do is explode into laughter. This, however, is a great mystery to you, whereas Bengston’s “results” and the “explanation” make perfect sense. You have a bit of a hermeneutic contradiction here, Judith.

    [...] Everyone is happy to believe that 10 or 12 experiments in five different university labs….

    … which should be possible to differentiate based on the baseline data from the “geomagnetic probing,” which apparently didn’t occur to Bengston when cooking up this line of crap…

    You would think that at least some people would be curious enough to replicate the experiment if only to shoot it down. But in fact even if they are, they can’t get mice to perform the experiment because apparently it’s ethical to irradiate mice, to inject mice, and to sacrifice mice in the name of pharmaceutical research, but for some reason it’s not ethical to wave at them.

    It’s unethical because it’s pointless sadism, you nitwit. If Bengston can magically cure cancers, there are plenty of plenty of people who already have one. If he can only cure a specific cancer in a specific strain of mice, then who gives a sh*t? Remember, energy healing bypasses that little problem with being “incremental,” right?

    I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.

    Does it hurt to be crazy, Judith? Putting out this level of psychological repression in public must be exhausting, at least.

  613. #614 Denice Walter
    December 14, 2012

    Alt med often stealthily disguises sham treatments to resemble realistic options whilst again, kicking the can down the road: relaxation is often the method of choice.

    Sure, relaxation helps people to *feel* better rather than necessarily *making* them better by working against the illness itself.

    BUT alt media continuously confounds the two: a woo-meister with whom I am sickeningly familar asserts that *de-stressing* allows your body to repair itself better: for example, it can repair damaged tissue AND damaged DNA thus is important against cancer, aids, CVD etc. SB treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and meds increase stress so should be assiduously avoided.

    To buy this bill of goods, you’d need to accept the schools of thought ( and I do hope that the words ‘school’ and ‘thought’ will excuse this mis-usage) that posit psychic trauma as the cause of all ills ( Orac has discussed German *Neue* Medicine as well as its French counterpart). A great deal is usually also made of Selye’s ideas about stress. The patient’s negative,stressed reactions guarantee continued languishing: so straighten up and fly right.

    People who are suffering a serious illness or reacting to a poor diagnosis obviously need to experience respite from the anxiety and fear that might engulf them.

    Suppose we look at ANY illness first: you have a cold or flu which is caused by a virus and don’t take anti-virals or anti-biotics (for secondary bacterial infections). You feel weak and stressed by the condition; you might worry about missing work or getting behind on your chores. You seek out ways to rest , relax and relieve symptoms as you wait out the 7-10 days: watch movies, talk with friends, sleep more, take OTC meds, drink tea.. This will make you FEEL better as you GET better and- if you don’t have any complications, you will usually get better on your own without medical intervention.

    Now suppose you have something that doesn’t take care of itself- like an ulcer, a broken bone or a cancer- then focusing on the negative feelings of stress might actually work against you because you are WASTING TIME. ( And yes, I know that sometimes a person can be so frightened that they might need to calm down first before getting help and that rest does help some conditions that also require real intervention) . Stress relief is not going to counteract the damage or disease process that is on-going.

    When I read woo-meisters equate the two situations I realise that they don’t have much of a background in bio or physio: cancer is not like a cold. Neither is CHF. Or hiv/aids.

    They are able to get away with this nonsense and claim “cures” because often they are dealing with self-limiting or intermittent conditions that either heal on their own or naturally have periods of latency or a decrease in symptoms. They can acquire testimonials about MS or athritis or other conditions because the person does FEEL better and attributes it to woo-ful intervention not a period of quiessence in the condition. Similarly a person with a non-self limiting condition might be fooled into thinking that because they temporarily FEEL better, they are GETTING better.

    Alt med relies upon confounding issues to make its case.

  614. #615 Krebiozen
    December 14, 2012

    Judith,

    This is the issue. Conventional medicine has been at trying to discover a cure for cancer for decades.

    True, and it has succeeded in several areas. As I have pointed out before, I know several people who are alive decades after conventional treatment for cancer.

    Success has been measured in very small increments.

    Really? In 1975 only 49% of cancer patients survived 5 years, but today 67% do.

    Overall success is still something like 8 per cent.

    What do you count as success? Five years after diagnosis 67% of all cancer patients are still alive.

    I was shocked to discover while I was reading up on chemotherapy that something like 75 per cent of treatment is palliative.

    Where did you read that? I very much doubt that figure is correct.

    You should really try reading a bit more of this blog, or maybe articles like this. What we have found over the past several decades is that cancer is a great deal more complex than we ever imagined. It is not one disease but thousands of different diseases. It is not even one disease in a single tumor. Cancer cells mutate and display microevolution, so they can quickly develop resistance to chemotherapy. Tumors are made up of the patient’s own cells so their immune system doesn’t recognize them. This makes it very difficult to stop cancer cells without having a bad effect on normal cells.

    Despite this I am confident that we are making great progress against cancer. Some of the new targeted treatments coming out show great promise. Orac often writes about them here.

    I don’t believe that energy medicine of any kind has anything to offer in the treatment of cancer. Not only is it utterly scientifically implausible, but if you look at well-designed studies it doesn’t work in cell cultures, it doesn’t work in animals and it doesn’t work in humans. Bengston’s work isn’t only flawed because his control mice survived, it is flawed for a whole raft of different reasons such as inadequate randomization, a complete lack of blinding, breaking experimental protocols in every single experiment and only publishing the results of one experiment a decade after the experiment. The literature does not support Bengston’s claims about the mice involved, and their life expectancy.

    The other 10 or 12 experiments he is alleged to have carried out have not been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals, or any journals for that matter. Nowhere are Bengston’s claims about these experiments corroborated by the “trained scientists at university laboratories” we are told about, I have only seen one account written by Bengston published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine several decades after the experiments were carried out. That particular journal is full of what looks to me like credulous nonsense.

    Having worked with many research scientists over the years, I simply don’t believe that Bengston’s experiments have been ignored because scientists are afraid of them. The scientists I have known have been a curious bunch, some of them developed a test for serum acetaminophen by sneaking into a factory where it was made in the dead of night to grab soil samples which proved to contain bacteria that had developed the ability to metabolize the drug. These are not the sort of people who would be scared away by someting unexplained that could earn them a Nobel Prize if it could be replicated.

    I think Bengston’s experiments have been ignored because they have been carried out incompetently. I wrote to the Professor and Chairman of the Biology Department of the college where Bengston works, asking about him and received this reply:

    Those experiments were initiated well before I was a part of St. Joseph’s College( >17 years ago). It was my understanding that the department started to work with him in a spirit of collegiality, but his approach did not adhere to the departmental mission and thus they ended any relationship. The college’s position is that Dr. Bengston works at St. Joseph’s College as a Sociologist and this is an additional interest of his, independent of any institutional role.

    “His approach did not adhere to the departmental mission” speaks volumes to me, though I’m sure you will see it as confirming your conspiracy theories.

  615. #616 Shay
    The cold and sunny Middle West
    December 14, 2012

    “Why not try energy healing? It’s just as effective as knitting or a short nap.”

    Here I’ve wasted years teaching people to knit for free. I could have marketed myself as a fiber therapist and made some $$$ from it.

  616. #617 Krebiozen
    December 14, 2012

    We have been round and round this particular set of ragged rocks before, with Marg. Assuming that they are independent entities (I have wondered at times), perhaps Judith could just read the previous discussions here.

  617. #618 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    So maybe it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle than that employed by pharmaceutical companies.

    You’re overlooking the fact that people have been looking at the problem from those different angles for decades without any documented success at all, let alone success comparable to that conventional medicine has achieved. (How long, for example, has Bengston been waving his hands at mice? Where’s your documented studies demonstrating efficacy?)

    Until you can offer some evidence indicating energy healing accomplishes anything, operates as anything other than a placebo, you aren’t in a position to argue more resources should be devoted to investigating it.

  618. #619 Calli Arcale
    December 14, 2012

    Denice:

    Sure, relaxation helps people to *feel* better rather than necessarily *making* them better by working against the illness itself.

    I am reminded of Zaphod Beeblebrox’s peril-sensitive sunglasses. They protect the wearer from any stress due to peril by continuously scanning the environment for peril, then darkening completely whenever peril is detected. The wearer is thus prevented from observing the peril and will remain relaxed.

    There is an obvious problem there, of course.

    Judith,

    You point out that oncology still does not save everybody. This is, of course, true. What I’m struggling to understand is why this is any sort of argument in favor of reiki. Oncology is hard, so give up? Is that really what you’re saying?

  619. #620 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    narad, think you picked the wrong song. I keep hearing Rod Stewart

    Knowing that you lied
    straight faced
    while I cried
    Still I look to find a reason to believe

  620. #621 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Where did you read that? I very much doubt that figure is correct.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it were an embroidery along the lines of the angioplasty attempt. This did cause me to note one other thing, though. Re Makary, Judith produced this:

    Studies cited: [...] 50% of cancer patients are receiving chemotherapy the week of their death

    This is also an exaggeration to suit Judith’s narrative. Makary, who is actually counting chemotherapy and radiotherapy, cites this. What does the paper actually say? Let’s look!

    In Massachusetts, 33% of cancer decedents older than 65 years of age received chemotherapy in the last 6 months of life, 23% in the last 3 months, and 9% in the last month. In California, the percentages were 26%, 20%, and 9%, respectively. Chemotherapy use greatly declined with age.

    Oops. Hey, are there any other data? Ya sure ya betcha (PDF):

    2. The use of chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life overall was about 6% of patients, but in some regions and academic medical centers the rate exceeded 10%.

    Something is missing here.

  621. #622 Denice Walter
    December 14, 2012

    Calli, I think what alt med provides is more appropriately called *blinders*.

    Narad, the exaggeration is ONLY by a factor of 5 or 8.
    SERIOUSLY, don’t be a stickler.

    shadow1458:
    I am so happy that my mention of the big cat possibly brought you out of lurkerdom.

  622. #623 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Narad, the exaggeration is ONLY by a factor of 5 or 8.
    SERIOUSLY, don’t be a stickler.

    To some extent, that’s Makary, but the elision of radiotherapy is a bit much given the three-fer with angioplasty. I do not, however, have full-text access to Emanuel et al. to look more closely at what was going on at the head end.

  623. #624 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 14, 2012

    All the woo has come
    Here but now it’s gone
    Orac don’t fear the Reiki
    Nor do the other folks on this board
    We can be like they are
    Come on baby… Don’t fear the Reiki!

  624. #625 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 14, 2012

    With apologies.

  625. #626 Calli Arcale
    December 14, 2012

    Denice — so did the Peril Sensitive Sunglasses. ;-) When our heroes walk into a suspicious cavern on Magrathea, the sunglasses suddenly detect peril and go completely black. Zaphod is thus completely blinded, which makes him unable to see or flee from the imminent doom.

    I think it’s a very good analogy to alt med claiming that *feeling* better is the important thing.

  626. #627 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 14, 2012

    Calli Aracale – those would be the Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, available at all good chemists, yes?

  627. #628 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad

    Shoot me an email re: the Emanuel study. todd at harpocratesspeaks dot com

  628. #629 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Carry on, my reiki son
    There’ll be fees when you are done
    Lay your weary hands to rest
    Don’t you think no more

    Happily, the verses work without any modification at all. Tweak the bridge, maybe.

  629. #630 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 14, 2012

    Reiki, don’t make it bad.
    Take an ill man and make him better.
    Remember to let the energy in,
    Then you can begin to make it better.

  630. #631 Edith Prickly
    jumping on the bandwagon
    December 14, 2012

    Talkin’ ’bout
    Hey now (hey now)
    Hey now (hey now)
    Reiki reiki all day
    Judith and Marg scamming marks all day
    Judith and Marg no way

  631. #632 JGC
    December 14, 2012

    And one that needs little alteration…

    When you believe in things you don’t understand
    Then you suffer
    Superstition ain’t the way

  632. #633 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    OK, this 50%-in-the-last-week business seems to be full-on Makary sloppiness. The work that he cites, which cites the claim, leads with it and concludes that it is “exaggerated.” The actual claim is an anecdote reported in a supplement to the Cancer Letter. Given how few references are in the actual book, you’d think somebody would have fact-checked it. Judith, however, is largely off the hook aside from the elision, although Makary’s inclusion of radiotherapy appears to have been erroneous as well, so it’s a wash.

  633. #634 Denice Walter
    December 14, 2012

    Imagine there’s no science
    It’s easy if you try
    No data below us
    Above us, only psi
    Imagine all the scammers, living life in peace

    Imagine no statistics
    It’s isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to base your case on
    It’s all religion too
    Imagine all the fraudsters, living life in ease

    Woo-oo oo-oo woo

    You might say I’m a sceptic
    but I’m not the only one
    etc.

    I have to go. Feel free to add a verse.

  634. #635 S
    Shocked by Imitation Magic Products by Krebiozen and Mercola
    December 14, 2012

    I wrote this a few days ago and had decided not to post it in case anyone might actually believe it as true. I need cheering up, and I can’t write songs very well, so here’s my contribution. Maybe I should apply for a job writing Mercola’s advertisements?

    That’s why you should buy my magic carpet.

    Love the magic carpet! Where do I send my bucks? I will buy 50.

    When buying magic carpets, watch out for imitators that may not deliver the benefits you expect. Magic Carpets by S™ offers carpets with a unique blend of all natural fibers. You’ll be sure to notice vast improvements in your health after just 6 months of carpet riding on a Magic Carpet by S™.

    The team at Magic Carpets by S™ is your team. We are dedicated to working for you, with only your best interests in mind. We offer more than the mediocre benefits touted by traditional magic carpet vendors. Magic Carpets by S™ have a special energy comprised of compassion which is infused into every fiber and woven throughout our carpets. Our carpets are intended only for those who can appreciate fine quality workmanship and are sincerely dedicated to owning and caring for the only real magic carpet in existance.

    Magic Carpets by S™ come with complete instructions and a diary to help you track your daily usage. Like all high-quality products, Magic Carpets by S™ need special, loving care, which anyone can easily fit into their daily routine. Magic Carpets by S™ require a brisk 30-minute walk, swim, bike or other outdoor activity every day. You heard that right! You can’t expect your magic carpet to take care of you, if you don’t take care of it using our unique blend of special carpet care techniques. A 30-minute outing every day, perhaps a walk around your neighborhood or a park will keep your magic carpet tuned up and working so it can continue to help you achieve the ultimate in health and wellness.

    Magic Carpets by S™ are available in several models and can easily be adapted to fit your specials needs. We offer a low pile fiber best suited for wheelchair use, and a thick pile for those with more energy who need greater resistance when traveling. Whatever your needs, we have a carpet for you.

    Suffering from chronic illness, feeling isolated, lonely, stressed, financially strapped? After just six months of owning a Magic Carpet by S™ you’ll be feeling better. While caring for your carpet on your daily outings, you’ll slowly notice how people will be drawn to you. They’ll notice you have more energy, you’ll be happier, and lively even while engaging in the required daily carpet care maintenance. Soon, all of your neighbors will want a carpet too, but careful not to give them yours. Keeping only your best interest in mind, Magic Carpets by S™ offers discounts to your friends and families. With every purchase you will receive a one year’s subscription to Magic Carpet Rides Magazine™. A subscription for ONE FULL YEAR for FREE!

    Magic Carpet Rides Magazine™ features vacations and local destinations your Magic Carpet by S will love. Remember, care for your carpet, and your carpet will care for you. If you are sincere about doing everything in your power to maintain good health and longevity, this is an offer you simply cannot refuse.

    Don’t be fooled by inferior magic carpets. Industry shills will claim that their carpets are based on foolish “uncertainty principles”. Ridiculous! There is nothing uncertain about Magic Carpets by S™. Other modes of transportation are dangerous. Owners of other magic carpets report being maimed with horrific and painful fingertip amputations. Such inferior brands emit bad energy and ultimately lead to such accidents. Magic Carpets by S™ emit only good energy and shield you from negativity. Whenever a Magic Carpet by S™ senses incoming negativity, just follow the enclosed care instructions to turn and go in the other direction.

    Magic Carpets by S™ have unique healing qualities supported by years of research and studies. Greedy industry shrews have suppressed this life-saving information and destroyed all the study data. The success of their vast industrial enterprises depends upon keeping you ill. My purist of desires is to enable you to live a healthy, long and fulfilling life, the one you’ve always dreamed about. It is only this desire that compels me to offer you Magic Carpets by S™ at bargain discount rates you’ll never find anywhere else. My friends, I’ve uncovered the secret to good health, longevity, and friendship. Those secrets are now available to you. Take responsibility for your health. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime deal!

  635. #636 Krebiozen
    December 14, 2012

    S,
    That is worryingly authentic-looking. However, I am shocked, shocked I tell you, at this blatant intellectual property theft. You will be hearing from my attorney, as I intend to woo, I mean sue. I should never have sent you that prototype, though I’m surprised it got to you at all to be honest, what with the complete lack of any form of propulsion (that’s a trade secret by the way).

    On the song-writing front, for some reason this comes to mind:

    I dreamed I had reiki last night,
    From someone called Judy,
    Says I, “The reiki didn’t work,”
    “It never does,” says she.
    “It never does,” says she.

    Leading to a refrain along the lines of:

    Big Pharma studies killed reiki,
    “It never dies,” said she.

  636. #637 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Denice Walter
    You have the makings there of a decent poet & songwriter. Better than @Narad.

  637. #638 AdamG
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith
    You have the makings of a decent thereminist.

  638. #639 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    The crystal freaks from down the street
    Are trying hard to send Qi Gong
    Serenade the Pleiadian
    Who just came out to signal home

    Another Reiki Valley Sunday
    Clouds dispersing everywhere
    Rows of clinics that are all the same
    And no one seems to care

    See Mrs. Ley she’s proud today
    Because her lines they are in tune
    Mr. Feen he’s so serene
    He’s got vibrations in every room

    Another Reiki Valley Sunday
    Here in sacred symbol land
    Healers complain about how hard life is
    And physics just don’t understand

    Creature comfort goals
    They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see
    My intentions seem to stray, to wavebands far away
    I need a change to EFT

    Tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap
    Klaaa, aaah, tuuuu

    (repeat)

    Another Reiki Valley Sunday
    Clouds dispersing everywhere
    Another Reiki Valley Sunday
    Here in sacred symbol land

    (fade)
    Another Reiki Valley Sunday…
    Another Reiki Valley Sunday…

  639. #640 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    @Denice Walter
    You have the makings there of a decent poet & songwriter. Better than @Narad.

    That takes some balls, given your own limping attempt. At least I put some thought into the meter, rather than slopping something out and declaring victory.

  640. #641 S
    December 14, 2012

    All joking aside, Marg, you are truly unbelievable. I am astonished that the freedom to practice medicine has been so compromised that anyone with a pen and signboard can set up shop and sell their wares to patients. Medical mockery.

  641. #642 LW
    December 14, 2012

    Judith, have you contacted Randi yet? That million dollars isn’t going to win itself, you know.

  642. #643 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    ^ “attempts”

  643. #644 S
    December 14, 2012

    However, I am shocked, shocked I tell you, at this blatant intellectual property theft.

    @Krebiozen, I did that on purpose. Stole your research and twisted it into something completely different, marketed and profited from it, taking it as my own. (joking). I learned to do this because I’ve been taught by the very best of woomeisters. I’ve come to recognize that this is indeed how they do business. They grab a little bit of truth from a respected researcher and twist it around to suit their needs of self-promotion and line their pockets with the cash from desperate or dying patients. They intentionally discredit the original researcher and attempt to make fools of them for honest mistakes like amputating their own fingertips so as to redirect business to themselves. Not bad, huh?

  644. #645 flip
    I can't believe it's not Marg
    December 14, 2012

    @Judith

    For what is claimed for Reiki, watch and read Pamela Miles. The claims made are for generic relaxation, which has been demonstrated in studies.

    Why do you continue to ignore requests for peer-reviewed studies?

    Conventional medicine’s track record on cancer is pathetic.

    And now we’re back at tu quoque again.

    I’m bored…. maybe you should go back to threatening people with libel again, that was at least a new tactic.

    Poisoning and burning have not had such good results; cutting, so far, has been the best.

    There really is nothing original to be found in your comments at all, is there?

    Success has been measured in very small increments.

    Yeah, that’s how it works in the real world. But some people prefer their imaginary magic wands I suppose.

    You would think that people would say that’s interesting, let me try to replicate that. And if they tried to replicate it and they failed, then Bob’s your uncle. BUT NO ONE HAS EVEN TRIED. So everyone jumps on Bengston that his experiments have not been replicated, although he has done it 10 or 12 times, even with others doing the healing, but no one has actually tried to replicate them to prove him wrong.

    Holy hell – did she just completely plagiarise Marg here? That’s practically a rewording of one of Marg’s comments. Are you and she sharing notes perhaps?

    By the way, why is it that you can only come up with one guy and 12 experiments? If it’s so easy to prove, if it exists, then surely more than one person would be studying it and publishing the results…. Unless of course you’re just a whinging liar who believes more in her own experience than providing evidence.

    I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.

    The merry-go-round is more fun than this.

    I think I shall, from now on, treat you like I do with Marg. There’s clearly no point in responding to you any more – not that you actually reply to me at all now, and instead I will simply post a reminder. Like so:

    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG nor JUDITH, the contemptible purse-snatchers of science, HAVE ANY EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS. Plus, made threats of libel which are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.

  645. #646 flip
    December 14, 2012

    @shadow1458

    Ooh, another lowly artist. I suddenly feel less like an outsider :)

    @Narad

    Your “you betcha” link is formatted incorrectly and produces a 404 error.

    @DW

    I love your rendition of “Imagine”.

    @S

    Likewise, your magic carpet stuff is very good.

  646. #647 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Your “you betcha” link is formatted incorrectly and produces a 404 error.

    Ando meio desligado and then some today, it appears. The link was meant to land here (still PDF).

  647. #648 LW
    December 14, 2012

    I want Magic Carpets by S. I will be in touch with S psychically when I get my bonus next year.

    That ad is a thing of beauty.

  648. #649 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    You are “cherry-picking” cancers. And one could argue that a large part of that improvement in survival is improvements in early detection, which allow for more successful surgical interventions. Then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320224/ And the news for those children successfully treated for leukemia with all the best poisons medical science can offer is not all that rosy http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/ResourceCentres/Leukemia/LookingAheadforLeukemiaSurvivors/PotentialLateEffectsofAcuteLymphoblasticLeukemiaTreatment/Pages/SecondaryCancers.aspx

    All the studies you cite for energy healing pertain either to Reiki or to Therapeutic Touch. There are no studies for the Domancic method or (other than Bengston’s) the Bengston method.

  649. #650 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad
    What limping attempt? That was the original song; I quoted it to show you that I knew what you were talking about.

  650. #651 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    All the studies you cite for energy healing pertain either to Reiki or to Therapeutic Touch. There are no studies for the Domancic method or (other than Bengston’s) the Bengston method.

    Well, there’s a good reason to buy a cash register.

  651. #652 Denice Walter
    December 14, 2012

    @ flip:

    Thank you for your kind words.
    Judith informs me that I might have poetic ability –
    I suppose that explains that Muse guy who’s always hanging around here at night…

    I sometimes think that alt med folk- including reiki artists- are misplaced artists and creative people who have mistakenly conceptualised what they cherish as ‘science’ instead of calling it either fiction or design. Science seeks to discover and map external reality not reify internal re-arrangements of time, space and emotion hastily supported upon a scaffolding of verbiage extrapolating both old and new mythologies. .

    Either that or they missed out on the ministry.

  652. #653 S
    December 14, 2012

    “All joking aside, Marg, you are truly unbelievable.”

    ^That should read to Judith.

    That ad is a thing of beauty.

    Thank you, LW. Do you think people could be convinced into caring for a Magic Carpet by S as a path to wellness? I picture it about 2 inches square, fits in your pocket. And I bet you thought it would transport you. I would imagine that The Pet Rock people made a small fortune. Ride out of quackdom on a Magic Carpet by S.

  653. #654 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    What limping attempt?

    The whole miasma, Judith.

    That was the original song; I quoted it to show you that I knew what you were talking about.

    What made you think that this observation would be of any interest? I wouldn’t have proffered it if I didn’t think it would be recognizable. As with Th1Th2, you’re failing to grasp your entry into the zone between being talked to and being talked about.

  654. #655 LW
    December 14, 2012

    S, I have some really beautiful little magic carpets already. They came from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. They look like little Persian carpets. The larger ones are mouse rugs, used as mouse pads, and the smaller ones are, rather deplorably, sold to be put under cups. I think we should go into business together. My ka will call your ka.

  655. #656 LW
    December 14, 2012

    Judith, since you seem to be having difficulty applying for the Randi Challenge, I took the liberty of finding the link for you. You should be able to just click on the link, but in case it doesn’t work, here’s the URL:

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html

  656. #657 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Narad
    “Curmudgeon of the year” award coming your way. Don’t forget to duck.

  657. #658 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Don’t forget to duck.

    Thanks, but lexical analysis has already been played out recently.

  658. #659 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @LW
    Check this out (it’s a comment on a blog about Randi):

    emcphd said…

    I have studied the James Randi Educational Foundation’s offer of $1,000,000. Unlike most journalists I have actually read the rules and combed the files.
    The thing is, the offer of a million bucks is totally fake. For one thing, nobody can apply unless they are famous – that is, only if they have a media presence. That eliminates almost everybody. Also, the hoops that the Randi Foundation make one jump through are insurmountable. One is summarily rejected if s/he is deemed crazy. And what is the method of determining that? If the person makes crazy claims, such as being able to bend a spoon with just the mind. Out you go. This is why Randi can claim that nobody ever got through his preliminary testing. Would you trust a test where nobody got past the first round?
    Randi also fabricates where it suits him. Ask him if he has ever been successfully sued for slander and he will say, “I have never paid one penny inn a court case.” That begs the question, but journalists are too timid to follow up (see Bush/WMD). The fact is that Randi has indeed been successfully sued more than once but, as he said, he never paid. He simply defaults. So he is a proven liar.
    What’s more, the very people who offer the money are the judges. Nowhere else is this the case. It is a clear conflict of interest.
    Randi has put a million bucks into escrow and more than gotten his money’s worth in publicity. And when he is done with this racket he still has the money. So what’s the point of the Educational Foundation? It impresses people who have not read the rules… and through the donations Randi solicits, he pays himself as the “contest” administrator a cool quarter million bucks annually. That is what I call a racket.
    Peace, Brother.

  659. #660 Pareidolius
    December 14, 2012

    Judith, I work with the JREF, the million is real and Randi earns every penny he makes by shining the light of reason on quacks and charlatans like you. The rules are established and agreed upon by the applicant and the JREF. And keep your passive aggressive “peace” to yourself.

  660. #661 LW
    December 14, 2012

    Besides the other falsehoods in what Judith quoted, I like this one:

    “The fact is that Randi has indeed been successfully sued more than once but, as he said, he never paid. He simply defaults.”

    See, as the defendant in a court case, you can defend or you default. If you default, the Court enters judgement against you. The plaintiff can then collect from you — levy on your property, for instance. You don’t avoid “paying a penny” by defaulting; that pretty much guarantees that you *will* pay unless you’re judgement proof.

  661. #662 LW
    December 14, 2012

    Here’s another falsehood:

    “For one thing, nobody can apply unless they are famous – that is, only if they have a media presence. That eliminates almost everybody.”

    Read the rules (follow the link I gave). *One* way you can qualify to apply is to be written up in an off-line article. How hard is that to achieve, if you really have the ability to, for a randomly chosen example, cure poison oak rash instantly? I am given to understand that local papers dearly love local interest stories and are distressingly credulous as well.

    JREF does not require you to appear on national television before they will accept your application. That claim is false, and quite obviously so.

  662. #663 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    Check this out (it’s a comment on a blog about Randi):

    emcphd said…

    If you wanted to choose a source, and this whine is as common as dirt, you couldn’t have done more poorly as far as associations go.

  663. #664 LW
    December 14, 2012

    That last paragraph was poorly phrased on my part. I meant, “JREF does not require you to appear on national television before they will accept your application. The claim that you must have a media presence is false, and quite obviously so.”

    I figured if I kept pushing Judith long enough, she’d come up with the usual excuses for not trying the Randi Challenge. She did not disappoint.

  664. #665 Denice Walter
    December 14, 2012

    That comment sounds as if its author read ( and/ or wrote) the Bolen Report.

  665. #666 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Pareidolius
    And since the man gives you your paycheque you are not the least bit biased.

    @LW
    If you are in default, the plaintiff has to collect the sums awarded. I’ve been told it’s a pain to collect.

  666. #667 Calli Arcale
    December 14, 2012

    I watched a Randi Challenge that was put up on YouTube. The applicant (who failed, BTW) was not crazy, appeared sincere in her beliefs, and was not particularly famous beforehand.

    Also baffled at the idea that defaulting would somehow keep you from paying. Anyone who thinks that works is in for a nasty shock when their mortgage comes due and they decided to save money by not paying it.

  667. #668 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 14, 2012

    OT, but simce when are the explotative lunatic rantings of Mikey Adams ever truly off topic?

    Sorry to derail this facinating discussion, but Mike Adams has already exploited today’s horrible, tragic school shootings. Wait until the anti-vax movement kicks in. Truly tragic.

  668. #669 Narad
    December 14, 2012

    That comment sounds as if its author read ( and/ or wrote) the Bolen Report.

    I was more thinking Benneth.

  669. #670 Judith
    December 14, 2012

    @Calli Arcale
    You can default on a legal judgment. It’s different from defaulting on a mortgage. The judge only awards the judgment; the plaintiff has to go after collecting it.

  670. #671 Calli Arcale
    December 14, 2012

    Which is actually exactly the same as defaulting on a loan — it’s the lender’s responsibility to pursue you to collect. True, the law does give one advantage in the case of mortgages — the police will assist in the eviction. But if you default on a car loan, it’s up to the bank to repossess the collateral. If you default on a court judgement, as others have noted, there are tools you can use to collect. If, that is, you’ve actually won, which I don’t believe is the case in any of the lawsuits against Randi.

  671. #672 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    You can default on a legal judgment. It’s different from defaulting on a mortgage. The judge only awards the judgment; the plaintiff has to go after collecting it.

    It is time to stomp this cockroach before Judith vibrates it to bursting and predictably runs away from the cleanup job. One cannot “default on a legal judgment.” As with Judith’s previous attempt at energy-lawyering, the words don’t mean anything. One can have a default judgment entered, viz., fail to prosecute one’s case. This comes first.

  672. #673 THS
    December 15, 2012

    @Marc Stephens is… Uh-oh. I was wondering.

    Mike Adams has already exploited today’s horrible, tragic school shootings. Wait until the anti-vax movement kicks in.

    I didn’t care to go there directly with my emotions a bit raw. Thanks. Tragic and ugly.

  673. #674 herr doktor bimler
    December 15, 2012

    I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.

    So far I am managing to hold my trepidation in check. If the fear becomes overpowering, I hope that someone can restore me with some healing energy.

  674. #675 thenewme
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith, you said “…I think everyone is deathly afraid that energy healing is actually viable.”

    Having been through the “cut-burn-poison” routine for cancer treatment myself, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that you’re full of crap. Deathly afraid of a miracle cure? Give me a break! Every cancer patient I know, including me, would give everything they have, to the person who could show that “energy healing is actually viable.” That person would be instantly famous and wealthy beyond belief. Come on, what do you have to lose by accepting the Randi challenge?

    I dare you. Show us your magical powers. Make all of us big skeptical meanies eat our words.

  675. #676 S
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith, I am curious as to where you received your education and training. How is it that you first came to hold these beliefs of energy medicine being effective? Who, where and why were you first introduced to such treatments?

    Were you raised in a household that was not well educated or perhaps abusive and now have an unfulfilled need for attention, or are you angry and trying to get even by exploiting others?

    Denice, what do you think is going on here with Judith? Do you think she is knowingly lying or just delusional?

    Frankly, at this point these questions are merely out of curiosity. Judith, I don’t necessarily care what drives you to deceive and exploit other people for your own personal profit and gain, you simply have no right to do it.. None, whatsoever.

  676. #677 S
    December 15, 2012

    @MSII, About your OT, sorry I looked. The guy is insane. What organizations are available for non-medical professionals to join to combat this misinformation?

  677. #678 LW
    December 15, 2012

    “You can default on a legal judgment. It’s different from defaulting on a mortgage. The judge only awards the judgment; the plaintiff has to go after collecting it.”

    Is Judith under the impression that this is somehow different from the defendant defending the case, losing, and having the judge awarding judgement against him? Anyway, Randi is not judgement-proof. If someone sued him and won, and then won on appeal, there are plenty of tools available to extract the sum awarded.

  678. #679 LW
    December 15, 2012

    Here’s another falsehood about the Randi Challenge:

    “What’s more, the very people who offer the money are the judges. Nowhere else is this the case. It is a clear conflict of interest.”

    In fact, one of the conditions of participating is that you agree in advance in writing who the judges will be and what will constitute success. If you claim to be a dowser, then you agree that you can successfully trace running water through specified pipes, for example. Then the water is turned on and you try to trace it. If you can’t — and so far none ever have — then you fail.

    Everything is recorded and the judging is objective: either you met the stated standard or you didn’t. That’s why disappointed applicants don’t successfully sue. This is not like judging in the Olympics, where the judge from this country gives a 5 and the judge from that country gives a 10.

  679. #680 LW
    December 15, 2012

    I can’t help responding to this gem from Judith, “And since the man gives you your paycheque you are not the least bit biased.”

    There’s not one employee in the world who despises his CEO but works because he needs the money?

  680. #681 S
    December 15, 2012

    A local dowser has supporters that speak of her great success in finding lost people and victims of crimes. When a special needs child remained lost and alone in the woods, and a crime victim’s body was not found for months, their excuse for not being able to locate the victims was that they had not yet refined their skills to work in all circumstances. It reminds me of Judith’s slippery excuse as to why Reiki can’t work for Fibromyalgia.

    When asked about how often the dowser was accurate in finding lost victims, the response was roughly 50% of the time. The dowser had indeed narrowed down a victim’s location to either West or South of the city.

  681. #682 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    You are now getting abusive. A sure sign of feeling fearful and threatened. And it’s ugly. This is how lynch mobs get started. Just look into yourselves. Discussion is one thing; this is bullying. Keep it to yourselves.

  682. #683 LW
    December 15, 2012

    Judith, try pointing out which statements are abusive. As others have pointed out with your claims about “libel”, nebulous claims suggest that you have nothing to back them up and are trying to shut down argument.

    *You* quoted a bunch of falsehoods about the Randi Challenge. I don’t like falsehoods so I am responding to the falsehoods that you quoted. Do you consider that abusive? Do you consider that bullying? Do you consider that lynching?

    I looked back and saw one comment by one commenter who wondered if you are lying or delusional. No one has responded. Some lynch mob! Some bullying!

  683. #684 Denice Walter
    December 15, 2012

    Way back when, didn’t someone call the Oracians an ” intellectual lynch mob”? I thought that the Intellectual Lynch Mob used to open for the Clash in the old days.

    At any rate: Marc Stephens Is Insane:
    By George, I think you’ve ( almost) got it!
    It’s the rhythmn, capped by a verbal punctuation-like question.

  684. #685 S
    December 15, 2012

    You are now getting abusive. A sure sign of feeling fearful and threatened. And it’s ugly. This is how lynch mobs get started. Just look into yourselves. Discussion is one thing; this is bullying. Keep it to yourselves.

    Charging patients for worthless treatments is akin to robbery. Is that not abusive and predatory? It is indeed threatening to see such alternative and ineffective therapies seeping into our hospitals and mainstream medicine where patients are forced to place their lives in the hands of physicians and caretakers who should have not only have the best interest of the patient in mind, but be competent and qualified to offer such care.

    Such expectations for effective treatments are reasonable and attempts to understand the what and why’s as to how such bogus treatments are infiltrating our right to healthcare is most certainly not abusive. Perhaps if people understand how or why others hold such irrational and unsubstantiated beliefs, they can offer better education and assistance. I am relatively new to the discussions here, and I suggest that most here are more experienced than myself, and therefore perhaps have a better understanding. I am simply trying, in vain, to give the benefit of the doubt, rather than to simply believe what at times appears to seem obvious, and that is quacks don’t care whether they are exploiting and misleading people with bogus and dangerous healthcare remedies, they do it for the sheer, raw profit and recognition. Perhaps it is I that am in a bit of denial and can’t yet accept that there are so many unethical and dangerous medical ‘professionals’.

  685. #686 THS
    December 15, 2012

    I see irritation and sarcasm, not anything that could get near abuse. And if Judith is charging money for her “healing” services the irritation is well founded. I’ve seen my credulous poverty-level neighbors spend money on that sort of quackery. Again, it’s not a question of being fearful and threatened – it’s a matter of being very very impatient with nonsense and quackery. Judith, the well-worn phrase of “not even wrong” is the only polite way to describe the sheer ignorance and lunacy of your pronouncements on medicine and science. It’s nowhere near “abusive” for the commentators to continue to insist that (1) there is a real world discoverable by science and (2) the extraordinary claims by Judith, Marge, whoever – be supported by even a modicum of credible evidence.

  686. #687 Lawrence
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith – you are the one that keeps posting here – posting obvious falsehoods & making claims with no evidence. And, you also side-track the real discussion, so I guess you’re just bored….perhaps you should wave your hands in the direction of your local Cancer ward & get back to us with the results….or better yet, just leave.

  687. #688 Denice Walter
    December 15, 2012

    @ S:

    Although I can’t make an assessment without knowing a person, I can make a generic statement about what I think is often going on in woo-topia:

    Are they delusional or lying?
    Alt med folk have a great deal invested in their belief system: it provides an identity, often a livlhiood and it enables them to re-capture self-esteem that may have been truncheoned by encounters with the real world.

    You’ll note that their frequent refrain is: “Experts don’t know much.” I would venture that many of these people DID have designs on becoming real scientists that were nipped in the bud by rejection from institutions of higher education. Amongst those I survey there are very few with standard education and training in life sciences ( even AJW was thwarted in his quest to be a surgeon: he didn’t finish the training in Canada). So axes begin grinding.

    Thus, their self-appraised genius is not validated by authorities so the experts must be wrong. Being a maverick is a full-time job so they seek a quasi-education in pseudo-science which is much easier to obtain than the standard.They set themselves up as alternative experts who will show those dodgy old experts!

    ( continued)

  688. #689 Rose
    December 15, 2012

    “One is summarily rejected if s/he is deemed crazy”

  689. #690 LW
    December 15, 2012

    @S, I did not mean to suggest that you should not have asked that question; I think it’s very reasonable. I’ve asked myself whether Judith is delusional or lying many times as well. If we’d all leapt in with abusive answers to your question Judith might have had some justification for claiming “lynch mob”. But we didn’t.

    For the record, Randi has said that some applicants genuinely believe they have psychic powers. They are not lying but not delusional; they have fooled themselves by exactly the processes discussed in these comment threads: failing to recognize the common cognitive blind spots that we all have.

    Remember the scientists who believed they had found N-rays? But the difference between them and pseudoscientists is that when they were proven wrong, they gave it up, however painfully and reluctantly.

  690. #691 S
    December 15, 2012

    Thank you, LW.

  691. #692 Krebiozen
    December 15, 2012

    Judith,

    You are “cherry-picking” cancers.

    Pointing out exceptions to a gross generalization like, “Conventional medicine’s track record on cancer is pathetic”, is not the same as “cherry-picking”.

    And one could argue that a large part of that improvement in survival is improvements in early detection, which allow for more successful surgical interventions.

    I agree, but perhaps you have overlooked the fact that early detection through screening programs, and surgical intervention are conventional medicine. If you were a regular reader of this blog you would know that overdiagnosis is often discussed here. That’s one reason I chose to mention the improvement in survival in childhood leukemia, where early detection and overdiagnosis are not an issue.

    Even if you look at prostate cancer, the commonest cancer in men, where you might expect screening to have increased apparent incidence, you see an impressive improvement. In 1975 incidence (per 100,000) in men over 65 was 916.56, and in 2009 it was 772.76. In 1975 5-year survival was 69.2% and in 2004 it was 99.9%, that’s a 99.7% fall in the number of men who died within 5 years of diagnosis (from 30.8% to 0.1%). Either there has been a large fall in real prostate cancer incidence, and a large increase in early detection, or treatment has greatly improved. I don’t think it is fair to portray an improvement in survival of this magnitude in the commonest cancer in men as “pathetic”. I could also point out that it was medical science that discovered the link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, which has led to the reduction in incidence of and deaths from lung cancer over the past decade or more.

    And the news for those children successfully treated for leukemia with all the best poisons medical science can offer is not all that rosy

    I suppose you think it would be better if they chose energy healing instead, in which case they would be dead long before any long term side effects became apparent. Only about 2% of childhood leukemia patients get secondary cancers, which is better than almost certain death, don’t you think?

    All the studies you cite for energy healing pertain either to Reiki or to Therapeutic Touch. There are no studies for the Domancic method or (other than Bengston’s) the Bengston method.

    Are you seriously asking us to believe that these various manifestations of wishful thinking and flimflammery are actually different modalities? I suppose if Domancic and Bengston were studied and failed, you would telling us that Quantum Touch and Matrix Energetics are the real deal. There’s no end to that kind of game.

    You belittle the successes that conventional medicine has had with cancer, grossly exaggerate the side effects of conventional treatment, ignore the horrific effects of untreated cancer, and pretend that energy healing offers a realistic alternative. You have offered no good reason at all to think that energy healing of any flavor offers any hope at all to cancer patients.

  692. #693 MarkL
    London
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith

    If calling an obvious scam a scam and its practitioners liars, delusional or both is abusive – so be it. It is the very lack of abuse , brought about by excessive politeness and the recent politically correct notion that all ideas should be given equal consideration that has let scammers like you and Burzynski flourish.

    It is time that the scientific community picked up the cudgels and called proponents of moronic modalities what they are; morons.

  693. #694 Denice Walter
    December 15, 2012

    So a woo-meister begins making his case to the world, propped up by self-advertisment while masquerading as a scientist, cargo cult fashion, by appropriating the language and demeanor of science. Science as portrayed in adverts.

    Do I think that some of these people are delusional? Partially. They may believe in their own press and follow their own regimes ( see Gary Null, Mike Adams). However they exaggerate their own beliefs in order to capture an audience and sell them ideas and products.

    There is a fine line between self-delusion and lying to others. For example, a woo might truly believe that taking mega-doses of vitamins will cure cancer or SMI BUT will say to he audience that it always works. Do they REALLY believe this? I don’t know.

    If you listen to woo-meisters, as I have, you begin to hear the same stories, re-told and elaborated over time: Null has a few set pieces that get better and better; he narrates a tale about a relative who had a farm- with each telling, the farm supplies more and more perfect products and the relative grows in health and age- other tales include staying with a down-to-earth farm family in Italy, doing psi/ energy healing research and nutritional research on rats with cancer and on plants; curing people with aids or cancer with mega-doses of vitamin C etc. Like the game of telephone, each transition brings transformation.

    Some of the venom reserved for scientists and supporters of SBM reveal envy of the expertise and acceptance that that person has received by society in general. Then society in general is called out- universities, organisations,governmenets and the media- as being corrupt and un-spiritual. Many rants are fuelled by hatred of the *elite*. Group efforts -like AoA and TMR- exhibit vitriolic disdain for their *betes noires*,i.e. those who reveal alt med’s prevarication as a career or hobby. Phony scientists hate the real ones . Messengers bringing bad news are despised and ( metaphorically) shot.

    Often, the stuff I read reveals black-and-white thinking, stereotyping and a startling start of understanding the motivation of others. These characteristics resemble some of those that children exhibit prior to adolescence when their ideas about other people and society begins to become more subtle and complex. That is, in MOST people.

  694. #695 LW
    December 15, 2012

    @Rose: “One is summarily rejected if s/he is deemed crazy”

    Very good, you accurately copied and pasted from Judith’s comment.

  695. #696 THS
    December 15, 2012

    @ Denice: Just so. As I’ve said before, your comments are among those that continue to educate me and expand my thinking. Helpful, too, on account of my current interests and a contemplated project.

  696. #697 Denice Walter
    December 15, 2012

    @ THS:

    That’s what I’m here for: the pay ain’t much but the perks are incredible. And it’s not like I’ve never gotten complimented in RL- it is nothing new but it never gets old.
    I also like mirrors.

  697. #698 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    I suppose if Domancic and Bengston were studied and failed, you would telling us that Quantum Touch and Matrix Energetics are the real deal.

    Don’t forget Russian Organ Regeneration and BEAM™ Therapy (“a simple yet powerful, safe, relatively gentle, effective and efficient method of releasing past unprocessed emotions along with associated toxins”), which Judith also has in her bag of tricks.

  698. #699 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    And… “BEAM Therapy” is essentially the despicable German New Medicine in New Age garb. Nice company you keep, Judith.

    Current problems and issues whether emotional, psychological, physical or spiritual are the result of unresolved emotional traumas, which in turn, led to dysfunctional perceptions, beliefs and behaviour patterns.

  699. #700 Scottynuke
    December 15, 2012

    @Narad, re: “Reiki Valley Sunday” —

    *belated but heartfelt standing ovation* :-)

  700. #701 LW
    December 15, 2012

    Wait, Judith does organ regeneration? My sister works with the transplant unit of a local hospital. There are so few available organs that they have to make heart-rending decisions about who gets an organ and who waits … and waits … and maybe dies waiting. Judith, call the transplant unit of a major hospital. Help those desperate patients. Don’t waste your talent on pain relief and rashes — get in there and save lives!

  701. #702 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    @LW:

    Wait, Judith does organ regeneration?

    Apparently, it can regrow teeth as well.

    @Scottynuke:

    Thank you, thankyouverymuch.

    @Judith:

    You are now getting abusive. A sure sign of feeling fearful and threatened. And it’s ugly. This is how lynch mobs get started. Just look into yourselves. Discussion is one thing; this is bullying. Keep it to yourselves.

    It’s not as though you’re being menaced with pineapples or something.

  702. #703 herr doktor bimler
    December 15, 2012

    You are “cherry-picking” cancers.

    Person A: This tree has no fruit. Instead of pouring all our efforts into orchardry, we would be better-advised to examine the possibilities of Psychic Shrubbery.

    Person B: The tree does indeed have fruit! Look!

    Person A: Ah, but those were cherry-picked.
    —————————————————————-
    They may also have been low-hanging fruit, but this is not relevant here. They taste better than red herrings.

    It’s not as though you’re being menaced with pineapples or something.

    The self-defense lessons haven’t reached pineapples yet.

  703. #704 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    The self-defense lessons haven’t reached pineapples yet.

    There are of course also fruit-based assailants who just come heavily armed.

  704. #705 herr doktor bimler
    December 15, 2012

    It was a viciously sharp slice of mango, wasn’t it, sir.

  705. #706 Rose
    December 15, 2012

    LH
    In my anger that was all I was capable of posting.
    Judith like Burzyzski takes advantage of gullible people, giving them false hope and putting off treatment that could help them. She has been asked over and over again for proof that energy healing can help and all she can do is pull anecdotes out of some orifice or other. But wait she then says she only believes her own anecdotes, noone else’s, so why on earth should anyone else believe her anecdotes?
    She says she knows her energy healing works because people say they feel better. As an asthmatic, I have felt better when my pulse ox was 94 than I did when it was 97, but that is my anecdote so Judith won’t believe it.
    As a cancer patient, I am furious that she can actually defend quacks and charlatans who bilk cancer patients and rob them of the time conventional treatment would have given them

  706. #707 LW
    December 15, 2012

    @Rose, I do apologize for thinking ill of you. Anger is a totally understandable response.

  707. #708 Rose
    December 15, 2012

    LW
    Sorry for the wrong initials.
    I know people will grasp at anything that seems to give them hope when they are fighting for their lives. People who take advantage of that are lower than low.

  708. #709 LW
    December 15, 2012

    One thing I will say for Judith is that she does not engage in the abject sadism of some altmeddlers. I refer to those who convince old people who live alone and have no one who cares except their dog, to give up the dog because it interferes with the magic. Or those who convince people to have all their teeth pulled for no good reason.

    It’s not saying much, but I don’t put Judith in the sadist category.

  709. #710 S
    December 15, 2012

    “I refer to those who convince old people who live alone and have no one who cares except their dog, to give up the dog because it interferes with the magic.”, or those who do this to the disabled.

  710. #711 S
    December 15, 2012

    Why is that after these things happen, everyone seems so outraged and surprised, but while it is happening under their nose, with their shared patients, people don’t want to speak up and intervene?

    I’m sure it’s more complicated than this, but in large part, I agree with MarkL.

    MarkL: If calling an obvious scam a scam and its practitioners liars, delusional or both is abusive – so be it. It is the very lack of abuse , brought about by excessive politeness and the recent politically correct notion that all ideas should be given equal consideration that has let scammers like you and Burzynski flourish.

  711. #712 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    @S
    Pathetic. I have, however, heard of a condominium corporation taking a wheel-chair-bound condo owner to court whose only companion was a dog because there was a no-pet clause.

    @MSII
    You haven’t posted in a while and I remain intrigued about your back. You didn’t say what was wrong with it, but clearly physio didn’t do much if they then tried to send you to chiropractic and acupuncture. I am actually surprised that physiotherapists would have suggested something like that. I thought they didn’t like the competition.

    At any rate, did you rule them out altogether out of principle, or were you more averse to the idea of having to pay for it? If you could have tried either for free, would you have?

    I would have tried chiropractic (I have at some point and it was not that different from physio), but I don’t think I would try acupuncture, free or not, on account of the needles.

    So, given that it supposedly does nothing, and no one is sticking needles into you, would you try a free Reiki session? Or are you opposed on principle?

    Would you consider trying, for instance, Shiatsu, which is just a form of massage and instead of needles uses thumbs?

  712. #713 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 15, 2012

    @LW
    Check this out (it’s a comment on a blog about Randi):

    Yes a comment on a blog: well done Judith and how critically-minded of you. There are many public records of the failed lawsuits against Mr. Randi and yet you chose a disgruntled “commenter”. I don’t work for Mr. Randi and I can verify what Pareidolius stated having actually read some of the disgruntled losers’ failed lawsuits. And using the shill gambit is pathetic and lazy; Pareidolius did not say what capacity he was even involved as there are many volunteers for JREF and it doesn’t even matter if he’s paid unless you want to turn that mirror on yourself.

  713. #714 S
    December 15, 2012

    Pathetic. I have, however, heard of a condominium corporation taking a wheel-chair-bound condo owner to court whose only companion was a dog because there was a no-pet clause.

    What exactly are you claiming is pathetic, the comment or the fact that practitioners do tell people that they are energetically incompatible with their pets and should get rid of them, or other bogus completely unsubstantiated reasons they should get rid of their pets?

    Telling someone that they are innately and energetically ill (such as through the NAET muscle testing technique) and are thus incompatible to even possess their pet is quite different than someone being given informed consent via a lease on a rental property with explicitly states that pets are not allowed.

  714. #715 LW
    December 15, 2012

    @S: “Or those who do this to the disabled”

    Absolutely. I mentioned old people because I was thinking of specific cases I’d read about, but the bonds between humans and animals are deep and profound, and to wantonly sever them is simple cruelty.

  715. #716 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    I don’t think I would try acupuncture, free or not, on account of the needles.

    Now, now. As antennas, they’re way above your ponderomotive frequency range.

  716. #717 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    December 15, 2012

    Judith,

    I think you’re mixing me up with someone else. I don’t remember ever posting about my back, I’ve never seen a physiotherapist in my life and wouldn’t ever consider acupuncture, chiro, or reiki. There’s a world of difference between acupuncture and a nice massage. A masseuse isn’t trying to realign my Qi and correct body energy imbalances. A massage feels nice, with or without a happy ending.

    That’s the thing: I’d be much more inclined to believe in reiki if you actually did touch your customer. It’s the hands-off magic energy distance mumbo jumbo that immediately extinguishes any plausibility.

  717. #718 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    @S
    Pathetic that people should be telling people to get rid of their pets, of course.

  718. #719 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    Sorry @MSII, I think it was @Al Kimeea.

    Reiki can be hands on or hands off.

  719. #720 S
    December 15, 2012

    Judith, the point is that Reiki is not massage. Massage can provide substantial benefits depending on the condition being treated, Reiki can not.

  720. #721 thenewme
    December 15, 2012

    So Judith…. how about Randi’s challenge?

  721. #722 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    Reiki can be hands on or hands off.

    You know, I’ve asked over and over again. Why the hands?

  722. #723 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    ^ Lost blockquote in the foregoing.

  723. #724 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    @S
    Yawn. So you keep saying. I personally have had greater benefits from Reiki than massage. All you are saying is that you personally have not had benefits from Reiki and you are making the experience universal. As far as I know you are not yet the Universe, although you may think you are.

  724. #725 S
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith, Answer Narad’s question. Why the hands?

  725. #726 S
    December 15, 2012

    @Judith, Do you need help filling out the application?

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html

  726. #727 Shay
    December 15, 2012

    All we are saying, Judith, is that the benefits from Reiki have never been credibly documented. You are the only one claiming to have benefited, so that hardly makes the experience universal.

    Unless you may think you are the Universe.

  727. #728 Judith
    December 15, 2012

    @Shay
    Does everything have to be documented for you? Does it have to be documented, for instance, that chocolate ice cream tastes good? Can you not have personal experience of something and know that you enjoy it?

    I don’t know why @Narad is asking about hands. If he were to give some context to his question, it might be more comprehensible. One could possibly imagine giving Reiki with one’s nose or tushie, but it really wouldn’t be the same now, would it?

  728. #729 Narad
    December 15, 2012

    I don’t know why @Narad is asking about hands. If he were to give some context to his question, it might be more comprehensible.

    SOME KIND OF CONTEXT? You invite people to hold their hand up to a f*cking picture of one on your own site. The entire sham is teleologically predicated. If you can’t explain this, it utterly collapses.

  729. #730 Lawrence
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith – are you seeking some kind of personal vindication by continuing to post here?

  730. #731 Shay
    December 16, 2012

    A silly analogy, Judith. You didn’t say that you enjoyed Reiki — you’re making serious healthcare claims for your product and you refuse to back them up.

  731. #732 al kimeea
    December 16, 2012

    @ Denice Walter – the education angle is a new one on me and quite ironally funny, but at the same time I wonder if better ed would help those like JudithMarg or that lawyer I keep mentioning – you can lead a woovian to knowledge but you can’t make them think.

    Judith, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with my back when you tell me which bits of biology/chemistry/physics/physiology are made up like the shite you sell.

  732. #733 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 16, 2012

    Does everything have to be documented for you? Does it have to be documented, for instance, that chocolate ice cream tastes good? Can you not have personal experience of something and know that you enjoy it?

    Really dumb analogy indeed. Enjoying something is a matter of opinion; that’s not what you are claiming but rather that Reiki works for somesuch. So yes, it does need to be documented as working and as long as you can’t, it’s indefensible.

    I don’t know why @Narad is asking about hands. If he were to give some context to his question, it might be more comprehensible. One could possibly imagine giving Reiki with one’s nose or tushie, but it really wouldn’t be the same now, would it?

    Seriously? And “administering” Reiki with one’s tushie or nose would be as effective.

  733. #734 Lawrence
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith – sure, chocolate tastes good, but the moment you claim chocolate cures Cancer, you bet I’m going to ask you for evidence…..

  734. #735 flip
    I can't believe it's not Marg
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith

    And the news for those children successfully treated for leukemia with all the best poisons medical science can offer is not all that rosy

    As usual, the cranks show that their problem isn’t that their ideas aren’t being taken seriously. Their problem is with the medical treatments they don’t like.

    The thing is, the offer of a million bucks is totally fake. For one thing, nobody can apply unless they are famous – that is, only if they have a media presence.

    That’s fairly old news. Try reading the Randi site. Besides, is it really all that hard to get your local rag to write about you? All you have to do is present somebody you’ve healed (or heal a journalist!) and you’ve got your story. After all, what you’re doing works right? So exactly how hard is it to convince a writer if what you’re doing works?

    “Hoops” is fairly old hat too – Randi and his organisers work *with you* to create a test. If you don’t like the arrangements, they will accommodate you as best as they can. If you finally don’t reach an agreement, you back out.

    As for nobody getting past the first round – could it be because under test conditions, no one can prove their claims? Which is why you never provide evidence. If it were so easy to prove, you’d have scores of it already.

    What’s more, the very people who offer the money are the judges. Nowhere else is this the case. It is a clear conflict of interest.

    Uhuh. And yet, there have been a number of examples where the “judges” have included an audience. You’re even allowed to bring a friend, if I remember right. (Also what LW said)

    t impresses people who have not read the rules… and through the donations Randi solicits, he pays himself as the “contest” administrator a cool quarter million bucks annually. That is what I call a racket.

    Uhuh. And yet if one actually does bother to read the rules, you’d see that the JREF million dollars is held in a trust account, which can’t be accessed except for paying out the winner of the challenge. They even provide the bank info so you can call the bank and confirm all of it yourself.

    I actually spent a few months reading through all the various email discussions, forum discussions and other things about the challenge. Usually the people posting the sour grapes are the testees who just can’t understand *why* they can’t just turn up and do their thing, but are instead required to actually have some sort of scientific method in place to control for biases. That they have to follow rules at all gripes at them.

    But hey, let’s not bother reading the info provided by JREF, and just take the word from some random commenter on the internet who hasn’t watched JREF volunteers go *out of their way* to be accommodating. (Not that Judith cares: she clearly considers any and every anecdote to be worth exactly the same as evidence anyway)

    You are now getting abusive. A sure sign of feeling fearful and threatened. And it’s ugly. This is how lynch mobs get started. Just look into yourselves. Discussion is one thing; this is bullying. Keep it to yourselves.

    And now we’ve devolved into the “criticism is bullying” canard. We *are* discussing: we’re discussing your lack of evidence and unwillingness to provide it.

    But hey, since you didn’t bother to do it before, maybe you’d like to state which comments are libelous? And why?

    By the way, you have an option of LEAVING. You don’t like the criticism, don’t enter the conversation.

    As far as I know you are not yet the Universe, although you may think you are.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA, ah, where do I send the bill for my broken irony meter?

    Does everything have to be documented for you? Does it have to be documented, for instance, that chocolate ice cream tastes good? Can you not have personal experience of something and know that you enjoy it?

    Once again, you can’t tell the difference between something that is OBJECTIVE and something that is SUBJECTIVE. “Feeling good” may be a nice outcome for reiki, but you’re the one who says it can do more than that. So yes, for everything other than “feeling good”, evidence would be nice. I wouldn’t bother saying please because I know there’s no evidence forthcoming and never will be from you.

    Here’s what Judith says “cancer cures aren’t working, look at the evidence” – and compare to “reiki works fine, here’s an anecdote”. Double standards are always in play for her.

    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG nor JUDITH, the contemptible purse-snatchers of science, HAVE ANY EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS. Plus, Judith made threats of libel/harassment which are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.

  735. #736 S
    To Touch or Not To Touch - That is the Question
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith, Since you claim that Reiki is an effective treatment method and can be successfully administered from a distance, as well as in person without the practitioner ever touching the patient, then explain why it would ever be necessary for the practitioner to touch the patient? You specifically state that sometimes Reiki is administered by touching the patient. Please provide a listing of the factors which are used to distinguish between when it is necessary for the practitioner to touch the patient vs when the patient can be treated without touching?

  736. #737 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @Lawrence
    I must enjoy the abuse. I certainly don’t get any validation.

    @S
    It’s entirely a matter of personal preference, the client’s and the practitioner’s.

    @Shay
    I am not only one claiming to have benefited. There are many others out there. Those would be the testimonials your lot calls lies. It really does come down to some people being able to feel it and others not. The energy is there for anyone to feel; people who are stuck in their heads, like many Westerners and apparently everyone on this discussion board, just don’t. In fact pretty much anyone can be taught to feel it if they are willing to learn. I work in a community centre where there is a very active seniors’ program, and someone started teaching them qigong, and in very short order many of them were able to feel the energy. You all who don’t feel it call it imagination. But that’s your own willful blindness — and it’s literally willful, because it’s your will that’s making you unable to feel it.

  737. #738 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    “_the_ only one”

  738. #739 S
    I WILL I Can, I WILL I Can, I WILL I Can ...
    December 16, 2012

    But that’s your own willful blindness — and it’s literally willful, because it’s your will that’s making you unable to feel it.

    Meaning that Reiki does not work for us, because we are not willfully allowing it to work? Our willful blindness is blocking it from working? Meaning Reiki could heal our cancer, and treat infections if only we were willing? Meaning no amount of treatment will be successful, if we are not willing and allowing it to be successful?

    Do I understand you correctly, Judith?

  739. #740 flip
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith

    Ah, yes the “East vs West” approach. Sigh… I fell for that one once. When I tried qigong and it didn’t work for me and I wasn’t at all skeptical about it. I truly believed it would work. But I guess my anecdote doesn’t count.

    But hey, let’s drag in yet more logical fallacies. And the biggest one of all: it’s all your negative energy that’s stopping it from working, boohoohoo.

    Sigh…

    Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG nor JUDITH, the contemptible purse-snatchers of science, HAVE ANY EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS. Plus, Judith made threats of libel/harassment which are hollow, vague and disingenuous; an attempt to chill speech and scare critics.

  740. #741 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @S
    Meaning that you are not able to feel the energy because your ego interferes. Whether it would work or not is a separate issue. Please note that I do not make the claim for _Reiki_ that it can heal cancer. You are using Reiki as a generic term for all energy healing modalities. Domancic (in his movie) cites an instance where a breast cancer tumour decreased in size substantially over a four day course of treatment. Bengston claims cancer cures. Reiki does not.

    The issue about people not feeling energy is that the discussion would be entirely different if they were able to. Then they would say “there is something there”. It may not be strong enough to cure cancer, but there is definitely something there. Then one could get into a discussion about how to make it better. Now the discussion is “does it or does it not exist”, which from my perspective is a giant waste of time. If science would acknowledge its existence and put the same amount of effort into improving it as it now does into creating chemotherapy drugs that extend life, you can be pretty certain that in a few years energy healing will dependably cure cancer.

  741. #742 LW
    December 16, 2012

    Judith: “in very short order many of them were able to feel the energy”

    No doubt. So could the Therapeutic Touch practitioners that Emily Rosa tested. Until she tested them and it became evident that they could not.

    Why don’t you take the Randi Challenge, Judith? Just proving that you can “feel the energy” in an environment where you cannot be fooled by coincidence or fool yourself would go a long way toward convincing skeptics.

  742. #743 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    The energy is there for anyone to feel; people who are stuck in their heads, like many Westerners and apparently everyone on this discussion board, just don’t.

    It’s Calgon time! Of course, the funny thing is that reiki isn’t actually popular in Japan.

  743. #744 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    Meaning that you are not able to feel the energy because your ego interferes.

    Another classic trope of New Agey blowhards. Define precisely what you mean by “ego,” Judith.

  744. #745 MarkL
    London
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith

    @S
    Meaning that you are not able to feel the energy because your ego interferes.

    So we are back to the usual energy-healing bullsh*t of “if it doesn’t work, it must be the patient’s fault” ?

  745. #746 LW
    December 16, 2012

    @S: “Please provide a listing of the factors which are used to distinguish between when it is necessary for the practitioner to touch the patient vs when the patient can be treated without touching?”

    I think it’s magnetism. If patient and practitioner are attracted to each other, they touch.

  746. #747 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 16, 2012

    Meaning that you are not able to feel the energy because your ego interferes.

    Of course, blame the recipient; it relieves the “practitioner” of failing to provide an effective treatment. Try this on Judith; if one has a bacterial infection and is administered antibiotics but the patient does not think they will or even want them to work, how does this interfere with the efficacy of the antibiotics? If Reiki works, then the recipients mindset should not interfere. Why can’t Reiki overcome resistance?

  747. #748 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    It really is like trying to explain music to someone born deaf, with the difference is that the deaf person can’t do anything about it, whereas your lot just won’t. I really don’t give a fig about Emily Rosa or the not-so-amazing Randi. If you choose feel it, you will. If you just choose to blather on about it being bullshit, go right ahead and live happily with that.

    The ego, Narad, is that thing you and I hold on to that seems to have strong opinions about things.

  748. #749 S
    December 16, 2012

    I think it’s magnetism. If patient and practitioner are attracted to each other, they touch.

    Funny, that’s what I’m thinking. It certainly would explain why the likes of Judith never did a thing for me.

  749. #750 LW
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith: “If science would acknowledge its ["energy"] existence and put the same amount of effort into improving it as it now does into creating chemotherapy drugs that extend life, you can be pretty certain that in a few years energy healing will dependably cure cancer.”

    But here’s the thing, Judith. You could do that. You could keep careful records of every person treated, exactly what they were treated for, and what the results were, with follow-up by yourself or third parties. Anyone can do science; Emily Rosa did science at age ten.

    In terms of clinical trials, you have a huge advantage over someone like Orac, because you don’t require any expensive equipment; you don’t need to admit the patient to the hospital; you don’t need to worry about infection control (well, except to the extent that anyone has to worry about flu and the like).

    You may say that clinical trials won’t be accepted unless they’re done by the “big guys”; that is false. I personally know a physician who ran his own clinical trial at his own expense, published numerous papers, and made a big difference in his corner of medicine.

    You start out at a disadvantage because there have been so many charlatans in your field. But careful, honest science is the way to win over the skeptics. Some will never believe, sure, but as thenewme commented, cancer patients would dearly, dearly love for energy medicine to work.

    I lost my beloved stepmother to cancer. We would have done anything, paid any price, to save her. If it meant being laughed at for our gullibility, fine, we’d have gone for energy medicine anyway. If it worked. If there were any evidence that it worked. If there were any reason to believe that it *could* work. But there isn’t.

    Why don’t you supply that evidence, Judith?

  750. #751 Krebiozen
    December 16, 2012

    Judith,

    The issue about people not feeling energy is that the discussion would be entirely different if they were able to. Then they would say “there is something there”.

    Using suggestion and ‘hypnosis’ I can reliably make people think that there is definitely “something there”. For example I can make people think they feel tingling, heat, pain, or even numbness so they apparently feel nothing when I stick a needle in them. I have used similar techniques to get rid of headaches and make a cold dry up temporarily, but none of this is objectively real, and no mysterious energy is required to explain it.

    It may not be strong enough to cure cancer, but there is definitely something there.

    If there is definitely something there, why can’t anyone detect it, or its effects, or anything definite and replicable about it?

    Then one could get into a discussion about how to make it better. Now the discussion is “does it or does it not exist”, which from my perspective is a giant waste of time.

    From my perspective, discussing how to make something work better, when the only evidence for it even existing is pathetically weak anecdotal evidence that we know is extremely unreliable, is simply foolish. It’s like people talking about the mechanisms of homeopathy and acupuncture, when the best evidence is consistent with them being nothing but placebo, just like energy healing. First prove it exists, then we can talk about how it works and how to make it work better.

    If science would acknowledge its existence and put the same amount of effort into improving it as it now does into creating chemotherapy drugs that extend life, you can be pretty certain that in a few years energy healing will dependably cure cancer.

    Now that is simply ridiculous. You obstinately cling onto this belief that your subjective experience is somehow infallible when there is overwhelming evidence that it isn’t at all.

    I have mentioned this before, but Derren Brown’s ‘Miracles For Sale’ (blocked in the UK, but I have ways around that) it is well worth watching. He teaches a man many of the tricks of faith healing (not energy healing, but there are marked similarities), and gets him to impersonate a faith healer on stage in Texas. The section where he goes out on the street and heals people is particularly interesting – you will find it starting at 56:38 – the very first person who is ‘healed’ reports a pain in his leg reduces from a level of 10 down to zero. Fake faith healing can do exactly what you are doing Judith, though I doubt you can see it.

  751. #752 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @Krebiozen
    Interesting question for you: when someone is told they have an 8 per cent chance of surviving a given cancer with the help of chemotherapy, what explanation does the medical community give for 92 that don’t? Why is a particular person in one group or another? The answer is that there are a number of variables, and one of those variables is the mystery of healing. Some people do; some people don’t. People who should die, live; and some people who should live, die. Would you be able to give an explanation?

    Another question: placebo. How does it work? Is faith healing that works fake? By definition it cannot be. The person had faith the healing would work; it did; therefore it was faith healing. Anything wrong with that? “Fake faith healing” is an oxymoron.

    I believe I read on the subject of placebo that new drugs are more effective out in the field than the old because physicians talk them up. Over time, their effectiveness decreases. I’ve read that placebo works better given as an injection than as a pill; and a capsule works better than a tablet. Some colours work better than others. Why?

    A good chunk of healing that goes on as a result of medical interventions is placebo, whether the intervention is a pill or an operation (as the sham knee operations and angina operations proved).

    So why people heal or don’t heal is mystery. Is anyone studying it? It would have to be a large scale multi-disciplinary effort., and I am not so sure how well all the scientists, sociologists, psychologists and philosophers needed would work together.

    So on to energy healing. I don’t know how much of it is placebo. But say someone comes to me on crutches who has been told by their doctor that they need a knee operation. I treat them and they feel the energy. I tell them about the cases I have seen where the knee was fixed and the person didn’t need a cane or crutches or an operation or whatever. As I treat them they feel better and better, and when they get up, they are able to walk without pain. The next day they are still able to walk. On the third day maybe they get some of the pain back, but they still don’t need the cane to walk. They see me again, the pain goes away, yadi yadi yada, and the upshot is that by the time they see their doctor again, they don’t need the operation. I think you would agree that’s a net benefit to everyone, except perhaps the people who would have been paid to do the operation, which is not an issue in Britain, because they receive salaries rather than get remunerated for “piece work”.

    So what worked? The patient clearly healed himself: is all healing not self-healing? How much of it was placebo? How much of it was “energy”? How much of it was me suggesting to the patient that other people who received this kind of healing didn’t need operations? And ultimately how much does it matter how much of it was placebo?

    The scientific community has their nose so stuck in beakers that they cannot see the mystery of healing. They cannot see how much of it is placebo or other considerations. And the issue is that if healing or improvement from cancer can occur with something less horrific than radiation and chemo, it would be of net benefit for society in terms of reduction of human suffering and costs. But the scientific community’s nose is stuck in beakers and the only solution they can think of is biochemical.

  752. #753 Denice Walter
    December 16, 2012

    OMFG! I’m gone for 24 hrs and we’re back to Qi?

    OK. people who do qi gong- or suchlike- experience *feelings of energy* –
    when you start paying attention to your body, especially under instruction, you may feel many interesting and amazing sensations-
    sometimes when I play tennis I feel as if I can fly- doesn’t mean I can-
    however because you FEEL things described by a pseudo-scientific system of meridians and qi vessels doesn’t mean that there ARE meridians and qi vessels. ( -btw- I did t’ai chi for years). These are poetical, pre-scientific explanantions for phenomena that can be much better explained by SB physiological psychology. And people do study sensation.

    And how does an “ego” get in the way if it is your link to the externmal world via senation?
    Oh wait, that’s the old-fashioned ego, not the New Age-y ego.

    I have to go do my photos..

  753. #754 S
    December 16, 2012

    @Krebiozen, That is an absolutely fascinating, yet disturbing video. People are so easily scammed.

    Judith, “I tell them about the cases I have seen where the knee was fixed and the person didn’t need a cane or crutches or an operation or whatever.

    Judith, First of all, you are not qualified to assess whether the patient was properly diagnosed to begin with, yet you are dissuading them from seeking further medical care.

    Secondly, “all healing is not self-healing” unless you are trying to play with words so as to reel people in to your game.

    Thirdly, Who sets the prices on placebos? Do you tell a dying patient that they have nothing to live for as they will be dead in a short time, so why not spend every last penny on your placebo – after all, they can’t take their money with them to the grave, so what have they got to lose?

    Call it like it is, Judith. You could have a very successful honest practice doing hands-on/hands-off relaxation for a certain clientele. Be good with that, and don’t make false claims of healing infections and cancers that you can not and WILL not attempt to evidence.

  754. #755 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @S
    I am going to start calling you names soon. Where is the part where I am dissuading them from further medical care? After I treat them they go back to their doctor to assess their condition. Or did you miss the part where I say “by the time they see their doctor again they don’t need the operation”?

    How serious a case of tunnel vision do you suffer from?

  755. #756 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    The ego, Narad, is that thing you and I hold on to that seems to have strong opinions about things.

    That’s the dumbest definition to accompany this occultist slogan that I’ve ever heard. “Seems to have”? What the hell is that supposed to mean? “It” doesn’t really have “strong opinions”? “It’s” just foolin’ with ya? How exactly does one “hold on to” an opinion-having psychic “thing”? Since when do “things” have opinions anyway? Do I now need to wonder whether there’s subterranean tensions brewing between the mismatched elements of the flatware? Take heed: “the thrust of occultist argument is always towards physical reductionism and mechanization.”

    Of course, the statement is also monstrously hypocritical, as your psychic barge is so laden with “strong opinions,” which are also apparently so precious that the slightest self-examination represents some sort of grievous indignity, that it’s a miracle it hasn’t capsized.

  756. #757 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    I believe I read on the subject of placebo that new drugs are more effective out in the field than the old because physicians talk them up.

    Of course, you have a demonstrably awful track record when it comes to being able to accurately report things that you’ve happened upon.

  757. #758 LW
    December 16, 2012

    @Judith:

    A good chunk of healing that goes on as a result of medical interventions is placebo, whether the intervention is a pill or an operation (as the sham knee operations and angina operations proved).

    But say someone comes to me on crutches who has been told by their doctor that they need a knee operation. I treat them and they feel the energy. I tell them about the cases I have seen where the knee was fixed and the person didn’t need a cane or crutches or an operation or whatever. … and the upshot is that by the time they see their doctor again, they don’t need the operation.

    So energy medicine works about as well as sham knee surgery.

  758. #759 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    @S
    I am going to start calling you names soon.

    I’m sure this effort would provide tremendous amusement.

    Where is the part where I am dissuading them from further medical care?

    You’re skipping the part where you try to dissuade people from medical care without slinging some bucks at a Domancic fakir first.

    After I treat them they go back to their doctor to assess their condition. Or did you miss the part where I say “by the time they see their doctor again they don’t need the operation”?

    As you didn’t trouble yourself to provide details, let’s take meniscus tears as an example. These will symptomatically improve on their own. The underlying injury, however, does not “heal,” and if it’s not addressed surgically, one is left with a ready invitation to further worsen it with ease. People nonetheless will put off arthroscopic surgery when the pain abates.

    How serious a case of tunnel vision do you suffer from?

    Campbell’s Irony Soup, “so thick you could eat it with a fork.”

  759. #760 Narad
    December 16, 2012

    ^ Another blockquote fail, I hope it’s still interpretable, etc., etc.

  760. #761 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    December 16, 2012

    So why people heal or don’t heal is mystery. Is anyone studying it?

    It is being studied so apparently it remains a complete mystery to you and I’m sure you like it that way so you can hawk your ‘services’ to equally credulous and ignorant people.

    The scientific community has their nose so stuck in beakers that they cannot see the mystery of healing.

    Better than having their heads’ stuck up their arses like you woo-meisters to keep yourselves sufficiently in denial of physiology. Everything can be explained by science eventually. There is no need to fill in the gaps with magic, mystery or occultism. It’s okay to say, “we can’t explain a particular phenomenon.” It’s the honest thing to do actually whereas your hubris compels you to claim you have the power to heal.

  761. #762 THS
    December 16, 2012

    @Krebiozen: Thanks for the conformation bias link. Helpful for me to to read & re-read. I haven’t got myself in the mood to watch the video.

  762. #763 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @THS
    Love the Freudian slip. Yes, you all appear to be suffering form “conformation bias”.

    @Science Mom
    Please cite those studies that specifically target how healing actually happens. I would love to read them.

  763. #764 Judith
    December 16, 2012

    @THS
    Also known as “conformity bias”.