When last I visited this topic, I was highly tempted to start out out by making a simple observation, namely by quoting John Wooden’s famous adage, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Since I didn’t use it for the two posts I did on this particular topic, Sh*t naturopaths say and Sh*t naturopaths say, part 2, I just did it for this post. It’s the perfect quote for this topic.

What I’m referring to is a private discussion forum for naturopaths known as Naturopathic Chat, or NatChat for short, and how a leak from the group had revealed the sort of pure quackery that naturopaths talk about when they are among themselves and think that no one else is listening. Basically, NatChat revealed just how quacky naturopaths are, based on the advice they gave each other about patients and their general discussions of what passes for “naturopathic medicine.” I found examples of naturopaths recommending intravenous peroxide, homeopathic drainage therapy, black salve (for a huge protruding breast cancer), and (elsewhere) even ozone to treat a postsurgical J-pouch abscess that clearly required the attention of a colorectal surgeon. After naturopaths on NatChat became widely aware that someone on the list had revealed discussions on the list, apparently the moderators, instead of moving to another platform, stayed on Yahoo! Groups.

None of what I’ve described in this brief recap of my first post about NatChat should be surprising to regular readers of this blog (and my not-so-super-secret other blog), who would also know that I am not particularly fond of naturopaths, even the nice ones, who might be perfectly fine as people. Of course, it is naturopathy we don’t like, mainly because it is, as I like to describe it, a cornucopia of quackery based on prescientific vitalism mixed with a Chinese restaurant menu “one from column A, two from column B” approach to picking quackery and pseudoscience to apply to patients. Indeed, whenever the topic of naturopathy comes up, in addition to suggesting that they search this blog for the word “naturopathy,” I like to refer readers to Scott Gavura’s excellent recurring series “Naturopathy vs. Science,” which has included editions such as the Facts Edition, Prenatal Vitamins, Vaccination Edition, Allergy Edition, Diabetes Edition, Autism Edition, Fake Diseases, and, of course, the Infertility Edition. I’ve also described just what happens when a naturopath tries to treat a real disease like whooping cough. The results are, to put it very mildly, not pretty.

Of course, as I’ve pointed out, any “discipline” that counts homeopathy as an integral part of it, as naturopathy does to the point of requiring many hours of homeopathy instruction in naturopathy school and including it as part of its licensing examination, cannot ever be considered to be science-based. Not surprisingly, we oppose any licensing or expansion of the scope of practice of naturopaths, because, as skeptics have explained time and time again, naturopathy is pseudoscience and quackery.

Interestingly, what led the Reddit user and naturopathy critic NaturoWhat (who inspired my earlier posts regarding NatChat) to give me the heads up as to what’s going on in NatChat again is an incident on the discussion board involving a naturopath who featured in the previous edition of my coverage of NatChat, Eric Yarnell. He’s a naturopath who tried to point out to his fellow naturopaths how black salve is a really nasty treatment because of the way it fries normal tissue just as badly as it fries abnormal tissue. He also appears to be one of those rarest of beasts, a seemingly pro-vaccine naturopath. I say “seemingly,” because whenever I encounter a naturopath billing herself as pro-vaccine (e.g., Erika Krumbeck), a closer examination of his or her views almost always reveals he or she believes in at least some antivaccine misinformation. Surprisingly, Yarnell is the naturopath who comes closest to actually being pro-vaccine that I’ve seen.

That being said, it must be noted that questioning naturopathic dogma about vaccines, in which the risks are inflated and the benefits downplayed, is what got Yarnell in hot water over at NatChat. Basically, he didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition to descend upon him, but it did, with about as much competence as the characters in the famous series of Monty Python sketches.

Basically, his story taught me two things. First, there do exist occasional naturopaths who are not as antivaccine as the vast majority of naturopaths and might even be called pro-vaccine. Second, all you have to do as a naturopath to be attacked or even shunned by some of your peers is to cite approvingly anything on this blog or other “quackbusting” blogs or to be written about in less than a derogatory fashion by “quackbusters.” That alone is enough for you to fall under dire suspicion by your fellow quacks to the point of being temporarily banned from a discussion forum like NatChat.

Naturopathic apostasy, or: How dare a naturopath say vaccines are safe?

NaturoWhat was kind enough to provide me with a link to a Pastebin containing more recent posts on NatChat. The most relevant conversations occur in these files, spanning discussions going back a couple of weeks:

The fun (such as it was) began on February 17th, when a naturopath named Laura Flanagan noted that Yarnell had been “booted off NatChat” (errors in original):

I am very disappointed in the decision to kick Dr Yarnell off of NatChat. He is a dedicated ND who has given more to our profession than just about anyone I can think of. I appreciate his wisdom and always read his posts ( except for this week because because I am really tired of the vaccine bickering) with extra care. He has great knowledge that he shares generously. He is not a traitor to our profession and I think the accusation was a mean spirited, uncalled-for attack.

I hope that his banning will be recinded soon.

So I’ll give Flanagan credit in that, although she notes that most of the naturopaths on NatChat disagree with pro-vaccine viewpoints such as those espoused by Yarnell, she at least thought it was unfair that Yarnell had been booted from the group. I’ll also give several other naturopaths credit that they, too, were very upset about Yarnell being removed from the group, some, like Joshua Goldenberg and Ron Mariotti, so much so that they told the moderator of NatChat, Mona Morstein, point blank that if Yarnell’s removal from the group stood they’d be leaving the group too. On the other hand, certain naturopaths defended Morstein for her actions. The whole kerfuffle lasted a few days and provided an impetus for naturopaths to show exactly why they are not science-based.

We learn a little later from a naturopath named Shiva Barton that, allegedly anyways, it wasn’t Yarnell’s pro-vaccine views that got him booted but this:

According to Eric he was not removed for his pro-vaccine views. He was temporarily removed because Mona thought he might be the Britt mole because evidently he cited some research from her group. De-listing him is misguided – McCarthyism at its finest. Now, I can see banning Eric because he is really pale (we should be tanning him, not banning him) or because has a bad sense of humor, but the guilt by association thing is a little scary. I know that Mona deeply cares about NatChat and it bugs her no end that there is a mole. However, it is not a logical conclusion that citing that research equates with moledom. So, Mona, please let the dude back in so I can continue to skip over all this back and forth vaccine stuff and steal Eric’s clinical pearls when he responds to other posts with his continued very useful information.

Barton is correct. It is not a logical conclusion, but given how antivaccine most naturopaths are it is not in the least bit surprising that, in a situation where there is a suspected mole, suspicion would fall first on the member of the group espousing viewpoints that do not jibe with the prevailing views of the group.

Now here’s where things get interesting. Morstein, obviously stung by the criticism, tries to explain why she banned Yarnell:

I always wish to have NatChat be transparent. It is true I have temporarily removed Dr. Yarnell, but not due to his innate views on vaccines, food allergy testing or whatever. NatChat welcomes all views on topics. However, without going into details, behind the scenes (and yes, also due to his using Gorski as a reference) some concerns have risen about Dr. Yarnell. This is a test removal. If the flow of information to Britt is not stopped by Dr. Yarnell’s removal, I will offer a very sincere, heartfelt public apology to him and Natchat. However, I feel it is my responsibility to try to do whatever I can with whatever clues come my way to staunch the flow of information to Britt Hermes.

I do not wish for this to cause people to be upset or resentful. We need to keep our profession together since many outside people are against us. Please trust me that I do not do anything willy-nilly and needed to accumulate information before taking this step.

So let’s see. Yarnell used me as a reference, and suddenly he’s suspected of being the NatChat mole! I never realized I (or my not-so-secret other blog) wielded so much power or struck so much fear into the heart of naturopaths, or that citing me approvingly must mean that you would betray your fellow naturopaths by leaking their secrets! Seriously, I highly doubt that Yarnell particularly approves of me, even if he was willing to cite me in a discussion about vaccines. In fact, I know that, in spite of the fact that he appears to be much closer to the science on vaccines than his fellow naturopaths, even Yarnell doesn’t much like science-based medicine and “quackbusters”:

I am sorry, but I don’t keep a map on my wall of all the opponents of naturopathic medicine. I don’t look up the history of every source I cite. No one does this. And if I am to be banned and accused of being a traitor or a mole because of citing a source you or anyone doesn’t like, then this list definitely needs to be shut down.

And:

No, I don’t like, support, or agree with the quackbusters on issues of our profession. They are biased and uneducated about this. I don’t know what Orac or some other specific people have said against our profession, but I know their ilk. But I do know that the specific post Orac made regarding immunization that I cited has useful information in it and it supported how I came to my position about immunization. I both stand by the citation and my right to use it without buying in to the anti-naturopathic pap from the same source.

So what happened? Basically, here’s where he committed the offense that got him banned. In response to questions about William Thompson, the CDC scientist who became the “CDC whistleblower,” Yarnell cited two posts, “The William Thompson Documents. There’s no whistle to blow” on Left Brain, Right Brain, and this post by me about William Thompson having apparently gone all antivaccine. In response, the reaction was—shall we say?—not positive, not positive at all. Apparently, it went beyond just complaints on NatChat to private e-mails to Morstein accusing him of being the mole.

Paranoia, much?

Quote naturopath Michael Uzick: SBM is criminal!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this latest dump from NaturoWhat, it’s that naturopaths, really, really hate us here at SBM. Frequent were the references to us as “quackbusters” (they say that as though it were a bad thing) and complaints about us being biased. Of course, I am biased—biased towards science, which is exactly why I have such a big problem with naturopathy as a profession. To some, it goes beyond this. At least one naturopath, Michael Uzick, appears to think we are criminals:

I also agree with all of the great things mentioned about Dr. Yarnell. However, citing a “Science based medicine” criminals, who are actively trying to destroy our profession is shocking to me. This same group are [sic] using posts from this forum to damage individual naturopaths and our profession. To essentially post as evidence to support vaccination something Britt Hermes or her boss has written definitely begs the question of whether Eric is the mole?

Anyone want to bet whether it was Uzick who complained to Morstein about Yarnell and accused him of being the “mole”? There’s no way of ever knowing unless one of them reveals what happened, but my money’s on Uzick. That’s not a particularly difficult guess to make, though, given that at one point Uzick explicitly asks, “Eric Yarnell, are you the mole?

Whether I’m right or wrong about this guess, at this point I didn’t know whether Uzick was referring to me as Britt Hermes’ boss (because she has provided me with guest posts for my not-so-super-secret other blog) or Yarnell (Britt informs me that he was her former teacher). Certainly, I am not Britt’s boss in any sense of the word. I do, however, admire her courage in having realized how full of pseudoscience naturopathy is and, above all, for having the courage to make a very difficult mid-course career change after having spent so much money and effort to become a naturopath. I admire her speaking out on her blog, Naturopathic Diaries. It should also be noted that Uzick isn’t exactly a reputable character by comparison. A Google search on his name quickly revealed this RationalWiki entry on him, which tells me that he is another “naturopathic oncologist” who is also an HIV/AIDS denialist and imported and administered an illegal cancer drug called ukrain to his patients. This led to him being disciplined by the Arizona naturopathic board with a letter of reprimand, which is pretty damned bad; given how pathetically inadequate the regulation of naturopathy is in states that license naturopaths, any sort of formal reprimand of a naturopath is very damning indeed. Yet Uzick remains a respected member of the naturopathic community.

And here’s another little tidbit, pointed out by a naturopath named Lisa Chavez:

I have to say, respectfully so, that Dr Uzick it is really ironic that you of all people would name Dr Yarnell, (one who I know to be as genuine a nerd and naturopathic patriot as you can possibly find which I say that with fond respect) as a potential mole when you run the clinic that Britt Hermes worked at in Arizona, no?

Dr Uzick, it would really be insightful to hear your take on Miss Herpes [sic and sick] tales, I don’t recall ever hearing your side of the story- like have you filed suit for defamation, etc??

“Miss Herpes”? How childish. (And, no, I don’t think that was a typo.) It’s also interesting to learn that Uzick was Britt Hermes’ boss.

I will give Yarnell proper credit, though. He is quoted twice as having said, “I continue to say to those who don’t support the CDC schedule to present evidence of something better.” Truly, he apparently is a rare beast, indeed. Whenever he’s quoted saying this it causes a backlash of antivaccine pseudoscience, such as this bit from a naturopathic oncologist named Colleen Huber who lists herself as the President of the Naturopathic Cancer Society:

Abundant evidence exists that the CDC schedule, and that most vaccines used in the United States, are both dangerous and ineffective.

Over 400 studies in fact, that have been published in the medical literature, including in journals such as: Pediatrics, Lancet, BMJ, JAMA, Infection, Neurodegeneration, showing the risks and failures of vaccines. Many of these studies are referenced in Neil Z. Miller, Critical Vaccine Studies. This book would be a good place for you to start.

If you are interested in learning about the history of vaccines, the most comprehensive and objective book that I have read is Suzanne Humphries, MD, Dissolving Illusions.

It is impossible for you to read either of these and be willing to give even one more vaccine, having learned of the damage already done, the evidence that the vaccinated suffer so much more than the unvaccinated, both from infectious diseases and vaccine side effects. First Do No Harm requires that naturopathic physicians not administer vaccines, at least not in their present form. If a much safer, more effective vaccine is developed in the future, I will keep an open mind, but will not administer it until proven safe and effective in credible, uncorrupted double-blind studies. Those studies have not happened with current vaccines.

First I see Michael Uzick and what I view to be his highly unscientific “medicine,” which includes high dose intravenous vitamin C, mistletoe extract, homeopathy, detoxification, and hydrotherapy (among others) as therapies for cancer. Now I see Colleen Huber citing Suzanne Humphries and Neil Z. Miller as authorities on vaccination? And naturopaths wonder why I consider “naturopathic oncology” to be 99% quackery! Suzanne Humphries? Seriously? We’ve met Humphries before. She is antivaccine to the core, refers to vaccines as “disease matter,” and routinely uses among the most ridiculous antivaccine arguments there are out there. And Neil Z. Miller? He’s at least as bad! He fancies himself an epidemiologist and vaccine researcher. Perhaps the most hilariously bad example of his “work” (if you can call it that) was his truly risibly incompetent attempt to negatively correlate vaccination schedules of various countries with their infant mortality rates. I deconstructed his pathetic attempt at science when it was first published. Basically, he used typical antivaccine tricks to artificially inflate the number of vaccines American children receive and appears to have cherry picked the countries used. It doesn’t get much worse than Miller’s work. He also wrote a book with Mayer Eisenstein, who was pretty damned antivaccine himself, purporting to provide a “balanced” view of vaccine but citing Andrew Wakefield and the like. Harriet Hall tore it apart with facts and science.

This is the sort of “evidence” Huber considers so compelling, Suzanne Humphries, Neil Z. Miller, and a bunch of crappy studies that antivaccinationists occasionally manage to get published in real peer-reviewed journals, rather like how antivaccinationists managed to get a dubious article claiming to link Gardasil with behavioral issues published in Vaccine, of all journals; that is, at least until editor-in-chief Gregory Poland found out about it and got it removed for further review. It happens. (Fortunately, Poland retracted that study.) The overwhelming bulk of the science of vaccines indicates that they are safe and effective and do not cause all the harm that antivaccine naturopaths (but I repeat myself) like Huber seem to think they do.

Later in the thread, Uzick compares advocates of science-based medicine to a number of bad things. Specifically, he likens citing our writings to citing Nazi eugenics, the terrorist group ISIS, and tobacco company denialist science, a trifecta of poisoning the well:

Simply, these people have one intention, to destroy naturopathic medicine. I’m a naturopath and thus I’m offended by them and anyone who would use as credible the blogs of the most biased, unscientific and vicious opponents of naturopathic medicine.

There have been a lot of erroneous assumptions put forth today. Perhaps the most important is my assumption that you were aware of who the science based medicine/quackbusters are and Britt’s connection with them. In addition, her long list of activities fighting against our legislative efforts, regularly slandering our profession in articles and blogs, attacking individual doctors and engaging in the exact same tactics the quackbusters have always used.

Of course you are free to cite who ever you like. But if you cite in a professional medical forum, tobacco industry “research”, Nazi eugenicists blogs, ISIS medical hypothesis or the quackbusters that slander you and our profession and who are bent on its destruction, you might expect a provocative response in return.

Gee, Uzick says that as though he thinks that were a bad thing! And of course, we’re just like ISIS. Note our support for beheading apostates. Don’t forget the Nazi eugenicists and how we advocate forced sterilization and the euthanasia of the severely handicapped. Oh, wait. We’ve never supported or advocated anything like that! Actually, judging from how some naturopaths started suspecting Yarnell of being a mole just for citing science-based sources, one can’t help but wonder if there is a bit of projection here.

I will make no bones about our stance that naturopathy is quackery and therefore not a legitimate medical specialty, however. There is simply no other way to put it, given that one of its “core competencies,” if you will, is homeopathy. As long as that is true, naturopathy can never claim to be science-based, never claim to be anything more than quackery. Uzick and his naturopath colleagues, however, seem to have an apocalyptic view of their opponents’ efforts against them, as you will see.

Criticism on the Internet ≠ Terrorism

So, based on the existence of a mole on their discussion forum, the denizens of NatChat recently devolved into borderline paranoia and mutual accusations over who might be the mole. Although it got heated and then Michael Uzick seemed to back down and apologize, it was clear that there was a lot of suspicion and hostility. Of course, this is not surprising, given that Uzick seems to view our activities at SBM, Britt’s activities on her blog, and the activities of other supporters of science-based medicine who oppose increasing the scope of naturopathic practice as terrorism, as he tries to explain why Morstein might have banned him:

Mona and our profession are being terrorized. She was thinking of the greater good and has been through a lot. You may not have understood that Britt is working for them and who they are, but Mona does know and cares about this profession.

I’m sincerely sorry for the degree of upset you appear to have over my question to you. It’s not about you Eric. It’s about our enemies. We are on the same side and there has been confusion, assumptions and hurt feelings that are obscuring the truth.

Uzick is not alone. Elsewhere, Colleen Huber notes that they might not have a mole, that maybe it’s a hacker getting their information through leaky e-mail servers. She mentions “core naturopathic principles, and our comprehensive medical education, and our board exams that no MD has EVER passed (without also going through ND education), even though our clinical questions on NPLEX are indistinguishable from those on USMLE,” which gave me a hearty chuckle because no MD would really want to pass the NPLEX. Also, I dare Huber to show me the USMLE questions on homeopathy that the NPLEX has, given that homeopathy is a key component of naturopathic education and featured prominently on the NPLEX. I highly doubt that there are questions like the NPLEX homeopathy questions on the USMLE. But, in reality, what Huber really, really hates are quackbusters in general and Britt Hermes in particular:

Letting the disgraced Hermes silence us, in any way, is letting the terrorist win. She does have control over the Wikipedia page, but intelligent laypeople can see past the desire to label any evidence that is inconvenient as “pseudoscience.” Wikipedia can tell you how many kangaroos in Australia [sic], or how long the Mississippi River is, but it is notoriously untrustworthy and inadmissible as reference in universities and even now in some high schools. Intelligent laypeople I think are mostly on our side whenever they go to any effort to see what we are all about. We know that the average naturopathic patient has a higher level of education than the average American; they can see through nonsense.

Letting an ex-naturopath turned advocate of science-based medicine silence Huber is akin to “letting the terrorist win”? Seriously? I admire Britt, her ability to admit a massive error and make a painful choice to correct it, and her advocacy of science-based medicine since then as much as anyone else here, but come on! No one, not Britt Hermes, not Steve Novella, not Kimball Atwood (until recently the real nemesis of naturopathy), nor any of us at SBM or on other “quackbuster” sites has the power that Huber seems to think we do. Would that we did! But we don’t. After all, if we did, naturopathy would not be licensed in any state, much less seventeen! There would not be a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires that any health care professional licensed in any state, naturopaths included, be reimbursed by health insurance programs offered in the exchanges. Naturopaths wouldn’t be expanding their scope of practice so that they can be considered primary care doctors, even though their training and pseudoscientific practice (e.g., as they have in Hawaii) render them grossly unqualified for such a role.

Terrorism. I do not think it means what naturopaths think it means. Certainly, it doesn’t mean writing snarky critical posts on blogs and in magazines, trying to make sure that Wikipedia stays science-based, or using our Constitutional rights to oppose their efforts to expand their scope of practice to ply their quackery as primary care providers. (Mark Crislip’s description on Friday of their latest efforts in Oregon to be able to allow naturopaths to provide release to return to playing sports for school athletes who have suffered a concussion is truly scary.) Seriously, I’d really like to hear from Mr. Uzick and Ms. Huber specific examples of this “terrorism” that they’ve experienced. Nasty blog posts do not qualify. These claims of “terrorism” are even more risible in light of the overwhelming superiority in finances and numbers naturopaths have over those of us who advocate science-based medicine. They have so many advantages, in terms of influence, that it’s demoralizing at times. What keeps us going is that we have the one advantage that matters: Science is on our side.

Aftermath, or: What have we learned?

I’m grateful to NaturoWhat for having sent me this link. It was most illuminating and provided information that built on what I already knew about naturopathy. The first thing I know that was reinforced about naturopathy is that naturopaths, other than a tiny minority, tend to be very much antivaccine. Naturopaths are so antivaccine that they will cite antivaccine pseudoscientists like Suzanne Humphries, Neil Miller, and Andrew wakefield as convincing evidence of the evils and dangers of vaccines. Moreover, merely voicing pro-vaccine viewpoints will immediately land a naturopath in hot water with the majority of his colleagues and even lead some of his colleagues to suspect him of betraying them to the evil naturopathic apostate Britt Hermes and her SBM paymasters.

Speaking of Britt Hermes and us, the second thing I learned is that naturopaths really hate us. They really do. They hate us so much that it’s warped their perspective beyond anything having to do with reality, leading them deep into the heart of conspiracy land. Of course, it is not surprising that naturopaths would be prone to conspiracy theories. They are, after all, naturopaths and therefore already divorced from science, their futile efforts to declare themselves pro-science notwithstanding. Indeed, in their conspiratorial thinking, they ascribe to us far more power than we actually have, which, sadly, is not very much. Would that our power and influence to make medicine science-based were as much as naturopaths apparently seem to think it is! In the end, though, Britt, as influential as she has become, is still an ex-naturopath with a blog, and we are supporters of science-based medicine with a blog. We have an organization that you should all support, the Society for Science-Based Medicine, but it is not (yet, I hope) nearly as wealthy or influential as the main naturopath “professional group,” the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Still, they really really hate Britt, especially Gary Piscopo:

I monitor both the medicine and medical student subreddits. Hating on chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths, Dr. Oz, etc. is a religion. Britt Marie Hermes is in the pantheon of deities. The current “re-examination” that Reddit is going through, sadly, is not going to touch this in the slightest because there is nothing hateful, sexist, racist, or bigoted about these opinions. In fact, for many, it is simple common sense.

I wonder if Britt knows she is a deity on Reddit.

In any case, it turns out that, chastened by the criticism of her fellow naturopaths, Mona Morstein did ultimately reinstate Eric Yarnell on NatChat. That there was enough backlash to Morstein’s ban to force her to bring him back is a good thing. Maybe there is hope for some of the naturopaths on NatChat after all, but as long as naturopathy as a profession is a cesspit of quackery and pseudoscience, I doubt it.

From what I can tell, the crisis appears to have passed, at least for the moment. Eric Yarnell is calling for distributing power away from just Mona Morstein and threatening to form his own discussion forum if it doesn’t happen. I expect that some changes will likely be made, or NatChat will splinter into more than one group, and life will go on for naturopaths. They’ll be able to get back to doing what they do best, like using quackery like chelation for heart disease, denying the seriousness of the Disneyland measles outbreak, claiming that naturopathic medicine could have saved the 500 children a year who used to die of the measles before the vaccine existed, asking for advice on purchasing an ozone generator, or spreading misinformation about vaccination.

It’s the sort of quackery naturopaths do best.

Comments

  1. #1 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 25, 2016

    How cute. The way they are complaining about how their “profession” is under attack make it sound like they actually believe it is a valid one. Like pets displaying quasi-human behavior “Awww… she thinks she’s people!”

    “Awww… he thinks he has a legitimite career!”

    Also, I hope this is quite an eye-opener for Yarnell that pushes him to leave quackery alltogether. I doubt it will happen, but one can hope.

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2016

    Yiiii!
    These people are as rife with internecine intrigue as the anti-vax contingent are!

    Maybe if you’re not concerned with data and perceivable reality, you start conjuring up soap opera about supposed enemies lists, moles and convoluted plotting ( see esp AoA on Insel, today).

    At any rate, I notice that both of the alt media woo-meisters
    ( prn , NN) I follow recommend NDs instead of MDs but interestingly, both also admit that emergency medicine ( w/ MDs) is excellent.

    What I don’t get in that emergency medicine is not an isolated limb which can be amputated from the body of SBM intact – after all, it is part of what is studied and researched.

    BUT at least it shows that they have a minute level of self-awareness that they can’t do what EM does- attach severed parts, re-start stopped hearts and revive those who have lost most of their blood in shootings.

    Try vitamin C drips and chelation, right.

  3. #3 Marry Me, Mindy
    February 25, 2016

    I note Bofa’s Law of Professions: If your defense of a profession (community) consists of “Not everyone involved is bad” then that profession (or community) has a serious problem.

    Yarnell may be a beacon of vaccine light in a sea of anti-vaxxers, but he’s just the exception that proves Bofa’s rule.

    Although I will say, I really enjoy reading this stuff. The dirty laundry of these folks when they don’t think anyone is listening is a hoot.

    I really hope Yarnell is not the mole and they keep getting leaks even as he is banned. That would lead to the best meltdown.

  4. #4 MI Dawn
    February 25, 2016

    @MMM: IIRC, the leaks did continue, which was one reason they reinstated Yarnell. There were more comments on the post on Britt’s blog about it. And the fact that they can’t figure out *who* it is, is driving them mad.

  5. #5 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2016

    @ Marry Me, Mindy:

    There’s is a whole lot of dirty laundry on the internet concerning woo-meisters, anti-vaxxers etc, Pablo..

    I am currently finding some highly interesting material. Hopefully, I’ll have more soon.

  6. #6 Marry Me, Mindy
    February 25, 2016

    IIRC, the leaks did continue, which was one reason they reinstated Yarnell. There were more comments on the post on Britt’s blog about it. And the fact that they can’t figure out *who* it is, is driving them mad.

    Awesome

    It’s possible there could be more than one, even. I could imagine that happening.

    The odd thing is that they would think it’s the most vocal … um..adversary (for lack of a better term). Wouldn’t you figure the mole is going to be playing it as far on the downlow as imaginable?

    @denice

    There’s is a whole lot of dirty laundry on the internet concerning woo-meisters, anti-vaxxers etc,

    And of course they need to keep it quiet. Over at SkepticalOB, we hear the exact same crap from midwife groups. What they say when they get together and think no one is listening is pretty frickin scary.

  7. #7 MikeMa
    February 25, 2016

    I am fairly certain it was unintentional, but a nice touch listing wakefield with a lowercase “W”.

    Calling criticism a terrorist act is just the sort of thing folks do when their case cannot be made with rational arguments.

  8. #8 Dangerous Bacon
    February 25, 2016

    “Calling criticism a terrorist act is just the sort of thing folks do when their case cannot be made with rational arguments.”

    You’re a Bully.

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2016

    @ Dangerous Bacon:

    Heh.
    ( Although I think that they’d be more apt to say ‘sociopath’ these days).

  10. #10 MikeMa
    February 25, 2016

    Thanks DB, I am honored:)

  11. #11 has
    February 25, 2016

    Britt Marie Hermes is in the pantheon of deities.

    Britt Hermes turned me into a newt!

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    February 25, 2016

    I don’t really blame Colleen Huber for suggesting that the Quackbuster Army are terrorists.

    She’s probably still overwrought that the F.B.I. ignored her appeal to investigate the Holistic Doctor Murder Conspiracy.

    http://www.healthnutnews.com/a-holistic-doctors-open-letter-to-the-fbi-demanding-an-investigation/

  13. #13 John Small Berries
    February 25, 2016

    “claiming that naturopathic medicine could have saved the 500 children a year who used to die of the measles before the vaccine existed,”

    Well, why didn’t it, then? Looking at a few pro-naturopathy sites, they claim a lineage ranging from anywhere between ca. 380 BCE to 1892. Even using the least pretentious date, that’s still seven decades in which they utterly failed to put a dent in measles before the vaccine was developed.

  14. #14 palindrom
    February 25, 2016

    MMM@6 —

    And of course they need to keep it quiet. Over at SkepticalOB, we hear the exact same crap from midwife groups.

    You mean lay midwives, I suppose? Certified Nurse Midwives often practice in hospital settings and tend not to be particularly wooish in my experience.

    I sure wish they’d called themselves something else, because of all this confusion.

  15. #15 rs
    February 25, 2016

    “Britt Hermes turned me into a newt!”

    That’s okay. On the internetz nobody knows you’re a newt.

  16. #16 Rich Woods
    February 25, 2016

    Eric Yarnell is calling for distributing power away from just Mona Morstein and threatening to form his own discussion forum if it doesn’t happen.

    It seems he wants his own Judean People’s Front.

  17. #17 Ghostface Secret
    February 25, 2016

    These people are supposed to be medical “professionals.” There is a new rant by Michael “Ukrain” Uzick leaked to Pastebin (http://pastebin.com/25vP2uNi):

    We are having a strange little drama in our profession which I think is really about one or two individual naturopaths and their own issues with themselves and each other that has become attached with this horrific betrayal of a naturopath resigning from the profession, joining the quackbusters and trying to severely damage us. These quackbuster/”science based” Nazi’s originated from a vicious criminal conspiracy of a medical profession – the Chiropractors – in this US in the 1970’s.

    This is no imagined vaccine conspiracy, in case you don’t know, the AMA was found guilty of conspiring to damage the Chiropractic profession by our US Federal courts in the 70’s. These court battles led to the national licensure of the Chiropractors.

    So what were the quackbusters and the AMA doing that led to charges of conspiracy in the Federal courts? Well, you can read about some of it in this NY Times article from the 70’s discussing one of the rulings. Or for those of you who are aware of Britt Hermes and her husband’s work, just read the list of activities they are up to. It’s the same. Everything from writing “scathing” letters to legislators about our licensing, to reporting naturopathic doctors to governors, attorney generals, the FDA and you name it – I’m sure Obama has several letters – to creating fake Facebook pages and slandering naturopaths on their review pages. Ask yourself, how much money would it take to get you to do something like that?

    Today, the quackbusters/science based scum appear on their own blogs, “internet magazines” they tweet, they take claim for unsuccessful legislative efforts. Today, no one cares about them. They appear no where. I’ve been told with confidence by those involved in our licensing efforts that Britt has no impact. Did I say hated and not believed? They can trick some people momentarily and terrorize a bunch of naturopaths. But beyond that, we thousands are making meaningful differences in peoples lives on a daily basis. We truly care about people, true science based medicine and everyone can tell we are genuine in our efforts. Their agenda is paid for and there’s no lie or dark deed that’s too low for them. They have no meaningful impact, because they have nothing meaningful to offer.

    Compare coming to the aid of a terminal cancer patient and their desperate family, with Britt doing everything in her power to prevent that man from receiving his only hope. She was the doctor of these of his 3 beautiful children aged 7 through 11 and she did everything in her power to stop their father from receiving treatment and closing the clinic where he and so many patients with cancer come for received help. A treatment his oncologist said was a miracle. How do those two doctors compare? That’s the difference between Britt and myself. As well as, the difference between Britt and every human being with a soul.

    TL;DR: Michael Uzick argues it is okay to treat cancer patients using a drug imported from Austria from quack who faces criminal charges for fraud. Oh yea, the drug is not FDA-approved.

  18. #18 mho
    February 25, 2016

    ” I sure wish they’d called themselves something else, because of all this confusion.
    ah but that’s the point…

  19. #19 Christine Rose
    Ann Arbor
    February 25, 2016

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see no reason to connect Britt Hermes with Naturowhat, other than various blogs (including hers) referring to both of them. I’ve been assuming Britt gets her information from Naturowhat’s Pastebin and Reddit posts, same as the rest of us?

    • #20 Orac
      February 25, 2016

      Correct. As far as I know Britt has nothing to do with NaturoWhat. That doesn’t stop the naturopathic quacks on NatChat from trying, though.

  20. #21 capnkrunch
    February 25, 2016

    If a much safer, more effective vaccine is developed in the future, I will keep an open mind, but will not administer it until proven safe and effective in credible, uncorrupted double-blind studies.

    Must be convenient to be able to dismiss anything you disagree with because “CONSPIRACY! Also, why are vaccines the only thing they want studies on? IV vitamin C is perfectly acceptable based on anecdote and “why the hell not?” Good fantasy worlds are at least internally consistent.

  21. #22 capnkrunch
    February 25, 2016
  22. #23 Delphine
    #freekesha
    February 25, 2016

    I always wish to have NatChat be transparent. It is true I have temporarily removed Dr. Yarnell, but not due to his innate views on vaccines, food allergy testing or whatever. NatChat welcomes all views on topics. However, without going into details, behind the scenes (and yes, also due to his using Gorski as a reference) some concerns have risen about Dr. Yarnell. This is a test removal. If the flow of information to Britt is not stopped by Dr. Yarnell’s removal, I will offer a very sincere, heartfelt public apology to him and Natchat. However, I feel it is my responsibility to try to do whatever I can with whatever clues come my way to staunch (sic) the flow of information to Britt Hermes.

    Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise! Two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency!

  23. #24 Delphine
    February 25, 2016

    If a much safer, more effective children’s car seat is developed in the future, I will keep an open mind, but will not administer it until proven safe and effective in credible, uncorrupted double-blind studies.

  24. #25 palindrom
    February 25, 2016

    Delphine @23 — Brilliant.

  25. #26 sadmar
    February 25, 2016

    The NDs are doin’ CTs. They don’t have a ‘mole’ (an enemy agent undercover), they have a leak. And it’s not necessarily a member of the NatChat group: it could be a spouse/partner/family member who knows the ND’s Yahoo password. If it was one of the NDs in the group, that person would almost certainly be “playing it on the downlow”. Yarnell seems like a sincere guy trying to coax a bit of reform from his peeps. If so, there’s no way he risks his credibility by going behind their backs.

    True ‘moles’ lay low while burrowing-in, but in general the goal of infiltrators is to wreak havoc, not just pass on intel. A commenter noted on SBM, “the mole is always the most enthusiastic believer, the least forgiving of dissent.” This isn’t just cover, during the Vietnam war, for example, the Red Squad spooks were always trying to push the movement towards crazy talk and violence to discredit it. If NatChat did have a mole, he’d sound a lot like Michael Uzick.
    ______

    More bad metaphor from NDs. If “hating on [alties] is a religion,” Britt Hermes isn’t a deity, she’s a high preistess, or maybe an oracle. Sheesh,. You’d think with all the Eastern Mysticism in woo, these folks would know that there are religions without deities (Buddism, Taoism, Shintoism…). religions. Besides, Britt can’t be a deity unless she’s hiding a Noodly Appendage under her armpit of something.

  26. #27 Chris Hickie
    February 25, 2016

    capnkrunch @23– it’s probably a one-off kinda thing–for the patient, that is.

  27. #28 Marry Me, Mindy
    February 25, 2016

    @palindrome

    You mean lay midwives, I suppose? Certified Nurse Midwives often practice in hospital settings and tend not to be particularly wooish in my experience.

    Yep. Actually, I’d say the line is more “homebirth midwives.” That includes some CNMs, but is predominantly the CPMs (who have to do homebirths because they don’t have the credentials to work in a hospital). Most CNMs are hospital based and, as you say, are not particularly wooish. The CNMs that are out doing homebirths are the whacks, but they are only a small fraction (under 10% of homebirths are with CNMs).

    I sure wish they’d called themselves something else, because of all this confusion.

    As mho says, that’s the point.

    Actually, this is where I put a little criticism on the CNMs, and especially the ACNM. They have not done a good enough job making clear the distinction between them and the wannabees. Which is really surprising, because you would think that a professional organization that holds itself to high standards would want to take a hard stand against unqualified pretenders who try to coopt the brand. Cleo McDowell was always on the watch for folks from McDonald’s coming after him. However, the ACNM has actually been chummy with CPMs and always talks about ways of welcoming them. It’s basically the same as if the AMA were reaching out to include naturopaths. God no. The ACNM needs to make it clear that CPMs are NOT qualified midwives, and that is why we have the CNM.

  28. #29 ScienceMonkey
    February 25, 2016

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

    Posted by: ScienceMonkey, Homeopath, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist (This one is new this week!), Board Certified by multiple boards, Reiki master – both near field and long distance, Doctor of Metaphysics, Doctor of Divinity,
    Ordained Minister, Astrologer, Pet Psychic, People Psychic
    Plant Psychic, and Life Coach. (This is all true while also being all a joke.)

    Oh, I also have degrees from the real schools I went too.

  29. #30 Jane Ostentatious
    February 25, 2016

    There’s a hilarious story on that cruise with Brian Wakefield on Jezebel:

    http://jezebel.com/sail-far-away-at-sea-with-americas-largest-floating-1760900554

  30. #31 sadmar
    February 25, 2016

    Thanks for the link, Jane. The Jezebel article is excellent: well reported, well written, and thoughtful. One excerpt for lulz, though:

    Laura Eisenhower did note during her presentation, however, that no one should vote for Hillary Clinton: “She’s definitely not human.”

    Literally. It’s not clear, though, whether HRC is a shape-shifting Reptillian alien, or one of the “‘dark energy’ beings called Dracos.”

    Well, you know what they say about broken clocks… 😉

  31. #32 herr doktor bimler
    February 25, 2016

    definitely begs the question of whether Eric is the mole?

    must… fight… urge … to pedantry…

  32. #33 Denice Walter
    February 25, 2016

    @ sadmar:

    No no no! It could never be.
    Reptilians and Dracos dress better.

  33. #34 has
    February 25, 2016

    rs@15: “That’s okay. On the internetz nobody knows you’re a newt.”

    Ah, but do they know if you’re Bonnie Offit?

  34. #35 rhymeswithgoalie
    February 25, 2016

    “I expect that some changes will likely be made, or NatChat will splinter into more than one group, and life will go on for naturopaths.”

    Schism! Schism! Schism! Schism!

  35. #36 Militant Agnostic
    Under the bed looking for reds
    February 25, 2016

    MIke Ma

    Calling criticism a terrorist act is just the sort of thing folks do when their case cannot be made with rational arguments.

    Terrorist is the new Communist

  36. #37 Lighthorse
    February 26, 2016

    Speaking of cultural conflict, a recent article on the subject of “chemonoia” may be timely:

    http://het.sagepub.com/content/34/12/1272.long

    BBC covers it here:

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160225-chemonoia-the-fear-blinding-our-minds-to-real-dangers

  37. #38 palindrom
    February 26, 2016

    MMM @28 — Being, uh, associated with a CNM and seeing their literature, I see your point exactly.

    I’m not a scholar of all this, or anything, but my impression is that the OB community alienated a lot of women back in the 60s and 70s with totally arbitrary, non-science-based practices (shaving, stirrups, etc) which were perceived as mainly asserting the doctor’s control over the patient. The home-birth movement arose as a reaction to this, and the CNM profession grew up as a way of ensuring that at least some midwives were competent. And then it turns out that in a good hospital situation, with good communication, CNMs can handle the majority of uncomplicated births with little or no consultation and excellent safety, and they cost a lot less than MDs, This makes them a really attractive alternative for hospitals — with the added benefit that they bring in patients who might otherwise opt for homebirths.

    But in order to appeal to the wooish client, they need to retain that bit of branding — hence the name. Or so I speculate.

  38. #39 palindrom
    February 26, 2016

    Herr Doktor @32 — You need to see this if you have not:

    http://begthequestion.info/cards/

  39. #40 MikeMa
    February 26, 2016

    @Militant Agnostic
    Terrorist has not exactly replaced Communist but rather joined it along with fascist and socialist thereby adding to the curses they can spew without understanding or meaning.

  40. #41 Sarah
    La Crosse
    February 28, 2016

    I’m not with the naturopath guys, but I don’t know how you can say that the US medical system has never advocated for forced sterilization of the handicapped. I know an older man with fetal alcohol syndrome and he was sterilized when they realized he had it. He was not given a choice in the matter. I have also read although I can not remember where that it used to be in the law books in Wisconsin to sterilize those with mental issues such as schizophrenia back in the ’50s.

  41. […] week, I revisited a topic I first discussed in 2014 a couple of times. It is a topic that I find simultaneously amusing and […]

  42. #43 LouV
    France
    February 29, 2016

    @Sarah #41

    I’m not with the naturopath guys, but I don’t know how you can say that the US medical system has never advocated for forced sterilization of the handicapped.

    Simple : Orac never said that. The naturopaths were talking about blogs like this one or Science based medicine.org, not the old practices of the US medical system. These bloggers never defended forced sterilization.

  43. #44 Narad
    February 29, 2016

    I have also read although I can not remember where that it used to be in the law books in Wisconsin to sterilize those with mental issues such as schizophrenia back in the ’50s.

    See Buck v. Bell.

  44. #45 justthestats
    March 8, 2016

    Can anyone give a sentence where it’s ambiguous which meaning of “beg the question” is intended?

  45. #46 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 8, 2016

    Can anyone give a sentence where it’s ambiguous which meaning of “beg the question” is intended?

    The simplest would be “that’s begging the question.” The meaning may not be obvious even with the context of the previous statements.

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