Naughty skeptics! Naughty, bad skeptics!

It looks as though at least a couple of my readers have taken to heart my suggestion that, if the pro-CAM, "no skeptics need apply" new wikipedia known as Wiki4CAM won't allow any scientific evidence to be posted within its pages if it does not support the CAM therapy being discussed, then perhaps we should go all Sokal on it and post the most outlandish forms of CAM we can think of in order to see whether any of the editors at Wiki4CAM actually notices, and if anyone does how long it takes.

Thus far, we have two skeptics who have taken up the challenge, one choosing a more subtle--shall we say?--faith-based approach, and another going for pure parody. First, we have Bing McGhandi's lovely addition to the entry for faith healing. I particularly like the "science-y" part where he tries to show a relationship between the frequency of laying on of hands and the efficacy of Christian faith healing. Second up, we have a new and fantastic therapy known as flame detox. The entry speaks for itself. Worse, it's not that unbelievable, given the belief that the use of caustic mud like the "black salve," which, it is said, "draws out toxins" or even "draws out tumors," does anything more than induce skin burns. In case the Wiki4CAM administrators get wise to this, I thought I'd save the entry for posterity:

Flame detoxification is a relatively new procedure, developed by Dr. Fong Yu in Beijing, China. It is based on the theory that in ancient times, our bodies were able to handle the lower levels of toxins in the environment. As the world has become more industrialized, we have become more toxic. One evening, as he was cooking a meal, he realized that the fluids released from his food as a result of cooking where potent toxins. After many years of research and testing, he developed the flame detox process.

The treatment is performed in his office, or in the office of a suitable CAM practitioner. A flame of pure hydrogen is directed at a spot in the skin, causing it to release it's toxins. It is these toxins that are responsible for the resultant colour change of the skin. Once the skin is black, heat is removed. The area is washed, and the black toxic residue is allowed to slough off at its own pace.

Some allopathic doctors have expressed concern about this treatment, considering it to be a simple burn. This is not the case. Dr. Yu has found that if the flame is pure hydrogen -- a compound of the water that makes up our bodies -- the flame has no ill effect. It's only action is to expose and draw out toxins.

These are good starts, folks, but I have faith in you all. I know you can come up with even better material! I mean, come on! The homeopathy article alone cries out for your loving attention! (Quantum gyroscopic homeopathy, anyone?) And what good is Wiki4CAM without an article on DNA activation? Or quantum theory as used in "alternative" medicine? The possibilities are endless, and I'm betting to the administrators it's all good, given the level of credulity it takes to be a homeopath.

More like this

I'm speechless.

Maybe the flame detox can also draw out all those homo demons.

I am skeptical about this flame detox process; it doesn't say anything about quantum effects.

Then you should edit the article to add a brief section about quantum effects. :-)

I'm on there myself. I'm beginning to wonder just how many of the editors are actually parodists... Poe's law in action again.


But the entry may have provided John Freshwater with a new excuse: he was "healing" his students. Of course, he wasn't using pure hydrogen, so it didn't work, and they were left with psychic resentments.

Technique matters.

Amusingly, on the popular pages list on, Flame Detox is now listed as the #2 most popular page.

By wackyvorlon (not verified) on 14 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm on there myself. I'm beginning to wonder just how many of the editors are actually parodists... Poe's law in action again.

Well, there is the Myths about homeopathy page, which appears to have been written by a true believer. I've seen an article very much like it somewhere else.

It looks ripe for parody.

"... he realized that the fluids released from his food as a result of cooking were potent toxins"????

Somebody tell this guy he's doing it wrong. Obviously he's using filthy utensils.

By Sodding Wick (not verified) on 14 Aug 2008 #permalink

second notation on the "Myths About Homeopathy" page:

This article does not cite adequate references or sources.

No. Shit. I lol'd.

Wikis rely on careful management of the signal to noise ratio in order to work. They key, in my opinion, is to make the noise indistinguishable from the signal. Then the ratio shifts in favor of noise, making it useless.

They seem confused as to why the skeptics are so mean. If it were so simple as a different point of view, I don't think it we would care. It's that alternative medicine is hurting people. It's killing people. That is not permissable.

By wackyvorlon (not verified) on 14 Aug 2008 #permalink

Beet paste enema? That'll stain your shorts.

@wackyvorlon: My mom knows about my rabid anti-BS stance, and agrees with me but has dabbled in woo from time to time. Now she claimed proudly that she never did, but I reminded her of the time that she had magnets put in / through her earlobes to aid quitting smoking. Pretty innocent, the only danger is some remote chance of infection, and she discounted is as such. No harm done.

And I reminded her that the biggest harm done was leading the "practitioner" to falsely believe that what he's doing is effective, he has a right to do it and has a right to charge for it. Who knows what else he now feels strengthened to apply.

I hope someone ads the phrase "only to be performed by a licensed flame therapist" to this. I don't really feel sorry for anyone who tries this on himself, but there are crazies who subject their children to anything and everything.

I, for one, welcome our Flame Detoxing overlords.

I LOL'd, Orac.

By Rogue Epidemiologist (not verified) on 15 Aug 2008 #permalink

"Well, there is the Myths about homeopathy page, which appears to have been written by a true believer. I've seen an article very much like it somewhere else."

Perhaps on the "Zeus Information Service" website?.

Interesting that you should mention "quantum gyroscopic homeopathy", by the way. Here's the opening sentence of an article that Milgrom recently published on the subject of Homeopathy and the New Fundamentalism:

Acts of terrorism aside, in a pluralistic society intolerance can work far more insidiously on an intellectual level, by sifting and ultimately removing access to alternative forms of knowledge.

Wiki4CAM seems to have taken the idea and run with it.

If you're looking for great material, just mine the Golden Age of quackery: bloodletting, organomercury pills, and radium enemas!

Looks like the article has been taken down.

I thought skeptics weren't allowed, so how did they determine Flame Detox is not a valid therapy? Seems s little closed-minded of them.

Damn right, Skeptico. I mean, I successfully used flame detox therapy and got positive results, so who are they to arbitrarily judge me.

Also, who could have known that a 6-week old baby would contain so many toxins? I blame all the mercury and arsenic that's put in baby food.

To most Americans, the concept of "nonprofit" goes hand-in-hand with trust. If a person or an agency isn't driven by money, they seem more likely to be trustworthy and unbiased.