When I saw the latest screed from that very living embodiment of crank magnetism, Mike Adams, I chuckled. I sent it around to some fellow skeptics, including, for instance, the crew at The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, as well as acquaintances and friends of mine because I couldn't believe it. Adams, as loony as he is, had topped himself. In the meantime, I couldn't decide whether or not to write about it, particularly after Steve Novella took a swipe at it. After all, there are things that are so loony, so out there, that one seriously has to worry about whether they are the result of mental illness rather than mere crank magnetism. I don't think that this is the case here, but Adams' latest opus is bizarre that it defies believability. Steve thinks Adams is being tongue-in-cheek, and to some extent he is. However, knowing Adams' history I don't think that he's being quite as intentionally humorous as Steve thinks he is. Remember Adams' little minidocumentary The God Within? Adams has made no mistake that he thinks that modern science (and, by extension, science-based medicine) is completely evil and that other ways of knowing are far better. We know that he has complete and utter contempt for science-based medicine and that there is no form of pseudoscience, quackery, or conspiracy theory he won't embrace enthusiastically. We also know that Adams loves to use tragic deaths, particularly the tragic deaths of celebrities due to cancer (for example, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, and Tony Snow) as a pretext to attack modern cancer therapy as "useless."
So it's not surprising that Adams would sink so low as to take advantage of a bizarre and tragic story that was reported over the long Memorial Day weekend to do the same thing.
I have frequently referred to Mike Adams as a ghoul for his fascination with death and dead celebrities, particularly for his proclivity to use them for his own ends. He also seems to have a fascination with zombies. Whether he is doing this because he loves zombies or whether he is simply capitalizing on the recent popularity of zombie movies, TV shows (such as The Walking Dead), and books (such as the recent trend towards adding zombies to classic literature), I don't know. What I do know is that, unlike his previous light-hearted invocations of zombies (for example, Vaccine Zombie), which, as stupid as they were, were at least intentionally somewhat humorous. True, Adams, as is his wont, couldn't resist going too far and driving his metaphor into the slime.
In this case, Adams goes straight for the slime. The aforementioned bizarre and tragic story that he delves into for his own conspiratorial purposes is the story of a police shooting. In brief, a naked man was shot and killed on the MacArthur Causeway Saturday afternoon because he was attacking a naked homeless man. Although this story in and of itself is bizarre enough what rockets into the stratosphere of bizarreness is that the man who was attacking the homeless man literally ate that man's face off:
According to police sources, a road ranger saw a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away.Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.
The officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said. The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots.
According to this article and other sources I've read, police think that the attacker was probably suffering from "cocaine psychosis" or that he might have been using "bath salts," a drug with amphetamine-like properties that looks like, well, bath salts. In any case, given the nature of the crime and the horrific nature of the victim's injuries, the man having had the skin of most of his face ripped off, his eyes gouged, and his nose mauled. According to this report, all that was let was his goatee. Not surprisingly, the media have been quite prolific with the Hannibal Lector and zombie analogies, and it's the zombie analogy that Adams goes straight for in his article entitled Zombie apocalypse becomes reality in Miami as police shoot naked, mindless man literally eating the face off another man:
Are we now witnessing the rise of the zombies? Humans who subject themselves to fluoride, aspartame, psychiatric drugs, vaccines and street drugs end up lobotomizing their higher brains. Vaccines, for starters, cause extreme neurological damage, and some vaccines are actually made of aggressive viruses designed to "eat" targeted regions of the brain, resulting in a biological lobotomy.
What's left is the primal section of the brain, sometimes called the "reptilian brain." Or the "zombie brain," to use a pop culture term. This zombie brain has no morals and no logic. It only knows hunger, sex, violence and fear. It is entirely focused on selfish needs and has no ability to consider the welfare of others.
Yes, that's right. According to Adams, vaccines turn you into a zombie. Fluoride turns you into a zombie. Aspartame turns you into a zombie. Oh, and street drugs turn you into a zombie. Of course, in this case, it was street drugs that were almost certainly responsible for the horrific crime committed by the naked man shot by the police. His crime almost certainly had nothing to do with pharmaceutical drugs, psychiatric drugs, or fluoride. If Adams were honest, he would simply have said that it was probably street drugs, like cocaine, methamphetamines, or bath salts and left out his mention of vaccines, fluoride, aspartame, or pharmaceuticals. While it's true that some drugs like bath salts can cause severe behavioral changes, including delirium leading to violence. They can cause brain damage. They do so to the extent of leading a man to strip naked and become violent enough to try to commit murder when abused and taken in quantities far beyond any potential therapeutic use. Yet, none of this stops Adams from intentionally trying to link the illicit drugs that drove an unnamed naked man to rip another man's face off with psychiatric drugs in order to demonize them. The very obvious message, which is so blatant that it is basically says that psychiatric drugs will turn you into a face-eating zombie. Personally, whether illicit street drugs were involved or not, one has to wonder whether it might have been a lack of psychiatric drugs that led this naked man into his rampage.
Particularly despicable and distorted is Adams' antivaccine claim that vaccines can cause neurologic damage severe enough to result in a "zombie" like this face-eating man. He invokes the specter of viruses in vaccines, portraying them as aggressive and virulent when in fact they are either dead or attenuated. This is consistent with a favorite metaphor of Adams that he's used for a long time. In fact, has an entire section of his website called Vaccine Zombie News and Articles. Then, of course, there's his infamous video Vaccine Zombie, a few of whose lyrics I think are worth quoting again to show you just how far Adams will go to demonize vaccines:
When I took the shot then my face turned blue
I started feelin' hot inside but I didn't have a clue what to do
My temperature was hundred and two
Then my nut sack shriveled up and fell off too
The nurse screamed and said something was missin'
she called the physician who said he had a suspicion
that the vaccine caused a neurological condition
and soon I would see the mortician
They started cuttin' out my brain happy as can be
Bunch of undead doctors from the CDC
I finally figured out what happened to me
When they said we got another vaccine zombie!
Step one: Remove your brain
Step two: Replace with zombie vaccines
Step three: Watch television for further instructions from the Centers for Zombie Control
And the rest of the video:
Yes, Adams pulls out all the stops, to the point of claiming that vaccines will make your testicles shrivel up and fall off!
Not to beat this issue into the ground (actually, that's what Orac does best, beat an issue into the ground), but the beauty (if you can call it that) of Mike Adams is how he demonstrates the principle that credulity towards one form of pseudoscience is often associated with credulity towards another form of pseudoscience. Adams is not just pro-alternative medicine. He's antivaccine. He's also an all-purpose conspiracy theorist. In fact, he's so much of a conspiracy theorist that he interprets a CDC initiative that was meant to be a fun way to promote preparedness by mounting a campaign featuring zombies and warning people to "prepare for the zombie apocalypse" and appears to take it seriously. Is the CDC actually saying that we should prepare for a zombie infestation? Of course not! It's merely a canny exploitation of our current fascination with zombies in the media as a tool to promote disaster preparedness. In fact, I was surprised that our government was capable of producing such a clever advertising campaign. Mike Adams, at least for the purpose of his article, takes the CDC program at face value, as though the CDC were actually worried about a zombie apocalypse.
Right now, you might be thinking: Why is Orac bothering with something as completely loony as this Mike Adams screed? I could respond that it amuses me to do so, and certainly that is part of the reason, but it is by no means the main one. I find deconstructing articles like this one useful because they allow me to try to teach a lesson. In this case, the lessons are two-fold. First, as I said before, Adams is one of the best examples of crank magnetism on the planet, and this article is a perfect example of that. Anti-vaccine fear mongering, anti-pharmaceutical rants, science-free promotion of alternative medicine, financial conspiracy mongering, sympathy to anti-government movements that advocate stockpiling food and weapons, and, of course, claims that secret societies rule the U.S. None of this is surprising, given that Mike Adams got his Internet start peddling dubious Y2K preparedness kits.
The second lesson is not so much a lesson, but something to think about. Adams is such an exaggerated example of crank magnetism, it's hard for me to understand how anyone could believe so much nonsense, which makes me wonder whether, in fact, Adams actually believes all the idiocy he's selling. Personally, I have my doubts. Adams, for all his rabid rants, shows an uncanny knack for knowing just exactly what appeals to his readership and delivering it to them. Then there's his past, which is shrouded in mystery, unlike that of, for example, Joe Mercola. No one knows very much about him, and few people know about Adam's history of using Y2K to make money. (Personally, I didn't know about it until fairly recently.) It makes you wonder: Does Adams really believe this stuff, or is he contemptuously giving his marks what they want? In other words, is he a true believer, or is he a scammer? Or is he both? Personally, I tend to lean towards Adams being a bit of both, although I can't make up my mind whether believer or scammer predominates in what passes for Adams' mind.
Either way, his latest zombie post demonstrates that, whether he believes his own nonsense or not, there are no depths to which Adams won't go and not crimes he will not exploit in order to promote his anti-science message.
I was a little surprised (and raised a little cheer) to hear that Mike Adams had topped himself. Then I realised that the phrase means something very different in America.
Then there’s [Mike Adams]' past, which is shrouded in mystery
Having just watched 'Contagion', the gap in my imagination for Adams' appearance has been filled by Jude Law as the Alan Krumwiede character.
@herr doktor bimler
I believe that Adams (and a few others) served as significant sources of inspiration for Jude Law and the writers of that script, based on interviews they gave.
Because I am not a computer, like our peerless host, and am too tired to teleport via the Way-back Machine, I have to rely upon my memory:
according to the original Health Ranger site ( which has been replaced) bio, Adams' parents worked for pharma and he grew up taking all the standard SB treatments. At 30, he was a successful software developer** who was overweight and had type 2 diabetes. He was born in Missouri and also had businesses in Florida and Arizona. He is about 42 years old now and married. He may have a child,
He transformed his life through exercise and became a nutritionist, lost 60 lbs and became perfection itself. He has a publishing company ("Truth"), speaks Chinese ( has done business there) and has a charity- Consumer Wellness- that awards schools money to teach health. He also has sold health food and supplement products *a la* MLM and raps as "Amethios".
He lived in Ecuador and tried to start a *colonia* there but had to leave ( with a 600K USD house in Vilcabamba for sale).On a Gary Null show, the idiot host told a caller that Ecuador isn't a great place for relocation as someone he knows who was very high-profile had kipnapping threats and moved back to the US- about the time that Mikey returned to Arizona. Adams is featured on PRN. He has since moved to Austin. ( Does Andy have a magnetic effect?)
According to Dr Benway ( Tufted Titmouse) he may have been involved in Scientology ( RI featured the video).
Well, he sure hates psychology and psychiatry enough.
** amongst his projects, Arial ,and an e-mail ad system.
Like Orac, I believe that he is a chalatan who also believes in the alt med nonsense he sells to customers. On the old Health Ranger site, he had a stats section which was comprised of meticulously noted height, weight, body fat, blood chemistry figures et al- replete with a very posed photo of MA in his scanties. He also went on and on about his exercise routines - long hikes, martial arts- and extreme dietary prohibitions. Like the other dolt, he has scoffed at the new DSM-5 designation of 'Orthorexia"- being overly concerned with proper nutrition. He probably would fit the description.
Nowhere -ever- have I seen any information about his education, not even woo-schools for nutritionists- or anything IT.
He also carries on about his 'preparedness'- so he can live self-sufficiently when the eventual breakdown of society and the economic system barrels into Austin. He has a store of rifles and can suture wounds and do emergency care. He raise chickens and grows vegetables.
When I read his swill- altho' I know he's bright enough to figure out what people will buy hook line and sinker- from his use of language and way of presentation, I don't think that he's the sharpest tool in the shed.
As soon as you said "a bizarre and tragic story that was reported over the long Memorial Day weekend", I knew exactly where this was going. Adams did not disappoint. I am, as usual, unsurprised by his total lack of sympathy for the victim, even though in this case, the victim could have been a crunchy, granola, all-natural, no-vax, no-drugs acolyte of Adams for all he knows. (The victim has not been identified, after all.) The loophole that allowed "bath salts" to be sold has led to many tragedies; this is just the latest, and (as far as I know) the most gruesome.
If vaccines make your balls fall off, how do we get overpopulation after vaccine introduction? The facts don't seem to support his hypothesis.
Funny coincidence here. I've been reading an excellent J.J. Adams anthology "The Living Dead 2", and I came upon a story called "Obedience" by one Brenna Yovanoff. And in this story the source of zombie epidemics is... any guesses? Yes, a vaccine. Somehow I didn't enjoy this story after the revelation.
Interesting details about Mikey's bio, Denice. It sounds like he may have been an Ugly American in Ecuador. The State Department generally recommends that ordinary Americans keep a low profile when outside the US; being a high-profile gringo in a place like Ecuador will get you lots of unwanted attention. US$600k gets you a lot of house in places like Ecuador--we're probably talking gated compound or something of that kind, which is normal in the parts of Latin America I have been to.
As to the main post: I also think that Mikey doesn't really believe everything he's saying. Some of it, perhaps, but not all of it. He strikes me as more of a scammer than a True Believer.
@Alia -- in an even weirder coincidence, I just finished re-reading that anthology the other day, and was struck by the same thing.
(apologies if this is a double post -- I just got the "posting too fast" page while trying to post my very first comment. I love RI, but I am starting to seriously hate Word Press)
mu - I often wonder if the western-medicine-is-out-to-take-all-of-my-money-and-deem-my-inevitable-remains-medical-waste mentality has to do with the inability to accept mortality and suffering. It seems tragic in this world that autism, cancer, psychiatric/neurological issues, stillbirths, neural tube defects, chronic pain, dementia, etc. exists, especially if you believe the world is God-given. These horrible things cannot possibly exist without the doing of man - the idea that often things *just happen* is too much for a lot of people to swallow. It's painful and terrifying. Laying blame gives people a sense of control. Being able to do a few clicks and buy a pallet of supplements from a vitamin website without you feeling like someone is telling you what to do (note how I say feeling) and without the law stopping you gives people a sense of power. It distracts from the hurt.
That's my best guess, anyway. Unfortunately I have one of those extreme alt. health people in my life (family...*sigh*). Interacting with her over the years has given me a few thoughts on the why behind this stuff. That and I was one of those pretentious kids in college who tried to muddle through Sartre and failed miserably.
As Robin Lakoff once said, "Conspiracy theory is the way to make sense of the randomness of the universe". And I do believe this is a very wise comment.
Reading an article DJ Groethe linked to on facebook,
My irony meter exploded with a megaton range yield when I saw this quote from Mike Adams,
"“Recent attack on vitamins a fabricated scare campaign.”"
I am, as usual, unsurprised by his total lack of sympathy for the victim, even though in this case, the victim could have been a crunchy, granola, all-natural, no-vax, no-drugs acolyte of Adams for all he knows. (The victim has not been identified, after all.)
Nah, the victim is a 65-year-old with a long rap sheet filled with the usual concomitants of homelessness and alcohol.
The loophole that allowed “bath salts” to be sold has led to many tragedies; this is just the latest, and (as far as I know) the most gruesome.
I don't know that the failure to make everything a scheduled drug in advance (indeed, whether it exists or not) can really be termed a "loophole." What are you going to do about something like JWH-018? Huffman synthesized it for perfectly valid reasons, and it turns out to be easy. Was it a loophole for this to have been allowed to occur in the first place? When it comes to drug laws, sometimes the devil you know may actually be better.
@ Eric Lund:
Pictures of Mikey's house- for-sale *were* prominently featured if you used the search function @ Natural News ( type in -Vilcabamba real estate)-
HOWEVER- these seem to have disappeared when I tried today. It was a large stucco modern home with a fruit orchard in the development of Hacienda San Joaquin. The search still brings up real estate articles at that locale.
He was trying to create a little community of health-obsessed gringos who worshipped him- or suchlike. They would be free of governmental interference with health and education and live in the purity of Ecuador's natural abundance- no vaccines, pharmaceuticals, fluoridated water, GMOs or pesticides welcome,*por favor*. He also led groups of eco-tourists in a nearby national park or natural area. He bragged about how you could get locals to work for almost nothing- building homes, cleaning, working the land. Lovely. Some of this material is still up.
I more I find out about MIke, the more I think he isn't just a joke... he speaks of political action and preaches mistrust of his own country's government. I believe that he and the other idiot are opportunistic, fuelled by nearly limitless grandiosity, who imagine themselves as leaders of a back-to-nature movement that will be widely followed.
Thus, it's not just about money.
That's a good point, Narad (and yes, the victim has now been identified, but I hadn't caught up on that part of the news yet when I last visited this thread; stuff I was reading was still calling him unidentified -- his homelessness probably delayed the identification). It's not the non-banning that I consider a loophole, though. You cannot ban everything that is potentially harmful. Case in point: some types of eyedrops are an effective date rape drug. Is that a loophole? I'm not sure. But labeling this stuff "bath salts" is pretty seriously disingenous, because the manufacturers and sellers knew perfectly well nobody was using it as bath salts. It has strong parallels with alt med, in my mind, because of the intentionally misleading labeling to avoid regulatory hindrances.
Based on Adams' article, all the drivel at Age of Autism or Thinking Mom's Revolution and Th1Th2's comments on the Refusers thread, I'd say it's anti-vax sentiment which is more likely to result in zombiefication by far.
Mu: "If vaccines make your balls fall off, how do we get overpopulation after vaccine introduction? The facts don’t seem to support his hypothesis.
Silly Mu. Don't you know that vaccines are a Bill Gates/Big Pharma depopulation plot? it doesn't matter whether the population is going up, they're out to commit mass genocide, and it's the thought that counts.
Based on that hypothesis by The Refusers, I have to think Mike Adams is a provax stooge, out to make the entire antivax movement look like raving morons.
But labeling this stuff “bath salts” is pretty seriously disingenous, because the manufacturers and sellers knew perfectly well nobody was using it as bath salts. It has strong parallels with alt med, in my mind, because of the intentionally misleading labeling to avoid regulatory hindrances.
Oh, yes, I agree with that. (In my defense, I had forgotten to buy coffee filters.) Even worse, I've seen and heard plenty of news reports in which these random cathinone/piperidine concoctions are credulously described as actually being bath salts, which is an excellent way to get me to make intemperate calls to the newsroom. (Mutatis mutandis K2 and friends as "incense.")
Could skeptical sleuths uncover if Mike Adams ever was ill/injured and sought (gasp) the Emergency Room? One wonders if Mike Adams or anyone in his family has any kind of health issues needing medical attention, and if he or his family ever sought and received science-based help.
It would be interesting to know, although I doubt it will influence the faith of the believers in his drivel.
Unfortunately, these guys ALWAYS have an 'out': while they might concede
1. that *emergency* medicine is fine and dandy , standard "sick care" ( not health care)- i.e. what most doctors do on a daily basis** is evil, pharma-based, prolonged dying- not 'healthy living'. Chronic ills develop because of lifestyle and poor nutrition - they are not inevitable consequences of life: neither is aging. Or so I've been told.
2. They have a doctor who enables them - and may care for them- if anything happens. Dr Barrett of Quackwatch discusses this: Null has a doctor who writes with him, does so-called research with him- lord knows what other functions he serves.
3. They lie like rugs. When Null nearly ODed on his own vites, he was silent until a newspaper's report forced him to speak . Probably had something to do with a legal case. Orac reported on this.
Big time woo-meisters ( Adams, Mercola, Null) brag about their athlethic prowess and active lifestyle at age 40+, 50+and 65+, respectively.Claiming to be world-class for decades at sports like running, bicycling, cutting through jungle with your machete- well, I would tend to think that they might conceivably have a few issues. People I play tennis with have all sorts of issues***, but then, they're mere mortals.
** as if, emergency and standard care are un-related and taught on differing planets.
*** I have no real joint problems- but- I have not been continuously active in a sport- I took many years off because life intervened. I managed to keep active by over-work and having multiple responsibilities.
There's no way to out-argue Adams and his ilk, unless you consider that $deity loves idiots, and continues to manufacture more supply than demand calls for.
Shills and Minions,
Very good. Just keep pointing your rubbery little fingers and crying "conspiracy theory," but remember what we call it: a business plan. It's where the lucre comes from.
Stay Eeeeeeeevil™ my malevolent monkeys . . .
Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7iHL
Monkey Master of Mars, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet
Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
As Robin Lakoff once said, “Conspiracy theory is the way to make sense of the randomness of the universe”.
Is that actually Lakoff? I'm seeing it attributed to Daniel Pipes by The Psychology of Leadership, but then looking at the Pipes book cited (Conspiracy), it's not where it's supposed to be, and I'm predictably turning into an editorial troglodyte.
So, what's with the racist, black pimp image? I can't bring myself to watch the video, I just ate.
You missed it the first time around when I posted it, I presume? :-)
Denise, very fun description of MA. And I had never heard of "orthorexia" before. So interesting!
OK, the recent comments on the right side have a default list that comes up the same every time and even stays the same when you hit F5. That list is about a week old. It only changes to a current list when you make a post. Odd indeed.
I'm been having huge problems with that as well, it doesn't seem to like any of my browsers.
Orthorexia is supposed to be a newly recogised condition that will be listed in the upcoming DSM-5 next year. It describes people who are overly concerned with eating correctly ( thus *ortho*) whomsoever is engrossed in making suring they get the right nutrients, avoiding nasty chemicals, calorie consciousness to a fault- our woo-meisters pursue this as a livlihood,it functions as the basis of their advertising and some of them probably follow their own advice.
Kelly -- I access RI from 2 different PC's. One one (with Google Chrome) the recent comments list refreshes. With the other (IE), it doesn't. Go figure.
I can't find anything at the DSM-V site that specifically mentions orthorexia.I have been in a few autism related discussion groups,and have met some parents who I would definitely classify as orthorexic.Adams certainly is.Take a look at this.
I think they are not sure if they should classify orthorexia,as an eating disorder,or as an OCD.I think it fits more with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder,a real subclass of eating disorders.Here's what the DSM-V says about it
K 02 Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
A. Eating or feeding disturbance (including but not limited to apparent lack of interest in eating or food; avoidance based on the sensory characteristics of food; or concern about aversive consequences of eating) as manifested by persistent failure to meet appropriate nutritional and/or energy needs associated with one or more of the following:
1. Significant weight loss (or failure to gain weight or faltering growth in children);
2. Significant nutritional deficiency;
3. Dependence on enteral feeding or nutritional supplements;
4. Marked interference with psychosocial functioning.
B. There is no evidence that lack of available food or an associated culturally sanctioned practice is sufficient to account for the disorder.
C. The eating disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, and there is no evidence of a disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced.
D. The eating disturbance is not better accounted for by a concurrent medical condition or another mental disorder. When occurring in the context of another condition or disorder, the severity of the eating disturbance exceeds that routinely associated with the condition or disorder and warrants additional clinical attention.
Shay, i am using Firefox, latest build.
@ Roger Kulp:
Notice I say *supposed* to be included, I'm not entirely sure ( excuse me for having somje fun at Mikey's expense) but it's the WOO-MEISTERS who have taken the concept to illustrate that *people concerned about health* will be labelled as having an eating disorder
The DSM-5 .as an examples of standard psych, consists of pathologising everyday life...
or so they tell me..
I also have Kelly's problem; also using latest build of FF.
Narad, I do believe it's Robin Lakoff, "The Language War". As far as I remember, it was in the preface.
Wait. . . some vaccines have aluminum in them. .
So, aluminum magically makes you autistic.
Except wearing an aluminum foil hat protects you from alien mind control rays.
But I'm glad that Adams is fighting the good fight for the Purity of our Essential Bodily Fluids. Between him and Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson , we're going to be safe!
In case your comment goes to moderation, please read this:
And patience, my readers. Thanks.
According to an article at http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/01/12013817-no-the-zombie-apo…, the CDC has declared there will be no zombie apocalypse because there are no, as it were, zombies.
Which is just what we'd expect The Man to say - always putting the zombies down!