Entelev, CanCell, and Cantron: Not curing cancer since the 1930s

A couple of months ago, a reader sent me an article that really disturbed me. In fact, I had originally been planning to write about it not long after I received it. However, as I've mentioned before, when it comes to blogging, I'm a bit like Dug the Talking Dog from the movie Up in that I'm easily distracted. Unlike Dug, what distracts me aren't squirrels, but rather bright, shiney pieces of pseudoscience, quackery, paranormal, or otherwise weird nonsense. Sometimes after I'm distracted I come back to the topic I had originally wanted to blog about. Sometimes I don't. Or, sometimes (like this time), it takes me nearly two months. I realize that that's kind of a lame excuse, but, well, that's just how Orac rolls. Except that Orac can't roll, being a square Plexiglass box full of multicolored blinking lights and all.

In any case, I just realize that, as far as I can tell, I've never blogged about this bit of cancer quackery before. Shocking, I know. I thought I had covered pretty much every major form of cancer quackery at least once over the seven and a half years this blog has been in existence. But I was wrong! This cannot stand! I must cover it!

Unfortunately, the article that brought my attention (back) to this particular form of cancer quackery is a story that is very sad. It is the story of Bernie Mulligan:

To Bernie Mulligan, chemotherapy is just a temporary setback.

The 45-year-old carpenter at the University of Windsor refused all traditional treatments for his terminal stomach cancer for about two months, until complications from an expanding liver landed him in the hospital.

On Monday, he reluctantly started chemotherapy for the first time.

Doctors say Mulligan will be lucky if he lives another two months, but he said he’s not worried. He just needs the chemotherapy to shrink his liver to the point where he can get back to the real cure, he said — a supplement in a rainbow-coloured bottle called Cantron.

“That’s the stuff that’s going to cure me. This stuff is not a cure, chemo’s not a cure,” he said. “When I got rushed into the hospital two weeks ago, yes, I thought I was done. But now I’m confident.”

Mulligan is one of many Windsor cancer patients who have crossed the border over the years to attend meetings of an organization based out of Warren, Mich., that promotes Cantron as a miracle cure.

Stomach cancer is, generally speaking, a bad actor. It's the sort of tumor that's hard enough to treat even when it's localized to the stomach, but when it's metastasized to the liver, as it has in Mr. Mulligan's case, it's incurable.

According to a video on the Windsor Star website, back in February Mulligan had been experiencing pains in his upper abdomen. He thought it was a "stomach bug" and was going to see his family doctor that very day when he started vomiting blood and ended up in the emergency room. At the time, it was found that he had numerous metastases in his liver. Ultimately the primary cancer was located and turned out to be what sounds to me like an upper stomach cancer or a cancer at the gastroesophageal junction, which, if true, is more esophageal cancer than gastric cancer. Be that as it may, esophageal cancer is a bad actor, too.

It's a horrible thing when a man this young is faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and that's exactly what Mulligan was facing. However, if there's one thing I always try to emphasize, it's that "incurable" does not mean "not treatable." If there's one area of cancer care that's advanced enormously over the last 20 or 30 years, it's palliative care. Even though palliative care is not designed to prolong life but rather to relieve symptoms, there is evidence that good palliative care results in prolongation of life. Of course, I realize that telling a 45-year-old man, who probably expected to live another 35 or 40 years, that we have good palliative care is not a message that is likely to be satisfying. We all want to live!

Enter the cancer quacks

Although it is the ethical and science-based thing to do to provide an honest assessment of prognosis based on the patient's presentation and what we know from science, unfortunately, there are plenty of "alternative" medicine practitioners out there who are more than happy to give a message of hope when there is little or no hope. Such a message causes a lot of harm, such as leading the patient to waste huge amounts of money to the point where he might bankrupt his family and leave nothing left for them after he's gone, causing unnecessary pain and complications, and, to put it bluntly, deceiving the patient with false hope. Of course, some patients are more susceptible to false hope than others, and Mulligan appears to be one of those patients. In his video, he talks about eschewing conventional therapy and going for homeopathic remedies before discovering Cantron.

But what is Cantron? The same basic formula has appeared under a wide variety of names, such as Sheridan’s Formula, Jim’s Juice, JS–114, JS–101, 126–F, Crocinic Acid, and, of course, Entelev, Protocel, and Cantron. The version of the magic cancer cure being used by Bernie Mulligan is sold by a company called Medical Research Products. It comes in bottles festooned with happy, cheerful colors, and its sales pitch runs like this:

Cantron® is an amazing bio-electrical wellness formulation. It provides astonishing health benefits like no other substance on Earth. It is the world's most potent antioxidant and scavenger of abnormal proteins which accumulate in the blood, tissues, organs and joints. Cantron is known to dramatically aid the body's own natural defenses. Since 1984, it has received rave reviews from those who have taken it. One customer summed it up perfectly on an Internet chat site when she emphatically stated: "How blessed we are to know about Cantron."

I wouldn't exactly put it that way.

Notice the pure snake oil-style appeal mixed with what I like to call science word salad. "Bio-electric wellness formulation"? It's a meaningless term. "Scavenger of abnormal proteins"? Highly unlikely. "Dramatically aid the body's own natural defenses"? That's just another way of phrasing the quack's favorite meaninglessly vague claim that his nostrum "boosts the immune system." Then, of course, there is the appeal to testimonial, wherein no science is presented but instead we're told how much people like the product and how much good it's allegedly done for people.

But what is Cantron? It turns out that there are several products that are very similar to Cantron. The original was Entelev, later rebranded as CanCell, which, as described in the article and on various web pages and articles as having first been conceived and compounded in the 1936 by a chemist working for the Dow Chemical Company named James V. Sheridan, who first called his concoction Entelev. Why did he choose that name? In an interview, Sheridan once said that the idea came to him in a dream that he believed to be inspired by God, explaining many years later that the name Entelev came from "entelechy" (that part of the living process known only to God) and "ev" (which came from the word "electrovalent"), the latter being added so that the name would have something for everyone. Another version of the tale, told by a believer, can be found here.

According to the company website, Sheridan apparently did some animal studies in the late 1940s (one wonders why it took him 10 or 12 years to go from making up his concoction to doing animal studies), but there is precious little objective evidence from parties not selling the compound that he ever did anything of the sort. It's also claimed that he attempted to do clinical trials while working at the Michigan Cancer Institute back in the 1950s. That claim actually raised an eyebrow, because, being in Michigan, I had never heard of the Michigan Cancer Institute. There is currently a Michigan Cancer Institute. However, it doesn't appear to be a research-based institution but rather part of a private hospital. As is so often the case in stories like this, the history just doesn't add up.

Be that as it may, according to the company website the next phase of the story occurred in the late 1950s through the 1960s, when, it is claimed, Sheridan was working for Battelle Laboratories, he did more work on his treatment. I don't have direct knowledge that can help me evaluate this claim (although I do find it curious that so little is revealed about what Sheridan was doing , but I did do a PubMed search for James V. Sheridan and failed to find any publications by him at all. Given that he continued to work on Entelev at least into the 1980s, if he had published anything in the peer-reviewed literature it should be locatable on PubMed. It's not. Then, from 1974 to 1983, Sheridan reportedly gave the formula away free of charge to over 1,000 people. In any case, the only evidence out there that I could find that Sheridan ever tried to do clinical trials is the existence of an application for investigational new drug (IND) status for CanCell (IND #20258) from 1982, which was not granted because the FDA asked for more information but didn't get it. Specifically, the FDA asked for the chemical formulation (which is proprietary and has not been revealed by Sheridan or any others making the compound) and animal studies demonstrating activity against cancer, which are pretty basic bits of information required for all INDs.

Then, in 1984, a man named Edward J. Sopcak acquired the formula for Entelev. How this came about is somewhat unclear, but we do know that in 1984 the FDA issued an order to cease and desist distributing Entelev to patients. Whether that happened before or after Sopcak acquired the formula is unclear. The company claims it was before, because Sheridan realized the jig was up and that the FDA was going to shut him down; so he wanted to get the formula out to others. (Obviously, that's not how they put it.) Particularly revealing, albeit no doubt unintentionally so, is this tidbid on the Medical Research Products website describing Sheridan, in which he is described thusly, "Jim also had no tolerance for complying with rigid manufacturing procedures that the FDA demanded." No doubt, given that at that time he was manufacturing his product in his house, as documented in a famous Detroit Monthly article in 1984, Hope on a Hot Plate (the title was based on the way Sheridan cooked up Entelev on a hot plate in his pantry), and in another incident was observed to be carrying out pH testing in his kitchen while his wife was cooking chicken for dinner.

In any case, Sheridan apparently teamed up with a history teacher from Plymouth, MI named Don Wilson who became a "missionary" for Sheridan; Orville "Orz" Feather, a chemical engineer; and, of course, Ed Sopcak. Thus was CanCell born; it was basically Entelev renamed. By 1989, the FDA asked for and received a permanent injunction against Sheridan and Sopcak prohibiting them from introducing their compound into interstate commerce on the basis that they were adulterated, misbranded, and unapproved new drugs. For several years, this seems not to have stopped Sopcak, who superseded Sheridan as the primary promoter of CanCell, from distributing it under the names Protocel and Entelev. Ultimately, in the 1990s, Sopcak and Sheridan complied, but that didn't stop other companies from making the same or similar products.

Cantron: False hope

So what are Cantron, Entelev, Protocel, and the plethora of products based on Jim Sheridan's original "juice"? Finding that out isn't exactly easy because the formula has been proprietary. Moreover, the purported explanations of how it supposedly works are, to put it kindly, a moving target. However, there are several explanations in common that resemble to some extent the paragraph I cited above. For instance, the Alternative Cancer Treatments Comparison and Testing website, which has a wonderfully catty criticism of Protocel relative to Cantron, which is, according to the website, so much better than Protocel, even though the unwashed masses buy more Protocel because they "mistakenly believe that the Protocel formula is controlled by the developer or his surviving family":

Both Cantron and Protocel work by reducing the ATP energy (adenosine triphosphate) in each cell of your body. (This is also one of the cancer fighting effects of Paw Paw and Graviola.) Our cells have an electrical potential that effects how the cell processes energy producing substances mostly blood sugar and oxygen from our blood supply...

By reducing this voltage level from 70 to 110 mv to something in the 50 mv region, normal cells can still function. However, cancer and viral cells cannot process energy at this low voltage level and start to starve. The process of starving is a slower process than being poisoned which is why Cancell works slower than chemo and why there was a dramatic reduction in the weight of tumor cells in the two day NCI test of Cancell, but only a small number of dead cells. Had that test run longer, all the tumor cells that showed such dramatic weight reduction would have starved to death. For more on the NCI test, go to the Comments on the NCI Test Summary for Cancell page.

It is always amusing to see such gross ignorance of basic biology, or, as I like to call it, burning stupid. Viruses are not cells. You can't starve them. They also apparently don't know that the membrane potential of cells is generally expressed as a negative voltage. I do, however, like the special pleading that the NCI test didn't measure the right thing, as if the NCI doesn't know what to measure when testing putative new cancer therapies in vitro and in vivo. Similarly, the part about reducing the resting electrochemical gradient across the cell membrane to the -50 mV range is pure nonsense. The main reason the voltage potential across a cell membrane decreases is either because the cell lacks ATP (which is the source of chemical energy for most cellular reactions, such as the ion pumps that maintain the gradient); something else (a poison, for instance) is inhibiting the ion pumps; or the membrane is leaky, dispersing the ion gradient. In any case, cells have a wide variety of resting potentials, and, in fact, promoters of Cantron get it exactly wrong. In actuality, resting potential corresponds with proliferative potential. Cells with a low proliferative potential tend to have high resting membrane potentials (say, -90 mV), while cells more able to proliferate have a lower resting potential. That includes cancer cells. Of course, it's more complicated than that in that tumor cells tend to undergo a hyperpolarized phase (higher voltage) while replicating, but the makers of Cantron get the biology all wrong. More differentiated cells tend to have higher resting membrane potential, and lower resting membrane potential tends to be associated with dediffrentiation.

Another claim by Cantron promoters for how it works is Sheridan's original rationale. In his IND application, he stated that cancer is a protein disease and that there are three kinds of cells: normal, primitive, and cancerous. In a "cancer relationship," Sheridan argues, cellular proteins become less differentiated than usual and can only replicate cancer proteins. Of course, one notes that in general proteins do not replicate; they are made by transcription and translation of the cell's DNA, but that didn't stop Sheridan from claiming that Entelev allowed cancer cells to attain the "primitive state," which would lead them to self-destruct. This is such utter nonsense from a biological standpoint that it defies reason that a biochemist could believe it, but apparently Sheridan did.

Sopcak's explanation, on the other hand, was slightly different in that he claimed that cancer cells are mutated anaerobic cells caused by lack of proper diet that causes chemical and electrical damage. His idea of cancer causation is that Progenitor cryptocides becomes active and helps healthy cells respire anaerobically. According to Sopcak, when the cell's energy needs outstrip the ability of anaerobic metabolism to supply them, the cell mutates and becomes a cancer cell in an irreversible process. One must admit that this sounds a heck of a lot more plausible than Sheridan's explanation, with its clever co-optation of the Warburg effect and hypotheses that have been around a while about how metabolism can contribute to cancer development. So how does Entelev reverse this process? Here's where Sopcak goes off the deep end. He claimed that Entelev changed the "vibrational energy and frequency" of cancer cells until they reach the "primitive state" postulated by Sheridan. The cells then autodigest, to be eliminated through the urine, feces, being coughed up, through perspiration, or even through a vaginal discharge. After this happens, cancer cells are replaced by normal cells.

Amusingly, Sopcak has also been quoted as saying that he believes all medicine in the future will ultimately be practiced by adjusting vibrational frequencies. Perhaps that's why it didn't take him too long to get into homeopathy. He even made a homeopathic version of CanCell and called it—I kid you not—CanCell, thus causing no end of confusion, particularly because the clear homeopathic version looked very different from the dark-colored original version. In any case, Enteleve/CanCell/Cantron has been promoted as a cure for AIDS, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, endometriosis, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, diabetes, emphysema, scleroderma, Lou Gehrig disease, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, hemophilia, high and low blood pressure, mental illness, and some forms of epilepsy.

And ya might not believe this, little fella, but it'll cure your asthma, too. I do note, however, that Cantron, or whatever one wants to call it, has been administered orally, rectally, and topically. If you want the nitty gritty of his pseudoscience, he expounds upon his beliefs and claims for Cantron in detail in this interview from 1996. In this interview, he admits that CanCell is nothing but "very pure water" and claims that it's a "programmed crystal." Even more amusingly, from a standpoint of homeopathy, he claims that he removes the memory from these water crystals and imprints the memory he wants. Elsewhere, he describes CanCell as a "vibrational catalyst":

ACRES U.S.A.: Allow us to back up a bit. What is the substance called Cancell? What is the theory behind it? How does it work? How do you make it?

SOPCAK: The new Cancell analyzes as very pure water. That's what it is.

ACRES U.S.A.: Just very pure water?

SOPCAK: That's right. It is a programmed crystal. Water is a crystalline substance. If it weren't crystalline, when it changes its physical state from water to a solid, you wouldn't get snowflakes. I have simply erased the memory of the water. People make statements such as, There are no two snowflakes exactly the same. That's because the memory in that crystal is so variable that snowflakes crystalize out just a little differently each time. Before you impress a memory on a crystal, you have to take out the memory that is there. I remove the memory.

ACRES U.S.A.: How do you remove the memory? Is this a case of magnetism?

SOPCAK: No, you can't come close to this with anything electrical or magnetic, or with any of the dense material like magnets or minerals. We don't do any of those things. I'd rather not get too deeply into that because I hate to see people become involved in what they don't understand, and then put out something definitely harmful.

So let me get this straight. If Cantron is the same as CanCell, it's basically water. However, in the photos on the Medical Research Products website Cantron looks like the dark liquid that Jim Sheridan used to sell as Entelev after cooking it up in on a hot plate in his kitchen and pantry. None of this stops him from going wild with the woo:

Basically, I get extremely fundamental once I make the statement that nothing exists in the entire universe except electromagnetic vibrational frequencies viewed from that plane of observation, that's it. There's nothing else. Then what you get into is diseases as vibrational densities. The problem is to raise the vibrational frequency of those densities, and then the body will return itself to normal. Diseases no longer exist.

Vibrations. Why does it always have to be vibrations? Every quack, cancer or otherwise, seems to think that vibrations are the be-all and end-all of everything; that is, when they don't think that evil humors—excuse me, energy blockages—are the cause of all disease.

So what's in Entelev/CanCell/Cantron? Not a lot, actually. In 1989, an FDA review found that it is made up of fairly unremarkable chemicals, including nitric acid, sodium sulfite, potassium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, inositol, and catechol. The Cantron website says that it contains copper, sodium, sulfur, postassium, as well as traces of iron, zinc, and bromine. None of what's in Cantron appears to have any anticancer activity at the levels one might expect in the human body, per the NCI:

In 1990 and 1991, samples of Cancell/Cantron/Protocel were evaluated in NCI’s in vitro 60 Human Tumor Cell Line Screen. The test results are available online. The graphs and the numerical designations for each of the three cancer cell growth criteria (GI50, concentration required for 50% inhibition of cell growth; TGI, concentration required for total inhibition of cell growth; and LC50, concentration required for 50% cell lethality or death) are somewhat complicated, but a technical explanation is provided in the Appendix 3. There is little evidence that any of the constituents of Cancell/Cantron/Protocel would be available in the bloodstream of a patient in significant concentrations after its ingestion. Activity was seen in two-thirds of the cell lines, though at levels that would be roughly 275 times higher than the theoretical maximum concentration achievable in serum. Therefore, the in vitro effects are likely due to nonspecific effects of changes in salt concentration. Furthermore, cells in the NCI Tumor Cell Line Screen are grown in artificial media under conditions that do not truly mimic the in vivo situation in animals or humans, and that results obtained with the screen may not accurately reflect possible effects in humans. To place the findings for Cancell/Cantron/Protocel in perspective any conventional drug exhibiting this low level of in vitro activity in the NCI human cancer cell line screen would normally not be investigated further by NCI.

A dietary supplement?

So how do the manufacturers of Cantron and its many imitators get away with it? How is it that they keep selling it? The answer is easy: Blame the DSHEA of 1994. Cantron, according to Medical Research Products, is a dietary supplement, as explained in these bullet points:

  • Cantron is offered only as a dietary supplement.
  • Medical Research Products makes no claims nor prescribes this product (or any other product) for the cure, prevention or mitigation of any chronic disease.
  • Cantron is not approved by the FDA or endorsed by the AMA for the treatment of any medical condition.
  • The FDA has not evaluated any statements of “health claims” made by MRP.
  • DO NOT IGNORE THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN. Do not use Cantron in lieu of any life saving treatments which have been prescribed by your physician.
  • Cantron is one very important part of a Total Wellness Program where one treats the whole nature of the individual through nutritional supplementation, diet, exercise, meditation, prayer, etc..
  • Cantron may be taken by itself, however, it is the primary product in our ‘Total Wellness Program’, which is a portfolio of synergistic products designed to stimulate the body’s own natural healing processes.

This brings us back to Bernie Mulligan. How on earth is it that Bernie Mulligan can be deceived to believe that Cantron will cure his stage IV esophageal cancer, with his liver packed with metastatic tumor? Certainly Medical Research Products isn't telling him that. To the company, it's all just a "supplement" that "promotes wellness naturally." Jerome Godin even emphasizes that in the article, stating in no uncertain terms that he is very careful to obey the law. He does, however, disingenuously add, "I just make my product and those who believe in it usually promote it on their own."

People like Andy Johnson:

On April 18, Johnson did what he does on the third Wednesday of every month at noon — went to a hall in Warren, unloaded cardboard boxes full of photocopied pamphlets, books and bottles of Cantron, approached the podium and preached the good news.

And preached. And preached. Johnson, an 82-year-old man with wire-rimmed glasses, a neatly trimmed moustache and a tucked-in yellow golf shirt, spoke for an hour. He paused for half an hour to allow people who believe Cantron cured their cancer to tell their stories before launching back into his speech for another 40 minutes.


Johnson made all the claims the company that produces Cantron can’t, and then some. Cantron cures cancer, he said — along with AIDS, knee problems and the common cold. He jumped up and down to illustrate the part about the knee problems.

So what we have in Andy Johnson is a true believer, and, unfortunately, he has a group, the H.O.P.E. Group, to which he can preach his belief every third Wednesday of the month, promoting misinformation such as this, where he recommends that cancer patients use Cantron with a variety of other supplements, including shark liver oil, Enzyme Formula Tablets, Willard's Water, and Pancreatin. Even worse, Johnson apparently encourages his group members to avoid science-based treatments. Interestingly, though, Johnson's online footprint is actually quite small, as though he's flying under the radar. His group doesn't appear to have its own website, and it's hard to find out much about him online.

Be that as it may, what we have here is, in my professional opinion, a cancer quack. That he believes in his quackery makes it even worse, because it probably makes him a more effective salesman. Meanwhile, we have a company doing the old "wink, wink, nudge, nudge," while Johnson says the things that the law prohibits the company from saying about its product. A nice arrangement, isn't it? The treatment isn't cheap, either, its manufacturer's claims of wanting to make it available to everyone notwithstanding. According to the article, it costs about $500 every 20 days.

Unfortunately, the article, after having revealed this quackery, dilutes its message by in essence adding some apologia for "complementary and alternative" medicine. For instance, the author Claire Brownell writes that it's difficult for patients to separate science from fiction and hearsay (true) but that the also "won’t necessarily get much help from their doctors, who are usually poorly trained about alternative treatments and often dismissive of the entire concept." She also notes that the case of Cantron "doesn’t mean all alternative treatments are a scam or useless" and then cites a completely inappropriate example to illustrate her point. That example is an application for clinical trials of a dandelion root extract that apparently showed some activity against leukemia in preclinical models. Again, people, that is not in any way "alternative" or "complementary." It's pharmacognosy (i.e., natural products pharmacology), which is an old and productive branch of pharmacology. To equate pharmacognosy to pure quackery like Cantron is an insult to cancer pharmacologists everywhere.

I don't know whether Mulligan is still alive. The last report I could find about him is dated May 27 and is about his attending the Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad. The saddest part, however, is that, even after Cantron has clearly failed him to the point where even with his aversion to conventional medicine in general and chemotherapy in particular he agreed to take chemotherapy, Bernie Mulligan still believes. It's a truly horrible thing for a man in his 40s to see the specter of his end approaching 30 or 40 years too early, to contemplate not living to see his daughters grow up, or to have the joy of seeing grandchildren. It's entirely understandable that, lacking the scientific background to realize that there is no scientifically plausible reason to think that Cantron will work and no scientific evidence supporting its efficacy against any cancer, a man like Mulligan might grasp at anything that he thinks can save him and participate in fundraisers to raise money for an "experimental" cancer treatment. It's companies like Medical Research Products, whose owners give no indication of being the least bit troubled by the claims being made for its products by people like Andy Johnson, that are to blame.


More like this


Re: "I think you’re crossing the line. SBM people tend to avoid talking about the personal details of someone’s life and stick to arguing the facts and data. Whilst I’m “on your side”, this comment for me, suggests you need to step back and re-evaluate your tactics. You’re stooping to ad homenims. (By the way, I’ve read pretty much every comment, so this is saying something. You’ve come close before, but this one goes over it for me)"

I did not think anybody would have taken that comment seriously. I know what an ad hominem is and sometimes it delivered on purpose: even on this blog. Have you ever seen comments in response to thingy or augustine?

By Black-cat (not verified) on 31 Jul 2012 #permalink


Sure have, and I don't like it being done there either (may or may not have called others out on it, can't remember). But there's a difference between harping on about Augie's lack of logic and talking about someone's illness.

Or perhaps it's the fact that I have a mental illness and find the language to be similar to those who wish to stigmatise those issues.

If it was tongue in cheek then my Poe meter is defective. Not knowing your language style it's hard for me to tell...

It's true that when Thingy or Augustine start up their blather again, they get some pretty harsh retorts thrown their way. But I don't think I've ever seen any regular throw a retort their way that consists of nothing but variations on "X is insane" and "X is diseased" repeated over and over.

As I've said before, the point is not to show "who can hurt each other more?" but to show "who has the facts and logic on their side?" Thingy and Augustine get somewhat different treatment because they've demonstrated over and over that they do not have the facts and logic on their side, but insist on hogging a share of the discourse anyways. Even they, though, usually just get an "Ignore the SFB troll" thrown their way; going into a multi-sentence rant about how Thingy has cooties or the like would actually just legitimize the way Thingy likes to argue, with meaningless assertions and infliction of distress.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 01 Aug 2012 #permalink


I do sincerely apologize to you. I did not mean to stigmatise mental illness in any way, shape or form. I have worked in emergency medicine for many years and we use this kind of dark humor and sarcasm to blow off steam. We certainly do care and don't sneer at any illness or disability including mental illness. Patients are treated with the respect and empathy that they deserve.

Thanks for making me aware of how my comments can be taken. I can now see why it's inappropriate in this setting.

I've put up with Leah and Budicca for a long time on BCO and know that they are impossible to reason with. They either avoid questions or change the subject. It is best to ignore them. I think that any fence sitting lurkers reading the comments here would not be persuaded by them to book the next flight to Lodi's clinic.

By Black-cat (not verified) on 01 Aug 2012 #permalink


:) Thanks - and I was sure it was most likely a misunderstanding. I haven't gone and read the posts on BCO and for the most part assumed there was context/ramp-up that I was missing.

For lurkers, it helps to have that clarification I'm sure. It's easy to forget that the internet has no vocal tone or inflection ;)

check this out....a post on BCO from someone who went to a altie doctor.

"I saw a Natropath yesterday. The appointment was not what I expected. He did muscle testing on me, which involves me holding various bottles of supplements he sells to my stomach individually and he pushes down on my outstretched arm. If he was able to push my arm, then he said I needed to buy it and if he wasn't able to, I didn't need that supplement. In a few of the tests, he had an assistant stand behind me, touch my back and he tested her arm in the same way. In the end he recommended like 9 different supplements from his clinic costing $125."

Jergen - if it wasn't from BCO, it'd be almost impossible to believe someone was truly that gullible.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink


check this out….a post on BCO from someone who went to a altie doctor.

I love applied kinesiology. We are supposed to believe that our bodies have the ability to mysteriously discern what supplement is inside a sealed bottle, and assess whether they requires that supplement, but are unable to communicate this information to our brain without the intervention of a third party pushing down on our arms. The mental gymnastics required to believe such a thing is possible are impressive, even more so when you look at the evidence, which shows unequivocally that it doesn't work..

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

I actually had to read it twice....could not believe what I was reading!


There is also this one that was posted by our BCO friend who was recently diagnosed with a 3rd breast cancer reoccurrence and refused chemo. Of course all the usual suspects cheered her on.

{Today I spoke with another naturalpath. He probed down my spine and said my problems were yeast overgrowth, infections and stomach issues. He feels until I address those issues that I won't get well. He said to stop taking the iodine as it can cause problems in the intestines. He also said that my body isn't getting the nutrition I need to support the immune system. He said that my immune system and adrenal glands are exhausted. Also my whole nervous system was off. He had me raised my leg and try to keep him from pushing down on my leg. My leg was so weak. He polked in my stomach or colon. He asked me to raise my leg again. I did, and it had amazing strength. He said my electrial or nervous system switches were turned off and he was tunring them back on. I felt so much stronger afterwards...weird.
hj gave me this diet
This is a yeast free 3 month diet he suggested I go on.
Nothing white! No sugar.
Eat fruit, especially for breakfast and I can only put it in yogurt.
Take H. Acid when eating ANYTHING cooked.
So...I said, doesn't fruit turn into sugars that the yeast can feed on.
He said if the yeast can't get the sugars it needs it will feed on our hormones, especially estrogen.
I thought maybe this is why my estrogen count was so high...96%}

By Black-cat (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink


"He said if the yeast can’t get the sugars it needs it will feed on our hormones, especially estrogen.
I thought maybe this is why my estrogen count was so high…96%}".

That is hysterical. People actually believe this stuff! So, using that "logic" I should just follow that recipe for my 99% ER+ cancer and skip the Tamoxifen.

Nothing white! No sugar.

I was thinking about this CAM dogma recently in terms of structuralism. Humans do seem to like dividing the world into opposites: black/white, male/female, hot/cold, raw/cooked, self-not/self, natural/unnatural etc.. Add a bit of old-fashioned vitalism and I think you have an explanation for the demonization of white sugar (and salt, flour, rice etc.), as it is unnatural, white (highly colored foods are healthy) and devoid of life force. This explains why molasses and honey (which is chemically almost identical to high fructose corn syrup) are thought to be healthy. I even wonder a bit if that same dichotomy explains why black salve is held in such high regard, despite it being a caustic substance that eats away indiscriminately at healthy and cancerous tissue.

Also I don't quite understand why these people think that any sugar we ingest makes it all the way to the bowel to feed candida there. As far as I know the only sugars that make it that far down the GI tract are the kind that we can't digest, like inulin, that feed bacteria and cause flatulence, but in CAM land those are prebiotics, which are good for you. A foolish consistency and all that...

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink


The experts on the altie boards will not only tell you not to take tamoxifen but to substitute DIM or IC3 or even BHRT “ which are superior natural treatments”. They care so much about you that they will either sell you the supplements from “their own private stash” (of course they are not making money off of you) or give you an email or phone number of a trustworthy person you can get the magical healing potions from.


I find it mind boggling that alties reason and rationalize in black and white and seem to think that they “think outside of the box”. In the altie world, science based medicine is black and white thinking. I have seen this expressed so many times on the altie forums. What a topsy turvy world they live in.

They believe that black salve can not only differentiate between cancereous and normal tissue but works by “pushing and pulling” the tumors out.

How about the altie theory that cancer is “angry”, as if cancer has emotions. This is the excuse that was used on the women that progressed from stage 1 to stage 4 as to why her cancer did not respond to Camelot Cancer Care’s quack treatments after paying $60.000 cash for said treatments. They don’t except credit cards either. It’s just cash or a cashiers check. Since her cancer is so ticked off, she needs 20 more treatments for another 20 grand.

By Black-cat (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Remind me - never bring up applied kinesiology while laughing to Mr Woo. Now he's ruminating on "the fact" that sugar "makes you lose your strength." He says, "...if you swallow a teaspoon of refined sugar you will lose 30-40% of your tested muscle strength afterwards... isn't that interesting?"

I think part of the attraction of woo, especially when you are facing cancer or other debilitating and incurable, sometimes fatal illnesses, is the feeling of control it gives you. Even if you are not actually getting any real improvement from the diet or supplements, the feeling of "doing something yourself" increases your feelings of self-empowerment and makes you less stressed and more positive.

(No, I am not recommending wasting all kinds of money and time chasing fantastic medical claims that have no scientific basis)

Mrs. Woo,

I think part of the attraction of woo, especially when you are facing cancer or other debilitating and incurable, sometimes fatal illnesses, is the feeling of control it gives you.

I'm sure you're right. In ethology they call that displacement activity.

Black Cat,

How about the altie theory that cancer is “angry”, as if cancer has emotions.

Isn''t that a variation of the idea that negative emotions cause cancer? In Egypt some people (even educated people) believe that if you feel anger, that can make you sick you, but if you envy someone that can make them sick, so if a person sneezes someone may say, "Someone envies you." Just a little bit of trivia I picked up on my travels. I'm reminded of Barbara Ehrenreich's take on positive thinking which I find quite refreshing. I think the idea that cancer patients have to be positive at all times is a horrible tyranny. Cancer patients have a right to feel angry, grief-stricken and a host of other 'negative' emotions, and I suspect that repressing such feelings does far more harm than expressing them.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

It's strange how obvious typos are after you submit a comment. Please ignore the second "you" in "make you sick you".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I was a pretty happy and positive gal. So that sort of blows a big fat hole in the "negative emotions cause cancer" theory. Although, the alties will tell me I had "repressed anger" that I wasn't aware of and I should have my chakras (sp) balanced and take X supplement (which can be found on their MLM link). Ya, ok.


Having just enough medical knowledge to be dangerous, I interviewed potential oncologists for my treatment when I was first diagnosed. One of my questions was, Does having a positive attitude effect your outcome. Two out of three that I interviewed said, "Oh yes, definitely". The third oncologist told me that emotional status has no effect on cancer progression as the two are not linked. Her presentation was a bit rude and abrupt. I was previously warned by my general practioner that she had a horrible bedside manner, but was the most experienced to treat my rare and aggressive cancer.

The other oncologists gave me big cheery bear hugs when I left their office (which I needed at the time) but this one just stared coldly at me from the other side of her big desk.
When I asked the other oncologists my prognosis, they replied that I should not worry about it and that my cancer was curable since I was treated early. The woman with the bad bedside manner informed me that I had the most aggressive and deadliest breast cancer out of them all. She coldly stared at me across her desk and told me my 5 year survival rate was 40% and my 10 year survival rate was 20%. She added that she had an IBC breast cancer patient that was now into her 22nd year cancer free but could not promise me that I would be so lucky. She concluded by telling me that even though my prognosis was grim, that her goal was to cure me.

She outlined her planned treatment protocol, which was the same as the others. I was so shocked by her initial presentation that I though that she might be hanging crepe.

Black crepe is hung at funerals in Mexico, as well at the homes of relatives of the deceased. The term "hanging crepe" is given to physicians that telll their patients that they are incurable and than magically cure the patient of the illness. The patient mouths off the magical healing that the physician bestowed on them and generates more traffic for the said physician.

It's obvious who I chose to treat me even though all three agreed on the same treatment plan.

By Black-cat (not verified) on 05 Aug 2012 #permalink

I had done enough research to know what my prognosis was prior to having a serious discussion with a couple of oncologists. Im a realist and knew that if I had a doctor who sugar coated anything, they were not for me. Im not exactly looking for a club to the head either, but reality is necessary in my world. I met with two oncologists and approached my appointments with a bit of fear that I was going to receive a less than "real" message. Much to my surprise, they both laid it on the line for me. That allowed me to be open and honest with them as well. Ultimately, I chose my current MO who is great. Oddly enough, my MO, BS, and RO are all women (coincidence)...women who approach my health much like I do - aggressively and honestly. Not one of them told me that a positive attitude was going to help "cure" me (if they did I'm not sure I would have been able to hide my negative facial reaction). However, they each told me that a realistic but positive approach to treatment would help me get through treatment. I agreed with them then and now that I'm done with active treatment, I agree with them more now. I worked throughout treatment with the exception of a week off for a MX. Not easy to do but for me it was vital to keep some sort of a normal life. They each fully supported my decision to continue to work and wished that more of their patients did the same. Not entirely sure how I feel about their wish. It worked for me but we are each different in our ability to tolerate treatment.

The Member Formerly Known as Maud on BCO and Boudicca here, is now posting as "Ruby."

If unconscious anger or white flour/sugar cause cancer, most of us would have given up the ghost a long time ago. :-)

@Krebiozen - I love Barbara Ehrenreich! I love her cut-the-crap-and-give-it-to-me-straight attitude, especially with regard to breast cancer.

@JK, Oh no...say it ain't so! Is Ruby here at RI or at BCO? It's so very classic. At BCO, almost all of the alties just disappear when they start to be questioned, and then a "new" poster appears soon after to continue their nonsense. I guess inventing new invisible friends is one way to pretend to have more credibility than one deserves.

I went to preventcanswers. Quote number three in their memorable quote thread is from Alfred E. Newman. I love it.

So susieq58 and thenewme are the same person. Good observation.

Sorry hit enter too soon. They are definitely not the same person. They live on different continents.
Or did I rise to a poor attempt to revive a dead topic. If so sorry for my gullibility.

They have both PMed me trying to sell me cancer life insurance.

And no one on the internet can tell who you are. Arguments from blatant assertion are often ignored.

Oh wow, I'm so scared. You ignored me so much you responded.

So what? How can we tell that you are not the insane Marc Stephens? And you are actually frightened by the fact that we don't have to believe you. Well, that is just pathetic.

thenewme - good to see you - miss you on BCO. BTW - do you and susie sell cancer life insurance? Is there such a thing? Some people are totally loony - must be on drugs.

The name calling just cracks me up :D

It looks like someone who looks at BCO and thinks "a place to drum up sales for my supplements!!" has finally caught the clue that this is reprehensible and will always be seen as reprehensible by people with functioning consciences.

And since this entrepeneur *doesn't* have a functioning conscience, instead of saying "gee, maybe I should stop trying to sell my wares here," they say "okay, I have to make it look like anyone *else* who opposes me is equally guilty of the same thing, so that I still look bad, but not as bad in comparison. So, let me see... I don't want to make it look like they're selling drugs and supplements, I want people to come to *me* for those things, so I'll say that they're selling, oh, 'cancer life insurance.' It doesn't matter that it's all lies; I'll just pretend that I received the offer by PM so that there's no evidence for anyone to examine one way or the other.

"I just hope no one stops to think how unlikely it is that *I* was supposedly singled out twice by the same person in two guises, pitching something I could only buy once even if it was real. No one else is getting these supposed solicitations from the people I'm accusing; anyone who thinks about it clearly will realize that *I'm* the only one benefitting from these solicitations being made and therefore I have every incentive to claim they were made whether they were or not."

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 12 Aug 2012 #permalink

Ah, the fantasizing...
Ah, the wild speculation...
Ah, the fortune telling...
Isn't that what you come here to denounce?
Just askin".

Is anyone else confused?

Is anyone else confused?

Permanently, though a little more than usual on this thread.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Aug 2012 #permalink

There's a difference between "wild speculation" and making educated guesses. We've seen plenty of alt-med entrepeneurs who have no qualms about lying if that helps sell their products. We've seen plenty of alt-medders who think "attack the source" is the way to deal with potential damage to a reputation (as opposed to, y'know, "don't do the scummy things that damage your reputation when it's found out you've done them.") And frankly we've seen a ton of it in this thread coming from BCO in pursuit of the people who used to be regulars there. It's hardly "wild speculation" to guess that your accusations against thenewme are invented from whole cloth; it's a pretty reasonable deduction from the lack of any sort of evidence for your claims and the lack of internal logic to them.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 12 Aug 2012 #permalink

For the record, to "D" or Maud or Boudicca or Ruby- or Leah or whoever else wants to puzzle over my identity, save yourself the trouble.

I'm thenewme on BCO and thenewme here on RI. It's really pretty simple. I don't have the time or inclination to play sockpuppet games. I don't sell cancer insurance. I don't work for the FDA or Big Pharma. I don't wear a tinfoil hat.

Re: "Is anyone else confused?" YES! I'm very confused.

I don't post on community.breastcancer.org anymore, yet it seems that some of their quacks can't resist following me here. They must feel pretty threatened. Exposure is never a good thing for charlatans.

I for one am bemused and confused. There was no name-calling. It is not name-calling to say an idea is ridiculous.
I do however now understand why the alties at preventcanswers would quote Alfred E. Newman. Mad magazine just fits in so well with the mindset.
As for cancer insurance, it amazes me that only D was asked to buy it.

It got even more confusing when my reply to Agashem appeared above the comment I was replying to.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Aug 2012 #permalink

LOL, so true! Alfred E Newman is the perfect mascot for preventcanswers! It's a mad, mad world they inhabit!

In other weird news, I see that the stage IV breast cancer patient with orange- and lemon-sized tumors breaking out through her skin and apparently self treating with Indonesian black salve treatment, is still ignoring those facts on her healingpastures.com "wellness" blog! She's extolling the benefits of boswellia and ultrasound cancer treatment, but doesn't even mention her own condition?

Not one to defend that particular person but that Boswellian stuff was posted in 2011. I don't think she's updated that website since then.

Ohmigosh, you're right! Thank you so much! I stand corrected, and I'm so relieved that she's not continuing the wooblog, but I'm very concerned that her illness may be the reason. I hope beyond hope that she's ditched the black salve treatment by now and is under the care of a real doctor.

Ah, poor thenewme. She just couldn't resist coming back to BCO and sputtering, "quack, quack, quack!"

@D - wrong thread. This thread is about Protocel quackery.

Another day, another quack. I went back to BCO to respond to a thread about a different quack by the name of Judy Seeger and her "Cancer Cleanse Camp." I was curious since I started getting notices that my BCO post from almost 2 years ago was updated.

You'll find the relevant RI post here: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/08/14/naturopathic-cancer-treatm…

Thank you for pointing out Dr. Judy to me. I had never heard of her. Sounds great. I just started following her on Facebook.

No problem, D. I sincerely hope you don't have cancer, but good luck with Judy Seeger anyway!

D was the guy who claimed he hadn't heard of protocol, either. If orac said that cyanide was bad, D would start looking for a 'doctor' to prescribe it for him.

Dude, I did take cyanide in the form of laetrile. Why do you think I'm alive after all these years?

Evidently the real twist to most Agatha Christie murder mysteries is that nobody died. Cyanide being the weapon of choice, the "hidden" plot twist is that the victims lived happily ever after. And was cured of whatever ails them.

(She also had a thing for hemlock and arsenic. When you know, not killing people off with guns or knives)

Oh dear. thenewme has been sent to the woodshed or being the girl who called "Quack!" once to often.

It's the name-calling that gets you in the end. It's too simple-minded. The name callers never learn new rhetorical skills. Why is that? Name-calling is just too easy? Lowest level of communication? Crude? Dumb? Nothing substantial to say?

Nothing substantial to say?

I have yet to observe anything resembling a substantial comment from you, the closest effort being the truly sad attempt at addressing fair use.

Looks like D/Luan/Maud/Ruby had lots of posts deleted on BCO - maybe she'll now learn not to trash others so much.

"Name calling is just too easy" - you'd know, you're the expert.

Oh D, you must be referring to my post on BCO about Judy Seeger and her "Cancer Cleanse Camp?"

Yeah, I did call names. I called Judy Seeger a quack! And I also called breastcancerchoices.org and annieappleseedproject.org QUACK organizations. As they say, if it "ducks like a quack..."

Somebody didn't like my posts and was so juvenile and cowardly that they couldn't stand seeing evidence-based information about their beloved quacks, so they went and tattled to the mods about me being a bully. Classic.

@aFriend- I think you're WAY too optimistic, LOL! She hasn't learned yet. Why start now? She'll just change her sock name again and invent some more new invisible friends to agree with her conspiracy theories and woo! Did you see the ramblings on the "clinical trials" forum? Oh my!

@ D

Dude, I did take cyanide in the form of laetrile. Why do you think I’m alive after all these years?

Or your laetrile was off. Did the vendor give you any guarantee that he was selling you apricot extracts (if I remember correctly where laetrile is coming from) and not just that he found at the bottom of the filter of his coffee brewer? The taste would be the same (yeah I tried - as a kid; hasn't done it twice).

I'm eating regularly cyanide in the form of apple seeds (apple core? what is that?) OK, only with really ripe golden apples, but I ate tons of them since I'm old enough to chew (twice a day, all year long, for 30+ years). Yet I'm still alive. Maybe it's only active on amorphic blobs of Bacteria X.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 18 Aug 2012 #permalink

Will Maud/Ruby ever learn? She was awfully defensive when someone called her Maud...not sure why she needs a double identity.

Not a double identity - more like quadrupal or even more

@Jergen, the funny thing is that she and her cronies are forever accusing me of having multiple identities, LOL! They've even accused me of being Orac - bwaaahahaha!

Projection at its finest.

Looks like maud/ruby was given the boot once again on BCO. Courtesy of your thread TNM!

Why are you "druggies" so obsessed with the alternative forums and the "alties"? It seems like they are the only forums you frequent on BCO. None of you post on the mainstream forums. What's up with that? Don't you have faith in your cut, burn and poison treatments"?

Au contraire, my addled friend. You just dont know where to look.

motheroffoursons/ AFriend are you threatened by Maud/Ruby? Does she make you feel not-so-smart? I'm still laughing at your "Why-do-I-have-to-eat-cancer-fighting foods?' ignorant thread.

Maud/Ruby is an idiot who can't control her emotions which is why she gets booted so often.

I post on the mainstream threads all the time. That's where the smart gals hangout. I go to the altie threads to reinforce my belief that there are in fact ignorant people who think that cancer will just go away if you follow your "intuition" on how to treat it. What a crock.

You go to the altie threads because you and thenewme are like the old ladies in the back of the church who can't stop clucking about the scandalous outfits the young girls wear! You're just busybodies :)

I also post on the mainstream threads, almost every day. Once again, a reminder, you can have your own opinion but not your own facts.

When all else fails throw out a gratuitous insult.


Case in point, when all else fails and you have no facts to back you up, throw out a half-witted insult.

Actually, I feel sorry for you alties. Sorry because you actually believe in cures with no proof. You believe that if someone says that rubbing two rocks together will cure your cancer it must be true because it's "natural". You believe in conspiracies. You believe that cancer can be cured with diet and happy thoughts. You believe in recruiting unsuspecting naive newbies into your way of thinking. You believe in coddling former heroin addicts who have self diagnosed themselves with Parkinson's disease, breast cancer, and AIDS (just read that one again today). Self diagnosing AIDS before AIDS even existed And, self diagnosing being cured from AIDS. I feel sorry for you because you are gullible and delusional.

Jergen, I strongly suggest that before you go running off your mouth judging others, you should concentrate on your own health. That's what smart girls do.

Have you noticed that the "alties" don't really post on the mainstream threads? That's because we don't care to read about the shopping list of drugs and the dangerous side effects those women constantly complain about.

The mainstream forum is depressing. Understandibly, most of those women are just miserable. I'd say that more than 80% of them are hooked on anti-depressants. When they get tired of abusing their bodies, they find the alternative forum on their own. Unlike you and the rest of your girl gang, the alternative minded women have class. Anybody can see that.

The fact that some you people make it your business to go around pushing drugs on unsuspecting new members is disgusting. Just remember that what goes around comes around.

No,Leah, the reason alties don't post on mainstream threads is because they get tired of getting their asses handed to them on a platter.

What you and your ilk peddle is 21st century snake-oil, pure and simple. And when you are unable to provide any corroboration to your claims (80% on anti-depressants? Citation needed) that would pass muster with anyone with an ounce of sense, you start getting all threaty.

@leah - the more you post, the more vile you become. Knowing a number of Breast Cancer survivors, each of them worked closely with their doctor to find the best possible course of treatment, which varied from individual to individual - all of which followed conventional therapies, and each and every one of these brave women is alive today - happy, healthy, spending time with their families, because they didn't delude themselves into thinking there was an "easy-button" cure.

"Don't worry, be happy" is not a treatment for Cancer.

Altie women have class? Now that's funny! They have so much class they keep getting booted for inappropriate posts attacking others who dare to question altie methods. So 80% on the mainstream threads are on anti-depressants? Ahhhh, I don't think so. There ya go being delusional again. It's that kind of thinking that makes me feel sorry for you.

Yes, the mainstream threads are sooooo sad, all this desperation, all the needless pain, coping with horrible side effects. I can't even bear to read the topics. Coping with this nightmare, coping with that nightmare... I feel so sorry for them. It's not their fault they weren't taught to think for themselves.

My post on 9/19 @9:19 am was in response to D's post at 9:20, not anticipating it. Weird.
More than 80% hooked on antidepressants? [citation needed}

@Leah, @D

Instead of blathering on, why don't you post some actual scientific data people can review? That's the only way you'll change anyone's mind...

Thinking for myself, I know that I'd be more inclined to try an alternative if I could actually read about the efficacy/risks. But you know, that's just me...


Ironic you say that, since you are just spouting the same thinks that quack trolls usually do.

There's more than a little difference between suspecting a particular name of being a sockpuppet of a known user (the evidence is usually things like a strong similarity in writing style and repetition of signature phrases) and positing global conspiracies like many quacks and their supporters do.

And if you're not posting arguments to change anyone's mind, what's the point? That's pretty much an announcement that you're just trolling for the lulz.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink

So you have no evidence of sock puppets? Just suspicions. Hmmm. What does that sound like. Wait. Wait, don't tell me. A conspiracy theory.
And I'm here for the same reason you are.
I'm here as a sceptic, my dear... To explore presumptive conclusions and paranoia posing as the truth.

Suspecting something plausible isn't even similar to building up massive edifices out of moonbeams and rainbows, then insisting that they're absolute fact.

A conspiracy, by definition, involves more than one person. The actions of one person, even with multiple identities, are not a conspiracy.. You can have no conspiracy theory without a conspiracy.

So the sockpuppet is just a graden-variety, wild-ass theory but not a conspiracy theory. Okay, I'll buy that. You guys posit wild-ass unproven theories.

I’m here as a sceptic, my dear… To explore presumptive conclusions and paranoia posing as the truth.

Unfortunately for you, your essentially content-free comments do nothing of the sort. Bronze Dog is correct: it's just trolling, and not very good trolling at that.

Wow. You've jumped to a lot of baseless conclusions and seem to be in denial about the state of public knowledge about trollish behavior.

1. I am not currently asserting with confidence that you are a sock puppet. I don't know enough of your history or of the troll you are accused of being to make that determination at this time.

2. Sock puppetry is a common phenomenon on the internet, and in most places it's easy to perform since a troll can simply type in a new name or create a new account for free. There is nothing inherently extraordinary about claiming that someone is a sock puppet/puppeteer. It's an ordinary phenomenon, so the amount of evidence necessary to consider an accusation likely to be true tends to be fairly low.

3. Sock puppetry is not a conspiracy. A conspiracy requires multiple people working together in secret. A sock puppeteer is one person pretending to be multiple people, most often to avoid a bad reputation following from previous identities or to create an argumentum ad populum by forming an illusory consensus.

4. "Conspiracy theory," in this blog's context, is a phrase typically understood to mean large conspiracies, involving governments, corporations, influential people, and such working together in secret for some common, typically sinister goal. Large conspiracies would be harder to keep secret because more members means more potential leaks. Those who come up with these theories generally do not take logistical implausibilities, human nature, or the nature of information into account. These kinds of conspiracy theories are inherently extraordinary claims, and thus require extraordinary evidence to be considered likely to be true. Sock puppetry does not meet the criteria, being common, easy troll behavior.

Anything in there you'd care to dispute?

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink

Need to keep defining the terms in order to make your case? Heard the term, syllogism?
If that fails you can always go back to psychological reductionism?
This is really too easy for me. Could you send some of the smarter kids out?

Funny, D. I give common definitions of the terms as they're understood by the community at large and you pretend I'm manipulating the language. Doesn't help that your behavior suggests you're playing dumb/naive about the nature, ease, and commonality of sock puppetry to avoid the core point behind what I said.

If I'm so woefully misinformed about my native language, perhaps you'd like to recommend a resource for the definitions?

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink

"Why are you “druggies” so obsessed with the alternative forums and the “alties”? "

That is a puzzle. It's like what happens when I'm playing 3-card monte - skeptics keep coming up to claim that the kindly guy running the game is _cheating_, instead of just letting me play the game in peace. The other day, I nearly managed to purchase the Brooklyn bridge, and the damned skeptics _called the cops_ (if you can imagine such effrontery!), and ruined my chance for prosperity. If you have the same problem with skeptics on the alternative medicine forums, you have my deepest sympathy.

By Leah's puzzle (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink

Should an altie ever have the misfortune of being seriously iinjured in any kind of accident, I wonder I'd they would refuse transport by the ambulance with those drug pushing EMT's, therby avoiding the drug pushing ER personnel, and wait for the ND, witch doctor, reiki nitwit, whatever, to arrive and realign their chakra's and dose them with herbs and vitamins.........while exhorting them to keep a positive attitude for maximum healing effect? Broken bones and internal injuries not withstanding.

Just saying.

Just took a brief look at D's link:

The authors begin by defining a conspiracy theory as “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal” that is “notoriously resistant to falsification … with new layers of conspiracy being added to rationalize each new piece of disconfirming evidence.” Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy, [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.” With this cabalistic paradigm in place, conspiracies can become “the default explanation for any given event—a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network known as a monological belief system.”

It surprised me a little that he used very similar language to my "definition comment" earlier, including the parenthetical "usually sinister" line. Note that it says people or organizations for the conspirators. There's no room in the cited definition for a "conspiracy" of one person working alone. Sock puppetry is usually practiced by one person working alone.

As for disconfirming evidence, I can name something that would reasonably falsify the sock puppet hypothesis: The discovery that different alleged identities have different IP addresses. For the sake of disclosure, I could posit the ad hoc hypothesis that the puppeteer is taking the time and effort to switch between proxy servers or something, but what would be the point in performing that rationalization, and why would someone like D go through the extra trouble? What alleged comfort would it provide me if I attempted that rationalization? If D isn't a sock puppet, it's not going to rock my world. I don't have any deep emotional investment in the sock puppet hypothesis. If it's false, it just means the existence of one more troll with internet access, and I already have confidence that there are lots and lots of trolls out there. One more is just a drop in the ocean.

The definition also mentions powerful people or organizations. I have no reason to believe D is "powerful." If D actually read that page, it suggests a gross overestimation of his or her importance and falsely assumes we share in that delusion. (More likely, D didn't bother to read.) There's also no great power being wielded by sock puppetry. Anyone with internet access and basic computer literacy can do it. This isn't 133t haX0r stuff on par with UFO coverups or 9/11 being an inside job. It's a childish prank to annoy people, and I'm having fun pointing out how ineffective D is being.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink


Evidently, you don't know how to spot a leading question.

@Bronze Dog

"And if you’re not posting arguments to change anyone’s mind, what’s the point? That’s pretty much an announcement that you’re just trolling for the lulz."

See my above comment.

At this point, I recommend disengaging.


A lot of the alt-medders talk about how SBM is good for emergencies only. They do like to pick and choose.

Sockpuppet alert:

We appear to have someone posting under multiple sockpuppets who somehow slipped through. One warning: Cut it out. Pick a 'nym and stick with it; otherwise the ban hammer comes down. There will be only one warning.

Need to keep defining the terms in order to make your case? Heard the term, syllogism?

Did someone say ... syllogism? If you want to present your case in syllogism form, trust me that there'll be someone quite ready to respond in kind. I won't even be picky on the technicalities and make you phrase your premises and conclusion in formal set theory statements. But oh yes, if you want to express your views in syllogism form, I would welcome that - just make sure you don't "accidentally" switch from one 'nym to another between comments, or else you might get banned for sockpuppetry before you can complete your argument.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 21 Aug 2012 #permalink

Re: Sockpuppet alert:

Now *THAT'S* the best news I've heard in a long time! I suspect the socks will cry repression and and being denied their free speech if they're not allowed to continue their incoherent multi-ID-woo ramblings.

Re: Sockpuppet alert:

Orac, if you have rules just enforce them. Because of your warning/drama, your "believers" are now just rambling about sockpuppets. That's how much control you have over weak minds.

One comment about sock puppets since the warning went out. That is hardly "believers" rambling.

LOL, It was just me rambling about sockpuppets!

@Leah, for someone who spends as much time as you do here, it seems you've missed a pretty important concept about "believers" versus skeptics. In any case, apparently my 'nym wasn't one of the sockpuppets Orac was referring to, since I'm obviously not banned. Gee, I wonder who won't be back?

Do you have anything to contribute to the discussion about Protocel, Entelev, CanCell, or Cantron?

15 comments on August 20th and 21th were sockpuppets. When the cult leader just adds to the stupidity, one has to wonder if he's playing with a full deck. Maybe now, Orac, you'll see why most people on BCO believe that you, thenewme and blackcat are the same and don't take any of you "characters" seriously.

@Leah - why do you assume that Orac cares what you & your little "altie" friends talk about in your little sewing circle over at BCO - beside, you know, caring that you are attempting to convince women to eschew life-saving treatments in favor of untested & unproven "cures."

It must burn you up inside to see your position so thoroughly demolished - and perhaps the anger is based in a psycho-somatic response to the thought that you may have lead to the deaths of even one woman who may have been saved by real cancer treatments.

....AND she changes the subject. Why am I not surprised?

Well said Lawrence - the "alties" should be thrown in jail

15 comments on August 20th and 21th were sockpuppets.

Interesting claim for you to make, Leah, since AFAIK the only people who can assert with certainty that a comment is from a sockpuppet are the moderator, and the one doing the sockpuppeting. You're not the moderator, therefore ...

Maybe now, Orac, you’ll see why most people on BCO believe that you, thenewme and blackcat are the same and don’t take any of you “characters” seriously.

The entire reason why sockpuppeting is done, by those unethical enough to resort to it, is to create a false appearance of widespread support where none exists. Why would anyone take your word for what "most people on BCO" believe? Given that you've already admitted to making up the "chemo nourishes" straw man, why would I trust you to not make up other nonsense?

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 22 Aug 2012 #permalink

Leah, if you don't want to be considered dishonest, don't defend the dishonest practice of sock puppetry or offer up our predictable, human reaction to sock puppetry as an excuse to disengage.

If you had good evidence and simply stuck to presenting and explaining that evidence, we'd have something more directly relevant to talk about. We're skeptics. That puts limits on what we can do in an argument. Usually, we're stuck with reacting to the advocates' arguments and evidence. It's up to the advocate to provide evidence for what he's advocating. We're here to object to assertions made without good evidence and to logical fallacies when the conclusion does not follow from the available evidence.

When an advocate engages in dishonest tactics, he's giving us something to do beyond repeatedly pointing out the poverty of evidence. It's human nature, and it's shockingly naive if you think we'd silently let dishonesty pass. As an advocate, you're usually the one with the initiative. You act, we react. Anyone who understands human nature and internet culture would be able to predict our reaction to sock puppetry. If you don't understand our reaction, that would suggest you have a lot to learn about other human beings and how we interact with each other.

If you admitted that sock puppetry is inherently dishonest, refrained from practicing it, and discouraged other advocates from practicing it, we'd no longer have our stated reasons to go on about it.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 22 Aug 2012 #permalink

@Bronze Dog,

"If you had good evidence and simply stuck to presenting and explaining that evidence, we’d have something more directly relevant to talk about."

I couldn't agree more! The trouble as I see it, especially at BCO, is that they simply *don't* have any good evidence! That's why the alties there resort to deleting my posts and having my account banned yet again just this morning. They don't like me pointing out facts and evidence and questioning their methods, so they silence any opposition by deleting and banning.

Interesting... I was one of the ones who posted on the "20th" (I'm not in the same timezone as the one used for the comment dating).

Where is my Big Pharma check? I would like $10 billion doilars please.

Now, I enjoy a horse race as much as anyone else, but I think the Gish gallop has been overdone here.

So you're not one of the 15 sockpuppets either, LOL?

As for "most people on BCO" believing that I'm Orac and/or Black-Cat, maybe so, but I doubt it. It's probably just the few cowards who don't have any real substance to use in discussing breast cancer treatment so they play games instead:
-Ban, delete, and censor your opponents!
-Change the subject, quick!
-Project, project, project!
-Cry bully.
-Perfect your "Poor-poor- little me" schtick.
-Make dramatic posts about how, despite the fact that you're an MLM scammer, a quack, and affiliate marketer, you're not trying to make a dime from your scammy posts.
-Insist that you're only trying to "help" cancer patients and generously and unselfishly "sharing" all your research information!
-Never forget namecalling as a great tactic.
-If all else fails, make sh!t up and accuse your opponents of it, then invent some new make-believe friends to join the fun.

Gish gallop, indeed!

@Flip, to clarify.... only the first line of my comment above was directed at you!

The rest was in reference to the Big Bad BCO Bully Brigade.

Unless you submit some credible scientific proof that alternative treatment work, you will not be taken seriously here. If you believe negative energy affects your chances of living a long life after a cancer diagnosis, why do you keep doing what you know will bring you scorn and derision?



Seriously... I can't type.


So you’re not one of the 15 sockpuppets either, LOL?

Nope... although now that I've posted a response to myself as @me, I'm sure rumours will fly that we're somehow related. ;)

Beware, do not believe everything people say, they ALL have their own agenda, the cost of cantron stated is false, for a start, taking statements out of context has happened for centuries, warping the truth. Chemo, radiation and surgery cost more and do more damage to the body, so people end up dying of the treatment!! This man is totally bias.

Of course one should listen to talking zebras. They are experts on cancer treatment.


Chemo, radiation and surgery cost more

As you are in England, you should check out the National Health Service, where you can get science-based cancer treatment free of charge. Ineffective quackery will cost you a lot more.

and do more damage to the body,

Why do you believe that chemo, radiation and surgery do more damage to the body than cancer? Why do you think these drastic methods of treating cancer were developed, if cancer is such a benign disease?

so people end up dying of the treatment!!

Perhaps you should take a good look at Orac's look at the facts about this in the area of breast cancer. It isn't true, you have been lied to and now you are trying to persuade other people that those lies are true, and possibly putting other people's lives at risk in doing so.

This man is totally bias.

Assuming you mean 'biased', then I suppose you are correct, since he is a breast cancer surgeon and has seen more cases of breast cancer than you and I are likely to see in our lifetimes, and is familiar with the studies that demonstrate unequivocally that you are wrong in your claims. He is biased in favor of the truth.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 02 Sep 2012 #permalink

I am guessing not yours. Remember, you are entitled to your opinions but not your facts.

The facts that we have great confidence in because they are supported by careful peer-reviewed scientific study, and before you ask "whose careful peer-reviewed scientific study," I can tell you the answer is "not yours, because you don't have any." Accepting methods of inquiry known to give false answers - like patient testimonials, which have attested to the wondrous powers of lobotomy, bloodletting, and slightly salted water in a bottle with a colorful label, among too many other non-remedies to mention - is not science, even if you try to imitate science's outward forms.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 05 Sep 2012 #permalink

What facts are you talking about? Citation, please.

Please be more specific unless you're afraid of scrutiny.

Categrorical thinking is very woo.

D, have you bothered to read this article, or are you just another annoying insect?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 05 Sep 2012 #permalink

You mentioned "facts." You were going to reveal where they keep the facts and who created them. Is that question threatening?

Notice how the mention of "facts" is in blue text? That's this Internet thing called a "link."