Integrative medicine and spoon bending at the University of Alberta and "Bigfoot skepticism"

After over 11 years at this blogging thing, I periodically start to fear that I’m becoming jaded. In particular, after following the infiltration of quackery in the form of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more commonly known as “integrative medicine,” because it integrates CAM with evidence-based medicine. Of course, in reality, what “integrative medicine” really does is to integrate prescientific, pseudoscientific, and antiscientific quackery with real medicine, and that’s what I mean. I thought I had seen it all in academic medical centers and medical schools: the faith healing that is reiki at National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers, acupuncture at more universities than I can recall, functional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine at at the Cleveland Clinic; naturopathy and therefore, whether the MDs in the integrative medicine departments know it or not, The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy, which is an integral part of naturopathy; and even Rudolf Steiner’s ultimate woo, anthroposophic medicine at my damned alma mater!

Yes, I thought I had seen it all, until I came across this Tweet by Tim Caulfield, an outspoken critic of CAM from our neighbors up north:

And:

Yes, you read that right. It’s a flier for Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds at the University of Alberta’s CARE Program for Integrative Health and Healing advertising a spoon bending workshop. No wonder most people thought it was a joke or some sort of satire. It wasn’t; it even showed up on the CBC News website:

The workshop is to be presented on June 28 by Anastasia Kutt, an Edmonton "energy healing therapist" and "registered reiki master," according to her website.

"This experiential workshop will teach a guided meditation/energy transfer technique which will have most participants bending cutlery using the power of their minds," the workshop description says.

"This will not be a scientific evaluation of the process," the poster notes.

It won’t be a scientific evaluation of the process? Imagine my relief. Particularly hilarious is the part about typically “75% of workshop participants can bend the spoon.” Only 75%?

Naturally, I wandered over to Anastasia Kutt’s website, Luminous Tranquility, where I learned:

Anastasia Kutt (click here for bio) is an energy healing therapist and workshop facilitator in Edmonton, Alberta. She is a Registered Reiki Master Teacher with the Canadian Reiki Association, and offers Reiki workshops at Healing Connections Wellness Center. She is one of 20 certified Trilotherapists in Canada, and also has extensive training in the Yuen Method of Energy Clearing. Please see Workshops for upcoming events and Treatments for information about treatments.

Kutt appears not to be actually treating anyone, but rather making her living doing workshops on reiki and “energy medicine,” including spoon bending workshops, and selling a guided meditation CD. So, obviously, someone at the Pediatric Integrative Medicine program at the University of Alberta must have hired Kutt to do this workshop. Just let that sink in. Whoever runs the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds thought that it was a good idea to invite an “energy healer” to demonstrate how to use the “power of the mind” to bend a spoon! Ultimately, it was reported that the event was canceled, which just goes to show that shining the light of day on these excesses of quackademic medicine is the best disinfectant for

At this point, it would be very easy to go on a fun (and hopefully funny) rant about just how bad things have gotten in quackademic medicine that anyone at an actual medical school would take the claims of spoon bending at face value. Very easy indeed. It would have been a hell of a lot of fun, too, which made it difficult for me to restrain myself. However, as I read over this sad story of credulity, I was reminded of something that happened a mere two weeks ago at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS), when Scientific American journalist John Horgan gave a talk with the intentionally inflammatory title, Dear “Skeptics,” Bash Homeopathy and Bigfoot Less, Mammograms and War More: A science journalist takes a skeptical look at capital-S Skepticism, which he later posted on his Scientific American blog. It provoked a lot of reactions because it was so fractally wrong, including two responses from Steve Novella, Daniel Loxton, Jerry Coyne, and, of course, yours truly.

Basically, Horgan’s criticism of skepticism boiled down to an accusation that we don’t take on the “hard” targets, preferring instead to go after “easy” targets like Bigfoot, homeopathy, astrology, and the like. While there is a grain of truth in that characterization, overall Horgan’s whine came across as the fallacy of relative privation or, as I like to put it, “You should stop caring about what you care about and care about what I care about instead because it’s so much more important than what you care about.” Part of that characterization was to disparage “bigfoot skeptics.” Do you see where I’m going with this?

One of the most basic issues of skepticism, one that many skeptics cut their teeth on, is Uri Geller, the man who bends spoons with the power of his mind. At least, that’s how he characterized himself in the 1970s and onward. I first heard about him when I was a teenager. Being a teenager and of not more than average skepticism, I was just as puzzled as many people were over Geller’s spoon bending. Now, spoon bending is an obvious magic trick, which is why James Randi was so easily able to duplicate it and why he was so easily able, working with Johnny Carson, to expose Geller as a fraud on national TV:

These days, it’s so well known that spoon bending is a magic trick and not evidence of a man’s ability to bend metal with his mind that a quick Google search for “How do you bend spoons?” turns up many links that tell you just how to duplicate Geller’s feat that amazed so many for so many decades, for instance:

There’s even a Wikipedia entry on spoon bending.

This sort of skepticism is exactly the sort of skepticism that Horgan so contemptuously dismissed as “Bigfoot skepticism.” After all, it’s just a con man named Uri Geller bending spoons using a magic trick that most magicians know and fooling the public into thinking that he was using the “power of his mind” to accomplish it. The skill set required to demonstrate that Geller was a fraud was straightforward and not particularly complex. That’s why the story of Uri Geller’s spoon bending con is a basic story that nearly all skeptics encounter fairly early on in their journey to becoming skeptics. It’s the very epitome of what John Horgan considers wrong with organized skepticism.

And yet...

And yet there is a major Canadian academic medical center that had at least one faculty member that doesn’t exercise skepticism about a woman who claims to be able to manipulate “life energy” from the “universal source,” which is what reiki is when you boil it down to its essence, and offers workshops on how to use the power of your mind to bend spoons. Just think about it. If the person putting together Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds for the University of Alberta had been inculcated with a bit of the ol’ “Bigfoot skepticism,” maybe he or she wouldn’t have agreed to let Anastasia Kutt to do a workshop there. If that person knew that spoon bending was nothing more than a simple magician’s trick, perhaps he or she wouldn’t have fallen for Kutt’s nonsense. That didn’t happen, unfortunately. Bigfoot skepticism could have prevented this, but in the world of quackademic medicine there isn’t even Bigfoot skepticism. There isn’t much, if any, skepticism at all. More’s the pity.

Then, of course, Horgan also heaped his scorn on skeptics who debunk homeopathy. As I’ve discussed many times in the past, on the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of homeopathy in academic medical centers. However, if you consider how many CAM or “integrative medicine” programs have naturopaths on faculty and offer naturopathy services, you’ll soon realize that there are a lot of academic medical centers offering homeopathy. The reason is simple. Homeopathy is such an integral part of naturopathy that you can’t have naturopathy without homeopathy.

In fact, a little bit of that “Bigfoot skepticism” could prevent atrocities against science-based medicine like the Pediatric Integrative Medicine (PIM) trial:

The Pediatric Integrative Medicine Trial (“PIM Trial”) started recruitment of hospitalized children at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta in early 2013, and the clinical intervention phase starts in the fall. While the initial focus is on children with cancer, plans to include children in other areas of the hospital are underway. Led by the CARE Program and supported by the University of Alberta, the trial will study the effects of an inpatient PIM service when added to conventional medical care.

The service consists of pediatricians and credentialed therapists in acupuncture, massage therapy, and reiki who will offer consultations and treatments for children experiencing pain, nausea/vomiting, and/or anxiety (“PNVA”). Choice of therapy is guided by each patient and family, and informed by established research on its safety and effectiveness; there are no obligations to start or continue the PIM Trial’s therapies, and there is no cost to the family or to the hospital.

The trial will assess and compare costs, length of hospital stay, safety and effectiveness of therapies (CAM and conventional), and quality of life and satisfaction with care as determined by patients, their caregivers and health care providers.

Of course, acupuncture and reiki are the purest of vitalistic quackery, modalities that have no place in any hospital purporting to provide evidence- and science-based care to patients. “Bigfoot skepticism” is useful in identifying how reiki, at least, is quackery. Acupuncture is a little bit more difficult, given that it involves sticking actual needles into patients, but it’s not that much more difficult to demonstrate that acupuncture is a theatrical placebo. Sadly, the University of Alberta is not alone in embracing quackery. It has lots of company.

Scientific skepticism strives to separate claims that are supported by evidence and science from claims that are not. Claims like the ones made by Uri Geller over the years are clearly ridiculous, but, contrary to what Horgan seems to think, they are not at all unimportant because they are widely believed. In fact, they’re so widely believed that they have served as the basis of a workshop offered by a respected academic medical center. All it would have taken is a single skeptic applying “Bigfoot skepticism” to the claims being made by, for instance, the University of Alberta. Where was that skeptic? Nowhere, or so it would seem. It’s not as though it’s always difficult to test these sorts of implausible claims, either. Indeed, in the case of “therapeutic touch” (also called “healing touch”), a form of “energy medicine” widely taught in nursing school that posits that the person doing the therapeutic touch can sense and manipulate the patient’s “energy field” to healing effect, disproving the woo is so easy that even an 11-year-old can do it. Unfortunately, the environment at some academic medical centers has become so credulous that highly educated physicians and nurses accept this kind of nonsense. Sure, it’s possible that a lot of physicians saw the spoon-bending flyer and scoffed derisively, but the very fact that the workshop was scheduled is a symptom of a serious problem.

In fact, I’d argue that we could use some “Bigfoot skeptics” in medicine. Horgan paints efforts debunking homeopathy with the same brush, as taking on an “easy” target that isn’t worth the effort, but homeopathy is a multibillion dollar industry. We could use some in politics as well, because, for example, there is a whole category of health care pseudo-professionals called naturopaths for whom homeopathy is such an integral part of their practice that it is part of their licensing examination. In my state (Michigan), there is a bill, HB 4531, that would grant licensure and a broad scope of practice to naturopaths. If there were more “Bigfoot skeptics” in our brain dead legislature, maybe the bill wouldn’t have made it out of the House Committee on Health Policy to be considered by the whole House.

Skepticism and critical thinking are a world view that is desperately lacking in most people. Horgan seems to think that it’s not worthwhile to exercise these skills on anything less than world peace and complex questions about whether screening for cancer saves enough lives relative to the cost in money and overtreatment, but there are plenty of examples of much more straightforward questions need to be examined with science and a critical eye. Unfortunately, one of these examples is in medicine myself. If even a few physicians can be accepting enough of a claim that a common magician’s trick is in reality evidence of the power of the mind that they’re willing to schedule a workshop on spoon bending at a major medical center, we have a problem, and it’s a problem that “Bigfoot skeptics” are most suited to tackle.

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Spoon bending... Spoon bending???? F*#%IN' SPOON BENDING??!?!?

Not gonna lie, I checked the calender to see whether it was April 1 when I saw this.

My intern year of residency at the University of Arizona School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics involves a lot of frustration over a newly introduced computer charting system in 2000. It could take 1 to 2 hours to get orders in on a patient that you could have written in a paper chart in about 5 minutes. There was a meeting with the computer people at the hospital along with a doctor who had become an IT specialist for the hospital and he said point blank to us pediatricians that they rolled out this horrible system on the pediatrics ward first because we were " nice people". The flip side to that was that the physicians who were surgeons and in adult medicine would not have stood for this horribly written computer software nonsense. I think to some degree this is the same tolerance by people that are being way too nice (i.e. pediatricians) when it comes to integrative medicine and even worse nonsense like spoon bending and energy healing--not that any of it is stuff that I think should be tolerated in science based medicine. At least I'm hoping that's how it is and this would extend as well to the increasing anti-vaccination you see within Pediatrics. I'm really hoping it's a bunch of people who know these pseudo-scientific quacks are wrong but are simply being nice people in tolerating it rather than actually believing it.

That being said, and as you know, the University of Arizona his home to a pseudo-scientific integrative medicine program that has very much infiltrated the Pediatric Residency program there. Also within the field of Pediatrics about two years ago the president then of the American Academy of Pediatrics made some very ignorant statements in acceptance of Integrative Medicine and Pediatrics showing a complete lack of scientific understanding. Even now the current president of the American Academy of Pediatrics seems more interested in stamping out poverty than he does taking care of patients. I didn't sign up for medicine to be a social worker or to deal with pseudo-scientific crap, and I'm having a real difficult time getting excited about taking care of patients again when I see how pervasive this nonsense has become.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

On the plus side, I could listen to James Randi all day. He's like the witty, gay grandpa I've always wished I've had.

Trilotherapist

Yay, I'm learning a new word!
...
What does it means? Something about listening to trilobites? (or to trebles?)

**Wiki search**
"'Trilotherapist' does not exist"

**Google search**
Tranquil Luminosity arrives 4th. Um, some kind of zen Quantum meditation à la Deepak Choprah.
Seems to be mostly a Canadian thing, with maybe a spin-off in India.

But seriously (OK, not too much), if bending spoons was teachable that easily to pediatricians, would you really want a poorly trained Magneto in the same room as your baby?

--------------------------------

Kutt appears not to be actually treating anyone, but rather making her living doing workshops on reiki and “energy medicine,”

Isn't Reiki teaching a pyramid scheme of sort? You don't go around treating people, you go around teaching them how to do it themselves.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Oh, rats, @4. You beat me to it. Listening to trilobites was my very first guess! I'm quite sure it would be more useful than whatever the heck Trilotherapists actually do.

Now, now. I have an energy metabolism - chemical energy, but that's energy nonetheless.
I've also bent many a spoon that I've gripped too tightly.
Obviously, that's because I'm a lizard or something.
Oh wait, nipples, must be a mammal, with all of that warm blood. OK, or something.

OK, all that said, if the subject at hand were in reality in question, I'd simply advocate for summary execution of the advocate. We are speaking of medicine for children and I'm rather uncompromising in that area.
I'm all fun and games until the welfare of a child becomes a matter of concern, then, the part of ancient maps becomes a matter of focus, "Here be monsters".

And I thought U of Alberta was a good university. Yep, up there with U of T and McMaster in the woo stakes though with a spoon-bending Grand Rounds it may be taking the lead. ARRGH! What were those idiots in the Senate and on the Board of Trustees thinking of?

@ 4 Helianthus

Trilotherapist

India? I didn't see anything about India. It does look like there is a minor but possibly dangerous infestation in Alberta (See the House of OM in Calgary) and the http://trilotherapy.com site seems to be written in Hebrew (well it looks like Hebrew to me but what do I know?)

The blurb about trilotherapy (http://trilotherapy.com/trilotherapy/)is as stupid and facile as one wouldexpect it would be. Deepak Chopra would probably find it ridiculous. Its only apparent good point is it does not use the term quantum.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Well given a Bigfoot hunter and someone organizing a psychic spoon bending Pediatrics Grand Rounds I know who looks saner. Hint it's not the cutlery enthusiast.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

"She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree with a major in Microbiology and Immunology". Sorry; I just can't help thinking that if she is sooo intelligent, stuff like spoon bending, even if used as a metaphor, is completely beneath her. I suppose the idea was to teach people to deceive children with tricks to encourage them to believe they can overcome their illness. But how is that ethical or necessary?

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Looks like Anastasia works for the department.

http://www.care.ualberta.ca/en/OurTeam.aspx

"Anastasia Kutt coordinates the Education arm of CARE and is also involved in research activities and organizing events."

Maybe she organized and approved the rounds herself.

India? I didn’t see anything about India. It does look like there is a minor but possibly dangerous infestation in Alberta (See the House of OM in Calgary) and the http://trilotherapy.com site seems to be written in Hebrew (well it looks like Hebrew to me but what do I know?)

Deepak Chopra is involved, and Mr. Chopra is originally from India, so if you are playing the six-degrees-of-separation game...

I agree that the trilotherapy site (at least the front page) is in Hebrew. Not only do the letters look like Hebrew letters, but the text is clearly intended to be read right-to-left, consistent with Hebrew.

And yes, there's definitely something rotten in Edmonton. How does anybody, skeptic or not, get into a position of authority in a medical school without knowing that spoon bending is fake?

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Rob

Holy crap. You're right. This is even worse than I thought. The Pediatric Integrative Medicine program has a reiki quack organizing education events! True, she's just a Research Assistant and probably just does the grunt work inviting and scheduling speakers decided upon by the leadership, but clearly she has influence if she talked them into letting her do a spoon bending workshop.

I agree that the trilotherapy site (at least the front page) is in Hebrew.

It's shilling workshops by trainees of Nissim Amon.

...but clearly she has influence if she talked them into letting her do a spoon bending workshop.

From reading their profiles at Rob's link it looks as if they were already there.

However, I'm encouraged that this department includes those involved in SONAR (Study Of Natural health product Adverse Reactions).

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

But seriously (OK, not too much), if bending spoons was teachable that easily to pediatricians, would you really want a poorly trained Magneto in the same room as your baby?

Maybe they're just looking for "The One".

By Science Mom (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

I would hold this seminar.

Then, hold everyone, wait for the presenter to sit own, and introduce my special guest speaker, James Randi.

@Rob #12
Thanks for that link. The real problem is Dr Sunita Vohra who started the PIM program several years ago. I remember running across some credulous articles about her/it at the time in the Vancouver Sun.
She is unfortunately an actual MD, and self identified "expert" in woo....err...CAM. This is her department, and all the staff will be taking her lead.

By Newcoaster (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Chris Hickie: "I think to some degree this is the same tolerance by people that are being way too nice (i.e. pediatricians) when it comes to integrative medicine and even worse nonsense like spoon bending and energy healing–not that any of it is stuff that I think should be tolerated in science based medicine. At least I’m hoping that’s how it is and this would extend as well to the increasing anti-vaccination you see within Pediatrics. "

I think it's a tad more complicated from that. First of all, the current young pediatricians are, in most areas, more poorly educated than the generation before, thanks to political nonsense in the schools. Secondly, a lot are from evangelical areas where pediatrics is the one acceptable sort-of-sciency career, but they're all very susceptible to wild theories and dislike vaccines (cause government). Finally, the administration doesn't give a toss and most anti-vaccine pediatricians are free to practice and air their nonsense without censure from any higher-ups. If the boards were to make a few examples, I'm sure there'd be a lot fewer anti-vax pediatricians, and the rest might start using their brains.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Something certainly needs to get bent at Alberta U.

Mary M@18: Delicate debutantes like Horgan superciliously declare that science needs to work harder to fix and improve science and medicine, then shit giant bricks the moment science starts by stripping out the most copious and lowest hanging of fruit.

Right.

And how the fack do these dimwits think science got where it is today in the first place?

Frankly, if you ain't doing science like this, you ain't doing science at all. The only thing a good scientist needs a spoon for is shivving the competition when it's wrong.

Actually, I can see a use for spoon bending in a pediatric ward of a hospital.
Entertainment.
Like having clowns visit, or window washers who dress up like Spiderman.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

I misread this as 'Tribbletherapy', and thought it was somehow Trekkie relevant.
Shame they cancelled. I was intending on asking a friend, (a local Edmontonian and fellow skeptic), to attend. He doesn't suffer fools gladly.

There is a great performer who calls himself the Space Cowboy (he's Australian), I guess he's a mentalist - and sword swallower - he does things that others have presented as 'psychic' but he's honest about having no supernatural powers. His is an amazing show, I've seen him a few times over the years. He does a trick involving an up-turned knife blade under one of 3 paper cups, he says he reads the non-verbal cues of the audience member participating to guess which cups are safe to crush. I know he's gotten it wrong at least twice, and ended up with a knife through his hand.

Watching that first video I almost felt bad for Uri. I did not even almost feel bad for the faith healing lying bastard.

By Can't remember… (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Why is everyone so surprised spoons bend? Haven't they ever had to scoop ice cream out of a freezer set on the low side using a regular spoon?

jk rideau

And I thought U of Alberta was a good university.

At least they didn't give Stanley Pons* tenure.At least they didn't give Stanley Pons* tenure.

He was too fast on the draw. He didn't do that extra experiment that one wants to do to verify, said the University of Alberta official, who asked to remain anonymous.

I wonder who Anastasia Kutt is related to/married to/shagging at the U of A.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

OR they could come to the Vanishing Rabbit Magic Shop and buy the spoon bending DVD LOL

By Brent Smith (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

It’s the very epitome of what John Horgan considers wrong with organized skepticism.

And I'm still wondering why Horgan's opinion should carry any weight for anyone.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/edmonton/spoon-bending-workshop-wide…

More from Tim Caulfield
"That's my sort of umbrella concern with this," Caulfield said. "Is these kind of programs legitimize the pseudo-science. The problem is, it always sort of slides into the embrace of pseudo-science.

"It's always presented in a legitimate fashion. You don't have that critical component to it, you're working arm in arm with energy healers, reiki experts and homoeopathy practitioners."

By harriet huestis (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

#20 The real problem is Dr Sunita Vohra who started the PIM program several years ago"

She seems rather cagey in the limited quotes I've seen. She skirts the issue, looking for more investigation or that doctors need to be reactive and more knowledgeable about what their patients are interested in. The lack of efficacy and the risks of alternative medicine is never mentioned. Nor are the ethics of these grand placebos.

By harriet huestis (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

@#8 I took some Hebrew in college. Although that was many years ago, and I no longer have a dictionary. The first two words ( under the guy in the orange bubble, Hebrew goes right to left) I think has something to do with ending/concluding faith/belief. Under the other bubble it says trilotherapy. That is as far as I am going to go right now as I have to get up really early for work tomorrow.

<>

Since this post concerns Canada, I thought I'd raise this here.

There used to be a guy, who I met once in Toronto, who was a very prolific writer and commentator, on autism/vaccine-type issues.

He used to post under the name "Sheldon" - which I think was his name - and then he seemed to vanish. At least in an online presence.

Does this ring any bells, or anything, with anyone. I can think of quite a number of people who've dropped out of the area of interest. So I'm kind of curious, nothing more.

<>

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 03 Jun 2016 #permalink

Sarah #37
The first two words are the name of the guy, Nissim Amon. Those Israeli guys are really good at spoon bending.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ 12 Rob 12 & 14 Orac 14

I think the rot is even worse. If you read some of the blurbs at Rob's link, , we get

Dr. Hsing Jou... completed the University of Alberta’s Certificate Program in Medical Acupuncture in 2002.

The U of A is issuing some kind of certification in acupuncture!

@ 36 harriet huestis

If you track down the Director Dr. Sunita Vohra, it looks like she is researching some interesting areas. https://uofa.ualberta.ca/integrative-health-institute/directors/sunita-… . Note the (i) cluster-controlled cost-effectiveness trial of pediatric integrative medicine (acupuncture, Reiki, massage therapy) for inpatients; - See more at: https://uofa.ualberta.ca/integrative-health-institute/directors/sunita-….

In my experience one does not do a cost-benefit study before one had demonstrated (to some level of surety) that the intervention is having an effect.

She looks pretty far gone in woo.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Brian -- Yes, Sheldon101 was a prolific, and excellent, vaccine defender on the HuffPo years ago (back before they went on non-anonymous FaceBook and I left).

I noticed he vanished, too. I fear he went the way of the late, greatly lamented lilady.

By palindrom (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

With a 75% success rate for spoon-bending, the The Amazing Randi should be handing out quite a few million dollars after every workshop. I know that'd be my first stop if I suddenly acquired special abilities.

By Dan Andrews (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

It's Hebrew all right. Nissim Amon. The "about" page tela how he went to the far east after his army sevice. Korea, Japan,Nepal, India. Zen monasteries. The whole nine yards. sigh. Born every minute even here.

@ palindrom

That's what I was thinking maybe. Maybe someone knows.

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Pretty snide thing to refer to a legitimate failing of skepticism to refer to calling out what she called out as a "whine" and then buttress it with some lame random grab from the Wikipedia fallacy article. Indeed there should be a moratorium on the word whine because it is little more than a signal that the user is obviously signalling that their opponent hit a nerve.

todd, I lost track of exactly what you were whining about there (sorry), but referring to one's opponents as "whining" is an overused dodge.

Yesterday the Wall St. Journal devoted its weekly religion op-ed to praising a book about Christopher Hitchens, alleging that he supposedly seriously contemplated a switch to religion during his final days (a version of the Deathbed Conversion tale we're familiar with in relation to Pasteur and other luminaries). The op-ed's author referred to atheists who protested/debunked this alleged turnabout by Hitchens as "angry" and "hysterical".

Tiresome.

If I can be permitted a slight diversion this far into the discussion, it was interesting to noted an article this past week on Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, in which he discussed his serious childhood bout with polio (he was unable/not permitted to walk for awhile, but ultimately was left with what was described as minor permanent physical impairment). McConnell was attempting to reassure voters that Donald Trump will be "perfectly fine" (or similar wording) as President. Guess Mitch doesn't know or care that Trump holds inane antivax views and might attempt to weaken vaccination programs, creating more kids susceptible to polio and other dangerous diseases.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Just a few points.
Not only are pediatricians nice, but these are Canadian pediatricians, and should therefore be the ne plus ultra in nice.
The first page that came up on my trilotherapy search was called The Home of OM (points for the rhyme). The picture is of Mr. Amon in an East Asian garment with a Japanese-type sword at his waist. The picture implies that it has something to do with the "Diamond Sword of Zen" Either Mr. Amon is rather petite or the Diamond Sword is immense.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

(I hate this keyboard!)
Cont'd:
In either case it looks as if Mr. Amon would need four hands rather than the usual two to wield it. He also doesn't look very Zen warrior-like. If you want to be taken seriously, it isn't a good idea to so beclown yourself (Note: This is a generic use of "you". It is not meant to implicate any individual who may be reading this. (Or maybe it is)).
The page also asks, "Trilotherapy uses many different ways to help you awaken yourself to your own life without guilt, remorse, negativity or stress. Could you imagine what your life would be like without all of these things?"
No, I can't. The only kind of folk I can think of who can imagine it are that strange tribe we call "psychopaths". Maybe the sword has something to do with turning unhappy people into unreflective psychopaths?
The spelling down the page of "troilotherapist" may be revealing too. Maybe the Diamond Sword of Zen is to be used to administer the kind of therapy Troilus administered to Cressida. It all begins to make sense on a deeper level.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Did I get the root letter meaning of the name right?

New to your blog. I picked this one to make my first post on because, well, I have several social ineptitudes that will show themselves as we get to know one another, but...

When people at these gatherings are not able to bend spoons and the organizers tell them they are all just part of the 25% that can't do it and they add themselves up and realize they constitute more than 25% of the attendees, are they allowed to get their money back? ????

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

I dunno, I'm infamous for bending spoons. Strong hands and a blunted sense of touch will do it every time. I really do have to follow up on that with doctor, find out if it's thoracic outlet syndrome or something in my cervical spine.
My wife and I are keeping quite a few specialists busy of late!

By Wzrd1 (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Another Antiva… (not verified)

I guess I should have finished every comment to see the event has been cancelled.

My wife and I were at the beginning stages of a serious conversation about a trip there.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

The picture implies that it has something to do with the “Diamond Sword of Zen” Either Mr. Amon is rather petite or the Diamond Sword is immense.

Um, I get the reference, but the use of props really is not approprate. I was quite distressed to read that he spent some time with Seung Sahn. If I recall correctly, his monastic training was also in Korea (presumably Chogye). Show me the inka, Nissim.

Narad, I absolutely missed the possibility of phallic symbolism with the sword. That is very unlike my usual sex-crazed self, especially when I'm on the manic side of the swing,
In any case, we;re better off at this blog than at Home of OM.
Nissim Amon may have Zen, but we have Orac!

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

I absolutely missed the possibility of phallic symbolism with the sword.

That's just as well. Here.

^ I dunno, maybe he's just putting in a blender with Takuan or something. Korea's not Japan or China.

^ "putting it in a blender"

Uri Geller was my kids' gateway to skepticism. Trying to bind up the tatters of his career, Geller had a special on the erroneously named Fox Network (erroneous because it's neither cunning nor hot, unlike Beautiful Rockin' Wife). The Young Rockin' Kids were about 8 and 9, young enough not to be taken in. When Geller was about to go into his spoon bending, I told them to ignore anything he was saying and to watch only his hands. They spotted the trick immediately, much to their amusement and my pride.
John Horgan can go suck it.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Sarah #50
Nissim may mean "miracle" and Amon may mean either "believer" or "skillful worker". The whole name could be translated by "magician" or, more accurately, by "he who is able to bend spoon".

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 04 Jun 2016 #permalink

Hi everyone, have been lurking here for a while, enjoying the antivax/ alt cancer pummelings. I have a neglected bachelor degree in Biology and am a martial art (MA) Zen cult survivor.

Which makes it rather painful that my first post will be seen as a defence of woo, with only personal anecdotes to boot! Please be gentle as I'm not out to score points, more moved by my sense of honesty.

I joined this MA organisation as I was getting beaten up a lot, it ticked all the boxes for being a good MA org. About two years in, I started getting taught to smite and move people with energy.

Obviously I was pretty sceptical, with many questions, the main one in my head being “am I just going along with this”? Their premise could be summed up thusly:

The woo only works if both people are “switched on”, the MA org only recruits people who can be switched on. Most people are closed, therefor cannot be affected by the woo (convenient hey).

Why bother then? Well the best MA comes from being switched on, meaning that closed people are dealt physically, the switched on via the woo.

So I went along. Then my personal sensei discovered Reiki, claimed to have gone through five fraud instructors, to finally find a real one. He progressed rapidly, bought a table and started offering sessions. I had a few, but found the "effects" didn't last, was told that my smoking was ruining my health and his efforts.

Now on to the heart of the matter, my girlfriend (gf) at the time had a lot of problems, so I took her for a session and was invited to watch.

Now she was totally asleep, loudly snoring, he was waving his hands around, then he stood about a meter away from her head and slowly "pushed" the air, after a slight delay she quivered starting from her head all the way down.
He repeated this trick at least three times from different angles. Then at one point moved his hands slowly a foot above her body, stopping at the base of the lungs, she groaned a bit and moved her hands over her lungs, still asleep. He said her lungs were full of "crap" and she needed to stop smoking (no mystery there, she smoked like a chimney), as he can't really do anything.

That had quite an effect on me, could I have been hypnotised into seeing that or something?

After a few weeks he quit the reiki sessions, he said it was too much effort, personally I think he made more money from teaching MA. Gf left the org first, then a couple of years later I left, it was starting to overtake my life, being pushed to teach MA myself and I only joined to learn how to protect myself and that was sorted.

Years later I asked the now ex gf about the experience, she can't remember anything really, but swears blind there was no set up.
Years later the org's founder was outed as a fraud and the whole org split into loads of factions.

What might cheer the people on this blog would be the assertion of the now ex sensei that Reiki was pointless for anything else apart from the problems Reiki can solve and therefor had no place in a hospital lol.

As for the studies showing only a placebo effect, when discussed, was talked about mainly in the difficulty of finding a "real" practitioner, the large proportion of switched off people in society and (I kid you not) the power of sceptics smothering the woo.

Scientists are to blame for the chaos occurring in integrative medicine. The flat refusal to acknowledge obvious things like the impact of nutrition on an organic body of cells and organs is the obvious misstep. Scientists and pharmaceutical companies that sponsor their "work" are in a narrow path to synthesize drugs. People are flippin' sick of it. So while it's bizarre to hear about spoon bending, it's a travesty that an entire health care system from medical schools to pharmaceuticals to insurance carriers have no interest in breaking out of the "cancer conveyor belt" they profit from. Many of us are not tolerating those choices any longer. And guess what? They live to tell how they "beat" the establishment.

Michele: "The flat refusal to acknowledge obvious things like the impact of nutrition on an organic body of cells and organs is the obvious misstep."

Who figured out about the existence of vitamins and their relationship to problems like scurvy, rickets, pellagra and beriberi? Come on, be honest. Was it naturopaths or scientists and medical doctors?

Was Joseph Goldberger a naturopath or a medical doctor?

Was Christiaan Eijkman a naturopath or a medical doctor?

Was Frederick Hopkins a naturopath or a biochemist?

Was Kurt Huldschinsky a naturopath or a medical doctor?

"So while it’s bizarre to hear about spoon bending, it’s a travesty that an entire health care system from medical schools to pharmaceuticals to insurance carriers have no interest in breaking out of the “cancer conveyor belt” they profit from."

No the travesty are those who make up stuff out of thin air and try to profit by selling nonsense. There is lots of money to be made by selling sugar pills, random hand waving and over priced supplements. Especially if it endangers children.

So get off of your high horse and answer my questions on those names.

Scientists are to blame for the chaos occurring in integrative medicine.

I honestly think greed is to blame. And that happens in both research and woo. I know a fair number of people who have been helped by weird theories that in practice were nothing more that avoiding foods that bothered them.

I could do without the weird and at some point those selling it will have to pony up with the science to support their WA claims. Just as our society will have to support funding of research outside of commerce.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Mrs Grimble @62 -- Excellent news! He's very much on the side of the angels.

By palindrom (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Chris - you know who invented vitamins and tryptophan, but it has nothing to do with what is happening in Dr offices in 2016.

Whoa, Michele, you actually think vitamins were invented! That is hilarious. The air must be very thin on top of that high horse.

So what is really happening in doctor's offices in 2016? Give us details. Was I not supposed to go to the orthopedic doctor office when I broke my wrist? Do tell us what works better for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Type 1 diabetes, Hib meningitis, and childhood leukemia?

After doing some errands I plan on starting Chapter 4 of Terrors of the Table. It is a history of nutrition, from the science to the fads. This is why I was literally laughing at Michele's sentence: “The flat refusal to acknowledge obvious things like the impact of nutrition on an organic body of cells and organs is the obvious misstep.”

Invented...tryptophan? Invented??

Scientists are to blame for the chaos occurring in integrative medicine. The flat refusal to acknowledge obvious things like the impact of nutrition on an organic body of cells and organs is the obvious misstep.

could you please name 3 scientists who have refused flatly to acknowledge the impact of nutrition on an organic body of cells? Ideally that would be in papers published in a high impact peer reviewed scientific journal (though not The Journal of Irreproducible Results). However, direct quotes reported in reputable news publications would be fine considering the claim.

Thanks.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Setting aside the spoon-bending at UA, I want to address the framing question: On what basis might we critique the merit of different choices skeptics make in the pseudo-science that receives their attention?

Horgan mucked up his complaint by using the lingo of 'hard' and 'soft' targets, which, given his examples, too easily seemed to equate 'hard' with 'serious' and 'soft' (or 'easy') with 'trivial'. But that's not how he actually defined them. What he was trying to call for was more skepticism close to home, more scrutiny for scientific sloppiness within things skeptics tend to accept. He seems to gave gotten derailed by injecting the Bigfoot example that was in the front of his mind due to a personal squabble with his NECSS moderator.

'Soft target' skepticism, per Horgan's actual defintition, really refers to skepticism that is 'easy' to do because the woo is so obviously non-scientfic. This would include not just amusing BS like Bigfoot, but very serious BS, like Brian Clement killing people with curable cancers by getting them to forego chemo for wheatgrass smoothies. Obviously, then, the 'hard/soft' distinction isn't a determining guide to what does and doesn't deserve attention. To be fair to Horgan, he says "soft" targets "deserve criticism," and strikes me as suggesting only that typical skeptic targets receive too much repetitive attention, while skepticism towards problems in 'mainstream science' – which Orac correctly noted RI and SBM do indeed do – could stand more or more vocal attention.

All of which is to say I don't think the question of spoon-bending at UA and Horgan's essay are really relevant to one another. Regardless of what Horgan himself would think of something like the spoon seminar, we could allow that his 'hard/soft' distinction has some merit, but is only one consideration among many about what amount of our finite time and energy for critique any given instance of BS might merit. For one thing, spoon-bending-with-the-mind may be well-established as ridiculously bogus, and not at all widely believed, but when it appears under vague auspices at a medical school, that's hardly outside of Orac's tribe. While I suspect that workshop was intended as something other (and much less worrisome) than what Tim Caulfield assumed, the matter certainly is worthy of attention to try to uncover what exactly is going on.

I'm not up to offering some list of what considerations should guide an assessment of how and where skeptics expend their critical energies. But I do thing that ought to be a subject of debate, and critiuqe should not be simply dismissed. When Orac's tries to reduce Horgan's critique to subjective preference – "you should stop caring about what you care about and care about what I care about" – the corollary implication is that whatever you care about is worth unlimited attention in public forums simply because you care about it, thus casting any question of social responsibility as illegitimate. I don't think Orac actually believes that, since he actually addresses several justifying criteria, if not necessarily by name, in defending his critique of homeopathy by tying it to opposition to the licensure of naturopathy: 'widely believed,' 'moving toward legitimation' , 'degree and scope of potential harm" and 'utility in countering harm.' There are other factors of course, and even within these, we will argue over how they apply. But as a start, those considerations sound good to me, anyway, and a long way from Bigfoot.

sadmar: "On what basis might we critique the merit of different choices skeptics make in the pseudo-science that receives their attention?"

The same basis I would use when someone tells me to stop commenting on blogs: I don't them how to spend their time, so don't tell how I should spend my time.

By the way, about five blocks from where I am sitting is the grave site of someone from our family who decided to not bother with the psychiatrist and the prescription for her bipolar diagnosis, but go to a naturopath who sold her expensive homeopathic sugar pills. This is why I think homeopathy is not a soft target.

By the way, yesterday's included a very lively discussion about Horgan. Oh, and another thing: don't tell me to not listen to podcasts, and I won't tell you to stop listening to music (actually, that is often directed towards dear hubby).

Yep.

Also, I actually do believe that Horgan was, in essence, saying that skeptics should examine things he thinks are important. (He even more or less admitted it in a followup post.) Of course, if that wasn't what he meant, than he's an incompetent writer and speaker because he certainly overlaid his arguments with his own preferences. Let's just put it this way. I can't read Horgan's mind; so I can only address what he actually says or writes.

As for "hard" versus "soft" targets, I'm taking on a very hard target on my not-so-super-secret other blog, which will, of course, eventually be crossposted here, probably a week later. Maybe I'll Tweet it at Horgan.

Another Antivaxx Slayer, I too am a bit disappointed that the event was cancelled. I can see how a conman could persuade people that he was bending spoons by the power of his mind, but how does a conman persuade an audience that they are bending spoons by the power of their minds? Trick spoons maybe?

Horgan was, in essence, saying that skeptics should examine things he thinks are important.

Also that if skeptics don't drop their own preferred targets and swivel in unison to focus on his targets, that is only because they are tribal group-thinking conformists.

Horgan's preferred targets being areas of science (superstring theory, cosmology) that Horgan does not find sufficiently legitimate. True skepticism apparently involves being unqualified and attacking scientists.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Chris,

Similar thoughts to yours although I would have written that you can spend all your time weighing the merit of what skeptics spend their time on but until you pay them to focus on something instead of it being a labor of love, you have no right to to tell them what thing they should be focused on.

However, I was surprised by your question to Michele about what is really happening in doctor’s offices in 2016. It's a fair question and I don't know how she will answer it, but are you not aware of the circumstances that are frustrating patients these days?

I don't find it an excuse to turn to something worse but I do understand their pain.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

However, I was surprised by your question to Michele about what is really happening in doctor’s offices in 2016.

Michele made a very broad, vague statement in the context of a discussion about whether scientists (or apparently doctors) would tell you that good nutrition was important. Chris asked for clarification. This strikes me as absolutely proper. Without asking what Michele meant, they could easily be at cross purposes.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

To beat the horse further, by Chris's statements she's been to the doctor so has her idea of what happens in a doctor's office. Not a Troll has an idea of what happens in a doctor's office. Michelle has an idea of what happens in doctor's office. Are the the same? If not, why not?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

It’s a fair question and I don’t know how she will answer it, but are you not aware of the circumstances that are frustrating patients these days?

What such general circumstances can you extract from Michele's disjointed comments?

^ ^^ Goes to motivation, your Honor.

I think taking the comments as a whole, especially comment #63, expands the conversation to a more general complaint than just the nutritional aspect.

Scientists are to blame for the chaos occurring in integrative medicine.

Scientists and pharmaceutical companies that sponsor their “work” are in a narrow path to synthesize drugs.

Sounds like a jaded patient to me (or to cynical me as if it is an ND justifying their existence).

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Well, I for one am thankful that "Scientists and pharmaceutical companies that sponsor their “work” are in a narrow path to synthesize drugs", as otherwise, my aorta would have exploded into my abdomen from hypertension caused by my hyperthyroidism, which is also effectively being treated with those drugs.

By Wzrd1 (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Not a Troll (not verified)

Wzrd1,

So am I. But there is a skill to using them (which is why I pay doctors).

It's cool that you found your answer. Thankfully, estrogen replacement therapy treated my hypertension where CPAP, levothyroxine, a diuretic, an ACE inhibitor, a beta blocker, weight loss, exercise, and avoiding salt* did not.

I'm very thankful that estrogen is no longer considered the devil's potion.

*not all meds taken concurrently

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

I went from having a blood pressure of 200/100 and pulse of 128 to normal BP, while moving from 200 mg metoprolol twice a day to only taking 50 mg of metorpolol twice a day.
Left ventricular hypertrophy, secondary to the hypertension, with some heart pattern alternations that were secondary to remodeling of the atrium, again secondary to hypertension and aortic dilation of 2.2 cm.
So, it's been an eventful year so far!
As this all was discovered in the first week of the year, treatment has been a resounding success so far.

Who knows? My thyroid and I may eventually peacefully coexist. ;)

By Wzrd1 (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Not a Troll (not verified)

@Chris did you know that you can walk into a Dr office, complain of fatigue and brain fog and leave (after a 20 minute "visit") with scripts for HRT (no blood work necessary. In the trash it went. My daughter went to the Dr this week complaining of similar symptoms, after no blood work or diagnostic of any kind she left with a script for Concerta. My dad started chemo for pancreatic cancer and was given a sheet by his oncologist and was told he needed "calories" - items full of sugar.

I realize you have no passion or compassion for people. Your goal is to sound super duper intelligent and square off against anyone who tries to help you understand why science is the problem. I don't care if you accept or agree that Drs and scientists and pharmaceuticals have created angry customers. consumers of health care are retaliating against the "system" because they are literally sick of it. Stepping off the conveyor belt that is controlled by scientists and business models and finding real solutions. Ortho is totally different than a systemic disease, which is where the "establishment" makes its money and is not incentivized to find cures and prevention. It profits from "disease management" and dumb dumbs like me (hundreds, thousands, millions of us?) aren't going to blindly follow.

LW - My wife was highly displeased. She loves to have people show her how to do things, especially when they are complete frauds. We were planning on bringing a whole kitchen supply store until they found one that worked. Alas, the tides are against the sarcastic.

Wzrd1 - I should have been more specific, however with the tone of the blog, the article, and advertisement it was referring to, I assumed that a certain level of association would be present by default. My apologies. However, that said, our spoons bend the most in ice cream.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Michele - I am going to assume that you have no medical knowledge beyond WebMD. I am assuming this because the first three sentences of your post #86 mark you as someone not only devoid of medical knowledge but devoid of all biochemical knowledge in general. I don't have the time to give you the roughly 20 years of biochemical, biological, and medical knowledge floating around only in my head alone, but here is a fast run down.

1. Traditional symptoms are usually diagnosed based on severity of symptoms combined with observations. These initial observations will tell us if testing is needed because sometimes if a patient HAS something worse, it won't show up in blood work yet. This is why when you leave a doctor's office you are told that if he symptoms persist or worsen, return. Throwing away a script is child abuse.

2. As a diabetic that just finished pancreatic cancer let me tell you that if you don't stop giving out medical advice, you will kill members of your family. Sugar is glucose, something our body has to have and is NOT BAD FOR YOU. It is required by our cells to produce the energy his body needs to fight. Having avoid the diet recommended is killing him. Seriously woman, you are destructive to your family.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Sigh @ angry typing

Having him* avoid the diet....

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

My dad started chemo for pancreatic cancer and was given a sheet by his oncologist and was told he needed “calories” – items full of sugar.

Yup.

@antivaxx - the day before chemo my dad was able to drive to his Dr appt. 2 days after chemo (and sugary foods he was prescribed) he collapsed and was taken by ambulance and died. Thanks for "schooling me" about how ignorant I am. And how I will kill my family.

You. Are. A. Tool.

@antivaxx - throwing away a script is child abuse? It was MY script! And after being prescribed HRT (that I refused to fill) I went back and requested blood work at beginning and mid cycle. Dr was very embarrassed to acknowledge my hormone levels were ALL normal.

And I am the dumb dumb?

Went and double checked your posting. Yup, you are still the idiot.

1). The only person you identify as going to the doctor with those symptoms is your daughter not you, so now you are making this up as you go or are even more incompetent than I previously assumed and trashing the script is still child abuse IMO, just because you were the recipient does not change my opinion.

2). Things occurring with a commonality in time do not indicate a common cause. Tying the death of your father to sugar when it is the basic ideology for pancreatic cancer is utter stupidity. You are very very much the dumb dumb.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Michele,

I am truly sorry for your loss.

With mainstream medicine I know there are risks and mistakes are made, but I think your anger is misplaced towards those here who are concerned with the greater risks to patients from following self-proclaimed messiahs who are authorities in their minds only.

Just because you were burned by mainstream medicine does not mean that you won't be burned by alternative medicine either. Just being anti-establishment doesn't equate to being healers. That is why science is the answer and not the problem. If alternative medicine practitioners cure people of anything, then their treatments should be able to be studied, explained at some level and be repeatable not just anecdotal. I don't think that is too much to ask of them.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@antivaxx - written very clearly: daughter was given a script for Concerta, no mention of trashing it. You may have misunderstood and made assumptions, but the point of throwing a script in the trash followed a statement about HRT and if my daughter is old enough to get that, it's highly unlikely that I took a script from her or that it would be child abuse.

You might want to reach out to the moderator to delete some of your posts to preserve your integrity.

the day before chemo my dad was able to drive to his Dr appt. 2 days after chemo (and sugary foods he was prescribed) he collapsed and was taken by ambulance and died. Thanks for “schooling me” about how ignorant I am

You have twice invoked this falsehood implicitly, and much of the rest of your prose is difficult to even parse. (He was able to drive to his appointment two days after chemo? That's how it reads on the first pass.)

I mean, in comment 82, NaT went to the trouble of trying to mine cogency from your comments. Perhaps if you put some more effort into composing them, people wouldn't be left guessing whether you're actually trying make a coherent point or just ranting.

You might want to reach out to the moderator to delete some of your posts to preserve your integrity.

OK, you don't know where you are. How did you find this post in the first place?

@Michelle; Wow, did you sue Hostess for the Twinkies which obviously killed him? I don't think any amount of schooling will benefit you.

The only person you identify as going to the doctor with those symptoms is your daughter not you, so now you are making this up as you go or are even more incompetent than I previously assumed and trashing the script is still child abuse IMO, just because you were the recipient does not change my opinion.

Um, no, there was one prescription mentioned for HRT and one for methylphenidate. For that matter, there's no telling whether Michele's daughter is even a child in the first place. I mean, HRT for "brain fog"?

@Michele - My integrity is fully intact as I will fully paste here and dissect and parse your original statement.

"@Chris did you know that you can walk into a Dr office, complain of fatigue and brain fog and leave (after a 20 minute “visit”) with scripts for HRT (no blood work necessary. [edit: AAS - No mention of you yet having visited a doctor with symptoms] In the trash it went. My daughter went to the Dr this week complaining of similar symptoms, after no blood work or diagnostic of any kind she left with a script for Concerta. [edit: AAS - As previously stated, still no mention of you as a patient, but now we have mention of your daughter, a doctor visit with these symptoms, and script. Since you have made no previous identification form whom your first sentence was about, the only conclusion is is entire attack on the English language was about your daughter.]

I am done with you. If a moderator wants to redact my posts, then so be it, however, I have Aspergers with OCD, and I refuse to apologize to people like you that treat the people that sacrifice almost everything to learn to save your life, like this. Grow up Michele before you seriously hurt people. Doctors, well most of us, are not in it to hurt you. If we were, then the 72 hour shifts and flights to Africa to treat Ebola on our own dime wouldn't happen.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Narad

Hence my venomous responses to her.... However, she makes no age determination, I am stating an opinion, not a fact, which has no bearing on the conversation really. However, her mention of the therapy prescribed for the symptoms described, combined with previous comments about the invention of vitamins and such lead me to almost completely disregard her posts from the beginning as false and full works of fiction.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

I am stating an opinion, not a fact, which has no bearing on the conversation really.

My point was that I agree with Michele that you misread her comment. As I've also noted, her prose stylings kind of invite this sort of thing.

@Narad

My wife agree with you, however, her first statement is anecdotal with no point of reference. I am home now, so I can use a keyboard and not an iPad in an airport or taxi to type.

You know you can find oil in gold veins.

Anecdotal in that the person can vary from here, the most unacceptable form of argumentative writing. She can add from here, depending on how the conversation goes that this is personal experience OR that this is a story passed on to her. Let's return to her first statement:

[quote]@Chris did you know that you can walk into a Dr office, complain of fatigue and brain fog and leave (after a 20 minute “visit”) with scripts for HRT (no blood work necessary[/quote]

This is the representation of misdirectional prose writing. It's intent is to misdirect. She made no identifying landmarks in the sentence, just an anecdote with no supporting information. The only logical conclusion is that the follow up information about her daughter is therefore the supporting information. I understand this might be construed as being a tightwad, but these clarifications are vital to gaining proper medical knowledge and advice. For example, had she predicated her statement upon the clause of HER being the subject of the statement, then we could have asked what the information she provided was. However, as it is written, the entire post is written in the form of intention to mislead by misdirection.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Sorry for that wordiness, when I TA'd, my pi drilled into my head proper scientific argumentative writing. At least by their standards. So far it has seen me through a piled higher and deeper and a much deeper, but those lessons have stuck hard in my brain. He was french and would take 50% off an entire paper just on grammar and spelling, so my previous grammar errors from Siri are killing my OCD.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

I need to stop writing. I can't seem to stop making typos and errors. The point is made, but the errors are egregious.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@SBP no, I didn't you silly "Ding Dong"

Not a Troll: " ...but are you not aware of the circumstances that are frustrating patients these days?"

No, enlighten me. Something I asked Michele to do.

I am quite familiar what happens in lots of doctors' office, several emergency departments and multiple hospitals. My son has several different medical conditions. At least one was included in my question to Michele on what better treatment is available away from medical doctors (also nurses, lab techs, etc etc).

Oddly enough, Michele's symptoms are very familiar to the relative I discussed in Comment #74. The fog and fatigue was similar to when she crashed after a manic episode. I did understand our relative's frustration because she had suffered from chronic migraines. Which makes the naturopath telling her to write down every tinge and ache very annoying, because effective mindfulness would be to find ways to distract from the pain and not focus on it!

Michele, I am still waiting for your better treatments for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Type 1 diabetes, Hib meningitis, and childhood leukemia... and for fun because these are things that my son has dealt with (both included ambulance trips to an emergency department and hospitalization): seizures and a complex migraine that mimicked a stroke. Fun times.

Instead of personal anecdotes just post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers.

Michelle: My dad started chemo for pancreatic cancer and was given a sheet by his oncologist and was told he needed “calories” – items full of sugar.

Um, you don't seem to be familiar with how food works, since you seem to be implying that steaks have no calories, as they don't have any sugar. Calories are not the same as sugar.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Needs better wording: ".... familiar to the relative .." should be "... similar to the relative ..."

I personally know that nonspecific symptoms make diagnosis difficult. At first we could not figure out why our son was literally slowing down, and then we attributed his left arm pain because he tripped on a sidewalk. It was not found until after an echocardiogram after the family doctor heard a heart murmur during a scheduled 14 year old tetanus booster vaccine visit.

By the way, does anyone know what's going on with left brain/right brain?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

Michele: "I realize you have no passion or compassion for people. Your goal is to sound super duper intelligent and square off against anyone who tries to help you understand why science is the problem. I don’t care if you accept or agree that Drs and scientists and pharmaceuticals have created angry customers"

I am only a stupid engineer. I learned on my son's second day of life when he was taken from my "rooming in maternity" ward by ambulance to the local children's hospital due to seizures on his second day of life. I had to stay because I was literally ripped from stem to stern because of his large head.

Then over the next quarter century things got even more interesting. I used to think I was intelligent, but then I had children. Except, I am willing to learn.

You seem to be one who does not like to learn. You might want to work on that. The first thing I say to the folks who are there to help my autistic son with other issues is "I have no idea what I am doing, please help me." I have found these people give me more information that is actually helpful.

Humble works better than huffy. I don't think I need an attitude adjustment, perhaps you should try a different approach.

Anyway, still waiting for those PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers on better treatments, especially those that made us call 911.

doxing a kid? WTF i s wrong with you

By figure it out (not verified) on 05 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Michelle. We get it. Your father died and you need to blame someone. Why not pin it on the Mexicans and build a wall around yourself? Angry and ignorant, quite the endearing combination.

I have my suspicions that this mistrust of Doctors is a consequence of private healthcare. IMHO in the US it is mainly poor people looking for a cheaper alternative, whereas in the UK with our NHS, treatment is free and it is the rich seeking to buy a better alternative.

Anyways @Michelle, sorry for your loss, though another way of looking at it. How would he have known he had Pancreatic cancer without using science?

@Jay - the attacks on me started when I commented that science is to blame for chaos in Integrative medicine because the health care establishment refuses to acknowledge obvious things like nutrition. I have not ever said that science has no value. It is highly valuable in research, diagnostics,etc. I think the epic fail is when it comes to patient treatment plans for systemic diseases. Science has many shortcomings that can be supported by alternative medicine and its focus on the organic body as opposed to synthetic ones.

More ammo for the vicious attackers on this site. Don't care about any insults - I'm less concerned about fixing narcissists and more concerned about a system that fails people. We need intelligent people to bridge science and alternative medicine and those people exist, they are just hard to find.

@ LW #76

+1. I really wanted to know how the workshop participants were going to bend spoons with their minds. There has to be more to the story than meets the eye, yes? Either Kutt is bending the spoons when the students aren't looking somehow, and convincing them they did it. Or she has some magic mental manipulation trick to get them to bend the spoons physically ala Randi imitating Geller but believe it was their mind that did it not their hands. Or, most likely I'm guessing from re-reading the blurb, she shows them one of the rubbing techniques for spoon bending w/o explaining the basic physics behind it, and since it seems like it shouldn't work, she's able to say that what they're doing with their hands is some kind of "energy transfer technique" in which "quantum physics" and "meditation" are channeling super positive metal waves into their fingers.

But yeah, learning what actually happens in that workshop would be enlightening, since we can only guess.

Depending, it could even have been a legitimate part of the curriculum, depending on how it would be framed by the faculty (not by Kutt), and was just advertised badly. Just something that wasn't really serious or straight, a more light-hearted exercise in "the power of positivity": Yes, you can bend a spoon! (wink wink!) Stay positive, and think outside the box! ...I'm not suggesting this was probably the intent, just that pretty much anything is more possible than what it seemed to promise, (X>0).

Michele, your bleak, simplistic, and uninformed view of medicine is simply not true. It is also mistaken, as well as false, and not factually based. It is just another example of a baseless claim that does not mesh with the facts.
I worked for a time for some of the top hematology/oncology researchers in the world. They were often on the hospital floors for hours and days beyond reason to tend to patients who were not doing well. I was there when two of them announced that for the first time an advanced type of bladder cancer had been completely cleared by chemotherapy - bear in mind that this was a research-based department. I saw case after case taken on to studies which went on to published for the world to see. I saw a man come into the hospital and die of pancreatic cancer two years after chemotherapy, two very good years - the day before he was readmitted he had been playing in an amateur tennis tournament. These were not simple isolated anecdotes. They were the things the doctors were aiming for and took great pleasure and pride in. Every oncologist I spoke to had gone into the field because of the loss of a loved one to cancer. There are much easier and quicker ways to make bigger money in medicine.
I also worked for the immunologist who was one of the earliest describers of, and who first named, AIDS (Sort of - the word "cellular", a C before the I, was dropped by others.) My work day officially ended at 6 PM, but he and I often rounded a second or even third time at 6 and left at 9 or even later. He shed tears over the patients he was unable to help.
So don't give me any crap about oncologists only in it for the money and not in for the cures. I have been there. I have seen it from a side you haven't. I will not see my friends and mentors demeaned by someone so totally ignorant of what goes on.
Some more points. I myself am a cancer survivor, my mother is a breast cancer survivor, and we lost my father to pancreatic cancer, which several oncologists refused to treat as futile in his case. I guess they didn't need the money that month, right? The surgeon who diagnosed my mother's breast cancer didn't operate on her. He sent her on for radiation therapy that didn't make a dime for him.
Do you think that a large proportion of naturopaths are in it for the money? After all, if all it took to be healed was a glass of water and someone waving their hands over me, I could do that in the convenience of my own home for a lot less than one of them would charge me.
I also hope that the men in your family get screened for testicular cancer when appropriate, and if any of them is found to have it, that you won't try to talk them out of chemotherapy and surgery. The cure rate for even a fairly advanced case is astoundingly good, while counting on magic water and someone sticking needles along imaginary lines on their ass is, mildly put, dismal.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

#116 Rob

No acupuncture course and certificate at U of A ? Quel domage.

On the other hand there seems to infestations in other parts of the country McMaster University Medical Acupuncture Program

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ Michele

because the health care establishment refuses to acknowledge obvious things like nutrition

*sigh*
Frankly, I don't know where you got your doctors.
My doctors, and my parents' doctors, and my friends' .... - well, you get the pattern. All these doctors will talk about eating correctly. And exercising.
Some of them are French, some are Canadian. From the regulars' comments, I have these feelings a similar pattern was observed by them in the US, in Australia, and about everywhere in-between.

That's why people reacted harshly here. Your experience of doctors is not their experience. You are repeating blindly the old lie that nutrition is not part of mainstream medicine.

Doctors could do better? Assuredly. In the 80's, doctors in particular and the whole society in general was concerned about good fat and bad fat. Omega-3 is good, animal fat not so. Recently, we have come to realize that hidden sugar is not better.

But it's not my doctors which ordered extra-large pizzas. If the patient doesn't comply, he should start by blaming himself. And then maybe aim for more achievable goals.

Now, if by nutrition you want to talk about non-scientific beliefs about food, and your denunciation of sugar as bad for cancer patients seems to be one of them, you are going to get some deserved flak here.
Not because we are narcissists, but because, as some people tried to explain, you are factually wrong.

We need intelligent people to bridge science and alternative medicine

I'm sorry, but there is things which have been proven to work, and things which haven't.

Most of alternative medicine was either stolen from mainstream (nutrition, yoga/meditation and sport/exercise being the most notorious victims), or showed to be exaggerated or outrightly wrong.
In my limited experience, the alt-med view on cancer is rife with outrightly wrong concepts.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Michelle, I appreciate what you are trying to do and wish both sides refrain from name calling, but I do look on integrative medicine or CAM with great horror. Science is not to blame for the chaos found within it, it's the lack of science or pseudoscience and the scamsters waiting to take advantage, that is.

The world groans under the weight of nutrition advice available, I just don't see the need for Doctors to chime in, especially as the only safe recommendation is to eat a balanced diet.

Then there is the door opened for the quacks, ready to chomp on a good wedge of funds that should stay with Science Based Medicine.

For the miniscule benefit, I just wouldn't take the risks.

Michelle, if I were you, I would consider myself lucky to have received some of the most heartfelt replies I've read here. Now, if you would only learn from them. And, please learn what science is. I think your definition is very skewed.

"enlighten me"

Chris, when you really want to know, let me know, and I will. Please help me out and let me know what you are looking for: Do you want to know what I and those close to me have been subject to, what the literature has described or what doctors who have been patients have experienced?

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

the attacks on me started when I commented that science is to blame for chaos in Integrative medicine because the health care establishment refuses to acknowledge obvious things like nutrition.

Maybe you shouldn't start with lies like this then?

Your goal is to sound super duper intelligent and square off against anyone who tries to help you understand why science is the problem.

Please, it's takes exactly zero effort to sound super duper intelligent compaired to a clueless tool like you. Though shit.

Michele: "@Jay – the attacks on me started when I commented that science is to blame for chaos in Integrative medicine because the health care establishment refuses to acknowledge obvious things like nutrition"

Mostly because you were wrong, and you are not the first person to make that claim. Here is a big ol' freaking hint on how wrong you are about real medicine and nutrition: my son went to cardiac rehab after his open heart surgery.

Do you know what they do at cardiac rehab? From that link: "Counseling and education to help you understand your condition and how to manage it. You may work with a dietitian to create a healthy eating plan. If you smoke, you may get counseling on how to stop."

My son had his surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and they counseled my son on his diet. Did you know the Mayo Clinic has even published cookbooks? And has a diet program?

Also, because he had a history of seizures and was non-verbal the neurologist had him tested for a certain metabolic disorder. Fortunately he did not have it, because it would have meant he would need a very specific diet. Though not quite the diet for Phenylketonuria (PKU), the condition that disabled Pearl S. Buck's daughter (babies are now tested for that at birth). Plus there are specific and very difficult diets to control epilepsy (met one parent of a child dealing with it). So, yes, I very well know what medicine and nutrition are doing in 2016.

In the future do not pull the "medicine does not acknowledge nutrition" card, because it is wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong.

Re: Sheldon101

I think he suffered from some form of inflammatory bowel problem. My efforts to contact him via his website proved fruitless around a year ago.
His site still hosts the entire GMC transcripts from Wakefield's case, as well as other vaccine related info.
http://sheldon101blog.blogspot.co.uk/

Michele,

1. NM, HM, IM are not real. As are host says: There is only medicine and not medicine.

2. You are mixing correlation and causation concerning your father's death. Two days before his death he went on a high sugar diet (you don't say what this consisted of) and then he died. How did a high sugar diet kill him? Was he diabetic? A friend broke his arm recently and had eaten pizza night before. The pizza caused his broken arm, right?

Re: Sheldon101

Everything of his seems moribund, not updating at all. Hope he's out there somewhere having fun,

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Rich Bly: You are mixing correlation and causation concerning your father’s death. Two days before his death he went on a high sugar diet (you don’t say what this consisted of) and then he died. How did a high sugar diet kill him?

As I pointed out, this is made even more confusing by the fact that Michelle mixed up calories, sugars and carbohydrates. It seems unlikely that a doctor would put a cancer patient on a high-sugar diet. A high carbohydrate diet seems more likely, perhaps because it might be easier to digest, but even then, carbohydrates and sugars aren't quite the same thing.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Here is a copy and paste of the American Cancer Society suggestions for diet post pancreatic cancer diagnosis:

There is scientific evidence on many issues regarding nutrition and cancer. But there are also many gaps and inconsistencies in the scientific evidence on the effects of nutrition after cancer diagnosis. The American Cancer Society's Guidelines on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention should be regarded as a basis for a healthy diet.

Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources.
Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day
Eat other foods from plant sources, such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta, or beans several times a day
Limit your intake of high fat foods, particularly from animal sources.
Choose foods low in fat
Limit consumption of meats, especially high-fat meats
Be physically active--achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Be at least moderately active for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week
Stay within your healthy weight range
Limit alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all.
Dealing with Dietary Complications

Some of the changes that occur as a result of pancreatic cancer are unintentional loss of body weight and loss of lean body mass (muscle). Problems with eating, digestion and fatigue can also occur. Any treatment for pancreatic cancer(surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy) can alter nutritional needs and interfere with the ability to eat, digest, or absorb food. This is often due to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, changes in taste or smell, loss of appetite or bowel changes. At the same time, caloric intake needs are increased during any of these treatments.

When problems occur, usual food choices and eating patterns may need to be adjusted. Eating small, frequent meals or snacks may be easier to tolerate than three large daily meals. Food choices should be easy to chew, swallow, digest, and absorb. Choices should also be appealing, even if they are high in calories or fat. If it is not possible to meet nutritional needs through regular diet alone, nutritious snacks or drinks may be advisable. Commercially prepared liquid nutritional products (such as Boost, Ensure, Resource, or NuBasics) can also be helpful to increase the intake of calories and nutrients.

Please note that there are sugars there. This is because of as of yet unknown changes in metabolic pathways and drastically increased energy requirements for fighting a cancer of the organ that helps regulate blood sugar. Sugar is often used to counter he frequent drops in blood glucose levels that can result from hormone changes. The recommendation of some sugar to be used in conjunction with a highly nutritious diet is indicated for in therapy.

Sources: Diabetic, pancreatic cancer survivor. Sometimes, we just simply cannot produce what is needed to effectively use complex carbohydrates, in these cases, the easiest solution is to add sugar, in my case through hard candies I used to treat low glucose anyway, as it is more easily introduced into glycolysis than carbohydrates are.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

PGP @128: I'm willing to bet that most people who talk about how "sugar feeds cancer!" don't understand how metabolism works at all, or that eventually most of the food we eat, regardless of it's original form, gets broken down into sugars before being converted into energy.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

figure it out
June 6, 2016

doxing a kid? WTF i s wrong with you

In case anyone was, as I, wondering what this bit of seeming gibberish was about, it appears that Robyn Diann Ross (etc.)* has coughed up another hairball.

* Hilariously, the AoA commentariat, which eventually coughed this up, doesn't seem to have figured this out yet. Oh, and at least one has written a protest letter to Walgreens.

^ Dammit, I need to ask the neurologist about that problem with word persistence.

Narad,

No need to feel alone. I've been wondering if I've caught the comma shill virus.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Slayer: Hey, thanks for posting that. The guidelines actually look very similar to what I was expecting. And ya know, a lot more sensible than what Michelle thought they were.

Justatech: I’m willing to bet that most people who talk about how “sugar feeds cancer!” don’t understand how metabolism works at all, or that eventually most of the food we eat, regardless of it’s original form, gets broken down into sugars before being converted into energy.

Most people don't seem to, really. I think it's most widespread in the US, where poor science education and lots of media exposure combine to suck in a lot of people, but other countries have contributed to the woo too.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Refutations posted that as well. I was physically ill for the child and his family. A number of years ago my wife lost her job due to me having been doxxed, though at the time, I don't recall that term being used. Her boss was an antivaxxer and when she found out that I worked directly in the field via a Facebook post that was copied and pasted from my closed Facebook along with a screenshot of my wife's Facebook she called my wife and fired her over the phone with string of curse words and epiteths about wishing I was dead and so forth. The dichotomy of the Internet is infuriating. One of our single greatest achievements and yet, simultaneously our greatest threat. Opinions again.

Anyway, I liked the video. I feel for the kid, but we should be honest with ourselves, there are people on this side that would do the same thing to a kid there, especially if the kid trapped us so easily. Many professionals lose their minds when you call everything they have worked on and for their adult lives into question.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/paula-simons-quackademic-…
IHI director Sunita Vohra won’t comment on Tyrrell’s resignation. But she says she’s creating “a safe space” for people to have needed conversations about other ways of practising medicine. Vohra says 70 per cent of patients already use some form of alternate medicine, and that doctors should learn about those treatments, so that they can provide respectful “patient-centred” care, without alienating those in their care. She stresses the health institute is about thoughtful scientific research, not advocacy.

By harriet huestis (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Harriet Huestis: Vohra says 70 per cent of patients already use some form of alternate medicine, and that doctors should learn about those treatments, so that they can provide respectful “patient-centred” care, without alienating those in their care. She stresses the health institute is about thoughtful scientific research, not advocacy.

Did she also promise to buy the University of Alberta some primo oceanfront property or a new bridge?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

@PGP, perhaps an ever green glade, called the Everglades?
Primo oceanfront property in Montana?

By Wzrd1 (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Politicalguineapig (not verified)

Horgan is wrong on so many levels. He never misses a chance to boost and promote journalist/author Robert Whitaker, a dangerous individual who tirelessly criticizes psychiatric doctors who treat schizophrenics. He insists, among many other dangerous ideas, that these patients would do better without medication. He cites Whitaker in his recent presentation, article and his only interview on his talk with The Prism podcast. He adores this guy and his dangerous ideas. This alone makes it obvious Horgan is as interested in facts as Whitaker himself (not one bit). Here's a thorough take down of some of Whitaker's work. http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/component/content/article/2085-a…

Wzrd1: I know there's primo lakefront property in Montana. It tends to be a bit vertical, but hey, no bugs.(Just remember your oxygen and you should be fine.) There's oceanfront property in Arizona, somewhere.
Frankly, I'd love to own some property in the Everglades. My very own bird sanctuary :) (In related news, the eaglets near my new place have begun to venture out onto branches and are practicing flapping.)

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ Annette:

So true about Whitaker.
He's quite the fave over at prn.fm and Natural News. ( where -btw- CCHR is not frowned upon as it should be)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jun 2016 #permalink

@ PGP;

Eaglets?

Don't you live in or near the cities?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Jun 2016 #permalink

@Annette:

Yep. Horgan's worship of Whitaker is reason enough to conclude that he is not a skeptic, not even close.

@141 I am appalled to learn about this individual. It's true that my loved one with schizophrenia would not still be ill now if she had not been treated with drugs. She'd be dead. What a disgusting person this Whitaker is.

Ellie: he really is disgusting :( I'm glad your loved one was never influenced by his dangerous assertions. Every fellow journalist who interviews him mentions this: "1998 Boston Globe article series he co-wrote on psychiatric research was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service." He's their sacred cow it seems. :/

By Annette (not verified) on 12 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Ellie (not verified)

DW: Yes, but I also live near the Missisippi, which is apparently primo eagle real estate. The DNR runs a webcam of another nest along the river, and the whole river is getting pretty wild. I've seen turkeys around here, as well as turkey vultures, nighthawks and egrets and herons.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 12 Jun 2016 #permalink

@denice &pgp, Eagles are almost the new seagulls around my small city in northeastern U.S.. I saw eagles and Ospreys tussling over nesting space the other day.

@ PGP and Brook:

Oh I know that birds and wildlife are lofting/scampering about but eaglets are special:
right here just across the 'creek' from [redacted], a major ostentatious coalescence of culture, wealth and ambition, we have falcons on skyscrapers/ bridges/ cliffs and foxes camping in suburbs.
Unfortunately sometimes the only time I see the foxes well is when they are victims of careless drivers.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jun 2016 #permalink

Please don't reply to this posting, I am just trying to work out how to navigate this site