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August 4, 2012

Wakefield flushed (4/8/2012)
Long-term readers will remember ex-Dr Andrew Wakefield who published an now-retracted article in The Lancet in 1998 that purported to show a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. In summary, Wakefield was paid a large amount of money by lawyers to prove a connection, he was to be paid expert witness fees for testifying in cases against vaccine manufacturers and he had patented a measles vaccine and stood to make a huge amount of money if he could discredit the vaccine that was in use. Children died because of this man's greed and dishonesty but he is of course a hero of the anti-vaccination liar movement. He was struck off as a doctor in the UK and has for some time been working in the US pretending to have a cure for autism. He decided to sue the journalist, Brian Deer, who had originally exposed him, the British Medical Journal for publishing the story of his fraud and Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ. He decided to do the suing in Texas, knowing full well that there is no way a court in Texas can rule on a defamation case against British defendants who are all in the UK. The purpose of the suit was to allow his supporters to continually rant on about how he was about to be vindicated and get huge amounts of compensation.

If you click on the image at the right you can see what the court in Texas finally decided. It took very few words for the judge to say that as there was no jurisdiction there was no case. DISMISSED! It is interesting to note that the court also denied an application by Wakefield to block the defendants from appearing in court. He wanted a court to rule that he had been defamed but not allow the people he was suing to defend themselves. Two Australian sayings apply here: "More arse than class" and "Hide to the bone". Still, as Wakefield has never shown any hint of a lack of arrogance and self-importance it is no surprise that he should have tried on such a transparent piece of nonsense.

And just in case you might think that Wakefield was misunderstood and an unfortunate victim of circumstances, consider this. In June 2011 he was a speaker at a conference in Dublin. The title of the conference was "The Masterplan: The Hidden Agenda for a Global Scientific Dictatorship". Here are some of the other speakers. (The web site originally promoting this event has been massively reorganised and split into many different parts. This means that none of the links now work, which is why I'm showing an image. Sorry, but the New World Order obviously got to the site and censored it.)

There's an old cliché about being judged by the company you keep. Look at the company Wakefield keeps and then tell me that he has anything worthwhile to say about the practice of medicine.


The Olympic Games are on (4/8/2012)


See more Wumo here


Vile spam of the week (4/8/2012)
I don't know how this got through the spam traps, but I'm glad it did.

Hi

My name is Mrs Yetunde Owolabi from Republic of Benin, I gave birth to twins, 2 babies (Boy and Girl) at a time after the death my husband on 18th of November 2011 by auto car accident. Already we have received 4 children from God, right now I can’t take care of them so I have decided to give them out for adoption, if you are interested let me know, I am not selling them but you will only pay for adoption fees to the ministry in concern.

Please adopt my Babies or my Children.

Maybe there's a pattern developing. I let this one through (but not the second copy of it).

I am Abdul Hakim and I am an Attorney to a single birth mother, Her pregnancy was unplanned and now she had a baby girl here in Malaysia, she is just 3 days old. She feel her baby would be best with a loving, kind, and accepting adoptive family, couple or single parent of any race. During her pregnancy she had used no drugs, cigarette or alcohol. She is still in the hospital because she had a lung disease. If any one is interested please kindly contact me by email: ahakim2@aim.com

Thank You.

I suppose spammers could become more revolting than attempting to steal money from people either desperate for a child or with compassion for others, but I'll just have to wait until that vileness comes along.



See more Bad Chemicals here


Meryl Dorey disagrees with me - Part 1 (4/8/2012)
On Wednesday, July 25, 2012, an article by me was published on the web site Mamamia with the title "The anti-vaxxers reach a shocking new low". This did not please Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network, who proceeded to publish no less than four responses on the AVN's blog over a period of days. Not unexpectedly she did not really address what I had said but instead set out on a "shoot the messenger" frenzy of ad hominem. As I am blocked from responding on the AVN blog I have no alternative but to publish my responses here.

See my answer to the first blog post here.


That's all there is (4/8/2012)
It's taking a bit longer than I thought to respond to all of Ms Dorey's blog posts about me, so I'm having an early mark. There might very well be another site update during the week just to do the other responses, but I'm not promising anything. In the meantime I'll leave you with this comment on Ms Dorey's attempts to belittle and abuse me.

August 11, 2012

Meryl Dorey disagrees with me - Part 2 (11/8/2012)
On Wednesday, July 25, 2012, an article by me was published on the web site Mamamia with the title "The anti-vaxxers reach a shocking new low". This did not please Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network, who proceeded to publish no less than four responses on the AVN's blog over a period of days. Not unexpectedly she did not really address what I had said but instead set out on a "shoot the messenger" frenzy of ad hominem. As I am blocked from responding on the AVN blog I have no alternative but to publish my responses here.

See my answer to the second blog post here.


This week's big news (11/8/2012)

But seriously folks ... My Twitter stream hasn't been filled with such excitement about science since we all connected to that flakey video broadcast from CERN about the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson back in July. We landed a truck-sized contraption on Mars using a supersonic parachute and a rocket-propelled flying crane with wires dangling from it. And he whole thing cost only 17% of what it costs to put on the Olympic Games.

It's been a great year to be alive and interested in the progression of human knowledge. And speaking of progress - my grandfather was born before the Wright brothers' first flight. What can we expect in the next 110 years?



See more from John Cox here


I love the smell of burning MLM in the morning. Or any other time. (11/8/2012)
The scamsters at pyramid scheme operators TVI Express are the gift that keeps on giving. They simply cannot help behaving like the criminals they are. In the latest episode of the saga, one of the crooks kept taking money out of the bank in contravention of a court order.

You can read the media release from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission here. I actually hope that the scum commits another contempt of the Court and gets locked up. I love the idea of Terri Jutsen experiencing first hand what it means to be in the downline of a prison pyramid.

Teddi Jutsen fined $10,000 for contempt of court

The Federal Court has fined Lualhati Jutsen, also known as Teddi Jutsen, $10,000 for contempt of court orders relating to bank withdrawals.

"This case highlights the ACCC's determination to pursue contempt action when orders of the court have been breached or not complied with," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Ms Jutsen was a respondent in the ACCC's TVI Express pyramid selling scheme proceedings. Earlier this year, Ms Jutsen was found in contempt of the Federal Court by withdrawing $35,000 through a series of six transactions from an ANZ bank account on 28 May 2010, when at the time she was restrained from making withdrawals from this account beyond those required to meet her ordinary living expenses.

Justice Jagot considered a fine of $10,000 was appropriate in all of the circumstances, including the fact that Ms Jutsen was already subject to a substantial fine of $90,000 in the pyramid selling scheme case. Justice Jagot also took into account the fact that Ms Jutsen has been ordered to pay the ACCC's costs of the contempt proceeding on an indemnity basis.

In November 2011, the Federal Court declared TVI Express a pyramid scheme. People who wished to participate in the scheme were required to pay a membership fee of $330. Once an individual had paid the $330, they received a 'travel certificate' and the opportunity to receive commission payments for recruiting other people into the scheme.

The court found that the travel certificates were of little to no value and that the only way a person could earn income from their participation in the scheme was from recruiting new members.

In May 2012, the Federal Court imposed penalties on Ms Jutsen and two other individuals for their illegal participation in the pyramid selling scheme.

Release # NR 166/12
Issued: 6th August 2012


See Shuzi. See Shuzi run. (11/8/2012)
Among the weirdness and woo at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Sydney in May this year there was the usual collection of people running scams that rely on the public's general ignorance of science. One of these was Shuzi Qi, who had this to say about themselves in the program:

Shuzi Qi strengthens and fine-tunes the human biofield, making your mind and body more resistant to the effects of stress in any form, including electromagnetic fields (EMF), harmful emissions radiating from electronic equipment such as cell phones, computers and hair dryers. Electromagnetic fields can stress the body in several ways, such as affecting your heart rate, disrupting your brain activity during sleep and even reducing your body’s production of melatonin, thereby diminishing your resistance to cancers. Shuzi Qi uses subtle vibration programmed at the nano-level to create a stronger frequency for your biofield and those cells of which it is comprised, enabling your body to more capably resist the effects of any stress it’s subjected to. Your body can reset and self-correct more quickly and easily. Cells communicate with each other by known methods of chemical reactions and through the biofield. They have a resonating frequency at which they operate in order to stay healthy, but these cells are affected by outside electric and magnetic environmental conditions. Subtle vibration can reinforce a cell’s natural frequency to override outside environmental influences, which cause cells to communicate better.

Sounds like the standard rubbish that comes from this sort of outfit, but Shuzi make some actually testable claims.

Now, if I could do that with a metal ring or bracelet I'd be willing to put it to the test. I might even try to get $100,000 from Australian Skeptics or $1,000,000 from James Randi. That would be easy money which could then be spent promoting the product to doctors who treat circulation problems. As an example, there are a lot of people in the world with diabetes who are at risk because of poor circulation. If a treatment for this became available the market would be huge, billions of dollars would roll in and there might even be a Nobel Prize in the offing.

Oops. I forgot for a moment there that this is a scam and these people would run from any testing like cockroaches when the light comes on. They don't need to do real tests when they can just say that these rings do things and hope that suckers believe them.

But how new is the Shuzi invention? Is this a new breakthrough or a recycling of another, older scam? Here is something that appears on Shuzi's US web site:

Shuzi (pronounced shoo-zee ) utilizes a proprietary chip from the United States, which is programmed to resonate with your cells’ natural frequencies and causes your blood cells to separate and un-clump therefore creating a better blood flow with more oxygen through out the body.

The Shuzi device is intended for use to stimulate and strengthen the body's biofield by fine tuning the body's own natural frequency and providing healthier blood.

The combination of multiple tuning forks that emit their own frequency create a subtle vibrational energy, effective enough that it interacts with the body's biofield.

The Shuzi device emits many unique frequencies chosen to be compatible with human cells, and is effective incontact with the bodys biofield, usually with in 6 inches of the body.

Something in that caught my eye, and a couple of minutes on Google turned up the venerable Q-Link, the rings, bracelets and pendants endorsed by such well-known medical experts as Anthony Robbins (from the Self Help and Actualisation Movement, or SHAM for short) and Oprah Winfrey. These things have been around for years, and have this to say:

Q-Link and other SRT™ products support the body's innate intelligence, energetic systems and inbuilt capabilities - working like a series of optimally vibrating tuning forks to constantly resonating with, tune, enhance and support the body's own natural healthy frequencies.

Do I see a mention of tuning forks there? Shuzi can't even invent their own analogies.

I must admit that Shuzi don't make anywhere near the number of claims that are put out there for the Q-Link, but they are a relatively new business and Q-Link has been scamming the public for years. Still, you would think they would like to take on some skeptics and relieve them of their money. Except that would mean passing a test.

So where is Shuzi Qi now. Are they prospering in the Australian market, curing peripheral neuropathy, reducing the potential for strokes and making athletes perform better by more efficient supply of oxygen to muscles? Let's have a look at their Australian web site to see how they are going.

So that's how they're going. Going away. When asked to put up or shut up they chose to shut up shop.

Of course we haven't seen the last of them or scamsters like them. Even now someone is probably looking at web sites about old-style frauds like Q-Link and thinking "If I can get someone in Hong Kong to make me some cheap jewellery I can make a fortune lying about magic powers".

As Joseph Bessimer (not Phineas T Barnum) said: "There's a sucker born every minute". Our job is to remember another misattributed quote from John Philpot Curran (not Thomas Jefferson), which can be paraphrased for the occasion as "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom from scams". They won't give up, and neither will we. Running this crowd out of Australia is a nice result, but it is just one step on a long journey.



See more Close To Home here


See him talk! (11/8/2012)
Here's my talk at SkeptiCamp Sydney in May this year. You can see the results of the experiment here, and things turned out just as hypothesised.

One thing missing from the day was a competent psychic who was capable of telling me to walk very carefully on the way home otherwise I would fall over and break my right ankle. I'm still wearing the big plastic immobilising boot, although I have been assured that everything will get better before my mountain bike rusts away completely and I forget how to drive a car.

August 18, 2012

Meryl Dorey disagrees with me - All the parts (18/8/2012)
On Wednesday, July 25, 2012, an article by me was published on the web site Mamamia with the title "The anti-vaxxers reach a shocking new low". This did not please Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network, who proceeded to publish no less than four responses on the AVN's blog over a period of days. Not unexpectedly she did not really address what I had said but instead set out on a "shoot the messenger" frenzy of ad hominem. As I am blocked from responding on the AVN blog I have no alternative but to publish my responses here.

This week I finished off my responses with replies to the last two blog posts. You can see all of the replies here.

Part 1 - Pseudo-Skeptics Behaving Badly

Part 2 - Medical Vilification and Bigotry in Australia

Part 3 - Liz Hempel: No Remorse, No Apologies, No Conscience.

Part 4 - 'Anti Vaxxer' the new dirty word?


I must have offended someone (18/8/2012)
Candidates for election to public office in Australia have to comply with certain rules. Some of these rules apply to the way candidates publicise their policies and positions and the way they interact with voters and the public. Jane Beeby is a regular contributor to the flow of misinformation and lies that comes from the Australian Vaccination Network and she has announced that she is a candidate for a position on the Clarence Valley Council in the local government elections coming up on September 8, 2012. As part of her promotional activities she created a Facebook page, where she soon announced that she would have no communication with anyone who did not live within the Council boundaries. This is a clear violation of the requirement for candidates to interact with the public. Anybody can ask any question of a candidate and residency is not a restriction. I thought I would ask a question, so I attempted to post this to the Facebook page:

Ms Beeby, why do you refuse to answer the simple question - are you associated with the Australian Vaccination Network, Australia's leading anti-vaccination organisation? As councils often have initiatives promoting vaccination and public health it is only fair that the residents of Clarence Valley know your position on this. They might not like to find out too late that they had elected a councillor who opposed something that could save the lives of their children.

I received an immediate response saying that my message could not be posted to the page. I assumed that, as for so many of the AVN's "public" forums, I had been blocked. Shortly afterwards I found out that the entire Facebook page had been deleted. This is yet another possible breach of electoral legislation, as all publicity material is supposed to be preserved.

I posted a comment about being unable to post to Jane Beeby's electioneering page to another group and thought no more about it.

Then, suddenly, I was automatically logged out of Facebook and asked to log in again. When I did I was faced with this:

As I can see nothing there that would have been detected by any automatic filtering system at Facebook I have to assume that someone complained. Remember that these people claim absolute freedom of speech to spread lies about vaccination and squeal their heads off at any attempt to criticise them as if criticism is censorship. It is further evidence of their hypocrisy that they have been engaged for more than a year in a concerted campaign of complaining to Facebook about posts, making false claims of copyright violation and causing people's accounts to be suspended or even cancelled. A few weeks back all the administrators of the Stop the AVN Facebook group were suddenly locked out of Facebook following a mass complaint. I was one of the lucky ones as all I had to do was identify myself with my mobile phone number to get back in. Others were not so fortunate, with bans ranging from days to weeks, with at least one person having his account cancelled.

These people are pathetic, but they join a long tradition. In all the time I've been running this site I have almost never had anyone challenge me by providing evidence to show that I am wrong. Lots of legal threats, copyright claims, trademark claims and so on. Anything to silence criticism rather than respond to it. I talked about this in my SkeptiCamp Sydney presentation in 2011. I don't think it's a tactic that is going to go away. Absent facts, it's all they've got.



See more from Judy Horacek here


Burzynski update (18/8/2012)
While everyone is still waiting for cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski to produce some published results from the 61 clinical trials he claims to be running (60 actually, as one was supposed to start last December but recruiting of victims hasn't started yet) some interested persons did a bit of digging into history.


FDA Investigation 2001

IRB requirements 2009

So what did the FDA have to say in 2001?

Significant objectionable conditions/practices included but were not limited to the following:

  • Enrollment of subjects into antineoplaston study protocols prior to the protocol-specified interval following prior chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
  • Failure to report all serious adverse events (SAE's) and adverse events (AE's) to the agency and/or IRS.
  • Failure to follow proper informed consent procedures.
  • Failure to maintain adequate drug accountability records.
  • Discrepancies between the case report forms and source documents.

I wonder if anything has improved by now. Somehow I think not.

And what did the FDA have to say to the chairman of the Burzynski Research Institute Institutional Review Board?

  1. The IRB approved research without determining that the following criteria were met: that risks to subjects were minimized and risks to subjects were reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits, if any, to subjects, and the importance of the knowledge that may be expected to result
  2. The IRB failed to prepare, maintain, and follow written procedures for conducting its initial and continuing review of research. Specifically, the IRB has no written procedures for conducting reviews of device studies to determine whether they involve a significant risk device and had no evidence that it had in fact conducted such reviews
  3. The IRB failed to ensure that informed consent would be sought from each prospective subject or the subject's legally authorized representative in accordance with and to the extent required by 21 CFR Part 50 and that informed consent would be appropriately documented in accordance with and to the extent required by 21 CFR 50.27
  4. The IRB failed to ensure that no member participated in the initial or continuing review of a project in which the member had a conflicting interest, except to provide information requested by the IRB
  5. The IRB failed to conduct continuing reviews for the following IRB approved studies
  6. The IRB failed to maintain copies of all research proposals reviewed, scientific evaluations, if any, that accompany the proposals, approved sample consent documents, progress reports submitted by investigators and reports of injuries to subjects, and correspondence with investigators
  7. The IRB failed to prepare and maintain the minutes of IRB meetings in sufficient detail to show attendance at the meetings; actions taken by the IRB; the vote on these actions including the number of members voting for, against, and abstaining; the basis for requiring changes in or disapproving research; and a written summary of the discussion of controverted issues and their resolution
  8. Each IRB is required to have at least five members, with varying backgrounds to promote complete and adequate review of research activities commonly conducted by the institution

The fact that Burzynski manages to stay in business stealing large amounts of money from desperate people while pretending to do research is a disgrace and indicates the total inability of the FDA to act as a watchdog over medical fraud and quackery. If a social science laboratory in a university were to be found to be operating like this it would be closed down tomorrow, if not sooner, but this crook has been getting away with laughing at authorities for decades.

Burzynski has a group of anonymous supporters who work Twitter in shifts defending the crook. Some of them claim to be relatives of patients miraculously cured by the great man, but what they have in common is that they post on no other topics, only Burzynski. They absolutely hate being asked when Burzynski can be expected to publish results of all his "clinical trials", and are experts at abuse, non sequitur and ad hominem. (Apparently one of the reasons I can be ignored is my age. I have pointed out on several occasions that Dr Burzynski is older than I am.) Their reactions to the two documents above were wonderful. The 2001 FDA report can be dismissed because it happened so long ago and the FDA hates Burzynski anyway and will do anything to shut him down and deny people access to the only known cure for cancer. (They also claim that the FDA supports him fully and this is why it approved his Phase 3 trial - the one that was supposed to start in December 2011 but is not yet recruiting victims.)

The response to the IRB investigation was priceless. We were told that as it was addressed to a Doctor Hazlewood it could have nothing to do with Burzynski, otherwise it would have been addressed to him. Think about that for a moment. A letter to the chairman of the Institutional Review Board of the Burzynski Research Institute has nothing to do with the man who does the research and whose name is on the building and who pays the bills. This pathetic defence would be laughable if it wasn't so funny.

Meanwhile, the advertising to attract more desperate patients goes on. The gardeners and the man who polishes the gold initials on the front gate of Dr Burzynski's house have to be paid.


But wait, there's more and it's worse (18/8/2012)
I'm running a bit late with this week's update, but that gives me the chance to provide examples of the sort of filth that flows from Burzynski supporters.

Film director Tony Scott ("Top Gun", ...) committed suicide, apparently because he had cancer. I offer without comment the following Twitter messages by Burzynski supporters. Both of these original tweets were retweeted by a persistent anonymous shill going only by the name @BurzynskiSaves.



See more Jesus and Mo here


He's writing stuff (18/8/2012)
The latest edition of Australasian Science magazine is on its way to subscribers and newsstands. As usual I've buffed up to write my Naked Skeptic column, and if you knew what winter was like in the Blue Mountains you would know the sacrifices I make to stay in character.

This month's column is about government attacks on homeopathy around the world. You can read it here, but I recommend a subscription to the magazine because each month's issue is packed with interesting scientific material written so that it is understandable by people without higher degrees. It's the best science magazine in Australia, and I don't say that just because I write for it. As mothers say to the eleventieth repetition of the question "Why?, the answer is "It just is!".



See more Friendly Atheist here


Leaving stuff until later (18/8/2012)
Because I had to spend too much time this week responding to the attacks on me on Meryl Dorey's AVN blog I ended up short of time to do all the things I meant to do. I have just discovered that the abuse and lies about me has reappeared on yet another anti-vaccinator's blog. It's the infamous Judy Wilyman and I have to respond quickly because she is touting her academic qualifications as evidence that she has not said or done the things she has said and done. Apparently it took two months for her to notice that I had written about her, but it seems that I have now been promoted to the top spot in pro-vaccinators in Australia and must be lied about on a daily basis. Did I mention that I can't reply to her on her blog, or did you just guess that by yourself?

Anyway, what I was planning was a big analysis of the dismal failure of legal actions touted by our old friend Tim Bolen, spokesvomit to cancer quacks, insurance fraudsters and dentists who sexually assault patients. Tim was telling everyone how the entire medical and skeptical communities were to be rendered bankrupt and discredited by a series of court cases. Unfortunately for Tim, none of it came true. More next week.

August 25, 2012

Dietary nonsense (25/8/2012)
A friend of mine had a glucose tolerance test this week. The bottle of sweet stuff she had to drink was labelled "Gluten Free" as well as "Kosher" and "Halal". I am pleased that the dietary and religious needs of people being tested for diabetes are being recognised, and it is good to know that the correct procedures were followed when the throats of the sugars were cut. I live in the part of Sydney where all the old hippies went to retire and sometimes I think it's a challenge to find anything with gluten in it. I was in a cafe recently where the pepper and salt shakers were labelled "All natural", the scones exploded into masses of crumbs due to the lack of gluten and the only sweetener available for coffee was stevia. I didn't ask if the coffee was free-range, but I'll bet the eggs were.

Which reminds me of this.


See more from Randy Glasbergen here


I am put straight - Part 1 (25/8/2012)
Jean thinks that I am misinformed about vaccines and the despicable Mary Tocco. She writes using IncrediMail, an echo of what it was like back in the days when people made web sites full of animated images at Geocities. I was disappointed, however, that she chose to write in bright blue 12-point Arial - it would have been much better in bright blue 12-point Comic Sans. You can see the attractive animated GIF in her messages over there on the right.

Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 18:43:32 -0500
From: "Jean"
Subject: Vaccine's

I agree with doctor Len Horowitz, Mary Tocco, and other truly concerned doctors and researchers who have nothing to gain except the safety of the public. To inject foreign matter into your blood stream is stupid and against biblical teachings as well. The efficacy Is non existant. Just a way to create commerce for the vaccine manufacturers and pediatricians. Many have been brainwashed by the very people who stand to make money out of this garbage. If it was really safe and effective they would not be trying to mandate it inasmuch as the non vaccinated would be no threat to those who were vaccinated if it was a really effective immunization. It is not. It is just a method of selling snake oil and with bad results in many cases and no proof that it saved anyone from contracting what they were vaccinated against, but plenty of proof that there are adverse reactions to those who have had this garbage injected into themselves. With out knowing the age of Mary Tocco's son I would guess he is a minor based on his response to you. He was antagonized by your calling his mother a liar. You have no proof that what she says is not 100 % correct. You have a belief based on what you were taught and it has been lucrative for you, no doubt but you cannot prove a negative. Who is to say anyone would have contracted a disease had they not been vaccinated. And yet, many who probably would never have contracted the disease come down with it after having been vaccinated. That is sufficient proof that it truly is more of a religion then a scientifically backed fact.

Down with the AMA crime syndicate.
Repent
:Aunty Vaccine


I am put straight - Part 2 (25/8/2012)
Jean also thinks I am mistaken about cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski.

Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 19:18:23 -0500
From: "Jean"
Subject: Dr. Burzinski Cancer treatment

It appears to me that you are really ignorant. You want all to fail. What is the difference if the people pay out thousands for the standard Treatment that has no better then a 5 percent cure rate (that may be exaggerated) and if they die one day after the five year period it is called a cure. I say let all who think they may have the cure do their best without some idiot trying to demean them and without the FDA Or AMA trying to shut them down. At least the people are offered some degree of hope with the alternative methods when they know There is no hope with the present approved methods of Slash,burn and poison.


And speaking of Burzynski ... (25/8/2012)
Last week I mentioned that several supporters of cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski leapt on the still warm body of film director and suicide victim Tony Scott to promote their hero's fake cancer cures. To show you further evidence of the mentality (or lack of it) of these people, here is the response of one of them to my Twitter comment about how disgusting they were. I have no idea what this non sequitur means, unless it is that the writer can't distinguish a fictional film from reality.



See more XKCD her
e


The world's worst psychic? (25/8/2012)
A constant source of amusement for me over the years has been the succession of predictions from our old friend Tim Bolen, spokescloaca for all sorts of quacking vermin. One of Tim's tricks is to tell his "millions of health freedom fighters" about court cases in which charlatans and quacks are going to annihilate the forces of reason. I was particularly pleased when he announced that lawyers would meet me off the plane at Los Angeles airport in 2004 when I was on my way to The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas to serve me with many papers. Unfortunately, LAX was a lawyer-free zone when I arrived, just as his office (in a post office box) was a Tim-free zone when I dropped in for a coffee. Since then he has threatened to enjoin me in a suit against Wikipedia, Webring and Google and has informed me that at any moment I can expect to be served by lawyers acting for a bunch of crooks called Doctors Data. Have I mentioned that Doctors Data is a lab that issues fraudulent (or maybe just incompetent) pathology reports to anyone who tells them in advance what they want the results to show?

In Tim's most recent large-scale effort, he decided to tell the world how ex-Dr Andrew Wakefield was going to destroy the British Medical Journal and all who sail in her. Here are some of his predictions, recorded for posterity at Google Groups.

Google archiveTexas has several applicable laws to punish people like Brian Deer. We'll all watch them used.

Texas is, of course, far larger in size than Britain, and has much more wealth and economic power. Texas can easily spank Britain publicly - and, with this case, probably will.

In short, the BMJ and Brian Deer might be a big deal in tiny little Britain, but their influence is nil in Texas. Brian Deer, and the pipsqueak BMJ are in the big leagues now - and they won't do well.

Google archiveBritain, and its entire construction, is a has-been world that, now, the State of Texas is going to put on trial. How? We are going to watch one of their primary structures, the BMJ, set in place in 1840, shredded and spit out in the Travis County County Courthouse, like a bad taco. And, all the world is going to be watching.

Texas, I think, will take their time eviscerating what's left of a country, that, for all practical purposes, exists ONLY to respond "how high" when Hillary Clinton tells them to jump.

When asked for more details of the coming rerun of the American Revolution, Tim replied:

Google archiveSorry, but I'm not tipping my hand about my future Wakefield articles. You are just going to have to subscribe to my newsletter.

Of course, he couldn't stop there -

Google archiveWeakling:

No need to get your panties in bunch.

You just have to get used to the idea that, well, Britain isn't what it used to be, and, well, I hate to break it to you (actually, I don't mind at all), but your whole silly little system is going on trial in TEXAS, in the United States of America.

The country of Britain had its chance to slap down Brian Deer, and, because, I guess, of its inherent inadequacies, the argument has been moved to a higher, more competent jurisdiction - TEXAS.

You can be sure that TEXAS will give your little country all of the respect it deserves. I feel confident that your shining star (choke) British Medical Journal will get its day in court. Please have your attendees dress appropriately. Keep in mind that in OUR Court system men don't wear dresses and girly wigs.

Well, the inevitable happened and the court ruled, as we all knew it would, that it had no jurisdiction over people and events in another country, and Wakefield was kicked to the kerb.

When Tim was asked about this development he entered a stage of immediate denial, and for a few days he kept telling anyone who would listen that nothing had changed and Wakefield would win an appeal, the judge would be put out to pasture and all would be right with the world. He then changed tack and decided to tell everyone about how there really had been a victory in Texas because a doctor named Jesus Caquias had had his licence restored following an investigation into his combination of incompetence and medical fraud (he chelated autistic kids and didn't bother to keep proper records). You can see the Board's complaint here. The order was issued on July 14 and Caquias was required to respond within 20 days, that is, by August 3. Let's see what the Texas Medical Board has to say about the licence status of Dr Jesus Caquias 43 days after he was required to respond in 20 days:

How embarrassing for Tim. It looks like Dr Caquias still doesn't have an active doctoring licence. That Texas Medical Board must be feeling very sorry for themselves now that they have been so soundly defeated.

When we all stopped laughing at Tim over this he announced that huge victories were about to be announced for the father and son team of Mark and David Geier. They provide an autism treatment service which consists of supplying, at very great expense in the thousands of dollars a month, a chemical named Lupron. The major use of this product is for the chemical castration of sex offenders, but the Geiers were giving it to children. Just to keep things legal, Mark Geier was telling insurance companies that he was treating precocious puberty (for which the drug is allowed) instead of autism. As Tim predicted, they had major victories over the medical establishment, with Mark Geier having his licence to practice medicine suspended in six states and revoked permanently in another and David Geier being fined $10,000 for practising medicine without a licence. Major victories!

Sadly, Tim has refused to answer any questions about what happened to the Geiers and has instead resorted to suggesting that people who use Twitter do it as part of "homoskeptual" rituals at Skeptics in the Pub events. It would be sad to see his mind decay like that if it wasn't so funny.

And he has mentioned again that Doctors Data are about to totally destroy Dr Stephen Barrett and Quackwatch.

Which brings us back to DOH!



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