Viruses are “molecular acids”?

I feel a bit bad this week.

You see, since Tuesday I’ve been pretty much wallowing in some of the most outrageous woo, antiscience, and abuses of logic and reason I’ve ever come across, courtesy of the merry band of clueless antivaccinationists over at Age of Autism. I had thought that I should try to do a serious science post for today. But I got back from work too late, and those sorts of posts are a lot more work than the usual run-of-the-mill post. There’s all that reading, analysis, and sometimes looking up of references. True, they’re intellectually satisfying, but I can’t do them every day. Still, I do like to try to get at least one done a week, and this week I clearly failed. Besides, exposing myself to the malignant stupidity of AoA threatened even Orac’s logic circuits.

Then what to my wondering (and shocked) eyes should reappear but “Dr.” Robert O. Young once again. We’ve met him before in the context of his cancer quackery, in which he proclaims that cancer is not a disease, but a manifestation of too much acid, even going so far as to describe cancer as an “acid” liquid.

Apparently bacteria and viruses are the same thing:

The purpose of this email is to open your mind to the illusion of the germ theory that imprisons many us and to study the history of how this illusion was created.

One must challenge everything in the modern construct of
immunology and what is said to be the immune system. The basis of modern immunology is founded on Louis Pasteur, the fraud, impostor, deceiver and self promoter. There is a serious problem to where every word and part of the anatomy must be questioned to find their use and function because of the fraud of Louis Pasteur.

Great. Germ theory denialism. Even after having delved into the depths of utter woo that I’ve subjected myself to, it still astounds me that in the year 2008 there are still people who apparently seriously believe that bacteria and viruses do not cause disease. To believe such a thing requires an ignorance of science on such a monumental scale that it forms a black hole of antiscience that sucks the science out of whatever it touches. I mean, when was the last time the germ theory of disease actually controversial? The Victorian era? Yet here’s this Robert O. Young, “Ph.D., D.Sc.” spouting the most amazing nonsense. Of course, to him “everything” must be challenged. I agree. Scientists challenge every precept of every theory every day. But they do it based on experiments that give results inconsistent with current theory. Then they try to construct hypotheses consistent with the new results and then test their predictions. Of course, to overturn a scientific theory as well-supported as germ theory requires a mass of evidence even greater than the current mass of evidence that supports germ theory. So where is that evidence refuting germ theory?

Nowhere to be found, but Young knows how to weave a hilarious story:

For example, the word influenza means influence. Originally, influenza was said to come from the stars or heavens. The Avian Influenza is an influenza of a bird influence. More specifically, it is an influence of bird waste. The bird consumption industry in Southeast Asia is overcrowded to the point that the chickens are consuming their own waste, producing an over-acidification of the birds and workers that must work in the acidic air and waste.

It could be more accurately called Acidic Bird or Chicken Excrement Influenza that is only contagious to those consuming acidic birds, like chicken or breathing chemically altered air from chicken excrement. Because chickens do not have a urinary tract system, like humans and animals they are more likely to absorb their own acidic urine into their tissues. I guess you could say that’s what makes chicken flesh or turkey flesh taste so juicy and why chicken or turkey flesh should never be consumed by humans!

That’s right. Because “influenza” means “influence” and because flu was origianlly believed to come from the heavens leads Young to the idea that bird flu is caused by overacidification of the chickens from consuming their own waste. However, the most hilarious part of that is Young’s “reasoning” that chickens don’t have a urinary system. They actually do have a urinary system; they just lack a urinary bladder, so that the uric acid is excreted into the cloaca and excreted with the feces. In any case, he thinks that this means that chicken or turkey flesh should never be consumed by humans.

Truly, the failure of reason and science is a sad thing to behold. But it gets even worse:

Here is a second example of Pasteurian scientific dogma. The word virus is originally Latin meaning poison, as in snake venom, (being too acidic). When a serious snake bite releases venom or acid into the skin and soft tissues, the small sweat vessels become so enlarged that red corpuscles can flow into the tiny seat glands, showing red skin patterns and allowing the venom or acids to escape through the skin. Acidity dissolves and enlarges blood vessels for the movement of acidic fluids or gases. Alkalinity constricts and normalizes the blood vessels.

The point being that viruses are molecular liquids or gases (venom) that can be created by chemical imbalances in humans, plants and animals (by malnutrition or toxic acidic food and/or drink consumption), also created in humans, plants and animal glands, sometimes used in defense (snake venom) or emergency (overactive adrenals), also can be crystallized in laboratories, rarely, if ever crystallized in vivo, and foolish to call viruses contagious when viruses are nothing more than acidic liquids or gases from biological transformation or rotting matter.

I love the way Young somehow bases his “rationale” for his arguments on the etymology of words and then goes right off the deep end with it. Unfortunately, he not only went of the deep end, but he went off the deep end of comprehensibility, too. He also demonstrates just how ridiculous pseudoscientists can be when they rely on analogies instead of the scientific method for their “truth.” The passage above also demonstrates how quacks also tend to fixate on an idea and then attribute all disease to it. For example, there’s Hulda Clark, who thinks that all disease, especially cancer and HIV, is due to a liver fluke. Her cure for all disease then boils down to killing the nonexistent fluke using a quack device known as a Zapper. And here we have “Dr.” Young who attributes all disease to an “imbalance” of acid-base. Consequently, to him the answer is always to alkalinize, even though his methods of measuring the acid-base balance are not based on any physiology or science–just like his concept of what causes disease, even to the point of saying something as ridiculous as this;

If bacteria, yeast, fungus or mold are transferred into another individual it must be made in a balanced liquid medium to support that fragile microbe or insignificant entity in order to survive. The main point here is that bacteria, yeast, fungus or mold do not cause sickness and disease (including cancer) as theorized by Pasteur and most recently suggested by Dr. Simoncini, an oncologist from Rome, Italy — sickness and disease (including cancer and HIV) is a result of excess acidity or antigens that have not been properly buffered by antibodies or bases such as sodium bicarbonate. These fragile microforms or microbes are the expression of cellular transformation from once healthy human, plant or animal cells due to an over acidic environment. Sickness and disease can only be caused by an over acidification (abundance of antigens) of the fluids of the body due to our own personal lifestyle and dietary choices.

Oh, no! Not Dr. Simonici again! You remember him, don’t you? He’s the guy who thinks that cancer is a fungus. I guess birds of a feather quack together. Dr. Young also doesn’t seem to realize that a lot of bacteria, fungus, and mold are actually pretty darned hardy. They grow under some pretty harsh conditions; culture medium is just a way to make sure they grow well. They are not “insignificant entities.” But what’s most despicable about this woo is that it blames the patient for any illness he or she has.:

As you contemplate the cause of the flu, cold or any so-called infection, may I suggest that each of us take personal responsibility for the consequences of our choices, rather than blame a phantom Avian Influenza virus, cold virus, flu virus, cancer virus or some non-existent HIV virus. If you get sick, it is your own fault and not the cause of some phantom virus that you can blame to cover your own lifestyle and dietary transgressions.

In other words, if you get sick it’s your fault, and if you don’t get better it’s also your fault for not heeding Young’s advice and “alkalinizing.” If there’s anything I find so despicable about so much of “alternative” medicine, it’s how much of it blames the patient in the name of “empowering” the patient. This goes far beyond science-based assertions that drinking too much will cause illness like liver cirrhosis or that smoking will cause lung cancer. In Young’s world, even infectious disease is the patient’s fault for living the “wrong” lifestyle. Well I have news for Young and quacks like him: Lots of people get cancer through no fault of their own. Lots of people develop heart disease because of an unlucky genetic background that predisposes them to it. Lots of people catch various contagious diseases through no fault of their own, many of them children. Indeed, infectious diarrhea kills hundreds of thousands of babies a year in developing worlds. Right here, before the vaccine was developed, measles, pertussis, and a number of other childhood illnesses ravaged our population, and polio paralyzed thousands. In Young’s world, it was their fault for not “alkalinizing” enough, not the result of microbes tuned up through millions of years of evolution to infect human hosts.

In the end, I still can’t fathom how, given the more than a century’s worth of evidence from many different lines of investigation supporting it, anyone can deny germ theory. It strikes me as nothing more than a form of wishful thinking where, if you just wish hard enough, you can stay healthy because wishing makes those nasty microbes unreal.