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Homeopathy kills a child

Homeopathy is water.

Homeopaths will tell you otherwise. They will tell you that water “memory,” which, the way they describe it is some mystical property whereby it “remembers” the remedy with which it’s been in contact, even though the substance (whatever it was) has been diluted far beyond the point where there’s likely to be even one molecule of it left. Not only that, but they will, in all seriousness, tell you that dilution is not enough. They will insist that, at each serial dilution, the remedy must be vigorously shaken (or, as they call it, “succussed”) in order to imbue it with its potency. Finally, they will tell you, without any evidence, that “like cures like,” that giving a highly dilute, serially successed remedy made from the same substance that causes symptoms like the ones being treated will cure those symptoms. In other words, homeopathy is nothing more than sympathetic magic suitable for use by Doctor Strange.

Homeopathy is water.

Homeopathy is also utterly pseudoscientific. It posits the existence of a “memory” of water that no science has detected beyond infinitesimal fragments of a second so brief that there is no plausible physical mechanism by which such “memory” could survive long enough to do anything. In fact, there is no way for such “memory” to survive the transit across the GI tract, much less interact with cell surface receptors or cellular proteins to produce a pharmacological effect. Indeed, the concepts behind homeopathy conflict with so many well-established theories of science that, for homeopathy to be correct, much of what we know about physics, chemistry, and biology would have to be overthrown.

Homeopathy is water, and, when substituted for real medicine, it can kill:

THE parents of a nine-month-old girl who died from septicemia were responsible for their baby’s death because they shunned conventional medical treatment for her eczema in favour of homeopathic remedies, a court heard yesterday.

A homeopath, Thomas Sam, 42, and his wife, Manju Sam, 36, are standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court charged with manslaughter by gross criminal negligence after they allegedly resisted the advice of nurses and a doctor to send her to a skin specialist.

Instead Gloria Thomas, who was born in perfect health in July 2001, allegedly died with malnutrition and eczema so severe that her skin broke every time her parents removed her clothes and nappy.

I must say, I’m surprised. No, I’m not surprised that relying on magic water for treatment, rather than science-based medical treatment can result in a death that could have been prevented. Rather, I’m surprised that the homeopath is actually being prosecuted. I’m surprised, but pleasantly so. True, likely the only reason it’s happening is because the homeopath happened to be the girl’s father, allowing for a child neglect charge. Even so, quacks like Sam should pay a penalty when their quackery results in death or severe injury. They rarely do, which makes this story unusual not for dire consequences of these parents relying on water rather than medicine but rather for the fact that the homeopath is being prosecuted for continuing to sell his quackery, even after the child deteriorated.

And the child’s deterioration was horrific. Gloria suffered more than any child should ever have to suffer:

“The Crown case is that from this point on, for the next five months of her life until her death … Gloria’s eczema played a devastating role in her overall health and it is asserted by the Crown that both her parents knew this and discussed it with each other,” Mr Tedeschi said.

“Over time the eczema caused her skin to become thinner and weaker and the constant breaking of the skin allowed infections to enter her body.”

The end result? Horrors:

Gloria spent a lot of the last five months of her life crying, irritable, scratching and the only thing that gave her solace was to suck on her mother’s breast,” Mr Tedeschi said.

“Towards the end she was sleeping an inordinate amount of time, her body desperately trying to overcome these infections.”

Thomas Sam’s sister allegedly “pleaded” with him to send Gloria to a conventional medical practitioner. He allegedly replied: “I’m not able to do that.”

Like most users of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), the Thomases were well educated professionals. Like all too many believers, instead of seeking conventional medical care as their daughter’s health deteriorated, they went to other woo-meisters, other homeopaths, other “natural” medical practitioners. Moreover, the did from time to time seek out the care of a conventional medical practitioner and follow his advice. Each time they did this, Gloria improved. Then they would go right back to the woo. It’s an odd pattern, actually. They would only consider conventional medicine after it was clear to all but the most deluded homeopath that the magic water wasn’t working. They’d use it until the child got somewhat better, and then they’d go straight back to the magic water.

I have a tendency to view homeopathy as being much like a religion. It has its own belief system that was not determined empirically through science but rather was handed down to its followers by a prophet (namely the originator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann) and a belief system that its adherents rigidly cling to against all science and reason. It matters not one whit to them that homeopathy is magic. It matters not one whit to them that the larger and more rigorous the clinical trial, the less of an “effect” can be attributed to homeopathy, to the point where the largest and best trials, including meta-analyses, show no effect for homeopathy beyond that of a placebo. Like adherents to a religion, also, they circle the wagons when their religion is attacked. Like the adherents of some religions, the most devoted homeopathy adherents are willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of their magical beliefs.

Which is exactly what the Sams did.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

286 replies on “Homeopathy kills a child”

I guess the CAM rebuttal would be to trot out children dying from complications in conventional medicine, such as infants dying from aspirin, or severe medical allergies. The hypocrisy is the victims of homeopathy are the ones not given an option to choose. Small children and infants? Given the choice they would probably want the pain and suffering to go away, not have crystals placed at their chakra points.

It always makes me angry that if someone wanted to drill a hole in a child’s head to “let the demons out”, well, that would be an illegal action – but giving a child a demonstrably delusional treatment like homeopathy for a treatable and serious illness is fine and dandy. This and other dangerous non-treatments need to be outlawed and this case is a prime example of why.

So what you are really saying is that nothing is as good as homeopathy?

reminds me of a similar situation in the UK a few years back where a TV presenter refused to heed her doctors advice re eczema and insisted on pursuing alt-med treatments for a good couple of years and at great cost and damage to her son. Worst of all she blamed her son’s deteriorating condition on her doctor claiming that he has not offered best advice. Really sad.

And I don’t think any amount of jail term or snything else will convince alties to change their mind; they just have that part of the brain missing that says ‘listen’

I guess the CAM rebuttal would be to trot out children dying from complications in conventional medicine, such as infants dying from aspirin, or severe medical allergies. The hypocrisy is the victims of homeopathy are the ones not given an option to choose.

No, the hypocrisy is in complaining about the risks of real medicine without acknowledging that real medicine actually has benefits to offset those risks (unlike quackery).

It posits the existence of a “memory” of water that no science has detected beyond infinitesimal fragments of a second so brief that there is no plausible physical mechanism by which such “memory” could survive long enough to do anything.

Why did you even relent that far? Has science actually detected some memory for an infinitesimal fraction of a second? Once there are no molecules of an ingedient, there is no memory.

Orac said:

I have a tendency to view homeopathy as being much like a religion. It has its own belief system that was not determined empirically through science but rather was handed down to its followers by a prophet (namely the originator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann) and a belief system that its adherents rigidly cling to against all science and reason. It matters not one whit to them that homeopathy is magic.

Yes yes yes. I have long argued that there is little difference between creationism and homeopathy. Except that homeopathy can kill (and this story is hardly the first). Creationism just kills the rational mind.

edit:
It was fiona phillips. She followed an 8 month course of ‘reflexology and chinese medicine’ until referred to a dermatologist who, after much wrangling, managed to get her to try a steroidal cream which worked ‘miracles’.

well, at least she listened…eventually

Water molecules briefly and randomly clump together in a fluid state…people have tried to point to this as water “memory”, but the clumping (as far as I understand) holds no relation to whatever else is in the water (100% pure water does it too) and fluctuates on a millisecond timescale.

Well, there have been observations in quantum mechanics that seem to show particles retain a brief (extremely brief) “memory”, such as in the following experiment: http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2000/Jan00/r012000b.html

Not that this type of memory even comes close to the situation in homeopathy, of course. But woomeisters will look at the headlines, and claim victory. Throw “quantum memory” into Google Scholar and you get 672000 hits…none of which are a scientific study showing how homeopathy is remotely plausible.

Proof of what happens when ‘unconventional medicine’ is taken without conventional medicine? (As opposed to taking both at the same time and blaming conventional medicine for nothing?)

I know it’s harsh, but if somebody had just stepped up and killed the father (and the mother, if necessary), the kid would probably be alive today…

You know what pisses me off? You never seem to hear these people, these hardcore woo-obsessed hippies and Jesus-freak fundamentalists, changing their tunes. Ever. NOT EVEN AFTER THEY KILL THEIR OWN KIDS.

You’d think if anything would change their minds, it would be THAT. Of course, if they admit they were wrong, it would mean they’d have to take responsibility for their kid’s death.

I think when we prosecute them, the punishment for all these preventable death cases should be that they have to go on the talk show circuit and tell their stories. It’ll be plenty of punishment, and they can give the daytime TV crowd a glimpse of what happens when you try to go through life without thinking critically.

When they talk about the “memory” of this water, are they using 100% distilled water? Or are they using water from some “natural source?”

Because if it’s the latter, what water also remembers is shit. And piss. And vomit. And blood. And so forth, through all the things that get dumped in water.

But I’m sure that these morons say that “purifying” the water erases these “bad” memories.

Uh huh.

PROVE IT.

Yes, our minds can be changed. My mind was forever changed when in Chiropractic school I was shown by an epidemiology professor a newspaper clipping of a chiropractor that had a child die due to diptheria, or more due to the fact that the child was not immunized.
That being said however, Homeopathy is a great placebo. There are many great placebos and the power of the mind is amazing.
I find this story to be no different from the family that let their daughter die slowly from diabetes. The only difference is that they depended on the power of prayer till her kidneys shut down and she lapsed into a coma.
So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer? No. But it should be done with everything else that common sense dictates that you should do for a condition.

“So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer?”

Yes, prayer is just as useless as homeopathy or chiropractic. The difference is that for some reason more people are comfortable with prayer. Useful – no, not in the least.

I understand the tendency of people to be attached to false beliefs that they already hold, but how does a person fall for something as counterintuitive as homeopathy in the first place? Everyone has to take basic chemistry and biology in high school, at the very least, so it should be common knowledge that the foundations of homeopathy make no sense in light of science.

I lose a little more faith in humanity each day. 🙁

I think to a whole lot of people homeopathy looks like medicine, and it’s just one more medicine that your general patient doesn’t understand. I don’t really know how aspirin works, but I know that it does, and while I know that antibiotics kill bacteria, I don’t know how they do that. “Nux vomica 30cc” looks pretty technical if you don’t know anything about it.
I think that once you explain what homeopathy is, people are less likely to use it.
That doesn’t explain why someone would allow their child to suffer horribly and die, since he presumably knows what homeopathy is and chooses to believe it works anyway.

When they talk about the “memory” of this water, are they using 100% distilled water? Or are they using water from some “natural source?”

According to Dana Ullman, they use “double-distilled” water.

This site is for information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. Not all conditions will respond to homeopathic treatment. Site contents and design © Copyright 2001-03 Influenca ltd

That pretty well sums it up. Too bad Mr. and Mrs. Sam didn’t read the advice at the bottom of all the homeopathic website I just finished surfing. They all have small print disclaimers that, in essence, say:
“This site is bogus, our advice isn’t real, see a real doctor if you’re sick. We’re not telling you how to treat a specific disease, but we really are (wink, wink). If our quackery doesn’t work, well, it’s probably your fault for not finding the “simillium” for your malady. Couldn’t be that Hahnemann was a total loon and we’re all deluded. Copyright, blah, blah, blah.”

Hey, I have to say, homeopathic teething tablets worked to calm our boys when they had tooth pain. But I think it was just the sweetness of the lactose that was the main ingredient. Hmm, sugar cubes would have been cheaper. I’ll try that next time.

Seriously, I am aghast that such a simple and treatable disease as ECZEMA (from which I suffer myself) could be allowed to get so severe it KILLED someone. Aghast, but not surprised: many people view conventional medicine with near-psychotic suspicion. The delusion is that conventional medicine is really POISON that THEY want you to take because THEY, well, like to give people POISON.

The irony is that much of eczema treatment is not even through drugs, although they definitely have their place; much of it is through bathing and moisturizing practice, and identifying and avoiding allergens and other irritants.

Well, nothing like homeopathy to bring out the self-righteousness of medical science folks! Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always work, but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push. What’s the difference between someone perhaps superstitiously believing that something like homeopathy works, and a drug company jimmying up some statistical studies to show non-existent efficacy for a medication that causes many teen suicides? I think, mainly, one is intentional and venal, the other misguided. Oh, and what about TSA tests and prostate surgery? Hmm, how many doctors tell patients that the surgery is for a 1/500 chance of extending life at all?

I personally agree, homeopathy does not make scientific sense at least as we currently understand the science and successful anecdotes may well be based on the placebo effect. But, then again, there’s Dr. Ennis’ lab work that seems to raise some questions. What annoys me about the rants about homeopathy is that they seem to presume “science” is a static, certain thing. No, there’s no explanation for how homeopathy would work, and personally, I don’t buy it. I also don’t like it when misguided parents deprive a child of a treatment that might have cured or prevented disease. Oh, like the parents who gave their kids those doctor prescribed anti-psychotic drugs instead of finding a therapy that actually worked.

Hmm, I’m not so much surprised that this has happened but that it happened to a homeopath who was also consulting with other homeopaths.

I always assumed that a significant proportion of them were deliberate con-men but if any were actual con-men I assume they’d try to convince the parents to get some kind of real treatment at the same time (or maybe they did and the parents kept regressing). Either way it looks like most actually thought that homeopathy would work.

I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the thought that they’re con-men who would let a parent kill their child or the thought that they’re so ignorant they’ll let a parent kill their child.

No, science isn’t static, but certain questions get settled, and they tend to stay that way. Earth is round, earth moves around sun, evolution, people need vitamins, water doesn’t have memory, those things were once controversial, got investigated, the solution was generally accepted, it’s done.
Pre germ theory, homeopathy was probably a reasonable way of thinking (for the 18th century), but in the face of all the evidence, from a mechanistic point of view to epidemiology, it’s a dead parrot.

Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always ever work,

fixed

but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push.

False equivalence.

Albion, I would call your comment a non-sequitor, but frankly it doesn’t even warrant the use of latin.

There are science-based treatments for eczema. No one said, or even implied, that these treatments (or indeed ANY science) is certain or static. What, exactly, are you railing against? It seems like you’re arguing against the caricature of doctors and medicine that you have in your head.

Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always work, but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push.

The evidence does not indicate homeopathy has any effect beyond placebo. Actual medicine, on the other hand, does. So to summarize your argument,

“We can’t prove conclusively that homeopathy doesn’t work, and medicine isn’t perfect, therefore we must act as if homeopathy does work.”

Please learn some critical thinking skills. You’re an embarrassment to the human race.

@Albion
So… you say homoepathy doesn’t work (which it doesn’t). But this somehow means that conventional medical practices are invalid? Your post is so full of fail. And nihilistic, to boot!

“Water molecules briefly and randomly clump together in a fluid state…”

This is called hydrogen bonding, and it is responsible for a number of water’s properties such as a high boiling point and the fact that solid water is less dense than liquid water (because the bonds require significant energy input to break, and because in a solid state a water molecule has formed its max. number of hydrogen bonds while in a liquid state they frequently don’t form the max. number of bonds). Hydrogen bonds aren’t restricted to water; the universal definition is that it occurs between hydrogen atoms that are covalently bonded to an electronegative atom, and another electronegative atom. I don’t know if anybody actually claims that hydrogen bonding implies that compounds have memory, but it would make zero sense if they did. This isn’t poorly-understood stuff here. Since when, though, did homeopaths ever consider their understanding things to be important in how they “treat” their patients?

Awww, another child is dead – from homeopathy – the same belief that destroyed my marriage and killed my mother-in-law (and, later, two others) when I first encountered you. Oh, such sympathy you have – NOW. You’re even in favor of prosecutions – NOW. And homeopathy is a religion – NOW – just as I told you long ago.

But have you covered me and my case? Nope, not a peep – even though it’s been covered, over and over, in the French press. But “my people” – the scientists, rationalists, and atheists – they give me nothing.

And why? Because I chose to be a “man” – not your “sympathetic figure“, huh, Orac? Do I criticize you too much, Oh Great One? Maybe being surrounded by all this unnecessary death, and stupidity, has hardened me, huh? Maybe (still) asking for help and only receiving scorn, jokes, a “Friday dose of woo” and Respectful Insolence can make a “man” that way, you think?

This situation calls for The Macho Response.

I’m getting us out of this mess the same way I discovered it: angry. As Panda Bear, M.D. once said while (always) promoting my cause:

“My good blog friend The Crack Emcee at The Macho Response rants but that’s his style and he’s good at it.”

Orac, your lack of faith (in any approach but your ineffectual one) is disturbing: You’re supposed to be a scientist. I am your ultimate case and champion. I know more about this stuff than your punk ass will ever admit. I lived with it, seen it’s mental make-up (which you only guess at) and seen it’s results – close up. But, like Ted Patrick, I won’t change for your acceptance. You’ve become weak, and simple-minded in the face of the enemy.

To demand I join you – or to ignore my fight – is a total betrayal of what should be our mutual, and over-riding, goal:

The elimination of NewAge and it’s murderous quackery.

Hmm. I seem to have struck a nerve with some folks. However, no response on the work of Dr. Ennis — perhaps the people responding are unfamiliar with it? Report at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4152521,00.html

With regard to saying homeopathy doesn’t always work, well it sometimes does, in my view due to the placebo effect but working is working. We don’t know how all medical procedures work, either, or in fact whether or not some standard medical procedures work at all. Several doctors have announced they’re not doing the PSA for themselves or patients, but doctors continue to prescribe it without telling patients of what tests indicate about risk / benefit. We do other tests mainly to give people a feeling of being cared for or to calm the doctor’s fear of malpractice suits. (That is, second guessing by clever lawyers of what will sell as a story to get money for some poor soul who has an unsuccessful procedure, or and incidentally, an outrageous fee for the lawyer!)

What puzzles me, is, how can one be more upset about homeopathy than the falsified statistics that were used to justify the suicide inducing anti-psychotic drugs? And medicine is far from a certain science, we all know that don’t we? I know dozens of people who have good insurance (well, “good” by American standards) and have gotten bad or even harmful treatment from doctors. How can you wonder people look for alternatives to our standard medical procedures — especially ones like homeopathy that do invoke at least the placebo response. It’s terrible when parents are so foolish they let a child die because they’re fixed on some ineffective treatment when something actually helpful is available. But I can name you 10 instances of this happening in the medical world for every one from homeopathy — that’s the relevance of the anti-psychotic drug example.

@Albion

Nice drive-by posting. At least Dana Ullman argues and argues and argues over the same unremarkable point. Oh wait, I’ll take Albion any day.

Homeopathy doesn’t work. Has that ever been said? Oh wait, about a billion times in the past week. Do pharmaceuticals always work? No, but then again, all pharmaceutical companies, through their labeling, make scientifically based statements about what it can and cannot do. Moreover, physicians, using evidence-based medicine, determine a course of treatment that does not rely upon pharmaceuticals alone. And that’s the difference between faith-based medicine (almost all alternative medicine) and real medicine: a willingness to explore, through a logical process, how to best treat a patient. Homeopaths rely upon their nonsensical potions, without considering real science.

Albion:

One study does not negate the whole of the scientific understanding on a topic.

No one is “more upset” about homeopathy than the flaws of modern medicine. The topic of this blog post is homeopathy. Were you expecting to see, “Also, on a completely unrelated note, some teens have committed suicide as a result of psychiatric medication prescribed by doctors!” at the end? That is not the subject of this blog. I was on Prozac, Paxil and handful of other psychiatric drugs for most of my adolescence, so I personally feel wronged by the nasty side-effects they caused me for no benefit. That does not mean I cannot still feel that homeopathy is objectionable, and write about it without the disclaimer, “But medical science sometimes fails us, too.”

The reason you may be able to name “ten instances of this happening in the medical world for every one in homeopathy” (which is a made-up statistic that I shouldn’t even bother to address) is that most people actually seek medical care for serious conditions. Furthermore, homeopathy, being water, can have no side-effects. It can only cause death when the illness itself would have caused death. On the other hand, medical interventions sometimes cause death as a result of their application because they actually have pharmacological effects. This is a necessary risk in some conditions, such as cancer or heart disease, which have a higher risk of causing death if left untreated.

No one here is saying medicine is pure and infallible. Read Orac’s recent post titled “When big pharma pays a publisher to publish a fake journal…” for evidence of that. It’s just not the topic of this particular post. Why bother to bring it up in the first place?

Man, this is infuriating. You know, I can understand how people who are desperate can resort to crap treatments, like when cancer patients go to Mexico for some sham. Shoot, I can even understand how parents of autistic kids can go overboard looking for a boogieman. I think it is wrong, and don’t condone it, but at least I can understand it.

But this case just doesn’t make sense. How can you sit and watch your baby suffer and die and not let them go to a doctor? Changing clothes causes the skin to break? Wow, that is serious. And the claim is that when they went to the doctor, she improved. Why wouldn’t they want more of that?

Sometimes as a parent of a small baby I feel so helpless to help him. When I find something that seems to make him feel better, I am pretty good about going back to that as often as it works, or at least appears to. How could they not go back to the doctor if it was helping? Did they not recognize it was working?

Albion, you keep bringing up the teen suicide/antidepressant issue. I have a child who took these meds and in spite of side effects, found them helpful and never felt suicidal. While this topic is somewhat controversial within the scientific community and, therefore, a “black box” warning was put into effect, this does not mean that these drugs cannot be used under the supervision of a qualified physician. This has little to do with the outright quackery of homeopathy. Why should anyone pay $10 or more for a tiny bottle of water just to stimulate the placebo effect? This is fraud. Since the placebo effect is stimulated by belief alone, who needs a “practitioner” who charges for it?

The irony is that much of eczema treatment is not even through drugs, although they definitely have their place; much of it is through bathing and moisturizing practice, and identifying and avoiding allergens and other irritants.

Exactly. But instead they used water. WATER. Nothing else — except for the times when even the deluded daddy finally agreed to let the icky allopaths undo his not-so-benign neglect.

Hell, olive oil would have been better. At least it would have soothed the skin and held in its moisture. But no — they used WATER.

This makes me wonder if the Sams ever took baths themselves. The reason we have sebaceous glands is to lock in moisture that would otherwise evaporate and dry out our skin; you would think that they would know this. (That’s why it’s a good idea to slather on the moisturizer on your face, neck, elbows, knees, and feet after you’re done with your shower, especially during winter or if you live in a dry climate.)

This makes me wonder if the Sams ever took baths themselves. The reason we have sebaceous glands is to lock in moisture that would otherwise evaporate and dry out our skin; plain water splashed on the skin removes this protective barrier and allows the moisture underneath to go away. You would think that they would know this.

That’s why it’s a good idea to slather on the moisturizer on your face, neck, elbows, knees, and feet after you’re done with your shower, especially during winter or if you live in a dry climate.

Dear ‘The Crack Emcee’

Please stop posting here. Your childish taunts to Orac are ridiculous, your blog terrible, and your intellect completely absent.

Albion,

I am familiar with Dr. Ennis … she’s the one who published results that others could not replicate, correct? Or are you talking about another Madeleine Ennis?

As for the rest of your comment, do try and keep up. Most of what you wrote was addressed by other comments, but you just repeated your points as if we’d all buy them the second time around.

Dear ‘The Crack Emcee’

Please stop posting here. Your childish taunts to Orac are ridiculous, your blog terrible, and your intellect completely absent.

To demand I join you – or to ignore my fight – is a total betrayal of what should be our mutual, and over-riding, goal:

The elimination of NewAge and it’s murderous quackery.

**************************
Some entertaining rhetoric here from rant-blogger “Crack Emcee”.

Baffled by the hostile tone?

Interested parties are advised to consult Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”:

“The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.”

Kristin:

I find this story to be no different from the family that let their daughter die slowly from diabetes. The only difference is that they depended on the power of prayer till her kidneys shut down and she lapsed into a coma.
So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer? No. But it should be done with everything else that common sense dictates that you should do for a condition.

Thank you for your testimonial about rational chiropractors being taught properly the limit of their scope of practice. There’s a retired chiropractor who contributes to Chirobase, named Samuel Homola. Been doing a great job over there of educating folks as to how to spot a dangerous quack chiropractor. After all, the regulatory system has demonstrated itself incapable of doing this, unfortunately, so patients have to do it themselves.

Regarding the “power of prayer” thing, Orac actually posted about that very incident, where the diabetic girl was allowed to die by her parents because they trusted in prayer instead. He argued that there was very definitely something wrong about how that girl was treated, describing it as negligent homicide.
Relying on prayer instead of medicine

He didn’t argue that there was anything wrong with prayer, per se, but that there is something very wrong with eschewing evidence-based treatment when your child is obviously ill. Which is pretty much what he’s saying here about homeopathy.

Jesse and (always) Just Kevin,

This is a post about a child being killed. I’ve documented tons of kids (and adults) being killed by this nonsense on my blog. I got into this because of people being killed – murdered – and, somehow, that translates to me being “childish”, “paranoid”, and “apocalyptic”? You have GOT to be kidding!

Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me. I said we’re in the midst of a major cult movement – which, now, Orac is starting to decipher, but you guys still insist on trying to intellectualize cultism, and kill the messenger, while hanging with one of it’s court jesters instead. This approach is a major FAIL – something Orac admits from time-to-time as well, usually when he feels it creep into his hometown paper, hospital, or university. I, on the other hand, am alarmed about the people killed and NewAge’s creep world-wide. Now, you tell me who’s being rational? The guy taking murder seriously or the guy making jokes?

One more thing:

I love this tactic of NewAge Just Kevin’s – trying to turn a single guy with a barely read blog, who has suffered and studied the very cultism you idiots are so alarmed by, into “paranoid”. Let’s see, I study cultism. Right on the front page of my blog, right now, is another cult researcher, Chris Locke, saying:

“Lying turns out to be a central theme and major mode for the Mystic Bourgeoisie, even if they call it their ‘Mythic Journey’….”

So, who should you trust – the truthful black guy or the liars who attack me for exposing them and their tactics?

How about this from L. Ron Hubbard’s spokesman:

“Hubbard literally had a plan for world conquest. He actually, literally wanted to take over the world. But he had to put it into other terms. And the term he came up with was to ‘clear the planet.’ And this sounds like a very beneficent action – we’re going to clear the planet – which means rid it of its problems. But really it was more of a case like, like a Hitler that he wants to rid the planet of vermin. And the vermin are the people that are stopping him. And these were basically the enemies of Scientology.”

In light of that, am I still “paranoid” as I see Tom Cruise and John Travolta on Oprah – supported society-wide with the rest of you demanding nothing be done to stop them? Hell, Oprah’s now promoting Jenny McCarthy and The Huffington Post (which I exposed as a cult haven a long time ago for it’s writers murdering people – one by stabbing her lover 157 times with a screwdriver) is full blown crazy now – which your precious “science community” is just now noticing. How observant. Too much time in the lab, maybe, to care about the fate of us average folks?

You people are the smartest dupes I’ve ever encountered. If it wasn’t for Panda Bear – who Orac acknowledged as being better at taking these subjects on than he is – I’d have lost faith in the whole idea of science and medicine a long time ago.

It’s no wonder so many others have, already, considering what idiots you people can be.

Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me.


I’m ‘attacking’ you because you’re an arrogant jackass.
Awww, poor widdle guy… Orac won’t ‘join him’. Your blog sucks. You complain about everything and give your logic about NOTHING (except, of course, what a big bad guy Orac is). You simultaneous want Oracs approval and to be able to act above him because you’ve got to ‘keep the science blogs honest’. Hell, your dumb enough to get all bent out of shape about the Daily Show!

So you tell us, Crack Emcee, why should we listen to you? What are your qualifications (apart from an enormous ego)? Are you an MD? A PhD? Or is just a lousy blog and a god complex?

My daughter’s name is Gloria.

I wonder if I can get my chem test rescheduled so I can go hold her. 🙁

Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me.


I’m ‘attacking’ you because you’re an arrogant jackass.
Awww, poor widdle guy… Orac won’t ‘join him’. Your blog sucks. You complain about everything and give your logic about NOTHING (except, of course, what a big bad guy Orac is). You simultaneous want Oracs approval and to be able to act above him because you’ve got to ‘keep the science blogs honest’. Hell, you’re dumb enough to get all bent out of shape about the Daily Show being ‘dishonest’!

So you tell us, Crack Emcee, why should we listen to you? What are your qualifications (apart from an enormous ego)? Are you an MD? A PhD? Or is just a lousy blog and a god complex?

After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to

Concern Troll is Concerned!

by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to

Concern Troll is Grumpy!

How Fucking Arrogant are you?! Do you think you’re the only person in the world who sees woo/homeopathy/’alternative’ medicine as dangerous?

Crack Emcee,

Here’s where you FAIL. You don’t seem to be able to separate one issue out from the other. So that someone could be a woman and also be against homeopathy. Or be a Democrat and also an atheist.

Instead you present the public with what you honestly seem to believe is evidence of a Democratic-New-Age-elitist-feminazi-yoga-homeopathy-mind-control-San-Francisco-vegetarian-adultery-Obama-NY-Times-liberal-Clinton-homosexual-Buddhist-adultery cult.

Its like you took every single thing you dislike and rolled in all into one humongous ball of evil that only you can see

In order to rejoin the human community, you’re probably going to need to start unrolling this world’s largest ball of string you’ve spun back into its separate strands

At least that might give you a starting point towards communicating with others

Reality is not as exciting as the great imaginary cosmic battle between good and evil, but its way more satisfying.

Jesse,

Oh, so now it’s arrogance, is it? Like i should be crawling under a rock, or playing shy, to make you feel better? Fuck that noise – I am what I am. You’re just mad because any study of NewAge leads right to this doorstep – science and medicine – and how lame you guys are in the face of it.

And, funny, but Bill Whittle and Pajamas Media see the threat of The Daily Show, training people to be idiots.

And – since you’re so interested in qualifications – I’ll let the guy who Orac said was better than him speak for me:

“I,…want to welcome The Macho Response as an official partner of Panda Bear, MD. It’s hard to exactly describe this blog. It’s author, the self-styled Crack Emcee, is not a doctor but he does have a common-sense based grasp of medicine. He is not a scientist but has the intelligence to know both when smoke is being blown up his ass and to point out the hypocrisy and puritanical tendencies of many in the scientific community. He is an atheist (where I am most certainly not) but he is intellectually consistent in his principles and has not given up “old-fashioned” religion only to latch onto some nutty cult as is too common in our sad and ridiculous age.

The Crack Emcee is an artist of some note, however, and his blog is a sort of collage, an exploration with links, pictures, and music of the truly ridiculous behavior and ideas of those truly ridiculous individuals in the various elites who style themselves our superiors, our protectors, and our benevolant masters. Be warned, however, that his blog is not for the spineless products of our apologetic and insipid culture. You will be offended. You will shriek in dismay as your icons are defaced and your tin-plated heros are gutted in his arena with their entrails left to cook in the hot sand.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“He is not a scientist but has the intelligence to know both when smoke is being blown up his ass and to point out the hypocrisy and puritanical tendencies of many in the scientific community.”

That would be you jackasses. Now lump it. YOU are the problem – for me and yourselves.

Dear Mr. Simpson,

I assure you, I am 100% for real. I was once a popular artists is San Francisco until I was sidetracked by NewAge and the murder of my mother-in-law by a homeopath my wife ran away with. (They’ve since killed two more people, in France, and through doggedly writing my blog, the quack killer that destroyed my former life has had his medical credentials stripped from him. Now I want him in prison.) I turned to Orac and many others, on and offline, for help – but got a rude awakening about the narcissism and other lame attitudes of people of a certain mindset when it comes to extremely serious issues that meander through our culture, “cultism” being the main subject and culprit. I’ve been repeatedly attacked for merely being upset – when, as this post shows, I’m dealing with the most seriopus (and thus the most taboo) subjects out there.

I understand: No one likes to be attacked. But, unfortunately, cultism – whether it’s NewAge or a cult of personality like Orac and Obama enjoy – doesn’t respond to anything else. I’ve had to be a bull in a chinashop to achieve what I have, alone. I want help, but until these dicks decide the murders and other crimes have gone on too long (which in the case of Orac seems to be when it hits him directly as it has me) then I’ll just keep screaming – I won’t stop – I’ll die saying you guys are wrong and you let this shit happen with your weakness and cowardice.

That’s it.

Wow. I see Scam Sam is still around. Still insanely angry, too, I see.

I told you this before, Crack-boy, and I’ll tell you again. Attacking the people who agree with you is the single stupidest thing you can do. Yes, homeopathy is dangerous. Yes, NewAge gibberish is stupid. Yes, yes, yes… so why are you attacking Orac?

It is because you are unable to separate yourself from the issue. You hate. Deeply, passionately, and completely. Anyone who dares to disagree with you *even a little bit* becomes just another demon to be battled.

You really should consider psychiatric help.

The Crack Emcee demands why I don’t join him, and I’ll tell him. He has made his crusade explicitly political. To him it’s all left wing, New Age woo that is the enemy. I refuse to limit myself that way. I will attack whatever “side” is subverting science and science-based medicine. If it’s Arianna Huffington and the HuffPo, Deepak Chopra, and Tom Harkin on the left, it matters not. If it’s Dan Burton, Ron Paul, and the General Stubblebine on the right pushing anti-vaccine nonsense and bogus “health freedom,” it matters not. If it’s money-grubbing pharmaceutical companies that create fake journals to help them sell their product, it matters not. All that matters is that these tactics subvert science-based medicine and potentially endanger patients.

Until the CE can see that, I will not be joining his little crusade, no matter how much I can sympathize with his direct experience with quackery. He’s made it partisan, and it’s not partisan. It’s about science, and science is not partisan. If he doesn’t believe me that woo and New Age isn’t all left wing, I can show him a lot of evidence that, for examples, the Nazis were very much into homeopathy, naturopathy, and “natural” (or, as they called it, volkish) medicine.

Well, I’m glad you explained it Orac, because I was scared to go to his web site.

Actually, I’m glad I’m being sidetracked by his rants, because I’m trying not to think of that baby…

I have adult eczema, bad enough that I’ve been on disability for it (my application was denied at first, then I had the doctor’s office take pictures as documentation – it was immediately approved – nuff said). I can’t imagine a worse way to go. Those people tortured their baby to death…

My daughter is 9 months old and she has excema. I have no sympathy for stubbornness of the parents not to seek out the best care for their daughter. She died. It is very sad.

While I understand Orac’s position to attack the homeopathy directly the story as reported raised a number of questions.

I am confused by the relevance of “the daughter was born healthy.” The excema is triggered by lots of things; things that naturally would come later.

The girl died of malnutrion. Surely this is a very different than the excema. (I guess the excema could have been so severe the girl could not maintain a feeding).

The best treatment for my daughter’s excema has been baths/soaking. She bathes/soaks twice a day. No soap or rubbing is done. She gets lubed up with hydrolated petroleum jelly ASAP after bath. Water is the cure for excema (just not orally taken tinctures).

This regimen helps manage her excema but it has not cured it (she is a happy girl generally). We have received some imprecise and bad advice from pediatricians (basically, they just are not up on the best and often recommended widely available creams that made did not help or occasionally made things worse). We initially received advice not to bathe her which was bad advice (we just needed to be educated HOW to bathe her). I am not blaming that bad advice but the best initial advice came outside of our “regular” doctor. We eventually got the best advice from a “regular” specialist but I can see why people would be put off by a series of well-intentioned but wrong suggestions.

Other than using creams with calendula in them, we made no effort to seek out alternative medicine. Ultimately, the impact of creams with calendula in them had effects based on what type of base they are in. In retrospect, this is the most frustrating part of being an open-minded seeker in this. People recommend things based on active ingredients but the bases they were in (lanolin, petroleum gel, etc.) probably had more impact on how they helped or did not. Basically, commercial products are very frustrating as they put a bunch of stuff in that you do not know about that are likely irritating even when some of the ingredients are helping.

Hydro cortisone was prescribed at the beginning and definitely helps short term. The problem is that we do have concerns about using it long-term (because of the thinning of the skin). We do use it make our daughter comfortable but try to minimize its use. Its clear that HyCort helps but it provides no cure. We definitely try to use 1% more than the prescribed 2.5% because of long-term concerns and the fact it helps just as much.

I find it refreshing to encounter Orac’s blog, which is skeptical without being rabid, focusing upon sharing reasonable information, without the need to document monsters under every bed and in every closet.

I consider myself a spiritual person, yet have no patience for the kind of nonsense that’s marketed as spiritual guidance. As an ex-Navy recon medic with extensive field experience, I am frequently amazed by what passes for “medicine” nowadays – both in the conventional medical community and in the world of woo.

I attended the FDA hearings on breast implants a few years ago, and saw first-hand how the medical community (and those charged with its oversight) can be subverted by economic interests. Yet, if I suffer from some disease, I will go to an MD. On the other hand, I have utilized the services of a classically-trained Chinese acupuncturist to get pain relief when the recommended surgery was either too expensive or of questionable merit, and was pleased with the results. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it was MY anecdotal evidence, and my pain. 🙂

Yet I scoff at the claims that acupuncture (or chiropractic, homeopathy, etc) holds forth the cure for every malady. Show mw the INDEPENDENTLY-FUNDED research that backs up such claims, and I’ll be glad to have another look.

Bottom line is that there are no holy grails out there, and we have to use our own common sense. Some people act out of obsession and paranoia, rather than common sense, and demand that others must adopt their pathology in order to be “real.” These folks deserve our pity, but not our continued attention, because they’re not in it for anything resembling the greater good, or even truth, but for revenge and their own vindication. As a pragmatist (seeking, but open-eyed), I just wanted to acknowledge this blog’s commitment to objectivity in a topic so fraught with raw (and frequently misguided) emotions.

I say “bullshit” to all of you:

Jesse,

“Do you think you’re the only person in the world who sees woo/homeopathy/’alternative’ medicine as dangerous?”

No, but it’s not just stories in the paper to me – I’m living with it, in the same way a parent that’s lost their child to it would feel. It’s not academic to me: this evil Alice In Wonderland is now my (and increasingly your) reality. But you feel more comfortable going after the one guy who knows what’s up with it – as it’s coming for you.

Just Kevin (a regular attacker of mine),

Are you denying that I salute strong women on my blog? If I do, then how can I be as partisan as you’re suggesting? What you suffer from is an unwillingness to go past the shallow perusal of my blog – and these issues – that most people engage in.

“You present the public with what you honestly seem to believe is evidence of a Democratic-New-Age-elitist-feminazi-yoga-homeopathy-mind-control-San-Francisco-vegetarian-adultery-Obama-NY-Times-liberal-Clinton-homosexual-Buddhist-adultery cult.”

Are you denying that Barack Obama was Oprah Winfrey‘s candidate? Anyone against quackery should’ve used that as reason enough to turn against his candidacy but you jackasses actually gave our enemy power! That’s not my imagination, but a fact. And every authority on cultism lays it’s growth on affluent, middle class women – the so-called “worried well” – which you’ll attempt to make out as my misogyny at work. If you were real scientists you’d stop with the PC defenses you put up (as I have as a black guy) and actually study the subject in depth to get at the problem. Instead you’re like the gays when AIDS first hit, insisting no one would close the bathhouses to protect their lifestyle – meanwhile killing each other by the score. You’re being idiots.

“Its like you took every single thing you dislike and rolled in all into one humongous ball of evil that only you can see”

You are conveniently leaving out Panda Bear, M.D. and all the other supporters my blog has – therapists, women, post-NewAgers, ex-Buddhists, etc. It may make you feel better to think I’m imagining things but it only proves why the “delusional thinking” tag gets such a workout on my blog.

LanceR,

Attacking the people who agree with you is the single stupidest thing you can do. Yes, homeopathy is dangerous. Yes, NewAge gibberish is stupid. Yes, yes, yes… so why are you attacking Orac?”

Look, I praise Orac a lot on my blog. I quote him often. But it’s maddening to see where he goes astray – or where he’s just plain ignorant. (How long did it take him, after I told him homeopathy was a cult, to start admitting it? It was long after he told me I was full of shit, and he’s never acted like the work and knowledge I have to give might shed some important light on what he’s saying. You guys have a “cult” mentality as strong as any NewAge group I encounter because you’re so damned thin-skinned. I talk like the people where I come from, but to you guys it’s hell on wheels – you need to grow up. You ignore the circumstances I describe (divorce, three murders, etc.) to attack my fucking words like they’re what’s important. You’re a bunch of NewAge children concerned about your immature “feelings” as adults.

“It is because you are unable to separate yourself from the issue.”

Here it is again: They killed my mother-in-law and two other innocent people. How do i separate myself from that? Or are you going to suggest, as NewAgers typically do, that I “move on”? Fuck you. Tell someone who’s had their kid kidnapped to “move on” – my life, which was pretty damn good, was taken from me – and I know by who and why. You try to be “cool” when such a thing happens to you: you’ll find it as impossible as I do.

Orac,

“The Crack Emcee demands why I don’t join him, and I’ll tell him. He has made his crusade explicitly political.”

Bullshit – you guys accuse anyone who is to the right of being *something*. You voted for Obama – with Oprah’s blessing. Now either shut up or admit what you’ve done to your own cause: you joined the enemy.

“To him it’s all left wing, New Age woo that is the enemy.”

Bullshit: I know exactly what I write and I attack the left because that’s NewAge’s home. Hillary and Bill Clinton are followers of Ken Wilber and Deepak Chopra. Arriana Huffington is a follower of john-Roger, etc. I attack the left heavier because that’s where the danger is most – and you contribute to it by focusing all, your attention on protecting it for PC reasons. People attack the right everyday – where’s the “all politicians are untrustworthy” attitude when it comes to the candidate you voted for? The oner backed by the Queen of Woo, Oprah? You’re a hypocrite, O.

“All that matters is that these tactics subvert science-based medicine and potentially endanger patients.”

Exactly – but is that all there is to it, Orac? Here are two stories of how cultism is working out there – how about that? Can’t you admit there’s more going on here than the limited scope you’re putting on it? Our society is being destroyed by this shit and you’re resisting me? I got your shit in a bag full of this crap but you want me to dig just your stuff out for observation? That’s nutty. And it doesn’t make me crazy just because you refuse to see or understand it. (I have asked you to contact me but what?) You should be defending me, as PB does: I understand what you guys are just guessing at.

“Until the CE can see that, I will not be joining his little crusade, no matter how much I can sympathize with his direct experience with quackery. He’s made it partisan, and it’s not partisan. It’s about science, and science is not partisan.’

Thanks for being the first person to acknowledge my experience (the rest of you are assholes for not doing so.) but you’re also full of shit here: science is partisan. You’ve admitted you’re more conservative than most of Scienceblogs so don’t tell me there’s no bias at work there or here. You guys see things the way you want – not where the evidence leads. Meanwhile, I say if the evidence leads to a non-PC place, then go there. And I do – that’s respecting evidence, man, not playing favors or being a cultist.

“If he doesn’t believe me that woo and New Age isn’t all left wing, I can show him a lot of evidence that, for examples, the Nazis were very much into homeopathy, naturopathy, and “natural” (or, as they called it, volkish) medicine.”

Dude, I lived in Europe and Left and Right are flipped upside down there: Hitler was, by our calculations, a NewAge Leftist. Almost every tenent of NewAge was defended by him: environmentalism, homeopathy, racial ideas (How you liking our “black” president, Orac?) spirituality, occultism, world domination – all of it. You just refuse to read history as it is but how you want to see it, much like Jon Stewart was recently busted doing. You believe lies and think yourself intelligent. Sorry, Dude, but I’m not one of your blog’s sheeple. I know things – not believe them. (Isn’t that Obama’s slogan, Mr. Scientist? The one you gulped up like an idiot? “Change you can believe in”? Very rational of you,…)

Orac, I’m going to stay on your nuts like white on rice, because you are a linchpin of this shit – these fools listen to you. If the science community is ever going to protect itself, then you have to do something – and you, still, have no idea what you’re fucking with. I do.

And, one day, you’re going to admit it. It makes you feel good, now, to have supporters against me but when you finally “get it”, you’re going to feel like a fool – that’s how cons work – so make it easy on yourself. You’re already using my terminology for homeopathy. You’re going to have to keep going further. You have no choice:

I’m right, and I’m 100% positive of it, and you will too.

I love this tactic of NewAge Just Kevin’s – trying to turn a single guy with a barely read blog, who has suffered and studied the very cultism you idiots are so alarmed by, into “paranoid”.

————

When you automatically assume that every single person who disagrees with your wild claims MUST be a secret member of the “New Age Conspiracy,” then yes, that would seem to indicate that you are suffering from some sort of paranoid delusion.

————

Let’s see, I study cultism. Right on the front page of my blog, right now, is another cult researcher, Chris Locke, saying:

————

Mining other blogs for punchy quotes that can be torn from context and pressed into service in your imaginary war against the Gay Liberal Democrat Adulterous Buddhists Conspiracy isn’t “study.”

Read some actual research on destructive and coercive cults, learn about the psychological dynamics involved, then you might actually be performing a valuable service.

Here’s another free tip for you while we’re m at it : no legitimate researcher will agree with you that the Democratic Party is a “cult.”

Was Jim Jones a Democrat? Yes. Was he a cult leader? Yes. Does that mean that the Democratic Party itself is a cult?

No, but to understand why not, you really will need to learn a bit about basic logic.

The following is something I think could actually help you out a lot, especially if nobody has ever explained any of this to you before:

Logic & Fallacies : Constructing a Logical Argument

Just Kevin and, now, the “spiritual” Buddhist, RevRon (who has regularly come on my blog to attack me, lie about who he is and whether he knows me, and basically act very non-Buddhist) who’s next?

This site is like one of the beast’s bellies. They feel safe here. Of course they do: Orac, as a Obama supporter and former believer himself, allows them cover. That’s the problem, O:

You’ve got to flush them out, man, like quail during the hunt. Say what you want but I’m no hypocrite – as Just Kevin and RevRon have proven themselves to be. NewAgers are hypocrites. They hate anyone who recognizes it. You rant against Oprah but voted for her hand-picked candidate. Pure hypocrisy. Work it out, man, I know you can – don’t be a talking head

Start making sense.

I think the case might actually be a bit more complex than it looks at first. The wife was taken immediately to hospital when she suffered from kidney stones ( no woo woo for her) suggesting that their belief in homeopathy was not so intense that they would not seek medical help for themselves. I wonder if it is more a straight up case of abuse and neglect with a homeopathy overlay?.
Revron, it’s interesting that you mention the FDA breast implant hearings given that there has never been any evidence of a link between implants and the multiple conditions alleged to be caused by them. i suggest you get a copy of Marcia Angell MD’s book “Science on trial” for a detailed account of what really happened. You might be surprised.

“Was Jim Jones a Democrat? Yes. Was he a cult leader? Yes. Does that mean that the Democratic Party itself is a cult?

No,…”

You dummy: Jim Jones had the backing of Harvey Milk, Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein, and the rest of San Francisco’s political community. They even put him in charge of the Housing Authority. As a member of The People’s temple said, “Nobody joins a cult. You join a religion, a self-help group, a political organization, and by the time you realize what you’ve done it’s too late.”

And, BTW, I’ve read more cult literature than you can imagine has been printed. And just because I’ve discovered a new wrinkle in it (that, say, Rick Ross hasn’t) doesn’t make it wrong. Any scientist, here, should be able to explain that to you: It’s logical.

Hitler was, by our calculations, a NewAge Leftist.

Maybe by “your calculations,” he was, but by any reasonable historian’s calculations, no, he wasn’t. Really, he wasn’t, no matter how much certain right wingers try to define him that way. Making that claim illustrates extreme ignorance of history and politics.

See:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2008/01/liberal-fascism-response.html
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2009/04/glenn-becks-liberal-fascism-hour.html

You appear to be doing what Jonah Goldberg has been described as doing in his book Liberal Fascism:

And then Goldberg proceeds to define everything that he himself considers undesirable as “fascist.” This is just about everything even remotely and vaguely thought of as “liberal”: vegetarianism, Social Security, multiculturalism, the “war on poverty,” “the politics of meaning.” The figures he labels as fascist range from Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon B. Johnson and Hillary Clinton. Goldberg’s primary achievement is to rob the word of all meaning — Newspeak incarnate.

Except that you’re defining everything you hate, in particular virtually all forms of quackery, as “New Age” (whether they are or not) or liberal (whether they are or not). I do not buy into that, and by doing this you are alienating someone who would otherwise be your natural ally and who agrees with your stand against pseudoscience but not your explicit politicalization of the battle. Your pain appears to have led to this, and I can sympathize, but defining everything you hate as one political ideology is every bit as irrational as New Age. Can’t you see that?

Flim Flam,

“I wonder if it is more a straight up case of abuse and neglect with a homeopathy overlay?”

That’s possible. Most people don’t see the nuances at work here – that’s why Orac sees my position as strictly partisan (though I’m supported by Panda Bear – a Christian) when there’s more at work here. NewAge beliefs are like cigarette smoke, wedging in nooks and crannies, wherever there’s room. That’s why I advocate a thorough scrubbing – a scorched earth policy – in dealing with it. Like you would do with smoke.

“Revron, it’s interesting that you mention the FDA breast implant hearings given that there has never been any evidence of a link between implants and the multiple conditions alleged to be caused by them.”

Dude, I know RevRon: he just wanted a chance to accuse doctors of selling out to money. Just gratuitous liberal bullshit whining, trying to pass for legitimate discussion. Ask him about his “Buddhist training” and his “master”:

He’ll keep you in stitches with his bullshit.

I tried to manage my infant daughter’s eczema through the use of barrier creams, bathing and environment changes (natural fabrics, changing laundrey powders etc). My GP had prescribed 1% hydrocortisone but I was reluctant to use it as I had heard about the skin-thinning effect (but didn’t discuss this with the GP).

I tried this approach for a while and she started to get worse. I then read two books on eczema from the library, written by qualified dermotologists that reviewed the evidence for various treatments and risks. I then did what my GP had told me to do in the first place, and lo and behold! her skin is much better and manageable (not cured). Felt a bit silly really.

1% hyddrocortisone from my understanding is very safe and does not cause skin-thinning. Can be used with confidence – as directed.

The Crack Emcee,

I posted a link to the article about the dead 4 month old in my most recent post – Anti-Science and Killing and EMS. Thank you for pointing it out. I wrote about Orac’s post, too.

My condolences for what you have experienced. It is beyond what I can imagine.

I agree with some of your points. I don’t agree with all of them, but that should not make me an enemy. That would not be a very scientific approach. To me, science is more important than politics.

There are many ways to accomplish something. Demanding that everyone else adopt my way is not something I am going to do. Following someone making a similar demand is also not something I am going to do. I change my mind when I feel that I have good reason to. If I ever find someone who agrees with me on everything, I am probably going to wonder what is wrong with that person. 🙂

floormaster squeeze,

While I understand Orac’s position to attack the homeopathy directly the story as reported raised a number of questions.

I am confused by the relevance of “the daughter was born healthy.” The excema is triggered by lots of things; things that naturally would come later.

The girl died of malnutrion. Surely this is a very different than the excema. (I guess the excema could have been so severe the girl could not maintain a feeding).

According to the article –

THE parents of a nine-month-old girl who died from septicemia

“Over time the eczema caused her skin to become thinner and weaker and the constant breaking of the skin allowed infections to enter her body.”

The court heard that Gloria was above average weight, height and head circumference until she was four months old, but lost 20 per cent of her body weight in the last five months of her life after a nurse first identified her eczema and advised her parents to send her to a skin specialist.

Septicemia can certainly lead to malnutrition. Almost all illness can. I suspect that malnutrition that leads to a loss of 20% of body weight is probably only contributing to the death, not the primary cause. Not that a loss of 20% of body weight is a good thing for someone not overweight. People who die from malnutrition may lose more than half of their body weight.

Septicemia can kill much faster than malnutrition.

Orac,

Man, presenting me with a discussion of the difference between fascism and totalitarianism – featuring Glenn Beck, a doofus I never watch – makes no sense. Like I said, having an original thought or take on something (in this case, history) doesn’t make me wrong. I’ve walked the same streets the Nazis marched down, spoke with former Nazis, and found enough evidence that I’d say most historians have handed a narrative that makes them feel good about themselves, which don’t make it true (or do you really think Obama is a great speaker, too?) Most historians don’t study NewAge cultism (it’s history and many tenticals) so they’d have absolutely no input on what I’m suggesting. It’s like looking at the Democratic Party, now, without understanding it’s NewAge belief system – anyone could think it’s not there. Only when you start adding up who is and isn’t in it that you can say whether it’s there or not – and, boy, it’s there.

Rogue Medic,

Dude, don’t buy into this idea that I want to force anyone to do anything, or that disagreeing with me makes anyone an “enemy” (I’ve said, many times, that I wouldn’t want a friend who didn’t disagree with me – which makes me different than most of these weak-kneed idiots.): I’m an adult.

“There are many ways to accomplish something. Demanding that everyone else adopt my way is not something I am going to do.”

Imagine, after the most horrific experience of your life, you discover a decent portion of society – doctors, scientists, and some of the biggest names in politics – all endorse? That Oprah, being considered a moral force for society, means more than you ever imagined? That behind almost every important person and institution is an “occult” belief they’re trying to advance, and the people you think you should be able to get help from are more interested in acting important and/or dissing you? What would you do? How would you act? How would you approach them after that? (Remember: we’re talking about “the most horrific experience of your life”?) Would you listen to their bullshit any longer? Or would you act like Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby” and get to the bottom of of this (protected) “spiritual” shit, naysayers be damned? That’s where I am.

Almost every online scientist – including Orac with acupuncture – has voiced a one-time weakness for NewAge thinking and leftist ideology. I’ve never believed in any of it, even when I was growing up and raised as a Democrat. That, alone, makes me a little different. I’ve got a mind like a steel trap and a will to go with it. I know what I’m talking about because I haven’t allowed myself to fall into NewAge thinking (I used to tell my ex-wife, when we were married and I had no idea what she was involved in, that she needed to seek mental help for what she believed.) so, unlike Orac, there’s no “Garbage In/Garbage Out” problem to clutter up what I’m saying. I’m not some kid, turning against Christianity, or Republicans, or whatever – I’m a serious artist (emphasis on ARTIST) with something to say about a serious problem within our culture. A problem that’s already got us on the edge of disaster – most just don’t know how to put it together, in a coherent way, as I do. Couple that with most people being lazy thinkers to begin with and you see the problem. They’ll scan the first page of my blog and say “this guy’s crazy” while certain doctors (like PB) and others (look at the quotes on the right of my blog) read the damned thing and find it’s just what they’ve been missing.

Anyway, my point is you’re entering a long-running argument with me and Orac – one which I’m winning since he’s adopting my language and not the other way around – and I’d suggest you take some time with my blog (go back to the beginning and work forward) and decide for yourself what it is and who i am. I think you’ll find a guy with a lot of heart who is dismayed and appalled at what we’ve allowed ourselves to be cultishly swept into.

Especially when it comes to the science community.

Crack Emcee,

If you want to be taken seriously, if you want to be able to debate people on the internet and avoid being mocked and dismissed as an foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic, then you really, really need to at least acquaint yourself with the LOGICAL FALLACIES.

An understanding of the very basic techniques people use to construct logical arguments isn’t “leftist.” It isn’t “new age.” It isn’t part of the “vast conspiracy.”

Logic isn’t left or right. Its a method, a way of thinking and writing in a clear way that other people can understand, because it makes sense.

Logic is an antidote to the irrational, emotional arguments people make that can range from “fuzzy” to (in your case) straight out CRAZY.

If nothing else, you can at least learn to recognize the common types of fallacies that other people fall back on, even if you you have no wish to be a rational thinker yourself.

Once again : STUDY THE LOGICAL FALLACIES! I beg of you.

Orac,

“Your pain appears to have led to this, and I can sympathize, but defining everything you hate as one political ideology is every bit as irrational as New Age. Can’t you see that?”

Damn good question. Orac, how did NewAge work it’s way into medicine as thoroughly as it has? Science? Politics? Do you have any idea what NewAge really is and how it’s managed to move into mainstream life? Where are the boundaries as you see them? I see them very clearly because THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES. I told you, it’s like smoke. (It’s a “spiritual” belief system, for goodness sake. Even the religious poll done each year doesn’t ask about it – what does that tell you about the “occult”?) All you can do is become familiar with it’s tenents and fight it where you find it. It’s massive. Add up all the countries, fields of expertise, and political operatives that are into this crap and you, too, will stop trying to corral it and just call it “NewAge” and get on with it. These people into the modern incarnation of NewAge have had a 40 year advantage on us – you tell me what you’d call it at this point? They’ve changed the name so many times (Occult/NewAge/Mind-Body) that to give an umbrella term to it just makes sense.

Crack Emcee,

“So, who should you trust – the truthful black guy or the liars who attack me for exposing them and their tactics?”

Begging the Question

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“Say what you want but I’m no hypocrite – as Just Kevin and RevRon have proven themselves to be. NewAgers are hypocrites. They hate anyone who recognizes it. You rant against Oprah but voted for her hand-picked candidate.”

Circumstantial ad Hominem

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“Most people don’t see the nuances at work here – that’s why Orac sees my position as strictly partisan (though I’m supported by Panda Bear – a Christian) when there’s more at work here.”

Special Pleading

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Etc, etc, etc.

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