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A nonsensical attack on Stephen Barrett

About three weeks ago, fresh after having experienced my own attack by anti-vaccine activists who tried to get me fired, I noticed that Doctors Data was doing what cranks and crank organizations can’t resist doing when they face scientific criticism, namely to lash out. Such lashing out can take many forms. In my case, as I mentioned, the cranks were the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism, and the attack consisted of an e-mail campaign against me to the board of directors of my university. To Dr. Barrett, who, thanks to his many more years taking on medical pseudoscience than I, is far more despised by quacks than I, the lashing out took the form of a frivolous libel suit. I knew at the time that quacks would pile on, and in fact I was surprised that it had taken so long for someone to start gloating over the lawsuit in the blogosphere, but gloat someone did.

A homepath named Heidi Stevenson, who also writes for that source of all quackery NaturalNews.com, decided to post a very ignorant screed to a website called Gaia Health entitled Quackbusters Are Busted!: Though they seem to have more lives than a cat, it seems likely that Quackbusters will be down for the count. It’s such a hunk o’ burnin’ stupid that I see why Heidi would be considered a suitable candidate to write for NaturalNews.com. Truly, it’s napalm-grade, neuron-apoptosing stupid, to wit:

Stephen Barrett claims to be a retired psychiatrist and hires himself out as an “expert” to testify against non-mainstream medical practitioners. His claim to being a retired psychiatrist is laughable; he was never certified as a psychiatrist because he never passed the board examinations. He was never accepted into the profession. In America, though, once licensed as a physician, it’s legal to practice any type of medicine desired. Barrett wanted to be a psychiatrist, so he called himself one.


I first encountered this sort of nonsense at least ten years ago. To anyone familiar with how medicine works, it’s such patent idiocy that I was half-tempted to go back to Usenet and find one of my old rebuttals of the nonsense, but instead I’ll just updated it for a new decade. Just take a look at Dr. Barrett’s CV. He completed his psychiatry residency in 1961–nearly fifty years ago. Back then, board certification was not essential to have a perfectly fine and respectable medical practice. Such a criticism only works if you view an elderly doctor through the eyes of today’s medical world, where board certification is close to absolutely necessary to practice, at least anywhere near an urban area. Without it a physician won’t be accepted into health insurance plans as a preferred or network physician, is highly unlikely to be able to be accepted on the medical staff of hospitals, and will find it very hard to do anything other than moonlight in emergency rooms or work under the supervision of other physicians, for example, as a house physician. It wasn’t that way 50 years ago.

Heidi then continues:

Please understand that I would never make fun of someone’s misfortunes in normal circumstances. In Barrett’s case, though, an exception needs to be made. He has done enormous harm to anyone who advocates or practices non-mainstream medicine. He has hired himself out as an expert to testify against such practitioners, and he has been the mouthpiece for Big Pharma’s attack on anything that isn’t manufactured and sold by them.

Sure, she wouldn’t. Sure she wouldn’t make fun of someone’s misfortunes. Then she spends an entire article doing just that, making fun of another person’s misfortunes. In fact, she makes fun of them so much that she’s not sastisfied with the real misfortunes that Dr. Barrett has, such as having a frivolous libel suit directed against him by Doctors Data. She has to make up a whole host of imaginary “misfortunes” and then gloat over them gleefully, practically dancing as she does it.

I wonder how she could actually type up this screed. She appeared too busy dancing a jig, metaphorically speaking, and cleaning the spittle off her keyboard and screen as she typed. First, it’s very obvious that she’s been using Patrick “Tim” Bolen as a source, because her rant sounds almost as though it could have been written by Bolen himself, as you can see from Barrett’s response to Tim Bolen and Peter Bowditch’s deconstruction of Bolen’s activities. Indeed, at one point she cites a description of a deposition that Patrick “Tim” Bolen underwent made by Bolen himself:

As the deposition progressed, Aetna attorneys left the room more and more. Their questions became more and more strident, as the realization set in with them that their whole defense in the Federal case was based on NONSENSE – and the false information, and suggestions, provided by Barrett and Baratz. And, it became obvious, from their body language, that they knew they were in trouble – and that the actual trial was going to begin June 12th, 2006 with famous California litigator Carlos F. Negrete bringing the Plaintiff’s case to the jury.

One can only wonder if Patrick is referring to the deposition that Peter Bowditch posted to his website, where he won’t even admit where he lives. Such is the quality of the source upon which Heidi relies. It’s kind of sad, actually. Of course, when you don’t have actual data other than the smear campaign of a longtime enemy of Dr. Barrett, then you have to go for the pharma shill gambit, and, boy, oh, boy, Heidi does it with gusto:

Barrett has launched at least 14 expensive legal actions at a single time, cases that can be assumed to cost at least $100,000 each to pursue. In the Federal Court in Oregon, he was forced to respond to questions about his income.

In two years’ time, Barrett had made a total of $54,000.

Where did Barrett get the money to pursue so many cases? Thus far, no one seems to have found the hard proof, but it’s obvious that the backing for his nefarious machinations has been Big Pharma and Big Medicine, which seek to drive any and all competition out of business and make them illegal.

Which is utterly ridiculous, particularly in light of the Doctors Data lawsuit. If Barrett were backed by pharmaceutical companies, what would he have to fear from SLAPP suits like the one filed by Doctor’s Data? He could just hop on the Merck/Pfizer/Aventis (MPA) black helicopter, head on over to his pharma paymasters in secret, and shovel the cash into his bank account in sufficient quantities to crush a medium-sized company like Doctors’ Data, which wouldn’t stand a chance. In particular, Heidi completely ignores all the times that various quacks have sued Dr. Barrett for libel or various other reasons, all because they don’t like the light of truth being shone on their activities. In reality, it’s been Dr. Barrett who’s been the underdog all along. It’s him who’s put himself on the line, in particular his finances. It’s him whose reputation has been dragged through the mud by people like Patrick “Tim” Bolen and Ilena Rosenthal, the latter of whom managed to produce a ruling supported one of the worst laws I’ve seen, in which it’s quite possible to get away with libel, just by reposting defamatory statements from elsewhere on the Internet to Usenet, blogs, and websites after Barrett tried to sue her for libel for reposting defamatory statements from elsewhere on the Internet to Usenet, blogs, and websites. Personally, I think that was a bad move on Barrett’s part, but I’m not sure what I would have done. Probably nothing, given that there are already scads of quacks out there reposting defamatory statements about me from elsewhere on the Internet to Usenet, blogs, and websites. It’s one of those examples where trying to go after these people would be more likely to make things worse.

Heidi also makes another nonsensical claim that is easily refuted simply by a visit to Quackwatch. Apparently she’s upset that Quackwatch has multiple subsidiary websites, all with the same layout. Of course, one wonders what Heidi expects a bunch of websites that are all subsidiaries of one large site to look like. Does she expect that they’ll all have different layouts? More risibly, Heidi claims that there is “little original material” there and that Barrett writes little himself. A simple perusal of the website will show this to be false, with numerous articles by Barrett himself easily accessible and numerous other articles written by others expressly for Quackwatch. It’s such as easily refuted claim that Heidi must be either utterly clueless or have a high degree of contempt for her audience, figuring that no one will bother to check.

The other hilarious charge that Heidi makes is that Barrett is in it for “self-enrichment,” a risible charge that smacks of Bolen-level delusion, particularly in light of Dr. Barrett’s disclaimer:

Many people wonder whether Quackwatch is a “front” for the American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical industry, the “medical establishment,” or whomever else they might not like. Nearly every week I get e-mails accusing me of this–and worse. Quite frankly, the idea is preposterous.

  • I have no financial tie to any commercial or industrial organization.
  • My viewpoints are not for hire. Even if they were, none of my imaginary funders would actually have a reason to hire me.
  • Standard medicine and “alternative medicine” do not actually compete for patient dollars. Well-designed studies have shown that most “alternative” methods are used in addition to–rather than instead of–standard methods.
  • The total cost of operating our many Web sites is approximately $7,000 per year. If donations fall below what is needed, the rest comes out of my pocket.

Heidi builds her entire case on one ruling which, from my reading of the ruling, suggests that Barrett and the NCAHF had been ill-advised to bring the suit. For example, in one part, Heidi points out that neither Stephen Barrett nor Wally Sampson offered evidence that they were qualified as expert witnesses in the case, which was against a supplier of homeopathic remedies. Yet the reason was not so much because Barrett and Sampson didn’t know what they were talking about but rather because of the way the court operates. If you follow the link from Heidi’s post to the source of the ruling, you’ll find this revealing passage:

He [Sampson] admitted to having had no experience with or training in homeopathic medicine or drugs. He was unfamiliar with any professional organizations related to homeopathy, including the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia Convention of the United States, which group is responsible for designation and de-designation of such drugs as “official” drugs recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He thus does not have expertise as to the drug products that are the sole products at issue in this case. While he stated that he teaches a university course on “alternative medicine,” Dr. Sampson admitted that the course does not instruct on how such methods may be practiced, but rather is a course designed to highlight the criticisms of such alternative practices. Therefore, the Court finds that Dr. Sampson has relatively thin credentials to opine on the general questions of the proper standards for clinical or scientific research or other methods of obtaining valid evidence about the efficacy of drugs. The Court further finds that Dr. Sampson lacks experience in the field of homeopathic drugs, which renders his testimony of little or no weight in this case.

In other words, to the court, you basically have to be a homeopath to be able to testify in court about homeopathy. Talk about a judge having his cranium firmly lodged in his posterior! It does not take a homeopath to recognize homeopathy for the utter nonsense, the sympathetic magic, the quackery that it is. All it takes is a very basic knowledge of physics and chemistry and, most important of all, actually knowing what homeopathy really is. It’s not just herbal medicine, as so many people think it is. It takes a truly deluded form of magical thinking to believe that like cures like in the way homeopaths say it does and that diluting a remedy to the point where it is tens of orders of magnitude beyond Avagadro’s number, to the point where not a single molecule of the original compound is likely to be left many tens of times over. It does, however, demonstrate just what the problem of licensing homeopathy would be, if it were licensed in many more states. Giving it legal status means that the only valid experts are true believers; i.e., homeopaths.

Of course, no rant against Barrett would be complete without adding a good conspiracy theory, and our homeopath certainly doesn’t disappoint there, either. She weaves a conspiracy in which she lumps any group she doesn’t like, any group that is dedicated to criticizing quackery into an amorphous group of interrelated (and, of course, pharma funded) “Quackbusters.” Healthwatch in the U.K.? Quackbusters. The NCAHF? Quackbusters? Me? Quackbusters, of course. I’ve seen the quacks list me among people like Dr. Barrett and Peter Bowditch as though being among them is a bad thing.

Yes, Heidi is one misguided and ignorant soul, and her arguments lay down enough napalm of burning stupid to destroy many villages, or at least fry a whole lot of neurons in anyone with a modicum of scientific knowledge and intelligence. Still, she can’t help herself, and I know what the best revenge would be. It would be two-fold. First, please do as I asked when I first wrote about this case and donate to Quackwatch to support Steve Barrett’s legal defense against the psuedoscientists at Doctors Data. It’ll drive the quacks crazy if Barrett has the resources to launch a strong legal defense, not to mention the moral support from a large number of people that such donations would indicate. Second, head on over to Heidi’s place and politely let her know how execrable and nonsensical her arguments are.

After all, if Heidi’s going to label me as being “in on the conspiracy” (and you know she will after this post goes live and she becomes aware of it), at the very least I ought to see if she can take the heat for what she wrote or whether she’ll do what I think she’ll do and what nearly all cranks do when faced with facts: Start censoring criticism.

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]

150 replies on “A nonsensical attack on Stephen Barrett”

Heidi also makes another nonsensical claim that is easily refuted simply by a visit to Quackwatch. Apparently she’s upset that Quackwatch has multiple subsidiary websites, all with the same layout. Of course, one wonders what Heidi expects a bunch of websites that are all subsidiaries of one large site to look like. Does she expect that they’ll all have different layouts?

Heidi has yet to plumb the depths of real evil, then. I am, of course, speaking of the dreaded Cheezburger Network.

It will be interesting indeed to see how she responds to criticism, but honestly, even if she does allow contrary views to be posted, she doesn’t appear to be the sort of person who would be swayed by facts. Facts are things that support her preconceptions. Things which don’t, no matter how well documented, are merely evidence of the conspiracy. It is the mindset of the conspiracy theorist.

I find it particularly sad how people like her see the DD lawsuit as some sort of blow against Barrett. While it could prove brutally costly (that’s generally the point of SLAPP lawsuits), the fact that DD has to resort to it shows that they not only lack a better defense but are aware that they lack a better defense. They know Barrett is right, and they know that his work could reveal their fraud; that’s the only reason they attack him. If they were right, they would have nothing to fear, but since they are not actually right, they know their entire business model is at risk if he is allowed to continue speaking. That they sue him is merely evidence that enough people read Quackwatch for it to be influential.

@Calli Arcale: OOOOHHHH! I can haz cheezburger? My kids look at more of the network than I do, but I have gone to some of the sister sites.

Actually, I was working on some coding today and noticed that the beginning of 2 of the commands I am using is “NOM” (more letters after that, but the view made me laugh and my coworkers now KNOW I am insane…)

Are we sure that Heidi isn’t just a sockpuppet for Bolen, since he has been known to do those things?

Ms. Stevenson refers to Dr. Barrett as a “quackbuster”; Null has frequently ranted about “quackbusters”( never mentioning the names of the doctor or his website). I wonder why that is ( I ask rhetorically)? If you google that term you’ll get…. Tim Bolen ( and a Daffy Duck cartoon) as top hits and a little further down, “Confessions of a Quackbuster” (non-woo). It appears that this might be an attempt to keep the devotees from reading what Barrett *actually* writes: instructing them how to avoid the many ploys designed to fleece them, how advertisements have evolved towards the perfect pitch, how science is bastardized, the history of woo, how EBM is demonized, as well as his personal account of lawsuits directed against him.( As a side note: both Orac and his “friend” recieve the dubious honor of being named “experts” (a/k/a shills) at Whale.to)

@MI Dawn:

You and I had the same suspicion. Given Bolen’s history of prevarication and sockpuppetry, the first thing I thought of when I read that Heidi was taking Bolen as a source was “if there actually is a Heidi…”

@Antaeus Feldspar: The only thing that holds me back from believing it IS Bolen, (and I don’t recall enough of Bolen to know nor do I really want to do so…) is that I don’t recall Bolen ever used a woman’s name to sockpuppet with. From some of his writing that I DO recall, he holds women rather in contempt, so I don’t think he would use a woman’s name. However, if he wants people to think “Heidi” is stupid, or worthy of scorn, maybe he would.

Hmmm…she sure does miss the point. Everyone knows you are not part of an organization that fronts for Big Medicine or Big Pharma. No way. They would ultimately be harmed by you and your partners program just the like the alternative docs. What you’re really fronting for is the new atheist movement and no doubt money is not a primary motivation. A new world order without pseudoscience and religion is your ultimate goal…is it not? That’s fine, whatever. You raise a lot of valid points and probably will open a lot of eyes over time but why always hide the true agenda? Why not just be up front and honest?

@DrWonderful: Orac, an atheist? Sorry, you made a wrong turn in Albuquerque. PZ’s blog is Pharyngula, not Insolence.

Orac’s agenda is not hidden. He believes in science-based medical care and not quackery. His RELIGIOUS beliefs are not involved in that.

Excuse my ignorance, but does anyone except the religiously committed even read this woman?

I got my regular newsletter from QuackWatch and found out about the latest nuisance lawsuit against Dr. Barrett, so I sent a donation. Please do the same if you really want to help stop Heide and her ilk.

I have a friend who works for the Sheriff’s Dept as an effective “CSI” (this county does not have an official CSI title). She’s worked at this position for about 7 years. According to her department (and the Sheriff himself), she’s an expert on blood splatter analysis. However, the court does not consider her an expert, simply because she does not hold a certification from any sort of college on blood spatter. The court requires the certification along with the years of experience along with the recommendations from her department and the Sheriff.

Courts can have some interesting requirements, sometimes.

Anyone find it odd that the article is supposedly about a lawsuit brought against Dr Barrett but that the writer fails to even mention the merits of the case? No me neither.
Also this line ‘The last time Barrett was sued for libel, he relied on his homeowners insurance to defend him’ followed later by insinuations of Big Pharma funding? Does Not Compute.
Could be an example of homeopathic editorial techniques – take a topic and dilute it until its just white noise and nothing else.

hmmm,

all SciBloggers are new atheists? Who would have thunk it? Rosenau and others must be aghast with the realization of what their agenda actually is.

/headscratching

Quackwatch is and remains my number 1 source when dealing with medical woo. I compliment those treatments with regular doses of Rspectful Insolence. Time to head over and send in my co-pay.

If Heidi is not a sockpuppet of Bolen, then she is a poor cut-and-paste job of Bolen. This suit is so egregious and readily defendable that there could be a myriad of defenses to be interposed by Dr. Barrett. For one thing, DDI’s attorneys never specified the statements that they are whining about.

As for Dr. Barrett’s board status. I believe that he passed the psychiatry portion of the board, but did not pass the neurology portion. Back when he took the boards, being “Board Eligible” was more than sufficient to practice any specialty, and it was rarely questioned.

DrWonderful = augustine

They have the same talking points on nearly everything.

@ 9 / Jarred C:

In all fairness, blood spatter is not widely accepted in a medico-legal context despite what CSI (and their ilk) might suggest.

That being said, courts can have some interesting requirements…

@ Calli: “It will be interesting indeed to see how she responds to criticism, but honestly, even if she does allow contrary views to be posted, she doesn’t appear to be the sort of person who would be swayed by facts.”

I tried posting two comments on her blog but, surprise surprise, both were swiftly deleted. I see that one commenter who managed to stay afloat was accused of intimidation tactics for questioning the veracity of Bolen.

Dawn the apologist: “Orac’s agenda is not hidden. He believes in science-based medical care and not quackery. His RELIGIOUS beliefs are not involved in that.”

He believes in ideology based medical care which involves values and ethics. Medicine is not a hard science nor will it ever be. To slap a label like “science-based” on it is nothing more than window dressing for an ideological agenda.

“Evidence-based medicine” (SBMers version) as it is practiced kills one hundred thousand people every year in the U.S. And that’s only the mistakes. Practicing the way it’s taught kills countless more. Has for decades.

With that said. Orac’s master IS an atheist. Unless he insanely holds on to a dichotomy.

augie the fool: “He believes in ideology based medical care which involves values and ethics.”

Ideology – I don’t think you know how to use that word correctly, but don’t ever let that stop you.

ideology
n., pl., -gies.

1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

Any comprehensive and mutually consistent set of ideas by which a social group makes sense of the world may be referred to as an ideology. Catholicism, Islam, Liberalism, and Marxism are examples. An ideology needs to provide some explanation of how things have come to be as they are, some indication of where they are heading (to provide a guide to action), criteria for distinguishing truth from falsehood and valid arguments from invalid, and some overriding belief, whether in God, Providence, or History, to which adherents may make a final appeal when challenged.

Heidi says: “(Barrett) has done enormous harm to anyone who advocates or practices non-mainstream medicine.”

Translation: “Barrett has made a lot of quacks nervous and angry.”

All you have to do is visit the “Cheers and Jeers” section on the Quackwatch site to get a flavor of rabid anti-Barrettry. The sick and twisted rants there are incredible, coming from people who evidently view themselves as “healers”.

Any medical or health care involves values and ethics, by condition of registration and codes of practice.

Truly, it’s napalm-grade, neuron-apoptosing stupid

I love all Orac’s descriptions of stupid, but this one has to be the best. Neurons preferring suicide over contemplating this particular grade of stupid is probably just about accurate.

I hope Dr. Barret is handling this well.

IANAL, but I would hope that this lawsuit would be dismissed when the court discovers that everything in the disputed articles is true. I don’t think it is wise of Doctor’s Data to risk having their practices brought to light in such a public way.

It is refreshing to hear Augustine admit that quack medicine doesn’t have “values and ethics”. After all, ethics are nothing more than ideology, right?

“He believes in ideology based medical care which involves values and ethics”

Ideology based medical care is a bit of a redundant modifier.

EBM or EBP, would be an ideology, as would PBC. Client centred care is also an ideology.

It’s equivilant to saying that someone belives in a religious religion, or believes in educating education.

The claim augie is incompentantly trying to make would be personal belief motivated medical care, for which he/she clearly has no supporting evidence, despite being given multiple chances to produce anything. Anything at all.

I went, I skimmed, I surfed around, I now want to scream.

The same writer has a post all about the RSV vaccine, saying that it’s just another excuse for vaccine makers to make a bunch of money off a “mild disease” (like the “so-called H1N1 pandemic”).

Thankfully, this shot was available to my preemie during his first winter, as RSV could easily have been a severe illness for him.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be said to such a person.

Kristen the hypocrit: “It is refreshing to hear Augustine admit that quack medicine doesn’t have “values and ethics”. After all, ethics are nothing more than ideology, right?”

Please tell me the logic of how you came to that conclusion without using ANY logical fallacies.

Kitty: “Thankfully, this shot was available to my preemie during his first winter, as RSV could easily have been a severe illness for him.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be said to such a person.”
——————————————————-

Search your feelings for the answer Kitty because this is not science. You can only BELIEVE your preemie needed a vaccine. You were probably TOLD your preemie needed a vaccine.

Positive pragmatism. Preemie got vaccine. Preemie didn’t get RSV. Vaccine must have worked and saved my baby. Belief not science.

I had a preemie also. 3 lbs. No RSV vaccine. No RSV. There was even a RSV “scare” on the NICU floor we were on.

Dr. Barrett responds: I took the certifying exam in 1964 when about 1/3 of psychiatrists were board-certified. The exam had two halves, psychiatry and neurology. I passed the psychiatric part but failed neurology because it included topics unrelated to either my training or my interests. Unlike most residencies, my psychiatric training program had no neurologic component. Since there was no reason to believe that certifcation was necessary, I decided not to re-take the exam.

SBM CREED: The crap we say today as truth will be a lie tomorrow. But that’s ok because our ideology is self correcting. So we are ALWAYS right TODAY.

Apparently Heidi is not welcoming non-friendly comments. Mine was deleted, but maybe it was because I linked to this post.

I thought DrWonderful was being humorous, not serious.

@Breton:

Anyone find it odd that the article is supposedly about a lawsuit brought against Dr Barrett but that the writer fails to even mention the merits of the case? No me neither.

Orac has already commented on the merits of the case (or the lack thereof) here. He doesn’t need to repeat it every time he writes about something related to the case.

Matthew — I think he was referring to the article by Heidi Stevenson, which doesn’t discuss the merits of the case at all but simply launches into a tirade.

Heidi deleted my comment, too, where I simply pointed out that her information about when Dr. Barrett’s response to DDI’s complaint is due, as well as her information about the status of his license, is verifiably false.

If anyone is interested, Dr. Barrett’s response is due on August 30, 2010. He hasn’t defaulted in responding. I put a copy of the court’s docket sheet up here:
http://tinyurl.com/DDIDocket

Why don’t woo-friendly bloggers do basic things like double-check the accuracy of your information, etc.? I guess they don’t give a rat’s ass about their credibility and reputation outside their echo-chamber.

Because that would require them to have a rational thought, which the vast majority of them are utterly incapable of doing.

http://www.kospublishing.com/html/quack_busters.html

“To test Quackwatch’s insistence that it is based on public support, I applied to become a member in 1999. First I was told that the annual membership fee was US $25,000. I said, “That’s fine, send me the membership application form.” Was I calling on behalf of a corporation? No, I informed the person, who then said, “We prefer corporate members.”

“The funding sources of their organizations were readily available on the Internet until recently; in the early ‘90’s he stopped disclosing such information. The last annual report to list donors was published 1991 where we find all our toxic friends: Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland (both of genetic engineering fame), the Nutrasweet Company (neurotoxic aspartame etc.), Union Carbide (as in Bopal disaster), the producers of pesticides, fertilizers, and fluoride Dow Chemical, Dupont, Cargill etc., the biochemical warfare and pharmaceutical producers Eli Lilly, the Uniroyal Chemical Company, all the big petroleum and pharmaceutical companies, and various refined sugar producers and refined food producing giants. Two thirds of the world’s economy is controlled by this list of North American Big Business. With friends like that, who needs to worry about telling the most fantastical lies in public?”
———————————————————-

Wow, And you SBMers get your panties in a wod because Pepsi wants to write some science articles via THEIR scientists.

Matthew — I think he was referring to the article by Heidi Stevenson, which doesn’t discuss the merits of the case at all but simply launches into a tirade.

Oops. Sorry, Breton.

Bolen has showed up to make vacuous threats against us:
Did this David Brown, who appears to be about sixteen years old, ever give you an indication where he might have parked his “nine pages?” I will be glad to pass his “published” statements on to Doctor’s Data’s legal team so that they can “discuss” his statements in a more structured environment – like a Summons after a “Second Amended Complaint…” I think they should ALL be entitled to make their claim for free speech in a warm, friendly courtroom environment. Of course they will have to mortgage the farm, so to speak, but heh, there is a price for free speech.

As laughable as Bolen’s “threats” are, I think they deserve attention as attempts (however poor) to interfere in the proceedings by DDI. To that end, I have written to the “Gaia Health” administrator to call on them to take this post down.

It is interesting that Heidi brings up credentials. It appears she has a association with the British Institute of Homeopathy, which seems for the most part to be a home study institution.

Heidi deleted my comment, too, where I simply pointed out that her information about when Dr. Barrett’s response to DDI’s complaint is due, as well as her information about the status of his license, is verifiably false.

Could all of you who try to comment at that place make sure that you get a screen shot of your comment before she deletes it? If Orac wants to do a post showing just how Heidi handles fact-based critiques, this would make useful fodder.

Dear Dr. August Wonderstine,

Why is it that none, none of our comments over in Wooville have been posted? Not the polite comments. Not the thoughtful comments. Not even the snarky comments. None of ’em seemed to make it. Yet our critics can post here freely.
From your posts, you seem to me a conspiracy-minded, delusional, magical-thinking idiot, but then again, so was I before I woke up to reality. There’s hope for you yet.

and here’s another person who lives in wonderland, where up is down, science is religion and scammers sell the truth.

Next I suppose you’ll be telling me that homeopathy is not just good for relieving your thirst.

@matthew cline
No problem. Obviously I just need to refine my ‘commenting clarity’ for future posts.

@34: And we all should accept Ms. Ferrie’s word, why exactly?

From http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/Nonrecorg/clayton.html:

In January 2009, Clayton published what it called a “rebuttal” to this article that contained misinformation about me collected from the Internet [11]. Most of the misinformation was part of a libel campaign that has targeted me for several years [12]. One paragraph illustrated the extraordinary degree of baloney that my critics have concocted in their attempt to damage my credibility:

In 2002, health writer Helke Ferrie decided to test Quackwatch’s insistence that it relies on public support, according to the Quackwatch representative with whom she spoke. According to Ferrie, when she attempted to apply for membership she was told the annual fee was $25,000. When Ferrie said, “That’s fine, send me the membership application,” the voice on the other end asked if she was calling on behalf of a corporation. When Ferrie indicated that she was not calling for a corporation, the Quackwatch representative said, “We prefer corporate members.”

This passage appeared in an article in Vitality magazine in 2002 [13] and is a complete fabrication. I have never said that Quackwatch relied on public support—or any support—because it doesn’t. As noted on my Web site, donations are welcome, but if they don’t cover the expenses of operating my Web sites, I pay the rest out of my pocket [14]. Ferrie’s claim that she spoke with a “Quackwatch representative” is rather odd because nobody but me “represents” Quackwatch and she never spoke with me. Her story about applying for membership is even stranger because Quackwatch has not been a membership organization since the mid-1970s, and when it was, membership was free.

I would also note that KOS Publishing, of which Ms. Ferrie is sole owner and director, produces exactly the sort of material that QW is famous for laying into, so she can hardly be considered a neutral party. Do you have any independent evidence that backs up Ms. Ferrie’s claim (e.g. by showing QW was a membership organization in 1999)? Or are we just supposed to accept her story at face value?

“To test Quackwatch’s insistence that it is based on public support, I applied to become a member in 1999. First I was told that the annual membership fee was US $25,000. I said, “That’s fine, send me the membership application form.” Was I calling on behalf of a corporation? No, I informed the person, who then said, “We prefer corporate members.”

“The funding sources of their organizations were readily available on the Internet until recently; in the early ‘90’s he stopped disclosing such information. The last annual report to list donors was published 1991 where we find all our toxic friends: Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland (both of genetic engineering fame), the Nutrasweet Company (neurotoxic aspartame etc.), Union Carbide (as in Bopal disaster), the producers of pesticides, fertilizers, and fluoride Dow Chemical, Dupont, Cargill etc., the biochemical warfare and pharmaceutical producers Eli Lilly, the Uniroyal Chemical Company, all the big petroleum and pharmaceutical companies, and various refined sugar producers and refined food producing giants. Two thirds of the world’s economy is controlled by this list of North American Big Business. With friends like that, who needs to worry about telling the most fantastical lies in public?”
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Wow, And you SBMers get your panties in a wod because Pepsi wants to write some science articles via THEIR scientists.

sigh. I wish this Goofus would produce more interesting fallacies. This one is barely even a fallacy, it’s mere conflation. “All involvement with corporations is the same; therefore SBMers who opposed what Pepsi tried to do with ScienceBlogs are morally inconsistent if they don’t oppose Quackwatch’s sponsorship by corporations!”

Except that the key premise of that argument is junk, because all involvement with corporations is not the same. There is nothing unethical or even unseemly about corporations supporting an endeavor in the public interest, and corporations typically donate to dozens if not hundreds of such causes. I would wager that many of the same corporations cited in the quote gave money to PBS in that same year; does that mean that PBS is automatically evil?

No one is suggesting that such corporations are acting out of purely selfless motives when they make such donations. They reap benefits in the form of good publicity. What would be wrong is if any of those corporations attempted to exert influence over the content of the group’s output in exchange for their funding. This latter is what Pepsi did: they weren’t just going to exert influence over the content, they were going to be providing content to go out under the imprimatur of ScienceBlogs, trading on the reputation built up for SB by its existing bloggers.

But despite their insinuations and allegations, neither Goofus nor his cronies have even attempted to demonstrate any influence on Quackwatch’s content by any sponsor, corporate or otherwise. (I suspect that this is why the conspiracy theorist who wrote the text cited by Goofus was told that Quackwatch “prefers corporate members”; corporations at least understand the principle that sponsorship must not translate to editorial interference! Does anyone doubt that if a Gary Adams or a Joe Mercola donated as much as a thousand dollars to Quackwatch they’d immediately be sending orders to lay off whatever woo supplements they were selling that week??)

Supposedly, little augie said he/she would admit to making a mistake (when he/she made one) – by the looks of it, the information presented is patently false – so how about it?

By coincidence, I just stumbled on a book today that Stephen Barrett put together on quacks 30 years ago. It’s a very compelling piece of work, with lots of contributors giving very high quality material.

Hopefully he’s lost some of the hair in the dust-jacket picture, though. It makes him look like the leading guest star on a Columbo episode.

It seems that Heidi Stevenson’s has received a number of rather rude comments. Ridiculous as her position is (she doesn’t even want to discuss the whole DDI scam), we should not make it that easy for her to dismiss criticism.

Quoth Heidi:

I have deleted a large number of pointless and offensive posts. Here are some samples, quote fully and literally:

Quoth me:

Be honest, Heidi. You’ve also deleted a large number of reasonable, respectful posts that explained why you’re dead wrong. Like I expect you to do with this one.

Any bets on how long it’ll stay up?

Barrett is a lying odious faruncle on the arse of medicine.
As a proclaimed sceptic, like the rest of you arseholes, he takes the belief position rather than that of due diligence.
Perhaps had he been diligent he wouldn’t find himself again in fron of the courts….

Got any, you know, actual *evidence* that anything he said was the least bit inaccurate?

DrHealth, true to form, with the insults spewing like he was a rabid dog.

Well, when you don’t have any arguments…

ugh troll: Quoting words from a dictionary, Wiktionary, or whatever source does not demonstrate that you understand their meaning or use. It only demonstrates that you can look them up.

Your ignorance, dishonesty, and inability to directly respond to direct requests for evidence to support your positions have been on display for weeks.

Once again: walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk. Otherwise you are just a useless blight on this blog (and others, no doubt).

Got any evidence that Barrett is accurate? You are a bunch of rabid naysaying arseholes.

Got any evdience that Barrett has ever won a legal action as complainant or defendant?

I posted a comment critical of her legal analysis and it was deleted as of this morning. I replied one more time, although clearly she is not interested in scientific or legal merits of anything conflicting with her views.

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“A motion of dismissal carries serious risks. Such motions are not generally looked upon kindly by the courts, as they tend to result in delays of proceedings. That response is generally considered to be inferior to filing an answer with an affirmative defense, because it allows the defendant to modify the pleading – effectively giving extra space for the plaintiff to maneuver.”

I wonder why my post was deleted? Why are those who cry censorship so quick to censor anything damaging to their point of view? Once again, the above is incorrect, pre-answer motions to dismiss (for failure to state sufficient facts to make prima facie case in this instance) are widely used in defamation actions against a media defendant due to their high success rate. A meritorious motion to dismiss is generally favored by the courts as it promotes judicial economy.

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Got any evidence that Barrett is accurate? You are a bunch of rabid naysaying arseholes.

Got any evdience that Barrett has ever won a legal action as complainant or defendant?

Both addressed in detail at Quackwatch itself. He’s got all the citations to the relevant science for the former, and the history for the latter.

Augustine quotes Dawn and replies as follows:

Dawn the apologist:

Orac’s agenda is not hidden. He believes in science-based medical care and not quackery. His RELIGIOUS beliefs are not involved in that.

He believes in ideology based medical care which involves values and ethics…To slap a label like “science-based” on it is nothing more than window dressing for an ideological agenda.

Perhaps I was reading too much into what Augustine said. When speaking disparagingly of medical care he mentions values and ethics as part of an ideology. Seemingly (to me) to mean in contrast to quack medicine.

If I was incorrect I apologize, but my interpretation was made in honesty, no intention to mislead. Augustine was not clear and I am still not quite sure what point he was trying to make mentioning ethics and values as part of an ideology.

Now Augustine, please enlighten me as to how this makes me a hypocrite.

@56 Dear Dr. Health: Mercola paid Barrett to settle a suit. Carlos Negrete is dealing with an abuse of prosecution suit initiated by Barrett, and he is not doing well.

I am in no way associated with Augustine, although he is one of my favorite saints. Hey, where the hell is Dangerous Bacon?

Augustine, you have yet to provide us with an alternative system that fares better than evidence based medicine. Share your ideas instead of just criticizing. Put up or shut up.

Augustine, you have yet to provide us with an alternative system that fares better than evidence based medicine. Share your ideas instead of just criticizing. Put up or shut up.

We already know augie will pass on that. Just like any other cookie-cutter woo, he only exists to tear things down, not to do anything constructive.

mikerattlesnake and Bronze Dog,
Much like creationists, Augustine and other alt-med people seem to think if something is not perfect, if they can find problems or places where there are unknowns, you can simply say anything else is true. So the goal is to tear things down rather than figure out anything new or improve it.

@63+64

Oh, I know. I just want to make sure it gets said every time he rears his head over here. I want to make it clear to anyone reading that he has no substantive ideas and that he wants to lower the standard of acceptable evidence with no attempt to justify that this would improve the state of modern medicine.

I’m 95% certain Dr. Health is another Bolen pseudonym… And for crying out loud, this is language I prefer to avoid in violent science fiction.

At Heidi’s site, Bolen quickly went from threats to denigration and insults. Several of HIS comments have actually been deleted.

DrHealth @ Heidi’s:
“Well done! It’s hard to imagine this typre evil….Barrett is liklely reposnible for the deaths of millions world wide. He pathologically interferes with ones right to freedom and choice by creating doubt and suspicion when there is grounds for none. His is aided and abeited by the likes of equally malevolently determined criminal-minded sub-species like Orac, Terry Polevoy, Robert Baratz and Peter Bowditch.

By the way, I used to work with Orac and the best thing I can about him is that he is an arsehole…”

Friend of yous Orac. I’m sure if you worked with that individual he would be very memorable, as demented conclusions such as above are surely a sign of some mental illness: to wit, “liklely reposnible for the deaths of millions world wide”.

New comment I posted:
The section “Barrett’s own admission of his actions” appears to be a fabrication by (or distributed through) Tim Bolen. The only link provided by Bolen to a document in the alleged case (http://www.quackpotwatch.org/opinionpieces/DEFENDANTS%20FACTUM.htm) clearly describes a very different proceedings than Bolen’s “report”. In particular, the document identifies Barrett and Robert Baratz as PLAINTIFFS, whereas Bolen indicates they were defendants. The document further records that there was a motion to dismiss by the defendants, which if successful (and if Canadian law works like the US) would have headed off deposition or discovery. In short, Bolen’s claims about “admissions” by Barrett cannot readily be substantiated even to the extent of confirming that the TRIAL actually happened. This section of your piece should be amended or excised.

Ah, nothing like a Stephen Barrett post to bring out the whackjobs.

And nice FAIL, augie. Might want to actually verify your crap before you post it.

Hrm, that Dr. Health guy visited my blog the other day, claiming the exact same “He’s never won anything! BWUAHA!” drivel. Someone suggested it might be Tim Bolen; but the IP was coming from Canada, near an address where a business called “Doctor Health,” actually exists!

Mike the staff and the snake: “Augustine, you have yet to provide us with an alternative system that fares better than evidence based medicine. Share your ideas instead of just criticizing. Put up or shut up.”
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Less medicine is evidenced based medicine.

Unfortunately the more medicine is better defenders has been misleading as our health statistics have shown.

We now have the most medicalized/medicaticated society in the history of the world. We rank 37th in overall health among the medicated societies. And we (u.s) take the most.

@69:
Is that the business of a Walter Edwards? I ran across him, except, his site indicates an Oregon address. Except, said address is a PO box. Given the Canadian IP, my guess is that Dr. Health is the same as an individual calling himself “Trueman Tuck”. He has a bunch of sites, and is promoting Bolen on all of them.

I seriously think there should be a systematic effor to get rid of Bolen once and for all. Some ideas:
1. Have the IRS seize his safe deposit box and all contents thereof.
2. Have a judge order Doctor’s Data to file an injunction ordering Bolen to stop “reporting” on their case, with the alternative being the dismissal of their case for Bolen’s misconduct.
3. Take Bolen up on what he is boasting could happen to Barret, and lock him up as insane.

And nice FAIL, augie. Might want to actually verify your crap before you post it.

Well, Augie did assure us that he would correct any mistakes of his that we pointed out.

So, he’s gonna do that! Right away! Any minute now!

You’ll see!

Sometime soon. Real soon.

Right?

@David N Brown and jacksonskepticalsociety: Canadian IP address, huh? Wonder if DrHealth is William P O’ Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group (one of Peter Bowditch’s favorites…the Gutless Anonymous Liar). Curious how all the cranks know one another.

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