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“All truth comes from public debate”: A corollary to crank magnetism

Advocates of pseudoscience like antivaxers love public debates. In fact, they think such debates are an excellent way to get at the truth. That’s not how science works.

A long, long time ago in a ScienceBlogs far, far away (well, it seems that way anyway, given the halcyon times back then before Pepsigate), Mark Hoofnagle coined the term “crank magnetism.” It was a fantastic term used to describe how susceptibility to one form of quackery, pseudoscience, or just plain crankery tended to be associated with other forms of quackery, pseudoscience, or crankery. It explains why so many creationists tend to be into quackery and/or antivaccinationism, why so many 9/11 Truthers also tend to flirt with Holocaust denial or anthropogenic global warming denialists go birther, why so many quacks tend to be susceptible to the anti-GMO hysteria, creationism, and anthropogenic global warming denialism. The examples are legion, and I’ve documented quite a few of them over the last eight years, as have many other skeptical bloggers. Sometimes, many, many forms of crankery congregate in a single individual, such as Michael Egnor, whose activity led to a corollary to the principle of crank magnetism, namely the “vindication of all kooks,” which implies that, if one kook or crank is ever vindicated, then science is hopelessly screwed up and they all could be vindicated. It’s all of a piece with the unified theory of the crank.

There’s another corollary, though, that I’ve been thinking about this week. Unfortunately, it brings us back to Stanislaw Burzynski, but I can’t help it. Basically, it’s what I like to refer to as the “all truth comes from live public debate” corollary to crank magnetism. Many are the examples when I’ve come across this corollary. For instance, just last week, antivaccine guru Andrew Wakefield challenged Dr. David Salisbury to a “live public debate” about whether the MMR vaccine causes autism or not. (Hint to Wakefield: It doesn’t.) Indeed, it was this incident that was echoing in my fragile eggshell mind when I came across the same behavior just last night. Other examples regular readers might remember through they years include Suzanne Somers’ doctor, antivaccinationist, and all around supporter of all things quacking, Julian Whitaker, debating Steve Novella at FreedomFest last summer; an HIV-AIDS denialist trying to trick me into a “debate” with HIV-AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore back in 2007; Michael Shermer’s “debate” with Deepak Chopra; antivaccine propagandist David Kirby debating author Arthur Allen; and, of course, antivaccine activist Nick Haas’ challenge to have a blogger from Science-Based Medicine do a live public debate about vaccines. As I’ve pointed out before, time and time again, I don’t “debate” cranks, at least not live on stage in such artificial events, because such events (1) make it appear that there is an actual scientific debate when there is not and (2) give the crank the freedom to Gish gallop to his or her heart’s content.

This very same corollary is on display in spades among Burzynski followers right now. Well, at least it’s on display in spades among at least one Burzynski follower plus a couple of his fans, but the others are picking it up. It began with the Twitter rantings of a former commenter here, Didymus Judas Thomas (DJT). Most of you probably recall DJT. He was a commenter so prolifically annoying and trolling that he actually earned one of the very rare, very coveted (among cranks, at least) Respectful Insolence ban hammers. I know, I know, it’s amazing! Only maybe four or five commenters in the entire eight-plus year history of this blog have ever achieved this level of troll greatness, and often it took many moons, but Didymus did it in a mere month or two. In any case, DJT quickly stalked off to WordPress to form his own blog, where he continued his ramblings in much the same way that he did in the comments of this blog, thus demonstrating for me that banning an obnoxious troll does not in any way harm that troll’s First Amendment rights (although it does make the comment threads so much more pleasant for the rest of us). In addition, he burns through Twitter accounts with reckless abandon. Most recently, he has appeared as @QbertQbert, where he is currently posting bizarre Twitter poetry challenging my blog bud Peter Lipson (a.k.a. PalMD, who wrote a very good post about how Eric Merola used a bogus DMCA takedown notice to remove a video by C0nc0rdance critical of The Burzynski Clinic) and The Skeptics™ to a live debate:

I kind of have to give DJT “credit” for his rather stream-of-consciousness Twitter poetry, but my puzzled pseudo-admiration for his prestidigitation with 140 characters doesn’t change the fact that he’s following a tried-and-not-so-true crank playbook. Elsewhere, on a public pro-Burzynski group called the Burzynski Facebook Patient Group, a man named Randy Hinton also called out Peter Lipson:

The only way to ever successfully deal with a growing number of medical mafia internet propaganda minister’s trying to smear and undermind Stanislaw Burzynski is to do exactly what I have tried to do for the last 24 hour’s. Call these maggot’s out and publically dare them to debate the topic of ANP verses chemotherapy in front of a large live audience with no restriction’s or sensoring of information or statement’s. Multiple attempt’s yesterday to get Peter Lipson who wrote that pile of crap in Forbes to agree to this got virtually no response. The same will true of the other pharmawhores doing the same thing all across the country right now. These INTERNET KEYBORAD GOBLIN’S will never agree to it because they cann’not CONTROL the conversation the way they do on their blog’s. CALL THEM OUT TO A PUBLIC DEBATE AT EVERY TURN.

Later in the comments after his post, Mr. Hinton says:

I have got money that say’s they run from a live debate like scared rabbit’s. I have told Eric he need’s to CALL THEM OUT!!!

Mr. Hinton is obviously referring to Eric Merola, Stanislaw Burzynski’s propagandist, who has in the past unwisely characterized your humble blogger host here as a white supremacist and someone too busy eating puppies to bother to read the scientific literature about Burzynski. I had actually never heard of Randy Hinton before in all my reading about Stanislaw Burzynski and his patients, having only first seen him in the comments of Peter’s post about the Burzynski Clinic. The reason, it turns out, is that neither Randy Hinton nor any of his family were apparently ever patients of Burzynski. This is who he is:

A little over a month ago, I personally met with newly elected Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina. The meeting was organized by SC resident Randy Hinton, whose daughter died of a DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) brain tumor a few years ago. Randy Hinton has been a staunch supporter of Dr. Burzynski after he later realized that not a single oncologist in the state of South Carolina bothered to inform him that there was another option available to his daughter other than chemotherapy and radiation—after his daughter had already died. That coupled with the fact that a DIPG is essentially incurable with some of the only cures in history being demonstrated exclusively through Burzynski’s Antineoplastons FDA clinical trials.

As I’ve said on many, many occasions, my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child to cancer, even someone who apparently views me as his enemy because of my skepticism and criticism of Stanislaw Burzynski. I can only imagine the pain, as I tried to do with the family of Amelia Saunders when she died. However, it must also be said that Mr. Hinton also seems to have latched on to Burzynski as the only person who could have saved his daughter. Since he seems to believe this sincerely, his anger is understandable, but just because he sincerely believes it and the pain he feels is real does not make it true. One also can’t help but note a similarity here between DJT and Mr. Hinton, but what that means I will leave to each individual reader to decide for him or herself. In any case, I don’t so much blame Burzynski patients for thinking that Burzynski saved them as Eric Merola and Stanislaw Burzynski for cynically using them as “human shields” to deflect scientific criticism and deserved criticism of their behavior. The patients’ and patients’ families’ behavior is understandable. They sincerely believe that the man who saved their lives or the lives of their loved ones is being unjustly attacked. Merola, Burzynski, and Burzynski’s other sycophants, toadies, and lackeys cynically use that sincere belief to defend themselves, in essence using patients and families as cannon fodder in their war against skeptics.

In any case, DJT and Randy Hinton demonstrate once again the “all truth comes from live public debate” corollary to crank magnetism. I’ll call it the omne verum est a forensem principle. (Latin sounds so much more cool for this, but I have no idea whether this is the best translation—or even grammatically correct; maybe Latin scholars out there can suggest better.) They seem to think that science is decided in public debates and view the quite proper reluctance among scientists like myself and skeptics to engage cranks in such spectacles as “cowardice.” It is not, but cranks continue to labor under the delusion that science is somehow decided in such forums, which are a variant of a sort of argumentum ad populum, in which something is argued to be true because it is popular or, in a debate, an argument is thought to be closer to the truth because it is more popular. Science doesn’t work that way. It is decided on evidence presented at scientific conferences and peer-reviewed journals, where the real scientific debate plays out until it is temporarily settled and scientists come to a provisional consensus. That provisional consensus, of course, is always subject to change as new observations, data, and experimental results come to light, but it takes observations, data, and experimental results to change the consensus, not “live public debates.” Such “live public debates” are meant for one thing and one thing only: To sway public opinion to a viewpoint not supported by science, in the process elevating pseudoscience or the unproven to the same plain as the scientific consensus as a scientifically viable “alternative.”

If Stanislaw Burzynski—or antivaccinationists, purveyors of “alternative medicine,” HIV/AIDS denialists, creationists, 9/11 Truthers, or the like—want to convince scientists, there is one way to do so: Publish their data and do battle where scientists normally do battle, in the scientific literature and in scientific conferences. “Live public debates” might sway a few souls when the odd hapless scientist or skeptic unprepared for the Gish gallop makes the mistake of going up against a smooth talking crank, but the scientific consensus remains unchanged. Burzynski can change my mind and the minds of my fellow Skeptics™. It just takes him publishing all the evidence from his completed phase 2 clinical trials. If we find the data compelling, we will start to rethink our positions. Skeptics thrive in uncertainty, while those whose views we criticize crave certainty. I’ve said this all along, and nothing has happened to change that. In the meantime, cranks do not deserve debate, and Eric Merola, at least, is definitely a crank.

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]

165 replies on ““All truth comes from public debate”: A corollary to crank magnetism”

Nonsense.

All Truth lies in accepting and winning a Public Challenge, like Jock Doubleday’s “Drink These Vaccine Ingredients And Die, Fool” challenge.

You can’t win if you don’t play, and if you try to play we’ll find ways to make sure you can’t, so you lose. 🙂

The SkeptiCowards

Ah, playing chicken.

“There is one of us too many. Let’s settle it in the main street by noon.”

Oh, and the usual blather about Free Speech. “I should be free to say whatever I like without anyone daring to tell me I’m an idiot.”

At least Randy Hinton upholds the internet nuisance cannon by availing himself of solecism school of spelling, the caps lock venting of the Humors and, perhaps as a paper badge of k3wl cromulence, the doofus apostrophe.

Hm … methinks a live writing sample (with no dictionary, internet or sms available) would flush out many a headache producing employee before hire.

But if it were live debate, we’d be deprived of Mr. Hinton’s creative use of the apostrophe. (I assume the ALL CAPS could be adequately replicated with shouting.)

As for free speech, it really was terrible of the SkeptiCowards to attempt to use the legal system to silence critics. Oh, wait…. that was Marc Stephens and Eric Merola.
Never mind.

It should be noted that the Burzynski supporters have not yet answered the important question in science: where is the data (real, published, able to be studied data).

Egads!
Is anyone else taken by the sheer volume of output by DJT at his so-called blog?

Reminds me of that scene in “A Beautiful Mind” when Nash’s wife discovers what he’s been ‘working on’.

@Spectator – I was twitching and grimacing at Hinton’s little tirade. If I could hold a pen I’d have had to unleash the red marker of death on my screen.

Also, what with the “this country” thing? Don’t we suspiciously foreign types get any credit for how much we despise Scamislaw? Hmph. I’m rather put out now.

I was also unaware that doctors were compelled to inform patients/parents of every possible course of action, legitimate or otherwise. After all, isn’t that why we’re refereed to specialist consultants, because they have the training, knowledge and expertise to determine appropriate courses of treatment?

A dx of something like DIPG in your beloved child must be agonising. It’s a cruel, almost hopeless entity. The available medical treatments are very difficult and can have extreme and permanent side-effects.

To then lose that child is a deep and brutal wound, and no doubt can totally unhinge people, but to take up metaphorical arms for a monstrous old quack with no fvcking evidence of anything but a lust for the green stuff and a callous disregard for the lives of the desperate people he toys with on the basis ofsomeone’s ludicrous claim that “He could have saved her but Big Pharma lied to you”? Who the hell’s been pulling his chain? That’s the last bloody thing he needed, and it’s absolutely perverse.

But we’re the evil ones. Keep remembering that.

If my fury was made physical right now I could leave a six mile crater, a flattened and desolate zone with buildings toppled as if they were no more than 70gsm paper houses.

I wish I believed in karma/hell/final judgement. It might temper my growing anger at Burzynski and his band of cronies.

For the shruggies, the “What’s the harm?”, and “Persecuted maverick!” bleaters, please go to the following link and read it. All of it. Read the lies, observe the patterns, and let the truth settle in your stomach like a lump of rotten meat. I dare to read at least twenty patient stories and still have the nerve and audacity to defend him and his enablers.

Do it.

theotherburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com/

Sure do a live public debate on vaccines. Just ask that the moderator can “bleep” out a debater whenever they say nonsense. Then pick Paul Offit as moderator.

Orac – ignore the comment that went into mod. I used my throwaway email address by accident!

@Spectator – I was twitching and grimacing at Hinton’s little tirade. If I could hold a pen I’d have had to unleash the red marker of death on my screen.

Also, what with the “this country” thing? Don’t we suspiciously foreign types get any credit for how much we despise Scamislaw? Hmph. I’m rather put out now.

I was also unaware that doctors were compelled to inform patients/parents of every possible course of action, legitimate or otherwise. After all, isn’t that why we’re refereed to specialist consultants, because they have the training, knowledge and expertise to determine appropriate courses of treatment?

A dx of something like DIPG in your beloved child must be agonising. It’s a cruel, almost hopeless entity. The available medical treatments are very difficult and can have extreme and permanent side-effects.

To then lose that child is a deep and brutal wound, and no doubt can totally unhinge people, but to take up metaphorical arms for a monstrous old quack with no fvcking evidence of anything but a lust for the green stuff and a callous disregard for the lives of the desperate people he toys with on the basis ofsomeone’s ludicrous claim that “He could have saved her but Big Pharma lied to you”? Who the hell’s been pulling his chain? That’s the last bloody thing he needed, and it’s absolutely perverse.

But we’re the evil ones. Keep remembering that.

If my fury was made physical right now I could leave a six mile crater, a flattened and desolate zone with buildings toppled as if they were no more than 70gsm paper houses.

I wish I believed in karma/hell/final judgement. It might temper my growing anger at Burzynski and his band of cronies.

For the shruggies, the “What’s the harm?”, and “Persecuted maverick!” bleaters, please go to the following link and read it. All of it. Read the lies, observe the patterns, and let the truth settle in your stomach like a lump of rotten meat. I dare to read at least twenty patient stories and still have the nerve and audacity to defend him and his enablers.

Do it.

theotherburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com/

There is an old saying which applies here: It isn’t smart to argue with a fool. Listeners can’t tell which is which.

That’s because the “debate” they are asking for is one in which normal standards of evidence do not apply. They would not consider a real debate with real standards of evidence to be a fair fight, because one side has data and the other has hot air.

Burzynski himself knows these rules. He could silence his critics at any time by publishing in a reputable journal peer reviewed data showing the efficacy of antineoplaston therapy. His failure to do so, or even to attempt to do so, speaks volumes.

@ elburto

I admire your patience in engaging and responding with restraint to the miasmatic mush of cancer and autism frauds. I don’t have the stomach for it myself; to me the con artists and their shills are usually venomous predators, not innocent dupes. They may have convinced themselves that the favored fantasy is the truth, but the conviction comes from a fundamental selfishness and hostility towards others which amputates any stirrings of interest in what is true vs what’s useful for feeding their anger.

There’s value in calmly pointing out BS; the woo-niverse is large and pervasive enough that _some_ can get caught up in parts with good intentions. You can make a difference with those folks, catching some before they make significant decisions based on that stuff.

Hinton et al. would have to be debated with the thing Burzynski fans hang all their hopes on (sadly): anecdotes and Burzynski’s statistics that are so far unreported. In the debate, one would have to relate with great detail and emotion, stories of those who have survived brain cancer through cutting edge science and clinical trials. A quick google search shows lots of these stories. Without going further than the first 3 links in a google search:

http://csn.cancer.org/node/137027
http://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/features/the-faces-of-brain-cancer?page=2
http://www.virtualtrials.com/survive.cfm

The difference is that real science doesn’t hide the total number of patients, and that the percent of those who survive is extremely small.

As for statistics, I have seen Burzynski/fans say multiple times that his survival rate is 20%, 30%, and even 40%: which is it? Yet if you assume that he has treated 5,000 patients (a number given elsewhere) and the Burzynski Patient Group lists around 63 survivors, isn’t that more like 1.2% survival? Maybe I’m missing something.

It would appear as if DJT’s latest Twitter incarnation has, like his previous ten, been suspended. I wonder if he’s firing off angry messages to the “president of Twitter” complaining, like he complained to Jimmy Wales at Wikipedia.

“Oh no, I’m being repressed! Now we see the fascism inherent in the system!”

No doubt this subject will warrant a screed on his blog any minute now. The man is deeply, deeply disturbed. Bob B. called him mentally ill on Twitter yesterday.

Not being a Twitter user myself (I lurk), I am wondering why his accounts keep getting suspended. Does someone have to complain or report him, and if so, on what grounds? I’ve seen other spammers whose accounts aren’t suspended. In what way does he cross a line that others seem to avoid crossing?

The other night, just before an earlier account of his was suspended, he tweeted about 30 times to every media outlet you can imagine (all US TV networks, CNN breaking news, The New York Times, PBS, and several crank and conspiracy websites) to inform them of the censorship on Forbes and the “conspiracy” that Orac is friends with Dr. Lipson.

But “cann’not” is almost poetic. It’s like Dunsany went to Wales or something.

I’m honestly not sure why Twitter keeps trashing DJT’s accounts. The first time around, I think it was sheer volume and harassing other users. Maybe the last few times around it’s been his morphing to do what is obviously the same thing. However, I really don’t know. Certainly, I’ve never complained about him. He actually kind of amuses me, at least when he’s in the right mood and when he’s not directing dozens of Tweets at me.

Orac,

I really don’t know how you, Bob B. and Guy Chapman restrain yourselves in the face of the constant abuse and insults from DJT. I would have just told him to “F off” a long time ago. He’s still harping on the same things he did here back in December: SEC filings as “evidence”, for example.

He is absolutely obsessed with responding to each and every comment about Burzynski posted on any blog or discussion board anywhere. Does he really think he’s ever going to change anyone’s mind?

I sincerely sympathize with your refusal to engage in public debates with ideological opponents. My own subfield of expertise does not attract public controversy, but I admit that I would not have the patience to debate politely at much length with someone who was plainly ignorant of it.

That said, it wasn’t always the case that scientific debates were held only through costly and inaccessible journals and conferences, with the winning hypotheses [that were preferred by scientists from a given culture] then watered down and spoon-fed to the ignoramus public. Remember the well-attended public debates on evolution after the Origin of Species was published, or for that matter the Lincoln-Douglas debates? Before mass media, we used to be a culture in which average people were proud of learning and thinking about serious issues. Why couldn’t we be again? The public is not inherently stupider now than they were a few generations ago.

I believe that the high-school debate mentality has reduced Americans’ ability to discuss issues across the board almost as much as television. Far too many on all sides have come to believe that serious questions can be settled by determining who can shriek out more questions and objections in two minutes than his opponent can shriek out pat answers in a response of similar length. We are also steeped in the binary-thinking assumption that there are only two sides to any issue; you never get a third guy on the stage to represent a compromise position and a fourth to represent some totally different alternative. The trouble is that nobody ever leaves one of these artificial two-sided debates with a viewpoint he didn’t already hold, unless one of the speakers is particularly good or bad at his job.

I see no reason that the next generation could not take more interest in scientific issues. Today’s public are already much better informed than past generations on certain subjects, sometimes to the chagrin of anointed experts. But if you want people to have a broader interest in abstract questions, knowledgeable people will have to actually discuss those questions with the public, rather than always talking down to them or over their heads, or at best getting on stage to engage in mutual Gish-galloping with a single, allegedly 100% opposite opponent. Why couldn’t we have public conversations instead?

Jane: The public is not inherently stupider now than they were a few generations ago. Today’s public are already much better informed than past generations on certain subjects, sometimes to the chagrin of anointed experts. Why couldn’t we have public conversations instead?

Oh, god, where do I even start? To begin with, Jane, have you considered a career in comedy? Yes, the public *is* much dumber than in generations past. Reading is socially unacceptable, and many school districts, even entire states, are operating off their own set of “facts.” The simple truth is that most Americans cannot handle or understand even the most basic science.

Another reason cranks want live public debates: It’s a lot harder to quote someone’s own words against them in such a debate. On Shot of Prevention, an anti-vaccine parent declared “I wasn’t calling parents stupid” in a comment, only for someone else to quote directly her as saying “The parents are just stupid”, making it clear she was trying to pull a fast one.

Jane,

You’re quite correct that people have over the years engaged in public debates over scientific issues. Evolution is a good example; Lincoln-Douglas would not be a particularly good one as they covered a matter of public and social policy more than a question of science.

A valid issue, though, is whether such debates actually prove anything. Some people who argued in favor of evolution lost the debates, at least in the minds of their audiences. Qualities such as rhetorical skill, quick wits, outer beauty, an air of authority/authenticity, and willingness to bend the rules a little can count for more than mere facts and logical inference.

He actually kind of amuses me, at least when he’s in the right mood and when he’s not directing dozens of Tweets at me.

I have long harboured a suspicion that DJT’s antics are some kind of elaborate performance art. His posts had a certain demented poetic quality – unlike the tiresome gasbag who’s been filling up the GMO thread with his pompous effluvia.

Jane, I don’t think it’s that the public is inherently stupider than generations ago, it’s that they’re lazier and demand instant graitification. If they’re genuinely interested in considering the argumetns for and against MMR safety, or antineoplaston efficacy, the evidence and arguments for and against are readily available in peer-reviewed journals (which after all are the forum in which working scientists publish their observations and present and defend the conclusions derived from those observations.

Debates are most appealing to those who have no actual evidence in support fo their claims, and wish to conceal that lack of support.

a man named Randy Hinton
Clearly he is in the pay of the Apostrophe lobby.

my fragile eggshell mind
Noted.

Qualities such as rhetorical skill, quick wits, outer beauty, an air of authority/authenticity, and willingness to bend the rules a little can count for more than mere facts and logical inference.

I don’t know if Huxley scored highly on “outer beauty” in his Evolution debate with Wilberforce, but he had an unfair advantage on all the other qualities.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Janet, I’m a DVM/PhD (for no fiscally responsible good reason) and I’ve been lurking here for weeks, enjoying the the mindplay and the wordplay. I am inspired to write today, because the collective “you” saw fit to decry the HEINOUS spelling and punctuation. The nuns who insisted I learn grammar in all its forms would be so proud. And to Marc at #15, I have never found a situation in which Monty Python was inappropriate.

I think it is incredibly sad that yet another politician has been taken in by a Burzynski patient’s family…make that a potential patient of Burzynski.

I suspect that Mr. Hinton and Congressman Duncan do not have the ability to evaluate how Dr. Burzynski has been scamming vulnerable patients and their families for more than thirty years.

Hinton’s story here as related by Merola (“he later realized that not a single oncologist in the state of South Carolina bothered to inform him that there was another option available to his daughter other than chemotherapy and radiation—after his daughter had already died”) fails to reveal that he did in fact go to Burzynski and opted instead for nimotuzumab.

not a single oncologist in the state of South Carolina bothered to inform him that there was another option available to his daughter other than chemotherapy and radiation

So unless Hinton tracked down and consulted every single oncologist in SC, he is so self-centred as to expect the entire profession to know of his case and to contact him out of the blue to suggest alternative treatments.

Hi, Janet.

Do you know of any cheap, 100% effective no-side-effect cures for craziness in a three-year-old female black Labrador?

@Narad: so, surprise, surprise, Randy Hinton has been lying to everyone. Amazing how stories can change in your own mind until you are the victim. And the poor soul has bought into the “antineoplastins aren’t toxic chemotherapy” mindset.

No, not toxic at all. Just highly likely to lead to hypernatremia unless the person drinks tons of water and can urinate it out…yeah, force your child to drink 2 gallons of water a day…

Qbert Qbert? Didn’t he have some kind of obsessive thing for Eric Merolita?

Bonus Hinton:

We are trying to meet with congressmen to pass a law that would make all doctor’s and hosptials tell you about all treatments that are available not just the ones they have.

Including coffee enemas, the Gerson protocol, alkali-blood diets, Hulda’s parasite zapper, radionics and Black Salve.
Could be a lengthy consultation.

Could it be that they’re taking a leaf from the evolution supporter’s playbook, and hoping for a Huxley-over-Wilberforce kind of victory?
Pretty ironic, if true.

I think the “all truth comes from live public debate” is a corollary to the “do your own research and make up your own mind” trope. Both bits of wisdom work fairly well for simple issues which are fairly balanced and don’t require scientific expertise — like deciding where to go for pizza, say. They have an intuitive appeal and they’re both flattering. If you just pay attention and think about it, then your conclusion is just as good as anyone’s.

As you point out, science doesn’t work that way. Yes, it’s a search for consensus — but not a political consensus. Experts in the field play by very strict rules to convince other experts. You can’t just evaluate the superficial rhetoric or look at what pops up on google and consider yourself just like a scientist.

@Narad: so, surprise, surprise, Randy Hinton has been lying to everyone
The ‘Halyley5’ in Narad’s link is apparently Mrs Randy Hinton (though she is evidently writing on the word-processor as her husband, with the same random-apostrophe macro). Also she sees visions IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPHECY.

a law that would make all doctor’s and hosptials tell you about all treatments that are available not just the ones they have.
The corollary is worth noting: all oncologists will have to be aware of every single quack clinic and snake-oil salesman, the better to advice patients of their availability.

I’m sure there is plenty of spare time in the average med school curriculum for the extra class, and equally sure that Orac will enjoy teaching it.

The method behind Randy’s being granted unprecedented access to the FDA? Explained here.

The FDA confirmed the results of the trial to me and there number is 1-800-463-6332 ask for the special health issues office.I believe Mr.Barnes was the guy’s name.

Slightly off-topic, but when I read the title of the post, I can’t help but think, “All your truth are belong to us!”

#7 Last I checked, most of it was copy-pasted from other places.

Honestly, I hated Jerry Maguire, but it’s like we’re all sitting here shouting SHOW ME THE SCIENCE and Burzynski is just… not… doing it.

We’re begging to be convinced that Burzynski has a cancer cure. We’re pleading for him to publish the study that shows it works. We’re desperate for him to share the cure with the world through a reputable, rigorous publication.

We would throw a party. A new cancer treatment! Another option to help people!

But it keeps not happening.

We want to believe, but eventually we had to face the facts:

Either he’s cruelly withholding the cure for his own profit, or he’s a scam artist.

One way of arguing Randy Hinton could be to have him use Victor Borge’s Phonetic Punctuation. That way he could include all his apostrophes, exclamation marks etc., and assuming he played by the rules it ought to be good for a laugh. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF4qii8S3gw for an example

Merola is promising a “surprise celebrity guest” at the Newport film screening today (and no, he’s said it’s not SRB himself.) Any idea who this might be? Please tell me it’s not Josh Duhamel. Does he qualify as being known by “everyone on the face of the earth?” Suzanne Somers, possibly? I can’t think of any other celebrity who has endorsed Count Stan…

From his Facebook post:

Pretty much everyone on the face of the earth knows who this celebrity is. We can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet. I will announce it in the morning.

I just saw this follow-up on Merola’s FB page. Still no idea what celebrity has been a spokesman for a major cancer organization:

Hint: The surprise celebrity guest planning to participate in the April 27 screening of “Burzynski: Part 2” at the Newport Beach Film Festival – was once an official spokesperson for one of the largest USA-based cancer organizations… 😉 Stay tuned….

To indicate how clueless Suzanne Somers is, she tweeted this recently:

Suzanne Somers‏@SuzanneSomers12 Apr
To Andy Hoffman,father of 7 yr. Old with brain cancer, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski in Houston is having major success with children w/o drugs!

First it was “no side effects,” now it’s “without drugs”?!! What does he use? Magic pixie dust and interpretive dance?

was once an official spokesperson for one of the largest USA-based cancer organizations

Or to put it another way:

is no longer an official spokesperson for one of the largest USA-based cancer organizations

I wonder why.

So Orac, you won’t debate the anti-vaxxers ‘quacks’ who ‘don’t have a leg to stand on’? …..Chicken!!! Pwoooccc, pwooc, pwooc!!!

@Greg – that debating tactic went out of style in Grade School….proud of yourself?

Greg – you need to double-dog dare him next. That’s a perennial favorite.

I’m trying to imagine a debate between Orac and Greg.

Orac: detailed and informed explanation of why the quacks are wrong

Greg: “So’s your old man!”

Orac: further detailed and informed explanation of why the quacks are wrong with examples of resulting harm

Greg: “I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!”

Orac: heavy sigh

Greg:

Chicken!!! Pwoooccc, pwooc, pwooc!!!

Greg, I asked you a very simple question on the Wakefield thread. Be so kind and answer it, please.

@greg

Considering that you consistently refuse to answer questions asked of you, your comments smacks of hypocrisy.

Randy Hinton posted a comment 8 hours ago on Peter Lipson’s Forbes blog…now demanding a “public debate”. (Expand All Comments-pg 11)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlipson/2013/04/19/a-film-producer-a-cancer-doctor-and-their-critics/

“randy hinton 8 hours ago

I have heard this propaganda crap now for 6 year’s and I know the fact’s. I will not waste my time with a CHAT on line where you people alway’s control the conversation. ANYTIME you want to debate this in front of a live audience, all you have to do is set it up as long as there are no restriction’s on what is said or expressed. If you do this I promise you that you will end up so embarrassed it will take you a year to get over it. Stanislaw Burzynski was the only one who told the truth to me at all and the Ronald McDonald House refused us a room because we were at his clinic. Then Texas Children’s Hospital REFUSED TO PUT A SHUNT IN MY DAUGHTER’S HEAD because we would go back to his clinic. Then M.D.Anderson repeatedly ignored me when I pointed out a problem about my daughter over and over again and this lead to a MASSIVE seizure that put her out of commission for 3 day’s. THEN they admitted they screwed up. Then 2 year’s later I learn that the trial that MUSC told me did not exist and the treatment that MUSC told me did not exist HAD SAVED 4 ASTROCYTOMA AND 2 PONTINE GLIOMA PATIENT’S without radiation or chemotherapy and the FDA told me. SO ANYTIME YOUR READY BOY.”

I again posted back at him

“lilady 10 minutes ago

“I already offered you a forum on a science blog to debate with a real respected surgical oncologist, with a guarantee that he never moderates the “debate”.

I’m calling you out on your anecdotal stories and your support of Burzynski’s *treatment*. So prove me wrong by coming to this blog:

http://respectfulinsolence.com/2013/04/26/all-truth-comes-from-public-debate-a-corollary-to-crank-magnetism/

Randy Hinton has been posting on a Forbes blog about Burzynski (Expand All Comments). Scroll over to Page 3 to see his rant and his challenge to debate people.

I suspect that his grammar and general incoherence is doing more to discredit the pro-Burzynski perspective than anything that comments from Orac’s minions could contribute.

Hey Orac,

Seriously, man-up and grow some and debate those anti-vaxxers ‘quacks’ publicly. Stop hiding behind your whiny, sissy blogs. I am just a layperson and already went a good number of rounds against the ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ here. Surely you could hold your own against the Blaylocks in a public debate. Just be careful though not to trip over your skirt on your way to the podium…..Hee, Hee, Hee!

I am just a layperson and already went a good number of rounds against the ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ here.

And got your arse handed to you. Keep it up, dimwit. It’s going to be fun gnawing on you.

It will be interesting to see if Randy Hinton (Mrs?) comes over to talk with us. I love ever changing stories that can be traced on the internet. How many ways can a story change? Let’s count!

@Greg: Oh, yes, you went a “good number of rounds…” here…you lost each time, but hey, I will give you a cookie for your persistence in repeating woo.

Greg:

Seriously, man-up and grow some and debate those anti-vaxxers ‘quacks’ publicly.

Greg, why don’t you “man-up” and answer my very simple question on the Wakefield thread? Is it too tough for you?

It will be interesting to see if Randy Hinton (Mrs?) comes over to talk with us.

The missus is Wanda. At least one of the posts linked above is signed jointly.

#60

Holy sexism and denigration of women. Nice to know how you really feel about half the people in the world.

Yowsa.

Greg,

I am just a layperson and already went a good number of rounds against the ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ here.

Was I napping during those rounds or were you?

@Chris

Considering greg’s blatant sexism, I’d say the chances of him answering you honestly is about nil. But then again, what would we expect from such a typical anti-vaxxer.

But at least with greg, we see a perfect example of D-K in action.

MOB, #68: I suspect you were both napping. A boxing match that’s just multiple consecutive TKOs is rather boring, no?

Surely you could hold your own against the Blaylocks in a public debate.

Has Russell “Illuminati Agenda” Blaylock developed a second head? Sort of a Ray Milland affair?

Narad:

Has Russell “Illuminati Agenda” Blaylock developed a second head?

Perhaps that is a side effect from using his own “Brain Repair Formula.”

” You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it.” ~ (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

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