Mike Adams is a real scientist, dammit, and he will save us from “toxins”!

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Mike Adams thinks he’s an actual scientist!

Regular readers are all too familiar with Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger, arguably the most quacktastic site on the Internet. Sure, Joe Mercola is probably the most trafficked quackery site on the Internet, but, being number two (or number three or four, I’m not sure), Mike Adams definitely tries harder. In addition, Joe Mercola steers mostly clear of politics and non-medical pseudoscience. Sure, he promotes just as much quackery as Mike Adams does, if not more, but he doesn’t delve into Tea Party-drenched New World Order conspiracy mongering the way Adams does. Indeed, Adams regularly appears on the network of the über-crank to rule all über-cranks, Alex Jones. You know that if a person is considered “worthy” to appear on Alex Jones’s network, he is among the most elite of cranks. To borrow a term from recent political parlance, you know he’s a member of the 1% when it comes to crankery. To prove it, he also “questions” evolution and a couple of years ago he produced a short film that portrayed science as the inevitable gateway to the Holocaust.

Three months ago, Mike Adams tried to represent himself as Real Scientist, and, according to one of my favorite clichés, hilarity ensued. For example, he decided that PubMed was too broad a source to spread his message, given that it actually publishes articles that counter his message; so he decided to try to create his own version of PubMed. Next, he decided that he wanted to show how evil McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are. Now, this in and of itself isn’t necessarily such a bad thing, although it needs to be repeated that no one is claiming that McNuggets are health food, not even McDonald’s. So Adams bought some McNuggets, looked at them under his stereomicroscope, and made a video. In it, he was shocked—shocked, I say!—that they looked weird and alien when magnified a couple of hundred times. Actually, I probably shouldn’t be quoting that classic scene from the movie Casablanca, because in that scene it was obvious that no one was shocked at all that gambling was going on at Rick’s American Cafe. In marked contrast, Mike Adams appeared truly shocked at seeing fibers and strand-like objects that he naturally identified as Morgellons fibers. Never mind that they were probably nothing more than dust, perhaps flour, and almost certainly pepper or other seasoning. Adams had a real microscope, and he wasn’t afraid to use it (although he was completely incompetent at it).

Yes, Mikey thinks he’s a real scientist now. If you don’t believe me, just check out a post from a couple of days ago over at his repository of all things quackery and political hackery, NaturalNews.com, entitled Health Ranger releases first photo from the Natural News Forensic Food Lab. Apparently, this is where the “ground breaking” research that Adams promised to reveal on January 7, 2014 is going on. I’ve been very curious about just what the heck it is that Adams is brewing in his home brew laboratory. Incompetently performed science, no doubt, but what and how entertainingly incompetent will it be? I rather suspect it will be epic. Right now, this article is complete with a picture of Adams sitting in front of a lab bench with a feces-eating (sorry, no more profanity allowed here at ScienceBlogs, at least not by the bloggers) grin on his face and gloating:

At the request of many readers and fans, I’m releasing the first official photo from the Natural News Forensic Food Lab (see below). So many readers have been asking what I’m up to with the food science research and pending announcement on January 7, 2014 that I wanted to give you this photo plus an update on the research.

What you’re looking at in the photo is part of an atomic spectroscopy laboratory with extraordinary capabilities including parts per trillion detection of atomic elements as well as advanced, high-level isotopic ratio analysis capabilities. Somewhere in the background there’s also a collection of Ion-Selective Electrodes with various testing capabilities.

I’m not yet showing you all the instrumentation, but anyone who knows their way around a lab can probably recognize the peri pump in this photo and figure out what it’s attached to. (Hint: It’s worth more than a Lamborghini…)

The red object on the workbench with the open lid is a standard centrifuge. This one happens to be capable of 10,000G. The notes on the whiteboard in the background are reminders for spotting polyatomic interferences. If you want to know what polyatomic interferences are (and get a quick look at some of the chemistry I’m running), check out this article at SpectroscopyOnline.com.

Looking at the equipment behind Adams, I can’t say that I’m particularly impressed. Ion-selective electrodes? I was playing with ion-selective electrodes back in the day when I was a chemistry major. As for the desktop centrifuge? Seriously? He’s bragging about a desktop centrifuge? I have a desktop centrifuge, and I’m not even a chemist. My lab minions and I use it for spinning down bacteria, doing plasmid maxipreps and a variety of other things. As for the piece of equipment that costs “more than a Lamborghini, it’s hard to believe that Adams bought inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). Mass spectroscopy is a technique that produces spectra of the masses of the atoms and/or molecules comprising a sample of material. Basically, MS ionizes the molecules and measures what is known as the mass-to-charge ratio, from which the molecular weight of the atom or molecule can be determined. The signal is produces by a mechanism that can detect charged particles, and the relative abundance of ions is determined. These can be correlated with known masses and characteristic fragmentation patterns demonstrated by various molecules.

According to Adams:

Throughout 2013, I’ve been heavily engaged in high-level analytical chemistry and atomic spectroscopy training and research. On January 7, 2014, I will begin announcing a series of food science breakthroughs that, as promised, will reshape the food industry and absolutely revolutionize personal health. Based on what we are about to announce, every individual who seeks outstanding health, amazing cognitive function, healthy offspring, longevity and freedom from chronic disease will now have a powerful, transformative new science-based paradigm from which to accomplish those goals with clarity and consistency.

This research completes my own transition from activist to scientist, and it also signifies a radical reshaping of the editorial focus of NaturalNews.com onto transformative solutions for personal and planetary health.

Sure it does. I’d love to know where Adams is getting his “high level” training from. It’s really sad that someone with so little knowledge can afford what sounds like some really nice equipment. On the other hand, one wonders why he doesn’t show the whole lab, one does. Maybe because if he did, it wouldn’t be nearly as impressive as he makes it sound. Perhaps he has old, second-hand equipment. Perhaps it’s not set up right (very likely). Perhaps there’s not as much there as he advertises. Who knows?

Be that as it may, I used to work in a spectroscopy laboratory part time back when I was in medical school. We did infrared (IR) spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, and, of course, MS. I generally ran the NMR spectrometer (this was back in the 1980s before NMR was renamed “magnetic resonance imaging”) and occasionally the IR; I didn’t run the MS. However, I learned a bit about how it is done. MS is a lot more sophisticated than it was 28 years ago; these days it’s possible to get meaningful information from the spectra of macromolecules like proteins. (Come to think of it, these days it’s now possible to get meaningful information from the NMR spectra of macromolecules.) I’m not an expert, but I know that there are lots of issues that can interfere with obtaining good spectra and using them to accurately identify the molecules and atoms within the specimen. The potential for introducing biases is great, and bias can be introduced at the level of sample collection, preparation, and storage protocols, as well as instrument settings. One wonders who in Mikey’s lab is actually taking care of all of this. From this article it would appear that it’s Adams himself. If that is the case, and if MS data are going to be part of the “revelation” scheduled for January 7, that revelation is likely to be even more rich with entertainment value than I anticipate it will be now, particularly given some of the comments after the article, such as the commenter who requested

Could you please Mass Spec some water that falls from the sky after a heavy chemtrail day? I’d really like to know what the fallout contains – as I am sure MANY other people would.

Yes, Mike. Please do. I always love primo new blogging material.

Of course, Adams tells us that this is all Real Science, not a stunt:

The glasses on my head are lab safety glasses. I’m also wearing protective gloves, but you can’t see them in the photo. Unwisely, I sometimes conduct R&D in the lab wearing a short-sleeved shirt instead of a long-sleeved lab coat. (I’ve decided the lab coat is just too cumbersome…)

The important thing to note here is that this lab is not theater. This isn’t a green screen setup, and it’s not a bunch of fake props. In fact, at the moment this photo was taken, some of the systems in the background were actually running.

This is real science, maaaaan! I swear it is! These are not mere machines that go ping!

I do, however, wonder if OSHA is aware of Adams’ laboratory. There are lots of regulations to which anyone running a lab has to adhere to protect the safety of the workers. There are also a lot of regulations regarding how chemical and biological waste can be disposed of. If you work for a university or a company, the university or company takes care of all of this. If you run a lab, you’re responsible for adhering to all the OSHA and EPA regulations, lest workers be hurt or the groundwater be contaminated with toxic chemicals or radioisotopes. The State of Texas might also be interested (Adams is in Austin these days, I believe). I mean, seriously. Adams should be wearing a lab coat when working int he lab! A black T-shirt might show off his physique, but it won’t protect him from accidental splashes.

It’s still not entirely clear what Adams is going to do with all this equipment, either real or fantastical. Or, at least it wasn’t. I think it’s becoming clearer in the wake of yesterday’s post by Adams, entitled Health Ranger: I was poisoned by chronic exposure to toxic elements lurking in organic foods:

You may have heard some rumors that I discovered I’ve been exposed to a chronic, accumulative, low level of toxic elements (poisons) over the last couple of years. This rumor is true, and over the last several months, I have been able to identify the sources of those poisons and remove them from my diet and my environment. Some of these poisons are still coming out of my hair and urine, but overall levels have dropped dramatically. At no time were the exposures acute. I’m talking about an ongoing low level of exposure that builds up over time, not an emergency level at any one time.

Well, that certainly explains a lot about Mike Adams!

Actually, maybe not. As tempting as it is to speculate that Adams’ bizarre beliefs and behavior are the product of some sort of poisoning, no doubt these “toxins” are nothing more than the fantastical alt-med “toxins” (or, as I like to call them, pseudotoxins or fantasy toxins) treated by quackeries as varied as naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and various others. These are the “toxins,” such as “heavy metal” poisoning (I still think that would be a great name for a band) produced in every human being who is subjected to “provocative testing” with chelation therapy. However, now, Adams knows he was being poisoned by all manner of horrific things:

What’s also shocking is that you, too, are almost certainly being chronically poisoned in the way I was being poisoned, and details on all this will be forthcoming as part of our announcements in 2014. I can assure you that you are being exposed to surprising levels of cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, aluminum and even uranium — another element that I am now finding at trace levels in nearly all food. (And yes, I will report more details on that later, too… we are all eating FALLOUT!)

Oh. My. God. Not FALLOUT!!!!

Here, we can see a hint at what’s coming January 7. Believers like alt-med quackery like Mike Adams have never been very clear on the concept of “the dose makes the poison.” My guess is that Adams will be using his new super-sensitive equipment and finding the scariest metals and chemicals he can (like uranium and lead). That he will likely find them at trace levels that have no detectable adverse effect on health won’t matter. He’ll trumpet that he’s found lead, cadmium, and even—gasp!—uranium in all sorts fo foods.

This tactic will also serve a double purpose. Notice how Adams is in particular targeting supplements, claiming that he was being “poisoned with high levels of aluminum from a dietary supplement that almost no one realizes is loaded with aluminum.” In fact, this reminds me of the time that Adams, in a fit of conscience, issued “consumer warnings” about Adya Clarity, sold by a guy named Matt Monarch, who is big in the alt-med field of promoting raw vegan diets as a panacea. When last I wrote about this, I asked:

Could Adams’ newfound concern for science, supplement safety, and potential heavy metal toxicity be something as simple as eliminating a competitor? Inquiring minds want to know.

In retrospect, I think it was, with Adams taking advantage about other questions about Adya Clarity in order to use his website clout to eliminate a competitor. This is what I think is going on now, with Adams’ impending “scientific breakthrough” on January 7. Starting January 7, Adams will publish on his website “findings” of trace amounts of all sorts of horrific-sounding metals and chemicals. Whether it’s accurate or not doesn’t matter to him, just that it trumpets the message that our current food is hopelessly “contaminated” with “toxins” and that those “toxins” are slowly poisoning us, as he claims they poisoned him.

Then will come the sales pitch. He will tell us that you can “detoxify” yourself the same way he has and that you can find “toxin”-free food and supplements too. He’ll then announce a line of supplements, foods, and other products that he will “certify” as free of those nasty metals like cadmium, uranium, lead, aluminum, and all the rest. I could be wrong, but somehow I suspect I’m not. We shall find out in a mere month.