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In Goop Health: An even quackier quackfest of dangerous misinformation than expected

Science advocate and Goop critic Dr. Jen Gunter managed to infiltrate Gwyneth Paltrow’s quackfest In Goop Health by hiding in plain sight. (Actually, she just bought a ticket and attended.) What she found was a wretched hive of scum and quackery, plus a psychic who claims that death is not real. In addition to the nonsense, there was a dark side, as well,with quacks promoting the idea that you can cure cancer with thought alone and don’t need medication to treat depression.

It’s not a surprise that I’m not at all a fan of Goop, the lifestyle brand created by actress Gwyneth Paltrow that’s not infrequently been a punchline for its promotion of things like jade eggs intended for women to stick up their vaginas for all sorts of health and “energy” benefits, magic energy healing stickers, psychic vampire repellent, and all manner of New Age woo. It’s easy to laugh at the silliness of much of what Goop promotes, and, indeed, Stephen Colbert did just that masterfully with his Covetton House sketches parodying Goop; that is, before he decided to let Gwyneth Paltrow in on the joke and sell out promote her product last week. It’s also easy to be amused at how ridiculous the Goop quacks whom Paltrow evidently induced to attack steadfast Goop critic Dr. Jen Gunter were, given how one of them soon after moved to disassociate herself from Goop’s actions. There is, however, a darker side to Paltrow’s sale of expensive nonsense disguised as female “empowerment” to people with more money than sense. These dangers led to an outcry when it was announced that the second In Goop Health summit would feature Dr. Kelly Brogan, a “holistic psychiatrist” who is an acolyte of cancer quack Nicholas Gonzalez, claims that she can treat depression “holistically,” and (of course!) is rabidly antivaccine, repeating all manner of antivaccine tropes up to and including germ theory denialism in an e-book she published.

In Goop Health went on as planned last Saturday (not that I expected it to do otherwise), apparently without a hitch. Well, not quite without a hitch. It turns out that the aforementioned Dr. Jen Gunter managed to snag a ticket and showed up to the conference to see what it was all about. This pleased me mightily, not just because it meant that I could look forward to a detailed description of the pseudoscience and quackery presented at In Goop Health, but also because of this observation, contained in Dr. Gunter’s post on the conference:

I was initially worried they wouldn’t let me register, but some quick homework told me they had offloaded registration to a 3rd party so I thought it highly unlikely there was a no fly list. I did consider that I was just full of myself and they just didn’t care about me attending, however, along the way I received a tip that the GOOPsters hate me more than gluten, cow’s milk, and McChemicals combined so I think they just never thought I would go. Knowing that and managing to get in made it worth every penny.

I registered under my own name and even spoke with lots of people who work at GOOP, some very high up. At one point I was less than 6 feet from Gwyneth herself. No one recognized me with the exception of someone who follows me on Twitter (I’m sorry I forgot your name, it was a long day!) who approached when it was all over to ask if I was Jen Gunter and to tell me she liked my writing. Thank you!

Yes, I suppose it would be worth every penny, although In Goop Health is not cheap, as I’ve mentioned before. Tickets cost from $650 to $2,000, depending on the level of access and amount of swag. I assume Dr. Gunter paid the $2,000, plus the cost of travel and lodging. In any case, it is always immensely satisfying to see a skeptic infiltrate a conference of believers, particularly when, as was the case here, it is one of the two best-known and most vocal skeptics critical of Goop (the other being Tim Caulfield). I’ve written before about how pro-vaccine advocates were kicked out of the antivaccine quackfest known as Autism One and how biologist and blogger P.Z. Myers was refused admission to a screening of the creationist propaganda movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. (Hilariously, the people running the screening didn’t recognize Richard Dawkins himself and let him in!) It was not entirely unlikely that the organizers of In Goop Health might have decided beforehand that they didn’t want to let their most vociferous and devastatingly effective critic in to see what they were presenting.

It’s also important that Dr. Gunter got in because someone, somewhere, has to counter the puff pieces being written about In Goop Health, most of which treated it as a celebrity event and didn’t apply even an ounce of skepticism. Not surprisingly, VOGUE posted a glowing review, completely buying into the message that somehow buying expensive New Age products and pseudoscience empowers women:

Inside, stations featuring delectable bites from John Fraser’s popular vegan boîte Nix sat alongside haute coffee brews from La Colombe. But Paltrow has her favorites. “I love Moon Juice,” said the beaming founder, adding, “I’m very into adaptogenics.” However, Paltrow conceded that Goop and her team still have a ways to go to change mindsets on health and wellness. “We’re very lucky to be in New York City or Los Angeles, where women are incredibly empowered,” added Paltrow. “There’s still certain areas of the world that it would be great to empower some women and kick down a few doors.” Any future places she’d like to take her summit to? “The Middle East, Japan, or the South,” said Paltrow. “[Places] where women maybe still have some societal constraints.” As for herself, Paltrow has been working on her own 2018 resolution to get more sleep. “I’ve been pretty good,” said the actress with a smile, “I’ve carved out little bits of time for myself. I still have a bit further to go [but] I think I’m making progress.” And no doubt, with glowing and Goop-approved results.

Gag me with a spoon, as we (well, some people anyway) used to say in the 1980s.

Meanwhile The Daily Mail tried to make the price tag seem reasonable with the headline Drew Barrymore and Bryce Dallas Howard head up Gwyneth Paltrow’s sold-out Goop Health Summit in NYC where tickets cost up to $2,000 but guests bagged up to $3k of swag. That’s $3K retail, people. Remember the enormous markup of the products given away as swag. Meanwhile, other outlets “learned” things, like how orgasms are the secret to resetting your hormones and lowering cortisol levels and there is no gender or race in the afterlife. Indeed, other than Dr. Gunter’s post, I could only find one mainstream news outlet with a story with a headline like Gwyneth peddles ‘dangerous ideas’ at NYC Goop summit.

But what was Dr. Gunter’s experience? Noting how every attendee was issued fancy slippers and put them on, Gunter refused to do so, drolly noting how she thought everything was very “Hunger Games” and, “If shit got real cult-wise or they tried to throw me out I wanted to be able to run. Katniss would never give up her shoes.” Wandering around the exhibit hall sampling “tiny and surprisingly bland potions of chia pudding and avocado toast with over cooked eggs” she noted:

The event hall was filled with beauty treatments sold as wellness as if a scent or facial cupping could do anything except make you smell or swell. There were B12 injections from an anesthesiologist who looked like an understudy for the show The Doctors. He is apparently both an osteopathic and a medical doctor. Yes, he went to medical school twice. We asked. I watched him give an injection without gloves. Gloves are not required for injections, but it grossed me out although not as much as the long line of women waiting to pull down their yoga pants and receive a vitamin shot without giving a history or having a physical exam. I spoke with one person who said they were not asked to sign a consent. There was no fucking way I was getting an injection. I’ve read The Stepford Wives.

I’d say that Dr. Gunter made a wise decision here. I wonder if there was any raw water being sold.

What surprised me wasn’t so much how bad In Goop Health was, but rather how obviously fraudulent some of the featured speakers were. For instance, there was a psychic medium doing cold reading. Recognizing cold reading is Skepticism 101, after all:

There were back to back sessions where we learned that death IS NOT REAL. And it’s great. Laura Lynn Jackson, a “research medium” (see, words don’t matter), told us how she worked with clients to connect them with their loved ones. She strolled the crowd and her spiritual guide, who I assume is named Cash Only, helped her select three random women (the first was related to a GOOP employee, color me shocked).

Here are the questions the “research medium” asked to prove she was making a connection with relatives from the other side:

Do you have a plant?
Did you dad know anyone in the military or have a military connection?
Does your name or the name of someone you know have an L or an M?
Do you have a dog?
Do you have a cat?
Was your dad a bad communicator?
Do you like shoes?
Do you have a website?
Have your recently bought a purse or thought about buying purse?

We were in a room full of women with an average age of 40 who could all afford at least a $650 ticket for a shit show of nothing. Of course these questions will ring true as they are an exact description of the phenotype of GOOP attendees. L and M are also two of the most common letters. This was pure Barnum.

Then there was Dr. Eben Alexander, the neurosurgeon who “died” and came back to life who now sells books about how the afterlife and heaven are real. As Jen noted, there are some…holes…in his story.

In any case, some of the messages Jen managed to scribble in her notes included:

  • The brain is a filter that gets in the way of primordial consciousness.
  • We don’t need evidence based medicine if we have experiences.
  • God has pure healing energy.
  • Consciousness is not a noun it is a verb.
  • The voice in your head is not your consciousness it is a parlor trick.
  • We turn into light energy when we die.
  • Language reduces experience. (I almost fell off my chair, WORDS DON’T MATTER).
  • We can trust the universe as long as we live in love.
  • The placebo effect is getting stronger over time, this scares Big Pharma.
  • Spontaneous healing from cancer and infections can happen with love.
  • A deep spiritual journey can cure anything.
  • The person sitting next to you at any time was sent there by the universe so trust that.
  • School shootings happen because the kids who did the shooting were “disconnected from cords of love.”

That last one is particularly horrific, but no more so tha The Secret, which posits that you attract to yourself what you want; so if you really want something badly enough the universe will provide it.

As for the medical stuff, I’ve written enough about Dr. Kelly Brogan, her HIV/AIDS denialism, her beliefs that she can treat depression without medication, and her extreme antivaccine views before. So I was really curious to find out what she said at In Goop Health. Dr. Gunter reported:

Next up the psychiatrists. I was so here for this because I wanted to see an AIDS denialist, i.e. Dr. Kelly Brogan, in real life. The other two psychiatrists were fine, minimal woo and yes, they use meds. But Kelly AIDS-is-a-construct-of-big-Pharma Brogan never, ever uses medications. She can cure everyone without drugs. She didn’t tell us that she charges >$4,000 for the first 3 hours and her screening questionnaire is designed to rule out everyone who might actually need medications for anything. It is very easy to treat people who don’t need medications who are very healthy and then claim you have a special skill.

Dr. Brogan doesn’t believe serotonin is involved in depression. It’s like alcohol, she told us. Drinking reduces anxiety but that don’t mean you have an alcohol deficiency. Well of course not, but she also conveniently left out the part where alcohol isn’t a neurotransmitter made by our brain and serotonin is.

Someone, I couldn’t tell if it was Brogan or Elise Loehnen the Chief Content Officer of GOOP who was moderating the session, thought it was cool that they met a woman who almost died in childbirth and that was cool because she was willing to die for her beliefs. You have to respect that, was the implication.

I don’t “respect” foolishness, of course. In any case, Brogan’s is nice work if you can get it (and if you have zero concern about pesky things like evidence, science, or ethics).

There were others there with whom I was not very familiar and in one case not familiar at all. For instance, there was Dr. Taz Bjatia, a former pediatrician who is now a “board certified” integrative medicine physician who’s appeared on Dr. Oz’s show, which is not an endorsement. It turns out that she’s also nearly as antivaccine as Dr. Brogan is, and it only takes a brief perusal of her website to see promotion of quackery like craniosacral therapy, autism quackery, essential oils, and acupuncture. Then there was Dr. Sara Gottfried, an OB/GYN who appears to be all about selling supplements and, of course, a “detox” plan and “hormone balancing.” I might have to take a look at these two in more detail in a future post.

Here’s another one, Anita Moorjani. For some reason I had never heard of her before, but, really, I feel as though I should have. Here’s why:

She told everyone that she died from lymphoma and her brain was dead, like dead, dead, dead. Rotting, mush dead. And yet she was conscious and decided to heal herself. She was once healthy and even took supplements and yet she got cancer (supplements increase your risk of cancer, by the way). However, Anita Moorjani got cancer because she feared cancer! Then her dead, dead, dead brain figured it out and she came back from that beautiful place to pass on the message that fear kills and love saves.

It turns out that she was in the ICU but was also treated with chemotherapy. Whoops! This looks like a story I should look into more closely at some future date.

Dr. Gunter summed it up well:

I’ve never been to such a dull conference. There was nothing constructive. This was not the place or space to find even three things to do or change heath wise. It was a place to come and steep in the cult of GP and to be told that death is cool and that love cures everything. That cool, edgy wellness means a woman should trust her body to cure itself because science doesn’t know shit and experience is all you need. That God/nature/Goture has a plan and even if that includes some creepy dude sitting next to you telling you to smile, it’s all good because the Universe wants him there. And if your kid gets sick or you get cancer, well, I guess you just didn’t love enough.

And:

I’ve been to many terrible medical conferences with soul sucking black holes as speakers. If I hadn’t been so enraged at the messages that a child dies because of insufficient love and that loves cures cancer I would have fallen asleep. I also wanted to see it through. Now I know the truth of “In GOOP Health” and it is ugly.

Dr. Gunter is correct. Goop appears to be becoming more cultish every year. Of course, after having looked into some of the speakers, I’m not that surprised. It is always worse than you think when true believers gather; that is, unless you’ve experienced such lunacy before.

In any event, the key precepts of the Goop cult appear to be a central dogma that wishing will make it so that takes the shape of these ideas:

  1. Nature is always good and healing, never harmful or dangerous.
  2. Death is neither real nor permanent.
  3. Intuition trumps science
  4. Love can heal anything, even cancer that “killed” you
  5. Everything happens for a purpose, even that creepy guy sitting next to you

Of course, nature is not always good and healing. More often it is dangerous and deadly and will kill you without the least consideration, and, yes, death is real and permanent. Intuition cannot trump science and reality. Nor can love heal cancer. (Of course, as Dr. Gunter notes, the dark converse of the seemingly happy idea that love conquers all is that if bad things happen to you or you do bad things, it must be because of a lack of love.) Finally, sadly, most things in people’s lives happen for no purpose at all. People don’t want to hear or face these simple truths, which is why selling a message and products that go exactly counter to them has been so profitable for Gwyneth Paltrow.

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]

112 replies on “In Goop Health: An even quackier quackfest of dangerous misinformation than expected”

Tickets cost from $650 to $2,000, depending on the level of access and amount of swag. I assume Dr. Gunter paid the $2,000

Maybe not. The $2000-level included a shared lunch in the VIP lounge with GP herself and special guests, and Dr Gunter seems to have stayed with the “lower” classes, as she said herself:

The lunch for the GOOP proletariat was slightly less disgusting than breakfast, but honestly it all tasted the same.

But that’s a trivial point.
I have attended in the past both scientific conferences and nerd conventions, and the description of Goop Health reminds me more of the latter than the former. Swag everywhere to buy, everybody having a gay old time (no, not this type of gay, just merry) and patting themselves on the back for being cool and in. Also, a big lack of dissenting voices during the lectures.
I have yet to go to a scientific convention and not witness a heated exchange between a lecturer and one attendee.
Actually, in nerd conventions, everybody know we are dealing with fiction. So scrap that comparison, too.

The only common factor is that the food is either awful or very expensive (and maybe still awful).

At literary conferences, we used to rate comments amongst ourselves (young grad students and junior faculty.) the lowest rung was reserved for people who asked “questions” that were actually just paragraphs of showing off. The rung above that was for questions from more senior faculty that were obviously meant both to show off and put us in our place, but at least were actual questions.

The food was usually pretty good, though. And the drinks cheap.

On the other hand, Dr. Gunter was in the same room with GP and even made it within ten feet of her, at most, as she mentioned in her post. Over the weekend, she also showed me photographic evidence. Who knows? It doesn’t matter that much in any case…

I may have subconsciously wanted to quote Dr Gunter on the bit about the food. How could they mess up avocado canapés?
French, you know…

The only common factor is that the food is either awful or very expensive (and maybe still awful).

Many of us, myself included, are all too familiar with rubber chicken. TBF, a lot of places have been trying to do better than that over the last decade, but there is a reason it’s called rubber chicken, even when the entree is something other than chicken. These days it seems to happen with beverage service: often the “tea” will be Lipton (which Douglas Adams so accurately described as “a substance almost but not quite entirely unlike tea”), or the wine offering will be limited to chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon (neither of which is a varietal I like, especially at an asking price of $15 for a glass–I’m talking to you, Marriott New Orleans Downtown). Not just in the US, either: I have been to hotels in east Asia that don’t offer their guests green tea (!).

Yes, real scientific conferences do have their heated discussions. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to, because schedules (at least at the conferences I attend) have been getting more and more packed, but once in a while I see an exchange where I am half expecting one of the parties to invite the other to fisticuffs at a nearby watering hole.

And yes, the whole ” love/god/nature* ” prevents/heals everything is beyond despicable. Notably the bits where lack of love is the reason for losing children to illness. Or to a school shooting**.
Dr Gunter and some readers who experienced/witnessed such losses made their feelings quite clear, and rightly so. The profanity filter of Dr Gunter’s blog must be red-hot (both from overuse and blushing).

or goture, as Dr Gunter summarized aptly and snarkily.
** seriously, Yankees, WTF? Now it’s a school shooting every other day.

If someone collapsed at Goop, would they call 911? If death isn’t real, why not test it out right there? A B12 shot in the backside and jade eggs in some orifices ought to patch things up in a jiffy without having to bother EMS.

Funny how all these folks never hold true to their quacky beliefs in the end.

Finally, Scientology may have some competition in the loony-bin category of cults.

It is scary the blatant idiocy people will not only believe, but actively pursue and pay for. I guess P.T. Barnum was right.

It is interesting that none of the quacks featured at the Goop Summit are courageous enough to work in hospital s

Nature is always good and healing, never harmful or dangerous
Right, Today it is -10C and windy. I’ll just recline gracefully out on the chaise lounge and work on my tan.

Note ” reclining gracefully” for a clumsy 60’s year old male is not all that easy but I’m working on it.

Whenever I hear someone say that “Nature is good” I seriously wonder about their life experiences. Have they lived such a sheltered life that they have never experienced a sun burn, or a poison ivy rash, or been attacked by biting ants or mosquitoes? Have they never gone on a hike in the actual woods?

I wonder if this bizarre belief could be cured by a two-day walk in the deep woods of Maine. Between the vicious insects, the obnoxious insects and the haunting cry of the loon, they might understand that nature (and Nature) do not love you.

(True story, I had a friend in high school who had lived in the city her whole life but was widely read. We were on a school trip to Maine and I commented on the loon cries and she asked if we should find shelter so they didn’t eat us. Turns out she thought a loon was a kind of wolf, based on some misunderstood Jack London novel.)

“If someone collapsed at Goop, would they call 911? If death isn’t real, why not test it out right there? A B12 shot in the backside and jade eggs in some orifices ought to patch things up in a jiffy without having to bother EMS.”

In one of Ann Rule’s crime stories, a man was shot and seriously wounded after leaving a woo conference in the Pacific Northwest. EMS responders had to shoo away conference attendees who were attempting “therapy” (some kind of healing touch, as I recall). The man survived, and Rule wondered if the woo had something to do with it.

“Paltrow has her favorites. “I love Moon Juice,” said the beaming founder, adding, “I’m very into adaptogenics.”

“Adaptogenics” has always seemed to me to be a modern update of “good for what ails you”. I’d love to see a good takedown of this concept, which is widely used to sell herbs and other supplements purported to return your body to a natural healthy state, no matter in what direction it got fouled up. High blood sugar? Low blood sugar? It doesn’t matter, when apple cider vinegar or Magic Herb (TM) will make things right.

I’m glad that Dr Jen got close to GP whose cosmic awareness didn’t notice a disruption in the Force and have her thrown out

In the 1990s I used to frequent New Age events, yoga/martial arts and natural health fests- even having my aura read.
About 10 years ago, I attended a “lecture” by a well-known woo-meister at one of those giant bookstores/ cafes which are now rapidly disappearing that I have described in detail here and elsewhere.

What bothered me most was that whilst this professional liar/ con artist ranted his spiel for over an hour, the audience in a sophisticated suburb of NYC listened, enraptured. There were about 100 people, many of them sitting on the floor because there weren’t enough chairs- they laughed at his lame jokes, applauded whenever he proclaimed his triumphs over SBM and
afterwards, whooped and yelled as they got up to have him sign the many, many quack tomes they had bought.

This happened before the Financial Crisis so I assumed that that catastrophe might have put a dent in woo-ish sales but No! when I researched the question post 2008-9, it seemed that sales got even better ( in the US, slightly, worse in the UK).I’ve reported that I believe that the crisis changed the message of those I survey, injecting politics/ economics into their rants which perhaps was a way to boost sales- getting the audience on their side by labelling the government and corporations as evil incarnate and themselves as brave, maverick avengers or suchlike…

Since then, it seems that their message has become more libertarian, even alt right at times.

Gwyneth has an entirely different audience: cool girl, hipster, affluent women who probably follow celebrity culture and fashion.
I venture that their politics are not the same as Mikey’s audience.

What bothers me even more is that most of GP’s groupies/ goopies are educated, youngish women.

This “Nature is always good and healing, never harmful or dangerous.” drive me crazy. Have these people never heard of Sacculina, guinea worms, or any other of the dozens of parasites out there?

What always strikes me as odd/amusing is that so many of these women (and there are some men as well) will proudly proclaim their great pride in having given up on religion. They are distincly referring to “organized” religion. These statements are usually followed by the supposed inside info that “they just want money” (not that the things they want you to believe are absurd). Of course, you hear these things at the essential oil/detox potion aisle, where they are filling their baskets, as you pass through on your way to the lacinato kale (because WF is the only place that has it in your midwest city).

(Actually I hear it all the time from “friends” as well).

@ kissmetoad:

I’ve noticed that some woo-meisters reference standard religious forms: Mike Adams is specifically Christian and Null tosses in African American gospel choir songs amidst the disco tunes during his shows although he mentions spirituality and vitalism as well. A few anti-vaxxers are adamantly Christian.
.
I think that Paltrow follows the New Agey/ quasi Eastern religion Glopped Together model in order to appeal to her audience. I wonder if somewhere there is a researcher figuring out exactly what words engender sales: Calm? Peace? Universe?
Purity? LOVE?

I believe what is neglected in this whole situation is the influence of evangelicals who have figured out how to disguise their agenda through their usual means to advance the anti-vax agenda. Whether that is directed from somewhere else and they are tools of it or not is irrelevant now. They are now mouthpieces of something they don’t remotely understand but think is relevant to their overall plan. They are on board with this and will continue to promote it, I think.

Here in the bowels of the Deep South I see, hear, and read that the extreme evangelicals are gobbling up almost everything in the organized anti-vax platform. They are literally sitting ducks for this point of view. They lack the tools to understand anything scientific because of the total dissolution of meaningful public education in the US.

I always take a political stance on this. Change has to happen when the skeptics can come together to counter marketing efforts from the very visible Oz/Goop contingent in concert with those who have been working for decades to curtail all the unregulated bozos such as Mercola and Weil who have sold themselves so successfully as authorities.

I could rant on forever about this. The solution to this dangerous stupidity is political organization of those who understand the dangers. And….to stop this nonsense of preaching to the choir and get serious about political action.

I believe what is neglected in this whole situation is the influence of evangelicals who have figured out how to disguise their agenda through their usual means to advance the anti-vax agenda.

There has been a convergence of interests between the Televangelist scammers and the antivax grifters. People were impressed by the Goddiness of Suzanne Humphries’ video response to the purported death threats… all Thanking People for their Prayers of Protection, and talk of a wrathful YHWH who will surely strike down the serpents. She seemed to be speaking in shibboleths. If she has not personally succumbed to the prion disease, she still wants the suckers to think that she is One of Them. Affinity Fraud shibboleths. And of course she dragged in a few Gun-Freedom signifiers of group membership as well.

From the perspective of the antivaxxers and the Alt-Med fraudsters (but I repeat myself), why wouldn’t you get religion? Religious Freedom seems to be the Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card for any kind of malfeasance.

Somewhat off-topic personal anecdotes. Sorry for the length, but I have to weigh in on this….: My niece briefly attended Spence in New York and was in the class just below Gwyneth. She remembers her as being anything but filled with a spirit of love and redemptive healing. The reports I’ve had from her are that this anti-intellectual fool was always a stereotypical Mean Girl who was an adept politician at forming nasty little cabals to humiliate and mock rival students who were deemed Embarrassingly Unworthy of Us. She says that even then the notion of self-awareness was alien to this kid, who relentlessly name-dropped her family’s Hollywood connections and went out of her way to discard people who were insufficiently adoring. Actual education was an afterthought to her. Power and influence games were the focus of her existence.

She was a terrible student and nearly flunked out more than once. She expressed no interest in further (i.e., real/non-“finishing school”) education and was aggressively sarcastic towards any “nerd” who did. My niece was a bit afraid of her loyal little army. She says it was all straight from the movie “Mean Girls” and that at Spence there were no checks and balances on that. There were also very lax academic standards at that time. She thinks Gwyneth couldn’t pass a GED now.

She also says that the mother, Blythe Danner, has gotten a free pass on her role in this. She is a snob to the highest degree and has always extravagantly praised every bit of stupidity emanating from her golden child.

So now we get this well-marketed pitch to adhere to a more exalted (non-scientific) ideal that love conquers disease and positive energy cures cancer. Ask her former classmates about her respect for science and her spirit of love.

The lunch for the GOOP proletariat was slightly less disgusting than breakfast, but honestly it all tasted the same.

Lol. It sounds almost as if that is a nice way to say that “this stuff tastes like sh…..” Wait just a moment, I see where this is going–

Gwyneth Paltrow’s POOP™. Galleys of GP glitterly employees filling green granate bowls infusing “always good and healing, never harmful or dangerous” panpsychic conciousness and love — each to her own to deliver the dead, like dead, dead, dead. Rotting, mush dead** contents of the pot unto the great adaptogenic bioreactor of rejuvination.

Here we propose waste treatment via anaerobic digestion followed by methanotrophic growth of Methylococcus capsulatus to produce a protein- and lipid-rich biomass that can be directly consumed

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221455241730041X

** By the way, lady; This is what happens when you use salvia instead of stevia on your amalgamated glop.

We turn into light energy when we die.

If I’d been there I would have felt compelled to ask just how much of the body’s mass was converted to energy at the moment of death.

Life has provided me with quite a number of reasons to wish that I will never again have to sit alongside a dying person, but I never thought I would have to add this one to the list.

If it all got converted, of course, it would incinerate everything for at least 50 miles in all directions, as a guess.

As a part time Vegan (meatless mondays), I enjoyed Orac’s posted image of a healthy looking Gwyneth Paltrow in front of a beautiful wall of edible vegetables.

If reduced animal exploitation and suffering is a precept of the Goop cult, this would definitely show great intuition and love.

As a part time Vegan (meatless mondays), I enjoyed Orac’s posted image of a healthy looking Gwyneth Paltrow in front of a beautiful wall of edible vegetables.

While you are fawning all over Gwynnie’s glow, I and most I know look equally healthy without the expensive serums and bullshit diets. And while you are admiring her wall ‘o veggies, think about how many people in need that could have fed instead of wilting on a stupid wall so narcissistic over-privileged bints could get a photo-op of their dumb excesses.

@ Science Mom:

For sure!

-btw-
While we’re at it, have you noticed that the natural health queen has preternaturally blond hair usually only observed in toddlers of Nordic descent?

I assess that she is a double process blonde
( for the un-informed, i.e. men, it means that to lighten medium to dark hair, hair dressers must FIRST apply a strong bleach that stays on for a long time until the hair turns to a pale yellow and recreates the texture of cotton, THEN they add a mixture of tint – golden, silver, taupe, whatever- and peroxide which stays on for a while, further damaging the hair. See Lady Gaga and Madonna for exemplars of this tradition which occurs as frequently as every 10 days because hair grows, revealing dark roots)

She’s probably done other stuff as well but I haven’t seen her close up so I can’t tell.

So I’ll focus on the ( rich) peasant skirt which was most likely made in Thailand by virginal children who gathered the silk, wove it by hand and dyed it with natural berry juices** whilst singing folk tunes from Chiang Mai..
I’m sure that the boots are vegan and from Stella MacCartney- another woo-centric, earthy mom.

I hope we don’t sound too mean..

** I’m joking the hues are way too bright, therefore, CHEMICALZ!.

Nah, my nephews’ hair is quite a bit more white-blonde than GP’s. My brother is still about as blonde as she is, his hair might be a little darker.

You could be right about the double process, though, I don’t know. I take after my dad’s side and am various shades of tan and brown. My hair is pretty dark, but I had shaggy bleach blonde hair for a while as a teenager, a la Kurt Cobain. (My cousin was in hair dressing school so I experimented a lot for free.) I only vaguely remember the bleaching process, though.

@ JP:

Look at other photos of her to see what she’s done to her hair- the processes are permanent altho’ you can tint them a little darker.

@ Science Mom,

The anguish you feel for the “wilting wall ‘o veggies” is admirable. 🙂

The hatred you feel for the participants of GOOP is ugly and equally unhealthy.

It’s clear that Orac has skillfully used science, and respectful insolence, to diminish several unfortunate aspects of GOOP.

@ Orac,

Is there anything positive you can say about GOOP?

Does the promotion of a vegan lifestyle provide GOOP with any immunity to your clever respectful-insolence?

@Denice:

Yeah, you’re right. I just saw a picture of her at her high school graduation and her natural hair color was just a few shades lighter than mine. And she had brown eyes almost as dark as mine! I guess she must wear blue contacts.

As a part time Vegan (meatless mondays)

Do you “sell” your leather to non-“vegans” on Mondays, like chametz on Pesach?

@ Narad,

I’m uncertain if Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing brown fake-leather boots in the image provided by Orac at the beginning of this post.

GOOP may not be perfect but it’s trying.

Then there is this from Dr. Gunter “GP (her formal name, no one calls her Gwyneth) was the mistress of ceremonies and for such a seasoned actress she said “um” a lot. She looked fine, but up close she looks her age so there is no magic in GOOP skin care products.”

Why should promoting veganism (not the same thing as not eating meat) get them a pat on the back? Studies are mixed on the health benefits of veganism and there are serious environmental and humanitarian implications to the diet.

Gwyneth Paltrow is not a vegan and does not consistently follow a plant-based, animal product-free diet. That was one of her many brief personal experiments (fads) and is not a permanent part of her “lifestyle” brand because her organization knows it is somewhat unpopular among the affluent, self-indulgent (mostly, apparently) women who buy into her more profitable offerings. It would be very interesting to see some solid market research about who actually buys any of this stuff. That is possible to research, and I’m surprised no one has either done it or will publish it. Her organization obviously has done very targeted and shrewd analyses of their target market. They falsely gloss over her pretend plant-based diet and tarnish that sound dietary choice with their usual nonsense.

Yeah, where do they get the b-12? In actual India, they get it from the amount of bugs that gets into the foodstuffs.

Um, no, it’s from dairy most likely. Hindus are generally lacto-vegetarians, not vegans.

We’re all gonna be living in 200 sq/f houses and eatin’ crickets.

How big is your father’s basement?

I am 60 and have never eaten meat in my entire life. “We” in the west mostly get B-12 from supplements because in the modern world we can’t realistically get it from soil-based sources as might have been possible in the past. A long-term plant-based diet in the west requires some education because B-12 has different forms, and some are more bioavailable than others. You gotta know what you are doing if you want to eat only plants for a lifetime. Deficiency of B-12 can take up to 20 years to show up if you convert to this way of eating as an adult.

You can safely bet that the Goopy crowd does not have a qualified dietitian on hand to post anything authoritative about how to deal with potentially serious deficiencies if you follow her faddy nonsense. I’ve looked on that web site and….nothing. Plant-based eating is merely the flavor of the week for this idiot.

There are no disclaimers anywhere–as Dr. Gunter repeatedly points out–as far as I’ve seen for the stupidity posted on the Goop web site. Someone needs to sue this dumb chick for actual harm, and then this and similar sites will reconsider publicly and aggressively advocating this inane, insane crap that gullible people follow because….why? Why does anyone take her advice? Trying to emulate a brainless, privileged nitwit with a deficient high school education? I have no clue why anyone even reads it. Somebody enlighten me.

It’s about thee fitty. Not really, We don’t have a basement, Narad. I have to drive 15 miles for that — Gonna be tornadoes tommorow…

@ Sahra, My faher has pernicious anemia and he still takes injections of B-12 in the form cyannocobalamin because he doesn’t know any better. His absortion is about 1% – megadose oral methylcobalomin works a treat but he’s what works works and why change. It is actually difficult to get the cyannocobalamin shot these days but he has a doctor that prescribes it even though it is not his first reccomendation.

I’m sorry to hear that the injection is hard to get. I hope everything is under control with cyanocobalamin by injection. This is why the real dietitians need to go after nutcrackers like Gwyneth–pernicious anemia is no joke, and once it’s established it can be a long process to restore B-12 levels. The B-12 blood test is unreliable, too. I think MMA is still considered the marker to evaluate. Not sure and might have that totally wrong now.

The obvious Goop silliness is easy to dismiss as comical, but the nutritional misinformation is serious. It’s a mystery to me why professional dietitians aren’t shutting this down. You can’t get people like Goopy on false advertising for junk products because all they are doing is selling stuff and not making explicit health claims (I think), but the bad nutritional advice crosses a line into actually advocating what’s known to be false and harmful. This is an FTC issue, I think, and the big dietitian trade group is silent.

Forget about that group doing anything about Goop and the rest of its ilk, though. The ADA was recently renamed and reorganized, and guess who widely sponsored and exhibited at one of its recent meetings? Junk food manufacturers. Coca-Cola, among others. That organization has lost its way. Some RDs are fighting back, though.

@Sara:

Yes, and any appeal to nature with regard to a vegan diet is pseudoscientific nonsense. It’s not a “natural” diet (which doesn’t mean it’s not a perfectly good one) because if you’re doing it right, you need to supplement with B-12, which I’m vegan form is synthesized.

@ Sara:

You make perfect sense: I have observed this phenomenon elsewhere.

A woo-meister harps upon the miraculous effects of a purely vegan diet which he follows religiously. Vegetables themselves are worshipped as panacea for all manner of illness, including cancer, heart disease, MS, ASDs, AD etc,: they work better than meds, he claims, showing studies. Like Paltrow’s, his followers are exposed to this material on a regular basis, thus they learn to think as he does: meat and dairy products are like poison- killers all.
HOWEVER
most people find that maintaining a vegan – or even vegetarian diet- is difficult in the real world: it takes time. You may need supplements and perhaps all family members on not agreed upon this so you may have to create extra meals.. Plus, some people actually enjoy meat and poultry but they’ve been learning to hate and fear what they eat because he takes the sound advice about a plant based diet and infiltrates it with scare tactics ( meat is rotten, fish is contaminated with worms, cheese causes death, wheat is a drug).

THEN he presents a product line that focuses upon powders- red, green, purple- which are composed of dried vegetables, fruits, herbs and nutritional supplements and costs BIG MONEY. So his followers might eat a more commonplace diet and STILL get benefits – perhaps saving their lives without becoming a paragon of virtue like their guru.

Much of this is marketed to people who are middle aged or older: he talks about possible lifespans of 140-150 years. To younger followers- if any exist- he stresses how meat/ dairy/ fish production harm the planet, increasing pollution and the effects of AGW and how vegans like himself are more attractive and youthful.

Woo-meisters including GP can simultaneously “educate” their followers and lord it over them because of course, they themselves are doing it better- even if they aren’t.

This response is for Denise Walters. Sorry, I’m a dummy about how posting works here…..

The vegan/vegetarian issue is a perfect example of how these shysters confound and conflate good science with bad non-science, belief, and just hokum. Elsewhere I’ve posted my outrage at the dangerous distortions of Goop et alia as a lifelong plant-based eater myself, so I won’t repeat that.

The only thing I pay attention to on the woo-ey sites and in their pitches about whatever topic, cure, or product/nostrum they are promoting is this: What are they selling? Cui bono? On this blog in particular, who is likely to be a paid troll? Who is making money from some product or point of view? It can be subtle and very cleverly disguised.

At some point you have to disengage from obvious trolls and wonder who is paying them to infiltrate or insinuate their presence into skeptical blogs. A bit paranoid, yes, but internet marketing is truly on another level now.

@ Sara:

A dead giveaway ( to a woo-fraught website) is a Store or books for sale, ways to contribute to their so-called charities- sometimes all three.
( see naturalnews, mercola, garynull/ prn.fm, age of autism, thinkingmomsrevolution, etc_)

re “paid trolls” at RI?
I don’t know.
Although there have been many obsessed with some woo or other ( see AutismInvestigated) on their own
.
But there have been quite a few with agendas and possibly products/ services to promote. Maybe a woo-meister or two himself or an employee.

Paid trolls are everywhere, alas, and by definition can be very hard to spot. Because Orac and his allied blog have been so prominent, I have no doubt that some of the troublesome trolls here are probably part of an organized disinformation effort. I’ve seen it before: opponents are targeted and a variety of seemingly innocuous-sounding contrarians are dispatched to lurk and post long-term in order to wear down the opposition. It seldom works, of course; but whenever there is big money at stake to defend/promote a product(s)/point of view, the paid trolls are never far behind.

I have no doubt that some of the troublesome trolls here are probably part of an organized disinformation effort.

MJD is anything but organized.

Funny! I’m fairly new to the blog and have tried to introduce some common sense into MJD’s worldview. To no avail, I guess.

I have seen very crafty and coherent disinformation campaigns from some of the anti-vax stalwarts, though. Somebody is funding a few obvious efforts to spew the same message almost verbatim in a couple of places.

I just finished a project to track some front groups (unrelated to the quacky world) who hide their financial support and agenda in some unlikely ways. In that case, following the money turned up some well-hidden organizations with a very extreme agenda. I don’t put it past the anti-vaxers to do the same.

This is preposterous. I have an actual plant-based way of living and am well informed about eating and living this way–having done so my entire life. I have two advanced degrees in the life sciences and am also a trained chef and nutrition educator as well as a permaculture instructor of self-sufficient urban gardening.

This stupid, uneducated girl has no knowledge of what’s entailed in choosing plants as the basis of one’s diet. She is an ignorant idiot. You are also incorrect that she even has a plant-based diet. Skim the contents of her cookbooks: lots of recipes for chicken.

You are tolerated here as the obvious troll you are, but when you start defending this little superannuated girl’s misunderstanding of what a plant-based diet really entails, then you will engage me. I know my stuff, and you are on the wrong side of the facts.

People like this can do real harm by advocating dietary regimens–such as eating only plants–that require careful attention and good information to be healthy and safe. She is an uninformed fool who can cause real harm.

You make a kindergarten error: Vegetarian and vegan are entirely different animals. I won’t even get into the other glaring flaws in that post. First learn that vegetarian does not equal vegan. The NIH is a consortium of federally funded research institutions with entirely distinct missions. The NIH does not endorse anything like what you describe. That is ridiculous.

Orac is clearly an anti-GOOPer based on his inability to recognize/acknowledge GOOP’s vegan health initiative.

Once again–Goopy is NOT VEGAN. Stop with this nonsense. That faddish hypocrisy is the least of her offenses against common sense and the facts. See my post above and please stop trying to derail the very justified vilification of this fool.

Sara writes,

I have an actual plant-based way of living and am well informed about eating and living this way–having done so my entire life. I have two advanced degrees in the life sciences and am also a trained chef and nutrition educator as well as a permaculture instructor of self-sufficient urban gardening.

MJD says,

Do you have a website where we can learn more?

It’s great to practice, it’s great to teach, but few have the talent to preach and reach.

From my perspective, Gwyneth Paltrow is intuitively making a difference when she promotes a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

Gwyneth Paltrow is intuitively making a difference when she promotes a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

It’s pretty pathetic that you fail to directly acknowledge your tediously repeated error.

You described MJD as pathetic and tedious and didn’t even say he is amusing? How could you slight him in such a fashion?

/bugaboo mode off

Do you have a website where we can learn more?

Surely you jest. With all or your great knowledge, research ability, web design skills and free time devoted to producing lengthy tomes furthering the knowledge needed by all of humanity, how is it that you don’t? It’s impolite to count on the continued generous tolerance of our kind host for a platform to demonstrate your great intellectual prowess.

I hope at some point you can get some help for what seems to be some kind of rigid inability to absorb what you don’t want to accept or just simple passive aggression. For the third time: GWYNETH PALTROW IS NOT A VEGAN. Nor does she eat a primarily plant-based diet. This is readily apparent from the content of her web site and cookbooks. Please stop with the nonsense of defending this ignoramus. I don’t like to shout or be crass, but it now seems warranted.

This ignorant chick is promulgating information that can be profoundly harmful. That is the point. If you can’t comprehend that fact, that is your problem, and no one is obliged to defend the facts (see the tag line for this blog). This is the wrong place to try to sidetrack and derail. Many if not most of the posters here have solid scientific credentials and will back off from responding to people like you. The conversation will continue with or without trolls trying to hijack it.

@ Roger Kulp:

Believe it or not, Mercola, a DO, promotes earthing/ grounding on his eponymous website- there are a few articles there and related products- e.g. a mat.

I think one of the things that bothers me most about Goop is a simple thing. They are tying themselves to the cause of female empowerment. I fully support the empowerment of women and I support equality, but I cannot support anti-scientific stances. The way that Paltrow is packaging Goop, if you support female empowerment, you support Goop, but if you don’t support Goop, you must be an enemy of female empowerment. I find this message truly repellent. Paltrow is literally hiding her crankery behind an otherwise worthy movement. I know I’m not saying anything that posters in this blog don’t already know, but someone poisoning the well in this way truly bothers me.

I think one of the things that bothers me most about Goop is a simple thing. They are tying themselves to the cause of female empowerment.

This. Female empowerment is NOT buying into that whole barefoot-earth-mother-corn-goddess-gaia schtick. Embracing silliness is the opposite of empowerment.

What the heck does empowerment have to do with appearance? The logic of this escapes me. Female empowerment is not squandering thousands on your appearance–apparently with the anodyne goal of achieving a “natural” look. Why? Conflation of consumerism and fluffy notions of “empowerment” at its best.

As Denise Walter observes elsewhere, Goop has long had fried/bleached hair involving multiple chemical processes of unknown safety. She has famously mentioned having a weekly cigarette (such discipline!). To me, her obvious skin damage–from baking herself in exotic locales, no doubt–is the giveaway that appearance, not health, is her real priority.

Don’t get me started on the uncredentialed and recklessly uninformed personal trainer crook who was/is her business partner. That shady person has been the target of lawsuits and other legal messes in several places.

I doubt Ms. Paltrow could have spelled “empowerment” before her marketing team seized it as a slick advertising gimmick.

For foolish physicist:

I am an older woman who is also extremely distressed by this cultural appropriation of female empowerment in order to sell quackery. That term is usually applied to pop culture figures (Miley Cyrus) who embrace an aspect of black or hip-hop culture that they could never in a million years begin to understand. Now Goopy is spitting in the faces of people like me who have endured years and decades of discrimination that this spoiled, entitled brat could not possibly comprehend even if she had the capacity for empathizing with it. I completely agree that this is the most offensive aspect of her casual abuse of others’ experiences.

Once again the question is why this twit gets so much attention, and why is there so little mainstream effort to shut this Goop crappola down? How much do you have to pay a high-end PR firm to keep this junk visible and quasi-respectable? My niece went to high school with Goop and says her mother has always pumped a huge amount of cash into her (now-dead) “acting” career (including the Oscar campaign). I wonder whether family money is what pays for this obviously all-out effort to promote Goopery. It would be nice to see some numbers about the business. It was hemorrhaging cash recently. Still true?

Ms. Paltrow does seem to have an obsession with cleansing/purifying her nether regions. Why anyone would dispense that into the ether for public consumption is beyond me. It would be educational if she had a dim awareness of her own anatomy and bodily functions, but…no. I recommend Dr. Gunter’s blog. She has some very funny past comments about this.

She has extensively discussed her obvious fascination with colonic irrigation, various culty purges, and the need to cleanse her v_____ (can I use that term here without being censored?) through eggs (!?!), steaming, and who knows what else. She invites satire with this, so Goop is fair game for whatever snark is thrown at it and her.

GP and her paranoid orthorectic lifestyle brand led me to think, “Where’s the Food Babe?”

I haven’t heard much about her for a while so I went to her site:
it seems that she’s been rather busy: she had a baby who is now 1.

Imagine the possible posts and investigations as she navigates the world of baby foods and day care snacks- as well as a purist’s birthday cake

I’m sure her audience of cool girl hotties will now include vegan GMO free MILFs toxin-phobes

Please do not dump all plant-based people into the same pot of ninnies as these self-styled nutritionist zealots. I detest the term vegan because it has acquired so many ridiculous connotations. I prefer the more sane designation of whole-food-plant-based. We are not all raving, dumb fanatics. I’m a fairly sensible person, and I cringe at being associated with some of these obvious orthorectics. What’s needed is a way to distinguish the orthorectics from people who have digested the literature (sorry, couldn’t resist) and decided to follow this kind of regime for medically solid reasons. It doesn’t help advance public health when this (my) choice undertaken for sound reasons is lumped into the mush of nonsense propounded by faddists.

It’s been my understanding that many vegans use the term vegan because it implies an ethical commitment to lessening animal suffering (beyond just a whole-food plant-based diet), but yes, the term has been misused by faddists.

Yes, the semantics of the term “vegan” are a real problem. Hard core self-styled “vegans” will not eat honey, for example. This is far too extreme (and completely silly) and discredits the efforts of people like me, and most of us accept that these people are on the real fringe. It’s a constant struggle to distance ourselves from inane extremist “vegans” who understand nothing except that there’s some cool trendiness associated with that term.

I operated two animal rescue groups for many, many years, so my perspective is that of someone who has seen the effects of animal abuse and neglect firsthand. This is not theoretical for me. It irks me beyond description when a Paltrow or some other celebrity decides that “veganism” is the cause du jour without understanding even one tiny little iota about the big picture and why that term is poisonous.

A month later they will be on to the next fad.

@ Sara:

OBVIOUSLY I am taunting the loons.

SBM illustrates the benefits of a plant based diet with research and recommends guidelines that are sane.

What I’m concerned with are those who earned their BS degrees at the university of g–gle and proselytise at websites and internet radio as I’ve described above. Not only are meat, dairy and wheat poisons but anyone who thinks otherwise, like medical and dietetic associations, are corrupted by “tobacco science” or fake science….

These people have much in common with anti-vaccine “researchers” whose activists create their own reality citing a web of awful research – in fact, the two groups often overlap. For example, some advocate gluten free and casein free diets to ameliorate the severity of ASDs broadly to children who haven’t coeliac disease or an allergy.

In addition, there are campaigns vehement against most sugar or championing exclusively raw diets. Or those who believe that paleo- conquers all. There are loads of this stuff on the internet. Sometimes their beliefs resemble a religion. Although they say otherwise, they have little well done research to support their beliefs

OF COURSE, the loons are not exactly thrilled with Orac and his many merry minions: in fact, they often warn their followers about him
( a new article against vaccines @ prn.fm even mentions Orac by his real name- which is misspelled).

Beautifully and succinctly stated. Please save this summary and post it widely. You express the key issues very well, and thank goodness you have the motivation and perspective to keep such a close eye on a range of loonies and quasi-loonies. These sites proliferate daily–exponentially, even.

Apologies for glancing over your post quickly and not picking up on the undertoned address to trolls.

From my recent experience with well-funded and well-hidden front groups I see a possibly new and worrisome, cohesive disinformation strategy against Orac and the other skeptics who stay in this for the long haul. These entities have appropriated and adapted the tricks of the tobacco industry, which were purchased at great cost and are now being used by a variety of interests (anti-climate change propaganda paid for by the fossil fuel industries, for example) to undermine public trust in science and cast doubt on well established facts. As always, follow the money. As always, cui bono?

At some point you have to step back from the ad hominem stuff and examine who profits from anti-science. It’s often subtle and sometimes completely obvious.

Narad writes,

MJD is anything but organized.

MJD says,

You make me out to be so dysfunctional.

I’m a big fan of Orac, I can’t be that atypical.

Q. How are bobblehead dolls and Narad similar.

A. You have to poke them to make them somewhat amusing.

MJD:

You are atypical: most of Orac’s readers come here to LEARN or to share information about woo.

I could go on but won’t BECAUSE you luxuriate in your idees fixes
if you like Orac so much why don’t you follow his advice?

OH WHY DO I EVEN TRY?

Likewise…I am new here, but this MJD person seems unable to absorb sound information and should be ignored. There are more important and much larger issues to focus on not based on ad hominem back-and-forth trivia.

I don’t want to be a pest here, but this demonstrates and affirms the tactic I’ve seen elsewhere to wear down critics of woo. I think there is a coherent playbook designed who knows where and by who knows whom to keep hammering at researchers and practitioners who have the time and drive to fight back against the woo industries. They have big. big money behind them–often very craftily hidden–and the goal is to shut critics down from sheer fatigue and the burden of responding to crappola.

I hope I’m not driving this point into the ground, but in my latest professional endeavor of muzzling (we hope) some fraudulent and potentially very dangerous front groups I think this is an element of the woo world that needs to be confronted by people on the scientific front. They are adapting the tricks of the front-line political world in hiding their goals in innocuously-sounding and cleverly named groups that the public and even the research community does not know are just flaming fakes.

This is not a scattered ad hominem thing among scattered groups to attack critics. We think they have a really coherent long-term program, and the extremely successful disinformation tobacco campaigns of the 60s/70s may be a big model for it.

I’ll shut up now. Thank you to Denise Walter, Narad, and several other people for reading my contributions here.

Dence Walter asks,

…if you like Orac so much why don’t you follow his advice?

MJD says,

I do follow Orac’s advice.

When Orac advises to “Leave a reply.”, I’ve regularly taken his advice.

I never imagined that such advice would cause me to be placed in permanent auto-moderation.

@ Orac,

There’s no such thing as freedom of respectful insolence when auto-moderation is an absolute.

Show your followers that your impartial not impatient.

For MJD: Your childish response is part of why your passive-aggressive antagonism and false professions of being a “fan” of Orac cannot be taken seriously and are a distraction from otherwise productive and informative exchanges. You won’t have to look far to find a more receptive venue for your opinions.

Sara writes,

You won’t have to look far to find a more receptive venue for your opinions.

MJD says,

Your words are comforting and I very much look forward to presenting said opinions to this “most” receptive audience.

Thank you, Sara.

Sara: ” I think there is a coherent playbook designed who knows where and by who knows whom to keep hammering at researchers and practitioners who have the time and drive to fight back against the woo industries. They have big. big money behind them–often very craftily hidden–and the goal is to shut critics down from sheer fatigue and the burden of responding to crappola.”

Sorry – but this makes you sound exactly like wooists who claim most or all criticism of their practices comes from “shills” for Big Pharma, Giant Medicine, Octopoid Government, Bill Gates (!) etc. While some aid and comfort comes from woo industry allies and their money-driven mouthpieces (Mercola/Adams/Null et al), the vast majority of opposition to evidence-based healthcare comes from small-time zealots (many of whom are easily panicked into thinking someone wants to take away their magic remedies).

Uh, no. You are creating a straw man argument. My previous posts disclose that we just finished a large-scale investigation in cooperation with several authorities who cannot be identified of some very cleverly disguised front groups whose financial supporters are hiding behind shell companies and entities. This may or may not be analogous to the long-term strategy of some woo-advancing organizations. I/we suspect a lot of these quacks are borrowing from the old tobacco industry disinformation playbook. Nice try, but I/we have nothing in common with amateur paranoiacs.

I tend to agree with the Dangerous one- with a few exceptions like the ANF who lobby worldwide for legislation: Chiropractors and NDs as well.

Woo-meisters and anti-vaxxers enjoy armies of devoted followers who will pester journalists and SB bloggers and call legislators FOR FREE. They can muster groups to protest laws they disagree with, as in California. People gather for conferences, lectures, films and protests, keeping in touch at facebook and twitter or through dedicated websites or raising money. Thinking Moms Revoluton started on facebook through a group of university friends. Wakefield has groupies who will speak on his behalf everywhere. A few anti-vaxxers – Polly Tommey, Kim Rossi, Zoey “Prof” O’Toole, maybe Ann Dachel- may be paid by the foundations or charities they help manage.

Anti-vaxxers often write books which are published by a anti-vax autism friendly publisher, Tony Lyons of Skyhorse. I think that the writers usually pay more than they receive for the privilege of being a published author. Listed at AoA, TMR.

In addition, woo-meisters recruit “citizen journalists”: Natural News has been posting their efforts for a few years now .and Null ( prn.fm) is recruiting a group of “researchers” who will put together “white papers” on various health and political topics. The best fan fiction will presented on the air; he’ll create a research journalism center to write articles and make films.

Lawyers lobby for groups and individuals and a few have become quite famous. Some woo-meisters keep a flock of lawyers employed it seems.

btw- I wrote here that Null’s CDC/ Deep State article featured a reference to our esteemed host, misspelling his real name- looking back at the dreck, I could only find a reference to Dr Offit . NOW I’m not paranoid BUT are we being watched?…
( probably I misread but I’m usually pretty good with references)

Denice summarized the state of the Loon Armada well.

The stuff about “paid trolls”* and hidden front groups is straight out of the frustrated wooist handbook. I welcome any evidence that concealed sinister forces are directing blog commenters, Facebook groupies and other online wooists, but I suspect this is as big a fantasy as the one suggesting that regular commenters on RI are raking in the $hillbucks.

Sara: “At some point you have to step back from the ad hominem stuff and examine who profits from anti-science.”

Rather than obsessing about “follow the money”, I’d follow the practice of our gracious host of debunking pseudoscientific studies with facts – and only secondarily pointing out who’s bankrolling those studies.

*The Stonyfield Organics people just took a p.r. hit for smearing critics of their disengenuous anti-GMO video as “trolls” with “fake accounts”. I hate to see supporters of evidence-based science glom on to the same tactics.

https://www.agdaily.com/news/an-open-letter-from-the-pro-science-public-to-stonyfield/

If you understand the woo-business model: it’s corner cutting at every turn. Why pay trolls when you have satisfied customers willing to give testimonials, lobby legislatures or defend their gurus? PLUS they themselves, as accomplished writers/ propagandists. create their own press as well as mystique.

A few years ago, I looked into job openings at woo-centric businesses: they needed people to take and fill orders by phone. One site needed people to take information from advertisers. Another was hiring warehouse help. PRN is often in need of IT experts to keep it up and running ( and taking orders) whenever the Deep State ( or we sceptics) are out hacking them

That’s where they put their money: having websites and internet radio so that they can SELL. SELL. SELL their goods.
A few of them have elaborate websites with images and videos that work REALLY well: they also record and film crap, .
Lawyers are another expense.

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