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July 05, 2010

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if a judge throws it out, DD can still appeal, right? and if they lose the appeal, do they get slapped with a fine or some other punishment automatically or does quackwatch have to countersue?

It really pisses me off that woosters think they can just wipe their ass with the first amendment. Libel is only a valid claim if the information is untrue, and known to be. There has to be false information and malicious intent. Disseminating truth based on research isn't libel. it's a first amendment right.

ugh.

The question here is if Quackwatch is based in the UK or in the US. Libel laws in the UK are absolutely ridiculous, as if they were designed to protect the scoundrel. In the USA the situation is different, although the threat of years of litigation, and the attendant costs, may still be enough to scare people into silence even if they know they can eventually win.

Anyway, I donated, and I hope many more people will.

John Pieret has some commentary from a legal perspective.
I made a small donation as soon as I heard about the case from Orac. If it drags on, I'll give more. Let's make sure Stephen Barrett has the resources to fight this one to the end.

There is a way to make sure this does not happen again...

When Barrett wins the trial, he can sue back, for libel, and make them pay.

"When Barrett wins the trial, he can sue back, for libel, and make them pay."

I have a better idea: Report DDI's counsel to the Illinois bar, and see if they can be disbarred before the trial.

I've heard that Barrett doesn't have a good track record with being the plaintiff in a lawsuit, so suing back might not be a good idea...

Do believe everything you have heard. As a defendant he has had many suits against him settled with payment towards him.

sorry David, by disbarred you mean off the bar, i.e fired?

hmm that's even better!

Gah, I just realized I left out a very important word. It should say "Do NOT believe everything"!

Question: Is there any benefit from the chelating agent? I mean, mercury isn't too good for you, right?

Everybody has a small amount of mercury bound up in various compound, such as dental amalgam (which is NOT the same as free metallic mercury). It doesn't normally make you ill, so there is little benefit to removing it. Unless you're actually getting signs of mercury poisoning, I'd leave well enough alone.

On the other hand, there are very good reasons to not use chelating agents. Although they have a well-documented medical use, there is no evidence that chelating agents as prescribed by new-age quacks do anyone any good, so that only leaves the undesirable prospect of side-effects from the chelating agents.

There are documented deaths from heart failure of autistic children on chelation therapy, and some lab tests have shown that giving EDTA to rats without any lead in their bodies is positively harmful.

This stuff is not lemonade, it's powerful pharmacological weaponry against serious ailments like lead poisoning. They shouldn't be splashed around like holy water for people with imagined ailments or conditions misattributed to heavy metal poisoning, such as autism.

If the lab lied to you about your mercury or other heavy metal levels, it's very dangerous: If there aren't enough heavy metals for the chelating agent to bind, it binds with vital metals like calcium, which can lead to the heart attacks Big Al mentioned.

Not to mention that nervous conduction is dependent on potassium and sodium ions - I believe potassium at least can bind to chelating agents.

Well everyone here is a question for anyone who wants to answer it. Someone I know had a M.R.I. with contrast and much later had the urine toxic metals test done. Gadolinium was found and high levels of it. I am not here to judge anyone like Mr.Barrett or Doctor's Data who performed the test but knew nothing of the M.R.I. So why did GD show up and the bigger question is why didn't it leave the system?

Roses3,
I can't say anything about biochemistry, but I can say something about about the first three words of your question: "Someone I know..."

Is this second or third hand? Please check the readings personally and provide all the relevant details. Without that, there is really nothing much that anyone can say about your specific case.

Well Yakaru it is first hand and it is my son so if that will help you. He had an M.R.I. with GD contrast and it is still in his system. Thank you for responding.

If the test was provoked like they do to find mercury, I wouldn't trust it. The measurement is corrupted because it assumes that the amount excreted is the natural excretion rate, which is used to calculate what the amount still in the body is. If you're flushing out almost the whole shebang artificially, it's going to look like there's an even larger amount.

The normal test is like measuring the amount of water in a bucket by measuring the volume and pressure of a leak. What Doctor's Data does is essentially tip over the whole bucket and treat the resulting downpour as if it were the leak.

Thank you Bronz Dog, but why would GD still be in his system after months of the test? Also can I do the test again without the provoking agent? And I am sorry if I sound unintelligent, this is all new to me and just a mom trying to do the best thing for my child.

Roses3:

IANAD, but since Gadolinium and Mercury both occur naturally in the earth's crust, I would read this article and substitute "Mercury" for "Gadolinium".

IANAD either, but I believe Gd is only used as a contrast medium in the chelated form, which is not very toxic.

Many heavy metals BIND to tissues. They do not circulate in the blood, to be removed by the kidneys into the urine, except for maybe a few days to a couple weeks. After that, urine or blood can not reveal true poisoning or toxicity. Without provoked testing, you have no idea of the heavy metals burden--unless you were poisoned the day before the test. The reference level is non-provoked, because you shouldn’t have poisons your body can't remove.

Doctors Data toxic metals tests were especially useful as a GUIDE to how much mercury I had & how efficiently my body was eliminating it. This was supervised by a qualified professional--an ND who is NOT a quack. Mercury toxicity is a serious issue which most MDs don't take seriously. MDs don't have all the answers. There will always be charlatans, & many of them are MDs. Does Barrett write about them???

"...an ND who is NOT a quack."

This is not an oxymoron? Sure sounds like one.

I thought "ND" was for "Not a Doctor."

The difference between an MD and an ND. The MD knows he/she does not have all the answers, the ND will just give you the answer you want to hear.

Does Barrett write about them???

Lu-Lu, visit his site and read a little. Especially the article referenced in this post. That way we won't have to point and laugh when you post asinine comments.

Some of the MDs on the Quackwatch site include Peter Breggin, Lorraine Day, David Eisenberg, Andrew Weil, and many many on this list.

Lu-Lu,
I hope you noticed that more than a third of the approx 300 people on the list Chris posted are listed as MD.

So I guess you know that that means, yes, he does write about them. But at least it means you were right about lots of charlatans being MDs.

You were probably trying to imply that medicine is more damaging that quackery. There's a big difference though. Horrible things happen when medical procedures are not properly followed; but with al med, horrible things happen when treatments are followed to the letter.

Dammit.
alt med, not al med.
"but with alt med, horrible things happen when treatments are followed to the letter."

Gracias Yakaru, I failed to pick up on that little bit of Doggerel Lu-Lu busted out.

What Lu-Lu is doing is setting up a strawman by believing our position is predicated on some appeal to authority. Using a fallacious argument to attack a fallacious position that no one here has professed.

My brain hurts. Thanks Lu-Lu.

to all posters: get off your high horses and realize that you may not have everybit of knowledge in those closed minds of yours. I guess I'm one of those that fell for the scam, but I'm glad I did because it saved me. to me it doesn't matter what science or people like you say, because I saw direct, unmistakable results in a condition I had had for many years. How can you explain away that? eager to hear all your arrogant answers.

If this is a Poe, it's fairly astute.
If it's a troll it should be ignored.
If it's for real, why are you guys so predictable?

How can you explain away that? eager to hear all your arrogant answers.

sloopjaneb, my arrogant answer is that no amount of explanation or evidence will change your mind. If I'm wrong, please tell me what would convince you of our position. If not, please tell me how your unmovable position is that of an open-minded person.

I think in this context, "open-minded" means "Willing to believe in anything that apears to confirm, can possibly be construed as to confirm, or which can be twisted to confirm the undeniable truth - that is, what I say the undeniable truth is."

Spot on...

A Quack Dr. cured me of 'incurable' cancer twice so you are wrong.

It wasn't cancer of the brain by any chance was it?

No, bowel cancer, stage 3 twice. Chemo and radiation had pitiful offerings so only an imbecile with a death wish would choose to go that way. I'd recommend it for you though. Don't let the fact that I twice survived a death sentence sway you in any way. Your life is far too invaluable. Best to take the common sense, reasonable scientific approach and guarantee yourself an early exit from existance.

How we'll miss you...

Did someone build a bridge here? A troll has moved in...

I'm not a troll. This forum allows opposing views. I expressed mine - that I was cured of cancer from alternative medicine and was promptly insulted by one Mr. Yakaru. It is not my intention to throw childish insults. However that was clearly the intention of one childish Mr. Yakaru, as is evident by his juvenile response to my post.

The fact that I was twice cured of cancer by alternative means when given up for dead by the good doctors whould be inspring and worth exploring, and not mocked at by the childish Mr. Y.

If I am insulted then I will insult. And believe me, I can do it far better than any of you because in my opinion those with skeptical minds do not possess the ability to think creatively as they fail to see possibilities that others see. That Includes you, Mr. Yojimbo.

Now, I am hoping this little talk will put an end to your emotional immaturity, although to this end I am the biggest skeptic of all as I do not believe there is an end to the ignorance and trash talk many of you possess.

Now, go out and behave yourselves - the 2 of you.

Hugs and Kisses,
Peter Pan.

Peter, did it ever occur to you that something like spontaneous remission might have happened? Some lucky individuals just recover naturally.

Of course, your typical quack doesn't want you to know that. They want to keep cancer a constant bogeyman to maintain an environment of fear and desperation. Real doctors have been steadily chipping away at cancers (cancer is a large family of diseases, not a single thing, by the way) for decades and making progress. There's never going to be a miracle breakthrough like in the movies, just slow and steady progress.

Quacks, however, haven't changed at all. They round up lots of people, and when one ends up cancer free, whether by conventional treatment, spontaneous remission, or other known causes, they shout from the mountaintops as if that one person was the template for all humankind.

For the ones who don't recover: Dead men tell no tales, and quacks typically don't keep records.

That's why anecdotes are useless. We try to look at the big picture, and anecdotes have a habit of leaving out all the most vital details we need to trust the conclusions.

Hey Bronze.

I'd rather be a living anecdote than a dead statistic.

Lucky once - but twice? Give your head a shake.

The method I chose was available due to a court case in Canada allowing this quackery to be a choice for Canadians due to the overwhelming living anecdotal evidence having been given up for dead by their good doctors who testified on behalf of this quack. Of course the medical establishment headed up by the pharmceuticals put everything they could into this court case but the 'living proof' was too overwhelming to ignore. End result: Quack 1, status quo 0.

I think you are too naive about the ways of the world and this is a dangerous thing. My doctor at that time gave me a good going over once he learned about my decision because he thought I was making a 'grave' decision. That was 15 years ago. My 2nd identical cancer returned 10 years ago.

I hope you have the balls to think for yourself and follow your own convictions when your time comes. I did, and now I have the joy of relaying my courage to you and all others whom I quite sure will now be not so willing just to do as your told because others 'know best'.

I did not choose the path of cowards. Cowardice is the way of Skeptics, Hiding behind your insecurity and mock others for demonstrating a power of their convictions that you could never
do.

I can understand your fear and need to huddle together for courage and strength. But you fool no one. Come out for a walk on the wild side. Take a risk. Put yourself out there. It helps you build character and a bit of back bone at the same time.

Hugs and Kisses,
Peter Pan.


I'd rather be a living anecdote than a dead statistic.

Oh, such a clever turn of phrase. As if looking at the big picture would somehow magically change the outcome.

Lucky once - but twice? Give your head a shake.

Do you have any idea how many people there are on Earth? Unlikely things can and do happen when you have a lot of people participating in the various acts of living. Even if I attributed your story to luck alone, that's not exactly a powerful rebuttal. Of course, I can bring in other possible answers: You may have been misdiagnosed, so that there was no actual cancer to treat. You may not be actually cured. (There are a lot of cancer "miracles" that end with the person making the testimonial dying a few months later from cancer.)

The method I chose was available due to a court case in Canada allowing this quackery to be a choice for Canadians due to the overwhelming living anecdotal evidence having been given up for dead by their good doctors who testified on behalf of this quack. Of course the medical establishment headed up by the pharmceuticals put everything they could into this court case but the 'living proof' was too overwhelming to ignore. End result: Quack 1, status quo 0.

Methinks you're parroting a propaganda spin.

1. Lawyers, judges, and juries aren't gods. They typically function to reach conclusions quickly at the cost of accuracy. Appeal to Authority fallacy rejected.

2. The "sent them home to die" thing is usually a propaganda-friendly act of self-deception. People's memories are faulty, especially during stressful times. I read a blog entry a few years ago where a doctor told his patient that although she had cancer, she most likely would be cured without chemo. What she heard: "You're going to die anyway, so let's not even bother with chemo."

3. Testimonials are crappy evidence because they're inherently cherry picked. What part of that do you not understand. Would you be willing to play a game of Russian Roulette if I rounded up a bunch of people who played and survived?

I think you are too naive about the ways of the world and this is a dangerous thing. My doctor at that time gave me a good going over once he learned about my decision because he thought I was making a 'grave' decision. That was 15 years ago. My 2nd identical cancer returned 10 years ago.

Funny, you strike me as dangerously naive. You're willing to take testimonials at face value while I'm willing to look into alternative causes and look at the bigger picture of probability (The "law of large numbers", for example).

I hope you have the balls to think for yourself and follow your own convictions when your time comes. I did, and now I have the joy of relaying my courage to you and all others whom I quite sure will now be not so willing just to do as your told because others 'know best'.

Uh, that's the reason why I'm arguing against you: You're acting as if you just followed some quack's advice without thinking. We don't trust authorities, we trust evidence that is rigorously gathered. Your worship of anecdotes puts the people who tell them into a position of Absolute Authority.

The hypocrisy you just displayed would be amazing if I hadn't heard it hundreds of times already from hundreds of internet trolls.

And when I question one of your Absolute Authorities by imagining other answers, you get all whiny and declare, as if handing down sacred writ, that there are no other explanations whatsoever.

I did not choose the path of cowards. Cowardice is the way of Skeptics, Hiding behind your insecurity and mock others for demonstrating a power of their convictions that you could never do.

And we get into full blown projection. It takes more bravery to admit that you are a fallible human than it does to arrogantly assume you are a god. Skepticism and science are about knowing that people make mistakes and taking steps to prevent self-deception.

Of course, we know that you don't give a shit about what we really believe. You just want to throw up straw men and lie for shits and giggles.

Perhaps Troll is not sure what a troll is?

Just a note: Right now I don't particularly care about arguing the details of your story, Peter, because that's not what my argument is centered on. I don't know enough about specific cancers to know the probabilities of different outcomes, and without a detailed medical record, it's rather academic. (No, I'm not asking for your medical records, so don't start pretending that I'm trying to violate your privacy.)

The biggest problem I have with you is that you're trying to argue that I should believe your Absolute Authorities instead of the Absolute Authorities you constructed as a straw man for me.

I reject the idea of inherent authority. I reject your answers thus far, and I reject the answers you claim I believe in. I've taken a third option that you don't seem to be aware of.

Authorities are a method of convenience: If I got cancer, I'd start reading the medical literature and asking my doctor relevant questions. If I got stabbed in the chest and end up on the verge of dying if I'm not treated quickly, I wouldn't spend that time second-guessing the paramedics.

But whenever I ask a quack or a testimonial troll the exact same sorts of questions I would ask my doctor, they react with outrage and start lying about what I said or start telling me that I believe things that I never believed.

If I am insulted then I will insult. And believe me, I can do it far better than any of you because in my opinion those with skeptical minds do not possess the ability to think creatively as they fail to see possibilities that others see. That Includes you, Mr. Yojimbo

This above says it all, you aren't interested in putting forward any reasoned argument. From the get go you have assumed that any response is automatically wrong because we all be unthinking skeptics lost in our profound lack of imagination. Whilst you fancy yourself one of the greatest thinkers ever to walk the land.

So why are you here? Your only purpose seems to be self superiority and insult, kinda the modus operandi of a 'troll'. Be like me going onto a Xian forum that is not debating for or against religion, to randomly start telling em they're all wrong, that would make me a troll to them.

Btw this:

Now, I am hoping this little talk will put an end to your emotional immaturity, although to this end I am the biggest skeptic of all as I do not believe there is an end to the ignorance and trash talk many of you possess.

That's just gibberish oh great intellectual giant.

If I am insulted then I will insult. And believe me, I can do it far better than any of you because in my opinion those with skeptical minds do not possess the ability to think creatively as they fail to see possibilities that others see. That Includes you, Mr. Yojimbo

This above says it all, you aren't interested in putting forward any reasoned argument. From the get go you have assumed that any response is automatically wrong because we all be unthinking skeptics lost in our profound lack of imagination. Whilst you fancy yourself one of the greatest thinkers ever to walk the land.

So why are you here? Your only purpose seems to be self superiority and insult, kinda the modus operandi of a 'troll'. Be like me going onto a Xian forum that is not debating for or against religion, to randomly start telling em they're all wrong, that would make me a troll to them.

Btw this:

Now, I am hoping this little talk will put an end to your emotional immaturity, although to this end I am the biggest skeptic of all as I do not believe there is an end to the ignorance and trash talk many of you possess.

That's just gibberish oh great intellectual giant.

Ooops, double post, so sorry.

Dear Darth.

Getting yourself all wound up is futile and leads to double posting. Take a pill and chill.

I see I have rallied the troops in a vail and futile battle against me.

Throwing insults is not the problem for this site is created for that very purpose. Forming an exclusive cult for the purposes of mocking others is the ultimate act of cowardice. I am different not because I insult, I am different because I insult all of you.

Not so musch fun to be ridiculed as is 'to' ridicule, is it? But at least you have formed your own closed support group to kiss your wounds and help fight your battles for you.

That's why Skeptics are cowards. They never walk alone, only in packs. That's where a skeptic finds its courage. No dissenting views allowed. I am right and you are not for my friends have told me so.

Whose next? Mr. Y? Bronze Star? I know it won't be Darth and onlt darth. Cults don't work that way.

Translation: "Waaaah! He insulted me, therefore I'm not going to bother responding to the substance of his argument!"

On dissent: Why do skeptical blogs allow dissenting comments while altie blogs typically ban anyone who posts even the slightest disagreement.

On ganging up: We group together because we like to read each other's stuff. You came to a skeptical blog and didn't expect to have multiple skeptics presenting rebuttals (alongside a few side insults).

Here's a hint, Peter: If you don't want to be insulting, don't insult us. Don't insult our intelligence by assuming you know everything we know. Don't insult our integrity by making up motivations. Don't insult us by ignoring our very real points.

THAT is why we consider you immature. You're busy whining about how we don't devote every moment to inflating your already bloated ego.

Now, either address the criticisms I've made about your Absolute Authoritarian model of epistemology or shut up.

Of course we know you didn't bother reading anything. Your behavior to this point demonstrates that you are one of those trolls who strives to be a mindless bot who responds to key words, rather than ideas. You also mindlessly repeat what your Absolute Authorities say about skeptics, even though there are precisely zero skeptics here who believe what you say they believe.

You might get more headway if you'd apologize for lying about us and actually ASK and LISTEN to what we believe, rather than recite fictional arguments with fictional pseudo-skeptics.

If you can do that, I'd be able to remain calm. Instead, I'm sure you'll just do everything you can to enrage us further and then blame us for your inability to have a thoughtful conversation. Anger isn't immature in and of itself. It's how you act on your anger that determines maturity.

So stop changing the subject by whining about meaningless things like tone and style and start telling us how anecdotes get past the self-deception that comes from cherry-picking.

Fun thing: The more I learn about the politics of medicine, the more I realize that quacks are unintentionally the pharmaceutical company's best friends: Quacks lobby for special loopholes for themselves like DSHEA, and the pharmaceutical companies follow their lead by buying up herbal supplement companies for greater profit: Herbal supplements are pretty deregulated in the US, compared to "actual" drugs: Supplement manufacturers only have to prove that their stuff isn't poisonous to most people. They don't even have to prove the stuff does what they claim it does, as long as they put an insincere disclaimer on it, known to us skeptics as the "Quack Miranda Warning."

"Real" drugs have to undergo an expensive battery of tests that could end up turning out negative, causing a loss for the company. Even if they do come out positive, they're forced to monitor patient responses in the larger population and potentially recall the drug if they cut corners or simply didn't encounter unexpected dangers in the initial tests.

As a skeptic, I view the pharmaceutical companies as a necessary evil to be kept on a tight leash: We want them to do what it necessary (manufacture helpful drugs) while preventing any sort of evil, like test manipulation to increase their profits.

The quacks are an unnecessary evil because they avoid all our efforts to put them up to the tests necessary to win our trust. Anecdotalists like Peter Pan want us to lower our standards for their quacks. When we demand the standards we require of the pharma companies, they get all whiny as if our imperfect enforcement of those high standards on those companies means that we should just give our trust to them for free.

They hate us because we want to enforce high standards across the board. Pharma companies may be greedy, but that's why we demand they jump through so many hoops to prove that they're being honest. Every drug they manufacture has to go through the same tests. And even if the pharma companies were pure and good, and manufactured their stuff for free, I'd STILL demand the same proof: Some people are so eager to help that they can deceive themselves into thinking something harmful they do is helping.

The quacks just want a free pass on those same hoops. Some do it because they think they're entitled to loopholes that would let them profit competitively (and thus, their profits are more important than the welfare of their customers) or they're so self-deluded into thinking that they're incapable of any form of self deception: "I don't have time to prove to myself and others that I am, in fact, helping! I'm too busy helping!"

As a skeptic and science-minded person, it's an ideal to be an adversary to anyone trying to prove their claims, or at least make sure that someone else with my standards plays that role. If they do meet my standards, I shake their hand and accept their position. With woos, they're too busy claiming that my standards are too high, despite countless others being able to meet them. Woos just want me to accept that they are an Authority, and thus I should bow down to them instead of thinking for myself.

Bronze God. There you go again. You are an amusing wonder. Has it occured to you that you do not meet my standards? You say I cherry pick but this entire blog is all about cherry picking and providing anecdotal evidence only when it is self serving to the faithful. To this end you are inconsistant and therefore lacking. Are these your standards to which you refer?

Re: your rant about Pharma. I did not say what you said I said. Maybe you like the Pharma products a little too much???

You also remain silent on my suggestion that you replicate the fake methods of James Van Praagh for the means of obtaining the same level of wordly success that he has for the purpose of exposing his tricks for all the world to see.

He is obviously a leech on mankind so a brilliant man of science such as yourself should easily be able to replicate the trickery and reach, if not surpass the lofty levels he has obtained. If you can do that my friend, you will have met my standard and will have earned my respect.
I will then bow down and kneel before you. I will then also humbly apologize for daring to questioning the brilliant man that you believe yourself to be. However, as brilliant as you are, you and your self glorified army of dellusionists, will never take this challenge because deep down inside you have a deep seated fear that he might actually be the real deal. I can say this because you will never take this challenge. EVER. Until you do, you fall short of meeting my standard and it is you that needs to SHUT THE HELL UP.

No, I do not respect you. You do however know how to earn it. But as always, you lack courage. Best to stay inside and lock the doors lest the real wolrd gets in.

Hugs and Kisses, and a little tonguage too!
Peter.

Bronze God. There you go again. You are an amusing wonder. Has it occured to you that you do not meet my standards? You say I cherry pick but this entire blog is all about cherry picking and providing anecdotal evidence only when it is self serving to the faithful. To this end you are inconsistant and therefore lacking. Are these your standards to which you refer?

1. Of course I don't meet your standards: I'm a confessed mere mortal capable of self-deception, therefore I'm incapable of being an Absolute Authority. Self-doubt is cowardly, after all.

2. If you're referring to James Van Praagh, there's a difference between using an anecdote as an illustration and using it as evidence. Additionally, you can count a failed prediction as counter-evidence anyway. A theory has to account for the known facts while being contradicted by none. Psychics can't come up with a consistent explanation for failures like the one in that post.

3. The standards I'm referring to are for proving a positive claim, not for refuting one. Skeptico and I argue that psychic powers probably don't exist. That's a negative claim. It's up to the psychics to falsify that because the burden of proof is on the positive claimant.

4. It's a higher quality form of evidence than the typical anecdote because recording equipment was involved, not simply human memory. It's a bit harder to alter a recording by bias alone.

Re: your rant about Pharma. I did not say what you said I said. Maybe you like the Pharma products a little too much???

Sorry for being a little too zealous in my pattern recognition. So far, just about every anecdotalist I meet online inevitably demands that I lower my standards for anecdotes, thus by extension they're asking me to lower my scientific standards for everyone, including pharma companies.

Of course, the hoops I refer to are things like cell cultures, animal tests, Phase I-III trials and post-market monitoring. The typical anecdotalist dismisses all those as unnecessary. If it's unnecessary to determine the truth of their favorite altie guru's advice, then I don't see what's to stop them from arguing that it's unnecessary for the pharma companies to go through them.

You also remain silent on my suggestion that you replicate the fake methods of James Van Praagh for the means of obtaining the same level of wordly success that he has for the purpose of exposing his tricks for all the world to see.

Do we have to do it personally, or can we just look at mentalists doing it, or reformed frauds explaining that they did it? This is old news. Cold reading, hot reading, and so forth work. When you go back and watch recordings (not human memory) of psychics, you can see those methods in action.

It'd also be much easier to put them to tests equivalent to Randi's Million Dollar challenge. The more you control the environment, the less likely the sloppiness of human bias and self-deception. Why do they all chicken out of such tests?

I will then bow down and kneel before you. I will then also humbly apologize for daring to questioning the brilliant man that you believe yourself to be.

There you go, changing the subject to me. I'm just an irrelevant person offering ideas, opinions, and facts. Their value is independent of me. I'm not a narcissist like you.

However, as brilliant as you are, you and your self glorified army of dellusionists, will never take this challenge because deep down inside you have a deep seated fear that he might actually be the real deal.

More subject changing. My motives are irrelevant to the validity of my opinions. Quite frankly, I think it'd be awesome if psychic powers and such were real. I'm the kind of guy who always plays some kind of spellcaster in fantasy games.

I can say this because you will never take this challenge. EVER. Until you do, you fall short of meeting my standard and it is you that needs to SHUT THE HELL UP.

Would you take an example of someone demonstrating the act of cold reading? I want to make sure my time searching for video demonstrations and analysis of cold reading techniques isn't wasted by you arbitrarily declaring it not to be good enough.

I want to make sure I'm not wasting my time by calling your bluff. Heck, don't be surprised if others post examples anyway.

No, I do not respect you. You do however know how to earn it. But as always, you lack courage. Best to stay inside and lock the doors lest the real wolrd gets in.

I don't care about your respect. I'm not a narcissist like you. Quite frankly, from my point of view, you seem to give respect out randomly.

Good points, Bronze Dog.

Imagine what the pharmaceutical industry would be like if the standards were reduced to the pathetic level that quacks demand for themselves and their claims. They would spend as much on testing as quacks currently spend and be as realistic and restrained in their claims as quacks are.

Probably make a good script for a horror movie.

More on the psychic thing: I want to openly acknowledge that I know he's shifting the burden of proof. The question isn't whether a fraud can replicate the subjective "success" of a psychic, it's whether or not psychic powers work.

It's kind of like those Big Foot fans who want us to precisely replicate that video with a guy in a suit, rather than, say, capture a bigfoot, or provide DNA evidence of an unknown primate, or heck, a clear set of photos.

(By the way, is it just me, or in this age of everyone having decent cameras in their cell phones are UFOs getting fuzzier and fuzzier?)

Nope. Replication only. You need to be one with James. You need to be James. No shortcuts or easy ways out.

Please let me know when you are ready for your 1st performance. I'd like to attend.

My predication: You will fall flat on your face. There will be no offerings of TV shows or book deals. No fame or fortune will be coming your way. There will be a lot of laughter however, so you might be able to muster a career as a comedian if you use the failure to your advantage.

Just try it once. Only once. That should not be so hard, should it? See if you can garnish enough tricks to fool the crowd and leave them buzzing and wanting more. If James can do it surely you can. After all, he's an imbecile. A fool. You are a man of Science. This should be a walk in the park.

This is not a lot to ask. I've made it as simple as possible for you. Now's your chance to impress your friends and shut me up once and for all by doing what that fool James can do. That alone should be worth it, don't you think?

I know you can do it.

Extra Hugs and Kisses for stepping up to the plate and taking the challenge! Good on ya!

Peter.

Back on the topic of medicine:

Peter, what is the difference between alternative medicine producers and manufacturers and the pharmaceutical companies?

My answer: There is no fundamental difference that would justify different sets of standards for each.

The ONLY reason I trust pharmaceutical companies in the slightest is that they have watchdogs from all around the world keeping an eye on them.

My distrust of alternative medicine is reinforced by anecdotalist trolls asking me to just blindly trust in my instincts and biases, the instincts and biases of other humans, and to blindly distrust anyone who gives enough of a care to actually openly test under rigorous conditions.

Heck, if I so much as show the slightest bit of self-doubt or doubt in the perfection of a person giving a testimonial, they spit on me for daring to go against the status quo.

Oh yes, your fake psychic perfomances must lead to world fame, book and TV deals.

Good luck.

Bronze, time to come up for air.

Take the James challenge or we will all know that the air you come up for is all hot.

Hugs and Kisses,
Peter Pan.

I don't really want to start any fights here, but it seems to me that people talk about skeptics on this sight, but no one here acts like one. A skeptic is someone who is willing to look at evidence on both sides of an argument/data and make a statement that the jury is still out based on the evidence.

Now while I fall in the skeptical category on certain things, I fall much more in the anecdotal evidence and its worked well for me category in the area of alternative medicine. If there are in fact Dr.'s posting on this site, I would like to know how much training you had in nutritional medicine in your career? Where did the money come from that supported your institution? How much money do you or other doctors receive from prescribing pharmaceuticals? Do you or any doctors you know prescribe vitamins, and if so do you receive money from the vitamin company? Do you know how many people die per year due to properly prescribe pharmaceuticals? How many people die per year taking vitamins or other supplements?

See the sad part for me was that when I was overweight, dealing with migranes, and night sweats and sleeping 17 hours a day along with a myriad of other problems, my MD told me I was fine and there was not a thing wrong with me. The drugs my MD gave me created more problems that required more drugs to alleviate. I was in my 20's and acting more like I was in my 70's. I was willing to try anything to aid my situation and in a way I am glad that I did not like my MD's attitude about all this because if they had been nice about it, I might still be seeing doctors.

I have not seen a doctor in years and that has been the best decision I have ever made. I researched natural medicine and had a few bumps along the way, which means that yes, much of the supplement companies are bought by pharmaceuticals and you have to really pay attention to what is in them and how they are modified to make sure you are not allergic or react badly to them in any way.

I find it sad to think that the people posting here react so negatively to alternative medicine when it has truly been a lifesaver for me. I was mocked and ridiculed for what I was doing and told that what I was saying was all quackery, but many of those people who mocked me were family and have since joined me in educating people about nutritional aspects of health. The proof is in the pudding and the way your health improves or fails to improve after any kind of treatment.

If you are a doctor or other on this site I would like to know what is your BMI, your age and blood pressure measurements along with triglycerides etc. These are some of the measurements that will determine whether or not you can be an expert on alternative therapies and not before. Practice what you preach. If you think these things are fake or quackeries, then tell us how healthy you are without them. Again this is all anecdotal but these days in the dark age of science, I will much rather believe in anecdotal evidence than the drivel published in the bought and paid for science journals these days.

P.S. I am a skeptic on global warming too.

Do you know how many people die per year due to properly prescribe pharmaceuticals? How many people die per year taking vitamins or other supplements?

And here we see a tendency to repeat things without thinking about them.

Vitamins and supplements rarely kill people because they don't have much effect at all, hence few if any side effects. Additionally, when real drugs kill, it's usually NOT when someone's in good health, hence the need for drug treatment: A sick person is more vulnerable than a healthy one.

Most people taking vitamins and supplements are doing so during a healthy state. If something in a supplement actually can cause a problem, it won't be enough to kill.

As for your anecdote: The reason we reject anecdotes is that they imply that the person giving them has absolute perfect recall and the ability to eliminate all other known explanations. It also tends to operate on the assumption that your experience is the template.

I reject alternative medicine because its practitioners commit endless barrages of logical fallacies and when I call them on it, they change the subject into personal accusations and straw men. I want them to give me something new.

Oh, and my doctors do give out diet advice. I've met a lot of woos who think just because one doctor failed to recommend it loudly enough, no doctor anywhere ever recommends that someone cut down on fatty foods.

I'm 5' 10" and 165 lbs

blood sugars - OK
electrolytes - OK
pulse - low 60's
BP - 110/70

I don't take supplements of any kind.

Can I have my Alt-Med diploma now?

BTW, how long have you been a shill for Boiron?

There be some issues with what you say Mr DaBwef.

First off it is quite clear that modern, science based medicine works, as the many people who have overcome debilitation attest to. It has given us effective cancer treatments, the ability to effect organ transplants, highly effective pharmaceuticals and vaccines that eliminate previously dangerous disease like smallpox, cholera, measles and so on. Doctors, be they MDs or surgeons receive - or at least should receive - high quality training so as to enable them to properly do their job. Science based medicine has done wonders for humanity, raising infant mortality rates, eradicating certain disease and extending typical lifespans; basically it's pretty fantastic stuff. However there is one thing that it or its practitioners don't do and that is claim infallibility. It's great but it's not perfect, some MDs and surgeons can be asses driven by profit more than by care. That said, it also has checks and balances, it does have the scientific method, poor or uncomprehensive work and poor / dangerous pharmas have been exposed and subsequently removed. It pays attention to scientific evidence.

If alt-med is so amazing then what advances has alt-med brought us, what incredible new cures and procedures has it discovered? Why is it all supplements and gimmicks for intangible, subjective experiences? If it is so efficacious why is it so resistant to proper testing and so anti-science when the science says no, yet all for science if they think it validates their claim? Why has certain disease been eradicated, transplants developed, infant mortality rates slashed and so on, only after science based medicine was turned to the issues?

So you claim you had a bad experience with one doctor, hardly means much though, don't go to them again. For example, if I had a bad experience with a car mechanic I would not frequent their establishment again either. I would however go to another qualified car mechanic and not some bloke who claims to know what he's doing.

Btw, you say your doc said you were fine. If so why was he prescribing you meds anyway and why did you take em? Again, if my mechanic says the car is fine then I'm not going to let him put in a new gearbox.

I also find it interesting that you acknowledge that alt-med has not been plain sailing, but that it is still somehow big-pharma's fault. Like the useless supplement mill was fine until the suits moved in. The reason you have to pay attention is because the alt-med industry is entirely unregulated. No years of expensive, scientific testing for their products. No notion of potential side effects and no way for a trained person - that would be a doctor - to know if they will mix well with you and any meds you might be on. No need to seek FDA approval when the right words and Quack Miranda accompany the goods. No way to know if the so called science backing the products rosy claims, is nowt more than marketing drivel to part the mark from their cash for inert substances or plain old worthless water.

These are some of the measurements that will determine whether or not you can be an expert on alternative therapies and not before.

Uhhh, why?

Is there only a certain range of figures that enable a person to be an expert? How was this derived and how do things like BMI or BP correlate with knowledge on a given subject?

Practice what you preach. If you think these things are fake or quackeries, then tell us how healthy you are without them.

Ahh, I see you've misunderstood. Just because science based medicine works and alt-med does not does not mean that those of us who eschew quackery are the pinnacle of health. We may have basic underlying issues not curable or hell, we might not live spectacularly healthy lives. But if something goes wrong I know I'll be going to the folks who have a good solid foundation for what they are doing. I'll not be attending the clowns babbling mystic nonsense down the phone, or imbibing water because the dolt peddling it reckons water has a memory; curiously only ever of the last thing in it and not everything it was in before that.

Again this is all anecdotal but these days in the dark age of science, I will much rather believe in anecdotal evidence than the drivel published in the bought and paid for science journals these days.

Oh these horrible dark days of science, the tyranny of reason we doth labour under! You do realise where that computer you accessed this site came from? You do realise where the power that enables that computer and the internets to operate was derived from?

Anecdotes have been well covered but here be a story for you. I felt lousy, tired all the time, despondent and had irritable bowels. The doctors could do nothing for me and were aloof, so I read some books on chi and far eastern medicine; mine eyes were opened. I then for no reason whatsoever mixed some fine herbs in de-ionised water, dangled a crystal over them then chugged that back. Never felt better and never looked back despite what dogmatic science says. It worked for me and that's all that matters, now I want to share that secret with everyone but I still gotta live, so, what's it worth?

Of course you may believe whatever you want, many do, many believe that alt-med will cure them of cancer. Unfortunately they usually die.

HDL/LDL OK 2

Incidentally, by listening to my GP

also, fancy schmancy big pharma meds made me actually be better, not just feel better

"Dark Ages" I've seen this a lot recently

as dire as things might seem, it really is a poor analogy

Do you know how many people die per year due to properly prescribe pharmaceuticals?

There are plenty of stats about that, including warnings for contraindications, masses of research into physiological reasons behind unexpected side effects, and estimates for the relative dangers of various drugs.

Do you know how many people die per year from alternative treatments? Didn't think so. Might that be because alternative medical practitioners keep no records of failures and only publicise their "successes" (and that without excluding other factors).

You are running around saying "I lived, I lived!" but the dead are denied the chance of saying "I died because I was too scared to admit the seriousness of my condition and some irresponsible quack said I could cure my cancer with one of these treatments."

The link is to the google results for alternative cancer cures - over 9 million results. No doubt each of these is backed up by anecdotal evidence. And those are just results for cancer. Every other life-threatening or terminal condition from muscular dystrophy to malaria "can be cured by alternative medicine" according to anecdotal evidence.

According to your standards for proof, each of them work.

One could also look at What's the Harm.

I find it sad to think that the people posting here react so negatively to alternative medicine when it has truly been a lifesaver for me.

Remember what we call alternative medicine that works:

Medicine.

Does anybody know when there will be a court ruling on this case? Is there any place we can search to check out the progress of the trial?

Thanks

Tim Bolen at www.bolenreport.com keeps a running commentary on the latest happenings in the case. What it says may make you uncomfortable but the links are directly to the court documents in the case.

Barrett is not doing well. He constantly misses deadlines for filings, and has to ask for extensions.

His Motion to Dismiss will fail and Discovery will begin.

Does Patrick Timothy Bolen remember where he lives? Or has he paid up his tax liens?

Read more about the ranting Bolen here.


Chris:

Your bitterness is showing. I know it is hard for the pseudo-skeptics, like you, to watch your guru Stephen Barrett get beaten into dog food so publicly, but, you know, it was inevitable. And, it is only going to get worse.

Things must be really bad over in pseudo-skeptic land for you to have to reach all the way down to poor peter Bowditch for information - but hey, I understand. After all you have James Randi as your leader - so there is your starting point.

poor peter, you may recall, tried to bolster his skeptic image a bit, on his way to an amazing meeting, by stopping by my mail box and having his photo taken at 5:30AM, hoping, of course to get away before anyone confronted his pint-sized presence. He has since dumped the photo after it became clear that his bragging was unwarranted, as the photo shadows make the time of day very clear.

You might want to start raising more money for Barrett since his lead attorney seems to be missing. Attorneys tend to disappear once their bills start to remain unpaid. It would probably be really helpful if you, personally, sent him a check for $50,000 US. That would set an example. He REALLY needs the money.

Amused in California...

...by stopping by my mail box and having his photo taken at 5:30AM, hoping, of course to get away before anyone confronted his pint-sized presence.

Of course, because if he had dared show up during normal business hours you would have been in your office and on hand to give him a deft verbal take down along with a summons. So which hole in the wall is your office? Do you work in there or merely hover around outside it? Do use a sandwich board so everyone knows your in and working?

He has since dumped the photo after it became clear that his bragging was unwarranted, as the photo shadows make the time of day very clear.

Now as far as I can tell those allegedly missing photos appear to be quite there, you wouldn't be misrepresenting things would you? Sorry, don't mind that last bit, you probably just had difficulty recalling it, my bad.

Doctor's Data suit is a an obvious SLAPP suit to restrict Dr. Barrett's First Amendment rights. How much you want to bet it will be dismissed for that reason?

Darth Cynic, Mr. Bolen can't remember where he lives, so how would he be able to find those pictures?

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