Quacks ahoy!

Following on from my previous post calling out a certain quack calling himself “Dr” Mahoney, I bring you this following passage, harvested by PZ, from the site of an uber-quack named Andreas Moritz. Moritz is going in to bat for Mahoney and, true to the quack playbook, threatening a lawsuit. But what really grabbed me is the passage below concerning cancer:

…Constant conflicts, guilt and shame, for example, can easily paralyze the body’s most basic functions, and lead to the growth of a cancerous tumor.

After having seen thousands of cancer patients over a period of three decades, I began to recognize a certain pattern of thinking, believing and feeling that was common to most of them. To be more specific, I have yet to meet a cancer patient who does not feel burdened by some poor self-image, unresolved conflict and worries, or past emotional trauma that still lingers in his/her subconscious. Cancer, the physical disease, cannot occur unless there is a strong undercurrent of emotional uneasiness and deep-seated frustration.

Citation. Needed. You bloodsucking fucking leech. Vampires might be cool right now, but leeches? Not so much. Probably never. You are not a pale, gaunt, romantic, eerily sexy European. You are a small, slimy slug-looking thing with no purpose to your existence but to poo out from a dark, moist crack to remove sustenance from unsuspecting organisms.

Quackery is one thing – go ahead and treat colds with a sugar pill if you want, go ahead and “cleanse” your liver (the liver is self-cleansing if you leave it the fuck alone and stop putting beer through it – did you miss the “liver” part of your alleged medical education?), go ahead and prescribe berries instead of an H1N1 vaccine. But blaming the patient for their own cancer? Wow. That’s so low you should be able to limbo under my fridge and find that dollar coin I dropped there yesterday. Seriously, do it. I need change for the Coke machine.

Cancer quackery shits me – above all other forms of quckery – for many reasons: it’s completely unsupported, it’s dangerous(fatal) if used in place of actual medicine and it places the blame on the patient, which is personally fucking offensive, both to me and I’m sure anyone else whose lives have been touched – mauled – by cancer. I’d like to see this chump waltz into Camp Quality and tell all the kids with the bandanas playing theatre sports that their leukaemia is their own fucking fault. Or offer them a goddam liver cleanse.

Why does this get up my arse so much? Last week I lost a cousin to cancer which had metastasized from her lymph nodes and invaded her entire body; a year or more ago she was given months to live. What kept her alive, from her diagnosis eleven years ago until last week? Not counselling or prayers. Not cleansing diets. Not reiki. It was science-based medicine with proven effiicacy: chemo & radiation – combined with her utterly dogged determination to live and squeeze some more love and joy out of a life she knew was coming to a premature end. Additionally, in recent years we almost lost an aunt to breast cancer; my grandfather had cancer of the prostate; Mrs M’s dear friend has been battling cancer for almost a decade with more ups, downs, scares and elation than anyone should have to tolerate; a dear friend of mine lost his mother to non-Hodgkins lymphoma after an epic twelve-year battle. Numerous other friends have numerous other stories about people they’ve loved having scares, having biopsies followed by sighs of relief or sleepless nights; fast, traumatic exists or long, drawn out wars with their own bodies. Indeed, you could walk into any room anywhere and rapidly find similar from perfect strangers. But what is it that saved their lives or kept them alive until nothing more could be done? Not some preachy, hair-trigger, lawsuit-brandishing supplement-flogger who namedrops woomeister Deepak Chopra in a threatening letter to a blogger and blames the victim for their own illness. Would this chump blame me for being born with chronic asthma? There’s a lot wrong with my body that’s my own fault, certainly, but what people need to accept is that, sometimes for perfectly logical reasons and sometimes for no reason at all, people get sick and they die. Sometimes young – sometimes too young. Moritz capitalises on this fear of the unknown, this fear of shit happening, tells you it’s your fault then offers you The Way Out. Much the same way the Bible sets you up, from conception, as a worthless Hellbound sinner … and then offers you Jesus. Makes me sick.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this isn’t a considered medical opinion. However: it is my personal opinion Andreas Moritz is a fucking quack.

Not just a quack, he’s a cancer quack. Possibly the worst, most despicable kind. The kind which blames the victim for their cancer and then tells them to eschew actual medicine in favour of whatever he’s flogging on his website (remember: one particularly quacky callsign is the constant selling of “remedies”). In light of the fact that this shit costs peoples’ lives, “quack” almost seems to harmless a word for this guy. Suggestions?

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Christopher Maloney is a QUACK, part four hundred billion

Apparently, according to our benevolent be-tentacled lord & master PZ Myers, some ranting naturofail named Chris Maloney is a quack. Observe the money quote and see for yourself:

Parents waiting for vaccinations can provide their children with black elderberry, which blocks the H1N1 virus. A single garlic capsule daily cuts in half the incidence and the severity of a flu episode for children.

Quackery in a nutshell. Pick a current, serious health issue. Attach to it extraordinary claims. Provide no evidence. Man the harpoons in case someone dares to disagree.

Which is more or less what happened. Based on that passage a student criticised, with good reason in my humble opinion, naturopathy, calling it “pure bull”. Okay, whatever, happens all the time. But, instead of going “meh” and dealing with this difference of opinion like a growed-up adult male man, le Canard complained to WordPress, who hosted the student’s blog. WordPress shut the guy’s blog down. Nice work, WordPress. Way to suck oily prison balls.

As a skeptic, cheerleader for science (save the cheerleader, save the world!) and despiser of all amazing things claimed without evidentiary support, it is my duty to jump in on this meme and proclaim to the three people who read this blog that Chris Maloney is a quack.

Now, this is a textbook case of the internets working against you: go ahead and whine and shut down someone’s blog if you wish, but this almost never happens without some kind of blowback (remember how VenomfangX had to apologise to Thunderf00t, and the whole internet, publicly on youtube for making false DMCA claims? Of course you don’t, but now you can googly it). Christian pressure groups learn (or not) this lesson all the time: bitch and moan publicly about a particular movie/TV show/video game/sandwich in order to have it shut down and watch the object of your righteous anger receive an instant spike in popularity and public interest. After all, you’ve brought the very thing you hate to the attention of a large number of people who didn’t yet know it existed. Now it’s more popular than ever, and you helped it get there! Not only that, now your moany whiny organisation/blog/church/self will almost certainly cop some new publicity of your own, usually of the unwanted/sarcastic/cynical variety.

That’s precisley what el Quacko did: bitched wildly about something, behaved inappropriately in censoring an opposing viewpoint, publicised the issue beyond all reasonable measure & received even more disagreement – and now ridicule on a blog with a very large, very loyal readership. Now, with PZ schooling him and spreading his quackery far & wide, Quackbot 9000 is getting a lesson in how the internets work. Not only is Chris Maloney a quack, but he’s a silly foot-stamping tantrum-throwing child, whose epic self-pwn will ring throughout the interwobble for, well, perhaps days to come.

Apparently he didn’t like being called a quack by PZ, so he hit the good prof with a sermon, which predictably resulted in Chris Maloney being called a quack again. Not only that, PZ upped the ante somewhat and brought back that good ol’ fashioned term, witch. I’m happy to call anyone who prescribes berries over vaccines for influenza a witch.

Finally, it seems that quack Chris Maloney has been receiving harrassing phone calls and such. Um … bummer. Makes us look nasty. I wouldn’t recommend it. Surely internet-wide ridicule, followed by an inevitable slide back into obscurity, is punishment enough?

Hey, did I mention that Chris Maloney is a motherfucking quack?
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Cancer – now a fungus!

At a forum I’m a member of, someone posted a link to this story about a doctor who claims that (a) he’s discovered cancer is caused by the candida fungus and (b) that he can cure it with – get this – fucking BAKING SODA. Naturally (get your yawn ready) he’s been expelled! by Big Medicine because it’s all just a conspiracy to support profit-making medical treatments.

Here’s the orginal post:

I thought this was a joke–especially after 10 minutes of Monty Python-esque rambling about white lumps–but after reading the article, I can’t help but wonder: “what if?”

Basically he’s arguing that cancer is a fungus (or rather is caused by a fungus), and he has cured it with simple pH-raising baking soda injections, and that cancer is a huge money-maker for the disease-care industry, and doctors and drug companies don’t want to mess with the status quo.

It’s actually kind of scary. But wouldn’t we always want to believe that the simple truth is being suppressed by rich doctors and drug companies? Nevertheless, I would kind of hope it isn’t true, so I don’t feel as helpless for not doing anything about it, or maybe so I can keep giving money to cancer “research.”

Has anyone heard anything along these lines? has it been debunked? just another conspiracy theory?

Here’s my response:

Yeah well, I heard the whole HIV/AIDS thing is a scam by latex manufacturers to make people buy lots & lots of condoms. Oh, and there are pyramids in freaking Bosnia. And the world is 6000 years old! Don’t believe the Big Science Conspiracy!!one!1eleventy!!1

This chap is claiming that the fungus allegedly responsible for cancer, Candida, is also responsible for asthma, food allergies, depression, weight gain, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and vaginitis. Well, he’s got that last one right – vaginitis is a thrush infection most commonly cause by the candida fungus. So why doesn’t it cause vagina cancer?

Unfortunately, Dr. Simoncini is yet another brilliant doctor who has been ousted from the medical community due to his revolutionary simple ideas of how to cure profit-making diseases.

A. the reasons people get “ousted” from medicine are usually along the same reasons people get “expelled” from the scientific community: pseudo-science; extraordinary claims with no evidence; “studies” which are biased and uncontrolled; improper methodology; beginning with assumptions and working backwards to justify them; mistakenly conflating coincidences for cause & effect. Until this “cancer = fungus” connection can be reliably proven, repeatedly with unbiased double-blind testing, this doctor and his alleged baking soda cure should be regarded with the utmost skepticism.

If his simple treatment really cured cancer I would expect any doctor worth the term (and especially oncologists) to be jumping on it and using it to treat all their cancer patients, not vehemently denying it to funnel profits into Big Medicine. I know people who have cancer and some who are, for now, in remission. I worked for a short time at a lab in a dedicated cancer treatment hospital in Melbourne. I know that if something came along that could make cancer go away without the need for painful, debilitating chemo & radiation, their doctors would be on it in a second, “profits” be damned. People become plastic surgeons for money; people become oncologists to treat people with cancer. I cannot imagine any self-respecting paediatric oncologist deliberately overlooking an effective cancer treatment while simultaneously looking an 8-year old brain cancer sufferer (and his parents) in the eye and telling them there’s no more than can be done and they’d better just make little Timmy comfortable.

B. the only people “profiting” from cancer are cranks who prey on credulous, desperate people who are running out of options. Having a cousin, aunt and close friend who all recently survived three different forms cancer and the associated chemo & radiation treatments, I get really, really pissed off by this kind of bullshit.

C. Mercola.com bills itself as “The World’s Most Popular Natural Health Newsletter”. Now, effective as many natural remedies can be, a lot of people who use them unfortunately think that any modern medical treatments are not to be trusted, because they’re “unnatural” and because people make money from them. My naturopath wife (who’s about to start studying medicine – i.e. proper doctorism) encounters this anti-modern point of view all the time and has a lot of trouble convincing people that natural medicine has its limits and that people should be able to recognise them and use a combination of modern and natural treatments – if & where appropriate. More than once, being aware of naturopathy’s limitations, she’s referred a client to a doctor for a more modern & comprehensive treatment, only to be met with fierce, almost dogmatic resistance to the thought.

Basically, every single “practitioner” that’s appeared in my lifetime who has claimed to be able to cure cancer, or proclaimed cancer is caused by an easily-cured and until-now undiagnosed simple disorder or infection (for which he happens to have discovered a cure) has been shown to be lying through his ****ing teeth. Inevitably, they pop up for a while, charge extortionate amounts of money for their “breakthrough”, get their fifteen minutes and then slither back under the rug, never to be seen again. There is no reason to treat it as such until sufficient evidence is furnished. Frankly, I don’t see it happening.

——-

As you can see, that really got my back up. The original poster asks “It’s actually kind of scary. But wouldn’t we always want to believe that the simple truth is being suppressed by rich doctors and drug companies?” Why the fuck would anyone want to believe that? Is such an elaborate conspiracy, necessarily requiring thousands upon thousands of participants in pretty much every nation on Earth, even possible to conceive? How could such a large group of doctors & oncologists be content to sit by and watch people die in their thousands & make lots of money, rather than treat them with whatever is proven to be effective? There are ways to make money that are a lot easier, require far fewer years of hard study and less morally repugnant than working yourself into a coma to become an oncologist and then just sitting back rolling in cash while your patients fucking DIE because you’d rather have an Aston Martin than treat a kid with bone cancer with whatever treatment works.

I’ve read the article and I urge you to do so as well. It simply reeks of unfounded assertions, paranoia, conspiracy theory and special pleading.

Completely regardless of the truth or not of both the fungus claim and baking soda cure, the paranoid, anti-modern tone of the article is, unfortunately, typical of many “alternative” health articles and, naturally, assumes that Dr Simoncini is right straight from the start and Big Med is just picking in him because he’s right and they’re afraid they might lose some profit, which instantly triggers my bullshit detector. That is not science and it is not medicine, it is faith & an over-developed victim complex. Just because Dr Baking Soda is being “persecuted”, it doesn’t mean he’s bloody Galileo. If people like Dr B.S. want a seat at the big table, let them satisfy the requirements every other treatment has had to satisfy in the history of medical science, from the humble aspirin to the mind-blowing world of neurosurgery.

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