Dana Ullman has a dream. No, wait, it’s a hallucination, brought on by cranioproctosis-induced anoxia.

It seems to be the season for deranged zealots to hijack the murder of people who stood up for issues of conscience, in order to promote self-serving ideology.

I have a dream that delusional cretins with no medical knowledge will stop trying to hijack suffering and death to promote their profitable scams. It’s about as likely as science validating homeopathy.

First Donald Trump used Charlie Hebdo to promote gunwanking. Then Lynne McTaggart abused the same murders to promote her right to an unpolluted SEO ranking. And now Dana “Mr Uncredible” Ullman takes his turn at the front.

In honor of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King…

For non-traditional values of “honor”.

Just prior to her death, Coretta Scott King went to Mexico to a hospital that specialized in alternative medicine. Her family told the media that she was specifically interested in homeopathic treatment. It is rarely surprising when “cultural heroes” seek homeopathic treatment at some point in their lives.

Coretta Scott King went to “Dr” Kurt Donsbach, a quack twice prosecuted for practising medicine without a license (hey, where have we heard that before?) where he “holistically” gave her the same bullshit he “holistically” gave everyone else, and then she died.

The clinic was shut down. Because, you know, the guy’s a fraud.

In fact, there is a significant body of literature that shows that 11 U.S. Presidents and various world leaders, six popes and various leading clergy and spiritual leaders, Nobel Prize Laureates and other leading scientists and physicians, literary greats, sports superstars, musical geniuses, world-class artists, women’s rights leaders, philanthropists and corporate leaders, and monarchs from all over the world have used and/or advocated for homeopathy.

The thing is, even if that were true, it would have precisely zero relevance. You could no doubt find a similar number who had at some time advocated any number of scientifically refuted ideas, from megadoses of vitamin C as a cancer cure to Biblical creationism.

What matters is that there is no reason to think homeopathy should work, no way it can work, and no proof it does work.

And actually I don’t believe you, because you have form. You claim Darwin could only write the Origin because of homeopathy, but it’s a big fat lie. You claim that Florence Nightingale advocated homeopathy, but that’s a big fat lie too. And when a judge reviewed your “evidence” in favour of homeopathy, he found you to be “not credible”.

So frankly, you’re asking us to accept a fallacious argument on the word of a serial liar with no credibility. Maybe not, eh?

Further, history has confirmed and dozens of modern surveys have verified that people who seek homeopathic treatment tend to be more educated than those who do not.

That’s a proxy for being richer. It’s undoubtedly true that homeopathy is most successful in treating the worried well. Countries with real health problems tend not to want magic sugar pills.

I have a dream that Hippocrates’s wisdom of “First, do no harm” will be operationalized by the inclusion of natural and homeopathic medicines in primary care.

The Hippocratic oath would prevent the use of surgery, so it is correctly recognised as archaic. Your version of “first do no harm” involves lying tot he patient, taking their money, and giving them a worthless sugar pill on the pretence that it’s powerful medicine.

Some people might argue that this stretches the definition of doing no harm rather a long way past breaking point.

I have a dream that augmenting the body-mind’s own immune and defense system will be a primary goal of medical treatment.

First, it would have to be a good idea. It really isn’t.

I have a dream that health care professionals will strive for “integrative health care,” that is, the use of various natural therapies and conventional medicines, in efforts to create safer and more effective health care results.

“Integrative healthcare” is probably the greatest con of the 21st Century.  It relies on the idea that medicine will somehow be improved by “integrating” all the things that got left out when medicine tested existing practices and discarded the ones that didn’t work.

I defy you to find a single definition of “integrative medicine” that would not accept bloodletting and purging. The only reason they are not included is that the people who practised them – doctors – took a decision to follow the evidence. Acupuncturists, homeopaths and the like never took that decision, that’s why they got left behind, and they want back in, just as they always have, but they can’t do it the orthodox way, through evidence, so instead they rebrand and use special pleading.

No supporter of quackery has been able to come up with a satisfactory test that would exclude provably bogus therapies. That’s why bullshit like therapeutic touch and reiki are often included in “integrative medicine” despite the fact that there is substantial evidence that they are worthless.

I have a dream that people will understand that no disease is “local” or isolated from the whole person and that all disease is part of a syndrome that can and must be understood in this more complex context.

It’s odd, isn’t it, how these diseases that are not local or isolated, often succumb to a single treatment, the same treatment for every patient?

If only doctors would learn that the cure for malaria will be different depending on the time of day the patient feels fever, the side of the body most likely to be numb and so on. Instead the reductionist scientific medics insist on administering one-size-fits-all antimalarials that kill the plasmodium falciparum and make the patient better.

The bastards.

What Dana can’t accept is that these dreams of his won’t happen until the underlying assumptions are true.  Medicine won’t change to understand that “all disease is part of a syndrome” until all disease actually is part of a syndrome, and since most of the last hundred and fifty years has been an exercise in proving the exact opposite, it’s pretty unlikely.

I have a dream that people will really respect the wisdom of the body-mind and realize that our symptoms are our organism’s best effort to respond to stress or infection.

The wisdom of the body-mind. That sounds like the Wisdom of Chopra.

Thing is, there’s no such thing as a body-mind, and no way it could have wisdom. Humans are pretty stupid actually, it’s been a struggle over millennia to rise above superstition and false inference.

I have a dream that people will become aware of the real problems that result from using conventional drugs that suppress symptoms, thereby disrupting the body’s defensive efforts and pushing the disease deeper into the organism.

Which symptoms do vaccines suppress? They do exactly what homeopathy falsely claims to do – work with the body’s immune system – only they do it in a way that can be objectively proven to work, through antibody tests.

What symptoms do antibiotics suppress? They do exactly what homeopathy falsely claims to do – tackle the root cause of the disease, not the symptoms.

What symptoms do insulin suppress? Is remedying a deficiency in the body’s endocrine system actually suppressing symptoms? How come homeopaths have singularly failed to convincingly prove a single cure of Type I diabetes (or cancer, or any other objectively testable serious or fatal organic disease)?

Me, I think all disease is caused by the neutrinos mutating. But then, science doesn’t know everything.

I have a dream that people will appreciate the multi-factorial nature to most disease processes and that people will no longer be fooled by oversimplified single-causational factors to disease.

I can just see Dana explaining to a stabbing victim about the multi-factorial causes of his bleeding to death.

The problem of course is that homeopathy has precisely no insight whatsoever into disease processes.

This is what real insight into biological processes looks like. Go on, watch it, it’s far more interesting than me taking the piss out of a quack

The really brilliant thing about Rothman’s lecture is how he paints the picture of science as a process, incrementally building on discovery after discovery, to reveal ever greater insight into the truth.

This is why homeopathy pisses science advocates off. It relies on the idea that one man in about 1796 dreamed up the mechanism by which disease is caused, and the sole valid means of cure, and nothing since has changed this divine truth. Remedies come (and remedies never go, there being no mechanism for rejecting remedies after introduction, homeopathy, alone in human endeavour, is without error), but the Truth never changes.

In fact everything we have learned since 1796, by patient inquiry and experiment, is wrong, because it conflicts with Divine Truth.

And it’s science that is arrogant, apparently.

I have a dream that a diverse body of scientists and health care professionals will develop guidelines that will help assess “overall quality of life” improvements — not just symptomatic differences, as a means to determine if treatments really work.

Already done. And homeopathy makes no difference, though sympathetic chats do.

I have a dream that a diverse body of scientists and health care professionals will soon explore the dimensions of and potential for ancient and futuristic concepts of “energy medicine”, not only for medical applications but for varied technologies that will help create a healthier, sustainable planet.

Energy is measured in Joules, it comes in a number of forms which can be exchanged or expended but not created or destroyed.

As soon as you show the form of energy used in “energy medicine”, demonstrate a device that can measure it, in Joules, and show how it is converted, then it will be studied.

In other words, before “energy medicine” can be studied, you first have to define “energy” in a form that is objectively different from “magic”.

I have a dream that biggest critics of natural medicine will apologize for continuing a history of antagonism that should never have started in the first place.

Oh that is rich. It was Hahnemann who set up homeopathy as distinct from medicine, invented the pejorative term “allopathy”, and disdained those who practised both as committing “treason against divine homoeopathy”.

Sectarian medicine is the bailiwick of quacks, not science.

One more thing: there is nothing natural about homeopathy. That’s another con. It’s as synthetic as any medicine, and often made by large industrialised manufacturers.

I have a dream that homeopathy and natural medicine’s history of success in treating many infectious epidemic diseases will help us reduce antibiotic use and provide a safer tool for treating people with infections.

It already has, in that it’s history of absence of success has led to it not being used in these outbreaks.

I have a dream that the homeopathic principle of similars, which has long been utilized in vaccination and allergy treatments, will be appreciated for its power in augmenting immuno-competence.

No, vaccination does not work by the doctrine of similars. The clue here is in the word similar: vaccines rely on the same biological component. Also vaccines provoke an objectively measurable immune response, whereas homeoapthy produces no objectively measurable response of any kind.

There is no way that homeopathy can augment immunocompetence, because the vast majority of remedies contain nothing. A physiological effect requires bioavailability, and no study, anywhere, ever, has demonstrated any objectively testable biavailability form a homeopathic remedy at normal potencies. Which is just as well: many remedies are toxic in quite small quantities, and they usually have absolutely no objectively provable connection with the diseases they purportedly treat.

Let health and freedom ring from the home to the clinic to the hospital.

Freedom from what? Scrutiny or exploitation? You argue for your freedom from the former, skeptics argue for patients’ freedom from the latter.

Let health and freedom ring from the pharmacy to the health food store.

Ker-Ching! Health is a multi-billion dollar marked, and Dana wants some  of the action.

Let health and freedom ring from doctors, from patients, and from insurance companies.

It already does. Many don’t cover homeopathy and other quackery, but that’s a good thing.

Let health and freedom ring from drug companies, drug regulators, and health policy experts.

Freedom from what? Scrutiny or exploitation? You argue for your freedom from the former, skeptics argue for patients’ freedom from the latter.

Let health and freedom ring from the media and from the internet.

Good luck with that. That won’t happen until whale.to is shut down.

I have a dream today.

No, it’s a hallucination, brought on by anoxia secondary form acute cranioproctosis.

Any other dreamers out there?

Many. Luckily most of them have dreams that are at least grounded in reality.

Je suis Charlie

Yesterday in Paris two deranged zealots decided that their feelings had been so badly hurt by some cartoons that it would be appropriate to murder those responsible. Within hours the Internet was awash with supporters retweeting and blogging the pictures, and everyone who can draw a cartoon appears to have presented an homage.

So, after literally hours of nothing but liberal coverage, surely it’s time to redress the balance and try to hijack events for their only legitimate purpose: supporting the wingnut agenda. But who would be so classless, so base, so totally without shame, as to be able to lead the charge? Enter @RealDonaldTrump:

trump1

How foolish of the liberals not to notice that America, with its lax gun laws and gunwanking culture, never has mass shootings at all, especially in places where everybody is armed.

Obviously the world has no idea how inoffensive the cartoons wer because, as The Donald notes,

trump2

That may have been true of the US media, whihc is notoriously craven when it comes to hurting religious people in the feels, but the entirety of the European news media was awash with the images. What seems more likely is that Trump simply didn’t see enough gratuitous baiting of Muslims. Because Obama, or something.

So Trump gets the Golden Knob Award for most gratuitous attempt to hijack a tragedy to promote an agenda. Well done, Donald.

An honourable mention goes to Meryl Dorey, deranged antivaccinationist and attacker of the families of children who die of infectious diseases. She likened @StopTheAVN to the Charlie Hebdo attackers because they challenge her vile propaganda and don’t want Dr. Turdpenny coming to Australia.

Well done, Meryl, obviously murdering people because they mock your religion is exactly the same as pressing not to allow dangerous propaganda that causes deaths and serious illness in babies.

What Skeptics Should Know about Homeopathy: Undeniable Evidence for Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathy’s most prolific shill, Dana “Mr Uncredible” Ullman, seems to think that being called “the Leading Proselytizer of Homeopathy” is a good thing. As we already know, his principal tactic in promoting homeopathy is to cherry-pick and misrepresent the relevant science. But when one of the Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce tweets his “undeniable” evidence, well, what can I do but deny it?

With facts. Of course.

Starting with this: the article by Ullman first appears in the web archive on Dec 26, 2010.  It may have been published before then, and new published evidence after December 2010 could not have been taken into account. That would excuse the original article, but not subsequent promotion once the refuted nature of any claims was known.

morpheusOf course Ullman is engaging in the usual pseudoscience tactic known as the Gish Gallop, after creationist Duane Gish who originated it. The idea is to throw out a huge list of supportive material, secure in the knowledge that even though each individual item can be (and usually has been) refuted, time and the patience of the audience will mean that refutations are drowned out by the appearance of “referenciness”.

The problem for Ullman is that the Gish Gallop only works in debate. When you publish a web page accusing people of not understanding something, especially when you’ve spammed the same list in dozens of comment threads, you will get the refutations rubbed in your face. Continue reading What Skeptics Should Know about Homeopathy: Undeniable Evidence for Homeopathic Medicine

The Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce

Twitter recently changed its blocking behaviour, so that when someone has blocked you, you cannot see their tweets. It’s not totally reliable, since they still show up in hashtag searches when there are multiple @ recipients.

The Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce have decided to exploit this by sniping at skeptics who they have blocked, thus enabling them to “win” arguments by virtue of the fact that nobody sees their nonsense, so nobody rebuts it. Needless to say the arguments remain the kind of endlessly refuted nonsense that quackery shills always use.

Who are the Rabid Reactionary Farce?

There are three of them in the present tag-team.

They can be seen all over the place, spamming comment threads with refuted nonsense. They have taken on the former role of the Malik-bot in copy-pasting screeds of irrelevant fandom whenever homeopathy is mentioned, and, like the Malik-bot, they adapt (slowly) to the refutation of their ideas by inserting other refuted nonsense instead.

Malik is clearly dishonest but at least seems to have some sort of online reputation she wants to maintain. The RRF are not troubled by such niceties: as with trolls the world over, they lose in debate and retaliate by ranting in places where they can control both medium and message. Baggie has a blog called “fighting for homeopathy” where she posts personal attacks on skeptics. Being listed on this site is a sure sign you are being effective in debate, so well done if you’re on it.

The definition of lying

Trolls have a specific definition of the word lying which is not accepted by the dictionaries or courts. The troll definition of lying is: stating an opinion or fact which is ideologically unacceptable.

To accuse someone of lying, is actionable. It is one of the words you have to be very careful to avoid, unless you have categorical proof that they are engaging in deliberate falsehood.

So, for example, if you post a comment on a blog, and then deny that it was you, but it turns out that the comment was posted from the same IP address as the denial, and there’s no evidence that the IP address is shared, then it would be defensible to describe that as lying. But you’d need proof. Proof like this.

sandra1

sandra2

That IP address is a BellSouth floating IP which geolocates to Jacksonville, Florida.

baggie-IP

According to Baggie’s entry in the Homeopathy World Community, she lives in… Jacksonville, Florida.

Baggie-HWC

 

From this, a reasonable person might well conclude that Baggie is indeed a liar.

Thick head, thin skin

The RRF have very thin skins. Like all cultists their personal identity is deeply interwoven with their beliefs, so anybody who criticises homeopathy is, in their minds, criticising them. And, like other cults (scientology, for example), they think this makes you “fair game“. You have hurt them in the feels, and this is unforgivable, hence Baggie’s “fighting for homeopathy” webshite.

As with most sCAMmers, they are of course paranoid and delusional, and assess all facts through a filter of ideological consonance. This is at its funniest when discussing skeptics’ attitude to real medicine.

Where’s my money?

You may have noticed that sCAMmers, like Tory politicians, seem unable to comprehend any motive other than profit.

Willberg-Paid

Repeated requests for any evidence for this much-repeated claim have been met with silence, of course. As far as the quackery shills are concerned, the statement is its own proof.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the only case where anybody is proven to have been paid to engage in online debate about homeopathy was when a cartel of German homeopathy manufacturers paid a “journalist” over €40,000 to trash Edzard Ernst in print.

Still, we are no doubt all quaking in our boots because…

Willberg-Regulators

Which regulators? Oh, wait, I was confusing this with a reality-based comment. And for a real reality disconnect:

Willberg-Armchair

wilberg knowledge of medicine

Because, of course, the skeptics aren’t doctors. Apart from Professor Lord Winston, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Dr. Ben Goldacre, Professor Edzard Ernst…

Denialism

Denial. It’s not just a river in Egypt.

Quackery shills love to point the finger at real medicine, identifying issues such as the withdrawal of Vioxx. What they never mention is that these problems are exposed by medical scientists, the very same people who are supposedly part of the evil plot to suppress “natural cures” and deny problems with medicine.

Willberg-4thLeadingCause  Well, this at least is accurate: we don’t talk about medicine being the 4th leading cause of death.

Because it isn’t. Not even close. Where could they have got such a stupid idea (as if we didn’t know)?

Willberg-Scopie

Yup: Gary Null, quoted on whale.to, the repository of all bullshit. Actually the RationalWiki article on Null is better than Wikipedia, as it contains weapons-grade snark.

In reality of course Ben Goldacre is a trenchant critic of homeopathy, and an equally trenchant critic of abuses in medicine. The success of the All Trials initiative, prominently supported by Goldacre, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst is a serious problem for quackery shills. How can they address this very prominent refutation of their claim that skeptics don’t criticise medicine? Of course! Denial.

Baggie-GoldacreWillberg-AllTrials

They quote two sources of criticism of Goldacre. One is David Healy, a reputable enough source but one whose criticisms are founded on a deep-seated opposition to the use of pharmaceuticals in psychiatry. he may have a point, but he is viewing Goldacre’s work through a very obvious filter and his criticism is not based on what Goldacre says, but on Goldacre’s failure to say what Healy wants him to say.

The other source is not even remotely credible: childhealthsafety.wordpress.com, an anti-vaccine blog written by Clifford G. Miller, associate of loony antivax cult JABS and apparent associate of Andrew “Mr. Fraudy-Trousers” Wakefield. Miller is reliably wrong when expressing opinions on medical matters. Citing cranks. That’s what happens when you evaluate evidence by ideological consonance instead of by objective merit.

Reality sucks, use lunacy instead!

One problem with cranks is that they will seize on anything that seems to support their agenda against medicine. This can lead to hilarity. For example:

Baggie_Thermography

Great idea: mammography produces too many false positives, so instead substitute an unvalidated quack test that is dramatically less accurate, because, er, er… no, I can’t think of a remotely plausible argument for this. And for bonus points:

Willberg-Morphogenetic

Yup, the morphogenetic field, vacuous conjecture of Rupert Sheldrake, who thinks that the failure of science to accept morphic resonance is due to massive failings in science, rather than his own inability to publish any coherent proof. And he must surely be right because Deepak Chopra says so.

The derp is strong in this one.

But wait!

Willberg-HateGroup

Oh my, we have evidence that skeptics are a hate group! Ah, wait. The Bolen Report. Patrick “Tim” Bolen, a genuine American loon, former shill for the cancer quack Hulda Regehr Clark who can’t bring himself to be honest even when questioned under oath.

Projection

If by now you have reached the strong impression that every single attack on skeptics by the Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce is based on projection of their own faults, well done.

If you’ve also concluded that their tactics are fundamentally dishonest and their arguments universally fallacious, you get the bonus point.

Proud member of the reality-based community

Site last updated January 18, 2015 @ 12:15 am