The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gary Goodyear in Parliament in 2008 - Translated

Gary Goodyear speaking in 2008 in the House of Parliament on Bill C-51 (An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts). Please allow me to translate select sections of his speech: "Many members in the House know, and most people in my riding of Cambridge know, that I was a chiropractor for 20 years." "I think that 'vital knowledge' flows through your body and by 'adjusting' vertebrae I can free this 'flow' and enhance the body's 'innate intelligence' to heal itself. I have no idea how science works."

"In 2005, a Health Canada survey showed that 71% of Canadians regularly took vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic treatments, and naturopathic treatments." "I will use non-sequitur 'facts' and statistics to back up my nonexistent argument to attempt to sway the opinion of those MPs who also don't know how science works."

"In fact, we have known for decades that a vast percentage of the Canadian population use non-traditional forms of medicine, whether they are chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, or reflexologists, all of these being outside the traditional allopathic course of action." "Because I don't know about logical fallacies, I shall use the 'argument from popularity' to persuade other MPs that bullshit like homeopathy and reflexology are in some way effective, that naturopathy is something other than absolute quackery, and I will use words like 'allopathic' to show that I don't realize that there is only one actual factor in science: the efficacy of the proposed modality, which all the above fail at spectacularly."

"These products can decrease the cost to the public purse significantly." "These products will initially seem to decrease cost to the public purse; that is, until these products don't work and the patients will have to go see a real doctor in a real hospital to treat their real condition with real medicine at a later date, likely when their condition(s) has/have deteriorated to the point where the interventions will be considered 'life-saving' rather than 'preventative'. The patients will then either get better at a higher cost than had they just used real medicine in the first place, or they'll die at which point they won't be able to bad-mouth bullshit 'therapies' like homeopathy."

"As a member whose past history is that of a chiropractor, I want to support the demand that Canadians have for a broader choice but for safe and effective natural health products." "As a member who has no formal training in science whatsoever, I also don't have a clue how to evaluate 'safety' or 'efficacy' within the context of a medical intervention. I will, however, comment on it at length with a sense of authority."

It is important that natural health products be regulated to protect Canadians, and no one argues that. There are clear examples where tainted products have been found not just among natural health products but even among prescription medication. "Protecting the voters is important and bad things happen all over, man. All over."

"Sometimes it happens that products have something in them that makes them unsafe. Everyone will remember the Tylenol incident of a decade ago where some of those products had to be removed from the market very quickly because they had been tampered with". "Sometimes products hurt people because they have contaminants in them, like that Tylenol thing. Pharmaceuticals. Bleah, amiright?"

"The other issue is that Canadians deserve to know what is in the bottle." "I have a hilarious inability to recognize flaws in my own position. If Canadians knew what was (or, more accurately, was not) in the homeopathic hoo-ha they claim to want, far fewer people would waste money on it."

"One example that the House is fully aware of is a product called black cohosh, which was found to contain a species of the plant different from what was stated on the label...the presence of this other plant actually caused liver toxicity. It was a major health problem for the people who were taking it.

These people were innocent. They read the label. They took their advice from their chiropractor, their medical practitioner or their naturopath. They went to the natural health store and purchased the product, but it was not the product that they were led to believe."
"Black cohosh was tainted, but what I'm not mentioning is that essentially zero homeopathic products contain any active ingredient of any kind. Not even one molecule. Yet, 'Health Canada assures that all Canadians have ready access to a wide range of natural health products that are safe, effective and of high quality', which I would find disgraceful if I were in any way scientifically literate, which I am not."

"As well, we have had instances where folks come along and make unfounded claims. They actually might stand up and say that if we take this product, this pond algae from some obscure place around the world, making it sound attractive and exotic, it will cure cancer. There have been examples of such claims being made in regard to a cure for SARS." "I will make this valid point but then fail to apply it to the modalities to which I am time-committed and value-committed."

"Not only is this misleading to the public, but let me explain the danger in doing something like that. We do know that there are proven aids for these types of conditions. There are treatments available to Canadians that will help certain conditions, such as terminal cancer, for example, treatments to extend the life of the patient or make the patient feel more comfortable." "We call these treatments, 'real medicine', but let's not get bogged down in semantics."

"...when someone comes along and says that all a patient needs to do to cure his or her cancer is take a particular product, that patient sometimes delays appropriate care. Through delaying appropriate care, the condition worsens." "Oddly, the products I have championed earlier in my speech will do just this, delay care so the cancer or other serious condition worsens. I see no problem with my position."

Here, there is much talk about the Bill and how other MPs have misused it, not read it, and some general trash talk.

"...we have listened to many people and professionals who say the same level of scientific evidence that Health Canada requires for drugs should not apply to NHPs. This is a very good amendment by the government. It is our intention to propose an amendment which would make it clear that the type and amount of information required for NHPs shall include traditional knowledge, knowledge of first nations, knowledge of the 5,000 year history of the Chinese on their types of medicine, and history of use, with history of use being safe use, or as has been used for decades by chiropractors, naturopaths and so on." "Your science shouldn't and, really can't study our indigenous/natural/Chinese/really old/special snowflake type of 'medicine'. It's been around FOREVER (or at least a couple of decades) and as such, is perfect for an 'argument from antiquity' fallacy. Again, I really don't know what I'm talking about here."

"In addition, given the wide range of therapeutic products, we proposed an amendment which would make it clear that the type and amount of information required to obtain a licence depends on the nature of the product and its intended use...if a product claims to cure cancer, versus the common cold, then certain things would be different. We will underline this in the preamble of the bill: that the use of history and traditional knowledge are valuable and important sources of information." "old stuff will get a pass on any kind of scientific inquiry or investigation because it is how I made my living and any scientific studies would ultimately be devastating to my argument."

There is a whole discussion from Parliament on this bill and a lot of it is face-palmingly horrible. No one that I read mentioned that naturopathy/homeopathy/reflexology/chiropractic/acupuncture is ineffective nonsense. No one.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Thanks to You, Dr. Phil Plait

The always great Phil Plait wrote a piece on his always great blog over at Slate about Jenny McCarthy and her nonsensical and unsupportable stance on vaccines being somehow dangerous. I'm posting quickly to say thank you to the good Ph.D for linking to one of my previous posts on Ms. McCarthy in his article. I have been *so* *very* *slack* in writing here over the past year that I have thought about hanging up the blogging gloves permanently, but something always stops me from pulling the plug completely. I think that's a sign (or might be, if I thought "signs" were a thing).

Let's do some skeptiking together, shall we? Yes, let's.

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