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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Aw, Homeopaths are Mad They Don't Get to Treat Ebola

I'm not going to get into this that much because, well, it's just too stupid a topic on which to waste my time. Besides, as usual, Orac has beaten me to it and done a better job than I ever could. I just read this Buzzfeed article and thought, "holy shit, seriously?" No wonder ebola spread so quickly, if these jagoffs were over there "helping". I guess homeopaths in Rwanda would have just handed out little super-tiny machetes in the hopes of stopping the genocide and bringing peace back between the Tutsis and Hutus. Jesus, trying to cure ebola with homeopathy is like trying to fix a severed arm with a butterfly; nonsensical and ineffective.

I bet Dana Ullman is spouting off on twitter about this and calling a lot of people "ignorant".

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Brian Clement and the Hippocrates Death Institute

I am trying to rein in my tendency of being abrasive and full of unnecessary ad-hominems. I really am. On occasions such as this, however, the venom I shall spit is entirely justified and, in a few short paragraphs, I hope you will agree with me. If not, there are other web-logs to read.

I am going to talk about Brian Clement. "Who is Brian Clement?", you may ask. He is the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida where the two First Nations girls mentioned in my previous post were taken for "treatment". He is a shithead, and I do not use that word lightly. Any person who convinces a mother to take her 11 year old out of the hospital where she is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (with a predicted 90-95% recovery rate) and "treat" her with nonsense so she will, in all likelihood, die from her disease, is a tremendous shithead.

Please take a read of this excerpt from an interview with noted quack bullshit peddler, Joe Mercola:
Joe Mercola: "The FDA doesn’t view food as a medicine, but I’m wondering if you could comment on your experiences. Because I believe it can be, just as exercise is a medicine. But food is probably 400 percent more potent than exercise. Not that it’s either one or the other; you need both, of course. But if you’re only going to use one, I think it’s food. Can you give us your comments on that concept?"

Brian Clement: "Well, I have written, as you know, a series of books for the academic community called Food Is Medicine: The Scientific Evidence, reflecting what we’ve learned here for six decades. I did this specifically for the academics because they tend to be the most arrogant. They tend to be the most close-minded, the ones that literally think they know. When you think you know, you don’t learn. The bottom line is when I would be out at a medical conference speaking and giving case studies of people who reversed catastrophic disease that is commonly understood in mainstream medicine to be zero success, they would challenge me. They’ll say, “Give me the data.” I felt confused at that point because I said to them, “We don’t have the billions to do the research. We don’t have a research team. We don’t have statisticians.” But finally, a few years ago, I said, “Wait a minute, let me see if there’s enough evidence that I could scratch off out of mainstream universities to support what we’ve been doing here.” I was stunned. I could literally retire from the directorship and I stopped at 1,200 pages, three volumes. I could go on forever."
Firstly, Mercola "thinks" food is more important than exercise? Really? If you're going to use one out of either food or exercise, you "think" food is the better choice?" For fuck's sake, Mercola, you're really going out on a limb there.

Secondly, I love how this guy who, by all accounts, has his "accreditations" from diploma mills and has no actual schooling on the relevant material and is the one claiming that cancer is "not difficult to treat", calls academics "arrogant". Hysterical, and that leads into one of the best irony-machine-exploding phrases I've heard in a while: "When you think you know, you don’t learn." Yeah, exactly. How's that mirror look to you?

But, lo and behold, he then looks around and there's a ton of evidence that the bullshit he's peddling actually works! It works, I tell you! I mean, he says that he could, "...write books until the day I die on those so many volumes of evidential science and empirical evidence coming out of research." Ok, so no one's asking for that. A guy has to relax a bit from time to time. Just write one. One good one that's convincing; pick the most bulletproof, solid, undeniable cases and evidence-based studies and write one goddamn book. Fuck, just write a paper that's halfway decent and I'll shut my mouth. Funnily, a PubMed search for, "Clement, Brian", or "Brian Clement", or "Clement, B" all bring up exactly zero results. Maybe he's being shut out of the big journals for looking like a low-rent Max Maven.

If you'd like to have a bit of a guffaw, read this excerpt from the same interview:
I’ll never forget Ann Wigmore. She was the only person I ever knew, Dr. Mercola, who had no intellect. This woman was purely heart and instinct. That’s why she was correct almost always. I was frustrating her because I was young and insecure and was in a way challenging her, “How does this reverse disease?” She got frustrated one day and took a little black sunflower seed, organic sunflower seed, and said, “Don’t you realize if we put this to the ground, in seven weeks, it will be 12 to 15 feet-tall with thousands of seeds on it? That sunflower plant is going to be facing the east in the morning and facing the west at night. Now, don’t you think the power of the sunflower is that you’re taking hundreds of thousands of these by eating them, as you are now, and that juicing them is going to be good for you?” It’s the light force in the food even more important than the nutrients and the proteins.
Howzabout you take three naturalistic fallacies and call me in the morning. Can you believe that shit?! He actually describes Wigmore as having "no intellect" and that that was a good thing. And holy crap, sunflowers grow and follow the source of part of their nutrition through the day! Amazeballs! Eating it must be fab for you, right? Like carrots! Well, except for one specific member of the carrot family, the Western Water Hemlock, which is so poisonous that it will kill you very quickly and even has enough poison in one bulb to kill a 1600lb cow.

Brian Clement, recipient of diploma mill "degrees", peddler of all things woo, and enabler in the slow death of Canadian First Nations children. Oh, wait, not just them - there was at least one more:
23-year-old Stephanie O'Halloran was diagnosed last August with a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer and was given just months to live...Limerick people gave generously to fundraising efforts for alternative treatment in the United States after doctors told the young mother-of-one that traditional chemotherapy could not cure her.
I wonder where this "alternative treatment in the United States" was located? Hmmmm? I remember, Orac wrote about her back when she was alive but conned into going to Clement's Hippocrates Death Centre.

It's not often that I wish actual harm on someone, but in the case of the scumbag Brian Clement, I'll make an exception.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tragic Case of "Rights"

A recent court decision in Brampton, Ontario means that an 11 year old First Nations Mohawk girl will likely die a very preventable death. The argument is that First Nations people have the right to use their "traditional medicines" to treat illnesses and diseases, even if that means eschewing actual, proven medicine in the face of a deadly condition.

This is utter nonsense. The government should step in to protect the life of the afflicted girl regardless of the justifications Justice Gethin Edward talks about. To quote from the article:
Evidence showed the mother from Six Nations reserve is “deeply committed to her longhouse beliefs and her belief that traditional medicines work,...This is not an eleventh-hour epiphany employed to take her daughter out of the rigours of chemotherapy,...Rather it is a decision made by a mother, on behalf of a daughter she truly loves, steeped in a practice that has been rooted in their culture from its beginnings.”
If I may take this quote apart a bit, what the judge doesn't care about is that it really doesn't matter at all how evidence shows that the mother is committed to her beliefs that traditional medicines work. It matters if they actually work. What if my daughter gets acute lymphoblastic leukemia and I am committed to the belief that making her dust the house and eat nothing but Quaker instant oatmeal (only the maple brown sugar type) and water will cure the disease? Will I get applause from an audience in a court room for obtaining the right to "treat" my daughter with the aforementioned protocol?

The answer is "no".

Just because an idea is tenacious doesn't mean that it's worthy, if I may quote Tim Minchin. We must allow adults to seek out whatever treatment or "treatment" they want as part of their freedom of choice, expression, and religion, but we need to make sure that children are given the best possible path to make it to adulthood so they can receive those freedoms.

Chief Ava Hill was happy about the ruling saying, "This is monumental for our people right across the country, and we’re going to get the news out right away,...We were the first people here, we looked after ourselves, we had our traditional medicines. We looked after your ancestors when they arrived here, and what medicines do you think we used?”" Just to be clear, "looking after" is in no way the same as, "curing" or "increasing lifespan". You can "look after" a person and if they're sufficiently sick, they'll die. As I've said before, adding any modifier before the word "medicine" such as "traditional", "alternative" or "naturopathic" will, in all likelihood, decrease its efficacy substantially.

This family and the family of another First Nations 11 year old girl, Makayla Sault, have also travelled to a Florida clinic that claims to be able to treat cancer but is astoundingly full of woo and nonsense. This "clinic" is the definition of the kind of mentality from which we as a hopefully-advancing-species have to save our young people. It is abysmal and no one under 21 should be allowed on the grounds of this quackery farm.

I truly hope that both the girl in the court decision and Makayla Sault can go into spontaneous remission and somehow, against all odds, recover. My fear is that they will both have recurrences, receive "traditional" medicine, and die soon afterwards. Will the media cover those stories as follow-up? Will anyone listen then? The only certainty in these terrible situations is that "traditional" medicines will sadly be touted as valid for a long time to come.

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Ugh, Rick Warren Talking About Marriage

Pastor Rick Warren is speaking at the Vatican conference on marriage called "The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium". There's a ton of people attending, but one thing can be pretty much assured: the gays ain't welcomed, especially if they're havin' that gay sex.

Warren said in an interview that, "It's not a sin to love somebody, but it might be a sin to have sex with them." (quote comes at the 2:00min mark of the video) He also said that as an evangelical pastor, his source of authority is the Bible, but it says quite clearly there that homosexuality is bad and that gay people who have sex with each other should be killed.
Lev. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Can't really argue with that. It also says immediately after that that if a man has sex with a woman and her mother, they should all be burnt. So I guess if the allegations are true, Mackenzie Phillips, John Phillips, and Susan Adams should be murdered. Wonder why that's not happening or if Warren thinks it should?

Helen Alvaré is the spokesperson for the event and is quoted as saying:
“Many believe that people talk about the relationship between men and woman all of the time,...That conversation is not very deep; it is usually about the troubles they are having, or about sex, but it doesn’t go deeper, to consider the meaning and purpose in the world and in the divine plan, of there being two sexes, drawn to one another, capable of a ‘one-flesh’ union, responsible for the creation of all new life.”
Yes, I realize that she's a devout Catholic whose views seem quite close to the party line, but who says there even is a "divine plan"? From where is she (or any of them) getting this plan? There's enough gayness in the Bible (even though it is, apparently, icky) that religious people shouldn't really be upset about it. Jonathan and David, for example (1 Samuel, chapters 18-23).

In reality, I don't care if religious people get together to chat about what they think marriage should be about. Who cares? Their ideas are dying, the rational people are getting the message out that religious views are nonsensical and silly, and as enlightenment values spread and the internet makes information easy to fact-check, sanctimonious blowhards will find fewer and fewer places to disseminate their hate-inciting fatuities.

Go do your talk, Mr. Warren. Polish the brass as the ship sinks.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Pope Francis is Awesome! Except, Yeah, Not.

"Oh, he's so great. He thinks gays are just dandy." Except he leads a group of jackasses who, well, let's just say "don't agree". In fact they that, "there can be 'not even a remote' comparison between gay unions and heterosexual marriage".

"But this Pope believes in evolution!" Well, everyone who thinks this is news, perhaps you should check what Pius XII wrote in 1950 and JPII said in the 90's. No change there. Evolution happened, but Special Jesus Man started everything off, so cut it out with that Large Hadron Collider thingy trying to figure out the universe.

See, the trouble is that, even if he did make some bold statement on evolution or gay marriage/equality/humanity, it would likely be for invalid, wrong-headed reasons. I mean, take a look at this article talking about, of all damn things, exorcisms. I've written about exorcisms before and the gent who started the IAE (that's the International Association of Exorcists...they have a convention - wanna bet there's booze and tall tales?), Gabriele Amorth.

It's pretty crazy that the article says, "Priests who pursue the ministry of exorcism 'manifest the Church's love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil's works...'" That's a sentence more at home spouting from Helen Ukpabio's child-endangering lips. So many people believe in witchcraft that it really makes me doubt the ability of humanity to survive the coming decades. Read what Dwight Longenecker, a priest in South Carolina, said in the exorcist article, "Exorcism is a little bit like brain surgery in the spiritual realm..." No. Not in any way at all. At all. It's depressing to read that.

I don't really care if Francis "believes" in evolution, or if he thinks gay people are awesome, or whatever; if he thinks that there are demons living in certain people's heads and making them do things, then his brain is stuck in the deep past and that's where it seems it's going to stay.

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