The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Huffington Post Medical Woo: Political Ideology vs. Science Redux

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 26, 2009

In my last post, Global Warming Denial: Full of Hot Air, I took pseudoscientists who allow their conservative ideology to cloud climate change science to task.  In that same entry, I also warned that the political left is just as guilty of woo-mongering & anti-science.  Sadly, I didn’t have to wait long to get a good example of this very thing.

I was listening to this week’s podcast (dated April 22nd) of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and in the news items section they spoke about three articles on the politically-liberal blog Huffington Post. They are as follows…

Antibiotics Cause Cancer?

Intuitive Scanning for Health: An Interview with Medical Intuitives

The Judgment on Vaccines Is In???

**Aside: Dr. Steven Novella of the SGU has a great response to the claims made in these articles over at the Science-Based Medicine blog. Check it out.

The nuttiness on two of the articles – the anti-antibiotics & anti-vaccination articles – is pretty obvious, as they are essentially denying the usefulness & effectiveness of antibiotics and vaccines.  The third article, the one on “medical intuitives”, is just plain crazy, because upon reading the article one finds that the term “medical intuitive” is just a fancy way of saying psychic. Yeah, the Huffington Post is seriously presenting woo regarding medicine & health – not only do they promote goofiness like going to a psychic for your health care, but they also are actively advocating against modern science-based health care!  Why?

Well, one doesn’t have to dig too deeply to find the answer to that question.  All three of these idiocy-laden posts, which are all presented without a hint of skepticism or critical thinking, have a common theme which is all-too-prevalent among politically liberal circles: suspicion of and conspiracy mongering about Big Pharma. If you read all three articles, you will see at some point the implication that pharmaceutical & medical institutions are either covering-up or ignoring something important regarding the particular issue.  Here are some excerpts from these articles illustrating my point…

From the anti-antibiotics article:

Antibiotics are widely used by the medical establishment and even by animal farmers. In fact, these days more antibiotics are given to animals that are consumed than are distributed to people, which means that a lot of people are getting these drugs second-hand. And many people still believe that antibiotics are helpful; we’ve all heard stories of mothers and patients coming close to demanding them. But did you know that antibiotics can cause a great deal of long-term harm in the body? Let me explain…

From the “medical intuitive” article:

… In general, nursing helps this sort of work, primarily because of the nurse’s training in anatomy and physiology. In other words, the nurse is more likely to recognize which organs and systems are involved in the illness. On the other side of the coin, it may be a bit of a drawback, because of the emphasis on western medicine that nursing training involves. As you know, western medicine is usually the last to accept alternative methods of healing.

From the anti-vaccination article:

The truth is that no one without a vested interest in the profitability of vaccines has studied all 36 of them in depth. There are more than 100 vaccines in development, and no tests for cumulative effect or vaccine interaction of all 36 vaccines in the current schedule have ever been done. If I’m mistaken, I challenge those who are making such grand pronouncements about vaccine safety to produce those studies. …

… In this growing crisis, we cannot afford to blindly trumpet the agenda of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or vaccine makers. …

… With vaccines being the fastest growing division of the pharmaceutical industry, isn’t it possible that profits may play a part in the decision-making? That the vaccine program is becoming more of a profit engine than a means of prevention? In a world left reeling from the catastrophic effects of greed, mismanagement and corporate insensitivity, is it so absurd for us to wonder why American children are being given twice as many vaccines on average, compared to the top 30 first world countries?

This stuff isn’t just stupid, it’s downright dangerous.  By appealing to a segment of the population with strong political opinions, the Huffington Post is regarded as something of an authority by those same people.  Yet here they are giving completely bogus & dangerous medical advice to those people, essentially telling them not to trust science-based medicine & the medical establishment in this country.

I am dumbfounded at how moronic this all is… especially when you take a look at today’s headline on the Huffington Post:

US Declares Public Health Emergency for Swine Flu

But wait a minute!  I thought, according to the woo-meisters posting at the Huffington Post, that we weren’t supposed to be trusting the government, CDC, vaccine-makers, medical establishment, and so on?  What the hell is going on here?

I guess when the chips are down, the hypocrisy of many of the woo-crowd is exposed.  When push comes to shove, they really do trust in science-based medicine for one simple reason: it works.

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7 Responses to “Huffington Post Medical Woo: Political Ideology vs. Science Redux”

  1. […] Original post by mattusmaximus […]

  2. […] Original post by mattusmaximus […]

  3. 迷你倉 said

    The article on antibiotics are very good.
    Tony
    荔枝角卓越迷你倉
    香港仔時昌迷你倉

  4. Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  5. […] by mattusmaximus on October 8, 2009 Many months back, I made a post concerning the anti-scientific quackery being dished out over at the Huffington Post w… At the time, it seems that the HuffPo was receiving a storm of criticism from bloggers for their […]

  6. […] progressive online newspaper called The Huffington Post (or, the HuffPo, as I call it).  In it, I essentially accused the HuffPo of becoming a front for left-leaning woo, such as various forms of New Age nonsense, “alternative” medical quackery, and vaccine […]

  7. […] I’m pretty stunned by this development.  Many of you know that in the past I have been highly critical of the Huffington Post (a.k.a. the HuffPo) for their tacit acceptance and promotion of various kinds of medically-related […]

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