Posted by mattusmaximus on January 17, 2013
Sometimes pseudoscience is stupid, sometimes it is annoying, sometimes it hurts our educational institutions… and sometimes it is outright frakking deadly. Case in point, medical frauds who perpetuate nonsense to vulnerable, desperate people; such as when quacks push supposed “cures for cancer” which are anything but or have yet to be proven, such as in the case of Stanislaw Burzynski and his “cancer clinic”. In such situations, it is literally a matter of life and death because when cancer patients delay reliable medical treatments in favor of pseudoscientific B.S. the delay can cost them their lives. Skeptic James Randi helps to break it down in more detail here:
But rather than curse the darkness, let us instead light a candle…
I am happy to announce that the Skeptical Teacher will be joining a coalition of skeptical activists called the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients (SPCP). The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is a grassroots group devoted to the promotion of promising, ethical, and transparent cancer research. For more about this project and the group sponsoring it, visit thehoustoncancerquack.com or visit their Facebook page. Also, please consider donating either some of your time by promoting the cause (if you have a blog or media contacts) and/or your money to the legitimate scientific research of cancer.
Some more background and info on Burzynski:
*Dr. David Gorski has a new Science-Based Medicine post out as of this past Monday on Burzynski’s antineoplastons treatment. Science-Based Medicine » Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons versus patients.
*Burzynski gets warning from FDA: Stop promoting your treatment as “safe” and “effective”
The U.S. FDA has sent a letter to the Burzynski Research Institute to cease claiming that their brain tumor treatment, antineoplastons, are safe and/or effective for the purposed for which they are being investigated. In other words, Burzynski’s claims on websites and promotional materials that this treatment WORKS is a violation because supposed to be testing that!
* Supporters often use patient anecdotes to sell his unproven treatments at the Burzynski Patient Group. We have started curating a collection of patient stories at The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, the ones Burzynski would rather you not hear. Also, these stories can be exported to your own website IN THEIR ENTIRETY via the storify site they were created on. Free content, people. Just sayin’.
*Orac, an oncologist, cancer researcher, and patient advocate, has written extensively about Burzynski at Respectful Insolence.
*Learn the whole story at Josephine Jones’s Blog. She has kept a comprehensive list of content about Burzynski, his clinic, and his chemotherapy on the web. An invaluable resource!
*You might be interested that the EMPLOYER of one of our members (of SPCP) was recently contacted by one of Burzynski’s misguided supporters.
Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: antineoplastons, Burzynski, cancer, chemotherapy, clinic, cure, doctor, FDA, fraud, health, Houston, medicine, Orac, patients, pseudoscience, quack, Respectful Insolence, science, science-based, science-based medicine, Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients, SPCP, Stanislaw Burzynski, Texas, The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, thehoustoncancerquack.com, treatment | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 13, 2010
Many times you’ll hear skeptics venting their spleens about this huckster or that charlatan and “How is it possible they’re allowed to get away with this crap?!” One of the worst such pseudoscientific offenders in recent years has been “natural cures” quack Kevin Trudeau, who has used his infomercial sales pitches to convince countless people that he has a cure for cancer (he doesn’t) and that they shouldn’t trust modern, science-based medicine because “‘They’ don’t want you to know the truth”. I think it would be reasonable to say that Trudeau has not only bilked people out of millions of dollars with his bogus “cures”, but in addition that his nonsensical anti-scientific conspiracy mongering has even gotten some people who believed him killed.
Well, now it seems that Trudeau has finally gone too far. Recently he was in an Illinois federal court as the latest chapter in his long-running battle with the Federal Trade Commission, and he messed up, BIG time when he encouraged his followers to send emails to the judge. Here’s the Chicago Tribune article on the matter…
Best-selling author and infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau was held in criminal contempt Thursday and threatened with jail after he urged visitors to his Web site to unleash a massive barrage of e-mails that crashed a federal judge’s computer in Chicago.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman’s computer became hopelessly clogged with e-mails from admirers of Trudeau’s diet book and other volumes, the judge told a hearing. Court technicians had to be called in to make his inbox usable again. Something similar happened to his BlackBerry, Gettleman said.
Gettleman has overseen Trudeau’s long-running legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission, which claims ads for Trudeau’s books offering cures for dozens of ailments — from faltering memory to hair loss — misrepresent the facts.
The judge said Trudeau urging the deluge of e-mails was harassment.
“The penalty I will impose will probably include some custody and a fine,” the calm, soft-spoken Gettleman said after holding Trudeau in direct criminal contempt. He ordered Trudeau to post a $50,000 bond and surrender his passport.
Gettleman said the glut of e-mails delayed court business and will force the U.S. Marshals Service to do a threat assessment.
Trudeau arrived in court voluntarily after Gettleman threatened to send marshals to bring him in. He sat silently through the hearing before being led away for fingerprinting and a mug shot.
Well, I think this is one case in which the charlatan is getting his just-desserts. Of course, to Trudeau’s followers, this will likely be interpreted as more evidence of their “Big Pharma/Big Medicine/Big Government” conspiracy theory, and they will paint Trudeau as a martyr for the alt-med cause. Which is fine with me, so long as Trudeau is a martyr in jail.
Posted in medical woo, Uncategorized | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, charlatan, complementary medicine, conspiracy, contempt of court, court, doctors, federal, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, Gettleman, health, health care, judge, Kevin Trudeau, medicine, natural cures, Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About, pseudoscience, quack, quackery | 19 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 8, 2010
(Hat tip to Phil over at Skeptic Money for passing this little gem along )
Below is some footage from a BBC show called Dragon’s Den, where would-be entrepreneurs make a sales pitch to the assembled judges about why their idea is worth funding. In this case, a homeopathic doofus pitches his “miracle water” to them using the standard alt-med, “natural is good” woo-woo, with disastrous results. What follows is, to me, an excellent example of in-your-face skepticism in action – with the perfect combination of hard questioning, demands for evidence & research, and moral outrage. Take a look…
Posted in economics, medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, BBC, business, Dragon's Den, entrepreneur, health, homeopathy, medicine, miracle water, money, natural cures, quack, quackery, Skeptic Money, skepticism | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 3, 2009
If you read this blog regularly, you recently saw where I predicted in an earlier post – Swine Flu Conspiracy Hogwash – that pretty soon some pseudoscientific woo-monger out there would be prescribing nonsense as a “cure” for the swine (or H1N1) flu. Well, I was right; maybe I’m psychic? – nah, more likely it’s that the woo-mongers are all too predictable in their parasitic opportunism to push their idiocy when people are scared.
It ends up that a writer over at the increasingly nutty Huffington Post, Matthew Stein, wrote an article titled When a Superbug Strikes Close to Home, How Can You Deal With it? Essentially, this article is a simultaneous attack on science-based medicine, through the all-too-familiar conspiracy theory about Big Pharma & the medical/scientific establishment, while promoting a wide variety of non-scientific quackery which I like to collectively refer to as sCAM.
**Aside: if you want to see a more detailed debunking of this HuffPo balderdash, I highly recommend Orac’s post over at Respectful Insolence
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, CAM, CDC, Centers for Disease Control, complementary medicine, conspiracy, conspiracy theories, critical thinking, disease, epidemic, flu, H1N1, health, Huffington Post, infection, influenza, medicine, pandemic, plague, pseudoscience, public health, quack, quackery, sCAM, science, science-based medicine, swine flu | 2 Comments »