Posts Tagged ‘alternative medicine’
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 22, 2014
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about that most infamous of anti-medical charlatans, Kevin Trudeau, and how he was doing all that he could to dodge both common decency and the law by continuing to push his “Natural Cures” nonsense…
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, 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. [emphasis added]
Well, today I am happy to report that, while the wheels of justice do indeed grind slowly, Kevin Trudeau has finally gotten what he deserves: a long stay in prison 🙂
Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau, whose name became synonymous with late-night TV pitches, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for bilking consumers through ubiquitous infomercials for his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”
As he imposed the sentence prosecutors had requested, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman portrayed the 50-year-old Trudeau as a habitual fraudster going back to his early adulthood. So brazen was Trudeau, the judge said, he once even used his own mother’s Social Security number in a scheme.
“Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain,” Guzman said, adding that Trudeau is “deceitful to the very core.” …
I could go on, but suffice it to say that despite Trudeau’s lame attempts to defend himself and his actions, the judge was having none of it. Too often hucksters and liars like Trudeau play upon the fears and ignorance of science and critical thinking among the general population in order to line their own pockets or push an agenda (other notable examples include the late Sylvia Browne and creationist Ken Ham).
What is so satisfying about this outcome is the fact that, when the chips are down and someone like Trudeau and his ilk wind up in court, what really matters isn’t talking points, it’s all about evidence and logical arguments. That’s why creationists have consistently lost in the courts, and that’s also why Trudeau is now going to prison… because they have no evidence to back up their baseless claims.
Personally, I’d like to see more of this kind of thing; hopefully, it will send a message to those pseudoscientists who want to play doctor but not actually be responsible for what they say. But for now, I shall bask in the afterglow of Trudeau’s epic pwning…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, charlatan, Chicago, complementary medicine, conspiracy, contempt of court, court, doctors, federal, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, guilty, Guzman, health, health care, jail, judge, justice, Kevin Trudeau, medicine, natural cures, Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About, prison, pseudoscience, quack, quackery, sentence | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 4, 2012
I found this image via a skeptical Facebook friend, and it just screams “skeptical teacher”! I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of it first 🙂
Three words: FOR THE WIN!!!
Image source: Reddit
The solutions (pardon the pun) to these questions reveals one glaring fact: homeopathy, there’s nothing in it, except water.
**Update (2/5/12): For those interested, I have calculated the actual answers to these questions. Contact me if you would like to see the math; here are the answers:
a) 3.46 x 10^21 or 3,460,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms
b) 3.46 x 10^15 or 3,460,000,000,000,000 atoms
c) 3.46 x 10^-39 or 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 00346 atoms (a number so stupidly small we can safely say that there are effectively NO arsenic atoms remaining within the solution!)
Posted in education, medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, chemistry, class, dilution, homeopathy, homework, physics, question, Reddit, skeptic, solution, teacher, teaching, woo | 6 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 2, 2011
In the way that only XKCD can, a very cogent point is made regarding homeopathy. Recall the specific claim that homeopathy proponents make regarding their “solutions” basically containing no active ingredients, then read this comic…
In case you don’t click the link, mousing-over the XKCD graphic on their page reveals the following text:
“I just noticed CVS has started stocking homeopathic pills on the same shelves with–and labeled similarly to–their actual medicine. Telling someone who trusts you that you’re giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying–it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for a child why lying is wrong.”
Well said, XKCD. Bravo 🙂
Posted in humor, medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative literature, alternative medicine, altmed, CAM, CVS, dilution, homeopathic, homeopathy, humor, internet, medicine, pharmacy, pills, sCAM, solution, web comic, xkcd, xkcd.com | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 31, 2011
Wow. 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 nonsense, especially the fact they provide a big platform for anti-vaccination kooks.
However, in an interesting twist, one of their prominent writers – science correspondent Cara Santa Maria – has written a very solid and in-your-face pro-vaccine article. Not only that, but she also gives a big shout out to the WTFF’s Hug Me, I’m Vaccinated campaign! 😀
Perhaps there’s hope yet for the HuffPo…
Yesterday I got a flu vaccine at work. The coughs and sneezes are beginning to sound like bad muzak around the office, so I figured it was time to give flu season the finger. I’ve actually never had a flu vaccine before. It just never occurred to me to do so. But now that I work in a corporate office environment, the handwashing signs over the bathroom sink and little pumps of antibacterial hand sanitizer glistening on individual desks are beginning to make sense to me. I don’t want these people making me sick. I don’t want to make them sick either. I like my coworkers a lot, but I wish we lived in a country that understood the value of a sturdy facemask. I live in Hollywood, a city so image-obsessed that the only time you see somebody wearing one of those is if they’ve just gotten their nose done.
But I digress. I noticed when I proudly bore the sticker proclaiming to the office masses today that I got my vaccination, a lot of people responded that they “don’t do that” or they “don’t believe in it.” That struck me as funny. It made me wonder why, if a free flu vaccination is offered to you only steps from your desk, you would opt not to partake. …
… The truth is, even though a new meta-analysis published in The Lancet only two days ago showed an overall efficacy for influenza vaccination hovering around 59% (in adults age 18-65, spread over the last 44 years), I’ll take 59% over 0% any day. And not getting a vaccine is 0% effective against the spread of influenza. By the way, if you are one of those people who opt out of prophylaxis, please do your part by washing your damn hands. And sneeze into your sleeve, not all over your disease-laden paws. Of course, I’m now a lot less worried about your germs making me sick. So, hug me! I’m vaccinated.
Posted in media woo, medical woo | Tagged: alternative medicine, anti-vaccination, anti-vax, antibiotics, Big Pharma, CAM, Cara Santa Maria, flu, health, Huffington Post, HuffPo, Hug Me, Hug Me I'm Vaccinated, influenza, liberal, medical community, medical intuitives, medicine, pharmaceuticals, politics, progressive, sCAM, science-based medicine, scientific community, swine flu, vaccines, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on July 5, 2011
Well, another Skepchicon/Convergence has come and gone, and once again I had a blast in Minneapolis. Of course, it wasn’t all play – though there was plenty of that (as evidenced with the photo of me below in the Mos Icee Cantina 🙂 ) – because I participated in a number of good panels on a variety of topics related to skepticism and science. I recorded every panel in which I took part, and I reproduce this audio along with a brief description of the panel for you below. Enjoy!
Modern Day Snake Oil – in this panel, the topic of various forms of alternative “medicine” were discussed, from homeopathy to magnetic therapy.
To Vaxx or Not To Vaxx – here we discussed the anti-vaccination movement and why their pseudoscience is dangerous. Also discussed were some facts about how vaccines do and don’t work, and why it is so important that people vaccinate even if they think it isn’t necessary.
Stuff I Didn’t Know – the panelists share with the audience some of the neat things they’ve learned recently, and the audience gets in on the action as well.
Common Hollywood Science Myths – we all like going to the movies or watching our favorite shows on TV/cable, but boy oh boy does Hollywood screw up a lot of science in the process of entertaining us. The panelists share some of their pet peeves and also compliment Hollywood when they get it right.
Ask A Scientist Open Forum – just as the name suggests, this panel consisted of audience members asking the panel a variety of questions on everything from the Big Bang to dentistry!
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, anti-vaccination, anti-vaxx, CAM, con, convention, Convergence, fantasy, Fourth of July, Hollywood, July 4th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, movies, myths, sCAM, science, science fiction, Skepchick, Skepchicon, skeptic, skeptic track, skepticism, TV, vaccines, vaxx, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 26, 2011
As a follow-up to the successful 10:23 Campaign: “Homeopathy: There’s Nothing In It!”, I wanted to share with you all an excellent video challenge from skeptic James Randi, who is laying down the gauntlet to homeopathy manufacturers and pharmacies that sell this scam “medicine”…
In addition, please consider taking a few minutes to go over to Change.org and sign the petition which encourages these manufacturers & pharmacies to come clean to the public about these bogus products…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, 10:23, 2011, alternative medicine, CAM, challenge, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, James Randi, James Randi Educational Foundation, JREF, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, Little Sugar Pills, magic, manufacturers, medicine, pharmacies, pharmacy, potency, quackery, Randi, remedies, remedy, sCAM, skeptical activism, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 21, 2011
Some of you may recall that I wrote a scathing post a couple of years ago, when The Skeptical Teacher was still young (in Internet time), about the 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 denial. Well, the good news is it seems that the number of science-oriented bloggers criticizing the HuffPo is growing, as evidenced by this post over at the Red State Progressive blog…
Many progressives get their news, at least in part, from The Huffington Post. I think this is unfortunate, and I side with a growing number of bloggers who will not promote them with links or retweets. As I have explained previously, they promote a dangerous sort of quackery, including creationism, homeopathy, antivaccination propaganda, and pseudoscience. It seems that Ms. Huffington has a soft spot for this sort of drivel, and HuffPo has become notorious for it.
If you are still not convinced, you might consider examining the growing body of evidence:
In keeping with this trend, I encourage you all to NOT promote the HuffPo with links and retweets. The more people who hold them to account for the dangerous pseudoscience they are spreading, the better.
Posted in media woo, medical woo, politics | Tagged: alternative medicine, anti-vaccination, anti-vax, antibiotics, Big Pharma, blog, bloggers, CAM, cancer, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, health, Huff Po, Huffington Post, HuffPo, liberal, medical community, medical intuitives, medicine, New Age, pharmaceuticals, politics, progressive, psychic, quackery, sCAM, science-based medicine, scientific community, vaccines | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 3, 2011
You may recall that about one year ago there was a very widespread and public examination of the pseudoscience of homeopathy in what was billed as the 10:23 Challenge – read more about how homeopathy failed to kill anyone via “suicidal overdose” at that event. In keeping with the spirit of grassroots skeptical activism, the 10:23 Challenge is back for 2011, and it’s taking place this Saturday, Feb. 5th. Check out the 10:23 website for more information…
The 10:23 Challenge is a follow-up to the ‘overdose’ protest staged by the 10:23 Campaign in 2010. International protesters from more than 10 countries, and more than 23 cities will gather for over the weekend of February 5-6 2011, to make the simple statement: Homeopathy – There’s Nothing In It.
The challenge will culminate on February 6th at the QED conference in Manchester, where 300 protesters will participate the largest ever single demonstration against homeopathy.
**Update: As a follow up message, I’d like to share with you a Youtube video by my skeptical colleague from Down Under, Kylie Sturgess…
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: 10 23 Campaign, 10:23, 2011, alternative medicine, CAM, complementary medicine, dilution, homeopathy, Homeopathy There's Nothing in it, law of infinitesimals, law of similars, Little Sugar Pills, magic, medicine, potency, quackery, remedies, remedy, sCAM, skeptical activism, sleeping pills, solution, suicide, treatment, woo, Ziztur | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 18, 2011
I just received this from a friend, and I had to share it. Skeptic Dr. Ben Goldacre expresses, with humor and verve, why it is that science is, as he puts it, “8 million metric f**k-tons more interesting than any flaky made-up facts reported by some flaky, New Age, pill-peddling quack!” 🙂
Posted in humor, medical woo, scientific method | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, bad science, Ben Goldacre, CAM, comic, funny, homeopathy, humor, medicine, Nerdstock, New Age, nocebo, placebo, pseudoscience, sCAM, science | 1 Comment »