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Bill Maher endorses cancer quackery

Over the last five years or so, I’ve often asked, “Is Bill Maher really that ignorant?” I’ve come to the conclusion that he is, and a couple of weeks ago laid out the evidence why right here on this very blog. (Lately Maher has been issuing Tweets that call people who get flu shots “idiots.”) Indeed, I even included in the post perhaps the most hilariously spot-on riposte to Maher’s crankery. This occurred when Maher proclaimed that he never gets the flu and wouldn’t get the flu on an airplane, which his guest Bob Costas to exclaim in exasperation, “Oh, come on, Superman!”

Bob Costas won my respect that day. My favorite part was when Maher looked at his guests, who were shifting in their seats, all embarrassed and unsure of what to say, and observed, “You all look at me as though I’m crazy.”

Why, yes, Bill, we do. Let’s put it this way. When Age of Autism likes you, you have a serious problem when it comes to being credible about medical science.

In that same post, I complained about Maher’s being awarded the Richard Dawkins Award by the Atheist Alliance International (AAI). I liken giving Bill Maher an award that lists “advocates increased scientific knowledge” anywhere in its criteria, not to mention being named after Richard Dawkins, to giving Jenny McCarthy an award for public health, given that, at least when it comes to medicine, Maher is anti-science to the core. Along the way, I’ve ruffled the feathers of some of both Dawkins’ and Maher’s fans.

I regret nothing.

Not only do I regret nothing, but on September 18, a mere two weeks before the AAI Convention, Maher provided me with more ammunition. In fact, this is probably the most blatant bit of crankery I’ve seen from Maher in a long time. Watch and learn. The “alternative medicine” nuttery begins at around the 0:50 mark:

Laetrile? Really? Laetrile?? How 1970s cancer quackery!

The segment above comes from something called Overtime With Bill Maher. Basically, it’s a segment in which the audience submits questions, a few of which Maher and crew pick to respond to on the web after Real Time with Bill Maher airs. This particular edition aired last Friday, and in it Maher makes several nonsensical and obviously erroneous claims.

It begins with a question from an audience member: “Will the implication of universal health care help or hinder alternative medicine?” You know that’s just like holding a piece of bloody, dripping meat in front of a pit bull that hasn’t eaten in two days, and Bill goes after it just like the pit bull would tear into a piece of meat–and with just as much grace. Well, Bill doesn’t do it immediately. Rather, he does it after his guest, Jeffrey Toobin, paraphrases one of my favorite sayings by pointing out that “medicine is medicine,” continuing, “If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

To which Bill hops in ranting, “That’s not how this country works.”

Don’t we at SBM know it, Bill! Quackademic medicine is infiltrating medical academia at every level. How this country works these days is to accept pseudoscience and quackery as being on par with scientific medicine. How this country works is for woo-friendly legislators like Senator Tom Harkin to force pseudoscience upon the NIH and to try to slip provisions in one of the Senate versions of health care reform legislation declaring “alternative” medicine practitioners to be considered legitimate health care practitioners.

None of this keeps Maher from proclaiming that “alternative medicine often is illegal in this country.” As if that would be such a bad thing. Personally, I’d say right to Maher’s face that it’s a good thing to protect patients from charlatans who claim to be able to cure terminal cancer, like Hulda Clark or Nicholas Gonzalez, every bit as good as Bill thinks it would be to protect the public from large pharmaceutical companies. In fact, I’d tell Maher that, in my not-so-humble opinion, the problem with this country is not that “alternative medicine” often is illegal, but rather that the most egregious examples of quackery are not illegal often enough and that quacks all too frequently quite literally get away with murder.

Maher then goes on to say that you can go to jail for “so much as suggesting any alternative treatment for cancer.” Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, Bill. I bet Bill can’t name a single person who has ever been sent to jail for “suggesting any alternative treatment for cancer.” (Not even Kevin Trudeau, although he did go to jail for credit card fraud years before he discovered “alternative medicine.”) But Maher can go on to rant about how Toobin supposedly doesn’t “understand how much the pharmaceutical companies have their tentacles wrapped around the government in this country.”

Toobin then (weakly) challenges Maher by asking, “For selling people Laetrile?”

Maher responds that he “doesn’t know whether Laetrile works,” but that he knows that “the shit we’ve tried for the last 50 years doesn’t. I know they’ve made no progress as far as cancer in this country. So, yes, there are people who actually go out of this country when they get cancer. Some of them come back alive after a death sentence. But in this country you can’t talk about that. I might get arrested right now.”

Wrong, again, Bill. No one’s going to throw you in jail for spouting your ignorant nonsense. I would, however, love to know who these patients are who went out of the country for “alternative” medicine and survived? Coretta Scott King? Farrah Fawcett? Michael Landon? Steve McQueen (who, by the way, used Laetrile, among all sorts of other “alternative” or “unconventional treatments”)? Really, Bill, who are these survivors who were given death sentences and then remarkably cured at foreign clinics? Inquiring minds want to know!

Also, we do know that Laetrile doesn’t work. The studies were done well over 20 years ago and were resoundingly negative. The NCI states that Laetrile doesn’t work against cancer, and patients can suffer complications of cyanide toxicity from it. If you “don’t know” whether laetrile works or not, it’s because you’ve drunk the Kool Aid.

Bill’s other problem is a common one. Like all too many people, he appears to view cancer as one disease. It’s not. In some cancers, we’ve made enormous progress in the last 50 years. For instance, most leukemias and lymphomas were death sentences 50 years ago. Now many of them are highly treatable and even curable. Lest you think that I’m cherry picking the easy, another example is colorectal cancer. For patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, for example, the time of survival and quality of life can both be significantly improved by the new generation of chemotherapeutic, antiangiogenic, and targeted therapies, as The Cheerful Oncologist pointed out two years ago. In fact, I liked The Cheerful Oncologist’s posts so much that I’m going to steal the graph that he stole from this article to drive the point home:

crcsurvival

As one can see, the survival for untreated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is in the range of 4-6 months. Older adjuvant chemotherapy regimens could result in median survivals of approximately 12 months. Over the last decade or so, recently developed chemotherapy regimens have pushed the median survival to nearly two years. In fact, my best friend’s father is evidence of that. He has metastatic colorectal cancer but has been doing well for quite a while now. He even still plays golf regularly. He knows that sooner or later his cancer will claim him, but in the meantime he’s enjoying his life for as long as possible, which is all that any of us can really do. As the authors conclude:

FU has been the cornerstone of treatment for mCRC for over 40 years. In the past few years, the introduction of more effective chemotherapeutic agents and targeted agents with their promising activities and mild toxicity profiles has pushed the overall median survival time from 12 months to 2 years. However, as discussed, there are still many challenges facing oncologists. Research is ongoing to understand these issues, and significant advances are expected through the implementation of well-designed clinical trials and continued preclinical investigation.

Moreover, if you look at the SEER Database, you will see a much different story. For all cancers, five year survival has improved from 50.2% in 1975 to 68.2% in 2001, and 10-year survival has increased from 44.5% in 1975 to 60% in 1996. Moreover, it’s not just quantity of life but quality of life. For instance, thirty or forty years ago, women underwent either radical or modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer. These days, maybe 25% still require mastectomy and virtually none of them require radical mastectomy. (Indeed, I’ve never even seen a radical mastectomy, and I began my surgical residency in the late 1980s.) That’s because surgeons, as part of multidisciplinary teams including medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, figured out that it’s usually not necessary to do a mastectomy to treat breast cancer. The same survival rates can be obtained with less invasive surgery. The same is true in other areas, such as the aforementioned colorectal surgery, where more and more colon operations are being done using minimally invasive methods.

It was science that accomplished this. Not the outrageous quackery that Bill Maher promotes. Science. Bill Maher doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As usual, at least when it comes to medical science. True, we have definitely not made as much progress as we would desire, and there are still a depressing number of cancers for which we still can’t do much, if any better, than a couple of decades ago, but overall there has been slow progress. It remains incredibly hard to have to tell so many cancer patients that we cannot cure them, but that there remain a number of patients with cancer that we can’t cure doesn’t mean we’ve made “no progress.”

That doesn’t stop Maher from parroting the usual alt-med nonsense about “wholistic” medicine as opposed to drugging people with the evil products of the even more evil big pharma, after which he finiishes with his usual rant about Western medicine, in which he claims that the reason “people are so sick” is because “Western medicine…only treats symptoms. That’s how they keep the scam going. If you only treat symptoms, of course people are always going to be sick. Yes, Nasonex will stop you from sniffling. It will shove the mucus right down your throat.”

I wish someone would shove the utter nonsense that Bill Maher spews on such a regular basis back down his throat.

I know some of my readers will think I’m beating a dead horse over this. I also know that I haven’t exactly endeared myself to AAI members by harping on just how idiotic it was to have chosen Maher for any award that has the word “science” anywhere in its criteria, given his support of anti-vaccine views, his apparent sympathy for HIV/AIDS denialism, and now his belief in cancer quackery shown in the video clip above. It wouldn’t have mattered on iota to me if the AAI had chosen to give Maher a “best atheist movie” award or some sort of activism award. But it didn’t. It chose to give Maher and award, one of the criteria of which involves advocating “increased scientific knowledge,” and that irritated me mightily. I even realize that my expressing just how disappointed I was in Richard Dawkins’ nonchalant, “he’s anti-religion; I don’t know about his views on alt-med and really don’t care” reaction to criticism of the selection doesn’t endear me to Dawkins’ fans.

I don’t care. His “shruggie” attitude towards someone who should have been featured in the second part of Dawkin’s documentary, The Enemies of Reason, as one of the quacks he skewered demands his being called out, preferably at the AAI conference, preferably along with Bill Maher.

Posted in: Cancer, Faith Healing & Spirituality, Health Fraud, Science and the Media, Vaccines

Leave a Comment (49) ↓

49 thoughts on “Bill Maher endorses cancer quackery

  1. JamesG says:

    I hope this is not too “off topic” but in listening to Don Imus earlier this week I heard him say his wife has convinced him to treat his prostate cancer “holistically”.

    Perhaps he wasn’t serious but the future course of his cancer might prove interesting.

  2. weing says:

    JamesG,
    She’s quite a bit younger than him. She may just be stupid or have ulterior motives.

  3. David Gorski says:

    Deirdre Imus is an anti-vaccinationist and into as much woo as her husband. In fact, I wonder if it was her who inspired Imus to go more and more anti-vaccine.

  4. JamesG says:

    I hope the Imuses are not inflicting their views on medicine on the cancer-afflicted children who visit their Ranch.

  5. dixonge says:

    I’m really surprised at this. I guess Bill’s reasoning abilities do not extend beyond religion.

  6. SF Mom and Scientist says:

    This is disgusting. I guess Bill Maher is beyond using anecdotal information and has gone straight to lying. Who are these people who received alternative cancer treatment overseas and survived? Who has been arrested for suggesting alternative treatments?

    Also, it is really a bunch of BS to say that “Western medicine” is not concerned with treating the actual disease, only the symptoms. That is what chemotherapy does. (Treat the disease.) After all, it is doctors who try (when possible) to get their patients to exercise, eat right, etc., before prescribing medicine and/or treatment. Alternative medicine practitioners always have some expensive snake oil to sell you first.

    Although I know I shouldn’t use anecdotal data, I have to say that 2 close members of my family had cancer (one 20 years ago, one 11 years ago) and they are alive today thanks to this “Western medicine” that Mr. Maher is so quick to dismiss.

    I may be rambling a bit, but this kind of thing really gets to me. I can’t believe they let people like this spread so much misinformation to the masses.

  7. David Gorski says:

    ’m really surprised at this. I guess Bill’s reasoning abilities do not extend beyond religion.

    Then check out this for more. A lot more:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=1251

  8. wondering says:

    “For all cancers, five year survival has improved from 50.2% in 1975 to 68.2% in 2001″

    But you should consider that cancer can be diagnosed earlier now, because of better technology. So that increase in five year survival might result partly from earlier diagnosis.

  9. David Gorski says:

    It’s not as though I haven’t written about this multiple times before:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=116
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=133

    I could provide specific examples. Quite a few of them. After all, cancer is not a single disease.

  10. qetzal says:

    So that increase in five year survival might result partly from earlier diagnosis.

    My pec sense is tingling.

  11. pmoran says:

    “But you should consider that cancer can be diagnosed earlier now, because of better technology. So that increase in five year survival might result partly from earlier diagnosis.”

    Partly. Better to look at ABSOLUTE death rates (per 100,000) from breast cancer. These are declining quite significantly, despite increasing incidence (which is partly due to screening and will include some non-progressive cases).

    See http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=575

    These are English figures, but American and Australian statistics show the same.

  12. Newcoaster says:

    David, I think your previous post on Maher’s endorsement of woo was right on, and I was also disappointed in Richard Dawkins response to the criticism. While Dawkins is the worlds most famous atheist at the moment, he is an evolutionary biologist by training, and should have an opinion about Maher’s erroneous views.

    I used to be a fan of Bill Maher. He is usually well informed, well read, and I admired his willingness to not be politically correct, and that he always invites guests on who have contradictory political positions to his. What other liberal would have Anne Coulter on….repeatedly?

    He has become more of a curmudgeon recently, and he frankly now bullies and intimidates people who disagree with him. I don’t recall him ever doing a show on AltMed or having anybody on as a guest who could challenge him for the nonsense evident in that clip.

    Keep up the attacks on him, he’s no different than Jenny McCarthy, Suzanne Summers or any other celebrity with a large ego, a bully pulpit, and no clue what he is talking about.

  13. David Gorski says:

    My pec sense is tingling.

    Good call. The IP address is from the same block as previous pec comments.

    Goodbye, pec, yet again.

  14. SF Mom and Scientist says:

    “But you should consider that cancer can be diagnosed earlier now, because of better technology. So that increase in five year survival might result partly from earlier diagnosis.”

    In any case, isn’t earlier diagnosis a part of modern medicine’s strategy? Wouldn’t this just be another piece of evidence proving that “Western medicine” is responsible for fewer deaths caused by cancer?

  15. SF Mom and Scientist says:

    I don’t think my last sentence was very clear. What I mean to say is that “Western medicine” is responsible for lowering the cancer death rate.

  16. herbprof says:

    Oh let me see science based medicine, ya we can really depend on them! It is a dog chasing its tail. Modern medicine has lost the fight with disease is the root cause of the health problem that everyone overlooks. They ask for donations and government money (it must add up to 100’s of Billions of dollars) to find a cure but they have not found a cure for a single disease in a half century not even Herpes, something is very wrong here. Lets just look at a few of the problems, there are 140 autoimmune diseases and they are at epidemic numbers (of every 4 people in the USA 1 will have an autoimmune disease), arthritis has 100 different forms alone (they don’t know the cause of even one thing I just mentioned). Cancer is epidemic 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men, they say less people die from it but what good does that do when more people get it (but it makes for a very good business). Obesity is also epidemic (34% of the population and growing) and every one of them will have multiple diseases and medications for the rest of their lives. If it wasn’t such a tragedy for so many people it would be a colossal joke! Think about this, if every time you took your car to the mechanic and he told you “I can’t cure the problem but it’s treatable at a cost of $80 to $150 dollars a month for the life of your car.” How long would it be before you would be bankrupt? I could go on and on picking apart your weak argument but like modern medicine it is boring. Thank God for the breath of fresh air and truth from Bill Maher. Paul

  17. weing says:

    herbie,

    SBM is the only thing that works. Progress is being only through it and not your herbs and snake oil that you peddle. Of course we will all lose the war with disease, otherwise we would live forever. Give us enough time and we may even be able to change that. Who knows. We won’t get there from your herbs.

  18. qetzal says:

    Cancer is epidemic 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men, they say less people die from it but what good does that do when more people get it (but it makes for a very good business).

    Did you really just ask what good is it that less people are dying from cancer?

  19. Herbprof,

    I perused your website to try to find out more about your views of cancer. It turns out that you claim to have cured yourself of cancer of the prostate some 20 years ago. The problem is that you never had cancer of the prostate, at least as far as can be gleaned from your statement: http://theherbprof.com/biography.htm

    You seem to have never had a biopsy. The symptoms you describe could have been due to any number of problems more common than prostate cancer, many of which are self-limited: a stone in the bladder or the urethra, for example, or a bacterial urethritis.

    Your story also betrays an innocence of anatomy and physiology: your impression is that you eventually excreted the prostate tumor along with a bowel movement, for example. Sorry, that just doesn’t happen. You think that parts of the body are represented on the iris, and by looking at it one can make diagnoses. Nope, not true. You profess “live blood analysis,” a staple of quackery.

    There is real knowledge out there. If you have truly decided to devote your life to health care, it would behoove you to pursue it.

  20. micheleinmichigan says:

    Herbprof, I know I’m late to the comments AND that you are probably not open minded enough to listen but…

    My son was born with severe cleft lip and palate. Because of science and medicine he could eat and survive as a baby (unlike many children born with CLCP without SBM resources).

    Because of science and medicine he will be able to speak to people intelligibly (unlike many children born without access to SBM)

    Because of science and medicine, he will have a face that the average person will accept and trust.

    Everyone of his doctors, surgeons and therapists have treated him with kindness and consideration. They have gone out of their way to control his pain after surgery and prevent anxiety during tests or exams. They have been so successful, that he considers going to the doctor a “fun” day

    SBM has also helped many children with congenital heart defects who without surgery and care would have died at a young age.

    SBM has helped children who have diabetes live into a happy adulthood.

    These kids have all been helped by techniques that have been proven through research to be effective and I’m sure in some cases have been funded by the government. I’m happy that my tax money can go to such a valuable pursuit.

    I actually doubt that this reminder will convince you (Herbprof), but I do want the people who work in medicine to know that your efforts ARE appreciated by many of us in the real world.

  21. herbprof says:

    Hi Kimball,
    Good question, that is why I lay out the details for anyone to see just like you saw them Kimball. I have been asked this question before you are not the first. But I am in Thailand and it is almost 1: 30 AM so a full detailed answer will have to wait. I put in a long day and I just now saw your comment so don’t you go away I will be right back.

    Paul

    Ps I see there is another question and I can answer yours immediately Michelein. I agree with you completely. If I had someone in my family with the problems your sun suffers from I would turn immediately to modern medicine for help. In the area of disease you speak of they can perform miracles. It is in the area of chronic disease where modern medicine fails. If I was in a bad traffic accident I want modern medicine to put me back together but as soon as possible after I am out of surgery I want to recover at home not a hospital.

  22. Scott says:

    It is in the area of chronic disease where modern medicine fails.

    Overgeneralization. Many chronic diseases can be successfully managed by modern medicine to the point where they don’t have any meaningful impact on the person’s life. That’s not failure by any reasonable definition.

    Compare that, moreover, to CAM which does completely fail in the area of chronic disease, but also in the area of acute disease. The distinction is really between modern medicine, which works wonderfully for many conditions, OK for others, and not at all for others; vs. CAM which works not at all for any condition.

  23. Richard says:

    I have much more respect for someone who believes in an invisible man in the sky or a talking snake than someone like Bill Maher who promotes dangerous health practices on national television. You guys should go on TV.

  24. herbprof says:

    Hi Kimball,
    Did I have a stone in the kidney or bladder “no” and here is why. No pain or discomfort in the penis, no painful urination, no urine leakage, no sudden stopping of stream (it was always slow start and stop and start again). These are the symptoms of a stone in the urinary tract system that I did not have, read my biography Kimball. This problem went on for over a year.
    Did I have and infection in my urinary tract system (urethritis) “no” and here is why. No constant burning sensation when urinating, no nausea or vomiting, no side pain, no discharge in the urine, no high fever, no shaking and chills. As I said above Kimball read my biography the symptoms are there and they gradually came on over a one year period.

    Though here is an interesting thing Kimball; I did discover one symptom later that is not in my biography and that is advanced compression of the spinal column. X-rays were taken during that time which show this compression and I suffered greatly from it and still do. I was told one time by a doctor after an MRI was taken in Huntington Beach that if it was not for the yoga I was doing I would be in a wheelchair.

    Did I pass tumorous material during a bowel movement, yes? Since that time I have seen photos of tumorous nodules and that is what it looked like. There were three of them one was disk shaped the other two were angular looking like a small livers that looked somewhat gray meaty looking. My room mate at the time saw them she was horrified. Do I completely understand what happened, no. But this is naturopathic medicine we are talking about the rules of modern medicine do not apply, thank God? Have a look at curezone.com you will see all kinds of photos of tumorous material people passed during naturopathic treatments.

    I am going to have some lunch right now and I will come back and answer the rest of your comment later today.

    Sincerely

  25. herbprof says:

    Hi Scott,
    Successfully managed by modern medicine

    Yes I have seen plenty of that management in 20 years. The worst I saw was a man with 6 diseases most were autoimmune on 19 medications. The poor guy, his Harley could barely pull him down the road he was so obese. And this is not an unusual case there are millions like this man it is a tragedy. He said he was afraid he would not see his son graduate from HS. I later found out he killed himself a few months ago. That is an example of modern managed health care.

    Try this do a search of any 10 diseases you can think of and add the word epidemic and watch how many you find.

    Paul

  26. weing says:

    herbie,
    So you are saying modern medicine made him fat? Gave him autoimmune diseases? You mean by diagnosing them. A grain of truth in what you say is that their is a gap between diagnosis and therapeutics.

  27. herbprof says:

    Hi Weing,
    Yes the gap is like the grand canyon. Did they make him fat who knows some of the drugs were for emotional problems. What does the world look like on 19 different chemicals. Some pills make you larger and some pills make you small and he would have been better off if he took only his mothers pills. But then again I do not know what she was or is on.

    Paul

  28. herbprof says:

    Hi Kimball,
    Back from lunch, Thai food is wonderful I just had Pot MaMa which is stir fried noodles with egg and Boc Boc (sp) a raw vegetable dish prepared with a large mortar and pestle that had green mango in it, a little hot but delicious. I will never get cancer again eating this way mmmm.

    Iridology one of my favorite subjects in the whole world. It was one of the first naturopathic tools that I studied and took up in my practice. I studied both Dr Bernard Jensen’s and Dr Jack Ritchason’s works and of course studied it as part of my doctorate. And I also took a number of interesting weekend classes and my copy of Dr Jensen’s Iridology volume 2 is completely falling apart.

    I could give you a long and involved argument but that would be boring so I will give you an example. Before I do I will say this about my practice of iridology. I have never failed to find out everything physically about a person from studying their eyes, never. This is just something interesting that happened at a whole foods convention a few years back at the Anaheim Convention Center. I was signing in to get my badge and the lady at the counter saw I was a naturopathic doctor she said she always wanted and iridology exam and how does it work. I took a quick deep look at her irises and asked her “how is your left leg doing”. Her mouth fell open and she said “how did you do that”. I said I just read what you left eye is saying about you. I told her when you get home look in a mirror at your left eye at the iris at 6 o’clock and you will see a very dark line going strait to 6. Some people are easy to read like hers some are subtle and you need to magnify a photo to see the same thing but it is there just the same. I know they say that there is nothing there and I say baloney it is as individual as a fingerprint and nature doesn’t do anything without a reason. Oh, and I never diagnosed from an iridology exam.

    Live blood analysis is a beauty and so impressive when your patient can see it there immediately, that is what impressed me when I first saw my own blood. It is so intimate and immediate at the same time Mother Nature at her best. I will give you my own case because it was very perplexing for me. I had been practicing live blood for about a year and from time to time I checked my own blood just to see how I was doing, well the RBC’s were stacked like coins (Rouleau). So I rechecked it a number of times in the course of a week and it stayed unchanged. I was shocked it had always been excellent because of my lifestyle, what happened? I stopped taking any live blood appointments because I could not advise anyone if I could not get my own blood right and by that I mean all the RBC’s and WBC’s floating freely of uniform size in a clear blood serum and maintaining that picture for hours. The only thing I could not rule out was tissue inflammation somewhere in my body or parasites. I was due to do a seasonal cleanse of my liver so I did it early and added in some extra parasite herbs. The second day of the cleanse I passed round worms one was a foot long and within a week my blood was back to normal. I used to bring that round worm to my Tai Chi and Yoga classes in Sun City, Ca when the weekly subject was of course parasites.

    So I do not know what to tell you Kimball I doubt if either one of us will move from our positions. It is like we are from two different worlds mine is about what are you willing to do for yourself to change your health (diet, cleanse, unstressing, exercise, spiritually) and yours is what is the doctor going to do to you (drugs, cut and burn), so good luck.

    Sincerely
    Paul

  29. Dr Benway says:

    Paul, would you like a million dollars?

    I recommend you write up a protocol designed to demonstrate your diagnostic powers via iridology. You can share it here for some feedback and polish. Then send in the protocol to the James Randi Educational Foundation. They’ll arrange to put your protocol to the test.

    Even though iridology is not a “paranormal” power, it is impossible to explain given what we know about the body. I believe it would qualify for the James Randi challenge.

    You should promise to donate something like $10,000 to Science Based Medicine if you win. That way, you’ll know we’re all rooting for you.

  30. David Gorski says:

    Ditto that for live blood analysis.

  31. Harriet Hall says:

    Herbprof said,
    “It is like we are from two different worlds mine is about what are you willing to do for yourself to change your health (diet, cleanse, unstressing, exercise, spiritually) and yours is what is the doctor going to do to you (drugs, cut and burn), so good luck.”

    No, the two different worlds are the world of personal experience, anecdote and gullibility vs. the world of science and evidence. And doing things to improve our health is a big part of our world, although we try to make sure such efforts are rational. Your world can’t begin to compete with ours.

    Have you ever considered that your “successes” with iridology might be due to factors like confirmation bias, subconscious observations, and cold reading? Have you ever put your iridology skills to the test? See if you can diagnose as well by simply looking at an unidentified picture of an iris, to rule out the possibility that you might be getting clues from the patient. Set up a double-blinded series of patients with well-defined medical problems and see if you can match the list of diagnoses to the patients by examining pictures of their irises.

    Ray Hyman used to do palm reading and had consistent success. He was challenged to try telling his customers the opposite of what the palm showed: he tried it and had just as much success that way!

  32. herbprof says:

    Hmm interesting Harriet since modern medicine is based on the world of herbalism with its personal experience, anecdotal evidence and faith (gullibility) in nature’s ability to heal. Gullibility is believing in a so called health care system that hasn’t had a cure in a half a century. That has spent trillions of dollars on cancer research and yet still can’t explain what causes cancer. That can’t take a leadership role and stop this obesity epidemic which is getting out of control. That has created a health system that is quickly turning into a money sink hole that cannot be filled. That Allows the pharmaceutical companies to teach people how diagnose themselves through advertising of drugs and then show up at the doctors to get their prescription. Watching as autoimmune diseases jump from about 65 four years ago to last time I looked 147 and just like cancer cannot explain what causes even one. Allow the American Psychiatric Association to declare a disease exists even though there is no scientific evidence of ADHD and their like so they can prescribe drugs to our children. Allow the immune systems of the people in this country to go down to such and extant that we are overripe for a perfect disease storm. What that gullible rational person knows about improving their health or their world they are in I am not the least bit interested in, ha ha ha! Well it has been a lot of fun but I am starting to repeat myself which is a sign that you do not get it and I have much more interesting things to do.

    Cheers
    Paul

  33. weing says:

    “What that gullible rational person knows about improving their health or their world they are in I am not the least bit interested in, ha ha ha!”

    As long as they buy your herbs, why should you care?

  34. Scott says:

    You know, Paul, I don’t see a single argument there for any of the quackery you’ve advocated. Real medicine isn’t perfect, no, but that doesn’t mean that whatever woo you feel like peddling is legitimate!

  35. weing says:

    herbie,
    You make all these unsubstantiated claims about modern medicine and act as if they somehow validate your quackery. They don’t. We have made and will continue to make progress. We will stop making progress once funding gets cut, I suppose.

  36. kausikdatta says:

    @Paul:

    Gullibility is believing in a so called health care system that hasn’t had a cure in a half a century. That has spent trillions of dollars on cancer research and yet still can’t explain what causes cancer.

    Ah, the tired, old rant that stems from a complete misunderstanding of what cancer is, or rather of the fact that ‘cancer’ is not a single uniform entity, but a multifactorial process.

    For all your rants, Paul, we now understand many of the risk factors, as well as the possible causes, of various different types of cancer. That’s why it has been possible to design appropriate interventions in many forms of cancer. Science- and evidence-based medicine is not an end in itself, but rather a work in progress. That’s why we keep learning more and more.

    Through your idiotic statements, you are just showing yourself up for the ignorant troll that you are.

  37. Th1Th2 says:

    weing,

    “You make all these unsubstantiated claims about modern medicine and act as if they somehow validate your quackery. They don’t. We have made and will continue to make progress. We will stop making progress once funding gets cut, I suppose.”

    Modern Medicine is a big joke. Its fundamentals have been degraded to symptom management and parts replacement. The medical community has created this vicious cycle where patients are trapped leaving them with no choice but to submit themselves as living sacrifice. Doctors are the modern-day cartomancers when it comes to medical treatments that have resulted to myriad of iatrogenic event including death.

  38. weing says:

    You must be Bill Maher’s science advisor. No wonder. Like Lysenko to Stalin.

  39. herbprof says:

    Gee, I love a hornet’s nest!!! My my my aren’t we upset. Don’t worry I will be back from time to time to dump some more common knowledge facts on you about THE great Quack-Based (so called modern) Medicine.

    ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    With Love And Kisses Your Friendly Herbalist
    Paul XXX

  40. Calli Arcale says:

    If you delight in stirring up a hornet’s nest, you may be self-identifying as a troll, and that’s not particularly conducive to getting people to take you seriously. FYI.

    Hi Kimball,
    Did I have a stone in the kidney or bladder “no” and here is why. No pain or discomfort in the penis, no painful urination, no urine leakage, no sudden stopping of stream (it was always slow start and stop and start again). These are the symptoms of a stone in the urinary tract system that I did not have, read my biography Kimball. This problem went on for over a year.
    Did I have and infection in my urinary tract system (urethritis) “no” and here is why. No constant burning sensation when urinating, no nausea or vomiting, no side pain, no discharge in the urine, no high fever, no shaking and chills. As I said above Kimball read my biography the symptoms are there and they gradually came on over a one year period.

    Though here is an interesting thing Kimball; I did discover one symptom later that is not in my biography and that is advanced compression of the spinal column. X-rays were taken during that time which show this compression and I suffered greatly from it and still do. I was told one time by a doctor after an MRI was taken in Huntington Beach that if it was not for the yoga I was doing I would be in a wheelchair.

    Did I pass tumorous material during a bowel movement, yes? Since that time I have seen photos of tumorous nodules and that is what it looked like.

    In other words, no, you were never diagnosed with cancer, and the only thing that convinced you you had prostate cancer was passing something in your stool which, to you, looked like a tumor.

    Have a look at curezone.com you will see all kinds of photos of tumorous material people passed during naturopathic treatments.

    Photos of material which laypeople (who don’t know what actual cancerous tumors look like) believe to be tumors, you mean. I’d like some evidence that’s actually what they were. All kinds of weird things get passed in poo; that doesn’t mean they’re bad. Combined with most people’s reluctance to examine their own poo (most would rather flush it away and pretend it didn’t exist), it’s a veritable gold mine for dubious medical practitioners. A more famous example of this is liver flushes, the ingredients of which, when eaten, turn into a disgusting, jellied mass which will be passed in the stool — and which the practitioner will claim is actually a gallstone. It’s not, but most people don’t know what a gallstone really looks like.

    Hmm interesting Harriet since modern medicine is based on the world of herbalism with its personal experience, anecdotal evidence and faith (gullibility) in nature’s ability to heal.

    It is true that modern medicine started out as surgery and herbalism, with science used to determine what worked, discard what didn’t, and refine what worked and even develop new methods.

    Herbalism, meanwhile, stuck with the personal experience, anecdotal evidence, and faith in nature’s ability to heal. It is indeed strange that so many people cling to the idea of nature’s ability to heal; while the body does a remarkable job of self-repair (actually better than most alties realize, since they don’t generally have a clue what’s going on at the cellular level), nature itself is pretty brutal and would just as soon kill you as heal you.

    I do not understand why anyone would stick to a system which steadfastly refuses to even examine its own claims but simply says “oh, just trust us.”

    That Allows the pharmaceutical companies to teach people how diagnose themselves through advertising of drugs and then show up at the doctors to get their prescription.

    I’m with you on this one, herbprof. The DSHEA legislation was one of the worst things that happened to health care in this country, because it allowed crap like that to happen. It used to be illegal for pharmaceutical companies to market directly to consumers, but in the name of “choice” and “freedom” and “education”, the power to enforce that was removed from the FDA. At the same time, it was made possible to avoid having to prove anything at all if you just didn’t make “health claims”. Big Pharma *loved* that one.

    The one thing I know is that you can’t trust a corporation to care about you. That’s where science comes in. I don’t trust their claims; I want *evidence*.

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