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631 thoughts on “Quackery Then and Now

  1. WLU..

    Cinnamon helps with type I diabetes? How, since its mechanism seems to be stimulating insulin production….

    Cinnamomum zeylanicum also significantly improved metabolic derangements associated with insulin resistance. It also showed beneficial effects against diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy, with no significant toxic effects on liver and kidney and a significantly high therapeutic window. Conclusion  Cinnamomum zeylanicum demonstrates numerous beneficial effects both in vitro and in vivo as a potential therapeutic agent for diabetes.

  2. From Discovery Health:

    Orange juice. Vitamin C is the main antioxidant in the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles. Research discovered that people with asthma had low levels of vitamin C; eating foods that had at least 300 mg of vitamin C a day — equivalent to about three glasses of orange juice — cut wheezing by 30 percent. Other foods high in vitamin C include red bell pepper, papaya, broccoli, blueberries, and strawberries.

  3. Chris says:

    Rusti:

    Diabetes I ..I said helps..not cure…there are supplements ..cinnamon is one

    Why should we believe you? All you do is just make up stuff or copy and paste stuff other people pulled out of thin air.

    Justify yourself. Explain why we should care what you think. Or find a new hobby.

    Really, find a new hobby. Perhaps take some actual beginning science and adult education classes at your local community center, find your local library and learn how to use it or attempting to grow most of you food organically (I, for one will be going on an edible garden tour tomorrow).

    Note: My comment with the smiley face was in response to what book weing is presently reading. It seems Rusti’s comments are being held in moderation, which may explain why she has these bursts of multiple comments. With luck this is a precursor to her being banned. Something she can avoid if she actually opened her mind and engaged honestly in the discussion, but all I see are strawman arguments against WLU and just making up stuff, with lots of ellipses.

  4. Chris..you don’t have to believe any thing I say. I’m only suggesting people look it up for themselves. You have the choice to do whatever you see best.

  5. Jeff says:

    There is evidence for cinnamon as a treatment for diabetes:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22579946

    One form of supplemental cinnamon has been developed by a USDA scientist:
    http://www.cinnulin.com/more_info.html

  6. @Jeff,

    Please educate yourself on the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, and then go back and read the study you posted. And then, for fun, do research to see if a 0.01% difference in a HbA1C is meaningful.

  7. PJLandis says:

    I think basic issues of correlation and causation might be at the root of why we can’t find any common ground with RusticHealthy.

  8. Always Curious says:

    Primarily, a connection to reality would help Rusti first & foremost: correlation & causation are difficult concepts in a mystical world where things all share the same root cause. Or where the root cause can dance about, depending on how you’re feeling or what you’re arguing about.

  9. Chris says:

    Rusti:

    I’m only suggesting people look it up for themselves.

    So? You still have not answered the question of why we should care about what you think or suggest. You just post stuff you made up, or repeat stuff others make up, or like Jeff: stuff they reiterate without even understanding the difference between “1″ and “2.”

    Since you have no credibility, why should we care about anything you write? What makes you so much more special than Jeff or any other random uneducated person who is not willing to learn or even admit when they are wrong?

  10. Jeff says:

    Chris: The active ingredient in cinnamon extract is MHCP, a water-slouble polyphenol. It acts as an insulin mimic. In vitro, MHCP activates insulin receptors, working synergistically with insulin inside cells. MHCP does not produce adverse side-effects as insulin injections sometimes can; it has been suggested that MHCP might be useful for type I diabetics by reducing the amount of insulin needed. Haven’t been any clinical trials yet.

  11. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Link: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-asthma3.htm
    Guess I wasn’t too far off taking Vit. C for my asthma.

    Hey moron, remember when I pointed out this study on how vitamin C isn’t a proven treatment for asthma more than a week ago? Remember the point I made then? I’ll remind you – it was that you didn’t understand the scientific literature, you didn’t understand what reliable sources were, and that you were overall quite ignorant. Well, you’ve proven it yet again and I’ll tell you why. Cochrane reviews, which is the pubmed-indexed source I linked to, is considered among the most reliable sources for scientific information in the world. They are written by neutral, third-party funded recognized experts in the areas commented on. They synthesize the entire body of clinical trials. this is actually an update of a previous Cochrane review from 2004, and in that intervening five years the evidence base changed barely at all – and not for the better. So the best scientific source indicates vitamin C is not an accepted treatment for asthma.

    Let’s compare this to your source.

    You linked to How Stuff Works, which was a lovely, timely thing to do considering that particular source recently fucked the dog with an absurd, conspiracy-mongering, factually incorrect post about how vaccines might be dangerous. So again, your criteria to whether you will link to a website is whether they agree with you, not the quality of the information found therein. This is a great way to engage in confirmation bias. Or to restate, once again you’re basically engaging in intellectual autofellatio. The article you linked to alludes to a single study in which people with a certain consumption of vitamin C wheezed less. Was there objective improvement? Did it reduce sudden death (like the nine who die every day in the United States?) or did it merely make people feel like their symptoms were reduced? It also mixes the association of low blood levels of vitamin C with the prevention, not treatment, of vitamin C, which also mixes correlation and causation. Not that you understand why that’s a criticism of your source.

    And this brings us to another reason why Cochrane reviews are superior to How Stuff Works. Cochrane reviews use an explicit criteria to determine which articles are included versus excluded, gathered from a large number of scientific databases. All articles are scored independently by two reviewers, in order to minimize bias. Why is this an advantage? Because it means you can have a more comprehensive and fair synthesis of a body of research, rather than cherry picking the sources you like and ignoring the ones you don’t (also known as “pulling a Barky”).

    So that, idiot, is why your source is stupid, and you’re stupid for putting the link up. So when you write things like:

    Chris..you don’t have to believe any thing I say. I’m only suggesting people look it up for themselves. You have the choice to do whatever you see best.

    I find it a little ironic. Because I have looked it up for myself, provided the link (twice!) and given an explicit rational for why your sources and thinking process is inferior. And you’ve repeatedly proven you’d rather confirm your pre-existing prejudices rather than learn anything new.

    Because you’re a biased, arrogant fucking idiot.

    The thing is, I’m repeating myself. I’ve been repeating myself for a while, because I have to, because you keep making the same stupid, ignorant mistakes. And really, your only response has been to pretend I’m not saying anything. You pretend you’re not reading my posts, yet whenever you’ve got a shitty reference you think substantiates one of your points or refutes one of mine, you pop it in. Then ignore my explanation why it doesn’t prove what you think it does.

    Because you’re a biased, arrogant fucking idiot.

  12. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    “Fucked the dog” above should link to the following website. WordPress seriously needs a preview feature.

    http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2012/05/15/taking-stupid-to-a-whole-new-level-tlcs-entry-for-the-worst-piece-written-about-vaccines/

  13. Chris says:

    Jeff, so what? Your cite was on Type 2 Diabetes, which is a completely different condition that Type 1 Diabetes. Unless you have several replicated studies, don’t bother making statements you cannot support.

    The point is that useless unsupported “advice” from you and Rusti can be dangerous.

  14. @Jeff,

    The systematic review showed a possible HbA1c reduction of 0.09%. This is a great example of a study using metrics that may be technically statistically significant, but clinically meaningless. It’s like that bogus chiropractic study that tried to find a bogus improvement of 0.5 on a 10 point pain scale in their cadillac treatment vs possibly receiving pain medications. No doctor on earth would recommend that their patient pay for a drug, supplement, or anything that would offer such a minimal reduction. Furthermore, that review only looked at DM2. Insulin dosing is complicated, and doing it appropriately requires work on both the physician and patient side. The many different insulins we have for DM1 work perfectly fine, the issue is trying to optimally deliver them to the patient in spite of their varying diet, in order to basically mimic how the pancreas would do it.

  15. Chris says:

    SkepticalHealth, at least on the bright side, Jeff actually posted a cite (and an advertisement), which gave you (not me!) information to explain why it does show what he thought it did. This is different from RusticHealthy and her “argument by blatant assertion.”

  16. @Chris,

    Haha! Yes, that makes Jeff infinitely less idiotic than rustic is. At least in Jeff’s case, he simply did not realize that the “study” was on the wrong type of diabetes, and that a 0.09% reduction in HbA1c is clinically unimpressive.

  17. * ^ That’s taking the study at face value. I honestly don’t care enough to look at the actual study to see if it’s a load of crap or not.

  18. Chris says:

    Exactly, at first glance a study can look perfectly reasonable. But if you did a bit closer you may find that they actually through out a large number of subjects because those results did not fit in the preconceived conclusion. Hence the need for replication, and access to all the data. Again to show my eclectic reading habits, this is a point made in Dr. Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Science.

    (Sometimes much of my reading is done in medical clinic waiting rooms, though a few years ago I got lots more reading done in speech therapy waiting rooms, and during daughter’s violin lessons. Though in recent years I have found audiobooks quite handy while I am weeding the garden.)

  19. PJLandis says:

    Rustic Healthy, do you understand what “science-based medicine” means, at least as they’ve defined it in this blog?

    I’m just wondering if you bothered to read what this website is about because it’s not clear from your posts. Perhaps you’re on the wrong website?

  20. BillyJoe says:

    PJLandis: “I think basic issues of correlation and causation might be at the root of why we can’t find any common ground with RusticHealthy”

    That’s one way to put it. Here’s another way…
    CAM relies on personal anecdote.
    SBM relies on the results of clinical trials.

  21. PJLandis says:

    Rustic’s website actually cites a number of “clinical trials.” I won’t imagine what standards were used, but I’m wondering if she could identify what makes a study more or less reliable. A very poor clinical trial is probably even worse than personal anecdotes.

  22. PJ..I know there’s a major difference between conventional ‘science’ and alternative science..conventional core belief is any toxic substance is allowed and just fine (it seems…depending on the dose of course) despite the awful results of it, year after year. Alternatives believe natural more body friendly (less toxic?) substance is studied and allowed.

    BJ…CAM’s do have clinical trials too..only with less toxic substances..see ^ usually with vitamins and herbs, etc.

    Conventional’s think their ‘science’ and clinical trials of the more toxic the better are the only ones allowed. That’s the problem. :)

  23. Chris.. what’s ‘dangerous’ is what’s coming out of conventional meds…i.e. Vioxx..just one.

  24. David Gorski says:

    As is the case in medicine, there is no such thing as “alternative” science. “Alternative” vs. “conventional” is a sale dichotomy. What is “alternative” medicine that has been proven to work? Medicine. “Alternative” medicine is, by definition, medicine that either has not been shown to work or has been shown not to work. Similarly, what is “alternative” science that has been validated and shown to be correct, at least within our current ability to test it? Science.

    Of course, science is primarily a method, not a set of conclusions. The conclusions can and do change as they are subjected to further investigation. However, “making it up as I go along” is not a valid basis upon which to challenge existing science.

  25. David Gorski says:

    @PJLandis

    Hmmm. I haven’t really bothered to look at rustic’s website. Maybe I should. I am in need of blogging material. ;-)

  26. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    @PJLandis

    Rustic’s website actually cites a number of “clinical trials.” I won’t imagine what standards were used, but I’m wondering if she could identify what makes a study more or less reliable.

    Whether or not the study agrees with what s/he already believes. As Ioannidis has argued, even clinical trials will be wrong, purely by chance, in a small number of cases, allowing credulous morons committed to an ideology capable of cherry-pocking the ones they want and discarding those they don’t.

    Re:Cinnamon, I actually linked to a second meta-analysis of cinnamon as a diabetes intervention, suggesting it is an effective treatment (within a given definition of “effective”, I don’t understand enough to say either way – but it looks like it would be at best an effective adjuvant to insulin, not a replacement; still a valuable, still deadly without real treatment).

    But this raises another important point – even if it were true that cinnamon were an effective adjuvant treatment for diabetes (type 1 or 2) it proves only the trivial fact that molecules exist that can have biological effects. We know this. This is, in fact, the essence of every single drug on the planet. Barky thinks this means that all diseases can be cured using plants, which is a stupid over-reach of deductive reasoning given so many compounds are neutral or harmful to our health. The actual take-home message is that each molecule or set of molecules requires individual study to determine its effects on humans. Assuming nature exists to cure our boo-boos is stupid and dangerous. Giving advice based on that assumption is dangerous, condescending, arrogant, and ignores how difficult it is to find actual treatments in an indifferent world populated by creatures formed through billions of years of evolution.

    Barky isn’t the Galileo of medicine, they’re more like a teenager who brings methanol kool-aid to a house party and poisons everyone stupid enough to drink.

  27. weing says:

    There is science and the alternative, cargo cult science. I think it describes well what the alties are about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvfAtIJbatg

  28. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    PJ..I know there’s a major difference between conventional ‘science’ and alternative science..conventional core belief is any toxic substance is allowed and just fine (it seems…depending on the dose of course) despite the awful results of it, year after year. Alternatives believe natural more body friendly (less toxic?) substance is studied and allowed.

    There’s no such thing as “alternative science”, proving once again what an ignorant fucking moron you are. Obviously you can’t define science any more than you can define vitamin, chemical or toxin. Please, enlighten us on the difference between “science” and “alternative science”.

    BJ…CAM’s do have clinical trials too..only with less toxic substances..see ^ usually with vitamins and herbs, etc.

    Yes, CAM usually does shitty clinical trials in which controls are poor or absent. They tend to take the same approach you do – eyeball it and bury the results if they’re negative. Edzard Ernst, who used to be a CAM practitioner, has made this point repeatedly – nearly every initially promising intervention or compound tested begins failing tests once you implement proper controls.

    Barky, if science is so fucking easy, if natural cures are so fucking effective, wouldn’t the best way to cure the world of all suffering be to go into medical research and prove it? Right now you’re just one of the millions of credulous idiots who thinks they can believe anything on the internet. Google University =/= real university.

    Conventional’s think their ‘science’ and clinical trials of the more toxic the better are the only ones allowed. That’s the problem.</blockquote
    Nice. That in that one little sentence you managed to insult every single person who attempts to develop medicines to treat disease. You arrogant little shit. Because what drives people to studying health, to developing vaccines and drugs isn't the desire to heal, the desire to alleviate illness, to help people suffer less – what drives them is really a malicious drive to cause suffering.

    You condescending, ignorant, arrogant, insulting little idiot shit.

    Chris.. what’s ‘dangerous’ is what’s coming out of conventional meds…i.e. Vioxx..just one.

    - Smallpox vaccine
    - Polio vaccine
    - tamoxifen

    Yes, conventional meds are just dangerous. There’s no benefit to them. And patients haven’t been testifying before the FDA to return Vioxx to the market because it is the only painkiller that worked for them.

    CAM idiots proclaim Vioxx the proof of all their paranoid delusions about Big Pharma; it’s actually a demonstration that the system is imperfect – but does work. Vioxx was recalled, its adverse effects recognized, and there have been discussions to reintroduce it as an effective drug with adverse effects similar to others in its class.

    A final thought. Barky, please have the courage of your convictions – if you ever get cancer, please treat it with orange juice and happy thoughts. Your actions will benefit the world immensely by demonstrating what happens when you try to treat cancer with natural remedies. Please blog about it, take pictures, upload youtube videos. The results will be very instructive.

  29. weing says:

    regarding cinnamon,

    One meta-analysis showed no effect
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=17909085

    another showed a decrease in fasting glucose
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=21480806

    Sample sizes were low in the trials and the outcome measures varied. So the data is inadequate to make reliable conclusions.

  30. weing…no it doesn’t. Most alternatives are into clinically tested vitamins and herbs etc. Comparing cults, mysticism, etc to it all is false. and, then therefore wow..not scientific is it? Since we’re supposed to deal with all information, not skewed and omitted.

    David Gorski :) be my guest!

  31. and WLU..just so you know…I am ignoring all your posts…and won’t answer you again on anything.

  32. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Huh, that makes four meta-analyses in the past two years. And it looks to me like the evidence base seems to be expanding.

    I bet a shiny dollar that they manage to extract something from cinnamon that becomes a useful adjuvant drug in the treatment of diabetes.

    Fun fact – there are at least two types of cinnamon, regular and “bastard” cinnamon. In North America, we get mostly the “bastard” kind.

  33. Skeptical may be next.

  34. David Gorski says:

    Comparing cults, mysticism, etc to it all is false

    Oh, really? What about reiki, which is nothing more than faith healing that substitutes Eastern mysticism for Christianity? Or pretty much any form of “energy healing,” which is just pure mysticism. Homeopathy is based on the principles of sympathetic magic (specifically the law of similarity and the law of contagion, the latter of which underlies the idea that water has “memory”)? Acupuncture and most of TCM are based on vitalism. So is much of naturopathy.

    No, comparing CAM to mysticism and religion is spot on for many modalities.

    As for your claim that CAM is into “clinically tested” vitamins and herbs, what specifically is “clinically tested”? Surely not well-designed clinical trials. When those are done, rarely do those vitamins and herbs do what they are claimed to do. For instance, vitamin C will not cure cancer, AIDS, or much of anything else other than scurvy. Vitamin D is massively oversold in the CAM community. The list goes on.

  35. David Gorski..I can’t answer for all. That is true. Still, most all today that I know of refer to vitamins, home remedies, herbs. And, how I found out that even if they are not tests that conventional meds accept, still they confirm to my own experience, long before I got on line and found those tests and claims of Vit. C and calcium, and Vit. D..for a few. That’s how I’m willing to give them the ‘benefit of the doubt’, and to actually try things for myself. I also found out for myself the difference between organic and non-organic foods did, before finding out what actually went into them. I know, that doesn’t ‘prove’ anything to anyone other than myself. But, that’s why I suggest others look into them for themselves.

  36. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Barky – can you define science? Do you know how science is different from other ways of knowing? Do you understand what you’re criticizing?

  37. PJLandis says:

    Has it occurred to you Rustic that the purpose of this website is to “look into things” for ourselves? To many of us that doesn’t include randomly testing things on ourselves.

  38. @rustichealthy

    “alternative science” – Please, I beg you, put me on your “ignore list.” The less interaction I have with an absolute blithering idiot like yourself the better. I have no science to prove it, but I fear that I may actually become dumber by interacting with you in any way. Your stupidity may, in fact, be contagious, and therefore you should be quarantined.

  39. Chris says:

    Rusti:

    Chris.. what’s ‘dangerous’ is what’s coming out of conventional meds…i.e. Vioxx..just one.

    And yet you do some very quick back peddling when you are reminded (again) that there are people who are alive because of conventional medication. Especially those with type 1 diabetes, and some with a genetic form of hypertension (which is not a congenital heart condition, it has something to do with how their body handles salt).

    By the way, Vioxx was appropriate for some people, but not others. The problem was that information was suppressed. Kind of like Null, Mike Adams and Mercola suppress their financial interests in the nonsense they peddle. Or how Robert Young suppresses that he bought his “PhD” and knows nothing about chemistry as he convinces people to stop cancer treatment and to just “alkalize.”

    Seriously, why should we care what you think? You have no credibility, but just keep repeating nonsense even after you have been corrected multiple times. You have a closed mind and refuse to learn.

  40. Chris..you’re comparing everything I say to your personal situation, and extreme measures. Vioxx killed many people..there’s something wrong with it..if they don’t kill you, then they must be helpful? or harmless? is that how conventional meds judge things? I would imagine, if they damaged someone’s heart, then they’re quite possibly damaging some thing else too..anyway..sorry for your son.

  41. @Chris,

    Out of curiosity, where is Young’s “PhD” from? In the world of CAM quacks, I’m constantly amazed that nearly everyone of them with a PhD is a completely unaccredited, basically fake institution. And then they have the audacity to go around calling themselves “Doctor.”

    When I used to run a website I busted several of these f-ing fakes. One was some moron nutritionist idiot whose “PhD” gave you credit for “life experience”, and the *customer* could literally make up any speciality they wanted. She chose something along the lines of “Anti-Aging & Beauty Sciences.” and the “PhD” program was so bad the school was forced to remove it because they didn’t require any in-class time and I believe they were fraudulently representing themselves so that people could get student loans to “attend” their classes.

  42. PJLandis says:

    I don’t see any posts directly about Vioxx but it’s a good example of real issues with pharmaceutical industry research and marketing rather than imagined conspiracies; if Gorski’s still reading that’s actually a good topic for a post. It if weren’t for dishonesty on the part of Merck, Vioxx might still be on the market today with clear information about it’s risks and benefits.

  43. Skeptical..done. and..CAM’s and others clinically test vitamins and nutrients. I wasn’t talking about cults and mysticism. Problem is..vitamins and herbs aren’t toxic enough for you con-meds, that’s the problem isn’t it.

  44. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    Gorski:

    law of contagion, the latter of which underlies the idea that water has “memory”

    I don’t know who came up with the idea that water has a memory. Anyway, it is quite recent. I remember having it first seen mentioned often in the wake of the Benveniste affair.

    In the time of Hahnemann the analogy was with magnetism. At least Hahnemann himself makes that connection:
    A. a piece of iron can become magnetic when beaten or rubbed vigorously (when aligned with the earth magnetic
    field)
    B. a non-magnetic piece of iron becomes magnetic by rubbing it with a magnet.
    C. Mesmer was also doing wonders with a kind of magnetism.

    Hahnemann knew of course next to nothing about magnetism (and even now most people don’t know that most kinds of magnetism is due to unpaired spins of electrons in materials, in combination with pretty subtle quantum mechanics in case of ferromagnetism, so before you laugh at Hahnemann, please review how well you would do in explaining ferromagnetism to your average physics student, for example why Weiss domains switch over en bloc if the external field is increased…) .
    I think that part of his inspiration came from the phenomenal succes of smallpax vaccination.

    As regards the dilution: he investigated pretty heavy stuff (arsenic, mercury compounds, various poisons) so in testing the effects on healthy people, i.e.his relatives and friends and himself, he must have used some degree of dilutions to start with, and then discovered that it made no difference how far he diluted. I am firmly convinced that for the early homeopaths the ‘effectivity’ was proved by the numerous symptoms obtained in ‘provings’. In the old days homeopaths customarily did reprovings during their training as homeopath (unblinded and uncontrolled of course).

    In the 19th century various theories have been advanced about how or why trhese dilutions could work. The memory of water can’t very well have been one of them, because the dilutions were done with alcohol, and very many insoluble substances were up to C3 triturated with milksugar. One group of theories were variations on the idea of hormesis.

    And Avogadro? Only in 1865 the first estimate of the actual size of this number was done by physicists. Moreover, in the 19th century medical doctors were quite innumerate and for many of the homeopath doctors the distinction between 100 to the power
    30 and 100 times 30 must have been quite hazy. Hopefully most MDs know better now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many homeopaths still were in that stage…

  45. I read a book of holocaust survivors..one was injected with gasoline to see what it did. If it didn’t kill him/her but it did kill a bacteria, I’d swear con-meds would say..”there..it’s the dose of the poison” .

  46. weing says:

    “Problem is..vitamins and herbs aren’t toxic enough for you con-meds, that’s the problem isn’t it.”

    I wouldn’t say that.
    Let’s take a look at some recent studies on vitamin E, for a tiny sample.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.1566/abstract

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22388090

  47. DavidRLogan says:

    @Jan

    Very interesting post. You wondered about the genesis of the water/memory idea: is it possible the water/memory idea comes from the investigation into “polywater” during the 60′s and 70′s? The idea was (if I remember) that water would take on strange physical properties in different environments. I think the idea died due to criticism from Langmuir and Feynman (who pointed out that water should spontaneously morph into polywater because it was thermodynamically favorable).

    This is from my terrible memory but I think it was one entrance of the “water has memory” idea into popular culture.

  48. David Gorski says:

    While it’s true that the “memory of water” is associated with more modern homeopathy apologists, the idea that objects (such as water) “remember” being in contact with each other is very old.

    From Sir James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough:

    If we analyse the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not. Charms based on the Law of Similarity may be called Homoeopathic or Imitative Magic. Charms based on the Law of Contact or Contagion may be called Contagious Magic.

    A later passage:

    Homoeopathic magic is founded on the association of ideas by similarity: contagious magic is founded on the association of ideas by contiguity. Homoeopathic magic commits the mistake of assuming that things which resemble each other are the same: contagious magic commits the mistake of assuming that things which have once been in contact with each other are always in contact. But in practice the two branches are often combined; or, to be more exact, while homoeopathic or imitative magic may be practised by itself, contagious magic will generally be found to involve an application of the homoeopathic or imitative principle.

    So, technically, the “memory of water” thing is a more modern construct, but the ideas behind it are very old ideas. I look at it this way. Quantum mechanics is may be “only” a century old, but the idea that things are coupled is centuries, if not millennia, old, which made it very easy for woo-meisters (such as homeopaths) to abuse quantum theory to make it sound as though macroscopic objects could be magically coupled through quantum effects.

  49. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    CAM’s and others clinically test vitamins and nutrients. I wasn’t talking about cults and mysticism.

    Yes you are. CAM bears more relation to a cult or religion than it does to science. Science requires proof, replicable by anyone using the same materials and method. Religion requires faith. Dissent is reacted to not by seeking confirmation through further tests, but by theorizing in the absence of evidence or proclamations of heresy. Prolonged dissent results in suppression or schism.

    Faith-based interventions don’t deal with contradictory information by further testing or altering the theory. Reactions include ignoring information, misrepresenting it or new theology.

    CAM is a religion, not science. There is no information that will change a committed CAM practitioners mind, because it’s not about proof – it’s about ideology. Science in principle isn’t that difficult, though it is complicated and delicate in practice. But CAM practitioners and believers don’t understand science or how it works, yet still feel themselves qualified to judge and criticize. Much like a Christian will criticize a Muslim for failing to embrace the doctrine of Papal infaillability (or more accurately, the theory of evolution).

    Problem is..vitamins and herbs aren’t toxic enough for you con-meds, that’s the problem isn’t it.

    Well that would be true if the criteria for approval of conventional medicine were “producing the most toxic substances possible”. The fact that that is not the criteria (and the underlying point – the fact that medicine is imperfect) undercuts your point more than a little.

    If vitamins and herbs are effective medical interventions – prove it. That is what conventional medicine finds objectionable about vitamins and herbs, there is no evidence they work. And what I find objectionable is the idea of a double-standard. Cinnamon either works or it doesn’t. So prove it.

  50. David Gorski says:

    Yes you are. CAM bears more relation to a cult or religion than it does to science.

    Parts of it do, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t say all CAM does. As in many things, there is a spectrum. Unfortunately rustic is definitely on the faith end of the spectrum.

  51. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    I read a book of holocaust survivors..one was injected with gasoline to see what it did. If it didn’t kill him/her but it did kill a bacteria, I’d swear con-meds would say..”there..it’s the dose of the poison” .

    Kerosene was used as a treatment of last resort for certain parasites (notably roundworms in soldiers otherwise unable to access medicines). This again underscores the strength of science – it uses evidence to decide, not rhetoric or assumptions. For instance, homosexuality has been destigmatized at least in part because research has suggested genetic causes rather than familial, that it is not associated with mental illness, and that it occurs in much of the natural world. The alleged “inferiority” of women has been shown false, again in part by scientific testing.

    You assume a lot about science and medicine. For instance, you assumed six days ago that science had never studied high dose vitamin C. As I quickly demonstrated, you were wrong. A large number of the criticisms you get here are that you are willing to make factual claims that are flat-out wrong. You then conveniently stop reading posts, some quite lengthy and detailed, that demonstrate you are wrong. You’ve ignored much of the advice to actually learn about what you’re criticizing, yet still feel entitled to criticize. And you wonder why nobody here respects your comments. Everybody here has presented you with a potential learning opportunity to improve your grasp of science and medicine, instead you’ve retreated into further rhetoric and shoddy sources. Science has, amusingly, studied this, it’s known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s the illusion that you’re right, and the lack of enough information to even know you are wrong. We see it a lot here.

  52. David Gorski says:

    To me, the Dunning-Kruger effect is the arrogance of ignorance. Or, as Isaac Asimov once put it:

    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

    CAM is Isaac Asimov’s words writ large in medicine. Many of its apologists are people who have never studied much science thinking that a bit of the old University of Google can surpass the knowledge and understanding of people who have spent their lives studying a topic at the highest levels.

    P.S. I don’t remember if rustic ever bothered to address the links to my two rather long posts about vitamin C and cancer. :-)

  53. weing says:

    “If vitamins and herbs are effective medical interventions – prove it.”

    Vitamins, at least, are effective for vitamin deficiency states. I’m not aware of any herb deficiency states. Except for those asking “Got any weed?”

  54. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    “polywater” during the 60′s and 70′s?

    Polywater was discovered in 1962 by N.N. Fedyakin and afterwards the research (500 papers in all) was done by B.V. Deryagin.
    In 1969 E.R. Lippincot suggested that it was a polymer (based on a measurement of the spectrum). Many people didn’t believe it for various reasons, but in 1973 Deryagin published a very short article (2 sentences) in Nature, saying it was a mistake due to impurities.

    “Coupling” is not the main idea of quantum mechanics. The ‘entanglement’ of QM refers to parts of a system that remain somehow correlated, provided the whole system stays isolated from the environment. Irreversible interaction with the enviroment is called decoherence. Staying isolated from the environment is possible for photons in glass fibers or other very transparent mediums, or in situations where the equipment is cooled to near absolute zero. But nothing that happens in the body can be considered as ‘isolated from the environment’. This doesn’t deter homeopaths from claiming that the action of homeopathy is a three way entanglement between healer, healee and remedy. ‘Memory of water’ actually is old hat. The homeopaths now talk about ‘information’ (possibly for ‘the immune system’) and ‘energy medicine’. These people are always quick to pick up buzz words without understanding them.

  55. Jan Willem Nienhuys says:

    PS. an afterthought about QM correlations. In many parts of science ‘correlation’ refers to average results of many experiments. QM is no exception. When one says that two photons / electrons are correlated, it is just a figure of speech. These ‘wave functions’ of the theory don’t describe what one particle does. (And the claim that a particle is sometimes a wave is quite funny in this respect.) They are descriptions of what you see happening in case you study millions of identically prepared particles. The correlations are seen in the statistics of these millions of identically prepared particles.

    That’s something these woo meisters don’t get either.

  56. David Gorski says:

    “Coupling” is not the main idea of quantum mechanics.

    I never said that it was.

  57. David Gorski …

    P.S. I don’t remember if rustic ever bothered to address the links to my two rather long posts about vitamin C and cancer.

    well, no I didn’t :) sorry, but, being perfectly honest, it wouldn’t change the fact that I know what Vit. C did and does to help me with asthma, and with colds…

    http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/it-takes-time.php

  58. weing..herbs would be considered a whole food that contains vitamins and antioxidants in whole form which make them effective.

  59. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Rustic hasn’t really addressed any of the links provided in anybody’s posts, including yours.

  60. weing says:

    “herbs would be considered a whole food that contains vitamins and antioxidants in whole form which make them effective.”

    Right. Effective for what? It’s true that some do eat it while most just smoke the herb.

  61. weing says:

    “Rustic hasn’t really addressed any of the links provided in anybody’s posts”

    Why should she? She already knows what is true.

  62. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Vit. C did and does to help me with asthma, and with colds…

    No it doesn’t.

  63. DavidRLogan says:

    @ Jan and David Gorski

    Thanks! Very interesting…

  64. Ok, we can clearly see rusty is a [REDACTED] moron who won’t bother even reading any link. She doles out deadly advice and ignores all of science. She’s the very definition of an idiot. And she uses animated .gifs on her atrocious and horribly smelly turd of a “website.”

    Can we please just ban her?

    @rustic, it was great seeing you on TV the other day. I feel bad about what all those kids said to you while you were driving their school bus.

    [Ed. Note: No more profanity, please. I see an F-bomb in a post, and that post will not be approved. Instead will be trashed.]

  65. Chris says:

    SkepticalHealth:

    Out of curiosity, where is Young’s “PhD” from?

    The Clayton College of Natural Health.

    Rusti:

    weing..herbs would be considered a whole food that contains vitamins and antioxidants in whole form which make them effective.

    Again, you show you have absolutely no credibility. That statement is pure nonsense. Herbs have no more or no less the nutrients than any other green plant. Plus some come with an extra bit, that if used properly will make you very sick or dead. I even saw some today on the edible garden tour I was on today (some have been used to make real medicine).

    So, really, why should we care about what you think?

  66. PJLandis says:

    So, am I correct Rustic when I say you haven’t read anything on this website, aside from a few comments? What brought here then if you’re not even aware of what this blog is about?

  67. nybgrus says:

    hmm… anyone notice what rustic said?

    sorry, but, being perfectly honest, it wouldn’t change the fact that I know what Vit. C …

    In response to not having read the articles Dr. Gorski provided on the topic.

    And there is your problem rustic – you have just flat out admitted that new data, new information (well new to you) wouldn’t alter your thoughts. The decision has already been made for you. So why bother? Just move on, go off into your own world, and do whatever damned well pleases you. You have made it clear and flat out admitted you have no desire to actually learn anything. Worse than that you aren’t even open to new information changing your mind. You have left the realm of any scientific or even remotely intellectual discourse.

    Seriously… what’s the point? Besides making everyone else believe as you do. We actually have good reasons not to. But fine – we just all believe something opposite of you. We know Vit c, etc etc…. Nothing you say can change that. Now we are on even footing and you can’t refute us because I just used the same logic you did. So piss off.

  68. weing says:

    “And there is your problem rustic – you have just flat out admitted that new data, new information (well new to you) wouldn’t alter your thoughts. The decision has already been made for you. So why bother?”

    Isn’t it obvious that she came here to teach us? To bring the light of her knowledge and insights. So as to lead us out of our scientific darkness.

  69. Chris says:

    Even though she keeps demonstrating she has no credibility. She refuses to learn, and will never admit to being wrong. She has a closed mind.

  70. weing…it’s because my *thoughts* are strong in the placebo force..:)

    http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/comments-and-new-findings/my-placebos-work

  71. PJ… I read Quackery then and now..and I wanted to ‘address’ it..labeling everything ‘quackery’ outside of ‘conventional science-based medicine’…there’s a difference between vitamins and herbs being used, and mystic cults.

  72. PJ..though, even con-meds have caught up to us needing extra vitamins…atleast a few..so far. I wonder how long it will take to catch up from here.

  73. David Gorski says:

    Even though she keeps demonstrating she has no credibility. She refuses to learn, and will never admit to being wrong. She has a closed mind.

    Quite true, but she is a useful foil for exposing that way of thinking.

  74. weing says:

    “Chris..here’s one herb…Peppermint..and what it can be used for..”
    Don’t forget the use of it in cigarettes being implicated for an increase in strokes in female smokers. Nevermind the always possible allergic reaction.

  75. Chris says:

    Rusti, I know herbs that can kill you.

    Really, why should we care about what you think?

  76. Chris says:

    Did you finally figure that out? That was pointed out to you ages ago, multiple times!

    Seriously, Rusti, why should we care about what you say?

  77. weing says:

    “weing..too much water can harm you too..”

    Now you’re talking about dosages? This is getting way too complicated for my simple mind. Pretty soon you’ll be saying something like “the dose makes the poison.”

  78. weing..Except many substances don’t belong in the human body…at all (most of which conventional meds seem to seek out and use). And, yes..it’s the dose of the vitamin/herb then:)

  79. and, weing, must of us in natural health don’t endorse smoking..with or without peppermint, so we can agree on that then :)

  80. weing..I did add this comment What’s the Harm Rethink..to my site that states my position also..

    http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/comments-and-new-findings/what-s-the-harm-rethink

  81. pmoran says:

    Rustic: I know, that doesn’t ‘prove’ anything to anyone other than myself.

    That is an important concession, if you are accepting that what you “know” is not scientfiic knowledge in the generally accepted sense of something both generalizable and “close to truth”, thus not likely to be ever completely overturned.

    But, that’s why I suggest others look into them for themselves.

    I suppose that is defensible, so long as what you advise is safe, and does not entail stopping important medications. CAM users will accept your kind of advice for what it is, understanding that what you advise may or may not “work for them”.

    Is this how you see it, Rustic?

  82. PJLandis says:

    If this one link is all you read, I encourage you too use the search function. Try “Vitamin C”, it’s gonna be contrary to you’re experience but at least it would give you some new material.

    Who discovered vitamins? How do we know that they are necessary? Was that “alternative” medicine?

  83. PJLandis says:

    Also, are you aware that conventional doctors and scientists do study vitamins, diet (including organic versus non-organic), and even environmental pollution…why is that you don’t cite any of them or have you not read about any of this research or studies?

    Take Vitamin C. “Conventional” scientists and doctors discovered Vitamin C and then, using their “conventional” laboratory methods, they synthesized it in concentrated form to study and give to those with obvious deficiencies. These doctors and scientists are the reason that you know what Vitamin C is and where it’s found, and also why we know that you get sick and die if you don’t have it at all.

    Do you understand why most doctors are skeptical that taking more Vitamin C is necessarily good for you? What they do is to take a large group of people, half of them are given large doses of Vitamin C and the other half are given nothing; this goes on for a while, they record the health problems or lack thereof, and when it’s over they look to see if those taking Vitamin C in large doses did better than those not taking any Vitamin C. Similar studies have been done with people who are already sick, half getting lots of Vitamin C and the other half not getting any extra Vitamin C at all. Again, they see who’s sicknesses lasted longer.

    How would “alternative” scientists do it better?

  84. PJLandis says:

    And before you mention your personal experience Rustic, understand that this website isn’t devoted to personal experiences. Studies don’t invalidate your experience, but they can tell us that it’s whether it’s common to other people.

    If a doctor tells his patient to try Vitamin C, shouldn’t he record what happens? Once he gets enough patients, isn’t that essentially a study? If only a handful are helped by Vitamin C wouldn’t it be wrong for that doctor to keep telling everyone to take Vitamin C?

    And the same would go if they all had sudden great health, but when these studies are performed that hasn’t been what happens. Even the most positive studies show that your experience with Vitamin C is uncommon.

  85. weing says:

    @PJLandis,

    How could you ask her to think? Don’t you realize that she came here to teach us? Just accept the wisdom of her alternative science.

  86. pmoran.. you’ve said it pretty much as I see it…..what I object to is, as in the OP…and from most conventional meds..here and elsewhere, that they seem to either want to shut down or control and marginalize those in natural health ..i.e. vitamins, herbs as if they’re ‘dangerous’, or they’re placebos, and/or it’s all “quackery”., and what I’m here trying to defend.

  87. PJ…so now you’re defending them that they are “science” then? I have said this, but there’s good science,… and there’s bad science :) By that I mean…it’s the substance being studied..and applied (to humans). And in fact, most dangerous substances that conventional meds seem to apply are toxic and more than likely unnecessary. not all..not in extreme situations…..I know there are diseases that need more study..before someone tells me I want children to die or something…8 ) I have two sons, I know what being a mother is. I brought my son every month into emergency and then admitted with asthma attacks that didn’t stop and almost died a few times.

    And,..why I don’t understand your testing..coming to the conclusion that we only need so much..is because,.. I found out we may need a little more in fact..of Vit. C..and of other vitamins actually…and how do I know that? because we wouldn’t be catching as many colds and flu and other catching illnesses. I found out when I took them for myself, and it did help my asthma, and it does help ward off colds, unusually, I haven’t had one in 3 years. I know that’s not unusual for some, but it is for me. And, so, to say we only need 200 mg…when some may need more than that actually, I believe a lot of people need more than that or else they wouldn’t be getting sick as often..is what I’m saying, despite ‘clinical testing’. And, if I waited for conventional meds to come to that understanding, I’d still be on asthma meds with steroids and other unnatural chemicals. So, that’s why I like telling others about it, even doctors here..so maybe you’ll open your minds actually, to seeing it, and that it’s not just quackery and/or placebos…and not for more serious illnesses only..like asthma..but for everyone. Most I’ve heard from conventional meds is “You get enough from your food”, am I right on that? If we were..why are we getting sick?

    As far as organic food/non organic food. Again, I saw the differences for myself, yet conventional meds will continue to say/test there is no difference, that pesticides and gmos, and hormones and antibiotics etc. are perfectly “harmless”.

  88. I want to make it clear..it’s not ONLY Vit. C, and there are other natural things..foods..to naturally remedy.

  89. I just saw this video today…Are we over-medicalized?…:) it is funny..

    http://blueheronhealthnews.com/site/?p=5426

    and something to think about.

    PJ..yes he should..if a patient tells his/her doctor..I took bee pollen granules that lowered my cholesterol by 100 points in a month, isn’t that something the medical community should know about?

  90. @rustichealth,

    I just wanted to point out what a despicable and tragic example of a human you are. One of the defining characteristics of human beings is the plasticity of our brain. We are born with (mostly) a blank slate, and are capable of learning vast amounts of complex information. Sadly, you don’t possess these basic human characteristics. Instead of learning, you ignore. Instead of taking in information and processing it, you refute. Your brain is “stuck.” It’s closed. You are incapable of learning.

    That’s terribly sad.

  91. gee Skeptical..thanks..good thing I don’t take a con-meds opinion of me and my natural healthy ways that actually work for me very well to heart. I suppose you’d like me better on your chemical steroids. Would I be a better human being then? What’s sad is you are incapable of learning anything other than what you are told to learn. That’s what pathetically sad.

  92. PJLandis says:

    Explain to me how you determine “good’ and “bad” science. Before you say it’s what they study, explain how we know what’s good and bad before we’ve studied it to determine what’s good and bad.

    I never called you a monster, I’m just asking questions. Your experience is important to you, but the reality is people have a wide range of experiences and science-based medicine is interested in finding out the reason why they don’t always align.

    For example, I have taken lots of vitamins (I’m staring at bottles of them right now, including practically a quart of ascorbic acid [Vitamin C]) and I was fanatical about organic foods, worked at a local organic cooperative, yet since abandoning all that years ago (I still go organic because they often have a good selection of high quality veggies/fruits, but its a fraction of what I eat) I’m not any sicker or unhealthy than I was before. I was healthy before I started doing all that and I never noticed any change during that time.

    You say 200mg of Vitamin C, the next guy says 1000mg, and someone else says you get enough in your food. If you already know which is right, why not explain how you figured that out. If you’re gonna say try it yourself, all I can say is I did and it didn’t do anything but waste money.

    Let’s go back to the clinical trial I was describing, so you’re advocating that we just redo those trials until it matches what you already know? Should I redo them after you until they match what my experience?

    And why do we keep getting sick? Viruses and bacteria are two common causes; there are more, but those are two unrelated to vitamins if you’re asking.

  93. PJ..if you weren’t sick before, and you started taking vitamins..I suppose you wouldn’t see a difference. I’m not sure why that would determine if they’re effective or not. You actually wouldn’t know..I can see that. I didn’t ‘know’, until I took them, and then they did work ..as in when I came down with a cold, or when I started with an asthma attack, and when diagnosed with arthritis, yet no problem or need of pain meds since taking calcium either. I suppose you wouldn’t ‘see’ it unless you came down with something, and tried it then. Perhaps I should have explained that then. The only reason I found they weren’t ‘placebos’ was because of what happened.

    My son ignored my suggestions for many years,…before he finally decided after he saw the difference in me when I went organic also. Then he did begin taking vitamins every day, go organic, read up on and started taking organic bee pollen..then his allergies he suffered for years stopped altogether..slowly at first. Now he’s more gung ho about it than I am sometimes. My other son, who doesn’t really get physically sick, doesn’t see the importance of vitamins yet, and doesn’t take them.

    I know why we get sick…viruses and bacteria, what I mean is..if we’re getting sick, then we’re not getting the vitamins and nutrients we really do need to fight them off. That would be the gauge. What I found is, I haven’t gotten sick, since taking vitamins on a regular bases and going organic as much as I can anyway.

    PJ..the difference between “good and bad science” again is..in my opinion…what is being tested..and on who/what. Even on animals..depending on the substance, I would consider abuse also.

    I’m not a scientist, but, I do know there are many studies I’ve found on line, on vitamins, nutrients, and other body friendly foods/nutrients…like honey, bee pollen..I put many on my site. My “belief” yes..it’s my “belief” is that we’re not meant for anything other than natural body friendly foods and nutrients. So, I would not consider any other clinical tests and unnatural substances (medicines) for myself. You, of course, can all decide for yourself..however, to me..it’s alarming what is studied, approved and sold as “medicine” has already done more than enough damage in my opinion anyway. Not that natural substances are all harmless..I’ve already been through that..see my site “What’s the Harm” comment. I concede to that.

  94. and, this is a google search, on vitamins/nutrients building immunity against viruses..etc. I didn’t want to give one link only, and let you decide for yourself if what I believe is relevant or not.. I’m sure nothing I say, or show will convince many..but that is what I consider evidence and added confirmation of my own experiences…

    https://www.google.com/#hl=en&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=vitamins+build+immunity+against+viruses%2C+bacteria&oq=vitamins+build+immunity+against+viruses%2C+bacteria&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=hp.3…2288.14424.0.14939.53.32.0.0.0.0.988.1858.6-2.2.0…0.0.dJ_MfgCQ-ds&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=5f551c48dd37d1b2&biw=939&bih=547

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