Articles

Doing Eric Merola a favor…

Believe it or not, I’m going to do Eric Merola (who doesn’t particularly like me, to the point of thinking, apparently, that I’m a white supremacist who doesn’t like evidence but does like to eat puppies) a favor. Having been away at TAM and otherwise occupied hanging out with fellow skeptics and, more stressfully, getting ready to give a talk in front of as many as 1,000 people on Saturday, somehow I missed this. Well, actually, I didn’t miss it, but somehow I forgot to post it, even though it would have only take a few minutes. Then when I got home I still forgot to post it. Now there are only three days left (four, counting today) for me to do it; so I’d better get to it. My having forgotten to do this is particularly amazing given the subject of my main stage talk at TAM, our old buddy Stanislaw Burzynski. I’m even doing it as an extra “bonus” post on a day that I don’t usually post on SBM.

I wonder if Merola will appreciate the favor I’ve done him?

Eric Merola, as you recall, is a filmmaker who was responsible for two propaganda films about Stanislaw Burzynski, the dubious cancer doctor who has used “antineoplastons” to treat cancer without having published any decent clinical trial evidence that they do what he claims. Back in 2010, Merola released the first of a not-so-dynamic duo of films, the first of which was called Burzynski The Movie: Cancer Is A Serious Business (or B1, as I like to call it). The movie didn’t do much for a year or more, but then über-quack Joe Mercola promoted it, and somehow Eric Merola landed an interview with Dr. Oz on his radio show. The sequel, the slightly less pretentiously titled Burzynski: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2 (or B2, as I like to call it), was then released June 1 on various pay-per-view modes. As has been pointed out, it’s no better than the first, and it features direct attacks on the skeptics who had the temerity to criticized Burzynski and Merola over the last couple of years.

Merola is apparently trying to recreate the success of his previous strategy, which involved letting people watch the movie online for free for limited periods of time on quack websites like Mercola.com. I won’t link directly to the Mercola.com link to the second Burzynski movie, because I don’t want to give Mercola any more Google juice than he already has. The movie is, however, on Vimeo until July 20:

If you want to see what the fuss was about and whether my criticisms of the movie were valid, now’s your chance. If you want to see the hilarious attack on skeptics, it begins around 1:19 h into the movie. Yes, I’m encouraging you to watch B2. It’s a beautiful example of all the things that we tried to innoculate TAM attendees against a few short days ago. Indeed, dissecting this propaganda magnum opus is an excellent way to teach oneself critical thinking, much as dissecting creationist tripe is.

Other key points include:

  • Laura Hymas’ interview and the recording of her discussion with her oncologist (approximately 0:28 h in). This section is horrifying (to me, at least) to watch, as I can’t help but feel how dicey the ethical the situation that poor oncologist found himself in was, with Hymas and her family demanding that he help her be part of one of Burzynski’s “clinical trials” by agreeing to be the local physician and agreeing to order various scans.
  • The end of the story of Amelia Saunders (approximately 0:58 h in). This is one where Merola caused me true revulsion, as he basically implied that Amelia died because her parents took her off the antineoplastons.
  • Hideaki Tsuda’s clinical trial (approximately 1:31 h in). One still wonders why he didn’t bother to publish.

Those of you who can stand to watch it, let me know what you think. Those of you who can only watch part of it, let me know what you think of that section. Remember, though – this video will only be online for free until July 20.

Posted in: Cancer, Science and the Media

Leave a Comment (17) ↓