I am, I think, the slowest writer in the SBM stable. I start each entry about 10 days before it is due, and work diligently on it through the week. As such, I run the risk that events may make my work pointless. Case in point. I have been slogging away at this entry for the last week and had the final draft up and ready to go, only to find this morning that the Health Care Reform bill no longer carries the language that was the crux of this entire post. So what is a poor, slow, SBM writer to do? Chuck the whole thing? Repost my 12 reasons you are a dumb ass not to get the flu vaccine yet again? Leave a hole in the SBM line up? No.
Lets pretend we are in a parallel universe, perhaps an evil universe where I have a goatee, and the language was not removed from the bill. Lets all pretend that this post is still relevant. Since the Christian Science Church has indicated they will try to get the bill amended to reinstate payment for their services, this post may be relevant again.
Or you could go read Respectful Insolence instead. Don’t say you were not warned.
I must admit, it is possible that our fearless leader Steve has a more robust constitution than I do. I say this because he actually managed to sit through an entire video full of the most bizarre pseudoscience and mangling of physics and medicine that I’ve seen in quite some time.
And that’s saying a lot.
So, behold, Dr. Charlene Werner, an optometrist (apparently) and a homeopath. I warn you, however. If you have any understanding of physics or chemistry whatsoever or if you’ve ever read (and liked) Stephen Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time (or anything else he’s ever written), sit down now. Take a deep breath. Heck, crack open a bottle of wine and down at least half of it before you watch this video. I’m serious. You’ll need it. You might need to lie down, too. In fact, you might need to lie down with a cool washcloth across your eyes.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you:
Truly, the woo doth flow. Like a river. Like the energy from a supernova. From Bozeman, Montana, where, apparently they don’t have enough woo and have to import it from Texas. I haven’t seen such a massive pseudoscientific abuse of physics and chemistry in quite a long time.
My youngest and I often do the “Find 6 Different Things” in the Sunday comics. He is good at finding anomalies. All day at work I showed the picture in the link that follows and asked: What is wrong with this picture?
Almost everyone found at least one thing wrong (I find two) in less than 10 seconds, my 12 year old included.
Click on the link, look at the first photograph and you tell me.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I will post my answer tomorrow in the comments.
I know this one’s been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but it finally made its way to me at a time when I needed something lighthearted and amusing (warning: some profanity and at least one use of the “F” word):
“Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop … But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairytale most appeals to you.”
…”nutritionist” isn’t a protected term. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. “Dietitician” is the legally protected term. “Dietician” is like dentist, and “nutritionist” is like tootheologist.”
“I’m sorry if you’re into homeopathy. It’s water. How often does it need to be said? It’s just water. You’re healing yourself. Why don’t you give yourself the credit?
I just wish more comics did routines like this. Sometimes humor can get the message through where analysis can’t.
First, Mitchell and Webb took on homeopathy. This week, it’s bogus (word choice intentional) “nutritionists“:
I love the British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, and this is just one reason why. They totally get homeopathy, as this video e-mailed to me by a reader demonstrates:
Pay close attention to the signs in the A & E.
No doubt Dana Ullman will show up to cry foul over how Mitchell and Webb are totally “misrepresenting” homeopathy…
Transcribed minutes of a meeting, provenance unknown.
Chairman: “I would like to call this emergency meeting to order and thank you all for coming under short notice. If there are no objections, I will dispense with the usual formalities and get right to the business at hand.”
Murmur of approval.
Chairman: Ladies, Gentleman and Demons of all kinds, we have been, to use the vernacular of the day, outed.”
Murmur of consternation
Voice from the crowd: “I am most certainly not gay.”
Chairman: “Not gay. We have been outed as a society. The Evil Society of the Evil Medical Industrial Complex, our beloved ESEMIC, is no longer secret. Our works have been discovered. The true meaning of the Caduceus has been published for all to see. And by your fruits you shall be known. Sorry demons”
Louder murmur of consternation.
Loud voice from the crowd: “I demand to know how this occurred. This is impossible.”
Shouts of agreement.
Chairman: “If you will please all remain calm, I will explain.”
This week I thought you all might enjoy a reprint of a humorous post from Better Health. Dr. Rob Lamberts explores the curious obsession that some Hollywood celebrities have with “toxins.” Sometimes laughter is the best medicine:
Somehow the medical community has missed a very important news Item. In her website goop.com (dang, I was going to go for that domain), movie star Gwyneth Paltrow weighed in on a very frightening medical subject.
“A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a quote for a book concerning environmental toxins and their effects on our children.
“While I was reading up on the subject, I was seized with fear about what the research said. Foetuses, infants and toddlers are basically unable to metabolise toxins the way that adults are and we are constantly filling our environments with chemicals that may or may not be safe.
“The research is troubling; the incidence of diseases in children such as asthma, cancer and autism have shot up exponentially and many children we all know and love have been diagnosed with developmental issues like ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder].”
Apparently, she went on to point the finger at shampoo as a potential major problem in our society and raised a possible link between shampoo and childhood cancers. Now, I am not sure how one can use shampoo on the head of a foetus (or a fetus, for that matter), but we have to tip our hat to celebrities for bringing such associations to the forefront.
Kimball Atwood is obviously trying to throw mud at Harvard and at homeopathy, but when you throw mud, you get dirty…
(Sigh) So little time, so much misinformation. Hence the Dull-Man Law:
In any discussion involving science or medicine, being Dana Ullman loses you the argument immediately…and gets you laughed out of the room.
This will be the last time that I don’t invoke that law, because it is the perfect opportunity to explain why it is such a useful shortcut. The occasion is the current series about my alma mater, Harvard Medical School (HMS), and its regrettable dalliances with quackery.† The series consists mostly of correspondence that occurred between Dean Daniel Federman and me in 2002. Some of it refers to homeopathy.*
Mr. Ullman, a self-styled expert on homeopathy who lacks any medical training, is a darling of the ‘integrative medicine’ movement, as explained here. He has posted several comments objecting to my assertions in the HMS series. Other commenters have skillfully refuted some of his arguments. Some have been left unchallenged, however, and a naive reader might therefore assume that they are valid. They are not, but explaining why takes time and a modest acquaintance with the topic. Other than to clarify the issues for the uninitiated, then, such time would be wasted. Henceforth, let it not be so: From now on, this post can be cited by anyone wanting to avoid the drudgery of refuting Mr. Ullman’s claims. (more…)