Thursday, September 30, 2010

Helen-The-Pooh

Helen Frost has been keeping a relatively low media profile of late, and EoR had suspected she'd gone away, but it appears she's still pushing her particular worldview to schools and anyone else who thinks the appellation "Nutrition Educator" actually indicates any sort of training, qualification or skills in that area.

Given her preternatural obsession with faeces (or 'poo' as she terms it) EoR couldn't help clicking on the link to find out What Poo Type Are You? to be sadly disappointed that the page consists only of this:

What Poo Type Are You? Special Report

Coming Soon


EoR imagines Helen Frost is closeted away somewhere private, straining mightily to produce a movement of great import.

Meanwhile, for those who enjoy various madnesses, here is Helen Frost's Poo Fairy Song (543 kB).

One type of giant turd

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Experts Reveal...

David Freedman has a new book out with the somewhat unwieldy title of WRONG: Why experts keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them. Mr Freedman's premise is that virtually all (if not, in fact, all) of the information we receive from experts such as scientists, doctors, finance wizards and so on is wrong. To be fair, he also includes journalistic pundits, amongst whom he includes himself. This means that, if his thesis is true, his claims are most likely false and, therefore, the experts are actually correct, which means that he, as an expert, is also correct and that the experts are therefore wrong and....

EoR feels like he's in a scene from a bad SF movie where the super computer runs amok, only to be destroyed by the old "The next statement I make will be true. The last statement I made was false" line.

The introduction to the book is available courtesy of The New York Times. Part of the problem with the book is that Mr Freedman equivocates about the meaning of 'expert'. He doesn't actually mean an expert (someone who is knowledgeable in a particular area) but rather

(W)hen I say “expert,” I’m mostly thinking of someone whom the mass media might quote as a credible authority on some topic — the sorts of people we’re usually referring to when we say things like “According to experts . . .” These are what I would call “mass” or “public” experts, people in a position to render opinions or findings that a large number of us might hear about and choose to take into account in making decisions that could affect our lives. Scientists are an especially important example, but I’m also interested in, for example, business, parenting, and sports experts who gain some public recognition for their experience and insight. I’ll also have some things to say about pop gurus, celebrity advice givers, and media pundits, as well as about what I call “local” experts — everyday practitioners such as non-research-oriented doctors, stockbrokers, and auto mechanics.


So, Mr Freedman is actually arguing that the statements presented in mass media are usually wrong. This is different from an argument that experts are usually wrong. Meryl Dorey, for example, is a media 'expert' (indeed, for Howard Sattler, she is the only vaccination 'expert' worthy of presenting to his radio audience) but she is not an expert in (to EoR's knowledge) any field at all.

Mr Freedman provides a list of factoids. Most of these are misleading, inaccurate or incomplete. There may well be further support for his factoids in his book (which EoR has not read) and EoR does support the need for assessing the validity of experts (or, at least, what is usually presented as expert opinion in the mass media), but these items are flimsy:

About two-thirds of the findings published in top medical journals are refuted within a few years.


This indicates a fundamental misconception of the nature of science (and this misunderstanding also affects most of the subsequent factoids). All science is provisional (even evolution) until further research is undertaken. Also, medical journals are a subset of total science research (which is also a subset of all 'expert' advice). While Freedman focuses heavily on pharmaceutical trials, much scientific research is actually theorising and argument — it's the mass media that presents it as absolute teleological Truth.

As much as 90 percent of physicians' medical knowledge has been gauged to be substantially or completely wrong.


EoR doesn't know what to make of this. Do the majority of physicians have no idea where the spleen is located? And what is the lvel of incorrect knowledge for homeopaths?

Economists have found that all studies published in economics journals are likely to be wrong.


Presumably, this is from a study published in an economics journal.

Nearly 100 percent of studies that find a particular type of food or a vitamin lowers the risk of disease fail to hold up.


This seems to be confusing the findings of studies with what is reported by mass media as the new superfood du jour (and which alties pick up and promote endlessly as the cure for all known diseases).

Professionally prepared tax returns are more likely to contain significant errors than self-prepared returns.


Is this because more complicated tax returns are more likely to be prepared by professionals? Is this in the US, or worldwide? What does 'more likely' mean?

In spite of $100 billion spent annually on medical research in the US, average life span here has increased by only a few years since 1978, with that small rise mostly due to a drop in smoking rates.


The US medical system is a strange beast, which may not reflect the rest of the world, but Mr Freedman has chosen to equate medical research outcomes solely against lifespan. There is no assessment of quality of life, or specific disease rates.

There is a one out of twelve chance that a doctor's diagnosis will be wrong in a way that will cause significant harm to the patient.


Which means there's a eleven in twelve chance that the doctor's diagnosis is correct, presumably. Which rather negates Mr Freedman's statment that experts are almost always wrong.

Not a single NFL coach or manager was able to spot much potential in future-record-shattering quarterback Tom Brady, leaving him nearly undrafted by the league after college.


Cherry picking a single exceptional case that was missed doesn't therefore mean that the experts are always wrong.

Genetics tests are one-tenth as accurate at predicting a person's height as guessing based on the height of the parents.


Height is a function of a number of factors, not only genetics (and genetic testing is also constantly improving). These factors would be reflected generally in the parents so an assessment based on them would probably be the better method of including all these factors.

Most major drugs don't work on 40 to 75 percent of the population.


This is difficult to assess since it doesn't include whether those drugs are intended to be used on the general population, or only a specific part where they do work. Nonetheless, how do we know that these figures are correct? Presumably, because the experts tell us (EoR's brain is hurting again here). And what about the 60 to 25 percent of the population that the drugs do work on? Isn't that a positive thing? And how, exactly, does that prove experts are always wrong?

Hearing an expert talk impairs the brain's ability to make decisions for itself, according to brain imaging studies.


Which doesn't necessarily mean that the expert is wrong.

A drug widely prescribed for years to heart-attack victims killed more Americans than did the Vietnam war.


And we know this now because the experts tell us? Or are they also wrong?

Only about one percent of the scientific studies based on fraudulent data are identified and reported.


EoR finds this really bizarre. To claim that one per cent, the total number of fraudulent studies must be known. So why are they being ignored?

One-third of researchers admit to having committed or personally observed at least one act of research misconduct within the previous three years.


Researchers in all fields? An 'act of research misconduct' covers a wide field of misdemeanours, not all of which necessarily prove that experts are wrong.

Two-thirds of the drug-study findings that indicate a drug may cause harm are not fully reported by researchers.


This is a major concern regarding reporting of pharmaceutical testing. It doesn't mean that experts are wrong so much as that data is being selectively presented. Such actions are not acceptable, but not indicative of a general expert failure syndrome.

Ninety-five percent of medical findings are never retested.


Which doesn't necessarily mean that they're wrong (as Mr Freedman seems to be implying, unless he knows something the rest of us don't).

Half of newspaper articles contain at least one factual error.


Journalists are not experts (except, possibly, in journalism). Confusing them with such is what is really wrong with perceived 'expert failure' and why Mr Freedman appears to have limited himself to mass media experts.

Sixty percent of newspaper articles quote someone who says the reporter didn't get the story straight.


Again, journalists are at fault here. Arguing that experts are wrong because journalists misquote or misinterpret them (or simply state what they want the story to say) is confusing who made the mistake.

Three-quarters of experimental drugs found safe and effective in animal testing prove harmful or ineffective on humans.


Well, it should seem obvious that humans aren't actually mice and that a drug that works in mice isn't necessarily going to work in humans. This is something that is well known (except, possibly, to journalists and Mr Freedman). Finding out that the drugs don't work in humans isn't expert failure either, simply further research.

As many as 98 percent of medical researchers fail to fully disclose all potential conflicts of interest in published studies


This is similar to the failure to publish all pharmaceutical studies (positive as well as negative). A conflict of interest, in itself, doesn't invalidate findings, only make them more suspect and requiring closer scrutiny.

A third of the studies published in top medical journals contain statistical errors.


Which doesn't mean the experts are wrong, but fallible (and why does Mr Freedman seem to concentrate so much on medical research to support his much wider ranging conclusions?).

Becoming an 'expert' (in Mr Freedman's sense, though he doesn't use quote marks so the term is ambiguous) is relatively easy. Once you've been in the media (and this can be done by setting yourself up to run a seminar or release a press statement or publish a book or set up a website) the media are more likely to come back to you again (since it's easier to call on someone you already know about). This leads to a reinforcing cycle that the person is an expert because they keep appearing in the media commenting on various subjects, whether they have any qualifications in that area or not.

Journalists, even when they do consult suitably qualified persons, still are driven by the urge to write a sensational story. They either fail to understand what they have been told, or change it to suit their purposes.

In both cases the real experts have not been wrong, but the media have fooled us. Rather than disregarding experts altogether, what we need are better tools to assess which experts we shoud accept, and better methods to assess what they are saying (including better training in science and critical thinking in schools).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Principles And Practice Of Magic

Scholarly homeopathic texts (if that isn't an oxymoron) are immensely amusing, as they strive to present a system of magic within a pseudoscientific context, complete with tables listing various levels of elements, and graphs mathematically recording strange world views. Such a text is Principles and Practice of Homeopathy: The Therapeutic and Healing Process by David Owen (London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2007).

This text comes with endorsements from people with so many letters after their names that it's like a Scrabble convention: Francis Treuherz MA RSHom FSHom (" exciting and innovative"), John Saxton BVet Med VetFFHom Cert. IAVH MRCVS President, Faculty of Homeopathy Homeopathic teacher ("a tour de force"), Dr Nick Goodman MbBS MFHom FACNEM, Dr Philip Bailey MBBS MFHom (author of Homeopathic Psychology - presumably, psychology in infinitesimal doses), Professor David Peters, School of Integrated Health, University of Westminster, London, UK ("this book drips holism") and David Reilly Consultant, Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital; Researcher and Teacher, Glasgow Homeopathic Academic Centre, as well as a foreword by Bob Leckridge BSc MB ChB MFHom.

What can you learn from this tome? Take, for example, the chapter by David Lilley on The Chronic Miasms.

Disease is an expression of creation’s perfection; it has meaning, deep significance, and is essentially beneficent. The vital force is always working at its optimal best. Even malignant disease is a manifestation of the vital force’s efforts to bring about the least harmful result in a profoundly disturbed constitution. It would rather produce a cancer than permit a process that impacts upon the emotional and intellectual spheres and impedes spiritual unfoldment. This is not always possible. However, when successful, the inherited legacy of disease is concentrated and encapsulated in a malignant lesion or process. Constitutionally a cleansing of the miasmatic state is achieved, which is manifested particularly in the emotional life. Individuation is accelerated. When the cancer miasm is dominant it often brings with it a state of increasing spiritual awareness, empathy, and a greater capacity for unconditional love.
pp231-232


That should make clear the religious underpinning of homeopathy with its calls to 'creation', 'vital force' and 'spirit'. You see, cancer is actually about "spiritual unfoldment". Having cancer is therefore a wonderful thing, as it enhances you and moves you on to a higher state of being.

The Carcinosin subject has an abiding love of nature, of animals, and of humanity, which moves them to altruism of the purest form. Their minds and senses are aesthetically attuned to all that is elevated, noble, and splendid in literature, music, and dance. Their love and compassion are intense, selfless, universal, and unconditional. The miasm of cancer facilitates the ascent of the human soul towards its divinity.
pp233-234


This is in a 'medical' textbook. Published by Elsevier*. Cancer makes you divine. And this sort of rubbish is a magical belief system that is two hundred years (at least) out of date.

But homeopathy is a science now. And science is a systematising method of knowledge (even though the book is constantly torn by its desire to simultaneously embrace the holistic "illness is a journey to wellness" trope). So Misha Norland in the chapter on Signatures:

The five elements can be thought of as gradually moving from spirit into matter and are:
1. Etheric energy – which is immaterial, reveals itself as primal non-verbal experience and as intuition.
2. Elemental fire – almost immaterial, the energy of combustion, heat and light, reveals itself as images.
3. Elemental air – dense enough to fly in, reveals itself as thoughts. These are products of the intellect, representing our discriminative awareness ‘playing’ over experiences and memory.
4. Elemental water – yet denser, to swim in, reveals itself as feelings. These inform us of our likes and dislikes.
5. Elemental earth – solid, to build with, reveals itself as sensations. These are experienced in the body directly by the five senses.
Physical pathology is the final outcome of derangement of the above elemental levels.
p279


Yes, elements, but not in the sense of the Periodic Table (presumably, this development is far too recent for homeopaths to have become acquainted with it and integrated it into their purportedly 'holistic' system). There's clearly derangement occurring here, but it seems to be concentrated in the homeopathic practitioners. EoR suspects homeopaths get all their cures from the Ebers Papyrus.

Of course, no good homeopathic text can allow vaccination to go by without pointing out the terrible evils that it causes.

Tautopathy is a type of isopathy where the causative agent is a conventional drug, where the adverse effects point to their range of action and they can be helpful when prepared homeopathically in treating iatrogenic disease or in reducing adverse effects. For example, a potency of a vaccine can help ‘unlock’ a case of vaccine damage.
p56


Homeopathy: making up imaginary diseases, and then curing them (by imaginary methods). Simple, really.

EoR does, however, find himself in agreement with Mr Owen's concluding remarks:

One thing is certain, in the future – and perhaps very rapidly – a number of the premises explored in this book will be outdated.
p420


Though he does need to point out that they've actually been outdated for two centuries. But maybe the homeopaths are still succussing and diluting that particular piece of information.

Contemporary scientifically advanced homeopaths enabling the holistic illness journey towards spiritual enlightenment



*Though the imprint was bought by Elsevier, itself known for links to arms dealing and fake journals.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thistle Thoughts (8)

EoR sits on a thistleEoR, having accidentally sat on some thistles, ponders the State of Things.

There are some headlines you just don't want to see. Such as Equine reproduction experts come together for conference in Wales.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Endless Advertising Cycle

Totally Natural Products have an interesting marketing method. They advertise their new product, let's call it Acne No More. It is promoted as both natural and scientific. Exaggerated claims are made for its efficacy, such that the Therapeutic Goods Administration Complaints Resolution Panel order the advertisment be withdrawn.

A short time later, Totally Natural Products return with a new product. Let's call this one Pain No More. It is promoted as both natural and scientific. Exaggerated claims are made for its efficacy, such that the Therapeutic Goods Administration Complaints Resolution Panel order the advertisment be withdrawn.

A short time later, Totally Natural Products return with a new product. Let's call this one Stress No More, which is promoted as both natural and scientific. Exaggerated claims are made for its efficacy, such that the Therapeutic Goods Administration Complaints Resolution Panel orders the advertisement be withdrawn and retractions published.

Totally Natural Products have now returned with their new product. Let's call this one Male Mojo (though EoR thought they should have stuck to form and called it Floppy No More). It's promoted as both natural and scientific. Exaggerated claims are made for its efficacy (but always couched with the modifier 'may' as in 'may work' — the page contains the word in that context 22 times). EoR is not taking bets as to how long it will be before this "remarkable formula" is also the subject of an order from the Therapeutic Goods Administration Complaints Resolution Panel. For what its worth.

Friday, September 24, 2010

That Inner Chocolatey Glow...

Radium chocolate
Mmmm... Chocolate... Laced with radium... What could be better, or healthier?

Is a rejuvenation of the body possible?

Numerous scientists have struggled with this issue. In various ways previous efforts have been attempted. High hopes have been fulfilled only to a small extent. That is why people have become more or less dulled against rejuvenation commendations.-All relevant sections of science agree, however, in the view that rejuvenation is only possible from the inside out. The organs of the body - when allowed to purify themselves - are then returned to their normal activities. The complex chemical factory - termed 'body' - works quietly and safely, health and youth are restored. So, the toxins, acid residue, deposits in the chemical centers of the body, in the cells and humour channels - these are what interfere with the operation of the works, causing disease and age. Our lifestyles, our work, food and drink favor the occurrence of such imbalances - If it would be presumptuous even to think that we can eventually extend life to infinity, then nature gives us some hint for the preservation of life, and the art of researchers, the sons of nature, have in hot rings have many secrets Unveiled and opened our eyes to great progress. One of these discoveries, the full significance of which only future generations will see clearly, was the discovery of radium by Madame Curie, Paris.

Radium is an all-pervading primal force element.

All the energies of the soul of the world are contained contained in it. Testing the healing power of radium is considered the foremost duty of medicine and chemistry. It has been found that, for example, radioactive water delivered to the various organs of the body promotes activity, thus truly having a rejuvenating effect. Now it has been possible to produce radium, this precious material is also available as a nutrient. The renowned food chemist Dr. Senftner, Berlin, has taken a patent on a method to actively bind radium to chocolate. It is known that chocolate is one of the highest quality nutrients and stimulants. To join such components to miraculous radium, was certainly a great idea. And it's lucky for the healthy and sick that the world has in the patented process with the quality of their famous products, led to the cocoa and chocolate factory Burk & Braun in Cottbus implementing the practice.

Burkbraun-radium chocolate for eating and drinking is made of delicious ripe cocoa beans. The radium is added in an absolutely clean way keeping the taste. The secret of their rapid, instant action is based on the fact that radium come from this precious chocolate without delay into the bloodstream and so in all the organs, into the central nervous system, in the glands, the nerves, to the last branchings and cells. The health-giving, health-preserving, rejuvenating effects of Burkbraun-RADIUM-CHOCOLATE is thus quite sure. Therefore: You too can enjoy it regularly or for breakfast, dinner, travelling and sports.

If you're healthy, so you keep this precious commodity, if you're suffering, you can raise your chances of being healthy again!


Of course, back in the early twentieth century, the somewhat deleterious effects of radium on the body were not known, but that still didn't stop the quacks selling it as the new miracle product to eliminate toxins from the body, restoring the body's natural healing ability, and increasing its health and vitality.

Which are still the same buzzwords used for any new research that might hint at health. Antioxidants, for example. Or astragalus to stop aging even though that, too, might actually lead to an increase in cancer.

As this quaint page of bizarre products shows, the wonder cure radium was used in toothpaste, water, suppositories ("A man must be in a bad way indeed to sit back and be satisfied without the pleasures that are his birthright!") and in many other ways. Who knows. In a hundred years, there may well be a similar page showcasing Photonic Therapy, EMF Blockers, detox foot pads, various biofeedback devices, Q-Link pendants and sundry other current miracle marvels.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Save The Monckton

Manbearpigmonckton
Please help Christopher Monckton. His arguments against global warming have, yet again, been claimed to be unscientific political arguments by people whose sole claim to do so is that they are climate scientists (as if that mattered), the UK House of Lords have taken the unusual step of actually ordering him not to call himself a member of their institution, and his political party (the Ukip — something like the UK equivalent of our own dear Citizens Electoral Council) made no impact in the recent UK elections.

Please don't leave it to the valiant and committed few, like Senator Cory Bernardi (who is fighting against the coming World Communist Government and to maintain our sovereign right to spend more on defence than children's welfare). Stop the unending river of grants that are flowing to lying climate scientists who are only in it for the money.

What with the CEO of the world's largest miner calling for a carbon tax as well as the OECD, the lunacy that is Christopher Monckton is endangered. Help preserve this gentle harmless creature, so that future generations can also revel in his wonderful confabulatory lies as he rolls his eyes in that inimitable way. How can we deny the world the subtle beauty of his considered, literate arguments?

One of the lead authors is currently under criminal investigation for alleged fabrication of results: another has been caught out in repeated lies: a third admits to suffering a mental disability: and many of the scientists whom these lead authors invited to contribute are among the long-discredited clique of Climategate emailers.


Soon, atmospheric physicists will be too scared to publish their Nobel-quality demolitions of evolution (since evilution is also part of the Global Scientific Conspiracy — affiliated with the Church of Global Warming). Those without the undaunted bravery and manliness of Lord-of-the-Universe and Curer-of-All-Known-Diseases Monckton are being forced into hiding in such squalid locations as a villa opposite Cap Ferrat.

Act now, before it's too late.

Remember, the more we promote this shining exemplar's visionary and singular opinions, the sooner we can get the rest of the world to believe it:

A tendency to be swayed by biases in the external samples of information can also affect memory and judgment processes. For example, if the public read, or hear opinions from climate change skeptics about 50% of the time then this could lead to a bias in the perception of the balance of evidence in the minds of the public - that the science is only about 50% certain.


Once the Monckton is gone, there will be no one left to award Nobel prizes to.

Climate Scientists Respond

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thistle Thoughts (7)

EoR sits on a thistleEoR, having accidentally sat on some thistles, ponders the State of Things.

If acupuncture is so good for you, why does it hurt when you step on a pin?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Still Not A Doctor, Still Providing Health Advice

Ducks

'Dr' Peter Dingle is out spruiking his forthcoming book on the Great Cholesterol Deception, as evidenced by a recent spate of posts on his (normally hibernating) blog:

6 April 2010: More Cholesterol Deception

6 September 2010: Cholesterol debate

8 September 2010: Even more on cholesterol

EoR had a really good laugh at the first post, where 'Dr' Dingle reveals:

Unfortunately it is another example of statin statistics where they are not giving you all the real information and what they are giving you is designed to mislead everyone (especially doctors who don’t know how to read stats).


Quite apart from the false sweeping generalisation, isn't 'Dr' Dingle a doctor (it says so right at the top of his blog)? Therefore he is obviously part of the set that "don't know how to read stats". So he clearly admits that he doesn't know what he's writing about.

'Dr' Dingle discusses the difference between relative and absolute risk (an important point and one which is normally misunderstood) but then goes on to make ridiculously hyperbolic claims:

My option [of feeding the population almonds] of course would not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke a lot more but also reduce all chronic illness and save hundreds of lives out of 500 people. Where has all the common sense gone.


All chronic illness? Really? EoR would love to see the supporting trials for that. Clearly, the common sense has not fled to 'Dr' Dingle. Nor is his understanding of economics all that brilliant:

At $3.50 a pill, to prescribe the statin for 500 people for a year would be $638,000 to prevent one heart attack. At that price you could have free almonds for everyone, gym membership and personal coaching thrown in for a year.


Well, it wouldn't be free 'at that price' because the money would still be spent, except in this case it would be on the magic mung beans that 'Dr' Dingle prescribes.

Also annoying is 'Dr' Dingle's final exhortation to spam:

Please copy this blog and send it on to everyone you know.


'Dr' Dingle's second post makes many claims, but provides no references at all, not even vague names of researchers, so it is impossible to determine whether or not he is interpreting data correctly (or what data) when he claims that "the cholesterol hypothesis" is only a hypothesis. Indeed, the fact that new evidence is discovered, and the science refined and corrected (a major principal of the scientific method) is actually evidence that the science is fake, according to the eminently scientific 'Dr' Dingle:

First it was just saturated fat and cholesterol, then it was cholesterol, then it was LDL cholesterol, then LDL and HDL ratios, then VLDL, then HDL and the number of changes just keep happening.


'Dr' Dingle's form is to include at least one unsubstantiated accusation per post, and this is not ommitted:

if a hypothesis is tested and it fails it is no longer considered a valid hypothesis except in medicine where money and the volume of media whitewash it all.


'Dr' Dingle doesn't seem to realise that such sweeping generalisations weaken his argument. It could just as well be argued that all Associate Professors believe six impossible things before their breakfasts of muesli and yoghurt. It would equally be (probably) untrue.

Oh, and encourage that spamming to continue folks:

Also note that this information is exactly what the pharmaceutical companies don’t want out there so please spread it around.


'Dr' Dingle really is getting into the tin foil hat brigade here, claiming this is the "greatest lie that has ever been sold to the public". Surely there are other contenders for that claim? Such as the baseless claim that homeopathy can cure cancer, for example?

'Dr' Dingle's most recent post does include full references to two papers. It seems he's only prepared to reference selected papers. But that's probably scientific and independent according to his particular standards, because he's an enemy of Big Pharma (but a friend of Big Altie) and clearly independent and just ignore the fact that he's hawking his new book.

Cue the baseless accusation again:

It could save a lot of pain and suffering (because of the serious side effects) and a lot of money? Why? All the major political parties get donations from the big pharmaceutical companies. Yes I have a chapter on that too.


And the call to spam on and on:

Please circulate this information to everyone you know it might save their life and money.


It might, of course, just waste their time and money.

Despite his protestations that he has never claimed to be a medical doctor, 'Dr' Dingle gives health advice to two commenters suffering serious health problems. They could have got as equally qualified information from their plumbers. Or their homeopaths.

There probably is a debate about the effectiveness of statins (or any drug or intervention for that matter) but 'Dr' Dingle's approach of baseless accusation, cherry picking data, and pushing his beliefs in a book are far from the 'scientific' approach he urges.

Peter Dingle is not a medical doctor. People who believe he is are treading on dangerous ground.

Unlike 'Dr' Dingle, who clearly knows the full (and suppressed) truth about statins, the Mayo Clinic is more level headed:

Already shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol, statins may have other potential benefits. But doctors are far from knowing everything about statins. (...) Whether you need to be on a statin depends on your cholesterol level along with your other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


And, in contrast to 'Dr' Dingle's conspiracy theories about Big Pharma's control of mathematically illiterate doctors who are all in the pay of faceless controllers, the Mayo Clinic says lifestyle changes are the most essential component of cholesterol control. Oh, how will they ever get their Big Pharma pay cheque now? The Mayo Clinic also provides lengthy information about side effects.

Patient UK advises:

Note: a statin is just one factor in reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Just as important are: eating a healthy diet, not smoking, taking regular exercise, losing weight if you are overweight, reducing blood pressure if it is high, and taking a daily low dose of aspirin if advised to do so.


Isn't it strange how Big Pharma is failing to control these balanced viewpoints? Isn't it strange how considered these discussions are, in contrast to 'Dr' Dingle's hyperbole and conspiracy theories? Isn't it strange how not having a commercial interest means you're more likely to get independent information? Isn't it strange how 'Dr' Dingle continues his crusade to provide health advice to the world (even though he's not a medical doctor)?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Glucosamine: Still Doesn't Work

There is a $2bn worldwide market for a pharmaceutical drug that has no evidence for its efficacy beyond a placebo effect, as reported in the British Medical Journal, yet the alties remain remarkably quiet about this abuse of global corporate power to push a pointless pill for, presumably, no other motive than profit. Could it be because they are only interested in accusing the opposition, but remain silent when the drug in question is glucosamine?

Professor J√ľni and colleagues analysed the results of 10 published trials involving 3,803 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis. They assessed changes in levels of pain after patients took glucosamine, chondroitin, or their combination with placebo or head to head.

They found no clinically relevant effect of chondroitin, glucosamine, or their combination on perceived joint pain or on joint space narrowing.

Despite this finding, some patients are convinced that these preparations are beneficial, say the authors. They suggest this might be because of the natural course of osteoarthritis or the placebo effect.

"Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should be discouraged from funding glucosamine and chondroitin treatment," they conclude.


The researchers argue that there is, however, no harm in taking the supplements as long as they are not covered by health authorities and insurers. This, of course, assumes that a financial loss for no purpose is not a 'harm', nor is believing any claim made by a pharmaceutical manufacturer (whether Big Pharma or Big Altie).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Homeopathy: Still Offering To Kill Babies

Not content that following the precepts of homeopathy to 'cure' anything can lead to the deaths of babies and cancer sufferers (not to mention many others), the woo-meisters who sell sugar pills are now claiming that whooping cough can be prevented and cured by their magic.

HOMEOPATHS are recommending "unproven" herbal remedies, including belladonna and phosphorus, for whooping cough.

A whooping cough epidemic has swept the country, and tragically turned fatal this week when a five-week-old boy died.

Homeopaths say their treatments can prevent and cure whooping cough, while doctors say that is "complete rubbish".

Drosera and pertussinum are other herbal remedies commonly recommended.

Australian Medical Association immunity spokesman Dr Rod Pearce said anyone recommending homeopathic "vaccinations" or treatments was illegitimate.


Unfortunately, the article doesn't point out that the belladonna, phosphorus, drosera and pertussinum products are all exactly the same: they contain nothing other than sugar or water or whatever substance the homeopath puts in the little bottle in order to fill it up (because selling a completely empty bottle would be just an obvious scam).

The homeopaths practice what they preach, diluting their argument to nonexistence:

The Australian Homeopathic Association did not return The Advertiser's phone call.


Of course, since telephones didn't exist two hundred years ago, they may prefer to use more traditional methods of communication, and are sending a horse and buggy with an urgent epistle to the newspaper.

Homeopaths in the UK also continue to offer homeopathic 'vaccines':

Homeopaths are offering "alternative vaccinations" which doctors say could leave patients vulnerable to potentially fatal diseases, a BBC investigation has found.

Three practitioners admitted giving patients a homeopathic medicine designed to replace the MMR vaccine.


How do they know they work? They don't. And they're happy to admit it:

When asked if the homeopathic remedy offered the same protection as the MMR, she replied: "I'd like to say that they were safer, but I can't prove that."


Even the homeopathic publicity organisation says it doesn't work:

The practice of replacing conventional vaccines with homeopathic alternatives has been condemned by the Faculty of Homeopathy.

It said there was no evidence for homeopathic treatments being able to protect against diseases, and said patients should stick to conventional medicines.


Just as in Australia, though, it appears that individual homeopaths can claim their water drops cure whatever they like, and get away with it with impunity.

Antivaxxers are also convinced, in the face of a complete lack of evidence, that homeopathy is the magic cure as this reply to a mother concerned by the death from whooping cough in South Australia:

See a homeopath asap!!!! They will be able to vacinate you homeopathically. Once you've got it not much treats the cough super effectively. aBX are often given but they only render you not infectious. Once the damage has been done the cough will hang around for about 3 months (100 day cough). Homeopathics, large doses of vit C, general immune boosting will help for sure.

WC vaccination is really really ineffective something like only 70% effective or there about so you cannot rely on it at all. Also it is a new strain going around so even if you got your blood tested they are testing for immunity to the old strain.


EoR may be slow, but he fails to see how a 0% effectiveness rate is better than a 70% effectiveness rate.

A purveyor of homeopathic vaccines

Edit: coverage of the South Australian death also at
The Sceptics' Book of Pooh-Pooh
Thinking is Real
Australian Skeptics

Friday, September 17, 2010

Psychic Services

Yes2Life (sic) are advertising a 'Psychic Angels Event' in EoR's community newspaper, described as a

3 Way Psychic Demonstration


That sounds a trifle risque. EoR looks forward to future events, where he hopes to see Psychic Pole Dancing, Psychic Mud Wrestling, and Psychic Gentlemen's 'Massage'.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Are All Prostitutes Once Again

Oh, to be in England now the Pop Group's back... EoR still has his 45rpm single of We Are All Prostitutes (backed with a reading taken from the Amnesty International Report on British Army Torture of Irish Prisoners) — a jazz punk tirade against capitalism and the self-delusion of those attacking it. Given that we now live in a post-capitalist consumer society, the lyrics are still relevant (especially to those following the precepts of The Power):

Everyone has their price
And you too will learn to live the lie
Aggression
Competition
Ambition
Consumer fascism
Capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions
Department stores are our new cathedrals
Our cars are martyrs to the cause
We are all prostitutes




at this moment despair ends and tactics begin.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

EoR Reviews The Power

From the blurb to The Power:

This is the handbook to the greatest power in the universe — The Power to have everything you want.


EoR doubts that there can be a clearer indication that this is simply about greed, reinforcing the Western pattern of constantly increasing consumption so beloved of marketers everywhere. According to Ms Byrne, everyone can have everything. And not in a communist, sharing, sense but in a totally selfish (and impossible) possessive manner.

From the author bio:

Rhonda Byrne's intention is: joy to billions.


Of course, that should read, 'Rhonda Byrne's intention is: billions to her'.

Byrne's book is the written equivalent of all those motivational speakers, urging you poor suffering fools to all be absolutely brilliant top achievers, and it's always so simple (as long as you pay the charlatans who push this stuff lots of money — there's a clue there about just who gets to benefit from such scams).

When you wake up each day, you should be filled with excitement because you know the day is going to be full of great things. You are meant to be laughing and full of joy.


It sounds rather tiresome, actually, though the constant joy and laughing probably comes from the thought of all those people buying your book because they actually think it works.

Apparently, 'You are a magnet':

You magnetize and receive the circumstances of wealth, health, relationships, your job, and every single event and experience in your life, based on the thoughts and feelings you're giving out. Give out positive thoughts and feelings about money, and you magnetize positive circumstances, people, and events that bring more money to you.


Ms Byrne isn't even pretending to be all newage and spiritual any more (even though the book is full of such waffle): it's simply about money. There's a whole chapter on 'The Power and Money'. You can all have more money. Because there's an unending supply of it. And you don't need to work hard, plan, or invest wisely, you can simply do nothing except think happy thoughts. And people actually believe this crap?

Ms Byrne keeps sprinkling reminders that it's all about loving thoughts, but her examples contradict her throughout: getting new shoes, increasing business profits, getting that one skirt you crave, a new car (or, as she writes at one point, 'Dollars want you').

One woman used props and her imagination to receive a horse. She had wanted a horse all her life, but she could not afford to buy one. She wanted a chestnut Morgan gelding and a Morgan would cost thousands and thousands of dollars. So she imagined seeing the exact horse she wanted each time she looked outside her kitchen window. She put a picture of a chestnut Morgan horse on the screen of her laptop computer. Whenever she had the opportunity, she doodled drawings of the horse. She began looking at horses for sale, even though she couldn't afford them. She took her children to a store and together they tried on riding boots. She looked at saddles. She bought the only things she could afford, a horse blanket, lead, and horse brushes, and she kept them on display so she could see them every day. Sometime later, the woman went to a horse expo in her town. A raffle was being held at the expo and the first prize was a chestnut Morgan gelding, the exact same horse she had been imagining! And of course she won the raffle and received her horse!


Of course. Just make sure you don't dream and desire and crave and wish for the wrong horse:

To lighten up about bad feelings, I have imagined bad feelings as wild horses. There's an angry horse, a resentful horse, blaming horse, sulky horse, cranky horse, grumpy horse, an irritable horse - you name it, there's a stable full of bad feeling horses. If I feel some disappointment over something that has happened, then I say to myself, "Why did you climb on the disappointment horse? Get off it now, because it's heading for more disappointment and you don't want to go where it's going."


In the new paradigm, greed and selfishness are the cardinal virtues:

There is a simple formula you can use for the law of attraction that will stand you in good stead with every person, situation, and circumstance. As far as the law of attraction is concerned, there is only one person in the world - you!


EoR pretty much skipped the rest of the book (though he did note that you must think happy thoughts when getting medical tests, otherwise the test results will be bad) since there's only so much relentless rambling positive thinking he can take at a time.

This book is just one more pointless addition to the groaning pile of self-help books that form a treadmill of failed dreams. Ms Byrne's book is the consumer dupe's indoctination manual par excellence. It's a fool's paradise without any goal (except increasing Ms Byrne's wealth), as the book itself demonstrates:

The cycle of gullibility

Ms Byrne does not mention how happy thoughts failed to work for millions of concentration camp prisoners, the thousands in the Twin Towers, or the millions in Pakistan's floods. If only they'd all paid $30 to Ms Byrne, just think how much better the world could be...

The book is sure to be a best seller.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spotter's Guide To UFOs

The Northern Territory, as we all know, is UFO Central. There are more alien visitors of all descriptions than anywhere else in the world. Clearly, there's something special about the outback that attracts alien lifeforms from millions of light years away.

The NT News is a constant source of evidence for these almost daily visitations, but they were slightly outdone recently when a local ABC announcer opened the lines to those who had experienced encounters of various kinds. Since not a lot really ever happens otherwise in the NT, the NT News has, thankfully, preserved these obviously reliable and accurate reports for posterity as a front page story.

Betty from Alice Springs said her close encounter occurred in 1969. She was driving 20km south of Aileron towards Alice Springs at 4am with her six year old daughter when they saw the vehicle "flying alongside us". "We saw these two figures inside this thing. It looked like a Ford station wagon, with the windows. It came in front of us really quickly."

Her daughter then said, "There's nothing to be afraid of."

"I said, 'Why did you say that?' She said, 'I don't know, it just came out of my mouth'.

"And as I was talking, the whole think took off like a shot out of a gun ... And then there was all this green and blue and red flames or lights all around it.

"I'll never forget it."


For the record, this is a 1969 Ford station wagon...

1969 Ford station wagon

And this is a spaceship...

Not a 1969 Ford station wagon

EoR understands how the two could be easily confused.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Science Porn

Richard Dawkins. And David Attenborough. In the same room.

[T]he science of the future may be vastly different from the science of today, and you have to have the humility to admit when you don't know. But instead of filling that vacuum with goblins or spirits, I think you should say, "Science is working on it." - Richard Dawkins

I think there's a distinction between magic and wonder. Magic, in my view, should be restricted to things that are actually not so. Rabbits don't really live in hats. It's magic. - David Attenborough

Saturday, September 11, 2010

911 Web-Bot UFO Frequency Hurricane Horror Shock Expose

This month's Nova has a wonderful Editorial which manages to remember 9/11, promote yet another version of The Secret, and to describe fantasy-as-reality.

Immediately after the twin towers crashed to the earth, the earth's magnetic field registered a sharp spike that's clearly identifiable on a graph. The hypothesis for this otherwise inexplicable event is that the sudden immense outpouring of emotion as people everywhere began to pray for the victims or simply to send, unbidden, thoughts of compassion was heard by the universe. And it responded. As the mystics and seers tell us, what is in one is in the whole.

We owe this awe-filled insight to the work of Gregg Braden who shared it with us during last month's I Can Do It event in Sydney and Perth. In a fascinating talk, he put forward the theory that the universe responds to feeling, a phenomenon called heart coherence. It's led to an experiment called the Global Coherence Initiative, which has the aim of redefining our relationship with the earth.


Why are these people so desperate to make their religious beliefs 'scientific'? They crave the legitimacy of science, but decry it when it disproves or ignores their particular manias. Ms Evans continues:

If this theory is correct, and if we consider that our heart has a magnetic field 500 times stronger than that of our overworked brain, the possibilities for healing seem, well, mind-boggling. If our universe really is a feeling organism, not the purely rational entity that science has led us to believe until now, then transformational change really does seem to be in our grasp. I urge you if you're at all serious about living your life in a more conscious, coherent way, to take a look at [Gregg Braden's] website.


Isn't it wonderful when you pile an impossibility on an improbability, buttress it with a delusion, stick in a wish or two, and stand well clear? This is clearly not a 'theory', though it is certainly mind-boggling. There's rather too many 'ifs' in that paragraph for it to mean anything. And following its advice will probably lead to anything but living in a 'coherent way'.

Sadly, EoR went to the proffered website and, before he knew it, he was deep in the morass of 9/11 Truthers and David Icke and his ilk. It's as bizarre as seeking information on vaccination and finding yourself confronted by shapeshifting reptile overlords. It wasn't mystical prayers healing the planet, you deluded fools! It was Hurricane Erin ("the power source behind the Direct Energy Weapon(s) that was used to turn the Twin Towers to dust that day") and which caused the magnetic field to dip (in Alaska, for some obscure reason) as any fule kno. Does this mean that Nova is part of the 9/11 cover up? Could this be the smoking gun? Or could it just be normal variation (unless there was a huge tragedy on April 2nd this year that caused the world to join in prayer)? In fact, as the following graph shows, there's a lot of variation all the time.



The idea that Hurricane Erin was 'engineered' in order to generate some sort of 'field effect technology' originates with a Dr Judy Wood. EoR can't bring himself to link to her website. It's so full of graphs that it makes a climate change denier look like the epitome of the calm philosopher (yet again proving EoR's adage that as lunacy increases, web design skills decrease). The way the US Government has managed to create a giant transistor out of a hurricane and use it to destroy the Twin Towers, however, is clearly a marvel of science fiction and probably the only realistic way to destroy those buildings. Is there any other way it could have been done?

The only way this 911/Secret/Prayer/Science/Conspiracy could get any better would be if it also linked to the 2012 myth (the Millennial Panic you have when you haven't got a Millennium). On, hang on...

I think it is important to begin with facts, and it is a fact that we are living the end of a rare and mysterious cycle of time that began 5,125 years ago in the year 3114 B.C. and completes with a rare astronomical event that occurs on December 21, 2012 A.D. It’s a fact that this 5,125 year cycle has occurred in the past a number of times. Ancient and indigenous traditions, specifically Mesoamerican traditions, identify at least four of these cycles leading up to the cycle that we’re experiencing now. It’s a fact that each time cycles were completed and new cycles began, they were accompanied by conditions of change that were catastrophic for the people living during that time. It is a fact that when we overlay cycles of time on the archaeological history of our planet (gleaned from studying the ice cores of Antarctica and the sea floor sediments in the oceans), what we find is that some civilizations in our past collapsed when they reached the point in their cycles where we find ourselves in our cycle today.


EoR also thinks it is important to begin with facts, though he prefers those that aren't made up.

Braden has created a 'Time Code Calculator' that can foretell the future. In fact, he claims it predicted both 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis. Why didn't he warn anyone? Strangely, the Time Code Calculator sounds exactly like the future foretelling Web Bot. Even more so since it, too, is part of the 2012 The Sky is Falling! scare:

The Web Bot is a computer that predicts the future, and was originally designed in the 1990’s to make predictions on the stock market. It works by having a system of spiders filer the web like a seach engine robot, then stores the information in a central collection point. The
data is then systematically filtered and processed. It is said that the Web Bot is the only scientific method capable of predicting the future at this time.

Web Bot Predictions that came true
In June of 2001, the Web Bot predicted a catastrophic event that would happen within the next 2-3 months. 3 months later the twin towers fell in New York City. The Web Bot predicted the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, and the New York blackout of 2003. The Web Bot also predicted an earthquake that would make waters raise in 2004, which ended up being the tsunami, and hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 the Web Bot predicted the Dollar price crash. The Web Bots prediction for 2012, as well as many ancient civilizations like the Mayan and Chinese is a worldwide calamity. With the Web Bot being so accurate in the past, it makes my belief even stronger that the world is coming to an end.


The Web Bot can predict all these things, and yet no warnings were made. The Illuminati who, presumably, are running this marvellous scientific prognosticator clearly don't want to use it for good.

This madness just goes on and on, with one lunatic fringe group plagiarising and stealing from another to bolster their own particular delusional mindset. The UFO nutters are on to it as well, claiming (in 2009) that the Web Bot has predicted that there would be a "10000 fold increase in UFO sightings this summer", the US dollar and economy will collapse and the dollar will no longer be traded anywhere, lots of people will 'disappear' due to the PTBs (the Powers That Be LOL), there will be so many volcanic eruptions that the sun will be blocked out and "People begin to start acting very odd". Apart from the last prediction, all the others have failed. When will the lunatics and psychics learn: never leave your predictions on the web after they've failed. It just makes you look silly.

Such lunacy deserves both the Tin Foil Hat Zone Award and the Steaming Turd Award.



Steaming turd

After all that, EoR feels sullied, and will need to go and take a long cold shower.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Veterinarian Or Magician?

Some holistic veterinarians have deeply troubling views about not alleviating suffering. Others are just plain dotty. Like Dr Heather K Mack who uses essential oils to realign equine spines.

The basic principle is to re-align the spine, and help the horse achieve equal standing on all 4 feet. With Mother Earth’s energy flowing up all the channels, all systems can run smoothly, and the horses’ full energy body lights up. This is why I start the Raindrop treatment with Valor on the sacrum, withers, poll, and sternum, and then on the heels of all 4 feet. Valor balances the physical and electrical energies of the body and is touted as a chiropractor in a bottle.


Personally, EoR would be quite happy if all chiropracters were put in bottles.

Next a sequence of anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory oils is applied to the inside of the hind legs stimulating the spleen, liver and kidney meridians. These are the most influential meridians on the immune system and this opens the channels for easy elimination of toxins and inflammatory residues. Sometimes, especially if I am treating a respiratory condition, I apply the same oils; Thyme, Oregano, Cypress, Birch, Basil, and Peppermint to the inside of the front legs also. This will stimulate the lung and large intestine meridians.


Bear in mind this is apparently a fully qualified veterinarian, not just a backyard woo seller, rambling on about meridians and realigning spines with magic drops.

Now we move up to the spine and drop the same oils plus Marjoram along the spine moving from the sacrum forward to the withers. The bottle is held about 6-9 inches above the spine and that is why it is called Raindrop therapy. When you get really attuned to the oils you can feel the differences in the vibration and energetic of each oil.

(...)

Equine Raindrop Therapy is great for sore backs and for boosting the immune system. The beauty of the Raindrop is it picks up the vibration of the horse receiving it and the horses he comes in close contact with; you, the person applying the oils, gets a boost to your vitality and immunity just by touching and breathing the oils. It is a win/win situation and truly fun to do.


There are now so many boosted immune systems in the world that EoR is worried there may soon be an immune system explosion.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Secret Of The Power To Make Money

EoR suffering under the miraculous proclamations of charlatans
You can have an amazing life! Yes! All it takes is to give $23.95 to Rhonda Byrne. Yes! You can become rich, just by giving your money away!

Of course, we've heard all this before. Kelefa Sanneh traces the idea of The Secret back to the nineteenth century New Thought movement (“Get rich; that is the best way you can help the poor.”) and Christian Science. Where New Thought also had a social reforming agenda, however, Byrne and her acolytes appear to have no other aim than raking in the money from the ever-present gullible and desperate.

This is the language of faith, not scientific theory or political struggle; it can’t be refuted, only disbelieved. But what makes Byrne’s creed so powerful isn’t simply that she offers revolution purged of politics; it’s that, in the best New Thought tradition, she offers religion purged of religion.


Disullisioned with The Secret because it didn't work? Simply buy it again under its rebadged name, and you just know it'll work this time. in fact, EoR guarantees it will work just as effectively as last time in generating massive amounts of income for Rhonda Byrne. It truly is amazing how people fall such scams again and again.

EoR trusts that Rhonda Byrne will be donating millions of copies of her new book to the flood-ridden masses in Pakistan, who quite clearly wished for the situation they are now in.

Remember: with The Secret/The Power, we can all be Number One!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Thistle Thoughts

EoR sits on a thistleEoR, having accidentally sat on some thistles, ponders the State of Things.

Small stuffed animals sightseeing in Florida should be very careful.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Euthanasia: The Natural Alternative

Alternative therapies. They're holistic. Natural. Gentle. Life affirming. Or so the advertising and the practitioners of magic would have us believe. There's a 'natural alternative' for everything. Even death. Take holistic veterinarian Ella Bittel, whose "special passion is hospice care for animals".

In a puff piece she wrote for Holistic Horse she states

Consider the common suggestion of putting a horse down when it no longer eats. While a slowed appetite may have been observable for months or years before the actual dying process starts, in the last days of physical life it is normal for the dying to stop eating entirely. From our perspective, it may seem as though they are starving, but from human hospice we know that the sensation of hunger simply ceases to exist. When the body is not going to use the energy provided by the food anymore, why would it want to bother eating? If there are signs of discomfort in the digestive tract, several healing modalities can be used to prevent or soothe colic symptoms, including homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, probiotics and essential oils.


Her special healing modality appears to be allowing animals to starve to death and, if the owner appears worried, using magical nostrums.

Fear of making our beloved horse friend suffer in pain is the number one concern haunting us and causing us to euthanize. What is overlooked when we are so preoccupied with this noble concern is that many animals would rather be in pain than no longer be alive.


How on earth does she know this? EoR is afraid to ask, because it probably involves psychics and animal communicators. This is the same bizarre mindset that afflicted Penelope Dingle at the end, where her medically inept homeopath ensured her the pain was 'in her head' and that suffering is good and wonderful and part of the 'healing' process. Dr Bittel seems to be arguing that letting our animals suffer is something wonderful and creative. Dr Bittel is also a proponent of the pointlessly ineffective homeopathic treatment.

When implementing drugs or herbs, we need to take into consideration that their possible side effects can become more prominent when taken on an empty stomach by an animal which no longer eats, and in general as the life force starts running low. That is when other ways of soothing discomfort can become invaluable. Homeopathy, gentle body or energy work, warm towels and warm water bottles can do wonders when used in an effective manner.


While you are feeling so warm and fuzzy and holistic about letting your animal slowly starve to death, you can also engage in some cognitive dissonance:

Hopefully, you can spend some quality time just being with your animal, expressing your love and gratitude for all it has brought to your life.


Apart from finding this offensive in allowing needless suffering, and wondering how a veterinarian can actually get away with recommending this without falling foul of the animal welfare authorities and veterinary registration board, it gets worse when Dr Bittel wanders off into pseudo-religious platititudes.

Caring for the dying is an art, and unless we prepare for it ahead of time, chances are we won't feel up for the task. It will seem daunting to us rather than sacred. Whether the caretaker is aware of it or not, much happens in the last days and hours of a dying human or animal, in terms of getting ready internally for the great passage.


Like most promoters of 'alternative' modalities, she also charges people to attend seminars on her deeply troubling philosophy, with prices from US$375 to US$395. These seminars include such topics as "How scientific research on subtle energy aspects of the dying process ties in with the insights of ancient masters". The brochure also reveals her apparent belief in meridians and chakras.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Homeopathy: Sharp As A Sackful Of Wet Mice

Homeopaths are such fun. Not only are their beliefs completely at odds with reality, it's also fun to see how they change them to suit conditions. Like Polly Millet's report of A Case of Epithelioma in a Horse.

The article describes how she prescribed various remedies based on the horse's personality in order to

“tune” her vital force and thereby resolve the tumor


What EoR finds interesting, though, is her process of "bucket dosing" — placing the magic drops in the horse's water bucket.

In our barn, the buckets are never shared, so I could safely put Iris’ remedy in her bucket. I also knew that the remedy would become a little stronger each day, in the horse barn equivalent of what homeopaths call “potentization” (successive steps of diluting and shaking). Our buckets are thoroughly cleaned once a week and are refilled from a hose several times a day. Essentially, Iris got a more and more dilute solution for a week after the remedy was added. Since horses really mess with their water when they drink, and the pressure from the hose “shakes up” the water, it may well have been a little more potentized each time she drank, as well!


So here we have a homeopath stating that you don't need the ritual leather bound Bible, nor the 'regulated 10 thumps, turn around three times, pray to the gods and repeat' steps either. Just sloshing the mysterious remembrances of lycopodium while scrubbing a bucket is enough. Just think about all those millions of homeopathic remedies you're imbibing every time you drink from a cup that has previously been washed by water that has, also, previously been sloshed around and washed by countless others. And who could imagine the powerful potentisation that has taken place with all that sloshing of every molecule of water in the past few billions of years in the oceans and sky, and in numerous sewerage systems. Which, to EoR, is definite proof that all homeopathy really is full of shit.

Homeopathy is for idiots

Nice girl, but about as sharp as a sack of wet mice

Sunday, September 05, 2010

On The Efficacy Of Sugar Pills

In an attempt to avoid all those vaccine-damaged children that litter our landscape as a sorry indictment of the whole failed enterprise of Western Medicine, Meryl Dorey and others are fond of recommending homeopathic treatments instead.

Now that the Lancet has published a study showing how ineffective sugar pills are to infants, will Dorey and her ilk change their tune (EoR realises this is a rhetorical question, and is reminded of leopards and spots) since homeopathic pills are nothing but sugar? Will we, instead, soon be seeing a whole cohort of homeopathy-damaged children?

"Our findings indicate that sucrose is not an effective pain relief drug. This is especially important in view of the increasing evidence that pain may cause short and long-term adverse effects on infant neurodevelopment," said Dr Rebecca Slater, who led the Medical Research Council-funded study at University College London. "While we remain unsure of the impact sucrose has, we suggest that it is not used routinely to relieve pain in infants without further investigation."


And where exactly is the homeopathy adverse events reporting system? Why are the homeopaths covering this up? Could Meryl Dorey's reptilian overlords be playing both sides against each other?

Oral sucrose as an analgesic drug for procedural pain in newborn infants: a randomised controlled trial

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Andrew Bolt: Postmodernist Blogger?

Andrew Bolt is the master of the cut and paste and run post and then allowing his devoted followers to be variously moronic, racist, arrogant and sexist (and, quite often, all of the above). Sahara of Sydney, for example, who is upset about tattoos but clearly spends an inordinate amount of time watching pornos:

Ah yes tattoos AKA the Mt Druitt birthmark. The art of the idiot and hallmark of the lower classes. A permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.

A tattoo on a guy automatically brands him as being intellectually challenged and on a woman it’s even worse.

Strippers and prostitutes are the company your branding will associate you with. Don’t believe me? Than rent a porno or two and try to find the woman without the tatt. Believe me when I tell you that they are very few and far between.


But is Bolt really serious? EoR thinks there's a clue in his photos (two! of them) at the top of his blog...



Notice the subtle clue that both images have the top of his head cut off. Is this a postmodernist clue that all his posts are brainless?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dorey Pleads: Give Children The Chance To Die

Meryl Dorey and the Australian Vaccination Network Charity, as we all know, is a lover of statistics and rigourous scientific analysis. Perhaps she isn't aware of EUVac which provides a wealth of statistical information on vaccination in Europe, such as this page on Measles. Figures 4 and 5 are particularly interesting. Figure 5, 'showing Percentage of reported measles cases by vaccination status in the 27 EU countries, 2005-2008' is reproduced below.

Figure 5

[Edit: The percentages of] measles cases are increasing amongst the unvaccinated, but decreasing amongst the vaccinated. How can this be if, as Meryl Dorey claims, vaccines don't work? More pertinently, who really cares, since measles is a harmless disease? Perhaps Ms Dorey would like to go on a speaking tour to Bulgaria to promote her personal fantasy world view, since 24 people have died since April 2009 in the current measles outbreak in that country. That's out of 23,791 cases of infection reported, or a 1 in 990 death rate. Could someone remind EoR again what the fatality rate from vaccination is?

There are also currently deaths from measles outbreaks in Malawi (where the death rate is around 1 in 60):

"About 77,000 people have been infected and 197, mostly children have died in the last seven months," Dr Storn Kabuluzi, director of preventive health services at the department of health, told Reuters.

(...)

More than 1,100 deaths from measles have been reported among 64,000 known cases in Africa the last year, it said. Chad, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have had the largest outbreaks.


and Zambia (where the death rate is around 1 in 50):

An outbreak of measles in Zambia has affected over 6,200 people and claimed at least 110 lives, the Zambian health ministry has said.
Currently, the total number of people affected by the disease in the country stands at 6,252, ministry of health spokesperson Kamoto Mbewe was quoted as saying by the Zanis news agency Thursday.

Mbewe said the capital city of Lusaka was the most hit with 106 deaths recorded out of 4,928 cases, Xinhua reported.


Meanwhile, Ms Dorey's only acceptable form of vaccination, homeopathy is under fire in Japan where, like recent cases in Australia, reliance on a therapy that does nothing in life threatening cases results in unnecessary deaths.

The Japanese government is investigating numerous deaths that occurred over the past year resulting from the practice of homeopathy, which has been growing in popularity, particularly among midwives. Several lawsuits are pending.

Deaths include a 2-month-old baby girl born with a vitamin K deficiency, whose mother's midwife administered a homeopathic treatment instead of the much-needed vitamin K injection, well-known to prevent hemorrhaging. The infant died from bleeding in the skull.

As more cases surface, the nation's top science group, the Science Council of Japan, has weighed in, with its president, Ichiro Kanazawa, stating at a press conference on Aug. 24 that "homeopathy's therapeutic value has been scientifically and utterly disproved." Homeopathy treatments are nothing more than sugar pills, he said.

Japan may soon join Switzerland and Germany, where governments have concluded that homeopathy is ineffective; national health insurance no longer reimburses for homeopathic treatments there. (Ironically, homeopathy originated in Germany 200 years ago.)


What is Meryl Dorey's vision?

I would love to see us go back to the time, about 80-90 years ago, when homoepathy was an accepted practice, was used in hospitals and was looked upon as a front-line treatment for many dieseases.


Yes, Meryl Dorey wants us to "go back" to a fantasy alternative reality that never existed, and where children will be given the freedom to die in order to maintain her distorted worldview.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Blake

William Blake print

The Tate Gallery in the UK is currently showing eight recently acquired painted etchings by William Blake, including this page from The First Book of Urizen, with Blake's written title "Everything is an attempt to be human".

The various editions that Blake printed in his lifetime, showing the multiple ways he interpreted the work, can also be directly compared at the William Blake Archive.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

EoR Answers A Reader's Query

Dear Eor,

I have dreams about you every night. What does this mean?

Troubled


Dear Troubled,

According to the always reliable and authoritative Kickapoo Indian Dream Book, dreaming of an Ass is

generally disagreeable; sitting on one indicates work; to see one running, misfortune and trouble; to hear one bray, loss and damage.


It sounds like you are in desperate need of some Kickapoo Indian Sagwa.

(T)here is no remedy on earth so efficient as KICKAPOO INDIAN SAGWA, made as it is from roots, barks, herbs and gums of the forest. This remedy is without a parallel for keeping the body strong, healthy and well. SAGWA accomplishes its wonderful results by purifying the blood and regulating the stomach, liver and kidneys.

(...)

The Indians have used it successfully for centuries. Their continual perfect health and longevity, and the fact that sudden strokes, such as heart-failure, apoplexy and kindred ailments are unknown to them, is due to the fact that from their birth they have used KICKAPOO INDIAN SAGWA. If you are not feeling just right, and cannot locate the trouble, take this wonderful medicine before it is too late. You do not know what minute you may be overtaken by some dire calamity. Health attends its use always. All druggists sell it. $1 a bottle; six bottles for $5.00.


Kickapoo Indian Sagwa advertisement