Should WHSmith Stock WDDTY Magazine?


An almighty battle between quacks and sceptics appears to be underway.

Last month, saw the publication of a new magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You. It is being distributed by many mainstream retailers such as Waitrose,  Sainsbury and WHSmith.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will realise that this magazine is the latest offering from Lynne McTaggart who produces the What Doctors Don’t Tell You website. It is one of the most consistently misleading health sites in the UK, reveling in misinformation that routinely undermine readers’ confidence in their doctor and to scare them into accepting questionable alternatives, such as vitamin pills. The website and magazine advertises many problematic health products that could harm people if used in place of real medicine.

The magazine has been examined by several bloggers now. “Letting Off Steam” looks at the questionable claims in the current issue such as in its article attacking vaccines, “your chances of getting cervical cancer are only eight times greater than your chances of being killed by an asteroid”. Since there were 759 deaths from cervical cancer in the UK in 2009 and no reported asteroid deaths, we must either conclude that WDDTY is talking rubbish or the government is involved in a vast conspiracy to hide death from space.

I received a newsletter from WDDTY advertsing their new magazine saying that “The “world’s most dangerous vaccine” now being offered to UK teenage girls”.  It tells us,

why the UK has accepted a vaccine that has been rejected by India after an early trial, funded by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, led to the deaths of seven young girls and another 120 suffered debilitating side effects

That trial in India did indeed report deaths after the vaccine was given, but What Doctors Don’t Tell You Don’t Tell You was that these deaths included a drowning, a snake bite and the effects of malaria. The trials may well have been problematic for conducting experiments on children from communities unlikely to benefit (see Ben Goldacre’s new book), but coincidental deaths from unrelated issues does not make the vaccine dangerous.

WDDTY consistently misrepresents fact to make its case. It does this often by taking half truths and presenting them as if they are the whole truth. I wrote recently about its scaremongering after the Fukushima incidents. It took the worse case scenarios of deaths and presented them as if they were likely scenarios.

Fear is the magazine’s aim.

As such, I complained to WHSmith about them stocking the magazine. I said to them, “As a responsible retailer, I am surprised WHSmith stocks this title. I would urge your buyers to immediately review their decision to distribute this magazine and to pull it from your shelves.”

They responded,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the magazine “What the doctors don’t tell you”.

As the UK’s leading retailer of stationery, books, magazines and newspapers, we aim to offer our customers a wide choice of products, whilst also respecting customer views. Our customers often have widely differing opinions about the products we sell, so we aim to strike the right balance to meet the needs of all our customers.

We work closely with the magazine publishers to ensure that their products meet the expectations of our customers. Where we receive customer complaints about a certain publication, WHSmith commits to raise these concerns directly with the publisher.

Customer feedback is extremely important to us and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.

Kind Regards

David Trollope

Customer Services Coordinator

That is a non-reply reply. Saying absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, WDDTY have noticed something was afoot. I was not the only person to complain. And they sprung into action to rally their crack quack troops.

Help us fight the bully boys

What Doctors Don’t Tell You has just launched a 100-page glossy version in UK stores – and already it’s being targeted by the bully boys who want the title banned.  They’ve even contacted our distributors, asking them to stop supplying the title.

These champions of free speech include Simon Singh (co-author with Edzard Ernst of the book ‘Trick or Treatment’) and his chums, including ‘paranormal researcher’ Hayley Stevens.

Singh has written to our distributors, Comag, to get them to stop supplying the title, while Singh, Stevens and fellow trolls are busy complaining about the title to retailers who stock it.  Singh inspired the Nightingale Collaboration, which seeks to stop all alternative practitioners from making any claims whatsoever on their websites.

Please support WDDTY and help ensure it remains on the shelves for everyone to read.  Let the retailers know they are doing the right thing in stocking it:

WH Smith
Customer.Relations@WHSmith.co.uk

Waitrose
customersupport@waitrose.co.uk

Sainsbury’s
customerservice@sainsburys.co.uk

We need your support today.  Don’t let the bully boys suppress every non-Pharma voice.

Thank you

Bryan Hubbard
www.wddtysubscribe.com

The Bully Boys were well into action today with Ron, the Sceptical Letter Writer giving a full guide as to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority about this magazine.

On twitter I have been accused of being against free speech and a fascist. Is this fair?

Well, I am quite happy for people to make the claims they do in WDDTY. They are wrong and I hope they respect my freedom to point out their stupidity and irresponsibility. If they break the law or advertising codes then I hope they respect my freedom to suggest to regulators that they ought to be paying attention.

But what of WHSmith and other retailers? I would hope that they took responsibility for what they sold. If a product could lead to significant harm then I am sure they would pay attention. Asking for WHSmith not to stock this is no more an affront to free speech than asking people not to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. We are all free to shout ‘fire’. But if we do so in a context that could harm, then we should suffer the consequences.

This magazine will harm through its misconceived and astonishing advice. For it to appear as mainstream thought through the authority of it appearing on respectable retailers shelves will add to its harm. I am sure we can all think of possible magazine titles that WHSmiths would not stock (because, for example, they condoned violence, racism or illegality*) This ought to be one of them. Promoting dangerous nonsense as health advice will harm people.

WHSmiths can do the right thing now. Or they will have to do so after things have got uncomfortable and embarrassing. And that will happen after the ASA have ruled that almost all their adverts are breaking CAP guidelines.

* I was going to add, or because they objectified women’s bodies, but then I realised that perhaps they would only be left selling Auto Trader and Chicken Keeper Monthly.

Update

3rd October

Simon Singh threatened with legal action for criticising health magazine

Writing on Twitter, Singh accused WDDTY magazine of promoting health advice that could potentially harm readers

336 comments for “Should WHSmith Stock WDDTY Magazine?

  1. Geoff
    October 2, 2012 at 12:27 am

    The free speech argument is being bandied about all to often these days. The publishers and distributors have a right to publish and distribute this magazine. The ASA and (if it came to it) the courts are free to make rulings over the magazine’s suitability. Skeptics have a right to complain about it, both formally and informally, and people with no better input to the argument are free to bleat on about free speech.

    Free speech is a complete red herring. The issue is whether the magazine is both within the voluntary guidelines and within the law. There are mechanisms in place to deal with both.

    There’s also the issue of whether the major chains choose to stock the magazine. Market forces will come into play, as will company policies – I know of one chain bookshop which has a “no censorship, it’s all down to the individual shop buyers” rule, which is something to be applauded. There may well be a woo-backlash and the publicity will see this magazine sell in huge numbers. It’s an interestingly divisive issue.

  2. Mikey
    October 2, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Ah well, WHSmith in their more cynical marketing moments will probably be expecting initial sales of this title to peak quite excitedly, possibly as lots of well-informed and healthily sceptical folk trundle down to their local branch and, in sheer incredulity, end up buying a copy of this issue as a souvenir for them and their friends to point and laugh at – and one day show their grandchildren and go do some more pointing and laughing!

    http://www.comra-therapy.co.uk/comra-therapy-information/science

    • Mikey
      October 2, 2012 at 3:31 am

      oh dear :-( http://www.comra-therapy.co.uk/

      …on the subject of pointing & laughing, if the new print version of WDDTY contains as many adverts, for such dubious devices & techniques as “coMra-Therapy”, that their website/e-newsletter currently does, well, [sigh....]

      • Jo D. Baker
        October 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        Not sure about WHS stopping selling the magazine. They will have a hard-nosed commercial attitude and are really looking at increasing their footfall and revenues. I notice from their web site that they also sell books by the Awful Poo Lady, Gillian McKeith. Trying to stop them from selling this mind rot is a bit like asking a vampire to desist from tearing the necks out of virgins.

        I nipped down to my local WHS’s this morning and bought a copy of WDDTY for my own information. It is absolutely saturated with adverts making the most dubious claims. I have paraphrased some of the full page ones below together with any web links. The point is trying to get WHS’s to stop selling this drivel is going to be a non-starter, couldn’t you focus instead on targeting their advertisers with ASA/ Trading Standards complaints.

        Oh well, here is a choice selection for you:

        Beet It Sport, concentrated beetroot stamina shot. “100% natural ingredients increase exercise efficiency, enhance oxygen utilisation, speed muscle recovery. (Full page ad, http://www.beet-it.com/sport)

        ***********************************************************

        “Q-Link, Combat: Stress, poor performance, fuzzy thinking…the electronic devices you use and depend on each day generate electromagnetic fields. Reserach shows these EMF’s may undermine performance and well-being and have a biological effect on the body. The Q-Link CLEAR utilizes sypathetic resonance tuning which acts as a tuning fork for the body sesonating with and reinforcing your own electrical fields” (Full page ad, http://www.emf-protectio.co.uk)

        *************************************************************

        Medical Thermal Imaging Ltd. 100% safe breast screening…thermography can detect active breast abnormality before its possible with mamography. (Full page, http://www.medicalthermalimaging.co.uk)

        *************************************************************

        Earthing, Nature’s solution to health. How earthing can help your health and wellbeing. You can connect with the earth with bare feet or with indoor earthing sheets and mats. The earth then shares it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory anti aging electrons from its inexhaustible store…robust studies show significant improvements in sleep, vitality, rebalancing of key hormones…improvements in circulation and reductions in blood pressure… (Full page ad, http://www.bioenergyproducts.co.uk/sps10)

      • Duncan
        October 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

        That’s a clasic site:
        Here’s from the about us:
        “In the age of quantum physics and considering our current understanding of the placebo effect, as well as the influence of the mind and emotions on health generally, mainstream medicine is wrong to ignore the person and to focus on medical symptoms only. The future belongs to a holistic but still down-to-earth approach to medicine and healing” Bla bla bla

        • October 24, 2012 at 11:24 am

          The idea that mainstream medicine ignores the whole person is total rubbish. Patients routinely expect their GP to solve all of their life’s problems, even the ones that are clearly outside the medical realm, and we do our best to oblige. Mind you, no-one has convincingly explained to me how wave-particle duality ought to inform my medical practice.

  3. Arnold Bocklin
    October 2, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Actually the asteroid thing sounds about right to me. Let’s say a globally devastating asteroid hits the Earth every million years, and kills 75% of the human population. So each year, the probability of death by asteroid is 0.75/1,000,000 = 0.00000075. What’s the probability of a woman dying of cervical cancer? The UK population is 62,262,000, so assuming 50% are female that’s 0.5 * 759/62,262,000 = 0.0000061. Which is, yes, eight times as great…

    • Arnold Bocklin
      October 2, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Duh! That should be 759/(0.5 * 62,262,000) = 0.000024. So more like 32 times as great…

  4. Paul Morgan (@drpaulmorgan)
    October 2, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I also emailed a complaint to W H Smith and received an identical brush-off email in response. Are the writers and publishers of this magazine entitled to offer it for sale to the (unsuspecting) public? Yes – we are fortunate to live in a society where freedom of speech is valued, even when what is being said is nonsense, hateful or down right dangerous. What the authors must appreciate, however, is that freedom of speech is a two-way street. If you publish something, there will be those who criticise it for a multitude of reasons – that is to be expected, even when what you say is so obviously right to the overwhelming majority of the readers. All we can hope is that common sense will prevail.
    In health matters, there are serious concerns that false and misleading advice will lead to real harm and even death. Witness now the long-term effects of the harm resulting from the MMR scandal – a classic case of bad science being misrepresented in the lay media, despite the attempts of doctors and scientists to show that the evidence of a link between MMR and autism being entirely false. The genie escaped from the bag and it’s taken a long time to put it back in. There is a real danger that articles and advertisements will be taken up by mainstream media as being in some way believable and correct. The worry is that people will come to harm as a result of following such advice. It is therefore only right and proper that whenever the contents of the magazine are in any way misleading that those contents are challenged by whatever legitimate means are available, whether that be via regulatory authorities, blogs or the mainstream media. THAT is freedom of speech.

  5. jon
    October 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

    WHS answer: ” we work closely etc.’:
    that is ‘ i speak for the people ! ‘ i and buddy-false-info-producer.
    expectations are notoriously difficult to gauge, therefore tend to be projections of one’s own.
    ‘ customers ‘ is the widest possible grouping, takes in the once-in-a-lifetime buyer of aspirin. that is ‘ i speak for everybody ! ‘
    acually what speaks is just filth. filthy lucre.
    Mary Midgley speaks of interconnected selfsupporting sets of suppositions.

  6. Holly Sheet
    October 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Well, Whsmith also sell the Daily Star and the Sunday Star; no complaints about it.
    This is a free country, your attempt at suppressing a publication that you do not like is another good example of what the skeptics like you are about.
    I was reading this morning an interesting research about the ludicrous claims made by the cosmetic industry; these are also dangerous quacks, but you leave them well alone, their lawyers and financial resources are too dangerous for you.
    Your claim, Andy, is to debunk quacks and their false claims, but does this goes as far as suppressing the freedom of the press, freedom of thinking, and freedom of taking one’s own decisions?
    If people want to buy WDDTY, or the sunday sport, or whatever they fancy, let them, this is none of your business.
    If you want to leave in and promote a totalitarian society, you have unfortunately a good choice of countries to go to.

    • Justine
      October 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Holly,
      Andy is not trying to suppress freedom of speech, that is the entire point he was making in this article, perhaps you did not read it thoroughly. By selling magazines like this, it encourages people to ignore sound medical advice which is given by experienced practitioners and based upon evidence, in favour of using unproven and potentially DANGEROUS alternatives which are totally unsubstantiated in their claims. I think he is suggesting that WH Smith should not encourage people into quackery by selling this rubbish which is potentially extremely harmful. And, with regards to him ignoring certain industries, there is a lot of crap “medicine” out there; it would be exhausting to attempt to address every single one.

    • Andrew G
      October 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      People have queried the claims made by cosmetic companies and some have been found wanting.

      Regarding WDDTY, it’s important that ordinary folk are protected from the daft claims made by snake oil salesmen (and saleswomen – don’t want to miss out people like the poo lady!)

      Free speech is a different issue altogether. Just for curiosity sake, do you also support those who wish to defame religions like Islam under the guise of free speech?

      • truthspeaker
        October 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        “or curiosity sake, do you also support those who wish to defame religions like Islam under the guise of free speech?”

        Can’t speak for the poster, but I do. Well, criticizing Islam isn’t defamation if it’s true.

    • truthspeaker
      October 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      It’s not that he doesn’t like the publication, it’s that the publication contains false information.

      The issue isn’t about anyone’s preferences or views, it’s about reality.

      • Colin Bell
        November 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        Every publication carries false information …. every scientific magazine, every newspaper, every comic etc etc

  7. Mark
    October 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I am a GP. Holly WHS is a large well known trusted brand – this means it has whether it likes it or not a moral duty to consider whether its actions could lead to harm as it is reasonable to assume that many mebers of the public will think it has the sotre’s blessing and been thorugh some form of vetting procedure. Do you think it would be reasonable of me to leave a copy in my waiting room? If I did so then I would be seen to condone its contents and quite rightly I would be criticised and quite possibly face losing my registration to practice – My moral duty to the public in health matters is greater than WHS but their longevity and place in the British collective consciousness means that they have a duty to consider the harmful impact of what they stock. I shall of course continue to furnish my waiting room with 1970 copies of people’s friend, readers digest and Jackie ;)

    • JANICE GIBBONS
      February 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

      This is the sort of response I would expect to hear from a GP who through precribing medicines (& the ties that bind)keeps the big Pharmaceuticals raking in their Billions of pounds of profit.Not always for the good of mankind. There is room for alternative medicines and medicines are not always the bee all and end all! There is room for both. There was a time when GP and mainstream medicine were branded as quacks! There are instances where vacines and big pharmas have been proven to be responsible for killing and maiming people who have taken their products and where they have
      moved heaven and earth hide these problems from the general public. Alternative medicine is here to stay and there needs to be information easily available out their in order that people can make their own minds up. If Alternative and mainstream medicine could somehow work together this could be a step in the right direction as not all Alternative or mainstream is bad. This is at the moment unlikely to happen when the big pharmas have such a hold on mainstream medicine and too many fingers in high ranking pies.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        February 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        Janice

        Name an alternative medical therapy that a finally works.

      • John H
        February 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        Verily the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.

        Why on earth should workable, demonstrable, verifiable EBM want to try for some sort of synthesis with unworkable, non-demonstrable and unverifiable quackery.

        What next?

        Cosmologists working with astrologers to determine how dark matter in Cancer affects your personality if you are born in early July.

        Geologists working with young earthers to map the exact consequences of the Noachian flood.

        Evolutionary scientists working with creationists to reconcile life being either several billion years old or 6000.

        In each example the former have a huge canon of science on their side. The latter have zilch, nada, nothing, rambling incoherent beliefs and magic.

        You are a tone troll.

        • Colin Bell
          February 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          I take it you meant to say lone troll? Two things, Janice is not a troll and she is not alone. Actually everything she said in her post had merit. But of course, you have to take an ad-hominem swipe. You see, the problem with you Quackbuster’s is you have closed minds and you cannot accept that there may be truth outside of your very limited paradigm. You accuse your opponents of using straw man tactics and other devices but you are more guilty of using these tactics yourself. It is very true that today’s mainstream medicine was regarded as quackery and much of it still is!! But of course, not all of it is and the same applies to other forms of medicine, so-called Alternative Medicine. Your biblical quote ironically was meant as truth. It says that this can happen and that it will happen. Whether we believe that or not is irrelevant because the spirit of verse is saying that it WILL happen. And, the same thing will happen with EBM and AM. So, by quoting it, you confirmed this.

          • John H
            February 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm

            No. I meant tone. Therefore no ad hom.

            Biblical quote! Me. I thought it was from Viz.

            I cannot speak for LCN’s contributors but I doubt that many of them are closed or narrow minded and in terms of a narrow paradigm I would imagine their interests range from the sub-atomic to the cosmological.

            Taking your sincerity at face value perhaps you could suggest some sort of outline roadmap for reconciling the irreconcilable and arriving at some sort of synthesis. It would appear to me to be an impossible task.

            It is impossible because AM has never been prepared to subject its claims to anything resembling the scientific method. How on earth can you compare (for example) the large scale Scandinavian MMR/autism study (involving hundreds of thousands of children over many years across multiple countries) with the usual AM type of study involving anecdotal evidence from a few dedicated and committed devotees.

            All sceptics ask is that AM is evaluated on the same terms as EBM. They would even allow AM a “quick in” by bypassing in the molecular studies, in vitro, in vivo, first in human stages and just get on with a properly designed test.

            All AM ever comes up with is excuses. “X is not amenable to scientific investigation”. It seems funny to me that the scientific method seems to work at every level from the sub-atomic to the cosmological yet somehow fails when confronted by some made up medicine dreamed up by a 19th century medical fraudster.

            Your final three sentences are nonsense.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            February 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

            Colin

            I take it you meant to say lone troll?

            No. Google is your friend.

            But, since you’re here I’ll ask you what I asked Janice (minus autocorrect typo);

            Name an alternative medical therapy that actually works.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            February 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

            [i see John H posted as I was doing so. Troll question resolved.]

        • Colin Bell
          February 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

          I wasn’t aware of the jargon, but learn something new everyday.

          Tone troll

          “A tone troll is an internet troll that will effectively disrupt an internet discussion, because they feel that some of the participants are being too harsh, condescending, or use foul language. They often complain loudly and target specific subjects, even though they may actually agree with their subjects’s point of view.”

          No, doesn’t apply to the poster!! And it is considered an ad-hominem to call someone a troll

          • John H
            February 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm

            Well done Colin. As BSM said Google is your friend and you managed to find the Urban Dictionary.

            Tone troll also means the sort of person who posts something like “why does everybody argue all the time. Why can’t we all be nice, get on with each other and respect everybody’s views and beliefs”. Therefore she IS a tone troll and therefore no ad hom.

            Why not try to address the questions people put to you?

            Oddly enough sceptical types also like to learn new things and I am absolutely agog at the prospect of “AM and EBM – A Modern Synthesis”

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            February 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

            Still meta-arguing, Colin.

            Once again, I offer you the chance to discuss the substantive issues;


            Name an alternative medical therapy that actually works.

  8. filthypesk
    October 2, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I too received the promotional email, and note that you left out most of what it said. Here is more:

    From this month (September), British schoolgirls from the age of 12 upwards are being offered a new vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. Gardasil is replacing Cervarix as the NHS’s vaccine of choice to combat HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes the cancer.

    But WDDTY reveals that Gardasil is officially the world’s most dangerous vaccine. And the UK government isn’t telling parents the truth about a vaccine that has been responsible for at least 100 deaths and thousands of life-destroying disabilities in the US, where it has been used for four years.

    WDDTY challenges the government to answer:

    why the UK has so readily embraced Gardasil when take-up has slumped by a third in the US following thousands of reports of adverse reactions, including death
    why our drug regulators are being so lax when America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enforced stronger warnings on the vaccine’s packaging, and is investigating a new reaction known as ‘immunotoxicity’ where the whole immune system is affected
    why the UK has accepted a vaccine that has been rejected by India after an early trial, funded by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, led to the deaths of seven young girls and another 120 suffered debilitating side effects
    why the UK government is wasting NHS resources and money on a vaccine that may save just 40 lives in the UK. Overall, an HPV vaccine may protect against 137 new cases of the cancer. Despite the publicity, especially following the death of Big Brother star Jade Goody, cervical cancer is a rare disease, and one that doesn’t even feature in the list of the 10 most common cancers.

    So you too are being selective in what you report. Is what it says about the vaccine in the US true? Are the stats about potential lives saved in UK valid?

    I am sceptical about some alternative medicine, but not all. I am also mistrustful of some conventional medicine, but not all. We know that Big Pharma exists to make money, and suppresses results which reflect negatively on its products. It also produces effective medicines which save lives. The more sources of information we have, and the more public debate, the better. Banning publications, like burning books, is not the answer.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Quoting is not the same thing as being selective. My quote was to highlight the misleading nature of what they write. In a short blog post, this is quite appropriate.

      I am not advocating ‘burning books’. I am suggesting that this publication is a serious impediment to informed debate as it is so misleading. And it appears to be deliberately misleading. As such, WDDTY is not ‘another source of information’ but a source of misinformation and distortion. Its removal from the shelves might lead to better debate not worse.

      • SN
        October 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        If you read the medical journals regularly from some of the top medical journals in the world you will see how a lot of what they publish is scientifically based information. Also, the ASA is there to protect the public – so let them do their job, they act independently and objectively – they have no political interests (I hope) unlike the pharma corps and supporters such as the Nightingale lot who clearly don’t gain from this book being published. As a member of the public I for one don’t want this book taken off distribution just because someone with an interest in shutting it down says it should be, especially with derogatory, highly prejudiced titles like the ones on this website; simply shutting them up when its clearly not dangerous to public health is like gagging freedom of speech. This website prizes freedom of speech otherwise derogatory and prejudicial titles like ‘quack’ would not be possible to express. You cant have it both ways.

      • MSB
        October 14, 2012 at 6:07 am

        Andy Lewis

        I was not aware of this publication.

        Thank you for bringing it up here. This raises many interesting issues. It should be up to readers to decide what is good for them.

        The article on sleep and sleeping pill is interesting.

    • Elaine
      July 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Bravo, “Filthypesk”. You are open minded & objective, a breath of fresh air in this discussion. From a Health Food Store in Illinois, I had purchased the issue (when first available in the US) of WDDTY containing article(s) about the HPV vaccine. Today I came to this site because of an article in a local weekly newspaper titled “Get Your Kids Vaccinated” which urges getting HPV & influenza vaccines among others. Without the copy of that WDDTY issue, I wanted to verify information to pass along on Facebook and was gratified to find one who is familiar with the issue and not spouting opinion. I am very impressed with the documentation of the articles in WDDTY and appreciate the opportunity it provides to research another side of the issue besides mainstream medicine. Neither side is the be-all-end-all answer to the question. Only we can decide what is right for ourselves and we need open access to information that can help us make the decision objectively. Your closing paragraph describes my position perfectly. Thank you.

      • July 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

        Hi Elaine.

        Can you say what it was about the documentation of the articles in WDDTY that most impressed you?

        Thanks.

  9. Dr Richard Rawlins
    October 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Andy is to be congratulated for bringing this non-sense to our attention – but folks are entitled to read non-sense. Smiths sell books on astrology, a popular feature of many newspapers. And many books on religion.

    Any false advertsing must be dealt with by the relevant authorities – and the title of this magazine is disctincltly misleading.

    It should not be “What Doctors Don’t Tell You” – but “Why Doctors Don’t Tell You Nonsense is Non-Sense.”

    The GMC tells us not to! See its Guidance on Personal Belief and Medical Practice:

    “20. Patients have a right to information about their condition and the options available to them. You must not withhold information about the existence of a procedure or treatment because carrying it out or giving advice about it conflicts with your religious or moral beliefs.”

    So, doctors are supposed to tell patients about cams! Even if we believe it is immoral to comment on non-sense. This is going to be a useful magazine for the waiting room to that end. Doctors may use scientific methods, but their job is not to be scientists, but to care – even for folks who are derainged.

    We don’t tell patients a lot: That there are fairies at the bottom of the garden, that Santa Claus is due soon, that we should talk to flowers if we want harmony etc.

    Criticise the content, ensure advertising is honest, but Smiths have a legal responsibility to maximise profits for their shareholders – and thars gold in them thar ills!

    Dr. Richard Rawlins
    Consultant Charlatan
    Specialist in the Care of the Gullible

  10. filthypesk
    October 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Another note in WDDTY’s defence. Yesterday their website reported:

    Doctors unsure of Big Pharma following $11bn record fines

    The pharmaceutical industry is starting to lose the confidence of its delivery system – the doctors – after it was revealed it has paid out record fines of $11bn for criminal wrongdoing in the last three years.
    Doctors are becoming sceptical about ‘scientific trials’ that demonstrate the effectiveness of drugs because vital – and sometimes inconvenient – data is left out, researchers have found.
    This could mean that doctors stop prescribing new drugs, say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston – and with it would dry up the major source of profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
    In one example, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) promised to make available the safety data on its diabetes drug, Avandia, but the final version still has “disturbing exceptions”, says Boston University’s Kevin Outterson.
    GSK was handed out the largest fine – of $3bn – for criminal behaviour, and was one of 26 drug companies fined by US regulators for dishonest conduct. Close behind GSK was Pfizer, which was fined $2.3bn and Abbott Laboratories was fined $1.5bn for promoting its Depakote drug with “inadequate evidence of its effectiveness”.
    Despite the size of the fines, drug companies view them as collateral damage when conducting business as they represent a tiny fraction of their annual sales, said Mr Outterson.
    (Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 367: 1082-5, and 1119-27).

    Why would you not want research like this to be reported?

    • Andy Lewis
      October 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      It is reported. But WDDTY do it with the intent to undermine people’s relationship with their doctors. It is used as propaganda to promote quackery. That is a very big difference.

      • filthypesk
        October 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        In what way could this piece undermine people’s relationship with their doctors, or promote quackery? And how do you infer such intent?

        • Mojo
          October 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

          You could start with the title.

        • Andy Lewis
          October 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

          Exactly, the very title suggests there is a wealth of important health information that doctors withhold from you and that, by implication, they cannot be trusted to act as your primary care provider and to look after your best interests.

          What WDDTY does is promote superstitious and pseudoscientific health beliefs that will inevitably harm people. That is what people are concerned about.

    • Pharmacist-in-Exile
      October 8, 2012 at 6:42 am

      This cut-and-paste is an excellent point on why the magazine should be taken off the shelves and be put back into mail-order hell. It leaves out the most important part about the fines: that they are for illegal activities promoting the use of drugs for diseases which they have not been approved for! This infraction is serious but says nothing about the benefits of the same drugs in treating the diseases they are approved for. This type of selective citation is just as dishonest, and can make patients benefitting from the drugs in question to cease their medication. This is not a trifle thing as the drugs here are treating psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

  11. October 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    This magazine is also available in Tesco.

    Tesco’s Customer Services form is here:

    https://www.tescohelp.com/tesco/forms/cs_form.html

    As I and others had already complained to Waitrose, WHSmith and Sainsbury’s I thought it only fair to contact Tesco too – though I’m not expecting their reply to be substantially different from the others.

  12. Cargo
    October 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    1. We don’t want it banned, we just want accurate and evidence based (that’s science based evidence with proper RCT)articles, not anecdotal evidence with misleading claims and sales pitches for unproven treatments.
    2. In science, criticism is the way we test our theories and evidence against bias and error (quite brutally in some conferences). In CAM, it seems, it’s an attack on free speech.
    3. It’s not that we don’t want ANY claims on your websites and magazines. It’s that we want them to have evidence that is more substantial than ‘It made me feel better’ and ‘Everyone tells me I look 5 years younger’.

    Free Enterprise and Market Forces do not justify any possible misleading, unethical and dangerous medical advice just to promote an opinion (and sales). If this was a computer magazine telling you to buy a particular brand, so what – lose some money if you make an ill-informed choice. However, we are (most of us) ethical and humanist people who want you to make an informed choice about treatments for medical conditions that actually work and are the best that can be provided by our current knowledge.
    We don’t criticise because we are bullies and trolls, we just want the same standards of evidence and accountability that you demand of ‘Big Pharma’. We don’t want someone who has something treatable by ‘Allopathic’ Medicine to die after they decide instead to drink 10 litres fruit juice or Magic Water a day.
    If I’m being arrogant, it’s in assuming that no-one here wants to see another person in pain, or die, due to advice that may well be only profitable for the person selling ‘The Cure’ (whether that’s Big Placebo or Big Pharma).

  13. Ricky
    October 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    If a magazine which gave health advice featured an article by someone claiming to be a doctor who said that smoking was actually beneficial to health – and then cited scientific papers which supposedly supported this claim, relying on the reader not checking up on them – there would be something of an outcry. The principle is the same – people should not be allowed to pass off as medicine something which has not been proved to have medical benefit. This is not a free speech issue, simply a matter of protecting the public from potentially dangerous misinformation.

  14. October 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Having a very interesting (though somewhat one-sided) conversation with Tesco about their stocking the Autism Files – a magazine that endorses Andrew Wakefield, the Geiers (chemical castration for autism) and organisations who have give MMS enema promoting Kerri Rivera a platform to encourage this new and novel abuse of autistic children.

    • Chris
      October 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Unfortunately we can’t do much about that on this side of the pond. Autism Trust is carried by one large bookstore chain in our area, which also carries other silly rags like sMothering, etc.

      When one of their large outlets closed near where I live I started to see Autism Trust in a couple of local grocery stores. But they looked like they had been placed in odd spots, like someone had picked up the bookstore’s inventory prior to it being closed and plonked them in the store.

      Unfortunately it looks like they also did the same at a nearby hospital’s gift shop. When my son was spending time there last January I saw that rag in the gift shop as I was getting coffee. I was livid. I wrote a letter of complaint to the hospital explaining that the articles in it contradicted their policies (like being fully vaccinated around cancer and heart transplant patients). They wrote back saying that the distributor claimed it was accidentally delivered to their gift shop. They made sure all of the copies were removed from the shop.

      After a couple of months I stopped seeing them in the two grocery stores (where in one I would sneak over and cover the pile with a large catalog that from the same shelf).

      Now every time I go into a shop that sells magazines I look for Autism Trust. I do not see it anywhere except the one big bookstore chain (Barnes and Noble). It is not even in a store that specializes in periodicals (Bulldog News).

  15. Phil Hughes
    October 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    All I can say is well done WDDTY. It is refreshing to have another side to the story. Of course the medical dictatorship want to maintain their monopoly on medicine and be able to drug everybody into submission in the name of health.
    The biggest con is the orthodox school of medicine with its control of the media has convinced the population that any medical practice that doesn’t use toxic dangerous drugs is alternative. The truth is the only alternative medicine is a chemical drug based one, most other medical practices use natural substances that have an affinity with the body and help to heal it, not poison it until it develops another disease or dies.
    So called scientifically proven beneficial and safe medicines kill people. Dont forget every drug and vaccine that has been removed from the market because of their dangers was initially approved by the same authorities.
    Its good we have a magazine that tells the truth about the most corrupt industry in the world. People are waking up and using their autonomy, the right to choose the health care they consider is best for them as individuals and not doing as the doctor demands.
    The so called Orthodox school of medicine is failing, we are the sickest generation ever, more people are on more drugs than ever before, cancer rates are going through the roof and set to double again over the next few years and these charlatan doctors tell us they are winning the war.
    The worse is the sheeple believe the hype portrayed in the mainstream media and like good obedient subjects keep taking the poisons prescribed.
    We need publications like WDDTY to give another side to the story. If you don’t like what you read then you could always read the publication Clinical Evidence a book publishes by the BMJ every year. It tells you how effective all these wonder drugs are! You will get a surprise, at a time when the NHS are struggling to make ends meet it may come as a shock to find that out of all the scientifically tested and proven drugs that cost over £100,000,000 only 11% had any benefit at all and over 50% had no benefit at all?? You won’t hear our doctors admitting those statistics they will just keep prescribing the useless drugs. Money money money.
    Of course they don’t want you to read magazines like WDDTY you might find out the truth.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
    Think about this, can you think of any orthodox treatment or procedure that is used in the treatment of cancer that doesn’t cause it? Maybe that’s why cancer is still the threat it is.
    Dare to tell the truth.

    • mike warren
      October 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Phil says “we are the sickest generation ever”. I wonder why that is?? If UK is anything like Australia (and I suspect it is), then the epidemic of obesity, excess and binge alcohol consumption, junk food, drugs and lack of exercise are far more responsible for ill health than the “orthodox school of health”, as Phil calls it. I think medicine is hard pressed to attempt to treat the ills we bring on ourselves….quack medicine merely takes advantage of gullible people’s desire for a quick fix solution.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      It is exactly this sort of moonbattery that makes the magazine so dangerous.

  16. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    He said “sheeple”.

    We really need a sniggering smiley for moments like this.

    • tijiva
      October 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Badly Shaved Monkey

      You are not?

  17. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    On the topic of the blog, I can’t see how one can stop a stationer selling crap magazines. If they had to make a moral judgement they’d have to take a lot of things off the shelves. If I was selling books and magazine I would make moral judgements about them, but I’m not WH Smith.

    However, WDDTY + ASA does sound like a formula for fun.

    • October 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      WH Smith make moral judgements all the time. They have refused to stock publications by Paul Raymond (adult magazines), they didn’t stop stocking these because they didn’t sell. I guarantee less people came to harm from reading Paul Raymond’s publications, and probably they got a lot more satisfaction for what ailed them.

      You can’t stop them selling crap magazines, but you can ask them not to stock a particular magazine. Whilst I think it is a free speech issue of sorts, you are free to ask WH Smith not to do it, and WH Smith are free to agree or disagree.

      Free speech doesn’t include a right to be listened to (to be heard). There are a lot of bad magazine WH Smith don’t stock already, does that infringe on the free speech of their authors and publishers – No – otherwise they would be obliged to carry everything which is absurd.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        October 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm

        Yes, those are fair points.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        October 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        Thinking a bit more, I said they don’t have to make moral judgements They don’t. As you point out, however, they patently choose to do so on some occasions. At the very least it seems they apply rather erratic rules as to when to apply that judgement.

  18. Holly Sheet
    October 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    The fundamental issue here is freedom of speech and expressing an opinion; Andy Lewis is perfectly entitled to publish a critical opinion of CAM, which I am sure will be perceived by supporter of CAM as propaganda for medical establishment, big Pharma, whatever; on the other hand, he must accept that McTaggart and others like her are entitled to publish their opposing view on modern medicine.
    The good old days of burning books, and witches are over at least for the time being and on this land.
    You have, Andy the right to criticize McTaggart and WWDTY as much as you like, but the bottom line is you have no business to tell WHSmith what they should or should not sell, or try to stop the sale of publication you disapprove of.
    People who will buy Wddty are already in supporter of CAM, and suspicious od modern medicine, WDDTY sold in WHSMITH or Tesco will have very little impact anyway,
    how many people do you think will die as a result of the sale of this rag in a shrinking business like Smith?
    It seems to me that you are making a lot of fuss for very little, meanwhile MacTaggart is getting richer by the minute courtesy of all the copies of her rag bought by the “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”- like skeptics.
    May be on her next add for WDDTY she could mention: “as seen on the Quackometer blog”
    You are wasting your time on this one Andy, so to occupy you busy little brain cells: how about a review of Ben Goldacre’s latest?

    • Ricky
      October 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      It is not a freedom of speech issue. No one has the right to pass off falsehoods as truth, especially when those falsehoods can have serious negative consequences if believed. Alternative medicine is medicine which has not yet been proven to work – thus it should be illegal to market it as medically valid. Put on a white coat and call yourself ‘Doctor’ and people will trust what you say. That worked for Gillian Mckeith until she was unmasked. Someone who assumes that power should not be allowed free rein.

      • Will
        October 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        “No one has the right to pass off falsehoods as truth, especially when those falsehoods can have serious negative consequences if believed.”

        So that’s all the world’s many and varied religions screwed then.

        • Acleron
          October 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

          Hopefully :)

  19. JimR.
    October 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    If anyone has the talent, launch a parody website of each issue of the magazine with outrageous adverts (with a this is a lie in the corner). Be sure and place a phrase in the keywords that will land in the top search results. Be careful to never slander anyone, thing or LLC. Who knows a spoof article may be picked up and published in the Iranian news.

  20. Liam Mulvany
    October 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Yet again Andy has been very selective in his blog. A certain professor who regularly blogs and produces studies and research papers that are consistently show to have flaws and bias are OK by him, but a magazine that doesn’t agree with what Mr Lewis believes??? what is the world coming to. WDDTY as been around for years, in the 90′s they had magazines and books and it just so happens that in 1999 I had to have a hernia repair. I researched the procedure and the only place I found any real studies of the outcomes was in WDDTY. This showed that the routine procedure of suture repair had a very high failure rate in the first 2 years, so I opted to go for the fairly new mesh repair which is now common practice. Andy thinks this magazine should be pulled for the good of the stupid but some newspapers take a different view. Observer “rings alarm bells before they become the stuff of national panic”
    “Its hallmark has been its in-depth research, and hard-won information of a quality that can change lives for the better. It’s been cited in law courts, it’s been used to encourage doctors to change their treatments, and our filing cabinets are full of testimonials from thousands of people whose lives have been helped by our information.

    We’ve also published around 35 books on health, we run regular workshops and conferences, and – best of all – everything we’ve ever written is available on this website for you to search.”

    Andy you are starting to sound like somebody on a religious crusade.

    • truthspeaker
      October 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      It’s not about disagreeing what Lewis believes, it’s about disagreeing with reality.

  21. October 3, 2012 at 10:40 am

    It’s obvious Andy doesn’t understand the basic principles of a libertarian society. May I suggest as I have before that he moves to a less liberal society such as North Korea – It would be more in keeping with his mindset.
    If he wants to stop WDDTY he can buy a WHS share and attend their AGMs and make his point. It would be his right. If he isn’t a shareholder, he has no right to attempt to restrict the supply of the publication. He is perfectly free to try and persuade people that it is full of nonsense if he so wishes but demanding a ban is arrogant and somewhat bonkers.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Oh dear – the “why don’t you move to North Korea” gambit.

  22. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Stewart,

    Please, clarify the point you are making. Is it that in an open society people have the right to believe and publish utter bollocks? I can agree to that. But, as I have already said, if I personally were a retailer I would feel no obligation to disseminate those bollocks. WHS has chosen not to sell Paul Raymond magazines, so they do seem to choose not to desemenate bollocks when it suits them.

    I do hope you are not coming at this from a position of insisting that WDDTY is a reliable source of medical information. If you are then I would ask you to deal in turn with each of the specific points that critics of WDDTY have made. I offer you one link and a quote from higher up this thread.

    http://jaycueaitch.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/what-doctors-dont-tell-you-the-magazine/

    Beet It Sport, concentrated beetroot stamina shot. “100% natural ingredients increase exercise efficiency, enhance oxygen utilisation, speed muscle recovery. (Full page ad, http://www.beet-it.com/sport)

    ***********************************************************

    “Q-Link, Combat: Stress, poor performance, fuzzy thinking…the electronic devices you use and depend on each day generate electromagnetic fields. Reserach shows these EMF’s may undermine performance and well-being and have a biological effect on the body. The Q-Link CLEAR utilizes sypathetic resonance tuning which acts as a tuning fork for the body sesonating with and reinforcing your own electrical fields” (Full page ad, http://www.emf-protectio.co.uk)

    *************************************************************

    Medical Thermal Imaging Ltd. 100% safe breast screening…thermography can detect active breast abnormality before its possible with mamography. (Full page, http://www.medicalthermalimaging.co.uk)

    *************************************************************

    Earthing, Nature’s solution to health. How earthing can help your health and wellbeing. You can connect with the earth with bare feet or with indoor earthing sheets and mats. The earth then shares it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory anti aging electrons from its inexhaustible store…robust studies show significant improvements in sleep, vitality, rebalancing of key hormones…improvements in circulation and reductions in blood pressure… (Full page ad, http://www.bioenergyproducts.co.uk/sps10)

    WDDTY has the right to free speech. It does not have the right for its assertions to be true and nor do its advertisers. I’d really like to see your defence of the Q-lInk.

  23. October 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    The economics of magazine publication are such that advertising is an important revenue stream. Advertising and marketing are not “free speech” and are subject to all sorts of legislation and regulation. It has to be remembered that whilst the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is a voluntary regulator, other agencies do have legal powers to enforce consumer protection legislation. The regulation of medicines advertising is the remit of the MHRA and there is legislation.

    Certainly, WDDTY would appear to be unfamiliar with guidance on marketing claims and do not vet advertising. Whether WDDTY would be economically viable with reduced advertising is moot.

  24. Liam mulvany
    October 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Something from the wddty blog. I think we know who was responsible for this don’t we andy. Again you seem to have a much better understanding of cancer treatments than most oncologists. I would like to know what you think about the last few sentences.
    “We recently fell foul of the Cancer Act 1939. It’s the same pernicious act that forced the cancellation of an alternative cancer conference in Totnes, Devon the other month, which was to feature the Italian oncologist Tullio Simoncini. For us, we have been stopped from advertising our cancer books and recordings with some of the world’s great cancer pioneers.
    The act is brutal in its simplicity. It prevents the advertising to the public of any cancer therapy. It matters not if the therapy has saved lives, has been proven to work, or is carried out by qualified doctors – nobody is allowed to advertise the fact.
    The ban was a very English affair. A very nice lady from the local Trading Standards office knocked on our office door one day, and said she had received complaints from several other trading districts about our cancer products.
    Looking over the act, or, rather, the two paragraphs that applied to our activities, quickly made me see that, indeed, we were bang to rights. Failure to comply could result in a fine, then a larger fine, and finally imprisonment.
    While I love porridge, I decided I didn’t like it that much, and so agreed to remove the advertisements. Now, instead of explaining what you might read if you bought our Cancer Handbook, for instance, we are allowed to describe it only thus: ‘Cancer Book’.
    I’d like to think that the intention behind the act was an honourable one. People who have cancer are more vulnerable, and should be protected from snake-oil salesmen who sell them a useless product. Quite right, too. But what about the therapies that do work, and have been demonstrated to work in helping thousands of cancer patients? Don’t people have a right to hear about those?
    The answer is supplied in the act’s small print: it was written in association with the then National Radium Trust, the authority that managed radiology, one of the two main conventional treatments for cancer. The act also permitted the Treasury to lend up to £500,000 to the trust, roughly equivalent to £90 million in today’s money.
    Because there is no distinction made between ‘quack’ therapies and those that have proven and demonstrable merit, the act denies the cancer patient the right to truly informed consent.
    The path to hell is paved by good intentions – but perhaps the intentions of those who drafted the act weren’t so pure in the first place.”

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      What nonsense.

      The Cancer Act does not prevent informed consent. Nor does it stop people from reading about all sorts of whacky views on cancer and health.

      What it does do is quite simple: stop people advertising that they can treat cancer. It encourages that referrals to treatment take place in the context of discussions and decisions between a patient and their GP. Not after unsubstantiated claims from whoever.

      • Liam mulvany
        October 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm

        It stops oncologists saying they can treat cancer. And who do you think the patient is referred to after seeing their gp? Who do you think is best placed to make a decision on possible treatments for different people. The gp? The patient? An oncologist? And the comment is right that if types of treatment have helped cancer and there are recorded cases of this happening, without the back up of gold standard rct, and you prevent a cancer sufferer from finding possible treatments and researching that treatment or trying it then you have indeed denied informed consent.

      • Liam mulvany
        October 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        I think the key words are “demonstratable merit” not wacky views.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

          How is “merit” demonstrated? Your answer cannot include the word “patients’ own stories” or “testimonials”, so I’m interested to hear what you suggest.

          • Liam mulvany
            October 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm

            Bsm are you saying all treatments available either privately or on the nhs are backed with solid evidence? If only rct backed treatments are to be the only treatment available then many procedures would be pulled and new ideas would never see the light of day. Is surgery not dictated by the skill and experience of the surgeon? The specialist in the subject. Then why is andy so against oncologists having certain views on treatments for cancer.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            October 4, 2012 at 6:42 am

            Liam,

            I simply asked how “merit” is demonstrated. You have not answered that.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            October 4, 2012 at 7:44 am

            Look, Liam, perhaps we can make this specific rather than general.

            “Q-Link, Combat: Stress, poor performance, fuzzy thinking…the electronic devices you use and depend on each day generate electromagnetic fields. Reserach shows these EMF’s may undermine performance and well-being and have a biological effect on the body. The Q-Link CLEAR utilizes sypathetic resonance tuning which acts as a tuning fork for the body sesonating with and reinforcing your own electrical fields”

            Does the Q-Link have “proven and demonstrable merit”?
            How has that merit been proven and demonstrated?

          • Liam Mulvany
            October 4, 2012 at 11:36 am

            Please check my last few posts, ive been specific. BSM and comment if you like.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            October 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

            Liam, at the risk of this descending into tedious meta-discussion, I can find no specific example from you of non-conventional treatments that are of “proven and demonstrable merit”. Cite them again and let’s discuss them.

            In the meantime, present you defence of the Q-Link, as advertised in WDDTY. You seem not to want to do that.

  25. October 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    If particular companies or people or institutions don’t like the content of WDDTY and feel that they are defamed or misrepresented etc, they can always go to the courts and attempt to destroy the magazine with damages. The BMA etc could make pronouncements in the media if there really was serious baloney being printed.
    It is not appropriate in a democratic society for a small group of fanatics to impede distribution. It could be compared to the Taliban in Afghanistan vetting the media for anything that is not islamic.
    All people must find particular publications not to their taste and objectionable. If all had their way and stopped distribution, there would be little on offer to anybody.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      I do find it interesting that the quack answer to everything is to reach for the lawyers.

      I would like to proceed with some discussion and persuasion first if that is OK with you.

      • Grumpycat
        October 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

        I thought that WDDTY were winning this one with all the publicity and no doubt extra sales.
        Then WDDTY fall into the trap and make a threat to libel Simon Singh.

  26. Liam mulvany
    October 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Just nipped into whsmiths. I think I would be happier if they didn’t seller ” the hackers manual ” or “what gun”

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Are these publications full of misleading information that could harm people?

  27. Liam mulvany
    October 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Are you sure that’s what wddty is? Have you any evidence of somebody being harmed after following advice in the magazine? If you have please post it. If you have no evidence whatsoever then your argument is not valid, is conjecture and based on your personal belief, not evidence. You maybe quacking. I have evidence that information in wddty has been very beneficial and was actually stating a standard procedure used in the nhs was failing and has since been changed. Wddty has actual be proved right with time.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      I think it more pertinent to wonder if WDDTY take responsibility for ensuring their content does no harm. The level of misinformation within there would suggest this is not a priority.

      • tijiva
        October 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        Andy Lewis

        You should read this and check your statements.

        http://medicineiskillingyou.blogspot.in/2012/01/medical-conspiracy-to-contain-and.html

      • Avijit
        October 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        Andy Lewis

        …….The level of misinformation within there would suggest this is not a priority.

        I am in total agreement. Starting from Quackometer?

      • Liam mulvany
        October 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

        So no actual evidence then. How disappointing. So you make statements and blog assumption based on your own beliefs as to what damage this magazine is doing to the general public. You sound like a quack. Giving medical advice about something you have no evidence to back up your argument.

        • Daniel
          October 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

          Nice try reversing the whole “burden of proof” thing.

      • Lynden Alexander
        February 14, 2013 at 1:01 am

        Dear Andy

        I have worked my way through most of the posts in this blog. What seems clear to me is that “The Quackometer” Blog is populated mostly by people who are single-minded in supporting and protecting the allopathic medical model. I have no problem with this, with one proviso – to enable the allopathic medical model to exist as the sole approach to medical treatment, it must demonstrate total mastery in the prevention and treatment of disease.

        The last figure I read for the number of people who avoidably die in hospital each year in the UK was I recall 25,000. The numbers of people who die when taking (correctly prescribed) medications each year is many tens of thousands. When we talk of harm, we must deal with the harm on both sides of the argument.

        The content of the posts in much of this blog seems to be that if a company producing an alternative product cannot produce the scientific studies to prove their claims, then the product is inherently risking the lives of patients who could receive the total/proper/correct solution that the allopathic medical model provides. [Incidentally, I have some involvement in drugs trials - I know exactly what these trials cost to deliver. The reality is that the demand for alternative producers to prove their claims in the same way that international pharmaceutical companies do would be to create an effective ban on any alternative product - a ban imposed before anyone knows if these products are proven to be effective or not. Surely this is not a scientific approach to the issue of alternative treatment? or is science to be reserved only for those companies that can afford it?]

        This is where I perceive the Quackometer Blog’s argument disintegrates. The allopathic medical model does not have anywhere near mastery in the prevention and treatment of disease. In many areas it is failing despite the astonishing level of investment that takes place in it every year. The search for alternatives is a critical one given the number of areas where allopathy has no answers of only limited answers. It is more than possible that the nature of the allopathic approach means that it will continue to struggle with the treatment of many diseases.

        The choice being offered to people is not between an allopathic model that has the answer and an alternative model that does not. It is a choice between an allopathic model that has strengths and weaknesses and alternative therapies that also have strengths and weaknesses. As such, the criticism of alternative approaches is unbalanced. Perhaps a column discussing the areas in which allopathic medicine despite being the dominant model for 100 years is failing to make progress would be enlightening for all who write here.

        In my experience, the people who involve themselves in alternative treatment of disease have either failed to find resolution using the allopathic model or want from their own volition to pursue an alternative model of treatment and are quite capable of doing their own research into claims that are being made. I see no reason for limiting their freedom to do so.

        I often work with doctors and their complaint is not that their patients are incapable of learning about and understanding their illnesses, but rather that their patients come with stacks of information that they wish to discuss in a 10-minute appointment that is not fit for the purpose. The image of the weak-willed and gullible patient rushing off to WHS to be misled by WDDTY seems a little exaggerated to say the least.

        So I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the following points:

        1) how do you explain the unacceptably high death rates from the engagement of ordinary people with the allopathic treatment of disease? (Remember these are people dying not from disease but from their treatment.) Would the Blog do more good focussing on seeking to prevent these tragically unnecessary deaths?

        2) how should a person who has not been cured using allopathic medicines gain access to new ideas and approaches being suggested by alternative treatments if this magazine is to be banned?

        3) how should the funding of healthcare be altered to allow alternative companies to carry out more research into their products? (and if not, can the demand for such trial results be sustained?) Is there not an argument for more research into alternative approaches that have a body of patient and practitioner feedback as to their effectiveness being given research funding?

        4) what is the scientific basis for the argument made here that to provide information about alternative products is to risk the relationship between the patient and his/her doctor?

        Finally, to seek the removal of a publication because it does not accord with the views of the people on this blog IS an issue of free speech – I cannot see how it can be anything else. I see that one blogger suggests its an issue of ‘responsible speech’ and that the claimed irresponsibility of WDDTY should be enough to have it removed from sale.

        In a society that proclaims to uphold freedom of expression, I would need to see clear evidence that this magazine is doing demonstrable harm. Without such evidence, the idea of banning its publication is both irresponsible and deeply offensive to anyone who upholds the right to freedom of expression.

        All the best

        Lynden

        • Andy Lewis
          February 14, 2013 at 1:15 am

          Lynden – there is no such thing as the ‘allopathic medical model’. It is the invention of homeopaths. Therefore the whole premise of your argument is flawed from the first paragraph.

          Perhaps you would like to define ‘allopathic’? See if you can do it. Remember in your answer that it is the 21st Century.

          • Lynden Alexander
            February 14, 2013 at 2:47 am

            Dear Andy

            I raise important issues because I want to hear your opinion – I do not spend my time writing responses to blogs unless I consider the issues to be important. You reply by dismissing my entire argument based on my use of the word ‘allopathy’.

            This is a word defined in the OED as ‘the treatment of disease by conventional means’. I am not sure of why you object to the use of this word to describe conventional medicine – but I am quite happy for you to substitute into my post ‘conventional medicine’ or the ‘conventional medical model’ (as appropriate) if this enables you to engage with the issues I raise.

            To dismiss the points I raise because you object to the use of a OED defined word places you in a poor light. Perhaps you would accord me the respect that I accord you by engaging with the points I raise – or if you wish, to clearly say that you do not wish to engage with these points, with a clear reason as to why not.

            Many thanks

            Lynden

          • Andy Lewis
            February 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

            Lynden. I consulted my shorter oxford and it defines allopathy as “the treatment of disease by inducing the opposite condition. Opp. Homeopathy”. Did you look up your definition in the OED or were you just making it up?

            Allopathy is defined as the opposite of homeopathy. A word coined by Hahnemann. As the doctrine of homeopathy is false, so is the concept of allopathy. There is no doctor alive that practices according to a doctrine of allopathy. As such, your statements remain nonsensical.

            I will be happy to answer any coherent questions you may have.

          • Mojo
            February 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

            Actually, my OED (11th concise edition, 2004) doesn’t quite define “allopathy” it like that. It says, “the treatment of disease by conventional means, i.e. with drugs having opposite effects to the symptoms”. This is Hahnemann’s definition of 18th century medicine. Modern medcine doesn’t do this.

          • Lynden Alexander
            February 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

            Dear Mojo

            As I have already said, I have no particular need to use the word ‘allopathy’ to make the points I would like to discuss.

            I am happy to also invite you to substitute ‘conventional medicine’ or ‘conventional medical model’ into my post (if you find those words more acceptable) and to actually engage with the issues I have raised.

            Regards

            Lynden

          • Andy Lewis
            February 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

            I am sorry Lynden, but your whole statement is full of errors and false assumptions. Take this one:

            “to enable the allopathic medical model to exist as the sole approach to medical treatment, it must demonstrate total mastery in the prevention and treatment of disease”

            Even if we substitute the word allopathy for a meaningful one, like “scientific”, you are quite clearly wrong. Why does medicine need to demonstrate ‘total mastery’? It does not claim to. Doctors know of the huge limitations of what they do. That does not mean any old discredited idea, like homeopathy, gets a free look in.

          • Lynden Alexander
            February 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

            Thanks for your reply Andy – I attempted to respond to your earlier post but got a “404 site not found” message.

            I need to head out this afternoon, but will happily reply to this and any further posts later on.

            All the best

            Lynden

          • Lynden Alexander
            February 15, 2013 at 12:33 am

            Dear Andy

            I am being asked by you and others to clarify my use of language and I am happy to do so.

            When I talk of the ‘convention medical model’, I imagine the situation where a client goes to his doctor complaining of a chest infection. The doctor takes a history (if he has time) and listens to the client’s chest. He diagnoses a bacterial infection.

            The doctor’s approach (guided by his understanding of disease and its action in the body) is to prescribe probably an antibiotic to attempt to kill off the infection. When I use the word ‘model’ I refer to his medical education and the presuppositions about the treatment of disease that are inherent in that education and guide his actions as he diagnoses and prescribes. He has learnt and no doubt has experience of using particular drugs to treat particular infections. We hope the treatment is effective and that the infection recedes.

            Skepticat challenges my use of the word ‘model’ because he says it implies that there are other models available, which he says ‘are being challenged here’ – by which I interpret him to mean that no other approach is efficacious and therefore valid. I will return to this below, but let me explain my understanding of some of the other models that this client may choose to explore instead: (and as I hope you are aware, I have no particular axe to grind as to which of these alternative models a client may choose to explore.)

            The client may go to a Traditional Chinese Medical herbalist whose first thought will be (I imagine) “Why did this infection take hold in the lungs of this client.” He will use his examination to check how the ‘chi’ – the life force as he would term it – is flowing through the organs and would seek to provide a herbal remedy that would, for example, increase the flow of blood into the lungs with other herbs to have an antibacterial effect. The model in this kind of medicine is to help the body fight the infection by supporting the function of the lungs rather than simply attacking the pathogen alone.

            A naturopath may approach the infection by seeking to flood the body with anti-oxidants (perhaps this is the Vit C controversy in action) to fortify the cell membranes around the infected tissues and so help the patient’s own immune system to fight the disease more effectively than would otherwise be possible.

            And of course, we mustn’t forget your beloved homeopaths who would seek to find a remedy that would trigger an immune response in a patient, so that the patient’s immune system is kick-started into an effective response.

            These three models of treating the client share little or nothing at all with the conventional medical model. As I understand your position and that of Skepticat, these alternative approaches cannot use the word ‘medical’ at all because the only genuine/true/effective/acceptable ‘medical’ model is the GP with his drug prescriptions.

            But if we remove the word ‘medical’ and insert some other more neutral work, let’s say ‘approach’ as in ‘alternative approach’ , you have not solved any question or won any argument about the treatment of disease – you have simply renamed it. The issue remains, all that we have achieved is moving to another position in the language. These other models exist, they are fundamentally different to the GP’s model, they do not conform to the conventional understanding of disease.

            Your argument (for that is what it is) is these alternative models for approaching the treatment of the infection are invalid/ineffective/corrupt – “quackery”. I suspect, if you are honest, you would ban them all outright from tomorrow morning if you had the chance. But you are clear in your desire to ban a magazine that promotes such alternatives and points the finger at some of the suspect/corrupt practices of the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry. Whether the magazine needs to improve its advertising is an issue that can be addressed, but in essence, you don’t like the fact that it dares to criticise the medical model that you believe is the only model that is valid.

            Let’s go back to our patient with the chest infection. It turns out that the bacterial infection that he has does not respond to antibiotics or any other treatment that the doctor can offer (i.e. it is drug resistant). If you have already banned all the other alternatives then what does this man do? If you have simply banned the magazine, where does this man find ideas and information to attempt to find relief from his infection? (Do you think the Internet is a better source of information on alternative approaches?)

            You have, with your fundamentalist duality of right/wrong, medical/quackery, acceptable/unacceptable, either taken away this man’s right to take responsibility for his own health or you have limited his access to any information that does not meet your narrowly defined version of acceptability and your vehemently held beliefs about its status.

            To someone like me, who believes that people have the right to make choices for themselves and often have an instinctive sense of what is right for themselves, the attitude of superiority inherent in your call for the banning of this magazine is a deeply disturbing and dangerous precedent for the cause of individual freedoms and for freedom of self-expression. I have no problem with you critiquing this magazine (it may help if you were more measured and thoughtful in your approach), but calling for a ban because WDDTY doesn’t happen to agree with you and promotes alternatives is simply wrong.

            I see you use the word “scientific” and term it ‘meaningful’. The definition of this word has been fought over for 100 years and is being actively fought over today. You I notice do not define it, but I am sure that the only other expression of the word you recognise is “unscientific”. The rhetoric is clear – term what you believe in “scientific” and brand everything else “unscientific” and therefore as “quackery”. The irony is that many people continue to use and benefit from these alternative treatment approaches, whether you term it scientific or not.

            You have taken a heavy responsibility upon yourself. You would deny our man with his chest infection the opportunity to choose his own healing process, even when the only modality you recognise has failed to help him.

            Presumably you would do this in the name of “science” and the consequences for him would be a price worth paying for the removal of any alternative to your own view of the world.

            Having taken part in some communication with you, I am now sure that this ban you are calling for and the reasons you give to support it are based solely in your own fundamentalist beliefs rather than as a carefully thought through and balanced approach to the realities of illness and disease.

            In my opinion, every person has the right to respond to their illness in the manner that they choose – with the proviso that they do not endanger others as they do so – and can take responsibility for the risks inherent in the different modes of treatment that are practised – conventional or alternative.

            Regards

            Lynden

          • Andy Lewis
            February 15, 2013 at 1:16 am

            Lynden – let’s get a few things out of the way. I am not trying to ‘silence’ wddty. I do think though that retailers are irresponsible for stocking it. That is because it is just full of misinformation. Most of what it says is either unproven, a distortion or wrong. Such information does not help people make better health care choices. If taken on board, it inhibits good decision making. Should a patient have a long term complaint that is not being resolved by medicine, then misinformation is not going to help them.

            Such a person is of course free to chose their own ‘healing processes’. But no matter how much is printed in wddty, there is no such thing as chi, naturopathy is nonsense, homeopathy is pseudoscientific and unicorns don’t exist.

            Tell me Lynden. What responsibility do you think does wddty have to ensure what it prints is accurate, evidence-based and complete?

          • Lynden Alexander
            February 15, 2013 at 2:36 am

            Dear Andy

            I completely agree that everyone has a responsibility to be as accurate and complete as possible. It is what I get up every morning in my professional life to do and I think the world will be a better place for it if we seek to encourage this in all human activity.

            That is why I am supportive of reasoned and informed criticism of WDDTY and anyone else who puts themselves forward as an authority. I will be as critical of shoddy reportage in WDDTY as I would be of a pharmaceutical company that withholds study results that do not support its drug application. That is fair comment and when people fall short then it is fine to be critical.

            But those standards also must apply to the critic – the critic needs to be fair and informed. The critic has his/her responsibility to understand that there isn’t one coherent narrative that explains everything. The nature of knowledge is that it is paradoxical and chaotic, because the basis of our understanding is so incomplete. So while I support your desire for a quality of knowledge, you also have a responsibility to engage constructively through your personal experience with these other treatment models, so that your criticism can be informed.

            I have spent the last ten years of my life working to understand all of the available models. When you watch someone being destroyed by a disease and who cannot be helped by conventional means, then the choice is either to cast around in desperation for any straw of a chance or it is to find and crunch the data – not as an intellectual exercise, but as a practical exploration. The reason I found this blog is that I have an interest in High-Dosage Vitamin C therapy. I have spent four years exploring it. I know a lot of what it does, but there is so much to learn and understand. My direct experience is that it should not so easily be dismissed. There is potential in it.

            There are certainly some charlatans out there – I have met a few in the alternative word during this exploration, and some of them also wore white coats and worked in hospitals – but there are also intelligent and committed people, those who work in the alternative models you dismiss without a shred of respect. Some of these people are discovering and exploring interesting and challenging ideas.

            When you consider that Mach opposed Einstein on atomic theory because he hadn’t yet proved that atoms exist, it is easy with hindsight to think Mach was closed-minded fool, but in fact he was pursuing a very narrow definition of what science is and what is acceptable within its boundaries.

            I cannot support the way that you dismiss that which you seem only to explore from an intellectually superior position of its ‘not medicine’. In many ways, you are the precise reflection of the team at WDDTY. Your dismissal of other approaches as though you really know what is happening out there in the world is disheartening. I respect your right to critique, but not your right to dismiss. And certainly not your right to suppress or urge others to do so in response to your critique.

            You use the term “evidence based”. We both know that conventional medicine is struggling to produce the evidence base to explain what it does. Doctors often know what works from their experience – and sometimes they have it wrong – but usually their clinical experience is as good as any study.

            When you demand an evidence base from alternative practitioners who do not have the resources or access to them – not least because of the activities of those who oppose what they do – the demand is simply unjust. The years of experience of treating people with their approaches gives them a wealth of knowledge and expertise. You write this off as though it is irrelevant. You condemn them as dishonest because they exist outside the system you support. You need to get out more and see what is going on.

            I have talked with a researcher about studies into homeopathy (by the way, I am not a particular fan of this model, though I do not dismiss it for the reasons most commonly expressed). He was talking about how difficult it is to apply any kind of methodology to homeopathy, as no set of symptoms will be treated in the same way. The reason is that each person is seen as unique in his/her energy field.

            To the medical mind that is a nonsense. But if you understand their model in their own terms you will see there is a rationale to their approach – even though their focus is totally different to a medical approach. Does that make them necessarily corrupt?

            You are willing to dismiss and condemn – to criticise brutally. I do not. In my opinion, there is nothing more important than people being able to make choices for themselves – it is the basis of a well-lived life. I encourage you to be more circumspect, to be more curious, to gain more insight. Dismissing people with rhetorical flourishes is so simple – any fool can do it. Anyone can bang a drum – but the real challenge is to understand what all the noise is actually about.

            We need to find new ways that ordinary people can live more healthy and dynamic lives. Simply treating illness is not enough. At some point fairly soon Andy, I will share some ideas with you about how some of the noise can be diminished, so that we can actually start listening and learning from each other and maybe creating something more powerful than exists at present – whether in medical or alternative circles. Isn’t this what the true goal is?

            All the best – I have learned a lot by blogging with you – many thanks

            Lynden

          • Andy Lewis
            February 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm

            This discussion now continues at the bottom of the comments thread.

          • Andy Lewis
            February 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

            My Responses in Italics

            Dear Andy

            I completely agree that everyone has a responsibility to be as accurate and complete as possible. It is what I get up every morning in my professional life to do and I think the world will be a better place for it if we seek to encourage this in all human activity.

            Great.

            That is why I am supportive of reasoned and informed criticism of WDDTY and anyone else who puts themselves forward as an authority. I will be as critical of shoddy reportage in WDDTY as I would be of a pharmaceutical company that withholds study results that do not support its drug application. That is fair comment and when people fall short then it is fine to be critical.

            We only then need to agree on what is shoddy reporting.

            But those standards also must apply to the critic – the critic needs to be fair and informed. The critic has his/her responsibility to understand that there isn’t one coherent narrative that explains everything. The nature of knowledge is that it is paradoxical and chaotic, because the basis of our understanding is so incomplete. So while I support your desire for a quality of knowledge, you also have a responsibility to engage constructively through your personal experience with these other treatment models, so that your criticism can be informed.

            I do not claim that there is “one coherent narrative” to everything also science gives us the best narrative we have to explain the world. Know of any better competing narratives? I would also argue that I do engage constructively. I would strongly argue that supporters of various alt meds are the once who are incapable of engaging as their minds are shut to the possibility that they are mistaken.

            I have spent the last ten years of my life working to understand all of the available models. When you watch someone being destroyed by a disease and who cannot be helped by conventional means, then the choice is either to cast around in desperation for any straw of a chance or it is to find and crunch the data – not as an intellectual exercise, but as a practical exploration. The reason I found this blog is that I have an interest in High-Dosage Vitamin C therapy. I have spent four years exploring it. I know a lot of what it does, but there is so much to learn and understand. My direct experience is that it should not so easily be dismissed. There is potential in it.

            Are you sure you are not just falling into the alluring trap of feeling that Vitamin C must be good for us in high doses?

            There are certainly some charlatans out there – I have met a few in the alternative word during this exploration, and some of them also wore white coats and worked in hospitals – but there are also intelligent and committed people, those who work in the alternative models you dismiss without a shred of respect. Some of these people are discovering and exploring interesting and challenging ideas.

            How do you tell the charlatans from the intelligent and committed people? In my experience, the best charlatans appear as intelligent and committed people and have probably even fooled themselves.

            When you consider that Mach opposed Einstein on atomic theory because he hadn’t yet proved that atoms exist, it is easy with hindsight to think Mach was closed-minded fool, but in fact he was pursuing a very narrow definition of what science is and what is acceptable within its boundaries.

            Minds were changed by evidence. That is the only thing that matters.

            I cannot support the way that you dismiss that which you seem only to explore from an intellectually superior position of its ‘not medicine’. In many ways, you are the precise reflection of the team at WDDTY. Your dismissal of other approaches as though you really know what is happening out there in the world is disheartening. I respect your right to critique, but not your right to dismiss. And certainly not your right to suppress or urge others to do so in response to your critique.

            What I do with WDDTY is point out how they are highly selective in their appraisal of evidence, partisan to the reading of the evidence and far too accepting of unevidenced and irrational alternative ideas. When they are consistent in this approach I feel I am perfectly entitled to dismiss them.

            You use the term “evidence based”. We both know that conventional medicine is struggling to produce the evidence base to explain what it does. Doctors often know what works from their experience – and sometimes they have it wrong – but usually their clinical experience is as good as any study.

            Absolute nonsense. Clinical experience is no substitute for robust evidence from trials. This is the central mistake that all believers in superstitious medicines make. That one can KNOW the truth though some direct experience of reality.

            When you demand an evidence base from alternative practitioners who do not have the resources or access to them – not least because of the activities of those who oppose what they do – the demand is simply unjust. The years of experience of treating people with their approaches gives them a wealth of knowledge and expertise. You write this off as though it is irrelevant. You condemn them as dishonest because they exist outside the system you support. You need to get out more and see what is going on.

            Again nonsense. Homeopathy is a multi-billion euro industry. Boiron in France makes hundreds of millions alone. Vitamins and supplements form a $30 Billion dollar industry in the USA alone. Experience is no substitute foe evidence. Every systematic medical mistake comes about because of ‘experience’.

            I have talked with a researcher about studies into homeopathy (by the way, I am not a particular fan of this model, though I do not dismiss it for the reasons most commonly expressed). He was talking about how difficult it is to apply any kind of methodology to homeopathy, as no set of symptoms will be treated in the same way. The reason is that each person is seen as unique in his/her energy field.

            You researcher friend was just repeating the same old tired nonsense. Homeopathy can easily be tested. It is just that homeopaths do not like the results so they claim they are somehow special. And as for ‘energy field’. What is your best evidence that such a field exists?

            To the medical mind that is a nonsense. But if you understand their model in their own terms you will see there is a rationale to their approach – even though their focus is totally different to a medical approach. Does that make them necessarily corrupt?

            That is because it is nonsense. I do understand their model. It is delusional wishful thinking.

            You are willing to dismiss and condemn – to criticise brutally. I do not. In my opinion, there is nothing more important than people being able to make choices for themselves – it is the basis of a well-lived life. I encourage you to be more circumspect, to be more curious, to gain more insight. Dismissing people with rhetorical flourishes is so simple – any fool can do it. Anyone can bang a drum – but the real challenge is to understand what all the noise is actually about.

            Well maybe you ought to be more critical of nonsense and not just accept any old garbage that alt med people come out with. I would suggest that I do understand the world of alt med better than anyone actually practicing it. That is because I am not deluded about chi, meridian, magic unicorns, lay lines and fairies.

            We need to find new ways that ordinary people can live more healthy and dynamic lives. Simply treating illness is not enough. At some point fairly soon Andy, I will share some ideas with you about how some of the noise can be diminished, so that we can actually start listening and learning from each other and maybe creating something more powerful than exists at present – whether in medical or alternative circles. Isn’t this what the true goal is?

            Good. Please be prepared to back up any assertion with robust evidence.

            All the best – I have learned a lot by blogging with you – many thanks

            Lynden

          • February 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm

            Lynden, I think Andy dismissed your entire argument not so much on the word ‘allopathy’ but on what you mean by it, whatever you call it. It is the concept of an “allopathic medical model” – and the implication that there are other models – that are being challenged here and that is why your argument fails at the first hurdle. Your premise, as AL stated, is flawed.

            It is helpful, when presenting an argument, to clarify contentious terms. Why not help us by describing your understanding of the “allopathic medical model”?

          • February 15, 2013 at 12:36 am

            Lynden Alexander said something…

            Oh dear.

          • John H
            February 15, 2013 at 12:46 am

            Jeezus Lynden

            I thought I was verbose but you make me look like a model of succinctness.

            Regarding all of the points you raised my diagnosis is that you are (a) a clever tone troll (of sorts) and (b) a grand master of advanced PRATTery.

          • Colin Bell
            February 15, 2013 at 1:41 am

            Shocking! The responses to Lynden’s posts are evasive and often childish and pathetic. I thought I had seen it all already but, I am speechless!!

            Do you forget that people will visit your site and read your comments? Give the Quackometer enough rope…

          • Alan Henness (aka Zeno)
            February 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

            Andy said:

            Homeopathy can easily be tested.

            Indeed. Even the Homeopathic Research Institute think so. They are currently trying to raise a mere £15,000 to conduct a trial: A protocol for a trial of homeopathic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.

            The protocol may well be designed to give them the results they are looking for, but it’ll be interesting to see if and when they conduct it.

            Of course, this gives a lie to the usual complaint that good trials cost thousands/millions/billions – not that this is a good trial, of course.

            Anyway, their fundraising has been going for several months and only 17 people have donated a total of less than £1,500. Homeopaths frequently crave scientific respectability, yet seem reluctant to put their hands in their pockets for even this modest sum.

        • Martin
          February 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

          Dear Lynden

          From the other side of the world, bravo!! An eloquent riposte to the incredible volume of bigoted bullshit posted on this blog. I owe my life to so called “alternative” (nutritional) therapy and my open minded GP is delighted. There is good and bad in all medical procedures and therapies, but we should never lose sight of the fact that what is now accepted, conventional medicine was once “alternative” and experimental. Our minds should always remain open to new ideas and the right to freedom of expression over this particular issue is far too important to be suppressed.

  28. Jo D. Baker
    October 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I have just been listening to the interview with the magazine’s owner, Lynne McTaggart, on R4′s Inside Health with Dr Mark Porter.

    The full programme can be found at:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n11xb

    The interview commences at 1 min 30 seconds into the programme. When questioned about the dubious advertisements McTaggart gives her response at 3 mins 40 seconds but for those of you who can’t access the broadcast what she exactly says is this:

    “…We do vet our ads there are plenty I have turned down…advertising is a very small part of our income we have always been completetly reliant on subscribers and I have signs all over my desk saying not for sale…”

    I do not have my copy of WDDTY in front of me right now (it’s in the bin!) but I repeat what I said earlier, this publication is saturated with the kind of claims that would have made a Victorian snake oil salesman blush.

    And as well as the explicit Ads I think that we will find there are a lot of what might be called sponsored advertisements or Advertorials.

    My feeling is that the advertising revenues will be very significant and important for WDDTY but even if they are not a selection of well focussed ASA complaints will bring them the kind of exposure that they really do not want. Is anyone up for this? Some direction please, I have never done an ASA complaint before but guess you only need a half dozen or so people to divvy up the work and you could get some significant results.

  29. Liam mulvany
    October 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    So are you complaining about the actual material in wddty or the ads?

    • Jo D. Baker
      October 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Insofar as the actual articles might be little more than product advertisements and, hopefully, susceptible to a good knee-capping by the ASA I say both. :-)

  30. Matt
    October 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Arguably WDDTY isn’t speech as in “free speech” at all but is actually advice. Advice is a product and as such should conform to higher quality standards than declaiming the last idea that occurred to you.

    A good analogy for WDDTY might be the City Slicker share ramping scam[1] where journalists in the Mirror Tabloid bought shares, tipped them to small investors and finally sold their own holdings at a profit.

    This parallels the way in which WDDTY allegedly uses printed media to create and sustain a market for worthless, or actively harmful, produces and advice.

    As a general rule companies in control of a medium of dissemination should not control the message, so it’s probably not a good idea for WHSmith to respond to calls to stop stocking WDDTY. That said, calling for such a withdrawal is a good way to focus attention on the issue.

    [1]http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/jun/10/pressandpublishing.mirror1

    • Liam mulvany
      October 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Again where your evidence? Don’t use an analogy give us some evidence. I have provided you with positive outcomes from research taken from wddty. To say what in it is worthless is expressing your opinion. Fine but you are wrong. I have given you an example where information taken from wddty had been very beneficial. Or are you saying that because you don’t agree with what’s in wddty it’s worthless? You are quacking as much as mr Lewis. Give me evidence that articles in wddty is dangerous.

      • Andy Lewis
        October 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        Liam. Once again. I think the onus is always on wddty to supply the evidence. I am sure you agree that supplying misleading health information can harm. It is not up to me to audit what they do. They have a responsibility to not publish absolute bullshit – would you like to defend their output?

        • Liam Mulvany
          October 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

          Andy I disagree, you have thrown a whole load of accusations at wddty. You started with “An almighty battle between quacks and sceptics appears to be underway.
          Last month, saw the publication of a new magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You.”
          Now this is publishing bullshit and is nothing short of scaremongering. WDDTY as been around since 1989.
          You also state that “The website and magazine advertises many problematic health products that could harm people if used in place of real medicine.” but again you cannot provide any evidence to back up this accusation. Its not even an anecdote its what YOU think. How very scientific and sceptical (what happened to the K?) WDDTY has been going for 23 years yet you cannot provide one piece of evidence that this publication is putting people at risk. You then have your following who wait expectantly for you to throw them a morsel to then complain and call the magazine “worthless”.
          I have given you an example of information found in the magazine that is far from worthless.
          “Many doctors used outmoded types of surgery for hernias, hand over this complicated operation to inexperienced juniors or experiment with new, untried techniques.

          The statistics are worrying. It’s four times more dangerous to have a hernia operation than to go without one if you’re over 65, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (New Eng J of Med, 6 December 1973). Death rates vary 14 fold between health districts, and up to 20 per cent of operations have to be repeated within five years. To make matters worse, this recurrence rate rises to 30 per cent following a second operation and by as much as 50 per cent after the third.”

          and are you telling me this piece is worthless.
          “Endometriosis—the cause of many a painful period—might be triggered by a common sunscreen chemical, according to new evidence from America.
          Scientists have long suspected that chemical toxins could be a contributing cause of endometriosis, which can lead to infertility and depression, but this is the first time that the research has focused on sunscreen chemicals—specifically, the benzophenone (BP) type of ingredients that are widely used in a variety of personal-care products to protect the skin and hair from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.”

          And with your experience as a research scientist (sic) I suppose this is utter nonsense.
          Personal care products could be an unsuspected cause of diabetes in women. Chemicals in moisturizers, nail polish, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes increase the risk by up to 70 per cent.
          The most dangerous chemicals are the phthalates, which have already been banned in the manufacture of toys and baby products across Europe and the US. However, they are still permitted in personal care products and cosmetics.

          • Pharmacist-in-Exile
            October 8, 2012 at 7:04 am

            Really? Been around since 1989 but cites statistics from 1973 – cherry anyone?

      • Matt
        October 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

        You may be right that at some point in the past WDDTY was able to offer accessible, professional and objective overview of treatment options. How sad then that it has since retreated into fantasy and is no longer capable of providing the same service to its current readers.

        • Liam Mulvany
          October 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

          Sorry Matt but I don’t agree, I just did this search this morning so this and much more information is available to old new and future readers. I haven’t seen this new magazine, but to label everything done by WDDTY as “worthless” or the “start of a battle” is rubbish. And Andy should know better.

          • Matt
            October 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

            We are talking about the WDDTY magazines printed in Sept and Oct 2012. Not articles in the archive from the last century.

            My point is that rather than produce accessible and objective assessments of NEWLY EMERGING treatments options that GPs may not be aware of and the NHS may not yet have implemented, these mags are producing sensationalist and misleading articles and posting adverts for ineffective or actively harmful goods and services. What on earth does anything written a life time ago have to do with that?

  31. jdc
    October 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I find it interesting that WDDTY claim that “Singh inspired the Nightingale Collaboration, which seeks to stop all alternative practitioners from making any claims whatsoever on their websites.”

    As I understand it, the Nightingale Collaboration seeks to stop alternative practitioners from making any unsubstantiated or misleading claims on their websites. Are WDDTY perhaps under the impression that all claims made by alternative practitioners are unsubstantiated and/or misleading?

    • Colin Bell
      December 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      If the Nightingale Collaboration and other so-called “Quackbusting” sites are concerned about the well-being of the general public why restrict their targets to “alternative” practitioners. Surely they are not naive enough to believe that so-called “conventional” medicine practitioners and drug companies do not make unsubstantiated and misleading claims? If the concerns are genuine and not just a way to get at alternative practitioners then surely this would be a better way to go about things. And what is alternative medicine anyway? Before the big pharmaceutical corporations took over what you call alternative would have been conventional medicine. Go after frauds by all means, it is a noble thing, but go after the fraudsters on both sides. Your idea that ALL alternative medicine is quackery is totally skewed!!

      • December 4, 2012 at 1:35 am

        Colin

        There are a good many things we’d like to do but time, resources and our experience and expertise constrain what we are able to do. Just like everyone else, we do what we can.

        The majority of misleading healthcare claims made to the public are about so-called ‘alternative therapies’ – it is, of course, illegal in the UK for drug companies to advertise prescription medicines to the general public and since they generally comply with that, there’s little to do there.

        So, what is it you do to challenge pharmaceutical companies?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Your idea that ALL alternative medicine is quackery is totally skewed!!

        One example, please, of any altie therapy that is not quackery.

        Over to you.

        • Colin Bell
          December 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

          Are you saying that there was no medicine before the pharmaceutical companies existed? There was no such thing as “alternative” medicine until recently. Medicine came from nature. Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Drugs are extracted from nature unless totally synthetic. Have you studied alternative therapies, to make you an authority on them all? No-one has! I personally cannot prove one way or the other whether each therapy is effective or not. Can you?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

            Colin

            I asked for one example. You have not provided one. Please, do so.

            Thanks

        • Colin Bell
          December 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

          You are kidding right? When you ask for just one example, that is meant to be a challenge? I can name many non “quack” therapies….. acupuncture, herbalism, nutrition. Do you truly believe that food and herbs cant heal? Acupuncture is used by surgeons as well as by the NHS these days. Tell the Chinese their medicine has not worked for the past millennia and the Indian their Ayurvedic medicine. Science is catching on gradually. Tai Chi is incredibly effective……. i personally have been healed using “alternative” methods. My doctor doesn’t believe it but that doesn’t make any less real.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

            Choose one. Nutrition doesn’t count for fairly obvious reasons.

            Acupuncture or herbalism. Which is it to be?

          • December 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

            Anyone else for popcorn?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm

            P.S. it is a strawman of your own making that anyone says that “ALL” alternative medicine is quackery. So far, you seem not to want to test any of it against objective evidence and rational argument.

            Let me ask you the question at the other end of the range. Do you maintain that NONE of alternative medicine is quackery?

            Then the follow-up. If you will not assert that NONE is quackery then tell us how you tell where the boundary lies.

            Come on, Colin. Give it a go

        • Colin Bell
          December 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

          To be honest, I really can’t be bothered to play your game. I made the point I intended to and I am happy to leave it at that. I can guess your mindset and that you have a determination to debunk everything you don’t like. It’s a game to you and it’s fun. I respect that. But, for me, there are far more important things to worry about. All of us are entitled to our own viewpoints but none of us are entitled to bully those who have a different point of view. And that includes the right to publish a magazine without a vocal minority demanding it be shut down. If you don’t like it don’t read it. Simple!

          • Andy Lewis
            December 6, 2012 at 1:26 am

            Folds

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

            Fair enough, Colin, you ‘know’ what you believe. You insist on your right to have your beliefs taken at face value based on your anecdotal experience, but “can’t be bothered” to test the validity of those beliefs against logical argument and objective evidence.

            It’s a tactic we see frequently in advocates of various SCAM therapies. A two-word phrase represents an adequate summary of it: running away.

      • Andy Lewis
        December 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Ahh, the ‘please talk about something else’ gambit.

        • Colin Bell
          December 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

          Not at all

    • Colin Bell
      December 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Quoting Badly Shaved Monkey:

      “Let me ask you the question at the other end of the range. Do you maintain that NONE of alternative medicine is quackery?”

      Quoting myself:

      “Go after frauds by all means, it is a noble thing, but go after the fraudsters on both sides. Your idea that ALL alternative medicine is quackery is totally skewed!!”

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

        Your quoted words are a non sequitur in relation to my question.

        Colin, please understand that you are treading a very well-trodden path of SCAM defenders. You spend a lot of time telling us that you’re not going to tell us anything. It would take a fraction of the effort to actually engage positively with the discussion. It is a matter of some interest as to why SCAM-fans do this. I think it’s because you’re too scared to challenge your own thinking.

        Anyway, answer the question, please.

        • Colin Bell
          December 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

          Hmmmm, I answered both your questions so how can my quote be a non-sequitur?? Are you studied in the fields of acupuncture or herbalism? Or a qualified doctor maybe? If not, what is the point in discussing these subjects with you in anything but a general way? No-one can convincingly write off a subject like herbalism because even if you can prove that one particular herb is ineffective in one particular condition you still can’t prove that all herbs are ineffective in all conditions. After all, it is medicine derived from plants. Will you be explaining to me that nature cannot heal, ever? And by the way, I am not a SCAM fan or defender but that was just a little insult from you. There are fraudsters, for sure, but that is the case in every field of endeavour.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

            Hmmmm, I answered both your questions so how can my quote be a non-sequitur??

            Because your answer was not logically connected to the question.

            The rest of your post continues to reply to a strawman of your own creation. You asserted that “Your idea that ALL alternative medicine is quackery”. None of us has actually said that. Nonetheless, I have offered you the opportunity to come up with one clear example where it is not.

            You suggested nutrition, which is not alternative medicine.
            You suggested acupuncture and herbalism. I asked you to pick one to explore further. You have not explicitly done so, but your subsequent posts suggest that you only want to talk about herbalism. Is herbalism what you choose?

            Will you be explaining to me that nature cannot heal, ever?

            No.It is exactly why useless therapies and products can appear to work.

            And by the way, I am not a SCAM fan or defender…

            I am never one to refrain from pointing out the bleedin’ obvious when the bleedin’ obvious is being denied. Your posts are clearly intended to defend SCAM from the point of view of a Tru Bleever. Nuff sed.

            There are fraudsters, for sure, but that is the case in every field of endeavour.

            And in the case of SCAM, how are we to know who these are? Are radionics devices valuable products or a non-functional artefacts?
            [Be aware that there is a very long list of items that can be inserted into that sentence instead of "radionics devices". Let us not be obliged to work our way down that list. Explain how you 'know' what works and what does not.]

            P.S. It may well appear to you that I am interested only in taking tiny baby steps in the logical progression of this discussion, but long experience has revealed that SCAMsters are very keen to take huge leaps to unsubstantiated conclusions or off at irrelevant tangents. I’ve been debating SCAMsters for about 10-years so I have seen your approach on many previous occasions. Hey, ho.

            P.P.S.

            Are you studied in the fields of acupuncture or herbalism? Or a qualified doctor maybe? If not, what is the point in discussing these subjects with you in anything but a general way?

            You portray yourself as a humble consumer of these products and services, so if those are your criteria for entry to this discussion then you disqualify yourself. You are fortunate that I do not judge arguments by their presenters’ levels of qualification but by their intrinsic quality, so we can carry on untroubled by the matter of any certificates.

  32. Liam Mulvany
    October 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Evidence to link diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) to obesity is mounting. Although the condition is, in part, thought to be genetic, many lifestyle factors are suspected of playing an important role as well.

    “Two major studies have endorsed earlier findings that obesity is a major cause of diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, and afflicts about 3 per cent of the adult population of Britain.

    They were unable to agree on other lifestyle factors, but it looks as though smoking may be another contributor. Regular exercise could also be an important preventative, and may halve the risk.”

    Wow what crap eh? WDDTY published this 1995. If only they knew Andy Lewis would say that this information is dangerous.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Sorry, Liam, which part of the link of Type 2 diabetes to obesity were doctors not telling us in 1995?

      Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

    • Mojo
      October 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      When has Andy Lewis said that that information is dangerous?

  33. Liam Mulvany
    October 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

    http://community.wddty.com/blogs/adverse_reactions/archive/2012/10/02/An-amalgam-of-half_2D00_truths.aspx

    another piece on quite a serious subject, I find this interesting as does the European Commission. I wouldn’t class this as worthless or in anyway preventing a patient talking to their GP.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      I mention again the stopped clock problem. How does the non-specialist reader of WDDTY tell the difference between true medical facts and utter bunkum if both are presented on an equal basis?

  34. Liam Mulvany
    October 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    BSM, WDDTY was printing good quality research in 1995, it provided you with up to date information that you may not get from any where else. Please read it again especially this part, “Two major studies have endorsed earlier findings that obesity is a major cause of diabetes,” these were new in 1995, new research, do you know of any GPs giving this advice in 1995? This is what andy put, “It is one of the most consistently misleading health sites in the UK,” and “ut a source of misinformation and distortion” would you regard that info as misleading?
    Mojo, andy said this “Are these publications full of misleading information that could harm people?” ok i used the word dangerous instead, I should have put Andy lewis thinks this is harmful.
    BSM LOL that is frickin funny, how do non specialist figure out between medical facts and bunkum? The same way as non medically trained bloggers figure out and write about medical matters, the same way non scientists figure out and talk about science, the same way non researchers figure out and talk about research. The same way non chiropractors/osteopaths/physios/homeopaths/acupuncturists ets etc figure out about them then make their decisions.
    OK lets make it simple, do you agree with the statement ” you can only differentiate between medical facts and bunkum if you are a specialist in medical matters. IE medically trained”

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Liam, you may or may not know I am a vet, but when I learned about Type 2 diabetes 30 years ago, the fact that it was associated with obesity had the status of the bleedin’ obvious.

      You do not seem keen to answer about the Q-Link.

      Let me try again. By your own account WDDTY magazine contained truthful information about obesity and diabetes. We see that it also contains adverts for the Q-Link. You have already been given the details.

      Now, are the claims for the Q-Link of the same quality as the claims for an association between Type 2 diabetes and obesity? It really is not a difficult question. I am sure you can manage a short and pertinent reply.

    • Mojo
      October 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Mojo, andy said this “Are these publications full of misleading information that could harm people?” ok i used the word dangerous instead, I should have put Andy lewis thinks this is harmful.

      No, you shouldn’t, because that wouldn’t be true. He did not say that everything in it is harmful. You are putting words into his mouth. If you want to argue against the postion that everything in it is harmful, you should go and find someone who has said this.

      And are you seriously claiming that in 1995 doctors weren’t advising their patients to control their weight, take exercise, and not smoke?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        October 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        Snap!

  35. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Liam, you picked up on my question about how non-specialists can tell truth from bunkum, but you missed the important qualifying clause. I said, “… if both are presented on an equal basis?”

    Maybe you are being deliberately obtuse. It’s hard to tell.

    If Astronomy Today presented an article about the International Space Station alongside adverts for High-Quality Green Moon Cheese, one would doubt its editorial standards and one might worry that the casual reader would risk believing they could buy lunar dairy produce.

  36. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    And the answer to your question is, no. However, that doesn’t get us very far.

  37. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Liam, by the way, it really does bear pointing out that you have been engaged in the erection of a huge diversionary strawman. You are effectively defending WDDTY against an accusation that it contains literally nothing but lies and misinformation. Re-read the blog. That is not what Andy has said. What he does say is that “WDDTY consistently misrepresents fact to make its case.” You have been given numerous examples of this and examples of adverts that give significant cause for concern, but you do not seem interested in addressing those while you can play with your strawman.

    So, your views on the Q-Link, please, now.

    • MSB
      October 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Badly Shaved Monkey

      There you go again.

      Too repetitive.Tried and tested strategy.

      Why not add the earlier questions here also?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        October 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        Not sure I understand you MSB. Liam has now commented on the Q-Link. Well, he hasn’t. What he has done is engage in a lame Gish Gallop while carefully avoiding giving us his own opinion. Funny, that.

        It’s a frequent pattern. Trying to get a Tru Bleever to criticise any other Tru Bleever products is like trying to get a limpet to tap-dance.

  38. Liam Mulvany
    October 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    BSM I think you would read the article about the ISS and take from it what you can.If you saw the green cheese ad you would take it with a pinch of salt like most ads. I feel you and Andy don’t give the general public any credit for their intelligence. Why do you feel that such gullible people populate this land that believe everything that they read and would be suckered into not going to their GP but instead buying green cheese(its just an example) to cure their sclerotic liver. And again the Astronomy today example is just an analagy, means nothing on this blog, WDDTY has been around for years so why can you not find ANY evidence of a single member of the public that has be harmed by following advice from WDDTY or brought any products from the magazine and has been harmed or has taken ill because they didn’t visit their GP. You dont have a jot of evidence to back up your theory.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Sorry, Liam, still not heard your views on the Q-Link. Surely it can’t be hard.

  39. Holly Sheet
    October 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    “This is not an issue of Free Speech, but of Responsible Speech.”
    So of course Andy, you will be the judge of what constitute responsible speech

  40. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

    “It is one of the most consistently misleading health sites in the UK, reveling in misinformation that routinely undermine readers’ confidence in their doctor and to scare them into accepting questionable alternatives,”
    “WDDTY consistently misrepresents fact to make its case. It does this often by taking half truths and presenting them as if they are the whole truth”
    “As a responsible retailer, I am surprised WHSmith stocks this title. I would urge your buyers to immediately review their decision to distribute this magazine and to pull it from your shelves.”
    “If a product could lead to significant harm then I am sure they would pay attention.”
    “This magazine will harm through its misconceived and astonishing advice. For it to appear as mainstream thought through the authority of it appearing on respectable retailers shelves will add to its harm.”
    “My quote was to highlight the misleading nature of what they write.”
    “And it appears to be deliberately misleading. As such, WDDTY is not ‘another source of information’ but a source of misinformation and distortion.”

    Mojo how you can interpret that Andy Lewis finds somethings on WDDTY informative is beyond me. Maybe Andy can tell us if he thinks everything is bunkum or there are actually some usefull facts and information available to wddty readers.And as for the 1995 article you are not reading what I was writing. WDDTY published up to date research into diabetes in 1995, thats it. If it was new research at the time are you telling me everybody already new about the connection? Or are you saying that of course it was common knowledge but there was no research previously that linked obesity and diabetes?

    Morning BSM, I will look into Q link today, but of course I’m not saying everything in WDDTY is brilliant I’m just saying don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Andy Lewis
      October 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

      You don’t use a stopped clock to tell the time even though it is right now and again.

  41. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

    BSM, just did a quick search, this q link thing is being sold by everybody from amazon to ebay to top gadget. So do you have a problem with amazon stocking and advertising it?
    OK heres a link to their research have a look see what you think, ive not looked yet but it took me 2 minutes, did you bother to check?
    http://www.clarus.com/files/Clarus_Products_Research_Library.pdf
    http://www.clarus.com/files/Clarus_Products_Research_Library.pdf

    and here is a link to all the PHDs that work for the product maker.

    http://www.clarus.com/research/research-advisors.html

    • Daniel
      October 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      “So do you have a problem with amazon stocking and advertising it?”

      I can’t speak for Andy, but I do.

      That they managed to get a few woo-friendly PhDs to endorse their products says more about the PhDs than the product.

  42. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

    BSM I’ve posted about the q link its awaiting moderation.

  43. Liam mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Andy uses the word consistently.
    consistent[ kuh���n-sis-tuh���nt ]
    adjective
    1. agreeing or accordant; compatible; not self-contradictory: His views and actions are consistent.
    2. constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc.: a consistent opponent

    Constantly adhering to the same principles. Should I look up constant for you or do you think it just means occasionally.

    • Liam mulvany
      October 5, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Mojo.

  44. Liam mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

    BSM, just did a quick search, this q link thing is being sold by everybody from amazon to ebay to top gadget. So do you have a problem with amazon stocking and advertising it?
    OK heres a link to their research have a look see what you think, ive not looked yet but it took me 2 minutes, did you bother to check?
    http://www.clarus.com/files/Clarus_Products_Research_Library.pdf

  45. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    BSM my comments are still awaitng moderation, go to clarus.com and have a look at the research pdf files there

  46. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    and here is a link to all the PHDs that work for the product maker.

    http://www.clarus.com/research/research-advisors.html

  47. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    well q link seem to have done some research.
    http://www.qlinkproducts.com/Scripts/openExtra.asp?extra=123

  48. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    So BSM check out the research and let me know what you think.

  49. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    wow this one even has repeat trials.
    Discussion
    The following results, although demonstrated on a golf specific participant base, can be extrapolated to a wider athletic audience.
    All athletes involved in sports that require hand function and general cognitive flexibility would be relational.
    1. Strength results demonstrated an average increase of 5.892 percent on the left side and 7.456 percent on the right
    (dominant) hand side. The range of increase was 1.82 to 20.33 percent and on the right side was documented from 1.0
    to 13.72 percent. It should be noted that individuals in many cases displayed a larger increase on either the right or left
    sides depending upon multiple facts including individual reported historical injuries or reported tenderness due to recent
    muscle strains or sprains. It was interesting to note that none of the individuals reported issues of concern until the data
    was reviewed with them and then they documented the problems in functionality. They all perceived their areas of
    concern were rehabilitated and effectively not an issue anymore.
    2. Fatigue Curves and Available Energy results through graphical analysis of the strength curves over time with six
    alternating trials clearly displayed a decrease in fatigue response on all of the repeated trials. This is indicative of an
    increased energy level and a more “conditioned” response. This is a clear measure of better performance and a
    standard athlete response usually demonstrated after training exercises and recovery.
    3. Consistency of measures (co-efficient of variation) demonstrated throughout the testing activities were all below the
    12% defining mark, which is indicative of a consistent and reliable effort by each individual.
    4. Dominance of the participants were all reported as right handed which in a normal population would mean the right
    hand would be on average 10% greater in strength than the left hand. As noted in the collected data, the right hand of
    the tested subjects was actually lower than the left hand in 56% of the cases. This is highly unusual and is actually a
    score associated with a left handed or ambidextrous individual. After discussion, it was noted that the golfers took a
    specific interest in strength training on their left side to compensate for their strength imbalance and subsequently over
    trained in many cases casing a reverse imbalance. In the extreme cases, the golfers noted that their “game” had
    recently been less than normal and that this may have been a significant factor.
    5. Attention was noted in repeat trials as being increased in 71% of the cases with a range of 2 to 8% increase in those
    noted. Attention and focus during the game of golf and sports in general is an integral factor in positive performance.
    6. Motor Response was noted in repeat trials as being increased in 79% of the individuals tested with an increase ranging
    from 1 to 7%.
    7. Global Performance showed an increase in attention and motor response in 79% of cases tested and retested.
    8. Reaction Time measures displayed that 64% of the individuals being tested and retested decreased (i.e. improved)
    there relative reaction time. Decrease (improvement) in reaction time ranged from 1.14% to 17.6% for the participant
    group.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      In the absence of a link, I searched on some of the text and found the article.

      “5.892 percent”

      Ooh, look at all those decimal places. Mmmm, they taste…sciencey.

      Liam, I wasn’t really expecting you to try to defend the Q-Link. Are you sure you’re not just taking the piss? If not, I can only express my amazement at what passes for research in the world of McTimoney Chiropractic. Well, no. Not surprise. Exasperated amusement.

      What were the controls, Liam? Where was the blinding?

      Do you share none of my concern that so much effort was spent to do something that looks like science, but which specifically avoids asking exactly the kind of question that would show whether the product works. Do you think that is accidental or deliberate?

  50. Liam Mulvany
    October 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    The Quackometer Results for Liam Mulvany:
    HElloAnalysing most suspicious web pages…

    My guess is that this person is not a Quack!

    Whatttttt!!!!!!!!

    • October 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      That is indeed bemusing, Liam, given that the quackometer result for your website is:

      “This web site has more quackery than my village pond. It is full of scientific jargon that is out of place and probably doesn’t know the meaning of any of the terms. It shows no sceptical awareness and so should be treated with a suspicious mind.

      This site has a has a currently measurable quackery content of 10 Canards.”

  51. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Liam,

    I would say that for sharing that litany of bad science with us you deserve a slap on the wrist, but I think you’ve already had one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCLrZBbsGhg

    I’ve never seen chiropractic in action before. Is that really what you do all day?

  52. MSB
    October 6, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Badly Shaved Monkey

    ……..I’ve never seen chiropractic in action before.

    You did not know how accupunture works until your wife found it out for you.

    Check with her one more time.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Oh, you are hilarious. But, I’ll answer as if you were making a serious point.

      I knew full well how acupuncture was done. I was simply highlighting one particular aspect of it that might have some validity. I reiterate the word might. Being sceptical does not mean rejecting things out of hand, it means honestly assessing the claims for their internal logic, validity against well-established principles, and empirical evidence. With acupuncture, I am still left with some questions about one aspect of sticking needles in people, but in an application so narrow and so divorced from the supposed traditional Chinese principles that it seems unlikely that the word ‘acupuncture’ can be properly used without risking leading to confusion.

      With chiropractic, I have literally never witnessed it before and assumed it would consist of something more than a process that looks (and sounds) like a piece of stage magic. I understand that there are different school of back-crackery and maybe others look different, but if slapping your own wrist and sliding the other hand across the skin under the force of that light impact is what the McTimoneys do then count me seriously unimpressed.

      Presumably some chiro interventions are done differently or else how can they achieve fatal vertebral arterial dissections for some of their patients. However, the next time I hear or read a chiro making grand claims about what they can achieve and, importantly, that theirs is a unique skill different from having a nice back-rub I shall be unable to forget that video clip.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        October 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

        P.S. I am reminded that the world of equine back-crackers is often regarded as hilarious by those of us living in the sane world and one reason is that we look at the little human and their tiny hands and we look at the half-ton of muscle and bone with the spine buried under inches of flesh and snigger at the sheer foolishness of applying little slaps and taps to the skin. In contrast, with chiropractic in people, I could at least acknowledge that practitioner and subject were evenly matched. However, given the existence of craniosacral therapy that depends on tickling the cranial bones perhaps I should not be surprised that chiro can itself be reduce to flashy but feeble hand-waving.

      • MSB
        October 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        Badly Shaved Monkey

        ….I knew full well how acupuncture was done. I was simply highlighting one particular aspect of it that might have some validity. I reiterate the word might.

        This is interesting. When the specialist approached your wife with needles, he used her as a dart board? Pushing needles at all available body spaces or was he selective in his approach? Chose points that required the needles to be inserted as a reason linked to her condition?

        There are over 2000 remedies in homeopathy. What do you read against Sangunaria?

        You might be stupid, but are quite intellegent when it comes to self preservation-the basic logic of life.

  53. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I’m sure Liam will be back so it will be interesting to hear his views on the following questions based on some more YouTubing.

    DCs are doctors, so I’m sure WDDTY will be full of useful information about what those doctors don’t tell us. 

    Look at this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2GyA_Iups

    What does WDDTY tell us about that table? The chiro raises the table element then pushes down on the patient and, with an impressive clunk, the table is all lined up again. It does seem a shame to have a patient in the way when you need to adjust your table. 

    Look at this video: 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdaEsfXoBXE

    What does WDDTY tell us about the handheld device that the chiro runs up and down the patient’s spine?

    As a legitimate publication analysing claims in medicine I’m sure WDDTY is an excellent resource to help us understand these matters and Liam seems familiar with its content all the way back to 1995, so I’m expecting to be educated thoroughly. 

    P.S. I quite enjoyed these videos right up until the neck adjustments. 

  54. ben lee
    October 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

    From looking at what Liam has presented up their it seems that he can read, but not critically appraise what he reads. I’m tempted to post a link to a paper and ask Liam his thoughts on the problems with the paper, something we give our freshers each year. I suspect doing so would lead to an Iqbal/Avijet waste of time.

  55. Jenny
    October 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

    How interesting that every psuedonym knocked off at exactly the same time, and how all their delivery was strikingly similar? They couldn’t all be the same person could they Andy? Just saying.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      Which pseudonyms, Jenny?

      If you are referring to the sceptical side of this discussion, you should recall that, given that our touchstone is reality rather than wild human fantasy, our views tend to be highly correlated and the ways are expressing them tend to be similar. All we are saying is 1 + 1 = 2. Not a huge scope for variation. Our opponents say 1 + 1 = 3, 1 + 1 = 4.7, 1 + 1 = an elephant. Their only limit is the human imagination and enthusiasm for self-deception.

  56. Jenny
    October 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I suppose I could be wrong…but I’ve just got this feeling there’s a little case of imagination, fantasy and deception right here, don’t you, Andy?

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      OK, I think you are suggesting that the sceptics posting here are all sick puppets created by Andy Lewis, so he can talk to himself.

      Well, even if we all were, it would not undermine the strength of our arguments. But, if you search for the various sceptics you will find we have lengthy careers on the Internet that would be tedious to create artificially. Andy may be a clever bloke, but to sustain that effort over a decade would require a Herculean effort.

      Wanting this to be a conspiracy is a bit pathetic. And does nothing to answer the criticisms levelled at SCAM. You will see from this blog, people like Liam and Avi trying to do anything but address the fatal flaws in their superstitious beliefs.

    • October 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Jenny, what are you wittering on about in your snarky little comments? Which pseudonyms are you referring to and what do you perceive to be “strikingly similar” about them?

      • October 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        Oops, cross-posted with BSM….or are we the same person trying to throw you off the scent. What d’ya reckon, Jen?

  57. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    “sick puppets”

    Oops. But funny.

  58. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 7, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I don’t much mind whether all the SCAM fans on this site are sock puppets of one master woo, I would just like one of them one day to knuckle down and actually deal with the issues insteading of engaging in logical fallacies and bald assertions.

    Liam has taken (at least) the day off from posting here, so perhaps one of the others can pick up where he left off.

    Really, what we need here is a SCAMster who can think logically, knows their science and is able to assess evidence competently. However, if my Aunty had balls she’d be my Uncle…

  59. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

    As a slightly off-topic aside, I think I have had what I would call my ‘homeopathy moment’ with chiropractic due to these exchanges with Liam. With homeopathy, I sort of vaguely assumed it was nonsense, but didn’t know much about it. I had heard of the ideas concerning the alleged ‘memory of water’ and, knowing nothing of the practicalities of how they prescribed etc, thought that maybe possibly some real effects might result. But then I heard a radio programme with a vet homeopath describing his treatment of a hyperthyroid cat and congratulating himself on its great success while receiving the gratitude of its owner. The only problem was that the presenter of the programme was there as well and our hom was showing the doctor all the classic features of untreated hyperthyroidism in the cat. No placebo effect, no chronic fluctuating condition being assessed during a temporary amelioration, this was outright failure being claimed as success. I suddenly had a much more plausible explanation for the reported successes of homeopathy and it had nothing to do with water having a really clever memory. 

    In the ensuing 10 years, everything I have seen about homeopathy and homeopaths has reinforced that sudden impression. And what offends me most is not that a therapist might innocently maintain a belief in some crackpot theory of medicine, but the dishonesty that is required to protect any such belief in the face of criticism.

    The lies and corruption of Big Pharma are qualitatively different from this. Drug companies work from a rational scientific basis, but this is sometimes corrupted in practice to protect the bottom line. It seems to me that SCAM, instead, requires an utter disregard for rational evidence to protect a religious belief. This is why the persistent promotion of debunked nonsense in the public media so infuriates me. It doesn’t look innocent to me. 

    So back to chiropractic, having watched a number of YouTubings of chiropractic adjustments, the neck adjustments look plain scary, but everything else looks and sounds to me like a circus trick. There’s all this flourishing of hands, and James Bond gadgetry from handheld scanners and zappers to amazing mechanical tables, but when you look closely you see very little is being done to the patient and certainly nothing that warrants a whole profession of its own with the awarding of doctorates. But its the accompanying narrative pouring from the therapists that is even worse. Telling patients that their head is tilted to the left or their right shoulder is held slightly backwards. So, effing what? None of us is symmetrical and I’d love to see a hundred chiros presented with a group of patients and correlate the diagnoses they make. But even if they agree to a high level of correlation with each other the idea of generating perfect bilateral symmetry in an inherently chiral body is just funny. And even if you could make me bring my slightly dropped right shoulder level with the left, who, frankly, gives a damn. 

    Which is a long preamble to saying that I have been dealing with chiropractic in discussions such as this as if it was half-reasonable that people should believe in it. Now, I am forced to revise that position. That which is not simply dangerous is wrapped up in so much obvious nonsense that I cannot take it seriously. Sure, unlike homeopathy, maybe there are some nuggets of valid physical therapy being practised almost inadvertently, but if I had a sore back, I might go to a physiotherapist so I can be manipulated physically with the minimal amount of bullshit mental manipulation. 

    All of which drags us back on-topic. Does WDDTY aid clarity in debates about medicine and SCAM or does it add another layer of protective obfuscation?

    A lot of words for a Sunday morning, but our SCANsters don’t seem to want to say anything at all to advance the discussion.

    • MSB
      October 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Badly Shaved Monkey

      You wrote ALL this after seeing improvement in the condition of your wife?

      You can be real ungrateful.

      • Vicky
        October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

        I don’t see anything ungrateful here.
        Acupuncture is based on the belief that an ailment (any ailment, actually) is caused by your “qi” not being able to “flow” right. In order to remedy that, acupuncturists stick needles into special places (on the “meridians” along which the “qi” is supposed to flow) that don’t have anything to do with your problems – if you come for lower back pain you may well get needles stuck into your arm, leg and foot for example. Doesn’t sound very plausible, and studies have shown that it doesn’t matter where you stick the needles (or if indeed you stick them anywhere at all), so the theory behind it is obviously wrong – it’s not the needles (nor the “meridians”, nor the “qi”) but the patient’s expectations that make the acupuncture patient feel better.
        BSM’s wife on the other hand got needled in the very place that hurt – sounds like it could actually work, and indeed it seems to have done something for BSM’s wife. Still, BSM cannot rule out that it was his wife’s expectations that made her feel better rather than the needles, so it’s perfectly reasonable to reserve judgement until studies have been conducted to see if this is more than a placebo therapy. Time will tell if “dry needling” works – and if it does that still won’t make “classical acupuncture” work, nor homeopathy or any other form of CAM.

        • MSB
          October 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

          Vicky

          Your other name is Badly Shaved Monkey.

          Let him respond for a message under his name.

          I forgot. The pack hunts as one.

          • Vicky
            October 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

            LOL, no, my one and only name is Vicky. Sorry, but I won’t let you tell me which comments I can answer to – if you don’t want me to answer, just don’t post dumb comments!

          • Mojo
            October 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm

            Your other name is Badly Shaved Monkey.

            You are the only one here who feels the need to post under multiple identities.

  60. fangio
    October 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    It stops being a freedom of speech issue when they are charging people for it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to tell others, but portraying your opinion as fact, and charging people for it when it is a wanton misrepresentation of the truth (as with the Gardisil deaths misrepresentation in WDDTY) is making money out of misleading people, and that’s not a free speech issue.

    • Grumpycat
      October 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      So where are all the Drs then complaining about WDDTY? Ok so we have one or two Dr who come on this blog but where are the BMA on this? How come there are not 1000′s of Drs up in arms as this all about their profession. Why should one of the most respected and powerful groups in the country need help from Andy Lewis and friends? Maybe Drs see it best to ignore the magazine.

  61. Stogy
    October 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Well, I am impressed the WDDTY don’t appear to censor comments on their Facebook page. Perhaps this is where some of your ‘missing’ doctors have been lurking?

    Stogy*

    *First time poster, but long-time lurker :}

    • Grumpycat
      October 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      No way are the vast majority of comments against the mag from Drs. Look at the profiles of the posters.
      If a Dr felt strongly about WDDTY then I would have thought that they would deal with this in ways other than posting a message on facebook using words like ‘crap’ and ‘fraud.’ Surely there should be some offical statement soon from an offical medical organisation?
      Come on then Drs where are you all on this? Any others out there other than Drs Morgan, McCartney and Jessen? If not then why not?

  62. October 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    What exactly is your point, Grumpy?

    The mag isn’t targeted at doctors but at the rest of us. If doctors were to challenge and complain about every bit of nonsense promoted in the name of altmed, they’d never have time to do anything else.

  63. Grumpycat
    October 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Dear fellow cat. The very title of the mag WDDTY is throwing down a gauntlet to Drs. After all if I brought out a mag ‘What car mechanics dont tell you’ full of dangerous nonsense then car mechanics would get HSE and TS to shut me up. So why not Drs? They treat the general public and are responsible for the health of patients. If WDDTY is openly implying that Drs are hiding things from the public then I would expect Drs to take action in their 100s at least. But they dont. That is interesting. What is stopping them?
    This is another level from some advert proclaiming the ‘the new wonder zapper’ that cures backache.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      October 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      What is stopping them?

      I don’t know. Boredom? Inertia? Better things to do with their time?

      As skepticat says, I really don’t know what point you are trying to make. I strongly suspect you don’t either. All I can say is that your attempts to read the corporate mind of the medical community do nothing to make me believe in psychic powers.

      • Grumpycat
        October 9, 2012 at 8:39 am

        It is a huge blow for your campaign that Drs are not complaining en masse about WDDTY. That is why WDDTY will carry on and that is why you are trying to deflect this. I couldnt care less what you believe in and am not trying to convince you of anything.
        Looks like another failed sceptic campaign just after your backfired homepathic regulation failed campaign. Keep on going BSM you are doing me a favour.

        • Slipp Digby
          October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

          I think you are mistaken to take a perceived lack of outrage from doctors as some kind of tacit approval of WDDTY. Its also a bit premature to start declaring this so called campaign to be a ‘failure’.

          WDDTY was never going to get ‘banned’ despite the emotive language Lynne McTaggert used and wrongly equating this with being an attack on free speech. Thus far people have only pointed out errors WDDTY contains to publishers and distributors and asked that the publication meets advertising Codes.

          IMO it will only take a raft of ASA adjudications against WDDTY showing a large number of its adverts to be misleading to generate enough pressure to convince large distributors like Tescos that the magazine is a hot potato.

          Regardless of their bullish reponse, if say 26 complaints were upheld against one publication this would put WDDTY onto the top of the ASA enforcement pile and they would then be left with a choice of either engaging with the ASA, or testing the idea that the ASA has no power whatsoever.

          Despite Lynne McTaggert’s claims that WDDTY doesnt need advertising to survive the October Edition contains 18 full page. I don’t believe her.

          Many of these are highly dubious and would have been excluded from any reputable publication and anything which reduces the number of advertiser in future will finaically impact WDDTY.

          I’ll be interested in how this one pans out, because their business model looks to me like over time it could get steadily eroded away until WDDTY is commerically unviable.

          Tick, tock.

          *Gets out the organic popcorn*

    • Dr Richard Rawlins
      October 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Frankly, doctors are too busy treating patients who have conditions which merit treatment, or doing research to learn what they should do next.

      Rumaging around the paranoia, fantasies and hyperimaginations of publishers of nonsense is beneath our dignity.

      What action should we take? And why bother to take it?

      You know it’s nonsense. So do we. I am a member of The Magic Circle, but magicians never banged on about Miss Rowling’s books.
      Same difference.

      • Grumpycat
        October 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

        It is not beneath your dignity to join in a little campaign here and there is it? How do you find the time? Nothing wrong with that. No the reason Drs are not campaigning against WDDTY is because
        1 Giving publicity to WDDTY will only increase exposure and sales
        2 Quite a few Drs would go along with some of it. Far more than the very few prepared to come out against it like yourself. Even the 80th most important Tweeter in the universe cant get more than a handful of Drs on board over this.

        Interesting analogy about Harry Potter. No magician (or anyone ele) as far as i know has ever said that Miss Rowlings books can cause physical harm. Here we are talking about a magazine which according to Andy causes harm. Preventative medicine is very important intodays EBM eg vaccination. So if it is so obvious that WDDTY is causing harm then why are not Drs preventing it.

        • Slipp Digby
          October 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

          “2 Quite a few Drs would go along with some of it. Far more than the very few prepared to come out against it like yourself.”

          The evidence for this assertion being?

      • MSB
        October 14, 2012 at 2:52 am

        Dr Richard Rawlins

        The book is called Medical Conspiracy In America and is available for free online.

        This information in the book is much more damaging than what Andy Lewis is crying about here.

        Why not read some pages that you don’t agree and put a rejoinder here: that is if you really like to balance information.

  64. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I wish Liam would come back. He at least made some effort. But I suppose he’s busy seeing people with sore backs and those backs don’t just get themselves better, you know.

    Oh, hang on…:)

  65. Jenny
    October 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    sick puppets.. that was funny! although…. you could always just argue amongst yourself : )

    • MSB
      October 15, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Jenny

      ….sick puppets.. that was funny!

      That is not funny. They are seriously sick puppets.

      …although…. you could always just argue amongst yourself.

      Don’t they at all times. Badly Shaved Monkey will have his 2 dogs and a pup to join their pack shortly. Under training now.

      • Jenny
        October 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        MSB: he meant to say “sock” puppets…follow the thread..it was funny.
        and for heaven’s sake, advertising a grounding mat to make better contact with mother earth, or a QLink (scientifically proven, apparently) to harmonise the meridians or whatever it does, is NOT putting people at risk.. lighten up!

        • MSB
          October 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

          Jenny

          We put it under Freudian slip.

  66. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Avi’s gone.

    Did we win? I hope there’s a prize.

    • MSB
      October 15, 2012 at 6:27 am

      Badly Shaved Monkey

      No such luck. Andy Lewis blocks responses for all who post responses contrary to your remarks.

      But you know that already. Part of a grand startegy to float this site?

  67. MSB
    October 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Badly Shaved Monkey

    Some similar reading:

    http://pdfcast.org/pdf/the-story-of-the-medical-conspiracy-against-america

    Document Description

    The present work, the result of some forty years of investigative research, is a logical progression from my previous books: the expose of the international control of monetary issue and banking practices in the United States; a later work revealing the secret network of organizations through which these alien forces wield political power—the secret committees, foundations, and political parties through which their hidden plans are implemented; and now; to the most vital issue of all, the manner in which these depredations affect the daily lives and health of American citizens.

    Despite the great power of the hidden rulers, I found that only one group has the power to issue life or death sentences to any American—our nation’s physicians. I discovered that these physicians, despite their great power, were themselves subjected to very strict controls over every aspect of their professional lives.

    These controls, surprisingly enough, were not wielded by any state or federal agency, although almost every other aspect of American life is now under the absolute control of the bureaucracy. The physicians have their own autocracy, a private trade association, the American Medical Association. This group, which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, had gradually built up its power until it assumed total control over medical schools and the accreditation of physicians.

    Now you understand the sidelining of alternative medical system. This really does not matter. One more epidemic like the Spanish flu and the edifice will crumble.

    Now the world is better connected.

    • Mojo
      October 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Now you understand the sidelining of alternative medical system.

      You’ve now added a conspiracy theory to quackery. It doesn’t make you any more convincing. Even when you spam it to more than one thread.

      • Grumpycat
        October 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

        I have written to Tesco https://www.tescohelp.com/tesco/forms/cs_form.html making the following points.

        1 I agree that Tesco should stock this magazine.
        2 If the Dr organisations ask Tesco to stop stocking it then that is very different from a small group of politically isolated scientists making demands.
        3 89% of the UK public trust their Dr (Mori poll June 2011). This still leaves a few million who have an opinion. It is a magazine for a minority interest group just like most magazines.
        4 No one has to buy it.
        5 Those who do buy it must expect a certain content and certain advertising to appear bearing in mind the title.

        As an aside I think that it is really important that Andy, Alan and friends continue to have setbacks when they try to control peoples choices. Good luck though with their work to action more status and resources for atheists and scientists in society- I dont see a contradiction here.
        This is where I think efforts should be directed not at nannying people.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          October 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm

          Did you use the traditional green ink?

        • Vicky
          October 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

          Your (and every other WDDTY suporter’s) main argument is that some people believe this and want to read a magazine that confirms what they believe – that’s a lousy argument for stocking a magazine that doesn’t provide accurate information. There are all kinds of “interest groups”, would you feel comfortable supporting any journal you know misrepresents studies because someone wants to read it?

          A misogynist mag claiming studies have shown women’s only talent is having children and cleaning the house?

          A racist mag claiming studies have shown race X is genetically superior and therefore designed to rule over other races?

          There are undoubtedly people who think that’s the truth and who would pay money to read a magazine that confirms their beliefs.

      • MSB
        October 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        Mojo

        …..You’ve now added a conspiracy theory to quackery…

        At times you come across as an intellegent person. At other times totally dumb.

        The ” The Medical conspiracy in America” and the role of American Medical Association is NOT written by me. It is again a conventional doctor.

        Why would he conspire against the conventional medical system?

        You read the paper?

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          October 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm

          Mojo

          …..You’ve now added a conspiracy theory to quackery…

          At times you come across as an intellegent person. At other times totally dumb.

          The ” The Medical conspiracy in America” and the role of American Medical Association is NOT written by me. It is again a conventional doctor.

          Why would he conspire against the conventional medical system?

          Um, there is probably no way to unpick the confusion behind that post in a manner that you can understand and it’s really not worth the effort. But, on the other hand, Mojo can be amazingly patient.

          • MSB
            October 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

            Badly Shaved Monkey

            Strategy of the pack attack.

        • Mojo
          October 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm

          At times you come across as an intellegent person. At other times totally dumb.

          The impression you give is far more consistent.

          • MSB
            October 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

            Mojo

            You mean the term “intellegent” for you was an error?

          • Mojo
            October 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

            Your inability to comprehend that my statement “the impression you give is far more consistent” is about you, not me, gives an impression of you that is entirely consistent with the impression that people who have read your previous posts will already have.

  68. Badly Shaved Monkey
    October 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    5 Those who do buy it must expect a certain content and certain advertising to appear bearing in mind the title

    That’s an interesting comment. Do you really mean that its advertising should be expected and permitted to make wild unsubstantiatable claims? If not, what do you actually mean?

    • Mojo
      October 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Another interesting point. The OFT’s Guidance on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 says that “[w]hether a commercial practice breaches the general
      prohibition and the prohibitions relating to misleading and
      aggressive practices will be judged by reference to the
      ‘average consumer’, the ‘average member’ of a targeted group of consumers and the ‘average member’ of a vulnerable group of consumers (as appropriate).” Presumably where adverts are targeted towards a group of consumers who are likely to believe them (such as the readership of a magazine about alternative therapies, perhaps) the bar as to what might be considered misleading is actually set lower. See paragraph 14.28 onwards.

    • Grumpycat
      October 16, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Within limits which are assessed by the ASA then claims can be made in certain publications targeted at certain groups. Cancer and serious disease would be too far I think.
      There are certain magazines targeted at those into the esoteric, UFOs, aliens and conspiracy theory where there are adverts proclaiming all sorts of health claims that cannot be substanciated. Attempts by certain enthusiastic sceptics to block adverts making claims to cure in these magazines have not always been successfull because the ASA consider that the magazine is tartgeted at a certain group. Regarding WDDTY – The title says it all. Anyone buying such a magazine has made a choice. Analogies with allowing WDDTY and allowing racists magazines are ridiculous.The attitude of most Drs seems to be ambivalent towards WDDTY whilst they would not tolerate a racist magazine for 1 day.

      • Slipp Digby
        October 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

        “There are certain magazines targeted at those into the esoteric, UFOs, aliens and conspiracy theory where there are adverts proclaiming all sorts of health claims that cannot be substanciated”

        Then it should be pretty easy for you to provide an example of an advert making false claim that the ASA didn’t adjudicate on for just those reasons. Lets see it!

        “The attitude of most Drs seems to be ambivalent towards WDDTY…”

        Second time you’ve made this claim and second time I’ll ask becuase you didn’t reply. How do you know this for a fact?

        “…the ASA consider that the magazine is tartgeted at a certain group. Regarding WDDTY – The title says it all. Anyone buying such a magazine has made a choice.”

        I disagree entirely. Advertising in WDDTY is either factual, or it is not. It is not factual depending on who reads it and what their prior beliefs are about healthcare.

        Does Q-link suddenly become less of a con if you believe in CAM? Of course not.

        • fangio
          October 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

          Mojo

          I think you have cleqarly misunderstood the regualtions you link to. Try section 14.37. Readers of WDDTY are actually deemed “vulnerable” under the “credibility” definition of the regulations.

          As such they are meant to be afforded additional protection from misinformation, not less. Where people are targetted due to their predisposition to beleive claims the bar is set higher so that peopel cannot take advantage of this to flog them stuff with psuedoscientific nonsense, or with piublication of preliminary trials.

          WDDTY is to my mind a charlatans publication. It promotes some things on the basis of preliminary studies which are yet to include human tests or tests for side efects, then completely misrepresents the side efects of others. The only basis for the differeing treatment one is complimentary one is actual medicine. There is scientific rigour or consistency in the approach and the readership are exploited for their willingness to believe.

          • Mojo
            October 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

            Yes, that’s precisely the point I was trying to make – that the bar should be set lower as regards what is considered misleading, not what is considered acceptable.

            The same sort of argument has been tried with the ASA, by the way, when an advertiser argued that its target audience “were a tiny subsection of the general population, who shared a culture that sat outside of the mainstream and accepted non-scientific phenomena and explanations”, that “such consumers tended to have an interest in complementary health, were of a mindset that recognised mind–body interactions and a holistic approach to individuals, and were interested in building a relationship with their practitioner” and that “they did not believe such consumers, at whom the website was targeted, would be misled by the ad”. they specifically reference the OFT guidelines. it didn’t work.

        • Grumpycat
          October 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

          I suggest you contact the mischievous ‘scepticletterwriter’ who has made multiple complaints against adverts in certain magazines clearly marketed at an esoteric audiance. These magazines are still running the same adverts. WDDTY continues to be supplied despite Dr McCartneys letter in the BMJ. Where is all the media outcry? Anyway you stick to your opinion whilst WDDTU continues to be sold. That is fine by me.
          A Q-Link advert in a magazine clearly targeted at those beliieving in conspiracy, UFOs , suppressed technology etc may be interpreted differently from an advert in the wide circulation Daily Blah.
          I am afraid you may have to live with the fact that people like you wont be able to ban people like me from buying a lucky cornish pixie for example from Old Moores Almanack for £20. If all my health problems dont go away as claimed in the advert in this esoteric mag then dont you worry. Get on with your life.

          • Mojo
            October 18, 2012 at 8:49 am

            Seriously, targeting adverts at a group of consumers who are likely to believe the claims makes those claims more potentially misleading, not less.

            Read the OFT guidelines I have linked to, which clearly indicate that whether claims are considered misleading should be judged according to how likely the target audience is to believe them. Read the ASA adjudication I linked to, where the advertiser tried the argument you are advancing and the complaints were upheld.

      • Vicky
        October 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        Analogies with allowing WDDTY and allowing racists magazines are ridiculous.The attitude of most Drs seems to be ambivalent towards WDDTY whilst they would not tolerate a racist magazine for 1 day.

        Not at all, and I didn’t ask if “Drs would allow a racist mag” but if you would allow any mag simply because there’s a market for it. Your options are either yes (which would be quite astounding) or no (in which case you’d have to give me a better argument for tolerating WDDTY than “people want to read what they write”).

        • Grumpycat
          October 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

          I repeat again. If you want WDDTU off the shelves then get Drs to act- They do feature in the title of the mag after all. Try getting 100s of letter off as well. Dont forget my letter counts just as much as yours.

          Such a powerful group such as Drs could get WDDTY off the shelves in days. If you cant do this then you may have to just take a deep breath.

          • Vicky
            October 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

            Yes or No?

        • Grumpycat
          October 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

          I dont always live in a binary world of yes or no. I live in a world where there can be grey areas. Not everything is either black or white. Limits have to be set as to what is reasonable. We can both agree that a racist mag is not reasonable. I think that WDDTY mag is in a grey area for sure but I think that current content is reasonable.

          • Vicky
            October 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

            But this is a binary question, you either believe that “it has a market” is the only requirement or you don’t. While you’re unwilling to provide a yes/no answer, I’ll assume that – since you won’t support a racist mag – your answer is no.
            So we come to the next question: how wrong do you allow a mag to be before you say it shouldn’t be circulated (or at least not sold at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and WHSmith)? Is misrepresenting statistics enough?

  69. Grumpycat
    October 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

    ‘how wrong do you allow a mag to be before you say it shouldn’t be circulated (or at least not sold at Waitrose.’
    Much content of certain mass selling newspapers could be argued as ‘wrong.’ My point is that it is not always easy where to set the bar. As the content of WDDTY is about Drs and medical issues then it is reasonable to suggest that Drs should play a major part in setting such limits. After all in Australia the Australian Medical Association seems to act when they perceive a threat to public health from a CAM practitioner.
    http://www.news.com.au/news/claims-that-homeopathy-treats-domestic-violence-must-be-stopped-experts-say/story-fnejlrpu-1226491923101
    Lets see if the BMA make a similar statement about WDDTY. If they dont then it may well be tough for you.

  70. October 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    [Sorry - no facility for adding a comment to the Burzynski entry.] Today’s Metro Wednesday October 24 p. 23: “Texts could save cancer boy’s life’ – time is running out for a three-year-old boy to get the surgery he needs to beat cancer. Braiden Lee-Prescott needs to boost his immune system, but the treatment that can save his life is only available in the US. Braiden’s family of Leight, Greater Manchester, have until December to raise £250,000. If you want to donate money to his appeal, text BRLE99 to 70070.”

    My question: is this Burzynski again?

  71. Katy B
    November 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    WH Smiths also sell ‘Nexus’ magazine. Ok, so I’m guessing that Nexus is read almost solely by die-hard conspiracy nuts (I read an article in Nexus once that claimed there was a race of little people living in the centre of the earth) and is much less likely to be picked up by an average person looking for health information.
    But it is still full of dangerous misinformation.
    The thing I find most concerning about Nexus is that it often carries adverts for cancer ‘cures’ that are fragrantly in breach of the law.
    Does anyone have an opinion on this?

    • Andy Lewis
      November 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      If you do see such things, report them. Use fishbarrel.

  72. Colin Bell
    November 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Let’s remove ALL magazines from the shelves. There will be an article or advertisement objectionable to someone, somewhere in the world in every publication. We should all concur with each others point of view and all acceptable points of agreement should be written into law. Abolish reading altogether. This way we can stifle new thoughts and ideas once and for all. Nothing new to learn here, hooray! This is desirable because all present understanding of medicine and science is final and enshrined in the minds of our Quackbuster’s. Welcome to our Brave New World

    • Andy Lewis
      November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Of course that is a silly argument. No is arguing any such thing. However, there is a case to be made about the ethics of stockinhg a title that is consistently misleading and full of incorrect and dangerous advice.

  73. Colin Bell
    November 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Andy, there have only been two issues of this magazine so far and your campaign began as soon as the first issue hit the shelves. So, how can you say it is CONSISTENTLY misleading? I have read the magazine and there are many sensible articles in it. There are twelve professional people on the editorial panel, including several GP’s, a surgeon and medical directors, all specialists in their fields. As for the advertisers, there is nothing new here. I think it is cynical to go after the small businesses advertising here to get the magazine closed down. One of the businesses advertises juicers, water filters, trampolines and sprouting kits. Nothing evil here, except you went after them because they used the word “polluted” in relation to water supply. Wow, just one questionable word…. and all because you want a magazine you disagree with shut down. It is a simple natural health magazine for Pete’s sake, live with it. There are discerning people who love to read it. I haven’t noticed anyone dropping dead in the streets since its publication. So, don’t worry about us all. We are fine.

    • Andy Lewis
      November 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Colin. I am sorry, you are wrong. Utterly misleading and dangerous from front to back cover. It is not that I disagree with what they say so much as it being a litany of factual error and distortion. As for the advertisers, the Advertising Standards Authority will decide who is misleading, untruthful and irresponsible, not me or anyone else. So far, it is not looking good.

      Look more closely at those ‘advisors’ for WDDTY. Each one has their own interesting story…

      A blog post would probably be on the cards.

  74. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 7, 2012 at 7:48 am

    It’s beginning to look like Colin Bell has fled the field.

    Oh, well.

    You can lead the quack to logic, but you can’t make him think.

  75. Colin Bell
    December 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    So, I am a quack now, not just the people who practice “quackery”? This illustrates perfectly how you tar everyone with a different view with the same brush. I thought quacks are supposed to be out there with their fake medicine making a killing off gullible people? Just as you write off all “unconventional” therapies as ineffective and dangerous you discount people who consider them useful as unthinking and illogical… and now quacks. Don’t you get tired of using that word? I do!

    I am not surprised people get frustrated discussing these subjects with the skeptic crowd. I see the typical responses and they are dismissive and disrespectful generally. I am not looking for a scrap, that’s all.

    • Vicky
      December 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Colin, the problem is you don’t discuss ‘these subjects’. Rather, you try your best to be as vague as you can. You say that you consider acupuncture, herbalism, nutrition, chinese medicine and ayurveda to be valid forms of therapy, but refuse to show evidence. “People use it” isn’t evidence of efficacy, it’s evidence of popularity. Astrology is popular. Chain letters are popular. Talismans are popular. Doesn’t make them effective. You understand that, don’t you?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        The evidence suggests otherwise.

        :)

      • Colin Bell
        December 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

        Vicky, what evidence do you wish to see from me? I am not a herbalist or a practitioner of acupuncture but I have had genuine success using herbs and I know highly qualified and experienced people in these fields. I weigh up the evidence and come to my own conclusions. It is best to debate with the experts in their fields. I am not one of them but I have personally been healed of a disease my doctor said was incurable, and for me that is evidence of efficacy. I read widely on many subjects and have some knowledge but I am definitely not an expert. I have a friend who is very highly qualified in acupuncture from China and believe me it is not something you can write off just like that. True, there are many charlatans out there, and most are very obvious to spot, and I am as aware of this as you are. But I would never take a stance against CAM medicine as a whole, no way. I really find it hard to fathom how you can write off whole therapeutic disciplines just like that. All of Chinese medicine is wrong? Indian too? Herbalism? That doesn’t make sense to me. Besides, the title of this discussion is “Should WH Smith’s stock WDDTY magazine?” My answer is an emphatic Yes!! I didn’t come here to discuss the technical details of any particular therapy. I also have a strong conviction about freedom of speech, even if something is demonstrably false, because once you encroach on the rights of one person to speak freely we are headed down a very slippery slope and one day none of us will be free to say anything. So please allow people to read this magazine if they choose. We are grown-ups and can make our own decisions Vicky

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          December 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

          Colin, you’re doing it again, tediously talking about what you might talk about instead of saying anything meaningful or constructive.

          what evidence do you wish to see from me?

          As a minimum, the evidence that convinced you.

          I am not a herbalist or a practitioner of acupuncture but I have had genuine success using herbs

          Define “genuine success”.

          and I know highly qualified and experienced people in these fields.

          SCAM qualifications are worthless. Taught and regulated by a circle-jerk of practitioners.

          I weigh up the evidence and come to my own conclusions.

          You’ve already said that but come up with no evidence.

          It is best to debate with the experts in their fields.

          Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.

          They do not perform any better than you. You claim to have weighed the evidence and come to valid conclusions. It’s you here discussing this not Dana Ullman or Andrew Weil. You say you’re a grown-up capable of making good decisions, but you are very reluctant to test their quality.

          I am not one of them but I have personally been healed of a disease my doctor said was incurable,

          It’s always funny that the one thing that people opposed to conventional medicine still take at face value is the incurable or terminal diagnosis their doctors gave them. The easiest way to engender a miracle cure for an incurable disease is to get the diagnosis and/or prognosis wrong.

          You have chosen to publish under what looks like your real name, so it’s up to you whether you want to tell us what that disease was, but unless you do your assertion is vacuous.

          Perhaps you might reflect on the fact that on internet forums pseudonyms can permit greater personal honesty.

          and for me that is evidence of efficacy.

          You are wrong, but have consistently refused to engage with this problem.

          I read widely on many subjects and have some knowledge but I am definitely not an expert.

          See above.

          I have a friend who is very highly qualified in acupuncture from China and believe me it is not something you can write off just like that.

          So far you have not wanted to get into any specific particulars. Can acupuncture relieve pain acutely and/or chronically? Can it effectively treat asthma?

          True, there are many charlatans out there, and most are very obvious to spot, and I am as aware of this as you are.

          Are you? I have asked you more than once to give us your criteria for distinguishing quackery from the effective alternative medicine that you insist exists.

          But I would never take a stance against CAM medicine as a whole, no way.

          That’s fairly obvious. What you have failed to do is show how you would take a stance against any SCAM medicine.

          I really find it hard to fathom how you can write off whole therapeutic disciplines just like that.

          You clearly do. I offered radionics as an example. Can you really not write that off?

          All of Chinese medicine is wrong? Indian too? Herbalism?

          You have not yet produced a single counter-example. So, although I reiterate that rejection of all SCAM is a strawman of your own invention you have done nothing to refute it except to argue by repeated assertion.

          That doesn’t make sense to me.

          Again, this is obvious.

          Besides, the title of this discussion is “Should WH Smith’s stock WDDTY magazine?” My answer is an emphatic Yes!!

          You seem to have an unquenchable desire for unchallenged misinformation so this is unsurprising.

          I didn’t come here to discuss the technical details of any particular therapy.

          It certainly looks that way. It’s been an effective tactic for protecting your beliefs from challenge.

          I also have a strong conviction about freedom of speech, even if something is demonstrably false, because once you encroach on the rights of one person to speak freely we are headed down a very slippery slope and one day none of us will be free to say anything. So please allow people to read this magazine if they choose.

          I probably agree with this. Unfortunately that freedom is too often untempered by effective enforcement action against fraudulent marketing claims.

          We are grown-ups and can make our own decisions Vicky

          As a grown-up you do have the right to make your own decisions unless you have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act or similar administrative measures have been put in place due to mental incapacity to manage your medical care.

          However, if you boast of those decisions in a public forum, you have no right to expect that other people will refrain from using their rights to free speech to challenge them.

          But, more importantly, you have exactly zero right for those decisions to be correct. The Universe shows no special willingness to bend reality in favour of your fantastical beliefs.

          • Colin Bell
            December 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

            “SCAM qualifications are worthless. Taught and regulated by a circle-jerk of practitioners.
            You can lead the quack to logic, but you can’t make him think.
            you beginning to smell of mill-pond and duckweed.
            bullshitters, liars or simply deluded
            ……ad nauseum”

            Maybe ten more years will teach you to show some respect to the people you wish to debate with. That “circle-jerk of practitioners” have trained many years to be able to obtain their licenses to practice in their respective fields. I suspect there is a reason people do not want to interact with you. Think about it

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

            Maybe ten more years will teach you to show some respect to the people you wish to debate with. That “circle-jerk of practitioners” have trained many years to be able to obtain their licenses to practice in their respective fields. I suspect there is a reason people do not want to interact with you. Think about it

            I have thought about it and frequently think about it.

            But look at the facts. Here you are again complaining about the terms of the debate instead of engaging with te actual arguments.

            I’m sorry you neither find the jokes funny nor want to look behind them to the underlying serious points.

            I have offered you numerous specific points of argument and debate. You have chosen instead to carefully tease out individual humorous lines at which to baulk.

            Richard Dawkins said [with apologies for any slight paraphrasing], “Offence is what people take when they can’t take argument.”

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm

            Colin

            Time and again, we see the posting careers of SCAMsters come to an abrupt halt on blogs like this one when they are faced with a simple question that leaves no scope for bullshit and prevarication, but which cuts to the heart of their nonsensical opinions. Is that to be your fate? I ask again;

            How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

            P.S.

            That “circle-jerk of practitioners” have trained many years to be able to obtain their licenses to practice in their respective fields

            Studying nonsense for years does not cause it to cease to be nonsense.

            Here is another absolutely specific question for you to answer: How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

        • Vicky
          December 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

          I’m glad you ask Colin.
          I’d like to see double blind, placebo controlled trials. If the therapy outperforms the placebo, further research is warranted (as being slightly better than placebo is just not enough). If not it has to be discarded – this is what happens in medicine.
          Is all of CAM wrong? I don’t know, but it’s not enough to hope that some of what they do might actually help. Removing the gallbladder can be a useful therapy – for recurring problems with gallstones, for example. Would you therefore support it if a surgeon started treating people for other, unrelated conditions, citing the success he’s had with gallstones? I bet you wouldn’t (I know that I certainly wouldn’t).

          You’re asking how I can “write off whole disciplines” – how can you support them if they fail to provide solid evidence time and again?
          “Experience” is just not enough. Experience told bader surgeons that bloodletting “worked”, but nowadays we know that people who got better did not because of, but despite the bloodletting. The same holds true for mercury, which was a “tried” treatment for venereal disease, the “best available”.
          So, do you have sources that show these “therapeutic disciplines” actually work? Are their practices limited to the areas where they’ve been shown to work? If the answer was yes, and these were the areas WDDTY reported on, I wouldn’t mind WH Smith stocking it. The answer is no, though. Free speach doesn’t cover deliberate lying Colin.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      December 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

      “Quack” is a useful shorthand. The more you seek to defend SCAM therapies the more you beginning to smell of mill-pond and duckweed.

      On a more serious note, given that SCAM exists outside the framework of conventional medicine and its regulation there is no proper boundary between consumer and providers of quackery. The former frequently morph into the latter; just read the personal biographies on the websites of a few SCAM therapists if you need to have that point made more clearly.

      I see the typical responses and they are dismissive and disrespectful generally.

      So far you have produced no arguments that do not merit dismissal and which would earn respect. I remain open to the opportunity to engage in a proper discussion. As I have already implied, in 10 years of doing this, it has not happened. In the meantime, I will make jokes until something better turns up.

      • Colin Bell
        December 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

        If you have spent 10 years doing this you must enjoy it. Hats off to you.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          December 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

          Well, you have spent 1 week and 12 posts here saying not very much, except it worked for me and I’m not here to defend alternative medicine.

          As I have already said, it’s a well-trodden path.

          Shall we move on?

          • December 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

            Badly Shaved Monkey said:

            Shall we move on?

            You’re such an optimist.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      December 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Maybe it does deserve pointing out that when I first started discussion their therapies with SCAMsters, I was hesitant and unassertive probably to an excessive degree. But, time and again, when faced with counter-logic and contradictory evidence the happy smiley altie facade slipped. I have seen the best that the SCAM world seems to be able to produce and found them to be seriously wanting. Maybe there are some who are not bullshitters, liars or simply deluded and I’ve just not found them, but I think the odds of finding those particularly Scottish therapists are getting pretty small.

  76. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Colin

    You have failed to answer any of the specific questions that you have been asked and they are all disappearing into the deeply nested branches of this discussion. I’m going to pull out just my most recent one and highlight it neatly here at the current leading edge of this thread so it stands out nice and clearly for you.

    How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

  77. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Ooh, I posted just now and it appeared in an odd location. Please, forgive me for reposting where it was meant to appear.

    Colin

    Time and again, we see the posting careers of SCAMsters come to an abrupt halt on blogs like this one when they are faced with a simple question that leaves no scope for bullshit and prevarication, but which cuts to the heart of their nonsensical opinions. Is that to be your fate? I ask again;

    How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

  78. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I think Colin has left the building.

  79. Ssarah
    December 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I really don’t see why a publication offering an alternative viewpoint to the conventional medical establishment one is so wrong. I think it is right that we question such things as vaccines and new treatments. Doctors and science are not always right (as has been proven throughout recent history) and as patients (and professionals) we deserve an informed choice on what is right for us as individuals, in terms of treatment (alternative or otherwise) and whether to opt in or out of vaccines. I believe that Medicine is traditionally reductionist in nature and rarely addresses the body as a holistic system preferring to cycle through the BNF to throw a convenient drug at an ailment instead of looking for the root cause. But this is western medicine. As a Research nurse working on clinical cancer drug trials I have approached many patients who are open to the role that alternative medicine can play as an adjunct to conventional medicine and it surprises me that these are so denigrated by the medical establishment. It is also note-worthy that many of the trials i worked upon were funded by Big Pharma and the ethical implication of this is massive, of course drug companies want us to peddle their products- they make billions in profits. Alternative therapies are rarely profit-driven and so I cant see why Medicine is so adamant they do not have a role to play, unless it is for fear that they will actually work and then put many drug companies/peddlers/GPs out of business

    • Andy Lewis
      December 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Ssarah

      There is nothing wrong with publications offering alternative viewpoints or questioning treatments. There is everything wrong with a magazine that is consistently and systematically misleading in a way that promotes quackery and promotes distrust of medical professionals. I would trust as a medical professional you could appreciate the difference. But it looks like not.

      “Alternative therapies are rarely profit-driven”. Of course the exact opposite is true. Medical professionals mostly work in the NHS in the UK and mostly do not receive personal profit from the medical decisions they make or the products they use. To do so, would be seen as highly unethical. In contrast, almost every peddler of alternative medicine profits directly from their nostrums and the misinformation they hand out.

    • December 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      “Root cause”? As a concept, it’s antithetic to the “holistic” approach. I’ve practiced high-end Root Cause Analysis professionally and it’s extremely reductive, evidence-based and often involves mitigation of effects than the elimination of root causes. In many cases there is insufficient evidence to establish root cause. This is especially true when one of the effects of a cause are to destroy evidence. In other cases, it is simply not possible to do anything at all about root cause.

      I’m all for systems-based approaches but I do not recognise systems-thinking in CAM philosophies or methodologies. Superficially, yes, sometimes the words are used but their meanings are so changed as mean the exact opposite of the original meaning.

  80. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I really don’t see why a publication offering an alternative viewpoint to the conventional medical establishment one is so wrong.

    Present a valid alternative that is discussed in the magazine.

    I think it is right that we question such things as vaccines and new treatments.

    Agreed. But questioning is not the same as automatic gainsaying. Questioning also needs to be based on a valid understanding of the relevant subject.

    Doctors and science are not always right (as has been proven throughout recent history) and as patients (and professionals) we deserve an informed choice on what is right for us as individuals, in terms of treatment (alternative or otherwise)

    True. But systematic misinformation as practised by SCAMsters is wholly inimical to informed choice. A homeopath simply cannot contribute to informed choice.

    and whether to opt in or out of vaccines.

    You say you are a nurse. Why should people opt out of vaccines?

    I believe that Medicine is traditionally reductionist in nature

    Do you? If that is the medicine you practise then I would suggest you are not very good at it.

    and rarely addresses the body as a holistic system

    Does it? If you practice conventional medicine in that way then this would make you a rather poor nurse. However, incorporating SCAM therapies does not make medicine competently holistic.

    preferring to cycle through the BNF to throw a convenient drug at an ailment

    I think you have a weak understanding of the aims of medicine. But also a rather naive view of its practicalities. Medicine can neither diagnose nor cure all ills. SCAMsters are parasites pretending to do both. Most hilariously they offer a range of mutually incompatible therapies in pursuit of this.

    instead of looking for the root cause.

    Hmm…do you know what it means to make a diagnosis?
    Please tell us how homeopathy specifically looks for the “root cause”. How does Reiki look for the “root cause”? Reflexology? Aromatherapy? Chiropractic? Acupuncture?

    But this is western medicine.

    Is it? Where was homeopathy invented? It’s a small point but illustrates that you are reciting from the SCAMster canon without doing any thinking for yourself.

    As a Research nurse working on clinical cancer drug trials I have approached many patients who are open to the role that alternative medicine can play as an adjunct to conventional medicine

    I am fortunate not to be in the unfortunate position of your patients. I am disturbed that you would act in this manner. If you tried it on me I would tell you, perfectly politely, to fuck off.

    and it surprises me that these are so denigrated by the medical establishment.

    Why does it surprise you? Present us with a list of some genuinely efficacious alternative therapies and the evidence for their efficacy.

    It is also note-worthy that many of the trials i worked upon were funded by Big Pharma

    I see that you are now using the past tense. So, are you a “Research Nurse” or are you no longer? I am going to guess you are not and now work as some form of altie therapist.

    and the ethical implication of this is massive,

    True. But peddling useless alternatives is not the solution to this problem.

    of course drug companies want us to peddle their products- they make billions in profits. Alternative therapies are rarely profit-driven

    Now, I’m going to guess again here: do you currently generate an income for yourself from SCAM therapies?

    and so I cant see why Medicine is so adamant they do not have a role to play, unless it is for fear that they will actually work and then put many drug companies/peddlers/GPs out of business

    How would that happen? If alternative medicine worked it would be brought into routine use to generate those profits you seem to despise. To use homeopathy as an example again. If homeopathy worked, why would any sensible company risk hundreds of millions of dollars on R&D and potential liability for post-marketing side effects if it can generate a large income by stamping out sugar pills and putting them in little bottles. How much money did Boiron make last year?
    Note, I do not criticise a company like Boiron merely for making money but it is undoubtedly a problem that all medicine is tied to profit-making. What do you propose as an alternative model?

    • Colin Bell
      December 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Once again your arrogant, blanket dismissal of all other forms of medicine only goes to show that you are not basing your arguments on facts, simply because you cannot possibly know whether all, or none, of these therapies work or not. You can only base your arguments on previous research by others. The point being you are not qualified to make judgement on so many subjects. Your dismissal of ALL non-conventional therapies as scams illustrates your closed-mindedness and narrow worldview.

      Also, your favourite weapon, ad-hominem attacks on professionals with something valid to say, underscores your arrogance and inability to present your argument in a meaningful, open-minded way. Suggesting that the previous writer is not a good nurse means nothing coming from you. Are you qualified to make such a suggestion?

      You always ask for evidence, but the evidence, arguing both sides, is plentiful on the internet and in research papers. It is futile for anyone to argue with your ilk because it is too big a subject. For us it is not a question of debating with you to win an argument, but to show you that there are people with alternative viewpoints, who value the freedom to choose what they read and to decide which methods of treatment to have when conventional medicine has failed them. It is a question of freedom. Andy, you say that WDDTY magazine is consistently and systematically misleading…. well, it is not. There are all sorts of articles in these pages and many are unquestionably valid. True, it does at times take an anti Big-Pharma stance but, in my view, this is a welcome thing. Once you allow big corporations, of any stripe, to dictate our choices you will soon find our choices are very small indeed. I have noticed that anytime a “Big Gun” who is undeniably informed in their subject, happens upon your site, debates with yourselves you turn to insults and eventual silence………

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        Colin

        Welcome back.

        If you recall, I asked you the following;

        How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

        I note that you have chosen again to ignore that question despite it addressing the core of what you have been saying here.

        The silence that ends these discussions tends to come from SCAMsters who run ASA rather than pursue logical discussion.

        P.S. you are confusing ad hominem argument with insults. I get very bored of evasion and deception from SCAMsters wrapped up in a blanket of wooly thinking.

        • Colin Bell
          December 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

          Thanks for your warm welcome back, true name not known ;)

          Hmmmmm, I have ignored your question about astrology because astrology, in my opinion, is total nonsense. You asked the question in response to my assertion that alternative practitioners have many years of training and are therefore not “circle jerks”. I don’t believe it addresses the core of what I am saying. And I am not confusing ad hominem with insults because you use a little of both in your responses. There are several occasions I can point to where “skeptics” have run away also.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

        Hey cool bit of useless autocorrect;

        “run ASA rather”

        Should have been “run away rather”.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        December 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        By the way, Colin, you might want to read what I wrote more closely. I told Ssarah that if she practised conventional medicine in a non-holistic way then she would be a bad nurse practising bad medicine. I do hope that you do not disagree with that sentiment.

        It would help you you addressed the pints actually being made rather than a strawman version that results from your own sloppy reading.

        • Colin Bell
          December 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm

          I would say a good nurse practising bad medicine, as admitted by herself. But it seems efforts are being made to investigate more holistic methods of treatment on the NHS. i don’t believe conventional medicine is holistic on most occasions but that is exactly what she said. And I do agree with you that medicine should be holistic.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

            Excellent. There are done things we can agree on.

            Now, moving along;

            How many years of training in astrology does it take to make astrology true?

          • Colin Bell
            December 31, 2012 at 11:49 am

            Note, I am not saying conventional medicine is bad per se. It may have appeared that I said that. Both conventional and alternative variations have good and bad practices. But, on balance, alternative is more holistic based medicine. I am open enough to accept both systems have their advantages and flaws but will never write off whole disciplines…..

          • Colin Bell
            December 31, 2012 at 11:51 am

            …. unless they are proven to be ineffective of course!

          • Mojo
            December 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

            But, on balance, alternative is more holistic based medicine.

            No, it isn’t. “Alternative medicines” typically limit themselves to considering only what is specific to themselves, and to providing only those treatments specific to themsleves. If it is homoeopathy, it just considers the patient’s symptoms and doesn’t concern itself with causes, and the treatment is limited to homoeopathic remedies (for example, in the Newsnight report on homoeopaths and malaria, virtually none of the homoeopaths suggested mosquito nets or other preventative measures); if it is chiropractic it looks for the imaginary ‘subluxations’ and (surprise) the treatment is chiropractic manipulation.

            This approach is not holistic. It is the very opposite of holism.

          • Mojo
            December 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm

            …unless they are proven to be ineffective of course!

            You’re getting the cart before the horse here. You cannot prove that a treatment is ineffective. For a treatment to be considered effective, it must be demonstrated to be effective. It is not enough that they have not been proven to be ineffective.

            For an effective treatment you will see trials (and systematic reviews) that demonstrate a statistically significant effect. An effect can be proven.

            For an ineffective treatment you will see trials that fail to demonstrate a significant effect. While this strongly suggests that the threatment is ineffective, it doesn’t actually prove it. Hence you see (for example) homoeopaths claiming that the majority of trials of homoeopathy, because they have failed to demonstrate a statistically significant effect, are “not statistically conclusive” rather than negative. But this is exactly what you would expect to see for an ineffective treatment.

  81. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 30, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Small point: I said “it is undoubtedly a problem that all medicine is tied to profit-making.” Whereas Andy mentioned NHS doctors. I had not neglected the fact that our NHS is almost reverse-profit driven, trying to maximise service at minimum cost. But it does bump up against others trying to make profit at the British taxpayers’ expense every time a procurement decision is made, whether it be for computers or drugs or hypodermic needles. So, I still think my point is valid overall, but I agree with Andy that the frontline providers of that service in the UK are quite heavily insulated from profit-motivation. Whereas, SCAMsters are totally dependent on making a profit directly from their interactions with patients.

  82. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Ssarah

    If my reply to you was a bit tl;dr, let’s boil it down to one simple question for you to answer;

    Name one specific instance where aromatherapy, homeopathy, reiki and acupuncture each get to the “root cause”.

    You will, of course, need evidence to substantiate your answer.

  83. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    …. unless they are proven to be ineffective of course!

    Well., quite. And I keep trying to get you to engage with this. Proving a negative is always tricky, but name a modality for which you think it has been done.

    You seem to depend on the existence of self-proclaimed ‘professionals’ as validating a modality but you have studiously avoided answering my question about astrology. Please, answer it.

    • Colin Bell
      December 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Are you asking me to write a thesis to PROVE that a particular model works effectively? Or are you asking me to name one that has been proven to be ineffective? Firstly, I am not studied enough in either to prove any work, to your satisfaction, and secondly proving something doesn’t work is tricky, as you say. Research results and circumstantial evidence is all there for our study if we have the time.

      I already stated that, in my view, astrology as a tool for predictions of future events and personality is total nonsense. Celestial bodies can exert influences on other bodies but that is it. I agree with you that astrology is a pseudoscience. In my view, no amount of training will make it true. But, I am discerning and do not make any connection between astrology (obvious nonsense) and medicine, alternative or conventional.

      I am not sure how you can use the term “self-proclaimed” justifiably because they are indeed professionals in their felds. It is irrelevent whether you personally trust their professionalism. Those who trust them use their services and those who do not have the choice not to. For instance, I see my GP when I need help but do not necessarily trust their expertise in nutritional matters. I will see a nutritional therapist if I need specific information on this subject.

      • Mojo
        December 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        Are you asking me to write a thesis to PROVE that a particular model works effectively? Or are you asking me to name one that has been proven to be ineffective?

        “Proving a negative is always tricky, but name a modality for which you think it has been done.”

        Pretty simple to understand, I would have thought.

        • Colin Bell
          December 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm

          Point taken……

          • Mojo
            December 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm

            But can you name one?

        • Colin Bell
          December 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

          There have been many studies on alternative therapies, including your beloved gold standard double blind trials and many have proven efficacy. Unfortunately they do not always get high exposure in the media. You need to discuss with experts but you sometimes miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable insight from people in the fields we are talking about. For instance, Sarah is a research nurse on cancer drug trials but you dismissed her without the chance of a productive discussion. You had the opportunity to ask her about the findings from the research.

          • December 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

            But can you name one?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm

            Colin

            You can be forgiven for seriously under-estimating how much people like Alan , Mojo, Andy, Blue Wode, Scepticat, Acleron, Deetee, myself and others know about the SCAM literature. However, maybe you or Ssarah have some high quality trial data that we have not found in the last 10 years of looking. What we have found is a growing body of trial data that do not support the central claims of the major (and many minor) SCAM modalities. I think we’re pretty secure in our conclusions. So far you have nothing but secondhand testimonials and you do not seem to grasp why such evidence carries almost zero weight.

            As Alan has suggested give us one well-conducted trial that shows efficacy for a SCAM modality.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

            P.S. Ssarah is welcome to return and tell us what she advises about routine vaccination. I dismissed her because she expressed views that implied a habit of pernicious and unethical behaviour. Imagine being her boss running oncology trials and finding that she was dropping little acid comments into the ears of your patients and promoting the dubious merits of SCAM therapies. I think her self-reported behaviour was appalling.

          • Colin Bell
            December 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

            I am not quite sure what you are implying here. It seems to me that Sarah was talking to the patients within the remit of the trial and not perniciously steering them to the “Dark Side”.

          • Dusty
            December 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

            @badly shaved monkey…
            How dare you imply that that is what a research nurse does!!! Goodness me, you should change your name to Badly S**t Monkey!!!! dude get a life will you!

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm

            I’m not implying anything. I’m drawing directly from Ssarah’s own description.

            As a Research nurse working on clinical cancer drug trials I have approached many patients who are open to the role that alternative medicine can play as an adjunct to conventional medicine

            She approached them.

            But, she’s not here. Please address what Alan, Mojo and I have raised with you.

          • Dusty
            December 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm

            Your implication was that she was perniciously and unethically influencing the patients outside the confines of the trial. This is not what she said!!

          • Colin Bell
            December 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm

            That’s it exactly, she was acting as a research nurse in the trial…..

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            December 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm

            Perhaps she will clarify her own words, but I read her statement to mean that patients were enrolled in conventional trials and she approached them to encourage them to try magic beans as an adjunct. I think that is the clear meaning of her words.

            Anyway, she’s not here and unless she returns let’s move on.

            Colin, over to you…

  84. Badly Shaved Monkey
    December 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    “Proving a negative is always tricky, but name a modality for which you think it has been done.”

    Pretty simple to understand, I would have thought.

    What Mojo said.

    There are self-described professional astrologers, yet you seem content to reject their activities as superstitious nonsense although they have millions of followers.
    On what basis do you reject astrology? Do you reject homeopathy?

    • Colin Bell
      December 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      It is not a stretch to reject astrology outright because it is clearly nonsense to suppose that celestial bodies can predict the future or determine one’s personality. As for homeopathy I am straddling the fence. True, it does seem unlikely that it can work and the science is unclear, and not proven. But so many people, including several I have known personally are adamant that it worked for them, even if they cannot explain it. And I don’t subscribe to it being purely placebo effect. Science may discover a mechanism to prove or disprove homeopathy in the future. Quantum physics may prove a mechanism. So, it is too early to write it off.

      • Mojo
        December 31, 2012 at 6:21 pm

        Quantum physics may prove a mechanism.

        How? It is usually only used as an excuse for homoeopathy’s failure in controlled trials, via a misunderstanding of the observer effect and the uncertainty principle.

        “Quantum physics” will not get you around the limitations of chemistry, because “quantum physics” is how chemistry works.

        Anyway, revenons à nos moutons. Can you provide an example of an alternative modality that has, in your opinion, been proven not to work?

      • Mojo
        December 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm

        Science may discover a mechanism to prove or disprove homeopathy in the future.

        There’s no point in speculating about mechanisms, because there is no good evidence that there is any actual effect to explain. Systematic reviews published over the last two decades have (with one exception, which has since been effectively retracted) consistently failed to demonstrate that there is any effect.

        You can write as much as you like On the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat, but you won’t succeed in clothing him.

  85. Alan Henness (aka Zeno)
    December 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    It is not a stretch to reject homeopathy outright because it is clearly nonsense to suppose that water can remember something that was in contact with in the past or determine one’s response to a disease. As for astrology I am straddling the fence. True, it does seem unlikely that it can work and the science is unclear, and not proven. But so many people, including several I have known personally are adamant that it worked for them, even if they cannot explain it. And I don’t subscribe to it being purely the Barnum effect. Science may discover a mechanism to prove or disprove astrology in the future. Quantum physics may prove a mechanism. So, it is too early to write it off.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      December 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Why, Mr Henness, I do believe that is a mirror you are holding in your hands. I shall refrain from further comment until Colin tells us what he thinks of his reflection.

  86. Badly Shaved Monkey
    January 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I wonder whether, perhaps , some of the supporters of WDDTY would like to lend their support to the excitable Mr AC FONTAINE who appears to be ploughing his utterly bonkers furrow all alone.

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/10/what-doctors-dont-tell-you-a-publishing-sensation.html#comment-50635

    It be interesting to hear other altie voices on the subject of mercury toxicity and death due to DHMO exposure.

    • Colin Bell
      January 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      BSM, You’re just playing games with people. DHMO is a hoax and of course you already know this! As far as I can tell, Mr Fontaine was addressing the issues of mercury in amalgams, potential dangers of some vaccines and and fluoride in toothpaste and water etc. You baited him with some obvious nonsense and unfortunately he bit. Your assertion that the DHMO controversial is something that would be covered by WDDTY is obvious cow crap.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        January 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

        Oh, Colin, you grasp the wrong end of the stick with that death-grip of yours.

        No, the issue is not that WDDTY would necessarily cover the DHMO campaign. The issue is that various defenders of WDDTY have airily asserted that the numpties who read that magazine have the wit to discern valid critiques of medicine from batshit nonsense. We question whether a magazine should be permitted to promulgate batshit nonsense that may harm people. For myself, if you track back, I think I have said (and if I haven’t, I am now) I somewhat lean to permitting a defence of free-speech for the purveyors of batshit nonsense, though this is not a settled view and I am open to persuasion by the thoughtful arguments presented by LCN.

        Perhaps you would like to explain to ACF the fundamental concept that toxicity depends on dosage not on sympathetic magic.

        And for the record, I am not as interested in the DHMO issue as another problem entirely; contamination of our water supply with hydroxylic acid.

    • Colin Bell
      January 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      BSM, you are generalising about the readership of WDDTY. Just like any magazine, I would imagine that WDDTY can boast a readership from many walks of society. I suspect, or hope, that you have read it too.

      Do you really believe people have been harmed by this magazine? There is as much chance of a Spiderman comic book reader jumping off a tall building and harming themselves. Most people use discernment whenever they read any material. You seem to believe that a magazine exists that can claim to be a fountain of all truth. There is error in everything whether it is a text book, novel or magazine.

      Would you like to share with me what quantity of mercury and fluoride is safe to ingest? Hmmmmm, hydroxylic acid….

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        January 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

        BSM, you are generalising about the readership of WDDTY.

        Most people use discernment whenever they read any material.

        Sorry, Colin, what is the colour of that pot you are holding? It’s very similar to that black kettle.

        Again, you rely again on the entire readership of WDDTY having the discerning eye to distinguish valid alternative views of medicine and health, which the magazine may or may not contain, from utter lunacy. Various examples of the latter have been cited, therefore you cannot logically maintain that they do no exist. ACF has arrived here as exactly that black swan reader who disproves at a stroke your contention that all of WDDTY ‘s readers are highly discerning white swans.

        Well, that’s kinda QED, old son. You lose. What’s supposed to happen now is that the honest participant in a debate likes this acknowledges their defeat, revises their opinion to take it into account and we all get on with our lives. But, I’ve never seen it happen on all the many occasions that I have run SCAMsters round this sort of wheel. Hey, ho.

        As to the topic of ACF’s specific species of belfry-dwelling nocturnal mammal, I do not pretend to be a toxicologist but I am fully conversant with the basic principles of a dose-response curve. I am content to leave it to the experts to define acceptable upper limits for exposure for the many toxins that fill our world and I accept that you don’t get owt for nowt. I further accept that we risk obsessing over hazards that we may fancy we have control over and wish to reduce those to zero while blithely ignoring many others. One thing remains true; life is a terminal disease. I have no particular desire in getting into the detail of the specific exposure limits for mercury or fluoride. I wish fluoridated water had been around when I was young so could have avoided all the mercury amalgam fillings I acquired by choosing to consume sugary products regardless of the damage they did to my teeth. If forced to choose fluoride-free water and no chocolate or fluoride in the water and chocolate, I’ll take the latter every time , thanks.

        ACF has been rightly mocked not for saying mercury is a toxin, but for showing no comprehension that it is the dose that matters. He seems to think a homeopathic 30C dilution can be deadly. If he wants to have a nuanced discussion about detailed exposure limits then he can do that. It requires a rational and careful enumeration of current policy, evidence to challenge it and a sensible counter-proposal. Instead, he has posted ranting lunatic drivel.

  87. Colin Bell
    January 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    typo: controversy. But should have read as “story”

  88. Badly Shaved Monkey
    January 6, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Colin

    If you’d like two more black swans, consider BBC Breakfast News this week.

    Charlie Stayt had a studio guest to discuss this story.

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20914685

    Charlie had a juice drink and said it contained “9g ” of sugar. I may have the number wrong, that doesn’t matter.
    He expressed confusion and said “What’s gee?”
    The guest told him it was grammes.
    The guest then pointed out that these were “natural sugars” in the juice that needed to be contrasted with the 6 teaspoons of sugar that might be found in a fizzy drink.
    The guest gets a score of 50%. It was good to make the point about the quantity of sugar that is in common fizzy drinks. Unfortunately he loses half his marks for engaging in the naturalistic fallacy. If you drink several juice drinks and tally up the same amount if sugar, that is still bad.
    But, Charlie Stayt expressing childlike bemusement over “gee” literally stopped me in my tracks.

    And these are levels of ignorance, Colin, that a magazine like WDDTY serves to exploit not correct.

    If anyone can YouTube this exchange, I’d be grateful. Was the guest a real expert or a “nutritional therapist”. If the former then he may just have been careless, if the latter then it was bloody typical.

  89. Badly Shaved Monkey
    January 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I think Colin is ducking like a q…

    Oh, well.

  90. Badly Shaved Monkey
    February 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Lynden

    I’m putting this at the bottom of the thread because the quote levels have reached the limit of their nesting higher up.

    Your description of what you are calling “models” contains a complete mischaracterisation of medicine. What you suggest are “alternative models ” are nothing of the sort. Where they intersect with reality they are simply subsumed by conventional medicine. Homeopaths only get to witter on about ‘boosting the immune system’ because conventional medicine gave them the concept!

    Having said that, it is probably a feature of SCAM therapies that they can be said to operate according to a model. This is because they are human inventions and necessarily finite. Conventional medicine is not so foolish as to try to encapsulate itself in some simple model that can be written on the back of a fag packet. I suspect this open-ended, ad hoc character is scary to some people , which is why they fall prey to the simplistic lies of SCAMsters.

    To be generous to your altie friends, we could say they deal (ineffectually) with what we call predispositions. But they play fast-and-loose with the idea of the ’cause’ of health problems. There are no simple causes in medicine, it’s all a meshwork of interconnected processes extending laterally within and beyond the patient and longitudinally back into history. To use your example, the patient developed his Streptococcal chest infection because he caught a cold. He caught a cold because he sat on a bus next to someone else with a cold. But, his cold turned into a chest infection because he is a smoker. He is a smoker because he thought James Dean looked cool with a cigarette in his mouth. James Dean looked cool because he wore a leather jacket.

    So, did Streptococcal bacteria ’cause’ his chest infection or was it ’caused’ by the manufacturers of leather jackets in Eisenhower’s America? If you think you can give an instant answer to that question, you are an idiot.

    By claiming to deal with the ‘one true cause’ of disease (albeit that these causes are mutually contradictory between different SCAM therapies) alties just expose their pathetic naïveté. The TCM practitioner, naturopath or homeopath are just doing things to human bodies that are either trivial, irrelevant or don’t work at all.

    You seem also to have fallen for the canard beloved of homeopaths that they cannot test their sugar pills by the routine process of controlled trials. I’m sorry, but that is utter bollocks. Plenty of trials of individualised homeopathy have been run. They conform to a very simple model (since you are so find of that word):
    1. homeopath sees patient
    2. homeopath judges that a problem exists
    3. homeopath performs magic spell involving a big book and some pots of sugar pills
    4. patient’s problem improves or fails to improve.

    The randomised controlled trial does not care about the detail of step 3. It only cares that there is a step 3 and that we can switch the homeopath’s choice of magic pill for a ‘blank’. We then compare the patients who reach step 4 along the ‘ blank’ versus ‘verum’ arms. It is literally incomprehensible why homeopaths and their apologists think any problem exists. The only difficulty is that homeopaths often deal with rather vague and ill-defined problems so there is quite a lot of statistical noise, which dictates the number of individuals required by the trial. This is a problem of principle and completely cuts the foundations away from the evidence-base that homeopaths have made for themselves that comprises the badly run trials that they call provings and stacks of uncontrolled single-case anecdotes. If you say RCTs can’t be applied then you must discard the entirety of the evidence-base on which homeopaths depend.

    Lynden, you write very long posts, but they contain very little, but I do look forward to your next contribution.

    • John H
      February 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      BSM

      Your fourth para is almost spot on!

      However, just to broaden the evidence base (and prevent accusations of silliness by LBJ or whatever his name is) I started smoking Gitanes because Michael Caine smoked them in Get Carter.

      He was seriously cool. James Dean was a pussy.

      100% correct on the cold/chest infection bit though. (I would post more but I need a fag and a good hacking cough).

      One point though, regarding testing. If H~Y is not amenable to any form of empirical testing (Moon in Aries; the force in you, not strong it is; heretical non-believer; quantum interference etc etc – insert quackscuse of choice) how on earth do they know it works?

  91. Badly Shaved Monkey
    February 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    If H~Y is not amenable to any form of empirical testing…how on earth do they know it works?


    Well, it works in every patient and we did provings and they’re, like, the first controlled trials, you know.

    If internal inconsistency created the brain haemorrhages that should result from it, then there would be a lot fewer homeopaths hanging around street corners pushing useless pills.

  92. Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Alan,

    I read the protocol for the IBS “test” of homeopathy:

    “From this cohort patients are randomly selected to be offered, 5 sessions of homeopathic treatment plus usual care, 5 sessions of supportive listening plus usual care or usual care alone.”

    I am not a researcher, but this seems meaningless. The cohort testing the homeopathic treatment will also receive the usual care. So how can any conclusions be drawn about the efficacy of the homeopathic treatment, if those patients also receive the usual care? Is it to prove that homeopathy improves the response rate of usual care? Why not use a cohort receiving ONLY hoempathic treatment? That to me would be a test.

    • Marc Stephens Is Insane
      February 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Or, test a cohort using homeopathy versus a cohort using placebo (although the concept of a placebo for homeopathy is fraught with irony. What would you use? Sugar pills? Plain water?)

      • February 15, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        It’s essentially an A vs A + B trial, but with an extra arm. However that extra arm isn’t a homeopathic placebo (as you say, sugar pills), so it looks to me like it’s designed to show what they want it to show.

        Not sure of the ethics of doing a straight homeopathy v placebo trial on IBS for six months where the prior plausibility of one of the ‘treatments’ is zero.

        • Simon Baker
          February 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

          Yes, it’s a really really stupid design. It’s fair enough to be Usual Care + X, because I don’t think you could reasonably withdraw all real treatment and certainly not plan to do so and expect people to stick with the trial for 6 months. But obviously what they should trial is Usual Care + (Verum or Blank). Then the difference would reveal the difference between Verum and Blank. In their design there is no meaningful description of different outcomes between the arms. I mean that literally; you simply cannot formulate a sentence in normal English that pins down the exact meaning of the three pairs of possible comparisons.

        • John H
          February 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

          The ethical basis of clinical research is the friend of H~Y.

          A simple test would be to give 500 chest infectees amoxicillin and 500 chest infectees some form of H~Y remedy (phlegm 10C, gob, hawked up greenies, antimatter, mutts nuts, whatever, the cosmos is the only limitation to their imagination) and see what the results are. Never happen as the second lot will mostly end up with pneumonia (which will teach the bastards not to smoke).

          I suppose you could do it ethically with colds, not that they will ever bother. Why should they when they can sell the stuff anyway and save the money.

  93. Badly Shaved Monkey
    February 15, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Colin

    Shocking! The responses to Lynden’s posts are evasive and often childish and pathetic. I thought I had seen it all already but, I am speechless!!

    You may be speechless but it has not deprived you of the ability to type. What comments have been evasive? Which parts of my discussion of causality do you have a problem with?

    I challenge you to specify any part of what Lynden has posted that is neither cobblers, bollocks nor any other component of male genitalia.

    • Colin Bell
      February 15, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Well that was an incisive, adult response!

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        February 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

        I thought it was a firm and thrusting answer.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        February 17, 2013 at 11:38 am

        I note, Colin, that once again you responded only to the joke and not to the substantive question that I asked you.

        Which parts of my discussion of causality do you have a problem with?

        I wonder why.

  94. Colin Bell
    February 16, 2013 at 12:01 am

    “Regarding all of the points you raised my diagnosis is that you are (a) a clever tone troll (of sorts) and (b) a grand master of advanced PRATTery.”

    “Lynden Alexander said something…
    Oh dear.”

    So, these are the first, considered responses from the critically minded Quackbusters to a reasoned post from a new visitor to your site.

    Visiting the Quackometer for the first time is like being thrown into a cage full of juvenile Chimpanzee’s. Yes, I guess the responses are normal in that case!

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Colin

      I went to great lengths to take Lynden’s ideas about models to pieces. I cannot force you to read what I wrote, but it is ridiculous of you to pretend that no substantive response was made to him.

      You are very good at ignoring the comments made in opposition to your views.

      • Colin Bell
        February 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

        BSM, You should have noted that it wasn’t you I quoted! Besides that, you are all generally selective about what points you respond to and evasive about others. And you cannot deny, though you probably will try, that some responses are extremely puerile and michievously ape-like!!

    • Alan Henness (aka Zeno)
      February 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

      No, Colin, it was an exasperation because Lynden’s comment made so little sense, contained so much nonsense, so much woolly thinking and so many logical fallacies that it was impossible to know where to start with it.

      Subsequent comments didn’t improve the situation.

    • John H
      February 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      Colin, my old friend.

      I assume you thought that PRATTery was merely a term of abuse. I would have thought the misplaced capitals were a bit of a giveaway

      As the shoddily hirsute higher primate said “Google your friend is, Colin”.

      It will help to explain why it is not deemed necessary to repeat some things ad nauseum.

  95. Bran
    March 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Well done WDDTY!! Always interesting, informative and against the grain… Wishing you long and successful future!

    • Max Stirling
      December 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Here here!

  96. Max Stirling
    December 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    This comment was removed as it was a duplicate of other comments placed on other articles. This is called spamming. Please stick to discussing the article you are posting on and making relevant points regarding that article.

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