Incurable stupidity and irresponsibility at WDDTY

coverToday, the latest version of What Doctors Don’t Tell you goes on sale in WHSMiths, Waitrose, Sainsbury and many other high street locations.

The February issue makes some of its most startling and irrersponsible claims yet.

The front cover proclaims “Mega-cure for the incurables – Vitamin C fights it all, from measles to AIDS”.

That is quite a startling claim.

The feature article is by WDDTY founder, Lynn McTaggart, and follows the now familiar formula for this magazine – that there are cures that doctors are not telling you about for some reason – natural cures that work better than mainstream medicine and are natural and safe.


What is discussed is the folklorish research carried out many years ago by a few researchers convinced Vitamin C was a wonder cure-all. We are told about heroic researchers who cured all their cases of Polio with Vitamin C. The article suggests that many other vaccine-preventable and dangerous diseases can also be treated by the Vitamin. It lists hepatitis,  measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, tetanus and diphtheria.

WDDTY argues that the daily recommended amounts of Vitamin C are far too low. It is a common theme in alternative medicine circles that RDA’s  are a conspiracy to keep our vitamin intake low and to keep us ill. The magazine suggests that doses many times higher are needed. Doses that range into the levels that start producing serious side effects in people.

These ideas are promoted by a fringe group of therapists who go under the name of Orthomolecular Medicine. Linus Pauling was supposed to be one of the founders of this movement with his incorrect and disproven ideas that Vitamin C could cure colds and other illnesses. Despite the paucity of evidence for these wonder claims, such ideas persist with one of the chief proponents of orthomolecular ideas in the UK being Patrick Holford.

Critics like me would suggest that the idea of selling massive doses, way in excess of the RDA, is just a marketing differentiation schemes that allows sellers to sells pills at vastly inflated prices for what would otherwise be a cheap commodity. Such promotional adverts latch onto the alluring but incorrect idea that because vitamin C is ‘good for you’, massive doses are even better.

The most startling claims in the article are those about Vitamin C being able to cure AIDS and cancer. (Remember, Patrick Holford was ripped apart by Ben Goldacre for claiming they Vitamin C was better than antiretrovirals for treating HIV).

The article begins with an anecdote about a patient with leukaemia supposedly recovered lung function after taking high doses of Vitamin C. (There are doctors in the UK who are prepared to offer unevidenced high dose vitamin C therapy for people with cancer). It goes on to describe how an Orthopedic Surgeon did experiments on HIV patients and claims vitamin C slowed and reversed the progression of the disease.

 The magazine admits that the evidence is just the ‘preliminary results’ of a few people, but adds,

If this early promising evidence for the use of vitamin C against disease were to be replicated in major studies, ascorbic acid would turn out to be the most potent all-purpose medicine currently available.

The fact that it has been so ignored – and even ridiculed – by mainstream medicine is no accident. If a cheap and simple nutrient were to be seriously considered as the modern alternative to conventional treatment and vaccinations, it would virtually eliminate the whole of pharmaceutical medicine.

Indeed so.

But this is of course just the standard marketing method of the vitamin pill business that has existed for a very long time. “My vitamin pills are better than your drugs”.

And so to finish off, the article concluded with a box-out that can only really be described as an advertorial for a company selling high dose vitamin C tablets.

Under the banner “A new form of Vitamin C”, the company, run by acupuncturist, Jonathan Orchard, sells tablets with a ‘liposomal encapsulation technology’ that claims to deliver more vitamin C to the body. You can then visit the web site and buy sachets of vitamin C for £29.95 a dozen.


Since the launch of this magazine, there has been a lot of concern that distributors and retailers and helping sell not just a daft magazine but a  grossly irresponsible publication that offers medical advice that is unfounded and potentially dangerous.

The Nightingale Collaboration has been keeping tabs on how many of the adverts in the magazine are in breach of the Advertising Code of Practice in the UK. There are many investigations under way at the ASA as most adverts in the magazine look like they could be problematic.

After 5 adjudications so far, the number of breaches by advertisements in the magazine is looking like it could break all records.


202 Comments on Incurable stupidity and irresponsibility at WDDTY

  1. Why is pornography placed on the top shelf?
    Why is pornography in somecases banned by law?
    Why do Smiths et al not distribute all pornographic publications/

    Answer: Because they are deemed harmful to the psychosensitivities and morals of our society and communites.

    In what way is WDDTY different?

    • Oh dear…. how can anyone compare pornography with WDDTY….. nonsense ! The pharmaceutical Industry would be more valid. Have you ever had a severe illness? If you do , research it and the effects of ‘prescribed’ medicine. I think you will end up scouring WDDTY to find a better way to heal yourself.

      • Thank you for that “balanced” comment Carol. By the way, what this diatribe against WDDTY says is not factual in any event. The benefit of vitamin C in reversing several types of cancer had nothing at all to do with taking massive doses of vitamin C pills by mouth, or promoting the sale of so-called high-dose Vitamin C in pill bottles. It’s benefits came from intravenous (hence LIQUID) vitamin C combined with hydrogen peroxide. Three weekly intravenous treatments, referred to by some as IVC therapy. reversed end stage breast cancer in one case. Let me ask, if a person is told by their physician or specialist that you have cancer and it has reached a stage where there nothing to be done. In fact, you probably have 3 to 6 months to live, would you hesitate to try IVC therapy? I wouldn’t. Cancer cells in petri dishes cannot survive when liquid vitamin C is introduced, Adding the oxygen rich hydrogen peroxide speeds the death of cancer cells.

      • To correct myself – three IVC treatments each week for several months.
        Intravenous C + hydrogen peroxide administered in a medical clinic. The results were clear and undeniable. And repeated in other clinics not in any way connected, and on a number of types of cancer. Not ALL, and not any A to Z treatment for all that ails you. But also not quackery at all. Solid science. Certainly not in any way comparable to pornography and its negative effects on society. Not sure how a rational mind could say they relate in any way. That is just inflammatory rhetoric in my opinion.

      • It makes no sense, if you know your basic science, to combine an oxidant (HP) and an antioxidant (Vit C) in order to achieve any therapeutic goal. HP kills surface germs, whether on your skin or in your mouth or elsewhere (not recommended); IV it would result in increased production of not just oxygen, but superoxide radicals, which are the very things that antioxidants are used to counter, based on the theory that oxygen free radicals cause damage and illness. You would basically just be cancelling each application out with the other. Think about it…makes no sense.

  2. Dear lord who doth not exist. I’m not much for censorship, but there really needs to be some kind of consequence for publicly stating something like this. I mean… SOMEONE’S MOTHER is going to say “These… Doctors want to pump me full of drugs just because I have cancer when I could be taking vitamin C!”
    Someone is going to be trying to argue with a loved one to get them back on chemotherapy. They may be arguing to get them to go to the doctor AT ALL because they may have lost faith in the profession.
    This makes me physically ill.

    • Oh Onaka,
      Have you ever seen the results of chemotherapy!! Do you know most cancer patients die of the treatment !! I refused it …. followed alternative path and 8 years later I am still well and alive. Proclaimed a miracle by the medical establishment ! NO just did what yous all don’t believe in !

      • I don’t believe her either.

        Her second sentence is exactly the sort of mendacious lie that quacks spread around.

        Her third sentence could possibly be true although I have severe reservations about her honesty. If it is true she owes it to good luck – not quackery (and possibly to medical intervention which caught it early – although she is too dim to grasp this).

        Her fourth sentence is another lie. Of course I am more than willing to retract this if she can provide specific evidence showing which members of the medical establishment proclaimed this a miracle. I very much doubt that she can (unless she is conflating quacks with the “establishment”).

        Her final sentence demonstrates poor literacy skills (unless she is Irish, in which case it makes sense).

      • No one dies from the chemotherapy treatment. That would amount to physician assisted suicide, in a particularly unpleasant way.

      • It would be more accurate to say that chemotherapy is not intentionally administered to kill. It is acknowledged by medical professionals that it does indeed increase the risk of other cancers down the road and not infrequently in some types of cases does end up hastening the death of the cancer patient as well. This is no secret kept from the public. It’s just the risk of chemo buying the cancer patient some more time is deemed worth this risk of its hastening their death. I’m not qualified to evaluate whether that is true or in what situations it is or is not true. I do have personal experience as do many friends and family members, of receiving help from therapeutic levels of nutrition that I never got from the conventional medical advice and treatment I was given.

      • Chemo still isn’t the killer. The patient may die eventually from complications secondary to other cancers, infection, organ failure and so on. But they do not die from chemo itself.

  3. The really frustrating thing is that there does not seem to be any way to prevent this bullshit being published. In a sane world, medical claims in print would be treated exactly the same as medical claims on product packaging. But they aren’t. So the cranks can make bullshit claims for vitamin megadoses, sulphur and bleach without regulation and the charlatans can then sell the vitamins, sulphur and bleach without explicitly making the claims, just using code-words like “MMS”, and the entire regulatory framework is bypassed.

    Longer rant at

    • Guy… you know any physiology or biochemistry ? Good idea to learn , then you may be able to help yourself when you are ill ! People who take charge of their own health and are cautious of the medical model, are more likely to survive major illness.

      • People who take charge of their own health and are cautious of the medical model, are more likely to survive major illness.

        [citation needed].

  4. Skeptics everywhere should start to make a stand. Walk into your local branch of whichever shop, take all the copies of WDDTY off the shelves, walk out with them and dump them in a bin. Hopefully, a few of us will get arrested and we can then start to get a bit of publicity going about this dreadful, dangerous rag.

    • Hey Mr Law…… telling us to break the law!! Why so much hatred, you maybe need to look up a few herbs which relieve anxiety ! very reasonably priced or you can grow your own …. Or you could get tranquilisers, known to have ruined thousands of lives as they are highly addictive…. and put your money and life into the hands of the pharmaceutical inustrys which surely have made enough profit on the backs of fools !!

  5. There will always be conspiracy nuts and those who want to believe all sorts of stuff.
    Why not just let them get on with it if it makes them happy and harms no-one else?

    • The fact that these people may have children who they then put at risk by following the advice of unsubstantiated and inaccurate articles in a magazine designed to sell products which don’t work.

      • Oli,
        who says they don’t work ??? Those who have a financial reason for pushing pharmaceuticals onto us ?? Find out more about the Big Pharms….. then comment!! I am living proof , I have had cancer for 8 years and I’m healthier than I have ever been. I have watched dear friends tortured and die of chemotherapy. If you have to choose , call me.

    • No Horse, don’t listen to Marc Insane, you keep an open mind. I have therapeutic levels of vitamins….. I am fine and dandy, in fact blooming, despite having MM for 8 years !! More people die of paracetamol poisoning than all illegal drugs…… !! Look up the death toll of pharmaceutical drugs….. horrendous! Look up how many of them even do what they are said to ….. look up the side affects…. HORRENDOUS !! When you look after your own health in a knowledgeable way you become more aware, you listen to your bodies needs. Rave against sugar, it kills !!

  6. Did they harm anyone else? Would you like a list of 10 million people who have harmed themselves via heroin, alcohol etc.? And look at the numbers of others they’ve harmed in the process.
    Legislating against stupidity is pointless.
    If they choose freely to do these things why stop them?
    Stupid people do stupid things!

    • Did they harm anyone else?

      You didn’t even look at the list, did you? Yes, it was always others who were harmed, not the vitamin peddlers themselves. You might say they were stupid for believing vitamins could help them, so it’s their own fault they were harmed, but not all of them chose themselves (children were harmed, too, some of them even died). Is it all the patients’/parents’ fault or are the people who told them vitamin megadoses would help them to blame, too? Should they be allowed to sell vitamin megadoses as cures when the available evidence clearly points the other way?
      Also, your comparison is ridiculous. Nobody claims that alcohol and heroin are beneficial substances, not even those who (ab)use them. They’re not touted as panaceas and not given to children instead of effective medication.

      • Oh good lord !! Does anybody KNOW anything about vitamins !! Please find out, for the sake of your health. Most people are riddled with biochemical lesions as a result of vitamin deficiencies, which eventually result in the chronic conditions which are endemic in our society !! Stop eating salt, sugar, alcohol, processed food, red meat….. be SENSIBLE….. get your vitamins !!!

      • “Stop eating salt, sugar, alcohol, processed food, red meat….. be SENSIBLE…..”

        Good call, Carol. Excellent call. Wise words. Throw in “take lots of exercise” and “eat more fresh vegetables” and you’ll be saying what doctors have been saying for years because it’s backed by lots of good, sound evidence.

        Much as it pains me, I think that this month’s editorial in WDDTY is spot-on. Sugar has to be regarded as a metabolic poison.

      • Regarding sugar – and I admit that I’m a sugar addict if ever there was one – sugar damages the inside of our blood vessels. Tiny lesions. Guess what happens next? The cholesterol our body produces naturally, because we NEED it to be healthy, this cholesterol goes to work to patch or repair those tiny lesions by covering them over. In time this builds up until it can block our arteries. But the cholesterol is not the proximate cause of the blockage! It is the sugar! But we don’t really address that so much, because we can instead prescribe statins to lower cholesterol. and what is the recommended hdl/ldl level? It is an artificial, manufactured number designed to sell drugs. When we reached the initial arbitrary numbers and drugs sales slowed down, voila! here comes an even lower number, and drugs sales take off again. In the US there have been many revelations in the news about physicians and their high-end resort vacations (to drug company seminars) fully paid by drug manufacturers in return for pushing their drugs. THAT is unethical and just basically wrong. The unintended consequences of bringing cholesterol levels too low may be far worse than whatever condition prompted the prescription in the first place.

        I was reading WDDTY before there was a glossy magazine. I take what makes sense to me from it, and do my own research. I don’t take anything, from drug company advertising or WDDTY or my physician, on blind faith. When my doctor takes out his prescription pad to write, I ask, “What would happen to me if I DON’T take this medication.” We can then begin a useful discussion of MY health.

      • Rita,

        So you agree major supermarkets and pharmacies should be permitted to carry a magazine that falsely and dangerously promotes vitamins as a potential “cure” for cancer and AIDS?

      • Where was the FDA when they allowed a drug on the market for diabetes that caused so many deaths because it caused bladder cancer. What about all the patients that die from blood thinner meds. How about the damage statin drugs have caused. (auto immune problems, kidney problems, and liver cancers)

  7. Anecdata collected amongst my Woo friends suggests that as soon as anyone gets anything from a cold (n=8) to breast cancer (n=1) they barrage each other with advice/recommendations for treatments and therapies from magazine articles(Megadose, antioxidants and Detox is still widely mentioned)and the less intelligent parts of the internet. Many of them will take this as a reliable source of information with no other fact checking (I try my best to gently make them ask questions and at least consult medical opinion), so they do potentially harm others all the time (by looking to unproven and ineffective treatments first because Chemicals/Big Pharma is evil and delaying getting an ‘informed opinion’ from an MD). False data/authority presented first persists along with the informational influence effects (peer pressure conformity)so there is always a potential harm.
    It’s nice to be able to say “They only harm themselves” and see it as “a Self-Imposed Tax on Scientific Ignorance”, but I’m pretty sure most people would not like to see anyone suffer as a result of poor advice and quack marketing.

    • Cargo I agree with you wholeheartedly but you CANNOT argue with these daft people as you must know! Their conviction and stupidity is part of their DNA and if they wish to spend their cash on mysterious and dangerous not to mention expensive products then that is what they will do! It’s sad when children are involved but its impossible to get these morons to see sense and the more expensive the product is the better!!!

      • “Their conviction and stupidity is part of their DNA”you are just as full of shit as the people you critisise.
        And another little reminder: we leave in a democratic world, where people hare free to believe what they want, leave the way they want, and there is nothing you can do about it; If the skeptic way did prevail, it would be a giant step toward 1984

      • What on earth !!! Such high-handed superiority about something you seem to be very ignorant about! I would like to turn all you have said on its head. Sadly you are the ones who seem to lack intelligent open -minds. Oh and your DNA is going to be severly messed up by those pharmaceuticals you are taking and oh yes the horrendous vitamin deficiencies you are all suffering from.

  8. So many people are naive and if they choose to go down the expensive and “better”route then so be it! I agree 100% with the above but it seems to me it’s beyond education and if that is patients choice then it is!

    • Jane, The expensive route is the medical route!! Look up the annual profits of the big Pharms!! The chemo I was offered would have cost thousands of pounds…… the alternatives cost me a fraction of that!! Why do you think the NHS is in trouble….. it’s money is pouring straight into the coffers of big pharm!! For drugs that are over-prescribed anbd don’t even work !! RESEARCH…… get your facts right …. your life depends on it!!

      • Amen to that – checkout the Cochrane review – independent reviews on all things medical. Lookup 1943 paper on study of giving 117 cases of tetanus treated with 1000mg iv vitamin c daily. After cancer diabetes and heart attacks what’s the next biggest killer – prescription medicine. Read Death by prescription written by one of those real doctors who had an open mind and decided to use his own brain to research rather than let big pharma “educate” him. Ridicule is not an argument!!! Sometimes the truth lies somewhere in between both camps. Be prepared to look at BOTH sides before deciding rather than accepting any viewpoint.

  9. I imagine Waitrose will be closed to your arguments. They had Michael Dixon writing in their magazine giving questionable medical advice. Then they have a very warm relationship with Prince Charles. I imagine many of their customers lapping up all the ” natural” products secure in the knowledge that you get the best from Waitrose.

    After reading Michael Dixon I withdrew my custom from Waitrose. Not much of a dent would have been made in their profits but I am a person of principle 🙂

    • Waitrose is a particular irritation to me and seems to exploit the usual orange-corduroyed and sandalled middle-class victim of all this harmful nonsense.

      They market themselves to this demographic – and very successfully too.

      But even the middle-class (and particularly their children) have a right to be protected from the harm that the peddling of useless “preventatives” and “remedies” does.

      One of my minor pleasures is to march boldly through the newly tarted-up Bath branch of Waitrose with a carrier bag from Poundland. (Yes, yes. I know all about Poundland, btw.)

      Time to demand that critical thinking be a part of the core curriculum at all state schools – starting in the primaries. Then perhaps, over time, the dangerous nonsense promoted by WDDTY would die a natural(!) death.

    • Waitrose, like most companies, are susceptible to bad publicity.

      If you see an issue in your local store, get in touch with all your local newspapers and tell them about this magazine and its dangerous article. It’s the sort of thing local papers will often run if handed the story.

      Multiple “Waitrose/ WH Smith/ other store is selling a magazine with dangerous advice in it” stories running all over the country might give the publicity dept at head office enough of a jolt that they might encourage a reconsideration of stocking the magazine.

  10. Horse asks if they harmed anyone else, and does it matter if they harm themselves. Yes, it does. As John Donne said nearly 400 years ago “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” We are all in it together. We all have an interest and a duty to help each other. I am quite sure that we all do it least some things which are of the same degree of stupidity (not the best word to use, insulting and patronising people is rather unlikely to get them to change their views).

    If we follow Horse’s argument we would repeal all legislation to do with, as a sample of many possible examples: seat belts, crash helmets, limiting alcohol sales, allowing only doctors to operate on people (and vets on animals). If you take the view that stupid people should not be guided away from stupid things then you might even extend the argument to say that publicly funded education should be ceased because it helps people to better themselves in an artificial way. Such ideas do not make much sense.

    So, for these and many other reasons it is a general principle that the state should try to help, protect and educate its citizens. Legislation is not the only way, nor the main way, of achieving such objectives. Education is much more important, as the Taliban have learnt (they put a very great deal more effort into education than the Western world do, albeit not of the kind we would wish for).

    Unfortunately, in our lopsided system big organizations/businesses, whether pharmaceutical companies, sugar producers, brewers, homeopaths etc are able to buy much power/influence/advertising than the state is prepared to put towards the counterbalancing view. What is wrong with mainstream pharmaceuticals is mirrored to a large extent in this kind of thing with vitamins C, homoeopathy etc. So, Guy says “the cranks can make bullshit claims for vitamin megadoses”. But is not only them who can do that, As a psycho-pharmacologist I can assure you that there is just as much distorted and misleading information in the medical sphere as there is in these other spheres like alternative medicine. The basic cause is similar, a gross imbalance in the money and effort into the respective promotions of views. So much for true democracy.

    Humour is a great weapon. It may better to cultivate humour and satire shows and comedians and feed them with material for jokes about this kind of thing, rather like the piece about homoeopathy in the casualty department. Just search for “mitchell webb homeopathy” Have a laugh and send it to all your contacts. You will probably influence more people by doing that than by some of the above contributions.

  11. I don’t think the point of this post is whether people will choose woo or should be allowed to choose woo. It’s the fact that major retailers are carrying a mass circulation magazine promoting useless and dangerous “therapies.”

    If one person buys the magazine, chooses vitamins over real medicine and dies, the retailer and the publisher have blood on their hands.

    Even worse is if someone reads this crap, believes it and starts preaching it to others.

    • Lorenzo St Dubois said:

      Just one question. What is the third biggest killer in the USA? Iatrogenic causes. That’s “proper” medicine for you

      If you want to bring up the number of iatrogenic deaths, please only do so if you also detail the numbers of lives saved by “proper” medicine, the number of people living longer and with a higher quality of life because of “proper” medicine, the number of babies who survive birth because of “proper” medicine and the number of those who are suffering less and in less pain because of “proper” medicine.

      And then please give the same numbers for your favourite alternative therapy.

      • assumptions assumptions..

        I don’t have a favorite alternative therapy. I use regular medicine. However, I was “triggered” by the term “proper medicine”. SO I did some research – not much, but some. v My comment was designed intentionally to create knee-jerk reactions.

        However, Proper Doctors know nothing of nutrition as my own doctor has proved. She intimated that nutrition is a weird and dangerous subject that I must be weary of.. this whilst recommending and promoting a nasty butter substitute spread (sponsorship deal)

        My mum died of cancer, so don’t give me that crap about proper medicine being the wonderful answer. My dad contracted pneumonia WHILST in hospital and died as a result. He was in for two broken legs, one of which had developed gangrene WHILST in hospital. Need I go on…??

      • Lorenzo: your parents plight plucked at my heartstrings and I feel for you.

        My grandfather had TB and spent a lot of his last few years in the consumption ward in some Victirian ex-workhouse dump in rural Ireland (name withheld on legal advice, but you know who you are St. V)

        He was fully expected to live into his nineties (like his father) but negligence by evil allopaths ensured that he died of iatrogenic causes at 89.

        You really cannot trust these allopaths to keep you alive when you have something nasty wrong with you. Why do they let good people die? Its not fair. Surely they must take some form of oath to try to save lives, not destroy them in their prime. There should be a law against it ( the killing people bit, not the oath bit).

        As an aside, are you sure your doctor was talking about nutrition and not nutritionists, who are indeed mostly weird and dangerous (and seemingly fixated on bowel movements and faeces) – proper NHS ones being exempt from this calumny.

      • John H,

        You’re reading my mind. I was going to ask if his doctor was referring to nutritionists too. For the most part they’re quacks. Dieticians, on the other hand, are legit.

        It’s a myth that makes me very angry to read that doctors know nothing about nutrition. My doctor worked with me for a year trying to lower my HDL through diet and exercise. It was only as a last resort he put me on low dose Lipitor.

        Mega-doses of vitamins have absolutely nothing to do with nutrition anyway. Red herring.

        And I don’t believe for one second that a medical doctor had a “sponsorship deal” with a margarine company.

      • Mark,

        I was only ever concerned with the term “Proper Medicine” I have no knowledge of mega-dose anything. All I know about too much Vit C is that it makes you a bit squitty. All I was pointing out was that “proper medicine” can be a massive killer, and that doctors really do NOT have a great deal of training in the area of nutrition which is why I have never been given nutritional advice by a doctor. I’ve done some (not much) research into this and have yet to be persuaded otherwise. SO I took issue with this phrase and ran with it.

        Correction: I have substituted the term “real” with the term “proper”… as in “real medicine” from a post above, although I don’t think that this invalidates what I was aiming at. SO, please substitute the word “real” every time I said “proper” and hopefully we won’t get into a semantic mess.

        AND, my practice was indeed receiving sponsorship from said butter substitute company, though I doubt it ran into the thousands.

      • Try “Victorian” – christ knows what drugs the spelling genii at Crapple smoke. Presumably the same shit as the cartographers.

      • Thanks John, I appreciate your reply.

        My Doctor was talking about nutritionists. However, I found her warnings somewhat strange as doctors don’t really spend that much time on nutrition in their training AND the practice was sponsored by a very famous butter alternative. The practice nurse actually suggested that I should start using this flowery spread.

        I found, and had many conversations with, a nutritionist who’s services I eventually did not employ. However, she was able to describe accurately to me secondary symptoms related to my condition for which I am receiving “proper” medication. These secondary symptoms were never addressed, mentioned or discussed in any way by my regular doctor but were immediately picked up on by the nutritionist.

        I promise you that the nutritionist in question was way beyond the “regular bowl movement” school !!

        @Mark Stephens: I don’t know what Natural News is having never seen it. Sound like a magazine for nudists!

      • MSIS


        I was dubious about the margarine sponsorship thing as well. I wondered if LSD was possibly American but he writes Briti-Speak and talks about his mum (MSRIP).

        He is however 100% scientifically correct, not just tested but proven beyond all doubt, to assume otherwise is illogical and irrational verging on insanity, that ALL butter-type spreads are vile/disgusting/insulting abuses/ghastly imitations of a wonderful, natural dairy product. To stick a QED under this I would ask anyone to name a savoury dish that is not improved by butter and parsley. (Sorry LC -perhaps a temporary name change to “The Cookometer” might be in order).

      • MCIS

        It would appear that our thinks we’re correct.

        As to the rest I can only quote the bible “He who has received the seed on the rocky ground is the man who hears the Message and immediately receives it with joy”.

        Verily did I sow my seed on the rocky ground.

      • I agree with Alan.

        But it’s also worth pointing out the skeptic movement promotes accurate honest collection of data everywhere. In healthcare that might mean building randomised controls into everyday practice where best treatments weren’t know, to improve the evidence base. Ben Goldacre is off campaigning for researchers to have access to the more of the existing evidence base by opening up clinical trial data held by big pharma.

        The question is really about what are the good, and not so good, ways of understanding and so gaining some control over our complex and chaotic universe, and how to ensure that control is used ethically and without exploitation. Rejection of CAM follows naturally from thinking about such questions, but rejection of CAM isn’t the same as uncritical support for all aspects current conventional medical practice.

    • Even if your statistic is correct (I don’t think it is, and quoting sources like Natural News is not credible)what does that have to do with this magazine promoting useless, expensive and dangerous alternates? You are using a classic straw man argument.

      Do you honestly believe vitamin C can cure cancer and AIDS? Do you think major retailers should carry a publication that makes such a claim?

  12. How about a journal named “What Quacks Don’t Tell You”? There is no shortage of anecdotes. Maybe even publish an occasional superior trial to show what evidenced based medicine is about. Tell stories about Archie Cochran and how his and the work of others helped improve medicine enormously. Most people have no idea how bad medicine was 100 years ago.

  13. What about a class action against WHSmiths’ selling WDDTY as ‘Wilfully encouraging the public to seek quack remedies for life threatening conditions’ or something similar. Should put the wind up their Marketing Dept. I will start by donating a twenty. Let me know how I can do this,

  14. I’m sure I remember years ago some report from a government agency about a black market in contact details for people vulnerable to scams. So if you bought a vial of holy water from one con artist, they would sell your details on to someone else who would offer pray to the angels for you and so on.

    I can’t find the report now anywhere on the internet using Google, perhaps I’m getting the search terms wrong. Anyway, I don’t think it’s right to think off WDDTY as promoting quackery. Its fundamental purpose is as a targeting device to deliver a payload of scam advertising to people pre-disposed to respond. A gullibility guided missile with which con men can hit their mark.

    If there were a good way of proving the advertisers were dishonest that might help the good fight. MDs with strings of failed businesses or previous convictions for dishonesty offences might do the trick.

    • If WDDTY is available by subscription, the mailing list would make a good scam list. The advert responses develop another set of potential scam lists. Someone should place an advert in WDDTY and see if there are any list sharing requirements. It would also be interesting what restrictions are imposed on adverts; maybe anything goes.

  15. It’s a shame that Dr Linus Pauling, holder of two Nobel prizes, joint founder of quantum chemistry and molecular biology is not around to debate this issue with you.

    • That’s irrelevant and there’s nothing to debate. Pauling was proven wrong and discredited for his vitamin theory at the end of his career. Several Nobel winners became quacks later in their careers. See Luc Montagnier, for one.

      • Hi Vicky

        I notice you did not state that I think being “joint founder of quantum chemistry and molecular biology” trumps scientific evidence. Being picky here? 😉

      • Well, that’s because in my eyes, it’s not true. He made huge contributions to those two fields, sure, but he didn’t ‘found’ them.

  16. It’s called “Nobel disease” and Orac has written about it extensively on his science blog “Respectful Insolence”:

    Linus Pauling is the prototypical example. A brilliant chemist who won two Nobel Prizes, one for chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize, in his later years Pauling became convinced that high dose vitamin C was a highly effective treatment for cancer and the common cold and, expanding upon that, came to believe in the quackery that is orthomolecular medicine. As a result, Pauling’s reputation was tainted for all time, and he became known more for his crankery than his successes. Since his death, Pauling’s successors have continued to chase his dream with minimal success because even massive doses of vitamin C have little or no effect on cancer and may even interfere with some chemotherapy regimens.

  17. Oh, really? In my experience there is never anything to debate here. Your views are set in stone. In the universe of the Quackbusters it is conventional medicine versus EVERYTHING else, no exceptions tolerated. Is there even the remotest possibility that vested interests may have skewed the results by the Mayo Clinic? Dr Pauling contested this to the end. How was he proven wrong? Are you certain that his research has been discredited as there does seem to be a question mark over this? I don’t have the answers of course, but, in my opinion, the subject IS worthy of debate.

    • Colin

      You say “Quackbusters” like that’s a bad thing to be. What does a Quackbuster do? Busts quackery. What is quackery? Useless crap therapies.

      Once again you have turned up to contribute nothing useful. This time you choose to comment on high-dose Vitamin C therapy, one of the most busted of busted quackeries. But even while inviting us to consider its merits you admit yourself to be unqualified to comment on the subject. Apparently we need to commune with the dead instead of you. This means that debating with you is futile. You clearly have a sense that there are problems with conventional medicine. There are. But your solution is to open the door to nonsense but then flee the field if we try to examine any specific example with you.

  18. this isn’t a matter of conventional medicine vs. EVERYTHING. Vitamins do not cure cancer. Vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin Z, whatever. And while people waste their time megadosing on vitamins, they’re wasting valuable time and money on a useless regimen when they could be doing something that will give them a better fighting chance.

    Not to mention all the dangers listed above about megadosing vitamins. Dangers that cancer patients certainly don’t piled on while they’re sick.

    • I am certainly not claiming to be an expert here but as far as I can tell the mega-dosing of Vitamin C was intravenous and not oral, it is not DIY treatment. This was one of the issues Dr Pauling had with the Mayo Trial. They did not replicate his original experiments.

      Sure, there are dangers of megadosing but these treatments were carried out professionally and under supervision. Every treatment, including chemo and radiotherapy can be dangerous.

      I am not saying his treatment works, I don’t know…. just that it is a shame he is no longer around to debate you.

  19. Colin said;

    “There have been many studies on alternative therapies, including your beloved gold standard double blind trials and many have proven efficacy”

    Alan Henness said;

    “But can you name one?”

    Colin said;

    ” ”

    Making bold statements careless of their underlying truth has a technical name. It’s called bullshitting.

  20. “You say “Quackbusters” like that’s a bad thing to be. What does a Quackbuster do? Busts quackery. What is quackery? Useless crap therapies”

    Yes, but in your case, very selectively…. ie EVERYTHING considered CAM or “Alternative”. In other words your own definition of quackery

    “But even while inviting us to consider its merits you admit yourself to be unqualified to comment on the subject.”

    That makes two of us then. But we are both entitled to our opinions. We both have access to the same data derived from the work of experts in their own fields. Linus Pauling versus Mayo Clinic studies. Two different methods, two different results. How do we know, with a 100% certainty, which is the correct or most honest result? Are you totally satisfied that the Mayo study was unbiased? I can honestly say I am not satisfied, based on what I read. Do you ever ask yourself why information like this MIGHT be suppressed? Are you convinced of the integrity of his detractors? If you trust them, fine! But many people are not so convinced as you are. We value our fundamental right to read whichever books we choose, and magazines such as WDDTY! I genuinely fear a world where information is suppressed and censored because some consider the content dangerous. Walk into a library and we can walk out the door with an armful of controversial, innaccurate or potentially dangerous information. That is a sign of a civilised society and that is the world I want to live in. All points of view must be equally protected and the public allowed to decide for themselves whhich view to agree with. You obviously feel threatened by the content of this natural health magazine but I say to you Quackbusters, if you don’t like it don’t read it. Simple!

  21. Colin

    You turn up here to complain about the use of the overall term “quackery” then fail to defend any individual instance of it. This should not be surprising “alternative medicine” is an alternative to medicine, of course it is nonsense.

    I feel perfectly well qualified to declare that high dose vitamin C therapy as a panacea is arrant quackery. So, I’m one up on you, old son.

    I really don’t know what point you try to make with your posts here. I think that is because you don’t know either. You seem to have some distrust and dislike of medicine and have a vague sense that something out there in the altieverse is better, but you have no idea what that something might be and start complaining about the big boys being nasty to you if you are challenged on these ill-thought-through postures.

    “You obviously feel threatened by the content of this natural health magazine but I say to you Quackbusters, if you don’t like it don’t read it. ”

    Threatened? Hardly. Our problem is that media like WDDTY exploit the gullibility of ignorant numpties. You say you are happy to be so exploited. That is not a position on the intellectual high ground.

  22. Having posted my reply, I think that it does bear pointing out that your opening paragraph,

    “Yes, but in your case, very selectively…. ie EVERYTHING considered CAM or “Alternative”. In other words your own definition of quackery”

    doesn’t even make grammatical sense. The first sentence lacks a verb, so no wonder you have difficulty presenting a coherent case.

  23. “alternative medicine” is an alternative to medicine, of course it is nonsense”

    The term “alternative medicine” is chosen by the purveyors of so-called “real” medicine. It is a term begrudgingly accepted by those practising other forms of medicine. Decrees are made by the self-appointed rulers of medicine in the West and, as a result, in order to keep practising their medicine the imposed title must unfortunately be accepted. The term is not used in many other parts of the world, with the Western variant being considered alternative. The term “alternative” does not, in fact, suggest it is nonsense….. just that is an alternative to something else. If you drive a Ferrari and I drive a Porsche, my car is an alternative to yours. Does that make my car crap?( If it does, in your eyes, that is subjective, doesn’t necessarily make it true). Also, it is called “alternative medicine” because it IS medicine, NOT an alternative to medicine!

    “I feel perfectly well qualified to declare that high dose vitamin C therapy as a panacea is arrant quackery. So, I’m one up on you, old son.”

    “Feeling” and actually “being” qualified are two different things

    “You seem to have some distrust and dislike of medicine and have a vague sense that something out there in the altieverse is better,”

    Am I wrong to feel this way? I have doubts about some of it.

    “but you have no idea what that something might be and start complaining about the big boys being nasty to you if you are challenged on these ill-thought-through postures. ”

    Who are the “Big boys”?

    “Threatened? Hardly. Our problem is that media like WDDTY exploit the gullibility of ignorant numpties. You say you are happy to be so exploited. That is not a position on the intellectual high ground.”

    When did I say I am happy to be exploited? No-one likes to be taken advantage of! But, I hope I can read an article and figure out for myself how the writer is attempting to influence me. Note, we can only be exploited if we let our guards down and allow ourselves to be. Are you so sure no-one is attempting to exploit the way you think?

    • “I hope I can read an article and figure out for myself how the writer is attempting to influence me”

      This is the wrong way to critically read science. You should instead pick out the facts on which the scientific argument is based; consider whether the facts support the argument and the argument leads to the conclusion proposed; finally you should review the sources of those facts and consider how reliable the methods of the experiments that determined facts required for the argument actually were.

      For what it’s worth, two of the biggest producers of Vitamin C in the world are Merk and Roche.

    • Colin, your semantics doesn’t alter a fundamental point which is that it can only be an alternative TO medicine if it can be show to work robustly (at which point it presumably would be classed as ‘medicine’ anyway).

      This is why your car analogy misses the point. The difference between alt med and real medicine are not about some subjective fancy for one type of sports car over another, or about holding a different world view. Its something which can be tested. Objectively.

      To use your analogy, a Porsche is only a suitable alternative to a Ferrari if it has a working engine, without one it only appears to be a car.

      • I don’t believe it is an alternative to medicine because both disciplines are medicine. Medicine practiced on both sides have their strong points and weak points. But, it is wrong to say that “alt med” is not true medicine (it has a working engine). There are so many different disciplines in the field of natural medicine that it is intellectually dishonest to write off everything that is not scientific or evidence-based “real” medicine.

        And what is wrong with testing something subjectively anyway? A medicine or system tested subjectively over a long period of time, shown to be beneficial and with few, or any, side effects surely has as much right to be practiced as any “science-based” medicine. Scientific evidence is important of course, but results can be distorted. Trials can be deliberately designed to create a bias and I am extremely unlikely to be persuaded that there are no parties out there interested in this kind of manipulation for commercial, or other reasons.

        There is much quackery in western-based medicine also, but this website does not pay any attention to it. If you want to censor a magazine why not go after all the others? How about useless vaccines that do not work, antacids, anti-aging creams,pharmaceutical drugs that are criminally approved then taken off shelves after a few deaths or any number of quack medicines advertised on the TV. I personally am not bothered by it. It is obvious bullshit but if people fall for the hype let them use it. Vitamins don’t kill people but Big Pharma does, on a frightening scale. The point is that all those withdrawn drugs once went through double-blind placebo controlled trials and were peer reviewed. What happened there?

      • Colin

        It would take a week to pick the bones out of that rotting carcass. However, as you do not seem, prima facie, to be deranged, let’s extend a courtesy and have a quick go.

        Firstly AM is not medicine. Most forms of AM are MUMs – Made Up Medicines. They are usually made up by one individual and were mostly derived within the last two centuries in the complete and total absence of any knowledge of scientific medicine. A form of so-called medicine invented by a convicted medical fraudster, primarily to make money and with no basis in human biology cannot really be regarded as medicine.

        Science based medicine may have some weak points but it is at least fundamentally sound in principle and practice. AM has no strong points – its primary weak point is that it does not work, nor can it possibly work. Please tell me what the “working engine” is for any form of quackery. You can choose.

        It is actually intellectually dishonest NOT to write of so called medicines for which there is no evidence of efficacy, no scientific rationale and which kill people.

        There is rather a lot wrong with testing things subjectively. I could write a book on this but let me ask you a question. Would you fly in an aeroplane that had not had some extremely stringent empirical testing or would you be happy with the engineers at Boeing saying “well we tested out the paper models and they all seemed to fly, the ultra-thin fuselage has been strengthened by banging all of the components on the bible and the whole plane is imbued with the vitalistic force of “Powered Flight 10C””. Bon voyage.

        Your cursory analysis of medical trials seems derisory given the audience you are preaching to, probably every one of whom has recently read Bad Pharma.

        A list of quackery in EBM would be interesting. As far as I can see medicine has spent over 150 years cleansing itself of anything resembling quackery – by applying rigorous science. On the other hand the quacks are still stuck somewhere between 1810-1880.

        I would be interested to know what vaccines do not work.

        And since when have anti-ageing creams had any connection with medicine. I think you are confusing medicine with the cosmetics industry.

        If you are not bothered by bad practices in medicine you certainly ought to be. There seems to be a general tendency for quacks to assume all sceptics are somehow bankrolled by GSK and Pfizer. In fact sceptics are probably more critical of Big Bad Pharma than they are of quacks, mostly because BBP should be doing it properly whereas the quacks wouldn’t even know where to begin.

        Misconduct in medicine can be and is rooted out and corrected. Quackery IS medical misconduct and there are no mechanisms for supervising and regulating it.

    • Colin

      I’d hate you to think I am ignoring you, but your post contains wrongness on an industrial scale and others have addressed most of it.

      Your basic position is to defend the sale of WDDTY because you want to be able to read bullshit and regard yourself as being capable of distinguishing bullshit from true gold. You say no one can be harmed by the bullshit. You have been given examples of people who have been harmed by bullshit, but you ignore those examples and/or deploy a tu quoque fallacious complaint about real medicine as if it answers the point. You have also failed to offer any specific example of an alternative medicine that actually works. You suggested megadose Vit C then declared yourself incompetent to comment on it, which is, frankly, pathetic.

      So, we return to my previous point, you have a dislike of medicine and appear to assume that those of us who work in real medicine are not highly critical of its failings. You have a vague sense that there is something better out there somewhere but cannot produce any single example of a therapy that will stand up to scrutiny.

      So, please give us less of your rhetorical piffle and suggest one alternative medical therapy that you would like to discuss in detail. You should do so on condition that you can bring adequate evidence to the table and with sufficient honesty that you will accept the outcome of an examination of that evidence and modify your belief if the outcome demands it. Unless you do that I’m forced to conclude that your only ambition is to rather tediously pull our plonkers and that sensation is remarkably unpleasant.

      • I am defending the sale of all magazines and books as I am opposed to censorship in principle. To me, the demand to prevent the sharing of views or knowledge is akin to book burning, which is one of the biggest insults to a free and open society. If that is what your group wants why not then go after all other books and magazines that offend your sensibilities. How about paranormal magazines, Nexus or some top shelf magazines. Oh, how about any religious or ant-Darwinism literature or maybe shooting/ gun magazines. There are many people who regard all these as dangerous. Hey, maybe if you get your way with WDDTY, these things will happen. You have the right to free speech and you can demand the withdrawal of whatever you choose, but consider the consequences if you succeed. I don’t think WDDTY is bullshit, it is a sign of a free society that I can read it. Alternative medicine is actually your raison d’etre. What you all gonna do without it? You will find something else to do battle against. If there were no Steiner schools or WDDTY or homeopathy to fight to shut down you are going to be bored as hell!! Hey, I am the same, but I would never call for the shut down of a magazine or censoring of a book. No way!!

        That website is what you use to prove that people have been harmed, have you actually read it? you accuse me of being unscientific but most of the stories there are anecdotal. If you can’t show me something better than that the I know I will never be convinced.

        Look at some of the headings of how people are harmed or killed:

        Ghosts, dream interpretation, Nigerian emails, religious cults, terrorism fear, vampires, voodoo etc etc….. what a load of crapola!

        Even in the Medical section, which is funny because you said you do not consider Alternative Medicine medicine, there are sections on vaccine denial, autism denial etc. How can you deny Autism? There has been a huge spike in Autism so it is tricky to deny. Something caused the spike. One sad story in the Vaccine Denial section was about a mother who murdered her child because she felt guilty that the vaccine she gave her daughter caused her Autism. The court ruled that she was insane (Maybe the vaccine DID cause the childs Autism but it is not discussed). Stories like that don’t prove anything. And it is atypical of people who doubt the benefits of vaccines anyway. There is one case of a man who was injured by cupping (the only case in that section) when the alcohol caught fire and burned his neck. Wow, a single case. Personally, I would rather that happen to me then have a wrong limb removed in surgery, which has happened more than once. Nineteen people supposedly killed or injured by Naturopathy over a period of 18 years, and that is globally. Most of the stories on this website are probably questionable and straw clutching. The astronomic figure at the top is just sensationalism. You should read it sometime. Maybe you will stop quoting this website to prove a case.

        I can suggest alternative medicines that I think work but, like I said, I am unqualified to give any evidence that will satisfy you. It will be a waste of time. Which discipline are you qualified in by the way?

      • Another weeks work in rebutting all of the nonsense you have neatly typed.

        There is a common saying that one should have an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out. Yours must be all over your keyboard.

        It is not even possible to answer your first sentence without ending up on the Sex Offenders Register. So I shall gloss around it.

        Would it be acceptable to you to have a magazine called “The Joy of Death Camps” in W H Smith which glorified torture, degradation and genocide? In full colour!

        The rest of the mumbo-jumbo has been dealt with in the Quackometer, Respectful Insolence, Bad Science, Improbable Science and the ilk. Have a nose around and discover the difference between rational thought and woo.

        And just to take one point, some of us do vigorously respond to anti-Darwinist nonsense. It is an uphill struggle because ( to coin another well worn phrase) it is impossible to use reason, evidence and logical thought to argue against a position that was arrived at by none of these.

        As to the rest of your post I shall leave it to the tatty simian to count up the logical fallacies.

        (But I would still like to know which vaccines don’t work).

      • You missed the point completely! Let’s be rational here. Are you comparing the sale of a natural health magazine with a magazine glorifying death camps? Have you ever heard of anyone trying to get such a magazine distributed in WH Smiths? It will never happen of course. If someone chose to self publish and distribute such titles to people of their ilk there are probably laws to deal with it. But, c’mon, we are talking about a natural health magazine here that discusses diet, challenges claims by Big Pharma and includes recipes for healthy food etc. It’s not a threat to civilisation as we know it. The Nightingale Foundation even reported an advertiser for having the temerity to mention polluted water in an ad. Actually, cynically, that organisation went after virtually ALL the magazines advertisers as a ruse to dry up funds for WDDTY to have it shut down. Funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic.

        If someone wishes to read Mein Kampf, Mao’s Little Red Book or Machiavelli they are available to read. How else can you even begin to understand what makes dictators tick? I have read them all personally, just out of interest. I don’t agree with what is written but I am glad they are available to study. Same with medicine, whatever form it takes.

        And the other point is, regardless of whether something is mumbo-jumbo or not it should be available to be read. I am not admitting that any particular magazine or book is mumbo-jumbo but how would I know…. unless I had the chance to read it? You really believe you are the only rational thinkers on the planet! Bit arrogant don’t you think? The world is not as black and white as you think and there is much to be discovered and explained. You restrict yourselves too much in your thinking processes and I prefer to have an open mind.

        Flu shots for example are ineffective. I know several people personally who contracted flu after taking a shot and they said never again. There is a lot of disinformation related to flu shots, and why not, it’s big bucks!! Not to mention all the crap they contain. How will you feel if someday a link is proven between autism and vaccines? Will you accept the findings? The best insurance against flu is a strong immune system. That’s not quackery, just common-sense.

      • Colin

        I don’t think I missed the point at all.

        I was being rational. I was not trying to traduce you, misrepresent or misinterpret your words.

        You stated very clearly that “I am defending the sale of all magazines and books as I am opposed to censorship in principle. To me, the demand to prevent the sharing of views or knowledge is akin to book burning, which is one of the biggest insults to a free and open society.”

        I merely asked if “The Joy of Death Camps” fitted the bill here. Apart from that particular periodical I could have asked you which of the following is unacceptable in a civilised society:

        – “What The Murder Squad Don’t Tell You – Ten Top Tips For the Murderer Avoiding Capture”
        – “Sex Offender (Incorporating Serial Rapist) – Five Scientifically Proven Ways To Avoid Embarassing DNA slip-ups”
        -“Love Pets: The Weekly Zoophilia Journal”

        They should be acceptable by your stated criteria.

        I think there is some evidence as to what discipline i am qualified in although it is hardly relevant to anything I post on the Quackometer.

        With respect to your flu vaccine comments i would imagine that the flu virus has multiple clades and changes a lot, which is why we have Spanish, Asian, swine and bird varieties. I would also imagine that your flu vaccinated friends had colds rather than flu. Flu is a lethal illness.

        Please let me know what crap is in vaccines because I reckon I can kill that one fairly quickly.

        If there was medical or epidemiological evidence that MMR caused autism I would be more than happy to accommodate it – my views are not based on irrational beliefs. Regrettably for Jabbophobes there is neither.

        And whilst I read your post there was an item on the news about a big rise in measles as a result of airheads being too effing stupid to vaccinate their kids. So it goes.

    • Great point Colin, thank you for your contributions. In my experience, it is western medicine that is the quackery – pure and simple.

  24. I’m out of my field here, but I can’t help but notice that the arguments for “alternative” medicine are essentially the same as the arguments for “alternative” education. The “People should be free to decide for themselves” argument is the most strikingly similar. Just like with Waldorf schools, that decision for the alternative is expected to be based not on facts or evidence but on superstition and old wives tales produced by the alternative group. People are here fighting for the right to be duped apparently. I can’t wait for Waldorf schools to come out with “What Educators Don’t Tell You”.

  25. Colin,

    Stop with the “western” medicine drivel. It’s meaningless and misleading (and a bit offensive). Most forms of “alternative” medicine we talk about here are Western. Chiropractic and homeopathy are western. Vitamins are western. All the garbage alternative cancer therapies being sold are from the west. Burzynski, Simoncini, Robert O. Young, Budwig, Hulda Clark, and all those other quacks are western.

    If you are strictly referring to herbs and acupuncture, then say so. Most of the rest of the alternative crap in WDDTY is “western”.

    • Meaningless and offensive is it, as in words like SCAM, quacks, morons, incurably stupid etc? All very respectful. No-one on this site would be offensive towards their guests, would they? Always inoffensive and polite to the end. My point is you show no discernment when discussing non-conventional medicine and you bunch everything together as “woo” (one of the quackbuster’s favourite, but overused terms).

      I personally know many people who have been helped by chiropractic practitoners and acupuncturists for example, myself included. I am sure some of those things you mentioned are dodgy, but how would you really know for certain? I have never heard of some of them.

      Sorry if I offended you by using the word “western”

  26. I think another analogy, if you want to use cars, would be to say that flying carpets are alternative to cars. Alternative transportation. Like alternative medicine, flying carpets don’t work.

    • Flying carpets are fairy tales … you do know that? They don’t work because they do not exist. Anyone older than 5 years old knows this.

      • Anyone older than 5 should also know that, along with flying carpets, none of the following really exist:

        – Qi energy flowing through the human body which can be manipulated by twiddling pins
        – innate intelligence flowing through the spine and being blocked by subluxations
        – medicines made from T. Rex which have no trace of the animal (not that there was any in the first place given that they pegged out 65MYA)
        – memory in water/active ingredients in sugar pills
        – healing energies being emitted by the body and being manipulated by healing hands
        – demonstrable, thorough and repeatable efficacy for quackery

        Quackery is an extremely lucrative global business whose profits are bolstered by a flimsy confection of anecdote, stupidity, ignorance, gullibility, placebo, self-limiting illness, regression to the mean, the Hawthorne Effect and worried well airheads (to name but a few factors).

        In the mid-70’s, whilst atoning for the sins of a previous life, I had the gross misfortune to do seismic research work in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. Every afternoon we saw the 3.15 Magic Carpet flight from Dhahran to Riyadh (we being me and my colleagues). Now I do not know whether the carpet could actually fly or whether it was merely borne aloft by djinn. However, i saw it, it worked for me and I claim my anecdote to be personal truth and therefore priveledged and immune from criticism. So there!

      • What utter nonsense, this is now verging on rediculous!
        I was reading this extremely close-minded website with something you ought to consider, an open mind, when I find this utter nonsense.
        Are you joking or are you really THAT uninformed? If you are then this does go some way to explaining why the prevailing arrogant “know it all” stance, and the shamefully negative and narrow views expressed given your clearly very limited understanding of the topic.
        “None of the following really exist. Qi energy flowing through the human body”.
        Every last shred of your limited credibility ended in flames with this stunningly ignorant statement.
        Just because you do not and will not endeavor to understand the human body correctly and therefore as a result of this actively fail to grasp the fact there are priciples at work which western chemical medicine cannot manipulate in a profitable way, doesnt make something not “really exist”. That makes it unprofitable, very different. Bit like DCA, which does cure Cancer. (mine)
        Explain to me, how is it a practitioner of martial arts could punch his or her fist right through reinforced concrete?
        Your Western scientific “woo” PROVES this feat is impossible.
        By your dodgy method of reasoning (at least you are consistent with something I suppose) this feat is stated as being “physically impossible” yet I see this impossible feat performed frequently and by young, old, male and female alike.
        You certainly could not succeed at this miracle with such a lack of understanding of the human mind so do feel free to explain how this “Impossible feat” is accomplished if not through ‘non-existent’ Qi?
        The river of nonsense whichis in freeflow on this website is clearly generated and flowing in one direction, from the western medical practitioners.
        Why such a closed mind?
        Refresh my memory, who stands to lose out if there were cheap and effective cures for ailments?
        How can you sleep when you are preventing cures for all manner of ills with nothing other than egotistical and self congratulating prose on how great we are?

      • But there is a lot of subjective evidence (stories) about flying carpets stretching back many years after all, how can all of these different writers be wrong about them?

        I think you’ve bought into the car industries lies. They are suppressing the truth about magic carpets to keep you dependant on their cars.

      • I have one myself and I use it all the time. Works for me and my whole family now uses it. Once I had to go to somewhere and conventional cars just would never have got there, but my magic carpet did – and with no pollution.

        Cars are a Western invention and cause endless pollution but flying carpets come from the exotic East and are pollution-free. You need to open your mind to the benefits of Eastern modes of transport and not reject them because of any prejudice.

      • I also have a magic carpet and read all the magic carpet magazines. I use my magic carpet every day, but to keep it clean and dry I always fold it up neatly in the boot of my Audi. I know it works and can tell when I’m tearing along the motorway that my magic carpet is doing all the hard work. I really only turn the Audi’s engine on just so other people don’t know I’m really travelling by magic.

      • My magic carpet is better than your magic carpet because mine is made from pure, natural alpaca wool, spun on a special spinning wheel that spins at a precise speed that was revealed to ‘Our Founder’ in a dream.

        No! No! Wait. That’s not the way altmed works…

        My magic carpet is different to yours, but it works on ancient natural notions, and, whilst contradictory to the way yours works, they are both equally valid ways of looking at transport modalities.

      • Slipp

        Re Para 1: My point exactly. Thank you for your support. It’s bleedin obvious innit that all these anecdotes about Magic Carpet Rides must mean there is something there. Just because western science cannot explain eastern mysteries doesn’t mean there isn’t something there. Does it?

        Re Para 2: Dammit. I knew there must be a transglobal automotive/oil industry international capitalist conspiracy at work, determined to hide the truth from us and prevent free magic carpet transportation for all affecting their power and profits. Probably coordinated at Davos.

    • Oh, you suddenly love anecdotes now. This website doesn’t look too academic at first glance. And certainly not up to the high standards of Quackbusters. if this were on an alternative website you would say exactly the same as me!

      “368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages”

      The astronomical figures quoted at the top of the homepage look ridiculous and are obviously not true numbers. I can’t imagine that many people in the history of medicine have had, or could afford, mega-dosing therapy.

      • The case stories all come from public sources. Newspaper articles, court cases, patient blogs. The writers of the blog are not inventing all those people and their stories.

        And the numbers you are mentioning are not from megadosing. It’s the total number of people who have been harmed by all sorts of alternative “treatments” from chiro to energy healers to cancer quacks.

  27. I know how to keep everyone happy. A campaign. Nothing illegal or destructive. We just go into WHSmith and move all the copies of WDDTY to a space between Private Eye and Viz. then its satirical nature would be much clearer. That would please even Colin since he seems to think that customers need their regular dose of bullshit just to keep their brains in trim.

    [Autocorrect changed Colin to Colon. I changed it back. Was it worth it?]

    • BSM,

      I used to go into a local bookstore and move whatever L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics books they had to the comedy and humour section! 🙂

  28. Colin

    Wrongness, strong in you it is, yes.

    Flu shots for example are ineffective. I know several people personally who contracted flu after taking a shot and they said never again.

    Indeed, this is the way to understand population-level medicine, a couple of anecdotes. Stonking.

    Comment critically on your story. In your reply, do two things. 1.Correctly use the term flu-like illness 2. Show an understanding that if vaccines are not 100% protective this does not make them 100% useless.

    Personally, I am disinclined to believe that our lizard overlords are currently incorporating alien DNA or black oil in our flu jabs, but maybe that’s just my Neptunian brainworm making me say so. Anyway, must get back to polishing my black helicopter (too cold for magic carpet-flying tonight).

    • BSM
      Thanks for the link, very thoughtful of you! I have seen that series before and it is very entertaining but not very scientific. It is entertainment and that is it. It is basically Bullshit! but fun. Only an idiot would think a snail facial was beneficial, but that’s the sort of person the show producers look for to produce a show…. for laughs!! Cheers anyway

      • Oh, bless you, Colin. You can always be relied upon to grasp the wrong end of the stick with that death-grip of yours.

        Is reflexology more or less bullshit than snail mucus therapy?

        Would you care to comment on the hucksterism of the reflexologist?

        As ever, Colin, you’re ever so coy about making any definitive statement in support of any specific SCAM therapy. Why is that, I wonder.

      • Only an idiot would still think there’s any link between autism and vaccines. We have over 10 years of solid, irrefutable scientific evidence, yet Colin still goes on about the “toxins” in vaccines and the “damage” they cause.

      • There may or may not be a link between vaccines and autism but toxins are toxins. Mercury has no place in the human body. Toxins, by definition, cause damage.

      • Z-z-z-z-z-z. Give it up. Over ten years of solid evidence. Andrew Wakefield is a fraud. He’s been disbarred and discredited. Thousand of kids have suffered needless preventable diseases because of the damage he caused. Measles is at 18-year high in England and Wales, according to a story in the Guardian this week. Kids can die from measles. Do you hate children?

      • “Do you hate children?”

        This is the same cruel and spurious allegation made against patriots in the United States fighting to defend their Constitution. It is the worst question you can ask a fellow human being…. and cheap!! The truth, in both cases, is the polar opposite.

      • Enjoy your Frankenstein food, which is exactly the same as organic apparently, Fluoride, vaccines and Aspartame. I am fairly certain you are all convinced of the safety of all these wonderful, salubrious substances. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be a Quack. Am I right?


        With all the anti-Wakefield talk here it is good to let the man speak for himself. Just for a little balance. Dr Wakefield was demonised from the very beginning just for looking into the POSSIBILITY of any link. Regardless of whether a link was found, or not, there was an early move to silence him.

      • There certainly is noxious substances in vaccines. I can say this as I was involved in the manufacture of these vaccines for many years. To name a few, aluminium hydroxide, mercury, formaldehyde. It’s a free country let us choose. I cant believe there are so many people on here with closed minds. The Chinese and Indians have used natural medicine for thousands of years to keep themselves fit and healthy until we took our diseases to them. It is simply the sheer greed of the pharmaceutical industry that controls government, health service and the media. In my opinion the pharmaceutical industry does not want to find a cure for any disease, they just want to treat it with the most expensive drugs they can sell. I think we are becoming more enlightened now, and more people will start thinking for themselves instead of this ” yes doctor, anything you say doctor”

      • Just wondering what you did when you worked in vaccine manufacture. Did you work in the staff canteen? Because you appear to know very little about vaccines, science or medicine.

    • To BSM

      Immense thanks for the link to Penn & Tellers “Bullshit” page on quackery. While I enjoyed them on TV as brilliant magicians I hadn’t realised that they had made this and other shows exposing aspects of Bullshit. I now plan to look at the others in their series.

      Just two peripheral thoughts:

      1. The use of the word “energy” – it appears every wher in Quackery & this show..

      Anyone with more than “O” level (or GCSE) education (Physics or Chemistry but not Classics) will understand the elements of how energy is used, is transformed and can interact with us.

      Unfortunately, because many of the aspects of “energy” are invisible to the naked eye, the word itself takes on aspects of magic. Perhaps there’s a better word, ‘cos the word “energy” is now corrupted in the minds of many. It’s a bit hard to explain that while simple magnets will have very little or no effect on the body, ionising radiation will. “Well, of course, it’s all “energy””, says the quack.

      2. Could such a broadcast be sent to air in UK?
      I must be careful here. Very robust assertions were made about a particular type of “AM”. Would they be libelous under the UK’s draconian laws? Or, more to the point, could the threat of their being libelous cause their suppression?

      A simple test: Would any UK-based TV channel (BBC or the others) dare to broadcast the P&T Bullshit show free-to-air?
      (However: I lead a reasonably sheltered life and they may have sent it out already & didn’t see it!)

      I am no great admirer of many aspects of US life & law but and it’s a big BUT, they do believe in being able to say such as this, while we shiver in fear of writs.

      • I have to admit being very disappointed that P&T, the ultimate skeptics and debunkers, appeared on the Dr. Oz tabloid medicine TV show last week to participate in an episode called “Medical Myths.”

        Oz has become the laughing stock of medicine, as his TV show has featured psychics, medical intuitives (more psychics), reiki (faith healing), naturopathy (witchcraft) and homeopathy (magic water and sugar pills) in the past few months. The New Yorker and Forbes magazines have both written scathing exposes of what a quack he’s turned into.

        So to have P&T appear on that show seemed to me hypocritical. P&T ridicule the paranormal like psychic phenomena, where Oz endorses it. I still enjoy their magic, however.

        Oz also shills “miracle weight loss” breaththroughs weekly like red palm oil, green coffee extract and rasberry ketones, none of which have any evidence of efficacy. What’s worse is the “experts” he brings on to “talk about” these breakthroughs sell the products!

  29. One more thing;

    Only an idiot would think a snail facial was beneficial, but that’s the sort of person the show producers look for to produce a show…. for laughs!!

    So those people, potential WDDTY readers, are idiots who deserve to be fooled. Well done them.
    This rather patronising arrogance towards ordinary people is inconsistent with your repeated argument here that WDDTY can do no harm because people can reliably filter the bullshit from it and refine pure medical gold from it.

    It’s almost like everything you say is an ad hoc reaction to whatever has just been said without any concern for logical consistency.

    Which is it, Colin? Are people idiots who can be fooled by childish tricks or acute refiners of truth?

    The sceptics’ position is quite egalitarian. We can all be fooled. The difference between us and you is that we have the tools to avoid it.

    But, just to be sure about this, you say snail mucus therapy is obvious nonsense. I ask again, name one SCAM therapy that actually works.

  30. A regular commenter on Orac’s “Respectful Insolence” science blog posted this today. Being a major Monty Python fan, I am reposting it here for the amusement of the rational-minded.

    The science has been done, the link between vaccines and autism does not exist. It is a dead link… “It’s not pinin’! ‘It’s passed on! This link is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-LINK!!

  31. Blah, blah, blah, feckin’ blah, Colin

    Enjoy your Frankenstein food, which is exactly the same as organic apparently, Fluoride, vaccines and Aspartame. I am fairly certain you are all convinced of the safety of all these wonderful, salubrious substances. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be a Quack. Am I right?

    You have been repeatedly asked a very simple question: name one SCAM therapy that actually works. It begins to look like you can’t give an answer.

    • I’m prepared to believe aspartame could have some risks. It is a chemical and every chemical can cause harm provided you get the dose high enough. So, let’s consider what might be used instead. I’ve heard of a natural product called sugar. Is consumption of sugar completely free of any bad health consequences? Is it produced by a completely organic small-scale cottage industry that is free of harmful environmental and societal impacts?

      Enquiring minds want to know.

      [Colin, don’t bother replying to this one. The questions are rhetorical. This one is not, name one alternative medical therapy that actually works. Your evasion is becoming obvious ]

      • That is all I am saying about Aspartame, that there is a potential risk and for that reason I try to avoid it. I don’t believe it is safe. There are extreme views on both sides of the argument. That leaves, GMO, mercury and fluoride. If you are happy to take the risk that’s fine. I am not! I will name you alternative therapies that I believe work, but because I am not a scientist and have not personally carried out any trials there is no chance in heck I will persuade you. After all it is your raison d’etre to oppose anything that is not evidence-based medicine.

        I believe acupuncture works, through personal experience and from speaking to experienced practitioners, friends who swear by it and from studies I have read in books and online. I also, keep an open mind about Homeopathy and have gone through phases of saying “no way!!” to “Hmmmmm, maybe there is something in it”. It sounds like an overabundance of “woo” to use “Quackbuster” speak. BUT, there is a huge mountain of anecdotal evidence that it does, in fact, work. So, to me it is way too early to write it off. I don’t believe it can all be put down to the Placebo Effect. I believe acupuncture works!

      • You might also want to read the ‘missing’ chapter from Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science that he couldn’t include in the original book (because Rath was suing Ben in the High Court at the time). It’s free here.

      • Yes Alan, thanks. I saw the chapter mentioned on the Wikipedia page.

        Every time I see your “aka” I think of Xenu, the evil overlord in scientology’s mythology.

        Are there any other kinds of overlords but “evil”?

      • BSM

        That’s a great reference. Made for an enjoyable Sunday morning read.

        Impossible to read without constant flashbacks to every adventure, spy, science fiction and thriller film you have ever seen. A condensed analysis of every single groan and shout at the screen of “that’s really stupid, nobody would do that”.

        Now, armed with the necessary data and a sound roadmap, I can implement my plan for galactic domination.

      • There are obvious hurdles to overcome. This leaked memo suggests some major problems currently lack an effective solution.

        Agenda for Galactic Domination

        1. Build interstellar spaceship fleet

        2. Date of next meeting. Let’s just pencil this in for a few million years from now.

        3. AOB

      • Dammit BSM. It didn’t work.

        My newly laid plan for galactic domination fell on stony ground. in fact it fell at the first hurdle when C&G refused to give me me a mortgage on the Fortress Of Doom and the beta version of my interstellar deathship failed its airworthiness certificate.

        Obviously yet another Davos managed conspiracy by international capitalism and the aerospace industry (and the evil allopaths in Big Pharma – thats bleedin obvious innit).

        They will be first against the wall when my plans come to fruition.

        Back to arguing with Colin I suppose.

  32. A question about “Brit Speak” from this dumb Canadian:

    When I see the expression “high street” (as in “you can buy homeopathic products on high street”) what does that refer to? I first thought it meant one specific street, like Harley St., but I now know from context it’s a generic term. Is there a North American equivalent?

    • Main Street

      The main road through the centre of a town along which all the principal shops and businesses would once have been established.

    • Usually has the definite article, “the high street”. Many towns actually have a street called High Street and the town name is often used adjectivally to specify it in conversation. So, you might say you are going shopping on “Banbury High Street”.

      • And just to confuse any formal description some high streets have no shops at all.

        Lambeth High Street has none. Mostly courtesy of the Luftwaffe and propert developers.

        I think Cranford High Street is devoid of shops as well. (or some High Street sort of somewhere between Hounslow and Hayes).

  33. Colin

    Even the Hate Mail managed to get near to the truth of that study, though in an off-hand accidental way that contradicted the main thrust of its report.

    You don’t have to be an expert in statistics to see that the difference between sham and traditional isn’t that big.

    Read this;

    At least we now can see what you find to be convincing. And you also confirm my suspicion that, for you, personal anecdote trumps objective data. In the instance of that acupuncture study you need to turn its result literally on its head in order to sustain your belief. But you are patently quite happy to do so.

    I really think your time here is now finished. There is no point in trying to discuss these issues with you any further. Impervious to rational debate and objective evidence, you are lost beyond recall.

    So, you’ll have to forgive me, I’ve finally got round to reading Big Pharma and that’s what I’m going to go back to now. If you’ve already read it then you should also read Bad Science and Snake Oil Science. If you accept what all three books say you will have learnt what scepticism means and how to apply it even-handedly to all claims in medicine and science. At the moment you are wandering with the broken compass that came as a free gift with the first issue of WDDTY.

    • Oh, you have given up BSM… so soon! You have been badgering me to give an example of what I think works for quite a while. I was expecting you to dissect it with more enthusiasm. I was hoping you will prove to me that Acupuncture does not work. At least now I can see which esteemed Bibles of scientific knowledge you rely on for your enlightenment. I have read some Ben Goldacre myself, interesting stuff. There is always a point to continuing on a discussion unless your mind is tightly closed to any new revelation.

      And by the way, where did I state that i am convinced by anything? I deliberately made it clear that I believe acupuncture works, am not convinced. So, for you anecdotal evidence is totally worthless against the leviathan that is science-based medicine. That’s fine. Throughout history, and before EBM, medicine was anecdotally-based. People found what worked, through trial and error, and it was accepted into the canon of medicine knowledge. As far as I am aware, I am having a rational debate with you. Sorry you do not agree. I must have got a dodgy copy of WDDTY because I didn’t get my free compass. I will complain to Smith’s.

      • I know I am probably wasting my time with Colin but I can’t let it go.

        1. The theoretical basis is utterly implausible. The so-called “meridians” have never been shown to exist. “Qi”, this mystical “energy”, allegedly manipulated by the insertion of needles, does not exist outside the fevered imaginations of alties.
        2. Better quality studies, with adequate blinding of the participants, demonstrate that it doesn’t matter where the needles are inserted. It doesn’t even matter whether or not the needles pierce the skin.
        3. The magnitude of any “benefits” which have been demonstrated are small, inconsistent, and clinically insignificant.

        All this points to the conclusion that acupuncture is a rather theatrical placebo. Unfortunately, sticking needles into people is not without risks. Even if the risk is small, if there is no benefit, it is not worth it. Furthermore, the ethics of knowingly using a placebo, without explicit patient consent, are problematic at best.

        As for your anecdotal evidence, it is rubbish. At best it can generate a hypothesis, but it needs to be tested objectively. You mentioned the history of medicine. You have clearly failed to realise that medicine has moved on since then, helped along by EBM. If we still relied on anecdotes to practise medicine, bloodletting would still be routine.

      • Colin might say that blood-letting was dropped by the evolutionary process that he appears to invoke. But this would neglect the fact that blood-letting clearly came to contradict the emerging facts of basic biological science. Much of SCAM does this as well, but now we have Big Quacka trying to bend the truth in pursuit of that array of mutually contradictory fictions. If only Big Leecha had organised itself a century ago, we might have had diehard phlebotomists and leechmen posting here.

      • Actually, this merits a comment;

        I was hoping you will prove to me that Acupuncture does not work.

        I pretty much did that, although “prove” is a strong and difficult word to apply to conclusions about the inefficacy of medical treatments. If Colin does not regard the article discussed in the Mail as being a fairly strong disproof of acupuncture then he is effectively immunised against objective evidence, which is ironic given his stance on vaccines.

  34. People found what worked, through trial and error, and it was accepted into the canon of medicine knowledge

    I will reply to that because it’s wrong in a more interesting way than some of what you have written.

    Very little worked at all before the advent of scientific medicine. Effective medicine is a startlingly recent phenomenon. Casual “trial and error” gathered some very low-hanging fruit, for which the requirement for controlled trials approached that of the parachute. Medicine has done rather poorly at ridding itself of archaic nonsense that accreted to it over a long time. Alternative medicine constitutes a large lump of these useless accretions. Medicine is also now hampered by fringe believers making up new rubbish in an ad hoc manner. At the same time medicine is trying to deal with complex, long-term and vague problems for which casual trial and error is utterly unsuited.

    You have either not understood, or stubbornly reject, the conclusions of the acupuncture study that you cited. There is no point in me expending further effort unless you explicitly accept this.

  35. Colin

    BSM has probably given up because the tedium of saying the same thing repeatedly to every Wooster in the world gets boring after the thousandth time.

    If you want to know then try reading some of the books suggested. In addition Testing Treatments is a good overview of most forms of AM. Rose Shapiro’s Suckers is a right rollocking rip-roaring rout of the common forms of quackery and is well worth a read.

    There are also lots of books on things like medicine, physics, chemistry and so forth, many of which are well worth a read as well.

    All of the sceptical websites suggested have excellent dissections of popular quackery. As BSM said “Google your friend is. Use wisely my son”.

    Also available are books on the scientific method, designing trials and using statistics to pluck out significant meaning (or not). If you are interested you can download a copy David Colquhoun’s “Lectures in Biostatistics” to help with those pesky numbers. Free download from the Improbable Science blog.

    Try some of Le Canard’s suggested titles at the top left of this page.

    I doubt if the tatty simian is averse to revelation. He would merely want to see and evaluate the evidence. Who wouldn’t. Unfortunately nothing in AM has proved revelatory so far and I for one will not be holding my breath.

    You said that “for you anecdotal evidence is totally worthless against the leviathan that is science-based medicine.” By Jove, the Quackometer is a cure for all known nonsense and I think it has started working. (Had you left off “-based” medicine from that sentence you would still be correct as well).

    Pre-EBM medicine was not really trial and error. It was mostly based on vitalistic concepts and the theory of the four humours (plus nonsense such as “like cures  like” and the ilk). The whole of post-Enlightenment science (incorporating medicine obviously) was about focussing on the trial bit to eliminate the error bit.

     I have an unfortunate feeling in my bones that you may be the sort of person who (to borrow a phrase from todays Sunday Times review of “The Heretics”) “will never face the facts, no matter what the evidence”. Good luck – you are in the company of the UFO nuts, the new earthers and David Irving (who incidentally sent me an email asking if “The Joy of Death Camps Monthly” needed an executive editor). 

    • “BSM has probably given up because the tedium of saying the same thing repeatedly to every Wooster in the world gets boring after the thousandth time.”

      Not so different to the typical Quackbuster then, but it applies more to yourselves than to me. You have probably called your opponents Quacks a thousand times with no good explanation why. No exaggeration as it is true!!

      I did read “Suckers” a while ago as well as Ben Goldacre and many Dr Richard Feynman titles (being a big fan). Skeptical websites are all well and good, except for the very obvious bias. No self-respecting Skeptic will ever meet minds with anyone who considers the possibility of anything unconventional. For example UFO’s, possibility of a 911 Conspiracy, Alternative Medicine, the existence of God etc. An open minded person, capable of TRUE critical thought, understands that science has explanations for very little, and is open to all possibilities. A Skeptic fights to silence all unconventional thought. The objective seems to be less about understanding and more about silencing opposing thought… WDDTY being a prime example. This is an impossible goal of course. In medicine the opponent is CAM. Why do Quackbusters claim critical thinking to be theirs only. By definition there should be critical thinkers in Alternative Medicine as well as Conventional Medicine, Evolutionists and Creationists, 911 Truthers and those who accept the official story. But for some strange reason you claim this title for yourself. By definition (see below) Quackbusters appear to be the least critically thinking people.

      “the Quackometer is a cure for all known nonsense and I think it has started working.”

      Apart from the arrogance in this statement are you sure the Quackometer is a cure for ALL nonsense? Who defines what is nonsense and are you aware of ALL nonsense? Just curious.

      Critical Thinking definition:

      “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action”

      “Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to new or unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations. Thinking critically involves seeing things in an open-minded way and examining an idea or concept from as many angles as possible. This important skill allows people to look past their own views of the world and to better understand the opinions of others. It is often used in debates, to form more cogent and well-rounded arguments, and in science.”

      • So where do we draw the line on open-mindedness, Colin.

        Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, elves, pixies, banshees, ghouls, demons, levitation, precognition etc etc etc?

        How can you possibly approach such concepts openly when there is not a jot of evidence for any of them.

        Are you sure you are not ACF, having just completed a typing and basic literacy course?

        I have approached the 911 controversy with an open mind. Having read a huge amount of nonsense, all of it debunked by professionals/experts I conclude it played out exactly as we saw on TV and was not a conspiracy by the US government, CIA, Mossad and/or any of the other usual suspects.

        I have spent a lot of time in discussions with creationists. I married into a family with a lot of Jehovah Witnesses in it and spent 25 years discussing creationism (a rather futile waste of a quarter of a century). I have also spent a lot of time online communicating (if that is the right word given their intransigence) with creationists/young earthers. Believe me, not one of them demonstrate ANY of the admirable skills detailed in your last two paragraphs. They are utterly immune to any of those skills. It becomes depressing after a while when the only response to any question is goddidit? I can honestly say that edification, observation, analysis, rational discussion, critical examination and all the other goodies do not feature heavily in their intellectual repertoire.

        There are no critical thinkers in Creationism. Even the ones in academia who could lay claim to that honour (like Michael Behe) are driven purely by a fundamentalist religious belief and twist and distort proper science ( like the laws of thermodynamics, biology and information theory) in a manner which appeals to the closed minds of their fellow believers (and which is easily debunked by proper scientists) – a bit like proponents of woo invoking quantum physics without the slightest understanding of it).

        How can any earth scientist possibly reconcile geology, geophysics, geomorphology, plate tectonics, evolution by natural selection, cosmology and so forth with creationism. It is impossible, no matter how open minded you might be.

        And like many people with a broad commitment to the scientific method (trying to be as inclusive as possible) I am more than open to the idea of ET and his mates. I just do not believe in UFOs (other than weather ballons and the other usual suspects) or alien abduction. However I can only really be agnostic on ET as the evidence is zero. No matter how much I might want to “believe”, the evidence is still zero. And remember, it is science that is leading the search for ET (not hillbillies in Arkansas who were abducted and had alien sex toys shoved up their jacksie or Roswell/Area 51 conspiracy nutjobs).

      • “So where do we draw the line on open-mindedness”

        That is subjective, our free choice.

        “Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, elves, pixies, banshees, ghouls, demons, levitation, precognition”

        These are Strawmen …. you deliberately chose the most nonsense subjects you could think of.

        “I have approached the 911 controversy with an open mind. Having read a huge amount of nonsense, all of it debunked by professionals/experts I conclude it played out exactly as we saw on TV”

        John, what did we see on TV except for looped images of the towers falling? The official story does not make any sense. Those 3 steel-framed towers did not free-fall because they were hit by aircraft. When I look at the evidence I realise that was not possible. And you are incorrect to state that so-called conspiracy theories have been debunked. Have you spoken with any of the guys at AE911truth. How about Quackometer do some debunking themselves? Believing the official fairy tale is naive. The same applies to vaccines, big Pharma and Monsanto et al. By the way, groups such as AE911truth are not in the blame game so much as pointing out inconsistencies and attempting to get to the truth of what happened on that day. By accepting the official story uncritically does not help matters and we live in a more dangerous world as a result. I never believe what I see on the TV.

        “And like many people with a broad commitment to the scientific method (trying to be as inclusive as possible) I am more than open to the idea of ET and his mates. I just do not believe in UFOs (other than weather ballons and the other usual suspects) or alien abduction. However I can only really be agnostic on ET as the evidence is zero. No matter how much I might want to “believe”, the evidence is still zero.”

        How can you not believe in UFO’s? Unidentified Flying Objects are real, they are reported frequently by people from all walks of life, including fighter and airline pilots, police etc. The unanswered question is what are they? They are almost certainly not ALL weather balloons, Chinese lanterns or St Elmo’s Fire etc. I am just curious what will happen if you personally witness something one day? Who will you tell about it? Hey, could be tricky for you! I personally have friends who tell me they have witnessed things I know you will not believe. You write off people who are interested in these things as nutjobs. Are my friends crazy? Better to have an open-mind than to write everything off as nonsense. Being an open-minded person does not mean you believe everything but being closed-minded means you will close doors to discoveries, shutting off routes of enquiry.

      • “They are almost certainly not ALL weather balloons, Chinese lanterns or St Elmo’s Fire etc.

        [citation needed]”

        Classic Strawman…… avoiding commenting on Wakefield symposium at AAPS (American Association of Physicians and Surgeons) and recently released Vaccine related documents, but focusing on UFO’s.

      • I am not sure that this is worth the effort but here goes anyway. (I am starting to feel slightly embarrassed that this discussion is both seriously off topic and is wasting LCNs server space, but hey, he seems a fairly liberal and open minded sort of guy).

        The internal inconsistencies in your posts are breathtaking. You say that ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night are nonsense straw men yet people claim to have seen them for thousands of years. People have only been seeing UFOs since about 1950. Far from being straw men I think they trump UFOs in terms of longevity and durability. How does your friends witnessing of UFOs compare to countless sightings of eldritch beasties. To get a bit POMO what makes you privilege UFO stuff over supernatural stuff.

        If you think the twin towers free fell because they were hit by aircraft you really have not looked at either the video or the evidence. Who said they did that? (in fact I think Osama Bin Laden was about the only person who suggested that with his hand gestures – you are in good company). I saw the towers easily absorb the kinetic impact of a large jet (which was within their design parameters) and remain standing for an hour or two. They didn’t fall over, they collapsed downwards because an aluminium/jet fuel fire melted the beam supports after much of the insulation had been blown off (not in the design parameters). Succinctly put by a NY fire chief as “never trust the trusses”.

        You state categorically that UFOs are real. That does not seem very open minded as it ignores the possibility that they are not. I have never seen anything that would convince me it showed any sort of evidence of UFOs (“the facts ma’am, just the facts”). I think they are all either natural phenomena or man made (or a fatal combination of misinterpretation and wishful thinking).

        I sit in my back garden and see classic UFOs all the time. Bright shining spheres and cylinders in the sky, apparently hovering or climbing at high speed. Text book UFO observations. However, I know that I live near the Ockham Beacon and they are merely aircraft joining the holding pattern for Heathrow? Only when they get closer do the spheres and cylinders resolve themselves into the airliner cruciform shape. Ockhams most famous former resident, William, had a phrase for it.

        I cannot comment on your friends mental state. However, on the basis that birds of a feather flock together I would imagine it is pretty borderline.

        Regarding your final point I would add that you seem to believe virtually everything. It is indeed better by far to be open minded but it helps if your conclusions are based on a reasonable evaluation of the evidence. Otherwise you just fall into the same category as fundamentalist creationists who are so imbued with dogma that they are beyond reason.

        As a reasonably polite person the best i can say is that we can only agree to differ, so perhaps we should leave it there.

      • @Colin Bell:

        Classic Strawman…… avoiding commenting on Wakefield symposium at AAPS (American Association of Physicians and Surgeons) and recently released Vaccine related documents, but focusing on UFO’s.

        No, it isn’t. You made a claim about UFOs, as anyone who scrolls up the page a little way can see. I asked you to provide evidence for your claim that UFOs “are almost certainly not ALL weather balloons, Chinese lanterns or St Elmo’s Fire etc.” Asking you to back up your own claims is not a strawman argument.

        I didn’t comment on “Wakefield symposium at AAPS” or “recently released Vaccine related documents” bacause there is no mention of them in your post to which I was replying (or, as far as I can see, in any of your other posts on this page for that matter). I didn’t mention the weather, or last night’s football results, the recent court decision on “work for benefits, or any number of other thing that you didn’t mention in your post. This is because you didn’t mention them in your post.

        Now, do you have any evidence to back up your claim that UFOs “are almost certainly not ALL weather balloons, Chinese lanterns or St Elmo’s Fire etc.”? Or are you just going to try to change the subject again?

      • “They are almost certainly not ALL weather balloons, Chinese lanterns or St Elmo’s Fire etc.

        [citation needed]”

        Classic Strawman…… avoiding commenting on Wakefield symposium at AAPS (American Association of Physicians and Surgeons) and recently released Vaccine related documents, but focusing on UFO’s.

        A common didactic tool is to ask someone to show understanding of a word or phrase by using it in a sentence of their own composition. Not everyone passes.

      • Mojo/BSM

        Colin is doing the usual mumbo-jumboist trick of stuffing a posting with an overload of different non-sequiturs. In his case the sin is compounded by him throwing his hands up and complaining that nobody has answered the question (as if he has a proven track record in answering direct questions) or addressed a host of other things he has just brought up.

        This is both rubbish and somewhat discourteous to the host (not least because they are all wildly off topic).

        So a single post can contain references to UFOs, 911 conspiracies, homeopathy, chiropractic and anything else he can squeeze in.

        This is a standard rhetorical device of creationists who will expect an instant answer on bacterium flagella, the eye, metabolic pathways, blood clotting and so forth. Whilst all of these can be adequately addressed they do not lend themselves to quick web-bites. Not that your average creationist is interested in a considered response.

        I really do think that Colin is so open minded his brains fell out.

        As an aside I love it when conspiracy theories bleed over into each other. The notion that the US government took the 911 airline passengers to Area 51 (for surreptitious relocation, or possibly to feed them to the aliens there – who knows) is wonderful and clearly shows their ideas have jumped the shark.

      • Are you sure you are not ACF, having just completed a typing and basic literacy course?

        By exercising my faculties of critical thinking and keeping my mind open, it looks like you are right.

      • “I am not sure that this is worth the effort but here goes anyway. (I am starting to feel slightly embarrassed that this discussion is both seriously off topic and is wasting LCNs server space, but hey, he seems a fairly liberal and open minded sort of guy).”

        But you weren’t embarrassed when you all went off at a tangent discussing Magic Carpets and exchanging humorous definitions for “High Streets” for your Canadian guest earlier. The guy you treated with the utmost respect. Remember the “dumb Canadian”? That was a lot of bandwidth wasted!

      • Colin

        That tangent was a rhetorical device or litmus test to establish the extent to which your anecdotes trumped mine. The ludicrous magazines was the same, designed to tease out exactly where you might draw a line on your belief in “no censorship”. You lost so epic fail there.

        Can you read or do you have a weird sense of humour. I am not aware of any humorous definitions in the few posts relating to the “high street”. As an aside and in direct response to thread postings MSIS asked a sensible question regarding a common or garden English phrase which may not be self evident to a non-Brit. He got sensible responses. The “dumb Canadian” quote was his and is probably nothing more than a self effacing way of asking what he thinks might be a daft question. He isn’t dumb but you seem to be. He has always been treated with respect (as far as I can see) because he deserves it. You don’t. How did you manage to extract “humour” from the responses? (A direct question, therefore zero expectation of a response).

        Who said anything about bandwidth – another tangent.


        I had forgotten about that so thank you for reminding me. Makes my point perfectly (and probably better than I did). Another big problem is that the multiple strands of evolutionary theory tend to be internally firewalled. So geologists know little of biology: biologists little of paleontology: molecular biologists little of geology and so forth. It is possible to be “Gished” across multiple disciplines by a well prepared god botherer. It hardly lends itself to rational debate(but as it is preaching to the choir I don’t suppose it is meant to).

      • “Classic Strawman…… avoiding commenting on Wakefield symposium at AAPS (American Association of Physicians and Surgeons) and recently released Vaccine related documents, but focusing on UFO’s.”

        As you can see from my previous comment I was, in fact, attempting to steer the thread back on subject.

  36. Thank you all for the explanation of “the high street.” I also enjoyed the overlord discussion–you people are smart AND funny!

  37. A Skeptic fights to silence all unconventional thought.

    I’m here to be helpful.

    By definition there should be critical thinkers in Alternative Medicine as well as Conventional Medicine, Evolutionists and Creationists, 911 Truthers and those who accept the official story.

    By definition? Hilarious.

  38. Just checking if anyone here has had a chance to check out the links below yet?

    The first is a video of Dr Andrew Wakefield talking at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons in 2011 where he explains to his eminent audience the fraud used against him to discredit himself and his efforts to study whether a link between the MMR (combined) vaccine and Autism exists.

    The PDF is a paper by Dr Tomljenovic detailing how the UK Department of Health and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) hid the truth about the dangers of vaccinations from the British public.

    To get a balanced view it is important to hear the accused defend his actions, in his own words, and read the latest relevant Freedom of Information Act releases. I studied every word and listened to Dr Wakefield speak and it is an eye-opener.

    • Hi Nick, You’re very brave coming on here considering your Twitter has links to all sorts of “quackery”, the Natural Society, NaturalNews, Total-health Magazine. Check the Quackometer for total canards. Talk about jumping into the lions den. I don’t personally believe WDDTY is total nonsense and I believe the same for all the above. But there’s not much point in stating that one publication is full of stupid claims when the subject matter is much the same as the the ones you use to sell your own specialty, Hypnotherapy.

      • Point taken Colin, WDDTY started off as a serious publication, the others have always been full of hype. Perhaps diets and white teeth
        keep WDDTY on the news stands…..

  39. It is blatantly obvious that the author and many posters on this forum are by default followers of Government policy. About time you opened your eyes and mind to the fact that government and government scientist can possibly be wrong!

    • I think we are open to the possibility that new evidence may modify current ideas.

      I’ve never met an anti-vaxer or loon who is willing to say the same.

      • BSM, Although I am not accepting that I am a loon, as you so charmingly describe those who do not subscribe to government and medical proclamations regarding vaccines, I, for one am always willing to modify my views whenever new evidence becomes available. It has already been shown though, by recently released freedom of Information Act documents, that government bodies have been responsible for withholding evidence, as a result placing the public in danger and the subsequent vilification of Dr Wakefield.

      • Although I am not accepting that I am a loon, as you so charmingly describe those who do not subscribe to government and medical proclamations regarding vaccines,

        I think we need to have a chat about Venn diagrams at some point.

        But not right now.

  40. Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications. `”..;

    Please do go and visit this useful web blog

  41. I am very cautious about heckling suppliers who stock items. Tesco sells sugars and fats that do cause real damage & even deaths. Where do we stop. The problem seems to be with the magazine & it seems to me insisting on writing an informative & factual response to the item would be a better way to go. I well remember documentaries on Mr Pauling which were quite persuasive for the early 90s. Now megadosing seems only possible if done intravenously. Don’t though have any personal experience.

  42. 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.

  43. Are you aware of Dr Mariks & VA hospitals protocol for saving lives that could be otherwise lost from Sepsis using Vit C ?
    Looks VERY promising as the future standard for treating one of the most deadliest infections.

  44. It is a pitty that the article does not tackle the issue why and how no one yet proved the opposite to the research of Dr. Klenner and his intravenous vitamin C (IVC) therapy. The article uses totally irrelevant discussion on other quackery to quasi-prove that also IVC is ineffective. Yet, having no real arguments against IVC the article is in that respect quackery itself.
    When someone is a quack that is bad enough, but when some quack-debunker-wannabe is a quack, that is much worse.
    BTW, Dr. Klenner journal article is available at and summary of his work with references to be found on for further research are here:
    We need these days desperately biomedical research in public interest with no vested interests involved, this article is just the opposite.
    In hope to be heared….

5 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. WDDTY: My Master List | Josephine Jones
  2. If only they knew #WDDTY | Pedro Stephano
  3. Call to Action: Tesco and WDDTY | The Quackometer Blog
  4. The MP, the ASA and the Case of Alyssa Burns-Hill – The Quackometer Blog
  5. WDDTY wars: The Blessed McTaggart Strikes Back - Plague of Mice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.