I sometimes get emails from people offended by the quackometer asking me to remove all traces of them from my web site. I usually politely respond by asking exactly what I have written that is wrong and I will be glad to remove it. I never hear back.
This week I had an email from Patrick Holford telling me that I should not have posted on Professor David Colquhoun’s blog, Improbable Science. Patrick is upset that David wrote an article in the Guardian newspaper about ‘the resurgence in magical and superstitious ideas about medicine’ and other delusions. Patrick was mentioned for his statements made in his books that say that Vitamin C does better than AZT as an anti-HIV drug. Mr Holford thinks Professor Colquhoun is wrong to point this out and people like me should not be encouraging him, or something. Patrick appears to argue that what he is really saying is much more complex – that trials on Vitamin C should be done. But anyone reading his New Optimum Nutrition Bible would not see such comment, just the snippet posted above. Obviously, professor Colquhoun goes into much more detail about this subject in a recent post.
Now I wouldn’t mind. But why does Patrick complain about a rather silly comment I posted on the article? I have written lots of things about Patrick and never received any other sort of complaint. I feel rather miffed. Here are some things he might like to complain about…
- A long article on how Patrick’s views of nutrition has diverged away from science and how ‘Optimum Nutrition’ has become just one more alternative medicine.
- An examination of how Holford’s view of psychiatry and medicine is convergent with scientology, and how he is involved with a scientologist’s anti-psychiatry organisation, and how he has been mentioned as receiving awards from UK scientologists.
- An investigation into how Patrick Holford uses questionable diagnostic techniques that have been widely associated with fraud.
- An look at Patrick’s shaky grasp of physics as he tries to sell anti-EMR gadgets.
- And more shaky physics as he helps the Wi-Fi scare mongers.
- A critique of the Food for The Brain schools charity and how it places too much evidence on food supplements and not enough emphasis on science.
- A puzzled look at how Patrick can get basic personal facts wrong on his own CV.
- My anagram of ‘Institute of Optimum Nutrition’ – ‘Nut Into Tummies Tuition Profit’
Professor Colquhoun is quite right to be very worried about many aspects of what Patrick Holford advocates. As one of Britain’s most prominent pharmacologists, the Professor has every right to question the Patrick’s recent appointment as a visiting professor at Teesside university when he has so few academic credentials, and the facts of some of those credentials were wrong on his CV. Also, playing with ideas that Vitamin C might be better for HIV than scientific medicine is playing with people’s lives. In Africa, millions of people are denied access to proper treatment and one of the reasons for this is that senior politicians are in the sway of people with similar views to Patrick about nutrition and so advocate the use of potatoes and lemons to cure AIDS. Remember, Patrick is a man who wrote a book called, “Food is Better Medicine than Drugs’.
This is truly scary.
If Patrick believes that Professor Colquhoun has truly misrepresented his views, then instead of telling me and others not to comment on blog sites, he should use his forthcoming tours of South Africa to join with an AIDS charity, like the Treatment Action Campaign, to fight the nonsense about nutrition that is being officially touted by government ministers and campaign for South Africans to be able to get access to effective, affordable and real medicine.
The Vade Mecum Patrick Holford issued to me as a guide to my blogging habits didn’t say anything about reading or commenting on your blog.
So, I’m not sure, but on balance, I think a dignified “Quite” is in order.
It is one thing when he make simple errors when discussing the benefits of vitamin C for the common cold for (mostly) well-nourished Westerners, it is another thing all together when he is discussing AIDS and countries with the difficulties of S. Africa.
I’m still trying to decide if the attempted censorship by Holford is pathetic or disgusting. Possibly both.
It’s not disgusting. A legal threat would be disgusting. Telling someone off through the medium of childish whining is just pathetic.
Stop being so horrible to him, Le C, you’re such a meanie.
Very nice article. Personally I’d take the charlatan’s complaint as a compliment.