Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Spot the flaw in the argument in this pitch…

Somehow, I don’t know how, I managed to wind up on the mailing list of über-woomeister Dr. Joseph Mercola, who’s almost as bad as Mike Adams, only less blatantly crazy in pushing conspiracy theories.

Yesterday, I received this pitch by e-mail:

I’ve got a quick question for you:

How does your energy compare to the salmon swimming and jumping upstream for hundreds of miles?

Facing tremendous obstacles — fish ladders, rapids, predators — they swim and jump for hundreds of miles to complete their incredible journey (without eating along the way).

Could it be that their ocean diet gives them their high energy and single-mindedness of purpose?

Recently, a Canadian study showed increased energy and alertness levels for those who draw upon the same dietary standard the salmon have.

You don’t have to join a study to get the energy you always dreamed of. Just add this to your diet.

This has to be one of the sillier pitches for supplements that I’ve ever seen. How many fallacies can you spot in just these few sentences?

I supposed that, by Dr. Mercola’s reasoning, we should just eat raw unprocessed fish instead. After all, that’s what salmon eat; they don’t just eat krill, which is where Mercola’s oil comes from. Or maybe we should start extracting oxygen from the water. After all, that’s what salmon do. There is, unfortunately, that little problem of humans not having gills, though.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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