I take back all those nice things I said about Dr. Oz.
Well, I never actually said that much nice about Dr. Oz, but I usually gave him at least a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, other than for his love or reiki. Then Dr. Oz had Ã¼ber quack Dr. Joe Mercola on his show (with Deepak Chopra, too!), leading me to ask whether Dr. Oz had finally crossed his Woo-bicon.
Well, if that wasn’t Dr. Oz crossing the Woo-bicon, perhaps this is:
That’s right. Dr. Oz is featuring Dr. Mercola on his show again, this time featuring him as The man your doctor doesn’t want you to listen to. Never does it appear to occur to the producers of the show that there’s a damned good reason (many, actually) that doctors don’t want you to listen to Joe Mercola, and it’s because there’s no pseudoscience Dr. Mercola doesn’t advocate or sell on his website, including cancer quackery, raw milk faddism, anti-vaccinationism, and even homeopathy. Yet, there he is on Dr. Oz’s show with what appears to be barely a pretense of skeptical questioning.
All of this leads me to ask Dr. Oz one more time, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Sadly, seeing Dr. Mercola on Dr. Oz’s show, I know the answer to that one.
77 replies on “Dr. Oz crosses the Woo-bicon yet again”
I dare say, television caters to stupidity, so why not OZ, Drew, Phil, and FOX.
Martin Gardner’s last published work, (if memory serves) submitted 10 days before he died, was on Dr Oz and his support of medium/spiritualist Swedenborg.
Notes of a Fringe-Watcher
Swedenborg and Dr. Oz
For those who do not think “Mr Framing” Chris Mooney is an utter fool, I would like to point out that he included “Dr Oz” amongst his “Rock Star Scientists”. Not content with his Templeton money, Mooney also seeks to accommodate Oprahism as well.
The discussion of pseudoscience leads me to ask for your comments about these quacks in the BMJ who have written an article which might lead to the death–according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF–of millions of babies.
Thanks for your input. Apparently the BMJ will publish just about anything. (That last part’s an attempt at levity.)
I posted before I read #3 – Mooney is a dangerous idiot for promoting a full on whackaloon like “Dr Oz”.
Jay, onto how many posts do you intend to spam that link and your inaccurate description of it?
Well why wouldn’t television lower itself to quackery? The Talk on CBS recently hosted Jay Gordon to discuss “toxins” with Nicole Richie.
These are some real L Ron Hubbard sounding concepts! Hubbard was adamant against the use of cleaning chemicals. Is this a concept that’s been picked up from working with Kirstie Alley?
Who’s the Scientologist on the cast of The Talk, Dr Jay? Any ideas?
I think my question about the BMJ’s perfidy is worth an answer.
I posted on the two active threads intentionally. No spam intended.
Jay – put the rag down.
I read the UNICEF article, and nowhere does it say anything about the deaths of millions of babies, or even remotely imply it. From the article:
For that to result in the death of millions of babies in the UK alone… Well, wouldn’t that wipe out the entire baby population of the UK? I rather doubt that the BMJ’s recommendations will result in 100% infant mortality, even if it’s followed to the letter by every parent in the UK.
Also, the BMJ article is calling for introducing UK babies to solid foods earlier along with milk feeding, not weaning them from milk earlier. Now I’m not a pediatrician, so there might be all sorts of health problems with introducing babies to solid foods too early, but the UNICEF article is worded in a way that gives the impression that the BMJ article is advocating earlier weaning.
After reading the article again, I’ll have to correct that to: the emphasis the UNICEF article puts on the importance of breastfeeding gives the impression that the BMJ’s recommendation is as bad as recommending early weaning.
Well I just saw the previews of him coming up on Oprah so get ready. Lot bigger than OZ (isn’t she?)
“Perfidy”, Jay? The only perfidy I see is your lie about the BMJ article being called “an article which might lead to the death … of millions of babies”. UNICEF UK apparently takes the position that the article’s recommendations are unwise and, if implemented, would have an overall effect that was negative rather than positive. That does not make the fact that the BMJ published it “perfidy.”
Perhaps you base your claim on the statistic that UNICEF publishes elsewhere that “Optimal breastfeeding practices, especially exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, has … the potential to prevent 1.4 million under-5 deaths in the developing world”. However, this would represent at least two sources of deception:
a) The UNICEF statistic is about the developing world, but the BMJ article is about practices in the UK. Obviously, one cannot simply take a statistic about the developing world and blithely apply it to one of the most industrialized of the world powers, not if one is honest.
b) The UNICEF statistic is about how a drastic change in practices in one direction (going from less than 40% of infants 0-6 months breastfed exclusively, to 100% of such infants fed in that manner) could produce a drastic reduction in deaths. It does not follow that any change of practices in the other direction (even if we were not talking about two different populations) would create a drastic increase in deaths.
In short, Jay, stop talking nonsense. Your attempt to smear the BMJ is so transparent it’s pathetic.
Mathew Cline @11
I think the explanation is that Jay Gordon is innumerate as evidenced by the following.
Jay Gordon @9
Actually it was 3 threads. Must be the ether.
You know you’re in trouble if you get criticized by the NY Daily News
Emmys, don’t be led down Dr. Oz’s yellow brick road: Oprah’s favorite doctor promotes quackery
“Oz seldom misses an opportunity to diss the physical realm.”
Speaking of crossing the “Woobicon”; “Dr. Jay” is practising the electronic equivalent of “premature articulation”:
Of course, reading the article might have given him a different message – that, and understanding numbers.
As noted above, the BMJ article is clearly directed at babies in the UK, which automatically reduces its impact in developing nations (to zero).
Secondly – as also noted above – even UNICEF claims only that moving from the present 40% of infants exclusively breast fed six months to 100% has the potential to (not would) save 1.5 million children under five years of age in the developing world (which does not, if I remember correctly, include the UK).
I feel obligated to point out that this is different from saying that reducing the length of breast feeding or adding solid food at an earlier age (or even decreasing the percentage of children who receive “optimal” breast feeding) would kill “millions of babies”.
I realise that this is a subtle distinction for someone like “Dr. Jay”, but it is a significant one. The “death toll” for a decrease in breast feeding – even in the developing world – would not equal the hypothetical number of lives saved by increasing “optimal breast feeding” 150%.
Finally, we have to ask why breast feeding has such a significant on children’s health in the developing world and how that relates to what is suggested in the BMJ article that “Dr. Jay” apparently didn’t read very carefully.
One of the biggest problems with formula feeding in the developing world (i.e. that part of the world where water and food supplies are frequently contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, protozoa and viruses) is ingestion of pathogens. Breast milk is – usually – not contaminated with pathogens (unless mother is ill or a chronic carrier) and so is far less likely to be a source of diarrheal illness, the largest killer of babies in the developing world.
In addition, infant formula costs money to buy and so is either not purchased in adequate amounts (starvation) or is “stretched” with cow/goat/etc. milk, which is another source of contamination. There are also problems with ersatz infant formula, including nutrient deficiencies, microbial contamination and contamination with industrial chemicals, all of which have been documented in the developing world in the recent past.
Now, it has been several years since my last visit to the UK and I can’t claim to have visited every corner of it, but I don’t think that they have as much of a problem with pathogens (or chemical contaminants) in their drinking water or food as, for example, Zaire or Honduras. If that is true – and I haven’t heard anything suggesting that it’s not – then even if the recommendation in the BMJ reduced breast feeding in the UK a bit further, I doubt that “millions of babies” would die as a result.
I think this just underscores the importance of reading the article before posting an inflammatory comment.
And of the two threads you posted it on, it was off-topic on three. This might have some bearing on whether people are correct to consider it spam.
Fixed it for you. Mooney didn’t implement the Rock Stars of Science campaign.
From the actual BMJ paper:
In other words, dietary recommendations involve trade-offs, and the weights on different sides of the issue differ in developed versus developing countries. Moreover, the effects may not be completely known and further research may be required before making absolute recommendations.
What perfidy to make such statements!
Dr. Oz’s woofest was also scheduled to feature fraud–er, faith healer–John of God. I think his appearance got bumped because of a special episode following the murder and mayhem in Tucson.
By “promoting,” do you mean writing something like this?:
Describing a post critical of Dr. Oz as “thoughtful” is somehow promoting him? Okaaaay …
Oh stop it JJ, it has been fairly obvious Mooney has been a key supporter and prompter of the whole operation. The guy has proven to be totally worthless to the skeptic movement time and again now. He is like the male S.E. Cupp.
How about the fact that the press release used by the rock stars of science explicitly uses Chris Mooney quotes in support of it?
“ROCK S.O.STM aims to bridge a serious recognition gap for science, observes journalist Chris Mooney, co-author of the recent book, Unscientific America, and a partner of the campaign.
“The current gap between science and our popular culture,” says Mooney, “keeps Americans from recognizing the centrality of science to their daily lives. They think science is some strange activity performed by slightly geeky others in white coats. In fact, science fuels our economy and is our great hope for cures to diseases that affect all of us.”
Or this OPED:
Here is his profile on the offical site as well:
Given his strong commitment to improving the public understanding and appreciation of science, Chris Mooney is thrilled to join the Geoffrey Beene Gives BackÂ® Rock Stars of Scienceâ¢ campaign in the role of science communication partner. “Our scientists are national heroes, and it’s past time they were recognized as such,” Mooney says. “The Rock Stars campaign is the most impressive effort I’ve seen yet to help young people understand the passion and adventure of a research careerâand grasp how important it is to maintain our world-class research endeavor in this country.”
Mooney is a New York Times bestselling science journalist, author, and commentator. His most recent book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Out Future (co authored with Sheril Kirshenbaum), lamented the vast gap between scientists and the American public. It focused on statistics like these: Just 18 percent of Americans know a scientist personally, and 44 percent cannot even name a scientific role model. And among those who do come up with a name, their top three choicesâAl Gore, Bill Gates, and Albert Einsteinâare either not scientists, or not alive.
When it comes to science and the public, Mooney likes to quote his friend–and Charles Darwin’s great-great grandson — Matthew Chapman, the Hollywood screenwriter. As Chapman put it: “Instead of being derided as geeks or nerds, scientists should be seen as courageous realists and the last great heroic explorers of the unknown. They should get more money, more publicity, better clothes, more sex and free rehab when the fame goes to their heads.”
Why, yes. If you go to her post you’ll see that she quotes from the campaign’s press release, which quotes Mooney, describing him as a campaign partner. He didn’t just promote it (which is obvious from his link in the first sentence of that post); he was part of it. You’ll also read her substantive criticism:
Mooney neither quotes nor addresses any of this (and you could knock me over with a feather!), and in fact skips right past it to
and then offers a dumb, patronizing reply.
Whenever Dr. Gordon pops up in the comments, I get my bowl of popcorn, sit back, and watch the takedowns roll in. It’s great entertainment. Especially when Orac has the time to appear in the comments, but I guess he’s busy at work right now.
Similarly, its great fun when Dana Ulman shows up over at SBM.
Maybe the reason your doctor doesn’t want you to listen to Mercola is because he often promotes medically contrarian ideas. He has riffed on the theme that sun exposure is quite healthy while sunscreens are decidedly not – e.g. ” 4 out of 5 Sunscreens May Be Hazardous to Your Health” 7/1/08 ; in the Comments by Dr. Mercola, he argues vitamin D as panacaea and relates how sunscreen manufacturers ( Big SPF?) would like to block that information from you, frightening you away from the true benefits of sun**- he even sells tanning beds! Doctors are in league with Big SPF!
Seriously folks! Are not increases in skin cancer ( especially in younger people) and melanoma concerns?
** Seems that the new Speaker of the House has gotten the message loud and clear.
It appears I was mistaken about the extent of Mooney’s involvement in “Rock Stars of Science”. However, since he remains associated with it after he became aware of it’s endorsement of “Dr. Oz”, Mooney has no problem with promoting Oz as a scientist when in fact Oz is clearly an enemy of science. My error does on change this fact. If Mooney had any integrity he would have objected to including a dangerous woomeister. Mooney clearly has no problems with Dr. Oz.
Bottom line – Mooney is a “useful idiot” for the enemies of science.
The slight generalization of “babies in the UK” to “babies in the 3rd world” is about par for Dr. Jay. After all, he can deduct similar worldwide valid data from his experience with his well fed, well cared for, money to pay the doctor cash Beverly Hills crowd on the global impact of diseases like measles and pertussis without vaccination.
Ya gotta admit, billing Joe Mercola as “the man your doctor doesn’t want you to listen to” is 100% factual! 😉
Prometheus, you’re in my area of expertise now.
Advertising infant formula both in the Third World and in developed nations adversely effects infant health and for decades the WHO and others have attributed millions of infant deaths to the lack of breast milk.
Articles like the newest in the BMJ make it into the popular press and influence mothers to breast feed less.
Obsessing endlessly about Drs. Oz, Wakefield, Mercola and others borders on being a complete waste of time and clutters the blogosphere. Those who uncritically admire these three will not be influenced by you or me into reading their writing or watching their TV shows critically.
You do have the opportunity to challenge the real scientific “woo” by questioning prestigious journals’ poorly done research and opinion pieces. I have previously agreed with many of you here in your feelings about The Lancet shirking their responsibility to evaluate Dr. Wakefield’s small study.
Instead you waste your time concocting clever new insults. There was no pertussis “epidemic” and last year’s H1N1 pandemic was a media event causing thre public to have even less confidence in doctors and setting us up for problems when serious outbreaks need to be dealt with.
Medical journals and research are influenced by formula manufacturers and the health of babies in every nation on the planet is adversely affected. You know that.
It’s a safe bet, if it’s on TV ignore it.
Sadly, our own docs (the ones we visit) aren’t doling out great advice either. So, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing much of what is written and discussed in the media.
Fortunately, leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t too difficult.
Ah, so no discussion is permitted at all. Yeah, that’s sure scientific. Care to explain how “OMG SOMEBODY MIGHT MISINTERPRET” is grounds for calling a paper pseudoscience? And how we can ever come to a better understanding of the tradeoffs and risk factors if nobody’s allowed to study it?
Wow, that’s an interesting and telling claim. So you’re basically saying that the antivax camp are mindless sheep incapable of critically evaluating the evidence. (Of course, Craig Willoughby puts the lie to this assessment, but it speaks volumes regarding how you see your fellows. It also suggests that you do not consider yourself like them and could, at least in theory, envision yourself seeking to move them toward a more critical or skeptical stance…the opposite of what you’re currently doing. Very suggestive.)
Dr. Jay, this is very simple, and someone would have to be very far gone not to recognize your pathetic attempts at diversion.
Do you think, now, that Wakefield’s study has scientific value? If so, what is it?
Do you think he acted unethically?
Do you think he committed fraud?
Do you continue to offer him your “unwavering support”?
There’s a jump to conclusions, and one undermined by the fact that (1) Mooney chose to link a criticism of Oz and describe it in positive terms, (2) that Mooney has hardly even mentioned Oz at all in his promotion of the Rock Stars of Science campaign, aside from the link to the criticism, and (3) that in general, people can support a campaign overall even if they have problems with parts of it.
And isn’t this thread supposed to be about Dr. Oz?
No, he linked to an overall positive post about the campaign (for which he thanked her in his capacity of science communication partner). As I’ve made clear, he trivialized the substantive criticism and patronized the critic. He did not describe the criticism in positive terms or address it at all.
That’s ridiculous, Ramsey. The campaign, in which Mooney is a partner, features Oz as a “rock star of science.”
In general, ethical people don’t choose to partner in the leading public communications role in a campaign they have problems with.
A post about Mooney’s promotion of Oz is appropriate on a post about Oz. Nice try.
(And I’m again done with Ramsey the kook.)
There is probably no better confirmation of Dr. Oz’s descent into woo-worship than his promoting Joe Mercola as “The Man Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You To Listen To”.
“They Don’t Want You To Know” is the time-tested merchandising tool common to quacks and quackery enablers everywhere. It can’t be that physicians want you to have access to the best care available – no, they want to conceal the truth because…they’re EVIL.
Speaking about recommendations in EVIL mainstream medical journals – I didn’t see where the authors of that BMJ article about breastfeeding wanted UK mothers to give up breastfeeding in favor of infant formula. Their proposals have to do with evidence suggesting that it is healthier for babies to be introduced to solid food before six months of age because of concerns about exclusive breastfeeding over that period. From the article:
“Evidence challenging the adequacy of breast milk as a reliable sole source of nutrition to six months
Higher risk of iron deficiency anaemia (identified in data from the developing and developed worlds) known to be linked to irreversible adverse mental, motor, and psychosocial outcomes. The lack of a screening programme in the United Kingdom to detect such adverse population effects is a further concern
Concerns over a higher incidence of food allergies
Higher risk of coeliac disease, with concomitant long term complications”
Would Jay Gordon like to justify his hijack of this discussion by indicating why he dismisses these concerns? Or is he too busy promoting his own “experts”, like supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who think exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life should be mandated by law? 🙂
1) And this will lead to the deaths of millions of babies?
2) WHO and/or UNICEF said it that the BMJ article will lead to the deaths of millions of babies?
Me: “Mooney has hardly even mentioned Oz at all in his promotion of the Rock Stars of Science campaign, aside from the link to the criticism”
Salty Current: “That’s ridiculous, Ramsey.”
Go look at Mooney’s archived posts on the Rock Stars of Science. Do a Ctrl+F and look for “Oz.” He’s only mentioned in one post, the post pointing to a criticism of Oz.
OK, one last comment on this, which is directed to anyone reading and not to Ramsey, who is beyond the reach of reason on this subject (among others).
1) Mooney was not just a partner to but one responsible for public communication of a campaign. This was voluntary, and undertaken with dedication, including many posts promoting and celebrating the campaign.
2) The campaign in which Mooney had a public promotional role featured, among others, Dr. Oz as a “Rock Star of Science.”
3) Mooney has not publicly expressed displeasure at or publicly questioned the campaign’s inclusion of Oz then or since. When someone who generally supported the campaign offered substantive criticisms of Oz’s inclusion, Mooney trivialized and did not address them.
There is no universe in which he hasn’t promoted Oz. Ramsey doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but his unwavering support for Mooney will not flag, no matter how much of a mockery he makes of himself.
“1) Mooney was not just a partner to but one responsible for public communication of a campaign. This was voluntary, and undertaken with dedication, including many posts promoting and celebrating the campaign.”
“2) The campaign in which Mooney had a public promotional role featured, among others, Dr. Oz as a ‘Rock Star of Science.'”
True. Of course, what you are leaving out is that Oz was one among 17 scientists, and that hardly any mention was made of his woo in the campaign. It’s also not clear how much knowledge Mooney had of Oz at the start of the campaign.
“3) Mooney has not publicly expressed displeasure at or publicly questioned the campaign’s inclusion of Oz then or since. When someone who generally supported the campaign offered substantive criticisms of Oz’s inclusion, Mooney trivialized and did not address them.”
This is where you go off the rails. The whole notion that Mooney is trivializing the criticisms requires a strained reading of what he wrote. As for addressing the concerns, what would he have to say that Tara Smith hadn’t already said?
“There is no universe in which he hasn’t promoted Oz.”
If one were to read the comments of Militant Agnostic, Agent Smith, and you, one would get the impression that Mooney had highlighted Oz much as Oz has highlighted Mercola. Yet as a “useful idiot” for anti-science, Mooney isn’t very useful. He hardly mentioned Oz at all, and when he did, it was either (a) to point to criticism of Oz or (b) to point in the general direction of the “Rock Stars” campaign, where Oz could easily get lost in the shuffle among 16 other “rock star” scientists. Worse, in his promotions of the “Rock Star” campaign, Mooney has the effrontery to point to real science and burnish its image, without even a friendly nod to alternative medicine, anti-vax, etc. As a “useful idiot,” his service to his anti-science overlords (or puppeteers or whatever) is horribly lackluster. This is apparently your idea of “promotion.”
Alright, people. Will you all please knock it off about Chris Mooney! This post is not about Chris Mooney. In fact, it irritates the crap out of me that this thread has been hijacked–yes, hijacked–to rubbish Chris over this.
Chris and I have had our disagreements, including over the utility of the Rock Stars of Science campaign. I even expressed my dismay to him privately but did not blog it. As a result, I’m not sure that Chris even particularly likes me much anymore. Even so, there was nothing in this post meant to start a bitchfest about Chris. It’s a distraction. Assuming I write a post about this episode tomorrow or Thursday (and I’ve set the DVR to record it), I would further appreciate it if this annoyance doesn’t crop up in that thread too.
Your inability to comprehend the point of the article belies this claim.
Geez, you really are feeling the heat, aren’t you, if this is how you try to derail the comment thread with unrelated claims? This is weak even by your standards. The article says nothing of the sort, is concerned with the U.K (not Third World countries), and it’s even more of a stretch to claim that the assertions in such an article are the sort that might lead to the deaths of millions of infants than it was when you likened vaccine companies to tobacco companies and invoked the “toxin gambit” in the form of complaints about formaldehyde in vaccines.
This is rather hypocritical after your various drive-bys at Pharyngula on the topic, your allowing Ramsey and McCarthy to take over threads for days with their attacks on Dawkins and PZ (this is one of the few blogs I read regularly from which Ramsey hasn’t been banned for this nonsense – he’s obsessive and disingenuous), and your extensive attention to Maher’s receiving the RDF award.* If Ramsey hadn’t shown up, there would have been two comments about Mooney, basically criticizing him for promoting OZ in the same way you’re criticizing OZ for promoting Mercola. You have a soft spot for him because he praised you in his book, it appears.
That sucks, and I’m sorry to hear it. It’s due to the fact that he can’t take criticism, even well-meaning, or fully admit error. (Did he ever respond to your post about his bridge-building call? Meh – whatever.) These are problems, Orac.
I really resent that. The promotion of Oz in that campaign is a serious matter appropriate to a discussion of Oz, and raising it is no more a “bitchfest” than your raising Oz’s promotion of Mercola or other criticisms of him.
I’m happy to oblige, including not responding to Ramsey’s garbage in the future (which you will likely allow),** but I think this protectiveness of Mooney – who isn’t shy about criticizing others – is wrong.
*It was on a comment thread of one of those posts that I acknowledged that I should have made more of an effort to appreciate Maher’s promotion of pseudoscience, by the way.
**I had already on this thread, as you may have noticed.
There’s a good reason that your doctor – and anybody sensible – doesn’t want you to listen to Mercola.
A friend of mine who is intelligent and well-educated found one of that dipshit’s posts on HuffPo; because her education isn’t in biology and chemistry, it seemed superficially sensible. I was able to deconstruct it, but I’m sure plenty of folk saw it and thought it had validity.
My husband doesn’t understand why I hate HuffPo so. That’s why. It’s gateway woo for otherwise sensible left-leaning folk.
Actually, I was unaware that Mooney had praised me in his book (or if I ever was, I had forgotten about it long ago). Unfortunately, I never got around to finishing his book, and, truth be told, you’re both annoying me on this thread. You did notice, didn’t you, that my rebuke to you both occurred right after a comment by Ramsey, not after a comment by you.
As for banning Ramsey, surely you must remember that I almost never ban anybody. At least, if you’re a regular here, you probably would because I’ve said it enough times. I’ve only banned maybe three or four people in the entire six year history of this blog and only then for incredibly egregious offenses, such as making fun of my dog right after I blogged about her having died.
last year’s H1N1 pandemic was a media event causing thre public to have even less confidence in doctors and setting us up for problems when serious outbreaks need to be dealt with.
That’s pretty funny, Doctor Jay, considering that at least up here in Soviet Canuckistan, emergency rooms were overflowing from demand from H1N1, and a whole bunch of otherwise-healthy Native people and pregnant women died when they shouldn’t have. Also, my city had a 30% infection rate for H1N1; that hardly sounds like it was just the media making shit up. As to whether pandemics cause problems later on, the health authorities here in Ontario (and you can thank the late Sheela Basrur for this, probably) said that the SARS scare — which really did fizzle and die, remaining pretty much concentrated in one subpopulation in Toronto — really helped them optimise their airborne communicable disease control protocols.
Now, are you trying to tell me that American doctors don’t learn from experience? That’d be mighty hypocritical of you, given that you’re always trumpeting about how your yea many years of clinical experience trump everyone else’s RCTs.
Dangerous Bacon @39
Hey – It worked for Kevin Trudeau. If this isn’t a case of Oz showing his true colours, I don’t know what is.
Wait until you see the actual videos. Oz is actually defiant about inviting Mercola back and pretty much fawning over him.
Other Sciencebloggers had discussed it, so I’m surprised. (I’m also surprised that you left the comments at Pharyngula that you did in reply to PZ’s response to a book that he had read but you hadn’t.)
I’m not really interested in being “rebuked” by anyone for making an argument. And your comment was obviously aimed at those you perceived as “rubbishing” Mooney.
I wasn’t suggesting you do. I was suggesting that his and McCarthy’s ravings about PZ or Dawkins would likely be tolerated without comments such as you’ve made here.
Actually, PZ banned him for a very specific reason. Several others have banned him for reasons you may come to appreciate at some point in the future.
And you’re annoying me. Time for a break. Take care.
I’m the blogger here. It’s my job to annoy at least some of my readers. 🙂
As for Ramsey, I’m aware why PZ banned him. The point is that he hasn’t done any of that sort of thing here, and, compared to some of the antivax and alt-med commenters here, his annoyance potential is mild at best, at least to me, particularly when compared to the likes of John Best and augustine.
Dr. Jay, this is very simple, and someone would have to be very far gone not to recognize your pathetic attempts at diversion.
Not a diversion: Just a simple request to address this week’s very bad science in the media
Do you think, now, that Wakefield’s study has scientific value? If so, what is it?
It has the same value it always had: Calling attention to the need to further study the connection between vaccines and autism. The study was always too small for both the praise and opprobrium it received. Even Dr. Offit agrees it was not fraud.
Do you think he acted unethically?
I think he was naive and that this was not well done research. If everything Brian Deer says is true, he was unethical. (If everything Brian Deer says is true, pigs will fly, too, though.)
Do you think he committed fraud?
No, I don’t.
Do you continue to offer him your “unwavering support”?
He has my “unwavering support” as he attempts to clarify the difference between his set of facts and Deer’s. I think Dr. Wakefield most likely had good intentions and that Deer’s article distorts the facts. Nonetheless, I have never based anything I do on that small Lancet article. It is truly a straw man.
Getting back to Joe Mercola, of whom They Don’t Want You To Know: there is irony (and hilarity) galore in Jay Gordon trying to hijack the discussion to talk about the perils of infant formula and misrepresenting a BMJ article by suggesting that it promotes formula use over breastfeeding (which it does not, as a number of previous commenters have noted).
If Jay wanted to stay on topic while dragging in breastfeeding, his target would be none other than…Joe Mercola.
Mercola has been the target of angry denunciations over announced plans to start marketing a powdered infant formula. His fans feel betrayed because they think his commercial formula will steer moms away from breastfeeding and because they doubt it will involve the use of raw milk, something he recommends as a basis for home-prepared infant formula (tuberculosis and other pathogens are highly natural and chock full of goodness, doncha know). Mercola-ites are also seething over his reportedly censoring protesting comments on his website.
So Jay, if you want to take on “perfidy”, here’s a swell opportunity.
Really, Dr. Jay? Perhaps you could tell us what parts, exactly, of Deer’s work you consider to be untrue and why. Please specify anything that Deer has published that is not true.
But let’s put it this way: You intentionally present a ridiculous standard. You say that “if everything Brian Deer says is true, he was unethical.” What if 99% of what Deer says is true, with only a tiny handful of minor errors? Would you then reject the rest of the damning evidence because of mistakes that are truly minor in comparison to the totality of Deer’s work? Seriously. What if 90% of what Deer says is true?
I’m calling you out right here and right now. You don’t believe Deer because you fell for Wakefield’s fraud. You fell for Wakefield’s fraud because it confirmed what you wanted to believe based on your confirmation bias-laden uncontrolled clinical experience: That vaccines cause all sorts of horrible health problems. You now don’t want to admit that Wakefield was not just wrong (which is acceptable in science if studies are done honestly) but that he falsified data. You don’t want to admit it in the face of overwhelming evidence because it is a major pillar of the belief that vaccines cause autism, which you buy into wholesale. Consequently, you set up criteria whereby Deer has to be absolutely, positively 100% accurate about everything (an impossible standard for a human being to meet, although as far as I can tell Deer has come about as close as a human being can to meeting that standard), or you won’t believe him. You’ll use minor errors, if you find them, as an excuse to reject the totality of Deer’s investigation.
You’re so transparent these days.
But, hey, you could show me to be wrong. Tell me exactly what facts Brian Deer “distorts” and the evidence upon which you base such a conclusion.
I’ll wait. I always wait when I make requests that you present evidence and science to back up your assertions.
How much vaccine/autism research is enough? At what point do you conclude that autism research resources are better spent in other areas? How do you tell when that point has been reached?
1) Why do you think that Deer’s article most likely distorts the facts?
2) How were the facts distorted?
I try to stay away from any programs that feature Dr. Oz…”The man your doctor doesn’t want you to listen to”…says it all about this physician. Unfortunately, his conduct is mirrored on local network newscasts, by physician/consultants who IMO are Oz wannabes.
Anyone who has any interest in science-based medicine knows that the supplements that they hawk are, at best, a waste of money. The more dangerous aspect of these charlatans is that they substitute these products for needed medical treatment, medicines and vaccines. Some patients/consumers use both. In the case of chronic medical conditions this can lead to dangerous interactions between the supplements and medicines…the so called “integrative medicine” approach.
Anyone ever notice when the H-P features interesting articles about science-based medicine (they did cover the BMJ article about Wakefield’s scam), that their advertisers web pages “pop up” in the body of the article? Their advertisers, include Mercola and chelation specialists.
I suppose lining one’s pockets is “good intentions”, particularly if one is the owner of said pockets.
I’d love to hear Jay explain how “naivete” and “good intentions” on Wakefield’s part explain 1) his taking approximately $750,000 from trial lawyers hoping to sue over the MMR vaccine, and not reporting this conflict of interest to the Lancet, 2) pushing for a patent on a competing vaccine that would have been poised to clean up had the MMR been discredited by his research, and 3) that “…Wakefield â in partnership with the father of one of the boys in the (MMR) studyâhad planned to launch a venture on the back of an MMR vaccination scare that would profit from new medical tests and “litigation driven testing”. The Washington Post reported that Deer said that Wakefield predicted he “could make more than $43 million a year from diagnostic kits” for the new condition, autistic enterocolitis”.
How does all that fit into your scenario of Wakefield as a poor little lamb led astray, Dr. Gordon?
Are you that naive? Or is this just a more feeble than usual attempt at spinning your way out of an embarassing allegiance to a man whose activities have been a detriment to children’s health?
“Now, are you trying to tell me that American doctors don’t learn from experience? That’d be mighty hypocritical of you, given that you’re always trumpeting about how your yea many years of clinical experience trump everyone else’s RCTs.”
realinterrobang, please don’t judge American doctors by Dr. Gordon. The great majority of American doctors do learn from experience, and indeed learn more from the medical literature.
Using that logic, then wouldn’t any paper which lends support to the vaccine/autism idea automatically be a good thing (assuming the paper isn’t fraudulent)? If a new paper came out purporting to show a vaccine/autism link, yet the research was shoddy and incompetent to a mind-boggling degree, would your response be “hey, it called attention to the need for further study, and that’s the important thing”?
Jay Gordon: “Even Dr. Offit agrees it was not fraud.”
I think you may want to put that in the past tense. While Dr. Offit thinks that it’s more important that Wakefield was wrong than that he was a liar, he certainly appears to agree that Wakefield’s work was indeed a fraud.
Quoth Dr. Gordon: “Not a diversion: Just a simple request to address this week’s very bad science in the media”
Okay, Dr. Gordon, you go first. Specify what makes this paper (“Six months of exclusive breast feeding: how good is the evidence?”) “very bad science”? Specify anything that is actually in the paper that is “very bad science”.
Go on. I’ll wait.
I agree, Dr Oz needs help. on the other hand, Oz is a dandy name for a woo-meister.
As for Dr Jay Gordon etc — I was raised from infancy to weaning on formula, back in the day when breast milk was considered insufficient. I suffered no ill effects, unless you consider my mere 195cm height a disadvantage.
Sounds like this was written by a pharmaceutical company!
“I’m calling you out right here and right now. You don’t believe Deer because you fell for Wakefield’s fraud. You fell for Wakefield’s fraud because it confirmed what you wanted to believe based on your confirmation bias-laden uncontrolled clinical experience: That vaccines cause all sorts of horrible health problems. You now don’t want to admit that Wakefield was not just wrong (which is acceptable in science if studies are done honestly) but that he falsified data.”
I feel like there should be some dramatic music in the background. Maybe “High Noon” or “A Few Good Men” (You can’t handle the truth!”)
Of course I liked his article because it added to the evidence behind what I believe. It didn’t confirm a thing but I really believed it added at least a little research to the confirm my bias against the usual vaccine schedule and the ceaseless rhetoric about vaccine safety.
Let me change the wording, if most of what Deer says is true, Dr.Wakefield’s good intentions mean very little because his methodology left him open to what’s going on now. I still don’t believe he altered data or commited fraud. I think he’s guilty of sloppy research and enjoying far too much the flattery he received for appearing to confirm many people’s biases.
I don’t think he’s a “poor little lamb” just a man who did research that wasn’t as good as I thought it was.
I’m weary of the exaggeration of the harm you think he did. You’re scientists and you know that you’re being hyperbolic. It doesn’t create a collegial atmosphere for talking about an important topic in medicine. Matthew, your comment above barely deserves an answer. No, I don’t like weak or dishonest research no matter who’s “side” is served. I don’t think Wakefield was dishonest.
A question for all of you: Why on earth are you so quick to believe that the BMJ and Brian Deer have written a series of articles free of bias?
Once again, based on what evidence? You keep making this assertion, but you never provide any evidence to back it up. Brian Deer provided copious evidence to support his claims, the result of months and years of investigation. Yet you blithely wave it all away because you don’t want to believe it and present no evidence of your own and no valid criticisms of Deer’s work.
Pathetic. That’s the only word to describe it.
As with everything else, it’s the *thought* that counts.
Note: I am thinking of the way Captain Sheridan delivered that line in the Babylon 5 episode “The Fall of Night” (season 2 finale). 😀 B5 fans will know what I mean.
Dr. Gordon is “weary of the exaggeration of the harm”. He must be really annoyed with that commenter who said that going back to pre-2001 recommendations re breast feeding would kill “millions of babies” in a population that produces only 600,000 babies per year.
Well, I can hardly stay away now. 🙂
Thanks for responding to my questions.
How is this scientific value? Did you understand the question? I can shout out my window that there’s a need to further study something, thus calling attention to this alleged need, but my shouting has no scientific value. The scientific value of research rests on the quality of the design, data, and analysis. You’ve (grudgingly) called it “not well done research” and “sloppy research,” but you seem to persist in maintaining that it showed something about vaccines and autism.
Let’s leave aside that the paper technically doesn’t exist scientifically, as it was retracted. What do you think it showed about vaccines and autism and how? What data do you point to specifically in the paper that contributed something of scientific value?
You say later:
But now this is in the past tense. Why?
I’m not quick to assume anything. Why on earth will you not address the extensive evidence?
Oh, good grief.
Jay, even if you think Deer has a vendetta against Wakefield, you cannot deny the mountains of evidence that illustrate that his MMR study was little more than a lawyer-funded sham.
And even if it wasn’t, Jay, and it was just a bad study…what other evidence do you have that (as you suggest) the vaccine schedule is harmful? In all the years I’ve seen you post on RI, I have yet to see one legitimate scientific study quoted by you that makes that claim.
Snakefield has been exposed as a fraud – finally. Thank you Brian Deer. Jay Gordon is an asshole. Perhaps we should give him a little less airtime?
No really, look at Snakefield’s face. Evil, lying fuckface. Lying lips: dead giveaway.
I must agree with Orac that I cannot stand when people hijack a thread. If we were in Orac’s living room and he started talking about the subject would we change it and be so rude as to change it and not listen when he tried to bring us back to topic? Pretty rude and immature guys!
Dr. Joe did better than I expected. Saw the Oprah preview for him again tonight. Guess no one wants to discuss that. go talk about Chris Mooney some more.
Jay Gordon said: “I feel like there should be some dramatic music in the background. Maybe “High Noon” or “A Few Good Men””
Sorry Jay, the dramatic chords got all used up when you were misrepresenting the BMJ article about breastfeeding as threatening the lives of “millions of babies”.
Speaking of breastfeeding (and Dr. Mercola, the subject of the article we’re supposedly commenting on), any response to revelations of Mercola’s perfidy in developing his own commercial line of infant formula, to the dismay of his fans who think he’s steering women away from breastfeeding? (see comment #55).
For some rime I took Dr. Oz seriously, but after seeing him today looking really bizarre in that Brazilian costume, I started to wonder, why would a reputable doctor needs such an unneeded exposure. Spending so much time on TV, on Facebook and, I guess on twitter, I wonder when he finds time for some serious work in his profession. Zoi