More Trumpish anti-science: The Donald reportedly asked anti-vaxxer to head panel on vaccine safety

Those of us who feared the worst when Donald Trump was elected President of the USA are discovering just how bad the “worst” can be.

Why Evolution Is True

I’m not quite sure what these articles from theWashington Post and Scientific American mean, but they augur yet more anti-scientific attitudes from the incoming Trump administration, which will take over in (horrors!) only nine days. (The words “President Trump” still stick in my craw.) From Sci Am we hear about a position reportedly offered to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of Bobby Kennedy and thus the nephew of JFK. RFK Jr. is an environmental activist but has some wonky ideas about vaccines:

WASHINGTON—Outspoken vaccine critic Robert Kennedy Jr. has accepted a position within Donald Trump’s administration as chair of a panel on vaccine safety and scientific integrity—the clearest sign yet of the president-elect’s suspicions about vaccines.

The offer, which came in a Wednesday meeting between Trump and the scion of America’s most prominent Democratic family, is likely to concern scientists and public health experts who fear the incoming administration could give legitimacy to skeptics…

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Pseudoscience is common among elite athletes outside of the Olympics too…and it makes me furious.

Woo and pseudoscience are widely practiced in the sporting world.

Violent metaphors

Skyline

The many stories yesterday featuring Olympians appearing with cupping marks on their skin have brought renewed attention to pseudoscience in sports. Cupping, which involves putting a hot jar onto the skin, forming a suction that “draws out” toxins or unblocks energy meridians or something like that, might seem like a relatively benign form of pseudoscience, but it can be quite harmful.  Orac has a great post (complete with a gruesome photo) describing the harms of this particular practice:

Cupping is nothing more than an ancient medical practice based on a prescientific understanding of the body and disease, much like bloodletting and treatments based on the four humors. As the case of Lin Lin shows, it’s all risk for no benefit. It has no place in modern medicine, or at least shouldn’t.

I’m completely unsurprised to find that pseudoscience is common among the elite athletes competing in the Olympics. I’ve seen similar…

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Canadian parents killed their kid by withholding medical care in favor of maple syrup and berries

The sad consequences of using ‘Natural Cures’ instead of medicine.

Why Evolution Is True

Even the rational Canadians have a sprinkling of loons among them, and by that I mean human loons, not the ones on the one-dollar coins.  The latest pair is David and Collet Stephan of Alberta, whose son, Ezekiel, became ill with meningitis four years ago. As the CBC reports, Ezekiel was ill for several weeks, but the Stephans, whose family runs Truehope Nutritional Support, a dubious food-supplement company in Raymond, Alberta, didn’t take their child to the doctor. Rather, they dosed him with a mishmash of ineffectual nostrums:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the…

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A Year In The Life Of A Clusterhead

First, some background.

“Clusterhead” is a colloquial term used to describe cluster headache sufferers. Cluster headaches affect about 0.2% of the general population making them very rare indeed. Unless you are a sufferer, or live with one, it is unlikely that you will have ever heard of the condition. I don’t intend to explore the epidemiology of cluster headaches but those who are interested should look at the Wikipedia article and the Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache (OUCH UK) site.

What is relevant to this post is the nature and severity of the pain experienced by clusterheads.

The pain of CH attack is remarkably greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraine. The pain is typically described as burning, stabbing, boring or squeezing, and may be located near or behind the eye. Those with cluster headaches may experience suicidal thoughts during an attack as a result of the pain. It is reported as one of the most painful conditions.

 

There is no known cause and no known cure for cluster headaches.

Secondly, some information about me.

I’m male, 66 years old and a former Biology teacher. I retired six years ago. My first encounters with CH began about ten years ago but weren’t diagnosed until January 2010. I suffered a very serious episode whilst on holiday in South Africa and upon my return saw my GP who made the diagnosis. That episode lasted three months. My next episode began on April 1st 2012. This time I was in Sri Lanka and that attack also lasted for about three months. My most recent attack began on December 14th 2014 and ended on May 12th 2015. It was by far my most severe attack as well as being the longest and it is that episode which is the subject of this blog post.

Continue reading “A Year In The Life Of A Clusterhead”

The other religiously-abused Canadian child

Felicity Corbin Wheeler of Revelation TV fame is a big fan of Brian Clement and the Hippocrates Health Institute.

Why Evolution Is True

Now that Makaya Sault has died from her untreated leukemia, there’s another 11-year-old first Nations Child from Ontario (“J. J.”) getting “alternative (i.e., useless) treatment, and she’ll also die from the same disease unless someone intervenes. But in this case, a Canadian judge did look at the case, and refused to intervene. Judge Getin Edward, who will have blood on his hands if J. J. dies, ruled against McMaster Children’s Hospital, who wanted to force the child to continue chemotherapy. Doctors there say that J. J. would have had a greater than 90% chance of survival with chemo. But her parents wanted “alternative” and “aboriginal” treatment, though they took J. J. to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, where they use quack nostrums like raw-food diets, lots of vitamins, and cold-laser treatment—hardly “native” healing.

Edward’s ruling was unconscionable; here’s how the National Post described it (my emphasis):

Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice suggested…

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Readers’ Comments

Over the last few days there have been a number of comments on my blog post Revelation TV & Felicity Corbin Wheeler Revisited. A number of interesting points have been raised, and rather than reply to individual comments I will attempt to respond to them here.

William Scully started things off with this post:

She has dropped the “Dr” title on her twitter account as well, I have asked for an explanation in a tweet, don’t expect I’ll get a reply. She is an odious woman, but on Revelation TV, she is in good company

William had spotted something I had missed. The Reverend Doctor is now plain Felicity Corbin Wheeler. I suspect that she is worried about the possible legal consequences of calling herself Doctor and handing out medical advice. Her (newly revamped) website has a very comprehensive Quack Miranda.

Legal Disclaimer: Any information provided on http://www.hippocratesineurope.com or http://www.felicitycorbinwheeler.org (this website), including its discussion forums, is for educational purposes only, is not medical advice, does not create a doctor-patient relationship or liability, is not exhaustive, does not cover all conditions or their treatment, and will change as knowledge and time progress.

The use of the word ‘odious’ prompted an angry response from Will.

like most people who are derogatory towards FCW i feel compelled to ask you.
Are you just being a little bit biased. Are you just following the crowd and acting out of a herd instinct and mentality. Are your claims that she is an “odious woman” based on clinical trials and double blind trials ? Or perhaps, based on anacdotal evidence. You know the type of evidence that Nucella on this Blog site calls “unscientific” reason.
There is a saying that goes: “As a man thinks, so He is” Then the question for you to answer is this: Are Your thoughts more a reflection of your own Being, Is it You that is the “Odious” one.
How pathetic of you, to make such a judgement of Being. I hope other’s think the same. You are probably an atheist which means you believe all life started a pond scum and became the beautiful specimin you are today. So why do you seek so eagerly the return to the pond scum from which you evolved from. Just goes to show you deny the very faith of evolution by your actions. At least FCW i believe would not wish to stoop to such low standards as you set for yourself.

Suddenly we switch to atheism and evolution. How did that happen? I’ve always considered Felicity Corbin Wheeler to be deluded, ignorant and narcissistic. I wouldn’t have used the word ‘odious’ to describe her – until now. Recently she has confirmed what I long suspected. She is an anti-vaxxer. I’ve blogged on that topic before and I consider anti-vaxxers to be the lowest of the low. Incidentally Will, atheism is a lack of belief in god and just that, nothing at all to do with evolution.

William Scully responded by asking about the dropping of the Dr title again, but Will has the creationist bit between his teeth and treats us to a rant about Cosmology, Astrophysics and Abiogenesis, seemingly under the mistaken impression that these are covered by the Theory of Evolution. William Scully persists but Will gets angry:

What !! No, You Can’t explain, Well I won’t be loosing any sleep over you.
So why not just crawl back into that prebiotic pool of slime your ancestors came from.
You won’t be too much of a loss to Humanity, because I doubt if you actually met its criteria anyway.

Then things turn really silly. Will comments;

 but as Nucella knows from her training as a nutritionist – if she really is one – it is information that gives birth to matter

What? I am neither female nor a nutritionist and have never claimed to be either. I could be a nutritionist if I wanted to be. It’s not a protected title in the UK so all I’d have to do is call myself one, set up a website and make lots of money by selling useless products to vulnerable individuals. For some people that’s a valid business model as Sheila Pringle has discovered.

Goodness me, this started out as a post re FCW, who does charge extortionate prices to help people, as a Christian and saying she works for God does she really need to charge so much, I tried wheatgrass and it seemed to upset me , she wanted £50 for an E Mail consulation to give me advise. She stated to me by E Mail that she worth that price, she gets free advertising by giving out her ideas on REV TV. Why has this ended up as a slanging match about creation, if people chose to disbelieve Gods word that’s up to them but they dont need to be so personal and abusive to other people on here. FCB also didnt answer my E Mail that was uncomfortable for her to read on some true facts, she isn’t a Dr of medicine anyway at all, she is running a business with REV TV as a real advantage and their discernment is dreadful they never answer you either just make threats, switch her off like I have is my opinion, if she wants to make such profit to fulfil her lifestyle out of people let her, she will answer to God and be judge one day.

Thanks Sheila for trying to calm things down and bringing the discussion back on topic. I suspect that Sheila and I come from entirely different perspectives but I think we both feel that Felicity Corbin Wheeler is exploiting people for monetary gain. Please correct me if I’m wrong Sheila.

Felicity Corbin Wheeler is currently using Revelation TV to promote another unproven treatment which will be the subject of my next blog post.

 

Edit.

A brief exchange of comments with Will resulted in this extraordinary outburst:

I am going to do what everyone should do on here and pull the plug on all your crap sick and ugly insults that your warped little humanoid brain can muster, No wonder Rev Tv don’t reply to you, you odious creature. most of the small number of posts here are years old so you obviously have a huge fan base, i don’t think. Well, i shall enjoy this last post because there won’t be anymore. I ‘m done with loser’s like you who can find no greater purpose for their life than devote their time moaning about christians. You really are a low life. I don’t spend my time doing that to atheists. There is nothing upbuilding and positive about you. Do you know what i will be so happy about when you read this, is the fact that others will read it and know your a first class jerk for all to see, while only a she male like you could have a name like Nutella.
Ayway, you can continue to be the odious little twerp you are, but you know it’s not even worth you replying to this because im out of here and you will never have the satisfaction of me reading your crap replies any more. So go into your bedroom and do what all lonely immature little boys do in private.

You are a has-been and i will never read the crap you sell on here again, so glad to be gone for good.

Yours Gone for good,

Ha ha ha hAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

There’s no answer to that.

Get Well, Stay Well?

I’ve blogged before about Revelation TV and its promotion of Felicity Corbin Wheeler (here and here) but feel moved to do so again. Felicity Corbin Wheeler, who in her present incarnation is no longer described as the Reverend Doctor, has a weekly show titled ‘Get Well. Stay Well’. The programme is hosted by Cyrus Fernando, a relatively new presenter on Revelation TV. Mr Fernando is no Jeremy Paxman and the format is for him to ask a series of obviously rehearsed questions which give FCW the opportunity to reel off the details of a wide-ranging number of quack therapies which, she claims, will prevent disease and/or cure disease. Most of these are diet-based with an emphasis on the supposed benefits of juicing.  To emphasise the point, Cyrus and Felicity usually have a glass of freshly prepared juice in their hands. Ironically Cyrus, being conspicuously overweight, is a poor advert for Felicity’s methods,  as are many of Revelation TVs presenters.

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The programme broadcast on 6th June 2014 was devoted to extolling the supposed benefits of the Gerson Therapy. This particular form of quackery has been around since 1928 and yet in all that time, “Gerson’s therapy has not been independently tested or subjected to randomized controlled trials, and thus is illegal to market in the United States”. Cancer Research UK says, “Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that Gerson therapy can treat cancer. In fact, Gerson therapy can be very harmful to your health.”

Quacks rarely allow scientific evidence to get in the way of a marketing opportunity and Felicity Corbin Wheeler is no exception. She introduces Dr Patrick Vickers who is, it seems, the new face of the Gerson Therapy.According to his website, “Giving up careers in professional golf and entertainment, Dr. Patrick obtained his undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Life University before going on to receive his doctorate in Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College in 1997.” He’s not a dietician, a medical doctor or an oncologist, he’s a chiropractor. In North America,  chiropractors can use the title Dr but in the UK they are not considered to be registered medical practitioners. Felicity Corbin Wheeler avoids making this clear.  Sense About Science has a useful summary which evaluates the evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic.

Most of the programme is taken up with Cyrus Fernando introducing YouTube videos of Patrick Vickers explaining the virtues of Gerson Therapy. As we all know YouTube videos trump peer-reviewed scientific research any day of the week. In between the videos Felicity Corbin Wheeler adds some commentary and it is interesting to note how frequently what Patrick Vickers says is in direct conflict with the advice given by Felicity Corbin Wheeler. She waves this away by saying that different doctors have different ideas.

There is no evidence that Gerson Therapy has ever cured anyone of anything. It’s just another way of preying on the weak and vulnerable and separating them from their money. Revelation TV continues to promote this sort of nonsense.