Monday, June 30, 2008

"Quackery" Is Spelled O-P-R-A-H

11. Myth: Alternative medicine is safer.

Fact : I suppose not treating at all would be even safer. It depends on how you define "safe." To my mind, a treatment is not very "safe" if it causes no side effects but lets you die. Most of us don't just want "safe:" we want "effective." What we really want to know is the risk/benefit ratio of any treatment. Science provides the best answer to that question.

12. Myth: CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) has a lot of evidence supporting its safety and effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Fact: If any CAM method was backed by sufficient evidence to conclude that it was safe and effective - it would already be part of mainstream scientific medicine. It would no longer be "complimentary" or "alternative", it would just be medicine.

13. Myth: Homeopathy is safer and more effective than conventional medical therapy.

Fact: Systematic reviews have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition. Reference the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

14. Myth: Herbs are always good, they are natural.

Fact : Check out information about your favorite herb, you might be surprised. NCCAM herb information.

15. Myth: Acupuncture is a proven treatment for many serious medical conditions.

Fact : Acupuncture alone has not been shown in rigorous, duplicated studies to benefit any defined medical condition.

-- From Alan Johns, M.D., explaining "21 Medical Myths You Need To Know," for

The Left's NewAge Name Game (Fooled You!)

"Political expression on the Left in the American sixties was split. Radical activists such as Students for a Democratic Society (1960-68) drew their ideology from Marxism, with its explicit atheism. But demonstrations with a large hippie contingent often mixed politics with occultism-magic and witchcraft along with costumes and symbolism drawn from Native American religion, Hinduism, and Buddhism. For example, at the mammoth antiwar protest near Washington, DC, in October 1967, Yippies performed a mock-exorcism to levitate the Pentagon and cast out its demons. Not since early nineteenth-century Romanticism had there been such a strange mix of revolutionary politics with ecstatic nature-worship and sex-charged self-transformation. It is precisely this phantasmagoric religious vision that distinguishes the New Left of the American 1960s from the Old Left of the American 1930s and from France's failed leftist insurgency of 1968, both of which were conventionally Marxist in their indifference or antagonism to religion."

-- Camille Paglia, professor and cultural critic, explaining the Left's spiritual/political/cultish cross-currents, in her paper "Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s"

"[Students for a Democratic Society’s] history offers a template for eliminating the embarrassing past. Jack London, Upton Sinclair, and others founded the Intercollegiate Socialist Society (ISS) during the Progressive era, but by World War I the word 'socialist' had fallen from favor. So, with the Left seeing labor unions as the agent of societal change, the ISS became the League for Industrial Democracy (LID). Then, by the end of the 1950s, theorists Herbert Marcuse, C. Wright Mills, and Norman O. Brown scoffed at the idea of blue-collar workers—often violently hostile to the Left’s aims—as transformative agents, and the LID’s student arm, the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), rechristened itself Students for a Democratic Society. Just as SDS killed SLID as the fifties became the sixties, Weatherman killed SDS as the sixties became the seventies: SDS’s spirit of “participatory democracy” could not peacefully coexist with the vanguardism of Weatherman. And now, completing the circle, the SDS alumni of “progressives” for Obama resurrect a term that would have been more familiar to their distant forebears in the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. On the Left, everything old is eventually new again."

-- Daniel J. Flynn, author of A Conservative History of the American Left, explaining how the Left's political wing has been steadily re-branding itself until merging around the Oprah Winfrey-backed candidacy of Barack Obama, in New York's City Journal

"Quackery is a pejorative term. Some time ago we recognized that words raise emotions and mental pictures. We recognized the cognitive dissonance raised by them, so we tried to eliminate quackery. We recognized the cognitive dissonance raised when one discusses acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and healing at a distance as if they were quackery when we made claims. For a century, most people just could not allow for the possibility that these things really work.

So over time we recognized that we had to do something about our language. That would be the first step in enabling the thought revolution that is upon us, and changing the paradigm in medicine and science. We simply changed the adjectives, and gave alternate names to the methods, added a few phrases to eliminate negative reactions, and shifted the negative terms to descriptions of the Medical Establishment (and, note the caps in that one.)

We now use words like unorthodox, nonstandard, unconventional, alternative, complementary, and the latest, “integrative.” They produce no emotional reaction. Along with this we invented false dichotomies, which became accepted facts; like holistic vs. reductionist, Western vs. Eastern medicine, linear vs. non-linear thinking. The dichotomies reinforced people’s feelings that these things were opposites, but of equivalent linguistic and scientific value."

-- Wallace Sampson, explaining how the other wing of the Left's NewAge/cult followers ("the worried well") have used the exact same tactic in science and medicine, for the Science-Based Medicine blog

Lady Killer

"I think the idea of all men as potential predators is so ingrained in our society that we do not stop to think that the idea might be not only preposterous, but that it supposes that women are not predators.

In an incredibly insightful book entitled, When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away With Murder, Patricia Pearson explains that we often mistake women for angels.

We always want to see women as victims, rather than perpretrators of crime--that thought is too scary, I think, because we want to believe that the last person who would hurt us is a mother.

So we do anything we can to document that women are victims, rather than predators.

When we look at crime rates, we see tables that cite the percentage of incarcerated women who were abused as children.

There is typically not such a table for men---even though more boys are physically abused in childhood than girls.

We try to justify why a girl would grow up to be a woman who harms others but we have no such excuse for men.

Pearson says that this is because we clearly seek a preemptive cause for female transgressions that preserves an emphasis on victimization.

"It is not the effect of abuse on future criminality that truly concerns us. It is the desire to avoid seeing women as willful aggressors."

Just take a look at any TV show on Lifetime or We--women are always victims and rarely aggressors.

They fight only in self-defense and never out of the normal human emotions of greed, lust, or anger.

Oxygen Network started to get progressive for a while with
Snapped, a show about women who kill for the reasons just listed, but they quickly surcombed to the feminist dogma that women only harm others because they are forced to by men. (Notice the language of the cultural facists involved in the link to this freebattered women's site where they describe Snapped as a 'misogynist, homophobic' show)."

-- Dr. Helen, describing one of the biggest unspoken, and free-flowing, crimes of the NewAge.

Liberalism: Lying As A Way Of Life

"The fact that those on the left lie isn’t so surprising. What boggles the mind is how badly they do it. In the recent past, Jack Kelley of USA Today was caught fabricating stories, as was Stephen Glass of the New Republic, as was Jayson Blair of the New York Times. Janet Cooke cooked up a story about an eight-year-old heroin addict for the Washington Post, and, like Mr. Duranty, won a Pulitzer Prize for her fictional concoction. But at least the Post, unlike the New York Times, had the good grace to return the Prize once the truth leaked out.

Let us not forget CBS’s Dan Rather, who allowed his hatred of George Bush to blind him to the fact that he was going to the mat in defense of obviously forged documents, and that not too long ago, the New Republic, even after the Stephen Glass affair, was so eager to attack the war in Iraq they ran a series of foul and outrageous lies slandering our troops by one Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

The thing about those on the left that I personally find so infuriating is that they’re such hypocrites that they never call one another out for not telling the truth. For instance, Al Gore and his Hollywood disciples are constantly exchanging the environmental equivalent of high-fives, and no liberal ever mentions the inconvenient truth that all of these people reside in mansions the size of hotels and fly all over the planet in private jets. Talk about carbon footprints! Dinosaurs didn’t have feet this big or this dirty.

Speaking of movie stars, they all pretend to be populists, just worried sick about the plight of blue collar Americans. Of course they’ll open their homes to raise campaign funds for any huckster with a (D) after his or her name. But have you ever heard about their offering, let us say, a million dollars of their $25 million-a-movie salary to be divided among the crew? The more generous ones pass out wristwatches or autographed photos of themselves at the wrap party, imagining that the various gaffers, gofers and stuntmen, will forever after mention them in their evening prayers.

Talk is cheap, but not nearly as cheap as those lying lefties."

-- Burt Prelutsky, author, for Pajamas Media.

The Face Of NewAge

"Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service us."

-- The Borg

Hat Tip: Respectful Insolence.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out Of Your Mind

Here, now, is the Academic Woo Aggregator, a list of all the academic medical centers with woo programs:

1. The Cleveland Clinic
2. The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Columbia University
3. Cornell University Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine
4. The Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
5. Duke Integrative Medicine
6. Henry Ford Health System (affiliated with the University of Michigan)
7. Georgetown University Medical Center (discussed here)
8. Harvard Medical School Osher Institute, Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medicine
9. Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
10. Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program
11. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
12. MindBody Patient Care Program, New York University
13. Integrative Medicine Program, Children's Memorial Hospital (Northwestern University)
14. Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group Center for Integrative Medicine (Northwestern University)
15. Beaumont Hospitals Integrative Medicine Program, Oakland University
16. The Ohio State University Center for Integrative Medicine
17. Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurologic Disorders, Oregon Health and Science University (Also, the OHSU Center for Women's Health Integrative Medicine Program)
18. Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine
19. Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine
20. Complementary & Alternative Research and Education Program, University of Alberta (pediatrics, yet!)
21. University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine
22. Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, Irvine
23. University of California at Los Angeles Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine
24. Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
25. University of Colorado
26. University of Connecticut Health Center (where a "debate" about homeopathy was recently held)
27. Department of Integrative Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut
28. University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine
29. The Integrative Care Project, University of Kentucky Colleges of Medicine and Health Sciences
30. University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness
31. Institute for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ-ICAM)
32. University of Michigan Medical School
33. University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing
34. University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Section of Integrative Medicine
35. Program on Integrative Medicine, University of North Carolina
36. PENNCAM, University of Pennsylvania
37. Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
38. University of Texas Medical Branch Complementary & Alternative Medicine Project
39. University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Program
40. University of Washington School of Medicine Integrative health Program
41. University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine (whose webpages seem to have been deleted but still come up when a search is done using the University web page's search engine; what this means is unclear)
42. Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health
43. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Program for Holistic and Integrative Medicine
44. Center for Integrative Medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center
45. Integrative Medicine at Yale

And here is the Academic Super Woo Aggregator, which includes academic medical centers that offer pretty much uncritically reiki (or its variants like therapeutic touch and other 'energy medicine' techniques) or, that woo of woo, homeopathy (H=offers homeopathy; R=offers reiki or related "energy medicine" modalities, with the link to the appropriate web page):

1. Beaumont Hospitals (R)
2. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (R)
3. Albert Einstein College of Medicine (R)
4. Duke University (R)
5. Thomas Jefferson University (H)
6. New York University (R)
7. Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University (R)
8. University of Connecticut Health Center (H, R)
9. Department of Integrative Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut (R)
10. University of Maryland (H, R)
11. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (R)
12. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (H, R)
13. University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (R)
14. University of Washington School of Medicine (H)
15. University of Wisconsin (R)
16. George Washington University (R)
17. Integrative Medicine at Yale (R, H)

-- Orac, showing off his regularly-updated quack list, from the Respectful Insolence blog (Go there for links to all these outrageously-lame, and extremely cynical, institutions.)

Open-Minded (As Long As You Agree With Me)

"As soon as I dare utter '[Clarence] Thomas' in the same breath as 'Obama,' I'm often hooted into silence."

-- Sam Fulwood III, describing what passes for open debate in liberal NewAge Democrat circles, for Roots Magazine.

Change You MUST Believe In

"Much of the early discourse on the reasons for cult involvement missed the boat entirely by focusing on real or suspected pathology in the newly converted cult member.

Though individual psychopathology should not be entirely dismissed, my experience as a cult member, cult recruiter and cult workshop director and ultimately as an exit counselor and educator on the cult phenomenon has consistently led me to consider the psycho-technology of the group in question.

Psycho-technology, simply put, is the combination of a cult's teachings, doctrine and recruiting/training procedures.

The goal of cult psycho-technology is the production of a series of peak experiences designed to make an impression on new recruits.

For many cult members, these behaviorally and environmentally induced 'spiritual experiences' lead from a healthy, open and questioning attitude to a complete regression into dependence and reliance on the cult group.

These experiences, occurring often as they do within the highly charged, tightly controlled atmosphere of the cult, are not subjected to the kind critical scrutiny that they ordinarily would be.

Instead they are metabolized and socialized within the language and doctrine of the cult.

They are the occasion for increased approval from the group.

Phenomenologically speaking, they initiate the "divine history" of the individual, and they reinforce the history and mythology of the group.

What is perceived as a flash of illumination and liberation becomes, in fact, the first step in a march toward moral slavery and psychological bondage.

The successfully socialized cult member has entered a world in which submission to authority, blind obedience and conformity have supplanted such 'outmoded' notions of character formation as the development of self-reliance, the capacity for critical thinking and the need for openness and compassion in human relationships.

Successful indoctrination into a destructive cult results in the repudiation of the individual conscience, rejection of one’s critical faculties and the colonization of the imagination understood as a supernatural experience."

-- Allen Tate Wood, a counselor who specialises in the mental and spiritual rehabilitation of former cult members, as reported in the New Statesman

The Truth Hurts

"In their last moments, people show you who they really are."

-- The Joker - giving anyone who's ever been betrayed something to think about - in the latest installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight, as reported by the New York Post.

Strap-On Dress

"I just find it a little bit annoying that I'm supposed to be here for a week watching men's shows, and I keep having to pinch myself to remind myself that I'm not in the women's pret-a-porter."

-- Michael Roberts, fashion director of Vanity Fair magazine, according to the Associated Press.