Friday, 22 November 2013

Natural medicine is a human rights issue, same old Lynne McTaggart

Update at the end

Lynne McTaggart has really got angry when confronted with that old skeptical stand-by, evidence. So she avoids it by ignoring real criticisms and inventing a spurious human rights issue. She wants you to have a choice that you already have. If you want to take your chance amongst the unevidenced, mostly unregulated world of natural remedies then no one can stop you. It's your choice. Barry Sheene did it when he was diagnosed with cancer and look how healthy he is today.

Let's look in more detail.
During these past tumultuous weeks, where angry messages have been flying back and forth between two very polarized camps about alternative medicine and WDDTY, one contributor wrote that it was like watching two soccer teams whacking the ball back and forth.
Nice metaphor.
 The problem with that analogy is that, in this instance, team A isn’t interested in a fair game.  Team A wants to outlaw team B, and will stop at nothing – installing a biased umpire, beating up the opposition, calling foul on perfectly good passes – in pursuit of that objective.
I know you're American, Lynne, but you ought to know that it is a referee in soccer.  Oh, and your metaphor now looks silly because what team A wants is fair play and how team B responds is by deleting critical comments and banning commenters. Did she mention free speech yet?
 Make no mistake. This is not a fair debate, a reasonable discussion of the issues. This is a blatant attempt to deny you one of your basic human rights: the right to effective health care.
There it is, free speech, as upheld by Team McTaggart by deleting comments and banning... I already said that. And reasonable discussion? Try treating evidence with proper respect, Lynne, and reporting it fairly.
At the moment, as I have written earlier on these pages, conventional modern medicine kills thousands more people than it cures. Despite all the disingenuous attempts by ‘new’ visitors to these pages to cast doubt about the quality of our research, there is no argument about the fact that modern medicine remains the third deadliest killer in the West. No one in Establishment medicine disputes this.
When asked for a source for the assertion, Lynne is rather vague. When shown the source, she chooses to ignore it because it doesn't actually say what she says it says. There is doubt that modern medicine is the third deadliest killer (tautology) in the West. That's why skeptics doubt it - they want to see the evidence.
Cochrane Collaboration co-founder and esteemed medical researcher Peter Goetzsche refers to the statistics in Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime, and it was first cited more than a decade ago by the Journal of the American Medical Association. At that time, said JAMA, medicine was ranked the fourth leading cause of death – since that time it’s moved up in the league tables of things most likely to kill you.
References please? Show us the paper if it so important to you, then we can judge for ourselves. "So we have a system of medicine that, by its own admission, kills more people than anything other than heart disease and cancer every year, and yet is carrying out a systematized attack on anything else that might actually work and work safely." Well, only in part. Doctors now that some treatments are harmful but they proceed on the balance between benefit and harm. Chemotherapy has many downsides but the big downside of not having chemo for cancers it works well on is rather more severe. That's why it is used.
What this means is that modern medicine, infiltrated and now run by the pharmaceutical industry, is attempting to deny you access to safe and effective health care. That, to my mind, is a violation of your basic human rights. In fact it is essentially a form of persecution – no less than it was to deny a black in the pre-1960 American South a seat on the bus.
Not quite a Godwin but I'm sure se was tempted. This paragraph is classic conspiracy ideation and basically so wrong. Indeed, pharmaceutical companies also make vitamins so they can have a foot in both camps. But I can't remember ever being forced to take what Big Pharma sells me. Indeed, I'm pretty poor and have a cupboard with partly empty packets of pills. No one has yet been round to arrest me for this apparently hideous crime of not taking my medication. Lynne, you are talking rubbish.

"What are we to do about this in a positive way? We can take the lead from Iceland, where a group of 500 concerned citizens launched Heilsufrelsi (Health Freedom), a new health freedom association, to ensure that natural medicine is safeguarded and Icelanders have access to natural ways of maintaining their health.

But no one has said you can't take your leaves. What they are saying is stop playing fast and loose with published evidence and misleading readers. It's not rocket surgery.

"Instead of acting like a oppressed minority or continuing to play a game with loaded dice, it is now time for all of us interested in natural health care to unabashedly stand up for natural health freedom, organize together and insist on that mature dialogue.

Does that mean responding sensibly to questions and criticism or more deletion and banning? I don't think McTaggart is really interested in a mature debate but on assertion, misguidance and carrying on as she has been so far. An empty request, in other words. She continues in a comment:

"Once again the trolls on this site deflect from the important issues I raise in this blog by attempting to undermine our reporting on other issues, or criticizing other aspects of our business, and the comments are beginning to take on an air of desperation.

So by asking for evidence of McTaggart's claims, showing other evidence to contradict her assertions and pointing out where she is wrong is, er, wrong. McTaggart, on the other hand, is the one raising the human rights flag that has long since been conceded by the skeptics. How about that mature debate? Not interested, is she?

"The subject of this blog is not the cervical cancer (HPV) vaccine, but just to clarify, we never wrote that the vaccine KILLED 1700 girls.

True. Instead they said up to 1700. A difference but as all those stores promising up to 70% off in their sales know, the public are gulled into thinking the store has better offers than it really does.

"In our weekly WDDTY e-news, we reported on the figures appearing in an issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (July 26, 2013 / 62(29);591-595), the weekly report prepared by the America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a US government agency charged with the job of tracking infectious disease and vaccination.

Well, the report quotes VAERS data, which is often self reported and makes no distinction over whether there is cause and effect. Besides:
"Among the VAERS reports coded as “serious,” headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, syncope, and generalized weakness are the most frequently reported symptoms.

Compare that last quote, from here, with what McTaggart says next:
"Between June 2006 and March 2013, said the report, the US’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has received approximately 1700 - 1675 reports to be exact – of ‘serious’ adverse events occurring in girls who’d received the HPV4 vaccine. Reports are classified as ‘serious’ if they include one or more of the following, said the CDC: hospitalization , prolongation of an existing hospitalization , permanent disability, life-threatening illness, or death. Please see:
I didn't look at the definition of serious, I looked at what serious included. Now I'm not sure how the two actually mesh, but having seen actual girls in the aftermath of their HPV jabs, I can report that there are plenty of pretty psychosomatic responses. Thirteen year old girls don't like having injections and many react with headaches, queasiness and so on. I don't want to diminish their suffering, just that it isn't as serious as McTaggart likes to paint it. And there is an issue. Take the worst case and present it as typical. Don't check whether there is more to this than meets the eye. Miss out important details. All things McTaggart does repeatedly. Isn't that hypocritical? My favourite word.
"As for the idea that we charge £83 for a DVD, we don't sell DVDs. Besides a magazine, downloadable reports and online subscriptions, we sell courses that include both audio and written material – the costs of which are in line with or far cheaper than similar products on other similar sites.
This was in response to a comment about DVD sales. Now when I searched the WDDTY website, all the DVD mentions returned 404 messages so I can't check the truth of McTaggart's statement. I can, however report that £54 gets you one of those courses - a 90 minute mp3 file and some, presumably, word or PDF documents. That sounds like rip off prices to me. And they reckon Big Pharma is after your money. (I searched the net a bit harder and found this page which links to the WDDTY site where you can apparently buy a DVD of some scam conference starring McTaggart and Rupert Sheldrake (ohnothimagen) which might put the lie to what McTaggart said. Strangely, click on the link to buy the DVD and you go to a page where you can buy a subscription to your favourite health disinformation mag.)

So, sorry, Lynne. I don't think you want a mature debate. You could have had one by now. But you didn't bother so I can't believe you'll have one now. When confronted with evidence, you avoid answering the true concerns raised by skeptics. And as for human rights - look at yourself in the mirror. Can you look yourself in the eye and say that the medical establishment forces you to have the mainstream treatment (ie the one demonstrated to do good). If you, your mates, hangers on and followers want to take leaves, nuts, berries, vitamin pills, sugar pills, distiller water, powdered mummy, stick pins in your skin or whatever, no one can stop you. Just don't go running to say sorry to that gp who spent years of their lives learning real medicine and pleading for them to help you.

Spoiler: Barry Sheene wasn't exactly cured by his natural healing regime. Actually, he wasn't cured at all. Sadly he died. His oesophageal cancer has a five year survival rate of 15%. Sheene died eight months after diagnosis. Update McTaggart is so wedded to the idea of free speech that, on the same day she winged about a "campaign" to hide copies of her atrocious magazine, she chose to have another clear out of her Facebook page, deleting comments that she doesn't like. So, free speech is fine of she is doing it but reason for censorship if she is being criticised. If anyone who reads this page wishes to correct me, feel free. I don't censor any comments on this site. Only, so far as I know, one comment has been deleted and that was one I made and rethought. McTaggart does not want free speech. She wants her unscientific way.

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