Last Thursday PZ Myers, author of the very successful science blog Pharyngula tweeted that Christopher Maloney was a quack” (see first tweet below). Prior to that tweet I’d never heard of Christopher Maloney.
I used to be rather indifferent about homeopaths and other people practicing CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine), thinking that it might help some people in some cases.
But examples of patients harmed (even to death) by alternative forms of healing are increasing. In the Netherlands we had two examples of well-known people dying of (curable) cancer after seeking help from alternative practitioners: Sylvia Millecam and the ex-wive of the politician Roel van Duijn. In addition, babies have died as a consequence of craniosacral therapy (see one recent case in the NTVG (the Dutch Medical Journal) and the English translation of this case at the Anaximperator Blog here).
What is particularly dangerous about the alternative medicine movement is the way it is able to influence and/or mobilize people and media. Read for instance through Roel’s own words (and shiver) how his wife came under influence of macrobiotic healers and was convinced she could conquer the cancer by getting her “yin and yang” more in balance.
And what about the anti-vaccination movement? In our country the vaccination campaign against cervical cancer for teenage girls failed, because of negative publicity propagated via the Internet (and this is just one example).
CAM-movements are also very powerful in trying to silence their blogging opponents, mostly very esteemed journalists and scientist. Simon Singh, a British science writer, is currently being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. Why? Because he wrote an article in the The Guardian “Beware the spinal trap” in which he states that The British Chiropractic Association happily promotes bogus treatments (which he substantiates). This resulted in Singh being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.
Suing for libel is one foul approach to try to silence the anti-quack scientific writers. Another is trying to shut down the blog of those critical writers. These two approaches have been used by Christopher Maloney.
“… is a naturopath in the state of Maine, where quacks like him get to call themselves “doctors”. These so-called “doctors” get to make recommendations like this, in which he disparages standard flu vaccines and suggests these useless prescriptions:
Parents waiting for vaccinations can provide their children with black elderberry, which blocks the H1N1 virus. A single garlic capsule daily cuts in half the incidence and the severity of a flu episode for children.”
But Christopher Maloney is also dangerous in another respect. He tried to cut out a student*, Michael Hawkins, who criticized him, pointing out that “Naturopathic medicine is pure bull”, first by demanding the student to alter the blog post, next by asking WordPress to shut down the blog, which they did!!! (see FTSOS Fiasco)
And this is what you see when you search for: forthesakeofscience.wordpress.com:
That is a real spineless action and extremely unfair. I know so many sites and blogs that are spam or just contain a lot of abusive language. One such (Dutch) blog geenstijl.nl even won several blog wards. Undeserved I think, but that is another issue.
WordPress shutting down a blog on request of a naturopath, who calls himself Dr. without having a true medical education (which seems allowed in the US State Maine). Without rigorous checking. That is creepy…..
Should I now fear the shut down of my blog criticizing WordPress?
Dear WordPress, the true power of blogging is that we, bloggers, can have a critical function in society, we can have a voice. Blogging is almost identical to freedom of speech. When you shut down a blog of someone who is (rightly) criticizing something or someone you are endangering this process of debate, that scientists adhere to, but many CAM-proponents do not.
Shame on you WordPress. Shame on you!
If you want to read more on the dangerous nonsense Andreas Moritz is selling (i.e. cancer is a manifestation of “unresolved conflicts”) then you should read this article at Respectful Insolence (of “Orac”).
Below are some tweets about this WordPress/Maloney incidence in chronological order.
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- Christopher Maloney is a Quack (ahotcupofjoe.net)
- WordPress.Com Down including Techcrunch (shoutmeloud.com)
- If it quacks like a Quack… (ahotcupofjoe.net)
- The future of quackademic medicine is secure (doctorrw.blogspot.com)
- Chiropractors cause controversy (guardian.co.uk)
- 100,000 against bad libel laws (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- BCA libels Simon Singh? (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- Writer wins chiropractors case ruling (guardian.co.uk)