Saturday, March 29, 2014

Protect Desperate Patients from the Houston Cancer Quack

A petition at by Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients asking the United States Congress to protect cancer patients and their families from being exploited by Stanislaw Burzynski.

Rep. Darrell Issa: Protect Desperate Patients from the Houston Cancer Quack

The petition:

We are writing to request your urgent attention to a matter that involves the exploitation of cancer patients, their families, and their communities.

For nearly 40 years, Houston cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski has been treating cancer patients for decades with an unproven chemotherapy he calls “antineoplastons.” Following an agreement in the 1990s with the FDA, he has only been able to administer the drug under the auspices of clinical trials. For this questionable treatment, he charges patients exorbitant fees (often hundreds of thousands of dollars) to participate in a trial and claims to cure the most difficult, almost uniformly fatal pediatric brain cancers. His claims are not supported by science and evidence - despite running more than 60 trials over 15 years he has not published the results of a single clinical trial.

On Friday, November 15, 2013, many concerning issues about Dr. Burzynski were detailed in a front-page exposé in USA Today, including his past use of antineoplastons as an AIDS and Parkinson’s treatment. Sickeningly, critics of the Clinic have found a pattern going back 20 years of patients publically celebrating unambiguous signs of disease progression as signs that antineoplastons were working.

The FDA recently released site inspection notes about Stanislaw Burzynski’s clinic. Their findings were horrific:

-- Burzynski “failed to protect the rights, safety, and welfare of subjects under your care.”
-- “Forty-eight (48) subjects experienced 102 investigational overdoses“
-- Burzysnki allowed overdoses continue: “Overdose incidents have been reported to you [....] There is no documentation to show that you have implemented corrective actions during this time period to ensure the safety and welfare of subjects.”
-- All baseline tumor measurements were destroyed: “Your [...] tumor measurements initially recorded on worksheets at baseline and on-study treatment [...] studies for all study subjects were destroyed and are not available for FDA inspectional review.” Without any measurement there is no way to determine any actual efficacy of the treatment, making Burzynski’s claims unsupported and unpublishable.
-- Burzynski’s reported success rates are inflated: He “failed to comply with protocol requirements related to the primary outcome, therapeutic response [...] for 67% of study subjects reviewed during the inspection.”Nonetheless, these inaccurate outcomes are used to convince dying patients antineoplastons can save them.

Other issues cited by the FDA included:

-- Paying patients who failed to meet the inclusion criteria for the study were admitted to Burynski’s trials;
-- Burzynski did not report all adverse events as required by his study protocols, and many exhibiting toxic effects were not removed from treatment;
-- Adverse events were not reported in a timely fashion (in one case 7 years);
-- The FDA received two different versions of a pediatric patient's records during an inspection, especially significant because the child apparently died of a known side effect of antineoplastons.

Shockingly, these observations were made after a decade of abysmal site reviews by the FDA. Currently, Burzynski’s trials are subject to a partial clinical hold, which means Burzynski is still treating patients already on his protocol.

We are asking that you:

-- Encourage the FDA to dissolvethe Burzynski Research Institute’s clearly deficient Institutional Review [ethical oversight] Board and to place a permanent hold on any more cancer patients receiving antineoplastons;
-- Investigate how Burzynski has been allowed to conduct experiments on pediatric cancer patients while repeatedly cited for violating rules designed to prevent uncontrolled human experimentation.
-- Investigate why the FDA allowed this abysmal researcher to advance to phase 3 clinical trials without publishing a single phase 2 trial;
-- Protect cancer patients from abuse through legislation and FDA oversight reform.          

Please help end a medical ethics scandal that involves eight times as many patients as the Tuskegee Experiment. I look forward to your response on this important matter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Cults

Cults... those groups of seemingly nutty people that have been around with us since forever.

Most cults tend to die off, but some do stick around and in some cases evolve into religions.

Now many cults do have a lot of things in common but I've noticed five certain things about them.

So here are five things I've noticed about cults:

5. They're self destructive.

With a few notable exceptions most cults will eventually die off and cease to exist.

Most of the time a cult will cease to exist due to it's leadership's abusive and controlling behavior, which sometimes results in either a member getting kicked out for some minor infringement, or a member getting fed up with the behavior of the leadership and leaving. These combined with the public's finding out about a cult's abusive behavior, plus what ever strange beliefs they may have, might keep some people from wanting to join, and thus the the cult eventually dies out due to it being unable to gain new members.

Ofcourse sometimes a cult dies off not slowly and gradually, but very quickly due to it's members committing criminal acts that forces law enforcement to imprison most of it's members (those that come peacefully that is) or they get killed by law enforcement because they refuse to be arrested, or the members commit mass suicide or murder/suicide.

4. They isolate people.

Almost every cult there is encourages (or forces) it's members to engage in some form of isolation. For some this may be as minor as encouraging it's members to have as little contact as possible with people that are considered to be possibly "harmful", to having no contact with people who left the cult, to outright isolating themselves from society in general.

Sometimes this isolation isn't the result of a cult encouraging it's members to stop having contact with other people, but instead encourages them to engage in behavior with non-members that is usually considered to be bizarre, imposing, or abusive. Such behavior often times causes non-members to not want to be around any of these members, regardless of whatever relationship they may have with these people.

Regardless of however a cult does it, ultimately a cult will usually end up causing a member to be isolated from those that were closest to them (i.e. friends and family).

3. They're financially ruinous.

Many cults encourages it's members to do things that can cause them to go broke, or at least set them back financially.

One of the ways that cults ruin people financially is that they encourage their member to give large sums of money to the cult. This can be done either through encouraging it's members to give large donations to the cult directly or any "charities" it runs, or encouraging buying overpriced products from the cult, or requiring it's members to pay large sums of money inorder to advance through the cult.

Other ways that cults ruin people financially is by encouraging their members to make bad financial decisions. This could be done either through encouraging their members to make bad investments into things that the cult likes, or to quit a job because the cult doesn't approve of the job, to quiting a job and leaving to go work for the cult.

Regardless of how a cult does it, with the exception of maybe it's leadership, a cult will often times leave a person worse off financially then they were when they joined.

2. They engage in dangerous pseudoscience and alternative medicine.

Almost every cult there is promote some kinds of pseudoscience, which for the most of them isn't actually dangerous, but then there are some types of pseudoscience that cults promote that really are dangerous, particularly concerning medical issues.

One example of this would be the Jehovah's Witnesses who strongly "discourages" (i.e. threatens to excommunicate) it's members from receiving blood transfusions, which has lead to needless deaths.

Another example of this would be Scientology and their "stance" on psychology, in that they believe that psychology is evil. This type of belief can cause people to not seek out or engage in any type psychiatric help when they really need it, which could cause a person to commit suicide or even an act of violence.

Some cults even go so far as to use no modern medicine what so ever. Christian Science is probably one of the best examples of this as they believe that praying will heal a person, and that they do not use any type of medicine at all, instead relying entirely on God's will and prayer.

1. They don't actually have to be religious or organized.

While many cults are generally organized and have religious aspects to them, there are some groups out there that are neither religious or organized, but because of it's own actions and the actions of it's members, many people would argue that they are cults

The 9/11 Truth movement and the Anti-vaccination movement are just two examples of groups that while neither are religious or organized into one single group (although there are several separate groups for both movements) both movements have been accused of being cults due to the movements' continuous promotion of the same stuff that has been debunked for years, and the behavior of both movements' adherents.

Then there are groups that are organized into one single group that are not religious, but because of it's promotion of pseudoscience and other things that are just not possible, as well as how it treats critics, they are considered to be a cult by many people who have examined the group. The Zeitgeist Movement is a prime example of this.

Regardless of whether or not it's religious or organized or neither, a cult is a cult, and it could potentially damage and even destroy your life, so it's best to avoid them.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

And now... Part Six of Debunking House of Numbers

Finally, after over a month of fighting illegal DMCA takedown notices, threats of having his Youtube channel being taken down, threats of lawsuits (as well as other types of threats), having his personnel information shared by a bunch of AIDS denialists, as well as some of those same AIDS denialists trying to silence him in one of the most blatant examples of censorship abuse in internet history in what was a clear attempt by the creators of the "documentary" House of Number to silence any criticism of their so called film, and to hide the truth about their blatant deceptiveness and lying, Myles Power has finally released Part 6 of his Debunking of House of Numbers series.

In this part Myles's friend James Gurney from History of Infection talks about HIV replication and the evidence of it's existence.

Please enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Please don't tell people not to be happy that Fred Phelps is finally gone

Fred Phelps, founder and former leader of his family based cult, the Westboro Baptist Church, has finally done something useful: he died!

I'm sure that many people now (myself included) are probably overjoyed that this horrible and abusive and just plain evil person is finally gone, which I'm certain includes many of the loved ones of people who's funerals he and his little cult protested for no reason other than to cause pain.

While I do know that they claimed that they were doing all of these so called "protests" inorder to spread their "message", but really, does anyone actually believe any of that? I doubt it, and even in some sick way that really is the truth... well who cares? It still doesn't make what they do any less wrong because they could have gone some where else and spread their "message", nor does it make any of what they say any less vile.

Now like with any time some despicable person like Fred Phelps dies there are people that will tell you that you shouldn't feel any joy over the fact that this person is dead, and that you should let the family have a chance to grieve, and that you should perhaps even feel sad for them. Normally I would agree with this, but not in this case, because:

1. He and his cult caused a lot of pain to other people for no reason what so ever, and he did so because he knew he could.

2. He wouldn't give other families the same curtsies, so why should anyone do so for his?

3. A lot of his family is just as bad as he was and "protested" at other's funerals simply to cause other families pain.

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of people who are right now just waiting to go and protest his funeral, and I also know that there are some people out there who think that "wouldn't protesting his funeral  put you on the same level as him and his cult and make you no better than he and his cult?"

No, it wouldn't. He and his little cult protested at the funerals of soldiers, children, murder victims, people who died of AIDS, and a whole bunch of other people that he and his cult had no reason what so ever to protest other than to cause the families of the people who died pain.

I can understand reasoning behind the belief that doing to them what they did to so many others would make you no better than them, but the shear fact that they "protested" at other people's funerals for no reason what so ever other than to cause the families pain, and the fact that these people didn't deserve to have their funerals protested, coupled with the fact that he and his cult has done a lot of stuff (including the funeral protests) that would warrant protesting his funeral invalidates this belief.

Sadly there will be no official funeral for him as the WBC claims it does not have funerals, which in retrospect is a good thing because a funeral would mean that there would be a celebration of his life, which is not something to celebrate. On the other hand (assuming that they are not lying and really are going to have a funeral for him in secret, or aren't having a funeral because they don't want a taste of their own medicine) this is also a bad thing because they are denying people the right to finally do to him and his cult what he and his cult did to so many others.

Still, being glad that Fred Phelps is doesn't make you a bad person, and wanting to protest his funeral doesn't put you on the same level as him or his cult. Those who do believe that it makes you a bad person and puts you on his level are wrong and in a way are excusing him and his cult.

Saying you shouldn't be happy that he is dead is in my opinion the same as saying that "sure he was a bad person, but not someone you should be glad that is dead." No, he really was that bad of a person, and there is no reason for anyone for anyone not to be happy that he is dead.

You can tell person that you feel no joy over Fred Phelps death, but don't tell someone else they shouldn't, because there is no reason why someone should not be happy that this person is gone.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This would be considered satire if it hadn't come from Mike Adams

On the internet I occasionally see statements from people that are so blatantly outrageous that I would naturally assume it was some sort of satire, unless I knew that person was prone to make such outrageous statements.

Today I saw one of those statements, and if it had come from someone other than professional conspiracy theorist Mike Adams, I would have assumed it was satire.

Just read what he wrote and you'll know what I mean:

I'm certain the irony of what he wrote hasn't been lost on anyone who has read that.

I'm fairly certain that Neil DeGrasse Tyson endorse the "core philosophy" of Natural News, and that's because, contrary to what Mike Adams claims, Natural News does not "follow the evidence wherever it leads, and question everything!"

Natural News does not do this. What it really does is make things up, cherry picks certain quotes and data in a piss poor attempt to back up it's own BS, refuses to back down on their claims no matter how much evidence is brought forth showing they are wrong, and then mocks and insults anyone who calls out the site for it's BS, and then for good measure calls that person a "shill".

As you read in the last line you can see that this is a blatant attempt to "encourage" (i.e. trick) Neil DeGrasse Tyson into endorsing a couple of their views that they hold, that being that vaccines cause autism and still contain mercury (which it doesn't contain, nor does it cause autism) and that modern day dentistry is dangerous (which it isn't, it's just painful).

This is just a another attempt by Mike Adams to sneak his views into the scientific community (which totally rejects his views and would never even consider using Natural News as a source) and the public in general by trying to ride the coat tails of a popular and well respected scientist.

Just one more little note: Neil DeGrasse Tyson does support vaccines and has said that they do not cause autism, so I don't see him supporting Adams on this, or anything really, in the near or distant future.

Friday, March 7, 2014

How perception is used for deception in promoting pseudoscience and conspiracy theories

Perception is one of the most commonly used tools of advertisers. If done correctly it can be used to sell a person a product or an idea, even if it's something they do not want or need. All you need is an image combined with some information (factual or not) that catches a person's eye and makes them interested in whatever is being sold which ultimately leads them to buying whatever it is that is being sold.

Promoters of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories know this as well, and will often times create pictures on the internet of images coupled with text in an attempt to get you to "buy" whatever claims that they are making.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Looks nice, doesn't it? The pretty, smiling young woman that catches your eye and causes you to read whatever it is that the picture says and perhaps even gets you to try or believe whatever it is that the text is saying, which in this case is an advertisement to get people to try out Earthing.

This is an example of using positive images inorder to fool people into believing that something that isn't true. In this case it the original creator wants you to believe that Earthing works.

Now lets take a look at this next picture, courtesy of

Not as nice looking as the previous picture, is it?

Except for the photo in the bottom left side of the page, everything else about this picture is exactly the same as the one above this one.

Most people probably would not have bothered to read the text on the second picture due to the shear fact that they would be to disgusted by the photo to bother read the text. Even if a person did read the text they probably wouldn't try Earthing in the first place out of shear fear of ending up like that guy.

This is ofcourse why the creators of the first photo wouldn't use such a photo. They know that such a photo would probably make a person sick to their stomach and not even bother to read the text, more or less be even interested in Earthing.

Ofcourse while positive images work very well in promoting pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, negative images can often have the same impact, if not more so than positive images if it's done right:

Now for many people if they saw something like that and then read the text they would probably never eat any GMO foods again, and they probably wouldn't bother to do any research into the claims either. They would just see the image and be to scared to actually investigate what the text is saying, which is probably what the creators of that picture intended it to cause people do.

The fact is that anytime you see stuff like this on the internet you should always question the claims being made, and always assume that whomever made it is trying to screw with your perception inorder to deceive you and get you to to believe them without questioning their claims.

Monday, March 3, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Prisonplanet and Infowars

Prisonplanet and Infowars. Both are Alex Jones's main websites, and both are two of the largest conspiracy theorist websites in the world.

Now there are a lot of things that have been said about these sites, and after taking a look at these two sites I've noticed quite a lot of things about them, which I have narrowed down to five things.

So here are five things I've notice Prisonplanet and Infowars:

5. There are a lot of ads on the sites.

I have no problems with any websites having advertisements on them, and with the size of the websites that Prisonplanet and Infowars are it's necessary for these sites to have advertisements on them inorder to make money to both pay people maintain the sites, as well as to pay other employees... and also to make Alex Jones money.

The sites not only have your ordinary, random ads that try to look like news stories, but also ads by sponsors of the sites with products or services that is geared towards the typical fans of Alex Jones (i.e. conspiracy theorists), or it's just advertisements for books and videos and other products that Alex Jones has created himself... or atleast he claims to have created. And ofcourse there are also ads for Alex Jones's radio show.

There are also articles on those those sites as well, not just ads, but the thing about that is...

4. Alex Jones doesn't write a lot of articles on those sites.

On any given day if you go to Infowars and Prisonplanet you'll find a whole bunch of articles on there, what you hardly ever see however are articles written by Alex Jones. Infact seeing an article on there that was written by Alex Jones is more rare than seeing an article on there that actually tells the truth instead of being a manipulative form of propaganda.

Not only does Alex Jones not write a whole bunch of article on his sites, but neither does his staff. Many of the articles on those sites are actually from other websites, some of which mainly promote conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, and some are from legitimate news sites.

Even when someone there does write an original article, they always seem to do this one thing...

3. They cherry pick stuff.

Most of the articles on these two sites that are written by actual staff members of Alex Jones's tend to be just cherry picked from other legitimate news articles, with parts of the legitimate news articles being taken apart and having pieces of it taken out of context, and then the writers ad in their own comments to make it sound like the original article agrees with their point of view, even if it doesn't. Or they trash the original article completely and make it sound far worse than what it actually is, especially if the article says something negative about conspiracy theories or conspiracy theorists.

Even the articles that are completely and totally original still read like they're cherry picked. This is probably because they are written in such a way that it's obviously intended to manipulate it's readers into believing in the two sites' obscure world views. Now this isn't to much of a surprise, and that's mostly because...

2. They're stereotypical conspiracy theorist websites.

Whenever I'm asked about a conspiracy theorist website the first thing that comes to mind are these two websites, because not only are they two of the largest conspiracy theorist websites out there, they are also two of the oldest.

Besides just the other stuff that I mention above (cherry picked and manipulative articles) both sites also do a lot of other things you would find on other stereotypical conspiracy theorist websites, such as posting Youtube videos that are often manipulative and irrelevant (although they usually make these videos themselves), and has a comments section which tends to be a gathering place for other conspiracy theorists with even wilder conspiracy theories, and can be pretty hostile towards people who don't share their views.

Even the lay out of the sites themselves seems just like what you would find on a well made conspiracy theorist website.

1. They're shrines to Alex Jones.

Ever page that I go to on either one of these websites has either a picture of Alex Jones on them, or atleast has his name somewhere on the page. Even though these are his websites, this just seems a bit egotistical to me.

Some people might argue that those websites are about promoting the "truth", which couldn't be further from the truth. The only thing these websites do is promote whatever Alex Jones wants to promote and wants you to believe, and ultimately promotes Alex Jones himself.

These websites are not alternative news sites like they try to make themselves out to be. They're just shrines to feed Alex Jones's ego and wallet.