AltMed Responses To Criticism – from Holford to Barnett

February 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here, I have some examples of the, fairly limited, debate between sceptics and proponents of Alternative Medicine – and a couple of examples of how scientists generally respond to criticism. The most recent example of a supporter of Alternative Medicine (anti-vaccinationism, with a smidge of homeopathy) responding to criticism is Jeni Barnett. She referred on her blog to incandescently stupid comments she made about MMR during a radio broadcast on LBC, and the fuss that followed the broadcast. The comments section soon included critics explaining why Jeni was so dangerously wrong. Jeni’s response to the criticism? To remove the blog post and the comments. Thankfully, it’s been preserved and is available at The Quackometer website. Further discussion at Holford Watch. LBC’s response to the original criticisms? Legal chill tactics – a pretty disgusting way to tackle legitimate criticism. Other examples of legal chill (and other threats) come from nutritionists, chiropractors, homeopaths, herbalists, and an American Christian organisation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quackometer Silenced. Netcetera Tossers. Obi A Disgrace.

February 18, 2008 at 5:56 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Bloggers, Woo) (, , , , , , , , )

The Quackometer’s hosting company Netcetera are spineless losers. Earlier this afternoon, Gimpy posted the sorry tale of the removal of the Quackometer blog. Netcetera have removed the entire blog in response to threats made by Joseph Chikelue Obi. This follows the previous removal of specific Quackometer posts by Netcetera (which I referred to on this blog as a Quack Attack). If anybody is in any doubt about the character of the man who has made these ludicrous allegations then please read this post, which details the disgraceful conduct of this erstwhile NHS employee. And for all those web hosts out there, please remember: there’s a difference between defamation and criticism.

New posts are popping up on the Bad Science blogs page and Shpalman and Dr* T also have a list of blogs that have posted on this so far. Not that I’m one to play favourites, but… best use of links: Netcetera are spineless morons; best post: Quackometer gagged by Netcetera.

Netcetera’s response to the Quackometer’s comments:

Thanks for your comments. We do not wish to be in a position where we could be taken to court, and incur the loss of time and expense that would involve. Consequently Netcetera have decided to suspend the Quackometer website, with reference to our Acceptable Usage Policy, the first part of which is quoted below. The full policy can be found on our website”Acceptable Usage Policy
This policy is subject to change, without alternate notice, so please check regularly for updates. This policy is in addition, and considered part of Netcetera’s Terms and Conditions.
Netcetera will be the sole arbiter as to what constitutes a violation of this provision.
1) Web Hosting
1.1) Netcetera reserves the right to suspend or cancel a customer’s access to any or all services provided by Netcetera, where Netcetera decides that the account has been inappropriately used. Netcetera reserves the right to refuse service and /or access to its servers to anyone.”
We will prevent public access to the site as of noon today 18th February 2008. You will be able to access the content to be able to transfer it to another host if you so wish.
We will hold the content available to you for 30 days, and then we will remove it from our servers.

Rather than sign up to a host such as Netcetera, you might be better off with, say, Positive Internet.

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Joseph Chikelue Obi – A Bit Of Background

February 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bloggers, Society of Homeopaths, SoH, Woo) (, , , , , , , , )

Joseph Chikelue Obi is an interesting character. Provost of the Royal College of Alternative Medicine, Obi is very fond of using the word “ethical”.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Quack Attack

January 23, 2008 at 10:55 am (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Bloggers, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Well, it’s all kicked off again. The latest legal threats from the Alt-Med lobby have resulted in the removal (by hosts Netcetera) of a page on the Quackometer blog. I won’t go into too much detail about Joseph Chikelue Obi here, as others have already done so. PV has posted an excellent piece titled “Legal Threats and Extortion to Suppress the Truth”, Ambrielle has posted “Mr Joseph Chikelue Obi vs The Quackometer” and Dr*T has written about CAM once again using bullying to cover up quackery.

This has also been covered here and here (incidentally – this is an interesting online news article). This really is a recurring theme in Alt Med circles – Ann Walker got terribly upset at Prof David Colquhoun’s views on gobbledygook, Patrick Holford has sent letters/emails to all kinds of people from Holford Watch through to David Colquhoun and the SoH controversy will never be forgotten (at least by me). Apathy Sketchpad covered the SoH v Quackometer hullabaloo and made reference to Netcetera’s lack of backbone when faced by ludicrous legal threats from a ludicrous organisation. In the latest post on Apathy Sketchpad, Joseph Chikelue Obi features and a comparison is made to the situation with the previous threats made by the Society of Homeopaths.

There are more useful links here, here and here. More blog posts and mirrored pages to follow: BrainDuck Blog, Soberish, Orac, Skeptico, Fooeey, MrHunnyBun… are all linked from teh Shpalman. There may well be more posts later, as the good people listed at BadScienceBlogs find out more about what’s going on. Update 4.30pm – Flammable Flower post. Edit: Bad Chemist has an updated list and the following blogs have reposted or commented on Le Canard Noir’s original articles: Mugs and Money, Mugs and Money 2, Away From The Bench, JQH, Apathy Sketchpad, AP Gaylard, Chemobrain, SciencePunk, Gimpy

A couple of final points: I think it is disgraceful that rather than debate the issues, AltMed lobbyists and practitioners threaten and bully bloggers. I also think it is somewhat less-than-heroic of the blog’s hosts to take pages down without good reason. Anyone can threaten to sue and backing down in the face of vexatious and frivolous claims can only encourage groundless accusations of defamation. Remember – defamation and criticism are not the same thing. Le Canard Noir’s original articles appear below:

Read the rest of this entry »

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