Don't ask me why, but I think keeping an eye on the major woo promoters is a good idea, so emails from Mercola, Generation Rescue, and the like regularly flood my email inbox. I wince and take a peek; how can I not? And off I go chasing down some stray bit of the crazy to discuss. Mercola never fails to dazzle with the crap he comes up with. The nice part of chasing down countering information is that it cleanses the palate.
Why, when Mercola put out the nine myths garbage, I turned to Science-Based Medicine again. In "9 Reasons to Completely Ignore Joseph Mercola" Joseph Albietz skillfully denounced Mercola's nonsense (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2116). Emily does a nice deconstruction as well at A Life Less Oridnary (http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com/2009/11/mercola-facts-redux-now-with-inferences.html).
Mercola, not content with the 9 reasons garbage he recently put out, wrote an article entitled "Media Blasts Bill Maher for Telling the Truth About Swine Flu " where he makes the assertion in the title that Maher is telling the truth, but then for some reason, writes, "But lately he has been dispensing surprisingly unscientific medical advice about flu and the vaccine that prevents it." Freudian slip, maybe? By the way, to read this I had to join the site, so be ready for that if you go to take a gander at it.
(http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/10/20/media-blasts-bill-maher-for-telling-the-truth-about-swine-flu.aspxand and http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/10/06/Why-You-Should-NOT-Vaccinate-Your-Children-Against-the-Flu-This-Season.aspx)
It should be noted that I dealt with the "infectious disease expert" (not!) when he was on Fox; it's been on the right side of the blog. If you missed it, here it is:
Fox News, AoA, and Dr. Kent HoltorfSo, what is Mercola's latest gem? How about this: "Expert Pediatrician Exposes Vaccine Myths" is an interesting exercize in woo and hyperbole. Who decides these doctors are leading, world-reknown, or the other sycophantic garbage, really? His Dr. Palevsky is another one of those holistic practitioners who, according to his biography, is "President of the American Holistic Medical Association (www.holisticmedicine.org), co-founder and President of the Holistic Pediatric Association (www.hpakids.org)" ( http://www.holisticchildhealth.com/#appearances. What does Palevsky do? Through out the course of the interview, Palevsky makes clear that he is affiliated with the anti-vaccination industry. He also makes clear that he has no understanding of vaccines: “… in my research of the vaccines, and of the basic microbiology and virology that we’re trained to know in our medical training, I cannot understand how a vaccine with a virus can be safe.”
Just a blip on why, if AoA runs with it, you probably ought to do a minimal amount of googling:
Billed as an infectious disease expert and yet mistakes a vaccine court ruling as scientific evidence. Then further goes down the woo trail. Oh, and he's got testimonials, so there you go.
No, what it looks like is he's doing a full court press for media exposure for his medical group. Mh-hmmm. And he's targeting people who have ailments that are still poorly understood by maintstream medicine.
Oh, and they don't take insurance. Surprise, surprise.
And informed consent comes up. Here's what he says: "I am truly a proponent of informed consent." This is obsfucscation at best, since the article makes clear that all these "arrogant" doctors who think vaccines are good things have their heads up their asses and only enlightened doctors like Mercola, Palevsky,and Blaylock (oh let's throw Sears and Gordon in here as well) really get it. Informed consenst has apparently beome a catch phrase to signal not vaccinating. If you are informed, you won't consent.
Bringing it full circle to herd immunity where I began this post, Mercola and Palevsky completely make a mess of herd immunity. I can certainly understand why folks who live on a steady diet of AoA, Mercola, GenRes, NVIC, etc., could walk around thinking there is a vast global conspiracy and that altmed is the only thing to keep them safe. It makes them anything but informed, but it is understandable. You believe what you read, implicitly. It takes reflection to reject things (see Daniel Gilbert's research). Also, the more you hear it, the more you believe it; it explains the nutty things popular culture holds to be true.
Mercola and his trusty sidekicks of respected, leading doctors like Blaylock, etc., don't offer science to back up their contentions. See "Swine Flu -- One of the Most Massive Cover-ups in American History" for Blaylock and Mercola's nonsense (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/03/What-We-Have-Learned-About-the-Great-Swine-Flu-Pandemic.aspx) for more incredible bilge.
They make readily apparent to anyone with even a slight interest in the scientific method that they don't get it right. And with all of the products that Mercola sells, well, it becomes apparent or should to even the most naive that this isn't about improving health but about money. How can the alt-med wackaloons kvetch that big pharma is out to bleed them dry and then turn over all their money to these snakeoil salesmen and not see it for what it is: a con?
Alright, you've waded through the muck and the filth with me, so I'm going to leave you with an article that is reasonable, scientific-based, and hopefully, coupled with the Science-Based Medicine links, evens out this woo journey we just went on (it may be said that I love the word woo, but that's alright, I don't mind. Would folks rather I called it bullshit instead?). Shelly Abreu, writing at Babble, discusses the swine flu and vaccination (http://www.babble.com/swine-flu-h1n1-vaccine/index.aspx). The anti-vaxxers must not have seen this or perhaps it was the lack of Offit in it that kept them from foaming at the mouth.