You may remember a few months ago, I mentioned a budding skeptics group in Mississippi.Â They’ve been slowly growing, expanding their presence on their Facebook group, and holding additional pub events to meet and socialize.Â They built a website andÂ haveÂ about 20-30 members now.Â Not bad for a couple of months. But last week, they managed to do something that many well-established local skeptical groups don’t manage to accomplish.Â They took down a quack.
They found out that a known snake-oil salesman Robert Dowling was coming to Jackson to try to sell his fakeÂ cancer cure, something he calls the Quantum Health Management screening process. According to the site, all cancer is caused by ‘cavitations;’ holes in the jawbone that are sometimes caused by poor dentistry. Not only are the dentists of the world plotting against us with cancer, but also the FDA and the American Cancer Society are all ignoring the evidence and blah blah blah.. ugh… I can’t even summarize without feeling nauseous. Just go read the Quackwatch articleÂ about it for Stephen Barrett’s summary of why Dowling is, well, a quack. Barrett also has information on the ‘cavitations’ or oral pathology that Dowling claims is the root cause of all cancer.
So when this clown showed up peddling his nonsense, Patrick Jerome of the Jackson Skeptics put out a call to action.Â Read the rest after the fold.
Their plan: research the heck out of this guy, attend his talk, ask a lot of questions.Â Six of them attended the seminar.
They were polite. They were non-confrontational. They were very, very patient.Â They listened to Dowling’s presentation for two hours.Â They listened to him rail about how he had discovered a cure for cancer. How traditional medicine and drug companies were refusing to see the truth because they couldn’t make enough money off this cure. How oral pathology caused cancer as well as heart disease and alzheimers. How traditional medicine came from Nazi experiments. And so on.Â Then it was the skeptics’ turn:
After the steaming piles of pseudoscience flew right and left, the skeptics in attendance asked our questions: what bacteria cause this? Why would doctors cover up a cure for cancer? What studies have you done? Where were they published? How long have you followed your patients? Are you a doctor? We asked far more questions than the rest of the audience combined, even though they outnumbered us six or seven times. I doubt that Randi, Dennis, Brad, Don and I were the only ones skeptical of his claims â€“ but we were the only ones voicing that skepticism.
Dowling did not have our answers. After claiming to have published studies, after claiming a 100% cure rate, after calling himself a doctor, he said that he had the proof. And when we asked for it, we got dodgy answers, evasions, and even the confession that he was not in fact a doctor. Of course, he was only a few semesters away from a medical degree in the Caribbean.
I encourage you to read the whole storyÂ on the Jackson Skeptical Society web site.Â It’s fairly awesome. But the best part is that the story isn’t over.Â Patrick also got in touch with the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure and found them very interested in his story.Â They issued a cease and desist order on Dowling and effectively shut down his operation in Mississippi.Â If he is caught practicing in Mississippi again, he’ll be arrested. And the Jackson Skeptical Society will be keeping an eye out for him.Â They’re also not resting on their laurels.
Unfortunately, Dowling isn’t based in Mississippi. In fact, it’s a little difficult to figure out where he is based.Â I spent a few hours today researching it myself and found websites and companies based in North Carolina, South Carolina and Phoenix.
I don’t believe that this story is over.Â We’re doing more research, trying to find out as much as we can and to report this guy to the FDA, the Better Business Bureau and anyone else we can find.Â If you hear about him in your town or if you find out any information, please contact us either through Skepchick or at the Jackson Skeptical Society site so we can follow up.Â I’ll post more as I know it. In the meantime, go Mississippi Skeptics.Â You guys rock bluegrass :)