Quickies: Sexist sexual imagery, Marines open combat jobs to women, and how little anti-vaxxers have changed since the 19th century


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Wow, so the ‘traditional medicine’ girl isn’t using traditional Anishinabek medicines at all, just trying to marry woo to Indians.

    I can’t say anything. Suicide is not actually taboo in Lakota culture. I just wish she wouldn’t do it so spectacularly.

  2. The guy treatingkilling the little girl is claiming bogus medical credentials from a quack “medical college”.

    It’s curious how alt-med and woo practitioners totally disavow the scientific method when it disproves their nonsense, but at the same time promote the trappings of science as “proof” of their effectiveness. Brian Clement, who runs the clinicmassage spa treating the child for leukemia, claims to be a “graduate of the University of Science, Arts, and Technology where he earned his Ph.D. and N.M.D”, though the USAT denied he had a degree from them. The owner of USAT, who claims it is one of the top 100 medical colleges in the world, refused to provide the Canadian Broadcasting Co. with its address, contact information or the names and credentials of any of its faculty and staff. They do make the interesting claim that it is impossible for their students to flunk out because they coach them through all the exams!

    George Gollin, who is quoted in the article, is a physics professor at the University of Illinois and has been active in shutting down degree mills and other manufacturers of fake credentials. Like many skeptical activists, he got pissed off at the harm caused to innocent people by slick charlatans and decided to do something about it. Way to go, George! (Disclaimer, he is also an all-around excellent person and one of my best friends from college.)

    The claims made by Clements are half-truths, which is a form of lie. For example, it is true that people can “heal themselves” from cancer (spontaneous remission), but what he omits is that it is extremely rare. I couldn’t find good statistics for spontaneous remission of ALL in children (which is the form of cancer implied by the CBC article) but there are only a handful of case reports since 1940. About 4000 new cases are diagnosed every year in the US, so at least 100,000 to 150,000 cases since 1940, and spontaneous remission is rare enough that it would probably be reported. That means the rate has to be less than 0.1%, maybe as low as 0.01%. This jibes with the fact that 5-year survival in 1960, when treatments were much more primitive, was just 14%, whereas it’s 95% today. So even if the 1960 treatments were totally ineffective, spontaneous remission could not be higher than 14%. It’s rare. And the naturopathic methods prescribed by Clements do nothing to improve it.

    Another half-truth is that chemo is poisonous. Yes, but it is a careful balance between poisoning the cancer cells and poisoning the rest of the body. Most medicines are poisonous in sufficient doses, doctors don’t recommend you tank up on opioids just in case you get hit by a bus and it might hurt. They don’t recommend daily megadoses of antibiotics in case you cut yourself or get exposed to Lyme disease. The argument that chemo is poisonous is not a valid criticism, unless you are comparing the relative properties of various chemo drugs, in which case you would obviously choose an equally effective but less toxic drug if one were available.

    Sorry, can’t stop ranting. I think the villains here are the charlatans promoting bogus treatments and their enablers, not the desperate parents who buy into it and certainly not the children who are victims.

    I hope the little girl, and another girl from nearby, who also got “treated” by Clements and is currently hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a relapse, get adequate care and it’s not too late. The form of leukemia both girls have is very treatable, with a 90 to 95% cure rate.

    1. Understand that I do hope she goes to a real doctor, not one who went to a med school headquartered in a mini-mall. It’s just…This year, I’ve seen a lot of positions fraudulently represented as the position of all of Indian country. Her ‘traditional native medicine’ lie among them.

      (You may note, of course, that naturopathy is a descendant of homeopathy, albeit with a stupider name. Homeopathy began as a misinterpretation of an actual ndn medicine, quinine, based on Hahnemann’s idiopathic reaction to said medicine, that went from flat-out wrong to bizarre.)

      In fact, there’s a reason I declared this the year intersectionality died, mostly because of people misrepresenting themselves as representing all Indians.

  3. Anti-vaxx began as a religious ‘thing’ (god decides if someone gets sick, therefore DOING anything about it is blasphemous). The absolutist, irrational stance runs right through to today. Like ‘alt’ medicine, absolutely ANY argument will be accepted, no matter how incompatible it is with ANY other argument.

    Cancer is entirely caused by parasites in the liver (Hulda Clark) AND by deficiency in ‘vitamin’ B17 (sic). No contradiction is too glaring not to be ignored.

    1. John the Drunkard,

      And that makes it a lot like creationism, and other forms of anti science thinking motivated by ideology.

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