HOGWASH, SNAKE OIL & OTHER DUBIOUS “SCIENTIFIC” HOCUM
by Brandi Jasmine
A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE:
“Doctor, I have an ear ache.”
2000 BC – “Here, eat this root.”
1000 BC – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”
1850 AD – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”
1940 AD – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.”
1985 AD – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.”
2000 AD – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!”
As astrologers we’re often held up against so-called “scientific standards” and are found wanting – at least in the minds of some rigid thinkers. The fact that such folks refuse to hold themselves to the same standards is often overlooked.
To me, astrology is an art form – not a science. I can’t say I have a good strong theory as to why it works (I have a rather weak one) … but astrology does work, within limits.
But it bears pointing out that there are also frauds, quacks and crackpots in the many fields we call “sciences”. A good many of the so-called “debunkers” themselves do not hold to the “scientific method” that they insist we should follow in order to be free of their harassment and ridicule. These pompous hypocrites make a lot of money at lectures, seminars and book sales putting astrologers and psychics down for charging fees and not being science-based, when they make more money than us, and their own tests are more like side-show circuses than real experiments. Any legitimate scientific inquiry is frequently lambasted by them, or dismissed as irrelevant.
I can see why James Randi would rather have a no-name astrologer try to pick Sun-signs from 12 audience members (after a 2 sentence conversation) than have a debate over the work of Michel Gauquelin … the former makes for better television, and it is almost certain to fail. But Randi is no more a scientist than I am. He is, in fact, a stage magician. An entertainer. As are many of the famous “debunkers”. They all make a lot of money selling books and doing lectures – more than most astrologers on the average end of the pay scale. His so-called “Million Dollar Challenge” has been exposed as unfair and deliberately designed to be unwinnable.
The following notes and references expose many embarrassing episodes in the history of “science”. This list merely illustrates that “scientists” are not gods, they are fully human beings with fallacies, stupidity, greed, and bias, no matter what their claims to the contrary.
Does any of this mean you should drop your doctor and abandon science for astrology? Not at all. There is great merit and benefit in science and medicine. The point is that there is a double standard. Medicine and science are clearly not infallible, they are not “right” all the time, yet skeptics insist that astrology be held to a higher standard of proof for mainstream acceptance. People generally don’t die when astrologers are wrong, they do die in huge numbers every year when doctors are wrong. Yet many high-profile skeptics have called astrology “dangerous”. Ridiculous!
In light of these fiascos, perhaps it is time medicine, psychology and psychiatry also shed their own pretensions to be called “sciences” and admitted that a certain amount of skill, intuition and holistic insight are also applied – in varying levels of effectiveness – in these fields, as well as our own. Science, medicine and astrology all have our gifted practitioners as well as our quacks and rip-off artists. Working together with mutual respect we can achieve a far more positive result in the end.
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Through rare historical and contemporary footage and interviews with more than 160 doctors, attorneys, educators, survivors and experts on the mental health industry and its abuses, this riveting documentary blazes the bright light of truth on the brutal pseudoscience and the multi-billion dollar fraud that is psychiatry.
When a huge study warned that hormone pills lead to a higher risk of breast cancer, millions of women stopped taking them. Experts said that a year after that report, breast cancer rates in the U.S. dropped more than 7 percent.
A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million.1 Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.
Recently unearthed documents show that the drug company Bayer sold millions of dollars worth of an injectable blood-clotting medicine — Factor VIII concentrate, intended for hemophiliacs — to Asian, Latin American, and some European countries in the mid-1980s, although they knew that it was tainted with AIDS.
America’s Healthcare System is the Third Leading Cause of Death – Barbara Starfield, M.D. (2000)
I think of this article with some sense of irony whenever sceptics seriously insist that belief in astrology is dangerous, then point to medicine as the pinnacle of science. I don’t know of an actual case of someone killed by a bad astrological reading. I have suffered multiple times from misdiagnosis and poor medical care, however. I don’t do medical readings, but the one medical astrological reading I had pointed out a chronic hormonal malady that was consistently overlooked by numerous doctors over the years. I literally had to fight with my doctor at the time to get these levels tested. When I finally found an open-minded specialist willing to order the test, the astrologer’s assessment was confirmed.
I don’t think people should dump their doctor for a medical astrologer. But I do think the sceptics and medical doctors should dump the pretension that the medical system deserves to be placed on a pedestal.
Overdosed America by Dr. John Abramson “American health care may not be the best at improving health most effectively and efficiently but it is certainly the best in the world at generating profits for the drug industry.”
“Bad Blood” by James H Jones, The Free Press, 1981. A documentary of the Tuskegee experiment where scientists observed the unchecked effects of syphilis on over 400 black men for over 40 years, from 1932 to 1972. No attempt was made to provide treatment, or even to inform the uneducated sharecroppers that they had the debilitating and often fatalvenereal disease. They were permitted to carry on as usual with no education on how thedisease was spread. Their incentive consisted of free medical care, and a paid burial.
American Society Clinical Oncology Convention – Dallas Dr. Bernard Fisher delayed publicnotification of misconduct involving falsified patient records in a breast cancer study Cameracrews barred from the exhibit halls. Andrew Holtz CNN – May 15 1994 10:49 p.m.
According to a report on CNN March 17 1995:In New York City, 1 in 27 patients will be injured as a direct result of hospital visits. 1 in 4 of those injuries will be directly caused by negligence. The study was brought out as background for a story reporting the negligence of a hospitals that mistakenly amputated a wrong foot in one case, a wrong breast in another, and a death in a case where a patient was mistakenly taken off a ventilator.
Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work
“What top selling brew costs $10.60 a fifth, is 50 proof and is usually taken straight in a shot glass? According to Public Citizen’s book, “Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work”, this exotic brew is NYQUIL, a popular cold remedy.
Public Citizen, an American Comsumer Activist organization, claims that the FDA is violating drug laws by allowing these ingredients to remain on the market.
“Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work” contains a list of thousands of OTC drugs that are not proven “safe and effective”, yet still litter the aisles of drug stores. While the PC results sometimes differ on the safety and effectiveness of some OTC medicines, quite often they both agree that the drugs are useless. Many of the drugs listed in “Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work” are in YOUR medicine cabinet:
Absorbine Jr., Allerest, Anacin, Anusol, Aspercreme, Benylin, Brontin (Asthma pills), Cepacol, Dewitt’s Pills, Diurex,Dristan A-F, Dristan Nasal Mist, Ecotrin, Excedrin, Fluidex. Formula 44, 4 Way nasal Spray, Freezone, Goody’s Headache Powders, Halls Decongestant Formula, Hemorrin, Johnson & Johnson First Aid Creme, Kaopectate, Listerine, Midol, Momentum, Neo-Synephrine, Nervine, Nupercainal, Oxy Scrub, Preparation H, Scope, Sensodyne, Sinutab, Sloan’s Ointment, Solarcaine, Triaminicin, Vicks Cough Syrup, Vick’s Vaporub.
This is only a partial list of the brand-names that are either unsafe or proven ineffective. Most of these names are familiar to even the healthiest of us. Some ingredients are helpful and safe, others are not. Interestingly, one of the active ingredients in Preparation H might well be effective as a skin protectant in amounts of 50% but shark liver oil is present in Preparation H at the nominal level of 3%.
Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work contains suggested alternatives to OTC drugs for problems. Though the book is not strong in it’s support of herbal medicines, it presents clear explanations of medical problems, and common-sense alternatives to taking drugs. Overall, “Over the Counter Pills That Don’t Work” is an interesting look at the state of OTC medicine, and a very worthwhile guide for anyone who is taking a responsible, pro-active interest in her own healthcare.
Joel Kaufman, Linda Rabinowitz-Dagi, M.D., Joan Levin, Phyllis McCarthy, Sindey Wolfe, M.D., Eve Bargmann, M.D. and the Public Citizen Health Research Group, Pantheon Books, 1983 (TPL 615.7 OVE).
Starting 10 years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA established a large number of over the counter drug advisory panels – including physicians, pharmacists and other technically qualified people. They reviewed, by therapeutic category, the ingredients contained in approximately 300,000 brands of OTC drugs to determine if these ingredients were safe and effective. According to the FDA’s Director of OTC Drug Evaluation, Dr. William Gilbertson, only “about 1/3 of the ingredients reviewed by the panels have been shown to be safe and effective for their intended uses.”
According to John Rappoport of No More Fake News, over 100,000 people die in the USA every year from correctly prescribed FDA approved medications. How many people have died as a direct result of an astrological reading I wonder?