Bully tactics by Australian Homeopath invites blogging backlash
Bully tactics by Australian Homeopath invites blogging backlash.
My fellow members of the Skeptical Army have blogged recently about some underhanded tactics employed, futilely it transpires thanks to something called the Streisand Effect, to silence an Ausie blogger from exposing the truth about the nefarious activities of one Ms. Scrayen, an Australian Homeopath implicated rather heavily in the death of cancer sufferer Penelope Dingle. Penelope Dingle’s sister is now suing Ms. Scrayen for her part in the death of her sister
Unfortunately for those who would silence the truth with nasty little letters, there is a growing army of skeptics ready to make sure that the light of legitimate criticism and exposure of harm done in the name of unscientific lunacy is not extinguished.
Warning, the following story is likely to make one to have a large “sad” – if one will excuse the modern colloquialism.
For the uninitiated, Homeopathy, or as I like to call it “magical water slinging”, is bullshit of the purest kind and is not supported by the scientific evidence – heavily diluted preparations of water (which is purported to have “memory”, but only of good things, like the vibrations of that expensive twat shaking the bottle, but not memory of passing through my rectum and going through the sewage system) are irresponsibly and without proper evidence offered as “treatments” (and that is in parentheses because I use it so loosely that it almost reaches homeopathic proportions) for a wide range of ailments including cancer and other life threatening challenges.
“German physician Samuel Hahnemann first stated the basic principle of homeopathy in 1796, known as the “law of similars.” This principle is: “let like be cured by like.” Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains. Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient’s physical and psychological state, then homeopathic reference books known as repertories are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms.
In the context of homeopathy, the term remedy is used to refer to a substance which has been prepared with a particular procedure and intended for patient use; this differs from the generally accepted use of the word, which means “a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieves pain”. Homeopathic remedies should not contain pharmacologically active molecules, A pharmacological effect would violate fundamental principles of homeopathy. Modern homeopathic practitioners have suggested water has a memory allowing homeopathic preparations to work without any of the original diluted substance; however, there are no verified observations nor scientifically plausible physical mechanisms to account for such phenomena.“
This is not “natural” medicine folks – that may contain some active ingredient, but the entire edifice of Homeopathy is built on the notion that no active molecule of the original substance is required to make an effective preparation – although, Homeopaths seem conflicted about whether it is necessary or not, as revealed here, where it alleged that some nanoparticle remains are behind the “power” of a Homeopathic dilution – well if there are particles of the original substance present, then that kinda blows the whole “no particle of the original substance is required” thesis doesn’t it! And if particles of the original substance under dilution are present, and proposed as mechanism for the “efficacy” of the preparation, then these substances would plausibly be amenable to study under the auspices of conventional medicine and science based techniques. And as the link above reveals, this has been done, is not supported by the scientific evidence and no effect beyond placebo is evident.
Well even in the face of evidence some people are not immune to holding onto strange beliefs at all costs. Unfortunately it seems that Penelope Dingle paid the costs for Ms. Scrayen’s dangerously unscientific beliefs and callous disregard for the suffering of a person under her unqualified care. Surely, if what you are doing to “treat” someone does not seem to be working, you should abandon it and refer the person to a qualified professional.
Read the full story over at Dan Buzzard’s blog.
What is interesting is that Dan has now been threatened with a Cease and Desist letter from Ms. Scrayen’s Attorney. A very poor showing indeed, and even in the face of my initial reluctance to use a sporting metaphor, that’s just not cricket!
Dan is clear however and not scared off:
“You cannot silence legitimate criticism with lawyers. If you can prove the (sic) Homeopathy works and is effective for treating cancer, as Penelope Dingle was led to believe. Then I will gladly make the necessary corrections to maintain the accuracy of my blog. But if you want to sell unproven medicines to vulnerable cancer patients then you can expect to be justifiably criticised for it; especially if the patient then dies due to your ineffective treatment.“
All I can do is commend Dan Buzzard for having the courage of his convictions to call out a pseudo-scientific quack who committed a gross act of incompetence leading to terminal harm. And for not turning from this task in the face of threats of unwarranted litigation.
It is easy to see that Ms. Scrayen is reasonably responsible in a large part for the death and suffering of Penelope Dingle, as attested to by the Coroner’s report, but Ms. Scrayen tries to obfuscate and ignore this fact by misrepresenting the truth and attempts to cover it up with deplorable legal tactics against those people brave enough to expose her and the deadly consequences of pushing her crazy Homeopathic rubbish.
Unlike the victim in all this, Penelope, who takes responsibility for her own part in entertaining such quackery – in her published letters she says “I take responsibility for placing my trust in a health professional who was not trustworthy.”, Ms Scrayen, the alleged perpetrator, seems to be doing her utmost to dodge her own complicity.
How terribly sad to have hoped and put faith in a path of possible recovery only later to have been ignored and treated with complete medical incompetence and just pure callous disregard for her immediately apparent suffering. It is truly disgustingly sad to read Penelope’s letters to Ms Scrayen, the Homeopath who neglectfully helped a woman to suffer and had a large hand in her death because of a lack of critical thinking about water.
Jacques Rousseau over at Synapses has a great take on this story and the dangers of not having the space and freedom in our societies to express legitimate criticism against nonsense and its purveyors.
Another victim added to whatstheharm.