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Jul 9, 2000
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>>but my hatred for quack treatments is now quite implacable.<<

And well that it should be.

>>He also insists that the drug companies know about these cures but push drugs on billions of unsuspecting people who believe that drugs are the only alternative. <<

Well he would, wouldn't he? it serves his interests and sells his books. Unfortunately, what he overlooks is that if any of his so-called natural cures actually worked, the pharmacutical companies wouldn't be hiding it, they would be finding out how and why it worked, and they would be exploiting it. While the drug companies are not candidates for sainthood, niether are they stupid.

If fake cures sell well...and they do...how much better the Real McCoy?

>>Medical treatments are not known for being cheap.<<

Niether are the quack remedies when you take a moment to think about it. Not only do you pay through the pocketbook, but you pay with your life as well. It doesn't get any more expensive then that.

By the way, for an interesting article on quack cures, see the E-Skeptic for 12 December 2007 (http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-12-12.html ) and scroll down to "The Immortal Lily The Pink." Mr Trudeau has a special mention near the end of the article.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>With so many medically trained people making similar claims, should there not be some truth to it?

Bring that up when Eugenics, 1910-1945, is being discussed, and prepare to have your backside diced, packaged, and handed back to you!

I think that the course of action prescribed by Jason some posts back most closely parallels my own approach to this subject~ a synthesis of natural healing and, shall we say, traditional medicine seems to be the wisest approach to wellness.

A lot of quackery, and a lot of natural remedies to be honest, rely on the fact that all illnesses follow one of two paths: either you get better, or you don't. If you have a sore throat, I can put you on a regimen of Twinkies, CocaCola and Fudgcicles and 99 times out of 100 in 3 days you'll be miraculously cured. Of course, if it is Strep my miracle cure COULD kill you...but even so, most strep infections are non lethal in young healthy people, so I stand by my incredible discovery and write off the few deaths as being insignificant in light of all the miraculous recoveries.
 
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On the question of "Natural" that word gets bandied about as if there is always something good and wholesome about "Natural." All of which ignores the fact that some of the deadlist toxins on the face of the Earth, such as ricin, occur naturally.
 

Jim Kalafus

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There is an interesting chart in Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, tracing the course of a terminally ill person's decline to death based on the study of how the person "felt" day-to-day. Terminal decline is GENERALLY not a ski-slope to death, but more a series of rises and falls which become progressively less dramatic until the final, moribund, stages. The people studied who took 'alternate' medicines and treatments tended to do so coinciding with the low ebbs, and tended to attribute their 'recovery' to said cures rather than to the normal path of "rally then decline" that one takes towards death... and, yes, the ebb and flow pattern between those who partook and those who did not was the same.

>On the question of "Natural"

"You ARE aware that before all these preservatives and antibiotics and unnatural foods, people very seldom suffered from chronic diseases like they do now."

"You ARE aware that 150 years ago, before all these preservatives, antibiotics and additives, people tended to DIE of the ACUTE equivalent of the same complaints when they were thirty?"


and then let the screaming begin.
 
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Unfortunately, what he overlooks is that if any of his so-called natural cures actually worked, the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be hiding it, they would be finding out how and why it worked, and they would be exploiting it. While the drug companies are not candidates for sainthood, neither are they stupid.

That is unless one considers that if the drug companies exploited these remedies, they'd lose money because such natural cures would, in essence, be ending the reign of the diseases. Why would they let that happen? They'd make more money in the long run by continuously pushing drugs that merely serve to alleviate pain and symptoms and not cure entirely. Still, I understand what you mean.


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Mr Trudeau has a special mention near the end of the article.

Yeah, I saw that before. Needless to say, Mr. Trudeau would not appreciate being cast in such a light. That kind of reaction, though, would be indicative to the man's, shall we say, questionable nature.

As inferred above, I don't support this man, nor did I say I believe any of his claims. I only asserted that I wouldn't be quick to disregard natural remedies entirely. It appears that Jason, Jim and I are in accord on that point.


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Bring that up when Eugenics, 1910-1945, is being discussed, and prepare to have your backside diced, packaged, and handed back to you!

I don't think so. I can hold my own pretty well. But I can see how some examples of mass concurrences are not automatically concluded as fact.

That serves as a good reason for wisdom in maintaining the stance that one should not put one's trust 100% in science, as sometimes it can be erroneous or uncertain at best, as in this case.
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Of course, if it is Strep my miracle cure COULD kill you...but even so, most strep infections are non-lethal in young healthy people, so I stand by my incredible discovery and write off the few deaths as being insignificant in light of all the miraculous recoveries.

That's assuming that the condition is Strep and that it isn't lethal to the particular individual. Taking natural remedies does necessarily exclude one from first obtaining a physical examination. Once a condition has been analyzed and an appropriate line of treatment suggested, the chances are then better for a recovery. Information can do wonders!
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On the question of "Natural" that word gets bandied about as if there is always something good and wholesome about "Natural." All of which ignores the fact that some of the deadlist toxins on the face of the Earth, such as ricin, occur naturally.

Mike, I think what is inferred by the word "natural" is that it is not concocted in some lab. Just because certain toxins are natural in origin doesn't mean that other natural remedies are any less worthy. That's like saying that just because one person with a gun would kill you so would every other. Not all items sharing a particular category need be exactly the same in nature.


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"You ARE aware that 150 years ago, before all these preservatives, antibiotics and additives, people tended to DIE of the ACUTE equivalent of the same complaints when they were thirty?"

Yes, and they still do now despite the advances in medicine the world has. Again, this doesn't minimize the potential effectiveness attributed to some natural remedies.

Scurvy is a "disease" characteristic of low concentrations of Vitamin C (or is it actually more than that? I am going by the basic definition).

Solution: Eat an orange or two.


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and then let the screaming begin.

God, I hope not. The last thing I'd want is an argument over this. Or did I misunderstood what you meant?



Anyway, we were talking about Nessie and sharks. I am waiting for Inger to chime back in on this. I'm curious about what she has to say regarding unprovoked shark attacks.​
 
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>>That is unless one considers that if the drug companies exploited these remedies, they'd lose money because such natural cures would, in essence, be ending the reign of the diseases.<<

I don't think so. Find it, patant it, sell it, cure cancer at the same time. The point is that pharmacutical companies have a vested interest in promoting treatments and cures that work, not in hiding them.

>>Mike, I think what is inferred by the word "natural" is that it is not concocted in some lab.<<

Ricin, nightshade, arsenic, some cyanides, any number of plant based alkaloid poisons and the like are not concocted in a lab. They might be refined there but they occur in nature without human intervention.

>>I only asserted that I wouldn't be quick to disregard natural remedies entirely.<<

I wouldn't either. However, before accepting a claim, I would want to see the results of double blind clinical studies which make a positive corrolation of cause and effect while at the same time, excluding all other possible causes.

If anyone cares to see how the double blind protocol works, see http://www.skepdic.com/control.html

>>and then let the screaming begin.<<

And to sweeten the pot, point out that people live longer because of the artificialities of modern medicine with the consequence that a lot of diseases peculier to old age crop up which never had a chance to do so before.

>>I'm curious about what she has to say regarding unprovoked shark attacks.<<

Not sure what Inger will have to say, but I wonder if "provoke" might be the wrong word. Sharks are predetors and while some don't prey on humans, some prey on anything swimming about in their natural element. You can't blame a shark for acting like a shark. S/he's just being true to what s/he is.
 

Inger Sheil

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While we're on the subject, Inger, I wanted to asked you about your perspective on the many unprovoked attacks on humans. Yes, the sharks are acting on their natural instincts, but that doesn't mean we can just sit back and say "Well, they are just feeding, so that's all right."
The moment you step into the ocean, you enter an environment for which we have lost our evolutionary adaptations. You do not have the skills to detect or evade danger, except in the most crude way.

If you climb a snow capped mountain, you need to accept you may run into an avalanche. If you run across a highway, you may get hit by a car. If you walk into the South East Asian jungle, you may meet a tiger (although sadly the chances of that happening are becoming rarer). If you enter the ocean, you may meet a freak wave or an undertow.

We try to avoid these hazzards of course. We don't step into oncoming traffic while crossing the road without being aware of where cars are, or having crossing lights in our favour. We don't (if we're sensible) walk off the beach and into the ocean without checking the status of rips and observing what the surf conditions are.

I love sharks. But I exercise extreme caution when I swim near the mouths of rivers (especially after heavy rainfall), next to deep drop offs, or near seal colonies. I may get out of the water if there are a lot of baitfish running (we're at the time of year when it happens), particularly if the water is murky.

The ocean, as Michael says, is the environment of the sharks. If we choose to enter it, we do so at our own risk. We should be educated about it - but we cannot make it an entirely safe playground for us to frolic in at our whim. Know the dangers and minimise the risks...and if you're not willing to accept some element of risk, never put a toe in the sea.​
 

Jim Kalafus

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>That is unless one considers that if the drug companies exploited these remedies, they'd lose money because such natural cures would, in essence, be ending the reign of the diseases. Why would they let that happen? They'd make more money in the long run by continuously pushing drugs that merely serve to alleviate pain and symptoms and not cure entirely. Still, I understand what you mean.

This is EXACTLY the sort of offensively ignorant, and willfully cruel, statement that snake oil...errr...shark fin peddlers make to people in dire situations in order to part them from vast sums of money. In 1970s prison terms, it is a form of playing "head games" with people who, due to a horrible set of circumstances, A) are not at their most focused and B)ARE desperate enough to live that they would do nearly anything to survive. These people, as I am sure inger will attest, are entirely heartless and ruthless in their pursuit of money~ because unless they are COMPLETE idiots they HAVE to see that, eventually, NONE of the terminally ill people they are treating recover, yet they persist on preying on a particularly vulnerable market segment. "The medical community WANTS you sick. WE want you healed."

>I don't know if it was moral or ethical cowardice, but I didn't raise the issue at all with her -

No, Inger- that was just being humane and tactful. Making an environmentalist statement in THAT situation would have been grossly inappropriate.

Which brings us to the second problem I have with the sentiments voiced above, which is the HORRIBLE position in which families are put by the Alternative Healing charlatans. One does not want to deprive the terminally ill person of fleeting hope, but at the same time one wants to protect them from being fleeced....and I can tell you that there is NOTHING more excruciating than having to watch a terminally ill person in the euphoric "I AM getting better" phase when, in fact, it is obvious that they are not.

And those sentiments are what makes Natural Healing an irritant to many~ a healthy lifestyle and a fusion of Traditional Medicine and Alternative Cures is a good, no, commendable life plan. But, when proponents suddenly begin walloping one over the head with tired 1970s la-la land conspiracy theories about BAD big industry versus Noble Concerned Naturalists, it makes the entire lifestyle seem spiritually akin to the other idiocies of that era ~ "Grokking" Primal Scream, Biorhythm, Talk To Houseplants, Kirlian Photography....oh, I can go on, but the point is, why taint an essentially sound idea with the psychic excrement of the Me Decade?
 
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This is EXACTLY the sort of offensively ignorant, and willfully cruel, statement . . . when proponents suddenly begin walloping one over the head with tired 1970s la-la land conspiracy theories about BAD big industry versus Noble Concerned Naturalists . . .

Jim, no need to lambaste me. I am merely passing along what I have heard from others (including specialists) regarding this issue; I am in no way claiming to adhere to it, nor did I say, as a fact, that I believe it, only that others out there, in fact, DO.

What makes you think that my statements was intended to be "willfully cruel"? Not I! You should know me better than that by now. We've gotten to know each other pretty well.

By the way, as you should also know, ignorant and/or idiotic I am not, so please be careful of your word choices.


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a healthy lifestyle and a fusion of Traditional Medicine and Alternative Cures is a good, no, commendable life plan.

Also mentioned above (if you've thoroughly read everything), I have stated several times that I agree with this.

And, yes, I also agree that exploiting any living thing for the purpose of profit--including shark fins--is obviously unacceptable.


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I don't know if it was moral or ethical cowardice, but I didn't raise the issue at all with her . . .

I agree. It probably wouldn't have done any good anyway. The greater fool is the one who argues blue in the face with the fool who won't listen (a take off on the "Who's more the fool--the fool or the fool who follows him?" adage). I commend you on the wise decision to hold back.​
 
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It's all about proper research really ~ which most of us here are perfectly familiar with due to our maritime fascinations.

There's the good ol' "follow the money" strategy, as well as sourcing original studies and test (double-blind is generally accepted as best) documentation. There ARE some non-prescription traditional remedies out there that do have positive benefits, but one should know what one is getting into through proper study and, as has already been mentioned, NOT bank on sensational advertisements or agenda books such as those written by Trudeau.
 
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The point is that pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in promoting treatments and cures that work, not in hiding them.

That would make sense and be socially responsible (See my comments on this in the post above this one).


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Ricin, nightshade, arsenic, some cyanides, any number of plant based alkaloid poisons and the like are not concocted in a lab.

Yes, I know that, and as I've said, not all natural elements are poisonous or detrimental to human health.


Below are excerpts from a friend's emails from a while back. She is also a writer and has done research on the subject for articles she had to write, not to mention is speaking from personal experiences:

quote:

It's not so much uninformed as refusal to believe there are better ways than modern medicine. Your mother [she's 78] should remember when there were more home methods--Jim [her ex] and I don't. Recent reports have actually stated it is because of so much use of antibiotics that stains of antibiotic resistant infections have occurred.

Without reading the article, I can say I have come across natural cures for diabetes during research on diabetes I've done for articles. There are many herbal cures that include various roots and other types of herbs. Many people don't realize that in years gone by the only remedies available were natural ones--there was no insulin to help lower blood sugar. At one time there were no tests to even detect bs level, so what did people do then? They went by the symptoms and did what their grandmothers had taught them. Of course, we didn't have all the high calorie and high sugar foods we do today, so there was less of adult onset diabetes than exists today.


I am not beating a dead horse, only sharing with you what she had said. Nor am I insisting she is correct; she may very well be wrong. Take this as her own personal perspective.​
 
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If we choose to enter it, we do so at our own risk. We should be educated about it - but we cannot make it an entirely safe playground for us to frolic in at our whim. Know the dangers and minimise the risks...and if you're not willing to accept some element of risk, never put a toe in the sea.

No argument from me, but you might get an argument from those many individuals who wound up there through no fault of their own. The victims of Titanic and Lucy come to mind.

I am against harming sharks outright for exploitation, but if, say, a helpless child from a ship sinking is caught within the range of a ensuing shark, and I have means to save it, I will, as a last alternative, kill the shark--if necessary. As said, I respect all living things, but I am adamant towards the safety of human beings.

Humans over sharks--always!

That is my perspective on the issue.


Inger, it must take a very special person to be able to swim among man-eaters and enjoy doing so without as much as a fibre of apprehension. For that, you have my undying admiration. You certainly are one in a million. Hats off to you.
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It's all about proper research really ~ which most of us here are perfectly familiar with due to our maritime fascinations.

Indeed! That's what it is all about, Jason--being well-informed. That can make the difference between life and death.​
 

Inger Sheil

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quote:

No argument from me, but you might get an argument from those many individuals who wound up there through no fault of their own. The victims of Titanic and Lucy come to mind.
Well, as far as I know, no one on either vessel came to grief through shark attack - they had more immediate concerns. In some waters, though, shark attack is certainly a concern after a ship founders or a plane goes down. Responses tend to be mixed - it was interesting seeing interviews with survivors of the Indianapolis, notoriously one of the worst accidents with multiple shark attacks - although exposure and lack of water killed many if not more of the victims. Some of the survivors interviewed in recent years expressed absolute loathing of sharks, others expressed an understanding that they are a large predatory animal and the sea is their "turf".

I'm not advocating passively allowing people to be chomped in specific individual cases - if a charging Great White was heading in my direction or that of someone near me and I had a spear-gun with an explosive powerhead fitted, you can bet I'd use it (just as I'd use a rifle in my hand if I was charged by a tiger). I can understand why people who are exposed to danger - for example, abalone harvesters - would be keen on experimenting with devices like the POD to deter attacks, and I'm all for further investigation of methods that can prevent harm to humans and sharks.

But, as I said, you just can't make the ocean a sterile, completely safe environment. If you go to sea and your yacht sinks, I'm afraid you may have to face a possibility of shark attack (or death from exposure, or adverse weather and sea conditions). The trick is minimising the risk as much as possible, because it can't be entirely eliminated.

I won't swim on a netted beach if I can help it, as so many of the more primitive shark nets take a heavy toll on marine life. And while no one "deserves" to be attacked - not even those who undertake hazardous activities like swimming around seal colonies in pupping season - I'm far more concerned about the worldwide destruction of our marine biomasse, including sharks, than I am about the few shark attacks on humans.

Sharks are an overhyped danger. We suffer an average of about one shark fatality a year in Oz (a statistic that, locally, has not increased, in spite of many more people entering the water). How many more die in our oceans from boating accidents or easily avoided drownings among people who swim off unpatrolled beaches in adverse conditions? Anaphalactic shock will kill more people in Australia this year than sharks. Falling coconuts are a greater hazzard in some tropical countries. Speak to scuba instructors - they're usually amused by the fact that the greatest fear new divers often have is sharks. Not what they should be concerned about - they're more likely to run into baratrauma injury if they don't pay attention than a munchy shark. But this fear is often replaced by fascination once they get to see sharks in their natural environment.

And that's how they should be seen. Not hauled up as gory spectacles, jaws opened for a gawking public. But suspended in water, slipping through the blue. When you see them like that, you'll know it's not courage or bravado that leads me to dive with them. It's a love of beauty, of elegance and grace. I'm in as much awe of them as I am of their close cousin, the gentle giant mantas. I've never felt threatened by them - although I have been circled on the surface while waiting for my dive tender, buzzed by reef sharks on a deco bar during a night dive, and checked out closely by gray whaler off a deep wall in Palau. In every instance, I was comfortable with the body language and situation. Down there, you're another large predator. It's on the surface you're something else (a seal? a tutle? a floundering, wounded large fish?).

If you could join me for a dive like the one I did on a old steamer wreck in the Red Sea, with a reef shark and a hammerhead circling above, I think you'd feel differently about sharks, Mark. I've seen the transformation in new divers - from fear, they turn to active anticipation of encountering sharks. And not just the "big boys" like sharks of the whaler family - I'm also very fond of wobbegongs, and have spent many happy hours watching the local Port Jackson population, stacked up like logs around boulders and under overhangs, often with huge cuttlefish hovering above them.

Sharks should not be anthropomorphised - they are a large predator, with all a predator's instincts. When you look into a shark's eye, you are not "communing" with it (as some fluffy headed individuals like to think) - it is assessing you as threat or prey. And the flipside is, they should not be demonised. They do what they evolved to do. They have their niche as apex predators. The world would be poorer in many, many ways without them.​
 

Inger Sheil

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quote:

Recent reports have actually stated it is because of so much use of antibiotics that stains of antibiotic resistant infections have occurred.
And you'll find that physicians are often reluctant to prescribe antibiotics for this very reason - sometimes having to face irate members of the public who are adamant that they need these medications. Growing up with a nurse as a mother, I learned a lot about why antibiotics shouldn't be used willy-nilly. They are a tool to be used appropriately.

I am very skeptical about claims of a "cure" for diabetes - I'd have to see information about what type of diabetes and what particular herbs were being advocated. I'd be willing to believe that there may be some chemical properties in certain substances that had ameliorating effects on the condition, but not a cure.

To be clear here, the phrase "alternative medicine" covers an extremely broad range of treatments, from the use of certain plants that may have an element useful in the treating of certain conditions all the way through to the crystal wielding peddlers of woo. I'm skeptical about a great deal of it, but am willing to accept some of it as useful and possibly even effective, either as a placebo or - through rigorous testing and peer-reviewed scientific research - as a treatment. It depends on what we're specifically talking about. The shark cartilage preparations you buy in healthfood shops are in the woo category. And if you want to talk about vested interests, have a look at who benefits from promoting cartilage use in treating cancer - unsurprisingly, the people with money invested in it.

There is a possibility that research into sharks may produce positive results in the field of oncology - there is some suggestion that there are glycoprotein compounds in cartilage that may prevent the formation of blood vessels around tumourous growths, with obvious potential for use. But research in this area remains controversial, and there is a tremendous amount of research to be done in verifying the hypothesis and then looking at if, or how, it can be practically applied to a cancer treatment. To jump from the original concept to the idea that dried, powdered cartilage, taken orally, can have any effect on cancer and then to sell millions and millions of dollars worth of the product is just reprehensible.

Conventional medicine is far from perfect. The pharmaceutical industry has its iniquities (and inequities!), doctors can be guilty of malpractice or can simply misdiagnose, and sometimes even drugs that have passed through rigorous testing are revealed to have dire side. In the mixed bag of cancer experiences we've had in my extended family, Maureen (referred to above) died in spite of tremendous efforts to save her...the primary cancer was never even identified. One uncle died because, we believe, his early treatment wasn't aggressive enough and they backed off too early when they thought he had gone into remission. One aunt was successfully treated early and now - something like 20 years on - lives a completely normal life. And one was saved through extraordinary medical skill. She had a huge cancerous growth right between her eyes, so massive that it was apparent to anyone looking at her. She had to have her nose, part of her skull and a good deal of underlying tissue removed. So extreme was the necessary work done that nurses changed her dressing on a voluntary basis (and, to their credit, none baulked from doing it).

Today, thanks to the skill of the medical team who treated her and their ongoing efforts to continually tweak and improve her prosthetic nose, she too lives a fairly normal life.

Had she opted for cartilage, she'd be dead. Had she taken it in addition to her treatment, it wouldn't have made a scrap of difference.​
 
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>>not all natural elements are poisonous or detrimental to human health. <<

Nor would I say that they are. However, the problem here is that natural is often mindlessly touted as good and artificial as somehow bad as if one inevitably follows from the other and nothing could be more distantly removed from reality.

>>Take this as her own personal perspective.<<

And I do. The reason I go with the science is that it uses protocols which make a positive corrolation of cause and effect while eliminating other possible causes and it does so through rigerous testing and experimentation. Further, it's subject to the rigerous and pitiless process of peer review. The problem with folk medicine is that it does nothing of the kind and often falls victim to the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy in that it misses the fact that corrolation is not necesserily an indication of cause.

Science is not perfect and I make no pretence that it is, but until somebody comes along with something better which can be shown by tested evidence to work, I'll stick with it.

Quackery such as what we've been discussing here feeds off desperation by offering "magic bullets" which really don't work. If any of these could be shown to be effective, they would be in widespread use in mainstream medicine. The pharmacutical industry would be all over it. That they are not speaks volumns.
 
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Quackery such as what we've been discussing here feeds off desperation by offering "magic bullets" which really don't work. If any of these could be shown to be effective, they would be in widespread use in mainstream medicine. The pharmacutical industry would be all over it. That they are not speaks volumns.

Lo and behold! Speak of the devil. Look what I found. This says it all:

http://www.infomercialwatch.org/tran/trudeau.shtml


And I'm sure there are many more articles like this one to be found all over the Internet. It's long, but it's very insightful. Not very promising for Mr. Trudeau, is it?
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>>It's long, but it's very insightful. Not very promising for Mr. Trudeau, is it?<<

Not really, and it has all the trademarks of a quack as well. Appeals to hints of conspiracy by "The Establishment," portraying himself as the underdog, and don't even get me started on the sheer silliness of homeopathy.

In terms of "It's all about the money" I'd love to see Mr. Tredeau's books. I'm sure that 2 million dollar fine was chump change to him.
 
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