First of all, before I get into the meat of things, I’d like to thank the people who helped promote via social media, my last post which criticised The Mind Unleashed. Rousing Departures is actually a small personal blog that usually attracts very minimal traffic – my traffic stats graph currently has a couple of large columns for the last few days, while the columns for the rest of the month are barely visible, having been squished down to scale.
Indeed, a week ago as of writing, I managed to get nine page views for the day – the past couple of days have seen page views in the thousands. And the Facebook page for Rousing Departures? That currently has less than fifty likes, compared to The Mind Unleashed’s three and a half million… (Keep this in mind, when you consider some of the responses I’ve received, that follow).
I’m currently in the process of trying to organise a collaborative blog with a few other writers, which would have been a far better venue for this discussion, but there have been setbacks. My apologies on that count. Still, this isn’t about blog-promotion – this is about bigotry and bogus medical advice, so I’d better get on with it.
Those of us who have been criticising The Mind Unleashed (TMU) over the past few days, appear on some level to be striking a chord; RationalWiki now has a section on TMU, and importantly, TMU has itself responded…
(The Mind Unleashed, 2014)
A few points in the midst of this vitriolic tantrum stand out…
“The other day, The Mind Unleashed got some ‘negative reviews’ by a Zionist run internet blog.”
I really don’t know what TMU means when they call Rousing Departures a “Zionist run” blog. When it comes to conspiracy theorists, “Zionism” doesn’t always mean what everyone thinks it means.
I’ll put this out there though; I support a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, that entails Israel continuing to exist. If this makes me a Zionist, then I’m a Zionist, and I don’t see anything self-evidently wrong or signifying untrustworthiness in being one.
If by “Zionist”, TMU means that the Jewish New World Order provides me with all the Element-118 I need to fuel the hover-car Mossad bought for me from Area 51, or anything like that, then no, I’m not a Zionist. I’m a financially stunted carer from the northern suburbs of Adelaide who has holes in his shoes.
(Maybe I should start a Patreon account for the Rothschild dynasty to make payments into, so that I don’t have to live a life hovering around the poverty line).
At any rate, “Zionist” or not, I am the only person running this blog, fuelled on the whiff of broken dreams, unrealised ideals, and a promotional budget of zero. Not all of us can be successful click-baiters.
“We laughed most of it off for it’s level of sheer ridiculousness, but one part of it frustrated me greatly. The author of the article, who I’ve been trying to contact without success, (big shocker there!) said this… [quotes my objection to the promotion of the idea that cannabis cures cancer].”
This is news to me. Or at least it was when a friend notified me earlier in the day.
I have received no communication from TMU via the Gmail account mentioned on my contact page, and I’ve checked my spam folder. Perhaps the Zionist Email Fairy has infiltrated Google and is intercepting TMU’s emails as they come in?
That still doesn’t explain why TMU hasn’t contacted me via the Rousing Departures Facebook page, or via my personal Facebook account, or via Twitter, all of which can be found via my contact page as well. Also, a friend of mine identified herself as such on the TMU page, and stated that TMU could contact me via her (which is true), and TMU just deleted her comments.
You won’t find this comment on TMU anymore… and I may be a “Zionist”, depending on how you define the term…
I’m going to postulate that TMU hasn’t have tried very hard to contact me at all, not that we’d have much to talk about even if they did, and not that I’d be willing to spoon-feed them a science education, even if they were paying for it.
So why does TMU object to my objection to the promotion of marijuana as a cure for cancer?
“Reading that part of his senseless diatribe, truly made my stomach turn. I have lost many friends and family members due to cancer, including my father. They couldn’t be saved because chemo failed them (as it so very often does) and because they didn’t have access to Cannabis oil.”
Because the person at TMU writing this is the only person who’s lost someone to cancer, right? Incidentally, in April of 2003, I lost my father to cancer. I’ve lost other family and friends to cancer as well, but I’m going to stop right there, because I’m not about to count them up as if this is some kind of pissing competition.
“People that have never experienced something beyond their control are quick to judge, lazy & fearful.” – One of TMU’s fans, commenting on my criticism of TMU. Because everything I’ve ever experienced has been under my control.
But on to the science…
“The reason I am so adamant that it works, is because Cannabis oil has saved 3 close friends of mine. (4 if you include my friends dog, who was also saved from ‘terminal’ cancer by Cannabis oil) Chemo failed them all too, and they would have died had they not started taking the oil. I do realise the word of 1 random person from ‘the internet’ doesn’t mean much to many people..”
It’s worse than being just the word of one person on the Internet though. There’s a saying that goes around “Skeptic” and science education circles that goes along the lines of ‘the plural of “anecdote” is not data’.
It wouldn’t matter how honest TMU is – plucking four cases out of the air from personal experience is both too little data, and subject to sample/cognitive biases. But aside from the science illiteracy TMU is demonstrating in not understanding the problematic nature of anecdote, TMU is also setting a precedent for the emotive exploitation of cancer patients for political/personal gain, trivialising their suffering in the process.
It would be the same if I were to try debunking the marijuana-cures-cancer hypothesis by pointing out that my Dad, both before, and after being diagnosed with cancer, ignited enough weed to power a bloody steam locomotive, and yet still died. Despite being true that my father did smoke a lot of weed before dying, it would be exploitative on top of being pseudo-scientific. I’m not going to do that.
I think the only reasonable use of mention of my father’s death in these kinds of discussions is to point out that marijuana gave him relief from pain, and to highlight the futility and cynicism of using him as a datum.
TMU then goes on to promote an article on its click-bait website, that lists thirty four medical studies “proving” that cannabis cures cancer. The title itself is somewhat of a give-away to begin with, as science doesn’t actually deal in proofs; science makes provisional postulations, where supported by statistical analysis at appropriate confidence levels.
Proofs are for philosophers and mathematicians, not scientists.
I actually bothered to take a look at the abstracts that TMU lists (but does not actually discuss) and I didn’t see a damn thing that supports the notion that cannabis cures cancer. The in vivo studies I’ve read, weren’t conducted on humans, and importantly, the studies researched cannabinoids and cannabidiols, not cannabis. There’s a difference.
Admittedly, while I have actually worn a white lab coat, and messed around with petri dishes in a biology lab at uni, that was as an undergrad science student. I can hardly claim to be of-the-field, as such. So…
Allow me to quote the article I originally linked to in my previous post (which apparently, TMU neither read, nor understood)…
“In bench top, petri dish-like experiments, these chemicals have been shown to kill or slow the growth of different cancers, including in one study, colorectal tumours and leukaemia. Some studies have also shown effectiveness in animals models, but all these used the pure chemicals as injectable solutions.
Unfortunately, anticancer activity in the laboratory doesn’t always equal similar activity in humans. More than 80% of drugs fail human cancer clinical trials even though they have been found to be curative in animals.” – Emphasis added.
(Nial Wheate, 2014)
These facts alone destroy TMU’s simplistic misreading of the “34 medical studies”. The purpose of all of the medical studies that TMU links to, is to establish the potential of the identified compounds to act as anti-cancer agents, as an inroad to further study. This in no way indicates the suitability of even just cannabinoids or cannabidiols as anti-cancer drugs for humans, let alone cannabis itself.
Do read the article by Nial Wheate if you’re confused about this, because there are several reasons why neither cannabis oil, nor the smoked herb, automatically equate to the active ingredients.
Moreover, if you or a loved one are dealing with cancer, and are looking for information, take your concerns to an oncologist if one is available. If your interest is more academic, then seek out people in the know like Wheate. Don’t take my word for it, and certainly don’t take TMU’s.
There’s a graphical meme that’s currently doing the rounds that aptly summarises the kind of medical “research” that TMU engages in…
…although admittedly, some of the sources in the first cell cater more towards the political right of TMU.
At this point, you may be asking yourself what my (allegedly) being a Zionist has to do with me criticising medical disinformation (or revealed knowledge if you want to look at it that way). If you are wondering, then sorry, I can’t help you. I’m not sure it matters either. Let fans of TMU wrangle with that kind of confusion.
What I will emphasise is that I only ever mentioned the issue of cannabis and cancer in passing – the point of my last post was to talk about TMU’s promotion of conspiracy theories from sources that explicitly voiced hostility towards Jews – specifically sources located at the website of one Daryl Bradford Smith.
(Daryl Bradford Smith, 2014)
“Hit the Jews in the only place that they really hurt, their pocketbooks!!!!”
If you were simply criticising Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people, would you really look for information from sources that prattled on like this about Jewish folk? And this is without going through all the other garbage I came across at the site (also covered in the last post).
I can’t find this comment on the TMU Facebook thread anymore, so I can’t link to it directly. They may have deleted it…
“Below, is the original article that attacked us. If you read it, you will see why we mentioned the fact that they are Zionists. If we say anything about the conflict in Israel, soon after they attack us with silly articles calling us Anti-semitic (sic)”
This is just plain misleading. I never once objected to them criticising Israel’s treatment of its neighbours. I gave specific reasons for my criticism, and this issue was not amongst them. While I don’t have time or words to spare to go into detail right now, I will state that my own position is that yes, Israel has done some pretty shit things to it’s neighbours.
I’m hardly going to criticise someone for anti-Semitism, if all they’ve done is criticise Israel’s foreign policy.
“…consider the fact that I’m in South Africa right now, living with two Israelis that are very close friends of mine. I have many Jewish friends and even some Jewish family members, and none of them support Zionism.”
Given how likely it is that TMU actually tried contacting me, despite their claims to the contrary, I think its also reasonable to assume that this claim of Jewish affinity is similarly made-up or exaggerated. But let’s assume at least for the sake of argument that this isn’t the case – that TMU is telling the truth; so what?
“I have loads of black friends, I can’t be a racist!”
“I love my wife, I can’t be a misogynist!”
Nothing says you love a group of people more than objectifying its members by making them your tokens. Nice work TMU.
Incidentally, I wonder if TMU’s Jewish friends are okay with TMU promoting a source that enjoins people to “hit the Jews in the only place that they really hurt, their pocketbooks!!!”