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Mike Adams, blustering scoundrel

We all know about Mike Adams, notorious quack, conspiracy theorist, quantum dork, and raving nutball around here, right? If nothing else, you must have enjoyed Orac’s regular deconstruction of his nonsense.

Jon Entine has published a profile of Mike Adams in Forbes magazine that distills all the lunacy down to a relatively concise summary. For instance, it documents his recent public obsessions.

Adam’s latest crusade: the world’s governments are covering up the fact that the doomed Malaysian Airlines jetliner was pirated safely to a desert hideaway by Iranian hijackers, and is now being refitted into a stealth nuclear bomb.

In recent months, Adams has claimed that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells, have been shown to “annihilate cancer” (doctors warn high doses of vitamin C can be dangerous); that measles and mumps are making a comeback because vaccines are “designed to fail” (he’s an anti-vaccine campaigner); and that fluoridated water causes mental disorders. He is also an AIDS denialist, a 9/11 truther, a Barack Obama citizenship ‘birther’ and a believer in ‘dangerous’ chemtrails.

But his most heated attacks—and the ones that generate the most traffic and business on his websites and what has made him a oft-cited hero of anti-GMOers—are directed at conventional agriculture, crop biotechnology in particular.

In a recent screaming but typical headline, Adams claimed that research at his Natural News Forensic Food Labs—another of his bizarre websites—has turned up unequivocal evidence that corporations are intentionally engineering “life-destroying toxins” into our food supply, with genetically modified corn as one of the chief ‘weapons against humanity.’ His recommendation: buy the natural products that he sells and rid the world of GMOs.

It also digs into his past published works, and it’s quite clear that he’s an amoral con artist out to make a heck of a lot of money by bilking the gullible — and that he’s been busy playing the SEO game.

Adams is quite open about his business model: play on fear to make as much money as possible. To dispel any doubts about his real motivations, in 2008, he bragged publicly in his self-published book, The 7 Principles of Mindful Wealth, that his operating philosophy was “Getting past self-imposed limits on wealth… Karma doesn’t pay the rent. Good karma isn’t the recognized currency in modern society: Dollars are!”

To peddle the alternative nostrums that have helped build his fortune, Adams operates a string of fringe health scare sites, including prenatalnutrition.org, expectant-mothers.com, NewsTarget.com, HoodiaFactor.com, EmergingFuture.com, SpamAnatomy.com, VitaminFactor.org, CounterThink.com, HealthFactor.info, JunkScience.info, BrainHealthNews.com, LowCholesterolDiets.DietsLink.com, PublicHealthNews.org, PharmaWatch.info, HomeToxins.com, PoisonPantry.org, DepressionFactor.org, webseed.com and ConsumerWellness.org.

Promoting terrorist scares is Adams stock and trade. In 1998 he launched the Y2K Newswire promoting apocalyptic claims of impending software disaster whileoffering sales of emergency preparedness products and foods. Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, he wrote, falsely, that the Japanese radiation, “spans oceans and continents” to panic his readers into buying useless “FDA approved” potassium iodide treatments and storable uncontaminated super foods that he shamelessly sold on his site. That got him a mention on the sin qua non of conspiracy programs, the wacky Alex Jones Show, which Adams had previously guest hosted—further stoking his notoriety among the fringe set.

All of his claims are documented with quotes and publicly available information (pdf). It’s a very thorough piece of work. It won’t affect Adams’ business at all — the kinds of people who respond well to paranoia, fear, and weird invocations of pseudoscience aren’t going to pay much attention to the evidence at all. But guess how Mike Adams has reacted?

Mike Adams is threatening to sue Entine and Forbes for libel. Of course.

It’s pretty much the routine response nowadays to getting hit with evidence that leaves one dangling guiltily — call up the lawyers, try to intimidate the accusers into silence, and even if one’s suit doesn’t stand a chance in hell of succeeding (or worse, will just drag more exposure of one’s unpleasant behavior into an open court), one can hope that a good loud cease-and-desist letter will intimidate someone. It shut Forbes up, anyway — they pulled the article from their website. You can always trust a corporate lawyer to play turtle and shell up at even the most bogus legal threat.

Now Mike Adams’ has attempted a rebuttal — he’s playing the poor pitiful me card, claiming to just be an honest scientist doing his best with his very own lab equipment to make the world a better place — while not mentioning that it’s all dubious crap that he uses to peddle quack supplements on his various websites. He also doesn’t mention where his reputation as an “AIDS denialist, a 9/11 truther, a Barack Obama citizenship ‘birther’ and a believer in ‘dangerous’ chemtrails” fits into his imaginary scientific credentials.

I predict this will go nowhere. A few lawyers will get a little richer. Adams will bluster and use the Forbes article as evidence to his conspiracy theorist followers that the Man really is out to get him, and he will get a little richer. Jon Entine would be silenced by corporate cowardice, except that the internet will make his article even more well-known.

But maybe someone, somewhere will read about Adams’ scam and steer clear, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Comments

  1. mikeyb says

    Mike Adams is a scam artist, small time compared to the likes of Deepak Chopra or Dinesh D’souza and so many many countless others that clutters the American landscape. Needs to find more mainstream scams if he wants to make it to the big time. Try begging or proping a scam to Oprah for example, that’s how Dr. Phil got his pop psychology BS gig as well as many others.

  2. says

    Mike Adams got his start selling a Y2K scam. He’s only gotten worse from there. Worse, last week, Dr. Oz had him on his show, thus demonstrating (once again) that Oz is completely beyond redemption:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/05/14/americas-quack-dr-mehmet-oz/

    No wonder Adams so loved it when Oz tried to go after supplement manufacturers selling Garcinia gambogia because they pointed out that Dr. Oz had recommended and promoted Garcinia gambogia his show:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/05/02/dr-ozs-evolution-as-americas-foremost-promoter-of-quackery-continues-apace/

  3. screechymonkey says

    PZ, a note of correction. Adams has threatened to sue for libel. As you know, there’s a big difference between threatening a libel suit and actually filing one

  4. says

    In recent months, Adams has claimed that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells, have been shown to “annihilate cancer”

    Shades of Linus Pauling there.

  5. says

    Alex Jones jumped onto the same fear-mongering bandwagon last year, starting his “Infowars Life” (because there is a war on for your life) range of “natural remedies”. I blogged about this a few months ago–Alex Jones: Profiteering Prophet of Doom–focusing mainly on his “Fluoride Shield” product but mentioning a couple more nonsense products along the way, including his miraculous “Super Male Vitality” formula–sure to be a hit with all the patriotic ladies in your life.

    Then, a curious thing happened. About three months later, my blog traffic suddenly went up by almost 10-fold, and I saw an influx of Alex Jones fans leaving angry comments about how I was a paid government agent intent on bringing down their hero (I wish) and similar nonsense.

    At first, I thought someone had been linking my article on Jones’s website, but when I looked at the stats, I found a curious thing. 90% of the incoming traffic was the result of the Google searches “Super Male Vitality” and “Super Male Vitality review.”

    Somehow, my lil’ blog post was number three in the search results (it’s still on the first page) which explains the influx of visitors, and also speaks to the inadequacy in the, um, male vitality, department of at least some of Alex Jones’s true believers.

    Explains a lot, when you think about it.

  6. grumpyoldfart says

    It shut Forbes up, anyway — they pulled the article from their website.

    Land of the free and home of the [mutter mutter mutter]

  7. damien75 says

    To anlyone who knos about law: Adams is threatening to sue, but isn’t there a law in the book that would allow to sue him? Like: diffusion of false information, or false medicine?

  8. screechymonkey says

    damien75,

    You can’t sue someone for promulgating “false science.”

    On the whole, that’s a good thing. It prevents the government, or anyone else, from controlling what science an research or opine on. But part of the price we pay for that is that bozos can spout a lot of bullshit.

  9. damien75 says

    Thank you screechymonkey.

    In France it is, in principle possible, if in practicality difficult.

  10. randay says

    “that fluoridated water causes mental disorders” Please give credit to General Jack Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” where he warns about fluoridated water as a commie plot to pollute our precious bodily fluids. I guess it took that film as a documentary.

  11. says

    Yeah, I had relatives who were fervent Birchers. The anti-fluoridation obsession was actually the least odious of their views.

  12. Ichthyic says

    Yeah, I had relatives who were fervent Birchers.

    holy crap.

    living where you do now, with the history of having Birchers in the family??

    You don’t need to write books on happy atheism… you need to tell all of us how it is you just managed to stay sane all these years.

    Not sure I could have managed it frankly.

  13. Ichthyic says

    the birchers of the 60s sound EXACTLY like the teabaggers of today, I think I even heard of of the Operation American Stupid guys say these exact words…

    “Could Eisenhower really be simply a smart politician, entirely without principles and hungry for glory, who is only the tool of the Communists? The answer is yes.” He went on. “With regard to … Eisenhower, it is difficult to avoid raising the question of deliberate treason.”

    of course, the name was changed.

    tells me that either this is carefully nutured social history, handed down within families… or the same people with money who drove the Bircher movement in the 50s and 60s are STILL driving this shit today.

    considering what I learned from reading Naomi Oreske’s “Merchants of Doubt”, I’m leaning heavily towards the latter.

  14. David Chapman says

    I want to dissent on the fluoridation issue. I love the Dr.Strangelove movie, but I have to grit my teeth as it were during the bits where the General raves about the dangers of fluoridation. I don’t think medical issues should be used as symbols or metaphors for murderous psychosis, John Birch Society membership or anything else. I don’t think it’s an attractive proposition for the government to be putting chemicals in the water supply. If it were a defence against possibly catastrophic contamination by pathogens that would be one thing, but it appears to be solely to prevent tooth decay. I object, not because I think it’s a mind control programme, or because chemicals are inherently unwholesome or evil; it’s just a dubious proposition to add any sort of therapeutic or prophylactic or whatever agent into someone’s body without their direct and informed agreement. Fluoridating the water supply is subliminal medical treatment. This is the sort of thing that just gets put in place quietly as a beauraucratic initiative, and passes underneath the democratic radar.

    Read the medical literature and make up your own mind — would be a common response on this website. But why the hell should I have to? And if I do, how do I go about discerning how much government affects the scientific opinion on this matter by funding etc? Life is complex enough without being forced to evaluate and fend off the unwanted health initiatives of your own state.

  15. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    In recent months, Adams has claimed that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells, have been shown to “annihilate cancer” (doctors warn high doses of vitamin C can be dangerous)

    Maybe he meant “Vitamin” C(obalt-60), since that can be used in radiation therapy to treat, if not exactly “annihilate,” cancer. However, a quick search of NN brings up all kinds of radiation fearmongering, whether it be your cell phone or the Fukushima power plant, though nothing about what makes these so different from one another.

    Though it’s kind of comforting to know that most of these quackadoodles’ stupidity probably keeps them from trying to acquire and sell radioactive isotopes. (At least until radiation quackery comes back into vogue.)

  16. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @David Chapman #18:

    Life is complex enough without being forced to evaluate and fend off the unwanted health initiatives of your own state.

    Then move to Portland, they seem to be happy to do the fending off for you.

  17. HappyNat says

    Clearly Portland hasn’t been bought off by “BIG FLUORIDE”. My wife is from there and it’s strange to talk to people from there. They* can be completely rational about everything else but they become strangely woo-ish when I ask about fluoride. They just aren’t sure or “the facts aren’t in”.

    *There is of course a lot of woo in Portland and many of the people I’ve met are deep into something.

  18. David Chapman says

    20
    HolyPinkUnicorn

    18 May 2014 at 7:48 am (UTC -5)

    @David Chapman #18:

    Life is complex enough without being forced to evaluate and fend off the unwanted health initiatives of your own state.

    Then move to Portland, they seem to be happy to do the fending off for you.

    I think I already replied to that point in effect:

    But why the hell should I have to?

  19. Ichthyic says

    I don’t think it’s an attractive proposition for the government to be putting chemicals in the water supply.

    you can in fact, get yourself de-ionized water, or even just charcoal filter your water.

    me?

    i prefer my tap water to have been chlorinated to remove pathogens and flouridated to strengthen my teeth.

    but then, I’ve actually read a lot of the primary literature on the subjects.

    it’s not the stuff you KNOW is in the water that is the problem, it’s the runoff from non point sources of pollution that gets me worried, given I’ve seen the kind of crap that can end up in drinking water.

    so have you, if you recall a recent chem spill in the southeast.

    In any case, I’ll thank you NOT to make a decision for others you can EASILY make for yourself at little cost to you.

    flouride stays in my tap water, thanksverymuch.

  20. Ichthyic says

    My wife is from there and it’s strange to talk to people from there.

    there are some cities like that here in NZ now too.

    turns out what happens is that people pushing the “natural healthcare” industry use it as a hot-button issue to scare people into thinking that they have to remove fluoride from their water supplies, and use the initiatives and public debates as basically free advertising for their companies and products.

    so not kidding.

    it is ALWAYS the big natural healthcare woomeisters putting the money behind the antiflouridation drives here.

  21. Ichthyic says

    how do I go about discerning how much government affects the scientific opinion on this matter by funding etc?

    that’s why we actually vet studies using peer review, so opinion doesn’t become fact.

    you want to learn? go read the primary literature on the subject, and look at the actual case study data.

    it’s not fucking opinion.

  22. Ichthyic says

    if you feel lost in the sea of scientific journals, go ask Orac on his blog. It was one of the issue that got him started in blogging to begin with, IIRC.

    he can certainly turn you on to a pile of good references.

    …if you really care.

    and if you don’t, don’t bother to bring the subject up, even as an ignorant opinion.

  23. David Chapman says

    23
    Ichthyic

    In any case, I’ll thank you NOT to make a decision for others you can EASILY make for yourself at little cost to you.

    I must politely decline your thanks, as I said and did nothing to deserve them.

    that’s why we actually vet studies using peer review, so opinion doesn’t become fact.

    you want to learn? go read the primary literature on the subject, and look at the actual case study data.

    it’s not fucking opinion.

    Ooh! Ichthyic did a swear! => Scientific objectivity is vindicated.

    Come on now, there’s far too much healthy distrust of the ways of the World on this website for the principle “Science can be trusted because it’s Science” to pass unscrutinized. Not if we all want to be rationally consistent.

    Look, for example, at the cases of discrimination against women and others in the sphere of science and academia that are discussed on these pages. You’re saying that the same people who commit these cruelties and injustices can be trusted? Quite apart from the distortions in research that are generated by excluding or intimidating some of the researchers who are trying to do the research.

    That we can rely on a lot of the stuff that science tells us, even about controversial issues is terrific; where would we be without it? Of course we should take its finding very very seriously: it’s the best factual information we’ve got.

    When it’s telling us with no equivocation of the dangers of global warming, we should be responding with empassioned determination and efficiency. ( Note emphasis on the should be.)

    Does it follow that we can trust the scientific opinion on any and every issue? No it doesn’t. How could it? What mechanism or system could exist to make it so? ( Don’t say peer review again. I’m asking what mechanism could possibly exist to make sure peer review is not only honest, but reliably competent. That could prevent old boy networks, social cobwebs from building up and hampering or ruining the process of critical discussion. What guarantees are there against government and corporate interference and bias? )
    It’s ridiculous and grotesque to think that science is utterly compromised and irrelevant as a source of information as a result of such factors; such paranoia is repellent and enormously dangerous, on top of making no sense. The question is, how could science possibly not be disfigured by these spurces of bias? When their is so much corruption and skullduggery in our World, how is it possible or rational to believe that science is flawless and untainted, and always right?

    Well?

  24. Al Dente says

    HolyPinkUnicorn @27

    “I don’t drink water, fish fuck in it.” -Attributed to W.C. Fields

  25. Ichthyic says

    Ooh! Ichthyic did a swear! => Scientific objectivity is vindicated.

    I’m certainly now vindicated in thinking earlier you were an ass.

  26. David Chapman says

    26
    Ichthyic

    and if you don’t, don’t bother to bring the subject up, even as an ignorant opinion.

    Well the thing is, I didn’t offer any opinion about the specific dangers or otherwise of fluoride.
    You seem to be ignoring the fact that my comment wasn’t just about fluoride, it was about the moral relationship between government and citizens, when it comes to medical procedures.

  27. Ichthyic says

    When it’s telling us with no equivocation of the dangers of global warming, we should be responding with empassioned determination and efficiency. ( Note emphasis on the should be.)

    Does it follow that we can trust the scientific opinion on any and every issue? No it doesn’t.

    What the buggering fuck?

    the lack of response to global warming is because of politics, NOT SCIENCE.

    in fact, the scientists have been rather consistent on the fact it is a problem for decades and decades now.

    You’re saying that the same people who commit these cruelties and injustices can be trusted?

    again…. that’s why we have the peer review process. nobody trusts a scientist less than… ANOTHER SCIENTIST.

    we publish our results with the HOPE that someone will try and replicate the experiment.

    *sigh*

    you really can’t make a coherent argument. sorry, but I can’t help people like you.

    like I said, if it’s an issue you care about, go ask Orac. you’re a complete waste of time AFAIC.

  28. Ichthyic says

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that my comment wasn’t just about fluoride

    but it was about flouride, since you mentioned it.

    are you always this intellectually dishonest, or only here?

    anyone?

    I’ve never seen you before, and haven’t been here in a while. I do hope you aren’t a regular.

  29. Ichthyic says

    how is it possible or rational to believe that science is flawless and untainted, and always right?

    z

    no scientist would ever say it was.

    instead, they would tell you the state of affairs wrt to the testing of any specific hypothesis on any specific question.

    …and tell you to go read the primary literature on the subject.

    but you don’t actually care about that… because you want to wank on a blog and try to convince everyone everything is all wrong and there is no objective TRUTH (TM)!!

    fuck off.

  30. Ichthyic says

    Quite apart from the distortions in research that are generated by excluding or intimidating some of the researchers who are trying to do the research.

    guess who catches the errors those distortions create?

    that’s right genius, OTHER SCIENTISTS.

    Who figured out Piltdown Man was a hoax?

    scientists.

    who figured out Marc Hauser was inventing data for new papers?

    scientists (his own students, in fact)

    now run along and go think in the corner. If you come up with a better solution that people educated in a particular subject, deliberately trying to tear apart the papers of other people publishing in the same subject as a control measure… do let us know.

    kthxbye.

  31. Ed Seedhouse says

    “Should have included “chemtrails” inside the quotes.”

    Well, the contrails are definitely “full of chemicals”. The main one being H2O, of course.

  32. HappyNat says

    @ HolyPinkUnicorn #27

    They’re even peeing into their own water (well, at least one resident is)!

    Well, see that’s totally cool because it’s all natural.

  33. David Chapman says

    32
    Ichthyic

    When it’s telling us with no equivocation of the dangers of global warming, we should be responding with empassioned determination and efficiency. ( Note emphasis on the should be.)

    Does it follow that we can trust the scientific opinion on any and every issue? No it doesn’t.

    What the buggering fuck?

    the lack of response to global warming is because of politics, NOT SCIENCE.

    Yes. Ichthyic, you’re not reading my comments carefully enough. At some points, as here, I’m saying the opposite to what you think I’m saying. Science is saying there is global warming, and it’s a big problem. It should be listened to — fervently — because it’s science. It’s the best information we’ve got. It’s not being listened to, because of the stupid and amoral political/power systems we live under.

    in fact, the scientists have been rather consistent on the fact it is a problem for decades and decades now.

    And for another example, they predicted that aerosols would rot a hole in the ozone layer decades before it happened. And were ignored because government and industry didn’t want to know.

    You’re saying that the same people who commit these cruelties and injustices can be trusted?

    again…. that’s why we have the peer review process. nobody trusts a scientist less than… ANOTHER SCIENTIST.

    we publish our results with the HOPE that someone will try and replicate the experiment.

    You’re simply asserting that peer review works because it works. Anybody could see how it might work; how it’s supposed to work. As I think what I’ve said must make it clear, to an extent it does work. ( Otherwise why would there be value to science at all? )

    The question I am fairly clearly asking is, how could anyone seriously claim that it works flawlessly when you look at scientists, and the World in general?

    And the underlying issue — that of course it doesn’t — is the rationale for me wishing to contend with the minimum of chemical additives to my body.

    you really can’t make a coherent argument. sorry, but I can’t help people like you.

    Reading what I actually write would be a good start.

    like I said, if it’s an issue you care about, go ask Orac. you’re a complete waste of time AFAIC.

    Then I have to trust Orac. You see the problem yet?

  34. David Chapman says

    34
    Ichthyic

    how is it possible or rational to believe that science is flawless and untainted, and always right?

    no scientist would ever say it was.

    instead, they would tell you the state of affairs wrt to the testing of any specific hypothesis on any specific question.

    You’re leaving out the bits about lack of personal bias, competence, honesty, adequate funding for research, all of which have potential impact on the accuracy of the scientific research.

    …and tell you to go read the primary literature on the subject.

    but you don’t actually care about that… because you want to wank on a blog and try to convince everyone everything is all wrong and there is no objective TRUTH (TM)!!

    fuck off.

    I was chatting with some scientists a few pages back on this blog where I condemned that arch-creep, the ‘philosopher of science’ Paul Feyerabend for pretending that there was no such thing as objective truth, and that rationality was just a Western cultural trait.

    Why don’t you just ask what I think when you don’t know? Since you’re so concerned about objective truth, and all.

  35. Ichthyic says

    Why don’t you just ask what I think when you don’t know?

    LOL

    that’s funny.

    really.

  36. Ichthyic says

    Then I have to trust Orac. You see the problem yet?

    no, you damn waste of space. The reason I told you to go ask Orac, AGAIN, was that he could give you a good list of references on the subject… SO YOU DIDN’T have to take his opinion on the matter either.

    seriously, are you a regular here now? I wanna know so I can decide whether I want to reinstall killfile script.

    .

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    seriously, are you a regular here now? I wanna know so I can decide whether I want to reinstall killfile script.

    He’s been posting for a few weeks now. Yeah, he is a candidate for hushfile.

  38. Ichthyic says

    You’re simply asserting that peer review works because it works

    if you actually experienced it, you’d know it’s the best thing there is out there.

    seriously.

    like I said, go out and just TRY to come up with something that works better. I dare you.

    your ignorance is holding you back.

    it’s a serious problem at a place like this. You tend to drag the whole place down with you.

    especially if you are INSISTENT on being ignorant.

    what makes you any better than your average creationist?

  39. Ichthyic says

    Reading what I actually write would be a good start.

    I did.

    you don’t have the slightest clue what you are talking about.

    if these are the conclusions you are reaching while reading this blog, either PZ should hang his head in shame, or you should.

    frankly, I’ve always worried that PZ’s generalist attacks on entire bodies of science like evolutionary psychology would confuse people exactly like yourself.

    If the things you are saying here, are conclusions drawn from things you have read on this blog, I can only conclude my concerns have been validated.

    if this is the way you have always thought… then like I said, you’re exhibiting nothing but deliberate ignorance on your part.

    scientists don’t draw conclusions about a hypothesis from other scientists… they draw their OWN conclusions from reading the papers other scientists publish. We evaluate each paper on its own merits, from the phrasing and applicability of a given hypothesis to the question being asked, to the experimental design, to the statistical methods applied and the results, and finally to the conclusions drawn.

    each and every paper is an individual effort, evaluated on its own merits. YOU can do this just as well, given time and a bit of practice.

    you don’t have to trust anyone.

    It’s quite liberating really. Everyone should spend some time learning how to be a scientist.

    …but you probably will also become really impatient with wankers like yourself.

  40. Jerry says

    I find it interesting to see how David Chapman’s and Mike Adams’ thinking are on opposite poles of the same spectrum, and in that sense somewhat related. Adams counts on people being so ignorant and distrustful of science that he can (and does) sell them anything, both in a philosophical and mercantile sense. He is getting rich by lying to morons. Chapman is also both ignorant of and distrustful of science, but he is skeptical enough not to literally *buy* the garbage. The problem appears to be that Mr. Chapman will not accept the scientists’ word for their findings, buying into ignorance as a form of “skepticism”. Unfortunately, he is also apparently declining the scientific process as well as the results. (He is not getting the education to “research it himself”, as both scientists and anti-vax loons like Adams might say. Notice how the conspiracy-loving idiots love to co-opt valid statements but deliberately distort them to mean something altogether different? Sorry, that was way off on a tangent.)

    So, Mr. Chapman, you have a choice. You can either accept the scientific process of hypothesis->experiment->results->independent validation (and repeat) or you can come up with something better, as you have been challenged to do. In a phrase, show your cards. Otherwise, show that you have been bluffing with a bad hand. Your own personal ignorance of science is no excuse to demand that *everyone else* throw out centuries of scientific and medical process and results. The reason why there is fluoride is in your drinking water is because people just like you voted in politicians who listened to scientists and medical researchers. That’s how it works in a democratic republic.

    By the way, you *are* buying into ignorance when you are complaining about “chemicals” in your drinking water. Your drinking water is a chemical. Water purification is a physical and chemical process, whether it is done in a municipal water treatment plant with sand, resins, charcoal and chlorine, or in a mountain watershed with sand, limestone, dirt, bacteria, plants, and streams. Either way, something has to purify the water, and in some parts of the country, either way, fluoride is going to get into your water. (How do you think people first knew that fluoride worked? It was naturally in some water, and not in others, making some people have fewer cavities wherethere was fluoride.) Sure, filter out your fluoride if you want. Better yet, collect rain water in a barrel. Brush your teeth with baking soda instead of fluoride toothpaste. Just be prepared to visit your dentist more often to fill cavities and get into arguments when you want to decline the dentists’ fluoride toothpaste and rinse. (You are willing to go all the way, aren’t you?) If you want to turn around and elect (yet more) morons like the GOP / Tea Baggers into government to reject the science that makes you vaguely and undefinably uneasy because you don’t understand it, then you should be prepared to accept the rest of their garbage (overt evangelical religion in government, climate change denialism, misogyny, voodoo economics favoring the rich, corporate favoritism). Is that really the group you want to play with? If so, then you’ve found the wrong blog to read.

    As far as Mike Adams, he is clearly a liar selling magic water, “superfoods” and batshit crazy conspiracy theories to the masses. His latest foray into “science” theater is running an ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) to detect trace metals in food samples. Adams has no scientific training, though his bio claims a vague “science” degree from an unnamed university. Given Adams previous work selling Y2K programs and spreading e-mail spam, I would bet that even if he has a degree, it is in computer science. That in no way makes him qualified to run an instrument as complex as a mass spectrometer. It is not something you can run properly just by opening the user manual. It takes training to run positive and negative controls, calibration, design experiments and prepare samples to exclude contamination. Furthermore, Adams is claiming to run “experiments” on foods and supplements showing heavy metal contamination in samples from his direct competitors, while selling allegedly pure supplements and “superfoods” himself. That direct financial conflict of interest would require his results be replicated and validated by a totally independent accredited laboratory. (Not done.) I run a different type of MS at work, but even I would not be so arrogant as to sit down in front of an ICP-MS and pretend to get publication quality results without training and mentoring. Adams is counting on the public not knowing the degree of training required to operate an ICP-MS properly. Then again, Adams has been getting away with lying, spreading conspiracy theories, and selling garbage to fools for a decade. He’s getting rich off of their ignorance.

  41. Ichthyic says

    The problem appears to be that Mr. Chapman will not accept the scientists’ word for their findings, buying into ignorance as a form of “skepticism”.

    I think there is a term for that even, “hyperskepticism”.

  42. Reginald Selkirk says

    In recent months, Adams has claimed that high-dose Vitamin C injections, which he conveniently sells…

    Double WTF

    1) Excessive Vitamn C doesn’t help much. Most of you know that, and Linus Pauling is still dead.

    2) Injections? Why on earth would a person inject something that is so easy to take orally?

  43. David Chapman says

    35
    Ichthyic

    Quite apart from the distortions in research that are generated by excluding or intimidating some of the researchers who are trying to do the research.

    guess who catches the errors those distortions create?

    that’s right genius, OTHER SCIENTISTS.

    Who figured out Piltdown Man was a hoax?

    scientists.

    who figured out Marc Hauser was inventing data for new papers?

    scientists (his own students, in fact)

    now run along and go think in the corner. If you come up with a better solution that people educated in a particular subject, deliberately trying to tear apart the papers of other people publishing in the same subject as a control measure… do let us know.

    How can you pretend that you read what I said properly? I wrote:

    That we can rely on a lot of the stuff that science tells us, even about controversial issues is terrific; where would we be without it? Of course we should take its finding very very seriously: it’s the best factual information we’ve got.

    When it’s telling us with no equivocation of the dangers of global warming, we should be responding with empassioned determination and efficiency. ( Note emphasis on the should be.)

    You read that as saying: “It’s scientists fault we’re not responding to global warming!!”, and “There’s no such thing as objective truth!!”

    I’m still fairly baffled how you even managed it. And as for now, either you haven’t gone back and checked, or you’re trying to bluff your way out, or you’re playing a game. I’m not very impressed by any of the three possibilities. This is an important issue.

    However it’s worthwhile repeating my position because apparently you’re still not reading what I write.

    I consider it’s just ludicrous to make light of the achievements and expertise of science. It’s ludicrous and it’s morally indefensible, since science taken as a whole, gives us the best information about the physical Cosmos that’s available to us. And contrary to the impression you somehow formed, I don’t and I never would. The fact that I scorn people like Feyerabend for holding such views seems not to register with you.

    now run along and go think in the corner. If you come up with a better solution that people educated in a particular subject, deliberately trying to tear apart the papers of other people publishing in the same subject as a control measure… do let us know.

    That’s really irrelevant to my argument. It is not that the way science is supposed to work now is not the best possible method that could be devised, It quite possibly is.
    The problem is that firstly it may not be working as wonderfully as this ideal model suggests, analogously to the way that democratic political debate falls very far short of our aspirations for it. ( Emphasis on analogously, because we can be confident that science does a lot better than politics at approaching the ideal. ) And furthermore, even supposing that science is indeed working at something close to the ideal you describe, it might still be completely wrong about something anyway. Because life is like that; the World is difficult to understand. The charge that I personally can’t devise a way to make science work better, and always be right, completely misses the point of what I’ve said. It works as well as it works. Which as you’ve immediately agreed, is not flawlessly: My point.

    Rationality and science are being assaulted by a blizzard of anti-rationalism, in the form of post-modernism, creationism, the reconvergence of religious and politics etc; There are various obscure psychological and sociological motives I suppose why this has happened. Some of the motives are more reasonable than others, but the anti-rationalism they underpin and encourage is deeply, deeply frightening and I wouldn’t lift a finger to assist it.
    But as I say, my post was not just about fluoride, it was about my disquiet that as a reaction to this damnable scorn for the human intellect, scientists and the advocates and fans of science are going to fall into the trap of seeing any dissenting scepticism about the current findings of scientific research, in any detail, as being another instance of this anti-rationalist, anti-objectivist, woo-infested mentality, and that this and all such instances must be black-balled, stamped out, declared anathema. This is how faction forms, and it is only going to deepen the already catastrophic divisions that exist in our society between the science-orientated and those antagonistic to it. That ain’t good.

    Incidentally I wrote that last paragraph before Jerry @ 46. That’s exactly the sort of hysterical reaction to the criticism of science I’m concerned about. And you, of course.

  44. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Reginald Selkirk @ #48: Injections make it more sciencey, clearly. More equipment and more disconfort makes it look a lot more impressive. Frankly, I’m just shocked it’s not administered colonically, the woo people are pretty focused on buttholes and curing all illness ever through them.

  45. says

    Reginald @ 48:

    2) Injections? Why on earth would a person inject something that is so easy to take orally?

    That makes it seem more medically legit, and it can be sold as “going directly to where you need it, instead of it wasting away in your gut!” (I know, I know.) It’s rather amazing the amount of people who will curl a lip in disdain at the idea of someone injecting a drug, but toss their money at any slick idiot who sells vitamin injections.

  46. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    I think David Chapman’s main issue with the fluoridation, aside from his profound mistrust of science and illiteracy regarding same, is that the government is adding a thing to water that is supposed to have a health benefit, and he feels like this is somehow a dangerous precendent for other things. Like mind-control drugs, or the drug that makes everyone pansexual or something.

    Except that public health initiatives are kind of measurably a good thing. Like vaccination, or having health standards for food. Nobody’s saying he can’t drink rainwater and eat rotten, shitty food if he wants to, but the rest of us prefer our teeth to not be decaying out of our heads.

  47. PatrickG says

    @ Icthyic:

    I have a complaint regarding your language in this thread. You used the words fuck or fucking three times in talking to David Chapman, when any fool knows his position deserved at least six.

    But seriously, your continuing responses really drew out some quite hilarious rhetorical flourishes from David Chapman. Thanks for the humor, and for pushing back against what I prefer to term “selective scientism”.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    nd furthermore, even supposing that science is indeed working at something close to the ideal you describe, it might still be completely wrong about something anyway.

    Yes, but politicians aren’t the ones to make the decision, only the scientists can, as only more science will revise the science of a given topic. That was Ichthyics point, which you babble past.

    But as I say, my post was not just about fluoride, it was about my disquiet that as a reaction to this damnable scorn for the human intellect, scientists and the advocates and fans of science are going to fall into the trap of seeing any dissenting scepticism about the current findings of scientific research, in any detail, as being another instance of this anti-rationalist, anti-objectivist, woo-infested mentality, and that this and all such instances must be black-balled, stamped out, declared anathema. T

    Your disquiet is noted. Now stop complaining, show us what you complain about just isn’t bullshit, and there is an effective way to battle it. That is what causes of the reactions you see to your work. All complaint, no solution, just like many past tone/concern trolls. Oh, yes, like a scientist, evidence your method so others can see it works as described. That is where the tone/concern trolls have always failed in the past.

  49. A. Noyd says

    David Chapman (#49)

    But as I say, my post was not just about fluoride, it was about my disquiet that as a reaction to this damnable scorn for the human intellect, scientists and the advocates and fans of science are going to fall into the trap of seeing any dissenting scepticism about the current findings of scientific research, in any detail, as being another instance of this anti-rationalist, anti-objectivist, woo-infested mentality, and that this and all such instances must be black-balled, stamped out, declared anathema. This is how faction forms, and it is only going to deepen the already catastrophic divisions that exist in our society between the science-orientated and those antagonistic to it. That ain’t good.

    I’m running an experiment on states of maximal pomposity in the writings of hyperskeptics. Could you try rewriting the above with an even higher degree of supercilious outrage and tortured verbiage? Science would benefit from knowing whether that’s even possible.

  50. Who Cares says

    @David Chapman:
    Medical literature is that it supports the fact that fluoridation helps.
    It doesn’t prevent tooth decay but it significantly reduces occurrences. A long term study (16+ years) here in the Netherlands showed that it almost halved the number of cavities occurring.
    Note that this is in a nation that has decent to good dental care for the people living there (a periodic checkup every 6 months costs me 20 euros if I were uninsured). The effect of fluoridation increases if the people don’t have good mouth hygiene and/or can’t go for preventative checkups.

    The funny thing is that our supreme court sort of agreed with you and 40 years ago banned the addition of anything that isn’t needed to bring high quality water to people. They did acknowledge the science but said that that is not what drinking water is to be used for.
    So these days once a year kids get their teeth immersed in a high fluoride gel when visiting the dentist and the dentists practically beg people to brush twice a day, and you need to look really hard for non fluoride toothpaste.

  51. Ichthyic says

    I have a complaint regarding your language in this thread. You used the words fuck or fucking three times in talking to David Chapman, when any fool knows his position deserved at least six.

    My sincerest fucking apologies, it was fucking late, and I had only fucking just fucking then logged the fuck on here after a long fucking absence.

    ;)

  52. Ichthyic says

    However it’s worthwhile repeating my position because apparently you’re still not reading what I write.

    I’m reading ALL of what you write, not just the selected bits. Your position was quite clear, and was dismissed with prejudice.

    now, I’m going to grab the new version of greasemonkey so I can ignore you since apparently you spend time here.

  53. Ichthyic says

    But as I say, my post was not just about fluoride, it was about my disquiet that as a reaction to this damnable scorn for the human intellect, scientists and the advocates and fans of science are going to fall into the trap of seeing any dissenting scepticism about the current findings of scientific research, in any detail, as being another instance of this anti-rationalist, anti-objectivist, woo-infested mentality

    which is exactly what your position was maintaining, and now you are trying your damndest to backpedal from.

    not buying it. You are an intellectually dishonest, hyperskeptical wanker.

    *plonk*

  54. says

    Yes, but politicians aren’t the ones to make the decision, only the scientists can, as only more science will revise the science of a given topic. That was Ichthyics point, which you babble past.

    Sigh.. This whole thing, to me, is simply an example of getting something half right. Ideas can become intrenched, politics, which can including “internal” politics, within a discipline, can derail exploration of alternatives. Frankly, even the way that publishing tends to work, such that the people most in need of understanding the actual facts, i.e. the public, and politicians, are the least likely to have complete access to the clearest and most complete data, all undermine the process. This is reasonable, it is a problem, and its something that *needs* to be addressed better. But, then Mr. Chapman seems to think that this means we should ignore established protocols, beneficial state/federal requirements, and other similar things, where it infringes on “his” supposed right to not drink water with fluoride in it, or.. perhaps, water the government has declared unsafe, do to contamination? Or, is his bug only about things they “add” to it? Hell, if I was that flipped out by something like fluoride, I would be must more paranoid by the literal absolute inability of finding a bottle of water, in most of the US, which didn’t have dozens of things added to it, all without my having any say, often **against** standing recommendations by the government, and unnecessarily, by private corporations. Compared to a little fluoride, the shenanigans that food companies pull, on a bloody daily basis, must be terrifying to Mr. Chapman, right? Somehow I doubt it.

    And that is where the real problem lies – he hates the idea of someone saying you need to drink your water with something beneficial in it, if its the government doing it, but is oblivious about everything everyone else is foisting off on the public. And, his excuse for this point of view is to ignore the actual facts of how and why this happens, and instead claim that the scientific process is somehow responsible. Yeah.. Not impressed.

  55. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @David Chapman #18

    If it were a defence against possibly catastrophic contamination by pathogens that would be one thing, but it appears to be solely to prevent tooth decay.

    Surely it does both, regardless of the intent?

  56. David Marjanović says

    Frankly, the tap water in much of the US is such crap that residual uncertainty over the precise effects of a harmless addition like fluoride shouldn’t be a priority for anyone. (Assuming nobody is allergic to it, but I really can’t imagine the immune system recognizing fluoride ions.)

    how do I go about discerning how much government affects the scientific opinion on this matter by funding etc?

    Grant proposals are peer-reviewed just like papers.

    And for another example, they predicted that aerosols would rot a hole in the ozone layer decades before it happened.

    Not aerosols, but chlorofluorocarbons.

    (Actually just the chloro- part. The -fluoro- part is a problem because it makes for incredibly powerful greenhouse gases, but it’s harmless to the ozone layer.)

    each and every paper is an individual effort, evaluated on its own merits. YOU can do this just as well, given time and a bit of practice.

    …and a way around the paywalls.

    That said, where I come from, anybody can walk into a university library and take photocopies from scientific journals till everyone drops dead from ozone & nitrogen oxide poisoning.

    you don’t have to trust anyone.

    It’s quite liberating really. Everyone should spend some time learning how to be a scientist.

    On this I agree.

    Frankly, I’m just shocked it’s not administered colonically, the woo people are pretty focused on buttholes and curing all illness ever through them.

    Over here that’s specific to 19th-century woo. There is a German word for “enema”, but it has hardly been spotted in the wild in a hundred years.

    the drug that makes everyone pansexual

    *giggle*

  57. gussnarp says

    Forbes pulled the article? What contemptible cowards. A publisher with pockets that deep has an ethical obligation to stand by its work in the face of these SLAPP suits for the sake of everyone. I’m disgusted.

  58. gussnarp says

    @Ichtyic #16:
    It’s clearly the same movement and motivations. I can’t say definitively that it’s the same people behind it all, but I can’t imagine there aren’t Birchers from the sixties who are now Tea Partiers.

  59. gussnarp says

    @Reginald Selkirk #48:

    I think the placebo effect is stronger for injections than for pills. So maybe Adams actually knows this bit of science and markets injections because the placebo effect will be stronger and people will therefore be more committed to buying them again and will offer more testimonials.

  60. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    David Chapman appears to be gone now, but just for my own education in the conspiracist mindset, here he is at #18:

    it’s just a dubious proposition to add any sort of therapeutic or prophylactic or whatever agent into someone’s body without their direct and informed agreement. Fluoridating the water supply is subliminal medical treatment. This is the sort of thing that just gets put in place quietly as a beauraucratic initiative, and passes underneath the democratic radar.

    So how about the innumerable municipalities where the fluoride level in the local water is too high, and they filter some of it out? Is this “subliminal medical treatment”? Should they get your “direct and informed agreement” before taking fluoride out of your drinking water? Should they assume you don’t want your enamel brown and splotchy? How dare they make decisions for you?