Do not harass the quacks!

Christopher Maloney, N.D.*, is rightfully complaining about the fact that he has received rude email, and also implies that he may have received harassing phone calls. He’s a sensitive soul, apparently — hundreds of email messages is nothing, I get that much every few hours — but if you are sending nothing but vituperation and anger his way, knock it off.

I repeat, STOP IT.

No phone calls. Email should be arguments, not stab-someone-in-the-eyes loudness. You don’t have to compromise on content, just don’t be stupid. If you are intruding on someone’s personal life, you are in the wrong, plain and simple.

Making the internet a place where the foolishness of kooks is easily spotted, though, is perfectly legitimate. Carry on.

*N.D. is short for “Noisy Duck,” by the way.


  1. Kamaka says

    As a loyal minion, I must comply.

    Oh, yeah, I haven’t contacted him and have no interest in doing so.

    Teasing him on Pharyngula is fun, though.

  2. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I suspect that people are upset that “Dr.” Maloney shut down a blog because the blogger was rude to him. I’m aware that the “Dr.” denies complaining to WordPress to get Hawkins’s blog removed. I also believe “Dr.” Maloney’s complaint is the reason why Hawkins’s blog went bye-bye.

    “Dr.” Maloney, if you play asshole don’t be surprised that others play asshole back at you.

  3. madbull says

    Ok its wrong to interfere with some1s life, but if in the process you are preventing him from actively prescribing berries to fight against flu. Isnt that ok ?
    I would expect some active interference and angry phone calls if I were distributing magic disease curing fruit.
    Not that I’ve been keeping myself busy by calling this guy.
    Just a thought.

  4. Caede says

    I hope he doesn’t bill you for lost patients since this has caused his office to grind to a halt. He charges $134 for the first hour and 20 minutes, $89 for follow up visits of 50 minutes.

  5. Bride of Shrek OM says

    Whilst I totally agree that no one should, be threatening or otherwise being personally abusive to the good doctor I am confsed. At Post #106 on the original thread ( a comment which by my reckoning is about 17 hours old) he clearly states (indeed whines if your read the context of the thing) that “..none of your have contacted me”.

    So which is it? Are you being inundated with emails and abusive phone calls or is no-one contacting you? Can’t have it both ways.

    The other thing that doesn’t ring true is that on his own site ( the one which he claims none of us have read) he clearly states that he doesn’t even answer his own phone but lets it go to voicemail and he returns calls( in his words, hopefully by the next day). Now he’s claiming he hasn’t been able to answer his phone because of abuse. The doctor seems to be changing facts to suit his claim of harrassment.

  6. Chip says

    REMEMBER the pharyngular hordes are always politeish …as we laugh and dissect your foolishness with our critical thinking….muuuuhhaahaaa
    leave the insolence to ORAC he does it best

  7. Holytape says

    It is right to back off. Have you ever faced an angry duck? Bitter-little devils, with all of their citations, classroom hours and stuff. He’ll bit your toes off. But luckily he’ll be able to regrow them with extract of St. John’s wart, if he can get it dilute enough.

  8. Kraid says

    I thought N.D. might mean Not a Doctor.

    How about Noisome Dickbag?

    offensive or disgusting, as an odor.
    harmful or injurious to health; noxious.

  9. Sengkelat says

    The only problem I have with this is that Doctor Maloney, while being a quack, is actually a doctor. If Maine officially says he’s a doctor, then he’s a doctor, and he would rightly “target” any blog that libels him by saying otherwise.

    All a blogger would have to do is edit his posts to say that Maloney is not a doctor by the standards of other states, and does not have the same qualifications as a medical doctor.

    Unless the blogger’s defense is that he’s using the word “doctor” in a colloquial sense to mean a medical doctor, but I wouldn’t want to use that as a defense in a libel trial.

    The real problem is that Maine allows naturopaths to be called doctors. There’s something seriously wrong there.

  10. madbull says

    I dont think anyone sent this guy vicious hate mail, the kind that fundies send. It must be the same exaggeration he employs when he says that PZ burnt him like they used to burn witches

  11. Caine says

    To Sengkelat @ 11:

    In the previous thread, someone posted the Maine standards. The Quackster is allowed to call himself a Naturopathic Doctor and variations thereof; he is not allowed to refer to himself as a physician because he is not one. The Q.D. is simply pitching a tantrum and indulging in a favourite fundie pastime – screeching persecution.

  12. Caine says

    Oh, and I haven’t contacted Q.D. in any way. I’m just indulging in the Quack Burning here in comments.

  13. Free Lunch says

    Sengkelat –

    I’m guessing that the fine folks in the naturopathy fraternity would be doing their level best to avoid having any of their group actually get into a lawsuit about whether it is actually defamation to say that naturopaths are not really doctors, even in states that have foolish legislatures that have been suckered into allowing such folks to practice an alternative to medicine.

    Such a lawsuit would end up with a discussion of what it is to be a doctor, not merely by fiat of the legislature, but by common understanding. Even folks who go to these alternative practitioners don’t think of their practitioners as doctors. They go because they are persuaded that they are better off because the practitioners are not doctors, not MDs or DOs.

  14. NewEnglandBob says

    madbull @4:

    “Ok its wrong to interfere with some1s life, but if in the process you are preventing him from actively prescribing berries to fight against flu. Isnt that ok ? ”

    No, it is NOT OK. This is the same thinking, that taken to an extreme, is what causes fundy cranks to go shoot and kill doctors who perform abortions.

  15. Brownian, OM says

    I have an alibi: I was on the endless thread sending vituperation and anger Hyperon’s way.

  16. mcfreeman says

    Long time lurker, first time poster… and this guy just fascinates me. Not in that creepy stalker way, but in a self-delusional schadenfreude sort of way. Here’s what a quick Google turns up about naturopathic medical licensing in Maine:

    While not licensed by the Medical Board in Maine, Naturopathic Doctors are licensed by the Board of Complimentary Health Care Providers. And while Maloney is technically a “doctor,” he has a habit of dropping the “naturopathic” part of the title as accorded by the statutes for titles of those in his field. What he cannot, by law, call himself is a “physician” but I imagine the omission of the first word of “naturopathic doctor” in most instance of self-referral is meant to imply to his shills that he’s a legitimate doctor.

    Basically, the State of Maine licenses N.D.s like they do nurses, plumbers, or cosmetologists through the Office of Licensing & Registration. No Ph.D. required, they only have to “be a graduate of an approved naturopathic medical college and pass or have passed a competency-based examination approved by the board.” N.D.s also have to reapply for their license annually.

  17. JJ says

    Yes sir, Mr. Ducksworth. Thank you very much, Mr. Ducksworth. Quack, quack, quack, Mr. Ducksworth!

  18. nitramnaed says

    “He charges $134 for the first hour and 20 minutes, $89 for follow up visits of 50 minutes.”

    Holly Crap! Can’t you just get that berry stuff on the internets?

  19. Sanction says

    A deconstruction of the requirements for being a naturopathic doctor in Maine:

    The application information (PDF!) on the Maine government website indicates that an applicant must, inter alia, provide proof of education and evidence of passing the NPLEX exam.

    For proof of education, the information refers to a Maine statute governing licensure of naturopathic doctors. To be licensed, a person must, inter alia,

    (1) “Be a graduate of an approved naturopathic medical college and pass or have passed a competency-based examination approved by the board, covering the appropriate naturopathic subjects, including basic and clinical sciences”

    (2) “Be trustworthy and competent”

    (3) “Be physically and mentally capable of safely practicing naturopathic medicine with or without reasonable accommodation”

    I will not comment on (2) and (3) as applied to Maloney.

    As for (1), the description of the academic curriculum on the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges website indicates that the curriculum, on solid ground for the first two years, goes into the woo in the last two years.

    Maloney does seem half baked.

    The exam to which (1) refers is the NPLEX exam. Woo is also covered in the exam.

    Finally, the Maine statute specifically requires naturopathic doctors to “[c]learly disclose to each patient and on all printed material that their training is in naturopathic medicine.”

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a requirement that the naturopathic doctors disclose what “naturopathic medicine” involves.

  20. nitramnaed says

    @Mcfreeman says:
    “Basically, the State of Maine licenses N.D.s like they do nurses, plumbers, or cosmetologists through the Office of Licensing & Registration.”

    With all due respect to Plumbers everwhere!

  21. Brownian, OM says

    He charges $134 for the first hour and 20 minutes, $89 for follow up visits of 50 minutes.

    Yeah. But you see, it’s really Big Pharma that’s gouging people.

    Duckie here is incorruptible because all the money you send him is full of positive qi or angel shit or whatever. The pharmacist you give $4 to for a bottle of aspirin, on the other hand, will undoubtedly use it to build a factory that shreds pandas to power the machine that shoots beams of pure closed-mindedness at Jenny McCarthy’s kid and gives him hives.

  22. Mike Wagner says

    Sometimes I wonder if the ‘vitriolic attacks’ that the quacks and other people PZ mentions are even real at all, or if they’re just playing the sympathy card after being skewered.

    And then I wonder if it’s just that even with the thousands of non-abusive skeptics and Pharyngulites we do have a few crazed and vicious ones in our numbers.

    But then I think about what it’s like on YouTube, and how in a debate with the fundies and woomeisters, a very large percentage of them will turn to threats of hellfire and other crap at the drop of a hat – meanwhile the atheists/rationalists don’t actually have a magical place to threaten people with and are more sensible than to issue death threats to people on the internet.

    And then it becomes apparent. Some of the whack-jobs like to hang out and pretend to be followers because they want to discredit PZ, SkepticChick, and others.

    Sure, it sounds like a conspiracy, but then all you need to do is search for “I’m an atheist but” and it becomes apparent. There are a substantial number of loony-tunes assholes out there who pretend to side with you in order to weaken the argument.

    So even if he actually did get a nasty email. How does anyone know who it’s from? I would assume anyone intelligent enough to understand some of the biology posts on here would know that internet anonymity and death threats just don’t work so well together.

  23. booleese says

    Wow. He really shouldn’t be encouraging visitation of his site if he wants the emails to stop. In reviewing diseases listed in his “What Do I Treat?” section, you may notice such gems as CANCER, DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, and the – so far as I can gather – pop-term “ADRENAL FATIGUE”. The links to supporting material on his “VACCINATIONS” page are dead. His motto is apparently: “If you get hit by a bus, go see your MD. If you just feel like you were, it’s time to see me.” However, on his “HOW MUCH WILL IT BE?” page, he lists one of the reasons he believes people (almost said patients, phew) should pay for his services is “If you are able to lower your prescription medications, you’ll pay your bill.” It might be worth noting that an M.D. can prescribe any treatment Mr. Maloney can, and many he can’t. So why don’t M.D.’s commonly suggest these remedies?

  24. Dr No says

    Maine law stipulates: A licensee must use the title “naturopathic doctor.”

    That seems to mean he can’t use the naked term “doctor”.

    Qualifiers are sometimes important, and it looks like this is one of those times.

    In the military,
    A Lieutenant Colonel is not a Colonel
    A Major General is not a General

    In academia, a practice teacher is not a teacher.
    From the point of view of contract language, at least, an Assistant Professor is not a Professor. For that matter, one could defend a claim that a Doctor of Philosophy is not a Doctor, providing context made “medical” implicit, as it does in the blog in question.

    Are all “sanitation engineers” engineers?
    Are architects of devious schemes, architects?

  25. shonny says

    Dear say I am most upset with the treatment my beloved friends, the Anseriformes, get here.
    Quack they may, but not to swindle or mislead anybody.

  26. Newfie says

    Maine law stipulates: A licensee must use the title “naturopathic doctor.”

    both words must be used.. much like, “witch doctor”.

  27. Null says

    The way I see it, there are three possibilities about these “nasty emails.” One: He’s making it all up. Two: He’s grossly exaggerating the contents of the messages. Three: They’re the product of a very small number of people using macros.

    I’m leaning towards option Two, with option Three being a close second.

  28. madbull says

    Hey, we are talking angry phone call vs shoot someone in the head over here.

    I really dont get why a quack shouldn’t get some angry callers demanding an explanation from him, especially given the rates he charges.

  29. Ryan F Stello says

    Null (#36),

    I’d say a mix of #1 mostly and #2.

    The guy came here replete with snotty attitude and
    went out of his way to make sure people could contact him. This after calling people here PZ’s “flock”.

    He wants so desperately for people to hate him and tell him that they hate him, that he seems like he’ll do anything.

    #2 because, hey, many of us are malcontent enough to please.

  30. ermine says

    Maine law stipulates: A licensee must use the title “naturopathic doctor.”

    both words must be used.. much like, “witch doctor”.

    *sniff* I love you guys!

  31. F says

    Yeah, if anyone reading here is really sending threatening email, don’t do it. It isn’t right, and it doesn’t help. And with an easily obtained court order, they can find you.

    Simply the fact that a lot of people are emailing, whether threatening or not, can be construed as harassment in our sometimes skewed legal system, if the “victim” is the right person.

    And yeah, we all know PZ didn’t call for an email campaign of harassment, nor is this the only place people read about these censorious, litigious fucks.

  32. onethird-man says

    About his abuse of the term “Doctor.”

    It’s rather serious. I was a Military Police officer. But, despite my title, I had absolutely zero authority over civilians, especially off of a military installation. If I even tried to bluster for a moment with a badge I was in for deep shit, which is why they discouraged any of the Military Police officers (we were officers in the fact that we were commissioned, lieutenants) from picking up the badges that you could get as part of your gear.

    You don’t need a badge if you are an MP – you have a giant armband that says “MP” if you are on an installation, and otherwise you’re the guy with the humvee loaded with four stingers, ten claymores, a Mark-19 grenade launcher…

    Point being, I could not claim to be a “Police Officer” any more than this guy could claim to be a “Doctor.”

  33. ereador says

    It is serious, and bizarre. MPs, plumbers, nurses, etc., all do something real within well-documented limits of their skill and authority. I have had some old-timey style nurses overstep into morality and crap, but if a plumber told me I was freaking out my toilet because I was spiritually unfit, I would not know how our agreement could continue, so to speak.

    My self-serving question is: If I can take an exam about woo and win an N.D. degree, can I use woo to take the exam, and just let Maine know when I’m finished? They can e-mail it to me; that’s how I got my minister-ship credentials at The Universal Life Church.

  34. Sengkelat says

    Caine, (#13) I agree with you that Maloney can’t call himself a physician, but the word in question is “doctor.” Dr No (#32) makes the good point that there’s a difference between the terms “naturopathic doctor” and “doctor”, but I’m not entirely sure how well that would work in court, as there’s still some question to it. I am now leaning towards the idea that the blogger would win, but I think it could go either way.

    I think I agree with Free Lunch (#18) that naturopaths would not want the question of whether or not they’re doctors to be decided in court, as it’s possible they would lose.

    Oh, as a standard disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, so what the hell do I know?

  35. Ichthyic says

    Caine, (#13) I agree with you that Maloney can’t call himself a physician, but the word in question is “doctor.”

    doesn’t matter.

    the relevant law specifically states what a naturopath can title themselves, and “doctor” is not on the list, period.