My eyeballs vomited to protect my brain from ingesting this stuff

I’ve been sent an amusing email exchange between a Swiss researcher and a gang of quacks promoting a New Age nonsense conference. I was particularly struck by the email advertising the conference: “struck” is exactly the right word, because reading it was like getting punched in the eyeball. Because I love you readers so much, and think that you should all share in my pain, I have included a copy of this letter below the fold. I hope you like primary colors and random color changes!

Dear Dr.,



Second International Conference on Holistic Medicine (ICHM-2011): 11, 12 and 13 September 2011, Kottayam, Kerala, India.


Conference Website:

Greetings and best wishes from the Institute for Holistic Medical Sciences (IHMS), Kottayam, Kerala, India and the Ayurveda-und Venen-Klinik Dr. Mathew, Klagenfurt, Austria

We are extremely happy to inform you that we are organising the Second International Conference on Holistic Medicine (ICHM-2011) from 11, 12 and 13 September 2011 in Kottayam, Kerala, India. This is the second time a joined conference is planned between Europe and India on holistic medicine.  The first conference that we organized in 2008 was a great success.  The main aim of the conference is to develop a holistic approach to the treatment of various diseases.

The present Euro-India conference will cover recent advances in the  following areas:  Modern Medicine (Allopathy),  Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Reiki, Touch Therapies, Siddha, Colour Therapy, Aroma Therapy,  Geriatric Health, Chiropractic Therapy, Acupuncture, Unani, Yoga, Massage, Radiation Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional Medicines of all the Countries and  Medicinal Plants.

Various sessions of the conference will have brainstorming  discussion meetings from a holistic view point on the following:  Arthritis, Gynaecological Diseases, Skin Diseases, Heart Diseases, Cancer, Allergy, Chronic Diseases, Asthma, High Pressure, Diabetics, Tuberculosis, Diseases of the Bone and Fractures, Children’s Diseases, Rheumatic Disorders, Diseases of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat, HIV, Geriatric Health etc.  Doctors and traditional practitioners from different fields will present their recent findings on each theme. There will be a special session on the use of Holistic Approach for the treatment of Cancer.  

This conference is the second big international meeting exclusively dedicated to the holistic approach in medicine.  The conference will be extremely useful in the sense that it will be attended by hundreds of doctors and researchers from Modern Medicine (Allopathy), Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Reiki and Traditional Practitioners of Yoga, Acupuncture, Siddha, Unani, Chinese Medicine etc. We also invite the modern and traditional practitioners of medicine of all the countries.  The goal of the conference emphasizes interdisciplinary research and holistic approach to medical sciences.

In view of your excellent contributions to the field of Medical Sciences, we would like to welcome you to give an invited talk at the conference.  The scientific committee of the conference is aware of your published works in this field. An appropriate title could be decided by you. We would appreciate if you could e-mail us a one-page abstract of the paper (in the MS Word format) at the earliest to the conference E mail ID: The abstract in PDF or other format should not be sent.

During the conference there will be a brain storming discussion meeting in order to submit a joint project to European Union under the Seventh Frame Work of EU-India-China programme (Fp7) for funding between your country, India and Europe. We will also discuss other projects between India and rest of the world such as DST-NSF, DST-DAAD, Indo-French, DST-JSPS, etc etc. DST-India has agreement with most of the countries for joint collaboration.

Please note that due to budgetary constraints, we are unable to provide financial assistance. The registration fee for the conference is fixed at an affordable rate.

Registration fee till 1st July 2011

Foreign Delegate

Foreign Delegate ( accompanying person )

Foreign Delegate(Student)

Indian Delegate from Industry

Indian Delegate from Academic & Research Institutes

Indian Delegate (Student)

Indian Delegate (accompanying person)

Euro –  400

Euro –  300

Euro –  300

Rs.    6000

Rs.    4000

Rs.    3000

Rs.    3000

Registration fee after 1st July 2001

Foreign Delegate

Foreign Delegate ( accompanying person )

Foreign Delegate(Student)           

Indian Delegate from Industry   

Indian Delegate from Academic & Research Institutes

Indian Delegate (Student)

Indian Delegate (accompanying person)

Euro – 440

Euro-  330

Euro-  330 Rs.    6600

Rs.    4400

Rs.    3300

Rs.    3300


The registration fee for the conference includes registration materials, conference proceedings, lunches, dinners, refreshments, the special conference dinner 12th September 2011, free entry to the traditional cultural programmes of Kerala  and an exciting sight seeing boat trip to the Backwaters of Kerala. The city of  Kottayam has  a large number of excellent hotels. Kottayam city is famous for  lakes,  latex and letters. There are a large number of tourist spots in  Kottayam District.  The conference will be held at the Windsor Castle hotel located in the city.

Pre or Post conference tour programmes will be arranged by our travel agent (ITS Travels) for the interested participants.


We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.


With our best regards,


Thanking you,


Dr.Sebastian Mathew (Austria) and Dr. Anne George(India)

Dr.Anne George, MBBS, DGO, MD, MAMS.Dip Acupuncture
Institute of Holistic Medical Sciences
Chathukulam Buildings
Parumbaikadu P.O
Kerala ,India 686028
Conference E-mail: 

Phone} Per: 91-481- 2730003
Res: 91-481- 2597914, 2590357
Mobile: 00-91-9447223452 and 00-91-9847460331
Dr.Mathew Sebastian MBBS, MD
Ayurveda-und Venen-Klinik Dr. Mathew 
St. Primus Weg 68,
A-9020 Klagenfurt,
Telefon : + 43 463 46912
FAX : + 43 463 469124
e-mail : <>,




It just screams, “TAKE ME SERIOUSLY, PLEASE!”, doesn’t it? And then when you actually look at the content, you realize that it matches the packaging: every quack nostrum you can think of is going to be discussed in terms of its role in every disease that exists.

The researcher I got this from wrote back, telling them it looked like “colorful confetti” and that they were peddling useless treatments for serious diseases. This really is a disgusting fraud, and I think such appalling bullshit ought to be widely exposed and ridiculed. In response, he got this email back:

Dear ,

Pl do not send such bad letters. In this conference we have a lot of people, me a polymer profeesor, doctors, engineers, social scientists, clinicians, ecologists, anthropologists, historians etc. We need to develop a holistic approach to the medical science. Do you have any doubt about my credential, see my papers in ACS, Royal society, or Wiley, I have an H index 43. (I hope you understand what is h index). Dr. Anne and Dr. Sebastian are relly very good clinicians working with people.

Pl be careful when you you send such letters of bad taste. If possible, pl come and attend our conference, I am sure you will enjoy. As an ecologist, can surly contribute to this conference. This is not a homeopathy conference. Dr. Mathew is not sitting very far form you, You can even call him over phone.

With my best regards

That just oozes condescending incompetence. Do send “bad letters” when you spot dangerous bogosity like this, and as Sabu suggests, “surly contribute”. It’s the only kind of contribution they deserve.


  1. Lord Shplanington, Not A Frenchman says

    Was the Comic Sans in the original letter, or did you add it in because they are batshit insane?

  2. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Registration fee till 1st July 2011…Registration fee after 1st July 2001

    It was always too late to get the reduced fees.

  3. AJ says

    Shame on you PZ – you really ought to take this guy seriously! He is a profeesor after all.

  4. moggie says

    Dr. Mathew is not sitting very far form you

    The spam is coming from inside the house!!!11!

  5. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Kottayam city is famous for lakes, latex and letters.

    They do latex but what’s their stance on whips and chains?

  6. Aquaria says

    So damned stupid.

    I like to tell them that we used to do things their way–in the 19th century, and then we decided that, huh, maybe science might be the way to go.

    These leeches are able to swallow their herb pills because millions of scientists have made their lives so clean and comfortable and immensely more free of disease.

    Fuck them all. I hope they choke on a valerian root.

  7. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Le Havre en Chêne,

    You’re probably right. However it doesn’t mean safe underwater sex is practiced, just written about.

  8. serendipitydawg (one headed, mutant spawn of Echidna) says

    I have an H index 43

    This is equivalent to a BS index of 11.

  9. AJ says

    BTW, it amuses me no end that the Google ads for this post invite me to “ask a homeopath”, undergo “osteopathic massage and acupuncture” (for only £30!) and introduce me to the disconcerting term, “craniosacral therapy”.

  10. consciousness razor says

    They do latex but what’s their stance on whips and chains?

    They’re holistic about it, so I’m sure they have a place for it somewhere. They’d probably file it under “acupuncture” or “massage.”

  11. says

    I just scrolled down the letter for effect. Not that I want to dismiss holistic medicine, but I just can’t help myself.

  12. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    does the Pope have a stance on underwater sex as well?

    He’s probably against it as being too much fun.

  13. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the whole email!

    Seriously, where do these cranks get their marketing advice from?

  14. rad_pumpkin says

    I find it quite amusing how the grammatical correctness of the response isn’t quite on par with the original message. Granted, I may simply have been hypnotized by all those bloody colors, but it reminds me of scammers. Now we just have to add death threats from some hilariously inept member of the Nigerian royal family for non compliance…

  15. KZN says

    Man, you just have to see the flyer I got here in South Africa the other day from a “traditional healer”. What would be the best way to put it up here?

  16. Alain says

    Prof. Dr. Sabu Thomas PhD, FRSC, Mahatma Gandhi University
    Institute of Macromolecular Science and Engineering (IMSE)
    Parumbaikadu P.O
    Kerala, India, 686028
    Email: sabuchathukulam@yahoo

    Phone} Per: +91-481- 2730003
    Res: +91-481- 2597914, 2590357
    Mobile: +91-9447223452

    If it sounds, walks & talks like homeopatic nonsense than it is likely nonsense:
    Are there no laws against calling labeling something medicine?

    If Sabu is as careful reading the newsletter as he is his h.index than there isn’t much hope for him:
    “This is not a homeopathy conference.”
    “Modern Medicine (Allopathy), Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine…”

    H-Index isn’t that great, I’ll bet none of the articles he wrote revolve around hollistic medicine:

  17. Markus Eichhorn says

    For the recordm there is no link between ecologists and this conference, or even this entire field of ‘research’. Why is he trying to drag us into it?

  18. says

    Oh these guys are pretty common. See in India they can administer real medicine, so they often “cut” their products with real medicine getting actual relief.

    But charging an arm and a leg and ensnaring the patient in a really harsh pay schemes. For instance a real doctor would name the drug and be able to explain it. These guys will give you “an unknown powder” that you take per day.

    They are really quite dangerous here mainly because they call themselves doctors and when you have a huge population that is poorly educated and cannot tell the difference between medicine and quackery, you can practically get away with anything.

    I have been told that in Tamil Nadu (the state I study in) the “alt. medicine” brigade count towards the state doctors list so they are actually padding out their numbers with quacks.

    Unani is Hippocratic medicine, Siddha practitioners regularly hand out heavy metals like candy. Both are like so many levels of bullshit that it’s hard to explain.

    Think “blood letting” for how insanely daft their practices are. And yes I have had to bite my tongue around their practitioners.


  19. Phillip IV says

    In this conference we have a lot of people, me a polymer profeesor, doctors, engineers, social scientists, clinicians, ecologists, anthropologists, historians etc.

    Yeah, no holistic medical conference should be without historians and anthropologists. The historians can explains something about the historical success rates of CAM treatments, and the anthropologists can describe how the patients were buried.

  20. lordshipmayhem says

    [sarcasm]Oh, yeah, like I really expect polymer profeesors to know a lot about medicine.[/sarcasm]

  21. Psych-Oh says

    Didn’t you know that it is written in “Color Therapy”? Colored writing influences the flow of energy in our bodies *snort* .

  22. Alain says

    n July 2011, the EU strengthened the protection of patients and consumers by adopting a new Directive on falsified medicines for human use.

    DIRECTIVE 2011/62/EU amends Directive 2001/83/EC:
    “This Directive aims to prevent falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain and reaching patients. It introduces harmonised safety and strengthened control measures across Europe by applying new measures, including:

    obligatory features on the outer packaging of medicines to demonstrate that they are authentic;
    strengthened requirements for the inspection of the manufacturers of pharmaceutical ingredients;
    the obligation for manufacturers and distributors to report any suspicion of falsified medicines;
    an obligatory logo that must be placed on the websites of legally operating online pharmacies, with a link to official national registers.

    So what does falsified mean:
    ‘33. Falsified medicinal product:

    Any medicinal product with a false representation of:
    (a) its identity, including its packaging and labelling, its name or its composition as regards any of the ingredients including excipients and the strength of those ingredients;
    (b) its source, including its manufacturer, its country of manufacturing, its country of origin or its marketing authorisation holder; or
    (c) its history, including the records and documents relating to the distribution channels used.
    This definition does not include unintentional quality defects and is without prejudice to infringements of intellectual property rights.’;”

  23. 'smee says

    I work with a *lot* of Indian folks (in IT). The ones who embrace Ayurvedic medicine have way more sick days and are generally more poorly than the ones who don’t.

    Similar to the USians who embrace Airborne™ for prevention of colds due to flying.

  24. HNS_Lasagna says

    “Didn’t you know that it is written in “Color Therapy”? Colored writing influences the flow of energy in our bodies *snort* ”

    The only thing this guys pseudoscience dribble/over use of color font induces, is my desire to direct energy from my hand to his face. I do find it mildly entertaining that their e-mails seem to come copy and past from an online translator.
    I would be willing to bet that all the statistical relationships within this guys data sets have p-values of >0.95

  25. Freerefill says

    Ah, the same old song and dance of the alternative medicine crowd avoiding criticism…

    They’re like roaches, scurrying away from the kitchen light.

  26. Baktru says


    I spent a huge amount of time waiting in line at Immigration in Thailand (I think it was Thailand) once, whilst the two Indian guys behind me were discussing their business, business model etc. Their business came down to being a pyramid scheme selling some kind of magnetic bracelets that heal you of, well, everything. And they were openly discussing their trade, with all the dirty tricks they used, in English, right next to me. Carnie tricks really, shows where they would heal people were the most obvious one. Of course, the ‘healed’ person was someone they paid for it. The most amazing thing was though, as they were discussing their ‘marketing techniques’, they actually still seemed to believe the bloody things did do something.

    I would have called them out, but I was there on business and my boss would have been kind of very pissed if I had not been allowed into the country…


  27. early_cuyler says

    “Think “blood letting” for how insanely daft their practices are. And yes I have had to bite my tongue around their practitioners.”

    See,the tongue blood letting technique does work!


  28. says

    I like how they invite him to give a talk but then, in addition to not covering any travel expenses (which they refer to as “financial assistance”), make him pay the registration fee to get in.

  29. says

    We need to develop a holistic approach to the medical science.

    It’s like ID, ‘we’re right, we just need to turn it into science.’

    Yes, that’s just what apologetics for superstition needs to do, start looking (to the naive) like science. Then it’s a winner.

    Glen Davidson

  30. says

    Holistic medicine for cancer: do what the oncologists recommend, and burn incense when you’re at home.

    So much of this holistic crap is just crap tacked on to real medicine or waiting for the body to heal (or die) on its own.

  31. 'smee says

    Occam’s Blunt Instrument@44

    So much of this holistic crap is just crap tacked on to real medicine or waiting for the body to heal (or die) on its own.

    If the person dies – it was the fault of the real medicine.

    If the person survives – it because their healing was holistic, right?

  32. Erulóra Maikalambe (rúcina ló puktala undusahtiëondotië) says

    I can’t believe there was nothing in there about magnets or holograms. Or gravitymagnets.

  33. Freerefill says


    The gravitymagnets will help remove the

    *puts on two pairs of sunglasses*

    heavy metals from your body.

  34. Loqi says

    Based on the effect the color therapy in this letter is having on the readership here (myself included), I’m beginning to doubt it’s effectiveness. It just seems to cause nausea.

    Also, why aren’t us computer scientists invited? We have as much to do with medicine as ecologists, historians, and “polymer profeesors.” We could add a lot of useless jargon to their lexicon of bullshit:
    “You see, what’s happening here is your body’s harmony energy is experiencing heavy packet loss when broadcasting to the universal energy cloud, and that’s why you have cancer. Take these pills 6 times a day. That should restart your body’s router, thus curing your cancer. Also, stay away from oncologists and networking professionals. They are known to increase packet loss.”

  35. Erulóra Maikalambe (rúcina ló puktala undusahtiëondotië) says


    The gravitymagnets will help remove the

    *puts on two pairs of sunglasses*

    heavy metals from your body.

    But I like heavy metal! I’ll have to avoid those gravitymagnets.

  36. HNS_Lasagna says

    @ Loqi
    That analogy (given the proper explanation) is actually amazingly applicable to explaining how cancer works. substitute “loss of cell cycle control” for “packet loss”, and “apoptotic signaling/induction” for “universal…cloud” then “restart DNA damage repair” for “router” and voila you have a semi-cohesive explanation of tumorigenesis and common treatment modalities!

  37. Erulóra Maikalambe (rúcina ló puktala undusahtiëondotië) says

    We need to develop a holistic approach to the medical science.

    Um, no we don’t. We really, really don’t.

  38. JJ says

    Also, stay away from oncologists and networking professionals. They are known to increase packet loss

    Hey as a networking professional, I think we should be included as well! I can reduce packet loss by hard setting your speed and duplex to full-duplex and 1000Tbase. No auto-negotiation, that just increases the chances of packet-collisions and error frames within the human energy flow, leading to malicious mutations. Add QoS to the body and you can streamline the positive energy wile giving the negative energy a lower priority. And don’t get me started on setting up your ACL properly…

    Man I could go on and on with this kind of jargon…

  39. JJ says


    “loss of cell cycle control” for “packet loss”

    Close, but loss of cell cycle control would be more analogous to a Broadcast storm. Packet loss would be more analogous with something like premature cell death.

  40. Loqi says

    I consider it a failure that I wrote something that was able to be read as semi-coherent. Apparently I suck at conjuring gibberish. I’ll do better next time, I promise!

  41. Musca domestica says

    HNS_Lasagna #51

    That’s just too creepy…

    I wonder if they have a solution for our collective allergy to colour therapy? Or will they try to blame PZ’s font torture for the reactions?

  42. HNS_Lasagna says

    Loqi: ok, well I’ll let you off with a warning this time but don’t let me catch that again!

    @56: for our allergic reaction (to both massive color font and BS overdose), it makes me want to take about 30 grams of diphenhydramine HCL

  43. Just Sayin' says

    He is a profeesor after all.

    And a polymer profeesor at that! Wonder if he’s dent-resistant like those Saturn body panels!

  44. Loqi says

    I actually got started on the whole conflating networking and bodily processes train of thought because of a bad experience with a Comcast technician. He tried to tell me the reason I was experiencing intermittent disconnects was that my connection speed was too fast for the modem, and that it sometimes gets tired and needs to rest. Luckily, he had a more heavy duty modem he was willing to sell me that would fix the problem! I told him the problem had more to do with incompetent technicians than my modem needing some time on a treadmill and threw him out of my apartment. I imagine medical quacks raise the ire of doctors and biologists the same way as this “technology quack” did with me.

  45. HNS_Lasagna says

    And (at least in my experience) you would be correct. I hate it when people mislead the public because they are too stupid to distinguish fact from fiction, though I suppose it isn’t as bad as all the religious fundies who do it deliberately

  46. Loqi says

    Sadly, I suspect at least some of the woo peddlers either know full well they’re selling snake oil, or strongly suspect it but don’t investigate their suspicion lest they lose sleep over what they’re doing. The only distinction I draw between these folks and the fundies is that when these guys are scamming for profit, destroying lives is incidental, but when the fundies scam for profit, destroying lives is part of the business model.

  47. says

    This reminds me of an (unsolicited!) package I received decades ago inviting me to a conference on the voluntary control of pain. The invitation included color pics of unhappy-looking men (in what appeared to be Bedouin dress) with skewers stuck through various body parts–cheeks, ears, noses, tongues. The conference was to be held in Baghdad, while Saddam Hussein was still in power. I have no idea why I got the invitation, but it scared the bejeezus out of me.

  48. JohnnieCanuck says

    And you’ve been an atheist ever since? Congratulations on a quick if painful de-conversion.

  49. Anubis Bloodsin III says

    Why is it that all barking kooks think that bright blocks of color and zazzy layout adds gravitas to their utter drivel….

    There was a Rapture ‘jeebus is me sunbeam’ website mentioned on Pharyngula about a year before Camping and his scam screwed up.

    Dude had same track record as Camping, about three or four high profile, amongst the god besotted anyway, predictions in about a decade all rather wide of the mark…duuuuh!

    All in bright yellow and glaring red text and backgrounds interspersed with kindergarten random manipulations of numbers that were thought significant, but no coherent explanation why?
    Literally Pages and pages of utter bollox’s, but all in this garish color scheme and weird text bloc juxtapositions.
    Themes ranging from Satan to the Jews to the anti-Christ to teh gheys to nuclear weapons and global warming.

    A literal torrent of incoherent babble with the obligatory request for funds to fight the good fight at the end of the sheer insanity

    And they actually thought they were gods little messengers…some daffy dude and his brainless wife and the amount of folks that bought it hook line and sinker was really quite disturbing, these idiots would buy air in a cardboard box and brag that they got a bargain.

  50. HNS_Lasagna says

    This is the website for the email, apparently anyone who visits the website has an open invitation as an invited speaker… as long as you pay them 400 euros. I’m pretty sure this isn’t something I wouldn’t want on my CV.

  51. Mike de Fleuriot says

    You know, instead of bus ads, maybe the various secular groups out there, could put the coin together and send a couple top science folk to these conferences, to give speeches and papers, together with a decent TV news crew. Legalised gate crashing and kick some sense into their heads.

  52. Andrej says

    I am a radiation oncology trainee in Australia (what you call a “resident” over in the States), and what caught my eye most was:

    “… Aroma Therapy, Geriatric Health, Chiropractic Therapy, Acupuncture, Unani, Yoga, Massage, Radiation Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine …”

    I never realised my specialty was among such distinguished peers. Here I thought I was practicing evidence-based medicine and, you know, actually treating cancer…

    Perhaps I’ll branch out into aromatherapy


  53. M Groesbeck says

    @ Andrej —

    Don’t get comfortable — the next wave of medical physicists is just waiting to come up with the Next Big Thing to show that you were Completely Wrong all along. Then again, we’ll do it with evidence-based scientific research (which will show that, actually, you did and are doing the best that you can with the available evidence, which means that you’re probably in the process of advancing your own standards along with us), so I don’t think we’ll have so much to argue about.

  54. Anansi says

    …Pl be careful when you you send such letters of bad taste. If possible, pl come and attend our conference, I am sure you will enjoy. As an ecologist, can surly contribute to this conference.

    Dear polymer Prof.

    Pl be careful when you you send such letters of bad taste in colour. Pl learn to spell out simple words completely.

    And pl don’t call me Surly.

  55. says

    “Skewers through the body” could be good or bad. It’s part of the traditional Indian guru schtick, and because of that, some of the Indian skeptics take it on and demonstrate how no special magic is required. Also it can be a sideshow carnie routine. And then there’s suspension, BDSM style. I saw this amazing show once…

  56. says

    Pharyngulites, the conference is not really about alternative medicine, it is about the registration fee. The whole conference is a fraud aimed at bilking doctors and scientists. Similar fraudulent conferences on conventional medical topics are also common. The conference is invariably in some distant exciting city, has no well-known speakers, and invites the victim by name to give a talk. The letter sometimes even mentions the title of a paper written by the victim, with the comment that the organizers thought this paper was really great. Unfortunately for the fraudsters, the victim’s named article usually has nothing at all to do with the subject of the conference.

    I have gotten several of these in the last year, mostly from China, and mostly about conventional medical topics.

  57. Anubis Bloodsin III says


    “The whole conference is a fraud aimed at bilking doctors and scientists”

    But I suggest only those Doctors and Scientists that have a soft squidgy spot that reeks of jeebus drooling and dodgy degree education.

    Or into auras…putrescent smells and a few glittery bits of glass,

    Add to that a few errant Dentists…a hydrological engineer more or less…a polymer ‘profeesor’ one or two flaky geologists in all but useful function…and you pretty much have the the board of the Discovery Institute right there….could well be their annual conference held incognito….ish!

  58. Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor says

    I haven’t even seen anything like that before, and it looks to me like a desperate ploy by a hotel to get some foreign guests with money to come. A conference organizer who knows so little about the subject he can’t tell which specialists belong, inability to write professionally in professional correspondence, no costs covered; it looks scamtastic.

  59. says

    #75 and 76: I repeat, this kind of scam is common and is often aimed at regular doctors, in the guise of “Cardiology conferences”, etc. The woo element in this particular conference is not the important feature. They are just expanding their audience (and perhaps they know these kinds of doctors are more gullible than the rest).

    Here is one of my invitations. Check out the websites mentioned in the letter. The conferences (even ones that have ended) usually do not have any posted agenda or speakers, and this company hosts multiple conferences every two or three days in different cities, sometimes running two or three distant conferences on exactly the same days. For more info about this scam, see

    Dear Dr. Lou Jost,

    It is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend the EPS Shijiazhuang International Forum on Life Science and Biotechnology to be held from May 23-25, 2011, in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China.

    We would like to welcome you to our Conference as our valuable speaker and present your recent work and ideas of G(ST) and its relatives do not measure differentiation. that were published in Mol Ecol. Please visit our website at and for program details.

    This forum will be organized and hosted by EPS Global Medical Development Inc. and supported by Shijiazhuang Municipal Government. It is a scientific-oriented educational event which creates a platform for all the participants to discuss most-up-to-date technology and share experiences with peer colleagues in a cozy and friendly environment. Meanwhile, this meeting also provides participants a unique opportunity to connect to the huge network of thousands of hospitals and research institutes in China. I believe, your participation would greatly contribute to the success of this unique event and we cordially hope you join us.

    The EPS Global Medical Development Inc. is a Canada-based biomedical consultant agency which promotes continuing academic education, knowledge transfer and scientific exchange through life sciences-oriented conferences. As the leading international medical exchange organization, EPS maintains sustainable partnerships with hundreds of hospitals, universities, research institutions and biotechnology companies in China and across the world, and organizes numerous high-quality international biomedical science conferences and other academic exchange activities.

    Shijiazhuang is a beautiful and historic city. When joining us, you will be enjoying a charming summer setup of the month of May, and allured by the characteristic local flavors, garden-like city appearance, and abundant historic and cultural sites as well diversified natural scenes.

    We look forward to meeting you in Shijiazhuang and wish you all enjoyable time.

    Warmest regards,

    Yao Lu, MD, PhD
    Executive Chair of EPS Shijiazhuang International Forum on Life Science and Biotechnology
    President of EPS Global Medical Development Inc.

    Suite 305, 1625 De Maisonneuve Ouest

    Montreal, Quebec H3H 2N4


    TEL: 1-514-933-4119

    FAX: 1-514-933-9519

  60. GravityIsJustATheory says

    AJ says:

    Shame on you PZ – you really ought to take this guy seriously! He is a profeesor after all.

    Yes, but PZ is a PROFESSOR, and we all know allcaps make things more valid.

    (Btw, I’m getting an add at the bottom of this page offering to help me “Reconnect with your angel – Let our psychics help you”. Whatever algorithm selects the ads for this site is horribly broken).

  61. Anubis Bloodsin III says


    “I repeat, this kind of scam is common and is often aimed at regular doctors”

    Oh…I don’t doubt it at all.

    But the only ones that are really taken in by the frumppery are those that are not in full possession of a set of smarts in the analytical sense.

    Unfortunately they seem to suffer from some shadowy woo oriented hangover from their youth that they cannot wholly shake off!

    That kind of infection seems to be more virulent in Dentists, credulous geologists and engineers for some unfathomable reason.

    I live rather dangerously as it happens…
    My GP is from Sri Lanka…and they have some weird and wonderful woo to inflict on each other…

    My GP ends up with a very pronounced limp and shuffle every year….regular as clockwork seemingly.

    Found out from his receptionist what is was all about in one of her frequent unguarded moments!
    She also is Sri Lankan and she was conversing with another of her country fellows in Dutch…she thought my Dutch was rather poor and insists on communicating with me in English she obviously felt safe imparting the news in Dutch to her colleague.

    Turns out that the Doctor undergoes some ritual every year dictated by his ‘faith’…he has to walk across red hot coals apparently…he fucks it up every year…

    I go to see him now with a little curiosity apart from any stray ailment I might be undergoing…just to see him walk into his surgery…cracks me up every time…but apart from that obvious insanity he seems a decent GP in all else!

    And he keeps his ‘faith’ very personal…the same cannot be said for the Xian besotted methinks! .

  62. says


    Or perhaps their ads are prefect. Think? Who would click on that?

    The people who believe in psychic angel finding or the people who want to find out what psychic angel finding entails so that they can laugh at them?

  63. says

    Oh, I have walked across “hot coals” if you do it right you look like a badass.

    It’s less religion and more “self confidence” thing. I mean the modern day requirements of confidence are different. It’s less “If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son! ”

    and more

    “If you can walk on fucking fire then you are a badass who doesn’t take crap from life!”

    I don’t think I have heard of a single Hindu ritual involving that. A lot of priests do use the trick to make people think they are pretty boss but I do know of atheists in India who go around doing the various “holy man magic tricks” to bust them.

  64. Jay D says

    All these “systems” are treated equally in India. Most Indian universities offer medical degrees in these so-called alternative systems as well. They can openly practice their trade as a doctor.

    It is heavily promoted by the Indian government: See their policy statement:

    2.1 The Government has reiterated that Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Siddha, Unani, Yoga and Naturopathy offer a wide range of preventive, promotive and curative treatments that are both cost effective and efficacious and there is need for ending the long neglect of these systems in our health care strategy. Budgetary support has been augmented and fiscal incentives and concessions that are available to modern pharmaceutical industry have been assured to ISM sector. The resurgence of interest in Ayurveda and other Indian Systems of Medicine in India and abroad and the opportunities created by such interest have been well perceived in the Government.

    Moreover, you have millions of practitioners in these alternative systems who never studied even these subjects formally. They are called “traditional” practitioners. One can work as an assistant/servant for a “doctor” for few years and become a doctor (called Vaidya). They too can practice alternative medicine freely.

    My brother used to own few shops that sell these medicines. I must admit I have freely dispensed Ayurvedic medicines for various ailments while I used to assist him (about 20 years ago). But as the practitioners claim (and probably Randy can attest), there are no side effects and no one dies of overdose! Some of the fermented preparations are actually tasty and helped me overcome my aversion to the taste of alcoholic beverages!

  65. Ate too much Pizza says

    Hey, my (clumsy) attempt at Poe-ism:

    It looks like they are trying to hide their contact info, but I was so clever that I knew (gnu?) to scroll around and I found it. (I guess that earns me a tall-boy of Duff beer)

    The text of my Email:

    To the organizers of the conference: Congratulations for continuing the traditional preference for dogma, and for your resolute resistance against the simple idea of “rational’ thought.

    Through your efforts, we will one day send all the lower caste people back into their ancestral hovels, which, of course, you understand, they should accept, because that is how the world has been made (amen)

    I am delighted to see that your organization sees that we can never apply rational thought to such things as disease treatment, because this will give the lesser castes false hope. It is plain that they suffer because they are meant to suffer, just as we enlightened practitioners of The Ancient Arts of Non-Confirmable Efficacy (ARSE) are meant to stand around in crappy hotels agreeing with each other about our mutually exclusive worldviews.
    I am looking forward to your contributions to my association’s Journal, “Major Colony(ic)”, to clear out the Western toxins from my privileged system.

    Hyundai Sentra Alantra,

    Charles, still reeling from my last hit of pure H20

  66. nemo the derv says

    Sabu is a what?
    Polymer Professor ?!?!?
    So does this mean he is an expert in plastics or is he actually made out of plastic?

    Dr. Mathew is not sitting very far form you, You can even call him over phone.

    I understand that english is probably not Sabu’s strong point but I simply cannot interperet what he means by the above blockquote. He does know that distance is not a major factor making phone calls anymore, right?

  67. says

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