I'm certainly not claiming that Barrett is right about everything, and I
doubt Robert is either. In fact, Robert just recently posted that Barrett
accepted a correction from him quite readily. Barrett may be a bit
overzealous, but much of what he has written that I have read has the ring
of truth, and mostl criticisms that I have read of him do not.
But if you look at those with whom Bolen, one of Barrett's primary
detractors, associates, he loses all credibility. He defends Hulda Clark,
whose beliefs and practices I would challenge anyone out there to defend.
She is truly an outrageous quack. And Mitchel seems to defend Bolen, which
puts him in very bad company, in my opinion.
And here's a bit about Burton Goldberg, the critic of Barrett just quoted by
"BURTON GOLDBERG, PRES. alternativemedicine.com, a former hotelier,
restaurateur and developer, discovered Alternative Medicine 18 years ago
when his friendís daughter attempted suicide. After conventional Psychiatric
Treatment failed she was referred to a Holistic Physician, who treated her
with diet and supplements. Amazed at her complete recovery, Mr. Goldberg
concluded that Conventional Medicine paid little attention to biochemical
I think one gets a good sense of his science credentials from this....
Bolen and Goldberg don't convince me of anything. I wouldn't buy a used car
----Original Message Follows----
From: Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Quackwatch -- Not so fast ....
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 04:26:12 -0500
Eric Entemann and Robert Mann have defended so-called Quackwatch "expert"
Stephen Barrett, and avoid the serious critiques of Barrett's science by
reducing them to Barrett's losing of a few "hard to win" defamation
Here's an excerpt from one critic, which puts Barrett's ideas into a very
different and much harsher context:
Multiple chemical sensitivity, sick building syndrome, food-related
hyperactivity, mercury amalgam toxicity, candidiasis hyperactivity, Gulf War
syndrome-these are all costly misbeliefs and fad diagnoses, says Barrett.
"Many Americans believe that exposure to common foods and chemicals makes
them ill," he says. "This book [Barrett's] is about people who hold such
beliefs but are wrong."
.... Patients presume they are being made allergic or toxic or even being
poisoned by the mass of modern chemicals, cosmetics, cleaning agents, drugs,
and other human-made substances. They are mistaken, says Barrett. Their
misbeliefs are especially hard to understand, Barrett says, "at a time when
our food supply is the world's safest and our antipollution program is the
best we've ever had."
Patients' symptoms are mental (psychosomatic) in origin -- "they react to
stress by developing multiple symptoms." Their symptoms are not caused by
chemicals or dietary factors, he says. In fact, Barrett suggests that some
patients are "hysterical," others are "paranoid," and the rest have "certain
psychological factors" that "predispose" them to "develop symptoms" and to
seek out "questionable" doctors (meaning alternative medicine practitioners)
who will attach a ("not scientifically recognized") disease label to them.
Regarding Gulf War syndrome, for example, Barrett declares: "It provides a
feeding trough for serious scientists, since funding is abundant, and for
every charlatan with a newsworthy theory." On the matter of the dangers of
mercury fillings, he states: "The false diagnosis of mercury-amalgam
toxicity is potentially very harmful and reflects extremely poor judgment."
For the most part, of the illnesses listed above, nearly all are mere
"labels" rather than legitimate illness conditions, asserts Barrett; they're
not caused by foods or chemicals; there are no "scientific" studies
conclusively proving the association of diet, chemicals, and illness; and we
are best advised to dismiss them out of hand, he says.
In most cases and for most of the illnesses commonly associated with
chemical sensitivity, Barrett says the mass of mistaken patients would be
better off seeking "mental help" from a psychiatrist or other "mental health
practitioner." Alternative medicine physicians and especially "clinical
ecologists" (the old name for practitioners of environmental medicine, which
links exposures to toxic substances with health conditions) should be
chastised, investigated, put on notice, and if possible, put out of
business, says Barrett.
(from http://www.whale.to/a/goldberg.html "What's Eating Stephen Barrett?"
by Burton Goldberg)
There's a lot more, but that should give you an idea of Barrett's biases and
- Mitchel Cohen
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