Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience

A critical look at the antics of Oprah Winfrey, Jenny McCarthy, Prince Charles, Bill Maher, Larry King, Pamela Anderson, Ben Stein, Joe Rogan, Chuck Norris, and Montel Williams.

by Brian Dunning

Filed under Alternative Medicine, Conspiracies, Health, Paranormal, Religion

Skeptoid #125
October 28, 2008
Podcast transcript | Listen | Subscribe
 

Today I have a list for you: The ten celebrities who most abuse their fame to promote dangerous or otherwise harmful misinformation. You may be disappointed that this is not simply a list of Hollywood Scientologists. On the contrary, I think Tom Cruise deserves a medal. He's done more to discredit Scientology than anyone else. If anyone didn't already think Scientologists were nuts, Tom Cruise has sealed the deal. You also won't find anyone who's simply a harmless wacko. I endeavored to include only celebrities who are actively doing harm to the public by spreading misinformation that does damage. Thanks to the folks on the Skeptalk email discussion list for suggesting and helping to refine this list.

#10 - Montel Williams

He's all the way down at the bottom of the list because his daytime talk show is no longer on the air and he doesn't have much influence anymore, but when he did, he was best known for promoting psychics as the best way to solve almost any crisis. You can quarrel with psychic predators like Sylvia Browne, but her career was created by Montel Williams. Montel's worst offense was to use psychics to provide made-up information to the parents of missing children, which he did on many occasions, not just the one or two high profile cases that made headlines. Without exception, this information has always been either uselessly general or flat-out wrong. All the while, Montel Williams unapologetically promoted psychic powers to his millions of viewers. Read Dr. Hal Bidlack's Open Letter to Lt. Commander Montel Williams from one military officer to another, in which he asks "Have you lost your honor?"

#9 - Chuck Norris

He deserves to be on the list anyway for making nothing but stupid movies, but Chuck Norris' main offense is his frequent public appeals to teach a Biblical "alternative" to science in public schools. In a series of public service announcements (here and here), Chuck and his wife advocate the mission of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a nonprofit organization with its own 300 page textbook advocating Young Earth fundamentalism, The Bible in History and Literature. Although Chuck and the Council state that it's legal and has never been legally challenged, this is patently untrue, its having failed every Constitutional challenge brought forth against it. Chuck, become a Sunday School teacher in the church of your choice. You should not use your celebrity status to wage war against religious freedom, or to further erode the quality of science education in the United States.

#8 - Joe Rogan

Comedian Joe Rogan does what he can to promote virtually any conspiracy theory that he stumbles onto, apparently accepting them all uncritically with a wholesale embrace. He believes the Apollo astronauts did not land on the moon. He believes the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He believes the Oliver Stone version of the Kennedy assassination. He believes aliens crashed at Roswell in 1947 and the government is covering it up. He thinks Men in Black from Project Blue Book stole his friend's camera, even though Project Blue Book ended over 38 years ago. The worst part is that he promotes these ideas to the public at every interview opportunity, but gives himself the intellectual "Get out of jail free" card of not needing any evidence by hiding behind the childish debate technique of saying "Hey, I'm just the guy asking questions." Joe, if you're going to put so much effort into promoting conspiracy theories and eroding what little rationality the public has left, at least have the courage to come forward with a cogent argument and well-sourced evidence, instead of the lameness of "I'm just the guy asking questions." Take the responsibility.

On January 14, 2014, I went onto Joe's show The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss this. This blog post explains what happened and why I decided to leave this here. It also includes references for each of my assertions above.

#7 - Ben Stein

There's nothing wrong with being a religious person, but actor Ben Stein takes it many steps further, employing fallacious logic to claim that everything bad in the world is caused by non-Christian ideas. His favorite is that the study of science caused the Holocaust. He's now infamous for his quote "the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that's where science leads you." Ben's open hostility toward scientific literacy is aptly described by Scientific American's John Rennie, who wrote: "Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism." Science is, quite properly, independent of politics and religion. A celebrity who argues that science should be subservient to either, especially one who exploits the Holocaust to do so, is an intellectual felon.

#6 - Pamela Anderson

Although we here at Skeptoid endorse their annual "Running of the Nudes" in Pamplona, Spain, we don't like anything else about PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Pamela Anderson lends her celebrity to them and serves as one of their primary spokespeople, as do many other celebrities. Senator James Inhofe has criticized PETA for its support of self-described domestic terrorist groups Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. Groups like PETA do far more harm than good to the animal rights movement by exploiting the Holocaust for its advertising or for complaining only about the death of a donkey in a Jerusalem bomb attack that killed dozens of people. And Pamela, you might want to think twice before donating money to PETA. The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance has noted that PETA fails to meet several Charity Accountability standards, and a Senate committee has questioned its tax exempt status for funding organizations later designated as terrorist.

#5 - Larry King

Larry King's job as a professional interviewer is to bring on a huge number of people from all backgrounds and let them speak their minds, and this is a good thing. We hear from people doing good, people doing bad, people we agree with, and people we disagree with. But Larry's show is supposed to be better than all the other interview shows. Only Larry gets to talk to heads of state, U.S. Presidents, the top movers and shakers. He hits them hard, asks them the tough questions, puts them on the spot. Unless — and that's a very big unless — they are on the show to promote some pseudoscience or paranormal claim. Of these guests, Larry asks no tough questions. He gives them an unchallenged platform to promote their harmful claim. He gives their web addresses and shows their books and DVDs. He acts as their top salesman for the hour. Larry King gives every indication that CNN fully endorses celebrity psychics, conspiracy theorists, ghost hunters, UFO advocates, and promoters of non-scientific alternatives to healthcare.

#4 - Bill Maher

While we love Bill Maher's movie Religulous and appreciate that his is one of the very few public voices opposing the 9/11 conspiracy myths, we can't deny that he has a darker side. Bill Maher is a board member of PETA — one of the people actually approving their payments to people like convicted arsonist Rod Coronado — but his ongoing act that's most harmful to the world is his outspoken denial of science-based medicine. Yes, Bill is correct that a good diet and exercise are good for you, but he seems to think that doctors deny this. Not any doctor I've ever spoken to. Bill made it clear on a four-minute speech on his show that he believes government and Big Pharma conspire to keep everyone sick by prescribing drugs. If even a single person takes Bill's claims to heart and avoids needed medical treatment as a result, Bill Maher is guilty of a terrible moral crime. Considering the huge size of his audience, this seems all too likely.

#3 - Prince Charles

What's even worse than a comedian denying modern medicine is when the future King of England does the same thing. This is the kind of medieval superstition we expect from witch doctors like South Africa's former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, not from the royal family of one of the world's most advanced nations (well, it would be, except that royal families are kind of a medieval thing too). Through The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, Prince Charles attempts to legitimize and promote the use of untested, unapproved, and implausible alternative therapies of all sorts instead of using modern evidence-based medicine. He has a "collaborative agreement" with Bravewell, the United States' largest fundraising organization dedicated to the promotion of non-scientific alternatives to healthcare. As perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom, Prince Charles displays gross irresponsibility that directly results in untreated disease and death.

Tip Skeptoid $2/mo $5/mo $10/mo One time

#2 - Jenny McCarthy

The most outspoken anti-vaccine advocate is, by definition, the person responsible for the most disease and suffering in our future generation. Jenny McCarthy's activism has been directly blamed for the current rise in measles. She also blames vaccines for autism, against all the well established evidence that shows autism is genetic, and she spreads this misinformation tirelessly. She believes autism can be treated with a special diet, and that her own son has been "healed" of his autism through her efforts. Since one of the things we do know about autism is that it's incurable, it seems likely that her son probably never even had autism in the first place. So Jenny now promotes the claim that her son is an "Indigo child" — a child with a blue aura who represents the next stage in human evolution. If you take your family's medical advice from Jenny McCarthy, this is the kind of foolishness you're in for. Instead, get your medical advice from someone with a plausible likelihood of knowing something about it, like say, oh, a doctor, and not a doctor who belongs to the anti-vaccine Autism Research Institute or its Defeat Autism Now! project. Go to StopJenny.com for more information.

#1 - Oprah Winfrey

The only person who can sit at the top of this pyramid is the one widely considered the most influential woman in the world and who promotes every pseudoscience: Oprah Winfrey. To her estimated total audience of 100 million, many of whom uncritically accept every word the world's wealthiest celebrity says, she promotes the paranormal, psychic powers, new age spiritualism, conspiracy theories, quack celebrity diets, past life regression, angels, ghosts, alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy, anti-vaccination, detoxification, vitamin megadosing, and virtually everything that will distract a human being from making useful progress and informed decisions in life. Although much of what she promotes is not directly harmful, she offers no distinction between the two, leaving the gullible public increasingly and incrementally injured with virtually every episode.

When you have a giant audience, you have a giant responsibility. Maybe you don't want such a responsibility, in which case, fine, keep your mouth shut; or limit your performance to jokes or acting or whatever it is you do.

Brian Dunning

© 2008 Skeptoid Media, Inc. Copyright information

References & Further Reading

Bartholomaus, D. "Jenny McCarthy Body Count." Jenny McCarthy Body Count. Derek Bartholomaus, 12 Dec. 2009. Web. 27 Dec. 2009. <http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com>

Bidlack, H. "An Open Letter to Lt. Commander Montel Williams." Stop Sylvia Brown. Stop Sylvia, 6 Feb. 2007. Web. 28 Dec. 2009. <http://stopsylvia.com/articles/openlettertomontel.shtml>

Morrison, A. "Personal Reflections on the “Animal-Rights” Phenomenon." The Physiologist. 1 Feb. 2001, Volume 44, Number 1: 1.

Noveck, J. "Somers' New Target: Conventional Cancer Treatment." ABC News Health. ABC News, 19 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Dec. 2009. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wirestory?id=8866956&page=1>

Rennie, J., Mirsky, S. "Six Things in Expelled That Ben Stein Doesn't Want You to Know..." Scientific American. Scientific American, 16 Apr. 2008. Web. 28 Dec. 2009. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=six-things-ben-stein-doesnt-want-you-to-know>

Singh, S., Ernst, E. Trick or Treatment, The undeniable facts about alternative medicine. New York: Bantam Press, 2008.

Reference this article:
Dunning, B. "Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, Inc., 28 Oct 2008. Web. 31 Oct 2014. <http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4125>

Discuss!

I don't know if it's really moral to include Prince Charles on that list. He can't help it if he's the product of hundreds and hundreds of years of inbreeding.

Hoonser, Toronto Ont.
October 28, 2008 10:25am

I hate all of them on the list except for Bill Maher. I disagree with him about PETA and the pharmceutical industries.

I do not think he is all the dye in the wool animal nut because he said on his program that fish is the staple of his diet, that chickens are stupid animals that have their desire to roam bred out of them eons ago, and that dogs are dumb animals who are only loyal to the person that gave them the last saussage.

I found a letter written to Michael Shermer about Expelled. In it, he was told by a jew that atheism caused the Holocaust. Ben Stein made the claim that the Nazi's used Darwin's ideas to try and breed out the jews from existence or some nonsense.

Joseph Furguson, Brawley, Ca
October 28, 2008 10:51am

Excellent podcast, Brian! I was entertained and I learned some things I didn't know or had forgotten about Anderson, Maher and Rogan. I didn't know that Anderson and Maher were PETA advocates. and, I forgot that Rogan was supposed to be a comedian; well, he does have some funny ideas.

bigjohn756, East Texas
October 28, 2008 11:11am

You know, Bill Maher is still one of the rare who dare say that religion is bullshit on his show. That is mostly what he talks about... So it balances things out for me. I haven't him on BigPharma.

Harry Somerset, Florida
October 28, 2008 12:32pm

Prince Charles 'perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom'? I'm skeptical of this claim. No, he is generally considered a bit of a boob and his silly ideas about things regarded with tolerant amusement. He is really not very influential at all.

Bernard Hughes, London
October 28, 2008 2:57pm

I'm actually more upset at Bill Maher on this. He's meant to be the public face (well within the popular American media) of Freethinking and rational thought. No sooner does he refute and make light some nutty religious view than he damages his own credibility with some irrational rant on some other topic.

I remember wincing once when he likened getting rid of religion to removing amalgam fillings. The irony was razor sharp.

Funny thing is in spite of his criticism of the three monotheist religions he isn't actually an atheist. He's a Deist (or a pantheist, I'm not certain), he actually gets upset at people calling him an atheist. I don't personally care one way or another what he believes, I just wish he wouldn't drag other peoples credibility through the same mud he does his.

Brian Menzies, South Australia
October 28, 2008 4:59pm

#10 - Montel Williams - Agree. However, I am having trouble with why Police departments use psychics. Does it mean some are real? I honestly don't know.

#9 - Chuck Norris - Agree. As a Christian myself, I do not subscribe to his view. The bible does not say the earth is 6000 years old anywhere that I know of. It just states God made it, not how or when.

#8 - Joe Rogan - Agree. I herd he was a scientologist. But I cannot confirm this.

#7 - Ben Stein - Semi-Agree. Ben Stein is NOT Christian, Ben is a Jew. They are different. Brian, you made a big boo boo on this factoid. You can go here: [http://whitehouser.com/politics/religion/ben-stein-on-christianity-faith-god/] and here: [http://www.nndb.com/people/371/000022305/]. Furthermore, you can still be a Christian and believe in science, as neither contradicts the other. You can also be a Christian and believe in evolution and neither contradicts the other.

#6-#5 - Agree. Gave the podcast balance.

Greg Droder, Kamloops, BC, Canada
October 28, 2008 5:46pm

This is a pretty good list.

My quibble:

#5 "[Larry King] hits them hard, asks them the tough questions, puts them on the spot."

Really? I don't think I've ever seen him ask any guest a tough question. I believe this is why so many guests are willing to be interviewed by him. It's an unspoken agreement. King gets access to A-list celebrities and the celebrities know that they will never be asked anything uncomfortable or awkward.

Greg Droder: The fact that police departments sometimes use psychics only indicates that the police can be fooled just like anybody else. Have there been any successful cases of police departments solving crimes using psychics (that couldn't have been solved using old-fashioned detective work and/or luck)?

Timmeh, Yokohama, Japan
October 28, 2008 6:39pm

Good list and rankings.
How is "celebrity" defined here? Are John Edward, Kevin Trudeau, Alex Jones, and Pat Robertson celebrities?

I agree with Timmeh that Larry King is pretty passive.

Police departments may turn to psychics when they have no leads, and they want to pretend that they're doing something. If later something turns up, the psychic takes credit for it.

Max, Boston, MA
October 28, 2008 7:28pm

@ Max

If I remember the discussion on Skeptalk correctly, people who had become famous for promoting woo were excluded. To qualify for the list they had to be famous for something else and use their popularity to propagate irrationality and nonsense.

Joel Green, Toronto, ON, Canada
October 28, 2008 8:07pm

Didn't Montel Williams, Bill Maher and Oprah become famous in part for propagating nonsense? Or were they doing something else?

Max, Boston, MA
October 28, 2008 8:30pm

This was a very interesting listen. I had not known about Rogan and Anderson.

Unfortunately I am all too familiar with Jenny McCarthy. You should be interested in her changing of history here:
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1598 ... she is not being very consistent.

Also, I would like to tell you that the link to Lt. Com. Bidlack's letter is broken. Someone who is obviously not secure in his/her belief Sylvia Browne's talents and beliefs has taken advantage of website owner's health and hijacked the site. It has been vandalized (though from a thread on the JREF forum some computer savvy folks are looking into it).

HCN, Wacky Washington Way out West
October 28, 2008 8:35pm

On second though, I guess it's fair to say that Oprah's fame does not PRIMARILY stem from propagating nonsense.

But then, Pat Robertson's fame doesn't stem from dispensing medical advice, yet he does just that on the 700 Club, featuring stories about faith healing.

Max, Boston, MA
October 28, 2008 8:57pm

Timmeh: I thought of that too after some brain picking. I feel it a waste of tax funds. So it got my wheel's spinning.

Max: This would make for good PR with the public and tax payers.

Science may later learn they are real. A good saying I like is: A lack of evidence, is not evidence of nothing. The truth and time will tell in the long run.

Greg Droder, Kamloops, BC, Canada
October 28, 2008 9:32pm

Greg,

The saying is: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

But if someone claims to be able to walk through walls, and then bumps his head trying, that provides evidence of absence. Every failure adds evidence of absence, until the claim is discredited.

Max, Boston, MA
October 28, 2008 10:27pm

When I read the title of the podcast I thought to myself: "I hope that J McCarthy and Winfrey are on that list". BAM! Number 2 and number 1 respectively. I loved this list and totally agreed with it. (Although I do love Maher's show).

Johnny, Xalapa, México
October 29, 2008 12:20am

'Prince Charles probably the most influential man in the United Kingdom' - where the heck did you get an idea like that? Bernard Hughes was spot on in his assessment. We're a lot less reverential of royalty's ideas than you seem to think.

How many Americans look to George Bush for medical advice?

Andy Hunt, Gateshead
October 29, 2008 2:01am

Prince Charles the most influential man in the UK? Really? Are you kidding me? Evidence please?

This oddity aside, this was another good episode.

Benedict Cohen, Bristol
October 29, 2008 3:15am

I might as well point out for now the link to the open letter doesn't work. I think that might be because the site has been hijacked.

Probably better to go to the wayback machine and searching the url there.

Karl, Adelaide
October 29, 2008 5:46am

Good on you for slipping in a mention of the awful, mercifully-ex Health Minister of South Africa, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. Probably the one person who has done most to hinder Aids awareness in the country. Secretly hoping she chokes on her African potato!

Anna, South Africa
October 29, 2008 6:11am

I didn't know Chuck Norris was a creationist! Why Chuck, why!?!?
On the other hand, that opens up a whole new realm for Chuck Norris jokes.
Great episode, as usual!

JD, Peoria, IL
October 29, 2008 7:23am

In response to #7

The Holocaust was to Enlightenment era scientific rationality, as the Crusades was to Medieval era Christianity.

Every atheist I know jumps at the chance to use the atrocities of the Crusades as proof that religion is a bad thing. Isn't Ben Stein's use of the Holocaust the same argument?

Ben Ivey, Clinton, MS
October 29, 2008 7:33am

I'm a relatively big Bill Maher fan and didn't realize his beliefs on these issues. The only one that really comes up on his show is he slips in some PETA nonsense and no one ever laughs. In fact in those moments you can almost hear the collective eye-roll of his panel and audience. I was really disappointed to find out his views on medicine and whatnot. I think the saving grace on this is, sort of how no one has done more for anti-Scientology than Tom Cruise, no one makes PETA look worse than PETA. Their ideas are so preposterously stupid that no one in gen-pop takes them seriously. The only thing that makes the last big idea from PETA not the dumbest thing you've ever heard is the next PETA idea. They actually build a following with the saner low-level things that, if they knew better, the people would join their local humane society.

Recent PETA Blunders I can name off the top of my head:

1) Ben and Jerry's should use breast milk (as in Human milk) in their ice cream
2) Put signs along the mexican border advertising that we eat so much meat here that we might die early.
3) The donkey thing Brian mentioned. (though, unless this has happened more than once I seem to recall no one else was hurt.)

Pat Robertson might have a big following, but for the most part he's preaching to the choir. Oprah's audience is sleep deprived over-worked moms and the unemployable. They don't have these beliefs she helps spread already. Pat Robertson's following is already in the bag.

Jeremy Lindgren (vita10gy), Eau Claire, WI
October 29, 2008 7:57am

"Prince Charles the most influential man in the UK? Really? Are you kidding me? Evidence please?

This oddity aside, this was another good episode."

Benedict,

Well, yes that statement could technically be considered as correct.

Could it not be said that the Queen, as the official head of state, is the most powerful person in the UK and therefore the most influential? I would say, technically, yes. Well, following that logic, Prince Charles is the next in line for the thrown and therefore would be considered the most "influential MAN in the UK."

Again, I say technically ...

Brian, as expected, another great episode. Thank you.

Mike Kasun, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
October 29, 2008 8:04am

I think they are saying that Brian was implying that Brits stop and think to themselves "What would Prince Charles Do?" (WWPCD?) in their day to day lives. I very much doubt this is the case. I also very much doubt this is how Brian pictures the UK, or is what he meant.

It's true that no one would turn to GWB for medical advice either, but someone with such a prominent role believing something crazy does give it a certain amount of credence.

It also does have a direct impact because, for example, it would be hard to pass a law that made it illegal to practice homeopathy as medical treatment if one of the biggest proponents is one of the heads of state.

Jeremy Lindgren (vita10gy), Eau Claire, WI
October 29, 2008 9:01am

Another fine episode. This will be the one I play for people when I'm suggesting your podcast.

On the topic of Bill Maher, being anti-religious (especially organized religion) is a fairly common trait of extreme-left whack-jobs. To them, corporations, the government, all religions, and the Tri-lateral Commission conspire together to keep us from being healthy, happy, high on pot, and acheiving one-ness with the universe.

This correlation obviously does not endorse organized religion nor does it discredit atheism, but it is an unfortunate fact, as evidenced by pundits like Maher and others, who might seem to be advocates for rational thought, or may just be anti-establishment nuts who speak well.

(I'm not really familiar with Bill Maher outside of his role in "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" but this seems to be the impression I'm getting of him)

Morgan, Tracy, CA
October 29, 2008 9:07am

Well I watched that Anti-Pharma clip Brian linked to live and I didn't really come away with it thinking Bill thought medicine was evil.

The most "conspriacy" sounding he got was talking about how it's better for "Big Pharma" if there are sick people. Which is, of course, true.

When I first watched that clip I just took it as "Bill thinks were a nation of over-prescribed people who are too quick to look to a pill to solve our problems." In that light, he has some valid points.

It's funny though how a clip can take on a different meaning once you know someone's agenda.

Jeremy Lindgren (vita10gy), Eau Claire, WI
October 29, 2008 10:21am

While I think PETA is horrible and frequently quite wrong, I don't see where in #6 harmful psuedoscience is being propagated, just harmful political agendas. Without evidence of such this becomes less a critical analysis and more a political statement itself...

Ray, Tampa, FL
October 29, 2008 11:24am

Head of State? Well no he isn't his mother is and no most British people take very little notice of the Royal Family in general as they are considered to be o bunch of inbred hereditary freeloaders. Those Brits that are Royalists are by and large realists as well and would have little to do with this type of quackery.
Also they have no role in the government of the UK other than to rubber stamp what the lower house of Parliament legislates on. So if he was King of England and stood up against a law he could not refuse to give it royal ascent with triggering a constitutional crisis, which he would probably loose hands down and he would probably have the sense not to do it anyway. If you don't believe me remember he nearly got thrown out on his ear for remarrying as strictly speaking he should not have and that was just the groundswell from the Church of England. Remember last time one his family did something wacky like marrying and American they got thrown out.

Influence? No sorry he has been considered a joke for the last 30 to 35 years at least and there is a strong movement to bypass him in the event of his mother death for one of his children. However that will not happen, see above Constitutional crisis.

John M Howitt, London, England
October 29, 2008 12:24pm

I think you should include a special award for "Every Local TV News Producer" for their heroic but under-appreciated efforts in promoting quackery and idiocy. Sure, the Oprahs and PETAs of the world are the famous "diva" whackjobs, but local TV provides the constant, daily chorus. "Tonight on Five at Five: How to Protect Yourself -- AND YOUR CHILDREN!"

Cambias, Amherst
October 29, 2008 12:31pm

A splendid episode, as usual.
However, I must say that you cannot refer to Prince Charles as "perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom", as this is so far from the truth. Ask any Brit (even the most ardent royalist) and they'll tell you that Prince Charles is a living joke.

Samuel Golten, Manchester, UK
October 29, 2008 4:48pm

Ben says:
<quote>The Holocaust was to Enlightenment era scientific rationality, as the Crusades was to Medieval era Christianity.

Every atheist I know jumps at the chance to use the atrocities of the Crusades as proof that religion is a bad thing. Isn't Ben Stein's use of the Holocaust the same argument?</quote>

Absolutely not! The crusades were about regaining "holy" (christian) territory from the muslims. Faith vs faith. To say the crusades were fueled by religion IS accurate.

The holocaust was produced by the idea of a superior race and nationalism. It was all politics. you cannot blame Science or the enlightenment. That is ridiculous.

Johnny, Xalapa, México
October 29, 2008 8:29pm

I was going to do the pass the buck game and tell everyone that Hitler was a Catholic. I even had a ton of quotes to prove my case, such as:

"Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church."

But that would be meaningless because for every quote I find, another person can use the same technique.

Joseph Furguson, Brawley, Ca
October 29, 2008 8:43pm

Is Oprah Winfrey really the wealthiest woman in the world?

"Liliane Bettencourt is the wealthiest woman in the world with a fortune around 22.9 billion, which makes her the 17th wealthiest person in the world, reports Forbes magazine. Ms. Bettencourt is the 2nd wealthiest person in her homeland of France. She inherited her money from her father, Eugene Schueller, the founder of the cosmetic company L'Oreal, of which she owns 27% of."

Source: http://www.socyberty.com/People/Five-Wealthiest-Women-in-the-World.122601

Andrew, Melbourne
October 29, 2008 9:34pm

The Crusades were about rescuing the Byzantines from the Muslims in order to repair the schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. About as political as it gets, but that's typical of organized religion.

Max, Boston, MA
October 29, 2008 10:39pm

The pot calling the kettle black: pro-oil/anti-environment James Inhofe picking fights with PETA. Surely his "global warming is a hoax" mantra is more damaging than any Pam Anderson cash grab.

Scotty, Tulsa, OK
October 29, 2008 11:21pm

Chuck, how could you? How can the man who gives the boogie man nightmares and who himself only sleeps for thirty minutes every two weeks-with his eyes open and a pissed look on his face-sink so low? JD, from Illinois is right, that this does allow some new jokes. In fact, it does back up one of my favorites: In the beginning, god said, "let there be light." and Chuck Norris said, "say please." Also, if he is a creationist, it defends this one too: "Chuck Norris slept through the big bang." Hey, that one is even more appropriate than I thought. Anyway chuck, (no capital now) you've let us down.

On the plus side, another awesome episode Brian! I found your podcast a few months ago when I discovered podcasts themselves. You do a fantastic job discrediting stupid beliefs and do a tremendous public service to all. Keep it up!

Steven Zuber, Colorado
October 29, 2008 11:43pm

You have to love the phrase "evidence-based medicine". What he is actually talking about is "school-medicine". What's the difference?

School-medicine denies the use of "alternative medicine" because it doesn't fit into their model of the human body. (They don't check if it works.) They have a simplistic of the human body and the causes of illnesses. To the most part they ignore the psychosomatic effects which cause sickness or too some part can heal sicknesses. The body is viewed as a couple of on/off-switches

"Healing because of your faith" is not pseudo-science it's called the placebo effect. Granted: It doesn't work on all sicknesses but we don't know any realistic number because the "evidence-based medicine" doesn't any research on it.

I would love to see some evidence-based medicine but so far the school-medicine is more filled with dogmas than the alternative medicine.

My only advice: Test what works for you and be careful before you make your body a landfil for tablets. (Some of it makes extremly addictive)

myself (ad) jschoder.de

Joachim Schoder, Munich, Germany
October 29, 2008 11:59pm

We have a candidate for the next Listener Feedback episode.

Max, Boston, MA
October 30, 2008 4:46am

For those who love alternative medicine, here are some more things you could try that is not part of 'school-medicine' or evidence-base medicine:
-bloodletting
-consult a Voodoo-priest
-any skinproblems can be treated by covering them with wolfskin
-trepan your mentally ill friend (this means drilling a hole in his skull)
-and anyone who suffers from smallpox has forgotten to hang red curtains round his bed.
-drinking quicksilver or mercury will help you live longer.

And I pray to God daily that homeopathy isn't right about the memory of water. After all, what do we use in our toilets?

And I completely agree with Chuck Norris: teach the creation by God as science. But then I will have to insist that the Cosmic Egg, the defeat of Tiamat and the dismembering of Ymir be taught as science too. Lets not forget alternatives to the alternative...

And by the way Joachim: the placebo effect IS researched by 'school-medicine', that's where the name comes from! The effect is also used by regular doctors.
And yes, sometimes doctors prescribe too much pills. But don't blame science for the mistakes any human can make...

To say it with the words of Immanuel Kant: please, DARE TO THINK!

And while you are at it: think things all the way through. If water has a memory and a very thin solution is extremely powerful, you don't want to drink any that has come out of rivers or oceans with fish swimming in it, because you would be drinking.... that's right.

Sabine, Belgium
October 30, 2008 5:27am

I think this is my favorite podcast of yours. This top 10 list needs to be promoted and repeated as often as possible, in the hope that regular people will see these idiots for what they are--idiots!

Mark, Huntsville, AL
October 30, 2008 6:31am

Brian - how do you define "influential"? I can not think of a single way in which Prince Charles is the "most influential" man in the United Kingdom. Not political, not intellectual, not scientific, not social, not nothing. He's like the old smelly dog in the corner - still around out of habit rather than either duty or love.

Princess Di - yes. Newspapers and magazines taking "the alternative view" would reference Princess Diana when discussing colonic irrigation or psychics or hot rocks or whatever. But not Prince Charles. Not one. Not once. He's got far more respect and influence outside the UK than he ever had here.

Read our newspapers - visit our country - check for yourself.

Keep up the good work. Skeptoid is compulsive weekly listening.

All the best

Ben W.

Ben W, West Yorkshire, UK
October 30, 2008 3:16pm

Thank you! Great list :) I was surprised and pleased to see McCarthy at #2, and Ograh at #1. I totally agree with the rest too.

www.stopjenny.com, Canada
October 30, 2008 5:43pm

Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. But he dont cry, so your gonna die, sucka.

Marius vanderLubbe, Nullabour Plain, Austraila
October 30, 2008 7:00pm

"[Larry King] hits them hard, asks them the tough questions, puts them on the spot."

I am sure this is the first time anyone said that of Larry King. The second was when Timmeh quoted you and accurately pointed out that it is precisely because he doesn't do this it all, that he is able to get such good interviews.

Larry King has a very well known reputation for soft ball questions; he has admitted to not reading the books of his author guests or really doing any preparation a journalist would do.

Usually you're so meticulously researched, and, I thought, an aspiring TV producer. I was really taken aback when I heard this. Though I suppose your point still stands. I just thought it was a weak point in an otherwise very well put together argument.

Granny Tettey, Hartford, CT
October 30, 2008 7:30pm

Montel will have a show again.

Tokorona Shinjitsu, Puyallup, WA
October 30, 2008 8:50pm

Tonight is an almost "Perfect Storm" vortex of suck, with Ben Stein as guest on Larry King. I only hope that Jenny calls in about those nasty vaccines, and Joe Rogan counters with "proof" that we never developed vaccines, and that all vaccines were administered on a faked moonscape in Nevada.....

Patrick Lawrence, Portland, OR
October 30, 2008 9:14pm

I wanted to correct my own flight of fancy there. I said:

"Newspapers and magazines taking "the alternative view" would ... not [reference] Prince Charles. Not one. Not once."

If I'm to be factually correct then I must admit that some may have referenced him some times.

But the point that I and many others have made still stands: he has very limited influence on people in the UK in any form. He's seen as a complete irrelevence, really.

Sorry about the exaggeration in my previous comment.

Ben W

Ben W, West Yorkshire, UK
October 31, 2008 2:43pm

"You may be disappointed that this is not simply a list of Hollywood Scientologists. On the contrary, I think Tom Cruise deserves a medal. He's done more to discredit Scientology than anyone else. "
don't worry he's already been given at least one. there is a reason why he's in that colt. they will do just about anything to pamper his ego.

celesitla-salamander, Australia
October 31, 2008 5:29pm

You know, as much as the Brits hate the royal family, the people over on this side of the Pond still care about them. We do not see them as the huge welfare queens that they are because we are still swept up in the mystique of royalty that we actually care about the figurehead "rulers" of the country we told to piss off.

I guess that is why someone like Prince Charles still matters to Americans.

Kind of reminds me of an observation I heard. There were these two princesses, cousins of Prince Charles, in charge of some small island that no one ever visits. The British Government, fearing a recession, needed to cut costs. The government asked the princessess to give up the stipend when they turned 30 to save the country money. These two princess said "no way in hell!"

After this happened, parliment said "oh well, we tried! Let's find some other way to save money."

Joseph Furguson, Brawley Ca
October 31, 2008 10:29pm

Brian,

Thanks for this list. Many of these I knew about (I guessed Jenny M. would make #2 or #3, but couldn't guess who would beat her out), but a few were news to me. I'm bummed to see Bill Maher on the list. I've been a big fan of his for a long time, but was not aware of his PETA association nor his anti-pharma standings. Given his other anti-conspiracy voice, I'm surprised and disappointed by this. I'll have to be more critical when I watch him now.

As always, this is one worth sharing, and I'll try to get more people informed.

Randy Graham, Memphis, TN
November 1, 2008 9:10am

Corrected link to the Open Letter to Montel:
http://stopsylvia.com/articles/openlettertomontel

The new website due to some scummy psychic link farm buying the other site name when Robert Lancaster is recovering from a stroke.

HCN, Wacky Washington Way out West
November 1, 2008 1:41pm

I too am very disappointed in Bill Maher, but he also believes in astrology, said so on his old Politically Incorrect show when Steve Allen was a guest, so it seems he makes up his own truth.

bennett, Los Angeles
November 1, 2008 9:21pm

PETA? Please.

I'm a firm critic of PETA. Their politics, morality and actions.
But that is the difference - political, morality.
Some of our great skeptics(Bill included and Penn and Teller for a good example) have been veering off the skeptic path in my opinion. There are reasons to be skeptic of PETA claims if in fact they're unfactual. That is the skeptic role. As bill himself noted(but doesn't always follow) some questions aren't to be answered by evidence and scientific tools. They're questions of ethics and opinion.
In the instances PETA may be hypocritical, yeah sic em. The rest of the time it isn't a matter for skeptics(when playing that role, they are allowed for personal opinios of course, just in different settings).
Again I find PETA to be abhorrent and plain stupid, but keep that to the pundits and out of skepticism.

Shahar Lubin, SaPa, Vietnam
November 1, 2008 11:30pm

Like all extremists, PETA promotes any claims that support its ends, regardless how factual they are, from discounting the scientific utility of animal testing, to last month's "got autism?" campaign alleging "a link between cow's milk and autism".

It's never enough for extremists to argue on moral grounds alone. They have to distort the facts as well.

Max, Boston, MA
November 2, 2008 8:48am

Prince Charles, the most influential man in the United Kingdom?

NO!

Hardly anyone here takes his political or 'scientific' opinions seriously.

Daniel Titley, UK
November 2, 2008 10:24am

Does not matter what is going on in England. People in America still give a flip about him.

Joseph Furguson, Brawley, Ca
November 2, 2008 11:03am

I have the fact the Prince Charles is stepped on the SCAM bandwagon. But that is only because I remember him appearing on Tomorrows World in the mid-90s presenting an award for Science/Invention (I can not remember which.)

Scott Harrison, Durham, England
November 2, 2008 1:07pm

Yet another great podcast but when I listened to the comments about Prince Charles I nearly fell off my chair. Maybe the view from across the pond is different but to call Charles "perhaps the most influential man un the UK" is so wrong ! I like Charles and am a firm royalist but most people I know would agree that his views are often at best ill informed and flaky. His views on Homeopathic cures is a good example of this. You only have to read the british press to know how little respected his views usually are !! No way should he have been in the top 10.

david rich, windsor, england
November 3, 2008 11:43am

Haha, strange, but I had no idea Rogan was such a conspiracy nut in the Roswell, tinfoil hat definition. As a rabid MMA fan, and hearing some of his stand up all I've heard were some ramblings about DMT and the cosmos. Typical stoner talk really.

Other than that, it's a shame there's such a pro-creationism, anti-science, fundamentalist lobby still around.

Faustis J. Whethermen, U.S.
November 3, 2008 1:20pm

Mr. Dunning do you have the stones to lay these claims upon Monsieur Rogan? For he is of the order of the prostegious jiu jitsu. My dear sir Monsieur Rogan may partake in the druthers that causes one to question the validity of most however he wraps more charlottes than your equinox could possibly fathom.

John, Rambo
November 3, 2008 6:22pm

It's pretty sad to hear about all this nonsense that these people spread. I have always enjoyed the work of Maher, but I have known for some time that he is a anti-science nut. I have debated that point with others of the religious persuasion, when they point to him as a "typical atheist". I tell them that I am an atheist, but atheism does not guarantee rationalism. It is a single answer to a single question. There is no atheist doctrine, which allows for claims of all sorts of nonsense to pass by completely unchallenged.

Great piece, Brian.

Azmodan Kijur, NF, Canada
November 4, 2008 10:36am

Two comments. #6 for Pamela Anderson didn't make any statements about pseudoscience involved here, just an argument that PETA isn't good at promoting its proscribed objectives.

Also, could you point me to the point in Bill Maher's linked youtube video where he says that "Big Pharma conspire to keep everyone sick by prescribing drugs." He seems to just be claiming that there are better (proven) preventative measures to being healthy that Big Pharma isn't going to tell you about.

Ryan, Canada
November 4, 2008 3:11pm

I don't like PETA much either but quoting Sen. Imhofe as support is just wrong-headed. He's described people who believe in global warming (at all, not just man-made) as "eco-Al Qaeda"

Simon, Seattle
November 5, 2008 5:41am

I have to weigh in on this as I think people like those on the list balance out the world from the rest of the idiots that fester the earth. I think Rogan is on to something, Oprah is a fat blow-hard and Larry King's nuts probably look like a sling with raisins in it. Finally, Pamela Anderson and those PETA idiots have the right idea to be heard but truthfully need to read some Darwin and worry about the starving, diseased children in our own backyards.

D sausage one love, Fort Dicks
November 5, 2008 5:58am

Thank you for this post. I like Oprah, but I hate is when she promotes pseudoscience like The Secret.

But Acai juice is the real thing. Send me an email for information on this new miracle juice!

Instafaggot, Minneapolis
November 5, 2008 2:31pm

As a Brit I object! Prince Charles "perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom"? Well, 'perhaps' is a weasel word that may let you off the hook. (Like 'may').

He's regarded as an eccentric by the people I talk to, and has a long history of bizarre and oft-quoted (and chuckled over) pronouncements.

Entertaining yes, but influential? I doubt it.

But wait, is that the clang of Traitors' Gate I hear? Now they're coming to take me away.....

Roy

Love your podcasts. I discovered them a few months ago, and listened whenever I could over the course of three weeks.

Roy Grubb, Hong Kong
November 6, 2008 3:41am

I know it's been said. But I do feel strongly about it and believe it is worth repeating and probably a mention when we have another edition of 'things I'm wrong about'.

Brian, you are of course a phenomenal skeptic and one of those I look up to in the skeptical movement but:-

Prince Charles is NOT 'perhaps the most influential man' even in his own household let alone the wider UK. We have a parliamentary democracy over here with the royal family restricted almost entirely to a ceremonial role which has absolutely no bearing on policy or legislation. All power in the UK is vested in European Institutions, our democratically elected MP's, members of the House of Lords and the Judiciary. This is also why the press and public get so ruffled when Prince Charles opens his mouth it is because he is speaking ultra vires.

Moreover on a public opinion note, even the naive believers who swallow all forms of pseudo-science treat damn near everything Prince Charles asserts with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Worse, far, far worse are the Blair family (previous PM and first lady) who despite giving the public every assurance on MMR, refused to confirm whether their baby had the combined jab. This sent compliance plumeting way below 70%. We are now staring a measles epidemic in the face. One which will inevitably and sadly lead to preventable deaths. Surely, this evil act is much more deplorable than a few comments on 'grey goo' from an irrelevant toff?

Please see Goldacre for more

Adam, Hove, UK
November 6, 2008 7:18am

I'll start by saying I'm a great fan of Skeptoid, and of all the other great work you do promoting skepticism - but I think in this instance a little more research would perhaps have avoided mildly insulting your British audience by suggesting anyone outside of batty old ladies with too many cats and an unfortunate attachment to porcelain memorabilia takes anything any member of the Royal Family says at all seriously.

I have to agree with the other Brits on this one. Prince Charles is, like all of the Royal Family - and most of the Royal Families of Europe, largely ornamental. Think of them less as heads of state, and more along the lines of castles - interesting historical artefacts, ultimately outdated, kept around largely because of nostalgia.

I do think that the Prince's alt-med funding malarkey is a vast waste of time and money, not to mention stupid as only the inbred can be, but at least he's not following his father's example and traveling the world hurling politely phrased racist epithets at anyone he meets.

There's a point actually - if the Royals really were that influential, it would be perfectly socially acceptable to refer to asian people as "slitty eyed." (Yes, Prince Philip really did use that phrase. In public. Yes, the entire nation simultaneously smacked their heads against the nearest convenient hard surface.)

Other than that, excellent episode - Oprah's influence is, frankly, terrifying.

Grace, Bristol, UK
November 7, 2008 1:20am

It should be noted that Montel Williams resigned his commission, he did not retire, therefore does not hold the rank of LCDR.

Matthew Schramel, Mosul, Iraq
November 12, 2008 4:55am

I reckon they should do what they want.
Its their views so why should we bother.
But they shouldent Promote it on Tv.

Stefan Hewitt, London
November 12, 2008 6:18am

I think calling Oprah "dangerous" is a bit much. Sure, she'll swallow anything you put on her plate, and she's the top of the list in terms of influence. She can't be more dangerous, though, than Jenny McCarthy. Oprah tends to have a short memory and it wouldn't surprise me if she were to have Jenny McCarthy one week, then the following week have an episode about the importance of vaccination. Flaky and inconsistent? Absolutely. Dangerous? Not likely.

Dan the Man, Omaha, NE
November 12, 2008 8:44am

Dan,
Oprah did say she didn't eat beef anymore (I beleive due to fear of mad-cow), and the beef industry took a serious financial hit. That kind of influence coupled with being flaky and uncritical is dangerous.

Morgan, Tracy ,CA
November 12, 2008 10:44am

Dan the Man,

You have to be joking. 90% of the public couldn't even tell you what Jenny does/doesn't believe. Oprah is a kingmaker. She really might be the most influential person period, in the world, in term of "she speaks, people react."

If you don't believe me, read some horror stories of working in a book store when Oprah adds a new book to her list. (Well, it's not so bad now, because book companies/stores coordinate with her ahead of time.) Half the time people didn't know the author, the plot, or anything about it, "It's blue and it's the Oprah book." They still HAD to have it.

Her favorite things episodes cause such an influx of customers that many smallish companies can't even handle it.

As mentioned before, she mentioned she didn't want to eat meat, and the meat industry took such a noticeable financial hit they sued her.

She also devotes a lot of her time to "woo" and might deserve to top this list just for the way she promoted "The Secret".

I guess what you're saying is that if a person listens to Oprah they buy a stupid book, if they listen to Jenny, they die. However, it's the lack of critical thinking promoted by Oprah that's likely contributing to the others on this list. I don't think that her massive, albeit someone indirect, influence can be overlooked.

In other words, there's a good chance that if someone didn't spend an hour a day watching Oprah talk about every quack medical idea, they would be more likely to realize that Jenny is a quack.

Jeremy Lindgren (vita10gy), Eau Claire, WI
November 12, 2008 1:21pm

Your listing of Bill Maher and Pam Anderson is gratuitous since you make the claim that PETA supports terrorist organizations and is not an accountable charity but never show any evidence that PETA is promoting any misinformation, pseudoscience, or unscientific claims.
Brian, I know you hate all things vegan and vegetarian but the scientific evidence is very good that the products of animal agriculture have unhealthy consequences both for the individuals consuming them and for the environment not to mention causing unnecessary suffering. If anything, PETA is showing people the truth of how animal products get to their table which is something most people enjoy being blissfully unaware of. I don't agree with many things PETA does (certainly I think the Holocaust is exploited for many claims) but they are most definitely trying to pop the bubble of ignorance surrounding the majority of the public who eat the standard American diet. Wouldn't that qualify as spreading truthful information?
Ahmadinejad is a celebrity who gives money to terrorist organizations and denies the holocaust and he's certainly harder to look at than Pam. I'm disappointed that you included PETA who might be dangerous and irritating (to you). Regardless of their sensationalistic tactics you can't say they are spreading any unscientific claims.

Diana Fleischman, Austin, Texas
November 14, 2008 7:07am

PETA does all kinds of things, almost all of which are unscientific, and some are harmful.

1. They distributed pamphlets to school children which contained cartoons depicting all the harmful things cows milk would do to them.

2. They believe people should consume people milk, one reason of which is all the drugs we inject into the cows. They ignore all the drugs people are taking and all the disease this could spread. Drinking the milk of another species is advantageous because not many diseases can be passed along.

3. The posted billboards stating that drinking milk caused Autism.

So there's 3 different things I could name of the top of my head, or find with minimal research effort, regarding their anti-milk campaign alone.

Jeremy Lindgren (vita10gy), Eau Claire, WI
November 14, 2008 9:55am

1. Cow's milk can do unhealthy and harmful things to you and without any of the facts they stated I can't defend their claims. The milk industry is certainly guilty of spreading misinformation about the healthful properties of milk. For example they claim that milk aids weight loss, patently false.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/06/AR2005060601348.html

you know, because calves lose so much weight drinking milk.

2. People DO consume human milk. The drink breast milk not cow's milk campaign was tongue in cheek. If you don't know, many of the diseases that plague the human species came from domesticated animals so you are wrong that there is less disease risk with the milk of another species. Why do you think milk is pasteurized?

3. Milk proteins have been associated with autism
see
http://www.biodia.com/TechnicalCharts/345-390AbChildAutMilk.pdf

but I agree that there is no evidence that milk CAUSES autism. Still, when pressed they tried to use scientific articles to back up their claims. That's more than what any of the other people on the list do (do you see Montel or Jenny McCarthy or Oprah bolstering their claims with peer reviewed journal articles?). So my contention is
a) Brian did not mention any unscientific misinformation that PETA has spread and still put them on this list
and
b) while they may be spreading exaggerated claims based on science they are not fabricating claims out of whole cloth like many others on this list.

Diana Fleischman, Austin, Texas
November 14, 2008 1:45pm

PETA, the anti-vaccine people, the AIDS "skeptics", the anti-stem cell research people, the intelligent designists, they all distort science to justify their conclusions, which they reached for moral or other non-scientific reasons (animal rights, civil liberty, sanctity of human life, faith in a Creator).

If your main argument is on moral grounds, just say so.

Max, Boston, MA
November 19, 2008 4:28am

This is very interesting and mostly I agree with what you say but I have a few disagreements. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "alternative medicines" but I'd have to say that there are some alternatives to medicines that do work for instance a lot of herbs and natural oils with special properties definitely have effects (although they tend not to be as strong as regular medicine). I mean after all a lot of medicine is just refined from natural sources. So i think it is unfair to dismiss everything that doesn't fall under "scientific" medicine as false. Secondly I know personally of people dealing with autism and if you are autistic your diet can be very important take a look at this site

http://www.autism.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1385&a=3368

and that's from the National Autistic Society.

There is no "cure" for Autism this is correct but there have definitely been improvements through various treatments, including diet. I know it's good to question things just like I am doing with you're article but I can't help feeling that you start off with a bias towards discrediting, if you think about it, you discrediting something that works such as specific diets for some autistic people because you think it's pseudoscience is exactly the same as these celebrities saying regular medicine is bad. I think it's not quite as black and white as you paint it theres things that work coming from both sides and you can't generalise that either one is completely right or wrong.

Chris, Scotland
November 21, 2008 8:29pm

"There is no "cure" for Autism this is correct but there have definitely been improvements through various treatments, including diet."
Chris, Scotland

But, according to your reference, the vitamin/diet courses don't "treat" autism. They counter the sleep and GI side-effects of autism (for example).
A few are even less specific, indicating merely "a high proportion of people on the autism spectrum have benefited from taking..." But doesn't indicate what the "benefit" is.
As you put it, there are "improvements through various treatments," but none of them address autism itself.

Lewayne, Near Des Moine
November 21, 2008 9:50pm

Lewayne, you're saying that relieving the symptoms doesn't "treat" the disease. This criticism is often leveled at Western medicine. Cold remedies, decongestants, anti-inflamatory drugs, laxatives, acid suppressors, statins, anti-depressants, painkillers, they all treat the symptoms rather than the causes. Still, they can save lives, improve quality of life, and "promote healing".

Max, Boston, MA
November 21, 2008 11:51pm

If there is no cure for a disease, the alternative is only to treat the symptoms until a cure is found. Autism is a great example, as are Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's. Doctors aim more to making the patient comfortable and stopping specific problems than ending the process all together. This is normally where the claim of " Big Pharma doesn't really cure diseases" comes from; Instead of seeing what is happening as a short-term fix while a long-term cure is being discovered, people shout that no one is doing anything.

Brandon, San Antonio, TX
November 24, 2008 8:38am

Max has pretty much said what i was going to say. If you think relieving someone of symptoms or "side-effects" does not come under treating someones illness then there's a hell of a lot of western medicine that you must think is pointless. If you can do something that makes the quality of life for someone better should you just forget about it because it's not an actual cure?

As for the benifits some are stated on the page:

"In a small ninety-day trial Patrick and Salik (2005) reported that 18 of 22 children with autism or Asperger syndrome taking a supplement of essential fatty acids displayed significant increases in their language and learning skills based upon a criterion referenced measure."

"The first time DMG was discovered to have a positive effect was in 1965 when two Russians, M G Blumena and T L Belyakova (Rimland, 1990, p.3), wrote about improvements in the speech of 12 out of 15 children with learning disabilities following use of calcium pangamate"

And if you looked at the bottom there's a bibliography with all the sources, so if you're really interested in the specific findings of each you can go read up.

Chris, Scotland
November 24, 2008 8:59am

There are a lot of people who confuse treating the symptoms of a disease with actually helping cure the disease. Some of these people are doctors! I can't tell you how many doctors I had to see before one was able to name my condition (a type of arthritis best known by its acronym, DISH). Why only one of more than a dozen specialists had ever even heard of this is appalling. It's sad that so few people stop with the opinion of one doctor instead of taking the skeptic's position that maybe Dr. X doesn't know as much as s/he would like to think.

Alesia, Denver, Colorado
November 29, 2008 5:07am

"you're saying that relieving the symptoms doesn't "treat" the disease."

No, I'm saying that treating a GI side effect is not the same as affecting the altered brain function of autism. There's a difference between "treating" (easing symptoms of __) and "curing" (eliminating the disease).
If vitamins ease the GI discomfort or sleep disorders that can be side-effects of autism and improve a patient's quality of life I'm all for it. If fatty acids can improve speech and learning, great. Hope they keep up the research.

But, that's different than "curing" autism.

As an example, using pain-killers to relieve cancer patients' pain treats a symptom, but doesn't make the cancer cells go away. Treats a side-effect, doesn't "cure" the patient. That's all I'm saying.

Apparently, there's an impression that I have something against western medicine. I haven't. I love it, use it whenever necessary, owe it my life. Prescriptions if warranted, surgery if necessary, vaccinations for my kids, all of it.
If anyone is likely to find a cure for any disease it's going to be traditional medicine.

Lewayne, Near Des Moines
November 29, 2008 8:30pm

From my first post,

"There is no "cure" for Autism this is correct"

The first thing I said on the matter was that I agreed there was no cure. You keep making the point that it's not a cure but I'm not quite sure who you're disagreeing with because I never said it was a cure in the first place.

I think you'll agree that someone reading through this article (but not the comments) would completely disregard diet as being of any benefit to anyone with autism.

If there is any truth to something (however small the truth...)it should be told, and there is a truth to diet being benificial to the life of someone with autism (not a cure but a benefit). The article should have posed a more balanced conclusion (on the diet, autism front) and that was my original point.

Chris, Scotland
November 30, 2008 6:10pm

"I'm not quite sure who you're disagreeing with because I never said it was a cure in the first place."

I think it began as a misunderstanding on my part. The way you phrased it "no cure... but has been shown to..." seemed, to me, akin to the type of thing I used to hear all the time when I worked with special needs kids (including autistics).
"I can't tell you this is a cure, but studies have shown that my snake oil has positive benefits for autistic children." Which parents always hear as "cure."
While my saying the following carries no weight beyond anecdote, none of the autistic children I worked with ever benefited measurably from any diet modification. However, none of them suffered from the GI side-effects either.

Lewayne, Near Des Moines
December 1, 2008 7:40am

A good diet is far more than 'good for you.' But you are right, that's about all doctors know about nutrition.

Many of our current disease 'epidemics' can be prevented and/or reversed by diet, exercise and sleep. And specific nutrients can be consumed or supplemented in therapeutic doses to treat symptoms just as well as the drugs doctors are so determined that we take.

BetterWays, Houston
December 2, 2008 7:43am

I have a son with autism and we did remove dairy, and gluten from his diet. The change in his behavior was almost immediate, it was remarkable. The one aspect that you never talk about in your article is if doctors come out and say vaccines are bad, then the pharmacutical companies that manufacture them are out billions of dollars. Sometimes money is more powerful than the truth. Everyone has a price even the medical community.

Tony, LA
December 16, 2008 3:21pm

"...we did remove dairy, and gluten from his diet. The change in his behavior was almost immediate, it was remarkable."

Assuming we gave this more weight than anecdote, by what means did this transformation occur? Or more specifically, what about dairy and gluten were responsible for (presumably) negative behavior?
I mean, I know people whose behavior is changed by the presence or absence of dairy and/or gluten, but it's because they have a dietary allergy to it. And the behavior is vomiting/diarrhea vs. not. Not good Bob vs. bad Bob.

"...if doctors come out and say vaccines are bad, then the pharmacutical (sic)companies that manufacture them are out billions of dollars."

Sure, but doctors (and by that I mean ones from accredited medical schools) aren't going to "...come out and say vaccines are bad..." because the damn things WORK. It really is that simple. No massive cover-up, no global conspiracy, no big payouts needed. It's actually possible that Big Pharma simply protects their investment by producing products that do what they're supposed to do-keep children from getting easily preventable and potentially fatal diseases. What better marketing is there than that? "Your child didn't die from Diphtheria, Tetanus or Pertussis, because they got a DTaP." "Your mom lived to give birth to you because she wasn't crippled or killed by Polio."

Not every corporation-produced product is inherently immoral or designed to screw the end-user for the purposes of higher profits.

Lewayne, Near Des Moines
December 16, 2008 8:06pm

How can you leave James Hansen of NASA from this list? His work has done more to promote the Global Warming hysteria than anyone besides Al Gore. This, despite several of his findings having been proven false--the ten warmest years on record happened in the last fifty years; this winter is the warmest ever, etc.

Kathi, New Port Richey, Florida
December 30, 2008 9:45am

Where are the scientologists on this list?

Ben, Dijon, France
January 7, 2009 3:16pm

I guess I should have read the article before I commented, instead of just glossing over the names. I guess I'm glib, lol.

Ben, Dijon, France
January 10, 2009 10:52am

Was interested to see Joe Rogan up there. Hadn't heard of him before (didn't know he was a comedian) but I watch a few talks he did on youtube about DMT (dimethyltryptamine) ages ago and found it very interesting and credible. His info on the subject seems to check out with other things I've heard but now I'm wondering is this more of a pseudoscience than a real occurance because he seems like a nut. ????????

Emma Rohrt, Sydney, Australia
January 15, 2009 9:37pm

Those who have stated that dietary modifications can alleviate some symptoms associated with autism are correct. Some autistic children have a reaction to gluten that is similar to being intoxicated. This can lead to certain "stimming" behaviors (called stimming because it is providing stimulation). Stimming might include but is not limited to repeated sounds, movements, or patterns.

Dietary modification, or a "gluten-free" diet would not be a comprehensive treatment for any autistic child. Research strongly indicates that the most effective method of treatment is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)Therapy. This should be started at as early an age as possible - as soon as the autism is noticed.

Jennifer, Detroit
February 23, 2009 7:20am

"Those who have stated that dietary modifications can alleviate some symptoms associated with autism are correct."
Jennifer, Detroit

Really?

"There's no evidence that special diets are an effective autism treatment."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01519

Lewayne, Near Des Moines
February 23, 2009 7:01pm

How comes, there are no "celebrity" scientologists listed here? They are seriously full of such pseudoscientific nonsense that such broadcasters are surely worth to be mentioned here.

Jill, Sunderland, UK
February 24, 2009 1:44am

LeWayne-I went to the link you gave and found the following quote:

"there is no scientific evidence to conclusively support or deny the claims that these autism diet interventions can or will make a significant improvement in the functioning of the child. However, it is recognized that some parents report improvements when dietary therapies are used."

As I stated, diet do not treat or cure autism. However,they may reduce "stimming" behavior. So in other words, I haven't seen them make a 'significant improvement' in functioning, but by reducing "stimming" behaviors they can make life for the child and parents a bit easier.

This is a newer innovation, to the best of my knowledge, and is a technique that an ABA therapist may choose to implement (as a small part of a well developed treatment plan)

Jennifer, Detroit
February 24, 2009 10:52am

Really? Because the entire text I found at the link says the following-
"There's no evidence that special diets are an effective autism treatment.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that has no known cure. For this reason, many frustrated parents turn to unproven alternative treatments — such as restrictive diets that eliminate gluten and casein — in an attempt to help their children.

Proponents of restrictive diets believe that casein, a protein found in dairy products, and gluten, a protein found in many grains, affect brain development and behavior — causing autism in some children. However, there's no evidence that diet triggers autism or that restricting gluten and casein improves autism symptoms. And for growing children, restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

If you're considering an alternative autism treatment, talk to your child's doctor. He or she can help you identify the treatments that are most likely to be effective for your child, as well as local resources that may provide additional support. If you decide to pursue a restrictive diet, work with a registered dietitian to create an appropriate meal plan for your child."

I didn't see "stimming".

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism/DS00348/DSECTION=treatments%2Dand%2Ddrugs
does say-"Though some families have reported good results with special diets and other complementary approaches, studies have not been able to confirm or deny the usefulness of these treatments."

Lewayne, Near Des Moines
February 24, 2009 7:07pm

The Mayo Clinic website that you used as an original source for our discussion has conflicting information on some of topics -all described in a very light way. Autism is extremely complex as is the treatment of the symptoms - far more complex than a Q and A website can begin to address.

I do agree that it is probably more appropriate for that website to firmly steer parents away from 'alternative treatments' and towards their family doctor as a starting point!

While there can be some good information on the web, I've found that websites that water down research for the public aren't great.

For more in depth research on autism and self-stimulating behavior (aka "stimming")you'll need to read peer-reviewed journal articles. You'll find some extremely recent studies that evaluate the links between some forms of stimming in certain children with the ingestion of gluten.

Here are just a few titles of some older articles that focus on stimming, but since they're from journals, you'll need to use pub-med or other scholarly search engine to read them. You will also be able to find them in journals at most university libraries:

Social influences on "self-stimulatory" behavior: analysis and treatment application.
VM Durand, EG Carr - Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1987 - pubmedcentral.nih.gov

Annotation: Repetitive behaviour in autism: A review of psychological research

M Turner - The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied …, 1999 - Cambridge Univ Pre

Jennifer, Detroit
March 2, 2009 2:07pm

Prince Charles latest debacle:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7934568.stm

It's reprehensible that a man with such pomp, circumstance, privildge and ultimatey influence should feel it necessary to try to profit from this pseudoscience nonsense by prying on the uneducated or misinformed. I'd vote for a Republic tomorrow if I had the chance.

Andrew Jarvis, Lancashire, UK
March 10, 2009 8:04am

Great list, but as a Briton I must take issue with your referring to Prince Charles as "perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom". For the record, virtually no one in Britain takes the opinions of members of the royal family at all seriously, even ardent monarchists. Charles, in particular, is a national joke, universally percieved as a weak, dull man whose primary occupation is waiting for his mother to die, and who will periodically come out with nonsense about talking to plants or nanorobots turning the planet into grey goo, etc. He has certainly said some pretty irrational things, but he doesn't belong on this list simply because no one actually gives a fuck what he thinks.

Tom Doran, Cardiff, Wales, UK.
March 10, 2009 11:00am

I agree that Jenny McCarthy is misinforming people, not because she believes that vaccines cause autism (they obviously do), but because she leads people to believe that vaccines can be "greened" by replacing the toxic ingredients with "green" alternatives.

For one thing, if all the toxic substances in vaccines were removed, there would be no vaccine left. Also, there is no need to vaccinate children in the first place; in fact, injecting babies and children with all manner of toxic crap with the intention of preventing diseases is a really bad and stupid idea, or, as Dr. H. Shelton has pointed out, "a form of delusional insanity."

In fact, apart from historical links and as a figment in people's imagination, vaccination has NOTHING whatsoever to do with disease prevention. It's all a hoax and about promoting ill-health to keep the wheels of the sickness industry turning.

Look at it as an organised criminal enterprise, an ugly and brutal racket and a means of turning our children into little morons and zombies.

Erwin Alber, Bangkok
March 14, 2009 3:05am

"In fact, apart from historical links and as a figment in people's imagination, vaccination has NOTHING whatsoever to do with disease prevention. It's all a hoax and about promoting ill-health to keep the wheels of the sickness industry turning."-Erwin Alber

I wonder how some people can still say things like this. Polio comes to mind when I think of a disease that has just about been eradicated thanks to vaccination.

The only fault I can find with this episode is the CDC website says that most of the childhood vaccines have eliminated or greatly reduced the amount of mercury in them. It did not say they had completely removed them as you claimed. That aside I find most of your podcasts extremely informative and entertaining.

Chuck Merchant, High Point, NC
March 14, 2009 2:08pm

I love how lefties are all about "science" except when it clashes with their anti-corporatism and environmentalism (especially nuclear power). What a bunch of ignorant hypocrites.

As for Bill Maher, he's a Jew. Many of the famous atheists are Jews. Revisit them in old age, however, and you suddenly find them embracing Judaism. Interesting.

J. L., Omaha
March 17, 2009 3:39pm

Great list. I think you forgot Suzanne Somers.

Jess, Toronto
March 18, 2009 6:30pm

Oprah Winfrey the most influential woman in the world? I didn't even know about her prior to readiong about her in skeptic (US-American) blogs. Seems strange and US centric to me.

M.C., Bergisch Gladbach
April 3, 2009 12:16pm

Larry King never asks tough questions to anyone.

Bob, Illinois
April 9, 2009 11:25am

J.L., Bill Mahr was raised CATHOLIC as he has stated numerous times.

I also believe his lineage to be from Ireland, not Israel.

As for your statement that most atheists are former Jews...well the burden of proof is on you for that one. Personally, I find such statements to be non-productive and lend no support to any credible argument.

psiEnergos, Phoenix, AZ
April 16, 2009 8:57am

I think you are completely biased about Jenny McCarthy. *shrug* Does YOUR child have autism? If they did, you would think differently.

Anonymous, Anywhere
April 23, 2009 1:32pm

If my child has autism, I would not go out and try to find the first cause and hold onto that as the reason for it. What I would do is not find a thing to scapegoat, like she did, and accept that it was my fault that the kid ended up that way. I would then learn how to handle my autistic child more effectively and not waste my time going around the country and try to stop what medical science has proven to be safe and effective.

So, no I would not feel the same way that she does. She did not do the research into autism and went to a few other sources that confirmed her conceited attitude.

Joseph Furguson, Brawley, Ca
April 23, 2009 5:33pm

Oprah and Jenny, #1 and #2, join forces to promote bullshit.

http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSTRE5430RD20090504

Max, Boston, MA
May 4, 2009 10:52am

How did tom Cruise miss your list? I do have a child with autism, diagnosed by doctors from just about every discipline, and he is really close to not being very much that way anymore and he was severe. I have years of labs and blood, hair and urine test to prove he in fact was poisoned by heavy metals, he indeed has immunity from vaccines, and he was not boosted after his 1 year vaccines and still has immunity from them, in fact he has 3.5 times the amount he should have. His body was not able to bring the virus down to a level he could tolerate and it scramble his eggs - can Humpty Dumpty be put together again? I've seen in 4 of my friends kids. Cancer used to be a death sentence and now it's not. Why then can autism not be cured? When you spend everyday of 6 years of your life up to your eyeballs in treatment and research, call me. Other wise PHD just stands for Piled Higher and Deeper.

Paulette, San Deigo
May 6, 2009 3:15pm

Paulette, reading your post was a little difficult, but what I think you are saying is that your son was diagnosed with autism, and that he is now improved. Is this correct?

Also, you are saying that he was poisoned by heavy metals (which I assume were related to early vaccination?).

As vaccines are created in batches, and many people are vaccinated from the same batch, is there a cluster of people who suffer from a) heavy metal poisoning and b) autism that has been linked to the same batch of vaccinations?

What treatment was undertaken for the heavy metal poisoning, and what heavy metals were involved?

How long after the vaccination was the diagnosis and analysis of heavy metal poisoning undertaken?

Measurable values of heavy metal are very unlikely to come from the tiny amounts that were in (and remain in some) vaccines - have you isolated all other sources of contamination with these heavy metals?

Also you mention that PhD stands for "Piled Higher and Deeper" - you do understand that the treatments for cancer you allude to were ... created by scientists using exactly the sort of science that is unable to find a link between vaccination and autism, right?

Brenton, New Zealand
May 6, 2009 4:42pm

How about no, I will not spend a lot of time looking at the research just for you because it is not necessary. You have demonstrated a point that I said earlier. Your child has autism and instead of accepting that it was your fault that your child is autistic, you go and find a scapegoat.

They took the heavy metals out of vaccines and the rates of autism have not gone down what more do you want?

Autism cannot be cured for the simple reason that it is a neurological disease. Those cannot be cured yet. Furthermore, they are caused by a genetic abnormality. That means you and your husband had to cause it.

Now, instead of going after a scapegoat, why don't you accept that your kids is autistic, learn how to cope with it, and move on with your lives.

When I have a child and if he or she is autistic, I am not going to blame it on a vaccine because I know that if vaccines caused autism, there would be more cases of it right now. I mean in the millions. I will accept that it was my fault and move on with my life.

What I am going to do is the responsible thing and ensure the herd is immune to mumps, measles, and rubella.

Joseph Furguson, Beawley, Ca
May 6, 2009 4:45pm

I'd have to disagree with your assertion that Larry King asks "the tough questions" of politicians and world leaders and the like.. he doesn't ask the tough questions of anyone.. his questioning style is akin to a slow-pitch softball game pitched by a cuddly teddy bear with suspenders who doesn't want to offend or upset anyone.

JP Shipley, Cambridge, MA
June 2, 2009 6:55am

Much as I love Skeptoid, Prince Charles has little influence in the UK. If it were Diana, however.....

The folks of the UK don't need royal endorsements of SCAMs, as it's the real aristocracy - low grade celebs - who help shape opinion and put snake oil in the kool aid.

While HRH's SCAM endorsements are a waste of public money, he's little to offer but for the converted.

(PS - my pounds, shilling and pence are on Harry donning the crown. Charlie notoriously doesn't get on with his mum.)

Trey, Prague
June 17, 2009 10:29am

What, no Pope?

Surely, you jest!

Phil Thompson, Port Talbot, South Wales
June 21, 2009 8:41am

You mention that Bill Maher is a PETA board member, yet according to PETA's website there are only three members of the Board of Directors and he isn't one of them. Maher claimed to be a director in a Larry King interview. Perhaps he was in the past, but the odd thing is that PETA seems to have always had only 3 board members, Newkirk and a pair of cronies.

N.A. Browne, San Diego, CA
July 25, 2009 4:28pm

THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE DRANK WAYYY TO MUCH OF THE KOOLAID. WAKE UP DUDE. YOU'RE WRONG ON ALMOST EVERY POINT YOU MADE. YOU'RE SO WRONG THAT IT CAN'T JUST BE A COINCIDENCE BUT RATHER A TACTIC OF ATTACKING CELEBS WHO ARE SPEAKING TOO MUCH TRUTH. SO ARE YOU BRAINWASHED PAL OR PAID TO ATTACK THEM?

WAYYYY SMARTER THEN THIS AUTHOR, CHICAGO
September 23, 2009 8:59pm

Oh let me see science based medicine, ya we can really depend on them to find a cure for cancer! They ask for donations and government money (it must add up to 100’s of Billions of dollars) to find a cure but they have not found a cure for a single disease in a half century not even Herpes let alone cancer, something is very wrong here. Cancer is an epidemic 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will have cancer in their life time. They say less people die from it and more survive. Ya, survival is a delightful way to live and it makes for a very good repeat cancer customer. If it wasn't such a tragedy for so many people it would be a colossal joke! Bill is a breath of fresh air and thinking in the one dimensional world of modern medicine. Paul

Paul Blake ND, Maung, Thailand
September 27, 2009 9:53pm

"we can really depend on them to find a cure for cancer!"

Are you serious?

Are you expecting a single pill that will instantly cure all types of cancers? Just because that does not exist does not mean there have been no cancer drugs in the past 50 years that have increased the chances for remission or life expectancy. Over the past 15 years, death rates from cancer has dropped by 20%.

My mother-in-law would have been dead 5 years ago if it wasn't for new cancer medications.

Mike Fuller, Indiana, USA
September 27, 2009 11:49pm

Measles vaccine: 1963
Pneumococcal vaccine: 1977
Invasive H. Flu vaccine: 1985
Pertussis vaccine: 1993
Chicken Pox vaccine: 1995

Source: http://tinyurl.com/lay6j2

Mike Fuller, Indiana, USA
September 28, 2009 12:54pm

"THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE DRANK WAYYY TO MUCH OF THE KOOLAID. WAKE UP DUDE. YOU'RE WRONG ON ALMOST EVERY POINT YOU MADE. YOU'RE SO WRONG THAT IT CAN'T JUST BE A COINCIDENCE BUT RATHER A TACTIC OF ATTACKING CELEBS WHO ARE SPEAKING TOO MUCH TRUTH. SO ARE YOU BRAINWASHED PAL OR PAID TO ATTACK THEM?"

Hahaha...your so funny, doing a parody of a too far gone conspiracy believer! Classic!

Surely this couldn't be anything but a joke......right?

Justin, Australia
October 27, 2009 8:12pm

Most of the list seems supportable by the facts. However, Pamela Anderson and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seem grossly out of place. PETA does do some goofy stuff, but how does pursuing the goal of reducing needless suffering of animals cause damage or harm to people and how does it practice pseudoscience? Let's assume there is a link to the Animal Liberation Front and that group does, in fact, physically attack facilities that harm animals. That does not constitute a pseudoscience that harms people. It isn't promoting pseudoscience, and it doesn't harm people. It fails to meet the criteria for this list on both counts. PETA does so much overall good in reducing the suffering of animals, and apart from their occasional nuttiness, it is truly a shame to put them and Pamela Anderson in the company of Ben Stein and Oprah Winfrey.

Daniel Torsen, Las Vegas
November 27, 2009 10:29am

I also don´t see how PETA is pseudo scientific. I rather would say PETA promotes an ideology than that it pretends being scientific in any way.
I personally would suggest Kirk Cameron & Ray Comfort for the list.

Valery Suprunov, Duesseldorf Germany
December 17, 2009 6:11am

""let me see science based medicine""

Wow, you admit it's science-based. I'm pleasantly surprised.

""we can really depend on them to find a cure for cancer!""

There is no single "cure for cancer" more than there is a single one "cure for heart disease" or "cure for poverty". We do, however, have many different cures for cancer, and at least one vaccine that I'm aware of.

""They ask for donations and government money (it must add up to 100’s of Billions of dollars)""

Irrelevant.

""to find a cure but they have not found a cure for a single disease in a half century""

That is one incredibly tall statement, and is of course not backed by reality the least bit. What we do have is new vaccines, better treatments, a better understanding of disease and the human body, and an increased life expectancy.

""not even Herpes let alone cancer""

I always wonder what people are on about when they say "they haven't even cured x". Just that a condition is mild compared to another condition doesn't mean it's necessarily easier to cure.

""They say less people die from [cancer] and more survive. Ya, survival is a delightful way to live and it makes for a very good repeat cancer customer.""

First you said medicala science hasn't improved, and now you state that science has indeed advanced when it comes to cancer... and paint that as bad, too.

Face it, if they were out only to make money by keeping you sick, we wouldn't have had vaccines - which HAVE eradicated several diseases entirely.

Safe-Keeper, Bergen, Norway
December 31, 2009 8:56pm

Prince Charles is the most dangerous person on this list. He has the ear of a whole government to whose members he apparently often writes with 'suggestions'. These are treated very seriously by the unfortunate recipients. It was he who e.g. managed to get UK taxpayers paying for homeopathy treatment for many thousands of people merely because he believe in it when every scientific test proves it to be totally ineffective for any disease.

Steve, UK
January 27, 2010 3:37pm

I'm also not sure why Pam Anderson/PETA is on this list. If they promote domestic terrorism, that's a different charge than promoting pseudoscience. It's reprehensible to equate the Holocaust with the suffering of animals, but that's not really an issue for science, is it?

Amanda M, Indiana
January 27, 2010 9:27pm

i just think Oprah is crazy and whats even crazier that oprah is all her devoted followers. how can you take marriage advice from someone who has never been married???? you really have to do research on wat celebs say coz they just say uninformed things. i kno no one is perfect, but still, its not cool. its crazy how celebs can say things and we just automatically believe them coz they have money and fame... well wat will their fame and money do for them when they die???? absolutely NOTHING

Linda Nonini, Seattle, WA
March 3, 2010 8:59pm

First of all, I don't think that the ELF or ALF count as terrorist groups. The UN definition of terrorism mean that they intentionally harm civilians. The Animal Liberation Front has never harmed a single human being. The FBI has expanded the definition to include destroying property with the soul intention of hurting political groups. This means if some kid eggs a house, they're a terrorist...

I also don't think the ALF/ ELF being supported by PETA has anything to do with science, either. Like somebody above said, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron didn't make this list despite spreading actual misinformation. I don't understand why PETA would for supporting a so-called terrorist group.

Greg, Gso, NC
March 22, 2010 11:28am

Ran across your site by accident looking for something else. Interesting that you give your opinions but do not back it up with any evidence.

Many many CAM or alternative therapies have evidenced-based research that helps to describe it physiological actions. You may refer to sites such as PubMed to look for basic science and clinical trial studies that have been conducted. Furthermore, the use of integrated/integrative medical practices, i.e. the use of conventional and alternative therapies is an emerging trend which appears to results in benefical sustained long term effects.

L. Price

Lisa Price, Seattle WA
August 25, 2010 10:57pm

Er, you might want to look at a few more episode transcripts. The claims of pseudoscience peddlers and alternative medicines have been talked about, at length with sources for evidence.

Tom H, Kent, UK
August 26, 2010 2:47am

Haha something that Christians and Athiests can agree on.

They all can't stand Oprah Winfrey.

Brian, Iowa
September 16, 2010 8:50am

What about the Pope? Telling Catholics of AIDS riddled Africa that condoms and contraception are sins?

It makes my blood boil when I see and hear such inhumane nonsense being touted to the crowded, sick and dying..

John Blackhall, Wonthaggi
September 20, 2010 10:57pm

John... The Pope is a crackpot bigot with a stupid-looking hat. It is pretty sick to see the church actively making the problem worse.

Also, Lisa... many of those studies about "integrative" therapies only contrast the effects of "integrative" therapy and the "alternative" therapy itself. At best, that just means alternative theories won't kill you.

nocturnesthesia, hamilton
September 28, 2010 7:31pm

Actually SCAMs has no causal evidence and there is no benefit evidence as published by their NCCAM's. You are free to look it up.

some folk quickly point out to the almost uselessly published st Johns wort and say; "see, see, a meta analysis says it works therefore SCAMs works,

Its the other way around, all the stuff SCAMS rips you off with doesn't work. This very evidence says its absolute rot.

SCAMs may be cheaper.. but it doesn't work.

Henk van der Gaast, Sydney
October 14, 2010 9:03pm

I had to laugh at the idea that Prince Charles is one of the most 'influential men in the UK'. In fact, the absolute opposite is true. The man has almost exactly no influence on the thoughts and opinions of the British public. We generally believe that anything he says is crazy. The stuff he promotes may well be nonsense of the highest order, but you can rest assured that his support for it is a red flag to any and all Britons that are aware of his activities, which constitutes a very small percentage of the population anyway.

Now if Prince William started with any of this, it might be a problem.

E.B. Joseph, Bangkok
November 2, 2010 9:04pm

I invite everyone to study the letters of ST.Paul. Ask for God's Grace. Men are so confused between reality and fiction. All wisdom is Holy and ask for wisdom it will be given to you all knowlegde is good or bad science, arts, crafts, spritual, universal etc. All intelligence is linked to knowledge how we use this tool for the good of humanity for all generative forces in the world are good. It took me 10 years to open my mind to wisdom to just being studying St Paul the difference is amazing Man has been created immortal, the flesh is one of the outer covering for this immortal soul after the flesh test is road of a gate to eternal life .

Jennifer, India
November 3, 2010 1:01am

I agree about Oprah, but for anyone who knows anything about autism, you know that many times, a "trigger" is required to activate the disorder. No, a vaccine can not cause autism, but I have seen it act as a trigger in one boy who was an identical twin. This happened to a family friend. Both boys had the MMR vaccine that day and were nearly identical in every way until that day. Both went to sleep at the same time, but the one who would develop autism woke up screaming with a 104 degree fever around midnight. He was rushed to the hospital but they could not get his fever down. The next day, his fever went down of its own accord and a glaze came over his eyes. We watched this happen. He became unresponsive and started to throw strange fits. He was almost immediately diagnosed with autism while his identical twin brother was not. My buddy sued...AND WON! The hospital did not want to admit anything of course so it was settled out of court. The autistic child now has very expensive care and private tutors completely paid for as well as any future medical care. There are several things that have been done and he is doing much better, but the point is, do you think the doctors would have settled if they believed they did nothing wrong?

Matt W, Greenville, SC
November 3, 2010 6:49am

isnt anecdote wonderful.

Matt W, Oprah W, "Causes of Autism" J Anecdote. 2010

Henk van der Gaast, Sydney
November 10, 2010 4:14am

For me "autism" is so poorly defined that I see little point discussing it - along with it's many attributes.

Neil Griffiths, uk
November 12, 2010 3:01am

Dear Henk van der Gaast, the reply section is for replies. That is why only 1500 words are allowed. If you would like a footnoted, scholary paper on the rebuttal, this is not the correct forum in which to ask.

Matt W, Greenville, SC
November 15, 2010 8:20am

yep, anecdote requires a whole page of text. I see it here all the time.

Please bolster your argument. You dont need endless references to ridiculous google sites.

Thankfully the odd person here realises that neither anecdote or out of court settlement is evidence.

If you need anecdote you only need to look at case studies in the medical literature. Its that easy.

If you need anecdote and disgrace, you only need to look at the disgraced measles researchers who took part with a now banned medico.

If the case for autism/mmr were true then cohort studies would have revealed it. I wouldnt crow about the fact that its the opposite of what you think because its statistically insignificant and not worth claiming. The same deviation that campaigners thought was there for measles vaccine induced autism is just as small. i.e. no science.

Cohort studies only reveal that vaccinated kids fare slightly better than unvaccinated kids when it comes to autism.

There is a reason why, the autism spectrum is increasing as the definition broadens.

If you are capable of writing such an article, Brian would be sure to accept it as

Matt, W. "Identification of Measles Induced Autism". Ann. Skeptoid 1(1), pp1. Dec 2010.

Who knows who he will get to review it.

Henk van der Gaast, Sydney
November 19, 2010 12:08am

Why not teach students about the Bible? America was founded on many principles based in the Bible.

I'm in the process of reading the Bible now - religion aside (FYI: I'm not even Christian), the Bible is about history (that seems to repeats itself),the human spirit and human nature.

Are the 10 commandments religious...or common sense laws to keep order in society and families? The bible teaches that the soil needs to rest on the 7th year - advises on $ like the importance of diversification...and much, much more (like believing in something greater than yourself).

The Bible has science too! Blah, blah, blah - political correctness is getting real lame.

shellster, Tampa
December 30, 2010 7:15pm

I don't think that people like the ten celebrities mentioned are the real problem

The real problem seems to be a strangely American fear of people who are actually quite bright, academically gifted and well informed

I guess that the difficulty is that such persons do not give the entertaining shallow message a population who have been dumbed down to juvenile levels feels secure with. It worries people to be informed that their economic system genuinely is faltering, that they are losing loved ones to wars that cannot be won, that their faiths have no reality, and that their democratic system has been corrupted to the point that it is bordering on being a latter day feudalism

Nations better equipped to cope are leaving America behind lost in fable, charlatanism, and comfortable delusion - rearranging the furniture and singing hymns as the ship goes down.

Come on - kith and kin - snap out of this! we expect better of you. Bread alone is a poor diet and circuses may entertain you for a time - but they will not solve the very real difficulties you face.

Phi, Sydney
January 5, 2011 12:59pm

“Bill made it clear on a four-minute speech on his show that he believes government and Big Pharma conspire to keep everyone sick by prescribing drugs.”

Well, perhaps they don’t actually conspire to keep us sick, but big pharma DOES have a lot to answer for. Note the recent revelation that atypical anti-psychotics – which are a BIG part of the meds prescribed for patients in residential facilities, a full quarter of senior residents, reportedly, receiving them, do no good, may do a lot of harm. And today in Reuters there is an article about a study that “best practice” medicine has very little to do with evidence-based research. Quackery is worse in that it doesn’t even TRY to establish the truth of claims, but I think it’s possible that big pharma actually does more harm (though quacks are using the internet to rapidly catch up).

John Mayer, Knoxville
January 11, 2011 10:16am

John...

Who the hell is big pharma? I have never met big pharma. I have met some ugly sales and marketting folk (powerband anyone, funeral insurance? weight watchers? Alcoholics anonymous).

Ive never met big pharma.

Ive met big Al's (father son... both legends) and I have eaten inside the big merino (not a good option) and the big Pineapple (ugh) and under the big prawn..

Who is big Pharma?

Who is NCAMM's. NCAMMS is a real organisation based on deadly BS.\

Medicine is based on science (and yes I always hammer poor med research in this forum.

Sadly there is no such thing as alt science. Its called magic by many and religion by all.

John, check stats before reporting them.

Many medicos here prescribe cranberry tablets because its fashionable.

Strangely, Radioactivity is fixed by that genus. Not that one cranberry tab is anything near as radioactive as the environment most patients are.

who give a mincke whales appendage?

Dive Gilligan!

Henk van der Gaast, Sydney, Australia
January 23, 2011 10:24am

If "Big Pharma" had any of the influence that is attributed to them, they would have gotton rid of that profit destroying time limit on patents before generic medicines can be produced.

As they haven't we can only assume they are not quite so "big" as some believe.

Tom H, Kent, UK
March 7, 2011 1:35pm

Tom, should you actually cast your eye over the convenience decisions the FDA and our TGA has allowed in the past thirty years you will realise that pharmaceutical companies do get away with a touch of knob polishing. These authorities are constrained in a market where unit per dollar is tantamount.

Tis doesn't mean that many of the hell fire claims of the anti authoritarians are correct. Al it means is post market practices can be dubious at times (3 billion dollars worth of dubious quite recently).

Dont walk out protecting investment only companies. They do gild the lily at times.

Mind you, the rantings toward unknown testing and unworthy statement are ridiculous.

I'd say burn a hippy today but dammit...i am one!

Henk van der Gaast, sydney, Australia
March 21, 2011 7:52am

Prince Charles "the most influential man in the United Kingdom". I don't think we have anything to worry about on that front :)

Tim, Devon, England
June 24, 2011 1:43am

Do you really see A.L.F. as a more destructive force than people who perpetuate paranormal, far-fetched conspiracies, or religion in our classrooms?

Do you honestly at heart classify those that capture and release let's say minks from being tortured and killed for something as trivial as their pelts for a sweet shiny coat some celebrity can wear for one night in the same category as an Al Qaeda cell who detonates a bomb killing men, woman, and children. I have trouble calling a person a TERRORIST for saving animals from suffering by means nonviolent towards humans, especially after my tour in Iraq in '07 where 23 paratroopers did not come back home to their families due to what our government has also labeled terrorist. Yes, PETA can be annoying and I think they go about things the wrong way at times, but hardly as detrimental as the rest of your list.

Thank you for your show it is a breathe of sanity! Much love!

Matt, Portland, Oregon
August 15, 2011 4:58am

Prince Charles's notorious quackery doesn't harm anyone as a) He is, like the rest of the Royal Family, largely ignored and not influential at all, and b) Even if someone were to listen to what he was saying they wouldn't understand a word he said.

Theo, Berkshire, United Kingdom
August 30, 2011 1:53pm

Who said Prince Charles didnt have influence?

I am sorry, I think he is a woo artist and should be ignored when he expresses his bizarre views.. His influence in the spreading of woo and his errant religious behaviour unbecoming of someone who may be king one day. Not that it would make a difference in the scheme of things. For example His father was (and still may be) our Field Marshall. Ive never seen his influence on our military unless it was a beautiful uniform at a parade.

I note that there are royalists and fashionistas that use Prince Charles as an example quite often. Maybe there is a generation of anti royal sentiment, but you cant say the prince of Wales hasnt cut a swathe of destruction with his uniquely long "training" period.

But that you cant understand his speeches confuses me greatly. How can you possibly understand any other UK accent other than you own local one if you cant understand someone who speaks so well?

Sports reporters must frustrate you.

Jeezers..we Oz must drive you mad with our accent and turn of phrase.

Bewdy!

Henk V, sin city, Oz
September 7, 2011 4:19am

While I agree with most of this, PETA does in no way equal psuedoscience, they are advocating a moral position. Just because you do not agree with them does not mean you can through the psuedoscience label on them. Anderson does not belong on this list, and Maher belongs here only for his comments on big pharma. Not for his membership in PETA.

You may say PETA is wrong, even detrimental to society, there are certainly ties with groups such as the ALF. But at the core of it you disagree with them on moral issues, they do not advocate psuedoscience.

William, Stockton
September 11, 2011 8:51pm

"This is the kind of medieval superstition we expect from witch doctors like South Africa's former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang"

So, you write "witch doctor," and then go looking for an African example. This promotes the kind of passive racism that is endemic in talking about other cultures. People who believe in African traditional medicine are "witch doctors." People who believe in South American traditional medicine are followers of "shamanistic practices."

Don't get me wrong, I am not endorsing their views. As an anthropologist, though, I just feel that I need to point out that all of these people are members of other cultures where health is inextricably linked with religion (think of our own faith healers, for a closer-to-home example).

Mocking others for their cultural differences from us is active ethnocentrism (a close relative of racism). Can you make your (in my opinion, correct) point without mocking others for their beliefs? After all, just because we think someone is wrong, that shouldn't in itself make them an object of ridicule.

Please note, my comment has nothing to do with Ms. Tshabalala and her beliefs about AIDS. I reject her views and believe she is wrong. My point has to do with us and how we treat members of other cultures.

John, Tucson, AZ
September 19, 2011 3:51pm

Phi -

Your economy "down under" will live and die by Our economy "up here." That's just the way it is, and no carefully composed, spell-checked, pseudo-intellectual, I-wish-I-were-an-American rant will change that.

Larry, New York, USA
September 22, 2011 2:15pm

I'm amazed you think Prince Charles is so influential. Pretty much everyone (I know) in the UK sees him as a harmless eccentric, who is generally quite nice, but has some odd ideas about health and talking to plants.

And he is much less worrying than psychics who prey on vulnerable people, or PETA terrorists.

Calling the UK medieval because it has a constitutional monarchy is a bit of a cheap shot. Especially when you see how the rich and famous in the US are, to all practical purposes, much more 'royal' and above the law in a way that does not happen in other, presumably less-advanced, countries.

When charlatans sell wheat-grass juice to gullible people in the US, it is merely unscrupulous. When Traditional African healing is practiced in less fortunate countries it is 'medieval witch doctery'.

This is racism pure and simple. You should be ashamed.

And remember many of those Africans have no access to the kind of medical care and education that the average American has. Yet Americans still seem just as superstitious and gullible as the
medieval Africans. Which is odd, as I have not yet met a single African that believes he has been abducted by aliens.

I enjoy the podcasts immensely, as much because they give in insight into the very odd land that is America. The idea the pi would be taught as exactly 3 'cos the bible says so is both funny & amazing.

Keep up the good work, but try to rein in the xenophobia.

Dave, Cape Town
September 23, 2011 5:19am

You're saying that autism is incurable - probably based on your research of the more politically correct sources in medical science. Yet there is "alternative" research showing that autism has a cause that is not only preventable with relative ease, but also takes the disease with it when it is removed. There are also many accounts of hunter-gatherer societies where many modern diseases, including autism, did not exist.

Although neither side can be conclusively proven at this point, I feel it is rather premature for you to pick a side, especially when one side is saying yes, there is a cause, yet you've picked the opposite.

It's not surprising though - it's obvious from some of your other podcasts that you have not done nearly enough research on nutrition to fully understand why.

Jonathan S., Toronto
October 3, 2011 6:32pm

alternative research is not science Jonathan

Mud, (Oz) Sin City NSW,
October 6, 2011 7:23pm

With "alternative" I'm NOT referring to things like homeopathy, "energy healing" or whatever, only to scientific studies that don't necessarily agree with mainstream views.

Jonathan S., Toronto
October 7, 2011 5:42am

scientific studies that do not agree with mainstream views are not science unless they are ground breaking...

condition (a)

Henk V., Sin City, Oz
October 7, 2011 6:27am

-sigh- That would be true if mainstream science was free of bias and conflicts of interests. It isn't.

I suppose something like "the dietary recommendations of mainstream science are heavily flawed" isn't groundbreaking at all, right? Even when it is well-explained why x is true instead of y, and critical flaws including many conflicts of interest are pointed out in the development of y?

Jonathan S., Toronto
October 7, 2011 2:51pm

this list is completly true! cant u guys fucking open up your thoughts alittle bit here. Joe Rogan to me is the fucking man, all the stuff he says is pretty much true!! instead of being fed into the bullshit the media and govt tells you, try looking into stuff yourself and open your thoughts and ideas up, cuz some of the stuff they say about conspiracy theories is legit. Just because he points them out and gives his opinions about them doesnt mean he's wrong or crazy, hes pointing out truth behind the stuff. and you cant say "ohh our government wouldnt do that" cuz guess what..THEY ARE DOING IT. they could feed you any info at all whether true or not and you would never know! youd just believe it. they feed it to you, you gladly take the food, cuz your not picky. The pharmicudical companies would sure as fuck would do anything to get your money, cuz theyre greedy assholes. have you noticed most "medicines" have some crazy side effect like "possible side affects may include enlargement of the asshole and or excessive vomiting out of said asshole". they dont care, they want money. they say this stuff to get it out there, we just dont really pay attention to it >.>

Jimmi Hendrix, East compton
October 18, 2011 1:30pm

In your opinion what is the most dangerous pseudoscience.

Jordan, Lonvgiew TX
October 20, 2011 6:35am

You are very wrong! vaccines are responsible for autism and not only. Stop listening to big pharma and begin reading studies....!!!!!!!

Iorgos, cyprus
October 22, 2011 8:22am

I absoluetely disagree with Bill Maher being put on this list, and I already knew what he said about big pharma and basically agree with it. Do you really think you should take every pill the pharmaceutical industry says you should? This is the same industry which (until Obama recently improved things at least) drops people's health insurance because they had a skin rash when they were 12 they forgot to mention on their insurance forms. He's not advocating pseudo-scientific alternatives, merely giving the sound advice that the public should be on the look out for scams by the monopolistic, for-profit pharmaceutical industry that remains determined to prevent a public option being created to fairly compete with them. Why else do you think healthcare in the US costs 16% of its GDP, twice that of any other western country???

You said if one person takes him seriously and doesn't get proper medical care and dies then he's committed a terrible act, but that is surely outweighted by the number of people that did take him seriously and decided to go out and exercise rather than spending thousands of dollars on an addictive, discredited, barely useful drug a doctor, who's being paid by the insurance industry to provide as little care as possible to his patients because profits are more important, has ascribed to them. I'm glad that kind of bullsh*t rarely if ever happens in Australia on that kind of scale.

Dan T, Melbourne, Australia
December 7, 2011 12:44am

I guess I'll have to switch to Bruce Lee facts now

Dr. Artois, Dublin, Ireland
December 19, 2011 8:29am

I enjoyed the episode, however I do have a comment on the Pamela
Anderson bit where you include a comment from Senator James Inhofe. If you had a "Top 10 Politicans who promote harmful pseudoscience" Senator Inhofe would undoubtably be in the Oprah position. In fact, I don't know why he didn't make this list because his denial of climate change is certainly more harmful to life on this planet than Pamela
Anderson's support of PITA.
Carry on Brian.

Steve Van Nest, Washburn, TN
February 27, 2012 5:41am

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KoryHJ, Clealyton Beach
March 16, 2012 3:52pm

Don't know much about PETA, so can't really comment on that aspect of Bill Maher's listing here. Personal experience tells me that while doctor's would not disagree that diet and exercise are important, this does not reflect in any meaningful way in their treatment of hypertension for example. Just throw darts at the drug board is all mine have done. Statins? Took me off simvastatin when it was finally black labeled, but then want to put me right back on another one that still has a patent. No eye contact provided when I say, "the side effects that got (ZYCOR) taken off the market are not present in these drugs?". I know this is anecdotal evidence I am providing, but I have also seen similar trends in psychiatry in the over medication of people with cognitive disabilities, ASD, and ADHD in America as compared to other developed countries. I hope it is OK to be skeptical of the SKEPTOID's conclusions. Maher's stand on other human follies more than outweigh his bias at least in this Pharma arena if only because people who watch him generally have the intellectual capacity to sort this out for themselves, and people who hate him barely listen to a word he says. So I think you are dead nuts wrong on this one even though this is my first visit to your site, prompted by an FB posting re vaccines and Jenny M. who actually does observable damage. See also "Gary Taubes" and ask yourself why doctors don't inform patients of dietary alternatives based in science instead of dogma.

Captain Kidd, Rhode Island
March 25, 2012 2:28am

http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Jenny_McCarthy_Body_Count/Home.html

Will, Spartanburg, SC
May 4, 2012 3:19pm

Manto Tshabala-Msimang was part of the apartheid struggle, together with Thabo Mbeki. Under the leadership of Mbeki(after Nelson Mandela), she got the job of health minster, her actions of refusing to treat Aids with ARV's led, and is possible still leading to thousands of deaths. Her garlic and african potato cure for Aids is still very much a example of how a good revolusionary does not a good government official make.Being closed minded and traditional, can in some cases be deadly. As a side note, due to her excessive drinking she had kidney failure. Being the minister of health she was fast tracked for a new kidney. In the hospital she was still drinking whiskey after the opp.

Stephan, Kimberley, South Africa
May 21, 2012 3:02am

I enjoyed the few articles I read.
Then I came across your comment about how foolish it is to believe in creationism. You seem to be out to get to the truth. Evolution is a theory but people treat it as a law. It is not a law. As a skeptic you should do more research, your complaint about the forums that did not want to hear your discussions and called you skeptoid. You just did the same thing with the creationism/evolution debate. You dismissed it. Find the skulls that prove evolution, find the missing link. Look at the fossil record, look at the hoaxes that have plaqued paleontology. You seem to have your own biases.
Search it out, I am skeptical about evolution. You are skeptical about creation. I have looked into it, have you?

Cindy, Tucson, Az
June 30, 2012 1:23pm

I applaud most of what you have written here. People have died from not seeking proper medical treatment, however, here in NZ there is a dangerous trend by GP's etc to prescribe psychotropic drugs for common ailments like sore knees, to children ( yes it's true ) which to my mind is the damage otherwise scientifically trained medics can do. Our suicide rate is 50% more than the annual road toll and around 30% of these unfortunates are either on, or just coming off, these dangerous mind-bending drugs.
This is the other side of the coin.

The only other thing I take some issue with is your obvious acceptance of the official version of 911. I am not listening to any theories from conspiracy sites, or making any claims as to who on the "inside" might have been responsible, but even a casual glance at chapter 7 of the 911 Commission report should ring warning bells that something doesn't sound right.

However I totally agree with the general trend of your article here. There is far too much rubbish promoted by influential celebrities and the damage this does can only be imagined. Another point that I make is that the sheer quantity of BS may hide a glimmer of truth amongst it all.

Macky, Auckland
June 30, 2012 11:24pm

If one actually reads or listens to the sites/pods/webs involved in the ignorance industry Brian continually exposes you'll find that none of it is verified.

When someone gets to be famous, it doesnt mean they are capable of verification.

PS I have no idea what is intended by the above by reading the quoted pdf

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch7.pdf.

Maybe the quote was misquoted from a conspiracist website? It happens all the time I note.

mud, Forbidden state, Oz
July 6, 2012 5:21pm

Brian

Your critique of Pamela Anderson and PETA did not include a single example of bad science, only political tactics you disapprove of.
If PETA makes you feel guilty for treating fellow animals like machines (a scientific fact) that's one thing, but don't then accuse them of pushing pseudoscience.
If anything, the meat and dairy industry have been pushing pseudoscience on us for generations all in the name of profit. Where is your skeptical attitude towards that?
Cows' milk is good food for humans- pseudoscience. Only animal flesh can provide adequate protein- pseudoscience. Animals do not feel pain- pseudoscience. Animals are here for us to exploit- religious tradition.
Just be honest and say that PETA bugs you because you like to indulge your gluttony.

smt, NYC
July 15, 2012 6:24pm

smt - Her inclusion on this list was corrected here: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4212

Brian Dunning, Laguna Niguel, CA
July 15, 2012 8:43pm

Captain Kidd: There's a distinction between a bad doctor and a doctor. Go find yourself one of the second--one who's not taking holidays from the pharmacy companies.

A good doc will do what Brian says.

And PETA are known whackjobs--they'll 'rescue' dogs and cats from 'bondage', then have them put down because, "it's better than being a slave'. PETA-rented refrigerated stores have been found with stacks of dog and cat corpses wrapped in plastic.

Check the newspapers--I'm not making this up.

Paul, Canberra
July 20, 2012 8:36pm

SMT, only some very dull people would believe the claims that you call pseudoscience.

Sure, people have very little value added to their food now because they arent very close to the food sources (a supermarket is a source of packaged food).

If PETA valued animals as much as they do, why do they behave so poorly?

Its only because they are filled with commonality of equivalence and entitlement. Skeptoid is full of this. If you disagree, contact your local branch member of Internatonal Gullibility.

We are omnivores and have the choice to eat food based on animal products where we can afford it. Just as the PETA users use common sources.

Remember PETA users use power derived from solar, coal, wind, oil and gas. To the polluted detriment of the rest of the world (including animals and plants).

"let he who has the least sin cast the first stone" always starts a jolly lab fire...right? That wasnt the (mis)quote guys..

Gotta go fishing!

Mud, House of Brussel sprouts, NSW Oz
August 14, 2012 1:33am

I love Bill Maher, and have watched his show for years, and seen his movie and read his books and everything. But even I must say that you do have to take his claims with a rather large grain of salt sometimes. My advice is, never just accept what you hear, even if it's from someone you trust. Otherwise you're falling into the old Argument from Authority fallicy. I'm going to keep watching Bill Maher every week, and then looking up the science behind what he says every time he makes a dubious claim.

Christine, Weeki Wachee, FL
August 26, 2012 12:58pm

I knew nothing about Joe Rogan until I watched some "documentary" about New Age mumbo-jumbo ideas, oneness, awakening etc.. And the guy had quite a sense of humor and seemed to know what he was talking about. Likable, yes. But very naive. 100 thumbs up for Oprah placed #1 :)

Yannis K., Kozani,Greece
August 26, 2012 1:58pm

This is a completely biased writing. There is no evedince to support any of the claims made. Every arguement is clearly made out of personal emotional beliefs and are unfounded in proper logic or reason.

W Jones, Bethany, WV
September 18, 2012 4:39pm

I expected Dr Oz to be on the list, but these 10 ARE they great offenders.

Robert Hale, Mesa, AZ
September 29, 2012 1:17am

Most of the people on the list are largely unknown outside of the United States so the harmful impact of what they peddle is largely confined to that country but what makes Oprah Winfrey very dangerous is her show is broadcast all over the world so her influence is huge. In my books she has blood on her hands because much of the garbage she has peddled on her show has seen people embark upon deadly diets whose impact can be seen in the worldwide obesity epidemic. Her show peddled diets that failed to take into account basic things like lifestyles. An athlete's nutritional needs are not the same as that of a housewife yet Oprah often ignored this basic reality when she allowed charlatans to peddle their diet books on her show. The result: millions of dead people around the world who ate Oprah-endorsed diets that were never designed for them.

Miles Lacey, Kapiti Coast, NZ
October 21, 2012 11:39pm

Millions may be a teensy overstated...

Mind you, any athlete peddling vitamins and vitalo garbage should liken themselves to drug cheats...after all... if these products work...they should walk for using them..

No I am in no way alighned with any performance drug cheating program..

Naturopaths only wish

Mud, At virtually missing point, NSW, OZ,
December 18, 2012 1:35am

How do you think Oprah got her money? She got a good deal of it by providing simple, non-workable solutions and mumbo-jumbo to people who wanted to hear it. It's kind of a self-perpetuating cycle.

@SMT: You might want to be aware of the fact that the only bio-available source of iron is from animal flesh. This doesn't mean you have to eat meat to get it. You can take supplements. But if you want to get it from your diet, you have to eat meat. I know. I almost died from completely exhausted iron stores. My hematocrit was at 14. A normal, healthy woman is a lot closer to 38.

I was vegetarian for years, believing that if I ate my leafy greens, I was ok. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite true. I still eat very little meat, but I take an iron supplement faithfully.

I'm not advocating a meat-based diet. But I am advocating actually knowing all of what you need to know about what our bodies need. Some of it can't be gotten through solely plant-based diets. If you're going vegetarian, talk to a good dietitian.

Sara, Salt Lake City
January 21, 2013 4:54pm

Strength to your arm, it's a good list and the royal family over here are it seems a bunch of homeopath loving woo-lovers. The finest food, medical care, education, environment and everything else money and power can bring and when they live to 100 they champion homeopathy!!?!.

However to say "As perhaps the most influential man in the United Kingdom, Prince Charles" is shockingly inaccurate. I would say he is ignored by 50% of the population, respected by 10% and considered a whack-job who talks to plants by the other 40%

As for influence I would say Simon Cowell has 10x the influence of Prince Charles.

Andy, London
March 5, 2013 3:00am

Haha,it seems I've been narrowly pipped to the post on the comment I wanted to leave but i'll make my point anyway.

First of all,I enjoyed the list even though I know maybe half of the people you've included.

Of the ones I do.Chuck Norris,agreed his films put him squarely in the top ten most awful list of any kind.I never knew he was a religious freak but if that's what he is advocating then he deserves his place.Pamela Anderson,Montel Williams and Oprah Winfery,are any of them really credible.It's hard to imagine they wield much real influence after seeing their tv shows.

Now to the point I wanted to make.Prince Charles.Btw,he's the future King of England,Scotland and Northern Ireland I wish it was just England.lol.I think you're crediting him with far too much influence over the people in the UK.Institutes,the establishment and authorities may take some heed of what he says though I doubt it but the people generally see him as pompous,aloof,eccentric and out of touch.Oh,there are those that adore him because he's royalty but they're a minority.As the poster above said 10% adore him,50% couldn't care less and the other 40% think he's a crank.We've gotten used to him publically pumping his gums about the hideousness of modern architecture or some other irrelevant nonsense he's got a bee in his bonnet over this week that I expect that he does more harm than good towards any cause he blethers on about :)

Bob James, Inverness
March 5, 2013 7:19pm

You need to take a good hard think about this line: "This is the kind of medieval superstition we expect from witch doctors like South Africa's former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, not from the royal family of one of the world's most advanced nations"

It borders on racism. In fact "borders" may be too generous. Tshabala-Msimang was a medical doctor. That is precisely why her insane claims were so shocking. She was certainly not a "witch-doctor." Neither did we expect any such lunacy from a qualified medical practitioner.

Prince Charles on the other hand has no medical qualifications whatsoever - he is a lay-person. He is also very much not a minister of health. So I very much expect him to be more likely to have zany views.

You have actually suggested that a health minister, with an MD, should be more likely to spout pseudo science because she works in an underdeveloped nation (and your witch doctor quip suggests it should be more likely because she is black) - the same underdeveloped nation that performed the world's first heart transplant operation.

Please consider the implications of this.

Alan, Cape Town
March 7, 2013 1:53am

Alan, I consider that south Africa is still a pariah nation where pariahs can kill climing science when practicing witch craft.

Naturopathy as a health scheme is grand national witch craft. Having said that, if medicine is technology (and it is) the IAEA should have banned SA's nuclear program on relevant technological competence..

Its not as if you can expect to survive ten years of driving on SA's road infrastructure.

It will take another ten years of waiting until your nation can get its arse into gear,

Mud, At virtually missing point, NSW, OZ,
March 7, 2013 4:14am

Interesting. I have survived long past 10 years driving on South Africa's road infrastructure. I must be an extreme outlier, clearly.

Clearly you, at least, have no intention of addressing any of the substance of my point whatsoever. Much like Msimang when asked about ART (although fortunately your opinions have no effect whatsoever, unlike hers).

And no, South Africa's national health system is not based on naturopathy - as evidenced by the new health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, who is black, also a medical doctor (amazingly not a witch-doctor), and whole-heartedly supports scientific medicine for the treatment of HIV - as he does for the rest of South Africa's health burdens.

Brian?

Alan, Cape Town
March 7, 2013 11:52am

Great list, except for Oprah. She doesn't promote pseudoscience, she promotes new age spirituality (nothing to do with science). And while spiritual beliefs are hardly rational, Oprah's do a lot of good by giving the spiritually inclined an inclusive tolerant alternative to organized religion. She's probably done more to diminish the cultural dominance of the church then a million atheist activists combined.

cit, canada
March 7, 2013 1:18pm

Bill Maher rocks and he's totally accurate in his speech which did not make any reference to your claim that doctors deny that good diet and exercise are good for us. Nor did he make any claim that the government and Big Pharma conspire to make anyone sick. He rightly pointed out that our country is getting sicker and sicker with more and more ailments and that Hillary's health plan, nutrition and exercise appear once and drugs appear several times. You totally distorted what he said. He not only doesn't belong in this, he ought to be made Surgeon General.

Maurice, New York, NY
March 12, 2013 4:24pm

Alan, I am going on your road toll data in comparison to the rest of the world.

Secondly, sure SA has come a very log way since the aids - retroviral denial earlier in the century.

I am sure your current health minister is a medico of the sort who would not countenance fraudulent health practices.

Mud, Sin City, Oz
March 21, 2013 6:00pm

I would disagree that Prince Charles is the 'most influential' man in the UK but he is certainly the most influential person to give credence to ridiculous alternative treatments such as homeopathy.

Tom, Bristol, UK
July 23, 2013 6:03am

Wow, only got as far as Montel and that Sylvia quack and kept going from article to article. I can't believe that people believe in psychics, it must be out of pain or just plain low intelligence that they do so. Fraudsters like Browne should be put away in a max pen somewhere......but clip those 'shanks' she calls nails first!

Skeptoid Fan, Canada
August 26, 2013 4:36pm

I disagree with the focus on celebrities who endorse PETA within this top 10 list. If the author seriously believes that those who, albeit sometimes aggressively, defend the rights of animals are doing more damage to global scientific integrity and morals than say anyone who endorses factory farming or disagrees with climate change science or promotes a 'growth at all costs' agenda, they are very much in error. Disagreeing with the unethical, barbaric treatment of animals is not pseudoscience. However, it is actually antiscientific to suggest that humans are above animals in some abstract intrinsic value or worth, and therefore we should only concentrate on human casualties in any war or conflict. Evolutionary science strongly indicates that humans are nothing special, we are just another animal species who is good at interpreting, communicating and 'managing/damaging' our environment and therefore to suggest that all we should focus on in any argument is humans is arrogant, ill-informed, and anti-scientific in itself. I am not an animal activist myself (actually I'm a climate scientist), but feel that respect for other ecosystems and species is paramount to improving our society and scientific understanding, and that preventing or reducing suffering of any species is a moral duty of our particular species, and a true test of an 'advanced civilisation'.

christopher royal, sydney, australia
September 14, 2013 8:51pm

Hope its not off-topic, but I want to add neil young to the list.
He hates our "dirty" tar sands oil, and thinks "clean" mid-east oil mixed with blood is "better".

So he drives an electric car. Whoop-de-doo.

He hates petroleum in general, but the car has a lot of plastic in it, and he wears the same synthetic clothes as everyone else.

People like him should be forced to do without EVERYTHING that comes from petroleum.

Ron, Calgary Alberta Canada
September 22, 2013 8:08am

Have to say I agree with Christopher in Sydney above. Although I eat meat, and am not any kind of animal rights activist,I don't see how PETA is pseudoscience. Seems more like a difference of opinion on ethics that a matter of science.
Maybe there aren't any hugely famous global-warming deniers, but that has got to be heavier in the BS department than animal rights radicals.

W, Durham
September 22, 2013 12:58pm

PETA definitely pushes pseudoscience. They claim animal research is not only unnecessary but completely without merit. At their heart, they're pure anti-science, fire bombing medical research labs and vandalizing universities.
People like christopher royal are fucking scary, along with anyone else who doesn't see the life of any other human as being more valuable than their pet dog, it's disgusting. Animals should be treated ethically, no doubt about it, but the advancement of medicine relies on animal testing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That is unless these PETA hipocritical douchebags personally volunteer to be lab rats. That will never happen though, because they believe they need their life to fight for the rights of animals. So they'll use pig insulin, rabbit antibodies, and any other medical advancement made possible through animal testing, to better their own lives, while fighting against the scientists that gave them their health. It's absurd. PETA supports violent criminals and pseudoscience, any celebrity that endorses this absolutely belongs on this list.

George, CA, USA
October 10, 2013 11:57am

Oh THANK YOU for calling out Oprah. Seems like everytime I turned around she was promoting some pseudo-science or some "author" that fabricated their "true story". How in the hell did she ever get so popular in the first place? You need to include "Dr." Oz on there too. He promotes too much alternative medicine to be ignored.

Livid Imp, California
November 18, 2013 6:57pm

The truth about PETA was exposed in a U.S.A. court some time back after police saw some PETA employees dumping euthanised dogs in a dumpster. The background to that incident should appall any person that is concerned with animal rights and fair dealing with the public. The story is detailed here: http://www.thisistrue.com/peta.html (ThisisTrue is commercial but I am one of 20,000 who get its free version every week. I have no other connection with it or the owner).

John Williams, Tasmania
November 19, 2013 4:56am

I really have little faith in humans anymore. They're not only willing to engage and indulge in quackery and pseudoscience - they are PROUD of it. Absolutely relishing their shocking ignorance, zero knowledge of medicine, or science, and totally unwilling to partake in the merest amount of critical thinking. Or thinking at all. However anytime an untalented airhead like Jenny McCarthy spouts bullshit, they give undivided attention.

Start investing in small coffins. We're going to need them.

Mark, Melbourne
January 13, 2014 4:00pm

Get Rogan off this list. Maybe after doing his podcast it will be so.

cryogenic, RB boards
January 14, 2014 3:44pm

Joe made this failed computer scientist look like the joke he always has been. LOL!

Dana White, Las Vegas
January 15, 2014 4:53pm

I like Joe Rogan (especially when he interviews people) and listen to him often, but he does go back and forth on things like the truther stuff. He says to Brian, "I don't believe 9/11 is an inside job," but goes on Rosie O'Donnell's show and supports her delusion that in all of history, fire has never melted steel. However, if he wants to be kooky, I just roll my eyes. I don't think he's harmful.

I do think Jenny McCarthy and Oprah should be on the list. They are dangerous people. Read "The Panic Virus," by Seth Mnookin. First, it's a fun read, like a mystery novel solving the crime. Second, it is footnoted and linked if you want to look everything up for yourself. Conspiracy people start with a conclusion and work their way back. Seth does the opposite. So well written, and such a good read.

Jenny, Oprah and RFK Jr. (who refers to those who dedicate their lives to curing disease and saving children as "biostitutes" - HE should be on this list) are the 3 most dangerous people. The fact that measles and whooping cough are on the rise is incredible to me. I remember my grandmother telling me about her 8 year old sister Mary's death in 1910 from Whooping Cough and it haunted her whole life. It's a pity that people will have to start choking to death on Whooping Cough and other diseases before people see the light - vaccine's are a good thing and it's not OK to promote your "diet" cures everything snake oil.

Catherine, New York, NY
January 18, 2014 9:33am

Sorry for being late to the party, but I have to say excellent list!

I'm a huge Bill Maher fan and considering he fights for many of the same things as this site does I think it's brave to call him out. That said with all the good work he does in the name of skepticism and logic he can hardly be worthy of being one of the ten most harmful celebrities. I see the point of having on here for dramatic effect though.

Joe Rogan is a self-proclaimed "talking monkey" and often plays the devils advocate. Nobody can follow him blindly anyway as he sways in what he advocates based on the guest who's there. If you take this into account I think he does a great job with his podcast and is unworthy of being on this list.

I don't know number 7 and number 10 but they do seem like wacko's!

David, Oslo, Norway
January 19, 2014 4:42am

Why haven't you retracted any of the false information you posted about Joe Rogan?

He was kind enough to have you on his podcast and set the record straight about this garbage you wrote -- where's your integrity, man?

Oh well, it was fun watching you get wrecked on his show.

Damien, San Diego
January 19, 2014 12:10pm

Joe wrecked you

Nate, Melbourne
January 21, 2014 4:53am

I agree with some of the comments made about you getting wrecked by Joe Rogan. To me, the funniest part of the show was when you asked for any conspiracy theory that's been proven and Joe brought up the NSA surveillance. You stated that this type of information was known before Edward Snowden exposed it. I would like to know what you were saying about it before it was made public? Would you have been saying there's no evidence to prove it so therefore it cannot be Proven? Way to go Brian. I'm sure in as more dirty deeds done by Governments are exposed, you'll say that it was known information.

Way to go Joe!!!

Karim, Edmonton
January 22, 2014 9:17pm

Joe ROgan destroyed you man. Your perspective is not always right and trying to shove it down the throat of people is bad. you are not acknowledging critical thinking.

JIafa Wang, MA
February 1, 2014 6:27am

WOW.... you really do want people to believe you, don't you?

Well you believe what you want to believe and others will believe what they want to believe.

but don't assume for a second that your belief is the truth not a chance there is always more to it then anyone sees.

and that's on both sides

so believe on friend

and this is in no way an attack on anyone or anything this may be deemed nonsense or useless to the people who want to restrict free thinking but hey who am i?

jamie, england
February 2, 2014 11:09am

#8 - Joe Rogan
' Believed in the Mayan calendar and 2012 doomsday (even had the vanity plate "DEC 2012")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo2dL3teOc4
http://www.december212012.com/photo_gallery/images/2012-plate.jpg

' He believes the Apollo astronauts did not land on the moon.
http://youtu.be/mDLFm-DRPQg?t=2m23s

' He believes the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks (at the end of the clip he states that he thinks it was a controlled demolition).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHyNv4xK0uo

' He believes aliens crashed at Roswell in 1947 and the government is covering it up.
http://youtu.be/Me6jLTR0Fto?t=2m3s
and
http://www.tlchicken.com/view_story.php?ARTid=295
"J: Well, I believe what happened at Roswell, New Mexico played a hand in that. There's no way a fuckin' general would put it in the paper. "We've recovered a crashed UFO!" They say it was a weather balloon. If it was a weather balloon, why would the President fly the wreckage in two separate airplanes from New Mexico to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio? They did it because they were afraid one of the planes might crash and the wreckage would show."

Rogan is a liar, Los Angeles
February 4, 2014 3:21am

You are delusional. Anyone listening to Joe Rogan's podcast while you were a guest knows he explained, on each subject, what he really believed of each of those topics. Also, was trying to explain to you that it WTC7 LOOKED like a controlled demolition. You are being very dishonest about this. The proof is in the audio. Maybe listen back to this episode. Also not the awkwardly long pauses while you try to come up with info you have no clue about. I cannot take any info from this site as truth. You've discredited yourself.

Joe, Minnesota
February 4, 2014 7:01am

You have to be one of the biggest back peddling, argumentative, delusional,and ignorant people i have ever listened to. Joe smashed you. In my opinion (from listening from the podcast) You sounded like a person going into a debate with your mind already made up. Just looking to prove yourself right, without any facts or evidence to back your opinion on Joe. Silly.

Chad, Oregon
February 4, 2014 9:46am

As someone who enjoys debunking conspiracy theorist's looney tunes claims, I have also observed that those on the other extreme of the spectrum, the chronic skeptics, suffer from some of the same intellectual failings. They both have their minds completely made up about how the world works, and they both seem absolutely terrified of being wrong. Most importantly, they both tend to perceive only the facts that support their established world view, distorting or dismissing anything else, no matter how sound or obvious.
Your appearance on Rogan's podcast was as good an example of this as I can think of. You spent 30-45 minutes getting increasingly flabbergasted that Rogan wouldn't concede that the doctor from a previous episode specifically recommended taking 1000 mg of vitamin C every day, even after listening back to it TWICE and hearing him say no such thing.
As to 9/11, all Rogan said was that he has to admit that the video of WTC7 collapsing looks exactly like video of controlled demolitions, which you repeatedly agreed with. No one in that room EVER said that that, or anything else, was evidence of a government plot.
Sadly, when you come back here and state that he spent 30 minutes convincing you that it was, I don't think you're even being knowingly dishonest. I think you really believe that, and for that, I pity you.

Frank, Austin
February 4, 2014 10:33am

After listening to the podcast with Joe Rogan I find it odd (to say the least) that you actually wrote what you did. It almost seems as if you are disconnected from the reality of what actually transpired. Whether or not you actually believe what you wrote shall remain a mystery, but either way you spin it (honest mistake or deliberate lies) I pity you greatly.

Eric, Ca
February 4, 2014 11:25am

This guy is delusional, and obviously has a huge problem with anyone saying that he is wrong about anything. Listen on the podcast, every time when he is shown that he is wrong he starts spouting big words and talking in circles to sound smart, when it is clear that he is in the wrong about a subject.

Each item on his list was brought up and discussed, and it was clear that he was wrong, but of course he now goes out of his way add an update to it? Hilarious.

He should see a therapist or something, cause bitch be crazy.

Tom, PA
February 4, 2014 2:08pm

Wow. How is Rogan's name still on this list? It's almost funny. The idea that you think Joe needs to convince you that your opinions of him are wrong is simply not skeptical. You should be doubting them already. Why is it that this pseudo-skepticism is allowed to fly? Being a skeptic is not the same as being a defense attorney. The burden of proof is on the person who makes a claim (rejecting a claim is making a claim). If you make a claim, you have to support it, the end. I can see why you called this site skeptoid. Your "skeptoidism" is to skepticism as factoids are to facts.

Elliott, Philly
February 4, 2014 9:45pm

The part that is most insulting about his attack against Joe Rogan is that Brian is using Joe's words as a metaphorical lassoo against him like they do in politics for the purpose of character assassination. Literally tying him to his theories as if they were his policies, but we all know there's nothing political or even professional about a man's opinion. It's ever changing in real-time.

He is trying to make Joe accountable for sharing opinion even though he doesn't hide behind a professional facade. It's his channel but this isn't TV. People come to HIM. Nothing is scripted OR filtered. The Joe Rogan Experience is an hour and a half of Joe's life as it unfolds with the company he chooses. Seems a shame he chose you Mr. Dunning.

Counter Skeptic, Earth
February 4, 2014 11:46pm

Joe told you he doesn't believe 9/11 was a GOVERNMENT conspiracy.

It was however a conspiracy regardless, which is obvious. So you should 'give him that' too.

JayP, New York
February 5, 2014 7:27am

Having Rogan on this list is pretty ridiculous in the first place, but having heard the podcast, then reading your edit about him is just comical now. I was even looking forward to someone challenging him, but the more you talked the more you sounded like you had no idea what you were talking about other than trying to find any insignificant thing to catch him on. You sir, need to get your ego in check and open up that tunnel vision of yours.

Ryan Long, Los Angeles
February 5, 2014 8:07am

I am convinced, Brian Dunning, that all the while Joe was speaking to you, you were singing songs in your head, or thinking about what to have for dinner. How can you possibly had that opinion based on this podcast you took part in?? I listened to this podcast twice. Never did he say be believe 9/11 to be a conspiracy. Truth of the matter, you are a fraud, bullshit artist, trying to stir up shit where you can to get fame. You have the sentiment that any attention is good attention for you, whether it be good or bad. You clearly only care about being in the spotlight, no matter how delusional, contradicting, cowardly, and ignorant you are. You sir, do not deserve a voice.

Vinny Farruggio, New Hampshire
February 5, 2014 9:20am

You're one of the most dishonest people i've ever had the displeasure of listening to speak. I hope you understand that you've alienated hundreds of thousands of potential fans with your completely biased point of view. It's obvious that you're a hypocrite seeing as you criticized Mark Gordon for supposedly trying to make money, when all you did the entire show was plug yourself as a "science writer." You're a poor excuse for an intellectual human being because you claim to be debunking various theories, yet you only lend more legitimacy to them by making skeptics seem like closed-minded liars hoping to get a boost in their profits and popularity by trying to destroy one of the most influential popular culture icons of this time. Joe has a massive following and it's obvious that's why you chose to do the show and chose to attempt to tear him apart. It just so happens that when you attempt to destroy someone who is just simply smarter than you are, it often back fires, as we've seen with you. I just really hope you understand that most people aren't dumb enough to take you seriously or agree with what you have to say because you are so obviously an unscrupulous liar. You and Peter Schiff should fuck and make the most annoying child in the known history of the universe. Frankly, your career seems to be based on false conjectures and biased sensationalism. You're wrong about so many things and so obviously lying about so many others. Anyone with half a brain can see through you.

Tyler Fritz, Pennsylvania
February 5, 2014 9:30am

Damn, the Joe Rogan fanboys are out in force here.

Daviticus, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
February 5, 2014 11:35am

FYI I visited StopJenny.com and found this:
"Welcome to Stop Jenny, a site dedicated to electronic cigarette reviews and information. StopJenny.com was created to help smokers Stop smoking and to find an electronic cigarette they can enjoy using."

Um, what?

Cathy Weber, Indiana
February 5, 2014 4:52pm

PETA's tactics may at times be theatrical or extreme, and might even be damaging to the cause (I'm no PR expert), but they're on the right side of the issue. And it's a straightforward skeptical argument: all life has evolved from a common ancestor, and comparative anatomy shows that mammalian species share a limbic system, an area of the brain central to emotion and pain. Showing great sensitivity to the suffering of other species is not in any way unscientific or irrational. Just the opposite.

Marty Brandon, Greenbelt, Maryland
March 6, 2014 5:38pm

I came on here to write some stuff but it looks like everything has already been said. Definitely the worst guest on any podcast.

I'll give this pseudo skeptic this, he made me laugh when he said he thought the Patterson bigfoot footage was real.

notjoerogan, notdeathsquadheadquarters
March 23, 2014 12:30am

Lol. Hilarious reading the Rogan fanboy army here. Rogan spouts all his bullshit conspiracy when he isn't confronted. Wham Dunning and Tyson have him on, and guess what? Rogan starts retracting statements like an indicted Senator! NASA didn't land on the moon! What ND-T wants to talk about that... I believe now! I believe! Please don't expose me as an idiot, Mr. Tyson! I believe now! Like a good preacher, Rogan preaches to the converted and ducks those with a leg up on him. Rogan knows his audience, and he'll gladly promote anything that sparks attention and downloads. Everything said by the Rogan Fanboys here about Brian can be turned back to be said about Joe too.

BillyJoeJimBob, ThisPlanetEarth
April 11, 2014 8:46pm

Just on conspiracy theories and alternative medicine you are way out of line. This sounded more like a corporate announcement backed by the government. There are those out there that should most definitely be on this list. You have be asleep if you agree with the 911 explanation and as far as alternative medicine is concerned its been around for thousands of years over today's convention and criminal health care system.

Robert Edwards, Sarasota, Florida
April 26, 2014 12:44am

As someone with Asperger's I wholeheartedly agree that Jenny Mcarthy is doing a total disservice when it comes to using (or rather abusing) her fame into thinking that vaccines cause autism when in fact autism has several causes, mostly because of genetics. I can imagine her frustation of trying to come to grips with trying to comprehend how to raise an autistic child but using a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense such as that vaccines cause autism,despite evidence on the contrary only makes the situation even more decisive.

Plus, what also irritates me is that she promotes another kind of nonsense about saying about her son being an "indigo child"?

What this also tells me that those of us on the spectrum are percieved by you NTs as "special" but what that tells me is that you're saying that we're helpless and incapable of independent living which is definitely NOT true at all but a code word of ignorance.

As for that website STopJenny.com. It wasn't something of a petition just a review of e.cigs which doesn't make sense.

Adrian, Terrell, TX
June 16, 2014 12:49pm

Prince Charles influential? No-one takes him seriously, at least not in England where he is generally considered to be a fool. I thought you had already been corrected on this issue.

As for your snide comment about England not being sufficiently advanced because of their royal family, this is an uncalled for insult that surely says more about you than it does about England.

TW, Cork
July 31, 2014 5:07am

TW: It seems to me you're taking Brian's comment a bit too seriously.

Marty Brandon: The right side of what issue? That humans are scum? Because that does seem to be PETA's opinion. Besides, they've been known to invoke pseudoscience to support their cause, which would make Pam and Bill pseudoscience promoters by proxy.

Daviticus, Sydney, Nova Scotia
August 1, 2014 2:10pm

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