I continue being not well, and otherwise also as before, so I cannot do
much. That's also the main reason there was no Nederlogthe last two days,
though the ordinary "man's inhumanity to man" also enter, as I may
explain later, at some point.
For the moment, I only quote, namely two pieces related
to medical and pseudomedical flimflam:
1. From The
Skeptic's Dictionary: Phil Parker
2. From QuackwatchSM:
Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to
Note in the above pairs, the first link in each pair is
to the main site, and the second link is to what I copied, where I should
say that in the first case I copied all of the original article and in
the second case the first two thirds. And in either case, the titles
below lead to the originals, and in both cases the main sites linked
above are quite interesting, especially if you are interested in rational
thinking or are ill with little hope for a cure.
1. From the
Parker Lightning Process (LP) is a training program that claims to
help people recover from chronic fatigue syndrome, "resolve depression,
anxiety, panic attacks, overeating, low self-esteem, guilt, OCD
(obsessive compulsive disorder) and other areas of stuckness [sic],"
and "enhance ... performance in business and sports." He says his
program also helps people with bad backs, migraines, "or anything
people want to get better at."*
The first thing that should come to mind when hearing these amazing
things is: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To be fair, though, we shouldn't dismiss LP without
examining the scientific studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.
Unfortunately, there aren't any studies to examine. What we can
examine, though, is what LP's creator, Phil Parker, has to say about
his program. Granted, he may be a bit biased, but let's examine what he
has to say anyway.
First, Phil tells us that he is a graduate of a school
of osteopathy and
that he has been trained in
kinesiology, three exquisite pseudosciences. He's also studied
programming (NLP). None of these fields are proper preparation for
treating chronic fatigue, depression, OCD, or the like. But perhaps
Parker is a genius who just stumbled upon a program that can treat
physical and psychological disorders, and can also enhance business and
sports performances. What are the odds? In any case, he claims to have
about 115 people who are practicing LP trainers in eleven countries.
Second, Phil tells us that his program is quite
complicated and takes twelve hours to complete (three four-hour days).
In that time, the program will find what's stopping you from having
good health, holding up your golf game, or keeping you from being happy
or rich. Then, he'll fix it. You can expect 70% improvement after the
first day and by the end of the third day 85% are fixed.*
(Unfortunately, Phil seems to have pulled these numbers out of his
What is LP? Phil doesn't say exactly, but he tells us
on his website that it is an amazing hodgepodge of "concepts from NLP,
Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching and Osteopathy."*
That's fine, but what concerns me is that those of us who would like to
know more about LP and how it differs, say, from NLP, are not directed
to any empirical studies. Instead, Phil recommends that we do three
things. Frist, we should go to his online store and buy his
Introduction to the Lightning ProcessTM Book for £20.00
plus P&P. Next, Phil says, we should watch his videos and read the
testimonials of many
success stories. Unfortunately, we know that testimonials are no
substitute for scientific studies. I could treat people with dog spit
and find at least 50 subjects who will swear that I cured their cancer
or eliminated their irritable bowel syndrome. What we need to see are
well-designed scientific studies that eliminate self-deception and
isolate in specific ways what counts as success due to the training
methods. Finally, Phil recommends we find the nearest Phil Parker
Lightning ProcessTM Practitioners and download their
I don't think so. Phil says he's been doing this stuff
for ten or fifteen years. He should have at least one scientific study
we can look at. He should have a lot of data to work with. But I
suspect that Phil doesn't keep records, except maybe accounting
records. I hope he proves me wrong and sends me a copy of his research
so I can rewrite this article and recommend that Phil be given the
Nobel Prize for Medicine for his amazing discovery of a training
program that can help my golf game while relieving me of chronic
fatigue, excess weight, and the splitting headache I've acquired while
thinking about the people who are so desperate that they'll seriously
consider shelling out £780 ($1,330 or €1,004) for the LP program.
(Prices as of October 22, 2008.)
I'm not suggesting that all the testimonials are from
liars or paid hands. Nor am I suggesting that there are no satisfied LP
clients. In fact, I would be willing to bet that some people have been
helped by LP. That said, it should be obvious that anyone with a
serious physical or mental disorder should seek treatment elsewhere
from proper medical doctors. It is likely that many of LP's customers
are people who are physically or emotionally miserable or unhappy. They
may have been told by several professionals they've consulted that
there's nothing wrong with them or that whatever ails them is something
that nothing can be done about or that it's all in their head. They
don't accept this and then they find that Phil Parker gives them hope.
He promises to help them and do it quickly. The fee is irrelevant to
the desperate client. So is hard evidence. Testimonials from so many
nice looking, happy people is enough.
So, who gets helped? Not those with serious or chronic
diseases. Those who get helped will be those who need somebody to guide
them through life, somebody to get them to think about themselves and
their goals. The ones who feel they got their money's worth will be
those who needed to get their mind on the right track but had no idea
of how to do it. It has been known for thousands of years, at least as
far back as Aristotle, that how a person thinks affects how he behaves,
and how he behaves affects how he feels and thinks. If you are
constantly thinking about your sore toe or how everybody is against
you, if you are constantly harboring negative and self-destructive
thoughts, you will feel and behave accordingly. You can train yourself
to think positively, to set positive and realistic goals, to develop
criteria to measure success. You can act as if you are happy and you
will be amazed how the way you act will affect the way you think and
feel, and vice-versa. When you are miserable, you can do some of the
things that you do when you are feeling well. Just doing them will
affect how you feel and think. If you are happiest sitting by a stream
in the mountains with nobody around, where the only sounds are those of
the water trickling over the rocks and the wind rustling through the
pines, then go to the mountains or pick up a book of poetry by someone
like Wordsworth (as John Stuart Mill did when he was blue) and let your
mind take you there.
There are lots of techniques for getting "unstuck." LP
may provide you with a few. Remember, however, that neither Parker nor
those he's trained will be posting testimonials from unsatisfied
customers. That doesn't mean there aren't any. Many of those
unsatisfied customers may be too embarrassed to admit that they've
wasted their money. I don't know enough about Parker to say that he
uses techniques that blame any failures on the client. But many other
"alternative gurus" use these tricks: you're not trying hard enough;
you don't have enough faith; you're not letting go of your old habits;
you really are better but you just don't want to or can't admit it; or,
unfortunately, you're resistant to the treatment.
Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work by Barry L. Beyerstein,
Social and judgmental
biases that make inert treatments seem to work by Barry L. Beyerstein
Who Gets to Validate Alternative Medicine?
How they do the voodoo
that they do so well - Part 1
How they do the voodoo
that they do so well - Part 2
Last updated 07/30/09
quoting The Skeptic's
of the above links are well
worth reading, and will explain a lot about
The Lying Process,
as I call this whole family of medical or alternative fraudulence. Here
is the beginning of the first linked article, also from a useful and
interesting site - but with a little proviso I'll state at the end.
Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D.
Subtle forces can lead intelligent people (both
patients and therapists) to think that a treatment has helped someone
when it has not. This is true for new treatments in scientific
medicine, as well as for nostrums in folk medicine, fringe practices in
"alternative medicine," and the ministrations of faith healers.
Many dubious methods remain on the market primarily because
satisfied customers offer testimonials to their worth. Essentially,
these people say: "I tried it, and I got better, so it must be
effective." The electronic and print media typically portray
testimonials as valid evidence. But without proper testing, it is
difficult or impossible to determine whether this is so.
There are at least seven reasons why people may erroneously conclude
that an ineffective therapy works:
1. The disease may have run its natural course.
Many diseases are self-limiting. If the condition is not chronic or
fatal, the body's own recuperative processes usually restore the
sufferer to health. Thus, to demonstrate that a therapy is effective,
its proponents must show that the number of patients listed as
improved exceeds the number expected to recover without any treatment
at all (or that they recover reliably faster than if left untreated).
Without detailed records of successes and failures for a large enough
number of patients with the same complaint, someone cannot
legitimately claim to have exceeded the published norms for unaided
2. Many diseases are cyclical. Such conditions as
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and gastrointestinal
problems normally have "ups and downs." Naturally, sufferers tend to
seek therapy during the downturn of any given cycle. In this way, a
bogus treatment will have repeated opportunities to coincide with
upturns that would have happened anyway.
3. The placebo effect may be responsible. Through
suggestion, belief, expectancy, cognitive reinterpretation, and
diversion of attention, patients given biologically useless
treatments often experience measurable relief. Some placebo responses
produce actual changes in the physical condition; others are
subjective changes that make patients feel better even though there
has been no objective change in the underlying pathology.
4. People who hedge their bets credit the wrong thing.
If improvement occurs after someone has had both "alternative" and
science-based treatment, the fringe practice often gets a
disproportionate share of the credit.
5. The original diagnosis or prognosis may have been
incorrect. Scientifically trained physicians are not
infallible. A mistaken diagnosis, followed by a trip to a shrine or
an "alternative" healer, can lead to a glowing testimonial for curing
a condition that would have resolved by itself. In other cases, the
diagnosis may be correct but the time frame, which is inherently
difficult to predict, might prove inaccurate.
6. Temporary mood improvement can be confused with cure.
Alternative healers often have forceful, charismatic personalities.
To the extent that patients are swept up by the messianic aspects of
"alternative medicine," psychological uplift may ensue.
7. Psychological needs can distort what people perceive
and do. Even when no objective improvement occurs, people
with a strong psychological investment in "alternative medicine" can
convince themselves they have been helped. According to cognitive
dissonance theory, when experiences contradict existing attitudes,
feelings, or knowledge, mental distress is produced. People tend to
alleviate this discord by reinterpreting (distorting) the offending
information. If no relief occurs after committing time, money, and
"face" to an alternate course of treatment (and perhaps to the
worldview of which it is a part), internal disharmony can result.
Rather than admit to themselves or to others that their efforts have
been a waste, many people find some redeeming value in the treatment.
Core beliefs tend to be vigorously defended by warping perception and
memory. Fringe practitioners and their clients are prone to
misinterpret cues and remember things as they wish they had happened.
They may be selective in what they recall, overestimating their
apparent successes while ignoring, downplaying, or explaining away
their failures. The scientific method evolved in large part to reduce
the impact of this human penchant for jumping to congenial
conclusions. In addition, people normally feel obligated to
reciprocate when someone does them a good turn. Since most
"alternative" therapists sincerely believe they are helping, it is
only natural that patients would want to please them in return.
Without patients necessarily realizing it, such obligations are
sufficient to inflate their perception of how much benefit they have
Sofar for quoting
QuakwatchSM - and I wonder
whether the "SM" is a spoof of the LPTM
scam: If so, deservedly so. Also, persons with ME are
strongly adviced to read the last piece at least twice and to check out
Above I promised a a little proviso I
would state at the end. Here it is:
While I am and always have been very strongly in support of real science,
indeed very much more than almost anyone I know in Holland or have met in
the University of Amsterdam (where
science when I studied there was for the most part decried as "not
socially relevant" and "fascist"! and people got M.A.'s in philosophy
and political sciences by study points for squatting and for
demonstrating against cruise missiles or feminism), I do want to make
four points about medical science and medical doctors, writing as a
psychologist and philosopher of science "with an unexplained disease"
since 32 years, namely ME:
- I must have seen more medical
doctors as a patient than nearly anyone in Holland, which in fact were
mostly GP's and doctors of internal medicine: Most I saw were quite to
very dishonest about their own abilities and knowledge, and lied
against me (and my ex-wife, suffering from the same disease), and
they were lying. In fact, most tried to palm off the standard medical
fraudulent fallacy: "Since we medical scientists can't find a cause for
your disease, your disease must be due to your psychosomatizing or your
being a malingerer".
- This is a
(1) because medical scientist and in particular the specific medical
doctors one pays to get help or a diagnosis from are not omniscient: In
fact they only
know a very
small percentage of what there is to be known about the human body and
its (mal)functioning. And (2): It simply is not a valid argument: If
you don't know, you don't know, and it does not
follow at all that if you can't explain something that "therefore"
something must be an idea held by madmen. This also is offensive
pretensious immoral rot not
worthy of any
intellectually or morally decent medical doctor, whose moral and
medical duty it is to rationally
explain to people he deems mad or disturbed why he thinks they are, and
without doing so fallaciously from a tacit premiss of
his own infallibility and omniscience.
- The typical medical doctor
patients see, viz. a GP, did not
get a scientific
education, but a practical
one for the most part: Most practicing medical doctors are not trained
in science, nor for scientific research, but are trained to practice
medicine. Which is fine, as it is difficult enough to be a good GP
being a trained research scientist, but many
GPs I have met - and I also do think I owe my life to one GP who was
did not lie
to me - pretended otherwise, and simply knowingly lied.
(I know because I know science and am a very good debater: It is - for
example - amazing what bullshit many GPs utter about subjects like
probability and statistics.)
So... while I am mostly in favour of
Quakwatch and wholly in favour of real science, I know of too many
fraudulent medical doctors to accept that a university diploma in
medicine is anything remotely like a failsafe guarantee the medical
doctor is neither a quack, nor a fraud, nor a liar. Also, it seems to me
that the study of medicine attracts and formally qualifies too many
people who are more interested in money or power or status than in
helping ill people, and also that being a medical doctor is having a
function that easily corrupts, since "all power corrupts".
However, I also am quite aware that
most medical doctors I have seen meant well, even if they could tell me
little or nothing that was helpful, which shows that they also were not
really competent (*), and that the real rotters and
liars among medical people tend to be psychiatrists and other
practitioners of fields where there is either little real scientific
knowledge or a lot of money to be made. (**)
P.S. And there it stands for today. Whatever mistakes I made in
Drie documenten: Mijn vader's verhaal +
mijn verhaal + mijn mensenrechten still need finding and correcting.
This will be done soon, as I do intend to use it against several medical
doctors and one or two psychologists: I have been called "a fascist"
possibly hundreds of times in the University of Amsterdam because I insisted
publicly that truth exists, that not all morals are equally relative, and
that not all human beings equal or equivalent. For the same reason I have
been thrown three times from the University of Amsterdam, the last time
explicitly as "a fascist" and "a terrorist" because of my public speech in
the faculty of philosophy
39 Questions about the qualities
of education and government
in the Netherlands
Well... I want to return the compliment - for
I have come to conclude that there are real Untermenschen, real
sado-fascistic beasts without any conscience whatsoever, and they have
governed Amsterdam since 1984 at the latest, always enriching themselves and
the drugsmafia while lying like fascist terrorists about their backgrounds,
their ideas, their values; their ideals and their bona fides.
The very least any of these rotters ought to have done is explain to me
why I deserve to be gassed, and kept out of sleep while being threatened
with murder by Amsterdam drugsdealers, for nearly four years of constant
pain, followed by 20 years more because of these four, and why I have been
removed repeatedly from the University of Amsterdam for standing up for
science and rational thinking in a Dutch university.
They didn't: Untermenschen. And see my eventual solution for this manner
of human beastliness, at least if human civilization lasts:
On a fundamental problem in ethics and morals.
P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason
is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if
there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.