This is why you should never source Wikipedia

So, who has heard of the Rife Machine? It is a quack device that purports to destroy diseases by homing in on their resonant frequency, and disrupting them with radiofrequency (RF) waves (like a soundwave shattering a wine glass). I’ve met true believers of this stuff before, and there is little you can do to dissuade them of the magical power of these machines, that when dissected reveal they’re little more than batteries with flashing LED-lights – and no capability of generating specific radio frequencies. I just got an email this weekend about recent hucksters selling these in Australia, it’s a woo that just won’t die, possibly because it’s very attractive to cranks.

The story behind the Rife machine has all the perfect components of crankery. You’ve got the miracle cure for cancer, suppressed by the mainstream medical profession, with a visionary hero (Royal Rife) who like Galileo was persecuted for defying the orthodoxy and whose revolutionary inventions were destroyed to prevent him from being validated.

So what quack sites did I have to go to to learn about this absurdity? What den of psuedoscientific iniquity is pushing this story off as fact? Why Wikipedia of course.
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Alternative medicine quacks deny efficacy of conventional medicine

Make no mistake about it, the promoters of alternative medicine are denialists. One of the more stunning examples of their denial of the efficacy of evidence-based medicine appeared in Newstarget with the headline The false gods of scientific medicine revealed: It’s a cult, not a science by Mike Adams.

Promoters of conventional medicine claim that all the drug marketing, FDA approvals, surgical procedures, chemotherapy and all other treatments are based on “hard science.” The term “science” is invoked with hilarious frequency: Science journals, science-based medicine, proven medical science and so on. As you might have guessed, however, there’s surprisingly little genuine science to be found in the common practice of conventional medicine. Rather, what passes for “science” today is a collection of health myths, half-truths, intellectual dishonesty, self delusion, fraudulent reporting and wishful thinking.

This is how doctors have come to believe the incredible: That food has nothing to do with health, that antioxidants will kill you, that herbs interfere with drugs, and that only drugs can treat or cure disease. It’s a cult-like belief system handed down by the high priests of conventional medicine, and if this intricate web of false beliefs was actually subjected to genuine scientific scrutiny, it would crumble into a thousand pieces of junk science and marketing propaganda.

It’s the usual denialist garbage. Conspiracy theories about drug companies, doctors, scientific conspiracies and the FDA. The straw man that doctors think that food has nothing to do with health is an egregious denial of all research done into nutrition. And his statement that herbs can’t interfere with drugs? Well, try taking St. John’s Wort and birth control sometime and see what happens. But my jaw dropped with this claim:

Chemotherapy has been scientifically proven to be worthless at curing cancer, enhancing quality of life or protecting the health of the patient. In fact, chemotherapy kills patients, and even the ones who survive it are left with permanent damage to their brain (“chemo brain”), kidneys, liver and other organs. Chemotherapy is a medical hoax with absolutely no scientific validity. The size of a tumor is not a measure of the degree of cancer that exists on a patient’s body, and shrinking a tumor is not a meaningful measure of a cancer treatment’s success.

Oh really? I wonder if I can find an example of chemotherapy extending life. Let’s see…

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Profile of a Crank – Julia Stephenson

Ben Goldacre at Bad Science is leading the way on opposing this new absurdity of “electric smog”, and one of it’s leading proponents in Britain, Julia Stephenson.

It’s really too easy. Remember the crank HOWTO? Well, she’s just about a perfect example.

It all started when she got wifi in her apartment…
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Left wing woo from HuffPo

The last day or so of posts on HuffPo is a perfect example of why I’ll never take that site seriously, and why in the end, lefties are just as susceptible to anti-science nonsense as the right. We start with Donna Karen promoting her new health-care initiative, the Well-Being Forum with much credit to hucksters Tony Robbins (he’ll hypnotize you with his teeth) and Deepak Chopra, king of woo. You know where it’s going with the first post “Healing Is Individual, Not One-Size-Fits-All” and early statements such as this:

But Tony knew that the bottom line is that healing is individual, it’s not one size fits all. You have to find the key to yourself. At the Well-Being Forum, Karen Duffy, a TV host and patient advocate who has experienced serious illness told us that, “The doctors gave me metaphors like, “you’re going to fight this illness.” But I’m a lover, not a fighter, and I didn’t want a big battle. I wanted the happy cells to take the unhappy cells out for a pint and talk it over.”

“Doctors don’t realize the hypnotic power of their messages, whether it’s telling you illness is a battle or saying that you have six months to live,” Tony told us at the forum. ” But it’s vital to bring hope to the table and give people the images and metaphors that will heal them.”

That’s what was missing from medicine and healthcare, metaphors! Precious healing metaphors from Tony Robbins! I can see my work will be cut out for me (the second post also pushes Tony Robbins’ carny-trick rubbish). And when you start getting into the Chopra-woo they promote it becomes perfectly clear that the left loves brain-dead unscientific garbage just as much as the religious fundamentalists on the right. The parallels are creepy.
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