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Anonymous = Venomous

July 9, 2011

Tags: order, anonymous hate mail, Anonymous = Venomous, crime stories, economy, education, fascism, Germany, gossip, hate, immigration – illegal, Internet, Jews, Law of Attraction, migrant farm workers, New Age, newspaper, politicians, scape-goating, venomous

We have enough of vitamin discussion for a while. The other thing on my mind lately is how hate recently has grown.

This is not a new phenomenon. It always happens in economically bad times: Politicians play out one group against another to curry favors to one group. We know how it ends: It ends in scape-goating and fascism. In the Thirties, in Germany, the targets were Jews; now it is immigrants.

Not that I am against a reasonable law to curb illegal immigration. But there is no reason to hate the unfortunates who want to make a better life for themselves and their families. We need rules, but if we start hating, the hate will come to haunt us more than the ones for which it was intended.

As an aside: The illegal immigrants fill usually two kinds of jobs: the ones Americans don’t want like cleaning houses and picking tomatoes, and the ones that Americans can’t do because education has been going downhill in this country for a while. - Let’s make better rules – but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater! (and let’s make education a priority!).

The Internet surely is spewing with hate mails – usually anonymous hate mail. Anonymous equals venomous all too often. I propose that we all are always signing with our full name – I think we would reconsider writing hateful contributions if those could be tracked back to the writer for many years to come.

Here are some questions:

1. Are you writing anonymous Internet contributions? Do you want to make the Earth a better place? Hate will not make it a better place. – Interestingly, no newspaper will publish a letter if it doesn’t have the full name (exceptions are intended to shield vulnerable parties – but even then the newspaper knows the name).
2. Are you following gossip and crime stories on TV and on the Internet with glee? Do you take sides – and don’t know the participants. Once, a long time ago, I worked in a medical prison situation. The people whom I met there, looked, talked, acted like you and me. But they all were murderers. Ever since then I wonder what makes a person a murderer – and I shun easy answers and prejudice.
3. Do you know any people of the group that is targeted for scape-goating? Get to know some – because you have to walk in somebody’s moccasins to understand their predicament.

Compassion and forgiveness are required in these difficult times. If you are a hating person (and we all have traits of hate – don’t think there are exceptions!) the hate will mark you face and will mar your life. My New-Age friends would say that, by the Law of Attraction, hat will attract hate into your life. You deserve better!

Quackery

July 30, 2010

Tags: water, movement, food, order, accidents, allopathy, Andy Lewis, appendicitis, drug-dispensing, fever, genes, headache, health, heart attack, homeopathy, language - ambiguous, Lewis - Andy, medicine - alternative, medicine - conventional, Natural Medicine, naturpathy, New Age, procedure-oriented, profit-driven, quackery, quackometer, relationships, science, sleep, stiff neck, sugar pills, supplements, tularemia, vitamins

On the British "Quackometer" site, I have been negatively reviewed: http://www.quackometer.net/.

This is what I answered:

Dear Mr. Andy Lewis,

Basically, I like the idea of a quackometer. On the other hand, I am not tickled that I received all those ducks. They are cute, though.

In my books and health blog, I use easy language while being informed about science. I use some new-agey terms so that people understand me – that explains “This web site is using lots of alternative medicine terms.”

At the same time, you accuse me of the opposite: “It is full of scientific jargon that is out of place and probably doesn't know the meaning of any of the terms.” You don’t want to argue with degrees - but here I have to: I was a teacher of mathematics and statistics, and have a master’s degree in philosophy, especially in epistemology (which is the science of what we can know, and where we better shut up – as Wittgenstein put it). That all before I studied medicine and finished with board-certification here in the U.S.A. in internal medicine. And I hold a degree in “Natural Medicine.” So, in all likelihood, I do understand the medical and scientific terms I use.

“It shows little or no critical thought and so should be treated with caution!” You might have overlooked my blog that states that homeopathy has no scientific basis – therefore I don’t use it with patients. But I did two courses of homeopathy to make sure I did not throw out a valuable tool unexamined. Then again, barely anybody dies of sugar pills – and here in the U.S.A. (unfortunately, I don’t have British numbers) about 100,000 people die per year of allopathic drugs. Only on your website today I found the information of this anti-malaria homeopathic concoction; that indeed is murderous, and I strongly oppose it.

However, since many ailments heal with time and better lifestyle, homeopathy (which is often combined with compassionate care and good advice for exercise and healthy eating) might be less of a safety problem than conventional medicine. I have practiced medicine for thirty years and have become skeptical of profit-driven, procedure-oriented, drug-dispensing allopathic medicine. But I would never discard good conventional medicine where it is needed and useful: When my son came home from camp with high fever, stiff neck and the worst headache of his life, I did not think for a second that “alternatives” were the answer. I drove him straight to the Emergency Room of a famous Boston Teaching Hospital (where they promptly misdiagnosed his tularemia – but that is another story…). – Appendicitis needs a good surgeon. And one doesn’t treat a heart attack by holding hands. – Guess we agree here.

Also, I am very critical of indiscriminate use of vitamins and other supplements without proven value and without documented deficiencies. You might also have noticed that I don’t sell anything – only my books which is the way to disperse ideas and knowledge). Not even a mug or a t-shirt.

There are bad genes and unfortunate accidents. But apart from that, health is a simple proposition, in my opinion: Eat well, sleep well, move a bit, drink fresh water, get your relationships and priorities right – and automatically, you will be healthier. Common sense, not more. But it is so much easier to pop a pill (allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic) than do something yourself - that’s probably why my books sell so poorly.

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.

P.S. I forgot two arguments:

1. Using language as the sole indicator for quackery might not work because – as you somewhere noticed yourself – language is ambiguous.

2. Writing on a rather “quackery” website should not constitute quackery itself – I often just bring arguments which might be enlightening – and lure readers to my blog. Also, if writing on a “quackery” site makes me guilty of quackery – then writing on the “Quackometer” redeems me??

Last thought: Homeopathy fills a void that conventional medicine leaves: Homeopathic practitioners care and listen. If we want to persuade patients with our scientific arguments, we first have to return to caring and listening.

Update 1/2/2011:
They took me off the list, after all!!



Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

Tags - see also the non-captalized entries below!