Another letter

The Kennebec Journal (KJ) has done what has become rare and published something which is full of sense and science: a letter by me.

Naturopathic medicine is pure bull.

Let’s not beat around the bush on this one. Those who practice naturopathy are quacks. They may be sincere quacks, but sincerity does not translate to evidence — or your health.

The Ontario legislature is considering giving naturopathic “doctors” prescription rights. This presents a serious danger to the health of any Canadian ignorant enough to be duped into the “care” of these charlatans.

But it hits closer to home than that. Maine is just one of several states that give these vastly underqualified “doctors” such rights. This presents a serious risk. They have no relevant medical training for offering prescriptions; this makes them highly susceptible to blindly doling out contra-indicated drugs, among other dangerous possibilities.

I cannot overstate this fact: Naturopaths are not doctors and they are not qualified.

They cherry-pick evidence, often lie and misrepresent facts.

Recently, a local naturopathic “doctor,” Christopher Maloney, wrote a letter in which he committed himself to that third possibility. He implied H1N1 vaccination properties for black elderberry. The only relevant studies on black elderberry are for the regular flu, do not show vaccination properties, and far larger studies are needed (as noted by the original researchers).

I implore anyone considering naturopathic “medicine” to not do it and/or cross-check Maloney’s “facts.” Naturopathy is not a science in any sense of the word; it is not to be trusted.

A long laundry list countering false naturopathic claims can be found at the qualified page Terra Sig on

If everyone began to demand evidence, we could do away with this naturopathic “medicine” malarkey. We’d be all the safer for it.

Michael Hawkins


I’m glad I was able to sneak that email address in there. Without Apology is my publication and the sister site to FTSOS. That little advertisement is probably the best I can do there since I’m sure the KJ won’t let me link back to myself.


I don’t know if it was because I recently laid out a short summary of the sort of antics this paper has been playing (and then subsequently emailed the link the head honcho), but it took me some time to get this letter published. I originally wanted a much more comprehensive letter published, but Jim Evans lied to me and wouldn’t admit that libel was his concern, so I settled for a pro-atheism letter. Seeing through Evans’ lies, I rewrote my letter so that I could call Maloney a charlatan without directly saying it and submitted that. And then resubmitted it. And again. It looks like persistence won the day. (And that’s fortunate for Evans because once finals were over I planned on paying him a personal visit to get him to just tell me the truth. I mean, goodness. Just say what you mean.)

In the comment section of this letter, “homesteps” of Chelsea speaks of his/her experience being treated by Maloney. S/he says this.

Chris is very good at looking at factors that may impact mysterious conditions. He helps patients with food diaries and elimination diets. He encourages them to embrace an all-around healthier lifestyle. On top of these qualities, he is focused on finding the true underlying problems and treating the whole patient. He often recommends that people see their regular medical doctors, as he recognizes the limitations of any one-size-fits-all approach. He is one of the most caring doctors we have been to.

Maloney is NOT a doctor by any reasonable measures – and Maine’s measures are not reasonable! He has NO qualifications which earn him that title beyond the state’s bogus measurements!** It’s all fine and dandy if someone wants to waste money on someone telling them to not eat crappy foods* (should I be charging you readers for that nugget of advice?), but let’s not pretend that these people are actually qualified to be doling out medical advice. As I note in my letter, people run the risk of taking contra-indicated drugs if we start treating naturopaths as real doctors.

*I’m not disparaging true nutritionists or implying that their advice is a waste. My comment is more specific; think of going up to some random schlub on the street and asking him for dietary advice. He may rightly tell you that eating a lot of trans fat is bad for you, but that doesn’t mean that he has done anything to earn payment from you.

**Maloney whined to WordPress to make me change this. I originally said he was not a doctor at all. Under the technicality of Maine law, he is a doctor. But he’s a dangerous one because he lies about the efficacy of treatments to suit his purposes. And, again, he is not allowed to practice naturopathy in two states.

Thought of the day

Are we really such a weak and cowardly race that we must concoct these silly rationalizations to avoid admitting the obvious: there doesn’t seem to be a God, or at least one who is loving and powerful? Can’t we admit that bad things are simply bad things and not some manifestation of a tortured and incomprehensible divine calculus? When will our species grow up?

~Jerry Coyne