LePage: lying about his creationist views

When asked if he believed in creationism and if it ought to be taught in schools, Paul LePage answered this.

I would say intelligence, uh, the more education you have the more knowledge you have the better person you are and I believe yes and yes.

It’s a ramble, but a ramble that ends with a definitive answer: “I believe yes and yes.”

But now LePage is lying.

Over the weekend, during a whistle-stop train trip through the Midcoast, LePage told reporters that his opponents had claimed LePage was not fit to be Governor because he’s French and Catholic. He claimed the comments had been made in blogs by Arden Manning, manager of the Democrats’ statewide campaign effort, called Victory 2010.

Manning says he doesn’t have a blog, denies ever making such comments, and says LePage’s allegation is “a lie”. But LePage was defended by Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster. He told NEWS CENTER that Democrats have been attacking LePage as “too extreme” because of his French Catholic values.

Webster and LePage both claim the issue revolves around creationism and whether it should be taught in schools. LePage says he has never said it should be taught, but MPBN radio has reported that during a GOP primary debate on MPBN television, LePage answered that he believes it should be taught.

Aside from no such blog or comments existing about LePage’s heritage or religion (both of which are strong forces in many parts of Maine anyway), LePage did – definitively – profess support for the teaching of creationism. Since that time he has backed away slightly, saying he supports local boards deciding what ought to be taught. Unfortunately, this still means he is okay with allowing creationism in schools. A rational person would reject such rubbish getting anywhere near children.

What I really want to hear is someone ask LePage how old he thinks the Universe is, how life has come to its current state – with specific reference to whether or not he accepts the fact of evolution – and if he believes Adam and Eve really existed. These are important questions that LePage needs to directly address – and not lie about later.

Maloney makes it worse

I’ve told Christopher Maloney (do I still need to provide background links on who he is at this point?) that he cannot make his destroyed web presence any better; he can only not make it worse. But as some readers may recall, he put an absurd amount of effort into creating a site about his ‘debate’ with Dr. Steven Novella. Since he failed to link back to Novella, I took the liberty of forwarding the link. The fortunate result is a new post where Novella demolishes Maloney.

Made clear by this exchange is the difference between the science-based approach and Maloney’s approach, which is typical of naturopaths. I look at all the evidence for plausibility, safety, and the reasonable potential for benefit. If I am convinced that I can offer my patients the probability of benefit in excess of harm, I will use a treatment (no matter how it is labeled) with proper informed consent. But I will then closely follow the evidence and will stop using a treatment if good clinical evidence is negative. Or I will start using a treatment when new evidence shows that it is safe and effective.

Maloney, on the other hand, appears to trade in wild speculation. In my opinion he has demonstrated sloppy, black and white thinking, an inability to understand the implications of published research, a bias against science-based medicine, and a willingness to prescribe treatments based upon the flimsiest of scientific justifications. He then accuses me of being “dismissive” and has the stones to declare victory in our exchange because I eventually tired of his evasiveness and crank tactics.

Further, Maloney, if anything, has demonstrated that the naturopathic/alternative approach has nothing to offer. The science is the science, and properly using scientific research as a basis for practice is the ideal of mainstream medicine. The optimal standard of this is what I have termed science-based medicine. Maloney, however, is laboring under the false dichotomy of “alternative” medicine. As evidence of how ultimately worthless this false category is, he pulls from the scientific literature to find alleged alternatives to science-based practice. He claims that supplements are alternative and “suspects” that I would ignore them because of this, when they have received research attention in accordance with the basic-science evidence without discriminating based upon their “supplement” status.

Lovely.

I like to think I recognize the limits of what I have to offer. For instance, one reader asked me a very specific (and very interesting) question about what method to use in a phylogeographic study. Instead of offering an answer which would be dubious at best, I simply fired off an email to one of the original researchers (and a former and hopefully future professor of mine) for the paper on which I based my post. He gave a succinct answer with a complete understanding. It would have been a display of hubris for me to take on the question alone.

But then I’m not a naturopath. I recognize the need for evidence or the awareness of evidence in order to start spouting off. Maloney, on the other hand, likes to throw out a bunch of Gish Gallop nonsense and then whine that no one is taking him seriously when they don’t spend hundreds of hours responding to his unevidenced garbage. Everyone just recognizes his complete lack of credibility since he has no evidence for any of his positions.

Of course, Maloney has already seen Dr. Novella’s post. (Frankly, I’m honestly impressed with his speed.)

I wonder if a certain unbalanced local well known to the police tipped you off about my poor little website?

Without revealing more than I should/can, the Augusta police don’t really take Maloney or his Official Police Complaint that I’m just a downright meanie very seriously.

If you encourage him enough, perhaps he will again play the midnight stalker and place hate mail on my neighbors’ porches. The encouragement of hate is a dangerous business, Dr. Novella. I suspect our mutual “friend” is trying to get the attention of his own father, a medical man like yourself. It’s called transference, and -tag- you’re it.

1) Maloney has also claimed that I intentionally went to his neighborhood to distribute my publication (“hate mail” as he calls it) at a time when I somehow magically knew he wasn’t home. So even though I knew he wouldn’t be home, I was still stalking him. Oh, and he has lied in the past about me leaving anything at his house. I specifically avoided his doorstep (and a house I couldn’t be sure wasn’t his) in order to honor his request that I do not directly contact him.

2) Given the fact my own father’s profession is not related to science in any way, I believe he means PZ when he references my father.

Dr. Novella pointed out (as did I) that Maloney did not link back to the blog post he quotes over and over. Maloney responded:

I cited your blog specifically, following all known copyright laws. I did not provide links because, my grandstanding fellow, you are very easy to find online. My own fame only arises from your attack upon me. You continue to libel me in the false headline that you and the unwashed rabble that follow you broadcast across the internet.

1) His fame arises from being in cahoots with Andreas Moritz to get my blog shut down for six days. PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh, and half the Internet then helped restore my ability to promote science and fight quackery.

2) No one seems to understand what libel is, especially quacks. Perhaps Maloney should go talk to the British Chiropractic Association. They once had his same problem.

If you are sincere about your wishes to continue our discussion (which you have now suddenly done so after months of silence) I would be glad to do so, but I have no interest in playing for your motley crew of ignorant “science wanna-bes”.

1) This isn’t a discussion. It’s a beat down.

2) Maloney created his crappy summary site out of the blue. Shortly after I discovered it, I realized Dr. Novella would probably never see it if I didn’t send him the link. I sent it to him five days ago.

3) By continuing to address this six month old bitch slapping with all his new sites, Maloney is doing nothing but playing for everyone’s entertainment.

P.S. You are officially denied permission to reprint this letter on your hate blog. Feel free to link here, though.

Good thing he only denied Dr. Novella, right?

Oh, and quoting, citing, and addressing published work cannot somehow be denied, not “officially”, not magically, and not otherwise.

Naturopaths and oncology

It is wildly, spectacularly, crushingly and crashingly unacceptable that naturopaths think they know a damn thing about treating cancer.

The mind boggles that this “specialty” has its own board certification. How long before naturopathic oncologists push for special privileges in the states that license naturopaths? It’s not even beyond my imagination to visualize them applying for, and getting, the prescribing power to administer chemotherapy along with their herbs, supplements, and other woo. Why would naturopathic oncologists even want this? Easy. For the same reason that naturopaths in general seem to be seeking prescribing power: Real drugs work, and if one mixes real drugs with naturopathy then patients will tend to attribute the success not to the evil pharmaceutical drug but rather to the naturopathic nostrum.

These quacks are an unsavory bunch.

Read the rest of Orac’s article to really get a grasp on how naturopaths are going to harm the well-being of cancer patients.

Faith healing couple being charged

Faith healing is a significant problem in child medical care. Many parents are sensible enough to bring their sick or diseased children to real doctors who can offer real solutions, but that isn’t true of all parents. One reason is that 30 states offer protection for this evil practice. That, in part, leads parents to believe it is okay to refuse actual medical care for their children because the state will not prosecute them. The other part of the equation is obviously religion. It’s a virus that eats away rationality.

Take the case of the Neumann’s. Even without state protection in Wisconsin, they decided to forego real treatment for their sick daughter. The little girl, Kara, died, despite having a fully treatable condition (diabetes). The couple cited over and over their religious devotion and reasons for effectively giving their child a death sentence. It was this that gave them a ridiculous jail sentence of a mere 6 months to be served over a 6 year period – one month a year. And they have other children.

It is clearly a problem that 30 states are willing to protect negligent parents, but religion is at the root of it all. Take this recent case of Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ church.

The Wylands’ 7-month-old daughter, Alayna, was placed in state custody earlier this month after child-welfare workers received a tip about the untreated and ballooning growth. Doctors said that the condition could cause permanent damage or loss of vision.

The Wylands and their church reject medical care in favor of faith-healing — anointing with oil, laying on of hands, prayer and fasting. The parents testified at a juvenile court hearing last week that they never considered getting medical attention for Alayna.

I’m not posting it here because it’s gross, but there is a picture of Alayna at that link. Take a look. Her parents weren’t going to do anything but wipe away some puss and discharge.

The upside of all this is that Oregon is not one of those 30 states which protects negligent children. In fact, it has taken exactly the opposite direction.

Under Oregon law, it is a crime for parents to intentionally and knowingly withhold necessary and adequate medical attention from their children. First-degree criminal mistreatment is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Wylands have been indicted on that charge of first-degree criminal mistreatment. There’s no way they’ll get the full sentence they deserve – Alayna needs to be given the longest possible time without any chance of either of them neglecting her further – but hopefully they will be given some prison time plus probation plus required medical supervision of their daughter. That’s the least that ought to happen to these nuts. Their religion has blinded them to the serious health problems of their daughter – who may end up blind because of their neglect.

Oh, and there’s this.

Wyland’s first wife, Monique, died of breast cancer in 2006. She had not sought or received medical treatment for the condition, said Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner who signed the death certificate.

Monique would likely still be alive rather than not existing with her fictitious god if she received treatment.

Fair is fair

Since I posted about Paul LePage poking fun at Libby Mitchell’s vitality despite his own lack of fitness, I feel obligated to post his recent apology.

“If Elizabeth is offended by it, my deepest apologies, because it was certainly never meant to offend her,” LePage said on air. “She’s worked very hard and she’s had a good career and I just think that the issues should be brought up. My differences with Elizabeth Mitchell is on the policies.”