Maloney update

Maloney’s review was today. As I said earlier, I was unable to attend – it was observation only anyway – but I did give the relevant people a call to get an idea of what happened. I highly recommend getting your information from me since Maloney will almost certainly lie about.

The complaint was dismissed, but not without a recommending letter. The board is going to issue Maloney a letter advising him to make changes to some of his practices. That’s pretty close to what I asked them to do:

A person with a serious ailment may seek an alternative to, say, the hassle of the overhead associated with many mainstream healthcare providers. Should this person come across Mr. Maloney’s website and see his lack of burdensome overhead, there may be confusion; the person may only be looking for an alternative to overhead, not an alternative to mainstream medicine. Mr. Maloney’s illegal claim to being a doctor without the qualifier “naturopathic” or its derivatives ought to be corrected. I urge the board to enforce the law and demand Mr. Maloney correct his website at the least.

So while the letter will be non-binding, the board does appear to agree with my position. Maloney ought not represent himself in any way that makes him appear to be a real doctor.

The account I was given over the phone made it sound like the letter has yet to be drafted, but I can’t be sure. I was not given specifics, so I can’t go into great detail or speak with great certainty (hence “the board does appear to agree…”). (It very much sounds like they will be asking him to change his inappropriate phrasings.) Once I get the letter, I will make a new post. At that point – unless he continues to fabricate history, attack atheists, or dole out plainly false medical information (again, there is no good evidence that black elderberry is effective against H1N1 – don’t believe him!) – I hope to mostly be done with this ridiculous character.

Maloney review scheduled

I made an official complaint against Christopher Maloney some months ago. The jist of what I said was that he was claiming to be a doctor when Maine law is pretty clear about saying he needs to distinguish himself from real doctors (i.e., physicians), utilizing phrases like “naturopathic doctor” or “doctor of naturopathy”. Now, according to a letter I received today, his review has been scheduled.

The complaint filed by Michael L. Hawkins against your license will be reviewed by the Board of Complementary Health Care Providers on October 29, 2010. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, 76 Northern Avenue, Gardiner, Maine.

(My middle initial still isn’t “L”.)

Unfortunately, I am unable to make the meeting. I would probably see what I could do to swing getting the time off from work if it was allowed that I might participate, but the session is observation only. However, if anyone from the central Maine area is interested in attending the meeting, that would be great; I would love to hear a first-hand account of everything. (On the off chance anyone does plan on attending, it is recommended to call Kelly McLaughlin at 207-624-8621 the day prior to the meeting to verify that the review will take place – from what I understand, these things have a habit of jumping around a bit.)

Also, as promised in an earlier post (see above link), I’m going to post the letter I wrote in response to Maloney’s response to my initial complaint. For the sake of blog aesthetics, see the comment section.

I can’t believe Maloney is still lying

I was searching for PZ Myers YouTube videos but moments ago when I came across this magnificent piece of garbage from Christopher Maloney.

Let’s start from the top:

Maloney did collaborate with Andreas Moritz. Maloney can keep claiming that PZ retracted this or that, but the fact of the matter is this is what PZ actually said:

However, at the very least, Maloney was used as a pretext to shut down the blog. WordPress sent Hawkins email demanding changes to his posts, specifically this one:

[Email from WordPress]

…Someone targeted Hawkins, and sent a demand to WordPress to shut him down. This is someone in communication with Maloney, because Maloney just sent me this email:

And he goes on to quote an email in which Maloney admits to being in contact with Moritz. There is no doubt that these two acted together to report me to WordPress; does anyone believe Maloney didn’t know what Moritz was doing? does anyone believe Maloney didn’t tell Moritz exactly what to send to WordPress? does anyone believe anything Maloney says?

Next Maloney claims my original letter about him has since been pulled from the Kennebec Journal, as if to suggest the paper saw how dastardly it was and just had to remove it! In fact, the KJ remodeled its website shortly after my letter was published – no letter from that period can be found. As evidence for my point, take a look at my response to a couple letters others wrote in response to what I wrote. Now try to follow the links to those letters back to the KJ’s website. (Let me know how that works out for you, Maloney.)

Maloney then goes on to claim he’s just a poor victim who is being harassed by the big mean mob. In fact, since destroying his web presence for getting my blog shut down with the help of Moritz, all the posts about him have been responses. I’ve often said he can’t make things better, he can only not make them worse. Apparently I was being too subtle: stop trying to promote your quackery and everyone will stop ‘harassing’ you. You, Maloney, make things worse by creating elaborate responses months after the fact – case-in-point, this YouTube video.

Next Maloney, for some bizarre reason, tries to say what atheists oppose: authoritarianism. It’s perplexing because atheism is not a philosophy, not an indicator of how to act (or how one will act), and it isn’t a normative position. Atheism is a position that says, for whatever reason, theism is not worth holding. Even then it is necessary to qualify that this only means it is not worth holding for that particular atheist. Many atheists are pro-theism and see it as a positive in the world; they just reject what they see as being positive as also being true. Of course, many atheists do happen to reject that theism is positive (mostly because arriving at atheism is generally for rational people and it’s only rational to see theism as a propagator of evil) but that does not mean that it is possible to know what positions an atheist holds by virtue of knowing he is an atheist. As usual, Maloney is out of his league.

After some rambling Maloney tries to bumble his way out of being called a quack by saying what he does doesn’t fit into the etymology of the word. Feel free to skip over that part of the video. He’s a quack because he practices a form of medicine for which there is no convincing evidence.

Weird that continued attempts to reestablish himself and promote his quackery have resulted in yet another blog post, huh?

Americans aren’t using sunscreen

…thereby raising their risk of cancer.

Despite the attention of the healthcare industry on the role of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer, about 40 percent of Americans never apply sunscreen at all before going out and only 9 percent wear it everyday, the poll of 1,004 people, showed.

One of the regions with the lowest use of sunscreen was the South, where 46 percent of people said they never using sunscreen at all during the summer. The age group with the lowest rate of sunscreen use was 18- to 29-year-olds at four percent.

Men were also much more likely not to use sunscreen before going outside with 48 percent saying they do not wear it at all.

The biggest factor in the lack of sunscreen use, I suspect, is laziness. It’s a pain to put on every time one goes outside. Then there’s the fact that people don’t want to smell like the stuff all day. And, as the article cites, income gaps contribute as well. Unfortunately, that isn’t where it ends. There are also quacks who say irresponsible things like this.

First of all: realize that sunscreen blocks all UV activity to the skin. Your skin provides countless functions not least of which is the absorption and manufacture of the steroid vitamin D. Any sunblock chemicals used in moisturizers, lip balm, and make-up should be eliminated if vitamin D levels are to be properly maintained.

The ineffectiveness of sunblock chemicals has been known for over a decade. Even though it is clear that the use of sunblock does effectively prevent sunburns, the prevention of skin cancers has not been found in the research. Furthermore, it is now clear that at least some of the chemicals in sunblock cause cancer changes in the skin.

This is Richard Maurer, naturopath. I don’t think I need to go much further in explaining his quackeriness. Unfortunately, this sort of vitamin D obsession is common with the alt med crowd. They take something good and go all after it. I suspect part of the reason has to do with the ease in which they can recommend it since they are limited in just what they can prescribe, but it’s also probably partially that many big drug companies don’t have vitamin D as a major focus. If those guys aren’t pushing it, well, it must work, right? Evidenced be damned. (For the record, I’ve never read where Christopher Maloney has excessively pushed vitamin D or recommended against basic skin protection; the problem is still common with the alt med crowd, but that doesn’t mean it is universal.)

Wear sun block.

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.

Maloney: Responding to every ounce of criticism he has ever received

Remember how I said it’s a terrible idea to respond to criticism too much? And how I said that based on, who else, Christopher Maloney? He didn’t get the memo.

The Novella Debates
Home | The first accusation and the response. | Second: Maloney apologies, Novella does not . | Third: The Challenge | Fourth: Alternative Treatments for Ear Infections | Fifth: Hypertension, No Proof of Placebo Effect. | Novella lets Enzo debate for him. | Maloney Claims Victory, Novella Denies. | Maloney Refutes “Busy,” Novella Calls Him a Crank | Maloney Argues That Novella Is Wasting Time | Enzo Defends Novella | Maloney Apologies, Answers Enzo | Novella Patronizes Maloney, Defends Quackbusting | Novella Taken to Task For Poor Reporting. | A Debate About What Constitutes Evidence | The Evidence Debate: Novella Disappears. | Novella Attacks Maloney Somewhere Else | Maloney Responds, Novella Claims Busy | Novella Discusses Libel | Maloney Provides Evidence, Readers Attack | Novella Takes the Second Challenge | An Alternative Treatment for ALS: Bacterial | Novella Ignores Evidence, Denies Validity | A Secondary Treatment for ALS: Supplementation | A Novella Reader Attacks | Maloney Responds With A Plea for Novella To Engage In Furthering Research | Maloney Declares Victory

Not sure what the hell all that is? It’s a series of links – 27 by my count – which Maloney has made about the ‘debate’ he had with Steven Novella. Despite the significant effort put forth in creating a site, dividing the topics, creating the links and summarizing all the posts, Maloney was unable to simply link to the original post.

This is fun. The guy takes criticism so poorly that he just can’t stop himself from responding to every little bit of it. Give it up. No one is going to suddenly take a look and say, “Oh, whoops. I guess we – and medical science – were wrong. Sorry.”

At least he has removed the link to ‘The Dirty Dozen’, effectively validating the previously leveled criticism for being so petty and arbitrary. It’s just too bad he only deleted it from one place – it still exists elsewhere.

The Table of Irrational Nonsense

I can only wonder if element 68 wouldn’t be listed if FTSOS and Pharyngula and everyone else didn’t go after the nonsense of a certain quack.

Via Crispian Jago.