Mike Adams versus the Sceptics

[BPSDB]Mike Adams, the self-styled ‘Health Ranger’, has decided to debunk scepticism here. He claims that the views he describes have been pulled from sceptic websites but he gives no links.

He claims that this is because he does not wish to boost sceptics’ google rankings but there is a way round this; he could replace the t’s in http with x’s. Readers could then copy and paste the url into their address bar and change the x’s back to t’s. This would allow them to look at his evidence without links boosting the rankings. The fact that he does not do so leaves one with the suspicion he has pulled them from the air.

He opens:-

In the world of medicine, “skeptics” claim to be the sole protectors of intellectual truth. Everyone who disagrees with them is just a quack, they insist.

Well, sceptics insist on evidence that medical procedures actually work. I see nothing wrong with calling someone who puts their patients at risk by using unevidenced procedures quacks.

Briefly stated, “skeptics” are in favor of vaccines, mammograms, pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy.

True, because there is evidence that these procedures actually work.

They are opponents of nutritional supplements, herbal medicine…

There is no evidence that a healthy person on a balanced diet needs nutritional supplements. Obviously nutritional supplements have their use in treating patients with deficiency diseases. The main problem with hebal medicines is that the dosage varies from plant to plant. This can be a particular problem with medicines such as digitalis where the therapeutic dose is very close to the lethal dose.

… chiropractic care, massage therapy, energy medicine, homeopathy, prayer and therapeutic touch

Well he’s got me there. I do oppose these – because there is no evidence that any of these work beyond placebo. I am paricularly opposed to the despicable charlatans who claim that they can use homeopathy to cure AIDS. I might further add that the tenets of homeopothy contadict those of herbalism and nutritionism. It would appear that in Mike Adams’ world if you accept one “alternative” therapy you must accept all of them

they themselves admit they have no consciousness

I am tempted to say I am not aware of that but I fear that Adams would not get the joke so I will content myself by saying it is simply not true and defy him to prove otherwise.

and that there is no such thing as a soul, a spirit or a higher power. There is no life after death.

Speaking for myself, I have not seen any evidence that these exist.

In fact, there’s not much life in life when you’re a skeptic.

There’s not much life when you’re gullible. Too many frauds selling you worthless nostrums.

Skeptics believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective (even if they’ve never been tested), that ALL people should be vaccinated, even against their will, and that there is NO LIMIT to the number of vaccines a person can be safely given. So injecting all children with, for example, 900 vaccines all at the same time is believed to be perfectly safe and “good for your health.”

Sceptics point out that there is no evidence that vaccines in current use, such as MMR or the swine flu vavvine are unsafe or ineffective. That is NOT the same as assuming that all vaccines will be automatically safe. No sceptic assumes that untested vaccines are safe. This is an outright lie by Adams as is his strawman argument alleging that sceptics believe giving 900 vaccines at once is “good for your health”.

Skeptics believe that fluoride chemicals derived from the scrubbers of coal-fired power plants are really good for human health. They’re so good, in fact, that they should be dumped into the water supply so that everyone is forced to drink those chemicals, regardless of their current level of exposure to fluoride from other sources.

Two things here. As I understand it, there is some evidence that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay but it is less than totally convincing. Secondly, I have yet to hear any pro-fluoride person suggest dumping the contents of chemical scrubbers into the water supply. This is more stuff Adams has made up.

Skeptics believe that many six-month-old infants need antidepressant drugs. In fact, they believe that people of all ages can be safely given an unlimited number of drugs all at the same time: Antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, blood pressure drugs, diabetes drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping drugs and more — simultaneously!

He’s making stuff up here as well. I have yet to hear anyone advance the notion that six-month olds need antidepressants. How could you even diagnose depression in a baby? And nobody believes that people can be given unlimited amounts numbers of drugs. Whenever doctors prescribe anything, they ask you if you are taking anything already as they are aware drugs can interact with each other.

Skeptics believe that the human body has no ability to defend itself against invading microorganism and that the only things that can save people from viral infections are vaccines.

Sceptics don’t believe that the immune system exists? New one on me.

Skeptics believe that pregnancy is a disease and childbirth is a medical crisis. (They are opponents of natural childbirth.)

I have yet to see any sceptic advance the view that pregnancy is a disease and childbirth a medical crisis. No beating about the bush – the inescapable conclusion is that Adams is making shit up. As for opposing natural childbirth – the one time I recall seeing this debated on Bad Science, there were sceptics on both side of the debate citing evidence to support their position. This demonstrates Adams’ misconceived notions on scepticism – he sees it as a single monolithic movement opposing everything in which he professes to believe, whereas by its nature, scepticism does not require you to accept particular positions. More on this later.

Skeptics do not believe in hypnosis.

Utter crap. I have witnessed hypnosis myself and have previously outlined my suspicion that a UCKG pastor used it to convince my step-daughter that she was possessed by a demon.

Skeptics believe that there is no such thing as human consciousness. They do not believe in the mind; only in the physical brain. In fact, skeptics believe that they themselves are mindless automatons who have no free will, no soul and no consciousness whatsoever.

There are sceptics who dispute the existance of conciousness in non-human animals. I have never seen any dispute the existance of humam conciousness and Adams supplies no evidence that any do. Hence his claim that we all believe ouselves to be mindless automota can be seen to be nonsense.

Skeptics believe that DEAD foods have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!).

I am not really sure what he even means by living and dead foods. I certainly prefer my Sunday roast to be dead. Can’t be doing with my dinner trying to escape. It is possible that by “dead” foods he means processed food and “living” he means fresh. In which case few if any sceptics hold the view Adams attributes to us.

Skeptics believe that pesticides on the crops are safe, genetically modified foods are safe, and that any chemical food additive approved by the FDA is also safe. There is no advantage to buying organic food, they claim.

He should visit a sceptic site, such as Bad Science, or the James Randi Education Forum, where he could find threads hotly debating these very issues.

Skeptics believe that water has no role in human health other than basic hydration. Water is inert, they say, and the water your toilet is identical to water from a natural spring (assuming the chemical composition is the same, anyway).

Well since the water in a toilet bowl does not have the same chemical composition as that from a natural spring (different solutes) we do not say they are identical.

Skeptics believe that all the phytochemicals and nutrients found in ALL plants are inert, having absolutely no benefit whatsoever for human health. (The ignorance of this intellectual position is breathtaking…)

I rather doubt anyone could find a sceptic site which says this. The only thing that is breath-taking here is Adams’ blatant lying. In fact it is sceptics who say that a good diet contains all the nutrients you need and that we do not need to buy the expensive supplements peddled by Adams and his ilk.

Skeptics believe that the moon has no influence over life on Earth. Farming in sync with moon cycles is just superstition, they say.

Well, he’s got me there. I do believe that.

Skeptics believe that the SUN has no role in human health other than to cause skin cancer. They completely deny any healing abilities of light.

One immediate counter to this is that conventional medics have been saying for decades that exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin.

Skeptics believe that Mother Nature is incapable of synthesizing medicines. Only drug companies can synthesize medicines, they claim. (So why do they copy molecules from nature, then?)

Many herbal medicines do contain pharmacologically active chemicals. That is not in dispute. However, the amount in each plant varies, depending on the conditions in which the plant grew. Pharmaceutical drugs contain a measured amount of the chemical so the dosage can be controlled. Since Adams acknowledges that many Big Pharma products are copies of natural chemicals, one wonders why he has such a down on them. He does not, always, he and his ilk are quite happy to sell vitamins produced by pharma companies.

Skeptics do not believe in intuition. They believe that mothers cannot “feel” the emotions of their infants at a distance. They write off all such “psychic” events as mere coincidence.

Sceptics would like to see evidence that psychic phenomena take place. We just have not seen any.

Skeptics believe that all healing happens from the outside, from doctors and technical interventions. They do not believe that patients have any ability to heal themselves. Thus, they do not ascribe any responsibility for health to patients. Rather, they believe that doctors and technicians are responsible for your health. Anyone who dismisses doctors and takes charge of their own health is therefore acting “irresponsibly,” they claim.

Adams has plainly never read any sceptic site (such as Bad Science or New Scientist’s online site) where the placebo effect is discussed. Mind you, I would agree that anyone who dismisses evidence based medicine in favour of unproven nostrums is indeed acting irresponsibly.

Skeptics believe that cell phone radiation poses absolutely no danger to human health. A person can be exposed to unlimited cell phone radiation without any damage whatsoever.

These claims have been investigated but no evidence to support them has been found. However, some doctors have invoked the precautionary principle and advised that children should restrict their use of mobile phones.

Skeptics believe that aspartame and artificial chemical sweeteners can be consumed in unlimited quantities with no ill effects.

Again, on sceptic sites I have seen vigorous debate as to whether any use is safe. Even those who think that current usage is safe do not advocate “unlimited” consumption.

Skeptics believe that human beings were born deficient in synthetic chemicals and that the role of pharmaceutical companies is to “restore” those deficiencies in humans by convincing them to swallow patented pills.

It is vitamin-pill peddlers like Adams who think we should all be taking pills all the time. Indeed, sceptics such as Ben Goldacre have frequently criticised both the pharmaceutical industry and the alt-med industry for medicalising everyday life.

Skeptics believe that you can take unlimited pharmaceuticals, be injected with an unlimited number of vaccines, expose yourself to unlimited medical imaging radiation, consume an unlimited quantity of chemicals in processed foods and expose yourself to an unlimited quantity of environmental chemical toxins with absolutely no health effects whatsoever!

He’s repeating himself here. Again, sceptics are well aware that drugs in combination can have a synergystic effect and doctors (and pharmacists) always ask you if you are receiving any treatment currently before dispensing more.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the corruption and dishonesty in the pharmaceutical industry. They believe whatever the drug companies say, without asking a single intelligent question.

This is another one from the “making stuff up” category. Ben Goldacre’s book “Bad Science” contains a section very critical of the tricks of Big Pharma. His blog covers more. Adams should go to Bad Science and use the search function.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about medical journals. They believe whatever they read in those journals, even when much of it turns out to be complete science fraud.

I think he will find that a lot of us never believed a certain Lancet paper by Dr A. Wakefield.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the profit motive of the pharmaceutical industry. They believe that drug companies are motivated by goodwill, not by profits.

We live in a capitalist society. If the pharmaceutical companies did not make a profit they would go out of business. If making money is to be a crime, we could look at the profit motive of the vitamin peddlers while we are about it.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the motivations and loyalties of the FDA. They will swallow, inject or use any product that’s FDA approved, without a single reasonable thought about the actual safety of those products.

To the best of my knowledge, the FDA is financed and overseen by the US Federal Government. If Adams has evidence that suggests otherwise, perhaps he could share it with us.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the safety of synthetic chemicals used in the food supply. They just swallow whatever poisons the food companies dump into the foods.

We’ve had this one. See above.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the enormous dangers of ionizing radiation from mammograms and CT scans. They have somehow convinced themselves that “early detection saves live” when, in reality, “early radiation causes cancer.”

This one is about balancing risks ie is the damage done by exposure to these procedures less than the damage done by failing to diagnose early. Hospitals (in the UK, don’t know about the US) keep treatment records and these can be used to re-assess the risks. In other words, conventional medics are sceptical in the true meaning of the word – they constantly check their conclusions agains reality.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the mass-drugging agenda of the psychiatric industry which wants to diagnose everyone with some sort of “mental” disorder. The skeptics just go right along with it without asking a single commonsense question about whether the human brain really needs to be “treated” with a barrage of mind-altering chemicals.

I would like to see some evidence that psychiatrists do in fact want to diagnose everybody with some sort of disorder.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about mercury fillings. What harm could mercury possibly do anyway? If the ADA says they’re safe, they must be!

The “mercury” used in fillings is in the form of an amalgam not metallic mercury and is much less reactive than metallic mercury. Of course, drilling them out (which some alt-med practitioners advocate) will result in the release of mercury vapor which the patient will inhale.

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the demolition-style collapse of the World Trade Center 7 building on September 11, 2001 — a building that was never hit by airplanes. This beautifully-orchestrated collapse of a hardened structure could only have been accomplished with precision explosives. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwSc…) Astonishingly, “skeptics” have little understanding of the laws of physics. Concrete-and-steel buildings don’t magically collapse in a perfect vertical demolition just
because of a fire on one floor…

It was however hit by burning debris from the collapsing Twin Towers. Fire does weaken steel structural supports and can precipitate a collapse. Also, why would [insert favourite perpetrator here] want to demolish WTC7 (or the Twin Towers)?

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the safety of non-stick cookware, or the dangers of cleaning chemicals in the home, or the contamination of indoor air with chemical fumes from carpets, paints and particle board furniture. To the skeptics, the more chemicals, the better!

I’m getting deja vu again. See above.

Mike Adams clearly sees opposition to his views as a single monolithic entity (he even refers to “the skeptics club”) and thinks that all sceptics have exactly the same views. Personally I have encountered atheists who disapprove of pesticides and Christians who oppose homeopathy. In the Adams’ worldview, these people cannot exist, which must come as a big shock to them.

Of course, while it would appear that many of the views he ascribes to sceptics are clearly made up, Adams may claim he is paraphrasing that which he has read on sceptic websites. Well we can all play that game. How about:

“The alt-med brigade believe that babies should be routinely exposed to wild pathogens which will kill those with weak immune sytems.”


“Rather than distribute cheap or free anti-retro viral drugs, which would eat into the vast profits of the pharmaceutical giants, alt-med practitioners believe that African AIDS sufferers should be given useless lactose and water remedies.”

He then concludes with a semi-coherent rant in which he says that sceptics are soul-less mindless zombies and that arguing with us is thus a waste of time. Obviously he has lost too many arguments with sceptics (and if the quotes above are typical of his intellectual rigour then this is not surprising) and this is his face saving excercise.


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9 Responses to “Mike Adams versus the Sceptics”

  1. Mojo Says:

    The classic (and perhaps a key to how he arrived at most of the article) is “Summing up the position of the “skeptics” is quite simple: Nature is bad, chemicals are good!”

    Now skeptics would say that whether something is “good” or “bad” would be determined by the properties of the particular thing being considered, not by its origin or whatever category it happened to fall into. But it is a common viewpoint of CAM proponents that “natural” means “good” and “safe”, and “chemicals” (which of course never exist in nature) are evil. Just project a diametrically opposed prejudice onto the “skeptics” and…

  2. Teek Says:

    cracking takedown – I had neither the time nor the energy to tackle Adams’ nonsensical ramblings, glad you took on the mighty bullshitter in this way!

    It is madness to suggest that skeptics are all of one voice as he does, the whole point of skepticism is to assess everything on merit of evidence and to come away with rational conclusions – the conclusions we draw may well differ, but the process of evaluating evidence, accepting that for which there is proof and rejecting that which is bunk, this is what maketh a skeptic, not some dogmatic knee-jerk rejectionism!

  3. jaycueaitch Says:


    Adams is now denying he said that all sceptics think exactly the same thing or that he was endorsing a religious viewpoint


    Perhaps he should reread his own words in the article linked to in the OP where he says that sceptics are atheists, not to mention mindless drones and zombies. And that we all join the “skeptics club” so that we can be taught what to think.

  4. Rof L. Mao Says:

    Mike Adams rocks. You guys are idiots. LMAO

  5. jaycueaitch Says:

    Evidence or STFU

  6. jaredcormier Says:

    Rectally derived ideas such as those Mike Adams puts forth remind me why the FDA should be allowed regulate all health claims, including alternative [to] medicine crap.

  7. jarrodhart Says:

    Great work in the trenches for us skeptics, but I wonder if doggedly debunking all the writing spewed by the purveyors of woo is somewhat a fool’s errand. It seems to me that the things they say are somehow attractive and contagious to the average reader, saying things that make them feel good and making them want to pass on the good news (a bit like religion, the bible I had as a kid was called the “Good News Bible”).
    Alas the logical shredding of these pieces is rather a sobering ‘back to reality’ that fills most people with instant sleepiness. We need to pack our message in a more contagious package…. of course, I have no great ideas so far…

  8. Tom Says:

    Great deconstruction of his points. I read his original piece with wide eyed astonishment: apparently I hold all these beliefs that I violently disagree with and was totally unaware of!

    However, it did lead to an insight as to the thought-process (or more accurately emotion-process) behind the alt-med mindset, thanks to his point on toilet-water vs. spring water. It struck me that a lot of his views in the “natural is good; synthetic is bad” vein are related to a feeling of revulsion based solely on the source of things, tied in with a sort of animism.

    Like homeopaths’ claims that water can have a “memory” of what’s been in it – as if the water has a spirit or animus, it seems that he ascribes the same quality of a spirit or memory to everything.

    I suspect there’s a built-in human trait to experience revulsion based on the origin of matter that we consume. I would still feel irrationally hesitant to drink water from my toilet even if I’d distilled it and tested it for evidence that there was no significant contamination. I know that such a feeling is irrational, but I’d really feel it. It’s not a great leap to extend that feeling to e.g. plant-derived vs. synthetic salicylic acid, or feeling wary of consuming byproducts of ‘dirty’ industrial processes. On the flip-side, maybe this doesn’t hold up when you consider we’re all happy to eat vegetables from ground that’s been fertilised with poo…

    I wonder if there’s also a strong natural (in the proper sense) tendency to intuitively ascribe spirits or memory to objects? Such a suspicion is borne out by the way we use language and the way people form bonds and attachments with objects. I would feel a real sense of awe holding Darwin’s magnifying glass or Galileo’s telescope that’s totally unrelated to the quality of the results that those instruments could provide – especially in comparison with more modern apparatus. But again, I’m aware that these feelings are irrational. Very real, but totally irrational.

    Instinct and intuition are amazing things, and they seem to have done a good job keeping humans going so far. But as we learn more about the real world, we find more and more gaps between what our instincts and emotions tell us and what the evidence tells us.

    Is the core quality of a skeptic really that they question their own instincts and emotional reactions? And the core quality of a non-skeptic that they are guided primarily by instinct and emotional reaction?

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