Pseudoscience & Scientific Illiteracy

Pseudoscience is an incredibly dangerous, equal opportunity virus plaguing our culture. All this virus needs is one vulnerable mind in order to spread into a global epidemic.

natural-news

Food Babe (Vani Hari), Joe Mercola, Dr. Oz, Mike Adams (NaturalNews.com), and “Dr.” Robert Young, who peddles the “pH Miracle Cure for Cancer” or alkaline diet, are some of the most infectious strains of pseudoscience.

I find Robert Young particularly repugnant as my own father, who died of treatable colon cancer, fell prey to Young’s baseless “pH miracle cure”. I would like to point out that Robert Young is NOT a medical doctor nor does he hold a legitimate PhD. Young’s so called “PhD” is from a non-accredited alternative “Natural Health” university which no longer exists, called Clayton College of Natural Health, and his “PhD” is not recognized as a genuine PhD by any accredited university.

Young’s “pH miracle cure” book advises people to check their pH and “cleanse” for several days by eating a vegetarian diet and taking various supplements, including colloidal silver. The dietary recommendations Young claims are based on their supposed effect on body acidity and alkalinity and whether or not they contain “toxins.” The idea that you can change the acidity of the body by your diet is not only ridiculous but wrong. The human body has homeostatic mechanisms, which stabilize the acidity of the blood stream within a very narrow range. Alkaline foods and acid foods can change the acidity of your urine but not your body. The acidity of your urine is irrelevant as your urine is contained within your bladder and does not influence the pH in other parts of your body. If you were to significantly change the pH of your body, say by drinking a bottle of bleach, you would die. Even if “body pH” were a primary cause of disease, the “miracle cures” that Young is selling do not affect your body’s pH in the manner he claims.

In all multicellular organisms, the fluid within the cells and the fluids surrounding the cells have a characteristic and nearly constant pH. This pH is maintained in a number of ways, and one of the most important is through buffer systems. Two important biological buffer systems are the dihydrogen phosphate system and the carbonic acid system. The phosphate buffer system operates in the internal fluid of all cells. This buffer system consists of dihydrogen phosphate ions (H2PO4) as hydrogen-ion donor (acid) and hydrogen phosphate ions (HPO42-) as hydrogen-ion acceptor (base). These two ions are in equilibrium with each other.

Another biological fluid in which a buffer plays an important role in maintaining pH is blood plasma. In blood plasma, the carbonic acid and hydrogen carbonate ion equilibrium buffers the pH. In this buffer, carbonic acid (H2CO3) is the hydrogen-ion donor (acid) and hydrogen carbonate ion (HCO3) is the hydrogen-ion acceptor (base).
In the image below, see how pH in the body actually works:

Blood_PH

In 1995, Young (see Young and book below) was charged with two third-degree felony counts of practicing medicine without a license. Young drew blood from two women, told the women they were sick, then proceeded to sell them herbal products to treat their “illnesses”. In 2001, Young was once again charged with a felony in Utah, after a cancer patient who Young had advised to stop her chemotherapy treatment and substitute the chemo with his “Super Greens”. Quackwatch has published a critical analysis of Young’s dubious qualifications and baseless practices.

In January 2014, Young and two of his “associates” were arrested and charged with multiple counts of grand theft and received 18 felony charges relating to practicing medicine without a license. “The San Diego District Attorney’s press release stated that Young accepted patients, including some who were terminally ill, and temporarily housed them in his pH Miracle ranch.” According to the Medical Board of California, terminally ill patients were paying Young up to $50,000 for his “medical treatments”. Victims and others with information are invited to contact the District Attorney’s Office at 619-531-3507.

robert_young_arraign_1390608729403_2124890_ver1.0_320_240alkaline-food-diet

To learn more about Robert Young’s quackery: http://www.quackwatch.com/11Ind/young3.html

See photos of the some of worst pseudoscience offenders who make millions of dollars in profits each year by selling their “miracle cures”.

food_babe (Vani Hari “Food Babe”)

OZ  (Dr. Oz)adams-promo1(Mike Adams)

front-cover-mercola-book2(Dr. Joe Mercola)  dbd24-cancer_ph_miracle_book_cover(Robery Young)

In the words of Carl Sagan, the late astronomer, cosmologistastrophysicist, astrobiologist, author and remarkable science communicator

“I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us – then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.”

Professor Sagan’s words still hold true today.

Carl_sagan

As a member of the scientific research community, I believe it is part of my responsibility as an objective research investigator to share the scientific knowledge and research training I’ve gained over the past decades with the public. In this digital age, we are seeing an increasing rise in the number of cases of logic damaging pseudoscience infections, which are often chronic and sadly incurable once the infection has persisted in the brain for several years.

The only way to beat a pseudoscience infection is to stop it in its tracks. This is my mission. I hope my fellow scientists and educators will join me in the fight against pseudoscience.

Let’s beat pseudoscience together!

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