Who Quacks at the Quackwatch?

Or, quisnam planto anser sonitus procul anser vigilo? – I’m not sure that’s good Latin, don’t quote me on that. Isn’t “anser” a goose?

Stephen Barrett’s Quackwatch is an excellent place to go to find out just what sort of patent-medicine nostrums you’re being pitched. It contains useful information on shut-downs, lawsuits, cease-and-desists, and more. They were quite helpful when Robert Dowling came to town. I recall that, when Dowling found out that one of our members had put the above article into a flier-form and left a stack near the door, that he exploded, said that Barrett was being sued for libel and slander and defamation, rightfully so!

I found out that Barrett get legal threats quite a bit. It’s not an uncommon tactic; as Dr. Barrett says on his own website: “Very few people provide the type of information I do. One reason for this is the fear of being sued.”


And there is a lawsuit in the air, the fetid scent like a feotid spring in the estuaries of Mississippian coastlines after a spill of oil on crab-spawn tides.

Who would do such a thing? Well, it’s not Dowling. Nor any of the people he mentioned. No, the plaintiff here is the darling of the anti-vaccination movement; Doctors Data.

DD is a testing lab of questionable quality, allowing your local peddler of high quality serpent lipid extracts to utilize a fascinating technique, described in crude terms here by PZ Myers (what? You expected him to describe things otherwise?) “Do the doctory thing of drawing a little blood while wearing a white lab coat, send it off to a ‘lab’ that does a few tests and sends back a very official looking mass of data, and then the quack gazes into it and announces that you need powdered newts’ eyes, or whatever nostrum he’s peddling that day.”

Ahhhh, but you shouldn’t take my word for it. Nor the word of PZ Myers. Though, admittedly, Dr. Barrett takes a more hardline approach; but uses less “colorful” language, here.

You see, the crux of this issue is that Doctors Data uses an unscientific technique, “provoked sampling,” to see if your kiddy has mercury or lead in his or her little system.

It’s a urine sample test. These are designed to see how much of a toxic ingredient might be present in your urine. But unlike normal testings, the “provoked” method adds a little bit of a chelation agent to bind to the metals and draw them into the urine so that the test can find them. Orac explains it better, of course, while adding that peculiar blend of respect and insolence that only an unemoting box of blinking lights can command. In that particular post, Orac explains how the provocative test is, well, bogus.

And it is, but you should read his explanation of it. Or perhaps you’re looking for a somewhat different explanation, but still sufficiently scientific, then you should peruse this offering from Science-Based Medicine.

In the brilliant reply to the DD Lawsuit, Barrett says this: If you want me to consider modifying the article, please identify every sentence to which you object and explain why you believe it is not correct.

When asked to point out a factual problem, they cannot of course do so. They merely want him to shut up. They merely want this: full and complete retractions. Not corrections, not accurate representations – retractions.

And Barrett should not be forced to do that. If you’d like to help him combat this legal thuggery, then feel as though you should go and contribute to Quackwatch.


8 responses to “Who Quacks at the Quackwatch?

  1. It’s Stephen Barrett….doofus!
    And he will lose. Barrett has lost every action in which he has been named or initiated. The courts are already aware that Barrett is a liar, biased and untrustworthy.

    • jacksonskepticalsociety

      Oh, every action? [citation please]. If you could show me how he didn’t win any of those libel suits involving Hulda Clark, or name some actions he’s lost? I’m interested to see the extensive list you must have in order to make such a claim.

      Of course, if I could name even one action Barrett didn’t lose, you’d be at least a little bit wrong – like, say, when Tim Bolen accused him of racketeering, and the courts threw out the case.

      I’m sure one of Barrett’s many detractors has nailed him on some legalistic technicality at some time or another, but you sir are demonstrably wrong and I imagine that anyone of any intellectual integrity would admit to such a thing forthwith, especially someone claiming to be a doctor.

      The sort of person who engages in such legal skulduggery obviously does not have the truth on their side.

  2. The alleged action you refer is not “when Tim Bolen accussed him of racketeering”. That’s not an action.
    Here’s a couple….Barrett, Polevoy et al vs Ilena Rosenthal….Barrett vs BioKIng, Barrett vs Koren…need more….And by the way it’s STEPHAN BARRETT not Richard…get right so the tags can be picked up…Clearly you don’t givea crap for facts or accuracy…otherwise you’d get simple facts like the idiots name right….

  3. jacksonskepticalsociety

    Such a well spoken Doctor you are, Dr. Health. Yet when you’re right you’re right. I went ahead and changed the name. I’m certain that, when Barrett has this frivolous lawsuit dropped, you’ll come by and get your own spews correct.

    By the way, thanks for moving your goalposts.

    In the Rosenthal case, the court was actually ruling that Rosenthal wasn’t to be held liable for posting thirty party comments, and that only the original commenter could be held liable.

    In this case, the original commenter was Tim Bolen. Bolen was Hulda Clarks’ publicist, engaged in a smear campaign against Barrett and others. Barrett WON a case against an Illinois osteopath publishing the same remarks (and adding bits of his own, claiming that Barrett was, amongst other things, engaging in criminal activity.)

    So Barrett has won one case. I’m waiting on that correction, a courtesy which I extended to you when you were right.

    As for the BioKing suit, I couldn’t find anything about that – perhaps if you told me the names of the people involved, I could find it.

    The Barrett v. Koren matter is related to the frivolous charge I was talking about; that’s a legal action where multiple parties charged him with criminal racketeering charges and the courts threw the case out and those who filed it withdrew it.

    In the US, it is very difficult to win the sort of cases that Barrett filed against these people. It is also very difficult to win the sort of case Doctors Data has filed against Barrett.

    Stay classy, Dr. Health. Stay classy.

  4. I believe “Dr. Health” is a pseudonym of Tim Bolen. I suggest getting the IP address out and comparing notes with Peter Bowditch.

  5. “Barrett has won one case. I’m waiting on that correction…” What correction. Barrett has never won any action he has initiated or been named in. Prove me wrong. Oh, and the BioKing case, BioKing was the defendant. Let me spell it for you…B..I..O..K..I..N..G..

    And, as for David N. Brown….shut the fuck up…you sound like a complete asshole!

  6. jacksonskepticalsociety

    Well Dr. Health, I hope you read your patients’ charts better than you read the comments.

    Because right before I said “Barrett has won one case,” I told you what the case was. Thanks for wasting my time, because now I have to go in and look up things that I already know just to provide you with information.

    Anyway. In October 2000, Barrett filed suit in Pennsylvania against an osteopathic physician in Illinois who had republished one of Bolen’s messages and added some thoughts of his own. Bolen’s message had falsely claimed that Barrett (a) was “de-licensed,” (b) had committed extortion, and (c) had been disqualified as an expert in a malpractice suit. After the doctor contested the suit on jurisdictional grounds, Barrett withdrew it and refiled in Illinois. In March 2002, the Illinois judge ruled that these statements “imply the existence of objectively verifiable facts” and therefore provided grounds for a libel suit. In April 2003, the suit was settled with a retraction and payment of $50,000. The osteopathic physician? Dr. Joseph Mercola.

    So you’re wrong. I looked up bioking, again, and while bioking certainly did win a lawsuit, I would guess that is because of what Barrett did – a practice of his I do disagree with – he went after people for libel.

    It’s hard to prove and rarely do you win the case.

    Of course, that’s exactly what Doctor’s Data is doing.

    Of course, I never said that Barrett never lost a case, because I know that he’s lost them in the past.

    Also, thanks for trashing someone for saying that you might be a person. I guess this Tim Bolen guy is so reprehensible that you freaked out when even associated with him. After reading about him, I would to.

  7. Stephen Barrett is in big trouble in the Doctor’s Data v Barrett case.

    BIG trouble.

    You can follow the case at http:www.boleneport.com. There you can sign up for the newsletter, and follow the case as it happens.

    Currently Barrett has filed a Motion to Dismiss the case, but there is little chance that will happen. His reason he wants a Dismissal? He claims he is “assisting the government…”

    Next comes “discovery,” a process where Barrett will have to cough up thousands of documents, then go into a video-taped Deposition where he will be forced to answer questions about his support network – those that helped him get his articles on the first page of search engines.

    Barrett’s lead attorney seems to have disappeared, and he has been LATE making EVERY filing deadline since the case began.

    The fun has just begun.

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