... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

473: Book review: The Cure for All Cancers (!)

On Saturday last (whenever that was) I ordered three super-cheap, super-shit books off Amazon, as research for an aspect of the novel I am gradually writing... very gradually. Of the three books I ordered two turned up within the predicted time, and the third has yet to turn up a week after ordering. If I was the paranoid type, which I may be (I daren't look at myself closely enough to find out, in case it triggers a mass mental breakdown of a kind usually only seen in the moving pictures), I would believe that the third book had been intercepted by agents loyal to the author and founder of a particular group, said group's current leader, or fringe acolytes desperate to penetrate the inner circle.

I am researching a variety of cranks, crackpots, (s)CAMmers, and general predators on the credulous or vulnerable. The two books that have arrived are The Biggest Secret by David Icke, apparently "the conspiracy theorists' Rosetta Stone", and The Cure For All Cancers, a poisonous and tedious faux-medical textbook by Hulda Regehr Clark, who sadly died of cancer despite "discovering" that all disease, cancer and AIDS included, are caused by parasites which can be eradicated using a "zapper" electric shock device. The third book, which was filtered out of my post by North American movie-star high-ranking OT levelled ninjas, was Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard, a book which having not read I am entirely unable to make comment on. I'm sure its pseudo-scientific language, and empty content, will be invaluable to me.

The Cure For All Cancers may be the weirdest book I have ever seen. It starts with Part One: The Cause which includes the bizarre claim that the hazardously multiplying cells in the cancer patient are caused by multiplying parasitic worms and bacteria which usually live in a pond full of snails. It includes some basic information about the life cycle of the fluke, then for no particular reason links that to cancer. On the very next page is the claim "Cloves, black walnut and wormwood. These three herbs, taken together, can cure all cancers. These three herbs must be used together". Followed soon after by the sickeningly irresponsible instruction, "Do not try and substitute drugs for herbs". She is talking about 'parasiticides', as opposed specifically to relevant drugs, you know, chemotherapy, but still, when compounded all together this makes for murderously misleading information.

There are lots of numbers littered around the pages, functioning as blinding and supposedly impressive pseudo-science intended to trick the scientifically-illiterate reader into believing they are looking at actual evidence. Most of the numbers however relate to measurements for teaspoons of herbs. I can just open the pages randomly to find mad claims about all sorts of things, backed up by no evidence: "Clothes dryers are our biggest source of asbestos." "Your lungs will not heal if there is any radon. Pamphlets are available at drugstores to tell you how to seal your home from radon." "Cook your food in glass, enamel, ceramic or microwavable pots and pans. Throw away all metal ware, foil wrap, and metal-capped salt shakers since you will never use them again."

Part Two: Getting Well Again. The whole thing combined serves to make the author seem utterly confused, and desperate to pass that confusion on to the reader. One moment she is blathering about trace amounts of alcohol in breakfast cereal, the next she is claiming that benign tumours and cysts have fungus in them. There is suspicious claim piled on suspicious claim. Not being a scientist I do not know the truth or untruth behind many of these claims, but being an avid and moderately-careful reader I can plainly see that her claims are not backed up by adequate references, and no effort is made to communicate the genuinely scientific truth behind her bizarre and unrelated claims. It's just so weird.

Part Three: Case Histories is where it dredges new depths of tedium in a hopeless attempt to pass off suspect case histories as actual evidence. Case histories, especially such inconsistent ones as those presented here, are not real evidence: they are stories, anecdotes. Double-blinded placebo-controlled studies are evidence; lots of them combined and viewed together as a meta-analysis. Here instead we have 150 pages of anecdotes about cancer patients needing their teeth cleaned, drinking orange juice, feeling sick, taking herbs, having tests for parasites (or in many cases not being tested, the presence of parasites simply being assumed by the author to back up her hypothesis), getting a bit better over a short span of time.

There is no account for any of the variables that must be accounted for in the real world: the placebo effect, spontaneous remission, misdiagnoses, reaction to standard accepted treatment, tester bias, regression to the mean, etc. There also appears to be little concern for the fact that 'cancer' is actually an umbrella-term used to describe a huge variety of different diseases, with many different causes, effects, and chances of survival.

Part Four is seriously seriously seriously... weird. It begins with a couple of paragraphs which seem to be attempting to guilt-trip any sceptics still reading into believing her authority: "It is only through years of experience testing every product clients brought in [...] But obviously no one can test them all. Maybe your brand is OK!" To me this reads as "I'm the scientist, this is my book, I have eh-vee-dense, ehhh,veee,densse

I bought this drivel second hand so hopefully there is no channel by which any of the few pennies I spent can get to the author's estate or publishers.

No comments: