Friday, January 24, 2014

#886: Shirley Lipschutz-Robinson


Shirley Lipschutz-Robinson runs Shirley’s Wellness Café, a website crammed with all sorts of creative woo of the most ridiculous kind (you can find it here). One of the “myths” Lipschutz-Robinson is out to debunk is the idea that sunlight can be dangerous for us (which is either a strawman or obviously true). Her evidence? “The sun provides the basis for all life on earth.” Indeed. The connection between that observation and the hypothesis “sunbathing actually helps heal cancer of the skin while sunblock increases cancer risk”? I have no idea, but the hypothesis probably reveals the rather worrisome nature of Lipschutz-Robinson’s particular brand of woo and lack of reasoning skills – the hypothesis is not only false, but rather dangerously so. She also cites Mercola in support of her claims (as well as one Jacob Liberman, who has written a book In Light: Medicine Of The Future: How We Can Use It To Heal Ourselves Now, where he explains how to utilize the therapeutic benefits of light because “light is the basic component from which all life originates, develops, heals, and evolves”), which is not exactly reassuring, and apart from (well, in addition to) that the website is primarily filled with appeals to nature, cherry-picking, ridiculously false empirical claims, and appeals to a medieval-level understanding of how the human body works. There’s also quite a bit of Vitamin D woo and – indeed – promotion of the dangerous and abhorrently silly idea of sungazing, the meditative practice of staring directly at the Sun for short periods of time during sunrise or sunset. Yay to the power of confirmation bias in the fact of absolutely and immediately dangerous practices (her source is a video by one Sandy Chase featuring the idiocy of one Daniel Giel).

To top it off, Lipschutz-Robinson also promotes, well, pretty much everything from HIV-denialism, through homeopathy and anti-vaccinationism, to holistic animal health and pretty much every ridiculous conspiracy theory associated with any of these ideas. She does make great claims about what her altmed abilities have enabled her to do, however, though her stories have not been independently verified.

Diagnosis: Deranged madwoman, who blatantly promotes treatments that are demonstrably dangerous. As such, despite her presumably limited influence, Lipschutz-Robinson actually poses a direct threat to life and well-being.

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