Thursday, April 24, 2014

#1010: Larry Palevsky

Lawrence Palevsky is a pediatrician – “wholistic pediatrician”, according to himself – who has made a name for himself in the antivaccine underground. Apparently, Palevsky has a real medical degree, but he cannot have learned much about vaccines, since he clearly doesn’t know much about how they work – and, even more clearly, has no idea about how scientific testing works. That lack of understanding, combined with pseudoscience and a bit of conspiracy mongering earned him the prestigious “Visionary Award” from Barbara Loe Fisher’s antivaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).

It also landed him a major role in the antivaccine movement’s propaganda movie – really their answer to the Intelligent Design movement’s Expelled – The Greater Good, which made its rounds on various film festivals back in 2011. In the movie, Palevsky manages to put in an impressive array of anti-vaccine pseudoscientific gambits, including the “toxins” gambit, conspiracy mongering about pharmaceutical companies, and claims that vaccines aren’t adequately tested. He even claims that because mortality from various infectious diseases was falling before vaccines for those diseases were introduced it must mean that vaccines are useless, one of the most intellectually dishonest arguments the movement has yet to come up with. In fact, Palevsky is even shown speaking (to parents!) about how amazed he was to discover that there was mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antibiotics, and preservatives in vaccines, a point that proves once and for all that Palevsky is utterly incompetent at what he claims to be doing as a profession.

We won’t link to his website, but if you happened upon it you will encounter a plethora of woo, anecdotes and appeals to nature to rival any pseudoscientist. Indeed, according to his website, “[i]n using his “whole child” wellness philosophy, Dr. Palevsky recommends and incorporates the teachings and therapies of nutritional science, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy, and essential oils, along with natural healing modalities such as aromatherapy, yoga, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and mindfulness.” Indeed. He also writes articles for the NVIC.

At least Rob Schneider is a fan. That is not an endorsement indicative of quality. More insidiously, Greg Marvel, president of the school board in San Ramon Valley, California, seems to be a fan as well.

Diagnosis: Ignorant denialist, who unfortunately possesses the formal credentials to lend some authority to his bullshit. Those credentials are apparently formal only.


  1. How did he ever make it through med school?

  2. Question: What do you call the person who finished dead last in med school?
    Answer: Doctor.