Thursday, June 19, 2014

#1086: Ilena Rosenthal


Ilena Rosenthal runs an Internet-based support group for women who believes they have medical problems as a result of breast implants. Her rantings are, shall we say, less than ideally attuned to evidence, reality and reason (meaning that it is, for the most part, semi-coherent, quasi-religious nonsense that has, at least at some point, been promoted by Mercola). As a promoter of quackery and bullshit Rosenthal is merely one of very, very many. Her fame, however, is connected to a landmark court case over her characterizations of Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch and Terry Polevoy of Canadian Quackery Watch. Rosenthal dismissed Barrett as “arrogant, bizarre, closed-minded; emotionally disturbed, professionally incompetent, intellectually dishonest, a dishonest journalist, sleazy, unethical, a quack, a thug, a bully, a Nazi, a hired gun for vested interests, the leader of a subversive organization, and engaged in criminal activity (conspiracy, extortion, filing a false police report, and other unspecified acts)”, and Polevoy as “dishonest, closed-minded; emotionally disturbed, professionally incompetent, unethical, a quack, a fanatic, a Nazi, a hired gun for vested interests, the leader of a subversive organization, and engaged in criminal activity (conspiracy, stalking of females, and other unspecified acts) and has made anti-Semitic remarks.” The accusations reflect the general quality of Rosenthal’s scholarship, and in particular her rather bizarre relationship with the distinction between reality and imagination.

Importantly, the courts ruled the statements not defamatory. That may, in fact, have been the correct decision. It doesn’t make Rosenthal less of a loon.

Diagnosis: An annoying source of unalloyed lunacy, though it may in fact be argued - on the grounds of the court case - that her contributions to the human effort are not, on balance, negative(!)

One Marshall Rosenthal deserves a mention for this screed, though a separate entry is probably too much.

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