Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#1556: William Campbell Douglass

Fundies do say the darndest things, but the whereabouts of the “Lee Douglas” supposedly associated with the Christian Coalition and described here cannot be determined and he probably doesn’t exist.

William Campbell Douglass II unfortunately does. Douglass is a doctor, woo peddler, hardcore conspiracy theorist and president of the Douglass Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine. In particular, Douglass believes that the WHO developed AIDS as a strategic element in their evil plan to usher in the New World Order by depopulating the Earth.

As for woo, well, Douglass has quite a number of … unusual ideas. He has been caught claiming that a little bit of tobacco smoking is good for you – in fact, he has written a book about that: The Health Benefits of Tobacco (I suppose “editor and researcher Tracy T. Douglass” is a relative), which seeks to rebut all those studies linking smoking to negative health effects and concluding that it’s a conspiracy. Probably by the government. The purpose of the conspiracy is left unclear. The quality of the rebuttals are well exemplified by his observation that even according to CDC studies, only 0.5% of the smoking population died at ages less than 35 – but 8% of the general population is dead before age 35; which prompts him to ask “does smoking prevent death in the relatively young – from murder, automobile and other accidents, infection or boredom?” No prize for spotting the rather obvious flaw in the reasoning (I haven’t even doublechecked the number).

Apart from his defense of smoking, Douglass has argued that exercise is overrated and that vegetarianism is bad. He has moreover promoted the idiotic raw milk fad (he is the author of The Milk of Human Kindness-Is Not Pasteurized – the title gives you a glimpse of the mind of W.C. Douglass methinks). Fluoride, however, is really bad and water fluoridation is yet another element in a grand conspiracy, as is aspartame. And sunlight, according to Douglass, prevents melanoma. Gary Null apparently really liked that claim.

Douglass has been most widely noticed, perhaps, for his anti-vaccine views. Vaccines don’t really prevent anything, according to Douglass (and the diseases they are meant to prevent aren’t really big deals anyways). Instead, vaccines are – you guessed it – a conspiracy. For instance, in his article “Pandemic Panic Hits World Health Organization”, published in the positively deranged pseudojournal Medical Voices (it’s actually a somewhat useful journal – anyone who has published anything in that journal can be safely dismissed as an insane crank), he claimed the H1N1 flu epidemic was faked by the WHO to sell drugs and vaccines. After all, according to Douglass the epidemic was “no more than a sniffle”, killing only a from a World War I battle commander standpoint insignificant number of people.

His relationship to critical thinking and evidence is, in other words, a matter of pick-and-choose. For instance, Douglass is – unusually for woo promoters – critical of the use of anecdotes in assessing a hypothesis. Of course, to Douglass, “anecdotal evidence” means any well-controlled, large study that yields results he don’t like. Personal anecdotes are, however, really valuable when they support his own, science-contrary beliefs.

Unsurprisingly, Douglass also runs a webstore that sells his special brand of supplements, and pushes at least two “periodicals” that have succeeded in making this list, Real Health and Second Opinion.


Diagnosis: A critical-thinking disaster that makes Mercola look positively wise (ok, so that’s an exaggeration). And though Douglass doesn’t quite enjoy Mercola’s level of influence, he is far from negligible.

3 comments:

  1. Sad the writer days very little about the doctors viewpoints on hypertension/high blood pressure.

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  2. Yes let's never again think about anybody who talks outside of Western medicine they're all fools and all the idiots Western medicine knows everything they're the best that they have our best interests at heart the pharmaceutical companies they love us and they can't wait to see you getwell this article and this website speaks to me that the people that published it are front men for the industry..I'm not saying Douglass' opinions are right. I'm glad that someone is thinking outside the rigid box of western allopathic medicine...and Dr. Mercola is in outstanding health for a man his age and I am pretty sure his beside table is not covered in pill bottles. If I am wrong please let me know but did not pharmacology and the creation of lab drugs originated from trying to replicate plants and herbal remedies? Then why now are they ostracized and minimized and demeaned I'm referring to herbal and plant cures it makes no sense and I mean sense cents that's why plants and herbs are minimized and demeaned and why those who promote them I looked at as charlatans because they may take a few precious pennies out of the pocket of the pharmacology industry

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  3. "Yes let's never again think about anybody who talks outside of Western medicine they're all fools and all the idiots Western medicine knows everything they're the best that they have our best interests at heart the pharmaceutical companies they love us and they can't wait to see you getwell"

    Strawman much? The difference isn't between Western and non-Western medicine, but between medicine that is based on evidence and accountabiity, on the one hand, and health claims that are either not based on evidence and accountability or are demonstrably false, on the other.

    And of course Big Pharma is all about money. So are the promoters of alternative medicine (have you seen pictures of Mercola's and Wakefield's mansions? Come on; they're wealthier than Big Pharma CEOs, that's for sure.) The thing, though, is that in order to get FDA approval, for instance, you need to have evidence for efficacy and have studied potential side effects. The quackery pushed by Mercola et al has neither. Both are all about money, but those restrictions make quite a bit of difference.

    "Dr. Mercola is in outstanding health for a man his age"

    Huh? Mercola is 64. He is not in any discernibly better health than, say, my father, who is significantly older, or plenty of people I know in their 60s and 70s. My father doesn't use any medications either. I have no idea what you think your observation shows (especially since you have no idea what medications Mercola does or doesn't take.)

    "If I am wrong please let me know but did not pharmacology and the creation of lab drugs originated from trying to replicate plants and herbal remedies?"

    Well, yes, many remedies started out that way, since many herbs and plants have medicinal properties. But here is the thing: pharmaceuticals are based on identifying *what it is* in these herbs and plants that have those medicinal properties, and then isolating those ingredients and testing them for for possible side effects. After all, everything that works have an effect on your body, and the better they work, the more they do to it - you should generally, in other words, be careful about dosage. So yeah, some plants and herbs have medicinal properties, but the active ingredients come in unknown quantities and are mixed with lots of other stuff of unknown nature and for which we have little idea how it interacts with the active ingredients. Plants and herbs are highly polluted pharmaceuticals in unknown dosages.

    And the charlatans - like Dr. Mercola - are charlatans because they don't care about such things as evidence, accountability and potential side effects. They push anything that lines their pockets, and unlike Big Pharma, their marketing and sales are unfettered by requirements for evidence for efficacy and possible harm.

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