Wednesday, June 27, 2018

#2034: Richard Moskowitz

Richard Moskowitz is a homeopath and antivaccine advocate. Apparently Moskowitz was trained as an MD some 50 years ago, but his more recent activities show in the strongest possible way that you should turn elsewhere for medical advice.

As an antivaccine activist (given his background he did make it onto this sorry list of purported anti-vaccine doctors), Moskowitz thinks immunization is an act against God (in “Vaccination: A Sacrament of Modern Medicine” – no link provided). His main idea, though, is that vaccine-preventable diseases are not that bad – a 1/1000 chance of dying from measles is something he thinks you should be willing to deal with, since suffering and death is nothing to worry about as long as it is relatively uncommon – and that if they occur they should be treated with homeopathic nostrums, which don’t do anything and would increase the mortality rate only some (not Moskowitz’s own words). In his article “Unvaccinated Children”, published in the dubious journal (website, really) Medical Voices and discussed here, he even suggests that at least “any child whose sibling or parent previously contracted poliomyelitis, or a severe or complicated case of measles or whooping cough or any of the other diseases listed, should not receive the vaccine prepared against that illness.” A moment’s reflection should reveal that this is not good advice. As for tetanus, Moskowitz recommendation is that“Hypericum can reputedly treat as well as prevent tetanus, but I would recommend giving human antitoxin at the first sign of the disease, since it is far less effective later on.” This piece of advice is actually rather likely to kill you if you ever contracted tetanus. His advice on anthrax (no link provided) would be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary, displaying an almost perfect lack of understanding of the disease.

Moskowitz’s defense of homeopathy reveals an understanding of science and evidence to match his understanding of anthrax, and consists primarily of tirades against Big Pharma (the pharma is shit therefore my magic beans cure cancer-gambit), delusional attacks on real medicine, claiming that clinical trials are not adequate to study homeopathy, since such trials consistently show that it doesn’t work, contrary to Moskowitz’s powers of intuition – how else would he know that homeopathy works, insofar as there can be no proper trials? Besides, modern medicine doesn’t take into account “the energy field of the patient as a whole” – the life force, if you want. He also argues that since homeopathy works in animals and in newborns it can’t be placebo, which is seriously misunderstanding what the placebo effect is and completely missing that part about evaluator bias. It would be interesting to hear Moskowitz try to answer the question of why medical trials use double blinding, but then again it probably wouldn’t.

Diagnosis: Crackpot, pseudoscientist and genuinely dangerous lunatic. He’s apparently viewed as something of an authority in certain anti-vaccine circles, which tells you quite a bit both about them and about him.

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