Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#1354: Shiva Barton

Shiva Barton is an ND. Indeed, Barton was the 2011 “Physician of the Year” of the American Associationof Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). Of course, Barton is not a physician under any reasonable definition. But he sure is into all things woo and shiny and pseudoscience.

Barton is, for instance, a big fan of homeopathy, despite the fact that homeopathy demonstrably has no beneficial health effects. Now, Barton is, indeed, very unhappy about how homeopathy is used by most naturopaths, and how it is taught at cargo cult universities specializing in pseudoscience such as Bastyr University, but hardly for the right reasons. The problem, according to Barton, is that it’s too complicated. That’s right. Bastyr’s curriculum on homeopathy is too difficult for students (in the above-linked article he mentions in particular his discussions with a newly educated ND, Laura Chan, who raised the complaint – note that name as someone you’d want to avoid at all costs if you have health issues), and Barton’s solution is simple: “throw out the homeo philosophy books (really!) and stick to the basics: match the remedy to the person with the symptoms.” But then, I suppose, since homeopathy is targeted at the patient’s “vital force” in any case, it doesn’t really matter. Barton’s advice is, indeed, and if taken literally and in isolation, sound. Unfortunately, what Barton is driving at is surely not anywhere close to being reasonably.

Despite his lack of legitimate credentials and total absence of any insight into or understanding of science, medicine, or reality, Barton has also received some attention through the PBS show “Curious George”. In a section of the show, the featured kids visited Barton, who taught them that oregano cures infections, about various pressure points that correspond to energy lines, and that taping magnets to these points is really effective (transcript here).

Diagnosis: Utterly deluded pseudo-scientist who thinks he is helping people. Which is profoundly sad. 

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