Saturday, September 23, 2017

#1900: Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston is the wingnut behind the website Personal Liberty Digest (and not identical to former congressman Bob Livingston). Apart from typical wingnuttery and survivalism stuff Livingston promotes a variety of woo and pseudoscience from a wingnut point of view, with a particular focus on supplements and “alternatives to drugs” that you – coincidentally – can buy from him.

According to his bio, Bob “had four heart attacks” between “age thirty-eight and age forty” but decided to forgo prescription drugs, which he judged to be “far worse than heart disease.” He was also “sure that he did not have a drug deficiency,” which is usually not the diagnosis for which drugs are prescribed. In any case, Livingston, motivated in part by his distrust in the government and belief that “organized medicine [as opposed to online stores selling supplements] is literally a killing machine” (note the delectable misapplication of “literally”), decided to do his own research, and currently “[t]hirty-nine years of research study in health and nutrition [at the University of Google] qualifies Bob as a nutritional expert,” in his own opinion. He has “volumes of information to share with his readers,” mostly concerned with various types of fallacious appeals to nature. Traditional medicine is not natural, in Livingston’s eyes; accordingly “Bob believes that the credibility of the medical establishment is eroding quickly and will soon collapse.”

As most online promoters of woo, Livingston knows how to cure most diseases and illnesses, including cancer. Livingston’s “natural cancer treatment” is his “bicarbonate maple syrup cancer treatment,” which is a natural, effective alternative to chemotherapy wholly without side effects. Apparently it is similar to insulin potentiation therapy. That is not a good thing. Actually, the “bicarbonate maple syrup treatment works in reverse to IPT,” whatever that means. Then Livingston refers to Tullio Simoncini. Simoncini is the guy who thinks cancer is fungus (because tumors are white and fungus is white) and might just be the craziest crackpot on the whole of the Internet. Simoncini’s suggestion for treating cancer is to pump it up with sodium bicarbonate, which at least gives you an idea about where Livingston’s idea originates. It’s hard to describe in human words how stupid, wrong and dangerous the suggestion actually is. Apparently Livingston learned the trick from folk healer Jim Kelmun, whose “loyal patients swear by the man” and “say he is a miracle worker.” People who have cancer and who treat their cancer tumors with maple syrup and baking soda will quickly cease to be in any position to provide negative feedback, so marketing-wise the idea is very effective insofar as the only evidence you rely on is the testimony of your loyal customers. More here.

And Livingston is just getting started. According to Livingston, the “germ theory of disease is a foolish hoax created by Louis Pasteur. It is a notion of nonsense that has confused millions of people and made billions for the pharmaceuticals with vaccines and tens of thousands of drugs or over-the-counter preparations. If one person in society should die of a ‘contagious disease,’ the whole world population would expire.” Yes, Livingston denies that contagious diseases exist, and you really got to appreciate his reasoning: “Well, what about the flu epidemic shortly after World War I that killed 80 million people worldwide? According to the germ theory of disease, this flu should have killed everyone on earth. Of course, it didn’t and some people died in the same household where others did not. Why did this so-called ‘infectious disease’ not infect the entire world population?” Indeed. What’s the alternative theory, you may wonder? “The answer is that disease is born of us and in us. If our immune system is strong and healthy, we could sleep with people dying with ‘contagious disease’ and never even get sick.” Why you would need an immune system if there are no dangerous germs or contagious diseases is not entirely clear, but Livingston is adamant: “The germ theory of disease is nothing in the world but a commercial enterprise. Disease comes from within. When the body is overly fatigued with excess stress, toxins and malnutrition, there is a breakdown of immunity.” Immunity to what, you might then ask, but should probably realize that you may just as well give up at this point. “A person’s nutritional status and hydration level is the prime determinant of health. Disease comes from within!” since every time you repeat a claim you double its credibility.

His newsletter is (appropriately) listed here.

Livingston is also the author of various books in his series “A Survival Treasury”, including Surviving a Global Financial Crisis and Currency Collapse and Natural Alternatives for Diabetes and Blood Sugar Problems Drug Companies Don’t Want You to Know. You can probably make a cursory assessment of the quality of his advice on these issues, too.

Diagnosis: Oh, yes. Bob Livingston is a contagious disease denialist, no less. The Black Death was caused by people suddenly getting stressed out and dehydrated and malnourished in the same way at the same time. Though his audience is probably relatively limited, it would be wrong to say that he is entirely harmless.

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