Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#1998: David Michael

David Michael is an Ohio-based writer for the website The Journal of Natural Food and Health, which is of course not a medical or scientific journal but is likely to confuse precisely their target audience: those who wouldn’t know the difference. Michael is a supporter of all things woo and quackery, and – no surprise – staunchly antivaccine. He is, despite displaying similar attitudes toward truth and evidence, probably not numerically identical to British holocaust denier David Michael, however. 

The David Michael in question is perhaps best known for weighing in on the Sarah Hershberger case, where he defended and recommended choices (foregoing chemotherapy in favor of “natural” cures for cancers, like herbs and diet) likely to lead to pain and death but for which he would almost certainly never be held responsible. Michael even claimed that natural cures had cured Hershberger, without any indication whatsoever that Hershberger was, in fact, cancer free – and even if she was, it would of course have been because of the chemotherapy she did undergo and not because of any woo she received (“nutritional supplements, including high doses of vitamin C and B17, oxygen therapy, detoxification methods, as well as the IV chelation”) or diet (“lots of vegetables and raw foods and taking special natural supplements”) she adopted afterwards. For people like Michael, however, you figure out which factors correlate with an event, pick the one you want, and declare this to be the “cause”. Also, there is a conspiracy (there is always a conspiracy): hospitals are only in it for the money, unlike quacks who sell expensive, untested remedies supporting no plausible beneficial mechanism to people in desperate situations. 

Diagnosis: The Internet’s full of them, but we’ll pick out those we can. David Michael is yet another idiot lending his voice to pseudoscience, denialism, quackery and anti-vaccine nonsense, and he’s loud, stupid and enthusiastic. Stay away. 


  1. "Also, there is a conspiracy (there is always a conspiracy): hospitals are only in it for the money"

    How is that statement a "conspiracy"?

    Are you under the impression that hospitals are in it to lose money?

    1. I think you have to put that sentence in context. You see, Michael is claiming that the treatments offered by doctors and medical experts are wrong, and that you are much better off listening to his rants (which are certainly not supported by science, evidence or mainstream medicine) and buy books by quacks and untested (or tested and rejected) supplements and treatment regimes. So why are hospitals pushing the treatments they do and dismissing his stuff? Why is science uniformly showing that the stuff he recommends doesn't work? And why are hospitals listening to scientists and not to people like him? Well, to explain that, you need a conspiracy theory.

      So yeah: hospitals are trying to earn money. That's not a conspiracy theory. The claim that hospitals are pushing stuff that they know don't work and is actually dangerous and not the quackery he recommends and which according to his marketing and evidence-free claims, does work - that requires a conspiracy theory.