Category Archives: Quackery

Michael Baisden is Leaving the Airwaves… Yay!

And this skeptic thinks that is a good  GREAT thing. I have sort of a love hate relationship with Michael Baisden. Okay, to be honest its mostly hate. I think much of his show is just overhyped nonsense but I respect the fact that. he often highlights issues of social justice that are often missed by mainstream media. I also respect the fact that he uses his fame to promote charitable giving and activism. And he’s really one of few black celebrities who isn’t afraid to express his non-belief (though he is not an atheist per se). That said, I haven’t been able to stomach listening to a full program for a long time. And while there are many aspect of his program that I dislike, one of my biggest beefs is with the pseudoscience he promotes via his “expert guests”.

When I say that  I dislike his “expert” guests, this is not to suggest that all of his guests are not reputable experts  but a lot of the recurring ones  often have dubious credentials  to match their dubious claims.

“Dr”. Baruch , for example, one of Baisden’s frequent guests, claims that he earned his ND from the School of Prophets, Louisiana Baptist University. This university is unaccredited college and as far as I can tell doesn’t offer ND’s ( per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Baptist_University & http://www.lbu.edu/graduate.htm).

Here is an example of one of his lectures where he makes incorrect claims about vegetarian and omnivorous diets among other things. 

He also asserts that chickens urinate through their skin. which is what gives some chickens the yellowish color. This is absolutely untrue. One of the claims he makes in the video and I have heard him make on The Michael Baisden Show was that estrogen in chicken that we consume is making black males effeminate and  or gay. A causal relationship between impotence or sexuality and what one eats is not supported by scientific evidence. And it is clear that Baruch understand as much  about gender and sexuality as he does about a chicken’s ass. It is also clear that Baruch is a tofu-dashikiist and promotes various conspiracy theories. Note the part where he talks about “the enemy’s food’ and its supposed connection to impotence and homosexuality. This depopulation paranoia, mixed with misogynistic prioritization of procreation above all else, and obsession with hyper-sexual heterosexist masculinity is a hallmark of the tofu dashikiist.

Then there is “Dr.” Sunyatta Amen a.k.a. “The Belly Dancing Doctor”,  who claims to be a naturopathic physician but she never mentions where she attended school. And beyond her own claims there is nothing to verify that she has been trained  or licensed as a physician, naturopathic or otherwise. When George and Michael aren’t salivating over her, she promotes vegetarian or vegan diet as well as exercise in general but belly dance in particular for black women. I don’t see anything wrong with promoting healthier eating or even vegetarian or vegan diets or even exercise but where she goes beyond that is where the problems begin. She claims despite the lack of evidence to have healed black women from ovarian cysts, fibroids, etc. with naturopathic methods and belly dance. On one episode of the Michael Baisden show, she told listeners concerned about fibroids to cut dairy including eggs out of their diet even though scientific studies have shown that African American women who consumed dairy daily reduced their risk of fibroids. 

Other guests like Dr. Elaine George  have promoted  long discredited beliefs like the  supposed link between vaccines and autism along with a  host of other unsupported claims and misrepresentations concerning health.  He even had one guest. Dr. Julissa claiming that STDs and STIs can be cured “naturally”  with supplements like silver.  And whether or not Michael Baisden himself, believes in the things Baruch, Amen, and his other guests promote, their association with him legitimizes him in the minds of many of his listeners, who like Baisden tend to be less educated and vulnerable to misinformation. But considering his recent departure from the airwaves there is one guest appearance from earlier this year that I find particularly amusing: 

Strayhorn predicts using astrology and numerology (both of which are crap btw)  that this year will be a good year for ” people’s health, losing weight, going back to school, purchasing property, falling in love and out of love, as well as births, marriages and pregnancies…” or what I call life in general! But what kills me is with all those predictions he made he didn’t predict that Michael wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement with Cumulus Media. Unfortunately it looks like he is plotting a way to get back on the airwaves but at least he is gone for now.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

NCCAM

So I had a conversation with a friend of mine about  NCCAM, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. For those of you that keep up with the news you might recall hearing that name nearly two years ago when the Associated Press published an article that demonstrated that in its then ten-year existence and with over 2.5 billion dollars in tax money spent only one treatment proved to have any sort of efficacy. Your grandmother or an older relative might be familiar with it, the treatment is ginger for nausea.

However, granny’s ginger isn’t enough to justify continuing support for  this institute. An institute that is supposed to be devoted to science aimed at improving medicine and public health, spending money on attempting to validate what would otherwise be treated as unscientific by the larger scientific community. It’s led to many suggesting it be dismantled allowing those scientists who would like to continue to study CAM to continue, provided they can demonstrate scientifically the plausibility of what they are studying with evidence . Meaning studies like those recently reported in the press would go the way of the dinosaur. I am speaking of studies that examine whether smelling lavender and lemon can help heal wounds. Or studies which aim to determine if massages can help cancer patients feel better. Both are answerable with a simple “Duh”. Or maybe a, “Doh!”, would be more appropriate? I can’t decide.

Tagged , , , ,

“Dr.” Sebi’s Pseudoscience

Welcome to Sebi’s Pseudoscience  101!  Here we will review Sebi’s teachings concerning the healing art of using herbs and related matters, that his educational background doesn’t qualify to discuss, because who needs books? According to Sebi

“I didn’t read any. I read my mama. My mama is the only person I listen to… I learned that which is natural…that which is complementary, that which didn’t come out of a book.” (Video entitled Dr. Sebi Cures A.I.D.S Diabetes, Cancer, etc pt 1)

Sounds like the wisdom of Bobby Boucher.

 Sorry Sebi, but mama is wrong. And so are you.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Sebi, The Snake-oil Salesman

If you have grandparents or older relatives, you are probably familiar with all the old clichés and sayings in the book, like, “there is nothing new under the sun”. It’s actually an old idiom that isn’t true for a number of things but is so accurate when it comes to others, like con-men, quacks, and charlatans. From the dawn of time there have been people who have used our vulnerabilities and biases against us to turn a profit. You can find these types everywhere but one on the most sinister places they hide is in the business of health and wellbeing. A thoroughly documented history of this can be seen in the United States prior to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 that led to the eventual formation of the FDA. Many”medicines” contained a number of ingredients from cocaine, to toxic compounds, and oftentimes compounds that caused little to no effect at all. These “medicines” claimed to cure joint pain, venereal disease, or tuberculosis,while some claimed to be panaceas- cure-alls for every type of ailment there was. The salesmen of these products employed a number of propaganda techniques to attract people to their products. Many even concocted stories to give their products an exotic flavor. A little more than a century later nothing much has changed.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: