Your Worst Day Ever: David Wolfe’s Earthing and Zapping Debunked, Part 1

David Wolfe Earthing

Earthers mistakenly believe that the Earth protects them from EMF via a mystical force field seeping into their bodies through their feet.  Somebody’s been watching too much Star Trek.

 

Part One:  Unnatural Frequencies
Have you heard the joke about the guy who plugs himself into an electrical outlet in his home for protection against disease-causing high frequency electromagnetic fields, then paradoxically zaps himself with an electrical device to kill pathogens?

Unfortunately, it’s not a joke.  This is for real.  The man’s name is David Avocado Wolfe.  And he’s not just practicing this silly electrical voodoo on himself, he’s selling products that cost hundreds of dollars to innocent, scientifically illiterate followers, with the promise of similar protection.  Sadly, it’s all a scam, and there’s the very real chance that seriously ill people are eschewing real medical treatment in favor of quack remedies like earthing and zapping.

In this multi-part series, I’ll be exposing Wolfe’s deception.  In part one, we’ll look at the myth that’s the very foundation of “earthing” nonsense: the claim that high frequency radio waves–those in the gigahertz range–are “unnatural”, dirty, or inherently dangerous.1

This can be debunked in one sentence:  there is no such thing as an unnatural radio frequency.  All radio frequencies are natural. 

There, we’re done.

Oh, you want a demonstration?  Well, fair enough.  This is a science blog, after all. Here’s some food for thought:  David Avocado is an advocate of “sun gazing”–staring at the sun to absorb mystical healing energy.2   The problem for Avocado and his earthing buddies: the sun emits the very same high frequency radio waves that he’s selling protection from.

This is easy to prove.  A simple twelve gigahertz radio receiver can be built using a discarded home satellite dish and less than $10 in parts from eBay or a local electronics store.  Twelve gigahertz and below are right in the “Wolfe Danger Zone” for consumer electronic devices.  But if we point our receiver’s dish at the sun– as natural a source as you can possibly find–we’ll quickly see how full of [expletive deleted] earthers are… we’ll pick up these very frequencies!  Here’s a quick YouTube video of me doing this demonstration.  If you don’t like video, scroll down for some captioned screen snapshots outlining the experiment.

youtubecover

[VIDEO]  The sun emits the same radio frequencies that David Wolfe calls “unnatural’.   I’ve put together a simple YouTube video demonstrating this. (Running time: Less than  3 minutes).

For those of you who prefer pictures over video, here’s a simple photos essay of what’s happening in the video above.  You can click any photo to enlarge.

cap1

Step 1:  A discarded satellite dish with a 12 gigahertz LNB can be used in a simple radio receiving system.

cap2

Step 2:  A $7 signal strength meter takes the down-converted signal from the dish.  Here, obviously, we have no signal (a reading of zero).

cap3

Step 3:  Point the antenna at the sun, which no earther can dispute is “unnatural”.

cap4

Step 4: When the antenna is pointed at the sun, we’ve got a very strong 12 gigahertz signal.  So much for unnatural high frequency radio sources.

 

The take-home message of this demonstration is that you cannot take a radio frequency out of context and label is safe or dangerous, dirty or clean, natural or unnatural.  (Well, OK, all radio frequencies are natural, so Wolfe is just completely wrong on that one.)    How strong is the electromagnetic field?  How close are you to the source?  Are we talking about ionizing radiation?  There are a lot of factors to consider.  The bottom line:  neither the radio waves from the sun received in this experiment, Wi-Fi routers, or cell phones are harmful, just because they are measured in gigahertz.  And this is David Avocado’s claim: high-frequency radio waves are unnatural and therefore bad for us.

Yes, there is harmful electromagnetic radiation (gamma rays come to mind), but Wolfe doesn’t begin to approach the subject honestly.  The World Health Organization has a wonderful online resource on this subject.  If you’d like research from experts who have studied this, you can get started here.3

What I’m here to shoot down is Wolfe’s claim that frequencies of billions of hertz–gigahertz–are unnatural and, by extension, somehow inherently dangerous to us.  As you can see in the graph below, the sun does output more energy in the visible part of the spectrum than the radio, but it the radio waves are there, and they’re certainly natural.

solar spectrum (smoothed)

The sun emits electromagnetic energy across a broad spectrum, including the entire range of radio waves that earthers like David Wolfe try to avoid.  There is no such thing as “unnatural” radio frequencies.  Image courtesy the Window to the Universe Project/NCAR/Comet Program/High Altitude Observatory.  Used with permission.  (click/enlarge)

 

Why Are Wolfe et al Frightening People?
So, their apparent lack of understanding of basic physics aside, why would David Wolfe and other earthers want to frighten you away from frequencies above 1Ghz?  Let’s take a peek at the offerings from Wolfe’s online store, Longevity Warehouse, and see if we can divine an answer:

David Wolfe earthing products

Earthing products don’t come cheap from David Wolfe’s online store.  And they don’t offer a single proven health benefit either. (click/enlarge)

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors!

  • “Grounded” pillow cases for $129.98.
  • Matching wired sheets for $179.99.
  • Step out of your grounded bed every morning and exercise on a $99 earthing yoga mat.

I think I’m seeing a pattern here.  Do you, dear reader?

Ladies and and gentlemen, David Wolfe and his bank account thank you.

 

Conclusion
In the next installment of this series, we’ll show just how confused earthers are about electrical potential and the flow of electricity, batteries, and we’ll even delve into pH woo.  In subsequent episodes, we’ll ask why these folks fret about voltages developing on their skin due to EMF, yet they outlay hundreds of dollars on devices that shock themselves (when the same devices can be built for pennies on the dollar).

From there, we’ll move on to the strange practice of plugging your body into the ground outlet of your home’s electrical socket, and how this might actually kill you.

If you think the world is a strange place, stay tuned.  Pardon my poor grammar, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

#DontCryWolfe

David Wolfe sun gazing

In his sun-gazing video, David Wolfe spends four minutes staring at a broad spectrum high frequency radio source (which he says is dangerous), and never realizes it. #Irony #DontCryWolfe

Image Credits
David Wolfe screen, product, and video captures used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Smoothed Solar Spectral Irradiance graph used with the kind permission of the Window to the Universe Project, derived from the NCAR Comet Program/High Altitude Observatory project.  Use of the image does not imply that these organizations endorse or agree with the viewpoints presented in this article.

References
(1) Mind Blowing Experiment With David Wolfe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idXzSZBHf1g

(2) David Wolfe Sungazing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwzfyIf-9Tg

(3) World Health Organization: What is EMF?
http://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/

Food Babe Selling Pesticide, Coal Tar Dyes To Children

Piggy Paint from food babe

Piggy Paint, sold by Food Babe. (click/enlarge)

Friday is payday here at Bad Science Debunked.  As I’m wont to do when I’m flush with cash, I thought a trip to FoodBabe.com for a little online shopping might be fun.  As always, we’ll  be wearing our Food Babe Investigator HatsTM as we browse, which means that when evaluating the safety of product ingredients, we use Vani Hari’s rules.  In addition, as a special treat, we also need to don Food Babe Lab Coats (patent pending) and Vani Hari Safety Goggles,SM because we’ll be going into our kitchen laboratory to do an actual chemistry experiment.

I can barely stand the excitement, and I already know what explodes!  Ready to go?  Put on those safety goggles.  Today’s Food Babe product is:  “Piggy Paint”.

Piggy paint?

Yes, Piggy Paint
I bought Food Babe’s Piggy Paint nail polish for children from Amazon.com after reading her article “New Products That Make Me Scream In Excitement”. I screamed too, because I saw an elementary school science project being deceptively used to sell fingernail polish:

food babe piggy paint nail polish

This cheap grade school science fair project fooled Food Babe.  I’ll recreate it later in the article, explain it, and show how her nail polish is just as “bad”. (click/enlarge)

If you’ve studied chemistry, even at the grade school level, you already know the secret of the “melted” styrofoam plate that makes Food Babe’s competition look so dangerous.  At the end of this article we’ll do a simple experiment to shed light on this.  But, for now, let’s just highlight the encoded FoodBabe.com affiliate link that allows us put vital cash in Vani Hari’s pocket each and every time we buy Piggy Paint from her:

food babe encrypted affiliate link

Food Babe’s encoded  affiliate ID.

I’m fairly certain Hari donates a portion of each purchase toward the rehabilitation of GMO-injured penguins at the North Pole.  Such is the extent of her scientific outreach.  My dreams are sweeter each night knowing I’m helping fund her vital work.

Ingredients
Without further ado, let’s take a peek at the ingredients in this nail polish:2

Ingredients in Piggy Paint nail polish.

The first highlighted ingredient, neem oil, is a well known pesticide used in organic farming.3,4,5,6  (You did know that organic farmers use pesticides, didn’t you?)

Oh dear.  Vani Hari is selling a pesticide to children?

Why yes, she is.  At least it’s organic!  But crude oil is also 100% natural and organic, so we can’t defend her actions using an appeal to nature.  Vani is a skilled researcher, so this must be a mistake… can we just say neem oil isn’t toxic and move on?

“Twelve children were admitted with convulsions and altered sensorium following ingestion of locally obtained neem oil.  Ten died within 24 hours.”–Indian Journal of Pediatrics 7

Ten dead children?  So much for non-toxic!  But that’s just one report, right?

“This report highlights the toxicity associated with neem oil poisoning in an elderly male. […]  In the emergency department, the patient developed generalized convulsions with loss of consciousness. “–Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine 8

As it turns out, there are many reports of neem oil poisoning, especially in children (the target audience of Vani’s nail polish).  The Indian Journal of Pediatrics paper says that refining can remove toxic components, but Food Babe is against refined and processed products.  Honestly, I’m not sure how to defend Hari, my champion of science…  if I say that this is a cosmetic and all the poisonings were from drinking neem oil, her critics  will point out that she says applying toxins to your skin is dangerous as well .9,10

If I mention that neem oil is also sometimes used as a traditional folk medicine and not just a pesticide, detractors of the Babe will point out the Subway bread debacle:  It didn’t matter to Food Babe that azodicarbonamide was used safely in one area (food)–since it was used in another setting (the manufacturer of yoga mats), it was dangerous everywhere.

Maybe we’d better treat Vani’s pesticide just as she would: ignore it completely and move on to something else.

Neem oil, found in Piggy Paint, is an organic pesticide (insect killer).  (click/enlarge)

 

Ooh, The Pretty Colors
Here are the Piggy Paint ingredients again. Let’s apply our Food Babe research methods to those interesting color/number combinations:

Ingredients in Piggy Paint nail polish.

Ingredients in Piggy Paint nail polish. (click/enlarge)

“Orange 5″… “red 22″…  these seem to be the FDA-approved “short names” 13 for “D&C Orange Number 5” and “D&C Red Number 22”.  Why, they are!13  You know the D&C dyes, right?  Educate the masses, Vani:

Capture3

In “Be A Drug Store Beauty Drop Out”, Vani Hari warns ominously that D&C “Coal Tar Dyes” can cause cancer and may be toxic to the brain. 9 (click/enlarge)

 

All of those “natural” colors Vani is selling to your kids and giving away to her friend’s little girls?  They’re all the same “toxic coal tar dyes” she warned would cause cancer and brain toxicity.

Oops.

According to Food Babe’s own “research”, she’s selling a toxic rainbow:

  • “Red 28” is D&C Red 28 (CI 48410)
  • “Yellow 10” is D&C Yellow 10 (CI 47005)
  • “Violet 2” is D&C Violet 2 (CI 60725)
  • “Red 22” is D&C Red 22 (CI 45380)

I’m disappointed in Food Babe for not catching this faux pas.  She didn’t have to go to the FDA, who regulates the dyes.  No, she has her own higher authority:  the  Environmental Working Group:11

“In the end – If you want to know if your makeup is safe and not toxic – check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, they have thousands of your favorite brands listed with their safety ratings for you to investigate yourself…”–Vani Hari11

What does Vani’s beloved EWG say about the Orange 5 she’s selling?

“D&C Orange 5 is a synthetic dye produced from petroleum or coal tar sources”–EWG Skin Deep Database  12

With full disclosure that I’m a co-author and this could be considered an affiliate link, Marc Draco and Kavin Senapathy point out in our book, The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House, that “coal tar dye” is a misleading term.  These dyes are commonly derived from petroleum now, not coal tar, but once “derived”, they’re no longer petroleum. The good folks at Piggy Paints reaffirmed this in an email to me, and correctly point out that the dyes are tested under the authority of, and approved by, the FDA. But since Food Babe says they’re dangerous, isn’t it curious that she’s selling them?

Looking at the big picture, Piggy Paint nail polish appears to be just as safe for its intended use as conventional nail polish. I hope the company won’t be punished because a hypocritical “activist” is selling this polish while simultaneously (falsely) linking the ingredients to myriad diseases. If not for their deceptive advertising, I’d be happy to buy Piggy Paint nail polish for my young nieces. I just wouldn’t buy it from Food Babe.

Speaking of that deceptive advertising, you’re welcome to join me in the kitchen for a quick experiment that exposes the “melting” Styrofoam plate used by Piggy Paint and Food Babe to scare people away from conventional nail polish…

 

How Piggy Paints and Vani Hoax Their Customers With That “Melting Plate” Demonstration
A skeptical mind would well ask why Vani and the Piggy Paint promoters selected a Styrofoam plate as the “substrate” (the target for their nail polishes) in the product demo that kicked off this article.  It’s almost as if they knew that the Piggy Paint wouldn’t eat through the plate while the competing nail polishes would, and chose styrofoam for that reason alone. In fact, that’s exactly what happened.

Conventional nail polishes contain a component known as a solvent that helps keep the polish in the form of liquid until it’s time to apply it.  Once on the nails, the solvent quickly evaporates, leaving behind a solid film of color bound to the nail.  Organic solvents used in nail polish include acetone, ethyl acetate, and butyl acetate.

Revlon Hot For Chocolate Ingredients

Conventional nail polishes use organic solvents such as acetone, ethyl acetate, or butyl acetate. This brand, Revlon “Hot For Chocolate” purports to use all three!14 (click/enlarge)

Styrofoam is made up mostly of air and a small amount of a polymer named polystyrene.  The long polystyrene polymers in Styrofoam intertwine during manufacturing, trapping copious amounts of air.  95% or more of that styrofoam plate is actually just air.  (A kind reader pointed that “Styrofoam” is a trademark that covers a specific manufacturing process for polystyrene and that the manufacturer of Styrofoam doesn’t actually make cups and plates. Please note I used “Styrofoam” in the generic sense in this article.)

Polystyrene is soluble in acetone and other organic solvents used in nail polish and nail polish removers.  The solvents dissolve the polystyrene strands, allowing the air to escape. That’s all that happens.  What looks like “melting” certainly isn’t an indicator of what’s going to happen to your nails, which–in case you haven’t noticed–aren’t made of styrofoam. Knowing the composition of your product and your competitor’s product, it’s easy to pull off a deceptive marketing trick like “melting” a plate.

 

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
But wait!  Two can play this game.

What if, using the very same rules laid down by Vani Hari and Piggy Paint, I can accomplish the opposite of what they’ve done with their Styrofoam test?  That is, would it be possible for me to make the Piggy Paints looks like the “Dirty Dissolvers” while the conventional nail polishes come out looking clean as fresh-fallen snow, not leaving a mark on the surface where they’re applied?

Let’s find out.

Here’s a reminder of the rules:  I have to use both Piggy Paint and conventional nail polishes.  Just as Team Piggy/Vani got to pick a Styrofoam plate, I get to pick my own substrate.  Whatever I choose, Piggy Paint must damage it.  Conversely, the conventional polishes can’t do it any harm.

OK.  I choose hard white discs with a circumference roughly equal to an American half dollar, made primarily of solidified sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.  The discs I’ve obtained are far more rigid than Team Piggy’s foam plates, and at least five times thicker:

vani hari piggy paint solvent demonstration

I chose hard discs of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid instead of paper plates… (click/enlarge)

With any experiment, we need a control group.  Here is mine:  swatches of three conventional nail polishes spread on a styrofoam plate, alongside a similar spread of Piggy Paint polishes.  Note that the conventional polishes have bubbled and warped the plate just like with Team Piggy’s experiment, while the Piggy Paint leaves the plate unscathed. The control we’re using here affirms that we’re using the same type of nail polishes used in Vani Hari’s demo.

food babe piggy paint

On the top: Piggy Paint. On the bottom: conventional nail polish, which seems to have “melted” the styrofoam plate. (click/enlarge)

 

Let’s pour some conventional nail polish on three of the discs, and Piggy Paint onto another three:

food babe piggy paint demo

Foreground: Piggy Paint reacts violently with the three discs. Background: conventional nail polish has no effect on the discs. (click/enlarge)

Zut alors!  Piggy Paint reacts violently with the discs, while the conventional nail polishes have no effect whatsoever.  Look Ma… I just conclusively demonstrated that conventional nail polish is safe and Piggy Paints are dangerous.  Or not.

So what happened?

When I studied organic chemistry, we spent a huge amount of lab time learning to pick a solvent that would affect one substance while leaving another substance untouched.  This is really important when, for example, you want to separate two compounds.

So, knowing the solvent used in Piggy Paints (water), I picked Alka Seltzer discs.  The solid sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, for you Food Babe fans) and citric acid dissolved in the water.  The chemical reaction between base and acid released carbon dioxide, causing the Piggy Paint nail polish to bubble violently.  Alka Seltzer isn’t as soluble in acetone and other organic solvents as water, so before the discs could dissolve, the solvent evaporated, leaving the discs untouched by the conventional nail polish.

Did I cheat?  Well, only as much as Vani Hari and the Piggy Paint vendors did when they made that styrofoam plate appear to “melt” away.  The moral of the story: armed with a modest chemistry education, it’s easy lead the casual observer into believing something is “safe” or “dangerous” with nothing more than a cheap science fair project.  And that’s exactly what Food Babe and Piggy Paints have done.

 

Edit History
Noted polystyrene solubility in acetone, other solvents used in nail polish (ethyl acetate and butyl acetate are more common than acetone), sodium bicarbonate = baking soda, “Styrofoam” trademark, word “encoded” more accurately used than “encrypted” in describing Vani’s affiliate link. (13 Nov 2015).  Added Revlon “Hot For Chocolate” ingredients as an example of a nail polish that used all organic solvents mentioned in this article.

Image Credits
Piggy Paint and Food Babe screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Kitchen chemistry shots by the author. Freely distributable for educational purposes, photo credit to “Mark Aaron Alsip/Bad Science Debunked” appreciated.

References
(1) New Products That Make Me Scream In Excitement
http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/13/new-products-that-make-me-scream-in-excitement/

(2) Piggy Paint Ingredients
http://www.piggypaint.com/product-info/#.VikWjJegaoc

(3) Natria Neem Oil Pesticide (Lowes)
http://www.lowes.com/pd_636312-24182-706250_0__?k_clickID=cf2454b4-a7c6-4d38-af34-c02641845fd3&store_code=492&productId=50251737

(4) Garden Safe Neem Extract (Lowes)
http://www.lowes.com/pd_86891-316-HG-93179_0__?productId=3276665&store_code=492&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-LawnGarden-_-OutdoorPesticide-_-3276665:Garden_Safe&CAWELAID=&kpid=3276665&CAWELAID=112496842

(5) Bonide Neem Oil (DoYourOwnPestControl.com)
http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/bonide-s-neem-oil-concentrate-16-oz?gclid=CMDnwsC16MgCFYRFaQod1hEB5w

(6) Safer Brand 1 Galllon Neem Oil Insecticide
http://www.saferbrand.com/store/outdoor-insect/98424gal?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse&CAWELAID=1571569067&CAGPSPN=pla&gclid=CM-I0eG16MgCFZKIaQodhggOvw

(7) The Indian Journal of Pediatrics
May 1982, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 357-359
N. Sundaravalli, B. Bhaskar Raju M.D., K. A. Krishnamoorthy M.D. (1)
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02834422

(8) Neem oil poisoning: Case report of an adult with toxic encephalopathy
Indian J Crit Care Med. 2013 Sep-Oct; 17(5): 321–322.
Ajay Mishra and Nikhil Dave
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841499/

(9) Be A Drug Store Beauty Dropout
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(10) Holistic Hair Care
http://foodbabe.com/2011/11/06/holistic-hair-care-how-why/

(11) How To Find The Best Natural Mascara That Actually Works
http://foodbabe.com/2013/07/27/how-to-find-the-best-natural-mascara-that-actually-works/

(12) EWG Skin Deep Database: Orange No. 5
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701779/D%26C_ORANGE_5/

(13) Color Additives and Cosmetics (FDA)
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/ucm110032.htm

(14) Revlon Hot For Chocolate/Ingredients (Amazon.com)
http://www.amazon.com/Revlon-Enamel-Hot-Chocolate-903/dp/B001KYVZ04/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1447870004&sr=1-1&keywords=revlon+hot+for+chocolate

 

Naturally Nicole’s Elderberry Flu Treatment Debunked (part 1)

naturally nicole elderberry syrup

What the heck is “evidence based” proof? Is there another kind?

So many snake oil peddlers, so little time.

In “Evidence Based Proof Elderberry Syrup Is Better Than The Flu Shot”,1 Facebook saleswoman “Naturally Nicole” offers up more misinformation on the flu shot than can possibly be debunked in one sitting.  In the interest of time, I’ll take on two of the three “scientific studies” she cites to support her flu cure, then come back for more in future articles.

Fasten your seat belts; make sure your tray tables are in a locked and upright position. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Claim #1
An extract of black elderberries has natural antiviral properties in vitro, and reduced flu symptoms in 3-4 days2

We have an epic failure right off the bat.  In layman’s terms, in vitro means the study was performed in a glass test tube or petri dish, not a live human.  So how did the elderberry extract reduce flu symptoms in humans?

Answer: it didn’t.  This study wasn’t performed on humans, and Nicole & the abstract essentially tell a bald-faced lie.  Here’s what happened:

Nicole starts you off with this abstract2 which describes a study performed courtesy of twelve volunteers who donated blood that was treated with elderberry extract in vitro.  The humans didn’t have the flu.  They didn’t have symptoms.  The test was simply to determine if the elderberry triggered an immune response in the extracted cells.  If you don’t read the paper behind the abstract, you never learn this vital fact.

It’s only when you read the full text of the study3 that you see the abstract’s reference to a reduction in symptoms isn’t for the study actually being done.   This mysterious second paper and the reduction in symptoms in humans is never even mentioned anywhere but the abstract.  I have to repeat myself, because it’s so important: the study cited by Nicole never tested a single flu patient, yet she and the abstract claim it reduced symptoms in humans in 3-4 days.  Pretty amazing since it was an in vitro test only! (wink wink, nudge nudge.)

I’ve laid it out graphically for you below, and you can follow the results yourself via the hyperlinks in the article to see for yourself how you’re being misled:

bait and switch study

Figures lie and liars figure.  The study cited by Nicole didn’t actually test patients who had the flu, even though it seems to claim a reduction in symptoms. It slyly refers to ANOTHER study in the abstract.  You have to actually read the paper to figure this out.  Nicole makes a false claim because of this.   (click/enlarge)

 

As for in vitro testing… that’s a necessary first step, but pushing it as a “cure” as Nicole does is dishonest.  My wife and I have a great in vitro germ killer under the kitchen sink:

an in vitro germ killer another in vitro germ killer

 

Claim #2
A “complete cure” was achieved in 2-3 days in 90% of patients receiving elderberry syrup.4

At least we’ve switched to live humans (an in vivo study).

I think the most damning indictment of Nicole comes on the second page of the study that this vehement anti-vaxxer once again apparently didn’t take the time to read:

“Vaccinating those at high risk of influenza-related complications before the influenza season each year is the most effective and most commonly used ways [sic] of reducing the impact of influenza.” 4

That’s right. The very paper Nicole cites recommends the flu vaccine as the most effective way of combating influenza.  (This is going to come back to haunt her, because the lead author of this study is also the lead author of the third paper she uses to prop up her product.  You’ll never guess what he does for a living!)

So how was this study conducted?  Did doctors do something objective, like, I don’t know… record the patients’ temperatures every day?  Maybe some bloodwork?

No.  Test subjects were asked to record in a diary how they felt.  How well did they sleep?  Were they coughing more or less?

I’m not making this up.4

from the study

(From the paper) That’s it?  Couldn’t you go even to the trouble of taking their temperature?

Look, I get it: you can’t measure a body ache.  But checking for a fever?  And Nicole glosses over some facts.  Twelve of the patients receiving the elderberry syrup (almost half!) needed a rescue medication during the study, because the syrup wasn’t working for them.  It’s true that those in the control group (receiving a placebo) needed the rescue meds at a higher frequency, and recovered somewhat more slowly.  But some recovered completely with no elderberry syrup at all, just as fast as those receiving the syrup.  So what can you conclude?  Well, the authors thought maybe they had something, maybe not, and said:

“These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study” 4

Nicole seems to have missed all of this.

 

OPUS2

 

Coming Up Next Time
In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at Nicole’s third study, a “switcheroo” piece that would have made Harry Houdini proud.  Our Doctor of Syrup quotes from the abstract of a $51 per-view paper hidden behind a paywall–a paper that has some hidden surprises in it.

A paper Nicole very clearly didn’t read.  It looks like this:

image

Coming up in part two of this series: why it’s always a good idea to read the papers you cite.

 

Image Credits
Naturally Nicole screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Bloom County/Opus image is used within parody constraints of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Obfuscated image in closing sequence of “Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama.  J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9. Zakay-Rones Z1, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, Mumcuoglu M.” used to provide commentary, review, and increase public health knowledge as provided under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”).

 

References
(1) Evidence Based Proof, Elderberry Syrup Is Better Than The Flu Shot
http://naturallynicolexo.com/evidence-based-proof-elderberry-syrup-is-better-than-the-flu-shot/

(2) The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. (ABSTRACT)
Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.
Barak V1, Halperin T, Kalickman I.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

(3) The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines.  (FULL TEXT)
Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.
Barak V1, Halperin T, Kalickman I.
http://www.jle.com/fr/revues/ecn/e-docs/the_effect_of_sambucol_a_black_elderberry_based_natural_product_on_the_production_of_human_cytokines_i._inflammatory_cytokines_90261/article.phtml?tab=texte

(4) Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections
The Journal of International Medical Research
2004; 32: 132 – 140
Z ZAKAY-RONES , E THOM , T WOLLAN AND J WADSTEIN
http://imr.sagepub.com/content/32/2/132.long

 

Naturally Nicole’s Tooth Powder Debunked

naturally nicole tooth powder open sky

Naturally Nicole’s tooth powder contains a “toxic” compound–according to her!

“Naturally Nicole” is a rather belligerent snake oil saleswoman operating a “natural” online store from GodKnowsWhere, USA.  After a flood of emails from readers asking me to have a look into her product line, I couldn’t resist starting a series on her wares.  She’s not very well known, but it was this response from Nicole to one of her critics that tipped the scales:

naturally nicole tooth powder cavities

Naturally Nicole doesn’t take kindly to criticism.  (click/enlarge)

I despise censorship and ad hom attacks combined with bad science.  So, Nicole, welcome to my blog.  Let’s have a look at some of the products you’re selling!

This week it’ll be Nicole’s “all natural tooth powder”.  Before we look at the ingredients, it’s time for the ominous foreshadowing that regular readers of Bad Science Debunked have come to expect.  We’ll  pick a “toxic” ingredient Nicole hates and hope against hope we don’t find it in any of her products (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Writing on deodorants, Nicole tells us:1

“[…] some research has suggested that these aluminum compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Because estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, some scientists have suggested that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer.  This is NOT okay with me.“–NaturallyNicole  (emphasis mine)

 

So, watch out for aluminum compounds.  Got it?  Good!

Alright then, time to peek at the ingredients in Nicole’s tooth powder:2

naturally nicole bentonite open sky tooth powder

Bentonite Clay?   Cue horror story music.   (click/enlarge)

Bentonite clay?  I’m having flashbacks to high school geology and chemistry classes, where we learned that aluminum was the most common metal in the crust of the earth and a ubiquitous component of clay/bentonite.

Suddenly, I have a bad, bad feeling about what we’re going to find in Nicole’s tooth powder.  Take a look at the molecular structure of sodium bentonite, for example: 3

Sodium bentonite. Note the aluminum. (click/enlarge)

Sodium bentonite. Note the aluminum.   Courtesy USNLM PubChem.  (click/enlarge)

 

Oh dear.  In case it doesn’t jump right out at you, I highlighted the compounded aluminum.

“Ack!  Phhht!”-Bill the Cat, Bloom County

Geologists point out there are several forms of bentonite, but aluminum is a common element in each–and even Nicole agrees:   You can read her entire chemical “thesis” here.2  If you want to save yourself from a lot of hand waving, her argument is that:

  1. aluminum compounds in products Nicole sells are stable and safe
  2. aluminum compounds in products not sold by Nicole are toxic and cancerous

Yeah, right.

In all honesty, you’re in no danger from any of these products.  If you remember your high school chemistry, aluminum is highly reactive, “loves” to bind to other elements, and is readily processed by the bodies of healthy individuals (e.g. those without kidney disease).  The chemical properties of this element are precisely why it’s so “stable” as Nicole argues in her hand-waving, and it’s just as stable in the products she’s trying to scare you away from.  The difference in Nicole’s aluminum and everyone else’s?  She’s earning money from the former.  End of story.

Next week I’ll be looking at what Nicole calls “evidence based proof” (WTF?)  that her Elderberry Flu Syrup is more effective than the flu vaccine.  Stay tuned!

 

References
(1) Do You Smell Funny?
http://naturallynicolexo.com/do-i-smell-funny-my-body-utopia-natural-deodorant-review-coupon-code/

(2) Naturally Nicole’s Remineralizing Tooth Powder
https://www.opensky.com/madewithscrub/product/naturally-nicole-s-re-mineralizing-tooth-powder

(3) U.S. National Library of Medicine PubChem Compound Summary #7294614 (Sodium Bentonite)
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/72941614

Image Credits
Naturally Nicole product screen captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

USNLM PubChem Sodium Bentonite molecular structure image used in compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, and increase public health knowledge.

Refutations to David Avocado Wolfe Memes

Just a quick one for you today.  Couldn’t resist setting David “Avocado” Wolfe straight on butterflies.

 

My reply to Wolfe's nonsensical meme

My reply to Wolfe’s nonsensical meme

Here’s the Wolfe meme being debunked:

Wolfe's scientifically inaccurate butterfly meme.

Wolfe’s scientifically inaccurate butterfly tripe.

Image Credits
David Wolfe screen snapshot is used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) copyright (c) 2014 Mark Aaron Alsip. All rights reserved.

Modern Alternative Mama: How Did This Get “Past Your Eyes”?

Regular readers of crunchy mommy blogger Modern Alternative Mama (Kate Tietje) know that she’s an ardent opponent of pasteurization.1,2,3,4  According to Kate’s twisted view of science, pasteurization kills all the “good” bacteria in food products (milk, honey, etc.), leaving room for the “bad” bacteria to grow. She also falsely believes pasteurization destroys all the beneficial enzymes in food, leaving what we eat devoid of nutrition.

For reasons I’m about to reveal, I was a little shocked then to find this fantabulous recipe idea–a “monkey smoothie”–on Tietje’s Facebook page:5

pasteurized milk


Modern Alternative Mama likes this milk. Only one problem…

“Monkey Smoothies” made from Silk brand cashew and almond milk are pushed as a healthy kids’ breakfast by Kate.  There’s only one problem here…

These products are pasteurized!  Here’s the quote from Silk’s product information page (click image to enlarge):6

silk milks pasteurized kate tietje

From the Silk FAQ.  Silk almond & cashew milks are pasteurized. MAM says this is dangerous. (click/enlarge)

Oops!

Now, to be sure, these products are safe, and pasteurization helps make them so.  Kate Tietje makes a plethora of scientifically ignorant statements on pasteurization in her blog posts (such as unpasteurized products having never killed anyone–they certainly have).

But I’m not here to argue the merits of pasteurization (I’ve done that already).  The purpose of today’s blog post is to point out Kate’s hypocrisy.  She says pasteurization makes food products more dangerous by killing off “good” bacteria, leaving room for dangerous pathogens and destroying essential nutrients–so why then is she feeding this “dangerous” brew to her children every morning?

Kate?

References
(1) Kate Tietje: Monday Health, Raw Milk
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2011/08/01/monday-health-raw-milk/

(2) Where Does Your Dairy Come From?
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/01/20/dairy-come/

(3) Raw Milk: Finding It, Using It, And More
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2011/02/25/raw-milk-finding-it-using-it-and-more/

(4) Ten Benefits And Uses For Raw Honey
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2012/07/03/10-benefits-uses-for-raw-honey/(1)

(5) Modern Alternative Mama Monkey Smoothie (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/ModernAlternativeMama/posts/10153103399762913

(6) Silk FAQs
https://silk.com/faqs

 

Image Credits
Facebook, Modern Alternative Mama, and Silk screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Modern Alternative Mama’s Skin Cancer Extravaganza

Kate Tietje (“Modern Alternative Mama”) is a scientifically illiterate mommy blogger who routinely hands out some of the most dangerous advice on the internet. I’ve previously covered her shameful “vaccine injury awareness month” (meant to counter Breast Cancer Awareness Month–yeah, figure that one out) and the endangerment of her children through neglect. Today I’d like to go back to basics and concentrate on points that even her 57,000+ pseudoscience-loving followers will be able to grasp: hypocrisy and lies.

There will be no squirming out of this one, Kate.

In a recent article, “Have You Gotten Your Sunscreen Yet This Summer?”,1,2 Tietje has this to say about sunscreen ingredients:

“I’m not really comfortable with the physical blockers, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know they are common in “natural” sunscreens and probably fine, but I just do not want to rub that on my children’s skin. I don’t know, I worry. Maybe that’s crazy.” (emphasis mine)

Whoa! Crazy, indeed! Sherman, set the wayback machine7 to a month earlier and let’s peek at another Modern Alternative Mama (MAM) post:3

“It’s been awhile since I’ve done a giveaway here. But, I know that you will truly love this company [BanjOrganics] and I wanted to share it with you.”

Yes, it’s MAMs huge “BanjOrganics Giveaway” contest! The lucky winner takes home a gift basket chock full of natural products, including a jar of sunscreen. Let’s have a look at the ingredients in that sunscreen, shall we?4

banjorganics modern alternative mama sunscreen

BanjOrganics sunscreen ingredients. Note the zinc oxide

Oh dear.  See the highlighted ingredient?  Zinc oxide? What was it that Kate said about zinc oxide? Oh yes… she’s not comfortable with it and just doesn’t want to rub it on her children’s skin.

I suppose one way to avoid exposing your children to “toxic” ingredients is to pawn them off on unsuspecting readers.

So, what does Tietje use on her children? Well, sadly, she freely confesses she’d rather let them run around in the sun unprotected and burn. But when she does apply a sunscreen to her endangered kiddos, she makes her own.

Unfortunately, by her own admission (she doesn’t know it yet–hint hint), she’s using an ingredient that she claims will give the kids skin cancer.

Let’s walk through this. First, here’s her homemade sunscreen recipe.  Take note of the highlighted ingredient.  It will be important later.

Mama's sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.

Mama’s sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.

 

Next, we have to remind ourselves of a sunscreen additive that Modern Alternative Mama told us that we must avoid.  She lays this out clearly in her article “What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen”:5

vita

Hmmm… avoid vitamin A in sunscreens because, according to intrepid scientist Kate Tietje, it can speed development of tumors when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight.  Really?

I think you can see where this is heading.  Remember those raspberries in Mama’s homemade sunscreen?

According to the USDA, raspberries are a rich source of vitamin A:6

usda raspberry

USDA raspberry nutritional information. (click/enlarge)

 

So… vitamin A in sunscreen leads to the possibility of tumors, and Modern Alternative Mama is pushing a sunscreen recipe rich in vitamin A.  Or were we supposed to go back to the zinc oxide solution she’s giving away to readers, but is afraid to use on her own children?

Needless to say, none of the products or ingredients mentioned in this article are actually dangerous.  I’d be happy to debate the issues with Tietje, but like everyone else who questioned her bad science, I was banned from her Facebook page.

 

Image Credits
Modern Alternative Mama, Facebook, and BanjOrganics screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook Intro)
https://www.facebook.com/ModernAlternativeMama/posts/10152975556317913

(2) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook-Linked Blog Post)
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/05/11/natural-gentle-sunscreen-salve/

(3) Modern Alternative Mama BanjOrganics Giveaway
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/04/28/banjorganics-giveaway/

(4) BanjOrganics Sunscreen Ingredients
http://www.banjorganics.com/#!product/prd1/1903932945/sunscreen

(5) What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2014/07/03/look-non-toxic-sunscreen/

(6) USDA Raspberry Nutrient Profile
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2419

(7) The WayBack Machine
http://www.moonmoth.net/paelks/history/wayback.htm

Vaccination Op-Ed (Lexington Herald Leader 05 Feb 2015)

I’m grateful to the Lexington Herald Leader for publication of an op-ed piece I wrote on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s uninformed comments on vaccinations.  Both Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have made potentially damaging comments on the topic this week.

In the face of a burgeoning measles outbreak, there are countless Americans who would love to take advantage of vaccines but cannot because of their age or existing medical conditions. They are relying on the rest of us to make unselfish decisions in the interest of public health.  We in turn need to be able to rely on representatives like Senator Paul and Governor Christie, who are in unique positions to shape health policies.  Given the statements they’ve made recently, I’m not so sure that we can.

You can read the op-ed here.

herald

Oh Bloody…

“Blood Moon” over Kentucky. Photo by the author.

As an avid astronomer, it would be nice to have just one celestial event that wasn’t hijacked by an astrologer, new age mystic, cult, or end-of-days preacher.10,11,12  This time it’s the latter — old earth creationist John Hagee popping up with his twisted interpretation of last November’s “blood moon”, a beautiful lunar eclipse visible from much of the world.

Hagee believes that lunar eclipses are tied to major events in the history of Israel and the Jewish calendar.  He couldn’t be more wrong.

Following is a debunking in simple quote/response format using Hagee’s statements as they appeared in an online article published by CBN.Since this is a science blog, I’ll concentrate mainly on the astronomy, but weave in enough history and religion to show just how far the preacher goes in violating his religion’s prohibition against lying.

What we’re going to see is that (1) there are no lunar eclipses occurring on most of the dates that Hagee claims, and (2) major events in Israel’s history occurred when there weren’t any eclipses, and (3) events on the Jewish calendar are tied to the lunar cycle because people designed it that way.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started…

 

John Hagee

John Hagee.

Quote:

“A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon,  […] and the sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow.  And so the moon appears to be red.”

Response:  One point to Hagee.  He got something right.  Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here…

 

Quote:

“The sun and the moon and the Earth are controlled by God almighty,” Hagee said. “He is the one that is getting them in a direct alignment on a certain day at a certain time — but each time, it’s a Passover or Sukkot.”

Response:  The paths of the sun and moon are controlled by gravity and inertia, just like all the other bodies in the universe.  But even if you grant Hagee the point and say that God created inertia and gravity, there’s still nothing special about a blood moon occurring on a Jewish holiday.

Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar, not a solar calendar.  This means that, from year to year, they don’t  begin on the same day of the solar calendar that Hagee uses (running from January through December).  Stay with me…

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon, when the earth is between the sun and the moon.  It’s important to keep this in mind, so I’ll say it again: lunar eclipses (blood moons) can only occur during a certain phase of the moon (full moon).

It’s not a coincidence that the moon is in a certain phase when a given Jewish holiday begins–and it’s not a miracle–it’s the only time it can happen.  Judaism placed its holidays on a lunar calendar, just as Americans placed the 4th of July holiday on a solar calendar.

Compare a list of Jewish holidays to moon phases during 20142,3 and do the same for 20152,3 and 2016,2,3 and you’ll quickly see the connection.  Keep in mind that the cited tables list solar calendar dates, but the Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar.  These different calendars add to the woo factor of Hagee’s miracles.  The Jewish holidays keep popping up on different dates on Hagee’s solar calendar and the moon appears to be “chasing” those holiday dates.  It’s magic!

Well, not really…

Jewish Calendar

24-year Jewish calendar showing the month Adar II (the month of Adar bumped from its normal spot on the calendar by the leap-year addition Adar I). Click image for large version.

There’s a fun twist: it takes the moon a little over 29.5 solar days to orbit the earth, so the Jewish month is about an odd half solar day long.  Over time this “error” accumulates and would force holidays to occur out of season as days shift on the calendar.

To compensate, every few years, an extra month is inserted into the calendar.  The regular month of Adar becomes “Adar II”, and the temporary extra month is named “Adar I”.  This concept should be familiar to many — a solar year is really 365.25 days long, not 365.  Over time, this error would accumulate and the seasons/holidays of the solar calendar would become “off”.  (For Northern Hemisphere Christians, Christmas (December 25) would eventually occur in the summer!)

We know the corrective measure as the leap year.

Why am I banging away at the details like this?  To impress upon the reader just how hard people have worked throughout history to make sure that events such as religious holidays here on earth line up with an event going on up in the sky.

There’s an additional twist: in Judaism, days begin at nightfall, not at midnight as they do on the solar calendar.  For those of you keeping score at home, tying a calendar to both the moon and sun in ways like this technically makes the Jewish calendar a “lunisolar” calendar.  (You’re welcome).

But is there an eclipse every full moon? No.  This is because of yet another twist: with respect to the earth’s orbit around the sun (the “ecliptic”), the moon’s orbit forms an angle of approximately 5 degrees.  Put more simply, if you drew a line between the middle of the earth to the middle of the sun, the moon would appear to swing “above” or “below” the line by 5 degrees as it orbits.  Usually, when the moon is full, it is “above” or “below” our planet’s shadow, and no eclipse occurs.

So, given all of this information on Jewish holidays, full moons, and lunar eclipses, we’re finally ready to look at some actual historical events and Hagee’s claims, and see what, if anything, has been happening on certain Jewish holidays.  Can we make any prophecies of future events based on what we find?

 

Quote:

“I believe that in these next two years, we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world.”

Response:  When is something not happening involving Israel that impacts the Middle East and the whole world?13  This is, remember, a country straddling the geographic heart and soul of 3 major world religions.  This kind of prophecy is as easy as predicting an earthquake on the San Andreas fault.  Can you be more specific please?

1948 War map

Israel’s 1948 War.  When is something of importance NOT happening here?  Click image to enlarge.

Quote:

In the past, the rare appearance of four blood moons on these feast days has coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.

In 1492, Spain expelled the Jews. Columbus also discovered America, which became a safe haven for the Jewish people.

Response:  Columbus didn’t “discover” America.  There were millions of people living there when he arrived.  But the honor of being the first foreigner to discover the continent is seriously in doubt.5  Historians say that serious claimants include John Chabot and the Vikings.  But it doesn’t matter.  There were a lot of people living in America when Columbus arrived… consensus estimates seem to put the total around ten million, though some go higher.4

Unfortunately for Hagee there were no total eclipses of the moon in 1492.  There’s nothing even close.  Had he bothered to check, he would not have found totality before November 27, 1490 and then not again until April 2, 1493.16

Having already missed the mark with no total lunar eclipses in Columbus’ banner year, Hagee will be saddened to learn that not even his 1490 and 1493 eclipses occurred during Passover or Sukkot.16,17,18

As a side-note… America did indeed become a safe haven for the Jewish people, as Hagee states, but sadly it did not remain so for the millions of people already living there when Columbus arrived.15

 

Quote:

 “In each of these blood moons, you have something that begins in tragedy and ends in triumph”

Response:  On October 6, 1973,  Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel during Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.  Israel was sent reeling by the attack but turned tragedy into triumph, reaching the outskirts of Damascus in Syria and completely encircling the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula.6

There was no set of 4 blood moons.  There wasn’t even a lunar eclipse during the holidays.7

Wait a minute.  I thought events beginning with tragedy and ending in triumph were supposed to be signaled by blood moons?

Israeli tank, Yom Kippur War

Destroyed Israeli tank, 1973 Yom Kippur War. The war began in tragedy and ended in triumph.   There was no “blood moon.”

 

In all fairness to Hagee, I picked the 1973 date.  So let’s let John pick the date…

 

Quote:

“In 1967, Israel won the Six-Day War and recaptured Jerusalem.

“For the first time in 2,000 years, Jerusalem and the State of Israel were together again,” Hagee said.

Response:  It kills me when authors don’t take time to do their own research.  Notice that in the previous response, I picked the war, and could be accused of cheating.  This time, Hagee picked the war.  Let’s look at 1967:

In 1967 PLO attacks on Israel, Syrian attacks on Israeli civilian settlements, and massing of Egyptian troops on the Israeli border resulted in Israel launching an attack on Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.  The three main Arab belligerents were supported by 11 additional Arab countries and/or political factions.  In just 6 days, Israel won large swathes of new territory, turning tragedy into what some consider miraculous victory.8

There was no set of 4 blood moons.  There wasn’t even a lunar eclipse during the holidays.9

Israeli soldiers, 6 Day War

Israeli soldiers, 1967 “6 Day War”.  The war began in tragedy and ended in triumph.  There was no “blood moon.”

 

Quote:

“He said it’s still unclear what the coming blood moons will bring, but he is certain of one thing.”

Response:  Given Hagee’s horrendous track record in history and predictions, I don’t even want to know what that one thing is.

 

Eclipse over home

Totality is ending. So is this article.   Image by the author.

Image Credits

All lunar eclipse photography by the author.  Copyright (c) 2014 Mark Aaron Alsip.  All rights reserved.

“John Hagee at Podium” from Wiki Commons, by owner Christians United for Israel.  Released into public domain by owner.    Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

“24 year Jewish Calendar for Adar II” from Wiki Commons.  This work is in the public domain of the United States because copyright has expired due to publication date prior to January 1, 1923.

“Israeli Soldiers in 6 Day War” from Wiki Commons.  Released into public domain for all use by owner “ROSENMAN424“.  Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

“Destroyed Israeli Tank” from Wiki Commons.  Image is in public domain as a work of the Egyptian government.

“Israel 1948 War map” from Wiki Commons.  Image released into public domain by Mr. Edward J. Krasnoborski and Mr. Frank Martini, Department of History, U.S. Military Academy.   Map authors do not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

 

References

Note: To avoid increasing search engine exposure for quack web sites while still providing a link to all my references (like a good scientist should), I use the DoNotLink URL obfuscator to alter links to those sites.  I promise you I’m not redirecting you to porn 🙂

(1) Divine Sign for Israel? Hagee Explains Blood Moons (CBN article being debunked)
http://www.donotlink.com/gp0

(2) Jewish Holidays and Festivals for 2014, 2015, 2016 (Chabab.org)
http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm

(3) Full Moon Calendar – dates and times for 2014, 2015, 2016
http://moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php

(4) Alan Taylor (2002). American colonies; Vol 1, Penguin History of the United States, p. 40. ISBN 9780142002100
http://books.google.com/books?id=NPoAQRgkrOcC&pg=PA40&dq=pre-Columbian+population+million&cd=6#v=onepage&q=pre-Columbian%20population%20million&f=false

(5) So, Who Did Discover America?
http://www.historytoday.com/s-frederick-starr/so-who-did-discover-america

(6) Jewish Virtual Library, Chapter 8: The 1973 Yom Kippur War
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MF1973.html

(7) Lunar Eclipses: 1971 – 1980
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEdecade/LEdecade1971.html

(8) The Six-Day War: Background & Overview
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/67_War.html

(9) Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: 1901 to 2000
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE1901-2000.html

(10) New Age followers still waiting for aliens to beam them up 15 years after Heaven’s Gate cult suicides left 39 people dead
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120869/Heavens-Gate-cult-committed-mass-suicide-15-years-ago.html

(11) Alignment 2012 by John Major Jenkins
http://www.donotlink.com/bz8t

(12) Major Planetary Configurations (“Astrology- Find Your Fate”)
http://www.donotlink.com/bz8s

(13) Key Dates in Israel’s History
http://archive.adl.org/israel/advocacy/chronology.html#.VDbmyRaV00o

(14)  Jewish Calendar
http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm

(15) Wounded Knee
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/knee.htm

(16) NASA Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses (1401 to 1500)
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE1401-1500.html

(17) Hebrew Calendar 2271 – 2272 (Roman year 1940 B.C.)
http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1490b.c.e

(18) Hebrew Calendar 2268 – 2269 (Roman year 1943 B.C.)
http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1493b.c.e

A Great Vaccine Debate On CNN

In case you missed it, CNN hosted a fun debate last night (Thursday, January 29).1

Dr. Armand Dorian gets my vote for Man of the Year for calling out “Dr.” Jack Wolfson over his unscientific positions on vaccines and the current measles outbreak in California and 13 other states.  I’ve linked the video below.  Even though CNN sneaks in a 30 second commercial at the beginning, it’s well worth sitting through just to hear Dorian deliver the truth: it’s hard to believe that Wolfson has a medical license.  The man is literally doing harm to his patients.

cnn debate capture

Dorian and Wolfson debate. Click to launch video.

Dorian is a doctor and debunks Wolfson far better than I ever could, so please watch the video, linked here.  But I can’t resist commenting.  Some of Wolfson’s more ridiculous statements are that:

(1) We’re injecting chemicals in our children’s bodies (when we vaccinate).
Well, duh.  Our bodies are made up of chemicals.  Everything we eat and drink is a chemical.  Everything we see, touch, taste, and feel is a chemical.  Dr. Wolfson, here’s a beautiful online version of the periodic table of the elements.2  You should have studied this in grade school.  Chemicals!  Oh my God, they’re everywhere!

According to the CDC, measles is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in children.3  Doctors agree that’s a really good reason to inject those chemicals.  They’re saving lives.

(2) Measles results in “typically benign childhood conditions”
Death is not a benign condition.  The CDC says for every 1000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die.4  One out of every four who contract the disease will be hospitalized. There is no cure for measles. Getting the vaccine is safer than coming down with the disease. Measles can lead to swelling of the brain and severe respiratory problems.5  And, oh yeah… did I mention death?

(3) “Our children have the right to get infections”
The “right” to get infections?

Sometimes you encounter a statement that’s so utterly stupid there’s just no response.  I suppose our children have the right to die in car crashes, but I’d like to prevent that.

Speaking of car crashes…

(4) “Bad things can happen to anybody.  We can be in a car accident.”
When host Erin Burnett points out to Wolfson that unvaccinated people are in fact dying from measles, he responds with “Bad things can happen to anybody.  We can be in a car accident.”

Yes doctor.  And that’s why we wear seat belts.  There’s some good science behind the seat belt concept, just as there is behind the measles vaccine.  Before the vaccine was invented in the 1960s, there were up to four million cases of the disease in the USA each year, with an average of 48,000 hospitalizations.5  Thanks to the vaccine, measles was eliminated in this country by the year 2000.6  Now, thanks to anti-vaccination campaigns and quack doctors, measles is making a comeback.

(5) “They [our children] need to get appropriate chiropractic care.  Actual healthy doctors […]”
Chiropractors are not doctors.  They have no medical training.  There’s nothing about chiropractic training or care that remotely begins to address handling a virus, which is what causes the measles.

For this statement alone, I agree with Dorian: Wolfson should not be practicing medicine.  He’s violating the Hippocratic oath.

 

Image Credits
CNN screen snapshot is used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Watch Doctors Have Heated Debate Over Vaccination
http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/30/erin-panel-anti-vaccination-debate.cnn

(2) Periodic Table of the Elements
http://www.ptable.com/

(3) CDC Global Health – Measles, Rubella, and CRS
http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/measles/

(4) CDC: Measles: Make Sure Your Child Is Fully Immunized
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Measles/

(5) CDC/American Academy of Pediatrics Bulletin
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/downloads/dis-measles-color-office.pdf

(6) CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the U.S.
http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html