Beware Stephen Barrett & His Quackwatch

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Update:
Some of the links, below, became broken and I’ve had to re-gather some information as Mr. Barrett has done his best to wipe out his history. If links become broken again, I have provided PDF screen captures of the data.

[Note: This is a re-post from an old blog, originally posted on February 27, 2010. I think it’s worth sharing because I find this man to be dangerous. He’s a liar and a bully and, I’m shining the light on him.]

This guy, Stephen Barrett…he’d have you believe that he is the foremost expert in all things quackery. To him, anything other than mainstream-AMA-backed medicine is useless.

Stephen Barrett Image
Photo Credit: Anaximperator Blog

Although he is free to present his opinion, much like the rest of us out here blogging (me, included), do not be fooled by the ‘M.D.’ at the end of his name. I think he even wrote his own biography on Wikipedia. However, that being expressed, he has gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble in the courts for repeatedly suing people and claiming he was a ‘retired psychiatrist’. Carlos F. Negrete of Negrete Law and Health Freedom Law, attorney for Tedd Koren, D.C., got the awful truth out of Mr. Barrett…

From Dr. Koren’s case:

At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam. This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed “expert testimony” as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases. Barrett also had said that he was a “legal expert” even though he had no formal legal training.

That cross-examination (screen capture PDF) took place in 2005 in Allentown, PA…Mr. Barrett’s longtime residence (he was born in New York City in 1933). In 2007, a higher court in Pennsylvania backed up the lower court’s decision to dismiss his frivolous lawsuit (original screen capture PDF) (updated screen capture PDF). It was at that point he decided to relocate to Chapel Hill, NC. Perhaps Allentown folks got tired of his crap? I find it amusing that he decided to move to an area that is a hotbed of the very alternative medicine he rails against. The Triangle of North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) contains a plethora of natural, homeopathic and holistic practitioners. I’m pretty sure he didn’t move to the area to get warm fuzzies from the locals. I think he saw an opportunity to make money harassing and ambulance-chasing gifted healers. He does have legal bills he needs cover.

A Patrick Pontillo operated a now-defunct website (screen capture PDF) on chemical sensitivities (a subject that I know something about). He maintains an additional, similar website, Blue Marble Album. He has an extensive history on Mr. Barrett.

Tim Bolen has his own history of Barrett (screen capture PDF & Web Archived Page) from his website and wrote an article on the Doctor’s Data vs Barrett case. Judging by this posted 2016 legal decision, the case was nearly a stalemate but, Barrett’s National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) dissolved after the lawsuit began and Quackwatch dissolved before the case came to trial…even though the website is still active and full of hysterical mainstream medical nonsense. “Googling” this case (I really, really dislike that term but, it is, now, part of our language…for better or worse…) will return links stating that the case was “settled, amicably, out of court”. Translation: Both parties were tired of fighting after six years. A lawsuit of this size and scope costs money…and time. And, Stephen Barrett is in his 80s. The briefing notes clearly state that both parties were free to re-file and start new court proceedings. That means…more money and more time.

Additional information:
Steven C. Eisen’s Commentary: The Tedd Koren Case (Bolen Report)
King Bio Victory/NCAHF, Inc. Loss (Humantics Foundation)
California Appeals Court Bludgeons Quackbusters (Quackpot Watch/Web Archive)
How The Attack On Alternative Medicine Started (Quackpot Watch/Web Archive)
Stephen Barrett: AMA Shill (Whale)

Be very careful when you read this man’s so-called “facts”. He is no expert. He merely has an opinion and he has tried to beat people over the head with it. Believing that this man is a seasoned doctor with many, many practicing years of experience would be as ridiculous as believing that I am an experienced journalist. I am not and would never claim to be.

Weird S*** Wednesday: Ancient Egyptian Statue Moves

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Update:
Moving Statue Mystery Solved

An ancient Egyptian statue appears to have started moving on its own, much to the amazement of scientists and museum curators. The statue of Neb-Senu, believed to date to 1800 B.C., is housed in the Manchester Museum in England, at least for now. But, if the statue keeps moving, there’s no telling where it will end up. “I noticed one day that it had turned around,” museum curator Campbell Price told the Manchester Evening News. “I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back but, then, the next day, it had moved again […]. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate.”

Neb-Senu Image One
Image Credit: Manchester Museum

The [10in. (25cm)] statue was acquired by the museum in 1933, according to the New York Daily News. The video clearly shows the artifact slowly turning counterclockwise during the day but, remaining stationary at night. This daytime movement led British physicist Brian Cox to believe the statue’s movement is due to the vibration created by museum visitors’ footsteps. “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces, the stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on, cause a subtle vibration, which is making the statuette turn […]. But, it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before […]. And, why would it go around in a perfect circle?” said Price.

On his blog, Price […] speculates that the statue “was carved of steatite and, then, fired [which] may imply that it is now vulnerable to magnetic forces.” Steatite, also known as soapstone, is a soft stone often used for carving. Oddly, the statue turns 180 degrees to face [backwards], then turns no more. This led some observers to wonder if the statue moves to show visitors the inscription on its back which asks for sacrificial offerings consisting of bread, beer, oxen and fowl.

Neb Senu Image Two
Photo Credit: Cavendish Press &
Stories My Mummy Told Me

None of the proposed explanations satisfies Price. “It would be great if someone could solve the mystery,” he said. But, Paul Doherty (d. 2017), senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, believes the statue’s movement isn’t caused by any supernatural force but, by something quite ordinary…vibrational, stick-slip friction, sometimes called stick-slip vibration. As Doherty told LiveScience, “[If] the glass shelf, on which the statue rests, vibrates even slightly, […] the vibrating glass moves the statue in the same direction, […] causing it to turn around.” An everyday example can occur when someone uses an electric blender on a kitchen countertop […]. The vibration of the blender can cause a nearby coffee cup to walk across the countertop.

But, why would the statue stop moving after turning 180 degrees? Doherty believes the statue stops turning because it’s asymmetrically weighted […]. “One side of the statue has more weight than the other side,” [Doherty said]. After turning around on the shelf, the statue’s uneven bottom reaches a more stable position and stops turning. Besides the footsteps of passing museum visitors, the source of the stick-slip vibration “…could be some trolley that goes by during the day or a train that passes during the day,” Doherty said.

Marc Lallanilla
LiveScience
June 24, 2013