Now that I’ve got the remodeling out of the way I finally have a chance to get caught up on some old business. First on that list has to be setting the record straight on an unfortunate incident that occurred in the Rebuilder’s Forum awhile back.
Suffice it to say that I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to flaming posts and so it should come as no shock that libel and defamation is also considered inappropriate behavior.
(Fortunately, I never have to enforce these rules with the real members of the group. The only problems we’ve had with this sort of behavior has come from chiropractors.)
Here’s the Deal
The incident in question occurred when a chiropractor and acupuncturist using the screen name, “Hugo Posh” felt compelled to make the following remark in reference to Dr. Stephen Barrett, a highly respected consumer advocate and founder of Quackwatch, a website that I often make reference to here at RYB.
Hugo’s exact words were:
“This guy calls him a “Quackpot.” I will accept Barrett as being incompetent. I
also still stand [by] my statement that there is some useful information on his
He then saw fit to include several other defamatory and libelous quotes made by his friend including this particular gem:
Records show that Barrett never achieved any success in the medical profession. His claim to being a “retired Psychiatrist” is laughable. He is, in fact, a “failed Psychiatrist,” and a “failed MD.”
Hugo then proceeds to quote some additional remarks made by “this guy” as though that person was some sort of an authority when, in fact, the man was — by his own admission — simply hired to write those remarks.
Now as tempting as it would be to get sidetracked discussing “this guy,” I believe I’ll leave that for a later date and focus instead on the real issue at hand. That is, Hugo’s allegation that Dr. Barrett is somehow incompetent and that he was a failed psychiatrist and a failed MD.
Where’s the Proof?
Now what sort of thought process did Hugo go through to arrive at this particular conclusion?
Other than quoting “some guy,” does he have firsthand information to back up that statement? Did he actually investigate this personally? Has he ever worked with Dr. Barrett? Has he ever personally witnessed Dr. Barrett working with patients?
Has he, for that matter, ever even met Dr. Barrett?
Does he even know anyone who has met Dr. Barrett?
Or Was It A Total Fabrication?
Hugo’s “source” claims that “records show” Dr. Barrett never achieved any success in the medical profession, but what Hugo failed to notice is that his source failed to produce those records… or any citation to where they can be found.
If those records do exist wouldn’t it be advantageous to simply produce the documents and dispel any doubt? Seems like the competent thing to do, don’t you think?
So let’s have it.
Where is this evidence?
Where is the testimony of Dr. Barrett’s colleagues and co-workers? Where is the documentation? Where are the newspaper reports? Where are the medical records? Where are the copies of his financial statement or tax records?
Can these people present ANY evidence of what they consider “incompetence” or lack of success as a medical doctor?
He said the records exist… and you can bet if such evidence actually existed these people would be the first to publish it for the entire world to see.
So where is it?
Just More False Claims
What gives Hugo the right to proclaim that Dr. Barrett is incompetent?
No one has presented a single shred of evidence anywhere that would support such an irresponsible, unprofessional, unethical, self-serving, defamatory and libelous accusation.
But does that bother Mr. Chiropractor?
Apparently not… and why should it? After all, his entire professional career is based on unsubstantiated claims. Why should this be any different?
Like all chiropractors… everything he says is made up out of thin air. Evidence has absolutely no meaning to him. He apparently doesn’t even understand the concept.
No Ground to Stand On
Why does Hugo desperately want other people to believe that Dr. Barrett is incompetent or that he was a failure?
Simple… he hopes it will deflect your attention away from the truth.
Dr. Barrett has been exposing the criminal activities of quacks and frauds for over 40 years. Those quacks and frauds hate him with a passion. They would like nothing better than to find some way — any way — to discredit him.
They attack his reputation because they can’t challenge him on the facts. They have absolutely nothing to refute the mountain of evidence against them and so they resort to lowball tactics in hopes of deflecting attention away from themselves and off of the real issues at hand.
What they don’t realize (because they’re not very bright) is that their unwitting attempts to smear a good man’s name… simply serves to reveal their true colors.
Nobody’s Buying It
You see it has nothing to do with Dr. Barrett.
What difference does it make whether Dr. Barrett was a good psychiatrist or not? It’s totally irrelevant to any discussion of quackery and alternative medicine.
What difference does a past professional occupation have on the work the man is engaged in now?
None whatsoever. It has no bearing on the issue.
By the way, I’m sure he was a very good doctor and anyone that actually knows him will probably be happy to tell you so.
The Man’s Work Speaks For Itself
Dr. Barrett meticulously documents everything he presents on his site.
Unlike the quacks and health frauds he exposes… he does not ask you to take anything on face value.
You can follow-up and do your own research on all of his articles. You do not have to believe as he does, and I am sure he would be very disappointed if you did not make the effort to investigate these vital and controversial topics for yourself.
He does not ask you to take his word for anything… and I have tried to follow his example as I present evidence for your consideration on this site. I too, hope that you will not merely take what I write (which naturally represents my personal opinion) and just accept it as gospel.
I hope that you will use it as a starting point for your own investigation.
It’s A Question of Freedom
Dr. Barrett has the right to conduct his research… present his information… and to express his opinions. He has the right to do so without being attacked or having his reputation smeared.
Furthermore, you have the right to have access to that information if you so desire.
Chiropractors like Hugo apparently don’t want you to have that opportunity. They want to have the freedom to do and say and believe whatever they want… but they don’t want you and I to have that same freedom.
They do not want you to think for yourself.
If You Disagree With Dr. Barrett
Personally, I’m not really concerned with whether you agree or disagree with something that Dr. Barrett (or any other consumer advocate) presents on his or her website. It’s really none of my business.
I do care however, that you have the opportunity to examine it. That’s why I take the time to write about it … and link to it … so you can be aware of its existence.
All any of us in the anti-quackery community can do is give you food for thought. We can’t make you do anything. We don’t wish to interfere with your freedom of choice. And we are not trying to think for you.
We are only trying to present a side to the story you might not have heard before.
We are simply presenting evidence.
If you have a problem with something Dr. Barrett writes, show me the evidence that refutes the research. Don’t come to me with nonsense about how he wasn’t very good at hopscotch in the 3rd grade and, therefore, no one should believe anything he writes. (Especially, when this irrelevant tripe is nothing more than fabricated innuendo.)
The Final Analysis
You see Hugo despises the good doctor because Stephen Barrett is smarter than he is, more professional than he is, more ethical that he is, more accomplished than he is, and in a word … more competent than he is.
And the beauty of this whole situation is you can discover the level of education, intelligence and competence of Dr. Barrett’s work simply by reading it for yourself.
You may not agree with everything he writes… but I guarantee it will give you something to think about.
I came across an interesting blog the other day entitled Anne’s Anti-Quackery and Science Blog that I thought would be particularly interesting to any of you rebuilders who are natural-born skeptics like myself.
I’ve only had a chance to read a few of her articles and essays so far, but from what I have read, she seems to be very articulate and level-headed.
Her postings are centered on evaluating alternative treatments, science, pseudoscience and medicine … but she also has sections on religion, intelligent design, conspiracy theories, myths and the like if you’re interested in any of those things.
I’ve been mainly focused on her Anti-Quackery Page since that is where my interests lie.
She makes it quite clear that she is merely expressing her own personal opinions and does a good job of providing links to additional material if the reader wishes to learn more.
Overall, I found her writing style to be objective, rational, thought provoking and occasionally humorous. I intend to go back and read the rest of her material and I thought you might be interested in doing the same.