Tag Archives: research

Crank alert! Organisers of the Oregon petition also have a cure for cancer


The recent paper by Cook et.al demonstrating the 97% consensus among the climate scientists has generated considerable angst among climate sceptic movement.

However, rather than accepting the research they’ve resorted to denial – see here for Anthony Watt’s particularly amusing response.

Perth sceptic and conspiracy theorist Jo Nova has pulled out the old Oregon Petition Project arguing that 31,000 scientists don’t agree with the consensus:

You want authority? Skeptics can name 31,500 scientists who agree, including 9,000 PhDs, 45 NASA experts (including two astronauts who walked on the moon) and two Nobel Prize winners in physics.

I won’t bore you with yet another dissection of this deeply flawed petition, but simply direct you to DeSmogBlog.

However, what I find curious is the credentials of originators of the petition project: the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM).

Firstly, this grandly named organisation operates out of what can only be described charitably as a shed:


Ok – perhaps it is not fair to judge a book by its cover.

They could be doing some amazing, cutting edge research in their shed in rural Oregon (not to disparage what is most likely a charming part of the world).

So let’s be fair and evaluate the bona fides of the OISM by the quality of the research they conduct. After all they claim to conduct research into the following:

Current projects include work on the deamidation of peptides and proteins as it relates to fundamental biochemistry and to protein aggregation diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; research on improved techniques for medical diagnosis; improvement in precollege education curricula, especially in the sciences; and improved civilian emergency preparedness.

In other words they sell kits to survive a nuclear war.

More interestingly they claim to have found a cure for cancer. No really they do.

Let me step you through this discovery of mine.

First, let’s start at the OISM homepage:


Note the left hand navigation menu and the option “Nutrition and Cancer”? This is what you get after clicking on the link:


Note the text:

This website presents a paper on Nutrition and Cancer that may well be the most important information a cancer patient can find to help him fight this dread disease.

Clicking the link takes you to yet another page:


Let me say for the record, this is really bad web design: three-click-rule be damned.

They’ve buried the “most important information a cancer patient can find” in a thicket of interlinked pages lacking a consistent design or user experience. It’s like they don’t want you to find it!

Eventually you get to the following essay subtitled “Beating cancer with a diet of raw fruits and vegetables.”

Let me quote:

A surgeon telephoned me to ask some questions about this diet. During the conversation, he told me why he had become interested in it (to the great displeasure of his colleagues).

A patient had come to him in whose throat was growing a completely inoperable and soon-to-be-fatal cancer. He told the patient that there was nothing he could do for him and that he would soon die.

The patient, however, went to Ann Wigmore’s establishment and started eating their initial diet of strictly raw fruits and vegetables. He pursued this fanatically, however, and never switched to Wigmore and Hunsberger’s phase-two diet including additional staples.

Many months later, the patient returned to the surgeon. The surgeon told me that there were three things that were unusual about this patient.

1. He was back. He should already have been long dead.

2. There was not a trace of cancer in his throat.

3. He looked like he had just stepped out of a Nazi or Communist concentration camp. The patient was almost dead of malnutrition. He was a walking skeleton.

The surgeon nursed him back to good nutritional health – but the cancer never returned.

Note the anecdotal and highly suspect nature of this claim: neither the surgeon nor patient is named. As far as personal testimonials go, that’s pretty p*ss weak.

Oh and the cancer – like totally gone.

Like it was never there…

Wooooooooooh waaaah woooh!

Amazing right?

Just so you know, the “raw fruit and vegetable” diet is pure alternative-medicine crapola.

What they are suggesting is a version of a macrobiotic diet: as far as science is concerned, it is totally implausible as a cure. Actually, it may be dangerous to cancer patients who elect to follow it.

It is one of the many alternative cures to cancer sold by hucksters who prey on those dealing with a life threatening disease.

This is yet another variation of the “extreme diet” cure, which the Cancer Council of Victoria (CCV) notes:

There are hundreds of alternative cancer therapies. You may hear about them from friends and family, or come across them in books, on the Internet or on radio, TV, etc. There is no science-based evidence to prove they can treat, control or cure any type of cancer.

There is some evidence a balanced diet – that includes raw fruit and vegetables – can help reduce the risk of some cancers.

But what our friends at the OISM claim is what experts in the field call “woo”.

To quote the CCV, promoters of such therapies are acting unethically:

Unfortunately, there are people who falsely promote treatments which don’t work or are even dangerous as ‘cancer cures.’ There are also people who wrongly claim that mainstream or conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapies don’t work. These people are acting unethically.

Whose opinion do you trust?

The peer-reviewed work of John and his team, or the “We have a cure for cancer!” woo from the cranks at OISM?


[Note: I will not be sanctioning a discussion on the merits alternative treatments: the evidence against them is compelling. Nor will I allow this bog to be hijacked by promoters of therapies known to be dangerous to people undergoing treatment for cancer and/or other serious illnesses.] 


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Goodbye 2012 and hello 2013: life, the universe and blogging

Dear all,

Many thanks to the readers of this blog for your continued patronage. I hope all readers – regardless of their views on climate – enjoy the holiday break while spending time with loved ones. Be kind to yourself and others.

I’ll be taking a short break to recharge – but I’d also like to share some thoughts on the direction of WtD and what you will expect from early January 2013.

On January 21 2013 Watching the Deniers will reach its third anniversary. Three years! Wow, time flies right?

I certainly plan to keep the blog running for the forseeable future as I’m happy with the modest success it has enjoyed so far. When I started I thought I’d keep it up for a year at best. I never imagined it would be three years, nor did I ever expect the level of recognition WtD has achieved. I’m planning to branch out in new ways and I’m delighted to share those plans.

In which the author of the blog discusses the future of the blog

I’ve been making some important changes in my personal life in order to spend more time writing. After almost three years of trying to fit my writing around a full-time job, single parenthood, friendships and a new relationship I’ve decided to scale back my career and work part-time.

While numbers aren’t what drive me, this blog nets a reasonable volume of traffic on a monthly basis – enough to make me consider a career as a writer, commentator and/or researcher.

I admit came to this topic as a novice, lacking qualifications in both science and journalism. However blogging has been an invaluable apprenticeship. It has forced me to write nearly every day for the last three years. However the most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is that time equals quality.

I can’t realise my ambitions for this blog and what I hope to say by working full-time and juggling my other commitments. Something has to give…

And so, after an extensive period of reflection I’ve decided to scale back my career in the corporate world and make a leap of faith.

Watching the Deniers has been a labour of love and in many ways a chronicle of my life these past three years. Becoming a climate blogger has been one of the most rewarding intellectual experiences fo my life – I “see” the world differently.

But in order to realise my ambitions as a writer I have to make that leap of faith: and that is exactly what I’ve done. I’m giving up some income, professional status and lifestyle while happily down-shifting. These are sacrifices I’m happily making in order to realise my ambition of becoming a (semi) professional writer and commentator on climate change and environmental issues.

I believe this extra time will enrich the content of this blog and other projects.

And much of this is due to you – the reader. To this day I’m amazed that anyone takes the time to read my words. This has given me enormous confidence to start new a new phase in my life. Indeed, this blog has taught me an a valuable lesson: “I have something worth saying.”

For that I thank you all.

Next year: WtD video, social media and focus on conspiracy culture

So what to expect from next year?

Firstly WtD videos!

I’ve been experimenting with video technology for some time. I’m excited to be branching out in this manner. At this point I plan to release a short video on a fortnightly basis. I’ve already created several videos which I’m comfortable releasing. I hope readers will also enjoy the videos as much as they do the blog posts.

Secondly, I’m going to bring the focus back to examining the claims of sceptics and conspiracy culture. Over the last year the content of the blog has ranged widely – maybe too much. I feel its time to refocus efforts on the claims of the sceptics and conspiracy theories. I feel that is a niche worth exploring and there is still insufficient commentary from the media and academia on this topic.

Thirdly I’m going to try to spend more effort using social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. My experiments to date with Twitter have been successful and I feel I can build on this.

And so in closing…

Thanks for reading WtD and your support over the years.

I’ll see you all in early 2013.

All the best.

Mike @ WtD

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