Robert Carroll's Skeptic Dictionary | Natural Health Newsletter

Date: 05/07/2012    Written by: Jon Barron

Rebutting a Skeptic

Several weeks ago, the staff here at the Foundation brought to my attention Robert Carroll's "Skeptic's Dictionary" website that focuses on "exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions." High on the site's list is alternative medicine. As the site says, "Some will be harmed by AM [alternative medicine] and many people will benefit from it, but the entire benefit from AM comes from the placebo effect and the reduction of stress hormones due to the calming effect of good ritual" -- a rather sweeping indictment, I must say. In any case, the reason the staff brought it to my attention is that there is now a featured page on the site -- dedicated to me.1 When I read the page, I found it uproariously funny, filled with misstatements, distortion of fact, and packed with innuendo and a number of juvenile comments -- surprising, considering that the site's author is a retired teacher of "logic" and "critical thinking," albeit at a city college. In any case, the staff insisted we craft a response, even though the site has no facility for leaving comments, and the site says that it will only rarely post them anyway. Nevertheless, I wrote one up, which the staff then toned down and sent on to Dr. Carroll (Ph. D.). The rebuttal was never published, and no response to the email was forthcoming from Dr. Carroll.

My feelings weren't hurt -- and I'm still mostly amused.  As a general rule, we pay no attention to people who have negative things to say about me or the Baseline of Health Foundation website. After all, we have one of the most trafficked alternative health sites on the internet, and our subscribers include reporters and health editors from large media organizations around the world including Reuters, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, Bloomberg News, the NY Times, the LA Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, health ministers from numerous countries, a number of people in the US government, 15 people at NASA, and a large number of medical doctors and clinics. A dissenting voice every now and then comes with the territory and isn't worth worrying about, but I felt that Mr. Carroll had himself proffered some "dangerous delusions" that are commonly believed in the anti alternative health world. And it was those delusions that I had addressed in my response.

In any case, since Dr. Carroll chose not to publish the response, we now will -- and not the toned down version my staff forwarded to Dr. Carroll, but the original version. Let's once and for all throw some light on some of the canards that these "skeptics" have relied on to bash the alternative health community. For too long, they've been allowed to get away with "strange beliefs and un-amusing deceptions" by claiming that science and logic support them. As you will see, they don't. The issues we will address include:

  • Cellular energy and its relation to cancer
  • Mercury, thimerosal, vaccines, and chelation
  • The need for supplements
  • Fecal matter in the colon

Cellular energy

In his dismissal of me, Dr. Carroll seemed to have a hard time with the concept of cellular energy -- referring to it as an "alternative claim." Surprise, it's not. It's actually science-based and medicine-based. Specifically, he challenged two statements of mine:

  • First -- that "the optimum cell voltage for most cells in the human body is in the -70 to -90 millivolt range.
  • Second, cancer cells have a lower voltage than healthy cells.

To challenge my first statement, he quotes from the self-published online book, NanoMedicine, by Robert Freitas2 in which it says that internal electrical sources at the intercellular and intracellular level typically range between 10 and 100 millivolts. As for my second claim, he refers to it as my personal "speculation." Dr. Carroll should really include fact checking as part of his critical thinking. As it turns out, he's wrong on both counts. The 10-100 millivolt figure that Mr. Freitas refers to is for all electrochemical gradients, ranging from individual molecular pumps to charges generated by the movement of tissue. My statement referred specifically to the "resting membrane potential" of a single cell. And that charge tends to be consistent across all cells in the body, generally running -70 to -90 mv. Here's a more detailed explanation.


Membranes are polarized or, in other words, exhibit a resting membrane potential. This means that there is an unequal distribution of ions (atoms with a positive or negative charge) on the two sides of the cell membrane. This potential in neurons, for example, generally measures about 70 millivolts (with the inside of the membrane negative with respect to the outside). So, the resting membrane potential is expressed as -70 mv -- the minus indicating that the inside is negative relative to (or compared to) the outside. And it is called a "resting" potential because it occurs when a membrane is not being stimulated or conducting impulses (in other words, it's resting). And this is true of all cells in the body, not just neurons. But don't take my word for it. An article on skeletal muscle physiology in the Oxford Journals clearly states, "The resting membrane potential in skeletal muscle cells is similar to that in neurons, i.e. −70 to −90 mV."3

Now, that we've cleared that up, we can put on our critical thinking caps and address the bigger problem Mr. Carroll has with me, my statement that cancer cells are almost always of lower voltage than normal cells. Again, this is not "my" speculation.  As we can see from reading just the first paragraph of the Introduction section in "Cellular Potentials of Normal and Cancerous Fibroblasts and Hepatocytes," the understanding that cancer cells have lower resting membrane potential than healthy cells goes back at least 50 years.4 To quote:

"The notion that cancerous tissues or cells may be in some way electrically different from their normal counterpart extends at least back to the work of Ambrose et al. (2), who found increased electrophoretic mobility of cancerous kidney and liver cells, and Schaefer and Schanne (5), who described a lower membrane potential in human cervical carcinoma than that found in any cell at that time. Cone (9) hypothesizes that a lowered membrane potential causes increased proliferation rates of both normal and cancerous cells."

This quote not only addresses Mr. Carroll's first issue, that cancer cells are low voltage cells, but note the bolded section. It addresses the second premise he felt worth mocking -- that it is the lower voltage itself that causes the cells to proliferate. As he says, "Barron speculates that ‘as cell voltage starts to drop into the range where the very survival of the cell may be called into question, the cell begins to proliferate uncontrollably in an attempt to guarantee its 'survival'.' He's really just guessing here, and his guess is not shared by science-based cancer researchers." Again, Dr. Carroll is guilty of not fact checking. As we have plainly seen, it is not "my" speculation, but rather the observation of a number of "science-based cancer researchers." If there is a Nobel Prize due on this issue, as Dr. Carroll so sarcastically states, it is not due me, but rather Clarence Cone, who presented the concept and supporting data in his 1971 seminal paper,5 a paper that has been frequently cited by other cancer researchers.6  In summary, Mr. Carroll says, "Cancer scientists don't think the voltage of cells is why they turn cancerous." But as we can now clearly see, that statement is patently incorrect -- some scientists indeed do.

All of that said, I actually never claimed that low energy levels were "the" cause of cancer or that raising voltage would cure it. I merely said that it "may very well play a significant role" in preventing and/or reversing cancer. If anything, low resting membrane potential is a tertiary factor at the second level of causes. My position for the last three decades, and as clearly stated in "Lessons from the Miracle Doctors," is that cancer is fundamentally a disease of the immune system. What do I mean by that? In your body, as part of the normal metabolic process, you produce anywhere from a few hundred to as many as 10,000 genetically aberrant cells each and every day. Everybody does. So, why doesn't everybody get cancer? Because your immune system has the ability to recognize each of those aberrant cells and remove them from your body. That's what a healthy immune system does. This isn't speculation on my part; this is scientific understanding. Heck! They've taken videos of the process.

 

Then why do some people get cancer? Because one of three things happens (and, more often than not, all three together):

  • You expose yourself to toxins and outside influences (such as manmade chemicals in the environment, heavy metals, radiation, rancid fats, viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.) that dramatically increase the number of aberrant cells that your body produces so that not even a healthy immune system can handle the load.
  • You compromise your immune system to the point that it can no longer handle all of the cancerous cells your body produces, thus allowing some of them to take root and establish themselves.
  • Circulation (in the broad sense as it applies to all of the body's circulatory systems -- blood, lymph, and energy) is impeded, leading to both 1 and 2 above. (And it is here that the concept of low cellular energy would come into play.)

As it turns out, this view is no longer out of the mainstream, and much research, including some of the most promising therapies for treating cancer, are now focused on working with the immune system, rather than against it, as is the case with chemotherapy.7

The bottom line is that the things that I have written concerning the nature of cancer and how cellular energy levels may play a role are not speculation on my part, as Dr. Carroll says. Rather, they are references to the peer reviewed work done by a number of cancer researchers over the last 50 years. Right or wrong-- who is to say at the moment?  But fanciful speculation on my part, not a word of it!

Mercury poisoning

Dr. Carroll also takes exception with a blog I wrote in which he "claims" that I said, "Vaccines are unsafe, because they are poisoning our children with mercury [incidentally, the blog doesn't actually say that]," and he references fellow skeptic Dr. Steven Novella's comments on the subject.8  What I said is that this study does not prove that injecting infants with the second most toxic metal known to man (just behind plutonium) is safe. That's actually quite a different statement, and in no way represents a generalized statement for all vaccines. It's starting to look like Dr. Carroll's method of argument is to misquote what someone says and then argue against the misquote. Unless I am mistaken, it would seem that during his years teaching philosophy, Dr. Carroll mastered sophistry.

Now let's talk about the dangers of mercury, which seems to give both Dr. Carroll and Dr. Novella such fits. Since Dr. Carroll taught logic, let's use a syllogism.


A
. By definition, mercury is a cumulative poison.

B. A cumulative poison is any substance that does not fully clear the body and that builds with each progressive trophic level. By definition, some remains in your body no matter how much you urinate or defecate, and levels build with each successive exposure. Lead is another example of a cumulative poison.

C. Therefore, thimerosal, which is 49 percent ethylmercury, must add to those levels. Implying otherwise, as Dr. Novella does, pretty much classifies his statements as "hardly reliable" -- or he is at least blinded to the science at hand by a personal agenda. A cumulative poison is what it is.

To be fair, the study in question argued that ethylmercury (as used in thimerosal) is different from methylmercury in that it clears from the body much more rapidly than methylmercury and is therefore perfectly safe. But that conclusion is only half right: ethylmercury is indeed different, and its half life in the body is shorter than that of methylmercury's. That much is true, but that doesn't mean that "all" of it clears, and it doesn't mean it's safe. In fact, other studies have shown that although most of it does in fact rapidly clear, what does remain tends to concentrate in the brain even more so than methylmercury.9 And indeed, there have been a number of studies that indicate that ethylmercury is highly problematic.10

On a related note, Dr. Carroll and Dr. Novella both mock my statements that mercury can be chelated out of the body.  Apparently, they are unaware that chelation therapy is the standard medical treatment for a patient showing symptoms of mercury poisoning. The chelating agents most often used for inorganic mercury poisoning are DMSA, 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS), D-penicillamine (DPCN), or dimercaprol.  In fact, DMSA is the only FDA-approved treatment for children suffering from mercury poisoning. On the other hand, there have been numerous studies that have shown that natural substances such  as cilantro (Chinese parsley) and chlorella can also remove accumulated mercury from your body -- not to mention the fact that chlorella is routinely used by municipal water treatment plants to remove heavy metals from drinking water.

Now, whether thimerosal causes autism or not is a different issue, and one not discussed in the blog. My point on mercury in vaccines is not about autism. The point is simply that adding a highly toxic, cumulative poison to vaccines, especially when it's unnecessary, is unjustifiable. Arguing in favor of thimerosal in vaccines defies logic. In any case, if you want to actually read a complete (and accurate) discussion of my position on vaccines and thimerosal, check out Part 3 of my series on the Anatomy and Physiology of the Immune System.

And one final note on vaccines. If you haven't already read it, you will love the article in the Atlantic Monthly that rips apart the cohort studies consistently cited in support of the flu vaccine.11 When you take those studies to their "logical" conclusion, you learn that the flu vaccine not only is remarkably effective against the flu, it is also equally effective in protecting you from death by car accidents, lightning strikes, physician error, and terrorist attacks. Now that's some vaccine…or some flawed study.

The need for supplements

Dr. Carroll states, "Barron is a promoter of the idea that food alone cannot supply a person with enough of the right kind of nutrients to maintain health. Like many other "alternative" nutritionists, Barron recommends a daily array of supplements. He also promotes organic food as healthier than conventional food. The science does not support the notion that organic food is superior to conventional food in any meaningful way."

Yet again, Dr. Carroll has willfully misstated my position so he can argue against it. Truly, he has mastered the art of sophistry.

I do not claim that food alone "cannot supply a person with enough of the right kind of nutrients." In fact, what I say is that if you eat a perfectly balanced diet of nutritionally dense foods, and if you avoid the intake of all toxic substances, then you don't need anything that I recommend. Unfortunately, for most of us, that's nigh on impossible. Which leads us to Dr. Carroll's second statement -- that organic food is not superior to conventional food in any meaningful way. Oh contraire! Let me give you a clear, logically irrefutable example.

Let's start with a simple premise. If an atomic element is not in the soil or air, it cannot be in the plant when you harvest it. For example, if the soil is selenium deficient, any plant grown in that soil will be, by definition, selenium deficient. Conventional farming does not remineralize soil. It uses nitrogen based fertilizers that are not mineral enriched -- too expensive. Selenium is not a component of nitrogen based fertilizer. Selenium is not in the air. After a number of crops are grown in the soil using conventional farming practices, the soil must be selenium deficient -- as will be anything grown in it. I'm sorry, but this is irrefutable. If it's not in the soil, it can't be in the plant.

And the same holds true for all the other minerals.

Quite simply, over time, crops grown using conventional farming methods must contain lower levels of minerals than crops grown in soil that is actually replenished. And if you rely on those conventional crops for your minerals, you will be deficient -- thus the need for supplementation…unless you consider minerals not "meaningful."

As for removing toxins from the body, we need to understand the game that's played by government bureaucrats and the chemical industry. There are now well over 100,000 untested toxic elements that have been released into the environment over the last 50 years. The game that's played is that because there are so many toxic chemicals, you can't tell which one is doing what -- so everyone gets to claim plausible deniability. And for every study claiming that a particular chemical might be culpable, there's another study saying it's not that one it's another one. But even more disturbing is that no one knows what these chemicals are doing when they mix together in your body. Too many variables to test for!

What we're left with is that everyone can claim that there's no conclusive proof that any of these chemicals are causing cancer or distortion of sexual characteristics or whatever. What we can see, however, is the epidemiological evidence that something is going on. The average age of puberty in young girls has dropped from 15 or 16 to seven or eight -- and even as young as three in some cases. The incidence of boys being born without fully descended testicles has been steadily increasing. And the incidence of cancer is up some 800-1,700 percent (depending on whose numbers you use) over the last 50 years. As Bob Dylan said, "You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Can anyone identify which single substances are to blame? Nope! But quite simply, trying to eliminate as many of these toxins from your body as you possibly can on a regular basis only makes logical sense. Refusing to acknowledge the problem merely makes you an ostrich. The bottom line is that organic food and supplementation may be unproven to Dr. Carroll, but they are fundamental to good health, at least to anyone who doesn't have their head in the sand.

Fecal matter in the colon

I saved the best for last. Dr. Carroll seems to have a problem with my assertion that a sluggish bowel can retain pounds of old toxic and poisonous fecal matter ("2--3 pounds is common, 10--20 pounds is not as unusual as you might think, and up to 65 pounds has actually been reported in exceptional cases"). With great finality, he pronounces, "The idea that our bowels are retaining pounds or tens of pounds of 'toxic and poisonous fecal matter' is false, false, false. "

This was a surprise to me on several levels. First, it surprised me that a teacher of critical thinking seems to believe that merely saying something three times makes it true. If he's correct in that assumption, that certainly makes proving your point a lot easier. Or perhaps, as a teacher of logic, Mr. Carroll is using a new syllogism that the rest of the world is unfamiliar with: If A, and A, and A; therefore B.

So let's examine Dr. Carroll's contention and see how "false" my premise actually is.

To be sure, I've read numerous emails from doctors who write into the Foundation, "I've been doing colonoscopies for years, and I've never seen this mythical fecal matter." But think about this for a moment. What is every patient required to do the night before they get their colonoscopy? They are forced to drink a gallon of purgative -- to clean out their colons. Duh! So doctors do not see large amounts of fecal matter, they see only the damage that fecal matter has left behind -- prolapsed colons, polyps, and diverticular disease for starters. And speaking of diverticular disease, it's worth noting that the medical community denied its existence for almost a half century. The alternative health community, at least as far back as Dr. Harvey Kellogg in the late 1800's, referred to diverticula as "bowel pockets" and "herniations of the colon." The medical community said, "We've been doing autopsies for years and never seen any sign of these mythical pockets. It's alternative health nonsense."

Sound familiar?

It actually wasn't until the early 1950's that the Merck Manual, the physician's bible, first mentioned diverticular disease. As to its mythical existence, the Merck Manual now states that every American will have many diverticula if they live long enough. Not bad for a one-time "mythical" disease identified by alternative health practitioners some 50 years before the medical community could finally see what had always been in front of their eyes. The bottom line is that just because the medical community denies the existence of a condition "now" does not mean that they won't acknowledge it "later" -- of course, never giving credit to those who recognized it first.

In any case, if you choose to look for the accumulated fecal matter, instead of purging it before you inspect, you will find it. Bernard Jensen probably did more documentation in this regard than anyone else, recording the photographic results of colon cleanses that he ran on a number of patients. These images are now widely available on the internet. Ah! But perhaps this graphical proof of stored fecal matter is not convincing. After all, Dr. Jensen is not part of the medical community. Perhaps he faked the pictures. So let's turn to an indisputable mathematical proof.

The average American eats about 1,996 lbs of food a year, or about 5 ½ pounds a day -- totaling about 2700 calories (and growing). Theoretically, about 2/3 of that consists of liquids, water, and "fuel" content that you urinate, sweat out, or burn up. But that still leaves about 2 lbs of solid waste per day that must pass out through your bowel. If that seems high to you, then consider that just one Burrito Ultimo® at Baja Fresh, a typical fast food lunch item, weighs about 480 g, or just over a pound -- and there isn't a lot of water in it. At Sizzler, the steaks alone run 8-14 oz, exclusive of any sides. So, bottom line, we have 2 lbs of fecal matter -- give or take -- produced every day in the average American. So what?

According to the medical community, it is normal to have a bowel movement anywhere from three times a day, to three times a week. Three times a week works out to once every two days. If you produce 2 lbs of fecal matter a day and you only go to the bathroom once every two days, that means -- mathematically speaking -- that you are regularly storing upwards of 4 lbs of fecal matter in your colon…mathematically speaking. Since we're still in the average range for bowel movements, we're talking tens of millions of Americans who regularly store 4 lbs of fecal matter in their colons. Let's drop a pound off that in case we have a rounding error, and we're still at the low end of my assertion that 2--3 pounds of fecal matter stored in the colon is common.

But constipation is a severe problem in the developed world. According to a 2007 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, the incidence of chronic constipation in the United States is just over 17 percent, or well over 50 million people.12 With a bowel movement once every five days, you're talking about 10 lbs of fecal matter stored in the colon -- at once every seven days it's 14 lbs. And statistically, we're still talking about several million people. So, my statement that 10--20 pounds is not as unusual as you might think, holds up…again, mathematically speaking. And let's keep in mind, these numbers assume that 100% of this stored fecal matter is evacuated from your bowels during your once a week movements -- a questionable assumption at best. As for the 65 lbs, I did say that has been reported "only in exceptional cases." The simple mathematical truth is that the concept of people storing pounds of fecal matter is not "false, false, false." It's mathematically "true, true, true!"

Wow!  Saying it three times really does make it feel more true.  

The rest of the skeptic's dictionary

The rest of Dr. Carroll's complaints are barely worth dealing with. They are mostly snarky comments that deliberately jumble facts and misinformation. For instance, he deliberately distorts his description of "The Barron Effect" -- blending it with a discussion of scalar energy, which is an entirely different subject, turning it into mumbo jumbo. But the Barron Effect is merely a non-chemical technique for reducing the surface tension of the alcohol and water solvents used in making tinctures. By reducing the surface tension, it allows the solvents to better extract. Pretty simple concept, really. On the other hand, it answered a question that had puzzled herbal manufacturers for many, many years. It's actually an extremely petty position to imply that taking pride in the accomplishment and naming the principle after myself is somehow out of line -- particularly since it is common practice in everything from physics to astronomy to the discovery of diseases and even to figure skaters naming moves after themselves. And let's keep in mind that Dr. Carroll did publish his books under his own name -- not as "Anonymous."

And as for my making money selling products based on my expertise: how is that a problem? These products are not sold on the Foundation website and with one or two small exceptions, aren't even mentioned by name on the site. Everybody else is allowed to get paid for their expertise. When Mr. Carroll taught philosophy, he got paid for it. When he sells his books, he gets paid for it -- and he even pitches them on his website. For shame! And who in their right mind would go to a medical doctor who charged for his services? How unconscionable would that be -- or perhaps Dr. Carroll is applying a double standard here, where only people working in alternative health are out of bounds.

A couple of final thoughts

We addressed four of the main shibboleths of the skeptic community, explaining how they are not speculations of the alternative health community as suggested, but rather verifiable, science-based principles:

  • Cellular energy and its relation to cancer
  • Mercury, thimerosal, vaccines, and chelation
  • The need for supplements
  • Fecal matter in the colon

Let's put those to bed. And now, let's get personal for just a moment.

Being skeptical is actually a good thing -- as long as you're at least willing to consider "other" possibilities and new information. Starting out with a paradigm that everything related to natural health is by definition either harmful or, at best, a placebo, as does Dr. Carroll, isn't skepticism; it's paradigm blindness. It prevents you from seeing healing approaches that originate outside of mainstream medicine that even many medical doctors are now exploring. Obviously, there is much nonsense in the world of alternative health -- but there is also much nonsense in the world of medicine. And I ask you, which is more harmful when they get it wrong? In its entire history, alternative treatments have harmed but a fraction of the 55,000 people who died using Vioxx, or the untold numbers of women who got breast cancer from hormone replacement therapy.  And we won't even talk about all of the people who got lung cancer because their doctors told them that smoking cigarettes was a good way to lose weight. Until 1954, the American Medical Association actually allowed cigarette ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association!13

And finally, let me be perfectly clear: I've never claimed to be right one hundred percent of the time. Nor have I ever claimed to be unbiased. I favor natural alternatives as the first line of defense, but I don't negate medical intervention. I merely believe it should be reserved for when all else fails. But bias is not the same as having an "axe to grind" -- something Dr. Carroll accuses me of. On the other hand, one might be inclined to think that someone who uses lies, innuendo, distortion, and insult to make their point might themselves actually have an axe to grind. In fact, much of Dr. Carroll's site borders on the legal definition of libel.

Any intentional false communication, in print, photographs, writing, or broadcast, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

Let me leave you with one final thought that makes the intentions or Dr. Carroll's skeptic's dictionary crystal clear. For his page on me, he "appropriated" a copyrighted picture of me from my site (a legal nicety worth talking about at another time) and posted it on his page -- deliberately choosing to alter the proportions of the picture so as to make me look strange. The Foundation emailed him asking him to correct. He chose to ignore our email and not fix it -- thus making clear that the distortion was not accidental. On the left is the actual image from my site. On the right, Dr. Carroll's deliberate distortion of it as of 23 April 2012.

 

It's totally unnecessary, deliberate, and its intention to mock speaks for itself. It also runs pretty close to libel -- probably crossing the line. (Incidentally, on his bio page, Dr. Carroll notes that he also taught law.) When all is said and done, it speaks volumes for the quality of information you can expect to find in the Skeptic's Dictionary. Given that, I consider being singled out in the Skeptic's Dictionary a badge of honor!

Addendum 21 May 2012

Although Bob Carroll never responded to our email, we now know for sure that he got it. The deliberately distorted picture of me has been pulled. Not one of the misquotes or libelous misrepresentions are gone -- just the picture. The beautiful thing about the internet, though, is that nothing is really ever gone. So for your enjoyment, here's a snapshop of the page he devoted to me before he changed it -- a permanent record, if you will, of how far Bob Carroll is willing to go when it comes to distorting the truth on his site. In other words, be skeptical of the Skeptic's Dictionary.

  • 1.The Skeptic's Dictionary. (Accessed 21 April 2012.) <http://www.skepdic.com/barron.html>
  • 2.Robert A. Freitas Jr. "Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities." Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999. <http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMI/4.7.1.htm>
  • 3.Philip M Hopkins. "Skeletal muscle physiology." Oxford Journals Medicine BJA: CEACCP Volume 6, Issue 1 Pp. 1-6. <http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/1/1.full>
  • 4.Richard Binggel and Ivan L. Cameron. "Cellular Potentials of Normal and Cancerous Fibroblasts and Hepatocytes." Cancer Res 1980;40:1830-1835. <http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/40/6/1830.full.pdf+html>
  • 5.C. D. Cone, "Unified theory on the basic mechanism of normal mitotic control and oncogenesis." J. Theor. Biol., Volume 30, Issue 1, January 1971, Pages 151--181. < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5555269>
  • 6.J J Killion. "Electrical properties of normal and transformed mammalian cells." Biophys J. 1984 March; 45(3): 523--528.
  • 7.David L. Porter, M.D., Bruce L. Levine, et al. "Chimeric Antigen Receptor--Modified T Cells in Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia." N Engl J Med 2011; 365:725-733August 25, 2011.
  • 8.Steven Novella, "Mercury Excretion in Infants." Neurologica blog 4 Feb 2008 (Accessed 22 April 2012.) <http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/mercury-excretion-in-infants/>
  • 9.Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T 2005. "Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal." Environ Health Perspect 113:1015-1021. <http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.7712>
  • 10.David A. Geier, Lisa K. Sykes, Mark R. Geier. "A Review of Thimerosal (Merthiolate) and Its Ethylmercury Breakdown Product: Specific Historical Considerations Regarding Safety and Effectiveness."Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 10:575--596, 2007. <http://www.natuurarts.nl/antiviraal/downloads/071130_geier_etal_publishedreviewofthimerosalp.pdf>
  • 11.Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer. "Does the Vaccine Matter?" The Atlantic Monthly. November 2009. (Accessed 23 April 2012.) <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/11/does-the-vaccine-matter/7723/>
  • 12.R. S. Choung, G. R. Locke III, C. D. Schleck, A. R. Zinsmeister, N. J. Talley. "Cumulative incidence of chronic constipation: a population-based study 1988--2003." Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Volume 26, Issue 11-12, pages 1521-1528. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03540.x/pdf>
  • 13.Martha N. Gardner and Allan M. Brandt.  "The Doctors' Choice Is America's Choice." American Journal of Public Health: February 2006, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 222-232. <http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2005.066654>

Comments

  •  
    Submitted by George Stastny on
    May 7, 2012 - 7:05pm

    Jon,
    Congratulation!!!
    Nobody could come up with better answer. Your analysis is superb!!!
    Skeptics are exactly what they are called: Skeptics. Their role is strictly to negate everything that is not mainstream. To negate is to be negative.
    I do not know why Mr. Robert Carroll turned to be skeptic. My experience tells me that all the skeptics I have ever met were incapable of creating anything positive - they became skeptics to claim their fame through negative reviews of the new approaches, technologies and science.
    George Stastny, Dipl.Ing, MSc, MH

  •  
    Submitted by Eddie Ndlovu on
    May 7, 2012 - 8:08pm

    Well done again Jon, I thought this dude is wasting ur precious time.Key words that caught my attention "logic" and "critical thinking". Mainstream medicine treats high cholesterol as a disease,because its all based on logic and yet many people strongly believe they should lower their cholesterol and take statins only to suffer great side effects. The world exists through contradiction, and logic can not take u very far, Europe is in a mess today because Aristotle spread the whole idea of "logic" and "critical thinking", it is funny that the Greeks are paying the heavy price of believing in logic. They had a financtial system based on logic.Jon u doin a very good job to awaken people's minds on health issues.During the times of Aristotle another man who had different views to those of Aristotle was considered a mad man cause he was ilogically inclined.

  •  
    Submitted by Mikael on
    May 7, 2012 - 8:47pm

    I am getting sick of the negative skeptic. There is nothing wrong with discussions and not agreeing. Nothing wrong with being skeptical. But these people call others delusional when they see fit and then use lame reasoning. Do the society a favor and go after him with full force.

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    Submitted by Guest on
    May 7, 2012 - 9:15pm

    It seems funny to me that you're bent out of shape about him editing your photo to make you look wider when your original photo has so obviously been manipulated to make yourself appear thinner.

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    Submitted by jonbarron on
    May 8, 2012 - 10:40am
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    Submitted by jan on
    May 10, 2012 - 11:56am

    Touché. Great response.

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    Submitted by jan on
    May 10, 2012 - 11:54am

    Dear Jon:
    I am currently an RN and a former paralegal. I want to commend you on a very thorough and assertive but not combative piece of writing on your own behalf, and by extension, on behalf of all "alternative" practitioners who, like yourself, are as thorough and conscientious as you have always appeared to be. I have enjoyed reading your blog for many years, and can give an "amen" to many of the comments that appear above relating to the skeptic's "commentary". It is always important to go where the evidence leads, even if that creates discomfort and requires additional education. Those who choose to remain static and closed unfortunately, in our culture, have been able to create institutional edifices that appear unassailable to the uninformed. Thank goodness we have an "alternative"!

    JanGrossbergRN,BSN

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    Submitted by Victor Hafichuk on
    May 8, 2012 - 9:54am

    Excellent work, Jon Barron. Keep it up. Much appreciated by many.

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    Submitted by Justin on
    May 10, 2012 - 8:50pm

    Jon,

    Thank you for your continued efforts with educating people on the truth of alternative medicine. Being the red-haired step child to the traditional medical approach to handling the body may always be the harder path to follow BUT In the end, we'll likely outlive the ones who refuse to eat right, exercise and take supplements.

    Alternative medicine breaks up the vicious cycle of symptoms > sickness > drug prescriptions > expensive surgeries and/or mental health > round and round it goes and socialized medicine or insurance pays the bill.

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    Submitted by Guest on
    June 10, 2012 - 4:02pm

    Hi Jon
    Im just curious where and what you studied in university. It says in your bio that your dad studied at MIT and Harvard but Im curious about where you had your schooling and what your formal credentials are. It does mention working with your father's business and conducting your own research for 40 years but Im also interested in your educational background.
    What is your opinion of registered dietitians?
    I have a few general questions about your information.
    1. how do most digestive enzymes taken orally make it past all the stomach acid etc if they cant are destroyed with simple cooking.
    2. Are you really suggesting that the general public drink raw milk? Im pretty sure that this is proven to be a public health hazard with risk of serious illness or death from harmful bacteria. unless of course you live on a farm and can basically drink from the utter so to speak... which is not the case for most.

    thanks for your clarifications

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    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    June 11, 2012 - 12:50pm

    Jon attended Lake Forest College as an English/Premed major. If you ask him, however, he will tell you that he learned far more about health and nutrition in the 40 years since leaving school and abandoning the medical path, during which time he has worked with, studied with, and shared with some of the world’s great alternative “miracle doctors.”

    As to your question about digestive enzymes, it appears you are functioning under a misapprehension. Heat and acid are two entirely different stress factors on enzymes. Just because heat negatively impacts digestive enzymes does not mean that acid does. For example, Chief cells in your stomach produce pepsinogen (the precursor to pepsin). Hydrochloric acid not only does not destroy pepsinogen, it is actually the catalyst for converting it into the digestive enzyme pepsin. Without stomach acid, pepsin could not work. When it comes to acids and digestive enzymes:

    Some enzymes are indeed destroyed by stomach acid

    Others are temporarily rendered inactive – waiting to be reactivated in the more alkaline environment of the intestinal tract

    And some enzymes, like pepsin, are actually acid stable – capable of functioning perfectly in the high acid environment of the stomach.

    For more on how the digestive process works, check out Jon’s multipart series on the anatomy and physiology of the digestive system, which starts here. http://www.jonbarron.org/enzymes/anatomy-digestive-system-natural-health-newsletter

    As to raw dairy, you are again functioning from a point of misinformation. Despite claims to the contrary, raw dairy has  not been “proven” to be apublic health hazard – at least relative to pasteurized dairy, or meat and vegetables for that matter. Yes, if it’s badly handled, raw dairy can become contaminated. But here’s a big surprise for most people – so can pasteurized dairy if it’s mishandled “after” pasteurization. And that’s actually far more likely in commercial pasteurized dairy operations than raw milk operations. Check out:

    http://www.jonbarron.org/immunity/newsletter-raw-milk-bird-flu

    http://www.jonbarron.org/natural-health/e-coli-outbreak-germany

    Hope that helps.

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    Submitted by kevin mcdermott on
    June 26, 2012 - 1:48pm

    I have been dealing with epilepsy now for just over thirty years. None of the doctors I have seen but one have wanted to do anything other than give me prescription medicines. Each drug would squelch the seizures for a month or two, but I would inevitably end up having a seizure after a short period of time. I recently started looking for alternative means to actually fight the epilepsy and not just temporarily suppress the symptoms. Several of the available natural detox programs have impressed me by how they seem to be able to help our bodies. It is good to hear and read that there are people in the know who understand that our bodies were designed to and have the ability to take care of themselves. With the help of a detox program, I am presently no longer using any prescription drugs. In the long run, it is not only a more cost-effective venue helping me make it through each day without the unpleasant side effects of those drugs, but it has also helped my weight loss.

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    Submitted by Larry on
    July 9, 2012 - 8:34am

    The distorted picture is still on Carroll's website.
    And he goes out of his way to justify it.
    Takes all kinds I guess.

    His website is full of personal vitriol on many of the links.
    It seems that knowledge is secondary for him and his site.

    If not for his mention here - and it's a good thing to bring folks with ideas such as his to light, as they don't have good intentions.

    Are folks like him, intentionally misleading ?
    After reading about a national tv show, run by a psychiatrist, who was paid to push Wellbutrin, the answers are obvious.

    I don't see any reason to ever re-visit Carrol's site again.

    Jon, keep up the struggle.

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    Submitted by Chrisb1 on
    July 12, 2012 - 12:55am

    I notice that this "Dr Carroll" has a link to your reply to him Jon, towards the end of his "critique" on you and the Baseline Of Health, on his skeptics dictionary website. Dr Carroll reminds me of one Stephen Barrett, who has lost more legal cases against natural health than we've had hot dinners.

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    Submitted by Mars Seven on
    January 26, 2013 - 5:31am

    The guy's a twat

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    Submitted by Werner K on
    March 8, 2014 - 3:28pm

    I was "worried" you got unscathed. This shill, astroturfer ( as you can see I use nice words) is known to many people. You did him an undeserved favour by writing this rebuttal. And there is another one even better known: Stephen Barrett.

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    Submitted by max rudolph on
    February 14, 2015 - 10:32am
    spring grove , Pennsylvania

    I wonder if Dr. Carroll wore a clown costume when he was teaching what he called the most reasonable conclusion at arriving at the "truth". Now I know why he does not attack the medical racket or the drug dealers masquerading as doctors.
    He is so full of fecal matter that an enema might result in the good doctor in becoming brain dead. Wait until Dr. Carroll goes for chemotherapy and becomes a victim of the medical establishment. Then it will be too late to reconsider his "thinking" as to make other choices about his health. Thank You, Jon Barron, for your contribution to your fellow brothers and sisters by giving a logical choice of breaking free of fear and uncertainty.

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    Submitted by Joseph Ciolino on
    August 9, 2015 - 11:44am
    nyc , New York

    Curious if anyone knows from whom Dr. Carroll receives his "funding." Is it all exclusively from his own practice?

    Thank you.

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