Oct 022013

Autumn is upon us once again, with its traditional renewed assault by jerkwads, fuckwits, dingbats and associated arsewipes on our lives and livelihoods. From extreme right-wingnuts deliberately choosing to sabotage the US economy and leave hundreds of thousands without a paycheck because they don’t like the idea of their own voter base getting affordable healthcare, through dictators massacring and torturing their own people while the world looks on and smiles indulgently, to the antivax loons trying to prevent children being vaccinated against deadly diseases, the vicious stupidity of the Dark Ages marches drunkenly on.

I received an interesting email today from the perpetrators of a monthly glossy compendium of dangerous and, in some cases, outlawed fuckwittery. Outlawed, because they persistently carry ads which have been ruled illegal by the Advertising Standards Authority. Fuckwittery, because…. Well, get an eyeful of what they’ve been leading with in various issues. I’ve excerpted these from the promotional emails they send out, since they hide everything behind a paywall. This means that it you want to rip their disinformation and dishonesty to shreds you have to pay them for the privilege, either by buying the rag or subscribing to the site. They must think we’re all fucking stupid, as a wise man once sagely observed. You’ll recognise some old quack faves as we wade through the witlessness. Fasten your seatbelts. Small children and those subject to vertigo or nausea should leave now.

If you’re overweight and over 50, your doctor is likely to hand out a statin drug to lower your cholesterol levels, while urging you to exercise more. What the doctor doesn’t realise is that the drug stops you getting fit from any physical activity.

That’s not  how doctors work, it’s not how cholesterol works and it’s not at all what the study showed. The Lancet explains the problem with exercise and statins very well. Take 1 WTF point for scaremongering and a 2nd for Not Having A Fucking Clue But Presenting It As Fact Anyway.

The August 2013 issue promised the following quack remedies, presented with no comment as all are blatant Magical Mystery Cures:

• the simple remedy that can end allergies
• the vitamin that was trashed by the media, but remains one of the best ways to lower cholesterol
• the music, tones and harmonics that can re-establish health

Claimed allergy cure (classic quack), vitamin supplements (bog-standard get-rich-quick method for charlatans) and Something Spiritual (New Age wibble): +1 WTF point for each, which brings the total to 5. There’s also this:

The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a fairly hefty baby boy, George, weighing in at 8lbs 6oz (3.9 kilos)—perilously close to needing a caesarean. But if she had exercised during the second and third trimester, George would almost certainly have been within the more standard weight range.

What the ever-lovin’ fuck? Where did they dream this one up? Baby size is more dependent on heredity and whether or not the mother smokes than anything else. Exercise reducing birth weight? Gentle exercise during pregnancy can be good for mother and fetus, but that ain’t one of the effects. I think we can safely slap a FPI™ order on that shit. We also note in passing the judgemental arrogance of the pig-ignorant who know nothing about the people involved but are not going to let that stop them from making a quick buck if they can.  2 more WTF points for the celebullshit, bringing us to 7 in all.

Next, the old canard that mobile phones fry your brainz:

Talking on your mobile (cell) phone for more than 16 minutes every day could be a cause of cancer, researchers have suggested this week. It damages your cells, including your DNA, which are all major risk signals for the disease.

FPI™ order and bar. Science says there is no good evidence for this claim i.e. it’s almost certainly bollocks on toast with a side of moron. +1 WTF point for repeating a disproven lie and a bonus point for extreme scaremongering. The WTFometer now stands at 9 points and it is not looking at all pleased.

Although a headline-grabbing piece of research has claimed that omega-3 supplements cause prostate cancer, plenty of other independent studies continue to show the benefits of the fish oils. They can help fight diabetes and heart disease, and reduce hyperactivity in teens, two recent trials have discovered.

This is more supplement touting, so no extra points for this. Studies have shown supplements can be bad for the health if taken without medical supervision. Omega-3 oils are no exception. Quacks don’t tell you this. They also don’t tell you it’s far from settled that Omega-3 and Omega-6 really are sufficiently beneficial to be taken as supplements.

Nearly 1,700 young girls in the US have died or suffered permanent disability after being given the HPV vaccine, new official figures reveal.

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, STOP THE FUCK RIGHT THERE, LADY. Gardasil has been shown to be exceptionally safe and, in over 5 years since it was introduced, not a single death has been demonstrated to be linked to it. That’s millions of girls vaccinated, and every single one of them survived. Many would already no longer be alive and healthy had they not received the vaccine, since we are now seeing falling rates for cervical cancer. This is the sort of mendacious anti-vaccine evil you find on webshites like Natural News or Whale.to. I also found typical antivax downplaying of the polio vaccine in the subscription “taster” pages from the Jan 2013 issue. Although WDDTY’s “vaccine information” booklet is behind yet another paywall, we can now safely assume that it makes the fabled author of the Necronomicon sound sane and well-intentioned. I’m going to award a straight 5 WTF points for this. At the end of the round, the score is now 14.

  • Pingback: WDDTY: My Master List | Josephine Jones

  • Teacake

    Regarding point 1) – I tweeted Tom Whipple – the writer of the Times article about the “information that is scientific yet easy for people to digest” quote, and he tweeted back that it apparently dates from 1989. Yes, 1989.

    Regarding point 4) – Tom Whipple also tweeted ” I left three voicemails, emailed three separate addresses” – no response.

    • http://blog.anarchic-teapot.net anarchic teapot

      1989? So, as WDDTY was first published in Oct 2012, the quote has sod-all to do with the rag. Most illuminating!

      As for the “no response”, ddoesn’t suprise me.

    • http://anarchic-teapot.net/ anarchic teapot

      Thanks for this info. I’ve used it in the follow-up post, ripping apart the claims of persecution and general martyrdom in another email the WDDTY team sent out.

  • Andy

    I am disappoint: read the title as “What The Charlatans Don’t Tell You…” and expected the sensible opinions of one Tim Burgess…

  • Jo Brodie

    I’m not convinced that the relationship between exercise and birthweight is out and out nonsense to be honest, though I think we can be fairly confident that they’ve overstated the case a smidge ;)

    Rather than the case mentioned I’m thinking of it more in terms of a mum with gestational or pre-existing Type 2 diabetes. There’d be raised glucose levels and likely raised insulin (compensating for reduced sensitivity to insulin at certain points during gestation) which combined might lead to a growth spurt in the developing foetus and a ‘large for gestational age’ baby aka foetal macrosomia.

    Given that exercise / physical activity tends to increase sensitivity to insulin and this would then tend lower glucose levels… I could see a link there. Bit of a stretch though.

    And I really don’t see how that would be relevant in the particular case given and it’s a bit crass of them to offer such advice.

    • http://anarchic-teapot.net/ anarchic teapot

      Another way in which exercise could reduce birth weight would be when Mum overdoes it and goes into labour earlier than expected. Result: smaller baby; not necessarily a desirable effect either, My point is that the way in which WDDTY presents anything is wildly misleading.

      • Jo Brodie

        Yep, no disagreement there!

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