MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Today, I had a great day: two wonderful book reviews, one in THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION and one in THE SPECTATOR. But then I did something that I shouldn’t have done – I looked whether someone had already written a review on the Amazon site. There were three reviews; the first was nice the last was very stupid and the third one almost made me angry. Here it is:

I was at Exeter when Ernst took over what was already a successful Chair in CAM. I am afraid this part of it appears to be fiction. It was embarrassing for those of us CAM scientists trying to work there, but the university nevertheless supported his right to freedom of speech through all the one-sided attacks he made on CAM. Sadly, it became impossible to do genuine CAM research at Exeter, as one had to either agree with him that CAM is rubbish, or go elsewhere. He was eventually asked to leave the university, having spent the £2.M charity pot set up by Maurice Laing to help others benefit from osteopathy. CAM research funding is so tiny (in fact it is pretty much non-existent) and the remedies so cheap to make, that there is not the kind of corruption you find in multi-billion dollar drug companies (such as that recently in China) or the intrigue described. Subsequently it is not possible to become a big name in CAM in the UK (which may explain the ‘about face’ from the author when he found that out?). The book bears no resemblance to what I myself know about the field of CAM research, which is clearly considerably more than the author, and I would recommend anyone not to waste time and money on this particular account.

I know, I should just ignore it, but outright lies have always made me cross!

Here are just some of the ‘errors’ in the above text:

  • There was no chair when I came.
  • All the CAM scientists – not sure what that is supposed to mean.
  • I was never asked to leave.
  • The endowment was not £ 2 million.
  • It was not set up to help others benefit from osteopathy.

It is a pity that this ‘CAM-expert’ hides behind a pseudonym. Perhaps he/she will tell us on this blog who he/she is. And then we might find out how well-informed he/she truly is and how he/she was able to insert so many lies into such a short text.

18 Responses to If you don’t stop telling lies about me, I might tell the truth about you

  • Illegitimi non carborundum

    Reaction to anonymous critics: if you’re telling the truth, tell us your name and produce your evidence, otherwise you are a cowardly troll.

  • Wow! A frustrated CAM advocate expresses their disappointment with a series of incoherent and fallacious assertions. That’s so unusual. 🙂

  • Just ignore the reviews Edzard. Iv`e just bought your book online and look forward to reading it cover to cover.

    Reviews are just not worth wasting your energy one. You should probably delete this whole post.

    • This is not a review of the book. A review is something that addresses the product. a review would be about the book and its contents, critical or praising.
      The entry in question is only a nameless, incorrect and unsubstantiated defamatory attack on its author, which may have been written by anyone. In my opinion it should be removed by Amazon,if not as abuse of the review system then as irrelevant.
      I have allerted Amazon.co.uk about my view of this. There is a “report abuse” button by each review entry. They count the votes 😉

  • I’ve bought it and I am looking forward to reading it.

    I will be pressing the report abuse button. It is not a review it. It is not an opinion piece – it’s a series of lies written by someone hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

    I would delete this post and go out and do something nice. It’s easy to get drawn into negativity but it serves no purpose. Don’t read the Amazon reviews. Print out the Times and Spectator Reviews and put them on your wall.

    I know how you feel.

  • Yes of course!

    I’ve just done a little digging on the reviews.

    Sandra has two reviews – one negative for your book and one FIVE star for WDDTY magazine.

    Another negative review is the only review that person has ever written.

    So I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

  • I agree about pseudonyms and hiding behind them Edzard. I have had the same critique of some of your biggest supporters such as Blue Wode. My feeling is if one has something substantive and supportable to say then you should have the courage to use your name……Blue?

    • there is a difference between using a pseudonym and telling lies !!!

    • Dave Newell said:

      I agree about pseudonyms and hiding behind them Edzard. I have had the same critique of some of your biggest supporters such as Blue Wode. My feeling is if one has something substantive and supportable to say then you should have the courage to use your name……Blue?

      So, what difference do you believe being courageous would make to Blue Wode’s arguments?

  • I’ve discovered over the years that Amazon book reviews come a close second to comments on YouTube for sheer inanity.

    I wrote the favourable review of your excellent book that appears first on the Amazon.uk site. (I didn’t expect to be as fascinated by the book as I was: read it through in a single pass!) It’s still listed as the most helpful positive review, but I looked today and it was clicked as helpful by only 33 of 41 people. Everyone who looks at the reviews, supports CAM and sees my review is on Edzard’s side, clicks the No button under the review in response to the question “Was this review helpful to you?”

    Over time, my ‘helpful’ proportion will decline even further, as more and more CAM believers find the page. The reviews simply become a silly uncontrolled internet poll. Those of you who admire the work Porf. Ernst does may feel moved to click “no” for the “helpful” button beneath all the negative reviews. It’s a great game if you have the time, but it’s ultimately pointless.

    However, I have to say I was amazed that someone was sufficiently aggressive and motivated to post the very obvious lies they did in the review your original post complains about. If this person is representative of CAM enthusiasts, then perhaps Dunning and Kruger have the best explanation. To paraphrase John Cleese: if you’re really, really stupid you have no possible mechanism to comprehend just how really, really stupid you are.

  • I pay no attention to Amazon reviews. For that matter, I pay no attention to Amazon.

  • It is a pity that this ‘CAM-expert’ hides behind a pseudonym. Perhaps he/she will tell us on this blog who he/she is. And then we might find out how well-informed he/she truly is and how he/she was able to insert so many lies into such a short text.

    If anything, it shows what pitiful excuses for human beings alternologists and quacks really can be. Many of them
    are accusing Big Pharma and “The Big Corporations” and “The Establishments” of
    the most vicious schemes to harm the poor public, but if one can trust a Big
    Placebo purveyor
    for anything, it seems that one stands a better chance of being correct when one
    disbelieves what they claim than when one gives them the benefit of the doubt. Many, if not most of them seem to be cynical monsters who will not think twice about killing a patient if they think it’ll bring them closer to that villa in Tuscany. They are just as bad as televangelists.

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