Recently, I have received this message via the comments section of my blog:
“you’re actually an evil old nut-job Ed—been following your pharma ‘science’ bullshit for years—all opinion and ignorance and anti-science”
Don’t get me wrong, such attacks do not bother me – not any more. On the contrary, they amuse me. At one stage, I even started collecting them. Nowadays, I usually ignore them.
But this one is somewhat special. Therefore, I decided to analyse it a bit. The author essentially makes 9 claims:
- I am evil.
- I am old.
- I am a nut-job.
- I am called Ed.
- I conduct pharma science.
- I publish bullshit.
- All I state is opinion.
- I am ignorant.
- I am anti-science.
Yes, that’s quite a list. Let me try to tackle it one by one.
- Am I evil? I have had many ad hominem attacks before but, as far as I remember, nobody has yet alleged that I am evil. I looked it up, evil means: wicked · bad · wrong · morally wrong · wrongful · immoral · sinful · ungodly · unholy · foul · vile · base · ignoble · dishonorable · corrupt · iniquitous · depraved · degenerate · villainous · nefarious · sinister · vicious · malicious · malevolent · demonic · devilish · diabolic · diabolical · fiendish · dark · black-hearted · monstrous · shocking · despicable · atrocious · heinous · odious · contemptible · horrible · execrable · lowdown · stinking · dirty · shady · warped · bent · crooked · dastardly · black · egregious · flagitious · peccable. I am obviously the wrong person to judge, but I do not think that these attributes describe me all that well.
- Yes, I am old, 72 to be precise.
- Am I a nut-job? I looked that one up too. It’s a mentally unbalanced person. Call me biased, but I don’t think that this applies to me at all.
- No, I am not called Ed.
- I am not quite sure what ‘pharma science’ is supposed to mean, but one thing I do know for sure: since I research so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) – and that’s about 30 years now – I have not taken research funds from the pharmaceutical industry. And before I very rarely did.
- As I have published a sizable amount of papers and blog-posts, there must have been a bit of BS in some of it. But I do not think it can be much.
- All I state is opinion? Oh really! Opinion comes into blog-posts regularly; without it my stuff would be boring like hell. But ALL of it? I don’t think so.
- Am I ignorant? Yes, certainly; there are lots of things I don’t know, even in medicine. But in SCAM I do know quite a bit – even if I say so myself.
- Anti-science? That last allegation is probably the most far-fetched of them all. No, I am not anti-science, never have been and never will be.
So, Paul – the author of the comment preferred to remain anonymous and simply calls himself Paul – I have tried to give you credit where I could but, on the whole, I fear your ad hominem attack is yet another victory of reason over unreason. I thank you Paul for two reasons:
- firstly for the just-mentioned victory; it always feels good to be on a winning side,
- secondly for the stimulus and motivation to carry on doing what I have been doing for many years; your comment has shown me how much needed my work is in disclosing quackery, correcting errors, teaching critical thinking and responsibly informing the public.