Pardon me for the tongue-in-cheek title of this post, but its a reference to a commonly-used phrase on a website whose name the first two rules of the internet forbid me from mentioning.
Now that you have absolutely no idea what the fuck I am talking about, let me reassure you that facebook is (mostly fine), but I did spot a post from my sister which caught my attention. It was a CTV report by Lloyd Robertson (evidently from a few years back) which talked about the use of a cheap chemical called DCA which was showing success in curing cancer but whose efficacy was for some reason being denied by the Canadian Medical Association?? Canadian Drug Administration? Well, whatever the Canadian equivalent of the FDA is anyhow.
The posting of the video sparked some enmity from two of her friends, one a microbiologist and the other a cancer researcher (its funny how people who post online are always the undisputed experts of whatever topic they are talking about.
Ian (the cancer researcher) posted first:
Ian: I don’t even have to watch this to know it’s fake. I work in cancer research – anyone claiming to have ‘a cure for cancer’ doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Cancer is hundreds of different diseases, not a single condition that has ‘a cure’. It’s like saying “I have discovered a cure for disease”.
Ian: Yeah, DCA is an old story. For some reason it keeps popping up despite the fact that it’s been shown to be based on terribly shoddy science over and over again:
.php (I never checked out the link)
I love a good argument, especially with someone who seems to have so flagrant a conflict of interest, so I had to chime in. But alas I was at work and a calculated response would simply take too long. So I waited…
When I got to the computer half an hour ago, the microbiologist, Jas had said his piece:
Jas: Yup, this video is nonsense and dishonest
There was some banter back and forth between Jas and my sister and then I decided to weigh in:
Me: Ian, if cancer is “hundreds of different diseases” why are you even researching it? surely you must see the hypocrisy…
As well, the venom with which you attack the video (before watching it no less) betrays an interest in not seeing alternative medicines work Cancer research is big business which carries both fortune and prestige for the researchers.
I am unfamiliar with DCA (the video is playing as I write) but I have heard of Dr. Stanislaus Burzynski and his antineoplastins which have had amazing success in Texas but have been brutally suppressed by the FDA and the American Cancer Association (http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=1qG_ZWs04es). I suppose he is a quack as well?
I will agree with you that in the broader sense cancer has no simple cause or cure: Removing asbestos from a worksite for example does not solve the greater structural problem of an exploitative labour-market system which will negligently subject workers to the next harmful substance with impunity until specific legislation is passed to prevent it.
There is a definite tendency to look at causes and cures too reductively and not consider the socio-economic factors which contribute to the proliferation of diseases.
However, what makes the formal institution of cancer research (the institution I assume you work for) so different? Do you, in your work, address the social factors or look at the more localized (i.e. physiological aspects?) If so, wouldn’t that be no better than someone claiming to have a cure?
You can’t even cry make a cry of “misinformation” at this video, because normal people (me and Tanya for example) are incredibly UN-informed. These alternative medications which presume to threaten the formal institution of cancer research get almost no airplay in mainstream media and that’s no accident.
Unfortunately, people are getting fed up: Years of research and all you guys can offer us is radiation and chemo?
“No” you say? There are other treatments available? Well to the initiated researcher those cures might be known but for the lay-people (again, me and Tanya) you cancer researcher types don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to protesting alternative cures until you show & prove.
Best of Luck.
I linked this video. Please watch it and pass it to your friends.
Jas shot back:
Jas: You know what they call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.
Me: No. “Medicine” is the name for solutions which can be patented and sold for a profit.
The (dis)qualifier “alternative” denotes a more democratic, less profitable solution.In much the same way, solar, wind and geothermal are all “alternative” sources of energy.
Then Jas again:
Jas: Well, you’re right about wind and solar being less profitable, and wrong about “alternative” meaning the same thing in both cases.
“Medicine” is any substance or therapy that has been proven to improve patient outcome. This is why there is no such thing as proven alternative medicine because at that point it becomes medicine.The first sentence you wrote on this thread is ridiculous btw – nobody sees the hypocrisy but you. Cancer is hundreds of different diseases and we will never find a cure in our lifetime. This is obvious to anyone who’s spent a moment learning about it.
Finally, me: Nobody sees the hypocrisy but me? Story of my life…
What I was implying is that someone who gets paid to research cancer in the economic paradigm in which we live has an interest in not seeing other cures taken seriously. I don’t mean to imply that Ian is knowingly lying to anyone, but I would suggest that by being so immersed and ingratiated in any system, one would be inclined to disregard information which falls outside of the realm of approved knowledge. i.e. Einstein was probably considered crazy at first by scientific minds who had made their careers as champions of the Newtonian physics paradigm
Call it overly suspicious, but why would the heads of international cancer research give up willingly the profitable racket they have eked out for themselves by supporting a cure? Like you said, “we will never find a cure in our lifetime.” Imagine that, a perpetual source of income and access to all the research funds you could want. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.
I’m not sure where you got your definition of Medicine (a textbook or dictionary I will assume) but I mostly agree: medicine at its core should be benevolent. With regard to the appellation “alternative,” it is simply a disagreement on what constitutes alternative and we will have to agree to disagree.
I’m hurt by your last comment which implies I have never spent a moment studying cancer; I read all of your posts in their entirety.Be well
This is where the conversation rests right now and I am not entirely certain that Jas will respond (I just posted that last bit like literally two minutes ago). I figure once people start attacking your credentials they are preparing to bow out while maintaining the illusion of superiority.
Now I should say that I did relish the chance to get into an argument (I’m kind of a dick sometimes), but its not like these guys didn’t deserve a check. Science has to be held accountable and a scientist who does not wish to have to explain himself can very easily attack his opponent’s ability to understand the esoteric concepts with which he deals. But that in itself is an admission of failure, failure to perform his prime social responsibility as a scientist: to demystify complicated concepts and communicate his findings to the masses. Not simply attack another voice. That shit seems mad suspicious to me.
As well, oh wait, more posts—
Jas: I just don’t think you understand science or the scientific method. All research on cancer is available via published articles and all hypothesis are hotly disputed until the best answer becomes the model (until a better model emerges). Ian is doing cancer RESEARCH, which simply means that he is attempting to elucidate the signalling pathway or mechanism for whichever one of hundreds of cancers he is studying and simply gain understanding. He is not directly researching a cure, or at least, not at all directly.
There is no world conspiracy to suppress knowledge of disease – no entity has that kind of reach.
Me: It sounds like you are at least trying to be more reasonable and fair here and the effort is appreciated. Perhaps if Ian had taken the same approach from the outset my spider-sense wouldn’t have tingled. But he didn’t; he flamed a video and divulged his credentials at the same time. This made it look very suspicious considering that however you look at it his livelihood right now depends on DCA not being effective. You at least see that don’t you?
And your use of the “C” word is not appreciated. Implying someone is a conspiracy theorist is like calling someone crazy. Its dismissive and attempts to invalidate their argument without refuting it. You, as a scientist, should be able to do better. I expect better from my scientists because I put all of my faith in them.Without divulging my credentials, which are modest, I will say that without having the specialized knowledge of you and Ian, I do have a knowledge of science and the scientific method, we simply have different vantage points.
I was going to write a last paragraph but I think I think this last bit of banter will suffice. Besides, I forgot what I was going to say. Trust, it was going to be good. If more posts come up I will use my discretion to see if they warrant posting and either add to this post or start a new one. In fact I think I will link this post to the thread.