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The timing could not have been worst. I had just completed a four-hour stretch, volunteering in aid of a local group organizing one of those common Charity Walks that we often see. I have certain skillsets of value to these types of efforts, and I'll gladly offer those talents from now 'til the cows come home to worthy organizations. In this case, the event was being staged to benefit the American Cancer Society.
After tossing off the shoes upon returning to the palace, I logged online to see get caught up on correspondences and web-chatter. Greeting me as the first entry scrolling across my Facebook Wall was this gem:
“I am so sick and tired of hearing about walks for Cancer! Why is that? It is because I have LEARNED about a CURE for Cancer with my interview with DR. STANISLOV BURZYNSKI. Here is their web site. My friends this is huge! PLEASE believe me!www.burzynskiclinic.com Send all your family and friends if they have Cancer. The Clinic needs to be walked for...no more the American Cancer Society...they have only collected $$$ they have not claimed to cure Cancer...Burzynski has!!!“
See what I mean about that timing thing? I didn't react kindly, for both the obvious and at-hand reason, but also for the fact that this sort of nonsense/insanity seems to have become the standard for public discussion of modern affairs, whereby stupidity reigns supreme and formerly important concepts such as logic, science and reason are tossed aside and treated as quaint little relics from the past not worthy of a place at today's dinner table. Let us drill deeper:
The author of this post is a woman from my old hometown of Saratoga Springs, which is depressing enough in its own right – that fact means we likely graduated from the same high school. We supposedly met once ( I think she was looking for a job), which is probably the reason we appear on each other's Friends list in Mr Marky Z's neighborhood. A look at her profile and posting history reveals a flair for multi-level marketing programs, Sinatra, talk radio (surprise!) and male figureheads claiming to have the keys to human happiness (someone could do a Psych 101 term paper on that one). But fair enough; different strokes and all...
A past spitting match arose between us awhile back, related to her propensity to spew a wacky version of ultra-right wing politics thru some cult-like zombie organization called The Twelve Visions Party (aka the Neothink Society). Those of you that know me realize that while I can't stand this shit, I nonetheless have a bad habit of trying to engage these types of people in dialog. But that effort didn't exactly work out very well (it usually doesn't): this gal refused to engage in what-if scenarios or to go deep on the underpinnings of her position. Instead, the response was always to basically “go read the enlightened words” of the founding guru (some guy that looks like a California used car salesman on acid). She was either intellectually incapable of doing so or under direction not to – both of which are common cult characteristics.
There does seem to be a component of this Twelve Visions thing that includes a “live forever” (endless human life potential) mantra. Hey, I told you it was wacky, right – now are you starting to believe me? When the usual far-right doses of conspiracy theories and perpetual victimology are tossed into the mix, there emerges some sort of crazed babble about Big Pharma eugenics and the oppression of the rights of man. The second act of this Rand'ian drama, as always, is the Savior figure:
"I am just a messanger who has met some amazing people who are changing our world. Dr. B has FDA approved clinical trials. Robert has no clue as he did not research. I am demanding that all of our Federal tax dollars that are going to Cancer Research...be sent to Stanislaw Burzynskii "
"In his own words...Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski tells us he cures cancer...I'm just the messanger."
"... Someone who actually has cured cancer … "
“ I am promoting real people who have experienced real cures. “
"One patient was given 5 years to live with her brain tumor...she was told that Burzynski's treatment was not going to work...mri after Burzynski's treatment....it was gone...duh...can you say this clinic can cure cancer? "
"Pass this to ANYONE you know who had Cancer. The Clinic CURES Cancer!!!"
"If you were to research his web site you would be able to read the MANY testimonials from his patients .. "
There you have it, folks: there is Exhibit A as to what passes as the modern era's state of discussion, fact finding and conclusions-making. Scientific proof? Bah, who needs it, we have testimonials (undocumented, of course). Peer review? WTF is that? Clinical trial designation as validation of a theory? Yes, that is the new paradigm (her words). A virtual library of journals discounting the good doctor's claims? P'tooey, didn't you look at his website? That's it: the fact that he CLAIMS to cure cancer means that he HAS cured cancer! Go back and read the above posts: that is exactly the logic this troubled woman is using here!
(Note: I could have also added a "spelling" comment, if not for the old "those who live in glass houses..." saying!)
No harm - no foul, you might retort? Well, what about the “Send all your family and friends if they have Cancer” part, I would ask in return. This woman is actively pushing this treatment option, all while making unsubstantiated claims as to its effectiveness. As pointed out by a mutual friend on the FB discussion trail: where is the line drawn between an individual legitimately voicing a personal opinion and that same individual participating in a campaign that is in violation of FDA guidelines? It is suggested that such a line is drawn if the actor is somehow involved as an integrated part of that “marketing” effort; i.e., a paid consultant or one who offers free airtime, etc. I don't know that answer to that question, but is sure is an interesting one, is it not?
Likewise, I do not know if Dr B's claims and treatments are the magic cure for this dreaded disease called cancer. I am not a cell biologist. But I do have some research methodology smarts, which tells me to await the data from this first round of clinical trials before offering some conclusions on that subject matter. I'm certainly not going to be broadcasting “this is fact” propaganda with such life and death implications to third parties without such benefit.
In the meantime and as promised to her: I'll keep an eye and ear on the online and over-the-air claims being made by this terminally underemployed MLM reject – turned – cultist on this specific matter. The first query has already been directed to the FDA.
Why? Because, as mentioned: it is a life and death matter.