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« Which are more safe, Doctors or Guns? | Main | Autism Recovery? »

Orac Unmasked - David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. (Updated)

(Posted by Patrick Sullivan Jr.)

GorskioracCompliments of Ashleigh Anderson, the infamous Orac of "Respectful Insolence" has been unmasked.

David H. Gorski
Assistant Professor 
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Department of Surgical Oncology
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

From Ashleigh Anderson's post on the EOH Yahoo board. (You have to be an approved member of the group to view posts, so I've posted the whole thing here):

You know, I was reading the oracknows site the other night & you know how all the pro-poisoning people are - they have this little skeptics circle or whatnot.  Well anyways, I did a mouse over of his Blogarama button and noticed the name gorski came up.

So I googled - gorski orac

Try it.  You will be amazed.  Orac's secret identity is secret no more.  And man, has he been a nasty boy.  What a slimey sleaze.

No wonder he kept his identity secret. See what he has been doing on the web & his affilication with the Renses/Ratbags.

Now he loses all his credibility.

To Professor Gorski's credit, he did say that if you look hard enough, you can figure out who he is.  (And one clue that I noticed was when a friend of his commented on his blog, "Dave, where do you get the time for this? It's cool.")

So basically, this "unmasking" is pretty much a non-event.  HOWEVER, after arguing ad nauseum with "Gorac," it is good to finally have some disclosure.  It would have been much more credible if it had come from him directly, especially after the repeated calls for disclosure from numerous commentors.

Professor Gorski, I do have one question:  In your blog profile, you say, "I'm an academic surgeon and scientist..." and in the description of your blog, you say "Miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist..." and in your medical disclaimer, you say "...the author's hospital, university, surgical practice, or partners."

So why don't you have any initials after your name?  It seems to me that you have allowed everyone, including me, to believe that you are a real doctor.

UPDATE 9/14 8:27pm from Pat and Patrick Jr. - After discussing this post and the comment by Kev regarding Professor Gorski's contact info being posted, we decided that we didn't want to give the impression of this being a character assasination.  So we pulled out the contact information from the post.  (As Patrick Jr. notes in his reply to back to Kev, the contact info is still available from his profile page, so it is sort of a moot point, but...)

It is not our intention to "unmask" Orac so that anyone can cyber-stalk/spam/etc. him!!  We are proponents of civil debate and discussion.  We don't want to promote the type of character assasination that is unfortunately, quite common on Orac's blog.

We have both spent way too much time trying to defend what we believe are highly plausible reasons for numerous things that we believe on Orac's blog, only to then be ridiculed and attacked personally, all the while ignoring and dodging our arguments.  (There are many others who have experienced this as well.)

Orac believes what he believes and has every right to express that.  We happen to think he is very biased, closed-minded, and often just plain wrong.  He also loves to call people terrible names assasinating their character instead of simply stating why he disagrees.  And I don't think I've ever see him concede any point, ever!  (It is not unlike the near total breakdown in civil discourse at the national political level.)

The "unmasking" is still appropriate because at least now we know who and what we are dealing with.

UPDATE 9/14 8:57pm from Patrick Jr. - I just read Ashleigh's comment on this post which lead to this page.  Searching for "orac" I found this:

From: dgorski@xsi-te.net (ORAC)
Date: 10 Dec 1997 15:05:57 GMT

(snip)

ORAC                                  |"A statement of fact cannot be
a.k.a.                                  | insolent."   ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. |
University of Chicago            |

The MD and PhD shocked me considering that I was under the impression he wasn't a doc.  So I googled "University of Chicago" "David H. Gorski" which led to this 1998 Univ of Michigan newsletter.  Bottom of page 20 has:

David H. Gorski (BSC 1984, MD 1988;
PhD 1994, Case Western Reserve (Cellular
Physiology)) is a Fellow in Surgical
Oncology at the University of Chicago.

I would say that I stand corrected from my earlier question to Gorac...He's a doc after all.  No way a Michigan newsletter from 1998 was faked.

UPDATE 9/14 9:07pm from Patrick Jr. - I changed the title of this post from "Orac Unmasked - Assistant Professor David H. Gorski" to "Orac Unmasked - David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. (Updated)"  It seemed like the right thing to do.

UPDATE 9/14 10:02pm from Patrick Jr. - I emailed Orac earlier today, so after my new discovery, I thought it was only fair to own up to my mistake and email him again:

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 9:25 PM
To:
'oracknows@gmail.com'; 'gorskidh@umdnj.edu'
Subject: RE: This is you right? CORRECTION

Dave, I did a few more googles on my own tonight and found out that lacking initials on your UMDNJ page, you actually do appear to be a real MD and PhD.  There's no way I'm going to believe that a Michigan newsletter from 1998 was faked, as much I did sort of like the idea of you not being a real doctor.  (Trading places, I'm sure you'd have felt the same way...  ;-)

So since I was wrong, I quickly updated/corrected Pat's blog.  Not sure if you'll actually care, but I thought it was only fair to ping you.

Here's to disclosure and civil discourse.

Patrick Jr.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:01 PM
To:
'oracknows@gmail.com'; 'gorskidh@umdnj.edu'
Subject: This is you right?

Professor Gorski/Orac, it's nice to finally meet you. 
http://www.patsullivan.com/blog/2005/09/orac_unmasked_a.html

Patrick Sullivan Jr.
President
480.212.9000 |
patrick@jigsawhealth.com

Jigsaw Health
14500 N. Northsight Blvd. Ste 112
Scottsdale, AZ  85260

www.JigsawHealth.com
The leading resource for chronic conditions.

Pat Sullivan Blog: www.PatSullivan.com

UPDATE 9/14 10:59pm from Patrick Jr. - Orac replies...

-----Original Message-----
From: Orac [mailto:oracknows@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 10:08 PM
To: Patrick Sullivan
Subject: Re: This is you right? CORRECTION

Quite frankly, I have no idea what you wrote the first time around, as I didn't bother to check it out. I was too busy tonight. (I foolishly agreed to host the History Carnival today when I should have been able to foresee that work would be busy this week. Stupid.)

You should now realize that everything I have said about myself and about my reasons for using a pseudonym is true.

Dave

--- My reply back to Orac ---

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 10:52 PM
To:
'oracknows@gmail.com'
Subject: RE: This is you right? CORRECTION

Dave, I find it difficult to believe that you weren't in the least bit curious to read about your unmasking, but I'll just take you at your word.  (Maybe you've been unmasked a dozen times before and it's become old hat?)

I honestly never thought that you were outright lying about being a doc, though my suspicions to the contrary increased every time you refused a request to disclose your identity.  Motives are important things to consider, that's why I'm such a big believer in full disclosure.

I have read most (all?) of your reasons for why you desire to remain anonymous...I sort of get it, but I really don't.  Why hide when disclosure would have been on your side?  After all, you really are a doc! 

This is very much a rhetorical point as I know you have no intention of changing -- which is fine!  I don't really care.  In order to move on, we can hopefully agree to disagree.  And regardless, your previously unknown credentials have never been the basis of any of my arguements with you.

If not to disclosure, here's to civil discourse.  Good luck with the history carnival.

Patrick Jr.

Posted by Pat Sullivan at 11:58 AM in Mercury
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Comments

Unmasking someone is one thing Pat. Posting their personal or work contact details is something else. There are some strange people on the internet who get strange ideas in their heads. Possibly removing the postal addres and contact number might be a good idea? People have posted anonymously on the internet since it first began on BBS's. Why they do so is for varying reasons. Orac discussed his reasons and they seemed perfectly fair to most people. the only people who took umbrage seemed to be people such as yourself who were unable to argue on anything other than why people posted anonymously. One good thing that'll come out of this - now you know who he is you'll have to actually addres his points rather than attack his anonymity.

Posted by: Kev | Sep 14, 2005 2:53:14 PM


Pat please - as a web developer I beseech you, get a decent bloody blogging system! Or move hosts. I'd like to debate you more often but this ridiculous lack of formatting simlpy kills debate stone dead. I'm more than happy to help. Find a decent host that supports PHP and MySQL and I'll walk you through installing Wordpress on it. Mail me if you want a hand.

Posted by: Kev | Sep 14, 2005 2:57:17 PM


Kev, To your first comment I say that with all the people on Orac's blog who want Buttar's personal data and slam him because he did not publish it, what we have done here is fair. Especially given that Orac has consistenly built the perception that HE WAS A DOCTOR, it is only fair that his mistruths be exposed. Second it is ONLY your convenient opinion that opponents don't argue Orac's and other's actual points. I would say that your statement is absolutely true of you and Orac and sometimes true of me and others. Like Republicans and Democrats arguing; it matters not what the other has said. You guys regularly attack the commentator as opposed to their arguments. You are disingenous at best!

Posted by: Pat Sullivan | Sep 14, 2005 3:08:50 PM


RE: Comment Formatting... Kevin, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm going to look into WordPress ASAP. ---------------- TypePad Support has been trying to help, but making no progress (and I'm getting ticked off with their slow response). -------------------- We created this test page last week and they answered back with the following..... On Sep 8, 2005 4:53:33 PM, TypePad Customer Support said: Hi Pat, Thanks for doing that. It looks like there is a deeper problem in your account, so we are looking into this as a team. I will let you know what I hear. Thanks for your patience during this process. ------------------------- No word back since then. I just posted another "hello?" and put in your comments. Maybe they don't care about losing customers?

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 14, 2005 3:12:27 PM


Kev, As to your second comment, I agree that we need to get this fixed and the TypePad people are working on it I am told. I appreciate you offer to help. Yes, we could switch, but there are things we like about TypePad over others we have looked at. I sure don't like the look of Orac's blog for sure. It would be great to have you here more often to debate but for now we are staying with this and waiting for the next version. I hate software!!

Posted by: Pat Sullivan | Sep 14, 2005 3:13:17 PM


RE: Posting Orac's work contact info... Kev, I see nothing wrong with the post. I copied and pasted straight from this page. So unmasking with a link wouldn't have been any different than posting those details on this blog. BY NO MEANS DO I THINK ANYONE SHOULD CYBER-STALK/SPAM/ETC. ORAC/GORSKI BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN UNMASKED. THAT'S JUST RUDE AND DUMB! DON'T DO IT! -------------------- I am well aware of Orac's desire to stay "semi-anonymous." But in this on-going autism/mercury debate, calling into question one's motives (and identity) has been very common, and has been called for. Anonymity on the internet is old hat IMO. Disclosure is the new law of the land. -------------------- That said, Kev, I can't believe you said, "...you'll have to actually addres his points rather than attack his anonymity." I really hoped that you of all people on the "other side" would have given me some credit for disclosing my email conversation with Dr. Buttar and asking the hard questions; asking to see evidence. The points that Orac et al. argued, I tried my best to address. Those statements that I couldn't debate or defend, I conceded. And although I did call into question Orac's anonymity, that was HARDLY the basis of my arguments. Go back and read them again if you don't think so. -------------------- Quite frankly, I feel like it is Orac and "your side" that continues to dodge the most important point of fact: empirical evidence that chelation, most commonly with TD-DMPS and oral DMSA, gets results. -------------------- I've been trying to find some time all week long to post a new email I got from Dr. Buttar which has "concrete data" in terms of raw numbers on patients treated. (The "show me the kids" line seems to be the only defense to the "empirical evidence" argument.) I'll try get the post finished ASAP, but a big work project is "getting in the way" of my blogging. (I hate when that happens! ;-)

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 14, 2005 4:07:13 PM


Gorski is connected to rense and ratbags. He claims to have no conflicts of interest and he states his logic regarding the autism/thimerosal issue is soley based on his scientific knowledge with no influence from any group/organization. Why didn't he disclose his association? From the Ratbags website: http://www.ratbags.com/posse/whoarewe.htm The rag-tag posse of snake-oil vigilantes Rounding up outlaw 'net quacks since 2000 Members of the posse are committed to the fight against medical fraud. To add your name to the list, please . * Rich Andrews * Robert Baratz * Peter Bowditch * Christopher Brown * Rosalind Dalefield * David Gorski * David Green * Mattias Haglund * Andrew Kingoff * James Laidler * TD Laing * Andrew Langer * Paul Lee * Mark Lowry * Janice Lyons * Ken McLeod * Bernard Morey * Willa Nidiffer * Woofie Pearson * Mark Probert * Cindy Province * Rich Shewmaker * John Stone * Edwin Stratton * Mark Thorson * David Wright Another interesting message board: http://tinyurl.com/7l3w7 On many of the usenet groups Orac/Gorski has posted to in the past he used the initials PhD after his name. According to HealthGrades.com, Gorski is an MD and his speciality is General Surgery. It doesn't say anything about a PhD. Pretty fishy to me. Not to mention how condescending and offensive his blog posts are. Maybe he will begin to show a bit more empathy? I won't hold my breath.....

Posted by: Ashleigh Anderson | Sep 14, 2005 4:39:55 PM


I stand corrected as well. Orac is indeed a doc. Weird that he would not have any initials after his name on one web page at his school but would on another. That is what confused us. My sincere apologies!

Posted by: Pat Sullivan | Sep 14, 2005 9:37:09 PM


I think that there is a larger ethics question here. That is of the responsibility that a doctor takes on when he discusses medicine. I don't believe that it is ethical for a physician to give anonamous medical opinions.I think that there is a MUCH larger ethics question here. That is of the responsibility that a doctor takes on when he discusses medicine. I don't believe that it is ethical for a physician to give anonymous medical opinions. You either offer your credentials along with your opinions, or don’t offer your opinions. There is no telling how much credence people give to “Orac” as a doctor when he offers medical advice. People may be assuming that when he discusses vaccine safety, that he is actually an expert on vaccines. When you make the commitment to SERVE society as a doctor, you have to play by much stricter rules. I don’t think that the professor is playing by those rules. If I wrote about autism and told only told people that I was a mental health professional who studied and worked at Johns Hopkins, it is quite likely people would infer that I am an autism expert (or even a physician as most people think that it is only a medical school) and more qualified than I actually am to discuss autism. That would be unethical. If I put out my mental health expertise, I have to tell people exactly what it is lest their assumptions lead them to follow my advice as gospel. That I why I have told people what my name is, where I studied, what my degree is in, where and what kind of therapy I practiced and my total case load of autistic patients (one) before becoming the parent of an autistic son. Dr. Gorski seems to want to have his cake and eat it too. My suggestion is that he either let people know who he is and take responsibility for the medical opinions that he is offering online, or be anonymous and don’t tell people he is a doctor. Ginger… who has little patience with doctors who do not take their jobs with dead seriousness.

Posted by: Ginger Taylor | Sep 14, 2005 11:32:45 PM


I think Gorski has behaved like a weasel. And I see no problem with the disclosing of his identity. Perhaps he'll play fair from now on.... or run away and regroup under a new alias? That's if he chooses to keep acting like a weasel. An alias lets people indulge their most base desires and behave in deplorable ways. It's like having your cake and eating it, too. I wonder if anything in his behavior online has breached medical ethics, and if doing so would trouble his superiors?

Posted by: Erik Nanstiel | Sep 15, 2005 4:57:27 AM


Kevin, I woke up this morning and rembered about this recent comment by i2bPacific on Orac's blog that gave every shred of Dr. Buttar's publicly available information, including his medical license, how to report an ethics violation in the state of North Carolina, etc. Why didn't you chastise that commentor?

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 15, 2005 8:27:44 AM


Christ on a trike - everyone knows who Orac is. What I want to know is why has Rashid backed down from his "challenge"?

Posted by: DD | Sep 15, 2005 9:14:05 AM


If the ideas in your head don't agree with your profession, then maybe it's time to get out of the profession altogether. You can't be a doctor and a misanthrope at the same time. I wouldn't want to go to a doctor who anonymously slams people in his spare time.

Posted by: Nina | Sep 15, 2005 12:02:57 PM


DD, as far as I know, Dr. Buttar's thimerosal challenge is still on the table. Play by his rules, allow it to be videotaped, and he'll accept. (His rules paraphrased: "Both participants inject the same amount of thimerosal given to children, relative to their own body mass; only Buttar gets to use chelation. You have to live with your decision to inject mercury into your bloodstream.") ----------------- For the last time, I am NOT giving you his email address. Contact his office if you're serious and willing to play by his rules. I'm not coordinating any of details for this.

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 15, 2005 12:46:14 PM


You don't read very closely Patrick Jr. All items you raised (above) were long-ago addressed in a previous post on another blog entry here on your dad's blog. And no, he has NOT accepted as of yet. I would not even want you to coordinate any of the "details", as you are not a disinterested third-party. Again, not only did he change the terms of the challenge, he still has yet to accept. However, I am still waiting....

Posted by: DD | Sep 15, 2005 12:56:51 PM


DD, your comment was 23 words long. What did I miss??? Have you called Dr. Buttar's office to tell them you're ready for the challenge?

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 15, 2005 2:47:14 PM


Pat- I admire your devotion to civil discourse. You may recall that after Ashleigh posted Orac's contact information on the EofHarm list, I expressed concern that this might lead to a harassment campaign against him. Because I expressed this sentiment, I myself was attacked. I was accused of using a pseudonym. I was accused of being an undercover agent of "Big Pharma." Personal information about my work history was posted to the group by an anonymous poster. I received crank calls at home. And then I was booted off the list. Pat, do you consider what happened to me to be an example of civil discourse? Kevin Greenlee

Posted by: Kevin Greenlee | Sep 16, 2005 8:27:46 AM


Kevin Greenlee, let me be very clear: I consider what happened to you to be dispicable behavior! I keep up with the EOH group by scanning it about once a week or if someone there emails me a link. Obviously, the core members (those that are fully behind David Kirby's book) feel like they have been infiltrated and that these people are taking over the discussion thread. They don't want that group to be a discussion about if the EOH book is right or wrong. So be it! They reserve the right to make the group whatever they want it to be. ------------ As I recall from the comments you have made on other blogs that you generally disagree with the core members of that group. They obviously reserve the the right to kick anyone out of the group that the like. Again, so be it. ------------ Anyone making crank-calls, cyber-stalking, or real life stalking should be condemed for their behavior!! It certainly isn't helping any of the autisc kids.

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 16, 2005 11:05:45 AM


COMMENT FORMATTING UPDATE: We aren't the only TypePad blogger having this comment formatting problem apparently. See the comment I left at Sugar Shock Blog. I can assure you that what I typed had line breaks. --------------- To me, this signals a systemic problem with TypePad, which coming from the software world myself, usually is a GOOD signal b/c it is likely easier to fix. LET'S ALL HOPE SO!!

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 16, 2005 12:19:38 PM


Medical ethics, what a great topic for discussion! Here are some questions for you. ------------------------------------------ QUESTION 1: Physican A, believing that a certain substance is toxic in a certain dose, attempts to cause a toxic dose of that toxic substance to be injected into another person. Is Physican A's attempt to cause the toxic exposure ethical? ------------------------------------------ Question 1, subpart (a): Does it make any difference if the person to be exposed willingly accepts the exposure because he or she mistakenly disagrees as to the toxicity of the dose? ------------------------------------------ Question 1, subpart (b): Does it make any difference if the person to be exposed is deserving of toxic exposure in Physican A's opinion? ------------------------------------------ Question 1, subpart (c): If Physican A is successful in causing the toxic exposure and prevents the person exposed from receiving a treatment that Physican A believes to be efficacious, does this prevention of treatment constitute an additional unethical act? ------------------------------------------ Question 1, subpart (d): Does it make any difference if Physican A is mistaken in his belief that the dose to be injected is a toxic dose? ------------------------------------------ QUESTION 2: Physican B, believing that a certain substance is toxic in a certain dose, markets a treatment for the toxic effects of that substance. To prove the efficacy of his treatment, Physican B arranges to have a non-toxic dose of this substance injected into himself, representing that the dose is in fact toxic, so that he can make it appear that he has cured himself of toxicity by using the treatment he is selling. Is Physican B's representation that he received a toxic dose of the substance, when he does not believe that to be true, ethical? ------------------------------------------ Question 2, subpart (a): Does it make any difference if Physician B does not say outright that he received a toxic dose, but has reason to believe that prospective patients will think that he did? ------------------------------------------ QUESTION 3: Physician C publicly expresses personal opinions on medical and scientific issues under a nom d'internet such as "Orac." The somewhat humorous nom d'internet makes it less likely that Physician C's personal opinions will be construed as medical advice to patients. Is Physician C's use of the nom d'internet unethical? ------------------------------------------ Question 3, subpart (a): Does it make any difference if there are in fact readers who would take medical advice over the internet from somebody named "Orac?" ------------------------------------------ QUESTION 4: Among Physicans A, B and C, who has committed the more unethical act, and why?

Posted by: Anne | Sep 19, 2005 2:51:43 PM


Ooooh, lemme guess. Physicin B is a quack? and Physician has a disclaimer on his blog that says it would be foolish to take medical advice straight off the blog of from someone with a nom d'internet like "Orac" and Orac never sells anything from which he derives profit from that website, much less anything he might recommend. ----------------------------------------- You made yourself look like a weasle Pat, well, both Pats, now look like weasles, because, like, duh, everyone knew who Orac was and that he was really a doctor. -------------duh---------------- And I am like Sooooooooooo Sure ,that "ashleigh anderson" is this astroturf person's real name. ================================== Where do you live "ashleigh", like what state? =============================== DD obviously contacted Buttar at his office Pats, Buttar wiggled out of his offer by refusing to answer DD. =============================== dmps doesn't pass through the skin - Pat knows this now because he said that his urine doesn't change odor, QED the dmps doesn't pass through the skin, unless Pat knows of some way that the kidneys can totally ignore all the dmps that is suppose to be in the blood.

Posted by: alf alpha moo | Sep 22, 2005 1:29:45 PM


Moo, And the study that shows TD DMPS does NOT pass thru the skin is where? Who did it? Where can I find it? Does not exist??? Then stop saying such foolishness with such certainty when you clearly don't know for sure! ALl the DMPS IV's I got have never caused my urine to smell of sulphur either!

Posted by: Pat Sullivan | Sep 22, 2005 3:38:34 PM


Moo, "everyone" most certainly did *not* know who Orac was. ---------------- DD, you said you tried to email the office and the email bounced back. Did you try to call Dr. Buttar's office? Moo, past emailing a dead email address, I don't think she really has tried to contact them. I think she is all talk. ---------------------- Anne, if Phys B (Dr. Buttar) misrepresents the dosage and is dishonest during the thimerosal challenge, then that would be unethical. ------------ If Phys A (Dr. Buttar again, right?) puts out the thimerosal challenge and someone like DD or AutismDiva takes it, my opinion is "buyer beware." Both DD and AD certainly claim to know the risks, or the lack thereof. Still, if "Do no harm" Phys A knows the toxicity of mercury, does subjecting DD or AD to it make Phys A unethical? Maybe. I can't say for sure yes or no. ------------------ Lastly, I believe that Phys C (Orac) is *not* unethical for using a "nom d'internet." However, just because he is ethical does not make him right on this issue.

Posted by: Patrick Sullivan Jr. | Sep 28, 2005 10:23:52 PM


HUGE CORRECTION - Orac/Gorski is not affiliated with Renses.

I'm embarrassed.

I've never heard of Rense before this "Orac Unmasked" thing and one of the old posts I dug up implied (or I took it that way) that he was affiliated with Rense. I should have researched it further before I posted it to EOH.

Looks like Rense is a pretty good site. There is no way Orac/Gorski could be affiliated with it!!! My apologies to Jeff Rense for my error.

Some good articles on Rense:

Quackbusters Bullys Sued For 1.3 Million In Canada

Bush Asks Court To Seal MMR Vaccine Records

List Of Toxic Materials In Vaccines

Eli Lilly, Zyprexa & The Bush Family

The Truth Behind The Vaccine Coverup

Posted by: Ashleigh | Oct 8, 2005 6:54:07 PM


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