Back in February, I announced that I had received the VIN Veritas Award in recognition of my efforts to promote science-based pet health and combat misinformation about veterinary medicine. Subsequent to that announcement, I have also received a lot of kind and supportive comments from people who have found my work here useful. That has always been my only goal, and I am very grateful to know that the blog has helped so many people.
Of course, one of the nice things about such recognition and feedback is that it helps to balance the steady stream of hate mail that is an inevitable consequence of challenging people’s beliefs and assumptions publicly. I have grown a pretty thick skin in the 14 years since I started the SkeptVet Blog, but I do keep track of this feedback as well. I don’t of course, provide a platform here for people to vent their anger or disinformation since that would be counter to the very purpose of the blog, and there are plenty of other places people are free to rant away unhindered.
However, I do periodically post anonymized selections from this collection. Here are the previous selections-
While some comments are just bizarre enough to be entertaining, the main reason to do this is to remind the more reasonable readers that such intense anger and pervasive misconceptions are not rare and that there is still a critical need for more and better public communication about science and medicine. These selections also highlight some of the leading concepts that underlie the popularity of unproven or ineffective treatments. These include-
- The mistaken belief that anecdotes can prove what causes or cures disease and that controlled scientific research is unnecessary or no better than opinion
- The only way to “know” if a therapy works is to try it and “see for yourself,’ and if you do this then scientific research is pointless
- That expertise is meaningless and just a form of ideological or financial bias or an attempt to suppress truth and control people
- That “research” is just people haphazardly searching for opinions and evidence that support their beliefs, and that doing such “research’ makes one’s views as reliable and informed as a formally trained “expert.”
These are all expressions of core cognitive biases that none of us are free from. No amount of information can overcome the power of such biases unless we first have the humility to recognize we are vulnerable to them and that formal methods for reducing bias and error (aka science) work better than personal experience of trial and error. This is the core message that has to be understood before anyone enamored of unscientific practices will even begin to see contrary scientific evidence as a reason to question their own beliefs.
I have to admit I feel that the problems this blog aims to address have only gotten worse since I began writing it. That doesn’t make the effort meaningless, as all the kind comments I have received in the last couple of months attest. But it does mean the effort must continue and must grow. More and more scientists should participate in the public conversations and debates about the nature of scientific information and pseudoscience or anti-scientific misinformation. We are well beyond any time in which bizarre fringe ideas could be ignored. The fringe has a way of becoming mainstream even when it remains bizarre and disconnected from reality. We have seen the very real harm that leads to over the last few years, and if ever there was a time to push back against the dismissal or distortion of science, it is now!
I have left all the typographical quirks of the comments as they were posted or emailed, and organized them into broad categories reflecting the major themes. Enjoy (and learn)!
But it Worked for ME!
- I’ve been using Essiac for several months. I’ve known about it for several years. All I can say is it DOES work!… Obviously, bigP and Doctors don’t want you to believe that God’s medicine works! It’s NOT snake oil…1,000 and 1,000 of people don’t lie. But science always lies!…How dare you assume we liars.
- People can do a study of one and document their experience. This is not “anecdotal evidence”, it is scientific. If treatment coincides with a cessation of symptoms, discontinuation coincides with a recurrence of symptoms, and this process can be repeated, that is scientific evidence that the treatment is effective. Note that I said evidence, not proof. Proof doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Also, placebos have immense value. Why not let them be if they appear to be helping? Why are you so eager to burst people’s bubbles?
- Nutriscan worked for my dog…My dog had Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Jean’s test showed he is allergic to 19 out of 24 foods….He now is FREE of IBD, with no surgery and no lifetime on drugs.
- Homeopathy is incredibly effective. There are many scientific studies in India and elsewhere proving its effectiveness, which you will naturally close your eyes to. The irrational, dogmatic yoke of the allopathic system and it’s mindless religious adherents who shriek in terror whenever their brainwashing is threatened is what boggles the mind.
- You do not have all the answers….Our bodies are not only made up of matter, but they’re also made up of energy. We can use that energy to diagnose and treat disease. Just because there hasn’t been a scientific study to prove it, doesn’t mean for one minute that it’s not so. I was skeptical. I didn’t expect any results. But, I’m telling you a CranioBiotic technique worked on my body within hours and eventually cured me of an illness many are suffering with
- Dr Jones is a Saint for holistic methods. You can process your opinions until Hell freezes over but you cannot dissuade those of us who have been blessed by Dr Jones & his unrelenting desire to help pet owners.
- You are flat refusing to believe that anything outside of your facts could be true…I know in your opinion that just counts as anecdotal evidence, not fact, but it’s a fact.
- As a homeopath for more then 20 years, I know it works, and so much better then allopathic medicine. Before you poo poo homeopathy, study it…, until you do this, I know your wrong.
- No, they don’t! They try and give your dog every vaccine known to man every year!! And yes, the lifespan of dogs has absolutely gone down!! Everything you said is backwards!!
- Horrible article, one-sided and arrogant. My dachshund was irreparably damaged by a vaccine, as was my daughter. Science does not thrive with the blind adherence to YOUR type of misinformation, driven by greed. Thank God the ineffective and dangerous Covid vaccine is going to blow this false, profit driven narrative wide-open!
- Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around several thousand years and has served both humans and animals very well, without double blind studies, peer- reviewed articles etc. It’s only thanks to the Rockefeller and Rothchild families that modern medicine has decided these are necessary. A paradigm shift is well overdue.
- Anecdotal Evidence is pretty much people stating what they have used that has worked for them. When there are thousands of people stating the same thing it is usually accurate!! I believe what these thousands of people say MUCH more than I believe studies that are done to the corporate worlds specs to achieve the results that the corporate world wants, and if the study shows results that the corporate world does not like, they simply end the study and start again with a modified study that will show what they want even if the results are grossly deceptive!!!
- Sorry… great article up till your baseless comment on raw food. Please do more homework and gain some personal experience with raw before scaring readers
Shill for Big Pharma, Big Kibble, etc.
- It does make me wonder if you are paid by the Big Pharma companies as this is what pays for the ‘scientific research papers’ to back Conventional Medicine;
- This writer sounds exactly like the pharmaceutical companies… Why? To protect profits. Billions and billions of dollars in profits. And this article reeks of profit-protection scare-tactics. Bottom line (to the writer): You’re trying way too hard. After reading your article I did a few minutes research on colloidal silver. Is it a miracle drug? No. But is it snake-oil? No. Is skeptvet desperately trying to steer/scare the reader away from colloidal silver? Yes.
- skeptvet. Just another useless quack from the pharmaceutical companies that try to sell his vaccines and bullshit chemical induce medicine that kills everything and one on this planet, and doesn’t work at all. You are the real quack hear.
- Please, you main stream vets are a joke. Selling”prescription” diets with low quality ingredients all the while filling your pockets to the max. This has gone on way to long. After all, you cant sell meat bought at a grocery. Now there’s a concept. Real meat for dogs wow. Your time has come!!
- I am a vet student- how they teach you to keep your pet healthy is actually scary. what they teach you is how to cut into your pet, how to remove tumors, how to give chemo, how to make money…
- You are not listening. You can’t. You shouldn’t be near animals. After trusting vets and spending over 10000$ ….i don’t give a crap about your so called clinical trials.
- You are obviously a quack…. This guy is a being paid by someone to spread this disinformation.
- Vaccines are promoted by big pharma to sell more drugs and inces the millions of dollars the CEOs make.
- Who the fuck is the QUACK that published this article…….and who paid for you assanine services…… If you want to call it that? Furthermore what dog food company do you work for? Lol
- You sound like you might also get kickbacks from the fossil fuel industry by peddling windmill cancer, mister vet. Empaths: discern the drive behind this website. Anyone else getting the pharma vibe here?
- Good luck, mister “vet”. The world is waking up. Let go or be dragged, dear.
- Are you sponsored by the AMA or a pharmaceutical company?
- how you still decide to defend kibble is BEYOND me. is Royal Canin making you do this post? Lol
- Every field wants to squash any competitive field when dollars are at stake
- Dear Skeptvet, you also come across as very biased. When I read your posts there is a consist thin veil and right underneath is always support for the meat industry like they the FDA and USDA are always doing what is right. Give me a break. I have been left wondering, after reading your review, how much of your education and training has been funded by the meat industry.
- Sorry but vet like you only look for the money not for the health of our animals.
- Skeptvet is obviously a shill for big pharmaceuticals or is just recklessly ignorant.
- You’re a vet who stands to lose a lot of money in your own ineffective cancer treatments and surgeries. If people found out about a cheap herbal alternative that actually cures cancer, you’d go out of business, just like the medical mafia cartels. I trust nature over educated fools.
- There are those who are religious who insist that only their religion is the true one. However, commonsense alone says they can’t all be right – or can they in some fashion?
- Lucky your not English you may be in the Tower of London, by calling our Queen a witch. The Royal family The a Queen Morher and our own dear Queen both users of homeopathy for there medical care, and look how well they have lived…. God Bless you and may the Holy Spirit fall in you.
- Lol, your incompetence is showing. If you took this much time to unnecessarily write something like this, imagine putting effort into actually helping someone. This just screams that you find a competitor threatening because they practice a different method of healing.
- All I can say is Science fails us thus we turn to other ideas that sound more logical and when we see positive results in our pets we are satisfied….Scientists are so adamant about studies and more studies.. then what studies have they DONE and what are the results? People and their pets are all disposable.. population control seems to be the true goal in the Scientific world.
- I love you skeptvet, even though you are probably a machine! You are proof at how one-sided and close minded ‘science’ can be. Ha! It’s laughable.
- Your fear of unpasteurized milk is causing you to form an opinion based on cherry picking evidence as “facts” that changes the trajectory from “Science” to fear mongering germaphobe jargon to form or change a person’s opinion. I’m a diabetic, drink grass fed raw milk through many stages of my life, and here I am doing great! Just live your life. stop trying to control people. Funny you source FDA links, because they are responsible for more deaths than any war.
- LOL vaccines extend a pets life, hahaha more like the opposite in actuality…I guess as a ‘skeptical vet’ we know what side of the fence you’re on…the one for veterinarians who are ‘general practitioners’ of fake bandaid medicine vs those who better understand the holistic approach of more natural remedies that aren’t full of toxins or bandaid solutions
- Sir, your not doubting these people’s stories, your doubting God’s abilities for ‘He created all things’, therefore he also created ways for the body to natural heal itself with proper nutrients. These herbs are pasted down from generations of ancestors.
….That is science! ….
- don’t be so naive as to believe anything from the FDA. they are completely corrupt, like most of the federal government. if you want to bury your head in the sand, believe in easter bunnies and santa clause and the FDA then bless you, wonder off into the woods blind.
- you can’t trust Vets, you can’t trust the government, you can’t trust pet food companies. RAW is the ONLY way to feed.
- Honestly, the claim that this page is scientific is laughable. You’d get an honest F from a highschool teacher when it comes to citations. Honestly, learn how to post credible links and not just “here’s my page again”
- Fluoride is pure poison..it comes from China as a hazardous waste. and we do need detox…This whole page and comments are a cluster F%%%…
- If you really are a vet, which I doubt SERIOUSLY!! You should do your own study instead of pontificating about a product you’ve only read about. Proof is in the pudding, buddy. And science is experience, of which you’ve said nothing about. You’re the snake ? oil!
- Science my ass!
- You would make a good democrat. Your innuendoes are sickening.
Time for Some Anger Management
- The only quackery that is happening here is this BS article some angry person who goes by the vet school books aka purina guide on how to keep your animal alive..(or dead id say) This article made my blood boil 1 because Dr.Karen Becker has more balls than any of you tiny brainwashed humans coming out of vetschool… if your veterinarian is anything like this quak continue searching for another…I LEGIT HATE u whoever u are.
- Why dont you shut the F up , people do put negative posts on websites , your problem is you believe everything the vet tells you , your Probably a vet anyways
- So go fuck yourself skeptvet. You miserable pessimistic piece of shit. Not helpful. Just shut your face. Zip it. Sew it up. Shovel dirt in your face and your mouth. No one cares for your opinion. You probably just like accepting defeat and yeah like you’ve live enough etc etc.
- You should be ashamed for writing this article. You make me sick to my stomach and I hope one day you learn your lesson. I doubt you will though, people like you are what is wrong with the world.
- And your answer .. is Scotch .. even jokingly that just tells why your brain cells are deteriorated.. and you are obviously a closed minded, stubborn know it all Democrat . One day when you discover the truth about the same stances you ridicule I hope you don’t have a melt down .
- These people who wrote this damn article are clueless!!!
- This critique comes across as pathetic, petty, and desperate.
- Wow, do you really believe that? There are literally hundreds of studies, if not thousands, from around the world that say otherwise. Do your research you lazy quack.
- you are trash bich fuck you ass hole
- Unfortunately your attitude in common with most vets I have had the misfortune to encounter over 40 years… which is always an unpleasant experience…because of the self serving attitude of the veterinary know all, the lack of social abilities, the appalling system which makes animals suffer by extensive waits and the desperate need to make as much money as possible based on fear.
- You are PRECISELY what is wrong with today’s Veterinary Medicine, you should be ashamed
- This skeptic is an evil arch enemy of the cure that costs little compared to the vet pharma!!!
Ive seen this work!!!
SHAME ON THIS SKEPTIC FOR WITHHOLDING CURES FROM ANIMALS AND PEOPLE!!!
- What an evil, hateful, fake person you are. How do you live with yourself? Shame on you for lying to and misleading people who are trying to give their beloved pets the best care. What’s your motivation? Do you feel like a super special big shot now? Or money, I bet. Who’s paying you, big pharma, dry dog food companies? You disgust me.
- Based on this arical I will not refer to skeptvet ever again for anything. My opinion of Skeptvet is this: Skeptvet is a worthless source. I hope the writters for this site don’t have animals. They surley don’t know a thing about them.
- God skeptvet, you are Sincerely an idiot, without a clue…like most vets your a stubborn Ass,
- Skeptvet please take your “science” and shove it up to your a#$$%%. Not all science works all the time. Some of my patients have been saved with a combination of holistic/natural and western medicine. So please make us all a favor and stfu.
- My guess is that you are a bored, unemployed and clearly disgruntled, dog walker perhaps?
- You’ve got that manipulation tactic down pat!! If you weren’thiding behind some pseudonym, I’d report you to the Veterinary Licensing Board myself!! And I sure as heck wouldn’t visit your practice with a flea as a pet. You’re awful!!
- I am so glad you’re not my pets vet! Oh wait, we don’t even know if you are a real vet! This blog smells like snake oil! Happy trails Mr. Mystery Vet (what does that matter who you are).
- You, Mr. Author of this article, are full of crap. You are an asshole writing this article to hurt this small company. I do not care about studies – proof is in miraculous results. I do not care about your B.S. You need to pull your head out of the sand & stop writing false propaganda.
- It has been proven that vaccine cause disease. But you are one of these idiot who will trust his alternative doctor (who just don’t know any fuck about all the FDA cartel) Wake the fuck up before saying that and go read the full list of all doctors murdered by FDA because they found 100% cancer/HIV cures. You, kind of person like you make me angry as i can’t even believe how people can be sooo much idiot thinking that cancer cure didn’t exist, but still, we went to moon. Read the full story of FDA before saying something. Man you just can’t be serious ???? This is why i lost faith in humanity. Wow. I just can’t believe.
The Tone Police
- Wow, you really look down to people who comment on your post and have a different views than your own. So rude.
- I do not appreciate your verbiage referring to dr Jones. Very inappropriate and unprofessional. Shame on you skeptvet!
- The skeptvet in my opinion is too negative and harsh….The manner skeptvet responds is in my opinion heartless.
- Clearly no one will ever win an argument with Skeptvet because he ‘knows it all’ and enjoys patronising people who don’t agree with him – just like all the TV doctors and medics that seem to think that only what they say matters and the rest of us are clueless idiots, unable to think or research for ourselves
Idiot- A Poem
What a damn dumb ignorant idiot right there.
“Coffee enema dangerous for dog”.
Hey idiot, coffee is natural, grown in nature.
But hey, let your dog have a “safe vaccine”.
Keep doing what you’re doing. I’ve recommended your book to many, including my veterinarian (horse). You’ve helped me know how to explain health science to others. What you do does ripple out!
I’m a dog trainer, I know the scientific method, and I am a huge fan of Skepvet. Keep up the amazing work you’re doing. I use your articles with my clients all the time. You are absolutely helping to bring dog training and care into the modern age. Keep giving us the facts and science, we appreciate you!
Still, somehow this one is particularly disturbing for me:
“I am a vet student- how they teach you to keep your pet healthy is actually scary. what they teach you is how to cut into your pet, how to remove tumors, how to give chemo, how to make money…”
I love your evidence based articles. I know from experience that one can not change a persons mind once it has been made up. It’s hardly worth the effort.
I’ve read and enjoyed your blog for years. Sometimes your perspective really helps when the pharm reps come calling. You need to eye new drug releases with the same vigor as you would alternative medicine and various fads…alkalinized water? Seriously?
I too am inherently skeptical, and when the latest and greatest protocols are presented to me, I metaphorically cross my arms and say, “Prove it!”
I just can’t believe how much energy some of your readers put into hating your blog; if I don’t like a blog, I simply don’t read it rather than letting it twist my innards so tightly that I must vent my spleen!
Congratulations on your recognition by VIN. (maybe I should leave 10+ exclamation points.)
Thank you for sharing, and shining a light on the anti-science buffoons out there, so willing to disregard authentic facts and proven medicine at the risk of their pet’s health. There’s some scary people out there.
Keep doing what you’re doing. As a layperson, your blogs have taught me to exercise healthy skepticism about many of the crazy “cures” presented to our community, and I’m glad I can pass that knowledge along to our segment of pet parents who so badly need real information when their dog or cat’s health is on the line. THANK YOU for helping us carry on that service for them.
About the Royal Family defender, there is at least one past monarch of England and Scotland who would likely be horrified (were he alive today) at defenders of quackery. I speak of King James the I and VI, who did use treatments which are decidedly nonscientific… but as the scientific method and science-based medicine did not yet exist, I think he can be excused for it (he was a contemporary of Francis Bacon, with whom he had a complicated relationship). But King James wrote a pamphlet titled “A Counterblast to Tobacco” wherein he discussed what we would now call the placebo effect and regression to the mean:
“The other argument drawn from a mistaken experience is but the more particular test of this general one, because it is alleged to be found true by proof that by the partaking of tobacco, very many find themselves cured of diverse diseases, while on the other hand no man ever received harm from partaking of it.
In this argument there is first a great mistake and next a monstrous absurdity. For is it not a very great error to take Non causam pro causa, as they say in Logic? Because peradventure when a sick man hath had his disease at its worst stage, he hath at that instant taken tobacco and afterward his disease, taking the natural course of declining and consequently the patient of recovering his health, oh then the tobacco was forsooth the worker of that miracle. Beside that, it is a thing well known to all physicians that the apprehension and conceit of the patient hath, by wakening and uniting the vital spirits and so strengthening nature, a great power and virtue to cure diverse diseases.
“For an evident proof of error in a similar case, I ask you what foolish boy, what silly wench, what old doting wife or ignorant country clown is not a physician for the toothache, for the cholic, and various such common diseases? Yea, will not every man you meet likewise teach you a sundry cure for the same and swear that by that means either he himself or some of his nearest kinsmen and friends were cured?”
(source: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/231411/where-can-i-find-a-modern-english-version-of-king-james-s-counterblaste-to-toba )
Oh, and he also loved his dogs! On the other hand, he was a bit of a dumpster fire (in common with modern royalty???)…
Having your ideas about how things work challenged isn’t always pleasant, but that is no reason to abuse the person challenging them, if you need to resort to abuse or tone trolling or accusations of shilling you have pretty much admitted you can’t support your position with facts. As I’ve mentioned before I have changed my animal care because of your blog, sometimes grudingly I admit, but at the end of the day science is the best way we have to unerstand the world, and if I don’t follow it I’m the fool. So I’m raising a mug to you, thanks!
Thank you for doing all you do – your blog was a huge inspiration for mine, and while I too get some of these…very interesting….comments, it’s so important the work that we do as evidence-based professionals, communicating science and fighting against the sea of misinformation out there.
Your work and this blog are very much appreciated in my household. Thank you for answering my questions over the years!