Denying disease

A trifecta of naturopathic woo
[Via Respectful Insolence]

Yesterday, I wrote a rather lengthy post about germ theory denialism. As I put it, yes, there really are people who don’t accept the germ theory of disease. As part of my Orac-ian length discussion (well over 4,000 words), I had a bit of fun with a video done by a hapless (is there any other kind?) naturopath named “Dr. Shawn.” Our new buddy Dr. Shawn laid down a heapin’ helpin’ of napalm-grade burning stupid in the form of only the finest germ theory denialism coupled with some truly brain dead analogies, not to mention a whole lot of hating on swamps. Last night, exhausted by an even longer than usual post, I felt like slumming a bit more with Dr. Shawn; so I decided to check out a bit of the rest of his website, which is the website of the Whole Body Healing Center of Lewisville. After all, Dr. Shawn is a naturopath, and naturopathy is nothing but a one stop shop for all things woo. Consistent with the nature (if you’ll excuse the term) of naturopathy, Dr. Shawn’s website is, as we say in the skeptic biz, a “target-rich environment” indeed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Dr. Shawn offers the infamous detox foot bath. As I’ve described before, detox foot baths are pure nonsense; the water changes color regardless of whether you put your feet in it or not because of electrolysis, not because the bath is doing anything to suck toxins out of your body through the soles of your feet. I have a basic rule of thumb when it comes to “alt-med” practices in which I divide them into two groups: a group that offer the detox foot bath and a group that don’t. If there’s a single accurate indicator of pure quackery, in my not-so-humble opinion, it’s when a practice actually charges money for detox foot baths. When I broaden my criteria, another such criterion is selling and promoting homeopathy.

Uh, oh. Sorry, Dr. Shawn:


Denying evolution or relativity may be upsetting to those of us who want to understand the world around us but will most likely not have much of an effect on their daily lives. BUt denying the germ theory of disease? hat directly affects them. Just as anti-vaccine views do.

I guess some people are more comfortable with a world based on simple just-so stories that do not have any basis in reality than to live in a complex world based on on verifiable facts.

The world is a complex place and sometimes useful simplifications are useful – physics is a lot easier if you ignore friction. But some simplifications are not only not useful, they are maladaptive. Misunderstanding how disease spreads will result in severe injury not only to he individual but to others who are infected.