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About Dr. Connolly
Just ran across the June 2001 (I think) Briefing in which you
talked about Dr. Connolly's book about curing psoriasis.
Just wanted you to know that I'd just sent the following message
(partly) to the ASSDP [alt.support.skin-diseases.psoriasis]
newsgroup, in response to someone asking about the book:
positive that the book is promising something that it can't
"guarantee" to deliver. This
has almost all of the hallmarks of quackery, from the complete lack of
details to the reliance on testimonials instead of actual scientific
evidence. And this quote —
"Dr. Connolly's findings have been well chronicled in the nation’s
press" — says quite a bit.
breakthroughs are "chronicled in the ... press" usually only
AFTER they've been written up in the scientific medical journals.
In the last 37 years, only one person named "Connolly"
has been an author of any papers (three) relating to psoriasis which have
been published in recognized peer-reviewed journals, and it's not Robert
Connolly. He's chosen to
publish in a popular-press book, instead, and you can be sure that the
publisher wasn't interested in peer reviewing the work (if, that is, it's
not self-published, which would be even more of a hint that something's
"bioenergetics" has been in use in scientific papers since
(probably long before) 1963. This
is not a "new field" at all, as it appears to deal with
(surprise!) energy use by cells and organisms.
A search for the word back to 1963 results in over 140,000
articles, dealing in everything from photosynthesis to the respiration
rates of wild pigs to how fast bacterial flagella can spin.
I suspect that Dr. Connolly is using the term to make something
related to acupuncture (he's "certified") sound more
scientific-sounding than it probably is.
by the way, is a chiropractor, and not an M.D.
See also Ed
Dewke's take on Dr. Connolly's book, with more detail than is available on
the web site:
(and the list
of "bioenergetics" articles from the Biophysical Review appears
to be nothing like what Dr. Connolly is hinting at). - Dave W.
Response: So, Dave.
The Cliff Notes version
of your take on Dr. Connolly’s psoriasis cure is that it doesn’t pass
muster if you walk the scientism line (not to be confused with Scientology. I use the term in Michael Shermer’s sense from his
column, “The culture of scientism” in the June 2002 issue of Scientific
While I’m not
the zealot you are, I always have and probably always will appreciate the
tightness of your arguments (despite expressions like “almost
positive,” which is right up there with my “probably always,” eh?).
The only way I
can wrap my mind around most of these dietary schemes for treating
psoriasis (or “curing” it, as the claim may be) is through metaphor or
simile. I just came up with
another one, which I hope you — Dave — will enjoy:
author Jules Verne was not formally theorizing space travel when he wrote From
the Earth to the Moon (1865); however, he was trying to be believable
when he conjectured shooting a
capsule containing people, via a giant cannon, from the earth to the moon.
Rocket science, as we all know, hasn’t followed this premise, but
has been based on the mechanistic principle of action/reaction
(force/opposite force) and the engineering of jet engines, the mathematics
of escape velocities, etc. etc. etc. At
what point did someone decide the cannon-approach wouldn’t work?
Or, was that not the issue? Perhaps
it’s possible but not probable? Simply
too expensive? More risky? Not
as efficient as the prevailing method? ... I tend to think of most dietary
schemes as cannon travel to the moon.
Perhaps most diet-based regimens are not convincingly proven
because it’s unnecessary — for most of us.
Some of us, on
the other hand, may have compelling needs to try dietary approaches, which
is why I don’t say don’t. There’s
probably a few dozen reasons why
I should try some of the dietary action items prescribed in any number of
these regimens, but because of drugs I’m not compelled to.
Someday I may regret that. I
try to constantly remind myself that the medical establishment in the
eighteenth century — bulwarked by the science establishment of that
period — advocated blood-letting. And
I wonder how the medical establishment in the twenty-third century will
reflect upon medicine (and its background science) in our time?
Anyway, I ramble. You always inspire me to pontificate, Dave. Thanks for seeing to it the light stays on in that dark, neglected, scientific corner of my conscience. –Ed