No, Pseudoscientific Scamsters, You Can’t Appropriate Diet and Exercise and Call Them ‘Alternative’

Hey, all you naturopaths, ‘nutritionists’, chiropractors, and all other unaccredited pedlars of gobshite:

Stop saying ‘diet and exercise’ are ‘alternative’. They’re not

Stop saying that doctors don’t get to cover nutrition in their university studies. They do.

Stop characterising modern medicine as being all about ‘slashing, burning and poisoning‘. It isn’t (and there are plenty of medical organisations in Australia who are all about evidence-based plans to make prescription and screening even more conservative, which is good).

Stop poisoning the well about evidence-based medicine in order to sell your ineffective supplements and elitist food products. They don’t work and you’re just making people frightened as you rake in stacks of money.

And that is some Rachel Dolezal level trickery.

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Polishing the Unpolish-able – The Anti-Vaccine Movement, Astroturfing and Semantics

A particularly good article is making the rounds in the sceptic community at present called Anti-Vaxxers are Using Twitter to Manipulate a Vaccine Bill, and it highlights so critically something I have known for some time: that the anti-vaccine brand is damaged irreparably by the extremists, and that the more media-savvy amongst them have to work tirelessly to rid themselves of the anti-vaccine descriptor.

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Hey Lorna Jane, stop promoting non-evidence-based practitioners!

Edit 04/07: An addendum for any Mamamia readers. I also added a link to a great AWW article which outlined the MINDD position on vaccines – it is very hard to navigate their website and it is never explained explicitly there in a way that people can really link to.


It has taken quite a while to put this post together. Firstly, I had no idea what kind of approach I wanted to take in terms of tone. Secondly, I was undecided about my desired outcome. I sought advice (thanks, Reasonable Hank, for taking the time to consider my ridiculous questions way back in April and for proofing this article further), but then ultimately decided to take my usual approach, which I like to call ‘doing whatever you feel like doing while inappropriately foraying into humour in places but otherwise making a semi-coherent persuasive appeal’.

A copy of this post will also be sent as email and snail mail – though it is highly doubtful that anything will come of it.



Dear Lorna Jane Clarkson,

You haven’t ever met me, but we have almost nothing in common, apart from the fact that you and I are both women from Brisbane who like to exercise and who have our own websites.

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Thinking about attending ‘The Real Food Revolution’? 

If you are planning on buying tickets to The Real Food Revolution event in any of Australia’s capital cities, I beseech you to remember the name Penelope Dingle.

She isn’t a presenter – she isn’t hawking her maca powder, or offering to shove coffee up your arse. She won’t even be there on the day.

She is dead – another victim of alternative medicine practitioners who sold her a lie at her most desperate time and bullied her out of seeking health in a timely manner.

And one of the people implicated in this in the coronial inquest – a man who sells himself as a ‘health expert’ without holding a medical or allied health degree – is speaking at this conference.

And you ought to have your memory refreshed about this.

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The Grayte and Moste Lamentable Tragedie of Belle Gibson: The Part with the Renting of Garments and Gnashing of Teeth

So it’s the Belledammerüng: the entirely foreseen, slightly anti-climactic end to the saga that ended with all the senseless gore and antipathy for human life of Alien v Predator 2. And the reactions range from the shocked and appalled through to the shocked and appalled. People are really running a gamut of emotions here.

Surprisingly I am missing what I thought would come, which is the admissions of shame and embarrassment for having fallen for the laziest long-con in the history of Australian literary hoaxes. And I am not seeing any of that. Which is odd.

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Jess Ainscough, Belle Gibson and the New Purity Movement: How Nutritionism and Pseudoscience Overtook the Fundamentalist Focus on Bodily Integrity and Acceptable Femininity

During George W Bush’s reign I hate-read, in earnest, the numerous accounts of the decidedly-American purity movement by journalists, ex-devotees and critics. The stories of father-daughter ‘purity balls‘, purity rings and an unnerving focus on female sexual purity infiltrated and shaped the arse-end of Bush’s legacy and in part, I believe, contributed to the demise of dominionist domination in the American political arena.

In Australia, its take-off was far less assured: despite the popularity of Hillsong and all her hideous little bastard offspring, sexual purity was less of a big deal here than abroad. Our religion has always been a little more mainline, our big preachers less televised, their political influence (Toned Abs notwithstanding) positively piss-weak in comparison.  Continue reading

2450 v 2015: so many dolphins

I spent the formative years of my life on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. What we lacked in employment opportunities, metropolitan buzz and the aspirational allure of Noosa or Byron Bay we made up for in decent beaches and Russell Crowe-spotting*. (It’s sort of like whale-watching, only with more darbs, swearing and whales.)

And new-age crystal shops.

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I am part of the problem.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.  – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1948)

As a graduate of the humanities I frequently lament my choice as a teenager to not study any STEM subjects, despite guidance from people who know better than me that I ought to have done so (sorry, Dale). I joined the legions of young women who turned away from science and maths – be it out of stereotype bias, or a fear of hard work, or the perception that they are elitist and exclusive disciplines.

And this is quite a shame, because they are emphatically not.

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