Posted by: Ticktock | January 24, 2010

What Health Ranger Believes…

Dr. Rachael Dunlop has been nominated for a #health twitter award for her work as a skeptic defending vaccines. Who cares about twitter “shorty” awards?

Well, Health Ranger wanted it so bad that he was dismissed from the competition for having sketchy votes, and Dr. Mercola wanted it so bad that he resorted to ad hominem attacks on Facebook. All this over an award voted by people who spend their days tweeting! What’s next? Are we going to see grown adults making decisions based on the prophecies of cootie catcher paper fortune tellers?

Since we’re having so much fun being juvenile in the blogosphere, I thought I’d join in by doing a parody of Health Ranger’s rant against skeptics. Of course, I’m sure some of these are massive straw men, but imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

• Health Ranger believes that vaccines are bad. He wants us to return to the pre-vaccine days when life expectancy was 30 years younger than the life expectancy of today.

• Health Ranger believes that we should go back to the days when water wasn’t fluoridated, a time when the dental cavity rate was 25 percentage points higher than present.

• Health Ranger believes that drugs are bad and natural is good; and by natural, health ranger believes in homeopathic placebo pills and untested herbs like ginkgo.

• Health Ranger believes that natural immunity will protect him from harm when he’s visiting third world countries with widespread disease.

• Health Ranger believes that c-sections are bad, and that we should go back to 1915, a time when we had more natural births… also when infant mortality rates were 90% higher than today.

• Health Ranger believes in hypnosis. This is especially hilarious since he is a prime example of a person who is easily hypnotized by non-mainstream influences.

• Health Ranger believes that he can prove there is a soul, and that his soul can be massaged by reiki practitioners.

• Health Ranger believes that DEAD foods do not have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!). [what?]

• Health Ranger believes that chemicals are scary, which is why he is staying away from dihydrogen monoxide.

• Health Ranger believes that water is magic and can remember the energy of the liver of a decapitated duck, and that this magic energy will cure him of the flu because a man named Hahnemann wrote that down in his special book over a century ago.

• Health Ranger believes that phytochemicals, like the kind in soy that make your child’s alternative milk a river of estrogen, are ALWAYS good. (The ignorance of this intellectual position is breathtaking…)

• Health Ranger believes that the moon is in it’s seventh hour and Jupiter is aligned with Mars.

• Health Ranger believes that the sun is a mass of incandescent gas instead of a miasma of incandescent plasma.

• Health Ranger believes in the type of medicine made popular by his ancient ancestors: leeches and witch doctors.

• Health Ranger believes that following a hunch is better than double-blind placebo controlled studies.

• Health Ranger believes that the force is flowing through him, that it binds him, and penetrates him.

• Health Ranger believes that the billions of people who use cell phones all have hand cancer and don’t know it.

• Health Ranger believes in the mass consumption of sugar, without any alternatives, regardless of whether they’ve proven their safety.

• Health ranger believes that medicine shouldn’t be tested and that people should be able to sell pills regardless of whether they are efficacious.

• Health Ranger is afraid of dying and wants to live forever by feeding on the fears and insecurities of his followers.

oh… and Health Ranger believes that the US faked a terrorist attack by flying planes into it’s own defense headquarters and financial institutions (killing thousands of it’s own citizens in the process). Seriously, he really seems to believe it.



  1. Equating non-use of fluoridated water with the cavity rates of 25 years ago is pretty disingenuous. There are plenty of developed nations, like Japan, that do not fluoridate their water and still have very low cavity rates. I’m not an anti-fluoride conspiratorialist but its benefits in water in a country where kids brush is pretty limited. (On the other hand, its risks appear pretty low too.)

    • Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that.

      Here’s what the ADA has to say (check out questions 7 and 9)…

      • 97% of European countries dont fluorodate their water and they dont walk around with their teeth hanging out of their head! You cant just look at one country’s figures. I found this quote “No difference exists in tooth decay between fluoridated & unfluoridated countries. While water fluoridation is often credited with causing the reduction in tooth decay that has occurred in the US over the past 50 years, the same reductions in tooth decay have occurred in all western countries, most of which have never added fluoride to their water. The vast majority of western Europe has rejected water fluoridation. Yet, according to comprehensive data from the World Health Organization, their tooth decay rates are just as low, and, in fact, often lower than the tooth decay rates in the US.” I thought that was very interesting.
        Do you know where fluoride comes from? Have you looked this up?
        The forms of fluoride that are used in water fluoridation are all by-products from the phosphate fertilizer, aluminum, nuclear and steel industries, and different from naturally-occurring calcium flouride.
        Why is this ok to use, thats what I want to know?!

      • Several of those European countries use fluoridated salt. But, quite honestly, some of these countries might have better tooth brushing campaigns. I have no idea what’s going on in each individual country. The problem I see is that you’re comparing countries to each other and not to themselves. The evidence given by the ADA shows improvement in areas after fluoride is added to their water.

        Fluoridated tap water is a safety net that catches those kids who are at risk from neglect. That’s how I see it.

        The idea that particles in my water are a bi-product of factory waste is repulsive to me, but I don’t think my incredulity should factor into these decisions.

  2. Your piece is pretty badly thrown together. Its devoid of any reasonable arguement despite being a parody. i think most could go through these points and find a contadicting point!
    “Health Ranger believes that c-sections are bad, and that we should go back to 1915, a time when we had more natural births…also when infant mortality rates were 90% higher than today”
    Even in the article YOU referenced its states “Urban environmental interventions (e.g., sewage and refuse disposal and safe drinking water) played key roles in…helped to promote health.”
    “The discovery and widespread use of antimicrobial agents (e.g., sulfonamide in 1937 and penicillin in the 1940s) and the development of fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy and safe blood transfusions accelerated the declines in infant mortality” is another important quote to add from your referenced article.
    To top off it all off the article also states “The reduction in vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g., diphtheria, tetanus, measles, poliomyelitis) has had a modest effect on infant mortality”
    You should focus on your own reading and research before worrying about bringing down others.

    • I’m sorry. It does seem like I’m equating c-sections to the entire reduction in infant mortality rate, but I never really made that claim. Most of the things you mentioned can be attributed to advancements in science. The point of the article is to show the difference between views based on science and views based on woo woo, so I’m actually happy to have your comments because they help prove my point. If there are errors, I’m happy to adjust them. One can’t say the same for Health Ranger.

  3. health ranger does the work for everyone Leah, unless of course you believe water is “magical”, in which case…yeah, I dunno what that says, but it can’t be good.

  4. I think the trouble with Health Ranger is he might just take things a little too far. He does make a good point in his article that skeptics should be sceptical about everything – not just alternative health. What about questioning the potential motives of companies where $$ is concened? I worked in a very large corporation up until a year ago and I saw people make decisions everyday based on their bonuses and what they were directed to do from upstairs. And there have been more than enough wistleblowers from pharmacuetical industry and the FDA to make you question who is in who’s pocket!
    As for the ‘live’ and ‘dead’ food comments, we both know what he is implying. And as consumers we know what food is good for us (fruit and veg, things that have been alive) and over-processed junk in a packet (ie dead).
    And i totally agree, science has taken mankind beyond what they probably ever thought possible. And my own family has lived longer due to things like a heart bipass, dialysis and fake hips. But there is definately room for improvement when it comes to holistic health care. Im not talking ‘holistic hoodoo guru woo woo’. Im talking wholistic health that takes into account diet, environmental influences etc. Dont you think that’s reasonable?

    • I think pharmaceutical profit motive is one of those fuzzy arguments that are hard to argue comfortably. On one hand, anti-pharma point to Vioxx, and on the other, skeptics might point to silicone breast implants. Vioxx is a legitimate complaint probably (I honestly don’t know all the details), but silicon breast implants were a victim of vitriolic rhetoric and paranoia – causing the manufacturer to go bankrupt before the scientific verdict came back in silicon’s favor. Most people who went through that hyped up scare don’t know that silicon is still legal for implants.

      My problem with Health Ranger is that he is really good at hitting a home run against imaginary opponents. I don’t think there’s any skeptic that would have a complaint against a nutritionist who has a belief in god and who focuses on healthy lifestyle choices. But the way that he characterized us as passionless drone robots under a hive mindset really made it hard for me to give him a chance. It should ring untrue to his devoted followers, and to those who are familiar with the character of our individuals.

  5. He does make a good point in his article that skeptics should be sceptical about everything – not just alternative health.

    Which skeptics don’t do this already?

    As for the ‘live’ and ‘dead’ food comments, we both know what he is implying. And as consumers we know what food is good for us (fruit and veg, things that have been alive) and over-processed junk in a packet (ie dead).

    Please explain to me which foods (besides salt and water) haven’t been alive? What foods come from non-living material?

    Im talking wholistic health that takes into account diet, environmental influences etc.

    Umm, I hate to burst your bubble but evidence-based medicine already does this.

    • I wasn’t implying that this group ‘science-based parenting’ wasnt sceptical about about everything but there are more than a few sceptical site who seem to focus on this topic more than others. Possibly because its such a growing area?

      I’ve said it once but I’ll say it agian. We know what good ‘live’ food is and what ‘dead’ junk is. When I say live I mean non-adulterated food with all the ‘bits’ intact. Picked from the ground and slapped on a plate. You cant possibly believe that a chocolate bar (for example) contains anything that truly the resembles the original ingredients. Milk? Maybe. Cocoa beans? Hmmmm. Sugar? Come off it. If you seriously think its still got some life in after headng through the factory then I can only begin to imagine what your diet is like!

      As for evidence-based medicine, it sounds all warm and fuzzy but how many MDs actually practice it? Plenty of parts of medicine dont take environmental influences into account – including your regular GP. Dont know how mamy times I’ve been rushed out of the room with a script in my hand before I even have a chance to say a word.

      Anyway, thats all off the original subject of the fact that this article above was biased and not very well researched.

      • But that isn’t what ‘live food’ means. From the living foods FAQ:

        What are Living and Raw Foods?
        Raw and Living Foods are foods that contain enzymes. In general, the act of heating food over 116 degrees F destroys enzymes in food. (Enzymes start to degrade in as little as 106 degrees F). All cooked food is devoid of enzymes, furthermore cooking food changes the molecular structure of the food and renders it toxic. Living and raw foods also have enormously higher nutrient values than the foods that have been cooked.

        So basically, a plate of steamed carrots is not live food, even if you picked them from you own organic garden less than an hour before you eat them.

        Milk, if it’s pasteurized, is also not a ‘live’ food.

        One of the things that skeptics find amazingly frustrating about ‘alternative’ medicine is the fluid definitions. You assume that “living food” means the stuff that you think is healthy, and that other people are using the term the same way. So you support the concept of “live food” even though other people are using a completely different definition from yours, and talking about something completely different from what you’re talking about.

      • See I wonder about microwaved for that reason…every baby organisation tells you not to put breast milk in the microwave because it kills the enzymes. Why is this essential for babies but not so important for adults?? Don’t we need enzyme rich foods too? Or maybe just some more french fries…

        I cant find a reply button on philosodad so hopefully this goes in the right place!

      • Oh and really good point about the live food.

  6. And just in regards to live or dead food check this out;

    • My FSM! The starch in a potato is broken down by being cooked, and it goes stale rather than rotting? That’s terrifying!

      Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, “But Philosodad, our bodies can’t really use the starch in a raw potato. That’s why we cook them!”

      I don’t want to hear your sciency explanations. I’ve got a petrified french fry! FEAR THE FRENCH FRY! FEAR THE FRENCH FRY!

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