17 September 2005

BBC News 24: Your Quackery Channel!

It beggars belief what the BBC will use the money exhorted from us for, the latest useless piece of misinformation was a set piece on ‘bioresonance’. THis morning BBC News 24 reported what is, according to them, an amazing new treatment to help smokers quit. A British Bioresonance page explains the 'technical details':
The underlying theory behind this is that all matter has a resonant frequency and every cell in the body resonates at a particular frequency. This takes the form of an electromagnetic field and groups of cells In an organ or system have multiple frequency patterns which are unique. Hence, the whole body has a complex frequency make up which can change or become distorted when affected by illness. If you accept that the cells are controlled by electromagnetic fields then it is possible to introduce healthy frequencies to re-balance the whole body and provide an environment where the body cures itself.
The key sentence here seems to be 'If you accept that the cells are controlled by electromagnetic fields", well no I don't, as far as I know there is no evidence to support this anywhere and clearly the proponents of 'bioresonance' want people to take their proclamations on faith. If it were true that this machine could alter our 'electromagnetic' field at will, which in turn affected all the regulartory interactions of our cells, surely this would make it terrifyingly dangerous and not to be used for something as comparitively trivial as smoking addiction?

Now, contrary to the BBC report, this quackery is not a new invention, it is simply old pseudo-science being applied to the most recently news-worthy sector of gullible people. According to Quackwatch this 'technique' has been being used for years as a supposed cure for cancer of all things! Seems then that since it didn't really work on something as deadly as cancer (quell surprise), its 'practioners' have turned to something a bit easier to use their expensive fancy machines on, something where they can be guaranteed a good wholesome placebo effect with at least a few of thei victims. Someone named Martin Keymer is credited with this brilliant advance in bullshiting the general public, although bizarrely such a 'brilliant researcher' in biophysics is nowhere to be found in the peer-reviewed, published articles of PubMed.

Now there is indeed a lot of pseudo-science out there to entice gullible (and unfortunately often vulnerable) people, but the issue here is that my money is being used to promote this rubbish and I am incredulous that even the BBC could fall to this level of abismally uncritical reporting. Now I don't usually get as worked up about the BBC as these people, but it sickens me (pun intended) that the BBC still claims to exist as a 'public service' whilst reporting this drivel as fact.

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