Remember that time some legitimate cancer researchers threatened to sue a 17-year-old kid who questioned the scientific credibility of their medical claims?
No, me neither.
But, after Rhys Morgan posted to his blog about the Burzynski Clinic a couple of months ago, he started getting bizarre, abusive, bullying, creepy, and borderline illiterate correspondence from the same self-professed representative of the clinic who I blogged about recently.
Partly because of Rhys’s involvement, this is no longer just a story of specialist interest. There was a minor fuss being kicked up by the skeptics who follow these things, and people like Ben Goldacre were trying to get it some wider coverage, but it was still fairly localised. It’s not anymore. It’s been retweeted by the likes of @stephenfry and @serafinowicz. It’s on BoingBoing. Thanks to Marc Stephens’s efforts to browbeat people into silence with utterly baseless talk of libel lawsuits, the internet’s pricked up its ears. The internet doesn’t take kindly to this sort of thing.
I was going to talk about the analysis of Burzynski’s published research, and the clever people who have watched and dissected the weird propaganda movie about his clinic, explaining why the very limited data available is entirely insufficient to justify the grandiose claims being made about cancer treatment.
But I don’t think I even need to go there. Given the way they’ve behaved lately, I consider myself entirely unburdened of any onus to sift through the history of their claims in a search for validity.
The guy in charge of the Burzynski Patient Group’s Marketing & Sponsorship (or someone pretending to be him) sent multiple emails to a 17-year-old blogger, harassing him into deleting from the internet every pertinent comment or remark he’d made, threatening to file a libel suit against him (despite every indication that he’s not actually a lawyer), and attached to one email photos of Rhys’s own house taken from Google Maps.
That is creepy to the point of fuck you in the ear. There is no plausible reason for acting like Marc Stephens has done if he had any coherent legal point to make, let alone a shred of scientific standing. Nothing that’s come out of the Burzynski Clinic this week – heck, nothing I’ve seen any evidence of from the last thirty years – supports the idea that there’s anything legitimate or ethically sound about the way they operate. They’re acting like morally deranged maniacs.