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Quackwatcher Dr. Steve Barrett is Under Attack

The details are covered very well by Orac, who says:

The favored laboratory of anti-vaccine practitioners and the “autism biomed” movement, a commercial laboratory known as Doctor’s Data is suing Steve Barrett, the man who maintains the excellent resource Quackwatch, for criticism Dr. Barrett leveled against it, criticism that Doctor’s Data richly deserved (in my opinion, of course).

Fighting these battles is extremely expensive and no legal defense funds exist for grassroots activists. Please blog about this to raise awareness and donate what you can to Quackwatch to help Dr. Barrett defend his right (and our rights) to tell the truth.

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10 Responses to “Quackwatcher Dr. Steve Barrett is Under Attack”

  • Alex Swan:


    It’s pretty lame and happens all the time when people who lie can sue people who tell the truth.

  • It sounds like a SLAPP-like lawsuits that as you all know have long had a chilling effect on criticism. I hope Dr Barret is not too effected by this, financially or otherwise. Quack-watch is awesome.

    Monica Pignotti, another fellow skeptic, is apparently having similar unfounded and unfair problems right now, and undeservedly so. She criticized pseudoscientific theories, and in return faced unfounded personal attacks, and more. She also would benefit from our support or advice.

    Is it not true that it is not illegal to criticise theories or treatments in science? I cannot believe that an essential part of science: the critique of treatments or theories, could EVER, EVER lead to legal action. Is there some flaw in the legal system, or is there an exemption for scientists criticizing theories and treatments?

    • Lawrence,
      Libel laws vary from country to country. You should read about what Simon Singh has experienced the past two years (just Google his name) in the U.K. and the tremendous costs involved. Paul Ingraham was threatened by chiropractics in Canada earlier this year and David Gorski was recently threatened in the U.S. Whether any of these suits are winnable is not necessarily as important as the costs, personal, professional, and financial, to fight them. Even the most ridiculous of law suits can suck up so much of one’s time and money that they are unable to live a normal life.

      Libel and slander laws are complicated and these are things anyone who criticizes any public entity or their products should learn about. At the same time, we must band together, because those who are afraid that they will not be able to pay the price (financial or otherwise) of such a threat are likely to remain quiet. That is a horrible price for skepticism.

    • Curtis Campbell:

      Dear Mr. Patihis, Dr. Barrett was correct for criticizing People Against Cancer,but he is wrong for making negative comments about all alternative practitioners.Especially Dr,s that have degrees from Harvard and Yale and Noble prize winners. What makes Dr. Barrett think that the M.D. after his name is much more reliable than someone like Linus Pauling or other brilliant doctors from around the world. Dr. Barrett crossed the line when he began to put everyone in the same catagory. Who died and gave Mr. Barrett the authority to critisize all alternative practitioners. When you get time look up the word Iatrogenic and then you will see that it means death by doctors mistakes, which is one of the leading causes of death in the USA. Medical mistakes performed by doctors educated by the AMA rules,regulations and proper procedures.Not once did Dr. Barrett mention the AMA and its problems, how strange!

      • PhoenixSkeptic:

        The first problem I have with your argument is that you are using he argument from authority. Linus Pauling and “other Nobel Prize winners” have no authority if the ideas they espouse do not stand up to peer review and the high standard of evidence required by Science. I’m sure Dr. Barrett does not believe the MD after his name gives him the authority to criticize quackery. Common scientific sense and compassion for those who are getting scammed by the people and organizations he writes about gives him the authority and the U.S. Constitution gives him the right.

        Secondly, If the shoe fits, wear it! If you are an alt-meder claiming to cure, prevent or treat diseases without the research and proof to back up your claims, then he is pointing his finger at you. If you use alt med to treat symptoms of self limiting conditions and you are not lying to your “patients”, that’s between you and your “patients”.

        Thirdly, Since when is it okay to substitute Quackery for “Real Medicine” if there are issues with real medicine? Wouldn’t it be better to work to fix the problems within the system? Iatrogenic is a red herring or non sequitur, that has nothing to do with the scamming that is going on with Doctors’s Data and Chrio’s, ND’s and the such who use provoked metal testing to convince their patients to undergo chelation therapy and to buy their plethora of herbs and (snake) oils.

        Your comments are welcome.

  • Lu-Lu:

    Many heavy metals BIND to tissues. They do not circulate in the blood, to be removed by the kidneys into the urine, except for maybe a few days to a couple weeks. After that, urine or blood can’t reveal true poisoning or toxicity. Without provoked testing, you have no idea of heavy metals burden–unless poisoned the day before the test. The reference level is non-provoked, because you shouldn’t have poisons your body can’t remove.

    Doctors Data toxic metals tests were especially useful as a GUIDE to how much mercury I had & how efficiently my body was eliminating it. This was supervised by a qualified professional–an ND who is NOT a quack. Mercury toxicity is a serious issue which most MDs don’t take seriously. MDs don’t have all the answers. There will always be charlatans, & many of them are MDs. Does Barrett write about them???

  • DrHealth:

    Barrett is and always has been a fraud. He has lost every legal action where he has been complainant, respondent or expert.

  • Dr. Zoe D Katze Phd:


    Dr. Barrett has NEVER lost a single penny in ANY legal action or to any lawsuit nor has he been on the losing side of any summary judgment or judgment whatsoever!

    It is disingenuous to state otherwise!

    You are more than likely just another homeopathic health care hoax hyping hilarious homeopathy or magical mysticism and mind mush!