Posts Tagged ‘Guardian (newspaper)’

Neurasthenia Milkshake on Ben Goldacre and ME Pseudoscience

November 1, 2015

Yesterday I put up Florence’s comments about the government-approved nonsense now being peddled about ME, which conclusively showed that it was drivel. Florence herself also had experience examining the corporate influence on science, which she concluded was corrupting it, just as Stalin’s ideological and personal preferences disastrously corrupted science in the former Soviet Union.

In the article I mentioned Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science as an example of a book on spurious doctrines passed off a science. In response I received the comment below from Neurasthenia Milkshake. They liked the article, but wanted to point out that there is evidence that Goldacre himself supports the kind of rubbish the government is now trying to foist on the rest of us about the disease. They also gave further links to sites disproving the ‘all in the mind’ theory of the origin of the disease.

Here’s their comment.

Thank you for covering this. There is one issue I want to raise–Ben Goldacre, who to my knowledge has never said much about PACE, or ME/CFS for that matter. However, there has been speculation that he studied, apprenticed, or otherwise worked with, in some capacity, Simon Wessely, who in recent years has accumulated numerous honors. Obviously one can not damn Goldacre on that basis; but that there may well be a connection there is worth taking into consideration. Wessely has authored papers with members of the PACE team, has published extensively on CFS, especially CBT as a treatment modality, and praised PACE for its scientific rigor. Although Goldacre pretty much severed ties to the forum that was attached to his Bad Science website, that forum hosted vigorous debates on CFS and PACE. It almost seems odd that Goldacre would not have ever commented on PACE, but to my knowledge, again, he has not. He is not viewed with admiration amongst many ME patients due to the purported (though not necessarily substantiated) connection with Wessely, who is viewed by quite a few as a villainous figure.

Here are links to an extremely detailed deconstruction of PACE:

Installment 1: http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/21/trial-by-error-i/

Installment 2: http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/22/trial-by-error-ii/

Installment 3: http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/23/trial-by-error-iii/

Coverage in Science: http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2015/10/criticism-mounts-long-controversial-chronic-fatigue-study

James Coyne weighs in: http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2015/10/29/uninterpretable-fatal-flaws-in-pace-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-follow-up-study/

PACE Trial authors respond to David Tuller: http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/30/pace-trial-investigators-respond-to-david-tuller/

David Tuller responds to PACE Trial authors: http://www.virology.ws

I have to say, I included Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science simply because it was one of the most recent and popular treatments of the subject, having been reviewed in the Groaniad amongst other newspapers, I believe. I really wasn’t aware of his own possible bias in this issue. I’m very happy, however, to put up Neurasthenia Milkshake’s comments on this, along with their further information on the pseudoscientific nature of the theory that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is purely psychological in origin.

The idea that it is somehow all in the mind, and that CBT can cure, is pure corporate bullsh*t and should be discarded as such, along with the scientific hacks that repeat it.

Street Democracy on the Privatisation of Social Services for Vulnerable Children

July 19, 2013

The Guardian today ran a story about how the government is planning to privatise the social services dealing with children in care. The Guardian’s piece begins

The government is planning to allow outsourcing firms to bid for contracts to manage social services for vulnerable children in England – while dropping laws allowing the removal of companies that fail to do the job properly.

A number of firms have expressed an interest in proposals that would allow them to bid for contracts managing foster care and providing other services for children in care.

But Labour says the plans would take away legal provisions that allow councils to remove a firm that has failed to meet national minimum standards. They would also relax the rules governing independent inspections of services that place and monitor children who are looked after by the state.

The Guardian’s story can be read at http://m.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jul/18/social-services-children-privatised-labour

Street Democracy has also covered the story. Their comment on these proposals begins

Social services for vulnerable children in England to be privatised’ is most shocking and most disturbing. Private corporations ‘owning’ the most vulnerable of children. A private corporation that is unregulated and unchecked. A private corporation protected by Government and like ATOS will have its own rules, be completely untouchable and do most damage I fear to our children.

Private companies turning up at your door with a ‘private warrant’ to take your child away because of some piece of paper with a private corporation stamped on it ‘says so’. Private cars and private vans to transport our children away and from place to place. This is the stuff of nightmares and this is just the beginning.

The Street Democrat fears that this will lead to the virtual ownership of these children, and the corporate exploitation by firms with connections to the pharmaceutical industry, amongst others. These claims may sound extreme, but unfortunately I can see them being born out. Michael Moore, in his documentary Capitalism: A Love Story covered cases where a judge gave teenagers, who came up before him on only trivial charges, custodial sentence. Why? He was also involved in a private prison company. The result of this blatant conflict of interest was exploited children, no doubt scarred by their incarceration. If the above goes ahead, something similar will definitely go ahead amongst Britain’s care children. The full article at Street Democracy is here:

http://streetdemocracy.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/social-services-for-vulnerable-children-in-england-to-be-privatised/

As one of the companies that may be allowed to bid is Serco, now in the news for massively overcharging the taxpayer for its service, this is a monstrous scandal waiting to happen.