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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

How to spot a fake revolutionary medical researcher

The Times of Israel has reported a supposed budding breakthrough in curing cancer, but with a lot of hesitation, and rightly so. The Jerusalem Post, that had the scoop and went rather wild about it, now has recanted.

It’s not always easy for the layperson, to decide who’s right when an trendsetter argues with more traditional knowledgeable people. Whom to believe? Maybe the scientific world is just being stubborn or conservative? Like with Einstein, who never got a Nobel Prize for his Relativity Theory, though he died half a century after publishing it. (Or me, who will never get the Nobel Prize for discovering Free Will.)

History — mistakes gone by — may be helpful — also for scientists in doubt.

Medical experts have been highly impressed in the past with large-scale work by a hyper-critical researcher, but fooled for long times because they missed that he was not critical about his own work at all.

In the beginning years of AIDS, there was a bona fide Scandinavian medical researcher claiming that the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was not caused by a virus (that researchers were hurrying to find) but by anti-AIDS medication — or by then-popular recreational drugs in the gay community. Doctors were horrified at the idea that they were not curing but rather causing the deadly ailment. Hundreds if not thousands of pages of the medical literature were wasted on this false scare.

In the Netherlands, there was halfway through the 20th century a guy who seriously claimed that the earth was flat. He wrote a booklet full of proofs. How did he do it, in the age of Sputnik circling Earth?

Well, he disproved all commonly held beliefs why the earth would be round. He was a smart guy. However, his own theory was an uncritically acclaimed set of assumptions. And that’s one way to spot a fake.

The outlying AIDS researcher too proved very good at questioning everyone’s work but not his own shoddy alternative theories.

So that is one thing that jumps out with false medical modernizers. The “innovators” are very critical about every other’s approach but when it comes to their own idea, they’ve no reservation or caution whatsoever.

With these anti-cancer guys, we see clearly a second hint that they are working on an alarming level. They believe too strongly in the success of their method. Hype is nice to maintain strength to continue hard work or if you want to convince others to invest in your project, but it is wholly unscientific. They should rather be the most cautious about their efforts.

One can think up new “scientific theories” faster than a speeding bullet but real science comes when such a super-scientist tries to find out if there is any reality to his flight of thought. Typically, there is not.

Science is not a religion that you must believe in. It is skeptics at work, trying to find proofs. They should do everything to disprove their finds or techniques. When they fail to do that, they might have a cure.

Someone who’s not skeptical about their own work or can’t appreciate doubts of others about it, such a person is not doing science.

So, how to spot a fake scientist? They are not critical enough about their own assumptions and they try to convince you that they must be right, instead of humbly suggesting, with reservations, their latest toil.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1550 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble.
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