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Canada gets it right

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on October 6, 2009

Firms that sell “natural” health products are being asked to provide proof their crap works (it doesn’t most of the time) and get this: while these firms do not oppose being regulated they think that being asked to show their claims are correct is too much. Come again?

Firms that make and sell natural health products are not opposed to being regulated. In fact, they welcome the Health Canada stamp of approval, said Carter. However, he said the “pendulum has swung too far” in terms of proving that a drug works.

Oh I get it, they want the “stamp of approval” but they don’t want to do any work for it. They do know that it is not a literal postage stamp right?

The licensing has been underway since January 2004, when Health Canada announced it would regulate natural health products. As of April 2010, all natural health products will need an NPN, natural product number, to be sold.

However, the licensing process has become bogged down, and Carter said it’s partly because Health Canada has set the bar too high.

I guess not taking their word for it qualifies as setting the bar too high in woo woo land. “Trust us this stuff works”. Oh sure, here’s your stamp; you’ve been approved. Yeah right! They’ve had 6 years to get their shit together and now that the deadline is approaching they’ve got nothing to show for it. Do you know how many double blind studies one can conduct in 6 years? Enough to prove your claims are true, that’s for sure!

Carter said part of the problem was something he called “pharmaceutical creep,” where the same stringent standards that are applied to pharmaceutical products are applied to natural health products.

There comes the special pleading: the rules as they apply to everybody else should not apply to me!

Natural health producers today are being asked to supply double-blind studies and human clinical trials to back claims made on the labels, even when safety has been established, he said. It’s a very expensive requirement for small- to medium-sized firms.

Oh the Red Herring! You have to prove your crap works ON TOP of proving it is safe dumbo! Do they really think people are that stupid not to see through this farce of an argument?

He expects herbal and homeopathic medicines to be the most affected and says it’s “crazy” for Health Canada to apply the same standards to both pharmaceuticals and natural health products.

Oh crazy isn’t it? These geniuses want to keep calling their crap “medicine” but they do not want the same stringent standards that are applied to all other medicines to apply. Bit hypocritical no? Hey I have an idea, call your stuff flavored water or tea, stop making claims of it curing this and curing that and guess what: you don’t have to do any double blind studies in that case. Problem solved for both you and us (the rationalists that is).

Pharmacists are talking crazy too (at least the ones quoted in the article):

“Pharmaceutical drugs are far more potent and just a slight deviation in dosage can be dangerous,” said Staples, whose Moncton pharmacy Staples Drugs, has sold both types of drugs for 40 years.

“A doctor can prescribe the arthritis drug Celebrex for you, but it can also cause a heart attack,” he said as an example. “With homeopathic drugs, you can take 10 times the dosage and there’s no problem.”

Umhh, Staples? That’s because homeopathic potions are water and don’t do anything. That’s the way it works you see, homeopathic potions = No effect whatsoever! Either way positive or negative. So why do you want to keep selling them to people? A bit unethical no?

Health Canada is not allowing any “may” claims. For instance, a label cannot say the product “may” do something. In Health Canada’s eyes, it either has an effect or not.

Good for them. “My magical potion may help cancer” is not such an innocent statement after all. People can die because of it; peoples’ lifelong savings may be wiped out because of it; peoples’ precious little time left can be wasted because of it. Canada gets it right. Woo woos have to be held accountable for their words and claims!

Is Canada’s Science Minister a creationist?

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on March 17, 2009

The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail is reporting that Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology in Canada, may not believe in evolution.

The situation is somewhat confusing. The article starts off with this:

Canada’s science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won’t say if he believes in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Wait, what? Religion? The reporter says he was asked about evolution! This makes the issue a little muddy.

If Goodyear was asked specifically about evolution, then it’s not directly a question about religion, and the quotation doesn’t make sense. Either the reporter got it wrong, or the Canadian Minister of Science thinks evolution is religion. Or that being asked about evolution is akin to being asked about religion.


Let me get this clear: science is not faith-based. Evolution is science, and science is not religion. Therefore, being asked about evolution is not the same as being asked about religion.

However, if he was asked about his religion, and the context was whether his religious beliefs are in conflict with evolution, then the question is very appropriate. In fact, the situation would demand it. He’s the Minister of Science! If he thinks evolution is not true because he’s a creationist, then every scientist in Canada should be demanding Goodyear be fired.

Goodyear, apparently, disagrees.


Canada? Do we need to remind you about how screwed up the US is?

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on November 26, 2008

You seem to be going down a similar path — expertise is downplayed, any fool can do the job of government, irrationality is promoted to equal footing with reason. It’s worrisome. Didn’t your mother ever ask you whether you’d follow if your friends jumped off a cliff? Well, we’re clinging desperately to the edge of that cliff, and you seem awfully anxious to join us.

Take the case of Gary Goodyear. He’s a chiropractor and a certified acupuncturist. He’s a quack, in other words. And you’ve gone and appointed him to be your science and technology minister! Don’t you have any people up there who actually do Science and Technology? What’s David Suzuki up to?