Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Monday, March 28, 2005

Noel Batten exposed

Let's get right to the point. Fasten your seatbelts, because I'm not one to mince words when dealing with promoters of quackery and nonscience (nonsense):

Noel Batten claims to be able to treat and cure a number of medical conditions, without having the proper qualifications to diagnose or treat any medical condition!

He is not a medical doctor (although careless readers of his websites might get that impression), but a prolific writer of homegrown ideas related to healthcare. He is also in the earthmoving and landscaping industry, and is known as the "Rock Wall Wizard".

In other words, this unqualified guy is playing doctor, a very dangerous game, which places him squarely in quackland.

He also runs Energetic Solutions of Mooloolaba, "a division of the Australian Academy of Natural Health" (his own company). (It now seems to be closed, but even then he can't spell. Here's the old link from before it closed.)

Like many quacks and visionaries, most of what he says is common sense, IOW it's basically true, and nothing unusual at all. If it weren't, he wouldn't get much of a following. (The best deception is 99% truth, and 1% error, but a crucial error that leads hapless victims away from common sense and scientifically verifiable evidence.)

In this case, what he does say that is his special message, and which is far more than 1%, isn't common sense at all, but is his own homegrown nonsense.

Unfortunately he makes a lot of unfounded claims, and has large doses of anti-medical scaremongering, misunderstandings, inaccuracies and misinformation on his many websites. He is a classic example of someone who knows just enough to fool people with his "arrogance of ignorance".

Not only does he lack the proper qualifications to diagnose or treat any medical condition, he is in no position to accurately sit in judgment of medical science. Anyone of us can complain, and often rightly so, but he sits in judgment on matters which he doesn't understand.

His introduction (on his sites) includes this statement:

"While contemplating a medical career, I spent considerable time researching the medical approach to health and attending workshops at Mount Olivet Hospital. During this time I soon realised, any medical research that explained how to overcome disorders like [name of any of several diseases] without the use of pharmaceutical drugs is totally ignored and the medical research available is overwhelming to say the least."

He is a good example of what happens when someone with a little knowledge (but not the greater perspective gained after finishing a medical education) jumps to inaccurate conclusions based on their own limited experience, and then applies it to others. The founder of chiropractic, DD Palmer, did the same thing.

If Batten had actually gained a scientific medical education, he could have avoided making such huge errors in judgment. Instead he is apparently self-taught, and ends up mixing facts with his own home grown ideas of how things work. It's a mixture that can fool a lot of innocent people.

He has an interesting modus operandi that is also seen with certain other promoters of quackery, such as Hulda Clark. He uses a one-size-fits-all concept, as is evident from the following exercise in cyber investigation (at least what I'll reveal to the public....;-).

We'll start with some Google searches:

Noel Batten

A cursory check of these links reveals an interesting pattern, which is better exposed in the next search:

batten "The Greatest Medical"

He writes a lot, and sells a number of books. Even the titles are similar:

Parkinson's Disease: The Greatest Medical Blunder
Autism: The Greatest Medical Injustice
ADHD: The Greatest Medical Bungle
Multiple Sclerosis: The Greatest Medical Mistake
Diabetes: The Greatest Medical Misconception

They all have the same title (and much of the content is similar), where only two words are changed:

Parkinsons -- Blunder
Autism ------ Injustice
ADHD -------- Bungle
MS ----------- Mistake
Diabetes ---- Misconception

(He doesn't stop with these diseases, but even treats cancer, the disease most despicably exploited by the worst of quacks.)

He has even made this grandiose claim:

"We specialise in performing the impossible and curing the incurable."

(After this blog entry was written, he removed that statement, but it can be read here.)

Making a series of books using this method to entitle them - in and of itself - isn't necessarily odious. The problem is the erroneous content, much of which is identical, with only the name of the disease being changed. (I wonder if any of his other ebooks use the same formula?)

He simply follows the old One Cause, One Cure idea common to many forms of quackery, from Palmer's chiropractic to Hulda Clark's parasites (yes, he too recommends zapping them).

This guy is really on a roll, and he needs to be stopped!

When will he stop? Probably not before someone stops him.

Where are the Australian skeptics? Here's a job for them. Expose the guy! Make sure no Australians get suckered by him. The Australian newspapers and media should publicly nail his false ideas to the wall.

Why do I mention chiropractic in this connection? Well, he keeps mentioning vertebral misalignments as a cause of these conditions, when there is no good evidence for such claims. He even has some literature citations that are supposed to support his claims. Unfortunately he doesn't even get the citations correct, so it's hard to check out what he's referring to.

He mentions these three conditions as being partially caused or influenced by spinal misalignments: Parkinsons, MS, Diabetes.

I suspect he has read a lot of chiropractic literature and has absorbed their belief system, which is scandalously wrong. Such mislignments, if they really existed (only rarely), still wouldn't affect these conditions. Experiments have been conducted, where the spinal nerves have been totally severed, and the internal organs continue to function with no serious consequences (but where the muscles and skin sensations do suffer) .

If what chiropractors say were true, all persons with advanced spinal osteoarthritis would have these conditions, which is far from true. There is no proven connection.

Likewise these conditions could be affected or cured by the use of spinal "adjustments", but here too there is no proof that such is the case.

I would suggest that Noel Batten stick to his earthmoving and landscaping business, where he won't risk threatening people's health.

One part of his message is certainly true, and it is common sense: Get plenty of sleep!


PS: The comments left by some people who have read the above have been rather incredible, but understandable in a sense. When people receive an MS diagnosis they are desperate, and in spite of being warned, they are still willing to give him a try. I have deleted such posts and will continue to do so. This blog is not here to enable people to support or promote dubious ideas, or to exchange telephone numbers.