Falsified scientific data, the book Whitewash


About half of my family and extended family are medical professionals (doctors, nurses, medical technologists, bio physics researchers). I’m pretty much sympathetic to mainstream medicine and science for the most part, but I have serious issues with some of the ethics and accuracy of studies funded by for-profit greedy entities.

I personally know researchers that were pressured to falsify the data on certain pharmaceuticals being pushed on the public by corporate greed. In one case, a patient lost their life after a short trial of the drug despite obvious indications the drug was deadly and should not even be tested further since it was a failure.

Having family that are medical professionals, I hear all the stories of bad medicine being practiced in the world. Scary! My family is extremely choosy who we go to for care and what we regard as good and bad medicine. Though I have a high regard for science and modern medicine, I always maintain a level skepticism.

I have no opinion yet of the following book, but I found it intriguing because I appreciate its skeptical viewpoint of mainstream nutrition:

http://www.amazon.com/Whitewash-Disturbing-Truth-About-Health/dp/0865716765

On comment:

We are the only animals that drink milk after infancy. Even though we drink more milk than most countries we have a higher incidence of hip fractures. Milk increases the risks of obesity, diabetes and many other conditions.

From Amazon:

North Americans are some of the least healthy people on Earth. Despite advanced medical care and one of the highest standards of living in the world, one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and 50 percent of US children are overweight.
This crisis in personal health is largely the result of chronically poor dietary and lifestyle choices. In Whitewash, nutritionist Dr. Joseph Keon unveils how North Americans unwittingly sabotage their health every day by drinking milk, and he shows that our obsession with calcium is unwarranted.
Citing scientific literature, Whitewash builds an unassailable case that not only is milk unnecessary for human health, its inclusion in the diet may increase the risk of serious diseases including:

•Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers
•Osteoporosis
•Diabetes
•Vascular disease
•Crohn’s disease

Many of America’s dairy herds contain sick and immunocompromised animals whose tainted milk regularly makes it to market. Cow’s milk is also a sink for environmental contaminants and has been found to contain traces of pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and rocket fuel.

Whitewash offers a completely fresh, candid, and comprehensively documented look behind dairy’s deceptively green pastures and gives readers a hopeful picture of life after milk.

Joseph Keon, PhD, has been a wellness consultant and nutrition and fitness expert for over twenty-five years. He is considered a leading authority on public health and has written three books, including Whole Health: The Guide to Wellness of Body and Mind and The Truth About Breast Cancer: A Seven-Step Prevention Plan.

Personally, I’m struggling trying to reduce the amount of processed sugar and transfat I consume. Unfortunately, I got addicted to the taste of foods with these substances. I’m not much of a milk drinker, so the claims of this book don’t impact me directly, but I do have friends with the various kinds of ailments listed by the book as being facilitated by cow’s milk.

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25 thoughts on “Falsified scientific data, the book Whitewash

  1. I have no opinion yet of the following book, …

    From your description, it sounds like a hit piece. And hit pieces usually have some truth, but they blow that way out of proportion.

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  2. Medical mistakes are a significant cause of death. I’m not sure what the alternative is.

    I had hernia surgery about 18 months ago. While being prepped a while being wheeled around, every person who came into contact with me asked me my name, what I was there for, an which side was being operated on. The surgeon drew his proposed incision line on me with a Sharpie.

    It occurred to me that each and every one of these actions probably represented some incident in the past, some unfortunate mistake.

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  3. Not positive but I imagine Koen is a naturopath given he is fond of the usual crank stances: antivax (leaky gut, autism, etc), very questionable conclusions about pesticide residues in the colorado river water bioaccumulating through the food chain ending in cows having perchlorate resides as well as dioxin, etc, antibioticsa in milk (ain’t gonna happen given the testing done and consequences of anaphylaxis in those susceptible [not that uncommon]), and the list goes on.

    AS Neil suggests kernels of truth (rare though they may be) but blown way out of proportion……also anything not organic is fodder for demonization.

    In one case, a patient lost their life after a short trial of the drug despite obvious indications the drug was deadly and should not even be tested further since it was a failure.

    You have a reference for this or a drug name? sounds pretty sketchy to me.

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  4. Regarding the pharma company incidents, these are people I know personally. They left their careers working for “independent” research clinics.

    You have a reference for this or a drug name? sounds pretty sketchy to me.

    You have the right to be skeptical of what I said. However, there are known cases of pharma evils. I don’t hate all pharma companies. So many of my family members alive and well because of modern medicine. But that doesn’t give new generation pharma carte blanch. I have high regard for medical researchers seeking to alleviate the human condition, but there should be some skepticism of reports coming out of some of the clinical trials.

    Here is a list of some publicly known cases:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_pharmaceutical_settlements

    Here is a book on Bad Pharma:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Pharma

    A guess. I’d say maybe 80-90% of Pharma science is good. I’m currently taking statin drugs. I am disturbed some physicians are skeptical of statin efficacy in helping prevent stroke and heart attack. Yes, statins reduces cholesterol, but are the side effects worth it and does it really reduce risk?

    So, well, I’m going with the mainstream, but I’m not comfortable with the drug but I still take them. I’m afraid I might have to adopt a very distasteful diet if I want to be free of statins. It’s probably the better course of action, but it’s a matter of will power. I mean, gosh, the thought of a juicy steak dinner…hard to turn down. 🙂

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  5. You have the right to be skeptical of what I said. However, there are known cases of pharma evils.

    And the drug being tested in your allegations was……?

    But that doesn’t give new generation pharma carte blanch. I have high regard for medical researchers seeking to alleviate the human condition, but there should be some skepticism of reports coming out of some of the clinical trials.

    I’m not disagreeing I am asking for some specifics for discussion. Otherwise all we have are the vague generalizations of ‘evil pharma’ with nothing of substance for a fruitful discussion.

    but there should be some skepticism of reports coming out of some of the clinical trials.

    Here is a list of some publicly known cases:

    Sal, how many of those citations deal with clinical trial malfeasence>

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  6. I intend to eat some ice cream later this evening. Believe me, I’m not doing that because of some concern about getting calcium for strong bones.

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  7. And the drug being tested in your allegations was……?

    Don’t know the name of the drug. They didn’t relate the details. You’re acting as if I’m trying to persuade you of the truthfulness of the incidents. That’s wasn’t my aim. If you wish to dismiss the claim that’s fine. I’m only relating to you what my friends told me of their personal experience.

    Why would you find it unbelievable the story was made up. What do I or the friends have to gain by making up the story? I’ve worked for employers where the was pressure to cook books and financial data, etc. So the stories seem totally believable to me, and I take it as a warning.

    Furthermore there are some nutritional supplements that I take where I have read the peer-reviewed papers that criticized the “supplement” (Stevia is the substance in question) and they were a farce of clinical trials involving only 20 subjects! The study was financed by sweetener manufacturers who stand to lose money if Stevia succeeds.

    I find the story by my friends, you don’t, we don’t have enough data in the public sphere to prove one story above another. So why do you belabor the issue, since it wasn’t central to my claim? I thought it was well known there is dishonesty in the pharma industry. Do you believe otherwise?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700330/

    Fraud and misconduct in clinical practice is widespread….

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  8. Milk increases the risks of obesity, diabetes and many other conditions.

    I’m so glad that all the other things I eat are not increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, etc. Just milk.

    Looks like a green light to eat all that other stuff !

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  9. Don’t know the name of the drug.

    Not surprising.

    Why would you find it unbelievable the story was made up.

    lack if any detail for one. You; made a claim that a individual died in a clinical trial of a drug that was an obvious failure and should not have been subject to further testing but can provide no detail outside of ‘my friends told me’.

    What do I or the friends have to gain by making up the story?

    well you get the mutual camaraderie of bashing a vague enemy of humanity without the burden of addressing any specifics of the claim as to their veracity.

    ;I find the story by my friends, you don’t, we don’t have enough data in the public sphere to prove one story above another.

    Of course we don’t have enough data…in you example we don’t even know the chemical compound we are demonizing….pretty weak IMO.

    I thought it was well known there is dishonesty in the pharma industry. Do you believe otherwise?

    No, I don’t doubt that there has, and is, dishonesty in the pharma industry…,..my degree is in Pharmacology and Toxicology so I am a bit familiar with the issues at hand. The devil is in the details but you can’t (or won’t) provide the requisite details for discussion..oh well.

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  10. BK: Not surprising.

    well you get the mutual camaraderie of bashing a vague enemy of humanity without the burden of addressing any specifics of the claim as to their veracity.

    Vague assertions and professional victimhood. It’s a tactic that’s been used for years by Sal and his Creationist buddies against the sciences supporting evolutionary theory.

    I can’t wait until they make a movie about it. I hear Ben Stein’s available for pennies.

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  11. I intend to eat some ice cream later this evening.

    I added a little Scotch Whiskey to my ice cream. 🙂

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  12. stcordova: I thought it was well known there is dishonesty in the pharma industry.

    So presumably the point is to say if dishonestly exists here it could also exist in the biological sciences and YEC might be right after all?

    Pathetic.

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  13. So presumably the point is to say if dishonestly exists here it could also exist in the biological sciences

    You presume too much. You’re extrapolating. There are known and demonstrable frauds in evolutionary biology. If I wanted to go there, I could have gone there.

    The only disciplines it seems hard to pull of fraud are in mathematics. Although it is possible, it not exactly easy to pull off and sustain fraud in chemistry and physics. The data catch up if repeatable experiments are involved.

    The problem with evolutionary biology is that application of laws and experiment are not in general the way evolutionary arguments are made and defended, it is done by telling narratives. For that reason, one might question whether evolutionary biology should sit at the table of other sciences where experiment and law are the norm.

    And I’ve already shown here at TSZ and UD, I’m quite well willing to criticize groups that have sympathy to my viewpoint. Examples: defenders of 2nd Law of Thermodyanmics as support for ID, defenders of the paranormal, ID information theories, and Kent Hovind.

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  14. stcordova: The problem with evolutionary biology is that application of laws and experiment are not in general the way evolutionary arguments are made and defended, it is done by telling narratives.

    This is a misunderstanding of biology, based on a misunderstanding of science.

    It’s true that biology is not a mathematical as physics. There are good reasons for that. But that does not leave biology as merely the telling of narratives.

    Unfortunately, philosophy of science fails here. Philosophers seem to want to describe everything in terms of telling of narratives — that’s what I am criticizing when I object to their “justified true belief” characterization of knowledge.

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  15. Neil,

    I was referring to evolutionary biology, not biology in general.

    Ernst Mayr (as quoted by McHugh):
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/005/377xndpp.asp

    Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science…[where] Laws and experiments are inappropriate…
    ….
    Instead one constructs a … narrative

    Ernst Mayr

    and

    there’s a striking asymmetry in molecular versus evolutionary education in American universities. Although many science, and all biology, students are required to endure molecular courses, evolution even introductory evolution is often an elective. The reason is simple: biochemistry and cell biology get Junior into med school, evolution doesn’t. Consequently, many professional scientists know surprisingly little about evolution.

    Allen Orr

    There is a striking asymmetry for other reasons. Molecular biology involves experiments.

    molecular biology graduate students (for instance) don’t know much, or any, evolutionary theory…[because] Students don’t see the point of storytelling. They could take a Fiction Writing course for that.

    Paul Nelson

    As far as evolutionary biology sharing a place along side chemistry and physics

    In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.

    Jerry Coyne

    One may object, “Well ID isn’t science.” Personally, I don’t argue it is. I’m one of the few IDists who don’t insist ID is science.

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  16. I’m not immune to criticism of the pharmaceutical industry.

    I just paind $525 for a few ml of eye drops for my upcoming cataract surgery. that’s for one eye.

    When you search online for why the high price, it turns out that evolution is to blame. Ironic. Seems that I am hoist on my own petard.

    Turns out that no study has ever been done on the relative efficacy of antibiotics for eye surgery, because no one is willing to risk a double blind experiment where actual blindness could be the result. And no surgeon wants to be the first to encounter antibiotic resistance.

    Surgeons simply prescribe the currently most potent stuff and hope. Unless you are on welfare. then you might get a generic.

    There’s a moderate amount of quackery and overselling in medicine. I think drug ads on television are disgusting. As is a lot of cosmetic surgery. But most books, like the one on this thread, are even worse. They are not merely over-selling. they are selling lies.

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  17. stcordova,

    Anyone who doesn’t know about the evil influence of big pharma on drug research likely has so much ear wax crammed into their head that they can’t know anything.

    Just read about Donald Rumsfeld and aspartame.

    Oh, and don’t be so sure about that cholesterol level, and heart attack risk link.

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  18. Phoodoo has not yet recovered from his last stay at the Holiday Inn.

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  19. stcordova,

    That’s a nice tipple Sal, I’m sure some purists would get uppity with you adding icecream! 😉

    There a 4 Scotch producing regions with very distinct flavour and ‘fire’ profiles. If you can get yourself to a comparative tasting I think you’d enjoy it.

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