Author Topic: William T. Jarvis: President of the National Council Against Health Fraud.  (Read 5490 times)

Offline DFries81

  • On the path to knowledge
  • Posts: 6
Here are a couple articles written by William T. Jarvis.  I am wondering if anyone knows anything about him, I researched briefly and apparently he is retired.  Any info on this person or his work?

This is my second topic I've started on this site, I've come by local (Georgia) health care fraud/cults/religious movements recently (last 5 years) and would like other's to be aware and perhaps turn them in.  The first article suggests a system to turn in frauds so we can see where the 'hot spots' are and what is being promoted.  The people I've come by, among many other con's, one person of the religious organization posted an online testimonial promoting 'healing touch' (whatever that is) curing cancer.  Surprise, this guy's wife (I don't know about him, I think he's a seminary school graduate) and other's on the cult webpage are EMORY GRADUATES, some of the children attend Emory (I pulled up the Facebook profiles), and apparently are involved with the school to a degree (perhaps donors, alumni, and/or more so involved).  The American Cancer Society is located on EMORY CAMPUS.  I attended high school across the street from the CDC and The American Cancer Society Jan. 1999 - May 2000. 

What do you know, is Emory/American Cancer Society a 'hot spot' for cancer quacks?

Wouldn't put it past me.  Makes sense actually.

This guy gave me major creeps.

From the first William T. Jarvis article -

"What is Needed

Quackery is a society-wide public health problem. To cope with it adequately, a more scientific approach is required. As with any other public health problem, an epidemiologic strategy is needed to develop information on causal agents (which people become quacks and why), host susceptibility and resistance factors (the characteristics of people who do and do not turn to quackery), and environmental aspects that favor or discourage the proliferation of quackery. Vital statistics are needed on the morbidity, mortality, incidence and prevalence of cancer quackery.

Presently, we have only isolated case reports. These are enough to indicate that great harm is being done, but don't tell us how many people are being harmed. I suggest that a system be developed for reporting quackery cases, patterned after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's system in which doctors report cases of communicable disease. This would enable us to keep track of what is being promoted, where the "hot spots" are, and what legal and educational efforts are needed for an effective response.

Health professionals have a duty to take action when the public is being abused in an area in which they have special knowledge. The failure to take concerted action against cancer quackery sends an unprofessional message. We should not condone the "victim-blaming" ideology which says that if people are too dumb to spot quackery on their own, they are probably too dumb to be worth saving. Nor should we condone the attitude of law enforcement officials who feel that quackery is "merely" a form of white collar crime" that takes money from its victims. Through our actions, we need to convey that the exploitation of cancer sufferers should not be tolerated by our society."
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 22:47 by DFries81 »

Offline ethercat

  • Global Moderator
  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 3,770
Here are a couple articles written by William T. Jarvis.  I am wondering if anyone knows anything about him, I researched briefly and apparently he is retired.  Any info on this person or his work?

There is some info about him here, at the National Council Against Health Fraud (which Dr. Jarvis founded) website (now kept archived and online by Dr. Stephen Barrett, of :

Some non-Jarvis specific info from
(although there is that at the link too)
In 1984, a subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging issued a report called Quackery: A $10 Billion Scandal [5], which recognized the noise made by quacks as a social menace. The report detailed numerous fraudulent endeavours including (a) clinics inside and outside the United States that provide bogus treatments for chronic and terminally ill patients using diet, drugs, and enemas for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and other ailments; (b) foundations that encourage the use of unproven remedies; and (3) phony healers who use a religious healing image or claim powers generated by Satan or witchcraft.

By 1991, our Congress lost sight of quackery both as a social menace and as a concept. It gave the methods promoted by quacks a new respectability. Largely due to the efforts of a Senator Tom Harkin, who believes taking bee pollen cured his hay fever [6] and who was influenced by Berkeley Bedell, a former congressman who believed that drinking milk from cow udders injected with his blood had caused symptoms of Lyme disease to disappear [7]. Congress mandated the creation of a so-called Office of Unconventional Medicine within the prestigious National Institutes of Health. In 1998 Congress passed legislation signed by President Clinton that transformed the Office into the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine with a $50 million budget and created a White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. According to the National Center, "CAM covers a broad range of healing philosophies (schools of thought), approaches, and therapies that mainstream Western (conventional) medicine does not commonly use, accept, study, understand, or make available." [8] This definition, of course, covers all the dubious treatments that the 1984 report associated with quackery. The advisory boards to the Office and National Center have included promoters of unproven methods referred to euphemistically as "complementary and alternative."

For almost ten years now, the United States government has provided funds for basic and applied research to study methods that fit the official definitions of "complementary" and "alternative." However, it remains to be seen whether funded studies will demonstrate that any of these methods are valuable. Even if some eventually prove useful, that is unlikely to outweigh the publicity bonanza Congress has given to irrational methods.

Remarkably, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine even has funds available for research on practices such as so-called "energy healing," homeopathy, and therapeutic prayer, for which it acknowledges there is no plausible biomedical explanation of effect. The program that funds this research is called the Frontier Medicine Research Program [9]. Homeopathy is more than 200 years old, but our government calls it "frontier medicine" and worthy of funding.

Meanwhile, I know of no federal funding program to support the study of quackery as a public health problem. The American Public Health Association has an interest group on "Alternative & Complementary Health Practices," but none on combating quackery.

A medical society has invited a graphologist to present a workshop at its business meeting in May on "The Medical Implications and Uses of Handwriting Analysis." The program announcement indicated: "Handwriting analysis is available for a $20 charge payable at the door." [10]

In American universities, proponents of postmodernist doctrine, who reject the notion that scientific methods are needed to separate fact from fiction in healthcare, and who celebrate personal subjectivity, refer to pseudoscientific and superstitious approaches to healthcare as "alternative" and "complementary."

Many medical schools and other schools that train health professionals offers courses that take uncritical approaches to discussing methods of healing that allegedly involve manipulation of a mystical "life force" distinct from physical forces that operate according to the laws of chemistry and physics. One exception is Stanford University's medical school where Dr. Wallace Sampson, one of the founders of The National Council Against Health Fraud, has taught a course for many years on medical pseudoscience. Dr. Sampson is the editor-in-chief of The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, the only journal I know that is devoted to skeptical inquiry about "alternative" medicine.

The large, influential American Cancer Society has published scientifically-based reports on more than 70 questionable methods of cancer management with help from its Committee on Questionable Methods. In the mid-1990s the committee's name changed to the Committee on Alternative and Complementary Methods, implying that such methods have earned legitimacy.

Drs. Marcia Angell and Jerome P. Kassirer, former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine have pointed out: "There cannot be two kinds of medicine-conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work." [11]

The willingness of people to believe in these alternatives with no scientific backing is a serious problem.  We wouldn't need to warn people about Narconon if they were sufficiently educated about bogus health care in general.  I think a big part of the problem (in the US) is the declining interest and test scores in science and math by American children in the education system.  As we (as humans) gain more knowledge about science, fewer people in our country have an interest in sharing and learning about the knowledge we have, and the number seems to be continually declining.  Sadly ironic, it is.
   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions

Offline source

  • Merchant of Chaos
  • Posts: 172
I knew someone that was a pretty big gambler and he was also extremely smart.  He could rattle off the odds of any casino game.  When I commented that since every game had odds against the player then anyone (including him) who had a basic understanding of mathematics should never gamble, his reply was interesting.

He got somewhat of a smug look in his eye and he then began to explain to me the "science" of luck, good luck streaks and runs and how he could "detect" them.

And yet, when it asked him about his success, he obviously wasn't any more lucky than anyone else.  But he believed it. 

In talking with scientologists and NARCONON people, It's usually the same way.  The science doesn't support it and outwardly there is little improvement at all.  Impartial statistics don't even hold it up.  But under it all there is this crazy belief that they hold the keys to the kingdom.

There is a big difference in believing it works and it actually working. 

I guess if I had cancer or a major drug addiction and "x" wasn't working, I'd be pretty susceptible to the idea of a sauna cure-all.  It "seems" to make sense even though a hundred scientists have dismissed it as bunk.