Dr. David Gorski: King of the Quack’s

The Happy little Duck...
Image by law_keven via Flickr

Dr. David “Orac” Gorski

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck, it’s probably David Gorski, M.D., PhD.

Gorski is a medical doctor and blogger who casts aspersions on the work of others by selectively choosing data and research that supports his positions, ignoring those that don’t, while simultaneously attempting to hide behind the anonymity of his screen name “Orac.” (Thanks to Pat Sullivan for showing “Orac’s” true identity.

I am not going to do a full analysis of David Gorski and his work. I do not have the time nor the desire. Do a google search of his name if you want to know more. However, I am somewhat fascinated by a recent post from Dr. Gorski’s Science Blog “Insolence” where he takes aim at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s use of Feldenkrais,® Awareness Through Movement sessions taught by Mary Beth Smith.

Dr. Gorski criticizes a claim that the Feldenkrais Method is “confirmed by neuroscience.” Here’s the crux of his argument:

“Does M.D. Anderson present any evidence that this Feldenkrais method is anything more than glorified yoga? Nope. It simply tells us that Feldenkrais’ findings have been “confirmed by neuroscience,” whatever that means. So I looked at that bane of woo-meister claims, PubMed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any evidence that the Feldenkrais method has been “confirmed by by research in neuroscience,” at least not any neuroscience published in the peer-reviewed literature indexed on PubMed. True, I did find 34 references, but a lot of them were in the CAM literature, and none of them were in any neuroscience journals that I could find.”

Fine. Gorski could not find an article that reads: “Feldenkrais confirmed by neuroscience.” But what does that mean exactly? It means nothing. First, there are probably no neuroscientists doing research that is specifically on the Feldenkrais Method. They might be doing research on principles related to the Feldenkrais Method (whether they realize it or not). But an outcome study directly about the Feldenkrais Method? Probably not.

Note that Gorski says that the Feldenkrais Method “borders on quackery” while choosing to ignore the implications of the 30+ outcome studies that have been conducted on The Feldenkrais Method. Why? Is he too lazy to make a thorough evaluation of the research? Is he not looking for ways to improve the lives of his patients and clients? Is he so emotionally committed to one theoretical position that he is not interested in finding data that might challenge his world view? Apparently Gorski is only “scientific” when it meets his own personal agenda. This type of attitude is dangerous in a man who is employed by a medical institution.

I find it troubling that an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine is not more careful in his thinking and writing and that neither Wayne State nor ScienceBlogs does a better job of monitoring their people and opinions and the information that they are spreading online.

Even more troubling is that this man specifically targets individuals in his writing, while refusing to clearly identify himself, his and his institutional affiliations. This is a breach of ethics and integrity and needs to be addressed by those who employ him.

Would you consider directly contacting the people who employ David Gorski aka Orac? A short written letter and email, would be most helpful:

Science Blogs: editorial@scienceblogs.com
ScienceBlogs, LLC
12 West 21st Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (646) 502-7050
Fax: (646) 502-7040

info@karmanos.org
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
4100 John R
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 966-8527

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

22 thoughts on “Dr. David Gorski: King of the Quack’s

  1. OracisaQuack

    Gorski is the worst form of scum on the earth. He is right, only he is right, and anyone who disagrees with him is anti-vax/anti-science/anti-semite/heretic.

    I’m surprised this idiot is even allowed to practice medicine.

    The Pathetic!! It Burns!!!

  2. Ryan Nagy

    Joe Schwarcz – You are not actually saying anything = “poor science” “witty” “evidence based” “voodoo” – just a bunch of labels with no supporting examples or evidence. Sounds to me like you are making an argument based on authority. We’ll just take your word for it because you are an academic?

    So much for your so-called data-driven approach, eh Dr. Joe Schwarcz?

    - Ryan

  3. DrHealth

    Interesting how Schwarcz aligns himself with and defends Gorski.
    Schwarcz is “head” of the dying Office of Science and Society at McGill. His role is to dumb down his pseudo-science for the masses while promoting known carcinogens on behalf of his sponsor Monsanto. He is known for suggesting “there are no unsafe chemicals, only unsafe ways of using them”. He has a stale-dated Ph.D from the 70′s and has never spent a minute in a laboratory. Yet advances his greatness a Canada’s answer to what is real and not real in science. His allegiance to the hateful little geek Gorski is testament to Schwarcz’s ignorance and arrogance.

    Gorski is about to find himself as respondent in a defamation action that will also name Wayne State University and it’s Dean of Medicine, Valerie Parisi. In his post in New Jersey, Gorski was “early- retired” because colleagues found him difficult to work with and strongly objected to his internet antics. Seems his reputation is about to catch up to him again. This time, though, it’s about to get very public….

    1. Ryan Nagy

      Thanks for your comments. That additional information helps to understand those two a bit better. I can understand it when someone such as Gorski has a point of view but he really goes over board and slanders and attacks. It’s really unecessary.

      - Ryan

      By the way – I was going to do a blog post on many of the cognitive distortions and mis-uses of logic and reasoning that Gorski uses, but I never got around to it. I may need to write it up at some point.

  4. Dr. Joe Schwarcz

    Dr Health is obviously a highly intelligent fellow with an outstanding grasp of the English language and undoubtedly equally adept at science. Surely David Gorski and I are out of his intellectual league and cannot possibly match wits with this mental giant. So I meekly capitulate in front of his unparalleled wisdom.

  5. OncoSurg

    I recently met Gorski at a conference and falsely fawned all over him. He was easily duped and confided he enjoyed manuipulating evidence to influence opinion. Interestingly enough he also “boasted” about being on Joe Schwarcz’ radio show and he found Schwarcz to be “like-minded”.

    I immediately returned to my hotel room for a shower. Very very creepy little man..

  6. ButterHead

    Love the devolution of discussion here with Joe Schwarcz. This guy routinely makes wild claims about being all-knowing and omnipotent. Both he and Gorski came from the shallow and murky end of the gene pool. They share the same predilection and obsession in inventing truths through the manipulation of data. Fortunately their audience is restricted to like-minded dimbulbs and geeks. I once went to a talk by Schwarcz on alternative medicine and he showed up in a hockey jersey. He derided complimentary and alternative medicine without an iota of evidence. Schwarcz and Gorski embrace their own rabid and infantile form of “evidenced-based medicine” that is more like “ego-based medicne”…

  7. nagster

    OncoSurg – Thanks for the comment. I didn’t know that Schwartz had a radio show. I will check it out.

    ButterHead -”Ego Based Medicine,” love it! That term should be patented. Sorry that I haven’t written more on Gorski. The last time I got on his blog I nearly vomited.

    - Ryan

  8. ButterHead

    Ryan….my pleasure! I got many more from where that comes from. I encourage you to write as you will about this odious little twerp Gorski. And just for fun, call Joe Schwarcz. You’ll love it. This guy can freak out better than Glen Beck. I called him awhile ago asked him if was funded by Monsato. He lost it!. Be prepared, bring a bagged lunch….

  9. RodM

    Ryan You Criticize David for saying that he can’t find nothing that confirms the claim “Confirmed by Neuroscience” you say :

    “First, there are probably no neuroscientists doing research that is specifically on the Feldenkrais Method. They might be doing research on principles related to the Feldenkrais Method (whether they realize it or not). But an outcome study directly about the Feldenkrais Method? Probably not. ”

    You freely admit that there is probably not any neuroscientist doing this research and that they might be researching some of the principles that are related and also that there is probably not any outcome study directly about the method. Do you realize that your are actually supporting Groski’s claim about it being “Confirmed by Neuroscience”? Nothing you have said contradicts what Groski is questioning. If the methods are indeed “Confirmed by Neuroscience” then why not simply show where that is a fact? Where in fact does Neuroscience Confirm these methods? There may be 30+ Studies but are any of them in the filed of Neuroscience? Also if you are going to claim that there are 30+ Studies then please reference them. Am I supposed to take your word for it that there are 30+ Studies supporting the method? Where are these Studies published? Are they Peer Reviewed?

    Groski may very well be wrong when it comes to this post but if he is you do a terrible job of proving it. Rather then arguing the facts and presenting a case as to why he is wrong you are resorting to an Ad hominem attacks.

    1. R

      Rod if this is so important to you, why don’t you do the research? All that Gorski needed to do was a quick literature review. He did not do so. Would you like me to do his due diligence for him? I have better things to do. Go to pysch lit or pubmed and look up Feldenkrais…and then do some reading. Are you capable of doing that? Gorski made claims based on his personal opinion and his refusal to make even the barest attempt at research. If you want to support that be my guest. It’s your life, not mine. Get some ethics and get a clue. – Ryan

  10. AnObservingOnc

    I was resident under Gorski’s supervision in Detroit.
    I quit 3 weeks into it. Gorski is a dishonest and unethical little twit.

  11. Zam!

    You rip Gorski for not being able to find studies “on principles related to the Feldenkrais Method (whether they realize it or not)”. How can you use a study as evidence for a treatment if the study itself isn’t about the treatment?

    Further, rip Dr. Schwarcz for not providing evidence but then fail to provide any yourself. Where are the 30+ studies you speak of? Why not let your readers see your sources and judge the validity themselves?

  12. RodM

    Ryan, The Actually topic and validity of the Feldenkrais Method is of little importance to me but even if it was the burden of proof is not on me it is on you. If you are going to make claims then YOU need to back them up, it is not up to myself to have to investigate your claims. Again you are failing to even address any of the issues that I point out. Instead of addressing the points made you resort to insulting me and my intelligence. As with Gorski instead of refuting the statements you choose attack the pesron instead.

    It should also be pointed out that the article by Gorski is not even about the Feldenkrais Method. There as just a small portion of it that speaks about it. He specifically questions a claim that the method is “Confirmed by Neuroscience” to which he did try to confirm and was unable to do so and to which at this point you have not said a single thing to refute this. The simplest solution would be for yourself to actually refute that argument, present some evidence that it actually is “Confirmed by Neuroscience”. If you were to have actually done that then you would have easily put Gorski in his place. Gorski was also not doing an in depth article on the method and was not making a definitive statement about it but a simple opinion based on what he had seen, he states that from what he has seen it doesnt look to be more then glorified Yoga and “I’m left to come to the opinion that the Feldenkrais method borders on quackery.”

    You are also now claiming that he refused to make even the barest attempt at research yet he clearly states that he did look up the research, he even acknowledges that he found about 34 papers but that none of them were published in any Neuroscience journals.

    I don’t know Gorski personally and didn’t know anything about him until I came a cross his blog quite recently and I have no prejudice towards him but I will give him a lot of credit for one thing that he does which is when he responds to another article, paper, blog etc he will always respond to the information presented. He will take the statements made by other people and actually explain why they are wrong and back it up with resources. When he makes claims about people he backs up those claims with examples.

    You on the other hand make claims about him without showing a shred of evidence that they are true. You Claim he is only “Scientific” when it meets his own personal agenda. Can you give examples?

    1. nagster Post author

      Rod – I have neither the time nor interest for responding to your comments. As I wrote last year, “Confirmed by Neuroscience” is not a scientific hypothesis, and proving or disproving a point with with your or Gorski simply has no material effect on my life. Good luck with your efforts. – Ryan

      1. nagster Post author

        Rod – I marked your last comment as spam. It has been deleted and you are no longer allowed to post comments on this blog.

        Attacking my intent and intelligence – as you did in the deleted comment – does not move the conversation forward and is an example of the type of ad hominen attacks that you accuse me of. I guess that makes you a hypocrite. You tell me not to do what you are doing.

        I suggest that you take a good look at where your hostility and anger are coming from and deal with those sources.

Comments are closed.