Response to the Accusations of Marc Stephens

Andy Lewis of the Quackometer has been engaged in an email exchange with one Marc Stephens, who claims to represent the Burzynski Clinic (although there is admittedly little evidence other than Stephens’ word that this is the case), and whose most recent missive Andy has published on his Posterous account.

It was with some amusement that we noted The 21st Floor was mentioned within the email as part of an international network of skeptics started by Michael Shermer known as the skeptic society. No-one involved with The 21st Floor is a member of any such network.  It is also claimed we are linked to :

“other fraudulent websites and individuals, such as, quackwatch.comratbags.com, the21stfloor, Peter Bowditch, [REDACTED] , Stephen Barrett, Dr. Saul Green, etc.”

Now, unless Stephens means that we have linked to, on occasion, one or more of the above blogs or individuals due to informal and exceedingly unofficial shared interests, we are somewhat bemused as to what they are trying to imply.

There also appears to be the veiled suggestion that we have been linked to editing of the Wikipedia entry on Burzynski. This is an allegation that is also false.  No-one at The 21st Floor has edited Burzynski’s Wikipedia entry.

So we at The 21st Floor would quite like to invite Marc Stephens to clarify and substantiate his specific allegations of fraud relating to our supposed membership of the Skeptics Society and alleged malicious editing of Wikipedia.

We would also very much like the information that Marc Stephens alludes to in his email to be made public in the appropriate, peer-reviewed, scientific literature:

“my client is involved with FDA approved clinical trials, completed phase II, and has approach Phase III.  Phase II, as you know,— to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.  You have full access to evaluate the data of Antineoplaston phase II results, you and your entire skeptic network refuse to acknowledge the results.”

Indeed to this end we set up a petition online to attempt to convince the clinic that it was ethically dubious not to have this information publicly avaliable or published in reputable peer reviewed journals so that the scientific community could assess Antineoplaston therapy critically and fairly appraise it’s efficacy.

If Marc Stephens and Burzynski want to convince the skeptic community that Antineoplaston therapy works, then rather than issuing threats and attempting to silence criticism via email than he should convince the clinic to release or otherwise publish all of the data relating to the clinical trials he has regisered.  The longer this data remains unpublished and unavailable to scrutiny by the wider scientific community the more ethically dubious it seems to charge patients thousands for a treatment that might not work.

It is also extremely morally questionable to charge patients enormous fees to enrol in trials and then withhold the data they have helped and paid to produce.

As things stand, we currently feel we can only respond to any allegations made by Mr Stephens by directing him to the reply given in Arkell v. Pressdram.

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0 Responses to Response to the Accusations of Marc Stephens

  1. Ash Pryce says:

    Wow, the email on the posterus account! He seems to be turning into David Mabus!

  2. Alex MacBett says:

    The way I interpeted Mr. Stephens was that he was unaware that the word ‘Skeptic’ is a common noun, and presumed it was a word invented by Michael Shermer to denote a previously nonexistent vocation, and that therefore anybody who self-identified as a skeptic was therefore a component part of this freemason-esque ‘club’ and so must be part of this ‘network’ of people trying to cover up ‘the truth’.

    The thing I find so hilarious is that the controversy Mr Stephens has created is rapidly spreading across the Skeptic community, including to people who otherwise would not have heard or cared. He is creating the entity he seeks to destroy.

  3. Pingback: The 21st Floor » Blog Archive » Burzynski: A perfect storm?

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