My recent pieces on the Wikipedia shenanigans around Rupert Sheldrake‘s and Deepak Chopra’s biographies have got me attuned to pseudoscientists and paranormalists not playing by the rules online. Suddenly I’m noticing examples of this left and right. (I guess that’s confirmation bias for you). And so here’s another in what will no doubt become a series of pieces on the bad guys skirting the rules online. We will get back to Sheldrake et.al. soon enough, as I have promised an update. But for now lets take a break from the topic of Wikipedia for a bit and look elsewhere.
My subject this time is Don Colbert, M.D. who practices “anti aging and integrative medicine” at his Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida. If there weren’t enough red flags in that sentence for the skeptics reading this, know that he “has been featured on Dr. Oz” and on “many prominent Christian TV programs.” In typical fashion one of his websites tries to sell you a wide variety of supplements that make fairly vague claims about weight loss and immune support. His separate clinic website mentions chiropractic, something called “Multi-Dimensional Brainwave Therapy” and “Emotox – Allergy Testing” which apparently uses a “cold laser” to treat allergies. And to top it all off, Orac reports that he’s anti-vaccine to boot. This guy is not a friend of science.
The rule violation in this case may involve the dirty practice of buying links online. It was all uncovered by former CNN medical correspondent Andrew Holtz of Holtz Report, who ran a bit of an online sting. He caught someone trying to promote Dr. Colbert’s online store via means that certainly violate journalistic ethics and may lead bloggers to violate FTC guidelines. But does it violate Google’s rules too? Let’s find out…
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