Sunday, March 07, 2010

Casimero's romance with Hulda Clark

I got around to checking some of Edwin Casimero's other health sites (including Fertility Help Network and Eczema Cure) and one cannot miss how he worships Hulda Clark and her zapper. In Dengue Cure, for example, he tells us that if his own children were to come down with dengue hemorrhagic fever, among the things he'd do is to use Clark's zapper which "destroys viruses via their positive electric pulsations." In Diabetes Cure Asia he plasters Clark's zany diabetes treatment which of course employs the zapper. Apparently, diabetes is caused by wood alcohol (methanol) in one's pancreas, the presence of which "attracts" the cattle fluke Eurytrema pancreaticum. As to how that parasite gets to humans and makes its home in the pancreas Casimero does not tells us.

I wouldn't be surprised if Casimero swears by Clark and her crackpot devices. Which of course makes you wonder how a computer techie like him (he's a web developer) can be duped by a patently zany quack and her bogus gizmos. Perhaps because he's not an electrical/electronics engineer? No. I think it's because he's had unfortunate experiences with doctors--the "western" ones--which made him decide to go over to the dark side (ostensibly checking his brain at the border). He is so sold on CAM and quackery that he practically doesn't ask such basic questions as, Is the principle upon which the zapper is said to work sensible and plausible? Can it really be that all cancers and most diseases have just one cause and of all the possible causes, it would be one species of parasite? Casimero has completely lost his faith in conventional medicine and now puts his trust in anything nonscientific, nonevidence-based, unconventional, and traditional. He's become not just skeptical of mainstream medicine, he's absolutely cynical. And because he and his family do need medical care from time to time, his cynicism has led him to completely embrace and promote CAM uncritically without a hint of skepticism whatsoever. Over time he's become so confident about his knowledge of disease and healing that two years ago he began offering face-to-face cancer cure consultations for PhP500.00. We can infer from this that "hubris" has not made it into this hobby healer's vocabulary. He also declares that "I am not responsible for your health unless you are my wife or my child." For someone who publicly dispenses his cure for all diseases and charges for consultations I wonder how he defines "responsible"?

Let's take a quick look at Hulda Clark and her claims. Clark earned her degree in naturopathy from Clayton College, a "correspondence school" in Alabama. Unfortunately,
naturopathy degree issued by Clayton College is not considered a valid credential by any state licensing naturopathic doctors. It is also not considered a sufficient credential to sit for the national naturopathic licensing examination (NPLX).

On the other hand, Joseph Pizzorno is the "top naturopath" in the USA. He is the founder and "president emeritus of Bastyr University, the first fully accredited, multidisciplinary university of natural medicine in the United States" and "senior editor of the Textbook of Natural Medicine, the most authoritative textbook on natural medicine currently available." So, in terms of professional prestige if not authoritativeness in the world of naturopathy, Pizzorno outdoes Clark.

In her books Clark claims that a single parasite, the fluke Fasciolopsis buski, is the cause of all cancers and a host of other diseases including AIDS, Alzheimer's, Crohn's, Kaposi's sarcoma, and endometriosis. It's strange enough that Clark would name one cause for a large number of different diseases. It's even more puzzling when it comes to light that F. buski is found only in East Asia. Pizzorno informs us:
There is no research documenting the association of F. buski with cancer or any disease other than fasciolopsiasis. Considering the well-documented level of infestation in these other [East Asian] countries, if the Clark theory was true we'd see an equally high level of cancer, which we don't.

As for the zapper Pizzorno says,
No research is presented demonstrating that the Zapper has any physiological effects, let alone ability to kill parasites or cure cancer. The claim that mild electrical shocks to the skin can eliminate intestinal parasites is, frankly, preposterous.

Even celebrity CAM meister Andrew Weil has in effect described her a crank: "No studies have backed up [Clark's] bizarre claims, and it’s unclear whether the cancer patients she’s supposedly cured ever had cancer to begin with." And the Swiss Study Group for Complementary and Alternative Methods in Cancer (SCAC) reports:
There is no scientific basis for Hulda Clark's hypotheses and recommendations, including her suggested treatments.

The parasite Fasciolopsis buskii does in fact exist, but only in Asian countries, so that an infection in our country is ruled out. Consequently, this parasite does not enter into consideration as a cause of the numerous cases of cancer in the Western countries; at most, it might be one of several causes of liver cancer (and only for this type of cancer) in the Asian countries.

As a whole, Clark's thesis cannot be comprehended, nor is it proven.

Which of course makes me wonder how Casimero could possibly have fallen for these utterly crackpot ideas. Casimero is a graduate of one of the top universities in the Philippines (University of the Philippines) which at the very least shows he has enough brains to have been accepted and make it through. So how does a person like that get taken in by a nutcase and fugitive like Clark?

Having been into both religion and various woo myself, Michael Shermer's explanation may hold a clue. Since there are not a few very intelligent people like Frank Tipler who believe in very goofy stuff, Shermer poses the question, Why do smart people believe in weird things? And his answer is,
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. [Shermer, p.283]

So I'm wondering whether UP-bred Edwin Casimero has been able to skillfully delude himself with rationales and explanations which he finds sensible and adequate but in reality hold no water. Then again, perhaps he has simply assumed that anything outside conventional medicine must be right. Maybe he's just still too starstruck that it has not occurred to him to question the plausibility of the claims of his gurus. Or maybe, and this is an uber remote possibility, he's just too scientifically illiterate.

On the other hand, what is most certainly the case--as I have discovered through his email to me--is that he does not have a grasp of what constitutes good evidence. For him anecdotes are enough. If he's tried it or on his family members and they seem to have gotten better, then the CAM remedy must be effective--a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc mistake as I told him in my email.

Will reason get through to Casimero? Will he see the light, so to speak? Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that people who've heavily invested their head and heart and made a commitment publicly and have had the belief system for a long time are not about to suddenly have a change of heart and mind. That's the exception. Instead they will redouble their efforts and resort to rationales and self-justifications to bring back consonance. Their press release will read: Mistakes were not made and certainly not by me!


Michael Shermer, Why People Believe in Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time, Owl Books, 2002. An online excerpt is available.

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