Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

On the value of peer review…

with 5 comments

Previously this post read:

Earlier this week I blogged about the extraordinary transformation of Radovan Karadzic, war criminal, into Dragan Dabic, alternative medicine practicioner. While I’d seen the website of the clinic where he’d been working, what I didn’t know was that Dragan himself actually has his own website, which bears the intriguing title “Healing from Within: The Ever Increasing Need for Alternative Viewpoints in the Modern World”… Odd though it may seem on one level, in a way it makes a kind of sense that Karadzic could so easily switch from one type of cynical psychological manipulation to another… Thanks to Ty for the link.

*UPDATE* - Here’s the rough English translation of DD’s homepage from Google.

Many thanks to JEF for pointing out that the ‘Dragan Dabic’ website looks to have been set up the day after Dabic (aka Karadzic) was arrested! According to www.allwhois.com, the site was created on July 22nd, and is registered to an address in Wisconsin, USA…

An illustration, once again, of the indispensible value of ‘peer review’

See also “Poe’s law”, over at rationalwiki: 

“Poe’s Law relates to fundamentalism, and the difficulty of identifying actual parodies of it. It suggests that, in general, it is hard to tell fake fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both sound equally ridiculous. The law also works in reverse: real fundamentalism can also be indistinguishable from parody fundamentalism.”

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Written by Richard Wilson

July 25, 2008 at 10:01 am

5 Responses

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  1. Happy to provide! I read what I found to be an interesting caution from Orac over at Science Blogs… his point being that just because Karadzic may be a “bad” man it doesn’t mean (necessarily) that alternative medicine is bad…

    In any case, I think the larger point is still valid, Karadzic made up his own reality in the 90′s and got people to follow and kill for it… and he has been doing it again these past 10 or so years…

    Tyson Koska

    July 25, 2008 at 12:29 pm

  2. Yep – you’re right that it doesn’t mean that AM is bad in and of itself, any more (I guess) than his having a beard necessarily reflects badly on men with beards!

    But… I think that there could be some interesting work to be done on the relationship between some of the basic ideas (eg. various forms of relativism, mysticism and anti-rationalism as well as the odd bit of conspiracy theory) which underpin some of the theories behind “alternative medicine”, and the way that similar ideas feed into certain types of extremist ideology… I don’t have firm answers on any of this, but I think it’s an interesting discussion… And whenever I get to thinking about this stuff, this guy can never be too far away: http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/open_letters/img-nyt0506/speech_drrath.htm

    rcameronw

    July 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  3. Yes, yes, and yes… as for that link you posted… wtf!?

    Tyson Koska

    July 26, 2008 at 11:55 am

  4. Dr. (or should I say “Dr.”) Matthias Rath – who has been described as “the definitive charlatan”… a man whose bonkersness seems to be matched only by the intensity of his passion for sueing and defaming anyone who criticises him…! Lots more about him here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/may/14/southafrica.internationalaidanddevelopment …and here:

    http://www.tac.org.za/newsletter/2005/ns19_04_2005.htm !

    rcameronw

    July 26, 2008 at 3:09 pm

  5. Rich – that dragandabic site was set up the day after he was arrested – don’t get fooled again; check http://www.allwhois.com in future!!!

    jef

    August 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm


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