Twitter: best thing and worst thing of the weekend so far.

I'm on twitter. Twitter is a wonderful place. I've met some amazing people and I've been having an absolute blast, so when I sat down at the computer last night with a bottle of red, intending to surf and tweet, it was with a light heart. I was happy.

Websinthe and I follow each other, and we had a great exchange in which both us big manly men admitted to being big bloody wusses really.

I had a little cry, because of things said over twitter.

It might well have been the high-point of my twitterlife so far.

So I guess it was inevitable that it'd be joined by a low point. You see, I got autofollowed by @HolisticMamma, who is using a service which looks out for specific keywords in other people's tweets and automagically follows them.

HolisticMamma is the progenitor of something called

You may know, if you read this blog regularly, that in addition to being a brain-eating psychopath, I'm also a massive moralfag and skeptic with particular interest in medical science.

So this wasn't going to turn out well.

HolisticTwitter proclaims itself the "Conscious Tweeple Network". The introduction runs thusly:
Green Living, Fighting Commercialism, Alternative Healing methods, the Law of Attraction, Organic and Wild Crafted Foods, Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan diets, Attachment Parenting, Natural Birth Options, Extended Breastfeeding, Co-Sleeping, Alternative Schooling, Social Media, Blogging, Business, EFT, Alternative Healing Methods, Green Technologies, Politics, Earth Friendly Diapering, Environmental Conservation, Delayed/Informed/Non-Vaccination... all this and more!
There's some good stuff in there. There's nothing wrong with green living, vegetarian and vegan diets (we discussed this on yesterday's Critical Mass Podcast). There's nothing wrong with organic foods, environmental conservation, green tech and politics, things like that.

But there are some massive danger flags in that list

There are peple on this site who are going to do genuine harm to themselves, their families and the people around them.

I actually feel a horrible sense of foreboding.

So I signed up. And I had a look round.

I found @ghorrall

@ghorrall's real name is Genevieve.

Genevieve has two kids who were born very much prematurely. One has PDD, the other has Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy. Mum has PCOS. Dad has ADD. Genevieve has a lot of acronyms.

Genevieve also includes this nugget in her bio:
"Some medication are unavoidable, but we always try alternatives first. "
Let me just give you a moment to digest what that means

drunkenmadman @ghorrall found via holistictwitter. Are you serious with the claim "Some medication are unavoidable, but we always try alternatives first"?

ghorrall @drunkenmadman Yes I am. What do you mean am I serious? I always try and find the alternative before I have to settle for the man made junk "


So Genevieve is actively trying to avoid medication for her sick children. I feel ill typing that. I'd be angry, but I can't summon up the bile. It's being squashed down by the realisation that this woman just wants the best for her kids, like anyone else would, but is going to cause them harm. In the case of the kid with epilepsy, withholding medications could result in death.

You see, cessation of symptoms can happen upon administration of a medication that does nothing. Here's the bad-case scenario:

Genevieve will find something at her local herbal store that does absolutely nothing. Her child's symptoms will go into temporary remission around the same time, and Genevieve will link the two events. And cease using actual medication. And then her kid will have a seizure while Genevieve is in another room, and Genevieve's child will die.

And HolisticTwitter will be all supportive, and Genevieve will thank them.

I feel sick.

Someone help me out here.

I could just not care. I could engage hate mode and do the "I don't care if stupid people kill themselves" thing. But it's not the stupid person who's going to die here. I could do it. I already hate Genevieve. She's an ignorant, ugly fat fuck who couldn't think her way out of a paper bag. See, I can do it. I can hate her.

But she could be killing her kids, with the help of a twitter community, and I don't think I can do anything to stop it.


Blogosphere, help me. Someone get me angrily drunk or something. Please.

[Update 1/2/09 4pm]

Genevieve has messaged me and has been very clear. She is NOT witholding epilepsy, PDD or reactive airway medication, which was my biggest fear. She is in consultation with a Paediatrician and does seem to have at least an understanding that sometimes the man-made medication is the only way.

I remain concerned, however, due to serious misconceptions about medical science expressed in her response, and a strong desire to replace man-made medication with alternatives. The scenario I outlined above is marginally less likely, but still very much possible, due to this clarification. The result though, is that Genevieve and her family could still become victims of quackery.

I also remain concerned not only about Genevieve, but about the HolisticTwitter community as a whole, which openly champions anti-vaccination, "alternative" medicine and provides a support framework which reinforces misconceptions and provides rationalisation by the bucketload. I will continue to reserch and expose the goings on within this community. I believe harm and death is inevitable from this, but I want to try and stop it if I can.

Lastly, thanks all my twitterfriends who helped cheer me up today.

posted @ Sunday, February 1, 2009 2:11 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Twitter: best thing and worst thing of the weekend so far.

Left by websinthe at 2/1/2009 2:38 PM
Jesus mate, that's horrifying.

It's people like this that disengage their god-given ability to fucking think that make me, not only mad, but realise why the Government feels so safe about removing choice from parents.

Just because it's in a half dozen books doesn't mean it's fact. There is an entire industry of self help and motivation (SHAM) authors out there that circle jerk each other into credibility.

Western medicine needs to go through dozens of scientifically rigorous tests before it can be used by the public. Alternative medicines do not.

I should know, I've been a part of said tests. One slight stuff up and it's back to square one.

The human body is complex and dynamic, the ability for alternative medicines to heal is well founded only in the science of placebos.

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