Nov 282011
 

Rhys Morgan is a 17-year-old Welsh student who writes a blog called Skeptical.

Rhys received legal threats from an individual called Marc Stephens, purporting to represent the Burzynski Clinic after he had raised legitimate questions about a controversial cancer treatment called antineoplastons.  This treatment costs patients  $200,000 just to participate in clinical trials.  Patients receiving this treatment must stop using all other forms of anti-cancer therapy.

According to the American Cancer Society,

Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences

It also advises as follows:

Most cancer specialists believe there is insufficient evidence to recommend use of antineoplastons except perhaps in the context of clinical trials that will provide reliable information on the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.

And this:

Some patients claim to have been helped by antineoplaston therapy, but these anecdotal reports are not considered evidence of effectiveness by the medical community, either for this or for any other type of therapy. Some promising results for the use of antineoplaston therapy have been reported in small studies. Most of these studies were directed by Dr. Burzynski himself.

Normally, when trying to persuade the scientific community about something, the correct thing to do is submit one’s methods to independent, randomised testing, not to rely on studies carried out by the promoter of the treatment.

When Rhys asked Stephens to point out what factual errors existed in the articles he had written, he received further legal threats and other not-so-subtle attempts at intimidation, including Google Earth photos of his house.  Marc is very fond of pompous-sounding legalisms, of the sort one might pick up from watching too much afternoon TV.  He’s big into issuing FINAL WARNINGs, but very light on facts.  Despite repeatedly being asked to specify what was incorrect in the articles, he refuses to do so, either because the answers wouldn’t suit him or because he’s unable to do so.

Marc shouts a lot:

REMOVE ARTICLE IMMEDIATELY.

GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.

He doesn’tappear to be a lawyer, judging by the grammar and spelling in his legal threats, but he has now passed the case to an outfit called Dozier Internet Law.  I’m sure this eminent firm will point out to him that he has no case, since Rhys Morgan published nothing that was factually incorrect about the Burzynski Clinic.

Yet again, however, we have an example of alternative practitioners attempting to silence their critics.  A scientist confident of his findings would reply with facts, not threats.  Marc should understand this and govern himself accordingly.

______________________

It only seemed fair to send Marc an email, thus:

Hi there Marc.

I’ve enjoyed reading your comments here and here.  I also note that you tried to intimidate a 17-year-old kid into silence.  Did you know that thanks to your efforts the whole world now knows about the dangers of Burzynski’s unproven treatments?

You strike me as a complete bullshitter, and I propose to write an article later today calling you a coward, a bully and an idiot.  I also propose to cast doubt on the efficacy of Dr Burzynski’s unproven therapy.
I hope this is ok with you.  Please feel free to forward all threats to this email address.
This is just a small point, but details are important.  When you pretend to be a lawyer and threaten me, please remove the mis-spellings and grammatical errors you made in your previous threats.  
Regards

 

If you feel strongly enough about his bullying of a schoolboy, you might like to write directly to him and explain how you feel about his behaviour.

Marc’s email address, which he put in the public domain when attempting to bully a correspondent on Yahoo,  is mastephens1@gmail.com

__________________________

Update: Marc  has still not responded to the email.  However, I look forward to receiving his legalistic threats in due course.  I will publish every single thing he sends if he sends anything at all.

Update: 29 November.  Still nothing from Marc.  Not even a short threat in red lettering.  I’m disappointed.

 

It only seemed right to send him another email.

 

Hi Marc.  No reply from you yet. Not even a single legal threat.  This is disappointing.

I thought you might like to see this list of people calling your boss a fraud.  Looks like a long night for you threatening all of them.
Please come back with your legal threat to me as soon as possible so that I can publish it
Regards

__________________________

Elsewhere:

Quackwatch

Quackometer

Pharyngula 

 

Josephine Jones

And here’s a full compendium of the bullying threats emanating from Marc Stephens, who increasingly comes across as an empty-headed bullshitter.  We’ve seen plenty of them before, and no doubt we’ll see more like him in the future.  Let’s treat him as we would any other waffle merchant and laugh at him.  But at the same time, let’s feel sorry for those who submit themselves to pointless tinkering at the hands of his employer while at the same time handing over every penny they own.  How sad.

 

______________________

And in this exchange of emails, Marc Stephens proves that he’s not only a thug and a fool, but also batshit crazy.

  11 Responses to “Burzynski Clinic Supporter Threatens 17-Year-Old Blogger”

Comments (9) Pingbacks (2)
  1.  

    Can you blame Marc? Well yes you can blame him actually, but the larger point is that the system will reward him if his intimidations success but will not punish him if it fails (the legal system anyway). This asymmetry encourages him to employ such barratry.

    The legal system is structure in such as to encourage this kind of behaviour so we should not be surprised when it occurs. If we want these increasingly frequent outrages to stop occurring, we must change the legal system to discourage them.

  2.  

    Well done Bock. I don’t like bullies.

  3.  

    Bock is this the same doctor and clinic in todays evening herald?

  4.  

    Thanks for this succinct summary

    I’m keeping a list on posts about Stephens threatening bloggers at http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/11/a-pr-flack-attempts-bullying-ridicule-ensues.html

  5.  

    Theres an article in the herald about a girl from kerry called hannah. The website address is http://www.teamhannah.com

  6.  

    How sad. Giving desperate people false hope and taking their money for an unproven treatment.

  7.  

    According to that webpage they have raised over seventy thousand. A quick google search throws up countless articles about this fraud. Should i try contact them? Would feel like a massive arsehole but it cant be right to let them throw away precious time and money on this guys bullshit promises

  8.  

    They might as well be fundraising to send somebody to Lourdes. The standard of proof is about the same.

  9.  

    Lay off Lourdes. I know a lot of people whove been there and said it was great craic. Many couldn’t walk getting back on the plane. They were fine going by the way but the nightlife is top notch apparently. I suggest we go on a fact finding mission.

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