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.
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.