By Michael Hawkins
“The Streisand Effect” is a phenomenon named after the actions of Barbara Streisand. In 2003, she sued a website for hosting an aerial picture of her mansion, citing privacy concerns. She lost not only the suit, but even more of her privacy. The website found itself with 400,000+ hits over the next month. In short, attempts at censorship on the Internet are often met with higher publicity for the censored person, video, or picture. It is important to keep that in mind while reading the rest of this article.
Andreas Moritz is a quack from South Carolina who despises all good medical advice, acts against the well being of the sick, and preys on the vulnerable.
On his website, http://www.ener-chi.com, Moritz claims “Cancer does not kill a person afflicted with it! What kills a cancer patient is not the tumor, but the numerous reasons behind cell mutation and tumor growth. These root causes should be the focus of every cancer treatment, yet most oncologists typically ignore them. Constant conflicts, guilt and shame, for example, can easily paralyze the body’s most basic functions, and lead to the growth of a cancerous tumor.”
This is pure crackpot talk. The man has no education in oncology or basic biology and is outright dangerous. That’s why he tried to get my website, http://www.forthesakeofscience.wordpress.com, shut down.
It began May 24, 2009. I made a post titled “Andreas Moritz is a stupid, dangerous man”. In it I quote from an article written by Moritz in which he repeats much of the above anti-scientific, stupid, dangerous garbage above. He blames the victim, advocates against standard treatments, and is, well, stupid and dangerous.
Moritz soon responded, repeating his crackpot claims and demanding respect. As someone who actually likes science, I demanded evidence first. He had none.
Eventually, Moritz posted a nearly 10,000 word spam article of his (which, for some strange reason, ended with an anti-vaccine rant) and scuttled off. I presumed this was the last of my direct contact with this crackpot.
Soon my post started to show up as the number 2 result in Google for “Andreas Moritz”. The pleasure I took in this, however, was cut short February 17.
On that day, my hosting site, WordPress, suspended and blocked my website. The reason has to do with local naturopathic quack, Christopher Maloney.
Two weeks earlier I got a notice which suspended my posting rights for several days. After WordPress made me contact them (because telling me directly obviously doesn’t make sense, right?), I was informed they had received a notice which said Christopher Maloney was an actual doctor. This ran counter to a post I had where I stated precisely the opposite. They told me to edit or delete the post.
Since Maloney is a naturopathic doctor under Maine law, I corrected my post to state that he is only a doctor by a low set of standards and that the medical community rejects his status as legitimate. This apparently wasn’t good enough, hence the eventual block.
I quickly contacted PZ Myers of the blog Pharyngula, one of the largest science blogs on the Internet. He publicized my case, titling a post “Christopher Maloney is a quack”.
But it was soon discovered that Maloney was claiming to not be the one who contacted WordPress, counter to my assumption. As it turned out, Moritz would later send me an email where he bragged of his accomplishment – while also threatening “an expensive lawsuit”.
That was a mistake.
Myers soon had a post titled “Andreas Moritz is a cancer quack”. The story spread across the Internet, finding its way on to Richard Dawkins’ site, http://www.richarddawkins.net, and making the rounds through the rest of the blogosphere and Twitter. I was famous on the Internet.
It soon became apparent that Maloney and Moritz had been in contact prior to all this. That means Maloney’s claim of not being responsible for getting my site shut down is disingenuous at the very least. He shoulders the anti-science burden as much as the cancer quack.
After 6 days of the Internet tearing the two quacks apart, WordPress found its spine and returned my site. My post is again number two – but now there are far more sites which tell their readers of the quackery of Andreas Moritz. Oh, and do search “Christopher Maloney Maine”, sans the quotation marks, on both Google and YouTube.
Whatever pettiness may seemingly be apparent in all this is really a genuine, deep disdain for anti-scientific quacks. Maloney offers treatments which are ineffective, poorly evidenced, and not supported by the scientific community. His danger is passive in that what he offers does no direct harm, but it does do harm when it delays real treatments for real health issues. A person with stage 1 stomach cancer may see Maloney for an undiagnosed pain, only to be ‘treated’ with some useless herbal remedy. The cancer will continue on its path, ignoring the ineffective naturopathic ‘treatments’. By the time a real medical doctor makes a correct diagnosis, it may be too late. Why so many states, including Maine, allow people to this to other people is a mystery.
Moritz, on the other hand, is the lowest of the low. He preys upon the sick for monetary gain, offering actively dangerous advice. He blames the victim, incoherently babbles malarkey about real medical science, and tells people to forego real treatments. The disdain for this man should be high among all people, whether he got their blogs shutdown or not.