For those of you who do not know me, I am a skeptical blogger who has been writing since August of 2009. I mainly focus on topics, as my blog header indicates, dealing with atheism, theism, and philosophy.
This year, I’ve started writing about the claims a local chiropractor named Dr. Dan Golaszewski makes because I follow many science blogs and noted that Dr. Dan is injecting theological claims into his practice. My first post on Dr. Dan was on June 16 followed by an Examiner.com article on December 10 [with comments from Dr. Steve Novella] and most recently on December 13.
As is typically the case on my blog, my intention was to examine his claims and see if they had any merit (as I did). I did not, in any way, misrepresent his position or pull claims out of the sky, but rather took information from his radio show, his website, and from literature in his office. Despite this, the chiropracter’s fiancee’ sent me an e-mail last night at 8:08 PM:
…The reason I am e-mailing you is to request that you leave Dan and his practice alone. He will not be engaging in any debate or discussion with you, Kenny Luck, or affiliates. Your requests for answers aren’t stemming from a genuine interest in Chiropractic, wellness, or healthcare; But rather a place of wanting to disprove. You seem like a very intelligent man and I respect you and your views. Please respect his. Dan is not forcing care or his beliefs on anyone. If a patient or potential patient does not agree with chiropractic; they leave, it’s very simple. If the slanderous posts do not stop; He will be taking legal action. Many thanks for your understanding.
I was quite alarmed to read this because my treatment of Dr. Dan’s claims has been more than charitable, I e-mailed him the initial blog post welcoming comments, and made sure that I took claims directly from him instead of simply pulling ideas out of the sky.
As a blogger and a writer, I have the freedom to write about what I want and who I want as long as I am not making false claims that may damage persons’ reputations. I have, of course, freedom of speech as a United States citizen. I’ve responded to the claims of many people including Dr. Oz, William Lane Craig, John Haught, Bill Donohue, Rick Perry, Michael Voris, and many more. I have never received any threats of legal action from them and did not expect to.
The internet is an open forum in which people can share their ideas and, when doing so in a fair manner, should not fear legal action or otherwise a ‘chilling effect’ which should stop or threaten to stop persons from expressing their opinions and responding to others’ opinions.
Dr. Dan has a radio show and a website in which he is more than happy to express his opinions and I, likewise, have a blog, an Examiner.com page, and a podcast in which I am happy to express my opinions. If we happen to disagree, we should be able to talk about our disagreement without threat of legal action. Dr. Dan, if he would like, is more than welcome to respond to any of my blog posts or spoken words, but he has not done so to my knowledge.
Returning to the e-mail…
Dr. Dan’s fiancee’ asks me to leave Dan and his practice alone. She can request this all she wants, but I’m not going to stop writing about what I want to write about. I want to respond to Dr. Dan’s claims and express what I think about them. I have every right to do so.
She claims that I am genuinely not interested in chiropractic, wellness, or healthcare and notes that I am only interested in disproving. This claim has no merit and even if it were true, it would not matter. I started to write about Dr. Dan, anyway, precisely because I was interested in the claims he was making and decided to take some time to investigate his claims. After some research, I found many of the claims he made were dubious and had little to no merit, so I authored my findings in order to share with my readers.
She wants me to “respect” Dr. Dan’s views and notes that he is not “forcing beliefs” on anyone. I don’t see why I should be morally compelled or otherwise to “respect views.” Views have no cognition and can not be offended. Further, disagreement is not disrespect. In the ‘wide world of the internet,’ claims are made and claims are responded to. If one wants ‘beliefs respected,’ one should probably not share his/her beliefs with the general public. In posts on Dr. Dan, I have identified claims that Dr. Dan has made and have responded to them. How is this ‘disrespect?’
I’m not quite sure what ‘forcing beliefs’ means and how this is applicable. Regardless of whether Dr. Dan is forcing beliefs or not, I can and should respond to the claims he is making if I desire to do so. I write about many, many, many topics on this blog and am, in no way, ‘singling out’ Dr. Dan as a big target of this blog, but rather have authored two blog posts and an Examiner.com article dealing with Dr. Dan. If Dr. Dan wants to put his ideas in the public sphere, he should expect for his ideas to be critiqued; it should be no surprise when persons are responding to his claims. He is, after all, a public figure.
Additionally, I am not, in any way, forcing people to stop going to Dr. Dan’s office, reading what he has to say, listening to his radio show, etc. I am merely responding to his claims and offering my take.
She notes that if people do not “agree with chiropractic” they leave [the office]. So be it. I, in fact, visited Dr. Dan’s office during a free trial period, “did not agree,” stayed for the spinal examination, and left. I went to find more information and further investigate the claims that were made. Indeed, no one is forced to stay in his office or assent to the claims Dr. Dan is presenting…and no one is forced to read my writing or assent to the claims I am making. Like Dr. Dan, I am presenting information for listeners/readers and the ‘decision’ is ‘on them.’ Persons have the ability to ‘make up their own minds.’ Welcome, Dr. Dan, to the internet.
The biggest claim, as you might image, is that I am slandering Dr. Dan in my posts. In a written format, there is no such thing as slander, but rather there may or may not be libel. In my posts, though, there is no libel. I take claims from Dr. Dan’s radio show, website, and office literature and respond to them. I am not, in any way, slandering Dr. Dan nor am I libeling Dr. Dan.
In my original post, I wrote:
All of the statements I made about him and his works are not intended to defame him or cast him as a ‘bad guy,’ but rather are to critique his beliefs, his work, and his methods. Posting like this is protected free speech. I gave my readers examples and direct quotes from Dr. Dan’s website, podcast, and from my visit to his office. I welcome feedback from Dr. Dan.
My criticisms and comments are not even unfounded. In a recent interview I had with Dr. Steve Novella of Yale University, Novella responded to Dr. Dan’s claims. I, of course, am not a medical doctor, but Dr. Novella is. Here is some text from my Examiner.com article with comments from Dr. Novella:
Dr. Steve Novella — clinical neurologist, Director of General Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast — commenting specifically for this article, says that Golaszewski is “blurring the lines between medicine and faith healing” and explains that the sublaxation theory Golaszewski endorses “is pseudoscience, has not been demonstrated to exist, has no validity and is part of a pre-scientific superstitious belief system that has long ago been eclipsed by understanding of anatomy and physiology.”
Golaszewski, in the April 30, 2011 episode of his radio show, says that people should ask what they can do naturally to get off their “toxic medications” and notes that vaccines, flu shots and fluoride contain toxins that should be avoided. Golaszewski also says that “medications will not create a healthier body, but rather will create a sicker body” while also saying that people should continue taking medications and listen to their doctors. Dr. Novella notes that Golaszewski “wants to have it both ways and be protected from consequences.”
Dr. Novella says that “everything is a toxin at some dose, but the substances in vaccines are in small doses, safe, do not cause health problems and are studied extensively. There’s no health risk at all. [Golaszewski] is scaring people without scientific backing.” Fluoride,” Dr. Novella notes, “ has been studied, makes people healthier, reduces cavities and poses no health risk at the level given.”
Golaszewski claims that “we were created for at least 80 years of incredible health and happiness” and also claims that “[o]ur bodies were created in perfect harmony and to sustain a state of balance, function, and healing” Dr. Novella says that this is “not based on anything” and says, “Prior to science-based medicine, we lived into our 40s and lived physically miserable lives. We now live to 80 because of science-based medicine.”
Dr. Novella explains, “Practitioners of ‘alternative medicine’ think they have the secrets, but they’ve made up superstitious nonsense. There is no secret information. If [Golaszewski] had actual knowledge of or demonstrated sublaxations, everyone would be doing it, but they are not because the evidence is against it.”
Dr. Dan and his fiancee’ have no basis whatsoever to sue me for slander. As I blogger and an American citizen, if have the right to write about whatever I want and express my opinion. If persons happen to disagree with me or I happen to disagree with them, we can write about our disagreement.
As always, I encourage readers to share my content and am happy when they do.
I encourage my readers to share this post, my previous posts about Dr. Dan, and author their own criticisms of Dr. Dan’s claims. Let Dr. Dan know that it is inappropriate to threaten legal action when people are sharing their opinions on the internet. If Dr. Dan can make claims, so can we.
My Examiner.com article on Dr. Dan with comments from Dr. Steve Novella: