"Here is an actual doctor, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny. Here is her information. Can you refute all that? of course you can't. You wanted an actual doctor, with some credentials; there it is! Dr Sherri Tenpenny is one of the best speakers out there on the truth on vaccines, well referenced; check it out! http://drtenpenny.com/default.aspx" -Lowell Hubbs
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."
If she isn't recommending the supplements to prevent or treat disease then what exactly are they intended to be for other than expanding her personal bank account? Wouldn't you think if Tenpenny is so convinced any of these supplements work that she would actually have some clinical trials or peer-reviewed science proving the benefits? Apparently not as it is much easier to just slap a disclaimer on the product so you don't have to accept any responsibility when it doesn't work, and then you can charge excessive amounts of money for a bottle of supplements that likely cost pennies to produce.
It gets even better on the Tenpenny site however. Are you scared of contracting H1N1? If so, Tenpenny has a "wellness" kit she can send to you for the low price of $199.99 (plus shipping and handling)! According to the website the kit "contains 7 supplements and 2 sets of instructions, for boosting resistance and for addressing flu-like symptoms if they occur". What a fabulous deal - if you act now maybe she will toss in a free Sham-Wow*!
* Note: Sham-Wow offer is not real, but should be as it makes just as much sense as spending $200 for some vitamins.
Of course no website is complete without the various unscientific books and CDs, the anti-vaccination t-shirts, and the popular "members only" section which offers even more products and even more ridiculous prices. The only thing missing from her website is a donation section where you can just send in your money and get nothing in return... oh wait - that is there too! You can even "donate" via PayPal - simply amazing.
So it seems more than obvious Tenpenny is interested in making a buck off of fear, because after 20 minutes visiting her website even I felt like I needed a shower and some Vitamin D, but does she have any real science to back up her claims? I was determined to find out, so I clicked on her "articles" section of the website.
Within the articles section Tenpenny has an impressive list of articles written by her, which I will admit surprised me as most of the anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists rely upon ramblings of others rather than taking the time to write anything new themselves. So as I started reviewing her articles, but what I found wasn't science or fact, but rather opinion after opinion most of which don't even include any sources.
Of course, at the bottom of many of the articles there was either a link to her store, or a link to a specific product (such as a DVD or book) which goes into further detail. Apparently she doesn't want to give away any secrets for free, so you have to pay.
There were some interesting quotes however, starting with the following:
"As contrary as it seems, germs are attracted to the diseased tissues; they are not the primary cause of it." - Sherri Tenpenny
one of the best speakers out there". Tenpenny might be a riveting speaker, and she might even be popular among the anti-vaccination crowd, but how exactly does that give credence to what she says? Does she have any science to back up her statements? No. Does she have any peer-reviewed studies published which can prove vaccines are harmful? No. Does she have case studies showing the differences between vaccinated and non-vaccinated children? No. Does she have double-blind clinical trials showing long-term effects of vaccinations upon the health of a child or adult? No.
So what does she have exactly? Well aside from some DVDs and supplements, I guess I don't really know. Anyone can claim they are an expert as Tenpenny does, but the facts simply don't support that viewpoint. As to anyone having to refute Tenpenny's claims, once again I feel the need to point out how the simple concept of proof works. It is not my duty to refute anything Tenpenny has said as the burden of proof is upon her. That means Tenpenny needs to provide real science in order to support her claims, yet it appears she is either unwilling or unable to do so, thus her claims are without merit.
I have noticed that Mr. Hubbs often relies upon the fallacy of argument from ignorance, as he often places the burden of such proof upon the refutation rather than on the proof of assertion. Obviously if Mr. Hubbs cannot understand how legitimate debate actually works, it is doubtful we will ever make any headway, but at the very least it remains extremely easy to show examples of his ignorance.
If I was to state "driving a blue car increases your risk of lung cancer by 1200%", you would expect me to support that claim with real scientific evidence. It would not be sufficient for me to write an article or an op-ed piece making the claim, nor would it be sufficient to cite the articles or columns written by others who share the same viewpoint. However if I followed the logic of Mr. Hubbs, I would simply state it is a fact and then require anyone who challenges this viewpoint to provide scientific evidence to prove that driving a blue car does not increase the risk of lung cancer. Since no such science would obviously exist, I would then go on to proclaim I have 'won' the debate.
However that isn't how real arguments work, and if Mr. Hubbs had more than a high school education he might know that. The duty to prove a claim in this case rests upon the person making the claim as if a person makes an ontologically positive claim, there is a heavily weighted burden of proof placed upon that claim.
Thus, in this case the only acceptable level of supporting evidence comes in the form of science - and that is the fact that Mr. Hubbs and so many of his fellow anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists continually ignore. Therefore until Tenpenny or Mr. Hubbs can actually provide some level of scientific evidence to support any of their theories, those theories will remain just what they are... unsupported opinion. Perhaps one day Mr. Hubbs will learn what a valid argument really is, and perhaps one day he will understand complex concepts such as philosophic burden of proof, but until then he will remain nothing other than a anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist.