Anecdotes, Absence of Science Make Natural Causes ‘Not Credible’
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2007 – A newly released book on dietary supplements was dismissed today by a leading authority on dietary supplements as “not credible,” because of its lack of science, historical inaccuracies and emphasis on anecdotal evidence and opinion.
“The book Natural Causes cannot be considered a credible, scientific work,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a national trade association for the supplement industry. “This is an assortment of extreme anecdotes that exploit rare and tragic misfortunes in an agenda-driven attempt to sell books.”
Mr. Mister described the book as one in which science is “largely absent,” and noted that author Dan Hurley relies primarily on “personal opinion and isolated incidents to falsely imply that these cases represent the experience of the more than 150 million Americans who take safe, beneficial dietary supplements as part of their healthy lifestyle choices.”
According to Mr. Mister, the author demonstrates a lack of knowledge about dietary supplements that is reflected in the book’s opening chapter, in which he examines the use of bloodroot as a topical ointment for treating cancer. Bloodroot, when used as a salve, is not a dietary supplement. “He either has an appalling lack of understanding about even the most fundamental aspects of dietary supplements, or purposely chooses to mislead consumers in order to draw his conclusions,” said Mr. Mister.
Footnotes in the book further demonstrate the volume’s absence of science in drawing flawed conclusions. “The book includes more than 200 footnotes, but a cursory examination shows the author repeatedly footnotes his own inquiries, other people’s opinions and people who spoke anonymously,” said Mr. Mister. “This is not the bibliography of a serious piece of work.”
Mr. Mister also questioned the propriety of advocating censorship, noting that Mr. Hurley claims it is “inexcusable,” for news reporters and editors to quote CRN on matters of science. “Our organization is predicated on science,” said Mr. Mister. “It’s just wrong to try to censor fact-based viewpoints in an effort to push an unfounded regulatory agenda.”
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members voluntarily adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.
CONTACT: Judy Blatman at CRN, 202-204-7962