Talk:Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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Edit note 3

I believe I was referring to the reference provided, in which PCRM was listed among other organizations as 'Questionable'. In this article, there was a link for their website.[1] The other article is identical to the one I just referred to in my last note called called 'Why I am Not a Vegetarian', by William Jarvis, where PCRM is mentioned only in passing. In this article, vegetarianism is described as:

"riddled with delusional thinking from which even scientists and medical professionals are not immune."
"For the ideologist, vegetarianism is a hygienic religion. It enables believers to practice self-denial. As a religion, vegetarianism attracts the guilt-ridden. It attracts masochists because it gives guilt a boost. And it seduces the unskeptical by causing guilt and/or by instilling false guilt. Guilt leads to self-denial, even asceticism. The belief that salvation is attainable by eschewing worldly pleasures marked the asceticism of early Christian zealots. Similarly, health neurotics with medical problems seem to believe that the more they restrict their alimentary pleasures, the more their health will improve. Fasting, austere diets, enemas, and the ingestion of bitter herbs are consistent with the psychological needs of health neurotics, many of whom shun those voices of conventional medicine and public health that might disenchant them." [2]

The single article that actually focused on PCRM (by the same author) was so outdated as to be erroneous and misleading. Like the former article, it also contained inappropriate and spurious remarks which, though everyone is entitled to their opinion, also fall more along the lines of personal prejudices and views:

"NCAHF considers vegetarianism, particularly veganism, a hygienic religion that meets deep emotional needs of its followers. Adherents cannot be trusted to be objective, reliable sources of information on anything that bears upon its fundamental paradigm. PCRM pretends to speak for physicians who are functioning as medical experts. In reality, it is speaking for a handful of ideologists who happen to be physicians, but who are functioning as vege-evangelists."[3]

According to the SW article, NCAHF 'also produces a weekly online newsletter in association with'. [4] This appears to be a confusing rehashing of the same information. Further, the information on the USDA and other groups was intended as an update and clarification. I have no idea how this could cause offense. The other information responded to your dismissal of the AMA's 150 plus years of heavy handed tactics as:

'unethical practices in some vague general sense'.

In the future, I would suggest you do your own research, rather than cutting and pasting outdated articles from Wikipedia. Further, your academic credentials are not at issue here. However, you are certainly welcome to edit under your real name and list them on your user page.

User: Lisa G. Leming 9/5/11

Quackwatch critique of PCRM, superfluous lecture on institutional monopolies of knowledge production

"Further, many of the referenced groups such as the AMA and the American Dietetic Association, and the USDA have long since revised their policies to favor more plant based diets for health reasons.", and this revision on their part indicates, what, a mainstream capitulation to or a victory for the PCRM itself? Speaking of appropriation...

The article by Dr. Steven Barrett, was simply a long list of 'Questionable' organizations (PCRM among them), actually, Quackwatch has their own article on veganism in which the PCRM is addressed. PCRM is not "simply" a single entry in "a long list" on the QW site as you erroneously claim.

"Orthodox medicine is heavily geared toward profitable drugs and surgery, hence it's apathy and sometimes hostility towards holistic and gentler regimens, which it regards as an encroachment and a threat", you are again being presumptuous about my background, assuming a lack of knowledge on my part on how scientific institutions function and how scientific knowledge is reproduced. I took a semester-long course in Social Studies of Science and Technology at my university. Do you see me lecturing you on the maintenance of institutional knowledge-monopolies by vested interests?

Anyway, it is abundantly clear that you won't let me or anyone else edit the PCRM article.

Edit note 2

I believe that PCRM is both a health and animal advocacy group, mainly focusing on diet and animal research (as mentioned in the article). It is also included in the the animal rights category and its relationship with PETA is mentioned in section 6. I don't believe this is generally considered to be a discrepancy, since the two can be complimentary. As mentioned in the article, the two apparently work together and have overlapping memberships. However, this association has apparently been used in an attempt to obfuscate issues. 'Documentation' naturally refers to the large body of work which PCRM refers to, mainly outside and independently conducted clinical studies and research. A small portion of which are featured in this article (and even on this talk page).

The only article you provided that focused predominately on PCRM was an article from the mid 90's published by NCAHF and written by William T. Jarvis, PhD. Many of it's references were well over 20 years old and some from the late 1980's. Further, many of the referenced groups such as the AMA and the American Dietetic Association, and the USDA have long since revised their policies to favor more plant based diets for health reasons. The USDA updated it's dietary recommendations to favor plant based foods in June of 2011, as mentioned in the PCRM article. See also USDA Dietary Guidelines. Another article by Dr. Jarvis focused mainly on diet and had references dating from the 1960's to 1995. In this article he is listed as 'founder and president of NCAHF'. The pdf list of resolutions from the AMA House of Delegates (5/16/07) is a list of AMA positions and it's objections to specific PCRM positions. It is not a research paper or an article and contains no referencing. The article by Dr. Steven Barrett, was simply a long list of 'Questionable' organizations (PCRM among them) including alternative medicine patients groups, sites, practitioners and even animal rights organizations. Currently, the NCAHF, appears to be a website and newsletter run by Dr. Barrett. It has had no financial information available since 2005.

I would once again suggest that you refer to SW articles or even the websites for these organizations for their views on diet and other issues, rather than relying on outdated criticism, most of which has proved to be unfounded and incorrect. Further, a group does not have to be a designated front group, in order to have conflicts of interest which influence their attitudes. In the case of the AMA and orthodox medicine in general, this is actually a proven fact. Orthodox medicine is heavily geared toward profitable drugs and surgery, hence it's apathy and sometimes hostility towards holistic and gentler regimens, which it regards as an encroachment and a threat. Much of this is elaborated on in the links I provided and their own SW page. There is a growing body of work on this very subject, some of which is available on their page. However, in the absence of concrete evidence that PCRM's various agendas and mission are a genuine conflict of interest or in any way less than productive or counterproductive, they remain opinions, personal prejudices or even strategies used for the purpose of discrediting and marginalizing. To continuously stress this issue in the absence of same, only illustrates this point.

User: Lisa G. Leming 9/5/11

appropriation of legitimate criticism by front-groups

"Other articles you may want to look at are"... excuse me? I have successfully completed a trimester-long obligatory course in Rhetoric, Dialectics and Logic at my university. I also have an MA in Media Studies. Your suggestion that I am unfamiliar with propaganda techniques is amusingly presumptuous. Please, do not fantasize out loud about the level of ignorance you project on the people who engage you in Talk pages.

I find your suggestion that to criticize the tactics of the PCRM is "disinfo", and your attempt at severely circumscribing the debate by suggesting that the one and only legitimate target of critique is "the documentation of PCRM" (and what would this vague designation entail? Only articles and books by Neil Barnard? All instances of dietary advice anywhere ever? Leaked documents? Statements by their spokespersons?), well, care to explain why it is disinfo to criticize the tactics of a group that is in fact not just a dietary advice platform but also an advocacy group? What is an advocacy group if not all about the methods (or, to use your term, tactics) they use to achieve their goals? Care to explain how you yourself negotiate amongst these different hats that the PCRM wears, advocates on the one hand, public advisors on the other? It seems to me like no clear distinction is made amongst the different functions that the PCRM has taken upon itself, and thus advocates of the advocacy group are able to hop from "PCRM the dietary advice outlet" to "PCRM the animal right advocates", reconfiguring what passes for legitimate criticism as they ping-pong between the two poles.

The point is not that AMA have engaged in unethical practices in some vague general sense (apparently nothing serious enough to stop PCRM's Neil Barnard from being, as you yourself point out, a life-time member). The point is that the author of the SW article, rather than reflecting the entire spectrum of criticism of the PCRM, conflates diverse sources of criticism with the CCF as if they are the only ones who have criticized the PCRM, casting the CCF in the role of umbrella critics who attack the PCRM on behalf of all others. Take for example the following statement of yours:

"Naturally, groups and lobbies such as CCF, the NDC, the USDA and the AMA would tend to "disagree"."User talk:MythBusterKel

To place an organization such as the AMA in the company of the CCF is unfair (and has nothing to do with "respect for tradition", that is projecting again). You write, "it is a dangerous practice to continuously repeat unsubstantiated quotes". It's equally dangerous to conflate legitimate critics with front-groups simply because front-groups have a tendency to usurp the criticism of others. This conflation actually assist front groups with their appropriation of legitimate criticism. It seems to me like you are unwilling to accept any criticism of the PCRM, and are more than happy to see legitimate critique appropriated by the likes of CCF so you can knock it all down with one single blow, simply through "guilt by association" fallacies, like you do when you point out that, "NCAHF is an outgrowth of the AMA's Coordinating Conference on Health Information (CCHI)"... yes, and? This is a guilt by association fallacy and is in fact what the CCF does with PCRM and PETA. Non-front critics deserve better than this, their legitimate criticism should be carefully separated to be protected from front-group appropriation. Swedit 12:25, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Edit note


If you will read the PCRM article carefully, you will find that their assertions are referenced by outside sources. Both internal and external links on these issues are provided in the article. For more on the AMA and PCRM, please look at section 4 on their own SW page. As for criticism from other groups, see also User talk:MythBusterKel where several instances are analyzed and documented. As I mentioned there:

"The point of SW is not to create controversy by inserting unsubstantiated claims, opinions and points of view; but providing clear and factual information. If wealthy and powerful industries such as the processed food, meat & dairy, animal testing and drug industry, cannot refute evidence; they tend to rely on various forms of disinformation, which can include censoring, marginalizing and smears. However, it seems as if PCRM has made it's case very well."

I am afraid the 'animal rights agenda' issue has already been covered and discussed ad nauseum by groups such as Center for Consumer Freedom. This is obviously due to an absence of clear evidence against this group. Even so, their criticism is duly noted here as well. However, to continuously focus on an upfront, clearly friendly and compatible association between two groups or issues, is giving undue attention and credibility. If groups such as the National Council Against Health Fraud can clearly refute PCRM's health information, they are welcome to do so. However, merely citing a group's practices as 'quackery' without clear, substantive evidence, is discrediting and marginalizing. According to the SW article on this group:

"The organization has rankled alternative medicine practitioners and supporters, some of which have questioned or attacked its credibility. For example, Dr. James P. Carter has noted that the NCAHF is an outgrowth of the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Coordinating Conference on Health Information (CCHI), which challenged an anti-trust ruling against the AMA. Wilk v. AMA was a federal anti-trust law suit brought against the AMA and 10 co-defendants by chiropractor Chester A. Wilk, DC and four co-plaintiffs. The law suit ruled against the AMA." [5], [6], [7]

The AMA itself has in fact, a long history of attacking alternative health practitioners, going back well over 150 years (since it's founding). See again also their SW page. Once again, if the AMA and other organizations can provide evidence to clearly refute (specifically) the documentation of PCRM, they are certainly welcome to do so. However, merely disagreeing with tactics and associations of a group in an attempt to obfuscate important issues, is misleading. It is one of the main functions of SW to expose and analyze various forms of disinformation and propaganda techniques.

That said, Wikipedia is hardly the gold standard for investigative analyses. Groups like the AMA, while not front groups per se, do engage in some unethical practices. One might plausibly argue that their long history of heavy handed tactics is the foundation of their organization. That said, it is a dangerous practice to continuously repeat unsubstantiated quotes and is in fact, a popular propaganda technique. This gets back to your original question of 'why is this criticism missing from your article?' One of the tactics of groups such as Center for Consumer Freedom, is to ascertain that unchallenged assertions are repeated ad nauseum and eventually regarded as fact. Even so, there is a link to the AMA and other groups critical of PCRM either in the main body of the article or in related links. Other articles you may want to look at are:

I would suggest that you take the time to familiarize yourself with SW practices and purposes, rather than the other way around. SW does not aspire to be simply report information based on 'notability' and popularity or even tradition, which, IMHO, is the mainstay of organizations like the AMA. If you will note on their own page, they were eventually forced to validate PCRM's dietary advice (after putting up a good fight) needless to say.

User: Lisa G. Leming 9/4/11

Comment requested on AMA and HCAHF criticism of the PCRM

This is for Lisa G. Leming or Lisa Graves or "Lisa L. December 6, 2010" (assuming these are three different people, otherwise, why use a different name each time). What is your response to non-front groups such as the AMA and the HCAHF and their criticism of PCRM, as quoted in the PCRM Wikipedia entry, reproduced below?

The National Council Against Health Fraud, a nonprofit, health agency focused upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery views the PCRM as a propaganda machine whose press conferences are charades for disguising its animal rights ideology as news events.[8][9]
The American Medical Association have accused PCRM practices as irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans and that they are blatantly misleading Americans on a health matter and concealing its true purpose as an animal 'rights' organization. They have also accused the PCRM of making misleading, false claims and misrepresenting the critical role animals play in research and teaching. Although the PCRM states that as of 2004 there is no longer acrimony between them and the AMA, disagreements have been recorded as recently as 2007[10][11]

Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Criticism and relationship with PETA

Surely you cannot accuse the American Medical Association or the HCAHF of being corporate fronts, so why is this criticism missing from your article? Seems to me like you are trying to make it seem as if the CCF front are the only ones criticizing the PCRM, when that is obviously not the case. Care to demonstrate how the AMA and the HCAHF are fronts?

Also, to you and everyone else contributing to discussion pages, please comply to Wiki etiquette by signing your contributions to Talk pages, by typing four tildes at the end, so that comments can be attributed to the right person. See: Wikipedia, Timestamp/Sign/Signatures Swedit 12:14, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

  1. "Questionable Organizations", accessed June 6, 2011.
  2. "Why I am Not a Vegetarian", accessed June 6, 2011
  3. William, Jarvis. Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine. The National Council Against Health Fraud. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  4. Consumer Health Digest, National Council Against Health Fraud, accessed September 2011
  5. Wilk v. American Medical Association, Global Oneness, accessed September 2011
  6. Wilk v. American Medical Association, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 895 F.2d 352, (Dec 1988- April 1990)
  7. James P. Carter Racketeering in Medicine: The Suppression of Alternatives, Hampton Roads, July 1992, ISBN 187890132X
  8. William, Jarvis. Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine. The National Council Against Health Fraud. Retrieved on 6 June 2011.
  9. "Why I am Not a Vegetarian", accessed June 6, 2011.
  11. "Questionable Organizations", accessed June 6, 2011.


The alleged agenda of PCRM is healthy nutrition. The actual agenda of PCRM is animal rights, and it is in part funded by PETA: see the section on its Wikipedia article.

Now one might say that animal rights is a worthy cause, and that justifies skewing nutritional research in favour of non-animal foods. Little white lies for a greater cause, if you will. But it is still using the exact same tactic that corporations and moral pressure groups on the political right use, and if SourceWatch is going to be fair and accurate, it should discuss that. Sagredo 03:23, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

I think it is abundantly clear that whoever started this article is pro-PCRM and is not interested in accurately and fairly representing the entire spectrum of critique. CCF are obviously not the only ones who have criticized the PCRM, though the author would have you believe they are, simply because CCF have a tendency to appropriate critique of the PCRM by others to use for their own ends. This inability to distinguish between entirely legitimate criticism that the CCF has usurped from others, versus anti-PCRM criticism that is entirely CCF's own (and in line with their agenda) is rather a careless conflation, and also rather unfair to non-corporate non-front critics of the PCRM. Swedit 12:14, 4 September 2011 (UTC)


I believe that PCRM is both a health and animal advocacy group, mainly focusing on diet and animal research (as mentioned in the article). It is also included in the the animal rights category and its relationship with PETA is mentioned in section 5. I don't believe this is generally considered to be a discrepancy, since the two can be complimentary. That said, the very clear trend of legitimate, nutritional research favors plant based (vegetarian or vegan) diets. This is not "little white lies for a greater cause, if you will" nor "skewing nutritional research in favour of non-animal foods". These diets are recommended by groups such as the American Dietetic Association (ADA):

"Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs." Vegetarian Diets, American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282, July 2009

Of course, this information was provided in the article's references as well as internal links. Sigh. However, here are some of them again. See also meat & dairy industry, sections 4, 5 & 6.

  1. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II The China Study, 2005, ISBN 1-932100-38-5
  2. ↑ Teresa T. Fung, ScD Dietary Patterns, Meat Intake and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women, Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 164 No. 20, November 2004
  3. ↑ Yiqing Song, MD A Prospective Study of Red Meat Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes in Middle-Aged and Elderly Women, American Diabetes Association, Inc., 27:2108-2115, 2004
  4. ↑ M.A. Sanjoaquin Nutrition, lifestyle and colorectal cancer incidence: a prospective investigation of 10,998 vegetarians and non-vegetarians in the United Kingdom British Journal of Cancer, pg 118–121, published on-line January 2004
  5. ↑ June M Chan Dairy products, calcium and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 74, No. 4, pg. 549-554, October 2001

Geez, I don't see any animal rights groups listed here. I guess that's because nutritional studies aren't generally conducted by animal rights groups (they are allowed to cite them though.) What a happy coincidence that what is beneficial for humans, benefits animals as well. I have to wonder why this is so upsetting and disconcerting to some? That said, please bother to at least thoroughly read an article and it's links, before making incorrect assumptions and spurious remarks. If the general tone of this article is too complimentary for your taste, it is due to your own personal prejudice, rather than inaccurate information.

Lisa L. December 6, 2010

they actually advocate a vegan diet, not so much a vegetarian diet. The PCRM regularly attack the dairy and milk industries. Vegetarians usually consume more dairy than omnivores, just take a look at India. MythBusterKel 03:23, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Claim omits key response

User Sagredo references a Wikipedia article on the PCRM to back up his assertion that the PCRM is a "front group" for PETA. Those allegations have been made by documented front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom, which was created by front group king, Richard Berman, which SourceWatch has extensively profiled. The editor fails to acknowledge the original source of those allegations and their own bias and agenda.

The editor also omits PCRM's response that allegation, as noted in the wiki article: "PCRM has responded to groups it says are funded by the 'meat, dairy or chemical industries' stating they have 'no corporate affiliation with any animal protection group' and that PETA's contribution was small," noting that the foundation gave Barnard's group $592,000 a decade ago, in 1999 and 2000, and also donated another $265,000 in the decade before that. See Meredith Wadman, Profile:Neal Barnard, Nature Medicine, 12, 602, (2006. PCRM has noted that CCF relies on "distortion and name-calling" by labelling health advocates as "food police," "nazis" or "nannies", and animal protection groups as "radicals or terrorists."