Afterthoughts on the "Dr. Dan debacle"

Welome Message From DrDan from Dr. Dan Golaszewski on Vimeo.

Chiropractor Dan Golaszwski's welcome message in which he claims that he has information which can "gain victory over any health condition" including "cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, back pain, sciatica, fibromyaligia, and even weight loss"

My readers, persons on r/skeptic, and readers of Pharyngula have learned that sending legal threats to bloggers does not quell criticism or intimidate bloggers, but rather serves to create more criticism of the person who was initially criticized, illuminates a problem, and makes persons who send baseless legal threats instead of responding to criticism look really, really, really bad.

For those of you who were not paying attention yesterday, I received two baseless legal threats from a finacee' of a chiropractor saying that if I continued authoring criticism of the chiropractor, they would pursue legal action for slander. After this, I received another e-mail claiming I was harassing the chiropractor.

Months ago, I authored an extensive blog post in which I discussed many of the claims this chiropractor was making in his office literature, on his website, and on his radio show (he's quite the public figure who is 'fair game' for fair criticism).

This chiropractor, Dan Golaszewski, claims that his “ONLY PRACTICE OBJECTIVE is to eliminate a major interference to the expression of the body's God-given, innate wisdom […] the specific adjustment of vertebral subluxation.”

Dan, in his video embedded above, says that his “mission is to set you free from whatever health struggle you may be dealing with.” He claims that information on his website can help you “gain victory over any health condition you may be suffering from including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and even weight loss.”

Additionally, on his radio show -- at least in his April 30 episode -- Dan Golaszewski warns people about 'toxic medications' because they can make the body a “toxic reservoir” and also says that vaccines, flu shots, and fluoride contain toxins that should be avoided. A disclaimer, though... Dan says he is not telling anyone to stop taking their medications. Mixed messages are the order of the day, it seems.

… and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In the age of the internet, it's quite difficult to 'lie low' and avoid criticism – especially when persons make extraordinary claims, do not provide extraordinary evidence, and the science simply doesn't 'agree' with Dan.

Sending legal threats to people who criticize claims is not an intellectually honest way to deal with criticism – especially when the legal threats are baseless...and the story kept changing. First, the contention was that I was slandering Dan (when it could, if anything, be libel) and then the charge was that I was harassing [and the fiancee' said she had no problem with me expressing my ideas].

Those who have websites and radio shows should expect to receive criticism and should not complain when criticism arrives. Ignore it or respond to it, I suppose, but don't send legal threats. Oddly enough, Dan is quite happy to attack 'mainstream medicine,' but, apparently, people who criticize his own positions are out of order.

If there were merit to Dan's claims about health, he should not fear criticism, I would think, but rather be open to conversation and respond to claims. He made no effort to my knowledge to respond to the content of my criticism and neither did his fiancee'. All that was mustered were baseless legal threats which seemingly served the purpose of intimidating.

Dan's fiancee' said that he wasn't interested in debate...which is quite awkward because he welcomes anyone to call in his radio show and also welcomes e-mail. Perhaps, though, he only wants people to call in who agree with him or are not critical of his ideas? Perhaps criticism from skeptics is too much? Not all people, of course, want to debate or are good at debating, but refusal to even comment and/or respond to criticism seems quite odd coming from a radio show host who makes a living, to my knowledge, mainly on his claims relating to health. It is also quite strange that she says she wasn't interested in conversation but responded to my e-mail that responded to her e-mail.



Local author and blogger Kenny Luck has commented on this issue. If you happen to take Luck's 'challenge' and call Dan's radio show, please 'attack his ideas' and be respectful.

Don't make yourself look bad by being discourteous. Have an honest and productive discussion.

Pardon me, but when you are a public figure—with a weekly radio program and a public practice that provides services to the community—it’s not out-of-line to engage in open discourse. But “Dr. Dan” wants it both ways: he insists on the right to publicly recommend dubious medical treatments (he is against the vaccination of children, infuses religion into his practice, etc.) but threatens legal action against those who question him.

I encourage the public to become more informed about chiropractic, and call into Golaszewski’s radio show. Ask him—as a public figure and medical practitioner—why he refuses to talk to skeptics. After all, no one here is making personal attacks or libelous claims. Contrary to what the future Mrs. Golaszewski’s skewed understanding is of what constitutes “libel” or “slander.”

Call Dr. Dan Golaszewski on his radio show this Saturday and ask him to defend his religiously-infused medical claims. His show, "Maximize Your Health," airs on WILK-FM every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call the show toll-free at 1.800.437.0098.

Additional note: For those not in Pennsylvania, 570-883-0098 is the number to call. You can also send a question to Dr. Dan here.

The radio show streams live online at www.wilknewsradio.com