Tuesday, July 7, 2015

With Facebook Friends Like These...: How a Self-Described "Ms. Witchdoctress" "Gets Rid" of Gadflies

Julie Ann Edgar, Inauguration of Governor Tom Wolf, 2015
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee

The purpose of the following is to prevent harm, defend free exchange, and tell the truth.

But--especially to prevent harm.

The note below hails from self-described "Ms. Witchdoctress" Julie Ann Edgar. She posted it to her Facebook friends on a thread concerning appropriate remedies to bee-sting after she banned me from the thread. 

I could, of course, not see the post, and "Ms. Witchdoctress" apparently assumed it would not make its way to me. 

But it did.

To put it another, more explicit, way: 

Ms. Edgar determined that for whatever reason (we'll pursue that below), I ought not to participate in this discussion, so she banned me from it--rendering me defenseless against the excoriating tirade she then posted. 

I quote it here in full, and with sincere thanks to the source who believed I had a right to see it--that I have a right to self-defense, especially against attacks that come without provocation, without forewarning, and--as we'll see--without an once of justification.

Greetings friends, i have blocked Wendy from this thread she has chosen to hijack for her obviously pathological vampiric energy needs.  

I have answers to her many criticisms, but it is my opinion that she presents them mostly because she needs attention and not because she would listen to a damn word i said if i bothered to respond to all of them. 

I am saddened at her ignorance because Quantum physics will continue to bear out that many things she is falsely claiming are pseudoscience are absolutely NOT--

 and she who considers herself an ecofeminist is surely NOT, because a pillar of ecofeminism is the validation of the witchdoctress/botanical healer archetype, and the validation of nonlinear ways of knowing. 

I don't have the patience to deal with these spurious claims, and since this is my wall, i have gotten rid of her. 

It is obvious from her disproportionate response and UBER-argumentative style that she seeks attention more than anything else. 


First, some context:

The discussion was about remedies for bee sting. Julie had recommended Tea Root--Melaleuca. While I cannot produce her exact words--as I am banned from the thread--she had clearly recommended it for a wasp sting, and claimed that she had "run, not walked" to access the remedy. She strongly implied that Melaleuca was a remedy as opposed to a mere analgesic, and later in the thread she bragged that she had "saved" many children by making this "remedy" available to their parents at places like parks.

When the post came up in my Facebook feed, I had to respond for two reasons:

First, while I do not know exactly what Ms. Edgar meant by "saved," what I do know is that Melaleuca is nothing more than a modest pain-reliever. It will have no effect whatever in case of allergic reaction

That means it will have no effect whatever in case of anaphylaxis

To therefore recommend it without being very clear for what it's intended is simply irresponsible, and it had to be said. 

I know this firsthand: Several years ago I was stung by three wasps on my back porch.  I barely made it to the phone to hit 911 before I began to suffocate. It was terrifying, and people die from this kind of allergic reaction.  

From the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Insect sting Anaphylaxis: INSECT STING ANAPHYLAXIS

Second, though a native tree of Australia, Melaleuca is an extremely damaging invasive in the United States, especially in Florida where it is responsible for tremendous species and habitat loss. 

For sources, please see:



Melaleuca Trees in South Florida - YouTube

So, here's an argument:

Since Melaleuca is no more effective for treating non-allergic bee sting than, say baking soda; since the only sort of bee sting you'd "run, not walk!" to treat needs the intervention of epinephrine--an epi-pen--why would you recommend an invasive species plant responsible for wildlife decimation?

In other words, if baking soda works just as well for non-allergic bee sting, why would you risk contributing to the destruction of Florida wildlife? I thought that's what the gas companies did.

Ms. Edgar's response was that she purchased the Melaleuca from botanicals in Australia--hence she's not personally contributing to the decimation of habitat in Florida.

Well and good.

But consider two things:

1. Melaleuca, Inc--The Wellness Company--controls a virtual monopoly on the plant in Australia. Buying Melaleuca from Australia virtually requires that you join Melaleuca, Inc--for $45.00 per month. 

Melaleuca, Inc. is owned by Frank L. VanderSloot, the profoundly anti-gay campaign chief for Mitt Romney, and "major financial contributor to Republican campaigns" in Idaho--the corporate home of the company. He also donates heavily to the American Heritage Charter School, a far right wing K-12 that advertises itself a "free, rigorous, and patriotic" (American Heritage Charter School - Home). And VanderSloot has a nasty reputation for "threatening to sue just about anyone who puts his name in print"--that's one way, after all, of banning a critic (Mitt Romney's Money Man: Who Is Frank L. VanderSloot? - DailyFinance).

For more about VanderSloot's own version of "silence the critic," see: Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics - Salon.com

Melaleuca Inc. has been described by Forbes this way: "Melaleuca is a pyramid selling organization, built along the lines of Herbalife and Amway" (If You Believe - Forbes).

From Daily Finance:
To sell these wares -- and "350 other household and 'health' products" -- VanderSloot relies on what Forbes describes as "an army of part-time hucksters." For Melaleuca is essentially a pyramid scheme -- or, more politely, a "multilevel marketing firm," like Amway or Herbalife (HLF) -- in which so-called independent marketing executives make money by peddling the company's dietary supplements and cleaning products, as well as recruiting more salespeople (the newer recruits being on the lower levels of the pyramid).
This business model has been spectacularly successful for VanderSloot (who stands, of course, at the pyramid's apex). Melaleuca had $1 billion in revenue last year, according to Mother Jones, which points out the glaring disparity between the earnings potential advertised for would-be salespeople and the real income those "marketing executives" derive. 
On the its website, "Melaleuca pitches itself as a means to gain the economic freedom to live your dream life -- all while working flexible hours at home." A video shows several women who "claim to have made six-figure incomes through Melaleuca," Mother Jones reports. "One says she's earned more than $500,000."
The actual annual average earnings of a Melaleuca salesperson: a paltry $85 a year. 
You have to be a member of the Wellness Company to purchase its products. From the Website:
Discover all the ways that Melaleuca enhances the lives of thousands of people just like you by helping people reach their goals. Learn how members of Melaleuca are spending less money for safer, more effective products, getting out of debt, and making a difference in the lives of those they touch.

Whomever is a member is also expected to "huckster" for a company CEO who "ostensibly believes that the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri, and that Native Americans are actually Jews" (The Most Loathsome People in America: The Double Dirty Dozen | Alternet). 

So given that it is very hard to acquire Melaleuca from Australia any other way that through VanderSloot, we are entitled to infer the following about Ms. Edgar's insistence that she does not contribute to the decimation of species and habitat in Florida:

a. Ms. Edgar buys from the Wellness Company, but does not know who VanderSloot is. Fine--but utterly without excuse--in which case she is also presumably a salesperson for the company. Ms. Edgar has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy--and with that her excuse for not knowing better--for not having better critical thinking skills-- evaporates. 
b. Ms. Edgar buys from the Wellness Company, and does know its story, but doesn't care. Fine, but this would make her morally reprobate. 
b. Ms. Edgar somehow acquires her Melaleuca another way. Fine--but this defies credulity. Perhaps she could offer receipts from that company. One option might be Emmi's Essentials--very hard to locate--and raises at least two other questions.
This brings us to point (2).

a) Perhaps Ms. Edgar is buying Melaleuca from some other company, say Emmi's Essentials, where it retails for $35.00 for two ounces. Another fine. What the "Witchdoctress" decides to spend her own money on is her business. This is, however, the same Ms. Edgar who in late 2012 posted a Fundrazr Campaign titled "Help Julie's Family Stay Off the Street," raising $1,050 dollars (Yasni result for https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/8PLQ5)

As recently as July 2015, Ms. Edgar made a similar pitch to pay for veterinary care for her two cats, Cammie and Porchie and raised another $1000.00 (Please help us take our two sick cats to the vet. by Julie Edgar).

To be very very clear: charitable giving is a good thing. 

Do it. Do it often.

But it is a far cry from charitable giving to be solicited to support the veterinary care to supplement the funds for someone who, by her own admission (see Fundrazr (1)) cannot in fact adequately support her own children. 

In fact, it is cruel to the animals--and to the kids.

And it is crazily hypocritical for someone who insists rightly on her Facebook page that we ought not to eat pigs to assume responsibility for animals whom she cannot even get adequately treated for ringworm.

Not rocket science: if you cannot take full care--veterinary, not absurd "Witchdoctress"--care for your animals, do not acquire them.

What makes this post especially rankling, however, is this: Ms Edgar claims that not only are her cats sick, but so too are her daughters--that they've "ALL" had ringworm since February, and that they're living in filthy conditions.

She lives in Bethlehem. Here's the websites for the Bethlehem Clinic:


Here's an option for a low-cost veterinarian:


Why hasn't Ms. Edgar sought better treatment--since February--for her daughters? This is what makes it very hard not to wonder:

Does she have the same apparently faulty beliefs about medicine in general that she has about how to treat bee sting? That some "natural botanical" will do the trick? If so, why should others be expected to pay for treating the damage when her bullshit botanical treatments don't work?

To the retort that how she cares for her kids and her cats is none of my or anyone's business, I say this: of course it is; she made it my business--and everyone's--the moment she asked for money in cyberspace.

This is how people and critters get really really hurt. 
This is how Ms. Edgar's cats and kids have been allowed to suffer unnecessarily. 

Ms. Edgar makes it a point to advertise herself as a "single mom and entrepreneur" claiming that she's got an interview for her "dream organizing position" in July. But while she waits for that "dream job," her kids and her animals are suffering. And that is not ok. She calls her situation "legitimate and extreme exigency." But why is that? I too have been a single parent most of my adult life, but what that has meant is that I have worked jobs I hated, lived within my means, put myself through school, and educated my children. This was very hard, and it is absolutely harder for women. But it did not entitle me to not seek out care for my children when they were sick (or substitute magical thinking for medicine); it did not entitle me to solicit money when things got really bad, it did not entitle me to acquire animals I could not care for--and it did not entitle me to subscribe to a raft of homeopathic, "natural" cockamamy that hurts people.

All of this brings me, finally, to Ms. Edgar's very nasty and rather nefarious post above.

Let's consider:

Claim 1: "i have blocked Wendy from this thread she has chosen to hijack for her obviously pathological vampiric energy needs."

Because Ms. Edgar does not specify in any fashion what "vampiric energy needs" refers to, there is no way to respond. This is name-calling pure and simple. I was having a very civil and interesting conversation with a gentleman named Robert. He and I agreed on some things and not on others. That is called "having a conversation." If Ms. Edgar really sees having a conversation as a "hijack," then what she's really after is either silence or unalloyed agreement. But in that case, it seems her commitment to free exchange is rather anemic. Maybe some Melaleuca ointment will help that out. 

Claim 2: "I have answers to her many criticisms, but it is my opinion that she presents them mostly because she needs attention and not because she would listen to a damn word i said if i bothered to respond to all of them."

If Ms. Edgar has answers to my criticisms, why doesn't she offer them? If not for me, for the benefit of her readers? What difference does it make whether I'm after attention or not? If she indeed does believe in the ascribed properties of Melaleuca, why not use this opportunity to educate? How does Ms. Edgar know I'm uninterested in listening? Answer: she doesn't. Indeed, the facts are she doesn't have the goods. The properties she wants to ascribe to Melaleuca are easily replaceable by baking soda or mud--and for a lot less money. This is actually just another variety of name-calling--and as such the refuge of she who, not having a good argument, goes for the next best thing--dismissal of the arguer through ridicule--and then banishment. Perhaps I can use my magical consciousness to re-insert myself on the bee-sting thread. Or, well, no.

Claim 3: "I am saddened at her ignorance because Quantum physics will continue to bear out that many things she is falsely claiming are pseudoscience are absolutely NOT--" 

This is a particularly tortured sentence, but I gather Ms. Edgar's claiming that Quantum Mechanics will bear out that homeopathic "natural" medicine" is legitimate and that Western medicine is bad. And I gather she premises this claim on the idea that Quantum Mechanics implies that human consciousness is somehow in control of reality. She is entirely unspecific, so it's difficult to know what she thinks is defensible, but we can say this:
The appeal to quantum mechanics by magical thinkers opposed to "linear thinking" are very old, and long-discredited both on empirical--evidenced--grounds and on their internally incoherent and inconsistent logic. The 2004 film "What the #$!%* Do We Know!?" and its 2006 expansion "What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole" re-newed some of the enthusiasm for what New York Times writer, Dennis Overbye, describes as follows:
The "rabbit hole" in the title refers to the philosophical muddle that the contemplation of quantum mechanics, the paradoxical laws that govern subatomic life, can lead to. And it is a legitimate and maddening one. Quantum physics proclaims, for example, that an electron (or any object, elementary particle or not) is both a particle and a wave before we look at it, a conundrum neatly illustrated by a cartoon featuring "Dr. Quantum" in the new film.
Physicists have been at war for the last century trying to explain how it is that the fog of quantum possibilities prescribed by mathematical theory can condense into one concrete actuality, what physicists call "collapsing the wavefunction." Half a century ago the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Eugene Wigner ventured that consciousness was the key to this mysterious process.
Wigner thereby, and inadvertently, launched a thousand New Age dreams. Books like "The Tao of Physics" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" have sought to connect quantum physics to Eastern mysticism. Deepak Chopra, the physician and author, has founded a career on the idea of "quantum healing," and a school of parapsychology has arisen based on the idea that things like telekinesis and telepathy were a result of probing minds' manipulation of the formless quantum potential. And now the movie. 
All of them promote the idea that, at some level, our minds are in control of reality. We are in charge of the holodeck, as one of the characters in "Down the Rabbit Hole" says. And if it doesn't work for you, it's probably because you don't believe. 
So what's wrong with that? Like everyone else, I am inspired by stories of personal change. The ideas that consciousness creates reality and that anything is possible make for terrific psychology.
We all know that self-confidence breeds its own success. I wish I were a member of that club. 
But physics has moved on. 
It has been decades since anybody took Wigner's idea seriously, said David Albert, a professor of philosophy and physics at Columbia, who has the dubious honor of being one of the talking heads in both "What the Bleep" films and is not pleased with the results. 
Many physicists today say the waves that symbolize quantum possibilities are so fragile they collapse with the slightest encounter with their environment. Conscious observers are not needed. As Dr. Albert pointed out, Wigner framed the process in strict mathematical and probabilistic terms. "The desires and intentions of the observer had nothing to do with it," he said. 
In other words, reality is out of our control. It's all atoms and the void, as Democritus said so long ago. Indeed, some physicists say the most essential and independent characteristic of reality, whatever that is, is randomness. It's a casino universe. (Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics? - New York Times).
In other words, the Quantum-consciousness-control-of-reality stuff is far-out--way far-out, but it is also bull shit. Science has moved on, and so must we--at least where the health and lives of other people depend on it.  

Indeed, if we do not demand good evidence under repeatably controlled experimental conditions, we are every bit as guilty of perpetrating bull shit as are the climate change deniers, the creationists, and the folks who claim that tobacco doesn't cause lung cancer. 
We are, in fact, exactly the same. If this is what Ms. Edgar believes, it amounts to new age fluffer-nutter.

Claim 4: "and she who considers herself an ecofeminist is surely NOT, because a pillar of ecofeminism is the validation of the witchdoctress/botanical healer archetype, and the validation of nonlinear ways of knowing."

Eco-Feminism is an enormous field in philosophy, and many other disciplines. The term was coined by French feminist Fran├žoise d'Eaubonne  in 1974. There is one variety of ecofeminism that subscribes to these mostly stereotypical images of healers, witchdoctresses, and nonlinear thinking. This is appropriately referred to as "radical cultural feminism," and is represented by, among others, the late Mary Daly. But these positions are routinely challenged from across the feminist disciplines--especially feminist science studies theorists like Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Sandra Harding, Greta Gaard, and Karen Warren. 
I routinely contribute scholarly work to this discipline, and that can be found here: Wendy Lynne Lee | Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania - Academia.edu, and especially in my 2010 book, Contemporary Feminist Theory and Activism, Broadview. Ms. Edgar might also avail herself of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Ecofeminism: Feminist Environmental Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Among the things she might learn is that there continues to be a serious conflict among deep ecologists--more the Quantum Fluffer-Nutter sorts--and many ecofeminists who argue that identification with some notion of a universal consciousness is precisely contrary to women's liberatory aspirations since it requires self-abnegation--and that's what women have long had to contend with from men. 
 Indeed, the efforts to elevate the mother image in the interest of reclaiming women's "power" are at great risk of back-firing since these are the very same images that heteropatriarchal cultures have utilized to institutionalize oppression. I take this theme up at great length in my new book, Eco-Nihilism: The Philosophical Geopolitics of the Apocalypse, Lexington, 2016, where I evaluate some of the strategies of the anti-fracking movement in Pennsylvania from an ecofeminist point of view, and particularly with respect to the resistance strategies of Sandra Steingraber and Naomi Klein. In short, validation of healer, mother, etc. images is not a "pillar" of ecofeminism; it is simply one---and one long-critiqued from within feminism--theoretical avenue. 
Not really a claim 5: "I don't have the patience to deal with these spurious claims, and since this is my wall, i have gotten rid of her.  It is obvious from her disproportionate response and UBER-argumentative style that she seeks attention more than anything else." 
Having mostly canvassed Ms. Edgar's penchant for name-calling, dismissal, ridicule, and banishment, I'll only note this: "i have got rid of her." 
I wonder if Melaleuca can address that sort of arrogance that allows someone to treat others like the greasy bacon-burger wrapper they just threw out.


Wendy Lynne Lee 


Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Posted as observations to the comments registered at Facebook:

Dear friends and allies,

Though, of course, considerable fallout could have been predicted over the critical piece I posted yesterday concerning Julie Ann Edgar, even I could not have predicted the vitriol with which the piece was greeted. There were indeed some very thoughtful comments, and some very supportive ones--but the balance was profoundly reactionary in ways both informative and worthy of despair about a paucity of respect for the sciences and the project of knowledge in general.
I have just a few observations to make about this.

1. One very thoughtful commenter asks why, after I show that Ms. Edgar's apparent constellation of beliefs about reality, health, and medicine are insupportable (indeed, nonsense), I take her to task with respect to her on-line solicitations for money for things like rent and medical care for her children and cats. That's a very reasonable question, and here's what I think a compelling answer:

We are all entitled to believe whatever we wish--no matter how silly, or voodoo, or unsupported by good evidence --UNTIL our beliefs threaten to do real harm to others, ESPECIALLY others who are in no position--children, animals, and otherwise vulnerable people--to resist that harm or seek council elsewhere. This is clearly the case with Ms. Edgar whose repeated posts about various and sundry "natural" remedies recommended for very REAL ailments or emergencies have no other support than her appeal to "nonlinear reasoning" which is mumbo jumbo for "'cuz I think so."

The bee-sting recommendation for Melaleuca was simply the last straw. So, in laying out the case against Melaleuca on (a) the grounds that there is no reason to use this expensive oil instead of baking soda for non-alergic bee sting, (b) that it will NOT treat anaphylactic shock, that (c) its major sales outlet is a well-supported pyramid scheme of a fat right-wing charlatan, and (d) that it is a destroyer of wildlife and habitat in the U.S., I made the case for NOT doing precisely what Ms. Edgar DOES, recommend it to parents for their children.

Imagine: Your kid gets a bee sting. They complain that it hurts. You douse it in the Melaleuca recommended by someone else who claims to have "saved" loads of kids with it. Your kid seems better--until you look across the playground and see them laying on the ground suffocating.

Ms. Edgar's antipathy towards Western medicine has harmed her kids and her animals. Then--as in the case of the ringworm and her cat's respiratory illness--when things get REALLY bad, she heads for cyberspace solicitation of funds from other people to pay for what is NOW an emergency. At that moment, it's no longer a "private" or "personal" issue, as some commenters insisted. She's asking everyone for money. That makes it ALL of our business, and it makes her responsible to at a bare bones minimum to present receipts, etc --clear evidence--that she used the money for what she said she would. Better: ANYONE who would give money to someone who absolutely COULD have acted sensibly to treat the suffering of her children and animals is simply being a fool.

What on earth gives Ms. Witchdoctress the right to expect others to PAY for the disastrous consequences of a belief system that is such malarky that it insures MORE suffering?

She says she cannot afford health insurance--but I have no reason to think she'd use it even if she could. Why treat bee-sting with Epinephrin when you've got Melaleuca?

Answer: because you want to SURVIVE.

Another commenter says she's been trying to build a business for years. Fine. It's clearly not paying off, and what that means when you've got kids depending on you is that you just go get a regular old job like the rest of us.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

2. The anti-intellectualism of some of the comments is truly staggering. I make no apologies for having worked my ass off to earn a PhD. And to those who call this "privilege," and there were several, I have this to say: such insipid comments derive from nothing other than resentment and thinly concealed jealousy.

Such comments seem to want to have it both ways: if an academic REALLY believes--as I do--that I have a moral responsibility to live my philosophical and moral principles AND work, as Karl Marx advised, not merely to know the world but to change it for the better, and I DO that, I am accused of "elitism," as if knowing were a bad thing. If an academic simply remains in the ivory tower, never reaching out to improve the human or nonhuman animal condition, we are equally accused of being "elitist," for not caring about anything other than our narrow niche of research.

We cannot have this both ways.

These "privilege" comments are also intended--though absurdly--to foster the idea that there are other "ways of knowing"--like the non-linear Mumbo Jumbo that doesn't require standards of evidence or empirical justification through rigorous experiment. But THAT is a prescription for "ANYTHING GOES!" Indeed, THAT is how we got creationism, climate change denial, and the denial that tobacco causes cancer. I find it richly ironic --and stunningly hypocritical--that people who LEAN on the science to support their claims against fracking--citing Ingraffia, Howard, big health studies, etc--promptly discard it when it doesn't fit their flavor of the day claims to silly bull shit like this idea that consciousness can alter reality. It CAN'T. It is NO wonder with so many anti-science voices in the anti-fracking movement that the industry makes mince meat of us. Indeed, we do THAT do ourselves. We don't get to cherry pick the science.

If what demonstrates that fracking causes brain cancer also shows that consciousness is nothing more (or less) than a fancy schmancy brain process, then whatever else we might want to believe about some sort of consciousness that can survive death or move objects has to be forfeited.

We cannot have this both ways either.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

3. Among the most disheartening, but instructive, lessons of this particular thread was the lengths to which some commenters were willing to go to defend what was in fact a wholly unsolicited vitriolic attack by Ms. Edgar on me--intended to disparage my character--BEHIND MY BACK. That some called this simply a "personal" post on her "private" FB page is beyond absurd--and it too is hypocritical, as I have no doubt that they would feel themselves entitled to self-defense. This is a PUBLIC media--and that's it. That Ms. Edgar has now presumably unfriended and blocked me in no way means that she won't see THIS post. She will.

More importantly is that her banishment and subsequent assault on my character generated virtually NO comment as an issue of free exchange. Indeed, Ms. Edgar's right to assault was defended heartily--and mine to self-defense ignored or made out to be a fault--of MINE. That too makes it no wonder that the gas industry finds this movement impotent--why shouldn't they trample our rights to free expression, right to assemble, etc when we take these rights so lightly? If WE can't resolve to defend the right to free expression when it involves critical review, why should they?

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

4. There is much more to be said here--some of which I did include in the piece--about Ms. Edgar's claim, in effect, that there's just one variety of ecofeminism, and that it validates nonlinear thinking, a reclamation of mother earth images, the "witchdoctress" archetypes, and the like. That is simply and demonstrably false. In fact, there's copious criticism from WITHIN feminist theory and activism of images that in effect re-assert precisely the heteropatriarchal view of women from time immemorial--but as elevated.

That project of elevation is a substantial failure; after all, ISIS claims to honor its women--so long as they fulfill their god-assigned roles as mothers and daughters--but I'll bet few in Julie's camp would be comfortable with that elevation. One commenter went as far as to say that I ought to be "ashamed" for having allowed a white man in my last iteration of a course in Feminist Theory. I would counter that THAT is precisely the rigid and stereotyping behavior feminists have long-resisted. This same commenter also insisted to another poster that she was privileged as a professor--though Latina. I suggest that what the commenter made very clear was her lack of understanding about what feminist theorists call "intersectionality," namely that without a grasp of the many INTERSECTIONS--race, sex, ability, age, veteran status, religion, sexual identity, geography, etc--that make up the warp and woof of any particular person's experience, such judgments are, again, merely reactionary.

5. This all finally brings me to my last observation: the vast majority of the commenters seemed utterly uninterested in the ARGUMENTS I laid out in the piece. Instead, and in reactionary fashion--they went right for me. That is ad hominem--virtually no matter what they actually say. By making the piece about me and not about the arguments, they shift the entire set of issues away from what actually matters--whether any of us is entitled to believe just anything when our beliefs have consequences. Unable or unwilling--or just too lazy--to consider the arguments, they head for the cheap weapons--that switchblades of "you're just mean," "you've abandoned the sisterhood," "you just want attention," yadda yadda. The fact is that even if any of these silly claims were true, they're IRRELEVANT. Arguments stand or fall ON THEIR OWN.

I deeply appreciate the thoughtful comments--including the critical ones--some of which I hope I have addressed here. And I also very much appreciate the supportive observations.

Thank you.

I am now going to repost the piece: With Facebook Friends Like These...: How a Self-Described "Ms. Witchdoctress" "Gets Rid" of Gadflies

I welcome discussion about the arguments, the evidence. If you think you've got a good argument for nonlinear thinking, I'd love to hear it. If you think you can show me how consciousness alters reality, bring it on. Delighted. After all, it was a spirited and entirely respectful conversation about bee-sting that led Ms. Edgar to banish me--I can only gather that I had just gotten too close to disrupting her apparently fragile constellation of beliefs.

But if the only way you can preserve your worldview is by shutting out critical evaluation of it--well, it must be VERY VERY fragile and crumbly, AND you must at some level KNOW that.
I will no longer respond to the name-calling, the ridicule, or the trashing of my academic credentials.

Please enjoy the piece:


Anonymous said...

I find it incomprehensible in the days we are in that someone would solicit funds for personal use. This lady portrays herself as a savior of the environment and a slayer of evil frack dragons. There are people trying to raise funds for experts to win their lawsuits. There are people without good drinking water. They are desperate and have expended all personal means to help themselves and are in dire need of help. Yet this person has the unmitigated gall to let her kids suffer since February with ringworm, not get them dental exams so they are not reduced to an ER for a problem and turn around and ask the very people she purports to be helping for money because no job seems good enough for her. If natural cures were what this witchdoctress claims them to be, she should have made them go away with some plant roots and a chant. If it's really bad, maybe a shrine or two and throw in some incense for good measure. I don't diss all natural cures, but you get the gist.

A couple of points here. I know many, many people that take jobs that they don't like and are underpaid for, but do so as not to be a drain on others, myself included. We are only entitled to our dream job if we work for it and make it happen. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of each one of us to do what we can to survive.

My other point is that it appears that the only use she has acquired from her education is the ability to beg and beg well. Oh, and let's not forget the hashtags. She's good at hashtags.

With all the problems of the earth due to our addiction to fossil fuels, my money would be better spent on helping those harmed or contributing to start up businesses for clean energy. I don't have much, but I do give and give often.

It doesn't escape me that the majority of her supporters are men that seem enthralled with her, and I pity them for not admiring self supporting and independent women. In my darkest hours, I would never reduce my family to online begging for fear of what that is teaching my children. Posting nude portraits of oneself pretty much guarantees the men will be there when needed.

Finally, I see this resulted in you be tortured by folks that didn't take the time to read what all started this was name calling of you which occurred basically behind your back, as you were trashed by her and blocked from the ability to defend yourself. If that is not childish, I don't know what is. In my mind I think she owes you an apology, a public one at that. Don't ever take the criticisms you received on this piece seriously. No one handed you that Phd, or was there an online campaign of you begging for it that I missed?

One lesson that many activists forget is that you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself. You don't ever need to contribute money or goods to be a good activist. Being self-sustaining, knowledgeable in the matter at hand, respected by others, and most of all giving of your time to help is all that is required to be effective.

Being a drama queen, and I've seen the posts filled with drama, only hurts those you pretend to help.

Because I have a job to get to, I will not go into how it is inhumane to have animals you cannot support their health needs, nor will I post job openings in her area of which there are many. I also will not question where the money went. That is between her and her contributors. I'm just glad my vet isn't that expensive. I will just close with this. I would rather go work for something I truly despise than to ever be a drain on my friends. I'd respect her more if I saw her behind the counter at a local convenience store than to see what just occurred.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Wendy Lee, you have written a courageous defense of reason, science and rationality. I have had direct personal experience with the results of nonsensical quasi-religious beliefs and they can get people killed. We lost a close member of our family – my mother’s companion of 7 years, as a direct result of magical pseudo-science. This was a good, loving man of only 75 years who could have lived well into his eighties. His death propelled my mother into an emotional tailspin and robbed us all of a great friend. Perhaps it was a function of a limited scientific education or perhaps it was the result of willful ignorance but this man, upon showing signs of illness, pursued a host of “alternative” interventions before finally being forced by my mother to see a proper medical doctor. Vital months were wasted with homeopathic “prescriptions”, acupuncture treatments, herbal remedies, and other procedures that prey upon human gullibility. What was particularly egregious is that he actually consulted with “professional” proponents of this quackery – people like the “Witchdoctress”. End result – a simple chest x-ray, something any true medical professional would have ordered months before, showed he had lung cancer. And here the witches, shaman, and botanical-crystal-chakra healers had misdiagnosed it as problems with bone alignment, fungal infection, or a disruption of chi flow. Unfortunately, his cancer had seriously progressed in the months he devoted to pseudo-science and he passed away during lung surgery as a result.
The irrational, internally inconsistent, delusional nonsense people like Julie Edgar promote can, and does, get people killed. You had a moral obligation to call out her melaleuca bullshit. I wish more people had the integrity to confront these charlatans. They disgust me.

Tom Frost said...

What a pity it is that, as a result of your deserved receiving of some of your own blocking-coward medicine, you're missing the LATEST development, one that you'd REALLY have a field day about and on which I'd be on your side!

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

First, thank you "Anonymous" for these kind words. Indeed, the self-profesed "witch-doctress" IS a charlatan of the worst sort--one who appears as benign and caring, but in fact is far more interested in projecting an image of herself as gifted with some special magical knowledge than she is in helping any other--including the animals in her charge. I had simply had my fill of this kind of horn-swaggle. There come a point where, if we don't take a stand to alert people to real dangers and potential harms, we become their accomplice. Such was the case here.

As for Mr. Frost's latest bit of sputum, I have no idea what he's talking about with respect to "blocking," and the notion that there's anything in this frail anti-fracking movement I'm actually missing--that I don't have access and contacts--is, well, just silly. So, Mr. Frost--you're a bit late to this party.

Tom Frost said...

It must suck to have so few followers left that you have to wait two months for people other than yourself and afraid-to-give-their-name cowards to come along and bother to do the stirring up of the comments section that you need for your latest narcissism-appeasement fix.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Mr. Frost--perhaps this variety of flirting works with the Witchdoctress, but I'm afraid you've really got no shot here.

Tom Frost said...

I knew you'd want the last word, and LIGAFF.