author: Bruce Y. LeeSenior Contributor
I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order.
Alex Jones' Top 10 Health Claims And Why They Are Wrong
10. The government is employing weather weapons
Have you ever seen the character Storm, played by Halle Berry on the X-Men movies, who can manipulate the weather? Well, apparently, according to Jones' InfoWars, the government may be a bit like Halle Berry. Infowars didn't actually say that the government is Halle Berry but it did say that the government and the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) have been using electromagnetic waves to manipulate the weather and generate weather phenomena like Hurricane Sandy. Why on Earth would the government create a devastating hurricane? As the theory goes, they wanted to kill people and test out the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) concentration camps, because why wouldn't an underfunded and understaffed federal relief organization be secretly organizing concentration camps.
Why this claim is ridiculous: The government is not Halle Berry. The weather is not like a ceiling fan. The weather is extremely complex and difficult to control. Science has not yet advanced to the degree that creating a real hurricane that is too much larger than your toilet is possible. If the government could somehow control the weather, wouldn't you think that Washington, DC, would have nicer weather year round?
On a side note, Jones' Infowars online store sells lots of "outdoor survival gear," "survival accessories", and "emergency survival foods." Hmmm.
9. The government is using chemicals to turn people and frogs gay.
What do frogs and people have in common besides occasionally wearing top hats? As Jones has claimed, both are supposedly the victims of so-called "estrogen mimickers" being placed in juice boxes, water bottles, and tap water to "feminize" people. Writing for Salon, Alex Seitz-Wald quoted Jones as saying, "The reason there are so many gay people now is because it's a chemical warfare operation. I have the government documents where they said they're going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so people don't have children." Jones has described tap water as a "gay bomb" and has said "I don't like 'em putting chemicals in the water that TURN THE FREAKIN' FROGS GAY! Do you understand that? I'm sick of being social engineered, it's not funny!"
Why this claim is ridiculous: Indeed, socially engineering Jones would not be funny and probably would not be the best use of limited government resources. I don't know what government documents Jones is referring to, but drinking lots of tap or bottled water may make you pee but it will not "turn you gay." Not that there is anything wrong with that.
And why exactly did Jones mention "gay frogs"? Perhaps Jones was referring to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, which suggested that exposure to atrazine, a widely used pesticide, may cause gender-switching among frogs. But then he would be misinterpreting the results of that study. Gender switching is not the same as sexual preference. Exposing frogs to atrazine is not the same as giving them drinking water. And frogs usually don't drink juice boxes.
Oh, and by the way, Jones' Infowars site is selling water filtration devices.
8. The fluoride in drinking water is making people dumb.
Jones has stated, "I grew up in Dallas, Texas, drinking sodium fluoridated water. All the scientific studies show my IQ has been reduced by at least 20 points."
Why this claim is ridiculous: OK, if you enter "Alex Jones" and "IQ" into a PubMed search you get the following: "Search results, Items: 0." This doesn't necessarily mean that Jones' IQ is zero but it does suggest that no scientific studies have been done specifically on his IQ. Furthermore, in a Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) summarized numerous studies that have shown the benefits (preventing cavities) and safety of putting fluoride in community drinking water. This still leaves open the possibility that Jones' IQ has gone down by 20 points but there's no real evidence that fluoride is the culprit.
Did I mention that Jones sells water filtration devices?
7. The life-ruining Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine is being pushed on young women around the world.
Jones' Infowars site claims that the HPV vaccine has been causing paralysis and seizures among little girls all around the world. The site doesn't offer specific numbers or scientific studies but presents a story of a 12-year-old girl, whose family claims that "she has suffered an alleged reaction to the controversial HPV vaccine."
Why this claim is ridiculous: Anecdotes are not scientific studies. And why exactly would public health officials and the medical community knowingly push a "life-ruining" vaccine? As I have written previously for Forbes, the HPV vaccine has real benefits, such as preventing cervical cancer which can result from HPV infection. Of course, nothing is 100% safe. As the CDC reports, HPV vaccination can have side effects, but most are relatively mild and temporary such pain, redness, or swelling in the injection area, fever, headache, nausea, or muscle pain. Only 6% of all reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following administration of the HPV vaccine were considered "serious."
Moreover, without the HPV vaccine, what specifically is going to prevent HPV infections? The supplements that Jones' Infowars is selling?
6. Bill Gates' philanthropic work is part of a mass eugenics effort.
Jones has called billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Gates a "modern-day Stalin," blasting his "continued efforts to sterilize and destroy the third world through vaccinations and his attempts to cull the world population." As Eric Killelea wrote for Rolling Stone, Jones has claimed that the company IBM, with Gates as just a “front”, is actually a eugenics trust that has “the expressed mission of creating a world-wide race-based system and funded Adolf Hitler." Wow, wonder what that news would do to IBM's stock price. Eugenics is pronounced like "you" and "genics" and is the controlled selective breeding of the human population.
Why this claim is ridiculous: So Jones is attacking a billionaire who is actually encouraging and supporting real science and has been using his wealth and platform for good? Meanwhile, Jones calls nerds "one of the most dangerous groups in this country" and uses his platform to wear tin foil on his head and sell "nutriceuticals". Many real scientists whom I know have received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct independent research. (I have as well.) To date, I have not yet met a real scientist who has received an Infowars grant. Where exactly is the evidence that vaccination programs are being used to sterilize people and are part of a eugenics program? If Gates were indeed trying to run a eugenics program, why would his Foundation be trying to prevent and control infectious diseases rather than letting them run amok?
Incidentally, Infowars is selling a LifeStraw that supposedly can remove bacteria and protozoa.
5. The government created the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic.
An article on the Infowars site claims that HIV was manufactured by the government to target gay men for a eugenics experiment.
Why this claim is ridiculous: This is not the movie Resident Evil. And why would the government be trying to at the same time make people gay with the drinking water and then wiping people who are gay out with a manufactured virus? This would be like running the air conditioner and the heater at the same time. If you are going to advance conspiracy theories, please make sure they sync together.
Nevertheless, both conspiracy theories kind of sync with the Infowars claim that "there's a war on for your body," which accompanies advertisements for its supplements.
4. Government climate change data is fabricated.
This made the 4th spot because the climate change denial has been such a big part of the national discussion over the past year. An Infowars piece entitled "Exposed: Government Climate Change Data 100% Fabricated By NOAA" questioned the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) finding that there has been a 1.5 F increase in global temperatures since the 1800’s.
Why this claim is ridiculous: Again, when you are advancing conspiracy theories, make sure that they sync with each other. Number 4 doesn't quite mesh with number 10. If the government has figured out a way to control the weather, why couldn't pollution and chemicals from companies also cause climate change? Humans can either affect the weather and climate or not. Please choose.
3. Vaccines cause autism and this has been covered up by the government, and the pharmaceutical industry.
This one ranked even higher because vaccine refusal rates have been increasing and measles outbreaks have been occurring, suggesting that people are listening to anti-vaccination bluster. Jones hosted on his show Andrew Wakefield, the U.K. doctor who has continued to push theories about vaccines causing autism. Jones called Wakefield "admirable", "a true trailblazer", "a hero" and a"pioneer." Jones also claimed that Wakefield has been vindicated. Infowars has also suggested that the children's show Sesame Street introduced Julia, an autistic muppet, in an attempt to normalize vaccine-caused autism, as reported by Julia Belluz writing for Vox. Oh, those agenda-driven muppets. Who knows what Oscar the Grouch is trying to sell you?
Why this claim is ridiculous: Maybe you admire Wakefield for dating a supermodel but his original research and theories have long been discredited and a BMJ publication entitled "Wakefield admits fabricating events when he took children’s blood samples" mentioned that Wakefield had "extensive financial ties to lawyers and families who were pursuing the manufacturers of the vaccine in the courts and that most of his research participants were litigants." Here John Oliver describes how Wakefield's claimed link between the measles vaccine and autism has been repeatedly debunked:
2. The Sandy Hook shooting was staged to promote gun control.
This made number 2 because it is utter poop. As this NBC News segment shows, Jones caused quite a stir and prompted lawsuits when he claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 28 people and 2 injured was a hoax:
Why this claim is ridiculous: Yes, this is exactly what you want to hear after your child, your classmate, or your friend has been shot and killed. Someone sitting in the comfort of a studio, wearing a Rolex watch, and claiming that the blood and the tears were all part of a massive hoax. Mass shootings and gun violence are real problems that require real solutions.
Did I mention that Infowars is selling a bunch of protective, survival, and disaster preparedness products?
1. Many health claims about the supplements and health products that Alex Jones is selling.
As mentioned previously, Jones and his Infowars website sells "health" products, lots of them. Examples include the "all new and advanced Super Male Vitality formula," just in case you are trying to dodge those "gay bombs" and the "Super Female Vitality formula," just in case you are female and have a credit card. You may have heard that there is no silver bullet for anything, but how about the Infowars Life Silver Bullet Colloidal Silver, which the website urges you to add "to your preparedness supply or kitchen cabinet today and support the operation while looking out for your health -- because there's a war on for your body"? Or what about Prostaguard, which includes a " Powerful Blend of Antioxidants & Plant Based Nutrients. All Hand Selected!," as opposed to feet selected? Then there is the Real Red Pill, which I guess is really red and supposedly helps "support the heart, support the brain, and support healthy aging." The website claims that "over one million peer reviewed scientific articles have been published about the ingredients used in this formula," which may be true if one of the ingredients is water or air. You're also in luck if you are looking for something to wipe the area between your genitals and your anus. That would be the Combat One Tactical Bath, because you've got to be tactical and it can be combat cleaning there.
Keep in mind that many of the products have the following disclaimer: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." The site's standard "Supplement & Food Product Disclaimer" states that "it is important to do your own research and consult with a qualified healthcare provider or doctor to decide what is best for you. We also know that everyone's bodies are different, and it is essential to consult with a qualified health care professional before taking products offered on this website." So in other words, don't say that we didn't warn you that this product may do nothing.
Oh, and the disclaimer concludes by saying "Infowars Life is not held responsible for the irresponsible use of this product." Wonder if "irresponsible use of this product" includes buying it and using it.
Why these claims are ridiculous: Read the fine print. The disclaimer, "this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease" says it all. Whenever someone tries to criticize real scientific and medical principles and efforts, follow the money. Check what the person is actually trying to sell. See if you can you draw a link between each of Jones' claims 10 through 2 with a product that Infowars is selling.