Iridology - Beware of Quacks - by Hugh Bird

Hugh Bird authored this letter to the editor in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record on September 17, 1998. The Record had published a feature article by Ottawa area freelance writer Beck Rynor. The article was syndicated by Southam newspapers and included nine pictures of eyeballs taken by Julie Oliver, a photographer for the Southam chain.

Rynor's article as reprinted in The Record held out iridology as a science, and quoted an apparently self-styled Bulgarian born "specialist" by the name of Krassimir Vajarov extensively in her piece.

Vajarov was quoted that an annual iridology checkup is "important, even for children, because it may save years of misery and ill health."

I wrote a scathing attack against The Record, and particularly against the Life section editor Carol Jankowski for allowing this ill-informed article to run without any critical analysis from the paper. That article was sent to the editor Lou Clancy, and several phone calls were made by me. None of them were acknowledged by The Record.

When I was finally able to reach the author to discuss the original context of the piece as it ran in the Ottawa Citizen, she told me that it was part of an alternative health series that she had done. If The Record had indicated to the public that this was an article about an unexepted pseudoscience or quackery, it would have been a public service. Instead we had a piece on the latest Life page that was a prime example on the kind of misinformation that is rampant in our area.

However, this letter by Hugh Bird, a resident of Baden, Ontario was published and is included here:

Beware of quacks

Iridology is absolute nonsense, based on pseudo-scientific principles. I believe the Record does a serious disservice to the public by publishing on-sided accounts of alternative treatments. I contacted optometrists and the University of Waterloo on iridology. the conclude it is a scam.

Iridology can result in a condition not being diagnosed or in people being treated for something that doesn't exist.

These diagnostic techniques are dangerous. When people are misdiagnosed by quacks, they are prevented from getting proper care by qualified medical people.

People are seeking alternative cancer treatments in large numbers. This does not justify printing nonsense articles.

In the middle ages, unicorn dust was sold as a cure for everything imaginable though there were no unicorns. The emporer is still devoid of his clothes.

Hugh Bird

RR 2, Baden, Ontario

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