Monday, March 3, 2008

Crackpot science: EMF crank Dr. George Carlo

I couldn't believe what I was hearing on the radio when I heard this. I took a voice note that I'm now transcribing for your blogreading pleasure. Here is a transcription of my notes:
5:44pm sat oct 20th 2007

On am1090 radio, some guy claiming that "information carrying" radio waves (which we have never seen or experienced before
(in nature) as humans) actually cause cells to treat the waves as a foreign invader (in blood or
elsewhere).  He said that they actually close down the cell membrane so the cells don't get nutrients.

His name is Dr. George Carlo

He was in one of the cell phone safety studies from 1993.

As someone with an Electrical Engineering undergrad degree and a very skeptical mindset, I was floored to hear something as ridiculous as the claim that "information carrying" radio waves are somehow more dangerous than those naturally-occurring radio waves before humans. The information is encoded on the radio waves as a modulation of frequency, phase, amplitude or some already-existent property of the radio waves. It would not make a radio wave go from being benign to dangerous.

And to claim that they actually close down the cell membranes?? Ludicrous!

But Dr. Carlo came across as really knowledgeable and spouting out "facts" so he would probably be a difficult debate target.

Of course a search for Dr. George Carlo turns up loads of credulous cruft (as is typical with pseudoscience and fringe claims on the Internet)

Dr. Steven Novella from the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast has a posting on his Neurologica Blog about Wireless Technology and Autism where he discusses some "research" done by Dr. Carlo that was published in an obscure journal -- not a mainstream journal. This guy seems to be poking at the fringes of science to push his agenda.

One critical review is a rebuttal to a supposed email from Dr. Carlo on a skeptical blog:
Dr George Carlo responds to Andrew Goldacre via Bad Science blog.

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