It appears that Suzanne Somers, who could have left a legacy of laughter and joy in her wake, will leave a legacy of death and suffering instead.
(See: Dishing Out Bad Medicine" by Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press.)
All of us, as we go through life, leave a wake behind us. We cannot help but to have an influence on the universe as we pass through it - waves that travel slowly out from us like the wake of a boat moving along the surface of a vast ocean. Though, eventually, it may become difficult to distinguish our wake from the other waves, it is always there. The universe will be different because of our presence in it. The question to be answered is the quality of that difference.
Comedic actress Suzanne Somers has decided to become an advocate of alternative treatments to cancer. She had breast cancer herself, and rejected chemotherapy. However, in spite of this fact, she lived, and she is professing the virtues of her option to others. In doing so she claims to know better than professional medical researchers what will best improve a patient's chance of survival. In fact, she will be leading people who might have survived into greater misery and death.
There is one quick and easy way for an 'alternative treatment' for cancer to make it into mainstream medicine.
You take a group of cancer sufferers (call them "Group A") and you put them in this alternative treatment program. You take another group (Group B) and you provide them with traditional approaches. You could also add a Group C, a control group, that gets no treatment.
At the end of five years, you count the survivors. Which ever group has the greatest percentage of its original population still living after five years becomes the medically approved method for treating that form of cancer. The other two groups identify options that give patients a greater chance of ending up dead.
Ultimately, the situation is not quite this simple. However, those complexities do not affect the main point.
Let us say that 10% of Group A survive, 30% of Group B survive, and 10% of Group C survive.
It follows from this that 10% of those who choose to the option used on Group A will survive.
The foolish idiocy comes in when that person then decides to use her influence to tell the rest of th world, "Do not choose the option that saved 30% of Group B. Choose my option instead. After all, I survived. You can do."
The person who follows such a pied piper has, by definition, a 10% chance of survival. She might survive. But she has given up a 30% chance of survival.
The more people who listen to this pied piper of death, the higher the death count goes.
Ironically, the article cited above closes with:
"Celebrities are easy to pick on," Somers says. "But I don't have an agenda. I'm just a passionate lay person. And I'm using my celebrity to do something good for people."
Yet, in fact, there is reason to believe that she cares more about being a celebrity and getting her name mentioned in the press than with doing good for people. People act so as to fulfill the most and strongest of their desires, given their beliefs. A person seeking to realize a state in which they have helped others would ask questions like, "Am I really helping?" "How do I know which option is best?” “How can I tell the difference between opinion and fact?" A person who ignores these questions in the pursuit of options that get her name mentioned in the press, we have reason to suspect, is quite willing to sacrifice "good for people" to buy "publicity for self."
The blame is not entirely hers. The blame also falls on those who follow her. Those who praise her. Those who encourage others to follow her. The blame belongs to a culture that does not explain to its citizens that the unique quality that defines medically accepted procedures is that they have a proven capacity to save lives and successfully treat diseases.
Suzanne Somers has decided to devote her life to leading people away from methods with a proven capacity to save lives, and into options that are less effective. Some small percentage of those who follow her advice will live. Using the phony numbers above, it will be 10% of the people. Morally reckless 'thinkers' will take this as proof that Option B is the better option. They will use the fact of a 10% survival rate to conclude that an option with a 10% survival rate is better than one with a 30% survival rate.
And many will die as a result.
This will become Suzanne Somers’ legacy. This will be her 'wake' as she travels through the universe - leading people away from options that have a higher survival rate into options that have a lower survival rate. As we scan the waters behind her boat, there will be bodies back there - more corpses than there would have been if she had never existed at all.