Honey, Superbugs, and Bullshit

A bee working so it can make honey to fight off all known bacteria. Or is it? Clue: no.

Just the other day I saw someone post a link to a site called RiseEarth and to an article in particular titled Mysterious Honey Discovered That Kills All Bacteria Scientists Throw At It. Being someone with something of a scientific mind this attracted my attention immediately; a natural ingredient, I thought, that can kill all known bacteria. Could it be? Or even bee? Yes, I think puns in my head. But, even as I thought those three words “could it be?” a simultaneous thought – since I’m also someone with a skeptical mind – also raised a hand, waved a little for attention, and spoke up: not bloody likely.

So, to the article about bacteria-killing honey then!

Australian researchers have been astonished to discover a cure-all right under their noses — a honey sold in health food shops as a natural medicine.

Oh dear. Health food shops. Immediate red flag. Maybe it’s okay, maybe it’s still genuine.

Far from being an obscure health food with dubious healing qualities, new research has shown the honey kills every type of bacteria scientists have thrown at it, including the antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ plaguing hospitals and killing patients around the world.

That’s better. That’s certainly alleviating some concerns. Because my initial thought was that this actually was an obscure health food with dubious healing qualities. But apparently it isn’t. Good, good. Assuming I take it at its word, which I don’t, but let’s carry on.

Professor [Dee] Carter’s two sons, Marty, 8 and Nicky, 6, think it’s funny the way their mother puts honey on their sores. But she swears by it, telling stories of how quickly it cures any infection. [...] The curative properties of various types of honey have been known to indigenous cultures for thousands of years, and dressing wounds with honey was common before the advent of antibiotics.

Uh oh. On the one hand that’s a real professor (see (not much bee research going on there, though)). On the other hand backing up the scientific claim with one sentence about kids relating to their mother’s way of treating wounds and another talking about remedies from antiquity… ooh, that’s another, massive red flag.

At this point I was distracted by some of the other articles on the RiseEarth website. These articles include:

  • Area 51 Builds Massive Alien Pyramid
  • Illuminati Occult Symbolism in London’s Olympic Closing Ceremony
  • How Hemp Oil Cures Cancer And Why No One Knows

If you were a manufacturer of red flags then right now you’d be doing a roaring trade as I’d be buying up all your stock. I don’t think I need to fully explain why it’s best not to take an article about the antibacterial superpower of honey seriously on a website that spotted a UFO during the closing ceremony of the Olympics while the rest of us, apparently, had our memories wiped by the Illuminati Door-to-Door Yeti Fluoride-In-Water Injector Warriors or something.

Back to the increasingly unlikely story about honey killing superbugs and, at the bottom of the page are the comments from regular readers of that site. Of course comments on an article won’t support or dispute any of the “facts” from the article but in this particular instance they are funny. To me.

LN’s child has not been sick since taking Manuka honey, the thing that cured the infections of the child right at the end of a month of actual medicine. That sounds impressive if you’re easily impressed. But wait! Wait a minute! It also cures LN’s sore throat within a day or two. I find that a little strange. I find that when I get a sore throat it also clears up in a day or two without honey or any special treatment at all, but that’s not the really strange thing. Why is LN getting a sore throat at all? LN is taking Manuka honey every day! LN’s child hasn’t been sick since, but LN still gets a sore throat sometimes and the honey that LN takes all the time anyway is then apparently responsible for clearing up the thing that it allowed to develop in the first place. That’s amazing! And by amazing I mean, of course, that’s preposterous.

Naturally, honey also cures cancer (although it’s a secret so don’t tell anyone). Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it? When you can kill all known bacteria just by beeing bee ejaculation it’s a small step indeed to destroying cancer, reversing AIDS, and turning cholera into the fun infection that makes kids smile. Cannabis also cures cancer but only since 1974 when, apparently, it was gene-spliced with a honeybee; this we learn from a man whose advice is to only do the “safer” drugs, which just so happens to be anything illegal. Okay then.

And to the wonderfully dubious bee article once more. At the bottom – above the comments – there is a link. A link to a source article. Let’s see where this leads us to Pakalert Press. It’s the same article, word-for-word so no need to analyse it but what about Pakalert? A science site, perhaps? What does the “about” page say?

Prophesies from many traditions from all over the world over speak of a great transformative shift that is happening in the years around 2012. The Mayan calendar comes to a close on December 21st 2012. The Q’ero Shamans of Peru speak of this same timeframe in their prophecy called Pacha Kuti which is the time in which they say that the luminous ones will return and the world will be turned right side up again.

Nutjobs.

But even that article has a source.

Incredibly, astonishingly, astoundingly… it’s a real news website! It’s The Australian. So after all this perhaps there is some credibility to the notion that honey can really kill bacteria and superbugs! Not so fast! Firstly, it’s a newspaper, not a science journal. Secondly, it still reads like utter bullshit. Thirdly, the article was published in 2009 so if there had been some truth to it then why has nothing happened since? Pakalert and RiseEarth will probably implicate the reptilians in charge of big pharma at this point if I’m any judge of whackos.

Did anyone else talk about honey and superbugs in 2009? A quick search says yes:

National Geographic, the Independent, and the BBC among a few unknowns. But nothing new from any of them. Actually, a lot of the same words just with different people in many cases and a lot of references to other websites reporting on the “facts” of the research rather than anything directly to the research itself. In fact, here’s a challenge: find the actual, published, peer-reviewed, scientific research! Go on! I’ll wait.

I got bored of waiting so went ahead and searched for honey and superbugs in 2008. Even more results! And David Icke was talking about it too so it must be (what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes!) hilarious!

So, yes, 2008 was quite the year for talking about bees defeating bacteria with their poo. 2007? Yes. 2006? Yes, yes. And so it goes on and on and on. I could pick literally thousands of examples of this incredible story of science appearing every single year of this century. You might wonder why this story keeps appearing over and over. You might wonder why the BBC for instance might produce two articles nine years apart that look this:

The answer to the latter question is that the BBC – like all news organisations (even reputable ones) – employs journalists and editors who are lazy bastards. I don’t mean that in a conspiracy theory way though. There’s not a concerted effort to only employ lazy bastards. However, if the people behind RiseEarth and Pakalert want to run with that tale then you kids go right ahead! Ya scamps!

That answer also ties in with the answer to the first question; why does this so-called science breakthrough in Wales and Australasia keep cropping up time and time again? It’s called marketing. You or I might also refer to it as bullshit. Somebody has a job and that job is to send out slightly-reworded copies of the same “scientific” press release to news outlets every year relying on the inherent laziness of those organisations to check facts and the need of those people in the organisations to publish something to justify their existence in order to get some free advertising.

So, where does that leave us? Do bees make honey? That part is true. Does it kill all known bacteria including superbugs terrorising hospitals with their horrible MRSA ways? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

Author: Mark

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