Lyn McLean: How to make money from the ignorant by being a complete charlatan
Monday January 12th 2009, 7:36 am

While we’re on the topic of painful ignorance, I note that some folks have managed to make a cottage industry out of professionalised stupidity and purveying complete and utter nonsense as medical advice.

Lyn McLean calls herself the director of pseudoscience promoting ‘EMR Australia.’ She is the very same Lyn McLean, who via her ‘Energy Connections‘ website, offers:

* dowsing classes and tools
* energy assessments of home and work
* theta healing
* workshops
* talks for groups
* handmade jewellery

Yes, Ms McLean wants to take your money for teaching you ‘dowsing‘ and for jewellery made with chunks of glass which are apparently supposed to heal your ‘thetas.’ I frankly wasn’t aware I had any thetas. Readers, please turn me on to the anatomy lessons I have quite clearly missed…

The selfsame Ms McLean is offering up herself as an expert on the supposed hazards of electromagnetic signals. McLean can’t grasp the fact that her ‘complimentary medicine’ is complete silliness, so she’s branched out into offering technical information on the supposed health damage from radio signals- and is making a buck off it, to boot. I’d like to see McLean’s medical and electronics engineering qualifications. I’ll put my BSEE up against her wives’ tales and conspiracy theories any day of the week.

If McLean’s information on the health effects of radio transmissions is anywhere near as good as her other wives’ tales, I’d sooner take medical advice from Tom Cruise.

Ms McLean is completely within her rights to privately believe any absurd nonsense she likes. If she feels all good and gooey inside when she hangs bits of glass off assorted parts of her person, more power to her.

Where she gets my back up is when she offers bullshit up to community groups as valid and viable factual objections to provision of adequate mobile telephone services in the Blue Mountains, an area where the lack of effective communications can be lethal to the general public. Ms McLean’s crazy guesses and crystal-gazing suppositions should not, under any circumstances, be allowed to compromise public safety.

Dowsing! Kid you not.

-weez


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McLean has written a book about the purported dangers of electromagnetic signals called ‘Watt’s the Buzz?’ The blurb describing the book on this bookseller’s site sez:

Watt’s the Buzz?
( by Lyn McLean, 2002 )

All electrical appliances, electrical wiring, computers, and mobile phones produce electromagnetic radiation (EMR). With the recent publication of a report from the eminent medical researcher Sir Richard Doll, the link between exposure to EMR and health problems has been accepted at the highest levels of the scientific community. This clear and comprehensive guide explains the nature of EMR simply and clearly, summarizes many scientific studies that have found adverse health effects, and suggests practical ways of reducing exposure to EMR in and around the home and at work.

(emphasis mine. -weez)

While Sir Richard was an early claimer that smoking caused lung cancer, he was a compromised researcher from top to bottom. Sir Richard took funding from industry groups, which seemed to colour Doll’s opinion that little else aside from smoking caused lung cancer.

However, Doll never made ANY claim that he believed that signals from mobile telephones and base stations were carcinogenic.

What Doll really had to say on the topic:

How Dangerous is Living Near Phone Masts?

Hardly anyone could dispute Professor Doll’s findings on smoking, but there is quite a bit of confusion surrounding the conflicting studies on living near power lines and phone masts. He used to chair a committee for the National Radiological Protection Board looking at non-ionising radiation from 1990 until 2003.

“During that period we took a special interest in the effects of the passage of electricity. We carried out a large study in this country on children’s exposures to electro-magnetic fields from pylons and cables and the position, as far as I see it, is that there is no clear evidence of harm to the individual. Biologically, there is no evidence that it can do any sort of damage to tissue that one would expect might lead to cancer, so it’s not plausible biologically,” he explains .

“I, certainly, and the committee, took the view that you couldn’t at this stage lay down the law to make a positive statement that they do no harm, because it’s very difficult to prove a negative and there isn’t enough evidence as yet to enable you to say that with confidence, but I can say that is is implausible and that what evidence has been cited up to now is not impressive. We later became interested in mobile phones and phone masts. Our committee reviewed all the evidence in very great detail and again there’s no epidemiological evidence to indicate any harm from masts or mobile phones.”

The official conclusions of AGNIR, the group Sir Richard chaired until his death, and which he headed during a study of mobile telephone and related emissions from 1990-2003, are as such:

The independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR: Chairman, Professor Anthony Swerdlow) has examined 1 recent experimental and epidemiological evidence for health effects due to exposure to radiofrequency (RF) transmissions, including those associated with mobile telephone handsets and base stations. There are many sources of RF exposure, including the signals from radio and TV transmitters, but the current focus of public concern tends to be on mobile phones and mobile phone base stations.

AGNIR has concluded that there is no biological evidence for mutation or tumour causation by RF exposure, and epidemiological studies overall do not support causal associations between exposures to RF and the risk of cancer, in particular from mobile phone use.

A number of studies have suggested possible effects on brain function at RF exposure levels comparable with those from mobile phone handset usage, but AGNIR regard the overall evidence as inconclusive. Other studies have indicated effects of pulse modulated RF on the movement of calcium ions in cells and tissues of the nervous system. However, AGNIR found that the early results are not supported by recent, better conducted studies.

Regarding exposures in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations, AGNIR has examined data from a number of surveys and concluded that exposure levels are extremely low and the evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a health risk.

How McLean mutates this into Doll damning mobile phone signals as carcinogenic and that such a claim (which Doll never made) has been accepted as fact by the scientific community at large is a completely ponderous mystery.

A less kind assessment of McLean’s characterisation of Doll’s position would be to simply call her a liar who is levering the reputation of a man who is now no longer alive to defend himself.

Comment by weez 01.13.09 @ 10:27 am

Oh, come on. If it was 75 million years ago, I reckon they’d have been more DC-3 like. Big honkin’ radial engines, props, taildragger gear, all that. :D

Comment by weez 01.18.09 @ 9:32 pm

I frankly wasn’t aware I had any thetas.

Well, you see, 75 million years ago, Xenu, dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, brought billions of people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft . . .

Comment by AV 01.18.09 @ 9:16 pm

Back in 1994, I had the ‘pleasure’ of dating Ms Mclean then Ms Ward. Sadly she still believes the crap she inflicts into the public arena. To me she was a person looking for a cult to join, looks like she started her own & making money from it. Two failed marriages also proved a financial windfall.

Comment by Michael 03.25.09 @ 7:39 pm

Yes, she certainly has invented her own cult- and sprinkles it with enough sciencey sounding and cherry-picked crap to make it sound plausible to fearful, science-challenged P&C parents.

Comment by weez 03.25.09 @ 8:17 pm

2006 reports of a ‘cancer cluster’ among workers in a building at RMIT prompted the university to close the top two floors of the building and conduct extensive testing in search of carcinogens. The paper discussing the results is here.

Comment by weez 11.05.09 @ 7:05 am

But haven’t u heard about Philip Stein ‘Teslar’ watches to protect us all with their unique ‘Teslar Chips’? It seems humanity just loves to be ripped off !!

Comment by Charles Nesbit 05.19.11 @ 2:16 am

Actually, I have seen those silly things. Dismissed with an eye-roll like any other woowoo that claims to have ‘frequencies!!’ in it/them i.e. ‘power balance’ wristbands.

I’m not as sure that people ‘love to be ripped off’ as I am that some people are thick as a brick. At least there’s things like Teslar watches and power balance bands which they can wear to tip off the rest of us that there’s a high concentration of stupid nearby.

Comment by weez 05.19.11 @ 6:58 am

Gentle readers should note that Ms McLean is still in the mythmongering business, providing utter nonsense advice to frightened community groups. Wonder how many RF field strength meters and buckets of ‘EMR shielding paint’ she’s sold the poor beggars. Good work if you can get it.

Comment by weez 05.23.11 @ 7:09 pm

And now the SMH is consulting Lyn McLean as an ‘expert’ in the purported harms of RF.

#facepalm

Ear-bashing: feeling the heat in a city that forever beeps

Comment by weez 09.03.11 @ 8:08 am

I am currently on extended sick leave so am enjoying Margaret Throsby in the mornings on ABC Classic FM. Last week, one of her guests was Lyn McLean and for the first few minutes, she sounded reasonable.

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2011/09/19/3319785.htm

It wasn’t long before I started to wonder what this person’s credentials were (I have a physics degree) and when she told the story of how she ‘inherited’ the position that got her started on her phone tower crusade, the penny finally dropped.

I immediately grabbed my (wireless networked) laptop and searched for her. One very fortunate outcome of the search was finding MGK. I am very annoyed with the ABC for letting this nutter have an hour of free air time with not a mention of her new-age bollocks, lack of qualification and complete lack of challenge.

I search a bit more and find she was the guest of Robyn Williams on the ABC’s “Ockham’s Razor” show. A respected science presenter on our public broadcaster has also let this nutter loose on the air: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2011/3313219.htm

Time for letters/emails to the ABC (Media Watch too?)

PS: noticed tweets from ‘weezmgk’ during Q&A … keep up the good work weez!

Comment by Marc 09.21.11 @ 12:58 pm

Thanks, Marc.

Bless Google’s little cotton socks for ranking my posts about McLean at or above McLean’s own rankings.

I really don’t know what Sir Robyn was thinking when he let McLean on Ockham’s, either. I do know this much- McLean is apparently on a bit of a PR rampage, trying to get her name in the meedja lately- she suckered the SMH last week, also.

McLean is well on her way to making herself the Meryl ‘anti-vaccination’ Dorey of radio-wave fearmongering… and if you know anything about the hot water Ms Dorey has found herself in with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission for proffering false and misleading healthcare advice as well as with the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing for dodgy charitable fundraising… it’s not something one would aspire to, unless one aspires to wasting big chunks of cash and time on legal woes. McLean would do well to acquaint herself with Dorey’s situation because she’s heading there at about Mach III.

I think I’ve gotten 5 tweets up on Q&A so far. Beats just yelling at the tele. ;)

Comment by weez 09.21.11 @ 3:14 pm

Note to spreaders of fear, uncertainty, doubt & conspiracy theories- this is not your venue.

Got science? We’ll publish you.

Got hooey? You can publish with the anti-vaccine liars, FEMA prison camp goobers and other assorted bags of nuts on their well-known islands of tightly-wrapped tinfoil hattery. In other words, GO AWAY.

Comment by weez 12.17.11 @ 8:29 am

No, as a matter of fact, I will NOT publish your 3438 word screed on illnesses supposedly caused by radio signals. Just because you devote 21,691 keystrokes to a tome of nonsense doesn’t make a single word of it true. See immediately preceding comment.

Comment by weez 06.19.12 @ 12:46 pm

Does it strike anyone else as even a little bit ironic that a person who claims to be utterly debilitated by evil radio signals emitted by electronic devices would further risk their fragile health by pounding out 21,691 keystrokes on a computer to crap on about the health hazards of being around electronic equipment?

Face. Meet palm.

Comment by weez 06.19.12 @ 1:14 pm

Where the hell did this spring back from? Has this nutbag contacted you Weez?

Why now? Is it that we now have conservative governments up the east coast and imminent swing federally that brings her back? I’d thought she might have died from all that radiation she has floating about her.

Comment by Marc 06.19.12 @ 2:00 pm

Ms McLean has not contacted me, but it happens that mgk is the top result on Ye Google when you’re searching for ‘Lyn McLean.’ Consequently, there’s an awful lot of traffic funnelled to this post. The only downside to that is the number of evidence-free fearmongers & concern trolls who feel compelled to waste their time (and mine) attempting to post voluminous yet factless nonsense in the comment thread.

When someone comes up with some actual science indicating real health hazards involved with exposure to radio signals, I’ll be on the frontline, publishing like mad. Until then, I’ve had quite enough of conspiracy kooks and rumourmongers. 2 clicks and they’re in the bit bucket.

Comment by weez 06.19.12 @ 2:17 pm

AHA! SMARTPHONES ARE DANGEROUS!!! Appears the rotten beggars can play hell with your posture!

Comment by weez 06.19.12 @ 5:55 pm

Kook du jour wanted to post a link to a Devra Davis video on You Tube, claims that’s science (HAHAHAAHHAHA) & that I am ‘sprouting ignorance.’

Head, meet desk.

Comment by weez 06.20.12 @ 3:39 pm

Today’s kook thinks WiFi presents a ‘clear and present danger’ to children in schools.

Except for the simple fact that it doesn’t.

Not only has there never – not ever – been a single recorded case of an injury sustained from exposure to radio signals of ANY kind, WiFi is one of the very weakest radio signal sources around, with the majority of WiFi devices emitting on the order of 50 milliwatts (0.05 watts). A properly functioning microwave oven 500m away will produce a similar field strength to WiFi at 1m away. A typical 100kW TV transmitter will produce a similar field strength at 50km away.

Stop getting your information from scaremongers on the internet and start paying attention to actual scientists.

Comment by weez 06.26.12 @ 3:40 pm

Still at it:

“Mobile tower plan for national park”
April 9, 2013, 6:11 a.m

http://www.theleader.com.au/story/1417244/mobile-phone-tower-plan-for-national-park/

EMR Australia director Lyn McLean, who has monitored scientific discussion on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) for the past 17 years, said the ARPANSA standard did not protect the public and needed to be changed.

Comment by fraud 04.11.13 @ 3:25 pm

*sigh*

Thanks for that.

Have sent an email to The Leader detailing McLean’s lack of expertise in anything beyond inciting factless fears and then selling the snake oil wot cures it. Have invited them to contact Prof Simon Chapman for some correct information.

Comment by weez 04.11.13 @ 5:56 pm

Letters to the editor in printed copy 18/4, p22

*** Tower danger ***
The shire, with St George is certainly a special part of Australia.
Whenever there is a threat to our living standards, someone with expertise rushes forward in defence. As Lyn McLean has done to expose the dangers of Telstra’a proposal for a mobile phone tower at Grays Point (Leader, April 9)
And what a great photo by John Veage.
Doubly alarming is the proposal to put the tower within the Royal National Park. Surely the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will [oppose] that?
The Royal is the very first national park in Australia (1879) and its unspoiled integrity should be sacred.

Bob Walshe,
chairman, First National Park
Jannali

*** Minimal emission ***
In reference to the article “Mobile phone tower for park” (Leader, April 9). Finally Telstra has proposed to install a LTE (4G) phone tower for Grays Point.
This is great news as it will make high-speed wireless internet available to residents. ADSL2 is not available in Grays Point due to the poor-quality copper phone cables.
It will be years before the NBN reaches Grays Point.
Though, as usual, an ill-informed minority tries to stop progress.
I refer you to an article published by the American Cancer Society on January 31, 2013
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/cellular-phone-towers
Three expert agencies on carcinogens have not classified mobile phone towers as cancer-causing.
Those bodies include the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), National Toxicology Program and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The IARC found the radio frequency from a mobile phone tower is less than 1/100th of that emitted from a mobile phone.
I would be very surprised if the objectors to the proposed phone tower did not use mobile phones or other wireless devices themselves.
The tower will be 60 metres into the park. Take a walk through any shopping centre in the local area, for example Gymea, and note the locations of the mobile antennas. The energy emitted from these installations is minimal.

Brett Suttor, Grays Point

Comment by fraud 04.19.13 @ 1:34 pm

Small note to people who think there’s any proven hazard from radio signals: You’re wrong. There’s no proof whatsoever of any harms from radio signals. None. No one has ever been injured by radio signals, beyond those who have touched a live, energised antenna. There has never been a proven case of brain cancer or any other malady caused by mobile phones or any other radio signal emitting device. If you think I’m wrong, please produce the NAME of the person you think was injured and the medical proof. Simply, it’s never happened… and I will continue to delete crank comments without any qualms whatsoever.

Comment by weez 05.01.13 @ 8:40 pm

I am a first year student and we are learning how to pick fakes from credible sources. Lyn McLeans book has been offered as a source alongside others including this one: Swedish review strengthens grounds for concluding that radiation from cellular and cordless phones is a probable human carcinogen – Devra Lee Davis, Santosh Kesari, Colin L. Soskolne, Anthony B. Miller 2013-4
I’d sure be interested to know what you all think of it. I had mad panic attacks after reading it yesterday.

Comment by Karyn 11.20.14 @ 5:01 pm

Lyn McLean would be a great source of fakery. After McLean scares the wits out of the technically illiterate with her writings, she will also cheerfully sell ‘EMR shielding paint’ (which doesn’t work) and RF field strength meters labelled as “electrosmog” meters (which give the user no useful information whatsoever).

The biggest red flag there is regarding con-artistry is the coincidence that the con-artist will also, ever so conveniently, sell you the solution to the problem which they have persuaded you is real.

Devra Lee Davis is a prolific bullshit artist.

You can stop having panic attacks now. There remains zero credible evidence that non-ionising radiation, at any frequency or field strength, presents any health hazard of any kind.

Comment by weez 11.20.14 @ 5:20 pm

Thanks for that! I do feel better. But this santosh kesari guy and Deve lee Davis, how do I discredit them? I’ve googled them and would love to show how they are full of shit to impress my lecturers

Comment by Karyn 11.21.14 @ 6:33 pm

Break their claims down into individual alleged medical problems and then compare against facts about non-ionising electromagnetic radiation from the UN World Health Organisation, ICNIRP and so on. There’s quite a lot of things I’ve written & referenced on the topic right here on mgk. Skepdic has an entry on Davis. Loads of links on this & related topics on Skepdic that you can follow until your eyes bleed.

While you can’t prove a negative, you can show that there’s 25,000 peer reviewed WHO research papers over 30 years which have found no health effects from non-ionising radiation. As regards “electrosensitivity,’ this metastudy is good ‘Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: A Systematic Review of Provocation Studies‘ If you’re interested in specific health effects of mobile phones and associated towers, Prof Simon Chapman at USyd has long experience researching the area and can direct you further.

Rotsaruck!

Comment by weez 11.21.14 @ 6:55 pm

Thanks! I’ve been doing a bit of my own research and found this: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-disconnect-between-cell-phone-fears-and-science/ which seems a good a place as any to start. This is good stuff. Feeling more confident about how to tackle this essay now :)

Comment by Karyn 11.21.14 @ 7:13 pm

Yep, SBM is an excellent source.

Go gittem, tigger. :)

Comment by weez 11.21.14 @ 7:34 pm

Karyn, as regards the ‘Swedish review strengthens grounds for concluding that radiation… blah blah,’ see if the name Olle Johansson pops up anywhere near it. Johansson is a perennial mobile phone/wifi/etc crackpot and in fact advised the Danish students who ‘discovered’ they could not sprout cress seeds near a wifi router, which was more a case of bad science than evil radio signals. Given wifi is one of the lowest powered data comms protocols you’re ever likely to see- typical power output at about 50 milliwatts (0.05 watts)- wifi would be one of the least suspect sources of harm of any sort, especially given there are TV & radio transmitters all over the world which pound out as much as 1,000,000 watts 24/7/365.

Turns out Johanssen is a serial crank. A Swedish skeptics’ group named him as ‘Misleader of the Year‘ in 2004.

Once you start looking into the supposed hazards of non-ionising radiation, the same names keep popping up over and over and over. I would not be at all surprised to find Johansson is associated in some manner with the ‘study’ which Devra Lee Davis has co-authored.

Comment by weez 11.21.14 @ 9:08 pm



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