Tuteur-Minchin Debate Outline

Maureen MinchinAppearances elsewhere, Bottle Feeding, breastmilk, Child Health, Commentary, debate, General News, Immunology, Infant Formula, Infant Health, Lactation, Lactivism, Maternal Health, Milk Hypothesis, Milk Matters, Reviews by MM, Tuteur Debate

WHY A TIMELINE?

In my opinion, in an era of fake news and online hatred, Amy Tuteur (AT), the so-called Skeptical Obstetrician, and author of Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, is undermining public health efforts, and I suspect, profiting from doing so. Personally, as a result of her behaviour, I consider her to lack all credibility, and to be beneath contempt.

I am writing this timeline and posting it online for a number of reasons.

  • It may help others attacked by Amy Tuteur to understand what they face in dealing with her.
  • It should assist historians of the Mommy Wars to assess the credibility and veracity of one prominent participant in those wars, who boasted that she has been paid a six-figure sum for her writing.
  • And it serves as a document of record should any litigation eventuate anywhere in the world, as I suspect it might.

TIMELINE OF TUTEUR-MINCHIN ONLINE DEBATE

March 1, 2019 Amy Tuteur (AT) posted a cartoon on my Facebook page, challenging me to debate her about the benefits of breastfeeding. I agreed to

  • an independently moderated verbal debate [AT later changed this unilaterally to a written FB exchange: AT: We will take turns asking each other questions in print and posting the responses.]
  • consider arranging matters “not before the end of May 2019” [AT posted another cartoon on May 23rd, and harassed me]
  • with the proviso that she read Milk Matters[AT actually asked for a free copy, later said she had downloaded and “skimmed” it. There was no evidence that she had done so in her writing.]

After quite a lot of inane comments online by herself and followers, I ignored her and went on with my work.

May 23, 2019 Tuteur aggressively renewed her challenge on my Facebook page, using my image and a picture of my book, with the words “Are you ready Maureen or will you be weaselling out?”  Very professional.

May 27 2019 After continuing with the work in hand, I replied affirmatively, and began to try to discuss arrangements for an impartial and fair process.

AT told me to ask her the first question. I pointed out that she was the one who wanted the debate, and so should frame her question and argue a case that I would rebut. She drafted the question: “Are the benefits of breastfeeding real and clinically relevant or merely theoretical and not reproducible in large populations?” I agreed to debate that question, “provided it would be done on an independent site accessible only to the two of us and a permanent record made.” The former I could not achieve, this chronology is part of the latter, and the whole debate is permanently recorded at  tuteurminchindebate.wordpress.com

Some excerpts from posts

29 May thread MM FB to SOB once again: you asked for the debate; you therefore argue the case in detail to support your proposition on June 19, and I rebut it. On a neutral, moderated site that you do not control and which is not open for comment by anyone but us and the moderator. 

29 May thread MM FB Amy, as I have said about three times now, I do not have to ask you a question at all, if I don’t choose to: you asked for the debate and so you argue your case and I rebut it. And the time I have set aside is June 19-21. Full stop, I can guarantee that I will get on with other things and ignore you completely after that date. That’s how it works. Goad all you like, try to manipulate and bully, and it still won’t work. I will do what I said I would. Not what you want.

Everything will be copied to both Facebook pages, AT said (I disagreed), “and our readers can decide for themselves who is presenting the latest, most accurate, most comprehensive scientific data.”

[In fact, check her replies for any references to scientific data about infant feeding. No scientific evidence was offered or discussed; in fact almost all scientific evidence has been dismissed as irrelevant. And the illogic of asking to see the results of predictions, when the premises for the predictions have not been met, escapes AT. ]

29 May thread MM FB in response to why interact with SOB. ..”it may prove helpful to some of those who reflexively say FIB when fed is the bare minimum, not the best. If even a few people realize that the myths of complete safety and equivalence of formula are just that, it will be worth it. And soon I intend to stop this chat and leave it all till the 19th to deal with.”

After consulting computer experts about possible ways of organising the debate, I posted:

June 11, 2019 MM1 Agreed Rules and Common Ground for debate

http://web.archive.org/web/20190623052343/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/the-minchin-tuteur-debate/

PROCEDURAL MATTERS FOR THE DEBATE Can you agree to these Rules for the debate, Amy Tuteur? Unless you do, I will not go ahead over the three days. As repeatedly stated from March onwards, I am not willing to have the debate hosted on Facebook, your page or mine, or any page you set up for the purpose, and I agreed to a debate with an independent moderator. And I explicitly refuse permission for you or anyone to post my intellectual property in any digital form on any page controlled by you or your followers….MORE 

All my conditions would be not even discussed. Misuse of intellectual property was not something that seemed to bother her.  It became ever more clear that she wished to anger, disgust or bully me into walking away. Her reply follows:

June 14, 2019 AT no 1 (captured later for record)

http://web.archive.org/web/20190622133832/https://www.skepticalob.com/2019/06/lactation-professional-maureen-minchin-sets-a-new-standard-for-immaturity.html  This begins: Maureen Minchin agreed to debate me and now she’s trying to get out of it. [AT lie] Of course, I expected that she would back out [Possibly true, AT tried hard to get me to walk away]; I just didn’t expect that she would lie to her followers about it. [Another AT lie.]

Naturally I recorded what was going on and made it public.

June 14, 2019 MM2. Tuteur Debate Update: Progress? 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190623052902/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-debate-update-progress/

An Update: The Skeptical Obstetrician, and her challenge to ‘debate’.What has happened so far.  March 1, 2019, Dr Amy Tuteur intruded rudely on my Facebook page to challenge me to a debate – as she has challenged other breastfeeding advocates, individuals and groups. (Who sensibly refuse to engage with her.)  More……

I had agreed to consider making arrangements for a moderated verbal debate, but now was undertaking arrangements for a written exchange. Because I was never going to walk away. These were the suggested processes.

June 17, 2019 MM 3. Tuteur/Minchin debate procedure 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190623054124/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-minchin-debate-procedure/  Debate procedure Maureen Minchin will follow. This process has been independently designed …. More…….I asked for her email address to allow immediate transmission of timestamped replies; and gave mine. There was no reply or attempt at discussion, and later false allegations of being unable to access my FB page. Instead, this was the response (increasingly shrill, it seemed to me).

June 17, 2019 AT2 Breastfeeding advocate Maureen Minchin forfeits debate by refusing impartial rules  On Friday I wrote about breastfeeding advocate Maureen Minchin’s increasing desperation to to have her cake and eat it, too. On the one hand, she is trying to get out of a debate with me that agreed to months ago; on the other hands she doesn’t want her followers to know that she is running scared…. More http://web.archive.org/web/20190622134727/https://www.skepticalob.com/2019/06/breastfeeding-advocate-maureen-minchin-forfeits-debate-by-refusing-impartial-rules.html

In this AT again lies about the situation, and concludes: AT: “Of course I never expected that Maureen would actually debate; she fears she’d be humiliated.” [AT was not reading my mind accurately; projection of her own fears may explain this remark.]

There were more insults as she was reading (and not replying to me about) posts, where I made it clear I would not walk away.  AT was well aware that I would post on the 19th and engage for 3 days, and seemed to be trying to ward me off.

Friends were so disgusted with what was being posted that I was under considerable pressure to walk away. So I wrote the next post to explain my reasons for persisting, and to repeat yet again what I was going to do and when….

June 18, 2019 MM4. Why am I (still) debating Amy Tuteur? 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190623053050/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/why-am-i-still-debating-amy-tuteur/

As you wait for my reply to her question, to be posted tonight at midnight, here’s an answer to a question I am being asked. Why would anyone persist through so many unilateral changes of procedure and topic as Amy has tried to create, through so much rudeness and scorn from her? …. More…….

June 19th And a few minutes after midnight on June 19th, I did exactly as I had said I would.  I posted my answer to her question –  her quatement, more a statement than a question – and asked her to justify it with scientific evidence. I argued that since she had proposed the debate, she needed to outline her case, when it contradicted a massive global consensus – that I outlined in the reply. I had seen no evidence to support her case, and I could not rebut what I could not imagine. I also asked her to include evidence to explain away some of the many known facts about the effects of infant feeding. That is all in Minchin 1 (which is MM5 below in this chronology).

June19 MM5. Tuteur debate: Minchin 1: answer to Tuteur Question  https://web.archive.org/web/20190618134319/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-debate-minchin-1/

June 18, 2019 posted just before midnight, to be there June 19 as promised. PREAMBLE FOR ANY SPECTATORS It is because infant feeding is such a powerful issue, and so important to global health, that I agreed to spend the time on this question set by Amy Tuteur, and to create a time-stamped secure permanent record on a dedicated website for future reference by historians of the “the Mommy Wars”, in ….

The same day AT responded in three ways: with a short and unreferenced formal reply (Tuteur 1, below); an offensive screed on her Facebook page; and having defaced my answer to her question, posting it in her/partner’s Dropbox . This meant her followers did not use the posted timestamped link, or come to my FB page to read it. This ignored multiple statements refusing her the right to use my intellectual property on sites she controls, along with her commitment to each posting on our own pages. In short, she captured all the web traffic.

June 19, 2019 AT3 Response  (=Tuteur 1) ‘to Maureen Minchin’s non-responsive piece’ (Minchin 1, MM5 above)

http://web.archive.org/web/20190622135256/https://www.skepticalob.com/2019/06/reply-to-maureen-minchins-non-responsive-piece.html

Also a Michael Tuteur, husband or son, posted to Dropbox:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/swgdrv8oe7fvgnd/Minchin%206-18-19annotated.pdf?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR2dYSIv8F0luQrxRbeSKgiCPpi71WGcbyjd7oayiNxnvxxb7fjAusclS6o

The above reply (Tuteur 1) does not address a single question I asked, or provide any scientific evidence or links. I dealt with Tuteur and her three postings in Minchin 2.

June 20, 2019 MM 6. Tuteur debate: Minchin  2

https://web.archive.org/web/20190620074148/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-debate-minchin-2/

Minchin 2  is a two part reply [to Tuteur 1 above] for the historical record. It is in two parts. The first annotates what  Amy Tuteur posted online on her Facebook page.  The second part is a  critique of her reply (Tuteur 1)  to Minchin 1…. More…….

Minchin 2 incorporates most of AT’s reply except for irrelevant graphs about vaccines and smoking as public health initiatives. Check out the full text at web.archive.org address above to check that I did rebut all that she wrote.

AT then replied (Tuteur 2); told her followers not to read my Minchin 2, and provided no link to it. Tuteur 2 does not even address a single question I asked.

AT4 Tuteur 2, reply to Minchin 2

http://web.archive.org/web/20190622152947/https://www.skepticalob.com/2019/06/maureen-minchin-uses-6000-words-to-say-no-she-cant-show-the-benefits-of-breastfeeding-are-real.html

AT did not notify me of her post (She had my email, see above). I found a copy of Tuteur 2 around 12.30pm on June 21st, and replied to her evidence-free rambling essay, around midnight on June 21st with Minchin 3 (see below)

June 21, 2019 MM 7. Tuteur debate: Minchin 3 replies to Tuteur 2 June 21, 2019

https://web.archive.org/web/20190620074148/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-debate-minchin-2/ TUTEUR MINCHIN DEBATE  MINCHIN 3: A REPLY TO TUTEUR 2  Thanks to an onlooker, I received a copy of Amy Tuteur MD’s latest reply, which I discovered online at 12.30pm today June 21. It is not a reply addressed to me, but to her supporters. It is they who matter….. More……

My reply, Minchin3,  incorporates ALL of her Tuteur 2 post, and comments on it.  By now I had been given (by others) an email for her from one of her public sites,  so I sent her a timestamped copy and wished her well. I expected a reply, But none has been forthcoming, though once again she has attacked me publicly.

SUMMARY

I think AT’s behaviour throughout, from March to June 2019, was juvenile and unprofessional: sneering, taunting, saying I would run away, accusing me of cowardice and lying, while deliberately misrepresenting what was happening, and telling blatant lies. I told her I would post a reply to her question at midnight on June 19th.  I did try to communicate before the debate, from May 31 onwards, on matters of process. She simply ignored me. And later lied about being unable to contact me, though she and followers were noting and jeering at what I wrote.

Untrue comments like “How could Maureen possibly agree to debate me? She only speaks and writes for those who already agree with her. She, like most lactation professionals, wouldn’t dare put herself in a situation in which she could be questioned about the latest data and how it contradicts nearly everything that lactation profession play,als (sic) have been claiming.”

One foolish supporter was so convinced by AT’s rhetoric that she bet $500 that I would walk away from the debate! Perhaps AT will reimburse her for her devotion.

I said the debate should be on an impartial site, and AT refused to negotiate any such thing. By default I was forced to use FB and my own Website, though I had said I would not. She ignored the option of using email to exchange timestamped archived links that would be posted on both pages; she defaced my first reply with  highlighters making it mostly unreadable and posted it on her Dropbox site [explicitly forbidden]; then failed to post a link to my second reply, telling her followers she had read it, so they didn’t need to!!

For the record: My third reply, Minchin 3, has not been commented on or posted about by AT to this date, June 29 2019. A timestamped copy was emailed to her once it was posted online, as someone had sent me her public email address.  See final email below. She has never acknowledged receipt or posted Minchin 3 or commented on it directly. Perhaps because it is so embarrassing as it points out some really obvious mistakes she has made.

FINAL COMMUNICATION

A copy of an email sent to DrAmy5@aol.com on June 22ndAEST, with the subject heading “the official post” is the final record in this timeline.

https://web.archive.org/web/20190621160801/https://infantfeedingmatters.com/tuteur-minchin-debate-minchin-3

But of course there’s no clock running as I have retired. Did just as I said I would, and that’s the debate over.

Amy, I hope you will seriously consider the possibility that you do great harm, though I am sure you do not intend to. I would be happy to converse in friendlier terms if ever you have a change of heart. Or want to talk rather than compete. I’m too old to hold grudges.

MIchael Tuteur, please consider what I have said, and read Milk Matters. The middle section on infant formula would be of most interest. Professor Peter Hartmann has predicted that infant formula will be the tobacco of the 21st century. A class action for damage in NICUs that do not supply breastmilk or enable breastfeeding is likely to succeed even now, since it is almost 30 years since definitive RCTS established the degree of added risk, and it has been confirmed many times over.

All best wishes to you both,

Maureen Minchin

www.infantfeedingmatters.com