HEALTH CLAIMS: Phillip Day's ideas are well outside the bounds of conventional medicine.
HEALTH CLAIMS: Phillip Day's ideas are well outside the bounds of conventional medicine. Thinkstock

OPINION: Why I covered Phillip Day's book launch

WHEN I was invited to cover Phillip Day's book launch at the Grand Hotel on Thursday night, I wasn't sure at first whether I should accept.

A quick Google search gave me an idea of the kind of claims I would be hearing - that cancer can be treated by eating fruits and vegetables, that evolution is a lie, and that vaccines are a scam, just for starters.

I had also been invited by one of the event's organisers, who I had met while reporting on a previous story - and they had helped me out considerably.

I decided to cover the event, but first let that person know I wouldn't be publishing Mr Day's statements without an expert response.

They couldn't have been more understanding and still welcomed me to the launch.

As someone who is far from a medical expert (and is probably going to drop dead from a caffeine habit well before his time) I feel uneasy taking any kind of definite stance on healthy practices.

Medicine is changing all the time - fine-tuning its diagnoses and treatments, but also correcting its mistakes.

CREDENCE: A screenshot of Mr Day's website.
CREDENCE: A screenshot of Mr Day's website. credence.org

That said, I can tell when claims are being made - and accepted - without an appropriate level of supporting evidence.

The "question everything" attitude the talk was supposed to be instilling in its audience was in scant supply when it came to the assertions Mr Day used to back up his theories.

And the idea that someone might take on some of the ideas promoted on Thursday night and, for example, try to beat cancer with healthy eating alone, makes me deeply uncomfortable.

But what stood out most to me about the people helping to organise the event, at least, was the genuine interest and care they showed for the lives and health of those in attendance.

One man told me he and his family had adopted many of the general health tips promoted by Mr Day, and they had never felt better.

COMMANDING SPEAKER: Phillip Day (right) speaks with Gladstone locals after his talk at the Grand Hotel.
COMMANDING SPEAKER: Phillip Day (right) speaks with Gladstone locals after his talk at the Grand Hotel. Andrew Thorpe

Mr Day himself, despite his misgivings about the media, was also welcoming to me.

He responded politely to my questions, and was open to my recording, at least, our conversation after the talk.

I think it's important to be careful when it comes to assigning motives to anyone involved in this kind of event.

That goes especially for those helping to organise them and those in attendance - and I would hope the principle is extended to those critiquing them as well.

It seems to me "enemy turf" is mostly occupied by people who just want the best for each other.