Larry W. Sarner

Founding Fellow

Loveland, Colorado, USA

Larry Sarner is a mathematician and inventor (three patents granted). He has bachelor degrees in applied mathematics (University of Colorado at Denver) and political science (Colorado State University).

As Administrator, Mr Sarner was responsible for daily operations of the Institute for its first four years.

In the 1990’s, Mr Sarner co-founded and moderated the Front Range Skeptics in Colorado co-founded, followed by the National Therapeutic Touch Study Group. He has been a member of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) and on the Board of Advisors for Quackwatch. As part of Citizens for Science in Medicine in 2001-2, he led a largely successful effort to have the biased final report of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP) sidelined. In 2001, he co-founded Advocates for Children in Therapy which confronts Attachment Therapy, a pseudoscientific treatment of adopted and foster children for the unrecognized diagnosis of “attachment disorder.”

Mr Sarner successfully managed electoral campaigns in Colorado defeating anti-fluoridation ballot proposals in two major Colorado cities (Fort Collins, 2005; Boulder, 2007). He is founder of Colorado Citizens for Science in Medicine, a consumer advocacy association.

Selected Publications:

  • Using Daubert to aid the injured: a case of Therapeutic Touch” (with LA Rosa), Quinnipiac Health Law, 1999-2000, 3(1):25-35. With Daubert v. Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), the US Supreme Court established a new standard for the scientific testimony of experts in federal courts, requiring such testimony to be scientifically valid. That standard puts practitioners of unscientific interventions at a distinct disadvantage in malpractice cases.
  • “The ‘Emily Event’: Emily Rosa and the Therapeutic Touch wars,” Skeptic, 1998, 6(2):32-37. An analysis of the phenomenon and significance of the publication of the JAMA article on Therapeutic Touch.
  • A close look at Therapeutic Touch” (with LA Rosa, E Rosa & SJ Barrett), Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998 Apr 1; 279(13):1005-1010. Reports original research, conducted by 9-year-old Emily Rosa, on a popular, pseudo-scientific, nursing intervention, concluding, “To our knowledge, no other objective, quantitative study involving more than a few TT practitioners has been published, and no well-designed study demonstrates any health benefit from TT. These facts, together with our experimental findings, suggest that TT claims are groundless and that further use of TT by health professionals is unjustified.”

Selected Books

book cover
Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker, with Jean A. Mercer & Linda A. Rosa (Praeger, 2003). Candace Newmaker was an adopted girl whose mother felt the child suffered from an emotional disorder that prevented loving attachment. Her adoptive mother, a registered nurse, sought out Attachment Therapy, a fringe form of psychotherapy, for the girl and was present at her death by suffocation during that therapy. This text examines the beliefs of the girl’s mother and the  therapists, showing that the death, though unintentional, was a logical outcome of this form of treatment.

In the News:

Selected Presentations:

  • Attachment theory, evidence-based practice, and rogue therapies: using and misusing the concept of attachment” (with JA Mercer, R Pennington, LA Rosa), Wisconsin School Psychology Association, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 2008 Oct 29.
  • “The torture of children in America: a faith-based initiative,” Annual International Conference, International Cultic Studies Association, Denver, Colorado, 2006 Jun.
  • “Colorado quackery,” FDA-Sponsored workshop (with LA Rosa), Denver, Colorado, 2005 Sep 21.
  • “Regulating violent therapies,” 9th International Family Violence Research Conference, Family Research Laboratory & Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2005 Jul.
  • Testimony, US House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources (with JA Mercer), 2003 Nov 20.

The Online Larry Sarner:

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