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InfoQ Homepage News Bloggers Attack Dr. Jeff Sutherland's Interest & Support of Frequency Foundation

Bloggers Attack Dr. Jeff Sutherland's Interest & Support of Frequency Foundation

Several blogs criticized Dr. Jeff Sutherland's interest in electronic medicine yesterday and his support for the Frequency Foundation.  The blogs' owners contend that he is investing in and potentially profiting from what is considered a derided arm of medical science.  Not stopping there, the blog owners'  attempted to contrast Dr. Sutherland's interest in this questionable science with his success introducing scrum software development to the world.  

From Jordan Bortz:

Well, here is what I see the similarities being:

1) Scrum is just the idea of Sutherland and to some degree Schwaber. Similar to the Rife Frequencies just being an idea — there is no proof that either works, yet Sutherland sells both

2) Most of the “evidence” — such as there is — that scrum works at all is due to Sutherlands work at a number of companies and it’s widely quoted. But we can see from his “work” at Frequency Foundation that his claims must be taken with a very large dose of skepticism

3) The Rife folks appear to be preying on desperate people hoping for a silver bullet to cure their ills. And Scrum (IMHO) is preying on desperate managers hoping for a silver bullet

4) The Rife stuff -is  pseudomedicine and the Scrum stuff is simplistic pseudomanagement.

I used to think there was a certain tin foil hat element to the Scrumentology business but we can see that at least one high level Scrum lord is way beyond tin foil hats and e-meters. 

From Agile Forest:

Personally I am confused as to why Jeff Sutherland has actually gone to some lengths to separate the two of these organisations ( & Frequency Foundation ). Even his linkedin profile has no mention of Frequency Foundation. Is it a concern to him that his relationship with radionics and Royal Rife would impact on his reputation within the Agile community? 

But commentors on those sites weren't in complete agreement about the attempted connection: 

Software development is not science. And it is not medicine. It is a craft, a trade if you like. You may as well compare llamas to lampshades, after all they both start with L. ~Tobias Mayer


So , Renee, what you are saying, without saying it, is that if Jeff Sutherland is a quack in this ELF thing – which as you describe, is clearly quack-like. And if he goes to great lengths to isolate it from his Scrum work , then clearly he has something to hide. Perhaps you are contending that if this stuff is quackery then perhaps Scrum (or at least his participation in it) is also questionable or improbable and perhaps software process quackery.

If that is what you are saying – then be brave, show real courage and say it.

Otherwise, butt out of the dude’s private life......~Mike 

According to Dr. Jeff Sutherland's LinkedIn profile he regards this as a hobby.  Not his profession:  

My hobby is a passionate interest in electronic medicine, using electromagnetic devices to eliminate pathogens, affect cellular function, DNA, and protein creation. I am a well known, international leader in this emerging technology area with a worldwide client base. One of my future startups will be in this area as the technology matures. 

Further, Jeff does have a medical degree from the University of Colorado, School of Medicine.  

While the bloggers may have found an eccentric hobby and interest maintained by one of the most famous agile manifesto signatories, it's not at all clear how,or if , this has any connection to scrum as a software development process.  Plenty of historical figures have had equally strange, sometimes even scandalous, interests or habits.  For example, Albert Einstein wouldn't wear socks and after divorcing his first wife married his cousin.  This doesn't seem to have diminished his contribution to the world of physics.

Turning it back to our readers....what are your thoughts?   Do the bloggers have a point? 


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