Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2007

I’ve written extensively before about Starchild Abraham Cherrix, the (now) 17-year-old who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease when he was 15 and who, after one course of chemotherapy, refused any further evidence-based medicine in favor of the quackery known as Hoxsey therapy. His refusal led to a big legal battle in Virginia, and the court…

Has it really been two years? Amazingly, it has indeed. On June 16, 2005, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. deposited the biggest, steamingest, drippiest (not to mention stinkiest) turd I had as yet seen in my then young blogging career, specifically an article published simultaneously by both Salon.com and Rolling Stone entitled Deadly Immunity. Along with…

Here, on this summer solstice, a traditional time of great importance for woo, I bet you need a shot of skepticism, don’t you? Fortunately, mcsquared over at Relatively Science has your back with the 63 Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. As he puts it: …”if you are in the Northern hemisphere this will be the…

I’ve done my fair share of ranting about Scientology, be it about Tom Cruise’s aggressive and arrogant antipsychiatry nuttiness a couple of years ago or the very recent piece I wrote about the disturbing and idiotically conceived anti-psychiatry museum run by the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology is, of course, a target-rich environment,…

Acupuncture and blood pressure

Having exhausted myself for the time being on two things that irritate me a lot (namely creationist neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Egnor and the antivaccination pseudoscience being presented as “evidence” that vaccines cause autism at the Autism Omnibus), it’s time for a change of pace. For all my tendency to deride certain “alternative medicine” modalities as…

Grand Rounds

Lest I forget my medblogging duties, let me just post a brief plug for this week’s edition of Grand Rounds, hosted this time by Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse. I’m such an idiot; I forgot to submit some of my work to the carnival!

While I’m back on the topic of vaccines and autism after a long hiatus, thanks to the Atuism Omnibus, don’t know how I missed this article by Sharyl Attkisson, entitled Autism: Why the Debate Rages. I can’t recall the last time I saw so many logical fallacies and doggerel packed into an article on an…

If you leave aside the problem with the Autism Omnibus trial, which has just entered its second week, that annoys me the most, namely a hypothesis so poorly supported by science and so badly argued by a panoply of nonexperts could make it so far in our legal system and possibly even endanger the Vaccine…

PZ and archy just ruined my day

Thanks, archy and PZ. You just ruined my day. Really. If you thought that Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church was bad, you really ain’t seen nothin’ yet until you’ve checked out Paul Hill Days. The Phelpses may be evil in the way that they torment people in their moment of grief with their…

In blogging, there are some topics that I know that I really shouldn’t bother with; yet, somehow they suck me in. A number of things can cause that. Perhaps it’s a topic that just gets under my skin to the point where I can’t hold back a commentary, even when I know that it might…

Pediatric Grand Rounds

The latest Pediatric Grand Rounds has been posted over at Med Journal Watch. There’s lots of good stuff, including some posts about the Autism Omnibus trial.

I’ve seen ads like this before in issues of LIFE Magazine from the 1940s that I inherited from my uncle, but they never cease to make me cringe when I see them: (Click for a larger image and to read the text of the ad more clearly.) Get a load of the text:

If Irn-Bru can do this, maybe I should try some the next time I manage to make it to the U.K.: (Via Attuworld.)

Truer words were never spoken…

Via Modern Mechanix, an ad from 1938: Does this make you think of something other than a medical ad? Maybe it’s the whole thing about the “human hand” being placed on the groin as a truss.

With the Autism Omnibus trial having finished its first week looking at the first test case of Michelle Cedillo, a very unfortunate girl with multiple medical problems and autism, for whose “vaccine injury” her parents are seeking compensation, it’s not surprising that we’d find some slime bubbling up to the surface. First off, we have…

LOL Doctor?

I must confess that I never really grokked the whole “LOL Cat” thing. I must admit to being a bit puzzled by the phenomenon when it metastasized to ScienceBlogs and some of my fellow SBers applied it to creationists, spurred on by Mark H at denialism.com (althogh I must admit that I nonetheless found the…

Here we go again. Time really flies when you’re having fun, and the Skeptics’ Circle is no exception. Hard as it is to believe after the last outstanding entry, there’s less than a week before the blogosphere is (hopefully) graced with another session of skepticism and critical thinking, just the antidote for all the rampant…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: An iPod of woo

Alright, now they’ve gone too far. I can take a lot from woo-meisters. I can watch them claim that water has some sort of “memory” and that diluting a compound to nonexistence somehow seemingly by magic makes it more powerful and chuckle at their silliness. I can listen to them claim that by “alkalinizing your…

Update on Katie Wernecke

Things have been very quiet as far as the story of Katie Wernecke, the 14-year-old girl with lymphoma whose parents fought a legal battle with the State of Texas to be able to choose “alternative” therapy involving high dose vitamin C, despite the fact that her conventional therapeutic options had not been exhausted and she…

At the monthly faculty meeting of our cancer center the other day, we had just finished listening to an invited talk by an ethicist about medical technology and the ethics of end-of-life care, when one of my colleagues happened to mention an article in the New York Times about how a perverse incentive system encourages…

Is your qi weak? Is your aura not glowing as brightly and colorfully as it should? Is your ability to take on ten masked men who conveniently come at you no more than one or two at a time getting shaky, so that you’re no longer sure that you can handle more than, say, five…

R.I.P., Mr. Wizard

Via Boing-Boing, I learn that Don Herbert, a.k.a. “Mr. Wizard,” has died. He lived to a ripe old age of 89. Perhaps the best tribute to him is this: “Over the years, Don has been personally responsible for more people going into the sciences than any other single person in this country,” George Tressel, a…

More antiscience from an old “friend”

Yesterday, I discussed how pseudoscience–nay, antiscience–may well triumph over science in the Autism Omnibus trial presently going on. One reason that this might happen is because of the primacy of feelings over evidence among the plaintiffs, to whose power even the Special Masters running the trial are not entirely immune. As a fellow human being,…

Let down by Crooks and Liars

I normally like Crooks and Liars. However, this time around, while blogging about the Autism Omnibus, Nicole let me down. Saying that “I don’t pretend to have any special medical knowledge; so I will link both sides of the thimerosal debate,” she then linked to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s totally dishonest fearmongering piece of crap…

The first day’s testimony for the Autism Omnibus has been posted, and Autism Diva has the scoop. I haven’t had a chance to peruse the PDF file of the testimony, but what the Diva reports is plenty damning. Maybe I was wrong to be so pessimistic in my earlier post. Dr. H. Vasken Aposhian’s testimony…