Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2007

I would be remiss in my duties as organizer of the Skeptics’ Circle if I were to forget to remind you that it won’t be long before the next Skeptics’ Circle comes around the pike. Indeed, the next meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle will appear on Thursday, December 6 and will be hosted by Pro-Science,…

I don’t know what it is about woo-meisters and vibration. I know I’ve said this before, but it seems to come up so often that I can’t help but repeat it. Everything is vibration. Everything. And if it’ not vibration, it’s waves, be they energy waves, sound waves, or, as I like to describe them…

I haven’t said much about Gillian Gibbons, the unfortunate schoolteacher from Britain who fell afoul of religious fundamentalism in Sudan when she did a class exercise in which her class picked a name for a Teddy Bear. Unfortunately, the name the children picked was Mohammed. Because of Islamic proscriptions against making an “image” of Mohammed,…

Sometimes I have a hard time not concluding that we are.

It looks as though the Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed another life. This time, though, it wasn’t an adult, as it was recently. This time, though, through the indoctrination inherent in the Jehovah’s Witness religion and, incredibly and inexcusably, the acquiescence of our legal system to their irrational and dubious interpretation of a text written thousands…

Heard on the radio this morning, a commenter responding to a radio talk show host’s pointing out to him that Mike Huckabee doesn’t accept evolution as valid. This is as close as I can remember what he said, but the gist is correct: We disagree on that. But not believing in evolution is something I…

…for reaching a milestone in blogging. One thing that’s always puzzled me is why Abel’s traffic isn’t much higher (and mine lower, to be honest). True, I post much more frequently than he does, but that alone doesn’t explain it. (Maybe it’s EneMan.) Whatever the case, Abel deserves a much larger readership. There’s a disconnect…

We’ve had one example this week of people with minds so open that their brains fell out at the Oxford Union, which invited Holocaust denier and British National Party leader Nick Griffin to “discuss free speech.” Now, sadly, I see another, this time it’s the United States government, which has invited die-hard antivaccinationists to be…

Max Hastings apparently disagrees with the disgust that I and many others expressed over Holocaust denier David Irving’s recent appearance at the Oxford Union. I’d almost agree with him, except that (1) I highly doubt, from reading the accounts, that any real “debate” occurred and (2) I don’t think the Oxford Union exercise did anything…

You’ve probably heard the oft-repeated charge of “alternative” medicine advocates. If you get into a debate or conversation with one, you can almost count on seeing or hearing it before too long. Indeed, we heard a variant of this very claim yesterday coming from ├╝ber-woomeister supreme Deepak Chopra. I’m referring, of course, to the rant…

If you’ve been a regular reader here, one thing you know about me is just how much I detest Holocaust denial. What I detest even more, however, is when a Holocaust denier wraps his Nazi apologia and anti-Semitism in the cloak of free speech, particularly when he tries to claim martyr status while doing it.…

The return of the living Choprawoo

I was originally planning to do a real science post today. Indeed, there are at least two or three interesting studies that have been released in the last month or two that I’ve been meaning to write up, you know, to lose the snark and make this a real Science Blog. True, having a little…

Doctors as drug reps

Fellow ScienceBlogger Abel Pharmboy over at Terra Sig pointed me in the direction of a rather fascinating and disturbing article about physicians being recruited as “thought leaders” by pharmaceutical companies. Abel’s discussion is well worth reading for yourself, but I thought I’d chime in my two cents, as always. From a surgeon’s perspective, these sorts…

While contemplating the burning stupidity that is Jenny McCarthy over the weekend as she mindlessly parroted some of the worst misinformation of the antivaccine movement and assured an interviewer that she would , all the while solemnly proclaiming that, were she to have another child she “”wouldn’t vaccinate at all, never, ever,” all the while…

The Onion on acupuncture

As usual, The Onion gets it right, particularly the part about all acupuncture being “fake” acupuncture. By the way, this is the study the article is referring to. Meanwhile, Mark Crislip weighs in on this study and some other recent acupuncture studies. Hmmm. Why should Dr. Crislip have all the fun. True, counting the study…

I’ve been very remiss in featuring what has become, from a very early point in this blog’s history, its de facto mascot. Maybe it’s because he’s just been so busy being BEOC (Big Enema on Campus), or maybe it’s a bit of laziness on my part. Or maybe having a giant walking Fleet’s enema bottle…

This video’s so good that I’m half tempted to try this method for myself, just to see if it actually works… Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog. MacGyver would love this.

I’ve never been able to understand advocates of homeopathy. I just have difficulty understanding how otherwise intelligent people can fall for the bad science, the logical fallacies, and the magical thinking necessary to believe that homeopathy is anything other than glorified water, an elaborate, ritualized placebo. I can understand how such an idea may have…

I know, I know. Picking on Jenny McCarthy over her now frequent idiotic statements about autism and her parroting of the myth that vaccines cause autism is like shooting fish in a barrel, boxing a one-armed opponent, playing tennis with a blind man (like the infamous Saturday Night Live sketch from so long ago, in…

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving. I had wondered whether I would have the wherewithal to actually come up with yet another installment of this blog’s usual Friday feature. After all, too much food can lead to a decrement in brain function that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to come up with the goods.…

A little Thanksgiving blog carnivalia

While I’m making a huge indentation in the couch cushions and digesting my repast, here’s some good blog carnival reading for you all to peruse: Grand Rounds, vol. 4, no. 9 (from Mexico) Tangled Bank #93 Until tomorrow…

And happy Thanksgiving to all…

…from EneMan. Here’s wishing everyone who celebrates it a Happy Thanksgiving. As you might expect, our blog mascot is joining in the fun, preparing the turkey, and loading up on tryptophan! Believe it or not, given my usual prolific nature, I’m taking the day off from blogging to engage in the traditional Thanksgiving Day activities…

It’s that time again. Oh, it’s a day early because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but it’s here nonetheless. It’s time for the 74th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, this time hosted over at Med Journal Watch. I can’t figure out why Christian is being heckled by skeptics, though, as he gives his address. Don’t forget…

I once blogged about an article attempting to address the very question in the title of this post, and I’ve also discussed in depth how messy the process of evidence-based medicine can be and why that provides an opening for purveyors of “alternative medicine” (my preferred term to describe it being “non-evidence-based medicine”) to respond…

America the “overvaccinated”?

He’s baaack. Yes, that radio voice of the mercury militia, the shock jock Don Imus, who was so ignominiously booted from his nationwide syndicated radio show last spring is coming back to the airwaves on December 3 on WABC radio in New York, with plans to syndicate him again nationwide. Personally, although I consider Imus…