Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2007

In the past, I’ve characterized chiropractors, at least the ones who claim to be able to treat anything other than back pain, as “physical therapists with delusions of grandeur who don’t know their limitations.” It appears that Panda Bear, MD agrees with me, and he’s particularly disturbed about such chiropractors increasingly targeting the pediatric population:…

I’m not sure what to think of Michael Siegel. I’m really not. Even now, I remain of two minds on him. Dr. Siegel first came to my attention back in July, around the time I was getting into online tussles with a certain opponent of indoor smoking bans, before which I had never heard of…

Michael Medved: Evolution scholar…

…apparently, that’s what the Discovery Institute thinks, as William Dembski proudly announces, for reasons that escape me: Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk radio host and bestselling author, has joined the Discovery Institute in the role of senior fellow. The position cements a longstanding friendship and recognizes a commonality of values and projects across a spectrum…

There’s a rather interesting bit of vaccine politics going on in Prince George’s County, Maryland being reported by the AP and The Baltimore Sun: Scores of grumbling parents facing a threat of jail lined up at a courthouse today to either prove that their school-age kids already had their required vaccinations or see that the…

So busy was I last week blogging about other things, somehow I missed an amazingly, jaw-droppingly idiotic defense of homeopathy Jeanette Winterson published in The Guardian earlier this week. As you might imagine, it was just begging for a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence™. I mean, it was the dumbest article I’ve seen in a…

The Academic Woo Aggregator

Note: The Aggregator was updated on May 18, 2008. Last week, almost on a whim, I decided to try to figure out just how much woo has infiltrated academic medicine by trying to come up with an estimate of just how many academic medical centers offer woo of some form or another in the form…

Ever since I started blogging about a story about a youth named Chad Jessop who, it was claimed, developed melanoma and cured himself of it with “natural” remedies, with the result that his mother was supposedly brought before the Orange County Superior Court and his mother thrown in maximum security prison and denied the right…

Skepticism will be in the house–soon!

Don’t forget, once again the time is fast approaching. Soon yet another installment of the Skeptics’ Circle will be upon us. In fact, it’s less than a week away and due to land at the Med Journal Watch. Note that, because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., this time around the Circle will be…

It may take a long time, but sometimes justice does eventually move to act against a wrong: A Butler County doctor will stand trial on charges he caused the death of a 5-year-old autistic boy by negligently ordering a controversial treatment, a district judge ordered Thursday. Dr. Roy Kerry of Portersville ordered chelation therapy –…

Pity poor Nikola Tesla. Again. It looks as though the woomeisters have found a way to abuse him yet again. I don’t know what it is about Tesla, but he seems to be a magnet for such woo. Well, actually, I sort of do. Tesla was definitely a character and was known for a variety…

Help a fellow skeptical doctor out

Earlier this week, I did a couple of posts about applying evolutionary principles to the meme of complementary and alternative medicine. In one of them, I mentioned how CAM therapies never seem to “go extinct.” They may wax and wane in popularity and “evolve” into other therapies, but they never go extinct. PalMD of Whitecoat…

Yesterday’s mega-post left me a bit drained; consequently I’ve throttled my ambitions back a notch today in order to leave some energy to put together the weekly installation of Your Friday Dose of Woo tomorrow. Fortunately, just the topic presented itself: A story that’s interesting and instructive (hopefully) but that won’t take as much of…

Orac, Killer of Buzz…

…or so sayeth Reason.TV, where a credulous blogger didn’t like what Orac laid down and found him oh-so-humorless. Orac, Killer of Buzz. You know, I sort of like the sound of that. I like the sound and humor of this, too. Of course, some buzzes deserve to be terminated with extreme prejudice; so just for…

In the mood for some surgery blogging?

…Then go and visit Aggravated DocSurg, who’s hosting the latest edition of SurgXperiences, the only blog carnival for surgery blogging, although his title makes me wonder a bit.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve discussed “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) in terms of a meme upon which evolutionary forces are acting to select certain forms of woo over others in academia. Although, in my usual inimitable fashion, I probably carried the concept one step too far, in the end I concluded that…

Sid Schwab joins the party

I was always wondering when he’d finally weigh in on alternative medicine, and now Sid has. It’s a slapdown worthy of Orac, Dr. R.W., or Panda Bear MD. Go forth and read it. Not quite as snarky as Orac (but, then, Sid’s a classy guy), but every bit as outraged.

Judgment day on intelligent design

Today’s the day, everyone. I haven’t mentioned this before, but the documentary on the trial over the teaching of “intelligent design” creationism in the classroom in Dover, Pennsylvania two years ago is set to premiere on your local PBS station tonight at 8 PM. The Nova documentary, Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, already has…

Yesterday, inspired by a post by fellow ScienceBlogger Martin, I had a little fun discussing the evolution of “alternative” medicine (a.k.a. “complementary and alternative medicine” or CAM), specifically speculating about the possible selective pressures, positive and negative, that have influenced the course that its evolution took. Essentially, the discussion centered around whether, by its very…

Abel Pharmboy at Terra Sigillata has the full story. In brief, Medicare has slashed reimbursement for two radioimmunotherapy drugs Bexxar (131I-tositumomab) and Zevalin (90Y-ibritumomab) to below acquisition cost. This is not some experimental therapy that’s being denied, but rather a therapy with a established clinical efficacy. Naturally, this is likely to lead to most centers…

I wish I had thought of this one, but I didn’t. However, I never let a little thing like not having thought of an idea first to stop me from discussing it, and this particular idea is definitely worth expanding upon because (1) it’s interesting and (2) it combines two of my interests, alternative medicine…

Get off my lawn, you whipper-snappers!

Friday morning while doing some work in my office, I was treated to a discussion by the two hosts of a morning radio talk show. The talk was apparently prompted by a rather odd website, ihateyoungpeople.com, which asks: We want you to create a video of yourself explaining what you hate the most about young…

Global warming skeptics: Punk’d!

Hilarious. Even though I risk bringing back some of the anthropogenic global warming “skeptics” (in reality pseudoskeptics) here, this is too rich not to mention, because it reminds me of how advocates of all stripes of pseudoscience react, particularly advocates of alternative medicine, most of whom wouldn’t recognize a well-designed study if it bit them…

Wow, I really need me one of these!

Given the general level of intelligence and erudition of commenters here, rare would be the need for a product such as this: (Fortune Magazine) — Internet veterans have long complained about the steady erosion of civility — and worse, intelligence — in online discourse. Initially the phenomenon seemed to be a seasonal disorder. It occurred…

Orac gets e-mail from time to time. This time around, a person working at The Ohio State University writes about a disturbing incident there demonstrating yet more evidence that academic medical centers are having increasing difficulty distinguishing between evidence-based medicine (which they should champion) and non-evidence-based medicine, which they should not. This e-mail comes from…

Now this is unexpected. Normally, I find my victims/targets/subjects for my usual end-of-the-workweek bit of fun and skepticism from one of two sources. Either a reader sends a link to some woo or other that desperately deserves a little bit of Orac’s loving attention, or in my wanderings across blogosphere I find some little (or…