Respectful Insolence

Archives for December, 2007

…here’s an example where the conspiracy obviously failed and failed miserably. And if you like their Chanukah specials, you’ll love their Ramadan lunch specials. You’d think they’d know better in New York City, though.

The ultimate “Zionist” conspiracy

If you’ve hung out in forums where Holocaust deniers, 9/11 Truthers, and other conspiracy theorists hang out, as I have done, one thing you’ll notice is that these particular purveyors of dubious conspiracy-mongering seem to have a particular love of demonizing Jews (or, as the smarter ones tend to call them in order to try…

Dr. Rashid Buttar is a quack. There, I’ve said it. It’s my opinion, and there’s lots of evidence to support that opinion. As you know, I seldom actually invoke the “q-word.” Indeed, for the longest time after I started blogging I tended to go out of my way to avoid using it, even to the…

Andrew Wakefield is an incompetent “scientist.” Of that, there is no longer any doubt whatsoever, given how poorly he and his collaborators did the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) studies that he did looking for measles RNA sequences in colon biopsy specimens taken from autistic children, studies in which they failed to do even the most…

Saturday afternoon lazy troll feeding

See what happens when I actually manage to keep myself from checking my blog for nearly 24 whole hours? The trolls take over. Well, they’re not exactly trolls. Trolls often don’t believe in what they post; they merely post it to get a reaction, for example, like rabid Hillary Clinton opponents posting on pro-Clinton discussion…

Schadenfreude

Sorry, but I can’t help but feel a bit of schadenfreude over this. Chelationist extraordinaire Dr. Rashid Buttar is, it would appear, in a bit of trouble: A Huntersville doctor is facing charges of unprofessional conduct. Dr. Rashid Buttar’s alternative medicine clinic treats autism patients from the around the country, but tonight there are questions…

Another reason why homeopathy still persists?

A few weeks ago, Martin over at Aardvarchaelogy, Steve Novella, and I speculated about how alternative medicine modalities might evolve and what the selection pressures on them might be. We all agreed that, to some degree, there is definite selection pressure for remedies that do no harm but that also do no objective good either.…

After last week’s Your Friday Dose of Woo, which featured an amazingly extravagant bit of woo that took up 10,000 webpages of some of most densely-packed woo language that I’ve ever seen, I feel the need for a change of pace. It’s time to simplify this week. After all, if I were to do nothing…

Does anyone teach history anymore?

This video would argue that the answer to the question in the title is no: “I don’t think anything predated Christians”? What about Judaism? You know, the Old Testament, the book in which, Christians say, many prophecies of Jesus’ coming were made? I’d try to reassure myself that she’s just more ignorant than average about…

Pity the poor UK homeopath…

…because, via Skeptico and DC’s Improbably Science, I’ve learned something that could only warm the coldest cockles of my evil scientific and skeptical heart. It’s something that tells us that, maybe, just maybe, what we bloggers do in favor of evidence-based medicine may actually be having an effect. British homeopath Manish Bhatia, Director of hpathy.com,…

It’s hard to believe that two weeks have flown by once again. It’s even harder to believe that the Skeptics’ Circle has been around long enough to reach its 75th edition, which this time around comes straight out of Denmark, courtesy of longtime Respectful Insolence commenter and now blogger Kristjan Wager at Pro-Science. Kristjan’s a…

The ethics of therapeutic touch

Lest I forget to mention this one, Randy Cohen, a.k.a. The Ethicist, answers a question. Here’s the question: I work at a hospital where several nurses practice therapies like healing touch and therapeutic touch, said to adjust a patient’s energy field and thereby decrease pain and improve healing, although there is no significant evidence for…

The other village quack of the Chicago Tribune has decided to enter the breast cancer fray again. No, I’m not talking about the main village quack of the Chicago Tribune. That would be Julie Deardorff. Rather, I’m talking about the Chicago Tribune‘s newly minted breast cancer crank, Dennis Byrne. We’ve met him before, parroting credulously…

D’oh! I hate it when that happens!

Fortunately, I’ve never had this happen when I’ve placed a central venous catheter: See that bright line with the “J” at the end of it? That’s the guidewire over which a central venous catheter is threaded. It’s a very bad thing when you push it in so far that you lose it. Worse, is not…

Remember how I speculated that appointing die-hard antivaccinationists to the new federal panel on autism research and policy would be a propaganda boon to the antivaccination movement and the mercury militia? Surprise, surprise! It’s already happening. Even less of a surprise, first off the mark to gloat is everybody’s favorite whore for the mercury militia…

Depressing. One of the fakest faith-healers of all, Peter Popoff, who was so memorably exposed for a fraud by James Randi back in the 1980s when Randi caught him using a small radio receiver to be fed information on people he was “healing” from his wife, who was reading them off of prayer cards, is…

One last comment on the Dennis Lindberg case

I’ve been spending a bit of time discussing the sad case of Dennis Lindberg, a 14-year-old youth with leukemia who died because of his refusal to accept a blood transfusion when his hematocrit fell to life-threateningly low levels apparently during chemotherapy. My position is that, while competent adults have the right to refuse transfusion for…

I’m always loathe to criticize a fellow ScienceBlogger, but, as the resident World War II buff and tireless debunker of Holocaust denial, I couldn’t let this one pass. While perusing the Last 24 Hours feed yesterday, I came across a most curious statement in a slapdown by Greg Laden of an attempt by Bruce Chapman…

The Chuck Norris of the 1930s?

Apparently Jack Dempsey was his generation’s Chuck Norris, who, as we know, doesn’t read books but stares them down until he gets the information that he wants. Here he is in a 1934 Modern Mechanix article boasting how he can “whip any mechanical robot”: Of course, I still think it would hurt like hell to…

There are certain bloggers who can reliably be counted on to deliver the stupid. We’ve met several of them over the time this blog’s been in existence. One such blogger, the born again Christian named LaShawn Barber, has been particularly good at it, although we’ve only met her a couple of times before, likening the…

Yesterday, I wrote about the overwhelmingly sad case of Dennis Lindberg, the 14-year old Jehovah’s Witness who died because of his misguided adherence to the twisted interpretation of a 3,000 year old Biblical text and the court’s acquiescence to this lunacy. So did P. Z. Myers. In response to the post on Pharyngula, I saw…

The Buckeye Surgeon educates us with a case. In brief, it’s the case of an elderly woman with a clinical picture, including right upper quadrant pain and an elevated white blood cell count consistent with rip-roaring cholecystitis who was admitted to the medical service for her right upper quadrant pain. She underwent an ultrasound, which…