Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2008

A finalist for the 2007 Best Medical Weblog

I’ll admit that I’ve been a bit oblivious to honors and awards in the blogosphere lately, but it’s come to my attention that I’m actually a finalist for Best Medical Weblog. I also note that the competition is fierce. Fellow surgeon Sid Schwab is there for Surgeonsblog, as is one of the pioneers of medical…

In one on my rare forays into political blogging (albeit with an emphasis on “alternative” non-evidence-based and non-science-based medicine), I discussed Ron Paul’s record of supporting quack-friendly legislation and in not accepting evolution. Because of my interest in Holocaust denial, it also interested me that Hutton Gibson, a notorious Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist, would…

(NOTE ADDED 12/7/2010: Kim Tinkham has died of what was almost certainly metastatic breast cancer.) Cancer is scary. It’s very, very scary, even when it is a cancer that is treatable and potentially curable. It’s such a common disease that, by the time we reach a certain age, the vast majority of us have seen…

Oh, no, it’s Big Pharma Man!

Cectic tells us why we should be afraid: But who will save us from this menace? Click on the picture to see!

I’ve pointed out before how MotheringDotCom and its associated discussion forums are supportive havens for the worst antivaccinationists, HIV/AIDS denialists, and anti-amalgam wingnuts, which is one reason why I do not recommend them for any parent as a source of health information. So, out of curiosity, before I move on to other topics tomorrow, I…

A little more than three months ago there came to pass a very bad day for antivaccinationists. On that day, in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine appeared a study that was powerful evidence that vaccines are not associated with adverse neuropsychiatric outcomes in children. Not surprisingly, the usual suspects in the mercury militia…

Something must be wrong these days with the Chicago Tribune. I’ve complained about its recent tendency to publish credulous tripe about “alternative” medicine or sympathetic articles about alternative medicine, usually in the form of columns by the ever woo-friendly Julie Deardorff, but also in the form of a truly dumb (at least about medicine) columnist…

Pity the investigators at the CDC studying whether thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative pilloried by the antivaccination movement as the cause of autism and everything that is evil in medicine. Three months ago, they published a high profile article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to…

Here’s part 1. Here’s part II. It’s Bill Maher on David Letterman ranting about “toxins,” how we are being “poisoned by America,” and how your body is trying to produce a “river of mucus” to rid itself of the toxins, all standard tropes of “alternative” medicine and quackery. Sadly, David Letterman seems to buy right…

Charlie Anders seeks to answer that very question: (Click on the graph above to go to the full size original graph, which graphs the frequency of stories per season in which the Doctor is portrayed as overthrowing the government or the status quo or foments a rebellion.) Although the arch-conservatism of the John Pertwee-era Doctor…

“It’s a miracle!” How many times have you heard that one, usually invoked when someone survives serious injuries that would kill most people? Personally, the use of the word grates on me and did even when I was a lot more religious than I am now. Yesterday, it grated on me when I saw this…

After having to put up with high profile antivaccinationist idiots like Jenny McCarthy and celebrities who are ignorant enough to fall for what the mercury militia are laying down, like Donald Trump, it’s nice to see that not all celebrities are twits when it comes to vaccines. Not surprisingly, first in line to attack is…

Vibrations. After a year and a half of doing Your Friday Dose of Woo every week with only a couple of breaks, it’s all I can feel or hear sometimes. Vibrations. What is it about woo and “vibrations,” “harmonics,” or “waves,” anyway? It doesn’t matter if it’s sound waves or electromagnetic waves. Somehow the denizens…

It’s 2008. Unfortunately, there don’t appear to be any signs that the problems of 2007 as far as rampant credulity and susceptibility to quackery and pseudoscience on the part of the public will be abating this year. Fortunately, we have a remedy–or at least something that can help show you how to examine these outlandish…

The other day, I happened across an Op-Ed article in the New York Times that left me scratching my head at the seeming insanity of the incident it described. The article, written by Dr. Atul Gawande, author of Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science and Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, described what…

…and he gets it right here. If only someone with some sanity could actually sit down with Trump, as portrayed in the post above.

Antivaccination propaganda in Oklahoma City

Any Oklahoma City skeptics out there reading this? I just found an event that could use the presence of some actual science-minded individuals to refute the nonsense that’s going to be there. It’s an event called Educate Before You Vaccinate, and it’s happening on January 19. Looking at the pamphlet advertising the event, I see…

If the pontifications of Orac are too–shall we say?–insolent for your taste, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a new group blog in town designed to provide a serious “alternative” voice of reason and science to discuss the claims made in favor of “alternative” medicine. Spearheaded by Steve Novella, President of the New England…

Looking for “natural cures”

Although this may be more up Abel Pharmboy‘s alley than mine, there was an article in the New York Times yesterday that indirectly demolished one of the favorite claims of advocates of “natural” medicines and cures. Appropriately enough, it appeared in the Business section. It also demonstrated just what a big business finding natural compounds…

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I’m a bit of a music critic wannabe. This pretension began very early in the history of this blog and persisted every year. Usually, sometime around the end of the year or the first day of the new year, I’ll compile my list of my favorite CDs…

It’s a new year. Overall, 2007 was a good year for Respectful Insolence. When I first started this whole blogging thing, I had no idea that I’d still be at it three years later. Moreover, I had no idea that I’d still be able to produce posts good enough that people still want to read…

Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said that 2007 finished on a good note. I never would have chosen mercury militia recruit Jenny McCarthy as a “woman who inspires us.” Let’s see. Just because she decided to make claims that she could “cure” her son of autism and that vaccines caused it does not…