Respectful Insolence

Archives for February, 2008

David Colquhoun, eminent scientist and maintainer of the excellent blog DC’s Improbable Science, has recently returned home to the U.K. after a trip across the pond to the U.S. and Canada, where, among other things, he gave a lecture at the University of Toronto, as well as the Riker Memorial Lecture at the Oregon Health…

Three weeks ago, I wrote about some truly irresponsible antivaccination propaganda masquerading as entertainment that aired in the form of a television show called Eli Stone. This show, which portrayed its hero taking on the case of an autistic boy whose mother blamed his autism on thimerosal (going under the fictional name “mercuritol”) in vaccines…

Due to the unfortunate intrusion of real life into blogging resulting in the inability of this week’s previously scheduled host to be able to fulfill his hosting duties for the February 28 edition of the Skeptics’ Circle, there has been a last minute change of hosts for the next Circle. The 81st Meeting of the…

A different kind of “research” aggregator

Dave Munger has done the science blogosphere a service by spearheading the effort to highlight and aggregate serious posts about peer-reviewed research through his Research Blogging aggregator website and his Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting blog. It’s a great idea and a great source for what science and medical bloggers say about the latest published…

Geekgasm: The Indiana Jones teaser trailer

Must. See. This. Movie. It doesn’t matter that Harrison Ford is 65 and getting a bit long in the tooth for the whole action thing. I need my fix.

When you don’t have the facts on your side, can’t get published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and have consistently failed to make a case for your hypothesis, what do you do? Well, if you’re a real scientist, you might just finally pack it in, admit that you were probably wrong, and move on to…

Mr. Deity on fundamentalism of all stripes

I don’t know about you, but I find Mr. Deity to be hilarious. This time around, with the most recent episode, he takes on fundamentalism of all stripes and whether there should be an afterlife or not. (For a commercial-free direct link to the iTunes version, go here.) And, of course, who doesn’t want third…

I’ve become known as an advocate for evidence-based medicine (EBM) in the three years since I started this little bit of ego gratification known as Respectful Insolenceā„¢. One thing this exercise has taught me that I might never have learned before (and that I’ve only reluctantly begun to accept as true) is one huge problem…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Cellular Feng Shui?

Balance. It’s what the woo-meisters who believe in “Feng Shui” tell us that it will bring to those who use its principles to arrange the objects in their life, be they furniture, homes, the design of buildings, or even the layouts of whole cities. Indeed, Feng Shui tells us that the way we arrange objects…

Of course Valentine’s Day is the right time for skepticism! What better time? If you don’t believe me, visit Bug Girl’s Blog for the 80th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle: Valentine Edition! She’ll show you why there’s no time like today for a healthy dose of critical thinking. Next up is (I think) Sorting Out…

Breast cancer information on the Internet

It figures again. I go a few days without Internet access again, and not only does Generation Rescue take out a full page antivaccination ad full of stupidity in USA Today, which I couldn’t resist opening both barrels on earlier, but a study’s lead senior author is someone I know (albeit not well) about three…

It figures. I’m deprived of full Internet access for a few days, and–wouldn’t you know it?–the merry band of antivaccinationists over at Generation Rescue have to go and provide yet more evidence to back up what I’ve been saying all along about the mercury militia, namely that, once again, J. B. Handley’s protestations otherwise, it…

Hooked into the Matrix again!

I’m baaack. Well, thanks to free WiFi at Panera’s, I was never really truly away. Thanks to Comcast, I was away longer than usual. In any case, although between waiting for Internet access, running errands, and doing some snowblowing last night, I didn’t have time to do the usual epic substantive posts that I’m known…

Oops, they did it again. You think the media would learn after the last time, but no…. There it was on Friday greeting me on the ABC News website: “Study: Acupuncture May Boost Pregnancy” in bold blue letters, with the title of the webpage being “Needles Help You Become Pregnant.” Wow, what a claim! Naturally,…

I hate you, Comcast. I really do. My hatred of Comcast also explains the paucity of activity on this blog over the last few days. You see, over the weekend, I moved to a larger house, and I’ve had no Internet access other than Panera’s or Starbucks for the last three days. Before that, I…

The glamor of surgery

As I mentioned, I was on the road over the weekend. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t manage to come up with a new post for this morning. That’s OK, though. Off to the archives we go. This post originally appeared on February 7, 2006. Holy crap! That’s over two years ago! Enjoy (I hope). Fear…

Does liking some of these make me a racist?

Nooooo! Why do I do it? Why? It only raises my blood pressure and probably contributes to atherosclerosis, stress, and all sorts of other things likely to shorten my lifespan. But I do it anyway. In my interest in Holocaust denial, I keep an eye on a fair number of Holocaust denial and white nationalist…

Better late than never

I’m on the road for the weekend, and Internet access will likely be spotty until sometime Monday afternoon. Does that mean Orac has abandoned his readers? O ye of little faith! Of course not! There are scheduled posts in the meantime; that is, assuming that ScienceBlog’s post scheduling feature doesn’t let me down. Lately, it’s…

It’s clear from the treacly ads that are clogging the airwaves that Valentine’s Day is near. For those of us who tend to find Valentine’s Day (and, even worse, that knockoff holiday Sweetest Day) annoying, it’s a bad time of the year, particularly since in these parts February is the most depressing time of the…

In the year and a half or so that I’ve been doing Your Friday Dose of Woo, I must admit that I’ve come across some truly weird stuff. Stuff so weird that, after reading it, you wonder either, “How on earth could someone seriously think something like this is true or would work?” or “How…

Time to get out the paper bag again

Nooooo! I thought I might be safe. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had to hang my head in shame and contemplate covering it with a paper bag because of creationist pontifications of a fellow physician bringing shame upon our shared profession. It had even been longer since I had dealt with Dr.…

The “wisdom” of cancer cells?

I was perusing my newsfeeds last night looking for topics for Your Friday Dose of Woo this week when I came across what, initially at least, I considered to be primo material for my weekly bit of fun at the expense of the more far out excursions into woo. Then I thought about it some…

The “troof” hurts…

…when it comes to “9/11 Truthers”: (Click on the picture for the rest of the cartoon.) You know, the same thing could be said about creationists, HIV/AIDS denialists, and many “CAM” mavens.

Homeopathic remedies as a “catalyst”

I sometimes feel a bit guilty beating up on homeopathy. It just seems like beating up on a blind man. The feeling passes quickly, of course, but it’s at least somewhat understandable. Homeopathy is so patently ridiculous from a scientific standpoint that watching homeopaths try to justify and defend a therapy that consists of substances…

Two great woos that taste great together

I love it when advocates of “alternative” medicine start combining their therapies. Well, I don’t “love” it because they are combining two wildly improbable therapies so much as I love it for the entertainment value. Here’s one that didn’t quite reach the level of craziness needed for Your Friday Dose of Woo but that I…