Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2008

Woo invades the military

Imagine that you’re a soldier in Iraq. Imagine further that you’re on patrol in a dangerous area in the middle of summer, the desert heat penetrating your 80 lb pack much the way boiling water penetrates the shell of a lobster. Your heart is racing as you and your unit nervously dart to and fro,…

You be the judge. Words fail me (an incredibly rare thing, I know). Obviously, “Dr.” Walid Al-Rashudi’s brain failed him when he uttered the words above, and somehow I get the impression that that is not a rare thing at all.

Summer school for woo

Imagine you’re a medical student in a dreaded “allopathic” medical school other than Georgetown. Imagine further that you’re finding the grind of learning science- and evidence-based medicine a bit tiresome. After all, there’s so much to learn: principles of biochemistry, physiology, anatomy (and not with acupuncture points), and neuroscience. You’re reading multiple chapters a night,…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Thursday through Sunday, I happened to be in Chicago for the Society of Surgical Oncology annual meeting. Leave it to surgeons to schedule a meeting the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. In Chicago. That means the drinking in the city started Friday after business hours and continued all the way through Sunday–and that…

One of the greatest threats to the preclinical research necessary for science-based medicine today is animal rights activism. The magnitude of the problem came to the forefront again last month with the news that animal rights terrorists tried to enter the home of a researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) whose research…

I’m about to head home from the conference; so I don’t have much time to do one of my usual posts. However, there is a brief bit that irritated me regarding the Hannah Poling case, and it comes from Dr. Sanjay Gupta: I want to continue the discussion today. Couple of points. First of all,…

Question of the day: “Dis-ease”?

I got in somewhat late last night and was tired from the meeting, but there’s been something that’s been bugging me more and more, and Kimball Atwood‘s recent posts about the distortions of language used by “complementary and alternative medicine” advocates brought it to the forefront. I first noticed this particular term being used by…

The persistence of memory

The must-read post of the day comes from Mark Crislip of the (in)famous Quackcast and was posted over at the Science-Based Medicine blog. It’s about two things primarily: How evidence and science result in physicians practicing science- and evidence-based medicine to change their practice and why that seems disturbing to those who don’t understand how…

Readers who have followed my little Friday bit of fun every week have probably, like me, at times sat in front of their computer screens, jaw drooping, a little bit of spittle starting to drip out of the corners of their mouths, and eyes agape with wonder at just how anyone on earth could believe…

Vox Day’s misogyny

I happen to be in Chicago right now attending the annual meeting of the Society of Surgical Oncology. It’s a meeting that I try to make it to almost every year, and usually it’s a necessary update to my knowledge base. Consequently, I only just this morning noticed my fellow ScienceBloggers Mark Hoofnagle, Mark Chu-Carroll,…

As an NIH-funded surgeon/scientist, I just had to read this report at BrokenPipeline.org when I became aware of it, courtesy of Bora and Drugmonkey. Basically, it describes how bleak the NIH funding situation has become, particularly for young investigators. The report (PDF) comes from several prominent research universities and warns that we are at risk…

Having just perused the 82nd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle over at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes, I was left with one question? Was the Founder of the Circle, the not late but still lamented St. Nate (mainly because he left the blogosphere and took his blog down) God? Is Orac his son? And what…

After a bit of ranting earlier this week, I thought now would be a good time to cool it down a bit, if only for a moment. There’s plenty more out there to rant about, but I’m intentionally ignoring it, if only for a day (or even half a day). If there’s one thing I’ve…

To the blog! It’s the Orac signal!

Buried in yesterday’s post was a link to a post on the Science Business blog, which is one of the blogs of Forbes magazine that was a dangerous gratification to my ego in that it mentioned this humble blog as one of the Autism Debate Go-To Blogs. Although Matthew Harper, Associate Editor at Forbes, left…

You may remember from yesterday that I wrote about a concerted propaganda effort by antivaccinationists to torture the facts and science behind a case of a girl with a rare mitochondrial disease whose condition may have been exacerbated by vaccination, resulting in an encephalopathy with some autism-like symptoms. Actually, I had had in mind an…

I have no idea if this will post or not. Even so, I’ll try. It turns out that ScienceBlogs is experiencing technical difficulties and has been since very early this morning. No one can comment (not even me), and some bloggers can’t post (although apparently PZ can). I have no idea when commenting capability will…

Damn you, mercury militia. I had had another topic entirely in mind for this week’s post, but, as happens far too often, news events have overtaken me in the form of a story that was widely reported towards the end of last week. It was all over the media on Thursday evening and Friday, showing…

…Wiley explains: That about sums it up, as do the rest of the questions in the comic’s poll.

Yesterday was annoying. It started out hearing about the vaccine injury case conceded by the government in a story on NPR on during my drive into work. As I walked through the clinic waiting area on the way to my lab, the TVs in the waiting rooms were all on CNN, where–you guessed it!–there was…

I really have no idea how valid this is (I suspect not very), but every blogger likes a bit of ego stroking from time to time, and I’m no different. So, take this with an enormous grain of salt, but somehow on a new system of blog ranking on Wikio, Respectful Insolence is ranked #8…

It’s that time again. Well, not quite yet. But it soon will be. That’s right; everyone’s favorite blog carnival the Skeptics’ Circle is fast approaching and is scheduled to land at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes next Thursday, March 13. (I have to say, I like the blog name!) But Bing McGhandi needs your help…

Sometimes my readers save my butt. There I was earlier this week, looking through my Folder of Woo, as is my wont, and oddly enough nothing much was floating my boat. I know, I know, I’ve started this little weekly exercise before lamenting a lack of enthusiasm for the woo of which I am aware.…

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

There’s an idiotic poll up at Larry King Live with the question: “Do you believe vaccines cause or contribute to autism?” Idiotic, because it’s science that says whether or not vaccines cause or contribute to autism. Whether the public thinks they do or not is irrelevant to the biological, medical, and clinical science that say,…

I should have seen this one coming a mile away in light of the concession of vaccine injury in the case of one child that led to the incredibly shrinking causation claim when it comes to vaccines and autism. Having had it conclusively demonstrated through several large studies in multiple countries that mercury in vaccines…

Woo for cancer: Say it ain’t so, Steve!

Yesterday was a rather long day, starting with a long commute in the morning, followed by a long day in the office mainly doing grant paperwork, and capped off by getting home late. Even so, I couldn’t ignore this particular story for two reasons. First, it’s about so-called “alternative” medicine. Second, it’s about Steve Jobs,…