Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2008

I realize my post earlier today was a bit of a downer, but what can I say? Lately, there doesn’t seem to be much good news on the ever-growing front in the war against quackery. However, in researching that piece I did come across something that made me smile. I found the campaign website for…

“I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service us.” – Locutus of Borg. “Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile…Your culture will adapt to service ours.” – The Borg. I’m a bit depressed these days. Maybe a better term for it…

Lest I forget my obligations here, I have to post a reminder that the 90th Edition of the Skeptics’ Circle is fast approaching and will be here on Thursday, July 3. In fact, because it’s being hosted by prominent Australian skeptic Peter Bowditch at the Millenium Project, it may well be earlier than that given…

Say it ain’t so, Sid!

I have some bad news for the medical blogosphere. Well, actually Sid Schwab does. Apparently, he’s decided to drop out of the blogosphere, at least for now. Sid’s grown enormously as a blogger since he first started hawking his book a couple of years ago in the comments here. He got on my nerves at…

A chiropractor for President?

Apparently there’s a chiropracter named Billy Sticker running for President. His platform: My platform: To increase your patient count by 200% during my first term To increase your income by 200% Pass legislation designating Chiropractic the Official Health Care of America Reduce our dependency on pharmaceuticals (because Chiropractic would be the official health care!) He even has his own video…

I can’t wait until Saturday night…

…or maybe Sunday morning, as I don’t know how long it will take to get this by BitTorrent, the penultimate episode of series 4 of Doctor Who (if you’re a Doctor Who fan and haven’t seen the last couple of episodes before this Saturday’s episode The Stolen Earth, beware the spoilers–don’t start the videos if…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Generation woo

I realize that I’ve been mighty hard on Jenny McCarthy these last several months. I’ve made fun of her for her idiocy, her arrogance of ignorance, and her antivaccination lunacy, not to mention her utter ignorance of science, and, yes, I’ve been rather vicious at times. However, she richly deserved it. Indeed, I argue that…

A few months ago, I wrote a post lamenting how science- and evidence-based medicine has lost the linguistic high ground to the woo peddlers, those who have “rebranded” quackery first into “alternative” medicine, then into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), and more recently into “integrative” medicine (as though “integrating” antiscience and pseudoscience into effective, science-based…

Sigh. He’s baaack. Yes, that dualism-loving Energizer Bunny of antievolution nonsense, that “intelligent design” apologist neurosurgeon whose nonsense has driven me time and time again to contemplate hiding my head in a paper bag or even a Doctor Doom mask because of the shame of knowing that he is also a surgeon, that physician who…

“The Autism Myth Lives On”

It’s rare that the mainstream media gets it right about vaccines and autism, and when they do I feel obligated to point it out. Such is the case with Sam Wang’s article The Autism Myth Lives On. It’s well worth reading, even though it’s a couple of months old. (How I missed it when it…

…from one of Michigan State University Professor Richard Lenski’s E. coli cultures. Lenski’s second response to the clueless “request” of the creationist idiot Andrew Schlafly to provide his raw data to him for “independent review” supporting a recent PNAS paper (more here) by him that is yet another in a line of papers by evolutionary…

Old school versus new school in the lab

I was perusing the feeds of my fellow ScienceBloggers the other night when I came across a post by ERV that really resonated with me. In it, she expounds on the benefits of doing things “old school” in the lab, specifically with respect to having hard evidence to defend oneself if ever accused of scientific…

Sanctioned!

Remember the case of Clifford Shoemaker, lawyer for the antivaccinationist mercury militia who tried to subpoena Kathleen Seidel under incredibly dubious legal reasoning in order to harass and intimidate her? Remember how the subpoena was quashed? One word: Sanctioned! Woo-hoo! Quoth Judge James R. Muirhead: Clifford J. Shoemaker’s action is an abuse of legal process,…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of delving into pseudoscience, quackery, and alternative medicine is that conspiracy theories are just like Lays potato chips; cranks can’t eat just one. No, they have to stick their hand in the bag and pull out a huge, heaping handful and snarf it all down. Believers…

If you happen to be a blogger, has there ever been anything that you meant to blog about, but it totally slipped your mind? This is just such an item for me. Yes, multiple people e-mailed me about this on Friday, and for some reason in my amusement at David Kirby’s antics over the weekend…

If there’s one thing that lay people (and, indeed, many physicians) don’t understand about screening for cancer is that it is anything but a simple matter. Intuitively, it seems that earlier detection should always be better, and it can be. However, as I explained in two lengthy posts last year, such is not always the…

I could resist a brief mention of this. Remember yesterday’s post, when I discussed how EpiWonk had deconstructed and demolished David Kirby’s latest mangling of epidemiology and willful misreading of government reports? Apparently it had an effect. It would appear that Mr. Kirby may actually have read it and taken it to heart. (Either that,…

At this stage of the game, I almost feel sorry for David Kirby. Think about it. He’s made his name and what little fame he has (which isn’t much outside of the tinhat crowd that thinks the guv’mint is intentionally poisoning their children with vaccines to make them all autistic) almost entirely on the basis…

…Orac might be in trouble: (Click for the full comic.) I wonder if I should hire a guard. Actually, I think reading Respectful Insolence™ might do Jenny McCarthy some good, especially this post (or maybe this post, too). Unfortunately, she’s too deluded and arrogant to realize how scientifically ignorant she is; so it would probably…

I know I like to say that woo is eternal, and it is. That doesn’t, however, mean that individual examples of woo are necessarily eternal. Some, it seems, are. Does anyone doubt, for example, that homeopathy, which has been around for over two hundred years now, will still be around 200 years from now? I’d…

Better late than never, they always say. Michael Meadon may have been a few hours later than the usual edition of the Skeptics’ Circle, but when he finally delivered the 89th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle it was well worth the wait. He even showed me a promising new blogger: Redonkulous Redundancy is a new…

I think I have a new hero…

…and his name is Edzard Ernst. And here’s the reason why. Anyone who can rile up homeopaths that much is my kind of guy.

I’m a cancer surgeon, and if there’s one thing that drives me straight to the liquor cabinet it has to be quack cancer “cures.” Very early in the history of this blog, I discussed one of the biggest quacks of all time, a woman who thinks that all cancer is caused by a liver fluke…

I just shook my head as I perused this item on Pharyngula earlier this morning. What else can you do? The irrationality and lunacy is beyond belief as I read a story about a mother named Colleen Leduc called into school because a report of sexual abuse was made about her autistic daughter Victoria: The…

Color me unimpressed. As I mentioned last week, that opportunist who has apparently become a paid shill for the hardcore antivaccination movement (namely Generation Rescue, Autism Research Institute, National Autism Association, Coalition for SAFE MINDS, and Talk About Curing Autism, all of whom helped to fund his recent trip to the U.K. and, according to…