Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2008

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at Yale University is not happy. No, he is not happy at all. Specifically, he is not happy with the skeptical blogosphere. He apparently feels that we nasty, close-minded skeptics have been so very unfair in our discussions of him. Specifically, he…

I consider myself very fortunate that I don’t work in business. As a physician and a scientist, I just don’t think I would fit in the culture that well. Oh, I’m sure I’d adapt if ever the killer opportunity in big pharma or surgical device manufacturing ever came around to which I couldn’t say “no,”…

She was thin, white skin stretched over bones like worn parchment over old sticks being rhythmically blown in the wind as her chest rose and fell, each time with what seemed like a major effort. Incongruous with the rest of her body, her abdomen was distended, a balloon that looked dangerously close to popping, also…

The other day, in response to several e-mails asking me about the latest bit of bad science and epidemiology purporting to support the idea that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in many childhood vaccines is a major cause of autism, I posted links to EpiWonk’s thee-part (so far) takedown of this…

On Friday, I made an announcement about the Skeptics’ Circle scheduled for July 31 in the light of having learned some very bad news, namely that the planned host, Jeff of Blue Collar Scientist, had recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. I wanted to verify that Jeff wasn’t going to host (as I assumed he…

…is one of my favorite surgeon-bloggers Sid Schwab when he discusses what happens when naturopaths actually subject their “healing art” to scientific examination. In the wake of the rather–shall we say–vigorous discussion that ensued after my post last week about the recently passed law in the State of Minnesota to license and regulate naturopaths, today…

John Le Sainte apparently has a rather inflated view of himself. You see, he seems to think that he’s the heir to Nostradamus. Ever worth a giggle on a Sunday afternoon (or any other time, for that matter), he seems to think that, channeling Nostradamus in some fashion, he’s predicted what will be discovered to…

Several people have been sending me either links to this paper or even the paper itself: Young HA, Geier DA, Geier MR. (2008). Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: An assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. J Neurol Sci. 2008 May 14 [Epub ahead of print]. (Full text here.) Some…

Some of you may have heard of John Scudamore’s Whale.to site. I’ve referred to it in the past as a repository of some of the wildest and most bizarre “alternative” medicine claims out there. However, I will admit that I’ve only ever scratched the surface of the insanity that is Whale.to. Kathleen Seidel has dug…

It’s that time again. Round and round the Skeptics’ Circle goes, coming rapidly around to arrive yet again in less than a week. This time around, it’s set to land on next Thursday, June 19 at Ionian Enchantment. Blog-specific instructions for submitting your pearls of skepticism, science, and critical thinking can be found here, and…

Hard as it is to believe, this little weekly vanity project of mine, this little weekly excursion into the wild and wacky world of woo, is fast approaching two years of existence. Really. I kid you not. This wouldn’t really disturb me so much except that I had been rather hoping to do a special…

One of the most common aspects of any good conspiracy theory is that “they” know about it but are covering it up, “they” usually being the government. Usually, the “evidence” that “they” know consists third- or fourth-hand unverifiable stories from a “friend of a friend of a friend” who, very conveniently, just so happened to…

When surgical dogma is challenged

From my perspective, one thing that’s always been true of surgery that has bothered me is that it is prone to dogma. I alluded to this a bit earlier this week, but, although things have definitely changed in the 20 years since I first set foot, nervously and tentatively, on the wards of the Cleveland…

Fellow skeptical doc PalMD informs me that apparently a new blogger, who happens to be a law student at NYU, discovered that his school had invited antivaccinationist-apologist supreme, David Kirby, to speak at NYU on June 26. In response, antivaccinationists, including David Kirby himself and antivaccinationist crank extraordinaire Clifford G. Miller himself, the man who…

I know I’m a bit late to this game, but those of you who read ERV, Denialism Blog, and Pharyngula didn’t think that their prior mention of this story about how the State of Minnesota is going to allow naturopaths to claim the title of “doctor” would stop me from jumping right in even if…

I admit it. Sometimes, my better nature notwithstanding, I can’t help taking a bit of a morbid interest in celebrity scandals. I don’t know if it’s a weakness or just normal human nature. Like most “educated” people, I do know I tend to be vaguely embarrassed by falling for an interest in such “low’ pursuits.…

I don’t know what’s going on here, but the University of Oregon got slimed last night. A truly odious little being slithered his way into the University grounds and left a stench that won’t soon dissipate. Sadly, David Irving, notorious Holocaust “revisionist” (translation: Holocaust denier) gave a talk last night at the University of Oregon.…

Starchild Abraham Cherrix turns 18

Somehow, with all the blogging about vaccines last week, I totally missed a major update to a story that’s been of great interest to me since I first became aware of it. It turns out that Starchild Abraham Cherrix, the teen who two years ago rejected conventional therapy for his lymphoma and sought out the…

After having subjected my readers to all those posts about the antivaccination lunacy that was on display in Washington, D.C. last week, I think it’s time for a break from this topic, at least for a while if not longer. In the run-up to the “Green Our Vaccines” rally events on the antivaccinationism front were…

An underwhelming performance in London

Remember how I warned citizens of the U.K. about an impending visit to their fair island by American apologist for antivaccinationist nonsense and his invitation to give a briefing at Parliament? Apparently, the whole thing was very–shall we say?–underwhelming. The lameness of his excuses, they limp:

Nooooo!

The other day, I received something in the mail that was so horrifying, so disturbing, so utterly disconcerting that I had to go into my office and hide for a while to regain my composure. No, it wasn’t a death threat from some wacked-out antivacccinationist. Nor was it a scientific paper that was undeniable evidence…

Don’t worry, faithful readers, my blogging about the “Green Our Vaccines” rally last week is reaching its end. If my poor neurons can take it, there are still the speeches of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Dr. Jay Gordon to be commented on in one more post (the latter of whom I used to consider…

I never thought I’d be saying this, but Dan Olmsted has my profuse thanks. When yesterday I posted some signs carried by marchers at the “Green Our Vaccines” rally on Wednesday, I asked you to decide for yourself whether they are “pro-safe vaccine” or anti-vaccine. To me the answer is obvious. Thanks to Olmsted, however,…

I’m tired. I apologize in advance if I’m not as–shall we say?–energetic as usual this week. I’m sure you’ll understand. After all, I just spent the last three days subjecting myself to the most toxic and concentrated woo known to humankind. If you’re a regular reader here, you clearly know what I’m talking about, namely…

I must admit that I was getting a bit worried. Morning came today, and there was no Skeptics’ Circle. I went to work. Every so often throughout the day I checked again. Still no Skeptics’ Circle, at least as of early afternoon. I got home from work around 8 PM, and to my relief, there…