Respectful Insolence

Archives for July, 2008

It’s that time again, the time that comes around once a fortnight for skeptical bloggers and blog readers to gather together to celebrate that best that skeptics have had to offer since the last time they gathered. It’s time for the 92nd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. This time, it’s hosted by Martin over at…

Has it really been a whole year? The longer I blog, the faster time seems to fly. Or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older. Whatever the case, you may (or may not) recall that about a year ago I got into a little tussle with a certain Libertarian comic and some smoking cranks over…

All hail the Jesus Cat!

Sadly, I haven’t seen any good pareidolia stories lately, you know, stories in which someone, usually Jesus, Mary, or the Pope (or sometimes Elvis, who, let’s face it, is basically the same thing as Jesus, Mary, or the Pope), shows up as a seeming image on some sort of object or other. It can be…

I’ve been a bit remiss in my duty toward a fellow ScienceBlogger. No doubt a few were wondering (or maybe not), why I, as the resident breast cancer expert here, didn’t point out that my fellow ScienceBlogger Janet live-blogged her very first screening mammogram last week. Truth be told, I had meant to mention it…

With all the negativity around this blog lately, thanks to the continued moronic antics of the anti-vaccine contingent, which have irritated me more than they do usually, so much so that I can’t recall a time since Jenny McCarthy’s “Green Our Vaccine” anti-vaccination-fest nearly two months ago that they’ve been so flagrant in their lies,…

Antivaccinationists in strange places

I just can’t escape them. Even when I want to, even when I’d like to take a break, they’re there. The anti-vaccine nutcases. This time around, they showed up at, of all places, Netroots Nation, where the deceptively named National Vaccine Information Center, an explicitly antivaccination group that spreads nothing but lies, set up a…

An English Holocaust denier in New York

Somehow, someway, a bit of slime oozed its way into a Manhattan church to insinuate itself into that fair city and thereby contaminate it. Somehow, I managed to miss it. Sadly, the world’s most famous Holocaust denier, David Irving, is touring the U.S. to give aid and comfort to anti-Semites, racists, and Nazi wannabes all…

The stupid continues to metastasize. I wrote yesterday about a truly bad and irresponsible hit piece on Paul Offit and the American Academy of Pediatrics written by the anti-vaccinationist sympathizer Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News. Since I’ve already rehashed what was so bad about it, I won’t go on about it. However, it appears that…

3,000,000

I demand the sum of…..three MILLION visits! Muhahahahahaha! Yes, I know I did that bit before–twice, even!—but I liked it so much that I wanted to do it again, at least until my readers run screaming away, annoyed that Orac, of all people, would recycle the same old joke over and over. The horror, the…

You know, I think I’ve found a bride for Steve Wilson. You remember Steve Wilson, don’t you? He’s the local “investigative reporter” in my hometown who recently did a truly awful “report” (it actually makes me cringe to call it a “report,” but I couldn’t think of anything else to call it) a couple of…

Fast approaching: The Skeptics’ Circle

I’m a bit late with this plug, but hopefully our host this week won’t be too mad at me. It’s that time again, time for those interested in the application of critical thinking to dubious claims to gather, as we do every two weeks, to celebrate the best the skeptical blogosphere has to offer (and…

A bit of fallout

Late Thursday night, I posted a full-out rant about what I considered to be an incredibly unfair and stupid generalization of the bad behavior of a single surgeon to an overblown and hysterical indictment of medical students, doctors, and surgeons by a fellow ScienceBlogger, posted on his own blog and on Feministe. Fellow ScienceBloggers Mark…

I’m very puzzled. Now, I know that my being puzzled isn’t particularly unusual. I’m frequently puzzled. I can’t figure out how, for example, anyone with the slightest bit of reasoning ability can do anything other than laugh when informed what homeopathy is and how it supposedly “works.” I can’t figure out why American Idol or…

You know, it really annoys me when I see idiocy as idiotic as the idiocy of this surgeon in New Jersey: In a lawsuit filed yesterday, a Camden County woman accused her orthopedic surgeon of “rubbing a temporary tattoo of a red rose” on her belly while she was under anesthesia. The patient discovered the…

What’s wrong with Steve Jobs?

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m an Apple geek. The Macintosh is my preferred axe and has been, with few interruptions, since the late 1980s. Indeed, the only time I’ve used anything other than a Mac is when I’ve had no choice. The first time I saw one was in 1984, not long…

Enough with Radovan Karadzic, already! I know schadenfreude can be a fun thing. I’ve even indulged in it myself from time to time. I also know that Radovan Karadzic was a very, very bad man who engaged in ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Balkans wars of the early and mid-1990s. My interest in the…

Vaccine fearmongers versus Steve Novella

I’m envious of Steve Novella. Well, just a little, anyway. The reason is that he’s somehow managed to annoy David Kirby and the anti-vaccine contingent enough to provoke what appears to be a coordinated response to his debunking of anti-vaccine propaganda. For that alone he deserves some serious props. You may have wondered why I…

It’s summertime, and the living is easy…well, not quite. It’s been a hectic and depressing summer so far. However, I am going to be able to allow myself one weekend away from the drudgery of grant writing. You see, our Seed overlords are repeating the infamous blogger meetup that happened last year in August. Because…

Reiki for rats?

I’ve gone on record as saying more times than I care to remember that there is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. There is only medicine. Indeed, the only reason any medicine is considered “alternative” is (1) it is on a scientific basis incredibly improbable and/or it comes from a pre-scientific “healing” tradition; (2) its…

…professional wrestling! You know, it seems eerily appropriate. Generation Rescue always struck me as being akin to pro wrestling anyway, especially its founder J. B. Handley. His antics in the service of the scientifically discredited notion that mercury in vaccines cause autism (or, these days, that it’s vaccines that cause autism) always struck me as…

In the celebrity vaccine wars, as we all know, Jenny McCarthy has become the de facto leader of the “vaccines-cause-autism” lunatic fringe. However, apparently she has managed to recruit another celebrity to help her out. Her choice is amazingly appropriate: Britney Spears, who was seen at a fundraiser for “Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity Generation Rescue.”…

Well, I won’t back down No, I won’t back down You can stand me up at the gates of hell But I won’t back down Gonna stand my ground Won’t be turned around And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down Gonna stand my ground And I won’t back down From I Won’t Back…

I suppose I had better get ready for another e-mail with a wounded, puppy-dog, plaintive complaint of “I’m not really anti-vaccine” in it. You see, that’s what has happened in the past a couple of times after I wrote about that pediatrician to the children of the stars (in particular Jenny McCarthy‘s child) and ubiquitous…

Three days ago, ScienceBlogs did something it hasn’t done before. ScienceBloggers were given screener DVDs of a new movie by one of our own, Randy Olson of Shifting Baselines. The movie was Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, and the idea was to get as many of us as possible to review the movie and post…

It’s that time again, time for yet another foray in to the best skeptical writing the blogosphere has served up over the last two weeks, this time hosted by Sam Wise over at Sorting Out Science, who has collected it all for you in one convenient location known as the 91st Meeting of the Skeptics’…