Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2008

I feel bad. I realize that I’ve been completely neglecting my Academic Woo Aggregator. You remember my Academic Woo Aggregator, don’t you? It was my attempt to compile a near-definitive list of academic medical centers that had “integrated” woo into their divisions or departments of “integrative medicine” (i.e., departments of academic-sounding quackery). Perusing it, I…

Is the earth still circling the sun?

I ask this question because I have seen something I have never seen before, something so earth-shattering that I wonder if the very axis of the earth has shifted, something so incredible that I have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m not living some unbelievably bizarre dream. I half expect the heavens to…

I’ve written here before about nutritional supplements. Specifically, I’ve expressed my dismay at the double standard, codified into law in 1994 in the form of the DSHEA. This particular bit of truly awful law in essence took away the power of the FDA and FTC to regulate dietary supplements, except under certain rather narrow conditions.…

In a surprising twist today…

…the editors of Seed Magazine have endorsed Barack Obama for President. In other news, the Pope remains Catholic, and bears have been observed relieving themselves in the woods.

Longtime readers of this blog know that my original exposure to antivaccination conspiracy theories first occurred in the context of the now pseudoscientific and discredited hypothesis that somehow the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be used in vaccines was the cause of autism. Despite the backpedaling among antivaccination zealots such as J.…

Warning: Some of the links in this post go to hate sites. I include them because I think it’s important for people to see exactly what white supremacists say in their own words, if they are curious to do so and thus learn how low these people will go. However, if you’re at work you…

Using placebos outside of clinical trials

The other day, I thought it was about time that I did some of that cool and fancy ResearchBlogging.org stuff, you know, to keep this blog from being nothing more than a collection of not-so-Respectfully Insolent spleen venting at generalized stupidity. I realize that those are some of the funnest posts here and that people…

Hot on the heals of my post earlier today about the flurry of misinformation-laden ads being aired in Michigan to try to prevent Proposition 2, the proposed amendment to the Michigan State Constitution that would allow embryonic stem cell research using embryos that would be discarded from fertility clinics, I’ve learned that my alma mater,…

Two years ago, there was a brouhaha in Missouri over a ballot proposal to allow state funding for embryonic stem cell research using discarded embryos from fertility clinics. The issue made national news, including some rather despicable rhetoric from Rush Limbaugh about Michael J. Fox, who made ads in support of the Missouri initiative, as…

Best Doctor Who adventure ever?

I don’t recall where I saw this, but I’ve been meaning to post it. What better time than a not-so-lazy Sunday, when I have to work on a talk, paper, and other things? (It’s either this, or no blog for you on Monday; I think you know which you’d prefer.) For those of you not…

Think this election is bad?

Think this election is bad? Think it’s really negative? Think it’s really vicious and nasty? Think again. Negative campaigning and vicious attacks by candidates on each other have been with us since at least the election of 1800. If anything, these days elections are probably tamer. The difference is the media. Between robocalls, television, radio,…

You remember Dr. Rashid Buttar, don’t you? He’s that blight on North Carolina’s medical establishment, known for his “transdermal chelation therapy” that he’s unable to demonstrate as being able to be absorbed through the skin, much less chelate anything (arguably a good thing, actually, because at least it probably doesn’t hurt anyone, as a real…

The gentle art of persuasion

There are times in every physician’s career when he or she faces a patient with a serious, even life-threatening disease or condition, who, for whatever reason, does not want treatment. These can be incredibly frustrating and challenging patients. Most physicians try reason, cajoling, and persuasion. Believe it or not, physicians are still held in enough…

The 98th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle…

…is here at The Uncredible Hallq, and it’s a fine collection of the latest skeptical blogging. Meanwhile the countdown towards #100 continues. Next up is King of Ferrets Ferret Cage, who will be hosting the 99th Edition of the Skeptics’ Circle a fortnight hence, on Thursday, November 6, 2008. I should go back and check…

I’ll give Mike Adams one thing. He’s consistent. Consistently a crank, that is. Yes, that purveyor of woo, paranoia, and conspiracy theories, not to mention the creator of one of the five largest repositories of quackery support on the Internet, NaturalNews.com, the other three being Mercola.com, Whale.to, CureZone, and Gary Null, is up to his…

After posting about some openly racist McCain supporters from–sadly, as it is a state in which I lived for eight years and happened to like, by and large, particularly since it’s the state where my wife hails from–Ohio, I hadn’t planned on doing more posts like this. But a theme emerges, and I decided that…

I hate it when an article starts right out with a rather annoying usage of terminology, even when it provides information that interests me: (AP) – Nearly a fourth of widely used new-generation biological drugs that treat several common diseases produce serious side effects that lead to safety warnings soon after they go on the…

Last call for the Skeptics’ Circle

Yike. I’ve been truly remiss in my duty. The Skeptics’ Circle is a mere day and a half away. But it’s not too late to submit your best skeptical work to Chris at The Uncredible Hallq. So, if you wanted to submit a post this week but haven’t gotten around to it, there isn’t much…

Oprah Winfrey supports quackery. That has been richly demonstrated over the last few years, particularly with her gauzy, praise-filled segments featuring such pro-woo luminaries as Jenny McCarthy, her frequently having physicians boosters of “alternative medicine” like Mehmet Oz and Christiane Northrup on her show, and her tight embrace of New Age “spirituality.” Alarmed at the…

I’ve been very critical of The Huffington Post since shortly after its formation three years ago, when (I believe) I was the first blogger to notice a proliferation of antivaccination propaganda at the then brand new group blog. It is a situation that the HuffPo has maintained to the present day. Indeed, on that day…

Well, this is somewhat encouraging…

After having seen the worst, it’s encouraging to see that it’s not all bad: Hat tip to Coturnix…

I can’t believe people like this exist

I couldn’t help but shake my head in disbelief when I saw this: It boggles the mind that in 2008 such views still exist. I lived in Ohio for eight years, and I had no idea. Of course, I did live in Cleveland…

Dr. Jay Gordon: Pediatrician Warrior

Note: The following is a collaborative post between James (a.k.a. Dad of Cameron of Autism Street) and Orac. Feel free to tell which parts were written by whom.:-) Jenny McCarthy’s latest book, Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds, contains a foreword penned by “pediatrician to the stars’ children”, Dr. Jay…

This about sums it up for me:

Stop Jenny McCarthy

There’s not much to add here, other than Jenny McCarthy needs to be stopped. Stopping her is even more important than stopping Sylvia Browne. As vile as Sylvia Browne is, at least she doesn’t endanger millions of children by self-righteously promoting antivaccinationist lies that have already started to lead to the return of formerly controlled…