Respectful Insolence

Archives for December, 2008

When PARADE goes woo

Having been sucked into the blogosphere for over four years now and having gotten the majority of my news online or from newsmagazines or the New York Times, I frequently forget that I’m not like the vast majority of people. Neither, I daresay, are my fellow ScienceBloggers or my readers. We don’t get our information…

When confronted with skeptics who refuse to stay silent in the face of quackery–I’m sorry, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), a large proportion of which is unproven if not outright quackery–shruggies frequently ask, “What’s the harm?” I can reply that so many of these modalities are no more than elaborate placebos reinforced with magical thinking.…

Just as a quick followup to my post on Tong Ren, the quackery that combines acupuncture, “energy healing,” and, in essence, the stereotype of voodoo dolls in a veritable potpourri of woo, take a look at this news report done by the FOX News affiliate in Boston: If you want horrible, credulous, idiotic reporting, the…

After four years and five days of nearly continuous blogging about skepticism, quackery, science- and evidence-based medicine, and a variety of other topics, you’d think there wouldn’t be much that I haven’t seen before. Certainly, lately, I’ve been wondering lately if there was anything left that could surprise me or horrify me anymore, and jaded…

Monday afternoon mandatory reading

Three goodies on skepticism and science: Skeptical Battlegrounds: Part III – Alternative Medicine. Suffice it to say, Steve agrees with me. He just lays it all out in one post instead of ten. Once again, Egnor and Tautologies. Blogchild Mark Chu-Carroll takes on our favorite creationist neurosurgeon, Dr. Egnor. This time he deals directly with…

Several months ago, I wrote a post about the experimentation with acupuncture by an Air Force physician, Col. Robert Niemtzow. In the post, I started with an admittedly exaggerated vignette–a story, if you will–of a soldier whose leg was shredded by a mortar in battle. When the medic came to treat his wounds and get…

Santa Claus will take you to hell…the video

The other day, I mentioned how the ever-warped and evil Westboro Baptist Church wanted in on the Washington State melee in which every religious and antireligion group out there is trying to get a display at the capitol after the state allowed a Christian Nativity scene. Included were the lyrics to a lovely jingle these…

The last Skeptics’ Circle of 2008…

…is due out in a mere four days. Yes, on Thursday, December 18, Bing McGhandi over at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes will be closing out 2008 by hosting the 102nd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. But there’s a problem. Bing has informed me that he only has three entries as of last night. With…

When Nazi zombies attack…

The Hitler Zombie definitely approves of this movie: Too bad I don’t speak German or Norwegian, because here’s the movie website, and here’s another trailer sans subtitles: I wonder if I can take some stills from this trailer to use the next time I feel “inspired” (at least I like to call it that) to…

I detest Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. Few religious loonies bring the hate home in a more concentrated fashion than Phelps and his not-so-merry band of homophobic nutcases. Whether it be threatening to picket the funerals of Amish girls killed in a school shooting, showing up on TV to spew hate against homosexuals…

It figures. Right around the time of my blogiversary yesterday, when I had intended nothing more than a brief by characteristically self-indulgent bit of navel-gazing twaddle (at which, I succeeded brilliantly, I might add; no one–and I mean no one–does self-indulgent navel-gazing twaddle better than I do), what should be there tempting me from my…

As long as a Presidential term in office…

For once, I actually managed not to miss it. For once, this day hasn’t passed me by, leaving me not to remember its significance for a couple of days. For once, I haven’t forgotten my blogiversary. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I’ve been at this more or less nonstop just as long…

I didn’t get to see this interview last night on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. After all, I usually show up at work between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. However, Hugh Laurie, star of House, was interviewed by Conan and revealed himself to be not unlike me in that he’s definitely a booster of reason and…

I have to wonder if the most famous denizen of the Discovery Institute in medical circles, Dr. Michael Egnor, is on vacation or something. For some reason, he’s been especially active over at the Discovery Institute’s repository of pseudoscience, Evolution News & Views, over the last couple of weeks. Neurosurgeons tend to be very busy…

Was Nazi science good science? (Part II)

My original post that asked the intentionally provocative question Was Nazi science good science? provoked a lot of comments, some of which made me think, which is good. This post was inspired by an article in which historian of the Nazi era Richard Evans was featured in a story about Nazi science and expressed his…

Proposition 8: The Musical

The thought of Jack Black as Jesus just cracks me up: See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die You know, more and more I’m starting to be of the mind that perhaps marriage should not be defined by the government. After all, to the government, marriage is nothing more than a contract. Consequently,…

In 2007, I wrote a series of posts about what I found to be a fascinating yet at the same time disturbing phenomenon, specifically self-experimentation by cancer patients using an as yet unapproved drug called dichloroacetate. If you’ll recall, DCA is a small molecule drug that was used to treat congenital lactic acidosis in children…

Jon Stewart on the Detroit bailout

As usual, he nails it, at least a significant part of it: The Daily Show With Jon StewartM – Th 11p / 10c Autoerotic Explanation Barack Obama InterviewJohn McCain Interview Sarah Palin VideoFunny Election Video Again, I remain ambivalent about the whole bailout thing, mainly because I hate rewarding incompetence. On the other hand, the…

Weekend geekery: Star Wars vs. Star Trek

Ever wonder who’d win in a war of Trek vs. the Empire? Well now you know!

What is it about celebrity models and credulity towards woo? Very early in the history of this blog, we first encountered Suzanne Somers, someone who underwent lumpectomy and radiation therapy for breast cancer, as well as radiation, but eschewed chemotherapy for “alternative” medicine. Guess to what she attributed her survival? Then she got into bioidentical…

And so it begins… The first 100 have passed, and now the second 100 begin. This time, it comes from Africa, the 101st Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. Go forth. Read. Enjoy. Be enlightened. Next up two weeks hence will be Bing McGhandi over at Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes on December 18. (I really…

Best review of Expelled! ever?

It may well be; Roger Ebert has finally gotten around to reviewing Expelled! Short version: He didn’t like it. Long version: He really, really didn’t like it. I knew there was a reason I liked Roger Ebert.

Was Nazi science good science?

I’ve long had an interest in World War II history. Ever since I was around 11 or 12 years old, a major portion of my reading diet has consisted of books and articles about World War II. Back when I was young, my interest was, as you might expect, primarily the battles. The military history…

A 10-month wait for a mammogram?

A small part of me is glad that my inquiries a while back to get a job at Northwestern University in Chicago came to nothing when I read stuff like this on, of all places, Julie Deardorff’s blog: Next appointment? Sept. 21, 2009 It now takes 10 months to get an appointment for a regular…

…so that I don’t have to! Enjoy!