Respectful Insolence

Nominated again!

i-8b0d76304f894650db190e849e4e5e31-wa2008_200x100.jpgI realize that I said I would take New Years Day off, but I saw this and felt a brief post was in order.

I also realize that some will never believe that it’s not false modesty when I express amazement that so many people show up here day in and day out to read my written meanderings. It’s also not false modesty when I marvel that I actually am nominated from time to time for various blogging awards and even (on rarer occasions) win.

So it is again that I’ve been nominated for Best Medical/Health Issues Blog of 2008 for the Weblog Awards.

Cool. My thanks to everyone who nominated me.

I also notice one very excellent blog, Autism Vox, as one of the other nominees, which is also very cool. If I can’t win it, I’d love to see Kristina Chew win it. One interesting blog that I hadn’t been aware of include UC Story to J-pouch Life. Even though I don’t do much GI surgery anymore (and hence don’t do ileostomies anymore), as a trained general surgeon I might have to check it out.

Unfortunately, I also note that Junkfood Science has been nominated as well. Although Sandy Szwarc can actually be very good when she is discussing medical matters outside of obesity, diet, and cholesterol, her sound skepticism all too often tends to be trumped by her highly dubious “what me, worry?” stands on anything having to do with obesity, minimizing at ever opportunity the health dangers attributable to diet through her mastery of selective data presentation (a.k.a. “cherry picking) and truly risible thermodynamics arguments. Aside from Szwarc, from what I can tell, any of the nominees would be worthy recipients of the award; so here’s hoping that, whoever wins, it isn’t her.

Comments

  1. #1 storkdok
    January 1, 2009

    Congrats! Now go enjoy the holiday with your family!

    My husband just took the kids to the hospital for a quick visit and then on to shopping at Target. I get a little break! They are getting “Daddy time”!

  2. #2 skeptic2009
    January 1, 2009

    One might think your career affiliations are being threatened by anyone giving other perspectives on obesity issues. After reading years of her posts, which contain the conclusions of USPSTF, CDC National Health Statistics, Cochrane Collaborative, and a large number of other scientists and doctors, your criticisms are not justified by the cherry picking you have done and I see more logical fallacies in your arguments.

    How does someone make the Weblog award list as you did without anyone nominating them?

  3. #3 Danio
    January 1, 2009

    your criticisms are not justified by the cherry picking you have done

    Presenting a balanced summary (which even includes a link to a ‘very good’ post by Sandy) and then expounding on part of the whole picture which, in this case, warrants a negative interpretation from the author’s perspective isn’t cherry picking. A wonderful example of true cherry picking can be found at the ‘what me worry?’ link in Orac’s post, however, so do be sure to check it out.

    I see more logical fallacies in your arguments.

    oh you do, do you? Well, bring it, ‘skeptic’. As a warm-up exercise, can you spot the logical fallacy in the first sentence of your comment?

    How does someone make the Weblog award list as you did without anyone nominating them?

    Are you trying to be cuttingly snarky here? It actually comes across as flailingly ignorant.

  4. #4 Orac
    January 1, 2009

    One might think your career affiliations are being threatened by anyone giving other perspectives on obesity issues. After reading years of her posts, which contain the conclusions of USPSTF, CDC National Health Statistics, Cochrane Collaborative, and a large number of other scientists and doctors, your criticisms are not justified by the cherry picking you have done and I see more logical fallacies in your arguments.

    That’s a pretty darned lame variant of the pharma shill gambit, dude. And, for the record, I’m a cancer surgeon. My work and research have nothing to do with diet or obesity issues. Nice try, though, albeit pathetically predictable.

    Funny you also failed to mention Sandy’s connection with the food industry (Coca Cola, for instance), her affiliation with the pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute, and her previous articles saying that mercury in fish is just ducky and that Mad Cow disease is not a threat to humans:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sandy_Szwarc

    http://kateharding.net/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/#comment-42640

    Also funny how you neglected to mention how I pointed out one very good article by Sandy and how I had come to the conclusion that her extreme bias on obesity issues unfortunately undermines the good stuff she writes.

  5. #5 Amiya
    January 1, 2009

    Congrats Orac! Great to be on TOP.

  6. #6 Heraclides
    January 1, 2009

    What do people think of the Huffington Post being in the “Best blog” category…?

  7. #7 Jpouch.net
    January 1, 2009

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the kind words about our little site, and best of luck in the awards! -Eric at http://www.jpouch.net

  8. #8 therapydoc
    January 1, 2009

    I’m here because you were nominated for that 2008 Weblog award. So glad I stopped by. See? It pays to be insolent.

  9. #9 The Perky Skeptic
    January 1, 2009

    Congratulations!!! A nomination well-deserved! Best of luck!

  10. #10 FreeSpeaker
    January 1, 2009

    What do people think of the Huffington Post being in the “Best blog” category…?

    Hmmm…if they win, the other winners should refuse the award. The only thing worse would be the Age of Autism being nominated, except for cesspool of the year.

    However, a more imporant award is in the works. Orac is most definitely NOT in the running, and would be insulted if he were.

    You will just have to visit http://age-of-ignorance.blogspot.com/ when I publish it.

  11. #11 Rogue Medic
    January 2, 2009

    Congratulations. You have my vote.

    It is great to see that a blog that focuses on rationality does so well.

  12. #12 sanjiva
    January 2, 2009

    Congrats, Orac! I love your blog and I definitely think you are deserving of another award.

  13. #13 Kula
    January 2, 2009

    We should all make it a point to vote for one specific blog competing against the Huffington Post while we are there to vote for RI.

  14. #14 megan
    January 2, 2009

    Congrats on your 2008 nod, you have a great blog! Do come and visit our blog, as a once practicing surgeon you should appreciate the healing the surgeons have allowed many of our bloggers to have. Megan @ http://www.jpouch.net

  15. #15 bruce hood
    January 4, 2009

    Congratulations..And I agree with Kula that we should be more stragetic in voting when you are up against the biggies.

    Anyway, as I am here, I thought you might appreciate looking at this book when it comes out in April.

    http://brucemhood.wordpress.com/about-supersense/

    No matter whether you are a believer or a skeptic, it has something really important to say from the world of child development about the origins of adult belief.

    Best

    Bruce

  16. #16 Carolyn
    January 6, 2009

    I disagree with your comments about Sandy Szwarc. I think many, perhaps most, commentors on obesity are extraordinarily one-sided in the other direction that you accuse her of being. And most of those scientists have strongly vested career interests, far more than Szarc does, involving their fame, fortune, NIH grants and direct or indirect funding from the pharmaceutical industry. (For example, the International Obesity Task Force, which appears to be a neutral “think tank” was started with large amounts of funding from Roche Labs). It is very hard to find people in this field without a conflict of interest of some kind. I have found her reports to be generally pretty accurate and not as biased as the general “anti-obesity” hysteria that’s easy to find everywhere. She is less one-sided than many people, but in the other direction than they are.

  17. #17 Karen Curran
    January 7, 2009

    Your bias against Sandy’s conclusions about obesity issues makes a stark contrast with your general approval of her methods. I fear you are much more emotional about obesity issues than analytical. You are not an obesity expert, but a surgeon, and should confine yourself to what you know, not what you think you know.

  18. #18 Orac
    January 7, 2009

    Wrong. The problem with Sandy is that she is selective in what she applies her skepticism to.

    As for my not being an “obesity expert,” give me a break. That’s the lamest of lame things to say to try to shut someone up. Sandy isn’t an “obesity expert,” either. In any case, are you saying that only experts should be able to discuss scientific issues?

  19. #19 Carolyn
    January 8, 2009

    I think Sandy’s blog is a very useful corrective to the “anti-obesity” focus of many blogs and much of the media. For instance, a recent post of hers concerns data (of which there seems to be a fair amount) showing that overweight and obese women may be less likely to have pre-term births. I am pretty sure that if some research came out showing that overweight women were **more** likely than thin women to have pre-term births this would generate a few headlines, but research showing that overweight women were **less** likely than thin women to have pre-term births this would generate little or no media coverage. Sandy’s blog is a useful corrective to this strong tendency to only cover obesity and health issues from the point of view of something bad about obesity and ignore anything that doesn’t fit in with this prevailing orthodoxy. It’s interesting that people regard Sandy as ‘one-sided’ but don’t seem to see how many others are ‘one-sided’ in the opposite direction. She always gives references and links, so you can always check out what she says for yourself anyway.

  20. #20 Chris
    January 8, 2009

    How come Sandy’s blog does not allow comments?

    While I am mildly annoyed at blogs that require you to log in to post comments (like Sciencebasedmedicine), I am very annoyed at blogs that do not allow ANY comments.

    The Junkgood Science blog has no back and forth communication. What is up with that?