Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2009

I hate to finish up the week on a bit of a downer, but unfortunately this week I really wasn’t in the mood to do justice to Your Friday Dose of Woo, even though I have at least a couple of potential targets–I mean subjects–to cover for my (hopefully) fun little Friday exercise. I was…

Ring in the new year with….skepticism!

Here we go. It’s a new year, and, now that the festivities of the holiday season are now clearly a couple of weeks in the past and the deepest darkest depths of winter have descended upon huge swaths of the U.S., what can warm the cockles of a skeptical heart better than a fresh hot…

P.Z. Myers turned me on to a phenomenal proposal at Change.gov, the website of President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team: Defund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Here’s a way to increase the available funding to NIH without increasing the NIH budget: halt funding to NCCAM, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.…

My dear readers, I beg your indulgence for the moment. I had been planning on doing something a bit more serious than what I’ve been up to lately. Believe it or not, NaturalNews.com pointed me to a study that’s actually pretty interesting. It even challenges to some extend existing results. Of course, Mike Adams’ minion’s…

Welcome back, PalMD!

Good news! After an extended and distinguished stint as a coblogger on Denialism.com, blog bud PalMD has decided to resurrect his own blog, the place where he got started, White Coat Underground. The only difference is that this time he’s doing it as a member of the ScienceBlogs collective. Head on over and say hi.…

Too bad the holidays are over. I’ve found something that would make a perfect gift for J. B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, Mike Adams, and other “friends” of the blog. After all, clearly scientific arguments aren’t working. Hmmm. Perhaps a certain physiologist-blogger would be interested in purchasing these items to give out as well.

I find it hard to believe that we’re already two weeks into 2009. The older I get and the longer I’ve been blogging, it seems, the faster time files. It’s gotten so bad that it’s not at all infrequent that I remember a post that I’ve written, go searching for it, and end up amazed…

Bill Maher on Christine Maggiore’s book

Last week, I did multiple posts about the death of HIV/AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore of what for all the world looked like an HIV-related pneumonia, the excuses HIV/AIDS denialists made to try to persuade people that it wasn’t AIDS, and the attempted coverup of damning posts. In the past, I’ve also taken a certain comedian…

Rallying resistance to the antivaccine jihad

About four weeks ago, I wrote what I thought to be an amusing piece about how our blog “buddy” J. B. Handley, antivaccine advocate extraordinaire and now second fiddle in the organization he founded (Generation Rescue) to a Jenny-come-lately former purveyor of Indigo Child woo previously best known for being Playboy Playmate of the Year,…

The best trial of Qi Gong ever?

In responding to Deepak Chopra’s “integrative medicine” nonsense from last week that I “http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/01/the_three_musketeers_of_woo_meet_dartagn.php,” Derek Lowe proposes the best trial of Qi Gong ever: “Chronic pain is one of the major sources of worker’s compensation claims costs, yet studies show that it is often susceptible to acupuncture and Qi Gong. Herbs usually have far fewer…

Here’s a cool idea: Blogging the Origin

Here’s a cool idea. Take a newbie, who has never read Charles Darwins’ On the Origin of Species, and have the newbie actually read the book. Then have him blog each chapter. That’s exactly what John Whitfield, London-based freelance science writer, is doing, and ScienceBlogs has him over at Blogging the Origin. Check it out.…

The seemingly never-ending quest of advocates of unscientific medicine, the so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) movement is to convince policy makers, patients, and physicians that, really and truly, it no longer deserves the qualifier of “alternative,” that it is in fact mainstream and even “scientific.” That very search for respectability without accountability is the…

It’s amazing how fast the time passes. The year 2008 is now history. 2009 is nearly two weeks old. But, for purposes of this blog, most important of all is that the very first Skeptics’ Circle of 2009 is fast approaching. It will be held at Bug Girl’s Blog on Thursday, January 15, a mere…

An actual pro-vaccine storyline? On ABC?

I don’t watch Private Practice. I didn’t like Grey’s Anatomy, which, every time I caught part of it, struck me as the cheesiest sort of medical soap opera, a General Hospital transplanted to prime time. Given that Private Practice is a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy, I never saw any reason whatsoever to watch. However, on…

Respectful Insolence will go dark…

…but only temporarily! As you may have heard, our benevolent leaders at ScienceBlogs are finally doing a major upgrade of our blog publishing software. That’s the good news. I’m hoping the back end is much easier to use and more responsive. The bad news is that the whole ScienceBlogs site is going to locked down.…

Three weeks ago, I reintroduced my readers to one of the most amazingly skilled weaver of woo tales who has ever lived. I’m referring, of course, to Lionel Milgrom, the man who can pepper his homeopathic woo with quantum nonsense the way Bobby Flay seasons his latest creation with various spices. Now, I’m about to…

During the confirmation hearings yesterday for Tom Daschle, who is to become the Secretary of Health and Human Services, there was this exchange: J. REED: As you grapple with health care reform, you’re also grappling with the budget, so good luck on both matters. But if you could pay particular attention to Title VII, that…

Why not bail out the porn industry?

As much of a completely disgusting sleazebag as I think he is, at some level I grudgingly have to admire Larry Flynt. He never misses an opportunity for self-promotion and annoying the hell out of politicians, and he’s back now, promoting himself and annoying the hell out of politicians. This time, he’s asking for a…

First fellow ScienceBlogger Abel Pharmboy live-blogged (sort of) his vasectomy. That record could not stand, however. You just knew it wouldn’t be long before someone tried to outdo him. Now Kev is live-Tweeting (live-Twittering?) his own vasectomy. He’s at the surgeon’s office right now, but tells us the surgeon is running a little late! Follow…

This blog is primarily about medicine, the scientific basis of medicine, and general skepticism and critical thinking. As part of my interest in skepticism, a particular form of pseudoscience and pseudohistory that I first took an interest in about a decade ago, namely Holocaust “revisionism,” which is, of course, in reality Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial…

One of my favorite novels of all time is George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. When it came to imagining the end to which totalitarianism could take us, no one before or since has written a more compelling book about living under such a regime. One aspect of Oceania, the fictional totalitarian state ruled…

Dr. Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General? Yawn.

As I was sitting in the O.R. lounge yesterday afternoon between cases, the television in the lounge was tuned to CNN. One thing I noted was some rather fawning coverage of President Bush regarding the military that seemed as though it belonged on FOX News rather than CNN. Not long after that, Wolf Blitzer breathlessly…

This is really starting to go to my head…

Unbelievably, it looks as though I’ve been nominated yet again for another blogging award. Really, folks, this is too much. How on earth am I going to live up to this level of accolades in 2009? Not that that would stop me from pointing out that I’m in the running for the Best Health Policies/Ethics…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last four years of examining the various forms of woo out there, it’s to be very, very skeptical whenever an advocate of a highly dubious-sounding “therapy” points to a study as “proof” that the therapy, whatever it is, works. Usually, what I find is a small pilot…

Vote early, vote often…

…for me as Best Medical/Health Issues Blog. At the very least, put me past Junkfood Science! While you’re at it, vote for the Best Science Blog. There are two fellow ScienceBloggers (PZ and Greg Laden) in contention, as well as one of my blog buds, Steve Novella of Neurologica and another of my favorite blogs,…