Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2009

Get ready for some serious stupid, folks, stupid that threatens to engulf all reason, as a black hole engulfs all nearby matter that falls into its gravitational field. Although I knew that Jenny McCarthy was soon to release another book promoting autism quackery, I had thought it wasn’t coming out for a month or two.…

I may have been deluding myself when I talked about 2009 shaping up to be a bad year for antivaccinationists. It turns out that the antivaccine movement is succeeding. That’s right, a cadre of upper middle class, scientifically illiterate parents, either full of the arrogance of ignorance or frightened by leaders of the antivaccine movement,…

Random (deserved) swipes at Jenny McCarthy

Anyone who’s read this blog for more than a month knows my dismal opinion of Indigo woo girl, ex-Playboy Playmate, and gross-out comedienne Jenny McCarthy, who since having a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder has transformed herself from D-list celebrity to A-list, where the “A” stands for “antivaccine.” Her combination of obnoxiousness, the…

Dr. Emoto’s water woo metastasizes

Indiana Jones had a saying: “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” This line was most famously delivered in Raiders of the Lost Ark after he and his friend Sallah had opened the Well of Souls and were staring down into it. Sallah noticed that the ground appeared to be moving within; so Indy shined…

Last week, there was a bit of a scandal of sorts over an editorial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which I blogged about in a rather long post. The short version is that a flawed study that tested using Lexapro that neglected to report a rather important comparison that would…

Bailey discovers squirrels

It’s Saturday and therefore time for some lazy non-science blogging, especially since after I finish this post I’m going to bury myself in grant writing. Multiple grant deadlines are approaching, and, given that most of my grant support expires towards the middle of next year, I have to go full tilt to keep my lab…

Since its very inception, the Huffington Post has been a hotbed of antivaccine lunacy. Shortly after that, antivaccine woo-meisters like David Kirby, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Kimg Stagliano, and, apparently, one of the editors (Special Projects Editor Rachel Sklar) were joined by all-purpose woo-meisters like Deepak Chopra. True, for a brief period of time there…

Well, there’s something new. After nearly four years, I don’t recall having seen a Skeptics’ Circle meeting quite like this one before. The 108th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle has landed at Podblack Cat, and it’s a doozy. In fact, it’s a video podcast. Be sure to go and check it out. Next up is…

Because of my stands against dubious medical “therapies” and outright quackery and for science- and evidence-based medicine, I have been the frequent target of what I’ve come to call the “pharma shill gambit.” It’s a pretty stupid and common ad hominem attack in which the attacker, virtually always an advocate of “complementary and alternative medicine”…

(NOTE ADDED 12/7/2010: Kim Tinkham has died of what was almost certainly metastatic breast cancer.) Three days ago, I decided to take a look at the scientific literature regarding whether any “alternative” therapies do any good for breast cancer. Not surprisingly, I found no evidence that any such therapy did, with the possible exception of…

Subjecting prisoners to quackery

I’ve at times been asked where I come up with my blogging material. Since I’ve become fairly popular, one major source has been readers sending me stories. I often don’t have time to respond, and most of them don’t interest me enough to be motivated to write, but there are enough that do that I…

I get comments, too

Ha! PZ isn’t the only person who gets wingnut comments. I get ‘em too, and yesterday I got a doozy from a guy named Keith Dunlop in response to my post about a homepath bringing his quackery to poor AIDS patients in Africa: THE MAIN POST ABOVE IS FROM A DRUG COMPANY MASQUERADING AS CONCERNED…

About a month and a half ago, I happened to be fortunate enough to be able to swing the time to attend a symposium in which Brian Deer (whom anyone reading this blog lately is well familiar with) spoke. It was an opportune time, coming as it did around the time when he had just…

Holy crap! I’m late with my reminder

I usually do this over the weekend before, but better late than never, right? In any case, the 108th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle is fast approaching. In fact, it’s a mere two and a half days away! This time around, it will land in the very capable hands of Podblack Cat on Thursday, March…

Has it really been that long? More than two years ago, I wrote a post entitled Death by Alternative Medicine: Who’s to Blame? The topic of the post was a case report that I had heard while visiting the tumor board of an affiliate of my former cancer center describing a young woman who had…

WTF? That’s all I have to say.

A few weeks ago, having fallen asleep on the couch watching TV, I awoke to an ad for a most wondrous product. Well, not exactly. In fact the product, known as a Snuggie, left my scratching my head. Three questions came to mind: Who on earth is too stupid to use a blanket? Who on…

Can’t cure stupid

Normally, I’m not much into LOLCats, but this one is so spot-on for this blog: All too true, alas.

Homeobox, HOX, regulatin’ genes

This is about as geeky as it gets, but since a couple of the genes I study are homeobox genes, one of which is a HOX gene, one of which is not, I found this hilarious: There you go: All you need to know about homeobox genes if you’re not an expert in them. Hat…

Oh, goody! Vox Day wants to play. You remember Vox “Hey, it worked for Hitler” Day,” don’t you? It’s been a long time. In fact, I had to do a search to find the last time I had a run-in with him, and it appears that it’s been about a year since I last noted…

I’ve been on a bit of a tear criticizing the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). One of the reasons is because, as I’ve said time and time again, there is no logical organizational or scientific reason why the potpourri of disparate, often unrelated, and often mutually contradictory therapies that fall under the…

Religion and end-of-life care

Given that I’m the proverbial lapsed Catholic cum agnostic, religion just doesn’t play that large a role in my life and hasn’t since around six years ago. I don’t know if I’ll ever discuss or explain on this blog what the last straw resulting in that transformation was (it’s too personal), but a couple of…

Brian Deer responds to Andrew Wakefield

Two days ago, I deconstructed Andrew Wakefield’s clumsy attack on Brian Deer, the investigative journalist whose investigations uncovered Wakefield’s massive conflicts of interest and, most recently, his scientific fraud. Now, right here in the very comments of this blog, Brian Deer has responded: Obviously, because Our Andy’s statement purports to be a complaint to the…

It’s probably an understatement to say that I’ve been critical of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Indeed, I consider it not only to be a boondoggle that wastes the taxpayers’ money funding pseudoscience, but a key promoter of quackery. Worse, its promotion of highly implausible (one might even say magical) modalities…

Yet another reason why I love The Onion: Because giant, highly intelligent, acid-spitting crabs pose no danger to society. Of course, certain antivaccine advocates seem to think that this parody has something to do with vaccines, which just goes to show how far down the rabbit hole they’ve gone when they think that a parody…

Until recently, most of my research was laboratory-based. It included cell culture, biochemical assays, molecular biology, and experiments using mouse tumor models. However, one of the reasons that I got both an MD and a PhD was so that I could ultimately test ideas for new treatments on patients and, if I’m good enough and…