Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2009

By way of badscience.net: Speak it, brother Ben! Oh, and don’t be too hard on your hairstyle and clothing in that one. I could totally picture you as an incarnation of The Doctor in that getup. That sweater vest does look a bit Peter Davison-ish, although the curly locks do rather echo Tom Baker.

The antivaccine counterattack against Brian Deer continues. As you recall, about a month ago British reporter Brian Deer published an exposé, a tour de force of investigative journalism that led him to discover that Andre Wakefield had not only had incredibly blatant undisclosed conflicts of interest (his having been in the pocket of trial lawyers…

Pareidolia parade 2008

I have to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for pareidolia, that phenomenon wherein people see things that aren’t there because human brains are wired for pattern recognition. As a child (and even as an adult), I loved lazily looking up at the clouds and envisioning animals, objects, and people in the clouds.…

Antivaccinationists pwned

I love it when someone does something like this, namely pwning an antivaccine video like The Truth About Vaccines: It’s not perfect, but I love it. Now if only more people would do something similar on YouTube. I’m tired of seeing titles like VACCINES KILL INNOCENT CHILDREN! – Hundreds and More Likely Thousands of Children…

I feel an eruption coming on…

…well, not really. It’s just that I wanted to welcome the newest addition to the ScienceBlogs Collective, Dr. Erik Klemetti, a geologist who spends most of his professional time thinking about magma, and likes to blog about it at Eruptions. Check it out, and enjoy!

Khaaaaan! No, wait a minute. I mean: Nooooooo! No place is safe from the invasion of quackademic medicine. No place. As you will soon see. As you know, I’ve documented the infiltration of pseudoscientific and outright antiscientific woo into institutions that really should know better, namely academic medical institutions. Specifically, over a year ago, I…

Well, here’s a new way of hosting a Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. What we have this time is the combination of a minimalist presentation of the relevant links with a maximalist bit of podcast blather from Theo Clark of The Skeptics’ Field Guide. Go check it out! Next up is PodBlack Cat on March…

The most massive scientific fraud ever?

Science as it is practiced today relies on a fair measure of trust. Part of the reason is that the culture of science values openness, hypothesis testing, and vigorous debate. The general assumption is that most scientists are honest and, although we all generally try to present our data in the most favorable light possible,…

I know I’ve been hard on a lot of legislators, including woo-friendly clods such as Tom Harkin, Ron Paul, and Dan Burton. Occasionally, though, a legislator will show that he “gets it” (or at least hasn’t drunk the Kool Aid). Forwarded to me was a letter sent from Representative John Linder (R-GA) in response to…

Advocates of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) frequently make the claim that they are the victims of a “double standard,” in which (or so they claim) they are subjected to harsher standards than what they often refer to as “conventional” or “orthodox” medicine, usually because, don’t you know, big pharma controls everything and rigs…

Crank alert! Age of Autism has announced that David Kirby and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will be on the David Bender Show at 1:15 PM today. It would be nice if, to counter the antivaccine activists, reality-based listeners would call in, although I am very pessimistic that Bender would give them a fair shake, given…

…the reasons are threefold. Reason #1 is my iPhone. As I mentioned the other day, the microphone mysteriously stopped working while I was in Phoenix. At first I thought it was a network thing, as on less rare than I would like occasions I had had difficulty with AT&T in which I might have trouble…

Regular readers of this blog know pretty much what I think of Jenny McCarthy. In brief, she’s an opportunistic, scientifically ignorant but media-savvy twit whose hubris leads her to believe that her Google University education, coupled with her personal anecdotal experience, render her proclamations that vaccines cause autism and that “biomedical” quackery can cure it…

Bizarre iPhone behavior, or is it AT&T?

So here I sit in the Phoenix airport, which (woo-hoo!) has free wifi, contemplating a most puzzling problem. My iPhone, which was working just fine last night and which still seems on the surface to be working fine is behaving most strangely. My wife tried to call me, but I couldn’t pick up because it…

Sadly, the meeting’s over, and I’m winging my way back home as this very post shows up on the blog for your edification. Because it’s Sunday and, more importantly, because I’m too tired to produce anything substantive, I leave you with this bit of Asian weirdness sent to me by my sister. It left me…

It’s a rare thing indeed for this to happen, but words fail me here: Wow. Just wow. Because clearly the Obama administration is getting ready to fire up the ovens for responsible borrowers who paid their mortgages on time. Truly, a black hole of stupid in a single cartoon! The stupid burns on so many…

I realize I’m a bit late on this, but it’s hard not to take the antivaccine movement’s icon and apply her own misinformation about vaccines being “toxins” injected into the bloodstream against her. In fact, doing so is far more justified, given that last week she was quoted in an interview as singing paeans of…

I have two brief observations to make before I launch into my latest bit of insolence. First off, it figures that, whenever I go away to a meeting, there’s simply an embarrassment of blogging riches. People have been sending me stuff to which, even if I were at home and having a slow week, I…

So that’s what happened to that Dalek!

Damn, wouldn’t it have been cool to have been the guy who found this? A Dalek, lost from Doctor Who since the 1970s or 1980s: Workers were baffled how the Dr Who relic ended up there, but it may have been in the murky water for more than 30 years after being dumped during location…

I realize I’ve said it before, but I still can’t believe as many people read what I like to lay down on a daily basis right here on this blog. Believe me, it has nothing to do with an sort of false sense of modesty. After four years at this, I know I’m good at…

As this posts I should be on an airplane winging its way to much warmer climes than where I reside in order to attend the Society of Surgical Oncology 62nd Annual Cancer Symposium. There, in Phoenix, I will eagerly absorb all the latest and greatest knowledge in the realm of cancer surgery, commune with friends…

If there’s’ one theme, one cause, that this blog has emphasized throughout the four years of its existence and the three years of its having resided on ScienceBlogs, it’s been to champion science- and evidence-based medicine over pseudoscience and quackery. Whether it’s refuting the lies of antivaccine zealots, having a little fun with some of…

Yesterday, I wrote about Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) little woo-fest in the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which he called Integrative Care: A Pathway to a Healthier Nation. I and a lot of the rest of the medical blogosphere (such as PalMD, Val Jones, and Tufted Titmouse) shook our heads in disbelief…

The Tufted Titmouse explains in a spot-on parody of Senator Harkin’s statement to his Senate panel. I’m tellin’ ya, “integrative” reporting is the wave of the future, just like “integrative” medicine.