Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2009

I apologize to my readers. I apologize for continually blogging about the pseudoscience at The Huffington Post. Of late, it seems that I can’t go more than a day or two without some new atrocity against science being tossed out from Arianna’s happy home for antivaccinationists and quacks. Be it antivaccine lunacy, Deepak Chopra’s “quantum”…

Happy Führerstodestag

Ten days ago, I made a bit of fun of the big, fat slobbery 120th birthday kiss that David Irving planted on Adolf Hitler’s cheek (metaphorically speaking). At the time, I mentioned that there is one Hitler-related holiday that I can actually celebrate, and that day is here: Führerstodestag. Führer Death Day! 64 years ago…

Disgusting

Sometimes I wonder just how people can be so messed up. I know, I know. I spend considerable time writing about fools and charlatans, but this is a different kind of messed up, in which hatefulness is added to the ignorance. Consider this story, sent to me by a reader: “I’m 4 years old,” he…

Pet psychic finds blown away Chihuahua?

Well, the weird news just keeps coming in from my hometown. This time around, consider the case of Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell is a tiny Chihuahua weighing all of five pounds. This poor little creature met nature in a most unfortunate way on Saturday, when some rather heavy storms swept through southeast Michigan. It turns…

Burning stupid from Michelle Bachmann

No one brings home the stupid the way Michelle Bachmann does: I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence. In just the same way…

Because of the confusion over last week’s Skeptics’ Circle, I’ve been totally remiss in doing what I normally do, namely plugging the next host and urging all skeptical bloggers to start getting ready their best skeptical stuff for the Circle, which is next scheduled for May 7. So next week the host is Ferret’s Cage,…

I know I’ve been ragging on The Huffington Post a lot lately. Trust me, I take no great pleasure in doing so. Indeed, more than anything else, it’s been a major frustration for me. It’s bad enough that HuffPo has been a hotbed of anti-vaccine propaganda and pseudoscience ever since its very inception, continuing through…

After having been bummed out at the invasion of faith healing and quackery in my hometown newspaper I came to something that bummed me out even more. Most readers here have probably never heard of the Michigan Central Station train depot. Suffice it to say that it is a huge train station that was, in…

Quackery and faith healing in Motown

I’ve complained quite a bit about the news media in my hometown. Indeed, about a year ago, I was stunned at how utterly credulous one TV reporter was about–of all things–orbs. I mean, orbs! Even dedicated ghosthunters don’t push orbs much anymore, realizing that they are nothing more than reflections or specks of dust reflecting…

What happened to the Skeptics’ Circle?

The short answer is: “Heck if I know.” I heard from the host on the 19th, and he said it might be a day or two late. However, we’re now out beyond three days, and still no Skeptics’ Circle. True, there’s a minimalist post with some of the links, but no Circle. I have an…

Who should play David Irving?

I just learned yesterday from a link a friend sent me and from Professor Deborah Lipstadt’s blog that the team of producers who made The Soloist have optioned the movie rights to Professor Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier, which is the story of the libel suit brought…

I’m tired of blogging about anti-vaccine nonsense again. Don’t get me wrong, I had an enormous amount of fun writing my commentary on Fire Marshal Bill’s attempt to explain vaccine/autism pseudoscience. It was a hoot, if I do say so myself, but it depresses me that writing such posts is so necessary so often. Fortunately,…

Better late than never, given that DrugMonkey has already been all over this. Unfortunately, there was another serious outbreak of antivaccine idiocy over at HuffPo that I felt I had to deal with before this: Embedded video from CNN Video It was a great day indeed. For far too long, animal rights terrorists have intimidated…

After writing about a new low of pseudoscience published in that repository of all things antivaccine and quackery, The Huffington Post (do you even have to ask?), on Tuesday, I had hoped–really hoped–that I could ignore HuffPo for a while. After all, there’s only so much stupid that even Orac can tolerate before his logic…

I’m sure it’s obvious that I’m often puzzled (and, I daresay, many other skeptics and boosters of science- and evidence-based medicine are puzzled too) over why various forms of quackery and woo that have either about as close to zero prior probability as one can imagine and/or (more frequently “and”) have failed to show evidence…

I’m really starting to hate the Huffington Post. It used to be that I just disliked it intensely. The reasons are, of course, obvious. Ever since its very beginning nearly four years ago, HuffPo has been a hotbed of antivaccine lunacy. Over the years, it’s served up pseudoscience and antivaccine nuttery from such “luminaries” of…

In which I echo PalMD…

Blog bud PalMD was asked this most difficult question: A colleague of mine asked a great question: if you have one question to ask a booster of so-called alternative medicine in a public forum, what should it be? To which he responded: My answer: “Can you please give specific examples of alternative medicine theories and…

David Irving has made a career out of being a Holocaust denier and then protesting when someone calls him a Holocaust denier. As you may recall, he even sued Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt for correctly referring to him as a Holocaust denier in one of her books. Let’s take a look at what’s on his…

About a week and a half ago, something happened that makes me realize that the Jenny and Jim antivaccine propaganda tour that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was clearly only phase I of Generation Rescue’s April public relations offensive. About ten days ago, courtesy of J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, who…

It’s science time!

I forgot to mention yesterday (although I did on Twitter) that I’m currently in Denver, where I will be attending the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), as I do almost every year at this time. I hope to see, as Isis would put it, some hot, hot science over…

One more reason why John Stewart and his writers are geniuses is here, where he examines the “Tea Parties” we in the U.S. were subjected to three days ago, including one in my own town: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c Nationwide Tax Protests thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes…

I’ve complained about it time and time again because it’s annoyed me time and time again. Specifically, I’m talking about how various news outlets report scientific studies involving so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), sometimes called “integrative medicine” (IM), the latter of which I like to refer to adding a bit of woo to make…

One of the stereotypes of anti-vaccine loons is that they are predominantly left wing New Agey ex-hippie types, usually well-educated and affluent. Certainly recent stories out of California indicating that Marin and Sonoma counties are ground zero for declining vaccine rates would seem to back up that stereotype. However, there is a right wing religious…

For skeptics, TV news in my hometown sucks. Actually, it sucks for just about anyone with two brain cells to rub together, but it’s especially painful for skeptics and scientists to watch. On one station last year, there was the most credulous report I’ve ever seen about–of all things–orbs! It was presented as though these…

There’s an old saying, so old that it’s devolved into cliché: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. I’m sure the vast majority of my readers, if not every last one of them, have heard this saying before. Certainly, it has a lot of truth to it. Sometimes it even applies…