Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2009

Remember the Jenny McCarthy Body Count website that I mentioned last month? Basically, it’s a website that uses CDC reports and other sources of information to estimate the number of cases of and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. since Jenny McCarthy started her antivaccine crusade back in late summer 2007. The site points…

Recently, there’s been a movement afoot among purveyors of that special brand of “natural” woo known as naturopathy to convince various legislatures and regulatory bodies that they not only are capable of serving as primary care physicians but that they should be allowed to do so. My first impression was laughter–that is, until I realized…

Funniest commercial ever?

You be the judge! And patriotic, too! Huh, huh, huh. He said “stimulus package.”

The Catholic Church versus Reiki

Nearly two weeks ago, P.Z. Myers mentioned a story that would normally have provoked a post by me. Specifically, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had issued a warning against the use of reiki as being unscientific, unproven, and, worse, “dangerous to Christian spiritual health.” Unfortunately, this story came out right before Autism Awareness Month…

Better late than never, I guess. Martin of Lay Scientist had some technical difficulties and was a bit late in delivering his Skeptics’ Circle, the 109th Meeting of the Skeptics Circle. Suffice it to say that it features some…unexpected characters. Next up two weeks hence is Waffle. Contact information is here. Bloggers, get your best…

Readers may have noticed that we’ve had a minor antivaccine troll infestation in a couple of previous posts. It’s no big deal of course, hardly worth my attention–except for one thing. That one thing is that a certain member of the antivaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, for which no evidence that vaccines are not…

If there’s one concept that seems to cross many “disciplines” of woo (a.k.a. “alternative medicine,” a.k.a. “complementary and alternative medicine,” a.k.a. CAM) is the concept of some sort of “life force” or “life energy.” It is true that life does depend upon the utilization of energy, specifically chemical energy. That’s what biologists and biochemists mean…

…our Skeptics’ Circle host for this week, The Lay Scientist, had some technical issues with his blog. It should be forthcoming later today…

Whatever you think of President Obama’s economic stimulus package, there’s one thing that I, at least, am happy to learn about it: Vice President Joe Biden announced today that the Obama Administration will make $2.3 billion available for crucial health and human services programs that help to provide care for children and prevent disease. States…

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I pointed out that, in addition to its usual stable of antivaccine pseudoscience and the quantum woo of Deepak Chopra, that The Huffington Post had now delved even beyond what I thought it would by publishing the nonsensical, credulous blather about distant healing? In the post Srinivasan Pillay,…

Best anti-homeopathy poster ever?

You be the judge! Clicking on the picture will lead you to a blog post where you can download a high resolution version suitable for printing up and either distributing or putting up on a bulletin board or wall. I particularly like that it was made by The American Institute for the Destruction of Tooth…

I really need to rein myself in sometimes. Yesterday, all pleased as punch with myself for my mad Google skillz and for thinking I figured out just what “alternative” therapy it was that Farrah Fawcett had undergone that had resulted in what sounded for all the world like a rectus sheath hematoma, I wrote about…

Note the followup post to this one, in which Orac admits error. You just have to read it, given how rarely Orac messes up when speculating… Our cancer center has a large, open area interspersed with patient waiting areas, one of which is the clinic where I see patients, that I frequently must traverse to…

Embedded video from CNN Video Over the weekend, a lot of readers sent me links to Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s appearance on Larry King Live. (If you can’t stand watching the embedded video of the segment, the transcript is here.) Fortunately for me (and, I hope, you), a “friend” of mine has written a…

It just never ends. Four years ago, I was one of the very first bloggers to notice that the then-new liberal blog The Huffington Post was from its very inception a hotbed of antivaccine lunacy. David Kirby, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Dr. Jay Gordon, Deirde Imus, all the luminaries of the antivaccine movement were there…

Coming next week…The Planet of the Dead

Sorry, all. I’m all tied up putting the finishing touches on a grant application. However, via Behind the Sofa, I did come across this trailer for the next Doctor Who special, to be aired on Easter: I suspect I’ll have to fire up BitTorrent.

On “open-mindedness”

One of the most common refrains from advocates of pseudoscientific and paranormal ideas is that critics are “close-minded,” that they reject out of hand any idea that does not fit within their world view. Of course, this is a canard, given that science thrives on the open and free exchange of ideas, and it is…

Let me say right up front that I’m not entirely sure that the victim–I mean target; no, I mean subject–of this week’s little excursion into the deepest darkest depths of woo is not a parody. That’s the beauty of it. I’ve never heard of it before, but a little Googling brought me evidence that it…

Time and time again, I’ve complained about the infiltration of woo into medical school and medical education, so much so that I’ve echoed Dr. R. W.’s term for it: Quackademic medicine. One tool advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) use to try to “get ‘em while they’re young,” so to speak, is to promote…

Grant writing open thread

While I’m trying to hammer my grant application into good enough shape to show my collaborator and given that it’s been nearly a year since I did this last, now seems as good a time as any to have an open thread. Say your piece. Oh, and by the way, I see that HIV/AIDS denialists…

Hard conversations

Yesterday was long and rough, with the day spent desperately trying to finish a grant application and the evening spent in obedience training with our new dog Bailey, who, let’s face it, needs more than a bit of doggie discipline. By the time I got home, had dinner, and was checking e-mail, it was pretty…

…but sadly, it’s not. Jenny McCarthy has struck again. Yesterday, given the release of Jenny McCarthy’s new book espousing antivaccinationism and autism quackery and the attendant media blitz the antivaccine movement has organized to promote it, I predicted that a wave of stupid is about to fall upon our great nation. Well, the stupid has…

Enough. I don’t know about you, but as a surgeon and a biomedical researcher, I’m fed up with animal rights terrorists who threaten biomedical research with their misinformation about animal research, their terroristic attacks on scientists who engage in such research, and listening to the despicable self-righteous idiot who is a disgrace to surgeons everywhere,…