Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2009

I waited. I knew it was coming. It had to. History was on my side. My quarry was nutty, but in a way exceedingly predictable. it wasn’t so much that I knew exactly what he would do. He wasn’t predictable in that way. It was that I knew he would do something crazy. Actually, on…

Another call to help vaccinate Las Vegas!

On Friday, I posted a plea for donations to the JREF effort to help poor families vaccinate their children against childhood diseases. Over the weekend DuWayne Brayton did me one better with his plea: I have been where a lot of those families are. While $25 may not seem like a hell of a lot…

This is just a brief followup to my post this morning about yesterday’s NYT article on cancer research. An excellent discussion of the NYT article can be found here (and is well worth reading in its entirety). In it, Jim Hu did something I should have done, namely check the CRISP database in addition to…

A couple of weeks ago, NEWSWEEK science columnist Sharon Begley wrote an article entitled From Bench To Bedside: Academia slows the search for cures. It was a rather poorly argued bit of polemic, backed up only with anecdotes that came across as sour grapes by scientists whose grant proposals the NIH had decided not to…

Taking the naturopathic option

If you had the choice between the “standard” option for insurance or the naturopathic option, which would you choose? (Click to see the full cartoon; it’s a bit old. But I hadn’t seen it before; so it’s new to me.) Of course, this is the very reason alt-med boosters don’t want anyone to have to…

Help vaccinate Las Vegas!

If there’s one thing that I’ve found that’s simultaneously gratifying and somewhat infuriating over the last year or so, it’s that the skeptical movement has finally really noticed that anti-vaccination movement in a big way. Those of us who’ve been on the blogospheric front lines for the last few years have sometimes been frustrated that…

I have a love-hate relationship with Mike Adams. Mike Adams, regular readers of this blog, is the “intellectual force” between that repository of quackery and sheer lunacy, NaturalNews.com. I hate him because he is a vile human being who cheerfully promotes bogus therapies on his website. (You know, I think we skeptics should borrow Simon…

Farrah Fawcett: Dead of cancer at age 62

Unfortunately, I saw this coming, although I had thought that it might be a few more months. Farrah Fawcett has lost her three year battle with anal cancer: Farrah Fawcett, an actress and television star whose good looks and signature flowing hairstyle influenced a generation of women and bewitched a generation of men, beginning with…

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the reason for Apple CEO Steve Job’s five month medical leave of absence from Apple is that he needed a liver transplant, which, according to the story, he underwent a couple of months ago in Memphis. In my discussion, I assumed, for the most part, the…

The other day, I came across an update on the Daniel Hauser saga. Specifically, I commented about how he is not only undergoing the chemotherapy ordered by his doctors. As you may recall, Hauser is a 13-year-old boy who, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and undergoing one round of chemotherapy, refused to undergo any…

At the risk of repeating myself (but, then, since when did such concerns ever stop me before?), I’ll just start out by mentioning that, of all the non-herbal “alternative” medicine remedies out there, I used to give a bit of a pass to acupuncture. No, I never did buy any of that nonsense about how…

Stephen Colbert on the Zicam fiasco

Last week, I wrote about the FDA’s warning about the zinc-containing “homeopathic” cold remedy known as Zicam. Basically, Zicam was approved without testing to show it to be both safe and efficacious because it slipped in using an old 1938 law that allows homeopathic remedies to bypass the usual process for FDA approval. Too bad…

Over the last month or so, I’ve written numerous posts about Daniel Hauser. Danny, as you recall, is the 13-year-old Minnesota boy who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma back in February, underwent one round of chemotherapy for it, and then decided that he wanted to pursue quackery instead of more chemotherapy. His mother supported his…

What’s wrong with Steve Jobs, revisited

It’s no secret that, when it comes to computers, my preferred axe has been the Apple Macintosh. Indeed, back in the 1983-1984 school year I was in college living in a house with five other guys, and one of my roommates was a a total Apple geek. He had, as one might expect, an Apple…

This reminds me of my trip to England two years ago, when my wife and I did visit Stonehenge: However, what I’d really love is to have the title this guy has: Druid King Arthur Pendragon told the BBC shortly before sunrise: “It’s a very nice atmosphere and everything’s fine at the moment. “There have…

Homeopathy Awareness Week is almost over, alas. I hope I’ve done a good job at making my readers even more “aware” of just how silly the principles of homeopathy are. To finish up, I thought I’d repost a bit of “classic insolence” from three years ago, because it’s dedicated to one of the most amazing…

With Homeopathy Awareness Week rapidly approaching its end, I wondered just what I could do to bring further “awareness” of just how bogus and full of woo the concepts of homeopathy are. True, discussing homeopathic plutonium as a remedy and how homeopaths did “provings” of it the other day was fun, but surely there’s more.…

Don’t forget to get your fortnight’s dose of skepticism right here, as The Unincredible Hallq serves up the latest Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. It’s another tasty concoction of skepticism, critical thinking, and science. Next up on July 2 will be a newcomer and first time host, Homologous Legs. If you’re a blogger with a…

Last night, I was sitting on the couch, my laptop, appropriately enough, on my lap creating my paean to Homeopathy Awareness Week in which I had a little fun discussing homeopathic plutonium. Because Homeopathy Awareness week is not yet over, I’ll probably have one more bit of fun at the expense of The One Woo…

Will wonders never cease? A recent story about how “homeopathic” Zicam managed to slide through a loophole in which the FDA doesn’t require evidence of efficacy or safety for medicines labeled as homeopathic has been percolating through the blogosphere based on a recent warning that the FDA issued. It turns out that the zinc in…

In keeping with Homeopathy Awareness Week (which still runs until June 21), I can’t resist commenting on this gem of a story that was sent to me the other day. I mean, we’re talking super duper heaving shopping in the very heart of London. It turns out that the Helios Homeopathy Shop right in Covent…

When it comes to antivaccinationists, The Onion, as for most things, nails it. Don’t vaccinate not because science shows no link between vaccines and autism but rather because, you know, Jenny McCarthy has some really convincing anecdotes. When antivaccine loons are the butt of jokes on The Onion saying that they’re endangering children, they should…

Here we go again. You may have noticed that I’ve been laying off that repository of quackery, autism pseudoscience, and anti-vaccine nonsense, The Huffington Post. I assure you, it’s not because things have gotten much better there. Oh, sure, occasionally someone will try to post something resembling science and rationality, but it’s impossible for so…

On Friday, I expressed my irritation at the misunderstanding of science by NEWSWEEK’s science columnist Sharon Begley, in which she opines that it is those nasty basic scientists who insist on learning new science and new physiological mechanisms of disease that are devaluing translational and clinical research, in effect ghettoizing them in low impact journals,…

Last month, a frequent topic of this blog was the case of Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old boy from Minnesota with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who made the national news for his refusal (and his mother’s support of that refusal) to undergo a second round of chemotherapy. Instead, he wanted to pursue “natural” therapy, including what sounded like…