Respectful Insolence

Archives for August, 2009

Last Thursday, I expressed dismay about an upcoming NBC news special, A Dose of Controversy, which is about a man who arguably caused more damage to public health than just about anyone in the last decade, namely Andrew Wakefield. Anyone who’s a regular reader of this blog knows just what I think of Andrew Wakefield.…

It was just a high school marching band, like so many other high school bands in this country, a band that no one outside of the area of Sedalia, Missouri would be likely to have heard of, were it not for a breathtakingly stupid action by its school superintendent. You see, the band had an…

Comic books and rubber bands…

I don’t know why, but I’m tired, lazy, and in a bit of nostalgic frame of mind this morning, which makes coming across this ad dangerous: Not only that, but Faygo is a Detroit company. At least it was when I was a kid. At least it’s still bottled in Detroit. Ah, yes, Faygo red…

The SickKids Foundation supports woo

It really and truly saddens me to have to do this. The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is one of the finest children’s hospitals there is. Unfortunately, as I documented yesterday, the hospital has, either knowingly or unknowingly, lent its good name to the metastasis of the quackfest known as Autism One from its…

Want to know what will start my teeth grinding when I read it in a newspaper? That’s easy. It’s headlines like this one, which appeared two days ago in The Telegraph: Scientists two years from developing ‘potential cure’ for breast cancer The subtitle was even worse: British scientists could be just two years away from…

I realize that I’ve gotten into one of those runs where it seems that all I blog about is anti-vaccinationist loons, but, before trying once again to take a break from the madness, I had to go to the well one more time because this looks a bit frightening: NBC News’ Matt Lauer will take…

I realize that I’m possibly stepping into proverbial lion’s den with this one, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. As you may recall, former ScienceBlogs bloggers Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum (and current Discover Magazine bloggers) recently released a book called Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future.…

…go read! It’s good to see Dr. Charles back in the blogosphere.

Geez, I wonder if Larry Moran knows about this. If he doesn’t, I’m going to make sure that he does. I’m also guessing that he won’t be pleased. He doesn’t like pseudoscience at all. He detests “intelligent design” creationists. Based on that, I’m guessing that he won’t like it at all to learn that the…

The anti-vaccine movement is nothing if not plastic. It “evolves” very rapidly in response to selective pressures applied to it in the form of science refuting its key beliefs. For instance, when multiple studies looking at the MMR vaccine and autism failed to confirm the myth that the MMR causes autism or “autistic enterocolitis,” most…

I must admit that I’ve never heard of Margerite Kelly. Apparently she’s some sort of advice columnist for the Washington Post. Apparently she’s also fairly clueless, if her column from last Friday is any indication. At least, she’s clueless about autism. In her column Diagnosing Autism Is Never an Easy Process, she betrays a whole…

Although I was born in Detroit itself, like so many Detroiters in the 1970s my family moved to a suburb of Detroit called Livonia when I was 10. I haven’t lived in Livonia in nearly 25 years, but my parents still live there in the same house where I spent my teen years. So the…

Homeopathy and quacks versus science

I know this one’s been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but it finally made its way to me at a time when I needed something lighthearted and amusing: Best quotes: “Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop … But just because science doesn’t know…

Skeptics in the Pub, Michigan style

I realize that this is a little late, but for those of you in southeast Michigan who might be able to make it, there’s going to be an attempt at an inaugural Skeptics in the Pub. Thanks to fellow ScienceBlogger and skeptical rogue PalMD and even more so thanks a couple of his similarly skeptical…

If there’s one form of pseudoscientific health care (if you can call it that) that rests on the most risibly implausible tenets, I’d have to say that it’s homeopathy. Either that, or homeopathy and various “energy medicine” modalities would have to fight it out in a no woo barred cage match to the death for…

Sorry, but I guess I was incorrect when I pointed to Barney Frank’s blistering putdown of a woman with a picture of President Obama decorated with a Hitler mustache who likened health care reform to Nazi policies as being the “only? correct response to such vile and obvious guilt by association gambits. Here’s another, from…

This time, the evidence comes from New Zealand: Notified measles cases so far this year are already seven times higher than the total number of measles cases last year. The reason? The third-lowest immunisation rate in the OECD, despite the fact immunisation is free and widely and readily available. Our immunisation rate is about 83…

I don’t normally like Barney Frank. At times, I’ve thought him to be a blithering idiot. However, this time around, he gets it exactly right in dealing with a woman who was carrying around a picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache and comparing his health care reform initiative to Nazi policies. Best quotes:…

One of the advantages of hanging out around home on the proverbial staycation is that, instead of actually paying more attention to the news, I’ve paid less attention to the news. That’s why I didn’t notice some stories from earlier this week about what the new director of the NIH, Francis Collins, plans to do.…

Time and time again, I’ve had requests from readers for good resources for countering the nonsense emanating from the anti-vaccine movement. Time and time again, I’ve pointed out sites like Every Child By Two and The Vaccine Education Center. Now, thanks to the efforts of some friends of mine, especially Steve Novella, there is another…

As a “prominent” (as hard as I find it that anyone would apply the word to me) blogger about the anti-vaccine movement, somehow I ended up on the Every Child By Two mailing list. ECBT, as you may recall, is the organization founded by former First Lady Rosalyn Carter and former First Lady of Arkansas…

Vacation or no vacation, something’s bubbled up in the comments that I consider worth commenting about. If you remember (or even if you don’t), about a week and a half ago I wrote about how Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Choice for Your Child, has let the mask drop.…

Now here’s some perfect reading for a lazy stay-at-home vacation day. It’s even pretty science-y. Well, math-y, at least. It may even be the best scientific paper ever. The title says it all: When Zombies Attack: Mathematical Modeling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection The long version is at the link above. The short version…

More dubious acupuncture research

Believe it or not, I happen to be on vacation this week. Fear not, it’s a stay-at-home vacation (sometimes the best kind) and therefore my vacation doesn’t mean I’ll stop blogging. In fact, I consider blogging to be part of my recreation. What my vacation does mean is that I will probably slow down a…

It’s amazing where anti-vaccine nuttery will metastasize to when you’re not looking. This time around, Tom Chick (who, I’m told but don’t know for sure, is actually Jack Chick’s son) warns us about a new Wii game by Ubisoft called Your Shape. It sounds as though it’s nothing more than another of “personalized” exercise guides,…