Respectful Insolence

Archives for September, 2009

I wil probably lose some respect from some of my readers by admitting this, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Dan Brown novels. I actually enjoyed The Da Vinci Code immensely as a jolly good read, as long as you’re not too much of a stickler for anything resembling historical…

A glorious dawn?

I realize that every blogger and his or her grandmother has been posting this lately, but I only just got around to watching it last night. It’s surprisingly pleasant and tuneful: Really cool.

One of the most frustrating aspects of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” is how much it’s managed to bypass the scientific orientation of academic medical institutions and insinuate itself deeply into medical academia. Indeed, Dr. R. W. Donnell once quite aptly referred to this phenomenon, where wildly implausible claims with no science behind them somehow…

I promised last week in a post in which I described Bill Maher’s latest pro-quackery remarks (this time, supporting cancer quackery), today is the day that I’m going to ask you, my readers, for some help. As I complained a while back, Bill Maher, who is anything but a rationalist or a booster of science…

Khhaaaaaannnn! I mean, Arriiiaaaaannaaa! Ever since its very inception, I’ve been–shall we say?–less than enthusiastic about the Huffington Post’s medical blogging. Indeed, the level of anti-vaccine rhetoric there from the very beginning, back in 2005, astounded me. If anything, HuffPo’s record has gotten even worse over the last four years, be it Deepak Chopra, or,…

More Maher idiocy about vaccines

I didn’t know that Bill Maher used Twitter, but I do now: The original Tweet is here. Gee, given their similar comments about flu shots being “for idiots,” you don’t think that Bill Maher and Doug Bremner are the same person, do you? Maybe they were separated at birth! In any case, perhaps we should…

Sadly, this is not too far from how religious disputes seem to be settled. The only difference is that there’s less violence here than there is in real life: Hmmm. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if religious conflicts could be resolved by an Ultimate Praying Challenger, rather than the usual way. As…

Damn them Europeans and their being five or six hours ahead! They screw me up when it comes to plugging the Skeptics’ Circle. Oh, wait. This time around I’m a day late. Rats. My excuse doesn’t work. Never mind… In any case, longtime commenter at RI (who also has his own most excellent blog), Kristjan…

There once was a time not so long ago–oh, say, four our five years–when the anti-vaccine fringe was looked upon as what it was: a fringe group, a bunch of quacks and quack advocates, all in essence one big conspiracy theory movement, in which vaccines are the One True Cause of Autism. At the time,…

Yesterday, I wrote about Jake Crosby, the token college kid on the spectrum over at the happy home for wandering anti-vaccine zealots, Age of Autism. Specifically, I felt sorry for him because of his rather tortured bit of conspiracy mongering that postulated deep, dark connections between Adam Bly, the founder of Seed Media Group, the…

It’s baaaacck…

Hurt, but not defeated, the humongous giant clam…. Wait. Wrong story. Actually Science-Based Medicine is back. Finally. Go. Read. Enjoy. Particularly a bit about crank conferences.

The price of anti-vaccine fanaticism, part 3

Jake’s hit pieces against Seed and me reminded me of something. They reminded me of just what it is that the anti-vaccine movement promotes, and the damage that I wish Jake would wake up and realize that the organization he has associated himself with causes a great deal of harm. Part of that harm derives…

That Jake Crosby, he’s a crazy mixed-up kid, but I kind of like him. He seems like a nice enough and smart enough kid, but, sadly, he’s fallen in with a bad crowd over at the anti-vaccine crank propaganda blog, Age of Autism, so much so that he’s even blogging there, helping, whether he realizes…

Science-based Medicine, a place where sometimes a “friend” of mine pontificates, is temporarily down. Recently, the SBM crew moved the blog to a new server. Beginning over the last two or three weeks, the blog became buggy. Very buggy. Response times became painfully slow, and then last Friday SBM went down and stayed down nearly…

CAM usage and vaccination status

I’ve often discussed how potentially misleading anecdotal evidence and experience can be. Indeed, I’ve managed to get into quite a few–shall we say?–heated discussions with a certain woo-friendly pediatrician, who, so confident in his own clinical judgment, just can’t accept that his own personal clinical observations could be wrong or even horribly mislead him. Sadly,…

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Lengend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. Or something. What I do know is that the Wheel has turned once again and a new meeting of the Skeptics’…

Science-Based Medicine is down…again

Given how many of you read this blog and Science-Based Medicine, I thought I should make an announcement. Sometime this morning or early this afternoon, the Science-Based Medicine blog went down, returning only a cryptic message saying that the site has been “suspended.” This is the second time it’s gone completely down, the first being…

I’ve asked at least three times on this blog, “Is Bill Maher that ignorant?” The first time was four and a half years ago, when, in a fit of germ theory denialism, Maher proclaimed erroneously that Louis Pasteur had “recanted” on his deathbed, while spewing nonsense hither and yon about how disease isn’t primarily caused…

Three Imperial stormtroopers discuss the destruction of the Death Star on the first anniversary of its exploding: Of course Palpatine must have known! The logic is inescapable. Why else would Darth Vader have been in his Tie fighter and not in the Death Star when Luke Skywalker blew it to kingdom come? Personally, I always…

Suzanne Somers = Mike Adams

The other day, I ripped a certain woo-meister whom regular readers all know and most, if not all, regular readers mostly despise, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com. As you may recall, a few days ago he slimed Patrick Swayze the day he died from pancreatic cancer, posting an article saying that Swayze was killed by chemotherapy…

Science-Based Medicine is down

Given how many of you read this blog and Science-Based Medicine, I thought I should make an announcement. Sometime earlier this morning after 7 AM but before around 10 AM, the Science-Based Medicine blog went down, returning only a cryptic message saying that the site has been “suspended.” The SBM team is aware of the…

Atomic cold cream

Somehow I don’t think any cosmetics company today could get away with doing an experiment like this to prove how well its cold cream cleans the most dirt and makeup residue from a model’s skin. I’d also really love a copy of the “Atomic Test Booklet” that people could mail the company to request. You’d…

I just found out via one of the mailing lists I’m on of a very disturbing case in Kermit, Texas. Two nurses who were dismayed and disturbed by a physician peddling all manner of herbal supplements reported him to the authorities. Now, they are facing jail: In a stunning display of good ol’ boy idiocy…

Even with the H1N1 pandemic flu going around you should still be vaccinated against the seasonal flu. revere has the details. I guess that means Dr. Doug Bremner must think that revere is an idiot. After all, Bremner tells us that the flu vaccine is all a plot for big pharma to make money, don’t…

Pity poor Nick Gonzalez. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. After having used the same line when discussing the hugely enjoyable humiliation of the Godfather of HIV/AIDS denialism, Peter Duesberg, I couldn’t resist using the same line to introduce my response to Dr. Gonzalez’s woo-ful whine in response to the publication of the disastrous (for him and…