Respectful Insolence

Archives for September, 2009

It looks like my prediction about Patrick Swayze came true. Not that it was a stretch to foresee that the Woo-meister Supreme Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com would waste no time in violating the corpse of Patrick Swayze before he was even cold by using Swayze’s death as an excuse to repeat once again his oft-repeated…

This can’t be right. As I was perusing the blog a little while ago, I noticed this: That can’t be right, can it? This blog can’t be number one by any measure, be it the Healthcare100.com or anything else. It has to be a bug in the software. Top ten, I can believe. Number one,…

Pity poor Peter Duesberg. Back in the 1980s, he was on the top of the world, scientifically speaking. A brilliant virologist with an impressive record of accomplishment, publication, and funding, he seemed to be on a short track to an eventual Nobel Prize. Then something happened. The AIDS epidemic happened. Something about the AIDS epidemic…

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

I just learned that earlier today Patrick Swayze finally died of his pancreatic cancer after having survived far longer (20 months) than the average patient diagnosed with stage IV disease (less than 6 months). All I can say is: Rest in peace, Patrick. Not only did Swayze deal with his terminal illness with courage, humor,…

The silence is deafening. Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but it’s really true this time. Last month, a major study whose results had been anticipated by the alt-med community, as well as those of us who consider it to be highly unethical pseudoscience, were reported. However, they were reported without fanfare, without press releases,…

We all know that Mike Adams, a.k.a. the “Health Ranger,” is anti-vaccine to the core. He’s known for NaturalNews.com, a repository of quackery, anti-vaccine craziness, and conspiracy theories that rivals Whale.to but in a much slicker fashion. Now, unfortunately, I learn that he’s going multimedia. Worse, Mike Rangers, who is about as white bread and…

Quackery at the University of Toronto, redux

Three weeks ago or so, I expressed dismay at what I perceived as an autism quackfest being held at the University of Toronto. Worse, that quackfest had been partially funded by a grant from a very prestigious children’s charity, The SickKids Foundation, which in response to complaints about its sponsoring the autism quackfest known as…

Once again we come to another September 11. It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since that horrible day. On this day, traditionally, I do two things. First, I post the following video. This video was shot by Bob and Bri, who in 2001 lived in a high rise a mere 500 yards…

It’s that time again, time for another meeting of that–choke!–“venerable” blog carnival known as the Skeptic’s Circle. Sorry, it just bugs me that the Circle I took over four years ago is now counted as “venerable.” Oh, well. In any case, this time around, it’s at Cubik’s Rube (great name for a blog, BTW), and…

You knew it was coming…

…Hitler is most displeased with President Obama and what he did earlier this week:

Dr. Robert Sears (a.k.a. “Dr. Bob), author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, is definitely antivaccine. His mouth may say, “No, I’m not antivaccine,” but his actions say, “Yes, yes, yes!” There, I finally said it. I’ve been flirting with saying it that bluntly for some time now, but have…

Send a Grrl to Antarctica

I can’t help but have noticed that one of our own, GrrlScientist, is in the running to be selected as the blogger to go on a trip to Antarctica and blog from there with the Quark Expedition in February. As of my checking, Grrl is in third place. I have no doubt that She’d do…

Requiem for a quack

What can one say about a woman who wrote books with titles such as The Cure For All Cancers, The Cure For All Advanced Cancers, The Cure for HIV and AIDS, The Cure For All Diseases, and, most recently, The Cure and Prevention of All Cancers (with bonus DVD)? A woman who stated that a…

The price of quackery

I don’t have much to add to this one, as it’s a tragic tale. Shadowfax, a blogging ER doc, relates to us what happens when cancer patients rely on quackery like the Gerson protocol instead of scientific medicine: This was a young woman, barely out of her teens, who presented with a tumor in her…

Dr. Mark Hyman is famous as the “founder” of a form of woo known as “functional medicine.” This new form of woo is…well, I’m not sure what it is, and neither are Wally Sampson (1, 2, 3, 4). Suffice it to say that it appears to be a serious grab bag of various forms of…

Daniel Hauser continues to do well

Remember Daniel Hauser? He’s the the 13-year-old boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who underwent one course of chemotherapy and then decided he wanted to pursue “alternative therapy” based on fear of chemotherapy and because of the influence of the faux Native American religion that his mother had taken up with. Ultimately, after a judge ordered Daniel’s…

If there’s been a theme running through this blog, it’s been the importance of science and critical thinking. The main focus of this emphasis on skepticism, of course, has been medicine, which makes sense, given that I’m a doctor and a cancer researcher, but I don’t limit myself to just medicine. However, as part of…

Here in the U.S., it’s smack dab in the middle of a three day holiday weekend. Given that, I’m chilling for a while. There’s some new material tomorrow, but today I have to head out for a celebration of my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and, between that , to work on a talk I have to…

Praying to the porcelain god was never a more appropriate term: Cue toilet and bathroom jokes…with Jesus!

Grassroots skepticism

Now here’s one thing we skeptics could use more of: Imagine you’re moving to a new city, and you want to see what skeptic-themed events or groups are available. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was one central place you could go, plug in the destination, and get a list of skeptical stuff to do?…

So-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as it’s now as frequently called, “integrative medicine” (IM) represents a hodge-podge of remedies that are mostly based on prescientific concepts about how the human body works and how disease attacks it. Homeopathy, through its concept of “like cures like” and law of contagion. The former in essence…

Precision thieves

As wrong and illegal as “smash and grab” theft is, I have to admit to a grudging respect for the skill and precision with which these thieves managed to despoil a sanctum sanctorum of computing, an Apple Store in New Jersey: Yikes. All in all, they took they took 23 Macbook Pros, 14 iPhones and…

Pat Buchanan: Hitler apologist

As I mentioned the other day, September 1 marked the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland and the “official” start of World War II. I say “official’ because the invasion of Poland marked the beginning of a true shooting war in Europe after a long period of escalating tensions and increasingly brazen provocations…

As the person entrusted with the skeptical bloggy goodness that arrives every other week in the form of the Skeptics’ Circle, how could I refuse to hawk something like this e-mail: Inspired by the annual The Open Laboratory, the Skeptical Blog Anthology is a printed anthology of blog posts voted the very best of 2009,…

I’ve been a bad, bad boy. In particular, I’ve been a bad, bad host in that I totally forgot to hawk the last Skeptics’ Circle back on August 27, nearly a week ago. So, please, go make up for my horrific error and visit The 118 Skeptics’ Circle: Looking Closely Edition (if that link doesn’t…