Respectful Insolence

Archives for December, 2009

There are times when I get really depressed writing this blog. It’s not because I don’t enjoy it, although like any long term hobby my blogging does occasionally feel like more of an obligation than a hobby. That’s only part of the time, though. Most of the time I really do enjoy what I do.…

It would appear that during my mini-hiatus (indeed, a homeopathic hiatus, so to speak) to celebrate having passed the fifth anniversary of the start of this blog and being irritated by some of my colleagues enough to risk getting myself in a little trouble, I actually missed something that normally I’d leap on like a…

How not to protect your medical turf

When the USPSTF issued new guidelines for who should undergo screening mammography, at what ages, and how often, it set off a firestorm of negative reactions. Some of this is not surprising, given that the reevaluation of the evidence for screening mammography led the USPSTF to recommend against its routine use in women between the…

“Storm”

I’ve decided to chill this weekend after five years of insanity. However, while you anxiously await yet another hemidecade of Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, what better way to do so than checking out the awesome Tim Minchin and his most excellent nine minute beat poem “Storm”: Who says skepticism and art don’t mix?

Five years

Has it really been that long? It was a dismally overcast Saturday five years ago when, on a whim after having read a TIME Magazine article about how 2004 was supposedly the Year of the Blogger, I sat down in front of my computer, found Blogspot, and the first incarnation of Respectful Insolence was born.…

Arguably, the genesis of the most recent iteration of the anti-vaccine movement dates back to 1998, when a remarkably incompetent researcher named Andrew Wakefield published a trial lawyer-funded “study” in the Lancet that purported to find a link between “autistic enterocolitis” and measles vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) trivalent vaccine. In the wake of that…

A while back I wrote about really rethinking how we screen for breast cancer using mammography. Basically, the USPSTF, an independent panel of physicians and health experts that makes nonbinding recommendations for the government on various health issues, reevaluated the evidence for routine screening mammography and concluded that for women at normal risk for breast…

Project much, Kim?

My irony meter exploded in a near-nuclear conflagration, leaving nothing but a sputtering, molten puff of plasma when I was referred to this gem from Kim Stagliano over at Age of Autism directed at the enemy of all anti-vaccine pseudoscience, that Dark Lord of Vaccination (to anti-vaccine loons) himself, Paul Offit: You’ll blame the “anti-vaxxers”…

Well, well, well, well. What is this I found forwarded to me in my in box? It’s from the anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue, and it is most interesting: Generation Rescue is in the final stages of receiving grant funding for a vaccine research study on the long term effects of the current U.S. recommended schedule.…

68 years ago today…

…the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, thus finally sucking the United States into the conflagration that had been raging for two years in Europe and even longer in Asia. Stories like this one from the AP remind us that the generation who fought and died to defeat Nazi-ism and Japan’s imperialism is very old and won’t…

“Alternative” cancer tests

The new UPSTF recommended guidelines for screening mammography of healthy women have opened up a can of worms whose consequences have not played out yet, indeed, likely will not play out for a long time. Coming in rapid succession after the announcement of the UPSTF guidelines was a study that suggested that low dose radiation…

My benevolent overlords at Seed Media Group yesterday announced (to me at least) a surprise new initiative. But, then, I’m always one of the last to find out about these things. In any case, it would appear that we’re teaming up with National Geographic to share blog content and various other initiatives. The press release…

Bloggers love it when other bloggers cite them to support their arguments. I’m no different, as even a blinking Plexiglass box of lights likes to have its arguments appreciated. I particularly love it when a skeptical blogger uses some small thing I’ve written to refute particularly egregious nonsense. Unfortunately, there’s the flip side to this.…

The 125th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle has been posted at Effort Sisyphus. This time around, you have a choice, either the predigested and linear or the more difficult but potentially more satisfying trip down the rabbit hole, never knowing what might pop up. Choose wisely. Next up to host the Skeptics’ Circle two weeks…

Remember the truly despicable and disgusting post by Age of Autism, in which its enemies were portrayed in a crudely Photoshopped picture as preparing to eat a dead baby for their Thanksgiving feast? It was an image that I likened to the blood libel against the Jews, as did Rene at EpiRen in a much…

I’m beginning to understand why evolutionary biologists are so sensitive about how creationists abuse and twist any research that they think can be used to cast doubt upon evolution. Whenever there is research that changes the way we look at evolution or suggest aspects of it that we didn’t appreciate before, where scientists get excited…

O Most Holy Pancake!

Alright, I’m officially tired of the latest Age of Autism outrage. So, while I wait for J.B. Handley to strike back (or not), let’s move on to lighter subjects for a moment. And what better to cleanse the palate of the vision of cannibals eating babies as a metaphor for those who standup for science…

He’s baaaack. Deepak Chopra. Remember him? It’s been a while since I’ve said much about him and him alone. True, I’ve gone after him this year when he joined up with three other major league woo-meisters Dean Ornish, Rustum Roy, and Andrew Weil to try to try to help Senator Tom Harkin hijack the health…

I debated whether or not to blog about this. The reason is that I suspect that gathering a lot of attention and controversy is exactly what Generation Rescue wanted when it posted what I’m about to blog about. On the other hand, no matter how low my opinion is of the principals who run Generation…