Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2010

Telling “both sides”

This may be a bit over the top, but it does rather point out what is in effect done when journalists lazily present “both sides” of issues that don’t really have two sides, at least not two sides that are anywhere in the same universe as far as scientific validity: I do rather think that…

They’re coming out of the woodwork

Thanks to having been up all night Thursday night and most of the night a couple of days before that working on a grant, I know I haven’t had a chance to write about the GMC’s ruling on Andrew Wakefield’s unethical conduct in conducting his “clinical research” that according to him linked the MMR vaccine…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: No planes no brains

I’ve sort of alluded to it, but grant fever took over the last couple of days as the deadline approaches. Unfortunately, it happened right around the time when the GMC ruling on Andrew Wakefield came down and came down hard on him and his unethical behavior. Oh, well, as they say, it looks like I…

My theme song these days…

…is, sadly, this: Boomtown Rats – Up All Nightby epb21 It’s times like these that my surgical residency training comes in handy. Yep. As I’ve alluded to, it’s been grant time, and this was my night. But the R01 is finished. I’ll have my lab people go over it one last time for errors and…

Hitler doesn’t like the iPad

You knew it was coming. You knew from many previous incidents that it was inevitable: Who knew Hitler was such a Mac geek? Personally, although I think the iPad looks like a really cool device, I’m really not sure where it would fit into my life. I already have an iPhone, which I love, and…

Faster than a blink of an eye (well, not really, but it sure seems that way sometimes) another fortnight has flown by, meaning that it’s time yet again for another meeting of that venerable blog carnival of critical thinking, the Skeptics’ Circle. This time around, we have our first ever veterinarian hosting. I could make…

Unforgivable medical errors

And now for something completely different. I’ve been on a bit of a tear the last few days beating on Mike Adams, someone who arguably deserves the title of Woo–meister Supreme, but it’s important to remember that defending science-based medicine is more than just having a little fun every now and then slapping down quacks.…

The secrets of successful blogging revealed!

Dammit. I realize that this has been floating around the blogosphere for a couple of days, but when I first saw it at PZ’s place, I thought that Chis Clarke had stolen someone’s blogging strategy notebook, except that I thought he had stolen mine, so spot-on is his channeling of just the right style to…

Bringing woo to disaster areas

Almost two years ago, I discovered something that disturbed me greatly. Basically, I learned the story of an Air Force officer named Col. Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD. Col. Niemtzow is a radiation oncologist who has over the last decade fallen deeply into woo. Specifically, he has become known for a technique that he has dubbed…

Time’s running out…

It’s amazing how fast two weeks can slide by, but the 129th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle is fast approaching and will be landing Thursday, January 28 at The SkeptVet Blog. Blog-specific instructions for submitting your best skeptical blogging can be found here, while general guidelines can be found here. This is the first time…

Stay classy, Dr. Joe. Stay classy.

It’s amazing how these “natural” medicine mavens reveal their true nature when faced with a little adversity. As you may recall, Mike Adams was eliminated from the running for a Shorty Award in Health, thanks to the cluelessness of his fans and followers. He immediately erupted into tirades full of conspiracy-mongering, as well as a…

Mike Adams is confused. I know, I know. Such a statement is akin to saying that water is wet (and that it doesn’t have memory, at least not the mystical magical memories ascribed to it by homeopaths), that the sun rises in the East, or that writing an NIH R01 grant is hard, but there…

Oh, yes, my brothers and sisters, we have done it! My pharma paymasters are very, very pleased indeed with me and all of their other blogging and Twittering minions. Very, very pleased indeed. In fact, they are cackling with glee over the discomfiture of one of their greatest enemies, Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger!…

One week ago, The Chicago Tribune added yet another excellent addition to its recent series of articles exposing the dark underbelly of the anti-vaccine movement and, more importantly, the quackery that permeates the “autism biomedical” movement promoted by anti-vaccine groups such as Age of Autism. The first installment in the series, written by Tribune reporters…

Last night was grant crunch time to get a truly serviceable draft to my collaborators today as promised, leaving enough time to revise it by the February 5 deadline. That means the blog has to take a hit today, which is a shame, because Joe Mercola and Age of Autism have laid down some idiocy…

The miraculous quest for quantum woo

Last night was grant crunch time to get a truly serviceable draft to my collaborators today as promised, leaving enough time to revise it by the February 5 deadline. That means the blog has to take a hit today, which is a shame, because Joe Mercola and Age of Autism have laid down some idiocy…

The scale of it all

If you ever want to get a sense of the scale of the universe and how insignificant our little planet is compared to the scope of it all, here’s something really cool to put things in perspective, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History’s Astronomy Picture of the Day: It’d be really cool if…

Although I have a Twitter account, I really don’t use it all that often, other than having set up an automatic feed to Tweet all my new posts for the blog. True, I do from time to time have flurries of activity (usually when I’m trapped in a particularly boring conference) or am inspired to…

I’d like to start this post by thanking a commenter named Paul Grenville. He provided me with this blogging material and, indeed, may have supplied me with material for two blog posts. He did it by showing up in an old post about a homoepath named Jeremy Sherr, who has been bringing woo to the…

The double standard of the anti-vaccine “autism biomed” movement never ceases to amaze me. Imagine if you will, that a pharmaceutical company examined a chemical used for industrial purposes. Imagine further that the chemical this pharmaceutical company decided to look at originated as an industrial chelator designed to separate heavy metals from polluted soil and…

While I’m working today, enjoy some bizarre cartoon awesomeness from Max Fleischer, courtesy of Boing-Boing: Truly amazing. And 80 years old, too, with a wicked jazz soundtrack. The Fleischer brothers rule.

The skeptical hippo demands your attention…

…for the 128th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, being held over at Ionian Enchantment. It’s another great one! And, as usual, it’s never too early to think about submitting your work to the next edition of the Skeptics’ Circle, to be held on January 28 at SkeptVet. Hmmm. I wonder if he’ll take on some…

Although there’s been plenty of woo this week (Harriet Denz-Penhey, anyone?), it hasn’t been the truly entertaining woo that I so love, you know, the kind of woo of Your Friday Dose of Woo, my long-standing (albeit now intermittent) excursion into the depths of alt-med silliness so over-the-top that it requires–nay, demands!–some serious not-so-Respectful Insolence,…

Beat the medical odds?

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape You don’t spit into the wind You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger And you don’t mess around with Jim – Jim Croce I love it when a commenter gives me blogging material. Let’s face it. Blogging is a tough hobby. As much as I do…

James Randi speaks about chemotherapy

People fear chemotherapy. Some of this fear is not unreasonable, but a lot of it is a vestige of older days, when chemotherapy was much more unpleasant and even at times horrific. However, contrary to the old alt-med trope of chemotherapy as “pure poison” that makes you sicker than cancer, advances in chemotherapy and supportive…