Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2010

Sadly, I’m not sure this really is a joke

The Onion or real life recommendations by cancer quacks? You be the judge. Courageous Man Refuses To Believe He Has Cancer Sometimes The Onion cuts a little too deeply, but this is not too far from “Secret” territory. Unfortunately for wishful thinking, reality doesn’t care what you believe and has a way of asserting itself…

Yesterday, I expressed dismay at how Dr. Mehmet Oz, the protege of Oprah Winfrey who now has his own popular syndicated daily show, recently named the quackery known as reiki as number one in his list of “Dr. Oz’s ulimate alternatie medicine secrets,” leading me to characterize him as having “gone completely over to the…

For some reason, I’ve tended to give Dr. Mehmet Oz a bit of a free pass when it comes to promoting woo. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I just haven’t paid that much attention to him. Perhaps it’s because, even when he was on Oprah’s show, he didn’t delve as deeply into the…

The Skepchick versus Barbara Loe Fisher

I’ve discussed why Barbara Loe Fisher is a hypocritical coward for trying to silence her opponents using the courts. Now Rebecca Watson, a.k.a., The Skepchick, schools Barbara Loe Fisher for in essence pissing on the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: For some reason, my irony meter didn’t register the point that the Skepchick laid down.…

Back in time in medicine

Being a Doctor Who fan and all, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be able to travel through time and visit times and places in history that I’m most interested in. For instance, being a World War II buff, I’d certainly want to be able to check out what every day life…

Tim Minchin’s “Storm” to be animated

As regular readers know, I really like Tim Minchin’s take on skepticism in general and on alternative medicine in particular. His piece de resistance thus far in his career is a “nine minute beat poem” entitled Storm, in which at a dinner party our performer is forced to deal with a female version of Mike…

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it more times than I can remember. Purveyors of unscientific medicine don’t have the goods. If they had the goods, then their nostrums wouldn’t be called “alternative” medicine anymore; they’d just be medicine. Because they don’t have the goods in the form of science and clinical evidence, all…

So many adherents to “alternative” medicine detest modern medicine, which they see as not being “natural.” In contrast, herbalism, homeopathy, acupuncture, various forms of “energy healing,” are touted as being highly in tune with nature. They’re right about one thing. Throughout the vast majority of human history, humans have relied on unscientific treatments for illness…

I realize that I haven’t done an installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo for a while–well over a month, in fact. Because of the gap between woo installments, I had been thinking that today was the time. There are at least a couple of really good candidates (and a host of halfway decent ones)…

I’ve been criticizing the grande dame of the anti-vaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, for her cowardly attempt to shut up vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit and to intimidate journalists into not writing exposes of the anti-vaccine movement by suing Dr. Offit, Amy Wallace, and WIRED Magazine for Wallace’s excellent article in which Dr. Offit was…

As 2009 ended and 2010 began, I made a vow to myself to try to diversify the topics covered on this blog. Part of that vow was to try to avoid writing about vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement for more than a couple of days in a row. Unfortunately, even in the middle its very…

The Golden Woos

With 2009 now safely in the history books, it’s time to look back on the year and “honor” some of the most egregious offenders against science and reason. Fortunately for us, Skeptico has presented his second annual Golden Woo Awards. I was disappointed to see yet again that surgeon who has led me time and…

One of the key claims of the “autism biomedical” movement is that something about autism derives from or is exacerbated by the gut; i.e., that there is some sort of link between GI problems, particularly inflammatory diseases of the GI tract, and autism. Although I may not be as versed in the history of this…

After yesterday’s post about how anti-vaccine grande dame Barbara Loe Fisher is suing Dr. Paul Offit, almost certainly in order to harass and intimidate him into silence, there was something that still bugs me, and that’s the issue of jurisdiction. The defendants live in three different states: Paul Offit in Pennsylvania, Amy Wallace in California,…

Over the holidays, I stayed at home for a combination of some relaxation and some grant writing. (I know, weird.) As I was perusing some of the links I saved during that time, it occurs to me that I totally forgot about one particularly amazing bit of hilarity, courtesy of our old “friend” Deepak Chopra.…

Science montages in TV and movies

Heh. Leave it to xkcd to sum it up perfectly: (Click for full comic) You know, I happen to love CSI:Miami as much as the next guy. In fact, it’s one of my guilty TV pleasures. But any time there’s a lab scene on that show (or any of the other CSI shows) it cracks…

In general, one of the biggest differences between those defending science-based medicine and those defending pseudoscience, quackery, and anti-science is that science inculcates in its adherents a culture of free and open debate. In marked contrast, those advocating pseudoscience tend to cultivate cultures of the echo chamber. Examples abound and include discussion forums devoted to…

Given my long known weak spot for Downfall parodies (even though they are an Internet fad whose time has come and probably already gone), how on earth did I miss this? PodBlack Cat shows me that, believe it or not, Hitler was a chiropractor. He’s been asked to talk about the use of chiropractic for…

Happy New Year 2010!

Well, it’s finally happened. 2009 is now in the dustbin of history. It was a thoroughly awful year, which is why hope springs eternal that 2010 will be better. Given that it would be difficult for 2010 to be worse than 2009, it’s a pretty sure bet that it probably will be better, but I…

2009 may be over, but there is still one remnant of it that you should immediately check out now, if you haven’t already: The 127th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle at Life, The Universe, and One Brow! While Orac is taking it easy today, you can catch up on some of the best end-of-the-year skeptical…