Respectful Insolence

Archives for February, 2010

Science is the poetry of reality…

…and I can’t argue with Symphony of Science:

I realize that there are two huge target-rich articles out there that my readers have been clamoring for me to comment on. First, there’s a particularly silly and simplistic article by Nicholas Kristof about how it’s supposedly the “toxins” causing autism (an article in which he apparently doesn’t realize that Current Opinions in Pediatrics is…

Animal rights: Fetishizing violence?

As much as I hate to bring more attention than I did a couple of days ago to the truly evil animal rights extremist website run by a truly despicable animal rights terrorist wannabe Camille Marino, a website whose very title, Negotiation Is Over (NIO) tells you everything you need to know about the attitude…

Pity the poor Haitians. Not only is their nation dirt poor, but to kick off 2010, they suffered an earthquake that killed approximately a quarter of a million people, left at least 300,000 injured, and resulted in 1,000,000 homeless. Huge swaths of its capital of Port au Prince and Léogâne, among other cities, had been…

I have to admit, this one made me chuckle. In an earlier post today, in which I expressed my outrage at animal rights terrorists targeting an investigator’s children for harassment at their school, I asked the following question: That reminds me: Where were these animal rights loons when “Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys…

Remember Dario Ringach? He’s the scientist who has endured a prolonged campaign of harassment because of his animal research. I first heard of him in 2006, when, after a campaign of threatening phone calls, people frightening his children, and demonstrations in front of his home, gave up doing primate research. Terrorism and intimidation worked, but…

How does homeopathy work?

How does homeopathy work? Heh. Yes, this is in honor of my post earlier today. I’m also appreciative that homeopaths have apparently diagnosed what’s wrong with Parliament. Apparently it’s emitting an angry purple aura.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of Homeopathy

Sometimes politicians actually get it right. I know, I know, it makes me choke on my words to admit it, but sometimes politicians can actually get science right. I’m referring to something that happened in the U.K., yesterday, when the Science and Technology Select Committee delivered its verdict on homeopathy. Indeed, the Committee has gone…

Let’s ask the idiots about science

I’m beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to turn when it comes to the public zeitgeist regarding the anti-vaccine movement. Not only have there been a lot of stories lately that eschew the false “balance” that used to be so common in news stories about vaccines, but even comedy magazines…

I must admit that I never saw it coming. At least, I never saw it coming this fast and this dramatically. After all, this is a saga that has been going on for twelve solid years now, and it’s an investigation that has been going on at least since 2004. I’m referring, of course, to…

The news is finally filtering out to the rest of the world. As I pointed out a few days ago Dr. Steven Laureys admitted that Rom Houben, the unfortunate victim of a car crash that left him in what had been diagnosed as a persistent vegetative state, was in fact not able to communicate through…

Shifting goalposts, shifting stories

On Wednesday, Steve Novella did a nice analysis of the recent study showing that signs of autism can be detected as early as six months of age. However, it was flawed by one clear misstatement, which was brought to his attention in the comments and which he then promptly corrected. Not that that stopped our…

What is it with cranks and trying to shut down criticism? I know, I know. I’ve written about this before, but this week has been a banner week for a phenomenon that I consider a sine qua non of a crank or a quack, namely an intolerance of criticism. Seemingly, whenever a quack or a…

Last night, it came to light from a posting on the Thoughtful House Yahoo! discussion group that Andrew Wakefield has apparently resigned from Thoughtful House. I have yet to see confirmation anywhere, although Brian Deer has chimed in that this comes as no surprise to him and that he suspects that Dr. Arthur Krigsman, Anyssa…

I’m hearing this from multiple sources, who are forwarding me this message from the Yahoo! Thoughtful House Group: Dr. Wakefield has resigned from Thoughtful House The needs of the children we serve must always come first. All of us at Thoughtful House are grateful to Dr. Wakefield for the valuable work he has done here.…

“Debating” denialists

I happened to be listening to the Holocaust Denial On Trial podcast yesterday, specifically this episode which is a recording of a speech given by Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt about Holocaust denial and her experiences being sued for libel in Britain by arch Holocaust denier David Irving, who, much like the British Chiropractic Association taking…

I realize that Chris Mooney is a polarizing figure here on the ol’ ScienceBlogs, but I have to give him props for doing a damned fine job handling questions about vaccines, autism, and Andrew Wakefield’s utterly discredited 1998 Lancet study, which was retracted by the Lancet‘s editors last week: Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world…

Franchising autism “biomed” woo

Remember Mark and David Geier? I wouldn’t be surprised if regular readers may have forgotten about this father-son tag team of anti-vaccine lunacy and autism woo. After all, I haven’t written about them since journalist Trine Tsouderos did her expose of their “Lupron protocol” for the Chicago Tribune nine months ago. Long time readers, however,…

The 130th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle

I’ve been a bad, bad organizer. Poor Martin went through all that work to put together another bang up Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle (the 130th, to be precise), and I didn’t publicize it. Well, hopefully better late than never. Go. Read. Learn. Then don’t forget that less than two weeks hence, on February 25,…

Blocked by Fire Marshal Bill!

I feel really, really good today. The reason? Simple Orac has annoyed Jim Carrey enough to ban him on Twitter. The exchange went something like this. For the first time in a while, I was perusing Twitter (I have a really hard time keeping my Insolence to 140 characters; so I only check my Twitter…

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a case that demonstrated conclusively just how easily even respected researchers can be taken in by psuedoscience. Of course, I was not alone. A number of others, including Steve Novella, James Randi, bioethicist Art Caplan, Hank Schlinger, and myself, recognized the reports that a Belgian man named…

The silliness about Morgellons and Marc Neumann continues. This time around, it’s someone sending me e-mail from Dr. Rolando Arafile’s website. In my e-mail last night I found this gem: From: “Health2Fit” health@health2fit.net Subject: Violation Date: February 12, 2010 3:54:59 PM EST To: “Orac” orac@scienceblogs.com Please remove our videos that you have on your blog.…

The utter discrediting and disgrace of Andrew Wakefield, first by the judgment of the General Medical Council against him and then by the retraction of the crown jewel of his respectability his 1998 Lancet paper that sparked the modern anti-vaccine movement and launched a thousand autism quacks. The reaction of the anti-vaccine loons was very…

Kim Wombles over at Countering Age of Autism pointed this out: Why, you ask, is this whole 13 monkeys, 14 monkeys irrelevant? Well, see, here’s where it gets really interesting. If you want to read this study, you go here: the 14 studies site by Handley. Thoughtful House has a press release on how it…

It’s been a busy week between blogging about Andrew Wakefield and covering the Winkler County Nurse trial, which ended with the jury’s acquitting Anne Mitchell, RN after less than an hour of deliberation. Consequently, I’m a bit tired today. Fortunately, there’s the mail bag, the perfect lazy blogging tool that will allow me to generate…