Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2010

…is simple. Not only was he the original Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek (which if full of WIN to any long time Star Trek geek like myself), but he taped this PSA for the 2010 census: This is so much better than that commercial for Sharp Electronics Quattron quad pixel technology that’s been on TV…

Last month, in response to some truly despicable activities by animal rights zealots, I wrote a series of posts about how animal rights activists target even researchers’ children and appear to fetishize violence. This simply continued a string of posts that I’ve done over the years, the longest (and, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best) deconstructs…

Best sign ever?

The sign speaks for itself:

Quackery promotion zones?

I hate to write about that woo-meister supreme Mike Adams more than one time in a week. For one thing, his website, NaturalNews.com, is a font of pseudoscience and quackery rivaling the infamous Whale.to, which makes it powerfully seductive to go back to that well again and again for blogging material. Although taking on an…

If there’s one thing about the anti-vaccine movement I’ve learned over the last five or so years, it’s that it’s virtually completely immune to evidence, science, and reason. No matter how much evidence is arrayed against it, it always finds a way to spin, distort, or misrepresent it to combat the evidence. Not that this…

As far as silly Internet memes go, given my interest in World War II history, I have a weakness for Downfall parodies, which have grown up on YouTube like kudzu over the last couple of years. I also thought it was only a matter of time before someone did something like this and wondered why…

Perhaps you’ve seen them. (Actually, how could you avoid them?) I’m talking about those annoying Omnaris commercials with the crappy computer animation in which a bunch of military-looking men in helmets ram an Omnaris sprayer into the woman’s nose to fix her nasal allergies: Something’s always bugged me about that commercial, more than the amateurish…

I have an MD and a PhD. While many people find that to be impressive, personally I’ve become so inured of it that I certainly don’t take note of it much anymore. Certainly, I rarely point it out. So, you may ask, why am I pointing it out this time, even going so far as…

Here’s one we’ve been waiting for. It’s that time again, time for another meeting of The Skeptics’ Circle. This time around, the host is everyone’s favorite purveyor of rhyming skepticism, Digital Cuttlefish, hosting the 133rd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. Go, read, enjoy. Next up to host on April 8 will be Divisible by Pi.…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m not really a political blogger. True, I do from time to time succumb to the blogger’s temptation of being a pundit on current events or pontificating on politics, but in general I don’t do that very often because political bloggers are a dime a dozen…

A new favorite word

I have a new favorite word. Yesterday, in the comments after my post on cranks attacking the concept of a scientific consensus, a reader named Craig wrote: We don’t talk about consensus on these issues today merely because the consensus is so strong that only a dedicated guanophrenic would ever question them. “Guanophrenic”? I love…

It has often been written on this blog and elsewhere that the mark of a true crank is hatred of the scientific consensus, be it consensus regarding the theory of evolution, the science that says homeopathy is impossible, anthropogenic global warming; various areas of science-based medicine; or the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Perhaps the…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging. This is one of those times. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in April 2007 and be assured that I’ll be back tomorrow. Remember, if you’ve been reading less than three years, it’s new to you, and, even if you have been reading more…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in November 2007 and be assured that I’ll be back tomorrow. Remember, if you’ve been…

Here we go again. Every so often, it seems, the media has to recycle certain scare stories based on little or no science. Be it vaccines and whether they cause autism or not (the don’t) or various environmental exposures supposedly linked to various cancers or other diseases in which the science is far more complex…

Take a ride in a Toyota…

With all the problems Toyota’s had lately, I have to wonder if some day when I get behind the wheel of my car I might have a ride like this. Yeah, it’s not original, but it amused me nonetheless, and I’m too tired to write anything substantive this weekend. But Monday’s coming just as fast…

I’m envious of Steve Novella. No, the reason isn’t his vastly greater influence in the skeptical community than mine, his podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, or the fact that he gets called a lot more for commentary when something involving quackery versus science-based medicine comes up. He’s earned that, having been at this…

Even more hysterical than Age of Autism?

Remember how I had a little fun with Katie Wright’s overheated rhetoric about Kathleen Sebelius’ request to the press that they not give equal weight to anti-vaccine cranks when they report about issues of vaccines? Her exact words, if you will recall, were: There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for…

It’s been a while since I wrote about this topic, but I fear for the future of medicine. Regular readers know what I’m talking about. The infiltration of various unscientific, pseudoscientific, and even anti-scientific “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) modalities into academic medicine seems increasingly to be endangering science-based medicine. Worse, this infiltration of quackery…

The cure for autism?

Given the resurgence of the mercury militia over the last week or so in response to the Poul Thorsen case, I was amused to have found what looks to me to be the cure for autism. The cure? Well, if you’re a member of the mercury militia and believe that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism, isn’t…

Kent Heckenlively shows us why AoA is “not anti-vaccine”: Bruesewitz v. Wyeth has the potential to move all that in a new direction. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act simply states, “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable . . . if the injury or death resulted from side-effect that were unavoidable even though the vaccine…

It’s rare that I encounter a bit of nonsense that allows me to deploy two of my favorite rhetorical devices. First, it lets me pull out one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies, in which the immortal line, “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” was first uttered. Second, it lets me repeat…

Apparently someone at a British hospital thought that this was a good idea. I beg to differ. Words fail me. It’s rare, I know, but occasionally it does happen.

I realize that I’ve said many times before that there is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. There is medicine that has been shown to work through science, medicine that has not yet been shown to work, and medicine that has been shown not to work. “Alternative” medicine that is shown to work through science…

While I’m crashing polls…

While I’m crashing idiotic Internet polls, I might as well see if I can send some tactical air support over to Steve Salzberg, who wrote an excellent blog post about the Autism Omnibus ruling that I just wrote about earlier today. Steve’s blog post is entitled Vaccine Court Ruling: Thimerosal Does Not Cause Autism, and…