Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2010

Perhaps you’ve heard of the case of Poul Thorsen. Perhaps not. Either way, that anti-vaccine movement was making a huge deal over this Danish psychiatrist and researcher for two reasons. First, he has become embroiled in some sort of scandal involving research funds at his former place of employment, Aarhus University, leading the ever-hyperbolic Robert…

Of course, the best way to decide such questions is to vote, right? I know, I know, I’ve complained about poll-crashing before, but, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Well, this certainly explains a lot…

…about the internecine warfare that breaks out from time to time around ScienceBlogs. At times we do appear to be a lot like professional wrestling. Can you find Orac in there?

My apologies to Romeo Vitelli, but somehow two weeks ago it totally slipped my mind to announce his 131st Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, which is a fine addition to the Skeptics’ Circle canon. Read. Enjoy.

My first big splash in the blogosphere will have occurred five years ago in June, when I first discovered the utter wingnuttery that is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. It was then that I wrote a little bit of that not-so-Respectful Insolence that you’ve come to know and love entitled Salon.com flushes its credibility down the…

These days, I’m having a love-hate relationship with Elsevier. On the one hand, there are lots of reasons to hate Elsevier. For example, Elsevier took payments from Merck, Sharp & Dohme in order to publish in essence a fake journal designed to promote its products, and then got caught doing it again. On the other…

Dismissed!

Well, that didn’t take long. Remember when the grande dame of the anti-vaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher, decided that she would try to harass, intimidate, and silence Paul Offit through the filing of a frivolous libel suit against Dr. Offit, Amy Wallace (the journalist who interviewed Offit for an excellent article last year), and Condé…

Fear the omniscience of Orac, evildoers!

Orac knows all. Orac sees all. Orac discovers all. Anti-vaccine loons, know this and tremble, as Teresa Conrick over at J.B. Handley’s–excuse me, Jenny McCarthy’s–home for happy anti-vaccine propagandists has: While googling to find the Tribune article, I instead found Orac’s site. Who is Orac? Well, suffice to say that he has some mysterious desire…

Way back on May 25, 2005, I first noticed something about a certain political group blog. It was something unsavory, something vile, something pseudoscientific. It was the fetid stench of quackery, but not just any quackery. It was anti-vaccine quackery, and the blog was Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post, where a mere 16 days after its…

Homeopathy vs. science?

I have a hard time arguing against the proposition that this is the perfect metaphor for homeopathy. Well, not exactly. The homeopath and homeopathy user are both far too rational in this example.

I haven’t written much about this before, at least not in this context, but vaccine scares are nothing new, nor is execrably fear mongering journalism about vaccines. Those of you who read Paul Offit’s Autism’s False Prophets or Arthur Allen’s Vaccine probably know about a particularly egregious example of both that occurred in the early…

If there’s one law that (most) supporters of science-based medicine detest and would love to see repealed, it’s the Dietary Supplement and Health Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The reason is that this law, arguably more than almost anything else, allowed for the proliferation of supplements and claims made for these supplements that aren’t based in…

…because of the power of the vagina. I have a hard time arguing that the hypothesis behind this trial would not be falsified by this test. On the other hand, the link above dates back to 2006. So it would appear that either Jennifer never took the test, or she failed it. Science marches on.

Feeling stressed? Run down? Is your face not as chipper and toned as it might be? Of course you are. We all are from time to time, particularly as we journey into middle age and beyond. So what better than a bit of pampering at the spa? There’s nothing like a soothing facial to get…

Now that’s what I’m talking about! This is what we need to see more of! A father whose child underwent the quackery that is the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) protocol is suing the doctors who administered it for malpractice: The father of a 7-year-old Chicago boy who was diagnosed as a toddler with autism has…

Homeopaths are irritating. They’re irritating for a number of reasons. One is their magical thinking, and, make no mistake, their thinking is nothing but pure magic, sympathetic magic to be precise. That’s all that the principle of “like cures like” really is at its heart. Normally, that principle states that “like produces like,” but homeopathy…

Help! Help! I’m being repressed. Somehow, that is the image I have gotten in the three weeks since the very last shred of Andrew Wakefield’s facade of scientific respectability tumbled. As you may recall, at the end of January, the British General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield, the man whose trial lawyer-funded, breathtakingly incompetent, and…

I hadn’t really planned on writing anymore about animal rights extremists. The topic seemed as though it had played out over the few days. But those who’ve followed this blog know that I’m nothing if not tenacious when I grab onto a topic, and sometimes certain topics demand several posts. More importantly, over the last…

Has Dr. Oz finally crossed the Woobicon?

I’ve had it with Dr. Oz. Although I haven’t seen his show today (for one thing, I work for a living; for another thing, even if I had today off I wouldn’t waste it watching Dr. Oz’s show), readers have informed me that yesterday, on March 1, 2010, Dr. Oz threw away whatever shred of…

In my recent rehashing, rebranding, and repurposing an article addressing many of the flaws in the so-called scientific arguments against animal research often made by animal rights activists and extremists, I only briefly discussed one common argument among many, namely that computer simulations can replace the use of animals in medical research by modeling human…

I spent a lot of time writing about animal rights extremists who have threatened to harass the children of an investigator whom they view as a “vivisector” and how they fetishize the very violence they decry. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that a fellow ScienceBlogger, namely Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries, appears…