Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2010

Sometimes, when it comes to the anti-vaccine movement, I feel as though I’m bipolar. There are times when I’m incredibly depressed that pseudoscience and fear mongering are winning out, leaving our children vulnerable to infectious diseases not seen in decades and believing that it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing really major…

In the wake of FRONTLINE’s The Vaccine War, I was going to have a bit of fun with the reactions of the anti-vaccine fringe. After all, the spokescelebrity of the anti-vaccine movement, Jenny McCarthy, has posted yet another brain dead screed at–where else?–The Huffington Post. So has everybody’s favorite pediatrician to the stars and apologist…

People who have read my review of FRONTLINE’s The Vaccine War may have noticed that the comments have featured someone who may or may not be a concern troll but is definitely at the very least very naive about the anti-vaccine movement. This commenter thinks that being harsh in my assessment of anti-vaccinationists will never…

Yesterday, I expressed concern about a FRONTLINE episode that was scheduled to air tonight entitled The Vaccine War (which, by the time you read this, should be available for online viewing in case you missed it). My concern was that there was going to be a heapin’ helpin’ of false balance, based on the promotional…

A contest you don’t want to win…

…is to be among the 5 most fraudulent psychics of all time. Still, this is as good an excuse as any to post one of my all time skeptical demolitions, namely that of Uri Geller on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: Yeah, now that’s an oldie but a goodie. Still, I wonder: Who are…

I never would have thought it possible, but it’s happened. I’m sure most of you have heard of Dr. Andrew Weil, that champion of quackademic medicine who has made it his life’s mission to bring the woo into academia in the form of training programs to “integrate” quackery with science-based medicine. From his home base…

If there’s one thing Christians tell us, it’s that Jesus is inside each and every one of us. Who knew that this was literally true? Don’t believe me? Take a look at this MRI: Apparently they’ve been wrong all these years when they said that Jesus lives in every man’s heart. He actually lives in…

The Vaccine War?

I haven’t mentioned this before. The reason is not because I don’t find it interesting or potentially blog-worthy, but rather because it slipped my mind and other things caught my interest last week. Given that the show is going to air beginning tomorrow, I thought that a few thoughts were in order. PBS’s Frontline is…

Fear the homeopathic bomb

Oh, no. I think we have another reason to be afraid–very afraid–of homeopathy/ Apparently New Agers have developed a homeopathic bomb: The world has been placed on a heightened security alert following reports that New Age terrorists have harnessed the power of homeopathy for evil. ‘Homeopathic weapons represent a major threat to world peace,’ said…

If there’s one thing that has irritated me (one might even say, irritated me enough to start this blog), it’s ideology or religion trumping science. Perhaps the most annoying form of this disease is the tendency of the right wing whackosphere to do everything and anything it can to distort and twist science to agree…

It’s good to be home. True, while I was away for five days, first to NECSS and then to the AACR Meeting, mail piled up, and I had to go through it last night. Also, just for the heck of it, my wife and I went out to dinner at a local diner. Finally, to…

I tell ya, I go away for a few days, let the blogging slow down, decrease the usual logorrhea. Heck, I even go for the lazy blogger trick of an open thread. In the meantime, while I was busy learning about real science at the 2010 AACR Meeting, the forces of pseudoscience have not been…

Cancer research: Is now our time?

The following is a rather curious promotional video that was shown at the plenary sessions of the AACR 2010 meeting. I first saw it yesterday, and thought my readers might be interested in it while I’m winding my way home: It’s basically a compendium of various facts about cancer and cancer research with a rather…

AACR lazy blogging open thread

Day 3 of the 2010 AACR meeting dawns, and, sadly, I still have no posts. On the other hand, the reason I have no post yet today is because I’ve been attending the meeting and hanging out with old friends to the point where, when I got back to the hotel last night, I was…

What cigarette do you smoke, doctor?

I’ve pivoted immediately from attending NECSS and participating in a panel on the infiltration of quackery into academia to heading down to Washington, DC for the AACR meeting. Then, after a packed day of meetings yesterday followed by spending yesterday evening with a friend whom I haven’t seen for a long time, there’s–gasp!–no new material…

On the road again: In the meantime…Satan

After having a great time at NECSS participating in a panel about science-based medicine (although I hate to have to say that I was disappointed that the science-based medicine panel was cut short to get the conference back on schedule, which meant that we didn’t get to answer nearly as many questions as we would…

World Homeopathy Awareness Week ends today. In celebration, I can’t resist one more swipe. So check out The (pseudo)Science of Homeopathy.

I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for Andrew Wakefield. Well, not really. He did bring all the misery that’s poured down upon him like an unending waterfall of woe, such as the British General Medical Council (GMC) finding him guilty of research misconduct and soon very likely to recommend that he be “struck off,” a…

Randi on World Homeopathy Awareness Week

World Homeopathy Awareness Week is fast coming to an end, unfortunately. And what would any sort of “homeopathy awareness” be without a commentary from James Randi? I share with Randi his desire that people be aware of the true nature of homeopathy on this, the last day of World Homeopathy Awareness Week.

Today is a great day. Today, British science writer Simon Singh accomplished something I would never have believed possible, given British libel laws and a very bad ruling by Sir David Eady, the presiding judge, a ruling characterized as astonishingly illiberal. Despite the long odds, Singh appealed the ruling and actually won. As a result,…

The danger of science denialism

Although this blog is not the Denialism Blog, there is no doubt that one of the overarching themes of Respectful Insolence has been, since its very beginning, combatting science denial. Go back to the very beginning and read a couple of my earliest posts, dating way back to 2004. In one of them I discussed…

Michael Specter, author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, on the danger of science denial: He also wrote an editorial to go along with it. Given that combatting science denialism, be it the anti-vaccine movement, the “alt-med” movement, or “intelligent design” creationism, maybe I’ll comment further…

The return of the living Choprawoo

With all the anti-vaccine nonsense going on and my feeling the obligation to fire a broadside at “America’s doctor,” there was a tasty bit of woo that totally escaped my attention from an old “friend” of the blog. Actually, he’s an old “friend” of many skeptical blogs, both here on ScienceBlogs and around the blogosphere.…

Believe it or not, there was once a time when Dr. Mehmet Oz didn’t bother me that much. At least, for all his flirting with woo, I never quite thought that he had completely gone over to the Dark Side. Although I probably knew deep down that I was fooling myself. Maybe it was because…

Generation Rescue in transition?

Six days ago, celebrity spokescouple for the anti-vaccine movement, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, announced their breakup over Twitter. Some of us who have been following the antics of “Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization – Generation Rescue” have wondered what this would mean for the pro-disease movement pushing the idea that vaccines cause…