Respectful Insolence

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 just too damned tired to come up with anything coherent (which is really saying something).

What to do…what to do?

I know! Open thread time! It’s the time-honored lazy blogger’s fallback for times like these. True, I’m not PZ; so I doubt I could get the endless thread going that requires periodic resurrection as new posts, but I’m sure we can have some fun here. So fire away! I can take it. Also, if you have any stories or blog posts that have not yet had any Respectful (or not-so-Respectful) Insolence applied to it but deserve it when I get back to blogging later today or tomorrow, let me know. I don’t guarantee I’ll take it on, but I might…

Comments

  1. #1 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 20, 2010

    Well, this might be as good a time as any to ask, does anyone have any knowledge of an autism-related treatment method called Halo Soma? My sister, who has a child on the spectrum, has been asking about it lately.

  2. #2 quacktest
    April 20, 2010

    The Dr Myhill GMC case and associated campaign could desperately do with pinch of RI:

    http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Category:My_GMC_Hearing
    http://www.badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15693&start=850

  3. #3 bluemaxx
    April 20, 2010

    OK…here’s some HARD science for you, on Open Thread Day.

    IRANIAN CLERIC analysis of increased Earthquake activity.

    http://www.rr.com/news/topic/article/rr/9000/11010739/Iranian_cleric_Promiscuous_women_cause_quakes/1

    But I find a FAULT (pardon the pun) in his hypothesis. Shouldn’t, by his method, FLORIDA/MYRTLE BEACH/etc have fallen into the ocean already *(it is Spring Break time here in the US), given they are often scantily clad, imbibing of alcohol, and part of the Great Satan?

  4. #4 bluedevilRA
    April 20, 2010

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/04/16/boudreau.nuclear.plant.concerns.cnn?iref=allsearch

    This story annoyed me (sometimes the CNN video player screws up, just search the journalist’s name Abbie Boudreau on cnn.com and click on the cancer story). First, it is on CNN, which has one of the largest viewerships of any news network on TV or online. Second, the story seems like yet another example of investigative journalism gone horribly awry. Third, it exploits people’s fear about cancer.

    The main thing that bothered me is that the journalist claims cancer occurs more frequently in this county due to the nuclear power plant. The “evidence” she provides is that the death rate from cancer is higher. Wouldn’t the prevalence be higher if the plant does indeed cause cancer? Or the incidence should change over time, since the plant was created. Just seems like bad statistics to look at the death rate. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Or dole out the insolence!

  5. #5 Ender
    April 20, 2010

    So the earthquakes are going to take out Tehran for the few women who dress ‘immodestly’ amongst all those devout modest muslims, but all those places like the UK where everyone male and female are wearing whatever they want, getting wasted and generally slagging about, will remain fine. That’s some pretty capricious work there God. Shouldn’t he be getting his priorities in order.

    I was also disgusted by the comment he made about ‘immodest women leading our young men astray, causing adultery” [approx]. Fuck you man, how about those young men take some damn responsibility for their own actions rather than blaming it on women not being repressed enough. If one young man and one woman engage in adulterous relations it’s on both their heads, and anyone excusing either party is a prejudiced idiot.

  6. #6 Christopher
    April 20, 2010

    On YT, I’ve been arguing with a couple of homeopaths about how asinine the idea is. Yesterday, one of the practicing homeopaths declared that TB was not only a miasm, but that it was inheritable! How did she know? Because not everyone who contracts TB develops the disease, therefore there must be some aural reason for this issue; and like all miasms, it can be passed on from parent to child.

    It’s hard to point out how stupid such ideas are to people who accept them already.

  7. #7 rni.boh
    April 20, 2010

    Today Gimpy and Le Canard Noir have been discussing the possible closure of the Foundation for Integrated Health. This is the UK charity set up by Prince Charles to oversee and regulate woo. It’s in trouble over its accounts. More from the Quackometer, but this is a story that’s worth watching as it develops.

  8. #8 Rene Najera
    April 20, 2010

    @#4
    When looking at a cluster of anything, we epidemiologists like to see historical data. After all, step number one of an outbreak/cluster investigation is to figure out if you indeed do have more than the expected number of cases. Without seeing the data, however, I cannot come to a conclusion as to what is going on down there.
    That said, the reporter does seem to be pointing out to a correlation, not a causation. I would bet good money that the death rate from cancer has only increased there and everywhere since more people are diagnosed as dying from cancer when they would have died from “natural causes” when diagnostics were not available. Again, though, I cannot come to a conclusion without looking at the hard data. Anyone know if any of those data are available for our scrutiny?

  9. #9 muteKi
    April 20, 2010

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-agl0pOQfs

    Insane Clown Posse fails at being symphony of science because they have no idea how this shit works

  10. #10 Happy
    April 20, 2010

    Any thoughts on the recent press about multivitamins raising breast cancer risk?

    From , it appears not to be a huge risk:

    Researchers found that women who reported multivitamin use at the study’s start were 19 percent more likely than non-users to develop breast cancer. That was with factors like age, family history of breast cancer, weight, fruit and vegetable intake, and exercise, smoking and drinking habits taken into account.

    Most of the woo commentary seems to miss the point from the above that they tried to take diet into account (ie: they must have been using supplements to deal with otherwise crappy diet)

  11. #11 bluedevilRA
    April 20, 2010

    @7, thanks for your input. Here is some Georgia Dept. of Public Health data on cancer death rates by county.

    http://health.state.ga.us/pdfs/chronic/cancer/Mort0206.pdf

    The county in question is Burke. The cancer death rate is markedly higher than the national average, but as you noted, correlation does not equal causation. Just because Burke County has a high cancer death rate does not mean that the nuclear power plant must be at fault. Indeed, several other counties have higher death rates and they do not have nuclear power plants.

    However, what these counties with high death rates do have in common is that they are rural counties with >20% of the population living below the poverty line. I suspect that lack of access to care and early detection are the likely causes of the high cancer mortality.

    The video bothered me based on the presumptuous assertion that the power plant must be at fault. Nuclear power = radiation = evil = cancer.

  12. #12 Ian
    April 20, 2010

    I’m actually shocked you haven’t talked about Dr. Zamboni’s miracle MS cure yet.

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/12/15/multiple-sclerosis-veins-buffalo.html

  13. #13 Todd W.
    April 20, 2010

    @Christopher

    The people I know that are doing basic science research on TB would be very surprised to hear that.

  14. #14 Natalie
    April 20, 2010

    However, what these counties with high death rates do have in common is that they are rural counties with >20% of the population living below the poverty line. I suspect that lack of access to care and early detection are the likely causes of the high cancer mortality.

    Well, I was going to suggest that poverty was the underlying cause of the higher cancer mortality. In fact, I believe some environmentalists have been highlighting the correlation between poverty, disease, and likelihood of living in a proverbial dumping ground for various things us better-off folk would prefer not to think about (CAFOs, power generation, landfills, runoff). Unfortunately since I was last reading about this in community college women’s studies at age 19 or so, there’s a distinct possibility that the data was faulty or misinterpreted.

  15. #15 Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    April 20, 2010

    If I missed this, I’m sorry, but on a really important topic, what do you think of the 11th Doctor? I’ve just seen the first episode, and it strikes me we have a return to the ‘goofiness’ of Pertwee and McCoy, perhaps the only thing that the 10th and Greatest doctor lacked.

    And Moffat really — even more than Davies — has a love of the early series — the redesigned and ‘retro’ Tardis and the ‘oops’ that causes ‘5 minutes’ to turn into 14 years are brilliant touches, as is the appearance of Amy Pond in a police uniform, and then it turns out she’s wearing it because she works for ‘Kiss-o-Gram.”

    And for once the ‘ultimate guide’ was worth watching because of the interviews with Matt Smith. The level of intelligence he shows is heartening, this guy may ‘look goofy’ but he’s really thinking and caring about the role.

    One episode, but ‘lookin’ good.’

  16. #16 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    April 20, 2010

    @4,7,10

    Well, the Savannah River Site isn’t your run-of-the-mill nuke plant, it’s a nuclear weapons site. Like the Hanford site in Washington, the SRS has had its own issues with contamination.

    Increased cancers are certainly a possibility. According to the mortality rates .pdf supplied, though, there are other counties with higher mortality rates than Burke.

    I’ll bet there have been studies done by DoE on health problems of plant workers and the local populace.

  17. #17 Dan Weber
    April 20, 2010

    Generation Rescue is down to #23 in the Pepsi “we give money to people who manipulate social media” Cola contest.

    The “alternate cancer treatment with no side effects” is still in the top ten, though.

  18. #18 Mac
    April 20, 2010

    @Ian

    Actually, the reporting (at least in Canada) has been shockingly moderate and balanced. Zamboni himself has been the leader calling for more research and testing to prove the efficacy of the treatment. Truth be told, the “miracle cure” articles are more framed as patients vs doctors (patients want new miracle cure, but doctors want to wait for further tests/research) rather than brave maverick doctor (TM) vs establishment.

    I really have to admire Zamboni’s patience and professionalism here. Other woo-meisters would do well to turn to him to see how a proper clinical breakthrough is handled.

  19. #19 Liz Ditz
    April 20, 2010

    Antaeus Feldspar at @1:

    Ask & ye shall receive

    “Halo Soma” is also called “Rapid Prompting Method” (RPM). It’s an elaboration of Facilitated Communication.

    Kwombles (who I believe sometimes comments here) examines the evidence and reports on Why the Rapid Prompting Method Doesn’t Pass the Evidence-Based Test.

    Also see debunking of Facilitated Communication (FC) in an interview with James Todd at Combating Pseudoscience in Autism Treatment and Facilitated Communication: A Review of the Literature

  20. #20 Scientizzle
    April 20, 2010

    @ Rene Najera

    I’d be interested to learn more about the relative proportion of deaths attributed to “natural causes” over time…is that a declining category? Can that be sufficiently explained by simple re-categorization based on expaning diagnostic sets?

    Also, is “natural causes” treated as a super-set that contains the general diseases of age or is it treated as separate from these?

  21. #21 Dan Weber
    April 20, 2010

    Caught this from another thread:

    http://hatingautism.blogspot.com/2010/03/dan-dr-lynn-durand-condemns-my-son-to.html

    Note how the DAN! doctor who made the chelation prescription said that he “would not get involved and refused to state that chelation is the proper treatment for autism.”

    C’est horrible!

  22. #22 Militant Agnostic
    April 20, 2010

    The Zamboni cure gets more coverage in Canada for 2 reasons:

    Canada has relatively a high incidence of MS.

    Name recognition – the machine that clears the skate scrapings from the ice surface between periods of a hockey game is called a Zamboni.

  23. #23 KWombles
    April 20, 2010

    @ Antaeus,

    I looked at Halo Soma/Rapid Prompting Method recently: http://counteringageofautism.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-rapid-prompting-method-doesnt-pass.html

  24. #24 Christopher
    April 20, 2010

    @12

    I was just as surprised to learn this, too. It’s amazing what one can learn from BS artists about subjects they clearly know nothing about.

    In asking for evidence that homeopathy works, the homeopath posted:

    You want evidence then look at: “improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualised homeopathic remedies versus placebo” Rheumatology (Oxford) 2004 May, 43 (5) : 577-82

    (It’s an awful study. 42 different preparations for 53 total participants?)

    In regards to chemo’s effectiveness:

    Chemotherapy is rarely a permenant cure as it does not remove the miasm and the cancer often returns. However if the cancer causing trigger is removed i.e. cigarettes, HRT, or stress then the patient can stay cancer free. Antifungals often only work for awhile then the candida or whatever returns. Antiparasites can work sometimes but are highly toxic to the body.

    In regards to AIDS:

    Medicine for high blood pressure, hypothyriodism, AIDS, diabetes etc., do not cure the problems. Homeopathy cannot cure AIDS but it can certainly help reduce the problems that come from that terrible disease. Some people have HIV and never develope AIDS because they do not have the miasms. However people that have the syphilis, TB and gonorrhoea miams seem to suffer the most.

    On the cause of cancer:

    No miasms are the memory of disease recorded in the cells. This will determine your risk factor of getting cancer. Interestingly I have found people who have had glandular fever seem to be more at risk, not sure what the link is at this point, working on that one. Actually I try to find out the persons emotional state PRIOR to getting cancer. Cancer can be the result of years of suppressed emotions.

    And so forth…

  25. #25 Poogles
    April 20, 2010

    “Note how the DAN! doctor who made the chelation prescription said that he “would not get involved and refused to state that chelation is the proper treatment for autism.””

    What’s amazing to me is that this does not send up a red flag for John at all. He just thinks the doc is being a bastard – he doesn’t at all consider that a doctor refusing to make a single affirmative statement about the treatment he prescribed is being perhaps a little dishonest about the treatment in the first place. That would be my first thought, if I were in his position.

  26. #26 FreeSpeaker
    April 20, 2010

    Anyone know whathappened to the BadAstronomy blog? It has been down for two days.

  27. #27 Todd W.
    April 20, 2010

    @FreeSpeaker

    The badastronomy.com address doesn’t appear to be working, but if you update your bookmark to http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/ it should work.

  28. #28 KWombles
    April 20, 2010

    @1 Antaeus,

    I’ve linked to my Halo/Rapid Prompting Method post through my name.

  29. #29 Rene Najera
    April 20, 2010

    RE: Cancer and Nuclear Power Plants

    What started the fear of radiation and cancer, in my honest opinion, is the old 50’s and 60’s movies about mutations from nuclear bomb testing sites. Again, this is just my opinion, but there is nothing more natural than radiation (ionizing or not). We’re constantly bombarded with it from all over the environment.
    I agree that low standards of living may be the leading cause of why more people are dying from cancer in those counties, not the nuclear power plant or weapons plant, or whatever.
    Of course, someone on AoA will misconstrue my comment and write that I’m being heartless and don’t care about people with cancer and autism. (Yes, I’m still bitter over their smear campaign, Todd.)

  30. #30 Crommunist
    April 20, 2010

    @Mac and Militant Agnostic

    The reporting has definitely been well-balanced. The comments section, however, is full of woo-happy people saying “anything that gives people hope is good.” There was a followup article to the link I posted talking about patient groups demanding funding for testing for this procedure.

    But yeah, the fact that Dr. Zamboni himself came out and said “slow your roll, fools” was heartening.

  31. #31 Liz Ditz
    April 20, 2010

    Can the American chiropractic industry come in for the kind of criticism and rebuke that the UK chiropractic industry has undergone?

    Or maybe the kind of debunking the homeopathy industry experienced last week with WHAW?

    I would love for some RI to be laid down on “chiropractic neurology”

    http://www.acnb.org/

    Chiropractic Neurology is defined as the field of functional neurology that engages the internal and external environment of the individual in a structured and targeted approach to affect positive changes in the neuraxis and consequent physiology and behavior.

    And “functional disconnection syndrome” — a made-up term from chiropractic:

    http://www.drkurtkuhn.com/chiropractic.html
    What is a Functional Disconnection Syndrome (FDS)?

    Functional Disconnection Syndrome is a condition where there is a functional breakdown in the neurological pathways of the body causing the brain and its neural net to function asynchronously, at a decreased frequency of firing or at a functional level that is below that required for higher cognitive and health requirements.

    A quick review of the medical literature will find the term “functional disconnections” used for all sorts of conditions that are the affect of neurological dysfunction. Symptoms ranging from behavioral and learning problems to pain and conditions of reduced general health. Functional disconnections can be caused by genetic, environmental, nutritional, stress, toxins, spinal subluxations and other causes.

    How do subluxations and functional disconnections relate to each other?

    Subluxations are a cause of functional disconnection syndrome. A functional disconnection is therefore the effect of the subluxation. The functional disconnection can then create an affect or a symptom at a location far removed from the spine where the subluxation originates.

  32. #32 Orange Lantern
    April 20, 2010

    This has got to be the lamest anti-vaccine article on HuffPo I’ve seen. Love that Dr. Tenpenny.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sherri-tenpenny/vaccines-veterinarians-ar_b_533505.html?page=3&show_comment_id=44923145#comment_44923145

    I’ve been sparring a bit in the comments, but it could use a treatment with a high insolence-to-respect ratio.

  33. #33 Mac
    April 20, 2010

    @Ian

    Actually, the reporting (at least in Canada) has been shockingly moderate and balanced. Zamboni himself has been the leader calling for more research and testing to prove the efficacy of the treatment. Truth be told, the “miracle cure” articles are more framed as patients vs doctors (patients want new miracle cure, but doctors want to wait for further tests/research) rather than brave maverick doctor (TM) vs establishment.

    I really have to admire Zamboni’s patience and professionalism here. Other woo-meisters would do well to turn to him to see how a proper clinical breakthrough is handled.

  34. #34 Mac
    April 20, 2010

    Whoops, sorry about the double post.

    Ya, I’ve seen some of those “let’s give the patients the untested cure” articles crop up, but those are few and far between.

    I wonder how many of these people would be willing to take Pfizer’s newest product knowing it had never gone to trial…

  35. #35 Christopher
    April 20, 2010

    @27

    Not only is that a ridiculous article, but some of those comments are beyond crazy. Pediatricians are trained only to vaccinate children because their books are written by the vaccine producers? Crazy.

  36. #36 rork
    April 20, 2010

    Um Gottes willin!
    My local rag now carries articles by a Dr. Peter Gott.

    I see claims he is “America’s most popular medical columnist”.
    He has a web site: http://askdrgottmd.com/wp/
    He seems excessively friendly to dubious methods, and never seems to reference evidence of efficacy. Try his stuff
    on carpal tunnel – maybe acupuncture is better than chiropractic, eh?

    Is he well known as too fuzzyminded or not?
    Got no SB hits.

  37. #37 Anonymouse
    April 20, 2010

    I’d like to get your take on this article in the NY Times on hormone replacement therapy: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/magazine/18estrogen-t.html?scp=1&sq=estrogen%20dilemma&st=cse

    I’m not a scientist and don’t have the background to evaluate the claims made in the article, but everything I’ve read makes me incredibly leery of HRT in light of the breast cancer risk. I’m really interested in hearing whether you think the NY Times represented the science accurately.

  38. #38 Anonymous
    April 20, 2010

    Heeee’s back! Good old Dana Ullman.

    Huffington Post
    How Scientific Is Modern Medicine Really?

    God this guy is really something else…

  39. #39 Anthro
    April 20, 2010

    I’m seconding #37 (Anonymouse) on the NY Times HRT article in the Sunday Magazine. I’ve always thought the big study that was done only with Premarin on OLD women with intact uteruses (uteri?) is not helpful to a 52 year old with no uterus and no risk factors for breast cancer. The author is not a scientist and while I have basic literacy, I don’t know what to make of this piece, but you can bet that millions of women will read this and take most or all of it at face value.

    Also, you didn’t make any comment on the last bit of rubbish from Dana Ullman and now he’s gone and posted this!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/how-scientific-is-modern_b_543158.html

    I couldn’t bring myself to do more than skim through it and could not bother with the comments as I spent hours on replying to nimwit comments on his last piece of crap.

  40. #40 Orac
    April 20, 2010

    Target acquired. Insolence activated and aimed at HuffPo. Attack to begin as soon as possible.

  41. #41 Ian
    April 20, 2010

    There’s also a measles outbreak here in Vancouver.

    I wrote a bit about it, but there’s a cloud of anti-vax woo in the air.

  42. #42 Anonymouse
    April 20, 2010

    What also bothered me about the NY Times HRT piece was the evangelizing tone and the implication that all women should be on HRT. I’m not anti drugs at all, in fact I’m taking daily meds for migraines and grateful they exist. But I’ve seen (not through personal experience, thankfully) what breast cancer can do to you. I freak out when I see a mainstream publication advocating hormones for women who aren’t suffering from severe menopausal symptoms.

  43. #43 Ian
    April 20, 2010

    Although again, I should thank my lucky stars that Canadian media outlets tend to be much more mature when it comes to reporting health matters. Plus we don’t have enough people for most brands of teh crayzee to reach critical mass.

  44. #44 ibyea
    April 20, 2010

    Uh oh, someone is about to recieve a piece of insolence from Orac.

  45. #45 Johnny
    April 20, 2010

    White Power Rangers – You hate ‘em, I hate ‘em. So let’s laugh at ‘em….
    (start at the bottom of the page)
    http://verydemotivational.com/tag/seen-kyle/

    verydemotivational.com isn’t safe for work (and may offend), but the above link should be OK.

  46. #46 JustaTech
    April 20, 2010

    @41: And hopefully not in Seattle, but apparently a person with measles was at the aquarium (4/9?), but since I haven’t heard anything about any of the island bastions of anti-vax getting sick, I think we dodged that bullet.

    @15 Prup: I thought it was brilliant, and we get more of the pseudo-companion from “Silence in the Library”! OTOH, we get more Weeping Angels, and they freak me right out. I really like Amy Pond; she’s completely mad.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    April 20, 2010

    (Science Insider;Greg Miller;3/16/10)Arch-HIV/AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg(UC,Berkeley)is the subject of a misconduct investigation by the university concerning his 2009 Medical Hypotheses article and the 2008 study involved.

  48. #48 Denice Walter
    April 20, 2010

    Ooops…typo @47;it should be 4/16/10.

  49. #49 Liz Ditz
    April 20, 2010

    oh noes!

    All those wonderful skeptic Hitler Downfall mashups are disappearing!

    Boing Boing’s reporting:

    The copyright claim is being filed on behalf of Constantin Films, the German production company that owns the rights to the 2004 film Der Untergang (Downfall), from which the clip originates…..

    Downfall parodies are a well-established part of online culture and follow a familiar format: phony subtitles are presented along with Hitler’s final soliloquy in his besieged bunker …. as of this week Downfall videos are disappearing fast. Both “Hitler Gets Banned from XBox Live,”—which had over 4 million views before it was taken down—and the meta-parody “Hitler Wants to Make a Meme,” are currently unavailable due to Constantin’s copyright claim.

    No links or HTML markup to keep out of Our Leader ‘s approval queue.

  50. #50 Fole
    April 20, 2010

    Check out http://www.gotvape.com. It’s a site that sells vaporizers. There’s an infomercial on their homepage and it seems to walk a very fine line in the claims it makes. Some of the statements in the infomercial seem to directly contradict their legal disclaimers. I’m no lawyer or doctor so I’m not sure how close they come to making medical claims that would fall in the FDA’s purview.

  51. #52 sheldon101
    April 20, 2010

    My latest blog entry is a response to yet another posting at Age of Autism that somehow or another manages to avoid explaining the concept underlying the decision by the GMC that Wakefield et al were unethical.

    This time, I wrote it up as a nice polite comment and posted it Age of Autism. I’m sure it will be appear there in a few hours.

    Some people may be uncomfortable reading Age of Autism, for them I also posted the comment at my blog. Take a look at http://vaccineswork.blogspot.com/2010/04/left-out-hewitts-explanation-at-age-of.html

  52. #53 Djinna
    April 20, 2010

    Prup, if the new Doctor has already been discussed, I missed it, too. We really enjoyed the episode, though our familiarity with the pre-Eccleston episodes is fairly nonexistent. No problems at all for us accepting 11 as the same person who has grown and developed since we last saw him. The bit where he did the memory freeze/zoom thing to figure out what was odd about the outdoor scene was an interesting new development, can’t wait for an official name for it.

    I also enjoyed the Ultimate Guide, but my partner seemed to feel it did too good of a job of getting him excited for the show to start. Amy seems like a good companion to me, he was a little worried that the sexual tension might return (which really was the awesome thing about Donna, neither was in love with the other, as they said in the Ultimate Guide, they were just mates having a blast), but I don’t think it’s going to go that way, since the woman we have been led to believe is the Doctor’s future wife is going to be in several episodes and will presumably fill that niche.

  53. #54 Salk
    April 20, 2010

    Not deserving of Insolence, but deserving of attention:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_specter_the_danger_of_science_denial.html

    Fantastic, blunt, accessible and entertaining.

  54. #55 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 20, 2010

    Liz, KWombles, thank you! I’ve relayed your explanation to my sister.

    also…

    The copyright claim is being filed on behalf of Constantin Films, the German production company that owns the rights to the 2004 film Der Untergang (Downfall), from which the clip originates…..

    Wow, are they crazy? Do they not realize the incredible recognition that their movie has gotten because it got meme’d? That there are people who don’t know any other German movies who know “Downfall” because of those parodies? Man, someone out there hasn’t learned the basics of Internet culture…

  55. #56 Poogles
    April 21, 2010

    Salk, Orac posted that video already, a few days ago :-)

  56. #57 James T. Todd
    April 21, 2010

    Everything about Rapid Prompting (RP) says “facilitated communication in disguise” to me — the books by Soma Mukhopadhyay and Portia Iverson, media reports (e.g., BBC and 20/20), information on the HALO-SOMA and “Strange Son” websites, the workshop demonstrations, the contents of various videos, and Soma’s own statements. There is no scientific literature on RP, so we have to go entirely on what has been proffered popularly.

    The main difference between RP and facilitated communication (FC) is that the facilitator control in the latter is physical, coming through the hand-holding. The hand-holding sometimes fades through experience to a gentle touch, or, in very rare cases, to non-physical gestural and postural cues. Rapid Prompting, in contrast, is designed to move very quickly from physical prompting to gestural, verbal, and postural cues. As the teaching progresses — essentially using a match-to-sample format in which the subject responds by pointing — the non-verbal person’s choices become increasingly sensitive to increasingly subtle cues given by the teacher. The teacher, at the same time, becomes increasingly unconscious to giving the cues, eventually believing he or she is not providing any cues at all. RP is thus a perfect combination of ideomotor action and the Clever Hans effect. Because no touching is needed when the performance is well developed, RP looks more genuine than FC. (It is a common FC/RP canard that no touching means the communication arises from the subject. But that logic would make Lady Wonder, the famous mind-reading horse, a genuine independent typist!) But true to its FC roots, the RP procedures include no controls against or tests for facilitator control. We are sometimes told that incorporating such controls wastes time needed for teaching.

    http://tinyurl.com/6kyczz

    The development of unconscious cueing during prompt fading is a well known problem in language training — although it appears that the proponents of RP have allowed themselves to be oblivious to every error they could make. But anyone who has even the slightest methodological acumen knows to look for experimenter bias when doing these things — which just raises suspicions about what is going on with RP. It is hard to believe that everyone involved with RP, including its academic enablers, have entirely missed all the warnings about bias and cueing given to us over the last 400 years or so by Robert Rosenthal, Martin Gardner, Thomas Sebeok, William Pinchbeck, John Stuart Mill, James Randi, Harry Houdini, Paul Meehl, Joseph Jastrow, Michel-Eugene Chevreul, Elizabeth Williams Champney, Oskar Pfungst, Milbourn Christopher, John B. Watson, John Wilkins, Daniel Wegner, Elizabeth Loftus, Michael Faraday, and many others. If we needed just one perfectly concise description of the process by which cues become unconscious, we can turn to William Pinchbeck, the James Randi of his time, and his 1805 book, The Expositor:

    “Hath none detected the secret communication by which he is actuated? What will you conclude, when I inform you that even that communication is unnecessary? You may relinquish it by degrees; for the animal is so sagacious, that he will appear to read your thoughts. The position you stand in, not meaning any stipulated place, or certain gesture, but what will naturally arise from your anxiety, will determine the card to your pupil.”

    The secret communication, established as a starting point by Pinchbeck’s procedures, was breathing just audibly enough for the subject, but not the observers, to hear when the correct letter selection had been made.

    As we have stated above, there is no scientific literature on RP — unless we are willing to count an anecdotal item about an unnamed hybrid of FC and RP procedures in the Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders by University of Wisconsin FC apologist Morton Gernsbacher. The RP people are not going to make the same mistake as the early FC advocates did, actually agreeing to participate in controlled experiments. It is much better to set up a membership website, do workshops full of intro-textbook-level technical flummery, and work through a gullible media to create gushing feature reports and commercials disguised as documentaries like the 2005 CNN/Biklen/Wurzburg FC promotional, “Autism is a World.” In that vein, we now have the RP-heavy HBO documentary “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism,” which is actually the rebranded Icelandic movie “Sunshine Boy” (“Sólskinsdrengurinn”).

    The bottom line is that Rapid Prompting seems to be nothing more than a prettied-up version of Facilitated Communication. It offers the promise of independent communication in people who have never spoken or communicated meaningfully. But, like FC, does nothing to ensure that promise is even possible, much less kept. Rapid Prompting is yet another autism intervention sold to the world without a shred of scientific support. Of course, we are speaking of the world of autism treatment. No science is needed: just a catchy name and a basket of false hopes.

    James T. Todd, Ph.D.

  57. #58 Anne
    April 21, 2010

    Hitler, as “Downfall producer” orders a DMCA takedown.
    http://vimeo.com/11086952

  58. #59 Colin Day
    April 22, 2010

    I have heard advertisements for a medical treatment (I forget which) mention that many board-certified physicians approved of the treatment. What is board certification, and must its recipients understand medical research?

  59. #60 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 22, 2010

    Colin Day:
    Board certification means that the doctor has completed a residency and passed the examinations to be certified as a specialist. Although this designation suggests that the doctor has reached a standard of knowledge in his or her field, it has little to do with understanding medical research. Certainly, if a board certified physician offers an opinion outside of his or her field, the certification is irrelevant. Also, I believe that in the US anyway, there are a number of questionable associations offering “board certification” in some fringe areas of medical practice.
    In practical terms, it’s probably baloney.

  60. #61 Anthro
    April 27, 2010

    Here’s another “integrative” doc I stumbled on via a comment he posted in the NYTimes:

    http://doctorstevenpark.com/about

    ——–

    Thanks for the insolence blast to Ullman. I know you “do” insolence, but I was hoping you’d weigh in on the estrogen piece in the NYTimes that several people referred to in these comments. Perhaps someone else has done this? Referral?

  61. #62 KWombles
    April 27, 2010

    Just to share, for anyone still interested in the RPM thread; over the last couple days, Soma herself, along with some of her ardent supporters have come to Countering to, I suppose, convince me it was wrong to say RPM has no scientific evidence to back it. It has now been suggested, by one of these ardent supporters, that “Kim, you seem reasonable enough, why don’t you bring your 20 year old to HALO and see for yourself? Soma sees many adults. Maybe he too would surprise you :)”

    Reasonable people don’t go, hey, there’s no evidence that this works, and they sure want a pretty penny, but let’s piss those precious dollars away for a four day opportunity to have a lady crowd my kid and rip paper in his ear while making him make forced choices. Yeah, reasonable people? Not on a bet. Not even if you did it for free. The lengths some people will go to justify their behaviors and past decisions never ceases to amaze me.

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