Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2010

It has now been nearly two months since Andrew Wakefield was forced to resign from Thoughtful House in the wake of his being found guilty of research misconduct by the British General Medical Council (GMC), the withdrawal of Wakefield’s infamous 1998 Lancet paper, and the withdrawal of Wakefield’s last grab at scientific credibility, his infamous…

As I pointed out yesterday, World Homeopathy Awareness Week began yesterday. One common question that’s asked about homeopathy goes something like this: If homeopathy is just water, then what’s the harm? Here’s the harm: Part 1 Part 2 Homeopathy is magical thinking, far more religious or superstitious in nature than medical or scientific. And this…

Today, April 10, is the first day of World Homeopathy Awareness Week (WHAW), or, as I like to call it, World Sympathetic Magic Awareness Week. Now, given my dim view of homeopathy, in which I view it as nothing more than, well, sympathetic magic, you’d think I wouldn’t want people to pay attention to WHAW.…

Is chiropractic woo? I’m often asked that question, and my answer has usually been something along the lines of, “It depends on what it is used for.” Of course, there’s no doubt that the “theory” behind chiropractic, namely that so-called “subluxations” of the spine are the source of nearly all disease, is a load of…

A fortnight ain’t what it used to be. Or at least so it seems. After all, another Skeptics’ Circle has appeared yet again, as if by homeopathic magic, to grace the blogosophere with another ode to skepticism and critical thinking. This time around, the 134th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle has appeared at Divisible by…

Eat your fruit and veggies?

Eat your fruits and vegetables. Hasn’t that been a constant refrain over the years from public health authorities? Certainly, I have. The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables have been widely touted, and seemingly with good reason. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, it is said, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.…

One advantage of blogging is that I can sometimes tap into the knowledge of my readers to help me out. Some of you may recall a little something I created a couple of years ago known as the Academic Woo Aggregator. Basically, it was a list of medical schools and academic medical centers in the…

Beware, North Carolina. Beware. Your law has become quack-friendly to the point where doctors can do almost anything. Why, you may reasonably wonder, am I saying this? The answer is what appears to be the end of a long and painful story of cancer quackery and anti-vaccine celebrity that has tainted North Carolina for years…

I’m conflicted over this news

Since a whole bunch of you have been sending me this and posting it in my comments, I don’t see how I can avoid mentioning it. Apparently it’s being reported on The Superficial, Celebitchy, and People.com that Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy have broken up. I must admit that it’s hard not to feel a…

The eternal question about the new iPad

Will it blend? Personally, I doubt I’ll be getting in iPad. I have an iPhone, after all, and I don’t see where I would use something like the iPad rather than my laptop. Most of the stuff I need to do with a computer that I can’t do on my iPhone requires Microsoft Office and…

He’s baa-aack. You knew he couldn’t stay gone for long, I’m sure. He’s just like the zombie who rises again just as the hero turns his back, thinking the zombie dead, or the blond terrorist in Die Hard who appeared to have met his end hanging from a chain only to appear later in the…

About four months ago, the skeptical blogosphere was abuzz about a tragic story. The story was that of a Belgian man named Rom Houben, who had been unfortunate enough to have been in a motor vehicle collision and suffered serious brain injury. That brain injury left him in a comatose state, which had been diagnosed…

Remember John Benneth? He’s a homeopath who runs a website called The Science of Homeopathy and produced a woo-tastic video claiming to show us how homeopathy works. Steve Novella also took on his video. For his trouble, he was rewarded with one of the most hilariously off-base attacks I’ve ever seen, even from anti-vaccine loons.…

Somehow, this picture seemed especially appropriate on Easter: Now watch for J.B. Handley, some other anti-vaccine zealot, or a quack to quotemine the title of this post. You know it’s coming… In the meantime, it’ll be back to the usual topics (and maybe one topic not so usual) next week. Happy Easter, you rabid band…

Every so often someone shows me something that so amuses me that I either must have one or must blog about it. This time around, it was my wife. Last weekend, we were reading the newspapers. On the weekend, we happen to get the New York Times as well as our local newspaper. There, ensconsed…

I was wrong. I know it doesn’t happen that often, but I’m forced to admit it. I was wrong. I predicted that Simon Singh would likely lose his appeal against an astonishing illiberal ruling on his libel case by Sir David Eady. Singh, as you may recall, is the British science writer who wrote a…

When it comes to detesting woo such as psychics like Sylvia Browne, I take a back seat to no one. But even I think beheading is a bit severe for such nonsense. Apparently, though, the religious loons who run Saudi Arabia disagree: Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution…

Area 51 veterans speak: No space aliens

One of the most persistent and prevalent examples of a modern myth that will not die is the story of Area 51. So ingrained in our culture has it become that nearly everyone (at least in the U.S.) knows what you are talking about when you refer to it. It’s been featured in movies as…