Respectful Insolence

Archives for May, 2010

“I don’t want knowledge. I want certainty!” –David Bowie, from Law (Earthlings on Fire) If there’s one universal trait among humans, it seems to be an unquenchable thirst for certainty. This should come as no surprise to those committed to science and rational thinking because there is a profound conflict between our human desire for…

I’ve frequently referred to Age of Autism as the “anti-vaccine” crank propaganda blog and Generation Rescue, the organization that primarily runs it, a an anti-vaccine propaganda organization. Although longtime readers know exactly why I say such things, newbies might not. That’s why I consider it instructive to take note of this observation by reader Todd…

One of the biggest examples of either self-delusion or lying that emanates from the anti-vaccine movement is the oh-so-pious and indignant denials that inevitably follow from its members and leaders whenever someone like me has the temerity to point out that they are, in fact, anti-vaccine. The disingenuously angry denials usually take a form something…

There are few things more dangerous than a reporter with no understanding of science who, though the arrogance of ignorance, somehow comes to think that he has found the “next big story.” We’ve seen it before in various incarnations. One of the first such reporters to fall down the rabbithole of vaccine pseudoscience, thinking he…

In yesterday’s post, in which I discussed the President’s Cancer Panel report on environmental toxins and cancer, I criticized one of the reactions to it, specifically that of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), even referencing a truly hilarious Daily Show clip in which Jeff Stier, Associate Director of ACSH didn’t exactly come…

Nominate your very own American loon!

Now here’s a project of which I entirely approve: Its an Encyclopedia of American Loons. It’s up to seven as of this writing, including Mike Adams (of course!), who is characterized as “Complete loon, flamingly stupid, extremely paranoid, a zealot and a fraud; his influence is probably limited but given just a small base of…

I’m a bit of an odd bird in the world of cancer. No, it’s not because I run a snarky skeptical blog that routinely deconstructs the nonsense that alt-med practitioners sprew far and wide, nor is it because I’ve developed a middling level of popularity that shocks me from time to time. Nor is it…

Discuss! A most appropriate analogy! But if Gary Null is the Kent Hovind of alternative medicine, then what does that make Mike Adams?

A question about homeopathy

You know, if there’s one question I’ve always had about homeopathy, it’s the one asked by Viktor Poór below: (Click for full comic.) Certainly the cost of materials for homeopathic remedies is lower than just about any other product that I can imagine.

Remember Life Technology™? Back when I actually used to do Your Friday Dose of Woo each and every Friday before subjecting myself to such woo-tastically extravagant bits of unreason every week led me to decide to cut my weekly feature back to on an “as the mood strikes me” basis, Life Technology produceds some of…

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any length of time longer than a few weeks knows what I think of Deepak Chopra. Indeed, he’s been a recurring topic here since the very beginning (just type his name into the search box for this blog if you don’t believe me). In fact, Chopra has “distinguished”…

With the recent passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill, I can only hope that we as a nation have finally begun to address what has been a serious problem in our health care system, namely the unemployed. Although I remain somewhat skeptical of the plan as passed and remain largely agnostic about it,…

The deadly power of denial, part 2

As I pointed out yesterday before stirring things up a bit, I was up most of the night Sunday night working on a grant (two, actually), and I went full tilt all day yesterday to get it done. Consequently, last night I was in no shape to blog. I chilled. I copied. I picked a…

The deadly power of denial

As I pointed out yesterday before stirring things up a bit, I was up most of the night Sunday night working on a grant (two, actually), and I went full tilt all day yesterday to get it done. Consequently, last night I was in no shape to blog. I chilled. I copied. I picked a…

It just so happens that I was up quite late last night doing–what else?–writing yet another grant application (well, two actually). Even though the grants aren’t due until Wednesday, Tuesday happens to be my operating room day, meaning I need to get this done and buried by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. In any case,…

It’s a common tactic of suuporters of alternative medicine or other pseudoscience related to medicine to try to smear defenders of medical science as being hopelessly in the thrall of pharmaceutical companies, or, as they like to call it, “big pharma.” For example, the anti-vaccine movement in general, and Generation Rescue in particular, love to…