Respectful Insolence

Archives for August, 2010

When homeopaths fight back

I love it when my fans notice me. After all, of what use is my having taken so many hours over so many years laying down on a nearly daily basis if my words don’t have an impact? Surely I couldn’t be so egotistical that I’d do it anyway even if my readership was what…

A frequent lament of members of the anti-vaccine movement is that they are not “anti-vaccine” but rather “pro-safe vaccine.” they like to claim that they are not opposed to vaccines in general. Of course, in many, if not most or even all cases, that denial is either a lie or self-delusion. After all, even the…

A friend of mine sent me a link to one of my hometown news stations because he saw something that irritated him. On the front page, there is a poll of such epic burning stupid that it requires an immediate crash. I may not be P.Z., but I have in some instances overcome my previous…

Yesterday, I expressed my displeasure over a truly idiotic press release by the Center for Inquiry over the “Ground Zero mosque” entitled The Center for Inquiry Urges That Ground Zero Be Kept Religion-Free. I happen to know that a lot of supporters of CFI were very unhappy about the press release as well, because apparently…

I hadn’t planned on blogging at all today, much about on this particular topic. As some of you may have noticed, I’m trying to cut back on the blog habit, particularly on the weekends. Gone are the days when I’d foolishly try to emulate P.Z. Myers and have several posts up in a day; lately…

Having followed the anti-vaccine movement continuously for nearly six years now, I had come to think that I had seen it all as far as deceptive strategies for frightening parents about vaccines. Obviously, becoming too complacent is foolish, because, as misguided and scientifically ignorant as they are, many of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement…

I don’t know if it’s confirmation bias, faulty memory, or if my individual impression is correct, but it seems to me that over the years I’ve been blogging that stories like this one seem to be becoming depressingly more common: Getting inoculated for diseases such as whooping cough and measles used to be a childhood…

Having taken note of my little missive yesterday about New York Times health reporter Tara Parker-Pope and her utter credulity towards the woo that is acupuncture, Dr. R. W. makes an observation: A number of years ago I ran across Science Education in Preparation for the Ministry. The premise of the document, written by pathologist…

What the hell is going on with The New York Times‘ health reporting? I’ve had my share of disagreements with the way that the NYT has covered various health issues over the years that I’ve been blogging, but I don’t recall ever having seen it embrace pseudoscience. I can recall being a bit miffed at…

I tell ya, I go away for a few days and something always seems to happen that I’d be all over if I were at home and blogging normally. Either something major happens in the anti-vaccine movement or there’s a new study being touted by woos or womthing else big happens. In the old days,…

One of the main topics that I’ve covered over the last four or five of laying down a swath of not-so-Respectful Insolence directed at pseudoscience is the relatively rapid, seemingly relentless infiltration of pseudoscience into what should be bastions of science-based medicine (SBM), namely medical schools and academic medical centers promoted by academics who should,…

Hi I was just authorized by my company, DrNatura, to offer an exclusive $10 coupon to you and the readers of Respectful Insolence, towards our most popular product, the Colonix Program. I thought you and your readers would be interested to know that DrNatura is an internationally recognized line of health products and programs specializing…

Here we go again. Apparently, trying to bounce back from the humiliation of having had its plan to do a music and comedy fundraiser with Jill Sobule as one of the headliners shot down when Sobule found out that Generation Rescue is an “autism organization” that supports anti-vaccine pseudoscience like that of Andrew Wakefield and…

At the risk of once again irritating long time readers who’ve hear me say this before, I can’t resist pointing out that, of all the various forms of “alternative medicine” other than herbal medicines (many of which are drugs, just adulterated, impure drugs), acupuncture was the one treatment that, or so I thought, might actually…

There’s so much horrible reporting on vaccines and the whole manufactroversy that promulgates the myth that vaccines somehow cause autism through a combination of confusing correlation with causation, bad science, quackery, and misrepresenting autism that it’s gotten harder for me to be sufficiently irritated to write about it. When I see yet another another example…

…you might want to check out this talk by a certain “friend” of this blog, as well as the reception to follow (although why anyone would want to pay any money to hang out with him, I have no idea). A little birdie tells me it’ll be pretty good.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about cell phones and the scientifically highly implausible claim that radio waves from cellular telephones can lead to brain cancer and other health problems. For example, two years ago, when the then director of the respected University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman issued a warning…

Thanks to Autism News Beat, I’ve found the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode Vaccination in a streaming form. I have two warnings. First, if you’re not familiar with Penn & Teller, you should be prepared for lots of profanity, including liberal use of the F-word. There is also one scene with a topless woman near…

Weekend mailbag: A most telling comment

Here’s a rather interesting (and telling) comment that, because it showed up on an old post, many readers might have missed: As a practicing acupuncturist I can only say that my sham techniques have frequently and often created such a powerful placebo effect that many patients coming to my office having exhausted “allopathic” cures find…

After nearly six years subjecting the world to my meandering and often incredibly verbose stylings, I’m now what you would call an established blogger. Even more than that, I’m a reasonably high traffic blogger, at least in the medical blogosphere. What that means is that I get a lot of e-mail. A lot. While I…

It was nearly a month ago when I first marveled at how nonsense could be so well-organized. My marvel was expressed at the awesomeness that was the Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense (which, by the way, is now available in “sanitized” versions, as well as versions in other languages). It turns out that Crispan’s effort…

It’s finally here! The long expected episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, in which the boys take on the anti-vaccine movement in their usual inimitable fashion, will premiere tonight on Showtime at 10 PM. It’s even the eighth season finale, which is appropriate. If there’s a form of “bullshit” other than the irrationality that is…

I’ve been remiss…

…in not pointing out that one of my favorite blogs from the “old days” (as in four years ago) is back. The Second Sight, which closed up shop in 2007, reappeared a couple of months ago. It’s as great as ever. Check it out.

Having spent the last couple of days dealing with pure woo, such as germ theory denialism and naturopathic quackery, I think now’s as good a time as any to move on to a more serious topic. One of the most important aspects of science is the publication of scientific results in peer-reviewed journals. This publication…

A trifecta of naturopathic woo

Yesterday, I wrote a rather lengthy post about germ theory denialism. As I put it, yes, there really are people who don’t accept the germ theory of disease. As part of my Orac-ian length discussion (well over 4,000 words), I had a bit of fun with a video done by a hapless (is there any…