Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2010

As brief as it will be, this is my first post for my self-declared Vaccine Awareness Week, proposed to counter Barbara Loe Fisher’s National Vaccine Information Center’s and Joe Mercola’s proposal that November 1-6 be designated “Vaccine Awareness Week” for the purpose of promoting all sorts of pseudoscience, quackery, and misinformation about “vaccine injury” and…

For whenever I start feeling sorry for myself

I know I kvetch from time to time about the currently dismal funding situation for biomedical research and worry about whether I’ll be able to keep my lab funded. However, every so often I’m reminded that cancer researchers by and large have it pretty good, at least compared to some academic disciplines:

If there’s one thing that confounds advocates of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), it’s the placebo effect. That’s because, whenever most such remedies are studied using rigorous clinical trial design using properly constituted placebo controls, they almost always end up showing effects no greater than placebo effects. That’s the main reason why they frequently…

A brief, diluted homeopathic interlude

I was out late last night due to the call of duty. By the time I got home, it was too late, and I was too beat to provide you with the heapin’ helpin’ of Insolence, Respectful or not-so-Respectful, that I usually do. Nor did I have time to draft a substantive reply to Dr.…

On Monday I took a blogger by the name of Dr. Marya Zilberberg to task for firing a series of profoundly anti-scientific broadsides against science-based medicine (SBM). Although I did not attack Dr. Zilberberg personally, I was quite harsh in my characterization of her attacks, because, well, they were quite bad, full of straw men,…

Who knew? Mike Adams and I share a problem

Forgive me if I’m feeling a little schadenfreude right now. My current blog location has been criticized in the past for a variety of things, including, most recently, Pepsigate. One of the things that we’ve been criticized for is our on-again off-again use of Google Adsense, where the content of the page dictates which ads…

Oh, goody. Just what we need. Some of my readers sent this to me yesterday, and I, like them, was appalled. Apparently that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post, has decided that it’s starting a “real” health section (to be, apparently, distinguished from its old “Lifestyle” section, where previously most of its…

Over my nearly six years of blogging, I’ve become known as a staunch advocate of science- and evidence-based medicine, both in the guise going under my long-used pseudonym “Orac” and under my real name. And so I am, which is why certain varieties of predictable attacks on science-based medicine (SBM) annoy me. Usually, they come…

Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen

Wow. Just wow. I realize that I haven’t exactly been enamored of Richard Dawkins lately, at least not as much as I was, say, three or four years ago. Most of this came about gradually, although the final nail was driven into the proverbial coffin last fall, when Atheist Alliance International bestowed the Richard Dawkins…

Having gotten back from the Lorne Trottier Symposium, it occurred to me that my talk (not to mention much of my blogging about “alternative medicine” cancer cure testimonials) was nearly completely about breast cancer testimonials. This is, of course, not surprising, given that breast cancer is what I do for both patient care and research.…

Remember Hollie Quinn? She’s the woman who parlayed her “breast cancer cure testimonial” into a book deal, even though she underwent conventional surgical therapy of her cancer. When criticized for this, she came up with an incredibly lame defense of her book. Well, she’s at it again. This time around, she’s touting thermography: As we…

The anti-vaccine movement versus the truth

My alma mater has let me down. As many of you know, I went to the University of Michigan for both my undergraduate degree and for medical school. I still have a fairly strong attachment to the school, which is why I can still be disappointed when its faculty let me down. Unfortunately, it’s happened,…

I really have to give those guys at McGill University’s Office for Science and Society credit. They’re fast. In fact, they’ve already uploaded video for all the events at the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium. Here’s the main page with the videos (the 2010 Trottier Symposium occurred on October 17, 18, and 19), and here…

The economic argument against woo…

Yesterday was a travel day, which means I was too exhausted to grind out a piece of peerless logorrheic prose full of Insolence, Respectful, not-so-Respectful, or both. Fortunately, readers sent me something rather amusing that is also timely given some of the conversations we had at the Lorne Trottier Symposium Monday and Tuesday, where questions…

The Lorne Trottier Symposium is over, and it went quite well. Amazingly, even though I had to follow Michael Shermer’s talk, people told me I didn’t suck, which made me feel better. Oh, there was this issue of a guy who wanted to tout Royal Rife and his machine. He wouldn’t have irritated me so…

Posting will probably be very light the next couple of days because I’m at the Lorne Trottier Symposium. Not only have the organizers have packed my day with skeptical and science goodness, but I only have Internet access when I’m back at the hotel, which isn’t very much. This is somewhat distressing to me because…

Why didn’t I think of this before?

Damn. Every so often another blogger will think of something that I really, really wished I’d thought of before. Times like this, and this handy-dandy alternative medicine flow chart. I do think he missed one thing, though. Just because someone doesn’t like having stuff shoved up their posterior doesn’t mean they won’t be into “detox.”…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. I happen to be sitting here in Palm Beach, Florida, but I’m not chilling at the beach or pool. Rather, I’m attending “leadership training.”…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. I happen to be sitting here in Palm Beach, Florida, but I’m not chilling at the beach or pool. Rather, I’m attending “leadership training.”…

A couple of weeks ago, as Breast Cancer Awareness Week was approaching, I was highly disturbed to see everybody’s favorite wretched hive of scum and quackery (The Huffington Post, in case you didn’t know) promoting a dubious breast cancer testimonial for quackery. This testimonial, contained in a book entitled You Did What? Saying “No” to…

Schadenfreude is…

…is seeing the Australian campaign group Australian Vaccination Network have its charitable license removed by the Australian government. Read the official revocation of Meryl Dorey’s charitable status and smile.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a fact that is hard to escape. It’s one of those things that I have mixed feelings about, particularly now that I’ve had a close relative, namely my mother-in-law, die of breast cancer less than two years ago. On the one hand, the attention that’s brought to the cause…

Meryl Dorey, meet Orac

Although American skeptics might not be familiar with her, Australian skeptics are, sadly, all too well-acquainted with Meryl Dorey. Dorey, in case you’re not familiar with her, is the head of the Australian anti-vaccine group with the wonderfully Orwellian name Australian Vaccination Network, which is basically the Australian equivalent of American anti-vaccine groups like National…

I sometimes think I ought to send a thank you letter to Dr. Mark Hyman. True, I don’t owe him quite as much as I owe, for example, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com, anyone on the blogging crew of the anti-vaccine crank propaganda blog Age of Autism, Dr. Jay Gordon, or several other pseudoscientists, quacks, or…

About a week and a half ago, Dr. Bob Sears, he of the “alternative vaccine schedule,” appeared on Fox & Friends. Somehow, someway, even though I meant to deconstruct it I never got around to it. Believe it or not, during the interview Dr. Sears stooped to the anti-vaccine idiocy that calls vaccines “unnatural” because…