Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2010

Homeopathy in Cuba?

Homeopathy is among the most ridiculous of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine therapies.” I realize that I’ve made this point over and over and over again, but it bears repeating because, no matter how often homeopathy is shown to be utter and complete woo, homeopaths always seem to bounce right back, Gish galloping between the…

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 begins right here, in the comments of (where else?) the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism, courtesy of commenter Kathy Blanco:

The toll due to secondhand smoke

Given that I’ve dedicated my life to treating cancer and researching the biology of cancer, the ultimate goal being to use that knowledge of cancer biology to develop ever more effective treatments directed at the specific molecular derangements that lead to cancer, it’s not surprising that I’m very much anti-tobacco. After all, arguably there is…

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend continues here in the U.S., and, believe it or not, I plan on taking it fairly easy, hanging out with my wife and (hopefully) going to see the new Harry Potter movie later today or tonight. However, even so, I can’t resist doing a bit of holiday mailbag fun, first because…

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., and, despite the crappy economy, there are still things to be thankful for. For instance, skeptical activism can still be effective. Remember how on Sunday Skepchick Elyse put out the call to Skepchic readers to complain to movie theaters that were reportedly going to be airing a public…

If there’s one characteristic of denialists of all stripes, it’s that they have a strong tendency to personalize their dislike of their particular bete noir science. For instance, anti-vaccine activists tend to attack Paul Offit as though he were the Dark Lord of Vaccination. Creationists tend to attack Charles Darwin (who, being conveniently dead, can’t…

I love a good conspiracy theory…

This just in… One of my regular readers pointed me to a most excellent comment that appeared on everybody’s favorite anti-vaccine propaganda crank blog Age of Autism. After a post discussing a testimonial that allegedly demonstrates that the Gardasil vaccine is dangerous, A commenter named Sarah wrote: I just want to add another major event…

Luc Montagnier: The Nobel disease strikes again

They call it the Nobel disease. Linus Pauling is the prototypical example. A brilliant chemist who won two Nobel Prizes, one for chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize, in his later years Pauling became convinced that high dose vitamin C was a highly effective treatment for cancer and the common cold and, expanding upon that,…

It figures. I’m gone for a couple of days, paying little attention to the blogosphere or the Internet, and something big has to happen. Remember a couple of weeks ago, when in the context of asking how we should respond to the anti-vaccine movement I discussed a recent campaign by the anti-vaccine group SafeMinds to…

You may have noticed that there wasn’t the usual 3,000 word heapin’ helpin’ of Insolence this morning. That’s because I happened to be away visiting family in Chicago over the weekend and I just didn’t have time to come up with anything–and I enjoyed myself too thoroughly to worry overmuch about it. In case you’re…

Taking the piss out of homeopathy

Silly Crispian, any homeopath will tell you that this isn’t a valid test of homeopathy because you didn’t adequately succuss at each step. (Of course, then there’s the issue of succussing it against a Bible, which Hahnemann himself favored.) I also would have recommended using a different pipette for each dilution to make sure there…

Falling for one manufactroversy

The other day I had a bit of fun deconstructing a shockingly bad post by a blogger at the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism named Dan Olmsted. In his post, he criticized the progressive movement for not “getting” autism. It was one of the silliest bits of whining I had ever seen, in essence…

In terms of promoting woo and quackery, there is one person who stands head and shoulders above all the rest. True, she doesn’t just promote woo and quackery, but she does have a long list of dubious achievements in that realm, including but not limited to unleashing Jenny McCarthy and her anti-vaccine crusade plus Suzanne…

Homeopathy remains the perfect quackery because it is nothing but water. Even homeopaths seem to recognize this implicitly. If they did not, then there would be no need for all the mental mastubation they engage in to imbue their magic water with “memory,” such that, as Tim Minchin so famously put it, it “remembers” all…

Can you count the straw men about skepticism?

Woo-meisters love to build massive straw men about what skepticism is, the better to tear it down with gusto and paint skeptics as close-minded “debunkers.” I just came across a video that does just that (click on the link for even more straw men in addition to the video), but in one of the most…

I am Bonnie Offit!

I hadn’t planned on beating on that wretched hive of anti-vaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism, again today so soon after having done so not just once but twice yesterday. I really hadn’t. After all, AoA is the crank gift that keeps on giving (and has kept on giving for three years now), and…

Earlier today, I had a bit of fun deconstructing Dan Olmsted’s whiny complaint about how “progressives don’t ‘get’ autism,” his definition of “getting” autism being, of course, buying into the scientifically discredited notion that vaccines cause autism and the quackery known as “autism biomed” that anti-vaccine loons like Olmsted advocate to “recover” autistic children. Of…

Every so often on this blog I get in the mood to take on a post on the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism. Over the three years of its existence, I’ve seen some truly bizarre posts, ranging from one blogger blithely discussing how he took his daughter to Costa Rica for stem cell quackery…

At a local Target store…

Yesterday my wife and I were doing a bit of shopping for various household supplies at one of our favorite stores, our local Target. Having already been disturbed by the sheer volume of Christmas decorations and items on sale two weeks before Thanksgiving, I was even more disturbed to see this: Yep, it’s everywhere. Oscillococcinum.…

Last night, seeking to expand the name of Orac rather than his waistline, I did a skeptical meetup with a local skeptics’ group to discuss the topic of quackademic medicine. A fine time was had by all (at least as far as I can tell). What that means, unfortunately, is that I got back too…

Last night, seeking to expand the name of Orac rather than his waistline, I did a skeptical meetup with a local skeptics’ group to discuss the topic of quackademic medicine. A fine time was had by all (at least as far as I can tell). What that means, unfortunately, is that I got back too…

Check out the latest Andrew Wakefield tweet. Yep, that’s him Tweeting out a link to the infamously intellectually dishonest post by Dr. Raymond Obomsawin entitled Proof That Vaccines Didn’t Save Us, just as Australian anti-vaccine loon Meryl Dorey posted the same link on her blog about a month ago and Obomsawin himself is continuing to…

On the magical prevention of pancreatic cancer

I don’t know how I missed this article. I really don’t. It’s over a week old, and it’s exactly the sort of irritating cancer quackery that normally draws me irresistibly to it to slather it in a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence. After all, being a cancer surgeon and all, I really, really hate cancer…

Requiem for a friend I’ve never met

I didn’t feel much like blogging last night, but I felt as though I had to, even if it’s brief. Yesterday was one of those crappy days where there were a lot of problems that didn’t relent, so much so that I was completely occupied and didn’t check my e-mail until the evening. It was…

It occurs to me that I ought to thank Mark Hyman, “pioneer of functional medicine,” and creator of “Ultrawellness,” particularly since he started blogging for that wretched hive of scum and quackery (WHSQ), The Huffington Post. He may not post all that often, but when he does I can be assured that the woo will…