Respectful Insolence

Archives for December, 2010

As 2010 ends, let’s be careful out there…

As hard as it is to believe, today is the last day of 2010. An old year has flown by once again, and, almost before I realized it, a new year will arrive where I live in mere hours. It’s been a truly weird year, even more so than the average level of weirdness. That’s…

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. I realize I say these things again and again and again, but they bear repeating because together they are a message that needs to be spread in as clear and unambiguous a form as possible. First, whenever you hear someone say, “I’m not…

The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, Part 2

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years, and, oddly enough, I’m feeling exceptionally lazy. For one thing, it’s a slow “news” time; nothing much is happening to blog about, at least nothing that’s motivated me to rouse myself from my declining food-induced coma to lay down some not-so-Respectful Insolence today. For another thing, I’m…

The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years, and, oddly enough, I’m feeling exceptionally lazy. For one thing, it’s a slow “news” time; nothing much is happening to blog about, at least nothing that’s motivated me to rouse myself from my declining food-induced coma to lay down some not-so-Respectful Insolence today. For another thing, I’m…

File this under another “better late (as in after Christmas) than never.” Remember Elyse Anders? Remember how she successfully rallied skeptical activists to try to put the kibosh on an effort by the anti-vaccine group SafeMinds to infiltrate theaters with their commercials desguised as public service announcements over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend? Remember how she…

Christmas is over. Heck even Boxing Day is over. Still, Orac is doing something very unusual for him in that he’s taking a bit of a staycation at home. Consider it a sanity break. Even though I’ll be working on grants and a variety of other projects at home and even though I haven’t signed…

This being Christmas Eve and all, I hadn’t planned on blogging. However, sometimes things happen that demand a change in plans. Consequently, although I don’t plan on doing one of my usual logorrheic treatments of this issue, I do plan on mentioning something, because sometimes schadenfreude is a most excellent Christmas gift. Remember Dr. Rolando…

More dubious statements about placebo effects

In discussing “alternative” medicine it’s impossible not to discuss, at least briefly, placebo effects. Indeed, one of the most common complaints I (and others) voice about clinical trials of alternative medicine is lack of adequate placebo controls. Just type “acupuncture” in the search box in the upper left hand corner of the blog, and you’ll…

The Orac Christmas tree

My readers might not think that a Plexiglass box full of blinking colored lights cum most advanced computer in the galaxy would go to the trouble of celebrating Christmas, much less putting up an actual Christmas tree. Well, actually, he didn’t. His wife did. But, then, Orac is a Plexiglass box of blinking colored lights.…

After you’ve been blogging as long as I have, you inevitably wind up on a lot of mailing lists. Publicity companies, for instance, long ago discovered that getting a buzz going in the blogosphere is every bit as important as trying to get coverage from the “traditional” media. If you’re as fortunate as I’ve been…

Steamed vajajay woo

When it comes to “alternative” medical practices from Asia (or from anywhere else, for that matter), I’ve ceased to be surprised by anything I hear. After all, if somehow, some way, people can justify just about any strange health that can be imagined. If you don’t believe me, I have two words for you: Coffee…

During the six years of its existence, one frequent complaint I’ve had on this blog, it’s been about how the press covers various health issues. In particular, it’s depressing to see how often dubious and even outright false health claims, such as the claim that vaccines cause autism, that cell phones or powerlines cause cancer,…

Some Christmas pareidolia

Everyone knows how much I live pareidolia. It never ceases to amaze me how the human mind can impose imagery on everyday things. We’ve seen Jesus on toast, on sheet metal, in rocks, on trees, and in windows. We’ve seen the Virgin Mary on a similar bunch of things–even a Lava lamp or a freeway…

NOTE: Orac was actually out rather late last night. It turns out that the more administrative responsibility he somehow seems to find the more he has to go out to dinner as a part of various cancer center-related functions. As a result, he is recycling a bit of recent material from elsewhere that he in…

Stem cell quackery for autism, revisited

There are multiple recurring messages on this blog that have evolved over the years, but, if there’s one of them that has been consistent since the very beginning, it’s been about the inherent unreliability of single person testimonials. I wrote about this very topic virtually at the inception of this blog in a post that…

It’s times like these that I’m glad I’m a clinician-scientist: Or maybe not. The reason is that the same conversation in a clinician-scientist’s review would be asking why he’s only produced X number of RVUs last year and suggesting pointedly that he needs to double his RVU output. Oh, and, by the way, he needs…

If you need some woo, and you need it fast, who ya gonna call? HuffPo! Yes, as I’ve pointed out since its very inception, if there’s one thing The Huffington Post is good at doing, it’s butchering medical science and serving up regular heapin’ helpings of the purest woo. Be it the anti-vaccine pseudoscience that…

Beyond butt reflexology

Egads! You remember my fun little post about a Sokal-type hoax perpetrated by John C. McLachlan, when he completely fooled the “scientific review” committee of a complementary and alternative medicine conference with a hilarious Sokal-inspired hoax in which he created, in essence, butt reflexology. I thought it was an amusing and fairly original bit of…

I can’t think of a better way to start year seven on the ol’ blog. Remember how I speculated that perhaps Age of Autism or NaturalNews.com would provide me with the first topic of my next year of blogging? It turns out that I was wrong. It didn’t come from either of those sources, although…

Six years in the blogosphere…

Has it really been six years? Six years ago today, on a dim and dreary Saturday in December, almost on a whim I sat down, went to Blogspot, and started up the first version of Respectful Insolence with an introductory post with the cliched title, Please allow me to introduce myself. Here it is, six…

Another despicable abuse of a dead celebrity

I was originally going to switch it up and blog about something other than cancer. In fact, there is a particularly juicy bit of anti-vaccine nonsense that I wanted to write about because it shows the utter mendacity of a certain anti-vaccine website that, believe it or not, is not Age of Autism. I know,…

Two women died of breast cancer yesterday. One was named Kim Tinkham. One was named Elizabeth Edwards. In some ways, these women were similar. True, one was older than the other, but both of them died far sooner than they should have, one at age 53, the other at age 61. Both engaged in activism…

It’s been pointed out to me that it was announced three hours ago on the Caring for Kim Facebook page that Kim Tinkham has passed away. A woman named Dana Ponder announced: Kim just passed. I was there by her side and it was peaceful. Thank you for all the kind words. I tried to…

I’m still perturbed about yesterday. I’m still perturbed that a cancer quack was able to convince a woman who had everything to live for that he could cure her of her breast cancer without surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. I’m still perturbed at this particular cancer quack’s attitude, where he tried to claim that he didn’t…

In the wake of the revelation that Kim Tinkham is dying of what was almost certainly metastatic breast cancer to bones, lungs, and liver after having rejected conventional therapy for her disease in favor of Robert O. Young’s acid-base woo, Young’s response is now (possibly) known. In the comments after part 6 of Young’s interview…