Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2011

Breast implants have been the subject of controversy since they were first developed in the 1960s, with the controversy reaching a head in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when thousands of women with silicone implants reported a variety of ailments, including autoimmune disease and a variety of other systemic illnesses. These reports led to…

Of the two, The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, I tend to favor The Daily Show because there are times when I find Stephen Colbert’s schtick tiresome. True, Colbert can at times rise to the level of being brilliant, but there are other times when he gets on my nerves. In contrast, Jon Stewart…

Sometimes a comment in the comment thread after one of my posts ends up turning into the inspiration for another post. This is especially likely to happen if I respond to that comment and end up writing a comment of myself that seems way too good to waste, forever buried in the comments where, as…

Dr. Oz: Looking for parents afraid of autism?

If there’s a single TV show out there that has the widest reach when it abuses science-based medicine, there is no doubt that it’s Oprah Winfrey’s show. If there’s a show that has the second-widest reach when it abuses science-based medicine, arguably it’s Dr. Mehmet Oz’s show. Whether it be his recent show featuring quackmaster…

Beginning not long after this blog began, one recurring theme has been the infiltration of “quackademic medicine” into academic medical centers. Whether it be called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” (IM), its infiltration into various academic medical centers has been one of the more alarming developments I’ve noted over the last several…

The “decline” of science? Not so much

I’ve on occasion been asked why I even bother responding to the brain–and I do use the term loosely–droppings of Mike Adams, the purveyor of one of the largest repositories of quackery on the entire Internet. Good question. Sometimes I wonder that myself. After all, Adams is so far out there, so beyond the realm…

I prefer my food dead, thank you very much

Most of the woo I write about, fortunately, I don’t have to deal with directly close to home. This is a good thing indeed, because it means that where I practice is blissfully free (for the most part) of pseudoscience. Unfortunately, earlier this year, I was in for an unpleasant surprise when I found out…

I learned a new word today…gnoron

Often, my readers educated me. Sometimes, they even teach me a new word. So it was last night when, as I perused my comments, I came across this comment by Antaeus Feldspar: A “gnoron” is like a moron, except that where a moron is lacking in intelligence (something they cannot help, of course) a gnoron…

Over the last three weeks, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has been publishing a multipart expose by investigative journalist Brian Deer that enumerated in detail the specifics of how a British gastroenterologist turned hero of the anti-vaccine movement had committed scientific fraud by falsifying key aspects of case reports that he used as the basis…

I was originally going to blog this yesterday, but Dr. Oz’s offenses against science and medicine on his show that aired on Tuesday kind of pushed it out of the way. It’s not that I didn’t think the third part of Brian Deer’s expose of Andrew Wakefield’s fraud worthy of my attention. Rather, the Oz…

Dr. Oz defiantly embraces The Dark Side

Stick a fork in Dr. Oz. He’s done. I know I’ve been highly critical of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program (i.e., Columbia’s quackademic medicine) program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Those are his academic titles. More important, in terms of…

My faithful minions have pointed me in the direction of a poll that desperately needs crashing. Apparently, Andrew Wakefield posted a link on his Facebook page, and the forces of anti-science have already descended upon it. Here’s the poll: We think the British Medical Journal’s report debunks once and for all the supposed link between…

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 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…

Bravo! Homeopathy deconstructed by the CBC

Something amazing happened on Friday. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to blog it as soon as I would have liked because (1) it happened on Canadian TV and the video wasn’t available to anyone outside of Canada until it showed up on YouTube and (2) Craig Willougby’s changing his mind about Andrew Wakefield really did gobsmack…

Dr. Oz crosses the Woo-bicon yet again

I take back all those nice things I said about Dr. Oz. Well, I never actually said that much nice about Dr. Oz, but I usually gave him at least a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, other than for his love or reiki. Then Dr. Oz had ├╝ber quack Dr. Joe Mercola…

You know, sometimes I think that the United States, Australia, and the U.K. must be unique in their level of tolerance for pseudoscientific nonsense. Of course, that’s probably mostly because that’s the majority of the English-speaking world, and I speak English. I don’t see and can’t understand anti-vaccinationists in most other languages. Unfortunately, fellow ScienceBlogger…

The race to flee Andrew Wakefield

What does it take to get an advocate of pseudoscience to change his or her mind? Many are the times I’ve asked myself that question. Over the years, I’ve covered the gamut of techniques, going from what some might call “militant” or even insulting to being as reasoned and calm as can be–and probably everywhere…

Oh, geez. Will the media never learn? Yep, it looks as though Andrew Wakefield will be on Good Morning America tomorrow. True, it is a holiday in the U.S., but that just might mean that viewership will be higher because more people will be at home. I, of course, will be at work; so I…

The Vaccine Times: For parents, by parents

It’s now been over a week since the first installment of Brian Deer’s expose in the BMJ revealing the depths of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent research. Over that week and a half or so, I’ve wondered just how someone like Wakefield could have had so much influence over so many parents. True, the British press was…

I’m tired. Well, not exactly. I think I’m just suffering a case of what I like to call “anti-vax burnout.” It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the antivaccine front, given the new set of revelations about Andrew Wakefield, including even more detail about the nature of the scientific fraud he committed and previously…

Bummer, people. The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism has been announced for 2011 and will take place on April 9 and 10 in New York. It’s going to be bigger and better than ever, going from one day to a whole weekend, and it has a killer lineup of speakers. And I can’t go.…

It is with some trepidation and more than a little regret that I begin writing this piece. The reason for my hesitation is that, by doing so, no matter what I say I’ll be inserting myself into what appears to be a disagreement among people all of whom I admire very much. I don’t really…

Clearly, once the allegations of Andrew Wakefield’s fraud, conflicts of interest, and business plans to profit off of his demonization of the MMR came to light, it was only a matter of time before this arrived: NOTE: Apparently the creator of this parody has removed it. I’ve sent an e-mail asking to reconsider.

One of the favorite attacks favored by advocates of pseudoscience, particularly advocates of the sort of pseudoscience favored by proponents of “alternative” medicine, particularly the more militant ones who really, really detest conventional, science-based medicine, is to poison the well with a pre-emptive ad hominem attack that implies that defenders of science-based medicine are somehow…

The fallout from Brian Deer’s further revelations of the scientific fraud that is anti-vaccine hero Andrew Wakefield continues apace. Remember last week, when I wrote about the first article of the two-part series enumerating the various ways that Andrew Wakefield committed scientific fraud in putting together the case series that became the basis of his…