Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2011

Dedicated to a certain commenter who thinks I’m an “eco-fascist” because I criticized Ann Coulter for abusing physics and biology for claiming that “radiation is good for you,” I present a video that succinctly describes everything you need to know about the “Climategate” affair: I posted it on my Facebook profile, too, and already a…

J.B. Handley surprises…partially

I’m pretty hard on anti-vaccine activists. I know that. One in particular provokes my ire because of his particular brand of loutishness, intimidation, and stupidity. I’m talking about, of course, J.B. Handley, founder of Generation Rescue and blogger at its propaganda arm Age of Autism. As much as JB and I detest each other though,…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Eat the sun?

With the utter ridiculousness of the arguments laid down by Dr. Oz when Steve Novella appeared on his show and the even more ridiculous silliness of J.B. Handley thinking that Matt Carey, a.k.a. Sullivan, is really Bonnie Offit, I had originally thought that I should find some peer-reviewed scientific article today to do a sober,…

Among the most bizarre and risible conspiracy theories currently going around, rising to the top (or near the top) has to be notion that President Obama was not actually born in the United States and therefore is not a U.S. citizen and not eligible to be President of the United States. Indeed, ever since the…

Longtime readers of this blog might be familiar with a certain regular commenter here who goes by the ‘nym Sullivan and also blogs over at Left Brain Right Brain. Back in November, our old friend at the anti-vaccine propaganda crank blog, J.B. Handley himself, founder of the anti-vaccine crank activist group now fronted by Jenny…

NOTE: Dr. Novella has written up a detailed description of his experiences on The Dr. Oz Show. Please read it. Also note that the online video for Dr. Novella’s appearance is now available: Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 1 Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 2 Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 3 When I first learned…

“Health freedom.” It’s a battle cry frequently used by supporters of “alternative” medicine against what they perceive to be persecution by the medical and scientific establishment that uses the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies charged with regulating pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, and medical devices in order to protect the…

I’m owed a new irony meter…again

A commenter named ottoschnaut at the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism owes me a new irony meter after writing to a commenter by the ‘nym “Parent” who complained about the meanness of J.B. Handley’s attack on Seth Mnookin: To Parent: You write: “Both sides claim the other is crazy, both in a race to the…

I should have popped up some popcorn. I had a feeling this was coming, but who knew it would be so entertaining when it finally happened? On Tuesday, I wrote about how famed vascular surgeon Dr. Lazar Greenfield had written a bizarre, sexist attempt at Valentines Day humor in which he implied that evolutionary biology…

UPDATE 4/27/2011: Dr. Novella has written up a detailed description of his experiences on The Dr. Oz Show. Please read it. Also note that the online video for Dr. Novella’s appearance is now available: Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 1 Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 2 Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 3 I can’t believe…

Steve Salzberg is a man after my own heart. You’ll see why in a minute. I’ve frequently written about the pseudoscientific nonsense that goes on at the University of Maryland. Indeed, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is a hotbed of quackademic medicine, including the use of reiki at its world-renowned trauma center along…

Several of you have been sending me this; so I would be remiss not to note that there is a rather lengthy profile of Generation Rescue’s favorite “martyred” anti-vaccine hero, disgraced and discredited British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine entitled The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru. By and…

10,000,000

I demand the sum of…..ten MILLION visits! Muhahahahahaha! Yes, I know I did that bit before–twice, three times, even!—but I liked it so much that I wanted to do it again, at least until my readers run screaming away, annoyed that Orac, of all people, would recycle the same old joke over and over. Of…

Over the years, I’ve learned that a lot of surgeons are very religious. Actually, a lot of doctors are quite religious. Indeed, long ago in the history of this blog, back when I used to write about evolution a lot more than I do these days, I’ve pointed out that at least as many physicians…

Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith…

I just learned something that will sadden the heart of any Doctor Who fan. Elizabeth Sladen, who played longtime companion of the Doctor Sarah Jane Smith, has died of cancer: Doctor Who star Elisabeth Sladen, who was also in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, has died aged 63. Sladen appeared as Doctor Who assistant…

ImmuniLies, or: Get your vax on!

Hot on the heels of his excellent effort Immunize, ZDoggMD is back for a followup. Unfortunately, his partner in crime, Dr. Chase McCallister, billionnaire hemorrhoid surgeon, whose woo-fighting alter-ego is Doc Quixote, screwed up. Wandering into the University of Google, he came up with a rap that would do Mike Adams proud: More reason than…

I’d like to thank Buckeye Surgeon for reminding me of something I had seen and wanted to blog about but totally forgot about. Maybe it was so forgettable that I should just skip it, but as a surgeon I actually don’t think so. Basically, it’s a story of a surgeon making a fool of himself.…

An emergency room in 2030

I’ve frequently lamented what might happen if the current trend towards quackademic medicine continues unabated, and quackery is fully “integrated” with science-based medicine. First, there was homeopathic e.r. Then, Mitchell and Webb brought us the British version, namely Homeopathic A&E. What I didn’t realize is that predating both of these was…Holistic E.R. (Embedding disabled, unfortunately.)…

Oh, no! It’s the toxins! It’s the chemicals! Evil, evil, evil, evil! Even worse, unnatural, unnatural, unnatural! Such is the message we receive from many sources. The media bombards us with it constantly. Environmental groups do too. The message is so pervasive that most people take it for granted that various toxins are “poisoning” them…

Time and time again, anti-vaccine activists will piously and self-righteously tell those of us who criticize their pseudoscientific fear mongering, “I’m not anti-vaccine,” followed by something like, “I’m pro-vaccine safety,” “I’m a vaccine safety watchdog,” or “I’m pro-safe vaccine.” Nothing puts the lie to these denials better than looking at the sorts of things anti-vaccine…

AThe the nonsense from the anti-vaccine movement on the issue of Poul Thorenson, the Danish scientist indicted for defrauding the CDC of approximately $1 million in grant money continues apace… Just yesterday I pointed out how the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism were busily trying to poison the well over the Poul Thorsen case,…

Here we go again. If there’s one thing about the anti-vaccine movement, it’s all about the ad hominem. Failing to win on science, clinical trials, epidemiology, and other objective evidence, inevitably anti-vaccine propagandists fall back on attacking the person instead of the evidence. For example, Paul Offit has been the subject of unrelenting attacks from…

Excellent! It’s about time the bigger guns started getting involved. Remember the anti-vaccine ads being run on the big CBS JumboTron in Times Square? Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics has finally weighted in to complaint. Here’s the letter: April 13, 2011 Mr. Wally Kelly Chairman and CEO CBS Outdoor 405 Lexington Ave., 14th floor…

Four years ago, I wrote a post that I called Gotta have more woo in my medical school! In it, I discussed how UCSF had put out a woo-ful, non-science-based booklet about “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), full of references to qi, acupuncture, and all manner of woo. Since then I’ve been sounding the alarm…

They call them Necromancers. Necromancers have an uncanny ability to resurrect an old thread by commenting on it months, even years, after the last comment. Unfortunately, as hard as it is to believe, the version of Movable Type used by Seed to power our blogs does not have a preference panel that allows us to…