Respectful Insolence

Archives for March, 2012

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned that I can always–and I do mean always–rely on from the antivaccine movement, it’s that its members will always be all over any new study regarding vaccines and/or autism in an effort to preemptively put their pseudoscientific spin on the results. It’s much the same way that they…

Since when did Opposing Views become NaturalNews.com? Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows that NaturalNews.com is one of the wretchedest hives of scum and quackery anywhere on the Internet, surpassing even The Huffington Post. Indeed, so full of misinformation, pseudoscience, quackery, and outright lies, all spiced up with a heapin’ helpin’ of…

This week, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that can only be described as historic. Any of you out there (in the U.S. anyway; I realize that my readership is international) who have paid even a passing attention to the news can’t help but avoid reporting, debate, and polemics related to the Patient Protection…

It would appear that Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, is in the news again. Specifically, he’s brought himself back into the spotlight by publishing in that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post, a fallacy-filled attack on a bill in California, AB 2109, designed to tighten up the process for…

As sometimes happens, last week I let myself get tied up writing multiple posts about a single topic, namely the promotion of an antivaccine movie by a school board president in California, apparently as part of an attempt to influence California legislators who are considering a law that will make philosophical exemptions for school vaccine…

I’ve discussed the concept of “misinformed consent” multiple times before. Quacks in general, particularly the “health freedom” movement proclaim their dedication to “informed consent.” “All we’re asking for,” they will say, “is informed consent.” The antivaccine movement in particular demands “informed consent” about vaccines. Be it Barbara Loe Fisher, the bloggers at the antivaccine crank…

I’ll give the Canary Party credit for one thing, if credit you can consider it. It’s persistent in its promotion of antivaccine pseudoscience. Somehow, someone at Current TV decided that it would be a good idea to show an utterly unbalanced, utterly cranky, utterly propagandistic “documentary” (The Greater Good) that seeks to demonize vaccines as…

San Ramon, we have a problem. The other day, I laid some not-so-Respectful Insolence on a clueless school board president in San Ramon Valley, California, named Greg Marvel. What merited a heapin’ helpin’ of what Orac does so well was Marvel’s use of school board stationery to endorse a stinking, steaming turd of a movie…

Sometimes you find good skepticism in strange places. One example of this has been Cracked.com. Normally, Cracked.com is a humor site based on the magazine that I used to read sometimes back in 1970s. Unfortunately, the magazine folded several years ago, but the website lives on. For example, Cracked.com once did a snarky article making…

A science-based blogger’s work is never done, apparently. I’ll show you what I mean in a minute. But first, I just have to make a simple observation. Pseudoscience, be it quackery, evolution denial, denial of anthropogenic global warming, antivaccine nonsense, or other forms of pseudoscience, apparently never dies. No matter how many times it’s slapped…

About a month ago, I wrote about a study that looked at metrics of patient satisfaction and compared them to hard outcomes often used to evaluate quality of care, including frequency of emergency room usage, frequency of hospitalization, and overall mortality. Even though these days there appears to be an implicit assumption that increased patient…

The Autism File bills itself as a magazine dealing with all aspects of autism. In reality, it’s basically a crank magazine dedicated to autism biomedical quackery plus a generous helping of antivaccine fear mongering. In fact, this passage should tell you all you need to know about the publication: Autism File is a lifestyle guide…

If there’s one quack who both amuses and appalls me at the same time, it’s Robert O. Young. You remember Robert O. Young, don’t you? He’s the guy who thinks that all disease is caused by excess acid. I’ve written about him quite a few times over the last several years. For instance, he amused…

There are quite a few reasons why I blog. After all, to crank out between 500 and 3,000 words a day, with an average of somewhere around 1,500 by my reckoning) takes quite a commitment. One of the main reasons that I do this is to combat the irrationality that permeates the world, and, since…

“Patient-centered care.” It’s the new buzzword in patient care. Personally, I find the term mor ethan a little Orwellian in that it can mean so many things. Basically, it’s a lot like Humpty Dumpty when he says to Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither…

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a year. I don’t know if it’s confirmation bias or real, but it sure seems that something big happens early every year in the antivaccine world. Consider. As I pointed out back in February 2009, in rapid succession Brian Deer reported that Andrew Wakefield had…

Having a reasonably popular blog is a cool thing because at times I can do things like what I’m about to do. I’d like to start the week off with a little bit of crowdsourcing. Earlier this week, a reader wrote to me at my not-so-super-secret other blog with a request that concluded: In short,…

Thanks to the partying and backslapping going on in the antivaccine movement over the reversal of the decision of the British General Medical Council to strike Professor John Walker-Smith off of the medical record, after a brief absence vaccines are back on the agenda of this blog. Antivaccine cranks view the decision as a vindication…

I sense a disturbance in the antivaccine crankosphere. Actually, maybe “disturbance” is the wrong word. Unabashed whooping it up is closer to correct. High-fiving is perhaps a better term. Or maybe partying like it’s 2005. The question, of course, is what is the inciting event was that sparked such widespread rejoicing in the antivaccine world.…

Another Burzynski patient dies

If there’s one thing that practitioners of dubious cancer therapies rely upon, it’s testimonials. If there’s one such practitioner who really, really relies on testimonials, it’s Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, founder of the Burzynski Clinic. Dr. Burzynski is known for what he refers to as “antineoplaston” therapy (which he massively oversells and is currently rebranding as…

Remember Gayle DeLong? Last summer, DeLong published a paper in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, entitled A Positive Association found between Autism Prevalence and Childhood Vaccination uptake across the U.S. Population. As I pointed out at the time, it showed nothing of the sort. Besides botching the introduction by citing a panoply of…

The boneyard of forgotten woo, but better

A fascination with quackery was one of the things that inspired me to start this blog. Some of it was disbelief that anyone could take some of the modalities that I write about seriously. Perhaps one of the most prominent examples of this reaction was when I first learned that there were people who are…

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski strikes again

I was originally going to write about an amazing article that appeared in the NEJM today, but then, as happens all too often, something more compelling caught my eye. Unfortunately, it’s compelling in exactly the wrong way. It’s infuriating and saddening, all at the same time. It’s also yet another example of how it’s so…

Politics versus science

I’ve always been reluctant to attribute antiscientific attitudes to one political persuasion or another–and justly so, or so I thought. While it’s true that antiscience on the right is definitely more prominent these days, with the Republican candidates conducting virtual seminars on how to deny established science. Evolution? They don’t believe in it because, apparently,…