Archives for April, 2012

Remember Vox Day? Sure, I bet you do, at least if you’ve been a regular reader of this blog more than a year or two. If you’re a really long-timer, you probably remember him even better. Let’s just put it this way. Vox is a guy who has a much higher opinion of his intellectual…

Almost exactly a year ago, I came across a bit of woo so incredible, so spectacularly stupid and unbelievable, that I dedicated one of the last segments I’ve done in a long time of Your Friday Dose of Woo to it. Basically, it was about a movie called Eat the Sun, which described a bunch…

Dan Burton’s last antivaccine hurrah?

A couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but rejoice when I learned that Indiana Representative Dan Burton had finally, after twenty years in the U.S. House of Representatives, decided to retire after the end of this term. I thought that anyone in the U.S. who supports science-based medicine should rejoice, too, because I’m hard-pressed…

About two and a half weeks ago, I was disappointed to learn that Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski had somehow managed to delay justice again. At the time, I didn’t know what had happened other than that his hearing before the Texas Medical Board, which had been scheduled to begin on April 11 and to which I…

The U.S. is widely known to have the highest health care expenditures per capita in the world, and not just by a little, but by a lot. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this so much, other than to point out that how to rein in these costs has long been the…

It’s not infrequent that I come under fire from antivaccinationists for, ironically enough, calling them antivaccinationists. “Oh, no,” they protest, “I’m not antivaccine. How dare you call me that? I’m actually a vaccine safety advocate.” Of course, when you probe more closely and ask a few questions, almost inevitably you’ll find that in reality they…

Thanks again, antivaccine activists. Thanks for the measles. Again: Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, health officials said Thursday. There were 222 cases of measles, a large jump from the 60 or so seen in a typical year. Most of the cases last year were imported —…

It just occurred to me that, even though there was news about it, I never mentioned what’s happened recently with respect to California bill AB2109. As you might recall, I wrote about this bill about four weeks ago. In brief, this bill, if passed into law, would require that California parents seeking a “personal belief”…

X Minus One for vaccination

Yesterday was a bit of a rough patch; so today there won’t be the usual Orac magnum opus to which you’ve all become accustomed. Instead, maybe I’ll do a briefer post with semi-random thoughts. Of course, even Orac’s shorter posts are longer than the average blog post; so you’re still getting your money’s worth. Oh,…

I thought that a solid basic understanding of basic and clinical science was a prerequisite to be a bioethicist. AFter all, the prefix “bio” is in the word “bioethicist,” which implies to me that bioethicists study the ethics of biology and medicine, which, of course, they do. Some bioethicists are even physicians. After all, to…

Periodically, I like to make fun of homeopathy and homeopaths. I realize that to some that might seem like the proverbial shooting of fish in a barrel, but it is amusing and educational. However, it’s not always amusing. For instance, I am not amused when I see The One Quackery To Rule Them All (my…

If there’s one difference between so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and science-based medicine (SBM), it’s the role of anecdotes in each. CAM and SBM each take a very different view of anecdotes. In SBM, anecdotes are relegated to a very low rung on the evidence ladder. They are a starting point in that, if…

You know, I really, really hate the way quacks abuse molecular biology. I know, I know. I’ve said it before, but certain quacks have a way of willfully misunderstanding the latest advances in genomics, molecular biology, and biology in general. Of course, this isn’t limited to just medicine, unfortunately. After all, we have Deepak Chopra…

Proof. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. That thought kept running through my mind as I perused an article appearing on an antivaccine website. Another thought that rant through my mind is that this was clearly not a scientist of any sort speaking. In science,…

Repeat after me one more time: Just because something is natural does not necessarily mean it’s effective or, more importantly, safe. If there’s one thing common among virtually all purveyors of “alternative” medicine, it’s that they fetishize anything they consider “natural.” To them, “natural” is always better. At the very least it’s better than those…