Respectful Insolence

Archives for July, 2012

Joe Mercola is antivaccine, through and through, and, unfortunately, his website is one of the largest repositories of antivaccine quackery on the Internet. While it’s true that, unlike the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, Mercola doesn’t limit his advocacy of quackery to just antivaccine quackery, he has recently teamed up with Barbara Loe Fisher,…

Beware the Clostridiapocalypse!

C. difficile is an enormous clinical problem to which, unfortunately, we physicians can contribute, as ZDoggMD tells us in Dawn of the C. Diff: You go to the doctor to talk ‘em in To givin’ antibiotics for your coughin’ thing They explain that the pain in your throat’s a virus “Antibiotics are not desirous!” But…

Do we need algebra? Are you kidding me?

And now for something completely different… Well, not really, but kind of different. I realize that my niche here has become discussing science-based medicine, evidence-based medicine, and the atrocities committed against both by proponents of so-called “complementary and alternative” medicine, but every so often I need a change of pace. Unfortunately, that change of pace…

It’s known as “targeted” therapy, and it’s the holy grail of cancer research these days. If you listen to its most vocal proponents, it’s the path towards “personalized medicine” that improves survival with much lower toxicity, in which, instead of using the hammer that is chemotherapy, precisely targets specific molecular abnormalities that drive cancer growth.…

Medical therapies should be based upon science. That is a recurrent theme, indeed, the major theme, of this blog. Based on that simple thesis, I’ve spent the last decade examining “unconventional” treatments and evaluating the scientific basis (or, much more usually, the lack of a scientific basis) for various treatments. Yes, I’ve looked at other…

At least half the time, it seems that when I take on a relatively new topic with every intention of just doing one post about it I somehow end up doing more than one post. I don’t know why that is. It just seems to happen. Sometimes, I find something related to but sufficiently different…

Many are the forms of quackery to which autistic children are subjected to. It’s amazing just how many dubious and dangerous treatments (dubbed “biomedical treatments” or “autism biomed”) parents will try in an effort to “recover” their children. Perhaps the most shocking of this quackery that I’ve recently covered is something called “miracle mineral solution”…

Depopulation by vaccines?

After all the years that I’ve been writing about vaccines, the science behind vaccines, and how antivaccinationists twist that science to turn what are arguably the greatest medical achievement of medicine and have saved arguably more lives than any other medical intervention devised by human minds into toxic cesspits of horrific chemical corruption that cause…

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of fun with a rather clueless chiropractor by the name of J.C. Smith (JCS), who decided to take a swipe at an organization with which I’m associated, namely the Institute for Science in Medicine (ISM). It was such an inept attack, filled with misinformation, pseudoscience, and…

During this year’s TAM, I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying Steve Novella and Michael Shermer to debate an antivaccinationist at FreedomFest, a conservative/libertarian confab that was going on in Las Vegas at the same time as TAM. That antivaccinationist turned out to be Dr. Julian Whitaker, a man who champions Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and…

An aromatherapist versus science

Things are getting back to normal here at Casa Orac. it’s always a come down after going to TAM and being able to mingle, argue, and party with people who share my skeptical world view. Yesterday was back to reality, though, at least as much as jet lag and sleep deprivation allowed. Fortunately, Monday is…

Like so many other skeptics, I just returned from TAM, which, despite all the conflict and drama surrounding it this year, actually turned out to be a highly enjoyable experience for myself and most people I talked to. As I’ve been doing the last few years, I joined up with Steve Novella and other proponents…

Disaster at TAM!

I was thinking of doing a quickie post about the silliness that’s erupted in the antivaccine cranksophere over the IACC hearing that I mentioned yesterday. (Of course, a “quickie” post for me is usually only 1,000 words long, as opposed to the usual 2,000.) Then disaster struck!

Here we go again… Yes, I’m off to The Amazing Meeting, a.k.a. TAM, where I’ll commune with a bunch of fellow skeptics, help do a workshop on science-based medicine, and participate in a panel discussion of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine.” Things have been so crazy the last couple of weeks that it turns out…

About a week and a half ago, I took note of a rather unhinged rant by comedian Rob Schneider about vaccines in which he trotted out an antivaccine movement’s greatest hits compendium of pseudoscience, misinformation, and logical fallacies, all in the service of opposing California Bill AB 2109. Antivaccine activists hate this piece of legislation…

An inflated view of one’s importance

Something came up that made me think it would be a good idea to mention a couple of features of the new WordPress template, just in case anyone missed them when I mentioned them before. I apologize to any who might find this repetitive, but there do appear to be some newbies here; so I…

One major point I’ve tried to make over the last few years is that the so-called “individualization” or “personalization” of treatments claimed by practitioners of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) is not “individualization” at all, but rather a sham that appears superficially like individualization but in reality is not. I say that because the “individualization”…

Dr. Google and Mr. Jim

What would we do without the Internet? It’s become so necessary, so pervasive, so utterly all-enveloping that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. Given how much it pervades everything these days, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that the Internet was primarily the domain of universities and large research…

WTF? No more WTF…but that’s OK

A couple of years ago, I gave a talk to a bunch of Chicago skeptics that was co-sponsored by the Chicago Skeptics and the Women Thinking Free Foundation. At the time, I had no idea that the organization was that new, but I did know that I was very impressed by the turnout to my…

It’s rather odd that I’ll be writing two posts in a row having to do with a chiropractor, given that chiropractic is at best an occasional topic on this blog. Certainly, I don’t hesitate to take on chiropractic when the mood strikes me or, more importantly, when I come across some seriously burning stupid coming…

Every so often I come across a post by quacks or supporters of quackery that make me wish that we as skeptics and supporters of science-based medicine actually had the abilities and powers attributed to us. I mean, what’s the good of being accused of running a conspiracy to crush any sort of “unconventional” or…

If there’s a law that I view as a horrible, horrible, law, it’s the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA of 1994). It is a law that blog bud and former ScienceBlogs blogger Dr. Peter Lipson has rightly called a travesty of a mockery of a sham, and, quite frankly, I think he…