Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2012

I guess this is in effect part two of yesterday’s post. Regular daily readers (and you are a regular daily reader, aren’t you?) will remember that yesterday I commented on the recent uptick in anti-Gardasil vaccine rhetoric coming from the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism and other sources, in the process deconstructing speculation masquerading…

Well, I’m home. AFter spending a fun-filled three days in Nashville at CSICon communing with fellow skeptics and trying to awaken them to the problem of quackademic medicine, I made it back home. There were plenty of attendees who didn’t make it back on time because flights to the East Coast were being cancelled left…

There’s a saying in medicine that we frequently hear when a newer, more effective therapy supplants an older therapy or an existing therapy is shown not to be as efficacious as was once thought, and it has to do about how long it takes for the use of that therapy to decline. The saying basically…

The “toxin gambit,” resurrected

Well, I’m here. That’s right. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m at CSICon. As is the case when I’m at conferences, be they skeptical conferences or professional conferences, it’s hard to predict the blogging time available. It could be a lot; it could be a little. Or it could be none. (Well, obviously it’s not none,…

Instead of the usual logorrheic (usually) well-thought out Insolence you’ve come to expect every day, Instead, you’ll hvae an announcement and a couple of random thoughts. The reasons are multiple. First, today’s a travel day. I’m heading off to Nashville to attend and speak at CSICon. My topic? What do you think it will be?…

Given how many bloggers have already weighed in on the story of an Italian court convicting geologists of manslaughter for failing to issue adequate earthquake warnings before an earthquake that devastated the town of L’Aquila, including Steve Novella, Daniela at Skepchicks, Sharon Hill at Skeptic, and even Instapundit, you’d think that even Orac wouldn’t have…

The “no debate” debate, briefly revisited

Just yesterday, I commented on a typical whine from the antivaccine crew at the crank blog Age of Autism in which Dan Olmsted became indignant over being reminded that science does not support his belief that vaccines cause autism, that they don’t work, and that they are dangerous. Olmsted, clueless as ever about science, viewed…

The “no debate” debate

I like the word “manufactroversy.” It’s a lovely made up word that combines the two words “manufactured controversy” and is, to boil it down, defined as the art of creating a controversy where none really exists. In the case of science, it’s the concerted effort to make it seem as though there is a legitimate…

The 2012 election campaign is in full swing, and, for better or worse, health care is one of the major defining issues of the election. How can it not be, given the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also colloquially known as “Obamacare,” was one of the Obama administration’s major accomplishments…

As much as I write about the infiltration of quackademic medicine into medical academia, there is one particular area that is being increasingly invaded by such quackery. It’s an area that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, although anyone who’s read The Men Who Stare at Goats might not be so shocked. Yes, I’m referring to the…

I take back all those nice things I used to say about Nancy Snyderman. There’s no doubt that she “gets it” about vaccines and, for the most part, even though she does occasionally go overboard, and her understanding of the issues involved in the use of various vaccines is anything but nuanced. I used to…

Legal thuggery threatens another skeptic

I hate to admit it, but I’ve known about this story since Friday night, when I received a couple of e-mails about it. I had meant to mention it here either over the weekend or on Monday, but I’m a bit like Dug the Dog in the movie Up. Think of it this way: Squirrel!…

In a week and a half, Harriet Hall, Kimball Atwood, and I will be joining Eugenie C. Scott at CSICon to do a session entitled Teaching Pseudoscience in Medical (and Other) Schools. As you might imagine, we will be discussing the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia and medical training, a phenomenon I frequently refer…

And now for something completely different… Well, not really. It’s a little different, but regular readers will soon recognize it as a variation on the same old theme. One topic I’ve been writing about since the very beginning of this blog is the alternative medicine cancer cure testimonial, or, more specifically, the breast cancer cure…

Another year, another Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While most people who have either been touched by breast cancer or who have a professional interest in it, the significance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is that it is a time, well, to increase awareness and to promote breast cancer research. There is another side to Breast…

One of the hazards of standing up for science and science-based medicine (and against cranks) is that some of these cranks will try to contact you at work. That’s why I have a policy about blog-related e-mails sent to me work address, and that policy is that I usually ignore them, whereas I might actually…

On Friday, I wrote about the sort of case that outrages me every bit as much as cases of cancer quackery that lead to the death of patients. I’m referring to the case of Amanda Sadowsky, a four month old infant who died after suffering traumatic brain injuries that appeared consistent with shaken baby syndrome…

Remember Alan Yurko? To remind those of you not familiar with this particularly odious excuse for a human being, I’ll briefly relate who he is and why he’s so vile. Alan Yurko is a baby killer, pure and simple. He shook his 10-week-old son to death. Normally, such a pitiful excuse for a human being…

Here we go again. A week ago, I tried to exercise my blogging powers (such as they are) for some good by rallying my readers to appear at rallies organized by the antivaccine movement against California Bill AB 2109. Fortunately, ultimately Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill, although he did try to insert weasel words…

I’ve frequently discussed the difference between what has come to be known as “evidence-based medicine” (EBM) and “science-based medicine” (SBM). Basically, SBM is EBM in which prior probability and plausibility of proposed medical and surgical therapies are considered along with clinical trial evidence. I don’t plan on getting into that specific issue in detail right…

I’m having a hard time keeping myself from laughing uproariously. I’m talking gut-wrenching belly laughs, the kind that are so intense that you have trouble catching your breath between paroxysms of laughter, the kind that threaten to force the contents of your stomach to go the wrong way, up and out. What, you may ask,…

About a week ago, I wrote one of my usual meandering posts in which I pointed out the similarities between two different anti-science movements. On the one hand, there are anti-vaccinationists, who fetishize the naturalistic fallacy (i.e., the belief that anything “natural” is better and that anything human made or altered by science is dangerous)…

I suppose it’s possible that there might be doubt that Rob Schneider has become a complete and total antivaccine wingnut. Possible, but not reasonable. After all, he’s shown his cards and risen to prominence with his attacks on vaccine science made as part of his effort to oppose the passage of California Bill AB 2109,…

I’ve been blogging a lot about California Bill AB 2109. Basically, it’s a bill that was proposed as a means of addressing the increasing problem of non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates because religious and philosophical exemptions are too easy to obtain. Boiled down to its essence, AB 2109 would require parents to see a…