Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2012

A response to the father of a Burzynski patient

If there’s one thing that’s difficult about writing about Stanislaw Burzynski, his highly dubious (nay, bogus) antineoplaston cancer therapy, his “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy for dummies,” and his shameless rebranding of an orphan drug as a miracle cure for cancer, it’s trying to balance a righteous anger at what he does to desperate cancer patients…

Fundraising for antivaccine research

If there’s one thing that antivaccine cranks tell us that has a grain of truth in it, it’s to be wary of pharmaceutical companies and their influence. Their mission is, of course, to make profits, and sometimes the search for profits can lead them to do things that are less than savory. Of course, antivaccine…

Antivaccinationists just love the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting (VAERS) database. As in love it to death. As in “can’t get enough of it.” The reason, of course, is that VAERS is a lot like an unmoderated discussion forum or, at best, a minimally moderated forum. Anyone can say anything they like. The reason is that…

Quackademic medicine involving reflexology

Reflexology is quackery. It’s based on magical thinking that views every major organ in the body as somehow mappable to specific points on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands and posits that somehow massaging these areas can have therapeutic effects on the organs in question. Claims regularly made for reflexology…

Stanislaw Burzynski gets off on a technicality

NOTE: Special thanks to Jann Bellamy for advising me regarding the legal aspects of this post. There are times when I fear that I’m writing about the same topic too many times in too brief a period of time. Most commonly, I notice this concern when writing about the lunacy of the anti-vaccine movement. In…

Whenever I blog about atrocities against science like the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), I’m frequently asked how just such an edifice designed to promote pseudoscience could have come to be as a full-fledged center in the National Institutes of Health. The answer is simple and boils down to woo-loving legislators. In…

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of a certain “alternative” cancer doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, PhD, of the infamous Burzynski Clinic. When last we left Burzynski, his propagandist lapdog bootlicker documentary film maker Eric Merola was most unhappy with bloggers like me for having the temerity to tell it like it is when…

As I looked over the ol’ blog last night, I was shocked to realize that I haven’t blogged about the antivaccine movement and its offenses against science in nearly three weeks. That’s right! The last time I did a vaccine post was when I examined a particularly egregiously bad paper from a couple of scientists…

The “success” of NCCAM grants on homeopathy

One of the great benefits of having been a blogger for nearly eight years now is that I now have a rich history of thousands of posts. True, there are the occasional posts that I wish I hadn’t written and even the occasional post that I consider to be not particularly good, but for the…

One characteristic of cranks, quacks, and pseudoscience boosters is a love-hate relationship with science. They desperately crave the respectability and validation that science confers. In the case of medicine, they want to be seen as evidence- and science-based. On the other hand, they hate science because it just won’t given them what they want: Confirmation…

It wasn’t so long ago (less than a week, actually), that I noticed what I referred to as a paean to the quackery known as naturopathy. It appeared—where else?—on that wretched hive of scum and quackery known at The Huffington Post. It was even entitled My Love Affair with Naturopathy. Not unexpectedly, this very article…

Regular readers probably know that I’m into more than just science, skepticism, and promoting science-based medicine (SBM). (If they’re regular readers of my other, not-so-super-secret other project, they might also realize that they’ve seen this post before elsewhere. I had to stay out late for a work-related event and decided to tart it up and…

“Holistic.” How often do we hear that word bandied about by practitioners of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as it’s increasingly called, “integrative medicine” (IM)? Lots. The reason is that CAM/IM practitioners seem to think they own the word. They’ve so utterly co-opted it that it has become meaningless, in the process perverting it.…

Reiki invades an operating room

I’m a scientist, but I’m also a surgeon, which means I’ve spent quite a bit of time in operating rooms. In the OR, teamwork is critical, and each member of the team should be using science- and evidence-based medicine to inform their judgment regarding what to do. If there’s one kind of practitioner in the…

As our great Lord Draconis Zeneca promises, besides the fantasies of filthy lucre in the minds of our opponents, there are other rewards to being one of his shills and minions besides getting to blog to my heart’s content about the pseudoscience and quackery that is “alternative” medicine. One of them is that sometimes I…

If you’re a skeptic and supporter of science-based medicine (SBM), as I am, no doubt there are times when you ask yourself in exasperation, frustration, or curiosity just what the appeal of quackery is to so many people. Why do people fall for this stuff? you no doubt ask yourself at times. Certainly I do…

I’ve been writing about Stanislaw Burzynski again, just yesterday having mentioned a warning letter that the Burzynski Clinic received from the FDA last month. Given Dr. Burzynski’s history of promoting a highly dubious cancer therapy that he calls antineoplastons and administering them to patients under the guise of clinical trials for which he charges patients…

I sometimes think that Stanislaw Burzynski is a lot like the Bloody Mary of folklore, or perhaps Candyman of the famous horror movie—or perhaps like a number of other legends and horror stories—in that all it seems to take for him to show up in the blogosphere again is for me to recite his hame…

It’s no secret that I have little but contempt for radical animal rights activists. I make no apologies for this and, quite frankly, consider my contempt for them well-justified based on their behavior and words. Be it their fetishization of violence against researchers who use animals, their threatening of students in order to frighten them…

Chelation therapy, in my somewhat Insolent opinion, is pure quackery. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common quackeries out there, used by a wide variety of practitioners for a wide variety of ailments blamed on “heavy metal toxicity.” Chelation therapy involves using chemicals that can bind to the metal ions and allow them to…

I hate to end the week on a down note, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s been a while since I’ve written about Stanislaw Burzynski. I’m sure you recall Burzynski. He’s a hero in the alternative medicine world, having been cast as a martyr to The Man (i.e., the FDA and Big Pharma) because of his…

I’d like to publicly thank Dr. John Killen, Jr. I was looking for something to write about yesterday evening, and, just when I was beginning to despair that I might have to do another post on the lunacy that is antivaccine nonsense (even I get tired of taking on antivaccine idiocy, as regular readers know),…