Respectful Insolence

Archives for January, 2013

I’m sure this is a case where someone thought it was a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s an astoundingly bad idea: The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is bringing McCarthy to town March 2 to headline its annual Bust a Move fundraiser as a guest fitness instructor. But the actress, author and…

On Monday of this week, Michael Specter published an article in The New Yorker entitled THE OPERATOR: Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good? In the article, Specter expended considerable verbiage that, as I explained yesterday, was beautiful in how it let Oz reveal through his own words that (1)…

In the beginning, medicine was religion. Indeed, if you look at the history of medicine, you’ll see that the very first physicians were virtually always religious figures in addition to their roles as healers. Indeed, in ancient Egypt, for example, the professions of priest and healer were one, and most medicine involved incantations, invocations of…

The weekend was busy, and I was working on grants, which meant that I could only come up with one post of Orac-style length and depth. Sadly, it wasn’t for this blog. Fortunately, C0nc0rdance came to the rescue with a must-watch video about our old friend Stanislaw Burzynski. He’s the guy who claims to treat…

Three years ago, the influenza season was a really big deal. The reason, of course, is that the 2009-2010 flu season was dominated by fears of the H1N1 strain, so much so that it was a rare flu season that there were two recommended vaccines, one for the originally expected strains of flu and one…

Beauty and the antivaccine beast

The last couple of days have been very busy, as you might have guessed from my brief (for me) post on Tuesday and my—shall we say?—appropriation of a post to use for yesterday. Today’s going to be the same, but for more pleasant reasons than having had to go out to dinner with a visiting…

Does anyone “recover” from autism?

Way back in the day, when I was a newbie at countering the mass of hysterical pseudoscience that is the antivaccine movement, particularly the myth that vaccines cause autism, a blogger by the ‘nym of Prometheus taught me that autism and autism spectrum disorders (particularly by antivaccinationists and believers in the quackery known as “autism…

While I’m using my blog as an announcement platform today, I would be remiss not to mention that tomorrow is Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s birthday, and the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients are still raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in order to try to get Dr. Burzynski to do something good for…

Time really flies. It’s hard to believe that the first national skeptical conference of the season is NECSS 2013 (The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism), hosted by the New York City Skeptics and the New England Skeptical Society, is fast approaching. In fact, it’s only a little more than two months away. The conference…

As I contemplated how I wanted to start the blogging week, I thought that I should probably again plug Bob Blaskiewicz’s campaign to provide Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, the Houston doctor who for the last 35 years has been treating patients diagnosed with advanced stage and terminal cancers with something he calls antineoplastons (ANPs), with a…

Even though I’ve been at this skeptical blogging thing, particularly about “alternative” medicine, so long (eight years now) that I think I’ve seen it all, that nothing the quacks do can shock me any more. It’s a foolish hubris, I admit, but, I hope, an understandable one after over eight years of blogging multiple times…

I sense another disturbance in the antivaccine Force. Yes, I realize that it was just a couple of days ago that I sensed a previous disturbance rippling through the antivaccine Force. That’s when antivaccinationists brought David Kirby out of mothballs from whatever journalistic slime pit he’s currently residing in to use every trick at his…

This is going to be uncharacteristically short, for me that is. I sometimes listen to NPR as I drive home from work, and I happened to be doing just that yesterday evening when I heard a story about the new Institute of Medicine report on vaccines and the vaccine schedule. (Stay tuned for my post…

More credulous reporting on placebo effects

Now that Trine Tsouderos no longer works for the Chicago Tribune, there aren’t that many reliable generalist medical/science reporters around any more. For example, here in the U.S. there’s Marilyn Marchionne at the AP, Gina Kolata of the New York Times, and then there’s Sharon Begley, who used to be at Newsweek but is now…

I sense a disturbance in the antivaccine Force, which is, of course, by definition the Dark Side. Whenever I sense such a disturbance, there are a number of possible reactions that it provokes in me. One such reaction is alarm, as when antivaccine activists say something that is just clever enough to sound plausible enough…

Eric Merola doesn’t much like me. Actually, no one who is an apologist for Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a.k.a. “Stan the Man,” who over 30 years ago unleashed antineoplastons on unsuspecting cancer patients, much likes me. It’s not surprising. As you might recall, antineoplastons are chemicals that Burzynski found in the urine of cancer patients and…

…you’ve received some well-deserved recognition! I can’t think of a more deserving up-and-coming antivaccine activist to be inducted into this most “prestigious” of groups of American Loons! I’ve written about Stagliano’s science- and logic-challenged posts many times over the last few years, but it’s good to see that others have noticed as well. From the…

Everything Everything gives you cancer Everything Everything gives you cancer There’s no cure, there’s no answer Everything gives you cancer – Joe Jackson I don’t write about nutrition as much as other topics because I’m not as knowledgeable about it as I am about, say, cancer, vaccines, and what constitutes good medical evidence. (I am,…

About a year and a half ago, I applied a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence to a a clueless article about the the “triumph” of New Age medicine. The article channeled the worst fallacies of apologists for alternative medicine. Basically, its whole idea appeared to be that, even if most of “complementary and alternative medicine”…

Remember Dr. Sin Hang Lee? If you don’t remember Lee, maybe you remember a while back, when the antivaccine group SaneVax touted findings that it claimed were devastating to Gardasil. Specifically, they claimed that there was vaccine-derived human papilloma virus DNA in Gardasi. Ring any bells yet? And it turns out that the guy who…

If there’s one thing about “alternative” medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or “integrative medicine” that’s always puzzled me, it’s just how gullible some practitioners must think their clients are. In some cases, they might know their customers every bit as well as a car salesman knows his clients or an author knows his readers,…

Today’s post will be relatively brief (for an Orac post, that is). The reason is that it’s some very sad news that depresses me greatly. It’s also because I don’t want to distract too much from the announcement I’d like to highlight. About a month and a half ago, around the same time that Stanislaw…

It is an indisputable axiom that everything tastes better with bacon. Well, almost everything. As much as I love bacon, whenever I watch one of those cooking competition shows on the Food Network, like Iron Chef America, in which the secret ingredient is bacon, I can’t figure out how putting bacon in ice cream works.…

CAM practitioners versus preventive medicine

If there’s one claim that practitioners of “holistic” medicine frequently make, it’s that “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” or whatever the term du jour for the combining of quackery with science-based medicine is these days is allegedly so much better than “conventional” or “allopathic” medicine (or whatever disparaging term “holistic practitioners” prefer)…

Dr. Oz versus science—again

That Dr. Mehmet Oz uses his show to promote quackery of the vilest sort is no longer in any doubt. I was reminded yet again of this last week when I caught a rerun of one of his shows from earlier this season, when he gazed in wonder at the tired old cold reading schtick…