Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2013

A little more than a week ago, I took note of Dr. Paul Offit’s new book, Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine and a story in which he was featured in USA Today about the nonsense that is alternative medicine. The news story coincided with the release of Paul…

Antivaccinationists endanger public health. They deny to high heaven that that is what they do, but they are deluding themselves. Their fear mongering about vaccines, in which vaccines in general or specific ingredients are portrayed as causing autism and a wide variety of chronic diseases, despite study after study failing to find even a whiff…

I write about cancer quackery a lot, and I’ve been at it for over a decade. I first cut my teeth on Usenet, delving into that cesspit of unreason known as misc.health. alternative, where my eyes were opened to just the sorts of pseudoscientific and unscientific cancer treatments patients are enticed into trying, sometimes in…

Once again, real life, mainly the eternal search (i.e., groveling) for grant money to keep my lab going, interferes with unreal life. Three grant applications due the same week will do that. Hopefully this will be the last time for a while, at least until unreal life might interfere with unreal life in a couple…

Back in time in medicine

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to three grant deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in November 2010 and be assured that I’ll be back…

We skeptical bloggers try our best to educate our readers about science and critical thinking, in the process explaining why various forms of pseudoscience, quackery, and cranker are, well, pseudoscience, quackery, and crankery. Unfortunately, even the most heavy duty, high traffic skeptical blogs don’t have anywhere near the reach of the mass media, in particular…

Every so often, I like to try to get into the mind of an antivaccine crank, a quack, or crank of another variety, because understanding what makes cranks tick (at least, as much as I can given that I’m not one) can be potentially very useful in my work trying to counter them. On the…

Do you believe in magic in medicine?

Sometimes, between blogging, a demanding day (and night) job doing surgery and science, and everything else, I embarrass myself. Sure, sometimes I embarrass myself by saying something that, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. More often, I embarrass myself by letting things slide that I shouldn’t. For instance, when friends send me a prepublication copy…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about MMS. You remember MMS, don’t you? It’s an abbreviation for “miracle mineral solution,” a solution first promoted by a man who is inaptly named Jim Humble. Basically, as I’ve described in multiple blog posts, MMS is bleach, specifically chlorine dioxide (ClO2). I first became acutely aware of…

I never used to write much about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) before. I still don’t do it that often. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t been on my radar very much. That seems to be changing, however. It’s not because I went seeking this issue out (although I must admit that I first became interested…

I’ve been trying to lay off the blogging on the weekend for a long time now, and, for the most part, I’ve been successful, as I’m sure regular readers will have noticed. However, sometimes I just can’t help but take a few minutes to note particularly entertaining or important developments. This particular development falls into…

Sometimes, in the course of blogging, I come across a story that I don’t know what to make of. Sometimes, it’s a quack or a crank taking a seemingly science-based position. Sometimes it’s something out of the ordinary. Other times, it’s a story that’s just weird, such that I strongly suspect that something else is…

For a long time, going back almost to the beginning of this blog eight and a half years ago, I’ve referred to the “bait and switch” of alternative medicine. What I mean by that is the manner in which advocates of alternative medicine—or, as they like to call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine”…

What’s Keith Kloor got that I haven’t got? What’s Laura Helmuth got that I haven’t got? Why won’t Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. call me to complain about all the not-so-Respectful Insolence I’ve directed his way over the years. I mean, seriously. I spend nearly eight years criticizing his antivaccine crank views, and these two get…

It’s just one more cut on the road to the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. I’m referring, unfortunately, to last week’s development in the state of Colorado. Specifically, I’m referring to the Colorado legislature’s truly boneheaded decision to license naturopaths, thus giving the imprimatur of the state to quackery and, in essence, legalizing a…

Just what I need: Cellular Feng Shui!

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. (Yes, it’s grant season.) So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from 2008 and be assured that I’ll be back tomorrow. Remember, if you’ve…

I want my ANP! [NOTE ADDENDUM]

[NOTE ADDENDUM.] It’s been a (mostly) all Stanislaw Burzynski week. I had been thinking of finishing up with a post about something completely unrelated; that is, until people started sending me a link. Also, because I was out last night with my wife in celebration of our wedding anniversary, I didn’t have time for anything…

It was a busy day yesterday, and I had less time than usual to attend to the blog, but that’s OK. This random thought popped into my head after spending the last three days writing about Stanislaw Burzynski, first reviewing Eric Merola’s hagiography and infomercial about him, then seeing how well the BBC did in…

I realize that I’ve been focusing on Stanislaw Burzynski the last couple of days, but it’s just been one of those weeks. Between the release of Eric Merola’s latest paean to the Brave Maverick Doctor and BBC Panorama’s report on Burzynski and his activities, it’s been an eventful week. My review of the second Burzynski…

Stanislaw Burzynski versus the BBC

After yesterday’s epic deconstruction of the latest propaganda-fest from everybody’s favorite Leni Riefenstahl without the talent, Eric Merola, on his most admired subject, “brave maverick doctor” Stanislaw Burzynski, I needed something science-based to cleanse the rancid taste of intelligence-insulting nonsense from my mind. Through a quirk of fate that couldn’t have worked out better if…

Well, I’ve finally seen it, and it was even worse than I had feared. One might even say that watching it was like repeatedly smacking my head into a brick wall. It felt so good when it finally stopped. I’m referring, of course, to Eric Merola’s latest cinematic “effort. Ever since it was revealed that…