Respectful Insolence

Archives for July, 2013

I don’t read atheist blogs much, if at all. The reason is that they just don’t interest me anymore. Sure, like so many, I went through a phase where I was quite enamored of Richard Dawkins’ brand of atheism. Then I read The God Delusion (well, most of it, anyway; I didn’t bother to read…

You might find this hard to believe, but sometimes I find the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism to be useful. Obviously, I don’t find it useful in the same way that its editors think it is useful. Those paragons of the arrogance of ignorance and fetishism of hatred of science-based medicine don’t actually teach…

CAM and scientific terms

One of the great things about this blog is the community that has built itself up over the last eight and a half years of this blog’s existence. It’s a truly amazing an humbling thing to me. I can’t believe that such an incredibly smart and talented bunch of advocates, gadflies, and quackbusters. True, I’ve…

Like yesterday’s post, this will be a post that references our favorite dubious cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski but is not primarily about him. However, given the nature of the subject matter, it is impossible not to think of Burzynski, as comparisons are inevitable. Whereas yesterday all we were dealing with was a rather amusing “award”…

This is a post that is about Stanislaw Burzynski but not about Stanislaw Burzynski. Obviously, regular readers are more than aware who Stanislaw Burzynski is, but even though I just blogged about him a few days ago, I still feel obligated to recount briefly who he is, for the benefit of readers who might have…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two years since I first noticed that a board certification in quackery was in the works and appeared to be nearly ready to go. I’m referring, of course, to Andrew Weil’s effort to create a board certification in so-called “integrative medicine,” better known to those of us…

Mike Adams (a.k.a. the “Health Ranger”) has been a regular blog topic for several years now. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that, among supporters of quackery, no one quite brings the crazy home the way Mike Adams does, be it writing antivaccine rap songs, abusing dead celebrities by…

Time really does fly. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a week since I gave my big (to me, at least) talk at TAM. It’s equally hard to believe that it’s been more than a week since I had the honor of being kicked out of Penn Jillette’s Private Rock & Roll Bacon…

I promised myself that I was done writing about Jenny McCarthy this week. Two posts, a lengthy one and a brief one, lamenting her being hired for a national daytime talk show was, in my view, enough. Unfortunately, something’s happened that makes me want to make like Arnold Schwarzenegger in that famous scene from the…

I’ve often (perhaps too often) referred to homeopathy as The One Quackery To Rule Them All. If not homeopathy, what other quackery would rule? Homeopathy is, after all, the perfect quackery. Most of its most “potent” remedies are nothing more than water, because homeopaths believe that the more a solution is serially diluted (with succussion,…

Sometimes, the mainstream press gets it (mostly) right, and Jake Tapper actually got it right in a report on CNN yesterday about Jenny McCarthy’s having been hired by ABC as a regular on The View. Although I don’t like how Jake Tapper describes Generation Rescue as an “autism organization” (it is clearly an antivaccine group),…

Believe it or not, I’m going to do Eric Merola (who doesn’t particularly like me, to the point of thinking, apparently, that I’m a white supremacist who doesn’t like evidence but does like to eat puppies) a favor. Having been away at TAM, somehow I missed this. Well, actually, I didn’t miss it, but somehow…

Sometimes, as I sit down to write a blog post, I have no idea what I’m going to write about at first. Fortunately, it’s rare that I truly have zero idea what I’m going to write about. Usually, there are options, and I don’t know which one I’m going to pick. Sometimes, however, something happens…

As I write this, I’m winging my way home from TAM, crammed uncomfortably—very uncomfortably—in a window seat in steerage—I mean, coach). I had thought of simply recounting the adventures of the contingent of skeptics with whom I’m associated who did make it out to TAM to give talks at workshops and the main stage and…

Greetings, everyone. I realize that I, your host—is that anything like, “I, Tim Bolen”?—have been remiss in not providing the expected daily 2,000 word magnum opus. However, I have been busy plotting with our Lord and Master, Lord Draconis Zeneca. Our plans for world domination and the utter destruction of all “natural” cures are percolating…

Well, I’m here at TAM. I had a great time last night meeting up with old friends, although, thanks to the time difference between Eastern time and Las Vegas, combined with my having to give a talk today, I was forced to retire at an early 11 AM (which, of course, felt to me like…

Like Steve, I’m off to The Amazing Meeting today. I don’t know how much I’ll be posting, but, as Han Solo so famously said, “Hey, it’s me.” I’m sure I won’t be able to resist. In any case, I’ll be taking part in the Science-Based Medicine workshop tomorrow, and, for the first time ever, I’ll…

I don’t know why I’m interested in this, to the point where I’m on my sixth post about it since February. I sometimes even ask myself that very question, because taking an admittedly somewhat perverse interest in the internecine feuds among antivaccinationists. Maybe it’s a bit of schadenfreude. Maybe it’s just me. Whatever the reason,…

Since I’ve been on a bit of a roll with respect to acupuncture over the last week or so, I thought I’d just round out the trilogy with one more post. One myth that acupuncture apologists like to promote relentlessly is that acupuncture is completely harmless, that it almost never causes complications or problems. While…

TAM is fast approaching, which means one thing (at least this year). I need to get my Plexiglass blinky posterior in gear in order to have my talks together in time. I spent part of yesterday doing that, but, unfortunately, I have to work today in order to help to make up for the clinic…

Here we go again. Oh, well. These things come in waves, and sometimes I have theme weeks. Right now, this week appears to be developing into a week of quackademic medicine involving dubious acupuncture studies. Yesterday, it was acupuncture for lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, a study coming right about what is rapidly becoming the…

Lymphedema is a complication of breast cancer surgery that all surgeons who do breast surgery detest. Patients, of course, detest it even more. The limb swelling that is the primary symptom of lymphedema comes about because surgery on the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm) that is part and parcel of surgery…

There’s a general rule that whenever you see two enemies fighting with each other that you should generally just let them. Of course, some might argue, as Gandalf did about Saruman and Sauron, that the winner of the fight would emerge stronger and free of doubt, making him harder to conquer. Fortunately, I don’t think…