Respectful Insolence

Archives for September, 2013

Tomorrow, as mandated by the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA, often called just the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, or “Obamacare”), the government-maintained health insurance exchanges will open for business (that is, assuming the likely government shutdown doesn’t stop them temporarily). This post will be basically a followup to a post I…

One of the major differences between science-based medicine (SBM) and alternative medicine—or, as they call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine”—is that SBM is always questioning itself, always reevaluating its practices. Related to this difference is that SBM does change its practice, discarding treatments that don’t work and incorporating those…

It’s rare that my readers send me something that makes me laugh out loud, but this post did. I’ll give you a bit of background first, though. Lacking the science to back up their dangerous pseudoscience, antivaccine warriors tend to resort very early to ad hominem attacks. Apparently they figure that if they can discredit…

Does anybody remember the Canary Party? As I described two and a half years ago when I first became aware of it, the Canary Party is a weird mutant hybrid of antivaccinationists convinced that there are “toxins” in vaccines that are making all our children autistic, “health freedom” activists, and, more recently, Tea Party activists.…

Antivaccine warriors hate science because it does not support their fear and loathing of vaccines. At the same time, they want to use it to justify that very same fear and loathing of vaccines. However, as much as antivaccinationists hate scientific studies that fail to find a link between vaccines and autism or vaccine additives…

Cancer quackery promoted on Fox News

I’ve always known that FOX News has a tendency to go for the sensationalistic story. I’ve also known that, given Rupert Murdoch’s political leanings, politically motivated pseudoscience like anthropogenic global warming denialism is the order of the day on FOX. I’ve even noticed a disturbing tendency on FOX to promote antivaccine views, for example, when…

A spectacular failure of a state medical board

One of the greatest mysteries I’ve encountered since I started following the case of Stanislaw Burzynski is how he’s managed to keep practicing for 36 years after he first began treating patients with his concoction of peptides purportedly isolated from blood and urine that he dubbed “antineoplastons” (ANPs) because of their alleged ability to inhibit…

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle…When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser.…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about antivaccinationists, it’s that they’re all about the double standards. For instance, to them if Paul Offit makes money off of his rotavirus vaccine, he’s a pharma shill, a hopelessly compromised “biostitute” (as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called him) or “Dr. Proffit“, and therefore to be dismissed on that…

I love this video. There’s really little else to say other than the tagline: “Vaccines: And now my kids don’t die.” Vaccines truly are a wonder drug. You know it’s good if Orac can’t construct a 3,000 word post around it and decides just to let the video speak for itself:

One of the fun things about blogging is that I can often follow how various issues develop and, more importantly, insert my opinion into the issue. As bizarre as it seems to me even almost nine years after starting this blog that anyone keeps reading what I have to lay down (and it still does…

Let me begin this post by offering my sincere condolences to Fabio Lanzoni. His sister died about a month ago. As you might recall, she had ovarian cancer She was unfortunate, and she suffered and ultimately, apparently, died of her disease at far too young an age. If that were all there were to the…

Naturopathy is quackery. There, I said it. Actually, I’ve said it many times before, because it is. The problem with naturopathy, of course, is that it is so diffuse and encompasses so many different forms of quackery that it’s hard to categorize. Basically, it’s anything that can be portrayed as “natural,” be it traditional Chinese…

My goodness, when it rains, it pours, to use a cliche. (And I’m not about anything if not throwing in the odd cliche in my writing from time to time.) Just yesterday, I discussed the resurrection of an antivaccine zombie meme, namely the claim that Maurice Hilleman admitted that the polio vaccine that was contaminated…

The Internet has produced a revolution with respect to information. Now, people anywhere, any time, can find almost any information that they want, as long as they have a connection to the global network and aren’t unfortunate enough to live in a country that heavily censors the Internet connections coming in. In addition, anyone any…

Get taller, get bigger, get tighter, get it all!

Last week was kind of a downer. Oh, sure, I had some fun with choice idiocy by Mike Adams. its posts about murder and attempted murder of autistic teens and the whitewashing of the murder of Alex Spourdalakis by her mother and caregiver, which led to antivaccinationists complaining to my cancer center again. So the…

It occurs to me that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Truth be told, I had been hoping not to write about him for a while, and I had been actually succeeding. The last time I took notice of him was about a month ago, when his propagandist Eric…

Yesterday, I did a bit of navel gazing about how cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists have a penchant for attacking skeptics at work in order to try to intimidate them into silence. Reading the post over again, I realize that it came across perhaps more whiny than it should have, but I guess I was just…

Antivaccinationists, quacks, and apologists for antivaccinationists and quacks (but I repeat myself) seem to have an illusion that I’m just swimming in pharma lucre, that I sit in my underwear grinding out magnum opus-worthy after magnum opus-worthy blog posts, all so that I can rake in the cash hand over fist, lead a life of…

About a week ago, I wrote about something that really irritates me, namely that most despicable of antivaccine claims, which is that shaken baby syndrome is somehow a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury. It is a claim that, as far as I can recall, began when, for reasons that have continued to elude me more than…

I don’t know how I missed this one, given that it’s over two weeks old, but I did. Since yesterday was a holiday in the US and I had done a long post the day before because something that happened on Friday had really irritated me, I figured I might as well take a stab…

The damaged done by the antivaccine movement is primarily in how it frightens parents out of vaccinating using classic denialist tactics of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). Indeed, as has been pointed out many times before, antivaccinationists are often proud of their success in discouraging parents from vaccinating, with one leader of the antivaccine…