Respectful Insolence

Archives for November, 2013

Well, Thanksgiving’s over, and the orgy of consumerism known as Black Friday is in full swing. Personally, I have to work, at least part of the day, and I don’t go anywhere near the stores on Black Friday anyway. I haven’t for years. So we might as well briefly discuss a bit of science today.…

A man on TV is selling me a miracle cure that will keep me young forever. It’s called Androgel…for treating something called Low T, a pharmaceutical company–recognized condition affecting millions of men with low testosterone, previously known as getting older. —The Colbert Report, December 2012 And now for something completely different…sort of. Thanksgiving is tomorrow,…

As I noted a few days ago, the antivaccine fringe suffered a major setback in the House of Representatives when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, canceled a previously promised hearing about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, even after it had reached the stage of representatives…

Acupuncture is quackery. This cannot be repeated often enough, and, in fact, over the last several months I’ve developed a tendency to start all my posts on acupuncture by making sure to remind everyone that it is quackery. The reasons are many-fold. For one thing, the concepts behind acupuncture are based on the claim that…

I know I have readers who are neuroscientists. However, do I have readers who are currently attending the 4th Quadrennial Meeting of the Society of Neuro-Oncology in San Francisco going on this weekend? Why do I ask? Given the Regular readers might suspect that it has to do something with a man who has become…

Well, it’s done. The server migration should be finished. I was out and about last night giving a talk; so I’ll only have time for a relatively brief post (for me, at least). Once again, things happen while I’m otherwise…indisposed. This time around, it’s something that warms the cockles of what antivaccinationists perceive to be…

ScienceBlogs server migration in three hours…

And now for something completely different. Well, not exactly. It’s just that I have an announcement to make that is for your benefit. Our (usually) benevolent overlords have informed us that they are going to be moving ScienceBlogs over to a new server beginning sometime after midnight tonight: ScienceBlogs will be moving to a new…

While I’ve been all tied up paying attention to the developments in the Stanislaw Burzynski case, it figures that President Obama would go and do something like nominating the next Surgeon General. Normally, this is not such a big deal, because there really hasn’t been a Surgeon General who has really been particularly well-known or…

I was very pleased last Friday, very pleased indeed. Given the normal subject matter of this blog, in which we face a seemingly unrelenting infiltration of pseudoscience and quackery into even the most hallowed halls of academic medicine, against which we seem to be fighting a mostly losing battle, having an opportunity to see such…

I’ve made no secret of how much I despise Stanislaw Burzynski, the self-proclaimed cancer doctor and medical researcher who has been treating patients with an unproven, unapproved chemotherapeutic agent since 1977, seemingly slithering around, under, over, and past all attempts to investigate him and shut him down. Along the way, Burzynski has become a hero…

No, no, no! Fifteen times, no!

A couple of weeks ago, I noted a new trend among the antivaccine glitterati, or maybe I should refer to it as a new trope. That particular trope is to refer to anyone who has the temerity to stand up for science, support vaccines, and criticize antivaccinationists like the crew at the antivaccine crank blog…

I had a busy time yesterday and last night and was just too tired to blog seriously last night. So I’m afraid there’s no epic Orac-ian screed/rant/brilliance/insightful analysis today. (Fear not. I expect something worth tearing into later this week, however.) So, in the absence of new Insolent brilliance, let us all take a moment…

Deepak Chopra continues his woo-ful whining

Last week, everyone’s favorite woo-meister, the man whose woo is so strong that I even coined a term for it way back in the early mists of time (at least as far as this blog is concerned), was woo-fully whining about all those allegedly nasty skeptics on Wikipedia. Yes, Deepak Chopra was clutching his pearls…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Stanislaw Burzynski, the Houston cancer doctor who inexplicably has been permitted to continue to administer an unproven cancer treatment to children with deadly brain cancers for nearly 37 years now. Beginning in 1977, when he left Baylor College of Medicine and opened up the Burzynski Clinic, Burzynski…

Why we fight for patients

Never let it be said that Orac can’t match Mark Crislip in shameless promotion. The world might indeed need more Mark Crislip™, but I like to think that it needs a bit more of his friends, too. So, in that spirit, here are the videos, recently released by the James Randi Educational Foundation, of Bob…

The other day, I pointed out that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was following in the footsteps of the former chair of the committee, likely the quackiest, most antivaccine Congressman who ever served in the House of Representatives. Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN). I guess that since…

About a year ago, I became aware of the latest celebrity antivaccinationist with a penchant for saying truly stupid things and thus making an even bigger fool of himself than he usually does. I’m referring to Rob “makin’ copies” Schneider, who most recently has been making waves for narrating a misinformation-packed “viral” video about the…

People who follow the antivaccine movement might remember that around this time last year, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), a particularly antiscience legislator who appears to be trying to take up the antivaccine mantle left behind when Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) retired at the end of the last session of Congress. Given that he now chairs…

Sarah Hershberger and Zija MLM

Like many cases of children with cancer whose parents tried to deny them curative therapy in the past that I’ve written about, I’ve become intensely interested in the case of 10-year-old Amish girl with lymphoblastic lymphoma. Her name is Sarah Hershberg, and, in a rare instance of the state actually stepping in to protect the…

This one’s too brief to be worth a full Orac-ian deconstruction, but it’s so juicy that I can’t resist mentioning. Regular readers know that Mike Adams, the all-purpose crank who founded NaturalNews.com, is a frequent target topic on this blog. The reason is obvious. Whether it be his support of quackery, his rants against vaccines,…

It occurs to me that things have been perhaps overly serious here at the ol’ blog for the last couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I think I done good lately, if I do say so myself. However, the constant drumbeat of quackery and depressing stories takes its toll after a while. I need…

Here we go again. Over the last month or so, I’ve been intermittently writing about a very sad case, a case that reminds me of too many cases that have come before, such as Abraham Cherrix, Kate Wernecke, Daniel Hauser, and Jacob Stieler. All of these are stories of children who were diagnosed with highly…

“Bullying” over vaccines?

There’s been a post over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism that I had meant to address when it first broke its head through the surface of the stupid to spew more stupid. Fortunately, nothing much was going on in the blogosphere that compelled me; so this was a good time to revisit…