Respectful Insolence

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Here I am, sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in sunny San Diego, as I get ready to head over to the 2014 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The sun is rising over the mountains, and the only sound I hear is that of running water in the swimming…

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,…

Last Wednesday, I took note of an “old friend” and (thankfully) soon-to-be ex-Representative from Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, organized quackery’s best friend in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dan Burton. Specifically, I noted that Rep. Burton appeared to be having his one last antivaccine hurrah in the form of a hearing about the “autism epidemic”…

Compare and contrast

I’ve spent nearly seven years and an enormous amount of verbiage writing about the difference between pseudoscience and science, between cranks and skeptics, between denialists and scientists. Along the way, I’ve identified a number of factors common to cranks and denialists. For example, two of the most prominent characteristics are a tendency to cherry pick…

Picking up one’s marbles and going home

One of the greatest gifts anyone can give is to donate his body to science after death. Such anatomic gifts contribute to the training of medical students, residents, and other medical professionals as well as being used for research that can contribute to the advancement of medical science. One of the things that makes an…

AThe the nonsense from the anti-vaccine movement on the issue of Poul Thorenson, the Danish scientist indicted for defrauding the CDC of approximately $1 million in grant money continues apace… Just yesterday I pointed out how the anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism were busily trying to poison the well over the Poul Thorsen case,…

The race to flee Andrew Wakefield

What does it take to get an advocate of pseudoscience to change his or her mind? Many are the times I’ve asked myself that question. Over the years, I’ve covered the gamut of techniques, going from what some might call “militant” or even insulting to being as reasoned and calm as can be–and probably everywhere…

I am Bonnie Offit!

I hadn’t planned on beating on that wretched hive of anti-vaccine scum and quackery, Age of Autism, again today so soon after having done so not just once but twice yesterday. I really hadn’t. After all, AoA is the crank gift that keeps on giving (and has kept on giving for three years now), and…

Remember Boyd Haley? He’s the Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky whose formerly respectable career tanked because he fell into pseudoscience. For whatever reason, a while back he became enamored first of dental amalgam quackery to the point where he became involved in organizations like Consumers for…

Even more hysterical than Age of Autism?

Remember how I had a little fun with Katie Wright’s overheated rhetoric about Kathleen Sebelius’ request to the press that they not give equal weight to anti-vaccine cranks when they report about issues of vaccines? Her exact words, if you will recall, were: There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for…

It’s rare that I encounter a bit of nonsense that allows me to deploy two of my favorite rhetorical devices. First, it lets me pull out one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies, in which the immortal line, “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” was first uttered. Second, it lets me repeat…

The anti-vaccine movement is nothing if not plastic. It “evolves” very rapidly in response to selective pressures applied to it in the form of science refuting its key beliefs. For instance, when multiple studies looking at the MMR vaccine and autism failed to confirm the myth that the MMR causes autism or “autistic enterocolitis,” most…

My last word on RFK, Jr…for now

Seen on the discussion boards of that other repository of antivaccinationist wingnuttery (other than The Huffington Post), Mothering.com, a commenter by the ‘nym of naupakamama exults over the possible appointment of antivaccine wingnut Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to run the Environmental Protection Agency: We could have a strong anti-vaccine voice leading the EPA! I am…

Has it really been two years? Amazingly, it has indeed. On June 16, 2005, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. deposited the biggest, steamingest, drippiest (not to mention stinkiest) turd I had as yet seen in my then young blogging career, specifically an article published simultaneously by both Salon.com and Rolling Stone entitled Deadly Immunity. Along with…