Quackery

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Quackery

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on the story of 10 year old Amish girl in northeast Ohio with cancer whose parents, alarmed by the side effects of chemotherapy, had decided to stop the chemotherapy and treat their daughter with folk medicine instead. As a result, alarmed at the likelihood that Sarah Hershberger would…

The other day, I wrote about how the George Washington University School of Public Health screwed up big time (there’s really no other way to put it that doesn’t involve liberal use of the f-bomb) by allowing vaccine-autism quack Mark Geier to assist a graduate student in epidemiology (who shall not be named, even though…

Most, if not virtually all, of what is now referred to as “traditional Chinese medicine” is quackery. I realize that it’s considered “intolerant” and not politically correct to say that in these days of “integrative medicine” departments infiltrating academic medical centers like so much kudzu enveloping a telephone pole, but I don’t care. I’m supposed…

NOTE: There is a followup to this post here. Last night, I had a function related to my department to attend, which means that I didn’t get home until after 9 PM. However, two blog posts have come to my attention that demand a response from me because they involve an old “friend” of the…

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the last (nearly) nine years blogging about pseudocience, quackery, and conspiracy theories is that a person who believes in one form of woo has a tendency to believe in other forms of woo. You’ve probably noticed it too. I’ve lost count of the examples that I’ve seen…

I was doing my usual browsing of the web yesterday in search of topics for today’s post when I came across an excellent article by a colleague and friend of mine, Dr. Rachael Dunlop, who nailed it in a post entitled Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media. In the article,…

Over the years, I’ve not infrequently noted that there is a serious disconnect between what most people would think of as “natural” and what is considered “natural” in the world of “complementary and alternative medicine,” or, as I like to call it, CAMworld. I started thinking about this again after yesterday’s post about Jessica Ainscough’s…

This being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all, stories about breast cancer are frequently sent my way. This one is depressing and sad, mainly because it’s the story of death from breast cancer. From what I can gather, it is the story of a death from quackery, a death that didn’t have to occur. Even…

I like to think that one of the more important public services I provide is my deconstructions of alternative cancer cure testimonials. After all, one of the most powerful marketing tools cancer quacks have in their arsenal is a collection of stories of “real patients” with cancer who used their nostrums and are still alive…

If there’s one thing that the antivaccine fringe wants above all else, it’s legitimacy. They crave it almost above all else. They want to be taken seriously from a scientific standpoint. Unfortunately, what they fail to realize is that to be taken seriously from a scientific standpoint you really need to demonstrate that you actually…

One type of story that I’ve fairly frequently commented upon since the very beginning of this blog is the story of children or teens with cancer whose parents decide to pursue quackery instead of effective therapy or children with other serious diseases whose parents reject effective therapy for them. Think way, way back to Katie…

Here we go with another one. Three weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that the week of October 7 to 14 was declared by our very own United States Senate to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, which I declared unilaterally through my power as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (for what that’s worth) to be…

Naturopaths and vaccines

I realize I’ve been remiss. After all, three or four weeks ago, I pointed out that the week of October 7 to 14, this very week, was going to be Quackery Week. Well, it wasn’t actually I who first declared this week quackery week. It was actually our very own U.s. Senate, which, as I…

When it comes to Twitter, I run hot and cold. I’ll frequently go weeks when I barely touch my Twitter account, and nothing gets posted there except automatic Tweets linking to my new posts. Then something will happen, and suddenly I’ll post 20 Tweets in a day. Rinse, lather, repeat. I guess I’m just too…

Ever since I first started writing about antivaccine conspiracy theorists (but I repeat myself) back in 2005, it’s always been assumed by many who combat this particularly pernicious and dangerous form of quackery that antivaccine views tend to be more predominant on the political left compared to the political right. I used to believe that…

More hilariously off-base genetics denialism

Things have been a bit too serious around here lately. After all, yesterday I wrote about obesity and chemotherapy, while the day before that I did an even lengthier than usual deconstruction of some claims by anti-Obamacare activists, which seemed particularly appropriate to me given that a group of wingnuts has just succeeded in mostly…

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…

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…

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…