Bioethics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Bioethics

I’ve been thinking about the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. You remember the Holy Hand Grenade, don’t you? It was in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where a cleric goes on and on about how “three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt…

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I was simultaneously alarmed and amused at how someone named Marc Stephens, who claims (although presents no evidence for his claim) that he represents the rogue physician and “researcher” Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, had taken to threatening skeptical bloggers who criticize Dr. Burzynski’s highly dubious cancer therapy, a therapy Burzynski dubbed…

ORAC NOTE: Work kept me out late last night going out to dinner with a visiting professor. Fortunately, it was actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, it kept me from cooking up a heapin’ helpin’ of the Insolence, either Respectful or not-so-Respectful, that my readers crave. So instead, here’s a repost from elsewhere. I didn’t think I…

It’s always frightening when lawyers delve into the realm of medicine. It’s even worse when pre-law students and political science majors do the same. Such was the thought running through my mind when I came across the most recent issue of the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law. The result is what I would most…

I admire Brian Deer. I really do. He’s put up with incredible amounts of abuse and gone to amazing lengths to unmask the vaccine quack Andrew Wakefield, the man whose fraudulent case series published in The Lancet thirteen years ago launched a thousand quack autism remedies and, worst of all, contributed to a scare over…

What did the poor Haitians ever do to deserve this? Think about it. A year and a half ago, they suffered through an enormous earthquake that will take them decades, maybe even a lifetime, to recover from fully; that is, if they ever do recover from it fully. Since then, they’ve received massive amounts of…

A couple of weeks ago, the anti-vaccine movement took a swing for the fences and, as usual, made a mighty whiff that produced a breeze easily felt in the bleachers. In brief, a crew of anti-vaccine lawyers named headed by Mary Holland, co-author of Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten…

Recently, there have been grumblings in the ranks of Orac-philes. All is not entirely well. Or, at least, all is less well than usual. Even more unusual, I feel your pain. I really do. We’ve been enduring a stretch when the anti-vaccine movement has been unusually busy for an unusually long time, leading vaccines to…

Yesterday, I learned of how animal rights terrorists are targeting college students as the “soft underbelly of the vivisection movement.” As an example of their new strategy, these thugs gloated over the “recantation” by a Florida Atlantic University student named Alena Rodriguez, who, because of her e-mail to a Negotiation Is Over editor named Ghazal…

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for self-proclaimed “animal rights” activists, the ones who are more than willing to terrorize scientists doing research to understand disease better and thereby develop better treatments and even cures. None of this means that I am some sort of “animal abuser” (to steal the animal rights jargon) or…

Yesterday, I did a post about ethics in human experimentation. The reason I mention that is because in the comments, a commenter named Paul pointed out an editorial of the sort of variety that we frequently see whenever there is a revelation of misdeeds in human research and a response to that article that is…

Progress in science-based medicine depends upon human experimentation. Scientists can do the most fantastic translational research in the world, starting with elegant hypotheses, tested through in vitro and biochemical experiments, after which they are tested in animals. They can understand disease mechanisms to the individual amino acid level in a protein or nucleotide in a…

Judge Orders Surgery For Teen Wrestler: MyFoxPHILLY.com I have to be honest here. I don’t know for sure what I think of the latest developments in the Mazeratti Mitchell case. As you may recall from a couple of days ago, Mazeratti Mitchell is a 16 year old wrestler in Philadelphia who suffered a spinal cord…

Luc Montagnier: The Nobel disease strikes again

They call it the Nobel disease. Linus Pauling is the prototypical example. A brilliant chemist who won two Nobel Prizes, one for chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize, in his later years Pauling became convinced that high dose vitamin C was a highly effective treatment for cancer and the common cold and, expanding upon that,…

One of the great things about having declared Vaccine Awareness Week is that it gives me a convenient excuse to revisit topics and blog posts that I had meant to address but that somehow didn’t make the cut the first time around. This is the sort of thing that happens fairly frequently in blogging, where…

If there’s one thing that burns me about so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) clinical trials, it’s how unethical many of them are. This is particularly true for trials that test modalities that, on the basic science grounds alone, can be dismissed as so highly implausible and with such a low prior probability of success…

A critical aspect of both evidence-based medicine (EBM) and science-based medicine (SBM) is the randomized clinical trial. Ideally, particularly for conditions with a large subjective component in symptomatology, the trial should be randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. As Kimball Atwood pointed out just last week (me too), in EBM, scientific prior probability tends to be discounted…

About four months ago, the skeptical blogosphere was abuzz about a tragic story. The story was that of a Belgian man named Rom Houben, who had been unfortunate enough to have been in a motor vehicle collision and suffered serious brain injury. That brain injury left him in a comatose state, which had been diagnosed…

Last month, in response to some truly despicable activities by animal rights zealots, I wrote a series of posts about how animal rights activists target even researchers’ children and appear to fetishize violence. This simply continued a string of posts that I’ve done over the years, the longest (and, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best) deconstructs…

I hadn’t really planned on writing anymore about animal rights extremists. The topic seemed as though it had played out over the few days. But those who’ve followed this blog know that I’m nothing if not tenacious when I grab onto a topic, and sometimes certain topics demand several posts. More importantly, over the last…

I spent a lot of time writing about animal rights extremists who have threatened to harass the children of an investigator whom they view as a “vivisector” and how they fetishize the very violence they decry. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that a fellow ScienceBlogger, namely Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries, appears…

Animal rights: Fetishizing violence?

As much as I hate to bring more attention than I did a couple of days ago to the truly evil animal rights extremist website run by a truly despicable animal rights terrorist wannabe Camille Marino, a website whose very title, Negotiation Is Over (NIO) tells you everything you need to know about the attitude…

I have to admit, this one made me chuckle. In an earlier post today, in which I expressed my outrage at animal rights terrorists targeting an investigator’s children for harassment at their school, I asked the following question: That reminds me: Where were these animal rights loons when “Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys…

Remember Dario Ringach? He’s the scientist who has endured a prolonged campaign of harassment because of his animal research. I first heard of him in 2006, when, after a campaign of threatening phone calls, people frightening his children, and demonstrations in front of his home, gave up doing primate research. Terrorism and intimidation worked, but…

I must admit that I never saw it coming. At least, I never saw it coming this fast and this dramatically. After all, this is a saga that has been going on for twelve solid years now, and it’s an investigation that has been going on at least since 2004. I’m referring, of course, to…