Biology

Category archives for Biology

I was going to join PZ Myers, ERV, and Pamela Ronald in helping out an old blogging friend and former host of the Skeptics’ Circle, Karl Mogel of The Inoculated Mind by pimping his other science-based blog Biofortified, which seeks to provide a science- and evidence-based discussion of plant genetics and genetic engineering. Unfortunately, as…

I knew it! I knew there had to be an explanation that young earth creationists could come up with for all that evidence in support of evolution: (WARNING: Borderline NSFW, depending on your job. Definitely offensive to fundamentalists.) It’s so obvious. Why didn’t I think of it before?

As I mentioned on Friday, I’m in Chicago right now attending the American College of Surgeons annual meeting, where I’ll be until Wednesday afternoon, and may not be able to post anything new before Thursday afternoon or Friday. If there are any of my readers who happen to be surgeons attending the meeting, drop me…

The trouble with Deepak Chopra, part II

As I mentioned on Friday, I’m in Chicago right now attending the American College of Surgeons annual meeting, where I’ll be until Wednesday afternoon. If there are any of my readers who happen to be surgeons attending the meeting, drop me a line and maybe we can get together. In the meantime, here’s a blast…

I may have been a bit hard on Richard Dawkins lately, but, if he believed in saints, Dawkins would deserve sainthood for keeping his cool in the face of so much concentrated idiocy coming from Bill O’Reilly: A couple of lovely O’Reilly quotes: “I’m throwing in with Jesus because you guys can’t tell us how…

…and, no, I don’t mean Orac, his last few posts notwithstanding. No, don’t worry, this post is most definitely not about Bill Maher. Rather, it’s how, while doing searches for that craziness, I found even more disturbing craziness. Even though I was disappointed in him on this one issue and even though I often don’t…

Creationism X Holocaust denial = stupidity2

Seventy years ago today, the massed armies of the Third Reich poured across the Polish border, marking the official start of World War II. It would require nearly six years, millions of deaths, and the combined might of the Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, and numerous other nations to bring the war to an…

Bill Maher and “anti-science”

Last week, I expressed my surprise and dismay that the Atheist Alliance International chose Bill Maher for the Richard Dawkins Award. I was dismayed because Maher has championed pseudoscience, including dangerous antivaccine nonsense, germ theory denialism complete with repeating myths about Louis Pasteur supposedly recanting on his deathbed, a hostility towards “Western medicine” and an…

I’ve just returned from Las Vegas after having attended The Amazing Meeting.. Believe it or not, I was even on a panel! While I’m gone, However, my flight was scheduled to arrive very late Sunday night, and I’m still recovering. Consequently, for one more day I’ll be reposting some Classic Insolence from the month of…

Two of the major themes on this blog since the very beginning has been the application of science- and evidence-based medicine to the care of patients and why so much of so-called “complementary and alternative” medicine, as well as fringe movements like the anti-vaccine movement, have little or–more commonly–virtually no science to support their claims…

This is just a brief followup to my post this morning about yesterday’s NYT article on cancer research. An excellent discussion of the NYT article can be found here (and is well worth reading in its entirety). In it, Jim Hu did something I should have done, namely check the CRISP database in addition to…

A couple of weeks ago, NEWSWEEK science columnist Sharon Begley wrote an article entitled From Bench To Bedside: Academia slows the search for cures. It was a rather poorly argued bit of polemic, backed up only with anecdotes that came across as sour grapes by scientists whose grant proposals the NIH had decided not to…

Three years ago, I wrote about what I considered to be a fascinating and promising approach to understanding tumor biology. This method involved understanding that tumors are in general made up of a heterogeneous collection of cells. Using this knowledge, it is possible to apply evolutionary principles to cancer, treating a tumor as, in essence,…

A while back, Mark Hoofnagle coined a term that I like very much: Crank magnetism. To boil it down to its essence, crank magnetism is the phenomenon in which a person who is a crank in one area very frequently tends to be attracted to crank ideas in other, often unrelated areas. I had noticed…

Better late than never, given that DrugMonkey has already been all over this. Unfortunately, there was another serious outbreak of antivaccine idiocy over at HuffPo that I felt I had to deal with before this: Embedded video from CNN Video It was a great day indeed. For far too long, animal rights terrorists have intimidated…

Enough. I don’t know about you, but as a surgeon and a biomedical researcher, I’m fed up with animal rights terrorists who threaten biomedical research with their misinformation about animal research, their terroristic attacks on scientists who engage in such research, and listening to the despicable self-righteous idiot who is a disgrace to surgeons everywhere,…

Homeobox, HOX, regulatin’ genes

This is about as geeky as it gets, but since a couple of the genes I study are homeobox genes, one of which is a HOX gene, one of which is not, I found this hilarious: There you go: All you need to know about homeobox genes if you’re not an expert in them. Hat…

Yet another reason why I love The Onion: Because giant, highly intelligent, acid-spitting crabs pose no danger to society. Of course, certain antivaccine advocates seem to think that this parody has something to do with vaccines, which just goes to show how far down the rabbit hole they’ve gone when they think that a parody…

Animals in research and medical training

Over the weekend, some readers sent me a link to a story that, presumably, they thought would be of interest to me, given that I graduated from the University Michigan Medical School back in the late 1980s. Specifically, it’s a report that U. of M. has halted the use of dogs in its surgical training:…

Unfortunately, as we have been dreading for the last four months or so since her relapse was diagnosed, my mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer in hospice. She died peacefully, with my wife and the rest of her family at her side. As you might expect, I do not much feel like blogging, and even…

Today is Darwin Day. But, more than that, it is a very special Darwin Day in that it is the 200th anniversary of the birth of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This day is meant to celebrate not just the life, but especially the discoveries, of Charles Darwin. His theory of evolution by natural selection, is…

Here’s a cool idea: Blogging the Origin

Here’s a cool idea. Take a newbie, who has never read Charles Darwins’ On the Origin of Species, and have the newbie actually read the book. Then have him blog each chapter. That’s exactly what John Whitfield, London-based freelance science writer, is doing, and ScienceBlogs has him over at Blogging the Origin. Check it out.…

Last week, I gave everybody’s favorite creationist neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Egnor, the gift everyone loves to read but not to receive: the gift of not-so-Respectful Insolence. Christmas or no Christmas, he did ask for it, and far be it from me, given my benevolent nature, not to respond to his plaintiff plea with a resounding…

…more not-so-Respectful Insolence, courtesy not of Orac this time but of other skeptical physician-bloggers! Enjoy: Smackdown, please (yes, Egnor, I’m talking to you) (by blog bud PalMD) Defending science-based medicine (by skeptical neurologist Dr. Steve Novella, who’s been known to spar a bit with Dr. Egnor himself over evolution and neuroscience) Egnorance is Bliss (by…

Was Nazi science good science?

I’ve long had an interest in World War II history. Ever since I was around 11 or 12 years old, a major portion of my reading diet has consisted of books and articles about World War II. Back when I was young, my interest was, as you might expect, primarily the battles. The military history…