Entertainment/culture

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Entertainment/culture

And they say I’m in it for the money?

One of the most common criticisms launched at defenders of science-based medicine by believers in pseudoscience and quackery is that we are “pharma shills.” The assumption, or so it would seem, is that no one would defend science, reason, and medicine unless he were paid off by pharmaceutical, chemical, and/or agricultural companies. The further assumption…

It’s been three days since America’s quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, had his posterior handed to him by a wily old prosecutor who is now a Senator, Claire McCaskill. The beauty of it is that, not only was Dr. Oz called, in essence, a liar to his face and not only was he called out for…

I almost feel sorry for “America’s Quack,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Well, not really. Remember last week when I took note of an upcoming Senate hearing, specifically a hearing on weight loss scams in front of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, which is chaired by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). At the time,…

I’ve never made it much of a secret that I don’t much like “America’s doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Just enter his name into the search box of this blog, and you’ll find quite a few posts in which I deconstruct some bit of quackery that Dr. Oz has promoted on his show, be it his…

A couple of Sundays ago (Easter, to be precise), my wife and I were sitting around yesterday reading the Sunday papers and perusing the Internet (as is frequently our wont on Sunday mornings), when I heard a contemptuous harrumph coming from her direction. She then pointed me to an article in our local newspaper entitled…

I’m not really happy to have to write this post, but a blogger’s got to do what a blogger’s got to do. The reason is that Katie Couric has done something requires—nay, demands—a heapin’ helpin’ of Orac’s characteristic Respectful Insolence. Why should I give the proverbial rodent’s posterior about who gets the Insolence today? The…

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…

Sometimes, as I sit down to write a blog post, I have no idea what I’m going to write about at first. Fortunately, it’s rare that I truly have zero idea what I’m going to write about. Usually, there are options, and I don’t know which one I’m going to pick. Sometimes, however, something happens…

I was out late last night for a function related to my work. As a result, by the time I got home I was too tired to blog. (I know, I know, how can a Tarial-cell powered megacomputer ever get tired?) However, I did have enough time this morning before work to act on a…

Remember The Refusers? They’re the antivaccine band with the recycled classic rock sound lacking a shred of originality or chops that flooded the blogosphere with their crazy in the form of Clash wanna be songs like Vaccine Gestapo, which inspired Surly Amy to make me a Vaccine Gestapo pendant to wear at TAM a couple…

Dr. Oz promotes quackery…again

Note: Today’s a travel day. I’m driving home from the AACR. As a result, I decided to post something that appeared elsewhere, doing a quick edit to make it a bit more “insolent.” I realize that since the show I discuss aired an episode during which he featured a psychic medium in a segment called…

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting imbibing the latest and greatest that science-based medicine has to offer against cancer. The AACR is mainly a basic science and translational meeting; so a lot of this stuff is seriously preclinical. That’s what makes it interesting, though. In any case, my…

Say it ain’t so, Amy Farrah Fowler!

Like many geeks, I enjoy The Big Bang Theory. I know, I know, you’re shocked to hear that, but it’s true. I’ve seen nearly every episode since the first season. Over the last couple of seasons, the male-centric show has been considerably improved by its move towards more of an ensemble cast that includes two…

Here we go again. In fact, I think I’m starting to see a pattern here among antivaccine organizations. You might remember that in November 2010, the antivaccine group SafeMinds bought ad space in AMC Theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, one of the heaviest moviegoing time periods of the year. This use of pre-movie time…

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…

I’ve heard it said (actually, I’ve said it myself) that if you don’t have the science and evidence to back up your point of view, in order to persuade someone, make a movie. At least, this seems to be the philosophy of a number of cranks who have produced movies promoting pseudoscience over the last…

Holy anti-vaccine radio hormones, Batman!

You might have noticed that I’m a bit late today. There’s a reason, and I bet you know what it is. Yep, yet another grant deadline. As usual, that means I didn’t have time to produce my usual dose of not-so-Respectful Insolence. That doesn’t mean I can’t do some good, though, as yesterday the Bat…

Since I was still recovering from TAM9 last night and crashed on the couch at around 9 PM, I didn’t have time for one of my usual logorrheic posts. I did, however, have time to take note of an update on a story I started covering six years ago. One of the greatest things about…

Epic rap battles: ZDoggMD versus Dr. Oz

It had to be done. With all the quackery and pseudoscience promoted by TV doctors like Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and “The Doctors,” sooner or later someone had to choose a manner other than blogging to call them out. ZDoggMD has done just that, particularly dissing Dr. Oz. Why? Why not. Because: Why dis Dr.…

Well, well, well, well, well. Look who’s coming to blight my hometown, and look who’s doing it hot on the heels of my having directed some not-so-Respectful Insolence at him. Yes, it’s Deepak Chopra himself showing up on Saturday to bring his woo to one of the places that least needs it, downtown Detroit: Excitement…

You know, even though I haven’t lived in Cleveland since 1996, sometimes I kind of miss Ohio. Here’s the sort of reason why, via Balloon Juice: I thought it was a hoax at first, but it isn’t. Just check out the the official website of the Governor of the State of Ohio if you don’t…

Remember Deepak Chopra? He’s the physician (yes, physician) whose grasp on real science is so tenuous and whose ability to abuse multiple scientific disciplines, ranging from quantum physics to astronomy to genetics to medicine, simultaneously in the service of woo is so amazing that a few years ago I once coined a term representing the…

Whenever I call an anti-vaccine activist “anti-vaccine,” frequently there will be an indignant response along the lines of either, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m pro-safe vaccine” or “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m a vaccine safety activist.” (This latter retort is a favorite of Barbara Loe Fisher.) Another favorite retort is, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m for ‘informed consent’”…

Detoxifying fashionably

How many times have I read or heard from believers in “alternative” medicine that some disease or other is caused by “toxins”? I honestly can’t remember, but in alt-world, no matter what the disease or condition under discussion is, there’s a good chance that sooner or later it will be linked to “toxins.” It doesn’t…

I and others have often written about how “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) represent a “bait and switch.” The basic concept is that CAM/IM has co-opted several ostensibly science-based modalities, such as diet, exercise, relaxation, and the like. These are used as the bait by representing them as being somehow “alternative”…