History

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for History

About five weeks ago a month ago, I finally wrote the post I had been promising to write for months before about medical marijuana. At the time, I also promised that there would be follow-up posts. Like Dug the Dog seeing a squirrel, I kept running into other topics that kept me from revisiting the…

I hadn’t really planned on writing again about everyone’s favorite conspiracy theorist and promoter of quackery, Mike Adams, at least not so soon after the last time I did it, which was only last week after Adams appeared on Dr. Oz’s daytime television show to push his “laboratory.” Adams, as you might recall, goes by…

A week ago or so, I was perusing my Google Alerts, along with various blogs and news websites, looking for something to blog about, when I noticed a disturbance in the pseudoscience Force. It’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed many times before from a wide variety of cranks and quacks, but it all boils down to…

I don’t read atheist blogs much, if at all. The reason is that they just don’t interest me anymore. Sure, like so many, I went through a phase where I was quite enamored of Richard Dawkins’ brand of atheism. Then I read The God Delusion (well, most of it, anyway; I didn’t bother to read…

Time really does fly. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a week since I gave my big (to me, at least) talk at TAM. It’s equally hard to believe that it’s been more than a week since I had the honor of being kicked out of Penn Jillette’s Private Rock & Roll Bacon…

Back in time in medicine

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to three grant deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in November 2010 and be assured that I’ll be back…

I’ve never been able to figure it out. Antivaccine zealots seem to have an intense love of Nazi analogies and comparing those supporting science-based medicine to Nazis. While from a strictly nasty point of view, I can sort of understand the utility of such analogies to demonize one’s opponents. After all, to political extremists of…

Chalk one up for the forces of anti-science, quackery, and pseudoscience. The citizens of Portland, Oregon just handed them a huge victory the other day when they once again rejected water fluoridation in a referendum: Fluoride supporters, it appeared, had everything going for them. Five Portland city commissioners had voted to add fluoride to the…

It’s very clear that many antivaccinationists hate autistic children. The language they use to describe them makes that very clear. Such children are “damaged” (by vaccines, of course); the parents’ real children were “stolen” from them (by vaccines); they are “toxic” (from vaccines); the “light left their eyes” (due to vaccines). Autism is an “epidemic,”…

There are many fallacies that undergird alternative medicine, which evolved into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), and for which the preferred term among its advocates is now “integrative medicine,” meant to imply the “best of both worlds.” If I had to pick one fallacy that rules above all among proponents of CAM/IM, it would have…

I really hate to write this post, but I feel compelled. The reason I hate to write it is because someone I admire screwed up. The reason I feel compelled is because of my longstanding interest in World War II and Holocaust history, not to mention my longtime interest in refuting the lies of Holocaust…

About a week and a half ago, I took note of a rather unhinged rant by comedian Rob Schneider about vaccines in which he trotted out an antivaccine movement’s greatest hits compendium of pseudoscience, misinformation, and logical fallacies, all in the service of opposing California Bill AB 2109. Antivaccine activists hate this piece of legislation…

Remember California Bill AB 2109? I’ve written about it at least a couple of times before. In fact, for some reason, the comment section of this post on AB 2109 suddenly come alive again a couple of days ago, with antivaccinationists infiltrating it, much to the annoyance of my regular commenters. It turns out that…

And now for something completely different. Except that it isn’t really. I say that it isn’t really different because, although this post will seem to be about politics, in reality it will be about a common topic on this blog: Anti-science. And where is this anti-science? Sadly, it’s in the platform of a major party…

The health freedom fighters attack

If there’s one thing shared in common among nearly all advocates of pseudoscience, it is the belief that they know The Truth. More importantly, they know The Truth, and The Powers That Be don’t want you to know The Truth and will do almost anything to makes sure that The Truth stays secret. Think about…

The campaign against the HPV vaccine

You knew it was inevitable. I’m just surprised it took this long. Then, via Stuff and Nonsense, I find this video: Extra points for using a different scene from Downfall than the usual Downfall parodies use. It also reminds me. There’s a paper on just this topic that might require a bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence…

Echoes of Semmelweis

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve been a physician for 23 years now and a fully trained surgeon for over 15 years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time, it’s most doctors really, really don’t like to be told what to do. I don’t know if part of it comes from…

Ten years ago today

Once again we come to another September 11. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since that horrible day. It’s become my tradition over the last few years to post this video as a reminder of what happened that day. This video was shot by Bob and Bri, who in 2001 lived in…

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…

Holocaust denial versus free speech

It’s grant crunch time, as the submission deadline for revised R01s is July 5. However, in a classic example of how electronic filing has actually made things more difficult, the grant has to be done and at the university grant office a week before the deadline if it is to be uploaded in time. So,…

It’s grant crunch time, as the submission deadline for revised R01s is July 5. However, in a classic example of how electronic filing has actually made things more difficult, the grant has to be done and at the university grant office a week before the deadline if it is to be uploaded in time. So,…

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…

Grammar Nazis

Sometimes I complain on this blog about grammar Nazis. I had no idea at the time that grammar Nazis might actually be a real phenomenon. Of course, I’d be dead because my unedited material all too frequently contains multiple run-on sentences. True, I almost always find them later when I reread my posts and then…

These are two videos that appeared to have disappeared from YouTube for a while, thanks to takedown notices from the distributors of the film. Fortunately, they appear to be back, which is pure awesomeness. Unfortunately, because I’m busy putting the final touches on a grant today, the first one resonates in a rather eerie way.…

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…