Politics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Politics

Ever since the latest outbreak of Ebola viral disease in West Africa, there has been panic that’s metastasized to the US, even though the risk of a major outbreak here is very low. Unfortunately, whenever there’s panic over a disease, whatever the disease is, there soon follows quackery in response to that panic, from quacks…

It is as I had feared. I must do one more post on a story that I’ve been blogging about for one solid week now. Hopefully after this, I will be able to move on to other topics last week, but after spending this whole week writing just about this, I figured, “What the heck?…

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. I never really necessarily believed it, but yesterday was a day that might well serve as anecdotal evidence to support that adage. Indeed, yesterday was perfectly bookended by two major developments in the case of the so-called “CDC whistleblower,” the senior CDC scientist who, if you believe…

Occasionally, there are issues that come to my attention that need more than just one blog post to cover. One such issue popped up last week, and it’s one that’s kept you all very engaged, with the comment count on the original post rapidly approaching 200. I’m referring, of course, to the alleged CDC “whistleblower”…

I hadn’t expected to write about this topic again so soon, but then I didn’t expect a major newspaper to have written such a boneheaded editorial about it. In a way, I hate to write this post, because USA TODAY did great things once. There, Liz Szabo wrote the single best science-based report on cancer…

There are times when supporting science-based health policy and opposing health policies that sound compassionate but are not are easily portrayed as though I’m opposing mom, apple pie, and the American flag. One such type of misguided policy that I’ve opposed is a category of bills that have been finding their way into state legislatures…

Every so often I come across something in the world of woo that catches my attention because it’s so completely batshit loony that it demands my attention, either for the sheer delusion on display or for the extreme cleverness with which the pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are woven together. No, this time, I’m not talking…

There’s a point I feel that I have have to make briefly as I begin this post. Basically, this might look familiar, but given that I was at TAM Wednesday through Sunday, I didn’t have time to produce two separate posts, and this is important enough to be distributed as widely as possible. In any…

Over the years I’ve been studying science versus pseudoscience, medicine vs. quackery, reason versus crankery, I’ve noticed one thing. The cranks, pseudoscientists, and quacks of the world have a hard time dealing with legitimate criticism. Now, I know I sometimes get a bit—shall we say?—frisky with my criticisms. OK, obnoxious. I have, however, mellowed considerably…

Our regularly scheduled post will go live later this morning. In the meantime, this is a public service announcement…with GUITAR! (Oh, wait.) As you recall, last week, the FDA inexplicably decided to lift the partial clinical hold on Stanislaw Burzynski’s bogus clinical trials of antineoplastons, which he’s used since the 1990s as a pretext to…

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost three years since I first started taking an interest in the Houston cancer doctor and Polish expat Stanislaw Burzynski. Three long years, but that’s less than one-twelfth the time that Burzynski has been actually been administering an unproven cancer treatment known as antineoplastons (ANPs), a…

One of the benefits of blogging is that it’s broadened my horizons. Although the vast majority of what I write about happens in my very own country, the United States, nonetheless I frequently learn about things happening in many other countries, some that I wouldn’t necessarily pay a lot of attention to. But when something…

Not surprisingly, being a guy who leans mildly left, I like The Daily Show. Jon Stewart and his writers are incredibly adept at skewering all manner of bovine excrement, be it political, scientific, or otherwise. In particular, the way Stewart and company skewered the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) for its promotion of…

Yesterday, the CDC held a Twitter party for National Infant Immunization Week, which is, conveniently enough, this week. Our old “friend” Ginger Taylor tried to call in her squadron of flying antivaccine monkeys to fling poo at what should have been a celebration of the success of vaccines; so I sent up the Bat Signal,…

Naturopathy is a pseudodiscipline that resembles a Chinese menu of quackery, in which naturopaths select one from column A and two from column B, with each column containing a list of modalities ranging from pure quackery like homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine to mundane modalities that naturopaths embrace, “rebrand” as “alternative,” and woo-ify and oversell…

I was torn about what to blog about today. There were lots of things floating around that caught my eye and appear worthy of of a little taste of Insolence, either Respectful or not-so-Respectful, so much so that I couldn’t decide. None of them really stuck out. Then I saw this news story pop up…

This might look somewhat familiar to people, but I have a good excuse. Yesterday was Easter, and, although by no stretch of the imagination can I be accused of being particularly religious, we still did have family to visit. Add to that the fact that I have a two talks to give today that as…

Here I am, sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in sunny San Diego, as I get ready to head over to the 2014 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The sun is rising over the mountains, and the only sound I hear is that of running water in the swimming…

As regular readers know, I was quite happy that Skeptical Inquirer (SI) agreed to publish articles by Bob Blaskiewicz and myself about the highly dubious cancer doctor in Houston known as Stanislaw Burzynski. Indeed, Bob and I have been busily doing our best to promote it, appearing on various podcasts, including Point of Inquiry and,…

As I just mentioned a week ago, there used to be a time when I dreaded Autism Awareness Month, which begins tomorrow. The reason was simple. Several years ago to perhaps as recently as three years ago, I could always count on a flurry of stories about autism towards the end of March and the…

As I sat down to write this bit of Insolence, I had at least two ideas for what I thought would be informative, entertaining, and timely posts. I also didn’t want to have to write about Stanislaw Burzynski again after having just done so on Friday, having to note that the FDA caved, granting compassionate…

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” I know I’ve used that quote before several times over the 9+ years that I’ve been blogging. These days, I probably use it most frequently when it comes to the topic of Stanislaw Burzynski. Every time I think that I can give the…

I realize that some of my readers will chide me for saying this, but I usually expect better of Reason. Although I sometimes have a tendency to be a bit—shall we say?—Insolent about libertarians when they pass from a reasonable defense of civil liberties into an Ayn Rand-inspired fantasy world in which the market cures…

Attacks on the FDA on Mercola.com

I forgot if I ever mentioned that I have an article out in the current episode of Skeptical Inquirer about Stanislaw Burzynski. I call it a “primer for skeptics,” because that’s what it is. So, if you subscribe to SI (Skeptical Inquirer, not Sports Illustrated), read. If not, get thee to a newsstand before it’s…

One of my favorite shows right now is True Detective, an HBO show in which two cops pursue a serial killer over the course of over 16 years. Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, it’s an amazingly creepy show, and McConaughey is amazing at playing his character, Rustin Cohle. I’m sad that the show will…