Politics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Politics

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of Jenny McCarthy. To put it mildly, I don’t think that much of her, particularly her flaming stupid when it comes to her promotion of dangerous antivaccine nonsense. To her, vaccines are chock full of “toxins” and all sorts of evil humors that will turn your child autistic…

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing failures of the medical system. Usually, such discussions occur in the context of how unscientific practices and even outright quackery have managed to infiltrate what should be science=based medicine (SBM) in the form of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine,” in which…

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…

What’s Keith Kloor got that I haven’t got? What’s Laura Helmuth got that I haven’t got? Why won’t Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. call me to complain about all the not-so-Respectful Insolence I’ve directed his way over the years. I mean, seriously. I spend nearly eight years criticizing his antivaccine crank views, and these two get…

It’s just one more cut on the road to the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. I’m referring, unfortunately, to last week’s development in the state of Colorado. Specifically, I’m referring to the Colorado legislature’s truly boneheaded decision to license naturopaths, thus giving the imprimatur of the state to quackery and, in essence, legalizing a…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is despicable. I just wanted to get that off my chest. (Do clear Plexiglass boxes full of multicolored blinky multicolored lights even have chests?) The reason for my outburst will become painfully apparent all too soon, but I just had to say that. There’s also one other thing that I just…

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…

Stem cells are magical, mystical things that can’t be explained. At least, if you listen to what docs and “practitioners” who run stem cell clinics in various parts of the world, usually where regulation is lax and money from First World clientele is much sought after, that’s what you could easily come to believe. Unfortunately,…

Politics versus scientific peer review

In the United States, the federal government has long had a prominent role in funding science research. Be it the $30 billion a year or so that funds the National Institutes of Health or the $5 or $6 billion a year allotted to the National Science Foundation, the government funds a lot of basic and…

Here we go again. Every time I think I can get away from this topic for a while, I get sucked back in. Indeed, it seems that hardly a week can go by when I don’t find myself pulled inexorably back to this horrible, horrible clinic and what I consider to be the abuses of…

If I’ve pointed it out once, I’ve pointed it out a thousand times. Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost every quackery you can think of. Be it homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, applied kinesiology, anthroposophical medicine, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you…

Quacks despise science-based medicine in general, but there are certain specialties that they detest more than others. Arguably, the specialty most attacked by quacks is psychiatry. Many are the reasons, some legitimate, many not. In particular, Scientologists despise psychiatry, even going so far as to maintain a “museum” dedicated to psychiatry that they charmingly call…

One of the oldest topics I’ve dealt with on this blog, a topic that I’ve been writing about on and off (unfortunately, mostly on) about the antivaccine movement. Ever since I first discovered about a decade ago that, yes, there are people ignorant enough about science and medicine that they actually think that vaccines are…

There’s a phenomenon known as off-label prescribing. Basically, to prescribe something off-label is to prescribe it for an indication that is not FDA-approved but that is supported by considerable evidence. For example, it could involve using an FDA-approved drug for an indication that is not within its approval, for an unapproved age range (such as…

Whenever I blog about atrocities against science like the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), I’m frequently asked how just such an edifice designed to promote pseudoscience could have come to be as a full-fledged center in the National Institutes of Health. The answer is simple and boils down to woo-loving legislators. In…

Regular readers probably know that I’m into more than just science, skepticism, and promoting science-based medicine (SBM). (If they’re regular readers of my other, not-so-super-secret other project, they might also realize that they’ve seen this post before elsewhere. I had to stay out late for a work-related event and decided to tart it up and…

Given how many bloggers have already weighed in on the story of an Italian court convicting geologists of manslaughter for failing to issue adequate earthquake warnings before an earthquake that devastated the town of L’Aquila, including Steve Novella, Daniela at Skepchicks, Sharon Hill at Skeptic, and even Instapundit, you’d think that even Orac wouldn’t have…

The 2012 election campaign is in full swing, and, for better or worse, health care is one of the major defining issues of the election. How can it not be, given the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also colloquially known as “Obamacare,” was one of the Obama administration’s major accomplishments…

One of the hazards of standing up for science and science-based medicine (and against cranks) is that some of these cranks will try to contact you at work. That’s why I have a policy about blog-related e-mails sent to me work address, and that policy is that I usually ignore them, whereas I might actually…

About a week ago, I wrote one of my usual meandering posts in which I pointed out the similarities between two different anti-science movements. On the one hand, there are anti-vaccinationists, who fetishize the naturalistic fallacy (i.e., the belief that anything “natural” is better and that anything human made or altered by science is dangerous)…

I suppose it’s possible that there might be doubt that Rob Schneider has become a complete and total antivaccine wingnut. Possible, but not reasonable. After all, he’s shown his cards and risen to prominence with his attacks on vaccine science made as part of his effort to oppose the passage of California Bill AB 2109,…

I’ve been blogging a lot about California Bill AB 2109. Basically, it’s a bill that was proposed as a means of addressing the increasing problem of non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates because religious and philosophical exemptions are too easy to obtain. Boiled down to its essence, AB 2109 would require parents to see a…

Every so often, I think it’s worthwhile to try to use my powers (such as they are) for good. Actually, I like to think that I’m using my powers for good each and every day, but obviously there are some who disagree. In general, these people are cranks. We’re talking quacks, pseudoscientists, antivaccinationists, and various…

One of the overarching issues, if not the overarching issue that makes so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM)—or, as it’s now more commonly called, “integrative medicine”—so problematic is prior plausibility. It’s also one of the most difficult to explain to the lay public, because to someone not trained in science it can sound like not…

If there’s one thing that practitioners of pseudoscientific medicine crave more than anything else, it’s respectability. Believing that science-based medicine is corrupt and that their woo is as good or better, they delude themselves into thinking that they can function as well or better than primary care doctors practice and therefore should be given the…