Politics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Politics

Ever since I first started writing about antivaccine conspiracy theorists (but I repeat myself) back in 2005, it’s always been assumed by many who combat this particularly pernicious and dangerous form of quackery that antivaccine views tend to be more predominant on the political left compared to the political right. I used to believe that…

Tomorrow, as mandated by the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA, often called just the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, or “Obamacare”), the government-maintained health insurance exchanges will open for business (that is, assuming the likely government shutdown doesn’t stop them temporarily). This post will be basically a followup to a post I…

It’s rare that my readers send me something that makes me laugh out loud, but this post did. I’ll give you a bit of background first, though. Lacking the science to back up their dangerous pseudoscience, antivaccine warriors tend to resort very early to ad hominem attacks. Apparently they figure that if they can discredit…

Does anybody remember the Canary Party? As I described two and a half years ago when I first became aware of it, the Canary Party is a weird mutant hybrid of antivaccinationists convinced that there are “toxins” in vaccines that are making all our children autistic, “health freedom” activists, and, more recently, Tea Party activists.…

Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle…When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser.…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about antivaccinationists, it’s that they’re all about the double standards. For instance, to them if Paul Offit makes money off of his rotavirus vaccine, he’s a pharma shill, a hopelessly compromised “biostitute” (as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called him) or “Dr. Proffit“, and therefore to be dismissed on that…

Naturopathy is quackery. There, I said it. Actually, I’ve said it many times before, because it is. The problem with naturopathy, of course, is that it is so diffuse and encompasses so many different forms of quackery that it’s hard to categorize. Basically, it’s anything that can be portrayed as “natural,” be it traditional Chinese…

My goodness, when it rains, it pours, to use a cliche. (And I’m not about anything if not throwing in the odd cliche in my writing from time to time.) Just yesterday, I discussed the resurrection of an antivaccine zombie meme, namely the claim that Maurice Hilleman admitted that the polio vaccine that was contaminated…

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about a local oncologist who was arrested by the FBI for massive Medicare fraud in which physician involved diagnosed cancers that weren’t there, gave chemotherapy to patients who either didn’t have cancer or were in remission and thus didn’t need it, and had developed a self-referral…

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…