Politics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Politics

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…

It’s been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Well, not really, although it has been a while since I’ve discussed Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Specifically, I last dedicated a post to him following the death of one of his famous patients, Billie Bainbridge, who incidentally had become…

“Overselling” mammography?

One issue that keeps coming up time and time again for me is the issue of screening for cancer. Because I’m primarily a breast cancer surgeon in my clinical life, that means mammography, although many of the same issues come up time and time again in discussions of using prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate…

Do we need algebra? Are you kidding me?

And now for something completely different… Well, not really, but kind of different. I realize that my niche here has become discussing science-based medicine, evidence-based medicine, and the atrocities committed against both by proponents of so-called “complementary and alternative” medicine, but every so often I need a change of pace. Unfortunately, that change of pace…

During this year’s TAM, I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying Steve Novella and Michael Shermer to debate an antivaccinationist at FreedomFest, a conservative/libertarian confab that was going on in Las Vegas at the same time as TAM. That antivaccinationist turned out to be Dr. Julian Whitaker, a man who champions Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and…

Like so many other skeptics, I just returned from TAM, which, despite all the conflict and drama surrounding it this year, actually turned out to be a highly enjoyable experience for myself and most people I talked to. As I’ve been doing the last few years, I joined up with Steve Novella and other proponents…

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…

I wondered how long it would take for someone critical of current cancer care to capitalize on the recently reported health misfortune of a celebrity. The answer, unfortunately, is “not long at all.” I will admit, however, that the source of that use and abuse of the misfortune of a celebrity was not the usual…

Oh, goody. NCCAM has a blog.

Oh, goody. I don’t know how I’ve missed this, given that it’s been in existence now for over a month now, but I have. Regular readers (and even fairly recent readers, given that I write about this topic relatively frequently) know that I’m not a big fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative…

Remember Vox Day? Newer converts to the glory that is Orac (or at least to the ego that is Orac) might not know who Vox is because it’s been a while since I’ve discussed his antiscience attitudes. By and large, this is probably a good thing, given that Vox denies evolution, has been antivaccine from…

I’m sometimes asked why I do this. Why, people ask me, do I spend so much time generating post after post after post day after day after day? Obviously, one reason is that it interests me. Another reason is the passion that drives me to support science and science-based medicine and to detest the damage…

Oh, goody. Remember last week, when I took note of how organized quackery’s best friend in Congress, not to mention a shining example of crank magnetism, Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, was taking the opportunity of his having announced that he would not be running for reelection this year to write a typically brain dead…

Dan Burton’s last antivaccine hurrah?

A couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but rejoice when I learned that Indiana Representative Dan Burton had finally, after twenty years in the U.S. House of Representatives, decided to retire after the end of this term. I thought that anyone in the U.S. who supports science-based medicine should rejoice, too, because I’m hard-pressed…

The U.S. is widely known to have the highest health care expenditures per capita in the world, and not just by a little, but by a lot. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this so much, other than to point out that how to rein in these costs has long been the…

It just occurred to me that, even though there was news about it, I never mentioned what’s happened recently with respect to California bill AB2109. As you might recall, I wrote about this bill about four weeks ago. In brief, this bill, if passed into law, would require that California parents seeking a “personal belief”…

This week, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that can only be described as historic. Any of you out there (in the U.S. anyway; I realize that my readership is international) who have paid even a passing attention to the news can’t help but avoid reporting, debate, and polemics related to the Patient Protection…

It would appear that Dr. Bob Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, is in the news again. Specifically, he’s brought himself back into the spotlight by publishing in that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post, a fallacy-filled attack on a bill in California, AB 2109, designed to tighten up the process for…