Popular culture

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Popular culture

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 hard as it is to believe, there was once a time when I (sort of) gave “Dr. Bob” Sears the benefit of the doubt. You remember Dr. Bob, don’t you? Son of the famous pediatrician Dr. William Sears, who was best known for his “Sears Parenting Library” and is a not infrequent guest on…

Last week, one of my favorite comedians and filmmakers of all time passed away unexpectedly. I’m referring, of course, to Harold Ramis, whose work ranged from movies like National Lampoon’s Animal House (the first R-rated movie I ever saw, actually), to gems like Ghostbusters and and Groundhog Day. In fact, in retrospect, when I posted…

Back in December, I was excited. The reason I was excited was because everybody’s favorite über-Libertarian, New World Order conspiracy theorist quack, Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger, had made an announcement. That announcement was that on January 6, 2014 Adams would announce astonishing “scientific findings” about food that would “revolutionize” nutrition and health. Given…

More Tooth Fairy science studying acupuncture

I must confess, I had a rather rough time yesterday. Actually, it’s been a rough winter, at least as far as my car is concerned. Record amounts of snow and a January much colder than usual have wreaked havoc on the roads around where I live, producing craters that make our roads and freeways look…

I don’t know if it’s a sign that I’ve arrived as being a bit more influential than just a blogger or just dumb luck when reporters start sending me things, but I’ll take it. It’s like blog fodder being served to me on the proverbial silver platter. Unfortunately, as a result of receiving a press…

CVS, tobacco, and knee jerk reflexes

Now we come to a post in which Orac unloads a bit about one of his pet peeves. It is a post that will likely piss a few people off on “his” side. If it does, so be it. He does this now because yesterday something happened that irritated the crap out of me because…

I had originally planned on writing about a different topic today, but, as is so often the case in blogging, something came up that caught my attention, much as the errant thought of a squirrel distracts Dug the Dog. Well, actually, I had to go to an evening meeting for work last night and by…

Believe it or not, I’m about to say the one and only good thing I will say about Stanislaw Burzynski in this post. After all, I was always taught to find the good in my opponents, no matter how vile I find them. Burzynski, for instance, has been peddling a cure for brain cancer (and…

When last I wrote about the sad saga of Sarah Hershberger, the 12-year-old Amish girl from northeastern Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma whose parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, decided to stop her chemotherapy resulting in legal action by Akron children’s Hospital to have a medical guardian appointed to make sure that Sarah continues effective science-based therapy…

The CEO of Aetna embraces quackery

Everyone hates health insurance companies. At least, so it seems. Personally, I’ve had my issues with such companies myself, particularly when having to deal with them when they refuse to cover certain medical tests for my patients. Fortunately for me, surgical oncology is a specialty that doesn’t have a lot of tests or treatments that…

Bleach Enema Karaoke

Long day in the OR yesterday. By the time I got home, believe it or not, I was too beat to deliver one of my characteristic rants full of Insolence and science that my readers all know and love (well, mostly love). Consequently, today’s a perfect day for a quickie. (No, not that kind of…

NOTE: Because I’ve been (kind of) relaxing over this holiday period, this is not an entirely new post. It is, however, a significantly expanded and reworked version of a post from nearly four years ago. So if you haven’t been reading four years, it’s new to you, and if you have you might or might…

And now for something completely different… Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to find new woo-filled claims or dangerous, evidence-lacking trends to write about. Heck, I did it just last week. Examining certain other health-related issues from a science-based perspective is more difficult, but I feel obligated to do it from time to time, not just…

I remember during medical school that more than one of my faculty used to have a regularly repeated crack that the only thing that taking vitamin supplements could do for you was to produce expensive pee. My first year in medical school was nearly thirty years ago now; so it’s been a long time. During…

These days, Dr. Oz seems to stand for everything I oppose in medicine: Fear mongering, quackery, making claims that he can’t back up with science, and, of course, filthy lucre. On second thought, I’m not against filthy lucre per se. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having some of it myself. However, I also want to…

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling…

Most, if not virtually all, of what is now referred to as “traditional Chinese medicine” is quackery. I realize that it’s considered “intolerant” and not politically correct to say that in these days of “integrative medicine” departments infiltrating academic medical centers like so much kudzu enveloping a telephone pole, but I don’t care. I’m supposed…

Blogging is a rather immediate endeavor. Over the last nine years (nearly), I’ve lost track of how many times I saw something that I wanted to blog about but but by the time I got around to it was no longer topical. Usually what happens is that my Dug the Dog tendencies take over, as…

For some reason, I can’t seem to escape Chicken McNuggets. About a month ago, I expressed my complete amusement over an “investigation” of Chicken McNuggets done by everyone’s favorite crank and quackery promoter, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com. I’m tellin’ ya, it was like Inspector Clouseau with a microscope when Mike Adams expressed…

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…

Yesterday, I did a bit of navel gazing about how cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists have a penchant for attacking skeptics at work in order to try to intimidate them into silence. Reading the post over again, I realize that it came across perhaps more whiny than it should have, but I guess I was just…

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…

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…

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…