Religion

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Religion

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 might as well lay it on the line right at the beginning. It’s not as though it will surprise my regular readers given what I’ve been writing here, most recently about when Rob Schneider played the Nazi card to express his opposition to California Bill AB2109. It’s a bill that does something very simple…

Since I seem to be on a roll the last few days discussing cancer quackery, I thought I’d just go with it at least one more day. Frequently, when I get on these rolls laying down the Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, over antivaccine quackery I start whining about how I need to change topics,…

A couple of days ago, I did one of my usual bits of pontification about alternative medicine, this time around pointing out how religion facilitates the magical thinking that undergirds so much pseudoscientific medicine and how the belief systems that underlie so so much of alternative medicine resembel the belief systems that underlie religion. However,…

Alternative medicine as religion

Over the years, I’ve often likened non-science-based medical belief systems to religion. It’s not a hard argument to make. Religion involves believing in things that can’t be proven scientifically; indeed, religion makes a virtue out of ignoring the evidence and accepting various beliefs on faith alone. Similarly, alternative medicine frequently tells you that you have…

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…

Reiki versus dogs just being dogs

Let me start right here by repeating yet again my oft-repeated assessment of reiki. Reiki is clearly nothing more than faith healing that substitutes Eastern mysticism for Christianity. Think of it this way. In faith healing, the faith healer claims to channel the healing power of God into the person being healed. In reiki, the…

Almost exactly a year ago, I came across a bit of woo so incredible, so spectacularly stupid and unbelievable, that I dedicated one of the last segments I’ve done in a long time of Your Friday Dose of Woo to it. Basically, it was about a movie called Eat the Sun, which described a bunch…

As sometimes happens, last week I let myself get tied up writing multiple posts about a single topic, namely the promotion of an antivaccine movie by a school board president in California, apparently as part of an attempt to influence California legislators who are considering a law that will make philosophical exemptions for school vaccine…

Politics versus science

I’ve always been reluctant to attribute antiscientific attitudes to one political persuasion or another–and justly so, or so I thought. While it’s true that antiscience on the right is definitely more prominent these days, with the Republican candidates conducting virtual seminars on how to deny established science. Evolution? They don’t believe in it because, apparently,…

Placebo versus the Law of Attraction

Since 2012 was rung in a month and a half ago, I’ve been writing a lot more about placebo medicine than I have in a while. Specifically, I’ve written a lot more about placebo effects than usual. This proliferation of posts on the topic was sparked by how Harvard University’s very own not-a-PhD faculty, credulous…

An uncomfortable question

Work called last night. (It happens.) Basically, I had two deadlines for two big things (finishing reviewing the grants assigned to me for study section and a major writeup for a project for my job). Unfortunately, both of them were today. I realized as I perused old posts that I hadn’t reposted this one in…

It’s amazing how fast six months can pass, isn’t it? Well, almost six months, anyway, as it was five and a half months ago that I wrote about a particularly execrable example of quackademic medicine in the form of a study that actually looked at an “energy healing” modality known as “energy chelation” as a…

A couple of weeks ago, I made the observation that there seems to have been a–shall we say?–realignment in one of the central arguments that proponents of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) make. Back in the day (say, a few years ago), such CAM practitioners and apologists used to try very,…

$#*! skeptics say

Ha! I must admit, I’ve said probably about 50% of these things at one time or another, maybe more: Hmmmm. Maybe I need to come up with new “shit.” Oh, and, by the way, I’ve been mentioned on PZ’s blog more times than I can remember over the last seven years. So there! (Oh, wait.…

Does thinking make it so?

Last week, I wrote about how advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integtrative medicine” (IM), having failed to demonstrate efficacy for the vast majority of the unscientific, anti-scientific, and/or pseudosciencitific treatment modalities, many based on prescientific concepts of how human physiology and disease work, have started trying to co-opt placebo effects as their…

Praying for an anti-vaccine “advantage”?

A couple of months ago, right before TAM 9, I took note of a rather disturbing post by one of the regular bloggers on the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism. Basically, the post was worrisome because in it Kent Heckenlively portrayed those who oppose anti-vaccine pseudoscience as “wicked,” even quoting Psalm 94, which is…

Religion versus alternative medicine

Many have been the times that I’ve pointed out that many forms of “alternative” medicine are in reality based far more on mystical, religious, or “spiritual” beliefs than on any science. Indeed, one amusing event that provided me the opening to launch into one of my characteristic (and fun) Orac-ian outbursts occurred a couple of…

Sugarland: Saved by prayer?

One thing that’s bothered me about religion even before I became the lapsed Catholic heathen that I am, is how God always gets the credit for good things but never the bad. A perfect example is related to the collapse of the stage in a storm at the Indiana State Fair that killed five people…

A disturbing post on an anti-vaccine blog

I’m on my way to The Amaz!ng Meeting today; so I’m not sure I have time for the usual bit of Orac-ian logorrheic blogging that I somehow manage to churn out almost every day. In fact, I had thought of just running another rerun so that I don’t have to worry about it. But worry…

Remember Helen Ratajczak? A few months ago, CBS News’ resident anti-vaccine reporter Sharyl Attkisson was promoting Ratajczak’s incompetent “analysis” of evidence that she views as implicating vaccines in the pathogenesis of autism entitled Theoretical aspects of autism: causes–A Review (which is available in all its misinforming glory here). I applied some not-so-Respectful Insolence to the…

Reiki in the ICU?

One of the recurrent themes of this blog is to point out, analyze, and discuss the creeping infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine. In particular, it irks me that so many physicians, who really should know better, so easily fall for the siren song of quackery for whatever reason, be it a misguided desire to be…

Regular readers know that I’m a bit of a connoisseur of pareidolia, so much so that I even have a category devoted to it. For those not familiar with the concept, pareidolia is nothing more than seeing patterns in things. One of the most famous examples is seeing faces, animals, or other objects in clouds.…

Holocaust denial versus free speech

It’s grant crunch time, as the submission deadline for revised R01s is July 5. However, in a classic example of how electronic filing has actually made things more difficult, the grant has to be done and at the university grant office a week before the deadline if it is to be uploaded in time. So,…

It’s grant crunch time, as the submission deadline for revised R01s is July 5. However, in a classic example of how electronic filing has actually made things more difficult, the grant has to be done and at the university grant office a week before the deadline if it is to be uploaded in time. So,…