Religion

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Religion

Ah, April Fools’ Day! I had thought of trying to do a typical April Fools’ Day post, you know, something like trying to write something but the last time I tried to do that it fell really flat, so flat that I’m not even going to link to it. It’s better not to remind my…

Grant time again! Since today–yes, today!–is the deadline for a rather big grant I’m writing (not quite R01 level, but a respectable three year project if I can get it), I was up until the wee hours of the morning trying to put this sucker to bed. Being the ever-benevolent blogger, though, far be it…

Grant time again! Since today–yes, today!–is the deadline for a rather big grant I’m writing (not quite R01 level, but a respectable three year project if I can get it), I was up until the wee hours of the morning trying to put this sucker to bed. Being the ever-benevolent blogger, though, far be it…

Reiki for Fido

I don’t like quackery. I know, I know. Big surprise, right? After all, I’ve only spent the last six years laying down a nearly daily dose of Insolence, Respectful and not-so-Respectful, on the anti-vaccine movement, alternative medicine practitioners, quacks, and pseudoscientists of many different stripes. Seeing my fellow human beings fall for unproven or even…

I graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in the late 1980s. Back then, U. of M. was really hardcore about science back then, so much so that it was viewed as seriously old-school. No new (at the time) organ system approach for us! During the first two years, ever four weeks, like clockwork,…

Well, well, well, well. Last week, I wrote one of my usual patented bits of insolence directed at “America’s doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. What prompted my irritation was a recent episode in which Dr. Oz featured psychic scammer John Edward, the self-proclaimed “psychic” who claims to be able to speak with the dead. In actuality,…

Reiki is a “sin”?

Many are the times when I’ve pointed out that many “complementary and alternative medicine” CAM or “integrative medicine” (IM) modalities are very much more based on religion or mystical ideas akin to religion than on anything resembling science. I realize that my saying this is nothing new, but every so often I see something that…

There are times when I’m wrong again and again. No, I’m certainly not referring to my writings about vaccines which, as much as anti-vaccine loons like to claim they’re wrong, are not. Nor am I referring to my writings about “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” (IM). While it’s possible that I’ve made…

Over the years, I’ve said it many times. Competent adults have the right (or should have the right) to choose or refuse any medical treatment they wish for any reason. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the reason might be. If a competent adult believes that magic water (i.e., homeopathy) can cure him of cancer, we…

Benny Hinn: Dark Lord of the Sith

Let’s face it. This week has just been one of those weeks, and it’s not over yet. A little silly break is in order: There, I fell better now. Consider this a Thursday open thread. I haven’t had an open thread in a while, and when things get busy enough it’s a time-honored way of…

Dogma versus science

It’s been a crazy week that’s reaching a crescendo today and tomorrow, so much so that, unlike yesterday, when I said I’d only be brief and ended up blathering on for close to 2,000 words (Mike Adams has that effect on me, particularly when he’s at his most un-self-aware), today I really will be brief…

Yesterday, I concluded that Dr. Mehmet Oz’s journey to the Dark Side was continuing apace. After all, he had pulled the classic “bait and switch” of “alternative” medicine by allowing a man who calls himself Yogi Cameron to use his television show to co-opt the perfectly science-based modalities of diet and exercise as being somehow…

Christmas is over. Heck even Boxing Day is over. Still, Orac is doing something very unusual for him in that he’s taking a bit of a staycation at home. Consider it a sanity break. Even though I’ll be working on grants and a variety of other projects at home and even though I haven’t signed…

Some Christmas pareidolia

Everyone knows how much I live pareidolia. It never ceases to amaze me how the human mind can impose imagery on everyday things. We’ve seen Jesus on toast, on sheet metal, in rocks, on trees, and in windows. We’ve seen the Virgin Mary on a similar bunch of things–even a Lava lamp or a freeway…

In terms of promoting woo and quackery, there is one person who stands head and shoulders above all the rest. True, she doesn’t just promote woo and quackery, but she does have a long list of dubious achievements in that realm, including but not limited to unleashing Jenny McCarthy and her anti-vaccine crusade plus Suzanne…

On Monday I took a blogger by the name of Dr. Marya Zilberberg to task for firing a series of profoundly anti-scientific broadsides against science-based medicine (SBM). Although I did not attack Dr. Zilberberg personally, I was quite harsh in my characterization of her attacks, because, well, they were quite bad, full of straw men,…

Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen

Wow. Just wow. I realize that I haven’t exactly been enamored of Richard Dawkins lately, at least not as much as I was, say, three or four years ago. Most of this came about gradually, although the final nail was driven into the proverbial coffin last fall, when Atheist Alliance International bestowed the Richard Dawkins…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. I happen to be sitting here in Palm Beach, Florida, but I’m not chilling at the beach or pool. Rather, I’m attending “leadership training.”…

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to R01 deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in September 2007 that, shockingly, as far as I can tell…

I’ve expounded on the principle of crank magnetism. Basically, crank magnetism is the tendency of cranks not to mind the crankery of other cranks, even if the two forms of crankery are mutually exclusive. But it’s more than that. It’s the tendency of a single crank to be attracted to several forms of crankery. We’ve…

What’s next? Flat earth?

Regarding this whole skeptic thing, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about pseudoscience and bizarre, unscientific beliefs, it’s that, just when I think I’ve seen it all, the world slaps me in the face (facepalm, to be precise) to show me that I haven’t seen it all after all. Such was what happened when a…

Yesterday, I expressed my displeasure over a truly idiotic press release by the Center for Inquiry over the “Ground Zero mosque” entitled The Center for Inquiry Urges That Ground Zero Be Kept Religion-Free. I happen to know that a lot of supporters of CFI were very unhappy about the press release as well, because apparently…

I hadn’t planned on blogging at all today, much about on this particular topic. As some of you may have noticed, I’m trying to cut back on the blog habit, particularly on the weekends. Gone are the days when I’d foolishly try to emulate P.Z. Myers and have several posts up in a day; lately…

Two days ago, I posted my utter contempt for the idea of a science section in that cesspit of pseudsocience, New Age woo, and quackery, The Huffington Post. Part of the reason for my scoffing at the very idea that a science section in HuffPo would not rapidly degenerate into yet another outlet for more…

It occurs to me that I haven’t written about this topic in quite a while, but a recent event makes me think that maybe now’s the time to revisit this topic. I’m referring to Holocaust denial. Newer readers may not know that part of what got me involved in online discussions back in the late…