Skepticism/critical thinking

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Skepticism/critical thinking

When I wrote about the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) trial last week, little did I suspect that I would be revisiting the topic again so soon. For those of you not familiar with TACT, it was a trial designed to test a favorite quack treatment for cardiovascular disease, chelation therapy. It is, as…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Brian Berman. We first met him when he somehow managed to insinuate a “case report” of chronic low back pain into The New England Journal of Medicine in which he recommended acupuncture for this patient. Dr. Berman also happens to be a founder of quackademic medicine on…

There are many fallacies that undergird alternative medicine, which evolved into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), and for which the preferred term among its advocates is now “integrative medicine,” meant to imply the “best of both worlds.” If I had to pick one fallacy that rules above all among proponents of CAM/IM, it would have…

With very limited exceptions, chelation therapy is, as I said before in my somewhat Insolent opinion, is pure quackery. The sole exception is for real, documented cases of acute heavy metal poisoning that are known to respond to chelation, such as iron overload due to transfusion, aluminum overload due to hemodialysis, copper toxicity due to…

So I finally made it to the Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Symposium. Thanks to the snowstorm that apparently wasn’t (at least, I don’t see any snow around), my arrival was delayed by a day, as all flights to the Washington, DC area were canceled on Wednesday. But I did finally get here, and, although…

I’m not a big fan of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). That I don’t much like CTCA should come as no surprise, given that this particular hospital chain distinguishes itself from other hospital chains by advertising its full body embrace of quackery, in particular “naturopathic oncology.” At the same time as it’s advertising its…

Does anyone “recover” from autism?

Way back in the day, when I was a newbie at countering the mass of hysterical pseudoscience that is the antivaccine movement, particularly the myth that vaccines cause autism, a blogger by the ‘nym of Prometheus taught me that autism and autism spectrum disorders (particularly by antivaccinationists and believers in the quackery known as “autism…

Time really flies. It’s hard to believe that the first national skeptical conference of the season is NECSS 2013 (The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism), hosted by the New York City Skeptics and the New England Skeptical Society, is fast approaching. In fact, it’s only a little more than two months away. The conference…

About a year and a half ago, I applied a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence to a a clueless article about the the “triumph” of New Age medicine. The article channeled the worst fallacies of apologists for alternative medicine. Basically, its whole idea appeared to be that, even if most of “complementary and alternative medicine”…

Remember Dr. Sin Hang Lee? If you don’t remember Lee, maybe you remember a while back, when the antivaccine group SaneVax touted findings that it claimed were devastating to Gardasil. Specifically, they claimed that there was vaccine-derived human papilloma virus DNA in Gardasi. Ring any bells yet? And it turns out that the guy who…

If there’s one thing about “alternative” medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or “integrative medicine” that’s always puzzled me, it’s just how gullible some practitioners must think their clients are. In some cases, they might know their customers every bit as well as a car salesman knows his clients or an author knows his readers,…

CAM practitioners versus preventive medicine

If there’s one claim that practitioners of “holistic” medicine frequently make, it’s that “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” or whatever the term du jour for the combining of quackery with science-based medicine is these days is allegedly so much better than “conventional” or “allopathic” medicine (or whatever disparaging term “holistic practitioners” prefer)…

Dr. Oz versus science—again

That Dr. Mehmet Oz uses his show to promote quackery of the vilest sort is no longer in any doubt. I was reminded yet again of this last week when I caught a rerun of one of his shows from earlier this season, when he gazed in wonder at the tired old cold reading schtick…

Dr. Oz descends further into psychic quackery

Regular readers have probably noticed that I’m taking it easy this week, at least compared to my usual ridiculous level of output. It is, after all, the holidays, and last night I even went to see my cousin’s son play basketball and then hung out at the local Knights of Columbus hall. (No, it didn’t…

Eight years

As I mentioned yesterday, Orac is currently away at an undisclosed location that is someplace warm. He is there, taking a rare pre-solstice break, preparing for the Mayan apocalypse that is to come on the 21st of this month. (Actually, he’s recharging his Tarial cell, the better to be prepared for the utter nonsense that…

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…

It’s no secret that I have little but contempt for radical animal rights activists. I make no apologies for this and, quite frankly, consider my contempt for them well-justified based on their behavior and words. Be it their fetishization of violence against researchers who use animals, their threatening of students in order to frighten them…

Instead of the usual logorrheic (usually) well-thought out Insolence you’ve come to expect every day, Instead, you’ll hvae an announcement and a couple of random thoughts. The reasons are multiple. First, today’s a travel day. I’m heading off to Nashville to attend and speak at CSICon. My topic? What do you think it will be?…

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…

In a week and a half, Harriet Hall, Kimball Atwood, and I will be joining Eugenie C. Scott at CSICon to do a session entitled Teaching Pseudoscience in Medical (and Other) Schools. As you might imagine, we will be discussing the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia and medical training, a phenomenon I frequently refer…

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…

Remember Alan Yurko? To remind those of you not familiar with this particularly odious excuse for a human being, I’ll briefly relate who he is and why he’s so vile. Alan Yurko is a baby killer, pure and simple. He shook his 10-week-old son to death. Normally, such a pitiful excuse for a human being…

Our pharma overlords will be displeased…

There’s an oft-quoted saying that’s become a bit of a cliché among skeptics that goes something like this: There are two kinds of medicine: medicine that’s been proven scientifically to work, and medicine that hasn’t. This is then often followed up with a rhetorical question and its answer: What do call “alternative medicine” that’s been…

“Forced” to be an antivaccinationist?

Every so often there are articles or posts about which I want to blog that, for whatever reason, I don’t get around to. I’ve alluded before to my observation that blogging tends to be a “feast or famine” sort of activity. Sometimes, there isn’t a lot going on, and, if there’s one thing I’ve failed…