Pseudoscience

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Pseudoscience

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any length of time longer than a few weeks knows what I think of Deepak Chopra. Indeed, he’s been a recurring topic here since the very beginning (just type his name into the search box for this blog if you don’t believe me). In fact, Chopra has “distinguished”…

If there’s one thing that has irritated me (one might even say, irritated me enough to start this blog), it’s ideology or religion trumping science. Perhaps the most annoying form of this disease is the tendency of the right wing whackosphere to do everything and anything it can to distort and twist science to agree…

The danger of science denialism

Although this blog is not the Denialism Blog, there is no doubt that one of the overarching themes of Respectful Insolence has been, since its very beginning, combatting science denial. Go back to the very beginning and read a couple of my earliest posts, dating way back to 2004. In one of them I discussed…

Michael Specter, author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, on the danger of science denial: He also wrote an editorial to go along with it. Given that combatting science denialism, be it the anti-vaccine movement, the “alt-med” movement, or “intelligent design” creationism, maybe I’ll comment further…

The return of the living Choprawoo

With all the anti-vaccine nonsense going on and my feeling the obligation to fire a broadside at “America’s doctor,” there was a tasty bit of woo that totally escaped my attention from an old “friend” of the blog. Actually, he’s an old “friend” of many skeptical blogs, both here on ScienceBlogs and around the blogosphere.…

Believe it or not, there was once a time when Dr. Mehmet Oz didn’t bother me that much. At least, for all his flirting with woo, I never quite thought that he had completely gone over to the Dark Side. Although I probably knew deep down that I was fooling myself. Maybe it was because…

Area 51 veterans speak: No space aliens

One of the most persistent and prevalent examples of a modern myth that will not die is the story of Area 51. So ingrained in our culture has it become that nearly everyone (at least in the U.S.) knows what you are talking about when you refer to it. It’s been featured in movies as…

I’m envious of Steve Novella. No, the reason isn’t his vastly greater influence in the skeptical community than mine, his podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, or the fact that he gets called a lot more for commentary when something involving quackery versus science-based medicine comes up. He’s earned that, having been at this…

It’s been a while since I wrote about this topic, but I fear for the future of medicine. Regular readers know what I’m talking about. The infiltration of various unscientific, pseudoscientific, and even anti-scientific “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) modalities into academic medicine seems increasingly to be endangering science-based medicine. Worse, this infiltration of quackery…

It’s rare that I encounter a bit of nonsense that allows me to deploy two of my favorite rhetorical devices. First, it lets me pull out one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies, in which the immortal line, “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” was first uttered. Second, it lets me repeat…

I realize that I’ve said many times before that there is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. There is medicine that has been shown to work through science, medicine that has not yet been shown to work, and medicine that has been shown not to work. “Alternative” medicine that is shown to work through science…

If there’s one law that (most) supporters of science-based medicine detest and would love to see repealed, it’s the Dietary Supplement and Health Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The reason is that this law, arguably more than almost anything else, allowed for the proliferation of supplements and claims made for these supplements that aren’t based in…

Feeling stressed? Run down? Is your face not as chipper and toned as it might be? Of course you are. We all are from time to time, particularly as we journey into middle age and beyond. So what better than a bit of pampering at the spa? There’s nothing like a soothing facial to get…

I spent a lot of time writing about animal rights extremists who have threatened to harass the children of an investigator whom they view as a “vivisector” and how they fetishize the very violence they decry. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that a fellow ScienceBlogger, namely Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries, appears…

“Debating” denialists

I happened to be listening to the Holocaust Denial On Trial podcast yesterday, specifically this episode which is a recording of a speech given by Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt about Holocaust denial and her experiences being sued for libel in Britain by arch Holocaust denier David Irving, who, much like the British Chiropractic Association taking…

The utter discrediting and disgrace of Andrew Wakefield, first by the judgment of the General Medical Council against him and then by the retraction of the crown jewel of his respectability his 1998 Lancet paper that sparked the modern anti-vaccine movement and launched a thousand autism quacks. The reaction of the anti-vaccine loons was very…

It’s been a busy week between blogging about Andrew Wakefield and covering the Winkler County Nurse trial, which ended with the jury’s acquitting Anne Mitchell, RN after less than an hour of deliberation. Consequently, I’m a bit tired today. Fortunately, there’s the mail bag, the perfect lazy blogging tool that will allow me to generate…

“Would you like to touch my monkey? Touch him! Love him!“ J. B. Handley wants to touch see Andrew Wakefield’s monkeys. How do I know this? Well, there’s just the little matter of his entitling his most recent excretion of flaming stupidity Show me the monkeys! and repeating “Show me the monkeys!” eleven times in…

I realize I complain periodically about when I get into what seems to me to be a rut in which I’m writing pretty much only about anti-vaccine lunacy. This is just such a week, when the news on the vaccine front has been coming fast and furious, first with Andrew Wakefield’s being found to have…

Mike Adams is confused. I know, I know. Such a statement is akin to saying that water is wet (and that it doesn’t have memory, at least not the mystical magical memories ascribed to it by homeopaths), that the sun rises in the East, or that writing an NIH R01 grant is hard, but there…

Over the holidays, I stayed at home for a combination of some relaxation and some grant writing. (I know, weird.) As I was perusing some of the links I saved during that time, it occurs to me that I totally forgot about one particularly amazing bit of hilarity, courtesy of our old “friend” Deepak Chopra.…

Crank magnetism strikes again

Since I happen to have fallen into the topic of anthropogenic global warming, before I move back to medical topics I might as well have a little fun. Certainly, I could use some, given that I just wrote two posts in which I felt forced to criticize someone whom I admire greatly. Besides, it’s been…

Yesterday, I wrote one of my typical Orac-ian length posts that was unusual. What was unusual about it was not its length. Rather, what was unusual about it was the target of its criticism, perhaps one of the last people in the world I would ever have expected to have to have taken issue with,…

“Storm”

I’ve decided to chill this weekend after five years of insanity. However, while you anxiously await yet another hemidecade of Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful, what better way to do so than checking out the awesome Tim Minchin and his most excellent nine minute beat poem “Storm”: Who says skepticism and art don’t mix?

Five years

Has it really been that long? It was a dismally overcast Saturday five years ago when, on a whim after having read a TIME Magazine article about how 2004 was supposedly the Year of the Blogger, I sat down in front of my computer, found Blogspot, and the first incarnation of Respectful Insolence was born.…