Respectful Insolence

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Three weeks ago, a certain “friend” of mine gave a talk to the National Capital Area Skeptics at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. The topic was one near and dear to my heart, namely quackademic medicine; so I couldn’t resist posting a link to the video. Amusingly, Jake Crosby makes an appearance in…

I don’t always blog about stories or studies that interest me right away. Part of the reason is something I’ve learned over the last eight years of blogging, namely that, while it’s great to be the firstest with the mostest, I’d rather be the blogger with the mostest than the firstest. I’ve learned this from…

I’m running out of popcorn again. I know I’ve been writing a lot about the latest internecine war among cranks. It’s a battle royale whose first shot occurred when everybody’s favorite Boy Wonder “reporter” betrayed his mentors with a missive published on a hive of scum and quackery even more wretched that the hive of…

The other day, I took note again of a rather amusing internecine war going on between various factions of antivaccine cranks. On the one side, spearheaded by everyone’s favorite inept conspiracy theorist and bumbling epidemiologist wanna be, Jake Crosby, there are the true believers, who believe that the other side, the more “mainstream” antivaccine groups…

It’s been well over two weeks since I urged everyone to get out the popcorn and sit back to enjoy the internecine war going on over in the antivaccine movement. The reason for my chuckling was the way that everyone’s favorite Boy Wonder Reporter Propagandist for the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, Jake Crosby,…

About a week and a half ago, I noted that the FDA had apparently paid every skeptic’s favorite cancer doctor who is not an oncologist, Stanislaw Burzynski, a visit, while taking notice of a particularly credulous piece of puff journalism that portrayed Dr. Burzynski as a “brave maverick doctor” fighting The Man, who (of course)…

Yesterday, I wrote about how “they” view “us,” the “they” being believers in dubious medicine, pseudoscience, and outright quackery. As examples, I used believers in the unsupported claims of “brave maverick” cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski and antivaccine activists who are utterly convinced, against all science and evidence, that vaccines caused their children’s autism. I pointed…

How “they” view “us”

Those of us who dedicate considerable time and effort to combatting quackery generally do it because we think we’re doing good. Certainly, I wouldn’t spend so much time nearly every evening blogging the way I do if I didn’t think so. It’s true that I also enjoy it, but if I were doing this just…

Alright, I give up. I’m getting out the popcorn. It’s a Friday night, and it’s on, baby! It’s so on that I’m breaking one of my blogging rules and writing up a blog post on Friday night, which is when I usually try to relax. I suppose that it helps that I’m working tonight anyway,…

On the one hand, I’m seriously tempted to get out the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show that is the internecine conflict going on in the antivaccine movement right now. On the other hand, as bizarre as it sounds, I actually do feel a bit sorry for the main combatant, Jake Crosby. He’s the…

Gary Null loves me! He really loves me! Well, maybe not Gary Null, but Sayer Ji. You remember Sayer Ji, don’t you? He’s the guy who runs GreenMedInfo.com who showed up on my skeptical radar when he claimed that vaccines are “transhumanism” that subverts evolution. (Seriously, you can’t make stuff like this up.) On another…

Almost everyone knows the story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. It’s such a classic tale that has been around so long and told so many times in so many ways that it’s almost impossible for someone living in this country not to have encountered it growing up. Frankenstein’s monster is also a tale that…

Believe it or not, after nearly eight years blogging and around five years before that cutting my skeptical teeth on that vast and wild (and now mostly deserted and fallow) wilderness that was Usenet, I have occasionally wondered whether what I’m doing is worthwhile. Sometime around 1998, after I first discovered Holocaust denial on Usenet,…

Here we go again. Every so often, criticism of the antivaccine movement builds to the point where it extends beyond the blogosphere to enter the national zeitgeist in a way in which people other than blogging geeks like myself start to take notice. It happened a few years ago, when washed up actress Jenny McCarthy…

When I first started this blog, I had little idea of what I was in for. I thought I had some idea from having read a bunch of blogs and found role models whose blogging style I tried to emulate back in those early days, long before I developed the persona and writing style that…

Ah, vacation. It’s time to relax and unwind. Of course, blogging is one way that I relax and unwind; so my being on vacation this week doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll stop my usual blogging, but it does mean I’ll wind down. One way that I’ll slow down is that I’ll try to keep my…

Like so many other skeptics, I just returned from TAM, which, despite all the conflict and drama surrounding it this year, actually turned out to be a highly enjoyable experience for myself and most people I talked to. As I’ve been doing the last few years, I joined up with Steve Novella and other proponents…

Remember Dr. Jay? Regular readers know about whom I speak. I’m talking about Dr. Jay Gordon, pediatrician to the stars’ children. Dr. Jay has been a fixture on this blog on and off for seven years, first having popped in as a commenter way back on Respectful Insolence, Mark 1, when I first noted him…

It’s not infrequent that I come under fire from antivaccinationists for, ironically enough, calling them antivaccinationists. “Oh, no,” they protest, “I’m not antivaccine. How dare you call me that? I’m actually a vaccine safety advocate.” Of course, when you probe more closely and ask a few questions, almost inevitably you’ll find that in reality they…

Thanks again, antivaccine activists. Thanks for the measles. Again: Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, health officials said Thursday. There were 222 cases of measles, a large jump from the 60 or so seen in a typical year. Most of the cases last year were imported —…

Thanks to the partying and backslapping going on in the antivaccine movement over the reversal of the decision of the British General Medical Council to strike Professor John Walker-Smith off of the medical record, after a brief absence vaccines are back on the agenda of this blog. Antivaccine cranks view the decision as a vindication…

Remember Gayle DeLong? Last summer, DeLong published a paper in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, entitled A Positive Association found between Autism Prevalence and Childhood Vaccination uptake across the U.S. Population. As I pointed out at the time, it showed nothing of the sort. Besides botching the introduction by citing a panoply of…

Way back in the day, when I first encountered antivaccine views in that wretched Usenet swamp of pseudoscience, antiscience, and quackery known as misc.health.alternative, there was one particular antivaccine lie that disturbed me more than just about any other. No, it wasn’t the claim that vaccines cause autism, the central dogma of the antivaccine movement.…

I’ve been an observer and student of the antivaccine movement for nearly a decade now, although my intensive education began almost seven years ago, in early 2005, not long after I started blogging. It was then that I first encountered several “luminaries” of the antivaccine movement both throughout the blogosphere and sometimes even commenting on…

A one trick pony does his one trick

It’s funny, but it’s only been one week since I expressed extreme skepticism that that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post, had reformed itself. The reason, of course, was that HuffPo had announced that it was starting a science section. Even though on the surface it seemed that HuffPo was making the…