Respectful Insolence

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Remember Boyd Haley? He’s the Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky whose formerly respectable career tanked because he fell into pseudoscience. For whatever reason, a while back he became enamored first of dental amalgam quackery to the point where he became involved in organizations like Consumers for…

Last week, I did three posts about the anti-vaccine movement. (What? Only three? Well, last week was slower than usual on the anti-vaccine craziness front. It happens.) Two of them were variations on a theme, namely how the anti-vaccine movement vehemently, desperately does not want to be seen as “anti-vaccine, even though that’s what many…

Sometimes, when it comes to the anti-vaccine movement, I feel as though I’m bipolar. There are times when I’m incredibly depressed that pseudoscience and fear mongering are winning out, leaving our children vulnerable to infectious diseases not seen in decades and believing that it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing really major…

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…

It has often been written on this blog and elsewhere that the mark of a true crank is hatred of the scientific consensus, be it consensus regarding the theory of evolution, the science that says homeopathy is impossible, anthropogenic global warming; various areas of science-based medicine; or the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Perhaps the…

Now that’s what I’m talking about! This is what we need to see more of! A father whose child underwent the quackery that is the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) protocol is suing the doctors who administered it for malpractice: The father of a 7-year-old Chicago boy who was diagnosed as a toddler with autism has…

Franchising autism “biomed” woo

Remember Mark and David Geier? I wouldn’t be surprised if regular readers may have forgotten about this father-son tag team of anti-vaccine lunacy and autism woo. After all, I haven’t written about them since journalist Trine Tsouderos did her expose of their “Lupron protocol” for the Chicago Tribune nine months ago. Long time readers, however,…

Thanks to Andrew Wakefield, it’s been pretty much vaccine week for me. Well, mostly anyway, I did manage to have some fun with Mike Adams and the immune system, but otherwise it’s been all vaccines all the time this week. As I mentioned yesterday, at the risk of dwelling on one topic so long that…

If I am wrong I will be a bad person because I will have raised this spectre. Andrew Wakefield, March 3, 1998. Interview in The Independent. The martyrdom of brave maverick Saint Andy continues apace, it would appear. As you recall, last week, after an interminable proceeding that stretched out over two and a half…

The martyrdom of St. Andy

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue. Well, not really. Maybe it looks more like I picked the wrong NIH grant cycle to be submitting an R01. After all, the deadline for my getting my grant to my university’s grant’s office coincided very closely with the announcement of the General…

The double standard of the anti-vaccine “autism biomed” movement never ceases to amaze me. Imagine if you will, that a pharmaceutical company examined a chemical used for industrial purposes. Imagine further that the chemical this pharmaceutical company decided to look at originated as an industrial chelator designed to separate heavy metals from polluted soil and…

As 2009 ended and 2010 began, I made a vow to myself to try to diversify the topics covered on this blog. Part of that vow was to try to avoid writing about vaccines and the anti-vaccine movement for more than a couple of days in a row. Unfortunately, even in the middle its very…

In general, one of the biggest differences between those defending science-based medicine and those defending pseudoscience, quackery, and anti-science is that science inculcates in its adherents a culture of free and open debate. In marked contrast, those advocating pseudoscience tend to cultivate cultures of the echo chamber. Examples abound and include discussion forums devoted to…

I debated whether or not to blog about this. The reason is that I suspect that gathering a lot of attention and controversy is exactly what Generation Rescue wanted when it posted what I’m about to blog about. On the other hand, no matter how low my opinion is of the principals who run Generation…

A couple of years ago, fellow ScienceBlogger Mark Hoofnagle over at Denialism Blog coined a most excellent term to describe all manners of pseuodscience, quackery, and crankery. The term, “crank magnetism,” describes the tendency of cranks not to mind it when they see crankery in others. More specifically, it describes how cranks of one variety…

As hard as I find it to believe, the fifth anniversary of this blog is fast approaching. When I started this whole endeavor, it was more or less on a whim that struck me on a cold, dreary, gray Saturday in December, and I had no idea that five years later I’d still be at…

There are times when I look back, and I can’t believe I’ve been at it this long. It’s not just the blogging, the fifth anniversary of which is rapidly approaching for me. Hard as it is to believe, not only have I become a “venerable” medical and skeptical blogger, but there are actually a lot…