Respectful Insolence

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Yesterday was a rough day for me; so I’ll be uncharacteristically brief today. As I’ve pointed out time and time again, these days, advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) don’t like it so much anymore when their preferred quackery is referred to as “CAM.” Now the preferred term has–shall we say?–evolved to a happy…

For as many benefits as the Internet and the web have brought us in the last two decades, there are also significant downsides. I could go into all the societal changes brought about by the proliferation of this new technology, not the least of which (to me, at least) is the newfound ability of someone…

Ever since starting my blog nearly seven (!) years ago, I’ve concentrated mainly on skepticism in medicine, in particular examining various implausible medical claims that proliferate on the Internet and in our media like so much kudzu choking out science and reason. The reasons are two-fold. First, it’s what I’m interested in. Second, it was…

It’s a wonder no one ever thought of this before (at least, not to my knowledge), but Todd over at Harpocrates Speaks has. Over there today, what do we find? A Quacktion Figure™: Ever wanted to enjoy the adoration of tens of others? Had an idea for a new product to patent, but had pesky…

Well, I’m back. Grant frenzy is over (for now), and I have a couple of weeks before the next cycle begins again. Well, actually, it’s more than that. The next big NIH grant deadlines are in October and November, but the Susan G. Komen Foundation grant notices just showed up in my e-mail the other…

It’s been another rather rough week. Grant season is in full swing, and I’m busily writing away. As I get to the end of the week, I wondered: Should I be serious or should I post a bit of fluff? Given the crappy mood I’ve been in on and off (grants added to my usual…

Let’s face it, Dr. Andrew Weil is a rock star in the “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) movement. He is one of its founders, at least a founder of the its most modern iteration, and I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who did more in the early days of the…

I and others have often written about how “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) represent a “bait and switch.” The basic concept is that CAM/IM has co-opted several ostensibly science-based modalities, such as diet, exercise, relaxation, and the like. These are used as the bait by representing them as being somehow “alternative”…

As hard as it is for me to believe sometimes, I’ve been at this blogging biz a long time–well over six years now. However, I’ve been engaged, in one form or another, in combatting pseudoscience, pseudohistory, and crankery online since the late 1990s. Although I try hard not to fall into the same cognitive traps…

One theme that I keep revisiting again and again is not so much a question of the science behind medical therapies (although certainly I do discuss that issue arguably more than any other) but rather a question of why. Why is it that so many people cling so tenaciously to pseudoscience, quackery, and, frequently, conspiracy…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Eat the sun?

With the utter ridiculousness of the arguments laid down by Dr. Oz when Steve Novella appeared on his show and the even more ridiculous silliness of J.B. Handley thinking that Matt Carey, a.k.a. Sullivan, is really Bonnie Offit, I had originally thought that I should find some peer-reviewed scientific article today to do a sober,…

“Health freedom.” It’s a battle cry frequently used by supporters of “alternative” medicine against what they perceive to be persecution by the medical and scientific establishment that uses the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies charged with regulating pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, and medical devices in order to protect the…

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…

On teaching the controversy in medicine

The other day, I wrote to express my disappointment with Dr. Kevin Pho, of KevinMD, for posting credulous crap about alternative medicine. I noted in an addendum that he responded with a comment that in essence said that he posts things he “doesn’t necessarily agree with myself to promote discussion and debate”: Orac, I appreciate…

I was originally going to write about Dr. Oz’s show yesterday, entitled What Causes Autism? But then I started watching and realized that I just didn’t have the constitutional fortitude to sit through the whole thing. Sorry to let you down, but there are some blogging tasks that I just can’t handle, at least on…

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I am not a fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). I consider it a useless, redundant center within the National Institutes of Health because it does nothing that could’t be done as well or better in the institutes and centers of the…

Things are pretty hairy this week, what with a couple of grant deadlines fast approaching, not to mention a rather important site visit at my institution later this week. As a result, I had been intending to post a “rerun” today, but then I saw something that just cracked me up so much that I…

I was originally going to blog this yesterday, but Dr. Oz’s offenses against science and medicine on his show that aired on Tuesday kind of pushed it out of the way. It’s not that I didn’t think the third part of Brian Deer’s expose of Andrew Wakefield’s fraud worthy of my attention. Rather, the Oz…

During the six years of its existence, one frequent complaint I’ve had on this blog, it’s been about how the press covers various health issues. In particular, it’s depressing to see how often dubious and even outright false health claims, such as the claim that vaccines cause autism, that cell phones or powerlines cause cancer,…

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…

Funny how everything old is new again, isn’t it? Yes, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over nearly six years of blogging, it’s that, sooner or later, everything is recycled, and I do mean everything. At least, that was the thought going through my mind when I came across PZ’s discussion of a clueless wonder…

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…

Yesterday, I expressed dismay at how Dr. Mehmet Oz, the protege of Oprah Winfrey who now has his own popular syndicated daily show, recently named the quackery known as reiki as number one in his list of “Dr. Oz’s ulimate alternatie medicine secrets,” leading me to characterize him as having “gone completely over to the…

For some reason, I’ve tended to give Dr. Mehmet Oz a bit of a free pass when it comes to promoting woo. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I just haven’t paid that much attention to him. Perhaps it’s because, even when he was on Oprah’s show, he didn’t delve as deeply into the…

Combatting the Oprah Effect

I don’t much like Oprah Winfrey. I know, I know, it’s a huge surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but there you go. Over the last four years, I’ve had numerous reasons to be unhappy with her, mainly because, as savvy a media celebrity and businesswoman as she is, she has about as close…