quackery

Respectful Insolence

Tag archives for quackery

When it comes to Twitter, I run hot and cold. I’ll frequently go weeks when I barely touch my Twitter account, and nothing gets posted there except automatic Tweets linking to my new posts. Then something will happen, and suddenly I’ll post 20 Tweets in a day. Rinse, lather, repeat. I guess I’m just too…

One of the major differences between science-based medicine (SBM) and alternative medicine—or, as they call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine”—is that SBM is always questioning itself, always reevaluating its practices. Related to this difference is that SBM does change its practice, discarding treatments that don’t work and incorporating those…

Cancer quackery promoted on Fox News

I’ve always known that FOX News has a tendency to go for the sensationalistic story. I’ve also known that, given Rupert Murdoch’s political leanings, politically motivated pseudoscience like anthropogenic global warming denialism is the order of the day on FOX. I’ve even noticed a disturbing tendency on FOX to promote antivaccine views, for example, when…

One of the fun things about blogging is that I can often follow how various issues develop and, more importantly, insert my opinion into the issue. As bizarre as it seems to me even almost nine years after starting this blog that anyone keeps reading what I have to lay down (and it still does…

The damaged done by the antivaccine movement is primarily in how it frightens parents out of vaccinating using classic denialist tactics of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). Indeed, as has been pointed out many times before, antivaccinationists are often proud of their success in discouraging parents from vaccinating, with one leader of the antivaccine…

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about a local oncologist who was arrested by the FBI for massive Medicare fraud in which physician involved diagnosed cancers that weren’t there, gave chemotherapy to patients who either didn’t have cancer or were in remission and thus didn’t need it, and had developed a self-referral…

Recently, I got an e-mail from someone who had just discovered my blog that made me think a bit, which is usually a good thing. At least, in this case it was. Basically, this reader asked me a question I hadn’t been asked in a very long time and hadn’t thought about in a very…

The “fundamentals” of voltage quackery

In medical school, or so we’re told, aspiring young doctors are taught the fundamentals of medicine. What we science-based physicians usually mean by “fundamentals” includes the basic science necessary to understand human health and disease, the mechanism by which human disease develops, and the basics of how to treat it. We also learn a way…

Antivaccine legislators are at it again

Here we go again. The “Holy Grail” (well, a “holy grail”) of the antivaccine movement is to have a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study performed, or, as it’s frequently abbreviated a “vaxed verus unvaxed” study. They believe that such a study will confirm their fixed belief that vaccines are the root of nearly all health issues…

Mike Adams (a.k.a. the “Health Ranger”) has been a regular blog topic for several years now. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that, among supporters of quackery, no one quite brings the crazy home the way Mike Adams does, be it writing antivaccine rap songs, abusing dead celebrities by…

Sometimes, as I sit down to write a blog post, I have no idea what I’m going to write about at first. Fortunately, it’s rare that I truly have zero idea what I’m going to write about. Usually, there are options, and I don’t know which one I’m going to pick. Sometimes, however, something happens…

I don’t know why I’m interested in this, to the point where I’m on my sixth post about it since February. I sometimes even ask myself that very question, because taking an admittedly somewhat perverse interest in the internecine feuds among antivaccinationists. Maybe it’s a bit of schadenfreude. Maybe it’s just me. Whatever the reason,…

I write about cancer quackery a lot, and I’ve been at it for over a decade. I first cut my teeth on Usenet, delving into that cesspit of unreason known as misc.health. alternative, where my eyes were opened to just the sorts of pseudoscientific and unscientific cancer treatments patients are enticed into trying, sometimes in…

Once again, real life, mainly the eternal search (i.e., groveling) for grant money to keep my lab going, interferes with unreal life. Three grant applications due the same week will do that. Hopefully this will be the last time for a while, at least until unreal life might interfere with unreal life in a couple…

Do you believe in magic in medicine?

Sometimes, between blogging, a demanding day (and night) job doing surgery and science, and everything else, I embarrass myself. Sure, sometimes I embarrass myself by saying something that, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. More often, I embarrass myself by letting things slide that I shouldn’t. For instance, when friends send me a prepublication copy…

For a long time, going back almost to the beginning of this blog eight and a half years ago, I’ve referred to the “bait and switch” of alternative medicine. What I mean by that is the manner in which advocates of alternative medicine—or, as they like to call it these days, “complementary and alternative medicine”…

What’s Keith Kloor got that I haven’t got? What’s Laura Helmuth got that I haven’t got? Why won’t Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. call me to complain about all the not-so-Respectful Insolence I’ve directed his way over the years. I mean, seriously. I spend nearly eight years criticizing his antivaccine crank views, and these two get…

It’s just one more cut on the road to the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. I’m referring, unfortunately, to last week’s development in the state of Colorado. Specifically, I’m referring to the Colorado legislature’s truly boneheaded decision to license naturopaths, thus giving the imprimatur of the state to quackery and, in essence, legalizing a…

Just what I need: Cellular Feng Shui!

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. (Yes, it’s grant season.) So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from 2008 and be assured that I’ll be back tomorrow. Remember, if you’ve…

Not too long ago, a reader asked me about black salve, and then not too long later I saw a commenter mention black salve. It occurs to me that, in all the years I’ve been doing this blog and my other blog, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about black salve, except in passing.…

Stem cells are magical, mystical things that can’t be explained. At least, if you listen to what docs and “practitioners” who run stem cell clinics in various parts of the world, usually where regulation is lax and money from First World clientele is much sought after, that’s what you could easily come to believe. Unfortunately,…

Well, April is over, which means that Autism Awareness Month is almost over. While antivaccinationists are saying goodbye to April and whining about the very concept of “autism awareness,” I can’t help but realize that the autism quackfest known as AutismOne is less than a month away. Yes, every year around Memorial Day weekend, the…

I’ve written about naturopathy many times before. The reasons that it interests me are several. First, it amazes me how anyone “discipline” (if you want to call it that) can encompass so many forms of quackery, some of which are mutually contradictory. (For instance, how can homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine both be true?) Also,…

I want to thank Dan Olmsted, the editor of Age of Autism. I think. Why do I say this? After all, Olmsted is the managing editor of perhaps the most wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery that I am aware of. However, he’s actually done me a favor. You see, the other day, the…

I guess that the antivaccinationists didn’t listen to me last time when I suggested that maybe—just maybe—using Holocaust analogies when discussing autism and vaccines is just a wee bit inappropriate, such an overblown analogy that it spreads far more heat than light. At least, Kent Heckenlively didn’t, and, because his invocation of the Nazi card…