quackery

Respectful Insolence

Tag archives for quackery

It’s very clear that many antivaccinationists hate autistic children. The language they use to describe them makes that very clear. Such children are “damaged” (by vaccines, of course); the parents’ real children were “stolen” from them (by vaccines); they are “toxic” (from vaccines); the “light left their eyes” (due to vaccines). Autism is an “epidemic,”…

Who can quack the loudest?

Over the years this blog’s been in existence, I’ve fallen into a habit in which I tend to like to finish off the week taking on a bit of science (well, usually pseudoscience) that is either really out there, really funny, or in general not as heavy as, for example, writing about someone like Stanislaw…

Last week, the Journal of Pediatrics published a study that did a pretty good job of demolishing a favorite antivaccine trope used to frighten parents. In fact, it’s one of the most effective of antivaccine tropes, as evidenced by a large number of parents who are generally pro-vaccine expressing doubts when asked about this particular…

It’s been less than a week since I wrote about Stanislaw Burzynski. In fact, as hard as it is to believe, I’ve been trying not to. Obviously, I’m failing, but what can I say? Things keep happening. In particular, there’s Eric Merola. You remember Eric Merola? He’s the producer of a propaganda film extolling the…

When I wrote about the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) trial last week, little did I suspect that I would be revisiting the topic again so soon. For those of you not familiar with TACT, it was a trial designed to test a favorite quack treatment for cardiovascular disease, chelation therapy. It is, as…

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…

The “myth” of placebo effects

Heidi Stevenson amuses me. The reasons are legion. Be it the time when Heidi lectured scientists on anecdotal evidence (which she values far more highly than scientists, of course, declaring it the “basis of all knowledge”); launched a vile and nonsensical attack on Stephen Barrett; argued against prior plausibility with using a straw man argument…

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…

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,…

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…

Epigenetics. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I realize I overuse that little joke, but I can’t help but think that virtually every time I see advocates of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as it’s known more commonly now, “integrative medicine” discussing epigenetics.…

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…

Three years ago, the influenza season was a really big deal. The reason, of course, is that the 2009-2010 flu season was dominated by fears of the H1N1 strain, so much so that it was a rare flu season that there were two recommended vaccines, one for the originally expected strains of flu and one…

I sense another disturbance in the antivaccine Force. Yes, I realize that it was just a couple of days ago that I sensed a previous disturbance rippling through the antivaccine Force. That’s when antivaccinationists brought David Kirby out of mothballs from whatever journalistic slime pit he’s currently residing in to use every trick at his…

Dr. Oz versus science—again

That Dr. Mehmet Oz uses his show to promote quackery of the vilest sort is no longer in any doubt. I was reminded yet again of this last week when I caught a rerun of one of his shows from earlier this season, when he gazed in wonder at the tired old cold reading schtick…

Homeopaths swing and miss yet again…

Homeopathy amuses me. Homeopaths amuse me as well, which is why I’m resurrecting this post. It was originally published elsewhere a few years ago and somehow never crossposted here. So if it seems a bit dated, fear not; Orac hasn’t fired up his Tarial cells and managed to go back in time. Now, I realize…

Whenever I blog about atrocities against science like the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), I’m frequently asked how just such an edifice designed to promote pseudoscience could have come to be as a full-fledged center in the National Institutes of Health. The answer is simple and boils down to woo-loving legislators. In…

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of a certain “alternative” cancer doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, PhD, of the infamous Burzynski Clinic. When last we left Burzynski, his propagandist lapdog bootlicker documentary film maker Eric Merola was most unhappy with bloggers like me for having the temerity to tell it like it is when…

One characteristic of cranks, quacks, and pseudoscience boosters is a love-hate relationship with science. They desperately crave the respectability and validation that science confers. In the case of medicine, they want to be seen as evidence- and science-based. On the other hand, they hate science because it just won’t given them what they want: Confirmation…

It wasn’t so long ago (less than a week, actually), that I noticed what I referred to as a paean to the quackery known as naturopathy. It appeared—where else?—on that wretched hive of scum and quackery known at The Huffington Post. It was even entitled My Love Affair with Naturopathy. Not unexpectedly, this very article…

As much as I write about the infiltration of quackademic medicine into medical academia, there is one particular area that is being increasingly invaded by such quackery. It’s an area that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, although anyone who’s read The Men Who Stare at Goats might not be so shocked. Yes, I’m referring to the…

I take back all those nice things I used to say about Nancy Snyderman. There’s no doubt that she “gets it” about vaccines and, for the most part, even though she does occasionally go overboard, and her understanding of the issues involved in the use of various vaccines is anything but nuanced. I used to…

And now for something completely different… Well, not really. It’s a little different, but regular readers will soon recognize it as a variation on the same old theme. One topic I’ve been writing about since the very beginning of this blog is the alternative medicine cancer cure testimonial, or, more specifically, the breast cancer cure…

Fear and loathing and vaccines

As hard as it is for me to believe when I look back at it, I’ve been writing about the antivaccine movement now for more than seven years here on this blog and combatting it online for at least a decade now. I like to think that over the years my response has evolved somewhat.…