Leaving on a jet plane: CSICon and quackademic medicine, plus random blather

Instead of the usual logorrheic (usually) well-thought out Insolence you've come to expect every day, Instead, you'll hvae an announcement and a couple of random thoughts. The reasons are multiple. First, today's a travel day. I'm heading off to Nashville to attend and speak at CSICon. My topic? What do you think it will be? Why, quackademic medicine, of course! (What else would it be?) Not only will I get to share the stage with old friends and blogging collaborators, but with Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education! Yes, as part of the overall discussion of the problem of unscientific medicine wending its way into medical schools, a problem I'll talk about primarily during my part of the session, we are going to draw parallels between the teaching of creationism in public schools, the tactics creationists use, and what might be done to combat it. So if you're going to be at CSICon, come on over to our talk tomorrow morning, and don't be shy (because, well, I rather am). That's led to some people perceiving me as somewhat standoffish, but, really, for a clear plastic box of multicolored blinking lights I'm not such a bad computer. Beer helps.

Secondly, I spent most of last night putting the finishing touches on my talk. It depressed me, because I kept finding more and more outrageous examples of pseudoscience in medical schools and medicine. Add to that watching my Tigers get their posteriors handed to them in the first game of the World Series, and my depression became quite acute. It's almost enough to make me wonder if I shouldn't blow off the evening activities tonight to watch the second game. On the other hand, how often does one's team get into the World Series? I mean, seriously, I could be an old man or dead before it happens again. Maybe I can find a Detroiter or Michigander or two to hang out at the hotel bar and watch the game. Or I could be pathetic and watch it in my hotel room. Some things are more important than The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, as much as I've worked with Steve and as much as I love his crew.

Speaking of my being standoffish, I have a brief message to whoever the student was whom I ran into as I left the main medical school building at my campus yesterday morning around 10 AM. I assume you were a medical student, and I always appreciate it when medical students tell me that you love my blog. One of my most cherished goals is to try to encourage critical thinking in medical students who are being bombarded with woo. (Fortunately, compared to the schools I will be talking about tomorrow morning, my medical school is relatively lacking in woo, although, I must admit, not completely free of it.) I didn't mean to blow you off, but yesterday was a very stressful day, and I was kind of running from one obligation to the next. Feel free to look me up and e-mail me next week if you want to talk. In fact, it was these numerous obligations, including two talks, that were the reason why I couldn't travel to CSICon last night. I guess I'll miss most of the optional sessions and workshops today, and all my friends are already there! Such is life.

Finally (and I told you these would be random thoughts), I got a chance to fondle look at the new 13" MacBook Pro with retina display at the Apple Store yesterday. All I can say is: I picked it up at the same time I picked up a 13" MacBook Air and could barely tell the difference, as it only weighs around 0.6 lbs more. Also, they're very similar in thickness (at least when you compare the thick part of the MacBook Air to the Pro). The new MacBook Pro is a very sweet machine.

Oh, and I'll probably have a real Orac post tomorrow. Probably.

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I had considered going to CSICon, but events conspired against me! Would've been nice to meet you in person. Hope your talk goes well and that you have a great time.

Oh, and I hope this might cheer you up a bit (shameless blog plug).

"On the other hand, how often does one’s team get into the World Series? "

For me in my lifetime, it's been 6 times with 3 wins. :)

By Karl Withakay (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

OMG, I will be there!!!

I will try not to gush and bounce too much.

Warning: There will be some gushing and bouncing.

By Melissa G (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ Orac...I've conjured up a weather forecast for you and your skeptics. IMO (and according to NOAA), the weather will be clear, with a nip in the air. While you are indulging in yummy barbecue be sure to wear a bib.

Sorry I cannot predict the outcome of the next playoff game, though. Have a great trip. :-)

Todd W. Your "plug" is shameless; thanks for the link. The bot and her pals, have been busy promoting Jenny McCarthy's new role as a blogger/columnist at a Chicago Daily.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raeburn/chicago-suntimes-signs-je_b_…

@ Orac:

Please pardon me being so bold- a simple, humble psychologist- who might DARE to advise the great masterful trans-galactic computer:

But I do anyway.
If people like you in print, they'll like you in person..( er, in computer... or whatever) and vice versa: BECAUSE the person ( computer) you are really shines through both - unless if you had absolutely no talent at expressing your feelings .. which is not the case at all. Far from it.. People understand that sometimes we 'hold back' a little.It's style.

So go hang out in the bar and watch the game.
There's an old French poem about "truth" coming out of a "well" and the "Muse" coming out of a "barrel" amongst all the folks "who don't drink water".. I think you catch my drift, so 'Sing Heavenly Muse' etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

Alain <--- get to Wonder if it's possible to send a few bottle of the Imperial milk stout to Orac (for xmas)?

Al (who think they might drink it at the border).

scratch previous post....Orac, how about giving a presentation at our college?

Alain

Orac, if you get the macbook get one with an ssd. I put an SSD in my wife's and it went from great to amazing.

In other news, Dan Olmsted has just, perhaps accidentally, revealed that nothing AoA has ever said regarding vaccines and serious adverse events has had a "biologically plausible mechanism":

Must-read from SaneVax on new report linking Gardasil to deaths of two girls: For the first time in history, a biologically plausible mechanism of action has been discovered linking a vaccine to a serious adverse event.

@narad - I'm impressed, I'm sure that will be edited out at some point.

He's still wrong, of course. There are well-established and long-standing biologically plausible mechanisms linking vaccines to serious adverse effects - e.g. anaphylaxis. Just not the effects AoA WANTS them linked to.

I’m sure that will be edited out at some point.

The "From the Editor" bit goes down the memory hole every time a new one shows up, although they don't always tidy up the comments properly.

Looks like Shaw and Tomljenovic have themselves a new cottage industry to tap into. Another waste of space and graduate degrees for these two; their uni should be so very proud of having this dog and pony show operating during their watch.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

While I was slumming and posting at Ho-Po that same new study was posted by one of their anti-vax denisons:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mehmet-oz/hpv-cancer_b_1954550.html

I posted back...

These are the same two "researchers" who claim to find Human Papilloma Virus DNA in Gardisal vaccine and one of them, and SaneVax's in-house pathologist, testified at a coroners inquest in New Zealand as "expert witnesses" in the death of teen *purportedly* from Gardisil vaccine. Dr. Shaw claims he found Aluminum adjuvant in the deceased's brain which had attached itself to HPV DNA:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/08/09/a-sad-premature-death-cyni…

See, an evaluation of their "expert witness" testimony, from the Immunization Advisory Centre-Auckland University:

http://www.immune.org.nz/sites/default/files/factsheets/ConcernCritique…

In other other news, the inimitable John Stone has just suggested at AoA that Jimmy Saville (who he didn't bother to name) "was using his position to serially sexually abuse children, the disabled, the orphaned, the insane, maybe even the dead in industrial quantities, and even with the help of the Department of Health."

This was apparently in response to an observation that Christian Science doesn't forbid vaccination. Now, the allegations surrounding the late Saville are serious, but the necrophilia allegation goes to Stone's moorings.

(Although, in the Mirror comments on the story, one Caroline Hurry comments that "David Icke has been pointing out Jimmy Savile's penchant for necrophilia and paedophila for years and years," so there you go.)

@ Science Mom: I've got a comment in moderation about that latest dreck study from Shaw and Tomljenovic. A troll at the Huffington Post commented about their "research"...and I posted back at her.

I see that Shaw & Tomljenovic are publishing in an open-access journal from the OMICSgroup stable.
In other words, a vanity-press scam.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

I recommend Googling for terms like "OMICS group spam", or "OMICS group scam", or "OMICS group fake journal" -- the results are entertaining.
Behold the operation through which Shaw & Tomljenovic have elected to publish.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

HA! This will amuse Orac... one of the latest journals emanating from the OMICS group is the "Journal of Integrative Oncology". So far only one issue (featuring a paper on managing prostate cancer using homeopathic Amanita phalloides -- for which the "classical homoeopathic indication is fear of death").

Reverting to Shaw's chosen outlet, 'Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs', I was amused to skim through the Editorial Board and find an entry for a "Professor,
Department of Polydisciplinary Errachidia".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

I’ve heard you speak and you even made contractions--which is something that non-human characters are not usually allowed to do (that really bugged me about Data).

Have a good time. Eugenie Scott is terrific and a very articulate speaker. She has a very disarming way of being very blunt and she’s not at all shy.

I can't say that I've ever seen a journal that provides raw PDF-to-speech files of its content before.

This will amuse Orac… one of the latest journals emanating from the OMICS group is the “Journal of Integrative Oncology”. So far only one issue (featuring a paper on managing prostate cancer using homeopathic Amanita phalloides — for which the “classical homoeopathic indication is fear of death”).

Don't miss Magic of Homoepathic Tinctures of Herbs in Breast Tumour from "Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy."

(And yes, that's their typo. I noticed that the T&S wasn't badly set, but clearly not professionally copyedited. Of course, if you've got all the space in the world, typesetting isn't that difficult. This one, with the Tennyson digression, shows that the competence is skin-deep.)

Courtesy of the Journal of Earth Science and Climate Change, I give you The Stonehenge.

The paper has a certain notoriety among junk-journal watchers (not least because the author himself doesn't want it published), to the extent that the proprietor of OMICS promised in Dec. 2011 to take it down. Fortunately he has failed on this undertaking, and it remains available for our edification and delight.

The Stonehenge appears to be a cell, an ancient eukaryotic cell that did not complete all of its cell interior organelle structural formation. Before its completion, the structural formation seems to have suffered a premature cell death Apoptosis / Necrosis. The Stonehenge structure appears to be a nearly completed ancient eukaryotic cell with nearly all of its organelles in their correct places Figure 4 (included as supplementary data). Most of the organelles are present and accounted for, but not within the defined boundaries of a healthy cells’ interior membrane structure. The mitochondria appears as the 2 circular disk within The Stonehenge image. Mitochondria is always circular in shape within eukaryotic cells. The Golgi Apparatus does not appear to have succeeded in its journey through the cis side of the Nucleus attempting to attach to the Endomembrane system of The Stonehenge structure.

The diagrams would be persuasive, but they are "Supplementary material", i.e. untraceable. But as consolation there is an interesting and creative References section:

20. Cancer. Biotech/ Biomedical.
21. The White Cliffs Of Dover.
22, Discovering Fossils / Dover (Kent).
23. Skin Abscess.
24. What Is Pus?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

For what it's worth I have posted a comment giving my thoughts on the Shaw & Tomljenovic paper here.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

Courtesy of the Journal of Earth Science and Climate Change, I give you The Stonehenge.

Oh come on that has to be a joke right?

Right?

I can only imagine what kind of drugs were involved in the mental processes of that. Is this the new "Journal of Irreproducible Results"?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ herr doktor bimler:

Oh bimler! That one is definitely a keeper.
I actually read the entire article and find myself at loss for words. Unusual for me, I know.
I think that he left out one important element in his grand scheme:
how does Sutton Hoo fit in ?
He doesn't tell us. And he should.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

how does Sutton Hoo fit in ?

A wayward centrosome.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

@Herr Doktor Bimler - WTF

If it wasn't for the 5th Grade writing style, I would have assumed it was a Sokal style hoax - possibly played on AGW denialists. If this was the work of an individual who has become unhinged, James Lovelock has a lot to answer for - this is definitely taking the Gaia Hypothesis to the fair. I suspect that the author wanted it taken down after he went back on his meds (or maybe off them).

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

This comment on "The Stonehenge"

I should have thought any solid process would have caught that this particular article was neither particularly good nor in the topical area of the journal.

has got to be the understatement of the year.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ herr doctor bimler,

You know, I have 7 beers takens right now and still, had I been one of the reviewer for that paper, I would have trashed it but usually, I reserve judgement (sp?) after I would be fasting.

Alain

Holy crap, that Stonehenge stuff is weird. Especially the references. - No, actually, it's all weird.

Curse you Orac for that John Denver earworm!

Curse you Orac for that John Denver earworm!

Would "Cessna on My Shoulder" help?

AAAAaaaagh.... yet another John Denver earworm! Must have more ethanol!

OK, I tell you what. Anjan Dutta covered "Sunshine." See if this doesn't help clear that Denver out.

Knock 'em dead in Nashville and say hi to Genie for me. Remind me to tell you my favorite Nashville story when I see you at TAM. Sorry about the whole Giants thing, yeah. 2-0. They're very high spirited boys and they just won't play nice.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

Who is John Denver?

Alain (9 beers).

@Alain

Who is John Denver?

You will be much better off if you remain blissfully ignorant of that subject.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 25 Oct 2012 #permalink

@Narad

Dan Olmstead: "Must-read from SaneVax on new report linking Gardasil to deaths of two girls: For the first time in history, a biologically plausible mechanism of action has been discovered linking a vaccine to a serious adverse event."

Oh, great. I suppose Sane VAX will use this to "support" the notion that Jasmine Renata's death was due to the vaccine. Here we go again... Sigh

(I'd have to check [but can't be bothered!] but I might have pointed this T&S paper out earlier at RI.)

On another note, I'd love to had AoA up for breach of copyright - they can use the article privately, but I doubt they're allowed to publish it for distribution - ?

Who is John Denver?

I suggest waiting for the hangover to kick in to fully appreciate this matter.

On another note, I’d love to had AoA up for breach of copyright – they can use the article privately, but I doubt they’re allowed to publish it for distribution – ?

While they do this sort of thing all the time, this OMICS joint is open-access (although they take pains to serve it from rescuepost).

I suggest waiting for the hangover to kick in to fully appreciate this matter.

Fair enough; my workstation need to compile a few updates before I get to see this video.

Alain (10th beer)

Is this the new “Journal of Irreproducible Results”?

More suitable for the Fortean Times, I think. Hunt Emerson could work wonders with the 'Stonehenge' story for his Phenomenomix cartoon.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

Maybe OT - maybe not! I read the article in dreamer's link. Disturbing. I think she deserves good support.

@ Alain:

Tenth beer! Oh come on, mister! I think I know where you live and isn't it morning there? I know, I know, it's always 5pm *somewhere*! Carry on.

-btw- I have two events this weekend ( one involving rampant ancestor worship- please don't ask !) so I will probably assign myself driving duties so I won't get entirely sloshed- I'll instead taxi the sloshed.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

@HDB - thank you for sharing that truly jaw-dropping bit of unintentional Stonehenge comedy. I am a little disappointed that he didn't go on to offer any thoughts on how the earth got "infected" in the first place.

And speaking of Stonehenge comedy....(might help clear those John Denver earworms too) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAXzzHM8zLw

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ Denice,

Yeah, the awakening was brutal this morning (I was tipsy while taking the bus). I viewed the videos of John Denver, didn't really like so in exchange, I posted some videos on my blog. Finally, I'm thinking of putting back the AC in my appartment (29.8C at the moment from my fluke temperature gun)...

Alain

Don’t miss Magic of Homoepathic Tinctures of Herbs in Breast Tumour from “Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy.”

That is quite mad. Occasionally a recognisable English sentence emerges from the haze of neologisms. "Cancer Science" is evidently a term of art, broad enough to encompass revelations such as "a blood parasite called Siphonospora polymorpha - a form of Mucor racemosus freshen was identified as an agent in the development of cancer."

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ lilady, you too, the invitation is extended :)

Alain

“Cancer Science” is evidently a term of art, broad enough to encompass revelations such as “a blood parasite called Siphonospora polymorpha – a form of Mucor racemosus freshen was identified as an agent in the development of cancer.”

It's an artatic basic law.

I will also note with regard to the Harris item that the following text is plagiarized from an 1898 editorial, "The Psychic Factor," in the Journal of Orificial Surgery, quoting on Dr. Burnett, aside from the misspelling of "there":

Usually there is some disease or irritation or change in the lower part of the body, either arising primarily there or else expressed their holopathically.

^ "one Dr. Burnett"

Do *homoepathic* and *holopathy*
refer to same-sex telepathy and pathological holography, respectively?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

@ Alain;
Merci beaucoup.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

Do *homoepathic* and *holopathy* refer to same-sex telepathy and pathological holography, respectively?

It's all a trick done with mirrors.

It looks like that the plagiarized portions go not to the editorial mentioned above but to the "Clippings and Comments" section. I'm afraid that Google Docs operates rather spastically in my ancient browser.

Yah, the passage can be found in Best of Burnett, rather highlighting the irony in this lifting:

Whether this view of the origin of mammary tumours has ever been considered before, I do not know, in any case, I have it from my own observations in practical life.

Get Oransky on the blower!

@lilady: be safe this weekend. I'm thinking I picked a lousy year to move from the NJ highland area to the coast!!! Planning on being out of state anyway, but the plans may change as Sandy might hit the hotel we are going to be at, too!!! Darn hurricane...

I am honored. And I've gone ahead and tried getting Oransky on what passes for a blower nowadays.

@ Narad:

And I'm sure you know all about tricks with mirrors, Mister.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 Oct 2012 #permalink

hdb,

And, yes. OMICS is indeed in a list of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”. They go on to say:

“This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.”

“We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus.”

(A short blog post may appear featuring this, and possibly your blog post, sometime later this weekend.)

Narad,

I could reach him on twitter if you like. I occasionally past bits on and he's quick to respond IME.