Category: Science and the Media

Chemical castration for autism: After three years, the mainstream media finally notices

We’ve written a lot about anti-vaccine zealotry on this blog, as Steve and I take a particular interest in this particular form of dangerous pseudoscience for a number of reasons. One reason, of course, is that the activities of antivaccine groups like Generation Rescue and its spokesmodel since 2007 (Jenny McCarthy, a frequent topic on this blog) have started to frighten parents...

/ May 25, 2009

Hostility Towards Scientists And Jenny McCarthy’s Latest Video

I’ve been fairly quiet about Jenny McCarthy’s campaign against childhood vaccinations, partly because Dr. David Gorski has covered the issue so thoroughly already, and partly because of my “do not engage” policy relating to the deeply irrational (i.e. there’s no winning an argument with “crazy.”) But this week I was filled with a renewed sense of urgency regarding the anti-vaccinationist movement for...

/ May 21, 2009

The case of chemotherapy refusenik Daniel Hauser

I’ve written before about clinical trials as one place where “the rubber hits the road,” so to speak regarding the interface between science-based medicine and actual medical practice. Another critical place where an equal amount of rubber hits an equal amount of road is how the medical system and the law deal with the medical care of minors. In the vast majority...

/ May 18, 2009
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

“Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part I)

James Reston’s Appendectomy For many Americans, the current wave of public fascination with “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” can be traced to a single event: New York Times columnist James Reston’s appendectomy in China during the summer of 1971, which Reston reported in an interesting and amusing article on July 26 of that year. Many of those who noticed the publicity following this event...

/ May 15, 2009

Being Right Versus Being Influential

On May 9th I had the pleasure of lecturing to an audience of critical thinkers at the NYC Skeptics meeting. The topic of discussion was pseudoscience on the Internet – and I spent about 50 minutes talking about all the misleading health information and websites available to (and frequented by) patients. The common denominator for most of these well-intentioned but misguided efforts...

/ May 14, 2009

The British Chiropractic Association versus Simon Singh

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years promoting skepticism and science in medicine and writing critically about various forms of unscientific medical practices and outright quackery, it’s that there will always be pushback. Much, if not most, of the time, it’s just insults online. However, occasionally, the pushback enters into the realm of real life. I can remember the very...

/ May 11, 2009

Flu Woo Hodge Podge

Perhaps you have discovered for yourself that I am always the last to write a post on a ‘hot’ topic. I am definitely the slowest writer (and thinker?) on this blog, starting each post at least a week before it is up. So the faster writers weigh in first and I am left with clean up. As I finish writing on Thursday,...

/ May 8, 2009

When what to my wondering eyes should appear….

…but an actual pro-science post at The Huffington Post in which the blogger, Jacob Dickerman, actually correctly describes why homeopathy is quackery! For instance: Homeopaths will tell us that water has a memory. That it vibrates in a certain way and thus knows exactly what the homeopath put into it. The thing is, if Hahnemann is somehow right about homeopathy, then it...

/ May 5, 2009

Chiropractic in the News

Three recent news items about chiropractic have particularly irritated me. (1) U.S. Army Brigadier General Becky Halstead (Retired) Speaks Out for Chiropractic Care (2) Chiropractic Helps Child with Brain Disorder (3) Swine Flu Chiropractor’s Handout (1) General Halstead has become a spokesperson for The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of chiropractic. Her quoted comments boil...

/ May 5, 2009

Threats to science-based medicine: Big pharma pays a publisher to produce a fake journal

It’s times like these when I’m happy that I haven’t published in too many Elsevier Journals during the course of my career. Actually, I’m not sure if I’ve ever published in an Elsevier journal, although I have reviewed manuscripts for them. In any case, I say that because on Thursday, it was revealed that pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme paid Elsevier...

/ May 5, 2009