Posts

February 27, 2015

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11:35 AM | The Wellness Warrior, Jess Ainscough, has passed away
Two months ago, I took note of a somewhat cryptic blog post by a young woman named Jess Ainscough. In Australia and much of the world, Ainscough was known as the Wellness Warrior. She was a young woman who developed an epithelioid sarcoma in 2008 and ended up choosing “natural healing” to treat her cancer.…

February 26, 2015

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11:30 AM | Poor, poor pitiful Andy (Wakefield): Dissed again, this time by the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care
Poor Andy Wakefield. Beginning in the late 1990s until around six years ago, Andy was the premiere “vaccine skeptic” in the world. His 1998 case series published in The Lancet linking bowel problems in autistic children to the measles vaccine, the one where in the paper itself he was careful not to blame the MMR…

February 25, 2015

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11:00 AM | Finally, the State of Florida acts against Brian Clement and the Hippocrates Health Institute
Every so often, it’s good to post some heartening news regarding quackery. After all, after a decade of blogging about this, preceded by five years in the trenches of Usenet battling quackery and Holocaust denial, sometimes it’s hard for me not to become depressed. After all, there are times when it really does feel as…

February 24, 2015

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11:00 AM | As states try to crack down on non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, antivaccinationists lose it (yellow Star of David edition)
With the Disneyland measles outbreak still going strong and striking far more unvaccinated than vaccinated, it’s not surprising that a discussion has begun in some states about lax policies that permit religious and/or philosophical exemptions. In Oregon, for example, the legislature is considering SB442, a bill apparently originally intended to provide a technical fix to…

February 23, 2015

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8:30 AM | Oh, joy. His Royal Quackiness will be gracing us with his presence in March
Oh, goody. Here’s something we didn’t need here in the US. While Australian skeptics have successfully been rallying to put a stop to a series of lectures from American antivaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny, we’re going to have to put up with a far bigger name in quackery showing up right here in the good ol’…

February 20, 2015

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1:10 PM | Blowing the antivaccine dog whistle again
You remember Dr. Bob, don’t you? I’m referring, of course, to Robert “Dr. Bob” Sears, the Capistrano Beach, CA pediatrician who’s arguably the most famous of the antivaccine pediatricians who have been spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about vaccines. (Sorry, Dr. Jay, but, regardless of your being Jenny McCarthy’s son’s pediatrician, I’d bet that…

February 19, 2015

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9:00 AM | In which I am called an astroturfer and generously offered a chance at unconditional surrender by antivaccine cranks
Ever since the Disneyland measles outbreak hit high gear last month and permeated the national consciousness, the antivaccine movement has, justifiably, been on the defensive. We’ve been treated to the spectacle of a truly despicable cardiologist spewing antivaccine nonsense with an added dollop of contempt for parents of children with cancer who are worried about…

February 18, 2015

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11:00 AM | Science isn’t perfect, but it’s better than the alternative.
It often comes as a surprise to proponents of alternative medicine and critics of big pharma that I’m a big fan of John Ioannidis. Evidence of this can easily be found right here on this very blog just by entering Ioannidis’ name into the search box. Indeed, my first post about an Ioannidis paper is…

February 17, 2015

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8:02 AM | Psychological correlates of the placebo that is acupuncture
If there’s one thing that’s become clear to me over the years about acupuncture, it’s that it’s nothing more than a theatrical placebo. Many are the times that I’ve asked: Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo? Most recently, I asked this question in 2012. What science-based medicine…

February 16, 2015

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6:01 AM | Bill Maher doubles down on his antivaccine misinformation…again
I really don’t want Mondays to be come “let’s refute and make fun of the conspiratorial antivaccine nonsense Bill Maher said on his show Friday night.” I really don’t. However, I figured that I might have to devote Monday to that one more time this week after Maher really let his antivaccine freak flag fly…

February 13, 2015

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1:45 PM | The annals of “I’m not antivaccine,” part 14: Vaccine “Trafficking” and beyond
If there’s one good thing about the ongoing Disneyland measles outbreak that is continuing to spread, if there can be a “good thing” about an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease that didn’t have to happen, it’s that it’s put the antivaccine movement on the defensive. They are definitely feeling the heat. Their reaction to that heat…

February 12, 2015

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11:00 AM | The Food Babe: “There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever”
It’s been a while since I’ve taken notice of Vani Hari, a.k.a. The Food Babe, the misguided “food safety” activist who sees chemicals, chemicals, chemicals everywhere and raises fears about them all, especially the ones that she can’t pronounce. The first time I took any significant notice of her was about a year ago, when…

February 11, 2015

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11:00 AM | Brian Clement and the Hippocrates Health Institute: Cancer quackery on steroids
I think we’ve spent enough time on Bill Maher’s antivaccine posturing for now. There really isn’t much more to say for now. I’m sure he’ll probably dump some pseudoscientific nonsense about medicine on his show to provide me with more blogging material. Today, I’m moved to revisit a certain cancer quack whose offenses are threatening…

February 10, 2015

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2:00 PM | The annals of “I’m not anti-vaccine,” part 13: Nobody wants to admit to being “antivaccine”
Sometimes, in order to understand advocates of pseudoscience, such as antivaccinationists, it’s a useful exercise to look at their most extreme elements. Admittedly, in focusing on such loons, one does take the risk of generalizing the nuts to everyone a bit much, but on the other hand I’ve often found that the extremists are basically…

February 09, 2015

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6:00 AM | After five years, Bill Maher lets his antivaccine freak flag fly again
A couple of weeks ago, I noted the return of the antivaccine wingnut side of Bill Maher, after a (relative) absence of several years, dating back, most likely, to the thorough spanking he endured for spouting off his antivaccine pseudoscience during the H1N1 pandemic. This well-deserved mockery included Bob Costas taunting him on his own…

February 06, 2015

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9:00 AM | Will the Disneyland measles outbreak lead to the end of non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates? (It should)
Well, the ongoing multistate measles outbreak that’s been in the news for the last few weeks continues apace, which means I can’t seem to stay away from the issue for more than a couple of days. For instance, yesterday I learned that five babies at a Chicago-area day care have been diagnosed with the measles.…

February 03, 2015

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8:00 AM | A Scientist in Wonderland
Edzard Ernst is one of those rare people who dare to question their own beliefs, look at the evidence without bias, and change their minds. He went from practicing alternative medicine to questioning it, to researching it, to becoming its most prolific critic. I have long admired his work, and I finally met him in […]
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6:00 AM | Chris Christie and Rand Paul’s pandering to antivaccinationists: Is the Republican Party becoming the antivaccine party?
“I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice as well. So that’s a balance the government has to decide.” — NJ Governor Chris Christie, February 2, 2015 “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), February 2,…

February 02, 2015

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8:53 AM | Antivaccine cardiologist Jack Wolfson and the resurrection of false balance about vaccines…again!
I swear, I had wanted to write about something else today. I really had. The reason is that we’re in one of those stretches of time where things seem to be happening fast and furious that have led most of my posts over the last couple of weeks to be about the Disneyland measles outbreak,…
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