Monday, May 24, 2010

Andrew Wakefield - Doctor No More

It's good to know that sometimes science and reason win, and the bad guys pay for their stupidity.
Today, the doctor who started the MMR vaccine controversy (never a real controversy) 12 years ago, and who probably caused more harm to children than anyone else (ok, maybe Jenny McCarthy is running right behind him), was "struck off" from the U.K. medical register, which means he's not a doctor anymore.

Good riddance!!!

Unfortunately, the legacy of his fake and unethical research and years of pushing his agenda" live on in forms of public confusion, preventable diseases that are coming back in various places around the world, and worst of all, children dying when they are not vaccinated. It's a shame!!!

Thanks to Orac for this great news!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Website of the Week: Science-Based Medicine Blog

Science-Based Medicine Blog is a site to put very high on you daily reading list. There are a few good reasons for that.
The first one is their lineup of authors, which include clinical and academic doctors from various specialties, pharmacologists, veterinarians, current medical students and educators. Such a diversity and wide array of knowledge, ensures that all the medical information presented on the Science-Based Medicine Blog comes from the best sources and can be trusted.
The second reason I love this blog is the frequency of posts. You can be sure to have an interesting, well researched and informative article almost daily, not only bringing you the most recent developments in the world of medical knowledge, but also keeping a watchful eye on the mainstream media and its well known inability to report scientific news correctly (most of the time, at least).
Now that you know, put it on your reading list too!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Local Dose of Woo: Gaia Spiritual Doorways

Living in the area where The South mixes with The North in a very unique way, I get my dose of nonsense almost daily: crazy churches, tea parties, homeopathic healers, small chiropractic shops, a psychic reader here and there (nothing beats Downtown Brooklyn when it comes to those). In all, it's a nice cauldron of traditional religion taken to the extreme, and some of the best New Age craziness. Yet, from time to time, a rare flower of nonsense just blossoms in your area, and it's hard to pass it by without a short mention.
Last week, when reading a local paper (and I mean LOCAL, because it's available only north of Tampa), I stumbled upon an article raving about a new metaphysical supplies store that had opened up its doors recently. It is called Gaia Spiritual Doorways, and it's truly a place for woo-woo of all kinds and shapes.
From candles (hello, Bed, Bath and Beyond) to oracle and tarot cards, runes (any hobbits selling them?), botanical and spiritual items, to statues of saints, angels and Buddahs, it's all there in it's glory.

If you don't know how to use all those goodies, take a workshop. Before you know it, you can do some Reiki, heal with stones, or use a pendulum (that one is hard and must require a lot of practice).
There are, of course, psychic readings available in the store, so if you are not sure what's in your future, make sure to stop by and ask for the next set of lotto numbers. I'm planning on going, and you can be sure you will not see me at work after I get my millions! I will get them, right???

What's really sad is not so much the fact that places like that exist and thrive on suckers (you know what P.T. Barnum allegedly said...), but that newspapers keep reporting on them uncritically. The article is a shameless plug for this business, with no single shred of critical thinking, down to the claim that the psychic readings available in the store are accurate, because they contain timeframes and apply to present and not some vague future. If so, why don't they apply for the "One Million Dollar Challenge" from JREF and be rich without trying. I might suggest that when I go to the grand opening... it's coming up soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Website of the Week: Respectful Insolence

This week, one of the best sources for medical knowledge, funny (and sometimes scary) commentaries on current medical and skeptical topics, occasionally a place for some controversial exchange, always a great read: Respectful Insolence by Orac.

I've been a big fan of Orac's blog for a few years now, and while you can find the same information in a few other places on line, no other place will give you the same package of information and entertainment. And, what's hard to come by on the interwebs, it's the information you can always rely on!!!

As Orac says about himself:
Respectful Insolence™ is a repository for the ramblings of the aforementioned pseudonymous surgeon/scientist concerning medicine and quackery, science and pseudoscience, history and pseudohistory, politics, and anything else that interests him (or pushes his buttons). Orac's motto is: "A statement of fact cannot be insolent." (OK, maybe it can be just a little bit insolent. Sometimes. OK, fairly often. Orac tries to keep his insolence respectful most of the time, but readily admits that he sometimes fails in cases of obvious quackery and pseudoscience, responding to personal attacks on him, examining poor critical thinking skills, bigotry or racism, and just general plain stupidity. When the stupidity to which Orac is responding reaches a certain very high level, he just can't help it and makes no apologies. You will know this is happening when Orac uses the phrase "the stupid, it burns" or some variant thereof.
Go, get your dose of insolence today...