Blog housekeeping Blogging Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Independence Day open thread

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Believe it or not, your normally blogorrheic host is taking this holiday off. For one thing, I have to work on my talk for the Science-Based Medicine workshop at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 next week. For another thing, I have a fair amount of work for my actual job to do before tomorrow morning. So in the meantime I’ll do what I like to call a “lazy blogger trick,” namely to post an open thread. I’ll also refer you to an excellent post by Mark Crislip about the difference between clinical thinking and critical thinking. It’s such a good point that I might have to glom onto it and add my two cents on the issue.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

21 replies on “Independence Day open thread”

I’m just posting to say that I envy you for thinking of the word “blogorrheic” first.

From those of from across the pond, Happy Ungrateful Colonists Day!
evet bencede arkadaşınsövylediği gibi katılıyor. istanbulda ismek mahallelerde kursmerkezleri açıyor 228 adet kurs ile siz sevgili istanbullulara ücretsiz mesleksanat eğitimi veriyor. kaçırmayın eylülde kayıtlar başlıyor..
ismek kayıtlar.

Dear Ismek,

The USA was never a colony of Turkey or the Ottoman Empire.

For those of us in Australia it’s just another day, but happy 4th of july to those in the US.
If the Australian case of Penny Dingle has not yet been bought to your attention Orac, allow me. I mention it now, as the story aired on national television here last night via a program called Australian Story. It’s a weekly program that tells the tale, often tragic, of an Aussie family, or personality. This week we hear the story of Penelope Dingle nee Brown. A woman who died unnecessarily of bowel cancer some years ago after she, with the support of her ‘toxicologist’ husband Peter Dingle, eschewed sound medical advice, and attempted to use Homeopathy to treat the cancer. She dies, as I said, but the story is more protracted and sinister than it seems at first glance. I’m sure a quick google search will ring up articles about the matter but it is the coroners report that shows most clearly how terribly let down this woman was by those, her Homeopath and husband, who could have influenced her to seek proper medical care. Her life was lost, her husbands career ruined and the homeopath Francine Scrayen, disgraced. Yet Mr Dingle has since gone on to remarry, a, yep you guessed it, homeopath. I shall be happy to find the link to the (lengthy) coroners report should anyone be interested in a read. It is a truly tragic document.

Sweden didn’t bother with frills like a national day until 1979, reasoning that if we got along since the viking days without it, the thing is hardly essential for our survival.

Being a true conservative (distinct from *shallow* conservatives who talk about [recently invented] Chicago-scool economics) I have chosen to ignore the Swedish national day altogether, to the point that it was only during the last decade that I finally remembered the date -previously I had succeeded to forget the date from one year to another.
And the Swedish royal family came here from France in 1809 or something, and two centuries is barely enough to get to count as “traditional”, so I ignore them.
Americans? Europeans who got lost. The Indians just might count as Americans, (although strictly speaking, they did not evolve there, making them undocumented immigrants (snark)).

The most disgusting thing I saw last week was an add on YouTube by Jenny McCarthy for what she has dubbed “The Rescue Bullet”. This is the Magic Bullet blender but blue and a portion of each sale (I noticed she didn’t specify what portion of each sale that will be) will go toward her organization, Generation Rescue. It’s on HomelandHousewares channel and comments are being moderated. I know that because two nights ago, when I first saw it, I commented that I wasn’t going to be getting one, even though blue is my favorite color, simply because of who she is and what she stands for. It was pending approval when submitted, but still not showing up a day and a half later. There is in fact still only one comment saying “Cute!! Gotta get it!” I find this particular ploy a little tacky and from the lack of comments think perhaps her support isn’t as wide spread as the anti-vaccine community would like us to think.

I hope everyone in the US had a nice July 4th. We had out national day a few days ago and I have to admit I basically tried to hide from it. I am in Ottawa so the celebrations are pretty big. But Prince William and Kate Middleton were also in town so it was a little more crazy. When I did try to go out the I had to wait 50 minutes for a bus rather than the 10 minutes it was supposed to be. However Snowbirds (an aerial demonstration team similar to the Blue Angels) did fly over my house and it was nice to see them. Apparently I practice my national spirit by reading, watching TV and making sushi with my girlfriend.

Birger–By those standards you’re an undocumented immigrant too.

We are all scatterlings of Africa, if you take a long enough view. On the other hand, “I’ve given my heart to the place I was born.”

I am reminded of the “Jupiter” brand watch that I coveted and saved up for as a boy. It didn’t last long. Must have been advertised in Byte or something similar.


Thanks for the link. I don’t think I had remembered that Penelope Dingle had rectal cancer detected by a colonoscopy. That is especially striking for me because my father had colon cancer detected by a coloscopy several years ago when some polyps were detected. Fortunately, after standard treatment (chemotherapy and radiation), he is still doing well and I got to enjoy a visit with him last month.

My first two colonoscopies detected only benign polyps, but I plan another one in a couple years.


On my vacation, I visited the town of Lindsborg, north of Wichita, Kansas. It was mainly settled by immigrants from Sweden and once each summer they have a Mid-Summer Festival celebrating their Swedish heritage. The Young Swedish Singers chorus had traveled over from Sweden to give a concert. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay into the evening to hear them perform but we did get to hear a few of them sing Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys as they were wandering around the downtown area.

Because I love both sides of the pond- ( complex family and personal history): come on, let’s not argue now, people! I agree with Vicki, we’re *all* from Africa! You have no idea how upsetting a statement like that can be to some people- especially coming from someone who looks like me, as I once found out.

Flying back last night from SF, I saw fireworks from a new angle: looking down 35.000 feet! Over Chicago and Detroit! Woo hoo!

Skepticism/critical thinking: Well there was some interesting/big news out of NIMH today-July 4th. Archive of General Psychiatry, 2011 July, Hallmayer, J. et al have undertaken the largest and most rigorous twin study to date and found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought. “High fraternal twin concordance relative to identical twin concordance underscores the importance of both the environment and moderate genetic heritability in predisposing for autism.”

See you at the workshop! Harriet Hall, by the way, refused to tell me what it would be about, and wouldn’t even confirm she’d be presenting. Said she might be at a family barbecue in northern California. Asked if I had any children, and if so, were they plump? Struck me as odd, but then you never know what to expect from these skeptidocs.

Comments are closed.


Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading