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Cancer Clinical trials Medicine Politics Skepticism/critical thinking

Too fast to label others as “conspiracy-mongers”?

The other day, I did a reality check on a story making the rounds through the blogosphere about an alleged new cure for cancer that, if you believe some hysterical bloggers, is being suppressed because it would cut into their profits. I took one blogger to task for what I characterized as the “utterly ridiculous title” of his post (Objectively Pro-cancer). Well, he apparently didn’t like that and showed up in my comments claiming that he was joking.

It sure didn’t sound like a joke to me, but I thought I’d poll my readers to see if anyone thought I was out of line in my criticism. So, look at what the first words were after the ridiculous title Objectively Pro-cancer:

Digby lights on the sort of story that makes my blood boil:

What then follows is an excerpt from the story and an utterly serious paragraph arguing that increasing public sector research funding and bemoaning this story. My conclusion: Either Ezra was utterly serious iwith his title or he was being sarcastic, which is very different from “joking.” His comment struck me as being an embarrassed excuse for having spouted off on this story without understanding much about how cancer drug development works and how often compounds that show promise in cell culture and animals fail to pan out.

Or am I mistaken? After all, my fellow ScienceBlogger Jonah thinks I was too quick to label people posting about this story as conspiracy-mongers. For example, would my characterization of this atrocious article on DCA as a sterling example of everything bad that I said in my original post be off-base?

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]

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