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10^23 Campaign: Homeopathy Demonstration

By 1 February 2011 27

Event Schedule
  • 6 February 2011 at 10:23 am

On the 6th of February, in partnership with the Canberra Skeptics incorporated, I will be participating in the global 10-23 event.

It has been my observation, and that of others in the skeptical movement, that most members of the public do not understand what homeopathy really is. Most people seem to think that the adjective “homeopathic” is the equivalent of “herbal”, or “natural”. They consider homeopathy the same way they consider vitamins, or health supplements, when in fact homeopathy is a very different kind of product.

We will not be making a claim about whether or not homeopathy actually works. Instead, we will be demonstrating to the public how homeopathy is prepared. We will be making a 30C homeopathic preparation of hydrochloric acid, demonstrating the principles of dilution and succussion. The public will be able to make up their own mind whether to spend money on elaborately and expensively prepared water.

If any supporter of homeopathy really believes they can distinguish the homeopathic preparation from plain water, we invite them to try for the Australian Skeptics $100,000 prize or the James Randi Educational Foundation’s million dollar prize. Of course, they will have to prove it can be done without reliance upon pure chance!

This event will begin at 10:23am on Sunday 6th February, to coincide with associated events across the world. It will take place in the gardens of Old Parliament House (see Rational Capital website for map).

Background Links:
1023 Campaign: http://www.1023.org.uk/
Rational Capital Podcast: http://rationalcapital.com.au/
Canberra Skeptics: http://www.canberraskeptics.org.au/
Australian Skeptics $100,000 Prize: http://www.skeptics.com.au/features/prize/
The JREF Million Dollar Challenge: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

Contact: Andrew Gould
Email: arthwollipot @ gmail . com

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27 Responses to
10^23 Campaign: Homeopathy Demonstration
I-filed 8:51 am
01 Feb 11
#1

Radio National’s Dr Norman Swan mentioned in an interview recently that the placebo effect constitutes some 40 per cent of mainstream doctors’ work – so the placebo effect of homeopathy is probably useful. The charlatanism is much cuter than the ridiculous extent of the dilutions – my former homeopath (yes, I was once a sucker) dispensed with the actual watery dilutions and put little phials of gin in some kind of “vibration machine” where they supposedly “picked up” the substances.

troll-sniffer 9:20 am
01 Feb 11
#2

Is there room in the gardens for some of my barrels of Reiki energy? I’ve just bought a further 34 barrels of the stuff that were washed into Moreton Bay. Funny thing is, even though the energy is for really dense people, it still floats!

trix 9:33 am
01 Feb 11
#3

Oh, grow the f*ck up. Yeah, any frigging homeopath can tell you that common dilutions/”potencies” cannot possibly contain one molecule of the original substance. Duh, we have heard of basic chemistry.

We DON’T know how homeopathy works; it just appears to, in our experience.

And Randi’s so-called offer is just grand-standing – as mentioned, we know basic chemistry, and we also know that given our current scientific knowledge, we can’t demonstrate any difference between a homeopathic preparation and water.

So what? If you want to chalk it up to placebo effect, please do. Or a “counselling effect”. Stick it in the same bucket as acupuncture – how does sticking bits of metal in someone’s skin help them? But there are very few homeopaths that pretend they can give an absolute cure, nor do they prevaricate about how much we know about how potentisation works – we don’t mislead people wilfully (there are charlatans, sure, but not that many more than in the medical profession).

So why not spend your energy on the kind of fraud that actually has the ability to ruin people’s lives – loan-sharking, dodgy pensions, email fraud….

p1 9:35 am
01 Feb 11
#4

troll-sniffer said :

Is there room in the gardens for some of my barrels of Reiki energy? I’ve just bought a further 34 barrels of the stuff that were washed into Moreton Bay. Funny thing is, even though the energy is for really dense people, it still floats!

Is it the sort that works on pets? And I don’t want any of that E10 crap.

Erg0 10:00 am
01 Feb 11
#5

trix: Without delving into the the validity of homeopathy (there are plenty of other websites you can go to for that one), I think you’ve missed the stated aim of the demonstration – to educate people who don’t actually know what homeopathy is. It would appear that the information provided will be exactly the same as what you’re saying is already freely admitted in the homeopathic community, so where’s the problem?

Skidbladnir 10:18 am
01 Feb 11
#6

I-filed said :

Radio National’s Dr Norman Swan mentioned in an interview recently that the placebo effect constitutes some 40 per cent of mainstream doctors’ work – so the placebo effect of homeopathy is probably useful.

Do you want to know what even wierder than the placebo effect?
A) The nocebo effect by which people do themselves harm.
B) Apparently, we’re building better placebos.

Also, why does homeopathy let you believe its ‘remembering’ the effective ingredient, but not ‘remembering’ any of the dilutions of dead algae\fish poo\human urine\glass jar in your soutions?

Thoroughly Smashed 10:19 am
01 Feb 11
#7

trix said :

Oh, grow the f*ck up. Yeah, any frigging homeopath can tell you that common dilutions/”potencies” cannot possibly contain one molecule of the original substance. Duh, we have heard of basic chemistry.

We DON’T know how homeopathy works; it just appears to, in our experience.

And Randi’s so-called offer is just grand-standing – as mentioned, we know basic chemistry, and we also know that given our current scientific knowledge, we can’t demonstrate any difference between a homeopathic preparation and water.

So what? If you want to chalk it up to placebo effect, please do. Or a “counselling effect”. Stick it in the same bucket as acupuncture – how does sticking bits of metal in someone’s skin help them? But there are very few homeopaths that pretend they can give an absolute cure, nor do they prevaricate about how much we know about how potentisation works – we don’t mislead people wilfully (there are charlatans, sure, but not that many more than in the medical profession).

So why not spend your energy on the kind of fraud that actually has the ability to ruin people’s lives – loan-sharking, dodgy pensions, email fraud….

Where’s the evidence that homeopathy outperforms saline water or sugar pills? As the saying goes, put up or shut up.

The jury’s still out on acupuncture, but at least it has a proposed mechanism of action that fits within the currently understood laws of nature.

As for ruining peoples’ lives, I’d have thought that putting them on alternative medicines that are not shown to work (or shown not to work) in preference to pharmaceuticals that are shown to work would be a good way to achieve that goal. There’s a mob operating in Haiti right at the moment called Homeopaths without Borders, teaching uncritical thinking to the locals in the midst of a cholera epidemic. Harmless fraud indeed…

Braddon Boy 10:48 am
01 Feb 11
#8

“By definition”, I begin
“Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?
Medicine.”

-Tim Minchin, Storm

Pommy bastard 11:09 am
01 Feb 11
#9

I’ve been demonstrating extreme-reiki healing today, I hope you are all feeling better for it.

Grrrr 11:14 am
01 Feb 11
#10

trix said :

We DON’T know how homeopathy works; it just appears to

I think you mean “We don’t know IF homeopathy works, but any positive change we see we attribute to the homeopathic remedy – ignoring other possible explanations – because we want it to work.”

You’re making claims that you cannot prove, and are very hard for others to disprove.

What’s so galling is the arrogance in ignoring a century of medical science and saying “Well, it can’t hurt and it MIGHT help, so let’s just say it COULD help, and this guy believes that it DID help him, so give it a go and give us your money!”

Grow up and prove yourselves right.

PS: At least Acupuncture has evidence that some of it’s treatments are effective.

Skidbladnir 11:25 am
01 Feb 11
#11

Pommy bastard said :

I’ve been demonstrating extreme-reiki healing today, I hope you are all feeling better for it.

Stop molesting my aura!

I-filed 11:36 am
01 Feb 11
#12

trix said :

So why not spend your energy on the kind of fraud that actually has the ability to ruin people’s lives – loan-sharking, dodgy pensions, email fraud….

Well, fraudulent homeopathy cost me some thousands of dollars over 8 years – very much in the same league as loan-sharking.

Grrrr 11:46 am
01 Feb 11
#13

trix said :

.. given our current scientific knowledge..

Ah, I missed this important little phrase.

Do you believe that “science” just doesn’t understand Homeopathy, and that one day “science” will prove that it works?

Scientific knowledge is gained from the scientific method of experimentation and observation.
Science isn’t a person, or persons: Homeopaths can be scientists – if they follow scientific method. They need to prove their claims scientifically, and the problem is they’re already saying it works when they haven’t.

longshanks 12:10 pm
01 Feb 11
#14

I have two comments, one serious, the other not so serious:

1. I used to live in France, where there’s an extremely popular homeopathic ‘flu remedy called Oscillococcinum. There’s a wikipedia article on it, but it basically boils down to this: the manufacturer takes the heart and liver of one duck, dilutes it to 1% 200 times, and thus creates their entire annual supply of the remedy. Surely this takes quackery to a whole new level!!

2. Slightly more serious, a close friend of mine was travelling as part of a group to Africa, and was convinced to take a homeopathic anti-malarial drug. Only two people in the group were stupid enough to trust this nonsense, and guess what – they both caught malaria, almost died, and had to be evacuated by air ambulance from Zimbabwe to South Africa. One of them spent a week in intensive care, with a parasitic blood count higher than anyone the South African tropical disease specialist had ever seen (he actually suggested that her parents fly out to see her, as he didn’t expect her to survive.)

So when Trix says “Grow the f*ck up…We don’t know how homeopathy works; it just appears to”, all I can say is, “quack quack bullsh*t”.

Skidbladnir 12:32 pm
01 Feb 11
#15

trix said :

We DON’T know how homeopathy works; it just appears to, in our experience….current scientific knowledge… demonstrate any difference between a homeopathic preparation and water….

So what?

Any sufficiently advanced and rigourously defined hypothesis which is methodically testable, supported by demonstrable evidence, utlises logic which is falsifiable, and relies on assumptions which are correctable once refuted, is indistinguishable from the scientific method.

Homeopathy, on the other hand…

Bane 12:41 pm
01 Feb 11
#16

ahh, 15 responses and only 1 deluded moron. Faith in humanity…rising, rising…

Regarding acupuncture, I read that although they did show that it was effective in helping one particular malady (which escapes me…some form of back problem I think), they also determined that the same results could be acheived by having a drunk monkey randomly stab the needles into the patient’s back

D2 12:47 pm
01 Feb 11
#17

I-filed said :

Well, fraudulent homeopathy cost me some thousands of dollars over 8 years – very much in the same league as loan-sharking.

On the contrary.

Loan sharks are honest; they actually provide you with something useful. They may overcharge on the interest rate, but their services are genuine. Not that I’d recommend them.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, is pure unadulterated 100% guaranteed fraud.

georgesgenitals 1:09 pm
01 Feb 11
#18

Pommy bastard said :

I’ve been demonstrating extreme-reiki healing today, I hope you are all feeling better for it.

I bought a big bag of reiki from the markets last weekend, but was disappointed that I only got through about half of it before it went off.

mr_spoon 1:29 pm
01 Feb 11
#19

I’m planning a homeopathic attendance at your demonstration.

chewy14 1:41 pm
01 Feb 11
#20

Bane said :

they also determined that the same results could be acheived by having a drunk monkey randomly stab the needles into the patient’s back

Now, that’s something i’d pay to see.

Can you provide a link to the peer reviewed “drunk monkey stabbing acupunture” report?

Thoroughly Smashed 1:52 pm
01 Feb 11
#21

trix said :

And Randi’s so-called offer is just grand-standing

Grandstanding is making claims that you can’t support.

trix 2:05 pm
01 Feb 11
#22

Thoroughly Smashed said :

The jury’s still out on acupuncture, but at least it has a proposed mechanism of action that fits within the currently understood laws of nature.

What, exactly, is this mechanism for acupuncture?

p1 2:09 pm
01 Feb 11
#23

mr_spoon said :

I’m planning a homeopathic attendance at your demonstration.

In this weather, I suggest that your homeopathic solutions be dispensed via water pistol.

p1 2:11 pm
01 Feb 11
#24

trix said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

The jury’s still out on acupuncture, but at least it has a proposed mechanism of action that fits within the currently understood laws of nature.

What, exactly, is this mechanism for acupuncture?

The stick needles in you and keep asking if you feel better. Then they say “see, the needles made you feel better”.

Erg0 2:15 pm
01 Feb 11
#25

mr_spoon said :

I’m planning a homeopathic attendance at your demonstration.

Does that mean you’ll walk past the site three days before it’s on?

longshanks 2:37 pm
01 Feb 11
#26

Erg0 said :

mr_spoon said :

I’m planning a homeopathic attendance at your demonstration.

Does that mean you’ll walk past the site three days before it’s on?

Ha! He could also touch someone, who then touches someone else, who touches a third person, and the 30th person in line could attend on his behalf.

Thoroughly Smashed 2:38 pm
01 Feb 11
#27

trix said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

The jury’s still out on acupuncture, but at least it has a proposed mechanism of action that fits within the currently understood laws of nature.

What, exactly, is this mechanism for acupuncture?

It is believed to stimulate the production of endorphins (which are opioids) and other neurotransmitters used by the body to regulate pain, stress and mood. Whenever I need to regulate pain I’ll take an over-the-counter opioid and pocket the difference in time and money.

Note that despite the claims of acupuncture it doesn’t matter where on the body the needles are stuck, and all the other mystical nonsense surrounding the practice is just that.

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