Sunday, January 31, 2010

10:23 in Manchester

At 10:23am on January 30th, more than three hundred homeopathy sceptics nationwide took part in a mass homeopathic 'overdose' in protest at Boots' continued endorsement and sale of homeopathic remedies, and to raise public awareness about the fact that homeopathic remedies have nothing in them. The Greater Manchester Skeptics were proud to organise the Manchester overdose. Here is that event, recorded by the award-winning documentary film-maker Angela Byrne:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Puppy Dogs & Cancer Kids - The poor state of "evidence" for Homeopathy

I have to admit that sometimes we skeptics do leave ourselves open to reproach by being sceptical about subjects just because it seems pretty obvious to us how crazy the notion is.  Now this in itself is hardly sceptical, and is at best lazy and at worst arrogant.  Today I feel little better about this after reading through reams of blogs on the subject of the 1023 Campaign reminding me that it’s just not realistic to expect individuals to sift through massive piles of peer-reviewed articles, written using medical, scientific, or statistical jargon, before they decide how best to treat their malaise.  That is indeed why we should be able to look to those with proven scientific or medical knowledge to guide us, such as doctors, scientists, and pharmacists.

Unfortunately, this means that I have put myself back on the hook.  I am a scientist.  I love science, and I love trawling through good papers with strong data, showing a really novel story.  I think (if I had been a scientist when it came out) I would have found Jacques Benveniste’s  Nature article proposing the molecular memory of water1 extremely exciting, even with the foreboding editorial advice from then-editor John Maddox2.  This is exactly the kind of article that you want to be proved right; imagine, water with molecular memory! It just doesn’t make sense, and that is why it would have been truly amazing.  Just think of all the scientists thought absurd in their time, only to be proved right. Yes, the world is round! No, the earth is not the center of the solar system!