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Say farewell to World Homeopathy Awareness Week

World Homeopathy Awareness Week ends today. In celebration, I can’t resist one more swipe. So check out The (pseudo)Science of Homeopathy.

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]

27 replies on “Say farewell to World Homeopathy Awareness Week”

My favorite part: There’s so little mass in the universe that the equation E = mc2 can be reduced to E = c2.

Oh. My.

That was so bad that it didn’t even rise to the level of wrong. It’s like they aren’t even in the same universe we are.

Here’s an idea: why don’t we dilute “World Homeopathy Week” and see if that makes it stronger or more effective (however we might define those terms)?

I’d suggest starting with a mild 2X dilution – that would mean that the next “World Homeopathy Week” wouldn’t be due for 100 years (2110).

Or, if we wanted to really push the envelope, we could “ramp it up” to a 10X dilution and not have “World Homeopathy Week” for another 10,000,000,000 (ten billion) years.

Of course, if we want to see the maximum effect, we should “turn it up to eleven” and go with a full-throttle 30C dilution, in which case the next “World Homeopathy Week” won’t be due for 10^30 years. [Note: the best figure for the age of the universe is a bit under 14 billion years]

I’m not sure that there would be humans around to see it (the Earth would be long gone by then, engulfed by the Sun as it becomes a red giant in about five billion years), but I’d be willing to wait that long for the next “World Homeopathy Week”.

Prometheus

It’s Hawking lady. No “s”. Got it? If you are going to abuse his science, at least get the man’s name right. After you get that figured out, well get to the rest of what I’s wrong with this babble. The only thing that was even close to possible were the poop bombs. If all you have going for you is poop bombs, maybe it’s time for a little personal reflection.

I live in Wooville, Northern California and I’ve seen exactly nothing about HAW 2010. I think they must’ve used a Homeopathic Ad Agency employing the incredibly powerful 1000c Campaign. This consists of apparently blank bus ads and billboards that were printed with a 1000c dilution of ink. I did notice that I felt oddly more informed looking at the apparently blank sheets, but maybe that was just the placebo effect.

Sounds familiar.
While I was out surfing the net yesterday, looking to get me some of that non-pharmacological Homeovitality hybrid vigor Super Health , I found out I also need to get me some of that Vital Force (TM?) to make it all workl! Sounds expensive!
I suppose I could try to get some rarely used Vital Force at a discounted price on Ebay. Then again, when/if my now seriously retarded neuronal functions recover sufficiently, I’m sure to find someone selling it new via Google.

Well I was curious…I should have known from previous experience of the likely detrimental effects of reading through comments there.

“Homeopathic substances interact with the genetic blueprint.”
http://www.homeopathyworldcommunity.com/forum/topics/homeopathic-substances?xg_source=activity

Manoj SachDeva sugests:

But I would like to say that homeopathic remedy is a dynamic influence. Not physical or a chemical force.
IT alters the vital functioning that is even prior to genetic code. And vital force governs the biophysical/chemical/electircal functioning. It (vital force) may not need always to involve genetic material to set things right.

But it’s Katja Schütt (@March 30, 2010 at 3:51pm) who has discovered the theory of everything…if only those outdated molec bio and genetics people would listen to her!

The biomedical model lacks any governing principle and does not consider that the controlling force of all biological functions and processes is the vital force. The genome itself cannot be the cause for the disease as they are under the influence of the vital force. As such genetic inheritance is but a tapestry of the vital force and miasmatic influences which shape mental, emotional and physical symptoms as well as our appearance and pathology, and manifest themselves by characteristic features….

Helped along by Manoj

Reply by Manoj SachDeva on March 31, 2010 at 12:18am
All elements, their salts, simple forms, more complex forms. And each vibration-pattern finds its resonance again and again in the manifestation.. in the being/thinking/doing. If this pattern repeats itself without going further – this stuckness becomes disease.
Each Homeopathic remedy represents one of these historical pattern. When administered, on the dynamic plane IT awakens the consciousness to its stuck place. And the awareness brings the freedom from the illusory prison of being a specific pattern that is dis-ease.
Free of dis-ease, vital force can take care of its genetic and other transformational needs to enjoy its journey.The organism fulfills its sublime purpose. I think this is the bigger but understated relevance of homeopathy and other wholesome therapies.

Reply by Katja Schütt on March 30, 2010 at 3:51pm
….It’s all about energy, and the vital force is energy. In health the bioenergetic field is balanced and strong whereas in disease the interference overcomes the normal vibration rate of bioenergy, creating distorsions in the field and signs and symptoms (and pathological manifestations in the physical body including genes).
Even if a concrete scientific explanation is still missing Einstein already laid the foundation stone for a deeper understanding of this subject. There is an information field unique to every structure or concept which organizes the physical material: “We may therefore regard matter as being constituted by regions of space in which the field is extremely intense… there being no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”
But the fact that matter can be converted into energy and vice versa (E=mc2) is largely neglected in biology and medicine. Physical factors are mediated by energetic factors that medicine has to recognize.

So there you have it…as clear as majik mud.

Although Prometheus has excellent suggestions for the dilution of World Homeopathy Week, I must respectfully dissent from his lede. “…didn’t even rise to the level of wrong”? Hell, it doesn’t attain the dignity of being not even wrong.

It cannot be easy to generate such stuff; Alan Sokal surely could not rise to such depths. The only thing harder is to listen to it. What a relief when the presentation was interrupted by genuine honest technobabble.

I found it very disturbing to see, that for a long part of the video, I actually didn’t understand why the women was in it; some of the little fragments could have been taken out of the context of a genuine scientific talk about the universe, I thought. It wasn’t till she started talking about people, god and homeopathy that I noticed she was just full of crap.

@6
Jojo

It’s Hawking lady. No “s”. Got it? If you are going to abuse his science, at least get the man’s name right.

It’s not his science. I don’t think Stephen Hawking had much, if anything to do with the development of string theory. I guess he is smart…and a physicist…so using his name sounds “sciency”.

BenWL, it looks like you have issues with both reading comprehension and science literacy.

Homeopathy does not work because there is literally nothing to it.

Wait. Just wait a damn minute. Just wait. All of the mass in the universe, this universe, can be condensed to the size of a bowling ball?

All of it? Really?

I mean, seriously? If any of that is true, I will need to re-do my calculations.

@Kristen I caught that too, but I figure we should probably work on helping her with his name before getting into the more complicated stuff. We start with getting simple things like names right, then move on to concepts like germ theory. If she can handle that, maybe then we could go for some physics. My guess is we’ll maybe get as far as the name stuff. I don’t have much hope for her beyond that.

Tucker (#16) asks:

“Wait. Just wait a damn minute. Just wait. All of the mass in the universe, this universe, can be condensed to the size of a bowling ball?”

That’s not too surprising, since all of the mass/matter and energy (and space and time) of the universe was once condensed into a much smaller volume….about 13.9 billion years ago, plus or minus a few hundred million years. (See: “Big Bang”)

I’ve actually watched the entire video that bit came from and I’m still not sure what she was trying to get at with that “factoid”.

OK, so the mass/matter/energy/space/time of the universe was once more condensed and – hypothetically – could be condensed again (and will, in the “Big Crunch”, if there’s enough mass in the universe). So what? That still doesn’t support the magical belief system that is homeopathy.

Conventional matter is still mostly empty space, as Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden discovered in 1911. But that doesn’t help explain how something that isn’t there (i.e. the “active ingredient” in homeopathic remedies) can have a therapeutic effect.

They might as well read passages at random out of a quantum mechanics text, since their understanding of what they are saying is apparently nil. I especially loved the lack of comprehension of clathrates – that was priceless! I might have to show that at a geobiology meeting sometime, just for the sheer hilarity!

Prometheus

What I find fascinating in the Dr. Werner segment is that she says that all mass can be condensed into a sphere the size of a bowling ball… why a bowling ball? Is this some unknown law of homeopathic pseudo-physics (physics done by someone whose brain is diluted to single-neuron levels)?

I was wondering about the origin of the bowling ball comment as well. Perhaps she was skimming an article about the Big Bang for juicy tidbits, and misunderstood a comment about a particular event happening when the universe was at a given size.

@Prometheus

Because, silly. If you condense it all down to the size of a bowling ball, you can just get rid of it. So energy equals light, and God is light. Therefore homeopathy. And if you don’t get that, then you’re just locked in a closed-minded outlook and you’re going to hell.

MESSAGE BEGINS

Shills and Minions:

Cindy has received numerous angry messages from those of you in the field regarding this “Werner” video.

I know that we’ve had some . . . “quality control” issues here at PharmaCOM Orbital of late, but I assure you that the techs responsible for those lapses have been eaten. This vacuous creature is not one of our drones gone bad (Bacon, your suggestions of a series of “Drones Gone Wild” videos was very droll. HOL).

But seriously now. We reptilians managed to drag ourselves out of the promordial ooze on H’sthraak, evolve to our current level of malevolent magnificence, travel halfway across the galaxy, meddle in your affairs and get most of your fellow monkeys hooked on our divine pharmaceuticals and shows like “Saved By The Bell.” We know you can’t “cross out” matter in E=MC^2. As your hatchlings say “no duh.”

We screwed up with the “wackosphere” drone. We went too far. We get it already. But we assure you, this Werner thing is not one of ours.

Enough of this distraction my minions! You have done well.
World Homeopathy Awareness Week was a total failure. Simon Singh has won his battle with the bonecrackers. Now get back to work enslaving the rest of your combative, gullible species for our evil profit and pleasure. I have quotas to make before more riches are to be dispensed!

MESSAGE ENDS

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
0010101101001

The glorious end to WHAW (all the skeptical responses to WHAW in one crunchy list) topped by:

A review, published April 19 2010, in the Medical Journal of Australia, reviews the evidence for efficacy of homeopathy, and finds none.

In conclusion, the most reliable evidence — that produced by Cochrane reviews — fails to demonstrate that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.

Citation:

Ernst E (2010) Systematic Review: Homeopathy: what does the “best” evidence tell us? MJA 2010; 192 (8): 458-460

Farewell world homeopathy week!
Farewell to another glaring reminder that “money talks” so loudly that those who are supposed to regulate medicine turn a deaf ear to well-funded charlatans.
Farewell to another reason not to trust “big medicine” and hospitals – medical practitioners who knowingly allow hucksters to work under their very noses. I’m sorry, guys, but silence is complicity. Patients expect good advice from you and if you withhold judgement about something you know is a ripoff, you’re part of the ripoff.
And to the homeopaths – liars, deluded and ignorant, or both – I can’t say farewell because you’ll obviously still be here for the forseeable future.

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