Thursday, 11 February 2010

A homeopathic overdose

Cactus Kate emailed to say I should watch Sceptics’ head Vicky Hyde flaying homeopathic mutters on TVNZ’s Close Up.  Cactus said it was brilliant. I did. It was. 

Skeptics “overdosing” on homeopathic remedies.  Like shooting fish in a barrel. Hilarious.

More hilarity on new age bullshit here.


  1. Rather like the iridologists who couldn't identify the chronic diabetics in a series (medical students could.)

  2. I have been a subscriber to Vicky Hyde's newsletter for years and they're doing a pretty good job there, the NZ Skeptics society.

    A few years ago, I asked her permission to republish some contents from one of her newsletter which she hit out at psychics and homeopaths and she agreed to my request. I wrote about half a page of my own opinion on mystic practices (numerology, psychic ability, homeopath, etc...) from why it is bollocks based on Physics. This half a page was used as an add-on to Vicki's main points in her newsletter as a new article in itself with 2 co-authors.

    The final article which comprised of 2 parts, the first top half was lifted from Vicki's newsletter directly and the second half was my own opinion. The article was sent to PC for proof reading and make some (grammatical) corrections (because he is an excellent editor) and the a copy of the proofed article, was then sent to Vicki to make a final comment before it was submitted to the NZ Herald & Scoop for possible publication, because at the time, the NZ media were fascinated and infatuated with celebrity local psychics such as Jeanette Wilson and others. Vicki replied that the article was perfect in that she doesn't think of anything to add or delete. So, it was sent to both NZ Herald & Scoop but didn't make it for publication.

    Our rejected article would have been a good counter to the media fascination on mysticism at the time (4 years or so ago), because there were Herald articles , radio interviews, TV interviews with Jeanette Wilson and others, but opinions from Skeptics were neglected. Example was Vicki got invited to the making of one of the episode of Wilson's "Dare To Believe" TV3 series. Her appearance on the final version of that episode when it went to air was reduced to just less than 2 minutes, of her being interviewed. I believed that it was heavily edited by TV3 so as not to make the show looked dodgy, because they were marketing it heavily (similar to marketing efforts that went into promotion of TV2 Sensing Murder). If Vicki’s opinion (the full duration of her interview) is to be shown in its entirety, then perhaps advertisers wouldn’t have been keen to advertise during "Dare To Believe" commercial break and there was no doubt about why it was heavily edited.

    The article that I co-wrote was an excellent one, because we covered as wide from a philosophical & also scientific point of view (eg - Feynman quotes on cult-science was included also PC added Ayn Rand comment about the burden of proof rested on the claimer) of why these practices are bollocks.

    PC, I think that it will be a good guest post if you still have a copy of the (proofed) article somewhere in your archive (if you wish), because I am not sure whether I have any copy of it at all. This is my 3rd machine that I have bought since when the article was written and it is not in my machine now. I may check out my 2 other old machines.

  3. About 3 years ago, I challenged the President of the NZ Homeopathy Society (and his members) for a public debate with me on the scientific validity of homeopathic treatments in which he declined. He instead sent me a whole lot of homeopathy pamphlets to read about the scientific methods being used in their practice, which were all nonsense (all of them).

    I thought I was reading some 5 year old articles. They were all laughable, especially, the claim that water has memory, which I told him in our correspondence that to have such capability, it means that one of those established statistical mechanical laws must be violated.

    I described to him in brief about particle indistinguishability from quantum statistics (bosons & fermions) – ie, when particles in an ensemble diffuse around in a container which they’re confined to, they left no footprint at all behind at their old locations. This means that if some new particles that diffuse in to displace them (ie, the previous particles) from some specific locations, those new arrived particles at those locations cannot in anyway sense which particle/s in the whole ensemble that were at those locations previously in which they are now being (temporarily) occupied by new ones. In general, it means that if a single particle collides with another particle at a particular time instant (say, 2 seconds ago), then the next particle that it encountered via diffusion and collided with in the next time instant (say, 1 second ago), this particle has no knowledge if the one that it collided with 2 secs ago is the same one or not that it just collided with about a sec ago, because of quantum statistics particle indistinguishability law. So, the idea of water memory that is claimed by homeopathy is central to its claim of medicinal power is completely bollocks and must be dismissed, no ifs no buts. There shouldn’t be an open mind about it.

    The homeopath lady that was interviewed on Close-Up claimed that the homeopathic cure has something to do with electro-magnetic. Water molecules have slight dipole moments and again electrical dipole or not, they (H2O) must obey quantum statistics particle indistinguishability law, ie, the dipole from this H2O molecule must be indistinguishable from the dipole moment of the next H2O molecule, therefore there is no room for memory at all in the whole ensemble. But thing is, homeopaths primarily rest their claims mainly on mysticism and blind faith.


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