Homeopathy Awareness Week 2012

June 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm (Homeopathy) ()

Homeopathy Awareness Week takes place each June. Skeptics like to do their bit to raise awareness of homeopathy at this time of year…

I thought I’d provide a round-up of posts raising awareness of the nature of homeopathy.

The Quackometer blog looks at the press release from the Society of Homeopaths (the appeals to popularity and celebrity, the slivers of evidence provided, and the misrepresentation of research) and the post ends with this:

I hope we are now aware how the Society of Homeopaths cherry picks evidence, is selective in its appraisal of that evidence, and misleads about the content of research papers in order to benefit the businesses of its members.


Skeptic Barista notes that the codes of ethics for the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) and the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (ARH) contain rules covering the advertising of members services. The post refers to a number of websites containing claims that almost certainly breach British Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP) regulations; Skeptic Barista writes that:

…these claims cannot be ignored and need to be removed, but in the spirit of  Homeopathy Awareness Week it might be worth seeing if the SoH and ARH are willing to deal with these claims themselves.  So I will contact them giving them the opportunity to advise their members that they are in breach of both the ASA guidance and their own Code of Practice, if the claims are still present on 1 July then they will be forwarded to Trading Standards.

If the SoH and ARH are indeed willing to deal with these claims then I will be pleasantly surprised.

Lee Turnpenny, on the Nature blogs network, writes about the appeals to popularity and, especially, celebrity – ending with this:

I don’t know whom I distrust more: those who cheaply, scrabblingly appeal to these celebrities; or the celebrities themselves for lending their names (if they have) to these marketing gimmicks. (Wonder how many of them have signed this.) Because that’s what it is: not evidence, marketing. When celebrity is invoked in endorsement of homeopathy, be doubly wary.

I will update this post next week to add the new posts from skeptics that will doubtless appear over the coming days.


A post from Nucella looks at the celebrity angle being pushed and, in particular, David Beckham and homeopathy. Josephine Jones looks at some of the drawbacks of homeopathy. The main one being that it doesn’t work.


  1. Oliver Dowding said,

    “I will update this post next week to add the new posts from skeptics that will doubtless appear over the coming days.”

    One sided, as ever…….but hey, that’s your CHOICE. Thankfully we still have some with regard how we relieve people and animals of their ailments. Before you say it, yes, I’m well aware that there are some problems with homoeopaths. I’m also acutely aware of a great many problems with conventional medication.

    Maybe this explains adequately? http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e3502

    I suggest it’s also worth making the observation that for every drug which has been recalled, or proven to be a problem, it was at one time deemed “safe”.

    On a similar theme, the excellent BBC2 programme last night, the first of three, highlighted what many people have known for some time. We’ve been hoodwinked good and proper by corporate entities, who successfully enlisted the support of government, governmental and supra-governmental organisations, to persuade us that it’s fat that makes people obese, and nothing to do with sugar. They have successfully smothered any attempt at government level to prevent it. That particular can of worms is now starting to open. I’m very impressed that the normally pro-pharmaceutical industry and big business BBC have screened this. It will be interesting to see where it leads. Clearly all is not how we were once told it was. http://bbc.in/Mcj03E

    Now you’re starting to realise why ordinary people are actually sceptical of the pharmaceutical industry, and maybe most of big business itself. They don’t exactly help themselves at times, despite the best of intentions of many well-meaning scientists.

    Finally, I’m sorry if this is veered slightly off the theme of your post, but I think it explains why you can’t keep it to a narrow theme.

    Roll on, homoeopathy. Regardless of the sceptics, the users know and trust this science as efficacious.

  2. Ben Lee said,


    No one here has ever claimed medicine doesn’t have its problems, and many of us are acutely aware of the nasties of big pharma.

    “I suggest it’s also worth making the observation that for every drug which has been recalled, or proven to be a problem, it was at one time deemed “safe”.

    Yes drugs which have at one point been deemed safe have been recalled from the market once new evidence has come to light showing danger/side effects. Can you name me one homeopathic remedy that once shown not to work has been withdrawn?

    “Roll on, homoeopathy. Regardless of the sceptics, the users know and trust this science as efficacious”.

    In the 19th century “doctors” just knew that blood letting, mercury and purging were efficacious treatments for disease. Do you believe they were right or wrong?

  3. annabel said,

    Oliver – you can’t just be sceptical about one thing – in your case the power of the giant pharmaceuticals.You really do need to be sceptical about everything – in your case homeopathy. And what you’ll find is that a good scientist will question – be sceptical – of even their own work.
    Roll on science. Homeopathy Oliver is not a science. There is no science of homeopathy

  4. Martin said,

    Off topic, but I’m intrigued by this recent fad for sugar rather than fat causing obesity. Contrary to Oliver’s comment, I recall quite a lot of resistance by ‘corporate entities’ (not least those involved in meat, eggs, milk, butter, etc) to the various groups that jumped on that particular bandwagon. They failed. So much for corporations ‘enlisting’ government.

  5. jdc325 said,

    Some predictable whataboutery from Oliver Dowding there. As JQH says: “the employers of whataboutery are uncomfortable with the subject under discussion and [wish] to shift the argument elsewhere”. As Ben Lee points out, no one here has ever claimed medicine doesn’t have its problems. That does not excuse the promotion of bogus remedies, which homeopaths happily engage in. If you’d like to talk about homeopathy, Oliver, then I’m sure people will be happy to oblige.

  6. Oliver Dowding said,

    @ Ben Lee, they were clearly wrong, but that doesn’t mean by association that homoeopaths today are wrong. On the basis that somebody once had a scientific theory which was disproved didn’t stop others engaging with new theories and practices which are successful. I’m glad we all agree that modern medicine does have its problems. I’m sure we would also all agree that life is a risk from the moment we take our first breath. It’s how we negotiate those risks that matters, and we all tend to take different routes.

    @Martin, you are right, there were many who had resistance to the fact issue. They included many in my industry, farming.

    @jdc, I see no point in talking about homoeopathy here, as people can search back through all your many other blogs you’ve run on the subject and see the comments that I make, and continue to stand by. That you and others choose to be dismissive is an option that we’re fortunate enough to all have and be able to take. But I wouldn’t want to see happen, is that people suffer the denial of choice.

  7. jdc325 said,

    Oliver, if you have nothing relevant to say then why say anything at all? Is it because you wish to provide a distraction from the criticism of homeopathy?

  8. jdc325 said,

    With regard to the point about looking up your previous comments, perhaps readers will find this interesting:

    I pointed out that incidence of measles fell when measles vaccination was introduced and fell again after the introduction of MMR (due to improved uptake of measles-containing vaccine).
    Oliver Dowding said “it seems to me that it’s virtually impossible to take into account a whole range of other reasons that would explain why disease may be better under control in 2012, such as improved nutrition. Although that is now currently seemingly declining in the West, generally many aspects of our nutrition is now better, making it really difficult to say with authority that vaccines were the major contributory factor to disease reduction.” (I then asked what improvements in nutrition occurred in the ten year periods after the introduction of the measles vaccine and the MMR vaccine but Mr Dowding declined to comment.)

    I asked what he thought of people who believe that writing down the name of a remedy on a piece of paper can cure you. (Referring to homeopathic paper remedies, which I’d written about in the post Mr Dowding was commenting on.)
    Oliver Dowding said “I suggest you read what I wrote. I said that I was only referring to homoeopathy, as all the other alternatives are things with which I’ve never worked with, or made any effort to understand.” (I pointed out that I was referring to homeopathy and Mr Dowding declined to comment further.)

    In another post, I wrote about homeopathy for cows and linked to some research into homeopathic remedies being used to treat cows. In the text commenting on the research I was linking to, cows were mentioned in relation to each of the three papers: in quotes from the papers, the titles of the papers, or my summary of the papers. In the comment thread below this piece, I asked Mr Dowding to comment on the research I’d cited. Oliver Dowding said “No, I don’t have any comment as they are about human patients, of which my experience is limited.” (It was then pointed out to Mr Dowding that the papers I cited were studying homeopathy for cows. He then dismissed the trials, complaining that a study of 57 subjects couldn’t be statistically valid, and making an odd comment about the authors “relying on RCT methodology” as if that was a bad thing.)

    Asked to explain his problem with randomised controlled trials, Oliver Dowding said “When I refer dismissively to the RCT methodology in terms of trialling homoeopathy, I do so because it is not applicable compared to the cases where one might be trialling an individual remedy.” (As pointed out in the second comment in the thread, one of the trials I cited in my post looked at individualised homeopathy. And I had previously written a post on homeopathic excuses that refuted the “individualised homeopathy cannot be tested in an RCT” canard, as another commenter pointed out to Mr Dowding. Although, given that Mr Dowding had previously commented on the post in question, I was surprised that he appeared to have forgotten that rather important point.)

  9. annabel said,

    interesting that you mention everyone else’s comments except mine!
    “Roll on, homoeopathy. Regardless of the sceptics, the users know and trust this science as efficacious.” Please tell me whether you stand by this statement of yours – that homeopathy is a science ? Do you believe it is based on good scientific evidence?

  10. Ben Lee said,

    Hi Oliver. You say that these doctors were clearly wrong, yet their evidence at the time was based on just ‘knowing” it worked through experience and anecdote. What makes these doctors wrong, and homeopaths right. It seems you also know it works in much the same way they did.

  11. Oliver Dowding said,

    Annabel, yes.

  12. Acleron (@Acleron1) said,

    Oliver Dowding says – ‘But I wouldn’t want to see happen, is that people suffer the denial of choice.’

    But homeopaths do not want the other side of freedom of choice and that is freedom of information. The misinformation of homeopaths extends from the cherry picking of results from within trials to blatant misrepresentation of studies that show homeopathy is no better than placebo.

    There is no freedom of choice when people are misled.

  13. ChrisP said,

    Oliver Dowding, there is no scientific basis for homeopathy. For homeopathy to be efficacious the currently understood basis of all of chemistry and physics that has been built up over the past 300 years would have to be spectacularly wrong. Not just a little bit wrong in that it couldn’t properly explain a small number of phenomena, but totally wrong.

    You are asking people to believe that a substance diluted to the point of there being, on average, not a single molecule left can have an effect. Not only that you are asking people to believe that these remedies become more powerful the more they are diluted. You are also asking people to believe that such a concoction retains its effective power when evaporated from a sugar pill, but somehow totally loses its power when diluted into the sewers. Homeopathy is so full of contradictions that any sane person looking at it would conclude it is closer to magic than science.

    Even leaving that aside, well conducted tests of homeopathy completely fail to show that it has any activity greater than a placebo. So homeopathy is a form of treatment that has no evidence that it can work, has no basis in evidence, and no biochemical mechanism. And yet, you are suggesting people should pay money for this sham? Why should homeopathy not be considered a fraud?

    I notice you like to contrast homeopathy with medicine and frequently raise issues surrounding harm caused by medical treatments. There is a very simple reason that medical treatments can cause harm. That is because they have a biochemical action. They are designed to do something. That means they will have side effects and sometimes those side effects can unfortunately be worse than the condition being treated. This becomes obvious because tests continue to be conducted on medical treatments after they have been introduced. When side effects are recognised changes are made to the treatments or they are withdrawn. Such things do not occur with homeopathy, because homeopathy is magic, not medicine.

  14. It’s Homeopathy Awareness Week! | Josephine Jones said,

    […] is such a popular topic that there are far too many to list. Yet I must mention jdc’s summary of this year’s Homeopathy Awareness Week, not least because that’s what prompted me to write this. You will find lots more interesting […]

  15. Oliver Dowding said,

    Round and round we go. You may not accept its efficacious, so why not leave those who do know it is to quietly get on with their successful deployment of homoeopathy? And no, its not me swallowing…..

    This in instructive, I suggest…………..

    Jon Rappoport writes, “Find a truly explosive hidden fact and put it in front
    of a person’s eyes, hold it there, and see what happens. The person will go blank. He’ll go blank because on a barely conscious level, he’s rapidly
    calculating how many deceptions he’s swallowed about all sorts of related
    subjects. Then he’ll blink and tell you what you just showed him is
    impossible. I would add: after he says it’s impossible, he’ll actually make excuses for the perpetrator of the crime you’ve just exposed. He’ll give you a dozens reasons to let the perpetrator off the hook. He’ll really warm up to the perpetrator and say he’s a wonderful human being. He’ll spin gossamer and rainbows from here to the moon. I would add the rest of us are captives of the Stockholm Syndrome”


    Bye for now!

  16. ChrisP said,

    Oliver Dowding, it is not a case of disagreeing about its level of efficacy. Homeopathy doesn’t have any. If some people would like to delude themselves into thinking it does, that is for them to decide. It is when those deluded people start advertising it to others under false pretences that I feel I should get involved and point out that homeopathy does not work. Not only that, homeopathy cannot work as claimed.

    Oh and Oliver, have you thought carefully about that quote from Jon Rappoport?

  17. Oliver Dowding said,

    thanks, Chris, and….oh yes it does…..I accept you don’t think it does…..they are not deluded but have established a different option that delivers positive results……..are not operating under false pretences as they do get those positive results (as you know I have many many times myself on animals – and no, I (and all those who have also done so) are not deluded)…….and yes I have thought about the quote.

  18. Skepticat said,

    “Round and round we go”.

    You started it, Oliver. As jdc said, why comment here at all? It’s not as if you have anything new or useful to say. You evidently haven’t grasped that, as someone who maintains a faith in homeopathy in spite of the fact that the totality of evidence tells us that there is nothing in it, you come across as a fanatical cultist with zero credibility as a source of reliable information for anything.

    Here’s a link for you; at least it’s on-topic: http://discoverhomeopathy.co.uk/

  19. ChrisP said,

    Oliver Dowding, it is not a case of me thinking homeopathy does not work. It is a case of having look at the research published, such as it is, and not being able to identify any well conducted research that shows homeopathy works any better than a placebo. Not only that, there is no mechanism whereby it could work. Several hundred years of research in chemistry and physics would have to be spectacularly wrong for homeopathy to work.

    Your efforts with animals don’t count as anything more than anecdote. Even then you may have fooled yourself into thinking homeopathy works. As Richard Feynman once famously said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool” This is why proper blinded trials are required to establish efficacy.

    So given there is no good evidence that homeopathy is effective, how can the provision of homeopathic treatments – even to animals – be anything other than false pretences. People are paying money for treatments that cannot work.

  20. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,

    “Several hundred years of research in chemistry and physics would have to be spectacularly wrong for homeopathy to work.”

    Which is what makes this:

    “having look at the [clinical] research published”

    a silly and futile thing to do anyway because it means that this:

    “well conducted research that shows homeopathy works any better than a placebo.”

    simply cannot exist.

  21. Ben Lee said,

    Oliver: You know it works from personal experience and anecdote – much like those pre-scientific doctors believed bloodletting, mercury and purging all worked based on their own observations and experiences. How do your observations differ from theirs?

  22. Kit said,

    Paul Lawrence Hayes, Are you suggesting that the entire scientific method is flawed? If you are, I would suggest that you read some of Karl Popper’s work. The (modern) scientific method is based upon a philosophy that requires proof of a negative, a null hypothesis; i.e. if you see a million white swans you could assume that all swans are white (Popper would say that this is an erroneous statement), but if after seeing a million white swans, you see a black one, then you can categorically state that not all swans are white.

    Whether you believe in big pharma or not, that is a common sense statement that has been applied to science for the around 70 years. If you want more information about the philosophy google “Karl Popper” or “Falsifiability”.

  23. Kit said,

    Oh yes, and an amusing (if indirect) explanation from The Onion of why Oliver has seen homeopathy working (via observational positivism): http://www.theonion.com/articles/fda-approves-sale-of-prescription-placebo,1606/

  24. Skepticat said,

    Kit wrote, “Paul Lawrence Hayes, Are you suggesting that the entire scientific method is flawed? ”

    It looks to me as if Paul is simply pointing out that as the principles of homeopathy contradict what what we know of physics and chemistry, there is no point in carrying out clinical trials on homeopathy because the results are a foregone conclusion.

  25. Kit said,

    Hi Skepticat, that’s what I thought too, but I was trying to point out that the underpinning philosophy of the modern scientific method is one of rational, logical common sense. I will admit that common sense has lead mankind to all manner of erroneous conclusions, but for all of the repeatably testable conclusions of modern science to be wrong is (in my opinion) unlikely.

    Look at CERN’s recent announcement that they had observed faster-than-light particles. Almost all physicists said that it was most likely to be a computer error or timing mistake based on the science that underpinned our understanding of the world (based on Einstein’s work). Sure enough it turned out to be a timing error. None the less, scientists tested and repeated the experiment to see if it had happened.

    Now, you could argue that there are no rules to the way that things work, just trends (i.e. mostly things happen one way, but not always), but Popperian logic accounts for this because we try to falsify any statement (e.g. Homeopathy is ineffective) so if we ever see Homeopoathy work, we will all admit that it does. Unfortunately, homeopaths seem unwilling to participate in studies that can be tested in any form and rely on individual testimonies. These testimonies can be accounted for (at the very least in part), by regression to the mean, and the remainder could be explained by the Placebo effect.

    I am not entirely closed minded to homeopathy, as I take a scientific view. I just find it vanishingly unlikely that it works based upon what I know about scientific method, philosophy, medicine and biochemistry. Much like homeopathic medicine, my belief in it as a therapy is diluted to the point where there is unlikely to be a single molecule of belief left. But if anyone can convince me, I would be delighted (it would potentially be much cheaper than big pharma’s treatments).

    Anyway, we are all people and ultimately I believe in stuff that you probably think is wrong (as it might well be!). That is the joy of philosophy; we all believe in what we want and that makes our subjective world what it is. So please don’t think that I am being aggressive in my position!

  26. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    I find it highly revealing that, for all Oliver Dowding’s bluster, he has failed to answer a very straightforward question that has been put to him repeatedly;

    “You say that these doctors were clearly wrong, yet their evidence at the time was based on just ‘knowing” it worked through experience and anecdote. What makes these doctors wrong, and homeopaths right. It seems you also know it works in much the same way they did.”

    Oliver, I intend to establish a clinic treating human patients with all disease using mercurials, blood-letting and purging. I shall base my practice on the long traditions of medicine from past centuries. Am I justified in doing this? If not, why not.

  27. Kit said,

    Oh, and just to clarify…in order falsify the statement “homeopathy is ineffective” and see homeopathy work, we would have to rule out all other reasons for its effect (e.g. placebo and regression to the mean) and as such it would need to be part of a double blinded, randomised, large scale trial. Not just a case of an individual recovering from a disease after taking homeopathic treatment. This way we can at least see a trend, and ideally a rule, that people (or a specific group of people) recover from said disease after taking a specific homeopathic remedy more than those within the same group who do not take the therapy.

    Sorry, I have been imbibing a non-homeopathic solution of alcohol while watching sports!

  28. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    Kit, I really don’t see the relevance of the whole white swan/black swan business. No one is making an assertion equivalent to “There are no black swans”.

    Perhaps you can suggest how a homeopath is going to produce the equivalent of a black swan.

  29. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,


    “but if after seeing a million white swans, you see a black one, then you can categorically state that not all swans are white.”

    No you can’t. If you did you’d be making the elementary mistake of failing to consider the possibility of error (it wasn’t a swan; it was covered in oil; it was a glitch in your visual cortex;…).

    “Are you suggesting that the entire scientific method is flawed?”

    The ‘philosophical’ heart of science – inference – in the form currently taught to and understood by most scientists is fundamentally flawed, yes. It is “irrational on a key intuitive notion of rationality” as Zoltan Dienes has put it.

    “that is a common sense statement that has been applied to science for the around 70 years. If you want more information about the philosophy google “Karl Popper” or “Falsifiability”.

    If you want to avoid being taken in by crude Popperisms or the many other violations of ‘common sense’ foisted on science by some philosophers but mostly by the squabbling founders of ‘orthodox inference’, google “Jaynes” or “Probability Theory: The Logic Of Science”. ;-)

    “It is a major scandal that orthodox methods continue to be taught at all to young statisticians, economists, biologists, and medical researchers; this has done irreparable damage in these fields for decades.” –E.T. Jaynes.

  30. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,


    “and see homeopathy work, we would have to rule out all other reasons for its effect (e.g. placebo and regression to the mean) and as such it would need to be part of a double blinded, randomised, large scale trial.”

    No – and this is what I was getting at – that would be futile cargo cult science. As it happens, I promised in another thread here to write an article explaining in easily understood language exactly why that is so but it isn’t errm… “finished” yet. Really the logic is intrinsically very simple anyway – just another application of the reasoning in this: http://www-biba.inrialpes.fr/Jaynes/cc05e.pdf

  31. Kit said,

    The relevance is pretty fundamental to modern science. The assertion “all swans are white” is demonstrably falsifiable, all you need to do is find a single black swan. In the same way that “nothing moves faster than light” is falsifiable, we just need to find something that does that (good luck with that). Only through falsifaction does a hypothesis become fact.

    That said, there are some hypotheses that have so much compelling supporting evidence that we can take a semi-positivistic approach and say that it is stunningly unlikely that our hypothesis is wrong. Two examples of hypotheses that are stunningly unlikely to be wrong are; 1.) Stuff can travel faster than light, and 2.) Homeopathy works.

    Worth a read, if you are interested (sorry it is Wikipedia, but it is free):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability (also includes the criticisms of the falsifiabilty which are worth reading)


    In answer to your question, homeopathy could produce a black swan, by running a series of large-scale, double-blind, RCTs in which all, or a demonstrably homogenous sub-group, of participants performed statistically better under Homeopathy than those taking placebo (at an acceptable p-number). I would then like to see a similar trial that compared homeopathy to pharmacotherapy/surgery to show the scale of the benefit.

    If either of those trials show homeopathy to be beneficial, I’ll eat my hat….

    Once that has been done Cochrane meta-analysese of all of the data sets available would be nice. After all, we are all be about evidence based medicine these days.

    It’ll never happen though. Homeopaths don’t want to engage in evidence based medicine it seems.

  32. Kit said,

    Thanks Paul. It is always good to get some schooling. I am, by virtue of my education, a Popperian but I will certainly read the links that you have shared. Probably tomorrow though as I am about to watch the football.

    When you have finished your piece on the flaws of modern science, please let me know, I’ll read with interest and an open mind.

  33. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    Meanwhile, I wonder whether Oliver will show up again…

  34. Kit said,

    @ Badly Shaved Monkey – That is a very good question. I hope that he does.

  35. Badly Shaved Monkey said,


    I’ve seen Oliver Dowding’s frustrating pattern of behaviour countless times from homeopaths as described above https://jdc325.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/homeopathy-awareness-week-2012/#comment-13034

    They make up stuff on the fly and can’t keep track of what they’ve said. When they finally tie themselves in a logical knot they disappear. We don’t have that problem because reality is our reference and that remains consistent. Well, consistent enough for all practical purposes.

  36. jdc325 said,

    Indeed, Badly Shaved Monkey. There are plenty of examples of homeopathy advocates posting nonsense and then disappearing. As AP Gaylard noted, Dana Ullman has a tendency to misinform and move on.

  37. Peter Vintner (@pvandck) said,

    Oliver Dowding can’t produce a single incontrovertible, properly documented and evidenced case of homeopathy curing anything. Not one. And nor can any homeopath. If Homeopathy worked as its proponents suggest then there would be millions of cases. And I’m not talking about anecdotes about feeling better, but actual verifiable cases where the initial diagnosis can be verified and a cure cannot be ascribed to anything else.

    After 200+ years you would expect some proper, meticulously documented examples to examine. But there are none – only anecdotes, customer satisfaction surveys and a plethora of false claims, deceptive statements and outright lies from homeopaths (and manufacturers of homeopathic water and sugar pills).

    It’s all very well speculating and drivelling on interminably about how homeopathy might work, when the reality is it has never worked for anything better than a placebo. In short, there has never been a case of a homoeopathic cure, so speculation as to how it works is moot.

    One might as well discuss the logistics of mining cheese from the moon.

    If homeopathy worked as its proponents claim, the results would be crystal clear, they would be testable and it wouldn’t need an “awareness week” to promote it. It is demonstrably, beyond any doubt whatsoever, utterly nonsensical drivel and very many homeopaths know that. Those who don’t know it are profoundly deluded and ignorant.

    Given the state of the sum of human knowledge in the early 21st century, as opposed to the late 18th century, it is safe to say with absolute certainty that homeopathy is not a system of medicine, just as it is equally safe to say the Earth is not flat.
    Homeopathy is the medical equivalent of a Flat Earth.
    Homeopaths are fraudulent practitioners – the medical equivalent of Bernie Madoff.

  38. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,


    “If either of those trials show homeopathy to be beneficial, I’ll eat my hat…. […] It’ll never happen though.”

    The “black swan mistake” again. Of course it /could/ happen and I rather wish it would! The trouble is that the probability that some ‘good’ large DBRCT(s) of some homeopathic remedy will produce (strongly) positive results, though also very small, is much higher than the probability that the homeopathic remedy works.

    Ironically, there were reasons to view Jim Al-Khalili’s promise to eat his shorts if the evidence for an FTL *neutrino* held up as indicative of an inferential misjudgement in the opposite direction:


  39. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,


    “there is no point in carrying out clinical trials on homeopathy because the results are a foregone conclusion.”

    Almost. :-) The foregone conclusion is that we /infer/ that homeopathy (almost certainly) doesn’t work no matter what the results are.

  40. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    “Almost. :-) The foregone conclusion is that we /infer/ that homeopathy (almost certainly) doesn’t work no matter what the results are.”

    To put it another way, 200 years ago homeopathy was not, on the face of it, a stupid idea. It merited testing its underpinning claims against what was known about the world and it merited testing its actual clinical efficacy. Now it merits neither. We know more than we did then and we know homeopathy is a thing that doesn’t work.

    Therefore, we /infer/ that homeopathy (almost certainly) doesn’t work no matter what the results are.

    Any trial that seemed to show results suggesting a high probability that homeopathy does work would have the added problem of being inconsistent with the huge number of pre-existing trials that show it does not.

    To put that another way, the extraordinary evidence that would be required to sustain its extraordinary claims inflates exponentially as the stack of piffly results and scientific knowledge from other fields grows. I literally cannot conceive of a result that would overturn my dismissal of homeopathy. 100 patients cured of rabies? Maybe. But we are stratospherically beyond the realm of trials treating a hundred patients with runny noses or babies with squitty bums. But then we would be faced with a conundrum: if it could cure 100 patients of rabies, why has it been so cock-awful in treating trivial conditions under trial conditions. I think that is an actual insurmountable logical impasse. Reductio ad absurdum again, as so often in discussing homeopathy- take its claims seriously and you end up with a disproof exactly by virtue of initially accepting its claims!

  41. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    Hello, Oliver, are you still out there?

  42. Paul Lawrence Hayes said,


    “Any trial that seemed to show results suggesting a high probability that homeopathy does work would have the added problem of being inconsistent with the huge number of pre-existing trials that show it does not.”

    Actually, I don’t think that is much of an additional problem for the homeopathy fans. On the other hand, I do think it exposes a potentially serious problem for those who argue against more homeopathy CTs etc. primarily on the basis of the already existing CT evidence. The homeopathy fans don’t seem to have had the wits to make the argument for themselves so I’ll (again) make it for them…

    “You skeptics and allopaths are anti-homeopathy biased hypocrites, sneakily using double standards in your ‘scientific’ arguments against homeopathy. A CT of any particular homeopathic remedy is only a test of /homeopathy/ in the same weak sense that each pharmaceutical drug CT is a test of /pharmaceuticals/. Edzard Ernst has said there’ve only been about 200 homeopathy CTs and that most of those have been poorly done. Even if they’d all been for different remedies, I’d guess that amounts to good evidence against only a very few (tens of?) individual homeopathic remedies.”

  43. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    And they say we don’t listen to their arguments nor understand them.


    To your example we reply, “Yeah but, the available space in which homeopathy could work yet has not yet been trialled gets to be pretty tiny.

    How many homeopathic remedies can you get to dance on your pin?”

    Not that I expect a typical homeopath to understand that argument.

  44. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    (See? I’ve got my JREF monkey picture now. Cool)

  45. FFS special: Extraordinary Medicine, an exercise in mendacity? » Short & Spiky said,

    […] Homeopathy Awareness Week 2012 (jdc325.wordpress.com) […]

  46. dingo199 said,

    Ape, BSM, ape.

  47. Badly Shaved Monkey said,

    Thanks for pointing out the taxonomic fallacy that lies at the heart of my online identity. Now how can you expect the homeopaths to take me seriously?

    Can I offer the concept that my name is Badly Shaved Monkey, but I happen to be an ape. I could have been called Gerald…

  48. Still… Homeopathy Wariness Week « Lee Turnpenny said,

    […] awareness-raising. Aside from the fallacious resort to celebrity name-dropping (also picked up on elsewhere), I still cannot find much underway in Britain. Which ought to please – although […]

  49. PetsLady.com said,

    I found this article oh hoemopathy and animals intriguing. Wonder if you may speak in future posts about homeopathy with pets?

    Zoos Increasingly Turning To Alternative Healing Methods

  50. Oliver Dowding said,

    Petslady, I’m afraid you’ll find nothing but cynics here.
    They’ll tell you that the animals keepers thought they got better.
    They may tell you that they would have got better anyway.
    And tell you it’s impossible they got better because of the homoeopathy because it was only sugar and water the animals received.
    They’ll tell you that the animals keepers were deceived.

    Furthermore, they go to incredible lengths to try and justify their criticism. They have no interest in enquiring how this medication improves/restores the health of these animals. They’re just looking for reasons to denigrate those who had success with the treatments. Unfortunately there are plenty of collaborators they can turn to for their so-called “evidence”. They only like certain people and certain methods, and so if it isn’t something concocted by Randi, Shang, or an experiment conducted as an RCT (ones they like) then it’s ripe for summary dismissal. Never mind, their loss, and our animals gain that they aren’t prepared to engage, and instead prefer to be summarily dismissive. Naturally, as they’ve dug themselves such a deep hole, the last thing they want to find out is that all the opinions they fixed themselves with might just be wrong. It takes a big person to do that, and change direction. However, luckily there are a serious number of veterinary surgeons and doctors who have appreciated that there is more to repairing ill-health than the options provided in medical school/vet school provide, and who have gone on to get dual training. They now offer their patients the best of both worlds. However, that doesn’t suit the cynics and sceptics, who refuse to believe that the new half of these people’s armoury is of any value. That’s despite the fact that these people have full medical training, and understand the whole process of illness repair to deliver wellness. They too are, apparently, deluded and fooled.

    You’ll find the sceptics on here, and everywhere else, resort to all sorts of twists, of which the latest exponent here is the “badly shaved monkey”, who is extremely aptly named in the light of your post.

    And no, “badly shaved monkey”, et al,, I am not coming back here to continue engaging. I’ve come to support the post made by PetsLady. I’ll leave you to your thoughts, your twists and turns, your cynicism and scepticism, and you’ll have to console yourself with knowing that those of us who are successful with homoeopathy and many other alternative remedies are just going to to get on with what we’re doing,and make animals better with something different than you are prepared to countenance or utilise.

    As Henry Ford said “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. So, to recall that a draw?

  51. Slipp_Digby said,

    “Petslady, I’m afraid you’ll find nothing but cynics here.
    They’ll tell you that the animals keepers thought they got better.
    They may tell you that they would have got better anyway.
    And tell you it’s impossible they got better because of the homoeopathy because it was only sugar and water the animals received.
    They’ll tell you that the animals keepers were deceived.”

    A good scientist would look to eliminate all of these possibilities (and others they were aware of) as far as possible to ensure that the results were due to what was being tested.

    The fact that you dismiss these as seemingly trivial says everything about you mindset Oliver.

  52. Ben Lee said,

    “I’ll leave you to your thoughts, your twists and turns, your cynicism and scepticism, and you’ll have to console yourself with knowing that those of us who are successful with homoeopathy and many other alternative remedies are just going to to get on with what we’re doing”.

    Do you want to try and answer mine and BSM’s question? Or are you going to stick your fingers in your ears and pretend its not been asked?

    You know it works from personal experience and anecdote – much like those pre-scientific doctors believed bloodletting, mercury and purging all worked based on their own observations and experiences. How do your observations differ from theirs?

  53. Oliver Dowding said,

    @Ben Lee… By using such phrases as “pre-scientific doctors believed bloodletting, mercury and purging” in some obscure attempt to connect this with modern day homoeopathy says everything I need to know. There is no connection, except in your mind, it would appear. My results were not simply “observations”, but hard and fast change to the health status of thousands of animals, as witnessed by fully trained veterinary surgeons who were not sympathetic to homoeopathy but accepted that we were getting positive results. I know that won’t be good enough for you, but that’s what the situation was and remains.

    It’s the same for all who are using homoeopathy successfully, sometimes with as many as 100,000 hens. Hard to dupe all of them all at once! The only person surprised by the outcome is the farmer who first tries it, and which is nearly always in response to a total failure from the conventional armoury.

    I’m not sticking my fingers in my ears, but I am recalling the massive amount of success we achieved with homoeopathy, the enormous number of highly successful homoeopaths operating all around the world, with both people and animals, and more. Perhaps you think all of them are operating with their fingers in their ears? May I suggest that you need to wake up and wise up. If you want to compare “anecdote” with observations of medically trained professionals, that’s your prerogative. I suggest it’s a wrong connection.

    You could even try going to India and investigating what is going on. Here is an article that highlights the level of uptake. Do you think all of these people could be fooled? http://bit.ly/GGHAf

    This article here is from The Lancet, again commenting on the Indian use of homoeopathy. Whilst there are facets that clearly illustrate where people have moved a bit beyond the capability, with unfortunate consequences, the vast majority are clearly operating successfully and to the benefit of their patients. http://bit.ly/6IPrSN

    On which score, I’m well aware of where allopathic doctors and professionals can make mistakes. I’m the beneficiary of a plastic heart valve, the operation having been successfully undertaken by Mr Wishart, as were hundreds of other adult operations. Unfortunately he stepped beyond into the world of experimentation, and I well remember sharing the ward with some of the children who ultimately did not survive.

    However, the writer of the article in The Lancet is clearly somewhat confounded by the significant uptake in India. As I say, how about a trip out there to see what they’re doing?

  54. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Well, Oliver has returned, clearly he has followed the discussion and has lurked until now, and isn’t it amazing how little he wants to engage with the questions he has been asked. Calling your opponents names, Oliver, is a rather pathetic substitute for honest discussion.

    You repeat the same platitudes and fallacies over and over again. Each is countered by one or more very simple responses that reveal the defectiveness of your opinions and, with utter consistency you fail even to acknowledge the existence of these responses. Read back up this thread and you will find several. One can only assume you are scared of looking into the abyss that they open at your feet. Instead you repeat the bald assertion that you and your sugar peddling friends successfully treat animals and people and show no understanding of what might lead you to be mistaken in your belief.

    Here again is one if those problems you refuse to address;

    “You say that these doctors [blood-letters, purgers and users of mercirials] were clearly wrong, yet their evidence at the time was based on just ‘knowing” it worked through experience and anecdote. What makes these doctors wrong, and homeopaths right. It seems you also know it works in much the same way they did.”

    Over to you…

  55. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    You repeat your fallacious thinking,

    “My results were not simply “observations”, but hard and fast change to the health status of thousands of animals, as witnessed by fully trained veterinary surgeons who were not sympathetic to homoeopathy but accepted that we were getting positive results.”

    And the blood-letters, purgers and mercurial merchants would have said EXACTLY the same thing. Are you really incapable of making this simple connection?

    They were wrong in their beliefs. So are you
    And, to repeat, for EXACTLY the same reasons.

  56. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    And I also find it amusing when homeopathy’s fans hive off surgery into a little box of acceptable conventional medicine. Hahnemann could not do that. He’d have treated you with a 30C potency something he he thought could cause a precordial thrill and dropsy. He’d have looked for this in his big book of rules. And you would have got worse. So he’d have looked for something with pallor and blue lips listed under its name. And you’d have got worse. Then you would have died and he’d have assumed he just needed a bigger book with a longer list of remedy names with which to label his sugar pills.
    But you had the surgery.
    This is typical. The confident protestations of homeopaths are usually left at the doctor’s door when they are actually properly ill. Thank goodness some reflex if self-preservation remains even in homeopathy’s most ardent advocates. But this is not universal. Penelope Dingle, Gloria Sam etc.

  57. Oliver Dowding said,

    @BSM, I think we’re going to simply have to disagree. I’m not wrong and most certainly not for the same reasons. You cannot compare the blood-letting and homoeopathy. Correction: you can, most people wouldn’t dream of it. Clearly it doesn’t rank with you. That’s your problem. The reality is that there is a massive difference. That’s why blood letting doesn’t now happen (as far as I know), but homoeopathy is increasing in uptake in large parts of the world. Despite sceptics. Maybe that’s what you don’t like?

    I like the way you think that I’m scared of looking into some “abyss” that you think I must be standing on the edge of. I could say exactly the same of you. I’m not scared of looking into anything. I am however aware of the massive numbers of people successfully utilising homoeopathy all around the globe, and congratulate them. Much as you exhort me to look back up through the blog, I’m assuming you’ve bothered to read the links that I posted. It must be uncomfortable to know how many people are using homoeopathy, and so successfully. That includes the many doing so on farms in the UK.

    I’ll leave you to your choice of medicine, your choice of denigration your choice of words, your right to free speech, you’re right to be a sceptic, and I’ll get on is what I do in the way that I think best for me. And, I’ll support those who are using the same approach with the high levels of success that they are achieving, despite the attempts of sceptics to block it.

    Why do you re-read the quote I posted about Henry Ford? He was right.

  58. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    I got quite badly bitten by a dog 3 days ago. Colleagues said I should get antibiotics, but I’d washed the wound well and didn’t want to take unnecessary medication do I didn’t bother. I waited for these massive bruising to appear. But it’s been better every day and I can’t even see any bruising today.

    If I’d taken 30C Arnica on day 1, you’d have ascribed my “hard and fast change in [my ]health status” to the Arnica. I could have visited a leechman or been purged that same day. The sugar-merchant, bleeder and emetician would have been just as wrong as each other in claiming success.

    It’s just as well Mother Nature has made us fairly robust or the ill consequences of using homeopathy would be more regularly and reliably fatal.

  59. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    “You cannot compare the blood-letting and homoeopathy.”

    Why can’t I? Why won’t you?

    Each was used for centuries. Each had a systematic set of justifications for their use all written up by experts. Each appeared to be used successfully.
    Show me a single difference that matters.
    The only difference I can see is that you like homeopathy, but think you’d look like an idiot if you advocated bloodletting as a panacea.

  60. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    For ease of reference, Oliver, here is a set of the other problems that jdc325 set you and which have also left dangling,


  61. jdc325 said,

    Perhaps Oliver can tell us what definitions of “observations” and “anecdote” he is using? Oliver seems to be under the impression that if something is observed by veterinary surgeons it is not an observation and that anecdotes are only anecdotes when the source is someone other than a medical professional.

    Oliver – what are the accounts of the direct personal experience of medical professionals if they are not anecdotal? And what does an observation become when the observer is a vet?

  62. Cybertiger said,

    I admire Oliver’s patience in countering this cacophony of cuckoo clucks.

  63. Ben Lee said,

    Got a job yet Mark?

  64. jdc325 said,


    I think I’d prefer it if people addressed other commenters by whatever name they use here.


  65. Ben Lee said,

    JDC – sorry!

  66. jdc325 said,

    I think I’m right in saying that the poster has posted information here that identifies them. I don’t think you have done this, Ben (it was only a forename), but I thought it a good idea to ask posters generally to avoid referring to names people use elsewhere.

  67. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    “I admire Oliver’s patience in countering this cacophony of cuckoo clucks.”

    Oliver has mostly shown us his hasty exit rather than confront a set of rather straightforward questions that exposé his fallacious thinking.

  68. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    I expect you are reading this, so I’ll make another point about your fallacious thinking that is slightly interesting. You talked about “hard and fast” changes in health status. You also said this;

    “If you want to compare “anecdote” with observations of medically trained professionals, that’s your prerogative. I suggest it’s a wrong connection.”

    I think you actually think that objective measures of health status are immune from the effects of biased observation and that training, as a vet, as a doctor, as an idiot-homeopath, hardens up subjective impressions against the effects of bias. This is so utterly wrong it’s hard to know where to begin. I suspect you are deeply confused about what constitutes the action of the placebo effect and the (small) contribution it makes to the apparent effects of a treatment if you have no control group with which to compare. 

    I could explain in depth, but my words would fall as pebbles into to the bottomless well of your incomprehension. Instead, I’ll ask two questions and see whether you break out of your stall and dare to attempt answers. 

    1. An animal has a fever, temperature 40C. A remedy is given, let’s assume it was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which have well-established anti-pyrexic effects. One day later the temperature was 38C. 
    Does this mean that the drug worked? What else might have happened?

    2. A vet uses his trained professional skill to judge an animal to be 7/10 lame. He prescribes a drug. It’ll be an NSAID again. One week later the animal is 2/10 lame. 
    Does this mean that the drug worked? What else might have happened?

    By the way, you can insert the phrase “homeopathic remedy” where I have mentioned an NSAID. Hint: if you answer the questions carefully and honestly, the answers will be the SAME. 

    An interesting aspect of this is that even if you do not post an answer we can still be fairly sure you read the questions and have decided not to try answering them. We can then ponder on why that would be the case. 

  69. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Hint 2; The answers to my questions will be the SAME and yet we an still know with a near-infinite level of confidence that NSAIDs have biological actions and homeopathic sugar does not.

    You will need to show you understand why this is the case or your views will remain locked in their fallacious pattern.

  70. Bock said,

    Oliver, there’s one condition that homoeopathic remedies are extremely effective at treating: dehydration. It’s water, Oliver. Just water. Doesn’t matter how much you shake it, it will always be just water.

    Here’s a question for you. How does the water remember only what you want it to remember? How do you make it forget all the other things that were mixed up in it since the dawn of time?

    Ainsworths, for example, are selling Shipwreck. That’s right, Shipwreck, and not just any old shipwreck either, but the wreck of the Helvetia. (The Homeopathic Proving of Naufragium Helvetia is one of the funnier things I’ve read in recent months).

    But to get back to my question. Since the sea is full of shipwrecks, shouldn’t it already be a remedy for all sorts of maritime conditions? Peg legs. Hook hands. Parrot shoulder. Inappropriate saying of Aaarrrhhh? Drowning, even?

    And what about Berlin Wall, another offering from HM’s supplier of homeopathic remedies?

    A few more:

    Beer (Ruddles).

    Brennan Psychopath

    Old Wardour Castle

    Cigar Smoke

    Clarinet and Sax Reed

    Electricitas (which really means Electricity but sounds more weighty. Hard to beat a bit of Latin when you’re selling medicine) How would you dilute electricitas with water? I’d be interested in the science of it.

    Cavity Wall Material. Now there’s scientific precision for you.

    Cholera! Again, Oliver, how do you dilute cholera?


    I’m not making any of this up. Ainsworths sell all this stuff and much more besides in the name of treating illness.

    Let’s have one or two others.

    Great Horned Owl. Was it his beak? His feathers? His guts? Or was it just his general Owliness?

    Helium. You can dilute helium with water apparently. Again, Oliver, since you’re a scientist, let’s have the science behind this. How’s it done?

    Now we drift into the truly flaky.

    The colour Indigo.
    The colour orange.
    The colour yellow
    Ultra-violet light.

    You know what’s coming here, Oliver, so let’s have the details if you please.

    I prefer my remedies to be a little more substantial, so I’ll stick with the
    smoked mackerel.

    One question on the remedy called Roof insulation material. Is that polyurethane, mineral wool, fibreglass or expanded polystyrene? Or or we just talking about roof-insulatingness?

    My favourite diluted homeopathic remedy?

    Tap water.

    Thath’s right. Diluted tap water. You couldn’t make it up.

    Oh wait, actually they make it up all the time, and then folks like Oliver call it science. If you stumbled across some lost tribe in the Amazon behaving like this, you might find it a little bizarre, but at least they have an excuse.

    What excuse do supporters of homoeopathy have for promoting this nonsense? Well, as it happens, they have the best excuse of all: profit.

  71. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    The tragic thing is that Oliver probably knows that all sounds stupid. But he’s prepared to believe all that self-contradictory stupidness because he gave sugar pills to cows and things they worked. He also takes at face value the stories of people like himself. What he is not prepared to do is confront all the ways in which such stories, no matter their number, are misleading.

    I would say, it’s all so silly you couldn’t possibly make it up but then the homs go and make up something even more stupid like the ‘paper remedies’ mentioned by jdc and for which even Oliver has no defence.

  72. Bock said,

    I have every confidence in Oliver. I’m quite certain he’ll come back and explain the basis to the things I asked about. He is, after all, a scientist.

  73. Oliver Dowding said,

    Children, I’ll leave you to your childish and immature commentary. Yes, sadly that is what it is, and just trying to reinforce your own set of opinions whilst nit-picking wherever possible.

    We disagree. I’ve made serious posts, and am happy to stand by them. You simply like to think you can be “smart-arses” with words – but naturally don’t accept serious comments from me – fair enough, your choice.

    Its hard to do so when they are as silly as the comments of Bock 72 + (especially 70) and then BSM68. I assume you have not thought to ask of a vet who has been trained conventionally and subsequently homoeopathically, as can be found at http://www.hawl.co.uk/ I am sure they will give you a professional response to your question. Yes or no?

    As I said before, we ought to leave those successfully deploying their homoeopathic medicine to continue to do so – successfully. You can then do as you will with your preferences.

  74. badlyshavedmonkey said,


    I see you have popped up again. Not to answer the rather simple questions that you have been posed, but to give us the usual mixture of insults and fallacious platitudes. This is typical of homeopaths who steadfastly refuse to develop arguments in discussion but try to close it off.

    Perhaps you realise you cannot answer the questions. It might gain you some respect if you made an honest attempt at answers. This thread is littered with questions left dangling by you. Try answering them instead of taking the Monty Python Black Knight option.

  75. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Hey, Oliver. Here’s a thought for you. Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment to try, just for once, answering questions and seeing how the discussion develops. What is it that so scares you about trying this? You spend time reading posts and typing replies trying to close off discussion, why not use that same time to explore the issues properly.

    Come on. Give it a go.

  76. ChrisP said,

    Oliver, you know I love being childish and immature, particularly when I can skewer some homeopathic claims. That website you linked to, the one for Wellie Level claims that 3000 of Fonterra’s New Zealand farmers are using homeopathy with the implication that you should do so because they are. Do you think this is a good testimonial? Are that many Fonterra dairy farmers in New Zealand using homeopathy? Does it work?

    Perhaps you might like to read this http://www.dairyexporter.co.nz/article/36068.html

    Shall I quote?

    “Tim Deane, Fonterra’s general manager milk supply, said to his knowledge it had never made such a statement. It didn’t track how many of its suppliers used the services of Homeopathic Farm Support Services “or any other animal health company for that matter”.”

    But then there is this quote “Hyde also referred to an article in The Press, of Christchurch, from November 18 last year that said: “Dairy giant Fonterra says nearly 3000 of its 10,500 farmer shareholders are Homeopathic Farm Support customers”.”

    So did they or didn’t they? Well, it depends, apparently.

    So Oliver, tell me what is wrong with Wellie Level’s claim about homeopathy use in New Zealand.

  77. Bock said,

    Oliver, I thought you were a man of science, yet here you are Harumphing and slamming doors behind you. Do questions make you uncomfortable?

    I’ll tell you what. Don’t bother explaining how to dilute X-rays in water. Forget my question about diluting a colour. Never mind elaborating on the science behind homeopathic electricity – sorry, Electricitas.

    Instead, just clarify for me how you get the water to forget all the other things that were suspended or dissolved in it through the ages.

  78. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Are you thinking of some good answers, Oliver?

  79. Oliver Dowding said,

    I’ve come across vindictive people before, and most of you fit the description.

    Let me remind you, I’m not a homoeopath. I’m not a speaker for a homoeopathic organisation. I’m not a scientist in trying to prove things in a scientific way.

    However, as I’ve said ad nauseam, I’ve used it extensively, all the other staff who worked on the farm did so, all the professional veterinary surgeons who came to the farm saw what we were doing and were impressed – even if they didn’t understand it or choose to adopt it – and that in a nutshell is my experience.

    So, comments such as 77 may seem relevant to you, but then not to those of us who use homoeopathy successfully. See my paragraph about not being a scientist, and therefore not choosing to engage at what might be considered a theoretical level. Please yourselves if you choose to.

    Comment 74: how amazing that you consider I’m offering insults and platitudes. I’m sorry if that’s how it is construed. I’m simply offering how it is for me, and everyone then finds every conceivable angle to answer from the point of view they choose to answer, ignore the evidential case put forward, and continue to argue from your chosen standpoint.

    With regard to the HAWL website and the Fonterra case, thank you for pointing it out and I will bring it to their attention. Maybe you already have? I presume you’ll choose to just point out that, and not get in touch with the veterinary surgeons and engage with them about how successful they are, as I’ve previously suggested? I suppose then there is a risk that you might find that it’s genuinely working for a lot more people than just me. Just like the hundreds of thousands/millions of Indians, and millions of others around the world. Scary!

    However, I am sure you’ll be delighted to see how successfully homoeopathy is working for this Australian farmer. http://bit.ly/MmRmV6 I appreciate that you will think he’s deluded, making it up, being fooled, and all those usual criticisms. Why don’t you get in touch with them? I’m sure he’d like to hear from you all to know that you consider him to be being fooled by his animals.

    I’ve really got plenty of other things to do, so this is the end of my contributions to this blog. I’ve made my point perfectly clearly, and you are doing very well at trying to ridicule. I’ll leave you to carry on doing that, as it’s clearly a speciality. I’m sorry if you think this is either fallacious or platitudinous.

  80. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Oh, so many words, Oliver, and so little usefully said. Just think how much further we could be if you expended half that effort in answering any one of the pertinent questions that have been put directly to you. 

    Let me remind you, I’m not a homoeopath.

    There is no agreed definition of who is a homeopath. Anyone can declare themselves to be one and the certificates given out by their endless schools and courses are not worth the paper they’re written on. But not to fret, in discussion you perform just as well as people who actually make a living from the retailing of sugar pills. 

     I’m not a speaker for a homoeopathic organisation.

    But you do pop up very regularly to defend homeopathy online and in other media. You also happen to be the only homeopath in this discussion, so let’s not worry whether you carry anyone’s official stamp of approval. You were very quick out of the traps to criticise jdc’s piece, but you have been very unwilling to explore your reasoning. 

    I’m not a scientist in trying to prove things in a scientific way. 

    What are you trying to do? You are trying to convince us of something and what might be the alternative to the scientific way of proving things I do not know and actually nor do you. 

    None of this requires a professional scientist and the questions you have been asked require no knowledge or access to the scientific literature. All it requires of you is an honest attempt at simple logical questions. 

    The reason why millions of people follow homeopathy is that millions of people have failed to follow the logical path along which you have been invited to travel. Most of those millions have, for whatever reason, not been shown that path. You, however, have been, yet steadfastly refuse to take even the first step down it. Which is why I must conclude that you are simply afraid to do so. It’s not lack if time. It’s not lack of willingness to put the effort into it given the length of useless posts you have made. So, fear does look like the reason. 

    Right, pick one of the questions or lines of argument and make a response. 

  81. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    P.S. I reminded that you made a rather grand ex cathedra assertion about the scientific nature of homeopathy right in your first post here.

    Regardless of the sceptics, the users know and trust this science as efficacious.

    It’s no good to go all coy on us now and pretend you’re just a little boy who wandered into grown-ups’ conversation.

    Just for once I would like to find a homeopath who can follow a short train of logical thought to its conclusion and accept the results. I still have hopes for you, Oliver. Don’t let yourself down.

  82. annabel said,

    Right at the start Oliver I asked you whether you stood by your previous statement about homeopathy being a science and you replied and said yes. I didn’t ask you if you were a scientist – you don’t have to be a scientist to trust in the scientific method. So now you change your story? Apparently homeopathy doesn’t have to abide by the rules of science. That’s OK – I could live with that. There are plenty of crazy cultish beliefs out there. What I won’t accept is your assertion that homeopathy is a science. So I will ask again – do you Oliver think that homeopathy is based on good scientific evidence? If you say yes again then I will eat my dinner and know you to be someone who is in need of an education upgrade – which incidentally you were given in these posts. Homeopathy is not science. Homeopathy is the exact opposite of the scientific method. Homeopathy fibs, it deludes, its doesn’t explain what it does, it asks you to ‘just’ believe, it confounds, it confuses, it isn’t honest. And neither have you been honest

  83. Bock said,

    Oliver — You have stated categorically that homoeopathy is a science. That means that on some level you consider yourself qualified to make such a statement.

    My questions to you are not at the cutting edge of human knowledge. Any reasonably well-educated 15-year-old could address the scientific element in them.

    Support your claim that homoeopathy is a science, by answering these very simple questions, or else admit you’re completely out of your depth, and withdraw it.

  84. Oliver Dowding said,

    I will make one more post. This is despite the thoroughly condescending comment by BSM 81. Naturally, he/she has been egged on by the tone in other posts.

    In order of your various dismissive posts.

    80 + 81. It is entirely your opinion as to whether what I have said is useful. I appreciate, and am sure you realise, that I’m not expecting you to change your mind after reading what I have posted, so in that context I guess it’s not useful. It’s just your opinion, and that of your fellow travellers on this forum.

    With regard to your dismissing the qualification of homoeopath as “not worth the paper they’re written on”, again your opinion. You’re welcome to it, but it’s not something I’d agree with. I won’t “fret”.

    Naturally, after such a long period of incredible success using homoeopathy, I’m going to defend it. Perhaps you might like to ask yourself why nobody else comes on this forum to defend it? Ask yourselves whether your attitude and languages very endearing towards debate? Ask yourself whether you are genuinely open-minded? You won’t have to read too many of the comments that you and others have made to appreciate that nobody would consider you open-minded with regard to homoeopathy and whether it’s efficacious.

    Furthermore, it is worth clarifying that I’m not a homoeopath. You got that wrong as well.

    I don’t consider I was criticising JDC’s initial piece, more offering an alternative viewpoint, and one based on experience rather than theory. I’ve always considered experience to be the more valuable. Furthermore, you all of one mind, and only prepared to accept the allopathic medicine can be fairly considered to be “science” or “scientific”. I disagree, and we are going to continue to disagree. I maintain and will continue to maintain that your beloved it RCT method of trialling is not something that homoeopathy is going to easily fall in with, because the way in which it developed, trialled, and utilised is so very different. It’s not something that’s a “one size fits all”, as is the case with the vast majority of antibiotics used
    for bovine mastitis treatment, instead requiring a much more individualised approach and one which is not necessarily replicable en masse. However, I don’t expect you to understand this, as I suspect you have a training that steers you in a different direction. I did at one time, but I realise that there are other ways in which one: “skin the proverbial cat”. You appear to want me to give it a name or process, in saying “I do not know and actually nor do you”.

    You say that “none of this requires a professional scientist……. all it requires of you is an honest attempt at simple logical questions”. I’m afraid I’m going to decline your request to answer questions using your language, all of which seems to me undoubtedly designed to try to tie me in knots which don’t need tying, to answer questions in a way that doesn’t need to be used, to use a language that is not suitable to homoeopathy and more. Broadly speaking it could be summed up by your resistance to trying to understand the process by
    which those who are successfully using homoeopathy are delivering that success. Does that make that 1-1?

    You really undo yourself with your final paragraph in that post, by dismissing the “millions of people who follow homoeopathy” as being people who have “failed to follow the logical path” and by definition whom you are therefore calling illogical. This may conveniently fit your model, but it doesn’t mean that those who are successfully using homoeopathy are illogical. Bad luck. The continued to believe that if you so choose, as I wouldn’t want to stop you doing what you want.

    I’ve no fear of debating homoeopathy, as you suggest. But I will do so at the level at which I’m using it, and the level to which I’m able to debate it. You clearly want to have me delve into the deep science, in which I’ve never been trained. You clearly want me to do that so that you can make an attempt to tie me in further knots. You can interpret this as fear if you so choose, but I’d argue that is nothing to do with that. I could equally easily argue that you have an apparent fear of discovering that homoeopathy is successful for a great many people. Hundreds of millions, the number you don’t like to contemplate, I’m sure.

    Finally, you finish off with the most condescending remark of all, referring to me as “a little boy who wandered into a grown-ups conversation. I suggest it’s time you learn to rephrase what you want to say. Not least, as you suggest that all the success that I had has made me in some way illogical. I can’t stop you thinking in this strange way, but I’m perfectly content to know what we did, to know how successful it was, to know how many animals got better through the administration of homoeopathic remedies, to know how many people treated them, and to know that none of us were deluded, fooled, or thought the animals got better by themselves. I’m happy to know that it wasn’t “sugar water” as you and your kin refer to homoeopathic remedies. If it was, whether you use it? It’s clearly efficacious.

    82 Annabel. You say “you don’t have to be a scientist to trust and the scientific method”. I quite agree.

    You also say “I won’t accept your assertion that homoeopathy is a science”. I’ll have to leave you to do that.

    We will have to disagree about the basis and evidence upon which homoeopathy has developed, clearly not the scientific principles you would like it to adhere to, but nonetheless I’m sure those who have developed the principles and the remedies would say that it has been developed through scientific examination.

    As for saying that “homoeopathy fibs, deludes and doesn’t explain what it does but asks you to “just” believe, confounds, confuses, and is dishonest”, that is clearly an opinion and one which you will hold for many years to come, at a guess. As with others, you choose to call me dishonest. That is generally defined as “deceitfulness shown in someone’s character or behaviour”, or “a fraudulent or deceitful act”. That’s a pretty significant slur to throw at me, and one that I totally reject. All I’m doing is arguing about how we treated our animals, the efficacious results which homoeopathy delivered for those animals, and more of the same vein. You stooped to the same low level but one or two others have in the way in which they choose to attempt to denigrate my character. Careful.

    Finally, and a general point for you all to read in entirety. Try and do it without being selective. I’m happy to be proven wrong, and that you aren’t selective, and that you are prepared to engage with doctors and homoeopathic veterinary surgeons who are successfully utilising homoeopathy. Do let me know how you get on when you have those conversations with the professionals.

    Meanwhile, maybe you’d care for a little reading matter? How about this book? Homeopathic Handbook for Dairy Farming (Revised 2nd Edition) Written by Tineke Verkade 201 pages, ISBN 0-473-08376-0 You can get a flavour of it from her website http://bit.ly/QcHqi8 I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that she’s from New Zealand.

    Until next time, which won’t be in this blog thread. Promise!

  85. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Wow, Oliver, that is one immense post. Giving a concise and relevant answer to any one of the questions you have been given would have taken a tiny fraction of that time.

    Furthermore, it is worth clarifying that I’m not a homoeopath

    You really need to read what I wrote.

    None of the rest of your post merits any response because you are simply reworking the same ground and you are simply repeating your previous fallacious arguments. Whereas if you answered one of the questions, you would have the chance to break out of that little box.

    You express concern about being tied up in knots by us. You wouldn’t be if your arguments were valid. I suppose you are demonstrating an inkling of awareness of that situation, but are not prepared to accept the consequences. That’s a shame.

    Anyway, perhaps you’d like to try answering one of our questions and learn where they lead. The irony is that you criticise us for not trying your sugar pills. Many of us have done just to shut up homeopaths. I have not because it really is pointless for reasons that you might understand if you were willing to put in a bit of effort engaging in honest debate. It is ironic that you insist we take sugar pills while you really seem to risk your ideas in well-considered debate.

  86. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Blockquote didn’t close properly. Never mind.

    Last sentence also had an annoying typo.

    It is ironic that you insist we take sugar pills while you really seem reluctant to risk your ideas in well-considered debate.

  87. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Well, look what appeared at SBM today. 

    Oliver, you should read this;

    I was urged to try it, but I’m going to pass. Trying something to see if it works for you sounds intuitively reasonable, but the history of science has taught us otherwise. Personal experience is often misleading and it contaminates our ability to judge something objectively.



  88. Bock said,

    You’re making progress, Oliver. At last you’ve acknowledged that scientific terminology is “a language that is not suitable to homoeopathy”.

    This is very simple, Oliver. If homoeopathy is science then the language used here is suitable to it, and by definition, if the language is not suitable to homoeopathy then it is simply not science.

    I begin to suspect that your difficulty is not with language but to logic.

  89. Keith said,

    Maybe I’m just being thick, not entering into the larger debate, but I just want to know why they feel we need a week to publicise homeopathy?

    Surely a minute, maybe at 3:47 on a Tuesday morning would be far more effective than a whole week?

  90. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    I was just re-reading Oliver’s posts on this previous blog;


    Just like here, and just like jdc pointed out in one of his early posts in this thread, Oliver’s posts just piddle away into the sand. He simply repeats that millions of happy users can’t be wrong, he is shown in various ways why they can be wrong, he is given examples of them bring wrong, then he blithely repeats again that millions of happy users can’t be wrong.

    It really is quite amazing.

    Oliver, for surely you are reading this, what it all boils down to is that you have lost this argument over and over again, both here and in other places, but you either will not or cannot see this. It is a pattern shown repeatedly by homeopaths.

  91. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    “bEing wrong”

    Bloody autocorrect.

  92. ChrisP said,

    Oliver, just want to briefly go back to your arguments about homeopathy. If I can paraphrase an enormous amount of text, it appears to me to boil down to argumentum ad populum. Lots of people use homeopathy and they can’t all be fools therefore it must work. Sadly, Oliver, they can all be fools. People are happy to fool themselves every day of the week. That is why the scientific method was developed to test ideas. It is much harder to fool the scientific method than it is to fool individuals. Whenever homeopathy is properly tested using the scientific method it is found to be a crock.

    Interestingly, I have met members of the Mannes family. We choose to disagree about some things.

  93. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    “Mannes family”??

  94. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Hello, Oliver.

    Still waiting for answers from you. And I’m fairly sure you’ll still be reading this thread.

  95. Bock said,

    Of course he is.

    Come on Oliver. Give us just one teeny weeny little burst of logic. It would make a welcome change and it might do you good. Defend your position without saying a million bluebottles can’t be wrong.

  96. badlyshavedmonkey said,

    Just commented on the MMR thread, but the same applies here:

    Homeopaths ignore the questions they have left dangling, descend into tedious semantic bickering and then disappear.

    Plus ca change.

  97. FFS special: Extraordinary Medicine, an exercise in mendacity? A Plague of Mice said,

    […] Homeopathy Awareness Week 2012 (jdc325.wordpress.com) […]

  98. Jacky said,

    Homeopathy is not a placebo and works effectively. I and my family members have used homeopathic treatment successfully for more than 10 years for different health problems.

  99. Chris said,

    Okay, Jacky, prove it. Andre Saine claims that homeopathy works better for rabies than the modern vaccine. Post the randomly controlled tests showing homeopathy cured mice of rabies much better than the vaccine.

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