Home > Homeopathy, Skeptic > Show Homeopathy Works, Win A Million Dollars!

Show Homeopathy Works, Win A Million Dollars!

ten23. Homeopathy: there's nothing in itOn Saturday, February 5th 2011, skeptics from 10 different countries took a mass overdose of homeopathic “remedies”.

Everyone was ok.

It was part of the 10:23 campaign, which I blogged about on Friday. The point of the demonstration was to show that these products are not medicine, and do absolutely nothing.

Concurrently with the demonstration, James Randi of the James Randi Educational Foundation issued a challenge to Homeopaths. The challenge is quite simple:

Show that a homeopathic remedy works better than a placebo for ANY illness, in a double-blind clinical trial designed by YOU, the homeopath, and supervised by reputable scientists. If you can show a statistically significant effect in a study of this kind, you will win $1 million for yourself, or the charity of your choice.

If homeopathy worked, this challenge would be an easy win for homeopaths. If a homeopathic remedy did anything at all, it would show a statistically different effect than a placebo. Of course, this type of study has been done many, many, many times and the results are remarkably consistent: homeopathy does not work.

James Randi gives a very nice explanation about the ideas behind homeopathy, which unfortunately are not common knowledge. My favourite quote from the video is

Many people think that the work ‘homeopathic’ just means ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ medicine and they are shocked to learn what it really means. It should be a crime for pharmaceutical corporations to profit by denying the public this critical information about the products on their shelves.

It is extremely important that the truth about homeopathy becomes well-known. Particularly now, since I have just read on the Huffington Post (which I read when I am feeling masochistic) that a Doctoral degree is being offered in Homeopathy in the United States.

Those who graduate from the doctoral program will be qualified to diagnose illnesses and treat them with homeopathic medicine.

This is frightening. Many people have been harmed by seeking homeopathic treatment in the place of real medicine. And it just simply doesn’t work.

  1. Tim
    February 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Ryan, as an engineer and researcher I agree that pseudoscience in the media is rampant. However, you should also be sceptical about what you hear from ‘reputable’ sources. For example, most doctors have very little training in nutrition, and many don’t take nutritional research seriously. When you consider that modern medicine is utterly pathetic when it comes to treating long term diseases, and that many doctors pay little attention to preventative nutrition… what does that say about the trusted medical system? Have you considered that prescription drug companies have a strong influence in the medical industry? Drugs are money. There is bias everywhere.

    Nutritionalists may understand how diseases work better than medical doctors. To say that anything ‘herbal’ simply ‘does not work’ is incredibly ignorant and UNSCIENTIFIC.

    According to at least one study, the lowest cancer rates by a long shot are in regions of Japan where they eat a traditional diet. There is a direct correlation between diet and the body’s ability to naturally fight disease. Humans have an immune system. It requires vitamins and minerals for our immune system to function.

    While I can’t speak for all vitamins and supplements, I take supplements such as rhodiola roseria, maca, bacopa, ginkgo biloba, oxiracetam and alpha GPC. Like caffeine, the effects are active, and certainly not placebo (there are studies on this). Don’t assume that something needs an FDA stamp to mean that it works/is safe.

    Be a scientist, not a servant to the ‘facts’. Facts change. How sharp was our understanding of modern physics before Einstein? How sharp is our understanding today about how to cure cancer?

    Think about it. You’re a scientist. Science advances through innovation. You should be sceptical about everything, even the systems that society accepts as true. The scientific community is not immune to the dangers of faith and conviction.

    I agree that many types of alternative medicine are probably garbage (particularily those that involve no ingestion). But consider that anything we digest has some effect on our body:

  2. Tim
    February 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Ryan, if it brings anything to the table, I also have experienced dehabilitating side effects of taking doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals. The drugs: dexedrine and adderall. These drugs are over prescribed to kids for ADD, and little attention is given to nutrition. Only after researching nutrition myself was I able to balance the terrible side effects of amphetamines.

    But the doctors I talked to were ignorant about this. They give these drugs to children, but they don’t give the nutritional advice necessary to deal with the toll that these drugs have on the body and mind.

    Using these drugs was like being turned into a zombie. They helped focus, but butchered my creativity. Since they reduced my creative problem solving abilities, they essentially lowered my IQ when I was taking them. There is no research supporting this, so it’s not an ‘official’ side effect. But if you understand how the drug works, it’s quite a natural and expected side effect. For me, it was an utterly real and dehabilitating side effect that slowed my thought process down drastically. I’m surprised that the FDA approves these for treating children.

  3. Tim
    February 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Come to think of it, these drugs are a great way to lobotomize the nation. No wonder government healthcare loves to medicate those children who think outside the box and who don’t submit to authority in the classroom.

    Hahaha, but really… not a conclusion, just food for thought. Don’t assume that the government knows best. And if you know anything about psychology, never assume that an elderly person knows better because they have more experience. Older generations are more likely to have been physically abused when younger (spanked, etc). Psychology will tell you that children who were controlled through force when they are young develop coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma. These coping mechanisms may hinder rational thought, and thus may make the brain more susceptible to propiganda. James Randi may sincerely think that he knows what’s up, but how can you be sure?

    My point of all this, is that you’re not searching in the gaps. On certain issues you are defending the status quo with firm conviction. Yet history has shown us that time and time again, the status quo needs a makeover.

    As a physicist you probably have an excellent capability for abstract thought and reason. In the interest of the future of our planet and society, I hope that all intellectuals keep an open/rational mind and never bow to a percieved authority.

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