People are so desperate they’ll believe any shit. Isn’t it true? Of course it is, and in evidence, I bring forward the matter of BSc degrees in Alternative Medicine. Now there’s an idea for you.

Let’s juxtapose those words for a minute while we contemplate their contradictory meaning.

Bachelor of Science. Alternative medicine.


They’re giving BSc degrees over there in Britain to people who want to practise things like homeopathy. Science, I’d remind you. Bachelor of Science.


What’s science? I won’t bore you with a dictionary definition, but I will mention one of the fundamental principles, coming straight from the Enlightenment, and it’s this: you have to compare your theory with reality, and you have to do it properly. Your experiment has to be repeatable and if it isn’t then it’s a load of shite. That simple.

Before such concepts, we were dunking witches, so you can see what a leap forward this method is, but it wouldn’t suit the alternative lobby, and to be fair, I can see why. If we were to follow the rational method, none of these chancers would be making a penny out of desperate people.

So you have, for example, homeopathy.

What the fuck, you might well be asking, is homeopathy?

What indeed.

Homeopathy is a method of treatment that involves giving the patient extremely diluted doses of whatever caused the problem in the first place.

You’re not well? Here. Have another bit of the shit that made you sick, and you’ll feel better.

It’s as if you were staggering home after a severe night on the town, and all the taxis are taken, so you say to yourself, Hold on a fuckken minute! I’m fukken drunk. I know what I’ll do, I’ll take a tiny drop of alcohol, and I’ll dilute it by ten million, and before you know it, I’ll be right as rain! What a great idea out of me.

What a great idea indeed, except you’re drunk, and that’s the category it fits into. Great drunken ideas. These, as we all know, are great ideas until you actually try to do something about them, and then – when you wake up in a strange house – they become great ideas you don’t ever want to remember again.

Is there any research to demonstrate that this works? No. There isn’t, for a very simple reason: it’s bullshit.

That’s homeopathy. That’s what they’re offering BSc degrees in.

Remember: Bachelor of Science.


If they allow this nonsense to continue, rational thought is finished and we are fucked.  Look forward to a world inhabited exclusively by travel agents, hairdressers and social workers, because everybody else will be extinct.

kick it on

11 thoughts on “Charlatans

  1. Too bloody right. I was going to launch into a rant about pseudo-science and debunkery (if that’s a word) but it’s Monday morning, my brain is still like treacle and I’m having trouble being coherent. Needless to say I agree with everything you said. I’m off to lie down, again.

  2. You’ve stumbled onto something here. Do you ever notice how alternative medical practitioners all hang out together and have unusual pets and dress strangely and seem to be able to communicate in code and laugh together at inopportune moments and smile for no apparent reason and never bless themselves when they pass a church. Bring back witch dunking i say. Now there’s a reality TV show I would pay to view. (the dunking chairs and paraphinalia could be an interesting sideline in your effigy shops, by the way.)

  3. There’s a tv series about hokum coming up soon, fronted by Dawkins. Should be fun. In the meantime you should see some improvement in your disposition if you apply leeches to your eyeballs.

  4. Bock and Swiss: WTF so was I going to mention Homeopathy this morning but couldn’t get it together, I’ll be leaving it for later in the week. Is this a case of great minds or the fools one?
    You forgot Reiki, Bock. I fuckin love that one!
    ‘Here, let me rest me hands over you and you’ll be grand’. I know a guy who does Reiki to people in the US over the phone!!!
    And another mate got FAS to pay for his Shamanism course recently.

  5. All that spam I get has finally proved useful. It’s getting hard to find dried tiger’s penis lately. I may have to switch to Viagra.

  6. Messrs Swiss, Wegian, Drumm and Nipple: We seem to be at one on this. Maybe we should combine our energies.

    Mr Headley: I had to dig you out of the bin. Well done.

  7. I’m trying a new alternative treatment called Sociopathy–I hope that doesn’t mean I have to start diluting your column.

  8. I’m no expert, user or friend of homeopathy, BUT, this crack of giving you a bit of what made you sick, to cure you??? Isn’t that what we do to our babies with the MMR etc………..

  9. Darwin: You have to dilute yourself with liquor, but I doubt that will be much of a problem to you.

    Mairéad : Exactly. It’s pseudo-science.

    Vaccination can generate an immune response against a biological pathogen, but not against any other. However, pseudo-science operates in a devious and slippery parallel world where words mean whatever the charlatans want them to mean. That’s why chancers can falsely claim that other illnesses can be treated the same way.

    Listen to the way they abuse terms like energy and vibrations.

  10. Homeopathy. Cuntology, basically, if you ask me. In the UK, you can get a “BSc” in anything these days. There’s all kinds of knobs walking about the hospitals with fuckin BSc, PhD, MSc degrees in all kinds of rubbish. There’s even poxy homeopathic hospitals in the UK! Homeopathy doesn’t work. The water is diluted so much that there’s no active ingredient left in what you’re taking. Having said that, what homeopathy does is give people time. They’re great listeners. In a consultation, some “practitioner” will sit there and ask you about your childhood etc for like half an hour. That’s somethiing that we in the health sector rarely have time to do. It’s also something that can be enormously therapeutic. so, the stuff they give you to drop on your tongue…that’s bollocks. But having a chat to some woman wearing beads about how you have no self esteem…go for it.

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