Categories
Pseudoscience

Homeopathy Awareness Week

Ok folks.  Listen up.  It’s Homeopathy Awareness Week again, that season of the year when frauds, charlatans, chancers and assorted moon huggers try to convince you that a bottle of water is medicine, and try to part you from your hard-earned folding green in the hope that you’ll fall for the scam.

Of course, needless to mention, homeopathy has many followers who are not crooks.  They just haven’t a clue.

How many times will I have to keep repeating this?  Homeopathic remedies are all just water.  Nothing else.  Just water.

When Samuel Hahnemann came up with his homeopathic notions in the  18th century, many medical practices were commonplace.  Blood-letting, mercury, trepanning, all manner of barbaric practices carried out in the name of science.  Hahnemann was rightly appalled, and he resolved to do no harm to his patients.  In those times, medical training was not what it is today, and Hahnemann managed to get a medical degree after just three years, eventually getting a job as the village doctor at the age of 26.  It didn’t suit him, and by the time he was 29 years old, he had begun to work full time as a translator, turning to his innate gift for languages as an alternative to life as a doctor.

Speaking personally, I’m not sure I’d be using a 26-year-old GP with three years college training and nothing else, but such were the times in which Samuel Hahnemann lived.  It was a different age, when standards were lower.  Hence homeopathy.

Hahnemann was a well-meaning guy, a man of his time, whose theories are now thoroughly discredited along with all the other amateur scientists of his era.  He was an Open-The Roof-Igor sort of fellow, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

Unfortunately, Hahnemann’s nonsense had a vague ring of credibility about it, in the sense that it gave chancers a quasi-scientific vocabulary and moon-huggers a sense of hope.  A dangerous combination.

Now, of course we all hate Big Pharma, and with good reason.  These multinational conglomerates have no ethics, no morals and no motivation except profit.  They’re detestable, even if they do happen to produce effective medicines from time to time.

However, what the homeopathy industry has done is even more cynical than the pharmaceutical companies, by seeking to present itself as the alternative, and this is where logic breaks down completely.

On the one hand, we have a company charging you a fortune for a life-saving drug.  Disgraceful.

But look over that at that guy trying to sell you a bottle of water and telling you he’s the alternative.  He isn’t.  He’s just a con-man selling you a bottle of water.  Like it or not, you may well be stuck with Big Pharma, until their wonder drug comes off patent, as a lot of them are this year.  I don’t hear much talk from the homeopathy industry about cheap generic drugs, do you?  Especially since some of these drugs, which have been tested and shown to work, cost the same as the bottle of water you buy from the homeopath.

In that case, are we talking about Big Pharma or Big Homeo, given that the alt.med industry is worth billions?

Don’t be fooled, folks.  I’m no spokesman for the pharmaceutical giants, but I know a little bit about science, and one of the things I know is that it costs a fortune to develop a new drug.  After you develop it, you have to run clinical trials and get approval which isn’t always forthcoming.  Then you have to watch out for side-effects.

On the other hand, to develop a homeopathic remedy, all you need do is break off a bit of the Berlin Wall and swish it around in water and talk about its aura.

Of the two, which am I going to believe?

Here’s an example of a homeopathic “proving“.  It’s the funniest thing I’ve read in years.  Mary L English, a homeopath, came across a shipwreck and broke a bit off it, to have it turned into a homeopathic remedy.  Essence of Shipwreck.

You think that’s insane?  It’s not too long ago since I posted about the Ainsworths list of remedies including Berlin Wall and The Colour Yellow.  (Ainsworths, by the way, are official suppliers of homeopathic remedies to HM Queen Elizabeth.  So there!)

I’ve written about homeopathy a few times.  Here and here for instance, but the truth is, it’s all nonsense.

It would be no harm to let you have that list again just to show how utterly bonkers homeopathy really is.  Here’s a selection from the Ainsworths list.   I promise you, I did not make this up.

 

_______________________

Aftershave

Air Cabin Pollution

Air Pollution

Aircraft Insecticide

Amritsar Sahib

Amyl Nitrite

Andean Condor

Apple

Araldite Glue

Argon

Ariel

Asbestos

Aviation Fuel

Bacon Fat

Beer – Ruddles

Berlin Wall

Blue Light

Blue Ringed Octopus

Blue Triangle Butterfly

Blusher

Boa Constrictor

Brandy

Brennan Psychopath

Brennan Rigid

Brennan Schizoid

Brick Dust

Butane Gas

Butter

Cabbage

Canary Feathers

Carpet

Castle (Old Wardour)

Cavity Wall Material

Cement

Champagne (Moet)

Cheese

Cholera

Cigar Smoke

Cigarette – Dunhill

Cigarette – Silk Cut Light

Cigarette Smoke

Clarinet And Sax Reed

Cleaning Solvent

Cling Film

Coal Smoke

Coca Cola

Cottage Cheese

Diesel Oil

Diesel Oil Smoke

Disseminated Sclerosis

Dna

Dog Hair Mixed

Dolphin Sonar

Dried Orange Peel

Egg

Elastoplast

Electricitas

Electromagnetic Field

Emulsion Paint

Epidural

Epoxy Putty

Exhaust Fumes

Fabric Conditioner

Flux Paste (La-Co Brand)

Food Colour Additives

Food Preservatives

Fur Coat

Gettysberg Water

Gin

Glue Fluid

Glue Powder

Goldfish

Granite

Great Horned Owl

Green

Gunpowder

Haddock

Hair Bleach

Hair Lacquer

Hair Perm (L’Oreal)

Hair Removing Cream

Hairspray

Ham

Helium

Hoover Dust

Indigo (Colour)

Lager

Lamb

Lice Lotion

Lipstick

Lourdes Water

Margarine

Mayonnaise

Microwave

Mobile Phone Radiation

Nail Varnish + Remover

Neon

Nitrogen

Nitrous Oxide

Nuts Mixed

Orange (colour)

Oxygen

Ozone

Ozone (Schade)

Paint Emulsion

Paint Gloss

Paracetamol

Parrot Droppings & Feathers

Pepsi Diet

Peregrine Falcon

Petrol Benzin

Petroleum

Plaster (From Wall)

Plastic Mixed

Potato Crisp

Prozac

Purple

Radon

Rat Fur

Rats Blood

Rohypnol

Roof Insulation Material

Rubber (Car Tyre)

Sacred Lake (After Cyclone)

Salt (Table)

Sardine

Sausages

Sawdust

Schmolenberg Water

Shipwreck (Helvetia)

Silk Cut Light – lit

Smoked Mackerel

Sparrow

Spiritualising Money

Stable Dust

Straw Dust

Swimming Pool Water

Tap Water

TNT

Tobacco Ash

Tofu

Trout

Tuna

Turkey

Twiglets

Ultra Violet Light

Ultrasound

VDU

Viagra

Vinegar

Vodka

Voltarol

Walsingham Water

Washing Powder – Biological

Washing Powder – New Pure Care

Washing Powder – Non Biological

Washing Powder – Persil Automatic

Whisky

Wiesbaden

Winchelsea Salt

Winchelsea Water

Wine Red

Wine White

Wood Dust

Wood Preservative

Wood Smoke

Xenon

X-Ray

yellow (colour)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In those days, and he wasn’t to know that the world is full of predatory opportunits who’s take his

Categories
Favourites Pseudoscience

Homeopathic Dilutions

Homeopathy preaches that the more you dilute the mixture, the stronger the treatment becomes, and the most common homeopathic dilution is called 30C, which is very diluted indeed.

How dilute?  Is it one in a thousand?

No.

Is it one in a million?

No.

Is it one in a hundred million?

No.

Is it one in a thousand million?

No.

Is it one in a trillion?

Not even that.

Is it one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion?

No.  You’re not even nearly there.

A dilution of 30C means that there’s one molecule of the remedy for every

(deep breath)

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000

molecules of water, sugar or whatever else is used to dilute it.

That’s 1060.

Since all the water in the oceans contains only about 4.4×1046 molecules, it means you would need to drink  all the oceans of the Earth, not once, not twice, not even a hundred times, but

(deep breath)

22 million million times to be certain of finding a single molecule of the remedy.

I saw a calculation which appears to be pretty close.  To deliver a single molecule of the remedy to a single patient, at this level of dilution you would have to give two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years.

Here’s an interesting list of remedies with the required dilutions. Remember, 30C is something that has been diluted by a factor of 100 thirty times, while 30X means dilution by a factor of 10, thirty times.

That’s only

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

It means you’d probably only have to drink a medium-sized lake to get your single molecule of 30X medicine.  The problem is, would one molecule be enough?

Probably the most extreme example of this is oscillococcinum, or duck liver, used to relieve flu symptoms.  This dilution — 200C  — has four hundred zeroes. It means that in order to have a chance of finding a single molecule of the remedy, you would have to consume the entire visible universe millions of times over.

Quite a task, when a week in bed would probably see the end of your flu and you could catch up on your reading instead of eating galaxies and black holes.

In fairness to old Samuel Hahnemann who dreamed up this idea at the end of the 18th century, he was working at a time before the concept of molecules had been properly set out or agreed upon.  In his time it was common to regard substances as infinitely divisible and he wasn’t to know that after his dilutions, nothing remained except water.  He was also working at a time when medicine was primitive and often dangerous to the patient.  However, when he dreamed up succussion, which involved banging the bottle of water against a leather cushion, he was drifting into the region of magic and belief.  Admittedly, this was probably no worse than some of the barbaric medical practices of the time, but that was 200 years ago and science has moved on.  We now realise that you can shake water all you like and it won’t know a damn thing about it because it’s just water.

Hahnemann was also on dodgy ground by claiming that the more a substance is diluted, the more powerful it becomes.  Following that logic, once it’s on the point of disappearing completely, it would be almost infinitely powerful.

This all gives rise to an interesting question.  Homeopathy makes no effort to remove whatever has been previously dissolved in the water.   And since the dilution is so minute, even a single drop of water containing the substance would be more than sufficient to make all the water on the planet into a homeopathic remedy.  Furthermore, it seems reasonable to assume that everything has been dissolved in water at some time since the formation of the planet, and therefore the waters of Earth already contain traces of every single homeopathic remedy in concentrations far greater than 30C.

The water of the Earth is constantly mixing and mingling and it seems reasonable after all these millions of years evaporating, falling as rain, churning around in the Gulf Stream and so on, that it’s pretty well mixed up.  Therefore, it seems to me that all the water on Earth must already be a homeopathic remedy for every conceivable disorder.

So the question I want answered is this: if the water remembers what was dissolved in it, how does it know which one to remember for the patient and how does it forget all the others?

Do homeopaths hypnotise water by  aqua-mesmerism?  Hydrohypnosis.  Who knows?

The homeopathy industry uses faux-scientific words like succussion and potentization in the same way that Scientology does, without ever explaining the underlying processes it claims to describe.  Although Hahnemann doesn’t begin to approach L Ron Hubbard for cynicism, the industry he spawned rapidly attracted chancers and charlatans as well as those drawn to the idea of healing through unexplained magic.  Believing in magic is easier than thinking.   It’s all about mystifying the gullible, and there’s no shortage of them.

I will say this however.   Many of the tests quoted in favour of homeopathic remedies claim that they are not more harmful than conventional (for which read “tested”) medicines. This is true.  They are not more harmful because all homeopathic remedies are just water.

People often confuse herbal remedies with homeopathy.  They are not the same thing.  Herbal remedies are often effective in treatments because they contain active ingredients, even if those ingredients are not administered in a measured dose.  Homeopathy, on the other hand, is based on 18th-century superstition.   It’s hard to see much  difference between the fake science of homeopathy and the fake science of Scientology.

The British Homeopathic Association has a website which offers, at best, ambivalent answers to the concerns of patients.

I quote from it as follows.

Is it safe?
The patient’s first concern is whether homeopathy is safe. There are two aspects to consider here;  is the medicine itself safe (intrinsic toxicity) and is it safe to use homeopathy in the circumstances presented (extrinsic safety). Homeopathic medicines are very dilute, containing minute quantities of active principle, in some cases such small amounts that we cannot detect them with methods that we have available today.

Let’s be clear about this.  The only methods available are the ones we have today.  Therefore, the final sentence should be stripped of irrelevancies to read as follows:

Homeopathic medicines are very dilute, containing minute quantities of active principle, in some cases such small amounts that we cannot detect them.

Why can’t we detect them?  Because they aren’t there.  Relying on non-existent detection methods is not science.  It’s bunkum.

What can it treat?
The conditions that lend themselves to OTC treatment are mainly acute self-limiting conditions including coughs, colds, allergies, etc.

This is semantic ducking and diving to avoid prosecution under the British trades descriptions acts.  It doesn’t say that homeopathy can treat anything because to do so would be to make a false claim.

The site goes on to say as follows:

homeopathic medicines are not strong enough to eliminate invaders to the body and so cannot be used alone in the direct treatment of infections

This is correct.  The reason is that homeopathic medicines are water and nothing else.

Does it work?
This is a difficult question and one for which there is no answer brief enough to include here.

The answer is brief enough: No.  It doesn’t work, because it’s only water.

How does it work?
The honest answer is that we really don’t know exactly how homeopathic medicines work.

Nearly honest.  Homeopathic medicines are known to cure one disorder and one only: dehydration.  They also alleviate smelliness if applied with soap.

And finally …

What potency and dosage should I use?
The 6c potency is the most readily available OTC potency and the dosages below refer to this strength, but for first aid and acute use the 30c potency can also be used and indeed is preferable if available.

I’ve already explained what 30C potency is. To get a single molecule of the active ingredient, you’d have to drink all the oceans of the world 22 million million times.

Now that’s what I call dilution.

6C is more benign. It means that the thing you seek is in the bottle in the ratio of one part to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

That’s powerful.

 

________________

________________

Elsewhere: Quackwatch

If you really want to hear undiluted nonsense at source, you could visit the Irish Society of Homeopaths, or the British Homeopathic Association.  They’ll both be delighted to defend their point of view.

Categories
Pseudoscience

Homoeopathy Without Borders: Treating AIDS With Bullshit

Everyone knows about the great work done by Médecins Sans Frontières — Doctors Without Borders — but now we have something new.  Homeopaths Without Borders.

Charlatans Sans Frontières.

Can you believe this bullshit?  Adopting a name very similar to that of an established – and qualified – charity and going into Haiti of all places claiming to cure disease with something that has no basis in reality.

And then we have Homoeopathy for  Health in Africa, claiming to treat AIDS using plain water.

This is beyond ludicrous.  This is dangerous.

Read the following nonsense:

Our Mission

1) To relieve the suffering of as many HIV/AIDS patients as possible using classical homoeopathy.

2) To develop a homoeopathic understanding of the disease and identify those homoeopathic remedies that are most successful in treating HIV/AIDS.

3) To spread this knowledge throughout Tanzania and Africa, teaching local health practitioners to run sustainable services prescribing homoeopathically for large masses of people.

4) To produce formal and ethical research on the treatment of HIV/AIDS with homoeopathy and to demonstrate what it is able to achieve.

5) To help local communities with sustainable nutrition, garden projects and education.

Let’s be clear.  Homoeopathy is about giving people plain water.  It’s just water with nothing else in it.   Homoeopathy might relieve a headache by the placebo effect if you’re stupid enough to believe that a bottle of water can make you better, but it can absolutely not treat AIDS, and to claim otherwise borders on the criminal.

The bullshit goes on:

In many ways homoeopathy is the perfect medicine for persons suffering from HIV/AIDS. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Homoeopathy works by stimulating and enhancing the immune system and therefore it is precisely in this disease that homoeopathy can be most effective.

Medicine?  Homoeopathy is not medicine.  It’s quackery.  Pseudo-science dressed up as treatment in order to make quacks rich fast.  But what I find so objectionable about this campaign is the attempt to take advantage of AIDS victims in Africa.  Surely there are enough rich fools in Europe willing to dig into their pockets.

What do you call an alternative medicine that has been proven to work?

Answer: medicine.

There’s only one thing that homoeopathy can treat successfully: dehydration.

Everything else requires proven treatments, and there isn’t a single scientific study to support homoeopathy, which is hardly surprising since homoeopathy is about giving people water.  Plain water with nothing else in it.

What sort of people would go to Africa and assure AIDS victims that a bottle of water will make them better?

____________________

UPdate: during the course of a discussion on Facebook, somebody sent me this link, perhaps intending to persuade me in favour of homeopathy.  I came away converted to Scientology.

Categories
Pseudoscience Quasi-medicine

Mass Homeopathy Overdose Protest

Boots Chemists are selling homeopathic remedies alongside genuine medicines, creating the impression that bottles of plain water somehow have medicinal powers.

These people wrote to Boots complaining about the way they stock plain water beside legitimate medicines, but received only a bland formula letter by way of reply.  A homeopathic letter, in fact, containing no meaning or sincerity.

Not good enough. Here’s their way to protest. 1023.

The idea is to stage a mass overdose outside Boots shops across the country.

Since homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredients except water, this can cause no harm.  But it also shows that, since homeopathic remedies have no ingredients, they can do no good either.

Date@ Saturday 13th March.

Time: 10:23 am.

_____________

1023 ?

That’d be Avogadro’s number.

Categories
Favourites Humour Pseudoscience Religion

Christian Science and the Zombie Jesus

Every Good Friday, I try to do a little meditation on the meaning of the day, and this year is no exception. We’ll try to keep the tone reasonably high, as usual.

Now, let me just reflect on the background to this for a moment, if I may, and I’ll try not to detain you long, unless you choose to remain with us to the end. I hope you will.

When I was a child growing up, there were many churches, just as there are in America or Britain or anywhere else in the world, but this was a particularly benighted country, much as America still is, or Saudi Arabia, though we didn’t stone women to death in this country. Instead, we shoved them into nun-run laundries as slaves and kept them there until they died, friendless and without family.

We were much more civilised than those unwashed foreigners.

My Auntie was a devoted believer in Catholic superstition and used to drag me by the hand to all the churches in town. My favourite was St Michael’s where a statue of the Archangel stands on top of the spire. He’s killing a serpent with his spear and he’s saying in Latin Take that motherfucker!

Marvellous stuff.

Of course, that’s not what I started to talk about, but it is related.

I used to know a priest who had coeliac disease. He applied to his local bishop for a special exemption to use gluten-free bread when turning Jesus into a biscuit, but he was refused permission.

I found that hard to understand. The Catholic doctrine is that the biscuit becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which of course I find fascinating, having a considerable interest in scientific matters. I was always interested to know how bread could actually be flesh, and not just in a symbolic way.

Oddly enough, most Catholics are unaware of this central doctrine of their church, that the consecrated host is not simply symbolic, but actually IS Jesus.

So. Gluten-free bread was not acceptable to the bishops, and I wondered about that. I wondered what logic they applied to their refusal. Did they decide that a gluten-free biscuit would lead to a gluten-free Jesus? Did they decide that a coeliac-friendly Christ was not the future of Christianity? I’d love to know which chemist-bishop figured this out.

Do you know what I also wondered?

When the priest does the hubba-hubba-hubba turning the biscuit into Jesus, what are the health and safety precautions? For example, if I staggered into the church after a night on the piss, and maybe I had a half-eaten kebab in my pocket, or an old ham sandwich, would the sparks from the priest’s fingertips accidentally turn my kebab into Jesus? Or if the kebab was wrapped in aluminium foil, would that be enough to deflect the holy radiation? What about if my pocket was full of forgotten digestive biscuit crumbs? Could I end up with Jesus-in-da-pocket syndrome? Could I sue the Catholic church? Oh wait, hang on, the taxpayer would cover it like they did with the child-abuse claims. What was I thinking?

Take it a step further. Since the bishops were so worried about gluten-free biscuits, what exactly is necessary to create a fully-functioning Jesus? Is it the glutens? Are they essential or would it be possible to convert a bag of chips into a Saviour, or would the saturated fats get in the way? So many questions.

There was a tank outside the Dominican church, and that’s where my Auntie used to get a little bottle of holy water.

Now there’s a thought.

Holy water.

What exactly is holy water? Are the molecules of holy water in some way different from ordinary water? Like heavy water. I don’t know, but I do know that my Auntie used to collect this water and then we’d have to dab the stuff out of a little sponge-thing in the hall and go nub nub nub Jesus num nub nub Mary Joseph fucking Jesus before leaving the house.

I have no idea why, but I have to confess that this holy water notion got to me. What the hell is this, I asked in my childish error.

It came to a head when a Dominican called to our school to lecture us on utterly insane Catholic shit that none of us could possibly believe because we were reasonably intelligent children.

Even though he was a Dominican, I didn’t ask him about the auto da fé, because I was only seven and had never heard of the auto da fé, but I did ask him about the holy water tank outside his church that my Auntie used to fill a little bottle from once a week.

Does a priest come out every day and zap it to make it holy? That’s all I wanted to know.

No, it turned out. A priest didn’t come out every day to zap it. In fact, a priest didn’t even come out once a year to zap it.

A priest, in truth, didn’t come out to zap it, at all. Ever!

Why?

Science. That’s why. This kindly torturing Inquisitor explained that there was a two-inch gap below the tap on the holy-water tank. Ullage. And there was a float-valve inside the tank, much like your average toilet cistern. The logic was very simple. There was always a little holy water left below the level of the tap, which the new water mixed with, making the whole lot holy.

Holy homeopathy Batman!

Brownian blessings.

And that’s what started my little childish brain wondering. If a tiny drop of water at the bottom of a tank can continue to sanctify endless inpouring of mains water, without clerical rezapping, then perhaps holy molecules are indeed massively powerful.

I know. All right? I know how many molecules are in a micro-minimum tiny metric fuckfull of Avogadroness. I know! It’s ludicrous how many molecules there are in the tiniest sparrow-spit. I know this. It only adds strength to my conjecture, which is this: if an inch of holy water at the bottom of a tank is enough to turn every drop of incoming water into mega-powerful-strength-watery-stuff, then what happens when this amazing substance gets into the watercourses or evaporates and falls as rain?

What happens then? Eh? What?

What happens when it gets into the ocean?

Are all the oceans of the world holy water or does the salt neutralise it?

It’s all about science really, isn’t it, this religion stuff? All very logical.

And this is why, on Good Friday, we need to contemplate the wonderful miracle of the resurrection. The zombie Jesus.

To be more specific, We need to contemplate the various body-parts Jesus left behind him, including, but not confined to, his foreskin. Dandruff. Toe-nail clippings. Hawking and spitting from chest infections. Other nameless stuff.

Where did all those blessed molecules go?

Didn’t they simply get broken down by microbes and enter the food chain? Didn’t they become dispersed and part of the living chain? Of course. And some of them ended up as single molecules in a fly or a mosquito trapped in amber, but others must have clustered.

Out there somewhere is a fish with more Jesus-molecules than all the rest.

I fear that fish.

(With thanks to Achilles for the pics)

___________________

Also on Bock:

Saint Bock’s Gospel

Battlestar Catholactica

The Mobile Consecrator Rises Again

Categories
Humour Pseudoscience Religion

Vegans, Jehovah Witnesses, Transubstantiation and Other Lunatic beliefs

Vegan Bastards

Is there anything more annoying than a vegan?

Well, yes, actually.  Now that you mention it, there is.  Vegan parents are more annoying.

There was a case recently of a 12-year-old girl admitted to a Glasgow hospital with a degenerative bone condition caused by the lack of calcium.  According to the hospital, this child’s spine was in a condition they’d expect to find in an 80-year-old.

It’s belief, you see. More bullshit.  The parents’ beliefs are more important than their children’s welfare.  That’s why adults, who grew up on a diet of milk and cheese and fish and meat, and who have developed strong and healthy bones, feel entitled to deprive their infant children of all these things.  It’s their belief, and that makes it all right, even though what they believe in is a load of old bollocks.

It’s their belief, just like the nonsense that is homeopathy, a non-science that believes water has a memory.  These charlatans dilute your medicine until it can no longer be detected in the water, and then they tell you that the water remembers what was dissolved in it.  Now, all water is as old as the planet and has had everything in the world dissolved in it at one time or another, but somehow it only remembers what the chancer wants it to remember.

Bah!

What the hell is this obsession we have with belief, and why do we give a special place to some beliefs but not to others?  Why did we agonise when two Jehovah’s Witness parents wanted to prevent their child having a blood transfusion?  Why didn’t we just arrest them there and then for trying to endanger their child?  Throw them in the slammer and give the child to a family who’ll take proper care of it?

I don’t know.  We said, it’s their religion!

So what if it’s their religion?  So what?  Religion or not, it’s still insane.  Why the hell are people entitled to switch off our sanity button by invoking their religion?

I’m going to wear a bag over my head while I’m in school.

No you’re not.

Yes I am.  It’s my religion!

Insane.  It isn’t my problem if some old guy in the desert a thousand years ago decided you have to wear a bag on your head.  It’s your problem for swallowing such horseshit.  Get over yourself!

I don’t give a rat’s arse what delusion you believe in.  Your delusion isn’t a licence to behave like a total gobshite.

I’m a Scientologist and I believe an alien from Venus lives inside your head.

You’re nuts.

You can’t say that. 

Yes I can.

You’re oppressing me!  I’ll set 43,000 lawyers on you! 

I think we’ve reached the quota for lunatic beliefs now, and if you want to start a new lunatic belief system, you’ll have to wait until one of the old ones is extinguished, like a pub licence.  That’s why the majority of sane, rational people in this country will laugh at Jehovah’s Witnesses, but happily go on believing that a man in a skirt can turn Jesus into a biscuit, which is a nice, sensible belief.

Did you ever think about that transubstantiation thing?  I did, and it worries me.

Now, it’s not that I’d be at any religious service very often, but sometimes you have to go to funerals, weddings and that sort of thing, and I was wondering.  You know the bit where the witch-doctor waves his hands around and sparks fly out of his fingers and he turns that biscuit into the body and blood of Jesus?

You with me?  Right, well, what I’m wondering is how far the bread-to-Jesus rays travel and how powerful they are.  Maybe a Christian Scientist might know the answer.  You see, it’s possible you might not have got home the night before, and perhaps you have half an uneaten pitta bread doner kebab in your pocket.  Or a ham sandwich.  Or maybe a packet of biscuits.

You see where this is going, and it’s a real worry for me.  If the priest is feeling particularly powerful this morning, possibly because he had a nice altar-boy good slug of whiskey, would he be able to zap that kebab right through your pocket, truly turning it into the Spicy Lamb of God?  Or if it was still wrapped in the aluminium foil, would that stop the rays getting through?

Maybe you’d need a lead-lined kebab just to be on the safe side.

I don’t know.  Theology was never my strong point.

What I do know is that I hate vegans for being condescending, insufferable twats, and therefore I’ve invented a new breakfast cereal for them.  When the revolution comes, my people will round them all up and force them to eat this every morning, but it’ll be good for the general public too.

I think this is going to be a real success.  A breakfast cereal made of pork.

I call it Meatabix.  What do you think?

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Thanks to Achilles for doing the pic.

 

 

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Favourites Health Pseudoscience Scandal

What’s the Difference Between Scientology and Homeopathy?

There isn’t a huge difference between the two, it seems.

Scientology has no coherent scientific basis. Neither does homeopathy.

Scientology exploits credulous, needy people for profit. So does homeopathy.

Scientology relies on fake-scientific jargon to baffle you. So does homeopathy.

Scientology can’t survive scientific scrutiny. Neither can homeopathy.

So far so good. No surprises there.

But suppose I told you that Scientology and homeopathy have something else in common? Suppose I told you that homeopathy relies on intimidation to silence its critics? What would that remind you of?

Here’s a case where a blogger with a spineless internet service provider was forced to remove a post critical of homeopathy. Andy Lewis operates a site called the Quackometer, in which he deals with all manner of quacks, frauds and pseudoscience gobshites. Andy wrote a post called The Gentle Art of Homeopathic Killing, detailing the sort of unscrupulous and dangerous practices commonly found among homeopaths. He gave instances where homeopaths in Africa disgracefully claimed to be able to treat lethal diseases such as malaria, AIDS and TB.

What do you think happened?

Some crowd of gobshites calling themselves the Society of Homeopaths immediately issued worthless legal threats against his ISP.

And what do you think the ISP did in defence of Andy’s right to highlight this quackery?

I know what you think happened. You think his ISP told the Society of Homeopaths to go and bottle themselves, don’t you?

Well no. You’re wrong. What they did instead was this: they collapsed in fear. Immediately! The useless prats. They folded and made Andy remove the post but happily, thanks to Google’s cache, copies instantly reappeared all over the internet, and you can read his full text here.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about homeopathy and the ugly mindset of intimidation that attends it. For example, you might remember the mother of an autistic child who was legally threatened by a homeopath, and you might have stumbled across my views on the idea of people receiving a BSc degree in quackery. But frankly, I think it’s all gone a bit more sinister than that.

Though there was a time when only fruitcakes like Rudolf Hess believed in homeopathy, now the thing seems to have morphed into something approaching a cult, just like Scientology, and with the same sort of aggressive instinct to attack its critics.

I don’t like this. I don’t like dishonest thinking, and I don’t like fraudulent logic.

I don’t like mystification and I don’t like the way every half-educated chancer and charlatan in the last fifty years has hijacked the hard-earned knowledge of generations of good scientists and used it to baffle people out of their cash.

Most of all, I don’t like the thugs from the Society of Homeopaths trying to intimidate an honest man out of his honest opinions.

Categories
Pseudoscience Scandal

Homeopath Charlatan Threatens Mother of Autistic Child

Sharon has a charming blog called The Voyage which is about all sorts of things, including her autistic child.

Sharon posted this about the claims of a charlatan called John D. Melnychuk who claims to have cured autism through homeopathy. Now, if you haven’t come across homeopathy before, let me just remind you that this is a pseudo-science based on the utterly spurious belief that you can cure people by giving them water. I wrote about it HERE some time ago.

These self-styled homeopaths, including bastards like Melnychuk, prey on vulnerable people’s fears, offering them utterly empty promises of a cure in the same way as the snake-oil vendors used to do in the Wild West, and they should all be run out of town on a rail. Every single, last, lying asshole bastard one of them.

Anyway, Sharon quoted extensively from this fool’s website, and subsequently received the following threatening comment from a criminal thug and lowlife, called “Anonymous”:

Please be advised that this copyrighted document referred here to as “Melnychuk” that you are displaying and continually re-displaying in comments was illegally hacked from a web site in the United States of America.

United States law allows that hacking a web site and posting, and/or using copyrighted material without express permission of the author is a federal offense and is punishable by incarceration even if secondary or mirrored from another web site.

That legal surrender of a fugitive to the jurisdiction of the United States is required by British law.

Imagine that. Just as well this guy has no power over anything or he’d have you in Guantanamo faster than you could say “Jump-suit”. Did you ever read anything as pathetic? Do you recognise the style? Of course you do. It’s the blustering mark of an empty bullying windbag. I wonder who this anonymous fool might be?

Another “Anonymous” then complains:

It is pretty ruthless to post someone’s private case notes here. You may enjoy letting the world know every thing about your child but how do you know the parents of the child you have posted here are happy about it?

Just in case anyone missed it: Melnychuk published the notes, not Sharon. He did it on his blog. Isn’t it amazing the way these crooks like “Anonymous” resort to intimidation when they don’t like what you say?

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You might also like to have a look at THIS


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Categories
Pseudoscience Quasi-medicine

Charlatans

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.

Hmm.

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.

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.

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.

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