This article annoys me. In fact, it infuriates me. The BBC Documentary team, Horizons, accepted James Randi’s million dollar challenge to homeopathy in hopes of walking away with all that cash. They hired the top scientists they could find to test homeopathy. The test was overseen and verified by representatives of the Royal Society. How much more valid can a test get? And the results: Homeopathy Doesn’t Fucking Work.
That’s it. End of story. What we all knew was true is now proven true. Just total bullshit with absolutely no way in the world it COULD be true. First of all, the principle of “like cures like” was a good guess for its day, but is just stupid now. And more importantly, diluting a drug does NOT make it stronger, especially when you dilute it to the point where there is nothing, not one single fucking molecule, in a volume of water the size of the orbit of Pluto.
So that’s the story, and that should have been the headline. But it wasn’t. The headline reads: ‘Proof’ that homeopathy doesn’t work.
Notice the single quotes on “proof”. Like we still have our doubts. Like there could be something that invalidates even this test.
And then the article goes on to rave about the benefits of homeopathy, giving line after line to anecdotal evidence of its efficacy:
“But there is a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that says it does work. Louise Hamilton a 29-year-old human resources officer from Clapham, has endometriosis. She has endured 15 years of crippling pain and has had three operations and hormone treatment to alleviate her suffering without success. Eventually the pain got so bad she could not walk.
She says, “All I could do was lie on my left side – I could only work for three hours a day.”
For the past 18 months she has had homeopathic treatment and is now free of pain. “I’m convinced it works. I suffered for 15 years and now I feel so good I’ve not had to see my homeopath since last May.”
The article also describes in uncritical terms a totally discredited researcher: “Professor Madeleine Ennis, an expert in pharmacology at Queen’s University Belfast, became embroiled in the homeopathy debate after she performed a laboratory test where histamine – a natural hormone – was diluted to homeopathic levels and the solution added to a blood cell to see if it “activated” the corpuscle in the way histamine normally would. The results were mystifying. The diluted solution could not have had a single molecule of histamine in it, yet it still had an effect on the cells. Professor Ennis repeated the test and got the same result. She stands by her method, but cannot explain why it worked.”
That’s just a sample of the pro-homeopathy hype in this article. What about the real news. Here it comes: “The Horizon scientists repeated Professor Ennis’s experiments under strictly controlled conditions. For homeopaths, it was a crushing defeat. The experiment revealed that homeopathy has no physiological effect on the body. James Randi got to keep his $1 million and the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on homeopathic remedies will be left wondering if it’s they who are out of pocket”
This is immediately followed by a statement by the Homeopathy Association, given credibility because they have 2,000 quacking members: “Our results come from treating human beings and animals,” says the society’s director of politics Melanie Oxley. “There have even been experiments involving plant cells which showed an effect. We need to invest more in homeopathy research because we do see an effect on living systems.”
In other words, real scientist who do real tests can be ignored. No matter what the scientists say, and no matter how rigorous the tests, they still haven’t proven a fucking thing, folks.
And you just know that Pat Hagan, who wrote this crap for the Evening Standard, is a big fan of homeopathy and thinks scientists can’t tell us diddly squat. Or is this just “balanced journalism”? Equal time for the tinfoil hat people.