Homeopathy’s Greatest Hits

Happy World Homeopathy Awareness Week (WHAW) everyone!

Homeopaths are once again holding a massive, week-long publicity campaign to raise awareness for their practice. So, many Skeptic North contributors and skeptical activists have also committed to raising awareness of homeopathy.

I’m not going to get into the details of homeopathy, rather I am going to give some examples of the ridiculousness that I have associated with it. But please don’t take this ridicule as an a priori position on my part. I’ve spent plenty of time considering the mechanics of homeopathy and have already written fairly extensively about it on my own blog. If you aren’t aware of how absurd the premise of homeopathy is, you may want to check it out.

If laughter is truly the best medicine, then I believe in the healing powers of homeopathy, because it’s bloody silly. But don’t take my word for it. Homeopaths can speak for themselves:

1. Homeopathic Roulette Game
Let’s start with one of my favourites: the ABC Homeopathic Remedy Calculator. Tick off a symptom category or an affected area, click ‘next’, read on, and let the hilarity begin! Here is a little taste of some of the symptoms that homeopathy can apparently cure:
  • Coughing in sympathy with others
  • Conscientious about things of little importance
  • Mental symptoms from sexual excesses
  • Fritters away time
  • Erotic sensation caused by scratching
  • Aversion to wearing a hat
  • Symptoms in moonlight
On a side note, isn’t the traditional cure for that last symptom a silver bullet?
2. The Eighteenth Camel
So, here’s how homeopathy works: You have 17 camels and your last will and testament has some poorly considered math in it, from a legal perspective. You ask all the scientists in the world, then you ask a “wise person”. He has a camel. So now no one can count and, because of that, homeopathy works. I think.
Perhaps you should just watch…
3. Prevent Crime with Homeopathic Raccoon Fur (’cause they look like bandits!)
Are you familiar with Sonya McLeod? Last fall, many skeptics (including myself and Skeptic North editor, Steve Thoms) took notice of an ill-advised column that she had written in Vancouver’s Georgia Straight newspaper. In all of that ballyhoo, a number of gems popped up, but the best had to be her scientifically illiterate graduate project involving raccoon fur. Sonya did nothing to improve the image of homeopaths’ grasp of science with her imaginative rendition of what she thinks it is.
4. You Got Astrology in my Homeopathy
As if raccoons weren’t a ridiculous enough basis for therapy, how about the rings of Saturn — or, more precisely, exposing powdered milk sugar to a powerful telescope in Boston while it’s focused on the planet Saturn.
You can’t make this stuff up. They really write this stuff. Of course they make it up, but that’s a different matter.

5. No Words Speaks Louder than Words
Sometimes it’s what the homeopaths don’t say that lies at the core of their foolishness. In this case I can’t link to something they said – because they didn’t say it! But check this out. It’s a fine demonstration of the lengths of quote-mining and cherry-picking that homeopaths will go to in order to prove their point. In this case, the details that they conveniently left out have been re-inserted.
In order to come across as remotely legitimate, homeopaths dilute the facts to the point where there isn’t a molecule of science left.

6. NO-vel-laaaaaaaaa!!!!!
Where to start with John Benneth? The theatrics (and weird sound effects) of any one of his videos is hysterically funny, but Benneth and his fixation on Steven Novella have become excessive to the point of self-parody.
Here is his latest. Yes, he used the ‘N’-word.
7. Health Advice from Yoda
I don’t think there’s anything I can say about this that will set it up any better than just looking for yourself.
8. Nano-insanity
The conspiracy theory portrayed in this pro-homeopathy petition is amusing in its own right, but the signatories section is where the real humour can be found. It’s nice to see evidence that the public at large may actually be rational on this matter.
Well, if you can cure someone with light from Saturn, then why not the colours of the rainbow? Considering the “active ingredients” that are in homeopathic remedies, I guess you might as well put intangibles in as well. And how about imaginary stuff too? Want to read about provings of homeopathic unicorn, pigasus, and spaghetti monsters?
10. Does a Body Good
One of the greatest sentences ever said about homeopathy by a homeopath is on page six of Lacs in Homeopathy. Ready for this? Ahem…

The main theme of the remedy can be found in the fairy tale “The Wolf and the 7 Little Goats.

Yes, “fairy tale.” The author, Aisling Murray, based their “scientific” premise on a fairy tale.

11. In the Beginning…
This list would not be complete without the book that started it all, the Materia Medica Pura by Samuel Hahnemann.

12. The Grand Prize
If you have had your finger on the pulse of the absurdities that come from the mouths of homeopaths, then you’ve been wondering as you’ve read this list, “what about Charlene Werner?” Well, I saved the best for last. This really is a piece of work, and deservedly has become infamous as a result.

Strap yourself in and try to keep up, ‘cause this is a ride. Dr. Werner delivers her eight minute daisy-chain of non-sequiturs with such ingratiating self-confidence that it is apparent that she not only really thinks this way, but that she is actually not cognizant of the fact that there are precipitous gaps in her logic. There is no “from ‘A’ to ‘B’ to ‘C’” process to her discussion. She goes from A to G to Z and back to K with a little Omega, Pi, and the number ‘blue’ on the side. She’s the Evel Knievel of argument as she hurtles headlong over the chasms she has torn in common sense. And like real daredevils, you watch because she might crash, and boy oh boy does she ever crash — but no one in the room watching her presentation seems to know. It’s awesome.

Now, aren’t you glad that the homeopaths have made you more aware of the imaginary apothecary?

- Kennedy

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  • Kennedy Goodkey

    Kennedy is a film-maker and skeptic. As a skeptic his primary interests are in the communication and advocacy of skeptical and science issues, specifically calling attention to the idea that the standard practice of “playing nice with others” is not always the best approach, and definitely must be explored and refined as a tactic to be leveraged to best effect.