Chekhov, Homeopathy and the Placebo Effect

September 4, 2012 233

What can Anton Chekhov tell us about the placebo effect? Chekhov is best known as a great writer of short stories. But he was also a doctor and wrote many tales of medicine and doctors in everyday life. But recently, again, I have seen homeopaths claim that Chekhov “used [homeopathy] and swore by its curative effects”. No doubt, the source for such claims come from the American homeopathy entrepreneur, Dana Ullman. [read more…]

The British Homeopathic Association Undermine Public Confidence in Medicine

September 1, 2011 63

You know, having asked David Bellamy earlier in the week to use his influence as Patron of the British Homeopathic Association, to urge them to unequivocally condemn those lay homeopaths who travel to Africa to treat HIV, malaria and TB with sugar pills, you might be surprised to learn that I am not expecting any sort of answer. Then again, you might not. I used to think that medical doctors [read more…]

A Letter to David Bellamy

August 30, 2011 13

Dear Professor Bellamy, I am writing to you to ask for your help as Patron of the British Homeopathic Association. But first I must say that I am somewhat surprised that you have taken this position. You were one of the people that inspired me to be interested in the natural world and to take a career in science. Your enthusiasm for botany, wildlife and the environment will be remembered [read more…]

Foresight Preconception: Beware of Claims

July 29, 2011 22

It has come to my attention that, this autumn, I will become a father for the second time. We have been very fortunate in that we are not spring chickens and achieving this feat has been quite straightforward. A near 100% hit rate. For many couples, it is not so easy. Getting pregnant can take some time. Even if you are both healthy and you are managing to have regular [read more…]

Abha Light Must Close

May 1, 2011 17

Kenyan leading newspaper, The Standard on Sunday, has reported that an undercover investigator has exposed how a homeopathic clinic, claiming to treat people with HIV, is advising clients to stop taking life saving anti-retroviral drugs. (See Update below: The Independent has now covered this story in detail with article, leader comment and columnist’s reaction.) The paper also reveals that the Abha Light clinic has been receiving funds from UK homeopathy [read more…]

The Curious Case of Oxford University Press, Homeopathy and Charles Darwin

October 15, 2010 111

Science is a human activity. And as such, it is subject to the full range of fallibilities of thought and action that people are capable of. Within science you will find sloppy and wishful thinking, error and even fraud. But science, rather uniquely, has methods designed explicitly to minimise human biases, reduce error and correct mistakes when they are found. It is this inherent error correction that makes science a [read more…]

The Futility of Finding Physical Explanations for Homeopathy

October 10, 2010 52

From the very first decades of homeopathy’s existence in the early 19th Century, mainstream scientists have dismissed its claims for one simple reason: the extremely dilute nature of the remedies. As Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked in 1842 “So much ridicule has been thrown upon the pretended powers of the minute doses”. Today’s modern understanding of the atomic nature of matter makes the homeopathic principle of dilution appear nonsensical. Many remedies [read more…]

John Benneth, Brian Josephson and an Absurd Talk at Cambridge

October 9, 2010 82

On the 1st of October, a rather unusual talk was held at the Cavendish Laboratories in Cambridge, entitled “The Supramolecular Chemistry of the Homeopathic Remedy”. The talk was at the invite of Nobel laureate Brian Josephson and was to be given by a chap named John Benneth. Josephson is a known supporter of parapsychology, telepathy and homeopathy. Now Benneth may well be known to critics of homeopathy as he is [read more…]

Liverpool NHS PCT Drops Supernatural Cancer Claims from Website

March 24, 2010 9

Six weeks ago I wrote about how Liverpool Homeopathic ‘hospital’ was advertising that it offered cancer treatments based on the supernatural beliefs of mystic Rudolf Steiner. Observing that mistletoe grew on trees like a cancer, his homeopathic reasoning concluded that therefore mistletoe could be used to treat cancer. Given the obvious absurd and anti-scientific origins of this treatment, Liverpool PCT obviously feel that giving money to the Steiner company Weleda [read more…]

Are There Any Homeopathic Hospitals in the UK?

March 11, 2010 26

The publication of the report of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Evidence Check into Homeopathy has resulted in a lot of misinformation about how much public money is spent on homeopathy. The report states that there are four homeopathic hospitals in the UK, based in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow. How much do these hospitals cost and what exactly is going on within these institutions? Various figures [read more…]

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