George Vithoulkas is considered to be one of the top intellectuals in the homeopathic world. Revered for his teachings and fundamentalist approach to the teachings of Hahnemann, he is probably one of the best known homeopaths alive today. His writings underpin much of the contemporary homeopathic opposition to modern medicine, vaccines and science. He thinks AIDS was caused by repeated use of antibiotics amongst homosexuals with venereal disease. You can find out more about him from the Google Knol he wrote about himself.
From his Greek lair, he has obviously been watching the collapse of homeopathy in the UK, and has decided to intervene with a challenge to the critics of his chosen art.
It is worth reprinting his challenge in full.
George Vithoulkas challenges the Sceptics! (22.2.2010)
As the sceptics have made a website calling it 10.23 http://www.1023.org.uk/ in order to degrade homeopathy, George Vithoulkas is suggesting to them the following proposal!
I challenge the Sceptics !
Several sceptics in 10:23 anti homeopathy campaign (swallowed in public each one a full bottle of different homeopathic remedies just to show that there was nothing in them.
I propose to swallow the same content of about 60 tablets but in a different way:
Swallow one tablet every day.
I propose the remedy to be Alumina 200C ( a dilution far beyond the Avogadro number) and I promise them that in the end of 60 days a considerable number of them (up to 10% or more) will be suffering with slight to severe constipation.
In homeopathy one bottle or one tablet is considered as one dose only. Most probably they knew this?
The first condition for the participants of this experiment will be to have a good general state of health and a normal stool once a day.
The second to be brave enough to continue with the experiment till the end of 60 days and not stop with the first signs of constipation.
Tthe [sic] third, to be honest enough to report the effect.
I promise you that this experiment will settle the matter once for all.
You need to find 40 sceptics for this experiment.
As for the side effect? It will be over within a week or two after stopping the remedy.
If you are real sceptics dare to stay with your convictions and do the experiment publicly!
The stupidity of this test really deserves no comment. But should any homeopath be reading this, I will spell it out for them.
Constipation is a normal condition in that any individual can expect to experience some mild (or more) form of this as part of the natural rhythms of our bodies. Anyone with a sufficiently varied diet and with a normal active lifestyle can expect their digestive process to show some variations. Only the dull are clockwork.
So, given any group of individuals, with normal stools on day 1, you can expect a small number of them to be suffering ‘slight to severe’ constipation at any arbitrary date in the future. Quite what number I would not like to say, but “up to 10% or more” is a pretty good guess as this covers a very large range of possibilities. George fails to say what would constitute a ‘slight constipation’. Would missing my ‘ten o’clock’ regular’ by two hours count as mild constipation?
Thus, without even taking the magic sugar pills, we should not be surprised at achieving Vithoulkas’s rather wide ranging blockage goals. George does not give us an expected baseline measure for what would constitute a failure of this test. Even better, he could have proposed that the trial was blinded and controlled so that we could compare taking the magic sugar pills with people who just take an identical placebo. We could then apply appropriate statistical tests to see if any result was significant. But no.
As such, any conceivable outcome of this test would be completely ambiguous and not allow any conclusion to be made. If George did, as no doubt he would, he would just be laughed at by anyone who used their brains to think rather than their bowels.
And this is supposed to be from homeopathy’s greatest mind. This test is from the man who appears to delight in proclaiming that James Randi bottled out of testing his homeopathic powers, when in reality Randi has asked Vilhoulkas to fill in the application form before going further.
But George appears to be above application forms.
If George is keen to demonstrate the powers of homeopathy, perhaps be would like to take my simple challenge – which is blinded and unambiguous. Given any six different bottles of homeopathic pills of his choosing, but with the labels removed, can he tell them apart using whatever method he wants and with as many helpers as he sees fit.
Nothing to stop you Georgie Boy. No annoying and demeaning application forms fill in. Just the regular guts to do it.