10:23 Not Quackbusters but Denialists

Short post, tight for time – but it seems to me this is crucial in light of the upcoming anti-homeopathy campaign set to be unleashed on the UK public at the end of January.

“10:23  Homeopathy – there’s nothing in it” is just the latest and best organised in a series of orchestrated campaigns that have been run in the UK over the last several years by a group of people who call themselves Skeptics.

In fact the definition of skeptic as I pointed out in a previous post is : “A person inclined to doubt or question accepted opinions”.  The skeptics use this term to suggest that they are critical thinkers and that it’s a virtue not to be taken in by the “pseudo-science” of alternative medicine and in particular homeopathy.  As if they have really investigated the evidence with an open mind.

They describe homeopathy as “implausible”, “impossible” and therefore it cannot work.  A bit like the impossibility of getting the first airplane off the ground and all number of other advances in science and technology mentioned in the post : Evidence Check, honourable members do the honourable thing.

They use the fact that homeopathy has not “changed in 200 years” as evidence that we are morons stuck in an ancient time warp – ignoring the fact that when the therapeutic model is based on natural laws, there is no need to change the underlying principles because they work for all time.  I won’t bother to mention the constant mad scramble of Big Pharma to make new, better – or indeed ANYTHING which actually CURES a named disease. (Well OK I will, but only in passing 🙂 ) 

They choose to label 200 years of clinical evidence – millions upon millions of cases across the globe as coincidence / placebo effect – cases which include herds of cows, fields of crops – see the post: Homeopathy = Placebo? Politics, politics, politics for more on this.

They label anyone who describes being helped by homeopathy, often after years of failed conventional treatments as gullible, a coincidence, the result of the placebo effect – and in the cases where it’s hard to make this stick, the case is dismissed as simply anecdotal evidence – which of course doesn’t count for these “seekers of the scientific method”.

Given the actual definition of science there isn’t a real scientist amongst them.  Prof Ernst called for “a closed mind on homeopathy” in his latest article in JAMA – he’s the UK’s only Prof of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and vocal critic of a wider number of CAMs including acupuncture and chiropractic – he did  a meta-analysis of homeopathic research and found no evidence to say it was better than placebo.  Surprise!

Come on!!!!!

The conclusion must be that these people are NOT SKEPTICS at all they are DENIALISTS and it’s important to call them thus.  It focuses the mind on what we are dealing with.  Rational argument, debates, evidence, clinical cases, none of it will make any difference because their mind is fully made up – it is as they proudly state – “closed on homeopathy”.  It cannot work so therefore it does not work QED.

The central group pushing the 10:23 campaign forward are amassing sycophants of all persuasions – many of whom are just looking for some easy fun baiting and ridiculing homeopaths.

Let’s not be baited – let’s focus on sending a clear message to the public about what this campaign is really all about.  Every homeopath, student, patient and supporter has to do everything they can to educate the public about homeopathy and its immense potential.


More later.


Filed under Politics, Uncategorized

34 responses to “10:23 Not Quackbusters but Denialists

  1. This campaign really does show that conventional medicine (ConMed) is under serious threat. Why do they organise such attacks against homeopathy? After all, if ‘there is nothing in it’ why do they bother?

    Actually, it is the fact that homeopathy is such an effective and safe medical therapy that alarms the denialists, who are merely spokesmen for the ConMed pharmaceutical companies.

    After all, every patient that goes to see a homeopath is one less taking their noxious and toxic drugs!

  2. James Herron

    I agree. Let’s have “Rational argument, debates, evidence, clinical cases.” Please start this by providing all the large scale, clinically rigorous, double-blinded studies that show evidence of homeopathic efficacy beyond the placebo effect.

  3. Very good post. Yes absolutely they are in denial of the facts and thus should no longer be called “sceptics” but “denialists.”

    Let’s call a spade a spade as it were.

  4. Jennifer

    I have a patient who came to me with intolerable itching. He had been to his family Physician, a Dermatologist and a few other Medical Doctors. He was prescribed anti-histamines which would work for a few days and then he would be back at scratching again.
    He sat in my office and was itching every few seconds. I couldn’t help but see him doing this over and over. He had this itching for 3 years.
    I suggested a Homeopathic medicine and now 1 month later, he is free from the itch. He hasn’t scratched at all. His skin is now cleared up and he is very happy.
    People may say that it doesn’t work, that is it all in the mind. However, if one has tried many different medications and nothing works, they are not coming to you with the idea that this ONE will finally work. They come to you with the idea that this TOO will probably do nothing. They are then pleasantly surprised to see just how effective it really is.
    My children benefit from Homeopathic medicines as do my pets. My animals have no idea what I am giving them, yet they improved. How do they get it in their head that this thing I just fed them is a medicine? They don’t know, however animals do wonderful with Homeopathy.
    There is so much evidence from happy patients and that is really all that should matter. Only how happy and healthy the patients are is what really counts.

    • Jenny

      There’s an abbreviation we use in homeopathy, and in fact probably most of the patients we see in the west fit this category, including the one above: TEETH – Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy. This case is just one in millions of examples showing why homeopathy is the second most popular system of healing in the world, used by 30 million people in Europe alone, and is also the fastest growing healthcare modality in the world (WHO 2005) – as well as telling us why ‘everything else’ is now on the defensive – IT WORKS.

  5. Tim

    Quite agree with your point of view that they are Denialists. Also what’s a guy who calls himself a “Professor of CAM” doing in the Denialist camp? It would be interesting to know how his former education/training qualify him at all to make the pronouncements he likes to make. I might as well call myself a Professor of Religious Studies and then teach my confused students that belief in a God/Power higher than ourselves is totally irrational. I haven’t been able to discover what his actual qualifications are. Would he care to publish them so we can have a bit of transparency here?

    • Zyaama


      You can find links to various other pages about Prof. Ernst from there.

      There is a general feeling among many rational minded people that the other side (yes, that seems to include you) is simply too lazy to actually do any research and prefers to bask in their ignorance. Thanks for confirming that.

    • Phil

      No the analogy you need is studying unicorns. If I study every piece of information about unicorns and become an expert in unicorn lore, that does not mean that they exist or that my knowledge has any value outside of folklore. That is what studying homeopathy is like.

      • vonsyhomeopath

        Cute analogy Phil. Try studying some homeopathy for yourself instead of towing the party line. Try being a skeptic instead of a denialist. Some of the greatest skeptics of homeopathy – including one president of the BMA – investigated homeopathy with a view to getting it banned – a bit like you are all doing now – and became so impressed by what they saw in the clinics (not in trials that are not able to adequately test the system) that they trained as homeopathic doctors and worked tirelessly to keep homeopathy on the table of patient choice.

  6. Yes, absolutely. For the millions of people around the world who get better with homeopathy, it is only ‘anecdotal evidence’. Just like when people drive in their cars or get out of bed in the morning, it is only ‘anecdotal evidence’, they never went anywhere.

    How many millions or billions of cured patients are needed to prove it’s not placebo?! None because their mind has already been made up.

    And what about agrohomeopathy? I suppose that’s the placebo effect working on plants and trees?

  7. Jenny

    Dear Voansyhomeopath,

    Thank you for your very useful blog. I too have been following the ‘Evidence Check’ to assess where it leaves us in the world. Here are a few of my first impressions:

    Out of nine ‘witnesses’ giving evidence on the first day of the inquiry, only three can be said to represent homeopathy (Robert Wilson, Dr Peter Fisher and Dr Robert Mathie), and only one of them is a practising homeopath (Dr Fisher), so the panel was not very balanced, nor were the majority qualified to give evidence on the efficacy or effectiveness of homeopathy (as also mentioned most eloquently on this blog by Alan V Schmukler).

    At least three of the panelists are members of Sense About Science: Tracey Brown, Ben Goldacre and Edzard Ernst. Tracey Brown used to work for a PR company that defended biotech companies against GM protesters, Ben Goldacre is a journalist, not a practicing physician, and Edzard Ernst is widely quoted as a professor of complementary therapies, yet he too is not a practitioner, unlike other professors, such as David Peters (http://www.professordavidpeters.com).

    Sense About Science is also an organisation who’s spokesman Simon Singh was successfully sued for libel by the Chiropractic Association (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jun/04/simon-singh-libel-british-chiropractic-association-bca). Essentially, as can be seen from their own website, Sense About Science are a lobby group funded by big business, who are aggressively pro-GM, pro-nuclear power, anti complementary therapies, who deny the toxicity of many banned chemicals, and are funded by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries (including by AstraZeneca and Unilever) among others – for more about this organisation see George Monbiot’s article here (http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2003/12/09/invasion-of-the-entryists/).

    Still, like you say, in total, I do feel the the entire exercise (which likewise, is not finished yet), has been a very useful contribution to the debate, and yes, THANKS again to all the realists ready to spell out in detail the many benefits of homeopathy.

    Yours for investing in caring not killing,

    Jenny (www.hautmanhomeopathy.com)

  8. Real (Homeopathic) medicine cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails

  9. Hi there

    Would you mind re phrasing the the quote you have from me in version two of this post? The way you have written it looks like I am making the statement when I was merely thanking you for the mention.

    I’m sure you realise that. If you look again I think you will agree that it looks like I wrote that statement.



    • voansyhomeopath

      Andy apologies – thanks for pointing it out. Punctuation changed to clarify that it was you quoting the blog and saying thanks.

  10. Appreciated.



  11. Anas Barbed

    Denialists sounds good.
    Oh and what is 10:23? A scripture reference? A train time? If they are talking Avogadro then it surely should be written as 10^23 as an approximation.

    • Avagadro explained by a chemist / homeopath

      Friday, 29 January 2010
      Dilutions and Avagadro
      The critics of homeopathy are always going on about Avogadro’s number, which is 6.022 x 10 to the power 23. I wonder how many of them actually understand it.

      So here is a very simple explanation of what it is all about. Armedeo Avagadro in 1811 hypothesised that ‘Equal volumes of ideal or perfect gases, at the same temperature and pressure, contain the same number of particles, or molecules’. What he meant was that the same volume of a gas, whether it is hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or anything else, will contain the same number of molecules if the temperatures and pressures are the same. This is Avogadro’s Law.

      Long after he died other scientists recognised what an important contribution he had made and the Avogadro Constant is named after him but the concept of the mole to which it refers was not known in his lifetime.

      Now for a basic chemistry lesson, so pay attention.

      One mole of a substance is the molecular weight in grams of that substance, so hydrogen has a molecular weight of 1, so 1 g is 1 mole of hydrogen, carbon has a molecular weight of 12 and so 12g of carbon is 1 mole.

      One mole of a substance will always contain the same number of elemental particles (usually atoms or molecules) and that number will be 6.022 x 10 to the power 23, this can also be written as 602 200 000 000 000 000 000 000 particles, which is an awful lot of particles.

      Are you still with me? The problem sceptics have is that homeopathic remedies are very diluted. A 12c homepathic remedy is technically a dilution of 1 x 10 to the power 24, and so larger than Avogadro’s Constant so there should be none of the original particles still present. What the sceptics always seem to forget, or ignore, is that homeopathic remedies are not just diluted, they are also shaken vigorously between each dilution which is a process known as succussion.

      There is a whole branch of science looking at the peculiar properties of ultra diluted solutions and there is absolutely no doubt that there are many scientific peer reviewed published papers which demonstrate that a substance which has been diluted and shaken is still measurable way beyond the point that it should be. There have been positive experiments using a whole host of different analytical techniques and the laws of physics and chemistry cannot currently explain why these ultra diluted and shaken substances can still be measured.

      One of the key papers on this subject is by the physicist Dr Louis Rey, he used very diluted and shaken solutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride and then analysed them using a technique called thermoluminescence. It showed conclusively that very dilute solutions were measurable when they were diluted beyond the point there should be any particles present.

      Click to access Rey.thermoluminescence.pdf

      and there is much more evidence in plant and biological systems too.

      Homeopathy ( http://www.elsevier.com/locate/homp) is the journal for the Faculty of Homeopathy which has recently published a two part special issue focusing on biological models of homeopathy. The special issue highlights experiments on homeopathic treatments in biological models, ranging from whole animals and plants to cell cultures and enzymes, showing a remarkable range of findings.

      Editor-in-Chief Dr Peter Fisher commented: ?Throughout its 200 year history claims that homeopathy has ?real? (as opposed to placebo) effects have been hotly contested. Our special issue brings together a wide range of scientific work in biological systems, where there can be no placebo effect, showing that there are now several biological experiments which yield consistently positive results with homeopathic dilutions?.

      Visit http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14754916 for full contents and abstracts

      Labels: Homeopathy, Myths, Research

      • vonsyhomeopath

        Thanks Jenny,
        What the denialists fail to understand is that the issue is not about COMPOSITION – the issue is about STRUCTURE.
        A chemical analysis may find carbon atoms, but structurally it may be graphite – it maybe diamond – two completely different materials.
        By some process we don’t yet understand, the succussion part of the process changes the structure of the liquid – this has been shown by a number of high ranking material scientists but denialists put fingers in ears, keep eye squezzed tight shut because they cannot make it fit with their world view.

  12. Marc

    Why is everyone convinced that skeptics are in the pay of pharmaceutical companies?

    200 years of anecdotes is not evidence, clinical trials have shown homeopathy to be a placebo and also shown that water does not have ‘memory’ for high dilution remedies the lack of water memory is a very good reason to be highly skeptical of homeopathy. I personally am not part of any skeptics group though I do know one of the members of the Merseyside skeptics society and know that they are not funded by big pharma.

    There is simply not the evidence for homeopathy to prove that it works.

  13. Getting the 1st plane off the ground was NOT impossible, since it was done and science could easily explain how, it just needed material science to catch up, same principal with breaking the sound barrier etc etc! Proving how homeopathy works is impossible, because it doesnt! Making up obscure “laws” to try and show how it works fools only the gulible, thanks to skeptics and 10:23 there are less and less gulible people around! Sooner or later you’ll run out of fools!

    • vonsyhomeopath

      Sigh…….as explained on this blog more than once – but for the record – once again. IF you understood anything at all about the system of homeopathic medicine and how it views disease and health – you would know why RCTs are NOT able to adequately test the efficacy of homeopathy. It’s not an ‘out’ or an excuse – it’s a fact. But for some reason, denialists refuse point blank to study homeopathy further than the mantra of “it can’t work therefore it doesn’t work.” The obsession with Avogadro’s number is again a fundamental misunderstanding of the methodology. Fact. And as for the effect of high dilutions on biological systems – the research is solid and repeatable – so why keep saying it doesn’t exist?

  14. Just to nail the coffin tight— you wouldn’t have any proof that homeopathy actually works, would you? I mean, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies which indicate that the marvels of homeopathy are actually a fact and not just an ongoing argument.

    One other small thing, about the unchanging perfection of homeopathy, which, you claim, discovered the whole truth of human disease 200 years ago, and not needing physiology, genetics, anatomy, germ theory and biochemistry. Quite an accomplishment, certainly worthy of a standing ovation, indeed. But, just to make your point stronger against those darn denialists: how is it possible to know how to cure an illness which is not even recognized as an illness at the time of the discovery? It is amazing, certainly, to know that Hahnemann actually learned how to cure Krohn’s at a time when thise problem wasn’t even identified as a malady.

    Finally, just to put things right: what was the homeopathic treatment for scurvy? I haven’t been able to find a substance capable of duplicating scurvy’s symptoms, but I’m sure there is one, and it’s much more efficient than vitamin C. Please inform me.

    Much obliged.

    • vonsyhomeopath

      Just to show I’m happy to have comments from all sides….but the only coffin your comment nails shut is your own unfortunately. Another denialist showing how little they know about the system they are spending so much time and effort condemning. Your level of ignorance about the system is so profound I hardly know where to start – and I promised myself I would not spend my good energy trying to convince those who only come here to bang the same tired drum. But in the vain hope that you are asking the questions in the hope of an answer here’s a couple.
      Homeopathy does not view disease via disease labels – Crohn’s disease (I think is was you meant) or any other diagnostic label – it views a set of symptoms expressed by the sick individual and prescribes on the basis of that. So whether the set of symptoms has since been put into a category with a diagnostic label or not does not mean that a homeopath in the past did not successfully treat that particular set of symptoms in a patient.
      And as for scurvy – for heaven’s sake – scurvy is a deficiency disease and the treatment for it is supplementation with Vit C. Any homeopath knows that!!!

  15. Hmmm… I bet I don’t get through your moderation Cerberus. It’s good to be cautious, not let anyone who isn’t a true believer have a say and disquiet anyone.


  16. Is it just me, or is the sight of these men trying to click all the remedies out of their Boots bottles really funny!! Having seen them in the flesh, as it were, I honestly can’t take these guys too seriously. They’re kind of cute.

  17. It should also be noted that according to the British Medical Journal, out of 25000 treatments covered by the NHS, the proportion of commonly used treatments that are supported by good evidence and rated as ‘beneficial’ is just 13%. A further 23% are rated as ‘likely to be beneficial’, 8% are considered as a ‘trade off between benefits and harms’, 6% are ‘unlikely to be beneficial’, 4% are ‘likely to be ineffective or harmful’, and 46%, the largest proportion, have ‘unknown effectiveness’ (see these figures in a pie chart here). The research community, therefore, has a large task ahead, not only in relation to homeopathy. Given this lack of evidence, accross the board, almost all medical decisions about treatments can be said to rest not on evidence, but on individual judgements of clinicians and patients.

  18. Adaminspace1

    The Science & Technology Committee’s report on whether the NHS should support homeopathy is akin to the Medieval Church insisting that the world is the centre of the universe. Newer scientific models show us a reality that will make the report irrelevant in the long term.

    The homeopathic process of dilution and succussion creates energy medicine. Scientific experiments, by Popp and by Benveniste for example, demonstrate that it does have an effect even though none of the original material is left.

    The committee’s acceptance of scientific testing only by double blind trials is decades behind current scientific models and is irrelevant to homeopathy which recognises our uniqueness as individuals. However, this narrow frame of reference made the outcome of their report inevitable.

    Just as inevitably, homeopathy will continue to gain in popularity because it works, and people now trust the truth of their own experience far more than ‘Experts’.

    The extreme scientific rationalism that the select committee are clinging to is already history and the sheep will follow them in ignorance. For anyone willing to peep beyond their geocentric view, I recommend The Field by Lynne McTaggart and Energy Medicine, the Scientific Basis by James Oschman.

    • vonsyhomeopath

      Yes indeed Adam that’s it in a nutshell. Since there is so much solid evidence there for the reading – yet ignored or denied by the S and T committee – we have to assume that motivation is other than investigation of the evidence and this is just the latest action by the orchestrated anti-homeopathy campaign that has been busy since The Lancet’s publication of the fatally flawed Shang meta-analysis in 2005.
      Sad as it would be if they are successful in their attempts to see it gone from the UK homeopathy continues to be the fastest growing therapeutic option on planet earth….. I wonder if those two facts could be related?

  19. Jean

    I take a history and make a diagnosis . I can use either the allopathic or homeopathic system of prescribing. 9 times out of 10 I would choose the homeopathic. Particularly useful in acutes, viral, trauma , anxiety, depression. Chronic disease more difficult but one can usually bolster capacity to deal with it and occasionally cure.
    It is a wonderful modality and using it such a challenge and very very satisfying

  20. Thanks for the information! For a long time searched. A class site!

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