24May2017

James Randi Explains – Homeopathy

In response to our efforts against promotion of homeopathy(killing of infants by government?), the skeptic “guru” of our time, The Amazing Randi send us this article to explain homeopathy better for common people. We are very grateful to him for giving us time from his very busy schedule.

The subject of homeopathy is so far removed from medicine that works, from reason and rationality, that we must stand in awe of the fact that a billion-dollar industry still thrives by peddling something that a good friend of mine defined as, “An infinitely thin slice of nothing, with the crust trimmed off and the center removed.”

A single sentence should be enough to further define homeopathy by stating the bare facts about one of the most common concentrations of remedy that homeopaths use, mentioned above: A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth.

No, that’s not an exaggeration at all, it’s a simple fact, and homeopaths are not at all embarrassed to use the term “dilution” when explaining their firm delusion that their “art” – it’s certainly not a science – is a legitimate branch of the healing arts. The concept is simply ridiculous. I won’t trouble you with writing out the other dilution, which would require 60 zeros…

Homeopathy claims to be a form of medical practice that’s based on the “like cures like” notion. Given any set of symptoms, a homeopath will decide upon an herb or chemical that causes similar symptoms when ingested by a well person, or will look it up in a homeopathic pharmacopeia. A predefined ritual will follow, the homeopath performing a series of dilutions of that substance that continue well beyond the point where there should be even a molecule of it left. The final solution that is administered to the unfortunate patient is supposed to have “remembered” what was once present, though it’s nothing more than well-shaken water.

Years ago, to illustrate a point about homeopathy during my public lecture, I developed an on-stage visual metaphor. A popular homeopathic sleep-aid lists as its main ingredient, “caffeine.” Caffeine to induce slumber? Don’t be too surprised at this, because we’re deep into nonsense territory here, and logic is scarce. The dilution of this ingredient is so astronomical, that if I wanted to consume enough of these tablets to ensure that I’d taken in at least one molecule of caffeine, I would have to down sixteen average swimming-pools full of them! Finding little danger of overdosing, I have frequently swallowed an entire package of these tablets – 32 of them, obviously an overdose – at my lectures, to show my fearless experimental pursuit of evidence. The only result has been a minor case of tummy-burn due to the dry, chalky taste of the lactose, the only identifiable – or detectable – substance in this “remedy.”

Here in the USA, it’s been recognized for a long time that homeopathy is sheer quackery. Oliver Wendell Holmes, [1809-1894] was a celebrated physician, poet, humorist, and professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard University, the father of O.W.H. Junior, the renowned justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1842 Holmes senior wrote an essay, Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions, presented as two lectures to the Boston Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. I believe that you will be well informed by learning that almost two centuries ago, very competent and careful persons were challenging this variety of quackery – with the expected results – just as today extensive and well-conducted tests have been revealing the actual value of this pseudo-medical nonsense.

I have been personally involved in several comprehensive tests of this strange field, and have met with total disinterest from state and federal agencies of all kinds when I’ve tried to direct their attention to the matter.

To sum up, directly and succinctly: reports say that the government is unable to efficiently monitor these matters, when informed of frauds they are barred by law from doing anything about them, and the swindlers are safely aboard The Good Ship Lollypop – free food, free lodging, no taxes, no obligations, and no worries. We ordinary citizens will continue to support them, and to pay their way.

Homeopathy is a fraud, it does not work, and – surprisingly – no homeopath has ever stepped forward to take the million-dollar prize that our Foundation offers. This fact, alone, should raise alarms about this farcical industry that takes lives by swindling …

James Randi.

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35 Responses to "James Randi Explains – Homeopathy"

  1. Anonymous says:

    JB explains Homeopathy better than James Randi http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zo-yUJ_2aI

    • Anonymous says:

      [quote name=”Dr. Nancy Malik”]JB explains Homeopathy better than James Randi http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zo-yUJ_2aI/quote
      You´re actually the one who´s ignorant Mr Malik. You´re claiming that you are a doctor while denying scientifically proven facts which correlates with first principles of homeopathy. Give me one scientifically positive- proven survey about homeopathy. I bet you can´t. All homeopathic effects are obviously caused by the placebo effect.
      Try to think rational. Try to consider, that maybe YOUR “cure” (in most cases a simple pain-relief) was nothing more than the placebo effect.

      • Anonymous says:

        [quote name=”Dr. Nancy Malik”]JB explains Homeopathy better than James Randi http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zo-yUJ_2aI

        JB’s comment on youtube: You ask for one scientifically positive-proven survey about homeopathy. I will do better than that. I will give you 5 META ANALYSES:
        Cucherat etal 2000* 16 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
        Linde& Melchart 1998* 32 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
        Lindeetal 1997* 89 studies POSITIVE.
        Boissel etal 1996 15 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
        Kleijnenetal 1991 105 studies POSITIVE.
        Will you allow your prejudice or scientific mind to win out. You have lost the argument but your prejudice is much more comfortable, isn’t it? [/quote]

        Linde & Melchart 1998: “when the analysis was restricted to the methodologically best trials no significant effect was seen … The evidence, however, is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistencies.”
        I also noticed it was published in J Altern Complement Med. Not exactly a Cochrane meta-analysis and it would be interesting to compare these results to a funnel-plot test of the trials selected to discard publication bias.

        On another note: I could not find any of the other mentioned articles on pubmed (the recognized database portal for ALL clinical trials). Links, good sir.

        Something people also tend to forget: statiscally speaking in the scientific community, we recognize a trial as significant when there is less than a 5% chance, that the result is because of pure chance.
        When there have been conducted trials for ca. 200 years there are bound to be quite a few trials that have positive results based on chance.

        That is why it is exceedingly important that meta-analyses are based on stringent, transparent criteria so as to avoid cherry-picking of even the most well-conducted trials on homeopathy.

    • Anonymous says:

      [quote name=”Dr. Nancy Malik”]JB explains Homeopathy better than James Randi http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zo-yUJ_2aI

      JB’s comment on youtube: You ask for one scientifically positive-proven survey about homeopathy. I will do better than that. I will give you 5 META ANALYSES:
      Cucherat etal 2000* 16 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Linde& Melchart 1998* 32 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Lindeetal 1997* 89 studies POSITIVE.
      Boissel etal 1996 15 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Kleijnenetal 1991 105 studies POSITIVE.
      Will you allow your prejudice or scientific mind to win out. You have lost the argument but your prejudice is much more comfortable, isn’t it?[/quote]

      Linde & Melchart 1998: “when the analysis was restricted to the methodologically best trials no significant effect was seen … The evidence, however, is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistencies.”
      I also noticed it was published in J Altern Complement Med. Not exactly a Cochrane meta-analysis and it would be interesting to compare these results to a funnel-plot test of the trials selected to discard publication bias.

      On another note: I could not find any of the other mentioned articles on pubmed (the recognized database portal for ALL clinical trials). Links, good sir.

      Something people also tend to forget: statiscally speaking in the scientific community, we recognize a trial as significant when there is less than a 5% chance, that the result is because of pure chance.
      When there have been conducted trials for ca. 200 years there are bound to be quite a few trials that have positive results based on chance.

      That is why it is exceedingly important that meta-analyses are based on stringent, transparent criteria so as to avoid cherry-picking of even the most well-conducted trials on homeopathy.

    • admin says:

      Submitted on 2011/09/25 at 6:50 pm | In reply to skeptic.

      [quote name=”Dr. Nancy Malik”]JB explains Homeopathy better than James Randi http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zo-yUJ_2aI

      JB’s comment on youtube: You ask for one scientifically positive-proven survey about homeopathy. I will do better than that. I will give you 5 META ANALYSES:
      Cucherat etal 2000* 16 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Linde& Melchart 1998* 32 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Lindeetal 1997* 89 studies POSITIVE.
      Boissel etal 1996 15 Hi-Qt studies POSITIVE.
      Kleijnenetal 1991 105 studies POSITIVE.
      Will you allow your prejudice or scientific mind to win out. You have lost the argument but your prejudice is much more comfortable, isn’t it? [/quote]

      Linde & Melchart 1998: “when the analysis was restricted to the methodologically best trials no significant effect was seen … The evidence, however, is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistencies.”
      I also noticed it was published in J Altern Complement Med. Not exactly a Cochrane meta-analysis and it would be interesting to compare these results to a funnel-plot test of the trials selected to discard publication bias.

      On another note: I could not find any of the other mentioned articles on pubmed (the recognized database portal for ALL clinical trials). Links, good sir.

      Something people also tend to forget: statiscally speaking in the scientific community, we recognize a trial as significant when there is less than a 5% chance, that the result is because of pure chance.
      When there have been conducted trials for ca. 200 years there are bound to be quite a few trials that have positive results based on chance.

      That is why it is exceedingly important that meta-analyses are based on stringent, transparent criteria so as to avoid cherry-picking of even the most well-conducted trials on homeopathy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here is a list of a few studies I threw together showing the failure of homeopathy…

    http://stateofmyignorance.blogspot.com/2009/10/homeopathy-fail_04.html

  3. Anonymous says:

    What Mr. James Randi’s qualification to comment on homeopathy? Have he studied medicine? He is just a conjurer and its better for him to comment on his field only. Its for us (homeopathy practitioners) to explain homeopathy to our patients and we do not require any certificate from these ignorant people. Our biggest certificate are the people who are cured by homeopathy.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is your qualifications to criticise James Randi’s comments???

      • Anonymous says:

        [quote name=”Johan”]What is your qualifications to criticise James Randi’s comments???[/quote]
        For your kind information, I’m a certified homeopathy practitioner and running a big homeopathy hospital. What about you?

        • Anonymous says:

          [quote name=”Dr Batra”]For your kind information, I’m a certified homeopathy practitioner and running a big homeopathy hospital.[/quote]
          Too bad that outside the homeopathic paradigm there’s no scientific support for your practice. Physics, chemistry and common sense concur to invalidate your claims.

          Much like astrology. It has internal consistency, but its basic claims have nothing whatsoever to do with reality, and for it to work would require everything we know about physics, chemistry and biology to be wrong by a very long shot. The fact that there are “certified homeopathic practitioners” doesn’t mean much more than the fact that there are certified astrologers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The subject of meta-analyses and systematic reviews is one close to my own heart as an author, so I went looking to see if the ones quoted above told the whole story. As suspected, that’s not the case. The findings of those reviews have been misrepresented by “Dr Malik”. The following (which seems entirely plausible and correct given what I’ve read of the quoted reviews) is a cut and paste from http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/homeopathy/ucm16b02.htm

    ———-

    Supplementary memorandum submitted by Professor Edzard Ernst

    2. Comprehensive systematic reviews

    The BHA state that 4 of a total of 5 comprehensive reviews reached positive conclusions. These reviews are (full references see submission of BHA):

    1. Kleijnen et al, BMJ 19911

    2. Boissel et al, 19962

    3. Cucherat et al, Eur J Clin Pharm 20003

    4. Linde et al, Lancet 19974

    5. Shang et al, Lancet 20055

    This statement is misleading for the following reasons:

    1. The Kleijnen review1 is now 18 years old and thus outdated

    2. Boissel et al2 merely combined p-values of the included studies. This article is now also outdated. Furthermore it is not unambiguously positive.

    3. Cucherat et al3 is the publication of the Boissel document which was a EU-sponsored report.

    4. Linde et al4 has been re-analysed by various authors, including Linde himself, and all of the 6 re-analyses (none of which were cited in the BHA’s submission) have come out negative (see my previous submission to this committee).

    5. Shang et al5 very clearly arrived at a devastatingly negative overall conclusion.

  5. Anonymous says:

    204 human studies published in 86 peer-reviewed international medical journals out of which 96+ are FULL TEXT out of which 94 are PDF which can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/gFJIbg

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