A week ago, we sent our roving correspondent to the 10:23 protest in London, to attempt to overdose on a homeopathic remedy. Although she reported feeling a bit of a sugar high, she left otherwise undamaged.
Given my own comments prior to the protest, I was quite surprised when I read an article implying that the protest had some impact in New Zealand — where the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths admitted that the remedies have no active ingredients.
Unfortunately, homeopaths are not the only people who can twist things to make them look untrue. A closer look at the full statement makes it clear that they react by using similar arguments to those I outlined, adding in some of their expert gibberish.
The New Zealand homeopaths argue that just because there’s nothing in it does not mean that there is no active ingredient. (Note to homeopaths: An ingredient is a required part of active ingredient.) They re-label the old “water has memory” argument using the word “electromagnetic”, indicating only that they have never studied electromagnetism.
They also say something about nut allergies, which is completely irrelevant. Nuts, it should be noted, tend to contain nuts.
What they do not do, however, is back off and say that their cures are not cures at all. Instead, they simply say that those who disagree with them simply demonstrate ignorance of homeopathy.
We respectfully disagree, and feel that those who take homeopathic remedies are the ones demonstrating their ignorance. But we freely admit that the chances of those who are financially (or emotionally) dependent upon homeopathy will ignore anything we say in this space.
That said, admitting that there is nothing in the remedies could very well result in many people turning to real medicine rather than turning to homeopathic charlatans. This would be a good thing. This effect will only be enhanced by the nearly impossible task of finding the statement in context in any news report.
Other homeopathic institutes also seem to be feeling the pressure and digging holes for themselves — in the UK, they have misrepresented scientific studies to parliament, which seems to be getting them into some trouble.
Perhaps none of this should surprise me — I have previously posited that the consumer’s belief that they have enlightened themselves is the number one tool that homeopathy uses to sell their products. If major news outlets are reporting skeptical viewpoints over pro-homeopathy viewpoints, they have a serious problem.
Because in the end, their remedies do not work. It is all a big bluff, a marketing campaign. It depends on misinformation being easier to find than facts.
So they have gambled. They have said “Yes, but …” and hoping that the pseuoscientific jargon following the “but” would be enough. They have misrepresented studies, and hoped that the Members of Parliament, not being scientists, would not have scientifically literate fact checkers working for them.
Usually, when you gamble, the house wins; the gambler loses.
It is starting to look like I was wrong; 10:23 has struck a blow.