Friday, September 25, 2009

This is Homeopathy

Kudos to Jesse Brydle for uncovering this.

I mean I knew homeopathy was nutty, but I didn't realize just how nutty the homeopaths themselves could be.

My favourite homeopath, Sonya McLeod has on her company (Little Mountain Homeopathy) website her graduate project on the homeopathic effects of...


As far as scientific testing goes, it would be generous to call it 'preliminary.' McLeod and her accomplice... er, partner, Kathleen Taylor had a sample size of eight, self-reporting subjects, each receiving from one to six doses of either 12c or 30c potencies. One of the eight was labelled a 'placebo' – and the number of placebo doses were undisclosed... leading me to suspect that they have absolutely no fucking clue what a placebo control is. Okay to be fair, the dogged adherence to a discipline that has neither mechanistic plausibility nor a molecule worth of evidence in an ocean of negative results is what leads me to believe they have no idea how science and by extension a placebo control is. Which is to say nothing about the fact that there is no difference between a 12c solution, a 30c solution or a placebo solution except for the amount of effort put into preparing it.

Amongst the effects that they observed – most of which were single occurrences and many of them subjective symptoms – are:

  • A whole variety of animalistic feelings.
  • A spectrum of menstrual symptoms, anything you can imagine for example; one subject had more flow, another has less. I am going to suggest that if you test a group of women over the course of a month one of the things that is going to happen is that they are all going to have menstrual symptoms... just going out on a limb here.
  • Fear of snakes. Honestly. Top of page nine.
  • Some victims subjects were more restless than usual. Others were more tired. Raccoon fur, consistent? NOT!
  • One subject wore black. (Ya know, I go all 'Johnny Cash' almost half the time, and I have never drank raccoon fur.)
  • The subjects and supervisors "often had difficulty getting hold of each other." That's a symptom? Geez that's some powerful magic!
  • "At the extraction meeting, the master prover's internet stopped working, making it impossible for the group in Edmonton to communicate with the group in Vancouver via Skype." Burn the witch!!!
  • One subject lost her voice and another – I am not making this up – found that her "voice became much louder than usual."
  • "There were lots of dreams about committing crimes, stealing, criminals, and police. One of the provers had her proving journal stolen during the proving. The raccoon's reputation as a sneaky bandit and thief comes through very strongly in this proving." What are we to do with this amazing information? Raccoons fur looks like a bandit mask around the eyes, so in the homeopathic tradition of treating like with like we can fight crime by dosing the water supply with it? Or is it the other way around and we can fight crime by NOT drinking it? I'm already doing that! I don't understand!!!
  • Various digestive issues included "emotions felt in the stomach" and "constipation with urging."
  • One participant's parking lot flooded. What can I possibly add to that?
  • On top of all that there was a wide variety of dreams reported, which naturally were mined for any kind of tenuously relevant meaning that could be imagined.

There you go. Raccoon fur. It's amazing stuff.

1 comment:

  1. The impression I got was one of children playing 'science'. She seems to have a vague idea of the necessary rigour involved in conducting an experiment, but no idea how to actually go about it, so she ends up writing EVERYTHING down. What would it take for her to conclude raccoon fur had no effect? Any event that occurred was considered a direct effect of the treatment! It's pure cargo cult science.