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So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet. Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer

13. HOMEOPATHY Previous | Next

It’s patently absurd, so why won’t it go away?

SIR John Forbes, the physician to Queen Victoria’s household, called it “an outrage to human reason.” Homeopathy’s claim is that you can take a substance of dubious properties, dilute it to the point where there are no molecules of the original substance left in the sample you have, and your sample will nevertheless have retained healing properties related to the original compound. There is no justification in all of science for this idea -- and yet there remains some slim evidence that homeopathy works.

The key word here is slim. But even the slimmest of evidence makes this scientifically tantalising. Are we missing something about the properties of water? Could there be ways to heal that involve ultra-dilution – possibly avoiding the nasty side-effects of certain drugs?

After months of investigation, my conclusion is a sour and muttered “probably not”. But even after a long journey into the heart of homeopathy, where I saw, among other things, a pharmacy whose shelves contained homeopathic remedies made from flapjack and musical harmonies, I still cannot be 100 per cent sure homeopathy is all bunkum. Part of the reason for that came as I sat in the botany library of the Natural History Museum reading a rigorous scientific analysis of the roots and efficacy of homeopathy, an analysis that might even be able to rescue homeopathy from the clutches of the cranks who currently run the show.

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#1 - Posted: 16/08/2008 13:24

after writing a lengthy forum entry on homeopathy, i now realize that perhaps homeopathy shouldn't be listed here as an anomaly.  an anomoly is an objective phenomenon that doesn't "make sense".   it seems from the authors review above, that he has never established for himself that it is a valid phenomenon.  if it's not a valid phenomenon, then it is not an anomaly, and is not even worth further consideration on this site.  that of course is always the problem with anomalies: it is a question of who believes your data.  if the scientific consensus is that it is valid data then you have a valid anomoly.  the problem is that scientific consensus is strongly prejudiced against the acceptance of any anomalous findings as valid data.

on this site, under the heading of "anomalies", i don't see that the author has established a set of criteria to determine what is a genuine anomaly or not.  there is no point in debating about the horns on a rabbit, if only kooks think a rabbit might have horns.  if we can establish this, then we can see whether homeopathy meets the criteria.  then we perhaps we can limit our discussion to trying to see what it has to teach us. 

these same points apply to the cold fusion section as well i would say.

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Location:Lewes, UK

#2 - Posted: 20/08/2008 16:27

johnh, partly this is because I lay stuff like this out more in the book. I nearly didn't include homeopathy because science is almost universally dismissive of homeopathy (and cold fusion). But for both, I found reasons to take them seriously.  The number of times scientists have NOT dismissed results just because they didn't fit the paradigm they were working in (i.e. they didn't make sense) is related to the number of revolutionary breakthroughs we have made in science. It's true that I'm not hugely convinced by homeopathy but I am willing to admit there's something to investigate. And the point of the site here is for people to be able to point out present and future pieces of research that are pertinent to that investigation.

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