Sunday, 15 August 2010

My application for a job as a Homeopath

(The follow-up to this post is now up here, and the THIRD application for another vacancy is here)

So, as the excellent blog by twitterer and skeptic xtaldave points out, NHS Tayside are advertising for a £68,000 a year homeopath, despite having to sack about 500 people due to budget cuts. As a form of polite rebellion, he encouraged as many real scientists and skeptics as possible to follow his example and apply for the job. I'm bored and jobless, and after being urged to do so by Scientology-baiter Councillor John Dixon I thought I'd contribute my satirical skills to the fun.

And in the same style as xtaldave, what follows is what I wrote on the titular section on my application form that I have sent off. I swear blind that this is word for word what I put.


STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF YOUR APPLICATION:

I am keen to apply for this position as I am currently seeking work in the Scientific field. However, I am also considering non-scientific work, and the position of Speciality Doctor of Homeopathy seems ideally suited to the latter category.

I am a qualified doctor of Neuroscience, so am aware of many long and complex words which I often use to convince people I know what I’m talking about, when in reality I am just exploiting their ignorance for my own amusement. As such, I feel I would be an ideal candidate for the post of doctor of homeopathy. Ridiculous claims that I have successfully convinced people are true include the following:

· Australia is actually a different planet

· McDonalds make all their burgers in one restaurant in the USA and sends them around the world at supersonic velocities in hydraulic tubes (hence the squashed, flattened look of most burgers)

· Hiccups that last more than 2 minutes are an indicator of final stage lung cancer (the resulting terror of this diagnosis usually cures the sufferers hiccups immediately).

· The North and South Pole are actually the same place; it just looks different depending on how you the direction from which you approach it.

As you can see, I am highly skilled at convincing people that ludicrous notions are factually correct, and as such I would appreciate the opportunity to put this skill to use in the workplace.

Although not a registered homeopath myself, I am completely familiar with all the literature that proves the efficacy of homeopathic remedies. Other things I am familiar with to a similar extent are the number of palm trees on the moon and every Richard Littlejohn article which doesn’t read like it was written by a bile-filled screaming anus with a pen jammed in it.

As stated, I am not currently a registered member of the Faculty of Homeopaths, I am however a member of several institutions of similar levels of prestige and credibility, e.g. I currently own a Blockbuster Video card, and technically my membership of the Desperate Dan fan club was never cancelled, so I may qualify for a senior position in that long-running organisation.

Regarding the practical aspects of Homeopathy, although I have no certified training in the practice, whenever I make squash I don’t add much cordial, so am pretty good at diluting things. I also tend to pour a lot of bleach down my toilet whenever I clean it, to the extent that I worry that I may be personally responsible for the decline in cod stocks in the North sea, so clearly I have a very tenuous grasp on the effect of substantial dilution on the potency of a chemical, which could be easily ignored in favour of the salary offered for this position.

My personal research into homeopathy reveals that, following dilution, a homeopathic remedy should be ‘succussed’, which appears to be a specific style of striking, usually with a leather book or perhaps other leather-clad objects. I have, admittedly, never practiced succussion, but I believe (should the post require it) that I shall be able to perform this procedure with no difficulty. Although I have, as I say, no direct experience, I did once affectionately pat a cow at a petting zoo. I have also worked as a cook in several kitchens and tenderised many steaks as part of these roles. A reversal of these two actions would logically lend itself to successful succession. I also have an uncle Greg who has extensive experience with striking things with leather (although he is legally banned from working with, for or anywhere near the general public following the scandal with the rooster, the toaster and the mail-order bride, so I shall only seek his professional advice if the situation genuinely requires it)

Unlike the majority of scientists, amongst which I count myself, I do not believe homeopathic remedies have anything to do with the Placebo effect. Although I find some of their songs (e.g. Nancy Boy) quite catchy, the ambiguous gender of Placebo’s lead singer does make me feel uncomfortable and definitely not aroused in any way (although I can’t say the same for uncle Greg). Homeopathy has never provoked any similar effect in me, so I find the comparison nonsensical.

It's true that there are many laws of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics and basic reality that would prevent homeopathy from existing as is described in the real world, but I like a challenge. I would also bring more benefits to the role and therefore the hospital as a whole than someone specifically trained in homeopathy. The government recently stated that homeopathy should be available on the NHS as a matter of patient choice. I would be willing to offer patients an even greater deal of choice regarding treatment methods, up to an including exorcism and trepanning. More choice for the same money would mean even greater savings for the hospital and NHS overall.

I hope you will consider me as an applicant. To show my commitment to the role, I have provided as little information as possible on my application form, under the assumption that the smaller the amount the more potent it is. Therefore, I expect to be awarded the position, and a promotion and a raise before I even start.

I am a well-rounded, highly qualified candidate and enthusiastic proponent of teaching and promoting evidence based science to the general public and encouraging others to do the same. I need the money though, so am willing to say balls to all that if I get the job.


e-mail: Humourology (at) live.co.uk

Twitter: @garwboy

StumbleUpon.com

98 comments:

blackwatertown said...

It'll be embarrassing when you and Anomalous Distraction are both shortlisted and have to go head to head to get the job.
www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

BaldySlaphead said...

I asked my psychic medium, and she said you're on the shortlist.

Zeno said...

I think you have pushed the right button with your membership of the Desperate Dan fan club:

NHS Tayside Desperate Dan-wich competition

The other applicants should just give up now.

Anonymous said...

You think you are so clever! But are just narrow minded and not open to the possibility that there are things which we cannot yet explain.... Do you honestly think we have reached the heights of human scientific enquiry and there is nothing more to learn?

Just because there is no scientific explanation for homeopathy does not mean it does not work...

Homeopathy is often accused of only being placebo. Well placebo is a scientific phenomenon that also applies to conventional medicine...

Orthodox medicine has achieved a lot to improve the quality of human life - but a lot of interventions cause horrible side effects - it is not perfect.

Mike Hypercube said...

And of course if something hasn't been proven because there is so much we don't know, then surely it must work. Right.

thewelshboyo said...

No one here is claiming that conventional medicine is perfect.
You see, the main problem with homeopathy is NOT that we "can't explain it". It's that it doesn't work.
The reason placebo comes into it is because when homeopathic pills are compared to non-homeopathic pills, there is absolutely no difference. These non-homeopathic pills have had no magic water sprinkled over them.
With regards to conv. med.'s side effects, you realise you can't have effect without side effects? It's incredibly unlikely that you'd find a pharmaceutical agent that only did ONE single thing to the body.
The reason homeopathy doesn't produce any side effects is because it doesn't even have any effects.

Chris said...

Anonymous above was going to rant for longer but decided to water it down.

Good luck with the app. Dont worry about turning up for the job if you get it just take the money and save on the commuting.

Simon said...

@Anonymous.

Not sure why I'm bothering, but here goes.

"You think you are so clever! But are just narrow minded and not open to the possibility that there are things which we cannot yet explain.... Do you honestly think we have reached the heights of human scientific enquiry and there is nothing more to learn?"

The author of this post is a scientist. I believe he does research. It seems inconceivable that he would do research if he believed that there is nothing more to learn.

"Just because there is no scientific explanation for homeopathy does not mean it does not work... "

You are correct. The reason we know that it does not work is because it has been tested in several hundred clinical trials and shown not to work.

There seems to be little point in looking into how something works when we have already learnt that it does not work.

"Homeopathy is often accused of only being placebo. Well placebo is a scientific phenomenon that also applies to conventional medicine..."

Of course, but with conventional medicine you don't only get placebo, you get real medicine too. Why pick only placebo when you can have both?

"Orthodox medicine has achieved a lot to improve the quality of human life - but a lot of interventions cause horrible side effects - it is not perfect."

Correct, but not relevant. While real medicine is not perfect, it does generally work.

@jaclong said...

Ahhh, Anonymous, can I quote the very funny (but the humour is in the truth...) Dara O'Brien :
"Yes, of course science doesn't know everything, otherwise it'd stop!
But it doesn't mean we can make the rest up."

My personal (humble) opinion - someone at this trust has useda cunning mechanism to bring couple of sticky issues into the spotlight.

Jen said...

Anonymous,

There is a scientific ‘explanation’ for homeopathy. It is called the placebo effect. Otherwise I think the implications are rather weird: as Tim Minchin so excellently put it:

“It’s a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
 Water has memory! 
And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite,
 It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!”

Nuff said. Very bizarre decision by the NHS Tayside and a horrible use of our taxes. Good luck with the application! I hope they get a truly excellent set of scientists to choose from.

Steven said...

I would also like to add that it isn't just that Homeopathy doesn't work as shown by clinical trials. The method by which it is supposed to work is actually anti-scientific; it goes against known science. We might not have learned all the secrets of the Universe but in the last 300 years we have learned something.

John said...

Homeopathy does have an really serious effect that everyone seems to be ignoring. Sugar pills cause cavities.

apthorpe said...

As I have mentioned in the past, homeopathy works insofar as it provides a homeopath with a paycheck. Beyond that, scientific trials show its curative powers are no different than that of placebo. For all the money Boiron takes in selling its pillules, nosodes, and otther nostrums, you'd think they'd have research showing efficacy.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog post, but I doubt the HR people will read more than a few sentences before binning it. :(

Anonymous said...

What is interesting to me is that the way our brains function means that we give extra weight to the data that supports our belief systems and disregard the data that doesn't.

You believe homeopathy is rubbish and so you get excited by the data that seems to support that. I believe it does work and the evidence around me supports that!

I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and I have also studied homeopathy. I do not think that anyone has 'proven' homeopathy does not work any more than I think anyone has proven it does work... It is just where you chose to direct your critical thinking...

You might find this an interesting read...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Its-Own-Distorts-Deceives/dp/1840467983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281946659&sr=8-1

Anonymous said...

Sorry that is a Mind of Its Own by Cordelia Fine

Gavin said...

Haha, very good.

May well apply myself, also with a suitably sarcastic statement.

Oh, and anonymous, I don't care how homeopathy works: http://vaguelyscience.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/who-cares-how-homeopathy-works/

G

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Anonymous (the 3rd one)

Cheers for the comments. If we're talking courses and locations, I just completed a PhD in Neuroscience (i.e. Brains) at Cardiff Psychology School. I don't say that to brag, just to emphasise that I have more than enough books on how the brain/mind works to be getting on with, and don't really require somewhat patronising oversimplifications on the matter.

Critical thinking isn't something that can be directed to suit your arguments, you either do it or you don't, to all subjects you're looking into. Critical thinking 'in favour' of something is a logical contradiction, and is more commonly known as a bias.

@garethbrand said...

I once ate some chalk out of a quarry and it cured my tennis elbow. A coincidence? I think not. I expect 'science' will be taking credit for that? Well unlucky 'science' because I made it up.

Alex Elderfield - ID said...

Well if you don't succeed with the homoeopathy job, there are plenty of NHS faith healer roles funded by our taxes.

http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/cgi-bin/vacdetails.cgi?selection=912525210

Dave B said...

I'm no supporter of homeopathy - only through lack of knowledge - but I was still looking forward to reading this post.

JUMP TO:

Suffice to say that once again the science community has proven it isn't really a flourishing pool for comedy talent. This post was so bad. Not even so bad it was funny bad. :(

Peter said...

I've never really dabbled in homeopathy, but a close friend is a farmer in Wales and his wife has treated their dairy cows homeopathically for years with great success. I understand all the science arguments and admit I struggle to disagree with any of them, yet how can it work so efficiently on herds of cows re: the ongoing placebo argument? She began treating them after being frustrated with normal medicines not working that well/fast and in some cases aggravating the conditions. She took advice from a local homeopath and hasn't look back since.

Confused.

Anonymous said...

If they turn you down you can always make them tell you why - their internal procedures mean that if you ask they have to tell you.

Old Rockin' Dave said...

The best comment on homeopathy was not intended as such. As the late W. C. Fields was wont to say, "I never drink water - fish f**k in it."

Anonymous said...

every Richard Littlejohn article which doesn’t read like it was written by a bile-filled screaming anus with a pen jammed in it.

This is a thing of beauty, sir.

N.S said...

Hey friend,As a homeopath I would be interested in such a job.Where did u find the advertisement.I agree right now you feel sarcastic about it but can u share the source.thank you.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Hey N.S.

The job application site is linked to via the words 'application form' at the top.

Good luck, but if you get the job I expect a finders fee.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

Real is scientific homeopathy. It cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails. Nano doses of evidence-based modern homeopathy medicine brings big results for everyone

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

You have summed it up perfectly! Homeopathy actually works and that is ironic given that it has apparently been scientifically proven not to...

I wonder who funded the research?

Is it homeopathy that is at fault or today's scientific methodology?

Hmmm... I wonder!

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

YES! Another Malik comment! Same one as on a previous blog, but what the hell, it's a badge of honour nonetheless.

And everyone else involved in Science, stop what you're doing! Two random guys have said we're doing it wrong, so we'll have to start all over again.

Anonymous said...

PARLIAMENT EMITTING ANGRY PURPLE AURA, SAY HOMEOPATHS:
The Daily Mash


Also, Dean, you obviously don't understand The Placebo Effect: It's a miracle; It's a wonder. "Another soul is saved, with your bogus medications."

Jezebel said...

Ha Ha Ha... It seems to me that those with their heads up their arses are finding it difficult to accept that those with their heads in the clouds might possibly command a salary comparable to them. So, lets all pontificate on the merits of science.. because if you're terminally ill and science doesn't have the solution you can rest assured that some asshole somewhere probably doesn't give a shit if a bit of homeopathy gives you any comfort because s/he's a scientist and they have a monopoly on epistemology :-P

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Fair point Jezebel. I confess, you'd have to pay me a lot of money before I'd be willing to lie to the faces of terminally ill people in their final hours.

Jezebel said...

Don't mis-represent me on twitter science boy! You assume I am pro homeopathy when it's more a case of anti-science (quite different but yes I can prove it) read again, slap yourself twice and do not make assumptions - especially if you are claiming to be a scientist!

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

As a scientist, I only go by what evidence is presented to me, and as such I had no basis to make such a wild conclusion r.e. you being anti-science. I don't see anything amiss with my interpretation of what you said. However, I did overlook the 'head in the clouds' reference, so will let you have the last word in this brief back-and-forth.

Go nuts, treat yourself.

Jezebel said...

"they have a monopoly on epistemology" was the clue...analyse all the evidence with care in future! and try not to be so bitter.. different strokes for different folks. Did you study Neuroscience to help people and make the world a better place OR because you thought it would make you sound clever? Smile and be happy... you will be 99% more employable (scientifically proven).

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Fair enough.

.... Ah, Fuck It!

Sorry, have another go if you like.

Anonymous said...

I am a doctor, albeit only a medical doctor compared to these PhD folk, however i can kinda see both sides. Now don't get me wrong homeopathy does not work as a scientifically validated medicine and it has been proved not to by numerous papers. But perhaps if it provides comfort to somebody be that in their final moments or during day to day life then what is the harm. People seem to do things that provide them with psychological benefit even if it confers them no physical benefit, take smoking.
Homeopathy goes wrong by profiteering from this innate vulnerability of humans. It is also a joke that our taxes have to go towards paying for a service that is not evidenced based. Really enjoyed the job application though.

Rochy said...

Nobody seems to answer Peter's question (I still think is worth a try). I used to take homeopathy myself, and heard such argument several times: babys, animals, they don't have the placebo effect. I am no expert in neither medicine nor homeopathy, but the explanation is easier than that:
1. the placebo effect also "occurs" in the researcher or the person evaluating the effect. That's why the person that evaluates should be blinded. And as I understand, this is proven in science. Evaluating how healthy a person or an animal is, is a very non-objective task.
2. The "anecdote": there is here one single couple that moved to homeopathy. And you have to ask what other things they moved to? perhaps they started patting the cows more? or talking to them, or something that made them feel better? perhaps they moved away from the agent causing the sickness disappeared? and so on. How do you know it was homeopathy when it could have been many other things? Well, you know that by doing experiments on a large scale, with many many farms, not only one. That's why homeopathy still falls dawn under the argument that it is no better than a placebo.

Rochy said...

And... I have a question to Jezebel -if he or she is still around. You say you are antiscience (yet using a computer...). You say that science "thinks that it has a monopoly on epistemology", please tell me: do you think there is a better way to know reality than through the scientific method? I think the first question is: are you against the scientific method? or are you against the institutions of science, like universities or peer reviewed journals? Or you are just anti-scientists because you think that, for all practical purposes, ALL scientists of the world are scientists because they want to feel smarter than the rest?

Cobalt said...

Man. If I'd received something like that in my office, a copy would be getting printed out and taped up next to my desk so that everyone could see it every day.

Ken Johnson said...

If Desperate Dan wants a change from cow pies, he should try these scientific sandwiches for a change.

Ken Johnson said...

Sorry, the link tag didn't link. The highly scientific sandwiches are here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-320486/Improve-love-life-sandwich-science.html

Kevin Bradshaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Bradshaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Bradshaw said...

Terrible that NHS money is being wasted this way. All it achieves is to distort public understanding of science.
I've joined the protest by applying for the job myself here.

Ken Johnson said...

Here is my application:


Dear Sir

I write to apply for the position of Doctor of Homoeopathy as advertised. I believe I am an outstanding candidate for the following reasons:

1. I know nothing at all about medicine, surgery, anatomy or pharmacology

2. Thirty years in information technology has taught me to bullshit to customers without their realising that I'm talking rubbish

3. I believe science has had its day and in the Age of Aquarius we ought to have more witchcraft and less nonsense about laboratories and statistics

4. I believe that since everyone contributes to the National Health Service in taxation they should all get something out of it, even if there is nothing wrong with them

5. Politically I'm right behind you. Obviously any organisation that sacks 500 people who were all helping to cure patients owes it to the ill and dying among their customers to hire someone new.

Full CV attached. I am available to start work from Monday 27 September. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Ken Johnson BA MSc

Jimbo said...

From what I've read/heard, it's not really enough to just rubbish Homoeopathy because it's claims don't stack up (through the meta-analysis of the known scientific trials, both positive & negative). As there is a real effect being witnessed.

When you have some doctors being influenced heavily by pharmaceutical companies (who spend a lot of money to do so) and also being overworked and understaffed, it's not surprising that you get a few with a terrible bedside/consultation manner that may prescribe a treatment that is incorrect or misdiagnosed.

The problem is that the whole process of the Homoeopath consultation is one of someone who apparently cares and as a result either triggers a 'Placebo Effect' or it does nothing, since it's a sugar pill.

The worse case for a Doctor prescribing a drug/treatment is a lot worse. And conversely the ability to heal is of a much higher potential.

So should there be a place for Homoeopathy in society... perhaps yes (although hotly debatable, especially from the apparent rubbishing of actual science by a great deal of the Homoeopath community) while the harm caused by some doctors/institutions is still ongoing.

Should there be a place for Homoeopathy in the NHS as a alternative option to proper medicine... Ummm.... HELL NO!

Should the NHS get sorted with better doctor/patient relations, less openness to direct marketing to their doctors by drug companies, more consultation time per patient to properly diagnose symptoms, etc. etc. Yes Please! And as soon as possible please!

Lets work on eliminating the justifiable reasons that people are afraid to go see their doctors.

Jezebel said...

@ Rochy

In my view, a computer is a technological artifact...whilst technology and science are commonly grouped together I would argue that the ideas that shape discoveries into technology, come from a place that is entirely unscientific.

I'm antiscience in that I disagree with the common and often ill – informed view that science is the superior way of knowing reality and for a lot of “scientists”, the only way. This view has been perpetuated by the elitist (and subjective) “institutions of science” for too long. Peer reviewed journals are a fantastic way of exploiting hardworking people with great ideas who are vulnerable to the persuasion from those with status within these institutions… I think it’s ironic that the most educated in our society can be so gullible in this way.

I’m not opposed to the scientific method in its rightful application but the fact that it carries such weight within these institutions and ultimately beyond them gives me the willies. There are other ways of knowing and until the minds of those who hold the power in academia are open to exploring these, the advancement of knowledge will remain stunted.

I have nothing against scientists as individuals where would we be without them? But I take exception with those who think it grants them the right to dismiss any way of thinking that doesn’t stand the test. Going back to the original discussion… so what if the alleged benefits of homeopathy have not been scientifically proven? It has been scientifically proven that protons behave differently when they are observed but does anybody know why? It is within the realms of possibility that the same is true of homeopathy. I will only accept science from the keeper of an open mind.

For those who claim the job advertised is a disgraceful waste of public money…what about the poor sucker who will have to trawl through all these faux applications? The public are paying for their time too.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Speaking of having to wade through pointless, mocking submissions from people who have only contempt and/or a closed mind for the subject matter, thanks for another comment, Jezebel.

Jezebel said...

Happy to oblige... I note the biscuit next to your head is a Boaster and not actually a Digestive..This seems apt. Seriously though, Good luck with the job hunt I'll keep an eye out for any appropriate vacancies and send them your way.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Jez, in all seriousness, please feel free to forward any job vacancies you find, I enjoy churning out my pointless blatherings.

And to clarify, the figurehead was designed by an artist follower of mine, so they chose the foodstuff to use. It was either this, a croissant or a smarties cookie. The croissant was even more inaccurate, and the 'smart cookie' allusion was just too much for me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jezebel,

Thank you for your comments - could not agree more...

The only place I can agree with Dr Burnett is that he is not bragging about studying at Cardiff - and no - nor would I!

For me it is not about being anti science (I studied it at university after all) - but about realising the limitations...

I was not previously suggesting that everyone should stop studying science - but if you look historically at many points in time human beings thought they knew it all and vigorously defended the current paradigm as if their survival depended on it - but the paradigm shift happened all the same... There is stuff out there that we do not know...

Also why do you feel the need to rubbish those who practice homeopathy or consult homeopaths? Dare I suggest you feel threatened by those who hold views different to your own?

Phil J said...

"If you can give comfort to someone in their last days" by using homeopathy, why not rename it "religion"? If patients are supposed to have faith in a product's efficacy, rather than some evidence, then surely that becomes almost religious.

In fact, why not promise them eternal life and bite into their necks, if you want to do something pointless to give hope to the dying? It bugs me that Western humans have become so oversensitive that we have to find nice, fluffy, gentle ways of approaching anything bad.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

(r.e. Anonymous)

I can't speak for everyone but I'm about as afraid of homeopathy as I am of those who write critical comments on pointless blogs but lack the courage of their convictions to not do so anonymously.

I have a go at homeopaths because I see them in the same league as mediums who exploit the bereaved, conmen who pose as builders/gas men to swindle lonely pensioners out of their savings and religious/cult leaders who promise intangible rewards in return for material good and servitude.

Paradigms change all the time, the laws of nature remain constant and just because a greed-driven madman said otherwise over a century ago doesn't alter that fact.

Also, anyone else find it greatly amusing that the anonymous folk adopt completely non-ironic approach of criticising people for criticising things? Keep it up guys, I just love the attention.

Jezebel said...

Do you know anything about Nematode Neurobiology?

Anonymous said...

"But perhaps if it provides comfort to somebody be that in their final moments or during day to day life then what is the harm."

In the final moments of my life I would be provided great comfort by a lapdance. Can I expect to see the NHS recruiting lapdancers to aid me in my passing?

Jezebel said...

@ Anonymous lapdance request ...presuming you have been ill for a while you will be entitled to Attendance Allowance which allows you to choose and pay for personal care yourself... so this is possible at present but you better hurry the ConDems are probably planning to axe this as we speak

Jimbo said...

There seems to be so much that's within the realms of possibility, how do we separate what it possible from what is not? How do we know for sure?

When Homoeopathy says it can do a particular thing and that it does it due to a certain method it's prescribing both a theory and a effect.

The meta-analysis of all the published trials on the effects seem to suggest that the effect is no better than what is known about the Placebo Effect. This is not saying that there is no effect, however it is saying that the effect seems to be solely due to process of when a client goes through a consultation rather than the product itself.

Is there a possibility that there is something going on with the memory of water, dilution, and method of creating the product. I guess we should say yes to this, it's possible. It doesn't seem terribly likely and it also goes against a lot of what is known (read as hypothesis yet to be proved incorrect)about the science involved. However what's more damming is the both the lack of belief in whole swaths of medicine and science displayed by the Homoeopathy community (especially those in the media spotlight) and the reluctance to use fair tests (i.e. the scientific method) to show that the effects are both what they (the Homoeopaths) say they are and that they are caused by reasons that they believe.

Unfortunately (and this seems to happen a lot with alternative medicine), there are a lot of people who take advantage of the gaps in scientific knowledge and portray their product (for it's almost always a product to sell) as a cure to succeed where science fails. These charlatans have such a negative impact aside from the abuse of trust. They undermine public confidence in legitimate science and they also push us away from using critical thinking. By using sciency sounding terms and turning away from critics they encourage us to believe that they have our best interests at heart and I wonder how they can see past the dollar signs in their eyes.

Surely we should welcome any and all critique and if someone can show you that your product is not as effective as you think it is, it enables you to look again at what you believe and alter it if necessary.

Bah this message has gone on way longer than expected and while it's a chance to blurb out my opinion (refined by others I happily admit), it's such a complicated topic and it's not confined to just Homoeopathy and the comments on this message board.

Satire on ourselves and society is def healthy and a big 'WELL DONE!' to the author for the letter. But before completely dismissing either Homoeopathy or Science I wonder if any of us really know the topic as well as we think we do.

Anonymous said...

You won't get it. You're over-qualified.

Liam Bradey said...

Dear Jezebel,

Re. Your entire rant beginning 'In my view, a computer is a technological artifact...'

You realise you could substitute the word 'scientists' for 'the Church', and that would pretty much cover around 1500 years of human study into reality.

By the way, if the worst were to happen and you got some form of cancer, would you take the chemotherapy, or stick with the sugar pills?

Liam Bradey said...

Here would be my application:

Dear Sir

I write to apply for the position of Doctor of Homoeopathy as advertised. I believe I am an outstanding candidate for the following reasons:

GIVE JOBS TO PROPER DOCTORS WHO CAN HELP ILL PEOPLE, AND STOP PANDERING TO IMAGINED PUBLIC DEMANDS.

P.S. Thanks to the NHS for providing a platform for some of the best comedic material in a long time!

I send you my CV telepathically.

Liam

Jezebel said...

@ Liam Bradley.. You get the prize for missing the point completely :-P

Liam Bradey said...

Cool! What do I win? OMG this is so unexpected! I want to thank my mum, ma peeps, Xenu (tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy)... Yes I did just compare Homeopathy to Scientology, as both are based on fantasy, have no scientific explanation, and are defended vigorously by those who believe in them. Still, keeps them off the streets.

Liam Bradey said...

Oh, and when my name is written RIGHT THERE ON THE SCREEN, please try to spell it correctly!

Daniel Defoe said...

Liam,

Jezebel can't spell your name correctly because s/he doesn't believe in the cognitive science necessary to validate what she sees. I thought that was obvious from her/his previous posts.

Liam Bradey said...

Fair point, Mr Defoe (I really hope you are THE Daniel Defoe!)

On the subject of their sexuality, I prefer to think of them as the amorphous, anthropomophic personification of Homeopathy, floating around the universe angry that Science has proven her obsolete.

Jezebel said...

@ Liam Bradley....You won an L! and it will come in very handy if you treat it with respect. Daniell (go on you have a L too) The real one is dead.. a bit like your imagination Lame :-P As for my gender...surely science has the answer

Liam Bradey said...

Jezebel,

Good to see your belief in Homeopathy hasn't dulled your sense of sarcasm and irony!

Yes, the real Daniel Defoe is dead. Perhaps if he had used a Homeopathic dilution he would still be with us. Hopefully further research will be able to rid the world of death once and for all. Just don't call it scientific!

P.S. Thank you for my L, I'm having a 'l of a good time with it!

laky said...

Nice and helpful site.

Visit also sromobazar.com

Liam Bradey said...

Way to ruin a perfectly healthy scientific debate, Laky! Best kick-start it again.

So. Astrology.

brommo said...

Wow! Will this mean I can't access osteopathy or dentistry on the NHS, but I can get homeopathy? Awsome! I love this country! (PS I am a scientist but in touch with my anti-scientist side. Getting a bit lonely on this fence though.....)

Liam Bradey said...

brommo, time to pick a side. Team Science or Team Whack-a-doodle (or bat-crap crazy).

I fear your sarcastic comment re. the state of the country may come back to haunt you. Once people start on THAT subject, it makes Homeopathists look like mimes.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

Studies in support of Homeopathy medicine published in lancet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310601(1997) //homeopathy is 2.45 times more effective than placeb

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2886%2990410-1/abstract (1986) //hayfever

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Wow, 2 whole papers, both of which have been discredited more thoroughly than Uri Geller. You've got us there Nancy...

Rochy said...

@Jezebel So, how do you think computers came about? Somebody thought oh! let's make a calculating device, and then they did one, and then sold it without even checking it? Do you think the properties of electricity were never experimented? Because that is what science is... you come up with stuff, then you check if it works (by experiments).

You say that there are other ways of knowing. Please tell me a specific "other way" and some philosophical foundation of why is it better than science? Or what piece of knowledge do we "know" that has not been achieved -and is not achievable by science?

Perhaps you mean there are many ways to come up with hypothesis. That is true. A lot of creativity is needed to come up with hypothesis, but once you have some idea, you test it. Wouldn't you want someone to make sure your computer is not going to randomly send you a high voltage shock or download virus anytime soon?

@Dean Burnett: Fun site! It is sad that health institutions have to be reminded every few years that some things are still not science (and with very high probability, will never be). And also it is sad to fall into discussions of why science should be used when curing people, such as it is used to construct bridges or cars.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that someone with your alledged intelligence can find the time to waste applying for jobs that you don't want and/or for appointments that you don't support. This merely inconveniences others who are trying to do a job on the basis of demand and evidence that is presented.
I note that in your hilarity you present no opposing evidence to homeopathy. I guess the poking fun, supporting sceptic angle is easier than real science though eh?
And before you try the same on me, I too am sceptical but believe that I am sufficiently less arrogant than to belive that I know everything.

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Mr Anonymous

Thank you for your input. I'd love to clarify my position in response to you wild misinterpretation/overreaction and insane accusations regarding my pointless post on a comedy-themed blog.

However, the absence of any willingness to associate yourself with your views means that, on a scale of significance, I rank them just below someone farting in a swimming pool, so can't really be bothered.

Liam Bradey said...

Wait, doesn't farting in a swimming pool COUNT as homeopathy?

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

TRIPLE-BLIND STUDIES in support of homeopathy medicine

Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Pergamon)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15016577 (2004) //Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

xtaldave said...

Nancy - your trail of inane repeat posting is all too obvious and dreary - but we wouldn't expect less from homeopathy's most prolific spammer.

Re: Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Authors conclude that "weak, probably unpersuasive, evidence" - they also fail the Linde test - quote the 1997 paper without quoting the 1999 correction.

Another fail.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

scientific studies in support of homeopathy medicine published in lancet

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2886%2990410-1/abstract (1986) //hay fever

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2894%2990407-3/abstract (1994) //homeopathy does more than placebo

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

Nancy, you already mentioned those two widely debunked papers. It was only a few comments ago. We know you don't read the examples you cite as they're often not even supportive of homeopathy, but I'd assume you'd read your own posts. Is this something you're actually capable of?

Anonymous said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a month. I would hire you on the spot. In my imaginary clinic for soothing a vague sense of malase. In Narnia.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

Scientific research in homeopathy

European Journal of Paedretics (SpringerLink) http://www.springerlink.com/content/t512515754w83686/fulltext.html (2005) FULL TEXT //ADHD Interdisciplinary Sciences: Life Sciences (SpringerLink)
http://www.springerlink.com/content/0557v31188m3766x/fulltext.pdf (2009) FULL TEXT // electromagnetic properties of highly-diluted biological samples

Aquaria said...

Is there a possibility that there is something going on with the memory of water, dilution, and method of creating the product. I guess we should say yes to this, it's possible.

Oh, really?

Because if water has "memory" of what's been in it, then what's been in it is a lot of feces, urine and blood. There's been a lot more of those in water than just about any other substances besides hydrogen and oxygen.

Memory? Give me a break. Any "memory" that water has held onto of what's been in it is in the chemicals of the water. You get that with chemical analysis. And that is not kind to homeopathy.

Do you really think that a homeopath has the faintest clue when he's filling up water bottles in his kitchen to sell to the rubes how much water to use to get a 30c solution for one molecule of a "healing" goodie?

Let me give you a hint: There isn't enough water on earth to get a 30c solution.

Protons are bigger than what homeoliars claim will heal you with a 30C dilution. Protons! When was the last time you heard about protons doing anything for you? The 30C dilution may have a "healing agent" down there with quarks in size. Oh, baby, be afraid of those charm quarks! They'll kill you! Not.

Or how about Oscillococcinum, which has a "dilution" that would exclude every atom in the universe from being in it?

The smallest dilution that will 100% contain a molecule is 12C. 12C is about the equivalent of dropping a couple of pinches of salt into a tank of pure water equal in size to the Atlantic Ocean.

Do you get it now why homeopathy is nonsense? It can't work! It's nonsense!

Anyone who believes this crap works or even could work is an idiot.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

@Aquaria
Memory of water
http://hubpages.com/hub/Homeopathy-and-The-Memory-of-Water-with-Benveniste
http://hpathy.com/homeopathy-scientific-research/memory-of-water/

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

@Aquaria

Don't mind Nancy, she posts 'supporting argument' links on any website/blog that disses homeopathy, despite the fact that the links she posts are always debunked, nonsensical or, hilariously often, critical of homeopathy themselves. She doesn't read beyond the title, it seems.

brommo said...

"group differences were not statistically significant on four out of the five MFI subscales" and "weak but equivocal evidence that the effects of homeopathic medicine are superior to placebo". Please could Dr. Malik explain the phrase "TRIPLE-BLIND STUDIES in support of homeopathy medicine"? I am obviously misinterpreting the paper Dr. Malik cites, perhaps because I am not a Doctor?

Liam Bradey said...

I want this post to be made into a film. Dean, you should be played by Gerrard Butler. Jezebel and Nancy would have to be some serious CGI Hydra-type beast (as is the way with Homeopathy supporters, you debunk one, and two sprout up in its place). Rochy and Brommo, I see you as a kind of Jay and Silent Bob duet. I think I can get Michael Bay on board, if the NHS will fund the helicopters (seems as thought they'll fund pretty much everything else, nowadays). The battleground could be a post-Apocalyptic Dundee. Thoughts?

Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist said...

I don't know. Gerrard Butler? I always thought if someone were to play me in a film it would be Harold Ramis (if he was younger) or Rick Moranis (if he was bigger).

Liam Bradey said...

How about Jeff Goldblum? He's fairly tall, quite young-ish, and is unfailingly a scientist in every film. Plus you get the feeling he would debunk Homeopathy with explosions as much as aplomb (perhaps an A-plomb). Still, as you have hogged two out of five Ghostbusters, I'm having Bill, Ken Johnson gets Dan, and xtaldave can be portrayed by Ernie Hudson. In fact, screw it, let's just call it Ghostbusters 3: This Time It's REALLY Unbelievable. I sure hope Hollywood is reading this...

brommo said...

Could we ask Cameron Diaz or Milla Jokovich to play me? My better half would be delighted!!

Liam Bradey said...

I feel that though we have drifted off topic somehow, we have created a masterpiece along the way. By the way, outrage on the news this morning, Homeopathists offering 'alternative' MMR vaccines. Shocking. The vaccines in question were tested last year, and proved to have no effect.

Life (Sciences) said...

Not going to wade into the for/against homeopathy debate but...

"urine-based memory transfer"

I LOLed. Amazing.

Carl said...

Pretty good to know the fact about the , NHS Tayside are advertising for a £68,000 a year homeopath,also post is great.

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Johnny said...

What's the problem with the NHS using Homeopathy as a complimentary medicine? Or where conventional medicine isn't appropriate for whatever reason (eg. side effects outweigh benefits)?

We all know it's "only" a placebo. But of course, placebo is very helpful. The fact that the Homeopath geniunely believes in it only improves its effectiveness. I imagine that those people are unusual and happen to command a 68k salary.

I'm no expert so I'm interested in your thoughts on that.

Anonymous said...

You fool! McD's uses pneumatic tubes, not hydraulic. You'll never get a callback with that!

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