Feb 242010
 

Excellent Science-based Medicine article on the recent Parliament report on homeopathy at http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3961

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) has released a report, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, in which they recommend that the NHS stop funding homeopathy. The report is a rare commodity – a thoroughly science-based political document.

The article goes on to discuss the denials, lies and misdirection employed by those with a vested interest in promulgating and defending homeopathy. Highly recommended reading.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 232010
 

Over at AnAtheist.Net I came across an article that pointed to a blog from My Sister’s Farmhouse who apologised for being such a shithead for all those years when she was a Christian. Anyway, that got me interested in My Sister’s Farmhouse wondering what had led her (Rechelle) on this path of self-discovery. Well, what a pleasant site!

I’ve only started exploring My Sister’s Farmhouse but I loved her recent article on “Two Baptist Missionaries Visit CDW” as it reminded me of my own recent encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness who came knocking on my door. But I admit I wasn’t as calm as Rechelle; the Jehovah’s Witness just spouted nonsense and it was clear he wasn’t thinking for himself. So well, done Rechelle, I’ll try to and remember your example the next time I get in one of these conversations.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 222010
 

It’s clear, homeopathy is a placebo. It’s been demonstrated again and again in proper scientific trials.

The recent Science & Technology committee report on homeopathy comes to the same conclusion and makes a series of recommendations, and gimpy’s blog has rather good article on this at:

http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/the-evidence-check-on-homeopathy-is-released-and-it-is-devastating/

DC’s Improbable Science also has an interesting article at:

http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2782

I predict that some (most?) homeopaths will claim that they’re victims of “big pharma”, and they will refuse to acknowledge that what they’ve studied and practiced is a big fat lie. They may even claim that homeopathy isn’t suited to trials.

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true."  – Carl Sagan

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 132010
 

Apparently there’s an old saying, “Don’t kick a man when he’s trying to apologise”. Or something like that. And so I welcomed the news of several universities dropping “degree” courses in homeopathy. It can’t have been an easy thing to do but I’d like to think that the universities recognised the need to maintain intellectual honesty and integrity over any money grabbing schemes using dishonest degrees.

But the dropping of homeopathy degrees hasn’t been undertaken everywhere as there are still some courses out there. A recent DC’s Improbable Science blog article at http://www.dcscience.net/?p=2747 details examples of where homeopathy is still being taught and also details the lack of cooperation from universities in providing information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Dear universities and other institutions of learning, be honest. Give us the truth…it may hurt right now but you will help to create a legacy that will be admired.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 082010
 

Retired judge Sir Mota Singh, a Sikh, recently made some comments that Sikhs must be allowed to carry Kirpans (a ceremonial dagger or knife) and be exempt from the prohibitions that forbid the carrying of knives to such places as schools. In UK law, there some seem to be some specific exemptions for “religious reasons” including those relating to school ground but I’m not expert so don’t full understand their extent.

Singh says:

“I see no objection to a young Sikh girl or boy, who’s been baptised, being allowed to wear their Kirpan if that’s what they want to do”

Really? This guy is a judge?

I can see this becoming an issue when some kid uses his kirpan in a school fight. And it will also encourage others to carry knives.

No special privilege is required for religions, especially more so in this case as these so-called “symbols” are NOT essential to proving anyone’s alignment to some religious belief system. What is far more important than these symbols is how one treats others; to be fair and to do the right things which we all instinctively feel and aspire to.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 072010
 

This video from DarkMatter2525 at http://www.youtube.com/user/DarkMatter2525#p/u/6/zIwiU7thK54 has been out for a while but I wanted to add it here as it has a lot of synergy with NonStampCollector’s video on “http://www.metalvortex.com/images/Misc%20Photos/Snow%20in%20London%202009/index.html)” which I had linked to only just recently.

This is the DarkMatter2525 “EPIC GOD FAIL” video http://www.youtube.com/user/DarkMatter2525#p/u/6/zIwiU7thK54

 

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 062010
 

Now and again I may link or embed a video from NonStampCollector. For those that don’t know, NonStampCollector has his own YouTube channel.

In this post, I’m linking to NonStampCollector’s video on “Jephthah (Judges 11)”.

 

On a slightly different tack, I’m looking forward to having more lively debates with Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on my door, but as of late they don’t seem to come around any more ;)

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 062010
 

I recently had a little diatribe in my article at www.metalvortex.com/blog/2010/02/04/354.html where I expressed concern at the increasingly worrying practice of Boots and others of handling homeopathic products as medicine contrary to all results from proper scientific trials which show that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo.

Well, I just came across this video at some other blogs.

 

It was rather humorous at first but it soon developed into something rather serious. In my opinion, it isn’t a stretch at all to equate the actions of Boots and others to that of Bruce the so-called “entrepreneur” in the video. The Dragon’s Den team was right and they called it as it they saw it; Bruce is a snake oil salesman who fills you with disgust and anger. A dangerous person who can cause suffering and death by delaying or usurping the use of proper treatment.

The sad thing is that there are probably a significant number of people with morals just like Bruce who are in positions to influence and make decisions if it helps to rake in the money.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 042010
 

Quackery such as homeopathy need to be treated as such; quackery. Endorsement for quackery from the government, NHS or the meddling Royal family need to be challenged. Additionally, silence or inaction can be interpreted as an endorsement for quackery. It is a hard battle fighting nonsense, but we do need to get away from these witch-doctors., to get out of the darkness of backwards thinking and move into the light. I do still find it astonishing that seemingly intelligent persons can delude themselves into believing in such magic. But I expect that this is a result of the recent cultural trends to avoid conflict and not to “offend” anyone; such behaviour soon assigns critical thinking to a dwindling few. What an insane way to live! Everyone should be practiced in the skills of critical thinking as this is the way to cut away the nonsense, the chaff and get to the truth.

But is that the whole picture? No, because there are others out there who gain financially through the promotion of nonsense and quackery. Witness Boots, who continue to sell homeopathic solutions as if these things were real medicine and refuse to acknowledge that all credible trials have evidenced that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo.

A few months ago, there was the UK Parliament House of Commons Select Committee (Science & Technology) “Evidence Check: Homeopathy”. A YouTube video is here:

 http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5C1A092C32F5C971

I was disappointed to see Paul Bennett of Boots evading questions and not giving a straight answer. He did eventually admit that he/Boots had seen no evidence that suggested that homeopathy had any effects beyond the placebo effect (although he started to bandy the word “efficacious” around which seems to me to be a deliberate ploy by him to avoid using the word “placebo” whilst discussing the topic of homeopathy because placebos can be “efficacious” ie have an effect within certain confines). But despite his admission, the lack of supporting evidence, he stated that he (or at least Boots) did not believe or disbelieve that homeopathy was a real effect [my words here]. That is a very strange statement from him. He is well aware that all the evidence indicates that homeopathy is a placebo…and such evidence is getting stronger, not weaker. He is obviously afraid of saying it…that Boots sells products that are shown to have no effects beyond the placebo. It was most sad to see Paul trying to get out of this difficult position…he was trying not to lie but at the same time he also had to protect Boots shareholders and probably his job. But you know, he did come out as a nice bloke. Perhaps if this had been a private session without the shackles of Boots, he would have felt freer to express himself.

And then we come to Robert Wilson. In my opinion a most disagreeable person who misled that session. And with his attitude a dangerous person who is culpable for the dangers that homeopathy brings. Let’s be clear…most homeopathy pills (ie sugar pills) in themselves are not dangerous but the entire fabric of homeopathy can delay the diagnoses and treatment of serious illnesses. And as much as Paul Bennett seems like a nice bloke he needs to realise that he also contributes to the falsehoods and witchcraft that Homeopathy brings. That’s why I was disappointed with him.

But what can be done about homeopathy? There was the recent 10:23 campaign at http://www.1023.org.uk/ which should bring some awareness to some people. One particular message at 10:23 that did strike a chord with me was that homeopathy had abused its placebo privileges.

The ever resourceful Quackometer has an interesting article relevant to homeopathy. Check it out at:

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2010/02/dispensing-with-homeopathy-proposal.html

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010

Feb 042010
 

Cherie Blair, or known as Cherie Booth QC, as judge issued a suspended sentence to a man convicted of a violent crime. One of the reasons that Cherie spared the man from being thrown into jail was because he was a “religious man”. Fine. So what Cherie seems to be saying is that those who are not religious will be subject to greater punishment.

Of course, extreme violence has been committed and continues to be commited by “devout and religious” peoples so there is no logic to Cheri’s comments. But perhaps that is what can be expected from someone who herself believes in all the nonsense and gibberish that are at the core of Roman Catholicism, much as in other religions.

Other articles here:

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/59308,people,news,cherie-blair-wrong-to-spare-religious-man-jail-tony-blair

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8497365.stm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7014701.ece

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2010