Whoah! DC’s Improbable Science and the fight against nonsense

DC’s Improbable Science just posted a blog referencing a Guardian newspaper article on DC’s efforts to remove pseudosciences (such as homeopathy) from British universities, especially when such universities are offering BSc degree courses in such nonsense. Westminster University gets a special mention and so they should with their infamous amethysts emit high yin energy

It is particularly incongruous that, despite evidence to the contrary, people such as Westminster’s Dr Peter Davies claim that such courses are academically rigorous and scientific, and that homeopathy isn’t a placebo effect. They also try and cloud the issue by saying that herbal treatments need to be studied; the implication being that traditional “Western” scientists are not studying these which is also demonstratably false [1] [2] [3]. By mixing up different subjects and misrepresenting them, these people try to put forward the idea that they are the real innovators fighting the establishment and Big Pharma.


[1] “Herbal nonsense at the Royal Society of Medicine and, ahem, at UCL Hospitals” – DC’s Improbable Science

[2] “Herbal medicines fail test” – DC’s Improbable Science

[3] “The Herbal Minefield” – QuackWatch, Stephen Barrett, M.D.

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. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key. – Carl Sagan

Copyright © 2009 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Alliance of Registered Homeopaths – more than stupid

gimpy’s blog calls the ARH press release stupid. I would go further. The Addenbrooks Hospital work referenced has nothing to do with homeopathy and for ARH to claim that it does is very clearly a lie. In fact, it has been known for a long time now that homeopathy is based on ideas that are demonstratably false, so it is no real surprise that homeopaths continue to mislead.

QuackWatch is a good place to get started on what homeopathy really is. Despite the fact that homeopathy is based on falsities, does the treatment alleviate a patient’s symptoms? Yes, to some degree…the famous placebo-effect. The Skeptic’s Dictionary has a a nice explanation for homeopathy and placebo, and also attempts to understand why even intelligent people are attracted to it. You may ask what’s the harm? Well, check out What’s The Harm?. And do we really want to base our society on lies? A return to magic and witch-doctors? I don’t think so.

Copyright © 2009 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Randi’s magic

Even I didn’t need Randi’s help to see straight away all the flaws in the dowser’s “demonstration”. It made me laugh though!

Are dowsers easy targets? You betcha! But there are too many people who think that dowsers are the real thing. Again, it’s the deluded leading the delusional.


Thanks to Bad Astronomy for the heads up.

The trouble with most folks isn’t so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain’t so. – Josh Billings

Copyright © 2009 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Interview with badscience’s Ben Goldacre

Stumbled across this interview with Ben Goldacre in his badscience blog article. Ben provides a way of cutting swathes of nonsense one increasingly hears in the media these days.

Of particular note, his quote at about 5 minutes 50 seconds regarding the BBC’s once respected “Horizon” science programmes as “Horizon going to nonsense” resonated with my own thoughts.

Ben Goldacre of Bad Science talks about Sensationalised Science Reporting from Conrad on Vimeo.