What we’re up against

BuzzFeed’s Matt Stopera (who also took the photos shown below ) collected 22 pictures of people who attended the Ham/Nye debate in Kentucky and identified themselves as creationists.

Stopera asked each of them to write down their “message to people who believe in evolution.”  See the link for all the questions (many of them predictable), but I’ve chosen a few examples to post. The sad thing is that nearly all these people are young—the target audience for science educators.  It’s not clear whether they’d already seen the debate or not, but, being creationists, that probably wouldn’t have affected their questions.

Read and weep, o brethren:

First, someone who doesn’t know the hominin fossil record:

Picture 6

The very concept of  this sort of “purpose” implies God, yet she has no evidence for Him:

Picture 10

Noetics? What does that have to do with evidence?

Picture 1

Answer: because of the laws of physics. (BTW, it’s “there”.)

Picture 2

That’s not how the big bang started, dude! Learn some cosmology!

Picture 11

Attempted humor is not evidence:

Picture 7

This smiling woman needs to learn what a “theory” is. And does she want homeopathy taught in medical schools, astrology in psychology class, and alchemy in the chemistry department?:

Picture 9Here’s an ebullient God-of-the-Gapper:

Picture 3

Yes, it is amazing, but how can you look at the world and think it was made by an all-loving, all-powerful God? What about the Holocaust, or, for that matter, natural selection?:

Picture 12

If this guy isn’t joking, he needs a biology class, stat!:

Monkeys

274 Comments

  1. Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Oh dear – we are all the way back to the watch on the heath…
    Pathetic – people unwilling or unable to think.

  2. Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    And yet, the malice sometimes exposed in the comments on this website about how stupid these people are, sometimes puts me off. Makes me think: If the statistical data is correct, the majority of you comes from a wealthy background who could afford a proper education. So please take your smug remarks about those, who didn’t have that opportunity and possibly were religiously indoctrinated since their childhood, and shove them back where you probably pulled them out (hint: it’s not located in the head).
    Those pictures make me feel rather sad instead of superior.

    • Steven in Tokyo
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the polite comment.

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:53 am | Permalink

        Well thank you! I think in comparison to “Carnival of the Blithering Idiots” or “Wall of stupid” (to name a few), I was indeed quite polite.

        • Steven in Tokyo
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:05 am | Permalink

          Yes, “shoving” is such a polite expression when it refers to the location you refer to.

          • Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:21 am | Permalink

            Now I see what you’re getting at … *that* sentence …

            Maybe you could tell from my comments anyway, but English is not my first language. I realise that, language-wise, I’m rather influenced by British movies &c., and what I wrote didn’t seem rude to me. Forthright maybe but not offensive. So there’s a foreign-language issue.
            The other thing is, that the expression which you refer to is actually something I would say in my native language (German), and again, it would be blunt rather than offensive. (Actually, it would even be funny.) I probably shouldn’t have literally translated this …

            • Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:06 am | Permalink

              what I wrote didn’t seem rude to me. Forthright maybe but not offensive. So there’s a foreign-language issue.

              The expression seemed amusing and perfectly innocuous to me, too, despite English being my native language. I think anyone who finds the word “shove” offensive is either an extraordinarily delicate soul or a poseur for effect.

              Or is it so much more decorous to suggest that a head should be pushed back into the appropriate orifice?

              • Steven in Tokyo
                Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

                There is nothing wrong or offensive with the word “shove”; what I said was that it was offensive in the context that it was given.
                I am an Australian from a lower working-class background, from a family of poor immigrants who never made it past junior high school in the previous generation. Like me, some of my many cousins managed to get an education, some weren’t interested, but none of them have ever demonstrated the pride in ignorance that seeps out of the faces in those photos. To be told, then, that “the majority of you” (wealthy background, proper education, etc.) need to “shove” “your smug remarks” “where you probably pulled them out” was like a slap in the face. I am neither a delicate soul, nor a poseur for effect.
                I have, however, spent decades coping with foreign-language issues (I speak Japanese more often than English now), and will promptly forget my momentary indignation, and hope that three14159265 may do me the favor of doing so too.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink

      I’d ask you to lighten up a bit, but am afraid you might misinterpret it as smug so I won’t.

      I can’t speak for everyone else, but those pictures certainly doesn’t make me feel superior or better than them.

      And no, I’m not rich or even properly educated and your assumption is slightly….well, arrogant.

      Yes it sucks that these people aren’t well informed about the natural processes occuring and the logical fallacies their questions represents, but let me ask you; Why is it wrong to laugh and comment on pictures of people holding up signs that are somewhat funny?

      How would you prefer we react?

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:23 am | Permalink

        I didn’t make a remark about you (personally). My assumption is that the majority of people who read this website is well educated and scientifically interested and thus come from a background thats privileged. (And I would agree with you that a good education – scientific or otherwise – should not be a privilege, but right now, it is.)
        If my assumption is wrong in your case, then that’s good to hear. If my assumption is just plain wrong, then I apologise for my out-of-line remark.

        Also, it’s not wrong to laugh at the pictures. Actually, I did too. But there’s a difference between laughing and despising. I think it’s perfectly healthy to despise the institutions and leading figures who try to/have the means to keep people from examining the evidence themselves.

        Apart from that I have few preferences – I think comment #7 links to a good response. I laughed at all *those* too, even though I *do* agree with them. The remark “I require my textbooks to be newer than 400 years old.” is simply more satisfying than “I can’t believe how stupid you are.”
        And I also liked comment #13.

        • Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:25 am | Permalink

          Also, I hope those comment numbers are static …

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:38 am | Permalink

          No offence taken, so no apologies necessary, but thanks anyway. :-)

          I suspect that most readers here are interested in the science as well as the other stuff, and it may very well be that many are well-educated, but I wouldn’t equate that as a special privilege compared to the folks on the photographs.

          They look fairly well fed and looked after, and the ability to open some books or googling for info on the web isn’t beyond their capacity….if you catch my drift.

          Pictures like this doesn’t make me sad and angry at anyone.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          Well I can tell you that I don’t come from a privileged background but I did make sure I was educated both formally and informally.

          I think this site’s comments are on the majority well thought out and not pervasively full of the snarky comments you reference. However, since you are seeing things from the other side (the side of those harmed by religion), perhaps you should also consider that many of the people that read this site have been directly or indirectly harmed by religion and they are entitled to express anger when they see harm of this sort done to others. That may come off as snarky but I don’t think it is, compared to other places on the interwebs.

          • Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            I often read the comments on this site, and I know that there is a multitude of intelligent commenters underway here … such as yourself or Jesper, for instance.

            If I’m completely honest, I may just have had the bad luck of picking out all the wrong comments, minus the presence of mind to reply to those directly. The majority of comments and replies for this article is (are?) indeed not of that kind! As if to prove that point, my somewhat rash original comment seems to have prompted some interesting posts further down …

            • Matt D
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

              I’m far more interested in seeing you provide examples of “malicious” comments, since that is the root of the problem.

    • Randy S
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      While I also felt extremely depressed after seeing these, you can’t just ignore the willful ignorance. A complete and utter unwillingness to learn is something to be disdainful about, in my opinion. Perhaps that disdain is partially misdirected, as they are the product of their upbringing and experiences, but these people aren’t completely blameless when they’re only going to perpetuate their misguided beliefs.

    • onlyhereforthebacon
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Seriously? Most of these questions could be easily answered with a simple google search and reading a wikipedia page. Sure, there could be some primary references behind a paywall, but nonetheless they demonstrate a willingness to stay ignorant. Not all highly educated persons are from a wealthy backgrounds, either. Sure we might be in the minority, but that is true for many occupations and not in any way restricted to academia.

    • Ed Venegas
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      My parents were poor immigrants that couldn’t speak the language when they came to this country (USA)… ya these people aren’t too bright ;)

      While I believe most of their problem is that they’ve been brainwashed, they should be smart enough to know how to use Google.

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        While I believe most of their problem is that they’ve been brainwashed, they should be smart enough to know how to use Google.

        This comment has turned up once or twice without challenge. Hm.

        I’d suggest Google is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you go googling for information on climate change, the chances are that most of the sites you turn up are denialist ones, like Watts Up With That. If you go googling for information on evolution, it’s likely you’ll find lots of creationism. Google and the other search engines (I recommend GoodSearch, which aids charities) exercise no form of quality control over the results they give you. If the people in the photos turn to the internet for enlightenment, chances are they’ll simply find stuff that reinforces their misguidedness.

        Remember, Jenny McCarthy proudly boasts that she learnt all that fine information she has on vaccination by attending the University of Google.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          This is a good point. I often make the remark, “In the information age, ignorance is a choice” but I recognize that there is a strong confirmation bias that Google can’t always breach. Further, people who spout this tripe are not usually taught critical thinking skills or encourage to challenge authority.

        • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          Right: “just google it” doesn’t solve the higher order problem, namely these poor folks do not know how to evaluate arguments, assess claims, etc. It is a bootstrapping problem, and I dont’t know how to teach it, especially to adults who haven’t been lucky enough to get what I got. (I have a saying “science begins at home”.)

          • Jesper Both Pedersen
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            I agree that the web and all its pitfalls of misrepresented facts and outright lies can be a tricky partner, but with minimal computer skills and a bit of curiosity you can obtain quite a lot of facts.

            It goes without saying that some, maybe most, never look further than to AiG, evolutionnews or the sort, but the first step is to make the information available. The internet has made that possible and I am one those web-hippies who genuinely believe it primarily is a force for good.

            The more open floodgates of communication, the better, even though it requires you to sort out you garbage once in a while.

            • Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

              Well, put it this way. Suppose I found both this site and AiG. Which one do I believe, assuming I do not remember the first thing about science?

              What I’ve called the “Chomsky fallacy” is assuming that the truth will somehow be convincing, and that logically and epistemologically correct will win. It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. That’s why it is a bootstrapping exercise, and why I remember fondly hearing from my father how to figure things out, when I was presumably impressionable.

              An example I remember was when there was supposedly a “haunted house” just out of normal walking distance from our school growing up, and my sister and I wanted to go and check it out; I was already skeptical (having watched enough _Scooby Doo_ and _3-2-1 Contact_ and such, I think) that there could be such a thing. So one weekend my father sister and I walked over to check it out, at his request, and we spend 30 minutes poking around (carefully, outside only) an old boarded up building – later demolished. Other students in my school believed the story about the haunted house because they didn’t seem to know how to investigate, how to evaluate the claims, etc.

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

                Well, put it this way. Suppose I found both this site and AiG. Which one do I believe, assuming I do not remember the first thing about science?

                I think it depends on several factors and that it isn’t necessarily a given that a believer will choose the bible. If it was so I’d reckon creationism would overwhelmingly dominate the current understanding of biology.

                My point is there’s no real answers in genesis for those who keep looking. In other words, I think you’re underestimating the potential curiosity some of these people might have.

                What I’ve called the “Chomsky fallacy” is assuming that the truth will somehow be convincing, and that logically and epistemologically correct will win. It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. That’s why it is a bootstrapping exercise, and why I remember fondly hearing from my father how to figure things out, when I was presumably impressionable.

                Again, I think you’re being a bit pessimistic. Speaking as someone who’s father didn’t inspire any critical or skeptical thinking in particular, I think it’s fairly common that people learn these things along the way, not as a bootstrapping exercise, but as a relatively gradual process with all kinds of different inputs along the way..

                In short, most people live and learn, imo.

        • Ed Venegas
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 4:11 am | Permalink

          What I ment by using Google was to look up the specific questions in these photos… while they will get creationist hits, they will also be exposed to the other side.

      • Pete Cockerell
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        I don’t think the ability to use Google is a sufficient condition for being able to educate yourself. Try googling “do vaccines cause autism?” to see how well educated it will help you to become on that question.

        • Pete Cockerell
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          Ah, realthog beat me to it. It takes so long to reply by phone!

  3. Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Note that homeopathy is recognized, approved and taught in many medical schools in Europe.

    In Switzerland, the compulsory health insurances also cover acupuncture, homeopathy and a few other “alternative” medical treatments as long as the doctors dispensing them have been properly trained in these disciplines:

    http://tinyurl.com/nwdg8vh

    See also:

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      I added the video for comic relief. Nevertheless, homeopathy has been fully accepted as valid both in Switzerland and several other European countries, Germany among them.

      • Bob J.
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Homeopathy in the ER

        • Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Satire asaide, homeopathy is not for emergency and acute medical problems – for those, surgery and allopathy are necessary. Homeopathy works best in treating patients with a tendency to various and recurring conditions.

          • Max
            Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, as long as the recurring condition is “perfect health.”

            • Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

              Bull! It is very effective against sinusitis, bronchitis and a large number of other chronic conditions. Don’t mock what you don’t know anything about. It even works on animals and many veterinarians here in Switzerland use it on dogs, cats and horses, among others, with great success.

              • Pete Cockerell
                Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                LOL

              • Pete Cockerell
                Posted February 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

                Yes, you can always rely on a publication dedicated to the subject of homeopathy to give an unbiased account.

                I see others have replied to you so I won’t belabor the point, other than to point out that for homeopathy to work, several fundamental aspects of our understanding of physics would need to be wrong. No-one has ever shown in a replicable way, for example, that water has the necessary “memory effect” required for homeopathy to work (and don’t try to wriggle out of it by citing “quantum” explanations; they’re the worst of the worst pseudo-science).

                The bigger and better controlled studies of homeopathy are, the closer the effects are to pure placebo. It is interesting though that apparently lack of god-belief doesn’t necessarily translate into a healthy skepticism of other magical claims.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 1:33 am | Permalink

                “It is interesting though that apparently lack of god-belief doesn’t necessarily translate into a healthy skepticism of other magical claims.”

                Yes. There’s this claim for homeopathy, and earlier the same poster claimed to have a secret cure for burns…

                And yet some atheists refuse to believe that not all atheists are rational…

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

                First of four, three to follow:

                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2170921

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

                Second of four, two to follow:
                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15741420

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

                Third of four, one to follow:
                http://www.journaldatabase.org/articles/anxiolytic_antidepressive_effects.html

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

                Fourth of four – I could go on but I reckon you get the gist:
                http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2894%2990407-3/abstract

              • Sastra
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

                Regarding your 4 links.

                Two of those studies are from the 90′s, and one of them looks like it’s from a homeopathy journal. One is a preclinical study. They go all over, a huge warning flag that we’re dealing with a placebo: pain, allergies, depression. Those are subjectively evaluated, another red flag.

                Does this mean we should dismiss them? No.

                But I think you fail to understand the major problem here. It has to do with the impressive nature of the claim — and the paucity and inadequacy (not the total absence) of good evidence.

                There have been studies which purport to show that homeopathy is “more than placebo.” There have been many more studies which do not. And the studies which seem to have shown success have often been questioned — or ripped apart — for methodological flaws.

                These flaws are not ones which you or I can catch because we are simply not qualified. That is, I don’t know that you are not a qualified medical research scientist but I’m taking a leap and guessing that if were, you would have mentioned it earlier.

                Going to the University of Google and typing in “homeopathy studies” or whatever does not confer expertise in this area. For either of us. But only one of us is going against the major consensus of scientific experts in multiple fields. Remember, if the principles of homeopathy are true, then it will change both physics and chemistry. Homeopathic laws would not be limited to just people who

                Have any of the Science-Based Medicine proponents gone to the trouble of going through the 4 homeopathy studies you cite to catch weaknesses, mistakes, or misrepresentations? I don’t know. I know I’ve seen them do so for some studies, as an exercise in scientific methodology, but I don’t have the time/interest to spend an hour or two checking up.

                I did, however, find the Lancet one addressed in the link I gave you earlier:


                “The best this supposedly positive review could say was that while homeopathy did not appear effective for any specific medical problem, it looked like it might have some effects beyond that of a placebo. (quotation) …
                However, even this tepid conclusion did not stand up to further analysis, which revealed that this apparent effect was an illusion created by the inclusion of poor quality studies with inadequate controls for bias in the initial review. When the original authors re-analyzed their own work, they showed that the better one controls for bias, the less likely one is to see any effect of homeopathy, exactly as one would expect if homeopathy is a placebo.”

                Stop running around looking for articles to cite. Read some of the links which address why scientists are skeptical. It is not because this 18th century theory on the One Cure for All Disease is so cutting edge, cheap, or harmless.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

                Maybe it doesn’t work on Americans – something in their drinking water, perhaps – but it works perfectly well on countless Europeans which is why in Switzerland it is recognized and covered by health insurance.

              • Sastra
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

                It must work on Europeans because it’s covered by medical insurance?

                I’m assuming that is a joke.

                One of the common rationales for using homeopathy even though it is a placebo is that it siphons off what is called “the Worried Well.” This is the large group of folks who have aches and pains and vague and non-specific problems which don’t seem to have any obvious cause … but they’re not life-threatening. It also includes people with chronic conditions like auto-immune diseases which have no cure or useful treatment. Doctors don’t know what to do, they don’t want to keep giving them medicine or tests, so they send them to an Alternative Center where a homeopath holds their hand, takes their history, and gives them something which won’t actually hurt them because it’s evaporated water on a starch pill. The placebo effects often make these patients feel that they got something for their money.

                Insurance companies probably figure that the few lives lost due to using homeopathic treatment vs. spending more time & money to discover what is really wrong is balanced out by the large demand. Don’t kid yourself, there is money in homeopathy — especially considering the complete lack of actual ingredients.

                Seriously, please look around at some of the articles in the link I gave you. This is not a serious scientific debate where there is credible experts and evidence on both sides. Homeopathy is about as extreme a version of pseudoscience as you can get — and it is popular despite this (or perhaps because of this.)

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

                Oh, sorry: That should have been:

                +0.000 000 000 000 000 001

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

                In Switzerland, health-insurance coverage of homeopathy (whose medicine are very, very cheap) is mandatory – it is not the choice of the insurances (they would rather not pay for them), it has been imposed on them by the government after extensive research on the subject. Only doctors who have studied homeopathy and are registered and authorized in that discipline are allowed to dispense homeopathic remedies and are listed as such are included in the insurance coverage. If a doctor is not in that official list, they are not allowed to dispense homeopathy remedies.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                No financial motives for doctors to espouse a belief in the efficacy of homeopathy there, then

                /@

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

                Yet the list of authorized doctors is very long indeed. Go figure! We receive the list of authorized doctors in the canton of residence, and there are hundreds of authorized doctors in the Geneva canton alone – Geneva canton is one of the smallest Swiss cantons.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                I have seen this before – it is written by anti-homeopathy sympathizers quoting other anti-homeopathy sympathisers. Give me the actual report and not what anti-homeopathy writers think of it.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

                Substitute CREATIONISM for HOMEOPATHY in that and consider who it makes you sound like.

                /@

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

                Substitute GENIUS for HOMEOPATHY and consider who it makes me sound like.

                False analogy back atcha!

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

                Let’s apply the Ham test then. We’ve already said what it would take to convince us that homeopathy works: a large and growing body of high-quality clinical trials with positive results that stand up to critical scrutiny. (A coherent, non-magical theory of how it works wouldn’t hurt either.)

                Now it’s your turn, vierotchka. Given that you’ve dismissed the scientific consensus on this as an anti-homeopathy conspiracy, is there any conceivable evidence that could convince you that you (and the Swiss government) are wrong and that it doesn’t work after all? And if so, what sort of evidence would that be?

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

                The evidence for me would be that it has no effect on me, on my children, on my grand-children, on my brothers, their wives, children and grandchildren and on my cats.

                But it does have and always has an effect on all of the above, with great success where allopathic drugs were not having an effect.

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

                And if that alleged effect could not be reliably replicated under controlled conditions in laboratories or clinical trials, you’d still be comfortable trusting your own subjective judgment over the best available scientific evidence?

                Remember what Feynman said: “The most important thing is not to fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

                It is extremely difficult to fool me, neither have I fooled myself, and placebo effects do not work on cats but homeopathic remedies have cured a number of my cats when ordinary medicine did not work.

                But still, whatever rocks your boat…

                Scientists adamantly didn’t believe that sounds or images could be transmitted over vast distances, until Guglielmo Marconi and John Logie Baird proved them wrong.

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

                “It is extremely difficult to fool me, neither have I fooled myself”

                You’ve just given us an excellent example of a self-refuting statement.

                But hey, whatever floats your world.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

                Excreta bovines.

                But hey, whatever floats your inner goat.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:28 am | Permalink

                “Scientists adamantly didnt believe that sounds or images could be transmitted over vast distances”

                Citation please!

                And – - where is your homeopathic Marconi or Baird?

                /@

                >

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted February 13, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

                OMG homeopathic Marconi. That’s priceless. :)

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

                About the scientists, that’s something I read in a book many decades ago in school.

                There is a plethora of homeopathic Marconis and Bairds in Europe, which is why it is widely accepted here.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

                Um. No. Not really.

                /@

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

                It is as good and relevant as yours.

              • Sastra
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

                Oh, vierotchka, I just found something specifically on the Swiss Report on Homeopathy. You mentioned Switzerland and insurance, so you should find it interesting.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

                Worth bookmarking. Thx.

                /@

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

                I have seen this before – it is written by notorious homeopathy haters quoting other homeopathy haters. Give me the *actual* report and not what anti-homeopathy writers think of it.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:25 am | Permalink

                Really, you are sounding more and more like a religionist.

                Why on Earth would we *hate* homeopathy? If it was proven efficacious it would be *wonderful*.

                /@

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

                So are you, and yes, it works well and it is very useful, whether you like and accept it or not. Your opinion doesn’t change the facts.

              • Sastra
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                vierotchka wrote:

                The evidence for me would be that it has no effect on me, on my children, on my grand-children, on my brothers, their wives, children and grandchildren and on my cats.
                But it does have and always has an effect on all of the above, with great success where allopathic drugs were not having an effect.

                This misconception that personal experience is the gold standard goes right to the heart of what science is. There are just too many confounding factors in any individual’s health and life to be sure that it was the homeopathic remedy which was responsible for apparent improvement. So we test it.

                Believing that one is too smart, too careful, and too skeptical to be fooled has misled many brilliant people throughout history. It was only when we slowly evolved careful and rigorous checks and balances that human beings had a method which allowed them to escape being seduced by ‘what they had seen for themselves.’

                When you talk about the “anti-homeopathy sympathizers” you’re not talking about a few disgruntled cranks who won’t accept evidence no matter what. You’re attacking the overwhelming scientific consensus of experts in multiple fields for hundreds of years. These are people who have every incentive to jump on new discoveries and no reason to suddenly and inexplicably enmesh themselves in a conspiracy to ignore the truth.

                In other words, you’re not on the side of the angels on this one.

                And if you are serious about this issue, then I suggest you get yourself to forums where medical professionals hang out — like here or here or my earlier link — and make your demands to them. Because if you care about the process of honest critical thinking — and not just about jumping on the scientific bandwagon when it suits you and jumping off when it doesn’t — then this matters. Meet the appropriate experts on their own turf and give them the opportunity to respond.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                So now you believe in angels? Who’d have thunk it… you’re full of surprises!

                As for the rest of your post – I will no longer comment on the subject, faced with the fundamentalist extremism y’all have shown against things you cannot comprehend.

              • Pete Cockerell
                Posted February 13, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

                Wait, you’re saying you do comprehend the mechanism of homeopathic cures? Please tell us what it is, along with the citations to the double-blinded controlled studies that prove the efficacy of those cures. Or are you saying that although you don’t understand how it works, you’re willing to go along with homeopathy on… faith? Because as we all know, Σ(anecdote) != proof.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

                [Aconite in homeopathic relief of post-operative pain and agitation in children].
                [Article in French]
                Alibeu JP, Jobert J.
                Author information

                Département d’anesthésie-réanimation, CHU de Grenoble, France.

                Abstract

                Despite the use of modern analgesic methods and an improved use of narcotics, the combination pain-agitation sometimes persists in the recovery-room. Aconit seems to be an appropriate homeopathic treatment in this case. To prescribe it, the following conditions must be combined: violence and suddeness of the stress bringing about intense and anguish. The study included 50 children with such symptoms; it was carried out double-blind, the children being given either placebo or Aconit. Aconit proved to be effective for children’s postoperative agitation with 95% good results. It is usually stated in such studies that the placebo effect is high and may reach rates higher than 30%. Aconit is an amazing cure when well prescribed, as much for the speediness of its action as for its efficiency. This remedy has a place in the recovery-room and should be in every physician’s emergency case. The fundamental research could specify how the remedy works and may be discover other molecules effective for stress.

                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2170921

              • Pete Cockerell
                Posted February 13, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

                1. Aconit (aka Wolf’s bane etc.) is a “herbal” medicine, not a homeopathic one. Unless the extract was diluted such that no molecules would statistically exist in whatever was given to the children, this wasn’t a study of homeopathic treatment. Unfortunately the abstract doesn’t mention the dilution ratios.

                2. The abstract only mentions “general” placebo effects, not the specific results for patients on the placebo arm of the trial.

                3. The abstract ends with, “The fundamental research could specify how the remedy works and may be discover other molecules effective for stress.” The fact that it’s even talking about “molecules” implies this abstract wasn’t diluted to a homeopathic degree.

                I think these study shows that low concentrations of an extract of a known poison can have an analgesic (+placebo) effect, just as willow tree bark does.

              • Posted February 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

                Had the children been given Aconit in herbal form, it would have killed them as it is a very potent poison.

                http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/bha-charity/how-we-can-help/medicine-a-z/aconite/

              • Pete Cockerell
                Posted February 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

                Sigh. And you believe any concentration between pure extract and pure water (which is the homeopathic concentration) is lethal, do you? Clearly I know it’s a poison, because I mentioned it in my post! Warfarin can be pretty fatal too, especially to non-resistant rats, but that doesn’t mean low dosages can’t be beneficial, e.g. as an anti-clotting agent.

          • Posted February 11, 2014 at 4:24 am | Permalink

            No scientific studies show that homeopathy is anything more than a placebo effect, so please don’t tout it here. It is dangerous and people can die from resorting to this kind of medicine.

            • Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

              It is not dangerous if used properly with doctors’ supervision. It works on animals too. Many veterinarians here in Switzerland successfully use it on dogs, cats, cattle and horses – where is the placebo there, eh?

              • Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

                Fortunately in the UK we do know what we are talking about: > In December [2010] the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which governs the use of medicines in animals made clear that homeopathic treatments could only be classed as medicines, and thus prescribed by vets, if they were able to demonstrate efficacy. > > Homeopathic products cannot demonstrate efficacy to any satisfactory degree and so this means that they can’t be used by vets to treat animals. The use of homeopathy to treat animals “there’s no placebo effect in animals, is there, so it must work” the homeopaths claim has long been a mainstay of the homeopathy industry’s argument. > > The logic of the VMD’s decision is unquestionable. If it doesn’t have efficacy, it can’t be a medicine. And, ethically, if a medicine doesn’t work then a sick animal deserves to have real treatment not sham treatment. The danger of course is that people may be lulled into believing a homeopathic remedy is actually treating their pets or livestock, when in fact a treatable disease is being allowed to get worse. This is avoidable harm in other words, irresponsible behaviour or even animal cruelty. > http://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2011/jan/05/homeopathy-ban-prescription-pets

                /@

              • Posted February 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

                Whatever. A large number of farmers swear by it and have their vets apply it. If it didn’t work, they would stop doing so. Anyway, let’s agree to disagree. I have seen it work on animals and on children, as well as on myself.

              • Gregory Kusnick
                Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

                “I have seen it work”

                No, you haven’t, unless you’ve conducted a properly controlled, double-blind clinical trial. That’s the only context in which the true efficacy of treatment can be reliably discerned.

                No doubt you’ve seen people getting better (or at least looking better) after homeopathic treatment. But such anecdotes do not justify the conclusion that homeopathy caused the improvement. For that you need real science, and (as others have said) such science shows that homeopathy is no better than faith healing.

              • Sastra
                Posted February 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

                Pointing out that homeopathy is popular in certain areas doesn’t address its credibility. When it comes to the science, it’s an epic fail. You may find this very informative. Homeopathy is the poster child for medical pseudoscience.

                Keep in mind that the “placebo effect” involves all sorts of things which would and could apply to animals — like regression to the mean. And while animals may be ‘blind’ to the method which has been used, the people who evaluate its effectiveness aren’t. Unless, of course, it’s a serious study — in which case the results show it doesn’t work.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

                @ vierotchka

                “let’s agree to disagree”

                No, let’s not.

                You’re robustly skeptical on religion, it seems, but take a widely different tack re “alternative” medicine (the Gift before, homeopathy now).

                Would you agree to disagree with religionists? Clearly not.

                So, don’t expect me (and evidently others here) to agree to disagree with you on this!

                /@

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

                See my four responses to Diane above.

              • Sastra
                Posted February 12, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

                vierotchka wrote:

                Anyway, let’s agree to disagree.

                Since we’re so far down in the reply hierarchy we can no longer reply directly, the likelihood is that the subject can easily be dropped, if you so choose.

                But Ant’s point is valid. This is a scientific issue, not a disagreement about tastes or lifestyles. Your personal experiences do not lie outside of objective analysis and you apparently care enough about the topic to be open to exploring it.

                Take a look at my link in my earlier reply: it contains an exhaustive list of articles which explain why homeopathy seems to work, but does not and for all practical purposes can not. If it DID work, it would change our fundamental understanding of physics and chemistry and rewrite everything we think we know about the nature of reality.

                That makes it important. If your interpretation of your experience is right, then it would not be like finding out that willow bark is good for inflammation. It would be the equivalent of discovering that the earth does not move round the sun after all and the stars are small lights in the firmament.

                Among the articles at my link, here is a recent one which deals with the objections the pro-homeopathy vets make.

                WE can drop it. But you shouldn’t.

              • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

                See my four responses to Diane above.

  4. andreschuiteman
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    To me there is something sinister about seemingly normal, friendly-looking people revealing their fundamentalist lunacy. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers comes to mind.

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:34 am | Permalink

      Invasion Of The Body Snatchers comes to mind.

      Especially the ones with such obviously forced and exaggerated smiles…

      • andreschuiteman
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

        And who accost you on the street or knock on your door on Sunday mornings. Creepy.

  5. Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    If those pics represent creationism’s best arguments, why the $%#@ are the creationists converting anybody, instead of abandoning it in droves?

    Dave Lerner
    gophergold.wordpress.com


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