Sunday, January 31, 2010

The 10:23 campaign

Homeopathy - There's nothing in it.

The 10:23 campaign, is a campaign which "aims to raise awareness about the reality of homeopathy".

 The 10:23 campaign

Yesterday, on January 30th, hundreds of sceptics around the UK (and Australia/New Zealand) "took part in a mass homeopathic 'overdose' in protest at Boots' continued endorsement and sale of homeopathic remedies" (you can see videos of the various events here). In an effort to prove that homeopathic "medicine" is nothing more than a scam.

Of course, no one died even though the 'overdoses' were quite massive. Homeopathic 'medicine' doesn't work, because it is just water or sugar. Nothing else.

But thankfully campaigns like these can help expose the scam, that homeopathy is.

From twitter: Quick plug - video of the #ten23 event here at 10:23 Campaign HQ in Liverpool. Including a fumbled intro speech!

Edit: Success in New Zealand:
From twitter (@krelnik): Mass overdose forces New Zealand Homeopaths to admit products contain nothing. #ten23 /via @mjrobbins

"What is homeopathy?" you may ask.
It's a large scale pseudo-scientific 'medicine' scam, designed to trick people into paying money for water and sugar, with claims of miraculous cures and pseudo-scientific flim flam.

You can read about it here, you can read a science-based approach to homeopathy here at, or you can read my attempt at describing it, below.

The basis of homeopathy is twofold.

1) Like cures likes, which claims that you can treat a condition with a toxin that will cause the same effects. Such as curing a poisoning with a similar poison or treating fever with something which causes you to feel hot.
Not necessarily a scam or delusion, it just doesn't work that way.

2) Dilution of remedies, which means that you dilute the 'active ingredient' to and extreme level. To the point of ridiculousness if you ask any scientist/doctor/sensible person.
A homeopathic remedy has a dilution level with is suffixed with either an X or a C (X is 10 times dilution and C is 100).
A remedy with the level of 10X is diluted to 1/10th of its original strength, 10 times. 20X is diluted to 1/10th 20 times. 20C is diluted to 1/100th 20 times.
A 3C (or 6X) remedy is diluted 1 million times. 9X is 1 billion, 6C is 1 trillion times. And then it gets very stupid.

You'll often see homeopathic remedies with 30X or 30C as their dilution level.
To dilute something to 3X you would take 1 ml of you solution and dilute in 1 litre of water.
(Imagine you take 1 ml of Cola and mix in 1 litre of water. Not much taste/smell/colour left.)
To reach 30X, you would then take 1 ml of the new solution and mix that into 1 litre of clean water. Mix well.
And repeat that 8 more times.
(Imagine how strong the Cola taste would be after diluting it 1000 times 10 times in a row.)

To reach 30C you would have to do it twice as many times (that's diluting it to 1/1000th of the original, 20 times in a row).

Now, creating massively diluted remedies is one thing, but the homeopaths claim that the more diluted the remedy, the more potent it is. How that works is beyond me, but the homeopaths claim that water contains a memory of the original substance. So why bother making dilutions at all, I ask? The tap water we drink has been in touch with pretty much every substance on the surface of our planet at some point. Surely the memory is contained in that water as well?
I refer to the Cola dilution above, I doubt anyone would claim that a Cola diluted billions of times is stronger than a non-diluted Cola.

That claim is a great indicator of someone trying to sell something, which they know do not work.

If you want to see how homeopathic dilutions, you can see sceptic Crispian Jago create a 30C dilution of his own piss here.

Hopefully this illustrates the ridiculousness of the homeopathic dilutions. Nothing of the original ingredient remains once you reach those levels. And remedies with far higher dilution levels are sold.

What's the harm?
The greatest threat comes from the persuasiveness of a "remedy" which promises all the cures that modern medicine cannot. But unlike real medicine, homeopathy does not work. But it can still persuade people into stop using their proper medicine ultimately killing them.

So the harm is loss of human life. And not accidental loss, but deaths caused by scammers and tricksters selling a product, which they know is fake, as medicine.