It looks like we all managed to survive the 10:23 mass overdose – no great surprise. I don’t think that anyone – sceptic or homeopath – was expecting any other outcome. The publicity stunt (it was never intended to be an experiment) seems to have had the desired effect, in that the media have reported it – from a brief blurt by the Mirror to a substantial piece by the Observer and everything in-between, my favourite being the reports by the Mail and Guardian, but only because they have a photo of my wonderful wife taking her ‘medicine’.
The protest has been successful in that it has sparked discussion. Indeed on Twitter the legendary flaming spam troll Nancy Malik has worked herself into a veritable frenzy of activity. I expect she’ll be busy spamming every blog and news website for months to come with the amount of coverage 10:23 has generated.
The to-and-fro between sceptics and homeopaths over the last couple of days has been of real interest, because it has clearly demonstrated why we should have concerns about the quality of evidence and arguments being put forward for homeopathy. The simple fact is that there is a gap in the logic or critical thought process associated with the homeopathic method. Rather than approaching the discipline with the opinion that it could be improved or that some elements of it might work better than others, homeopaths seem to seek to justify the entirety of the system wholesale without recourse to the scientific method. This is consistent with a faith-based system supported by dogmatic doctrine, not an evidence-based system. It relies on belief rather than knowledge.
Homeopathy has not changed appreciably in 200 years, since it was founded by Samuel Hahnemann. This means that Hahnemann either managed to hit upon a perfect system that required no improvement, or that the system has been very recalcitrant to change (and therefore development). Given that the evidence in support of homeopathy to date has been equivocal at best, I don’t think that perfection is the likely option. If it was as effective as claimed by the likes of Nancy Malik there could be little doubt as to its efficacy.
I will leave the critique of homeopathy there for now, or this post will take another few weeks to complete – however it will be continued. For now I’d just like to state that it was a genuine honour to join Simon Singh, Evan Harris, Dave Gorman and the assorted sceptics who braved that icy Saturday morning in Red Lion square to make a point. I want to pass on my thanks to the London 10:23 team headed up by Carmen – it was a thoroughly enjoyable event and hopefully it won’t be the last – let’s see how the NHS report on homeopathy pans out.
Here are some photos from the event (higher rez versions are available if anyone wants them) – more can be seen here: