MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Yesterday, it was announced that homeopaths can easily and quickly earn a sizable amount of money.

The announcement was made during the German sceptics conference ‘Skepkon‘ in Koeln. As I could not be present, I obtained the photo via Twitter.

So, if you are a homeopath or a fan of homeopathy, all you have to do – as the above slide says – is to reproducibly identify homeopathic remedies in high potency. The procedure for obtaining the money has to follow three pre-defined steps:

  1. Identification of three homeopathic preparations in high potency according to a proscribed protocol.
  2. Documentation of a method enabling a third party to identify the remedies.
  3. Verification of the experiment by repeating it.

Anyone interested must adhere to the full instructions published by the German sceptics GWUP:

1. Review of test protocol

Together with a representative of GWUP, the applicants review and agree on this protocol prior to the start of the test. Minor changes may be applied if justified, provided they are mutually agreed to in advance and do not affect the validity of the test, especially the blinding and randomization of the samples. In any case we want to avoid that the results get compromised or their credibility impeached by modifications of the protocol while the test is already under way. After mutual confirmation, the test protocol is binding for the whole duration of the test and its evaluation.

2. Selection of drugs

The applicant proposes which three drugs should be used in the trial. This gives them the opportunity to select substances that they think they could distinguish particularly well as homeopathic remedies. The potency may be selected freely as well, whereby the following conditions must be observed:

– all drugs must be available as sugar globules of the same grade (“Globuli” in German);
– the same potency, namely D- or C-potency above D24 / C12, is used for all three drugs;
– all drugs can be procured from the same producer.

3. Procurement of samples

The samples will be purchased by GWUP and shipped from the vendor directly to the notary who will perform the randomization. GWUP will purchase sufficient numbers of packages to complete the series of 12 samples according to the randomization list. The procurement will ensure that the samples derive from different batches of production as follows.

3.1. Common remedies

Common remedies, i.e. remedies sold in high numbers, will be procured from randomly selected pharmacies from the biggest cities in Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart…). Each pharmacy supplies a bottle for each of the three selected remedies and ships it directly to the notary in charge of randomization. If the applicants need a sample of known content for calibration, then this will be procured from yet another pharmacy in another German city.

3.2. Special remedies

If due to low sales it is possible that the above procedure is not sufficient to have all samples from different batches, a randomly selected pharmacy will be appointed to produce all the samples from raw materials purchased from the producer. GWUP will procure the mother tinctures, the raw sugar pills, and bottles and packages, to be shipped directly to the respective pharmacy who then will do the potentization, label the bottles and send them to the notary. If there are extra samples of known content required for calibration, then an extra set of samples will be produced. One set of samples will be kept in a sealed package for future reference.

The applicant and GWUP mutually agree on which procedure is used before the start of procurement. If more than 10 grams of globules per sample are required for the procedure used for inentification, the applicant has to indicate this in advance, and GWUP will take this into account.

4. Randomization / blinding

The randomization and blinding is done by a sworn-in public notary in Würzburg, Germany, who is selected by a random procedure. Würzburg is chosen because the first part of the task is to be evaluated at the University of Würzburg, for all participants based in Europe. For overseas applicants, the location will be mutually agreed on.

The notary receives a coding list showing how the three drugs A, B and C are to be distributed among the twelve samples. This list is compiled by the GWUP representative by throwing dice. The notary also determines which drug is assigned to which letter by throwing dice. Note that the drugs may not be present in the set in equal numbers.

The notary completely removes the original label from the bottle and replaces it with the number without opening the bottle. The randomization protocol is deposited in a sealed envelope with the notary public without a copy being made beforehand. The notary disposes of surplus packs. If special remedies are processed, one set of marked samples is sealed and forwarded to GWUP for later reference in a sealed package.

The coded bottles are sent from the notary to the applicant without individual packaging and documentation. The applicant confirms receipt of the samples.

5. Identification

The applicant identifies which of the 12 bottles contains which drug, using any method and procedure of his choice. There is no limit as to the method used for identification, and this well may be a procedure not currently recognized by modern science. However, GWUP at the start requires a short and rough outline of how the applicant wants to proceed, and GWUP reserves the right to reject applications whose sincerity for scientific work seems questionable.

The applicant is also required to specify a period of time within which they will be able to produce their results. This period may not exceed six months. If it expires without the applicant being able to show their results, the outcome will be considered negative. However, the candidate may apply for an extension in good time before the deadline, if they can provide a reasonable explanation and is not caused by the respective identification process as such.

The applicant is explicitly advised to observe ethics standards, and to procure the consent of an appropriate ethics committee if their method involves testing on humans or animals.

6. Result Pt. 1

If reasonable, the applicant may present their findings as part of the PSI-Tests held annually by GWUP at the University of Würzburg. The applicant’s result will be compared to the coding protocol from the notary. The number of bottles in which the notary’s record corresponds to the applicant’s details is determined. The result includes a description of the method used, if possible with meaningful intermediate data such as measurement protocols or symptom lists of drug provings.

The first part of the test is considered a success if the content of no more than one bottle is identified incorrectly and a description of the procedure is produced.

7. Result Pt. 2 and 3: Replication and Verification

Replication of the test is to ensure that a successful first result was not caused by chance alone. In addition, the procedure explained by the applicant is to be verified in a way depending on its nature. The objective is to verify that the identification was indeed performed by using this very method, and that the description is complete and suitable for a third party to achieve the same outcome.

For replication, steps 2 to 5 will be repeated. Applicants may select to use the same drugs as before. In this case they will then procured from another manufacturer or prepared by a different pharmacy with raw material from a different supplier. Alternatively, the candidate may indicate three new drugs which then can be obtained from the original vendor.

For a successful replication the same precision as before is required, that is, that only one out of 12 bottles may be identified incorrectly.

The evaluation and presentation of these results may take place at any location, press or other media may be invited to the event as agreed to by the applicant and GWUP.


Is anyone going to take up this challenge?

Personally, I don’t hold my breath.

Many years ago (at a time when homeopaths still saw me as one of their own), I had plans to do a similar but slightly less rigorous test as part of a doctoral thesis for one of my students.

Our investigation was straight forward: we approached several of the world’s leading/most famous homeopaths and asked them to participate. Their task was to tell us which homeopathic remedy they thought was easiest to differentiate from a placebo. Subsequently we would post them several vials – I think the number was 10 – and ask them to tell us which contained the remedy of their choice (in a C30 potency), and which the placebo (the distribution was 50:50, and the authenticity of each vial was to be confirmed by a notary). The experimental method for identifying which was which was entirely left to each participating homeopath; they were even allowed to use multiple, different tests. Based on the results, we would then calculate whether their identification skills were better than pure chance.

Sadly, the trial never happened. Initially, we had a positive response from some homeopaths who were interested in participating. However, when they then saw the exact protocol, they all pulled out.

But times may have changed; perhaps today there are some homeopaths out there who actually believe in homeopathy?

Perhaps our strategy to work only with ‘the best’ homeopaths was wrong?

Perhaps there are some homeopaths who are less risk-adverse?

I sure hope that lots of enthusiastic homeopaths will take up this challenge.

GOOD LUCK! And watch this space.

183 Responses to Are you a homeopath? This is how you can get rich quickly!!!

  • Why are Edzard and the scientific skeptics spending so much of their time studying something like homeopathy that is ‘rubbish’ (Dame Sally Davies) and that Oliver Wendell Holmes (so admired by the skeptics) dismissed over 100 years ago?

    I don’t see conferences of scientists studying whether dragons exist on the moon. Is it because skeptics just can’t forgo the notion that it is they who have a comprehension problem, and that they are missing something about homeopathy that others see?

    I do not share valuable information about homeopathy with people who have contempt towards it. 50 000 Euro won’t temp anyone, this is a multi million dollar question: how to detect a potentised substance. As the skeptics have stated many times, whatever natural medicine has been shown to be effective has been taken over by medicine, why would homeopaths want medicine to take over homeopathy?

    As always, Dr. Ernst’s humour makes my day.

    • 50 000 Euro won’t temp anyone

      Indeed. This is peanuts for any self-respecting swindler. Unfortunately, skepticism doesn’t bring all that much money. These people are doing the best they can, while staying honest. Homeopaths are not bound by such rigorous rules in their Ferengi empire, or in the words of Dr. McCoy “I’ve found that evil usually triumphs unless good is very, very careful.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6smm_pN3dBg

      why would homeopaths want medicine to take over homeopathy

      They wouldn’t. They would have to create another scam or worse, they’d have to do some actual work to make money.

      • If I went to the trouble of jumping through all the hoops to get my hands on a bit of cash (which I don’t need and is generally a poor motivator for getting ordinary people to do anything of this nature) I would repeat the Charles Darwin Drosera experiments to scoop the prize. Now that’s generous of me isn’t it folks? I’m telling you how it can be done.

        (Homeopaths = swindlers is the misconception here and elsewhere on this blog. Not true for the greater part, they are people who want to help others.)

      • I was about 35 when I was encouraged to go to a homeopath for the first time. My attention was drawn to it by someone else. I was not looking for it. The person who suggested it had never been to a homeopath either so the recommendation was not a particularly strong one. However I was run down, tired, stressed and had a long history of URT infection including pneumonia a few years earlier. I felt I had never fully recovered, although I always had regarded myself as basically a well person. I did have the thought that my GP probably wouldn’t be able to help me any further. I had no great expectation of the treatment, no big attitude about it. I just went along to see a student homeopath in his third year. At the end of the consultation he asked me to take a small pill and then I left. I recall having trouble staying awake on the tube journey home and was overcome by a relaxed state of tiredness like a drunk person, except I wasn’t drunk. I woke the next day having had the deepest, most relaxing sleep I could ever remember in a long time and feeling my energy levels and mood were much improved. I felt energised and alert. I suppose I was restored to a better state of inner balance. Energetically speaking, I was quite surprised at how well I was suddenly feeling. The next day was even better and the next and the next. It went on for two weeks or more. I felt exhilarated by my new found energy and capacity for living life with an optimism and outlook I hadn’t even been aware I had lost. Perhaps I should ask you at this point what you think had happened. Was this placebo ? This is a very powerful form of placebo isn’t it ? Around the two week point I started to get worse (I thought). I ‘phoned the homeopath and asked him for some more medicine. After a brief conversation he established I was not worse, I had entered the second stage of treatment known as the return of old symptoms. This is a curative phase where the symptoms lying dormant (uncured) surface under the influence of the initial stimulus. He said this did not require more pills and simply confirmed the reaction was going deep and would be a good cure. My sinus troubles returned, my urine changed, my kidneys ached, I produced a lot of phlegm. This went on for weeks, although strangely I did not feel unwell. All my responses I later learned were text book reactions as clearly defined and laid out under the principles of homeopathic doctrine. I still had great energy and my mood remained good despite the return of my old symptoms. You can probably tell I was deeply impressed by what one small pill could do. I must have been impressed because I spent the next 4 plus years and more studying at the British School and the London School of Homeopathy and was accepted for registration onto the Society of Homeopaths register (after I had submitted to their own additional lengthy application vetting. I understand how homeopathy works but nobody knows exactly why it works. That makes some people uneasy and skeptical but ‘scientific’ skepticism appears highly selective in the face of other immaterial phenomena like magnetism, electricity, strong and weak forces of atomic bonding, the existence of dark matter, cosmic radiation etc. Homeopathy conforms to principles which you can see in action when you treat somebody successfully (with the right remedy). The principles were discovered through repeated observation of patients over decades until the patterns of predictable laws were identified , checked and re-checked. Whether you or I believe something or not makes no difference to the truth.

        • “Homeopathy conforms to principles which you can see in action when you treat somebody successfully (with the right remedy). The principles were discovered through repeated observation of patients over decades until the patterns of predictable laws were identified , checked and re-checked. Whether you or I believe something or not makes no difference to the truth.”
          FASCINATING!
          In this case, please explain why homeopathy fails to perform better in rigorously controlled clinical trials.

          • I appreciate your question. I don’t think homeopathy will ever appear to be performing much better than placebo in clinical trials. You have written extensively about homeopathy which you know is based in certain respects on principles having little to do with the medical model.

            The direction of cure or Herings Law is observable in homeopathic practice. It does not always manifest clearly after a remedy, the true similimum needing to be given in order to provoke such a strong curative response. A partial similar will not produce this. This then raises the question of practitioner competency and experience in remedy selection. So the GP looks in his BNF for the current drug of choice for gastric reflux and finds 25, of which he will probably already have 4 favourites he knows he will choose from. Its medicine by numbers, simple, suppressive or controlling (not curative) and will be immediately effective in a high percentage of cases. The homeopath will search through 150 possible remedies and must have a very detailed head to toe case history including psycho-social assessment, details of lifestyle and dietary habits. IF the homeopath chooses the remedy which most closely resembles the totality of the patient in all these respects (not simple reflux) then a curative response is likely. How exactly you put this kind of practice into an evaluation model designed for pharmaceutical drugs I don’t know. True simillimum cures did not occur in the majority of my cases requiring me to zig zag between remedies in a more complex and slower approach to cure.

          • “The direction of cure or Herings Law is observable in homeopathic practice. It does not always manifest clearly after a remedy, the true similimum needing to be given in order to provoke such a strong curative response. A partial similar will not produce this. This then raises the question of practitioner competency and experience in remedy selection.”
            I fear, you don’t understand the methodology of a clinical trial. All the requirements of homeopathy can be incorporated in it.

        • Nick: Thank you for conforming to all the hallmarks of an idiot….your lack of perspicacity, logic and disinterest in the scientific method allow me to continue to write off Homeopaths as pointless, narcissistic buffoons without feeling callous.

          • Mere insults. Why are you wasting your time here?

          • what do you find insulting in me asking: “please explain why homeopathy fails to perform better in rigorously controlled clinical trials.”?

          • This is my third attempt at a reply Michael. Captcha seems to have been denying me access. Anyway, I started with an account of my own experience for careful consideration. I started looking at clinical trial processes and evaluation some years ago and saw how fraught with difficulty the number crunching can get in order to find something meaningful. The big investors in this are of course pharmaceutical companies who need to know whether to take a drug to market or not based on observations they perform ‘better than placebo.’ The industry is not in its infancy yet the BMJ still publishes papers on how this method can be refined and developed. I used to underestimate the power of placebo but not any more. Clinical significance and statistical significance are two different ends as is the goal of lasting effect/cure. Then we come to the question of effective prescribing, the job of being a doctor. Their are effective and not so effective in every field of work. The drug most popular at the moment may not be the one in use for that condition 5 or 10 years ago so comparative results will always be differing when measured alongside homeopathy. I would love to get to the bottom of this and find out what is really going on. I have read nothing of the Australian trials into homeopathy which caused Ernst to agree with its conclusion. I do however think it is the job of a true scientist to keep an open mind, even in the face of existing evidence. Great minds understand this, as did Einstein, Hawking and many others. If we stop wrestling with the big questions we’ve stopped seeing and have simply adopted a convenient dogma. Most people are happy with that. They want a convenient and convincing explanation that means they don’t have to think for themselves and that is not the true spirit of the scientist. You would have to walk with me a while and I with you if we were to get anything useful from this interaction.

          • Nick Biggins – meaning what?

            There is some fundamental law in every discussion, call it Norbert’s law if you like: If in a discussion not lead among physicists on topics other than physics the name of Einstein occurs (or the expression “quantum physics”) you can be sure that the speaker has no idea of what he is talking about and ignore the argument.

          • Norbert, I am not talking about Einstein per se and that much should be obvious to any discriminating mind. The point I am making concerns the inner qualities of mind (call it discipline if you will) that science requires. This point seems to have been lost on EE himself yesterday too.

    • “I don’t see conferences of scientists studying whether dragons exist on the moon.”
      and i don’t see lots of people claiming that the moon dragon is a panacea!

      • Greg, please explain, why homeopaths of all countries complain about the lack of funding for their research? Please note: That homeopathy is a multi million dollar business is OUR argument, NOT yours.

      • This is my third attempt at a reply Michael. Captcha seems to have been denying me access. Anyway, I started with an account of my own experience for careful consideration. I started looking at clinical trial processes and evaluation some years ago and saw how fraught with difficulty the number crunching can get in order to find something meaningful. The big investors in this are of course pharmaceutical companies who need to know whether to take a drug to market or not based on observations they perform ‘better than placebo.’ The industry is not in its infancy yet the BMJ still publishes papers on how this method can be refined and developed. I used to underestimate the power of placebo but not any more. Clinical significance and statistical significance are two different ends as is the goal of lasting effect/cure. Then we come to the question of effective prescribing, the job of being a doctor. Their are effective and not so effective in every field of work. The drug most popular at the moment may not be the one in use for that condition 5 or 10 years ago so comparative results will always be differing when measured alongside homeopathy. I would love to get to the bottom of this and find out what is really going on. I have read nothing of the Australian trials into homeopathy which caused Ernst to agree with its conclusion. I do however think it is the job of a true scientist to keep an open mind, even in the face of existing evidence. Great minds understand this, as did Einstein, Hawking and many others. If we stop wrestling with the big questions we’ve stopped seeing and have simply adopted a convenient dogma. Most people are happy with that. They want a convenient and convincing explanation that means they don’t have to think for themselves and that is not the true spirit of the scientist. You would have to walk with me a while and I with you if we were to get anything useful from this interaction.

        • Einstein and his father once were talking, someone mentioned homeopathy and asked them what they thought of it. Einstein reflected for a little while and then said: “If one were to lock up 10 very clever people in a room and told them they were only allowed out once they had come up with the most stupid idea conceivable, they would soon come up with homeopathy.”
          edzardernst.com/2018/04/gustav-born-1921-2018/

          • This winter I had to admit I was feeling old. I mean by that rheumatic. My long standing calf cramps of many years duration were inceasingly annoying now conjoined with new symtoms rapidly creeping into my awareness. Deep muscle aches in limbs and contractive tensions in achilles, thighs and upper arms. It made me restless and squirm in my chair. My ankles and knees hurt. The detailed list of symptoms I will spare you. I tried a number of homeopathic remedies over a period of months, some of which helped a little in some places, some helping more than others but always resulting in my relapse often in 48 hours, meaning that repeating each remedy did nothing to help in the long term. So I continued to move around the remedies I had isolated as the most indicated. The single most helpful remedy to all symtptoms simultaneously was Arnica 30c (which surpised me as its simplistic reputation is for first aid use) but again it did not last long. I had taken four or five different remedies in different potencies when I in turn came to a remedy named Guaiacum and found I had bought it many years ago. In March 2018 I took two doses at 1m over a 36 hour period and improved again, this time for a week, then all hell broke loose. My aches and pains became intolerable. Everything was suddenley much worse all at once. Excruciating pain everywhere which went on for two weeks before slowly beginning to subside leaving me pain free everywhere for about four weeks.

            You want to know what happened next? Well you may have to wait a few days as I am travelling. There is a lot more to say about the next remedy I took. It will frighten you, it will shock you, it did me.

        • I do however think it is the job of a true scientist to keep an open mind, even in the face of existing evidence.

          It depends on what you mean by “open”. If you mean believing in what they want to believe, then I’d suggest trusting the existing evidence.

          • Homeopathic case records. That’s where the evidence is. Sorry I can’t help you I no longer work so I had all mine destroyed after the 7 year requirement to retain them.

    • Hi Greg, I like your comment and I agree with everything you say. The only problem is: this is the wrong place for it, because only the one-sided Sceptics are hanging around here.

  • Great idea! However, the price could be higher than 50.000 €, this just doesn´t sound as sexy as the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge of James Randi.
    I would be happy add some of my own money (wouldn´t mind e.g. 1.000€). Maybe a crowd funding approach could be interesting for the GWUP to up to ante!

    • if Trump carries on like that… 50 000 euros might soon be 1 million US $

    • Maybe we can ask the Prince of Wales to bump up the prize money? He’s got enough, after all. All for the Good Cause!
      (And that would really be a case of putting his money where his mouth is…).

    • You see, we do not have the manpower to handle too much of applicants at the same time. A million would attract too much of gamblers, woudn’t it?

  • The most valuable information about homeopathy is already known for free. This is the only information regarding homeopathy, which has the true potential to save lives.

    • That’s not actually true. Instead of opting for knee surgery, you’d be better off with a homeopathic remedy. Same proven effectiveness, without the bodily assault and risk of life threatening infection.

      • You can also say the same thing for antidepressants on non-severe depression or pretty much every disease your body alone can recover from in less than a week.

        The problem much skeptics have is that it ain’t homeopathy that cure the aforementioned illnesses but the effect it triggers… and that can be triggered by simple medical caretaking for example.

        Skeptics don’t fight the placebo effect in itself, but in the case it’s presented as a panacea

      • “You can also say the same thing for antidepressants on non-severe depression or pretty much every disease your body alone can recover from in less than a week.”

        Which would make it alternative medicine, or SCAM as Edzard calls it. If it worked, it would be medicine. Water is safer.

        • That’s a fairly devious way to put it…

          Antidepressants do work. The fact that they have adverse effects or side-effects is because they have specific effects in the first place, some of them being desirable. Trying to balance their effects versus their side-effects and the characteristics of some specific condition is one of the concerns of medicine.

          The specific effects of homeopathic potions are nonexistent, unless they are manufactured irresponsibly. Their having solely nonspecific effects is what makes them alternative medicine.

        • It’s as “devious” as amputating a broken arm.

          Amputation has a specific effect, and it certainly works – you no longer have a broken arm.

          • Amputation has a specific effect, and it certainly works – you no longer have a broken arm.

            Which is precisely the way homeopaths cure cancer without any side effects: by allowing the patients to die. It’s quite (w)holistic too: the whole patient is dead.

          • llk was talking about “pretty much every disease your body alone can recover from in less than a week.”

            Do you suppose there are many types of cancer that fit that description? If there are, would you recommend chemo…or water?

          • I was replying to you, not to anyone else. Surely, that can’t have escaped you? What I quoted should give you a clue.

          • And what you quoted was a reply to James’ reply to llk. Surely, that can’t have escaped you?

          • I was not replying to Ilk, I was replying to you, jm. The indentation makes it very clear.

            …and the first line treatment for a broken arm is not amputation.

          • And the first line of treatment for non-severe depression or “pretty much every disease your body alone can recover from in less than a week” is not antidepressants.

            Not sure what you find so “devious” about that.

          • Who said it was?

            Which would make it alternative medicine, or SCAM as Edzard calls it. If it worked, it would be medicine. Water is safer.

            This is very devious. Just because a condition does not need a specific treatment does not make said treatment alternative. And just because a specific treatment does not treat a specific diagnosis, this does not make it alternative.

            It is because a specific treatment has never been shown to have specific effects (only nonspecific effects) for any condition, that it is alternative.

            Of course you already know all this stuff, so feel free to keep playing with words.

          • Ah, THAT’s the part that got your knickers in a twist? Good grief.

            I haven’t looked, but is there any evidence out there for using antidepressants for a disease that you can recover from in less than a week? I’m assuming there’s not. Which would make it an alternative (to evidence based medicine) treatment. Like knee surgery, icing a sprained ankle, things like that. Docs use SCAM treatments all the time. No big deal.

          • How long a condition takes to resolve has nothing to do with whether a treatment is effective or not for it. Unnecessary and ineffective are two completely different concepts, an observation so painfully obvious, that it seems truly inexplicable why you avoid the distinction and bend the meanings.

            Your obsession with invalidating conventional medicine and denigrating doctors seems to have taken over your reasoning in your last few comments. You have began to contrive and quibble rather confusing and obviously incorrect statements. You will definitely need to formulate more well-thought opinionated fabrications to retain your appeal to your potential online follower-readers.

          • James, I think you should take a breath and untwist your knickers.

            After that, go ask a doctor (or a few, or as many as you can find) if and when they would prescribe antidepressants for any complaint less than a week old.

            Just to put your agitated mind at ease, I have no interest in your ridiculous idea that conventional medicine can be invalidated. That’s all in your mind. I’m quite a fan of conventional medicine. I’m not a fan of fundamentalists.

            And if anyone finds my last few comments denigrating…chances are good they’re not a doctor. Or not a good doctor. Doctors treat patients every day outside of the Cochrane stamp of approval. Evidence is one of many tools – and by far, not the most important one. To suggest otherwise would be insulting to doctors.

            Your “How long a condition takes to resolve has nothing to do with whether a treatment is effective or not for it” comment, on the other hand…

          • …is totally correct.

            There, you have it. What you misunderstood, perhaps, was the context. Let me rephrase then, just to make sure you get it right.

            How long a condition takes to resolve on its own has nothing to do with a treatment being effective for it or not.

            Of course you think evidence is not the most important tool in medicine. Such a thing would immediately discredit most of the treatments you talk about or lime to use.

            I would argue, thouh, that evidence is one of the most important tools in medicine. The only reason for a doctor to be insulted by being told their number one tool should be evidence and not patient satisfaction is if they make emotional connections, either to patients, or to treatments, which usually has the potential to lead to suboptimal care, multiple standards… Caring for patients means one will have to disagree with them from time to time.

            Now let’s return to your original description of the situation. Your initial comments mean that if a migraine resolves itself in a day, paracetamol is alternative medicine, right? There is evidence that you don’t die of migraine. Evidence that paracetamol relieves pain don’t matter at all under your assumptions, right?

        • “… if a migraine resolves itself in a day, paracetamol is alternative medicine, right?”

          That’s a great illustration, James. Are you familiar with the phrase “take two aspirin and call me in the morning”?

          • Yes.

            Aspirin was significantly more effective than placebo for pain reduction beginning 1 hour after dosing (P<.001) and continuing throughout the 6-hour evaluation period.

            So, neither paracetamol, nor aspirin is alternative medicine.

          • It’s good to see your sense of humor. 🙂

          • I don’t see what is funny about that.

          • James,

            Have you figured it out yet? If not, ask a good physician (not a fundamentalist) why providing evidence of efficacy for “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” is funny.

            As a followup question…ask them how the your response in this context could be used as a cautionary tale.

  • I don’t think the 50.000€ is an issue. If someone were to do this, they would probably be offered the chance to compete for the $1,000,000 Randi prize, and in any case they would be asked to compete for many prizes similar to this one. Certainly they would become the most famous and highly paid homeopath in the world. They would also be called on to give lectures at universities around the world, and would be invited to appear on many television and radio shows. They would be offered book contracts. They would win science prizes across the globe, and their name would be forever in history books.

    It’s almost as if they know they can’t win and get all this moola.

    • Just for the record… Randi’s million dollar challenge was terminated in 2015. Randi will be 90 years old this year:all round an amazing person.

      • Hi Frank,

        Technically they did not terminate the prize, they just stopped letting anyone apply. I did say that they might be offered the chance to compete for the prize, which seems likely if someone did win Prof. Ernst’s prize.

    • Yes, we expect to be mentioned in the Aula magna at Stockholm University eventually, if anybody would win the prize-money.

    • I am really puzzled by the challenge. What a strange idea to put before the homeopathic community in the belief this will engage them in something meaningful. Perhaps I am missing the point but it makes as much sense as me saying to a doctor of medicine “Here are three unmarked medicine bottles, now see if you can guess what they contain”. I think EE is having a good chuckle at us and all the hot air we produce.

      • now see if you can guess what they contain

        It is not about guessing, it is about analysing them to reliably determine the differences between them. It is what labs do. Homeopaths claim there are differences between various homeopathic preparations. Surely, if these differences are real, it should be possible to point them out?

        • OK, thanks for that. Well in that case there are the “Provings” to resort to. These are the equivalent to pharmaceutical trials. Homeopathic literature has its Materia Medica which outlines the extensive and various details of each medicine in use. This is a synoptic reference tool but before this is compiled (nearly all) the remedies have been given to well (symptom free) people in sufficient dose to impose their effects, each subject then being required to keep a journal and be monitored to assess their experience of changes in physical function, mood, energy etc.

          So if we could conduct three provings of substances (which have been homeopathically potentised) would that earn us the money? That may not be enough to complete a single proving never mind three.

          • Nick Baggins said:

            there are the “Provings” to resort to. These are the equivalent to pharmaceutical trials.

            ROFL!

            Please feel free to list the essential elements of a robust clinical trial and the comparable aspects of a homeopathic proving.

          • Hi Alan, homeopathic ‘testing’ of remedies to establish there sphere of action is called ‘proving’. If you go online and look at homeopathic Materia Medica you will see all the information about each remedy as far as its been established. Thousands of remedies in use, some with better quality provings than others admittedly. I have added below an account of my own recent health problems for your consideration.

            This winter I had to admit I was feeling old. I mean by that rheumatic. My long standing calf cramps of many years duration were increasingly annoying now conjoined with new symptoms rapidly creeping into my awareness. Deep muscle aches in limbs and contractive tensions in achilles, thighs and upper arms. It made me restless and squirm in my chair. My ankles and knees hurt. The detailed list of symptoms I will spare you. I tried a number of homeopathic remedies over a period of months, some of which helped a little in some places, some helping more than others but always resulting in my relapse often in 48 hours, meaning that repeating each remedy did nothing to help in the long term. So I continued to move around the remedies I had isolated as the most indicated. The single most helpful remedy to all symtptoms simultaneously was Arnica 30c (which surprised me as its simplistic reputation is for first aid use) but again it did not last long. All my reactions were characteristically short lived and without any really deep response. I had taken four or five different remedies in different potencies when I in turn came to a remedy named Guaiacum and found I had bought it many years ago. In March 2018 I took two doses at 1m over a 36 hour period and improved again, this time for a week, then all hell broke loose. My aches and pains became intolerable. Everything was suddenley much worse all at once. Excruciating pain everywhere which went on for two weeks before slowly beginning to subside leaving me pain free everywhere for about four weeks.

            You want to know what happened next? Well you may have to wait a few days as I am travelling. There is a lot more to say about the next remedy I took. It will frighten you, it will shock you, it did me.

          • For the first round you will have to identify which of three different remedies is in any of 12 bottles. If you can do this by homeopathic proving or any other method, we are willing to accept this and in case of success with the second round this will earn you the price. Please note: You are free to select any remedy (all available in the same high potency from the same supplier, check the protocol here (https://www.gwup.org/ausschreibungsunterlagen-2) for details) and thus may select three drugs that differ as much as possible so they may be easy to distinguish.

          • Nick, what you have stated here is the kind of stuff that Edzard writes in his books: superficial understanding of Materia Medica that results in a profound misunderstanding of homeopathy:

            Nick Biggins: ‘Well in that case there are the “Provings” to resort to. These are the equivalent to pharmaceutical trials.’

            Skeptics need not jump in here to point out that I won’t provide further explanation for you.YOU need to do some proper research before you continue this discussion further. If you here just to have some fun, then that is your choice.

          • thanks for the compliment

          • @Nick Baggins

            How boring and irrelevant. Now, to get back to what I said last time:

            Please feel free to list the essential elements of a robust clinical trial and the comparable aspects of a homeopathic proving.

          • Alan, my name is Biggins not Baggins. I don’t know much at all about clinical trials. I know a little about homeopathic proving protocols and could refer you to a source of information on that?

          • if you don’t know about clinical trials, why do you nevertheless pretend ?:
            “I don’t think homeopathy will ever appear to be performing much better than placebo in clinical trials.”

          • Alan, I am not pretending anything. I am admitting the limits of my understanding and postulating an idea. I am here to tell you the truth, anything less is a waste of your time and mine. I know homeopathy works, sometimes with violent and clearly observable reactions that conform to its principles of cure. I mean extreme physical pain, skin eruptions breaking out, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, pus forming and discharging or being absorbed, days and weeks of coughing up thick green phlegm etc. I have seen all these things and inflicted them on myself at times. These reactions conform to Herings Law of Cure and are the dynamic response of the individual under treatment. I don’t claim to be an extraordinary homeopath and am not trying to boast, appear elitist or win an argument with you. I have no time for the latter. I do not know all the answers, but I do know that reactions like the ones I have described are not imaginary and I was told when I trained they would occur. I was also warned fear would drive many patients straight to their GP instead of me when they arose. What we do about clinical trials and comparison with pharmaceuticals using their model of evaluation I do not know.

          • “physical pain, skin eruptions breaking out, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, pus forming and discharging or being absorbed, days and weeks of coughing up thick green phlegm etc.”
            I have seen all of these without any homeopathic remedy being anywhere near the patient.

          • And did you know how to evaluate them in response to the treatment you had given the week before?

          • these symptoms can all occur without any previous treatment.

          • And I am saying these are responses to homeopathic treatment, fundamentally different to your preceding reply (which did not answer my question) because they were provoked by the treatment and conform to observable phenomena as described 250 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann in the Organon of Medicine.

          • I will try to be clearer: because all this symptoms occur spontaneously, you cannot possibly know they were caused by your homeopathic treatment!
            got it now?

          • So if we could conduct three provings of substances (which have been homeopathically potentised) would that earn us the money?

            I see no reason why this would not be acceptable, provided all conditions are met. I’d be very eager to see homeopathic remedies tested this way. It would be a major breakthrough and the fame of the people involved would dwarf that of Pasteur, Cajal, Banting, Krebs or Watson and Crick.

            I don’t think you will find any science-and-evidence oriented person who would disagree. It would be wonderful.

          • Nick Biggins said:

            my name is Biggins not Baggins.

            My apologies for getting your name wrong.

            I don’t know much at all about clinical trials.

            Yet you just claimed:

            there are the “Provings” to resort to. These are the equivalent to pharmaceutical trials.

            Is there a difference between pharmaceutical and clinical trials that you’ve not explained? Or, if they essentially mean the same thing, but you admit you know little about them, why you said provings are equivalent to them?

          • […] superficial understanding of Materia Medica […]

            There is no real way to understand a fantasy in depth.

          • Nick Biggins said:

            Alan, I am not pretending anything. I am admitting the limits of my understanding and postulating an idea.

            It seemed to me you were making an assertion of which you were pretty certain. However, if you are now admitting you don’t know enough to claim that provings were equivalent to clinical trials and that it was just ‘postulating and idea’ we can dismiss it as the nonsense it is and move on.

            I am here to tell you the truth

            All hail the great truth-teller!

            But do you understand why simply proclaiming the truth cuts no ice here?

            anything less is a waste of your time and mine.

            You’ve already a lot of that.

            I know homeopathy works

            Well, well. Yet you have not provided a jot of evidence, simply your assertions of miracles.

            sometimes with violent and clearly observable reactions

            Odd that these ‘violent clearly observable reactions’ seem to evaporate when studied closely in independent trials… I can’t recall ever reading one that mentions them. Usually, all they document is colds getting better in seven days rather than a week.

            that conform to its principles of cure.

            What principles?

            I mean extreme physical pain, skin eruptions breaking out, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, pus forming and discharging or being absorbed, days and weeks of coughing up thick green phlegm etc.

            I though homeopaths claimed homeopathy was safe and gentle with no side effects? They sound pretty serious adverse events to me. Why aren’t these included in the warnings on a bottle of sugar pills?

            I have seen all these things and inflicted them on myself at times.

            Halleluijah!

            These reactions conform to Herings Law of Cure and are the dynamic response of the individual under treatment.

            I think you’ll find it’s not a law; just something Constantine made up and not survived robust scrutiny.

            I don’t claim to be an extraordinary homeopath and am not trying to boast, appear elitist or win an argument with you. I have no time for the latter.

            You’ve posted 24 comments here in the past five days.

            I do not know all the answers

            That, at least, we can agree one.

            but I do know that reactions like the ones I have described are not imaginary and I was told when I trained they would occur.

            Yet you have failed so far to give us evidence of one so we can examine it.

            I was also warned fear would drive many patients straight to their GP instead of me when they arose.

            At least they would see a medically trained practitioner.

            What we do about clinical trials and comparison with pharmaceuticals using their model of evaluation I do not know.

            It’s not their model, is it? But are you aware that many of these trials have already been done (none mention those severe reactions you claim to see)? What do you think they tell us?

          • Alan, your cynicism blinds you from true objectivity. What do you gain by ridiculing me line by line? You would need five years supervised training then to practice a further 25 as I have done to know what you are really talking about.

            I mean face to face experience with people and a deep knowledge of the principles. You clearly don’t have any of that. And yes, there is real difficulty when somebody wants to evaluate our success using their model. That part of the puzzle I would dearly love to get to the bottom of.

          • @Nick Biggins

            Sorry if you are unable to respond to my criticisms and my questions are too difficult. You don’t need to respond to them all at once. Please feel free to choose where to start.

            You said:

            And yes, there is real difficulty when somebody wants to evaluate our success using their model.

            What difficulty?

          • Homeopathy has been around for more than 2 centuries. Yet, studying basic chemistry is enough to discredit all these concepts of homeopathy in less than a month.

            I am sorry, Nick, but why do you disregard the very well plausible case that you just might have been dealing for 25 years with something that is wrong on all accounts? This fact does not discredit your services entirely. You most likely did ease a lot of suffering even if only through your kindness and caring, but that’s that.

            Seeing pain and suffering in peoples’ eyes and treating them kindly does not change the laws of nature, however strong you might feel about it.

        • Bart, I refer you to the homeopathic provngs which you can research for yourself online. Start with Herings Guiding Symptoms. The homeopathic Materia Medica is vast and some remedies have been proved more thoroughly than others. Its all there.

          • Goodness me, Nick! For a start, the word ‘proving’ in English is a bad translation from the German ‘proefung’, meaning ‘test’. So please don’t be confused with the idea that “some remedies have been proved more thoroughly than others” unless you understand that means some remedies have been tested (by the totally subjective, irrational system you describe) more than others.

            Do you realize that ‘provings’ extend to people describing what they see in their dreams after ingesting something? See http://www.interhomeopathy.org/a-dream-proving-of-petroleum, http://www.hominf.org/articles/posheal.htm — the AIDS nosode). Do have any sense of how ridiculous this witchcraft appears to anyone with half an education in biology and medicine?

          • Yes Frank I am well aware. The provings I refer to are the old ones I relied on as a classical homeopath. I don’t want to spend too long on this single topic but the new age stuff didn’t really make its mark on me in quite the same way. The proving protocol is sound, it works and if you go and read Guaiacum by Dr. James Tyler Kent you will get the idea this plant has an important part to play in rheumatism.

          • in this case, go and claim the 50 000 Euro; show them that you can tell what remedy it is by conducting provings.
            we you won’t because provings prove nothing.

          • Bart, I refer you to the homeopathic provngs which you can research for yourself online. Start with Herings Guiding Symptoms. The homeopathic Materia Medica is vast and some remedies have been proved more thoroughly than others. Its all there.

            Through that way of thinking, we would still be throwing children in the foundations of buildings to make sure they will not fail. We fortunately don’t.

          • Sorry Bart, I dont follow your analogy between homeopathic provings and throwing children into buildings??

          • Sorry Bart, I dont follow your analogy between homeopathic provings and throwing children into buildings??

            Both are myths from the past with no basis in reality, regardless of how solid the people may (or not) once have thought the evidence was. The result is that sane people no longer allow children to be offered as insurance for the reliability of buildings and sane people no longer (and never have) allow provings from the past as evidence.

          • It’s a good time to test yourself Nick.

            When properly tested, all these homeopathic ultramolecular dilutions do not exhibit specific effects. As far as provings are concerned, they are very unsound in terms of design and execution. First of all, the range of recorded symptoms is vast and there is no safe way to reliably attribute them to the provided substance, especially when a large number of them are things that happen all the time, regardless of whether a substance has been given or not. Provings use no controls. This fact alone renders provings very unreliable.

            Apart from that, provings are a perfect example of mixture of credible and incredible. The fact that “some” of the symptoms are true, for example when homeopathy purists perform provings with an “inframolecular” quantity, i.e. mother tinctures or low dilutions thereof, does not mean the effects can be interpreted the same for ultramolecular dilutions.

            Overall problem is that provings provide just the amount of credibility necessary to trick a layman into believing there just might be something in them. But, ultramolecular dilutions have nothing to do with the “observations” from the provings.

            Nick, if you are honestly interested in the truth, gather a couple of people to perform an honest proving, following proper homeopathic standards. Give them plain water but don’t tell them it’s water. Record the symptoms the same way you’d record them when testing a different substance. You will be amazed at their imagination and creativity.

            After considering all that evidence, and if you have the slightest interest in reality, you will immediately start doubting the value of provings and ultramolecular homeopathic dilutions. If you are not yet prepared to digest reality, you will, of course, start believing that water has special powers, as have many true believers before you.

            All in all, people in here don’t “make fun” of provings or any other thing that may be special to you. It’s just that, when you need to invoke some “special” explanation that has not yet been recorded, observed, or validated independently, it’s high time you considered that you just might be wrong.

          • @ James: “Give them plain water but don’t tell them it’s water. Record the symptoms the same way you’d record them when testing a different substance. You will be amazed at their imagination and creativity.”

            Something like this has been done. See here: https://www.karger.com/article/pdf/209386

            And these are the symptoms that occured under placebo:

            Mind – Difficulty concentrating.
            Mind – Slight problem with language, stuttering.
            Mind – My inner hectic feeling is gone completely
            Mind – I make mistakes, lose my stuff, afterwards feeling to be flying, I am thinking, will the others notice? Deaf, I loose oversight, clumsy when eating

            Head – Very strong headache, frontal, extending into eyes with nausea
            Head – Headache, right, frontal, dull, pressing, extending to upper mandilbles

            Eyes – Both eyes red, right worse than left

            Vision – Worse when reading or writing
            Vision – improved again

            Ears – Left ear suddenly free, I had not realized that it was blocked

            Ear – Pressure in right ear

            Nose – Tickling, coryza, right worse than left.

            Just imagine the money you can save by ingesting a few lumps of pure sugar instead of whiskey, gin or brandy!

          • Nick, you’re a classic parallel to a flat-earthist who’s convinced by their own experience and by publications that support their point of view.

            There are, in fact, quite a few homeopathic provings that have been done with control groups. You might take a look at this gem (it’s a paper by homeopaths). The conclusion in the abstract is that “Homeopathic proving symptoms appear to be specific to the medicine and do not seem to be due to a local process.” But the abstract also acknowledges “Between-group differences were not significant.” The authors choose to focus on the (statistically significant) changes between baseline (symptoms volunteers reported before the ‘proving’) and during the ‘proving period’. But the ‘proving’ group and the control group had the same degree of changes. DUH!!

            This obfuscatory, weaselly worded type of publication is typical of ‘research’ publications in the world of Big Snakeoil. But the paper I’ve linked to is a gem for other reasons. It suggests homeopaths can’t even count! “Eleven volunteers entered the study: seven were students from a school of homeopathy in the UK, six students from a school of homeopathy in Israel.” So in the wacky world of homeopathy, 7+6 = 11. The discussion section of the paper is at least four times as long as the results — always a classic indicator of dissembling authors.

            You seem only recently to have discovered Edzard’s blog. The points you make have been discussed previously ad nauseum, but that’s OK: what goes round comes round. Just so long as you start to realize why folk like me regard the pseudo-medical literature (in this case the journal Homeopathy) as a bad joke among academic publications.

          • edzardernst.com/2013/03/ive-been-fired/

          • Indeed, I was sure this would have been carried out. I wasn’t expecting anything better.

            It’s really impossible how this insanity has the potential to fool so many people…

          • @nick bilbo baggins: “I was warned fear would drive many patients to the GP…”.
            Better phrased: a real education, developed critical thinking skills and an IQ above 100….OR any real illness or disease, will drive EVERY patient to the GP….with the vast majority never wasting their time stopping for some homeopathic gypsy tricks.

      • Randi’s challenge to homeopathy (which is, at root, belief in something paranormal and therefore eligible for the old million dollar challenge) was for practitioners/believers to treat a series of patients with whatever remedies they wanted, changing their choices on return patient visits if they wanted. The homeopathic medicines would in every case be supplied by a third party, unknown to the homeopaths and their patients, who randomized the patients to receive a genuine product or appropriate placebos labelled authentically, with neither the patient nor the practitioner knowing which medicine they were receiving.

        After a suitable time, all the homeopath had to do was to decide whether a patient was receiving a genuine homeopathic product or a placebo. If they could call this right a number of times beyond pure chance, they would win the challenge. To my knowledge, no homeopath ever properly applied for the test, never mind taking it.

        “…it makes as much sense as me saying to a doctor of medicine “Here are three unmarked medicine bottles, now see if you can guess what they contain”.” Your many recent comments indicate your reading skills are seriously limited. From the original post: “The applicant identifies which of the 12 bottles contains which drug, using any method and procedure of his choice. There is no limit as to the method used for identification, and this well may be a procedure not currently recognized by modern science.” [my italics].

        In other words, it makes as much sense as saying to a doctor of medicine “Here are three unmarked medicine bottles, you can use whatever tests you like; GC-mass spectrometry, HPLC, any other laboratory method you desire, to identify what’s in the bottles”. No guesswork required.

        • I don’t think there is any reliable method for achieving the goal of the challenge, which is why I find it so strange. We already know it is indistinguishable from water until it is chosen as the simillimum and proves curative to the individual under treatment. Give a chemist a homeopathic remedy to analyse and they will say its a sugar pill, or water. Give it to a patient who needs it (in the right potency) and it will cure.

          • And that is, when magic cuts in…

            It is the same as performing some ritual dance to make it start raining: You can perform any dance which would stay pointless until you hit the proper one. If you do you will notice because rain will set in within 48 hours. Otherwise not. You do not believe me? Well then, give me two years time and I will be able to present quite a substantial number of case studies.

          • A very good point Norbert. It’s just about impossible to get anyone to change their mind once they have committed to a point of view. Keeping an open mind is where real progressive science lives.

          • Nick, you understand the concept of irony and satire, do you?

          • Keeping an open mind is where real progressive science lives.

            What “progressive science” means escapes me. “Keeping an open mind” is a fundamental basis and requirement for science. It means “open to evidence”, not “eagerly swallowing any and all claims without verification” (which would be a nice description of gullibility).

          • It’s just about impossible to get anyone to change their mind once they have committed to a point of view. Keeping an open mind is where real progressive science lives.

            The problem is that homeopathy has already been discredited and disproved. There is nothing progressive or open-minded in committing to a disproven point of view.

            If you have spent a large portion of your life on a disproven theory, however, it is only natural that this can be impossibly hard to accept.

          • I rest my case

          • I know homeopathy works, sometimes with violent and clearly observable reactions that conform to its principles of cure. I mean extreme physical pain, skin eruptions breaking out, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, pus forming and discharging or being absorbed, days and weeks of coughing up thick green phlegm etc. I have seen all these things and inflicted them on myself at times. These reactions conform to Herings Law of Cure and are the dynamic response of the individual under treatment.

            And why shouldn’t these ractions have been caused just because of polluted air instead?

            You don’t know homeopathy works. You believe homeopathy works. The framework of homeopathy is such that anything can be observed to work for anyone. And if it doesn’t work, it is not the similimum, and if it works then homeopathy works. Your observations are coincidental, despite what your convictions tell you.

            Try as advised:

            […] gather a couple of people to perform an honest proving, following proper homeopathic standards. Give them plain water but don’t tell them it’s water. Record the symptoms the same way you’d record them when testing a different ultramolecular substance dilution. […]

            If you really feel like it, give half of them an ultramolecular dilution of whichever substance you’d like.

            The symptom picture for water will be just as complicated as the one resulting when testing any other substance in ultramolecular dilutions. But be careful, this will not mean water is special, but that ultramolecular dilutions are practically water.

            Then, you can rest your case. Until then, you don’t know homeopathy works, you believe it works.

          • Forgive me if this appears a bit blunt but you talk like a man who never studied or practiced homeopathy. You have no day to day experience of treating, observing and evaluating patients undergoing treatment. You talk like a man who plays mind games with concepts instead and the two worlds are quite different. In all humility and honesty I came here to tell the truth about my experience. Should I know my experience or believe it? What is the difference? When a patient produces discharges under homeopathic treatment they will generally say “and I feel much better”. They will report other general functions are improved, such as sleep, mood, energy levels, etc. And that is one way we know it is a response to treatment. The second I would often use would be the materia medica, to see if this symptom was documented in the proving. Nine times out of ten it would be. I also confess to being as puzzled as you on certain aspects.

          • The general idea is that everybody lies, for numerous reasons, and, most importantly, not always on purpose. It is ok to feel the trust the “opinion” of your patients but they are completely susceptible to the power of suggestion, so it is not ok to trust them.

            What I am saying is that when someone wants to see something positive, they will find all kinds of argumentation and observation even under the worst circumstances.

            In short, you cannot trust the opinion of your patients, however pleasing it may be. When blinded to the treatment modality and the provider of the modality, most often, patients respond identically to homeopathic treatment and to inert treatment. This goes against your experience, but, because it is a far more objective way of testing than one’s own experience, we have to trust it more than one’s subjective experiences. Plus if you yourself designed something like that, you would probably notice that you will be getting the same results, on average, with whatever you gave your patients, not just a specific thing.

            If you tell someone “here, this will help you”, and they pay for it and/or are desperate in some cases, it will probably feel much like help.

      • See, after we launched our challenge we were discussing what homeopaths would say. “makes no sense” was among them. So you just earned one point on this bingo chart.

  • Homeopaths don’t need to prove homeopathy to you Edzard. They are too busy seeing patients who chose homeopathy having made an informed choice. These patients dont seem to be interested in replication and validation.
    Ask around Edzard and you will find that homeopaths get busier everytime homeopathy gets in the media.

    • Read it again!
      This is not MY challenge.

    • Look at it this way: We offer the applicant may select the remedies of his choice. He may use any method he may prefer: scientific analyses of ingredients or homeopathic provings or analyze scalar waves or dowse or any other means he may think useful. The applicant may define his own deadline to come up with his result. And we throw in some money. Well, i do not know about you folks, but for me this would be quite substantial. We offer you to contradict us skeptics, gain reputation in public and put shame on us, you can provide some proof that homeopathy in the end is not hopelessly implausible as it looks today:

      Please tell me, what else is there in the world that we can offer that you and other homeopaths will find this challenge attractive?

      • Nothing, unfortunately. It will obviously be proven once again that homeopathy does not work, and every homeopath will move on, taking home the outcome as a proof that well-designed trials are not a valid way to test homeopathy (because homeopathy must work), and going back to brainwashing his children, close friends, relatives, patients, etc. initiating them into the intricate and complex subject of homeopathy and how it can and will save the world from all evil…

    • As Einstein said, ‘Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe’.
      JK is living proof.

  • Patients that choose homeopathy rarely make an informed choice. They usually make a brainwashed choice, or a desperation choice.

    The overall mentality seen in your comment, JK, reflects a prevalent mentality among homeopaths. Almost nobody cares whether the heck homeopathy works after all, it’s enough that some patients do believe it does. They usually drool in content when something positive regarding homeopathy gets around, as if they have won a football match.

    Your rather low comment sheds much light into the brain of a homeopathy advocate, the ruined remnants of a battlefield following a victory of obsession over reason.

    Patients are not interested in what their healthcare consultants tells them they should not be interested in, JK. Fooling a patient into believing homeopathy works is not a validation of homeopathy, it is a validation of the greed inherent in human nature. Not only about money… more like about personal triumph and recognition.

  • I can only hope that James becomes a sceptic media spokesperson asap. I would rejoice if he could join the current bunch of salaried sceptic activists who are flagging up homeopathy so well.
    Anyway Edzard homeopaths are now far too busy to take part in any challenge as suggested in this blog post.

    • “salaried sceptic activists”
      any evidence for this allegation?
      if not, please withdraw it.

    • Dear JK, your delusions definitely live up to the hopes of Mr. Hahnemann. What way is there to make you understand that almost nobody is taking money for anything? Are you supporting homeopathy because you believe it is good and useful for people, or because you are strongly emotionally involved with it like it’s your personal sacred relic?

      We try to defend people from the public hazard that is homeopathy, not to attack homeopathy itself. How deeply involved are you to miss the plain and simple conclusion stemming from the totality of the evidence, that homeopathic ultramolecular dilutions do not have any specific effect?

    • homeopaths are now far too busy to take part in any challenge as suggested in this blog post.

      Too busy swindling gullible victims, most certainly a more lucrative busy-ness than providing evidence their scam is not a scam.
      While the absence of enthusiasm among quacks for fair tests is not proof of their malevolence, it is most definitely good evidence to substantiate the rather plausible claim that quacks are well aware their schemes are useless, except for increasing their own bank accounts.

  • Company accounts for the GTS and for the NC exist as public records Edzard. Surely you would agree taht the NC and GTS are sceptic activists.

    There are salries paid and this is no secret.
    Please advise why this is an allegation.

  • Well Edzard you asked for evidence for ‘salaried sceptic activists’ and I have given you examples of where at least two people are being paid.
    I am not suggesting that you are being paid by anyone.

    • you have named 2 organisations with individuals who obviously have to make a living.
      the implication was that all or lots of sceptics are paid to ditch alternative medicine.
      AND THIS WOULD BE A LIE!

      • Edzard, thanks for confirming that there are people who have to make a living by being sceptics. Would this include people like James and Bjorn: that would account for them being on this site full-time?

    • JK said:

      Well Edzard you asked for evidence for ‘salaried sceptic activists’ and I have given you examples of where at least two people are being paid.

      No, no you’ve not.

  • Edzard accepts that there are ‘2 organisations with individuals who have to make a living.’
    That is the ‘bunch’ I was referring to.

  • No Edzard. The NC has been dissolved as a company as of Jan 2018. Prior to that Alan was paid by the NC which was funded by a certain gentleman well known to disapprove of homeopathy.
    I think many might agree that Alan has spent 1000s of hrs over the last 10 years working very hard to campaign against homeopathy. He had to make a living after all.
    It is up to Alan to confirm on here that he has never been paid a salary by the NC.
    I don’t think that he will.
    So no retraction as the NC was funded and Alan has been paid to campaign against homeopathy.

  • Call me a ‘salaried bullshitter’ if you like. The only one on here of course!

  • JK, there is no effort needed to prove that homeopathy doesn’t work, which is why there is also no money to make in trying to disprove it. The proof is readily available in the totality of the evidence and systematic reviews. Even if we passionately dedicated our entire lives to convince someone to give us funding to disprove homeopathy, it just doesn’t pay. It doesn’t work, it has been conclusively shown and that’s that.

  • Well maybe someone can help Alan in some way so that he can continue to put homeopathy on the map and keep on making us homeopaths busier.
    As for decorations there already is a ‘Sir Alan’ and it would all mean kneeling before royalty.
    Therefore I suggest you lot make up your own award. If Alan has already won the prestigous Ockham award then I would advise a new 2018 Ernst award. This could get nicknamed the ‘Ernie award’ though by Homeopaths.
    Just some helpful ideas.

    • … as infantile as the rest of your comments, I am afraid.

    • Well, I do have my own Ockham Award, but there’s also the one for the Stop the Saatchi Bill campaign I was a part of. And when Prof Ernst received his, he was kind enough to give me some credit for helping him get started here… that’s enough recognition for me.

    • […] and keep on making us homeopaths busier.

      .
      Making fun of your clients, JK? That’s very low, even for a homeopath.

  • Alan may have an ‘alternate’ explanation, but it seems like his investment in Nightingale has been a loss of some magnitude.

    Clearly, he does not expect payment; he is grateful to pay money out of his own pocket to criticize homeopathy.

    JK, you need to get facts straight.

    • Greg said:

      Alan may have an ‘alternate’ explanation, but it seems like his investment in Nightingale has been a loss of some magnitude.

      What on earth are you on about? No, don’t bother.

      Clearly, he does not expect payment; he is grateful to pay money out of his own pocket to criticize homeopathy.

      What money?

      JK, you need to get facts straight.

      ROFL! But we can but hope.

      • Whilst Alan tries to recall who has paid him since 2010, it may be worth reminding Edzard of a forthcoming conference in July. https://www.britishhomeopathic.org/media-centre/nobel-prize-winning-scientists-speak-lon
        I can’t wait to read Edzards response.

        • nobody said that a Nobel prize protects you from utter foolishness.
          don’t you think it is time to retract your initial remark – or do you prefer to be called a liar?

        • JK said:

          Whilst Alan tries to recall who has paid him since 2010

          I have no problems with my memory. You, on the other hand, seem to have problems with shifting the goal posts and straw men.

        • Luc Montagnier still at it 😀 😀 😀

          Let us, for the sake of Saturday morning amusement, recall the story of how Mr. Montagnier, the virologist who luckily happened to be on the team that managed to isolate the HIV virus, reluctantly became a promoter of homeopathy.

          After sharing the Nobel prize in 2008 with two other scientists for having participated in a team that isolated the HIV virus, the virologist had little to hang his laurel wreath on.
          So he started working on his own at a literally fantastic theory. If correct it would mean another Nobel prize or two, for Mr. Montagnier.

          He postulated that electromagnetic signals could be detected from DNA strands form virus and bacteria in aqueous solutions. If this held true, it could mean a revolutionary way of detecting and identifying pathogenic agents.
          So in 2009 he set up what in effect amounts to a radio receiver and started listening in on the flasks of dilute suspensions of DNA material and recording the signals.
          The problem is, that for his theory to be true, much of chemistry and physics needed to be wrong, which is of course very-very, very hard to demonstrate.
          But Mr Montagnier was an expert in virology, not in ultra-weak EMF signal detection and signal processing and he seemingly did not consult such expertise. He was unaware and therefore undeterred by these somewhat troubling circumstances.

          Luc did indeed detect EM radiation and he seems to have been led to believe he thereby was entitled to shout his very own “Eureka!”.
          He published his findings without having them reviewed in a journal he himself edited and expected his conclusion that “diluted DNA from pathogenic bacterial and viral species is able to emit specific radio waves” and that “these radio waves [are] associated with ‘nanostructures’ in the solution that might be able to recreate the pathogen” would be met with fanfare and noble festivities.
          Instead, his fantastic work (in his own opinion) was met with due doubt and skepticism. His articles had not been peer reviewed (he was the editor of the journal) and it was kindly pointed out to him that the signals he had detected did not show any specific pattern. What he had been listening to with his radio receiver was white noise, the omnipresent static, random EMF that you hear if you turn on a badly made receiver without bandpass filters.
          The Nobel laureate had been far out of his league when it came to the fine art of radio signal detection and analysis.

          But Luc got lucky – again.
          One little group of connoisseurs of questionable results found immediate interest in the phenomenal findings of Mr. Montagnier. They selectively saw the words “DILUTED” and “DETECTED”, added two and two, got the result 10 to the power of 23 and happily stated that their own diluted delusions were now solidly supported by nothing less than a noble Nobel laureate.


          Our own favourite amateur of the undetectable, Dana Ullmann elatedly wrote about these joyful tidings in the only medium that (for a fee) is willing to accept his compositions, the Huffington Post.

          Mr. Montagnier has been enjoying the only limelight shining on his person ever since, even if he himself is on record for declaring that he has done some work on DNA fragments in dilution but his work cannot be extrapolated to the products used in homeopathy.

          • Just to add to this account of LM’s “discoveries”:
            If you take a look into his famous do-it-yourself-peer-reviewed paper and for once just take it at its face value, ignoring reason for criticism, then this is what LM found:

            > Some bacteria emit some electromagnetic waves after being filtered out of the dilution and being further diluted (he found)
            > The active ingredient to cause this is the DNA of the bacteria. (leaving anorganic or simple organic compounds without explanation)
            > This effect occured with some species of bacteria only, “good bacteria” did not do it (leaving more mother tinctures out of the picture)
            > The effect could only be detected up to 24, at maximum 48 hours after start of experiment (hardly time for the homeopathic drug to reach the pharmacy, let alone the patient)
            > The effect occured only in a small bandwidth of dilutions: 6x/3C to D12/C6 (pushing high potencies out of the picture)
            > The effect weakened with increasing dilution (just contrary to what homeopaths believe)

            In a nutshell: Even if you tend to believe in Montagnier’s results, you would have to acknowledge that they oppose homeopathy instead of supporting it.

          • Nobelitis at its finest!

        • JK, you are aware, that during production of homeopathic preparations the water evaporates compeltely, aren’t you?

  • Public records (2017 accounts) state that the GTS paid 43K in salaries to 2 persons. In 2016 the charity paid the NC 25K. In 2017 the trustees wisely decided to donate money to a maths initiative rather than the NC. So there were and are salaried sceptic activists.This is not exactly shocking news Edzard. Homeopaths know this and your fans on here approve.

    Now please Edzard advise me how I am a liar?

    • JK, GTS may have paid two people for their services. What an outrage, indeed! This money is funded by some sponsors that in full posession of their mental abilities may want to oppose qackery. Gruesome!

      Now its your turn, JK, please point out only one single prominent proponent of homeopathy that is free of vested interests. Any individual spending any substantial time (more than one hour a week) on advocating homeopathy would do. Just one that is meeting your standards.Someone who does not have some financial gain from homeopathy, who would not lose money if it was abolished. And to think about it, this is money that comes from patients that do not know better, that derive hopes for help in maybe a desperate situation because someone has convinced them that random residua of shaken water dispensed on sugar could provide some powerful medicine.

      Webmaster: please stop this repulsive discussion about the salary of one individual critic of quackery until JK or any other homeopath has named some homeopath meeting the above requirements.

      • Norbert, I suspect that Mrs Sandra Herman-Courtney would fit the description. She’s not a homeopath. Just a tireless and tiresome supporter of homeopathy.

        • Okay, there is one individual. Never came across her name, though.

          And now the winning question: How many supporters of homeopathy are out there that fail the test? That make a living or at least some profit from homeopathy?

          • I made a very good living from homeopathy for about 5 years. You need a lot of energy and focus to be self employed (I had previously worked in senior management posts in the NHS and private sector). I also realised that living in a large and relatively wealthy catchment area was vital to draw the few percent needed on a regular basis who would be prepared to try it. It was both very enjoyable and stressful. It became apparent that as people got well I would lose them as patients and that if I did not find more ‘sick’ people my income would diminish. Generally speaking more women than men attended, young mums with babies/children. Men would follow if they were sent by their wives or partners but they often did not want to be there and were difficult to treat as they often did not like speaking openly or in depth about their health.

        • Lenny, Sandra will be so pleased that you are promoting her public profile. It is a pity that you could not find a way to civilly argue your case that dental mercury amalgam fillings are toxic and not toxic, harmful and not harmful.

          I should try to let Sandra know that you are back online: hopefully the two of you can resume the medicinal Mercury poisoning debate: Mercury in Ayurvedic potions vs Mercury in dental fillings

  • …and your initial comment was about a “current bunch of salaried sceptic activists who are flagging up homeopathy so well.” this statement is clearly misleading and I am asking you to retract it. failing a retraction, I will ban you from making any further comments on this blog. it’s your choice.

  • I have proved that there are two persons salaried at the GTS. Well they gave done most if the recent work against NHS homeopathy. You should apologise to me Edzard.Whether others are having a salary break or not doesn’t matter when they have been paid in the past.
    I look forward to the Judicial Review outcome. Also to the battle in July between the Nobel prize and Ockham award winners. Meanwhile please ban me from your blog Edzard as that is in itself a prestigious honour.

    • that is one wish which I gladly fulfil

    • Whoosh… there go the goalposts again.

    • I have proved that there are two persons salaried at the GTS

      Actually, you have claimed that there are two persons salaried at the GTS, not proved. There is more than a negligible difference between these two terms.

      You also claimed that there is a ‘bunch’. To the best of my knowledge, ‘two’ does not qualify as ‘a bunch’.

      Furthermore, your claim was about salaried sceptic activists. People receiving a salary for cleaning the washrooms or dealing with paperwork may or may not be activists, so you will have to name them and provide evidence as to their status and activities before anyone will even consider accepting your claims.

      In short: evidence please!

      • JK will not be able to answer; he was banned from this blog.

        • Meanwhile please ban me from your blog Edzard

          While we cannot look in his head, it may well have been a relief for him.

          Alternatively, it may be what he wanted, for he will now be able to claim an evil skeptic banned him. That skeptics are routinely banned by homeoquacks doesn’t matter, oeuf corse.

        • Edzard

          Did he get too hot to handle?

          What is GTS he was referring to, that frightens you guys to the extent of removing him from the blog?

          • Iqbal Krishna said:

            Did he get too hot to handle?

            He did ask to be banned, but Prof Ernst made it perfectly clear why.

            What is GTS he was referring to

            That’s also already been explained.

            …that frightens you guys to the extent of removing him from the blog?

            ROFL!

          • I might introduce a ban for stupidity … and someone might receive it soon.

  • I can only hope that James becomes a sceptic media spokesperson asap. I would rejoice if he could join the current bunch of salaried sceptic activists who are flagging up homeopathy so well.
    Anyway Edzard homeopaths are now far too busy to take part in any challenge as suggested in this blog post.

    I am not very happy to have been the spark for JK’s delusional bullshitting that got him/her banned. Beside the sad truth that I have nothing to do with the fantasies he/she was coughing up, I am really frustrated by the depths of delusion exhibited.

    When faced with the facts, instead of taking a second to think how much more likely it is that evaporated water on sugar/lactose does nothing special, homeopaths make up conspiracy theories. It is scary to experience this type of short-circuited thinking.

    Still, whenever anyone is kept out of anywhere, freedom of speech is hurt and it’s -1 point for society. I know there are rules and JK got this definitely quite far. I also know how hard it can be to regulate such an open community as are online blogs and have much respect for the owner to have undertaken such a tricky task in the first place. I know many people will be quick to judge how the owner is being bossy and autocratic and they will remember the ban, without remembering how much tolerance the owner has exhibited on the way.

    It’s probably fair that JK was banned. The thing is, it isn’t going to do him or anyone else any good, he could just as well have been ignored. Homeopaths spend large portions of their lives in a delusion, and this is their own choice, of course. There needs to be understanding on that matter. It’s very uneasy when most people around someone tell them they are wrong. Also, at least, they have to know that when someone disagrees with them, it’s not because of money and this is probably something that they probably can understand. If they never do, at least somebody might benefit from experiencing the patience demonstrated in keeping up with the argumentation.

    The bottom line is that JK probably had it coming. His ban was not because someone ran out of arguments but because JK was a victim of his obsession with homeopathy that he had to resort to coughing up lies and malevolent insinuations that were clearly unfair, despite the fact that JK probably also genuinely believed them.

    Even so, a ban in an online community is never a thing to be happy about.

    • Great post, James. Just a thing or two to keep us going:
      To my experience it is impossible to convince an active opponent in a discussion, that his position is wrong. Imagine what it would take to convince us that we are wrong (maybe not in this issue here but in many others). And imagine what is going on: Even if he does discuss decently, our opponent will have to phrase his arguments. He will formulate his ideas pointedly, point at in his perception convincing facts and conclusions , look up his sources to make sure he remembers them correctly and all the things we do in a discussion as well. This individual will phrase his arguments to convince us – what in the end stregthens him in his beliefs.

      So it is not our target to convince our opponent – but deploy him as a source for clues so that we may put forward our arguments – addressed at our opponent but basically meant for the otherwise silent audience. They are not forced to phrase their convictions and so may have an open mind to sort out the arguments and start thinking them over. And here we may get lucky – unfortunately without that we get any notice thereof. Just occasionally: I discussed this matter on my blog – and suddenly there was a posting from someone I never heard from before stating “It really worked. Thank you.”

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