MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

When NHS England announced several months ago that they plan to stop the reimbursement of homeopathy, UK homeopaths were understandably upset and decided to launch a legal challenge to this decision. Yesterday, the result of this challenge has been published in a NHS press-release:

START OF QUOTE

NHS chief Simon Stevens has today welcomed the High Court’s decisive rejection of a legal challenge by the British Homeopathic Association to overturn plans to no longer routinely fund homeopathy on the NHS.

As part of action to clamp down on waste, over the last two years NHS England has taken action to curb prescriptions for medicines that can be bought over the counter or are of low value.

At the end of last year NHS England published guidance to curb prescriptions for 18 ineffective, unsafe or low clinical priority treatments, such as coproxamol, some dietary supplements, herbal treatments and homeopathy, saving up to £141 million a year. Earlier this year NHS England published a further list of 35 minor, short-term conditions for which over the counter medicines should not routinely be prescribed, saving around a further £100 million a year.

Savings form a key building block of the NHS’s 10 point efficiency plan contained in the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in March 2017.

NHS chief, Simon Stevens said: “There is no robust evidence to support homeopathy which is at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds.

“So we strongly welcome the High Court’s clear cut decision to kick out this costly and spurious legal challenge.”

Guidance on items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care is available on the NHS England website.

END OF QUOTE

The reaction of UK homeopaths was as swift and deluded as it was predictable. The British Homeopathy Association, for instance, commented thus:

… The charity’s main claims against NHS England were that the consultation misrepresented homeopathy and therefore was unfair; and a report used in the consultation to inform the public was so complicated it would deter rather than encourage people to respond. Although the judge found there were sufficient grounds for a judicial review, after four days of lengthy legal arguments he dismissed the claims. Margaret Wyllie, BHA Chair, said the case highlighted how health bosses were unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement. “That NHS England attracted fewer than 3,000 responses from patients to a national consultation that ran for three months highlights its failure to genuinely engage with the public on important decisions about healthcare provision. Although 18 medicines were under review the only negative statement in NHS England’s press release promoting its public consultation was about homeopathy. The statement was so prejudicial it was widely reported in the media that the decision to deny patients homeopathic medicines had already been taken. How the judge failed to recognise that this was a deliberate attempt by NHS England to unfairly influence the public is astonishing,” said Mrs Wyllie.

In The Telegraph, Wyllie is quoted saying: It appears NHS England can fail to engage with patients properly on removing services and get away with it. That is not good enough, for it is important to remember that the real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.”

One can only marvel at the lack of insight and self-criticism. I should to add that the BHA is a charity; with this court case, they have wasted significant amounts of public money for their own, hopelessly misguided interests. To me, this indicates that they no longer deserve a charitable status.

Personally, I had very little doubt that the court would decide as it did. The evidence was simply overwhelming and indisputable. In the written judgement, the judge stated that “I am satisfied that NHSE was rigorous in the discharge of the duty to have “due regard” to relevant matters, and that it was entitled, on the evidence before it, to conclude that the Guidance would not have an adverse impact on the statutory equality objectives, but rather, as the Analysis found, “would [enable] patients to have access to the most effective medications to achieve the best outcomes”.

 

In all this, the open questions, in my view, were whether

  1. Prince Charles, the prime defender of quackery in the UK, would intervene,
  2. and whether his intervention might change anything.

So, did he try to intervene?

I do not know. It could be that, after all the hoo-ha about his spider memos, he now is a little more cautions about meddling in health politics. It could also be that, as he is getting ready to become king, he wants to keep a low profile about his more bizarre ideas. Lastly, it could be that his opinion does not weigh as heavily as I had feared.

In any case, The High Court ruling is most welcome and unquestionably just, progressive, and long-overdue. I applaud all who have worked hard to bring it about, and am sure that (most of) my readers agree.

95 Responses to “There is no robust evidence to support homeopathy which is at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”

  • am sure that (most of) my readers agree.

    This reader certainly agrees. If people want quackery, they have always the option to pay for it themselves, since it hasn’t been made illegal (yet). This actually means that the taxpayer will still be paying for homeopathy, namely by paying for the attempts to save patients after the (long) neglect caused by homeopathy (and other quackeries).

  • Mrs Wylie has identified a group of sufferers (patients) who “have come to depend” on homeopathy.

    She is to be thanked for urging these dependent people need care and their delusions attended to.

    Her suggestion that homeopathic remedies have any part to play in their care is misplaced, and may be mischievievious.
    She should move on. Please.

  • I also agree. The High Court is a place where REASON, EVIDENCE and RULE OF LAW reigns.

    Notwithstanding the Court’s decision that is based on fact and law, I believe that the case for *homeopathy* will be made but until it is made, reason must prevail.

    For those with financial vested interests in homeopathy, this case will highlight that the times of whimsical flimsy anecdotal arguments for homeopathy are gone.

    People like Professor Ernst and Mr Mohr have contributed to clearing the field by asking: please show us the evidence for homeopathy.
    I have spent virtually my entire lifetime interested and/or involved in homeopathy and I would also like to see the hard evidence. Given that homeopathy for each individual is a completely unique process for each person, I can state that it IS impossible to be absolutely sure what result the remedy produced over time, versus the natural progression and changes made by the individual as a result of homeopathic consultations over time.

    It would be good to know, with scientific certainty, that homeopathic remedies DO make a difference to this process (as opposed to having a strong belief that they do).

    • “It would be good to know, with scientific certainty, that homeopathic remedies DO make a difference to this process (as opposed to having a strong belief that they do).”
      WRONG!
      It would be good to find out, with scientific certainty, whether homeopathic remedies DO make a difference to this process (as opposed to having a strong belief that they do).

      • Maybe I could call you: ‘petty Eddy’?

        • only if you are unable to see the important difference between the 2 sentences – in which case you would not be the brightest button in the drawer.

          • Let’s see how much difference it makes here:

            It would be ‘good to find out’ exactly what your qualification in Homeopathy is?

            It would be good to know exactly what your qualification in Homeopathy is?

            Professor Ernst may have had a couple of hours chatting with a medical doctor in a hospital on the subject of ‘Homeopathy’ but what QUALIFICATION is this?

            Greg on Tuesday 05 June 2018 at 13:06
            Edzard, I know it is a difficult point for you to accept because you are not trained in Homeopathy.

            If you do your Homeopathic Practitioner training then you might understand.

            Sorry, but I can offer you more at this stage. I will comment on posts or comments that relate to homeopathy when they occur.

            Reply

            Edzard on Tuesday 05 June 2018 at 13:26
            1) I AM trained as a homeopath
            2) You cannot offer more because you have no more.

            Greg on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 11:04
            Thanks Dr. Ernst, that sounds like there is some hope for me.

            But what about you? Have you tried the therapies for yourself?

            The main point though Dr. Ernst is that your medical and research credentials are impeccable but your credentials in alternative medicine disciplines are zero. No qualifications in any of the disciplines, and, judging from what you have written, a very inept homeopathic practitioner.

            One day, maybe, you will get why having you writing all your books and blogs is enjoyable for me to read the words of a person who wants to know but does not know, and yet writes as if he knows.

            Edzard on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 12:45
            “No qualifications in any of the disciplines, and, judging from what you have written, a very inept homeopathic practitioner.”
            EVEN THE MOST IMPECABLE QUALIFICATIONS IN NONSENSE CAN ONLY AMOUNT TO NONSENSE!

          • oh dear!

          • Have you tried the therapies for yourself?

            No.
            [question]
            How is this relevant?
            [/question]

        • There is nothing petty about communicating clearly and effectively–which requires knowledge of, and proper application of the rules of the language. Neither is it pedantic. You might consider accepting constructive criticism and work to improve your writing, rather than stick you fingers in your ears and sing la-la-la-la-la.

    • Quote: “Given that homeopathy for each individual is a completely unique process for each person, I can state that it IS impossible to be absolutely sure what result the remedy produced over time, versus the natural progression and changes made by the individual as a result of homeopathic consultations over time.”

      This is wrong. Clinical trials measure whether the data are compatible with the assumption that there is no difference between the treatment involving the verum group and the treatments involving the placebo group. To be crystally clear: They do not determin drug effects, but porcess effects. It is irrelevant whether this process is giving a drug or applying personalized homeopathy. Given a sensible measure, i.e. severtity of the disease or ideally the duration it is very easy to estimate the effects of individualized homeopathy. Indeed such studies have been undertaken with very mixed results even in high quality studies. This alone is indicative that homeopathy is a placebo.

      • well-said!
        thanks

      • Thomas, as you mentioned, Robert Mathie’s study of individualised homeopathy is ground breaking in terms of it being individualised homeopathy rather than clinical ‘homeopathy’. But, so far that is all there is, and it is only a starter.

        You stated: It is irrelevant whether this process is giving a drug or applying personalized homeopathy.

        Person walks in pharmacy, and briefly states their ailment (symptom). Pharmacist dispenses Rx. No consultation, no homeopathy (pharmacist is a ‘genius’ at homeopathy). Person returns weeks later to let the pharmacist know that problem that they previously had for YEARS is now gone.

        The difference between academics/researchers like yourself or pretender ‘Homeopaths’ like ‘Edzard’ is vast.

        But you are very clever Thomas, and thanks for your input to the study of homeopathy.

        • Quote: “Person walks in pharmacy, and briefly states their ailment (symptom). Pharmacist dispenses Rx. No consultation, no homeopathy (pharmacist is a ‘genius’ at homeopathy). Person returns weeks later to let the pharmacist know that problem that they previously had for YEARS is now gone.”

          Are you familiar with the Littlewood’s law ? No ? If we define a wonder as an event that has a probability of 1 in 1.000.000, how many wonders do you think you experience in life ?

        • This sounds like a pretty good description of homeopathy. Clueless patient and clueless practitioners.

    • Greg,
      you suggest that two kinds of homeopathy exist:
      *one that is NOT working (clinical homeopathy)
      and
      *one that IS working (the real deal, highly individualized, classical homeopathy).
      At the same time, you seem to be aware that objective, reproducible scientific evidence for efficacy DOES NOT exist for BOTH varieties.
      So I wonder… how can you decide which one is right and which one is wrong? Am I right when I assume that you (and only you) possess a god given talent that allows you to do it?

      • Jashak,

        *MANY kind of ‘homeopathy’ exist (the ‘modern’ versions include Berlin Wall type ‘homeopathy’: esoteric/doctrine of signatures type)

        * Hahnemann was a medical and pharmacological EXPERT in the his days and he completely rejected nonsensical ‘homeopathy’.

        * There is a difference between RCT research and allied homeopathy.

        *Most of the people on this site are researchers.

        * All sorts of applied homeopathy ‘works’ (has an effect of some sort).

        BUT

        RCT RESEARCH USING THE CLINICAL MODEL OF HOMEOPATHY WILL AND HAS PROVEN TO FAIL.

        The interesting thing about this site is that the visiting commenters are supposed to be discussing with experts like Professor Ernst, Mr Mohr and others and yet it comes up a lot that these experts clearly don’t know*.

        When this is pointed out, all they do is make some silly comment, ad hom or ‘oh dear’.

        It is frustrating dealing with it, but the benefit of the site is that it can communicate with people all around the world that read here.

        • “… it comes up a lot that these experts clearly don’t know*.”
          WHAT PRECISELY DO WE NOT KNOW MR ‘TRUE SCOTSMAN’?

        • Greg,
          you address me with statements that I did not ask you about.
          My only question was (and still is):
          How can YOU, Greg, decide WHICH of the “MANY kind of ‘homeopathy’” work and which do not?
          Because of your personal experience? Then I would like to remind you that you are only one out of ca. 7,5 billion people on this planet, and the others might have different experiences than you.
          Or: Do you think that you possess a god given talent? If so, which one of the thousands of gods postulated by the human kind gave you this gift?
          We ordinary humans have to rely on TESTING the remedies (first in lab experiments and after many pre-trials ideally later in RCTs).
          And when we do this, NONE of the homeopathy variants work (beyond placebo).

        • I highly doubt that Hahnemann was a medical expert. A prime example is the original experiment of homeopathy, the cinchona bark experiment. Hahnemann published the effects he observed. His contemporaries noted that cinchona bark usually does *not* cause the observed side effects and already observed (correctly) that this might be some sensitivity issue.

          RCT research using individualized homeopathy also showed marginal effects at best. Mathie 2014 is a prime example. Although he got a positive p-value, the effect is small and the p-value is inversely correlated with study quality.

          Additionally, there is a very interesting thesis available here: http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000020333/diss.u.hirschberg.pdf

          This thesis is a milestone in homeopathy research, insofar it does not investigate homeopathy as a therapy, but the efficacy of homeopathic provings and whether homeopathic provings are plausible. The result is a disaster for homeopathy. The odds ration for specific symptoms was 1,11, i.o.w. one could as well toss coins.

          Do you know what that means ? You can throw away the entire materia medica.

          • Thomas, in this dissertation*, there may be some author founded misunderstandings:

            Can you spot something in this quote?
            3 Introduction 3.1 Homeopathic Remedies General More than 200 years ago, in 1796, the German physician Samuel Hahnemann () published an essay in Hufeland’s Journal of Practical Pharmacology titled Trial on a new principle for finding the healing properties of medicinal substances, along with a few glances on the previous ones. In it he formulates the principle of a new medical science by suggesting that all drugs should first be observed in their action on the healthy and then applied to the patient according to the principle of similars: similia similibus curentur Something similar should be cured with something similar (1). His finding was based in particular on a 6-year-ago self-experiment with China bark. Hahnemann wanted the claim of the English physician Cullen: Cinchona bark is effective in intermittent fever, because it strengthens the digestion, check and observed that he developed the typical symptoms of intermittent fever (malaria) after taking the drug. The quinine bark trial led to the formulation of the simile principle and is regarded as the birth of the homeopathic proving (2-4). As a result, Hahnemann collected toxicological symptoms from the literature and began testing other drugs by having volunteers take some toxic substances to see what the symptoms would be. To alleviate the toxicity, he gradually diluted the substances and believed that they still had a medicinal effect. To this day, homeopathic doctors carry out homeopathic provings (HAMP) on the healthy with the aim of provoking symptoms that form the so-called homeopathic remedy picture of this substance as a basic structure. This is an empirical phenomenological procedure that describes the individual effects of a drug substance on the physical, mental and emotional levels of the human being. The majority of the symptoms recorded in the homeopathic medicines (Materia Medica) come from such HAMPs. Together with the findings of toxicology and pharmacology and the clinical experience, this results in the homeopathic 10

            ————————————————————-

            The substance selected: potency 12C (Avogadro)
            http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/71022951/0

            ————————————————————–

            ‘The natives of West Africa used the pulverized bark of the Okoubaka tree in teaspoon doses as a means for detoxification. Legend has it that the bark powder was taken by the teaspoon by official tasters of African tribal chiefs, who lived in constant fear of poisonous attacks, as a precaution after every guest banquet.’ http://www.hevert.com/market-us/en_US/physicians/medical-education/artikel/4861927

          • Thomas, your link to the thesis is not working?

  • GREAT NEWS!
    I can only hope that Germany will follow next.

  • Cristal Sumner, Chief Executive of the British Homeopathic Association, who brought the case, illustrates here that she understands neither the legal process nor Mr Justice Supperstone’s judgement:

    BHA’s brave legal bid to overturn NHS decision on homeopathy fails

    It’s almost as if she didn’t sit through all three-and-a-half days of the hearing.

  • the BHA also published this comment:
    http://r.mail.crowdjustice.com/109pf6z0inale3f.html

    Update on Save homeopathy on the NHS – help fund the judicial review – Part 2

    On behalf of the British Homeopathic Association, I want to say thank you again for your generosity and support of our judicial review challenge of NHS England. Today the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone handed down his judgement, and it is with profound disappointment that I must share that the British Homeopathic Association has failed in its challenge to get NHS England’s decision to stop funding homeopathic medicines overturned.

    As you are aware the case was heard by the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone at the Royal Courts of Justice on 1-4 May. The charity’s main claims against NHS England were that the consultation misrepresented homeopathy and therefore was unfair; and a report used in the consultation to inform the public was so complicated it would deter rather than encourage people to respond. We knew we were in a David vs. Goliath situation, and that in the end it would come down to one judge’s interpretation of the case. Although the judge found there were sufficient grounds for a judicial review, after four days of lengthy legal arguments he dismissed the claims against NHS England.

    The case highlighted for us how health bosses unfairly manipulating the consultation process and making decisions about healthcare services without genuine patient engagement. That NHS England attracted fewer than 3,000 responses from patients to a three-month national consultation, on 18 medicines, highlights its failure to genuinely engage with the public on important decisions about healthcare provision. In contrast we had over 34,000 people sign our parliamentary petition to keep services in the NHS.
    Although 18 medicines were under review the only negative statement in NHS England’s press release promoting its public consultation was about homeopathy. The statement was so prejudicial it was widely reported in the media that the decision to deny patients homeopathic medicines had already been taken. How the judge failed to recognise that this was a deliberate attempt by NHS England to unfairly influence the public is astonishing.

    The only information about homeopathy that NHS England provided was an outdated report that was critical of the therapy. And although it did contain the case for homeopathy as put by scientists, doctors and patients, it is preposterous to think the public were going to read a complex report of over 275 pages to help inform their response to the consultation.

    It appears that NHS England can fail to engage with patients properly on removing services and get away with it. That is not good enough, for it is important to remember that the real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.

    Despite this disappointment, the we remain committed to defending homeopathic services. We will continue to champion homeopathy’s health benefits, cost effectiveness and the right of patients to choose homeopathy for their healthcare needs.

    Our charitable aims remain unchanged: to enable greater access to homeopathy through providing financial support for research, training of healthcare professionals, providing factual and useful information about homeopathy to the public, and expanding the BHA’s network of charitable and low cost clinics throughout the UK. Growing numbers of people are seeking a more holistic approach to their healthcare and the BHA is working to enable them to do so.

    Thank you again for your support and to learn more about our activities please visit our website http://www.britishhomeopathic.org

    Warmest wishes
    Cristal Sumner, BHA Chief Executive

  • Crystal Sumner BHA CEO:
    “The real losers in this case are the patients who are now being refused a treatment on which they have come to depend.”

    And now the BHA can go on to determine how it was these patients came to depend on remedies which have never, ever, anywhere, been shown to have any effect on any condition or ailment.

    Just who is responsible for encouraging these patients in their dependency?
    Why were they not better counseled?
    Why were they not better cared for?
    What, exactly, are the causes of their suffering for which they sought remedy?
    Did any of them give fully informed consent to receive homeopathic remedies?
    Will future patients be informed of this judgement and its implications?

    Holistic healthcare, yes. Hogwash, no.
    (And don’t conflate the two).
    BHA move on, please.

    • Why does it need funding anyway? It’s just water that’s been shaken up.
      Maybe these cancer sufferers could make their own?

  • Poor Thomas, his launchpad for critiquing homeopathy is in tatters, and he is mia.

    While he is recovering, this could be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdP8epEz8UM

    • Well, Greg, I think it is you who is in tatters. Apparently you did not understand the impact of the thesis (Dissertation) I presented. Hahnemann’s primary assumption is, that substances have the capability to heal those diseases which display matched symptoms to what the substance triggers in healthy people. Have you ever seen *and evaluated* a homeopathic proving ? I have. Several. First, the protocol this candidate used was exactly the same protocol as recommended by various homeopathic associations. It is state of the art. The result was that the specific symptoms is more or less fantasy and coin tossing. The statistic evaluations I did had exactly the same result and I bet you will get the absolutely same result for every “remedy” in the homeopathic materia medica. This is obvious by the low number of probands in these provings and the complete lack of any stats.

      Get used to it. Homeopathic “provings” are underpowered, and generally bad testing.

    • As is so often the case with buffoons ‘Greg’ has yet to perceive the fullness of distain he garners from the erudite community. He lives in the bubble that since he reponds he is being responsive and that his postings must be impressing and influencing someone. I take him for the type who closes the car windows after he farts and truly believes everyone secretly enjoys its aroma as much as he does.

  • A new one, Michael Kenny

    Does Professor Ernst pay you a fee to write reviews and comments for him, or do you just have nothing else to do with your life?

    You, F. Odds, and Bjorn Geir on Amazon book reviews, Twitter, edzardernst.com. You must really love Professor Ernst.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Harm-than-Good-Complementary/dp/3319699407

    • I adore those comments about ‘YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO IN YOUR LIFE’!
      To me, they imply that the author has even less than nothing to do.

      • Michael Kenny Amazon review: More Harm than Good
        ‘Having just re-read, and with the intention of innumerable ‘re-reads’….More Harm Than Good (the moral maze…) I’m just beginning to wrap my brain around how amazing, succinct, insightful and THOROUGH it is!!
        It is brilliant in all regards….not the least of which is its’ ability to create real understanding of otherwise typically overwhelming topics e.g. statistics, ethics etc.
        If anyone attempts to investigate an “alternative medicine” treatment, at ANY level, and does NOT buy this book then shame on you, and: “you deserve to get swindled”!!

        The answers you need are ALL here! Bravo!’

        I think Michael loves Professor Ernst’s work: the praise is mindbogglingly effusive!

        • Greg, do you ever have anything interesting to say? Your childish posts do yourself no favours.

          • Well Frank, you guys just bury your heads in the sand when comments come along that you can’y reply to.

            I have lost count of the number of times this has happened, and I and Thomas has not replied to this
            Thomas, in this dissertation*, there may be some author founded misunderstandings:

            Can you spot something in this quote?
            3 Introduction 3.1 Homeopathic Remedies General More than 200 years ago, in 1796, the German physician Samuel Hahnemann () published an essay in Hufeland’s Journal of Practical Pharmacology titled Trial on a new principle for finding the healing properties of medicinal substances, along with a few glances on the previous ones. In it he formulates the principle of a new medical science by suggesting that all drugs should first be observed in their action on the healthy and then applied to the patient according to the principle of similars: similia similibus curentur Something similar should be cured with something similar (1). His finding was based in particular on a 6-year-ago self-experiment with China bark. Hahnemann wanted the claim of the English physician Cullen: Cinchona bark is effective in intermittent fever, because it strengthens the digestion, check and observed that he developed the typical symptoms of intermittent fever (malaria) after taking the drug. The quinine bark trial led to the formulation of the simile principle and is regarded as the birth of the homeopathic proving (2-4). As a result, Hahnemann collected toxicological symptoms from the literature and began testing other drugs by having volunteers take some toxic substances to see what the symptoms would be. To alleviate the toxicity, he gradually diluted the substances and believed that they still had a medicinal effect. To this day, homeopathic doctors carry out homeopathic provings (HAMP) on the healthy with the aim of provoking symptoms that form the so-called homeopathic remedy picture of this substance as a basic structure. This is an empirical phenomenological procedure that describes the individual effects of a drug substance on the physical, mental and emotional levels of the human being. The majority of the symptoms recorded in the homeopathic medicines (Materia Medica) come from such HAMPs. Together with the findings of toxicology and pharmacology and the clinical experience, this results in the homeopathic 10

            ————————————————————-

            The substance selected: potency 12C (Avogadro)
            http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/71022951/0

            ————————————————————–

            ‘The natives of West Africa used the pulverized bark of the Okoubaka tree in teaspoon doses as a means for detoxification. Legend has it that the bark powder was taken by the teaspoon by official tasters of African tribal chiefs, who lived in constant fear of poisonous attacks, as a precaution after every guest banquet.’ http://www.hevert.com/market-us/en_US/physicians/medical-education/artikel/4861927

            Professor Ernst still needs to explain the 30% of trials that are POSITIVE for homeopathy. Thomas’s reply to this is pathetic: trying to imply that all positive trials for homeopathy are substandard.

            Anyway, you guys keep my laugh rate up.

            Have a nice weekend Professor Odds.

          • “Professor Ernst still needs to explain the 30% of trials that are POSITIVE for homeopathy”
            SORRY!
            I did not think that something as obvious needs an explanation.
            Here it is:
            THE EXPLANATION IS AN INTERPLAY OF SEVERAL FACTORS
            1) CHANCE (at the 5% probability level, 5% of all trials would be positive even if placebo is tested against placebo)
            2) VARIOUS BIASES IN TRIALS (detectable and undetectable)
            3) PUBLICATION BIAS (the tendency of negative trials remaining unpublished)
            4) FRAUD
            I am sure there are other factors too, but for the moment that seems to suffice.

          • Greg, I haven’t replied to this because it is irrelevant and trying to apply a modified “no true scotsman” fallacy. The real meaning of this thesis is that homeopathic provings – as carried out according to homeopathic principles – are largely fantasy.

            Second – quote: “Professor Ernst still needs to explain the 30% of trials that are POSITIVE for homeopathy. Thomas’s reply to this is pathetic: trying to imply that all positive trials for homeopathy are substandard.”

            Many homeopathic studies *are* substandard (low numbers of patients, bad study design, etc.) and a 30% positive rate can easily be explained by a high false positive rate. As I have stated, working treatments have likely a 70% positives and 30% negatives and not the other way round. As for your use of “pathetic”, this misconception displays that you have no idea whatsoever on how clinical studies (and homeopathic studies) are evaluated.

          • Thomas has not replied to this…

            …apart from here.

            you guys just bury your heads in the sand when comments come along that you can’y reply to.

            Unlike the brilliant, ever-happy-to-respond-without-insults Greg: see, for example here (questions to Greg repeated three more times in the same comment stream); here; and my own questions to Greg about succussion, first posed here.

            In case you’ve forgotten…

            Please explain exactly what ‘contact volume’ means.

            1) The smallest volume that can be accurately manipulated with a micropipette is 0.1 µL. What total volume of diluent would be needed to make a 30CH preparation from 0.1 µL with successive 100-fold dilutions?

            2) How would the ‘contact volume’ compare with sequential 100-fold dilutions from one drop?

            3) How does succussion affect ‘contact volume’?

            4) From homeopathic principles, how hard should a container with 5 mL volumes be banged against a leather-bound book and with what frequency?

            5) Is the answer to 4 the same for the 0.1 µL situation? What size container should be used?

        • Greg,
          do you like my book review on amazon.de better?

          5 Sterne
          Excellent book on alternative medicine

          VonJas12345am 24. März 2018
          Format: Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf

          Many people think that the so-called alternative medicine is “natural” and free of risk. Because of the demand, many practitioners offer alternative treatments, even if they are not convinced that the treatment has a specific effect.
          This highly interesting book systematically explores the health risks and the moral and ethical implications of alternative medicine for both, patients and medical practitioners.

        • I think you should read the book, “Greg”. You might learn something.

        • @Buffon: Initially I consulted a homeopath to create a homeopathic-approved review and this was the result: “ “.

  • Thomas Mohr

    Thank you for your reply and confirmation of your position as being same as before: holding to your view based on your quoted thesis on a homeopathic proving.

    Well, I am pleased that I have obtained the clarity that I have now on the sceptics views of homeopathy and thank you for your input.

    The paragraph I quoted and the overall thesis as a critique of HP provings is WRONG.

    To quote Dr Rawlins: move on Tom.

    • how about acknowledging that your moaning about people not answering your questions is largely nonsense?

    • The world according to Greg:

      – results corroborate own position: well done rigorous science.
      – results contradict own position: flawed science and insufficient understanding of principles.

      Both prove homeopathy is right and skeptics are wrong.

    • Quote: “The paragraph I quoted and the overall thesis as a critique of HP provings is WRONG.”

      Well, Greg, either you support that by valid arguments or be dismissed as irrelevant.
      From the proving guidelines by the European Committee for Homeopathy:

      Point 6.9. Statistics: “The evaluation will not be done by conventional statistical analyses, but by compilation of the Proving symptoms in different categories, representing a certain probability to be associated with the remedy and therefore are the most important ones for further verification.”

      and further:

      “6.9.3
      The level of significance to be used.
      Not applicable”

      In other words, what they say is that stats con not be used in homeopathic provings.

      Further down we find:
      “A symptom will belong to the remedy with great probability, if at least one of the following criteria is met:
      1) Occurence of the symptom in two or more Volunteers. [that is a rudimentary statistical test, namely an enrichment]
      2) Objective, measurable signs and symptoms
      3) Distinct intensity of the symptom
      4) Occurence of the symptom several times shortly after administration of the drug. [that is also a statistical test, namely and association]
      5) Recurrence of the symptom several times over the course of a number of days.
      6) Recurrence of the symptom using different potencies [that is also a statistical test, namely association].
      7) Striking, singular, uncommon symptoms (§153 Organon)
      8) Striking, seldom or paradox modalities and/ or concomitants of the symptom
      9) Mutual pathophysiology in several symptoms (i.e. inflammation in different joints) [that is also a statistical test, namely an enrichment]

      On one hand there is no statistical test possible, on the other hand they *do* stats. You can’t have it both, Greg.

      Now the thesis demonstrates that the mental state of an individual has far more influence on observed symptoms than the homeopathic substance. I.o.W. homeopathy is phantasy, starting from the “provings”.

      To put it bluntly, Greg: You can not see a pocket flash light if it is in front of an anti-aircraft searchlight,

  • Professor Odds, if you don’t understand the difference in ‘contact volume’ between ’30 serial succussions’ and a ‘one drop in the ocean dilution’, then you too should ‘move on’ (a phrase used ad infinitum by Dr. Richard Rawlins, 2015?, 2016?, 2017?, 2018?)

    Hahnemann explained the difference clearly. You should read the books written by the person that you critique; it usually helps.

    • I have read some of the early writings of homeopathy – in original German, including Hahnemanns advise not to ship liquid homeopathic substances, otherwise they would become too strong. This is one of the reasons why Hahnemann prefers pills.

      In any case, Greg, it is all rubbish, as the first experiment by Hahnemann, the famous cinchona bark experiment – which was already seen by his contemporaries as faulty because cinchona bark normally does not cause the effects Hahnemann observed. Apparently Hahnemann failed to replicate the experiment with others, a cardinal mistake. Get used to it Greg. You follow the faulty theory of a lousy scientist.

    • Greg, here’s the problem you raise.

      If someone asks me to define a term or expression I’ve used, I will usually take the trouble either to explain it in my own words or refer to a specific written source that provides the information. In some cases that can be a dictionary or an encyclopedia, and — these days — very often ‘Google it’ is an acceptable answer. But I would never dream of imperiously telling someone to read an entire book to find an answer to a straight and simple question.

      In the case of your ‘contact volume’, it turns out that this is one of those rare expressions where Google returns zero relevant (fluid mixing) hits. I ran the search term contact volume with and without quotes. I therefore decided to search electronically through two different ebook English translations of Hahnemann’s Organon for ‘contact volume’ and, for good measure, an original German edition for ‘kontaktvolumen’. In all three instances, no results were returned.

      So I would therefore be grateful if you will, as I originally requested, explain your understanding of the expression ‘contact volume’. Please also refer me to the exact page and in which translation/edition of Hahnemann I can find his clear explanation of the difference between 30 serial succussions and diluting one drop in the ocean.

      You see, I’m pretty sure that mixing of two liquids is a topic that falls within the scope of both fluid mechanics and process engineering. What happens to a drop of fluid added to any amount of solvent depends on the shear forces involved. The interactions are extremely complex, as the equations in these links show, but when the volume of diluent is at least 100 times that of the drop added, the volume of diluent surely makes little difference to the initial contact events, which depend more on the volume of the drop and the force with which it’s added. Maybe one of the physicists who read this blog can clarify.

      As for the science behind succussions, maybe this paragraph from page 221 of the Organon (fifth ed., translated by C. Wesselhoeft), gives insights into the level of Hahnemann’s scientific acumen.

      Desirous of employing a certain rule for the development of powers of fluid medicines, I have been led by manifold experiences and accurate observations to prefer two instead of repeated strokes of succussion for each vial, since the latter method tended to potentiate the medicines too highly. There are, nevertheless, homoeopathists who carry about with them homoeopathic medicines in fluid form, and who still insist that these medicines were not found to have been more highly potentiated, thereby disclosing a want of accurate observation. I dissolved one grain of soda in half an ounce (1 Loth.) of water mixed with a little alcohol contained in a vial, two-thirds of which it filled; after shaking this solution uninterruptedly for half an hour, it was equal in potentiation and efficacy to the thirtieth development of strength.

      There was once a graffito chalked on a wall “e=mc^2”. Someone added; “very nice, Albert, but you’ve GOT to show your workings out!”

      • Professor Odds, the reason that you can’t find ‘contact volume’ on Google is because I made up the concept as part of my process towards understanding the physics of homeopathic potentisation.

        I am busy at the moment, but may reply again tomorrow to explain it to you.

        • yes, please – that’ll be fun.

        • Quote Greg#1 (Saturday 16 June 2018):
          “(…) if you don’t understand the difference in ‘contact volume’ between ’30 serial succussions’ and a ‘one drop in the ocean dilution’, then you too should ‘move on’ (…)”

          Quote Greg#2 (Sunday 17 June 2018):
          “(…) the reason that you can’t find ‘contact volume’ on Google is because I made up the concept (…)”

          So, Greg, you make up a “concept” and then you talk down to people who do not know it.
          Don´t you see how weird this is? What the heck are you taking?!
          (And… since my last LSD experience has been nearly 30 years ago… where can I get some?)

        • But Greg, on Friday 09 February 2018 at 14:50 you wrote:

          GMH at Homeopathy of Hahnemann knows the answer:
          ‘The Dawkins idea of one drop of a substance diluted in the ocean contrasted with the homeopathic method of 30 serial dilutions shows that these are completely different conceptions. The contact volume of 1 drop in the ocean is vastly different from the contact volume in the process of producing a 30 CH potency as a mere 150ml of liquid is used in the homeopathic preparation of the 30th potency, compared to the trillions of litres in the oceans in the ‘Dawkins explanation’.

          Now you tell us you made up the concept of contact volume. I searched the blog “Homeopathy of Hahnemann” but could not find a trace of your quote, nor, for that matter, any sign of ‘GMH’, though I’m guessing that would be Gregory Hessenauer, who posts most or all of the blog’s material. Wait a minute… you call yourself Greg… that’s short for Gregory, isn’t it? You quoted a ‘GMH’ who ‘knows the answer’ to contact volume. So perhaps you made up the quote yourself, along with the concept of ‘contact volume’? No, surely not. The famous Greg who makes smug, self-important comments on the Ernst blog can’t simply be a sock-puppet for Gregory Hessenauer?

          Please do tell us, Greg, in your own good time, more about ‘contact volume’. Meanwhile, the many fans of Greg on this blog could do worse than take a look at ‘Homeopathy of Hahnemann’. For the scientifically literate it’s a cornucopia of ignorance and a testament to someone who just can’t believe cutting edge science.

          • Yup… That’s dear old disgruntled “Greg” allright, as confused as ever when reality does not match fantasy:

            My conclusion

            Scientific studies have not differentiated the human being (person) from a living human body. Their conception is that the human being is a living body. Professor Dawkins stated that consciousness (Mind) emerges from the brain. Can you believe this absurdity?

            Scientists with an interest in homeopathy are studying homeopathic preparations using the nano-particle model. I can’t say that they are wrong to take this line of investigation, as I do not have a knowledge of this area of science.

            What I can state is that the ‘obvious’ is being missed: the human being inside the body. It is invisible to the physical eye. But we know it exists. The incredible power of human intelligence and sentience is there for all to see. How can this be explained in terms of physical biology?

            To be a homeopath, one has to understand what ‘sick person’ means.

            Posted 20th March by Gregory Hessenauer

            Source: https://homeopathyofhahnemann.blogspot.com/2018/03/trials-of-homeopathy.html

          • Professor Odds, as I stated before, you could actually spend some time reading the original sources on homeopathy instead of having to be spoon fed. Hahnemann’s article on this topic is provided on Homeopathy of Hahnemann but since you don’t mention this, it indicates that you have not read what is on Homeopathy of Hahnemann. The whole blog can be read in 30 minutes.

            It is pretty clear that Professor Ernst, Mr Mohr and you may have skimmed through the original works on homeopathy but not actually read them in detail. (Otherwise you would not write some of the ‘rubbish’ about rubbish that is written here. If you write seriously about rubbish then what you write can only end up as rubbish. Professor Dame Sally Davies stated that ‘homeopathy is ‘rubbish’.)

            Hence: the site called edzardernst.com has hardly begun to critically examine homeopathy but has done some work is clearing the ‘overgrowth’.

            It is not surprising that Mr Mohr thinks contact volume is a silly idea, but then again you both think HOMEOPATHY is a silly idea and both spend an awful lot of time critiquing this dumb science invented by a ‘rubbish scientist'(Thomas Mohr). The reason that scientists and researchers do what they do is to earn a living or make money doing trials, selling book, or something else (educational) and exploring rubbish seems like a waste of effort, if you believe it is rubbish that you are exploring. On the other hand, I don’t believe it is rubbish, so exploring critiques is very helpful, even if people say that what I write is also rubbish or ‘silly’.

            The explanation that I provided for ‘contact volume’ is straightforward. High potency remedies are made out of very little soluent (30C = 150ml), and not an ‘ocean of water’ as Professor Dawkins portrayed in his video. Now if Professor Richard Dawkins read Hahnemann’s works, he would also know that his one drop in the ocean explanation is not correct because the one drop is NOT diluted in an ocean of water, is it?.

          • Oh Greg, on another page you quoted a paper from the Medical Observer, reasoning why serial dilution can not be compared to just dropping a drop into Lake Geneva.

            Well, Greg, the author of this paper (and likely Hahnemann) concluded correctly that too high of a dilution will lead to inhomogeneous solutions. They even say so expressis verbis. This is known to any chemist, biotechnologist or molecular biologist. It is the reason why we create a 1:10000 dilution in two 1:100 dilution steps. However, the paper clearly insinuates that even at very high dilutions some substance is still present. Why ? Because they worry about inhomogenities in the solution which is only relevant if some agent is still present. Since the atomic theory was still in it’s infancy, Hahnemann did not realize that this assumption is false. Actually, Hufeland and others suspected that this might be the case and this can be clearly felt in their omments on Hahnemanns work F.i. has editor he commented on a paper of Hahnemann (a reasoning on the use of highly diluted substances and published in one of Hufeland’s journals) that the assessment of the plausibility of the paper is left to the reader.

            In any way, the discovery of the avogadro number pulled the carpet under the original assumption, namely that substance is still present in ultra diluted homeopathic solutions, thus invalidating the conclusions that followed.

          • Oh dear Greg,

            Now you’ve been outed you seem to be turning nasty. I certainly have begun to read Hahnemann, but it swiftly becomes clear that the Organon is a tedious work of pseudo-science. There are many similar examples in the medical field, as well as books outlining untenable theories in astronomy, physics, geology and virtually every branch of science.

            Some authors, like Hahnemann, acquire a slavishly devoted but deluded public (another example is L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics which evolved into Scientology, with its bizarre views on psychiatry and psychology) while others fade and die in the course of time (e.g. Reich’s “orgone therapy”, Bates’s eye exercises). I feel no obligation to read deeply in any pseudo-scientific literature: I have told you before that your insistence that no-one should criticize something until they’ve read every publication on a topic is a typical ‘Courtier’s reply’.

            As to your ‘contact volume’, you have still not given an explanation of what this term is supposed to mean. You write “if Professor Richard Dawkins read Hahnemann’s works, he would also know that his one drop in the ocean explanation is not correct because the one drop is NOT diluted in an ocean of water, is it?”. Sorry, you’re simply failing to comprehend that it matters not a jot whether you mix one drop into an ocean or you subject a drop to repeated, successive dilutions in smaller volumes of diluent. The ultimate dilution factor is precisely the same. Given an excess of diluent (say, 100 times the volume of the drop), what first happens to a drop on contact is the same in a bottle as it is in the ocean.

            The two main planks on which homeopathy stands, the ‘law of similars’ and ‘potentization’ by succussion are total nonsense, unconfirmed by any robust evidence from properly designed clinical trials or laboratory experiments. As has been pointed out countless times before, both of these two homeopathic fundamentals fly blatantly in the face of centuries of acquired knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology and medicine.

            If you wish to believe such things that’s entirely your business. If you wish to engage in debate about things like succussion, please define any new terms you introduce, try to make a coherent, comprehensible point, and please suppress your tendency to make insulting remarks about those who disagree with you.

          • As I have stated before, a drop of any ingredient in an ocean results in a deterministically verifiable, existent “drop in an ocean”. It simply is there, despite it being hard to trace where exactly its molecules are.

            Serially diluting a drop of a substance using 5 mL vials of liquid, however, 30 times in a row, guarantees you there will be no single drop of the substance in the end product (if the solutions are homogeneous and the dilutions perfectly performed). You’ll have thrown the last minute amount of the initial drop long before the 30th dilution iteration.

            However, GMH, you seem to be deluded beyond all recognition. Cheers!

        • Greg, I know what you mean with “contact volume”. It is rubbish because it assumes that there is some sort of reaction between water and whatever you pour in. The best evidence how much rubbish this is is the medical observer article you quote elsewhere which talks about a dose of drosera being succussed too much can be life endangering. Guess what ? this has been tried douzens, if not hundreds of times, first during the Nuremberg salt trial. Guess what happened ? NOTHING.

          • Thomas, it is true that ‘contact volume’ assumes that there is some sort of reaction between the substance being potentised and the soluent (water).

            30C potency by serial succession:
            1/100 X 30
            (0.01)(30) = 10(-60) superscript not functioning () = powers
            1 drop = 0.05 millilitre
            Total soluent required for 30th potency: 150ml

            If one drop is diluted directly into the 150 ml soluent:
            The dilution is: 0.05/150 = 0.0003 ml

            The amount of soluent that one drop comes into contact with is the same in both methods of dilution but it it is not the ‘same’ as mixing one drop in the ocean (Professor Dawkins).

            The difference in the process of making the 30C is that the ‘contact volume’ of 150 ml, and the contact volume of the ocean is vastly different.

            You think it is the same because the mathematical outcome is similar. Ok, so why use more of your time here debating this ‘rubbish’ science of homeopathy?

            Move on Tom.

          • Isn’t it lovely of homeopaths like yourself to invent new physics when the conventional one does not fit to their delusions?

        • I hope you don’t keep distorting reality to fit your delusion for long, because you’ll never get to know when to stop in the end.

  • Oh dear Professor Odds, if you check the time, you will notice that I wrote my comment to ‘Edzard’ (why does Professor Edzard Ernst not use ‘Professor Ernst in his comments?), this was BEFORE your comment including my name.

    Any case, I provided the link to the blog to ‘Edzard’ a long while back, and he wrote some comment to the effect of it being ‘rubbish’.

    As for ‘being nasty’, Frank your comments to Sandra are appalling; writing to a woman like like: you should be embarrassed. Now what is it a called when you point out to someone else something that you are doing yourself? It is HYPOCRITE. Then again, the ‘sceptics’ think that their snide comments are funny, but that is because most of them are like you.

    • Greg: I hope you realise that most of your comment are being posted by me not because of their scientific but their comic value (including you telling me on my blog to PISS OFF!).

      • You are a great comic Edzard; like Frank.

        Thanks for posting the comments. It called free speech, and if you think it is ok for you to insult your readers then you should be willing to receive insults too.

        Your insults to your readers are too numerous to list.

        • And the single biggest insult to this blogs’ readers is continuing to allow Buffon egotists (e.g. Greg) to assault logic and science and use them as a punchline.

  • The fungus may have got to your brain Frank:

    Let’s refresh your ‘memory’:

    Frank Odds on Thursday 22 March 2018 at 19:22
    @Sandra

    Homeopathic ‘medicines’ are prepared in water (±alcohol), which is a toxin — lots of people drown in it. What’s that you say? “It depends on the quantity and the route of exposure, stupid!” Aha! We may be getting somewhere. Now apply this same thinking to mercury and Ayurvedic medicine vs. dental amalgams. Anything slowly seeping into that dense sponge you call your brain?

    Frank Odds on Monday 09 April 2018 at 18:52
    Sandra, are you too blind or stupid to read this comment? Do you not comprehend that the prevalence of amalgam fillings is so high that, if they were unsafe and releasing mercury in sufficient quantities to poison their recipients seriously, the world population would probably not amount to its presently high levels?

  • The Smiling Face video beautifully captures the series and degrees (J Kent) of the internal and external world. The known external world reaches the Cosmic Web, but the known to science internal world stops prior to the critical point: the spirit of ‘Louise’. We can see her smiling but science can’t see her soul.

    The series and degrees of homeopathic remedies reach the soul energy, as the degrees are progressively cleared through the progression of the series. This is the ‘secret’ path of homeopathy that many of those who took the clinical-medical approach failed to see.

    That’s just epic Greg. This goes above and beyond all levels of delusion you have exhibited in this blog. We can finally move on: Your “scientific” opinions can safely be ignored.

  • James, how would you explain the existence of *human beings* in terms of biology?

    I suppose you also believe that the Universe evolved out of nothing, as does Professor Dawkins?

    Professor Dawkins believe this, and yet finds THE theory of homeopathy to be absurd.

    Tell me James, how did the Universe evolve out of NOTHING?

    Hopefully now, financiers of homeopathy studies will stop wasting their money on the rubbish studies that Edzard Ernst has devoted his lifetime to studying? Isn’t it funny James?

    • Quote Greg:
      “(…)how would you explain the existence of *human beings* in terms of biology?”

      Again, Greg, are you HIGH? What the heck are you taking? Please be careful not to overdo it, your posts get more and more weired.

      As a biologist (and atheist, btw), I could give you some information regarding how “biology” (I guess you rather mean “scienctists”) would address your very important questions, but it seems that this would be a waste of time.
      Instead, I recommend that you search the internet for things like “Big Bang theory”, “RNA world theory”, and of course “theory of evolution”.

      • Greg: whatever you are smoking, you must dilute it!!!

        • Greg, be careful with the advice from Prof. Ernst!!
          You made it more than clear that you believe that the (in this case mind-altering) effects will become stronger when you dilute (& shake) your “remedies”.
          So please make sure that you ONLY dilute the stuff you take (without shaking)… or simply try to take it LESS OFTEN.

      • Jashak: Your atheism explains everything.

        You believe that the Universe came out of NOTHING and that the elements emerged from NOTHING, that life emerged from NOTHING.

        ‘Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth’s species have yet to be fully described, according to new study that predicts our planet is home to 8.7 million species’ (Google).

        I am NOT an ATHEIST because it is IMPOSSIBLE to conceive how the Universe, and 8.7 million species ‘evolved’ from NOTHING.

        Please provide your evidence that the Universe evolved from NOTHING.

        I am sorry to say that, IN MY VIEW, it is your ‘view’ that is WEIRD*.

        • Quote:
          “I am NOT an ATHEIST because it is IMPOSSIBLE to conceive how the Universe, and 8.7 million species ‘evolved’ from NOTHING.”

          Greg, this might be impossible for you, but not for me. Quite the opposite, I see no reason to believe in one (or more) of the THOUSANDS OF GODS that humans have dreamt up. Might I ask which one is your god of choice?
          Anyways, the god or gods that you believe in are no EXPLANATION for anything present in this world.

          Despite the great progress that humans made since the scientific method was introduced, we are of course far away from being able to explain everything. Regarding the most recent theory of how “something can arise out of nothing”, I am not the right person to talk to, since I am not an astrophysicist. Quite frankly, I do not at all understand the physics behind the big bang theory.
          This book from Lawrence M. Krauss, which I have not yet read myself (but intend to), seems to deal with your questions: “A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing” (2013)

          However, the concept of the evolution of the millions of species on this planet is actually not too difficult to understand once you know what DNA is and how selection of species works. Richard Dawkins is only one out of MANY scientists that wrote books about it. Just read one of those.
          However, just because I don´t understand things I would not take the easy way out and say:” Since I can´t comprehend it, it must have been made by GOD” (which is, as mentioned, no REAL explanation at all).

        • Greg,

          A few years ago Dawkins went on the first of several lecture tours in the company of astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss, where he gained first-hand exposure to the ‘universe from nothing’ stuff. But Dawkins is not a cosmologist. Your beef should be with Krauss. (Jashak already gave you the title of his book: search YouTube for ‘Dawkins and Krauss’ and you’ll find many lengthy videos — you’d be forgiven for finding them tedious — which explain the ideas.) His hypotheses are perfectly rational in the context of present knowledge of astrophysics and quantum mechanics, but both of these fly in the teeth of ‘common sense’. A lot of comprehension difficulties arise simply because human intuition has problems understanding extremely large and extremely small numbers.

          Much of accepted, established knowledge seems unreasonable to everyday experience. e.g. If the earth is spinning so darn fast, how come we don’t all fly off into space? Why does a magnetized iron ball fall more slowly through a copper tube than a non-magnetized ball? (Look up Lenz’s Law.) Many people still don’t grasp how the laws of thermodynamics make it impossible to design a perpetual motion machine. In its time, it was “IMPOSSIBLE to conceive” of the earth as other than flat or the earth as an insignificant small planet spinning round an insignificant small star at the edge of one of billions of galaxies.

          The explanation ‘goddidit’ is totally useless, because you then have to define exactly what god is and how god appeared from nothing.

          • Frank

            This is enough to have a ‘beef’ with him:

            Professor Richard Dawkins
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD1QHO_AVZA

            Plus: The God Delusion.

            Plus his silly video on homeopathy potencies:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN6U6cpGzss

          • silly?
            because you don’t agree with or his calculations are wrong or he does not understand the beauty of homeopathy that defies any such calculations?

          • My favourite on this subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvijJTjZ8Rg

          • Oh dear, Greg! I’m afraid you’ve blown all cover for debating credibility you might have had left. You’re just a religious fundie who is, apparently, entirely ignorant of the advances in biological science since Darwin (and Wallace) first explained their very simple ‘eureka’ idea of natural selection. It has been evidenced robustly in so very many different ways over the 150 years since, but since you’re even stuck with the simple arithmetic of dilutions, I’m not surprised. Do you have any idea how many biologists at the time kicked themselves for missing something so blooming obvious as evolution by natural selection?

            Like I said earlier today, human intuition has problems understanding extremely large and extremely small numbers. ‘Billion’ is such a small word for something so big.

            Bye-bye.

    • Greg, apparently you have no concept of what statisticians call degrees of freedom. Prior to the generation of the universe, probably anything would have been possible in a universe, even homeopathy. However, after the generation of the universe, be it out of nothing or whatever, a lot of degrees of freedom have been lost. Specifically everything that violates the rules of this universe. Homeopathy falls in exactly this category..

      • Thomas, it seems that you may be the person that will be able to synthesise Einstein and Hawkins theories into one great theory: The Mohr theory of the Universe.

        Tom, what I like about your comment is that it demonstrates how brilliant ‘matter’ is; that it has critically analysed and philosophized about the state of existence ‘prior to the generation of the universe’, as you put it.

        This is fantastical stuff Tom: prior to the universe, there was nothing, and then it got ‘generated’. That is BIG thinking Tom.

        Atheists (materialists) can’t handle the idea of spiritual existence so to deal with this lets take it out of the picture: all that is, is matter. That’s great Thomas, because this ‘matter’ is brilliant stuff: its brilliance is exemplified in its capacity to ‘generate’ the Universe, to do mathematics, science, and mechanics, the myriad of human arts, etc.

        Mr Mohr, you are a shining example of the brilliance of ‘matter’: your resume proves it (but you do need to revisit that thesis on provings that you posted).

        • Greg, why don’t you elaborate a bit on that thesis so that we can see if you got the important features of it ? From what you have quoted I highly doubt that you got it.

          As for your line of argumentation that somebody who thinks prior to the universe was nothing also has to think homeopathy should be possible, re-read my comment on degrees of freedom and think about what they actually mean.

          As for your “spiritual existence”, I have no problem with that concept. In fact I am a believing Catholic. My point of view is that something that can be measured is in the realm of science, something that can not be measured is in the realm of religion or belief. Homeopathy – as something claiming to produce results – is definitely in the realm of science.

          • Thomas,

            In terms of physics: what ‘substance’ is spiritual being?

            What is the Pope’s / Church view on this?

            In regard to the thesis, can you get the link back up? It seems to be broken? I gave all the clues in my comment; you know what happened before the Universe was ‘generated’ and the process by which it was ‘generated’, so I am sure that you will work this simple problem out.

            (This topic does have a connection to homeopathy but both can be studied without reference to each other. Except that the study of homeopathy has been for many years a misinformed one.)

        • Greg,
          for the last couple of your blog entries, I have tried to follow your thoughts on atheism, religion, matter, biology, evolution and how all this explains your believe that homeopathy (only the “real” one, of course) can be effective to treat health issues.

          Unfortunately, this is the result:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOHMg7IkzHU

  • Greg, we know you are not an atheist, homeopathy is a religion in and of itself. How else would you believe in its magical workings… Our science that you fervently dismiss or distort when it best suits you doesn’t attempt to recreate the world but to explain it. If you believe that our world was created a few thousands of years ago, then there is no other explanation but some god of the gaps that would fit in your paradigm to have made all of this happen around you. Since species’ lifetimes vary on the order of decades, a few thousands of years is not enough time for all of this to get set, especially as we have strong evidence that some thousands of years ago, species closely resembled their modern descendants!

    If we had evidence that our world is a couple of thousands of years of age, I, too, would have no other option but to think that some powerful superior stroke of art had to fill the gap between existence and nonexistence.

    And the truth is, Greg, that our world’s history dates more than just a few millions of years (more like billions). Do you understand the not-so-simple concept of a million years Greg? This is what I call enough time for just about anything to have happened. We don’t need any god to fill the gaps because the natural processes of evolutionary biology may be painfully slow to advance, let alone based strongly on random chance, selective pressure, sexual selection etc. BUT, a few millions of years is ample time to recreate a version of our world (albeit quite different, probably) in any simulation session based on our modern understanding of those involved natural processes. This is the strongest evidence we have that it is not only possible to have millions of species on some planet, but that the starting and ending states of a system are in no way connected to each other in a deterministic manner (that is, it is increasingly impossible to predict endpoint states based on the corresponding beginning states, and vice versa, as the temporal distances grow)

    To put it simply, for you, we could have started from just about any initial state to reach our present state as we know it, and conversely, even the slightest of changes in the initial state would have led to a present state that, in comparison to the currently observable present state, would make us have to invent another word because “different” wouldn’t even begin to cover the contrasts.

    In a few words, millions of years is ample time to come into existence and out of it, and even for “existence” to change meanings alright. It’s fascinating because we cannot grasp what it is to spend a million years. That doesn’t mean we have to invent a god to fill the gaps though.

  • It is good of all of you to post your replies to my universal view.

    My point of view is that the known 8.7 million species, and the Cosmic Web could not have randomly evolved (out of nothing).

    The human body is a good place to start. Try working out how it evolved out of matter by random selection to create the organs and links between them, including a brain of such immense complexity, plus a male and female form of human being that enables the reproduction of the species. Professor Ernst writes blogs about the ‘sorcery’ of reproductive anatomy but the fact that you consider these complex biological apparatuses ‘evolved’ from dust or from nothing is incredible.

    In his book, The God Delusion, Professor Dawkins states that mind (consciousness and intelligence) ’emerges from the brain’. But Professor Dawkins leaves out the main part, he also has to explain how the brain ’emerged’ (from nothing).

    Across the millions of species living in water, on/in the earth, and those able to travel in the air is all the evidence of immaculate design. Jashak asks about God: The major religions have names for God:
    Judeo-Christian: Elohim
    Muslim: Allah
    Hindu: Brahma
    etc.

    In my view, it is not essential to identify with a particular religion to in order recognise the existence of Universal creative intelligence. The evidence is all around us all the time and is directly accessible to our senses and intelligence.

    Medicine has its own ‘blindness’: materialism and, to some degree, also atheism. Ask a doctor of medicine what a ‘person’ is, and they may give you a funny look. Dr. Rawlins stated: what has that got to with anything (with medicine).

    • Ahhh … the Universal creative intelligence!
      Palmer called it THE INATE;
      Hahnamann called it the vital force;
      In TCM, it is chi;

      TOO MANY NAMES FOR SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT EXIST

    • For a really good explanation of evolution and for a good read I would suggest Darwin himself. Although he had no knowledge of genetics he was able to derive his theory from a few simple observations, made initially with breeders of domestic animals (particularly dogs and pigeons) but then extended to the natural world:

      1. The number of offspring in successive generations is more than would be required to maintain the population, therefore not all individuals can go on to reproduce successfully.
      2. Within a population there is variation between individuals.
      3. This variation leads to some individuals being better suited to their environment than others.
      4. Those best suited (i.e. the fittest, in the sense of the best fit) are more likely to leave descendents.
      5. In terms of these variable characteristics, offspring tend to resemble their parents.

      The rest of evolutionary theory follows from this. Indeed, it is inevitable.

      Note that although the factors that give rise to these variations may be random, the selection by nature of the variations most suited to the environment are anything but random. Also note that even a tiny advantage will be propagated through sequential generations. For instance, a genetic variant that improves reproductive survival by 1% will be present in (almost) all members of a population after 100 generations. This might be a characteristic that makes a tasty insect slightly less visible to a bird when the light is poor, or a proto-eye that is able to detect the direction of light with slightly greater accuracy.

      I would also suggest reading any of Darwin’s other books – he is a very erudite and entertaining writer.

    • Greg,
      It does not seem that you have read any of Prof. Dawkins books, or, in fact, have read and understood anything at all about the evolution of species.

      Quote #1, Greg:” Try working out how it evolved out of matter by random selection to create the organs and links between them, including a brain of such immense complexity, plus a male and female form of human being that enables the reproduction of the species.”

      The evolution of species very convincingly explains how complex life forms (such as animals, plants, etc.) have -over time- developed out of simple early life forms. I do not have the patience to go more into detail for you, because I have the strong impression that this would be a waste of time. You seem to be a very convinced “believer” and in my experience, strong believers cannot be convinced by logic and reason. In case I am wrong and you are REALLY interested, READ about this topic and try to be open to the MASSIVE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE in favor of evolution (e.g. the human DNA, which is present in nearly all cells of your body, Greg, is beautiful evidence for YOUR relationship with all living organisms on this planet). I find it quite funny that persons like you deny the DNA family tree, because the undeniable DNA information is present WITHIN your body and today is even quite easy to isolate and sequence.

      Quote #2, Greg:” In my view, it is not essential to identify with a particular religion to in order recognise the existence of Universal creative intelligence. The evidence is all around us all the time and is directly accessible to our senses and intelligence.”

      Well, Greg, this is again just your opinion (and you are just one out of ca. 7.5 billion humans, so please do not take your personal opinions/feelings so seriously). No OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE supports your FEELINGS that a creative intelligence exists. As I have pointed out, quite the opposite is true, the evidence that today´s species evolved out of very simple beginnings, without the necessity of any form of “creative intelligence”, in not only all around us, but is EVEN IN ALL OF US!

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