Quantum homeopathic flapdoodle

I had wanted to post something for World Homeopathy Awareness Week (WHAW), which ended a few days ago.

However, I have been hampered by the fact that, whenever I think about writing anything more about homeopathy, I tend to find myself losing conciousness. Or the will to live.

This partly reflects just how many words – undoubtedly running into tens of thousands – I have expended on homeopathy in other places – right back to around four years ago when I started commenting on Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog.

And, of course, my fellow-bloggers Stephen Curry and Richard Grant have already signposted WHAW here at NN. Not to mention Kausik Datta, who is partway through a multi-post broadside.

But I would still like to do my little bit to mark the occasion.

And also – the comments on Stephen’s blogpost reminded me that there always remain hard-core enthusiasts for Alternative Medicine Realities, people whom nothing could ever “un-convince”.

And, of course, there also remain people in science who can always use a small reminder of just how far from their world a fair number of the Alternative Medicine Reality people are.

So I thought I would give you a small literature comprehension exercise.—————————————————————————————————————————-

Unreality Detection 101

You are provided with the URLs of two freely accessible online papers concerning quantum mechanical descriptions of homeopathy.

Paper AIs a Unified Theory of Homeopathy and Conventional Medicine Possible?

Paper BTowards a Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of Homeopathy

One of the two is a spoof.

One of them is not.

After reading briefly through as much of the papers as you find necessary, answer the following questions:

1. A scientist or scientists with a PhD wrote
A   paper A
B   paper B
C   both paper A and paper B

2. The spoof paper
A   depends which universe you are in
B   is paper A
C   is paper B

3. The likelihood that a homeopath can tell which paper is the spoof is
A   high
B   low
C   homeopathically dilute


In case you were wondering, question three is set because homeopaths posting pro-homeopathy links on Twitter have linked approvingly to both of the above papers as:

“Evidence that homeopathy works by quantum mechanics”

Following which, any comment seems superfluous.

Though here’s one. Finally, whenever I think about homeopathy, the following line always floats back into my mind:

“Only two things are infinite…..

…the universe and human folly.”

“And I’m not sure about the universe.”

(Attributed to Albert Einstein)

About Austin

Middle-aged grouchy white male. Hair greying but hasn't all fallen out yet. Spreading waistline ill-concealed by baggy jumper.Semi-extinguished physiology researcher turned teacher. Known for never shutting up. Father of two children (aged 6 and 2) who try to out-talk him. Some would call that Karmic Revenge.
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5 Responses to Quantum homeopathic flapdoodle

  1. Stephen Curry says:

    C in all cases I think – amazingly.

    Belief has been well and truly beggared.

    Paper A would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Paper B is absolutely hilarious: I love the reference to the work of Bond, J.!

  2. Mike Fowler says:

    Milgrom has a PhD, according to his lengthy author listing in the ‘offending article’. Kinda makes me wanna give mine back. Does any other field do that? Maybe I should list my 50m backstroke certificate along with my other titles in future papers.

    It also raises the concerning issue of what use peer-review is, when all you need to do is get together with a bunch of your mates to form a journal, and they can ‘review’ and publish any of your old crap.

    Well, it might be more concerning if it didn’t already happen in the established literature. At least Medical Hypotheses is open about what it does!

  3. Austin Elliott says:

    Milgrom’s PhD is from his earlier career as an apparently perfectly respectable porphyrin chemist, Mike. Go figure, eh?

    Spot on about “peer” review – this is one of my major issues with all the Journals of Alternative Reality. For the specific case of quantum homeopathy, see e.g. here.

    And if anyone wonders what real physicists think about quantum homeopathy papers…:

    Though I’m sure readers here can guess without being told.

  4. vishal kalel says:

    is A=T and G=C ???
    I am not bothered about homeopathy, memory of water or whether AIDS is caused by HIV or not!
    I am more concerned about the fact
    “Science is wonderfully equipped to answer the question “How?” but it gets terribly confused when you ask the question “Why?””
    (iQuote – Erwin Chargaff.)

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