Homeopathy and the 10:23 project

By Phil Plait | January 4, 2010 2:30 pm

1023Campaign_logoI received a mysterious email recently, promoting what to me sounds like a great idea: a concerted effort in the UK to increase the public awareness that homeopathy is quackery, pure and simple. It’s called the 10:23 Campaign, and it’s being promoted by various skeptic groups in Britain. The website is a placeholder for now, but you can sign up there for updates.

Why do this? Well, as they say,

Homeopathy is an ancient, pre-scientific and absurd pseudoscience. Yet it persists today as an accepted complementary medicine, largely because people don’t know what it is.

The 10:23 Campaign aims to show the public what homeopathy is and explain how we know it doesn’t work. It will launch in early 2010.

Excellent. And why call it the 10:23 Campaign? Well, happily I have a mole who informs me of such things.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Skepticism

Comments (77)

  1. Sam

    Did you guys know that mercury is a miracle homeopathic cure guaranteed to keep you alive?! That’s right, just dilute it down to 0.5 PPM (the amount found in your average glass of tap water). If you drink water, you’re already seeing the benefits of mercury!!1! Don’t believe me? Stop drinking water and see how long you last!

    Homeopathy works, it’s just science!

  2. Quiet Desperation

    And why call it the 10:23 Campaign?

    Um, to guarantee that it gains no public traction at all? Seriously, weak name no matter the reason, especially when they make it look like the time (10:23).

  3. Wonder if explaining that there is a higher concentration of Lord Nelson’s bladder output in water than homepathic medicine claims would have an effect?

  4. Peter Laws

    Pretty sure the ASCII convention for powers is ^, as in 10^23 and not 10:23 … Either way, not a very catchy slogan.

  5. Charlie Young

    Without looking and reading the comments: Is it 10^23, the dilution of most homeopathic cures?

  6. Love the idea, hate the name. Yes, it’s clever. I have to admit it gave me a chuckle. But the other posters are right. This isn’t supposed to be a site for people like us. And even my very first thought was, ‘What happens at 10:23?’

  7. John Sandlin

    Charlie, the clue was the word mole. I knew as soon as I saw that who the mole was.

    But I have to echo that unless serious advertising is involved, this is a weak name as very few will get it.

    jbs

  8. ND

    Well if you rename it the 4:20 project, you’ll get a lot of attention, some unwanted too boot.

  9. Alan in Upstate NY

    The graphic has it right, so let’s hope the 10:23 is a typo.

    Clear skies, Alan

  10. bigjohn756

    Oh, dear, a mole? Really?

    Very funny, Phil.

  11. I thought it was spelt “homœopathy” in the UK.

  12. Charlie Young

    …mole, I get it. How 10:23 will get people more informed about homeopathy, not so clear. Great for chemistry students, not so much for the general public.

  13. Cheers for your support for it, Phil. From the little I know of it, it sounds like it could be a great project and good fun as well.

    To those not so keen on the name – well, maybe it’s not to your liking, that’s OK, although it would be a shame to see to it not do so well just because you felt the name didn’t kick!

    (Arensb – I think once keyboards stopped having a oe (ethel?) everybody stopped being bothered about them!)

    T

  14. Sili

    Homeopathy is an ancient

    I do realise you silly USAnians* have a rather peculiar view of this thing called history, but 220 odd years don’t really qualify as “ancient”.

    * Yes, yes, I know it’s an English campaign, but that’d ruin my prejudices.

  15. Larry

    People in the U.S. think that 200 years is a long time, people in Great Britain think that 200 miles is a long distance.

  16. Gary Ansorge

    8. ND

    Darn it! ND beat me to the punch.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to use the full gm molecular weight?

    “A mole has 6.0221415×10^23 atoms or molecules of the pure substance being measured.”

    Gary 7

  17. Cairnos

    Quick question here: What do homeopaths do with the remainder of the solution left at each dilution stage? If they throw it away it will surely enter our waterways and oceans where it will become immensely more dilute and hence more powerful. Is this an attempt by BigHomeopathy to secretly dose us all with thier medications or is it a sign that BH are blatantly pumping toxic waste into our waters. Have they passed any relevant environmental laws relating to the dumping of extremely potent medicines into areas where the public will be exposed to them? Perhaps the collapse of assorted global fishstocks isn’t due to overfishing at all, I bet no homeopath has done a comprehensive study on the effects of 40C Arnica on cod fishstocks. An injunction should be placed against them from continuing this practise until they either complete exhaustive research showing that no single or combination of thier medicines can affect assorted fish species or they assume the responsibiilyt of making sure that of thier contaminated waste byproducts are retained indefinitely on site. (or they admit that at high levels of dilutions this stuff does nothing, of course)

  18. Floyd

    Homeopathic “medicines” are just placebos.
    If they work at all, it’s because of the placebo effect.

  19. Cairnos

    (double entered)

  20. Noe Qwert

    I though homeopathy was relatively recent (1700′s) as opposed to ancient. Its still fraud at best and a public health menace at worst, but the debunking should be accurate.

  21. John Sandlin

    Charlie,

    Homeopathy uses dilutions so thorough that they will have 1 part per unit where there aren’t even that many units. So if you dilute the mixture so that you have 1 part per 10^30 parts, but only have 10^23 parts, then you aren’t likely to even have 1 molecule or atom of your active ingredient left.

    jbs

  22. Reverend J

    As an interesting corollary I saw Jenny McCarthy tonight on ABC news say “The doctors need to start listening to our anecdotal evidence”. I believe that’s what caused a blood vessel explode out of my head but I’ll need a few more data points to prove that ;)

  23. Just a quick comment to say that, thanks to Phil blogging about the campaign, we’ve pushed forward the website a bit to give you a bit of the content to play with. More will follow soon…

    Marsh
    10:23

  24. I was going to also complain about the use of the word “ancient”, but I see it’s been changed now.

    It seems to me that many people who are open to alternative medicine have a lot of respect for “ancient” medicine – so we need to make sure those same people understand that this is a (relatively) recent form of quackery.

  25. Benny

    The slogan is quite cute and witty to nerds like many of us, and will be completely lost on anyone who this was intended to help. This will mean that it will not be successful in changing a single person’s mind.

  26. Ken

    So I’m baffled about something. A disconnect that’s bothering me.

    Avagadro’s number is in terms of the mole, whose physical size/weight varies with the substance in question. However homeopathic preparations end up with a particular size of something.

    If I use a shot glass for each stage of my dilutions it’ll be much sooner than 23x that I hit the point of probability <1 of having anything at all present. If I use a swimming pool at each stage it'll be many more than 23x.

    So why are we going on about Avagadro's number being a breakover point when we aren't specifying the physical volume of water in question?

    Don't get me wrong – I understand the point being made (I'll drink anything at homeopathic concentrations – and pretty much do, as my water supply is from the Potomac River [mmm homeopathic cow poo]). It's just the notion of holding up this particular number as a gold standard seems misleading to me.

  27. squirrelelite

    I doubt if the 10:23 campaign name itself will make any difference to the general public.

    What will matter is the quality of any advertising and communication materials they come up with.

    Still, it at least resonates with those who know what they are talking about.

    To that end, I offer my own illustration:

    Suppose that there are 10 billion people living on the Earth, (we aren’t there yet, but we’re working on it) and each of them lives about 60 years and tries twice a week to cure a disease with a homeopathic remedy, and each of them lives 10 billion lives. (about 200 to 600 billion years or so, but who’s counting? Besides, the Earth will probably be vaporized or dissolved in our red giant sun by then, but Phil knows better than I do.)

    Then, on the average, one of them, one time in one of their 10 billion lives will have taken the homeopathic pill that actually contains some of the substance that might cure them!

    How’s that for a lottery?

    And the odds are even worse than that, since the choice of a substance to make that homeopathic remedy from is based on the concept that “like cures like”, which really does go back for hundreds or thousands of years and has no relation to any of the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and medicine of the last 200 years.

    However, since that “esteemed” authority on homeopathy, Dana Ullmann, notes that “the word (homeopathy) was only first used in 1807, and Hahnemann wrote his first book about it in 1810.”, and since Paul Johnson describes the beginning of the modern era in his wonderful book The Birth of the Modern as taking place from 1815-1830, perhaps we can agree to merely call homeopathy a “pre-modern” pseudoscience.

    I apologize for using Dana Ullmann as a reference, but his comment was the first one I stumbled on that specifically mentioned those dates. I know I’ve seen them elsewhere from better references.

    I also recommend Paul Johnson’s book to anyone interested in the beginnings of modern science and technology (and other things). It’s a bit heavy, but a good read.

  28. DaveS

    We all know the classical definition of homeopathy.

    However, due to weird FDA laws in the US, many non-classically-homeopathic drugs are on the market in the us, with the label “homeopathic”.

    As I understand it, for regular drugs, the FDA requires the drug companies to prove efficacy and safety before a drug is approved. If a drug is labeled “homeopathic”, the onus is on the FDA to prove it’s dangerous before it is regulated. The FDA doesn’t regulate the dilution of homeopathic preparations, so basically anyone can slap a “homeopathic” label on a product and avoid FDA process.

    For example, Cold-Eeze is a popular zinc-based cold remedy that’s labeled “homeopathic”, but the lozenges actually contains 13.3 milligrams of zinc gluconate glycine. That’s not homeopathic in my understanding, but since the term is not regulated, there you go.

    You saw the FDA rules on “homeopathic” compounds when Zicam was taken off the market after a bunch of people permanently lost their sense of smell after using the zinc nasal spray.

    I wonder if this situation exists in the UK?

  29. There were two or three Select Committee meetings at the end of last year which covered such things as labelling homeopathic products.

    If you go to Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog, all the info is up there.

  30. Phil J

    Yes, by all means. Let’s ban as many harmless placebo activaters as we can.

    But … what if the ‘succussion’ process (mechanical shock pulse through liquid)in the manufacture of homeopathic ‘remedies’ is actually a quantum mechanical information transfer technique which ‘distributes’ the unique wavefunction of the ‘remedy’ across all the individual wavefunctions of the molecules in that mole of probably pure water. The idea being that that mole of water is then fully entangled with the remedy and indeed constitutes a kind of room temperature bose condensate of that ‘remedy’. Information theoretically, the mole of water is acting as a kind of ‘file allocation table’ for itself and the remedy is stored as a pure information signal. Should we not be just a little wary there might be some kind of fractal information encoding going on given how the output of each succussion+dilution cycle is the input for the next cycle. Isn’t that kind of calculated iteration the hallmark of fractal generation after all ? So if succussion somehow imprints info on incoming diluant and iterated fission of dilution still conserves quantum mechanical interaction history … Maybe the mathematical fact that concentration can never reach exactly zero by mechanical dilution avoids a kind of QM info loss issue. What is the QM difference between the original remedy and the probably pure water ? What is the QM difference between the half beam of a hologram which has bounced off an object versus the reference half beam which hasn’t. The difference is pure information of interaction history. So maybe homeopathy only seems to violate chemistry sensibilities just as EPR entanglement only seems to violate the spirit of relativity. Just saying … there are ideas out there about all this. Do these ideas give QM more information theoretical credit than it deserves or could this be happening ?

    … or it just semi reliably activates the placebo effect so the strident re-education of the public hardly seems urgently necessary.

  31. HvP

    Phil J.

    I was all ready to call Poe’s Law until your last sentence.

  32. 10:23 project? Doesn’t sound like a scientific campaign to educate people – it sounds more like Glenn Beck’s latest pointless offshoot into getting the simpleminded to follow him.

    Get a better name, seriously. Stop with the GD in-jokes.

  33. Not entirely sure how avogadro’s number fits in with homeopathy, perhaps 100^200 would have been a better name.

    However, in the spirit of defending science against psuedoscience/idiocy, I think this project is a great chance to make some progress towards getting dangerous things such as homeopathic medicines off the market (I say dangerous because people neglect real medicine in favor of these “natural” remedies).

  34. #13 Sili – I’ve seen ‘ancient’ being used – although generally only by homeopaths who claim Hippocrates said something like “Similar cures Similar” and so it began.

    #22 Benny – So the name might not be amazing in your opinion, it would be a shame if the project didn’t have maximum traction because some people weren’t happy with the name!

    #25 Dave S – UK (and EU) rules as follows:

    “1. Only homeopathic medicinal products which satisfy allof the following conditions may be subject to a special, simplified registration procedure:

    . they are administered orally or externally,
    . no specific therapeutic indication appears on the labelling of the medicinal product or in any information relating thereto,
    . there is a sufficient degree of dilution to guarantee the safety of the medicinal product; in particular, the medicinal product may not contain either more than one part per 10 000 of the mother tincture or more than 1/100th of the smallest dose used in allopathy with regard to active substances whose presence in an allopathic medicinal product results in the obligation to submit a doctor’s prescription.”

  35. Craig

    I once saw this in a chem textbook:

    “For a good time call 602-1023.”

    Ok, I wrote it there, but it’s still funny damnit!

  36. When I first;heard of homeopathy as a kid, a couple of generations ago, I got the impression that it was originally a rational response to the 19th Century habit of over-medication. (If a little poppy juice will quiet the croup, maybe a shot of laudanum will enable Mom to get some sleep when the baby’s teething). Diluting laudanum is a hell of a good idea. Then the act of dilution, with a lot of careful measurements according to complex mathematical formulae, somehow became more important than the actual molecules in the tincture. Humans are pretty dumb and the substitution of ritual for effective procedure is an established practice that is truly ancient.

  37. Dave Morton

    How many moles in guacamole? Avacado’s number!

    Couldn’t help myself…

  38. Allen N

    Enough with the mole-dy jokes, O.K.?

    FWIW, 10^23 is a terrible nme for any group. How can we mole-d public opinion if nobody gets what the point is apart from some of us science geeks?

  39. john

    are we seriously crying about the name?

  40. Cliff Moore

    @ 34. john

    I thought it was good for a quick chuckle and is fairly serviceable. Didn’t know it was suppose to be a rally cry for war on the Homeopaths. :-P

  41. davem

    @34 We should be, if we want to get a point across. Seriously, look at the trouble big corporations take over their name changes. It’s not just smoke and mirrors. Follow the money…

  42. A couple of days ago the JREF site had an article about branding skepticism and how skeptics should present ourselves to the public. I think the the name 10:23 is what we should try to avoid. Frankly it seems to have some snob appeal, but that is about all. I know skeptics don’t speak with one voice, but I suggest to the people at the new homeopathy website that a different name would attract more of the public than something that seems like an in joke designed to imply that “we know more than you.”

  43. John

    This all completely misses the point. The problem is people’s negative perception of conventional medicine, not their positive perception of alternative therapies.

    Still, bashing homeopathy is a thousand times easier than selling our massively flawed conventional medicine to people, why make hard work for ourselves just because lives are at stake?

  44. Acky

    “Still, bashing homeopathy is a thousand times easier than selling our massively flawed conventional medicine to people, why make hard work for ourselves just because lives are at stake?”

    What? “Massively flawed conventional medicine”? Massively flawed compared to what? Homeopathy?
    Have you read any of whatstheharm dot net?

  45. For the casual observer, 10:23 doesn’t really mean much. Cerebral joke for the science geeks, yes. However, it does give an opportunity to explain to laypersons, such as myself, why it was chosen and what it means for homeopathy.

    Perhaps those criticizing the name should start offering up what they think are better alternatives.

  46. Perhaps the project is also planning to set off a giant anti-homeopathy bomb at 23 minutes past 10 on the 23rd of October.

    ..no?

  47. jolly

    Maybe it should be called 2023 because that is how long it will take to make a dent in STUPID. I was at an Xmas waffle party and the hostess mentioned she is a naturapath and she makes most of her money on homeopathy. My ADD forced me to say, ‘You scam people for a living!?’ before I could stop myself. She went on to say it is ‘vibrations’ that make it work, like music. When I started to point out the crazy of that, she left the room. I also recently talked to an actual doctor who uses acupuncture sometimes and told me that there are lots of studies showing it works and even if it is just a placebo, that is still a valid reason to use it.

  48. Gary Ansorge

    30. Phil J

    Wunnerful, wunnerful,,,

    ,,,and what if, we could jump off a cliff and flap our arms and fly? Or, better yet, in the Multi Universe theory, if we die in a plane crash in this universe, in some other universe we’ll miraculously survive(GODDIDIT) or what if God is just someone who figured out how to get higher than anyone else in the universe yet remain alive or what if the sky was yellow instead of blue or,,,

    Wow! That was fun. Too bad the universe insists on being so darned intransigent about requiring real, physical laws,,,

    Gary 7

  49. Floyd

    Bashing homeopathy is very easy, because it has no basis in fact, as no double blind trials have been done of its effectiveness or lack thereof.

  50. Alareth

    Ancient works in the homeopathic approach to time. Less is more so minutes last for hours, hours last for days, etc.

    Sorta like dog years.

    In homeopathic time the practice has been around longer than life on Earth.

  51. Calli Arcale

    Floyd @ 50 : Actually, that’s not true. Double blind trials of homeopathy have been conducted. They have been uniformly negative.

  52. Georg

    A honorable attempt, but it will not have noticable success.
    There is a certain percentage of people in need to
    be betrayed.
    Like religion in general, homöopathy gives a simple picture of
    sanity for the simple-minded.
    Georg

  53. Quiet Desperation

    To those not so keen on the name – well, maybe it’s not to your liking, that’s OK, although it would be a shame to see to it not do so well just because you felt the name didn’t kick!

    The problem is that people like us, who know that extra definition of “mole”, are not your target audience.

    This is an antivax example, but there is a woman at my work who, when the company announced the dates of this year’s free flu shots, was giving everyone the URL to Dr. Mercola’s website. *That* is your target audience.

  54. Quiet Desperation

    as no double blind trials have been done

    What are you talking about? They were doing double blind trials as far back as WWII.

  55. Phil J

    @ Gary 7 (49)
    LOL, Many such journeys are possible.

    ” … Too bad the universe insists on being so darned intransigent about requiring real, physical laws,,, ”

    Too bad it doesn’t bother you that one mystery (placebo effect) is being used to explain away another possible mystery (homeopathy). Your wunnerful scientific Tour de Force comment totally succeeded in convincing me that there cannot be some weak, intermittent effect going on.

    Did you get your flu shot ? Isn’t it wunnerful how you acquired your immunity to H1N1 without actually catching the disease first? (GODDIDIT)

    Yawn

  56. If you want to run your anti-homeopathy campaign like a homeopathic cure, it needs to be diluted a bunch. So start with one good logical blog post, thoroughly researched and well written. Then another blogger takes some of the comments and distills them into a new blog post, thus making the overall argument more powerful (1C). A third blogger would then use comments from the second blog to create another post even more toxic yet (2C). This continues until it’s been done by thirty people or so, with the final 30C blog post being sent to all the homeopathy websites and organizations you can find. The argument will be so powerful that homeopathy will stop in its tracks.

  57. Quiet Desperation

    Has anyone considered testing homeopathy with negative effects?

    For example, test a highly diluted poison on rats. Sorry, rats, but science must go on, although if we skeptics are right, you have nothing to worry about. ;-)

  58. @QD

    Actually, a homeopathic dilution of rat poison would have the effect of curing the effects of rat poison. Remember, start with a substance that causes similar symptoms, then dilute to be able to cure those symptoms.

  59. Jon

    I’ve never really known much about homeopathy, so reading the overview on their site (http://www.1023.org.uk/what-is-homeopathy.php) was quite illuminating. It seems that at a very basic level, the idea is that if something makes you sick, then a very small amount of it will make you healthy. This immediately struck me as a misinterpretation of adaptive immunity. I was also struck by the coincidence that Samuel Hahnemann invented homeopathy with it’s “Law of Similars” in 1796 — the very same year that Edward Jenner performed the first smallpox vaccination by inoculating a boy with something similar to smallpox. I find myself wondering if Hahnemann and Jenner ever crossed paths.

  60. Yojimbo

    @Todd W

    So, it follows that a homeopathic dilution of, say, cheese ought to cause deadly malnutrition, no?

  61. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ Phil J:

    Let’s ban as many harmless placebo activaters as we can.

    Good idea, since they are harmful when real medicine is available, and harmful when people think there are [insert stupid, meaningless and factually incorrect QM ramble here] that makes them “work” against observations.

    which ‘distributes’ the unique wavefunction of the ‘remedy’ across all the individual wavefunctions of the molecules in that mole of probably pure water.

    This is also known as decoherence (interaction with the environment), and means precisely that information is observed to be irreversibly lost to the environment. Not ‘conserved’, as you speculate.

    And
    “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

  62. Bill Stewart

    I’ve used homeopathic products and found some of them useful. Yes, it’s a bogus quack theory from the early 1800s that predates the Germ Theory of Disease, so it’s not something you’d use to cure diseases that can be cured by allopathic (i.e. real) medicine, but it’s backed up by 200 years of not-usually-scientifically-managed trial and error experience, and sometimes the practitioners have found products that work at reducing symptoms, even if they give bogus explanations about why. And for some problems like allergies, reducing symptoms is what you want.
    Most of the dry pills/powders/etc. are much less diluted than the liquids, so they still contain measurable quantities of active ingredients as opposed to mystical woo-woo energy fields left over when the liquids were diluted away.
    Before Tamiflu came out a few years ago, the only things modern medicine had to offer to treat influenza were quarantine, bed rest, chicken soup, and aspirin. There’s a product called “Alpha CF” that I find consistently helps with flu symptoms, leaving me feeling not very good as opposed to really awful, and it’s absolutely worthwhile. (On the other hand, one of its active ingredients is ipecac, in doses that aren’t high enough to cause vomiting, but are definitely high enough to tell you it’s in there.)

  63. Bill in SF

    Yojimbo@#60, you know it’s not possible to post something like that on the Internet without getting a reference to the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch, don’t you? The Camembert is “a bit runny” “oh” “the cat’s eaten it”…

  64. Gary Ansorge

    62. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

    So, I guess what you’re saying is, Humpty de-cohered?

    Cool!

    Gary 7

  65. Deepak

    One of my family member who was suffering from Arthritis tried various medicines including allopathy, ayurveda, unani etc. etc. for nearly 10 years and could not get cured. However, after trying homeopathy for just 1 year he was completely cured from it.

    Now, How do i believe that Homeopathy is quackery? Experts may say a 100 things reading books and conducting experiments. But I have actually seen homeopathy curing a long lasting problem.

  66. RickK

    Deepak – how can we doubt that UFOs are regularly abducting people and performing tests on them when so many people claim they’ve been abducted?

    How can we doubt that statues of Ganesha magically drank milk on one day in 1995, when so many people reported seeing it?

    Susan Blackmore was CERTAIN that she’d experienced a paranormal event until she did 3 years of research and realized the whole incident was her own mis-perception and was not magical.

    Now, think about it – was your family member REALLY cured by sugar pills and water, is it just possible that something else was going on?

    Questions that might lead you to a more realistic answer are:
    How was arthritis diagnosed?
    What medical were tried, over what periods of time?
    What physical therapy treatments were tried, and over what periods of time?
    What homeopathic treatments did he use, and over what period of time?
    What was his diet, and how did it change over what periods of time?
    What else was going on in his life?

    If he was using a classic homeopathic nostrum, then he was taking water and/or sugar pills. So, you must ask yourself how your friend was cured by water and sugar pills.

  67. I must alert you to the current image challenge on B3TA – http://www.b3ta.com/challenge/alternativemedicine/ – as suggested by Mike Marshall of the Merseyside Skeptics.

    Warning – some content likely to be (a) unsafe for work, and (b) incomprehensible to non-Brits.

  68. Phil J

    @ 62 Torbjörn Larsson, OM:

    If I have conjectured a information theoretic QM argument which seems to support homeopathy it is because i remain agnostic on the possibility that there may be some weak or intermittent effect going on which might be strengthened by a clearer understanding of possible underpinnings to explain the occasional anecdotes such as the one reported in comment #66

    So yes, i should have maybe said ” … Let’s ban as many harmless COMPLEMENTARY placebo activaters as we can …”

    Therefore, no need to panic. Restricting alt-med approaches to a complementary status can never assail your seemingly firmly set ideology as succesful outcomes can always be attributed to the orthodox component of such treatment programs.

    However, your invocation of
    ” …decoherence (interaction with the environment), and means precisely that information is observed to be irreversibly lost to the environment …”
    accidentally or deliberately sidesteps the very thrust of my conjecture. First, there is no ‘environment’ per se, in play here. Second, i don’t believe in QM info loss and in this i am certainly not alone. Specifically, I merely conjecture whether iterated dilution and succussion might rise to the level of a proper QM interaction which preserves previous QM interations history and thus evades the alleged problem of decoherence. SO, just like the information on your hard disk, it is retrievably distributed and the agent of that retrieval in that case is the file allocation table file which, if corrupted, only then renders the info irretrievable.

    If a photon bounces off my cat and enters my eye and hits my retina where it becomes an electrochemical signal which then undergoes further splittings and fissioning to eventually reach my brain. Why does your vaunted decoherence not destroy the cat_in_my_photon information which nevertheless reaches my brain and my awareness ?

    There are a great many QM information theoretic issues which remain unsolved, that’s why. Such musings fall well short of being what you call ” … stupid, meaningless and factually incorrect QM ramble …”

    End of thread ( for me anyway ).

  69. I wonder if this campaign is financed by big pharmaceutical companies trying to push opponents such as Boots from the market. Someone in the commentary mentioned that used homeopathic solutions being released into the water system become even more powerful. While on the one hand this is funny at best, on the other we should not overlook that with “real” medicine this happens all the time in much higher concentrations, which are actually having an effect on the ecosystem and the inhabitants. As much as we all praise all those many colorful pills and potions big pharmas provide, science still does not understand how different medication taken at the same time effect the human system. Yet big pharmafia pushes out new medication every year, earning trillions with our good faith, telling us to take this and that, while scientist are still searching for side-effects. We have accomplished much with our scientific studies, but we still know so little. Instead of banish one way of healing that worked for some, just like “real” medicine works for others but not all, we should learn to appreciate and teach critical thinking before grapping the forks and torches.

  70. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ Phil J:

    i remain agnostic on the possibility that there may be some weak or intermittent effect

    If you look at the facts you can’t be agnostic, we know that there’s no therapeutic effect.

    there is no ‘environment’ per se,

    There is always an environment to a finite system. Here the water acted as the environment that your ‘remedy’ was diluted in.

    i don’t believe in QM info loss and in this i am certainly not alone.

    Yes, very alone. Decoherence is an observed process. It is also taken as the process that explains how we can observe things (in QM). This in no way or form bears on “QM information theoretic issues” but on mundane QM.

    QM information theory is what you have when decoherence is slow so you can handle information. But that isn’t the case here, this is the same observation as when Tegmark in his paper showed that there is no QM process involved in neurons interactions with each other, the decoherence time between other molecules and water is much too fast.

  71. @Sean Ellis :

    Ahem. That would be Mike *Hall* at Merseyside Skeptics who suggested the challenge ;)

    Mike Hall
    Merseyside Skeptics.

  72. Claus Kanter

    Funny, the less people know the more they get worked up about this or that. Without going into the why and how it works, let’s just say it’s hard to argue with success?
    Maybe ‘Mike Hall’ can also tell us how this organization is financed (paid by …….. fill in the first pharmaceutical co that comes to mind) ?

  73. @Claus Kanter

    As co-founder of the 10:23 Campaign, I can clear up how it was funded – through hard work, volunteerism and canny marketing. The total cost of the entire project to the 10:23 Campaign HQ was aroung £10 or so – to purchase the domain name. Each overdoser paid for their own magic pills and one t shirt (around £4).

    The reason we got so much interest, free publicity, kind donation of time and bodies on the street? Because homeopathy is a dangerous, illogical and disproven modality which should not be sold as medicine. With that truth behind us, we didn’t need funding.

    FYI, here’s a quick question – if homeopathy *actually* worked, why would the pharmaceutical companies ban it? They’re pills which homeopaths admit have no original molecule left in them. Glaxo could produce 1000s of pills for a few pence, and sell them at the £5-per-80 that homeopaths rake in. If homeopathy worked, Big Pharma wouldn’t ban it – they’d sell it.

    Feel free to email me (press@merseysideskeptics.org.uk) if you’d like me to elaborate on any of the above.

    Marsh
    10:23

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