Pharyngula

I’m quite proud, under most circumstances, to be affiliated with the University of Minnesota: it’s an excellent university (and the Morris campus is the best within the system, although some of the other campuses argue about that), we’ve got great students, and we are a secular public institution dedicated to giving an affordable education to anyone. However, there is also one thing about the University of Minnesota which causes me great shame, and which I consider a betrayal of reason and evidence.

I am speaking, of course, of the Center for Spirituality & Healing. Center for Bullshit & Quackery is more like it. It’s the cesspit of the university, where all the pseudoscientific fuzzy-headed crap that fails is excreted, polished, gilded, and held on high as a beacon of New Age light to lead the gullible into a sewer of feel-good futility. If I were president of the university (only possible if genies are real), my first act would be to shut down the whole institution and send the dishonest rascals running the show back to their profitable nostrum-peddling, crystal-gazing, finger-waving tea rooms and sideshow tents.

What prompts my crankiness this time is that the CSH is offering a workshop, Homeopathy Acute Care Workshop.

Homeopathy? At my university? In the health sciences building? The stones of that building should writhe in revulsion and vomit forth the participants.

Stones can’t rebel, but the faculty and staff can. One scientist here wrote a short note in response to the organizer of this shameful nonsense.

Homeopathy is a completely bogus therapy. I am astounded that you are presenting this misinformation here at the university.
This is a disgrace, and an insult to the real work being done at the U of M.

And he got a reply!

Dear Michael,
I have taken a few days to sit with your hostile and critical email, as I wanted to give it a fair evaluation time.
I was quite stunned by the vehemence of your note, and must question exactly how much you know about Homeopathy, and where you learned that.

It is my role as faculty advisor for the IHEAL to support the student’s interests, and help them in finding resources and information. As a CHIP committee, IHEAL is a student group for sharing interdisciplinary interests in integrative healthcare–that includes exploring other systems of medicine and other approaches to healing from those they are exposed to in conventional medical education. We encourage all of our students to be explorers. They should investigate unknown areas with curiosity as well as academic rigor. I am proud and impressed by the initiative this year’s IHEAL group in seeking out and organizing the educational opportunities they desired–including Homeopathy. The faculty they have brought in to present on this topic are both top notch practitioners and teachers–bios attached.

I do not know what the basis is of your rigid judgment, but would like to offer the opportunity for there to be increased understanding and awareness, if you are interested. I will not, in this venue, go into trying to explain or justify the practice of homeopathy, but I have attached two documents summarizing some significant research publications that may be useful to you (the brief list, and the complete one.) I also would refer you to the free, on-line book by Dr. Jacob Mirman, MD (graduate of UMN medical school) http://bookonhealing.com/component/content/article/46/137.html
I would also recommend “Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine” an introduction to homeopathy, a primer for both patients and students.

Many physicians and scientists reject Homeopathy without any knowledge, because they say there is no plausible mechanism that can explain HOW it works, regardless of experiences and studies that have shown its impacts. Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work. Additionally, at one time we didn’t know about germs and didn’t believe that hand-washing had a mechanism of action that could explain how it impacted stopping the spread of disease–so it was fought against for decades. True, science has not yet created the technology to explore homeopathy in a way that can be understood. That doesn’t mean we stop asking the questions.

This may be a long-winded answer to your comment/accusation, but I hope that you find it enlightening.

Yours in academic rigor,
Karen Lawson
Faculty Advisor, IHEAL

She’s wrong in many things. One is that we reject homeopathy without any knowledge; we certainly do have knowledge of homeopathy and its principles, and that’s the reason it is rejected! There is no mechanism for highly diluted substances to work as they claim, and the principle of treating like with like is simply medieval sympathetic magic. It doesn’t work.

There are no significant studies that show any real effect, either. If there were a consistent pattern of homeopathic remedies doing anything, then we’d be interested; instead, we’ve got lots of studies that show no statistical difference between homeopathic solutions and water. At best, the proponents can cherry-pick all the studies done for ones that are either methodologically weak or that show a chance variation in their favor.

Which always raises a question in my mind: if homeopathy is so difficult to assess using those reductionist techniques of modern science and medicine, how the hell do homeopaths know they work? That’s one of the fundamental principles of science, that you can’t just get by on assertions — you have to be able to explain how you know something, and homeopaths can’t. They just pluck some magical association out of their butt and prescribe it…and then after the fact, they claim that it works for their patients. But if it actually works for their patients, then it would be amenable to clinical trials.

They can’t claim that it works, and simultaneously that it doesn’t work when examined rigorously.

Even when they’re trying to argue that there is evidence for homeopathy, they always seem to begin with a lot of waffling about how science can’t really examine their discipline.

Homeopathy is not a modality or therapy, but an entire system of medicine, with its own paradigm of understanding health and illness. That paradigm directs the process of evaluation and treatment. Therefore, in order to accurately assess the effectiveness of the intervention, researchers need to design studies that are congruent with the way homeopathy is practiced clinically.

This means that the gold-standard, biomedical research model for drug interventions (one disease or symptom, one drug, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective trial) is not an ideal research process for homeopathy.

That kind of noise just enrages me. I want to grab that person by the collar and demand, “Well, then, asshole, how do you know your magic pills work?”

I know. They use wishful thinking, instead. In a description of a weak study that showed a small improvement of homeopathic remedies over placebos, they get to write “Homeopaths felt clinically had they been able to prescribe the individually matched remedy to each case, the recovery rate expected would have been as high as 90%”. Well, sure, and if they’d been following my magic procedure of hopping up and down on one foot while taking their pills, I believe the recovery rate would have been 105%, therefore proving the effectiveness of monopedosaltopathy.

The screwball giving the workshop in homeopathy, Jacob Mirman, offers his own case for homeopathy. Again, it opens with superstitious bullshit.

Comments

  1. #1 mikelatiolais
    February 4, 2010

    It is an utter embarrassment. Didn’t someone challenge homeopaths recently by attempting to OD on their “medicines?”

  2. #2 The 386sx Society
    February 4, 2010

    She is shocked, I tell you, that someone would reject it, and has no idea of the basis of the rigid judgment, I tell you!!

  3. #3 Reginald Selkirk
    February 4, 2010

    Many physicians and scientists reject Homeopathy without any knowledge, because they say there is no plausible mechanism that can explain HOW it works, regardless of experiences and studies that have shown its impacts.

    Studies! Great, Lawson can provide us with the results of well-designed, well-run controlled clinical trials showing that homeopathy has efficacy better than placebo.

    Can’t she?

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    February 4, 2010

    Or in other words, ID once was thought to be worthless non-science, but now we have Behe, Meyer, and the whole DI showing how it is a reasonable explanation for life revealing that it has only become more stupid over time.

    I’m sure that homeopathy may have every bit as much success as ID has finally produced.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  5. #5 mothra
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy, a kinder, gentler form of Psychopathy.

    It would be interesting to find out to what extent the faculty and staff of the Center for Spirituality & Healing utilize western medicine in their daily lives. Did any of them get the H1N1 vaccine, take multi-vitamin supplements, or even eat a high fiber cereal?

  6. #6 Abdul Alhazred
    February 4, 2010

    People like magic even without religion.

  7. #7 vanharris
    February 4, 2010

    Jumpin’ Jeezus,

    Taking Charge of Your Health invites visitors to expand their options with complementary and alternative therapies; become more informed and involved healthcare consumers; and care for overall body, mind, and spirit

    Well, that’s internally inconsistent.

    The Center has been designated by the NIH as a Developmental Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a distinction attained by only five institutions in the U.S.

    What the feck is the NIH doing? Surely they know there’s no evidence for this kind of crap?

  8. #8 Benjamin Geiger
    February 4, 2010

    When I was a lot younger, someone tried to get me to accept homeopathy. And to be honest, the rationale they gave actually made sense: they used the example of ipecac. If you’ve swallowed (a certain class of) poison, you take ipecac to induce vomiting. Basically, it’s an example of ‘like cures like’, but indirectly: it’s more like ‘like prompts your immune system to get off its cellular ass and fight like’.

    Then they started in on the dilution bit, and that’s where my skeptical brain (even before puberty) started saying “wait wait wait hold on what the frell are you smoking?” They tried to explain it using much, much stronger dilutions than actually used: 1C at weakest. They actually tried to pull the “it gets stronger the more you dilute it!” bit. I lol’d.

    (PS: Did you hear about the homeopathic terrorist? He brought an eyedropper of poison to Lake Mead.)

  9. #9 alistair.coleman
    February 4, 2010

    It is an utter embarrassment. Didn’t someone challenge homeopaths recently by attempting to OD on their “medicines?”

    Yes – the 10:23 campaign in the UK held a mass overdose last weekend.

    The results were as expected: Some participants experienced a sugar rush, but eventually succumbed to sleep later that evening.

  10. #10 tsg
    February 4, 2010

    There is no mechanism for highly diluted substances to work as they claim,

    […]

    There are no significant studies that show any real effect, either.

    In other words, no explanation and no effect to be explained by it. How surprising.

  11. #11 David Marjanovi?
    February 4, 2010

    What
    the
    fuck!?!

  12. #12 Sanction
    February 4, 2010

    From Mirman:

    All true spiritual philosophies teach that we are created in the image of God, which means we have freedom of choice in everything: action, expression, thought, creation, etc… To me, God is the essence of limitless freedom and possibility, the height we must strive to reach. Devil, on the other hand, is the essence of limitation. He does not want us to be free. He wants to make us afraid and hide in our box. He lies to us, and often we may think we hear God’s words, when in fact it is the devil talking to us from the pulpit or from our subconscious. This is the essence of disease.

    The CSH is offering a workshop with this loony? What the fuck is wrong with the U of M?

  13. #13 vanharris
    February 4, 2010

    Dr. Jacob Mirman – is that a shortened corruption of Myrmidon?

  14. #14 marcus
    February 4, 2010

    PZ Myers: “It’s the cesspit of the university, where all the pseudoscientific fuzzy-headed crap that fails is excreted, polished, gilded, and held on high as a beacon of New Age light to lead the gullible into a sewer of feel-good futility.” Dear PZ, I wish that you would stop equivocating and tell us how you really feel. That sentence alone is pure gold.

  15. #15 raven
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy is just magic.

    Wish magic would work. It would solve all problems.

    In the meantime, we all just have to go to work at our usual places.

  16. #16 Phodopus
    February 4, 2010

    A weird mix of indignation and patronizing behavior…
    This is exactly the reaction I would usually get when discussing religion with fundies – Their conviction was that surely I simply hadn’t given it enough thought, or otherwise I would have automatically accepted JC long ago…

  17. #17 Celtic_Evolution
    February 4, 2010

    There needs to be a more organized, formal protest of this, PZ… we can not allow our publicly funded Universities to become bastions of quackery! I hope you and some of the other faculty at UMM will band together in a formal protest.

  18. #18 Tulse
    February 4, 2010

    The conference is on homeopathy in acute care? As in “I’ve got something terribly wrong with me that needs to be addressed right away or I may be permanently damaged and/or die”? And they want to give such patients water?

    These folks would have their licenses revoked if they actually had any.

  19. #19 alistair.coleman
    February 4, 2010

    Video of the London Mass Homeopathy Overdose here:

    http://www.1023.org.uk/the-1023-overdose-event.php

    Mmm… tasty, tasty expensive sugar pills

  20. #20 vanharris
    February 4, 2010

    Dr. Jacob Myrmidon

    can view Vital Force as an interface between the soul and the physical body. The soul is a purely spiritual entity.

    What a feckin’ eejit! Groooooooan

  21. #21 vanharris
    February 4, 2010

    He will get real medicine; how he can tolerate this parasitic quackery riding along on our university is a mystery. Is it OK for the stupid and gullible people to get worthless treatments, if they want?

    If the Mayo Clinic is behind this, is it money that’s at the root of this evil?

  22. #22 gre
    February 4, 2010

    Yeah, I think that the Homeopaths admiting that their “Products have no active ingredients” after the 10^23 overdose campaign (http://www.1023.org.uk/)this week should be more than enough to shut them up finaly.

    And they promote this quackery at a University?

  23. #23 Abdul Alhazred
    February 4, 2010

    It is possible to OD on homeopathic remedies, and there’s even a word for that.

    It’s called “drowning”. :)

  24. #24 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    February 4, 2010

    Fucktards.

    Ben Goldacre’s article seems to be pretty much what he used in his ‘Bad Science’ book. Which I can recommend, if only for his enjoyably venomous tone!

  25. #25 black-wolf72
    February 4, 2010

    Going by how a current discussion I’m having with a homeopathy believer is going, it’s apparently sufficient proof of homeopathy’s efficacy to demonstrate that it’s not actually poisonous to swallow the stuff.
    “See, people x,y and z claim it’s helped them, and in this study right here the scientists found no actual causality between this woman’s death and her intake of this homeopathic liquid. So how can you keep saying it doesn’t so anything”.
    Of course I explain the placebo effect, but according to believers it can’t be a placebo if it says “diluted from substance Q plus alcohol 6%”.
    There’s just no way to get through to them, because they simply don’t know how science works, why it works, why the scientific method is even considered in discerning good results from bad ones. I think such believers, from homeopathy to Christian Science, have just grown obscenely lazy in their understanding of the world. Generation after generation, they’ve seen no massively lethal epidemics, no starvation, no horrendous child mortality rates. They have simply forgotten about how all of this was pushed back after millenia of suffering, pushed back from a state of the world in which their present mindset was prevalent and determined how problems were approached. They aren’t alternative scientists, they are simply pre-scientists who are being accomodated by a society that has out-progressed them but is tolerant and rich enough to suffer their presence.

  26. #26 MolBio
    February 4, 2010

    Damn PZ, what will UoM have next? Alternate biology and cosmology with guest lecturers from the Discovery Institute?

    When are scientists going to be more vocal, the only reason these quacks get away with this rubbish is because not enough of us are able to either mobilise to bunk these claims, or politically savvy enough to not give them credibility by taking them on.

    “Can’t be tested by double blind studies” What? An untestable clinical phenomenon is one that does not exist. Do these people know what double-blind is?

    Oh well, maybe it’s time to become a Leprechaunologist. I have tiny invisible leprechauns that can’t be tested by science, but they work better than nano-particles. :p

  27. #28 SC OM
    February 4, 2010

    I’ve talked about this lecture on my blog, but here’s Alan Sokal on homeopathy (starts at 15:00, through around 22:00):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/audio/2008/mar/03/alan.sokal.podcast

  28. #29 MolBio
    February 4, 2010

    Actually death from homeopathy products is called “haemolysis”… where too much water in the blood stream causes blood cells to rupture under osmotic pressures.

    I guess there’s a reason homeopaths don’t have hospitals or work in ERs.

  29. #30 bbgunn071679
    February 4, 2010

    Will Yanni be performing?

  30. #31 fishyfred
    February 4, 2010

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    This is what really gets my goat. The arrogance to say something like this is astounding.

    “Oh yeah? Well we don’t know how drugs and other modern treatments work, so NYEAHHHH.”

    No. YOU don’t know how they work. The mechanisms of how specific drugs work are well-known, especially by the doctors who prescribe them.

    How do you think they were engineered in the first place? Do you think the folks at Eli Lilly throw darts at the wall to figure out what they put in their products?

  31. #32 BoxNDox
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy Acute Care Workshop? Seriously? Do these nitwits also assign a different meaning to “acute”, because if they are using it in the conventional way we’re talking about stuff like an inflamed appendix about to burst, heart attacks, stokes, seizures, that sort of thing.

    It’s one thing to drink some water thinking it is going to help you with your insomnia, or make your migraine go away, or even help with mild diabetes. It’s quite another to advocate using water to treat an imminent threat to life, especially when in many of these situations the person gettting the treatment will be unable to give informed consent.

    If nothing else, the university should be deeply concerned about liability issues here.

  32. #33 davej
    February 4, 2010

    I’m sure the “Center for Spirituality and Healing” is well funded. I would think the university could require that they keep a few real scientists on staff just to monitor whether any actual healing ever occurs.

  33. #34 Tabby Lavalamp
    February 4, 2010

    I’m horrified that Jacob Mirman quoted Douglas Adams to try and prove his point, and just before he went into his bold text rang.

  34. #35 ButchKitties
    February 4, 2010

    @alistair

    Thanks for the link. For a second I thought people were trying to overdose on water, which can be very dangerous. Good to know it was the pillules.

  35. #36 Tabby Lavalamp
    February 4, 2010

    DAMN IT! “Rant”, not “rang”!

    Oh, how I hate not being able to edit.

  36. #37 eeanm
    February 4, 2010

    Well it’s not the place of a university president to be blocking events and talks from happening. They do sometimes and usually for the wrong reasons.

    But yes, why is the president allowing the funding of a freakin’ organization founded on miseducation and fraudulent pseudoscience?

  37. #38 kittywhumpus
    February 4, 2010

    Thanks for this. When I saw it listed in our Campus Brief, all I could do was sputter out a “huh… what?”

    When the AHC put out their new website announcement, the first thing I did was look for a link on the homepage to this Center. Fortunately, I don’t see it as a highlighted item, for now, but that’s merely a small consolation.

  38. #39 Randomfactor
    February 4, 2010

    PZ, you must immediately tell the university officials that they have to increase funding for the homeopathy work.

    Make it stronger and stronger until it doesn’t exist anymore.

  39. #40 Moggie
    February 4, 2010

    #29:

    I guess there’s a reason homeopaths don’t have hospitals or work in ERs.

    The UK’s NHS has one: the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. It’s a disgrace. It has “state-of-the-art treatment and research facilities”, apparently.

    “Our treatments are state of the art”
    “But they don’t bloody work!”
    “Well, that is the state of the art!”

  40. #41 scribe999
    February 4, 2010

    Frankly, you’re too easy on them PZ.

    As far as I’m concerned, homeopaths are thieves at best…and murderers at worst, like Thomas and Manju Sam of Australia.

  41. #42 Celtic_Evolution
    February 4, 2010

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    Really? *Snicker*

    Additionally, at one time we didn’t know about germs and didn’t believe that hand-washing had a mechanism of action that could explain how it impacted stopping the spread of disease–so it was fought against for decades.

    Hand-washing was fought against for decades?

    Are we sure this isn’t just the transcript of an old Monty Python skit?

  42. #43 raven
    February 4, 2010

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    Actually we do know how the vast majority of drugs work, even aspirin these days.

    It is standard, routine science.

    Read the damn FDA “label” (often a small booklet) that is provided for every approved drug or hit pubmed.com., the National Library of Medicine.

  43. #44 MolBio
    February 4, 2010

    The UK has a homeopathy hospital?

    What kind of idiots are we putting in government?

    Maybe we need a country for scientists only.

  44. #45 Givesgoodemail
    February 4, 2010

    See my open letter to the Center, and to the UM president.
    It’s okay for the stupid and gullible to seek worthless medical treatments. It’s not okay for my tax dollars to support a group that supports those treatments.

  45. #46 Fred The Hun
    February 4, 2010

    That kind of noise just enrages me. I want to grab that person by the collar and demand, “Well, then, asshole, how do you know your magic pills work?”

    And now a word from the mild mannered Dr. Myers… “Get in the Feckin Sack!” Wham!

  46. #47 Abdul Alhazred
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy gets extra respect in the UK because the queen likes it.

  47. #48 Steve N
    February 4, 2010

    For some reason I am reminded of the Mythbusters episode where they proved that it is indeed possible to “polish a turd”. However, I would like to suggest that next time they have one of these events you “volunteer” to give a talk. Perhaps a small dose of PZ amidst the larger volume of nonsense will cure them of their dilutions?

  48. #49 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 4, 2010

    Man, why do universities have to cater to this bullshit? It’s ridiculous. You should ask her for her studies, and see if they controlled for the Observer Effect and the Placebo effect, at the absolute least.

    Maybe we need a country for scientists only.

    Who’s going to build it?

  49. #50 rob
    February 4, 2010

    their version of a double-blind study is jamming steak knives into their eyes and claiming epistemological differences.

  50. #51 ambulocetacean
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy has to be the most retarded kind of woo that actually comes in a pill or a potion.

    The internets aren’t working properly. Shouldn’t the fact that it’s now so easy to find out why homeopathy is bullshit have killed it stone dead already?

    Among the many things about alt-med that shit me to tears is the fact that homeopaths are allowed to sell pretend “vaccines” for things like malaria.

  51. #52 Anri
    February 4, 2010

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    And this isn’t even a correct statement.

    We do know how drugs effect the body – through chemistry. We may not know every detail of each chemical reaction that every substance has in every cell in every patient, but we do indeed know the mechanism.

    This is, indeed, the exact same mechanism that homeopaths claim actuates in homeopathy – that the water retains the chamical ‘imprint’ of the initial substance, and can therefore use standard chemistry to create changes.

    That’s not where homeopathy falls apart, of course – it’s in the initial assumption of the water taking on the properties of the substance.

    No mechanism for this has ever been so much as posited. (That I know of.)
    No experiment has ever demonstrated this occuring.
    Psuedoscience doesn’t get much more content-free than that.

    Making the claim that we don’t know the mechanism by which drugs affect changes is either deeply dishonest, deeply ignorant, or some ‘perfect storm’ combination of both.

  52. #53 SplendidMonkey
    February 4, 2010

    Maybe this department is a real cash cow for the U. They would get rid of the craziness but, you know, “they need the eggs”.

  53. #54 ChipPanFire
    February 4, 2010

    Probably been posted up elsewhere up on Pharyngula, but anyway… For my money Mitchell & Webb nailed the whole stupidity of it

  54. #55 William_J_Keith
    February 4, 2010

    Have you considered organizing a protest? A few dozen faculty members standing outside in the cold in order to broadcast the message that UMM’s *real* scientists don’t condone this nonsense should help embarrass the University into disavowing this sort of quackery in the future.

  55. #56 Sastra
    February 4, 2010

    Which always raises a question in my mind: if homeopathy is so difficult to assess using those reductionist techniques of modern science and medicine, how the hell do homeopaths know they work?

    That’s easy — personal experience. They know it works because they’ve seen it work, again and again. And they think this is what science really is. You try things for yourself, and see if they work. And when they do, you accept the evidence, which you’ve seen for yourself, when it worked.

    As blackwolf72 wrote above, “they simply don’t know how science works, why it works, why the scientific method is even considered in discerning good results from bad ones.” Their idea of a test is “try it out.” They don’t need a control group. They don’t need a controlled situation. They believe in themselves. They’re going to be careful.

    Whenever you have terms like “spirituality” or phrases like “good for mind, body, and soul” affixed to medicine — hell, affixed to almost anything — it’s going to be crap. I make a possible exception for the arts.

    We encourage all of our students to be explorers. They should investigate unknown areas with curiosity as well as academic rigor.

    Where’s the rigor? There is none. They want people to approach factual knowledge about the real world the same way they approach religion: with smiles and sighs and an eagerness to affirm what’s unique about people and their choices. It’s like exploring the foods of different countries, or rituals for different holidays. There’s no one “right” way.

    They’ve framed the scientific method as a form of bullying. It stops people from being who they want to be, and believing what they want to believe. It excludes personal, private knowledge and casts doubts on heartfelt beliefs, lowering self-esteem.

    The rhetoric they use to go after skeptics, is the same rhetoric they use when arguing against bullying. The concept of universal progress in shared knowledge is therefore rejected in favor of “personal journeys in becoming yourself.”

    In medicine, people will die because of this approach. That, too, will be explained as part of someone’ personal journey towards spiritual activation. Nobody ever really dies in the spiritual world-view, you know. They transform to the next level. It’s a hell of an attitude to approach healthcare with.

  56. #57 MolBio
    February 4, 2010

    Wait, this may be so simple… if the water retains “memory” of impurities. If this were so, shouldn’t the water evapourate at the same reduced temperature at high impurity as at no impurity.

    If not, memory is bunk (obviously it is).

    We should all be dead due to the salt we dilute in our water. It’s not safe to drink. :p

  57. #58 arrakis
    February 4, 2010

    I thought that my university was free from this sort of nonsense…then I found out that a friend of a friend was a pre-chiropractry major. My pride for my institution was instantly dashed.

  58. #59 aratina cage of the OM
    February 4, 2010

    Yours in academic rigor

    Shouldn’t that be “Yours in academic rigor mortis“? Karen might as well have said she would pray for Michael or at least could have had the decency to tell Michael (and the whole of science) to fuck off.

  59. #60 Rorschach
    February 4, 2010

    Didn’t someone challenge homeopaths recently by attempting to OD on their “medicines?

    http://thelinc.co.uk/2010/02/sceptics-take-mass-overdose-to-prove-homeopathy-is-a-hoax/

    Obligatory link to Mitchell&Webb :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

    Clownshoe Karen Lawson sez :

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    If that was true I would not have had to spend a year of my life memorizing a big fat Pharmacology book, that explains how *gasp* drugs work !
    What utter nonsense.

  60. #61 miketv
    February 4, 2010

    First line of his “case” for homeopathy. “Homeopathy is in an interesting position, because it is being hated, shunned or feared by very diverse groups of people”

    Just like, say… how diverse groups of people might (rightfully) fear a monkey with a scalpel?

    I also like
    “Therefore, in order to accurately assess the effectiveness of the intervention, researchers need to design studies that are congruent with the way homeopathy is practiced clinically.”

    In other words… Fraudulent claims need to be affirmed by fraudulent science.

  61. #62 IaMoL
    February 4, 2010

    And again for Sastra a WIN.
    Who believes in homeopathy? The homeopathetic.

  62. #63 Peter G.
    February 4, 2010

    Astrology was, once upon a time, a legitimate field of study overlapping astronomy. One day this spirituality and healing bunk too shall pass.

  63. #64 spicersh
    February 4, 2010

    I see, all this time I was confused about homeopathy and it was simply a misundestanding in terminology. Pharmaceuticals have been testing homeopathic remedies against their products for years, they just called them the control group.

  64. #65 Recovered Catholic
    February 4, 2010

    I must be a closeted homeopath because these fuggers sure make me homeophobic.

  65. #66 QuarkyGideon
    February 4, 2010

    PZ you must go to the convention and demonstrate it’s stupidity for a “balanced” view!

    Seriously it’d be great!

  66. #67 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 4, 2010

    It’s a wholly different system–
    There are data, but you missed ‘em,
    In the infinite dilution of our minds!
    Modern medicine is bleaker
    Cos our evidence is weaker,
    Which is stronger, as our different system finds!

    All those articles and studies
    That you put out with your buddies,
    Which you think will make your evidence more strong?
    It is our determination
    Through our less-is-more translation,
    Each one proves that Western Medicine is wrong!

    While you losers have fun losing
    We’re diluting and succusing,
    Gaining power modern science can’t assess–
    And our strongest contribution
    May be found in this solution:
    Common sense (at just one molecule, or less)!

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/02/homeopathic-science.html

  67. #68 https://me.yahoo.com/a/BXoeEAt2zpK5OFL_gVSsDiBYtu9C8eke_ZcwMgn89XJnGvK.Qks-#0ab8e
    February 4, 2010

    I have taken a few days to sit with your hostile and critical email, as I wanted to give it a fair evaluation time. I was quite stunned by the vehemence of your note, and must question exactly how much you know about…

    Straight out of the anti-Dawkins playbook. Its the equivalent of “I have spent years of my life learning about really tricky spiritual stuff so my opinion is far more weighty than yours.”

    Wrong. Learning more about woo is just to pile it higher and deeper.

    Talking of which, Typekey and Google logins are not working. Perhaps the admins should sacrifice a bigger chicken?

  68. #69 davep
    February 4, 2010

    fishyfred @ 31

    “The mechanisms of how specific drugs work are well-known, especially by the doctors who prescribe them.”

    It’s actually not that uncommon for the “how” not to be known. One really doesn’t need to know “how” for a drug to work. One determines whether or not a drug works by measuring the effect (eg, in a double-blind controlled study).

    (Of course, knowing how a drug works is interesting and useful.)

    The problem with homeopathy is that there are no good indications that the drugs work at all. Another problem is that homeopathy’s “how” goes against a huge amount of established science. That is, homeopathy has a “how” but it’s clearly wrong.

  69. #70 recovering catholic
    February 4, 2010

    How horribly embarrassing for the U of M!

    Parkland College in Champaign, IL offers continuing “education” courses and workshops in homeopathy and other such nonsense. And there is great pressure from certain faculty to have these “disciplines” incorporated into the regular Health Professions curricula, which means that prospective or continuing nurses could take them for professional credit!

    Keep fighting the good fight, Parkland–you know who you are.

  70. #71 AJ Milne
    February 4, 2010

    Other comments have noted this, natch, but man, that phrase ‘homeopathy acute care’ really does raise the hairs on my neck–not to mention naturally suggesting Mitchell and Webb’s bit…

    But also as noted, perhaps it’s just that we’re misunderstanding their meaning of ‘acute’… As in, no, they’re not gonna be waiting in the ER with bottles of water at the ready to dose trauma victims (and in this bottle, we have the diluted essence of the fender of the truck that hit the patient)… Or so, I guess, we must hope…

    No, see, these patients are people with an acutely vague sense of unease and an urgently large ratio of cash-on-hand to common sense, of which they must immediately be relieved…

    (/Code 111! Code 111! We’ve got a wide-eyed sense of open-minded gullibility that’s off the charts, and a wallet ready to blow here, people–so let’s get this thing together and make every second count. Nurse! Get me that Visa machine. Stat!)

  71. #72 Stwriley
    February 4, 2010

    I actually took a look at the studies Miriam listed as “evidence” on his website. I know I should have just run when he started waxing crazy about god and the devil, but I’m an historian so I’ll always take a look at someone’s sources just to give them the benefit of the doubt (and brother, I’ve got a lot of doubt.)

    There’s not a one of them that, even to my eye, is worth a bucket of warm spit. Sample sizes are all tiny, methodologies are so poor than even a non-scientist like myself can see the flaws, and some are so patently silly that you wonder how Miriam could believe them himself. My particular favorite is the one from the International Journal of Veterinary Homeopathy (talk about publication bias) on still-birth in pigs. It uses a study group of, I kid you not, twenty pigs and crows about a difference of 10% in the rate of still-birth between “treated” and control groups. Even I know a case of random statistical variation within a non-predictive sample when I see it, but apparently belief in homeopathy renders you incapable of understanding basic statistics. None of the other studies looked much better.

    The worst part is that Miriam doesn’t even present these supposedly favorable studies accurately. Once you read into these articles, it becomes apparent that the ones from respected journals don’t actually reach the conclusions he claims they do, much less support homeopathy. He seems to be either at that level of self-delusion that makes fabrication automatic, or else he’s a lying charlatan who knows exactly how much he’s distorting fact to bilk his clients.

  72. #73 tsg
    February 4, 2010

    but apparently belief in homeopathy renders you incapable of understanding basic statistics.

    Actually, it’s more probably the other way round.

  73. #74 Margaret
    February 4, 2010

    Perhaps the admins should sacrifice a bigger chicken?

    No, a more diluted chicken.

  74. #75 Hairhead
    February 4, 2010

    Aarrgh! Here’s how much I hate homeopathy and homeopaths:

    I am friends with a wonderful woman who has spent her entire working life with children with learning disabilities. She has helped literally hundreds of children who would either be in prison or in minimum-wage jobs to become successful, happy, well-educated, productive members of society. She is a wonder and a treasure and well-loved by all. She is well past retirement age, but continues with her work because she loves it — but she hasn’t worked for a year now. Why?

    Homeopathy.

    A year ago, she was taking high-pressure medication to stop her from having a stroke. Of course, like all powerful medications there were some other effects which were not comfortable, but they were preferable to a comfortable death. So she goes to a homeopath who sells her a set of vials of clear water. She drinks them, stops taking her regular medication, says she feels wonderful, which she does, having none of the “side-effects” of her previous meds.

    And of course she has a stroke, found by neighbouts before she dies, in hospital six weeks, back home, has another stroke, a fall, almost bleeds to death, in hospital again, and now she’s back home, recovering. She is taking her doctor-prescribed medication and recovering well, but she fusses that she can’t afford to buy her homeopathic waters anymore because she hasn’t worked for a year . . .

    And she’s impervious to reason . . . I’m sure to be attending her funeral soon, if I’m not the one to find her rotting body, because as soon as she can work, she intends to take her homeopathic meds again. She won’t tell me the name of her homeopathic murderer/doctor because she’s sure I’m going to run over there and punch him in the face . .

    Aaarrgh!

  75. #76 davecortesi
    February 4, 2010

    Well, who were the “faculty they [students?] have brought in to present on this topic…bios attached.” UMN faculty?

  76. #77 davep
    February 4, 2010

    raven @ 34 “Actually we do know how the vast majority of drugs work, even aspirin these days.”

    Well, asprin works whether or not anybody knows how it works. There is no requirement for knowing how something works in determining whether or not it works. Indeed, even if one knows how something works, one still needs the double-blind controlled study to determine if it really works!

    (Note that I’m not arguing that knowing how is not a good thing!)

  77. #78 Peter G.
    February 4, 2010

    @67 Superb Cuttlefish, as usual. I’m beginning to think that the reason you are able to crank out these wonderful rhymes with such speed is that you are in fact a super computer hooked up to a thesaurus buried in some secret underground facility.

  78. #79 wisnij
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy? At my university?

    It’s more common than you might think.

  79. #80 SteveN
    February 4, 2010

    I do hate homeopathy so very, very much. Living in Germany, I’m surrounded by the rubbish and even some of my scientific colleagues fall for it, and they should know better.

    I recently posted the following on Steven Novella’s Neurologica blog in a post he did on homeopathy because it occurred to me that the ‘mechanism’ of homeopathy is even more ridiculous than generally thought:

    ————–
    This has almost certainly been pointed out by someone else sometime, but something occurred to me the other day that makes an even greater mockery (if that was needed) of the whole homeopathy scam. Advocates of homeopathy, in an attempt to get around the embarrassment of Avogadro?s number, usually claim that water molecules have a ?memory? of molecules they have come into contact with and it is this that gives the therapeutic effect.

    However, let?s look what happens with a 30C preparation of a homeopathic preparation: For the sake of argument, I will assume that the ?active? ingredient (substance X) has a molecular weight of 600 (most will have much higher MWs, but that only makes it worse for the homeopath?s case). If the homeopath takes 1 gram of substance X and adds it to 99 mls of water (a 1C dilution) there will be 10^21 molecules of substance X dissolved in 100 mls of the 1C preparation. The 2C preparation (one ml of 1C added to 99 mls of water) will have 10^19, the 3C preparation 10^17 and so on. The 11C preparation will have 10 molecules and the 12C preparation 0.1 (i.e no) molecules. Therefore, the only water molecules present in the 12C preparation that have had any chance of contact with substance X will be those transferred in the 1ml from the 11C preparation. 1 ml of water contains 3.35×10^22 molecules of water, which means that the 13C preparation will have 3.35×10^20 ?memory? water molecules, 14C has 3.35×10^18 and so on. By 24C, there will be not a single molecule of water remaining that had the chance to come into contact with even one molecule of substance X. By 30C, a very common homeopathic dilution, there will be a 1 in 3×10^13 chance that even a single water molecule ever came into contact with the active substance.

    I can only assume that homeopaths believe that water molecules can pass on their ?memory? to other water molecules. A whole new level of woo.

    —————–

    Another point made recently on the ‘Righteous Indignation’ podcast by one of the organisers of the 1023 overdose event is that homeopaths will claim that scientific methodologies cannot be used to test homeopathy but in the next breath will trot out a series of (badly performed) scientific studies that appear to show some postive effect. Such hypocrisy!

  80. #81 claw
    February 4, 2010

    “But… what’s the harm?” people ask me

    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

    oh. well then.
    unfortunately the quacks will point out everyone ever treated by a doctor dies, too.

  81. #82 ric.baker1
    February 4, 2010

    I fucking love Cuttlefish.

  82. #83 ThirdMonkey
    February 4, 2010

    “Therefore, in order to accurately assess the effectiveness of the intervention, researchers need to design studies that are congruent with the way homeopathy is practiced clinically. ”

    Right…
    And I can turn completely invisible, but only when no one is looking. Science just hasn’t come up with a way for me to measure or explain it yet (because that requires an observer which makes me visible). But just because science can’t prove that I can turn invisible doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep saying that I can or making money off of people with it…
    And I’m really hurt by people who say that I can’t. They just don’t understand how my power works and just because they can always see me doesn’t give them the right to say that I can’t turn invisible. Those big meanies.

  83. #84 slignot
    February 4, 2010

    “We encourage all of our students to be explorers. They should investigate unknown areas with curiosity as well as academic rigor.”

    This sort of all-points-are-valid thinking, and its acceptance in society at large, leave me spluttering. I hear things like this and wish that I had the sort of discretionary income necessary to purchase bulk volumes of Ernst & Singh’s book, Trick Or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine. That way when confronted with people that believe there is any evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy, etc. I can help.

    I particularly am irritated the insistence that the rejection of alternative therapies like homeopathy are based on a misunderstanding of the principles on which a treatment purportedly operates. The fact of the matter is, high-quality clinical trials have no bearing on whether the reasons something works are understood.

    The earliest trials (for example, Lind’s tests for scurvy tratments) had no attempt to understand why a treatment worked, only to establish efficacy.

    Homeopathy is rejected not because we know it’s just water or sugar (depending on the medium of dilution) but because it has been shown in high quality research and reviews (Cochrane and others) to be no more effective than placebo.

    False hope can lead many to miss out on necessary treatment.

  84. #85 RickK
    February 4, 2010

    Just amazing and sad.

    Ms. Lawson – you are putting money into the pockets of frauds. You’re teaching young minds how NOT to think critically. You’re promoting this century’s version of belief in witchcraft.

    Ms. Lawson – did you know there are people who will pay you a million dollars if you can tell the difference between a “proper” homeopathic remedy and an identical sugar pill? Did you know that every “30C” dilution has exactly the same health effects as sugar pills and water? Did you know your tax dollars funded some of the studies that proved that?

    Finally, Ms. Lawson, why are you working so hard to weaken generations of young minds? Why do you teach superstition and magic as equivalent to science and evidence?

    Karen Lawson – what makes you hate our children and our country so much?

  85. #86 abb3w
    February 4, 2010

    PZ: There is no mechanism for highly diluted substances to work as they claim

    This is at most a minor problem for homeopathy as science; and PZ, I’m sorry to say that Ms. Lawson is correct so far as noting the relative unimportance of this problem.

    PZ: There are no significant studies that show any real effect, either.

    THIS is the major problem; and Ms. Lawson’s claim “of experiences and studies that have shown its impacts” is (especially in absence of citations) suspect at best and bogus at worst.

  86. #87 Die Anyway
    February 4, 2010

    A couple of years ago I got to wondering about that Homeopathic Hospital in London. Seemed to me that if homeopathy was the bunk that we say it is, then the back door of the hospital should have a line of hearses waiting for a stream of dead patients. You would think something like that wouldn’t go unnoticed for long and since that didn’t seem to be the case, I was curious to know what was really happening. I researched it briefly and found the answer. The hospital uses real medicine and real medical procedures and uses homeopathy as a complementary treatment. So, for example, you get your normal coronary bypass surgery with normal anesthesiology, normal blood thinners, etc. but after the surgery you get some homeopathic concoctions to (supposedly) help ease your recovery. It’s a con job. They know that they need to use real medical practices to heal/cure people but they throw the homeopathy stuff on top for… whatever motive… brings in bunches of gullible patients, makes the practioners feel like they are doing something extra, they can get more reimbursement from the government… something.

  87. #88 skylyre
    February 4, 2010

    @ rob

    that sounds familiar

  88. #89 RickK
    February 4, 2010

    “Homeopathy gets extra respect in the UK because the queen likes it.”

    Well then, give the Queen and her son the very best in homeopathic anti-malaria treatments and send them on a tour of African nature parks.

  89. #90 arensb
    February 4, 2010

    vanharris @#7:

    What the feck is the NIH doing? Surely they know there’s no evidence for this kind of crap?

    Well, the NIH does have a woo center. Its page on homeopathy tries to put as positive a spin as possible on woo without actually lying. In that respect it resembles a lot of religious apologetics.

  90. #91 frisbeetarian
    February 4, 2010

    Did you look at the link of studies? The first two were of ‘flu-like’ symptoms. Wouldn’t you check to see if any of the people actually had the flu to know if the treatment worked? A bunch of vague symptoms make a good study? I assume the UofM will require that the homeopaths do their housecalls on unicorns. I wonder if there is a homeopathic rabies treatment if I get bitten by a Bigfoot?

  91. #92 Spiro Keat
    February 4, 2010

    Molecular memory?

    Water is used to carry sewage from toilets to processing. It is then cleaned up and diluted with more water before being piped to our houses to be drunk.

    So, homoeopaths drink strong solutions of shit, which is why they talk so much of it.

  92. #93 RBH
    February 4, 2010

    Having earned both my BA and Ph.D. at the U of Minnesota, I’m now officially ashamed. I’ve sent a critical email to that Center, copying the Dean of the Medical school. Pure unadulterated bullshit is the best one can say about it.

  93. #94 Quotidian Torture
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathy? At my university?

    It’s more likely than you think.

  94. #95 Kausik Datta
    February 4, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution:

    we can not allow our publicly funded Universities to become bastions of quackery!

    Too late, I think. The ‘quackademic medicine’ is taking over soon, and I think all of us ought to be seriously concerned about this.

  95. #96 Peter G.
    February 4, 2010

    No doubt everyone has seen this but what the hell.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

  96. #97 waldteufel
    February 4, 2010

    That a modern universtity should promulgate this sort of eighteenth century nonesense is mind boggling.

    The entire science faculty at UMM should be loudly protesting.

    The website of the “Center for Spirituality and Healing” is a dispensory of utter bullshit.

  97. #98 DTL
    February 4, 2010

    Long-time reader, ever since I first read about the Creation Museum a few weeks ago. Gotta love those creationist ‘scientists’ with all their ‘proof’.

    Nice post on exposing homeopathy. Interesting to see the letter defending homeopathy.

  98. #99 Joe Cracker
    February 4, 2010

    WHAT? First line from his CASE:

    “Homeopathy is in an interesting position, because it is being hated, shunned or feared by very diverse groups of people”

    What the hell? What kind of argument is this? Just replace Homeo with something else. :))

    “Slavery/racism is in an interesting position, because it is being hated, shunned or feared by very diverse groups of people”

  99. #100 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2010

    The website of the “Center for Spirituality and Healing” is a dispensory of utter bullshit. – waldteufel

    Yes, but you fail to take account of the many uses of bullshit in traditional medicine: for example, it’s an excellent emetic, and a great way of keeping disease-carrying flies out of the kitchen (just try putting a heap of it in the sitting-room!).

  100. #101 Kausik Datta
    February 4, 2010

    MolBio @29:

    I guess there’s a reason homeopaths don’t have hospitals or work in ERs.

    May be not in many places in the US, but certainly quite a few in India (such a crying shame!), UK, Canada, Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Switzerland, as well as a few in the US.

    The woo is all-pervasive.

  101. #102 Lynna, OM
    February 4, 2010

    Sastra @56

    The rhetoric they use to go after skeptics, is the same rhetoric they use when arguing against bullying.

    Great post, Sastra, but I just wanted to pull that sentence out and repeat it. Very insightful

  102. #103 Menyambal
    February 4, 2010

    Additionally, at one time we didn’t know about germs and didn’t believe that hand-washing had a mechanism of action that could explain how it impacted stopping the spread of disease–so it was fought against for decades.

    And after a few decades of resistance to–not fighting against–hand-washing was shown to work, and was accepted. And the fact that it worked led to research, and to the discovery of why it worked, and to the modern understanding of disease.

    And handwashing was aesthetically acceptable, and kind of intuitive, like washing one’s hands before eating. Shit on the fingers tastes bad, and makes you feel sick . . ..

    Homeopathy, on the other hand, has been fought against for well over a century, and has never been shown to work. Yes, I know some folks think that they have seen it work. But to keep their belief that it works, they have to make some radical assumptions, and to abandon several basic precepts of science, such as double-blind testing.

    The rules and mechanisms by which homeopathy supposedly works are three. All three are unusual and unobserved, and rather bizarre.

    First assumption is that “Like cures Like”. No other form of medicine uses that assumption or works that way. At very closest, a purgative can make you vomit up poison–purging is not used much these days. But Hahnemann taught that a poison that caused symptoms, could cure a disease which caused similar symptoms. He was not addressing the root cause of the symptoms, just the symptoms, so there is a second assumption hidden in there.

    The second rule/assumption is that water has a memory, and that dilution leaves a memory of the “cure”. Again, water having a memory is unique to homeopathy, goes against all science, and the dilution business makes that two assumptions in one. This totally ignores the possibility that the water has a memory of all the shit, animals, and discarded medications that it has encountered. (How does one erase water’s memory, and where is that step in producing homeopathic remedies?)

    Third rule/assumption is that of succussion. Supposedly, banging a bottle of water on the table jars its memory into shape. Again, unique to homeopathy, and completely whacko otherwise. And how much whacking is ideal, and which hand do you use when whacking?

    Obviously, except to homeopaths, the preparation of homeopathic “cures” is extremely vulnerable to cross-contamination in the prep process–one droplet of the wrong stuff drifts across the lab, and a cure goes horribly wrong.

    Which brings up another oddity of homeopathy. How can one tell what is in the bottle? By all tests, it is water. Perhaps it is only water, perhaps it is contaminated with another remedy, which, by the rules of homeopathy, will take over the “cure”.

    Sure, the makers may have done a good job, but how can the consumer know that? There is no oversight of any kind. And, remember, the homeopaths are the ones who firmly believe that all drug makers are heartless bastards concerned only with making money.

  103. #104 Tulse
    February 4, 2010
    I guess there’s a reason homeopaths don’t have hospitals or work in ERs.,

    May be not in many places in the US, but certainly quite a few in India (such a crying shame!), UK, Canada

    Whoa there — the Canadian listings are definitely not “hospitals” or “ERs”, but random “institutes” and “training” centres. There are no homeopathic hospitals or ERs in Canada.

  104. #105 longhorn10
    February 4, 2010

    Love the tone of the post PZ. Cuttlefish, your poetry rocks. Spiro Keat #96 – you owe me a new monitor and keyboard. :)

  105. #106 timothy.green.name
    February 4, 2010

    I wanted to post to Mitchell & Webb, but I think at least three people got in ahead of me. So I’ll give you Tim Minchin’s “Storm” instead.

    “Storm” is an excellent attack on all kinds of woo, and specifically mentions homoeopathy at one point. How does water “somehow forget all the shit it’s had in it”?

    TRiG.

  106. #107 Celtic_Evolution
    February 4, 2010

    for example, it’s an excellent emetic, and a great way of keeping disease-carrying flies out of the kitchen

    …and it’s a great way to stay in shape.

    [/family guy]

  107. #108 davep
    February 4, 2010

    slignot @ 84 “The fact of the matter is, high-quality clinical trials have no bearing on whether the reasons something works are understood.”
    Yes. It’s interesting that some people, even people here, don’t understand that basic fact.

    slignot @ 84 “Homeopathy is rejected not because we know it’s just water or sugar (depending on the medium of dilution) but because it has been shown in high quality research and reviews (Cochrane and others) to be no more effective than placebo.”

    Actually, it is completely reasonable to reject homeopathy for this reason, since the rational expectation is that it would be no better than a placebo. One can’t afford to test everything. It makes sense not to keep testing “nothing”.

  108. #109 llewelly
    February 4, 2010

    I would also recommend “Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine” an introduction to homeopathy, a primer for both patients and students.

    “Flat Earth” == Crazy.
    “Beyond Flat Earth” == Beyond Crazy.
    At least they got the title right.

  109. #110 Louis
    February 4, 2010

    You guys are commenting fast. This must be because of the homeopathic doses of cocaine you have all ingested, which is obviously more potent than allopathic doses of cocaine.

    Hey, don’t judge me. I was young. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. ;-)

    Louis

  110. #111 Menyambal
    February 4, 2010

    after a few decades of resistance toseeing no need for–not fighting against–hand-washing

    I wanted to fix that for myself.

    Part of my grudge against homeopathy is the presence, in Washington, DC, of a huge monument to Hahnemann. The only monuments to one person that are larger than it are for presidents of the USA. Ghandi, for instance, has a near-life-size statue of a nearly-naked old man, walking with a stick and a bundle, on a small pedestal on a street corner. Seriously, Hahnemann’s monument is hugely ornate, pretentious and in Latin, although the statue itself is about life-size.

    I did, solemnly, whack the statue over the head with my cane.

  111. #112 Kelson
    February 4, 2010

    @86, The problem of there being no mechanism for molecular “memory” is a fairly significant problem for homeopathy. This is mostly because we know a lot about atoms and their properties. The only way that information could be theoretically passed from one molecule to the other is by electron mobility. (since these are the only elements that can be shared) and in a 30C dilution there are 10^31 “water” electrons per molecule of original substance, which will have most likely less than 100 electrons. Even with a blatantly fraudulent interpretation of electron spin and entanglement it’s impossible for 100 electrons to have any effect on 10^31 other electrons. Its like saying that if I touch a Intel CPU to a 500kV power line, the power line will spit out PI at the next transformer.

  112. #113 NitricAcid
    February 4, 2010

    Homeopathic cocaine….

    If you take a tiny sliver of a banknote and place it under your tongue, will that cure you of depression, lack of coordination, psychosis, and all the other things that cocaine can cause?

  113. #114 NotMyGod
    February 4, 2010

    “Is it OK for the stupid and gullible people to get worthless treatments, if they want?”
    The government should not give its blessing to Homeopathy in the interest of protecting us from getting sicker.However, people have the right to do stupid things, as long as they are not hurting anyone else. If I were to chug Drano, that’s a stupid thing– not an illegal thing! I’d be wrong to sue Drano assuming I survived, right? That’s pretty much how I feel about smokers suing the tobacco industry: your stupid mistake, not theirs.
    Point is, government can only protect us so much.
    Cuttlefish, I love your poem:)

  114. #115 Kel, OM
    February 4, 2010

    She’s wrong in many things. One is that we reject homeopathy without any knowledge; we certainly do have knowledge of homeopathy and its principles, and that’s the reason it is rejected! There is no mechanism for highly diluted substances to work as they claim, and the principle of treating like with like is simply medieval sympathetic magic. It doesn’t work.

    This frustrates me too. If I reject something like homoeopathy, it means I mustn’t understand it. Because otherwise I must be a believer, right?

    About a year ago I was travelling up to visit my dear sweet mother, and as chance would have it I ended up sitting next to a homoeopath on the bus. I held my tongue but when he said “Homoeopathy is a science” I mentioned that it lacks a biochemical mechanism. When I finally got to my Mum’s, I was ranting to her about it (the guy takes those with cancer off treatment and gives them homoeopathic “remedies”), and my Mum got taken aback. She had given me homoeopathic cures as a child and I had gotten better, so I tried to explain the placebo effect to her.

    It’s a shame that I only picked up Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science after the encounter.

  115. #116 Tulse
    February 4, 2010

    That’s pretty much how I feel about smokers suing the tobacco industry: your stupid mistake, not theirs.

    And if the tobacco companies had always advertised their products as injurious and addictive, I’d agree.

  116. #117 Celtic_Evolution
    February 4, 2010

    However, people have the right to do stupid things, as long as they are not hurting anyone else. If I were to chug Drano, that’s a stupid thing– not an illegal thing! I’d be wrong to sue Drano assuming I survived, right?

    Sure… but that’s hardly the point with Homeopathy regarding the public health at large. Persons who choose homeopathic remedies in lieu of actual medicine put the rest of us at higher risk for catching their communicable diseases. And that’s the rub… people who use homeopathic treatments are likely to do so not just for their personal, non-communicable diseases and conditions. It’s the same problem with anti-vaxxers.

    That’s pretty much how I feel about smokers suing the tobacco industry: your stupid mistake, not theirs.

    Unless one can prove that the tobacco industry acted in such a way as to remove the possibility of making an informed decision by means of lying and obfuscation. This has been the basis of most successful suits against tobacco companies.

  117. #118 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    February 4, 2010

    NitricAcid

    Homeopathic cocaine….

    If you take a tiny sliver of a banknote and place it under your tongue, will that cure you of depression, lack of coordination, psychosis, and all the other things that cocaine can cause?

    Just take a mouthful of the Thames.

  118. #119 Kel, OM
    February 4, 2010

    The problem with that notion is of informed consent. You can’t really have informed consent when the claims of the product are wrong.

  119. #120 tsg
    February 4, 2010

    The government should not give its blessing to Homeopathy in the interest of protecting us from getting sicker.However, people have the right to do stupid things, as long as they are not hurting anyone else.

    Provided they are making an informed decision. When homeopaths tell someone they can cure them, they are lying, and the decision to use homeopathy is not informed.

  120. #121 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmHzDpTLP2mp-qpt639sa9q2J8Wl4QREfQ
    February 4, 2010

    “We encourage all of our students to be explorers. They should investigate unknown areas with curiosity as well as academic rigor.”

    Should read-curiosity AND academic rigor

  121. #122 lenoxuss
    February 4, 2010

    Here’s what I always say in response to the whole “science wrong before” shtick: If Einstein didn’t have any evidence, he’d be a crank, too. Relativity did not become accepted because it sounded plausible, but because it sounded plausible and passed the physical (and mathematical) tests.

    Likewise for the germ theory of disease. If someone is postulating tiny invisible creatures as the root cause of many ailments, without putting forward a single shred of evidence for those creatures’ existence, there’s no reason to give them total credence.

    Cranks don’t get this. They think that ideas should be accepted because they Happen To Be True. All those people before Newton who didn’t know about gravitation? They were stupid-stupid-wrong, duh. They should be ashamed of themselves. The instant that Newton said the word “gravity”, all of his peers should have instantly given the hypothesis their assent, rather than expect any calculations or such scientific nonsense. Why? Because gravitation is Real, silly! And likewise for ideas which will eventually come to be established principles ? shame on you if you didn’t anticipate their Truth!

    (For cranks, this was the crime of the Catholic Church regarding Galileo ? being on the wrong side of the argument, not the wrong side of how one goes about discovering reality, or the wrong side of a human rights question.)

    Cranks also find it implausible that really tiny things can be shown empirically to exist (Have you ever seen a germ causing a disease?). Hence, they assume they can spout nonsense about quantum mechanics, because they assume that physicists are just making the whole thing up. (Of course, in fact, if “water memory” were a “quantum” phenomenon, it would be detected as such by now.)

    Ultimately, cranks, like many of those ancient Greek thinkers, assume that the best science happens inside people’s skulls, and is verified by anecdotal experience. (Well, that second part at least puts them a leg above those Greeks, but their craziness in other ways puts them several notches down.)

    What is a double-blind test but the exponential, rigorous form of an anecdote? Any medical study could be rephrased as “Jacob C. took this remedy, and had this experience. Julia G. took the remedy, and had that experience”? times a hundred. (Well, that obviously leaves out a lot of the data and rigor, but I think my point is clear.)

  122. #123 Sastra
    February 4, 2010

    Menyambal #103 wrote:

    (How does one erase water’s memory, and where is that step in producing homeopathic remedies?)
    Third rule/assumption is that of succussion. Supposedly, banging a bottle of water on the table jars its memory into shape.

    You answered your own question: banging a bottle of water on the table jars all the needed memories into place — and erases unneeded memories — by instilling the water with the “intentionality” of the homeopath. Homeopathy isn’t just based on Vitalism; it’s grounded in the idea that Mind can move matter around by using the ‘force’ of its willpower. Without the human component involving the need of the sick person, and the healer’s desire to cure, the chemistry won’t work — because it all takes place on the higher levels where meaning and purpose change the material world. It’s not just wrong: it’s supernatural, and wrong.

    I did, solemnly, whack the statue over the head with my cane.

    Thereby imparting your own ‘intentionality’ into homeopathy’s founder, the mental shock waves sending immaterial shudders and shivers into the dreams of alties everywhere…

    Seriously, I wish I’d been there to see it. ;)

  123. #124 Louis
    February 4, 2010

    @ Nitric Acid #113,

    No. But if you take the tiny sliver of banknote, blend into water, then filter the bank note blend out of the water*, take the filtrate and dilute it, do a magic shake, dilute again, do another magic shake, dilute it again (repeat to 100C), then take a drop of the solution and put it under your tongue, it will make you rich.

    Louis

    *Well if like cures like then the absence of a banknote should cure poverty…right? The only thing that can cure the side effects of cocaine is…..MOAR COCAINE!**

    **Which of course is why homeopathy is true.

  124. #125 cody.cameron
    February 4, 2010

    If it does happen, I hope a few well-spoken rationalist students and faculty can attend the workshop and effectively combat the nonsense. Maybe a well-organized rational group could even gain more support than the quacks themselves?

  125. #126 Eric S.
    February 4, 2010

    Eradicating this pseudo-scientific nonsense from the university should be on the plate of CASH, the atheist/humanist student group there. It should spearhead a campaign among pro-science students, faculty and staff to eliminate the program asap. It’d also be worth investigating and making a public report on how academic standards sunk to this level.

  126. #127 Louis
    February 4, 2010

    @ Long yahoo name (Or Hairy Chris, whichever you prefer) #118,

    Noooo! Drinking the Thames will cure you of dead bodies. It’s a well established murder mystery plot to have dead bodies floating in the Thames. Since the dead bodies are fictional and homeopathy is fictional you get a large amount of ancient Confluences of Codswallop and Kidding(or “Load of old COCK” for short. It’s very technical, you scientists with your theories wouldn’t understand because despite a huge amount of work in drug discovery and pharmacology you don’t know how drugs work). A “Load of old COCK” is what cures you.

    See?

    Louis

  127. #128 sqlrob
    February 4, 2010

    First assumption is that “Like cures Like”. No other form of medicine uses that assumption or works that way.

    Immunology. OK, so it’s “like prevents like” there.

    You need to be careful that vaccines aren’t excluded from explaining why homeopathy is woo. The slightest chink in argument will be grabbed upon and used to validate their beliefs.

  128. #129 ermine
    February 4, 2010

    Long-time reader, ever since I first read about the Creation Museum a few weeks ago.

    Wait, what?

    Damn I love you, Cuttlefish. Can I bear your weasel-cephalopod babies?

  129. #130 tekhiun
    February 4, 2010

    How about organizing a workshop that debunks everything that they present on that workshop. Or a physics professor could assign the students to go the workshop and debunk the bullshit they are spewing.

  130. #131 vanharris
    February 4, 2010

    How about rationalists at the University of Minnesota holding an event where they provide as much beer, wine, & whisky as anyone wants, totally free?

    Of course, it would be homeopathic beer, homeopathic wine, & homeopathic whisky. Bwahahaha.

  131. #132 Knockgoats
    February 4, 2010

    Of course, it would be homeopathic beer, homeopathic wine, & homeopathic whisky. – vanharris

    Good point. If there were anything to homeopathy, brewers, vintners and distillers would be out of a job!

  132. #133 radagast
    February 4, 2010

    “…homeopaths commonly use dilutions such as 1M (10^2,000), 10M (10^20,000), or 50M (10^100,000).”

    WTF! So then technically drinking unfiltered tap water should be the same thing as seeing a homeopathist, since most of the “proved” homeopathic remedies have most likely been diluted in it to these requirements already.

    It is really sad that so much quackery is being offered up for consideration alongside rigorously defined facts. IDers and homeopaths alike seem to be saying that educators must provide students with “alternatives” and “competing theories.” What BS! In this time in the USA tuitions and school budgets have educators, parents, and students strapped and yet here we are diluting out proven knowledge by the inclusion of this garbage. (Maybe it’s a type of education homeopathy where the facts are diluted by crap so students learn faster?) The end result is that students are getting even less for their dollar. Should we perhaps offer alternative math theorums such as 2+2 = purple and just let students “stretch their minds” and become “free thinkers?” What value do students get from this? What value does society get? Students need to learn the best evidence for the best ideas known to date if they are to compete and prosper in the real world.

  133. #134 Rawnaeris
    February 4, 2010

    +1 to Cuttlefish.

    On a similar side note, a billboard I get to drive by every fucking day says “What Good is medicine without FAITH?” And it for an ostensibly secular hospital.

  134. #135 Les Lane
    February 4, 2010

    Karen Lawson’s cv is informative.

    It’s clear that a postgraduate course in Avogadro’s number and another in the placebo effect would be helpful.

  135. #136 tsg
    February 4, 2010

    “What Good is medicine without FAITH?”

    “Exactly as good as it is with it, why?”

  136. #137 MadScientist
    February 4, 2010

    “Many physicians and scientists reject Homeopathy without any knowledge, because they say there is no plausible mechanism that can explain HOW it works, regardless of experiences and studies that have shown its impacts.”

    Hah. More like “Homeopaths accept Homeopathy without any knowledge.”

    As for the “experiences and studies that have shown its impacts”, the only reputable ones show that Homeopathy does jack shit and empties your wallet at best. These assholes need to be challenged to provide the evidence which they claim to have. Like the DI, there is no evidence in their favor.

  137. #138 Rey Fox
    February 4, 2010

    “Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work. ”

    Holy shit, the sheer, unmitigated GALL. It’s like going up to an accomplished auto mechanic and saying “Remember, we don’t know how the majority of car systems work.” A wrench up the ass is the reaction that comes to mind.

  138. #139 tsg
    February 4, 2010

    @Rey Fox #138

    I think you’re taking their statement too generally. When they say “we don’t know”, they mean homeopaths, not everyone. Which goes a long way towards explaining why they think homeopathy works.

  139. #140 lenoxuss
    February 4, 2010

    Remember, “homeopathic beer” would technically have to be derived not from alcohol but from a substance that produces an effect similar to sobriety. At least in popular notions, I suppose the best candidate for that is coffee. (That coffee doesn’t actually produce sobriety is of course irrelevant. Only some stuck-up scientist would dispute ancient hangover wisdom.)

    In the brilliant Mitchell & Webb sketch we’ve all seen now, that’s their only mistake ? the “homeopathic lagers” contain a visible amount of something that is presumably supposed to be beer. Also, it wasn’t succussed (hmm, so that’s why Bond prefers them shaken).

  140. #141 MadScientist
    February 4, 2010

    Oh, I’d just like to add that Karen Lawson is a fucking moron. Her letter is full of lies – it’s creationist fucking stupid.

    “Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.”

    That entire claim is a lie; on top of that, in cases where the mechanism of a drug is not well known we do know that the drug works because of this thing called “clinical trials”. There are no valid clinical trials whatsoever that support homeopathic claims. We do not oppose homeopathy because we do not understand it’s mechanisms for effectiveness, we oppose homeopathy because it is not effective.

    “True, science has not yet created the technology to explore homeopathy in a way that can be understood.”

    Bullshit – that’s false, not true. CLINICAL TRIALS you fucking moron.

    I hope that real doctors and scientists in UM take the time to go through Lawson’s bullshit list and publicly expose how all her claimed “significant publications” are a load of shit.

    It’s bad enough that we have to fight that bullshit on the streets, but a university peddling the crap?

  141. #142 WowbaggerOM
    February 4, 2010

    …other systems of medicine…

    Hmm, sounds a lot like the nebulous ‘other ways of knowing’ theists insist justifies their woo – and is just as pathetic and invalid.

  142. #143 NitricAcid
    February 4, 2010

    I just checked this person’s faculty description.

    http://www.csh.umn.edu/facultystaff/klawson/home.html

    She teaches -shamanism- at a major university????

  143. #144 Qwerty
    February 4, 2010

    From the linked article supporting homeopathy:

    “The ‘scientific’ quack-busters are ostensibly non-religious…

    These folks fall in two groups. Some of them are basically prostituting their name to certain anti-homeopathic business interests, such as pharmaceutical companies. The second group are avid atheists.”

    Nice to know you are not a prostitute PZ.

  144. #145 Kausik Datta
    February 4, 2010

    I am curious.

    “Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.”

    This is disingenuous at best, and a blatant lie at worst, as MadScientist points out above. But…

    “True, science has not yet created the technology to explore homeopathy in a way that can be understood.”

    Then, how the hell are they (the homeopaths) working with homeopathy if it cannot be understood? This is so moronic.

  145. #146 Kemist
    February 4, 2010

    @114

    If I were to chug Drano, that’s a stupid thing– not an illegal thing! I’d be wrong to sue Drano assuming I survived, right?

    Well, I agree if you happened to know it was Drano you were taking, but suppose somebody you thrust sold you some pills that contained Drano ?

    And it’s not as ludicrous as it may seem : many homeopathic remedies and supplements are found to be adulterated with either real drugs or even poisons such as arsenic, mercury or lead upon testing. And since they, conversely to real drugs, are not forced by law to submit to such analysis, you can never be too sure of what it is exactly you’re swallowing. Most people taking naturopathic and homeopathic remedies or supplements are unaware of this.

  146. #147 R. Schauer
    February 4, 2010

    IMHO it’s President Bruininks who should lead the U of M and realize what’s at stake and eliminate the healing programs…after all, did he use them for his cancer? NO.

    Just like 12-step programs saying they are going to cure alcoholics or drug addicts. What’s their track record? According to the Ditman study and the Brandsma study and Prugh, 1986, p. 24…they’re nothing better than the results from spontanious remission. They are all nothing but con-artists extorting money from society.

  147. #148 lenoxuss
    February 4, 2010

    #136 tsg: “Exactly as good as it is with it, why?”

    Well, to be fair, it can be slightly less good, given the placebo effect. (Of course that’s only for some conditions; if you innoculate an anti-vaxxer, she won’t have any higher chance of developing the disease in question than an innoculated rationalist would, although they might develop something psychosomatic.)

    Homeopaths who argue that their “remedies” aren’t placebos are in fact doing homeopathy a tremendous disservice ? if the stuff is “more than a placebo”, but, test-wise, exactly as good as a placebo nonetheless, than somehow it fights against the placebo effect, reducing it and replacing its efficacy with its own magic.

    The real irony is that alties keep telling us that doctors underestimate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In reality, compared to doctors, alties think the body’s natural inherent curative ability isn’t worth shit. That’s why when you have a cold, your body needs their magic juice, not just rest, fluids, good nutrition, etc.

    Of course, I suppose the altie answer to that is of course a body in a natural environment wouldn’t need anything to get better, but ever since the Industrial Revolution, our bodies haven’t been totally “natural”, so people get sick. (Before the IR is like before the Fall.)

  148. #149 David Marjanovi?
    February 4, 2010

    Each one proves that Western Medicine is wrong!

    Ermp… no. Homeopathy is Western medicine, as is bloodletting. Science-based medicine is not Western; it’s just applied science.

    By 24C, there will be not a single molecule of water remaining that had the chance to come into contact with even one molecule of substance X. By 30C, a very common homeopathic dilution, there will be a 1 in 3×10^13 chance that even a single water molecule ever came into contact with the active substance.

    …Wow.

    Did you look at the link of studies? The first two were of ‘flu-like’ symptoms. Wouldn’t you check to see if any of the people actually had the flu to know if the treatment worked? A bunch of vague symptoms make a good study?

    Absolutely.

    Remember, Hahnemann is the guy who reduced malaria to a shivering fit and the effects of quinine to causing a shivering fit when he tried to explaining why quinine works against malaria and to demonstrate that similia similibus curentur.

    Homeopathy is reductionistic symptom-treatment. The irony! It burns!

    (It took another 200 or more years till it was figured out how quinine really works: it interferes with heme excretion by Plasmodium, an organism Hahnemann wouldn’t have dreamt existed.)

    Ultimately, cranks, like many of those ancient Greek thinkers, assume that the best science happens inside people’s skulls, and is verified by anecdotal experience. (Well, that second part at least puts them a leg above those Greeks, but their craziness in other ways puts them several notches down.)

    Very well said.

  149. #150 alangcarter
    February 4, 2010

    First off, thanks for a fascinating talk at NUI Galway last night. The bit about nerve conduction starting as a mechanism for balancing salt concentrations was new to me, and just one of the high points.

    As to homeopathy, a strange thing went on in Gloucestershire, England where I used to live. Lots of dairy farms, and bovine mastitis was a recurrent problem. It must be treated quickly or it will spread through the herd. Conventional treatment is antibiotics. The milk must be clear of bacteria and drugs before the cows can return to production.

    Some of the vets (real, scientific actual qualified vets) started using homeopathic treatments. I have seen it done. It is utterly absurd. Each feed, thousands of litres of water pour down galvanized troughs with crudely bolted together sections. Water pours through the gaps, spills out of the trough, and the herd is busy slurping it up. The vet stands at the end of the trough with his little bottle of homeopathic voodoo, and drip, drip, drip, adds a few drops of homeopathic medicine. There is no known theoretical justification for the crazy carry on at all.

    It would be hard not to laugh, except it cures the mastitis. Not quite as quickly as the antibiotics would, but there is no time waiting for the drugs to clear, so the cows become productive again more quickly giving the farmers an overall economic win. These are hard nosed farmers, real vets, and its hard to induce a placebo effect in a cow. Having seen this happening I’m willing to accept we need to extend our theoretical understanding rather than draw conclusions from a lack of knowledge of whatever mechanism is in play.

  150. #151 graygaffer
    February 4, 2010

    Way back before I started putting things together, I found myself inexplicably offended by a display in an art gallery. I felt duped. By – get this – a teak base on which rested a iridescent green painted dog turd. My gf of the time, an art critic, told me that it was art because it had an effect on me. So I agree, you can sell pretty much anything to some people.

    Why is this getting so much prime time attention? I think the slippery slope started when it was decided (by whom?) that the word “discriminate” was a Bad Thing ™. But it is the only word we have for the concepts around figuring out what is real and what is woo, other than “scientific method”. So once we were no longer allowed to discriminate based on any criteria, but most especially truth, all bets were off. If you cannot discriminate between reality and woo, then both sides appear equally valid. If you do apply discrimination, you are reviled for bigotry.

    How do we get back our functional vocabulary?

  151. #152 Walton
    February 4, 2010

    Of course, I suppose the altie answer to that is of course a body in a natural environment wouldn’t need anything to get better, but ever since the Industrial Revolution, our bodies haven’t been totally “natural”, so people get sick. (Before the IR is like before the Fall.)

    Ah yes… back in the good old days when people suffered from good old-fashioned natural diseases, like typhoid, scurvy, rickets, osteoarthritis and so on. Because dying at the ripe old age of 37 (if you were lucky enough to survive birth and infancy) is just so much more natural and healthy than all this “modern medicine” malarkey.

    Of course, this issue was also addressed by the Discworld’s sharpest thinker, Sergeant Fred Colon:

    ‘Not natural, in my view, sah. Not in favor of unnatural things.’

    Vetinari looked perplexed. ‘You mean, you eat your meat raw and sleep in a tree?’

  152. #153 Bill
    February 4, 2010

    One wonders whether homeopaths really go to all the effort of diluting and shaking, diluting and shaking; or whether they just tell people they do it. The difference helps determine whether they are truly deluded or criminals and, hence, into which sort of institution they should be consigned.

  153. #154 Desert Son, OM
    February 4, 2010

    lenoxuss,

    Of course, I suppose the altie answer to that is of course a body in a natural environment wouldn’t need anything to get better, but ever since the Industrial Revolution, our bodies haven’t been totally “natural”, so people get sick. (Before the IR is like before the Fall.)

    At the root of the issue: the definition of “natural.” For scientists (and, I hope, for many in other walks of life), “natural” is a descriptor applied to the universe. The contents of the universe, whether occurring independent of human interaction, or whether constructed by human industry, remain natural by virtue of atomic and molecular structure, and the universal forces that act upon them (gravity, etc.).

    For homeopaths and other followers of things “spiritual,” “natural” means independent of human experience and development only. Waterfalls and the courses of rivers are “natural” (as long as the Army Corp of Engineers hasn’t been anywhere near them), but automobiles aren’t, because humans took what was “natural” (mineral ores) and did “things” with them (smelting, annealing, assembling, soldering, etc.) that renders them “unnatural.”

    Which is hilarious, and ludicrous. There remain, in automobiles and cliff faces alike, atoms – the very stuff of the universe in all its naturalness. Which is not to say that everything built by human industry is necessarily good for us. Industrial toxins polluting water and air threaten our existence, of course! I’m not a particular fan of the atomic bomb (although from a theoretical aspect, it’s a fascinating development) and its effects on human beings, but if anything, it’s a particularly striking exemplar of “nature” at work.

    Which highlights another point about the different views of “nature” and that which is “natural.” The homeopath wants desperately to believe that “natural” automatically equates to “beneficial to human beings.”

    The reality of nature, of course, is that it doesn’t give a shit about human beings. You can live as “close” to “nature” as you like and it will still chew you up and spit you out without care. No amount of supplication to some “spirit of nature” will prevent lightning strike, meteor collision, drought, flood, pestilence, infection, sulfurous fumes roiling from calderas, hurricane, tornado, venomous snake bite, bear mauling, or similar.

    Attention, homeopaths! Nature doesn’t “want” us to be healthy! Nature doesn’t “want” anything! Nature just is, and were we all gone tomorrow, would continue on, and would sing no lament for our absence. The chemicals humans produce and ingest, like the ores we mine and refine, like the structures we build and erect, are an extension of nature. So is surgery. So are candles and light bulbs. Guess what isn’t natural! “Water memory.”

    Still learning,

    Robert

  154. #155 Nick
    February 4, 2010

    waldteufel # 97

    Do you live in Switzerland by any chance?

  155. #156 hznfrst
    February 4, 2010

    Dontcha just love all the judgmental language used by newagers when they’re backed into a corner? “Hostile, critical, rigid,” etc, frequently accompanied by a lip-quivering (because you meanies have hurted their widdle feewings again) defense of their particular “paradigm.”

    Indiana Jones’ reaction to the knife-wielding lunatic in the marketplace scene comes to mind: he puts down his whip and pulls out a gun, and bang! shoot! the job is done.

  156. #157 waldteufel
    February 4, 2010

    Nick #155,

    Sadly, no.

  157. #158 steve
    February 4, 2010

    About the only use I could see for a homeopath at a university is as an instructor in chemistry. He or she could probably describe dilution techniques very thouroughly. Of course I’d prefer an actual chemist (not named Michael Behe) who knew the science to teach the course.

  158. #159 Qwerty
    February 4, 2010

    For a rational explanation of how this doesn’t work listen to James Randi Explains Homeopathy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWE1tH93G9U

    He is quite amusing, but it is amazing to think that people buy this worthless product as it’s sold in drug stores across America.

  159. #160 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 4, 2010

    As to homeopathy, a strange thing went on in Gloucestershire, England where I used to live. Lots of dairy farms, and bovine mastitis was a recurrent problem. It must be treated quickly or it will spread through the herd. Conventional treatment is antibiotics. The milk must be clear of bacteria and drugs before the cows can return to production.

    The plural of data is not anecdotes.

    It’s not like they don’t get their chance in clinical trials.

  160. #161 Kyorosuke
    February 4, 2010

    Walton @ 152:

    I saw an interview last night with a fellow who promotes a “caveman lifestyle”, who, when challenged on that point, tried to justify it by saying that the statistics were skewed because of the high infant mortality rate; if you survived infancy, you were pretty good. Of course, he has the advantage of having already survived babyhood thanks to modern medicine.

  161. #162 billteasource
    February 4, 2010

    Looking on the homeopathy website, I noticed that apparently he also offers virtual diagnosis (via webcam and Skype I would guess).
    There must a gene for snake oil salesmanship, it never seems to go away.
    Good comments all.

  162. #163 Jadehawk, OM
    February 4, 2010

    Remember that we don’t know how the majority of biomedical interventions, including drugs, work.

    it’s not so much that we don’t know why it (supposedly) works… it’s that we know why it doesn’t work.

  163. #164 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 4, 2010

    Of course, I suppose the altie answer to that is of course a body in a natural environment wouldn’t need anything to get better, but ever since the Industrial Revolution, our bodies haven’t been totally “natural”, so people get sick. (Before the IR is like before the Fall.)

    Sure water is natural, so are arsenic, belladonna, deadly nightshade, and death’s cap mushrooms.

  164. #165 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    February 4, 2010

    Alan G Carter @ 150: It would be hard not to laugh, except it cures the mastitis.

    On that basis, I can think of a cure for the common cold. I’ve always liked good old Tincture of Time myself.

    A homeopathic cold cure might be, to parallel an Iranian joke I’ve heard, the soup of the soup of the soup of the chicken.

    Ron Sullivan
    http://toad.faultline.org

  165. #166 Jordan
    February 4, 2010

    @150:

    Ummmm…you’re clearly not familiar with how appropriate testing works if you feel your anecdotal story should pass for evidence.

    By that rational, God must exist, because a friend of mine told me God’s voice woke him up when he fell asleep at the wheel.

  166. #167 fernery
    February 4, 2010

    It’s depressing that there are so many women involved in all that bogus ‘new age’ stuff. As a rabid feminist, it makes me gag. Evidence based medicine helps women, this crap just drags us further down.

  167. #168 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 4, 2010

    @ David Marjanovi? # 149–

    re: “Each one proves that Western Medicine is wrong!”

    Dude.

    Perhaps it escaped your attention, but “Western” is a trochee, whereas “science-based” is not. I’ll admit, that is not normally a consideration when commenting on a blog, but it most certainly is when writing doggerel. If you can find me an appropriate trochee substitution for “Western” (which, I submit, is often–though technically incorrectly–used synonymously with “evidence-based”), I will most happily use it.

    On the other hand, it pleases me to no end that my silly verse is critiqued not for rhyme nor meter, but for literal accuracy! Frankly, this is the one and only area in which I can actually compete with real poets!

    (And, lest someone beat me to it, I am indeed calling for an emergence trocheeotomy. so there.)

  168. #169 Bastion Of Sass
    February 4, 2010

    I recently discovered that at least two of my area’s community colleges are teaching classes in woo and psuedoscience including: “Past Life Regression/Future Life Progression”; “Develop Your Psychic Ability”; “Ghost Studies”; “Awaken Your Purpose through Numerology”; “Healing with Gemstones and Crystals”; “Dowsing for a Healthy Home”; and “Soul Coaching.”

    When did it become acceptable for schools of higher education to offer classes which make their students stupider and more irrational?!

    Don’t colleges and universities have any kind of academic ethics anymore? Or are they willing to offer any classes gullible students are willing to pay for, and charlatans, snake-oil peddlers, and the deluded are willing to teach?

    This is disgraceful.

  169. #170 Patricia, Ignorant Slut OM
    February 4, 2010

    Damn that Cuttlefish is cute when he says stuff I can’t understand a word of. *swoon*

  170. #171 lisainthesky
    February 4, 2010

    For shame…

    How disheartening that a university has done this. Its damaging to the reputation of higher education in general.

    The only thing I detest more than religion and religious nuts???

    HOMEOPATHY…

    The homeopathic A&E on youtube explains it the best. I love that clip.

    This is why the Richard Dawkins foundation for reason and science is needed.

    I’m still shaking my head…

  171. #172 WowbaggerOM
    February 4, 2010

    Patricia,

    I’m reading All the King’s Men at the moment, and happened upon a passage where Willie Stark, in a speech, claims to have been given a sugar-tit to keep him quiet – I couldn’t help but think of you and be glad I already knew what that meant thanks to your use of it here.

  172. #173 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 4, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself,@164

    Sure water is natural, so are arsenic, belladonna, deadly nightshade, and death’s cap mushrooms.

    Belladonna is deadly nightshade.

    BS

  173. #174 DLC
    February 4, 2010

    an excellent work on Homeopathy can be found at
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/holmes.html
    wherein Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr (father of the Jurist).
    It is of particular interest as it shows that people in his own time were debunking Hahnemann and his malarkey.
    It’s also a good exercise in logic.

    (this post accidentally cross-posted at Respectful Insolence, which I also read and comment on)

  174. #175 Sauceress
    February 4, 2010

    ..an entire system of medicine, with its own paradigm of understanding health and illness. That paradigm directs the process of evaluation and treatment…
    Homeopaths felt clinically had they been able to prescribe the individually matched remedy to each case, the recovery rate expected would have been as high as 90%”.

    So then exactly what are these determining parameters of individual prescription matching, and by precisely what criteria and protocol are they assessed?
    They must be able to answer this, and thus be able to detail the proposed, at least, mechanisms by which each of these determine the “idividually matched remedy”…yes?

    Is an individaul assessment is based simply on an indiviuals stength of belief in the effectiveness of the treatment?

    Additionally, at one time we didn’t know about germs

    Yes…when Vitalism ruled
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitalism

    can view Vital Force as an interface between the soul and the physical body. The soul is a purely spiritual entity.

    In one form or another Vitalism is still the fundamental idea underpinning all the sales spiels of virtually all the quacks.

  175. #176 MadScientist
    February 4, 2010

    @alangcarter: If what you describe is in any way accurate then it should be possible to show that the farmers are wasting their money on the antibiotics and should simply leave the cattle alone. It is not that difficult to design a test though it may be difficult to carry out a test due to the particular cattle handling processes and resistance to run an experiment rather than just do the usual which people believe to be effective. However, your anecdote is in no way evidence that homeopathy works; there is too much obviously missing yet basic information.

  176. #177 lenoxuss
    February 4, 2010

    Regarding #150 alancgarter:

    I suppose it would be reasonable for a homeopathic remedy’s label to say “Worked for cows in one non-controlled, unrepeated experiment!” But you can’t extrapolate from that anecdote that homeopathy, in any larger sense, “works”. Unrepeatable means, well, unrepeatable.

    Of course, antibiotics and their use are very much understood to have serious issues, such as the evolution of resistant microbes, leading in turn to drugs that lack positive effects, and therefore only have negative ones (however mild those negative effects may be). Therefore, substituting antibiotics with homeopathy is disingenuous experimenting, because you are subtracting all the possible negative effects of the former; that’s why the remedies (just like any proposed treatment) are properly compared to placebos ? that’s the definition of “control”. The same is the case for animals, despite their not understanding about drugs ? the simple question is, does homeopathic water beat regular water? If homeopathy is correct, it should. Tests indicate is doesn’t.

    In Hahnemann’s time, and in ours (but less so), there were/are quite a few cases where homeopathy will “outdo” conventional treatments, because homeopathy does absolutely nothing but make you feel good, while the conventional treatments are invasive and can produce negative side effects, making you feel crappy. (Chemo, certain complex surgeries, etc.)

    So yeah, yet another annoying thing about alties is that they way they paint the world, they are the ones bravely informing us about side effects and nasty chemicals. Doctors and medical scientists, it would seem, are blissfully unaware that their “poisons” could ever cause harm to anyone or anything. Makes me wonder why a conspiracy as powerful as Big Pharma’s allows drug ads and labels to be required to describe all the nasty side effects, and which people shouldn’t use them (would a homeopath ever filter a possible patient?). So? are the “real” side effects that they “don’t want us to know about” even worse?

    Well, I’m sure the actual thought process involved is more like “Gosh, look at all those side effects ? conventional medicine must be a horrible thing!”, not “Good thing I’m warned.”

  177. #178 MadScientist
    February 4, 2010

    @Sauceress: The links to “evidence” are laughably stupid at best. Why bother to delve into claims of how people are effectively assessed when the very first words of the homeopathic moron Lawson states that homeopathy is effective but effective in such a way that it’s efficacy cannot be determined (it is beyond what clinical trials can establish). One of the foremost objectives of a clinical trial is to determine whether a drug is effective or not (alleviates symptoms, shortens the virulent phase, or prevents the disease altogether). If a homeopathic ‘remedy’ does any of that, then it can in fact be tested in a clinical trial. If a homeopathic ‘remedy’ cannot do any of that, then what the hell is it that the homeopaths are claiming to ‘cure’? Lawson is a lying con artist.

    I’m suprised that Lawson is such an incompetent tit that she doesn’t even drag in pain management. Homeopaths love to victimize people suffering various pains because there are so many for which medical science still has no effective treatment; some treatments work but the drug’s effect declines with use and other treatments are hit-and-miss – some patients respond well while others don’t respond at all.

  178. #179 Patricia, Ignorant Slut OM
    February 4, 2010

    Wowbagger – Yep the sugar tit is a real thang. My ‘Aint’ still threatens her six sons with one if they cut up, and not a one of them is under 40 years old.

  179. #180 Kagato
    February 4, 2010

    Both Sides!

  180. #181 lenoxuss
    February 4, 2010

    #149 David Marjanovi?: Since the poem is facetiously from the perspective of a homeopath, I personally would say the indeed-incorrect term “Western medicine” is valid there. (And rolls best off the tongue, as Cuttlefish explained.)

    #175 Sauceress: Homeopaths should team up with numerologists to translate for us the actual numbers medical studies give. In fact, I’m sort of surprised by how homeopaths do accept that studies achieve the non-results they do, instead attacking the tests’ methodology.

    Why not say, “Well, in my freer worldview, unhampered by empiricism’s iron clutch on human minds, the remedy’s effectiveness in that study you mention was actually 90%, not 30%; additionally, according to my equally valid understanding of reality, a shocking 100% of the people who took the placebo died painfully the next day, victims of conventional medicine all.”

    The old adage, you can have your own opinions but not your own facts, is ignored by cranks, but some kind of mental logic prevents most of them from ignoring it to the degree I described there. This means there’s hope yet?

  181. #182 Sauceress
    February 4, 2010

    Some of the vets (real, scientific actual qualified vets) started using homeopathic treatments.
    …..It would be hard not to laugh, except it cures the mastitis

    Shit…that did make me laugh out loud :)
    Homeopaths strenuously insist on a requirement for indivual assessment and prescription, so I imagine there were some difficulties with this protocol and its application to a bunch of cattle. How long did it take the vets to, and how did they, assess and prepare all those individual concoctions?

  182. #183 Pareidolius
    February 4, 2010

    Ladies and gentlemen, the batshit crazy stylings of Dr. Mirman . . .

    I am an agnostic. I believe only what I see, or for what I can find reasonable scientific or experiential proof. I don’t follow any rigid system of thought which restricts your thinking, like any true fundamentalist religion does. As a homeopath, I have been trained to detect delusional thinking in my patients, and I will so detect religious ideation in any opponent immediately.

    Trained to detect delusional thinking in his patients, but evidently not himself. If homeopathy actually worked, wouldn’t the evidence be overwhelming by now? Not wispy blips above placebo’s level, but solid spikes of effectiveness. Homeopathy is truly the the UFO of altmeds, it just flies across the universe to peek in cabin windows, make indecipherable-yet-beautifully decorative patterns in wheat while leaving no detectable traces of its existence.
    I mean, if Hahnemann’s “science” was so goddamned effective, would we have even bothered to stay on the road of evidence based medicine for the last two centuries? Wouldn’t we have just all gone “Huzzah, water cures everything!” and called it a day? Mirman basically admits that homeopathy is a spiritual practice in the beginning of his rant. He then proceeds to drag the same tired, old “atheism is a religion” red herring out of its jar of fetid thinking and proceeds to swing its stiniking corpse at anyone who dares use scientific reasoning or critical-thinking against Homeopathy. He’d be funny if he weren’t ripping people off with bogus cures.

  183. #184 lenoxuss
    February 5, 2010

    Could homeopathy be considered a religion? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: “Classical Homeopathy vs. “Pseudo-Homeopathy“. Sectarian wars, here we come!

    Sometimes people tell me they are seeing a homeopath but are getting a mixture of remedies that the practitioner chooses after hooking the person up to a machine? They often admit that they have been seeing this practitioner for many months or years and have seen ?great results?I?m at least 20% better after two years? one person told me.

    I have to shake my head when I hear what they are doing?if my patients were only 20% better after six months I would be dissatisfied.

    This guy practically stepped right out of that Mitchell & Webb bit ? he thinks that anecdotal, self-reported evidence is the only evidence (the source of that “20%” number) but he treats the whole thing like a rigorous system.

    Another priceless quote: The gift and challenge of homeopathy is that even very bad homeopathy gets results of some kind.

  184. #185 Pareidolius
    February 5, 2010

    Sage advice from Karen Lawson, MD’s “Is homeopathy safe?” page . . .

    For example, a person having acute, left-sided chest pain, radiating down the arm, suggestive of an acute heart attack, may choose to quickly take a homeopathic remedy on the advice of their practitioner, but should still call 911 and receive conventional medical care.

    So I guess she means that it’s okay that they waste precious minutes calling their homeopathic quacktitioner to get advice on what sugar pills to take whilst in the grip of crippling chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness? Hopefully by the time they’ve staggered to the medicine cabinet to find the Bryonia Alba 1M (hard to do when one’s vision is blurred due to an oxygen-starved brain) they’ll have the energy and cognitive coherence to call 911 before collapsing in the hallway.
    What possesses someone with a degree in microbiology and medicine to stray so far from reality? How much fear does it take to hobble your critical-thinking facilities in the hopes of preserving a nonsensical worldview?

  185. #186 Militant Agnostic
    February 5, 2010

    Pareidolius – What, no link to your brilliant “if water has memory homeopathy is full of shit: poster?

    I think these homeopaths infesting UM should be treated the way these “dragons” (venture capitalists) treat this snake oil salesman

    Ridicule followed by anger and disgust.

  186. #187 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    This is a great piece. I can see, of course, why a university would want a homeopathic wing, without any credible evidence that it does or educates things. And that is, of course, the horrors of modern liberalism.

    Where PZ differs from the majority of liberalists is that he says (though not in these words) that he embraces forms of discrimination in the private realm because there are reasonable constraints to be acknowledged – in particular, logic and the experimental method as sure ways of arriving at truth, and information that can be passed on as education. But it is the force of equality as an IDEA that permeates both the private and the public realms that will deny precisely these external constraints. Why humiliate, alienate and deny access to academic authority a sector of the population and their beliefs “merely” on the grounds that their ideas aren’t credible? And of course, once you grant that equality of standing, then science and pseudo-science become braced in mutual disdain. I’m afraid this kind of maneuvering is just the tip of the iceberg. No one is happy. But again, good reading. Much thanks for this post.

  187. #188 Sauceress
    February 5, 2010

    Pareidolius #183

    it just flies across the universe to peek in cabin windows, make indecipherable-yet-beautifully decorative patterns in wheat while leaving no detectable traces of its existence.

    There’s a wonderful quote on that Vitalism page at Wiki preceded by “vitalist chemists predicted that organic materials could not be synthesized from inorganic components. However, as chemical techniques advanced, Friedrich Wöhler synthesised urea from inorganic components in 1828 and subsequently wrote to Berzelius, that he had witnessed”

    The great tragedy of science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
    The “beautiful hypothesis” was vitalism; the ugly fact was a dish of urea crystals.

    ~~
    #184

    mixture of remedies that the practitioner chooses after hooking the person up to a machine

    Ahhh…so that’s how they decide on an individuals specific treatment….via some species of homeopathic E-meter.

  188. #189 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    fuckosaurus, you’ve no fucking clue what you’re talking about. stop jerking off to your hatred of equality, it’s disgusting; and it has fuck all to do with homeopathy. liberalism and progressive politics have shit all to do with this. It’s the fetishization of “freedom of speech” that creates this idiotic “everybody is entitled to their own truth” crap; not liberalism. Or are you going to tell me that “teach the controversy” and “equal time for AGW deniers” is also caused by the liberals?

    you’re a dumb, one-trick troll. go away.

  189. #190 Rorschach
    February 5, 2010

    But it is the force of equality as an IDEA that permeates both the private and the public realms that will deny precisely these external constraints

    *looks at beer bottle questioningly*

    Wait a sec….

    Comment by frankosaurus blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

    Ah, that’s better !

  190. #191 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Where PZ differs from the majority of liberalists is that he says (though not in these words) that he embraces forms of discrimination in the private realm because there are reasonable constraints to be acknowledged – in particular, logic and the experimental method as sure ways of arriving at truth, and information that can be passed on as education.

    It’s time to create an alchemy wing of a university – because even though it’s been scientifically discredited, it would be discrimination to prevent such a department on those grounds.

    Then an astrology department too, who knows what the stars say otherwise?

  191. #192 WowbaggerOM
    February 5, 2010

    Comment by frankosaurus blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

    Yep, makes me feel better.

  192. #193 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    @191
    I suppose not having an alchemy or astrology wing might be thought of being counterexamples of the (very broadly) generalized phenomenon I point out. However, you have to see the difference, not in the inherent “wrongness” of the subject matter, but in what hands the subject matter is held.

    The belief in alchemy or astrology have roots in elitist hands, in gnostics, esoterics. You’re much more likely to see things “universitized” that emerge from or are predominantly possessed by people from the more traditionally disempowered side of the chain of things, legitimizing the group as well as (or more than) the actual practice. I would bet that if the spirituality and healing didn’t have roots in tribalism or whatnot, it wouldn’t pass through.

    Maybe not the best characterization of it, but I spot a pattern.

  193. #194 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “It’s the fetishization of “freedom of speech” that creates this idiotic “everybody is entitled to their own truth” crap”

    Not to push the point, but where does the “fetishization of freedom of speech” come from? I say if you’re looking for roots, you’ll find them in liberal premises. But you’re right, I don’t see this as an instance of progressive politics, just how things shake out into their predictable conclusions. Now what would be an instance of progressive politics would be to encourage silence among those that are critical of this move, which I disagree with. Which is why I like PZ’s post.

  194. #195 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Not to push the point, but where does the “fetishization of freedom of speech” come from? I say if you’re looking for roots, you’ll find them in liberal premises.

    and you would be wrong, as usual. but real history isn’t your forte anyway; you prefer the distorted version that allows you to never have to doubt yourself.

    Now what would be an instance of progressive politics would be to encourage silence among those that are critical of this move, which I disagree with.

    bullshit. but then, you wouldn’t know progressive politics if they bit you in the ass. like I said, stop jerking off to your venomous hatred of equality; you don’t know what it is, what it means, and what consequences actual equality has. you’re just pissed that your precious privilege is being deconstructed.

  195. #196 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    However, you have to see the difference, not in the inherent “wrongness” of the subject matter, but in what hands the subject matter is held.

    Bullshit, they are as wrong scientifically as alternative medicine is. Should I have to keep listing unscientific ideas that have long been discredited until I can find one that fits your criteria? The point was that they are failed bodies of knowledge, if you think otherwise then present the evidence that shows that any of these ideas actually have merit.

    Alternative medicine is a multi-billion dollar industry despite its scientific failings. It’s not discrimination, it’s a failed idea.

  196. #197 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Kel, you are confusing what fuckosaurus is saying. he knows and accepts that homeopathy and other New Age woo is bullshit. What he does is blame liberalism and its striving for a more equal society for the existence of Homeopathy Departments in universities.
    This is the guy who claims that segregation in the South was good because it prevented violence, and the Civil War was bad because a government forcefully took away people’s private property. He despises the concept of equality, because equality would mean less privilege for him, and therefore creates these silly anti-equality arguments.

  197. #198 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010
  198. #199 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “and you would be wrong, as usual. but real history isn’t your forte anyway”

    History is irrelevant in this. I see it following from principles.

    “bullshit. but then, you wouldn’t know progressive politics”

    maybe we’re having a problem defining our terms then. I mean progressive politics as affirmative action (putting the goal into action, whatever it is) as opposed to neutrality, which is what I, PZ, and the rest would rather see happen. (Ie, people are free to believe whatever crackpot stuff they want, just don’t dip your hand into the educational setting, or business, or whatever). It’s more progressive the more the political realm tries to promote its acceptance, which I don’t really see happening here. but who knows.

    “you’re just pissed that your precious privilege is being deconstructed.”

    evidence for this?

    Kel:
    “The point was that they are failed bodies of knowledge”

    The point is that we live in a world of patterns. Not all of them are political. But if you have something like this that is obviously wrong, then what other explanations are there for why they show up in the (publicly-funded) university? One idea might be that it is still in the experimental phases, and we need to resources to give it a better look (though as has been mentioned, this is basically just beating a dead horse). But this is not the reason they give. As the letter says, they don’t have the problem, it’s WE who are deficient, who need “increased understanding and awareness” – whatever that means.

  199. #200 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Kel, you are confusing what fuckosaurus is saying. he knows and accepts that homeopathy and other New Age woo is bullshit. What he does is blame liberalism and its striving for a more equal society for the existence of Homeopathy Departments in universities.

    Oh. I blame liberalism for a lot of things too, post-modernism mainly. But then again faith healers are just as fuckwaddery as any of the lefty looneys, firmly on the conservative side of things. And we can look no further than the language currently stemming from the right in the US and elsewhere that mimics the rhetoric from the 1960s that devalued liberal humanities studies. Creationists are all about “teach the controversy” and “paradigm shifts” and “deconstruction of knowledge” (only when it comes to science they disagree with, but still…)

    But to try and turn what I said into a cogent point (sorry for the misrepresentation frankosaurus), we can all sit around and blame liberalism until the cows come home. But then again, the reason we can sit around and blame liberalism is because of liberal values to begin with. Notions of equality and fairness are inherent to humanity, the “teach both sides” rhetoric is not successful because of liberalism’s pervading thought process but because people think it fair. They can’t see why Evolution is taught and not Creation – they just don’t understand that they aren’t two sides to the same coin.

    So, ummm, yeah. Liberalism = good. You don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, nor is it worth decrying that the baby must be defective because it needs a bath in the first place.

  200. #201 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    The point is that we live in a world of patterns. Not all of them are political. But if you have something like this that is obviously wrong, then what other explanations are there for why they show up in the (publicly-funded) university?

    Because if we don’t allow for exploration of patterns, then we’ll be stuck with whatever “knowledge” we have when we impose that pattern on reality. The necessity of exploration comes from the provisional nature of empirical knowledge, and even though it may put false negatives such as this to the front, it’s worth it because that’s how we learn new things about the reality that we reside in.

    If we should expect perfection first attempt or successful pattern recognition all the time, then we’re deluding ourselves. In other words, we have no grounds by which to stifle alternative lines of inquiry because sometimes those alternative lines of inquiry are fruitful. It’s a shame that discredited nonsense keeps popping up with a couple of “intellectuals” to give it the semblance of credibility, but there’s more fruitful avenues than just banning. It’s bad enough that any time one of these cranks is dismissed that they claim persecution. But such open inquiry is the only way to move forward and understand where flaws lie.

  201. #202 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “This is the guy who claims that segregation in the South was good because it prevented violence, and the Civil War was bad because a government forcefully took away people’s private property”

    No. I admit I was led into bad paths during the course of argument, but these are not my beliefs. I note the inconsistencies of a “great leader” like Lincoln, who ran on a platform of not doing anything about slavery, and was more into weakening the south to preserve the union (the “i’ll do anything to preserve the union” kind of speeches) than actually the institution of slavery itself (why only target below the mason dixon line?). I’m basically just opposed to governing through the use of big ideas and/or preventing the destruction of certain traditions and ways and life in the service of ideas. Pretty banal stuff. Though agreed, the discussions did bring out an ugly side of me I’ve decided I don’t like.

    “the “teach both sides” rhetoric is not successful because of liberalism’s pervading thought process but because people think it fair.”

    I admit that. In a warring controversy, it seems only natural to say the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, and thus the exposure to both ideas produces a middle ground. THere are some basic notions of fairness here. But I also see some resemblences to the whole “marketplace of ideas” concept, that the clash of ideas, and free promotion of them, is ultimately beneficial. Coined by a guy named John Stuart Mill — only I forget what political stripe he was. Hmmm.

    “But then again, the reason we can sit around and blame liberalism is because of liberal values to begin with”

    In this case, I think it has to do more with the fact that we’re reflective people. We reflect in all sorts of situations. We reflected over feudalism, for instance. Led to the overthrow of that. But if one wanted to continue with paranoia, the difference with liberalism (and with such big terms it’s hard to contain them within their different meanings) is it’s own tyranny – not by condemning oppositional ideas, but by accepting them.

  202. #203 BdN
    February 5, 2010

    Oh. I blame liberalism for a lot of things too, post-modernism mainly.

    Or sometimes the opposite in an infernal feedback loop…

    And strangely, some cases of “extreme” post-modernism become so entrenched that it becomes the opposite of liberalism : you can say anything as long as you don’t consider it “truer” than other things. So if you think you’ve got something right, you are most certainly wrong. You have the right to say it aloud, but you should really just shut up or add at the end of the sentence that it is only your opinion and it’s all a question of inter-subjectivity and meta-narrative and such.

  203. #204 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    Kel:
    “Because if we don’t allow for exploration of patterns, then we’ll be stuck with whatever “knowledge” we have when we impose that pattern on reality.”

    I actually meant the patterns of areas legitimated by the university. But more to your point, I anticipate the PZ-esque objection here. That while it may be the case that certain discoveries have been made with the “lets just explore for the helluva it” approach, it’s not a great pedagogical model. So turn it into a research wing. Do not turn it into a faculty, nor anything that takes people’s money who are trying to learn.

  204. #205 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    But if one wanted to continue with paranoia, the difference with liberalism (and with such big terms it’s hard to contain them within their different meanings) is it’s own tyranny – not by condemning oppositional ideas, but by accepting them

    This is misleading at best, utterly fallacious at worst. Ideas are condemned even among post modern scholars, just listen to the way some of them talk about science. One scholar referred to scientists committing “marital rape” on the universe by forcing the universe to fit their notion of reality. How is that accepting in the slightest?

    There’s the devaluation of knowledge in some liberal circles, but there’s hardly the acceptance of oppositional ideas. And those people in the end are shooting themselves in the foot. The free marketplace of ideas is bad for the same reason that a free market is bad, it relies on in effect an argumentum ad populum where it really devolves ideas into opinion – or at the very least a consensus view. We know this to be as utterly wrong as a pure democracy.

    The worst charge one could make is not that it accepts opposite arguments, but that it stifles criticism of what is dearly held. That it’s okay to hold a belief like a young earth but its not okay to criticise such ideas for fear of personal offence. That it’s protecting the right not to be offended, or at the very least that not being offended and criticism of ideas have become synonymous.

    Look at the cracker incident with PZed, there were many Catholics screaming that such actions are personal attacks on them because they hold the belief dear. Is this a consequence of liberalism? Maybe, maybe not. Interesting that most the people who were screaming this were conservative, which again would make it part of the human condition. Just look at this blog compared to other blogs, you may get called a fuckwad on here for posting shit, but at least you have the right to post. So many blogs heavily moderate or don’t allow comments at all – they just don’t like criticism fullstop. This I see as an expression of liberalism as John Stuart Mill envisioned it.

  205. #206 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    History is irrelevant in this. I see it following from principles.

    which really just proves my point that you’re ignorant of the relevant history of free speech and anti-intellectualism that leads to “everybody is entitled to their own truth” sort of thinking in America.

    I mean progressive politics as affirmative action (putting the goal into action, whatever it is) as opposed to neutrality, which is what I, PZ, and the rest would rather see happen. (Ie, people are free to believe whatever crackpot stuff they want, just don’t dip your hand into the educational setting, or business, or whatever). It’s more progressive the more the political realm tries to promote its acceptance, which I don’t really see happening here. but who knows.

    most of this is word salad, and what isn’t word salad is just plain wrong (what the everglorious fuck does affirmative action have to do with homeopathy at universities?! do you even know what affirmative action is, what it does, and why it exists?)

    evidence for this?

    you mean other than every single post you’ve ever made once an argument goes beyond superficial claims?

    The point is that we live in a world of patterns. Not all of them are political. But if you have something like this that is obviously wrong, then what other explanations are there for why they show up in the (publicly-funded) university?

    when your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails…

    I’m basically just opposed to governing through the use of big ideas and/or preventing the destruction of certain traditions and ways and life in the service of ideas.

    this is vague waffle, and really just means “I like the world the way it is, don’t you go around changing things to try to help OTHER people!”

    But I also see some resemblences to the whole “marketplace of ideas” concept, that the clash of ideas, and free promotion of them, is ultimately beneficial.

    and you prefer what? the top-down imposition of your favorite kind of idea, and no other?

    the problem lies not in the marketplace of ideas or the clash of same; the problem lies in anti-intellectualism and lack of scientific thinking, because it means too many people don’t have the tools to tell which ideas are winning, and how to keep score.

    not by condemning oppositional ideas, but by accepting them.

    oh yeah, we’re all sorts of accepting of all sorts of dumb ideas on this blog. we’re famous for being tolerant, cuddly bunnies who think all ideas are equally awesome and deserve equal respect.

    or are you saying that the majority of posters here isn’t liberal/progressive? don’t make me laugh.

  206. #207 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    I actually meant the patterns of areas legitimated by the university. But more to your point, I anticipate the PZ-esque objection here.

    You’re right, I don’t believe that faculties like this should be rejected out of hand, but through careful examination of the evidence. It’s bad enough that every time science shits on a cherished belief that cries of persecution are rang out, that if you support science-based medicine then you must be in the pocket of Big Pharma and a baby-killer and *insert morally reprehensible trait here*. It should be rejected for the same reason as an alchemy department should be rejection or a Creation Research department should be rejected: through careful examination of the evidence and validity of said field of inquiry – lest you legitimise the cries of persecution and suppression of academic freedom.

    Do not turn it into a faculty, nor anything that takes people’s money who are trying to learn.

    I’m in agreement with you, this is a waste of money, resources and legitimises an demonstratively-illegitimate field. But such actions can’t come from a knee-jerk dismissal, that’s all I’m advocating.

  207. #208 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 5, 2010

    I like to think that somewhere, someday, PZ will run in to this Karen Lawson person at work. Maybe pass her in a hall, maybe be behind her in the queue at the cafe, maybe pull into a parking spot next to her… and I then like to think he will look her in the eye and ever so gently and elegantly hiss….asssssssclllllaaaaaammmm.

  208. #209 MolBio
    February 5, 2010

    I’m not going to see Liberalism butchered like this.

    The most authoritarian regimes were held up by superstition and the denial of the pursuit of free lines of enquiry. Superstition kept people ignorant and supported the institution of the state.

    If anything this new-age nonsense springing up on campuses is a cynical way of making extra money for universities. Seems now days that each generation gets dumber. Fewer people doing science (certainly true in the US).

    In lieu of knowledge and reason, we’re turning to quackery and mysticism. Failed science education and a general lack of interest in science and learning are the hallmarks of our societies. Quite frankly, this isn’t the fault of Liberalism, it’s conservatives like the Republicans creating a dumber society.

  209. #210 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “Ideas are condemned even among post modern scholars, just listen to the way some of them talk about science.”

    When I talk about condemnation, I mean by instruments of power. The government, not moustache-twirling po-mo scholars – I don’t consider them serious authorities, even if they try pulling some clout within academic. Keep in mind, I’m just generalizing. But the point is that if you’re praising liberalism for giving us the freedom to praise it, that may just sound similar so a slave who praises his owner for feeding him so that he can sustain his energy for plotting the rebellion. In the end, doesn’t amount to much good.

    “Look at the cracker incident with PZed, there were many Catholics screaming that such actions are personal attacks on them because they hold the belief dear. Is this a consequence of liberalism?”

    Depends which part. Their outrage on having their custom sullied? That’s just a normal instinct. I wouldn’t blame liberalism if you got offended at someone for taking a dump on your carpet to prove the point that plumbing systems are sooo 20th century. I expect you to be mad. But if one reason why PZ did that was because he had little to fear in the form of reprisals, then yeah, that’s what the liberal state protects in the law – safety, not sacrilege-prevention.

  210. #211 BdN
    February 5, 2010

    One scholar referred to scientists committing “marital rape” on the universe by forcing the universe to fit their notion of reality.

    Huh ? What ? Would you happen to know the name of this… “scholar” ?

  211. #212 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    When I talk about condemnation, I mean by instruments of power.

    As far as I can tell, those in power are almost always pretty conservative.

  212. #213 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    MolBio:
    “The most authoritarian regimes were held up by superstition and the denial of the pursuit of free lines of enquiry. Superstition kept people ignorant and supported the institution of the state.”

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance (unless you think the puffed up rhetoric and propaganda is it’s own superstition. But all politics is basically superstitious then). Another authoritarian counterexample to your point would be Soviet Russia.

    But that raises a good point. Why are most leftists and liberals in support of Tibet? If you want an example of authoritarianism, well…(is it just because it is a “nicer” authoritarianism?)

    “If anything this new-age nonsense springing up on campuses is a cynical way of making extra money for universities.”

    I actually disagree. A decision like this bears no traces of cynical intent, I think they actually think they are doing good. but it’s enough to turn many of us who have hopes for a more rational society (and that’s not me) into a cynic of some sorts.

  213. #214 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “As far as I can tell, those in power are almost always pretty conservative.”

    It’s the system of power that is ultimately more relevant than the inclinations of those in office. It’s institutional liberalism as a political theory and practice that I’m mostly talking about, not the partisan stuff.

    But as Jadehawk would observe, those in power tend to like it. If so, yeah I’d agree that most leaders are in this sense conservative.

    Speaking of which, one of Jadehawk’s comments:
    “when your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails…”

    I like this observation. very true

  214. #215 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance

    *facepalm*

  215. #216 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    (superstitious interpretted narrowly, and as distinct from ideology)

  216. #217 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    and you think that explanation makes that comment any less facepalm worthy? there’s a difference between “scientific” and scientific. there’s also a difference between science and engineering. and rational? only in a few key spots, that held the whole damn thing together. otherwise, not so much.

  217. #218 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    But as Jadehawk would observe, those in power tend to like it. If so, yeah I’d agree that most leaders are in this sense conservative.

    Exactly, so in a representative democracy it can be hardly blamed that politicians save their own skin by letting credulous nonsense slip by or even promote it because it reflects their job security.

    Though I’ve got to say this is boring, this whole “lets blame liberalism” shtick. How about you define what would be your means of overcoming the shortcomings you see in how society is practised at the same time as preserving the rights and freedoms for the people within.

    Liberalism is by far from perfect, but damn it I’ll claim that it’s the best idea out there. Not that it should be free from criticism or those criticising it should be silenced, but that it works to preserve a set of principles far more important than petty squabbles over things like CAM.

  218. #219 stephen.ban
    February 5, 2010

    I posted the 10:23 campaign video to my Facebook, and it didn’t take long for the woo believers to show up. One of them swore by homeopathic Hyland’s teething tablets for children.

    It seems some parents are concerned by reports that these tablets may have unwanted side effects, because they contain belladonna. Without a trace of irony, the Hyland’s website reassures people that “When homeopathically prepared, active ingredients are diluted to the point that the risk of toxicity is extremely low (see specific details below). […] The amount of Belladonna alkaloids in teething tablets is minuscule, especially when compared to conventional medicine. […] To put homeopathic dosages in perspective, typically a 10-pound child would need to ingest 1,000 Hyland?s Teething Tablets (at least 6 bottles of 125 tablets) to exhibit even the first possible side effect of Belladonna. […] Please keep in mind that even if a child ate an entire bottle of homeopathic medicine, the minute amount of active ingredients renders an overdose unlikely”

  219. #220 BdN
    February 5, 2010

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance

    You kinda forgot “the denial of the pursuit of free lines of enquiry (sic)” part.

  220. #221 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Also, I’ve got to wonder why it is that Northern European countries that have much more liberal democracies than the US don’t have these problems.

  221. #222 Walton
    February 5, 2010

    Also, I’ve got to wonder why it is that Northern European countries that have much more liberal democracies than the US don’t have these problems.

    That’s not true. In the UK, homeopathy is provided on the NHS at the expense of the taxpayer, and alternative medicine generally is just as popular as in the US.

  222. #223 Bernard Bumner
    February 5, 2010

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited)…

    That is just offensively wrong…

    FROM THE OPENING STATEMENT BY TELFORD TAYLOR [from Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946?April 1949. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949?1953.]:

    The Nazis have, to a certain extent, succeeded in convincing the peoples of the world that the Nazi system, although ruthless, was absolutely efficient; that although savage, it was completely scientific; that although entirely devoid of humanity, it was highly systematic ? that “it got things done.” The evidence which this Tribunal will hear will explode this myth. The Nazi methods of investigation were inefficient and unscientific, and their techniques of research were unsystematic… The creeping paralysis of Nazi superstition spread through the German medical profession and, just as it destroyed character and morals, it dulled the mind.

  223. #224 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    That’s not true. In the UK, homeopathy is provided on the NHS at the expense of the taxpayer, and alternative medicine generally is just as popular as in the US.

    Northern Europe – Nordic countries especially. Why aren’t these problems in Sweden or Finland? England is not even close.

  224. #225 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “Though I’ve got to say this is boring, this whole “lets blame liberalism” shtick. How about you define what would be your means of overcoming the shortcomings you see in how society is practised at the same time as preserving the rights and freedoms for the people within.”

    Basically I would say lets stop being inconsistent. If we want equality, fine. Give everyone the same rights and protections. That’s the role of public law. But if you want to be encouraging equality in private law, either through hiring practices, university enrollments, etc, then that amounts to favouring, discrimination, and absurdity (like if the government were to say homeopathy is just as credible as medicine, and spend money supporting it). So if you want a liberal society, reduce the busybodies. I’ve started growing fond of the style of some of PZ’s posts, but if I have a reasonable objection that isn’t just the rantings of an opinionated person, then that’s it.

  225. #226 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    Bumner:
    “That is just offensively wrong…”

    I guess I worded that badly. One reason being that I’m not a historian. But the thing is that the authority was grounded on things like science, rationality, etc. Like your quotation says, they managed to convince the world. I’m not saying it wasn’t deceptive. But I am saying it wasn’t “superstitious” as alleged

  226. #227 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    But if you want to be encouraging equality in private law, either through hiring practices, university enrollments, etc, then that amounts to favouring, discrimination, and absurdity

    Yep, the problem of liberalism is that blacks get a free pass into university. It’s not our fault that social inequalities manifest in discrimination. Lets just get rid of all the affirmative action laws because those are just the same as discriminating against ideas *roll*

    Fucking hell, you’re as bad as those you are claiming to argue against.

  227. #228 ianmhor
    February 5, 2010

    Northern Europe – Nordic countries especially. Why aren’t these problems in Sweden or Finland? England is not even close.

    Have to disagee. UK certainly is Northern Europe. There are more than a few Scots living further north than the capitals of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Just because Walton is down there in England please don’t loose the rest of us!

  228. #229 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Why even pretend that ideas and people should be on the same level?

  229. #230 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Have to disagee. UK certainly is Northern Europe.

    Maybe latitudinally, but not geopolitically. It’s not literally countries above a certain latitude.

  230. #231 Rorschach
    February 5, 2010

    Have to disagee. UK certainly is Northern Europe

    Have to disagree.UK most certainly is not Northern Europe.
    Even the Europe bit is debatable.They like to be Europeans when it suits them.

  231. #232 ianmhor
    February 5, 2010

    Have to disagee. UK certainly is Northern Europe

    Have to disagree.UK most certainly is not Northern Europe.
    Even the Europe bit is debatable.They like to be Europeans when it suits them.

    Ah, geopolitical definitions trump geography. Fine. Will remember though over here I tend to think of what you are calling Northern Europe as Scandinavia (I accept used loosely). No doubt there is a European directive somewhere I have forgotten to read!

    But I still feel like I am living in the far north of Europe – far too much snow this year.

  232. #233 Stephen Wells
    February 5, 2010

    I live in England and I’m dead certain that the UK is a northern European country. The damn Channel is only what, 20 km wide at the narrow point? I hate it when people act like the Channel is wide and the Atlantic is narrow.

  233. #234 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Yawn, Fuckosaurus is still an irrelevant, insipid, stoopid bore. We don’t give a shit about his inane and insane ideas. What a bad troll. Maybe if he got a clue by listening rather than preaching.

  234. #235 Bernard Bumner
    February 5, 2010

    I guess I worded that badly. One reason being that I’m not a historian.

    Intentional or not, your error is offensive to the memory of those who died and suffered because of the superstitious and supernatural thinking of Nazi experimenters and eugenicists.

    That such thinking existed was very evident 60 years ago, as was demonstrated by the evidence presented in the Nuremburg trials. You have a responsibility to inform yourself of such things before presenting your opinions as fact.

    I don’t know how many historians frequent this site, but I am not one. However, I have taken some time to learn about these things. All of the information you require is available even via the internet.

    But the thing is that the authority was grounded on things like science, rationality, etc. Like your quotation says, they managed to convince the world. I’m not saying it wasn’t deceptive. But I am saying it wasn’t “superstitious” as alleged

    Then you are wrong. The professed scientism of the Nazis was simply a justification to codify superstition and prejudice. Blut und Boden, the Ahnenerbe, the Erbgesundheitsgerichten, and all, emerged from patriotic narratives firmly based in mythology and superstition.

    You simply cannot hope to understand the rise of Nazism without understanding those things. Nazi ideology was pervasive because it fed upon, and in turn, itself fed, deep-seated superstitions.

    Superstition, about German identity, about the history of roman and post-roman Europe, about foreigners, about religious sects, about medicine, about heredity, and so on, were all prerequisites for the development of the Nazi ideology.

  235. #236 Anri
    February 5, 2010

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance (unless you think the puffed up rhetoric and propaganda is it’s own superstition. But all politics is basically superstitious then). Another authoritarian counterexample to your point would be Soviet Russia.

    OH JOHN RINGO NO!

    *ahem*

    I am glad at least that you said before and after this paragraph, that you weren’t all that well-informed, or indeed interested in discussing, the actual history. That suggests you’re merely ignorant rather than dishonest, and ignorant is much easier to fix.

    It might be a good idea, perhaps, to consider that saying ‘I don’t want to discuss the history of this’ is simply a restatement of ‘I don’t want to discuss what actually happens with regards to this’.

    Well, why don’t you want to?
    If it’s because you don’t know the history, that I suggest you ask. On the occasions I’ve actually managed to ask an interesting question, the hordes here have been more than happy to hammer back a usually very in-depth answer, often with citations and analysis.

    If, however, it’s because you think the history might not support your argument – then perhaps you need to examine your argument.

  236. #237 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 5, 2010

    Rorschach @ 231

    Have to disagree.UK most certainly is not Northern Europe.
    Even the Europe bit is debatable.They like to be Europeans when it suits them

    Have to back this up. Being married to a nothern Englishman/border Scotsman for the last 7 years I can attest they do NOT identify as “European”.

    This could be a nothern thing though I admit.

  237. #238 Blondin
    February 5, 2010

    …Nazi Germany. Very science-based…

    You mean like ID is science-based?

  238. #239 Walton
    February 5, 2010

    There is no universally accepted definition of “Northern Europe”, so there’s no point in arguing about it. I now understand that Kel meant “Scandinavia”.

    Though, in resposne to Kel: I don’t know much (if anything) about the distribution of alt-med worldwide, but a Google search for “homeopathy in Sweden” turns up quite a lot of results. Where are you getting your information that homeopathy and similar woo are rarer in Scandinavia? (I’m not saying you’re wrong: I genuinely don’t know the answer and would like to find out.)

  239. #240 Cosmic Teapot
    February 5, 2010

    Have to disagree.UK most certainly is not Northern Europe.
    Even the Europe bit is debatable.They like to be Europeans when it suits them.

    As an Englishman living in Germany, I have to agree. I seem to be more BBC English while here, but more Yorkshire working class when back among friends.

    But the only time I feel remotely European is when I eat open sandwiches, which still feels somehow wrong.

  240. #241 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    frankosaurus

    One reason being that I’m not a historian.

    Then stop blathering on like you have any fucking clue what you are talking about.

    Hint for the future: Before making authoritative statements about subjects for which you are woefully unqualified to do so, please first say to yourself, out loud, “I’m not a [insert subject matter expert terminology here]”. Then do it 5 more times, then decide if you really want to comment.

    I’ve started growing fond of the style of some of PZ’s posts, but if I have a reasonable objection that isn’t just the rantings of an opinionated person, then that’s it.

    Ooohh… that’s a good one… that’s going in the box.

  241. #242 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance (unless you think the puffed up rhetoric and propaganda is it’s own superstition. But all politics is basically superstitious then).

    OH FUCKOSAURUS NO!

    There is not one thing you got right. The Nazi’s were opposed to science. They had Aryan physics for crying out loud. You see, they did not like the physic that the German Jews had and so tried to refute the evidence based physics of the scientists of German Jewish descent.

    The university system that the Germans had were in shambles even before Germany invaded Poland. The Nazis had no respect for men who spent their time with books. They were all about actions and fighting. In fact, the Nazi destroyed the study habits of their students because they valued hikes over reading.

    As for their administrations, it was anything but tightly run and efficient. The Nazis had no philosophy of how to run bureaucracies. There were just deputies anticipating Hitler’s desires. Who ever got the job done the way Hitler liked got the power.

    Any technological edge that the Nazis had were inherited from before the Nazis came to power. Any that were maintained during their period of power was because German corporations kept their private research going. Their education system were thrashed. By the end of the war, the Soviet Union had more advanced and better weapons.

    The Nazis feared sciences and rational thought, they felt those were Jewish degeneracies. Fuckosaurus, that fact that you said the above quote shows that you know nothing about what you are talking about. This is the reason why people verbally abuse you. You make assertions that have no bases in reality and use those assertion to attempt to club all of us.

    Give it a rest. You are in over your head.

  242. #243 negentropyeater
    February 5, 2010

    Here is an online purveyor of homeopathic remedies that is honest about what it sells :

    Fairdeal Homeopathy

    I’m actually ill – can FairDeal Homeopathy help me?

    Go to your doctor immediately. Fairdeal Homeopathy will not be able to cure you. However, the placebo effect generated by taking FairDeal Homeopathic products may reduce the unpleasantness of some of the symptoms. Homeopathy of any sort is not a medical treatment, neither is it a substitute for evidence-based medicine and proper medical opinion.

  243. #244 Kausik Datta
    February 5, 2010

    Tulse @104:

    There are no homeopathic hospitals or ERs in Canada.

    Not even this one?
    And for the furry and feathered friends of Canadians, this one?

  244. #245 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    regarding the Nazis and science…

    The general point is that this was not an authoritarian regime based upon superstition. Unless one defines superstition to include all non-rational things that legitimate authority. but this would really just beg the question – in this case, authoritarian regimes would be superstitious by definition, and it’s not a penetrating insight.

    However, though I say I haven’t done intensive historical research, this doesn’t mean that I’m spitefully ignorant about it. I know, for example, in the field of medicine, substantial efforts were made. Then of course engineering and weaponry for the war effort and general nationalist bullying. Basically a culture of science was in the air, even if our standards and methods take a dreary opinion of it. And if the physics were unreputable, i would not ascribe this to “superstition” as asserted, but a motivated belief in actually the supremacy of science – and making the effort to deny this supremacy to the less favoured jewish population. THey aren’t disrespecting science, they are discrespecting Jews, and in the process disrespecting their work, and thus disrespecting science (word salad).

    In any case, I don’t think I’m out to lunch on the general argument, but if you want some citations, a quick google search provides this article from the anti-defamation league: http://www.adl.org/Braun/dim_14_1_nazi_med.asp

    Part of the problem is that we ourselves may have an idealized form of science, and deny that to a brutal dictatorship. An interesting question is whether this view, if I have described it sort of right, actually parallels the view of the german physicists, though of course for different reasons.

  245. #246 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    kel 227

    Yep, the problem of liberalism is that blacks get a free pass into university. It’s not our fault that social inequalities manifest in discrimination. Lets just get rid of all the affirmative action laws because those are just the same as discriminating against ideas *roll*
    Fucking hell, you’re as bad as those you are claiming to argue against.

    we can open this can of worms if you like, and discuss affirmative action. I’m amenable to persuasion. What I would ask though is how we judge whether affirmative action laws produce a benefit for society. And it’s important we’re clear on the question before we shout the answers.

    SOme initial thoughts…

    Beneficial because:
    -occupying higher positions than traditionally assigned undoes the culture of degradation that keeps classes of people down

    I say, great. But does that really happen? By what standards do we say this has helped? Has crime been reduced? Has GDP shot up? Has welfare decreased? Again, I’m amenable to persuasion. But if the argument is that it’s just necessary for a moral and just society, then is that measurable too? Are we more moral and just, as a society, than we were 50 years ago? I can be honest and say I don’t know all the facts involved, but is this a reasonable way to approach it?

  246. #247 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    frankosaurus

    we can open this can of worms if you like, and discuss affirmative action.

    Ooooh… popcorn… where the HELL is my popcorn????

  247. #248 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Yawn, poor Fuckosaurus keeps opening his mouth, and proving himself an ideological fool. You think he would have seen by now that reality is not his friend. Sometimes one really need to just shut the fuck up to keep from digging oneself in deeper. But then, he is a fool…

  248. #249 BdN
    February 5, 2010

    @Kausik Datta

    I think he/she meant : “real” hospitals, ran by the government. I don’t enough about the rest of Canada but I know that in my province, this kind of establishment wouldn’t count as one. In the sense that anybody can call himself whatever they want but it doesn’t mean people consider it an hospital or a school. The Homeopathic College has no accreditation ([t]he Homeopathic Medical Council of Canada (HMCC) was established in 1995 as a self-regulatory body for the re-emerging profession. Homeopathy is currently unregulated in Canada and many states in the USA). As such, you couldn’t get a student loan to attend it. Same thing for the clinic : it is not covered by the health care system, as (almost) all similar bullshit (holistic clinics, total biology, etc.).

    For example, anybody can call himself a psychotherapist since it is a bogus term without any real meaning. It’s not a real profession. If I wanted, I could launch a new kind of clinic called Holistic Handing College of Total Alopecia Biological Feedback where I would be called doctor in psychoschnitzellery.

    But it wouldn’t be considered an hospital nor a “real” school by sane people.

  249. #250 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosaurus at #246, you know shit about what you are talking about. The Nazis rejected rational thought.

  250. #251 Sven DiMilo
    February 5, 2010

    The Curious Case of Charles Darwin and Homeopathy

    Abstract links to the free pdf

  251. #252 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Part of the problem is that we ourselves may have an idealized form of science, and deny that to a brutal dictatorship.

    you seriously have guano for a brain, don’t you.

    Nazi “science” was no more scientific than creationism, alchemy, astrology or homeopathy are. it’s not that their science was wrong or misguided, it’s that it WASN’T scientific at all. Janine has explained this to you. Why don’t you try reading for comprehension for once?

    I say, great. But does that really happen? By what standards do we say this has helped? Has crime been reduced? Has GDP shot up? Has welfare decreased?

    I find it very enlightening what sort of stuff you think are signs of an improved society. It really shows how little understanding about these things you have, and that we cannot actually have a discussion about why affirmative action exists and what it does until you stop thinking of how these things will benefit YOU personally. The world really doesn’t revolve around you, you know.

  252. #253 strange gods before me, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Francosaurus. No one cares about your bullshit. Fuck off.

  253. #254 claire-chan
    February 5, 2010

    I’d say to leave CSH alone; the bright students can choose whether to visit it or not. Part of going to the university is learning how to differentiate between awesome and the inverse.

  254. #255 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Woo must always be exposed to the light of rationality. It is fun to the woosters fleeing for cover.

  255. #256 Ichthyic
    February 5, 2010

    Keep in mind, I’m just generalizing baiting you with bullshit.

    fixed that for ya, Trollboy.

    seriously, anyone attempting to gnaw on such stinky cheese will come away with nothing but a bitter taste in their mouths.

    fucking wanker.

  256. #257 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    we can open this can of worms if you like, and discuss affirmative action

    I didn’t open this can of worms, you did! By putting a false equivalence between ideas and people.

    I don’t know much (if anything) about the distribution of alt-med worldwide, but a Google search for “homeopathy in Sweden” turns up quite a lot of results. Where are you getting your information that homeopathy and similar woo are rarer in Scandinavia?

    My wife is from Finland, so I talk to her about socio-political factors in her country and surrounding countries.

    Remember that in Sweden up to 85% of the population is atheist. does that mean you’ll turn up nothing for “Christianity in Sweden”? The question is whether there is a significant enough of a population and movement to make it a problem, and on that I confess that it’s because I haven’t heard about it being problematic that I’ve taken the conclusion that it’s not a problem.

  257. #258 MAJeff, OM
    February 5, 2010

    I see the fuckosaur is as big a cracker as ever.

  258. #259 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “Fuckosaurus at #246, you know shit about what you are talking about. The Nazis rejected rational thought.”

    All right, I gave a citation to back up my position. You provide a citation for yours. And not a citation that says there was lots of woo going on. We know that. But one that says, as I am understanding it from you folks, that they completely rejected rational thought. After all, you don’t become a highly coordinated and militarized world power without some concentrated thinking. Or is this a Scotsman argument – they weren’t “truly” rational? Or are we saying comparatively to the US? Because the US had a lot of woo going on too.

    It really shows how little understanding about these things you have, and that we cannot actually have a discussion about why affirmative action exists and what it does until you stop thinking of how these things will benefit YOU personally.

    As I said, if my criteria doesn’t work, I just want to understand what does. So you reject my proposal for understanding why affirmative action is good. I can accept that. I think what you’re saying is that it isn’t “instrumentally” good (though we haven’t ruled that out have we? Maybe it is reducing crime and whatnot?), but rather that it is “intrinsically good”. SO I ask how we can demonstrate the intrinsic goodness. You have to understand I’m pretty much a sceptic, and resist taking things on faith.

    And in this, ad hominem is allowable I think. You can argue that I don’t get the intrinsic goodness because I’m a bad person. But I’d prefer we exhaust the other arguments first.

  259. #260 lenoxuss
    February 5, 2010

    To argue that Naziism was science-based, despite it not giving a damn about actually doing science (see, for example, Deutsche Physik, as Janine mentioned earlier) is obviously self-contradictory. Nazi “science” was cargo cult science.

    Of course, this may sound like a special pleading, “No True Scientist” argument ? if you have no fucking idea what science is, and why there are rules separating the wheat from the chaff. “Look, the Nazis wore labcoats! Labcoats! How could they not be scientists!

    (To be fair, many Nazis, and Germans under the Third Reich, indeed did science ? they wanted to develop weapons, too ? but it was muddled with the superstition to the point of being useless. I wonder if there’s any good argument that they would have developed the atomic bomb “on time” if higher-ups hadn’t considered relativity “Jewish”. Oh wait, that sounded like a pro-Nazi argument, almost? I think my point is clear, though.)

    Conversely, although this may be opening another can of worms, any theocracy may legitimately be considered a “true” representative of its religion; no group which calls itself Christian is not “actually” Christian, so long as it has Jesus as an important figure, at the least. If you wear the right clothes and say the right words, bingo, you’re a priest; not so with science.

    Similarly with homeopathy; despite the words of that nut I linked to earlier, there is no “false” homeopathy, just non-classical homeopathy, because there’s no empirical method that elevates any of it, classical or no, above any of the rest.

  260. #261 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Always got to remember, when someone has a gripe with “Liberalism” it’ll pretty much always be with affirmative action, and any topic that happens to be in discussion is merely incidental.

  261. #262 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, you are a idjit fool. We are not interested your religion, better know ideological foolery. Do everyone a favor, and ask yourself, are you accomplishing anything other than looking like a stoopid fool with your inane and insane posts? Nobody is listening to you, except to expose your stoopid. Which isn’t hard to do. You and reality are not friends.

  262. #263 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosauris, I will give you a huge reading project. Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis by Ian Kershaw. Also try The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich In Power and The Third Reich At War by Richard J Evans. Do that and than lecture me about what Nazism is.

    As lenoxuss pointed, about the only use the Nazis had for science was to wage war. Also, as lenoxuss, they fucked that up. As for all of the high tech weaponry the Nazis had to start the war, it provided by firms like Krupp not for the Nazis but for what ever nationalist government the overthrew the Wiemar Republic.

    And I will say it again, you do not know shit. You are in over your head.

  263. #264 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    One COULD say the Nazis produced little in the way of eternal contributions to knowledge, and thus weren’t scientific. Does that mean that they were superstitious then? It’s important to note that this is the nub of my objection. Furthermore if you want to draw a connection between authoritarianism and superstition, you have to account for all the non-authoritiarian states that were superstitious as well (by our wide definition).

    But even on that score, I don’t think we can establish that the Nazis didn’t produce eternal contributions to knowledge (though we know they didn’t provide much in the way of art. blech).

    It doesn’t take much to support my argument. Here’s another finding from an easy google: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/12/was_nazi_science_good_science.php

    not peer-reviewed mind you (hat tip to Nerd) but definitely not reckless assertions.

    Lets keep things in perspective. I am not arguing the Nazis were beacons of science. But they were not beacons of superstition, as alleged. It sounds like I’m hedging my original claim though. I have no problem carving out nuances in discussion as discussion reveals more. But I’m guessing the root of our disagreement here is the missing distinction between ideology and superstition.

  264. #265 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Does that mean that they were superstitious then?

    They were irrational and superstitious to the core and damned proud of it. And they would gleefully smash in your face to prove it.

    I am not arguing the Nazis were beacons of science.

    Bullshit. You are moving the goalpost again. This is what you said.

    You have an exception in Nazi Germany. Very science-based, rational (though the racial bit has been discredited), and very tightly run administrative control with no pretentions of superstitious guidance (unless you think the puffed up rhetoric and propaganda is it’s own superstition. But all politics is basically superstitious then).

    How hard did you work to make yourself this dumb.

  265. #266 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    Kel
    “Always got to remember, when someone has a gripe with “Liberalism” it’ll pretty much always be with affirmative action, and any topic that happens to be in discussion is merely incidental.”

    That’s pretty high talk, but it’s not an argument.

  266. #267 Knockgoats
    February 5, 2010

    while frankosaurus’ initial claim that Nazi Germany was rational and science-based is as ludicrous as several people have pointed out, the general question of the scientific capabilities of authoritarian regimes is more complex. Nazi Germany was able to produce nerve gases, ballistic and cruise missiles, jet aircraft etc., although of course all these depended on pre-Nazi foundations. So it seems that technical achievements and goal-oriented research are within such regimes’ capability, although of course we don’t know how long this could have been maintained. In the USSR under Stalin, there was the utter fiasco (disastrous for both theory and practice) of Lysenkoism, but there was also the building of an educational system that produced (then and later) not only impressive technical achievements such as the A-bomb, H-bomb and space programme (admittedly with help from spies and captured Germans), but at least in the area of fundamental physics (and mathematics), fine theoretical work. Currently there is a projection that China will overtake the USA in peer-reviewed journal paper count before very long (I can’t find anexact time-frame or reference right now – I’ll look tomorrow).

  267. #268 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    . I think what you’re saying is that it isn’t “instrumentally” good (though we haven’t ruled that out have we? Maybe it is reducing crime and whatnot?), but rather that it is “intrinsically good”.

    nope, still wrong. being mostly pragmatic and realistic in these things, I don’t believe there’s very much out there that is “intrinsically” anything. Affirmative action is what you call “instrumentally” good, it’s just not you it’s supposed to help. It might well do this, even in ways you aren’t equipped (yet?) to understand and/or accept, but that’s not its purpose and measuring it by these standards would be missing the point entirely.

    Do you really not understand that systemic discrimination actually has effects on actual people who actually benefit from countermeasures to that? Or do you just not care about what happens to them because it doesn’t have any immediate effect on your own life?

    One COULD say the Nazis produced little in the way of eternal contributions to knowledge, and thus weren’t scientific. Does that mean that they were superstitious then? It’s important to note that this is the nub of my objection.

    you are very confused. the superstition was not caused by their lack of scientific success, and therefore lack of scientific success isn’t proof that they were superstitious. It’s their superstitions, abundantly evidenced in the writings of prominent Nazis (and spread, encouraged and supported via propaganda among the general populace), that resulted in their attempts at doing science being nothing but a farce thereof. it’s the Creation Museum in polished boots and uniform: the desire to do “real science” to validate ones superstitions, without accepting or understanding the basics of what science is and how it works.

  268. #269 aratina cage of the OM
    February 5, 2010

    The clock is ticking on Nazi-lover fuckosaurus’s banning…

  269. #270 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    Janine:
    I admitted to carving out nuances. Not moving goalposts. I see no problem with saying that Nazi’s were not beacons of science while holding they were very science-based. They placed great value on a highly developed knowledge industry that fueled the military regime. And it did, until they were defeated. If you just want to say they weren’t guided by the light of reason, go for it. But I don’t think that qualifies as any sort of meaningful insight.

    Will you defend the claim that they were “superstitious”? To be clear, which of these definitions are we using?

    1) An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.
    2)a. A belief, practice, or rite irrationally maintained by ignorance of the laws of nature or by faith in magic or chance.
    b. A fearful or abject state of mind resulting from such ignorance or irrationality.
    c. Idolatry.
    (http://www.answers.com/topic/superstition)

  270. #271 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, I will make this very simple for you. The Nazis were anti-science and embraced irrationality and superstitions because of this: they had their answer, Jews are evil!, and bend everything to “prove” their answer.

    And you are not dealing with nuances. You know too little of the facts to even use it. You only moved because people called you on your shit.

  271. #272 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    That’s pretty high talk, but it’s not an argument.

    Of course it’s not an argument, it’s a statement of observation.

  272. #273 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    I see no problem with saying that Nazi’s were not beacons of science while holding they were very science-based.

    and you’d still be wrong. at most, you can say that the Nazis knew that science was powerful. they wanted it, to justify their superstitions and as a tool for more firepower, but they didn’t understand what science was and how it works, and thus failed at actually being science-minded. it might count as science-idolatry, but that’s about it.

    As for the 4 definitions of superstition, they were ALL abundantly present and permeated the thinking of individuals as well as the “national narrative” the Nazi’s had created. you cannot weasel yourself out of this. there was nothing rational, or scientific, or non-superstitious about Nazi Germany. You can’t even say it was “cold-blooded”, considering the high tensions from which it emerged and the deep paranoid fears and feelings it was meant to evoke.

  273. #274 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 5, 2010

    I don’t know why you’re bothering. He’s an idiot.

  274. #275 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Rutee, we all know it is pointless but that is not the point. The point is troll stomping, many people here see is as a sport. Here, check out my pretty blood red wooden shoes.

  275. #276 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    The point is troll stomping,

    Dang, my jackboots are out for cleaning. The last troll bled all over them…

  276. #277 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    The Nazis were anti-science and embraced irrationality and superstitions because of this: they had their answer, Jews are evil!, and bend everything to “prove” their answer.

    Here’s a statement of observation. You don’t measure the state of a society by the quality of political speeches and propaganda. So if you want to argue that the Nazi Germany was anti-science, you have to argue institutionally. The Political platform was anti-jewish to be sure, but it’s not as if the labs and the universities were boarded up and the funding dried up. If you’re saying it wasn’t science because there was a big push to serve ideological ends, then that’s a rather “pure” definition of science.

    Do you really not understand that systemic discrimination actually has effects on actual people who actually benefit from countermeasures to that

    Oh, I’m against systemic (aka govt mandated) discrimination**. But I see that as different from affirmative action. Affirmative action means enforcing quotas (which, by the way, are usually pretty one-sided. eg: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=123191)

    But what a noisy game this is. You see, I’m a defender of the people. Not the rich (I’m not). But defender of people who liberals look to with disgust, telling them that their beliefs are stupid, their values monstrous, their education inadequate, their God a “delusion.” This is to say I’m not self-serving about the whole deal. I believe in non-governmental discrimination by the protection of rights, and in addition to things like hiring practices in government institutions. However, I don’t think discrimination is the only evil in the analysis when we talk about “quotas.”


    (**But if I’m not against systemic discrimination, then how can I oppose gay marriage? I’ll leave that discussion for another time.)

  277. #278 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    frankosaurus –

    I believe you are beginning to dilute the argument in an attempt and shifting the focus away from your implied initial contention that the Nazi regime was a rational, science-based entity.

    So here it is for you, simply stated and cut and dry:

    Did the Nazi’s employ the use of actual scientists doing actual science for the purposes of advancing their war machine? Yes… whether by voluntary means or “gentle persuasion”.

    However, this speaks in no way to the claim that they were a “rational, science based entity”… they were most certainly and demonstrably not. Their overriding motivations were born from superstition and irrational belief of racial superiority, they were obsessed with the occult and supernatural, and saw science as a means to an end. A tool… but hardly as a methodology for their policies or principles.

    So that right their demolishes your initial argument of the Nazi’s being a “rational, science based organization without the slightest pretensions of superstitious guidance”. It’s a foolish, ignorant, and demonstrably wrong assertion and was the very basis of your argument.

    What you are doing now is playing semantic games to shift the focus away from that fact and appear “less stupid”. It won’t work. Move on.

  278. #279 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    What you are doing now is playing semantic games to shift the focus away from that fact and appear “less stupid”. It won’t work. Move on.

    Fuckosaurus, that is your MO. You are nothing but an ideological idjit. Better known as an ignorant troll.

  279. #280 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    So if you want to argue that the Nazi Germany was anti-science, you have to argue institutionally.

    Another obtuse redirection.

    And why do you have to argue that? Because you say so? I can make a damned good argument that the Nazi’s were very much in favor of the use of science, intstitutionally, but were clearly anti-science in terms of their overriding philosophy… they were proponents of “social Darwinism”, an abhorrent mis-application of the biological mechanism of natural selection, and completely anti-science in both its interpretation and its application.

    And once again, you are conveniently forgetting that what we are arguing in the first place is against the statement you made, that Nazi Germany was rational and science-based… you deciding to make the argument against the Nazi’s being “anti-science” is a disingenuous attempt at redirection.

  280. #281 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    You see, I’m a defender of the people. Not the rich (I’m not). But defender of people who liberals look to with disgust, telling them that their beliefs are stupid, their values monstrous, their education inadequate, their God a “delusion.”

    You are a confused little fuck. You claim to be an atheist yet are upset when atheist state that they exist and are ethical.

    But, please, show the classes of people that liberals and progressive campaigned to strip of their rights and keep suppressed.

    Oh wait, you are one of those idiots who think it is wrong to be intolerant of intolerance. If we were truly open minded, it would not bother us the other people act upon their racism, misogyny and homophobia.

  281. #282 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    But defender of people who liberals look to with disgust, telling them that their beliefs are stupid, their values monstrous, their education inadequate, their God a “delusion.”

    Yes, those poor persecuted fools…

  282. #283 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Oh, I’m against systemic (aka govt mandated) discrimination

    headdesk

    your libertarian bias is showing. that is not what the word systemic means.

    This is to say I’m not self-serving about the whole deal.

    bullshit. you defend the world as it currently is because its systems benefit you (or at least, you believe it to be so), and you don’t care that these benefits come at great costs to others

  283. #284 John Morales
    February 5, 2010

    Gleichschaltung led to Nazi science.

  284. #285 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, the only people you defend are yourself, and your inane and insane philosophysophistry. Better known as morally bankrupt liberturdism.

  285. #286 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    well good, then we’re in agreement on the critical points. The first being that they were not “superstition based.” But you only dismiss my positive claim by special pleading. I can confidently say that Nazi Germany operated a thriving knowledge-intensive military machine (rational and science based) in addition to abhorrent policies of hate, murder, and racism (ideology based). I can say much of the science was morally and methodologically wrong, but not irrational, and not superstitious. In your haste to dismiss me, you really miss what I’m getting at.

  286. #287 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    I can confidently say that Nazi Germany operated a thriving knowledge-intensive military machine (rational and science based) in addition to abhorrent policies of hate, murder, and racism (ideology based). I can say much of the science was morally and methodologically wrong, but not irrational, and not superstitious. In your haste to dismiss me, you really miss what I’m getting at.

    oh, we get what you’re trying to say, you’re just wrong and too fucking ignorant to know why you’re wrong, no matter how often we explain this to you. Stop Dunning-Krugering all over this thread, it’s gross.

  287. #288 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, you are as morally and intellectually bankrupt as the Nazi’s. You have nothing. You are nothing but a liar and bullshitter. Time for you to fade into the bandwidth like the idjit troll you are. What’s the matter pumpkin, midnight hit, you can’t tell the truth? What a shithead.

  288. #289 John Morales
    February 5, 2010

    F: If it’s irrational or superstitious, it ain’t science — it’s pseudo-science. So your qualification that “much” of it wasn’t so seems rather confused.

    In your haste to dismiss me, you really miss what I’m getting at.

    No, what you were getting at is clear: you’re trying to defend the contrary position you took against MolBio, @213, who wrote “The most authoritarian regimes were held up by superstition and the denial of the pursuit of free lines of enquiry.”

  289. #290 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    telling them that their beliefs are stupid, their values monstrous, their education inadequate, their God a “delusion.”

    Another poor, invented argument…

    I’ve never seen nor heard anyone ever string those four completely unrelated assertions together, and direct them at any group or person. Who the fuck are you, anyhow, O’Reilly? That’s SOP for guys like him… assert outlandish claims and then just move on without defending or explaining them. Well, unfortunately for you, dipshit, we here are a little more attentive and thoughtful than your average Fox News drone viewer. So let me pull that little string of inanity apart for you:

    telling them that their beliefs are stupid

    I dare you to find any atheist that’s ever just tossed this at any “believer” directly without first having those beliefs lobbed in their direction. Their beliefs are stupid. And they are entitled to have them all they want without so much as a peep of directed attack from me or most any other atheist I’ve ever known, providing they don’t intrude upon my right to be governed free of them. You see that happening with the poor persecuted souls you are rushing to defend, hero?

    their values monstrous,

    Wrong… we consider the reasoning for having some of the values they have (the reason being that a 2000 year old book and a magic man in the sky said so) to be monstrous, given the sadistic, chaotic, unpredictable and occasionally violent personality of that book’s inspiration.

    Many of the values themselves are perfectly noble and moral, for social reasons alone that have nothing to do with the bible… believers just don’t accept that.

    their education inadequate

    I’m sorry, but is it not true that if you are inadequately informed on a subject it is irresponsible for you to speak or act authoritatively on that subject? Sometimes an insult is just a fact you don’t like.

    their God a “delusion.”

    That’s just a repeat of the first assertion. Maybe if you phrase the same thing 6 other different ways you can make your assertion look even more “meaty”.

  290. #291 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    I can confidently say that Nazi Germany fap fap fap fap…

    OK… I’m done. This asshole isn’t worth the time and effort we’ve spent to show him why he’s an asshole.
    You guys have fun with this odious creep… I’m going back to the 70’s music thread.

  291. #292 WowbaggerOM
    February 5, 2010

    I have temporarily unkilled frankosaurus because of the sheer inanity of what’s he been saying (as quoted by others).

    The stupid sure is strong in this one. To whit:

    I can say much of the science was morally and methodologically wrong, but not irrational, and not superstitious. In your haste to dismiss me, you really miss what I’m getting at.

    Science cannot be ‘morally wrong’ any more than a hammer can be ‘morally wrong’. It’s the means by which we understand how shit works. The second you start assuming that is means ought then you’ve moved outside of science.

    Sheesh.

    The reason you’re being dismissed is because you continue to write bafflingly inane comments and don’t seem to realise just how fractally wrong you are about what you’re asserting.

  292. #293 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    OH FUCKOSAURUS NO!

  293. #294 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    oh, we get what you’re trying to say

    Actually, I’m more confused than when this thing started. Arguing the merits of liberalism has turned into whether a fascist state was scientifically all-there. what. the. fuck? Worse still is that he’s gone from rallying against a university allowing new-age woo to claiming that he’s standing up for those who have their beliefs called a delusion (which presumably includes those who believe in new age woo).

    Very confused, not to mentioned annoyed that he took something minor and turned it towards affirmative action. “Help me, I’m male and white. I’m being oppressed!”

  294. #295 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckosauri is stoopid white supremacist. I figured that out within his first few inane and insane posts. Nothing like following the pattern of speaking in code, the code I learned back in the ’60’s. Fucky, you are exposed as a degenerate. Take your filthy ideas elsewhere. Nobody here is interested in your insanity.

  295. #296 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Worse still is that he’s gone from rallying against a university allowing new-age woo to claiming that he’s standing up for those who have their beliefs called a delusion (which presumably includes those who believe in new age woo).

    you have made the mistake of assuming that fuckosaurus is an intellectually honest person who merely disagrees with you. in reality, fuckosaurus is a reactionary “conservative” who wants things to forever stay the way they are/were; old and traditional is good, new and progressive is bad. He’s standing up for Christians because their woo is a traditional kind of woo; New Age woo on the other hand is, well, new, and therefore not traditional, and therefore bad. That this is internally inconsistent doesn’t phase him one bit; being inconsistent is a traditional, conservative value too, after all.

  296. #297 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    you have made the mistake of assuming that fuckosaurus is an intellectually honest person who merely disagrees with you

    I keep making that mistake, if I learnt from it I’d have no reason to be on the internet fullstop.

  297. #298 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “Science cannot be ‘morally wrong’ any more than a hammer can be ‘morally wrong’. It’s the means by which we understand how shit works. The second you start assuming that is means ought then you’ve moved outside of science.”

    So say you want to find out how long it takes a person to die using various torture technique. Anything run afoul of the scientific method? No, you could design an experiment, have a control, etc. But you’d say this was morally wrong.

    SO then you say, well it’s not the method that is morally wrong, it’s the performing of the experiment (or even the planning it). So you might say, with narrow terms, that science isn’t morally wrong, because science is only x,y,z, etc.

    But by the same stroke, you can’t say something isn’t “science” because the results are wrong or have subsequently been discredited. If this were the case, then all error has to be discounted, which forms a substantial bulk of the science literature, I imagine.

    No, what you were getting at is clear: you’re trying to defend the contrary position you took against MolBio, @213, who wrote “The most authoritarian regimes were held up by superstition and the denial of the pursuit of free lines of enquiry.”

    mainly the superstition part. But I really doubt that you could say that Nazi Germany was “held up” because of the denial of the spirit of enquiry. I would call the suppression of dissent a basic feature of authoritarianism, but not what actually sustained the Nazis. If you concentrate and centralize power, all the free enquiry in the world isn’t going to add up to much.

  298. #299 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    So say you want to find out how long it takes a person to die using various torture technique. Anything run afoul of the scientific method? No, you could design an experiment, have a control, etc. But you’d say this was morally wrong.

    Again, you’re using science as a tool for the action of torture. The tool itself is not morally wrong, it’s the use of said tool. Are you honestly that thick that you can’t distinguish between the two?

  299. #300 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Poor Fuckosauri, still thinks he has a cogent point. Isn’t his niativity cute. What a shithead. Nothing but belligerent blather from a bigoted idjit.

  300. #301 timrowledge
    February 5, 2010

    Sure water is natural, so are arsenic, belladonna, deadly nightshade, and death’s cap mushrooms.

    But the great bugaboo of the soft-in-the-head types, nuclear power is actually natural – http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/lovelock-oklo.htm

  301. #302 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    “Are you honestly that thick that you can’t distinguish between the two?”

    I did. You should read the next paragraph:)

  302. #303 John Morales
    February 5, 2010

    F:

    mainly the superstition part.

    Religious aspects of Nazism.

  303. #304 WowbaggerOM
    February 5, 2010

    Kel asked (of fuckosaurus):

    Are you honestly that thick that you can’t distinguish between the two?

    Yes. Yes, he is. Back into the killfile with ye!

  304. #305 Kel, OM
    February 5, 2010

    But by the same stroke, you can’t say something isn’t “science” because the results are wrong or have subsequently been discredited.

    Is anyone actually doing that?

  305. #306 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    John. Your last article claimed

    “Aryan science included the application of rationality and efficiency to pressing state problems, especially the ?Jewish Question? and the infamous Final Solution”

    And your article about Nazi religion would fall under ideology, not superstition.

    Distinctions, distinctions. But in the end, we’re pretty much on the same page, and I’m happy the critical role of science in the period has been recognized. you can wrap it up now.

  306. #307 Feynmaniac
    February 5, 2010

    frankosaurus,

    But I see that as different from affirmative action. Affirmative action means enforcing quotas (which, by the way, are usually pretty one-sided. eg: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=123191)

    For most people quoting We’re ‘all Nuts Daily World Net Daily would do damage to their credibility. However, for Mr. Quotes-David-Duke-As-Source-On-Segregation it’s actually a step forward.

  307. #308 Jadehawk, OM
    February 5, 2010

    I’m happy the critical role of science in the period has been recognized

    you can stick that condescension where the sun doesn’t shine. you haven’t understood a damn thing you’ve been told, but feel the need to claim some sort of victory here?

    All I can say to that is go fuck yourself and go learn something; in that order.

  308. #309 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fuckie, still full of shit. Try another blog. Somebody may believe your lies there.

  309. #310 WowbaggerOM
    February 5, 2010

    Better yet, fuckosaurus should start his own blog. That way no-one else need be infuriated by his obtuse and inane rationalisations – unless they’re masochists and choose to.

  310. #311 Twin-Skies
    February 5, 2010

    It’s time to create an alchemy wing of a university – because even though it’s been scientifically discredited, it would be discrimination to prevent such a department on those grounds.

    I’d love to see an alchemy wing in the University!

    …if only it’ll mean the widespread proliferation of automail :P

  311. #312 Celtic_Evolution
    February 5, 2010

    wow, frankosaurus…

    it takes a special kind of stupid for everyone to to tell you you’re wrong and still arrogantly claim unanimity.

  312. #313 John Morales
    February 5, 2010

    F @306, your quote-mine indicates you failed to get the point of that article; as for the ideology, do you not realise that it was the basis for their policies?

    Never mind.

  313. #314 WowbaggerOM
    February 5, 2010

    I suggest the Pharyngulites (or -istas; I’ve changed my views on that particular suffix) should collectively purchase a barn so that we may have a monument to fuckosaurus’s ignorance – since what he doesn’t seem to grasp could easily fill such an edifice.

  314. #315 frankosaurus
    February 5, 2010

    there’s big picture stuff being neglected. WHy did I take issue with saying that the most authoritarian regimes are held up by superstition and denying the free pursuit of knowledge? I think that’s just patently false. It may be the wish that if we all could think clearly, rationally, then there could be no possibility of oppressive governments, or hateful things done to people. But I can’t think of a credible argument for authoritarianism that hangs its hat on “superstition.”

    However I can think of certain circumstances where a lot has been forced into the term “superstition” and denied on those grounds. Wasn’t this the case in Soviet Russia? What was the rationale for suppressing the free beliefs of the people?

    “Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Soviet_Union

    Illusion, meaningless, oppressive. Whatever the reason, it is denied, and that points to the hallmarks of authoritarianism. I notice some disturbingly similar tendencies in the pharyngula crowd (especially you, Nerd *wink*). Part of the nature of science – it is necessary that only the best and rigorous and tested information can pass through to knowledge. But when that attitude is transposed to political topics, we see what happens. People are not so adaptable to conforming to idealized principles.

    Sounds kind of preachy, though its surprising how easily mob mentalities form defending ideas. Instead of a barn, why not just lynch me?

    nemo iudex in causa sua

  315. #316 Miki Z
    February 5, 2010

    Sounds kind of preachy, though its surprising how easily mob mentalities form defending ideas. Instead of a barn, why not just lynch me?

    Better yet, we’ll give you a sleeping pill. When you fall asleep you will have no brain. Obviously, you’re half asleep already.

  316. #317 A. Noyd
    February 5, 2010

    If I can put this thread somewhat back on the rails for a min, I’d like to share that I noticed a display of Oscillococcinum at the counter of my pharmacy earlier this evening and when I tried explaining why it’s not real medicine (homeopathic, “active ingredient” is duck liver, based on an imaginary bacterium, etc.) to the clueless tech/clerk/whatever, he told me “well, people say it works.” ARGH!

    Maybe I’ll try again later with someone actually in charge who could move that shit off to the woo section.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Twin-Skies (#311)

    …if only it’ll mean the widespread proliferation of automail

    Yay, FMA reference! Which I almost didn’t get since I’m not used to seeing “automail” in English.

  317. #318 Miki Z
    February 5, 2010

    I’ve found pharmacists to be quite variable in their rationality (like people in general, of course). For years our neighborhood pharmacist worked 5 days a week, and we never saw his weekend counterpart. When he went to part-time, the new pharmacist refused to dispense my wife’s medication because “black women don’t get X problem”. How did she (the pharmacist) know? Because she was a black woman and didn’t have that problem.

  318. #319 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Sounds kind of preachy, though its surprising how easily mob mentalities form defending ideas. Instead of a barn, why not just lynch me?

    Given his history here, does Fuckosaurus say stuff like this on purpose.

    Perhaps he should look at it this way, if we lynch you, it is only to reduce the violence we do to your community.

    So, do we have an other gang rape here?

  319. #320 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 5, 2010

    Fucky, you aren’t man enough for us to lynch. You are just the mule droppings on our blog. Something to be swept into the gutter. What a loser. Not even worth getting het up about.

  320. #321 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 5, 2010

    However I can think of certain circumstances where a lot has been forced into the term “superstition” and denied on those grounds. Wasn’t this the case in Soviet Russia? What was the rationale for suppressing the free beliefs of the people?

    Is that your rationale? You’re aware that the absence of religion is not necessarily going to lead to reason, right?

    Regardless, Soviet Russia didn’t allow for freedom of knowledge. To the best of my knowledge, it *did* allow for people to freely pursue knowledge of the laws of nature, but that’s only part of it. There’s also history, politics, culture, and the rules that govern human interaction…

    Sounds kind of preachy, though its surprising how easily mob mentalities form defending ideas. Instead of a barn, why not just lynch me?

    Buddy, let me tell you from first hand experience that the people you’re arguing with are hardly a mob. I’ve watched or, more amusingly, been part of, arguments between everyone arguing against your stupidity now.

    nemo iudex in causa sua

    omnia dicta fortiori, si dicta Latina

  321. #322 MolBio
    February 6, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, I see you’re argument is almost destroyed by the others here already, but now it’s my turn to deal a few fatal blows.

    1. Nazis were heavily into the occult. If that’s not superstition I feel my time studying Molecular Biology was a waste.

    2. Nazis had a superstitious belief about the role and history of the German race, its foundations and ultimate fate to rule the world.

    3. Nazis falsified archeological digs in propaganda reels.

    4. Soviet Union was a different type of “superstition”. A reverence of the state as a religion (although this still applies to Nazism) with the raising of the communist figures to infallible icons.

    5. Soviet union also had some quack medicines, mainly to do with irradiation.

    6. Stalin shot the engineers because he felt they were getting too powerful.

    7. In all states one was not free to enquire or study the history that was not state sanctioned. Stalin himself even had favoured views of genetics and other phenomena, and favoured those researchers over other theories (very closed scientific funding).

    8. Pol Pot shot anyone who was educated, again taking people back to an unenlightened age of superstition from which that country is yet to recover.

    Can you not see a trend?

    Cult of the state + lack of free enquiry + superstition = authoritarian.

    Form what I know of US, you already have a cult of the state, and a lot of superstition. Last thing you have left is free enquiry.

  322. #323 nyck170
    February 6, 2010

    a question many of you might be able to answer- what’s the skeptics view of yoga? alternative medicine brouhaha or something more?

  323. #324 WowbaggerOM
    February 6, 2010

    myck170 wrote:

    a question many of you might be able to answer- what’s the skeptics view of yoga? alternative medicine brouhaha or something more?

    To my (limited) knowledge there are demonstrable health benefits to doing yoga so I don’t think it’s in the same camp as homeopathy. That being said, I’m neither a scientist nor a doctor – nor a yoga practitioner for that matter.

    Put it this way: in a year and a half I don’t think I’ve heard anyone criticise it.

  324. #325 A. Noyd
    February 6, 2010

    nyck170 (#323)

    what’s the skeptics view of yoga? alternative medicine brouhaha or something more?

    Way I heard it, yoga’s good for the stretching and balancing, but that’s it. Which isn’t to downplay the benefits of increased flexibility and balance, especially in older people, just that what’s good about yoga isn’t particular to yoga. I’ve also heard some schools are rather less safe as they have you lock your joints a lot or practice in a super hot room, which probably far outweighs the potential benefits.

  325. #326 John Morales
    February 6, 2010

    nyck170,

    what’s the skeptics view of yoga?

    There was some discussion of this very thing on the Bring me the heads of Penn and Teller! thread, not that long ago.

    A summary of my own position: It’s great exercise regime bestowing strength, flexibility and body control¹ on its practicioners.

    I buy into its physical (and even mental) benefits, but not into its purported supernatural aspects².

    ¹ And the associated benefits that those engender.

    ² prana flows and the like.

  326. #327 Nemo
    February 6, 2010

    The skeptic’s view of Yoga is that it’s a kind of exercise. As opposed to magic.

  327. #328 frankosaurus
    February 6, 2010

    Thanks Molbio. That clears it all up!

  328. #329 John Morales
    February 6, 2010

    Wowbagger on yoga,

    I’ve also heard some schools are rather less safe as they have you lock your joints a lot […]

    This sounds about right.

    It can be problematic when time-tested and honed physical disciplines aren’t based on sound physiological knowledge, but rather on tradition.

    (For example, I did a couple of years of Uechi Ryu, and bounce-stretching was part of it.
    Not a good idea (though it was only done once one was warmed-up), and IMO flexibility gains were probably hampered rather than facilitated thereby.
    It also included PNF stretching, which AFAIK is a valid technique when done properly).

  329. #330 Krystalline Apostate
    February 6, 2010

    Actually, no, yoga’s not just an exercise, improperly done it can have side-effects that extend beyond joint wear-n’-tear.
    Did a bit of a write-up on this, anyone’s interested:
    http://biblioblography.blogspot.com/2009/03/sleeping-serpent-creeps-up-spine.html

  330. #331 for christ
    February 7, 2010

    Love all the previous links, though the only bog foot I can see around here is the picture of PZ Myers, hairy enough, swears enough, and yeah I guess if I was Faithless and Godless I would too. And ignorance on christians behalf? I wouldn’t say so, as I am surrounded by non believers, though faith sees me through each day, and may want to post a photo of a happier Dawkins, he looks very sad, is he tiring of fighting a losing battle, the “little Christs” or christians, seem to have their eyes coming into focus like a new born created baby.
    God Bless

  331. #332 John Morales
    February 7, 2010

    F christ @331, what are you babbling about?

  332. #333 WowbaggerOM
    February 7, 2010

    for christ, perhaps next time you are on your knees praying sucking up to your vile monster god perhaps you should request he grant you coherence. That way your words might achieve what you intend them to.

  333. #334 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 7, 2010

    I must congratulate for christ. The English lessons are coming along well. Now that he or she has almost mastered spelling and grammar, it’s time to start working on coherence.

  334. #335 for christ
    February 7, 2010

    wow one comment and I seem to be the talk of the town. Ooo a fucking christian on an atheist blog, what is the world coming to when atheists can’t have a blog to themselves to bitch and moan about the only faith that would not condone shooting one of you between the eyes for taking a swipe at their faith. maybe you should go to the middle east and tell a wahabi or shiite muslim that their faith has no grounds and is false, or are you all too scared?? I would in fact pay to see this happen, but sadly it will not because you are all to comfortable with people of a faith who will only fight back with words and not HOT LEAD!!!

  335. #336 Jadehawk, OM
    February 7, 2010

    stop trolling, dude. we have a several Christians here, two of which even have received a reader-award.

    you are merely being incoherent and idiotic, dishonest about your own religion (after all, it was a Christian who murdered Dr. Tiller, and he did it for his beliefs specifically) and full of fatwa envy. please, do you have something coherent to say, or do you just get off ranting on random internet blogs?

    and getting a paltry 5 responses to your rant is nothing. Another religiobot spawned an argument that lasted for many thousands of posts. don’t get all poofed up on your imagined importance.

    idiot.

  336. #337 Kel, OM
    February 7, 2010

    stop trolling, dude. we have a several Christians

    I find it all quite hilarious, so many want to play the role of missionary yet don’t have the faintest clue what it is they are actually getting themselves into.

    Sometimes I think there is a deliberate miseducation over what atheism is and what atheists are like, because it’s amazing just how badly so many theists have no clue on the concept.

    maybe you should go to the middle east and tell a wahabi or shiite muslim that their faith has no grounds and is false, or are you all too scared??

    I see someone has fatwa envy…

  337. #338 Sastra
    February 7, 2010

    for christ #335 wrote:

    I would in fact pay to see this happen, but sadly it will not because you are all to comfortable with people of a faith who will only fight back with words and not HOT LEAD!!!

    That really bothers you, doesn’t it? God making you wait, to take your vengeance. Yes, it’s comforting to think that some day the people who disagree with you will be tortured in the fires of hell, but in the meantime, you have to wait.

    This is because Christianity is making you nice.

    No. Your religion is creepy. It’s not just wrong like Islam, it’s creepy like Islam, too. The only thing that separates you from a terrorist is the fact that you’re waiting for God to smite your enemies, in hopes that the satisfaction will be greater.

    We are singularly unimpressed.

  338. #339 WowbaggerOM
    February 7, 2010

    for christ,

    How about you present what you feel are the reasons why we should take Christianity seriously and then read the responses? That way you might actually learn something.

  339. #340 Rorschach
    February 7, 2010

    for christ

    What arrogance.

  340. #341 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2010

    For Christ, where is your conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? And that the babble, including the descriptions of Jebus, are anything other than a work of fiction/myth? Nonew presented to date. Lots of work for you to do before you can even say anything intelligent on the subject…

  341. #342 for christ
    February 7, 2010

    At a guess I would say that nerd of redhead has not read much of the bible because Jebus was a place not a person, Judges 19:11: “When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” also whether any of you take christianity seriously is of no importance to me, you seem hell bent on disproving it, nor will I tell you that atheism is wrong, this is your choice and I don’t see it as my right to tell you that evolution never happened, nor is it your right to make any christian disbelieve their faith, though all you seem to do is work towards that. also i cannot give physical evidence as their is no basis for physical evidence because christianity is based in faith, to which this statement will probably give you free reign to slam my post, for someone like me who does not have facts and indisputable evidence to constantly throw at you, all I have is faith in God that what the bible says is true, i do not wish to personally insult any of you, merely post my opinion without someone attacking my grammar and spelling, because last I checked i’m not in english class I am in a blog. Thanks for reading

  342. #343 Ichthyic
    February 7, 2010

    nor is it your right to make any christian disbelieve their faith

    sure it is.

    not only a right, but a duty and a privilege.

    I don’t see it as my right to tell you that evolution never happened,

    free speech, man. lay out the case for us.

    i cannot give physical evidence as their is no basis for physical evidence because christianity is based in faith

    so what mechanism do you use to differentiate fantasy from reality?

    If I say I have faith that Santa Claus is real, how would you be able to tell me different? What approach would you use?

    go ahead, make the case that Santa ain’t real.

  343. #344 Ichthyic
    February 7, 2010

    Regardless, Soviet Russia didn’t allow for freedom of knowledge. To the best of my knowledge, it *did* allow for people to freely pursue knowledge of the laws of nature

    what about lysenkoism?

  344. #345 Ichthyic
    February 7, 2010

    Form what I know of US, you already have a cult of the state, and a lot of superstition. Last thing you have left is free enquiry.

    From what I’ve seen, there is no reason to restrict free enquiry in the States, the people (a goodly number of them, perhaps the majority at this point) have embraced ignorance all by themselves.

    I also think this was intentional. Stallin failed because he used force where simple coercion works much better.

  345. #346 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2010

    At a guess I would say that nerd of redhead has not read much of the bible

    Sorry asshole, I have read it cover to cover twice. Which is why I know Yahweh is an amoral paranoid capricious gangster, not worthy of worship, and Jebus is a myth. That started my journey to atheism. Not only me, but many others. Very little of the babbble can be verified from historical data. Only losers like yourself For Christ still hang onto the irrationality and delusions of Xianity.

    all I have is faith in God that what the bible says is true,

    Then you have nothing, and are a delusional fool.

  346. #347 Kel, OM
    February 7, 2010

    nor will I tell you that atheism is wrong

    If you tell me God is real, you’re telling me atheism is wrong. Reciprocal relationship buddy.

    nor is it your right to make any christian disbelieve their faith

    No-one here is making Christians disbelieve anything. Putting out arguments out there is not making people do anything. This is the problem, somehow you think you have the right to say “Jesus is lord” and claim that’s your opinion, but for us to say “God doesn’t exist” is somehow an infringement on your rights. You can’t have it both ways. You either make the topic completely taboo, in which case no-one is allowed to proselytize. Or that you accept that criticism is an emergent property from expressing an opinion.

    Your choice, either shut up about what you hold private or expect that it should come under scrutiny. If you think you live in a free society, then you have to accept that it means that people who disagree with you have that same luxury.

  347. #348 Owlmirror
    February 7, 2010

    also whether any of you take christianity seriously is of no importance to me,

    Well, if your goal is to make Christianity look trivial and childish, please keep on as you have been.

    nor will I tell you that atheism is wrong, this is your choice and I don’t see it as my right to tell you that evolution never happened

    Atheism and evolution are not synonymous. Excuse me; I mean, they do not mean the same thing.

    nor is it your right to make any christian disbelieve their faith

    What a strange and ill-thought-out notion. How does this change to faith occur, anyway? Are the words going to jump into your brain and flip some magical belief switch off?

    Or are you just trying to say that we don’t have the right to freely express the idea the Christianity is wrong?

    all I have is faith in God that what the bible says is true

    How did this faith arise? Did some words that you read jump into your brain and flip some magical belief switch on?

    merely post my opinion without someone attacking my grammar and spelling, because last I checked i’m not in english class I am in a blog.

    How you write the words you write, on a blog or anywhere else, is part of how you present yourself in public. Do you care about making sense and not sounding foolish and childish?

    If you do, then you should care about grammar, spelling, and the general coherence of your words and sentences. Capital letters, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph breaks were invented for a reason, and you might perhaps take that into consideration.

    If you don’t care, then you have greater problems in your future than merely having people make fun of your blog comments.

  348. #349 Kel, OM
    February 7, 2010

    nor will I tell you that atheism is wrong, this is your choice and I don’t see it as my right to tell you that evolution never happened

    But you do say atheism is wrong by saying that Christianity is true. In fact, anyone affirming any sort of belief in a personal deity is saying atheism is wrong. Why won’t religious people just keep their beliefs to themselves?!?

    As for evolution, well that’s a scientific issue. You can say evolution is wrong just as you can say gravity is wrong. You would be wrong to say that evolution never happened, it did happen and it is still happening today. Do you understand why you need a flu vaccination every year? Do you understand why there’s nylon-eating bacteria? Why there are so many different breeds of dog? To say evolution never happened isn’t a matter of religion, it’s like denying that Napoleon ever existed.

  349. #350 WowbaggerOM
    February 7, 2010

    i do not wish to personally insult any of you, merely post my opinion without someone attacking my grammar and spelling, because last I checked i’m not in english class I am in a blog.

    Maybe if you’d paid more attention in English class you might have realised that using correct grammar and spelling minimises ambiguity and increases the chances of people grasping exactly what it is you’re trying to communicate.

    What’s the point of writing anything anywhere if your intent isn’t to be understood? You might as well not bother.

    Of course, considering your argument for your religion is about as complex as ‘I believe because I want to believe and it makes me feel special’, there’s probably not much point hearing what you’ve got to say anyway.

  350. #351 frankosaurus
    February 7, 2010

    the people (a goodly number of them, perhaps the majority at this point) have embraced ignorance all by themselves.

    The presence or non-presence of free enquiry is perhaps an indicia, but not a significant influence, to the path of authoritarianism. Governments with the capacity to be authoritarian often do become authoritarian, which always lies at the heart of limited government stuff. I don’t think you can make the case that the reason the Roman Republic fell was because of the suppression of “free enquiry”, but rather because of the loss of the usual checks and balances.

    At this point, the US, despite its bloated character, still retains a good separation of powers that severely reduces the efforts of radical reform. Take Obama. Can’t accomplish much, even the health care bill that has skewed noticeably right from its original can’t go through, and by the time of the mid-term elections, we’ll probably see a fairly significant shift of power in both houses. That’s how it works, the radical element is quickly extinguished.

    But that doesn’t mean that the US isn’t on an eventual course to military dictatorship, we may all agree with that. But that has less to do with superstition and enquiry than it has to do with uncontested military might.

    By the way, in what sense did Stalin “fail”? Morally that’s a given, but are you referring to something else?

  351. #352 Kel, OM
    February 7, 2010

    What’s the point of writing anything anywhere if your intent isn’t to be understood? You might as well not bother.

    Exactly! Communication is vital because it’s conveying information and meaning to other people. It’s important to be understood, lest you are wasting your effort.

    About 9 months ago, I had someone dyslexic posting on my blog. I couldn’t properly respond because I couldn’t grasp what he was writing. Is that my fault he couldn’t convey himself properly? No. But because he couldn’t, he missed out on communicating to me.

  352. #353 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2010

    Whats that foul odor? I see nothing, but a troll must have passed through recently.

  353. #354 WowbaggerOM
    February 7, 2010

    Owlmirror wrote:

    How did this faith arise? Did some words that you read jump into your brain and flip some magical belief switch on?

    If you swap ‘Did some words that you read jump into…’ for ‘Did the Christian god change…’, isn’t that what the Calvinists believe? That’s certainly what I’ve interpreted heddle’s explanations to mean, and he’s never written anything to say otherwise.

  354. #355 Owlmirror
    February 7, 2010

    If you swap ‘Did some words that you read jump into…’ for ‘Did the Christian god change…’, isn’t that what the Calvinists believe?

    Probably. But I try not to make assumptions about any individual’s theology or interpretation of theology.

    That’s certainly what I’ve interpreted heddle’s explanations to mean, and he’s never written anything to say otherwise.

    Yeah, more or less, I think.

    It might just be me, but heddle seems to be getting more and more cagey about his beliefs recently… Not sure what to make of that.

  355. #356 for christ
    February 8, 2010

    What do the calvinists have to do with the christian faith, calvinism was started with a distortion of what calvin believed, as was darwinism, one vision from one person that gets distorted by millions, and yes, parts of the bible may have some distortions, i’m not denying that, but why is everything you are say completely indisputable as well, even science has its flaws. and what is with the Troll insults, if i can believe I was created by God and you believe that you evolved then ape were the last form humans were in, no?, then I say maybe the smell is the apes throwing feces at each other?

  356. #357 WowbaggerOM
    February 8, 2010

    What do the calvinists have to do with the christian faith, calvinism was started with a distortion of what calvin believed, as was darwinism, one vision from one person that gets distorted by millions, and yes, parts of the bible may have some distortions, i’m not denying that, but why is everything you are say completely indisputable as well, even science has its flaws.

    All you’re doing here is asserting something you can’t support, i.e. that your interpretation of the bible is correct and their isn’t. When you can get the Calvinists to agree they aren’t Christians then you can make that claim.

    No doubt they make the same claim regarding your interpretation; how do you know they aren’t right?

    ‘Darwinism’, on the other hand – and by this I’m assuming you mean evolution – is supported by a wealth of evidence and to which no alternative (supported by evidence) has ever been presented. People may not like it, but until they can come up with a better explanation – that they can back up – too bloody bad.

    When you claim ‘Darwinism’ has been distorted, what do you mean? How has it been ‘distorted’? By whom?

    When you claim science ‘has its flaws’, what ‘flaws’ are you talking about? If science isn’t the best way of determining the truth about reality, what is?

    if i can believe I was created by God and you believe that you evolved then ape were the last form humans were in, no?,

    You can ‘believe’ whatever you like. But you need to be able to justify holding that belief if you want anyone to listen to you. If I told you I believed a giant leprechaun fashioned us all out of magic strawberries, would you accept that as a valid claim? If not, why not?

    Oh, and humans are apes – not were.

  357. #358 Owlmirror
    February 8, 2010

    What do the calvinists have to do with the christian faith

    Are you saying that Calvinism is not, in fact, a Christian faith?

    Do tell.

    calvinism was started with a distortion of what calvin believed,

    What did Calvin believe, and what, exactly, was this distortion of which you speak?

    as was darwinism

    Darwinism was a distortion of what Calvin believed?

    one vision from one person that gets distorted by millions

    How do you know that it’s a distortion?

    and yes, parts of the bible may have some distortions

    Hm. Which parts? And how do you know which parts are distortions, and which are not?

    but why is everything you are say completely indisputable

    Where did anyone say that?

    even science has its flaws

    What do you mean by science? The current scientific models, or the scientific method itself?

    then I say maybe the smell is the apes throwing feces at each other?

    This is very unclear. Which smell? Your own smell?

  358. #359 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 8, 2010

    wow one comment and I seem to be the talk of the town. Ooo a fucking christian on an atheist blog, what is the world coming to when atheists can’t have a blog to themselves to bitch and moan about the only faith that would not condone shooting one of you between the eyes for taking a swipe at their faith. maybe you should go to the middle east and tell a wahabi or shiite muslim that their faith has no grounds and is false, or are you all too scared??

    If christ was real and if he had any pride, he should be embarrassed to have the likes of you on his side. There is a reason why a wannabe murderer like you cannot just shot one of us, we are not living in a theocracy. We are lucky enough to live in a slightly more sane society. But, hey buddy, why don’t you go to Saudi Arabia and yell at an iman that allah is a lie and that your god is the one true god. Let’s see how long you keep your freedom and your life.

    Don’t make stupid arguments just because we are lucky enough not to live in a theocracy that operates on your faith.

    And my heart breaks that you do not have the pleasure to what infidels being killed fot their heresy. I shall weep myself to sleep for your sake.

  359. #360 Kel, OM
    February 8, 2010

    Science has flaws, of course. Though saying such things is like saying “Love is a four-letter word”; what Dan Dennett calls a deepity. Science is a human endeavour, and by very nature is imperfect. So what? It works, hence why we are sitting here on the internet right now. The device in front of each of us is capable of doing billions of calculations per second. How could it possibly do such a thing unless the engineers who built it had some knowledge of the underlying technology?

    And thus the problem of science criticism. Yes, it is an imperfect endeavour. But the objections aren’t about the nature of the endeavour, rather about how they affect dogma. They are quite happy to use electricity and electronic devices, to take medication, to use their cars, to use nuclear power – but they reject the same science that they take for granted.

    The same theories underlying how a computer works are used to show the universe to be billions of years old. The same science that allows nuclear power plants to work and nuclear bombs shows the earth to be billions of years old. The same science behind medicine and behind why we have fossil fuels in the first place shows evolution to be true.

    Science is imperfect by nature, but the success of science can’t be reasonably denied. Those who do reject science do so not out of its inability to work, but out of fear of the consequences of what follows. History is imperfect but we don’t discard that there was once a mighty Roman empire, or that there was a Civil War in the US of A. There’s a big difference between pointing at the limitations of a particular type of inquiry and just dismissing what you perceive as contradicting your dogma. It’s the difference between understanding and hypocrisy.

  360. #361 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    This is very unclear. Which smell? Your own smell?

    see nerd at 353. I think he’s talking about me. But I may say that for Christ is getting quite the cross examination. I imagine that’s where he gets the “indisputable” part from – not the nature of defences for science, but the vigour by which they are applied. S/He’s wrong though, of course. I agree

  361. #362 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 8, 2010

    Fuckosaurus, forchrist is an example of the type of person for whom, their rights, you are fighting for. Embrace it.

  362. #363 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2010

    Are you saying that Calvinism is not, in fact, a Christian faith?

    …and cue Heddle.

  363. #364 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2010

    I don’t think you can make the case that the reason the Roman Republic fell was because of the suppression of “free enquiry”, but rather because of the loss of the usual checks and balances.

    good thing nobody was then.

    get.

    lost.

    you.

    fucking.

    troll.

  364. #365 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    Take Obama. Can’t accomplish much, even the health care bill that has skewed noticeably right from its original can’t go through, and by the time of the mid-term elections, we’ll probably see a fairly significant shift of power in both houses. That’s how it works, the radical element is quickly extinguished.

    the healthcare bill? radical!? are you insane?! this sort of stuff might have been radical in 1890, but it most decidedly isn’t in 2010.

    Governments with the capacity to be authoritarian often do become authoritarian, which always lies at the heart of limited government stuff.

    wrong. all entities with the ability to consolidate and monopolize power will do so. this goes for governments, but it also goes for private and corporate entities. Checks and balances must exist on all such entities. This is why free inquiry, and the ability to follow up on it (i.e. a good basic education) is essential for a functionable and free society.

    Which is why the U.S. increasingly isn’t one: there are too few checks on the ability of power to accumulate with the corporate “persons”, and the undereducated, underinformed general populace is being nudged away from ever becoming any more educated and informed.

  365. #366 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2010

    darwinism, one vision from one person that gets distorted by millions…

    of creationists.

  366. #367 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    Which is why the U.S. increasingly isn’t one: there are too few checks on the ability of power to accumulate with the corporate “persons”, and the undereducated, underinformed general populace is being nudged away from ever becoming any more educated and informed.

    Next you’ll be telling us that there are well-funded corporations trying to keep information and students out of public schools because it might lead students to engage in free inquiry, or because it might challenge their notions of fact. If this were the case, why are they not trying to take over school boards and text selection committees? Why don’t they just rewrite curricula to promote their pet theories of ignorance?

    The only thing more ludicrous would be if these corporations not only got called something different but didn’t have to pay taxes.

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on!

  367. #368 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    i did forget to add religious organizations to the list of entities that need checks on them to keep them from accumulating too much power and taking over.

    but it’s not like there aren’t forces in the U.S. that are clamoring for the destruction of the public education system, and not all of them are religiously motivated either.

  368. #369 Ichthyic
    February 8, 2010

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on!

    heh.

  369. #370 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    but it’s not like there aren’t forces in the U.S. that are clamoring for the destruction of the public education system, and not all of them are religiously motivated either.

    I’ve heard too many libertarians describe public school attendees as “free riders” to be blind to this. We see it in the comments here on the board where those who attend or work for public schools (including universities) are criticized as being on some sort of welfare.

    I see it in the clamoring of private schools (both religious and secular) for vouchers, as if parents are ‘owed’ the money that the state would spend educating their child. Children are educated for their own good and because society is much better off with an educated populace.

    In my own neighborhood, Japan is likely to eliminate tuition on high schools some time in the next couple of years. Despite the cost of high school, Japan’s graduation rate is above 90%, the U.S. graduation rate is just over 70%.

  370. #371 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    Checks and balances must exist on all such entities. This is why free inquiry, and the ability to follow up on it (i.e. a good basic education) is essential for a functionable and free society.

    You’ll have to flesh that out, because I don’t see free inquiry in and of itself constituting a check on society. As I said, I think of it more as an indicia of a well functioning society, but nothing with real teeth to it

  371. #372 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    necessary
    sufficient

    Meet some new words, frank. They are not synonyms.

  372. #373 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    You’ll have to flesh that out, because I don’t see free inquiry in and of itself constituting a check on society.

    a well educated, well informed populace acts as a check on the abuses by politicians (as citizens and voters) and corporations (as workers and customers), because the power of both of these ultimately derives from the general populace: a corporation cannot function if its workers are on strike or quit, and its customers buy somewhere else; similarly, politicians are still voted in, and in less apathetic cultures can be removed from office or forced to do their constituents bidding by political activism

    without free access to information, and interest in acquiring this information, and basic education to be able to understand the information, none of the above is possible.

    Free inquiry is therefore the basis for a functioning free society, and the most basic check on state and corporate power (and religious power, as well)

  373. #374 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    Despite the cost of high school, Japan’s graduation rate is above 90%, the U.S. graduation rate is just over 70%.

    Well actually,from this study the graduation rates of asians is more near 80 percent in the US. And if you looked at Japanese students alone, I’m guessing it would be higher. So the discrepancy is still there, but it’s not quite as dramatic.

    a well educated, well informed populace acts as a check on the abuses by politicians (as citizens and voters) and corporations (as workers and customers), because the power of both of these ultimately derives from the general populace: a corporation cannot function if its workers are on strike or quit, and its customers buy somewhere else; similarly, politicians are still voted in, and in less apathetic cultures can be removed from office or forced to do their constituents bidding by political activism
    without free access to information, and interest in acquiring this information, and basic education to be able to understand the information, none of the above is possible.

    I don’t see it that way. Teabaggers are getting in the way of the Obama administration, and I don’t know if you’d call them free inquirers. Corporations checks lie in stakeholder interests, not citizenry (and I don’t think you can argue that the rise of freer inquiry has put a damper on corporate growth. If customers buy somewhere else, then that points to the check being competition). And in terms of a strike, I wouldn’t call that a result of inquiry, but rather the blowback of oppressive working conditions.

    I see free inquiry like I see human rights – great ideas, but nothing in themselves that carry a veto power. But they are signs the system is working well, the dipstick of the social engine, so long as that’s what you value. The stuff of political activism, and preventing abuses can only work if you have a seat at the table or if you pull up a seat yourself. While this can be done in the name of free inquiry, it’s ultimately the having of the seat that’s the check

  374. #375 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    Well actually,from this study the graduation rates of asians is more near 80 percent in the US. And if you looked at Japanese students alone, I’m guessing it would be higher. So the discrepancy is still there, but it’s not quite as dramatic.

    Who said fuck all about Japanese students in the U.S. or about ‘asians’ at all?

    I was talking about students in Japan. Graduating from Japanese high schools. Japanese because they are, you know, in Japan. I compared this to students in the United States of America. Graduating from U.S. high schools. U.S. because they are, you know, in the United States of America.

  375. #376 Kyorosuke
    February 8, 2010

    Well actually,from this study the graduation rates of asians is more near 80 percent in the US. And if you looked at Japanese students alone, I’m guessing it would be higher. So the discrepancy is still there, but it’s not quite as dramatic.

    Miki said “Japan”, not “Japanese students in the US”. As in, the nation of Japan. You know, archipelago, in the Pacific. If you look, you might find that there’s a whole other half of the globe on the other side. Try it!

  376. #377 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    Who said fuck all about Japanese students in the U.S. or about ‘asians’ at all?
    I was talking about students in Japan

    But the majority of students in Japan are (i’m guessing) Japanese? I’m saying that, if you control for ethnicity, the results aren’t as divergent. Bad science?

  377. #378 Kel, OM
    February 8, 2010

    lol, fucking Americans thinking there’s no world outside.

  378. #379 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    I see free inquiry like I see human rights – great ideas, but nothing in themselves that carry a veto power. But they are signs the system is working well, the dipstick of the social engine, so long as that’s what you value. The stuff of political activism, and preventing abuses can only work if you have a seat at the table or if you pull up a seat yourself. While this can be done in the name of free inquiry, it’s ultimately the having of the seat that’s the check

    and what, pray tell, are you going to do with that seat if you don’t know why, how, or even that you’re being fucked over?

    the teabaggers are an excellent example of people who can cause change, but cause the sort of “change” that benefits the corporate interests behind all that astroturfing rather than themselves and promotes a status quo that is to their disadvantage, because they are pathetically, painfully un- and misinformed.

  379. #380 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    lol, fucking Americans thinking there’s no world outside.

    I’m Canadian.

  380. #381 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    But the majority of students in Japan are (i’m guessing) Japanese? I’m saying that, if you control for ethnicity, the results aren’t as divergent. Bad science?

    Yes, bad science. If you control for income those differences almost entirely disappear between ethnic groups. Controlling for immigrant status and mother tongue eliminate the rest in almost every case.

  381. #382 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    wtf? is fuckosaurus now claiming some sort of ethnic explanation for higher graduation rates of students in Japan?

  382. #383 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    wtf? is fuckosaurus now claiming some sort of ethnic explanation for higher graduation rates of students in Japan?

    Yes, he is. According to him, not only are asians better, but the Japanese are better than the average asian.

    There may be reasons not related to outside meddling in education why Japanese graduation rates are higher, but since Denmark is slightly higher and Germany and Poland only fractionally lower in graduation rates, non-social reasons rank low on my list of ‘could be why’.

    I didn’t mentioned Denmark, Germany, or Poland because I feel completely unqualified, rather than just mostly unqualified, to speculate as to why they have those rates.

  383. #384 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    well, at least in the case of Germany, it might have simply something to do with the 3-tier high-school system, the lowest level of which only goes till 9th grade. if you complete that, you have a high-school diploma of sorts, but one that only entitles you to apprenticeships and vocational schools, not universities.

    would have to know what precisely is measured in the German graduation rates to know what precisely they’re talking about; still, Germany is very hard to compare to other countries because of that.

  384. #385 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    According to him, not only are asians better, but the Japanese are better than the average asian

    no, not “better”, but I have noticed they usually aren’t at the bottom of the class. In any case, ethnicity isn’t a complete explanation, of course, for as I said, there’s still a 10% discrepancy. Though you may be right about the need to control for those other factors. Can you point me to the studies?

  385. #386 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    well, thanks for reminding us that you’re a racist, frankie. I had almost forgotten, in this semi-civilized discussion we were having.

    *headache*

  386. #387 John Morales
    February 8, 2010

    Culture-derived work ethic, not ethnicity, would be my first guess as the salient factor.

    Not that I’m about to do any research on behalf of the dinosaur.

  387. #388 Kel, OM
    February 8, 2010

    I’m Canadian.

    Seriously? then that’s just shameful ;)

  388. #389 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    No, not racist. Just drawing conclusions from evidence. I don’t think comparisons on the basis of ethnicity are always completely irrelevant, and it could be good for addressing where problems lie. On the flip side, of course, it paints a starker picture for American education, because of the low graduation levels of other groups. Though as I said, I don’t think any of this stuff would point to any senses of “better” between people.

  389. #390 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    racism isn’t necessarily about which race is “better” than the other; racism is pretending like our cultural constructions of race have any genetically significant meaning.

  390. #391 Miki Z
    February 8, 2010

    For the effect of income on dropout rates, the NCES has this table:
    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d08/tables/dt08_110.asp

    Criticisms of these numbers come from those who think they are too high and too low, you can read about their method on the website. One particular criticism of their method is that it will tend to undercount the number of low-income dropouts, and that it does not count institutionalized (prison, military, and “not living in household”) people either way.

    You can see an interactive map of “dropout factories” at http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/wdc/dropout/index.html?SITE=AP
    These schools (about 12% of the schools in the U.S.) account for about 50% of the dropouts. The map of these schools almost exactly mirrors a map of poverty levels in the U.S.

  391. #392 strange gods before me, OM
    February 8, 2010

    But the claim that “Asian people are smarter than white people, and both are smarter than black people,” which Francosaurus believes, is indeed a claim of superiority and betterness. Intelligence is one of modern society’s most valued and praised indicators of personal worth. And indeed they value it personally, judging themselves so much smarter and better than the Jew-loving liberals.

    All modern racists use this line, “I’m not saying this means ‘better'”, and all modern racists are lying.

    When caught, the next thing they’ll try is “then how can I be a white supremacist if I think Asians are smarter than white people?” Wait for it.

  392. #393 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 8, 2010

    All parts of the bible may have some distortions

    Fixed that for you FC.

    if i can believe I was created by God

    Until you provide conclusive physical evidence for your deity, evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin, how can you tell you aren’t a delusional fool, believing in something that doesn’t exist? You are showing yourself to be a fool. Sometimes closing your mouth is the best way to show wisdom.

  393. #394 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    I don’t understand, Miki. In order for your studies to do away with the “ethnicity effect” they need to show asians as equally represented in each income range as with the rest of the population generally. They don’t.

  394. #395 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    In order for your studies to do away with the “ethnicity effect” they need to show asians as equally represented in each income range as with the rest of the population generally.

    no they don’t. do you not grasp the concept of sub-cultures? do you not understand that they have fuck-all to do with ethnicity per-se, but often overlap, for obvious geographical reasons?

    you’re a really dense one, and SGBM is right: you’re a run-of-the-mill racist.

  395. #396 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 8, 2010

    Yawn, racist pigs are so boring. And dime a dozen. And they often end up in our dungeon, if they aren’t smart enough to clear out on their own accord. And we know how smart poor franky is…

  396. #397 frankosaurus
    February 8, 2010

    do you not grasp the concept of sub-cultures? do you not understand that they have fuck-all to do with ethnicity per-se, but often overlap, for obvious geographical reasons?

    I understand what a subculture is, but I don’t think the data Miki provided says anything about that. I believe in evidence. What I provided perhaps gives a simplistic picture, and I am open to being refuted that the relationship between ethnicity and high school graduation is a false one, but that has not been the case thus far. For good reasons, I am not willing to just find whatever is at hand, like poverty, subcultures, mother-tongue, or whatever in the effort of saying “if we try real hard, these correlations can disappear.” That’s just not being honest.

    I don’t see what’s to fear, in any case, from saying that ethnicity is a factor in academic success. Being tall is a factor in volleyball success. I have a friend from China who kicks my ass all the time in exams, but is really quite helpless when it comes to talking about literature. It’s honest to just say that people are different, and that there exist patterns of difference. If ethnicity or race happens to be one of those patterns of difference, then at least we know what we’re dealing with, and can try to prevent abuses. To be clear, I reject the idea of innate superiority — in the end, we all just push up daisies. But sound judgment in policy-making means being attentive to the influences differences exert, and the worst way to solve a problem is to say it doesn’t exist.

    Thus in public education, if we as a society have deemed that to be what we should provide, then lets do a really good job of it. We can make it our goal to maximize every student’s potential without trying to efface the past with politically correct values. In particular, I think of how To Kill a Mockingbird is being debated as a book that should be banned from the schools. Not only is that unnecessary, it’s a shame.

  397. #398 Jadehawk, OM
    February 8, 2010

    I don’t see what’s to fear, in any case, from saying that ethnicity is a factor in academic success.

    because “ethnicity” is an absurd non-real category, that’s why. before you can even start using ethnicity/race for anything, you have to first define it, and then prove that this is a biologically distinct group*. to simply assume that ethnicity/race is a real, distinct thing is intellectual laziness and really fucking boring racism.

    Really, you’re being no more intellectually honest and “edgy” than the previous racist troll who made the same dishonest claims of being “open minded to all explanations”, when in reality he merely was more willing to accept simplistic race-blaming over real answers.

    *hint: all available evidence on human genetics suggests that what we define as different races/ethnic groups does not exist on the genetic level; human populations don’t overlap with ethnicities/races, and the variation between individuals is greater than between these populations. to prove that “ethnicity” or “race” is a meaningful label outside of cultural constructions thereof, you’d have to show why all the above evidence is incorrect, and THEN show evidence that race and ethnicity are real.

  398. #399 frankosaurus
    February 9, 2010

    all available evidence on human genetics suggests that what we define as different races/ethnic groups does not exist on the genetic level

    Just a cursory look at wikipedia shows that not ALL evidence points to that conclusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(classification_of_human_beings)

    To bring back the context, the main point is that, even if one rejected an impact of race/ethnicity, the 90/70 split in graduation rates is “intellectually lazy” to account for on the basis of education systems alone, no?

  399. #400 Jadehawk, OM
    February 9, 2010

    a wikipedia article is your evidence?

    I was right. you ARE an intellectually lazy racist (but hey, it’s better than the whirled nut daily link you pulled out the other day…)

    show some real evidence; until then, your idiotic statement that “asians” are just naturally smarter are just so much empty bull, and not even worth talking about; the same as discussing where the water for Teh Flud could have come from is fucking pointless if there isn’t even any evidence for a global flood to begin with

    I will not engage you in your empty, racist blathering; show evidence, or STFU.

  400. #401 John Morales
    February 9, 2010

    I’d suggest that the dinosaur provides an example of intellectual laziness with its vague allusion @399, but that would be being extremely generous, and frankly, it doesn’t deserve that IMO.

  401. #402 Jadehawk, OM
    February 9, 2010

    oh and one more thing: no one suggested that it’s “only” the education system that makes the difference. but I’m sure as fuck not going to waste my time pointing out the details of this to someone who has repeatedly shown precisely no interest in real complexities of life, and prefers the racist and simple answers.

  402. #403 frankosaurus
    February 9, 2010

    a wikipedia article is your evidence?
    I was right. you ARE an intellectually lazy racist

    I’d draw the opposite conclusion, actually. If you assert there is no meaningful concept of race, genetically speaking, and even wikipedia disagrees (with names and citations, by the way) then it’s intellectually lazy to ignore that a controversy exists. Recall I never said it was the only factor, just a factor. If you want to say that because I haven’t done an exhaustive search that canvasses with precision the variables involved in graduation discrepancies, then I think the term for that would be “unrealistic” rather than “lazy”.

    Just where do you think this is going, anyway? I don’t have any positive program in which race or ethnicity is a part. I’m just correcting bias of the race-denialism sort which, though nice if it were true, I just don’t think is credible. Neither do I consider the idea of race/ethnicity as “fixed for the ages.” I see something to the Jared Diamond argument that culture and values owe much to geographical considerations. That diverging groups evince differing characteristics and temperaments is a function of adapting to different circumstances – and these differences are not purely superficial. Swap white and chinese and black babies at birth, and as they grow they will more often than not display the temperaments associated with the group they were extracted from.

    I do realize that perhaps the concept of race/ethnicity may not be too useful in many scientific questions. But a lot of the questions it is pertinent to are not scientific in the first place. Questions like “why do we see more asian people in science than philosophy?” As long as this is not a false question (one could say it begs the question, but I think that’s hasty), then I don’t think a satisfying answer is that it is completely due to cultural values. That often leads to the argument that something is wrong with philosophy then (admittedly a possibility).

    On second thought, lets say I agree. The fact that philosophy is unrepresentative means its methods and values are flawed, and there is something wrong with it. By the same stroke, that science is unrepresentative means that science is flawed, and we should rethink how science is done, no? (Larry Summers took the other perspective, that there is nothing wrong with science).

  403. #404 Stephen Wells
    February 9, 2010

    frankosaurus doesn’t find the cultural explanation satisfying. So what? Reality does not have to satisfy franky, does it?

  404. #405 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Reality does not have to satisfy franky, does it?

    Nothing needs to satisfy Fuckysoreass the idjit troll. Loser all around. What a bigot, and waste of bandwidth.

  405. #406 frankosaurus
    February 9, 2010

    I think you need to really let it out, Nerd. Behind the guarded insults I think there’s a lot of tension, and there are healthy ways of letting that go. So why don’t you tell me what you really think. It’ll probably do us both good.

  406. #407 baobab
    February 10, 2010

    All I have to say is wow. I can’t believe one little event by one group could generate so much discussion. The Center was only a sponser, as well as CHIP and AMSA. I don’t believe that the U allowing us to put on an event is a tacit approval of the theory. IHEAL is the student group that put on the event. Rightfully, all the hate should come at us. I’m hoping you guys could get ramped up about our next series on Chinese Medicine. I think, however, we need more hate mail from real, well, medical professionals. Bug scientists, mathematicians, and evolutionary biologists just don’t quite do it. I respect the work you all do, it just doen’t carry the weight that someone who actually knows what they’re talking about does. Thanks for the press!

  407. #408 strange gods before me, OM
    February 10, 2010

    Wow, baobab. Way to be a complete shithead.

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