Pharyngula

Poll about water

I like water, but I don’t think it has magic powers.

Do you believe homeopathy is an effective form of treatment?

65% Yes
35% No

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    February 22, 2010

    62% Yes to 38% No. Of course, the pharyngulation has just begun.

    (I was thinking of following Shatner’s advice and getting a life, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it.)

  2. #2 truebutnotuseful
    February 22, 2010

    Already 62% Yes, 38% No. That was quick.

  3. #3 Null
    February 22, 2010

    Another standard, poorly-constructed poll. It doesn’t appear to do any kind of IP validation, so you can clear your cookies and vote as many times as you like. It should be really easy to demolish.

    It’s a wonder that people even trust polls like this, let alone use them for any real purpose.

  4. #4 Mary Lupin
    February 22, 2010

    I think it does has some efficacy. It quenches thirst if enough drops are taken.

  5. #5 Randomfactor
    February 22, 2010

    But overdoses can be deadly.

  6. #6 Epinephrine
    February 22, 2010

    I wonder if this has to do with the article on how the NHS may no longer be offering homeopathic treatments. Bad Astronomy had a post about it, I imagine it’s getting a fair bit of attention.

  7. #7 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 22, 2010

    But if we dilute the Yes vote won’t it become more powerful and convincing?

  8. #8 Shplane
    February 22, 2010

    lolHomeopathy

    (Laughter diluted for enhanced potency.

  9. #9 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 22, 2010

    But overdoses can be deadly.

    Yeah, my former psychology professor overdoses on homeopathic pills every quarter. We’re still waiting from die from it.

    (One of the students freaked out because she seriously thought it would kill him. Another one fainted because he brought an Ouija board to class, and didn’t stick around to see that it was completely useless.)

  10. #10 Shplane
    February 22, 2010

    Aw, it ate my spaces. How can I make a homeopathy joke without gigantic swathes of blank space?

    Also, when will I stop typing faster than I think and thus not do stupid shit like close a parentheses with a period?

  11. #11 s.d.mortimer
    February 22, 2010

    Part of the problem is that most people don’t know what homeopathy is. When I ask friends and colleges, they (for the most part) assume homeopathy is synonymous with naturopathy and herbal remedies (which also have varied and dubious claims). They don’t know much about it, but assume it’s just a ‘natual’ alternative, and that it’s as efficacious as eating fruits and vegetables or something.

    Once I explain the theory and methodology of homeopathy, they almost all think it’s absolute bonkers! All the more reason to educate the layperson before they go and drink a glass of water to cure their appendicitis.

  12. #12 Thunderbird 5
    February 22, 2010

    55% Yes to 45% No.

    Its getting there.

  13. #13 tacroy
    February 22, 2010

    It’s kind of sad, but I almost feel compelled to answer “yes” to this poll. They aren’t asking if homeopathy is effective at curing any specific symptoms or illnesses, merely if it is an effective treatment. Homeopathy is 99% effective at curing the dreaded “this hypochondriac won’t stop bothering me” disease, and is far safer from a public health perspective than the old standby of prescribing some weak antibiotics.

    It’s really sad, but sometimes people just want to take a pill and feel better – even if there’s nothing wrong in the first place.

  14. #14 Matt
    February 22, 2010

    Do you believe homeopathy is an effective form of treatment?

    Yes, water treats my thirst quite effectively.

  15. #15 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 22, 2010

    52% Yes
    48% No

    Almost there.

  16. #16 Pierce R. Butler
    February 22, 2010

    Hard-core pollophiles may also want to help resolve the burning question of Should open homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders be allowed to serve in the U.S. Military?

  17. #17 Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    February 22, 2010

    “I like water, but I don’t think it has magic powers.”

    On the contrary, Isaac Asimov once wrote a fascinating article about how water is the only substance that has a solid form that floats in its liquid form. He wrote that if ice didn’t float then our oceans would be solid ice and there would be no life on Earth.

  18. #18 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    February 22, 2010

    It quenches thirst if enough drops are taken.

    Not if it’s relying on the “memory of sugar”.

  19. #19 bloodtoes
    February 22, 2010

    50:50 now

  20. #20 Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    February 22, 2010

    Tied at 50 – 50 with my vote.

  21. #21 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Sorry, Pierce, but I’m not giving the AFA any data, even fictitious data.

  22. #22 Selena
    February 22, 2010

    53% Yes
    47% No

  23. #23 chezjake
    February 22, 2010

    I like water, but I don’t think it has magic powers.

    To quote my grandfather, “There’s nothing wrong with water, so long as it’s taken in the proper spirit.”

  24. #24 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    February 22, 2010

    Blockquote fail. Should be obvious what was intended though.

    Oh, here’s a press release about a product claiming to be a homeopathic “remedy” for dehydration:

    http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200712/1198558069.html

    It’s all over the place.

  25. #25 Nebula99
    February 22, 2010

    Oh, here’s a press release about a product claiming to be a homeopathic “remedy” for dehydration:

    http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200712/1198558069.html

    It’s all over the place.

    Wow. That just fails. “You will still need to drink water to offset the effects of dehydration.” Way to admit it does nothing.

  26. #26 Cain
    February 22, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself, OM wins 1 internets for comment #7

  27. #27 Die Anyway
    February 22, 2010

    It’s working! 55% NO

  28. #28 Jessie Colt
    February 22, 2010

    “Do you believe homeopathy is an effective form of treatment? Let is know by taking part in our online poll”

    Let _is_ know?

    Bad poll, bad grammar. Barely worth the energy spent knocking their stupidity by voting correctly. :)

  29. #29 Hekuni Cat
    February 22, 2010

    It’s up to 58% NO.

  30. #30 Givesgoodemail
    February 22, 2010

    41% yes–59% no.

  31. #31 UXO
    February 22, 2010

    Now sitting at
    42% Yes
    58% No

    And Null,

    you can clear your cookies and vote as many times as you like. It should be really easy to demolish.

    I vehemently disagree with doing that. I think our crushing of these dumbass polls ought to be through strength of numbers, not by being underhanded. Yes, they’re stupid, but deal with them in an honest way.

  32. #32 --PatF
    February 22, 2010

    Before you make up your mind you should look at

    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

  33. #33 Jarmir
    February 22, 2010

    I usually don’t do more than vote once on these silly little polls, but there’s something about homeopathy that just gets to me. I can respect good con artists, but not when they prey on the sick and the elderly. Therefore I would like to brag (yes, I should follow Mr. Shatner’s advice) that following Null’s information I singel-handedly brought the “no” vote up from about 46% to 51%. This tells me that I take pride in not having a life.

    I understand UXO’s point, but why deal fairly with the matter, when the point of the matter itself, homeopathy, is a scam to acquire lucre at the expense of the weak?

  34. #34 bulletproofcourier
    February 22, 2010

    The crazy, it flows like a liquid…

  35. #35 bad Jim
    February 22, 2010

    Perhaps it would be enough to warn people who are inclined to try homeopathic remedies that they are contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide which has killed millions of people.

  36. #36 ogremkv
    February 22, 2010

    Sorry for the off topic post, but richarddawkins.net forums are going offline in 30 days.

    They may be back up, but in a different format later.

  37. #37 Isaac Sherman
    February 22, 2010

    Yes: 35% No: 65%

    Got em.

  38. #38 tresmal
    February 22, 2010

    PatF @ 32
    Before you make up your mind you should look at

    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

    I like it!

  39. #39 BobbyEarle
    February 22, 2010

    Do you believe homeopathy is an effective form of treatment?

    No, now at 65%

    Do you believe homeopathy is a never ending source of hilarity?

    Yes, always at 100%

  40. #40 Alverant
    February 22, 2010

    2/3 no
    Could you live without technology?
    75% no
    Of course technology technically includes fire and clothing and I gotta have my meat cooked at least a cloak to keep me warm in winter.

  41. #41 Rabid Monk
    February 22, 2010

    Umm…

    Shouldn’t we be voting “yes”?

    I mean, by reducing the relative amount of no votes to yes votes, wouldn’t we be making the no side more powerful?

  42. #42 Brain Hertz
    February 22, 2010

    Oh no… I went to vote at the site and discovered a huge ad down the right hand side, complete with smiling face, for Russell fucking Grant. Aieeeeee. It’s been over ten years since I lived in the UK, and I’d just about managed to forget that he existed. He’s still on TV? Yikes…

  43. #43 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    February 22, 2010

    Yet another pointless poll to paryngulate.

    And, the question being asked in the poll: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  44. #44 s.d.mortimer
    February 22, 2010

    PatF @ 32
    Before you make up your mind you should look at

    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

    I like it!

    Seconded!

  45. #45 Ellie
    February 22, 2010

    This is endlessly frustrating. The Science and Technology Select committee that advises the UK government has just come back after a superb couple of sessions of evidence gathering and consultation with a recommendation that the NHS stop funding homeopathy and that the drugs regulator stop issuing certificates because sugar pills are not drugs.

    The press response has been overwhelmingly on the side of “balance” and woo meisters are all over the airwaves protesting, lying and cherry picking as usual. WHEN WILL THE PRESS LEARN?! Just because two sides disagree doesn’t mean their opinions are equally valid. GAH.

  46. #46 F
    February 23, 2010

    s.d.mortimer @ 11

    Part of the problem is that most people don’t know what homeopathy is. When I ask friends and colleges, they (for the most part) assume homeopathy is synonymous with naturopathy and herbal remedies (which also have varied and dubious claims).

    Further, there seems to be a misuse and/or misunderstanding, or a use for purposes of “expedience” of the term “homeopathy” that is really getting on my nerves.

    It seems that some doctors, or whomever, are using the term when referring to the use of low doses of certain pharmaceuticals (especially when provided by a compounding pharmacist) for treatment of some conditions. Now, these would generally be clinically ineffective dosages for whatever the primary indication for the drug is, but they are by no means “homeopathic” doses. And use of the term this way tends to legitimize the woo that is homeopathy.

    It pisses me off.

  47. #47 michael.loprete
    February 23, 2010

    My son’s mother shows up today with a homeopathic “solution” for his teething.

    (Spoiler alert: this ends well; she feels bad for having her money swindled and will be raising hell tomorrow)

    In town, there’s a really great baby/kids goods store. Local products, neat, kitchy items, that sort of thing. The only drawback is that they are connected with a natural goods store that’s half nutrition focused, half woo.

    Anyway, she comes home with this stuff, and I look up the active ingredients. Nothing odd, but I notice the concentration. Based on what wikipedia tells me, 1C is dilution of 1 part ingredient per 100 parts water, and each “C” up is dilution by a factor of 100.

    One ingredient, Chamomile, was 9C, or 1 part per 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. I had to look up what that number was called (a quintillion, incidentally). I described it as one drop of ingredient in an aquarium the size of our apartment, but that may still be an understatement.

    I just don’t get how homeopathic practitioners can ply their trade in good faith; some are purposeful quacks, but I remain convinced some of them truly thing they’re trying to do good by their customers.

  48. #48 ambulocetacean
    February 23, 2010

    The annoying thing about trying to explain homeopathy to people is that many of them (quite understandably) are reluctant to accept that something so fucking stupid can actually exist.

    “Really? It’s just water? That can’t be right. There must be more to it than that, or else they wouldn’t be able to call it medicine.”

    AAAAARRRRGRHHHHHH!

  49. #49 Xenithrys
    February 23, 2010

    s.d. mortimer @ 11

    Once I explain the theory and methodology of homeopathy, they almost all think it’s absolute bonkers! All the more reason to educate the layperson before they go and drink a glass of water to cure their appendicitis.

    I’ve tried this and twice had the person look at me very suspiciously, as if to say, “No-one could be that stupid; you’re making it up to discredit the poor homeopaths.”

    And then there’s bird homeopathy (yes, really: http://www.homeopathic.com/store/product=1829). If someone is aggressive, you could treat them with a homeopathic dilution from washing a hawk’s feather. Maybe they’re all taking homeopathic owl solution.

  50. #50 Levi in NY
    February 23, 2010

    25% in favor of the dilution delusion
    75% against

    Poll needs more Pharyngulation.

  51. #51 Ilijas
    February 23, 2010

    Just left a big “no” and you’re right, Levi, it’s 75% now!

  52. #52 rufus_t
    February 23, 2010

    Still at 75%

    Fear the evil dihydrogen monoxide http://www.dhmo.org/

  53. #53 NovaC
    February 23, 2010

    michael@ #47
    The most humane thing to do is still Baby Orajel and a frozen teething ring..Poor kidlet!

  54. #54 n1l0c2501
    February 23, 2010

    The story is up on the BBC too, I particularly like the video of Paul Bennett, who basically admitted to the committee; “there’s no evidence it works, but we sell it anyway”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8524926.stm

    It was also discussed on breakfast “news” too, although the video isn’t up yet.

  55. #55 David Marjanovi?
    February 23, 2010

    26% Yes
    74% No

    Number of votes not shown.

  56. #56 David Marjanovi?
    February 23, 2010

    water is the only substance that has a solid form that floats in its liquid form

    Well, there are a few others like gallium, but they don’t occur in the wild much.

    Seconded!

    Thirded!!!

    One ingredient, Chamomile, was 9C, or 1 part per 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. I had to look up what that number was called (a quintillion, incidentally). I described it as one drop of ingredient in an aquarium the size of our apartment, but that may still be an understatement.

    “Understatement”? There isn’t enough water on the planet to make that metaphor work.

    The annoying thing about trying to explain homeopathy to people is that many of them (quite understandably) are reluctant to accept that something so fucking stupid can actually exist.

    You’ve nailed it.

    To be fair, it wasn’t that stupid when Hahnemann made it up; for instance, he had no idea what an atom is. But for his teachings to be perpetuated when people should notice how far from reality they are… TSIB.

  57. #57 alistair.coleman
    February 23, 2010

    Oh, good grief – it’s GMTV – Britain’s stupidest TV channel.

    Voted “No” in the hope I have cancelled out the yes vote of an airheaded countryman.

  58. #58 Wrath Panda
    February 23, 2010

    As the excellent Mr Duck (I know who you are!) @ #57 states, GMTV; the pimple on the ass of Beelzebub himself. I hesitate to use the word television, as it would be an insult to other programmes. Morning TV at its most inane and brainless and hence, those who watch it are the ones that are likely to think homeopathy is a viable alternative to real medicine.

    Now that I think about it though, perhaps we’ve got this wrong? Surely if these stupids keep swallowing this charade (pun most certainly intended), then we can hope for a higher mortality rate, which would have a threefold benefit.

    1. We’d get rid of the stupids and thereby drop the demand for snake oil and hopefully put the buggers out of business.
    2. We’d get rid of GMTV as there’d be no-one else to watch it. Those here in the UK can agree that this can only be a good thing.
    3. We’d raise the national average IQ by at least 5 points.

    Is it too late to change my vote?

  59. #59 Q.E.D
    February 23, 2010

    Ellie @45

    “The Science and Technology Select committee that advises the UK government has just come back . . .with a recommendation that the NHS stop funding homeopathy”

    On the heels of this, BBC radio 4 devoted a 1 hour segment of “You and Yours” (a call-in show) with at least 80 % of the airtime devoted to callers’ anecdotal evidence of being “cured” by homeopathy, chiropractic, herbal medecine etc. One of the problems in the information war against woo is that anecdotal evidence are stories and people understand stories. The science side needs to get better at conveying its information in the form of stories that people can relate to and understand.

  60. #60 Stibbons
    February 23, 2010

    Hmmm. Difficult to answer really. Homeopathy IS an effective form of treatment if a placebo cure will work and the user believes in homeopathy. It might help with conditions where peace of mind and feeling positive will help.

    Of course for things that actualy need REAL drugs it’s going to be useless and possibly a dangerous distraction from proper treatment.

    Stuff it, junk the homeopathy and give ‘em tictacs if they want a placebo.

  61. #61 tsg
    February 23, 2010

    I vehemently disagree with doing that. I think our crushing of these dumbass polls ought to be through strength of numbers, not by being underhanded. Yes, they’re stupid, but deal with them in an honest way.

    One of the things that makes online polls useless is that they can be gamed. Exploiting those flaws to expose them isn’t dishonest.

  62. #62 rob
    February 23, 2010

    you heard of the Caesar’s last breath calculation? you can do a similar calculation for Caesar’s last piss.

    if you drink a homeopathic remedy, there are more water molecules from Caesar’s last urination than there are molecules of the active ingredient.

    so, if you pay for a homeopathic remedy, you are pissing your money away.

  63. #63 KOPD42
    February 23, 2010
    One ingredient, Chamomile, was 9C, or 1 part per 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. I had to look up what that number was called (a quintillion, incidentally). I described it as one drop of ingredient in an aquarium the size of our apartment, but that may still be an understatement.

    “Understatement”? There isn’t enough water on the planet to make that metaphor work.

    Actually, there is. I should be working, but big numbers intrigue me so I got sidetracked by this a bit. The volume of water on Earth is 10^21 L, according to my source. If the numbers above are correct, then a 9C dilution is roughly like adding a drop (going with a “medical” drop of 1/12 mL) of ingredient to 10^14 L of water. So it is a higher concentration than adding a drop to all the water on Earth, but it is 5x less than adding a drop of chamomile to Utah’s Great Salt Lake (disregarding the salt), a lake 75 miles (120 km) long and 28 miles (45 km) wide.

    Math corrections welcomed. :-)

  64. #64 KOPD42
    February 23, 2010

    rob @62
    Nice one. I’ll remember that.

  65. #65 chuckgoecke
    February 23, 2010

    The Daily Mash in the UK has an interesting “solution” to the Homeopathy problem. Just give a minute fraction of the money for the remedy. One penny will “remember” it was in a bank with 100’s of millions of dollars/lbs, thus be worth even more than all that nasty heavy cash. http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/health/parliament-emitting-angry-purple-aura%2c-say-homeopaths-201002232496/

  66. #66 Xenithrys
    February 23, 2010

    We all get so shocked by the dilution stupid that we forget the like-cures-like stupid.
    The choice of the substance to be diluted is made this way: it’s a substance that (undiluted) produces the same symptoms in a healthy person. For instance: for eczema, nettles; for a cold, garlic or onion. Homeopaths get creative with this; I’ve heard one recommend that people who lean on others (emotionally) use a homeopathic preparation of a liana.
    And it’s not just dilution. Oh no; it has to be done a special magic way (succussion) or it won’t work.
    Then there are the spin-offs, like Bach’s flower remedies (midwives commonly recommend “rescue remedy” to new mothers) and Biodynamic “Preparation 501″, a mainstay of many organic growers. Google them.

  67. #67 Null
    February 23, 2010

    @TSG #61:

    One of the things that makes online polls useless is that they can be gamed. Exploiting those flaws to expose them isn’t dishonest.

    Exactly. I’m very sure that the quacks are gaming polls in order to pull an appeal to popularity. Utterly crushing the polls, even through unfair methods, shows how utterly ridiculous the polls are and allows us to catch supporters in their own trap: They’ll claim that the “majority” agrees with them based on an online poll. Then, when the pharyngulated poll is brought up, it doesn’t count because underhanded methods were used. Well, what’s to say that the same underhanded methods weren’t used on the “correct” polls?

    Online polls are completely worthless, and if somebody puts up a poll that doesn’t do any proper identity validation, they deserve to have it gamed.

  68. #68 Jugglin
    February 24, 2010

    There seems to be a revival only 69% no now!

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