Friday, February 11, 2011
The Merseyside Skeptics Society's 10:23 challenge began last year in the UK on January 10th, at 10:23 am (a time chosen in reference to Avogadro's constant), with hundreds of the campaigns supporters taking to the streets to participate in a mass overdose of homeopathic "medication". The demonstration was designed to raise public awareness of homeopathy's ineffectiveness and to bring more attention to the issue of UK pharmacies selling homeopathic remedies along side legitimate medicines, as well as the NHS's (National Health Service) continued funding of Homeopathy. This past weekend, February 5th and 6th, the second set of 10:23 "overdoses" took place Saturday in cities around the world, as well as Sunday at the first ever QED (Question Explore and Discover ) conference in Manchester.
Supporters of homeopathy and critics of the campaign argue that homeopathy is a viable alternative to "traditional" medicines, and maintain that calls by groups like 10:23 for the NHS to withdraw public funding for the practice and for UK pharmacies to stop selling homeopathic products, is a violation of their right to choose.
But the 10:23 campaign and other demonstrations like it, are not about denying anyone the right to choose anything. They are in truth about educating people about the true nature of homeopathy as most people generally believe the term to be just another name for herbal or "natural" medicine. In reality however, homeopathy is it's very own special brand of pseudoscience and superstition, one utterly devoid of any reliable scientific evidence with which to support even it's most basic beliefs.
At this point you may be thinking, this all seems very interesting but given that I don't live in the UK, why should I care? At a glance it does seem that the practice of homeopathy is far less prevalent here in the us, it certainly isn't being openly funded by any government agencies that I'm personally aware of. But a quick search of the Walgreens, CVS, and Wal-mart websites for the word homeopathic yields results for everything from homeopathic arthritis remedies, to children's cough medicine, muscle relaxing ointments, acne treatments and more, all of which are also of course readily available in store. And with many homeopathic practitioners claiming the ability to treat cancer, malaria, and even AIDS, homeopathy is a potentially dangerous pseudo-science well worth educating yourself and others about regardless of it's prevalence in your particular corner of the world.
As always, be sure to follow the links throughout this entry and in the notes below for more information about homeopathy, 10:23, The Merseyside Skeptics, and the rest of the organizations and information contained in today's post. As for those of you completely unfamiliar with the practices and beliefs assosiated with homeopathy, I have already written most of my own entry on the subject which I will be posting later this weekend. But for now, check out the video below from James Randi and the JREF, which includes a nice summation of what homeopathy really is, along with inviting manufacturers and practitioners of homeopathy to participate in the JREF's million dollar challenge.
Source: 1023.org.uk, merseysideskeptics.org.uk, randi.org
Posted by Youtube user:JamesRandiFoundation