As the editing on my 10th book “A Magician in the Laboratory” passes its half-way mark, I’ve come once again to the name George Vithoulkas, a Greek homeopath – but a bit of history before I continue. The JREF includes the efficacy of homeopathy as a legitimate paranormal claim for the Million Dollar Challenge because if it worked as claimed, it certainly would be paranormal – magical. With not a single atom or molecule present in a diluted solution, yet still effecting a cure, that ranks as "paranormal."
This man Vithoulkas had become aware of my 2003 appearance on BBC television in which homeopathy failed a definitive and comprehensive test, and he decided to apply for the JREF prize. A protocol was devised in agreement with a group of international scientists and the experiment was to take place in a hospital in Athens. It involved homeopaths, under Vithoulkas` supervision, prescribing individualized remedies to a number of patients in a double-blind fashion with half of the patients receiving a homeopathic remedy, and the other half no remedy. In August 2006, I sent my signed agreement to Vithoulkas in which I stated my satisfaction with the suggested protocol. I also waived the preliminary test, as I had with the BBC tests, to speed up the process. However, I was then forced to delay the start of the experiment owing to serious health problems.
Vithoulkas has claimed that I knew of certain impending political changes in the Greek government at that time that might have affected his involvement in such a series of tests. It seems that the new administration would not have been agreeable to paying the costs of these tests. I was of course unaware of this situation, yet Vithoulkas now claims that I was looking for a way of getting out of the challenge, certainly one of the most rigorous and well-organized attempts to win the one million dollars that had ever been attempted.
Two years passed, during which we awaited the arrival of the formal application for the MDC which is required from all applicants, an inviolable rule upon which we have always insisted – for legal reasons, among others. Vithoulkas had been informed of this several times, and had always refused to respond to requests for the application. To this day, he has continued in this mode. The JREF had previously asked for the participation of skeptics Alec Gindis and Hrasko Gabor, and I will now be contacting these persons to see if they can stir Vithoulkas to complete his agreement.
In closing, I will explain what the "health problems" were that I cited to Vithoulkas. I entered the hospital to have a double cardiac bypass performed, and my recovery was slow but thorough. Very shortly after that, I underwent surgery for colon cancer followed by months of chemotherapy, all of which was very, very, successful. All my hospital records are available to Vithoulkas or to any other interested person, should they so desire.
So there it is. All that remains is for George Vithoulkas to complete his agreement with the JREF by submitting his application. My very strong suspicion is that he will not do this because he fears actually committing himself to the tests for the MDC.
That's his decision.
James Randi is Founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation.