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Maybe "Alternating" Rather than "Alternate"? PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

This comment has been circulating about among the woo-woos:

I don't know who suggested using the Benveniste experiment as something which would invalidate or disprove homeopathy, but whoever promoted that concept failed to appreciate or understand what homeopathy is about or what it can do. If it was Mr. Randi himself, I am afraid that he has done a disservice to humanity by sowing confusion in the minds of people whose sufferings could have been alleviated had they not been discouraged from considering homeopathy as a viable and valid alternative when the modality they are presently relying upon is not? [sic] producing the desired results.
Yours sincerely,

George Vithoulkas
Dean, International Academy Classical Homeopathy
Alternative Nobel Prize 1996

Seeing that last attribute of the author, JREF President Phil Plait has suggested that perhaps he's eligible for an "Alternative Pulitzer" for his blog posts on "Doctor Who." Seriously, Mr. Vithoulkas should know that it was the UK homeopaths who suggested the use of the Benveniste protocol for the BBC Horizon/Royal Society test to which I pledged the JREF million-dollar prize (see this YouTube video). I accepted that already-established protocol, which was then endorsed by the UK homeopaths; the results of the test were that - as always - homeopathy failed. Of course this, to any believer in homeopathy such as Vithoulkas, only means one thing: the wrong protocol was used...

I should mention that this was the protocol that Benveniste - a renowned and authoritative expert on homeopathy, and a staunch supporter of the "art" - originated for the tests that Nature Magazine ran back in 1988, and in which I, Walter Stewart of the National Institutes of Health, and Sir John Maddox, editor of Nature, participated. That test, too, failed.

Interestingly, a frothy criticism published by the renowned US homeopath Dana Ullman, "Science Friction: Homeopathy vs. The Debunkers, The Homeopathy Controversy in Nature Magazine," who reported re John, Walter, and me:

One was a journalist and two were known ghostbusters.

Au contraire. We were: First, a scientist and editor-in-chief of the - arguably - most prestigious science periodical in the world, second, a scientist with a leading federal medical science agency in the USA who has never knowingly busted a ghost, and third - yes - a confessed magician. I think our brain trust assays at 67% legitimate science and 33% adequate fraudbuster... Not bad credentials, at all!

Also, Mr. Ullman, that should have been "Walter Stewart," not "Wallace." It's a case of getting the facts right, you see - just like in real science.

See and for these references.

And, Mr. Vithoulkas, I have never attempted, either on the Horizon program or in any other venue, to "invalidate or disprove homeopathy." I investigate, I do not debunk. I did not claim that failure on the Horizon program invalidated or disproved homeopathy; if that's your view, Mr. Vithoulkas, you do not understand how science works, and you should study up on it.