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A Correction PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

gvThis strange man George Vithoulkas, in Greece, is still flailing about on the subject of a comprehensive, definitive, homeopathy test, which convinces me that he's honestly self-deluded - as so many naifs are - that homeopathy actually works. Certainly, any reasonable person looking at the many tests that have been conducted to test the weird claims made ever since Samuel Hahnemann came up with this idea back in 1792, would immediately see that the "art" is simply imaginary. The tests that I approved to be done by the Royal Society and broadcast on BBC-TV, offering the JREF million-dollar prize, demonstrated that fact very strongly, so it takes a totally delusional mind to still think that there's anything there to be found.

Vithoulkas is currently celebrating the fact that I blamed the Greek homeopaths for aborting the arrangements for a test, when I should have said that it was the Hungarians who were responsible; since they're all deluded, I can't manage to keep them sorted out...  I also had a notice entered a week earlier than I'd said it would appear, and that provided Vithoulkas with a further source of glee. To set the matter right, I just sent him this note:

Alec Gindis and Gabor Hrasko have brought to my attention the fact that my correction to the March 14 article was mistakenly placed under the wrong date.  My assistant was apparently confused by the March 7 link mentioned in your email. The correction is now in the right place.  I apologize for the error, though the correction was easily found and noted by many others who simply did a search for it. Apparently you did not find this necessary for you to do.

Alec has asked me to clarify for you how I see his and Gabor's role in the proposed experiment, since you seem to believe that their original role as facilitators of the experiment has changed. This is not so, and I cannot imagine where you obtained this notion. In fact, my communication over the last two years with both Gabor and Alec has only increased my trust and confidence in both of them.

I also understand that in addition to the private arrangement we had with regard to the experiment, you want to officially be put on the list of applicants. That, as I've informed you, cannot be done until you fill out the standard application form, as everyone is required to do. Many would-be applicants have considered themselves above such a simple requirement, but no exception has ever been made, nor will it be made.

In consideration of our previous understanding I will waive the need for the initial experiment (we'll accept the substitute proposed by Gabor) and we'll use your originally proposed protocol.

Once your official application is in place, we can proceed with the arrangements necessary to conduct the experiment.

Signed, James Randi

I await further hand-wringing from this man...

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written by Trish, December 30, 2008
Homeopathy is a perfect example of why we should not forbid recreational drugs. Anyone who has spent money for what turns out to be oregano, cornstarch or colored paper when they expected weed, coke or acid, wanted & expected the changes in consciousness and got nothing is not likely to fall for the claim that higher dilution equals higher effect. smilies/wink.gif
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written by Willy K, December 30, 2008
Hmmmm.... I wonder if there is a correlation between homeopathic dilution and brain cells. Could having fewer active brain cells make it easier to believe that dynamisation and potentisation really work?

So.... George Vithoulkas should have a brain cell to water dilution of 400X. smilies/tongue.gif

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written by furgy, December 31, 2008
I don't know how many times James Randi, has laid the challenge out there, and All I ever hear or see are excuses from these people for not doing it. What kills me is just like this guy George, Uri Geller made fantastic claims years ago and James Randi exposed him just like he would this guy. The only irony is how these shisters are able to convince people again after many years
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progress is slow
written by Trish, December 31, 2008
Peter Popoff, whose exposure on the Johnny Carson show is legendary, has a show on cable TV - but, at least it's on a small religious channel, not network TV.

Gellar may never have acknowledged that his claims were disproved, but when's the last time you saw him on prime time TV? I remember him being a fixture on TV when I was a kid.

What we really need to tackle is the sentiment - frighteningly common - that calling someone on their BS, or even pointing out an error, is in bad taste - but going on TV telling people that by sending money to organizations with no accountability, they will receive benefits that can't be proven (or even demonstrated, e.g. benefits in the afterlife) somehow serves goals such as counteracting discrimination, enriching our culture and increasing the self esteem of claimants & their followers. The underlying assumption that people are too fragile to face life without the security blanket of heredtiary superstitions or assurances of eternal life is pretty insulting.
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written by Kuroyume, January 01, 2009
Geller may never have acknowledged that his claims were disproved, but when's the last time you saw him on prime time TV?


Actually... smilies/wink.gif He was one of the judges on that horrid excuse of a show "Phenomenon". And he performed a couple of his feats, er, tricks. At least the jury was balanced by Criss Angel!
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written by Trish, January 03, 2009
When I mentioned Gellar, I wasn't specific enough. I meant prime time, network TV. Anyone can get a show on cable. Witness "Flavor of Love" in all its incarnations, "Shot at Love" I & II, etc.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 09, 2009
Trish,

Excellent point. It is not in bad taste, or being mean, or any other negative description that might be applied to pointing out fraud.

Fraud is bad. It does not matter if it is financial fraud, medical fraud, scientific fraud, or anything else. Fraud needs to be opposed.
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written by Trish, January 10, 2009
Thanks, Rogue Medic!

I suspect that the current attitude that calling people on their false claims is a faux pas is the creation of people for whom fraud is necessary to achieve their goals.

I can't imagine any reason for anyone with a shred of compassion & respect for their fellow humans to support the idea that leaving fraud & misinformation unchallenged is good for society in the long run.
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written by Rogue Medic, January 10, 2009
Trish,

You're welcome.

Another possibility, one that I see far too frequently, is the focus on pleasing appearances, even if at the expense of reality. Style over substance. When we would rather have a sugar coated lie, than a nasty truth. Myth vs. reality.

There might be a reason to not shatter illusions. If the purpose were to ease people into an acceptance of reality, because people tend not to accept even obvious things, unless they can work them out in their own minds.

That would only be different in the style of approaching the debunking, not in the result. At least that would be the hope. One example is that, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was describing a form of this back in the 1960's in her book On Dying. We do not seem to have made much progress.
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written by sfdyoung, January 10, 2009
I think that the reluctance to confront people on their BS is often the result of the too-common belief that there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, no winner or loser - that all ideas (and the people who have them) are worthy and deserving of respect and should not be judged.

I think it's also often the result of people not wanting to get involved - the conviction that "somebody else" is responsible for taking care of these problems.
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written by Basscadet, March 30, 2009
I just found out today that this Mr. Vithoulkas is leading a Masters of Science in "Holistic Alternative Therapeutic Systems-Classical Homeopathy" in a local state run University:

http://www.syros.aegean.gr/homeopathy/index.htm

oh the disgrace...
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