Once again, the Time of Twattery is upon us. It must be something in the water. It’s the only explanation for homeopaths dashing off WTF-ridden Cease and Desist orders to bloggers who have the cheek, the gall, the unmitigated sense of moral duty to expose the brain-shattering inanity of their dumbfuck “teachings”. Yes, scare quotes. If it doesn’t scare you that in the 21st century there are credulous ignorami lapping up the complete balderdash they spout as if it were Divine Guidance flowing from the Fount Of All Wisdom, then you might want to revise by reading some of the posts in the Homeopathy section.
Thank you, Editor of Nature.com, for telling the scientific and skeptic blogging community that we are not, in fact, continually banging our heads against a metaphorical brick wall over ever-increasing Stupidity and Arrogance.
You wrote, in this op-ed about bad journalism and the Leveson inquiry:
This whole thing just gets more insane by the minute. It’s bad enough supposedly reputable newspapers likegiving uncritical coverage to praiseworthy, if misguided, attempts by beloved celebs to raise money for a little girl dying of cancer. Praiseworthy because, well, that’s obvious. Parents and family need all the help they can get and cancer research always needs more funding: there are many different types of cancer, with many different causes. Misguided, because the type of research being funded, isn’t. It’s at best a desperate attempt by a single doctor to promote a treatment he continues to believe in after 30 unsuccessful years of ‘clinic trials’; at worst it’s a con trick.
Over the summer, one Big Alt bully got a proper seeing-off after attempting to silence an Italian blogger who had the temerity to point out that the homeopathetic remedy Oscillococcinum contains nothing more than sugar. Oscillococcinum is supposed to be something in the heart and liver of the Barbary duck which relieves cold and flu symptoms by causing them (you did know that was the philosophy behind homeopathy, right?). Apart from Hahnemann, who invented homeopathy, no-one has ever isolated oscillococcinum, so even the existence of this diluted-out-of-sight ingredient is debatable. In 200 years, nobody has managed to reproduce the experiment? I think the FPI™ order on that one is well past its put-up-or-shut-up-by date.
Anyway, onto the bullying scandal du jour. The inestimable Quackometer, run by the indefatigable @lecanardnoir, ran a piece on the Burzynski clinic two days ago…
A couple of weeks ago, Boiron Italy did something that can be most kindly described as balls-down mindfuckingly stupid:
A letter sent by the Italian arm of multinational company Boiron, threatening to sue an amateur blogger over remarks he made about homoeopathy, has sparked a strong internet reaction in defence of freedom of speech.
That’s pretty dumb right there, but it gets even better:
Samuele Riva posted two articles on his blog, blogzero.it, on 13 and 27 July, which included pictures of Boiron’s blockbuster homoeopathic product Oscillococcinum, marketed as a remedy against flu symptoms. The pictures were accompanied by captions, which joked about the total absence of any active molecules in homoeopathic preparations.
On 28 July Boiron fired off a letter to the internet provider, complaining that both the articles and the captions were “untrue and derogatory both of homeopathy and [the] company,” and responsible for tarnishing the company’s reputation…
Presumably Boiron only objects to other people tarnishing its reputation, since pushing expensive sugar pills as effective medical remedies to potentially serious illnesses via huge TV campaigns is about as low as you can get without serving fried babies on toast during executive board meetings (JOKE! But only just).
Want to know how Oscillococcinum is made? Read more