Homeopathy – a Useless Treatment

16 September, 2018

Homeopath practitioners believe that by diluting a solution of a substance that mimics the effect of a disease the diluted concoction will cure the disease. The solution is usually diluted so many times that chemists calculate there may be no molecules of the original substance left in the final medication.

Homeopathic Dilution: other diluents beside alcohol are water and sugar

Homeopaths claim this doesn’t matter as the water has a “memory” of the dissolved curative substance.
Scientifically this makes no sense whatsoever. Nevertheless homeopathic treatments have been clinically tested to see if they are effective. When tested under rigorous double blind conditions the results show homeopathy is no more effective than a placebo.

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recently released a report on homeopathy. After reviewing over 200 research papers that it considered worthy of inclusion (many studies of homeopathy are of such poor quality that their conclusions are unreliable) the NHMRC concluded:

“The review found no good quality, well-designed studies with enough participants to support the idea that homeopathy works better than a placebo, or causes health improvements equal to those of another treatment.” Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzles for February 2017

31 January, 2017

puzzles-for-februaryOur Crossword this month returns to the theme of homeopathy. 

February 2017 Skeptical Crossword [HTML]
78-feb-2017-crossword-homeopathy [pdf]

Other homeopathy-themed crosswords:




There are ten new Logic & Maths Problems
55-logic-and-maths-puzzles-february-2017 [pdf]

Seven new Picture Puzzles and twenty “Mixed Bag” (general knowledge / trivia) questions, are at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE


April 2016 Puzzles

30 March, 2016


The APRIL 2016 SKEPTICAL CROSSWORD is about Homeopathy

is our 45th Logic & Maths set. Our  L&M sets commenced in August 2012; (see PUZZLES ARCHIVE 3 .)

Seven new Picture Puzzles and twenty more “Mixed Bag” Trivia Questions are at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE


A Skeptic’s Guide to Homeopathy

27 September, 2015

March 2015 saw the release of the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s  Statement on Homeopathy. It concluded:  

“..that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions.”

That’s as good a reason as any to revisit the following article, first seen here in 2010.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Homeopathy is an “alternative medicine” invented in the early 19th century by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann. Despite numerous experiments showing homeopathy to have no effect, it has become a multi-million dollar international industry with its own special rules in advertising law.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happenings – October/November 2014

9 November, 2014

1. The Genesis II Church advertised a seminar at Clayton Community Centre from 14th to 16th of November at $500 per participant. The Church’s leader, Jim Humble promotes MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution) as a cure for diseases such as Malaria, HIV, autism and Ebola. MMS contains bleaching agents – including sodium chlorite, chlorine dioxide and calcium hypochlorite.


These are seriously dangerous chemicals. A spokesperson for the Victorian Poisons Information Centre said a total of 10 people – with four needing further treatment at the hospital – had reported feeling ill after administering MMS with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Genesis II Church’s practices have already been the subject of joint FDA and ACCC investigations and legal action. Read the rest of this entry »

May Puzzles

1 May, 2014

banner-best-android-puzzle-applistThere are seven new Picture Puzzles and twenty “Mixed Bag” Questions at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE. You might like to use the Mixed Bag Questions as practice for the Tenth Annual Vic Skeptics Trivia Extravaganza on May 19. (See the EVENTS PAGE for further details)

To mark the NHMRC’s recent demolition of Homeopathy as a serious medical system, this month’s
MAY 2014 Skeptical Crossword
has Homeopathy as its theme.It’s necessarily a smaller crossword than usual – but it still comes with both “straight” and cryptic clues.

To stretch your brain just that bit more, try the
MAY 2014 Logic & Maths Puzzles


Happenings Feb 2013

17 February, 2013


Mal Vickers

Pharmai love data

I love data and so does ‘Sense About Science’, the UK based pro-science trust. Sense About Science has launched the All Trials Campaign. The campaign aims to have pharmaceutical companies release the data from all the clinical trials they conduct.

Without the release of all data, pharmaceutical companies are free to indulge in selective publishing. That is, they may only publish the clinical trials that show the most favourable results for the products they would like us to consume.

The campaign coincides with the release of Dr Ben Goldacre’s new book ‘Bad Pharma’.

Countering Antivax Anecdotes with Provax Anecdotes

The New Zealand parents of a child that contracted tetanus change their mind about the benefits of vaccination.

“Mrs Williams said they made what they thought was an informed decision not to vaccinate any of their children because of concerns over adverse reactions, but had since changed their minds.”

Mrs Williams is quoted as saying:

“It was hideous. He was spasming every three minutes. He was biting his tongue and bleeding. His arms were spasming and he was arching his back and his whole face and jaw was completely locked.”

A family in the UK came to exactly the same conclusion – that vaccination isn’t so bad, the benefits of avoiding the disease far outweigh the small risks. They were struck Read the rest of this entry »

Where Did the TGA Reforms Go?

29 December, 2011

by: Mal Vickers

I think everyone is aware of the problem – magnetic underlays, ear candles, homeopathy and bogus weight loss products, to name but a few examples of modern day snake oil; products that make therapeutic claims but are unsupported by evidence that they work. The government agency responsible for protecting consumers from the greed and self-interest of quack medical products, the Therapeutic Goods Agency (TGA) appears powerless to stop it.

For quite some time there have been calls for change and the government appeared to be listening. With the SensaSlim scandal, the deaths of Gloria Sam and Penelope Dingle and the astonishing 90% level of non-compliance found with a random check of the ARTG by the Auditor General, changes seemed inevitable.

What happened? Where did the expected reforms go?

The first week of December saw some strange goings-on at the TGA Read the rest of this entry »

Skepticism in the Bush

1 November, 2011

by Russell Kelly

There is plenty to keep a skeptic busy in the bush; alternative medicine abounds and belief systems involving the weather and animals are plentiful.  The recent drought spawned a plethora of water diviners but lacking confidence in the Bureau of Meteorology, many believe that the best indicator of impeding precipitation is the squawking of Black Cockatoos. The myth has been around for at least 100 years but for some reason the squawking during the drought seemed to have less effect than the nude dance in the paddock.

Emu oil is currently very fashionable to cure a wide variety of maladies and snake-oil salesmen find easy pickings especially with weight loss scams. A long-running study has confirmed that rural women are more obese than their city cousins and they are more likely to use alternative medicines, so there are plenty of candidates for the wacky products.

Medical conditions triggered by pollens and sprays are endemic in the bush and so are the charlatans who peddle ‘natural’ allergy therapies including the instruments to test allergy susceptibility. The TGA has recently closed down the web site of one of our local operators who with her gadgetry could diagnose the offending allergen and then provide a rapid cure using the latest in homeopathy potions.

Read the rest of this entry »

The writings of Samuel Hahnemann

8 March, 2011

I admit to a certain curiosity about old homeopathy books. What do they contain? Is there any science in these books?  Exactly what did Samuel Hahnemann write that gained him such a dedicated following?

If you’re unfamiliar with Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, or the alternative medicine practice of homeopathy, you might like to read this introduction before reading any further with this post.

Generally, Hahnemann’s writings about homeopathy were translated into English not long after the publication of the original German versions. In all my reading about homeopathy, I’ve seen almost no comments taken from these translations of Samuel Hahnemann’s work.

My approach to this material will be: just because a book is old, that doesn’t mean I’ll ignore poor reasoning and throw away everything learnt in the last 200 years.  I’m looking for good evidence and logical reasoning to back up any claims.

Critics might suggest I’ve only looked into Hahnemann’s writings with the idea of cherry picking it and then dismissing it. Not so: if I find good science I’ll change my mind.  Hahnemann claimed to have done experiments. Read the rest of this entry »

Vic Department of Health’s “Better Health Channel”

7 March, 2011

by Graeme Hanigan

This is the background to a petition addressed to The  Minister of Health, David Davis MLC, calling for a review of the Victorian Department of Health’s Better Health Channel

Penelope Dingle was 45 years old when she died of colorectal cancer on the 25th of August, 2005. Had her cancer been detected and treated when symptoms were first observed 4 years earlier, she may still be alive today.  Instead of seeking medical treatment, Penelope put her health into the incompetent hands of a deluded Homeopathic quack.

At the conclusion of the inquest into the sad death of Penelope Dingle, the W.A. State Coroner made two recommendations. Read the rest of this entry »

Homeopathy is safe?

20 February, 2011

One of the main comments by homeopaths on the 10:23 overdose campaign is that skeptics have yet again demonstrated that homeopathy is safe.

That’s one possibility. Another possibility, and I think a more likely one; is that homeopathy is safe because there isn’t anything in it.

10:23 comments

Skeptics would also argue that homeopathy is unsafe precisely because it has nothing in it. If consumers are convinced enough to treat life-threatening conditions with homeopathy, results can be tragic. Take, for example, the case of Penelope Dingle: the coroner’s report in relation to her death in 2005 was recently released. [PDF]

Warning: this is a coroner’s report; it’s a very graphic and distressing account of her death and the role of homeopathy in the events leading up to her death.

Returning to the broader question of homeopathy being safe, I’ve found the view that homeopathy is safe, and that you can’t overdose on it, is not a universal opinion in the world of homeopathy. Read the rest of this entry »

The 10:23 Event in Melbourne

8 February, 2011

On Saturday, the Victorian Skeptics joined forces with the Melbourne Skeptics and the Young Australian Skeptics to take part in the worldwide 10:23 Campaign.

The campaign was launched last year by the Merseyside Skeptics, as a public education stunt to demonstrate the ineffective nature of Homeopathy.

A video of the Melbourne event was posted a couple of days ago, and as I write this, it’s had over 1,000 views on YouTube.

(If you’re keen, there’s also a great video playlist of 10:23 events around the world).

We also had John, a good friend of the Victorian Skeptics, busily snapping some great stills while we were overdosing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course while it’s all fun and games in retrospect (and there’s a message in there somewhere too), it almost didn’t happen.

Torrential rain and flash flooding had hit Read the rest of this entry »

10:23 in Melbourne, the video

6 February, 2011

The 10:23 overdose event in Melbourne went off very well yesterday.

The deluge of rain stopped minutes before 10:23am.

This is just a quick post to show you the video. A more detailed blog post about the Melbourne event will go up in the next few days. Thanks to the willing participants that came along from three skeptical groups in Melbourne. I think you’ll agree, great work done by our brilliant cameraman/editor/director Doug Hubbard.




The Great Ocean Road Skeptics were also launched on Saturday, and decided to celebrate the launch with a 10:23 demonstration on the beach.

Nice work guys!

Superheros Are Amongst Us!

20 September, 2010

by Lucas Randall (aka Codenix)

I used to think superheros were the domain of fiction, existing only in comic-books and on film, their powers limited to battling their super-villain foe, equally the domain of fiction. I didn’t realise superheros and super-villains are actually real, living amongst us and affecting our lives in very real ways. Read the rest of this entry »