More bad news for homeopaths

The leading medical journal The Lancet recently published yet another analysis of trials of homeopathy. After examining 110 such trials, the Swiss researchers concluded that there was no convincing evidence that homeopathy was any more effective than placebo. In the accompanying editorial, the editor, Dr Richard Horton, made a comment which has an uncanny, and no doubt intentional parallel with the views of the founder of homeopathy over two hundred years ago:-

Hahnemann’s Law of Dilution; “The more dilute the medicine, the stronger its effect”.

Horton’s Law of Dilution; “The more dilute the evidence for homeopathy becomes, the greater seems its popularity.”

Bernard Howard

Book should be blank

As a superskeptic I’m saddened by our chair-entity’s proposal for a book called Paranormal New Zealand. As we all know, there is no such thing as the paranormal. Everything that happens, no matter how strange, obscure or apparently inexplicable is ‘normal’. Vicky’s book should therefore be blank…

If it happens, it can be explained.

Now, CSICOP includes the initials for ‘Scientific Investigation’. In my brief association with New Zealand’s skeptics I’ve seen no evidence of investigation of any COPs. In both America and England, where I’ve been a member, they have far more involvement in investigating CsOP.

Isn’t it time we started hammering away at the lunatic fringe? To give us a start, I offer a ‘paranormal’ experience of my own for Scientific Investigation by the Committee.

Some years ago, while I was working at my desk, it suddenly leapt vertically about four inches and crashed back to the floor. My colleagues told me later that I’d gone green with fear and shock. I shall never forget it.

Can the members of the committee investigate this occurrence SCIENTIFICALLY, please. I will answer all legitimate questions honestly and fully, but refuse to respond to guesses or theories. With a bit of practice, we can soon take on the Wilsons of this world…

Clive Shaw

Indians show the way

I assume you are subscribed to the Indian Rationalist Society. If not the web address is

They send regular email bulletins. The latest concerned the Indian astrologer claiming he would die at a specific time. This article is trivial and amusing. However the society does a lot more serious work by exposing religious irrationality and intolerance — mainly Islamic but Western countries and religions, especially the Catholic Church, come in for criticism.

A couple of bulletins ago the Indian Rationalist included a shocking picture of two Iranian young men about to be hanged. They were 16 and 18, both healthy good looking young men. Their crime — they were homosexuals caught in homosexual acts. The picture showed them on a platform with the nooses around their necks and their masked executioners standing behind them.

It seems our local Skeptics tend to promote logic and debate on an almost academic level. Personally I am more concerned with the effect of frauds and poor thinking on the part of a sizeable section of the public, such as financial losses and woolly thinking about the supposed dangers of immunisation.

Along with the normal debates of logic in our magazine could we not go further and include some of the shocking evidence of the effects of irrationality and dogmatic ideas. It wouldn’t hurt if they were picked up by the news media. It gives people a better idea of why we are fighting international terrorism.
Bob Howard.

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