CFI-San Francisco to Participate in Homeopathy “Overdose” Event, Saturday, Feb. 5

February 2, 2011

On Saturday, February 5, CFI-San Francisco will join international protesters from more than 10 countries and 23 cities to take part in the weekend's 10:23 Campaign, a protest against "homeopathy" -- a bogus but popular form of alternative medicine on which misinformed consumers waste billions of dollars per year. 

The 10:23 Campaign aims to raise awareness about the reality behind homeopathic pseudoscience.  Many think of homeopathy as an effective, "natural" alternative to traditional medicine. In reality, homeopathic "remedies" are produced by diluting questionable remedies with extraordinary amounts of water, often until the chance that even a single molecule of the alleged active ingredient remains in the final treatment is vanishingly small.

Homeopathy is based on a set of bizarre superstitions invented by its chief proponent, Samuel Hahnemann, in 1796.  Hahnemann taught that any substance that causes symptoms in healthy individuals can treat the same symptoms in sick patients, if administered in small amounts.  In addition, Hahnemann thought that diluting his so-called treatments in water would make them stronger .

For example, if a patient is unable to sleep, homeopaths should prescribe diluted caffeine -- a known stimulant -- as a sleep aid.  Supposedly, the greater the dilution, the more effective the caffeine will be at putting a patient to sleep.  Today homeopaths continue to prescribe caffeine as a treatment for insomnia, under the name "coffea."

The 10:23 Campaign derives its name from Avogadro's constant (6.022 x 10^23 per mole), the ratio of the number of atoms or molecules in a sample to the amount of substance present (in moles).  When diluting their "remedies," homeopaths often dilute the alleged active ingredient in so much water that they pass what is known as the Avogadro Limit, the point at which there is likely nothing of the original substance remaining.  In other words, all that remains of the homeopathic "remedy" is pure water.  (Homeopaths often drip the solution onto small balls of sugar before selling them to misinformed customers.)

Tests show that -- as you might expect -- homeopathic "remedies" have no effect beyond that expected from the placebo effect.  Yet the US government and many foreign governments continue to allow homeopathic solutions to be marketed as "treatments" for medical symptoms. Some producers of homeopathic remedies have been caught cheating by including real (non-homeopathic) medication, or other undisclosed ingredients, in their products. 

To call attention to the absurdity of homeopathic "medicine," CFI-San Francisco and other participants in the 10:23 Campaign will stage a mass homeopathic remedy "overdose."*

For more information on the 10:23 event, visit http://www.1023.org.uk . To participate in CFI-San Francisco's "overdose" event, you must RSVP by e-mail to 1023 [at] reason4reason [dot] org.

For additional information about CFI's activities combating homeopathic superstition, see my colleague Ronald Lindsay's blog entry regarding Walmart's marketing of "Boiron Oscillococcinum," a purported flu remedy.

* Warning: CFI will offer a properly prepared homeopathic solution for consumption at the event. When properly prepared, even large doses of a homeopathic solution have no adverse or beneficial medical effects, as on average, they do not contain a single molecule of the alleged active ingredient. Some commercially produced homeopathic remedies have been found to contain real (non-homeopathic) medication or other ingredients not disclosed on product labels. These ingredients can have adverse effects. Anyone who consumes a homeopathic product not prepared by CFI does so at his or her own risk. 

Comments:

#1 asanta on Wednesday February 02, 2011 at 11:20pm

*jumping up and down in excitement*  I’m so excited that SF CFI is participating in the 10:23 campaign! I will be there in spirit as I have to work that day… :(

#2 ChuckGu (Guest) on Thursday February 03, 2011 at 11:59am

I had a bad sinus cold in November and found a medicine that seemed to fit the bill for my symptoms. I am glad I read labels because I saw the word “homeopathic” and immediately put it back down. This was in a pharmacy and it was in the same area as all of the non-prescription stuff. Be careful e1.

#3 Robert Bigelow (Guest) on Thursday February 03, 2011 at 12:58pm

Thank goodness protest against that sham of a flim-flam is starting to reach critical mass. ^..^~

#4 Dr. Nancy Malik (Guest) on Thursday February 03, 2011 at 9:59pm

Real is scientific homeopathy. Evidence-based modern homeopathy medicine is a nano-medicine bringing big results for everyone

#5 Nancy Malik (Guest) on Thursday February 03, 2011 at 10:02pm

eal is scientific homeopathy. Evidence-based modern homeopathy medicine is a nano-medicine bringing big results for everyone

#6 asanta on Thursday February 03, 2011 at 10:21pm

Nancy, evidence based, and homeopathy do not belong in a sentence together unless the word ‘not’ is in front of the word ‘evidence’ or ‘homeopathy’.

#7 DC (Guest) on Friday February 04, 2011 at 6:08am

Homeopathic medicines have worked for millions of people for a couple of centuries.  The understanding of each remedy, the development of symptoms associated with a remedy is based on scientific methods.  The manufacturing of homeopathic medicine is well regulated and controlled in the United States.

Further, there are hundreds of peer reviewed research studies that document the clinical effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.

You don’t need a doctor to choose a remedy for self-limiting non-chronic conditions.  The practice of homeopathy to treat chronic conditions and disease requires years of study and the process is almost like an art.  I think this is where homeopathy is challenged and needs more research and understanding.

I reject the idea that homeopathic medicines are a scam because “research” doesn’t meet the standards of “skeptical” groups like this one.  Most of your skeptic community are scientist wanna-bes who base there opinions on so called experts who have more of an interest in self-promotion, junk journalism and book selling. 

If you were real scientists with a valid opinion you wouldn’t be dropping entire bottles of pills down your body to make a point, especially when the point is moot,irrelevant and demonstrates the lack of depth of your research and understanding about how homeopathy is meant to be used.

1) On Regulation

#8 DC (Guest) on Friday February 04, 2011 at 6:09am

... for more information…

1) On Regulation

#10 Nancy Malik (Guest) on Friday February 04, 2011 at 10:39am

Conventional, alternative or complementary is as per see.

A person who prefers, let’s say homeopathic medicine, as a first line of treatment, conventional medicine is an complementary/alternative for him/her.

Likewise a person who took conventional medicine as first line of treatment, other forms of treatment are complementary/alternative.

#11 Crommunist (Guest) on Friday February 04, 2011 at 4:28pm

@DC#6

I don’t know why you bother with homeopathy. Jesus has been healing millions of people for THOUSANDS of years. Homeopathy is just a middle-man that interferes with Jesus’ divine ability to cause the body to heal itself!

Gosh, don’t you know ANYTHING?

#12 asanta on Friday February 04, 2011 at 9:15pm

Homeopathy is just water. Period. If it has ANYTHING else in it, it is NOT homeopathy. Homeopathy is a product of MAGICAL thinking. Do you guys go off and google ‘homeopathy’ to rush to the defenses of you imaginary placebo pills???

#13 asanta on Friday February 04, 2011 at 9:18pm

This explains homeopathy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZO9J7dDLU4

#14 Max (Guest) on Sunday February 06, 2011 at 2:58pm

“In addition, Hahnemann thought that diluting his so-called treatments in water would make them stronger.”

I don’t know about Hahnemann, but today, homeopathy pushers say that higher dilution/potency is NOT stronger, but is better for treating chronic conditions. They also say you can’t overdose on homeopathy, so they won’t be impressed by attempts to do so. But the general public may be shocked to learn that homeopathy has no active ingredients, so these “overdoses” help to demonstrate this point.

#15 asanta on Monday February 07, 2011 at 9:15pm

@Max, they change their stories when convenient. It still doesn’t change the (lack of) evidence. It needs to be demonstrated as often as possible.

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