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Tags George Vithoulkas , homeopathy , james randi , mdc

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Old 5th October 2008, 12:09 PM   #1
Ray T.
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Exclamation Major Homeopathy Test about to be conducted in Greece?

Hello Everyone

According to what I consider to be credible sources, there is a forthcoming major homeopathy test to be conducted in Greece.

To my knowledge Mr. Vithoulkas has applied for the Million Dollar Challenge and a hosting institution for the test has been found.

Moreover, I am informed that never has this test been abandoned by the Greek homeopathy community as it is claimed by Mr. Randi (SWIFT March 14, 2008)

Is there an an official JREF position on the matter?
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Old 5th October 2008, 01:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
According to what I consider to be credible sources, there is a forthcoming major homeopathy test to be conducted in Greece.

Who is conducting the test, and are they going to be using a protocol agreed by the JREF?
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Old 5th October 2008, 01:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
...
Is there an an official JREF position on the matter?
The JREF Staff does not frequent the forum regularly. For an official answer please contact: challenge@randi.org
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Old 5th October 2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
To my knowledge Mr. Vithoulkas has applied for the Million Dollar Challenge and a hosting institution for the test has been found.
Welcome to the forums, Ray T.

Mr. Vithoulkas is not listed as an MDC applicant, nor is there anything about it on his website (assuming this is who you mean). Where did you hear this?

I've sent him an email pointing to this thread and asked if he has applied for the MDC or intends to.
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Old 5th October 2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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From George Vithoulkas' website:

The message of the month
"The term classical homeopathy was termed by George Vithoulkas in the mid seventies to indicate that the rules of Hahnemann, as expressed in the Organon, was to be followed, not to be transgressed or changed in order for one to claim he was practicing classical homeopathy. For instance, a remedy can cure symptoms that can be produced in a proving. If there is no proving but only an imagination of what a remedy could cure, this rule is demolished and therefore the homeopath should claim to practice an imaginary something but not homeopathy."

If someone here can translate for me please? I am interested in the Homeopathy challenges, but the practitioners seem to speak in riddles.

When reading the OP, did anyone feel some deja vu?
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Old 6th October 2008, 04:11 AM   #6
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Snoop, take a few minutes to read up on Samuel Hahnemann and homeopathy, the system of treatment he pulled out of his ass, at Stephen Barrett's excellent Quackwatch site. The concept of a "proving" is discussed there. The Organon is Hahnemann's book containing his rules for homeopathic practice.

Vithoulkas is saying that people who don't follow Hahnemann's system, including individualized (and bogus) diagnosis via provings, shouldn't call themselves homeopaths. What he's really saying is that these people are robbing him of potential customers. The vast majority of homeopathic remedies are purchased from the shelves of pharmacies, health food stores, and other markets, without any diagnosis or recommendation by a homeopath, just as I might buy cough syrup if I have a cold. The difference is that cough syrup has medicine in it, and homeopathic remedies do not.

On average, I would expect someone who sees a homeopath to recover from their sniffles or aches somewhat faster than someone who picks a homeopathic remedy off the shelf, because of the care and attention shown by the homeopath, and the investment of time and cash by the patient.
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Old 6th October 2008, 05:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gravy View Post
On average, I would expect someone who sees a homeopath to recover from their sniffles or aches somewhat faster than someone who picks a homeopathic remedy off the shelf, because of the care and attention shown by the homeopath, and the investment of time and cash by the patient.
I want to suggest a small change to more accurately reflect what we see.

"I would expect someone who sees a homeopath to [report that they] recover from their sniffles or aches somewhat faster..."

Linda
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Old 6th October 2008, 07:48 AM   #8
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Snoop, take a few minutes to read up on Samuel Hahnemann and homeopathy, the system of treatment he pulled out of his ass, at Stephen Barrett's excellent Quackwatch site. The concept of a "proving" is discussed there. The Organon is Hahnemann's book containing his rules for homeopathic practice.

Thanks Gravy. I will be reading Quackwatch today.

Vithoulkas is saying that people who don't follow Hahnemann's system, including individualized (and bogus) diagnosis via provings, shouldn't call themselves homeopaths.

Ahhh, I see now. There is a split in the homeopathic community? Interesting.

What he's really saying is that these people are robbing him of potential customers. The vast majority of homeopathic remedies are purchased from the shelves of pharmacies, health food stores, and other markets, without any diagnosis or recommendation by a homeopath, just as I might buy cough syrup if I have a cold. The difference is that cough syrup has medicine in it, and homeopathic remedies do not.

While walking thru my local Walgreen's yesterday, there was a discount bin full of homeopathic remedies. I was amazed and a little saddened to see how much these remedies cost originally. It seems wrong to take a sick person's money, and that sick person can only hope to "feel" better, not get better.

On average, I would expect someone who sees a homeopath to recover from their sniffles or aches somewhat faster than someone who picks a homeopathic remedy off the shelf, because of the care and attention shown by the homeopath, and the investment of time and cash by the patient.

Yep, it's nice to have someone care.
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Old 6th October 2008, 06:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
I want to suggest a small change to more accurately reflect what we see.

"I would expect someone who sees a homeopath to [report that they] recover from their sniffles or aches somewhat faster..."

Linda
Good point.

Ray? Where'd you go?
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Old 7th October 2008, 03:28 AM   #10
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hello everybody

I had heard about Vithoulkas and the MDC some time ago.
As far as I've read, Vithoulkas has been very committed to homeopathy and reliable so it seems strange that he withdrew. At that time I thought he would definitely take the challenge! I'd be interesting to know what happened and why he withdrew. Does anyone have a clue?
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Old 7th October 2008, 03:45 AM   #11
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Hi, Hellen --

Welcome to the Forum! As has been pointed out, the only way to get official answers about the Challenge (and Challenge-related claims) is to send an email to challenge@randi.org.

I've never heard of Mr. Vithoulkas, so I can't say anything for certain (and certainly don't speak for JREF); however, I've been watching the Challenge for a while so I can offer you some speculation.

One of the hardest things about the Challenge to grasp (especially for homeopaths) is that the results have to be unambiguous. That means there can't be any subjective judgement required. And the results have to be completely self-evident. It's very hard to do this with many homeopathic claims. For example, let's say someone claims that he can cure headaches with a 30C dilution of Pure Essence of Widget. The hard thing about this is: how can you demonstrate that anyone involved actually has a headache? Sure, they could /say/ that they have headaches, but how can you be sure? It's a subjective thing.

Many attempts to demonstrate homeopathy require, essentially, large-scale medical trials. This is generally out of the scope of the Challenge because of the time and resources it would require, all of which have to be paid for by the claimant. You'd have to have a really large pool of people. It's not to say that it's impossible; however, it's generally beyond the scope of claimant's ability to arrange.

Some simpler demonstrations have been suggested: in particular, check out Homeoproofer's Challenge thread. In particular, he claims (or claimed, at one point) to be able to distinguish between an ordinary container of solvent and a container of solvent with a 30C (or greater) dilution in it, by means of the fact that he (or his wife) would experience a reaction to the homeopathic preparation but would not with the container of solvent. It's been ages since I checked out the thread, but the ultimate problem (as I understand it) is that although he was initially 100% certain that this would work, he has tried it out and, well, it doesn't work.

If Vithoulkas would claim (and demonstrate) that he's able to pick out a homeopathic remedy among an array of non-homeopathic preparations at a rate statistically higher than chance, I am sure that the JREF would be VERY interested. But we don't know what his claim is (if there is, in fact, any claim at the moment).

Once again, welcome to the Forum!
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Old 7th October 2008, 04:27 AM   #12
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Some googling brought up this:

Quote:
They know Vithoulkas and in a sense they trust him. He was recognized in Hungary some years before, based on the proposal of the association, but as they say, his reputation is very much declining now. The only real question they asked was why Vithoulkas had not been able to find an alternative hosting institution in Greece? This is a good question indeed and I could not answer it. Partly because of this, they tended to believe that we have some “secret agenda.”
from here. That article linked to

Quote:
One reason I think that this massive project will never happen, is because a huge test of homeopathy – a notion without which medicine could move ahead much more easily – was recently planned to be done in to be done in Hungary, the funding was in place, the JREF prize was up for grabs, the homeopathic community said it was eager to get on with it, and yet – after all this time – we still have no definite agreement nor venue arranged. This, as I’ve said before, is very typical of those who apply for the million-dollar prize. The JREF will stay with this until a final cancellation is announced by the homeopaths. It will never come from us. We’re like that, adhering to our agreements, no matter what… (I regret that, in error, I specified Greece in the earlier version of this entry, and said that the homeopaths had withdrawn. They are apparently – as of October of 2008, still trying to get a venue – and other facilities – locked in. This correction appeared October 6th, 2008.)

from here.
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Old 7th October 2008, 04:31 AM   #13
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Thank you Jackagirl for the welcoming and the information
I think Vithoulkas was about to do it that way, by recognizing who has taken the homeopathic remedy and who has taken placebo. It would be an interesting experiment to take place. This guy doesn't seem to joke about this. I wonder what happened....?
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Old 7th October 2008, 05:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by snoop_doxie View Post
Ahhh, I see now. There is a split in the homeopathic community? Interesting.
Oh no, there's not a split. There are almost as many splits as there are homeopaths. It's just like any other kind of quackery or woo. Since it's not actually based on evidence, logic or reality, you can make up whatever you feel like, and many people do exactly that. Of course, since what they make up tends to differ from person to person, they are forced to fight amongst themselves as to whose made up crap is the real made up crap.

What can be particularly fun with homeopaths is not just watching them fight each other, but watching them contradict themselves, often in the same sentence. For example, the issue of diagnosis and prescription versus over the counter remedies has already been mentioned. Most homeopaths support one while vigorously denouncing the other as quackery, but apparently fail no notice that the sources they quote in support are almost always a mix of the two.

Quote:
It seems wrong to take a sick person's money, and that sick person can only hope to "feel" better, not get better.
Well, the big problem with homeopathy, and other quackery, is that the sick person usually does get better. This is because the sick person would have got better anyway, but it can be very hard convincing people of that. There are usually laws against claiming quackery can actually heal serious illness, and I've never even heard of homeopath stupid enough to claim to heal things like broken bones, so the quacks are left to the minor, self-limiting ailments which will often recover at the same rate regardless of what you do.
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Old 7th October 2008, 06:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by hellen View Post
I wonder what happened....?
Maybe you haven´t seen my post, because you posted only minutes after me.
In case you missed it, the reason seems to be that one:

Quote:
They are apparently – as of October of 2008, still trying to get a venue – and other facilities – locked in.
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Old 7th October 2008, 06:21 AM   #16
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I have redirected my question to the JREF staff by email and I am waiting for a reply.
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Old 7th October 2008, 06:58 AM   #17
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From SWIFT, 7 March 2008

(I regret that, in error, I specified Greece in the earlier version of this entry, and said that the homeopaths had withdrawn. They are apparently – as of October of 2008, still trying to get a venue – and other facilities – locked in. This correction appeared October 6th, 2008.)

A tad bit of sloppiness on Mr. Randi's part.

Yet, the error has propagated to SWIFT, 14 March 2008, as I have already pointed out:

Last week I mentioned at randi.org/joom/content/view/172/27/#i10 that a major test of homeopathy in Greece has met the expected fate, being abandoned by the homeopathy community. Now, this 1,000-word notice has arrived from Gábor Hraskó, Executive President of the Hungarian Skeptic Society:


Maybe another correction is in order?
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Old 7th October 2008, 07:34 AM   #18
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Hello again.

What were the "credible sources" for your information about the proposed test?
you say they have found a "hosting institution". What is this institution? Will it actually be carrying out the test, or is it merely providing premises and resources for the test to be carried out by a third party?
If the "institution" is not carrying out the test itself, who is?
Has the protocol they will be using been agreed with JREF?
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Old 7th October 2008, 07:59 AM   #19
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My sources are beside the point. The JREF ought to be a valid, legitimate source itself.

I do not hold any answers really. I am asking questions as you do, and I am opting for an answer from them. So, let us see what they have to say.

Last edited by Ray T.; 7th October 2008 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 7th October 2008, 08:07 AM   #20
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hello
yes Georg i didn't see your post. Thanks!
I had heard about a hospital carrying out the experiment, but i don't have detailed information. I suppose they must have first agreed on a protocol with JREF before looking for an institution to carry out the experiment.
However, this was sometime ago and I don't have any updates on how things are now and if this is indeed on its way as Ray T says.
I think we should know what Vithoulkas is up to!
JREF should post some news on that.
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Old 7th October 2008, 08:31 AM   #21
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Ray T.

Please help me understand your postings. I thought your first post was an announcement (from you) about Mr. Vithoulkas' upcoming Million Dollar Challenge. You, (Ray T.) had some information that Mr. Randi's comments in SWIFT March 14 were premature and the test had not been abandoned by the Greek homeopathy community.

Quote:
Hello Everyone

According to what I consider to be credible sources, there is a forthcoming major homeopathy test to be conducted in Greece.

To my knowledge Mr. Vithoulkas has applied for the Million Dollar Challenge and a hosting institution for the test has been found.

Moreover, I am informed that never has this test been abandoned by the Greek homeopathy community as it is claimed by Mr. Randi (SWIFT March 14, 2008)

Is there an an official JREF position on the matter?
Then your next post implies that Mr. Randi corrected himself in a later addition of SWIFT (October 6, 2008). Are the parentheses around the first paragraph supposed to be quotes?

Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
From SWIFT, 7 March 2008

(I regret that, in error, I specified Greece in the earlier version of this entry, and said that the homeopaths had withdrawn. They are apparently – as of October of 2008, still trying to get a venue – and other facilities – locked in. This correction appeared October 6th, 2008.)

A tad bit of sloppiness on Mr. Randi's part.

Yet, the error has propagated to SWIFT, 14 March 2008, as I have already pointed out:

Last week I mentioned at randi.org/joom/content/view/172/27/#i10 that a major test of homeopathy in Greece has met the expected fate, being abandoned by the homeopathy community. Now, this 1,000-word notice has arrived from Gábor Hraskó, Executive President of the Hungarian Skeptic Society:


Maybe another correction is in order?
How is this sloppy on Mr. Randi's part? You do realize that October 6 follows March 7 by almost 7 months? Then you insert something from SWIFT from March 14 and ask for another correction?
What should be corrected? Is there a homeopathy Million Dollar Challenge coming soon? How are the Greek homeopaths connected to the Hungarian Skeptics?

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Old 7th October 2008, 08:55 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
My sources are beside the point. The JREF ought to be a valid, legitimate source itself.

I do not hold any answers really. I am asking questions as you do, and I am opting for an answer from them. So, let us see what they have to say.

You must have got the information from somewhere.

Is what you put in your first post really all you have? It seems a little insubstantial as a basis for demanding corrections.
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Old 7th October 2008, 09:09 AM   #23
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hello
I understand, Ray T means that at that time (in March) the experiment was on its way or at least the homeopaths were not withdrawn from the MDC, hence the 'sloppiness'. If what Ray T says is valid, JREF should have corrected that. I think that's what RayT wants to say.
I don't know how the Greek homeopaths can be connected with the Hungarian sceptics or even with the Hungarian homeopaths.
I believe the only valid information about the Greeks and the MDC can only come from JREF. They should post some updates on that so we know IF something is about to happen, when and what exactly.
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Old 7th October 2008, 09:30 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by hellen View Post
hello
I understand, Ray T means that at that time (in March) the experiment was on its way or at least the homeopaths were not withdrawn from the MDC, hence the 'sloppiness'. If what Ray T says is valid, JREF should have corrected that. I think that's what RayT wants to say.
I don't know how the Greek homeopaths can be connected with the Hungarian sceptics or even with the Hungarian homeopaths.
I believe the only valid information about the Greeks and the MDC can only come from JREF. They should post some updates on that so we know IF something is about to happen, when and what exactly.
okay, hellen
JREF should provide the valid information for the Greeks? Why? Are the Greeks taking the MDC or not? Only they know that!
It appears from the quotes attributed to Randi (in RayT.'s posts) that they are still looking for an institution to host a challenge.
Randi is not a psychic, how could he possibly know what the homeopaths are going to do next?

I asked RayT what the connection is between Greek homeopaths and Hungarian skeptics. Please, RayT. Connect the dots for me.
Thank you
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Old 7th October 2008, 10:01 AM   #25
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hello snoop_doxie
I suppose that JREF knows whether the greeks are taking the challenge or not.
so they can let us know what is going on and on what stage is the whole process. Information is a bit unclear.
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Old 7th October 2008, 10:29 AM   #26
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Snoop:

Quote:
How is this sloppy on Mr. Randi's part?
From what I understand of Mr. Randi's correction: "Greece" has been mistakenly typed instead of "Hungary", and "abandoned" instead of "pending". I consider this sloppy.

Quote:
You do realize that October 6 follows March 7 by almost 7 months?
yes

Quote:
Then you insert something from SWIFT from March 14 and ask for another correction? What should be corrected?
Mr. Randi in [SWIFT, 14 March 2008] wrote:

Last week I mentioned at randi.org/joom/content/view/172/27/#i10 that a major test of homeopathy in Greece has met the expected fate, being abandoned by the homeopathy community.

Now, "last week" refers to [SWIFT, 7 March 2008] which included a false anouncement of abandonement from the Greek homeopathy community. Evidently, this has been corrected on October 6. Does it not follow that [SWIFT, 14 March 2008] should also be corrected?


Quote:
How are the Greek homeopaths connected to the Hungarian Skeptics?
The connection is there by Mr. Randi. I sincerely have no clue why are you asking this to me. Please, read the relevant parts in SWIFT before responding, if you have not done so.

Mojo:

Quote:
It seems a little insubstantial as a basis for demanding corrections.
My basis is what I have explained above, and it should be fairly clear and straightforward for anyone to understand.
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Old 7th October 2008, 10:54 AM   #27
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Quote:
Are the parentheses around the first paragraph supposed to be quotes?
Oh, I see, you didn't get that. I thought it was pretty obvious that the texts in bold are taken from SWIFT. I would consider that anyone that cared enough as to respond to the thread, would have taken the time to at least check the relevant SWIFT parts.
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Old 7th October 2008, 03:08 PM   #28
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Nevermind
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Old 7th October 2008, 08:08 PM   #29
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I'm told that this was a personal challenge that Randi was/is involved in, so no application and Jeff and Alison aren't involved.
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Old 7th October 2008, 09:18 PM   #30
snoop_doxie
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
Oh, I see, you didn't get that. I thought it was pretty obvious that the texts in bold are taken from SWIFT. I would consider that anyone that cared enough as to respond to the thread, would have taken the time to at least check the relevant SWIFT parts.
I guess I was too excited at the prospect of a Million Dollar Challenge to see the obvious. My mistake.

I read the entire SWIFT article from March 14, 2008 titled "Another Withdrawal".
Thank you for pointing me in that direction, I still care enough to respond, but I have more information now.

The Hungarian Skeptic Society offered to host the Greek homeopaths for tests. The Greeks decided not to do their tests in Hungary, apparently there was some disagreement about the ethical treatment of the patients, and the process of the trials.

Mr. Gabor Hrasko (Executive President of Hungarian Skeptic Society) seemed disappointed the Greeks decided against doing their tests in Hungary.

Mr. Gabor Hrasko said,
"I do not think this result was unexpected, but I am rather sad. You put a lot of energy into it, and during the last stages, I also tried my best and we are again back at the starting point."

As I said earlier in one of my posts: Anybody feeling any deja vu woo-woo?
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Old 8th October 2008, 12:43 AM   #31
Ray T.
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Snoop:

Quote:
Anybody feeling any deja vu woo-woo?
so cute

Truly snoop, your posts are non sequitur. Since you made the first step to actually read one of the SWIFT parts you were commenting on, I think it is sensible now of you to mellow down that MDC excitement, try to actually read the thread calmly and understand what the facts are and what is being discussed here. Once you get a pretty good hold of it, your input is very much welcome.

Explaining things normally comprehensible with very basic thinking in a forum advocating critical thinking should not be my labour.


Gravy:

Quote:
I'm told that this was a personal challenge that Randi was/is involved in, so no application and Jeff and Alison aren't involved.
Now, that is interesting and curious. I wish we could get some more info on that.

Last edited by Ray T.; 8th October 2008 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 8th October 2008, 02:15 AM   #32
Gravy
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
Now, that is interesting and curious. I wish we could get some more info on that.
To state the obvious: randi@randi.org
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Old 8th October 2008, 02:39 AM   #33
GzuzKryzt
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Originally Posted by Gravy View Post
To state the obvious: randi@randi.org
Or you could tell us who told you.
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Old 8th October 2008, 02:53 AM   #34
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indeed Gravy, where did you get this info from?
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Old 8th October 2008, 03:26 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
Now, that is interesting and curious. I wish we could get some more info on that.
Originally Posted by Gravy View Post
To state the obvious: randi@randi.org
Originally Posted by hellen View Post
indeed Gravy, where did you get this info from?
Originally Posted by GzuzKryzt View Post
Or you could tell us who told you.

While we're on the subject, Ray, where did you get the information in the O/P?
Are you able to provide any of the further details already requested?
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Old 8th October 2008, 05:03 AM   #36
Ray T.
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well... I 've been doin some heavy mind reading lately

Point is no matter what the source is, it will always be gossip till JREF official information. So please, pardon me the discretion.
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Old 8th October 2008, 05:05 AM   #37
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I guess I will be able to provide further details when I get a reply from JREF.
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Old 8th October 2008, 06:24 AM   #38
hellen
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still waiting for JREF position on the matter......
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Old 8th October 2008, 06:32 AM   #39
chillzero
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Originally Posted by hellen View Post
still waiting for JREF position on the matter......
You might perhaps allow them more than one day to get through whatever else they need to deal with before they read Ray T's email, and then perhaps some additional time to look into the matter and ensure they provide the appropriate response to him (and then allow him time to come post it, of course)?
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Old 8th October 2008, 11:22 AM   #40
Czarcasm
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Originally Posted by Ray T. View Post
well... I 've been doin some heavy mind reading lately

Point is no matter what the source is, it will always be gossip till JREF official information. So please, pardon me the discretion.
Why should JREF waste their time and ours trying to answer anonymous gossip when there are authentic challenges and protocols to sort through? Of course, if you could be bothered to actually name the source of this rumor(which you could of course do before JREF says another word)....if such a source actually existed.
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