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Old 5th September 2006, 11:17 AM   #1
Chris Haynes
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Woo Way: Response is NOT allowed!

I need to make this quick. I actually have to do real work... especially after not being home for two weeks. Unfortunately the last week was to go to a family funeral.

During my time there I encountered my lovely niece. It seems that she is was in a car accident and is still recovering. She didn't break any bones, but she got whiplash and traumatized her back, so she has chronic pain.

That is all well and good until I mentioned how silly homeopathy was. Oooh, did that get her angry. She told that the homeopath was the one who helped her with her allergies to chemicals, and all sorts of other things. Any time I tried to respond I was accused of interrupting! That was even when it seemed like a logical pause (I did manage to ask her why homeopathy is not considered "western", when Germany is considered to be in the "west").

So I just let her talk, talk, talk... she went on for several minutes going over all sorts of nonsense. I had to literally bite my lip to keep from responding (or laughing out loud) when she described that this practitioner diagnosed her acidic stomach by having her hold something in one hand while her other arm was pushed by the "healer" (applied kinesiology).

I finally got to interject, by saying "Okay, a comment on something several sentences back. You say micro dilutions, okay that is possibly okay. Next time ask for specific percentages of the remedy, if it is actually and 1 over 10 to the sixth then you might actually have active ingredients".

I really could not go on any further because it was just too ridiculous.

When my hubby picked me up from the airport I shared the conversation I had with my niece. He noted that is was exactly the same with one of his other relatives (who I've mentioned before, she is bipolar and has lots of issues). He said no one could ever talk to her about it... all they were allowed to do was just listen. She, like my niece, refused to have a dialog...

A response is NOT allowed !!

Actually, this is often how woo forums work. I noticed this recently on a thread in the Science, Math, Med subforum with this:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=63211

I just thought I get this off my chest. Coming to this forum has made me feel better... and I really wish I could go to TAM V. I think this Christmas my niece is getting a copy of The Skeptics Dictionary.

By the way, I would really like to know who this crook is that is bamboozling my niece. She was described as a biochemist with a Down's Syndrome child who found "using homeopathy helped her child". She lives in the Denver, CO area. I tried using Google, but it seems that the relevant search words (colorado down's syndrome biochemist homeopathy) bring up too many hits!
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Old 5th September 2006, 11:25 AM   #2
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I've noticed the same thing with my fiancee's family. They are heavily into all sorts of woo, and on the rare occasions that they actually allow me to criticize it openly, they dismiss any criticisms with claims of my mind being poisoned by western ideologies (not their exact words of course...I suspect there's a few too many syllables in there for this group).

The problem with homeopathy is that it's like religion. Once you make yourself a true believer, you're a believer for life or until you have a crisis of faith that give you pause for rationality.

It's enough to make me want to go into business selling magic potions...errr...homeopathic remedies...that can correct...subluxations...in your acidic chakras...by neutralizing the evil toxins...pushed on us by...ummm....big pharma...and the oil industry....yeah, that's the ticket. It's like a big ole' melting pot of crazy. So crazy that it just might make me a billionaire....


Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
I need to make this quick. I actually have to do real work... especially after not being home for two weeks. Unfortunately the last week was to go to a family funeral.

During my time there I encountered my lovely niece. It seems that she is was in a car accident and is still recovering. She didn't break any bones, but she got whiplash and traumatized her back, so she has chronic pain.

That is all well and good until I mentioned how silly homeopathy was. Oooh, did that get her angry. She told that the homeopath was the one who helped her with her allergies to chemicals, and all sorts of other things. Any time I tried to respond I was accused of interrupting! That was even when it seemed like a logical pause (I did manage to ask her why homeopathy is not considered "western", when Germany is considered to be in the "west").

So I just let her talk, talk, talk... she went on for several minutes going over all sorts of nonsense. I had to literally bite my lip to keep from responding (or laughing out loud) when she described that this practitioner diagnosed her acidic stomach by having her hold something in one hand while her other arm was pushed by the "healer" (applied kinesiology).

I finally got to interject, by saying "Okay, a comment on something several sentences back. You say micro dilutions, okay that is possibly okay. Next time ask for specific percentages of the remedy, if it is actually and 1 over 10 to the sixth then you might actually have active ingredients".

I really could not go on any further because it was just too ridiculous.

When my hubby picked me up from the airport I shared the conversation I had with my niece. He noted that is was exactly the same with one of his other relatives (who I've mentioned before, she is bipolar and has lots of issues). He said no one could ever talk to her about it... all they were allowed to do was just listen. She, like my niece, refused to have a dialog...

A response is NOT allowed !!

Actually, this is often how woo forums work. I noticed this recently on a thread in the Science, Math, Med subforum with this:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=63211

I just thought I get this off my chest. Coming to this forum has made me feel better... and I really wish I could go to TAM V. I think this Christmas my niece is getting a copy of The Skeptics Dictionary.

By the way, I would really like to know who this crook is that is bamboozling my niece. She was described as a biochemist with a Down's Syndrome child who found "using homeopathy helped her child". She lives in the Denver, CO area. I tried using Google, but it seems that the relevant search words (colorado down's syndrome biochemist homeopathy) bring up too many hits!
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Old 5th September 2006, 06:08 PM   #3
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See, the problem is we skeptics don't have an open mind.

That is, a mind open to being filled by whatever the woo feels like saying today.

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Old 6th September 2006, 06:01 AM   #4
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I've found that often, a response might be allowed, but is totally pointless.
You could start trying to explain why homeopathy doesn't work, and just get a puzzled look, or an automatic reaction of "you're just being waay too scientific here, and I'm not even going to try and make sense of what you're saying here because I think it sounds boring. Further more I don't really care what you're arguments are, because I've already made up my mind and I'm just telling you this, not asking your opinion."
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Naturalhealth: Helios are one of the largest homeopathic pharmacies in England. They have their reputation to consider, so it is just not worth their while doing anything that would destroy that. Rest assured, all their remedies are exactly what they say they are. There are also ways of testing the remedies too, so that you could distinguish them from just pure tap water.
QAman: How can this be done? I presume you mean testing of the lower dilution remedies?
Naturalhealth: No. This can be done for all remedies.

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Old 6th September 2006, 12:29 PM   #5
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Don't ask me to accept anything that brooks no rational inquiry. I'm simply incapable of comprehending the incomprehensible.
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Old 6th September 2006, 12:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
By the way, I would really like to know who this crook is that is bamboozling my niece. She was described as a biochemist with a Down's Syndrome child who found "using homeopathy helped her child". She lives in the Denver, CO area. I tried using Google, but it seems that the relevant search words (colorado down's syndrome biochemist homeopathy) bring up too many hits!
Try calling the Colorado http://www.homeopathyschool.org/ and ask them if it rings any bells.

ETA: If they ask you why you wanna know, tell them, "She helped my niece, and I'd like to consult her, but I'm too embarrassed to ask my niece what her name is."
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Old 6th September 2006, 12:53 PM   #7
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Buy a bottle of homeopathic pills.
Take the label off.
Give the bottle to your niece.
Tell her you can give her $1,000,000 if she can tell you what remedy is in the pills.
Tell her if she can't, she has to shut up about homeopathy forever.
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Old 6th September 2006, 06:02 PM   #8
Chris Haynes
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Originally Posted by Goshawk View Post
Try calling the Colorado http://www.homeopathyschool.org/ and ask them if it rings any bells.

ETA: If they ask you why you wanna know, tell them, "She helped my niece, and I'd like to consult her, but I'm too embarrassed to ask my niece what her name is."
Thanks... I did do some poking around and got this loon who claims to have received a pharmacy degree:
http://www.intraceptions.com/about.htm

Other possibility is this: http://www.healthwithhomeopathy.com/ (but it is seizures).

These women are either completely clueless... or as in the case of the one who should really know better: scam artists.
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Old 11th December 2006, 08:47 PM   #9
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Bumpity bump...

So I decided to buy my niece a Christmas present. I first thought I would get her The Skeptics Dictionary, but that was not terribly direct. Then I thought about Voodoo Science, but that was too cranky. No store I visited had Quack! Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices. sigh

But today I was browsing through a larger used bookstore and found an inexpensive copy of Hahnemann's Organon! It is so perfectly inane and incomprehensible. So I'm sending it to her.

Hopefully she will not think I am trying to insult her (NO! I'm sending her the stuff written by the guy who invented homeopathy!), and perhaps some grain of her education (MA in psychology) will make her look more closely at the person who claims to be a "biochemist" and is treating her with "homeopathy" and applied kinesthology.

She is sharing the house with her brother (along with other rent paying roommates) who is supposed to apply to college after doing his stint in the Navy. For him I got Richard Feynman's The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. I figured that would be a good counter-woo... and my nephew may actually identify with Feynman (actually, I think I want to read this book!).
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Old 11th December 2006, 09:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vbloke View Post
Buy a bottle of homeopathic pills.
Take the label off.
Give the bottle to your niece.
Tell her you can give her $1,000,000 if she can tell you what remedy is in the pills.
Tell her if she can't, she has to shut up about homeopathy forever.
This isn't a fair challenge. She never claimed that SHE could recognize any brand of homeopathic pills, for the same reason that I wouldn't claim to tell the difference between Ibuprofen and Vicodin if all I had were a bunch of unlabeled pills. If she brought you a bottle of unlabeled pharmaceutical pills and offered you a million dollars to figure out what they are, you wouldn't be able to figure it out (without sending it to a lab that could take a long time and a moderate amount of money to analyze the pills).

This is another example of forcing woo-believers into challenges that they never claim they can do. It doesn't prove anything.
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Old 11th December 2006, 10:31 PM   #11
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Good point, Admiral. I agree whole heartedly, and it's something we need to keep reminding ourselves about. As Randi says, 'You wouldn't invite a pianist to play the flute'...or something like that...

I guess this is why I avoid such conversations more these days. If people don't have the foundation to begin understanding, then they just won't get it. I feel like starting from scratch in explaining the scientific method, and it's just incredibly hard work.

Although I have often explained the history of homeopathy to those who use it, which has typically led to 'well we'll just agree to disagree' or 'we're entitled to our own opinions' as a way to exit the conversation when they realise I know more about it then they do.

Athon
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Old 11th December 2006, 10:55 PM   #12
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Huh? There is no way I am going to another state to change the labels on someone else's woo meds!

The book! What about the Organon?

That is why I bumped this thread!

Wouldn't a halfway intelligent person reading this drivel (which is at http://www.homeopathyhome.com/refere...n/organon.html ) not think that two century concepts have nothing to do with modern medicine?
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Old 11th December 2006, 11:47 PM   #13
athon
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You're assuming that your niece would read it with the same dispassion you would. Which I doubt.

Although I'm only guessing, I would assume that she would view it as a historical text that inspired an age of modern medicine. Sure, we can point out the stupid insinuations, but to somebody who embraces this nonsense, they would read it with a generous amount of Orwellian 'double-think'.

I see your point, HC, but not sure it will result in ways you would imagine. Homeopathy is accepted in spite of its contrast with logic and science.

Athon
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Old 12th December 2006, 01:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
The book! What about the Organon?
If you were trying to dissuade someone from getting involved in a church, would you send them a Bible?
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Old 12th December 2006, 01:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post


Huh? There is no way I am going to another state to change the labels on someone else's woo meds!

The book! What about the Organon?

That is why I bumped this thread!

Wouldn't a halfway intelligent person reading this drivel (which is at http://www.homeopathyhome.com/refere...n/organon.html ) not think that two century concepts have nothing to do with modern medicine?

Unfortunately no, for the same reason that makes $cientologists think Dianetics is the greatest book ever ...
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Old 12th December 2006, 01:46 AM   #16
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Homoeopathy is accepted by the masses due to anecdotal evidence and placebo affects on the believers. Whatever the logical and scientific problems of these as evidence of the efficacy of homoeopathy they are real "tangible" proof to people who aren't interested in how something works (or doesn't). Their view is that "who cares whether it is not possible for it to work - it does, so leave it alone".

To illustrate the extent to which this mindset can influence otherwise highly intelligent people: I work for a pharma company, fairly large but not Big Pharma. Our regulatory executive, a qualified pharmacist, believes that there is something in homoepathy. This is somebody who spends their entire life dealing with the FDA and the like on clinical trials and sceince based evidence for the efficacy and safety of drugs. We have had many "debates" about this and it all comes back to the same "I know somebody it has helped". Pointing out that the problems may have resolved themselves or that some other intervenbtion may have helped just ellicits the response that I am too closed minded (see previous posts).

If people like this can fall for the stuff then you have got sod all chance of convincing the vast majority of believers of the error of their ways.
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Old 12th December 2006, 01:48 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
See, the problem is we skeptics don't have an open mind.
I'm a skeptic and I have an open mind.. just not so open that my brain flops out onto the ground.
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Old 12th December 2006, 03:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by osmosis View Post
I'm a skeptic and I have an open mind.. just not so open that my brain flops out onto the ground.
How about...

I'm open to the possibility that we are fooling ourselves.

Linda
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Old 12th December 2006, 06:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by HCN
A response is NOT allowed !!
In polite company we say "There shall be no response."

~~ Paul
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Old 12th December 2006, 07:21 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Admiral View Post
This isn't a fair challenge. She never claimed that SHE could recognize any brand of homeopathic pills, for the same reason that I wouldn't claim to tell the difference between Ibuprofen and Vicodin if all I had were a bunch of unlabeled pills. If she brought you a bottle of unlabeled pharmaceutical pills and offered you a million dollars to figure out what they are, you wouldn't be able to figure it out (without sending it to a lab that could take a long time and a moderate amount of money to analyze the pills).

This is another example of forcing woo-believers into challenges that they never claim they can do. It doesn't prove anything.

If someone brought me the two bottles then I would send them to a lab no matter how long it took and no matter how immoderate the price. If the lab cost $1000, $10,000 or even $100,000, there would still be an enormous profit to be made. The JREF Challenge for homeopathy allows claimants to use any means they want including taking the pills and recording the resulting symptoms. If someone brought me Viocin and Ibuprofen pills, I wouldn't even need a lab to determine the difference, I would just take them on different days. If some produced Vicodin and Quinine pills I believe that vast majority of people living in modern Western countires could easily tell the difference by taking them.

As for addressing firm believers in homeopathy, I might start be asking which succussion method they believe in and why they think that particular method is better than the other method. There are people who argue about whether one should shake the dilutions by hand or by machine. Furthermore, there are people who argue about which direction the machine should shake the vials.
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Old 12th December 2006, 09:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by athon View Post
You're assuming that your niece would read it with the same dispassion you would. Which I doubt.

Although I'm only guessing, I would assume that she would view it as a historical text that inspired an age of modern medicine. Sure, we can point out the stupid insinuations, but to somebody who embraces this nonsense, they would read it with a generous amount of Orwellian 'double-think'.

I see your point, HC, but not sure it will result in ways you would imagine. Homeopathy is accepted in spite of its contrast with logic and science.

Athon
I see your point. Though I am hoping that this woman who took great delight in pointing out the lack of intelligence in other people, might actually use some of the smarts she claims to have. Also, I think the historical part is important. She kept saying what was bad about "Western" medicine, to which I kept reminding her that Germany is not in the East! She clearly had no idea what the history of homeopathy was other than what the "healer" was telling her.

Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
If you were trying to dissuade someone from getting involved in a church, would you send them a Bible?
Originally Posted by Flo View Post
Unfortunately no, for the same reason that makes $cientologists think Dianetics is the greatest book ever ...
I suspect you are all correct... Next year it will be Voodoo Science.

My only hope is that I have planted a seed of doubt which would counter the placebo effect.
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Old 12th December 2006, 11:32 AM   #22
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Exactly what is she doing with that MA in Psych?
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Old 12th December 2006, 12:16 PM   #23
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Working in the county courthouse dealing with victims of crime, specifically domestic violence victims.
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Old 12th December 2006, 12:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
Working in the county courthouse dealing with victims of crime, specifically domestic violence victims.
Ask her why she doesn't just adjust their chi so that abuse no longer happens?

Or rearrange the furniture a la feng shui to calm their partners?
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Old 12th December 2006, 12:42 PM   #25
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A couple weeks ago, my brother (Michael) was induced by his friend (Suzy) to go to a seminar by her friend (Emily), a recent graduate in "naturopathy" who was recruiting victims ... er, clients. During her talk, an attendee asked if she should stop her daughter from using an asthma treatment. Emily looked really pained, like she wanted to say yes; but she said "I could get in trouble saying that, I can only suggest that you explore alternatives."

Emily Kane, ND (a former, senior editor of their official journal), has a huge list of treatment options http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.asp?Id=783 Note that one option is a bath in dilute hydrogen peroxide to oxygenate the blood. Apparently, Kane never learned that the technical term for people trying to absorb oxygen through the skin is "drowning." Also, peroxide is not oxygen.

Anyway, I asked another friend if she heard about Michael's experience, and she said that Suzy reported he was really annoyed all night. There are three dozen naturopaths, here, in Massachusetts. We are blessed with two in our little town.
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Old 12th December 2006, 12:47 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Ask her why she doesn't just adjust their chi so that abuse no longer happens?

Or rearrange the furniture a la feng shui to calm their partners?


I could ask her if the defending lawyers have used applied kinesiology to find out what the offenders are allergic to... the allergies are obviously causing them to hit their wives and kids.
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Old 12th December 2006, 12:51 PM   #27
Garrette
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post


I could ask her if the defending lawyers have used applied kinesiology to find out what the offenders are allergic to... the allergies are obviously causing them to hit their wives and kids.
I know you say it in jest, as I did, but truthfully I would look for an opening to ask something very similar, and then pursue it.

If she responds as if the idea is silly, you have your opening based on inconsistency.

If she responds as if the idea has merit, you have grounds for righteous ire.
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Old 12th December 2006, 01:11 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
A couple weeks ago, my brother (Michael) was induced by his friend (Suzy) to go to a seminar by her friend (Emily), a recent graduate in "naturopathy" who was recruiting victims ... er, clients. During her talk, an attendee asked if she should stop her daughter from using an asthma treatment. Emily looked really pained, like she wanted to say yes; but she said "I could get in trouble saying that, I can only suggest that you explore alternatives."
My first responce to that is something like "how much do you like having your kid being able to breath?"
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Old 12th December 2006, 04:08 PM   #29
Chris Haynes
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
I know you say it in jest, as I did, but truthfully I would look for an opening to ask something very similar, and then pursue it.

If she responds as if the idea is silly, you have your opening based on inconsistency.

If she responds as if the idea has merit, you have grounds for righteous ire.
Hmmmm... It is just that she is in another state, and I sincerely doubt I will be speaking to her in person for a long time.

Especially since coming back from the funeral I was insufferable for about 48 hours. Since this often happens after visiting my family (like my dad and other siblings) my hubby thinks I should avoid them in the future.
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What I get for linking to http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/
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Old 12th December 2006, 04:13 PM   #30
exarch
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
The book! What about the Organon?

That is why I bumped this thread!

Wouldn't a halfway intelligent person reading this drivel (which is at http://www.homeopathyhome.com/refere...n/organon.html ) not think that two century concepts have nothing to do with modern medicine?
I would agree with the others that it's a bad idea to try to combat someone's belief in homeopathy by giving them the organon.
However, if you're interested in understanding the organon, MRCHans has made an annotated version pointing out all the inconsistencies and internal conflicts.

I think it was him anyway. He probably still has it linked in his sig.
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Naturalhealth: Helios are one of the largest homeopathic pharmacies in England. They have their reputation to consider, so it is just not worth their while doing anything that would destroy that. Rest assured, all their remedies are exactly what they say they are. There are also ways of testing the remedies too, so that you could distinguish them from just pure tap water.
QAman: How can this be done? I presume you mean testing of the lower dilution remedies?
Naturalhealth: No. This can be done for all remedies.

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Old 12th December 2006, 04:16 PM   #31
Chris Haynes
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Originally Posted by exarch View Post
...However, if you're interested in understanding the organon, MRCHans has made an annotated version pointing out all the inconsistencies and internal conflicts.

I think it was him anyway. He probably still has it linked in his sig.
Kind of where I got the idea.
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