Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Evidence and Satire

Wired is reporting that James Randi has offered a $1m prize to anybody who can prove via a double blind test that homeopathy actually works.

He's had a long standing similar prize for anyone who can provide incontravertible proof that they have a 'paranormal ability', which has been untroubled by psychics in the US who seem to mostly avoid submitting to a test. Maybe they know in advance what the result will be...

It's a good stunt, but he's preaching to the converted. Maybe he'll persuade a few people who are using homeopathic remedies and don't know how they're made, but anybody who does know what's in a homeopathic remedy* and still pays for it isn't going to be inconvenienced by 'facts' or 'proof'. They're very likely to be the sort of person who when they say 'facts' or 'proof', you can hear the inverted commas.

If you can't persuade with evidence, hopefully you can still have a little fun though. I love this from Tim Minchin. His satire is as hard hitting as a $1m bet, which homeopathists will studiously avoid and it's a hell of a lot more fun. Richard Dawkins take note: You might be right, but for God's sake lighten up. Or should that be for science's sake?

You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? Medicine. Enjoy.

* Water. Or if you're a homeopathist, water with fond memories of other substances.

No comments: