The end of homeopathy?

November 16th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 476 Comments »

Time after time, properly conducted scientific studies have proved that homeopathic remedies work no better than simple placebos. So why do so many sensible people swear by them? And why do homeopaths believe they are victims of a smear campaign? Ben Goldacre follows a trail of fudged statistics, bogus surveys and widespread self-deception.

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Friday November 16 2007

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The Lancet – “Benefits and risks of homoeopathy”

November 16th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 83 Comments »

This is a piece I wrote in today’s edition of The Lancet. You can also see this article there in a nice Lancet PDF, along with a “world report” on homeopathy, and the references in pleasantly accessible Crossref format. To be honest, it almost feels silly writing about homeopathy in the Lancet. Read the rest of this entry »

Appendix: Andy’s incredibly polite email to the Society of Homeopaths

October 21st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy, stifling criticism | 58 Comments »

To my mind this is one of the most important parts of the story about the Society of Homeopaths bullying its critics: it’s the incredibly polite and courteous email that Dr Andy Lewis sent to the SoH after his hosting company received the first threatening letter from their solicitors. Read the rest of this entry »

A corporate conspiracy to silence alternative medicine?

October 20th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy, stifling criticism | 45 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday October 20 2007

Let’s imagine that we live in an exotic parallel universe where I am able to use an amusing but trivial news event to illustrate a wider cultural and intellectual issue. Dr Andy Lewis runs a website called Quackometer: he criticised the Society of Homeopaths (Europe ’s largest professional organisation of homeopaths) in no uncertain terms. Read the rest of this entry »

Homeopathy gives you Aids

September 15th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy, MMR, placebo | 49 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
September 15th, 2007

Okay now look: there’s nothing wrong with the idea of homeopaths giving out sugar pills. The placebo effect can be very powerful, because it’s not just about the pill, it’s about the cultural meaning of the treatment: so we know from research that four placebo sugar pills a day are more effective than two for eradicating gastric ulcers (and that’s not subjective, you measure ulcers by putting a camera into your stomach); we know that salt water injections are a more effective treatment for pain than sugar pills, not because salt water injections are medically active, but because injections are a more dramatic intervention; we know that green sugar pills are a more effective anxiety treatment than red ones, not because of any biomechanical effect of the dyes, but because of the cultural meanings of the colours green and red. We even know that packaging can be beneficial. Read the rest of this entry »

“The Memory of Water?” – Journal Club roundup and submissions for publication

September 14th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy, journal club | 20 Comments »

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Homeopathy Journal Club. The standard of commentary was very high and I think a fair amount of this stuff deserves the chance to be published in the journal itself. I know a couple of people have already submitted their work as letters, but Read the rest of this entry »

Homeopathy Journal Club

August 14th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy, journal club | 30 Comments »

Peter Fisher and Elsevier have rather kindly given me permission to reproduce the experimental papers from the special issue of Homeopathy on the memory of water, so I’m posting them in full below. As you know I’m a strong believer in free access to academic journals, especially when they’ve been press-released and discussed in popular fora.

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The memory of water is a REALITY

August 2nd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 44 Comments »

A special edition of “the journal previously known as the British Journal of Homeopathy” claims to have assembled a large body of data proving that water has a memory. By which they mean, of course, a memory of more than a few picoseconds, which can explain the effects of homeopathy sugar tablets (which have been shown in trials – let’s remember – to be no more effective than placebo sugar tablets). Read the rest of this entry »

Electrosmog. The Independent has seriously excelled itself this time

May 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, independent | 96 Comments »

This is genuinely fascinating: from the article in today’s Independent, electrosensitivity now seems to be growing into an explicitly alternative diagnosis, to go with alternative therapies. For this article your Bad Science Bingo high scorers are: q-link, homeopathy, misrepresenting Sweden, and ignoring the provocation studies.

My war on electrosmog: Julia Stephenson sets out to clear the airwaves Read the rest of this entry »

Free Tickets – Radio 4 medical comedy recording, feat. me, Phil Hammond, Arthur Smith, Sarah Jarvis et al

March 7th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, onanism | 10 Comments »

If you don’t make it the recording quality will at least be better than this, although it’s only a pilot, I think, so it may never go out…


Medicine Balls…. is new Radio 4 comedy hosted by Dr Phil Hammond, in which we guarantee to answer all your health questions; like “Do homeopaths accept homeopathic payment?” and “Would the NHS improve if we put Duct tape over Patricia Hewitt’s mouth?” The guests are comedian, writer and NHS survivor Arthur Smith, junior doctor and award winning author of the Guardian’s Bad Science column Ben Goldacre and the world’s second sexiest ginger GP cum media doctor Sarah Jarvis. Music is by Dr Adam Kay. The recording is at the Drill Hall in London on March 20th and tickets are free on 0870 9011227 or