This week found one of the indignates, Marsh, on an Irish radio program debating a Homeopath and the radio host. Sheila Behan was the homeopath and was clearly allowed to go on unfettered for three minutes about what homeopathy apparently does and what it is good to treat (which is everything that is a self limiting medical condition), while Marsh was handed the bone of a few seconds to blurt out as best as anyone could be expected to say in such a limited time that it does not work.
The homeopath and the host, who clearly was in the bag for the homeopathic doctor, went through a laundry list of logical fallacies. There was the appeal of popularity that thirty million Europeans follow homeopathy and they all can't be wrong. There was the appeal of personal sacrifice of why would the 'doctor' spend four years educating herself and fifteen years in practice if it did not work. There was an appeal to special pleading that of course overdosing on a homeopathic remedy won't harm you unless the symptoms fit the remedy. There was a goofy appeal to science which had the homeopath boasting of 134 peer-reviewed studies of which a whopping 44% showed that it worked. There was an appeal to antiquity that it has shown efficacy (at least to the talk show host) for 200 hundred years -200 hundred years, I'll have more on this point later. I expect the homeopath to talk nonsense, but the talk show host made Larry King seem like David Brinkley. Marsh was a admiral token skeptic, but this brief radio segment would make an excellent teaching tool in any skeptical classroom.
I do understand why Samuel Hahnemann thought he might have been onto something, and why others two hundred years ago thought so too. Basically, Sammy was giving out water to treat his patients while other doctors were using medicine. The problem was that even the best medicine in the late 18th century was more likely to harm than heal. George Washington received the best medical care available in 1799 when he became ill, and the treatment likely expedited his death. By the 1920's and 1930's when medicine started actually helping people with rise of medications such as digitalis and sulfa drugs, why and how homeopathy survived, especially under the scrutiny of peer review journals, has always baffled me. I digress.
Marsh indicated that while the overdose on homeopathic remedies resulted in surprise not deaths, the 10:23 organization is not going away. It may not have any really big events planned for a bit, but they are not disappearing. Their next project is to sneak some sense into the Irish radio host brain. Good grief, what a sap.
The Indignates with returning guest commentator Gavin Schofield then covered some news segments. (Is Schofield going to be the next Marsh and just sneak onto the show as regular? Only time will tell, but he fits in nicely with the gang. It must be a Liverpool thing.) Hayley told a depressing story of a young 16 year old girl who was raped in Bangladesh. The punishment dealt to her, how dare she be raped, was a severe lashing, and the family had to pay a fine. The actual criminal rapist was let off. What the hell is that? It makes no sense to me, but then god acts is just wacky mysterious ways. Maybe her burqa revealed far too much of the bridge of her nose, and boys will be rapists? Terrible.
The Indignates then discussed the upcoming ad during the Superbowl which Focus on the Family purchased featuring Tim Tebow, late quarterback to the University of Florida Gators and NFL draft prospect as well as home schooled religious guy. Focus on the Family wants to have an ad showing that if the doctor's advice in the Philippines had been followed and an abortion performed to save the mother's life due to an infection, Tim would not have been born. Now, he is a great NFL draft prospect, so take that pro-choicers! (My wife things he's going to flop in the NFL. We'll see.) To me, if you pay your millions to CBS, you pretty much get to put on whatever you want. Apparently CBS has vetoed controversial ads in the past, but I just cannot get that excited over it. Maybe we can all raise a bunch of money and have Brian Thompson do some outrageous thirty second joke involving evolution, Ray Comfort and genitals.
I must take issue with the Indignates treating football as some inferior form of Rugby. Please, the only other spectator sport better than NFL football is Major League Baseball. What's with this soccer stuff (oh yeah, I called it soccer) around the world? "The score was one nil, what a great game, mate." How can this possibly be entertaining unless you are a hooligan tearing about the stadium?
The final news item the Indignates had a field day with was Mike Adams' rant on skeptics against alternative medicine and supporters of vaccines, which I covered yesterday.
Other than their notions on football, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Schofield once again was a nice fit with the regular Indignates, and the Marsh interview on Irish radio is a must listen.