A Homeopathy Survey and a Skeptic Version

Water dropPoor homeopaths, they aren’t feeling too well as of late. The ASA has given them an ultimatum to sort their websites out and the 10:23 campaign thwarted their “Let People Choose” campaign by pre-empting it with their own “Let People Choose” website, dispelling the fallacy of allowing homeopathy on the NHS as a matter of consumer choice.

So now, they have set up a public SurveyMonkey survey on homeopathy, most probably in an effort to get data to support their position. However, because it’s an open survey, various skeptics have filled it in, telling the homeopaths what they need to hear and even attempting to correct some of their fallacious questions. Given their track record of abandoning projects when it becomes clear they are not going their way (“Let People Choose” is an obvious example), I wouldn’t be surprised if the survey disappears and the homeopaths attempt to quietly sweep it under the rug. Therefore, I’ve decided to set up my own SurveyMonkey account, and I’ve pretty much duplicated their survey. I invite everyone (including skeptics and homeopaths) to fill in my version of the survey, and I will release the results in early August. Whereas all the clever skeptical comments entered into their survey will doubtless be thrown into the ether, I will preserve the comments in my version for posterity!

One Comment

  1. Lenoxus

    Here were my responses (I did the original but not the skeptical clone). I’m curious if “Homeopathy” was capitalized in the original and I hadn’t noticed (I can’t look at it anymore), because, well, it’s not a proper noun. I suppose that Capital Letters Are Magic, as TvTropes tells us.

    1. Do you know what Homeopathy is? YES

    2. If you had a health concern, would you consider supplementing conventional medicine with alternative medicine such as Homeopathy? NO

    3. Have you ever taken a Homeopathic Remedy? NO

    4. Qualified Homeopaths are no longer permitted to explain how Homeopathy works or offer any evidence on their websites because of a ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency. Do you think Homeopaths should be allowed to explain how Homeopathy works? YES

    Please comment on your answer.

    Many people think that “homeopathy” just means some sort of herbalism. These misconceptions need to be corrected; people have the right to know the precise mechanisms whereby homeopathy is thought to work, for example, that it requires water to remember things, and that the only reason their tap water doesn’t treat every disease is that it wasn’t shaken properly, and that the end result is indistinguishable from other water. Adding the word “quantum” may help with plausibility.

    5. Qualified Homeopaths are no longer allowed to state which medical conditions they treat. If you visited a Homeopaths website, would you find it useful or not useful to know which conditions they can treat? USEFUL

    Please comment on your answer.

    A cleverly nonspecific advertisement can make it seem that a product treats a condition without stating so outright. Instead, people have the right to know that the number of conditions homeopathy treats is zero. This should get people to be highly interested in using the product just in case it helps; after all, who doesn’t want to be the first at something?

    6. Qualified Homeopaths are no longer allowed to give testimonials from genuine patients if those patients want to state that their health has improved as a result of homeopathy. (Testimonials means comments only from verifiable, genuine patients.) Do you think testimonials giving details of improvement from genuine patients should be not allowed or allowed? ALLOWED

    In addition to testimonials, the advertisements should feature data that are likewise scientifically relevant to the consumer’s decision, such as sports scores and song lyrics. It shouldn’t hurt to mention all the peer-reviewed double-blind tests on the subject, but only on an infinitesimally small portion of the advert. That way, the disappointing results of those tests should homeopathically cause consumers to think that homeopathy is extremely effective.

    7. Why do you think Homeopaths are being treated in this way?

    I hope that it’s because of the scientific emptiness of homeopathy, and not a sinister conspiracy of wizards from the moon. If the latter are responsible, I’m sorry; moon wizards can be jerks. Their disposition is likely due to astrological effects, which (I’m sure you know) are difficult to disentangle from the complex interactions of homeopathy.

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