homeopathic physics abuse, take two

November 28, 2009 — 11 Comments

After reviewing the horrifying evils unleashed on unsuspecting physics equations by Dr. Charlene Werner and explaining just how wrong she really was, I thought that her video would go unrivaled as an example of wild, clinical inanity for a long, long time. And as odd as it may seem, I was wrong. Cancer surgeon and glutton for punishment, Orac, has found a certain Dr. John Benneth who boldly tries to jump the bar set by our airheaded homeopathic optometrist and comes disturbingly close. Yes ladies and germs, we have another desecration of physics on our hands and believe it or not, if homeopathy really worked the way he explains, it would be an extreme weapon that would rival nuclear warheads and weaponized pathogens in any military arsenal…

demon theory of disease

As anyone who’s familiar with homeopath’s explanations of how their cures are supposed to work can guess at this point, Benneth’s speech is all about energy and how this energy reacts with the cells and molecules in the client’s body. The disturbing thing is where he claims this energy comes from and how it works…

The dilution and succussion process that is used to make homeopathic medicines creates self- replicating hydrate clathrates. These are crystalloid polymers that appear as nanobubbles that are emitting electromagnetic radiation transformed from the natural background radiation. The cells of the body pick this up and react to it.

Why oh why do woo-meisters love to use words like energy and radiation while blissfully oblivious to what the words mean or how the physics behind them actually work? Let’s think about this for a moment. Energy, if we go by the strict physical definition, is the ability of a system to perform work. That’s it. If you direct energy into a body, you’ll be knocking around molecules. And if you’re an organism, that’s a really bad thing because all the particles and ionizing electromagnetic rays will eventually start hitting something important. Like your genome for instance. When exposed to high levels of radiation, living tissues decay and die. So when you’re drinking a radioactive remedy that works by bombarding your cells with energy, you’re effectively drinking poison. Why do you think beams of radiation are used in oncology? They bombard cancer cells and kill off tumors. The irony of an alt med practitioner ranting against the destructive power of modern medicine while promoting radiation as the key to homeopathic remedies would be hilarious if we knew people didn’t fall for it.

Oh and there’s more. The background radiation we experience in everyday life is heat, light and a steady buzz of microwaves from communication satellites, cellular towers and power lines. And all of these phenomena take the form of waves propagating through space, or electromagnetic radiation. So how exactly does shaking up water with a few drops of some mysterious substance transform electromagnetic radiation into more of the same? Could it be that (gasp!) Dr. Benneth has no idea what he’s talking about and that since all releasing a propagating wave of energy in water would do is heat it up, he’s really telling you that if you just warm up water, you’ve effectively made a viable homeopathic cure right at home? No, of course not, the woo faithful will cry in his defense. That’s not the “right form of energy” and it would never work. But since energy is just the ability for work to be done in a system, energy only comes in different levels and vehicles. Under the hood, it’s the same effect working its way through stars, planets and living things via different mechanisms.

As most other skeptics who tackle homeopathy, I’m asked all the time why I can’t just ignore this fluffy woo and let it coexist with modern medicine. What’s the harm in having people do what makes them feel good as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others? For all those who ask, I want to point to Charlene Werner and the other homeopaths who trip over their own tongues when they try to explain what they actually do and make so many gross mistakes, they would fail eight grade science in a heartbeat. Would you trust a doctor who’s totally lost when you ask about the heart’s basic functions? Or one who thinks that your spleen is somewhere below your kidneys, sandwiched between your reproductive system and the large intestine? Why would you possibly trust someone who clearly has no clue how their remedies are supposed to work and why would you choose them over people who actually know enough about anatomy and biology to explain how they’d rather treat you and why they want to do it that way?

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/ Uncle Al

    It only works if you believe. If it still doesn’t work it is a test of faith. God herself offers no greater promise. All traditional medicine can offer is empirical procedure.

  • http://anotherbloggingblog.com Abber

    Notice another buzz word here: nanobubbles. String theory and quantum fields are apparently passé, but nano is definitely in this season.

  • adamant

    Sadly, I was expecting a point by point dismantling of the theories using citations of solid science. As it stands, you are no better than they, crying foul but offering no methodical process to review.

    You, like they, are preaching to your choir with no capacity to reach out and convert the undecided folk seeking healthy solutions. Belligerent ad hominem will only serve to entrench those inclined to homeopathy, effectively painting you as the evil little tyrant of science who offers no actual science, but insults on their notables and by transference, themselves.

    If your goal truly is to educate the undecided and influence the believers of homeopathy, then a less insulting and dismissive approach must be taken, one that draws them in with demonstration of the mechanical failures of the claims, not using vague generalizations, but systematic methods.

    If your goal is to simply preach to the choir and earn your silver from the ad-revenue that it generates, please, stay the course.

  • iiss

    adamant – you suggest a point-by-point dissection, but really, it’s just a string of nonsense words. How can you make a counter argument to an assertion which, really, is just “blah blah blah -fancyword- blah blah blah -fancyword-” ?

    Isn’t the best cure for nonsense ridicule?

  • Greg Fish

    “Sadly, I was expecting a point by point dismantling of the theories using citations of solid science.”

    That’s exactly what I did. It’s just that I didn’t think it was necessary to cite references to very basic middle school science. Concepts like radiation and energy shouldn’t require a big list of citations. Really.

    “…a less insulting and dismissive approach must be taken, one that draws them in with demonstration of the mechanical failures of the claims”

    So pointing out that how Dr. Benneth described the inner workings of homeopathy will either make a toxic stew that will give you cancer, or just make hot water doesn’t fall into the category of demonstrating the mechanical failures of his claims?

    “If your goal is to simply preach to the choir and earn your silver from the ad-revenue that it generates…”

    My goal is to challenge people’s ideas, and when those ideas are being used to justify making money from exploiting others with technobabble and quackery, I don’t think I have to be sensitivity and politeness incarnate. Also, as of right now, this blog doesn’t have any ads so it’s hard to see how I’d make money from something that isn’t there yet…

  • DeBaard

    So dear non believers,

    read this carefully befor you decide whether it is quack or not. An family member of mine is now for 1 year in semi.coma after the third wasp bite. (the first and second were 15 and 16 years ago)

    10 years before she was made immune by it through regular medics.

    So you would think no problem?? right. NO BIG Problems.

    Now comes the trick: Within 20 seconds she fainted after the bite in her finger tip. After 1 minute she blew up like a ballon. Luckily the paramedics could push a pipe through her throat so she didn´t suffocate.

    How do you explain the body reacting so fast. The poison could not have reached the brain within 20 seconds even not in a minute . So how was the response created ?? Not by the poison but by the signals given by the poison to the NERVES.

    Why did the body react is such a incredeble way? the normal doctor couldn´t tell my uncle , He told him she was the third woman in existence surviving ther third wasp bite without dying although her hyper allergeic reaction to it (They didn´´t even dare to do a test with diluted wasp poison to check or the immune cure from 10 years ago was still effective.)

    Now she is in semi coma and the normal medical world doesn´t know what to except from pulling the plugs so she would die.

    Now my uncle has been treating her with, yes homeopathic diluted wasp BEE poison as this is less poisoneous . You people say there is nothing in it right?? Right it is so diluted that not a single molecul is in it Right?? Right. OK now what has happened after he gave her the first drops to have her body to get used to the poison again and have the brains relaxed again so she could move again????

    Nothing??? There is no molecul in there right?? right there isn´t.

    1 second after giving only one drop she started vomiting and grew like a balloon . But not so severe as with the real wasp bite.

    OK could be placebo effect.

    Right

    Now the second time with this so called nothing water

    Guess what happened??

    Right vomiting again and ballooning but not so sever anymore.

    Could be placebo huh?? OK but how is this placebo effect achieved with somene in coma???

    Tell me.

    Now she is so far after 1 year that she is able to speak some words again and talk with her eyes. 1 blink is yes ,2 is no, and 3 blinks is yes please.As the talking is to exhausting.

    And on command of the care taking people she can relax her whole body for a couple of minutes and is then dressed or washed. The she flips into feetus holding (like an unborn baby)

    Normal medicine cannot explain this . She should have been dead 1 year ago.

    Now i will not come back on this and please call me liar etc. But how can 1 drop of nothing make her react like she is stung by a real wasp.

    Think before you judge about something you have no experience with nor underwenth it.

    Best regards ,

    and keep your minds open. That will make it a better world.

  • Greg Fish

    @DeBaard. But of course, there’s nothing like random anecdotal account on the web to convince us of the powers of homeopathy, especially when framed with absolutely no proofreading and in a long, rambling format.

    How do you explain the body reacting so fast. The poison could not have reached the brain within 20 seconds even not in a minute.

    Poisons don’t have to reach the brain to trigger the body’s reaction. Your unidentified family member could go into full blown shock within seconds if she’s as allergic to a wasp bite as you describe. The venom just needs to enter her body, period.

    Ok now what has happened after he gave her the first drops to have her body to get used to the poison again and have the brains relaxed again so she could move?

    Ow. That attempt at an argument made my brain hurt. Many venoms don’t even target the nervous system, i.e. aren’t neurotoxins, so the idea of “relaxing one’s brain” to get patients out of a coma caused by anaphylactic shock is absolutely ridiculous. Only a victim of a brain endema would actually need to have brain swelling reduced. So, the entire premise you detailed here is wrong and you’ve not provided any proof for what you’re saying or any way to verify your story.

    Patients in comas can get better on their own and even if your story is a truly accurate account, just a few minutes on WebMD could clear up the “mysteries of medicine” to which you refer and it’s pretty obvious that you’re guilty of confusing correlation with a plausible causation. Often times the two are very different things.

    Best regards, and keep your minds open. That will make it a better world.

    I’m all for keeping my mind open. However, I don’t want to have a mind so open that my brains fall out and land on the floor with a squishy noise.

  • DEphys

    Not to add or take away from your point but it happens that there does exists an innate energy to the back ground of space, and that by virtue of having space you can have sub-atomic particles “borrow” energy from the vacuum and pop into assistance then crash back into each other and either emit photons or give the energy back to the vacuum. But almost all EandM waves are either harmless or dangerous.

    Im not saying if I was sick I would pick rocks over chemo, but I will say coming from my experience in physics theres a lot of stuff we don’t know

    Nice article tho,
    cheers.

  • venkates.K.N.

    dr benneth may be wron about the modus of action of homeopathic remedies, but the effectiveness of homeopathy is very much true.hence this article sounds more biased than the one it is intended to demolish.

  • Anonymous

    Centuries ago, mankind had no science but empirical observation. The science we know today, had not yet developed, and yet there were healers who did impact health. To make fun of what you do not yet understand, even though you are presented with healing instances, which you dismiss, is to make yourself a fool in the future, when the principles of homeopathy can be more fully explained and understood by the scientists of the time. I suspect you would have laughed at Leonardo Di Vinci as well. I am not a health professional, but have treated my children with homeopathy for years. Homeopathy, in my family, has held its own against ear infections, fever, sprains, rashes, pneumonia, deep cuts, insect bites, colic, bladder infections, conjunctivitis, burns, trauma shock, nausea and vomiting. I also used a remedy called tuberculinum to eliminate the positive TB test results that I had consistently even after a year of taking a medication prescribed by the medical establishment that supposedly bases their science on “proof”, which as a scientist, you actually know is about probabilities, not about absolutes. Positive TB tests are said (again, by that same medical establishment) to remain positive for the life of the patient. The patient is directed to take only chest xrays after the appearance of a positive TB test, because there is no other way to determine the absence of TB. Hmmmm I now have a negative TB test. Empiricism is actually a valuable tool. Observation and experience count for something too.

  • Greg Fish

    Centuries ago, mankind had no science but empirical observation.

    Science is predicated on empirical observation. In the past it was simply not as formalized and rigorously peer reviewed as it is today.

    The science we know today, had not yet developed, and yet there were healers who did impact health.

    Usually by applying medicinal practices we still use today or by doing nothing. In fact, when doctors didn’t quite know what they were doing in the past, they were likely to cause more harm than good to patients and before germ theory, going to the hospital was an extremely dangerous affair thanks to constant infections.

    To make fun of what you do not yet understand, even though you are presented with healing instances, which you dismiss, is to make yourself a fool in the future…

    It’s funny how you’re trying to sound like a wise sage when saying rather ignorant things. ..

    …when the principles of homeopathy can be more fully explained and understood by the scientists of the time.

    Over the ages there have been thousands of crackpots with thousands of theories who made the same exact speeches and millions of their followers recited the same things for centuries. The overwhelming majority of them have been shown to be wrong over time. To be that your favorite woo will be vindicated in the future is a bet against the odds. You’re better off playing the slots, statistically speaking.

    I suspect you would have laughed at Leonardo Di Vinci as well.

    DaVinci actually had the distinctions to have been considered a brilliant polymath in his time and from there on in, as did Newton and Galileo. No one laughed at them. What you said is what cranks usually cry when trying to publicly console themselves.

    I am not a health professional, but have treated my children with homeopathy for years.

    So you’ve been putting them at risk for years and would be found guilty of neglect if one of your kids were to actually contract something that wouldn’t go away on its own? Good thing you’re not signing your name on this comment then, less legal liability later.

    Homeopathy, in my family, has held its own against ear infections, fever, sprains, rashes, pneumonia, deep cuts, insect bites, colic, bladder infections, conjunctivitis, burns, trauma shock, nausea and vomiting.

    Having actually had pneumonia, I call bullshit on that. You must have certainly either made an incorrect diagnosis or had a doctor who did. As for all the other things on your list, they almost usually clear up all on their own, no medication required. Come back to me when homeopathy cures acute septic shock or cancer all on its own, with no legitimate medial professional in sight after an accurate diagnosis has been made.

    Positive TB tests are said (again, by that same medical establishment) to remain positive for the life of the patient.

    Nope. Some people just have a higher likelihood of having a false positive so odds are that your homeopathic TB “cure” did nothing and you were predisposed to false positives if you met a number of criteria outlined in the link.

    Observation and experience count for something too.

    But not when said observation and experience are not subjected to constant confirmation bias…