John Walker's Electronic House

Homeopathy Now Trying To Kill HIV/AIDS Sufferers

by on Nov.18, 2007, under Rants

Homeopaths are not content with trying to sue people who report their desires to murder people with malaria – now they’re going to cure AIDS too.

This latest attempt at genocide through expensive ignorance is being led by one Peter Chappell, who will be heading a conference held by the The Society of Homeopaths, called the “HIV/AIDS Symposium”. This vile human being is claiming,

“Right now AIDS in Africa could be significantly ameliorated by a simple tune played on the radio across Africa. Or there is a slower solution using pills, and drops that works very well, but is harder to deliver.”

As homeopathy frantically tries to throw around medical terms, and skews study results in desperate attempts to reveal a glimmer of hope that a bottle of water could be more powerful than, er, a bottle of water they didn’t put a label on, morons like this at the head of their organisation make the entire thing more of a laughing stock than it already is.

But more seriously, this piece of excrement is claiming that playing a song can significantly improve the AIDS epidemic – a hateful deception that could potentially kill untold numbers of the desperately hopeful.

Perhaps he is simply ignorant, you might say. His actions are not evil, but naive. But no such claim can be made. His own site states,

“While we have no proof in scientific terms that the AIDS treatment is effective, in practice it is very reliable and thousands of people have recovered and we supply this treatment FREE through the Amma Resonance Healing Foundation.”

He KNOWS it does not work. And obviously the Amma Resonance Healing Foundation present all their data on this subject? Oh, they don’t. They have nothing but their own studies, apparently published only in homeopathy pamphlets and not on their site, and the statement, “We are now in the process of building hard science based results to consolidate this new technology for the benefit of humanity.” Well, they started this in 2006, and oddly enough, results have yet to emerge.

For those who still hold on to the belief that there is some possibility that homeopathy does anything beyond sell lies to the sick, the wonderful Ben Goldacre has written the definitive article on the subject, addressing all the various wriggles homeopaths attempt to use when explaining why every accurate study reveals it to do nothing over placebo. It’s a wonderful read. A favourite moment:

Many people confuse homeopathy with herbalism and do not realise just how far homeopathic remedies are diluted. The typical dilution is called “30C”: this means that the original substance has been diluted by 1 drop in 100, 30 times. On the Society of Homeopaths site, in their “What is homeopathy?” section, they say that “30C contains less than 1 part per million of the original substance.”

This is an understatement: a 30C homeopathic preparation is a dilution of 1 in 100^30, or rather 1 in 10^60, which means a 1 followed by 60 zeroes, or – let’s be absolutely clear – a dilution of 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000.

To phrase that in the Society of Homeopaths’ terms, we should say: “30C contains less than one part per million million million million million million million million million million of the original substance.”

At a homeopathic dilution of 100C, which they sell routinely, and which homeopaths claim is even more powerful than 30C, the treating substance is diluted by more than the total number of atoms in the universe. Homeopathy was invented before we knew what atoms were, or how many there are, or how big they are. It has not changed its belief system in light of this information.

10 Comments for this entry

  • ImperialCreed

    Here here John. I love Goldacre’s takedowns – what makes them so sublime is that he doesn’t have to invent anything to make these people sound dangerously idiotic, they supply all the ammunition themselves. As for what Chappell is claiming, well, he’s going to get people killed isn’t he?

  • Rockeye

    Surely there should be laws against this? If we’re going to start limiting freedom of speech by making laws against inciting racial/religious hatred, surely we can lock people up for this?

    I’d love to see an explanation for the mechanism by which a tune destroys a virus, and why the virus wouldn’t be destroyed by the sound waves encountered in every day life. This isn’t fucking Ocarina of Time. You cannot solve the world’s problems by playing specific notes in a certain order.

  • Nick Mailer

    We need no laws. People can read that rubbish, and then they can read Ben and John and the others and make up their minds. If they choose to be deluded, that is theirs to make as antonymous moral agents.

  • John

    Well Rockeye, sadly the explanation you wish for is out of our grasp. From the FAQ:

    How does Peter Chappell make these remedies?

    He creates a holistic mirror energy/information set to the disease using a special process he does not yet disclose.

  • Mrs Trellis

    Nick, it isn’t fair to delude people when they don’t have sufficient information to allow them to know they are being deluded.

    It is very possible that AIDS sufferers in Africa are both ignorant and desperate enough to give this man their money (he’s not giving out sugar pills for free).

  • Mrs Trellis

    “I decided then, in Ethiopia, to create a remedy for AIDS based on resonance to the disease totality gathered from my first 70 cases, by putting the disease resonance in a bottle. I decided to keep the details of how this is done a secret. The basic idea aligns to the work of Tesla and quantum resonance theories.”

    Let’s send him to Congo to capture the essence of Ebola.

  • Richard

    “At a homeopathic dilution of 100C, which they sell routinely, and which homeopaths claim is even more powerful than 30C, the treating substance is diluted by more than the total number of atoms in the universe. ”

    errr…. I’m not sure your maths is right there, fella… that would imply that in the whole of creation, there is less than one whole atom of the treating substance. Error.
    Before anyone gets too angry… I’m in no way arguing that homeopathy isn’t a pile of festering bullshit… It is. Damn hippies.

  • Thomas Lawrence

    No, the math is right, and indeed that is the point – a 100C dilution means it is in fact vastly improbable that ANY of the treating substance remains in the treatment. In other words, it is literally just water.

  • Richard

    my point is: if his description of a 100C solution is correct, then a 100C solution is physically impossible to achieve. He says it’s “diluted by more than the total number of atoms in the universe” implying that there must be less than 1 atom of the ingredient present in the whole universe. Since the quantity of a substance expressed in atoms must be a discrete variable, it is impossible to get less than 1 atom of it.
    Therefore since a 100C solution is impossible to achieve, it must be comprised entirely of solvent.
    It is important to note however, that the truth that homeopathists are still just filthy hippies selling their snake oil and flower water to the gullible.

  • bob_arctor

    Well the point is effectively it is diluted as if you had taken the original amount then added the no of atoms in the universe, it is so dilute you’d have to have more atoms in the universe in the solution for there to be fair chance of having one atom of it.

    Because of the exponential effect of diluting something then taking a small sample of that, say make it up to 1 litre, then take 1ml and make that up to a litre you have already diluted it 1000 times. Repeat it and it goes up exponentially till there is almost 0 chance of there being any atom of the original substance in there.

    The hateful thing is that I am being taught to evaluate papers and learn evidence based medicine, but still the bloody sociologists come along and teach the value of alternative medicine and why homeopathy cannot be evaluated. Gah!