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Category Archives: badscience

“You do know what H2O is? And have all of you heard of Einstein?”

Homeopathy operates on the belief that if you take a substance that produces a symptom, and dilute it a gazillion-fold, you get something that actually has a cancelling effect. This video, amazingly, validates that very principle — the homeopath starts with real science, dilutes it from a bottomless reservoir of stupidity, and ends up with strange and hilarious un-science.

(via bad science)

damn those control groups, damn them all

This made me laugh out loud when I saw it on Bad Science. It’s the abstract of a peer-reviewed paper (Bengston and Moga, 2007) from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which appears to be about as respectable as a journal in that field gets (though I could be wrong on this, I’m just going by hits on Google).

Classical experimental design presupposes that subjects, randomly separated into experimental and control groups, are independent and distinct. … In four previously reported experiments on anomalous healing using “healing with intent” on mice injected with lethal doses of mammary adenocarcinoma (source, The Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, ME; code, H2712; host strain, C3H/HeJ), a high percentage of both experimental and control mice exhibited an anomalous healing pattern, most often passing through stages of tumor ulceration to full life-span cure. … In order to explain tumor regression of control animals, I posit the formation of “resonant bonds,” which can link spatially separate groups. Healing given to the experimental animals can result in an unintended treatment to the control animals, producing anomalous healing akin to placebo effects.

To sum up: the authors poisoned a bunch of mice and waved crystals over one group and didn’t over another. But similar number of mice in both groups got better. The researchers conclude that the the “resonance” of the crystal power is magically healing the mice in the control, and in fact, that the whole scientific principle of using controls in medicine is wrong. Because there’s couldn’t possibly be anything amiss in healing mice by waving crystals over them.

The abstract concludes: “[r]esearchers are invited to reanalyze past data in light of resonance theory.” Gosh, thanks. Think I’ll pass.

Also, how do these experiments get ethics approval? I need to spend weeks filling out forms and justifying my work before I can let a few people to click buttons on a computer screen. These guys are killing 200+ mice for this paper.