In light of evidence, University of Minnesota biology professor PZ Myer’s hate campaign against homeopathy just might backfire .
Most notably is PZ Myers, an American biology professor and pharma stooge whose specialty is trashing homeopathic medicine at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM).
His blog is Pharyngula. In 2006, it was the top-ranked blog written by a pseudo scientist.Myers has called IN ONE YEAR ”nonsense.” Other commentary has been”mental straightjacket”and remarks too obscene to be reprinted here.
It follows a posting by Myers of clips of my controversial video, “The Mechanism,” juxtaposed with scenes from Star Trek to characterize my supramolecular description of the homeopathic remedy as techno babble.
My name is John Benneth. I’m a homeopath.And this is story about biologists, three in particular, who have studied . . it.
It is fashionable with atheists and pseudo scientists like Myers to trash it and its research. It is a compulsion. They can’t help themselves. They have to do it, for it puts everything they hold dear at risk.
Trashing it is like a cheap magic trick, hawked as self working and E-Z-2-DO. It gives the trasher the feeling he’s accomplished something for himself under the guise of protecting society from what they characterize as ineffective medicine. But like the cheap magic trick, when it finally arrives in the mail, you realize it was misrepresented.
Pretty good trick . . on you.
Really what it is, it’s hate speech, using the same kind of tactics used against minorities by hate groups. It really shouldn’t have any place in academia, but pseudoscience has become the infrastructure of higher education.
What can they tell you that you can’t find out for yourself now through the Internet? It’s not really education, it’s fashion.
What Myers says has very little to do with science and more to do with the politics of self aggrandizement.
Look at the case against it: It’s full of general, vague, contextual accusations and insinuations. But try to find within this haystack of lies a needle of truth. It contains more errors of commission and omission than the invasion of Iraq. It doesn’t state its criteria or identify or it sources for verification. It always ends up being exactly what it complains of, and PZ Myers provides us with a wonderful sample of it.
He wastes our time with anecdotal evidence and fails to adequately explain the etiology of the phenomena. If its effects are psychogenic, where are his proofs for psychogenic? If it’s bunk, what mechanism has made it so popular, where is the proof for the reported action? It’s usually nothing more than a sloppy pudding of self contradicting anecdotes.
“EZ Pee Zee,” a pudding of lies.
Science will always turn against the pseudoscientist.
Read on and watch it slowly turn against Myers.
We have heard repeatedly, over and over again, from people like E-Z Pee Zee Puddin’ Myers, that homeopathy doesn‘t work, but when asked “how do you know?” the best they can come up with is that it doesn’t work because it shouldn’t work.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Nothing more!
No evidence of biological action is ever admitted without first seeking fault by the homeoapthy hater. Any corroborating tests are conveniently ignored.
I seriously doubt EZ PZ Puddin’ Myers could sustain much of a real explanation of its effects, because somewhere along the way he would have to confront things he didn’t know and doesn’t want to know, because they begin to work against his foregone conclusions.
Criticism by pseudo scientists like Myers is never global. It is always localized against something, like homeopathy. The evidence con is always given greater play over the evidence pro. And it avoids addressing the evidence pro in specificity within the context of explicit criteria.
For instance, the most well known in vitro test for homeopathy is a test on white blood cells, the basophil degranulation test. It was done by renowned immunologist Jacques Benveniste after his criticism of it was challenged. An assistant had found that water exposed to an allergen via serial aqueous dilution, could provoke an in vitro response, as if the allergen were present.
This is called basophil degranulation.
Benveniste, like other investigators, was puzzled by the results. What appeared to be pure water was causing a biochemical reaction.
Benveniste reportedly did the test over 1,000 times.
After he published the results of his testing in Nature, a prestigious science magazine, (to the resounding explosion of the usual outrage) Nature sent a team to investigate Benveniste’s work. The team consisted of Sir John Maddox, the editor of Nature, James “the Amazing” Randi, a notorious illusionist with a large sum of money to lose if proven wrong, and a debunker by the name of Walter Stewart.
According to Dana Ullman, the experiment was first replicated three times for the Nature team without any blinding of the experimenters. These first three experiments performed for the team showed positive results.
The fourth experiment blinded the person doing the counting of the basophils, and the results of this experiment were also successful. But the Nature team deemed this test invalid, claiming that the blinded experimenter knew in advance which test group she was counting.
The Nature team then began to behave disruptively. The next three experiments blinded the person doing the counting and the person doing the pipetting. Randi performed magic tricks during a crucial part of the experiment, making it difficult for the experimenters to perform their work, while Stewart was acting so hysterically that he had to be asked several times to stop shouting by Maddox and Benveniste.
All three of these experiments did not show any difference between the active verum samples and the inert control group. The Nature team immediately deemed that there was no evidence that the microdoses have biological action and reported that the tests failed to show convincing results.
Benveniste had violated the laws of Nature!
What they didn’t report was that the results were just what one would expect if someone switched the active samples with the inert controls.
Some of the samples, coded inert, produced a reaction, whereas some of the samples coded as active were reported inert. A switch had been made.
Randi had sabotaged the test by mixing up the results!
When you’re finished reading here, watch the accompanying video at the end of this article and hear Benveniste describe what happened. And particularly note Maddox, the editor of Nature, confessing that he went to Benveniste’s lab for the sole purpose of discrediting his work as fraudulent.
Skeptics herald this as conclusive proof that homeopathy doesn’t work.
There are some more facts that EZ Pee Zee doesn’t tell you, because without additional information we may be easily led to an incorrect conclusion about in vitro testing for homeopathy . .
What Pee Zee doesn’t tell you is that the basophil degranulation test for homeopathy wasn’t invented by Jacques Benveniste. JB’s test was the fourth replication of it. There have been many replications of it since, most notably a multi centered one that included homeopathy skeptic Professor Madeleine Ennis of the Respiratory Medicine Research Group at The Queen’s University of Belfast.
Here is a mashup of Ennis reporting on the activation of human basophils by ultra-high dilutions of anti-IgE, dilutions of the type used in homeopathy.
ENNIS: “This could be an exceedingly short paper, since in my opinion, from a conventional scientific background, when there are no molecules of the active agent left in a solution there can not be any biological effects. However, a search in PubMed combining homeopathy with basophil revealed 15 items. Interestingly this did not include the now infamous article in Nature or the papers that attempted to repeat the work. Changing the search to homeopath and basophil increased the total to 21. Including phrases such as ‘high dilutions’ or ‘extremely low doses’ only resulted in 33 publications.
“Witt and co-workers used several different databases in their review and found a total of 75 publications and further evaluated 67 of them. One of their sources was the HomBRex database which specialises in basic research in homeopathy and as of February 2009 contained 1301 experiments in 997 original articles including 1172 biological studies. Using the CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Database and putting in basophil resulted in 95 hits. The question of publication bias is also worth considering – is it easier to publish a paper with negative results or with positive results? Normally, trials or studies with negative results are difficult to publish. However, it is possible that the opposite is true for studies using ultrahigh dilutions.
“In 1988, Poitevin and colleagues published a paper in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 1988 which was a follow-up to an earlier paper which had reported that incubation of basophils with high dilutions of the homeopathic drug Apis mellifica was able to inhibit allergen-induced basophil degranulation. In this paper, they reported that very low concentrations of anti-IgE (ca. 10–100 molecules per well) activated basophils and that this was inhibited by very high dilutions of the preparations
“Overall, using the histamine degranulation assays, as standardized by Sainte-Laudy, it was found that histamine at both conventional pharmacological concentrations and at high dilutions inhibited allergen and anti-IgE induced basophil activation. Examining a range of dilutions from 5c to 59c, the response was periodic in form, with maxima at ca. 7c, 17c, 28c, 40c and 52c.”
“This work was pioneered by Sainte-Laudy and colleagues beginning in the 80s and continuing to the present day… I first heard about this work at the 1984 meeting of the European Histamine Research Society where Sainte-Laudy bravely presented his data to a crowd of extremely skeptical and rather hostile scientists and clinicians.
“Apart from the natural scientific objections to solutions containing essentially water having a biological effect, a number of other issues were raised:
(1) the biological validity of the test;
(2) the reproducibility of the phenomenon,’
(3) the subjectivity of cell counts and
(4) that the data nearly all came from the same laboratory. In answer to these points, at that time, this form of examining basophil activation was a recognized procedure. Sainte-Laudy had performed repeated experiments, indeed in a series of 6 experiments he repeated each measurement 16 times and got the same answer.
“In order to answer points (3) and (4), it was decided to perform a multi-centre European Trial and it is at that point that I ‘dipped my toes into the waters’ of homeopathic research. As an ardent sceptic, I was invited to take part in the trial, which involved one coordinating laboratory and laboratories performing the research. This study has been published.
“In brief, all the laboratories were trained in the basophil counting method, with the counts verified by Sainte-Laudy’s laboratory. The dilutions were made in 3 different laboratories and coded by the coordinator (histamine and water solutions made up identically from 15c–19c). All study materials were from the same source and shipped to the performing laboratories. The data were returned to the coordinator and then analysed by an independent biostatistician. When the results for the histamine solutions were compared to those for the water solutions, there was a small but statistically significant inhibition of basophil degranulation caused by the lowest concentration of anti-IgE used in 3 of the 4 laboratories. When all the data were combined together, there was a statistically significant inhibition for the histamine containing solutions. Thus this multi-centre
study indicated that high dilutions of histamine did indeed have biological effects.
“In the multi-centre trial described above, 3 of the laboratories independently examined the effects of high dilutions of histamine and to a varying degree all demonstrated inhibition of basophil activation with these dilutions. Flow cytometric is employed in most immunological laboratories and there have now been a series of independent laboratories investigating the phenomenon. These will be discussed in detail.”
Basophil models of homeopathy: a sceptical view, Madeleine Ennis, Respiratory Medicine Research Group, Centre for Infection and Immunity, Microbiology Building, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
The Witt review of in vitro tests for homeopathy carefully analyzed and scored all known biochemical testing, up until 2007. You don’t see the criteria employed by Witt being employed by those who conclude that homeopathy is merely the use of inert substances.
Like Pee Zee, they have to make up their own, unknown, unseen, OCCULT criteria!
PZ Myers claims to be a biologist. But look at the way Myers approaches the problem before him. Instead of giving you the full story, Myers gives only what he wants you to hear, which is mostly ridicule. Myers doesn’t mention his colleagues who have actually conducted the basophil degranulation test. He hasn’t done it. So how is it that we are supposed to believe Myers over Ennis, Sainte Laudy, Belon, Benveniste and all the others and their staff assistants, and the hundreds, possibly thousands of repetitons of these tests, unless Myers is presenting an answer we want to hear?
I’m trying to think of careers and activities that would be more suited for telling people what they want to hear, other than science. How about politics? LOL! No wonder his blog is so popular! Most people aren’t interested in science for anything more than the status it gives them in the eyes of others.
Being a skeptic gives you that “cachet.”
But when it comes to the real complexities of science . . please! Don’t confuse me with the facts! Let’s just pretend we’re scientists, okay?”
Ennis on the other hand, rolls up her sleeves and gets her hands dirty. She then, as a real scientist, is compelled to truthfully report what her colleagues are loath to hear . . the truth about homeopathy. What was it again? Oh yes . . “high dilutions of histamine did indeed have biological effects.”
I hear Myers screaming when he reads this, holding his head, “Noooo! I hate homeopathy!”
Ennis comes up with the same statement that Benveniste, Poitevin and dozens of others have come up with. In the glass the truth about homeopathy has been found.
Benvneiste proposed a whole new biological paradigm. Does Myers have the courage to do the test? Or is he more likely to try to sabotage it with word and censure?
If Pee Zee Myers cannot be a real scientist and meet the challenge of homeopathy head on, as Professor Ennis and others have done, then I say fire him and let him go on writing his stupid blog as the prime example of pseudoscience. Why would anyone but the opposition want a joker like Myers poisoning the minds of our youth? He doesn’t teach biological science, he teaches political science. Look at his useless, mindless deblogatory activities
How embarrassing for such a fine institution like the University of Minnesota! To have such an unscientific voice as Myers blathering away while his hands are doing nothing useful, when there are real scientists, like young versions of Rustum Roy at Penn State, who could be teaching biology at the University of Minnesota.
Education should not be about destroying people, as PZ has made it out to be. It should be about building people up, not tearing them down, and learning how things work in world.