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Homeopathy - there’s nothing in it

By Chrys Stevenson - posted Friday, 11 February 2011


Chrys Stevenson

It’s a scorching hot Saturday morning in Brisbane and I’m standing outside the Treasury Casino with a handful of sleeping pills in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. I keep a close eye on my watch. This has to be done at precisely the right time. As the minute hand ticks over to exactly twenty-three minutes past the hour, I down the pills. But have I taken enough? I decide not. I punch some more from the silver foil card and take those too.


A small, eccentrically dressed, elderly woman notices my strange behaviour and shuffles over.

“What are you doing?” she asks - more puzzled, than concerned.

“I’m overdosing on homeopathic sleeping tablets,” I reply as I continue popping pills into my mouth like Tic Tacs.


Now I have to explain why I, the twelve people standing with me, plus more than a thousand other participants across the world, have chosen 10:23am on Saturday, 5 February 2011 to swallow ridiculous amounts of medication purchased from main street pharmacies - and why we’re all still standing.

In 2010, Paul Bennett, the professional standards director of Boots Pharmacy, conceded that homeopathy has no therapeutic value (beyond placebo) but confirmed that Boots continued to manufacture and sell these worthless products because of customer demand. Outraged, the Merseyside Skeptics organised a nation-wide protest outside Boots’ stores. They decided on a homeopathic ‘mass overdose’ to graphically demonstrate their slogan: Homeopathy - There’s Nothing in It.


Today, along with protestors throughout Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK, the United States and Canada, South America, Israel, the Philippines and South Africa, we’re joining in this global demonstration against homeopathy.

But why? What does it matter if people want to take homeopathic sugar pills? Surely we’re only proving that, even if homeopathy doesn’t work, it does no harm. So, what’s the big deal?

They’re valid questions and, despite the upbeat, even jovial, atmosphere among my companions, there is a deadly serious answer. While homeopathic preparations may be harmless in themselves, homeopathy can be lethal when used as a substitute for scientifically proven medicines and treatments.

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About the Author

Chrys Stevenson is a writer and historian. A founding member of Atheist Nexus and the Sunshine Coast Atheists, Chrys is also a member of the Australian Skeptics. Chrys writes the atheist/sceptical blog Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear and contributed a chapter on the history of atheism in Australia to the recently released The Australian Book of Atheism edited by Warren Bonett.

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