Tuesday, 2 February 2010

*Louise McLean - deluded proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine

UPDATE, 9th Feb: Louise has responded to ask I make changes to this blogpost - which I have done - but no word yet on the £5000 bet.

UPDATE, 27th Feb: Almost a month since I made the bet, and there is still no reply from Louise. My offer is therefore withdrawn.

Two homeopaths - Louise McLean and Helen Kimball-Brooke - attended the 10:23 "overdose" event in London. (Louise is the one without a beard.)

Today, her report from the demonstration appeared on the "Homeopathy Heals" website.

In her report, Louise notes:

"Of course homeopaths know that one dose of however many pills taken together in one go, is the equivalent of only one dose, because it is the time frame that counts. So if they had repeatedly taken a dose every hour for the rest of the day, the skeptics would most certainly have felt the effects. "

Well. I'm game, Louise. Here is my email to her.

"Dear Louise,

In your interesting article at "Homeopathy Heals", you said...

"if they had repeatedly taken a dose every hour for the rest of the day, the skeptics would most certainly have felt the effects"

Well, that sounds like an interesting challenge. I, for one, am more than happy to take part in a 24-hour demonstration of homeopathy.

For a period of a day, I will take 30c homeopathic pillules, at a rate determined by you. Once an hour, or once every ten minutes, it's your choice.

The choice of remedy I leave up to you. Obviously, it would be pointless to take sleeping pills, since I already get tired once a day. So you'll need to choose something which will make me experience visible and obvious symptoms. Symptoms that I'm not capable of repressing or hiding. Perhaps something that makes me break out in spots, or makes me vomit uncontrollably.

Once we have agreed the number of doses, the type of treatment, and the expected symptoms, I will buy from Boots the necessary pillules.

At the end of the day, if I am displaying the expected symptoms, I will pay £5,000 to the DEC Haiti fund. Furthermore, I will announce to all the major sceptical websites that, as a former homeopathy sceptic, homeopathy has worked for me.

If I fail to display the expected symptoms, you will pay £5,000 to the DEC Haiti fund.

I know that £5,000 is a lot of money, but it's peanuts compared to the money we can make from the JREF Million Dollar Challenge if, despite the scientific evidence, homepathy actually works.

I have the money in the bank, and I'm ready to go. Are you interested?"


  1. A sad person you are. Persercuting good people that only wish to help others. You seem to have an eronious belief that ALL HOLISTIC healthcare is fake, dangerous, false, and you seem to enjoy making people's lives unpleasant. I truly hope you do not get a serious illness, because you can look forward to any drug under the sun, but you won't find a cure, and you are likely to end up with a worse illness!!

    I wouldn't be suprised if you are paid by a pharmaceutical company either!

    I hope you get a life one day --you really need one!

    1. Beware anyone who uses the phrase "holistic healthcare". The phrase is a favourite of quacks and charlatans. Real medical doctors practice holistic healthcare all the time, but they don't need to utter the phrase because they have no need to big themselves up by insinuating anyone else's negligence. That's the job of quacks and charlatans - medical fraudsters.

      As for "good people that (who!) only wish to help others (aka people with low self-esteem and little competence who seek public respect by pretending to be health professionals), the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Some of us would rather good intentions were accompanied by critical thinking skills, aptitude and a record of diligent study and academic/medical/scientific attainment.

      And beware anyone who TYPES in ALL CAPS. They usually have nothing of consequence to say and like to highlight the fact by SHOUTING it at you.

  2. Since when was NUTRITION a NEW AGE THERAPY???

    Oh let me see, vitamins and minerals, just happen to be in food, but we don't actually need them do we, they just make the food look pretty. Might as well not bother eating!!

    Has no one explained to you in every area of life, where products and services are sold, there are good and bad sellers. So as you obviously have not got a clue because I am guessing you do not even try the products yourself, it would seem you just enjoy causing people problems.

    What a sad loser you are.

  3. Holistic healthcare? That's what my GP, hospital doctors and consultants do all the time.

    The same old canards, anonymous.

  4. Well defamation is what you are doing to me saying 'deluded proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine' and I would prefer you changed the title back to reflect your weblink 'homeopathic spy'.

    They are coming down hard these days on 'internet trolls' and to quote from a recent article in the Mail:
    'Jeremy Todd, chief executive of BullyingUK, said: ‘Trolling is straightforwardly bullying: intimidation and harassment perpetrated by a person who feels anonymous because they don't have to use their real Identity. '

  5. Hi Louise,

    I'm really rather touched that someone of your professional stature stills considers me worthy of her attention.

    Regrettably, I can't comply with your request to revert the title of this blogpost to some variant of "homeopathic spy". It might be possible for a solicitor to argue that this had a defamatory meaning, since at the 10:23 event in 2010 - which I remember well - you made no effort to hide your identity. No false moustache, no comedy spectacles, nothing.

    As you point out, the URL of this page contains the words "homeopathic spy". This is a technical limitation imposed by Google, the site's owners. Once published, the page's URL cannot be changed. (If you'd like to petition Google to change their software, I'd be happy to lend my support.)

    I'm confused about your anonymity comments. My real name appears at the top of every page. In addition, I doubt that there are any homeopathy organisation in the country that don't have my full contact details. I've written to nearly all of them at one time or another.

    Warmest regards,

    (P.S. I wonder if you've had a chance to actually read the Malicious Communications Act 1988? Media-savvy lawyers are now saying that recent articles in the popular press have misrepresented, even exaggerated, the powers available to the Police under the Act. At any rate, it would be wise to do some basic research before trying to use the Act to intimidate people who have the temerity to disagree with you.)

  6. Both Louise and Jeremy have no idea what trolling is.

    Trolling is to say something intentionally wrong or misleading in order to coax someone else into internet fury and make an idiot of themself. It has nothing to do with anonymity.

    Internet bullying is internet bullying.

  7. Obvious caveat applies: I am not a lawyer (but I have watched William Shatner play one in the critically acclaimed 'Boston Legal').
    I don't see how describing any homeopath as a "deluded proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine" can run afoul of any law. Any homeopath, and certainly Louise who has written at length on the subject, is surely a proponent of homeopathy. To describe homeopathy as "pseudoscientific quack medicine" is uncontroversial seeing as it runs counter to centuries of established knowledge in medicine, biology, chemistry and physics and the medical/scientific communities generally regard it as a fine example of pseudoscience.
    So much for "proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine". The only remaining word which could be objected to is "deluded". To describe someone as "deluded" is to say that they hold an "idiosyncratic belief or impression despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument" (from the OED). This seems a reasonable opinion to give of someone who is a proponent of a pseudoscientific quack medicine.

  8. "Deluded proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine" sounds a pretty apt description of all homeopathy proponents. It's demonstrably true that homeopathy is quack medicine (or, as I prefer to call it, medical fraud). The "deluded" part really is the best option for homeopaths to accept when they consider the alternative because, frankly, any homeopath who really isn't deluded must be dishonest - that's the only other option. Same goes for astrologers, flat Earth proponents, psychics, palm readers, phrenologists... But why let reality intervene?

  9. I'm sorry, but I must disagree with respect to 'deluded proponent of pseudoscientific quack medicine' not being defamatory. The problem is the last word: to describe homeopathy as "medicine" surely defames medicine? The correct description of homeopathy is "pseudomedicine".

    I rest my case.


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