Logic 101: Homeowork

Identify at least five* logical fallacies in Dana Ullman‘s article “Disinformation on Homeopathy: Two Leading Sources”. Show your work.

Please know that this review and critique of Mr. Randi and Ms. Brown is not an ad hominem attack on these two individuals. . .this article reviews their actions, their priorities and the organizations that they have represented, all of which are reasonable and appropriate areas for critique and are not personal attacks on who they are.

*The fact that Ullman declares that the article is not an argumentum ad hominem does not mean that you may not identify an argumentum ad hominem fallacy, as Ullman does not appear to know what ad hominem actually means. Nor does he appear to know how the scientific method works.

When Professor Ennis was ultimately sent the protocol, she was shocked at what she received. This protocol was not her experiment (Ennis, 2004). In fact, it was clearly a study that was a set-up to disprove homeopathy.

Knievelism – Is your stunt dramatic enough?

The Comedy and Tragedy Masks
Previously, I wrote about the issues that The 10:23 Campaign and its participants needed to consider in their laudable opposition to homeopathy. There, I wanted to focus on technical issues like safety and logic.

A major tactic of The 10:23 Campaign in 2010 was to generate educational opportunities by means of an attention gathering stunt – the mass overdose. While I have safety and scientific issues with the mass overdose stunt, it is also not clear why it should be a particularly compelling event to the relatively disinterested audience that is the general public. Why?

The mass overdose stunt is boring. Continue reading “Knievelism – Is your stunt dramatic enough?”

Safe and Effective Skeptical Activism – The 10:23 Campaign

At 10:23AM on 30 January 2010, the 10:23 Campaign staged a mass overdose of homeopathic “medicine” to protest the sale of homeopathy products in Boots pharmacies, especially under the Boots brand name. The event generated a considerable amount of media attention and increased public awareness of the nature of homeopathy, although it has not yet succeeded in getting Boots to disavow homeopathy.

Spending on homeopathy by the government and private individuals is medically indefensible. Furthermore, wasting money on medically ineffective water and sugar pills at a time when local NHS trusts regularly run out of funds, and education and scientific research budgets may be slashed is ridiculous. Therefore, I am a strong supporter of the 10:23 Campaign’s goals and want nothing more[1] than to see them succeed.

But[3] I have concerns about the safety and efficacy of the 10:23 Campaign’s approach, which I have helpfully categorized as Economic, Philosophic, Scientific, Pedagogic, and Safety. Continue reading “Safe and Effective Skeptical Activism – The 10:23 Campaign”