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They’re talking about how difficult it is to scientifically test homeopathic products.
Lord Turnberg: One way to find out is to refer this whole question to mice so that they can examine it properly. I ask my noble friend if I can persuade him to refer homeopathic remedies to mice.
I look up, startled. Has he entirely misunderstood the mouse/scientist relationship? Oh, right, he said NICE. I knew that.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
Plus, obv, if mice were that clever you'd be dead by now.
Oct. 26th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
Bring it on.
Oct. 26th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
I think you've already had that particular battle, and won. Until the mice come up with a really IMPRESSIVE religious work of their own, you're going to beat them every time.
Oct. 26th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
Why is it any more difficult to test homeopathic products than any other medicine? Given that they're mostly indistinguishable from water, it should be easier to do a controlled trial.

Can you just shout this point out at an opportune moment? Or disguise yourself as one of the less enthusiastic Lords/Ladies and get in on the debate?

The system really doesn't work, does it?
Oct. 26th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
As the noble Lord, Lord Turnberg, (who is president of the Royal College of Physicians) was saying just before I misheard him: "It is unclear to me whether 'homeopathic proof' is simply proof that is so dilute that none of the original is left, or something else."
Oct. 26th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
Don't they refer to "proving" a remedy when they mean (their idea of) testing it out? They give it to healthy people and then see what happens, rather than testing it on people with the disease, I think.

If they can't do their background reading, wouldn't it be better if every Lord and Lady was assigned a Googler Pursuivant?
Oct. 26th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
(a) As any pedant worth their apostrophes will tell you, that's the original (now admittedly archaic) meaning of "prove" - hence the phrase "the exception that proves the rule" actually making sense when it was coined, etc.

(b) Isn't "proof" being used here as in "40% proof" - or, as it's homeopathy, "0.00000000000000000000000000000004% proof"?
Oct. 26th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
I know that prove can mean "test", but it is an odd term to use nowadays. Of course homeopathy is passed down as revealed truth, so you can't expect them to change anything.

You're probably right about the meaning of proof, but homeopaths have their own system of expressing dilutions: 100X, 30C etc.

I've just looked it up, and "the exception proves the rule" is actually a legal phrase meaning 'if you state an exception to an unwritten rule, you're confirming that the rule applies at other times'. According to this, anyway:

Oct. 26th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
"These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyperintelligent pan- dimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front."
The old man paused, and with a sympathetic frown continued.
"They've been experimenting on you I'm afraid."
Arthur thought about this for a second, and then his face cleared.
"Ah no," he said, "I see the source of the misunderstanding now. No, look you see, what happened was that we used to do experiments on them. They were often used in behavioural research, Pavlov and all that sort of stuff. So what happened was hat the mice would be set all sorts of tests, learning to ring bells, run around mazes and things so that the whole nature of the learning process could be examined. From our observations of their behaviour we were able to learn all sorts of things about our own ..."
Arthur's voice tailed off.
"Such subtlety ..." said Slartibartfast, "one has to admire it."
"What?" said Arthur.
"How better to disguise their real natures, and how better to guide your thinking. Suddenly running down a maze the wrong way, eating the wrong bit of cheese, unexpectedly dropping dead of myxomatosis, - if it's finely calculated the cumulative effect is enormous."

Oct. 26th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
Well, exactly. But sadly the speaker wasn't Lord Prefect.
Oct. 26th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
[waves order papers and satchel]
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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