Homeopathy Wariness Week

British Homeopathy Awareness Week commences today, until the 21st. But, it seems to me, there is little in the way of awareness raising going on. Certainly not on the British Homeopathic Association site, which (in contrast to the WHA’s shameless promotion of World Homeopathy Awareness Week back in April) appears not to be too occupied with it:

‘Every year between 14-21 June we encourage people to raise awareness about homeopathy.’

but I can’t see a whole lot of encouragement going on there.

The Society of Homeopaths is a bit more excited, however, with some bleating on about sports injuries and arnica, a ‘remedy’ (homeopathic medicines are remedies) I gather is popular in the cult. And, along with a few of the stock trite reminders of how great homeopathy is, a few famous sporting names are dropped, thus resorting to that doubly logical fallacy: not appeal to authority; but appeal to celebrity as authority. These names, including the promiscuous ‘David Beckham’, were apparently cited as ‘evidence’ for homeopathy during the Homeopathy Evidence Check conducted by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee a couple of years back.

More up for it too is Heal Through Homeopathy, which also informs that the week exploits this year’s Olympics, with promotion of the claimed homeopathic benefits to the treatment of sporting injuries. So, cue some more shameless celebrity name-dropping, led with an arnica endorsing quote from one Linford Christie.

‘I am a fan of arnica and recommend all the Athletes in my Street Athletics programme have it in their kit bag to help with sprains and strains.’

Yeah, cheers, Linford. Arnica also seems to help Jayne Torvill. Well, it seemed to help her in 2009.

Another site scrapes the barrel even harder, appealing to a Mail Online article by Sarah Stacey, who informs that she, along with her animals, has long benefited from homeopathy. She follows this by spinning a testimonial anecdote, and then deals her trump card… Gaby Roslin. Way to go, Sarah. I wasn’t aware that Gaby still fits the definition of celebrity. She doesn’t seem to pop up on TV a whole lot anymore (thank goodness). Nevertheless, she’s obviously still considered of sufficient celebrity kudos, such that The Society of Homeopaths is also happy to include her among this stellar list, which tops its promotional bullet-pointed criteria.

Plenty more of ’em here and here, if you need convincing. I mean, how can all these celebrities be wrong? And the most expensive painting ever sold was a portrait of a homeopath. How much more evidence do we need?

I don’t know whom I distrust more: those who cheaply, scrabblingly appeal to these celebrities; or the celebrities themselves for lending their names (if they have) to these marketing gimmicks. (Wonder how many of them have signed this.) Because that’s what it is: not evidence, marketing. When celebrity is invoked in endorsement of homeopathy, be doubly wary.

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