Sunday, 31 January 2010

500 Skeptics hospitalised in overdose horror

Journal of Imaginary Sciences, 2010, Vol 31

10:23 Campaign is marred by hospitalisations

Yesterday, tragedy struck as 500 protestors against homeopathy were rushed to hospital after suffering from the massive overdose they took.

The 10:23 campaign was designed to protest against the selling of homeopathic remedies at the pharmaceutical store, Boots. In order to demonstrate that these pills were apparently non-functional, the campaign managers suggested that the protestors should down a bottle of homeopathic pills each at 10:23, a symbolic note of the Avagadro's constant, the number of atoms that make up one mole.

The campaign was organised by Michael Marshall, head of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, a branch of Skeptics in the Pub and was carried out, outside Boots stores across the country in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, etc.

However, tragedy struck, as a few minutes after the videos were took, the protestors started to feel unwell.

"Well a few minutes after I took the medicine, I started to feel very nauseous, and promptly threw up. Thankfully I did because it stopped me from absorbing most of the effects" one protestor said.

Currently, Gavin Schofield, leader of the Greater Manchester Skeptics as seen on the video, is reported to be in hospital in a coma, whilst Michael Marshall, the head of the campagin is said to be recovering in his bed, but still in a critical condition.

Paula Ross, chief executive of the Society of Homeopaths, stated:

"This ill-advised stunt shows the dangers of skeptics becoming closed-minded in the effects of alternative medicines. I feel sorry that people are stupid enough that they overdosed on these medicines in an attempt to prove these ineffective. I hope the survivors will have more sense in future."

Ben Goldacre, author of the book Bad Science, doctor and journalist for the Guardian column "Bad Science" commented:

"I've commented several times on homeopathy being ineffective from clinical trials. After seeing the results first hand from yesterday I am shocked I ever thought homeopathy was harmless."

James Randi, the famous magician cum skeptic has also been criticised for his part in this misadventure. Years ago, Randi was noted for including in his act, a description of how he overdosed on a bottle of homeopathy pills in front of an audience and suffered no side effects. This account, along with the later attempts by Belgian Skeptics is thought to be the inspiration for Michael Marshall's foolish attempt.

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