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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yet another science writer sits on the homeopathy fence, 25 Sept. 2011
By 
This review is from: 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time (Paperback)
When it comes to popular science writing, homeopathy is a shibboleth. I therefore flicked straight to that chapter and these words jumped out at me:

"...they too had failed to prove homeopathy's inefficacy. Yet again. This all seems implausible. Given more than two centuries, science has failed to show that homeopathy is bunkum." [p194].

You'd think that a "PhD in quantum physics" would at least give one some grasp of the scientific method, including where the burden of proof lies and the 'argument from ignorance' fallacy. This chapter gives no evidence of this (though maybe it's confirmation bias on my part). This is such a fundamental flaw (cognitive or editorial, it matters not) that I have no reason to read the rest of the book or, indeed, any of his other stuff.

N.B. This review would have been longer and more detailed, but at least one an earlier reviewer noted the same thing.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2012 12:49:42 BDT
Horace Wimp says:
Not interested in a one-chapter review based on your personal hobby horse.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 17:49:14 BDT
I totally agree how can anyone judge a book of this nature on just one chapter? I thought the Homeopathy chapter was a bit weak, but so much of the rest of the book was engrossing and well thought out. For what it is worth I think it's a cracking read.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2012 19:19:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2012 19:19:43 BDT
Scep says:
It wasn't a "one chapter review". It was a one *sentence* litmus test. You do understand the word 'shibboleth', don't you?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2013 21:58:59 BDT
Tsuchan says:
It's like they say about the fossil record: if you find one fossil in the wrong geological layer, it would completely and irrevocably invalidate the whole basis of palaeontology. Similarly, if you hear a scientist spouting utter unscientific drivel on one subject, he disqualifies himself from credibility on all scientific subjects.

Now we've got to be very cautious in making such a judgement: many a scientific maverick has been proved right. But in this case it's really straightforward: either homoeopathy is wrong, or the whole of physics is wrong.

As it happens, I've listened to a 75-minute interview of the the author on YouTube, in which he undermined his credibility on several of the subjects he was asked about. It's very strange and disturbing to me that someone with such a prominent CV as a science journalist has the views he holds.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Dec 2013 08:27:53 GMT
Because you disagree with him he must be wrong?

Posted on 21 Dec 2013 14:07:47 GMT
P. Dunbar says:
Thanks so much for the warning. Don't let fools put you off writing similar reviews, I count on reviews like this to avoid wasting money.

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 02:02:40 GMT
Thanks for the review. The title jumped out at me from an email. Being an ex chemist and having my own view on certain subjects, the mere mention of homoeopathy make me click away.

If you (or anybody else) have any other suggestions around the same subject I would be very interested in reading them!
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