Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Experts debate homeopathy funding? A response:

In Homeopathy Awareness Week, Responses to the media, Science on May 26, 2010 at 8:37 AM

The following was written in response to the following article on the ABC science website in Australia:

In addition to the indirect Governmental funding through our health insurance industry, government funded training organisations Australia wide offer courses in Homeopathy and a range of other Alternative and Complimentary modalities(CAM), despite the overwhelming evidence compiled that indicates a lack of efficacy.

When Professor Kerryn Phelps is quoted as saying there are “bigger fish to fry” when it comes to fixing the healthcare system, who could disagree? But does that mean this problem should be ignored on the basis that there are other, bigger problems?

Professor Phelps goes on to say that homeopathy can be easily criticised because it has a relatively small evidence base. This is the very problem that Dr Harvey states, well that and the fact such demonstrably ineffective treatments are offered by insurance companies that are subsidised by our government.

I do not understand how Professor Phelps backs up her assertion that orthodox treatments are not subject to the same level of scrutiny, by quoting a study scrutinising orthodox treatments? Evidence based research is not just a requirement for complimentary and alternative treatments and it is absurd to suggest, as Professor Phelps does, that mainstream medicine is immune to the same process of research and validation.

Dr Vicki Kotsirilis suggestion that the major studies don’t take into account how Homeopathy is used, is another way of stating the often repeated excuse in the CAM field that scientific research tools such as the double blind test, are not applicable to ‘personalised’ treatments. This same line is used by psychic mediums as an Ad Hoc excuse for poor results.

The quote by Dr Kotsirilis “out of all the complementary medicines it is the least understood, with the least amount of research,” is strange. What remains to be understood is how trained medical professionals can still not recognise the placebo effect when it is clearly demonstrated across the research. Personally I do not understand how one could accept the foundational claims of homeopathy, namely that
• Extreme dilution increases potency.
• Like cures like.
• Water has a memory.

Plus millions, if not billions of dollars has been spent on researching homeopathy world wide and these ‘explanations’ for how it works can’t be demonstrated.

While I admire Professor Phelps, Dr Kotsirilis and the British Homeopathic Association’s goal of giving the public a choice in treatments, surely an informed choice based on the best available evidence is preferable. The obvious biases these parties hold are no excuse for the medical, ethical and legal consequences to misinforming patients about those options.

Otherwise why not just give everyone a placebo?

Jayson D Cooke


More ways to increase Awareness of the Ethics in Classrooms debate here in Australia.

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Associate Producer Kyle Taylor from SBS’s Insight program is interested in hearing from parents about their experiences re religion and ethics teaching in schools OUTSIDE of NSW.

This is an opportunity to broaden the awareness of what’s happening in NSW. I strongly encourage you to pass this info on to people you know in other States so they can email Kyle asap.

His email is kylet at sbs dot com dot au

Thanks to Chrys Stevenson (
for passing this on and if you do live within NSW then you can help by filling in the blanks on this great e-form:

Jayson D Cooke

Ethics on Trial,

In Ethics in Schools on May 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM

The following was originally sent as an email to the website
an Anglican website opposing the teaching of ethics as an alternative to religious instruction in NSW schools.
I would recommend reading that website first as this letter is written entirely in response to the authors of the site.

The following punchy statement forms part of your site’s protest against the non-religious ethics classes on trial in NSW.

“What people don’t get, is that the ‘ethics’ that we all value in society today – like don’t steal, lie, murder etc – come directly from Scripture itself.”

This appears to be based on large helpings of Biblical, historical and cultural ignorance.

What poorly educated Christians don’t “get” is that all of their valued “biblical” ethics pre-date Judaism and the Christian Bible and merely reflect the culture at the time their scriptures were written. There is nothing uniquely “Christian” about them.

The Golden Rule is central to Buddhism and many other religions of greater antiquity.

Much of what is unique to the ethical codes and injunctions of Judeo-Christianity has been discarded as barbaric and omitted from modern legal and ethical codes. Because these aspects are conveniently expunged from most forms of religious education, modern day Australian Christians are rarely aware of the penalties which the Bible God prescribed for those who break the Top Ten Commandments. With only one exception, the penalty is torture and horrific death at the hands of the faithful.

This type of “moral” justice is condemned by modern Australian society and is not reflected in the Australian justice system.

Only rarely does modern day Christian education inform people of the other rules and commandments which the Jewish God gave to his Prophet along with the Top Ten. These include the admonition to stone your disobedient children to death, instructions on how to beat one’s slave to death (- it’s fine if the slave lives for at least three days after the beating), how to sell your daughter into slavery, when to marry her to any man who rapes her, and when to torture and kill her instead. There are prohibitions against eating lobster, wearing cloth made from blends of more than one fiber and handling things made from pig skin. Failure to inform Australian citizens of these injunctions avoids the important lesson that acting on what appears to be a divine instruction may get you jailed under Australian law, or vilified as evil, stupid, sick or insane by the very people who insist that they are followers of the religion which teaches these things.

Australian law and civil moral codes are based on international views of human rights and dignities which are absent in the Christian holy writings or overtly or covertly undermined. The Christian Bible views women, children and slaves as property and supports genocide, rape, sex slavery and the complete destruction of any nation or people that you can justify as “evil”. It supports animal and human sacrifice, favoritism, petty jealousy and psychological cruelty. It provides models of “godly” behaviour that no properly socialized member of the Australia community would ever want their child to emulate. The Jewish Christian God’s favorite people kill their best friends so that they can marry their wives (David), get drunk and get their daughters pregnant (Lot), offer their daughters as rape victims in order to protect a male guest from a similar fate (Lot) and traumatize their child by preparing them for human sacrifice (Abraham).

Australian citizens need to know that these models of divine morality are not acceptable behaviour in this society.

I am appalled at the misinformation which this site is providing to the Australian public. Apparently lack of intellectual integrity of this kind is acceptable under the moral code which you teach. I do not want my child to learn this kind of ethic.

Rosemary Lyndall Wemm
This post was originally posted on face book and is repeated on our blog with the permission of the author.