This morning David and Kim (admittedly hardly paragons of scientific virtue) really dropped the ball.
Not only did they give a substantial chunk of air time to Isaac Golden, a “doctor” of homeopathy with some very strange ideas about vaccinating using homeopathy, their resident actual doctor Nikolai Petrovsky completely failed to call Golden on any of the bullshit he was spouting.
Warning: video may induce the urge to hit head on desk.
The video has been removed from YouTube because of a copyright claim from Channel Ten, but you can find a transcript here.
At timestamp 4:10 Golden claimed to have a homeopathic treatment for swine flu, and it was actually David who asked the very good question: “What is it? What are the components of it?”
Golden started banging on about the “law of similars” and similar nonsense, and Petrovsky still didn’t call him on it.
All Dr. Petrovsky had to say was “I’ll tell you what the components are David … it’s simple. In fact there’s just the one. Water! That’s it! You could fill your syringe up at the tap and it’d do you just as much good as a homeopathic vaccination. In fact, screw the $400,000 the Cubans apparently paid for their treatments. I’ll do it for $50,000 and a slab.”
But no … all Petrovsky could manage was some lame protests that “vaccines work” before being interrupted by Golden with some hand-waving about a “major scientific paper about to be published”.
Just quietly, I’m not holding my breath for that one.
The real concern here is that viewers watching this piece may have come away thinking that homeopathic vaccination is a viable alternative to genuine vaccination.
I’d like to see a follow-up piece, in which it’s clearly explained that the claims of homeopathic practitioners fly in the face of all known scientific principles, that homeopathy has never been shown to have any effect in a properly controlled double-blinded trial, and most importantly, that homeopathic solutions are indistinguishable from everyday tap water.