The Sciences

When worldviews collide

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitOct 24, 2009 12:30 PM

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What do you get when you mix homeopathy with astrology? This. I should say that I have to give a kudo to the author for trying to set up a scientific experiment to see what would happen, but the experiment itself is so hopelessly flawed! In fact it's so wrong it's hard to know where to start. The lack of double blinding. The single blinding still being able to influence the testers. The fact that all the testers were believers, and able to influence each other. The starting supposition that a) homeopathy works, and 2) astrology works (when neitherdoes). A lack of clear results predicted so that conclusions (either negative or positive) could be drawn. The very subjective observations. And so on. It's clear from the article that the homeopath/astrologer means well, and is actually curious about all this. I wonder if there is any reliable way to take that curiosity, that well-meaning intention, and redirect it toward science? If there is -- besides slowly and methodically banging the drum of reason -- I'd love to know. A lot of people who believe in things like homeopathy and astrology and all that really are naturally curious, intelligent people, but somewhere down the line they strayed off the narrow path that winds its way through reality, and it would be nice to find a good way to nudge them back in the right direction.

Tip o' the precessed vial of distilled water to Krelnik.

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