In Context: 5 Web Perspectives On A Story In The News


Pseudoscience skeptics ‘overdose’ to prove drugs ineffective

(Los Angeles Times) On Feb. 5, James Randi, of the James Randi Educational Foundation, put forth a challenge to anyone who could clinically prove a homeopathic medication to do what it claims. He offered up $1 million of his own cash. The challenge was made in a video posted on his website and in connection with the 10:23 Campaign, where people around the world simultaneously consumed excessive amounts of homeopathic drugs to prove that they don't work. He also called on retailers to take the drugs off their shelves or at least label them for what they are, as he says, not containing "one atom" of an active medical ingredient.



Doctors' network answers patient queries

One of the most popular, objective and reliable online sources for medical information, WebMD is a website maintained by a group of medical doctors and educated professionals. It includes a scientific definition of homeopathy. There is also an extensive ‘about' page with links to the biographies of the site's authors. There are also links to its editorial policy, corrections policy, and advertisement policy. It's an interactive site, which includes peer-reviewed articles and studies as well as a self-diagnosis tool. But, the tool includes a disclaimer stating that it is for informational purposes only and not to replace a medical physician.


Training and treatment in homeopathy

Hahnemann Center for Heilkunst and Homeopathy
The website is a site dedicated to a college that trains people to become a Doctor of Medical Heilkunst through the Hahnemann Center for Heilkunst and Homeopathy. The college does not offer a degree or doctoral program and is not accredited though the federal government. The site says that the school is accredited by the Canadian/International Heilkunst Association, whose founder Rudi Verspoor, is also the dean of the homeopathy school. The site indicates that the school does provide federal tax credits to students. The website, while set up to appear as a medical information site, has two major components: how to enroll in the college, and how to find a clinic for Heilkunst. There is also a section on what Heilkunst is and how it works, written from the perspective of a corporation promoting enrolment in the college. There is a link to what the treatment costs, but the site does not indicate if treatment can be covered through medicare.


Overdose challenge seeks to dispel homeopathy

10:23 Campaign
The 10:23 campaign website includes information about the campaign and people in the various cities and countries who participated. It also defines homeopathy, explaining how it "works." Since the campaign culminated on the weekend of Feb. 5, videos from participants around the world have been uploaded so that visitors can watch them ‘overdose' on different homeopathic medications. The website and the campaign are run by the Meyerside Skeptics Society, a group of people based in Meyerside, England, devoted to investigating and debunking claims of what they believe to be pseudoscience, such as homeopathy and scientology.


Magician aims to bust pseudoscience myths

James Randi Educational Foundation
James Randi earned his name as a magician and escape artist for most of his life. Since his retirement at the age of 60, he has focused his time and efforts on investigating paranormal claims and pseudoscience. His website and campaigns are run by a small group of skeptics, only one of which, based on their biographies, has scientific experience. The website thoroughly promotes critical thinking and education, and has links to grant programs for educators. The website also has its own encyclopedia of medical and paranormal terms, though the author of the encyclopedia is not named.


Health Canada defines homeopathy

Health Canada
To find out exactly what is meant by homeopathic medicine and how it is treated in the country, this government website offers useful resources. Although the site can be cumbersome to navigate, all of the information is here. Specifically the acts and regulations put in place by the government on how to label and distribute homeopathic products. This site includes the most recent amendments to the acts and links to research and statistics of any specific product sold.

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