Evidence Check inquiries
1. Since the Science and Technology Committee was reformed in October 2009, we have been running a novel programme of work that we have called "Evidence Check". The purpose of Evidence Check is to examine how the Government uses evidence to formulate and review its policies. We have focussed on narrow policy areas and asked the Government to answer two questions: (1) what is the policy? and (2) on what evidence is the policy based? In December 2009 we published our first Evidence Check on Early Literacy Interventions.
This blog post contains a large number of supporting links, many from respected sources.
I've been in an ongoing conversation on Voxy which started with the NZ Skeptics Inc press release to the NZ Council of Homeopaths inviting them to join in the effort to remove homeopathy from chemist shelves on the grounds that you don't get the specialised remedy following the consultation the NZCoH said is a required part of treatment. The conversation has mostly died out due to exhaustion and the utter pointlessness of sparing with someone that just doesn't have much of a grasp on logic, the scientific method or how to answer a question without trying to dodge it first (and second and third...).
However, we appear to have a new sparring partner. They've trotted out an article from a magazine (not a journal) as evidence supporting homeopathy. The article covers a paper that has been thoroughly dragged through the skeptical community and torn to shreds for the quality of the paper, the experiment, the methodology, etc.
For those that missed it, this is the morning segment from RDU with Spanky and an homeopathic supporter. Not an actual homeopath, which may explain some of the weird ideas he was making up. Below is my response to this segment that, sadly, we didn't get notice of in time to participate. Breakfast with Spanky interviewed "Dr" John O'Malley DC about homeopathy. Personally I think Mary would have sounded less... wacky.
Following on from the Closeup TV interview, we decided to put up a challenge of our own to the NZ Council of Homeopaths to join the campaign. Here's why:
The New Zealand Skeptics are inviting homeopaths to join their call for pharmacies to stop selling homeopathic products, as both groups are opposed to the practice, albeit for different reasons.
January 30th, 2010 saw the first concerted world wide attempt to open the eyes of the general public to the reality of what Homeopathy really is.
The effort started with the 10:23 movement in the UK but was quickly picked up by many other skeptical groups around the world. The event was scheduled to start at 10:23am so, living in the future, Christchurch New Zealand was the first to hit the start time. We managed to get 25-30 people show up for the event which was pretty good for 2-3 days preparation.
Last night I had the unfortunate experience of attending one of Meryl Dorey's webinars on homeopathy and it's use in treating autism. There were a number of us ( @podblack, @dianne_, @bastardsheep, @fuzztwin and @joel_birch) in a skype back channel taking notes.
The recent case of baby Gloria poignantly illustrates the harm that can happen with unproven or disproven treatments.
Its always good to hear real medical doctors speaking up about the stupidity and danger of homeopathy.
There are some sane NZ'ers out there.
But before we start to rejoice, there is another sort of kiwi. Wellngton homeopath Gwyneth Evans has been elected chairperson of the International Council of Homeopaths!!!
It appears that the NZQA has pretty much completely removed a huge chunk of pseudoscience from its list of accredited qualifications.