Monday, January 5, 2009


Take homeopathy. It can be phrased to sounds plausible but it has not been proven to work. All that is meant by "proven" here is that there are positive results which can be reliably reproduced. It's not much to ask really - if something works then it should be demonstrable.

Disbelief in homeopathy has been suspended however, along with the orgy of opathys and ologys out there. So I presume their proponents believe more in the ideas they represent than the ideas themselves.

This new-age magic is packaged with recycled ideas like "alternative", "choice" and "nature". They're sold with free-range language like "holistic", "energy" and "karma". Belief in magic doesn't survive because there is magic, it survives because there's a demand for it.

Perhaps it comes from a distrust in our scientific and pharmaceutical institutions. Maybe people don't want their health and well being in the hands of statistics. They want hope in the face of overwhelming odds and freedom from reliable prediction. People want to believe in magic, they want to believe in mumbo-jumbo.

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