So, in his leisure time, when he's not white knighting, perhaps he should look at her doing this 'fine job'.In her most recent contribution to the public understanding of homeopathy, she sets on display the full weight of her penetrating knowledge. Please watch before reading on. I know, I know. You only need to get through the first minute forty-five or so.
She claims (claim 1) that if you asked a homeopath, the homeopath would tell you the following: if you bought some produce and failed to wash it such that when you ate it still had shit on it and you contracted e. coli, the homeopath would prescribe that you eat more shit because like cures like.
Well, I'm not normally in the habit of defending woo, but at least get the claim right, ma'am. Like cures like. Shit != e. coli. If one contracted a disease, the symptoms would be what are viewed as similar. The symptoms are the familiar results of gastroenteritis: diarrhea, pain, abdominal distention. These are hardly restricted to e. coli infection, and are certainly not a necessary consequence of shit. This all presumes, of course, that what is caused by the e. coli in question isn't just a UTI, or deadly meningitis. So, no, a homeopath wouldn't advise one to eat more shit - not even a little (see claim 2). What one might advise use of would perhaps be something silly like arsenicum album, or colocynthis, or gelsemium, or any host of other things that are conspicuously not listed as 'fecal matter'.
How do I know? Well, it's a little thing that's generally known as being educated about a topic before discussing it. It's not like this is secret information one has to go to quack school to learn about. One can spend a few minutes at Google University and see this. Of course, this depends on one being able to differentiate cause from sign from symptom from mechanism of infection. Watson seems to think that e. coli having a mechanism of infection riding on some shit means that the mechanism of infection is the thing to be treated. The homeopaths are quacks, but not retards. They at least know the thing to be treated are the symptoms, and the cause of the infection - not the medium through which the pathogen is transmitted.
Picture it: any trauma room, USA. The trauma team is scrubbed, gloved and awaiting arrival of a patient reported to be bleeding from the chest (sign), in pain (symptom), penetrating chest wound (cause) from a gunshot (mechanism). Our highly trained team then approaches the gurney, pull back the cover to begin treating a .357 revolver. This is the rough analogy Watson has drawn.
She goes on to say that dilution is like taking a 'tiny' amount of 'fecal matter', putting it in a glass and shaking that up, taking out 'a drop', putting it in a swimming pool, mixing that up, taking out a drop and puting it in the ocean, and then we're on our way to having a remedy.
Well, no. That's not how they prepare homeopathic remedies. It's not even the same scale. I linked to a video by a silly graduate student who did a replication of the actual advised process using household bleach, mathematics, scale, at (no real) risk to his own health to demonstrate the process. To include the process known as 'potentization', which is noticeably unlike a swimming pool or ocean. (video embedded at the end).
Also, there's an important number threshold that is passed in this process, but Watson clearly is unaware of this - hence the drop to swimming pool reference. And drop to ocean reference. She doesn't know the mathematics on it. Scale is meaningless, to say nothing of introducing to the 'sugar and water' confuction some seawater, chlorine, unmediated controls, a dubiously inaccurate method, and, of course, the mechanism of transmission instead of the pathogen or symptom thereof ultimately that is 'like' the thing to be prescribed (depending on the results of an exam and the totality of the circumstances).
Also of note is that she introduces a new element to the Periodic Table: shit. Apparently, one can have 1 atom of shit, which I've labeled a shatum (atomic number 2), not to be confused with a shmatum (its diatomic, natural state, usually found embedded in the most common element, atomic number 1).
Why does this matter? Normally, it wouldn't - one quack talking about other quacks is normally not a cause for my attention. Except a noted scientist is pointing to this quack and saying she does a 'fine job' of explaining this - presumably, fine means 'without any semblance of science education, or understanding' despite his having said she understands the basic science. No, PZ, what Watson does is what the creationists do - she fucking butchers science and then states a conclusion not borne out by her chain of reasoning (based on a complete absence of evidence one notes). It's just okay when she does it because she's saying the right conclusion, I guess.
To paraphrase a friend of mine, Watson only knows how to operate by taking another's position, mangling it and then attacking that MANglation.
Here are some screen shots of PZ lambasting one quack (Althouse) in favor of lauding another quack (Watson), noting that the first quack was no match for the second, and the ensuing exchange:
|Someone who's literate responds|
|PZ speaks again - out of his ass, again|