Monday, 19 May 2014


In addition to creating a new form of pseudomedicine, in order to protect it from reasonable debate, its touts and apologists have devised a whole new set of fallacies, red-herrings and diversionary tactics. In order that we need not describe them in full every time we meet them, some are named for convenience (rather in the same way that "homeopathist" (not itself a neologism) is shorthand for "touts, purveyors and apologists for homeopathy"). Here are some of them.

BrownBagging (aka "Hermann-Courtney Insufficiency"): A bizarre, clueless and complex hotch-potch of Dunning-Kruger compliance, Scopie's Law and its Corrolaries, Willberging (qv) and Poe's Law, occasionally modified by Hanlon's Razor and its variations. 

Bruckering: Finding that you're getting hammered in a debate, so calling for reinforcements and, when your quackdogs arrive, leaving them to carry the can while you skulk off to postures new.

Dullmann Index: An informal assessment of the degree of inappropriate (i.e. all of them!) citations or explanations that attribute a theory of how homeopathy works to quantum physics, nano-pharmacology, and other terms from modern science. The unit of measure of the Dullman Index is the milGrom.

Inane Lewis Manoeuvre: Posting, in an online discussion, a link in which you have posited some personal information, then trying to divert attention away from criticism of homeopathy by accusing anyone who notices it and subsequently comments on it of "snooping" on you.

Jahnigging: Posting huge gish-gallops of links that supposedly support some unscientific notion or fruit-loop conspiracy theory but which, on inspection, do nothing of the sort (which was pointed out the last time they were posted). (Intimately associated with Redding (qv) - in fact, so intimately that you would be forgiven for thinking that they were the same thing.)

Redding: Citing impressive sounding documents (often from international organisations like the WHO) which, on inspection, turn out never to have existed. (e.g. go here and search on "WHO report") (Intimately associated with Jahnigging (qv) - in fact, so intimately that you would be forgiven for thinking that they were the same thing.)

Tactical Janissing: Scattergun gish-galloping of a wide and varied spew of unevidenced bullshit, ranging from ridiculous claims that different sceptics are one person to Jahnigging (qv), all designed to try to hide the fact that the spewer has been spouting a wild hotch-potch of bullshit.

Willberging:  Repeatedly getting caught out bullshitting (mostly because the bullshit is usually so mind-numbingly stupid that you'd have to be two neurones short of a synapse to believe it in the first place, eg here and here), then blithely and shamelessly continuing without a shred of contrition, as if it had never happened.

I suspect there will be more....

Edit: ...and indeed there are:

Venkatosh: Claiming the ability to identify homeopathic "remedies" if, and only if, collusion is possible.

Edit (Suggested by Lee Turnpenny):

Ros(s)ing: A noisy, dishonest deflection device, characterised by mantric accusations of ‘ignorance’ and ‘prejudice’, employed to obfuscate copious logical fallacies and feigned oblivion to failure to address and correct untruths.

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