Tuesday, December 01, 2015
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The EU, Consumer Fraud and Homeopathy

Consumer protection is a priority for the EU. Directive 2005/29/EC defines and condemns unfair commercial practices of all kinds, misleading advertising and aggressive sales methods. Health is also a priority, which led to the creation of the Directorate General for Health and Consumers that was tasked “to help make Europe's citizens healthier, safer and more confident, to make laws on the safety of food and other products, and to check that the rules are properly applied by the member states”.

Read more: The EU, Consumer Fraud and Homeopathy

The Shroud of Turin: Work of an Artist

Today marks the start of the exhibition of the Shroud of Turin. Three central pieces of evidence show it to be the work of a medieval artist. Each in itself is sufficient to refute the claim that is was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

  1. Pierre d'Arcis, Bishop of Troyes, writes a letter to the pope in the year 1389 unequivocally stating that the cloth was "cunningly painted" and that the artist had attested to the fact. The letter is based on an investigation carried out by his predecessor, Henri de Poitiers, following the first exhibition of the Shroud around 1357. The whole affair was meticulously examined by the French priest and scholar Ulysse Chevalier at the end of the 19th century. The owners could not show where they had it from, and there is no claim in any of the 50 documents examined that this was supposed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
  2. Leading forensic microanalyst Walter McCrone examined sticky tapes that had lift samples off the cloth. Using polarized light microscopy and X-ray diffraction, he could show that the samples had red ochre paint in the "body" areas and vermilion in the blood areas, which could not be identified in the non-body and non-blood areas. In addition, he identified the collagen tempera that is used as a paint medium. Various specific forensic tests for blood failed.
  3. Carbon dating in 1988 by three independent labs showed that the material for the cloth was harvested in the 13th or 14th century. The whole story is well documented in the book by Harry Gove – „Relic, Icon or Hoax? Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud". The book shows pictures of the shroud samples that were definitively identified as shroud material. All contamination were removed, quite in contrast to some wild claims about the contamination of the cloth.

The question remains why the Shroud legends are so persistent. It appears that the Shroud proponents have made up their minds based on their religious prejudices. There seems to be no lack of creativity in negating even the hardest pieces of evidence. It looks like the Shroud legends are here to stay and the work of scientists and skeptics will be a permanent one.


Link to the German version of this article.

Homeopathy and Breast Cancer

The homeopaths are franctically spreading the good news. A new study published in the International Journal of Oncology proves that extreme dilutions not only have a biologic effect but also selectively kill cancer cells.

Read more: Homeopathy and Breast Cancer

Report on the UK Government’s Funding of Homeopathy

On February 20th 2010 a UK parliamentary committee published a report on the use of National Health Service (NHS) money to provide patients with homeopathic treatment. The report was the work of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. This consists of 14 MPs drawn from the three main political parties. According to its website 'The Committee exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence.' It invites written and oral evidence from experts and interested parties in whatever subject it is investigating. Its meetings are open to the press and the public and its reports are available on its website. The committee makes recommendations the Government but it has no statuary authority.

Read more: Report on the UK Government’s Funding of Homeopathy

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