Sunday, January 22, 2012

#277: Lionel Milgrom

The Ken Ham of homeopathy, no single person has done more to torture quantum theory into the service of woo than Lionel Milgrom. Not that he has any understanding of quantum mechanics; but since his audience does not either, plastering the vocabulary of quantum theory onto his crackpottery to make it sound like Harry Potter spells seems to provide his readers with warm, fluffy feelings and the impression that Milgrom actually has anything to contribute. He hasn’t, of course.

Look, for instance, at one of his contributions to the “journal” Homeopathy. The article starts out with the Galileo gambit, conspiracies and persecution complexes. It goes downward from there. Can he provide evidence for homeopathy? Not a trace – and he even indirectly admits as much. The reason science cannot show that it works, you see, is that it works as follows: “[i]nstantaneous, acausal correlations are somehow established between various combinations of patient, practitioner, and remedy”. How? Well, by quantum, you see. How? I have no idea. Neither does Milgrom. It has something to do with our “vital force” acting as a “quantum gyroscope” upon which homeopathy can act. To get there, he uses the appeal to postmodernism gambit: “it’s all about the narratives” (scientists are evil and close-minded and in a conspiracy; I am the hero who stands on the outside; hence I am oppressed; hence I am right). Oh, and to top it he appeals to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as a proof that there is no “underlying ontological physical reality” and why the observer effect explains that homeopathic remedies don’t work during clinical testing. This combination of confirmation bias, argument by assertion, wishful thinking and handwaving must really be seen to be believed.

He tries to achieve the same conclusions in this insane rant. Then he hit upon something obvious that would provide him with the justification he needed. That’s right. He discovered Dr. Emoto’s Water Memory Woo – truly among the most insane crackpot ideas in existence. View the unholy combination of Milgrom and water memory in all its glory here. Homeopathy is the “semiotic notion that the homeopathic remedy is a ‘sign’ working simultaneously in and for two different but connected meaningful contexts” (and if you nod in agreement with this, meet Dr. Sergio Stagnaro).

Diagnosis: Complete crackpot whose understanding of reality is sufficiently limited to make any claim to reason beyond his purview. Completely divorced from it (reality) and an outspoken critic of reason and sanity. Ardent and dangerous.


  1. Only one problem. He's British. He is not a loon either.

  2. Embarrassing. Milgrom is indeed British, so he should be disqualified. Britain definitely still has a bigger homeopathy-infestation problem than the US, so we should have checked this one up.

    Since attack is the best defense, I'll follow this admission by attacking your comment: Your comment, which consists of three sentences (of which one is not a complete sentence), is blatantly contradictory if you think that claiming that a non-loon is a loon is a problem for the entry as well (since in that case you would have pointed out two problems, contradicting your assertion that there is "only one"). This awkward situation is easily solved, however, since Milgrom is indisputably a hardcore loon, and one of the most delusional and dangerous ones there is. Since I assume that you are a rational person, I'll therefore be willing to disregard the last sentence of your comment and attribute it to a simple slip.

    We're probably not going to delete the post purely on the ground of Milgrom having the wrong nationality: He seems to have had some influence in the States as well, and his claims deserve to be exposed for what they are in the US as well.

  3. Please don't exclude the UK, change the title of your blogg to be more inclusive. Here in the UK we have a rich vein of Crackpottery that could keep you in fresh material for some time. You could start with the Prince of Wales.