As promised, Berkshire skeptics were out in Wokingham town centre last week to raise awareness of homeopathy. Our aim was, in part, to counter some of the dubious information we believed Dr Jayne Donegan was likely to give out in her talk.
There were 6 of us in the end and we had a very pleasant time chatting to people going into the town hall, and to passers-by. The ladies from Thames Valley Homeopaths seemed genuinely amused by our presence and it was all generally good-humoured.
We simply handed out some leaflets summarising the principles of homeopathy and how it is not as effective as some people believe. We didn’t seek to disrupt the the talk itself in any way, merely to provide people with some reliable information on the subject.
I was surprised that a few people, clearly ardent fans of homeopathy, reacted with disgust at our leaflets and thrust them back with revulsion. One woman visibly shuddered, as though critical thinking and scientific evidence might be contagious and the paper itself was contaminated. A fascinating psychological response.
I doubt we won over many people to our viewpoint. I suspect most of those paying £10 to hear a homeopath talk have already decided to ignore the weight of existing evidence against its efficacy. But I think that this sort of action is as important as a publicity exercise as an educational one. I hope we can continue to show the mostly disinterested majority of the public that the promotion of homeopathy does not go unchallenged and there is a strong, calm and reasoned opposition to it.