I should warn you up front that if you don’t agree with everything I’m about to say then I’m going to call you a racist.
Why yes, it is quite unusual to have planned in advance to deflect any criticism against me by ignoring the facts and bringing up irrelevancies in the hope of turning the mood of the debate against you. But apparently that’s just how some people roll.
In particular, homeopaths.
The original link to where this all kicked off is broken, as the post itself has apparently been deleted, but it’s been saved for posterity in various places. On May 12th, someone called Sue Trotter posted on a homeopathy message board, outlining a cunning strategy.
We can play the race discrimination card if we get this right. Please bear with me whilst I explain.
If we can find some British Indians/ Pakistanis or Bangladeshi’s they can complain to the ASA explaining that homeopathy is a prefered system of medicine in their countries of origin, used to treat a wide range of illnesses. The current wave of complaints against homeopaths would therefore seem to be an attack on their culture and beliefs and therefore discriminatory.
Wow. Let’s see if I can translate the subtext here:
These skeptics keep demanding evidence that we can’t provide, and complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority when we make unsubstantiated medical claims. But dodging the facts is getting tiring, so let’s find some brown people to throw at them and call them racist if they dare to keep criticising us.
I think I captured the essence of it there.
I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but this strikes me as being perhaps most offensive to the Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis themselves. The most useful thing Sue Trotter seems to think they can contribute to the discussion is simply whatever controversy can be manufactured from their skin colour and ethnic background.
And QueenGoriana said to me on Twitter: “I’m sure my scientist Indian cousins missed the memo which told them evidence-free magic is a defining part of their culture.”.
Sue admits that her plan isn’t necessarily foolproof, and that they “would need to get a smart lawyer to draft the letter”, tacitly confessing that the whole point is to be sneaky and manipulative, and to discourage any sort of honest discussion of the evidence.
It’s not an unprecedented tactic, either. British MP David Tredinnick has previously complained that scientists who criticised healthcare systems that use astrology or phases of the moon were “racially prejudiced“.
Because if you ever say that something lots of Chinese people believe is incorrect, you must hate foreigners.