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Nov 24, 2020 31 tweets 10 min read Read on X
Let’s all gather ‘round for a story about fake medicine, why people might use it, and why it’s so dangerous, especially during a global pandemic. Don’t worry! This story has pictures! Image
Say hello to Ben. Hi, Ben! Ben is a very famous and important man. He used to be famous for being a neurosurgeon! Wow! That’s super-impressive. Now he’s the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Go Ben! Image
He’s also on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which means he’s part of the President’s team that’s responsible for protecting Americans from COVID-19, which is a really bad disease! The Vice President is in charge, but Ben is really important there. He’s a doctor! Image
Okay, so, things aren’t going so well with this pandemic. A lot of people are sick! A lot of people have died! And it just keeps getting worse. Ben sure has his work cut out for him. Image
Oh no! It turns out that Ben got infected by the coronavirus! Ben is sick with COVID-19! (So are a lot of other people Ben works with. What a coincidence!) Being sick is really bad. Get better soon, Ben! Image
Good news! Ben did get better. He got the best medical treatment available, and now he’s back on his feet. Good to see you, Ben! Image
A lot of people do get better after getting sick with COVID-19, and that’s good! Not everybody does. Some people die. More than 250,000 people in the U.S. have died. A lot of people who get better still have lots of health problems afterward that we’re still trying to understand
The important thing is that Ben got better. And he says he knows HOW he got better! Tell us, Ben! Tell us! Ben says he got better because he took a kind of medicine called Oleander-4X. That sounds cool! What is it? Should all of us take it? Let's find out!…
We’ll hop on over to the website of the company that sells Oleander-4X. It says it provides “temporary relief of flu symptoms such as muscle or body aches, headache, chills and fever, cough, and congestion.” Wow!

But wait, what’s with that little asterisk? Oh well. Image
Here we learn that “Oleander-4X is an all-natural homeopathic drug, which is a unique botanical extract from the leaves of the oleander plant.” Homeopathic? What’s that mean? And hey, there’s that pesky asterisk again. Hmm… Let’s click “find out more.” Image
Hey, we found where that asterisk leads! Oh no. “Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence.” WHAT??? “Not FDA evaluated.” EXCUSE ME??? Image
Ben, I think you have some explaining to do. Image
Oleander-4X is homeopathic. Homeopathy is an 18th-century pseudoscience based on the idea that a dangerous substance that causes you to feel sick can make you feel better if it’s diluted to the point that no trace of it exists and the water molecules “remember” it was there.
Why yes, it’s 100% complete nonsense. It does literally nothing.…
Even crazier, it’s $90 per bottle of nothing! That’s some expensive nothing. Image
But if Oleander-4X is useless, why does Ben think it helped him get better? Well, like we said, people get better after being sick, whether it’s the flu, COVID-19, or lots of other diseases.
Rest and science-based medicine are usually what do the trick, but folks who take alternative medicines like homeopathy sometimes think it was the non-medicine that fixed them.…
That’s understandable! They aren’t experts. Big drug retailers often sell homeopathic products right alongside real medicine, making regular folks think that it’s just as effective, even though it’s not effective at all!…
Also, look at the website again. They tell customers that the product is good because it’s “natural.” Well, yes. Water with nothing in it is indeed natural. So are asteroids! And dung beetles! And the coronavirus! (No offense, dung beetles.) Image
But folks also listen to famous people they trust. Ben is world-famous for being a brain surgeon! He ran for president! He’s a cabinet secretary! He’s on the Coronavirus Task Force! Look, he even had his picture painted with Jesus! Hi, Jesus! Image
The point is that lots of people, maybe millions of people, trust Ben very much. They trust him as a leader and as a doctor. So when Ben says that a medicine helped him beat the coronavirus, a lot of people will believe it.
And that happens all the time. Famous people get regular folks to think that a fake medicine like homeopathy will make them better or keep them from getting sick. So those folks rely on those fake medicines, sometimes instead of getting real, science-based medical care. Image
Folks who get suckered into buying homeopathic products are throwing their money away on a product that does not and cannot work. And let’s be honest, the people selling those products know that it doesn't work. It’s a big scam. Image
But worse than that, if they rely on “alternative” fake medicines instead of science and evidence-based medical care, they are risking their health (or the health of their kids) and the health of everyone around them.
A person who trusts Ben might think, well, COVID’s not such a big deal. I’ll just take Oleander-4X like Ben did, and I’ll get through it! There’s a whole lot of bad choices that could follow from that, like not social distancing, or not wearing masks.
So that’s why we think Ben has made a big mistake. We’d love to see Ben admit that Oleander-4X—like all homeopathy—is fake medicine, and that people shouldn’t waste their money on it. Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, surely ought to know better. Image
But since he probably won’t, we at the Center for Inquiry would like respected health leaders to speak out. People like Dr. Antony Fauci, @Surgeon_General, and @CDCDirector. They should come out and make sure the American people know homeopathy is total bunk and that Ben is wrong
We’re super-glad that Ben got better after having COVID-19. But he was wrong to tell people that a quacky, pseudoscientific, good-for-nothing homeopathic medicine helped him do it.

(There's Ben with Dr. Fauci a long time ago! Aw.) Image
You can help us fight back against pseudoscience and fake medicine! Support the Center for Inquiry today!
Read our official, non-storybook statement about Ben Carson and homeopathy here. “This kind of disregard for science-based medicine is made even more dangerous when it comes from a seemingly reputable source.”…
If you liked this story-thread, help support our work for reason, science, and secular values at Image

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More from @center4inquiry

Aug 5, 2021
TONIGHT on the big, scary Zoom machine: The QAnon Storm is Upon Us

See @rothschildmd on tonight's Skeptical Inquirer Presents live online event at 7pm ET: "How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything"

Register right now:…
Starting in MERE MOMENTS. Register now to join the Zoom before the Lizard People catch you.…
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Good morning, heretics. Yes, it’s only Tuesday. And while that technically means time is moving in one linear direction, it really feels like maybe we’re in a time loop. Let’s do the news roundup.…
Hey don’t forget that Mike Rothschild will be on the next Skeptical Inquirer Presents live online event Thursday night to talk about the sturm und drang of QAnon. Register now, it’s free for goodness sake.…
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Welcome to a new week, heretics. Time for The Morning Heresy’s roundup-thread of all the weird, disturbing, and bewildering goings-on in the news.…
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One day, CFI's legal director Nick Little was scrolling through Facebook, which he totally doesn't spend too much time doing. He can quit any time. Anyway, he was scrolling and look what he found! An advertisement!

(Oh, this is a thread.)
Facebook is FULL of ads, of course, but this one was special. It was by a company called Modern Allergy Management (or "MAM"), and they offer an AMAZING service: they can tell you what you're allergic or intolerant to by analyzing a sample of your hair! WOWEE WOW WOW.
In fact, they say they can test you for intolerance for up to 750 foodstuffs and environmental items. They can even use hair that isn’t from your head—for bald customers—or diagnose your dog, cat, or horse! (For their own intolerances, not yours. We think.)
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