Wikipedian at War: Jimmy Wales Sets His Sights on Homeopathy

"What I want to know is this: why is this legal?"

(Photo: Blogger)

(Photo: Blogger)

Homeopathy, an alternative form of medicine employed by free-spirited aunts everywhere, has just made a very potent enemy. On his newly-minted Quora blog, Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales voiced his disapproval for the method, which has been systematically proven to be an ineffective pseudoscience.

While suffering from a cold, Mr. Wales asked a pharmacist in London to suggest a remedy. The pharmacist suggested Oscillococcinum, a French homeopathic remedy that he claimed would “disrupt the DNA of the virus before it could make [him] ill.” Unfortunately for this poor pharmacist, he had no idea who he was talking to.

Mr. Wales politely declined the recommendation and instead purchased some cough drops. But his hatred for homeopathy was reignited.

The flu, Mr. Wales argues, is a dangerous virus that kills people every year, and yet some people may eschew a life-saving vaccine in order to take homeopathic remedies that are falsely marketed as being effective. “What I want to know is this: why is this legal?” Mr. Wales wondered. “Or, if it is not legal, then what can be done about it?”

Since the Wikipedia cofounder is a little busy at the moment, he asked who he should contact to help fight the good fight against homeopathy. “This is not my primary area of interest and so I am not the right person to lead it myself,” he wrote. “But I would like to help.”

Mr. Wales is not alone: Many technologists, scientists, Singulatarians and skeptics have also voiced their anti-homeopathy stance. Last year, Singularity University’s VP of academics Vivek Wadha came under fire for allegedly spreading the dark art of “pseudoscience” when he let a homeopath speak to students.

(h/t Carl Franzen)