Those silly Brits need our help with a homeopathy poll


We saved their butts in WWII*, now it’s time for everyone to save them from this foolish poll.

Should homeopathic treatments be available on the National Health Service?

59.1% Yes
40.9% No

*It’s more complicated than that, I know, but it’s always good to pander to the American ego.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. Cartomancer says

    Isn’t pandering to the American ego what got the Tea Party started in the first place?

  2. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

    I voted “yes” to ease my American ego. Make me feel better about us.

  3. says

    Homeopaths confuse the hell out of me. I honestly have no idea how the hell they could possibly think that diluting a substance past the point where none of the original solution is left would even remotely work in treating medical conditions. The principles of homeopathy are things that can be scientifically tested, and the science shows that homeopathy is total crap. Have homeopaths ever considered taking basic chemistry classes?

  4. Horse-Pheathers says

    Anyone else notice that the article comes pre-Godwined?

    (See the photo credit….)

  5. says

    In spite of the majority voting for it, the comments are almost unanimously against it. After a cursory reading I only noticed a condescending defense that came down to “let the proles have their placebo.” And that argument was roundly dismissed.

    I wonder, did some New Age site send over a bunch of semi-literates before pZ got a hold of it? That would explain the discrepancy.

  6. eigenperson says

    Voted. It’s disgusting that tax money is being spent on benefiting homeopaths, even if it isn’t actually MY tax money.

  7. Henry says

    Save our asses? You turned up three yrears late and took all the credit!
    (I’m just trying to deflect your attention from this rediculous guff, my countries pitiful acceptance of it and the dreadful house of Windsor spouting utter bollocks in support of it when they can)
    Bloody damn Yanks!

  8. says

    Great comment on the Grauniad board:

    snoozeofreason

    Yes, but it is so cheap to fund. You just drop a penny into a bucket of water, whack it with a leather mallet, and then dilute it to 60C. Hey presto! all the money you could possibly want.

  9. Brain Hertz says

    From the Grauniad comments (may require translation into American):

    Homeopathy enthusiasts, save money by filling your cars fuel tank up with water. The engine will remember petrol from a previous fill.

    Thanks to Viz’s top tips for that little gem.

    for those not familiar, Viz is a, err, satirical magazine. Or possibly a comic. Depending on your point of view. The “top tips” column is particularly good.

  10. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @13 Except you’d need to dilute the *opposite* of petrol, wouldn’t ya?

  11. Francisco Bacopa says

    Voted “no” an got it up to 50.1%. Seems to have some IP logger that makes it hard to vote multiple times. I don’t wanna have to reboot my DSL modem to snag multiple votes, so all yall vote.

  12. kingbollock says

    So frustrating to be surrounded by so many stupid people so easily prepared to throw their money away.

  13. madscientist says

    The UK NHS has been paying less for homeopathic treatments over the years – could it be that people are wising up, or are the victims of homeopathy dying off?

  14. Nom de Plume says

    OT, but I’m only posting in this thread because I was late in seeing your gratuitous and shitty post on Christopher Hitchens. I’m personally grateful for any words I get from Hitchens at this point, but I’m especially grateful for his article today. Spot on, and with more courage and accuracy than anyone else with a major megaphone in this country.

    I’m sorry you’re unimpressed. Color me unimpressed with your lazy post.

  15. Leo says

    One of my friends is a doctor in England’s NHS system, and I had this debate with her. She, herself, knows that homeopathy is a crock, but she proposed this argument (paraphrased for your convenience):

    A lot of patients go to doctors DEMANDING treatment for ailments that either don’t really exist, or don’t require medical intervention. For example:
    “You’ve got a cold. Drink plenty of fluids, take a paracetamol for pain if you need to, and you’ll be fine in three days.”
    “But doctor, I’m DYING here! I need something!”
    “Fine, have this lovely little sugar pill.”
    “Thanks, doctor!”

    It’s easier than educating an idiot (NHS docs are often over-burdened), you avoid over-medicating people who don’t actually need meds (some of which are BOTH expensive and have nasty side effects), and the dolt of a patient is fine in three days either way.

    While my doctor friend has no intention of prescribing homeopathic “remedies” for people who need real medical intervention (she’s very pragmatic), if she can help “cure” someone’s mild depression with sugar pills and a referral to a counselor (the ones who demand drugs, particularly), before trying actual antidepressants on someone who probably doesn’t need them, then it’s a win-win.

    I argued with her that patients need a proper dose of honesty about homeopathy instead of being pandered to, but she makes a good point. People are often dumb and gullible. (Look at the Palin bandwagon.) The sugar-pill approach to help people “feel better” can be hugely helpful in the practical application of medicine. Medicine is both science AND art… there’s the raw biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, virology, and so on… and then there IS a human factor.

    Sure, if someone tried to peddle off sugar pills on me as a cure for anything, I’d ask, “Why? Is my blood sugar low?” But for some people, the power of suggestion IS a potent tool. If a person has severe anxiety about a procedure, but they CAN’T be sedated, there’s a lot to be said for comforting the patient and offering a pill that “might help you to relax.”

    It’s also been shown that the more elaborate the placebo, the more effective it is. Homeopathy might be ridiculous, but its methodology is elaborate enough to trick the foolish… and people with NO proper science education.

    So, as my doctor friend concluded, if she can offer comfort to those who don’t need medical intervention, but are desperate for SOMETHING, then that’s part of practicing medicine. Heck, why do you think doctors’ offices used to give lollipops to the kids? It worked.

  16. starstuff91 says

    Did you see the picture of the homeopathic “hospital”? Wearing a white lab coat does not make you a scientist or a doctor.

  17. Xenithrys says

    @ 22 “Did you see the picture of the homeopathic “hospital”? Wearing a white lab coat does not make you a scientist or a doctor.”

    No indeed; I assumed it’s in case she spills a drop of that water on her clothes.

  18. 3zebras says

    @Leo

    Sure, give out sugar pills to whiny man-flu sufferers, but what happens when that person, whose acute hypochondria was “cured” by a sugar pill goes on to develop cancer?

    I think it’s too much of a risk to, even with the best intentions, convince the gullible that homeopathy has any effect on anything given they might demand the same treatment for something actually serious.

  19. jimmyboy says

    More complicated than that???? Completely different from that perhaps…

    This is like a Tory plot: cut the spending to screw the proles, and then really fuck ‘em by making the service provided a joke.

  20. Blattafrax says

    Paraphrased from the best comment so far on that poll. Continue to fund homeopathy, but at a 6C dilution. It will be much more effective and cost a whole lot less.

  21. harebell says

    You entered WW2 after taking around three years to decide if you were nazis or not. The Japanese gave your only decent president ever, the evidence the American people needed to cease hating Jews and loving antisemitism to actually do what was right. Couple this with charging your allies interest and your righteous intervention no longer has any moral basis in fact.
    PZ if there was no profit in it your people would have dressed in jackboots and happily goose stepped all over the world.. hmmmmm wait a minute.

  22. Blattafrax says

    Harebell: If you were a fish, you would have been gutted, covered in breadcrumbs, and served up for dinner by now.

    Just ignore it and take him off your Christmas card list. [I did try to make this more patronising, but couldn’t see how. Sorry.]

  23. Moggie says

    madscientist:

    The UK NHS has been paying less for homeopathic treatments over the years – could it be that people are wising up, or are the victims of homeopathy dying off?

    To figure out whether people in general are wising up, I guess you’d need to look at sales of over-the-counter magic water and sugar pills. But I recall reading some whining from the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital about how they were getting less referrals than they used to, so it’s possible that real doctors, at least, are rejecting the bullshit.

  24. gordon says

    People assume, wrongly it turns out, that if something is available on the NHS (or sold in a “reputable” pharmacist) there must be something to it.

    So this funding costs the taxpayer money to fool the taxpayer into believing in magic.

  25. David Curtis says

    Might as well drink water. As a Brit (sorry to sound so nit-picky) there was an awful lot more to it :)

  26. puppygod says

    38% Yes
    62% No

    Nice :)

    An regarding placebo for whiny patients. No. Just no. It’s always very bad idea to have lying to people built into system. Not to mention that it gives homeopaths unwarranted legitimacy. If homeopathics are funded by government, then why shouldn’t homeopathy be taught in medical schools? If homeopathy is OK, why not acupuncture? And so on, and so on. It IS slippery slope.

    Personally I think that homeopathic “medicine” should have warnings like those “smoking kills” labels on cigarettes. “This pills contain no active ingredient”, “There is no known medicinal effect of this potion”, “100% water” etc.

  27. Kevin Anthoney says

    I’d actually have voted for “yes, if it was proven to work”. But that wasn’t there, so I voted “no”, which amounts to the same thing.

  28. Relic Delic says

    Caaaaalm down my kneejerk tea-hating ladyfriends. Thanks to a flourishing populist rationalism sweeping our fine Isle, homoeopathy is most certainly on its way out of the NHS, irrespective of the findings of a little insignificant newspaper opinion poll. We do nonetheless thank you for your unceasing loyalty to the Crown and do not discourage your passion for mollycoddling. Flattery, after all, will get you everywhere deary!

  29. AussieMike says

    39.2% Yes

    60.8% No

    Looking at puppygod’s figures above I’d say we have some competition.

  30. Marcus Hill says

    The poll had been previously assaulted via an email sent to the “friends of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital” (it stood at around 90:10 for rationality prior to that). The Guardian has a generally left leaning and rational readership – it’s the paper that Ben Goldacre writes for.

  31. davem says

    Whenever I discuss homeopathy, I get the ‘but it works’ reaction – until they realise that I’m not talking about ‘natural herbs’. When I tell them what homeopathy actually is, they all agree with me. I think that a very large proportion of the homeopathic sympathisers are actually voting for something else.

  32. Sneak says

    I sure ain’t no doctor – is there actually a measurable benefit from placebos?

    [parochial rant: I’m sure the 60,000-odd Australian troops deployed to Singapore (instead of Egypt as a condition of US entry to the war) that wound up in Japanese POW/death camps like Changi were THRILLED about US involvement (Singapore fell the next day).

    That said tho, my granddad did mention being EXTREMELY grateful for the fully automatic rifle and proper GP boots supplied by the US for D-Day (as opposed to the bolt-action rifle and shoes he was wearing when he enlisted).]

  33. Blattafrax says

    #44 Not only a measurable benefit, but (according to Ben Goldacre) large placebo pills are better than small ones and red pills are better than blue ones.

  34. Gunboat Diplomat says

    I saw the irish comedian Dara O’Briain last night take the unholy piss out of homeopathy and other quackery. When its hitting mainstream tv like this its a good sign the message is finally getting through.

    Also hes fucking hilarious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMvMb90hem8

    PS thansk for saving europe from the Nazi’s – oh wait it was the soviet army who did most fo the work.

    Ok thanks fo rsdaving us from the soviets then, if it wasn’t for you we’d all be speaking Russian. And English and French and German.

    You bastards!

  35. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    @Relic Delic #36

    Caaaaalm down my kneejerk tea-hating ladyfriends.

    Feel free to re-think your use of gendered insults. If you would like to do so, great – and you’re welcome. Alternatively, if you would prefer to hang onto them, feel free to take your misogyny and insert rectally accompanied by a (non-diluted) habanero-marinated suppurating porcupine, of which there is a plentiful supply in the Pharyngula warehouse.
    .
    Yes, the woo is utterly pathetic and Chucky’s endorsement of it a major embarrassment.

    Coming up with a hollywood re-telling of the capturing of the Engigma machine that portrays it as a US triumph and actually re-writes history such that various Brits weren’t even there takes some serious chutzpah, though!

  36. says

    The principles of homeopathy are things that can be scientifically tested

    No they can’t. You know that they can’t because every time we try, we get the wrong results, so clearly the method of testing must be deficient.

  37. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

    Leo

    While my doctor friend has no intention of prescribing homeopathic “remedies” for people who need real medical intervention (she’s very pragmatic), if she can help “cure” someone’s mild depression with sugar pills and a referral to a counselor (the ones who demand drugs, particularly), before trying actual antidepressants on someone who probably doesn’t need them, then it’s a win-win.

    I argued with her that patients need a proper dose of honesty about homeopathy instead of being pandered to, but she makes a good point. People are often dumb and gullible. (Look at the Palin bandwagon.) The sugar-pill approach to help people “feel better” can be hugely helpful in the practical application of medicine. Medicine is both science AND art… there’s the raw biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, virology, and so on… and then there IS a human factor.

    Sure, if someone tried to peddle off sugar pills on me as a cure for anything, I’d ask, “Why? Is my blood sugar low?” But for some people, the power of suggestion IS a potent tool.

    This is an interesting argument. I think the main discomfort I have with it is that this kind of suggestion can cut in multiple directions. In using homeopathy specifically to pacify a patient or illicit some kind of placebo effect, a doctor would also be promoting the illusion that homeopathy actually does something. This kind of application could lead to more people who are enamored of homeopathy and specifically want to use it in place of real drugs for conditions that aren’t self-terminating.

  38. says

    Erm, how can I put this nicely…

    Fuck off PZ

    You did not save our arses in WW2, you deigned to join in after you yourself had been attacked so in fact joined for purely selfish reasons (IE: pearl harbour)

    Had your lot not been directly attacked, I seriously doubt you lot would have done a damn thing, as you didn’t in the initial two years we were having the crap bombed out of us by the Nazis.

  39. MrClaw says

    G’day y’all.

    Long-time reader, 1st time poster and all that.

    I’m based in the UK and a frequent Guardian-reader.

    It appears that this poll has been hijacked by either a motivated group of quack-fetishists or by vote-bots.

    For a long while the vote was 90:10 against funding; then – all of a sudden – it jumps to 40:60 for funding. This suggests poll-tampering.

    I wrote to the editor of the CIF section of the Guardian and pointed to possible dodgy skewing of poll-results. I proposed putting a text-capture zone on the polls to stop any vote-bots.

    The editor has mailed back and said they will look into it.

    I work for a 500-year old medical membership body and feel very strongly about the best use of efficacious treatment at the best price for the UK tax-payer.

    For me, it is also not *just* a case of efficacy-vs-cost (after all, the persistent hypochondriac may be cheaply dealt with by placebo), but the issue raises 2 further points:

    1) The Dr-patient relationship should be one built upon trust. We should not be ‘treating’ with inefficient ‘medicine’ and lying to patients.

    2) The reaction of quack-fetishists against their twin-evils of allopathic medicine and “big pharma” is a symptom of a broader anti-science sentiment which appears to be growing in the UK. A tide which needs, and must, be turned back.

    Mr Claw

  40. says

    Hey! Come on PZ, in WWII you guys couldn’t even get the Enigma Machine. All you could do was to wait till it was safe, and then make a movie claiming that you did.
    And we (effectively) won the war of 1812
    :-)
    :-D

  41. jimmyboy says

    PZ says: for future reference, must remember that WWII is a really good handle with which to yank the British chain.

    Darned right. Very short sense of humour on this subject over here. Humph.

  42. StevoR says

    Sorry about the double post – first one hadn’t appeared even after refreshing a couple of times so thought it hadn’t come through. Mea culpa.

  43. says

    No they can’t. You know that they can’t because every time we try, we get the wrong results, so clearly the method of testing must be deficient.

    Well, that’s what the homeopath’s whine when testing homeopathy shows that it doesn’t work.

    Science can’t test my woo!

  44. Reg Cheeseman says

    You yanks are welcome to help with this stupid poll in a newspaper that should know better, but try not to leave it two years this time, eh?

  45. Zinc Avenger says

    Everyone needs their chain yanked from time to time – it’s good for the humors and it prevents the build up of vapors.

  46. rad_pumpkin says

    Ooh, Homeopathy…how droll!
    My brother wanted to discuss the deleterious effects of scientific illiteracy in his college application essay, and wanted to do a practical demonstration with those little sugar pills. So the two of us bought a few of them; I picked hepar sulfuris (I think…CaS2 at any rate), and he went with Arsenic. Mine was intended to treat headaches iirc, and his was said to cure “traveler’s diarrhea.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with chemistry, CaS2 will release H2S when it comes into contact with acid (eg stomach acid), which is quite toxic. Arsenic and its various compounds tend to be not-so-good for you as well. So there we were…one college grad, and one prospective college student. We said our final goodbeyes, and took the entire bottles. We…uhm, didn’t make it. Obviously.
    The first thing that struck me about those sugar pills (aside from the price, $7 for a little bottle?!) was that the active ingredient label stated “see above” meaning the archaic names for the various compounds used. At 30C dilution, that was more than questionable. The inactive ingredients were listed as sucrose and lactose – quite literally sugar pills. Now I will say they were quite tasty, but at $7 a pop, you’d be better off buying some other candy.

    Alrighty, now time for some anonymous chemist on the intertubes to explain homeopathy’s many failings:
    1) The like-cures-like thing is bullshit. Do I even have to explain that taking arsenic to cure diarrhea is not a good idea? Shit, some of the even more retarded “cures” use radium and hydroflouric acid. Yeah…have fun with that.
    2) 30C means 30 100x dilutions, resulting in a total of 10^-60 concentration from the starting material. Even if we were to start with one mol of active ingredient (~6*10^23 particles), you would have a better shot at winning the lottery several times in a row than finding a single particle of your active ingredient in the final solution.
    3) When doing dilutions, two things are important:
    a) the solubility of your compound of interest in the selected solvent
    b) the purity of the solvent
    I can tell you that even lab grade chemicals are never 100% pure, and the same goes for water. An additional problem with this is that we can rarely detect anything below 1ppt (1 part in one trillion; 10^12 times less concentrated), so the spectrum of your final solution will look exactly like the blank. That is assuming your “active” ingredient is even soluble, which is not always the case.
    4) That water memory thing. Yes, water has memory. You see, some scientists will occasionally investigate those bullshit claims, and surprisingly, some are true! BUT, that memory is less than 50fs (.05ns=5*10^-14s; here’s a link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v434/n7030/full/nature03383.html). Even if the memory were to have any influence on reactivity or solubility, well, drink up fast!
    5) Clathrates. I’ve heard that being used as an explanation. Clathrates are essentially “cages” that surround a given compound. These are real, and keep a surprisingly large quantity of methane gas at the bottom of the ocean. Thing is, water will never form those under standard lab conditions (25C, 1atm), so that’s bullshit.

    In conclusion: buy snake oil instead. At least that will actually have some bits of snake in it…

  47. claimthehighground says

    @47 Thanks Mr. Gunboat (or is it Mr. Diplomat). The Dara O’Briain clip is great. His rant on homeopathy starting at 2:03 and going to 3:00 included the idiocy religious zealots too. It’s worth a view.

  48. Jim Mauch says

    What a silly idea. They should know that they could get one of those magnetic braclets from the U.S. to keep them healthy. I have proof that they work. My aunt Irene wears a braclet and she hasn’t died.

  49. Allen L. says

    Just think, next year we Canucks can tease the Darn Yanks about the War of 1812. If Bachmann or Perry win, the Yanks may torch a certain white building in commemoration.

  50. Rufus says

    It’s not so much WWII as the revisionist history, something that you generally dissaprove of. The film U-571 being the priceless example:
    How America captured the enigma loosely based on how the enigma had been captured seven months before Pearl Harbour by the British destroyer HMS Bulldog, while using the identifier of a different submarine that was destroyed with the loss of all hands by the RAAF.

    In fairness, the US did capture one naval enigma machine, just before D-Day.

  51. ajbjasus says

    Thanks for your help with the poll folks but on a grumpy note

    @24 “Whiney manflu sufferer” – provokes no comment

    Whereas

    @@Relic Delic #36

    “Caaaaalm down my kneejerk tea-hating ladyfriends”.

    Provokes

    Feel free to re-think your use of gendered insults. If you would like to do so, great – and you’re welcome. Alternatively, if you would prefer to hang onto them, feel free to take your misogyny and insert rectally accompanied by a (non-diluted) habanero-marinated suppurating porcupine, of which there is a plentiful supply in the Pharyngula warehouse.

    Sauce for goose\gander etc.

    And for PZ – thanks for saving our arses, eventually, when the US policy of sitting on the sidelines until attacked by the Japs, and Hitler decared war on you, ceased to be credible. Oh, and you folks also realised you could put us in hock for many years to come. Always worth a jerk on the chain, that.

  52. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    My bad; if I had noticed “whiney manflu sufferer” I would most certainly have included it in the invitation. Unfortunately I missed it.

    My apologies for the omission.

    @3zebras #24

    Sure, give out sugar pills to whiny man-flu sufferers

    Please consider yourself invited to reconsider, or to peruse the porcupine selection.

    Incidentally, when I say “invited to reconsider” I do actually mean it; we all – or most of us, anyway, and I certainly include myself in this – sometimes use this kind of language (or comparable shit in other areas) without thinking about it and without consciously meaning what it implies; pointing it out is always welcome.

  53. says

    Voted!…against state-sponsored quackery, if those twits want to have sugar pills and water, they can buy it themselves.

    As a side note, amusing to see the WWII wisecracks in light of history.

    1939 – ‘cash and carry’ purchases for the Allies
    1940 – trading destroyers for bases
    1941 – sustained naval warfare while still neutral (that’s just weird.)

  54. says

    I fucked all the woo-addled homeopathy-loving brits. Last time I was I was in London I flushed a tab of LSD down the loo. Now that it’s diluted through their water supply, they’ve all lost their fucking minds thanks to homeopathic terrorism.

    Actually, what’s the opposite of shit and piss on the homeopathic spectrum? Because pretty much everything we drink has at some point or other gone through someone or something’s colon or kidney.

  55. drzorro says

    Other commenters are right about the ethics of prescribing placebo. All treatment offered to patients is supposed to be under principal of “informed consent”
    So before we prescribe a drug we are supposed to go through what it is supposed to do, the chances of success, and mention common or serious side effects. That means that if we give a placebo we have to fully inform the patient that it is a placebo, which sort of defeats the object.
    Those prescribing homeopathy either believe it themselves, which makes them deluded fools, or they know full well it is bollocks, which makes them deceitful crooks.
    Matters are not helped however by the fact that the so called “college of medicine” , a college of quackery in all it’s forms, has as it’s president the past president of the General Medical Council.
    http://vulpesmax.blogspot.com/2011/07/gamekeeper-turned-poacher.html

  56. Jimmy Boy says

    tytalus: #75 – that ain’t history, that’s propaganda.

    Loads of us really are quite grumpy about WW2. Struggle to laugh much in the face of the revisionsm that comes pouring over the Atlantic – which is a total insult to your vets, and more so perhaps to those who invested – on principle – so much (more, relatively, than the US did) in trying to defeat Nazism. And we carried on paying for it until very recently – paying cash to the johnny-come-lately-then-revise-the-history-USA, no less. Once in, the US had an honourable role in that war: no need to dress it up further unless out of (reasonable) guilt for the profoundly immoral delay in getting involved.

    So we don’t see that painful history quite the same as it seems many Americans see it. So – yeah – have a go at that chain yanking. So very amusing…

  57. Matt Penfold says

    1941 – sustained naval warfare while still neutral (that’s just weird.)

    Not many people seem to know the US Navy was engaged in convoy protection duties in the Western Atlantic a least six months before Germany declared war on the US.

  58. tim Rowledge says

    I’m sure the USA was simply providing homeopathic help at the beginning of WWII. (Though it should be.noted that the few that volunteered anyway were fuckin’ heroes)
    One of the jokes that was popular when I was younger was that, having been a tad tardy in the matter of WWII the US was working real hard to get to WWIII early. That was mostly referring to that peace loving librul Reagan. How I miss the days when there were sensible American politicians….

  59. Matt Penfold says

    tytalus: #75 – that ain’t history, that’s propaganda.

    He is factually correct. Presumably you have a problem with the truth.

  60. Matt Penfold says

    Also, with regard the US Navy in the Atlantic, when the Royal Navy were hunting the Bismark the US Atlantic Fleet was at sea with orders to locate her if she went west into the Atlantic. They were under instructions to shadow her if located, and to send messages of her position in the clear, i.e. not enciphered.

  61. Jimmy Boy says

    I didn’t say he wasn’t factually correct – but nice of you to wade straight in there (presumably you have a problem with comprehension): I said this was propaganda. ie partial.

    Which is what I was fucking complaining about.

    Why try to pick up on some small point, and not take the bigger one? Which is that we feel overwhelmed by revisionist history coming out of the US.

    Fuck you.

  62. says

    Interesting: I watched the “Yes” percentage fall from the high sixties last night to 29.9% this morning — but it’s been making a resurgence ever since, and quickly. It’s currently 31.4%. Think some other site’s followers are doing their own version of pharyngulation?

  63. Reg Cheeseman says

    Skepgineer, you are in good company. Winston Churchill agreed with you, citing the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk as the turning points of the war in Europe.

  64. says

    Seems to have some IP logger that makes it hard to vote multiple times. I don’t wanna have to reboot my DSL modem to snag multiple votes, so all yall vote.

    Apparently at least some whacktivists are clearing browser histories and goig to all sorts of stupid lengths, including paying real money to go through a proxy, in order to vote multiple time to slew the vote.
    http://lecanardnoir.posterous.com/didi-ananda-ruchira-of-abha-light-tells-homeo

    68% plays 32%, not out

  65. says

    “Apparently at least some whacktivists are clearing browser histories and goig to all sorts of stupid lengths, including paying real money to go through a proxy, in order to vote multiple time to slew the vote.”

    Ha! There’s a much better way to crash this poll. I must have voted thousands of times in my sleep last night. That is, until my cat turned off my computer. He steps on the power button sometimes.

  66. says

    Re: Matt Penfold

    You’re right, I didn’t know about the naval action prior to our declaring war. Maybe I forgot, or it wasn’t in the history books. Anyway, it’s always nice to learn something new.

    Interesting that Jimmy Boy attacked those facts as propaganda. Mind you, I looked it up only after reading a few of those ‘waited long enough didn’t you’ wisecracks to see if they were right. If he sees some guilt-driven historical revisionist propaganda in my correcting those folks with some facts, that’s ok. I’ll live. :)

  67. says

    Like PZ said, it’s more complicated than that.

    There are so many points I could bring up here…
    Let’s remember this was pre-ICBM, pre-nuclear weapons, pre-jet planes (mostly), pre-lots of things. There were a lot of Americans who felt that the Atlantic Ocean would serve as enough of a buffer, and it’s not like we weren’t having our own problems at the time (depression & Japan come to mind). This was also an age when, under the Constitution, the power to declare war was given to congress (it still is, but we mostly ignore that). Getting involved short of direct attack was problematic politically, and we weren’t exactly prepared to conduct long-distance war in 1939-1940.
    But it’s not like we didn’t help, either. The lend-lease program and participating in convoys made a difference. And it’s hard to see where Britain was ever capable of taking down Nazi Germany for good, even with Russian help (Lenin was calling for us to open a second front as early as 1942).
    But I’ve long felt the first real turning point was the Battle of Britain in 1940, and that the Brits basically saved their own asses right there. After that, any thought of Germany invading the islands was gone (without clear air superiority, the Nazis could never overcome Britain’s sea power) and, in fact, the Luftwaffe was never much of a factor after that. If the Nazis had had serious air power on D-Day, it might have been a different story.
    So, no, America didn’t save British ass in WWII, but we certainly helped clean up the mess. And we even gave it priority over the Pacific war, even though Japan was arguably the more immediate threat.
    And in return you sent us the Beatles and Monte Python. I consider us even.

  68. Moggie says

    feralboy12:

    But I’ve long felt the first real turning point was the Battle of Britain in 1940, and that the Brits basically saved their own asses right there.

    We were not without help, though. Something like 20% of the allied pilots flying in the Battle of Britain were foreign, the greatest number being Polish. I remember from my parents that there was a great deal of goodwill towards Poland because of this.

  69. Iain Walker says

    feralboy12 (#92):

    But I’ve long felt the first real turning point was the Battle of Britain in 1940, and that the Brits basically saved their own asses right there. After that, any thought of Germany invading the islands was gone (without clear air superiority, the Nazis could never overcome Britain’s sea power)

    Yes, and no. Operation Sealion was a non-starter from the beginning – Hitler was ambivalent about it, the Luftwaffe showed no interest in it, thinking that they could bomb Britain into submission on their own, and the German Navy were absolutely appalled at the idea, and did everything they could to point out the difficulties. Germany simply didn’t have the naval resources and military doctrine for a successful, large scale amphibious operation against an enemy who was ready and waiting (the invasion of Norway had been on a much smaller scale against an unprepared enemy, and had also inflicted heavy losses on the German surface fleet, leaving them with about a dozen operational destroyers and cruisers with which to protect Sealion).

    Even with air superiority, Operation Sealion would have been a German disaster. They only had tugs and river barges for troop transportation (the latter being barely sea worthy in the English Channel), their available naval cover for the invasion fleet was negligible, and the Luftwaffe’s record in successfully sinking surface vessels was patchy at best. If the invasion fleet had ever set sail, the Royal Navy would have had themselves a turkey shoot.

    The RAF may have won the Battle of Britain, but it was the RN that prevented the invasion, simply by existing.

    Churchill, incidentally, seems to have known that there was no chance of a German invasion succeeding, since he sent about half of Britain’s armoured capability to the Middle East at the height of the invasion scare – he knew they wouldn’t be needed at home.

  70. Duane says

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Canada did far more in WWII than the US.
    Sitting around and watching for three years isn’t “helping.”