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James Randi Encourages Skeptics to "Overdose" on Homeopathic Medicines

James Randi, the grandfather of modern skepticism and founder of the Fort Lauderdale-based James Randi Educational Foundation, has for decades offered a $1 million prize to anyone who can successfully demonstrate any paranormal ability in a laboratory setting. Now he's extending the offer to manufacturers of homeopathic medications while at the same time encouraging skeptics around the world to demonstrate the inefficacy of these treatments by "overdosing" on them.

Randi has railed against these treatments for years, calling them "one of the biggest health scams in America" and pointing out that homeopathy is not, as many people believe, simply an herbal or "natural" medicine. Rather, homeopathic treatments are not medicine at all, with no active ingredients.

Saturday morning, hundreds of consumer advocates in more than 20 cities in ten countries all took many times the recommended dosages. One group in West Virginia met at a bar to take large numbers of homeopathic sleeping pills. They didn't die -- or even fall asleep.

This was part of the "10:23" campaign," which originated in England and tells people: "Homeopathy -- there's nothing in it." As part of the campaign, Randi opened up his Million Dollar Challenge to the product manufacturers and retail sellers, taunting them in his recent video with remarks like "What are you waiting for?"

Randi suggests that misleading the public in such a potentially dangerous way should be a crime. He calls retailers like Walgreens and Walmart "silent accomplices in this scam," adding, "They sell these fake pills right alongside real medicines, with no warning or information about the bogus ideas behind homeopathy. They simply don't care."

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Michael J. Mooney

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