Skeptic News: A challenge to Benneth

John Benneth is a prominent advocate of homeopathy known for his disdain for skeptics and has compared them with “Nazi Facists” and homeopathy as a “persecuted Jew”. His latest blog is a response to a piece by Edzard Ernst in Pulse and includes a challenge for skeptics.

Benneths post notes that a challenge has been issued by Roger Barr, an Australian homeopath, has suggested that skeptics test homeopathy on themselves, it does not however mention the Ten23 campaign mass overdose but instead refers to a supposed “proving” involving the homeopaths lawyer.

John rather likes this idea and has decided to issue his own challenge to skeptics:

“Now, MY suggestion for a remedy to challenge sketpics [sic] to try is one I just put to the test. It’s called fluoricum acidum (fl. ac.) i.e. homeopathic fluoride. It just so happens that I decided to put it to the test, on myself…”

John’s proving (that unscientific “test” homeopaths are so fond of) of this remedy lead to him caving in to a bottle of whisky however Benneths test would involve more than just the alcoholism inducing homeopathic fluoride:

“Chlorine’s a whole [other] subject. When it comes into contact with organic matter… it forms [sic] chloroform, which in homeopathic form is noted for inducing in the prover the desire to kill…”

What would happen, John wonders, if the skeptics were to divide themselves into two groups, and if one of the groups were to take homeopathic chlorine?

“…bring the two groups together in a room, LOCK THE DOOR and RUN!”

Well Ron Lewis of the Skeptics Letters blog has accepted John and Rogers challenge:

“Hello John and Roger,

I would like to accept your challenge.

1. I will bet you £10,000 that a homeopathic proving cannot produce in me the symptoms you claim will appear.

2. Therefore, over the course of seven days, I will take one 30C dose of homeopathic chlorine, once a day, at a time you specify.

3. I live near London. You may appoint any person (or persons) to supervise me as I take each dose (or you may supervise me yourself, if you prefer). If you appoint any such persons, it is your responsibility to make the arrangements for them to visit me, at the specified time of day.

4. After each dose, I will sit in a room with a volunteer for one hour. If, on any of these occassions, I attempt to murder the volunteer in cold blood, you win the bet, and I will pay you £10,000. Furthermore, if I succeed in killing the volunteer, I will pay an additional £10,000 towards the unfortunate victim’s funeral expenses. Once I have paid up, you are free to notify the police of my heinous crime, so that they can make arrangements for my immediate arrest, trial and imprisonment.

5. However, if I am able to resist my homicidal impulses, you lose the bet, and you must pay me £10,000.

Do we have a deal?”

It remains to be seen if Benneth will accept Lewis offer.

If you have any Skeptic News you can submit it here.

This entry was posted in news, opinion, Scepticism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Skeptic News: A challenge to Benneth

  1. Milton Mermikides says:


    Thanks for the great post Keir. I saw Benneth’s challenge, and responded to him on his blog. Politely accepting the offer, and asking him to publicly challenge me to take homeopathic flouride (or whatever) for however long. He’s insulted, ranted and back-pedalled won’t make the challenge and has since not published any of my follow up comments. I’m happy to part of your challenge his, or whatever. Perhaps one of us can blindly accept the homeopathy the other placebo and see who attacks first.

    From also London,

    All best Milton

  2. Can the unfortunates driven to alcoholism by homoeopathic fluoride drown their sorrows more cheaply in homoeopathic whisky?

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