View Full Version : IAU disses homeopathy...

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Jan-30, 05:19 AM
(cross post from JREF board's Science, Medicine, Mathematics, and Technology section)

Excerpted from the Skeptical Inquirer, Jan/Feb 2004, pp11-12

"IAU Rejects Naming Asteroid for Homeopathy Founder"

(NOTE: article taken from the minutes of the International Astronomical Union's triennial General Assembly in Sydney Australia, July 14-24 2003)

"...One name proposed for a minor planet, in honor of a founder of 'homeopathy', which included in its citation phrases that could be interpreted as endorsing homepathy, had been rejected by the committee after long discussion..."

"...On the one hand, the rights of an asteroid's discoverer to name the asteroid...were strongly defended. On the other hand, homeopathy was itself described by several members as 'pseudo-science', and the fear was expressed that IAU approval of this asteroid name would be seized upon...as an endorsement of this technique by the IAU..."

***********end excerpts

The Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature recommended rejecting the name, and the motion passed the IAU's Division III (The Solar System) by a vote of 25-15, affirming the CSBN's decision.

2004-Jan-30, 06:36 AM
Heh... that's an interesting one. IAU can't endorse nonsense, but they want to make sure naming rights stay where they should stay... I think they made the right choice though.

2004-Jan-30, 09:05 AM
There's a small grouchy asteroid out there called Randi..... =D>

2004-Jan-30, 02:27 PM
There was a programme over here a while back when a homeopath described their processes, dilutions, knocking etc. and afterwards the debunker simply said "Do it with alcohol." :D

2004-Jan-30, 03:12 PM
Well, there are limits. Who would think it's controversial to block someone naming an asteroid 456-Hitler?

2004-Feb-03, 01:51 PM
Heh, heh, heh! Good one, IAU! I've been increasingly alarmed by the influence of quackery these days. Homeopathy particularily baffles me. I like to believe that most people are fairly intelligent, so I've been operating under the assumption that most folks who buy homeopathic medicines aren't really aware of the basic premise behind homeopathy -- that if you dillute something into oblivion, it somehow becomes stronger. Even less logical is the "law of similars" -- that if you are exposed to something which causes the same symptoms as a particular illness, it will somehow cure the disease. The logic for that has sort of a vague basis in fact -- vaccines work, after all. But only sort of. Basically, homeopathy at its purest operates on the principle that you can cure illness by taking ludicrously dilluted poisons.

I did a web search on "IAU" and "Hahnemann" (the founder of homeopathy) and foudn this:


It looks like a blog from a supporter of homeopathy and other pseudoscience. He's upset at the IAU's apparent hypocrisy, saying this: "The reason given is that they didn't want to be seen as endorsing homeopathy. That seems silly to me. Does naming asteroids after Greek gods mean that the IAU endorses paganism?"

Methinks he missed the point. Obviously, the IAU has no problem with paganism, but pseudoscience is another matter.

2004-Feb-03, 07:34 PM
Found a list of all the minor planet names to date- http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/MPNames.html
I've been looking around and I've already found "yeti" "stalingrad" and "leningrad." That and the bunch of names you either don't know what they're refering to or are just rather odd...

mike alexander
2004-Feb-03, 10:12 PM
Wonderful! Found:

Asimov 5020
Heinlein 6371
Clarke 4923


zappafrank 3834

and, finally

1952 Hesburgh

I can see it now: Notre Dame targets Trojans...

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Feb-04, 12:07 AM
There's also a Durda (http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/dandurda.html).

Someday, perhaps, there will be a badastronomia. Jim Scotti, are you listening?

2004-Feb-04, 12:09 AM
There's also a Durda (http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/dandurda.html).

Someday, perhaps, there will be a badastronomia. Jim Scotti, are you listening?

Hush! I already tried to get one named for someone and it's getting harder all the time!

(MPC just issued new guidelines about it... )

2004-Feb-04, 01:56 AM
Someday, perhaps, there will be a badastronomia. Jim Scotti, are you listening?
Well I just gotta mention it...
3594 Scotti Wonder how that one came about?
And as long as I'm poking around...
13070 Seanconnery 8)
9007 James Bond Cause one asteroid wasn't enough!
2309 Mr. Spock I think this one refers to someone's cat...
1489 Attila I'm a descendent of this guy according to Hungarian lore...
3376 Armandhammer Annother socialist tie-in!
2807 Karl Marx And another one...
18610 Arthurdent Don't they say it was named days before Adams died but he never heard of it?
Ok, I can keep doing this but I'll stop now. :)

2004-Feb-04, 11:07 AM
Jim Scotti, are you listening?

A bit of professional competiveness?

2004-Feb-04, 11:21 AM
Yep. There's 3163 Randi waiting for the next pseudoscientific asteroid to come into orbit.... :wink:

(15092) Beegees and (4547) Massachusetts :roll:

(18932) Robinhood

(12820) Robinwilliams

(19383) Rolling Stones

(8749) Beatles

(5203) Pavarotti (none shall sleep)

(6701) Warhol

2004-Feb-04, 11:59 AM
9951 Tyrannosaurus - probably eats unsuspecting asteroids

1279 Uganda
6000 United Nations - buracracy is everywhere

29401 Asterix
29402 Obelix - :D

1198 Atlantis - Quick! Someone tell sarongsong Atlantis has been discovered in space! :lol: