The 1023 Campaign will be launched early in 2010 with the aim of uniting skeptics across the UK in activities to highlight the belief in magic which underlies homeopathy.
Although the organisers haven't yet disclosed the true meaning of the number 1023, those who know something of the bizarre theory behind homeopathy may be able to guess.
Homeopathy, relies on two distinct principles, both of which contradict pretty much everything we know about the natural world. The first principle is that a small quantity of any substance that causes an illness can act to stimulate the body to fight it. In other words, if you have an illness caused by substance X, then a very small quantity of X will be a form of treatment for the illness.
The second principle is that if you put that very small quantity of X in water and then dilute it 1:100 multiple times, commonly 30 or more times, then the resulting liquid will have its curative properties vastly enhanced. In other words, the process of dilution increases the potency.
The first of these principles does not even fit the simplest of poisons. A small quantity of arsenic does not assist someone who has arsenic poisoning – it makes it worse. A small amount of sugar does not help a diabetic suffering from a hyperglycaemic coma, it simply speeds their way towards death. The principle is quite simply wrong.
The second principle, the notion that you can dilute a substance to such an extent that there is not even a single molecule remaining in the water and yet still have something with curative potency, is contradicted by everything we know about modern chemistry, physics, and biology. It relies on some notion of water having a memory, which has been repeatedly shown to be incorrect. Some supporters of homeopathy get involved in tortuous distortions of quantum theory in a desperate bid to plead for some sort of scientific respectability, but the truth is that the theory is plain rubbish.