### If at first you don't succeed

[BPSDB] Otto Weingärtner explains, in the latest issue of J. Alt. Complement. Med.,^{1} that in clinical trials more accurate results come from those trials which have larger numbers of participants, supporting the methodology of Shang *et al.*.^{2} Shang *et al.* ranked trials of both homeopathy and proper medicine according to the “quality” and number of participants, and found that better quality trials of homeopathy with larger numbers of participants tended to show smaller differences between homeopathy and placebo. This is in accordance with Bernoulli's “weak law of large numbers” which explains how data scatters randomly about the true value but the mean converges to be as close as you like to the true value as you obtain more and more data. By taking more and more data, by performing trials with many participants and by performing meta-analyses to pool the results of trials, the effects of random scatter are slowly averaged away.

Of course, that's not what Weingärtner *thinks* that he has explained.**( Collapse )**