Homoeopathy’s Third Law: Hypocrisy

14 April 2010 at 9:07 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s been pumped in many quarters that we are presently in the middle of World Homeopathy Awareness Week. At this time, a great deal has been written, much of it on blogs such as this one, and much of it critical of homoeopathy’s persistence despite its counterfactual and anti-scientific nature (Part deux here). It is not our purpose to rehash the very many fact-based reasons why homoeopathy is, to a high degree of certainty, a load of undiluted bunk. It should be sufficient to consider just how convoluted and contrived are the “reasons,” “facts” and “arguments” of its proponents in order to set off a strident clamour of alarm bells.

Rather, the aim of this entry is to examine a few of the ethical issues attending the application of homoeopathy and how these often play out in practice.

If one were to Google the phrase “good intentions are not enough,” a plethora of hits would be returned. This signifies, above all, that it is a familiar phrase, something that is no doubt also true of many other phrases, be they English or of a different language. However, the phrase’s popularity cannot be taken to mean that it’s well understood what the phrase (or dictum if you like) intends to convey.

There are numerous stories and anecdotes about preventable harm and death at the hands of homoeopaths. Admittedly, these are just that – anecdotes, even if, in many cases, they are well-documented ones, and homoeopaths will claim the obverse, i.e. that homoeopathy could have prevented harms inflicted through conventional medical endeavours. But conventional practices are continually reassessed and improved whenever possible. It is astonishing, then, that homoeopaths do not seek, with appropriate and comparable vigour, to advance their “science” past the clearly outdated and counterfactual notions of Samuel Hahnemann. The fundamental “science” of homoeopathy retains exactly the same basic nonsensical principles articulated by Hahnemann more than 200 years ago, and is today concerned only with manufacturing ever more elaborate excuses why these must be taken to be not only valid, but also – inconsequently, please note – supportive of homoeopathy’s effectiveness. As an exercise in ethics, it should be self-evident that the “good intentions” of defending – at whatever cost – Hahnemann’s outmoded thinking “are not enough” to justify either the potential or the actual harm resulting from “knowledge” derived from dubious or even bogus premisses.

As medical practitioners (if only so in name), homoeopaths have a clear ethical obligation to inform their patients of unknown aspects or uncertainties or potential failures of their methods. Homoeopaths are partial to citing Hippocrates at opportune moments, specifically his moral directives concerning patient care – more so than practitioners of conventional evidence-based medicine. In this light, it is, to say the least, surprising that homoeopaths, almost without fail, seem always to know exactly what ails a given patient, and how to go about curing the condition. This last observation is based on discussions with and personal experiences of several different homoeopaths, so it cannot by any means be taken to be authoritative. Still, it is interesting to note that not one of these homoeopaths ever recommended a visit to a specialist, or admitted to being baffled, or hesitated to commit to a diagnosis, prognosis and/or course of treatment. Indeed, their findings were pronounced with firm confidence, as were the prescriptions of “remedies.” Never once was a caution issued along the lines of, “This may not work. Come and see me in a week or two if you don’t improve and we’ll try something different.” Such self-assurance is not warranted when assessed against the facts of homoeopathy’s performance, but perhaps that is exactly how they dupe themselves and the majority of their patients. Who needs ambiguity when buoyant conviction can be had at the same price?

Many homoeopaths also include several other CAM modalities, such as aromatherapy, applied kinesiology, iridology, crystal therapy, naturopathy, etc., in their repertoire. Here, one should immediately feel pressed to ask a very urgent and insistent, “But why!?” After all, if homoeopathy is, as very often claimed, an essentially complete system with only a few minor details left to be sorted out, it is just a little seditious of any homoeopath to augment his or her range of offerings with “skills” or methods that do not fit the homoeopathic mould. It would be akin to a hydrogeologist who professes to use pendulum-on-a-map divination in addition to willow-twig dowsing and remote viewing techniques for the siting of wells. It should, rightly, arouse the thinking individual’s suspicions: If X promises a whole solution, why bother with Y and Z? Could it be that, despite its philanthropic pretensions, homoeopathy and its evidence-free inbred cousins are – O, mon cœur noir! Quelle squalid sordidness, quelle grimy grubbery! – a business!?

When examining the trading of homoeopathic remedies, two further moral aspects rear their hydrocephalic heads. There are many off-the-shelf preparations that sport labels prominently emblazoned with “Homeopathic” (preferring, oddly, the miscreant US spelling – it has little to do with “O homeo, homeo, wherefore art thou homeo” and lots to do with “homoeo—,” Greek homoios). Of these remedies, several turn out, on closer inspection, to be about as homoeopathic as a flamethrower, usually by reason of significant concentrations of active ingredients. That is, the label of “Homeopathic” has been abducted purely for marketing purposes because there is a major subculture out there that buys into the sham and is therefore easy to bilk and milk in perpetuity. However, what is truly telling is that not a single homoeopath, either individually or through coordinated effort, has ever made a fuss about such blatant misuse of their craft. In contrast, it would not take very long before a shaman who sold, say, powdered baboon brains as a “proven” antidepressant, will find him- or herself in heaps of trouble with an assortment of professional bodies over misrepresentation. Thus, one must ask how it is that homoeopaths are apparently quite content to permit the hijacking of their terminology and principles for someone else’s promotional purposes.

Of at least equal significance is the fact itself of the ready availability of off-the-shelf bona fide homoeopathic preparations. To understand this properly, it is necessary to remember that a central principle of homoeopathy, second in status only to Hahnemann’s two founding tenets, is that of the individualised remedy. That is, homoeopaths design a “treatment” after assessing “holistically” the afflicted individual, and this “treatment” is allegedly specific to the individual for whose purposes it was formulated. It should be obvious that there’s a fundamental disconnect between the idea of an “individualised treatment” and that of off-the-shelf preparations (often selling, almost needless to say, at prices a Croesus would find challenging, given what they are). Again, no homoeopaths appear overly concerned about this sort of manipulative misuse.

It is the deception inherent in an “individualised treatment” – a “deception” because as humans we are to the best of medical science’s knowledge biochemically too similar to one another to merit such fine-grained distinctions as homoeopaths would make – that facilitates a further homoeopathic subterfuge. “Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials,” proclaims the committed homoeopath in a voice of solemn gravity, “are not a suitable tool for gauging the effectiveness of homoeopathy because treatments must be tailored to the individual.” Well, fuck. And now what? There is an easy way around this, one that no homoeopath has ever proposed. By all means, do the individualised assessments and prescriptions for a significant sample of patients, and only after this has been completed is it time to randomise and placebo-ise (to coin a term) via another independent party whose involvement, except for revealing the group assignments (placebo or prescription) at the conclusion of the study, ends at that point. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination rocket science, proverbial or otherwise, and it’s eminently feasible. But instead of working towards such earnest endeavours to assess the validity of their spiel, homoeopathic apologists offer only superficial pretext and feeble rationale – with homoeopathic dilutions of verifiable fact.

And by these various factors the innate hypocrisy of homoeopathy in its modern practice becomes explicit.

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27 Comments

  1. Objective said,

    Homeopathy is another manifestation of the religious premise: reality is dualistic and contains magical power – people gain access to the magic by taking ‘pure natural’ remedies. Scientific medicines do not contain this magic because it is contaminated by the impure, evil, and imperfect human mind. To top it all it contains “unnatural” chemistry.
    And now that I am rolling i may add: besides…the closer you are to nature the closer you are to god!!

  2. Nancy Malik said,

    Real is scientific homeopathy. Evidence-based modern homeoapthy medicine for everyone.

  3. defollyant said,

    Evidence-based modern homeoapthy.” Is that a fact, Nancy Malik? Can you prove it? Because it looks much more like “evidence-free modern hocus-pocus.”

  4. Nancy Malik said,

  5. defollyant said,

    No, I’m afraid that won’t do, Malik. It’s a bunch of committed homoeopaths arguing ― unsurprisingly ― for a redefinition of what constitutes “evidence.” “Because I say so” is only evidence that you can speak or write. It says nothing about whether your utterances have any merit.

  6. BabyDoc said,

    Defollyant,

    Excellent piece. I am a concerned Science Based Medical Doctor. It dismays me to see the promulgation of nonsense in this post-modern age. A source of great amusement at times, at other times a source of great discomfort when one sees how wrong things may swing (when it comes to the confidant mismanagement of patients). I believe that we need to get serious about the fight against pseudoscience in South African Institutions for eg. degrees in pseudoscience offered at various reputable, publicly funded institutions. More on this topic later.

    Perhaps this will amuse you:

    http://whitewhaleholygrail.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/the-quackupuncturist

  7. defollyant said,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, BabyDoc.

    My take on fighting pseudoscience, quackery, etc. is that it rests on individuals such as us to try and raise awareness. Existing consumer-protection organs like ASASA or BCCSA are not effective because they are not heard above the din made by baloney merchants. If anything, any controversy tends to work in favour of the deluded and the charlatans because their position is usually convenient, feel-good and/or simple to understand. Popular media channels also have much to answer for because journalists, reporters and editors are, on the whole, functionally illiterate when it comes to scientific questions.

    The pessimist in me can’t help feeling that ours is already a lost cause. Nevertheless…

  8. BabyDoc said,

    For sure.

    Agreed.

    I think some of our colleagues overseas have done wonders with little resources so far. S. Africa needs to get started too.

    Perhaps it starts here.

  9. Nancy Malik said,

    Studies in support of Homeopathy published in reputed journals

    1. Scientific World Journal
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17982565

    2. Lancet
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310601

    3. Neuro Psycho Pharmacology
    http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v27/n2/abs/1395862a.html // Bacopa Monnieri for memory

  10. defollyant said,

    Malik, you should at least try to read and understand the material you give links to. It’s obvious that you haven’t read the critiques of the first two papers, or read the third one with anything approaching insight. The 1997 meta-analysis study (your second link) was conducted by a research group in Munich that clearly has a vested interest in finding a positive effect. Just look at the authors’ affiliation. Moreover, their result is refuted by several dozen other meta-studies that find no effect for homoeopathy above placebo. The 2007 frog study (your first link) does not show a very strong effect at all and could quite conceivably be a false positive. Independent replication of the result will tell. As you should know, epidemiological studies are done at a significance level of 0.05, which means that, on average, one in twenty studies throws up a false result. Lastly, the Bacopa monniera study (your third link) doesn’t even mention homoeopathy (or even “homeopathy”) so it’s a mystery where you get that it’s a study “in support of Homeopathy published in reputed journals.”

    As before, you’ll have to do whole a lot better than that, Malik.

  11. Balanced Truths said,

    BabyDoc, I can say a lot about the scientific ineptness of the medical world. Science has long ago shown the formation of antibiotic resistance genes in plasmids. And science has shown Plasmids jumping from bacteria to bacteria in virtually no time at all. Yet the medical industry has until now neglected to take the proper scientific measures to ensure that your miracle cure remains valuable. Today the majority of your antibiotics have zero to no effect, other than leaching the calcium from our bones, yet your medical industry’s scientific answer to this is to prescribe a double dose.

  12. Balanced Truths said,

    1. Although I agree about the lack of scientific methods being employed in the homeopathic field, I have also observed several very good practitioners coming up with ingenious solutions to problems that the medical industry treats with their usual lack of care. Just because medical ‘science’ has proven that cortisones and antihistamines do work, it does not merit the way the medical practitioners are using it. Doctors often cause more damage than good with their careless prescriptions. Many eczema sufferers have gone through bottles of cortisone prescribed by countless doctors (do yourself a favour and look into the contra indications). One homeopath provided a better solution to the wife of a friend that made my jaw drop. He pronounced that her skin is acidic she needs to take more dumps and eat more roughage, and then he prescribes a milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) solution with linseeds for fibre. Her eczema has not been a problem for years. Make of it what you want but it requires no empirical tests to know this is probably due to the alkaline solution and the increased dumping of body waste materials that would otherwise end up in her sweat. Effective even though the ‘solution’ here shows a lack of respect for any dietary causes.

  13. defollyant said,

    How does homoeopaths coming up with “ingenious solutions to problems” and/or this eczema anecdote, even if it is 100% true, lend any support whatsoever to homoeopathy or detract from the shiftiness of its proponents, which is the issue here? What support does it lend to homoeopathy?

  14. Balanced Truths said,

    I do not intend to lend support for the homeopathic industry or its proponents in its current form. I am in agreement with the dangers the unscientific methods, employed by the practitioners, can hold for the general population.

    Although the story is true, and so, for me at least, the observation makes an argument that not all the practitioners are entirely shifty, it proves nothing by its lonesome self, even if we assume, for that is what I am doing by neglecting to perform further testing, that it is actually the cause of the cure.

    I am not wholly against the homeopathic industry getting their chance to evolve, hopefully, into something more scientific. My sentiment is precisely because the concept, of the practices of the homeopathic industry, is based on proven principles, insofar as providing the body with a small and harmless ‘taste’ of the ailment does elicit a positive immune response, at the very least, but, also because there are a number of naturalistic symptomatic treatments that could cause no harm if a scientific, homeopathic or medical, practitioner or proponent administered or prescribed it along with the subsequent follow ups. It would be a benefit to all, including the scientific medical industry, if the scientific method would be employed to make a homeopathic cure possible by un-diluting both the homeopathic industry and its methods and by lending credit to the practices that work and, for once and for all, abolishing the ones that don’t.

    I will, in the pursuit of a more balanced truth, take another three stabs at the medical industry for the exorbitant rates they charge for a 15minute appointment firstly, but, also for the obvious way the industry has structured itself, with their ingenious referral and follow-up schemes, to get the most appointments possible out of every patient and, in so doing, driving people to the less expensive homeopathic industry while furthermore ensuring the survival of it without any decent form of quality control.
    Lastly I will not be the first to point out that the industry is corrupt to the extreme with its connection to the chemical companies; doctors are money hungry drug dealers, pedaling courses of antibiotics at as much as R700 a pop. They prescribe, from personal experience, up to seven courses of their preferred and commission based brand of ineffectual rubbish for a clearly resistant strain before admitting that a twenty minute, non invasive, surgical procedure would certainly have solved the problem, in the first place, and, do not forget, that at a fraction of the cost whilst allowing the body a chance to strengthen its immune system against this particular bug resulting in fewer follow up visits.

    I might add that the latter was for a child in the process of developing permanent teeth. In my opinion a scientifically inclined doctor would have been able to come to the conclusion that seven unnecessary courses of antibiotics would probably leach the child’s calcium supply to such an extent that the new teeth will rot before they even come out, not to mention the resulting months of Candida explosions and a host of other ensuing problems. The Hippocratic Oath my arse, most doctors have forgotten the meaning of the words primum non nocere.

    Therein the charlatan homeopaths have got the scientific medical doctors licked, and, the peasants have noticed. This, Defollyant, is how support is lent defacto.

  15. defollyant said,

    My sentiment is precisely because the concept, of the practices of the homeopathic industry, is based on proven principles, insofar as providing the body with a small and harmless ‘taste’ of the ailment does elicit a positive immune response

    (Emphasis added.) Please supply some credible evidence appropriate to prove this most remarkable claim in relation to homoeopathy – i.e. that greater dilution produces increased immune responses.

    This, Defollyant, is how support is lent defacto.

    I see. So in your derisorily smug view, the perceived pernicious sins, overwrought and conveniently fabricated as they mostly are, of conventional medicine lend support to unscientific hocus-pocus, never mind that material claims of this kind must stand or fall on their own merits. That’s, um, very convincing.

  16. Balanced Truths said,

    >>>(Emphasis added.) [My sentiment is precisely because the concept, of the practices of the homeopathic industry, is based on proven principles, insofar as providing the body with a small and harmless ‘taste’ of the ailment does elicit a positive immune response…] Please supply some credible evidence appropriate to prove this most remarkable claim in relation to homoeopathy – i.e. that greater dilution produces increased immune responses.<<<

    Let’s leave the logical fallacies, and other tricks, for arguments with people like Hans and Gerhard, I did not indicate the dilution process as the cause of an immune response, I indicated a small and harmless ‘taste’ of the ailment. I did not qualify exactly how much of a ‘taste’ is required, however, I did hint that homeopathy needs to be undiluted, not binned prematurely.

    Please don’t attempt to obfuscate the issue by arguing semantics, for instance, about what I meant when I said “the practices of the homeopathic industry, is based on proven principles”.

    Hahnemann observed from his experiments with cinchona bark, used as a treatment for malaria, that the effects he experienced from ingesting the bark were similar to the symptoms of malaria. Hahnemann conceived similia similibus curentur as his law of similars.At first Hahnemann used material doses for ‘provings’, but, granted, he later advocated ‘proving’ with remedies at a 30C dilution. [Hahnemann S (1921), The Organon of the Healing Art (6th ed.), aphorism 128, ISBN 0879832282]

    The above paragraph is what I meant with ‘the practices having been based on’ and the below is why it is a ‘proven principle’.

    Once the body has had a ‘taste’ of an ailment, if you survive, your immune system will fight off any future infections before they can take hold. The cells, responsible for the immune reaction against the ailment, in the bloodstream, will retain memory of the disease. If the disease returns, the immune system will launch a quick attack again. This has long since been proved through the use of vaccinations. The common flu vaccination is, basically, dead influenza viruses.

    >>>I see. So in your derisorily smug view, the perceived pernicious sins, overwrought and conveniently fabricated as they mostly are, of conventional medicine lend support to unscientific hocus-pocus, never mind that material claims of this kind must stand or fall on their own merits. That’s, um, very convincing.<<<

    Whether my view is pathetically pitiful or not is your opinion, which seems to be based on some deep-seated wish for it to be so, this is also one of the reasons why I know you are Irreverent, that, and you need to sweep everything, with a particular writing style, under well defined carpets.
    However, my anger at the medical industry is, by all means, emotional and distraught, we are not dealing with a R500 stainless steel pump here, we are dealing with human life, with a father or a mother or a child’s quality of life, and by far the majority of the doctors really don’t give a shit whether or not you have any money or whether you will suffer for the rest of your life just because they got to wring a few more bucks out of you.

    If these emotions or perceived pernicious sins are conveniently fabricated, then why don’t you provide proof for the validity of what you say for a change, excuse me while I focus on the subject instead.

    Case and point was a double blind study performed on request of the British government to test the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies against mustard gas burns, the study was critiqued, according to WIKI, on the basis that data was bias, the study poorly designed, and, also, that the methodological quality of the research base was low.[Ernst E (2002), “A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy”, Br J Clin Pharmacol 54 (6): 577–582][“Report on mustard gas experiments”, Br Homeopath J (British Homoeopathic Society) 33 (1): 12, 1943]

    What wasn’t mentioned was that the effect was noticed to have made a difference in the body’s immune response, however, not significantly so, nevertheless, that still means that with material concentrations the principle could work. This hasn’t been ascertained yet and is wholly beside the point, for the reason that giving someone Linseeds and Milk of Magnesia does not lend support to unscientific hocus-pocus, it lends support to an industry that is perceived, by the peasants, to care about the patient and not the money.

    My stab at the medical industry is not to, somehow, discredit their scientific basis, it is, as you say, purely emotional, because you get better caring service from your local pump repair agent than you will from your local GP who would not even bother to pick up the phone to let you know the results of a basic blood test, you have to bug them to get an answer whereas the pump repair agent will bug you for a quote, a go-ahead, and a payment, then they will bug you to collect and, more importantly, they will be held accountable if the pump does not work properly, they even have to give a guarantee on their work.
    I haven’t seen many pump repair agents or homeopaths that drive Mercs and own farms. The same can not be said for the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

    It is one thing to oppose the chosen homeopathic concentration or the erroneous whish that the water memory effect will last long enough, or Glomail’s Colloidal Silver that sits on the shelf for months before it is sold, and their mail order unscientific hocus-pocus magic pills that do nothing, but to endeavour to discredit an entire industry, that could have something of value to offer if only it has the correct scientific influence, is a shame.

    Idiots, like jump-on-the-band-wagon-because-it-suits-my-pocket-to-discredit-homoepathy-BabyDoc, probably irritate me as much as Christians, and perhaps I, irritate you.

  17. defollyant said,

    You just won’t get it, will you? Your arguments lend no support to the corpus of homoeopathy at all and make you look like a desperate ignoramus. Similia similibus curantur? Based on one observation, and refuted by a very long list of others. Ho hum, very scientific. The “Law of Infinitesimals”? Based on wishful, magical thinking, and in total opposition to the foundations of chemistry. Conditioning the immune system to pathogens? That’s got nothing to do with homoeopathy; it’s how vaccines work, something conventional evidence-based medicine discovered all by itself, and regularly exploits with brilliant success rates. Curious, too, how homoeopaths are often also anti-vaxers.

    Homoeopathy is intrinsically anti- and pseudoscientific. Worse, judging by its defenders, it remains irredeemably in that bracket. Even worse, its premisses not only fly in the face of best current scientific knowledge, but both of them are, in isolation, demonstrably wrong. Thus, to defend homoeopathy on whatsoever grounds other than solid and repeatable evidence that it does indeed work is no less than actively to promote ignorance. Since such evidence is not to hand and hasn’t been for the entirety of homoeopathy’s near enough 200-year history, to punt (for) homoeopathy is just plain dim-witted.

    Postscript (21 August 2010 at 10:47 am) — Evidently, you are also incapable of comprehending that even if conventional medicine was totally, 100% bogus, and overfilled with evil charlatanry and deceitful practitioners, even if all of that was perfectly true, it would still not lend a shred of credibility to homoeopathy because both could be completely wrong. Conspiracy woo-woo nuttery aside, it’s simply a false dilemma to argue in that way, and – not coincidentally – it’s yet another dimension to homoeopaths’ slippery tactics in defence of their hooey.

  18. BabyDoc said,

    @Balanced Truths

    I can understand that many people see doctors as money-grubbing & greedy. There are indeed very many doctors who have become wealthy (after years and years of study and hard work) in South Africa. Why is it a problem if someone becomes wealthy if they are honest, successful and hard-working?

    It is also a common misperception that the average doctor is receiving some kind of financial benefit from prescribing Brand X antibiotic/antidepressant/painkiller etc. The conspiracy theory-like idea that all the doctors and Big Pharma companies are doing dirty deals while toasting champagne glasses in some back room is appealing to people who feel that they are being ripped off by an uncaring money-grubbing industry (in some cases true). In fact there are laws in place that regulate how Pharma companies interact with doctors – to prevent kickbacks (cash, gifts, holidays etc.) and other corrupt practices. Doctors simply are not allowed to receive kickbacks, they can lose their licence to practice very quickly.

    I would say that most doctors out there are just trying to prescribe that they think is best for their patients. How do they know what is best for their patients? Without getting into a debate about medical paternalism, doctors ‘know what’s best’ based upon the available scientific evidence for what works and what doesn’t work. I might add that this is a constantly changing field, with new evidence being discovered each day – this leads to the evolution of better therapies and the extinction of others. This is evidenced by the development of better therapies and the disappearance of lessers. There are no holy cows in evidence/science-based medicine

    Let’s assume I’m not corrupt and don’t receive any financial benefit from my presribing practices (I don’t since it is impossible because I don’t work in a free market health system at the moment), I would want to prescribe whatever works best right? Why wouldn’t I just prescribe herbs/homeopathic remedies/unproven therapy x if they were so efficacious and safe? – well, it would be unethical considering that I know that there is no evidence for it to be effective especially when compared to what I do know to be effective based on the evidence (as opposed to anecdotes or my own personal experience). Knowingly prescribing placebos (or less than placebo) is unethical.

    Why do I want to discredit homeopathy? Well, homeopathy has been well and truly discredited for many years, I hardly need to try and discredit it – the evidence speaks for itself. I’m interested in discrediting all of the pseudoscientific therapies and practices that are increasingly prevalent in our healthcare environment; I’m interested in engaging with the various role-players. I believe that magical thinking, pseudoscience and other nonsense (with regard to healthcare) have no place in a modern, free-thinking society. People need to be educated about what is what in the health care industry. In the end, lives are at stake because of the decisions made based upon advice given. How do we get the best advice in order to live out our lives happily and healthily? I certainly don’t think it is sensible to accept advice from some quack (including many medical doctors), touting his prophet’s bogus theories (e.g. S.Hahnemann) that have subsequently been trounced by better science.

    No Balanced Truths, you don’t irritate me, I think a lot of your points are valid and I can see where you are coming from. It is a very complicated scenario, for people on the outside (e.g. lay people, patients) it seems very complicated and contradictory – yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean we need to accept a bunch of nonsense as the truth. There are indeed many problems with the Healthcare industry. As always, it is an interesting debate.

  19. Balanced Truths said,

    defollyant said,
    20 August 2010 at 7:39 pm
    Your arguments lend no support to the corpus of homoeopathy at all…

    I am not trying to lend support to anything.

    Similia similibus curantur? Based on one observation, and refuted by a very long list of others. Ho hum, very scientific.
    You are being very obtuse about this point, which I have agreed with; homeopathy requires scientific input and regulation, not a knife in the back.

    The “Law of Infinitesimals”? Based on wishful, magical thinking, and in total opposition to the foundations of chemistry.
    This definitely an example of what is wrong with homeopathy.

    Conditioning the immune system to pathogens? That’s got nothing to do with homoeopathy
    Au contraire, Monsieur. It is exactly this principle that started the whole business, it is at least in part this principle that needs to be tested and continued.

    Curious, too, how homoeopaths are often also anti-vaxers.
    True, and this is one of the problems that needs to be remedied.

    Homoeopathy is intrinsically anti- and pseudoscientific.
    Yes, but that can also be remedied.

    …to defend homoeopathy on whatsoever grounds other than solid and repeatable evidence that it does indeed work is no less than actively to promote ignorance.
    Look, defollyant, here is a well established industry (with many practitioners that seem to believe in what they are doing) that can be changed through scientific regulation to evolve, in relatively short order, into an industry that uses ‘homeopathic’ methods they can then claim have been tested scientifically, and have subsequently been proven by solid and repeatable evidence, to work.
    Be honest now, would it be easier and/or better to change the millions that are looking for an alternative to the perceived corrupt medical option, or to change the thousands that are offering the alternative option, thereby also reaching the millions?

    Since such evidence is not to hand and hasn’t been for the entirety of homoeopathy’s near enough 200-year history, to punt (for) homoeopathy is just plain dim-witted.
    The chief argument against homeopathy is against the level of dilution, which is pretty silly, but that does not make up the whole of the industry.

    Postscript (21 August 2010 at 10:47 am) — Evidently, you are also incapable of comprehending that even if conventional medicine was totally, 100% bogus, and overfilled with evil charlatanry and deceitful practitioners, even if all of that was perfectly true, it would still not lend a shred of credibility to homoeopathy because both could be completely wrong.
    Evidently you are incapable of realising that I don’t disagree with you on that point.

  20. Balanced Truths said,

    BabyDoc said,
    20 August 2010 at 8:55 pm

    >>>I can understand that many people see doctors as money-grubbing & greedy. There are indeed very many doctors who have become wealthy (after years and years of study and hard work) in South Africa. Why is it a problem if someone becomes wealthy if they are honest, successful and hard-working?<<>>It is also a common misperception that the average doctor is receiving some kind of financial benefit from prescribing Brand X antibiotic/antidepressant/painkiller etc. The conspiracy theory-like idea that all the doctors and Big Pharma companies are doing dirty deals while toasting champagne glasses in some back room is appealing to people who feel that they are being ripped off by an uncaring money-grubbing industry (in some cases true). In fact there are laws in place that regulate how Pharma companies interact with doctors – to prevent kickbacks (cash, gifts, holidays etc.) and other corrupt practices. Doctors simply are not allowed to receive kickbacks, they can lose their licence to practice very quickly.<<<

    The laws against kick-backs do not stop the influences these two industries have on each other, is it illegal for a doctor to buy shares in Pfizer?

    There are numerous examples of Pharmaceutical companies having been caught out, however, clearly the fines are easily dealt with and inconsequential.

    Repeat offender Pfizer paying record $2.3B settlement for illegal drug promotions
    [By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press Writer
    On Wednesday September 2, 2009,]

    “There’s so much money in selling pills, that there’s a tremendous temptation to cheat,” [Bill Vaughan, an analyst at Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports.]

    In the same article the government said the company promoted four prescription drugs, including the pain killer Bextra, as treatments for medical conditions different from those the drugs had been approved for by federal regulators. Authorities said Pfizer’s salesmen and women created phony doctor requests for medical information in order to send unsolicited information to doctors about unapproved uses and dosages. Bextra, for instance, was approved for arthritis, but Pfizer promoted it for acute pain and surgical pain, and in dosages above the approved maximum.

    F. Hoffmann–La Roche Ltd. is a Swiss global health-care company that operates worldwide under two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Its holding company, Roche Holding AG, has shares listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange Stanley Adams, Roche’s World Product Manager in Basel, contacted the European Economic Community in 1973 with evidence that Roche had been breaking antitrust laws, engaging in price fixing and market sharing for vitamins with its competitors. Roche was fined accordingly, but a bungle on the part of the EEC allowed the company to discover that it was Adams who had blown the whistle. He was arrested for unauthorised disclosure — an offence under Swiss law — and imprisoned. His wife, having learnt that he might face decades in jail, committed suicide.[9] Adams was released soon after but arrested again more than once before eventually fleeing to Britain, where he wrote a book about the affair, Roche Versus Adams [London, 1984, ISBN 022402180X].

    Doctors are definitely getting involved and there are always loopholes.

    To skirt the laws, instead of cash bonuses, the kickbacks now consist of tangible goods as well as vacations. Just because it’s against the law, and there have been crackdowns, it does not eradicate the problem, instead it seems many found loopholes in the form of ‘gratuities’ instead of actual payments.

    Doctors who made specific requests to insurance companies that a particular drug be added to the formulary list were 13 times more likely to have met with a rep promoting the drug than doctors not making any such request. Drug companies claim that promotion serves to educate doctors and patients about new treatment options. However, sales pitches and promotions can influence doctors and lead them to select new drugs, in spite of higher cost and concern over safety [A study published in a 1994 issue of JAMA].
    Drugs are marketed to students, residents and physicians, free lunches for medical students and fancy dinners for doctors. Doctors can be paid by the pharmaceutical companies to speak at the dinners. Door-to-door sales reps can be armed with comfort foods like donuts and pizza, and an array of logo-bearing items such as, pens, notepads, mouse pads, golf balls designed to get the rep in the door and to keep the name of the drug being promoted foremost in the mind of the doctor. Free samples seem to be among the most powerful promotions. While patients are appreciative of the free samples, eventually the free samples run out and a prescription needs to be written. Often the doctor will write the prescription for the same drug even though the doctor may have actually considered a different drug. The newest marketing scheme involves direct-to-consumer advertising. The concept, embed the name of a new drug on the mind of a patient so the patient will carry it into the doctor’s office, often with a request to try it. In the past three years, ads for drugs have appeared on television and in magazines like never seen before. Doctors and insurance companies view this as one of the least favourable marketing tactics, believing that it lures patients to high-price drugs when other available drugs are often cheaper and possibly as effective. As heavily marketed, expensive drugs gain popularity, healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs are driven up. [An article in U.S. News & World Report (2/19/2001)]

    Two doctors practising in slum areas showed printed handouts from a drug manufacturer giving targets and incentives to meet them. They were offered a cell phone handset for prescribing 1,000 tablets, an air cooler for prescribing 5,000 tablets and a motorcycle after 10,000 tablets were prescribed.[Drug promotional practices in Mumbai: a qualitative study
    Nobhojit Roy, Neha Madhiwalla, Sanjay A Pai]

    That it is a profitable enterprise is clear.

    Shares of Cypress Bioscience jumped by $1.03, or 41.2 percent, to $3.53 in the premarket session, [TheStreet notes.]

    Dr Reddy’s Labs has become one of the largest Indian partners for global pharma companies, turning the Indian bulk drug industry from import-dependent in the mid-1980s to self-reliant in the mid-1990s and, finally, into the export-oriented industry that it is today.
    [BioSpectrum]

    Santa Clara, California-based Healtheon will exchange 1.815 of its shares for each share of Atlanta-based WebMD. Other investors including Intel, Excite, and software wholesaler Softbank will invest another $110 million. The investment is software giant Microsoft’s strongest move to date into the nascent–and potentially huge–online healthcare industry, which is targeting a wide range of health-care transactions over the Internet. The investment will be used to underwrite 11 million months of free subscriptions for doctors, with about 2,000 Healtheon WebMD sales representatives targeting new physician accounts.
    With the move, the firm is dumping its $29.95 per month subscription rate, though getting up to 56,000 doctors signed up for free for their service as potential future customers is more important than the subscription money. “This market is about speed and scale,” Spokes person Arnold said. “It doesn’t matter to us if a partner or a doctor pays for it…It’s getting to market first and getting the physician enrolled.”
    Once the company has seeded the physician community, Healtheon WebMD will move to make money on a per transaction basis as doctors offices use the portal to access medical records and information, claims submissions, referrals, and lab orders–as well as buy drugs, medical equipment, and other health-care products.[By Kim Girard
    Staff Writer, CNET News ]

    Almost 200 pharmaceuticals companies are now present in Iran and they are active in both production and importation. Some of them have become active in exporting their products to neighbouring countries in recent years. Multinationals have started to expand their activities by finding strong distributors in the country. The Iranian government has announced that it will cut subsidies gradually over a five-year period which will start from 2010. Consumers are unlikely to continue self-medicating as frequently if medicines cost more and are more likely to consult a doctor/physician and buy the correct, most effective product.[Euromonitor International 2010]

    >>>Let’s assume I’m not corrupt and don’t receive any financial benefit from my prescribing practices (I don’t since it is impossible because I don’t work in a free market health system at the moment), I would want to prescribe whatever works best right? Why wouldn’t I just prescribe herbs/homeopathic remedies/unproven therapy x if they were so efficacious and safe? – well, it would be unethical considering that I know that there is no evidence for it to be effective especially when compared to what I do know to be effective based on the evidence (as opposed to anecdotes or my own personal experience). Knowingly prescribing placebos (or less than placebo) is unethical.<<>>Why do I want to discredit homeopathy? Well, homeopathy has been well and truly discredited for many years, I hardly need to try and discredit it – the evidence speaks for itself. I’m interested in discrediting all of the pseudoscientific therapies and practices that are increasingly prevalent in our healthcare environment; I’m interested in engaging with the various role-players. I believe that magical thinking, pseudoscience and other nonsense (with regard to healthcare) have no place in a modern, free-thinking society.<<>>People need to be educated about what is what in the health care industry. In the end, lives are at stake because of the decisions made based upon advice given. How do we get the best advice in order to live out our lives happily and healthily? I certainly don’t think it is sensible to accept advice from some quack (including many medical doctors), touting his prophet’s bogus theories (e.g. S.Hahnemann) that have subsequently been trounced by better science.<<>>No Balanced Truths, you don’t irritate me, I think a lot of your points are valid and I can see where you are coming from. It is a very complicated scenario, for people on the outside (e.g. lay people, patients) it seems very complicated and contradictory – yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean we need to accept a bunch of nonsense as the truth. There are indeed many problems with the Healthcare industry. As always, it is an interesting debate.<<<

    Then BabyDoc, I apologise for calling you an idiot when clearly you are not, and I apologise for having a knee-jerk reaction to your post while your reaction was calm and understanding.
    I have one more honest question, which is the real reason I take on this argument, for me the value in the homeopathic industry would hinge on this answer, if ever we could ascertain the truth.
    Would it be easier to rid the Medical industry of it’s problems, corruption and money driven trends, or to reform the Homeopathic industry, with its existing infrastructure, training faculties and proponents to conform by regulating them to use only remedies that have proven themselves through scientific testing?

  21. Balanced Truths said,

    Don’t know how that happened, but here it is again:

    >>>Let’s assume I’m not corrupt and don’t receive any financial benefit from my prescribing practices (I don’t since it is impossible because I don’t work in a free market health system at the moment), I would want to prescribe whatever works best right? Why wouldn’t I just prescribe herbs/homeopathic remedies/unproven therapy x if they were so efficacious and safe? – well, it would be unethical considering that I know that there is no evidence for it to be effective especially when compared to what I do know to be effective based on the evidence (as opposed to anecdotes or my own personal experience). Knowingly prescribing placebos (or less than placebo) is unethical.<<>>Why do I want to discredit homeopathy? Well, homeopathy has been well and truly discredited for many years, I hardly need to try and discredit it – the evidence speaks for itself. I’m interested in discrediting all of the pseudoscientific therapies and practices that are increasingly prevalent in our healthcare environment; I’m interested in engaging with the various role-players. I believe that magical thinking, pseudoscience and other nonsense (with regard to healthcare) have no place in a modern, free-thinking society.<<>>People need to be educated about what is what in the health care industry. In the end, lives are at stake because of the decisions made based upon advice given. How do we get the best advice in order to live out our lives happily and healthily? I certainly don’t think it is sensible to accept advice from some quack (including many medical doctors), touting his prophet’s bogus theories (e.g. S.Hahnemann) that have subsequently been trounced by better science.<<>>No Balanced Truths, you don’t irritate me, I think a lot of your points are valid and I can see where you are coming from. It is a very complicated scenario, for people on the outside (e.g. lay people, patients) it seems very complicated and contradictory – yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean we need to accept a bunch of nonsense as the truth. There are indeed many problems with the Healthcare industry. As always, it is an interesting debate.<<<

    Then BabyDoc, I apologise for calling you an idiot when clearly you are not, and I apologise for having a knee-jerk reaction to your post while your reaction was calm and understanding.
    I have one more honest question, which is the real reason I take on this argument, for me the value in the homeopathic industry would hinge on this answer, if ever we could ascertain the truth.
    Would it be easier to rid the Medical industry of it’s problems, corruption and money driven trends, or to reform the Homeopathic industry, with its existing infrastructure, training faculties and proponents to conform by regulating them to use only remedies that have proven themselves through scientific testing?

  22. Balanced Truths said,

    Lets try it this way then:

    >>>Let’s assume I’m not corrupt and don’t receive any financial benefit from my prescribing practices (I don’t since it is impossible because I don’t work in a free market health system at the moment), I would want to prescribe whatever works best right? Why wouldn’t I just prescribe herbs/homeopathic remedies/unproven therapy x if they were so efficacious and safe? – well, it would be unethical considering that I know that there is no evidence for it to be effective especially when compared to what I do know to be effective based on the evidence (as opposed to anecdotes or my own personal experience). Knowingly prescribing placebos (or less than placebo) is unethical.<<<

    A very good point, the honest healthcare professional would absolutely want to solve the problem as easily and with as few side effects as possible. Don’t you think prescribing a dietary change or a relatively harmless substance like Milk of Magnesia (and Linseeds) is preferable to Cortisone? If you have not yet proved, or disproved, the validity of a Linseed and Milk of Magnesia solution, scientifically, then do you have measures in place to do so?

  23. Balanced Truths said,

    >>>Why do I want to discredit homeopathy? Well, homeopathy has been well and truly discredited for many years, I hardly need to try and discredit it – the evidence speaks for itself. I’m interested in discrediting all of the pseudoscientific therapies and practices that are increasingly prevalent in our healthcare environment; I’m interested in engaging with the various role-players. I believe that magical thinking, pseudoscience and other nonsense (with regard to healthcare) have no place in a modern, free-thinking society.<<<

    Precisely so, I am interested in the substances that are used by the homeopaths, I recognise that they are diluted to such an extent that they become useless, however, I also realise that, like the chinook bark, the principle of creating the effects of the disease in the hope that it would illicit an immune response could be a valuable tool. If the homeopathic industry could be forced to test all their remedies in varying degrees of dilution some might prove to be helpful, moreover, there are also a host of other natural remedies that could be tested properly.

  24. Balanced Truths said,

    >>>People need to be educated about what is what in the health care industry. In the end, lives are at stake because of the decisions made based upon advice given. How do we get the best advice in order to live out our lives happily and healthily? I certainly don’t think it is sensible to accept advice from some quack (including many medical doctors), touting his prophet’s bogus theories (e.g. S.Hahnemann) that have subsequently been trounced by better science.<<<

    I agree with you, the problem is precisely that, a man with, perhaps, an honest intent is turned into a profit by his followers and suddenly all the theories become fact. I didn’t know Hahnemann so I cannot say.
    I would pose some honest questions though. If some non-profit lab proved conclusively that an inexpensive over the counter solution could cure or alleviate all eczema and psoriases related ailments, would you prescribe it? If you suspected some such solution to be possible, would you advocate the need for it to be tested? If you know that no such independent testing facilities, that are free from the money driven industries, are available would you advocate the need for such institutions.

  25. Balanced Truths said,

    >>>No Balanced Truths, you don’t irritate me, I think a lot of your points are valid and I can see where you are coming from. It is a very complicated scenario, for people on the outside (e.g. lay people, patients) it seems very complicated and contradictory – yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean we need to accept a bunch of nonsense as the truth. There are indeed many problems with the Healthcare industry. As always, it is an interesting debate.<<<

    Then BabyDoc, I apologise for calling you an idiot when clearly you are not, and I apologise for having a knee-jerk reaction to your post while your reaction was calm and understanding.
    I have one more honest question, which is the real reason I take on this argument, for me the value in the homeopathic industry would hinge on this answer, if ever we could ascertain the truth.
    Would it be easier to rid the Medical industry of it’s problems, corruption and money driven trends, or to reform the Homeopathic industry, with its existing infrastructure, training faculties and proponents to conform by regulating them to use only remedies that have proven themselves through scientific testing?

  26. defollyant said,

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    I am not trying to lend support to anything.

    How soon you forget. All along, your brain-dead argument has been that homoeopathy is worth an ear because it might add something useful since conventional medicine is brimful with nasty individuals.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    You are being very obtuse about this point, which I have agreed with; homeopathy requires scientific input and regulation, not a knife in the back.

    I’m being “very obtuse”!? Surely you’re joking Mr B. Truths! Where have you explicitly agreed to the point that homoeopathy is fundamentally anti-/pseudoscientific? I must have missed that. But no real matter. Even if you have, your incredible insight doesn’t extend far enough to see that no amount of “scientific input” and/or “regulation” can salvage homoeopathy as it is presently founded. The only possible salvation for homoeopathy is for it to be reinvented from the ground up, in which case it won’t be homoeopathy anymore. But that won’t happen because, time and time again, homoeopaths have rejected, invariably on trumped-up nonsense, any objective scientific investigation that finds against it. Hahnemann is the untouchable non plus ultra saint of homoeopathy and its proponents.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    Au contraire, Monsieur. It is exactly this principle that started the whole business, it is at least in part this principle that needs to be tested and continued.

    Complete bullshit. Provide some actual evidence that the ideas of homoeopathy prompted the idea of vaccination. Or that homoeopathy has fruitfully taken the idea further than conventional medicine. If anything, it’s exactly the other way around, starting with Edward Jenner’s astute observations.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    Look, defollyant, here is a well established industry (with many practitioners that seem to believe in what they are doing) that can be changed through scientific regulation to evolve, in relatively short order, into an industry that uses ‘homeopathic’ methods they can then claim have been tested scientifically, and have subsequently been proven by solid and repeatable evidence, to work.

    No, it can’t be changed because (a) it has no interest in heeding the scientific approach, (b) it’s very foundations are nonsense, and (c) it is a well-established industry, and a largely unconscionable one at that when it comes to facing reality. Your idealism in this regard, while cute and touching, is deeply naïve.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    Be honest now, would it be easier and/or better to change the millions that are looking for an alternative to the perceived corrupt medical option, or to change the thousands that are offering the alternative option, thereby also reaching the millions?

    It would be miles better to discredit comprehensively that which is without any merit than to allow the promotion of false hope just because we are supposed to respect the other bloke’s ill-founded horseshit. It is an unfortunate fact of life that, presently, few people are adequately equipped to see through the hype and baloney and bullshit.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    The chief argument against homeopathy is against the level of dilution, which is pretty silly, but that does not make up the whole of the industry.

    No! The chief arguments against homoeopathy are that (a) it does not work any better than placebos; (b) it is based on demonstrable nonsense and absurdity; (c) it dodges evidence and elects mysticism; (d) its practitioners are completely shut to any legitimate criticism; (e) it is responsible for numerous human impairments and deaths that conventional approaches would have avoided in short order; (f) … The list is long indeed.

    Balanced Truths wrote (23 August 2010 at 3:04 pm):

    Evidently you are incapable of realising that I don’t disagree with you on that point.

    Evidently, you are also incapable of recognising that your agreement sidelines in toto your self-righteous, moronic and ill-informed diatribes against conventional medicine, rendering them comical – but without the humour. Just like your imaginary scenario over at Nathan Bond’s TART Remarks that has me and one Irreverend being the same individual, you keep showing your propensity for taking an intuition as ironclad fact (and then seeking only factoids that can be bent to support it), when really you know considerably less than you imagine. It is exactly half-arsed reasoning of that kind which is a major source of the shit humanity keeps landing itself in. That, and pontifical know-it-alls who have the majority of their fellows fooled with their put-on sagacity (mainly because they’ve gotten away with it for so long due to the dire shortage of others capable of seeing through the sham) but who are neither smart nor ethical enough to recognise and face their own delusions. Just as Objective has intimated, like where religion and homoeopathy meet, actually.

  27. Balanced Truths said,


    defollyant said,
    23 August 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Where have you explicitly agreed to the point that homoeopathy is fundamentally anti-/pseudoscientific?

    Although I agree about the lack of scientific methods being employed in the homeopathic field…

    To which you replied: “How does homoeopaths coming up with “ingenious solutions to problems” and/or this eczema anecdote, even if it is 100% true, lend any support whatsoever to homoeopathy or detract from the shiftiness of its proponents, which is the issue here? What support does it lend to homoeopathy?”

    To which I replied: “I do not intend to lend support for the homeopathic industry or its proponents in its current form. I am in agreement with the dangers the unscientific methods, employed by the practitioners, can hold for the general population?.”

    “I am not wholly against the homeopathic industry getting their chance to evolve, hopefully, into something more scientific.

    if the scientific method would be employed to make a homeopathic cure possible by un-diluting both the homeopathic industry and its methods and by lending credit to the practices that work and, for once and for all, abolishing the ones that don’t.

    Therein the charlatan homeopaths…

    the study was critiqued, according to WIKI, on the basis that data was bias, the study poorly designed, and, also, that the methodological quality of the research base was low.[Ernst E (2002), “A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy”, Br J Clin Pharmacol 54 (6): 577–582][“Report on mustard gas experiments”, Br Homeopath J (British Homoeopathic Society) 33 (1): 12, 1943]

    It is one thing to oppose the chosen homeopathic concentration or the erroneous whish that the water memory effect will last long enough, or Glomail’s Colloidal Silver that sits on the shelf for months before it is sold, and their mail order unscientific hocus-pocus magic pills that do nothing, but to endeavour to discredit an entire industry, that could have something of value to offer if only it has the correct scientific influence, is a shame.

    To which you replied: “You just won’t get it, will you? Your arguments lend no support to the corpus of homoeopathy at all and make you look like a desperate ignoramus.”
    and “The “Law of Infinitesimals”? Based on wishful, magical thinking, and in total opposition to the foundations of chemistry.” and “Curious, too, how homoeopaths are often also anti-vaxers.” and “Homoeopathy is intrinsically anti- and pseudoscientific”

    To which I replied respectively: “I am not trying to lend support to anything.” and “This definitely an example of what is wrong with homeopathy.” and “True, and this is one of the problems that needs to be remedied.” and “Yes, but that can also be remedied.

    So, no, you must win this point of argument because nowhere did I use your exact words: “that homoeopathy is fundamentally anti-/pseudoscientific.” So terribly sorry about that old chap.

    “How soon you forget. All along, your brain-dead argument has been that homoeopathy is worth an ear because it might add something useful since conventional medicine is brimful with nasty individuals.”

    The closest I came to that was on 19 August 2010 at 11:32 am, where I said “I will, in the pursuit of a more balanced truth, take another three stabs at the medical industry…”
    Please help me to see where I used a ‘because’ clause, I cannot find it…or are you playing games again?

    Please see my words on the 20 August 2010 at 3:29 pm “Let’s leave the logical fallacies, and other tricks, for arguments with people like Hans and Gerhard, I did not indicate the dilution process as the cause of an immune response, I indicated a small and harmless ‘taste’ of the ailment. I did not qualify exactly how much of a ‘taste’ is required, however, I did hint that homeopathy needs to be undiluted, not binned prematurely.
    Please don’t attempt to obfuscate the issue by arguing semantics, for instance, about what I meant when I said “the practices of the homeopathic industry, is based on proven principles”.
    Hahnemann observed from his experiments with cinchona bark, used as a treatment for malaria, that the effects he experienced from ingesting the bark were similar to the symptoms of malaria. Hahnemann conceived similia similibus curentur as his law of similars.At first Hahnemann used material doses for ‘provings’, but, granted, he later advocated ‘proving’ with remedies at a 30C dilution. [Hahnemann S (1921), The Organon of the Healing Art (6th ed.), aphorism 128, ISBN 0879832282]

    The above paragraph is what I meant with ‘the practices having been based on’ and the below is why it is a ‘proven principle’.

    Once the body has had a ‘taste’ of an ailment, if you survive, your immune system will fight off any future infections before they can take hold. The cells, responsible for the immune reaction against the ailment, in the bloodstream, will retain memory of the disease. If the disease returns, the immune system will launch a quick attack again. This has long since been proved through the use of vaccinations. The common flu vaccination is, basically, dead influenza viruses.”

    You say: “Complete bullshit. Provide some actual evidence that the ideas of homoeopathy prompted the idea of vaccination. Or that homoeopathy has fruitfully taken the idea further than conventional medicine. If anything, it’s exactly the other way around, starting with Edward Jenner’s astute observations.
    Why, that is your strawman, you can hack it to pieces. Here is a hint, the words ‘it is’ does not indicate which came first.

    But that won’t happen because, time and time again, homoeopaths have rejected, invariably on trumped-up nonsense, any objective scientific investigation that finds against it. Hahnemann is the untouchable non plus ultra saint of homoeopathy and its proponents.
    Maybe you are correct and I am wrong. I have seen many attacks made on homeopathy in much the same derogatory nature you employ. I have never seen any scientific effort to work with the homeopathic industry, since you have then, please provide references, I would love to look through them.

    No, it can’t be changed because (a) it has no interest in heeding the scientific approach, (b) it’s very foundations are nonsense, and (c) it is a well-established industry, and a largely unconscionable one at that when it comes to facing reality. Your idealism in this regard, while cute and touching, is deeply naïve.
    Maybe you are correct and I am wrong. Please provide references for a) the absolute knowledge that it has no interest in heeding the scientific approach, b) your absolute knowledge about what constitutes the foundations of homeopathy according to what is in the hearts and minds of it’s proponents and c) the absolute proof that it is a largely (say more than 60% of the proponents) unconscionable one, I would love to look through them.

    I wrote: “Be honest now, would it be easier and/or better to change the millions that are looking for an alternative to the perceived corrupt medical option, or to change the thousands that are offering the alternative option, thereby also reaching the millions?” To which you answer: “It would be miles better (which is not the same as easier) to discredit comprehensively that which is without any merit (which has no bearing on my above question) than to allow the promotion of false hope (which has no bearing on my above question) just because we are supposed to respect the other bloke’s ill-founded horseshit (which has no bearing on my above question). It is an unfortunate fact of life that, presently, few people are adequately equipped to see through the hype and baloney and bullshit (which has no bearing on my above question).
    Please provide references for a) the absolute proof that the homeopathic, or any other industry for that matter, is entirely without any merit, I would love to look through them.

    I wrote: “The chief argument against homeopathy is against the level of dilution, which is pretty silly, but that does not make up the whole of the industry.” To which you answer: “No! The chief arguments against homoeopathy are that (a) it does not work any better than placebos (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution); (b) it is based on demonstrable nonsense and absurdity (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution); (c) it dodges evidence and elects mysticism (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution); (d) its practitioners are completely shut to any legitimate criticism (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution); (e) it is responsible for numerous human impairments and deaths that conventional approaches would have avoided in short order (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution); (f) … The list is long indeed (directly or indirectly due to the level of dilution).

    Evidently, you are also incapable of recognising that your agreement sidelines in toto your self-righteous, moronic and ill-informed diatribes against conventional medicine, rendering them comical – but without the humour.
    Yes I do recognise this in the light of the word ‘sideline’ as in ‘a place for people who are not involved in something’.

    Just like your imaginary scenario over at Nathan Bond’s TART Remarks that has me and one Irreverend being the same individual, you keep showing your propensity for taking an intuition as ironclad fact (and then seeking only factoids that can be bent to support it), when really you know considerably less than you imagine.
    Granted I have no proof of this assumption, I never claimed my intuition was ironclad fact either (my words were: “Whether my view is pathetically pitiful or not is your opinion, which [still] seems to be based on some deep-seated wish for it to be so, this is also one of the reasons why I know you are Irreverent, that, and you need to sweep everything, with a particular writing style, under well defined carpets.), but, I am reasonably sure I am correct. Would you, for instance, be willing to swear by everything that you hold dear that you are not in fact the Irreverant you refer to?

    It is exactly half-arsed reasoning of that [taking an intuition as ironclad fact] kind which is a major source of the shit humanity keeps landing itself in. That, and pontifical know-it-alls who have the majority of their fellows fooled with their put-on sagacity (mainly because they’ve gotten away with it for so long due to the dire shortage of others capable of seeing through the sham) but who are neither smart nor ethical enough to recognise and face their own delusions.
    So true!

    Just as Objective has intimated, like where religion and homoeopathy meet, actually.
    So true, this incessant need to see absolutely no good of any kind whatsoever in your enemy.

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