Friday, 30 November 2007

Homeopathy is a Bunch of Crap

It had to come at some point. The anger has been simmering away (in a purely metaphorical way) for some time now. And the straw that broke the simmering camel's back? Well, it was the Guardian, last bastion of esoteric spelling in a world of computers that it is.

First we had Jeanette Winterson prattling on about how homeopathy works, which is utter rubbish, and then we had a spirited defence of it from a Denis MacEoin. This is starting to get tiring and I'm increasingly annoyed with the media rushing to present an illusion of balance where there is none. In order to maintain this balance they did publish a rebuttal from Ben Goldacre so it's not all bad.

Homeopathy is a load of rubbish. There, I said it. It's water you morons! It doesn't remember what you put in it and subsequently diluted out of it. It is H2O, billions of molecules constantly moving about with no way in which to store a "memory" or "form" of its solutes, former or current.

The evidence is clear on this one. Properly run, objectively analysed, peer-reviewed studies have shown that the effect of homeopathy is no more than that of a placebo. In addition, trained homeopaths cannot tell the difference between water and one of their remedies without reading the label! Please can we just tell the crystal-wavers, the psychics, the creationists and the homeopaths where to go? It's all nonsense. Convincingly peddled nonsense but nonsense nonetheless.

In fact, homeopathy can kill. When substituted for genuine, proven medical procedures it can result in horrific tragedies. As a complementary treatments it takes credit for the effect of drugs and used in place of medical treatment it can lead to deaths. This all leads me to wonder why the NHS funds 5 homeopathic hospitals. That's right, taxpayers money in the UK is spent on quacks who are at best misguided and at worst dangerous charlatans.

Because, when it comes down to it, if you're a homeopath I have one simple question for you:

Which kind are you? The liar or the idiot?

There is no middle ground. Either you genuinely believe what you're peddling, in which case go learn about science and stop pushing things you clearly don't understand (nobody can understand it what with its being made up!) or you know it's a load of rubbish and you seek to profit from others' gullibility. It may sound unfair but it's not. I, unlike the media at present, do not intend to peddle a false debate where there is none.


pv said...

A splendid summary of a 200-year old religion. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Stephen Bain said...

Sometimes I'm a little more polite when discussing similar topics, but all the stuff I've been reading about homeopathy recently sent me over the edge I think!

Perhaps I should drink a glass of water that was once near a sedative...

Mojo said...

Might be used as a remedy for narcolepsy, I suppose. But only by homoeopaths who believe in "grafting".

Ambrielle said...

Cracking post!

Stephen Bain said...

Wouldn't the one with the sedative be used for treating drowsiness? Or has the like treats like idea fallen out of favour now?

Danny said...

"Because, when it comes down to it, if you're a homeopath I have one simple question for you: Which kind are you? The liar or the idiot?"

That reminds me of The Biggest Douche in the Universe:

"But I'm a psychic."
"No dude, you're a douche."
"I'm not a douche! What if I really believe that dead people talk to me?"
"Then you're a stupid douche"

pode said...

I thought you might be interested in this post from Ars Technica. It's quite a thorough summary and demolition of the central 'scientific' claims made by homeopaths in their very own peer-reviewed (honest) journal (bless).

Also in unrelated news, I think sometimes you might want to quote Isaac Newton. It's a good quote, and a classic.

Finally (and also off-topic) I have copies of the DVDs the Discovery Institute (creation 'science' place) sent to all UK school science departments for us to use in lessons on evolution. Surprisingly my school wanted to bin them so I brought them home for fun. Can't remember if we looked at those when you last visited. We may have done. I can rip them and send copies your way if you wish probably.

- Robbie

Harespring said...

Now that would be interesting. I wonder how many schools are NOT binning this pernicious rubbish. For the Creationists, Gram Parsons has a good quote "I hope you know a lot more than you believe in" which I think is nicely oxymoronic...because if you knew more, you would believe less. Hopefully...

Stephen Bain said...

I've read a few summaries of homeopathy now, you know, just in case there's even one sensible idea in all of it. I shall leave it up to people's imaginations to decide if I was successful.

I think I saw parts of those Discovery Institute DVDs but I can't remember.

What really surprises me is the number of creationists I actually encounter in this country. You can be having a perfectly normal conversation and then they'll say "of course you don't believe in evolution do you?"

They still think there's a global conspiracy of science to make stuff up, though none of them can ever come up with a plausible reason why this would be.

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Chicago liposuction said...

It is depends only us that we want to go for Homeopathy or not! Some people just take Homeopathy only because they have totally trust on Homeopathy. It works so slow but effective also! So It depends individually! By the way good article!

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Dr. Parthasarathy M. Iyengar said...

I commend this dude for speaking up the truth. Homeopathy is a load of shit that is marketed. It is not scientific. Infact their pharmacologic principles are the exact opposite of the dose response curve of mainstream chemistry of pharmacology. Homeopathic Peabrains believe that the strength of their medicine increases by serially reducing the drug (to upto 1 millionth its original)They call it 'Theory of Infinetessimals'..what is left in the end is just sugar water.
Crap No.2- they believe in the universal 'theory of similars' i.e. like cures like. In mainstream medicine, it is something synonomous with the principles of vaccination or hypersensitivity. Obviously this would never apply to Cancer,Sepsis , Renal, Hepatic etc. etc..
When Homeopaths say that their drugs are free of side effects know these two things (1)There are no clinical studies with their drugs. So no side effects are documented despite the fact that Arsenic and Mercury is used in reconstitution of their drugs (2)Common Sense..Only a drug with an effect can have a side effect.When the drug is only a placebo for psychological benefit, the lesser said the better.
Can a homeopath even say that they have drugs to treat cardiovascular, renal, neurological diseaqses. for that matter, homeopathy does not even have antibiotics or antimalarials.

Dr. Parthasarathy M. Iyengar said...

To Chicago Liposuction..
Homeopathy Never Works..Its is your own body's immunity that works. Why do you think mainstream doctors never prescribe medicines for a Viral fever or Viral Hepatitis...Your immunity is sufficient(builds up over 3-5 days). Homeopaths just cash in on this...making you feel as if they cured you. In the rare event that you were cured whislt being under a homeopath, know that you cured yourself.