A disagreement between two respected Canadian academics is raising some fundamental questions about when a disputed scientific issue has been studied long enough.

The debate centers on whether it’s still valid — or even ethical — to do research on products called nosodes, which are marketed as homeopathic “vaccines.”

Homeopathy is a controversial arm of complementary medicine. It is based on the belief that conditions can be cured or prevented by giving a person a substance that induces the same symptoms, but in highly diluted form. Though it has hordes of adherents, homeopathy is dismissed as quackery by traditional medicine.

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Dr. Mark Loeb, an infectious diseases researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, is seeking volunteers for a study that he thinks will show nosodes don’t activate an immune response and therefore cannot protect against diseases.

Tim Caulfield, a professor of health law and policy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a zealous debunker of quack science, argues there’s no need to run such a study. Science already knows the answer, said Caulfield, whose most recent book — on the impact of celebrity culture on health — is entitled “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?”

“It is com-pleeeeeeeete scientific nonsense,” Caulfield said of homeopathy, drawing out the word for added emphasis.

“There is no need to study it. … I don’t need to run a physics experiment to demonstrate that flying carpets don’t fly.”

The alternative medicine system, devised in the late 18th century in Germany, is based on two theories scientists insist simply cannot work. One is the notion that “like cures like” and the other is that diluting a substance actually increases its potency.

Even the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health — the part of the National Institutes of Health expressly charged with researching alternative medicine — appears skeptical about homeopathy.

“A number of the key concepts of homeopathy are not consistent with fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics,” the center’s website notes. “For example, it is not possible to explain in scientific terms how a remedy containing little or no active ingredient can have any effect.”

And yet Americans spent nearly $3 billion on homeopathic remedies and $170 million on visits to homeopaths in 2007, according to the National Health Interview Survey, a regular survey of the American public’s health conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The 2012 survey estimated that 5 million adults and 1 million children used homeopathy in the previous year.

In both the United States and Canada, homeopathic remedies are sold with the acceptance of the federal drug regulatory agencies.

In the US, manufacturers of homeopathic remedies are allowed to make health claims on their labels — even though the Food and Drug Administration does not require them to submit proof that the products can meet those claims.

In Canada, homeopathic remedies are licensed as natural health products. After taking a great deal of criticism over its handling of the products, Health Canada changed its rules regarding nosodes last year, requiring makers of the products to make clear they are not vaccines, should not be viewed as alternatives to vaccination, and haven’t been proven to prevent infection. The new labeling rules went into effect in July.

Critics on both sides of the border think the regulatory agencies should go further. And Loeb is hoping to provide solid evidence to make that case.

His plan is to test whether nosodes activate the immune system to protect against the diseases they purport to fend off.

He and colleagues will randomly assign about 150 people aged 18 to 24 to one of three groups. One group will get fake nosodes plus the two booster vaccines people in this age group are supposed to get. The second will get fake nosodes and fake vaccines — sterile saline solution. The third will get commercially sold nosodes and fake vaccinations.

That means researchers will be testing whether the immune system is stimulated by vaccines versus placebo versus nosodes.

The purpose of giving each group both vaccines and nosodes (real or fake) is to ensure no one knows who gets what while the study is underway. Randomized trials that are double-blinded — neither recipients nor researchers know — produce the best quality evidence.

The researchers will draw blood samples from the recipients before they receive their therapy and again three weeks later. They will be looking to see if volunteers produce increased levels of antibodies, T-cells, and B-cells — key players in an immune response.

“Of course our hypothesis will be that [nosodes] will be no different than placebo,” Loeb told STAT.

But Caulfield argued that people who believe in homeopathy will not be dissuaded, even by a well-done study. Further, he said the fact that a reputable university is studying nosodes will add to their cachet among people who believe they work.

“The concern is that just by running the trial you are legitimizing it,” he said in the interview, pointing to the fact that someone on Twitter sent him a link to McMaster’s advertisement that it was looking for volunteers as proof homeopathy isn’t, as Caulfield had denounced it, bunk.

Caulfield criticized the study on Twitter.

When he learned Loeb — who has a reputation for doing terrific research — was leading the study, he reached out and the two men spoke.

Both described a civil conversation. But they didn’t change each others’ minds.

“This invites an interesting debate about how we — the scientific community, the research community, the academic community — should respond to pseudoscience,” Caulfield said afterward.

“Do we legitimize it by doing research on it? Or do we — as I think we should do — speak in one voice, one clear voice, and say: This is scientific bunk.”

Further, Caulfield argued that conducting the study may be unethical. His rationale: Research ethics require that there is what’s known as equipoise — scientific uncertainty — if a question is to be studied. There is no scientific uncertainty about nosodes, he insisted.

Loeb said he could find no previous study looking at whether nosodes triggered an immune response. And his arguments satisfied McMaster’s Institutional Review Board, which approved the study.

Dr. Ross Upshur, an ethicist and a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, disagreed with Caulfield on the issue of the study’s ethics — but agreed with him that regardless of the outcome of the study, it would not change the thinking of people who believe nosodes work.

Would he have approved the study if he had been on the McMaster review board? Upshur, who has conducted research with both Loeb and Caulfield in the past, said he could argue both sides of this debate, but said if pressed to make a call, he probably would have argued that the study wasn’t worth doing.

Dr. Peter Palese, a renowned influenza researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, also understands Caulfield’s concern. He calls homeopathy “hogwash.” But Palese noted that Loeb conducts first-rate research, and there has been little of that done on homeopathy.

“If a guy like Mark Loeb does it, it is a service to the rest of us,” he said.

Loeb acknowledged the true believers will not be swayed by the findings of a clinical trial. But he said he hopes to generate evidence that will provoke regulators to take a harder line on nosodes.

“They’re licensed. They’re used around the world. And the lack of an immunological response, compared to placebo, would basically demonstrate the lack of a scientific basis for these [homeopathic] vaccines,” he said.

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  • At present, there is more in medicine that we don’t know than we know. As a practicing physician for 55 years, my beliefs have continuously evolved.
    The most important concept I have learned is one size does not fit all. The future of medicine will be individualized.
    In the 60’s I was diagnosed with idiopathic vertigo. The only remedy that worked for me was German homeopathic, Vertigoheel.
    As an octogenarian, I have had the opportunity to take many pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by very competent MDs. Everyone had unwanted side effects.
    I now control the various physiological abnormalities that come to one my age with herbal medicines.
    Research in medicine should be focused on the natural healing powers of the body rather than succumbing to the moneyed interests in the pharmaceutical and food industries. Unfortunately government is the major supporter of this incorrect health care path.
    There is no field in which lobbyists do more damage than the health care field. They are killing us.
    The solution is, get rid of the establishment in our government and stop politics from being a career.

    • Yes, I agree. Those who reject Homeopathy have generally never bothered to do any real research and have certainly never had personal experience of cure, which, we all know, is the only evidence a human being requires.

      It is however not just the ‘nanny nature’ of politics and the fact that it is influenced if not often controlled by vested agendas, but the fact that the pharmaceutical industry dominates Allopathic medicine and dictates how it functions.

      I am sure there are many medical professionals of integrity who would welcome more options as Integrative medicine and who would delight in having non-toxic treatments available.

      Allopathic drugs are toxic and they are designed to run counter to the body’s natural healing function, thus often creating more disease than they ever cure, if indeed they achieve cure which is uncommon.

      There is no doubt that Allopathic skills in the fields of surgery and crisis/trauma are impressive but even here more healing would take place and less harm would be done if modalities like Homeopathy and Acupuncture were used before resorting to toxic pharmaceuticals.

      And modern medicine, whatever it is doing, and beyond being the third biggest killer as iatrogenic, is certainly not making human beings healthy. In fact, and for children it is worse, the levels of serious and chronic disease are a tragedy if not criminal malpractice on the part of conventional medicine.

      And while I don’t do conspiracy theories – I find humans arrogant, ignorant, stupid and incompetent enough to create any sort of chaos without the slightest plan – it is clear that Allopathic medicine, controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, has no incentive to cure or reduce disease since it is disease which brings the profits.

      Change will have to come from the public and people taking responsibility for their health and their medical treatments and learning to say no to toxic Allopathic medicine, at least until they have explored other options.

    • At present, there is more in medicine that we don’t know than we know.

      Indeed.

      However, there is also a massive amount that we do know. Our understanding of Homeopathy has reached the point where the improbable has been demonstrated to be little more than observer bias. The evidence for this is now so robust that there is a scientific consensus on it.

      Homeopathy has been established to be no more than a placebo effect and no number of anecdotes can alter that. These anecdotes are what lead to the research, the research proved it to not be an actual effect at all.

      You may have gotten better while taking “Vertigoheel” but the evidence suggests that this was coincidence. It is human nature to try and attribute it to an action you took though.

      Also, as a practising physician for 55 years you should know that every drug has side effects. It’s part of something having an effect at all. It the benefit to risk ratio that is important and as a physician you should know that.

      Anything with no side effects has no effect at all. Just like homeopathy.

  • @ Gold

    You said: There’s also no such thing as “energy” in the context that you describe ……..

    As I recall similar things were said about Quantum Mechanics when first mooted and eventually science caught up.

    As I recall similar things were said about bacteria, and science eventually caught up, after murdering hundreds of thousands of mothers and babies because doctors were too stupid to recognise that clean hands, were, well, clean hands.

    Neither you, nor a scientist can categorically state what is or is not possible. You can say, on the basis of what we currently know it is not likely to be possible, or we cannot see how it might be possible, but true science would not categorically dismiss on the basis of ignorance. Then again, not much true science around these days, just profit and power driven scientific machinations.

    • As I recall… blah blah blah

      History shows that these were demonstrated through the robust application of science.

      History also shows that there was something there that was real to begin with. Effects that could be measured. We are beyond that point with homeopathy. It’s been measured and found to be an illusion.

      Neither you, nor a scientist can categorically state what is or is not possible.

      Neither can you, yet that is exactly what you are doing. Talk about your double standards.

      You keep arguing against science and back your position with science. The cognitive dissonance that you must be experiencing must be almost overwhelming.

      Anyway, you failed in reading comprehension there and argued against something I didn’t actually say.

      I said, and reiterate, there is no such thing as “energy” in the context that you describe.

    • @ Gold,

      In terms of energy involved in Homeopathy I did not describe anything. Energy is simply another word for frequency/vibration, factors used commonly in Allopathic medicine.

      Every cell in our bodies creates frequency/vibration/ energy and many Allopathic treatments utilise this factor so we know it exists, even at the material level where modern science operates.

      To theorise that this is the level at which Homeopathic medicine functions makes perfect sense.

      But I realise you are so stuck in prejudice you can concede no ground.

      In addition, we both know, even though you cannot admit it, that no MD, hospital, medical school, university or Government would touch Homeopathy if it had been proven, as you claim, to be nothing but placebo. We also both know that many do embrace it, particularly in First World Europe and that reality leaves your position in tatters.

      Keep up the good work.

    • In terms of energy involved in Homeopathy I did not describe anything. Energy is simply another word for frequency/vibration, factors used commonly in Allopathic medicine.

      Within science (including the health sciences) “energy” has a specific meaning. The ability to do work. It is never used as another word for frequency/vibration. If that’s what you mean, please use the correct terms. Otherwise you come across like a new-age nut case.

      So, assuming that this is the case and that this energy/vibration is a real thing in the context you present it why can’t we measure it in the context of Homeopathy?

      Every cell in our bodies creates frequency/vibration/ energy and many Allopathic treatments utilise this factor so we know it exists, even at the material level where modern science operates.

      Please name a few.

      To theorise that this is the level at which Homeopathic medicine functions makes perfect sense.

      The word you meant there was hypothesis. There is no Theory of Homeopathy. The word Theory is reserved for things like facts. Things that have stood the test of time and have still not been disproven. Homeopathy is regularly disproven so to use the word “theory” in conjunction with it is an oxymoron.

      Anyway, before reaching the point of something “making perfect sense” you should establish that the things you’re building your hypothesis on are sound. The way you refer to sells in our bodies having specific vibrations demonstrates that you have very little understanding of what you’re talking about. Referring to a “material level” in the context of what you’re talking about demonstrates that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Muddling up words like energy with vibration and frequency demonstrates that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      My take away message from this is that you have drunk the new-age cool-aid and embraced pseudo-science with open arms. You’ve reached a conclusion without realising that all the steps that you had to go though to establish it were invalid, but you don’t seem to care.

      That’s sad.

    • @ Gold,

      “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ~ Nikola Tesla

      Yes, energy can be defined as the capacity to ‘do work’ which of course also applies to frequency/vibration, but there is more to the scientific definition of energy, which makes my case, not yours….

      Energy is the driving force for the universe. Energy is a quantitative property of a system which may be kinetic, potential, or other in form. There are many different forms of energy. One form of energy can be transferred to another form.
      Energy: Scientific Principles
      matse1.matse.illinois.edu/energy/prin.html

      Prior to Einstein’s paper, electromagnetic radiation such as visible light was considered to behave as a wave: hence the use of the terms “frequency” and “wavelength” to characterise different types of radiation. The energy transferred by a wave in a given time is called its intensity.
      Planck constant –

    • Well done. Your copy/paste skills are bordering on average. Comprehension needs work though…

      Yes, energy can be defined as the capacity to ‘do work’ which of course also applies to frequency/vibration, but there is more to the scientific definition of energy, which makes my case, not yours….

      1. Energy is defined that way.
      2. The does not ally to frequency/vibration.
      3. If this backed your case at all we would be able to measure this “vibration” in homeopathic remedies. This has not happened.

      As mention, you need to apply more energy to reading comprehension. This doesn’t back your position at all.

    • Lets try those points again…

      1. Energy is defined that way, not “may be” defined that way. Science is a little more definite in the use of terms that you are.
      2. This does not apply to frequency/vibration.

  • It’s rather funny the headline picture shows what appear to be homeopathic pillules held in the palm of a hand.
    I suppose that’s pseudo-skeptic’s hand – they just don’t know how to follow simple protocols.

    Like it says on the box, do not handle the pills directly – it’s said skin acids disrupt their action, and it may lower their benefit.

    • I’m guessing you didn’t read the article. It’s not about if we should study homeopathy, it’s about if we should study things that are well established as pseudo-science. Homeopathy was just the topic the conversation happened around.

    • There is no such thing as pseudo-science. Science is a system of enquiry and unless the scientific system of enquiry is claiming it has absolute and irrevocable knowledge about how this universe works and how everything in it works, then it cannot categorically dismiss anything as pseudo-science.

      What is called pseudo-science are merely those modalities which science cannot yet explain, and, while trapped in a belief system of materialist reductionism, may never explain.

      And since the image is clearly about Homeopathy then logically, the article is targeting Homeopathy.

      As to not holding the pillules, it has more to do with energy transference than acid since acid works at the material level and Homeopathic efficacy is at the energy level – two different aspects. The individual taking the Homeopathic medicine can handle the pills but you would never take so many at one time, and the handfull just demonstrates yet again that those who reject Homeopathy are mired in ignorance and worse prejudice.

    • @ Gold,

      I am beginning to think you did not read the article or are just yet again demonstrating denial in the face of prejudiced beliefs.

      Quote:

      Dr. Peter Palese, a renowned influenza researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, also understands Caulfield’s concern. He calls homeopathy “hogwash.”

      Quote: “They’re licensed. They’re used around the world. And the lack of an immunological response, compared to placebo, would basically demonstrate the lack of a scientific basis for these [homeopathic] vaccines,” he said.

      Quote:The debate centers on whether it’s still valid — or even ethical — to do research on products called nosodes, which are marketed as homeopathic “vaccines.”

      Homeopathy is a controversial arm of complementary medicine. It is based on the belief that conditions can be cured or prevented by giving a person a substance that induces the same symptoms, but in highly diluted form. Though it has hordes of adherents, homeopathy is dismissed as quackery by traditional medicine.

      I could go on, but perhaps pop back and read the article slowly and carefully and decide whether or not the article really was or was not about whether Homeopathy should be studied properly.

    • There is no such thing as pseudo-science.

      There’s also no such thing as “energy” in the context that you describe it in but rather than accept that you go for “science just doesn’t get it yet”. Regardless, that “how” doesn’t matter. Before we bother with the how we need to establish if it is a real thing or an artefact of the observer. The results of good quality research (that which does it’s best to remove observer bias) are saying it’s not a real thing.

      Anyway, if you don’t like the term pseudo-science lets call it something else.

      Lets go with “cargo cult science”.

    • I am beginning to think you did not read the article or are just yet again demonstrating denial in the face of prejudiced beliefs.

      Interesting that you read the quotes that you pasted in and see it as backing your position. I think you missed one important point though; “Of course our hypothesis will be that [nosodes] will be no different than placebo,” Loeb told STAT.

      The purpose of this study is to provide more robust evidence that nosodes are not a thing so that regulators can finally have something to point at to explain why they are not accepted as a vaccination.

      The purpose of the article is show the controversy. Not that “Homeopathy is a controversial arm of complementary medicine” but more that the current controversy is “Why bother? We know it’s not real.”

    • Will: It’s rather funny the headline picture shows what appear to be homeopathic pillules held in the palm of a hand. (blah blah blah)

      Reading comprehension fail?
      THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGESA French farmer shows homeopathic pills.
      Making a judgement call on stock art probably isn’t a great way to go through life.

    • Ros: As to not holding the pillules, it has more to do with energy transference than acid since acid works at the material level and Homeopathic efficacy is at the energy level – two different aspects. The individual taking the Homeopathic medicine can handle the pills but you would never take so many at one time, and the handfull just demonstrates yet again that those who reject Homeopathy are mired in ignorance and worse prejudice.

      You claim “…those who reject Homeopathy are mired in ignorance…

      Can you please present any studies that are of good quality and have been repeated to a point where there is an accepted consensus that demonstrates the nature of what you refer to above as “energy”.

      If you can’t do this then this is just cargo-cult science. All the trappings of science without the understanding of what is actually going on.

      If you can’t do this them Homeopathy is literally based on ignorance.

    • @Gold,

      If you had done any research into Homeopathy to enable some understanding of the modality, you would know there are various theories as to what is at work in regard to Homeopathic effect. Since many of the medications do not contain medicine at the material level, logically it operates at another, deeper level – biophysics and quantum physics offer some potential for understanding this level, which can, most readily be referred to as energy, meaning frequency, vibration.

      And since science itself is awash in theories, often unproven, merely theorised, there is nothing unusual in what I said.

      Homeopathic medicine does not need to prove itself within the scientific system of enquiry and certainly not within its current limited and distorted paradigm. Homeopathic needs to do only one thing, cure, and that it does and has done for more than two centuries.

      You labour under the delusion that nothing can exist without science understanding it and if that were the case, a great deal of science-medicine would have been tossed out long ago.

      I merely corrected one simplistic theory regarding handling of the pillules with another more likely theory. As with any medical modality, Homeopathy has always been in a process of evolution, as knowledge has increased over two centuries. There are a number of ‘handling’ aspects associated with Homeopathic medicine which have been re-assessed over time, but, since you have not a shred of interest in the modality, nor in understanding it, there is little point in this conversation.

      I do not have to prove anything to you and the fact is, one can never prove anything to a closed mind, no matter how absolute the proof.

      You have no obligation, despite your desire, to attempt to prove your anti case to others. Those who use and appreciate Homeopathic medicine are unmoved by your protestations because cure will always outweigh anything else.

      I do not know how Homeopathy works. No-one does, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it does work and I know that as science evolves, it will reach a point, as it has done with other questions in the past, to understand how it works.

      I remain open-minded and curious and able to make use of a brilliant medical modality while science languishes in ignorance and you do not. That is the only difference. You need the affirmation of science to enable you to accept something. My bet is that more people in the world are like me than are like you, hence the growth of Homeopathic medicine.

    • There’s only one thing that needs to be pointed out here.

      And since science itself is awash in theories, often unproven, merely theorised, there is nothing unusual in what I said.

      To refer to a scientific theory like this demonstrates that you have no idea how science works. Many specialised fields have specific meanings to specific words. In the case of translating from Science to Layman the accurate translation of “Theory” would be “Fact”.

      This has been pointed out to you time and time again. The fact you keep pushing this point shows you to be a very disingenuous participant in the conversation.

      Homeopathic medicine does not need to prove itself within the scientific system of enquiry…

      You’re wrong. The Scientific Method is the best tool we have for determining what is real and what is not. Not the “How” or the “Why”, but the “What”. It can be used for the “how” and “why” but first establishing the “what” is the thing. If you have an objection to the Scientific Method then come up with something better. Until then you should probably not focus on “science can’t do it” because you come across like a pouting child whining because they can’t have what they want.

      It’s not our fault that the best tool we have for measuring what is real , when applied rigorously, demonstrates that there is no effect there.

      I also note you’ve not yet provided any good quality replicated studies demonstrating what you refer to above as “energy”. Will remind you again later just in case you missed that.

    • @ gold,

      You said: To refer to a scientific theory like this demonstrates that you have no idea how science works.

      Really.

      Quote: Scientific theories and laws

      The scientific method and science in general can be frustrating. A theory is almost never proven, though a few theories do become scientific laws.

      Quote: Laws are generally considered to be without exception, though some laws have been modified over time after further testing found discrepancies. This does not mean theories are not meaningful.

      Now, there is absolutely no doubt that hypotheses can become theories and ultimately demonstrable fact in the realms of the mechanical and the purely material, i.e. manmade. What is done once can be done again. Consistently.

      However, that is for the manmade and does not apply to the natural world where much of scientific belief remains in the world of theory. After all, it is impossible for science, sourced in materialist reductionism to prove much at all beyond the mechanical world of the manmade and it is hubris to claim that it can or does.

      Theory can become fact but it is not fact as a given, it is theory, conjecture, musing, hypotheses etc. etc . A fact is something which can be consistently proven, i.e. if you make aircraft wings this way it will fly and if you make them that way, it will not fly.

      If scientific theorising could be applied as fact to the natural world then modern medicine, Allopathy, would not be one of the top killers, most of it from prescribed medication because all drugs, given to any person, would have a demonstrable and given result. The ‘fact’ would be in the result as opposed to the theory of what the drug might do. Ergo, theories abound in science which are not likely to become facts.

      And then you resort to ad hominem which I shall ignore.
      I said: Homeopathic medicine does not need to prove itself within the scientific system of enquiry…

      You said: You’re wrong. The Scientific Method is the best tool we have for determining what is real and what is not.

      Wrong. What is real is and always will be theoretical to some degree. There is a wealth of data to that effect.

      The scientific method, immersed in mechanics and materialist reductionism may be the best tool for establishing facts relating to the mechanical and material but since the natural world and the human organism are beyond the mechanical and the purely material, modern science is most definitely not the best tool and might be one of the worst systems of enquiry in this regard.

      If modern science was the best tool as you claim then the medical modality founded on its belief system, Allopathy, would not be one of the top killers surely? And if this tool was effective, then prescribed medication, an invention of modern science and medicine, would not be a major killer surely?

      Your use of the word ‘best’ is, in those circumstances a poor choice.

      You said: Not the “How” or the “Why”, but the “What”. It can be used for the “how” and “why” but first establishing the “what” is the thing.

      Surely if the ‘what’ were effectively established modern medicine would not kill and injure millions every year.

      You said: If you have an objection to the Scientific Method then come up with something better.

      I don’t object to the current scientific method when it remains in its area of knowledge, material and mechanical, but I do have a problem with it when it claims to be an arbiter for everything, when patently, given its belief system, it cannot be.

      You said: Until then you should probably not focus on “science can’t do it” …

      I have said more than once, when science can escape from its materialist prison, it will be able to understand how Homeopathy works no doubt.

      My only position on what science ‘can’t do’ is that it can’t stand as an arbiter on all things. Logic really. Common sense.

      You said: ….because you come across like a pouting child whining because they can’t have what they want.

      Ad hominem. Reflects on you, not me. I don’t need science to do anything although for the sake of science and humanity I shall be pleased to see it move from the materialist reductionist paradigm and drop the arrogant hubris in regard to its capabilities.

      And yes, how the scientific system of enquiry thinks and functions does matter since it seeks to replace all other systems of enquiry and in essence, function like a God in a religion. That is dangerous and destructive and delusional.

    • @ gold,

      You said: To refer to a scientific theory like this demonstrates that you have no idea how science works.

      Really.

      Yes. As demonstrated by the rest of your reply. I’ll leave it unaddressed because it’s the best example of you having no idea. There is nothing more to be added to back this point…

  • I know this would never be approved but we could put this to rest easily enough next time there is an outbreak of something like smallpox, polio, plague, or the like.

    We take the real doctors, inoculate them with real vaccines and send them in.

    Then we do the exact same thing with a bunch of homeopathic “doctors” before sending them to the same place.

    Anyone wanna guess which group actually survives and makes it back?

    Also let me say the placebo effect is a very real phenomena. The last I read (admittedly I don’t keep up actively) the placebo effect was around 13%.

    That’s really amazing when you stop to think about it. 13% of people who have cancer, have it go into remission because of taking a sugar pill!

    That is why people feel so strongly about homeopathy. About 13% of the time it does work. But so would a sugar pill, or a Jolly Rancher, or any number of other things which aren’t medicine.

    • What a pity you need to display your prejudice. Allopathic doctors are not real doctors they are just Allopthic doctors and Homeopathic doctors are just as real without being Allopathic doctors.

      And Homeopathic doctors would refuse Allopathic vaccines so you could not do ‘exactly the same thing with them.’

      Yes, it would be a good idea and quite a few Homeopathic doctors did offer to help during the recent Ebola outbreak and were rejected.

      If you would like to see survival rates, most importantly of patients, but also of Homeopathic doctors compared to Allopathic, there are copious Government records detailing the exceptional performance of Homeopathic compared to Allopathic during numerous epidemics in the 19th, 20th and even more recent centuries.

      Placebo is not likely to demonstrate effect on plants, animals or cells in a petri dish as Homeopathic medicine can and does, but I would be fascinated to hear how it might. Off you go.

    • p.s. you sound so frustrated, almost angry. How on earth does the use of Homeopathic medicine by those who choose to use it, affect you? Why does it frustrate you so much that people are cured by a non-Allopathic medical modality?

    • Thanks for the suggestion.

      It’s been done.
      More than once.
      Even in modern times, the homeopathic record for prophylaxis is very good, but perhaps not widely reported. (Remarkably, it was even kept out of Hansard, the record of UK parliament, for a while!)

      Here was a recent study in Cuba. You’ll find the pseudo-skeptics won’t accept even good studies, because they prefer lies and propaganda to science – for example, I’ve seen claims there weren’t comparison regions, but there were.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20674839
      “After the homeoprophylactic intervention a significant decrease of the disease incidence was observed in the intervention regions. No such modifications were observed in non-intervention regions. In the intervention region the incidence of Leptospirosis fell below the historic median.”

      But then, I don’t suppose actual clinical practice and good scientific ‘evidence’ will change your mind if you think you know all about something when you in fact know nothing.

    • @ Will,

      yes, I know about the Cuban studies which is why I made the reference to ‘more recent.’

      But the anti-Homeopathic brigade never lets logic, reason, common sense or demonstrable facts get in the way of propaganda, which, ironically is all to the good for Homeopathy since their ignorance on the modality and prejudice is so clear to see and destroys any case they might think they are making.

    • If the placebo effect involves mind then surely the mind of the researcher would impact study results to some degree.

      If the placebo effect does not involve mind then what is its source? The fact that Homeopathic medicine works on plants, animals and cells in a petri dish not to mention months after it has been taken, and it works equally well on those who are convinced it cannot work as it does on those convinced it can, makes it a very strange sort of placebo, if indeed, a placebo at all.

    • If the placebo effect involves mind then surely the mind of the researcher would impact study results to some degree.

      Of course. This is what the scientific method strives to overcome with blinding though. Removal of observer bias. In the case you describe above the researchers are the observer.

      If the placebo effect does not involve mind then what is its source?

      You’re now asking questions on an assumption you admit is unknown. Before asking “what is its source” you should establish with a reliable certainty if it is just the brain playing tricks or not.

      The fact that Homeopathic medicine works on plants, animals and cells in a petri dish not to mention months after it has been taken, and it works equally well on those who are convinced it cannot work as it does on those convinced it can, makes it a very strange sort of placebo, if indeed, a placebo at all.

      None of what you just said is “fact”. You have had it pointed out repeatedly why it is not fact. You have failed repeatedly to establish your points above. Yet you continue to post this as if you’re immune to knowledge and unable to adjust your position on this topic with new information.

  • Homeopathic medicine is effective and not pure placebo and there is a weight of evidence to substantiate both claims.

    If the evidence did not exist there would not be one MD, hospital, often major hospitals, medical school, university or Government State medical system which would touch it with a barge pole and there are many, particularly in First World Europe, which means they have the required evidence and it satisfies their legal teams in this age of litigation, and the bleats of ‘it doesn’t work’ or ‘if it works it is pure placebo’ from those who reject Homeopathy, remain meaningless.

    Homeopathy has survived the hatred of pharmacists from the beginning and thrived for more than two centuries, because it is effective.

    The small but vocal minority, seething with rage and frustration at its endurance, never quite explain how the fraud they claim exists has been set up, managed and continued through more than two centuries, involving some of our best doctors, even some scientists, and many of our greatest minds.

    Charles Darwin could never quite come to terms with Homeopathy for himself, but he was adamant it was highly effective on plants. His research is easily found.

    At the end of the day, a civilized world allows and encourages freedom of choice in regard to medical procedures, and yes, Homeopathy is a threat because when Science can understand how it works, textbooks will have to be rewritten and for many, ego, profession, profit, prestige will come crashing down. But that is the way of life and of good science, which I firmly believe will out.

    The Luddites may wish to continue to dictate, from the limitations of their dogmatic materialist reductionist belief system, what is and is not possible, but there will always be forces and scientists of integrity, who will continue as good scientists to remain curious, objective, open-minded and courageous.

    As antibiotics fail, because of misuse, sourced in dysfunctional scientific medical ‘studies’ and vaccines ultimately create damage which cannot be ignored, so will non-Allopathic medical modalities come into their own and at the forefront will be Homeopathy.

    Until then, Cure remains the only evidence anyone ever needs and Homeopathic medicine will continue to cure as it has done for centuries.

  • Intelligent, professional individuals, often qualified in science-medicine embrace Homeopathy, which, if the claims of fraud were true, would not have happened so consistently over more than two hundred years.

    Quote: Harris Coulter is the outstanding historian of homeoopathic medicine and of the continuing disputes which have divided it from allopathic (orthodox) medicine. In this volume he marshalls theoretical speculations and experimental evidence to build the beginnings of the bridge between the two approaches. At a time when so many people continue to suffer fropm chronic illness and from the side effects of stndard drugs which sometimes do not cure them, Dr. Coulter’s pioneering efforts to present and explain ane explain a more holistic therapeutic system must be applauded. – James S, Gordon, M.D. Research Psychiatrist, NIMH

    Homeopathic-Science-Modern-Medicine-Microdoses

    • Intelligent, professional individuals, often qualified in science-medicine embrace Homeopathy, which, if the claims of fraud were true, would not have happened so consistently over more than two hundred years.

      You don’t understand how people work at all. Earlier you accused me of being an idealist. The scenario you describe here would be the case in an ideal world. But that’s not the case because society is run by people and people are the evolutionary by product of millions of years of “good enough”.

    • Clearly I understand people better than you do, which, no doubt is why you don’t even bother to learn enough about Homeopathy to be able to make a coherent case. Keep up the good work.

    • Clearly I understand people better than you do…

      Why do you not demonstrate that then? I would suggest you look up how to establish proof of a claim and then present proof of the claim.

    • @ gold,

      Thanks for proving my point by saying:

      Why do you not demonstrate that then? I would suggest you look up how to establish proof of a claim and then present proof of the claim.

      That represents a mind game and offers not a shred of insight toward understanding others.

    • That represents a mind game and offers not a shred of insight toward understanding others.

      So… the standard quality of your posts then. I understand. I’m disappointed I’ve dropped to your standards too.

  • As long as there are millions of people spending billions of dollars on those products, I believe further research is necessary. I fully believe that such a study will debunk homeopathy, and that it probably won’t influence most people who use it, but it’s important that the truth be know. The basic assumption in science is that unless something is proven or disproved, it can neither be said to be true of false.

    • Quote:The basic assumption in science is that unless something is proven or disproved, it can neither be said to be true or false….

      And surely scientists would be fools to think their current knowledge is all there is and they know how and why this universe works as it does? Surely curiosity and open-mindedness are key in good science. Dismissing something as impossible simply because your knowledge base is limited, seems unwise, arrogant and stupid.

      Science said Aviation was impossible, but enough ignored it until the scientific system of enquiry caught up.

      Science says Homeopathy is impossible, but enough will ignore it until the scientific system of enquiry advances.

      Science is a system of enquiry, no more, no less, no better than others although useful in terms of man-made mechanics for sure, although less useful and often destructive to the natural world, and it is illogical and unscientific to take the current level of scientific knowledge and decree that this or that is impossible. Not only that it is the most breath-taking arrogance.

      And what is seriously delusional is that science currently believes that everything can and should be reduced to the material and yet the human body is minimally material and more energy than matter.

      Medicine of the future will be energy medicine and Homeopathic medicine is just a brilliantly inspired leap into that future, beginning in the late 18th century.

    • As long as there are millions of people spending billions of dollars on those products, I believe further research is necessary. I fully believe that such a study will debunk homeopathy, and that it probably won’t influence most people who use it, but it’s important that the truth be know. The basic assumption in science is that unless something is proven or disproved, it can neither be said to be true of false.

      Agreed in principle. The bit missing here, that Mark may not be aware of, is that this research has been done. In fact so much has been done that meta analysis, systematic reviews and more have been done on the accumulated body of knowledge. Here’s a couple of good places to start;

      The National Health and medical Research Council Homeopathy Review.

      Conclusion: “Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.” (pdf)

      The UK House of Commons
      Science and Technology Committee – Fourth Report
      Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy

      Overall conclusion

      33. By providing homeopathy on the NHS and allowing MHRA licensing of products which subsequently appear on pharmacy shelves, the Government runs the risk of endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine. To maintain patient trust, choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments, including homeopathy. Homeopathy should not be funded on the NHS and the MHRA should stop licensing homeopathic products. (Paragraph 157)

    • Hmm… Links in comments appear to prevent posting.

      As long as there are millions of people spending billions of dollars on those products, I believe further research is necessary. I fully believe that such a study will debunk homeopathy, and that it probably won’t influence most people who use it, but it’s important that the truth be know. The basic assumption in science is that unless something is proven or disproved, it can neither be said to be true of false.

      Agreed in principle. The bit missing here, that Mark may not be aware of, is that this research has been done. In fact so much has been done that meta analysis, systematic reviews and more have been done on the accumulated body of knowledge. Here’s a couple of good places to start;

      The National Health and medical Research Council Homeopathy Review.
      https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-topics/complementary-medicines/homeopathy-review
      Conclusion: “Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.”
      pdf: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/cam02_nhmrc_statement_homeopathy.pdf

      The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – Fourth Report
      Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy
      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/4502.htm
      Overall conclusion

      33. By providing homeopathy on the NHS and allowing MHRA licensing of products which subsequently appear on pharmacy shelves, the Government runs the risk of endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine. To maintain patient trust, choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments, including homeopathy. Homeopathy should not be funded on the NHS and the MHRA should stop licensing homeopathic products. (Paragraph 157)

    • Hmm… Links in comments appear to prevent posting. You can search on the details below though.

      As long as there are millions of people spending billions of dollars on those products, I believe further research is necessary. I fully believe that such a study will debunk homeopathy, and that it probably won’t influence most people who use it, but it’s important that the truth be know. The basic assumption in science is that unless something is proven or disproved, it can neither be said to be true of false.

      Agreed in principle. The bit missing here, that Mark may not be aware of, is that this research has been done. In fact so much has been done that meta analysis, systematic reviews and more have been done on the accumulated body of knowledge. Here’s a couple of good places to start;

      The National Health and medical Research Council Homeopathy Review.

      Conclusion: “Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.”

      The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – Fourth Report
      Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy

      Overall conclusion

      33. By providing homeopathy on the NHS and allowing MHRA licensing of products which subsequently appear on pharmacy shelves, the Government runs the risk of endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine. To maintain patient trust, choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments, including homeopathy. Homeopathy should not be funded on the NHS and the MHRA should stop licensing homeopathic products. (Paragraph 157)

    • Just do a broader search on the debased NHMRC report and the one from the UK House of Commons to gain an accurate perspective of how flawed they are.

      The anti-Homeopathy brigade keep citing them but clearly haven’t bothered to do any of the rigorous research they constantly tout.

    • Just do a broader search on the debased NHMRC report and the one from the UK House of Commons to gain an accurate perspective of how flawed they are.

      A broader search? What would you suggest searching for?

      A search on negative opinions on these reports only floats alt-med and conspiracy theory websites to the surface. Can you present any analysis from a respectable scientific source that criticises these? That would be worth reading.

      With the scale of these reviews I would expect the criticism to be in something like Nature, The Lancet, the BMJ… Something, you know, “good”. So, no, an article in the recently discredited “journal” Homeopathy wouldn’t count. Even without the discredit it would would be rejected as it’s impact factor is so low.

      The anti-Homeopathy brigade keep citing them but clearly haven’t bothered to do any of the rigorous research they constantly tout.

      But we have, and you know it. We can’t help it if you don’t like the conclusions reached.

  • Just to clarify the presenting position of those who reject Homeopathic medicine.

    We are a group of people that have a good understanding of how science does what it does. The Scientific Method, if you will.

    We are a group of people that know what we do not know and are willing to concede our opinion on what we do not know to the consensus of those that are highly educated in these areas. We try to not make false or inflated claims and readily change out opinion on things when presented with a robust enough argument.

    We are a group of people that are aware there are limited public resources and think that these should be allocated to things with actual proven benefit.

    We are a group of people that are aware that everyone can’t know everything so we strive to get the best evidence out there so others can make the best informed decisions they can. And despite claims to the contrary many of us take the time to read the studies presented by those promoting alternatives to actual medicine bolster their position.

    We are a group of people that know how homeopathy is made, and why it can’t work given the best understanding we have of how the universe works.

    Many of us have used it. Some of us even used to think it helped. However, we are a group of people that, after “doing the research ourselves” (as the alt-med crowd often demand us to do) have realised that it didn’t and couldn’t have worked.

    If we were to draw a Venn diagram we would be the intersection of the Scientific Evidence and Consumer Protection.

    • You said: We are a group of people that have a good understanding of how science does what it does. The Scientific Method, if you will.

      So, do you factor in the shamefully high rate of wrong, distorted, inaccurate data which this Scientific Method throws up?

      Do you also, applying objective rigorous scientific approaches also factor in the distortions which must come from the current scientific belief in materialist reductionist mechanics?

      This scientific system to which you refer is deeply flawed. Or are you talking pure science as a system of enquiry? Oh, no, of course you are not because pure science does not reject but remains curious; pure science does not mock what it does not understand; pure science remains objective and open-minded and so cannot be imprisoned in materialist reductionist beliefs.

      So, just which science are you talking about?

      You said: We are a group of people that know what we do not know and are willing to concede our opinion on what we do not know to the consensus of those that are highly educated in these areas. We try to not make false or inflated claims and readily change out opinion on things when presented with a robust enough argument.

      You are an idealist. I suggest you spend some time reading the history of science as a system of enquiry and you will find that generally scientists are dragged kicking and screaming into new ways of thinking, regardless of whether or not the argument is robust.

      Science-medicine rejected robust arguments for washing hands in order to reduce the criminal kill-rate of mothers and babies! Science-medicine rejected robust arguments when first mooted that Thalidomide caused deformities.

      Or perhaps your comment was ‘tongue in cheek.’

      You said: We are a group of people that are aware there are limited public resources and think that these should be allocated to things with actual proven benefit.

      What gives you the right to dictate when so many find Homeopathy invaluable?

      You said: We are a group of people that are aware that everyone can’t know everything so we strive to get the best evidence out there so others can make the best informed decisions they can. And despite claims to the contrary many of us take the time to read the studies presented by those promoting alternatives to actual medicine bolster their position.

      Beyond the fact there are no alternatives to medicine and medicine is medicine, that which heals and cures and preferably does not kill at the rate Allopathic medicine does, which really should have it banned, why is it, given that you pride yourself on scientific and academic rigour and intelligence, do those who reject Homeopathy consistently sound so utterly ignorant about it, as if you had done nothing but trawl the odd Quacko site? Oh, maybe that was the research.

      You said: We are a group of people that know how homeopathy is made, and why it can’t work given the best understanding we have of how the universe works.

      Applying a little common sense and academic rigour to your comment:

      We are a group of people that know how homeopathy is made, (well, we think we do on the basis of no research into Homeopathic modality and from the distorted basis of a materialist reductionist belief system)and why it can’t work (if we apply the limited scientific knowledge currently available, knowledge which is always in a process of change) given the best understanding we have of how the universe works, (the term best applying to the current level of knowledge and understanding we have as to how we THINK and BELIEVE the universe MIGHT work, since no-one actually knows categorically how the universe works, I mean, we don’t even know how gravity works, and we certainly don’t understand Why the universe works as it does which means our understanding of how it works is pretty minimal.)

      You said: Many of us have used it. Some of us even used to think it helped.

      ‘Used it’ might be buying something across the counter which is hardly Homeopathic in any real sense. But, even if some of you have consulted a Homeopathic doctor, why do you all sound so ignorant in regard to Homeopathic theory and practice? I mean, when I first consulted a Homeopathic doctor I researched Homeopathy to find out all I could? Clearly those of you cited did not do that.

      You said: However, we are a group of people that, after “doing the research ourselves” (as the alt-med crowd often demand us to do) have realised that it didn’t and couldn’t have worked.

      How odd. Some of you were cured and then decided it could not have happened so you were not cured. Power of belief at work in you clearly which accounts for the levels of denial.

      You said: If we were to draw a Venn diagram we would be the intersection of the Scientific Evidence and Consumer Protection.

      If you were to draw a Venn Diagram you would be as out of whack as you are on Homeopathic medicine in general.

      If you were to track the spectrum, you would stand at the extreme end of prejudiced and irrational disbelief and denial. Which is absolutely fine if it works for you.

      Oh, and who says others want you to protect them or to insult or mock them or to deny them freedom of choice in medical procedures? Hubris writ large. Your crusade against Homeopathy clearly meets powerful ego needs.

    • You said: We are a group of people that have a good understanding of how science does what it does. The Scientific Method, if you will.

      So, do you factor in the shamefully high rate of wrong, distorted, inaccurate data which this Scientific Method throws up?

      This sort of data is regularly accounted for.

      This is why we have retractions of papers and why professionals are striped of their credentials. c.f. Mr Andrew Wakefield and his research that was retracted from the Lancet.

      This is why every study on a topic doesn’t make it into a systematic review or meta-study. c.f. The vast majority of research into homeopathy.

      Do you also, applying objective rigorous scientific approaches also factor in the distortions which must come from the current scientific belief in materialist reductionist mechanics?

      Until you can come up with an actual way of measuring and quantifying the stuff you think falls outside of that model there is no point in even entertaining the possibility of it being a real thing. You making things up doesn’t make them real.

      This scientific system to which you refer is deeply flawed.

      So come up with one that is better. Until that happens this is the best tool we have. Continually stating this without even vaguely trying to remedy the situation just makes you look like you whine about things you have no understanding of. A lot.

      Or are you talking pure science as a system of enquiry? Oh, no, of course you are not because pure science does not reject but remains curious; pure science does not mock what it does not understand; pure science remains objective and open-minded and so cannot be imprisoned in materialist reductionist beliefs.

      I don’t think you understand science. Even a little bit.

      So, just which science are you talking about?

      Well… Science. “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

      There’s more to it than just that obviously. The “how?” is a huge part. But so far what you’re describing fit.

      You said: We are a group of people that know what we do not know and are willing to concede our opinion on what we do not know to the consensus of those that are highly educated in these areas. We try to not make false or inflated claims and readily change out opinion on things when presented with a robust enough argument.

      You are an idealist.

      How is that being an “idealist”?

      I also note that you don’t actually say what is wrong with trying to live like this.

      I suggest you spend some time reading the history of science as a system of enquiry

      You should do that yourself before you suggest others should. You have a very twisted understanding of it. A common one from the alt-med crowd, but one that doesn’t reflect actual history. This isn’t surprising though. The mental gymnastics needed to hold such provably false positions is quite a feat.

      and you will find that generally scientists are dragged kicking and screaming into new ways of thinking, regardless of whether or not the argument is robust.

      Yeah… that’s not usually the case. The science will prevail. It’s typically those that have a vested interest in a certain status quo (the Church, the alt-med pushers, other snake oil sales droids) that are dragged kicking and screaming.

      Science-medicine rejected robust arguments for washing hands in order to reduce the criminal kill-rate of mothers and babies! Science-medicine rejected robust arguments when first mooted that Thalidomide caused deformities.

      What is “science-medicine”? You can’t just hyphenate any old words to make something real.

      It wasn’t the science of the time that argued against washing hands. It was the people. Science was the process that was used to establish that it was a real thing.

      As for thalidomide, that was a tragic thing but given the knowledge at the time it was the right call to make. As more data came in that position was changed and we have a much better understanding of that now so that we can use it safely today. And you know how we have that better understanding? Science. Every knowledge base there ever was and ever will be will be incomplete and subject to revision. Except homeopathy apparently as that hasn’t learnt anything since its invention.

      Or perhaps your comment was ‘tongue in cheek.’

      Nope. It was said in all seriousness.

      You said: We are a group of people that are aware there are limited public resources and think that these should be allocated to things with actual proven benefit.

      What gives you the right to dictate when so many find Homeopathy invaluable?

      I think you mean “so few” there.

      Let’s break this down though… There are limited public resources. To argue against that would be to say there are unlimited public resources. A preposterous position to hold. Would you not agree that these should be allocated to things with actual proven benefit? Because you haven’t actually addressed that point. You just attacked me personally.

      Regardless, your challenge applies to you too. What gives you the right to dictate where research money is spent when this topic has been studied extensively already and the vast majority of good quality studies are showing there is nothing happening there?

      You said: We are a group of people that are aware that everyone can’t know everything so we strive to get the best evidence out there so others can make the best informed decisions they can. And despite claims to the contrary many of us take the time to read the studies presented by those promoting alternatives to actual medicine bolster their position.

      Beyond the fact there are no alternatives to medicine and medicine is medicine, that which heals and cures and preferably does not kill at the rate Allopathic medicine does, which really should have it banned, why is it, given that you pride yourself on scientific and academic rigour and intelligence, do those who reject Homeopathy consistently sound so utterly ignorant about it, as if you had done nothing but trawl the odd Quacko site? Oh, maybe that was the research.

      You are just a little incoherent there. You may want to unpack that into many statements and or questions. That gibberish just does not parse.

      I will address one part of it though. I believe you were trying to ask; “[Why] do those who reject Homeopathy consistently sound so utterly ignorant about it?”

      Can you give an example of this? The majority of skeptics that I know that discuss the actual reality around Homeopathy are very well versed in pretty much every aspect of it. Mainly because we don’t want to be incorrect when making claims in response to alt-med claims.

      You said: We are a group of people that know how homeopathy is made, and why it can’t work given the best understanding we have of how the universe works.

      Applying a little common sense and academic rigour to your comment:

      We are a group of people that know how homeopathy is made, (well, we think we do on the basis of no research into Homeopathic modality and from the distorted basis of a materialist reductionist belief system)and why it can’t work (if we apply the limited scientific knowledge currently available, knowledge which is always in a process of change) given the best understanding we have of how the universe works, (the term best applying to the current level of knowledge and understanding we have as to how we THINK and BELIEVE the universe MIGHT work, since no-one actually knows categorically how the universe works, I mean, we don’t even know how gravity works, and we certainly don’t understand Why the universe works as it does which means our understanding of how it works is pretty minimal.)

      Interesting insight into how you read way more into a sentence without actually asking if that’s that was meant…

      I will address your last addition though. Gravity. We know that it works through observation. The more observations made the more data we had. The better we get at refining the Scientific Method the better the collected data becomes. This applies to Homeopathy too. When it was invented our medical knowledge was really bad (by today’s standards.) Often doing nothing was better than going to what passed for a doctor at the time. So when Samuel Hahnemann invented a process which effectively did nothing it appeared to have better results than going to the doctor. Since then, as our understanding of what makes for good science was codified and eventually grew into what it is today we know that we can test things we don’t understand. We don’t even have to know how a thing works to establish that a thing works.

      So regardless of how a thing works we can start by testing if the thing is real in the first place.

      For Homeopathy, as we have gotten better at being able to test it, we are finding that the effect isn’t there at all. It is no better than a similarly administered placebo. And before you grasp onto that tenuous thread, a placebo is doing nothing.

      You’d be better off having a nice cup of tea and a chat.

      You said: Many of us have used it. Some of us even used to think it helped.

      ‘Used it’ might be buying something across the counter which is hardly Homeopathic in any real sense.

      Right, so when you claim none of us have even tried it and are proven wrong you… Hmm… You have applied the “moving the goal posts” and the “no true Scotsman” logical fallacies in one sentence. Well done there.

      But, even if some of you have consulted a Homeopathic doctor, why do you all sound so ignorant in regard to Homeopathic theory and practice? I mean, when I first consulted a Homeopathic doctor I researched Homeopathy to find out all I could? Clearly those of you cited did not do that.

      Covered this above.

      Regarding “clearly” having not done the research… Just because we came to a different result does not mean we didn’t do the research. From my point of view you clearly reject a vast amount of robust research simply because it disagrees with your desired outcome. You will think if this as being wrong. You are now in the position we are in when we read what you just wrote.

      You said: However, we are a group of people that, after “doing the research ourselves” (as the alt-med crowd often demand us to do) have realised that it didn’t and couldn’t have worked.

      How odd. Some of you were cured and then decided it could not have happened so you were not cured. Power of belief at work in you clearly which accounts for the levels of denial.

      Interesting. I never said anyone was cured, yet you read that. I’m beginning to see how you can maintain belief in a so readily disproven thing.

      You said: If we were to draw a Venn diagram we would be the intersection of the Scientific Evidence and Consumer Protection.

      If you were to draw a Venn Diagram you would be as out of whack as you are on Homeopathic medicine in general.

      Homeopathy isn’t medicine.

      If you were to track the spectrum, you would stand at the extreme end of prejudiced and irrational disbelief and denial. Which is absolutely fine if it works for you.

      “track the spectrum”? You should probably have searched “Venn Diagram” before commenting on them and relied on more than “sciency sounding words.”

      Oh, and who says others want you to protect them…

      Those that don’t know that need protecting?

      …or to insult or mock them…

      This is generally directed by some at the vocal supporters that trot out the same old quotes time and time again despite having had it explained to them a hundred times before, with citation, why their copy/paste propaganda is wrong.

      …or to deny them freedom of choice in medical procedures?…

      See… Here we have a fine example of an incorrect claim that has been countered time and time again. We do not restrict freedom or choice. Where we rally against this is where limited public resources are available and they could be spent on things that actually work. For example, removing it from the NHS in the UK is proceeding steadily. It’s almost completely eliminated. This campaign did not shut down a single independent homeopath though. The people that want it can go to them instead.

      Hubris writ large.

      Wait. You are actually arguing for keeping people uninformed and you claim I have hubris?

      Your crusade against Homeopathy clearly meets powerful ego needs.

      You took the time to reply to all of my statements. I’d have thought you’d have at least read them. And if you did, how did you reach this conclusion?

      The “crusade” is a pro-science message and consumer protection through public education.

    • You said: I will address your last addition though. Gravity. We know that it works through observation. The more observations made the more data we had.

      My point exactly, regarding gravity, and just how Homeopathic medicine has been developed. Empirical observation, collected data on effect, demonstrable outcomes without the understanding of just how it works.

      You said: The better we get at refining the Scientific Method the better the collected data becomes.

      Yes and no because all systems of data-gathering have flaws and the more refined things become, take meta-analysis as a classic example, the bigger the flaws. But you know all about the criticisms of mega-analysis applied in Allopathic medicine I am sure.

      But it reflects the key difference between Allopathic and Homeopathic medicine. Allopathy is about numbers and crunching and generic data about generic humans who don’t exist and Homeopathy is about individuals and their unique responses to disease.

      You said: This applies to Homeopathy too.

      Actually it doesn’t. Read the above post. Homeopathy is not about number-crunching for generic humans, it is about individual data for unique human beings and it is a radically different system to Allopathy. Conventional science is geared to Allopathic medicine and seeks to apply its modalities to Homeopathy and that is where it gets so much wrong.

      It’s like someone saying, this is how to build a washing machine and we can apply that same process to breeding cows. It doesn’t work.

      You said: When it was invented our medical knowledge was really bad (by today’s standards.)

      Allopathic medicine had a huge kill and injure rate and brought enormous suffering. It still does. One could argue less although with millions dead or injured by iatrogenic Allopathic medicine every year, that is up for debate.

      Homeopathic medicine was developed in response to the Allopathic carnage. It was and is, brilliantly advanced and inspired. It took off because it was so effective and successful and unlike Allopathic medicine, didn’t kill people, or subject them to horrendous suffering.

      You said: Often doing nothing was better than going to what passed for a doctor at the time.

      Yes, and there is truth to that still.

      You said: So when Samuel Hahnemann invented a process which effectively did nothing it appeared to have better results than going to the doctor.

      Nice try but completely opposite to the data in hundreds of years of case history records, particularly during epidemics. You should do some research.

      Homeopathy outperformed Allopathy throughout the 19th and early 20th century during epidemics. Look it up. If it was just waiting then a lot more people would have died. They did not because of the efficacy of Homeopathic medicine. It is all a matter of Government record. Don’t believe me. Do some research for a change.

      You said:Since then, as our understanding of what makes for good science was codified and eventually grew into what it is today we know that we can test things we don’t understand. We don’t even have to know how a thing works to establish that a thing works.

      What waffle. If good science has been codified why is most of it wrong, distorted, corrupt etc., as claimed by noted medical professionals today? Either you have no understanding of the meaning of the word ‘good’ or codify just means tolerating corrupt practice.

      You said: So regardless of how a thing works we can start by testing if the thing is real in the first place.

      I agree with you on this and the only test which matters is CURE. Homeopathy cures and that is a given and why it thrives.

      And, by the way, if your scientific testing is so great, why is Allopathic medicine, which relies on it completely, killing and injuring millions every year, most of it through prescribed medication?

      It doesn’t say much for your famed testing does it?

      You said: For Homeopathy, as we have gotten better at being able to test it, we are finding that the effect isn’t there at all. It is no better than a similarly administered placebo. And before you grasp onto that tenuous thread, a placebo is doing nothing.

      We have already established your testing for Allopathic medicine is pretty useless so it has to be even more useless for a medical modality it doesn’t understand.

      And bollocks that the placebo effect does nothing. You know that is completely untrue. The placebo effect is very inconvenient for pharmaceutical testing because it is so effective.

      Apart from which placebos don’t work on plants, cells in a petri dish, animals and Homeopathy does so the placebo claim remains ridiculous.

    • Wow, a very comprehensive reply. I’ll address every relevant point with enough detail that anyone will be able to understand the point being made.

      You said: This applies to Homeopathy too.

      Actually it doesn’t.

      You’re wrong.

  • Just to clarify the presenting position of those who reject Homeopathic medicine.

    The bottom line taken is that it is a placebo effect, but this is an admission that there is an effect, in other words, it works, and placebo is a label used by those who cannot explain how it might work and therefore seek to dismiss it with the use of the term placebo.

    However, placebo is highly effective as science-medicine knows so the use of this term merely confirms that event those who reject Homeopathy, know it works. It is not pure placebo of course, but the key issue here is the admission by those who seek to reject it, that it does demonstrate effect.

    Secondly, the position of the naysayers rests on the following assumptions;

    1. that a qualified MD, trained over many years in conventional Science/medicine, who then opts to spend another two years and more training to practise Homeopathic medicine, despite his or her foundation in conventional science/medicine, either,

    realises, discovers, comes to believe that Homeopathy is fraud and no more than placebo and yet opts to continue the course and to qualify and then opts to spend decades practising what they know is a fraud…..

    or, despite their scientific credentials, the trainee Homeopathic doctor, somehow does not realise, perceive, or see that Homeopathy is no more than pure placebo and in essence fraudulent, and qualifies and goes on to practise Homeopathic medicine for decades, presumably with resulting cures and without ever realising, despite his or her scientific/medical credentials, that the complexity of the modality they practise, is just a scam?

    And more, some of the greatest science-medical minds have turned to Homeopathic medicine, studied it for a lifetime, written numerous books on the modality and somehow never realised it was a fraud, or, worse, knew it was and dedicated years to writing books to substantiate it?

    Not only that, they managed to deceive patients, colleagues, editors and lawyers in the doing?

    I mean, seriously, that is the position? A ten year old would not believe such a flimsy and unlikely premise. A five-year-old might but they still function in the realms of ‘it is enough to believe it is true to say that it is.’

  • And the true believers came out of the woodwork, as I expected. This might be a worthwhile study if it caused some regulatory changes by FDA. Currently homeopathic preparations are not required to show efficacy and safety, as pharmaceuticals are. The reason for this policy is unclear to me. If they were, they would probably disappear from legal market as by definition (no active ingredient left) they cannot have efficacy beyond a placebo effect.

    • If pharmaceuticals are showing efficacy and safety as you claim, then why is Allopathic medicine, as iatrogenic, most of it from prescribed medication, the third biggest killer in the US and rising? There is something oxymoronic about your statement in light of the realities.

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