After the quacklash…
The backlash begins…
The 1023 campaign has already, predictably enough, encouraged somewhat of a “quacklash” – just look
at the homeopaths spamming the #ten23 hashtag on twitter or the copycat pro-homeopathy campaign that has arisen.
However now it seems those outside the homeopathy and skeptical communities are getting involved in the debate… And some tired and cliched arguments are surfacing…
Chief among these seems to be “what’s the harm?”. Why should there be a campaign against something as harmless as homeopathy? I mean it’s their money and their choice isn’t it?
Well yes it is their money and their choice – but if someone was putting their health at direct risk you’d likely intervene or at least comment wouldn’t you?
Homeopathy is arguably harmless when uses as a complimentary medicine, there’s nothing in it afterall? but when it’s used as an alternative medcine it’s potentially dangerous and can be potentially fatal. See whatstheharm.com for some cases of homeopathy and alt med causing harm either by action or inaction.
Over and above this is the worrying trend of alt med practitioners making their money in the western world and then going to the third world to peddle their wares. However well intentioned these folks are suggesting homeopathy as an alternative treatment for HIV and AIDS (encouraging sufferers not to take ARV drugs) and homeopathic vaccines for TB, malaria and the like…
Well it’s unethical at best and in my opinion manslaughter at worst. All in the name of a discredited treatment that is unsupported by evidence and would require the altering of our entire understanding of physics, biology and chemistry for it to work!
(In that respect it has a few things in common with creationism and intelligent design.)
Also alongside the “what’s the harm” argument are the usual “science doesn’t know everything” “it’s just your faith/opinion/whatever versus the other sides”…
Well science isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of evidence objectively gathered and tested. Science is also not matter of faith it lacks one important component for that – Dogma. Science is not dogmatic – science is self correcting. Science doesn’t just decide on a position and sticks to it – it tests it’s positions and relies on evidence to decide what it should accept or reject.
Science is a robust and reliable means of modelling and understanding the world not a matter of opinion.
Also on the matter of the “science doesn’t know everything” nonsense. Well no science doesn’t know everything and never will. Knowing everything is not what science does…
It just so happens though that science already explains the effects of altmed, homeopathy and the like. By claiming it doesn’t people betray their ignorance of science and the placebo effect.
Anyway the placebo effect is probably worth a whole seperate blog…
Another thing that’s come up is the idea that “both sides are just entrenched in their own beliefs” well it might appear like that on the surface certainly but really it’s a fallicious statement.
Well because skeptics and scientists aren’t entrenched. They can’t be. It’s anathema to everything that skepticism and science stands for.
Skeptics must follow the evidence if the evidence says homeopathy works the skeptic must accept that (and celebrate the earth shattering discovery of nothing less than a medical miracle) and follow the evidence.
However all the evidence suggests it doesn’t work – from medicine, from physics, from chemistry and from
Biology the weight of evidence falls heavy upon homeopathy. Crushing any hopes that it does work.
Except for homeopaths who don’t follow the evidence and insist it does work despite evidence to the contrary or that science can’t measure it and other such excuses and evasions in order to serve their congnitive dissonance.
The homeopaths are entrenched – either through financial or philosophical ties. The skeptics may give the appearance of being entrenched but… Well they are right… And they would change their minds if there were extraordinary evidence to back up extraordinary claims.