Homeopathy: the air guitar of medicine

by endlesspsych

Homeopathy: the air guitar of medicine. (As christened by Peter Harrison)

Homeopaths are notoriously wedded to the idea that giving people water with nothing in it is better than giving them medicine.

Which just goes to show… You can lead a homeopath to science but you can’t make them think.

conversely you can take a scientist to homeopathy but you can’t make them swallow it. (As Andy Lewis of quackometer kindly pointed out although the events of 1023 might make some question that point!) Mainly because scientists require evidence and the like to accept the healing properties of the magic water…

One of the arguments homeopaths like to put forward is that big pharma is a evil and this somehow means homeopathy works…

Well ok there are issues with big pharma but take Nestle for instance. The babymilk debacle didn’t somehow make thin air chocolate does it?

If it did though it could explain the obesity epidemic.

There is this fallacious notion that’s based on the idea that because you pay companies to make and produce drugs they are somehow bad.

This is often advanced as somehow proving homeopathy works. Well to labour the point just because the Old Firm are cheating scum it doesn’t magically make Aberdeen the best football team in the world! (No matter how much I want it true!)

However homeopathy costs money too! Quite a bit in some cases although I wonder if a homeopath charges you £100, can you pay 1p then say it’s been diluted 10,000 times and so is more valuable?

It would be interesting to see how much a homeopathic health service would actually cost us if it were to replace actual medicine wholesale. I suspect that the cost would probably be greater than it currently is, if current alt med prices are anything to go by. Not to mention a vast increase in morbidity and mortality!

There perhaps is as much sense complaining about people using homeopathy as a complimentary medicine as there is about moaning about the Apple iPad… If people want to waste their money (piss it away almost literally) they why not let them?

Although perhaps I shouldn’t be so flippant you can drown in an inch of homeopathic medicine afterall… That and there are potentially serious issues with adopting a non evidence based approach to healthcare. Rejecting modern medicine can seriously harm your health!

So why didn’t the homeopathy protestors at 1023 die?

Well the homeopaths paraphrased Gertrude Stein in their response apparently “a dose is a dose is a dose is a dose is a dose”.

So one pillule is the same dose as 84 pillules as it’s a “vibrational” or “energy” based medicine. As opposed to, you know, being based on anything tangible and real like actual medicine.

Another reason given was that homeopathy only works if you have the symptoms that the remedy heals. Which is actually against the principles by which homeopathy was invented by Samuel Hannehman 200 years ago. It was taking Quinine and the effect it caused that first led him to the law of similars.

So homeopaths claiming giving that reason for why the remedies won’t work are actually ignoring the very roots of their own woo. A spectacular work of cognitive dissonance!

The Edinburgh 1023 protest went off without a hitch. We even had Robin Ince along after the “OD”, a talk from former Edinburgh Uni humanist society president Stuart Ritchie (that’s an in joke sorry) and some homeopathic whisky.

There were around 40 of us and a documentary film crew. The whole event passed off good-naturedly and was good craic. The actual “OD” at 10.23 felt a bit like a weird world record attempt and it was so cold I swear that I had homeopathic testicles… But it was good to take part in possibly the first example of nationwide (nay international!) grassroots skeptical direct action!

Whether or not it will be effective remains to be seen and there are some things about the campaign I perhaps take issue with. But will save those for another blog.

If any Edinburgh Skeptics have escaped a hangover or had their alcoholism cured please by my 10C Famous Grouse solution do let me know so i can reevaluate my view on homeopathy!