Homeopathic Feedback


Recently I wrote on this site a letter you can send to your MPs, urging them to support the campaign to remove homeopathy from the NHS. If you haven’t sent the letter yet, please do! I also sent this letter out as an email, to everyone who signed up for updates on the 10:23 Campaign site. Inevitably, some interested parties on the site were homeopaths. Which means I get entertaining and enlightening feedback – awesome!

Here’s one of my recent favourites, with my response. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (for full clarity, I’ve not corrected any grammar, presentational issues, and to be clear I’ve not missed a word of what I received):

Why the “fight against Homeopathy” if you think it doesnt work? Homeopathy is safe, and inexpensive.It is in the interests of multi-national drug companies to suppress homeopathy because it is effective and doesnt have side-effects. Check out France and Germany. Also check out the history books where you will find “witch-hunt” and  “witchcraft” referring to suppression of Americans in the 1950’s.Read Doctorow’s “The book of Daniel” :Berthold Brecht and Arthur Millers  “Crucible” .

Your campaign is targeting  well-trained practitioners who are unable to make a living, largely because of adverse publicity.I am wondering about  the business interests of Simon and other leaders of your campaign, and whether there may be involvment with any drug companies.If so I would politely ask any of you to declare this, please.Last week the World Health Organisation were exposed:-members of the committee who upped the status of swine flu to pandemic, were found to have business interests with the multi -national pharmaceutical company who produced the vaccine.The bill for vaccine cost Great Britain £1.2 Billion, and most of it was refused and unused.There has been no pandemic. Magdalena Whitehouse BA RGN  PCH  RShom.

Pick your way through that one, if you will! Well, I did, and here’s my response:

Hi Magdalena

I’ve stated many times, and will continue to do so – there has been NO funding for the whole campaign, at any point. We paid for our own domain name, all work has been done on a voluntary basis, and we’ve never even accepted donations to help with running costs. The Merseyside Skeptics Society is a non-profit organisation, and we’ve never taken money from anyone in the pharmaceutical industry.  Also, to be clear – Simon (I presume you mean Simon Singh?) is not involved in the running of the 10:23 Campaign, or indeed the Merseyside Skeptics Society, he instead is a valued supporter and has been a wonderful champion of our cause.

More to the point – why would the pharmaceutical industry try and ban homeopathy? If it actually worked, they’d sell it – it’s so much cheaper to produce than real medicine, and needs no expensive research to create new remedies. If it worked, they’d sell it in an instant.

Could you please provide proof that homeopathy works, or a clear and referenced description of exactly how it works? In my many months of investigation, the closest I’ve found has involved vague invocations of quantum theory, entanglement, fuzzy ‘energy’ speak and some hand-waving regarding it being natural. To be clear, describing something as natural doesn’t in any way explain how it works. What’s more, diluting a substance, succussing it and then saying it’s stronger – which natural law does this adhere to? I don’t mean Hahnemann’s laws, which he appears to have called ‘laws’ to excuse the fact that they are not actually laws, or indeed real.

Interesting that your defence of homeopathy is to ask me to read Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ – I’ve read the play many times, it’s a great book. In it people’s paranoia about an evil, organised attack by Satan leads them to see the shadowy hand of Big Devil in the actions of everyone they disagree with. Perhaps this sounds familiar to you. Or perhaps that’s just my ‘Big Pharma’ backers speaking…?

That the campaign is preventing practitioners from making a living is kinda the point – as it has been proven not to work, it’s good that they are prevented from selling it! I’ve seen homeopaths claiming to cure cancer, going to third world disaster areas to attempt emergency treatment, and advising people not to rely on medicine to prevent malaria infection or to prevent their child dying of measles. Until homeopathy can prove that taking their sugar pills is better than innoculating against deadly diseases, they should not be selling the pills.

I really like your point about Swine Flu – I’m sure if millions of people had died from the pandemic, you’d be telling me that medicine shouldn’t be trusted because it failed to prevent millions of deaths.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and happy to have your interest in our campaign. I look forward to your response. For full discolsure – as you have politely asked me to declare any financial interests – I’ve published your request for information and my response to it on the Merseyside Skeptics Society website. I’d hate for other people to feel I hadn’t answered your request in full.

Thanks very much
Michael Marshall – BA MSS 10:23 BS SSC (Silver Swimming Certificate) CPB (Cycling Proficiency Badge)

I’ll keep you posted on other feedback I receive, of if indeed Magdelan responds to me with the ground-breaking, nobel-prize-winning response she’d need to give me to prove homeopathy actually works.

, ,

  1. #1 by Steve Payne on July 5, 2010 - 12:18

    MAAAARSSSSHHHH!!!!! *manhugs* You feckin champ. Great response!

  2. #2 by Lecki on July 5, 2010 - 13:02

    Okay, RGN means registered general nurse right, but I have no idea what a PCH is.

    Any ideas? Primary Care Hospital? Perennially Confused Homeopath?

    P.s. I also like how the spell-checker doesn’t recognise the word ‘homeopath’. Computer says ‘no evidence’.

  3. #3 by Gittins on July 5, 2010 - 13:23

    http://www.yorkshireallergy.co.uk/

    Someone has a financial interest in this, but it’s not MSS.

  4. #4 by Marsh on July 5, 2010 - 13:25

    Good shout, Gittins!

  5. #5 by Stu on July 5, 2010 - 15:00

    Yeah! Good shout Gittens!

  6. #6 by Stu on July 5, 2010 - 15:00

    Sorry “Gittins”

  7. #7 by Gittins on July 5, 2010 - 16:28

    Amusingly this blog post is now also on the front page of google results for “Magdalena Whitehouse”.

  8. #8 by Milton Mermikides on July 5, 2010 - 20:26

    Sterling work Michael, humorous but polite and accurate.
    Let me know how I can help with 10:23.

  9. #9 by Oliver Dowding on July 6, 2010 - 00:19

    Well well, aren’t you all some clever people. I suppose you find it fun throwing “sticks and stones” at people who actually do some good in the world.

    Leave aside whatever you want to nitpick with that Magdalena (who I’ve never heard of, but then I do live at the other end of the country) has said, and let’s think about how you will dismiss the remediable gain experience by literally millions of animals the world over treated with homoeopathy. Indeed, other alternatives to the pharmaceutical option as well. However, it’s homoeopathy that interests me. Not out of any vested interests, just that I’ve never been able to work out why are so many years, 500 dairy cattle that I kept repeatedly responded positively to a large variety of illnesses, and a carefully selected homoeopathic remedies used to treat their ailments or conditions. Often this was after diagnosis via conventional vet, who then oversaw the animal’s recovery, even though he in his scientific way didn’t understand how the medicinal effect was gained. He and his many colleagues over 15 years couldn’t deny what they’d seen.

    Naturally, just as with much in conventional medicine, not everything was a success. Indeed, before I took up using homoeopathy on the animals, I only had the conventional option, and the suffering and efficacy was no different.

    However, I’m sure you’ll dismiss this is all in the mind, although I’m not sure quite how it was in the cow’s minds. Or perhaps you’ll just suggest that they would have got better anyway? And that I wouldn’t have been hauled up before the courts on charges of animal cruelty, and not attending to their illness and ailments.

    Well it you guys just get a life. Why do you want to deny people the opportunity to use something that they know works, even if you don’t know how it works. For those who’ve been dismissed and thrown into the “dustbin” by the NHS as being un-curable, and who then find homoeopathy or some other alternative means of treatment which saves them, sometimes within days of uptake, after years of conventional medicinal failure, I take it you would deny them this last opportunity for restoration to full health. In some cases, were talking about saving people from death. Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers despite the claims of a few, and unfortunately , for a variety of reasons, doubtless, one of which being the cocktail effect of multiple drugs, it has the unenviable reputation of being a significant killer of people.

    As for the snide remark about profitability, and that if homoeopathic remedies were so successful drug companies would take them up in preference to their drugs, you must that we were born yesterday. I’m sure they’ll carry on paying their billions in fines and damages, selective reporting and research etc.

    Meanwhile, I can only conclude one thing from your fervent campaigns. You are well aware that homoeopathy has a high degree of success, and threatens your narrow range of thinking, the profitable side of health care in which you operate, and the drugs peddled by the large corporations. Otherwise, why get worked up about a few homoeopaths?

    Don’t forget, you need to think about how those animals responded. That’s the critical question in this than the one that you will find impossible to answer, and uncomfortable.

  10. #10 by Marsh on July 6, 2010 - 00:45

    @Oliver Hi Oliver! Some nicely creative use of quote marks there – kudos. I’m sure you don’t mean to imply that the NHS call the place they throw un-curable (sic) patients the “dustbin”, I think you mean dustbin is your word for it? That’s what I take, anyway.

    Still, grammatical issues aside (this is, after all, a skeptical science blog, not a grammatical pedantry blog – opponents of the two only happen by chance to often fall into the same handy burlap sack), let’s take a look at some of the points you’ve raised:

    Homeopaths like Magdelana are people who ‘do some good in the world’. Please elaborate – where was the good they did? Was it Homeopaths Without Borders, operating in Haiti after the earthquake? Or perhaps the homeopath who told Penelope Dingle her bowel cancer would go away if she chose homeopathy over chemotherapy? The Late Penelope Dingle, I might add.

    Homeopathy is merely placebo, those who peddle homeopathic remedies without realising this fact often do so with dangerous misinformation – telling patients to go without malaria tablets, or to refuse the MMR vaccines, to the loss of life of countless children.

    Still, it appears that cows are more your speciality, so it’s worth pointing out at this juncture that in fact regression to the mean and the animal placebo effect do indeed exist, and have significant roles in the treatment of animals. Any attribution to the curative powers of homeopathic tablets is indeed added by the narrator, rather than the bovine subject.

    “Well it you guys get a life” – I think you’re appealing here for us to get a life? It’s hard to tell, but I’ll assume that’s the insult you were aiming for. As it happens, we have lives. The same cannot be said for Penelope Dingle, or indeed Gloria Sam – dead at 9 months old because her father believed homeopathy alone would cure her infections. It distresses me to even think about the suffering she went through (it’s deeply unpleasant reading, which I’ll spare you from unless you insist); suffering like hers is what motivates us to continue to demonstrate homeopathy is ineffective, in the face of the ‘sticks and stones’ you so readily throw at us, despite having lambasted me for appearing to do the very same. Sticks and stones and pots and kettles, I suppose.

    You mention those people whose lives were saved by homeopathy after conventional medicine had abandoned them – I’d be happy to look into their cases, please detail them clearly below. Links will suffice. Ditto the ‘cocktail effect of multiple drugs’ being the ‘signficant killer of people’ – please give me one example of such a cocktail being a more effective killer than, say, cancer, or heart disease. Or, indeed, the Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Influenza and the myriad of other diseases and viruses medicine has cured, vaccinated against or otherwise conquered.

    As for being ‘born yesterday’, I don’t know your age, nor do I wish to take a wild stab at a guess, but despite your lapses in grammar from time to time I do assume you’re in excess of 24 hours old… but I fail to see how that proves homeopathy works? Or how it proves that I am, as you say, profiting from a sideline of health care. If only my bank manager were so quick to assume I was so flushed with cash! I might get a mortgage. But alas, no Big Pharma stooge am I, my Regular-Sized-Farmer reader.

    Best
    Marsh
    Shill of Big Pharm… oops! Nearly gave the game away there!*

    *for readers of a homeopathic nature, this was sarcasm. May I reiterate – I have no ties to anyone in the pharmaceutical industries. In fact, the only people in this debate making money out of selling pills are indeed the homeopaths.

  11. #11 by Your Big Pharma Overlords on July 6, 2010 - 05:54

    Excellent work Minions.

    As ever the cheque is in the post – along with the limited edition Tardis Cookie Jar signed by Patrick Troughton as requested by Mike.

    Marsh – we are still unable to obtain naked photographs of Cilla Black at this moment in time. As ever “our people are talking to her people…”

    Keep on Shillin’

  12. #12 by w_nightshade on July 6, 2010 - 08:58

    Excellent response, Marsh. I would like to add a single clarification to your otherwise thoroughly comprehensive reply to Oliver’s barely coherent ramblings.

    Oliver, no one is looking to “deny people the opportunity to use something that they know works” (putting aside the issue that they cannot ‘know’ it works, because it cannot and does not work). All we as skeptics want is for homeopathy to be subject to the same rules of evidence as all medicine. When examined under those rules, it doesn’t work, and should not receive PUBLIC money.

    This says nothing (nor indeed should it) about the use of PRIVATE money. Companies want to make & sell homeopathy (with proper legal clarification of its medical status)? Fine! People want to buy it with their hard-earned cash? Go for it!

    But limited (in recent times VERY limited) public funds for healthcare should be going to treatments that we can prove effective. Homeopathy doesn’t even pass a ‘sniff’ test of logical consistency or common sense, but it has already been EXTENSIVELY tested, and failed. End of story.

    Thankfully, we live in a country where you can spend your money on whatever quackery witch-doctor nonsense you want, and no one can “deny you that opportunity”. Have fun, just don’t use my money to do it.

  13. #13 by John on July 6, 2010 - 10:16

    ok – some already mentioned

    BA – I presume batchelor of arts
    RGN – Registered Genereal Nurse
    PCH – Practicing Chiropractor
    RSHom – Registered society of homeopaths.

    As somebody who employs and supervises nurses I can only say again that the more you talk to nurses the more you want to exercise and eat right.

    Is it worth explaining the economics of drugs testing and how much cheaper both in production and development CAM is to evidence based medicine.

    Dear Grammar Nazi’s – i surrender.

  14. #14 by Oliver Dowding on July 6, 2010 - 10:58

    When you try to mend something, and all options are exhausted, one has to dispose of it, and that’s often into the dustbin. Hence, when a doctor tells a patient that there is nothing more they can do for them, that’s why I use the word dustbin.

    In case you’ve never heard, one person I know who has been successfully treated for cancer with homoeopathy is Gemma Hoefkens. I’m sure many skeptics would put it down to chance. She was told there was nothing else that could be done, but she chose not to take that option, did her own research, and is now alive and well. I am not involved in the world of homoeopathy, other than as a bystander and occasional user, (I don’t have any dairy cattle anymore), and so I can’t start quoting you lots of people who have successfully benefited. Just take it from me, as I take it from many who I know, that they exist. However, I doubt you will.

    As I’m sure you will know, there are many drugs that were once fully approved, and considered highly effective, considered safe, been through all the acceptable modern trials , routines and regimes, but which drugs have been subsequently banned. Such drugs include Vioxx, Seroxat, Prexige, Effexor, Bextra, and many others, dating back to Thalidomide and before. You can’t tell all the people who used these drugs that they were highly efficacious and safe, because many of them are dead or enduring a lifetime of debilitation.

    I note that “nightshade” wants homoeopathy to be subject to the same rules of evidence as all medicine”. We’re never going to agree on this one, for example, when I suggest that homoeopathy works in such a way that it is not appropriate to trial it using RCTs and such other methods as are used by drug approaches (see above). I’m sorry that it doesn’t pass your idea of logic or common sense. I sense that you think you have a monopoly on this faculty. Perhaps you need to stretch your boundaries of understanding? Perhaps you need to accept that you don’t know everything, and that some things do actually work in a way in which we don’t fully understand. Homoeopathy has been extensively tested, you’re right, and there are endless cases of successful treatment.

    With regard to the impact of drugs on people, I thought you’d be interested in this report. It may be of an American origin, and perhaps you think it can’t happen here. If I thought that doctors were recording all the side effects and problems with great diligence, then maybe I’d have comfort that it was an American problem only. Unfortunately, I know that large numbers of drug reactions etc are not reported. It is also widely understood that a large number of drugs are given to resolve conditions for which they have never been tested. Here’s the link http://www.naturalnews.com/009278.html

    That will do for now. Marsh, your sweeping dismissal of homoeopathic benefit to animals, by referring to their recovery as regression to the mean, his contemptible. If it was just one animal, maybe a pet in which event the human carer could be in some way able to mentally misunderstand confuse recovery, I might be able to accept that the animal might have got better anyway. When we are talking about millions of farm animals, globally, recovering from a wide range of ailments, repeatedly, there’s no regression to mean in those cases. May I suggest that if you want to believe that, you could set up a trial very simply. Why don’t you persuade a farmer who has been using homoeopathic remedies to resolve the illness to not treat half his animals illnesses, and see if they get better anyway. You would of course have to stand responsible to any animal suffering in the untreated animals, and deal with such as the RSPCA if they came knocking on your door. In the thousands of treatments that we administered, however, never saw fit to suggest that we were even slightly causing animal suffering through use of homoeopathy. He and his many colleagues who came to our farm didn’t understand how they got better in the same way as the animals recovered on his other herds where he was administering conventional medication, but he couldn’t deny the response.

  15. #15 by Mike on July 6, 2010 - 11:02

    @Oliver,

    What is it about homeopathy which means it cannot be tested by RCTs?

  16. #16 by Intermanaut on July 6, 2010 - 11:09

    @Oliver – Gemma is a nut-job. She’s been repeatedly shown to be clueless and inarticulate when interviewed by the media, spewing forth nothing more than “I know homoeopathy works, but I can’t explain how”.

    Listen to her here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-npGnzTHQMU

    Please don’t link to Natural News to support your already-weak arguments.

  17. #17 by NIck G on July 6, 2010 - 15:16

    @Oliver

    “In case you’ve never heard, one person I know who has been successfully treated for cancer with homoeopathy is Gemma Hoefkens. I’m sure many skeptics would put it down to chance. She was told there was nothing else that could be done, but she chose not to take that option, did her own research, and is now alive and well…”

    …and, surprise surprise, peddling homeopathy: http://www.homoeopathysuttoncoldfield.co.uk/index.html

  18. #18 by NIck G on July 6, 2010 - 15:38

    Also, Oliver, you wouldn’t happen to be the same Oliver Dowding who peddles Wheatgrass would you? It seems funny that those who are so quick to play the ‘big pharma’ card always seem to have their own horse in the Woo race.

  19. #19 by nobby on July 6, 2010 - 17:35

    “When you try to mend something, and all options are exhausted, one has to dispose of it, and that’s often into the dustbin”

    what about recycling? my grandfather used to sit me on his about 40 years ago and tell me tales of the throw away generation…is this what he meant?

  20. #20 by Marsh on July 6, 2010 - 18:19

    @Oliver and everyone else

    I have indeed heard of Gemma Hoefkens. In fact, that youtube clip Intermanaut has linked to of Gemma being shown up by her abject lack of knowledge is actually the BBC Five Live debate between her and… me.

  21. #21 by Andy Wilson on July 6, 2010 - 22:28

    @Oliver

    “We did make mistakes sometimes, and then we found we might have to cull a cow. However, the records were kept, the lesson learnt and as ever one aimed to do better next time, which invariably we did”

    Could you give some numbers please, and compare this cull rate with what you would describe as normal?

    The quote is taken from a document Oliver sent to us during the 10:23 campaign

    This one is also taken from there.

    “Now, it’s fair to say we did not succeed with every case. It was then that we resorted to conventional antibiotics, and were extremely pleased to have them on hand. I have always maintained that we did this because we had been unable to assess the type of mastitis we were trying to fight, the severity of the case and thus the potency of the remedy required, or finally that we mis-selected the remedy to use. Indeed we often switched remedies after initial failure, and were successful second time around. However, if we failed, the drug option remained there for us”

    So you treated with homeopathy until it didn’t work, then you used conventional drugs? Could you expand on this please and also give us an idea of how the records were maintained in such a way as to prevent confusion?

  22. #22 by Oliver Dowding on July 7, 2010 - 08:05

    @Andy “So you treated with homeopathy until it didn’t work, then you used conventional drugs? Could you expand on this please and also give us an idea of how the records were maintained in such a way as to prevent confusion?”

    I suspect you deliberately mischievously misinterpreted what I said. We achieved somewhere over 95% success rates with homoeopathic treatment. Extremely credible amateurs, operating under the overall supervision of professionals. It was the occasional cases which were more complex and harder for us to either diagnose or match a remedy, which on those occasions we simply used conventional medicine for, on other occasions selection we made proven to be the wrong one. the commonest illness suffered within the dairy herd is mastitis. The incidence of mastitis within our herd was no higher than the average. Our success rate in controlling it was higher than average, as shown when we participated in a Bristol University trial. In line with government obligations. We kept detailed records of every single illness, and every single treatment. I stopped keeping dairy cattle over five years ago, and unfortunately don’t have the records anymore. There’s a limit to how much one can keep. I’m sure you’ve all read the reports and reviews on the website http://www.hawl.co.uk I’m sure also that you’ll think that all the vets using homoeopathy are some sort of Mystic Meg. Don’t forget that they’ve all had a conventional training, most of them have practised conventionally before taking up homoeopathic options, and have no access to grind, other than that of animal welfare, which is usually what takes people into becoming a veterinary surgeon in the first place.

    And re cull rate….our rate was no higher than anyone else’s, and most definitely not related to the fact we were using homoeopathy as our disease control preference. In case you don’t know, we had regular veterinary visits, weekly or more frequent, and any deviation from the norm would have raised eyebrows and investigations. They are duty bound to report any incidences of animal welfare abuse or cruelty, and there were none to find on my farm.

    @Intermanut. Gemma’s been repeatedly shown to be clueless and inarticulate when interviewed by the media, spewing forth nothing more than “I know homoeopathy works, but I can’t explain how”. I don’t know why you all have to be so dismissive just because somebody can’t explain HOW something works. She can’t explain why the conventional options didn’t work. However, don’t think I’m her spokesman, because I’m not.

    @Intermanut. “Please don’t link to Natural News to support your already-weak arguments.” I can only assume that you’ve read in depth what Mike Adams has to say. It must be uncomfortable reading for you, and that’s why you don’t want it linked.

    I’m sure that you won’t like Dr Mercola either. However, if you read this article http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/06/pfizer-pulls-leukemia-drug-from-us-market.aspx you’ll see that the drug killed more people than the control group who had no drug. This is amongst many reasons why people like to look for alternative options.

    Then there’s this article that was in the Daily Mail this week. Within, it was the quote “in an anonymous survey of 3200 research is in the journal Nature, the third confessed to at least one or ‘massaging’ results. you can read the full article here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1292288/Never-trust-expert–Ever-wondered-health-advice-contradictory-Its-thirds-medical-research-wrong-fraudulent.html

    Mike, I’m sure you’re aware that I’m not a researcher. I know there are some who have done work with RCTs and homoeopathy. My understanding is that the homoeopathy doesn’t ideally lend itself to an RCT because, although no this was the case when we were using it on the farm, whilst the headline description for the problem may be the same, e.g. mastitis, there are many variants of this. Conventionally, mastitis was treated with one antibiotic. With homoeopathy we were using around eight different remedy options, each selected according to the type of mastitis that the cow was suffering, the stage of development, and more. Furthermore, we would sometimes use two different remedies, one which started the process, the next one to deal with the next stage. Therefore, you can surely understand that this does not lend itself to the RCT model. It’s not a question of the antibiotic being compared to a single remedy. Nonetheless, we also know that there is significant antibiotic resistance developing within the national dairy herd.

    I think that will do for now.

  23. #23 by Mike on July 7, 2010 - 08:21

    @Oliver,

    There is a long-standing myth that homeopathy cannot be tested with a RCT because it requires “individualisation”, which if I understand your post correctly, is what you’re suggesting.

    Two points to make on that. First, the homeopathic remedies available over-the-counter are as individualised as a cheeseburger. Are these remedies therefore worthless?

    Second, it is actually very simple to devise a RCT which includes individualisation. You get 1000 patients with a given condition. All 1000 have a consultation with a homeopath who devises a treatment plan for them. They are then randomised into two groups of 500. The first group receives the treatment plan as prescribed by the homeopath. The second group receives a treatment plan which is superficially identical to the plan prescribed by the homeopath, but using non-potentized, placebo pills. And at the end of the study you compare the two groups. Everyone is blinded (patients, doctors, statistician) until the analysis is complete. Really simple test, fully individualised.

  24. #24 by w_nightshade on July 7, 2010 - 09:39

    Small point, but worth mentioning…

    Oliver has mentioned SEVERAL times how regular medice isn’t up to snuff ( “Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers” [we never said it did, just that the answers it does have are backed by evidence], “drugs that were once fully approved, and considered highly effective, considered safe, been through all the acceptable modern trials , routines and regimes, but which drugs have been subsequently banned” [yes, that is because science checks itself and when flaws are found they are corrected], a leukemia drug that “killed more people than the control group who had no drug”). All wel and good, very interesting, etc.

    Unfortunately, these points are completely irrelevant to whether homeopathy works. And medical literature is pretty clear on what studies into homeopathy show (the quickest way to check this is a Pub Med search, but a good overview can be found at http://www.badscience.net/2007/11/the-lancet-benefits-and-risks-of-homoeopathy/).

    ‘Big Pharma = Bad’ does NOT lead directly to ‘Homeopathy = Good’.

    And for the record, Oliver; if you think homeopathy can’t be subjected to RCTs, then you are correct – we will never agree on this point. See Mike’s excellent response above.

  25. #25 by xtaldave on July 7, 2010 - 09:56

    Regarding the: “I suggest that homoeopathy works in such a way that it is not appropriate to trial it using RCTs and such other methods as are used by drug approaches (see above).”

    This is simply not true. Scientists and Medical researchers have repeatedly indulged alternative medicine and have devised some elegant and clever ways of testing for the placebo effect and in controlling for it in RCTs.

    Quick examples off the top of my head – for altmed sham acupuncture & for conventional sham surgery (no longer considered ethically viable).

    A test such as that Mike outlined in #23 is a great and simple way of testing the hypothesis that “homeopathy is more effective when individualized treatments are used”.

    Someone should get on the horn to Peter Fisher and get him to do it ASAP.

  26. #26 by Andy Wilson on July 7, 2010 - 09:59

    @Oliver

    “I suspect you deliberately mischievously misinterpreted what I said. We achieved somewhere over 95% success rates with homoeopathic treatment. ”

    what was the success rate without homeopathic, and what was the success rate with the control group that received nothing?

  27. #27 by Andy Wilson on July 7, 2010 - 10:13

    @Oliver

    I didn’t realise I was talking to the UK version of Mike Adams Health Ranger!

    http://www.tonicattack.com/

    Wheatgrass and Broccoli Sprout juice. No doubt there are some equally rigorous scientific studies behind your selling of mashed veg leaves n stuff.

    A pack of 7 broccoli sprout juices is only £13. I’m guessing that’s a 1 week supply.

    Therefore you are valuing the benefits at £676 per year.

    Well that’s one way of getting more bang for your buck per hectare. Still, watering the leaves with diluted sea water is probably very labour intensive. What with walking down to the beach, filling the bucket walking back and so on.

    You know Oliver, I had you down as a slightly eccentric but genuine homeopathy advocate until now.

  28. #28 by NIck G on July 7, 2010 - 11:22

    Also, before Oliver of bullying, playing the man rather than the ball, or generally avoiding the issue, lets look at what Mr Dowding has to say about Sense About Science:

    “Some may know of a group called “Sense About Science”. They are primarily funded by the pharmaceutical and chemical industry corporations who fear their fiefdom is under attack. So, don’t expect objectivity, or scientific rationale to be their methods of analysis!”

    (If Homeopathic success is all in the patient’s mind how does that work for animals?

    From a Talk given at Science and Homeopathy Conference 18th June 2008 http://www.kenseytherapycentre.co.uk/?p=90)

    Ahh. Glass houses, stones etcetc

  29. #29 by NIck G on July 7, 2010 - 11:23

    sorry, should have read “before oliver can accuse andy of bullying…”

  30. #30 by Andy Wilson on July 7, 2010 - 11:29

    Hadn’t realised you’d already outed him Nick. Got so incensed I didn’t check. definitely him. Of course.

    🙂

  31. #31 by nicola on July 13, 2010 - 12:15

    Oliver
    These idiots are not worth your effort. They are narrow minded and a bunch of fools.

    Maybe one day when conventional ‘medicine’ does not work for them they will come running to Homeopathy for support like so many others who are finally seeing sense.

    Continue to live a healthy life while these fools shorten theirs with all their bullshit!

  32. #32 by Edward Higgins on September 30, 2010 - 17:46

    a highly contagious form of influenza caused by infection with a filterable virus first isolated from swine. Do you be leave that the swine flu was manufactured by big pharmacy?

  33. #33 by P Frost on June 9, 2011 - 22:17

    Doing some research & came across this site & felt compelled to comment. This is exactly the sort of website that gives all us Brits the unenviable reputation we have of being negative, dismissive, narrow minded, not to mention arrogant, because we think we know better. Why not pour your undoubted intellect, literal & verbal skills into doing something positive ? Whether you accept homeopathy as a potential healing aid or not, at least the practitioners are pouring their energy into something that they believe to be positive. Don’t worry, you can say what you like in reply, I won’t be revisiting. I don’t want to be dragged into the mire of negativity that exists here.

  34. #34 by Tim on June 20, 2011 - 18:39

    So P Frost’s point is:

    Making money by peddling ‘cures’ that don’t work to people with potentially serious illnesses = positive

    Volunteering your time to educate people about the harm of trusting in unproven (or in fact disproven) treatments and to trying to free up money to go towards actual proven treatments = negative

    As long as the people believe they’re doing something positive, we can’t call them on anything, otherwise we’re just being negative, dismissive and narrow minded (instead of being open minded, like P Frost clearly is).

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