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Tags alternative medicine , dana ullman , homeopathy

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Old 19th June 2007, 08:28 AM   #441
krazyKemist
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post

Whereas, you have not found time to discuss Elia's papers having been so insistent that we take them seriously. I have taken them seriously and have paid good money to obtain a copy of the first of them. I have then asked a couple of specific questions to open the discussion of the content and one to allow you to demonstrate that you have indeed read the whole paper and have a copy to hand.

You have answered none.

[/b]
I doubt you will receive an answer to that. BTW, THIS paper relates the entire experiment:

V. Elia, L. Elia, P. Cacace, E. Napoli, M. Niccoli, F. Savarese. (2006) ‘Extremely diluted solutions’ as multi-variable systems. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry 84:2, 317

The paper he cited does not contain the entire procedure.

One personnal question I would have is : how do we define "pure" water, or "pure" alcohol ? If water was distilled (even if it was distilled twice) in a glass apparatus, it does contain trace glass components (borates and silicates, and probably more of those than of the "diluted" substance). "Pure alcohol" is habitually only 95% pure. Anhydrous alcohol is only 98%, and cannot be used for medicines because it contains benzene.

Another would be : is the water used for homeopathic treatment up to the same standard of purity ? I somehow doubt it. Nature abhorres purity, for entropy reasons. So high purity does not come cheap.

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Old 19th June 2007, 08:31 AM   #442
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I think that it is touching that several of you miss me. It is ironic that some of you were worried that I was scared off. Heck, yesterday was Father's Day. I have a life (every heard of having one?).

That said...I'm leaving the country for a couple of weeks and will probably not do much internet stuff. That said...I am reiterating part of my old posting to this list (and adding to it) because all of these issues below remained unanswered by skeptics...

Sadly, I've grown tired of you, primarily due to your intellectual dishonesty. You claim that the homeopathic doses are too small to have any effect, and yet, you ignore the various basic science and clinical studies that I have referenced, only critiquing a small number of them, and even these critiques are usually inadequate.
Perhaps it is the company that I keep, but I find your dishonesty astonishing. To paraphrase Jon Stewart....don't you know that this stuff is recorded?

I'm not going to repeat the criticisms that I made, or refer you to those of others, which you have been unable to address. This is new.

Quote:
I previously referenced 3 clinical trials in the treatment of children with diarrhea, including a meta-analysis of the 3 combined trials with a P-value=0.008. While one person on this list showed that 2 of the 3 studies had barely missed significance (P=0.06 and 0.07), intellectual dishonest again pervaded because s/he didn't acknowledge that combined statistically analysis (this is good science, especially when the clinical trial design was alike)...but the weasels come out and do what you can to look ONLY at data that serves your needs (and to hell with good science?).
I was simply correcting your error. You stated that all three trials showed significant results. And you have managed to make another error. The significance levels for the other two trials were p=0.06 and 0.23 (not 0.07).

And then (speaking of looking ONLY at data that serves your needs) I provided a link to another, much larger study that showed no effect from homeopathic therapy in childhood diarrhea, which you neglected to include.

Linda
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Old 19th June 2007, 09:01 AM   #443
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
An awful lot of shouting from someone who has yet to answer some simple questions, including mine.

I won't copy them all (again)... I'll just ask one simple one:

What is the success rate for syphilis with Hahnemann's homeopathic methods versus antibiotics? (knowing that one of the miasms that Hahnemann thought that existed was "syphilis").
That was the question...

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Hey HC...
....snip...Hahnemann was respected enough that he was voted as an honorary member of the NY medical society in 1832, though he was voted out in 1843 just one week after his death because the medical society said that homeopathy was too much of an ideological and "economic" threat.
Although many people who were uninformed about homeopathy make fun of Hahnemann's concept of miasms, this concept were some of the earliest sophisticated insights about genetic disease. Hahnemann determined that people with syphilis, gonorrhea, and TB didn't die immediately, but during their disease process they gave birth (or sperm), and this new human being's health was influenced by the diseases of the mother and father. ... snip a bunch of stuff.
What you responded with was a fractured version of history, with some silly stuff about "genetic disease". Syphilis, gonorrhea and TB are not genetic diseases. Though tertiary syphilis will cause bone lesions, and it would seem children who get it at birth this would seem to be genetic in origin (but it is not).

Now try again, answer the question: What is the success rate for syphilis with Hahnemann's homeopathic methods versus antibiotics?

And with the term "rate" I want an actual number. For instance xx% of patients with syphilis had successful treatment using Hahnemann's homoepathy versus xx% of those who received antibiotics. Also, please cite your sources for the information. You have enough posts to use links, so I expect at least one link to be from here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/ .
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Old 19th June 2007, 09:27 AM   #444
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Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
So Charles Darwin, who was not afraid to shock the world by asserting that humans and apes descended from a common ancestor, would have been afraid to admit that he did something as daring as using a homeopathic treatment?
Soory to derail momentarily, but is it not true that Darwin was so troubled by the implications of On the Origin of Species that he essentially shelved it for a few years, only being prompted into publication by the fear of being beaten to the tape by Wallace?
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Old 19th June 2007, 09:43 AM   #445
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Originally Posted by Deetee View Post
Soory to derail momentarily, but is it not true that Darwin was so troubled by the implications of On the Origin of Species that he essentially shelved it for a few years, only being prompted into publication by the fear of being beaten to the tape by Wallace?
This explanation has been called into question recently:

http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2007032703
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Old 19th June 2007, 09:43 AM   #446
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Well...I actually leave tomorrow for 2 weeks. I had a little time yesterday and was able to simply cut and paste my biographical info about Hahnemann (skeptics need to know the intellectual giant that he was, whether you agree with him or not).

I can eke out a little time right now.

Syl...thanx for explaining how to do the quoting...a little bit of kindness always goes a long way.

I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water and that my previous statements that this water has been shown to led to increased "silicate fragments" (aka silica chips) that fall off the glass walls and into the water. Perhaps these silica chips change the structure of the water and/or provide a means by which the medicinal substance that is diluted in the water imparts its information or fractal pattern into the chip (we do not know exactly what is happening...but perhaps Hahnemann and homeopaths have stumbled onto an important method of reducing a drug's toxicity but maintaining its therapeutic abilities, AS LONG AS the syndrome of symptoms of the substance's toxicity are SIMILAR to the syndrome of symptoms of the sick person.

What homeopaths have called the "law of similars" may be some type of resonance and/or hypersensitivity. Rather than trying to "fight" homeopathy, I hope that some of you with good working brains can help us figure out what is going on.

As for Elia's paper, his article goes from page 241-248. Mr Monkey's question about page 823 is unanswerable by me because it is not what I have of Elia's writings.

When you answer your own question on this issue, I also suggest that you answer the question: why was this study published in one of the most respected scientific journals in the US, especially in the light of its very controversial topic? And why did the statistical methods used by Elia cut mustards with their reviewers?

Finally, Rustum Roy has had 700 or so papers published in peer-review journals. As I went down their list, I saw 13 of them as articles published in NATURE. The fact that you found 15 such papers simply makes my case for Roy's hyper-respectability stronger. Thank you.

I have never said that these papers published in NATURE were on homeopathy. I simply said that Roy was a leading scientist, that he is not a "homeopathic researcher," and that his work should be taken very seriously. Wake up and smell the Coffea 30C.
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Old 19th June 2007, 10:13 AM   #447
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Finally, Rustum Roy has had 700 or so papers published in peer-review journals. As I went down their list, I saw 13 of them as articles published in NATURE. The fact that you found 15 such papers simply makes my case for Roy's hyper-respectability stronger. Thank you.
The fact that 15 of his papers were published by Nature speaks to the quality of those 15 papers.

Quote:
I have never said that these papers published in NATURE were on homeopathy. I simply said that Roy was a leading scientist, that he is not a "homeopathic researcher," and that his work should be taken very seriously.

You complained that people here had dismissed the papers Roy published in Nature as meaningless:
Originally Posted by JamesGully
Some of you even went off the deep-end by saying that the 13 papers that Dr. Roy got published in NATURE are meaningless.
If the papers were not to do with homoeopathy, then as far as the subject matter of this thread is concerned they are meaningless.

Quote:
Wake up and smell the Coffea 30C.

Can you provide any evidence that Coffea 30C has a detectable odour?
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Old 19th June 2007, 10:49 AM   #448
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water and that my previous statements that this water has been shown to led to increased "silicate fragments" (aka silica chips) that fall off the glass walls and into the water. Perhaps these silica chips change the structure of the water and/or provide a means by which the medicinal substance that is diluted in the water imparts its information or fractal pattern into the chip.
No, they don't. If a microscopic chunk of glass is sitting in water, there will be a cluster of water molecules around the water, but it's not going to create any overall structure to the water, and anythign that used to be dissolved in the water is not going to affect the silicates.

Quote:
Rather than trying to "fight" homeopathy, I hope that some of you with good working brains can help us figure out what is going on.
You first have to show that something -is- going on, other than placebo.
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Old 19th June 2007, 10:51 AM   #449
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First...as a big appreciator of Jon Stewart, I do know that this is being "recorded," and my question to this list, do you know that because in the near future when homeopathy will have achieved great acceptance, we will look back at your responses as evidence of the fact that dinosaurs yell and scream the loudest before their fall. Timber.

A couple more notes about the "acute diarrhea" experiments. Why, oh, why do people still ignore the entire body of statistics from these experiments? The p value was in the substantial range...beyond significant! P=0.008. Take off your blinders.

As for why there was no significant difference at day 5 is that acute diarrhea resolves on its own in most cases...but THIS trial showed that children given homeopathic treatment (and ORT) got over it substantially faster than those just given ORT. End of story. Saying anything else is simply not supported for the data.
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Old 19th June 2007, 11:32 AM   #450
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Quote:
I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water and that my previous statements that this water has been shown to led to increased "silicate fragments" (aka silica chips) that fall off the glass walls and into the water. Perhaps these silica chips change the structure of the water and/or provide a means by which the medicinal substance that is diluted in the water imparts its information or fractal pattern into the chip (we do not know exactly what is happening...but perhaps Hahnemann and homeopaths have stumbled onto an important method of reducing a drug's toxicity but maintaining its therapeutic abilities, AS LONG AS the syndrome of symptoms of the substance's toxicity are SIMILAR to the syndrome of symptoms of the sick person.
hmmm... Wouldn't go THAT far. And ultrapure water, the 18 MOhm standard (pure water does not conduct electricity by the way), is NOT obtained by distillation, but by a filtration process. Distillation (even done twice) does not produce water of that purity. And dissolved substances do not maintain a cristalline structure is solution. That would rather be a suspension. The ability of a liquid to form a suspension is determined by viscosity not purity.

The problem is that chemistry as we know it does not allow for a liquid (or gas) to maintain a 'structure' on its own once the substance affecting it is gone, thanks to brownian movement (entropy). There will be a time of reorganisation, but that will be quite short (less than a second).

BTW, something that would mean that much for the understanding of chemistry (particularly of thermodynamics) should at least have been submitted to JACS (Journal of the american chemical society). Anyway, that's what I would have done, if I wanted to convince chemists.

the Kemist
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Old 19th June 2007, 12:26 PM   #451
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
WAs for Elia's paper, his article goes from page 241-248. Mr Monkey's question about page 823 is unanswerable by me because it is not what I have of Elia's writings.
That's a shame. We seem tobe referring to different papers. Sdly the one to which you referred from Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1999 is not available for online download from the British Library.

I will get that 1999 paper. There will be a short delay.

But, your refusal to answer the other simple questions, that we could easily have dealt with by now, is becoming both rude and tedious.

They include;

A. What bearing do you think it (Elia's paper) has on the issue of homeopathy?

4. Can you tell us whether either of these machines works?

http://www.bio-resonance.com/elybra.htm

http://www.remedydevices.com/voice.htm

Bear in mind that the users of these machines rely on exactly the same anecdotal experience and fallacious post hoc reasoning that every other homeopath does. Are the homeopaths who use these machines right or wrong in thinking they work?

It's a very simple question and capable of a single-word answer.

9. I set a p-value for significance of 0.05 and run 100 trials. In no trial is the test substance distinguishable from the control. How many trials can I expect to show an apparent "effect" from my test substance?
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Old 19th June 2007, 12:28 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by kieran View Post
No-one seems to have addressed this one directly so I'll have a go ... I think that manioberoi was proposing a tweak to the proposed conceptual test protocols.
  • Manioberoi seems reluctant to buy into the protocols proposed so far because there is some kind of sequence of steps that homoeopathic practioners go through with the patients wherein they use a sequence of "medicines" and modify the next "prescription" based on the outcome of the previous administration.
  • The test protocols proposed so far randomly (and blindly) substitute each prescription with a placebo. This will make the analysis of the results hard to interpret (unless we are only interested in the final administration of the sequence).
  • To keep with manioberoi's description of homoeopathic practices, the randomization should be applied to a particular homoeopath-patient link instead ... so that all remedies provided to a particular (randomly and blindly chosen) patient are substituted. I think that this is what manioberoi is proposing above - I'll leave it to him to correct me if I have misinterpreted his meaning.
The direct answer to his follow up question is YES!!! (Sorry for shouting.) If such a simple test was conducted properly (large enough sample, proper blinding, no data mining, no meta-analysis with less well conducted studies, etc) then it would be the start of a beautiful relationship between homoeopathy and the real world.

If there is a significant difference between homoeopathy and placebo, and this can be consistently reproduced, then we have something very, very interesting to consider.

What is there to be afraid of in seeing the results of such simple studies? Why come up with blocking tactics and resort to obscure and poorly conducted work? I think I know why there is not a mountain of good evidence (note - not hear-say) for homoeopathic effectiveness in respected peer-reviewed literature ... do you have any ideas that do not involve a persecution complex???
Agree entirely. There are over 6000 homeopathic remedies (no good homeopath would restrict herself to 30 remedies - as proposed elsewhere by Hans to make his proposal for double blinding workable).

The homeopath is required to CURE the whole person - body and mind - keeping in view the pathology & c. At times conventional intervention is required to be advised.

So is the homeopath treating for, say, a kidney stone? Yes & No.

-Yes, because it is entirely possible ( but only as a fire fighting measure)

- No, because the homeopath is required to look beyond the kidney stone to the maintaining cause which can be many, (psychosomatic, hormonal imbalance, blood disorders, excess intake of protein leading to excess urea, oxalates, urinary tract infections and the like)

- further the homeopath is not to treat for the kidney stone alone

- the state of health of the person has to be brought as close to normal as is possible

- the homeopath selects first one remedy to achieve one of two alternate goals

- one, immediate treatment for an emergency (which may also be curative for the whole person i.e. cure) - suppression or cure but usually it turns out to be suppression - there is no way to know which it will be in advance.

-alternate, if there is no emergency (or after the emergency has subsided - till the next emergency, if any) the homeopath repertorises the CASE (visible)to find the one remedy that can cover the maximum spread of the CASE (visible) (person having diseases whether visible or hidden- not the disease); once this has been taken for a certain duration which is decided as it were on the fly by observing the progression of the case and hidden (CASE)becoming visible - the homeopath retakes the CASE (newly visible - moving the goal posts as it were in mid stream) and re-repertorises AND SO ON.

This can take months or years - the aim is to keep the person on an improving scale of health till the person decides that she is cured and the homeopath based on pathology is able to concur.

How could this be fitted to the concept of short and specific double blind trials (suited only for conventional medicine which treats only a narrow domain for one or two specifics ) as suggested by Hans is the conundrum before us.
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Old 19th June 2007, 12:45 PM   #453
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Originally Posted by krazyKemist View Post
One personnal question I would have is : how do we define "pure" water, or "pure" alcohol ? If water was distilled (even if it was distilled twice) in a glass apparatus, it does contain trace glass components (borates and silicates, and probably more of those than of the "diluted" substance). "Pure alcohol" is habitually only 95% pure. Anhydrous alcohol is only 98%, and cannot be used for medicines because it contains benzene.
The 95% ethanol can be dried with magnesium during distillation, giving fairly pure stuff. It's won't be ultrapure (it will still have traces of glassware in it, etc.), but it's an improvement.
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Old 19th June 2007, 12:50 PM   #454
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Ehr, and you believe THAT? Then I can inform you that, for instance in China, PepsiCo is still using old-fashioned soda cans with the opener ring that comes off, which is dangerous, but cheaper. "One Quality Worldwide", my foot.



GMP does not ensure efficacy.



Yeah, nice effort. Which requirements does the Indian government impose on homeopathy for documenting efficacy, and where is it published?



I'm sure they are making a honest effort, but as this is common knowledge, I don't suppose I insult you too much by pointing out that the initial platform for healthcare in India has enourmous room for improvement. So much that useless, but also harmless medicines (like we claim homeopathic remedies are) will be an improvment in many areas.

... Just like Hahnemann's practices were in the early 19th century in Europe where part of mainstream medicine actually made more harm than good.



Which part of Apollo's services are homeopathic? We all know that for those who can pay, India can offer excellent conventional medical treatment.

Hans
The Apollo Hospitals seem to have naturopathy, ayurveda - however there is a homeopath at their Apollo clinic and she can be contacted at:
"Consultant Homeopath
Indraprastha Apollo Cliniq
Building No.1 Nelson Mandela Marg,
Sector - B, LSC,Vasant Kunj,
New Delhi - 110070
Phone No: +91-011-26134810, 6134825, 6131218, 6124980
Fax no: +91-011-6134792
Email : indraprasthaapolloclinic@usa.net"
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Old 19th June 2007, 01:11 PM   #455
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Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
A while ago I asked a precise question, but didn't get a reply. Please, could Mr. Ullman/Gully (or anybody else who deems that they are qualified to answer), give me a precise reply:

A test using homeopathic proving:

- A homeopath chooses three homeopathic remedies that will produce different, easily-distinguishable symptoms. We'll call them substance A, B and C.

- A reputed homeopathic laboratory produces samples of the three remedies, plus a placebo sample.

- The homeopath is given a sample, and his task is to ascertain if the sample is substance A, B, C or a placebo. He may choose provers whom he already knows (himself included), so he should have a clear idea of how they react to the three different substances.

- How many provers would the homeopath need in order to find the answer?
Any competent homeopath would be able to tell you that you are asking for nothing less than the moon!

How on earth would we find three perfectly healthy persons to carry out the proving, and even if we found them how would we prove that they are in perfect health - and does science as it stands today really know how to define perfect health? We are still learning new facts about DNA - just the other day we learnt that the so called "junk DNA" is no longer junk.!!

Further out of the over 6000 remedies some proved, most others not even proved, the millions of symptoms ( large numbers common to many remedies) would preclude such an exercise being conducted by anyone but a "cyborg"!!!
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Old 19th June 2007, 01:34 PM   #456
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
{snip} How on earth would we find three perfectly healthy persons to carry out the proving {snip}
How on earth were provings carried out in the first place, if they can't be replicated now?
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Old 19th June 2007, 01:51 PM   #457
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
Any competent homeopath would be able to tell you that you are asking for nothing less than the moon!

How on earth would we find three perfectly healthy persons to carry out the proving, and even if we found them how would we prove that they are in perfect health - and does science as it stands today really know how to define perfect health? We are still learning new facts about DNA - just the other day we learnt that the so called "junk DNA" is no longer junk.!!

Further out of the over 6000 remedies some proved, most others not even proved, the millions of symptoms ( large numbers common to many remedies) would preclude such an exercise being conducted by anyone but a "cyborg"!!!
Well, how do homeopathic persons do their provings? How do they find the "perfectly healthy persons" apparently needed for homeopathic provings?

In fact, you don't seem to have understood my suggestion for a test, so I'll post it again, with added comments:

A homeopath chooses three homeopathic remedies that will produce different, easily-distinguishable symptoms. We'll call them substance A, B and C. Note that the homeopath himself is to choose the substances, and that there are only three substances. We are not asking the homeopath to distinguish between the 6000 remedies you talk about: he only has to distinguish three different substances.

- A reputed homeopathic laboratory produces samples of the three remedies, plus a placebo sample.

- The homeopath is given a sample, and his task is to ascertain if the sample is substance A, B, C or a placebo.

- He may choose provers whom he already knows (himself included), so he should have a clear idea of how they react to the three different substances. He may choose as many provers as he deems necessary.

- How many provers would the homeopath need in order to find the answer?
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Old 19th June 2007, 02:25 PM   #458
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
How on earth were provings carried out in the first place, if they can't be replicated now?
Initially (18th century) recorded cases of poisonings were also used for preparation of materia medicas (usage as de facto provings). Systematic provings were done on persons 'presumed' to be healthy - depending on the indivdual different symptoms appeared in the proving ( at different potencies) - all of these were recorded as reported by the provers (bias, errors and all).

Some symptoms were more frequent, some less, and are so recorded. Unique symptoms also come up and are so recorded.

Next stage is to use on a person (on simila principle - this has exceptions) - clinical results are reported and noted for future use.

If a particular remedy regularly gives good results for a particular pathology it may even be used on a pathological basis in addition to individualization - most of the trials carried out are on this (pathological) basis which is a flawed approach - perhaps the proper method has not been tried on account of ground level difficulties. For an example of the difficulties see:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/7/7

Whenever too many new symptoms come up a fresh proving may be carried out - this may bring out entirely new symptoms not foreseen earlier.

Alternatively new provings of old remedies when carried out invariably bring out new and fresh symptoms.

I think , by now you should be able to see the level of complexity of the ever evolving human body mind complex which naturally leads to this evolving set of symptoms ( new hidden ones constantly coming up) which are dynamic and unforeseeable.
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Old 19th June 2007, 02:31 PM   #459
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Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
Well, how do homeopathic persons do their provings? How do they find the "perfectly healthy persons" apparently needed for homeopathic provings?

In fact, you don't seem to have understood my suggestion for a test, so I'll post it again, with added comments:

A homeopath chooses three homeopathic remedies that will produce different, easily-distinguishable symptoms. We'll call them substance A, B and C. Note that the homeopath himself is to choose the substances, and that there are only three substances. We are not asking the homeopath to distinguish between the 6000 remedies you talk about: he only has to distinguish three different substances.

- A reputed homeopathic laboratory produces samples of the three remedies, plus a placebo sample.

- The homeopath is given a sample, and his task is to ascertain if the sample is substance A, B, C or a placebo.

- He may choose provers whom he already knows (himself included), so he should have a clear idea of how they react to the three different substances. He may choose as many provers as he deems necessary.

- How many provers would the homeopath need in order to find the answer?
The three remedies would have hidden symptoms (common or different) and known symptoms(common or different). The three provers would have visible and hidden disease, besides the fact that body mind complex is ever evolving and a dynamic state is not conducive to the kind of static test you propose.

Also see the reply to JJM.

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Old 19th June 2007, 02:41 PM   #460
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
{snip} Systematic provings were done on persons 'presumed' to be healthy - depending on the indivdual different symptoms appeared in the proving ( at different potencies) - all of these were recorded as reported by the provers (bias, errors and all). {snip}
So, let's go ahead and do it! What is holding you back? Can't you find persons you can "presume" to be healthy?

The rest of what you wrote was indecipherable nonsense. I assume you think it releases you from actually doing any testing, even if you can find someone who is "presumed" to be healthy.
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Old 19th June 2007, 02:46 PM   #461
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
First...as a big appreciator of Jon Stewart, I do know that this is being "recorded," and my question to this list, do you know that because in the near future when homeopathy will have achieved great acceptance, we will look back at your responses as evidence of the fact that dinosaurs yell and scream the loudest before their fall. Timber.

A couple more notes about the "acute diarrhea" experiments. Why, oh, why do people still ignore the entire body of statistics from these experiments? The p value was in the substantial range...beyond significant! P=0.008. Take off your blinders.

As for why there was no significant difference at day 5 is that acute diarrhea resolves on its own in most cases...but THIS trial showed that children given homeopathic treatment (and ORT) got over it substantially faster than those just given ORT. End of story. Saying anything else is simply not supported for the data.


I think this is what skepticism is, thinking critcally. When you look at all the comments and criticisms and also see that the author was not able to replicate the results... Well, you can only come to the conclusion that this is not evidence of homeopathy working. A p-value alone doesn't say everything. You have to look at how it has attained and what contributed to it. That's where there are still a lot of problems.

Doing research is not about satisfying the needs of conventional medicine, although many homeopaths seem to think so, but it's about the advancement of medical practice. That is why it is looked at with this kind of scrutiny. The patients rely on us to provide the best treatment available; that's the aim. We look for objective measurements to achieve an objective judgement and try to control as many influencing factors as possible to make a reliable distinction between treatments that work and those that don't. Why? Because both doctors and patients need to be sure that they get the best possible chance of succes. Looking backwards patients may say that something worked or that it hasn't. Homeopathy gets to choose their patients, they pick the ones that will have ailments that will be resolved by themselves in most cases and send the patients that have a serious disease to the conventional medical practitioners (in the best case scenario). The result is that conventional medicine will need to help all the patients that did not receive their real treatment in a timely fashion and sometimes patients don't get their real treatments at all, because the homeopath thinks he can treat serious diseases. The evidence for homeopathy is still anecdotal as far as I know. The studies published have serious flaws in them and are often contradicted later on. The contradiction or rectification is something proponents of homeopathy discard or selectively don't remember. As long as at one time it was said to work, it will stand as a testimony to homeopathy as far as they care, anything else doesn't matter. I think those are the real blindfolds and I don't think we are the ones wearing them.

When there would be a proven mechanism of the effects of homeopathic solutions it would be building on previous knowledge and still require thorough investigation. Any conventional drug would receive the same kind of criticism, maybe even more... Mainly because the quality of the research lets scientists do that. It also leads to a better acceptance of conventional medicine, because it hold up under scrutiny, because it can be reproduced, it is researched for effectiveness and toxicity in well-designed, well-executed, well-analyzed experiments. It offers something to build on...

So what do you think of my criticism of the article? I think it's fair to say it doesn't hold up. Remember that a badly designed, badly executed, badly analyzed experiment can always render a significant difference if you want it too, but it doesn't advance knowledge and doesn't contribute to the advancement of science. When the goal is to treat patients, I think we should maintain a high quality of research for a definite conclusion. And remain skeptical...

What if it was your child. You know a little more now... What would you do?

SYL
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Old 19th June 2007, 02:56 PM   #462
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manierobi: you still haven't read my test proposition. I'm not talking about three provers: I'm asking how many provers would be necessary in order to determine which of the three remedies was present in the sample.

I don't know what you mean by the test being static. The whole point of the test is that it only uses homeopathic methods, provings which would be carried out by the homeopath according to the rules of homeopathy. The homeopath would do provings with different persons, exactly as he might do a proving with a previously untested substance. He would carefully note all the symptoms of the prover, etc. etc.

And please remember that the three substances would have been chosen by the homeopath himself. He chooses three substances that produce easily distinguishable symptoms. If it is impossible to find three different homeopathic substances that produce symptoms that can be distinguished from each other, then the whole idea of carefully matching the substance to the state of the patient is revealed to be nonsense.
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Old 19th June 2007, 03:13 PM   #463
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
That's a shame. We seem tobe referring to different papers. Sdly the one to which you referred from Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1999 is not available for online download from the British Library.

I will get that 1999 paper. There will be a short delay.
OK. Read it.

1. I'd like to see them repeat these sensitive tests blinded to the nature of the test materials.

2. As I have already said, this is more fishing about at random for mechanisms to explain a non-existent effect. If Elia's next publication reported a failure to find any interesting effect the homeopaths' immediate response would be, "Don't care. This is only lab science and nothing to do with homeopathy practised holistically in real patients". Well, I'm ahead of the game on that one: I don't care already. It's not relevant to the debate.

What would be relevant would be answers to these questions;

4. Can you tell us whether either of these machines works?

http://www.bio-resonance.com/elybra.htm

http://www.remedydevices.com/voice.htm

Bear in mind that the users of these machines rely on exactly the same anecdotal experience and fallacious post hoc reasoning that every other homeopath does. Are the homeopaths who use these machines right or wrong in thinking they work?

It's a very simple question and capable of a single-word answer.

9. I set a p-value for significance of 0.05 and run 100 trials. In no trial is the test substance distinguishable from the control. How many trials can I expect to show an apparent "effect" from my test substance?
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:05 AM   #464
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Originally Posted by krazyKemist View Post
Another would be : is the water used for homeopathic treatment up to the same standard of purity ? I somehow doubt it. Nature abhorres purity, for entropy reasons. So high purity does not come cheap.

the Kemist
I researched this earlier. Here is a reference:

http://www.aqua-chem.com/index.php?p...h_purity_water

As you can see, so-called water for injection, which is the water used to prepare injectable drugs, is the cleanest you can normally get.

Here we find that organic impurities are at a level of 0.5ppm
Thes reference does not mention it, but IIRR, inorganics are adound 0.2ppm
Finally, bacteria, that is live bacteria, are at 10/100ml.

You can calculate this in various ways, but the most charitable way I can get it is that this corresponds to a homeopathic potency of 3C. In other words, in any potency higher than 3C (6X), the impurities brought in by the water will exceed the amount of active substance.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:24 AM   #465
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Well...I actually leave tomorrow for 2 weeks. I had a little time yesterday and was able to simply cut and paste my biographical info about Hahnemann (skeptics need to know the intellectual giant that he was, whether you agree with him or not).
If you want us to regard Hahnemann as an intellectual giant, you need to address what results he achieved, instead of just worshipping him.

Quote:
Syl...thanx for explaining how to do the quoting...a little bit of kindness always goes a long way.
Yes, that is right. Also asking questions goes a long way. Like asking "Hey, how do you make those quotes?" instead of going into all caps, which I refuse to believe someone as internet experienced as yourself does not know is bad ettiquette.

Quote:
I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water
Why? What has this to do with anything? What does the dissolving power mean if there is nothing to dissolve.

Quote:
and that my previous statements that this water has been shown to led to increased "silicate fragments" (aka silica chips) that fall off the glass walls and into the water. Perhaps these silica chips change the structure of the water and/or provide a means by which the medicinal substance that is diluted in the water imparts its information or fractal pattern into the chip
Pure, unfounded speculation. Why should silica chips do that?

...Wait! Are you thinking that since computer memories are made on silicon chips, then silica chips may form memories in water?



Quote:
we do not know exactly what is happening...but perhaps Hahnemann and homeopaths have stumbled onto an important method of reducing a drug's toxicity but maintaining its therapeutic abilities, AS LONG AS the syndrome of symptoms of the substance's toxicity are SIMILAR to the syndrome of symptoms of the sick person.
Or maybe they are just plain wrong. The evidence suggests the latter.

Quote:
What homeopaths have called the "law of similars" may be some type of resonance and/or hypersensitivity. Rather than trying to "fight" homeopathy, I hope that some of you with good working brains can help us figure out what is going on.
We have figured out what is going on. Homeopaths are clinging desparately to their old beliefs, because if they didn't, they'd have to find a new job.

Quote:
Finally, Rustum Roy has had 700 or so papers published in peer-review journals. As I went down their list, I saw 13 of them as articles published in NATURE. The fact that you found 15 such papers simply makes my case for Roy's hyper-respectability stronger. Thank you.

I have never said that these papers published in NATURE were on homeopathy. I simply said that Roy was a leading scientist, that he is not a "homeopathic researcher," and that his work should be taken very seriously. Wake up and smell the Coffea 30C.
In other words, you admit to the "appeal to false authority" fallacy. Thank you. Since we have now established with glaring clarity that Roy is a specialist in an area with no apparant relvance to homeopathy, perhaps we can move to more interesting matters?

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:33 AM   #466
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
First...as a big appreciator of Jon Stewart, I do know that this is being "recorded," and my question to this list, do you know that because in the near future when homeopathy will have achieved great acceptance, we will look back at your responses as evidence of the fact that dinosaurs yell and scream the loudest before their fall. Timber.
*YAWN* Do you know how many homeopaths have been telling me how homeopathy was on the verge of a spectacular break-through, and for how long? Perhaps you should join ranks with the people who keep predicitng the imminent end of the world? There must surely be some synergy effects to reap.

But let me just pick a little tidbid from your rant above, which shows the level of your academic honesty (my emphasis): "the fact that dinosaurs yell and scream the loudest before their fall"

Ehr, JamesGully: Please state you definition of "fact".

Quote:
A couple more notes about the "acute diarrhea" experiments. Why, oh, why do people still ignore the entire body of statistics from these experiments? The p value was in the substantial range...beyond significant! P=0.008. Take off your blinders.
Since various faults have been found with the protocol, a single study with a borderline significance cannot supply the extraordinary evidence required to consider homeopathy.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:39 AM   #467
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I've snipped out the bit where you constructed as many obstacles as you thought you needed to "get out of jail" ...

Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
This can take months or years - the aim is to keep the person on an improving scale of health till the person decides that she is cured and the homeopath based on pathology is able to concur.

How could this be fitted to the concept of short and specific double blind trials (suited only for conventional medicine which treats only a narrow domain for one or two specifics ) as suggested by Hans is the conundrum before us.
I did ask (in my original message to you) why you have to "come up with blocking tactics" ... and you didn't disappoint by providing an instant illustration.

Why is it that you just keep coming up with problems, and never suggest solutions. If there is a flaw in the test ideas we present, why don't you improve the procedure to remove the flaw, rather than just moan about it? Is it because you are actually scared of what you might find out if such a test was properly conducted? If you take me up on this offer, remember that a test should be a simple as possible, and as complex as necesary. Please don't just add complexity in order to cloud the issue.

OK - here we go again. Having to iterate around tweaking a test procedure while the woo creates obstacles each time they get cornered ...

There is no reason that the double blind trials have to be "short". I think that Hans' perspective would be that it would be nice to get a definitive answer as to the efficacy of homoeopathy as soon as possible (in our own life-times would be nice!) but maybe you aren't really interested in that. Why can't we conduct the controlled double blind test along "suitably long" time-scales if that is your latest objection?

Just out of interest, in all those papers you were so fond of flooding the message board with in your early posts ... you know - the ones that you claim supported your belief that homoeopathy works - what was the length of those trials from start to finish? Did you consider them all "long enough" because you like the reported results? Are any results you don't like not "long enough"? Think about it ... this is just creating a world where you can choose results, rather than observe them ... why do you need to do that?

Remember, once we get past your latest invented obstacle, and you move on to the next ... you are the one proving that they have no interest in finding out the truth about homoeopathy ...
  • If it works ... great ... what's wrong with proving it to everyones satisfaction so we can get on with using it more and more.
  • If it doesn't work, then either you have been duped or are a charlatan.
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Old 20th June 2007, 02:18 AM   #468
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water and that my previous statements that this water has been shown to led to increased "silicate fragments" (aka silica chips) that fall off the glass walls and into the water. Perhaps these silica chips change the structure of the water and/or provide a means by which the medicinal substance that is diluted in the water imparts its information or fractal pattern into the chip (we do not know exactly what is happening...but perhaps Hahnemann and homeopaths have stumbled onto an important method of reducing a drug's toxicity but maintaining its therapeutic abilities,
Interesting. You now claim that it is silicon chips resulting from double distilled water that memorises the original substance.

If this is the case how do you explain the results claimed by all those original and subsequent homeopaths who do/did not use double distilled water ?
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:06 AM   #469
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Originally Posted by kieran View Post
I did ask (in my original message to you) why you have to "come up with blocking tactics" ... and you didn't disappoint by providing an instant illustration.
Also, we should not forget that the real-world effects of homeopathy are allegedly so powerful that (ignoring the inherent post hoc fallacy) they are screamingly obvious to the practising homeopath. All we are suggesting is that we swap blanks for half the remedies then see if the alleged effects are still as screamingly obvious.

To say that it would take an infinitely long time or an impossibly complex protocol to objectively test homeopathy is the same as admitting that it is logically impossible for the homeopaths to have accumulated a reliable base of clinical evidence. But, without that historical base they are left with literally no evidence at all.

manioberoi, do you understand these points? The more you whinge about the difficulty of properly testing homeopathy, the more you degrade the implied quality of the evidence that you already rely on. If in your opinion (regardless of logical argument to the contrary) you still believe that homeoipathy cannot be tested then you have also removed from use, because it is revealed to be hopelessly unreliable, the entire historical clinical record of homeopathy.

You are caught by this and there is no escape.

Which do you want to admit, either homeopathy is scientifically testable or your entire clincal case record must be ignored? There is no third option. Which do you want to choose?
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:49 AM   #470
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
Agree entirely. There are over 6000 homeopathic remedies (no good homeopath would restrict herself to 30 remedies - as proposed elsewhere by Hans to make his proposal for double blinding workable).
The 30 was just a ball-park figure. And mind you, this was the number of remedies that the homeopath kept in his own inventory for immidiate use. For all the rest which can be requsitioned from a central dispensor, ther is no limit on numbers.

I made a survey of some 200 homeopathic case accounts, some time back. 90% of the prescriptions were covered by 20 remedies. Homeopaths may draw from the entire range of 6000+, but the vast majority of cases will be covered by a much smaller inventory.

The homeopath is required to CURE the whole person - body and mind - keeping in view the pathology & c. At times conventional intervention is required to be advised.

Quote:
So is the homeopath treating for, say, a kidney stone? Yes & No.

-Yes, because it is entirely possible ( but only as a fire fighting measure)

- No, because the homeopath is required to look beyond the kidney stone to the maintaining cause which can be many, (psychosomatic, hormonal imbalance, blood disorders, excess intake of protein leading to excess urea, oxalates, urinary tract infections and the like) ....etc.
We know all this, but that doesn't matter for the trial. What a trial will measure is the result, not how the result is reached. Is the patient cured or not.

Quote:
This can take months or years - the aim is to keep the person on an improving scale of health till the person decides that she is cured and the homeopath based on pathology is able to concur.

How could this be fitted to the concept of short and specific double blind trials (suited only for conventional medicine which treats only a narrow domain for one or two specifics ) as suggested by Hans is the conundrum before us.
Ahh, been here before (is this you, Neil?). Now, the requirement of unlimited time is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Given unlimited time, any disease will end.

However, more seriously, a trial must address a specific complaint. I am fully aware that the homeopathic definition of "disease" is different from the main-stream one, therefore I use the term complaint. Complaint is what compells the patient to seek medical aid.

Obviously, you cannot lump flu, kidney stones, and indigestion into the same trial, since that would would make statisical evaluation impossible, so the protocol must define some specific complaint, so that only patients with that complaint are included.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:51 AM   #471
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Ahh, been here before (is this you, Neil?). Now, the requirement of unlimited time is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Given unlimited time, any disease will end.

One way or another...
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:53 AM   #472
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Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
The 95% ethanol can be dried with magnesium during distillation, giving fairly pure stuff. It's won't be ultrapure (it will still have traces of glassware in it, etc.), but it's an improvement.
I don't think you realize the scope of this problem. The purities needed to make even moderate potencies (above 4C) will pose a formidable challenge to even the best laboratories. I see this as yet another indication that homeopaths really have no idea what they are meddling with.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:58 AM   #473
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
The Apollo Hospitals seem to have naturopathy, ayurveda - however there is a homeopath at their Apollo clinic and she can be contacted at:
"Consultant Homeopath
Indraprastha Apollo Cliniq
Building No.1 Nelson Mandela Marg,
Sector - B, LSC,Vasant Kunj,
New Delhi - 110070
Phone No: +91-011-26134810, 6134825, 6131218, 6124980
Fax no: +91-011-6134792
Email : <A href="mailto:indraprasthaapolloclinic@usa.net"
">indraprasthaapolloclinic@usa.net"[/quote]
In other words, the great involvement by Apollo you used to show how great the standard of healthcare in India is almost entirely for conventional medicine. It is largely irrelevant for homeopathy.

In fact, I can tell you it is probably entirely irrlevant, because companies like Apollo will simply chose the modailites they support based on which modalities they can obtain insurance coverage for.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 04:01 AM   #474
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
Initially (18th century) recorded cases of poisonings were also used for preparation of materia medicas (usage as de facto provings). Systematic provings were done on persons 'presumed' to be healthy - depending on the indivdual different symptoms appeared in the proving ( at different potencies) - all of these were recorded as reported by the provers (bias, errors and all).

Some symptoms were more frequent, some less, and are so recorded. Unique symptoms also come up and are so recorded.

Next stage is to use on a person (on simila principle - this has exceptions) - clinical results are reported and noted for future use.

If a particular remedy regularly gives good results for a particular pathology it may even be used on a pathological basis in addition to individualization - most of the trials carried out are on this (pathological) basis which is a flawed approach - perhaps the proper method has not been tried on account of ground level difficulties. For an example of the difficulties see:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/7/7

Whenever too many new symptoms come up a fresh proving may be carried out - this may bring out entirely new symptoms not foreseen earlier.

Alternatively new provings of old remedies when carried out invariably bring out new and fresh symptoms.

I think , by now you should be able to see the level of complexity of the ever evolving human body mind complex which naturally leads to this evolving set of symptoms ( new hidden ones constantly coming up) which are dynamic and unforeseeable.
Or, to take the essence of your long explanation: Apart from a certain base in objective toxiology, Materia Media symptom listings are based on a totally arbitrary collection of symptoms. Thank you.

Hans
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Old 20th June 2007, 04:49 AM   #475
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Which do you want to admit, either homeopathy is scientifically testable or your entire clincal case record must be ignored? There is no third option. Which do you want to choose?
I have been there repeatedly, especialy with our friend bvw11, and I'm afraid there IS a third option: Kick up big clouds of dust.

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Old 20th June 2007, 05:32 AM   #476
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I'm glad that some of you understand the dissolving power of bidistilled water ....
Still on about double distilled water? Apparently you think this is important for whatever effect you think homoeopathic remedies have. So you shouldn't have any trouble pointing out to me the evidence that Samuel Hahnemann, the inventor/discoverer of homoeopathy, who carried out all the seminal experiments in the subject not to mention many of the original provings, the results of which are still used today, always made a point of using double distilled water.


Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
A test using homeopathic proving:

- A homeopath chooses three homeopathic remedies that will produce different, easily-distinguishable symptoms. We'll call them substance A, B and C.

- A reputed homeopathic laboratory produces samples of the three remedies, plus a placebo sample.

- The homeopath is given a sample, and his task is to ascertain if the sample is substance A, B, C or a placebo. ....
We've argued this one around and about, and indeed, it seems that these striking proving effects, the effects that are so obvious that we ourselves have been urged by homoeopaths to take a remedy because it's certain that the unmistakeable symptoms would convince us that it's not just a sugar pill, are in fact so subtle and difficult to recognise that such a test is impossible.

Which, as BSM just pointed out, rather undermines the entire basis of homoeopathic practice.

However, I'd settle for an even easier test.

One remedy. Doesn't matter what so long as it's diluted above Avogadro's limit. Homoeopath gets to choose. Can the homoeopath tell whether what he's been given is the real remedy or the unpotentised carrier material, by observing whether or not it produces these striking proving symptoms? It's that simple.

Now there's an obvious drawback to this. The homoeopath has a 50/50 chance of guessing right. That's why the test needs to be done more than once. Getting it right once is not impressive. Getting it right 9 times out of 10 or even better 19 times out of 20 is very impressive indeed.

These symptoms, we're so often told, are so obvious. What's so hard about this?

One homoeopath backed out of such a test complaining that doing the test on herself would make her ill, and she wasn't prepared to risk her health by doing it 20 or even 10 times. (How this squares with homoeopathy being so safe, I'm not entirely sure.)

So, use other people! Volunteer provers are used all the time in homoeopathy, why not for such a test? If it's such a risk to the provers, then how can any provings be ethically justified at all?

Another way to do this is to use more than one homoeopath. Ask Yuri Nalyssus what happened when he tried to carry out such a test. The summary he gave me was that he canvassed for homoeopaths to take part in the study, sending out the protocol to many many individual homoeopaths and homoeopathic organisations. He had only six volunteers prepared to give it a go.

Each homoeopath was given either the remedy of their choice or some blank sugar pills, in a double-blind protocol overseen by a colleague of Yuri Nalyssus who is a homoeopath. Three correctly identified what they were given. The other three were wrong. Exactly what you'd expect if there was no difference and the participants were just guessing.

I think that the fact that so few of the many many homoeopaths canvassed were even prepared to take part in this study says a lot about the true confidence these people have in the reality of the "striking proving effects" they keep going on about. The results speak for themselves.

Unfortunately n=6 is too small to turn this into a publishable study. But what's wrong with the protocol? Almost every homoeopath I've met has been very clear that certain 30C remedies produce striking effects, striking enough to convince the sceptic if only those damn sceptics would actually give it a go. (I did and nothing happened. I know Hans had the same experience.)

Whichever way you slice it, homoeopaths claim that their remedies make a difference to the real world, and not a trivial difference either - a difference in people's health which is of sufficient magnitude to be clinically useful and to be worth paying for. If this is true, it should be possible to demonstrate that something is occurring. The more weaselling we encounter when trying to investigate this, frankly, the more I suspect that there is in fact no such effect.

Don't you think, James/Dana, that if we were to ignore all this evidence of duplicity, then we would in fact be putting on blinkers, rather than taking them off?

Rolfe.
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Old 20th June 2007, 06:09 AM   #477
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
First...as a big appreciator of Jon Stewart, I do know that this is being "recorded," and my question to this list, do you know that because in the near future when homeopathy will have achieved great acceptance, we will look back at your responses as evidence of the fact that dinosaurs yell and scream the loudest before their fall. Timber.
I see this sort of reasoning all the time, and it misses the point. That some ideas, initially unappreciated, have eventually (through scientific pursuit) become generally accepted through the accumulation and presentation of sufficient evidence, does not mean that the initial skepticism was wrong. It turns out that there isn't a good way to tell one silly idea from another in advance.

Quote:
A couple more notes about the "acute diarrhea" experiments. Why, oh, why do people still ignore the entire body of statistics from these experiments? The p value was in the substantial range...beyond significant! P=0.008. Take off your blinders.
You are demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding about what a "P=0.008" means. Consider reading this paper, referenced in this thread, as it is directly relevant to this issue. Also, this paper expands on this idea with respect to evaluating the body of evidence for a particular field.

Quote:
As for why there was no significant difference at day 5 is that acute diarrhea resolves on its own in most cases...but THIS trial showed that children given homeopathic treatment (and ORT) got over it substantially faster than those just given ORT. End of story. Saying anything else is simply not supported for the data.
The children in that particular group had a different outcome from those in the other group. However, one cannot conclude that the difference is due to receiving the homeopathic treatment, as there are more probable alternate explanations.

A clinical trial simply consists of selecting a sample of people, dividing that sample into two, measuring something after a period of time in all individuals, and then comparing the means of that measurement between the two groups. We have no expectation that the means will be exactly the same, just like we have no expectation that two individuals will have exactly the same height. We do expect however, that if we repeated the process over and over and over again, that the distribution of the differences between the means, in the absence of bias, would generally follow a Gaussian distribution. Your p=0.008 simply means that the difference found in these particular studies would happen 0.8 percent of the time, in the absence of bias. Because it doesn't proportionally happen very often, you are trying to conclude that there is some other reason for the difference. And not only that, you are trying to conclude that the use of a homeopathic treatment is the ONLY possible reason for the difference.

Let's see if the homeopathic treatment is the only possible reason. First of all, let's look at the assumption that because a difference that great doesn't proportionally happen very often that there must be some other reason for the difference. Given that this result has only been selected post hoc, every clinical trial that is performed is another opportunity, another point to plot on our distribution. There were 110 clinical trials in homeopathy (as of the 2005 metanalysis by Shang). The probability (due only to chance) that one or more of these trials would acheive a p=0.008 is 59 percent.

Now let's look at the assumption "in the absence of bias". If bias is present, then our p-value does not tell us anything about the strength of the association, only about the potential strength of the bias. So we need to ask whether or not bias is present and whether bias would be sufficient to account for the size of the difference. The effect size was small (estimated 0.37) (cut-offs for effect size - small 0.25, medium 0.50, large 0.75), so a small amount of bias could account for the difference. This can be admittedly hard to quantify. In this case, it is well-recognized that metanalyses introduce bias, and there are ways to roughly quantify/assess that bias when reporting on the results of the metanalyses. I could not find that information in the report, however. I should also note that I cannot tell how they came up with some of the numbers that they report. For example, the duration of diarrhea given in the abstract is different from the duration reported in the results (4.1 and 3.3, vs 3.8 and 3.1), and the effect size calculations I made using Cohen's d (most commonly used for metanalyses) are markedly different from the effect sizes they report. Also, two of the studies used in the metanalysis were performed by the same research group, so the usual consideration of unrecognized or unreported bias would not be independent. Overall, we know that there is some bias present in the results, so there must be a least a small (at least 10 percent?) possibility that there is enough bias to account for a small effect size.

Now let's look at the assumption that there is a homeopathic treatment effect. The difference in treatment between the two groups was in the preparation of the sugar pills. Even if we concede that the difference in preparation between the sugar pills is what led to the difference in diarrhea, does that provide evidence for homeopathy? No. All it says is that preparing sugar pills in one particular way can have an effect on diarrhea. But it does not establish that the reason for choosing that particular preparation was valid. I used my alfabetophy idea as an analogy. I propose that the ideal treatment for a particular condition is provided by a medication that starts with the same letter as the name of the condition. That a clinical trial shows that penicillin is effective in the treatment of pneumonia does not prove that alfabetopathy is a valid way to choose treatments for other conditions.

So your insistence that this trial supports homeopathy, end of story, is unjustifiable. Not only are there very plausible alternate explanations - a probability of 59 percent that it is due to chance or at least a 10 percent chance that it is due to bias - but even conceding that the treatment had an effect would not serve as proof of the "law of similars".

Linda
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Old 20th June 2007, 06:34 AM   #478
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Originally Posted by manioberoi View Post
Whenever too many new symptoms come up a fresh proving may be carried out - this may bring out entirely new symptoms not foreseen earlier.

Alternatively new provings of old remedies when carried out invariably bring out new and fresh symptoms.

I think , by now you should be able to see the level of complexity of the ever evolving human body mind complex which naturally leads to this evolving set of symptoms ( new hidden ones constantly coming up) which are dynamic and unforeseeable.
*boggle* I hope you're not trying to build up people's confidence in homeopathy... Are you telling us, in essence, that a given remedy works, or rather worked, maybe it doesn't anymore, who knows, let's take it anyway? Where's the safety and the efficiency in this?
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Old 20th June 2007, 09:19 AM   #479
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Kemist and I have been chatting via PM about the Elia papers.

Never mind the problem of this work being done by an apparently True Believer, I think there is also a clash of cultures that we see time and again between people who routinely work in the soft biological sciences and people whose expertise is in the phsyical sciences. We are used to working with mushy data and having to rely on statistical truths rather than simple black and white outcomes. I'm not sure it would occur to a physical scientist to blind and randomise a routine piece of bench chemistry.

It's noticeable that a lot of the pet scientists of the homs are physical scientists not biologists or medics (similar is clearly true of the ID/Creation brigade). I don't think it's a coincidence that we see a coterie of ageing physical scientists working outside their area of competence in a medical field where they have no basic feel for the appropriate metods of investigation. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Turning to the 1999 Elia paper in the NYAS annals.

Here are my specific questions for James/Dana.

1. Why is there "excess" heat produced when sham water is the source material for the titrations (Line 1 of Table 1)?

2. Does Dana see any problem with that being the only line of the work that is expressed with error measurements?

3. Were the tests run in a randomised and blinded manner to exclude systematic bias?

4. What is the last word on page 247? I'm not going to debate this with someone who has not read the whole paper.

I'll repeat these questions in due course if Dana reappears and ignores them.
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Old 20th June 2007, 09:22 AM   #480
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Quote:
nanopharmacology works


What the is "nanopharmacology" ? Drugs being efficient in nanomolar concentrations ? Funny, actually, that real medicinal chemistry begins to take a compound seriously when it has IC50's in the nanomolar range... God, I hate when people use the "nano" word in vain... It's like blaspheming against chemistry . I'm getting all religious here, help !

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