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Tags debate , homeopathy

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Old 12th October 2007, 01:11 AM   #1
Professor Yaffle
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A Debate: Homeopathy - Quackery Or A Key To The Future of Medicine?

Anyone in Conneticut want to go and give Roy a hard time about his latest piece of nonsense?

http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.o..._view.jsp?id=4

Quote:
The University of Connecticut Health Center presents:

A Debate: Homeopathy - Quackery Or A Key To The Future of Medicine?

An international forum to explore the facts around this controversial modality in an attempt to determine whether it has a place in medical care.

Low Learning Center
University of Connecticut Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, Connecticut 06030
Thursday, October 25
2:00P.M. - 4:00P.M. ET

Homeopathy is used by tens of millions of people around the world. On October 25, 2007 you are invited to watch a debate between six internationally renowned experts (Iris Bell, M.D., Ph.D., Rustum Roy Ph.D., Andre Saine N.D., Donald Marcus M.D., Steven Novella M.D., and Naduv Davidovitch M.D., Ph.D.) as they examine the basic science as well as the clinical and historical evidence around this 200 year old system of medicine. Is homeopathy pure quackery as some contend or perhaps the future of medicine? Watch on October 25.

The event will be broadcast live over the internet and can be seen HERE.The forum will also be archived at this same URL address.
Seating is extremely limited so if you would like to attend in person, please email peter_gold@goldorluk.com or call 860-674-1500 to reserve your spot.

Last edited by Professor Yaffle; 12th October 2007 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 12th October 2007, 01:14 AM   #2
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"Low Learning Centre"? Says it all!
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Old 12th October 2007, 01:16 AM   #3
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"...used by millions around the world...", huh?

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Old 12th October 2007, 02:39 AM   #4
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It seems Bell, Roy and Saine represent the quacks. Of the other three, I only recognize Novella as representing rational thought; let's hope the other two do the same.
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Old 12th October 2007, 03:37 AM   #5
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Davidovich (Nadav not Naduv as it is quoted in the OP) seems to be interested in the social and historical study of alt med, the rest of his interests seem to be in public health and health policy:

http://fohs.bgu.ac.il/people/PDetails.asp?StaffID=12741

Marcus' interest seems to be in the (lack of) regulation in the alt med business:

http://www.theintegratorblog.com/sit...116&Itemid=172
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Old 12th October 2007, 02:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
It seems Bell, Roy and Saine represent the quacks.

The same Rustum Roy who recently wrote this:
Quote:
While I have never been involved in any way, intellectually, financially or personally—unlike Charles Darwin—with homeopathy...
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Old 13th October 2007, 02:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
It seems Bell, Roy and Saine represent the quacks. Of the other three, I only recognize Novella as representing rational thought; let's hope the other two do the same.
But Novella is very, very good at speaking about science and medicine. I fully expect he will wipe the floor with the homeopaths.
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Old 14th October 2007, 10:00 AM   #8
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"A Debate: Homeopathy - Quackery Or A Key To The Future of Medicine?"

Er...Quackery. Well, that was simple. Perhaps the meeting is just an excuse to visit New England in the Fall. It would be terrible to waste tree-spotting time with trying to resolve a difficult problem
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Old 28th October 2007, 01:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by In My Spare Time View Post
But Novella is very, very good at speaking about science and medicine. I fully expect he will wipe the floor with the homeopaths.

Below is the link to Steven Novella’s blog entry about the event, which apparently attracted a good number of practicing homeopaths. Part II, covering the clinical evidence part of the debate, is to be posted on his blog tomorrow.

My Day with the Homeopaths – Part 1
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=40

Snippet:
Quote:
After my presentation on the extreme scientific implausibility of homeopathy, materials scientist Rustum Roy presented his completely unconvincing case for its plausibility. His strategy was to argue that the only significant scientific objection to homeopathy (other than the blind bias, prejudice, “homeophobia” - his term, and materialistic assumptions of scientists) is that homeopathic water does not contain any molecules of active ingredient. However, he argues, the key to material function is not composition but structure, so we should be looking at the structure of water and not what is in it.
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Old 28th October 2007, 05:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
...Rustum Roy presented his completely unconvincing case for its plausibility. His strategy was to argue that the only significant scientific objection to homeopathy (other than the blind bias, prejudice, “homeophobia” - his term, and materialistic assumptions of scientists) is that homeopathic water does not contain any molecules of active ingredient.

He's argued this before. He doesn't seem to have noticed that the principle objection to homoeopathy is that, in properly conducted tests, it doesn't work any better than placebo.

But he seems to know how to construct a strawman.
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Old 29th October 2007, 02:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Roy is simply anomaly hunting and has not established that the transient effects he is seeing have any application to homeopathy (see here for a good overview). He did present one study of his own that looked at homeopathic preparations using spectroscopy, although this was with an ethanol base, not water. He claims it shows differences between different homeopathic dilutions and preparations. I pointed out, as many others have, that this study is worthless because he did not demonstrate that the different preparations (which were just obtained from a homeopathic company) had no chemical differences - to which he had no effective answer.
Good to see that the work done by many people here pulling his "study" to pieces has definitely reached his ears, and that he had no answer for it.
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Old 29th October 2007, 07:39 AM   #12
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Part 2 of Steven Novella’s write up on the homeopathy debate:
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=41

Snippet -
Quote:
Far worse than Dr. Bell was Andre Saine N.D. from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy. He presented the epidemiological evidence for homeopathy, which amounted to 150 year old unverified anecdotes. He presented the reports of homeopaths from the mid-1800’s claiming they cured cholera, pneumonia, and rabies as if it were reliable evidence. Dr. Saine would have us believe that we can verify such a cold trail of highly dubious self-serving reports. Again we see a desperate plea to lower the bar for scientific evidence so as to admit homeopathy.

Dr. Saine’s presentation degenerated into a sales pitch for homeopathy that would make any sideshow barker proud. He assured us that homeopathy is more effective than standard medicine and can cure just about anything, magically free from any side effects. He even claims that homeopathy can cure rabies with 100% success.
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Old 29th October 2007, 06:37 PM   #13
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One thing I do like about homeopathy is that it's non-sensical on so many levels. There are things in science which seem counter-intuitive at first glance but turn out to be true when examined fully or vice-versa.

Homeopathy is not one of them. To the brilliant chemist or the lay person, once you find out the basic premis it seems stupid. Because it *is* stupid! No need to explain! It defies logic on every level. Basic sense says "Well... wait? That's what homeopathy is? That doesn't even make any sense. That's idiotic" And common sense is right! It is stupid. Really really non-sensical and illogical and STUPID.


But many of the homeopaths want to talk about being "whole body" or making it sound complicated. Apparently the find the term "STUPID. REALLY REALLY STUPID" offensive.
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Old 30th October 2007, 01:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DRBUZZ0 View Post
Basic sense says "Well... wait? That's what homeopathy is? That doesn't even make any sense. That's idiotic"
Heheh... That's exactly the reaction I had when I watched the BBC Horizon show on it. Up to that point, I just had a vague idea that homeopathy was sort of like herbal medicine. Potentially useless, but potentially useful. Boy was I wrong. I was shocked, literally shocked when the show explained the process. BTW, it was because of that show that I found this forum.
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Old 5th November 2007, 06:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
Good to see that the work done by many people here pulling his "study" to pieces has definitely reached his ears, and that he had no answer for it.

I meant to say -

Neat summary of the point I used three A4 pages to make.

Quote:
.... this study is worthless because he did not demonstrate that the different preparations (which were just obtained from a homeopathic company) had no chemical differences
Succinct, to the point, and devastatingly accurate. Roy MUST realise this by now. Especially as it relates to his so-called "plain ethanol".

He simply CANNOT be as green as he's grass-coloured. He has a background which should make him aware of the dishonesty involved in all this. Unless he's totally senile (in which case he shouldn't be publishing at all), he knows he's fiddling his results.

Rolfe.
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Old 6th November 2007, 02:07 AM   #16
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Wait. This was at the university of connecticut? Christ. How did I not notice that and end up missing some BS like this in my backyard
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Old 6th November 2007, 02:30 AM   #17
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He [Roy] talked about Kanzius’s experiments with radiowaves weakening hydrogen and oxygen bonds so that it can be burned
The stupid...... It burns!
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Old 6th November 2007, 02:59 AM   #18
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Andre Saine! Perhaps Andre Certifiable.
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Old 6th November 2007, 04:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by DRBUZZ0 View Post
Wait. This was at the university of connecticut? Christ. How did I not notice that and end up missing some BS like this in my backyard
I probably should have put the location in the title. Sorry!
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Old 6th November 2007, 11:16 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
Heheh... That's exactly the reaction I had when I watched the BBC Horizon show on it. Up to that point, I just had a vague idea that homeopathy was sort of like herbal medicine. Potentially useless, but potentially useful. Boy was I wrong. I was shocked, literally shocked when the show explained the process. BTW, it was because of that show that I found this forum.
Indeed. I think it survives because few even know what it means, and hence buy it thinking it's "herbal" or something. Actually I asked my doctor and three other practicing MD's. Only one got even close. My doctor (who is a GP) did not believe me at first. First I asked him if he had any patients who used homeopathic products. He said yes he had them ask and he said he was unsure of how well that stuff would work but he didn't seem to turn them away. I then asked if he knew what it was and he said "you know, those natural things that are supposed to work with herbs and that sort of thing."

When I told him he said "That's it. Really?" And then looked in the medical dictionary. He then said he didn't think any of the patients knew either and "they never even go into this in medical schools or in any of the journals."

Strange to tell my doctor something and have him take interest, but I think it's sorta the point. Many DOCTORS don't know. They should though. Not be versed in homeopathy, but at least know what BULL it is.


I think 99% of people who buy homeopathic products just don't know and the other 1%, who actually know what it means have just managed to completely obscfuct the obvious.


That's the thing about homeopathy: You don't need to be a doctor or a chemist or a scientist. Just the average Joe, upon looking at it can see it's scewy. It's idiotic on every level.

There are things in science which are counter-intuitive. For example, if you know nothing about physics, you'd probably assume that heavier objects fall faster than lighter. "Centrifugal" force is intuitive, but it's an illusion, an "apparent force" which doesn't exist as such. The actual force when spinning is acceleration inward. That's very counter-intuitive at first glance. The idea that light can be a particle and a wave is confusing and hard to make sense of, it seems illogical at first glance. But homeopathics is not one of these.

The question "what is the merit of homeopathy" is not a trick question. The correct answer is the most obvious, first-glance, logical, intuitive.. "That doesn't even make any sense. That's freakin idiotic"

It seems idiotic because it is idiotic. Ever so painfully terribly stupidly idiotic.

And the more you look at it, the more basic logical ends you follow it to, the more you think about the implications of what it means and the real world examples and the concept applied to natural systems the more completely STUPID moronic, blatantly obviously untrue, ridiculous, disprovable, silly, absurd, ludicrous implications come up.


You don't really need endless experiments and investigation: It is as stupid as it seems.


The way it's justified is always by obscufuction. Just throwing out enough stuff that is "Not even wrong" extraneous, worthless, not even related.

it goes something like:


"There are certain aspects of the human body...... and chemists have always known water is a unique substance..... but there can be negative energy just like positive.... in Western medicine we don't like to admit.... but water is made of atoms..... so if we have ions then we need to consider..... either positive and negative, and we know positive experiences make us feel good..... but with the negative ion you would think it.... but Warner Heisenberg would discover that.... inside your body there are ions.... so these vibrations..... and energy is the same as mass, so if you go to a Catholic Mass, then..... So if you have more mass then you need to go to U-Mass Amherst, where researchers discovered.... particles which cross paths and .... get stuck in the particle filter which is why every 3000 miles you should get it changed....in quantum physics... has a memory effect... so the ions are going to.... keep an eye on the way which... chemical compounds.... and then the bad radiation..... inside the living matter.... but dark matter is not really different.... it's racist actually to treat dark matter differently because.... in the dark you can't see but when it gets dark out at night.... knights of the round table once.... discovered that the periodic table is missing.... So just like radio waves.... are radioactive but if you accelerate something.... then you could get a speeding ticket but.... drugs like speed are very addictive because... But Palmer's only big hit was "Addicted to love".... and love comes from attraction.... opposite charges attract so that's why.... if you charge it you may get free airline miles but if you don't pay the bill.... which was discovered to be related to the platypus... so the quantum effect thus is the mechanism by which homeopathy works"


NO NO NO. They just try to overcomplicated it. Homeopathy is simple. It's every big as stupid as it seems. No energy fields or deficating on the memory of Neils Bohr required!

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Old 6th November 2007, 11:44 AM   #21
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All true but as Novella's blog shows - the believers still believe it and carry on using the same illogical defences that have already been shown to be untrue. On that blog some proponent states that it might "internally inconsistent" but then "so is physics"!

You have to wonder, really, what is the point?!
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Old 6th November 2007, 11:53 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Deetee View Post
The stupid...... It burns!
The goggles! They do nothing!

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Old 6th November 2007, 06:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by DRBUZZ0 View Post

NO NO NO. They just try to overcomplicated it. Homeopathy is simple. It's every big as stupid as it seems. No energy fields or deficating on the memory of Neils Bohr required!
True, how true.

But...

Just watched a video of a BBC interview with Simon Singh and a spokeswoman from the Society of Homeopaths. While she gave reluctant agreement to the point of view that homeopaths should not prescribe for malaria, she offered the final words in the interview by saying that the first successful trial of homeopathy was on malaria. Singh was cut off before he could reply to this outright lie.

While journalists maintain this illusion of the even handed response i.e. exhibiting a total quack as equal to an erudite scientist we have to continually chip away at their PR, because they obviously don't want to debate at the scientific level.

So what are we to do?

Certainly maintain an evidence based outlook, any chink in our armour will be ruthlessly exploited to draw attention away from the total lack of evidence for homeopathy.

Ridicule them? The general public might respond badly to this approach.

Expose them as charlatans who are in it for the money? In the UK this approach may fare better.

Any other ideas?
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Old 6th November 2007, 08:16 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Acleron View Post
True, how true.

But...

Just watched a video of a BBC interview with Simon Singh and a spokeswoman from the Society of Homeopaths. While she gave reluctant agreement to the point of view that homeopaths should not prescribe for malaria, she offered the final words in the interview by saying that the first successful trial of homeopathy was on malaria. Singh was cut off before he could reply to this outright lie.

While journalists maintain this illusion of the even handed response i.e. exhibiting a total quack as equal to an erudite scientist we have to continually chip away at their PR, because they obviously don't want to debate at the scientific level.

So what are we to do?

Certainly maintain an evidence based outlook, any chink in our armour will be ruthlessly exploited to draw attention away from the total lack of evidence for homeopathy.

Ridicule them? The general public might respond badly to this approach.

Expose them as charlatans who are in it for the money? In the UK this approach may fare better.

Any other ideas?
Yeah the "balanced" thing is bull. Science does not treat all viewpoints equally and neither does reality. Yes, some things are subjective and deserve equal time. It's one thing to give "balanced" coverage to two competing plans for economic development... that's a social/political/philosophical issue. One is not more valid than the other.

But the fact that there are disagreements in science does not mean you treat them all the same. They seem to think being fair means that you divide up the hour report into 30 minutes of the anti-homeopathy and 30 minutes of pro, even if you have to condense the anti and fluff-out the "pro" just to make them seem equally valid.

That's bull. Present the most important and established pieces of evidence. Aknowledge those who disagree with them and their sentiments, but you don't have to bend over backward to make theirs seem equally valid. Just report the whole thing and it stands on it's own.


They say they want non-biased news. I'm all about reporters who don't show a a leaning toward the political left or the political right or pro-/anti- some war or issue. But I would rather see the news show bias toward empirical, established, well tested facts and a bias toward stuff that just ain't true.


But it's supply and demand right? Well, it's a market driven system. I constantly contact the media and it really drives me crazy that it is impossible for me to change anything because NOBODY ELSE seems to think they ought to.

The media companies want viewers. They want people to watch their programming, buy their papers, patronize their sponsors. Unless you're a "Neilson Family" or you happen to be surveyed you don't count in their picture of the consumer, unless you go out of the way to let them know.

I often write whenever I hear a blatently bad report and sometimes I call on the phone too. I generally don't just say I didn't like it. I say something that makes me sound like a customer they are losing like "I've been watching your reports for a while, but this recent one has made me really reconsider whether or not I should trust your outlet for information. I found it very unprofessional and inaccurate and I'm very disappointed and can only hope this is does not show a trend in your news reporting, because I had come to trust...."


Yes, they get that all the time. They get a handful of people saying they won't watch anymore for this or that. They expect that. Hence the fact that I do this means very little. But if they got it from all the people on this forum I bet it would make them take notice.


The thing I say when people say it's not about reporting quality it's "all a ratings game." is that the two are not mutually exclusive. They run stuff to get ratings. And if people show that they want to watch quality reporting then they will do everything they can to offer quality reporting.

This is supply and demand. Start making some demands.
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Old 29th November 2007, 01:25 PM   #25
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For those interested, a video recording of the debate is now available (free) online:

http://mediasite.uchc.edu/Mediasite4...rType=WM64Lite

(2hrs 00mins 57secs)

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Old 14th January 2008, 06:21 AM   #26
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... and it's been written up and published here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.homp.2007.12.002
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Old 16th April 2008, 05:31 PM   #27
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I have seen the video online.

From a purely debate point of view, I have to give it to the homeopathy supporters. I can't even hear what the third critic of homeopathy was talking about.

I was very amazed by the content from the third homeopathy supporter. It shows that homeopathy was more effective than conventional medicine during epidemiological times.

Can anyone comment on that matter?
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Old 16th April 2008, 10:57 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I have seen the video online.

From a purely debate point of view, I have to give it to the homeopathy supporters. I can't even hear what the third critic of homeopathy was talking about.
A problem with "debates" such as this is that this is not how scientific issues are settled. They are settled with data, which homeopaths lack. However, since they don't lack words, some people are convinced.

Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I was very amazed by the content from the third homeopathy supporter. It shows that homeopathy was more effective than conventional medicine during epidemiological times.

Can anyone comment on that matter?
Homeopaths are not constrained to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; so they can choose whatever they like. The comparison to medicine of 200 years ago is invalid because, in those days, a lot of medicine was quackery. At that time, "doctors" fed patients horrible purgatives (e.g., calomel, a mercury compound) whereas the homeos basically left people alone. Doing nothing is always better than poisoning someone.

Today, medicine is effective http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/20...eness_week.php whereas homeopathy is still a sham. They have had more than 200 years to produce data; but all they have is anecdote.

Go to www.quackwatch.org and look around. They have a section on homeopathy.
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Old 17th April 2008, 01:52 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I was very amazed by the content from the third homeopathy supporter. It shows that homeopathy was more effective than conventional medicine during epidemiological times.

Can anyone comment on that matter?

Just to emphasise what JJM has said, frankly a lot of homoeopaths lie in their teeth during such debates. They pick a very very slanted interpretation of some event, and state it as absolute fact. This tends to work for a number of reasons.
  • Most listeners tend to assume that what is being said in such debates is the truth
  • It can be very difficult for an opponent to show that the statement is a lie without himself looking bad (it's rude to call someone a liar!)
  • Showing that the statement is a lie usually requires presenting a lot of tedious detail which turns off the listener, and often gets you cut off by the presenter
  • Outrageous lying often provokes an opponent into incoherence
The alleged performance of homoeopathy in a smallpox(?) [sorry, cholera, as Linda has reminded me] epidemic a couple of hundred years ago is one such ploy. First, I've not been able to track down any actual facts on that. As far as I can ascertain, this great survival rate is simply what the homoeopaths of the time chose to claim. I do not believe it has ever been independently verified. Second, JJM's point that in the context of what the "conventional" doctors of the time were doing, homoeopathy's do-nothing-at-all approach was probably more beneficial indeed! This does not mean that doing nothing is more beneficial than conventional medicine in the 21st century. Third, the homoeopathic hospital in question had far far fewer patients than the conventional hospital, and it is likely these people came from relatively privileged backgrounds. Is it really that unlikely that a small outfit with relatively few patients who were supported by well-to-do families would have a better outcome than a huge public hospital overwhelmed by large numbers of the poor and needy?

Another good ploy in such a debate is to assert confidently that the mechanism of action of homoeopathy has been demonstrated to be in the realm of quantum physics. This is complete and utter woo-woo nonsense, based on an interminable series of papers written by arch-woo Lionel Milgrom (q.v.), with the overarching title "a quantum metaphor for homoeopathy". Shpalman has been doing a great job of taking that one apart, but it's not the sort of debate that makes for prime-time TV. All the listener hears is:

Homoeopath: [Authoritative and convincing statement]
Sceptic: [Long and involved explanation which the listener can't follow and doesn't want to, which leaves the initial statement pretty much intact in the listener's mind.]

Similar is the statement that meta-analyses published in high-quality journals have shown that homoeopathy has an effect above placebo. That's another statement with a toe-hold in the truth, but of course the actual facts are a great deal more complicated and take a lot longer to explain. (In effect, the data were misinterpreted in that study, and subsequent studies, and re-analysis of the original data of that study, have come to the opposite conclusion.)

Take the view that if a homoeopath's lips are moving, he's probably flagrantly misrepresenting whatever he's talking about, and you'll probably be about right most of the time.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th April 2008, 03:05 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I have seen the video online.

From a purely debate point of view, I have to give it to the homeopathy supporters. I can't even hear what the third critic of homeopathy was talking about.

I was very amazed by the content from the third homeopathy supporter. It shows that homeopathy was more effective than conventional medicine during epidemiological times.

Can anyone comment on that matter?
I think it may be referring to this:

Quote:
In 1854 London was struck by an outbreak of cholera. This gave homeopaths a chance to show what they could do. Among the patients admitted to the orthodox hospitals the death rate was 52 per cent, while at the homeopathic hospital, where 61 patients were admitted, only 10 died (16 per cent) - and of these, one died at the door of the hospital as he was being taken from the cab and another was treated only after he had been given up by an orthodox physician. The Board of Health and the Medical Council omitted the figures for the homeopathic hospital in the Blue Book published in 1855 to report on the outbreak, but Lord Grosvenor raised the matter in the House of Lords and a report including the homeopathic results was subsequently published.
http://www.accampbell.uklinux.net/ho...chapter06.html

Selection bias (the population from which homeopathic patients are drawn is very different in character from the general population) seems the most likely explanation. Only 61 cases out of tens of thousands of cases showed up at the homeopathic hospital. Nobody with a lick of understanding would suggest that their results could be extrapolated/generalized to a broader population (or even back to the 'population of persons who would choose to attend a homeopathic hospital').

Linda
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Old 17th April 2008, 03:19 AM   #31
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Also, one must wonder why it hasn't worked in the 150 years since.
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Old 17th April 2008, 03:44 AM   #32
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Thanks, Linda. That's taking the references further back than the documents I'd seen previously.

Quote:
In 1854 London was struck by an outbreak of cholera. This gave homeopaths a chance to show what they could do. Among the patients admitted to the orthodox hospitals the death rate was 52 per cent, while at the homeopathic hospital, where 61 patients were admitted, only 10 died (16 per cent) - and of these, one died at the door of the hospital as he was being taken from the cab and another was treated only after he had been given up by an orthodox physician. The Board of Health and the Medical Council omitted the figures for the homeopathic hospital in the Blue Book published in 1855 to report on the outbreak, but Lord Grosvenor raised the matter in the House of Lords and a report including the homeopathic results was subsequently published.

My bold. What I don't know, and I don't suppose we'll ever find out after so much time has elapsed, is who provided these figures, and were they verified as accurate at the time. The circumstances sound so very similar to today, with homoeopaths making grand claims of great success, and putting pressure on politicians and those in high places to endorse these claims (think Prince Charles, and the advocacy of homoeopathy demonstrated by certain members of both parliamentary houses). I just have my suspicions that we're taking as read something that was gross homoeopathic propaganda at the time, where nobody actually questioned the figures.

It's true that even if the figures are correct, there are perfectly reasonable explanations for them, as discussed. However, I don't trust figures supplied by homoeopaths nowadays, and I'm wary of trusting figures apparently supplied by homoeopaths in 1854.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th April 2008, 03:48 AM   #33
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What exactly was the standard treatment for cholera in 1854?
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Old 17th April 2008, 03:53 AM   #34
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I think this is another great example of homoeopaths making grand general statements based on one isolated incident. They do this often.

Look at what gs21stc got out of that video.

Quote:
....the content from the third homeopathy supporter. It shows that homeopathy was more effective than conventional medicine during epidemiological times.

And then when the basis for this assertion is investigated it comes down to this one report in 1854, comparing 10 deaths in a small, privileged group of 64, compared to a higher death rate among the "great unwashed" who were crammed into the public hospitals and probably being subjected to harmful interventions. And even there, we're probably having to take the homoeopaths' report that there were only 10 deaths out of 64 at face value.

But it's quite difficult to get that over succinctly on television, even if the presenter will let you talk long enough to present the facts.

And as PixyMisa says, if it worked then, how come it hasn't worked since?

Rolfe.
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Old 17th April 2008, 04:27 AM   #35
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Thanks for the replies. I have not experienced homeopathy myself, either negatively or positively. I am just very curious about this subject since I saw it talked about in a documentary called "Critical Eye".

Since then, I have read about homeopathy mainly from the world wide web. I am surprised that the British Parliament have established a Faculty of Homeopathy, and they have a Journal called "Homeopathy" accessible through the Science Direct website. I also found out that (from a homeopathic doctor from India posing at a homeopathy forum) the Indian Government and The World Health Organisation recognises Homeopathy as a valid form of treatment. Whether or not homeopathy is real, they are really big, if you know what I mean.

I have seen many positive stories about homeopathy, as well as negative ones, from both scientific research and anecdotal claims. I am not exactly sure what to believe in.
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Old 17th April 2008, 05:13 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
What exactly was the standard treatment for cholera in 1854?
According to A History of Medicine 2nd edition by Lois N. Magner (Informa Healthcare, 2007) p. 527, they tried lots of stuff
Quote:
... bleeding, calomel, opium, ... warm baths ... mustard and linseed oil poultices ... immersion in ice water ...
She also notes that misdiagnosis of less-severe diarhheal diseases may have accounted for many "cures."
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Old 17th April 2008, 05:21 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I have seen many positive stories about homeopathy, as well as negative ones, from both scientific research and anecdotal claims. I am not exactly sure what to believe in.
All anecdotes should be positive. As soon as you suggest that something may have an effect, then any impovement can be attributed to that something (most people do get better even if nothing is done, after all). And if we expect to feel better it influences our perception of how we do feel. So you need to take into consideration that everything we try as a cure will have the support of positive stories (unless it is immediately and obviously toxic).

What you really want to know is whether or not it actually does anything, whether things would be any different if you didn't take the proposed remedy (other than a slight change in your perceptions). If it matters not whether you actually take the homeopathic treatment, you get better anyway, why bother with it in the first place? What we have discovered with the use of experiments is that it makes no difference whether or not you take the homeopathic remedy - you get better regardless. This is why medicine essentially ignores homeopathy and the 'evidence' for homeopathy consists of positive stories.

That large numbers of homeopaths don't want to be out of a job, and that large numbers of people are distracted by the process while they get better or get worse on their own, doesn't really speak to whether or not homeopathy has any specific effect. And that politicians are willing to take advantage of opportunities to manipulate public perception also does not speak to the effectiveness of homeopathy.

Linda
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Old 17th April 2008, 05:30 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I also found out that (from a homeopathic doctor from India posing at a homeopathy forum) the Indian Government and The World Health Organisation recognises Homeopathy as a valid form of treatment.

Again, not true, certainly in the case of the WHO. Although someone drew up a draft document supporting homoeopathy, others pointed out that it was bollocks and the WHO declined to publish it.
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Old 17th April 2008, 06:14 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I am surprised that the British Parliament have established a Faculty of Homeopathy, and they have a Journal called "Homeopathy" accessible through the Science Direct website.

When the NHS was estabilshed in about 1947, the quacks doctors who were into homoeopathy got themselves organised and managed to get the existing homoeopathic facilities incorporated into the NHS along with the existing conventional facilities. You have to bear in mind that there are doctors who believe in homoeopathy. This tends to give the practice a credibility it would otherwise lack, and it allows these people to bring internal political pressure to bear to promote acceptance of homoeopathy. There's nothing quite so hypocritical as a medical body determined not to upset an influential internal lobby group.

Given that the Faculty of Homoeopathy exists, there's nothng at all surprising about them publishing a journal. The scientific standards of the papers in it are lamentable. A particularly bad one last year led to a group of us here on the forum writing a formal letter to the editor pointing out its worst flaws. The subsequent reply by the author to the criticisms was essentially an acknowledgement that we were right.

Science Direct is just into publishing journals. Journal publication is a commercial activity like any other. Nobody takes any view as to the quality of the content.

Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I also found out that (from a homeopathic doctor from India posing at a homeopathy forum) the Indian Government and The World Health Organisation recognises Homeopathy as a valid form of treatment. Whether or not homeopathy is real, they are really big, if you know what I mean.

I think we might know the identity of that "homoeopathic doctor from India", who does a lot of "posing", believe me! See above for remarks about homoeopaths who tell lies. Mojo has explained about the WHO. And homoeopathy is certainly big business in India where there are a lot of credulous people, people without the means to access reputable healthcare, and a shortage of doctors for the size of the population. Ever met a government which didn't "recognise" something that was big business in its country? Even if politicians were adequate judges of medical efficacy, which they're not - not in Britain and not in India either.

Homoeopathy may be "really big". So are astrology, necromancy (spiritualism), and a fair number of major religions. That is irrelevant to whether or not these beliefs are true. Just because fervent adherents have succeeded in hyping something widely doesn't validate it. Especially not when much of the hype is either lies of gross distorsions of fact, as is the case with homoeopathy.

Originally Posted by gs21stc View Post
I have seen many positive stories about homeopathy, as well as negative ones, from both scientific research and anecdotal claims. I am not exactly sure what to believe in.

As someone will no doubt remark (so it might as well be me), the plural of anecdote is not data. You need to examine the evidence critically, for yourself.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th April 2008, 05:23 PM   #40
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Thanks again for answering. I find the scientific evidence that the homeopaths presented most convincing to support their case.

Are they all just bogus results, trying to get people to believe in them?

Would you say that Homeopathy is like a 200 year-old religion?
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