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Science vs. Homeopathy

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the five-bucks-says-science-wins dept.

686

Mr. E writes "Ars Technica has an interesting look at pseudoscience as it applies to homeopathy. While most discussions about what science is get derailed by the larger controversies surrounding them, Ars chose a relatively uncontroversial pseudo-science to examine so that they could examine the factors which make homeopathy a psuedo-science: ignoring settled issues in science, misapplication of real science, rejection of scientific standards, claims of suppression, large gaps between the conclusion and evidence, and a focus only on the fringes of what we currently understand."

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Marriage is between a MAN and WOMAN! (4, Funny)

Keith Curtis (923118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610849)

Homeopathy is when you don't care either way about the gays

Mod parent up (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611109)

Seeing as this is /. I'm in no way surprised that this was modded troll. Moderators hear seem to lack the funny gene. Still pretty damn funny though.

It is a good thing, when one is trying to heal, it is a good idea to know as much as possible about the treatment protocols involved. One of the reasons why acupuncture is being given an increased role in medicine around here is the serious amount of study that the Chinese government in particular has put into it over the last 50 years or so. Up until the middle of last century things were much more empirical than they are now.

Any legitimate medical treatment should go through great pains to at least do no harm. If it can't do that at least, then it isn't something which has any right to be considered legitimate. The next step is that it should help ease the symptoms or cure the disease outright. That's where things tend to get a bit more difficult.

The big issue I'm seeing with the article is stated in there, if one wishes for the result to be a specific result, then one really has to be careful about contaminating the study. There's a reason why, despite the inconvenience, that double blind studies are so common. Believe me they aren't doing them because they're fun, they do them to try and keep the observations normative.

Re:Marriage is between a MAN and WOMAN! (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611111)

Despite this being modded down as troll I thought this was a rather witty pun.

Re:Marriage is between a MAN and WOMAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611169)

lmao someone please mod this up!

Re:Marriage is between a MAN and WOMAN! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611421)

Wouldn't that be homoapathy?

Uncontroversial? Hardly. (3, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610855)

Ars chose a relatively uncontroversial pseudo-science to examine

Homeopathy is controversial, in that some people actually believe it and loudly proclaim its wonders. That's like saying that evolution vs. intelligent design is settled just because science overwhelmingly supports the former, ignoring that many people still believe the latter.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (3, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610909)

Homeopathy is controversial, in that some people actually believe it and loudly proclaim its wonders.

Which reminds me, that "Head On" junk advertised on TV is homeopathic. My advice is to use bottled water instead:

"Evian: apply it directly to the gullible"

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611041)

> Which reminds me, that "Head On" junk advertised on TV is homeopathic. My advice is to use bottled water instead:
>
> "Evian: apply it directly to the gullible"

"Evian: apply directly to the naive."

Fixed it for ya. I always wondered if having your product be "Naive" spelled backwards was an inside joke on the part of some marketroid.

With that out of the way, my go-to site for debunking quack medicine is Quackwatch [quackwatch.org] . Debunks all the health scams from homeopathy to ear candling to colloidal silver to chiropracty, all on one convinient page.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Funny)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611537)

I forgot about ear candling.

One time, a buddy and I went into a homeopathy/herbal healing store and noticed the ear candles. When we asked the lady what they do she said "It's like smudging your insides!" We immediately left the store to relieve the uproarious laughter from such a nonsensical, yet enthusiastic response.

Quack cult people are a strange breed. How is the layman supposed to be able to decipher their inane technobabble?

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611585)

When we asked the lady what they do she said "It's like smudging your insides!"

So...there's money to be made in the field of sage enemas, once I work out where to stick the fuse?

*User: Sunburnt (890890) has logged out.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610997)

I think what he meant was that the fact that it is pure junk science is completely uncontroversial.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611207)

I think what he meant was that the fact that it is pure junk science is completely uncontroversial.
I would suggest that there is no controversy because the people who know and use the phrase "junk science" already know about the lack of evidentiary basis for homeopathic claims, while those who don't generally accept homeopathic claims with little reflection, and are willing to pay money for homeopathic substances to "give them a try." Since very few people die as a result, there's really no mass movement on either side. It's just highly successful marketing for the patent medicines of our times.

Uncontroversial? Relatively. (2, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610999)

Ars chose a relatively uncontroversial pseudo-science to examine

Homeopathy is controversial, in that some people actually believe it and loudly proclaim its wonders. That's like saying that evolution vs. intelligent design is settled just because science overwhelmingly supports the former, ignoring that many people still believe the latter.

You keep ignoring that word, I do think it means what you do not think it means.

Homeopathy, relative to intelligent design, is uncontroversial. That's like saying that a rat, relative to a tiger, is harmless.

Re:Uncontroversial? Relatively. (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611533)

I guess it depends on how you define controversy. There aren't any real controversies surrounding these topics but there sure as fuck are a lot of idiots who think that there are. I think most rational people would have slightly less disrespect for believers in homeopathy than creationists because at least water actually exists.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611035)


Homeopathy is controversial, in that some people actually believe it and loudly proclaim its wonders.

"Some people" also claim the holocaust never happened, but I don't think anyone would seriously claim that the holocaust is controversial.

I'm sure if you looked hard enough, you could find someone that still believes in geo-centrism as well.

There's always a few nuts around that will believe crap. The existence of those nuts doesn't mean something is controversial. If anything I'd say it's the percentage of the nuts in the general populace. Even for homeopathy, I'd say that percentage is quite low.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Informative)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611145)

There's always a few nuts around that will believe crap. The existence of those nuts doesn't mean something is controversial. If anything I'd say it's the percentage of the nuts in the general populace. Even for homeopathy, I'd say that percentage is quite low.
How lucky you are. Right there in France, we have a big lab called "Boiron" that's leader in homeopathy, makes regular mess in the media and have a *lot* of the population believe in its lies.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Funny)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611401)


How lucky you are. Right there in France, we have a big lab called "Boiron" that's leader in homeopathy, makes regular mess in the media and have a *lot* of the population believe in its lies.

Eh, our nuts believe the earth is 6000 years old, and want to teach that crap in schools as science. If your nuts only make a stink in the media, I'd say you're the lucky ones.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611563)

If only we could combine the two. Then we could sell them Jesus Water and make a mint!

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611593)

That's called Wine. French people already sell it to us.

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (2, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611163)

Even for homeopathy, I'd say that percentage is quite low.
Maybe, but they're pretty visible. Go to Amazon's Askville [amazon.com] and see how many of the health questions are looking for "natural or homeopathic remedies".

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (0, Flamebait)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611185)

I don't think anyone would seriously claim that the holocaust is controversial. (Score:3, Interesting)
Seriously? You don't think the holocaust (godwin! btw) is controversial? Interesting indeed.

Then, no one would object to holocaust jokes, huh? Since there's nothing controversial about it...
An Austrian told me this one: <controversial>Q- How do you fit 60 jews in a Volkswagen beetle? A- In the ashtray.</controversial> (his accent made it so much worse/funnier)

Re:Uncontroversial? Hardly. (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611615)

The fact that it happened isn't very controversial. You know what's worse than finding a worm in your apple? The holocaust. You know what's worse than the holocaust? Finding half a worm in your apple.
Mr. Daily Kos, how tall is a pony?

All UK ciizens should be angry about this! (4, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610887)

Your tax money goes to fund an NHS homeopathy hospital in London, whilst other local health trusts are desperate for cash.

Re:All UK ciizens should be angry about this! (3, Interesting)

taoman1 (1050536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611211)

Not surprising since the royal family [skepdic.com] are believers in this nonsense.

So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspiracy.. (4, Funny)

David Hume (200499) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610931)

and the suppression of homeopathy.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610987)

Yeah, many slashdotters are opposed to Homeopathy, Scientology, and many other varieties of fraud.

-jcr

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (2, Informative)

Volanin (935080) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611331)

People may claim over and over about it being a fraud,
but we must not forget the study of Madeleine Ennis [wikipedia.org] ,
who initially wanted to disprove homeopathy, but ended up
reaching the conclusion that solutions, dilluted to the
point of not containing even a single molecule,
produced reactions just like the controls did.

I know her experiment was later "disproved", but then again,
they used a method that didn't match her own, with many
questionable practices.

I am not ruling out it being a total fraud, but I guess it
would be more accurate to say it's a fraud if compared
to our usual western medicine.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611605)

It's a fraud. Don't worry yourself over it. But if you're interested I'll sell you some very special homeopathic remedies. I've currently got Dasani and Aquafini brands, but I should be getting a big shipment of Kirkland in next week.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (0)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611357)

Yeah, many slashdotters are opposed to Homeopathy, Scientology, and many other varieties of fraud.
Well, yes, but homeopathy isn't exactly fraud, since placebos do have an effect (it's very famous, you might have heard of it). Homeopathy is still a lie, but if people want to be lied to, and get an actual health benefit in exchange for their money, it's not exactly fraud.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611567)

It's still fraud if someone claims a false claim, takes your money, but by a happy chance you get something out of it anyway.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611597)

Dude, that is some advanced logic acrobatics - I hope you didn't strain anything.

(PS if you sell something based on a claim, and that claim is bullshit, it's fraud)

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611077)

Excellent flamebait. I find it hard to believe that someone who writes under the name "David Hume" could actually endorse the viewpoint in your posts, so I can only assume you're hoping to enjoy some copious nerd hate, which you will no doubt receive in short order.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611247)

It seemed like a joke to me.

Re:So Slashdot joins the anti-homeopathy conspirac (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611387)

It was, and a funny one at that. I'm just predicting that it will get at least one angry response.

James Randi! (5, Informative)

Mukunda_NZ (1078231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610935)

James Randi has often spoke brilliantly on the topic of homeopathy, in this authors@google video he speaks on it, among other things. http://youtube.com/watch?v=MTPj9VlNzQ0

Homeopathy is a terrible scam and I know too many people that have been sucked in to it due to lack of education, and the ability for critical thought.

How do homeopaths wash dishes? (5, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610947)

The more you rinse them, the stronger the soap becomes!

Enjoy your placebo effect, people.

Re:How do homeopaths wash dishes? (4, Funny)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611113)


  They don't use soap - they apply "like cures like" and wash dirty dishes in half-done compost.

Re:How do homeopaths wash dishes? (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611221)

It's not the placebo effect. The claimed mechanism for homeopathic medicine is direct application of the laws of sympathetic magic: the law of similarity and the law of contagon. Both should be familiar to anyone who's read a decent amount of fantasy fiction.

Re:How do homeopaths wash dishes? (2, Informative)

abhi_beckert (785219) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611273)

Does placebo work on animals? I have seen homeopathy (Ledum 200 for anyone who's interested) save the lives of hundreds of dogs from paralysis ticks (http://www.petalia.com.au/templates/storytemplate_process.cfm?specie=Dogs&story_no=56), which are usually deadly for dogs/cats and can kill horses, cows and sometimes even humans. My mother is a homeopath, and there are many, many farmers in this region who swear by homeopathy for saving their animals lives, they've seen first hand how many of their animals died before they learned of using homeopathy, instead of taking their pets to the vet for the antiserum, which is expensive, has a lower success-rate (especially if the dog is already paralyzed when taken to the vet), and can only be used once a year on an animal (if your animal has another tick in the same season, the vet won't even bother attempting to give it another shot, as it never saves them). It's not scientific at all, but when you see hundreds of dogs over several years come back from symptoms that usually mean certain death, there has to be something there.

Re:How do homeopaths wash dishes? (0, Offtopic)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611417)

Does placebo work on animals?
Does zootherapy work both ways?

Re:How do homeopaths wash dishes? (2, Funny)

falzer (224563) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611289)

Did you hear about the homeopath who drank distilled water?

He died of an overdose.

Rx: Placebo (5, Interesting)

ringm000 (878375) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610951)

A friend of my cousin works in a homeopathic pharmacy (in Russia). She told a story that once in a while a client appears in the pharmacy with a prescription which literally says: "Placebo" (yes, an average Ivan is probably even less likely to be able to read a prescription than an average Joe, as Latin is not Cyrillic). The client gets the prescribed drug and pays a hefty sum for it. Supposedly, the more they pay, the more likely it is to work.

Re:Rx: Placebo (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611019)

To be fair, doctors' handwriting is second only to that of English teachers for illegibility. :)

Re:Rx: Placebo (5, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611133)

The client gets the prescribed drug and pays a hefty sum for it. Supposedly, the more they pay, the more likely it is to work.
I've been on Placebo for years and it does wonders. I've been trying to find the manufacturer so I can buy their stock but apparently they are very small.

Also, funnily enough, they look at taste like M&Ms.

Re:Rx: Placebo (3, Funny)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611437)

Walgreens has a pretty good price on Cebocap #3 [walgreens.com] - $46.29 for 100, and everyone knows the orange ones are the strongest!

Re:Rx: Placebo (3, Interesting)

John Miles (108215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611603)

I've been reading Philip Ball's (excellent) biography of Paracelsus, The Devil's Doctor, and he describes this phenomenon to a 'T'. Apparently, it was common for medieval physicians to work hand-in-hand with apothecaries, prescribing drugs whose principal healing attribute (besides being poisonous as hell, most likely) was how expensive they were. The more the patient had to pay, the more likely the drug would help him.

Homeopathy is interesting from a historical standpoint, because it's really the only semi-mainstream form of quackery to have survived the fall of the alchemical age.

Umm, what? (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610973)

"largely settled matters"... in 1404, a flat Earth was a "largely settled matter"

Honestly, as long as it doesn't interfere with other scientific endeavors, I see no problems with such things as homeopathy. They may even stumble across something that is heretofore unknown, actually contributing to science in the process. Even in this case, competent MDs certainly don't discount human willpower and mindset, especially in matters such as healing times and recovery from sickness or injury.

Sneer all you like folks, but even the fundamentalist creationist types have a chance (small as it may be) at accidentally discovering something along the way that "real science" may have ignored or discounted, or in asking a question (or posing a challenge) whose answer might lead to something useful in science itself -- if a scientist here or there takes the time to tackle them.

It's kind of how we've gotten as far as we have.

/P

Re:Umm, what? (3, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611045)

Honestly, as long as it doesn't interfere with other scientific endeavors, I see no problems with such things as homeopathy.

How do you feel about three-card Monty?

They may even stumble across something that is heretofore unknown, actually contributing to science in the process.

Nope. Not a chance.

Sneer all you like folks, but even the fundamentalist creationist types have a chance

Even less of a chance, since they do no work at all in any field of scientific inquiry. They just write up ever more long-winded versions of "nu-uh" to science.

-jcr

Re:Umm, what? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611147)

How do you feel about three-card Monty?

There's a difference between people doing research, and outright fraud based on "homeopathic cures".

Nope. Not a chance.

...and your evidence for this is...?

I'm not saying that one should immediately fall for every con job out there, but somewhere in there is a bit of honest research, however misguided you think it to be, going on.

/P

Re:Umm, what? (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611243)

There's a difference between people doing research, and outright fraud based on "homeopathic cures".

Not really, because if you RTFA, what these people are doing bears only the faintest resemblance to research (in that they have a journal.)

Re:Umm, what? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611301)

How do you feel about three-card Monty?
There's a difference between people doing research, and outright fraud based on "homeopathic cures".
Yes. There's also a difference between people doing scientific research and people doing homeopathic research. I know this is slashdot, but read the article: it's quite enlightening. Example: one homeopathic researcher simply discarded "long runs" of negative results, presuming that the measurement apparatus was defective. If you throw out the negatives, all you're left with are positives, but that doesn't mean you've tested your hypothesis. Example: one investigator found that certain individuals were able to 'sense' the remedy, where other individuals were not. Rather than admit that this might mean there is nothing in the remedy to be detected, the investigator decides that certain people are sensitive to the remedy and other are refractory to it. You might as well suggest that certain people are good at flipping heads on a coin.

The homeopathic researchers may not be committing intentional fraud, but they don't appear to be committing research, either.

Re:Umm, what? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611099)


I see no problems with such things as homeopathy.

The problem is really people are wasting a lot of money, and potentially harming themselves from not seeking treatments that actually work. You might say "who cares?", but eventually those people are likely to wind up in the normal health care system when the snake-oil treatments fail to do anything, and in worse shape than they would have if they had sought "conventional" treatments. That winds up increasing premiums for everyone else.

Re:Umm, what? (4, Insightful)

FreelanceWizard (889712) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611209)

The problem is not so much that people are doing research in this field -- people still do research into parapsychology and memetics, for example. The problem is asserting that your theoretical framework is true and correct in the face of serious competition and disconfirmatory evidence. Homeopathy's principle claims are not supported by evidence. As a theoretical framework, it doesn't buy us anything in terms of explanatory power over its primary competitor, the placebo effect. The placebo effect is even more predictive, because it can explain results such as "red and purple liquids, colored by a biologically non-reactive dye, have greater treatment effects than clear ones." How does homeopathy address that? Even clinically, homeopathy fails; its results are on par with what you'd predict from placebo.

I don't mind if people spend time looking for results they may never find. It's true that they might stumble upon something, though the evidence so far suggests that they most likely won't. Given the results thus far, we should definitely consider research into homeopathy very risky, and be mindful of spending money on it. That's an issue of efficient resource allocation, however.

My major problems with researchers into homeopathy is that they often violate the epistemological underpinnings and conventions of science (no special pleading, peer review of results, full disclosure of methods, falsifiable theories and hypotheses, etc.), and that they often make assertions that go far beyond, or run completely counter to, the results of their studies. Those two problems cut to the core of why it's a pseudoscience: it claims to be a science, and sometimes even puts on the airs and trappings of scientific pursuits, but it doesn't follow the same epistemological rules and therefore is *not* science.

Re:Umm, what? (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611363)

Homeopathy is the thought that the more diluted a substance is in water, the more effective it is. That's why a homeopathic "doctor" will give you a bottle of pure distilled water. At some point in the past, the water in that bottle was part of a *much* larger batch of distilled water, and a single molecule of medicine was added. (Actually, most homeopathic medicine claims an impossible level of dilution... a level that would take every molecule in the universe and more to dilute a single molecule of medicine).

Now, you've claimed that this may be true science that "real science" missed for one reason or another and is now ignoring. So it is your time to shine, produce the repeatable experiment to prove or disprove homeopathy. Here's what we do... we test two substances at ridiculous extremes of dilution. Get some 10 molar hydrochloric acid. Put 500 mL in a beaker. Now fill a bathtub with water, and put a single drop of .01 molar hydrochloric acid in it. CAREFULLY get 500 mL of it into another beaker. Now, stick your hand in the very dilute beaker (the one you filled from a tub). You'll probably feel a slight tingling sensation. Now, stick your hand in the other beaker. If homeopathy is true, it should be *far* less strong and not even leave a tingling. If homeopathy is bullshit, then your hand will melt off. Now, once you get back from the hospital and can come back to this discussion, let's analyze the results.

Well, your hand burned off in the strong acid, but not in the dilute. Hopefully you didn't actually do that, as the 10 molar bottle was probably covered in warnings. I doubt even a homeopathic doctor would try that experiment, even after seeing that the really dilute solution didn't do anything to *my* hand. Now, *real* scientists have diluted pretty much everything at some point for hundreds of years. This includes medicines. They would have noticed if diluting something had the opposite of the expected result.

Now, if you actually did the experiment... you may wonder about the tingling you probably felt when you touched the .000001 molar solution. You knew there was acid in there, and perhaps you even halfway believed that this dilution made it stronger. What you felt was the placebo effect that homeopathy thrives on.

(BTW, it would be seriously awesome if someone brought some 10 molar and .000000001 molar acid and dared a homeopathic "doctor" to put his money where his mouth is. Be sure to record the results.)

Homeopathy is 100% BULLSHIT as every controlled double-blind study with a significant sample-size shows time and time again. The fact that some countries (I'm looking at you, UK!) publicly fund homeopathic hospitals is one of the worse crimes being perpetrated today. I certainly hope those responsible are criminally persecuted when someone dies because their homeopathic cure doesn't work.

Re:Umm, what? (3, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611399)

"largely settled matters"... in 1404, a flat Earth was a "largely settled matter"
Yes, it was largely a settled matter that the Earth was not flat, but round. This was known since antiquity.

Re:Umm, what? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611411)

That a stopped clock is still right twice a day is not an argument for never winding it up.

Homeopathy is a scam. It takes advantage of the stupid, the ignorant and the certifiably paranoid.

It's rather like defending the mob because of their family values.

Not the flat Earth myth again (3, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611427)

... in 1404, a flat Earth was a "largely settled matter"
No, it [wikipedia.org] wasn't [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Umm, what? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611505)

the fundamentalist creationist types have a chance (small as it may be) at accidentally discovering something along the way that "real science" may have ignored or discounted
And if I hit you over the head with a crowbar I might accidentally get you diagnosed with a brain tumor when they take X-rays to see how much damage your crushed skull did, but that's no reason not to dodge any incoming crowbars.

And "they might point out something relevant at some point" is no reason not to dodge their incessant bad-faith effort to discredit every little detail they can think of.

Look at this link (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 7 years ago | (#20610977)

Have a look at http://www.badpsychics.com/ [badpsychics.com] and look at Professor Richard Dawkins' two part series on "The Enemies of Reason". He gives homeopathy and other pseudo-science a right good pasting.

Re:Look at this link (1)

VValdo (10446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611057)

I was about to recommend the same thing.

here's the channel 4 site [channel4.com] , as well as videos, part one [google.com] and two [google.com] .

W

Re:Look at this link (1)

sleigher (961421) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611195)

And rightfully so. Homeopathy is kind of like treating someone with the idea of medicine instead of the actual thing. We will dilute this so much that there is nothing left except the fact that there was at one time something there. This is for all intents and purposes treating an ailment with nothing.

I believe what science has proven. Simple as that. However I have to bring this up simply because it pertains to the subject at hand and I do find it interesting. I got a puppy 14 years ago. He had mange, we found this out after we brought him home. We asked the SPCA and they said they had treated him twice for mange and he should be all better. Well he wasn't. We had him treated with the traditional dip again and he did ok for a short time until the mange reappeared. We asked the SPCA again what we should do. They said we cannot keep giving him the dip because it is toxic and will hurt him. So we asked a vet what we should do and they said the same thing. The dog was extremely sick at this point and it was either find a way to treat him or put him down. Well, we decided to try the homeopathic route. We went to a homeopathic vet and began treatment. After about 2 months he began to get better. Actually he was extremely better but still had a few problems so we continued. Over time he bacame 100% better and he lived a long healthy life. He died just a few months ago.

I bring this up because it is interesting. I do not believe that the homeopathic medications helped him and that without the medication his own immune system would have cured him. At the beginning it did not seem that this would happen because he kept getting worse. In fact I have begun to believe that the mange was a reaction to something else that was cured after he left the pound and the toxic dips. I do know that mange is tiny mites.

Anyways make of this what you will. Many people I talk to say that there is a direct correlation between the homeopathy and his healing. I guess I am just a pessimist. --

Re:Look at this link (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611351)

Many people I talk to say that there is a direct correlation between the homeopathy and his healing. I guess I am just a pessimist.

Or just a realist. When I read your story, the first thing that occurred to me was: No wonder the dog got better. I'd imagine that finding itself dunked in noxious and irritating chemicals, repeatedly, in an unfamiliar environment, would wreak total havoc on a dog's stress level, and having that trauma removed from its experience would enable its natural systems to function better. There is an observed correlation between positive emotional states and healing, and the homeopathic remedies were just as worthless as the dip in that case: neither was producing an improvement in condition.

It's too bad the term "holistic" seems to have been hijacked by these quacks, because there's some promising stuff there that doesn't rely on unscientific conjecture.

There should never be a settled issue in science. (0)

johnnywheeze (792148) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611009)

"ignoring settled issues in science" There should never be a settled issue in science. Science is about observation and theory not orthodoxy. Regardless of how crack-pot the theory, it should be able to be tested using scientific method, without being ridiculed because it goes against "established science." /Fortean.

Re:There should never be a settled issue in scienc (1)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611103)

Totally agreed. The trouble is, the placebo effect is real, and huge (somehow seems to settle in around ~30% regardless of what metric you use). People are all different in their diseases, and their response to medications. Thus, to test a drug you need a lot of patients with similar diseases, and give a fraction of them the drug, and a fraction of them placebo. You need to have a system of following up the results of this test without bias, and keeping track of potential confounding variables. Thus to convincingly scientifically demonstrate in medicine something (I did not say prove!), it takes a *lot* of time and money.

So, what do you do until then? You rely on small sample sizes or what seems "reasonable." If something is crack-pot, it probably doesn't work, and thus probably won't be proven nor disproven. I welcome you to entertain any theory, or anybody for that matter, but scientists focus on designing studies for reasonable hypotheses, and then form the test to demonstrate it.

What happens in real life, is somebody does something, it makes them feel better, and then they tell their friends about it. We have all seen the correlation versus causation debates here.

By the way, last time I ate carrots and posted on slashdot, I got +5 insightful. Excuse me, I'm going to get some carrots. Or maybe it was the postings on even days? :p

Re:There should never be a settled issue in scienc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611337)

I would say that it is true that there shouldn't be any absolutely settled issues in science; there are however, well established ones. One cannot just ignore them and retain any scientific credibility. One must either reconcile their new theory w/ the established ones, or produce sufficient evidence for overturning the established ones and the existing body of evidence in their favor.

Homeopathy and the power of the mind... (5, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611013)

I'm a doctor -- I could write an entire book on the relation of "scientific" or "evidence-based" medicine in relation to homeopathy.

In general, homeopathy is essentially tolerated, and as the article humorously points out, it tends to not do much harm because things are dilute. From the Wikipedia article, which nicely summarizes it:
> any positive effects of homeopathic treatment are simply a placebo effect.

That has pretty much been my experience -- and it is difficult for an individual (even a doctor) to tell somebody to NOT do something that is not harmful, and (very, very unlikely) may be beneficial. Physicians joke about "homeopathic" doses of drugs when we think a drug is significantly under-dosed (usually when beginning somebody on a new medicine to see how they react to it.)

It is really funny the ritual surrounding this -- you wouldn't believe the people that adhere to homeopathic remedies and spend hundreds of dollars on these cure-alls, yet still "struggle" to afford the copay on the drugs that are actually keeping them alive. However, something that reinforces positive thought (which indeed can have an effect on your health) is good, and the placebo effect is undeniable.

Despite their benign nature, the aggressive marketing of these substances to vulnerable groups (the sick) disagrees with me. I mean, look at this http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=homeopathic+remedy&btnG=Google+Search [google.com] and some of the wild claims they make for cure. I can't make these outlandish claims for most of the drugs I prescribe, so how can an honest doc compete? :)

Re:Homeopathy and the power of the mind... (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611115)

...and the placebo effect is undeniable...

I think you may find that there are those who do deny the placebo effect.

You will, in fact, find one or two rather large studies that discount it.

C//

Re:Homeopathy and the power of the mind... (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611477)

Hmm normally the placebo effect is considered to be a quite strong effect, stronger than some medications. IMHO it is ok to allow homeopathy to reahc patientw with the placebo effect which otherwise would not benefit from it. In scientific discussion, however, this should be considered the main effect of homeopathy.

Re:Homeopathy and the power of the mind... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611325)

I wouldn't get too smug. Half of all real medicine is no good [cato-unbound.org] either.

(I know, I know, "That's just Cato, a right-wing nut-case organization." I'm not asking you to believe it because Cato says so. I'm asking you to believe the rigorous studies Hanson references, and note how uncontroversial that claim is among actual medical professionals.)

Where is your gumption? (3, Insightful)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611527)

I am amazed at how tolerant doctors are of alternative medicines. Years ago I had a letter published in the local newspaper where I protested their gullible coverage of an obviously bogus medical claim. I was surprized that my letter was the only one that appeared. This was in a big city - where were the letters from the medical doctors?

Why do so few doctors speak out? Where is their courage? Where is their integrity?

Some day we may have a public who is completely unable to differentiate between true medical doctors practising evidence-based medicine, and a vast array of charlatans and witch doctors, and the doctors will wonder what happened.

Your tepid and spineless response to alternative medicine is what happened.

Too bad this isn't a controversy (3, Interesting)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611051)

The writers picked the topic because of a relative lack of controversy. This is unsurprising to me, but not for a good reason. My experience - I would love to see some research, hopefully proving me wrong - has led me to believe that a majority of people accept the spurious claims of homeopathy advocates. I'm disheartened about this by the number of otherwise perfectly reasonable people who have insisted that I should pay money for a homeopathic dilution of zinc [wikipedia.org] to fight a cold virus.

"My last cold only lasted three days, must have been the Zicam," is so wrong on multiple levels, and it's a sad commentary on the state of education that such thinking is so widespread, although it's only fair to note that such has always been the case with regards to medicine.

My favorite part of the article is this three-bong-load abuse of physics by Lionel Milgrom, a contributor to this very special journal edition, who proposes a theory (I shit you not) of quantum entanglement of humans:

"It is as if at a deep level, everything in the universe is instantaneously linked together in a vast holistic matter-energy network of interacting fields which transcends ordinary concepts of space and time," Milgrom says. "And we, composed of trillions of particles are an inseparable part of it: far from what reason seems to tell us."

Mr. Milgrom, you and I share the same perspective on the universe. Unfortunately for you, it's called religion, not science, and your attempts to dress it up as science for the purposes of promoting our generation's version of patent medicine are the worst sort of shameful mockery.

Also, "instantaneously?" How can any two things be made instantaneous by a force that "transcends time?" You're as shitty a philosopher as you are a physicist, Mr. Milgrom.

Re:Too bad this isn't a controversy (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611263)

I tend toward folk remedies and herbal medicines myself.

Some, like chicken soup for colds, are said to be actually effective.

-uso.

Re:Too bad this isn't a controversy (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611453)

Some, like chicken soup for colds, are said to be actually effective.

It certainly makes sense, from the present scientific understanding of physiology, that ingesting a steaming hot, flavorful, (generally) nutritious substance during a respiratory infection would promote comfort and positive emotions, which are correlated with good health.

That's a far cry from claiming that water has a memory, as do the advocates of homeopathy.

Besides, what else would one want to eat with a cold? Sashimi?

Kicking a Puppy (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611061)

This sort of thing only fuels further stupidity on their part. Look! We're being oppressed we have to be right. Though on the other hand I'm not sure what exactly can be done to discredit psuedosciences, when the average lay person can't tell the difference.

The truth about doing nothing (3, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611087)

Diluting something to the point that it is nothing and admistering it as medicine is not a great testament to Homeopathy in my mind. It is a testament against "western medicine". I think it is very true that often doing nothing is better than doing whatever western medicine says. Example: US has one of the most medicalized Birth process of any country, and one of the worst infant mortality rates of any modern world country [cnn.com] . The US also feeds babies medicine(infant "formula") instead of food (breastmilk), cuts off functional parts of the male anatomy at birth out of tradition and ignorance.

All this unnecessary medicalization happens in the first few seconds of life a large percentage of US born babies. Setting that precident, imagine all the rediculious medicalization the "western world" faces and it is not hard to see why backing the *eff* off and using some kind of placebo voodoo water (assuming homeopathy is false) would be popular and even relieving to the bodies of people who have been abused by their own thirst for "medicine".

I am not saying western medicine gives us nothing, or that homeopathy gives us something, but I am saying that psychological response is perhaps more important than chemicals and surgery, and maybe a psudo science of placebo is a nice way to wean lemmings off of "just gimme an antibiotic so I can feel better".

Re:The truth about doing nothing (4, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611217)

The problem is that the things you are complaining about have little to do with modern medicine.

The consensus is that breastfeeding is good, and circumcision isn't beneficial.

Medicine screws up, sometimes, but you're damn glad it's there when you need it.

Re:The truth about doing nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611573)

You must be new here. You'd get better Karma for saying it's Bush's fault then for pointing out that the GP has shitty illogical conclusions from bullshit data.

Re:The truth about doing nothing (0, Troll)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611307)

Maybe it's a good thing that I'm allergic to antibiotics but were it not for western medicine(chemotherapy) my mom would be dead. So up yours with the "it's psychological" shit.

Re:The truth about doing nothing (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611329)


US has one of the most medicalized Birth process of any country, and one of the worst infant mortality rates of any modern world country.

See "correlation does not imply causality". The infant mortality rate can probably be more closely tied to lack of universal health care, and possibly other social factors. Why you chose "medicalization of the Bith process" as your blame is beyond me.

The US also feeds babies medicine(infant "formula") instead of food (breastmilk)

Many women breastfeed, I'd even venture it's more like most these days. I'm not sure why you're trying to put everyone in the US into one narrow, inaccurate category.

  cuts off functional parts of the male anatomy at birth out of tradition and ignorance.

I think circumcision is stupid, but I'm not aware that it causes any health problems. There actually were some pretty good studies that said it might reduce the spread of STDs (the study I'm thinking of might have been with HIV)

but I am saying that psychological response is perhaps more important than chemicals and surgery

Maybe. I think that's an incredibly broad and misleading statement though. I'd say we don't really focus enough on illness brought on by stress... but then I also don't think that "feel good" is going to cure cancer either.

and maybe a psudo science of placebo is a nice way to wean lemmings off of "just gimme an antibiotic so I can feel better".

I disagree. I think this is a problem that CAN be addressed without deception. People want something to distract them from their illness and not have it stress them all the time. Why can't this be addressed by not lying to them and saying something is doing something when it's not?

I don't know if that's something we can study via science or not.

WTF? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611107)

Excuse me, but isn't the article yattack way too convoluted than necessary, and logically faulty? One can totally misunderstand the principles behind a cure, yet apply it and having it work.

If you want to prove homeopathy useless gather enough cases and compare how they stack up against normal cures. I guess you'll win.

Because if the arstechnica objections are right, and homeopathy is only a matter of placebo effect, you'd still have to prove that this placebo effect is inferior to normal cures in terms of percentage of people cured.
And even before stopping calling it homeopathy and starting it calling placebo you must prove that convincing people in other ways than explaining the homeopatic theory is irrelevant to their faith in being cured.

I am nitpicking of course but the defenders of science and logic must be logically faultless.

Re:WTF? (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611267)

Wtf, right back at you.
Placebo comparison occurs in most clinical drug testing in the form of a sugar pill. Misunderstanding a "cure" in this case involves them claiming statistical significance where there is none, which means that there was no effect worth mentioning.

Re:WTF? (3, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611277)

Because if the arstechnica objections are right, and homeopathy is only a matter of placebo effect, you'd still have to prove that this placebo effect is inferior to normal cures in terms of percentage of people cured.


That's what every Phase II drug trial ever done has tested: "Is this medicine more effective than a placebo?"

Do you have ANY idea how science works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611393)

> If you want to prove homeopathy useless gather enough cases and compare how they stack up against normal cures. I guess you'll win.

That's not the way it works. Besides, that would only prove one particular cure as being no better than placebo. In general, real medicines undergo double-blind trials with a placebo wherein they are screened for effects both positive and negative. They also undergo toxicity testing to make sure that they aren't likely to be poisonous.

Also, they generally have some idea of what they do or might do to the body in mind before they start a whole lot of testing. You know, something more than a wild guess, even if they start by noticing nothing more than that it kills cancer cells (or whatever) in petri dishes.

Because there's no evidence that homeopathic remedies do work, because the proponents totally disregard those methods of testing, ignore control groups, and report anecdotes as data, they're not really taken seriously. It's really not that hard to set up a proper experiment, but no one else is going to do it for them when everything we know about medicine says that weaker doses are weaker, not stronger.

But if, you know, they want to be taken seriously, they COULD try doing real experiments. Not just setting up bogus "peer-reviewed journals." If they can show, given proper controls, that there's a real effect, people will take notice. I mean, the one ridiculous thing that actually claimed to show positive results was reviewed by Nature. Mind you, they found that the experiment was horribly flawed and that they were unable to reproduce those effects, but it's not like they ignored the research out of hand.

The root issue (5, Insightful)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611171)

Something few people seem to recognize is there are two separable elements to most of homeopathy. The first is the treatment itself, and the second is the explanation for how it works. For whatever reason people aren't satisfied to know that something works, they also need to know why it works. And unfortunately if there isn't a self-evident explanation one will be invented. And it doesn't end there, the invented rationale is then usually extended to develop other treatments (which don't work of course because what they are based on isn't true).

Take acupuncture. Twirling small needles in the top layer of the skin has a variety of benefits. But why? Traditions tell the story that it balances the energy flows, etc etc. A recent study examined three groups, one with no acupuncture, one with acupuncture in the traditionally prescribed locations, and one with acupuncture in random locations. Both of the latter two groups were better than the first (no treatment), but interestingly they weren't different from each other.

So yes acupuncture has some effect, but the traditional explanation has nothing to do with why it works.

So two of the big problems with homeopathy are first that most people get hung up on the far out explanations for why the treatments supposedly work and miss out on stuff that could actually help them. And second that lots of homeopathic treatments are developed that don't do anything to help because they are logical extensions of faulty premises.

Alternative medicine also suffers from the fact that once a treatment becomes well accepted and is supported by empirical research it magically leaves the realm of alternative medicine. So by definition alternative treatments will always be those that haven't yet been supported by scientific research, even though many of them do in fact work.

I've talked to a number of homeopaths and in my limited experience they seem to take it like an all or nothing religion, where you have to accept it all or none of it, and you have to accept the wacky explanations to the letter. It would be nice if they didn't feel so burned by the modern medical machine that they reject as a matter of principle empirically based testing.

The accupuncture answer... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611519)

Western science could have it: reinforcement. If you think about it could work on a number of levels. You go to get treated with something that carries both a psychological impact and a physical one. We tend to fear needles and this is our treatment. If you're looking to reinforce ideas (the treatment) this seems like one possible way to do it. Of course I'm not a psychologist.

Good and bad (0)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611189)

Like most things there's good and bad so science often dismisses the good by lumping it in with the bad. The dilutions are snake oil. Other things aren't. I use a product called Oxy something, long unpronouncable name. It's essentially hepititus that's been freezed dried 400X to fragment it and render it harmless but the chemical markers are intact. Your body recognizes it and flips on the immune overdrive. Since I started using it eight years ago I haven't gotten a full blown cold or flu. When I start to feel the first symptoms I take and it always knocks it out of me. There's also the unfortunate lumping of herbal remedies in with some of the more out there parts of Homepathic preparations. The earliest drugs came from herbs and most of the early pharmecuticals came from herbal remedies they just refined and repackaged them. The important thing is to cherry pick what works from the wacky placebo effects. Eight years without a cold or flu isn't a placebo.

Re:Good and bad (2, Insightful)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611379)

Eight years without a cold or flu isn't a placebo.

I've been eight years without a cold or flu, and haven't taken a single so-called preventative -- placebo or not.

In other words -- have you considered the possibility that you are just lucky?

Re:Good and bad (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611513)

I use a product called Oxy something, long unpronouncable name. It's essentially hepititus that's been freezed dried 400X to fragment it and render it harmless but the chemical markers are intact.

I second mad.frog's post, and would like to add that the process you've described is complete unscientific marketing bullshit. This is sort of the point of TFA.

My grandmother didn't suffer a cold for almost two decades, and her only medicine was Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry, so I suppose that must be at least twice as effective as whatever you're using.

Honey (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611213)

I want homeopathy to die, not really because I mind idiots being separated from their money because they're gullible. That's what Apple's Inc. is for ;) It's just that every time I put honey in my coffee, some "expert" tells me that it's good for relieving your allergies. If I know the idiot, I'll politely explain that bee pollen has absolutely no relation to the airborne pollens one succumbs to in these parts (cedar, ragweed, oak, etc.). You see, flowers frequented by bees actually need the BEES to do their pollenating. If I were allergic to clover honey or something, sure, immunotolerance might ensue. But allergies to airborne antigens ain't affected by honey!

I LIKE HONEY BECAUSE IT TASTES YUMMY, OKAY, SO FOAD YOU MORONS!

They should take a look in the mirror. (2, Insightful)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611219)

I find it somewhat funny that they make fun of non-western style medicine because it is expensive and unnecessary. In my experience most of the treatments THEY prescribe are also expensive and unnecessary. The majority of ailments people suffer in the U.S. could easily be cured by getting the proper amount of sleep, using good hygiene, exercising daily, and eating whole foods in moderation. Instead they give their patients all kinds of drugs that cause just as many problems as they eliminate and at prices that bankrupt families and put a huge strain on the overall economy. Somewhat hypocritical don't you think?

Re:They should take a look in the mirror. (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611305)

That's a nice ad hominem attack there. I wasn't aware that Ars prescribed medicine, maybe they'll help me with that with some "prescriptions"...

Re:They should take a look in the mirror. (1)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611577)

i was talking about the medical professionals that were weighing in on the subject and taking jabs at homeopathy. I'm by no means a believer in it. It's just that they make many of the same mistakes that they laugh at others for making.

Water Memory? (-1, Redundant)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611239)

What about the "Water Memory" [wikipedia.org] that is a basis of homeopathy, and has been demonstrated by some (not uncontested) experiments?

Jokes and put downs that aren't actually scientific aren't really welcome in response here. A pointer to actual scientific disproof, or some further discussion of how it has been proven, or even an actually funny scientific joke would be.

Re:Water Memory? (2, Informative)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611349)

Read the wiki page? When the double blind test was conducted without experimenter bias, there was no effect.

Baron Clemens Franz Marie von Boennighausen (0, Offtopic)

Arthurvynb (1157029) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611323)

Friends: Baron Arthur Gerard Michael von Boennighausen here......... My wife Marty is the decendent of James Watt - Inventor of the Steam Engine. Every lightbulb in the world has a reference to James Watt (20 Watts, 40 Watts, etc). I am the great grandson of the Baron von Boennighausen who helped found the field of Homeopathy. Marty and Arthur can help answer any questions about the field of Homeopathy or the development of the Steam Engine. My email address is: arthurvynb@sangre-de-cristo.net We live on a 1640 acre Ranch in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range of Colorado....... Look here: www.sangre-de-cristo.com/land/horses You can Google names like James Watt and Clemens Franz Marie von Boennighausen to Learn more....... Thinking allowed in Colorado........ Arthur von Boennighausen

i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611365)

a new linux distro was the product of a bowel movement.

mind over matter (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20611413)

Yea, I don't see the problem here. If some people think it makes them better, then power to them.
Western medicine's first reaction to anything is rejection. They probably hated the x-ray and antibiotics when they first came out also, so basically, modern medical science is not all that advances in my opinion.

If we had the cures to everything then people wouldn't be looking for things like homeopathy to make them feel better. I think people who follow this might ultimately wind up being more aware of what toxins and such they put into their body, so from the point of becoming more aware of your body I think it has some positive uses.

You can argue meditation is useless also and for the most part it is, but for some people it's amazing. Now I've experienced homeopathy first hand as my aunt is into that stuff, and yea it's pretty crazy and more or less laughable, but if she feels it bring her 'inner peace' then chances are she has still achieved more than most people.

I think the fact people are aware and interested about their nutritions and biological make-up is a good think, even if it's pseudo science or just total BS. I mean TV is BS, social network is BS, political campaigns are BS, yet most of us buy into all those.

I think we may be missing the idea that science is not the only way to improve how you feel. Positive thinking and feeling as though you are empowered over a situation, even when you not, in most cases makes people happier. It doesn't have to make sense and making sense out of it will only confuse you, especially if you not one of the people who support the view in question.

The only think i don't like it when new age or conservative nutball parents brainwash their children into not taking real medicine. These assholes who put their kid on homeopathic medicine instead of chemo and then their kids chances for being cured drop off drastically because by the time they can no longer lie to themselves about the effectiveness of homeopathy you are past the 'get it early' stage. That does piss me off, but it's not something limited to homeopathy, just stupidity and I do think people have the right to refuse treatment, though I don't think parents have the right to make that decision for their children.

It's funny, conservatives believe they can deny their children life saving treatment but they think abortion is wrong because your murdering a child. What's up with that? Both ways the child has no real choice so it's a very comparable situation.

Obligatory Futurama: (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611485)

Random guy: "I've got a degree in homeopathic medicine!" Truck: "You've got a degree in baloney!" *knocks guy down with water from a hose*

homeopathy == load of bullshit (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611535)

I don't care if you waste your money on something completely useless that does you and anyone else no harm.

I DO care when these con artists claim it can cure/treat real illnesses, because if even one person delays proper treatment to these quacks, it's one too many. Homeopathy is mildly therapeutic at best, and even most of those benefits can be explained as nothing to do with the treatment itself.

How do you know the product is genuine? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#20611547)

Regardless of whether or not homeopathy is valid or not, there's another problem: how is the consumer to know whether any homeopathic product is genuine?

HeadOn Extra Strength Sinus Headache Relief, from Miralus Healthcare, is stated to contain

"Golden Seal Hydrastis 30X HPUS 0.08%."

30X means that the ingredient has been diluted by a factor of ten thirty times. As in ten-to-the-minus-thirtieth power. As in over a million times Avogadro's Number. I'm not sure that the 0.08% means--probably that it started out at 0.08% before they diluted it, but after dilution to one nonillionth (Europeans: one quintillionth), who's counting?

How the heck would anyone know for sure whether or not the product actually contained any Golden Seal Hydrastis in it, or not? Even the "White Bryony 12X HPUS 0.04%" would be a challenge.

I suppose the "Potassium dichromate 6X HPUS 0.05%" is detectible, but exactly who is trying to detect it? Not the FDA, that's for sure.

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