Re: Anti-homeopathic rhetoric

Technotranscendence (
Tue, 3 Aug 1999 19:07:33 -0700

On Tuesday, August 03, 1999 3:07 PM David Lubkin <> wrote:
> (1) Guilt by association. People that talk about homeopathy are usually
> the same
> non-rational people who talk about crystals, auras, astrology, and past
> lives. I am extremely
> skeptical about the validity of whatever new thing they babble on about
> this week. My time
> is too precious to examine an idea whose only supporters are such people.

I can understand this, though I try to look at ideas not people for the most part.

> (2) The notion that the more diluted a substance was, the more potent it
> is seemed
> ludicrous to me. Homeopathic remedies are often used in potencies where
> likely not a
> single molecule of the original substance remains. I've heard
> by physicists of
> supposed mechanisms for how it works, but I am not convinced.

I remain unconvinced, but that some might work and how it works are two different things. An Ancient Arab herbalist might prescribe valerian for sleep and attribute its power to some spiritual essence. (I'm making this up; I don't know if any Arab herbalists held any such views.) He or she might be right in that it works to assist one in sleeping yet be completely off base with the spiritual essence line.

> But: the real question is "Does it work?"
> Beyond my own family's successes in treatment of chronic health concerns,
> tens to hundreds
> of millions of satisfied patients, and double-blind studies in Nature and
> Lancet, what really
> convinced me that homeopathy was legitimate was personally seeing it
> succeed in contexts
> where there could be no placebo effect -- the treatment of horses, dogs,
> and babies.
> I'd be happy to cite studies or to elaborate, but my real concern is the
> dismissive tone of
> the postings. It reminds me too much of the way the rest of the world
> dismisses
> libertarianism as unrealistic and nanotechnology as fantasy.

I hope you will cite some of them. The first step should always be seeing what is the case, then, on that, we can plumb into the causal mechanisms.

Now, in this case, it might be that most homeoparthic stuff is utter garbage, but I'd rather know here than guess.

For the record, I've tried a few of them myself. I found one for allergies seemed to work quite well (I think it was Naturapathic brand stuff) the _first_ time I used it, but proved ineffective later on. (Now, I stick to vitamin B5, which works just fine for me as long as I take a sufficiently high dose.)


Daniel Ust