Anti-homeopathic rhetoric

David Lubkin (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 18:07:12 -0400

Precedence: bulk

Several posters have recently dismissed homeopathy as quackery. I'm responding as someone who uses it as part of a repertoire of medical strategies, after initially viewing
it with extreme skepticism.

I notice that all the anti-homeopathy comments seem to be from U.S. posters. In the 19th
and early 20th centuries, homeopathy was in wide use throughout the U.S., largely because
it had higher survival rates for epidemics than allopathic (conventional)
medicine. The AMA
was formed by allopathic physicians, who were concerned about their loss of patients to
homeopaths. They then used the power of the state to legislate a monopoly for themselves,
and waged a fierce and successful campaign to vanquish homeopathy.

Homeopathy has came back to wider use in the U.S. of late because of wide distrust of the
medical establishment, the holistic slant of homeopathy, how cheap (pennies
a dose) and safe
(no side-effects ever) remedies are, and its effectiveness in treating conditions that allopathic
medicine can only provide symptomatic relief for.

While there has past been criticism of homeopathy in other countries, it is now considered part
of conventional medicine in many countries whose technology and medicine we respect --
such as France, Germany, and the UK -- as well as those we in the U.S. view
more dubiously,
like India and Brazil.

The British royal family is treated by a homeopathic physician. Mother Teresa's clinics are
homeopathic. I understand that ambulances in France routinely use both allopathic and
homeopathic approaches in combination -- e.g., treat shock with MAST trousers and with Aconite.

The criticisms that I had myself were:

(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.

(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 explanations by physicists of
supposed mechanisms for how it works, but I am not convinced.

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. || Unreasonable Software, Inc. || a trademark of USI:

> > > > > B e u n r e a s o n a b l e .