Re: Anti-homeopathic rhetoric

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 4 Aug 1999 08:14:41 -0700 (PDT)

[I think I emailed this personally instead of to the list. My apologies if it appears twice.]

> 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.

Please document this claim. It might be that during some particular epidemic for which the statistics were gathered, the traditional medical approach to treatment was actually harmful (that's quite likely, in fact). Since homepathy does nothing, it's not harmful and would therefore show better results. It might also be something like a statistical correlation between the proportion of homeopaths to doctors in an area and survival rates in that area; if so, that could be explained away simply by noting that homepaths go where the money is, and wealthy communities are cleaner and healthier.

> The AMA was formed by allopathic physicians, who were concerned
> about their loss of patients to homeopaths.

Probably true. That says nothing about the effectiveness of homeopathy, just the greed of doctors.

> 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)...

All marketing reasons, not medical ones.

>... and safe (no side-effects ever) remedies are,...

True. No effects=no side-effects. /Any/ medication that actually does something /will/ have side-effects. That's the very nature of evolved systems like bio-organisms: nothing has just one function and everything is connected. If you cause a change somewhere, something else will change as well.

> and its effectiveness in treating conditions that allopathic
> medicine can only provide symptomatic relief for.

An empty claim that no one has proved, despite decades of attempts.

> [More meaningless drivel about popularity, how some famous
> people use it, blah blah]

Science is nothing but precise, methodical, honesty. The claims of homeopaths are not merely unproven, they are willfully dishonest. Everyone with even the slightest knowledge of how the human body works knows how to properly test a drug: with a double-blind trial. Homeopathic remedies have been tested and failed every double-blind trial ever done for them. Anyone who tries to promote remedies has to dodge that fact, or invent other excuses for it, or direct the listener away from it. They must carefully avoid the dreaded word "placebo" because to educate the buying public with that knowledge would cause them to lose their market. Most probably have to be dishonest with themselves as well, convincing themselves that all the simple proof that their water is just water is somehow flawed, or that the placebo effect isn't really as powerful as it is known to be. If they didn't kid themselves, their conscience would prey upon them as surely as they prey upon the weak and gullible.

Traditional medicine has lots of problems, but it has one great redeeming feature that homeopathy lacks: when they find something doesn't work, eventually (sometimes after years) they stop doing it. Because while single doctors may not be, the scientific community as a whole is open-minded and honest enough to admit its failures and to change. The homeopathic community continues to use Hahnemann's books as a bible despite decades of progress by medical science. When Hahnemann wrote them, childhood leukemia was a death sentence. Breast cancer was a death sentence. No exceptions. Today, most survive. That didn't happen because of distilled water; it happened because of chemotherapy and radiation. But if homepaths had their way, they'd continue to treat those people with water, and continue to watch them die.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC