Re: Anti-homeopathic rhetoric

Ian Goddard (
Thu, 05 Aug 1999 14:00:23 -0400

At 10:33 PM 8/4/1999 +0200, you wrote:

>Ah, I love it. Has anybody else noticed how people (not only kooks)
>love to refer to how their pet idea is receiving more approval in
>other countries? Alas, this works increasingly less well with an
>international audience.

IAN: Fuzzy logic has been receiving far more approval in Japan than in the U.S., but that doesn't mean it's wrong or that refering to that makes you a kook. What makes homeopathy wrong is that it's fraud. Now, there are some medicinal preparations sold by homeopathic companies that actually contain standard quantities of, for example, herbal extracts. But the "philosophy" that water from which virtually all medicinal contents have been removed still imparts the therapeutic effect of those now-absent chemicals by some kind of "water memory" is simply fraud. Never before has such a cover story been used to sell placebos.

Medical studies show that placebo patients tend to report more symptoms than they did before taking the placebo, which means that the mind is superimposing its expectations. Also, a sizable non-zero percentage of those on placebo report getting better. If you took the same placebo pill and put it on the market, a sizable non-zero percentage of people taking that phoney medicine would report getting better, and they would go tell their friends and you'd have an constant non-zero market for sugar pills and bottles of water without medicinal content. That's how homeopathy works, placebo effect.