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Gerald O'brian


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Should we let homeopathy be?

The biggest dilemma for me is that placebo is proven to work better if the physician also believes he's giving real medecine. In this view, homeopathy is the perfect placebo. Even the people making it, through laborious dilutions, have GOT to believe in it, or their high school knowledge about chemistry would make it tempting to skip the whole process and make more profit selling sugar.
It's even got quantum mechanics watching its back, losing the more curious ones in complexe explanations about just how complexe liquid water is.
And of course, the idea is fun. Like cures like. 1/1000000th of a molecule of ethanol to cure a hangover.
Sure it's tempting to ridicule the whole industry for the billion dollar quackery it is. But one might actually find that it's saving a lot of healthcare money, and that it WORKS! And it works because we let it, because we don't ask for double-blind tests...
So what's your view on this? Is homeopathy a cheap way to heall the credulous? Or has it gone too far and is part of what makes the transition to the age of reason so darn slow?



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    Oct 22 2013: yes. first, we don't need specific laws, we need general laws. if you suggest that our general laws are defective, we need to attempt to fix them, and not patch them.

    but i also claim that genera rules if set in accordance with moral, can not outlaw homeopathy. it can, on the other hand, outlaw parts of it.


    in general, there is nothing immoral in homeopathy. even if it hurts, the person taking it hurts himself, and we have no right to interfere. similarly, we don't ban alcohol, fast food, coca cola either. the freedom of choice includes the freedom of failure.

    however, this is true only if there is no fraud involved. homeopathic practicers can not promise things they can not deliver. if they lied about their product, they are liable for full refund, and arguably for the damage done.
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      Oct 22 2013: Good point.
      What if the practicioners are unaware of the deceit? What if they themselves believe in the medecine they are selling?
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        Oct 22 2013: this is a much harder question. an analogy would be a car mechanic that unknowingly made your car dangerous. according to current law, and probably to common sense, one can not claim expertise if does not possess one.

        not easy to tell though, because homeopathy is widely practiced, and has millions of followers, thus it is hard to argue that a practicer should have doubts.
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          Oct 22 2013: Yes, and thanks to the placebo effect, his unscientific business can actually work sometimes...

          I've given thought to the entire thing. A better homeopathy should skip the costly and pointless dilluting process and the money that it raises (and placebos shouldn't come free) should be used for healthcare, not corporate profit. Also, it should be presented as ordinary medecine, or as something "natural", extracted from plants or whatever, but it should get rid of the idea of "like cures like" and of the infinitesimal dillutions and anything else contradicting the laws of physics and logic.
          In other words, it would be more ethical if it lied about its pharmacology, selling mollecules that are not there, instead of selling water memory : you could even cure the people who'd have paid attention in high-school chemistry class.

          Or would you dismiss the entire placebo commerce on the grounds that it's not worth the cost of having bullshit running in the medical corpus ?

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