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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?

thanks

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  • Oct 22 2013: Nadav, you need to go back to school. I'm not calling you stupid (as you do others), but pointing out the fact that you have no right to make others' decisions for them. Infections? Please! And as for public budgets, homeopathy is the most cost effective of the alternative field, and has less waste. It's the ultimate green medicine. And what makes you the arbiter of 'proper medical attention?' Do you have any kind of degree or knowledge?
    • Oct 22 2013: Not in medicine. I'm an engineering student, and military before that.
      Though it would be a sad day indeed that men can be lead around like sheep, degree or otherwise. I'm simply not convinced with the body of evidence laid before me. If not being a doctor myself, I can manage to spot problems in a research paper, than its a pretty blatant mistake (or perhaps an attempt to cherry pick the results, hard to say).
      Don't take this as a personal attack. I have an issue with homeopathy, not with you.

      And seriously, hubris demanding proof? Its a little thing called the scientific method. Without it, we'd still be making up thunder gods to explain the lightning outside because we wouldn't know better.

      All in all, I'd say there are also places where forcing decisions onto people is the right call. We have laws that make seat belts mandatory, so why not vaccines for example? That's where the "infections" part comes in.
      Homeopathy, as far as I'm aware, makes little difference one way or the other, so I don't really care whether its banned or not so long as public budgets aren't allocated towards it at the expense of conventional medicine (which has scientific evidence backing it).
      • Oct 22 2013: No, Nadav - I am saying your 'show me your proof' is hubris. Who are you to demand someone show you proof? I don't have to prove anything to you. If you don't believe something, that's your problem. I don't intend on 'laying evidence' in front of anyone. Not my job!

        If I see something working, I discount all the ways it could be working and focus on one thing. In other words, if someone gets better using ONLY homeopathy, that's great, but if you take immune system boosters, or antibiotics, or antioxidants, it doesn't mean homeopathy worked, it means you helped your body with other things, not solely homeopathy.
        • Oct 23 2013: And because you don't understand how it works, you can never actually be certain that its not coincidence. Or even if you are sure it is homeopathy doing the healing, you'll never know how to properly optimize it.

          The body knows how to heal itself of all types of problems. Often, homeopathic treatments are given, and the body heals itself just like it would without them. Correlation does not imply causation.

          Say I took a sugar pill a day every time I got the common cold. Eventually, I'd get better either way, and could easily attribute it to the sugar pill which did nothing, because I kept right on taking it through my illness. With no control to compare to, there are no conclusions worth drawing.
          It works just fine with more serious conditions too. Broken bones and open wounds all heal all on their own, with or without homeopathic care. Again, without a control group, you just can't attribute one to the other.

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