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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 23 2013: If homeopathy is effective, why doesn't some big pharma company come up with a slightly different preperation method and patent it? Here's an interesting observation. I live in Newcastle Australia a city with about 600,000 inhabitants. If I search homeopath in the local phone directory I get 7 hits. If I search naturopath I get 89 hits. Apparently Australians don't do homeopathy?
    • Oct 23 2013: 1. It isn't possible to patent natural substances. The only patentable homeopathic medicines are proprietary
      compounds, and they sell for about US $12 a package -- perhaps a 3 - 4 week supply. Most conventional
      drugs cost a minimum of US $125 for a 4-week supply.

      2. Most naturopaths are trained in and practice homeopathy.
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        Oct 23 2013: You could patent the preperation method. The US patent office is world famous for issuing patents where the applicant makes an inconsequential change to an existing product or procedure to isolate the US market from international competition.
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        Oct 24 2013: Is that crickets I hear?
    • Oct 28 2013: It just goes to show, Peter, like many of the skeptics who denounce homeopathy, don't know what they are talking about. The principles used in the preparation of ultra-diluted medicines are in the public domain and have been for 200+ years. Changing the methodology cannot produce a medicine that could be patented. The Boiron company has patented the name oscillococcinum (an influenza prophylactic and therapeutic), but they cannot patent the medicine which comes from a source in the public domain.
      The majority of skeptics of homeopath are not speaking from personal experience, they are just regurgitating received "wisdom" or knowledge they have heard or read and then go on to repeat what they have heard or read. They tend to latch onto one element of homeopathy, usually the ultra-molecular dilution issue, and fail to understand the wider aspects that relate to the nature of disease and treatment.
      I am not interested in changing the skeptic's minds which are steadfastly and irrevocably made up. This is because they now BELIEVE what they spout. A belief is not knowledge, it is not science, it is not evidence it is a belief that has strong emotional attachments and forms part of the self image of the skeptic; and he/she is fully entitled to his belief. He/she is not entitled to denigrate others who do not share their belief.
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        Oct 28 2013: I'm basing my comment on extensive knowledge of US patent law( mainly to do with production methods and design of bicycle frames), I don't really care whether homeopathy works, but I do know there are hundreds of US patents regarding the most insignificant details of mountainbike design and manufacture that prevent foreign companies selling bikes in the US. I don't see why you couldn't come up with a slightly different but unique method of preperation.

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