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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 23 2013: To answer the question posed in the title, I think you should let homeopathy be.

    The skeptics’ comments here, and in other articles favorable to homeopathy, represent the typical thought process of those who worship at the alter of conventional medicine versus that of homeopathic medicine. For example, con med treats the results of disease (diarrhea, inflammation, headaches, COPD, GERD, etc) with medications to stop, or suppress the symptoms. This is symptoms (of disease) control or management, not disease cure. The distinction between the two is vast and crucial.

    Homeopathic medicine, on the other hand, aims to cure a disease process taking into account the person’s entire constellation of symptoms, life style, genetic predisposition (miasms), the mental state and even preferences for food (salty or sweet), to temperature (prefers cold weather, or hot); and even fears (fear of heights, thunderstorms).

    It is not up to homeopathy to prove that it works because it has and does. Opinions of skeptics, who adopt their talking points from other skeptics, are not proof that homeopathy is not effective. Outside the realm of emergency care and surgery, conventional medicine has been a dismal failure. And, because of this health care consumers world-wide are seeking alternatives. This poses a giant threat to the pharmaceutical industry who pads the bank accounts of physicians, even first year medical students. Any wonder why then that this fact has spawned a plethora of idle minds willing to comment for cash and post for pounds worldwide? Fortunately, their efforts are failing.
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      Oct 23 2013: " conventional medicine has been a dismal failure "

      This is utter ignorance. Do you believe in viruses and bacteria?
      A century ago, alternative medecine was the only thing in town. Life expectancy was half what it is now.
      Or do you attribute our longer lives to other factors, such as better nutrition like that of Americans who live to be 77?
      And how about the 50% drop in infant mortality since the fifties?
      The very fact that you're alive and posting rubish is an hommage to the science of medecine that's been struggling with sorcery and superstition and figuring out how the body actually works. Your ignorance is a luxury. You'd be worried about being alive next spring instead of worrying about whether you like salt or sugar best or about your very favorite bath temperature.

      " It is not up to homeopathy to prove that it works because it has and does "
      Well argued. Although prescientific arguments work better on skeptics if they're tied up and tortured.

      Also, how have you explained that homeopathy is more than a placebo?
    • Oct 23 2013: 'Modern medicine' and 'failure' rarely appear stitched together in the same sentence.

      Here's a short, and very non-comprehensive list:
      --Average life expectancy has more than doubled. Infant mortality numbers especially are down.
      --Small pox, formally one of the deadliest diseases in human history, has been eradicated in nature.
      --We have a thing called preventable diseases nowadays. Things like polio, tetanus, most strains of flu. Before modern medicine, these preventable conditions used to be called cest la vie. Or more crudely, **** happens.
      --Antibiotics. Even a simple infection used to be a life threatening condition less than a century ago. Nowadays, treatable.
      --An understanding how you get sick to begin with, so you can avoid it, even without vaccines. Miasmia my foot, its something called microorganisms.

      Hardly just "treating the symptoms".

      Claiming modern medicine has failed is what's called perfect solution fallacy. Its not perfect sure, nothing is, but that doesn't mean its not worth implementing.
      If I came up with some invention tomorrow which would cut death via traffic accidents in half, I'm sure it'll be implemented in a heartbeat. Claiming modern medicine has failed is like saying that the invention isn't worth using because it won't save the other half of the people that die on the road.
      • Oct 23 2013: @Navad Tropp

        Polio eradicated? Nope.
        http://rense.com/general92/polio.htm

        Smallpox eradicated? Nope.
        http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/04/02/smallpox-declared-eradicated-while-still-alive-and-well-by-viera-scheibner-phd/#sthash.4MjGxIFf.dpuf

        “Antibiotics. Even a simple infection used to be a life threatening condition less than a century ago. Nowadays, treatable.”

        Nope. Because of the over prescribing of antibiotics for self-limiting conditions, super bugs have developed that are resistant to antibiotics. See: “Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs”

        http://www.npr.org/2013/10/22/239247134/antibiotics-cant-keep-up-with-nightmare-superbugs

        With regard to the improving infant mortality, you did not cite any source. In just a few minutes of researching, I found some interesting facts. Infant mortality rates are significantly less in countries where the practice of homeopathy is accepted and in some cases funded by their national health services, including Cuba, Mexico, France, Germany, England, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S.

        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0934744.html

        And, in Greece where the practice of homeopathy fluorishes, the health care system is ranked as one of the best in the world. “The Greek healthcare system is universal and is ranked as one of the best in the world. In a 2000 World Health Organization report it was ranked 14th in the overall assessment and 11th at quality of service, surpassing countries such as the United Kingdom (18th) and Germany (25th).[52] Life expectancy in Greece is 80.3 years, above the OECD average of 79.5.[54] and among the highest in the world. In 2008 Greece had the highest rate of perceived good health in the OECD, at 98.5%.[55] Infant mortality is one of the lowest in the developed world with a rate of 3.1 deaths/1000 live births.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_systems_by_country

        Your invention 2 cut traffic accidents is better than spreading disinformation about homeopathy.
        • Oct 24 2013: I never claimed polio was eradicated, just preventable, and vastly on the decline.

          As for smallpox, no one has caught it in decades. The only place it exists today is in labs in the US and Russia for biological weapons and defense purposes.
          The vaccines themselves did some damage true, they're much more harmful than your average vaccine, but its nothing compared to say, a smallpox outbreak. You're comparing a few thousand headaches, mild fevers, and maybe a fatality or two to potentially millions of deaths.

          As for antibiotics, again, perfect solution fallacy. Just because its not a magical catch all solution doesn't mean its worthless. Over prescription and people not finishing their prescriptions may have reduced the effectiveness somewhat, but these antibiotic resistant bugs are still the exception, not the rule.
          A garden variety infection that was life threatening just a century ago is still considered an inconvenience today.

          As for your research, homeopathy has nothing to do with it. Those are all first world countries, and the very fact they have proper national health services to begin with probably have something to do with it...
          The thing is, infant mortality is down all over the world thanks to modern medicine, including places that have never even heard of homeopathy. If you look at infant mortality across a time table, and compare it to the invention and spread of homeopathy, you'll find no correlation.

          Same for Greece. There are a billion different things that affect life expectancy, and unless you've managed to isolate variables either experimentally or statistically, you just can't attribute it to one factor.
        • Oct 27 2013: Beautifully put and with references. Thanks Sandra

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