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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 24 2013: I see that everyone here has had the opportunity to present their views. After reading opinion pieces such as this, as well as articles and books with information on both sides, it is up to the health care consumer to do their own research and form their own opinions. Foremost in many of their minds will be the underlying fact that the popularity of homeopathy is growing because conventional medicine with all it’s double-blind, placebo controlled research trials and billion dollar marketing efforts is ...wait for it... failing the health care consumers they are supposed to serve. Finally, since health care is a market driven for profit industry, the method of health care that is most effective for the money spent will ultimately win out with patients and funding by national government entities, no matter what the skeptics claim or how they attempt to thwart the dissemination of information regarding alternative health care choices.
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      Oct 24 2013: Selling snake oil (= homeopathic remedies) seems profitable to me as well. Especially in the light that there are no huge R&D expenditures, clinical tests, etc.
      That said, making profit isn't bad. That's what companies live for.
      You see everything black and white. As many things, the pharma industry is far from being perfect. However, neglecting the countless lives saved because of "big pharma" can only be called ignorance.
    • Oct 24 2013: Honestly, if homeopathy worked, big pharmaceutical companies would have already taken it over. They don't really care where the money comes from. In fact, homeopathic medication is much cheaper to develop, and could theoretically be sold at a higher mark up; large teams of biologists, doctors and chemists, as well as their facilities are all quite expensive after all. Homeopathic remedies are dirt cheap to produce by comparison.

      Thing is, as most of their other products actually do something other than the placebo effect, they have a reputation to maintain.

      Say what you will about "big pharma", they're not stupid. If it worked, they'd already be knees deep in the homeopathic market.
      • Oct 24 2013: I have moved on. Time for you to do the same.
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        Oct 26 2013: Hi Nadav,
        You state "Honestly, if homeopathy worked, big pharmaceutical companies would have already taken it over." Well they are in a way - by lobbying to make it illegal. But what are they so scared of? (I'm married to a homeopath and have not been near an allopathic doctor for 25 years, so perhaps I'm biased).
        • Oct 26 2013: They're scared of loosing money to people who seek homeopathic treatment as opposed to conventional medicine. It doesn't have to work for people to seek it out so long as they think it works.

          If it really was effective, than the pharmaceutical companies would have tried to carve themselves out a slice of the profits instead; more money in it. Problem is, being pharmaceutical companies, they have a reputation to uphold--if they can't scientifically prove it works, they can't touch it.
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        Oct 27 2013: Hi Nadav,
        Thanks for your reply. I agree that the pharma industry cannot scientifically prove how or why homeopathy 'works', partly because they have the wrong paradigm of the human body to start with, and partly because scientific measuring instruments are not yet powerful enough to measure the complexity of the homeopathic process.
        Not so long ago quarks could not be measured, and although their existence was posited in theory, they could not be scientifically proved until the technical measuring apparatus was sufficiently sophisticated to measure them.

        The religion of scientism, which declares "we can't measure it therefore it does not exist and/or it is not important" is the paradigm that is ruining our planet and perpetuating a destructive economic system.
        Of course it doesn't get any closer to home than when it concerns your own body that is "mal-functioning"; which is why people desperately seek alternatives. People also desperately rely on standard medicine too to "heal them", but when (for example) it comes to something like cancer the honest truth is standard medicine doesn't know, but is happy to sell drugs and experiment on people.

        The current medical profession is fantastic for mending smashed up bodies, but when it comes to tackling longer-term accumulating dis-ease, I reckon homeopathy and other alternatives have something genuine to offer.
        • Oct 27 2013: The problem with homeopathy isn't that we can't measure it, its because everything we know about particle physics and chemistry tells us there is nothing to measure.
          Water does not have a "molecular memory". Nothing does; it completely contradicts everything we know about its structure.
          Quarks used to be immeasurable, but the theoretical side of things supported their existence. The theoretical side of things says homeopathy has no reason to work.

          I could mix my water with a single water of radioactive polonium or hydrogen cyanide, and it will do me neither good nor ill. It won't matter, because the dosage is so small its irrelevant. Its like taking a penny out of circulation in a global economy, completely negligible.

          Its better this way, honestly. If water did have a memory, than it'll also be affected by all those other things is used to contain over the years. Mineral deposits, the stuff that floats around in swamps, air pollution, the innards of animals and plants... Why should that single molecule that's left in the homeopathic medicine overcome all of those?
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        Oct 28 2013: Hi Nadav,

        I thought Masaru Emoto's work on water (in "The hidden Messages in Water") showed that water can have a memory, but maybe I've misunderstood it. It certainly seems to show that human thought has an effect on water, and that the water then "memorizes" it and reveals it in the differing crystalline structure when frozen.

        Back to homeopathy - how much does information "weigh" as in being measurable? Assuming the body is an energy-information exchange system (rather than merely a mechanical system with tube, pumps, and electrical pulses) then information can be introduced into the body in a variety of ways.

        When an allopathic pill is given, it has a chemical content with a chemical-biological impact on the patient, but what is really happening is that information is being fed into the human energy-information-body system that is contained in the chemistry of the make-up of the pill.

        Likewise for a homeopathic pill, information is also being given via the pill, though lacking in the chemical content of an allopathic pill. To answer your question, it is not just a case of dilution to the "single molecule that's left in the homeopathic medicine", but the fact that it has been potentised as well, which greatly increases its energy.

        {As an after-thought, talk-therapies don't use any pills at all, but the patient is also being fed information (which is essentially being done too with placebo "pills"). This can also get healing results, as least as far as the patient is concerned}.

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