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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 27 2013: This is a loaded start to the conversation. Why do you assume it is quackery? Have you read any homeopathic textbooks explaining how it works? Do you know that for 15 years a hospital had one ward dedicated to homeopathic medicne, patients were assigned to either that ward or the mainstream medicine ward purely on the basis of where there was a spare bed. It started as a one year trial but the results for homeopathy were so astounding that the director of the hospital extended it eventually for 15 years. By the end of the trial the director had become a homeopath based only on the results that he had personally observed. Assuming that this is placebo rather than a scientific method which science has not yet understood is patronising.
    If quantum physics had not been accepted as mainstream science the same arguments could be used to discredit it. eg. the observer influences the outcome, as described in the is it a wave or is it a particle experiment. the entire basis of sympathetic magic is that the observer can influence the outcome by chanting, dancing, using willpower etc. so willful misinterpretation could say that quantum physics is just sympathetic magic.
    Only willful misinterpretation brands homeopathy as placebo. Statistics from mnajor epidemics, eg cholera, 1918 spanish flu,yellow fever all show deaths under homeopathic treatment to be from 30 to 90% fewer than under mainstream treatment. How much more effective does it need to be to lose the placebo tag?

    Try it for yourself. Nux Vomica poisoning can be mistaken for alcohol poisoning clinically. Next hangover, try Nux vomica 6c or 30c and note the results for yourself. Tell yourself that you don't believe in homeopathy while you do so. Belief won't make any difference to whether it works or not.
    • Oct 27 2013: Current consensus among physicists is that the observer has nothing to do with quantum physics. Schrodinger's cat is an analogy that's supposed to put the theory in a ridiculous light, not something to taken as fact.
      Placebos work in an entirely different manner. Its well known for example that someone that's depressed is more liable to have a weakened immune system. The mind does have an effect on the state of the body.

      I've seen other statistics that can manage to attribute nothing to homeopathy other than the placebo effect. It doesn't help that our modern understanding of physics and chemistry says it shouldn't work, and that most proper researches support as much.
      • Oct 27 2013: Skeptics have opinions that are not well grounded from any position of authority as physicians, homeopaths, homeopathic patients, pharmaceutical chemists, or as professionals trained in any of the health care and research fields.

        While the skeptics are dissing homeopathy with cries of "placebo effect", much exciting research is being conducted. I have taken the liberty of including some more information about this research. .

        “Banerji protocols utilising homoeopathic medicine: a Best Case Series Program of the National Cancer Institute USA

        Abstract: Lung and oesophageal carcinoma patients were treated with homoeopathic remedies at the PBHRF according to Banerji's protocol until there was complete regression of the tumors. Case records including pathology and radiology reports for 14 patients were submitted for review by the US NCI BCS Program. Four of these cases had an independent confirmation of the diagnosis and radiographic response and were accepted as sufficient information for the NCI to initiate further investigation. These four cases are presented in detail in this report along with follow-up and outcome information. This study describes the process and outcome of a selected case series review through the NCI BCS Program. The results of the review were deemed to be sufficient to warrant NCI-initiated prospective research follow-up in the form of an observational study.”

        Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18575720
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          Oct 27 2013: Skeptics love a good explanation. Dear Sandra. For the sake of your entire contribution to this debate, would you mind answering a few questions about how the stuff works?
          I appreciate the links and the elaborate descriptions, but some of us skeptics are ignorants and some are discouraged by a few acronyms.
          If I could just ask a few simple questions, would that be ok?

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