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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 29 2013: You're not asking enough "why"s?
    Bulk drugs are based on chemistry, not physics. Have you never asked yourself why bulk drugs aren't capable of actually curing a condition and why they have about 50 effects besides the possible one you want?
    Homeopathy acknowledges numerous effects for each substance prescribed and the equivalent compendium for drugs acknowledges the numerous effects for each drug (it's just that they list all those "other" not so good effects rather disingenuously as "side effects". Ahem.) You obviously don't have enough knowledge about conventional medicine to make an educated comparison.
    A genuinely inquiring mind would postulate that perhaps there is a DIFFERENT paradigm to bulk drugs that can actually CURE a condition BECAUSE it operates according to a DIFFERENT PARADIGM.
    Look up the Arndt-Schulz Law that applies to Hormesis: minimal doses stimulate, moderate doses suppress, and large doses kill.
    It's your knowledge that's being challenged, but then again, nobody can make you understand something if it's beyond your level of comprehension or you wish to be obtuse.
    You are still indulging in philosophy, Scientism to be exact.
    • Oct 30 2013: I'm asking plenty of "why's" actually. Like why on earth is a concentration of 1 molecule of original material in say, a tenth of a mole of water with 6.022 X 10^23 molecules in it (roughly 1.8 grams) would make the slightest difference.
      Its like taking a penny out of circulation in the world economy. No one would even notice.
      In fact, if such small concentrations make a difference, how do homeopaths even control what goes into their "prescriptions?" Even if you distill water to the best of human ability in the present day, you'll still have trace elements in it. The concentrations are completely negligible, but according to homeopaths, that's what makes the difference.

      The Arndt-Schulz Law is unproven by the way. Even if it applies to some materials, its a pretty big leap to assume it works for all materials.

      Say what you will about the pharmaceutical companies, but they employ doctors, biologists and chemists that actually know how the stuff they make works. Homeopaths don't seem to have quite the same grasp of how their treatments are supposed to function.
      • Oct 30 2013: Researchers who actually work in the field of Hormesis would disagree with your opinion about the Arndt-Shulz Law. You can't throw out the science you don't like to support the understanding you don't have.
        You are obsessed with the concept of "dilution" and fail to grasp that homeopathic remedies are manufactured according to standardized GMP principles and are subjected to a highly regulated process of serial dilution with agitation between steps.
        Materials science and nano-particle research have already established the difference between plain distilled water and homeopathic preparations. Get over it, the subject is settled.
        Read an actual pharmaceutical compendium. The mechanism of action ("how the stuff they make works", in your words) for hundreds of drugs is UNKNOWN, like anaesthetics and until the 1990's even aspirin.
        There is no established rule in the medical biz that states a mechanism of action for a treatment must be known before it can be used otherwise over half of what's happening in mainstream medicine will have to be ceased.
        Homeopaths know exactly how to manage clinical cases and are trained to be able to distinguish a placebo effect from a veritable one.
        Since you have no clinical experience or training in any form of medicine and are not responsible for patient outcomes, you're merely indulging in armchair quarterbacking in the philosophy department.
        • Oct 30 2013: So you're telling me that the homeopathic industry has access to 100% pure water?
          No such thing. I'm no doctor, but I know enough about materials science to be aware of the fact that there's no such thing as a pure sample. Individual molecules of foreign materials will always be present in some amount. Potentially much more than individual molecules even, by several orders of magnitude.
          Most scientists claim it just makes no difference past a certain point (practically speaking), but homeopaths claim to have an effect from one molecule per 10^23).

          Seeing as you're also quite fond of criticizing my credentials, may I ask what's yours? I normally don't ask out of politeness, at least until people start patronizing.

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