Homeopathy: Frontier Science

Posted on November 24, 2007. Filed under: Homeopathy is Good Science | Tags: , , , , |

Much to the dismay of many people cured by homeopathy around the world, a recent wave of strong opinion held by a very few asserts that homeopathy is not scientific, or, at the very least, is “bad science”. Unfortunately those writing blogs claiming that Homeopathy is bad science have a very closed view of what science truly is and what the future of science may look like. Much of their postulating is borne out of fear. Fear of what they do not understand, and fear of a perceived threat to the scientific status quo from which they derive security. Hence, they vehemently attack a form of health care that has profoundly helped thousands of people all over the world.

These recent attacks on homeopathy rely heavily on misunderstanding and selective misinformation. The constant cry is that homeopathic remedies are placebo and can therefore do nothing. When homeopaths assert that remedies work on animals and therefore cannot be the placebo effect, they blame the biased observer. Tell that to my sister who was able to cure her entire herd of sheep sick with highly contagious pinkeye with the use of a homeopathic remedy.  These critics have even gone so far as to say that the reason homeopathy “seemed” successful in the cholera epidemic of 1854 was because conventional medicine was so harmful: 

“So, while hideous medical treatments such as blood-letting were actively harmful, the homeopaths’ treatments at least did nothing either way.” (The Guardian, Ben Goldacre November 16th 2007).

Mr. Goldacre’s statement is at odds with the excellent therapeutic results of homeopathic patients reported at the time of the epidemic:

“In 1854 London was struck by an outbreak of cholera. This gave homeopaths a chance to show what they could do. Among the patients admitted to the orthodox hospitals the death rate was 52 per cent, while at the homeopathic hospital, where 61 patients were admitted, only 10 died (16 per cent).” (English Homeopathy in the 19th Century; Campbell)

 Not only is it clear that homeopathic treatment was successful, but the “Bad Science” author admits the harm conventional medicine was doing. In this day and age of prescription drug therapy which is rife with harmful, even leathal side affects, can we really say conventional medicine is any better than it was in 1854? Remember the Hippocratic oath: “first do no harm”.

Another oft-raised issue is that homeopathy cannot stand up to conventional medical trials, and that homeopathic studies fail meta-analysis. It is suggested that homeopaths “cherry pick” the results of studies to confirm positive results. Iris Bell MD Phd, director of research at the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, stated the following in response to a negatively biased article in the British medical journal “The Lancet” in August of 2005;

“The researchers started with 110 homeopathy studies and 110 conventional medicine studies, but drew their main conclusions from 8 homeopathy and 6 conventional studies. And in an odd decision by the journal and the researchers, those 14 studies were not identified. This makes it impossible for others to challenge or confirm their conclusions. Given the tiny number left, they really were under an obligation to tell the reader which they used.”

Regardless of your point of view about this issue, everyone should agree that the selective use of available studies to substantiate a conclusion-while omitting those that are  unfavorable- serves no one’s best interests in the long term. That the Lancet relied on only 14 of 220 studies-all unidentified-on which to base it’s attack on Homeopathy completely destroys all credibility their researchers had hoped to muster. This comes from a medical paradigm that allows “scientifically tested” drugs like Vioxx to be used well beyond the time when there was substantial evidence of it being lethal. To coin a phrase made popular by Ben Goldacre and The Guardian, this is a heinous example of “Bad Science”. 

Many attacks on homeopathy are in reference to it being a “faith based” science. Modern scientific thought recognizes that science is inherently based on faith in often unprovable laws and assumptions. In his recent editorial in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion), Paul Davies, a research physicist states:

“It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence. The alternative is to regard the laws of physics and the universe that govern as part and parcel of a unitary system, and to be incorporated together within a common explanatory scheme.

In other words, the laws should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.”

Our understanding of the true science of our universe is very limited. To think that we can prove something is real and true with our limited, parochial understanding undermines our quest for scientific knowledge. Homeopathy is frontier medicine. Because it works it shows us we are lacking in true understanding of how the universe works. That the current system of scientific verification labels homeopathy’s demonstrated efficacy as “placebo” only underscores how absurdly faulty and inadequate this verification system is.  Instead of denying homeopathy works and limiting our choices and possiblities we should embrace this knowledge and let it take us forward to open new possibilites.

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61 Responses to “Homeopathy: Frontier Science”

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Right on!

Also Goldacre has this unjustified view of medicine as a self correcting and scientific methodology.
This is at odds with what actually happens.

Homeopathic remedies is the only way I treat
my animals when they are ill. Infact just recently
a remedy saved my cats life who had
two strokes in one day. I use remedies on
all my animals, they are much more successful
then “chemicals” because the problem is cured,
not masked. I encourage people to try the
natural way, the homeopathic way, before they
go the chemical route.

Wow, I cannot believe how stupidly ignorant this writer is. Here’s why:
Paragraph 1. Lets first define homoeopathic ‘medicine’. Homoeopathy is where you take a chemical that has similar effects as your illness. For example, if the symptoms of your cold are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy. This is then serial diluted ‘with shaking by forceful striking’, as apparently each dilution increases its effect. This process is called potentization. According to http://abchomeopathy.com , you are left with a remedy made up of 1 part of the original substance, 1 000 000 000 000 parts water. The website does not explain why this works.
Clearly, there is no problem with understanding homoeopathy.

Paragraphs 2 to 5: The writer’s example of pink eye cannot be trusted as he gives no actuall information: no time scale, number of sheep infected or anything that might make it any more than a fairy tale. All I will say is that pink eye in sheep, whilst very contagious, goes away by itself in between a week and ten days. As for the cholera example, the author has helpfully proven himself wrong. Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine normally caused by contaminated water that presents itself as violent diarrhea and vomiting. It is treated by an oral rehydration solution, which is a mixture of salt, sugar and water, which is exactly what homoeopathic treatments are.

Paragraph 6: The life expectancy of an upper class man in England in the 19th century was 50 years. Now, the average life expectancy is 82 years. I have no idea how the writer could possibly think that medicine is no better now than it was in 1854. As for the idea that medicine is dangerous, 1 in 5 adults take aspirin regularly. As there has not been a massive wave of aspirin related deaths, it seems that medicine is not as dangerous as the writer might have you believe.

Paragraphs 7 to 9: The writer is simply being a hypocrite by only looking at a single study, when he is complaining about the researches only using a few of their studies.

Paragraph 10 to 14: I will point out that the quote is from a physicist, whose subject matter is so enormous that he may only see and test the tinniest percentage, and must use this tiny percentage to infer as much as possible, and thus their conclusions cannot necessarily be proven. However, we are not talking about physics, we are talking about medicine, a science whose subject matter seems to be quite abundant on Earth. Medical scientists face none of the problems of the physicist of not being bale to see the entire picture, and thus can easily prove or disprove any of their hypotheses by testing it.

“Stupidly ignorant”……..really?? Hahahaha

I applaud this blog as a voice of truth in the darkness of our ongoing health care crisis. Homeopathy offers an unparalleled healing opportunity for both acute and serious chronic illness through an understanding of the complex tapestry of body & mind that has long eluded practitioners of “western medicine”. As the fastest growing alternative health care medicine in the world, it benefits us all to be open minded to the possibilities that lie beyond our current level of reasoning. Remember our predecessors who were so certain that the world was flat; the earth revolved around the sun, and that blood letting and leaches were the cure for removing ill humours of the body.

It never ceases to astonish that intelligent, well-informed and educated human beings feel it is their prerogative to berate something they know absolutely nothing about. If only those who malign homeopathy could experience its effects.

Welcome, but unfortunately I have to quibble with this:

“Mr. Goldacre’s statement is at odds with the excellent therapeutic results of homeopathic patients reported at the time of the epidemic … at the homeopathic hospital, where 61 patients were admitted, only 10 died (16 per cent).”

Instead of being a ringing endorsement of homeopathy as an effective cure, given that “Patients can be treated with oral rehydration solution, … With prompt rehydration, fewer than 1% of cholera patients die”, the death of 16% of homeopathic patients seems entirely in line with homeopathic treatment not doing harm like conventional treatment of the time (52% mortality), but not being positively beneficial either.

Nancy, I for one have actually been treated by a qualified homeopathic practitioner as a child.
She was exceptionally good at talking to me as a patient, and at reassuring my anxious parents who had brought me there. I expect that were she to retrain as a counsellor she would do very well.
However, I remain unconvinced by the remedies themselves.

Hi, good to see you are blogging. Quick post. I don’t know if you missed it but I posted the details of the studies looked at by Sheng et al in a comment here
They describe their rationale for exclusion or inclusion as well in the links.
Regarding your thoughts on “faith based” science. There is a quote from the late great Richard Feynman:

“We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.”

In honour of the great man’s memory what experiment would you design to try and prove homeopathy wrong?

“Mr. Goldacre’s statement is at odds with the excellent therapeutic results of homeopathic patients reported at the time of the epidemic” – it quite simply isn’t. The patients admitted to the orthodox hospital received treatment that endangered their health and the patients admitted to the homeopathic hospital received treatment that had no effect. The negative effect of the orthodox treatment was responsible for the difference in the death rates, rather than any positive effect of homeopathy.

PS – Wendy Pollock claims that homeopathy offers an alternative to Western medicine. Homeopathy comes from Germany. Which is in the West.

Sue, conventional drugs do not “mask” symptoms. Antibiotics, for example, kill the bacteria that are causing an infection.

Nor is homeopathy “natural”: that would be herbal remedies which contain active ingredients, unlike homeopathic remedies.

Wendy Pollock, homeopathy is also “Western”; Samuel Hahnemann was a German & when I last looked, Germany was in Western Europe.

Nancy is right– it is amazing the level of discourse of people.

All these posts debating semantics, definitions are frankly typical of critics who don’t know what they are talking about. Whether you think homeopathy is natural or not is BESIDE the point. Conventional medicine kills. Period. It can cause secondary problems which result in taking MORE drugs for the secondary problems the first drug creates.

There is too much interest in the world in protecting a system that has LOTS of problems. Why are you critics so afraid of trying something new in response to a system that doesn’t work?

Hello Gimpy,
I realize that the studies are in the public forum, but only 14 were used for the analysis that the Lancet article was based on and the ones that they used were not identified.

I am enjoying this blog. Here is my positive experience with homeopathy:

I am a mom of four kids ranging in age from 10-30 years so you can see I have been very busy raising them these last many years. I am also a former registered nurse who discovered homeopathy 26 years ago to help my second born who was suffering from severe eczema.

To say that I have witnessed first hand the incredible benefits of homeopathy is an understatement. I have seen kids who were too young to know about placebo effect healed from ear infections and coup, as well as flues and fevers, allergies, a pilonidil cyst, extracted wisdom teeth needing no pain killers, bronchitis, pneumonia, to helping with their various emotional difficulties- sleep problems, temper tantrums, among others.

Because of my medical training, I carefully evaluated their responses to the remedy, and took them to my local GP for the serious infections. She was willing to “wait and watch” as long there was improvement. I am happy to report that none of the kids EVER needed to take antibiotics or even pain killers nor fever reducers- homeopathic remedies were effective They are all happy and productive young adults, and the youngest is doing well.

I, too, have experienced the wonder of a good remedy. There is nothing quite like the deep feeling of well-being and peace that occurs after taking a well- indicated remedy. I have weathered the storms of menopause and now at 55 years of age am fit, healthy, no menopausal symptoms, and feel excited about my life and the next many years ahead of me. I am saddened as I read ads for all the various drugs, and their potentially severe and sometimes fatal side effects that people have to take for conditions that homeopathy could help them with.

For the BadScience people, I feel that you are telling me that if I venture beyond the horizon that I will fall off the flat earth……..and imagine my knowing that in fact the Earth is a wonderful green-blue sphere spinning and whirling through space because I have seen it from above.

Hey Gimpy!

I’m sure Richard Feynman was talking about disproving pieces of science for progress in the context of realizing the reductionistic model causes science to pigeon-hole and idealize, and by disproving something we discover something else related. i.e. more of the whole picture.

Its this whole picture that is inherently and directly dealt with in homeopathy. That is, there is nothing more to prove or disprove, it is a practical science and art that has surpassed the problem of Cartesian dualities, the only problem remaining in its application, the onus there being on the practitioner.

As a practitioner myself, I’m faced quite frequently, although less so with more experience and training, with a clinical experimental design that disproves that homepathy always works, which then allows me to conclude that it works according to my ability to apply the principle it was founded on.

For example I may give a remedy for a patient with a chronic condition (chronic also meaning nothing really has helped, not conventional nor alternative treatments of any kind) So I give a remedy, they return and say no change, and I see there’s no change, so I change the remedy, next follow up, there’s change, there’s improvement. next visit in a month or so, there’s more improvement, and hey, the patients actually changing in themselves: for example they’re not getting road rage now, they feel calmer, their dreams are changing, sleep better, they stood up to someone for the first time in their lives. next visit: more improvement, more change in themselves that they’ve never in their lives seen before, they start to have free will in their reactions to circumstances that in the past would cause them both emotional and bodily stress, very individual to them as a person.

After a couple years their asthma, or arthritis, or M.S. or migraine headaches have been gone for months or since the second or third monthly visit. (perhaps gone by objective test later in the case of M.S.) They’ve shifted in themselves 360 degrees, changed their whole perspective on life or their own world view, changed their lives accordingly and are generally OK with their whole world, after their whole life not being OK, often actually being very stuck and not even seeing how they were stuck in that time.

Often they don’t say fix my stuckness. It just happens as a matter of course of treating their main physical complaint. Is that placebo? Often I can’t even predict how they’ll change. People are open complex self organizing biological systems, and as such do not operate solely in linear mechanisitic cause-effect ways. That’s what Feynman fundamentally participated in demonstrating: the non-linear unpredictable nature of the universe. Thats how we as humans operate too. Makes sense, unless you consider yourself as somehow outside of this universe.

Hi Marty, it seems what you are saying is that it is not homeopathy that is eliciting a cure but a lifestyle change combined with the benefits of having a sympathetic ear to talk to. Why not then dispense with the homeopathy?

I am also confused by the following quote

Its this whole picture that is inherently and directly dealt with in homeopathy. That is, there is nothing more to prove or disprove, it is a practical science and art that has surpassed the problem of Cartesian dualities, the only problem remaining in its application, the onus there being on the practitioner.

are you saying there is no point in investigating homeopathy by science because there is nothing left to be discovered or that science is not the right tool to investigate it?
I can also assure you that science does not pigeonhole. My own personal discipline involves the fields of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, microbiology, chemistry, physics and many others. Science is about developing a model of understanding the world around us using a toolkit whose rules are as consistent as possible. Homeopathy has to reject science to exist. Everything we know about physics, chemistry and biology flatly rejects the possibility that homeopathy can have an effect over and above that of a placebo. It has been impossible to show homeopathic remedies having an effect when trials are carried out to a proper standard. Also, how can homeopathy adapt to new scientific discoveries if it rejects the scientific toolkit?

My soul aspires
For the mysteries,
For the hidden secrets of the universe.
It cannot be content
With much knowledge
That probes
The trivialities of life.

-Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935

Hi Gimpy
Did your mother give you that name?

I’m really prerpared to answer your questions until you reach the slight possibilitiy of getting it. Some part of you wants to or I’m sure or you wouldn’t be here.

When I say something try to understand what I’m saying in the context of all that I’m saying. See, thats the challenge us homeopaths meet on a daily basis in order in to choose good remedies for people. that is, its used holistically, not reductionistically, which is your specialty.

Although I think there could be better models to demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy, I absolutely feel its worth investigating and it has been, showing in my mind beyond doubt that it does work in a significant way beyond placebo. Did you refer to the website the blog author mentioned: the stuff a sock in it one? Maybe there’s new information there for you.

Homeopathy neither has to, nor does reject science to exist. I understand that it is always trying to go outside its own pigeon-holes to advance itself and discover something new, and it does and has, fascinating things.

However in its reductionistic way, some modern physics being the exception, it attempts to generalize. If you generalize individuals you start to go outside of the bounds of a homeopathic approach. While general facts have truth, the world around us is not static or linear. Science, particualrly mathematics began by ignoring the non-linear complexities of nature. Do you see straight lines all around you? They haven’t progressed beyond that so much really.
And why not? Perhaps an entirely new viewpoint IS required.

It comes down to that viewpoint being non-material. Most of science still thinks through the filter of the material world. I know its gone beyond that, and look at how those areas require one to stretch their sensory intutive thinking?

homeopathy works with a dynamic principlae its proven to be consistant again and again. From there it seeks out the dynamic and metaphorical understanding of more remedies, the possibilities which are in the trillions.

A remedy is not a material substance, does not conform to physical laws as we know them. What moves the universe are relationships and the dynamic and complex forces between them.

Thats what in human beings create issues for us. How many people do you know have worked out their issues – really worked out their issues? Has your wife, your brother, sister? Or can you see areas that stress them? How many people do you know that are entirely healthy, with nothing recurring continuously? How many?

This is what is changed with the facillitation of homeopathy. Honestly, tell me THAT’S placebo? Can you honestly?

Look outside of your world for a minute.

Hi Marty

I’m afraid I’m feeling a bit thick, I have little idea of what you talk. I’ll quote from your response and add my queries beneath each section. Apologies if this makes the comment rather long.

When I say something try to understand what I’m saying in the context of all that I’m saying. See, thats the challenge us homeopaths meet on a daily basis in order in to choose good remedies for people. that is, its used holistically, not reductionistically, which is your specialty.

What do you mean by holistically? Surely the physical body is the sum of its parts. If a part is broken or damaged then this will appear in the form of a symptom in the body as a whole. Wouldn’t it be better to understand what is broken/damaged in order to fix it? If a clockwork clock is running slow you don’t treat it holistically, you look at its inner workings to find if a cog is misaligned or if a spring lacks tension.

Although I think there could be better models to demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy, I absolutely feel its worth investigating and it has been, showing in my mind beyond doubt that it does work in a significant way beyond placebo. Did you refer to the website the blog author mentioned: the stuff a sock in it one? Maybe there’s new information there for you.

Going back to my Richard Feynman quote. Can you think of an experiment which could, potentially, show that homeopathy did not work for a given ailment. I assume you do not believe every ailment can be treated solely with homeopathy. So how can you tell which ones can?

Homeopathy neither has to, nor does reject science to exist. I understand that it is always trying to go outside its own pigeon-holes to advance itself and discover something new, and it does and has, fascinating things.

How do you square this statement with the fact that homeopathic remedies are diluted to a point where no molecule of the original solution exists?

However in its reductionistic way, some modern physics being the exception, it attempts to generalize. If you generalize individuals you start to go outside of the bounds of a homeopathic approach. While general facts have truth, the world around us is not static or linear. Science, particualrly mathematics began by ignoring the non-linear complexities of nature. Do you see straight lines all around you? They haven’t progressed beyond that so much really.

I have no idea what you mean here. Could you clarify?

And why not? Perhaps an entirely new viewpoint IS required.
It comes down to that viewpoint being non-material. Most of science still thinks through the filter of the material world. I know its gone beyond that, and look at how those areas require one to stretch their sensory intutive thinking?

What do you mean by material world? Do you mean matter and energy? These things are observable and measurable, are you proposing an unseen force that can neither be observed or measured, in which case how do you know it exists?

homeopathy works with a dynamic principlae its proven to be consistant again and again. From there it seeks out the dynamic and metaphorical understanding of more remedies, the possibilities which are in the trillions.

Again, I don’t understand.

A remedy is not a material substance, does not conform to physical laws as we know them. What moves the universe are relationships and the dynamic and complex forces between them.

This goes back to the question I have about unseen forces and how you know they exist.

Thats what in human beings create issues for us. How many people do you know have worked out their issues – really worked out their issues? Has your wife, your brother, sister? Or can you see areas that stress them? How many people do you know that are entirely healthy, with nothing recurring continuously? How many?

What does the complexity of human relationships have to do with evidence for homeopathy?

This is what is changed with the facillitation of homeopathy. Honestly, tell me THAT’S placebo? Can you honestly?

Are you saying that homeopathy is all about the relationship between the practitioner and patient? In which case, why bother with the sugar pill?

I have a simple question for you (and for all other supporters of homeopathy). It’s this:

I can tell you, in one sentence, what it would take to convince me that homeopathy works; can you tell me what it would take to convince you that it doesn’t?

All I would need is this: a properly conducted, double blind, randomised controlled trial, published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, with results that showed an inarguable difference between homeopathic treatment and placebo in both the original trial and repeats of the trial by other researchers.

Granted, it’s a long sentence. But that, just that, would cause me to change my mind completely and utterly about homeopathy (or indeed, any other contentious treatment). And I would expect it to change the minds of pretty much the entire scientific community too. Science is open-minded and good scientists are always willing to change their opinion totally if compelling evidence is presented that what they thought was true, isn’t.

There would be no need to prove that all homeopathic remedies work, or that homeopathy works for all conditions. Just one remedy and/or one condition would suffice. There would be no need to explain how it works; the fact that the results were positive, clear and reproducible would be sufficient.

You think homeopathy works. I think it doesn’t. We can’t both be right. This, above, is all that is needed to make me eat humble pie and admit that I was mistaken. If you have an open mind then you must be open to the possibility that you are in the wrong. What level of proof would be required for you to admit that?

OK Gimpy I can see why you were called that.

I’ll try and clarify a few things mostly for other readers sake, since I think you’re toying with me here. But if some glimmer of light should cross your eyes for even a millisecond coming from another paradigm, I’ll be impressed.

You start by already highlighting the difference between holism and reductionism, the former having to with the whole being more than the sum of the parts (a dynamic complex system), and the latter having to do with machines. (A closed dead system) Nice clock example. Its quite apparent to me you realize already that Newton’s idea that the universe operates like a machine has been disproven.

Again, and LISTEN this time Gimpy, as if you weren’t: just like the universe, the body acts as a living open self-organizing system susceptible to entropy yes, but also chaos and new order. I believe from my experience that this is how we heal ourselves. The parts of a complex system are interrelated in complex communicative ways, non-local communication, the kind that was originally involved in that self-organization. Unlike a clock, there is unpredictablility in the midst of entropy and the possibility of new order. I believe, and its only a hypothesis, that chronic disease is a slightly destabilized system within all the systems around it, waiting to come into more of its own form. When healing takes place, thats what happens, but it happens to the whole system. If we removed a rain cloud from a storm because it was full of water, therefore causing the unpleasant weather, would we be curing the weather problem? This is analogous to the mechanistic allopathic approach. The weather systems will change and then stabilize in relation to all the life that is supported by it. Curing a disease entity (the part) is like trying to cure something that shouldn’t be there when that something is there simply as a part of a process of the attempt to reach a stability that can be in harmony within and without of the system, but its stuck in its own instability.

I believe almost every ailment can be cured with homeopathy within the limits of the practitioner and those having do do with a lot of tissue damage, although I have seen necrotic bones re-grow and regenerate, and thats documented on Xray. So yes a system is a system.

I see that I made a slight error when I said: “Homeopathy neither has to, nor does reject science to exist. I understand that it is always trying to…” When I say “it”, I mean science, not homeopathy.

Anyways the statement is already squared: just because homeopathy accepts science, it doesn’t mean that we need to use linear Newtonian science to explain the no molecule part of remedies. I think even with new physics its going to be a while before we can explain that one.

The next statement you wanted me to clarify, I already tried to by asking you questions that you didn’t answer, so until you do sorry no clarification for you. The big question basically was: Does your world only consist of straight lines?

I AM proposing an unseen or maybe immeasurable force that we know exists, and we know it exists by the expression of its moving interaction: perhaps its a field, a matrix for which light, darkness, matter and energy dance. And it sure is awesome to watch.

I think perhaps its actually true that you have an inability to look at anything holistically, even if you can read Feynman. Human relationships are the system that extends outside out own intricately related system. and you still refuse to answer any of my questions with nothing more than more questions. Have you ever felt your body react to something that was said to you? Or maybe in your case, your mind? You see: a relationship. Homeopathy facillitates healing. Healing has to do with creating harmony from within and outside our interrelated system. Interrelated to everything: to your world. Now hang on, we’re going to expand a bit here now: What goes on in your body, what you think, and what goes on in your life and how you react to it are all related, they are a SYSTEM, get it? an OPEN system.

I don’t counsel people. I give them a remedy and they counsel themselves. They tell me how they’re working out their problems. Often, from the start, they don’t even care about their problems in human interactions, they want their hemmorhoid cured. But when I ask them, has anything else changed for you ? they tell me they’re handling their brother who always belittles them better, or they feel like they’re much more in control of their time, and THEY tell me how they’ve done that. I haven’t told them anything.

And, now LISTEN closely again Gimpy, to get through that thick head of yours: they’re getting better PHYSICALLY at the SAME time.

I have a little trouble with this idea of inductive reasoning. I admit I’ll have to look at it more closely. You’re saying if I can say that a placebo doesn’t work and a remedy does then I’m demonstrating that I’m willing to disprove homeopathy??

Weird.

What would convince me that homeopathy doesn’t work would be for you to come to my office, have your case taken, or someone you know thats sick, let me treat them for a reasonable period of time, and to have them tell you or for you to tell me that you/they feel it didn’t work. That same person should be able to tell you that nothing they’ve done in the years they’ve had they’re preferably chronic problem has worked. Of course I mean not working if they’re not still taking it. (You see, when homeopathy works after a while the remedy can be stopped and the problem doesn’t return, unlike allopathy’s idea of cure, that when you give the drug it will work: AS LONG AS YOU’RE TAKING THE DRUG.)

There. How’s that? Can I induce some evidence there?

Hi Marty, I’m going to pull the same trick as before and make this a long response, the questions follow your statements in italics.

OK Gimpy I can see why you were called that.
I’ll try and clarify a few things mostly for other readers sake, since I think you’re toying with me here. But if some glimmer of light should cross your eyes for even a millisecond coming from another paradigm, I’ll be impressed.

Are you insulting me? Although we no doubt disagree on many issues I would prefer it if we kept this conversation civil.

Again, and LISTEN this time Gimpy, as if you weren’t: just like the universe, the body acts as a living open self-organizing system susceptible to entropy yes, but also chaos and new order. I believe from my experience that this is how we heal ourselves. The parts of a complex system are interrelated in complex communicative ways, non-local communication, the kind that was originally involved in that self-organization. Unlike a clock, there is unpredictablility in the midst of entropy and the possibility of new order. I believe, and its only a hypothesis, that chronic disease is a slightly destabilized system within all the systems around it, waiting to come into more of its own form. When healing takes place, thats what happens, but it happens to the whole system. If we removed a rain cloud from a storm because it was full of water, therefore causing the unpleasant weather, would we be curing the weather problem? This is analogous to the mechanistic allopathic approach. The weather systems will change and then stabilize in relation to all the life that is supported by it. Curing a disease entity (the part) is like trying to cure something that shouldn’t be there when that something is there simply as a part of a process of the attempt to reach a stability that can be in harmony within and without of the system, but its stuck in its own instability.

But we know what causes a great deal of diseases, mutation in a gene, environmental toxins, micro-organism, virus, etc. We have achieved great things in determining how these factors can influence and upset biological pathways, provoke immune responses and so on. While there is much we don’t know about these mechanisms there is also a great deal we do know. We know that the body is a complex system consisting of many separate parts (cells, organs) that cannot survive by themselves (except in laboratory conditions and only for short periods of time). Does your holistic theory take this into account? How can your holistic theory explain and prevent, say, a point mutation in a gene encoding a transcription factor that goes on to destabilise the regulation of cell division and cause cancer?

I believe almost every ailment can be cured with homeopathy within the limits of the practitioner and those having do do with a lot of tissue damage, although I have seen necrotic bones re-grow and regenerate, and thats documented on Xray. So yes a system is a system.

See my previous example. How can homeopathy cure a random point mutation in a gene? Do you think that incurable diseases such as autism or AIDS can be cured by homeopathy. If so, how?

The next statement you wanted me to clarify, I already tried to by asking you questions that you didn’t answer, so until you do sorry no clarification for you. The big question basically was: Does your world only consist of straight lines?

I have no idea what you mean. I live in the same three dimensional world you do with the same physical properties.

I AM proposing an unseen or maybe immeasurable force that we know exists, and we know it exists by the expression of its moving interaction: perhaps its a field, a matrix for which light, darkness, matter and energy dance. And it sure is awesome to watch.

Do you have any evidence whatsoever for this statement?

And, now LISTEN closely again Gimpy, to get through that thick head of yours: they’re getting better PHYSICALLY at the SAME time.

It seems to me you could argue that people get better over time anyway. What difference does homeopathy make? In light of MJ Simpson’s and my earlier comment, what experiment would you design to assess the impact of homeopathy on a healing process.

What would convince me that homeopathy doesn’t work would be for you to come to my office, have your case taken, or someone you know thats sick, let me treat them for a reasonable period of time, and to have them tell you or for you to tell me that you/they feel it didn’t work. That same person should be able to tell you that nothing they’ve done in the years they’ve had they’re preferably chronic problem has worked. Of course I mean not working if they’re not still taking it. (You see, when homeopathy works after a while the remedy can be stopped and the problem doesn’t return, unlike allopathy’s idea of cure, that when you give the drug it will work: AS LONG AS YOU’RE TAKING THE DRUG.)

There. How’s that? Can I induce some evidence there?

How would you control for bias in that experiment? I mean I am obviously prejudiced against homeopathy, you for it, and your hypothetical patient could be either. It might be in my interests to pretend it didn’t work if it did, and it might be in yours to pretend it worked when it didn’t. Surely a better option would be to have you, the practitioner, consult a group of patients and prescribe them remedies BUT half of the remedies would be a placebo and the other half would be a remedy. Neither you not the patient would know which was which. The identity would be concealed from the participants and would only be revealed AFTER patients were assessed to see if their conditions had improved, got worse or stayed the same. By comparing the results from the placebo group with the remedy group you could see if there were any statistically significant differences between the two. Wouldn’t that be best?

Marty: ‘What would convince me that homeopathy doesn’t work would be for you to come to my office, have your case taken, or someone you know thats sick, let me treat them for a reasonable period of time, and to have them tell you or for you to tell me that you/they feel it didn’t work. That same person should be able to tell you that nothing they’ve done in the years they’ve had they’re preferably chronic problem has worked. Of course I mean not working if they’re not still taking it. (You see, when homeopathy works after a while the remedy can be stopped and the problem doesn’t return, unlike allopathy’s idea of cure, that when you give the drug it will work: AS LONG AS YOU’RE TAKING THE DRUG.)

There. How’s that? Can I induce some evidence there?’

I am surprised you would stop believing if homeopathy did not work for one person once.

I was taken to see a homeopath for about a year when I was 16, sometimes weekly & at least monthly, for two things, one of which I’ve had all my life, one that I’d had for maybe 3 years by then. I took pills she gave me (sorry can’t remember what as was 8 yrs ago now), and wasn’t on any ‘allopathic’ medication at the time.
I quite liked seeing her as she was good to talk to & the treatment was not unpleasant.
However, I wasn’t ‘cured’ or helped by anything beyond a friendly chat.
Sorry about that, I really do wish it had worked, for my own sake too, but it didn’t.

I always love the bit about people ‘feeling fear of a perceived threat to the scientific status quo’, as it’s expressed here. (What is a scientific status quo, anyway? If there is one thing that changes rapidly, it’s science.)

Homeopathy is based on the teachings of someone around 200 years ago. In that time science has discovered atomic theory, how atoms combine to form molecules and macromolecules, how to determine the structures of molecules and materials, the structure of organs and membranes, the molecular basis of life and genetics, bacteria, viruses and cancer cells and how they affect health, the working of the brain and nervous system, and on and on and on, and yet scientists realise there is so much to learn and carry on doing research.

And homeopathy has been doing what, exactly, in this time? Where is the frontier?

I’m laughing my socks off.

Sorry Gimpy if I was sounding insulting. Its just that you claimed such undirected ignorance so many times I thought you were playing a game with me, the intentions of I couldn’t really guess, but if you want more civility from me, so be it.

In response to: “We know that the body is a complex system consisting of many separate parts (cells, organs) that cannot survive by themselves (except in laboratory conditions and only for short periods of time). Does your holistic theory take this into account? How can your holistic theory explain and prevent, say, a point mutation in a gene encoding a transcription factor that goes on to destabilise the regulation of cell division and cause cancer?”

What you did in your thinking/question above is, you went from the whole to the part. VERY much the part: down to the point mutation. You started by answering your own question essentially saying that the part cannot operate without the whole, then went on to say what about the part? If you’re asking me to account for the things that deterministic science has accomplished in lieu of the holistic nature of an organism I would say this: The causes you speak of are EFFECTS of a system that is out of harmony with its own environment. While its true that parts of a whole system have their mechanisms, and that there are cause-effect interactions, the overall pattern of disharmony is what is significant from a holistic point of view. Point mutation is a susceptibility, prone to ALL KINDS of variables, like any complex system. If we change the complex system, then we prevent the mutation from happening, because the system is no longer patterned to include the mutation. That’s the same way it would be cured.

You see you keep contracting, and I keep expanding. Yin/Yang – infinite/finite, we must mend the duality. Your contraction is good for controlling things, my expansion is good for curing things, because the contraction is within the expansion. Of course the expansion is within the contraction too, therefore we can still heal the part by dealing with more of the whole. A little taoist rhetoric for you there.

So let me ask you in your reductionistic theory to account why it is that some people’s immune systems fail them in preventing cancer and some people’s do not?

Look, if you go into a forest and cut out the diseased trees do you really think you’re going to cure the forest of the “disease”? I doubt it.

In response to “Do you think that incurable diseases such as autism or AIDS can be cured by homeopathy. If so, how?”

Yes, both myself and colleagues have had their minds blown by the response we get using homeopathy for autism. I personally have not seen AIDS cured, had some partial results, but I believe it can be using homeopathy. A colleague of mine suggested a particular remedy to an M.D. working with many AIDS cases in Africa. Now this remedy was not individualized except more to the disease itself, which at face value is not in line with how we use homeopathy, but because some diseases encompass such a large qualitatively (with specific characteristics) expressed totality of symptoms themselves or within their epidemics, a remedy can be prescribed more pathoneumonically. Anyways, my colleague suggested this remedy at his friend’s desperate plea for something that could help. The M.D. went on to use it and has been way more impressed with the results than any of the allopathic meds he was using. I don’t know if it was curative in some cases. Homeopaths recognize some diseases: major virulent infectious ones, as being difficult to treat, because likely we’re dealing with collective and individual systems at the same time. Other incurables are curable: M.S.(not so difficult), cancer (although this too can be very difficult), One homeopathic colleague of mine has had major success curing Myesthenia gravis, incurable and fatal in short periods of time.

The question of “how” I can answer by saying: with the right remedy. And maybe I can clarify something for DUCK here: As I already said: Results with homeopathy will vary dependent on the practitioners ability to choose a suitable remedy for an individual which includes their disease which still bears the person’s characteristic fingerprint. There is individuality in disease as there is in people. People are not separate from their disease. Duck, you weren’t given a good remedy by a good practitioner. And Duck, it’s a good point you make. I may not stop believing in homeopathy if it didn’t work that one time, I may just change the remedy, but I’m confident enough if given a reasonable chance, it would work. Having said that its not infallible and its not easy to use. It takes keen unbiased perception, analytical skills to define patterns, and a wide scope of knowledge and/or ability to reference. I don’t know how old you are now Duck, but probably when you were 16, there weren’t a lot of good homeopaths who got consistent results meeting the potential that homeopathy has. Homeopathy has come a long way- for many of us anyway, in the last 10 years.

Anyways as I said I don’t really understand the point of proving that homeopathy doesn’t work.

Technically speaking the ‘how’ is a big question. Practically speaking, we apply the law of similars and watch it work, manage the case and bring it to completion.

Hey EVENING PERSON, thanks for joining. You’re not getting it either. It seems to me, like many critics, you know next to nothing about homeopathy. Over 200 years ago, a dynamic (that means inter-relational and moving) principle was discovered that remains consistent to this day, that’s the law of similars I just mentioned. Bone up on that OK? The evolution/advancement of homeopathy has had to do with applying that law more and more consistently to cure diseases and people, and to make and explore more remedies to do so. Like I implied before, we have our grail already, we don’t need to look further. And what have we been doing while all these deterministic discoveries have been made? We’ve been working and dancing with the side of life that cannot be predicted, the creative and moving forces of nature. Pretty powerful. And we’ve been making non-toxic true cures, more than I can say for what these discoveries have lead to. Tell me of ONE, just one cure something stemming from these discoveries has made? No wait, don’t bother. You don’t really know what a cure is. I can tell you what it isn’t: it isn’t suppression and control of disease, because again, that deals with the part, not the whole.

The evidence for my dynamic world can be seen anywhere, but its not so measurable within the parameters of Newtonian science. Gimpy, can you come up with an equation to describe the dynamic occurring between us now? And don’t separate it as “human interaction” There are 2 PEOPLE (machines?) involved here between you and I. I’d like you to include that variable, a well as every other one in the equation. Then we can know for sure there is a dynamic OK?

The dynamic world involves inter-relational EXPERIENCE. Do you experience something relative to your environment? I do, and I’m sure its different than anyone else’s experience, although perhaps has the same components. Can we do a double blind placebo study to prove that you experienced what you experienced?

Gimpy. Your study is interesting, but I don’t know if it would work so well given that as I said above, we follow a case through, if a remedy isn’t working we change it. Sometimes we re-dose it. i.e. a remedy isn’t given on a daily basis. Its given infrequently usually, in-between its the person’s own system that takes over and goes through a healing process. That’s why I call it a true cure, because it’s the person’s system itself that is doing the healing: provoked or catalysed by the remedy.

And as a process, if I followed it blind, I would soon know that either my remedy was wrong or partially acting (as they sometimes do) or it was a placebo. The other thing is that, for a given individual, some symptoms improve earlier and some later. When we assess in practice we watch that something has changed, lessened or disappeared, and if we continue to see that each time, usually following up between 4-6 weeks, or that what’s changed is staying changed and the person is evolving more in their process, we keep going with the remedy. We insist on a reasonable time for a major physical problem to diminish, and it could be some months. Sometimes major things improve or disappear right away. So it gets tricky working with a complex non-linear system: it’s a non-linear cure. But I could say probably there would be enough change after one follow up, depending on the parameters of the expectations, or what we were measuring, and the time allotted before assessment, that some significant results could be measured. It seems to me something similar might have been done already. This would be a much better study to demonstrate the effects of homeopathy than a DBPS done on huge sample groups, since that totally ignores the individual aspect of homeopathy.

Marty, I will not comment further on your theories of invisible energy fields for which you have not offered a single piece of evidence that they exist and have resorted to bizarre interpretations of Eastern religions to assert their existence. Religion and faith based practices are the antithesis of rational enquiry and the scientific method and have no place in the development of a coherent and cogent understanding of the universe.

But what has really riled me is your quote:

Yes, both myself and colleagues have had their minds blown by the response we get using homeopathy for autism. I personally have not seen AIDS cured, had some partial results, but I believe it can be using homeopathy. A colleague of mine suggested a particular remedy to an M.D. working with many AIDS cases in Africa. Now this remedy was not individualized except more to the disease itself, which at face value is not in line with how we use homeopathy, but because some diseases encompass such a large qualitatively (with specific characteristics) expressed totality of symptoms themselves or within their epidemics, a remedy can be prescribed more pathoneumonically. Anyways, my colleague suggested this remedy at his friend’s desperate plea for something that could help. The M.D. went on to use it and has been way more impressed with the results than any of the allopathic meds he was using. I don’t know if it was curative in some cases. Homeopaths recognize some diseases: major virulent infectious ones, as being difficult to treat, because likely we’re dealing with collective and individual systems at the same time. Other incurables are curable: M.S.(not so difficult), cancer (although this too can be very difficult), One homeopathic colleague of mine has had major success curing Myesthenia gravis, incurable and fatal in short periods of time.

You are living in a fantasy world. This may sound rude and obnoxious but it is true. You are advocating the treatment of extremely serious and debilitating diseases with water. Mere water. You can spout all the nonsense you like about energies or resonances but the fact remains, a fact homeopaths acknowledge, there is nothing in a remedy but water.
Quite frankly it beggars belief that you, in apparent sincerity, claim to cure autism, an incurable neurological disorder, AIDS, an incurable disease resulting from HIV infection, multiple sclerosis, an incurable demyelinating disease (do you even know what myelin is or what it does?), cancer, a disease whose treatment is often highly distressing and is often incurable, and Myasthenia gravis, an incurable but treatable autoimmune disorder. Do you not realise that if there was a shred of evidence in support of your claims to cure just one of these diseases then it would be the greatest medical breakthrough since antibiotics. Do you realise that governments and companies have spent trillions of dollars researching these diseases, researchers have spent many millennia of man-hours searching for a cure for these diseases and hundreds of millions, if not billions, have died from these diseases. And you claim to cure them with water.
Get a grip man.
There was a time when I would consider your delusions harmless, like those of any religious fundamentalist, but now I think of them as a poison. You undermine trust in science and modern medicine with the most spurious of crack-pot theories. There are enough problems trying to educate the general public about science and preventing pharmaceutical companies from indulging in price fixing and unethical practice. People like you make the problem worse with your ridiculous paranoia and claims, which should be criminal, that you can cure the incurable. This is faith healing at its worst. You are perfectly entitled to live out your own healing fantasies in your head or treat your diseases in a way that you see fit but when you start to interfere with others, to spread your poisonous lies and unbelievable claims, then fully expect to be criticised, humiliated and condemned. This won’t be because there is a conspiracy by big pharma to silence the competition, this will be because you spread ignorance and lies, and if people believe those lies and forsake conventional medicine then they could be become seriously ill or worse, die.
You make me sick.

Come on Gimpy……..I thought you wanted to keep the discussion civil.

goodscience, this is me being civil. Perhaps you’d like to repudiate Marty’s claims or do you agree with them?

HUMILIATED AND CONDEMNED!!!! WHO ARE YOU?
This is appalling.

It is okay to have your point of view and to post that, but to threaten another poster like this is not okay by me.

Gimpy,
Its good that the gloves are off and you are showing your real self- one that is full of hatred, prejudice and serious nastiness. Instead of the bad science treacle.

Now, Gimpy- have a question for you- read on another blog this:

“The fatal flaw of thinking by Bad, Simpson, et al is this:

SURGERY

I have yet to see a successful double blind, placebo controlled study on surgery!

Techniques have been developed through trial and error and even anecdotal. Is there a problem with that? Should we stop all surgery because it is not to your gold standard of purity, Simpson?

What is your answer to this?

What it would take for me to re-evaluate my stance on homeopathy: A confirmed case of Addison’s disease who is then treated with homeopathy and no longer needs to take any medication (corticosteroids).

If you can holistically treat the symptoms of tiredness, feeling cold all the time, lack of appetite, weakness, postural hypotension, skin pigmentation etc with your magic water and that somehow either causes the adrenal glands to start working again, or makes the body no longer need the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Well then you will have an instant convert.

Marty, thanks for replying.
I agree that my one case does not prove anything – but this is why research is more than single case studies.

Marty: ‘Look, if you go into a forest and cut out the diseased trees do you really think you’re going to cure the forest of the “disease”? I doubt it.’
Last year my hollyhock plants got dead, yucky-looking black patches on their leaves, & started to look ‘ill’. I took the black leaves off, & in a few weeks the plants got better & never again had black patches. Sometimes taking away the infection works to cure. That’s about the same thing as antibiotics do.

What it would take for me to re-evaluate my stance on homeopathy: A confirmed case of Addison’s disease who is then treated with homeopathy and no longer needs to take any medication (corticosteroids).

So basically what you are saying is that an anecdotal description in one case that was confirmed by laboratory examination is adequate to prove to you that homeopathy
works?

[...] on this blog: Goodscience blog Gimpy, the most vocal and prolific Bad Science cult member has shown his true [...]

In the case of Addison’s disease (you die from it if the hormone you are missing is not replaced), one case is all I would need. As long as it was properly verified by doctors and not just a homeopath telling me that this happened to one of their patients.

In the case of many other diseases I would need more than this, because spontaneous remission can happen in other diseases, but it is unheard of in Addison’s disease.

GaleG, I see no threat in my post, just a simple statement of fact. If you make unbelievable claims for homeopathy and try and persuade people that it can cure incurable or serious diseases then I will not stand for it. You’ve read my blog. You know how I react to such claims. I have no hidden agenda. You know where I stand.
I would love to have a debate about the ethics of homeopathy and why people make such claims when the main homeopathic organisations, the SoH, the FoH, the ARH, NASH, etc specifically and categorically forbid such claims. If Marty is a member of one of these societies then he is in breach of their Code of Ethics, if he is not a member then that is a further piece of evidence in support of statutory rather than voluntary regulation. Such claims are nonsense, demonstrable nonsense, dangerous nonsense.

Gimpy says……..

“I have taken goodscience off the list for refusing to condemn claims that homeopathy can cure autism, aids, cancer and several other diseases. I will not have sites promoting such nonsense in my blogroll.”

AAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Gimpy!! NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Gimpy. There’s a couple problems here besides your righteous indignation. But I would agree with freeto choosehealth that you’re loosening up a bit.

One is that your system of medicine, although you haven’t said your a doctor, sets out to prove something that can then be applied. Homeopaths apply something that they go on to prove is working or has worked.

Now yes, its us proving it to ourselves that we’re getting somewhere and that indeed the disease is getting better, (Although we do rely on the objective tests of the kind allopaths, and thats covered by our provincial insurance) but my patients generally are smarter to not stick around so long if they don’t feel they’re expectations are met. Of course I don’t meet the expectation all of the time, but enough to keep me busy and to recieve a lot of gratitute, and to be in awe when something serious does respond. A Type 1 diabetic patient came to see me for her migraines. Her migraines were getting better, then the following month she had to start lowering her insulin intake, and that hasn’t happened since she was 12, now she’s 40. The case isn’t cured yet, but its exciting there’s been some effect in Type 1 diabetes, and I’ve seen that before. And you see, they come to me for their physical problems not just for counselling. Many of them come from M.D.’s fed up that nothing really has worked. Do you think people like this will be happy with something ELSE that doesn’t work? Most will not. Is it my fantasy? It must be my patients fantasy too. And I often do wonder why homeopathy is so under-rated. One of those Banting or Best guys got a nobel peace prize and I’ve got nada.

Another problem is your prejudice, as your aware, the stuff of religious extremism, but perhaps too, you could stand to see more documentations of cases that have responded. Thats no doubt one of the reasons homeopathy is under-rated, that and the fact there aren’t many homeopaths practicing, especially full time. The problem with documention is confidentiality, but perhaps consent could be arranged. I’m OK believing what I see. You may not be. Its a lot of work doing what I do. Even this blog takes too long. If the one of these charities could hire someone to round up the documentation and consent etc. that might be the ticket. Meantime, yes it definately requires faith, faith in my teachers, predecessors, what I’ve been taught and what I’m learning, faith that its going to work based on that. As I said, there were times it wasn’t working, so I worked on what I could have been doing wrong. My colleagues helped me. Then it worked. Same in practice: Its not working, what am I doing wrong? Figure that out, do something different –> it works, there, I can have faith again. Overall I get enough results to keep my faith up, otherwise I actually tend to get depressed, although thats gotten better witha remedy I’ve been taking for myself.

Duck, I actually think that one case cured in homeopathy is signifnificant because its a lot different than saying something is cured by general standards, as I’ve been saying.

Again, its because the patient gets well in themselves, many or all of their niggly things clear up in time, not just the chief complaint, there’s a change in the whole – as I’ve been saying. (Refer to some of the above comments.) So when that happens my sense is that the main complaint will not come back. Yes its a sense and until the person dies without a recurrence it may be just a theory, but when I apply these religious theories of mine, they seem to jive with my experience.

And they aren’t new: its many times been said that the map is not the territory. I would adjust that to the map is a reflection of the territory, but the territory is the real thing, but the map AND territory co-exist.

Cutting out the ickiness from the holleyhock may have worked that time, as antibiotics wil work at times, but then what? Do the antibiotics prevent the disease form returning? Perhaps, sometimes, dependng on the person, but a common reason why people come to see me is that it doesn’t, and parents are frustrated by their kids recurrent ear infections, having to always give antibiotics and and daycare germ flus and colds – ick. And why does C. difficile, and Staph superbugs show up? Why do bacteria mutate in response to antibiotics? To defend themselves? Probably, but thats the reduced world, still relevant, but there’s another world, a world of of complexity with so many variables we can hardly touch it by looking at it with a microscope.

I’m proposing that its that world which gets effected by homeopathy, because thats how it looks to me.

Of course the world looks different to everyone, one person’s truth is anothers fantasy, which is where this debate has landed. What to do about that? Science? Well I haven’t made up all this holistic rhetoric, I’m told reputable scientists like Einstein and Feynman, Bohm, and Prigogine have discovered a lot of things that makes a fantasy out of whats been commonly accepted as fact through other great scientists like Sir Issac Newton, Rene Descartes, etc.

Hey wewillfixit, I haven’t seen Addison’s Disease cured by homeopathy, but it may have been, or been helped by some homeopath out there. I guess it may depend on how much destruction of the gland has taken place, but still, look at the diabetic’s response. Apparently 70 % of cases are idiopathic, another word for too complex for science to figure out. As I was saying above, any disease will respond to the degree that the person as a whole responds in general, of course the disease not being seperate from that person, which depends on the degree of – and I love this word – resonance – the person has with the remedy. (thanx for reminding me of that word, Gimpy)

Gimpy, I see how you feel threatened: that people will forsake conventional medicine. Thats not my experience at all. Most people appreciate it. These days it has more to offer than its day of blood letting, leeches and mercury poisoning. I wouldn’t betray it, and I wouldn’t set out to deter people from using it. At times, its absolutely essential. Speaking of humility (oh wait you said humiliation) – do you not agree it has its limits? That PERHAPS, some alternative may have something more to offer?

Listen, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, although I do admit I enjoy Michael Moore’s movies (but I haven’t seen Big Pharma, should I?) I do think, however, I am ethical and I want to help others, not hurt them. I am well educated, understand much of the pathophysiology of disease, its natural course, the times it could get critical. I’m not out for money, I seem to function alright, no one has told me I’m crazy and have been serious about it. I don’t tell my patients, ever, to get off any of the drugs they take. When they realize they might be able to, I get them to talk to the Doctor that has put them on it. Sometimes people say to me: Should I stop this? I say no. If someone said to me, I’m not getting chemo or surgery, I want to go with you for my cancer, which has never been the case in my 17 years of practice, I would say well you’d better be extremely careful, and get monitored frequently by your oncologist. And if what we’re doing isn’t working you may have to go that route, or another experimental route, or die. Your choice.

But you know Gimpy, you should give people more credit. Most are reasonable, and watch out for themselves, can EVEN CHOOSE for themselves, aren’t so susceptible to cults or far-out quackery. Hey, are you a genuine quackbuster? You sound like it. You guys kill me. – so to speak…

So relax Gimpy, let me come up with a remedy for you, so you don’t have to be so angry.

Come to think of it goodscience, are you not a member of NASH. You shouldn’t be claiming that named diseases can be cured by homeopathy. It’s against your Code of Ethics.

Again, I am not a homeopath, just a very interested consumer.

What is a homeopath supposed to say then, when both he and the patient experience the cure of a disease process.

What if I go to the homeopath with diagnosed Addison’s and over a course of treatment, the Adddison’s is gone. Are they to keep it a secret?

I don’t understand.

And why are they not allowed, by their organizations, to say so? I find this all very confusing to say the least.

yes GaleG, good point.

What are people looking for? To remain sick?

From my side of the ‘ethical’ debate the biggest ethical concern is that people are informed, and have a choice. I’ve been honest with what I’ve said, and I have integrity. I don’t think an ethics commitee would have a problem with that. If the comittee wanted examples of cure, I’d provide them that via satisfied patients. I never advertise a cure either. But people want to know why the hell they’re there. Am I supposed to say because you’re playing out my fantasy? Or, we’ll help you, but nothing can be cured until we research it with science that has never shown anything can be cured, and that isn’t really suited to research what we’re doing here?

Probably the reason the societies advocate a no claimer policy is because of people like you Gimpy. But I’m not intimidated by you or anyone else that wants to control everything for the ‘common good’ Perhaps you should move to China and join the People’s Republic boy’s club. You’d do well there.

Nice “debating” with you

M SIMPSON’S simple and valid statement/question seems to be neglected by you folks. He/she wrote:

“All I would need is this: a properly conducted, double blind, randomised controlled trial, published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, with results that showed an inarguable difference between homeopathic treatment and placebo in both the original trial and repeats of the trial by other researchers.”

If homeopathy could simply stand up to repeatable, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by unbiased researchers, then this argument would be resolved — and IT HAS BEEN RESOLVED. Homeopathy is no more effective than a PLACEBO. Studies after studies have already proven this!

As for GIMPY: Your patience with these people is highly admirable. My blood pressure went up several notches just in reading this dialogue and I can guarantee that there isn’t a homeopathic remedy on earth that could bring it back down.

To support homeopathy, you are also giving license to other products to market themselves as “homeopathic” (to bypass FDA regulations) when in fact they are not. For this reason, homeopathy is NOT safe.

I once foolishly tried a so-called homeopathic remedy. As it turned out, the so-called homeopathic remedy was laced with ingredients high in vitamin K, which counteracted with my anticoagulants –resulting in me having a stroke and spending seven days in the hospital.

A friend of mine has been ill for over two years while under the treatment of a homeopathic practitioner and refuses conventional care because he has been manipulated by his practitioner to believe that conventional medicine is “bad,” and that his declining symptoms are “good” and a sign of toxins being “released.” He has been ill for TWO YEARS.

I have serious issues with homeopathy and those who promote it for these reasons, and for the simple reason that it is a scam.

John Melnychuk sent this to me to post for him:

A great number of specious arguments here that have
nothing to do with discussing how homeopathy works.

The best example of a weak gambit here: criticizing
homeopaths because when we tell of our successful
cases, cures, we’re unethical….

The reason our and all other healing arts professional
and credentialing bodies discourage practitioners from
promising cures is that no one is perfect enough to
deliver a cure to every person he or she treats. If
anyone made such a promise, and then failed, he or she
would, perhaps, have lost integrity, at least with his
or her still sick patient. Is there any profession,
healing art, that promises 100% results? I can’t
find a single medical or any other licensing board
that will allow their licensees to promise cures.

Got that, gimpy?

None of us has a lock on the truth and we would be
dishonest to say that our results are 100%. However,
this is not the same as saying that homeopathy is
worthless or a sham or a placebo based therapy.

What is remarkable to me here is that the skeptics of
homeopathy are so hung up on explaining the mechanism
of action of a potentized remedy. It would be nice
to know how a remedy works in terms of Newtonian or
even quantum physics, but it doesn’t follow that
homeopathy doesn’t work merely because we can’t
completely explain a remedy’s mechanism of action.
Would something be more or less true if we did or did
not understand it? It’s as if you saw something and
couldn’t believe your eyes because you couldn’t
explain what you saw.

I think homeopaths make a mistake when they proffer
theories on the mechanism of action of a remedy. The
effect of a remedy is observable, but, it’s not well
understood in terms of contemporary physics, and it’s
impossible within the framework of Newtonian physics.
When non-physicist homeopaths offer weak ideas like
“water memory,” “Scientists” have an easy and
reasonable objection to the weakly developed
explanations. And then we’re on the defensive….
What a waste of time trying to satisfy these guys who
have a vested interest in discrediting homeopathy and
homeopaths and anything outside the status quo.

Of course there are inadequacies in “modern western
medicine.” We know what they are and so do our
patients – it’s chiefly why they come to see us.
Medicine has a lot to offer, but its scientific
approach hasn’t yet solved every problem and this is
why people look elsewhere for solutions.

Part of what I love about homeopathy is that (from the
“scientific” point of view) it is so improbable and
yet we get beneficial effects and have done for more
than two centuries.

Homeopathy has several theories and models about how
remedies work, and they help homeopaths to be
effective. I’m quite a good homeopath and I’ve
practiced quite a while now. I have a great deal of
success in my practice, but not perfect success, like
anyone else in the healing arts. In spite of applying
homeopathy with very good results, especially with
young autistic children, I am not certain of what it
is that is in a remedy, although I know what it
started with and how it was made.

I won’t bore you with my theories on what it is that
is in a remedy that has a therapeutic effect. I’d
rather spend my time solving the cases that I haven’t
solved yet – I owe that to the people who have come to
see if homeopathy has something for them or their
kids, or pets.

I’m still learning how to be more effective.

Most of what is offered by gimpy and “Scientists”
comes from the place of criticizing something they
don’t understand or have any experience with. What
they do have is a bit of knowledge and they apply this
in an unconscious way: Homeopathy can’t be easily
explained merely within their “scientific” paradigm so
it therefore is unreal and therefore anyone who
supports it is a fool.

The bigotry, arrogance, and self-righteous rage of
gimpy et al, is terrible. If he is right that means
every person I and other homeopaths have helped are
idiots who have somehow been hoodwinked into feeling
better. What actually is happening is that gimpy is
about 200 years behind us and the MILLIONS of people
who have benefited from homeopathy. What is lacking
is consciousness and true curiosity and without these
thing together, knowledge can never be gained.

What is insidious about these campaigns against
unexplained or poorly understood healing practices is
that the discussion is never really about science,
it’s usually about some sad soul with a lot of spare
time and a mean spirit who hides behind the “scientist
cloak” in order to impugn the reputation of other
people. It’s about someone offering an opinion that
masquerades as a well considered and thoughtful
scientific insight while surreptitiously or bluntly
attacking other people’s integrity and intelligence.

Ben Goldacre and other professional skeptics are an
exception here. They are professionals with a
misplaced sense of expertise about something they have
never studied, practiced, or experienced. The money
for them comes so long as they can stir controversy
and then opine, for pay, on the stir they’ve made.
Goldacre and his peers use “science” as a cudgel to
beat down competition, and “science” is a tool used to
silence persons who don’t accept and obey Science’s
singular rationale and dictates.

We’ll all be in a better situation for a meaningful
discussion about the mechanism of action remedies once
scientists explain in a way satisfactory to themselves
what it is that animates the body and makes it alive.
I’m waiting for the day when scientists and science
can account for what it is that leaves the body the
moment we die since the principle matter that
comprises the body, (among the constituents: calcium,
iron, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, salt ,
water, etc) is identical the moment before and just
after death. Other forms of medicine do have a
conception of what it is that animates the body –
prana, chi, or vital energy are a few examples of the
names they give this invisible-in-itself energy….

Wake up skeptics and look at veterinary homeopathy,
start there. There is lots of actual clinical evidence
to be found there that cannot be attributed to placebo
effects….

Make no mistake, homeopathy is a real healing art, and
it can offer remarkable benefits to the sick, even if
we can’t completely explain to your or, even our
satisfaction.

We’re here to stay, and we have a lot to offer whether
you believe us or not.

Science isn’t a bad thing, but I think it’s over-rated
by scientists…. If you challenge “science” then you
are a non-believer, and the scientists get nervous….

It is an amazing hate-fest that is going on that is
born of ignorance about homeopathy and fear of it.
There is a lot of bullying going on here by Goldacre,
et al , and I’ve had more than enough of it.

P.S.:

Here is a challenge and something for you fans of
scientific medicine to investigate. Let’s see if you
can hold your temper when I observe an important and
contemporary problem in medicine. that, for example,
that autism is caused by several things together -not
a single thing and this is why scientific medicine is
having a hard time identifying a single cause. There
is not a single cause for autism. Since the
prevailing fashion in science is that of isolating
single factors it will take a change in the scientific
method to identify the “cause” of autism.

The a complicating problem for current scientific
medicine is that there is a doubtful and widely held
assumption that vaccines and thimerosal are safe for
nearly everyone. One more issue that makes it hard
for scientists to be objective about the effects of
vaccines is presumption that 1) a child’s immune
system is nearly infinite in it’s capacity to tolerate
any number of vaccines, and 2) that the time frame in
which vaccine reactions are considered is artificially
limited to a very short time (10 days?). MMR vaccine
reactions take fully six months to manifest, unlike
DTaP vaccine reactions which show up within hours,
usually.

For the record: I think vaccines don’t hurt all
children, but know that in 80% of the true autism
cases I see that adverse vaccine reactions are
present. The kids that get hurt have a specific
genetic inheritance that makes them less able to
tolerate and produce the intended reaction to
vaccines. Overwhelmingly, I see that MMR vaccine when
given to a child whose ancestors have a history of
cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can often bring
about autism. Two other major factors are the
condition of the child when the vaccine is given: 1)
damage is much more likely and severe if multiple
vaccines are given when a child has a fever, cold,
flu, or some other ailment, and 2) damage is much
worse and harder to turn around in cases where
acetaminophen has been given to prevent low fevers.
Damage is tripled where acetaminophen has been given
before and after vaccines to susceptible children.

I’ve seen enough autistic children by now that I can
see that other genetic inheritance will leave children
vulnerable to other different vaccines like DTaP,HiB,
HepA,HepB, and influenza vaccines. I’ve seen five
kids this year who are autistic in part because their
mothers received (mercury thimerosal) containing
influenza vaccines WHILE pregnant! It’s amazing that
a pregnant woman would be injected with a liquid that
cannot be flushed down the toilet because it is
considered to be “toxic waste.” Foolish, but
scientific, I suppose…..

To be fair, and clear, not all vaccines hurt all
children, but no one should believe that they don’t
hurt some children. Certainly, you don’t want it to
be your child even though a lot of the time the injury
can be remediated, or sometimes resolved. It can
take years if the damage is even moderate.

To John Melnychuk,

Thanks for you thoughts on autism in particular – that’s an area I’m particularly interested in.

I was having an interesting conversation with ‘Free to Choose Health’ here:
http://freetochoosehealth.wordpress.com/2007/11/23/autism-is-caused-by-conventional-medicine-but-homeopaths-can-cure-it/#comments
(at least until xe deleted most of my comments).

At what age do you think that children ‘become autistic’, or are they born that way, or somewhere between the two (maybe a stress-diathesis model)?

In your view, can children show signs of ASD before vaccination?

As a psychology undergraduate, I’ve been taught that we aren’t yet sure exactly what causes ASD – genetics almost certainly play a part, acquired brain damage or developmental problems also raise the incidence. There’s promising work going on into cognitive & perceptual mechanisms but we aren’t there yet. *Extreme* privation during development may produce autism-like symptoms. Some related disorders (Rett’s, Fragile X) have a clear genetic basis.
What would you add to this list? I’d be interested also if you could suggest mechanisms / background reading, I’m happy to do the same. If you’ve your own website/blog I’ll happily discuss this there, so it doesn’t get ‘lost’ on here.

Thanks,
Duck.

Another question to John Melnychuk, sorry.

I’ve just realised you must be the person who actually treated Max Lansky, possibly the best-known case of homeopathy for Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

I’m a bit puzzled by technical aspects of Max’s diagnosis. In the UK, children are screened for ASD at about age 3 by Health Visitors (~ community-based nurses for pre-school children & their families, don’t think there’s a US equivalent). They usually use the M-CHAT, which is a screening tool which does not diagnose but would flag up children ‘at risk’, to be referred on for further evaluation.
I’m not sure how ASD are usually first picked up in the USA, since my understanding is that you don’t have a national screening programme.

Anyway, my question is – who diagnosed Max autistic, according to what test or criteria, and at what age? I am sorry if there is more in the book, but I am having trouble getting hold of a copy in the UK. If you have published details of his treatment elsewhere, particularly online, I would be interested to know.

From Amy Lansky’s web-page, I infer that Max would have had to be diagnosed with ‘mild autism’ (her words) before age 3 1/2 at least, though she doesn’t give exact dates. Though it’s possible to diagnose a child at that age, it’s quite unusual except in severe cases to make a definite diagnosis, rather than wait & see if the child is perhaps just a late developer or has additional difficulties which explain the communication problems.

It’s an interesting case, and if there are more published details I’d really appreciate being pointed towards them.

Thanks,
Duck.

Marty/GaleG/goodscience/etc

The reason why organisations don’t like their members to imply or claim cure of a disease is because they know there is no scientific evidence supporting such claims and to make such claims quite often breaks laws such as the 1939 Cancer Act which was specifically designed to stop quacks taking advantage of patients as well as various advertising standards laws governing false claims.

Oh and goodscience could you present an example of me being bigoted. I fully accept that I can be arrogant and self-righteous but this has no bearing on the validity of my arguments. Bigotry would though so I would appreciate examples to back up your slurs.

As regards John Melnychuk, I echo ducks comments and would welcome him responding to my accusations on my blog or via email.

Hey Gimpy I have never said you were a bigot, in fact I have never said you are self-rightious or arrogant! I have only challenged views and allowed others to make their comments. Could it be the little voice in your head?

gooodscience your post above states that
The bigotry, arrogance, and self-righteous rage of
gimpy et al, is terrible.

were you quoting John Melnychuk?
If so I apologise and ask for permission to reproduce that post on my own blog.

Hi Gimpy,
That was a comment that John had sent to me to post for him. For some reason it was not showing up for me to moderate. I finally found it in the “spam”. I am still figuring out how this blogging works!
Apology accepted!

Gimpy, I acknowledge that part of the reason organizations are set up and then make rules is to cover their butts, that and to have a certain standard of practice the public may be able to seek out. (Although unity on those standards has been tricky)

But I don’t think you’d find anyone in any of these organization that would care about whether or not they were satisfying your scientific standard of whether or not homeopathy facillitates cure.

By the way did you notice I used the word “facillitate” In fact I have never and never will say to anyone that me myself, or my remedies cure anything, because they don’t, they simply facillitate a cure. I’m talking about what – for you – is this nebulous complex natural world that you can’t seem to get your head or your measurements around.

To state what one has seen happen is not the same as saying I’m going to cure you. I never promise anything. I say this is what I’ve seen, or what my colleagues have seen, and based on that and a whole system of healing that is anchored by a natural principle thats been applied 100’s of 1000’s of times with success, you have a good chance of being helped.

Now my statements in this blog are also based on what’s been EXPERIENCED by me. For me to simply state my experience is not a crime, in fact if I’m not able to state it, THATS a fascious crime.

I suppose you may already have some background as some political aid to some autocratic regime somewhere. Myanmar? Perhaps that qualified you for your senior position in the Quackbuster regime.

“But I don’t think you’d find anyone in any of these organization that would care about … whether or not homeopathy facillitates cure.”

Are you sure you meant to say this? I thought you were arguing in favour of homeopathy.

Dear M Simpson,

You misread it- he said YOUR STANDARD:

“But I don’t think you’d find anyone in any of these organization that would care about whether or not they were satisfying your scientific standard of whether or not homeopathy facillitates cure.”

Not the society’s standard, but yours…

GG

It seems to me that allopathic medicine has two options in their arsenal- drugs and surgery. Neither of which can guarantee a cure. It is, therefore, simply an experienced opinion.

When reading the monograph for any drug, it is stated that this drug MAY help in so and so condition, as well it lists all the possible side effects and adverse reactions seen in trials and in the field.

So the consumer is supposed to take a drug or agree to a surgical procedure based on the opinion and EXPERIENCE of the doctor based on her or his experience and what he/she has studied.

I loved my family doctor- I was sick a lot as a kid and took loads of anti-biotics for various infections, as well as getting my tonsils out. I thought that he know everything and I trusted his every word.

I then went into Nursing, and loved it too.

But I was disheartened when I learned that not every disease treatment was pre-ordained, nor always successful. It really was a shock to me! I learnt that there were varying opinions among doctors and nurses as to how to treat medical conditions.

I saw many people not get better from drugs and surgery, and it matured me and left me questioning all of medical card.

It was during the late 1970’s early 80’s that the “consumer- informed consent” idea was born- people now started coming into doctors offices asking questions about proposed treatment- much to the horror of the physicians who were used to being in charge and not being questioned.

This led to people being interested in other therapies, and in some cases, really battling with MD’s and hospitals- look at how long and hard people had to work to get childbirth more humanized. I can remember when fathers were not allowed in the birthing area- in fact, I was once with a friend in labour and her husband nor I were allowed to be with her when she was ready to deliver. She was devestated. This experience led me to start working towards changing childbirth in my local hospitals and beyond.

So ….badscience people, I feel that you are in the dark ages…wake up to the 21st century. People now do ask questions, and feel that they have a right to make their own decisions regarding their health.

I will NEVER stand to be told by any group how to have my babies, whether I can see a homeopath, or how to educate my children.

More about my experiences:

My mother almost died in childbirth due to being mismanaged by her OB and was left with kidney damage as a result.

My mother was given an overdose of Gentramycin, and suffered vestibular inner ear damage- she now has severe balance problems. She is the first to state that her health problems all have stemmed from being mismanaged by her doctors, but being of her generation she still does not question any treatment. She wonders why I am so vocal!!

I once nursed a child who developed Rye’s syndrome after taking asprin while having the chicken pox- he was in intensive care with system wide organ failure and I don’t know if he survived.

I saw many drug errors made, and mismanaged cases while working as a nurse.

I have posted previously on Gimpy’s blog that I discovered homeopathy after my second of four children were born, and that they have all been under the care of a homeopath- never took any antibiotics nor any other drug while they were still at home. Their form of rebellion, once they left home, was to take allopathic medication and see for themselves if it worked! They usually have come back to their homeopath for treatment.

So you see, it is important for you badscience people to listen to us consumers- human beings are more than the sum of our parts, allopathic medicine does has its place, as does homeopathy. Please be careful to not destroy something so wonderful as homeopathy. I have experienced its wonders.

GG

One last thing: How come no one from the
bad science group has addressed my posting about the online studies I found earlier last week? All double-blind placebo controlled ones on homeopathy.

GG

My bad – I misread ‘of’ as ‘or’!

I wondered why it didn’t seem to fit the rest of the argument…

Also, where does this article come from???

I wrote it………


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