Homeopathy and Randomized Clinical Trials
A very good friend of mine is an editor for an online homeopathic journal. He wrote a very interesting editorial this month and I wanted to replicate it here; I think it speaks to the frustrations homeopaths have in dealing with material science and “Evidence Based Medicine”.
In homeopathy we discuss our science to a great extent with cases. This is in contrast with mainstream medicine, where journals are filled with double blind studies, more recently called “Randomized Clinical Trials”, or abbreviated RCT’s. The double blind studies are seen as the ultimate in science, the holy grail to prove if something works or not. Many homeopaths have the feeling that they are not effective for homeopathy, or even further that they cannot be used in homeopathy. But double blind studies can also be done in homeopathy as for instance; David Riley has done in 2 studies with hay-fever. He proved homeopathy did work, but the point is that homeopaths didn’t learn anything from it. It was just a nice proof of homeopathy, but it did not give any insight that might help the homeopath in his daily practice.
That is indeed the central point, the insight. Double blind studies are a kind of black box idea, one symptom is evaluated when one impulse is given (mostly a medicine), but there is no idea what is going on inside the black box. Sometimes the researcher does not even want to know what is going on. Researching one facet is often done out of reasons of simplification; the living organism is too complex to take everything into account, but that is just the pitfall. Reduction of complex problems into simple ones can be revealing, but especially in living systems it can also lead to distorted conclusions. That is what we can see in practice: promising treatment leads, after a while, to disappointments as the benefits turn out to be not that great and the side-effects are growing. It was more complex than originally thought.
The main problem lies in the black box. It is typical that in the past double blind studies were called “double blind studies”, it expresses that nothing is understood. What is the black box? It is the energy field, the soul or psyche or whatever one wants to call it, which is denied by mainstream medicine, by the materialism paradigm. That leads to strange and counter intuitive notions; like that intelligence does not exist, but is defined as the results of a test. The test then is not the result of intelligence, but intelligence is a result of the test. What other option does one have when there is no mind or soul? Behaviorism is a very striking example of this direction. [Homeopathic] case studies can show the in depth structure of disease, the origin in the mind and that gives understanding of health and disease. Statistics are then not necessary anymore. One can even say that statistics are only needed when understanding is lacking.