Blogging the Organon

January 20, 2008

18-21: Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine

Filed under: Hahnemann,homeopathy,homoeopathy,organon — gimpy @ 3:30 pm

§ 18 Fifth Edition

From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.

§ 18 Sixth Edition

From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms with consideration of the accompanying modalities (§ 5) nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms and conditions in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.

§ 19

Now, as diseases are nothing more than alterations in the state of health of the healthy individual which express themselves by morbid signs, and the cure is also only possible by a change to the healthy condition of the state of health of the diseased individual, it is very evident that medicines could never cure disease if they did not possess the power of altering man’s state of health which depends on sensations and functions; indeed, that their curative power must be owing solely to this power they possess of altering man’s state of health.

§ 20 Fifth edition

This spirit-like power to alter man’s state of health (and hence to cure diseases) which lies hidden in the inner nature of medicines can never be discovered by us by a mere effort of reason; it is only by experience of the phenomena it displays when acting on the state of health of man that we can become clearly cognizant of it.

§ 20 Sixth edition

This spirit-like power to alter man’s state of health (and hence to cure diseases) which lies hidden in the inner nature of medicines can in itself never be discovered by us by a mere effort of reason; it is only by experience of the phenomena it displays when acting on the state of health of man that we can become clearly cognizant of it.

§ 21

Now, as it is undeniable that the curative principle in medicines is not in itself perceptible, and as in pure experiments with medicines conducted by the most accurate observers, nothing can be observed that can constitute them medicines or remedies except that power of causing distinct alterations in the state of health of the human body, and particularly in that of the healthy individual, and of exciting in him various definite morbid symptoms; so it follows that when medicines act as remedies, they can only bring their curative property into play by means of this their power of altering man’s state of health by the production of peculiar symptoms; and that, therefore, we have only to rely on the morbid phenomena which the medicines produce in the healthy body as the sole possible revelation of their in-dwelling curative power, in order to learn what disease-producing power, and at the same time what disease-curing power, each individual medicine possesses.

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74 Comments »

  1. H is basically saying to do provings of potentised remedies on healthy people to see what particular and peculiar symptoms they produce.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — January 20, 2008 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  2. Hahnemann is also asserting ‘indubitable truth[s]’ without providing any evidence. Just because he says so does not make it so. He is also regressing into full on logic defying mysticism

    This spirit-like power to alter man’s state of health (and hence to cure diseases) which lies hidden in the inner nature of medicines can never be discovered by us by a mere effort of reason; it is only by experience of the phenomena it displays when acting on the state of health of man that we can become clearly cognizant of it.

    Again Hahnemann seems to be implying that attempting to understand disease is fruitless. The man does appear to be a bit lazy when it comes to formulating reasons for disease.

    Comment by gimpy — January 20, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  3. To return to one of my favourite analogies…

    Given that it is undeniable that traffic lights are affected by coarse language and that the only way we have of altering the colour of a traffic light is by shouting at it, therefore it can be seen that swearing at traffic lights is the only way to make them change. It is undeniable that we will never know how traffic lights actually work so it is inescapable that the only way to determine how to change them is to note what we say when a green light turns red for this will obviously also cause a red light to turn green.

    See how easy this sort of stuff is? Sadly peopl, are very easily persuaded by anybody who sounds authoritative and says that something is “obvious”. Not to impune Herr Hahnemann, but this is how con artists have plied their trade throughout the centuries.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 20, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  4. “From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.”

    Again, this is showing homeopaths only look at the SYMPTOMS… not the cause. Fortunately modern medicine has deviced non-invasive ways to look at how the body works, from a simple stethoscope to MRIs. Plus ways to collect and investigate bodily fluids. I would venture to say that modern medicine looks at the WHOLE person, and homoepathy ignores most of the person.

    Homoepathy is still stuck in the 19th century.

    Comment by hcn57 — January 20, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  5. ‘modern medicine looks at the WHOLE person’ in the sense of looking with a whole body scanner, but when it comes to treatment it offers piecemeal treatments, which can conflict and cause further disease. H is talking about the ‘totality of symptoms’, taking all the symptoms together and treating with a remedy that covers the majority of them, especially the most important ones (to be covered further on).

    Comment by homeopathy4health — January 20, 2008 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  6. h4h said “H is talking about the ‘totality of symptoms’, taking all the symptoms together and treating with a remedy that covers the majority of them, especially the most important ones (to be covered further on).”

    But how can you do that if you ignore what is causing the symptoms? If you do not find out what is causing the symptoms, or distinguish between a genetic disorder or a microbe invader how does that treat the “whole person”? How does ignoring the actual causes prevent further disease?

    Comment by HCN — January 21, 2008 @ 4:51 am | Reply

  7. I was thinking along the same lines as M Simpson here. What Hanneman is doing is merely going through (flawed) logical steps from his first few assumptions. That’s the fundamental problem with homeopathy – there’s no experimental basis to back it up and thus it relies entirely on belief in Hanneman’s logic. If Hanneman’s original assumptions had been right or if he hadn’t littered his work with phrases like “nothing can by any means be discovered in disease” or “the inner nature of medicines can never be discovered”, then great, but that’s not the case. He was wrong and he constantly claims that there is no way to found out the right answer. With the knowledge of his times that might be alright, if somewhat lacking in curiosity and imagination, but nowadays it’s just ludicrous nonsense and as valid as the claim (possibly apocryphal) made be medieval monks that reading will make women’s brains overheat.

    Comment by tom p — January 21, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  8. I understand Hahnemann as saying that the symptoms our body expresses lead to the determination of the homeopathic remedy that would stimulate our body to heal.

    So, if I have the flu and I feel like lying really, really still, that would indicate a different remedy than for someone who is really, really restless with the “flu”. Could be the same virus under the microscope, but the remedies would be different for each of us.

    Having said all that, I have to admire the owner of this blog, as well as the skeptics who are taking the time and effort to understand homeopathy.

    Comment by GaleG — January 21, 2008 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  9. M Simpson:

    I like your analogy of swearing at traffic lights. I’ve invited my MP, who believes that homeopathy works for many doctors and patients, to come for a drive with me so I can show him how it works.

    Comment by eveningperson — January 21, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  10. Are you using this blog to ridicule homeopathy or attempt to understand it?

    Comment by GaleG — January 21, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  11. GaleG, I think M Simpson’s analogy can help to explain homeopathy. What he describes seem to me to be similar to the process homeopaths use to decide what remedy to use. Perhaps you could explain to us why you consider this analogy ridiculous?

    Comment by gimpy — January 21, 2008 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  12. As I continue to say GaleG and H4H, it is no use. They are NOT attempting to understand homeopathy. They are trying to defame homeopathy and discredit any one who KNOWS homeopathy works. It is a pity they will never know or experience what we do. In their limited, childlike way, they are cutting their noses off to spite their faces. Hopefully one day they will not regret their closed minded understanding of health and disease. Hopefully one day they will not wish there was something more they could do. But if that day comes, hopefully they will remember these discussions and not be afraid to embrace homeopathy.

    Comment by goodscience — January 21, 2008 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  13. goodscience, what we intend to do is subject Hahnemann’s Organon to critical scrutiny given our current understanding. Do you not think that we should recognise that modern scientific knowledge has filled many gaps in 18th century knowledge? Do you not think we should acknowledge where modern understanding contradicts Hahnemann’s statements? Or are homeopaths fundamentalists who accept the Organon as the literal truth and it being beyond criticism? How can you accuse us of being close minded when we are more than happy to admit our theories are falsifiable? It is you who are close minded, it is you who refuse to accept the possibility that Hahnemann got it wrong, it is you reject out of hand explanations for the effects of homeopathy that rely on human misjudgement. I am willing to wager a large amount of money that the non-homeopaths participating in this blog have a scientific education of degree level and above, it is the homeopaths who are ignorant in their understanding. Can you explain the relevance of Avogadro’s number to a homeopathic remedy, can you understand that Hahnemann was mistaken because he did not know about this number and the concept of the mole? Is your knowledge of science as limited as Hahnemann’s? He had the excuse of his time, what is yours?

    Comment by gimpy — January 21, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  14. Goodscience, what you fail to understand – what all homeopathic evangelists fail to understand – is that those of us who are sceptical would absolutely LOVE homeopathy to work. We would be overjoyed if it could be proven to be real. Who wouldn’t be? The possibility of a new type of medicine which is extremely cheap, easy to mass produce, has no side effects,requires no animal testing and works for almost every known medical condition? It’s a panacea – it would be welcomed with open arms even by those who were busy eating humble pie. There is absolutely no benefit to be gained by anyone in suppressing a wonder treatment like this.

    Because if homeopathy works then it can only work by some means completely outside of our current understanding and that requires there to be a vast new area of science waiting to be investigated. Virgin territory for researchers where every experiment you do is something new and profound, where small groups or even individuals could make vital steps in establishing a whole new understanding of the world.

    Corporations would be falling over themselves to fund research, not just in pharmacy but in every other area that might benefit, from agriculture to fuel technology. It would be a boom time for science. It would be fantastic.

    That is why people keeping trying to find some evidence for homeopathy, why we engage in debates like this. Because if just one tiny little bit of homeopathy works, then there are a miriad new wonders to be discovered.

    We – scientists, sceptics, homeopathy-denialists, call us what you will – really, really, really WANT homeopathy to work. But it doesn’t.

    That’s the difference between a scientific, analytical mind and a pseudo-scientific, credulous mind. The former says “Wow, if this was true it would be fantastic! It’s probably not true because fantastic things rarely are, but just in case let’s test it really, really thoroughly. Let’s try to prove it’s false and if we can’t do that, we will have to accept the probability that it’s true.” The credulous mind just says, “Wow, this is fantastic – it must be true!”

    Comment by M Simpson — January 21, 2008 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  15. “Because if homeopathy works then it can only work by some means completely outside of our current understanding and that requires there to be a vast new area of science waiting to be investigated.”

    M!! You have it! Homeopathy does work and the reason you cannot accept it is because it DOES represent a vast new area of science!! It is a brave new world, scary eh??

    Comment by goodscience — January 21, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  16. goodscience – It seems to me that if what you say is true it should be possible to define “work”, as in “homeopathy does work”.
    Next one might design an experiment/study to demonstrate this.
    The experiment should take into account the powerful confounding effects such as suggestion, regression to the mean, confirmation bias and other well-known psychological factors that arise when humans are involved in such studies. Judging by the presented evidence (published papers), very few homeopath-led studies actually do this.
    All these effects have been well documented and demonstrated for many years, it is sad to see that homeopaths appear not to believe that such powerful psychological effects exist and can affect peoples real perception of real illness.
    If you do believe that people’s illnesses can be affected by such factors, how do you rule them out when applying homeopathy? If you cannot, then how can you say that homeopathy works?

    Comment by Alan — January 21, 2008 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

  17. No no no – try to read what I wrote. Nobody with any interest in science fears or rejects this potential “vast new area”, nothing about it makes us not accept its existence except There’s Absolutely No Evidence That It Exists. We cannot accept homeopathy because all the available evidence shows that it’s nonsense. Nobody’s rejecting homeopathy because we don’t know the method by which it ‘works’, people reject it because it doesn’t work. There’s not a scientist on this planet who wouldn’t love to discover the method that enables homeopathy to function but first somebody somewhere has to conclusively prove that it does function.

    Are you following this?

    Think of it like geography. If someone was to discover an entire new continent, geographers would be delighted. They wouldn’t refuse to accept it because it’s not on their maps. However if no-one can prove that this new continent exists beyond a bunch of anecdotes, there is no reason for any geographer with a brain in their head to get excited.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 12:53 am | Reply

  18. Dear M Simpson,

    Yes! You have it!

    Let’s join forces and get the researchers like Iris Bell MD PhD who are working on this full time to get the funding and support they need.Here is a link to a list of the research work she has done.

    http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/research/research-projects2.html

    There are her and others working to understand how homeopathy works

    There are many who say that homeopathy has worked for them and others- I can understand your being skeptical about it if you have not experienced it first- hand.

    It just needs the funding for scientists to find out how. Perhaps in our lifetime; if not, hopefully our grandchildren’s.

    If our joint desire is to find out more about homeopathy, explore how it works, and eventually, why it works, than that is wonderful.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  19. http://www.trusthomeopathy.org/case/res_issues1.html

    Here is another link about current research into homeopathy. The first item is about Dr. Bell’s work- take a look.

    Please don’t discard homeopathy- it is like finding a new continent for those of us who have stumbled upon it and experienced its workings- some have gone on to study it and become practitioners.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  20. Rather than shut down the research by flatly stating “It doesn’t work”, we should be encouraging our brightest and best scientists to get funding, support and encouragement to discover the hows and whys.

    Okay enough from me for now!

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 1:22 am | Reply

  21. Almost done for tonight:

    Here is a link to a recent paper on a debate that took place last fall:

    http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2007.0770

    That link will take you a video of the actual debate.

    The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
    A Debate: Homeopathy—Quackery or a Key to the Future of Medicine?
    To cite this paper:
    Steven Novella, Rustum Roy, Donald Marcus, Iris R. Bell, Nadav Davidovitch, Andre Saine. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. ahead of print. doi:10.1089/acm.2007.0770.

    Steven Novella, M.D.
    Yale University, New Haven, CT.
    Rustum Roy, Ph.D.
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
    Donald Marcus, M.D.
    Baylor University, Waco, TX.
    Iris R. Bell, M.D., Ph.D.
    The University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson, AZ.
    Nadav Davidovitch, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
    Ben Gurion of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel.
    Andre Saine, N.D.
    Canadian Academy of Homeopath, Outremont, Québec, Canada.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 1:39 am | Reply

  22. Interesting how a detailed study of the Organon can lead even the most hardened skeptic to the conclusion that there must be something to homeopathy. If only a fraction of the money devoted to marketing of allotropic drugs by Big Pharma were devoted to research on homeopathy the method would be known by now.

    Comment by edouard — January 22, 2008 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  23. About that debate, this is Dr. Novella’s web posting on it:
    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=40

    It includes a link to the video so you can watch it (Andre Saine’s performance at the end is unbelievable!). I would also recommend that you check out his comments on his podcast.

    Comment by hcn57 — January 22, 2008 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  24. Oh, about that debate: Andre Saine claims that homeopathy has a record of curing rabies over 100 years ago. He feels that we should not use rabies vaccines or even the extreme measures used to keep a young lady alive recently, but use homeopathy exclusively for rabies.

    Do you agree that this is a good idea?

    GaleG, you are on record as saying that homeopathy would not be appropriate for diabetes or seizures. You have waffled on the issue of bacterial infections. So you should have an opinion on rabies. If your pet, child, grandchild or yourself should become infected with rabies (like from a bat bite), are you willing to just use homeopathy?

    (oh, and don’t go on about it not being part of the Organon blog, you brought up the debate!)

    Comment by hcn57 — January 22, 2008 @ 4:04 am | Reply

  25. GaleG said “There are many who say that homeopathy has worked for them and others- I can understand your being skeptical about it if you have not experienced it first- hand.

    It just needs the funding for scientists to find out how. Perhaps in our lifetime; if not, hopefully our grandchildren’s.

    If our joint desire is to find out more about homeopathy, explore how it works, and eventually, why it works, than that is wonderful.”

    First go to your local library and check out this new book: Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell

    That should give you a good grounding in how to read a study. Prof. Bausell is a biostatitian who was a Research Director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center. Don’t worry, it is not an onerous book to read. He is actually quite witty in places. He will also explain about a thing called the Cochrane Collaboration, and how they try to find all the studies and sort through them to see if something does or does not work.

    This group has checked out many of the homoepathy studies. What you need to do is go to the http://www.pubmed.gov and put these terms into the search window, just as written:
    homeopathy “Cochrane Database Syst Rev”[Journal]

    Read the less than ten abstracts that pop up and tell us what they concluded.

    Now about the funding, Prof. Bausell’s former employer has lots of money for research. There are funds put aside, but not enough people apply for the grants to do the studies. Here is an idea:

    Check if Andre Saine’s contention that homeopathy is better with rabies than modern medicine. Write up a grant and submit it at http://nccam.nih.gov/research/ . Then gather up some mice (or dogs), infect them with rabies and then treat with homeopathy. I would not suggest you try it on humans.

    Good luck.

    Comment by hcn57 — January 22, 2008 @ 4:56 am | Reply

  26. “Interesting how a detailed study of the Organon can lead even the most hardened skeptic to the conclusion that there must be something to homeopathy”

    I hope you’re not referring to me there! I don’t believe for even one second that there is anything “in” homeopathy (in either a linguistic or literal sense). What I wrote was that those of us who deride it do not do so because we fear the discovery of a vast new area of science. We would welcome the new science – and like any human being we would welcome a range of cheap, safe, effective new medical treatments. That’s not our objection. Our objection is that it has been tested and found not to exist and that all the ‘evidence’ for it claimed by the pro-homeopathy lobby can be explained away (sometimes embarrassingly easily using school-level science).

    But here we have seen a perfect example of how homeopaths and their supporters will misinterpret and latch onto anything that seems to support them while ignoring arguments against them like they have some sort of mental blind spot.

    “If only a fraction of the money devoted to marketing of allotropic drugs by Big Pharma were devoted to research on homeopathy the method would be known by now.”

    “Rather than shut down the research by flatly stating “It doesn’t work”, we should be encouraging our brightest and best scientists to get funding, support and encouragement to discover the hows and whys”

    Don’t either of you get it? No, I don’t suppose you do. Listen, that research money will be available The Moment That Homeopathy Is Shown To Be Real. But as it stands, researching the method of homeopathy would be like researching the breeding habits of the Loch Ness Monster.

    “Please don’t discard homeopathy- it is like finding a new continent for those of us who have stumbled upon it and experienced its workings- some have gone on to study it and become practitioners.”

    But for those of us who haven’t “stumbled upon” the lost continent of Homeopathia, all we have is a bunch of anecdotes from people who CLAIM to have been there. These are unreliable and frankly deeply improbable as it is claimed to be a land where everyone is beautiful and lives for 200 years and where the streets are littered with diamonds and iced buns grow on trees.

    Every time anyone sets out to actually find Homeopathia, all they encounter is vague images in the distance which can be easily explained as optical illusions or fog banks. And now we’re examining a 200-year-old chart which shows the location of Homeopathia, which its supporters claim to be true – despite the fact that in the last 200 years we have used satellites to map every single place on the planet.

    I’ve got hundreds of these analogies folks, but I don’t believe GaleG, H4H, Edouard or any of their friends will eever make any attempt to understand them, Mental blind spots.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 7:37 am | Reply

  27. Gale G – I think that you’re leaping one step ahead. To paraphrase M Simpson and HCN, it’s not yet about how it works, but about whether it works. IF anyone can prove conclusively that it works, and others try and fail to show how their experiment was wrong and recreate it with similar success, then there will be billions of pounds available to understanding how it works. Every chemist, pharmacist, biochemist, medic and physicist in the world will be after a share of the inevitable Nobel prize that would result.

    The problem that scientists have with the evidence for homeopathy is that so far it can be explained by what have been shown to be known confounding factors when doing clinical (and other) trials.
    Just out of interest, and please don’t think that I’m patronising you, do you understand what is meant by ‘the hawthorne effect’, ‘regression to the mean’, ‘recall bias’, ‘selection bias’ and ‘the plaebo effect’? Each one of these has been shown to be a real effect which can influence the results of studies. Some of them are very subtle and clever and have been used in the past by dishonest people (I’m not picking on homeopaths here, researchers in all fields have utilised these effects) to make their results look better than they otherwise would. A proper study has to account for all of these things and, because we’re dealing with humans and humans are suggestible, a study also has to be properly blinded and controlled.

    If you were interested, I would be happy to give you a brief explanation of what each of these things is and also explain statistical significance too. You and I could then between us easily design a simple and fair experiment in people which would show whether or not homeopathy worked.
    As HCN57 linked to in post 25, there’s funding available. We could create a small not-for-profit organisation dedicated to studying whether homeopathy works and apply for a grant (well, this might pose some problems for me with work, but I could certainly find people who’d be happy to join in). Then, once the protocol was agreed and funding obtained, it would just be a question of finding a homeopath or two brave enough to join in and some scientists to help with the monitoring and the statistical analysis (actually, I know a very good statistician who would probably be happy to help, so that part’s sorted).

    Comment by tom p — January 22, 2008 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  28. I’ve just realised that the start to my penultimate paragraph (If you were interested…) assumes that the answer to my question in the antepenultimate paragraph is “No” for all of the effects. This is an inappropriate assumption. The penultimate paragraph should have started “If the answer to the above is “no” and if you were interested…”

    Comment by tom p — January 22, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  29. “All those statistics that you are gathering about your own experiences and about others are only about how somebody has flowed Energy. It isn’t about any hard fast reality.”

    I believe that this sums up why it is darn hard to “prove” things scientifically once we are dealing with real people. Even allopathic docs wonder why some people get well with their treatment and others do not, even with the same drugs or surgery. We are not machines.

    But here is a recent event in science exploring homeopathy:

    Abstract

    Background: Previous experiments show that amphibian larvae are responsive to homeopathically prepared thyroxine.

    Methods: We studied the effect of a highly diluted and agitated thyroxine solution exposed to various electromagnetic fields on metamorphosis in highland Rana temporaria. The devices tested were: microwave oven, mobile phone, airport X-ray, and a red light barcode scanner. Animals were treated either with homeopathically prepared thyroxine (10−30 parts by weight, 10−35 in the water in which the animals were kept), or analogously prepared blank solution, or analogously prepared thyroxine exposed to the electromagnetic field of one of the devices tested. Solutions were administered at 48 h intervals according to a standardized protocol.

    Results: Animals treated with the standard test solution thyroxine 10−30 metamorphosed more slowly than the control animals, ie the effect of the homeopathically prepared thyroxine was opposed to the usual physiological effect of molecular thyroxine. The cumulative number of test animals that had reached the four-legged stage at defined points in time was smaller in the group treated with homeopathically prepared thyroxine at most of the points in time. This was found independently by all three research teams involved.

    In contrast, this effect did not occur when the thyroxine solution had been exposed to the field of the early model microwave oven, or mobile phone. There was no difference between aqueous or alcoholic solutions were used, and there was, if any, only a small protective effect from aluminum foil. Airport X-ray and red light barcode scanning did not diminish the effect of the homeopathic solution.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WXX-4RJXWNR-3&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2008&_rdoc=3&_fmt=full&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%237170%232008%23999029998%23678364%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=7170&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=26&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=ccd7fb267352626e87fbf50632a038ff

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  30. You may have to go to http://goodscience.wordpress.com/ to get a working link.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  31. TomP said “Just out of interest, and please don’t think that I’m patronising you, do you understand what is meant by ‘the hawthorne effect’, ‘regression to the mean’, ‘recall bias’, ’selection bias’ and ‘the plaebo effect’? Each one of these has been shown to be a real effect which can influence the results of studies. Some of them are very subtle and clever and have been used in the past by dishonest people (I’m not picking on homeopaths here, researchers in all fields have utilised these effects) to make their results look better than they otherwise would. A proper study has to account for all of these things and, because we’re dealing with humans and humans are suggestible, a study also has to be properly blinded and controlled.”

    I learned all about those from Bausell’s book _Snake Oil Science_.

    Linky to obscure paper GaleG was trying to post:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18194759

    There is much that is dependent on the experiment design that you do not even get from the full paper. It was discussed here:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=3345331&highlight=tadpole#post3345331
    … What you have is an example of the poor quality of studies that are common with homoepathy.

    So how about designing a good experiement with dogs and rabies? Are you willing to try that?

    Comment by hcn57 — January 22, 2008 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  32. “Even allopathic docs wonder why some people get well with their treatment and others do not, even with the same drugs or surgery. We are not machines.”

    They do indeed wonder. Wondering is the basis of all scientific enquiry. And having wondered, doctors and medical researchers investigate and experiment. Then they look at their results and wonder some more. Nothing wrong with wondering.

    But homeopaths and other CAM practitioners don’t wonder – they claim to know the answers, all the answers. If some people get well and others do not it’s purely and simply because the latter group were prescribed the ‘wrong remedy’. If homeopaths did a bit more wondering they might start to understand the world around them and maybe even question the basis of what they’re doing instead of blindly accepting everything they’re told.

    Comment by MJ Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  33. That “study” was discussed here:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=3345331&highlight=tadpole#post3345331

    … again a case of poor experiment design…

    How about you writing a grant to get a study of rabies and homeopathy?

    TomP wrote “Just out of interest, and please don’t think that I’m patronising you, do you understand what is meant by ‘the hawthorne effect’, ‘regression to the mean’, ‘recall bias’, ’selection bias’ and ‘the plaebo effect’? ”

    I learned about all of those in the Bausell’s “Snake Oil Science” book!

    Comment by hcn57 — January 22, 2008 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  34. Gale, you haven’t responded to my post at all. How come? You planning to do so later?

    You wrote in comment 29
    “All those statistics that you are gathering about your own experiences and about others are only about how somebody has flowed Energy. It isn’t about any hard fast reality.”
    Where is the evidence for the ‘energy flow’ part of this quote?
    Regarding it being hard-and-fast reality, that’s why we have confidence intervals. A clinical trial will tell you what proportion of the population under study this medicine worked for and how likely it is that it would work again in this proportion in a similar population. Nobody who understands anything about clinical trials pretends that they give you 100% certainty. However, this is definitely grounded in reality and you can extrapolate from the studies to see what will happen in the real world.

    You went on to say…
    “I believe that this sums up why it is darn hard to “prove” things scientifically once we are dealing with real people. Even allopathic docs wonder why some people get well with their treatment and others do not, even with the same drugs or surgery. We are not machines.”
    Actually, the mechanism of action of most medicines is pretty well understood – we know why it works and, if you have the time and money, you can generally figure out why it doesn’t work for a particular patient. That’s what happens in clinical trials, as the companies investigate what could be the confounding factors that mean that their drugs didn’t work in some of the population. Your average GP, on the other hand, may wonder why the medicine isn’t working for patient X, but it’s not worth their or the patient’s time to find out when there’s usually plenty of competitors that the patientcan switch to which will treat them.

    Comment by tom p — January 22, 2008 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  35. You have GOT to be kidding me. POOR experiment design! It was replicated FIVE times. This just goes to prove my point. It is no use. This is not about proving homeopathy is effective (better word than “works”, Alan?). This forum, I still maintain, is ONLY about defaming homeopathy. The discussion is moot because there is no way you Bad Science boys will relent. Not even an air tight study can convince you. This is all political and pretending it is about science is a sham.

    Comment by goodscience — January 22, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  36. Yes, the mechanism may be well known, but in clinical use, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What are the factors that may affect treatment in clinical use? We can figure out how a drug works, say, like aspirin ( pain relief, antipyretic etc) but it will not cure the condition that underlies the symptoms. And some people have bad reactions to drugs.

    Why do some people get well, and some people die? Haven’t you ever wondered that? It is certainly not as cut a dried as you scientists would wish. I worked for many years as a nurse in pediatrics: treatment for cardiac conditions were drugs and surgery- some kids did well and some did not. The MD’s used their knowlege to attempt to help these kids, but were not always successful. I think this is true for all healers…..

    All the scientists have are statistics……I am interested in the flow of energy, expectation, all the varying factors that go into living; in other words, I am a mystic living in a material world, questioning how we can live a healthy and well life.

    On some deep level, I believe that healing can take place without medication,homeopathy of any sort……now that is a topic for another blog I suspect!

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  37. hcn57,msimpson,tom p:

    When I was younger, I had a childlike faith that with only the right drug or right medical treatment, all sick people could be cured.
    It was only when I became a nurse and worked first hand with sick people, did I realize that “real life” is not so simple.

    Hence, my search for a deeper understanding of life.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  38. GaleG: To some extent, we know that “healing can take place without medication,homeopathy of any sort”. The body is very good at that. And “all the varying factors that go into living” are important — that’s why “real life” is not so simple: because people are different and have different lifestyles. And “expectation” is certainly a factor: it’s the placebo effect, and it’s very interesting. None of the above necessitates invoking anything “deeper” than day-to-day life, and you won’t get “a deeper understanding of life” unless you’re willing to be rigorous about it.

    Also, many drugs will cure underlying conditions: antibiotics, for example, don’t just make you feel good. They actively kill the microbes causing the symptoms. Antivirals do much the same, and most cancer treatments aim to remove the tumour rather than just making the patient feel better about it. You can’t generalise from aspirin, even implicitly.

    Comment by Andrew Taylor — January 22, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  39. Dear Andrew,

    Thank you for your post. What comes up for me is still the question: anti-biotics do not work in all cases of infection, nor does chemotherapy for cancer nor antvirals….in other words, people still will not get better and even will die despite medical treatment. So what is the underlying factor(s) for getting and staying well.

    Comment by GaleG — January 22, 2008 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  40. GaleG, if you realised that real life is not simple, why do you persist in believing that there are simple answers to life’s problems?

    The principles of homeopathy are very simple and it is based – as we can see from even this little bit of the Organon – on a vastly simplified version of human physiology. As so often with homeopaths, you’re contradicting yourself. You think that real life is not simple but you believe that there are universal underlying factors for getting and staying well.

    Real medicine understands – and does its best to make allowances for – the complexity of life, both within and between individuals. There are no simple answers, no panaceas, this much becomes evident to us all at some point. Well, almost all of us.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  41. Galeg, if you realised that real life is not simple, why do you persist in your belief that there are simple answers to life’s problems?

    Most of us, when we start to appreciate how complex life is, also start to appreciate that there are therefore no one-stop solutions, no panaceas. That’s one of the reasons why homeopathy is so obviously phony.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  42. M, do not think for a moment that “like cures like” is a simple principle to apply. In fact it is very complex. As complex, obviously, as the human condition. No one appreciates the complexity of life than do homeopaths. In fact it is that very complexity that homeopaths embrace whole heartily, not just the bits and pieces of a mechanism. I agree with you, there are no simple answers, there are no panaceas, so what makes homeopathy so obviously phony??

    Comment by goodscience — January 22, 2008 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

  43. Goodscience, you’re doing the usual homeopath trick of believing two contradictory things. Homeopathy is based on the claimed ‘law of similars’, isn’t it? The principle that anything which causes a symptom also cures that same symptom. Can’t get much simpler than that. Compare it with the map of biochemical pathways over on Gimpy’s blog – now that’s complexity.

    Homeopathic remedies are prepared in an extremely simple way. They are taken in a simple way. The whole system is based on simplicity. Just because there are 4,000 listed remedies don’t make the principles of homeopathy complex, it’s just a long list. Homeopathy’s very simplicity is one of its big selling points.

    You can’t claim that “there are no simple answers, there are no panaceas” if you also believe that all medical conditions are nothing more than collections of symptoms (as Hahnemann claimed) and that the symptoms – and hence the conditions – can be relieved with nothing more than a sugar pill that has had a drop of specially prepared water on it. That is a simple answer, that is a panacea. You can say it’s not but that’s like me saying the thing I’m typing on isn’t a computer.

    There’s an old saying that applies perfectly to homeopathy: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

    As for “No one appreciates the complexity of life than do homeopaths.”, that’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve read this week. Take another look at that metabolic pathway map on Gimpy’s blog and then tell me with a straight face that homeopaths – followers of a man whose teachings stated that it was impossible for anyone to ever discover what causes diseases – appreciate the complexity of life.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 22, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  44. ‘Most of us, when we start to appreciate how complex life is, also start to appreciate that there are therefore no one-stop solutions, no panaceas. That’s one of the reasons why homeopathy is so obviously phony.’ Is one of M Simpson’s ‘FLACTS’ – facts derived from logic only and not actually true: http://homeopathy4health.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/fact-or-flact/

    It’s a skeptic trick of the light used repeatedly to defame.

    Well done Gale G, goodscience and Edouard for slogging at it in the face of the equivalent of:

    ‘LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I HAVE TWO FINGERS IN MY EARS AND THE REST OVER MY EYES’

    Love
    H4H

    Comment by homeopathy4health — January 22, 2008 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  45. M, for some inexplicable reason your think that because the principle of like cures like is elegant and simple and that the ability to accurately apply it is difficult, is some how mutually exclusive. And yes I do follow the teachings of Hahnemann, do I follow them to the letter, no. This is not a religion it is a science. We have built upon his works and we have developed it beyound Hahnemann’s wildest dreams, but you would not know that. What is most hilarious, my dear M, is that you and your fellow “scientists” actually believe that you KNOW what causes disease.

    Comment by goodscience — January 23, 2008 @ 12:27 am | Reply

  46. “facts derived from logic only and not actually true”

    “you and your fellow “scientists” actually believe that you KNOW what causes disease”

    Okay, I’m giving up on this particular discussion because I’m locked in a quandary over which of these two statements is the most asinine.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 23, 2008 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  47. Awwwwwwwww M, picked up her vitriol and went home………….

    Comment by goodscience — January 23, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  48. The skeptics simply cannot persist in the face of the truth of homeopathy.

    Comment by edouard — January 23, 2008 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  49. Yeah, sure… just tell us how many sodium and chlorine atoms are in one cubic centimeter of Nat Mur 30C.

    Also, tell us how a homeopath tells the difference between an Hib infection and a strep infection. What tests are performed?

    Then perhaps tell us if you really want to tell us if a your pet, child or yourself were bit by a bat infected with rabies if you would use only homeopathy because Andre Saine says it worked over 100 years ago.

    Also tell us the success homeoapathy has had with: syphilis, Type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, Tay Sacks disease, sickle cell disease, rabies, haemophilus influenza, polio, and tetanus. Please be specific with your verfiable evidence.

    Comment by HCN — January 23, 2008 @ 6:00 am | Reply

  50. I don’t think that simplicity in itself is a reason to criticise homoeopathy. [godwin] It would be like criticising Hitler for having rubbish facial hair [/godwin]. There are so many other things that one can criticise first. Many aspects of the human body can be expressed simply (e.g., making it hotter helps to kill viruses), but the problems start when simple rules are inappropriately applied to complex things. To paraphrase Einstein “Things should be made as simple as possible but no simpler.”

    The human body is an incredibly complex system; I think we could all agree on that. It can go wrong in a huge number of different ways. How is it then that these myriad problems can all be cured (such is the claim) by a system that has no mechanism for direct effect but allegedly interacts with a “vital force” that overarches (interacts with?) this incredibly complex system? The clash is between the complexity of the system (which we definitely do know a lot, though not all, about) and the simplicity of the proposed healing mechanism. This ignores the greater problem that there’s no direct evidence for a “vital force” or any coherent hypothesis for how it interacts with any or all of the body’s system.

    H4H, please give up on the whole “flact” thing. I know you’re terribly excited about trying to start a new meme, but it’s really quite embarrassing. Go and read up on logic and then come back and point out exactly what fallacies have been committed. If the logical steps are incorrect, say so; alternatively, if the premises are incorrect, say so. Both of those criticisms would be perfectly valid and welcomed as such. But please don’t continue on this tack, it’s feeble. For example, here’s a fact derived from logic (a “flact” if you like):

    All swans are birds.
    All birds are animals.
    Therefore, all swans are animals.

    That, according to you is a “flact”, since it was derived from logic. Would you care to point out how it is incorrect?

    “The skeptics simply cannot persist in the face of the truth of homeopathy.”

    Amen Brother! Testify!

    Comment by flimflam_machine — January 23, 2008 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  51. Goodscience: “You have GOT to be kidding me. POOR experiment design! It was replicated FIVE times.”

    You mean that the experiment was repeated 5 times and achieved the same results? How does that stop the experiment from being poorly designed?

    For example I could have an array of detectors to measure where electrons are coming from on a sample. However, between the sample and the plate I could have a big magnet that affects the flight path of the electrons such that it appears that the electrons are coming from a different part of the sample to where they are. I could repeat this experiment to my heart’s content, but it wouldn’t make it anymore correct – I need to remove the magnet, don’t I?

    It seems that you are operating on dim memories of high school science lessons and being told that reproducibility is an important aspect of good science – indeed it is, because it countenances flukes or spurious abberations (such as, in my example a spurious magnetic field that existed at some time during some of the experiments, but not all of them). However, it doesn’t countenance a permanent flaw in the experimental method (such as, in my example, a permanet magnetic field present in all the experimental repetitions).

    No doubt you will find some way of accusing me of being ignorant or refusing to accept the ‘flacts’ [sic].

    Comment by thenanoscientist — January 23, 2008 @ 1:00 pm | Reply

  52. Actually, this piece has brought two interesting comments that effectively mean that discussion on a critical scientific level is impossible with some of the pro-homeopathy supporters here.

    1. That the basis for homeopathy lies so far outside our scientific understanding that it is impossible to test for it.

    2. That logic is not an appropriate method for constructing arguments in this area (or perhaps at all).

    What is the point when such statements have been espoused to try and construct and critical, scientific, logical argument concerning the basis of homeopathy that will be convincing to those who support it? Clearly that is an impossibility?

    At least theologians attempt to use logic in their arguments about the existance of their particular deity rather than deny centuries of human thought in an off-hand instant.

    Comment by thenanoscientist — January 23, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  53. Gale, since you’ve continued to ignore my questions posed in comment 27, I shall assume that you don’t know anything about study design and you’re not at all intersted in finding out. This probably explains why you’ve been suckered by the homeopaths.

    In comment 39, you wrote “What comes up for me is still the question: anti-biotics do not work in all cases of infection, nor does chemotherapy for cancer nor antvirals….in other words, people still will not get better and even will die despite medical treatment. So what is the underlying factor(s) for getting and staying well.”
    Medical science does understand why these don’t always work, but I’ll only deal with antibiotics ‘cos you’re not really interested in (capable of?) understanding such things and I’ve got better things to do than point out every single one of your glaring errors.
    The reasons that antibiotics don’t work for all bacterial infections are many: firstly there’s misdiagnosis of a bacterial infection – they won’t clear up what’s being caused by something else, secondly there are two types of bacteria, known as Gram-positive and gram-negative. One of these types has an outer-shell of sugars (a bit like the difference between a minstrel and a chocolate button) and needs special types of antibiotics to kill it (just as a minstrel needs extra heat and preferably some moisture to melt it, unblikethe chocolate button that melts at the drop of a hat). Another important reason is antibiotic resistance, namely bacteria can mutate and develop resistance to certain types of antibiotics, as MRSA did. Are these sufficient reasons for you? There are plenty of others why some bacteria are more or less susceptible to some antibiotics, but you’ll still just dismiss them in a puff of ignorance, so what’s the point?

    Comment by tom p — January 23, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  54. Dear Tom,

    TO give you peace of mind, yes, I know nothing about study design….I know quite a lot about medicine……..I am capable of understanding things like anti-biotics etc, just it is not where I choose to spend my time.

    What I do know is that I am healthy, happy, balanced, with healthy, happy and balanced children. And I do attribute that to the help we have received from our homeopath over the last 26 years or so. I am also proud of a 20 year marriage where we still have sex every three days, desire each other, have fun with each other ( I hope I am not embarrassing you- all!) None of us take ANY medication at all, enjoy life, and all I can wish for all of you is the same.

    I really am a small fish in a big pond,but what I am realizing is that this blog is supposed to be about further understanding the Organon, not a forum for the skeptics to come and “diss” homeopathy- there are other places you can do that I am sure!

    Comment by GaleG — January 23, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  55. Gale, I’m glad that you have such a balanced and happy life, congratulations on your enduring marriage, they’re an increasingly rare phenomenon these days.

    Kudos to you also for admitting that you know nothing about study design. It’s always far better to say that you don’t understand than to attempt to bluster your way through, which is, sadly, something that homoeopaths often do with regard to science (although they certainly don’t have the monopoly on bluster). I think it’s crucial to realise that medical trials are increasingly a way in which the majority of health professionals understand medicine. Therefore if you wish to extend the range of what you “know” about medicine (or even just comprehend how other people “know” things about medicine) it’s worth getting a handle on clinical trial design.

    Your life is a very good example of how the clash between homoeopathy and evidence based medicine comes about. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence regarding the efficacy homoeopathy and these are very suggestive, but essentially all the amount to is people saying “I attribute my good health/recovery from condition X to homoeopathy.” In your case it’s perfectly possible that your good health is simply due to the luck of the draw (good genes and never being exposed to any potentially fatal pathogens)and a healthy lifestyle (including a healthy and happy marriage) so the ministrations of your homoeopath would not be needed anyway. The fundamental point is that, if this is possible for you, why is it not possible for everyone who claims to have benefited from homoeopathy? It might be that they all are lucky to have good health in any case, or to have been given homoeopathy just before they recovered from a condition from which they would have recovered anyway.

    All a clinical trial does is try to answer questions like this (did your homoeopath really help you stay healthy/get better). There’s no sleight of hand involved, put very basically: you take a group of people randomly divide them into two groups (which will be very similar to each other), give one group the remedy and treat the other group exactly the same except that they get something that looks very like the remedy but is in fact just a blank pill. Neither the physicians nor the patients know who’s getting the remedy or the blank, so they can’t skew the results by making up or ignoring symptoms, and you pick in advance what you’re going to use as your measure of “wellness” (e.g., days taken off work, temperature, patients’ rating of pain) so you can’t just pick out afterwards whichever measure supports your idea.

    This is very simplified, and not directly relevant to the organon. But I’m sure we can continue the discussion if you like.

    Comment by flimflam_machine — January 23, 2008 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  56. flimflam,

    “The fundamental point is that, if this is possible for you, why is it not possible for everyone who claims to have benefited from homoeopathy?”

    Very good point and the fact is most ALL who benefit from homeopathy claim to have better health in all areas of their life, not just the complaint that brought them through the door. That is the beauty of it all. It is not just the sinus infection, the IBS, the anxiety or what ever the chief complaint maybe that improves. The whole state of the individual improves, mentally, emotionally and physically.
    As to the discussion of a clinical trial, there have been loads of them that you and your comrades do not want to acknowledge, so I think we have to leave that scenario moot.
    Earlier I was discussing with M about weather or not these groups of scientists “know” what causes disease. The argument is that most often disease is caused by micro-organisms. My point is that the disease was there BEFORE the micro-organism. The virus or bacteria is only opportunistic and is taking advantage of the weakness already manifesting in the individual. The susceptibility to the micro-organism is only PART of the totality of the illness. That explains why not every person, or animal, falls ill when exposed to the same micro-organism. There is an underlying cause to the susceptibility and I am not talking about genetics, even though I do understand how predisposition impacts health. The thing that is difficult for material science to get its head around is that homeopathy is operating in a way that we do not completely understand yet. It is not that it does NOT work. It is that we do not as yet have all the answers to WHY it works.

    Comment by Goodscience — January 23, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  57. Thanks for the reply goodscience, although I think you’re either missing or talking around the point I was making. The apparently general health benefits of homoeopathy that you talk about are not really relevant, although one could argue that they are sign of a general placebo effect. That’s what they look like to me i.e., you take a pill, and because you expect it to make you better you are generally perkier and find all your health niggles less troublesome.

    The point I was making was that it is perfectly possible that Gale would have had good health even if she hadn’t seen her homoeopath. Similarly it is possible that what periods of ill-health she has had, she would have recovered from with or without the intervention of a homoeopath. In other words, her good health is regardless of, rather than because of, her use of homoeopathy. Now it’s not too much of a stretch to accept that this may be the case for one person but, if so, then it’s possible that this is actually the case for *everyone* who claims to have benefitted from homoeopathy. If Gale is mistaken, and her good health has nothing to do with homoeopathy, then it’s perfectly possible that a lot of other people were mistaken too. My point was that clinical trials in this area are specifically designed to answer the questions of whether they genuinely are mistaken. The trials may not be perfect but they are, contrary to the opinion of most homoeopaths, the correct tool.

    I thought that this discussion was meant to be an analysis of the organon and that you lamented its polarisation, why then the comment about my “comrades” (none of whom I’ve ever met)? Regarding the trials that have been done, there are indeed a lot of them. Some of them do indeed show a positive result for homoeopathy over placebo (although there are more that show no such result); however, they’re not ignored, because there’s no need to ignore them. As I’m sure you’re aware, trials like this don’t deal in certainties, but rather return a probability that the result would have occurred through chance alone if there was, in reality, no difference between homoeopathy and placebo. What this means is that, if you do enough trials, some will show a positive effect of homoeopathy even if none actually exists. It’s similar to the idea that if you put you and Mike Tyson in the ring together enough times, you’ll win at least once due to sheer chance.

    In any case, if the remarkable claims that are being made for homoeopathy are true, e an overwhelming majority of trials should result in glaring success for the remedy under question. Sadly, that’s not how the literature reads. The most interesting conclusion for me was that the better designed the trial the less likely it is to show a positive effect of homoeopathy. What this very strongly suggests is that in those cases where homoeopathy was shown to be better than placebo it was due to a flaw in the trial (e.g., big green homoeopathic remedy pills, small red placebo pills). Sticking to the analogy, it’s like you winning because Mike Tyson has been drugged.

    “The thing that is difficult for material science to get its head around is that homeopathy is operating in a way that we do not completely understand yet. It is not that it does NOT work. It is that we do not as yet have all the answers to WHY it works.”

    Sadly, this is what homoeopaths believe leads to many people not accepting homoeopathy. Genuinely, it’s not. The reason it’s not accepted is that the evidence for its efficacy is simply not strong enough to accept; and since the majority of well-designed trials come back negative that doesn’t look like changing. If it does, then there would be a lot more science to do, excellent!

    We have previously discussed distal and proximal causes for disease (parts 1-4 and 5-9). I disagree that “the disease is there before the micro-organism”, certainly you can be susceptible, but I would hardly say that I have malaria now just because I am susceptible to it (not having a genetic immunity). In any case I think that conventional medicine has an increasing understanding of vulnerability to pathogens in addition to the pathogens themselves, so I’m not sure what your point is.

    Comment by flimflam_machine — January 23, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  58. Since none of the homeopaths are willing to risk their pets, children or themselves to Andre Saine’s proclamation that homeopathy works better than modern medicine with rabies, I am assuming they all disagree with him. (it is in the debate GaleG referred to).

    So, we are all agreed that homeopathy would do NOTHING for rabies, and if not treated quickly with standard modern medicine the rabies victim will most certainly die.

    If this is not the case, then the homeopaths would please show us the evidence that shows Andre Saine is correct in stating that rabies can be effectly treated with homeopathy.

    Comment by HCN — January 24, 2008 @ 12:19 am | Reply

  59. Logic: You pose a question
    No one answers
    You determine that they all agree with you.

    I don’t see how you possibly could come to that conclusion. Maybe they are all working, gone on vacation, don’t want to answer you.

    Many of us blend our use of homeopathy with modern medicine in any case. Stop baiting.

    Comment by GaleG — January 24, 2008 @ 1:50 am | Reply

  60. Goodscience: “You have GOT to be kidding me. POOR experiment design! It was replicated FIVE times.”

    I have asked elsewhere for the five references that show each independent experiment. My feeling is that it was a group of ‘mates’. Let’s see the papers before we believe this ‘flact’.

    Comment by le canard noir — January 24, 2008 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  61. GaleG said “Many of us blend our use of homeopathy with modern medicine in any case. Stop baiting.”

    Then how do you know which is working?

    You posted the information on the Univ. of Connecticut homeopathy debate where during the last several minutes Andre Saine said over and over again that homeopathy would work more effectively and safely for rabies. If you did not believe that is true, then tell us that Andre Saine was wrong. Or did you not actually watch the full two hours of that debate?

    Comment by HCN — January 24, 2008 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  62. http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

    Comment by HCN — January 24, 2008 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  63. HCN, I do not believe that any of us supporting homeopathy have said that there are not irresponsible homeopaths, just like there are irresponsible MD’s, PhD’s, scientists, politicians………….and people in general. The site you have posted above is an abomination and has no place in this debate. It is about angry people venting, just like people vent on other sites about the ill done to them buy the medical community. Be careful who you align yourself with, you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation. http://www.foundationforhealthchoice.com/quackwatch2.htm
    Ring any bells, Andy??

    Comment by goodscience — January 24, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  64. That sounds like a threat, goodscience.

    Comment by bill — January 24, 2008 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  65. I think we need a few definitions of words used by anti-homeopathic bloggers:

    Well-designed = conforms to my prejudices
    References = people who agree with me
    Evidence = 1) result I accept; 2) my personal experience; 3) absolute basis of knowledge ONLY if divorced from theory
    Theory = someone else’s thought process having no validity outside their head
    Mysticism = result I don’t accept
    Anecdotal = 1) somebody else’s personal experience; 2) detailed clinical evidence I don’t agree with
    Big picture = the smallest, most tangential or most irrelevant detail I can focus on
    Science = the crudest understanding of the real world that I can get away with
    Debate = an activity centred on derailing discussion of a significant subject into pointless remarks and questions about something insignificant
    Logic = any train of thought that gets me to where I want to be, regardless of its connections to reality or premises

    This is not a complete list, but I hope this will make for greater clarity and understanding

    Comment by Ohreally — January 25, 2008 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  66. That’s beneath you. Or at least, I hope it’s beneath you, and you were really drunk when typing that or something.

    Comment by Elennaro — January 25, 2008 @ 12:40 am | Reply

  67. I hope Gimpy posts the next few verses soon so we can start debating Hahnemann again as this is just descending into childishness.

    Comment by M Simpson — January 25, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  68. Not a threat Bill, just pointing out that the site HCN posted is abominable and people that blindly defame others are paying the price. You must agree that the site is complete crap………..

    Comment by Goodscience — January 25, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  69. I must agree with nothing.

    Any homeopath that urges patients to give up conventional medicine must be held responsible if the patient suffers adverse consequences.

    Comment by bill — January 25, 2008 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  70. All you have to do Ohreally, Gale and others is to show where homeopathy actually really truely works. So far, nothing.

    Not even proof that Andre Saine is right or wrong about homeopathy being better than modern medicine for rabies.

    Threats prove nothing, but evidence does. Got evidence?

    Comment by HCN — January 25, 2008 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  71. “You must agree that the site is complete crap………”

    Must we? I don’t think it’s complete crap. I don’t find reading it particularly pleasant, but then it’s not dealing with a pleasant topic. There are many criticisms that you can make about the site, e.g., that it is dealing in anecdotes only and that it is difficult to establish that the alternative practice was actually the cause of the injury/death. Many of these criticisms are dealt with in the FAQ. However, I think the general thrust of it is laudable since it just gives documented cases of injuries and fatalities, directly caused by, or concurrent with, treatments and activities whose main selling point is that they’re completely “natural and safe”. I certainly would disagree with your assertion that the site is “angry” consists of “venting” or “blindly defames” anyone. I think the tone is quite calm (almost unsettlingly so) and that in the brief case descriptions it certainly doesn’t abuse anyone, but simply reports any legal proceedings (with links).

    Sorry, off topic again!

    Comment by flimflam_machine — January 25, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  72. When I can be bothered to make the trawl, I shall post the list with examples illustrating every point. I am pretty sure that I can do it without even going outside Gimpy’s blogs.

    The big handicap someone has who ignores facts is that they constantly expose their prejudices. If any of you had bothered to check up on the book I recommended you would have found that Hahnemann’s position is very seriously defensible in modern science.

    Comment by Ohreally — January 26, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  73. Nonsense Ohreally. Hahnemann’s position is incompatible with modern science but that’s excusable from Hahnemann’s point of view because he simply did not know what we know. You do. We know that there are no molecules of the original substance left in remedies diluted beyond 12C, we know that there is no evidence of energies in these remedies, we know that the effects attributed to homeopathy are perfectly explicable by regression to the mean, placebo effect, etc. Why would we need to invent concepts we have no evidence for?

    Comment by gimpy — January 26, 2008 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  74. Ohreally said: “The big handicap someone has who ignores facts is that they constantly expose their prejudices. If any of you had bothered to check up on the book I recommended you would have found that Hahnemann’s position is very seriously defensible in modern science.”

    So is his treatment for syphilis the standard of care today?

    Do you think Andre Saine’s contention that homeopathy is a better treatment for rabies than modern medicine?

    I’m sorry, what book did you recommended? I seem to have missed it (if it is “The Emerging Science of Homeopathy; Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology”, then it is a silly book… using the term “nanopharmacology” without any acknowledgement of what it is, and while searching for the terms on the Amazon.com site it is only used in three places, one of them being the title, the other two in the “front matter” introduction, and more than likely NOTHING to do with E-9).

    Quick quiz: what does the term “nano” have to do with one billionth, or “10 to the minus 9” or “E-9”?

    Be sure to be specific with that answer. Just like you are with how many sodium and chlorine atoms are in one cubic centimeter of Nat Mur 30C.

    Have you looked into any of the books I have recommended? Like this one:
    http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781592575145,00.html

    I actually bought a copy for myself, since it is a good reference and way to catch up with some old high school and college subjects (which I took in the days of Disco, the mid to late 1970s). Of course, that is all lost on you, since you seemed to have ceased taking school science somewhere about the age of 12. Though you can catch up with science education from your local community college. Give it a try. I would suggest you start with biology, and then chemistry. It might help to have some basic high school algebra before you start, fortunately they are also available at many community colleges.

    Comment by hcn57 — January 27, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply


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