Are homeopaths an oppressed minority?

Yes, and we’re all a minority of one, especially me. I’ve noticed that. There’s me, and then there’s everyone else. It’s actually quite daunting sometimes.
What I see missing from the discussion is a dialectic, as proposed by Paulo Friere in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” According to Friere, our greatest power is our ability to confront our oppressors with questions. We can’t just turn the tables on them. We have to confront them with what they’re doing to us in human terms. In dehumanizing us, they dehumanize themselves. It is our job to rehumanize them.
For example, when I was in England last week, Professor Josephson invited Ben Goldacre to the Cavendish to hear my lecture on supramolecular chemistry and homeopathy, but Goldacre begged off, saying he had a boring day job. Now I read tonight that he is flying to Montreal to attend a homeopathy bashing conference with Michael Shermer, Randi and others, probably to discuss how they’re going to respond to the supramolecular argument.
So why didn’t I call him up at the Guardian, or whereever, and say, Ben, come to the Cavendish. hear my lecture. The same with others, like Evan Harris. Evan, come to my lecture. Tell us what you think. All they can say is no. The more human we are to them, the more difficult is for them to dehumanize us as fruads and ignoramuses.
We all know that if Goldacre was genuine in his opinions about homeopathy, he’d take the opportunity to meet with a Nobel laureate and hear what’s being said about it at that level. But he’s not. He’s scared of us. When the bully is confronted, he runs off to a meeting far away to talk to his gang of bullies who will reassure him. But he takes with his doubts, especially those doubts that are brought upon him by personal confrontation.
So we need to confront him, directly and indirectly on the internet on our blogs. If anyone here doesn’t have a blog they ought to get one and become proficient in its use. Here we’re just preaching to the choir, like Goldacre is doing.
There’s no question about the efficacy of homeopathic medicine . . at least there’s no question in my mind. The proof is overwhelming. We have a powerful form of medicine, and its not being used as it should. Look, I tell yop this. This whole thing is a pushover, just like any Lycopodium bully. When confronted, they back down. Follow them to their stinkholes. Bring them out, Confront them with what they’re doing. Treat them for their pathology. Rehumanize them.
We need more blogs. And we need to keep leading the public to the research, to the evidence that proves it. It’s time to rehumanize the world.

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9 comments on “Are homeopaths an oppressed minority?

  1. skepticat says:

    John spends hundreds of words on a tantrum because Ben wouldn’t go to his ‘lecture’, then calls Ben a ‘crybaby’.

    Loving your work, John.

    Like

  2. johnbenneth says:

    Boring yes, humble, no. What a crybaby.

    Like

  3. ben goldacre says:

    Hi John,

    I would never describe my dayjob as boring, it’s the most interesting and exciting part of my life. It’s boring dealing with people like you who casually misrepresent facts, but out of interest I checked, and in the email I wrote to Josephson declining his invitation to your talk, I explained I couldn’t come to Cambridge on account of my “humble” dayjob.

    I’d be grateful if you could clarify this in the zillion places that you’ve posted over excitedly about the outrage of my not coming to see you speak about clathrates. I’m relieved to say that I doubt anyone would take anything you say seriously for obvious reasons, but it’s still not correct of you to say that I described my dayjob – about which I’m extremely passionate and committed – as “boring”.

    I’ve just taken some unpaid leave to finish a book about bad behaviour in the pharmaceutical industry, and have flown to Canada and the US to do a couple of talks as Bad Science has just come out there, and to interview some people about dodgy behaviour in big pharma. It’s not clear to me why you regard this as an unacceptable activity for me to engage in.

    Obviously there are a lot of pressures on everyone’s time, but I’m afraid that like a lot of people I don’t find your ideas very interesting. To be honest, like most people, I also don’t think I’d spend 4 hours travelling to Cambridge and back to see a man who makes videos as unpleasantly homophobic as yours:

    For interest – and god knows this I barely interesting – pasted below is my email to Brian Josephson in response to his invitation, which I think makes it fairly clear why I didn’t come. Perhaps in future people should be forewarned that an invitation to a lecture from Brian Josephson will result in indignant fury at your non-attendance, and tedious unpleasantness from his speakers alleging that you think your dayjob is “boring”. If you are looking for explanations as to why people don’t take you seriously, you might look carefully at your behaviour in episodes like this.

    > thanks
    >
    > it’s never particularly interested me, i’m nore interested in EBM and its
    > application to homeopathy shows that their pills work no better than
    > placebo.
    >
    > i’ll pass it on to ppl who are interested tho, cheers.
    >
    > cant make cambridge, humble dayjob!
    >
    > b

    Like

  4. Zeno says:

    Kaplan said: “There is much more than homeopathy at stake here. The very essence of liberty and democracy are at risk.”

    Oh for pity’s sake. Utter twaddle. Just like homeopathy.

    Like

  5. Dr B. Kaplan says:

    Of course homeopaths are an oppressed minority. Our detractors don’t want homeopathy for themselves but more importantly they want to deny it to others. Clearly a significant minority of the British public want homeopathy to remain on the NHS and people like Baum, Colquhoun, Goldacre and Harris work hard to THWART doctors who would send these people to NHS homeopathic doctors.

    There is much more than homeopathy at stake here. The very essence of liberty and democracy are at risk. It is no coincidence that as we move into an age of post-democracy and authoritarianism, people like Goldacre and Harris (who is neither democratic nor liberal in his political views about homeopathy) get their voices heard but refuse to listen to yours.

    Like

    • johnbenneth says:

      Dear Dr. Kaplan,

      It is an honor to have you comment on my blog. And of course, you are absolutely right in your assertions. The people you name and the interests that support them are conducting a black propaganda against the one of the world’s most effective medicines, and are guiloty of hatae speech, criminal libel, and tortious interference with the business relationships we have with our prospective and current clients. They should be taken to task in courts of law for as long as they continue their campaign of misinformation, lies and defamation.
      And thank for your excellent video:

      HOMEOPATHY DEFENDED

      best wishes to you doctor.
      John BENNETH

      Like

  6. Nigel says:

    On another point, and to address your titular question – are homeopaths an oppressed minority?

    I think the answer can only be ‘no’ as I believe there is an implicit conflation in the question. We usually talk about oppressed minorities being about what people are, not what people believe. A minority might be oppressed because of intrinsic characteristics such as race, gender, sexuality, age – we do not choose these attributes and hence discrimination is inappropriate.

    However, beliefs are another matter. We choose our beliefs and we regularly and quite correctly discriminate on beliefs. A job application for a priest would quite rightly discriminate on religious beliefs. Political posts are chosen quite explicitly on beliefs. And medical care (especially that funded by tax payers or insurers) ought to be discriminated upon based on the beliefs of practitioners. If a person holds beliefs that cannot withstand basic scientific scrutiny then it is quite right to refuse them the ‘privileges’ afforded to those that can -lives are at stake.

    You might disagree that homeopathy is unscientific. But you have chosen to believe that based on your opinion of evidence that most scientists would reject. You are not being ‘oppressed’. You are being challenged to come up with robust reasons for others to invest in your beliefs. Pretending to be a victimised minority does not cut the mustard.

    Like

  7. Nigel says:

    It is just possible that Goldacre’s diary was full?

    By the way, is there somewhere where your data supporting your ‘supramolecular’ theory is published. I ask, as the vast majority of physicists would dismiss physical explanations of homeopathy as being nonsense.

    Like

    • johnbenneth says:

      Yes, it is not only posssible, it is quite well assured that Goldacre’s diary, calendar and boring day job are all full when it comes to discussing the physical distinctions of homeopathic remedies. But Nigel, I didn’t know you were in touch with the vast majority of physicists, and am very impressed that you would know that, without prejudice, those familiar with supramolecular chemistry and liquid aqueous structuring, as found in clathrates and noted in FTIR scans, would so quickly dismiss their biological effects.
      Allow me to introduce you to two more Nobel laureates, one being the only man who ever won 100% of two Nobels, who have declared that liquid aquesous structuring, as found in the molecular complexes of clathrate hydrates, have biolgogical action. I am speaking of course of Linus Pauling and Luc Montagnier, who with another laureate, Johannes Diderick van der Waals, blow Goldacre out of the water, so to speak.
      Do a little homework, Nigel. I know how hard it is, with your ADD and all, but stick with it, even ignoramuses like yourself should be able to understand it IF THEY STUDY IT LONG ENOUGH.

      Like

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