A Carefully Lain Trap, Homeopathic Pitfall

In the action adventure detective story Make Me Do it My Way, Jack Protogoras finds himself driving into the night down a long lonesome highway. The trees and vegetation crowd in more and more, closer to the highway, until it is no illusion of the mind that something unnatural is crowding in upon him.
What was thought to be a well traveled road has imperceptively become narrower, overshadowing the road from starlight. The headlights dissolve into blackness, the thick vegation on the side of the road, reaching out, branches so close they lightly brush the door . .
There is something darkly ominous about this. But not to worry happy yellow signs suggest, VEGETATION REMOVAL WORK AHEAD, only a little further, a wide highway is ahead . .
Reassured, Jack plunges forward through an increasing density, until it is scraping the door, then so thick that it is impossible to move ahead. He puts the car in reverse, but the tires spin and squeal. He is caught in a lobster pot, no way out. . the strange vegetation points only one way: Ahead.
There is no turning back.
Thigmotropism is the ability of a plant to move in response to touch. Like the peristaltic action of the gut, in regurgitating motions the car is squeezed forward to a powerful enzymatic pitfall which will dissolve the car . . and its occupant.
It is a carefully lain trap!
Fortunately Jack has a flamethrower in the car, rolls down the window and torches this man eating organism from another planet a burning lesson it won’t forget.

In my last blog I took a particular homeopathy-hater to task on his logic in a post in where he admits that there is evidence for it, qualified weak. Then in a solipsism of the tongue, Guy Chapman says he won’t accept any evidence . . no science, no rationale, no evidence, nothing supports it AT ALL.
“The phytopathological reports are all lies I tell you, lies! You homeopaths are all quacks, fools and madmen!”
It’s the typical contradiction of the pseudo scientist screaming at his god. But Chapman’s no dummy. No sir. He sees the trap. If he moves forward in the diretion of the argument, he is bound to melt. In chemistry, like dissolves like. The solvent  he threatens us with, science, will dissolve his own argument. If he puts homeopathy to the ultimate test and drinks the dilute, he might forget to not accept what he feels . .

Any basic science student knows that a scientific study is an inquiry, not an assertion. Any forensicist knows, if the truth is already known, the skillful use of the interrogatory will lead the victim down a dark, narrow road. This should be the skpetics employ, but it is not. Look at his arguments. They are inimically full of unsupported allegations, assumptions, unreferenced claims, strangely costumed as “science“ . .

Well, I would simply ignore Chapman’s manifesto if it wasn’t for the fact that it is exactly what I would expect to hear come from a majority of our detractors, including Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, Sir John Beddington.
What’s so crazy about this is that Beddington is a Professor of Applied Population Biology at Imperial College in London. A spooky title that, applied population biology. Sounds like genocide to me.

This isn’t the science we’re looking for. Nor does it appear to be the science we need.
In the UK Evidence Check on Homeoapthy, why did not Beddington lead the inquiry before the public with questions designed falsify both placebo as well as verum hypotheses? Why did he not question the authorties on the action of homeopathics such as Profs. Rustum Roy, William Tiller, Richard Hoover, Iris Bell, Madeleine Ennis,  doctors such as J Sainte Laudy, Phillipe Belon, WB Jonas, Claudia Witt?
If the homeopath haters had the truth behind them, they wouldn’t be afraid to ask simple, direct questions, such as what is the extent of pre-clinical testing, such as for biochemical effects? How many of those tests have been replicated, who are the workers, how credible are they?
What is the homeopath’s physico-chemical explanation for his remedies?
There would be questions, not allegations.
But these questions are not asked. We are simply given assertions from a cadre of commentators, supported strangely by the Fabians and their mouthpiece, Sense Against Science.
We are told we don’t need further testing. The results are known.
Is there another, darker agenda afoot?
It feels like a carefully lain trap . .


7 comments on “A Carefully Lain Trap, Homeopathic Pitfall

  1. Guy Chapman says:

    No, you’re entirely wrong (again). This is what happens when you assume instead of asking. I made that point before. It’s not that I won’t accept evidence, it’s that the evidence has to be credible, solid and peer-reviewed.

    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/blahg/2010/11/nobel-scientist-discovers-scientific-basis-to-homeopathy/ is an example where you guys are going wrong. You are living in a world where the scientific method underpins virtually all public policy and human endeavour, it’s not good enough to claim “people say this works, therefore it works” – you have to say /how/. And as it happens, attempts to show how seem to end up proving that, well, actually it doesn’t.

    http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/11/08/rheumatology.keq234.full.pdf is a paper by a strongly pro-CAM academic. He has blown away the chaff and shown what has been fairly obvious for some time now: homoeopathy is not about sugar pills, it’s about the bedside manner. His findings, unlike the uncritical papers you prefer, are wholly consistent with what we known about human physiology and other areas of science. And the reason his paper is credible is not that it supports the scientific rationalist mainstream, it’s that he’s a scientist so constructed his trial properly.

    You seem unable to accept rational inquiry into your beliefs. This is fine if you are happy to admit that homeopathy is a belief system, but you’re trying to claim it as a branch of medicine and medicine does not work on belief systems, at least not outside the third world.

    I can’t even work out why you bother engaging random science nerds off the internet. If homeopathy were supported by evidence capable of meeting basic scientific standards then you’d be able to deal a slam-dunk any time, but you can’t because the better impartial scientists understand it the more they find that it’s just the well-known but poorly understood placebo effect. The funny thing is that you could all just rebrand yourselves as counsellors and bank the money, but you seem instead to want to roll back a century or more of scientific inquiry. That’s why the science nerd community has a problem with you.


    • Oliver Dowding says:

      Mr. Chapman, you speak of bedside manner. Many others of your ilk do likewise.

      Perhaps you could explain how that works with millions of animals of all shapes and sizes? I am thinking particularly of dairy cattle, 600kgs, dozens or hundreds in a herd. You may think you can rubbish homoeopathy in relation to humans (which you cannot, as it happens) but you fall down when confronted by these millions of creatures who do not know how to deceive, lie, distort, play with words etc.

      How is it that you think what you dismiss homoeopathy as a “belief system”, works in this instance? How do the animals acquire their “belief”? Who teaches them? Do you credit the thousands of herdsmen and women with incredible powers that they can “counsel” their animals? That presumes that they have time to “counsel” 200 or more cows they may have in their care.

      Whenever I raise this point with cynics (sorry, sceptics) like yourself, I fail to receive a clear answer. That may be because it suddenly becomes clear quite how many animals are responding positively, in hundreds of countries, attended by hundreds of thousands of homoeopaths or stockmen/women, etc. A bit beyond random, or placebo, or chance etc.

      Sometimes we don’t know HOW something works, and sometimes it upsets us and our previously acquired scientific or rational understanding of x or y. But that does not mean it doesn’t work – just as I don’t know how my key hits are putting letters on this screen. I’m not denying it works just because I don’t know the mechanism.

      Situations like this are when we need to reappraise and admit we don’t know it all, have all the solutions and that there just might be an alternative we haven’t worked out for ourselves. I’m happy to accept some of the “conventional medics” solutions. Isn’t this called discovery?

      I appreciate you have backed yourself in to a bit of a corner and getting out could be embarrassing. However, it might be wise to try.


      • Guy Chapman says:

        The idea that veterinary homeopathy has any effect at all is controversial to say the least – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16113167 states the case rather well: “The use of highly diluted remedies cannot be reconciled with the scientific theories on which the current understanding of disease and its treatment is based, and clinical research in the field is considered to be neither extensive enough nor of a high enough standard to determine whether homeopathic treatments are clinically effective.”

        Rather than arguing about angels dancing on the head of a pin, why not do as I have suggested and come up with credible mechanisms by which the purported effects might work? I have suggested some trials that would advance this field, instead you seem to want to play shoot-the-messenger.


        • johnbenneth says:

          All the statement you quote from says is that the authors don’t understand how it works and they’d like to see some more study. Okay, that’s reasonable, but it doesn’t support your argument, which depend on it being completely inert. You’re cherry picking and you’re avoiding the truth.
          My guess is that you’re hiding some personal defiencies behind an overly cherished degree in higher education. If this is indeed a psychogenic effect, then how do you expect the head of the psychiatry department at the University of Arizona, Iris Bell MD, to be putting her name on a physical study of high dilutes and reporting that they have notable physical identitites?
          Gas discharge visualization evaluation of ultramolecular doses of homeopathic medicines under blinded, controlled conditions.
          Bell IR, Lewis DA 2nd, Brooks AJ, Lewis SE, Schwartz GE. Program in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson.
          This test was done after I suggested it to one of the authors, Schwartz, another professor of psychiatry, in his Tucson lab, 10 years ago. I was first to post a 100 history of pre-clinical testing on the Web.
          Homeopathy also has a long, overly successful history of use in epidemics, and by “overly successful” I mean that it has outperfomred allopathic “medicine’ 10 to one, even as recently as a couple of years ago in the Cuban leptospirosis epidemic.
          Inveitably, Guy, you’re going to have to face, whether you like it or not, that homeoapthics are a stark reality. Inveitably you’re going to have to ask, are there indeed no physical distinctions between homeopathic verum and its inert solvent?
          And once again, the best test is to simply go to the store, get some and try it. See how you feel after trying it.


      • Guy Chapman says:

        I am not avoiding any truth at all. There are two competing hypotheses for how homeopathy produces effects in experiments. One, placebo plus some experimental bias and errors, is entirely consistent with everything else we know. The other, law of similars, law of infinitesimals, water memory et. al, depends on a number of things that run completely counter to scientific knowledge and have weak or no evidential basis.

        The most logical explanation for the veterinary trials is experimental error. We know that happens, whereas we can be fairly confident that dilutions of the kind homeopaths use would, if they produced any tangible effect, have influenced things like semiconductor fabs a long time ago.

        This is your problem. The more we know about the world, the less consistent it is with what homeopaths claim.

        Your only option is to produce credible theoretical models consistent with quantum chemistry and modern pharmacological theory.


  2. Kaviraj says:

    SAS, the group that consorts with convicted criminals and accepts stolen money from them too. GSK, Aventis and Pfizer are those convicted criminals and they fund SAS, who in turn feeds the sharks that come to forage on the homoeopaths.

    SAS and by extension anyone connected with them are thus guilty by association, because if they had any sense about science, they would question the science of their paymasters. Yet we never see them question any of the biased “science” presented by Big Pharma, because you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

    These assorted crooks and criminals want to destroy homoeopathy because it is successful, growing and eating away at their ill-gotten profits. That is the trap they are trying to lay, but we only need to show again and again that they are funded by convicted criminals and taking bribe money from such sources makes them crooks.


    • Guy Chapman says:

      Don’t be silly. Crooks and criminals? That’s an absurd piece of hyperbole and it has no relation at all to the real world. If homeopathy worked the medical mainstream would be on it like a shot. Can you imagine just how important a genuinely effective, genuinely safe set of treatments would be?

      The medical mainstream spends fortunes isolating and analysing the active principles in exotic herbal and other natural remedies, looking for new drugs. A substantial proportion of all new drugs come from rainforest flora. Naturopathy is a bit fringey but the mainstream can see the nuggets of truth in it. Homeopathy has no such redeeming features. There will probably never be a day when a mainstream doctor will prescribe dog shit or the light of Venus, homeopathically diluted or not, because nobody has even /tried/ to come up with a rational explanation of why that would work.


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