I think its a smear campaign.
Kaviraj and I have given them more than enough time to respond to our challenge. All we have asked of the critics of homeopathy, like Edzard Ernst, John Beddington, Ben Goldacre, Andy Lewis and their dopey proxies, is to please show us the evidence that homeopathic remedies are “placebos.”
Show us just one scientific study that proves it. Please. Just one. That’s all. It’s not too much to ask.
But here we are, empty handed.
All we got in here is nothing more than blandishments, rhetorical questions, empty assertions, vague references to something seen on TV, ridicule, rants and accusations, but not one published study. Not one! Nothing to prove the claim that homeopathy is a placebo, nothing to lead us to the truth, not from them!
Instead, we have public figures, people who should be taken as authorities on the subject, such as Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Excreter Univeristy in England, and Professor Sir John Beddington, Chief Science Advisor to the British government, presenting to the public a conclusion that has dual, contradictory meanings: One, because it is a placebo, homeopathy does not work; and two, the placebo effect can be a powerful one, and so if there is a cure from homeopathy that doesn’t seem like to be a coincidence, it is likely to be because of that.
So why would Beddington, Ernst or anyone with half a mind make a statement like that, that homeopathic medicine is a placebo, when the action of two and a half million (2,500,000) doses of homeopathic medicine was reportedly seen in Cuba to stop epidemic of chronic swamp fever?
Is Beddington going to call that the effects of placebo, or is he going to call the Cubans liars?
You don’t need to be partial to homeopathy to see that the criticisms of it aren’t adding up until, perhaps, I point out that Cuba is one of the few places in the world where drug companies like Pfizer can’t so easily get to.
“Homeopathy is very difficult to write about for a contemporary medical audience. In an ideal informational world, in which science is unbiased information and scientists and academics are unbiased consumers of such information, it would not be so difficult. Unfortunately, it is painfully obvious that science is biased, consumers of scientific information are biased, and science is routinely used to advance personal political and economic agendas that have nothing to do with increasing the store of generalizable knowledge.” (Dean review)
Intelligent people, people in positions of authority, are making stupid statements, that homeopathy is a placebo. Beddington said it in the Guardian just the other day, and that it is scientifically unsupported.
Conversely, one researcher, in making an exhaustive review of the clinical literature, found 205 prospective controlled clinical trials performed in the contemporary research environment from 1940 to 1998. He found evidence of homeopathy’s safety and efficacy in trials of high internal validity. He also found usefulness for homeopathy in areas that are problematic for orthodox medicine. On the basis of trials reviewed, he concluded that homeopathy is clinically relevant and that there are certain conditions in which pragmatic trials of homeopathy versus standard treatment would be useful, for example, in unexplained female infertility, postviral fatigue syndrome, influenza, and atopy. (Dean)
The review of his book then says something very interesting: “Sociologic data show the use of data for this purpose is ineffective. That is, scientists are not convinced by data. That a significant body of data shows homeopathy is more than placebo is now indisputable. Since homeopathy is a school of medicine, and not an ad hoc therapeutic modality or technique, one can conclude that data showing homeopathy is not explainable by placebo are data that go toward confirming the entire school of homeopathy and its claims, not simply that this or that remedy works for this or that disease entity.” (Dean review http://www.sld.cu/galerias/pdf/sitios/mednat/research_on_homeopathy_state_of_the_art_(3).pdf)
Well, this is just wild, like Oscar, and it gets wilder, even more than Thornton.
As you can see, first revealed in my previous blog, a review of the literature by the most respected reviewers provided no real evidence for the placebo effect. Researcher Michael Emmons Dean isn’t alone in that assessment. There is no published, scientific support for the placebo charge against homeopathy, yet that’s the claim that the Chief Scientist to the UK government is making, along with the holder of the only chair for complementary medicine, and there appear to be hordes cheering them on, when in fact, in view of the data, the opposite should be happening.
I have never seen anyone, who has taken a vituperative stand against homeopathy, ever recant in the face of the evidence for it. They just slink away or keep yarping the same old bark over and over again, as if they don’t even look at it.
I’ve seen it happen up close and personal. I was friends with Jerry Andrus, a world renowned magician who was on the advisory board of the National Council Against Heath fraud. (NCAHF). Jerry was convinced there was no evidence in support of homeopathy. When I finally put a stack of studies in front of him that showed there was, he literally pushed it away and replaced it with a small pad of paper he was carrying and a pencil, and asked me to list some other stupid things I believed in, like witches, fairy tales and of course, astrology. When he saw the look in my eyes, he quickly withdrew it, confessing that he guessed that wasn’t fair.
It never is. Although they claim science, and demand it from you, when you present it to them, they ignore it at first, or try to pick it apart based on poor statistics.
When challenged to respond with facts over assertions, they simply ignore it. It’s not the behavior of scientists pursuing a concordant truth, its the behavior of people who are legislating. They won’t and can’t face the evidence. If they did, they’d have to stand down. Read the commentary in response. They aren’;t responding to the science with the science they first demanded. They have none. It’s all on the side of homeopathy.
Who is Sir John Beddington? When we look at some of his statged beliefs, an even stranger picture emerges as to why he is denouncing homeopathy.
DEAN, Review of Michael Emmons Dean, “The Trials of Homeopathy: Origins, Structure, and Development” http://www.homeopathy.org/research/research_reviews/acm-2005-11_15.pdf
Jonas W, Kaptchuk T, Linde K. A critical overview of homeopathy.
Ann Int Med 2003;138:393–399.
Fisher P. Homeopathy: A multifaceted scientific renaissance.
J Altern Complement Med 2001;7:123–125.