Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicago Tribune on Homeopathy -- A False Controversy

here, I cite from an article in the Chicago Tribune about homeopathy [see 001., below]:

001. Julie Deardorff reports in "Homeopathy Prospers Even as Controversy Rages" (2011-03-06) [my comments are in bold]:

"homeopathy [...is] scorned by scientists and most Western-trained doctors [...] the British Medical Association [...considers] any effect to be placebo [...and] activists have staged mass public 'overdose' events outside pharmacies to demonstrate there's literally nothing inside the small white pills [...] the final preparation no longer contains a single molecule of the original ingredient [...] Dr. Edzard Ernst, a longtime critic of homeopathy and professor of Complementary Medicine at Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter in the U.K. [...] calls homeopathy the 'worst example of faith-based medicine' [...] it's based on principles that defy the laws of chemistry and physics [...]";

This should be enough for any educated person to dismiss homeopathy, to a large extent.

"one U.S. group, meanwhile [the JREF], has offered $1 million to anyone who can prove homeopathy works and has challenged major drug retailers such as CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens to stop selling the products [...]";

Go JREF, go JREF.

"few things rile scientific skeptics more than homeopathy [...] the practice has no known scientific basis. Most analyses have concluded there's no evidence it works any better than a sugar pill. Yet homeopathy hasn't just survived the years of scathing criticism; it's prospering [...]";

A sucker born every...

"Dr. Tim Fior, director of the Center for Integral Health in Lombard [...says] 'homeopathic medicines are so dilute that they work more according to a biophysical or energetic paradigm [...not the] molecular paradigm' [...]";

Enter the proponent with the pseudoscientific jargon...

"'it has been a big problem bringing science to homeopathy' said Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [...]";

Of course, NCCAM hasn't ever, as far as I can recall, dismissed a sCAM based on a scientific consensus / preponderance -- such usually needs more study.

Note:

homeopathy is only a controversy if one thinks there's an actual contest between modern science and the reality it reveals, and archaic prescientific systems of thought.  Is there a controversy about insanity and sanity? Is there a controversy about the world being round or flat?  It seems flat as one walks around, just as placebo seems to be a specific effect, until one embraces the larger picture that evidence reveals.  So, saying there's a controversy regarding homeopathy is akin to saying there's a controversy regarding the shape of the earth or about sanity and insanity, and that's absurd.

This is the kind of manufacturoversy / hyperbole that sells newspapers.
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