Thursday, July 12, 2012
Dubai's Gulf News Schwacks Homeopathy (2012-07)
here, I cite from an excellent recent piece from one of the largest English-language Persian Gulf news outlets regarding homeopathy bunkum in the light of modern scientific rigor [see 001., below]:
001. at Gulf News, Nidhal Guessoum, who "heads the physics department at the American University of Sharjah", writes (2012-07-12) in "Projecting Homeopathy as Medicine is Irrational" [saved 2012-07-12; my comments are in unquoted bold]:
"homeopathy [...] is not at all a ‘medicine’. We, scientists and educators, have long tried to convince the public that homeopathy makes no sense both in the theory it is based on and in the way that it is practiced [...]";
hear, hear. Homeopathy is principally why I left naturopathy school here in Connecticut, and it is quite the bellwether when in comes to gauging the rationality of naturopathy -- to this day.
"in fact, when it is used for serious illnesses in lieu of proper medicine, it may be (indirectly) dangerous [...]";
yes, it can.
"let me first explain why any rational person would shun homeopathy. Homeopathy [...] is based on two ‘laws’ devised two centuries ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician: the Law of Similars a.k.a. ‘like cures like’, and the Law of Infinitesimals. The first law posits that illnesses are cured by the same stuff that causes them (which is not true in modern medicine, except for vaccinations, which are not cures); the second law stipulates that one must dilute the potion which contains the ‘cure’ as many times as possible [...for homeopathy's] Oscillococcinum [product...] to get a single molecule [...] one would have to swallow many universes of that product [...]";
"when Sir John Beddington, the former chief scientist of England, was asked by a Commons committee whether homeopathy works, his answer was superbly clear: 'I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect …' [...]";
"for any method to be declared a success, one must test it properly [...] homeopathic products are not subjected to the random controlled trials of rigorous medicine [...] it is indeed astounding and depressing to note the extent to which we have failed to explain to the public the basic idea of science: how to check if claims are true or false";
always an uphill battle, perhaps even Sisyphean.