Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Popular Science Schwacks Homeopathy

here, I excerpt from a recent Popular Science piece that looks at homeopathy's claims mathematically [see 001., below]:

001. Emily Elert reports for Popular Science in "Is Homeopathy Really As Implausible As It Sounds" [2012-09-12; my comments are in unquoted bold]:

"the new British minister of health has recently become the target of scorn and mockery, after a science writer with The Telegraph noted that he supports homeopathy, a branch of alternative medicine most health experts view as quackery. But just how quackish is it? [...]";

let's see.

"there’s a difference between something that hasn’t been proven to work and something that couldn’t possibly work [...]";

ah, yes, the idea of ALL the evidence / prior knowledge / plausibility.

"could it be that the practice of homeopathy is simply untested and unfairly stigmatized, or is it truly implausible? [...]";

a great question.

"let's first set aside some of the more philosophical / hypothetical principles of homeopathy [how polite!]. Let's ignore, for example, the homeopathic notion that illness is caused by a disturbance in an individual's 'vital force' rather than something external, like a bacterium or virus [...]";

yet naturopathy calls this idea an objective scientifically vetted fact.

"let's focus instead on what matters most: whether or not the medicine makes people better [...]";

sure, sure.  We could have to rectify our models of chemistry, biology, physics and the like if effect was noted that is specific and better than placebo.

"all homeopathic remedies are available in a huge range of concentrations. But there’s a big difference: those concentrations are really small. In homeopathy, less is more, so homeopaths think of a large dose as a high dilution, instead of a high concentration [...]";

and now we start to feel like homeopathy is making us feel stoned.

"the fatal flaw lies in just how much homeopathy says to dilute things [...]";

yup.

"well past the point where plausibility breaks down [...] in fact, most available treatments are sold at even more absurd dilutions [...]";

but that's fine if you BELIEVE [said Peter Pan]. 

Note: loving it.  Yet, naturopathy claims homeopathy is a science on their North American board exams.  "How quackish."  I say 'lock them up.'
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