[This is the crazy world of homeopathy apologetics. The fact is that homeopathy doesn't work, and shouldn't work, no matter how much nice, sophistic writing is done in its name. How do you support homeopathy then? Create a false historical context and ignore ALL the science. In other words: distort and cherry-pick.]
001. ND Kristaps Paddock, apparently a Bastyr grad., writes (copiously!) [my comments are in unquoted bold]:
001.a. in "Putting Homeopathy in a Historical Context: Part 1" [vsc 2014-05-11]:
"in the height of the 19th century, homeopathy undoubtedly ruled the day. It was the medicine of choice of intellectuals, the upper class, and the growing middle class on both sides of the Atlantic, and its influence spread all over the world [...]";
so what! The scary medicine that bled George Washington to death / in death in the previous century could claim the same status. You probably chose homeopathy because medicine didn't know all that much. Science was young. When you add up all that we know NOW, this 2014, about medical science, homeopathy is IN NO WAY a rational choice.
"celebrities ranging from Beethoven to Charles Darwin to Mark Twain to the Royal Family were all under the care of homeopathic doctors and there’s even a memorial to Dr Samuel Hahnemann just a few blocks from the White House in Washington DC [...]";
again, SO WHAT! You have to love the taints of 'argument from popularity', 'argument from celebrity', and 'argument from political authority'!
"currently, most medical doctors and many NDs consider homeopathy to be unsubstantiated nonsense [...]";
many is not a particular number, but I agree with 'many.' Now, to hear this ND say that even many NDs believe it is nonsense is interesting, very interesting. NDs had to do mandatory homeopathy courses in ND school, mandatory homeopathy therapeutics in clinic to graduate, and mandatory homeopathy on their licensure exam. I don't know of any organization within naturopathy centered around ridding naturopathy of such nonsense. What does this say about the ethics of those NDs who are willing to do nonsense and have their national US organization, the AANP, therein falsely state that homeopathy is a medical science? Or to state at ND schools' web sites that naturopathy is "science-based" or "health science"? And I would argue that homeopathy isn't unsubstantiated nonsense, it is science-ejected nonsense. The science HAS been done, attempting substantiation, and therein, having failed, homeopathy is desubstantiated.
"how did this change occur? How did a system rise from non-existence to the pinnacle of society and then plummet just as quickly? Were all of these seemingly smart people deluded? [...]";
a skeptic would argue that it is very easy to be mistaken, even deluded, initially about something. It takes a lot of research to get to a scientific preponderance, and that's how that change occurred. Science shot homeopathy down.
"homeopathy arose in the late 18th century, in a time when the Enlightenment was in full sway in Europe. Newton was discovering gravity and calculus, chemistry and physics were racing forward in leaps and bounds, America was developing modern democracy, and on the whole, science was displacing superstition [...]";
mentioning the Enlightenment and scientists doesn't magically make homeopathy scientifically supported! This reminds me of how homeopathic companies make homeopathic pills: they drop their diluted mixture on a pile of lactose pellets and it is said that that liquid mixture doesn't have to touch all the pellets. They will all be homeopathically potentized anyway. Because making sense really isn't homeopathy's point. The author misses the point that the superstition of homeopathy is also 'science replaced.'
"medicine hadn’t changed significantly since the time of Galen, 1500 years previously, and modern medicine as we know it wouldn’t really emerge until the 1860’s, when Louis Pasteur, aided by a microscope, would observe and document infective organisms [...]";
ah, yes. So therefore homeopathy is as empirical.
"scientists and physicians were finally starting to document how the body was put together and how it worked [...] so this was the milieu in which homeopathy arose – modernity was dawning and people were turning increasingly towards science and reason [...]";
the message I sense here is: let's be selective about the history of science as regards homeopathy: 'we'll have to of course ignore the collective dismissal of homeopathy as anything more than nonspecific placebo, by science NOW.'
"I am heavily indebted for my knowledge of homeopathic history to Drs Paul Herscu and Amy Rothenberg of the New England School of Homeopathy [...]";
what I love about ND Rothenberg's Huffington Post series is now she usually omits homeopathy from her posts.
001.b. in "Putting Homeopathy In A Historical Context: Part 2" [vsc 2014-05-11]:
"Samuel Hahnemann [...]";
ah, yes, the founder. Boring.
"Hahnemann, being the skeptical reader he was, thought this was nonsense [...]";
if Hahnemann went to medical school now, and came across homeopathy, I think he'd think it was nonsense. I went to ND school in 1998, came across homeopathy, and found it so repellantly stupid that I kept dropping the homeopathy courses. And I left ND school in disgust, realizing I'd been ripped off.
"Hahnemann derived what is called ‘The Law of Similars’, that being that diseases are cured by substances which cause symptoms similar to the disease itself [...] Hahnemann rejected the thinking of his time as unscientific and unreasoned, and through trial and experimentation arrived at at his theory [...]";
and that Law is the heart of homeopathy, and it has no science to support it as a LAW never mind as a theory. It's amazing how the ND author gets us to this point: selecting certain events and people from history, all sciencey and such, whose attributes somehow then carry over into homeopathy. It's sophistic. But, it doesn't change the fact that we know homeopathy doesn't work, and shouldn't work.
001.c. in "Putting Homeopathy in Historical Context: Part 3" [vsc 2014-05-11]:
"dilution: for most people, this is a very difficult concept to grasp, one that leads to a lot of skepticism, and is also the first concept most encounter when they learn about homeopathy. I have no qualms in saying that, on the face of it, it sounds like nonsense [...]";
yes, and it doesn't work as well. So, it shouldn't work, and when tested anyway, it doesn't work.
"skeptics often rationalize the effects of homeopathy as being placebo [...]";
actually, the proper word is "scientists."
001.d. in "Putting Homeopathy in a Historical Context Part 4" [vsc 2014-05-11]:
"Abraham Flexner issued a report on medical education in the United States with endorsement from the Carnegie Foundation. The report urged medical schools to adopt stricter admissions standards, place stronger emphasis on scientific education, and lengthen training. These recommended changes are now standard in all doctoral-level clinical degree programs (MD, DO, ND), and have lead to an increase in quality of education [...]";
oh, the irony. Now, I went to ND school for four years. Homeopathy is totally scientifically ejected. That school terms naturopathy a "health science" and UB's programs include homeopathy. So, I TOTALLY DISAGREE that naturopathy cares about ACTUAL science, and being actually doctoral. There's a veneer of rigor / strictness, and quality, but beneath is ROT.
"the final question I’ll ask is this: is there a place for homeopathy in our modern world? I think the answer is yes [...] homeopathy has an important role to play in the management of chronic disease [...]";
I disagree. We know better. Deceiving people destroys the relationship of trust between a professional and their client. And you'll notice that problems that wax and wain for selected as the arena for homeopathy, because there's just so much other things that are at play that homeopathy can take the credit for or blame, depending upon its needs.
"to look at it, homeopathy is a pretty darn ugly duckling [...]";
isn't this an admission that homeopathy QUACKS?
recently, The Scientist published "Australia Officially Debunks Homeopathy: Government Researchers Conclude that Homeopathic Therapies Do Not Work" (2014-04-14):
“'there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.' That is the stark conclusion of the Australian government’s extensive review of the available scientific literature pertaining to homeopathic therapies [...]";
yes. You have to put on strange sectarian homeopathy-defending, science-denying apologetics to dilute that message!
"'homeopathic remedies contain nothing whatsoever,' University College London pharmacologist David Colquhoun told The Independent. 'The Americans have spent $2 [billion] investigating these things . . . they haven’t found a single one that works' [...]";
and so it goes.
"homeopathy has long been considered a pseudoscience [...]";
yeah, and I know an organized fraud that ignores this fact. Here's the AANP telling us homeopathy is a "medicinal science." And licensed falsehood marches on. Prosecute, prosecute, prosecute, I say. Particularly in Maryland, a state that just licensed NDs who quite obviously, engage in a kind of deceptive commerce wherein homeopathy is labeled "powerful."