Respectful Insolence

Homeopathy kills a child

Homeopathy is water.

Homeopaths will tell you otherwise. They will tell you that water “memory,” which, the way they describe it is some mystical property whereby it “remembers” the remedy with which it’s been in contact, even though the substance (whatever it was) has been diluted far beyond the point where there’s likely to be even one molecule of it left. Not only that, but they will, in all seriousness, tell you that dilution is not enough. They will insist that, at each serial dilution, the remedy must be vigorously shaken (or, as they call it, “succussed”) in order to imbue it with its potency. Finally, they will tell you, without any evidence, that “like cures like,” that giving a highly dilute, serially successed remedy made from the same substance that causes symptoms like the ones being treated will cure those symptoms. In other words, homeopathy is nothing more than sympathetic magic suitable for use by Doctor Strange.

Homeopathy is water.

Homeopathy is also utterly pseudoscientific. It posits the existence of a “memory” of water that no science has detected beyond infinitesimal fragments of a second so brief that there is no plausible physical mechanism by which such “memory” could survive long enough to do anything. In fact, there is no way for such “memory” to survive the transit across the GI tract, much less interact with cell surface receptors or cellular proteins to produce a pharmacological effect. Indeed, the concepts behind homeopathy conflict with so many well-established theories of science that, for homeopathy to be correct, much of what we know about physics, chemistry, and biology would have to be overthrown.

Homeopathy is water, and, when substituted for real medicine, it can kill:

THE parents of a nine-month-old girl who died from septicemia were responsible for their baby’s death because they shunned conventional medical treatment for her eczema in favour of homeopathic remedies, a court heard yesterday.

A homeopath, Thomas Sam, 42, and his wife, Manju Sam, 36, are standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court charged with manslaughter by gross criminal negligence after they allegedly resisted the advice of nurses and a doctor to send her to a skin specialist.

Instead Gloria Thomas, who was born in perfect health in July 2001, allegedly died with malnutrition and eczema so severe that her skin broke every time her parents removed her clothes and nappy.

I must say, I’m surprised. No, I’m not surprised that relying on magic water for treatment, rather than science-based medical treatment can result in a death that could have been prevented. Rather, I’m surprised that the homeopath is actually being prosecuted. I’m surprised, but pleasantly so. True, likely the only reason it’s happening is because the homeopath happened to be the girl’s father, allowing for a child neglect charge. Even so, quacks like Sam should pay a penalty when their quackery results in death or severe injury. They rarely do, which makes this story unusual not for dire consequences of these parents relying on water rather than medicine but rather for the fact that the homeopath is being prosecuted for continuing to sell his quackery, even after the child deteriorated.

And the child’s deterioration was horrific. Gloria suffered more than any child should ever have to suffer:

“The Crown case is that from this point on, for the next five months of her life until her death … Gloria’s eczema played a devastating role in her overall health and it is asserted by the Crown that both her parents knew this and discussed it with each other,” Mr Tedeschi said.

“Over time the eczema caused her skin to become thinner and weaker and the constant breaking of the skin allowed infections to enter her body.”

The end result? Horrors:

Gloria spent a lot of the last five months of her life crying, irritable, scratching and the only thing that gave her solace was to suck on her mother’s breast,” Mr Tedeschi said.

“Towards the end she was sleeping an inordinate amount of time, her body desperately trying to overcome these infections.”

Thomas Sam’s sister allegedly “pleaded” with him to send Gloria to a conventional medical practitioner. He allegedly replied: “I’m not able to do that.”

Like most users of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), the Thomases were well educated professionals. Like all too many believers, instead of seeking conventional medical care as their daughter’s health deteriorated, they went to other woo-meisters, other homeopaths, other “natural” medical practitioners. Moreover, the did from time to time seek out the care of a conventional medical practitioner and follow his advice. Each time they did this, Gloria improved. Then they would go right back to the woo. It’s an odd pattern, actually. They would only consider conventional medicine after it was clear to all but the most deluded homeopath that the magic water wasn’t working. They’d use it until the child got somewhat better, and then they’d go straight back to the magic water.

I have a tendency to view homeopathy as being much like a religion. It has its own belief system that was not determined empirically through science but rather was handed down to its followers by a prophet (namely the originator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann) and a belief system that its adherents rigidly cling to against all science and reason. It matters not one whit to them that homeopathy is magic. It matters not one whit to them that the larger and more rigorous the clinical trial, the less of an “effect” can be attributed to homeopathy, to the point where the largest and best trials, including meta-analyses, show no effect for homeopathy beyond that of a placebo. Like adherents to a religion, also, they circle the wagons when their religion is attacked. Like the adherents of some religions, the most devoted homeopathy adherents are willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of their magical beliefs.

Which is exactly what the Sams did.

Comments

  1. #1 peter syms
    May 5, 2009

    I guess the CAM rebuttal would be to trot out children dying from complications in conventional medicine, such as infants dying from aspirin, or severe medical allergies. The hypocrisy is the victims of homeopathy are the ones not given an option to choose. Small children and infants? Given the choice they would probably want the pain and suffering to go away, not have crystals placed at their chakra points.

  2. #2 BigHeathenMike
    May 5, 2009

    It always makes me angry that if someone wanted to drill a hole in a child’s head to “let the demons out”, well, that would be an illegal action – but giving a child a demonstrably delusional treatment like homeopathy for a treatable and serious illness is fine and dandy. This and other dangerous non-treatments need to be outlawed and this case is a prime example of why.

  3. #3 Sigmund
    May 5, 2009

    So what you are really saying is that nothing is as good as homeopathy?

  4. #4 Bob
    May 5, 2009

    Doing nothing is at least honest.

    Another sad statistic for the “what’s the harm?” people… :(

  5. #5 colmcq
    May 5, 2009

    reminds me of a similar situation in the UK a few years back where a TV presenter refused to heed her doctors advice re eczema and insisted on pursuing alt-med treatments for a good couple of years and at great cost and damage to her son. Worst of all she blamed her son’s deteriorating condition on her doctor claiming that he has not offered best advice. Really sad.

    And I don’t think any amount of jail term or snything else will convince alties to change their mind; they just have that part of the brain missing that says ‘listen’

  6. #6 Scott
    May 5, 2009

    I guess the CAM rebuttal would be to trot out children dying from complications in conventional medicine, such as infants dying from aspirin, or severe medical allergies. The hypocrisy is the victims of homeopathy are the ones not given an option to choose.

    No, the hypocrisy is in complaining about the risks of real medicine without acknowledging that real medicine actually has benefits to offset those risks (unlike quackery).

  7. #7 techskeptic
    May 5, 2009

    It posits the existence of a “memory” of water that no science has detected beyond infinitesimal fragments of a second so brief that there is no plausible physical mechanism by which such “memory” could survive long enough to do anything.

    Why did you even relent that far? Has science actually detected some memory for an infinitesimal fraction of a second? Once there are no molecules of an ingedient, there is no memory.

  8. #8 Michael Simpson
    May 5, 2009

    Orac said:

    I have a tendency to view homeopathy as being much like a religion. It has its own belief system that was not determined empirically through science but rather was handed down to its followers by a prophet (namely the originator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann) and a belief system that its adherents rigidly cling to against all science and reason. It matters not one whit to them that homeopathy is magic.

    Yes yes yes. I have long argued that there is little difference between creationism and homeopathy. Except that homeopathy can kill (and this story is hardly the first). Creationism just kills the rational mind.

  9. #9 colmcq
    May 5, 2009

    edit:
    It was fiona phillips. She followed an 8 month course of ‘reflexology and chinese medicine’ until referred to a dermatologist who, after much wrangling, managed to get her to try a steroidal cream which worked ‘miracles’.

    well, at least she listened…eventually

  10. #10 LovleAnjel
    May 5, 2009

    Water molecules briefly and randomly clump together in a fluid state…people have tried to point to this as water “memory”, but the clumping (as far as I understand) holds no relation to whatever else is in the water (100% pure water does it too) and fluctuates on a millisecond timescale.

  11. #11 aweb
    May 5, 2009

    Well, there have been observations in quantum mechanics that seem to show particles retain a brief (extremely brief) “memory”, such as in the following experiment: http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2000/Jan00/r012000b.html

    Not that this type of memory even comes close to the situation in homeopathy, of course. But woomeisters will look at the headlines, and claim victory. Throw “quantum memory” into Google Scholar and you get 672000 hits…none of which are a scientific study showing how homeopathy is remotely plausible.

  12. #12 Gil
    May 5, 2009

    Proof of what happens when ‘unconventional medicine’ is taken without conventional medicine? (As opposed to taking both at the same time and blaming conventional medicine for nothing?)

  13. #13 Rich
    May 5, 2009

    I know it’s harsh, but if somebody had just stepped up and killed the father (and the mother, if necessary), the kid would probably be alive today…

  14. #14 Erin
    May 5, 2009

    You know what pisses me off? You never seem to hear these people, these hardcore woo-obsessed hippies and Jesus-freak fundamentalists, changing their tunes. Ever. NOT EVEN AFTER THEY KILL THEIR OWN KIDS.

    You’d think if anything would change their minds, it would be THAT. Of course, if they admit they were wrong, it would mean they’d have to take responsibility for their kid’s death.

    I think when we prosecute them, the punishment for all these preventable death cases should be that they have to go on the talk show circuit and tell their stories. It’ll be plenty of punishment, and they can give the daytime TV crowd a glimpse of what happens when you try to go through life without thinking critically.

  15. #15 Aquaria
    May 5, 2009

    When they talk about the “memory” of this water, are they using 100% distilled water? Or are they using water from some “natural source?”

    Because if it’s the latter, what water also remembers is shit. And piss. And vomit. And blood. And so forth, through all the things that get dumped in water.

    But I’m sure that these morons say that “purifying” the water erases these “bad” memories.

    Uh huh.

    PROVE IT.

  16. #16 Kristin
    May 5, 2009

    Yes, our minds can be changed. My mind was forever changed when in Chiropractic school I was shown by an epidemiology professor a newspaper clipping of a chiropractor that had a child die due to diptheria, or more due to the fact that the child was not immunized.
    That being said however, Homeopathy is a great placebo. There are many great placebos and the power of the mind is amazing.
    I find this story to be no different from the family that let their daughter die slowly from diabetes. The only difference is that they depended on the power of prayer till her kidneys shut down and she lapsed into a coma.
    So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer? No. But it should be done with everything else that common sense dictates that you should do for a condition.

  17. #17 dean
    May 5, 2009

    “So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer?”

    Yes, prayer is just as useless as homeopathy or chiropractic. The difference is that for some reason more people are comfortable with prayer. Useful – no, not in the least.

  18. #18 Emp
    May 5, 2009

    I understand the tendency of people to be attached to false beliefs that they already hold, but how does a person fall for something as counterintuitive as homeopathy in the first place? Everyone has to take basic chemistry and biology in high school, at the very least, so it should be common knowledge that the foundations of homeopathy make no sense in light of science.

    I lose a little more faith in humanity each day. :(

  19. #19 Diane
    May 5, 2009

    I think to a whole lot of people homeopathy looks like medicine, and it’s just one more medicine that your general patient doesn’t understand. I don’t really know how aspirin works, but I know that it does, and while I know that antibiotics kill bacteria, I don’t know how they do that. “Nux vomica 30cc” looks pretty technical if you don’t know anything about it.
    I think that once you explain what homeopathy is, people are less likely to use it.
    That doesn’t explain why someone would allow their child to suffer horribly and die, since he presumably knows what homeopathy is and chooses to believe it works anyway.

  20. #20 Mojo
    May 5, 2009

    When they talk about the “memory” of this water, are they using 100% distilled water? Or are they using water from some “natural source?”

    According to Dana Ullman, they use “double-distilled” water.

  21. #21 Pareidolius
    May 5, 2009

    This site is for information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. Not all conditions will respond to homeopathic treatment. Site contents and design © Copyright 2001-03 Influenca ltd

    That pretty well sums it up. Too bad Mr. and Mrs. Sam didn’t read the advice at the bottom of all the homeopathic website I just finished surfing. They all have small print disclaimers that, in essence, say:
    “This site is bogus, our advice isn’t real, see a real doctor if you’re sick. We’re not telling you how to treat a specific disease, but we really are (wink, wink). If our quackery doesn’t work, well, it’s probably your fault for not finding the “simillium” for your malady. Couldn’t be that Hahnemann was a total loon and we’re all deluded. Copyright, blah, blah, blah.”

  22. #22 Ginkgo100
    May 5, 2009

    Hey, I have to say, homeopathic teething tablets worked to calm our boys when they had tooth pain. But I think it was just the sweetness of the lactose that was the main ingredient. Hmm, sugar cubes would have been cheaper. I’ll try that next time.

    Seriously, I am aghast that such a simple and treatable disease as ECZEMA (from which I suffer myself) could be allowed to get so severe it KILLED someone. Aghast, but not surprised: many people view conventional medicine with near-psychotic suspicion. The delusion is that conventional medicine is really POISON that THEY want you to take because THEY, well, like to give people POISON.

    The irony is that much of eczema treatment is not even through drugs, although they definitely have their place; much of it is through bathing and moisturizing practice, and identifying and avoiding allergens and other irritants.

  23. #23 Albion Tourgee
    May 5, 2009

    Well, nothing like homeopathy to bring out the self-righteousness of medical science folks! Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always work, but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push. What’s the difference between someone perhaps superstitiously believing that something like homeopathy works, and a drug company jimmying up some statistical studies to show non-existent efficacy for a medication that causes many teen suicides? I think, mainly, one is intentional and venal, the other misguided. Oh, and what about TSA tests and prostate surgery? Hmm, how many doctors tell patients that the surgery is for a 1/500 chance of extending life at all?

    I personally agree, homeopathy does not make scientific sense at least as we currently understand the science and successful anecdotes may well be based on the placebo effect. But, then again, there’s Dr. Ennis’ lab work that seems to raise some questions. What annoys me about the rants about homeopathy is that they seem to presume “science” is a static, certain thing. No, there’s no explanation for how homeopathy would work, and personally, I don’t buy it. I also don’t like it when misguided parents deprive a child of a treatment that might have cured or prevented disease. Oh, like the parents who gave their kids those doctor prescribed anti-psychotic drugs instead of finding a therapy that actually worked.

  24. #24 Aaron Luchko
    May 5, 2009

    Hmm, I’m not so much surprised that this has happened but that it happened to a homeopath who was also consulting with other homeopaths.

    I always assumed that a significant proportion of them were deliberate con-men but if any were actual con-men I assume they’d try to convince the parents to get some kind of real treatment at the same time (or maybe they did and the parents kept regressing). Either way it looks like most actually thought that homeopathy would work.

    I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the thought that they’re con-men who would let a parent kill their child or the thought that they’re so ignorant they’ll let a parent kill their child.

  25. #25 Mu
    May 5, 2009

    No, science isn’t static, but certain questions get settled, and they tend to stay that way. Earth is round, earth moves around sun, evolution, people need vitamins, water doesn’t have memory, those things were once controversial, got investigated, the solution was generally accepted, it’s done.
    Pre germ theory, homeopathy was probably a reasonable way of thinking (for the 18th century), but in the face of all the evidence, from a mechanistic point of view to epidemiology, it’s a dead parrot.

  26. #26 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 5, 2009

    Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always ever work,

    fixed

    but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push.

    False equivalence.

  27. #27 bob
    May 5, 2009

    Albion, I would call your comment a non-sequitor, but frankly it doesn’t even warrant the use of latin.

    There are science-based treatments for eczema. No one said, or even implied, that these treatments (or indeed ANY science) is certain or static. What, exactly, are you railing against? It seems like you’re arguing against the caricature of doctors and medicine that you have in your head.

  28. #28 Scott
    May 5, 2009

    Obviously homeopathy doesn’t always work, but neither do always the very profitable patent medicines that the drug companies push.

    The evidence does not indicate homeopathy has any effect beyond placebo. Actual medicine, on the other hand, does. So to summarize your argument,

    “We can’t prove conclusively that homeopathy doesn’t work, and medicine isn’t perfect, therefore we must act as if homeopathy does work.”

    Please learn some critical thinking skills. You’re an embarrassment to the human race.

  29. #29 Rogue Epidemiologist
    May 5, 2009

    @Albion
    So… you say homoepathy doesn’t work (which it doesn’t). But this somehow means that conventional medical practices are invalid? Your post is so full of fail. And nihilistic, to boot!

  30. #30 deatkin
    May 5, 2009

    “Water molecules briefly and randomly clump together in a fluid state…”

    This is called hydrogen bonding, and it is responsible for a number of water’s properties such as a high boiling point and the fact that solid water is less dense than liquid water (because the bonds require significant energy input to break, and because in a solid state a water molecule has formed its max. number of hydrogen bonds while in a liquid state they frequently don’t form the max. number of bonds). Hydrogen bonds aren’t restricted to water; the universal definition is that it occurs between hydrogen atoms that are covalently bonded to an electronegative atom, and another electronegative atom. I don’t know if anybody actually claims that hydrogen bonding implies that compounds have memory, but it would make zero sense if they did. This isn’t poorly-understood stuff here. Since when, though, did homeopaths ever consider their understanding things to be important in how they “treat” their patients?

  31. #31 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Awww, another child is dead – from homeopathy – the same belief that destroyed my marriage and killed my mother-in-law (and, later, two others) when I first encountered you. Oh, such sympathy you have – NOW. You’re even in favor of prosecutions – NOW. And homeopathy is a religion – NOW – just as I told you long ago.

    But have you covered me and my case? Nope, not a peep – even though it’s been covered, over and over, in the French press. But “my people” – the scientists, rationalists, and atheists – they give me nothing.

    And why? Because I chose to be a “man” – not your “sympathetic figure“, huh, Orac? Do I criticize you too much, Oh Great One? Maybe being surrounded by all this unnecessary death, and stupidity, has hardened me, huh? Maybe (still) asking for help and only receiving scorn, jokes, a “Friday dose of woo” and Respectful Insolence can make a “man” that way, you think?

    This situation calls for The Macho Response.

    I’m getting us out of this mess the same way I discovered it: angry. As Panda Bear, M.D. once said while (always) promoting my cause:

    “My good blog friend The Crack Emcee at The Macho Response rants but that’s his style and he’s good at it.”

    Orac, your lack of faith (in any approach but your ineffectual one) is disturbing: You’re supposed to be a scientist. I am your ultimate case and champion. I know more about this stuff than your punk ass will ever admit. I lived with it, seen it’s mental make-up (which you only guess at) and seen it’s results – close up. But, like Ted Patrick, I won’t change for your acceptance. You’ve become weak, and simple-minded in the face of the enemy.

    To demand I join you – or to ignore my fight – is a total betrayal of what should be our mutual, and over-riding, goal:

    The elimination of NewAge and it’s murderous quackery.

  32. #32 Albion Tourgee
    May 5, 2009

    Hmm. I seem to have struck a nerve with some folks. However, no response on the work of Dr. Ennis — perhaps the people responding are unfamiliar with it? Report at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4152521,00.html

    With regard to saying homeopathy doesn’t always work, well it sometimes does, in my view due to the placebo effect but working is working. We don’t know how all medical procedures work, either, or in fact whether or not some standard medical procedures work at all. Several doctors have announced they’re not doing the PSA for themselves or patients, but doctors continue to prescribe it without telling patients of what tests indicate about risk / benefit. We do other tests mainly to give people a feeling of being cared for or to calm the doctor’s fear of malpractice suits. (That is, second guessing by clever lawyers of what will sell as a story to get money for some poor soul who has an unsuccessful procedure, or and incidentally, an outrageous fee for the lawyer!)

    What puzzles me, is, how can one be more upset about homeopathy than the falsified statistics that were used to justify the suicide inducing anti-psychotic drugs? And medicine is far from a certain science, we all know that don’t we? I know dozens of people who have good insurance (well, “good” by American standards) and have gotten bad or even harmful treatment from doctors. How can you wonder people look for alternatives to our standard medical procedures — especially ones like homeopathy that do invoke at least the placebo response. It’s terrible when parents are so foolish they let a child die because they’re fixed on some ineffective treatment when something actually helpful is available. But I can name you 10 instances of this happening in the medical world for every one from homeopathy — that’s the relevance of the anti-psychotic drug example.

  33. #33 Michael Simpson
    May 5, 2009

    @Albion

    Nice drive-by posting. At least Dana Ullman argues and argues and argues over the same unremarkable point. Oh wait, I’ll take Albion any day.

    Homeopathy doesn’t work. Has that ever been said? Oh wait, about a billion times in the past week. Do pharmaceuticals always work? No, but then again, all pharmaceutical companies, through their labeling, make scientifically based statements about what it can and cannot do. Moreover, physicians, using evidence-based medicine, determine a course of treatment that does not rely upon pharmaceuticals alone. And that’s the difference between faith-based medicine (almost all alternative medicine) and real medicine: a willingness to explore, through a logical process, how to best treat a patient. Homeopaths rely upon their nonsensical potions, without considering real science.

  34. #34 Emp
    May 5, 2009

    Albion:

    One study does not negate the whole of the scientific understanding on a topic.

    No one is “more upset” about homeopathy than the flaws of modern medicine. The topic of this blog post is homeopathy. Were you expecting to see, “Also, on a completely unrelated note, some teens have committed suicide as a result of psychiatric medication prescribed by doctors!” at the end? That is not the subject of this blog. I was on Prozac, Paxil and handful of other psychiatric drugs for most of my adolescence, so I personally feel wronged by the nasty side-effects they caused me for no benefit. That does not mean I cannot still feel that homeopathy is objectionable, and write about it without the disclaimer, “But medical science sometimes fails us, too.”

    The reason you may be able to name “ten instances of this happening in the medical world for every one in homeopathy” (which is a made-up statistic that I shouldn’t even bother to address) is that most people actually seek medical care for serious conditions. Furthermore, homeopathy, being water, can have no side-effects. It can only cause death when the illness itself would have caused death. On the other hand, medical interventions sometimes cause death as a result of their application because they actually have pharmacological effects. This is a necessary risk in some conditions, such as cancer or heart disease, which have a higher risk of causing death if left untreated.

    No one here is saying medicine is pure and infallible. Read Orac’s recent post titled “When big pharma pays a publisher to publish a fake journal…” for evidence of that. It’s just not the topic of this particular post. Why bother to bring it up in the first place?

  35. #35 Pablo
    May 5, 2009

    Man, this is infuriating. You know, I can understand how people who are desperate can resort to crap treatments, like when cancer patients go to Mexico for some sham. Shoot, I can even understand how parents of autistic kids can go overboard looking for a boogieman. I think it is wrong, and don’t condone it, but at least I can understand it.

    But this case just doesn’t make sense. How can you sit and watch your baby suffer and die and not let them go to a doctor? Changing clothes causes the skin to break? Wow, that is serious. And the claim is that when they went to the doctor, she improved. Why wouldn’t they want more of that?

    Sometimes as a parent of a small baby I feel so helpless to help him. When I find something that seems to make him feel better, I am pretty good about going back to that as often as it works, or at least appears to. How could they not go back to the doctor if it was helping? Did they not recognize it was working?

  36. #36 Anthro
    May 5, 2009

    Albion, you keep bringing up the teen suicide/antidepressant issue. I have a child who took these meds and in spite of side effects, found them helpful and never felt suicidal. While this topic is somewhat controversial within the scientific community and, therefore, a “black box” warning was put into effect, this does not mean that these drugs cannot be used under the supervision of a qualified physician. This has little to do with the outright quackery of homeopathy. Why should anyone pay $10 or more for a tiny bottle of water just to stimulate the placebo effect? This is fraud. Since the placebo effect is stimulated by belief alone, who needs a “practitioner” who charges for it?

  37. #37 Phoenix Woman
    May 5, 2009

    The irony is that much of eczema treatment is not even through drugs, although they definitely have their place; much of it is through bathing and moisturizing practice, and identifying and avoiding allergens and other irritants.

    Exactly. But instead they used water. WATER. Nothing else — except for the times when even the deluded daddy finally agreed to let the icky allopaths undo his not-so-benign neglect.

    Hell, olive oil would have been better. At least it would have soothed the skin and held in its moisture. But no — they used WATER.

  38. #38 Phoenix Woman
    May 5, 2009

    This makes me wonder if the Sams ever took baths themselves. The reason we have sebaceous glands is to lock in moisture that would otherwise evaporate and dry out our skin; you would think that they would know this. (That’s why it’s a good idea to slather on the moisturizer on your face, neck, elbows, knees, and feet after you’re done with your shower, especially during winter or if you live in a dry climate.)

  39. #39 Phoenix Woman
    May 5, 2009

    This makes me wonder if the Sams ever took baths themselves. The reason we have sebaceous glands is to lock in moisture that would otherwise evaporate and dry out our skin; plain water splashed on the skin removes this protective barrier and allows the moisture underneath to go away. You would think that they would know this.

    That’s why it’s a good idea to slather on the moisturizer on your face, neck, elbows, knees, and feet after you’re done with your shower, especially during winter or if you live in a dry climate.

  40. #40 Jesse
    May 5, 2009

    Dear ‘The Crack Emcee’

    Please stop posting here. Your childish taunts to Orac are ridiculous, your blog terrible, and your intellect completely absent.

  41. #41 Skemono
    May 5, 2009

    However, no response on the work of Dr. Ennis — perhaps the people responding are unfamiliar with it? Report at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4152521,00.html

    One article from eight years ago about a single study? That’s it? Has that study ever been reproduced by anyone else?

  42. #42 bob
    May 5, 2009

    Albion,

    I am familiar with Dr. Ennis … she’s the one who published results that others could not replicate, correct? Or are you talking about another Madeleine Ennis?

    As for the rest of your comment, do try and keep up. Most of what you wrote was addressed by other comments, but you just repeated your points as if we’d all buy them the second time around.

  43. #43 Jesse
    May 5, 2009

    Dear ‘The Crack Emcee’

    Please stop posting here. Your childish taunts to Orac are ridiculous, your blog terrible, and your intellect completely absent.

  44. #44 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    To demand I join you – or to ignore my fight – is a total betrayal of what should be our mutual, and over-riding, goal:

    The elimination of NewAge and it’s murderous quackery.

    **************************
    Some entertaining rhetoric here from rant-blogger “Crack Emcee”.

    Baffled by the hostile tone?

    Interested parties are advised to consult Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”:

    “The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization… he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.”

  45. #45 Calli Arcale
    May 5, 2009

    Kristin:

    I find this story to be no different from the family that let their daughter die slowly from diabetes. The only difference is that they depended on the power of prayer till her kidneys shut down and she lapsed into a coma.
    So you are vitriolic against homeopathy, is there anything wrong with prayer? No. But it should be done with everything else that common sense dictates that you should do for a condition.

    Thank you for your testimonial about rational chiropractors being taught properly the limit of their scope of practice. There’s a retired chiropractor who contributes to Chirobase, named Samuel Homola. Been doing a great job over there of educating folks as to how to spot a dangerous quack chiropractor. After all, the regulatory system has demonstrated itself incapable of doing this, unfortunately, so patients have to do it themselves.

    Regarding the “power of prayer” thing, Orac actually posted about that very incident, where the diabetic girl was allowed to die by her parents because they trusted in prayer instead. He argued that there was very definitely something wrong about how that girl was treated, describing it as negligent homicide.
    Relying on prayer instead of medicine

    He didn’t argue that there was anything wrong with prayer, per se, but that there is something very wrong with eschewing evidence-based treatment when your child is obviously ill. Which is pretty much what he’s saying here about homeopathy.

  46. #46 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Jesse and (always) Just Kevin,

    This is a post about a child being killed. I’ve documented tons of kids (and adults) being killed by this nonsense on my blog. I got into this because of people being killed – murdered – and, somehow, that translates to me being “childish”, “paranoid”, and “apocalyptic”? You have GOT to be kidding!

    Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me. I said we’re in the midst of a major cult movement – which, now, Orac is starting to decipher, but you guys still insist on trying to intellectualize cultism, and kill the messenger, while hanging with one of it’s court jesters instead. This approach is a major FAIL – something Orac admits from time-to-time as well, usually when he feels it creep into his hometown paper, hospital, or university. I, on the other hand, am alarmed about the people killed and NewAge’s creep world-wide. Now, you tell me who’s being rational? The guy taking murder seriously or the guy making jokes?

  47. #47 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    One more thing:

    I love this tactic of NewAge Just Kevin’s – trying to turn a single guy with a barely read blog, who has suffered and studied the very cultism you idiots are so alarmed by, into “paranoid”. Let’s see, I study cultism. Right on the front page of my blog, right now, is another cult researcher, Chris Locke, saying:

    “Lying turns out to be a central theme and major mode for the Mystic Bourgeoisie, even if they call it their ‘Mythic Journey’….”

    So, who should you trust – the truthful black guy or the liars who attack me for exposing them and their tactics?

    How about this from L. Ron Hubbard’s spokesman:

    “Hubbard literally had a plan for world conquest. He actually, literally wanted to take over the world. But he had to put it into other terms. And the term he came up with was to ‘clear the planet.’ And this sounds like a very beneficent action – we’re going to clear the planet – which means rid it of its problems. But really it was more of a case like, like a Hitler that he wants to rid the planet of vermin. And the vermin are the people that are stopping him. And these were basically the enemies of Scientology.”

    In light of that, am I still “paranoid” as I see Tom Cruise and John Travolta on Oprah – supported society-wide with the rest of you demanding nothing be done to stop them? Hell, Oprah’s now promoting Jenny McCarthy and The Huffington Post (which I exposed as a cult haven a long time ago for it’s writers murdering people – one by stabbing her lover 157 times with a screwdriver) is full blown crazy now – which your precious “science community” is just now noticing. How observant. Too much time in the lab, maybe, to care about the fate of us average folks?

    You people are the smartest dupes I’ve ever encountered. If it wasn’t for Panda Bear – who Orac acknowledged as being better at taking these subjects on than he is – I’d have lost faith in the whole idea of science and medicine a long time ago.

    It’s no wonder so many others have, already, considering what idiots you people can be.

  48. #48 Jesse
    May 5, 2009

    Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me.


    I’m ‘attacking’ you because you’re an arrogant jackass.
    Awww, poor widdle guy… Orac won’t ‘join him’. Your blog sucks. You complain about everything and give your logic about NOTHING (except, of course, what a big bad guy Orac is). You simultaneous want Oracs approval and to be able to act above him because you’ve got to ‘keep the science blogs honest’. Hell, your dumb enough to get all bent out of shape about the Daily Show!

    So you tell us, Crack Emcee, why should we listen to you? What are your qualifications (apart from an enormous ego)? Are you an MD? A PhD? Or is just a lousy blog and a god complex?

  49. #49 Azkyroth
    May 5, 2009

    My daughter’s name is Gloria.

    I wonder if I can get my chem test rescheduled so I can go hold her. :(

  50. #50 Jesse
    May 5, 2009

    Aww, do I destroy your little “science” and woo party by conveying the utter seriousness of the situation? I’ll repeat: After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to – and still you attack me.


    I’m ‘attacking’ you because you’re an arrogant jackass.
    Awww, poor widdle guy… Orac won’t ‘join him’. Your blog sucks. You complain about everything and give your logic about NOTHING (except, of course, what a big bad guy Orac is). You simultaneous want Oracs approval and to be able to act above him because you’ve got to ‘keep the science blogs honest’. Hell, you’re dumb enough to get all bent out of shape about the Daily Show being ‘dishonest’!

    So you tell us, Crack Emcee, why should we listen to you? What are your qualifications (apart from an enormous ego)? Are you an MD? A PhD? Or is just a lousy blog and a god complex?

    After I asked Orac to work with me, two more people were killed by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to

    Concern Troll is Concerned!

    by the folks I tried to alert you jerks to

    Concern Troll is Grumpy!

    How Fucking Arrogant are you?! Do you think you’re the only person in the world who sees woo/homeopathy/’alternative’ medicine as dangerous?

  51. #51 Michael Simpson
    May 5, 2009

    I’m not getting Crack Emcee. Is he for real?

  52. #52 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    Crack Emcee,

    Here’s where you FAIL. You don’t seem to be able to separate one issue out from the other. So that someone could be a woman and also be against homeopathy. Or be a Democrat and also an atheist.

    Instead you present the public with what you honestly seem to believe is evidence of a Democratic-New-Age-elitist-feminazi-yoga-homeopathy-mind-control-San-Francisco-vegetarian-adultery-Obama-NY-Times-liberal-Clinton-homosexual-Buddhist-adultery cult.

    Its like you took every single thing you dislike and rolled in all into one humongous ball of evil that only you can see

    In order to rejoin the human community, you’re probably going to need to start unrolling this world’s largest ball of string you’ve spun back into its separate strands

    At least that might give you a starting point towards communicating with others

    Reality is not as exciting as the great imaginary cosmic battle between good and evil, but its way more satisfying.

  53. #53 Mu
    May 5, 2009

    cooler’s other personality, when he’s on his meds

  54. #54 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Jesse,

    Oh, so now it’s arrogance, is it? Like i should be crawling under a rock, or playing shy, to make you feel better? Fuck that noise – I am what I am. You’re just mad because any study of NewAge leads right to this doorstep – science and medicine – and how lame you guys are in the face of it.

    And, funny, but Bill Whittle and Pajamas Media see the threat of The Daily Show, training people to be idiots.

    And – since you’re so interested in qualifications – I’ll let the guy who Orac said was better than him speak for me:

    “I,…want to welcome The Macho Response as an official partner of Panda Bear, MD. It’s hard to exactly describe this blog. It’s author, the self-styled Crack Emcee, is not a doctor but he does have a common-sense based grasp of medicine. He is not a scientist but has the intelligence to know both when smoke is being blown up his ass and to point out the hypocrisy and puritanical tendencies of many in the scientific community. He is an atheist (where I am most certainly not) but he is intellectually consistent in his principles and has not given up “old-fashioned” religion only to latch onto some nutty cult as is too common in our sad and ridiculous age.

    The Crack Emcee is an artist of some note, however, and his blog is a sort of collage, an exploration with links, pictures, and music of the truly ridiculous behavior and ideas of those truly ridiculous individuals in the various elites who style themselves our superiors, our protectors, and our benevolant masters. Be warned, however, that his blog is not for the spineless products of our apologetic and insipid culture. You will be offended. You will shriek in dismay as your icons are defaced and your tin-plated heros are gutted in his arena with their entrails left to cook in the hot sand.

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

    “He is not a scientist but has the intelligence to know both when smoke is being blown up his ass and to point out the hypocrisy and puritanical tendencies of many in the scientific community.”

    That would be you jackasses. Now lump it. YOU are the problem – for me and yourselves.

  55. #55 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Dear Mr. Simpson,

    I assure you, I am 100% for real. I was once a popular artists is San Francisco until I was sidetracked by NewAge and the murder of my mother-in-law by a homeopath my wife ran away with. (They’ve since killed two more people, in France, and through doggedly writing my blog, the quack killer that destroyed my former life has had his medical credentials stripped from him. Now I want him in prison.) I turned to Orac and many others, on and offline, for help – but got a rude awakening about the narcissism and other lame attitudes of people of a certain mindset when it comes to extremely serious issues that meander through our culture, “cultism” being the main subject and culprit. I’ve been repeatedly attacked for merely being upset – when, as this post shows, I’m dealing with the most seriopus (and thus the most taboo) subjects out there.

    I understand: No one likes to be attacked. But, unfortunately, cultism – whether it’s NewAge or a cult of personality like Orac and Obama enjoy – doesn’t respond to anything else. I’ve had to be a bull in a chinashop to achieve what I have, alone. I want help, but until these dicks decide the murders and other crimes have gone on too long (which in the case of Orac seems to be when it hits him directly as it has me) then I’ll just keep screaming – I won’t stop – I’ll die saying you guys are wrong and you let this shit happen with your weakness and cowardice.

    That’s it.

  56. #56 LanceR, JSG
    May 5, 2009

    Wow. I see Scam Sam is still around. Still insanely angry, too, I see.

    I told you this before, Crack-boy, and I’ll tell you again. Attacking the people who agree with you is the single stupidest thing you can do. Yes, homeopathy is dangerous. Yes, NewAge gibberish is stupid. Yes, yes, yes… so why are you attacking Orac?

    It is because you are unable to separate yourself from the issue. You hate. Deeply, passionately, and completely. Anyone who dares to disagree with you *even a little bit* becomes just another demon to be battled.

    You really should consider psychiatric help.

  57. #57 Orac
    May 5, 2009

    The Crack Emcee demands why I don’t join him, and I’ll tell him. He has made his crusade explicitly political. To him it’s all left wing, New Age woo that is the enemy. I refuse to limit myself that way. I will attack whatever “side” is subverting science and science-based medicine. If it’s Arianna Huffington and the HuffPo, Deepak Chopra, and Tom Harkin on the left, it matters not. If it’s Dan Burton, Ron Paul, and the General Stubblebine on the right pushing anti-vaccine nonsense and bogus “health freedom,” it matters not. If it’s money-grubbing pharmaceutical companies that create fake journals to help them sell their product, it matters not. All that matters is that these tactics subvert science-based medicine and potentially endanger patients.

    Until the CE can see that, I will not be joining his little crusade, no matter how much I can sympathize with his direct experience with quackery. He’s made it partisan, and it’s not partisan. It’s about science, and science is not partisan. If he doesn’t believe me that woo and New Age isn’t all left wing, I can show him a lot of evidence that, for examples, the Nazis were very much into homeopathy, naturopathy, and “natural” (or, as they called it, volkish) medicine.

  58. #58 ildi
    May 5, 2009

    Mu: LOL, that explains it!

  59. #59 ildi
    May 5, 2009

    Well, I’m glad you explained it Orac, because I was scared to go to his web site.

    Actually, I’m glad I’m being sidetracked by his rants, because I’m trying not to think of that baby…

    I have adult eczema, bad enough that I’ve been on disability for it (my application was denied at first, then I had the doctor’s office take pictures as documentation – it was immediately approved – nuff said). I can’t imagine a worse way to go. Those people tortured their baby to death…

  60. #60 floormaster squeeze
    May 5, 2009

    My daughter is 9 months old and she has excema. I have no sympathy for stubbornness of the parents not to seek out the best care for their daughter. She died. It is very sad.

    While I understand Orac’s position to attack the homeopathy directly the story as reported raised a number of questions.

    I am confused by the relevance of “the daughter was born healthy.” The excema is triggered by lots of things; things that naturally would come later.

    The girl died of malnutrion. Surely this is a very different than the excema. (I guess the excema could have been so severe the girl could not maintain a feeding).

    The best treatment for my daughter’s excema has been baths/soaking. She bathes/soaks twice a day. No soap or rubbing is done. She gets lubed up with hydrolated petroleum jelly ASAP after bath. Water is the cure for excema (just not orally taken tinctures).

    This regimen helps manage her excema but it has not cured it (she is a happy girl generally). We have received some imprecise and bad advice from pediatricians (basically, they just are not up on the best and often recommended widely available creams that made did not help or occasionally made things worse). We initially received advice not to bathe her which was bad advice (we just needed to be educated HOW to bathe her). I am not blaming that bad advice but the best initial advice came outside of our “regular” doctor. We eventually got the best advice from a “regular” specialist but I can see why people would be put off by a series of well-intentioned but wrong suggestions.

    Other than using creams with calendula in them, we made no effort to seek out alternative medicine. Ultimately, the impact of creams with calendula in them had effects based on what type of base they are in. In retrospect, this is the most frustrating part of being an open-minded seeker in this. People recommend things based on active ingredients but the bases they were in (lanolin, petroleum gel, etc.) probably had more impact on how they helped or did not. Basically, commercial products are very frustrating as they put a bunch of stuff in that you do not know about that are likely irritating even when some of the ingredients are helping.

    Hydro cortisone was prescribed at the beginning and definitely helps short term. The problem is that we do have concerns about using it long-term (because of the thinning of the skin). We do use it make our daughter comfortable but try to minimize its use. Its clear that HyCort helps but it provides no cure. We definitely try to use 1% more than the prescribed 2.5% because of long-term concerns and the fact it helps just as much.

  61. #61 RevRon
    May 5, 2009

    I find it refreshing to encounter Orac’s blog, which is skeptical without being rabid, focusing upon sharing reasonable information, without the need to document monsters under every bed and in every closet.

    I consider myself a spiritual person, yet have no patience for the kind of nonsense that’s marketed as spiritual guidance. As an ex-Navy recon medic with extensive field experience, I am frequently amazed by what passes for “medicine” nowadays – both in the conventional medical community and in the world of woo.

    I attended the FDA hearings on breast implants a few years ago, and saw first-hand how the medical community (and those charged with its oversight) can be subverted by economic interests. Yet, if I suffer from some disease, I will go to an MD. On the other hand, I have utilized the services of a classically-trained Chinese acupuncturist to get pain relief when the recommended surgery was either too expensive or of questionable merit, and was pleased with the results. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it was MY anecdotal evidence, and my pain. :-)

    Yet I scoff at the claims that acupuncture (or chiropractic, homeopathy, etc) holds forth the cure for every malady. Show mw the INDEPENDENTLY-FUNDED research that backs up such claims, and I’ll be glad to have another look.

    Bottom line is that there are no holy grails out there, and we have to use our own common sense. Some people act out of obsession and paranoia, rather than common sense, and demand that others must adopt their pathology in order to be “real.” These folks deserve our pity, but not our continued attention, because they’re not in it for anything resembling the greater good, or even truth, but for revenge and their own vindication. As a pragmatist (seeking, but open-eyed), I just wanted to acknowledge this blog’s commitment to objectivity in a topic so fraught with raw (and frequently misguided) emotions.

  62. #62 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    I say “bullshit” to all of you:

    Jesse,

    “Do you think you’re the only person in the world who sees woo/homeopathy/’alternative’ medicine as dangerous?”

    No, but it’s not just stories in the paper to me – I’m living with it, in the same way a parent that’s lost their child to it would feel. It’s not academic to me: this evil Alice In Wonderland is now my (and increasingly your) reality. But you feel more comfortable going after the one guy who knows what’s up with it – as it’s coming for you.

    Just Kevin (a regular attacker of mine),

    Are you denying that I salute strong women on my blog? If I do, then how can I be as partisan as you’re suggesting? What you suffer from is an unwillingness to go past the shallow perusal of my blog – and these issues – that most people engage in.

    “You present the public with what you honestly seem to believe is evidence of a Democratic-New-Age-elitist-feminazi-yoga-homeopathy-mind-control-San-Francisco-vegetarian-adultery-Obama-NY-Times-liberal-Clinton-homosexual-Buddhist-adultery cult.”

    Are you denying that Barack Obama was Oprah Winfrey‘s candidate? Anyone against quackery should’ve used that as reason enough to turn against his candidacy but you jackasses actually gave our enemy power! That’s not my imagination, but a fact. And every authority on cultism lays it’s growth on affluent, middle class women – the so-called “worried well” – which you’ll attempt to make out as my misogyny at work. If you were real scientists you’d stop with the PC defenses you put up (as I have as a black guy) and actually study the subject in depth to get at the problem. Instead you’re like the gays when AIDS first hit, insisting no one would close the bathhouses to protect their lifestyle – meanwhile killing each other by the score. You’re being idiots.

    “Its like you took every single thing you dislike and rolled in all into one humongous ball of evil that only you can see”

    You are conveniently leaving out Panda Bear, M.D. and all the other supporters my blog has – therapists, women, post-NewAgers, ex-Buddhists, etc. It may make you feel better to think I’m imagining things but it only proves why the “delusional thinking” tag gets such a workout on my blog.

    LanceR,

    Attacking the people who agree with you is the single stupidest thing you can do. Yes, homeopathy is dangerous. Yes, NewAge gibberish is stupid. Yes, yes, yes… so why are you attacking Orac?”

    Look, I praise Orac a lot on my blog. I quote him often. But it’s maddening to see where he goes astray – or where he’s just plain ignorant. (How long did it take him, after I told him homeopathy was a cult, to start admitting it? It was long after he told me I was full of shit, and he’s never acted like the work and knowledge I have to give might shed some important light on what he’s saying. You guys have a “cult” mentality as strong as any NewAge group I encounter because you’re so damned thin-skinned. I talk like the people where I come from, but to you guys it’s hell on wheels – you need to grow up. You ignore the circumstances I describe (divorce, three murders, etc.) to attack my fucking words like they’re what’s important. You’re a bunch of NewAge children concerned about your immature “feelings” as adults.

    “It is because you are unable to separate yourself from the issue.”

    Here it is again: They killed my mother-in-law and two other innocent people. How do i separate myself from that? Or are you going to suggest, as NewAgers typically do, that I “move on”? Fuck you. Tell someone who’s had their kid kidnapped to “move on” – my life, which was pretty damn good, was taken from me – and I know by who and why. You try to be “cool” when such a thing happens to you: you’ll find it as impossible as I do.

    Orac,

    “The Crack Emcee demands why I don’t join him, and I’ll tell him. He has made his crusade explicitly political.”

    Bullshit – you guys accuse anyone who is to the right of being *something*. You voted for Obama – with Oprah’s blessing. Now either shut up or admit what you’ve done to your own cause: you joined the enemy.

    “To him it’s all left wing, New Age woo that is the enemy.”

    Bullshit: I know exactly what I write and I attack the left because that’s NewAge’s home. Hillary and Bill Clinton are followers of Ken Wilber and Deepak Chopra. Arriana Huffington is a follower of john-Roger, etc. I attack the left heavier because that’s where the danger is most – and you contribute to it by focusing all, your attention on protecting it for PC reasons. People attack the right everyday – where’s the “all politicians are untrustworthy” attitude when it comes to the candidate you voted for? The oner backed by the Queen of Woo, Oprah? You’re a hypocrite, O.

    “All that matters is that these tactics subvert science-based medicine and potentially endanger patients.”

    Exactly – but is that all there is to it, Orac? Here are two stories of how cultism is working out there – how about that? Can’t you admit there’s more going on here than the limited scope you’re putting on it? Our society is being destroyed by this shit and you’re resisting me? I got your shit in a bag full of this crap but you want me to dig just your stuff out for observation? That’s nutty. And it doesn’t make me crazy just because you refuse to see or understand it. (I have asked you to contact me but what?) You should be defending me, as PB does: I understand what you guys are just guessing at.

    “Until the CE can see that, I will not be joining his little crusade, no matter how much I can sympathize with his direct experience with quackery. He’s made it partisan, and it’s not partisan. It’s about science, and science is not partisan.’

    Thanks for being the first person to acknowledge my experience (the rest of you are assholes for not doing so.) but you’re also full of shit here: science is partisan. You’ve admitted you’re more conservative than most of Scienceblogs so don’t tell me there’s no bias at work there or here. You guys see things the way you want – not where the evidence leads. Meanwhile, I say if the evidence leads to a non-PC place, then go there. And I do – that’s respecting evidence, man, not playing favors or being a cultist.

    “If he doesn’t believe me that woo and New Age isn’t all left wing, I can show him a lot of evidence that, for examples, the Nazis were very much into homeopathy, naturopathy, and “natural” (or, as they called it, volkish) medicine.”

    Dude, I lived in Europe and Left and Right are flipped upside down there: Hitler was, by our calculations, a NewAge Leftist. Almost every tenent of NewAge was defended by him: environmentalism, homeopathy, racial ideas (How you liking our “black” president, Orac?) spirituality, occultism, world domination – all of it. You just refuse to read history as it is but how you want to see it, much like Jon Stewart was recently busted doing. You believe lies and think yourself intelligent. Sorry, Dude, but I’m not one of your blog’s sheeple. I know things – not believe them. (Isn’t that Obama’s slogan, Mr. Scientist? The one you gulped up like an idiot? “Change you can believe in”? Very rational of you,…)

    Orac, I’m going to stay on your nuts like white on rice, because you are a linchpin of this shit – these fools listen to you. If the science community is ever going to protect itself, then you have to do something – and you, still, have no idea what you’re fucking with. I do.

    And, one day, you’re going to admit it. It makes you feel good, now, to have supporters against me but when you finally “get it”, you’re going to feel like a fool – that’s how cons work – so make it easy on yourself. You’re already using my terminology for homeopathy. You’re going to have to keep going further. You have no choice:

    I’m right, and I’m 100% positive of it, and you will too.

  63. #63 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    I love this tactic of NewAge Just Kevin’s – trying to turn a single guy with a barely read blog, who has suffered and studied the very cultism you idiots are so alarmed by, into “paranoid”.

    ————

    When you automatically assume that every single person who disagrees with your wild claims MUST be a secret member of the “New Age Conspiracy,” then yes, that would seem to indicate that you are suffering from some sort of paranoid delusion.

    ————

    Let’s see, I study cultism. Right on the front page of my blog, right now, is another cult researcher, Chris Locke, saying:

    ————

    Mining other blogs for punchy quotes that can be torn from context and pressed into service in your imaginary war against the Gay Liberal Democrat Adulterous Buddhists Conspiracy isn’t “study.”

    Read some actual research on destructive and coercive cults, learn about the psychological dynamics involved, then you might actually be performing a valuable service.

    Here’s another free tip for you while we’re m at it : no legitimate researcher will agree with you that the Democratic Party is a “cult.”

    Was Jim Jones a Democrat? Yes. Was he a cult leader? Yes. Does that mean that the Democratic Party itself is a cult?

    No, but to understand why not, you really will need to learn a bit about basic logic.

    The following is something I think could actually help you out a lot, especially if nobody has ever explained any of this to you before:

    Logic & Fallacies : Constructing a Logical Argument

  64. #64 The
    May 5, 2009

    Just Kevin and, now, the “spiritual” Buddhist, RevRon (who has regularly come on my blog to attack me, lie about who he is and whether he knows me, and basically act very non-Buddhist) who’s next?

    This site is like one of the beast’s bellies. They feel safe here. Of course they do: Orac, as a Obama supporter and former believer himself, allows them cover. That’s the problem, O:

    You’ve got to flush them out, man, like quail during the hunt. Say what you want but I’m no hypocrite – as Just Kevin and RevRon have proven themselves to be. NewAgers are hypocrites. They hate anyone who recognizes it. You rant against Oprah but voted for her hand-picked candidate. Pure hypocrisy. Work it out, man, I know you can – don’t be a talking head

    Start making sense.

  65. #65 flim flam
    May 5, 2009

    I think the case might actually be a bit more complex than it looks at first. The wife was taken immediately to hospital when she suffered from kidney stones ( no woo woo for her) suggesting that their belief in homeopathy was not so intense that they would not seek medical help for themselves. I wonder if it is more a straight up case of abuse and neglect with a homeopathy overlay?.
    Revron, it’s interesting that you mention the FDA breast implant hearings given that there has never been any evidence of a link between implants and the multiple conditions alleged to be caused by them. i suggest you get a copy of Marcia Angell MD’s book “Science on trial” for a detailed account of what really happened. You might be surprised.

  66. #66 The
    May 5, 2009

    “Was Jim Jones a Democrat? Yes. Was he a cult leader? Yes. Does that mean that the Democratic Party itself is a cult?

    No,…”

    You dummy: Jim Jones had the backing of Harvey Milk, Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein, and the rest of San Francisco’s political community. They even put him in charge of the Housing Authority. As a member of The People’s temple said, “Nobody joins a cult. You join a religion, a self-help group, a political organization, and by the time you realize what you’ve done it’s too late.”

    And, BTW, I’ve read more cult literature than you can imagine has been printed. And just because I’ve discovered a new wrinkle in it (that, say, Rick Ross hasn’t) doesn’t make it wrong. Any scientist, here, should be able to explain that to you: It’s logical.

  67. #67 Orac
    May 5, 2009

    Hitler was, by our calculations, a NewAge Leftist.

    Maybe by “your calculations,” he was, but by any reasonable historian’s calculations, no, he wasn’t. Really, he wasn’t, no matter how much certain right wingers try to define him that way. Making that claim illustrates extreme ignorance of history and politics.

    See:

    http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2008/01/liberal-fascism-response.html
    http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2009/04/glenn-becks-liberal-fascism-hour.html

    You appear to be doing what Jonah Goldberg has been described as doing in his book Liberal Fascism:

    And then Goldberg proceeds to define everything that he himself considers undesirable as “fascist.” This is just about everything even remotely and vaguely thought of as “liberal”: vegetarianism, Social Security, multiculturalism, the “war on poverty,” “the politics of meaning.” The figures he labels as fascist range from Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon B. Johnson and Hillary Clinton. Goldberg’s primary achievement is to rob the word of all meaning — Newspeak incarnate.

    Except that you’re defining everything you hate, in particular virtually all forms of quackery, as “New Age” (whether they are or not) or liberal (whether they are or not). I do not buy into that, and by doing this you are alienating someone who would otherwise be your natural ally and who agrees with your stand against pseudoscience but not your explicit politicalization of the battle. Your pain appears to have led to this, and I can sympathize, but defining everything you hate as one political ideology is every bit as irrational as New Age. Can’t you see that?

  68. #68 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Flim Flam,

    “I wonder if it is more a straight up case of abuse and neglect with a homeopathy overlay?”

    That’s possible. Most people don’t see the nuances at work here – that’s why Orac sees my position as strictly partisan (though I’m supported by Panda Bear – a Christian) when there’s more at work here. NewAge beliefs are like cigarette smoke, wedging in nooks and crannies, wherever there’s room. That’s why I advocate a thorough scrubbing – a scorched earth policy – in dealing with it. Like you would do with smoke.

    “Revron, it’s interesting that you mention the FDA breast implant hearings given that there has never been any evidence of a link between implants and the multiple conditions alleged to be caused by them.”

    Dude, I know RevRon: he just wanted a chance to accuse doctors of selling out to money. Just gratuitous liberal bullshit whining, trying to pass for legitimate discussion. Ask him about his “Buddhist training” and his “master”:

    He’ll keep you in stitches with his bullshit.

  69. #69 LAvendr
    May 5, 2009

    I tried to manage my infant daughter’s eczema through the use of barrier creams, bathing and environment changes (natural fabrics, changing laundrey powders etc). My GP had prescribed 1% hydrocortisone but I was reluctant to use it as I had heard about the skin-thinning effect (but didn’t discuss this with the GP).

    I tried this approach for a while and she started to get worse. I then read two books on eczema from the library, written by qualified dermotologists that reviewed the evidence for various treatments and risks. I then did what my GP had told me to do in the first place, and lo and behold! her skin is much better and manageable (not cured). Felt a bit silly really.

    1% hyddrocortisone from my understanding is very safe and does not cause skin-thinning. Can be used with confidence – as directed.

  70. #70 Rogue Medic
    May 5, 2009

    The Crack Emcee,

    I posted a link to the article about the dead 4 month old in my most recent post – Anti-Science and Killing and EMS. Thank you for pointing it out. I wrote about Orac’s post, too.

    My condolences for what you have experienced. It is beyond what I can imagine.

    I agree with some of your points. I don’t agree with all of them, but that should not make me an enemy. That would not be a very scientific approach. To me, science is more important than politics.

    There are many ways to accomplish something. Demanding that everyone else adopt my way is not something I am going to do. Following someone making a similar demand is also not something I am going to do. I change my mind when I feel that I have good reason to. If I ever find someone who agrees with me on everything, I am probably going to wonder what is wrong with that person. :-)

  71. #71 Rogue Medic
    May 5, 2009

    floormaster squeeze,

    While I understand Orac’s position to attack the homeopathy directly the story as reported raised a number of questions.

    I am confused by the relevance of “the daughter was born healthy.” The excema is triggered by lots of things; things that naturally would come later.

    The girl died of malnutrion. Surely this is a very different than the excema. (I guess the excema could have been so severe the girl could not maintain a feeding).

    According to the article –

    THE parents of a nine-month-old girl who died from septicemia

    “Over time the eczema caused her skin to become thinner and weaker and the constant breaking of the skin allowed infections to enter her body.”

    The court heard that Gloria was above average weight, height and head circumference until she was four months old, but lost 20 per cent of her body weight in the last five months of her life after a nurse first identified her eczema and advised her parents to send her to a skin specialist.

    Septicemia can certainly lead to malnutrition. Almost all illness can. I suspect that malnutrition that leads to a loss of 20% of body weight is probably only contributing to the death, not the primary cause. Not that a loss of 20% of body weight is a good thing for someone not overweight. People who die from malnutrition may lose more than half of their body weight.

    Septicemia can kill much faster than malnutrition.

  72. #72 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Orac,

    Man, presenting me with a discussion of the difference between fascism and totalitarianism – featuring Glenn Beck, a doofus I never watch – makes no sense. Like I said, having an original thought or take on something (in this case, history) doesn’t make me wrong. I’ve walked the same streets the Nazis marched down, spoke with former Nazis, and found enough evidence that I’d say most historians have handed a narrative that makes them feel good about themselves, which don’t make it true (or do you really think Obama is a great speaker, too?) Most historians don’t study NewAge cultism (it’s history and many tenticals) so they’d have absolutely no input on what I’m suggesting. It’s like looking at the Democratic Party, now, without understanding it’s NewAge belief system – anyone could think it’s not there. Only when you start adding up who is and isn’t in it that you can say whether it’s there or not – and, boy, it’s there.

    Rogue Medic,

    Dude, don’t buy into this idea that I want to force anyone to do anything, or that disagreeing with me makes anyone an “enemy” (I’ve said, many times, that I wouldn’t want a friend who didn’t disagree with me – which makes me different than most of these weak-kneed idiots.): I’m an adult.

    “There are many ways to accomplish something. Demanding that everyone else adopt my way is not something I am going to do.”

    Imagine, after the most horrific experience of your life, you discover a decent portion of society – doctors, scientists, and some of the biggest names in politics – all endorse? That Oprah, being considered a moral force for society, means more than you ever imagined? That behind almost every important person and institution is an “occult” belief they’re trying to advance, and the people you think you should be able to get help from are more interested in acting important and/or dissing you? What would you do? How would you act? How would you approach them after that? (Remember: we’re talking about “the most horrific experience of your life”?) Would you listen to their bullshit any longer? Or would you act like Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby” and get to the bottom of of this (protected) “spiritual” shit, naysayers be damned? That’s where I am.

    Almost every online scientist – including Orac with acupuncture – has voiced a one-time weakness for NewAge thinking and leftist ideology. I’ve never believed in any of it, even when I was growing up and raised as a Democrat. That, alone, makes me a little different. I’ve got a mind like a steel trap and a will to go with it. I know what I’m talking about because I haven’t allowed myself to fall into NewAge thinking (I used to tell my ex-wife, when we were married and I had no idea what she was involved in, that she needed to seek mental help for what she believed.) so, unlike Orac, there’s no “Garbage In/Garbage Out” problem to clutter up what I’m saying. I’m not some kid, turning against Christianity, or Republicans, or whatever – I’m a serious artist (emphasis on ARTIST) with something to say about a serious problem within our culture. A problem that’s already got us on the edge of disaster – most just don’t know how to put it together, in a coherent way, as I do. Couple that with most people being lazy thinkers to begin with and you see the problem. They’ll scan the first page of my blog and say “this guy’s crazy” while certain doctors (like PB) and others (look at the quotes on the right of my blog) read the damned thing and find it’s just what they’ve been missing.

    Anyway, my point is you’re entering a long-running argument with me and Orac – one which I’m winning since he’s adopting my language and not the other way around – and I’d suggest you take some time with my blog (go back to the beginning and work forward) and decide for yourself what it is and who i am. I think you’ll find a guy with a lot of heart who is dismayed and appalled at what we’ve allowed ourselves to be cultishly swept into.

    Especially when it comes to the science community.

  73. #73 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    Crack Emcee,

    If you want to be taken seriously, if you want to be able to debate people on the internet and avoid being mocked and dismissed as an foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic, then you really, really need to at least acquaint yourself with the LOGICAL FALLACIES.

    An understanding of the very basic techniques people use to construct logical arguments isn’t “leftist.” It isn’t “new age.” It isn’t part of the “vast conspiracy.”

    Logic isn’t left or right. Its a method, a way of thinking and writing in a clear way that other people can understand, because it makes sense.

    Logic is an antidote to the irrational, emotional arguments people make that can range from “fuzzy” to (in your case) straight out CRAZY.

    If nothing else, you can at least learn to recognize the common types of fallacies that other people fall back on, even if you you have no wish to be a rational thinker yourself.

    Once again : STUDY THE LOGICAL FALLACIES! I beg of you.

  74. #74 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    Orac,

    “Your pain appears to have led to this, and I can sympathize, but defining everything you hate as one political ideology is every bit as irrational as New Age. Can’t you see that?”

    Damn good question. Orac, how did NewAge work it’s way into medicine as thoroughly as it has? Science? Politics? Do you have any idea what NewAge really is and how it’s managed to move into mainstream life? Where are the boundaries as you see them? I see them very clearly because THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES. I told you, it’s like smoke. (It’s a “spiritual” belief system, for goodness sake. Even the religious poll done each year doesn’t ask about it – what does that tell you about the “occult”?) All you can do is become familiar with it’s tenents and fight it where you find it. It’s massive. Add up all the countries, fields of expertise, and political operatives that are into this crap and you, too, will stop trying to corral it and just call it “NewAge” and get on with it. These people into the modern incarnation of NewAge have had a 40 year advantage on us – you tell me what you’d call it at this point? They’ve changed the name so many times (Occult/NewAge/Mind-Body) that to give an umbrella term to it just makes sense.

  75. #75 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    Crack Emcee,

    “So, who should you trust – the truthful black guy or the liars who attack me for exposing them and their tactics?”

    Begging the Question

    ###########

    “Say what you want but I’m no hypocrite – as Just Kevin and RevRon have proven themselves to be. NewAgers are hypocrites. They hate anyone who recognizes it. You rant against Oprah but voted for her hand-picked candidate.”

    Circumstantial ad Hominem

    ##############

    “Most people don’t see the nuances at work here – that’s why Orac sees my position as strictly partisan (though I’m supported by Panda Bear – a Christian) when there’s more at work here.”

    Special Pleading

    ##############

    Etc, etc, etc.

  76. #76 RevRon
    May 5, 2009

    “Revron, it’s interesting that you mention the FDA breast implant hearings given that there has never been any evidence of a link between implants and the multiple conditions alleged to be caused by them. i suggest you get a copy of Marcia Angell MD’s book “Science on trial” for a detailed account of what really happened. You might be surprised.”

    FlimFlam, I was present for the FDA hearings, and studied in detail all the evidence that had been collected (many hundreds of pages), as well as that which had been rejected (by the manufacturers) purely on irrelevant technicalities. I saw evidence presented by many patients and their doctors that clearly tied adverse physiological symptoms with the material that had leeched from the implants. I heard a number of cases where surgeons simply discarded test results from patients who had suffered problems. I think if you had spent as many hours researching the data as I have, you might be the one who is surprised.

    Now, all this is by no means a justification for seeking absurd “treatments” or abandoning conventional medicine. It only serves to make one recognize that so long as there are monetary incentives, we would be wise to take results with a grain of salt, and to do our own research, rather than rely upon others who stand to benefit from a given outcome.

  77. #77 Floormaster Squeeze
    May 5, 2009

    Thanks to Rogue Medic for educating me. It is appreciated.

    An aside on the Crack Emcee. I mean THE Crack Emcee (wow, just wow–”Welcome to the Crackhouse!”).

  78. #78 RevRon
    May 5, 2009

    Crack, I figured you’d start in on me pretty quickly… you’ve bitched at me elsewhere, ever since I made the mistake of saying that I didn’t care for rap music, which obviously touched a button in you.

    I know better than to try and reason with you. I’ve worked with enough psychotics to realize that challenging one’s delusions produces only rage. Until you get some meds and some real help, everybody you encounter who doesn’t share your pathology will be on your list of enemies. Ironically, that list includes all baby boomers, a group to which, as it turns out, you are included. And as I’ve said before, I think that anyone wasting their life on such comprehensive rage is truly sad… even if that rage is directed at me.

  79. #79 Orac
    May 5, 2009

    FlimFlam, I was present for the FDA hearings, and studied in detail all the evidence that had been collected (many hundreds of pages), as well as that which had been rejected (by the manufacturers) purely on irrelevant technicalities. I saw evidence presented by many patients and their doctors that clearly tied adverse physiological symptoms with the material that had leeched from the implants. I heard a number of cases where surgeons simply discarded test results from patients who had suffered problems. I think if you had spent as many hours researching the data as I have, you might be the one who is surprised.

    None of which is anything other than anecdotal evidence. The epidemiology has been done. There is no association between silicone breast implants and systemic disease. Multiple studies have failed to find higher rates of immune diseases or collagen vascular diseases in women with such implants, for example. Ditto cancer. That is not to say that there can’t be surgical complications, such as capsular contracture, which can be quite nasty, but those are purely local complications due to scarring. They are not the systemic diseases that were the claims of plaintiffs suing manufacturers.

    There’s just no there there, and I’ve looked through the medical literature for it beginning around 1999 to 2000. Breast cancer is my specialty; so reconstruction with implants is important to me.

  80. #80 Emp
    May 5, 2009

    Crack Emcee:

    How does it follow that if one person (in this case, Oprah) supports a candidate, anyone else who supports the same candidate is deluded or evil in some way? Using the same logic, you could say that because Hitler did X (ate broccoli, rode a bicycle, had a wife), then those things are evil because Hitler did them. There seems to be no end to the amount of associations you see between things that, in reality, have nothing in common. This is a fairly common logical blunder in humans, but you take it to a violent extreme which is clearly detrimental to your emotional and psychological health.

    Since you (seem to) believe in science- and evidence-based medicine, might I suggest you give Risperidone a try for these paranoid delusions?

  81. #81 Just Kevin
    May 5, 2009

    Using the same logic, you could say that because Hitler did X (ate broccoli, rode a bicycle, had a wife), then those things are evil because Hitler did them.

    ————

    Obviously you’ve been reading Crack’s blog! These are exactly the sorts of very elementary logical fallacies he engages in.

    Aside to Crack : There is nothing “cool” or “macho” about fuzzy illogical thinking – its simply an insult to intelligent readers.

  82. #82 Jacquie Kubin
    May 5, 2009

    This is a very, very sad story. Why none of those doctors, sisters, brothers, other family that urged these people to get help called child welfare, is beyond me. And Homeopathy did not kill this child. Stupid, deluded parents killed this child. Homeopathic medicines can work wonders — relying on nature and nurture can and will fix many ailments and I look first to the natural medicines for my child’s colds, aches, and minor cuts and bruises. But I would not treat a broken leg with aloe vera or arnica. Or a brain tumor with chamomile and lavender, though they can both help a good headache. Homeopathic medicine did not kill this child, the parents killed this child after they tortured her. And they should be held legally responsible for her death if the facts of this case are as presented. Jacquie http://www.donnetempo.com

  83. #83 MarkM
    May 5, 2009

    The title of this post is misleading, and you undo your own thesis with your argument. If, as you assert, homeopathic treatments are just water, then you’re suggesting that the child died from the administration of water into her system. I’m sure that we agree that isn’t what happened here.

    You’re also holding a single tragic event up as evidence of large scale facts, in effect you are being pretty Oprah about this. If we trot out anecdotes of people being killed by various modalities when they were trying to address a medical problem, so-called “conventional medicine” will have a lot of strikes in its column. Research and medicine is a game of big numbers, not single stories. And people have cooked up myriad ways of mistreating their children, there’s no reason to point at this event as being singularly distinctive. I just finished investigating a case of Munchausen’s by proxy where the child wound up brain-injured from the unnecessary conventional medical treatments she was given. Is that a commentary on the usefulness and safety of the treatments, or a commentary on the conditions under which they were given?

    And homeopathy isn’t a religion. You’re confusing it with atheism and similar woo like that.

  84. #84 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    “Crack, I figured you’d start in on me pretty quickly… you’ve bitched at me elsewhere, ever since I made the mistake of saying that I didn’t care for rap music, which obviously touched a button in you.”

    Yes, Rev: rap music, that was it. Sure. Nothing about hypocrisy, right? Yea. Rap Music. I betcha the Buddha’s gonna bless you BIG TIME for that one.

    “I know better than to try and reason with you.”

    Yea, you always self-identify as a “spiritual” person and it ruins the whole effect. Hell, you showing up wherever I am ruins the whole effect. Don’t you have a girlfriend? And shouldn’t you be advising her on what liars those other spiritual guys are?

    “I’ve worked with enough psychotics to realize that challenging one’s delusions produces only rage.”

    Here, let me re-write that for you:

    “I’ve worked with studied under enough psychotics to realize that challenging one’s delusions produces only rage.”

    “Until you get some meds and some real help, everybody you encounter who doesn’t share your pathology will be on your list of enemies.”

    And where is this list, Rev? Have you seen this list, or is it just a delusion? You know: a figment of your imagination. A slur to throw out there without backing? Name who’s on my “enemies list”, Rev. Who have I declared an “enemy” for disagreeing with me and where? Who have I threatened? Have I had disagreements with people? Sure. Who hasn’t? So what? (You I actively dislike, but other people, it’s so what?) Is that a crime, now, My Self-Appointed White Buddhist Teacher?

    You have chosen to follow me around on the web. It’s like having my own CIA agent, where is he? What’s he saying now?

    Now that, Rev, is bizarre behavior for a grown man who claims to think I’m a fool. (You even read the old blog, don’t cha boy-o? Shhh: don’t tell anyone.) I, at least, read Respectful Insolence and post stuff about Orac that lets him know I respect him enough to give a damn about what he says, whether I agree with him always or not. I don’t talk like him but I’ve never made him my enemy. To suggest otherwise is bullshit.

    “Ironically, that list includes all baby boomers, a group to which, as it turns out, you are included.”

    Really? Well glory be. What do you know: Another hippie success story.

    “And as I’ve said before, I think that anyone wasting their life on such comprehensive rage is truly sad… even if that rage is directed at me.”

    It isn’t directed at you, Rev. I pity you. To be such a ball of mixed-up contradictions: The Raging Buddhist, the humble egotist, the guy with no sense of propriety – and the guy who just can’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to the Eastern mumbo jumbo he’s selling. You know, The Liar.

    That’s the guy who wants to lecture me on what, exactly, Ron?

    Yes, Sir, I pity you. It has to be hard.

    Out of all the silly belief systems out there, I could never be a Buddhist. With your one example, alone, I see contradictions and a willingness to shade the truth (“rap music”) that appear to be too great for any comprehensive concept of a fully realized person to exist.

    Go away, Ron, and try to work on that.

    Watch as many episodes of Kung Fu as you can.

  85. #85 Joseph C.
    May 5, 2009

    You’re confusing it with atheism and similar woo like that.

    And how is atheism woo?

  86. #86 RevRon
    May 5, 2009

    “There is no association between silicone breast implants and systemic disease. Multiple studies have failed to find higher rates of immune diseases or collagen vascular diseases in women with such implants, for example.”

    At the hearings, there was a long procession of women who had partaken in the mandatory “studies,” yet whose results were either lost or deemed invalid. They brought with them their medical records, prepared by licensed physicians, who attested that the women’s immune system problems were the direct result of silicone material which had leached from the implants. Ironically, the number of women who presented at the hearings was greater than the total number of women listed as having experienced untoward effects in the manufacturer’s studies.

    Before each witness was allowed to begin offering their testimony, they had to attest that they had no vested interest in the outcome of the hearings, or in the approval of the implants for general use. The physicians who testified in support of the reversal of the moratorium each denied having such a vested interest, yet to a person, testified that they had performed a significant number of of implant procedures, each of which would result in thousands of dollars in surgeon’s fees. Even if their testimony was not tainted by the significant increase in their income that would inevitably result if the moratorium was lifted, it’s not too difficult to see how there might be at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Let me be clear; I have no reason to believe – and am in no way implying – that your own perspective might be tainted. As a matter of fact, I readily acknowledge that the implants can play an essential role in a mastectomy patient’s recovery – both physical and emotional. But I wonder at the appropriateness of merchandising such a procedure – especially to young women – who suffer no real anomalies or disease.

    This, however, is not even the point. The point is that the “results” of the published studies are sufficiently questionable to warrant further study, especially if one looks closely at the methodology used in arriving at those results. The arguments on both sides of this situation notwithstanding, my assertion is that, if we are to rely upon science for answers, we must be reasonably assured that the science is clean and unadulterated by commercial factors. Failure to do so would only provide fodder for the faux treatment supporters to demand that their “treatments” be taken seriously.

  87. #87 The Crack Emcee
    May 5, 2009

    “Crack, I figured you’d start in on me pretty quickly… you’ve bitched at me elsewhere, ever since I made the mistake of saying that I didn’t care for rap music, which obviously touched a button in you.”

    Yes, Rev: rap music, that was it. Sure. Nothing about hypocrisy, right? Yea. Rap Music. I betcha the Buddha’s gonna bless you BIG TIME for that one.

    “I know better than to try and reason with you.”

    Yea, you always self-identify as a “spiritual” person and it ruins the whole effect. Hell, you showing up wherever I am ruins the whole effect. Don’t you have a girlfriend? And shouldn’t you be advising her on what liars those other spiritual guys are?

    “I’ve worked with enough psychotics to realize that challenging one’s delusions produces only rage.”

    Here, let me re-write that for you:

    “I’ve worked with studied under enough psychotics to realize that challenging one’s delusions produces only rage.”

    “Until you get some meds and some real help, everybody you encounter who doesn’t share your pathology will be on your list of enemies.”

    And where is this list, Rev? Have you seen this list, or is it just a delusion? You know: a figment of your imagination. A slur to throw out there without backing? Name who’s on my “enemies list”, Rev. Who have I declared an “enemy” for disagreeing with me and where? Who have I threatened? Have I had disagreements with people? Sure. Who hasn’t? So what? (You I actively dislike, but other people, it’s so what?) Is that a crime, now, My Self-Appointed White Buddhist Teacher?

    You have chosen to follow me around on the web. It’s like having my own CIA agent, where is he? What’s he saying now?

    Now that, Rev, is bizarre behavior for a grown man who claims to think I’m a fool. (You even read the old blog, don’t cha boy-o? Shhh: don’t tell anyone.) I, at least, read Respectful Insolence and post stuff about Orac that lets him know I respect him enough to give a damn about what he says, whether I agree with him always or not. I don’t talk like him but I’ve never made him my enemy. To suggest otherwise is bullshit.

    “Ironically, that list includes all baby boomers, a group to which, as it turns out, you are included.”

    Really? Well glory be. What do you know: Another hippie success story.

    “And as I’ve said before, I think that anyone wasting their life on such comprehensive rage is truly sad… even if that rage is directed at me.”

    It isn’t directed at you, Rev. I pity you. To be such a ball of mixed-up contradictions: The Raging Buddhist, the humble egotist, the guy with no sense of propriety – and the guy who just can’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to the Eastern mumbo jumbo he’s selling. You know, The Liar.

    That’s the guy who wants to lecture me on what, exactly, Ron?

    Yes, Sir, I pity you. It has to be hard.

    Out of all the silly belief systems out there, I could never be a Buddhist. With your one example, alone, I see contradictions and a willingness to shade the truth (“rap music”) that appear to be too great for any comprehensive concept of a fully realized person to exist.

    Go away, Ron, and try to work on that.

    Watch as many episodes of Kung Fu as you can.

  88. #88 Orac
    May 5, 2009

    At the hearings, there was a long procession of women who had partaken in the mandatory “studies,” yet whose results were either lost or deemed invalid. They brought with them their medical records, prepared by licensed physicians, who attested that the women’s immune system problems were the direct result of silicone material which had leached from the implants. Ironically, the number of women who presented at the hearings was greater than the total number of women listed as having experienced untoward effects in the manufacturer’s studies.

    That is not how science answers the question of whether silicone breast implants are associated with systemic diseases. The plural of “anecdotes” is not “data.”

    Indeed, there are many parents who really and truly believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism. Many of them can even trot out “licensed physicians” who attribute these children’s autism to vaccines. Think Dr. Jay Gordon, for instance. Or Mark Geier. Or Andrew Wakefield (although he’s not currently licensed). Or Dr. Rashid Buttar. In fact, the plaintiffs in the Autism Omnibus can virtually all do just that, and there are 5,000 of them. None of this means that the studies that have failed to find a link between vaccines and autism are fatally flawed because these parents were somehow not included. None of this means that they are so flawed that “more studies are needed.”

    Indeed, the similarities between the two scares are eerie in many ways. Confirmation bias, confusing correlation with causation, etc., all led to women believing that silicone implants caused their problems. But the bottom line is that well-designed studies have, as they have for a correlation between vaccines and autism, failed to find a correlation between silicone implants and the systemic diseases attributed to them.

    And if you want conflicts of interest, what about all the trial lawyers in the 1990s who pushed small, preliminary, and/or poor quality studies as evidence that silicone breast implants caused all manner of systemic disease? They were the drivers of this scare. Unfortunately for them, the results of these studies didn’t hold up when larger, better-designed studies were done in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    The sad thing is that his hysteria–yes, hysteria–has until recently denied women with breast cancer who needed a mastectomy a far superior reconstruction option to saline implants, which do not feel natural; they feel like–well, crinkly bags of saline.

  89. #89 snerd
    May 5, 2009

    Homeopathic medicine did not kill this child, the parents killed this child

    … by refusing treatment that actually works to the placebo wannabe that is homeopathy, which cannot possibly be of any clinical benefit whatsoever.

    Circular logic is circular!

  90. #90 snerd
    May 6, 2009

    TCE: alt.peeves is that way, and about ten years ago.

  91. #91 anon
    May 6, 2009

    Snerd… circular logic could be quite present in many a scientific point then I suspect. Good for the goose, no?

    I’d have to agree with MarkM entirely, the title is misleading. Just as if I were to proclaim that conventional medical treatments kill hundreds of thousands of people every year, it may have some truth, but it’s a bit misleading and would lead one to believe that it’s all bad and not worthwhile because of the amount of loss it *can* generate.

    If homeopathy is quackery, and simply water, it didn’t do anything. It appears to be an opportunity to slam the modality, not the poor choice of the caregivers.

  92. #92 Emp
    May 6, 2009

    Anon, you’re missing the point.

    Homeopathy may not have directly killed the child, but the parents’ reliance on it did. Because homeopathy did nothing, the child died needlessly. As a couple posters mentioned, it’s similar to how reliance on faith healing and prayer for treatable conditions can result in death when no appropriate medical intervention is sought. No one actually thinks that homeopathy (or prayer) can kill anyone in its own right; it’s the fact that believers shun legitimate medical treatments for woo that doesn’t work. That’s the reason homeopathy is dangerous, and that’s perfectly good reason to “slam the modality.”

  93. #93 bob
    May 6, 2009

    Nitpickers: Fine, here’s what the title should *technically* read: “Belief in Homeopathy Kills a Child.” Happy now? Great, now get to work actually responding to the article’s points rather than raising a pointless and tiny objection.

    Is this Crack Emcee guy for real? I’m having a hard time following what the hell is going on with his posts. It’s like having cooler here, only “arguing” against woo for once. I find it disconcerting and confusing …

  94. #94 The Crack Emcee
    May 6, 2009

    Emp,

    “How does it follow that if one person (in this case, Oprah) supports a candidate, anyone else who supports the same candidate is deluded or evil in some way? Using the same logic, you could say that because Hitler did X (ate broccoli, rode a bicycle, had a wife), then those things are evil because Hitler did them. There seems to be no end to the amount of associations you see between things that, in reality, have nothing in common. This is a fairly common logical blunder in humans, but you take it to a violent extreme which is clearly detrimental to your emotional and psychological health.

    Since you (seem to) believe in science- and evidence-based medicine, might I suggest you give Risperidone a try for these paranoid delusions?”

    You’re making the common mistake of thinking cultists see the world as you and I do – they don’t – they live with a metaphysical outlook, with symbolic associations everywhere. Do you see them? Do you know what to look for – to see as they do? Do you even know what it means to think metaphysically?

    If you’ll grant that Christians look at the world differently, but in a manner you’re familiar with (Seen Jesus on a piece of toast, lately?) then you might develop an appreciation for the idea of another metaphysical framework, acting around you, that you don’t understand. That’s one of the things that I, and others, talk about that many doctors and scientists (two of their targets) are ignoring. It’s like being a biblical scholar with a lot of bibles. Meanwhile, scientists are choosing to make light of most of it while average people suffer the weight, large and small , of this “hidden” shit.

    Could you, or Orac, or even American society be deluded into evil? Of course. You’re human, aren’t you? Cultism ain’t no intelligence test, but a test of gullibility. The Germans weren’t special or anything and neither is anyone since. Except for Obama, I mean: He’s the “messiah”. That’s political talk.

    Orac knew more about Oprah than most. He knew she’s some kind of Queen of NewAge. But does he know what that means in NewAge circles? Probably not. That bitch is just Oprah to him. Yea, like the Pope is just “some guy” to Catholics.

    But NewAgers hate “organized religion”, right? That’s the only bad kind. So all the “occult ” charlatans and quack doctors can be her guest at her “ministry” (her word) without suspicion. And it’s why their bullshit gets a pass, without question, throughout a mainstream society that also hates organized religion.

    Or is everyone – journalists included – just playing dumb? Sure. Water has a memory. I dare you to try to sell that to any 5 year old. Your brain’s got to be warped on some new and improved shit for any adult to buy into that nonsense. But NewAgers do. And worse. Because they really and truly believe. A whole big ol’ lot. More than you understand, probably, except when you rarely get to see they’re acting on those beliefs – together. Let’s all chant “Obama!” one more time, huh? He’s a Lightworker, you know.

    Look, Emp, I don’t make metaphysical stuff up or believe in it. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m a guy who, through unusual circumstances, wandered into somebody else’s scheduled viewing of Tom Cruise in “Eyes Wide Shut” but it just hasn’t ended yet, O.K.? No, seriously, to me, I’ve discovered the story of our cultural times, and we need to seriously examine it because there’s some nasty, nasty shit going on in that other room.

    Believe that.

  95. #95 The Crack Emcee
    May 6, 2009

    “If homeopathy is quackery, and simply water, it didn’t do anything.”

    Yes, but if it’s not “simply water” – if it’s one part of a cultish NewAge belief system that keeps people from doing things (like seeking proper medical care or taking out their trash without sorting it) then it’s the culprit. See? Remember Madonna demanding Western governments put Kabbalah water in nuclear reactors? Cult shit.

    The reality of belief systems (how people act to them) is what you guys are missing – and Orac’s just coming to grips with.

  96. #96 LC
    May 6, 2009

    Been keeping an eye on the saga, and it looks like the defence lawyer is pulling the ‘Cultural Values’ gambit.

    Summed up it’s – “We cant apply the values of ‘Western medicine’ to these people of Indian descent, because that’s colonial imperialism. Everyone in India does woopathy, so they should be allowed to do it here. So since the Sam’s are not at fault, it has the be the fault of those imperialist-rascit-culurally insenitive western doctors!”

    The same sort of crap they tried with the TB vaccination case a while ago.

  97. #97 Pareidolius
    May 6, 2009

    Reading this thread makes me feel like I’m in a scene from Eraserhead . . . confusing and creepy as hell, and yet I just can’t stop reading.

  98. #98 yoyo
    May 6, 2009

    I’m one perhaps of many who sent this article to you, part of the reason this horrified me sooo much was that these evil hypocrits sent the mother to real hospital for treatment of (painful but not leathal)gallstones during the period they let their baby die! SCUM

  99. #99 Pikemann Urge
    May 6, 2009

    The problem is obviously with the parents, not homeopathy. Homeopathy is worth trying (to see for yourself what the fuss is about) as long as you have the luxury of a week or so. If it works, great; if not, move on.

    Is something – anything – doesn’t work after a while then you must change tack. This is a lesson in dogmatism, not medical practice.

  100. #100 Pikemann Urge
    May 6, 2009

    Wait, I just thought of something: isn’t this an appeal to emotion? Like how Christian apologists use when trying to convince you of how people saw ‘prophecy’ in the Bible and, not knowing any better, converted and changed their lives?

  101. #101 Richard Eis
    May 6, 2009

    -If, as you assert, homeopathic treatments are just water, then you’re suggesting that the child died from the administration of water into her system. I’m sure that we agree that isn’t what happened here. -

    True, but neither was that asserted. Learn to read.

    CrackMc. Shut up and go away…you are an irritating child. Your blog is boring and your rants here are dull and uninteresting.

  102. #102 Tracy W
    May 6, 2009

    Homeopathy is worth trying (to see for yourself what the fuss is about) as long as you have the luxury of a week or so.

    Why? For it to work a hell of a lot of modern chemistry, physics, etc would have to be wrong. Furthermore if something has been tested for decades and people are still arguing about whether the effect exists, rather than coming up with new improved versions or new applications, that strikes me as strong evidence that the effect doesn’t really exist. (Compare for example electromagnetic fields, which, since the demonstration of their existance have been so well understood that new applications such as radios, TV, etc have been introduced).

    I can think of plenty of things far better to do with my spare time than go to a homepath, get a prescription and then try to remember to follow it for a week. Catch up with some friends, go for a walk, read a book, try a new hobby, email my relatives, comment on blog posts, etc.

  103. #103 Asplomat
    May 6, 2009

    “And every authority on cultism lays it’s growth on affluent, middle class women – the so-called “worried well” – which you’ll attempt to make out as my misogyny at work. If you were real scientists you’d stop with the PC defenses you put up (as I have as a black guy) and actually study the subject in depth to get at the problem.”

    Really? I’m sure Colin Campbell, David Bromley and Janja Lalich would be really amused to hear that – considering that they never stated it – and all three of the above names are quite authoritative on cultic groups, crackMC.

    Appeal to authority FAIL

  104. #104 RevRon
    May 6, 2009

    Orac, I do not disagree that we need to rely upon properly structured studies rather than anecdotal information in forming our opinions, or at least in drafting our laws. However, when significant data describing untoward effects is eliminated from those studies, either by disqualification or outright failure to report, the results of the study deserve to be questioned. That’s common sense, not hysteria, IMO. In 2005, an FDA safety officer named David Graham was so frustrated with the tainted approval process and the agency’s unwillingness to address the problems that he blew the whistle in public interviews. After a detailed review of the workings of the Drug Safety Oversight Board, his official report, which he later made public when his findings were ignored by the FDA, was that the Safety Board is “severely biased in favor of industry.” He even went on to state that “the FDA cannot be trusted to protect the public or reform itself.” And this was no hysterical individual, attempting to cash in on her own health challenges, but a fully vetted and qualified agency administrator.

    Again, let me stress that I do not question the viability of breast implants in the recovery regimen for women who have undergone mastectomies. In truth, however, these patients make up a rather small percentage of total breast implant procedures performed, and given their medical conditions, I do believe significant latitude from the restrictions imposed by the earlier moratorium is clearly warranted. However, I still suggest that completely eliminating the suitability guidelines for the silicone & saline implants, so that even 17-year-old girls can get the procedure to better fill out their prom dresses is inappropriate, especially given the extensive clinical evidence discarded from the required studies that suggests the potential for untoward effects. We accept limitations upon the criteria for prescribing medications, and I believe it would be appropriate to follow the same guidelines in prescribing silicone implants. I do not advocate hysteria, merely consistency and an increase in the integrity and transparency of the process.

  105. #105 Jesse
    May 6, 2009

    CM @#54.

    You failed to do anything other than continue to act like an arrogant know-it-all narcissistic jackass.

    Oh, so now it’s arrogance, is it? Like i should be crawling under a rock, or playing shy, to make you feel better? Fuck that noise – I am what I am. You’re just mad because any study of NewAge leads right to this doorstep – science and medicine – and how lame you guys are in the face of it.

    So this means that the only way to combat new age medicne or woo is if we do it your way? Wow, that’s not arrogant or anything.

    As for your ‘qualifications’…. congratulations, you copied and pasted a description of your blog from another blog… you want a cookie for that?

    And, funny, but Bill Whittle and Pajamas Media see the threat of The Daily Show, training people to be idiots.
    And your further exploration of this is… to link your own comments on your blog. I am far from convinced.

    That would be you jackasses. Now lump it. YOU are the problem – for me and yourselves.

    Sorry but you are fecklessly mistaken. I have no problem. I am not bent out of shape because Orac won’t join me. I do not believe that fighting for the truth in evidence based medicine begins and ends with me. I do not deify myself for bringing a quack to justice. I’m just a dorky Postdoc on the East Coast.

    Orac and other are right to call you out for trying to politicize this issue, despite your claims that you aren’t you say: Are you denying that Barack Obama was Oprah Winfrey’s candidate?
    Pot, meet Kettle.

  106. #106 RevRon
    May 6, 2009

    Crack, I’m sorry if you find my participation in this forum uncomfortable. I bear you no ill will, and certainly don’t hate you. Initially, I did think you were just an obnoxious ass, but I’ve come to recognize – as have a number of others – that you simply “connect the dots” that the rest of the world cannot see. Still obnoxious, but obviously organically rather than behaviorally based. And no, I’m not here to teach you or change you. That is an internal job, for which you will need the kind of help that I’m not qualified or licensed to dispense. Neither am I here to engage you further, for there is neither any pressing need nor acceptable outcome.

  107. #107 The Crack Emcee
    May 6, 2009

    Asplomat,

    “I’m sure Colin Campbell, David Bromley and Janja Lalich would be really amused to hear that – considering that they never stated it – and all three of the above names are quite authoritative on cultic groups, crackMC.

    Appeal to authority FAIL”

    Yea, and Oprah’s unthinking and out-of-control audience for this nonsense is a bunch of dudes. You’re an idiot. FAIL.

  108. #108 Mu
    May 6, 2009

    LC@95
    the “cultural defense” might backfire for them, because in addition to traditionally being woo infested, Indian culture also has a tradition of minimizing the value of female infants. As in ” I won’t give up my believe in homeopathy for a girl”, that won’t sit well with most western courts.

  109. #109 Emp
    May 6, 2009

    Crack Emcee:

    I’m afraid you lost me with your last post entirely. You’re “not a conspiracy theorist”? Hm, in your last few posts I was pretty certain you were referring to everything “New Age” (what does that even mean these days?) including the ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC PARTY as a cult. You do realize how ridiculous that is, right? And you know that if you want to make claims so outlandish, you should back them up with actual evidence instead of just speculation, right? Just like someone who asserts that water has a memory will need extraordinary evidence to overthrow our understanding of modern chemistry, biology and physics, YOU need extraordinary evidence if you want anyone to believe the things you’re saying.

    I actually can’t tell if you even read my post and were trying to reply to it, because it seems as though you just picked a post addressed to you, “replied” to it and went on a rant about something completely unrelated. So I’ll leave it at this.

  110. #110 Seaweed
    May 6, 2009

    Crackerjacks or whatever the hell you are to be called…

    You may insult my God, my religion, my political party and the president that I support but at your peril do you mock Jon Stewart!

    Sorry… I could not resist!

    I am at a total and complete loss as to why Crack(ers) here is attacking the very people who fucking agree with him that homeopathy is screwy. I just don’t get. What is Orac supposed to do more that he’s not doing? Is Orac supposed to literally and physically attack people who believe in homeopathy? Seemingly nothing short of that would make The Crack happy.

  111. #111 Richard Eis
    May 6, 2009

    Crack got slapped down…didn’t take the hint. Typical conspiracy monger.

  112. #112 Shay
    May 6, 2009

    If the poor child was so ill that her uncle begged his brother and sister-in-law to take her to a doctor, why didn’t he report them to the local child welfare office before their idiocy killed her?

    This is what I don’t understand.

  113. #113 JohnV
    May 6, 2009

    I’ve seen train wrecks less compelling than this comment thread.

    Thanks Orac for facilitating the poor use of my time :p

  114. #114 Just Kevin
    May 6, 2009

    Appeal to authority FAIL”

    Yea, and Oprah’s unthinking and out-of-control audience for this nonsense is a bunch of dudes. You’re an idiot. FAIL.

    ————–

    Hi Crack Emcee

    I case you were wondering, “Appeal to Authority” is one of the LOGICAL FALLACIES we were discussing earlier.

    Hope that helps…

  115. #115 make manifest
    May 6, 2009

    Crack Emcee, I understand that you have had a painful personal experience and that has catalyzed you to take action. That is, ceteris paribus, a positive and useful reaction to tragedy — especially the sort of tragedy caused by the willful actions of others. But all else is not equal with the approach you are taking. If what you want is to honor the memory of the people you invoke, or even to seek vengeance in their names, realize this: the way you are taking is not the right one. You Are Not Helping.

    First and foremost, that you cannot draw the distinction between science and politics is deeply disturbing. “[S]cience is partisan,” you say. And you are wrong. Scientists may be partisan. Partisan politics may (and for 8 years, have) railroaded science, boxed science, forced science kicking and screaming to adopt a partisan stance in distortion of all its purposes. But science is the systematic description of the way the world works. It is not left nor right, it is not Republican or Democratic or Communist or Whig. Arguing the contrary isn’t speaking truth to power or standing up against the tide of political correctness. It is simply wrong.

    I think, perhaps, you have come to espouse such a fundamentally indefensible viewpoint because you seem willing to wholly conflate bad ideas with people who hold them. Yes, Oprah’s stance on science topics is reprehensible. I cannot and will not make any excuse for anti-vax enabling. But that doesn’t make “Oprah’s candidate” for president an automatic evil. Oprah has also donated millions to Katrina relief and helped institute a program in South Africa to get disadvantaged children back in school. A statement of fact might be true or false. An idea might be right or wrong. But people are not binary. Someone who peddles anti-vax nonsense that endangers children is still capable of giving support to others who do not champion public health dangers. And while my opinion is still out regarding some of Obama’s policies, if you are truly trying to claim that Obama is an enabler of homeopathy and anti-vax, the burden of proof is on you — not me — to show that.

    But maybe your lack of understanding is more fundamental. “Dude, I lived in Europe and Left and Right are flipped upside down there: Hitler was, by our calculations, a NewAge Leftist.” No. Just no. You claim that “environmentalism, homeopathy, racial ideas … spirituality, occultism, world domination” are proof that Hitler was “NewAge” and, thus, leftist. And you are wrong. None of these things — not one — defines the left/right aspect of politics. Hitler was a fascist, and squarely on the right. Just like the KKK in America, which also hold to “racial ideas” and its own form of occultism.

    You’ve attracted a lot of flames here. In my opinion, deservedly so. But I’m pointing out what is wrong with your words not to attack you, but in the likely-vain hope that you will recognize that what you are doing, the words you choose — the ones you don’t think are important — are *hurting* the cause you want to promote. You have made of yourself a strawman of the first order, and every such target that can be knocked down is another round of ammunition for the quackery you so dearly want to oppose.

    I empathize with your loss. I understand your pain, probably better that you would expect. I respect your desire to champion their memory by taking action. But if the action you take is the wrong one, and the words you choose are not backed up by logic — the core of science — then you, Crack Emcee, are a poor, poor excuse for their champion.

  116. #116 Just Kevin
    May 6, 2009

    You have made of yourself a strawman of the first order, and every such target that can be knocked down is another round of ammunition for the quackery you so dearly want to oppose.

    —————-

    Crack Emcee,

    “Strawman,” in case you were wondering, is one of the best-known logical fallacies.

    If you want to learn how to present arguments that other people can evaluate on their merits, instead of being dismissed as insane and incoherent, learning about the “strawman” fallacy is probably a pretty good place to start – here’s a link:

    Fallacy: Straw Man

  117. #117 Orac
    May 6, 2009

    I’ve seen train wrecks less compelling than this comment thread.

    What do you want me to do about it? Short of heavy handed moderation or censorship, there isn’t much I can do.

  118. #118 Basiorana
    May 6, 2009

    As a scientifically minded, anti-woo Buddhist, who hates radical feminism, eats meat except on holy days (I have plenty of lives to worry about shit like that, and in this one, my doctor was worried about my anemia), and is married to a staunchly anti-hippie Buddhist who hates feminism with a passion and refuses to live on the West Coast, I’m finding the crazy dude’s comments rather irritating.

    Buddhists in general believe in science and scientific medicine. It happens to be a religion that appeals to intellectuals who need the comfort and community of religion but really, really can’t grasp a creator god as a plausible idea, and want a religion that explicitly states that when religion and science contradict, you should believe the science. Those groups sometimes overlap with New Age people, but Buddhist does not mean New Age.

    Hippies in this country took a perfectly good religion and warped it. Buddhism states you should get medical care and you shouldn’t push your beliefs on others. Buddhists in third-world shitholes use “alternative” medicine because there is no conventional medicine. Herbs and midwives are better than nothing– at least you feel like you’re doing something.

    Buddhism is one of the very few religions out there that purposefully tries not to contradict science and changes their stance when science says otherwise. They presented a way of moderation between the restrictive caste system of Hinduism and the egalitarian Jains, who believe that organisms are all equal and won’t even kill plants– they only eat leaves, fruit, and milk products, nothing that kills the organism. Today, they offer a guide to how to live better and be happier for those who want and need it, without having to set aside science and reason. Those who do are ignoring the teachings of Buddhism and your average “Buddhist” hippie doesn’t even know the Eightfold Path. That’s like saying you’re Jewish or Christian but not knowing what the ten commandments are– not even not being able to name them all, but actually giving someone a blank look when you ask about them.

    Buddhists are no more connected with homeopathy and New Age woo than any other religion and less so, even, because according to Buddhism, this family, who had access to scientific medicine and refused it, have committed a grievous sin. They are willfully ignorant, a major sin of Buddhism– to chose not to learn when presented with irrefutable fact (incidentally, Buddhist belief is not considered irrefutable fact, so it’s not a sin if you don’t believe in Buddhism). Leave my faith out of your anti-woo rants, we’re one of the least woo-ey religions out there. Heck, we even believe in the Big Bang.

  119. #119 JohnV
    May 6, 2009

    No, no, Orac I mean it’s good reading, just in a ghastly way. If it was bad I’d just ignore it.

  120. #120 Phoenix Woman
    May 6, 2009

    Gentle Readers:

    If you find anyone particularly irritating and would like to avoid seeing their postings (or having to wear out your index finger using the scroll function), try this:

    1) Go to http://www.firefox.com and download the Firefox web browser, if you haven’t done so already.

    2) Go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748 and download the Greasemonkey add-on.

    3) Go to http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/4107 and install Killfile. This installs “kill” and “hide comment” options on each comment in most blogs (especially Blogger-based ones or ones that use Haloscan for their comments).

    4) Whenever you see a comment by someone you wish to banish from your screen, select “hide comment” (for hiding that particular comment) or “kill” (to ixnay the commenter permanently from your view).

    Doing this will make your viewing experience happier, and make it easier for Orac to resist the temptation to lock it down under tight moderation.

  121. #121 truthspeaker
    May 6, 2009

    Hmm. I seem to have struck a nerve with some folks. However, no response on the work of Dr. Ennis — perhaps the people responding are unfamiliar with it?

    I am familiar with it. It’s sloppy work that has been refuted many times.

  122. #122 Jesse
    May 6, 2009

    Thank you Phoenix Woman. I use FF but am unaware of what the many add-ons can do to improve my experiences on the interhighway.

  123. #123 ildi
    May 6, 2009

    Normally I would hesitate to go off-topic, but this thread is already a jumbled pile of yarn with the cat sleeping on top of it…

    Basiorana:

    As a scientifically minded, anti-woo Buddhist, who hates radical feminism…and is married to a staunchly anti-hippie Buddhist who hates feminism with a passion

    WTF? Is your hatred of feminism tied to your buddhism, or is that a non-sequitor? I mean, I could understand that if you are staunchly Catholic, but I didn’t realize that Buddhism was a patriarchal religion, also.

  124. #124 Emp
    May 6, 2009

    Ildi,

    Buddhism is not meant to be patriarchal (although it is practiced in some areas that are, so I understand how the association would arise.) Many people believe that feminism only exists in radical/militant forms, when in actuality “feminist” is actually a blanket term which can include everyone who so much as believes men and women should be given equal rights. Most people who “hate feminists” actually hate militants – I imagine that is what Basiorana meant. As a fellow practicing Buddhist, I hope so.

  125. #125 Skemono
    May 6, 2009

    Most people who “hate feminists” actually hate militants don’t know what the word means

    Better.

  126. #126 Polecat
    May 7, 2009

    “I mean, I could understand that if you are staunchly Catholic”

    Hey, my feminist beliefs arise from my Catholic beliefs. There’s no necessary contradiction.

  127. #127 ildi
    May 7, 2009

    I’d be curious to hear how that worked for you Polecat; (I was raised Catholic, so that’s why I’m mystified.) For me it was the exact opposite. The whole “gotta have a penis to be a priest” thing was the first baby step for me away from the church…

  128. #128 The Crack Emcee
    May 7, 2009

    No, Emp (#109) I am not a conspiracy theorist. Just a few days ago, over lunch, I sat and listened in disgust as I heard A) one of my co-workers assert that, in 2012, the world is going to end because the Mayan calendar says so – and the Mayan calendar is “science” B) two of my co-workers debate how much of a role Bush’s government played in 9/11, and C) And, yea, all these co-workers are “political progressives”. They’re also NewAgers, one and all, though they’d reject the term in a heartbeat. Sorry but that ain’t me, Babe.

    Emp, I’m an atheist. But my interest is in, so-called, “spiritual matters” – cultism especially. I am well aware of what I am thinking, saying, and asserting, but I find before some will listen to what I’m saying, first, I have to wade through their assumptions. Look at Asplomat’s post (#103) where he lists several authorities on dangerous “closed” cult groups, not understanding the difference (or similarities) in what they’re saying, and my emphasis on “open” NewAge cultism. (This piece, which features David Bromley, only mentions one NewAge cult, Heaven’s Gate, since it’s emphasis is on the usual Left-wing PC coverage of violence: The Sam’s didn’t violently kill their daughter, and my ex-wife didn’t violently kill anyone either. Nothing Oprah suggests will violently kill anyone, either, but – as her association with Jenny McCarthy proves, she can kill.) Asplomat can “feel” smug that he put me in my place but he’s, still, as wrong as wrong can be in his assumptions. And I tire of trying to correct such people. What’s the old saying? “To argue with a fool makes you a fool.”? Sorry but I have no desire to join your club.

    Note to Asplomat: A better place to start is Camille Paglia’s “Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s“.

    I don’t have time to say more, right now, but I will again soon.

  129. #129 The Crack Emcee
    May 7, 2009

    A few more more quick things:

    1. Just “Logical Fallacies” Kevin, you don’t understand anything about me, my arguments, or my blog. You’re an idiot, also riding high on your assumptions: Excuse me for treating you as such.

    2. Mike Manifest, you make the mistake of using a simple semantics quibble (“[S]cience is partisan,” vs. “Scientists are partisan”) and turning that into the basis of your rejection. That’s just stupid, man. Do you really not see that? When I think of all the average people who get snookered by elitists, for little shit like that, it enrages me. It’s a chickenshit move, dude.

    3. Last but not least, to whoever asserted that my links only lead to my assertions on my blog (I can’t find all these in such a short time: I’m trying to get out of here to work) my blog has links, in red, to the actual articles – it says so at the top of my blog. Excuse me for assuming you know how to click those yourselves. You are familiar with the internet, aren’t you, geniuses?

  130. #130 Denis Alexander
    May 7, 2009

    Homeopathy is placebo (and yes, water). Placebo sometimes works… but if it doesn’t do not insist.

  131. #131 Prometheus
    May 7, 2009

    “Homeopathy is placebo (and yes, water). Placebo sometimes works…”

    Actually, placebos don’t work – that’s why they are placebos. If placebos did work, they couldn’t be used as a control for other treatments.

    You see, there are a number of different reasons why someone given a “treatment” might get better. These include (but are not limited to):

    [1] They were going to get better anyway, regardless of treatment.

    [2] They feel better because they think they are getting treatment for their ailment.

    [3] They don’t want to disappoint the doctor.

    [4] The treatment made them get better.

    All but [4] should be seen in equal numbers whether the treatment works or not. In other words, people given a placebo will get “better” for reasons [1] through [3].

    A good definition of a placebo is “…a substance or intervention that the subject cannot distinguish from the “treatment” under study but that, when given to a person without their awareness, is incapable of causing a physiological response.”

    So, if a placebo is given to a person without their knowledge – slipped into their tea, for instance – it is “ineffective”. It only “works” when they know they’re getting something.

    And before someone gives the “I gave my infant (or dog) a placebo and they got better” story, remember that the placebo “works” on the person making the assessment. That means, unless you can ask the infant or dog directly, it is the person administering the placebo who thought that they “got better”.

    And don’t forget [1] – if you give a placebo (or homeopathic remedy) for something that was going to get better without any treatment, you will see improvement. It’s just not due to the placebo (homeopathic remedy).

    Prometheus

  132. #132 Just Kevin
    May 7, 2009

    Just “Logical Fallacies” Kevin, you don’t understand anything about me, my arguments, or my blog.

    ————-

    Crack Emcee,

    I do understand your “arguments.” They’re emotional rants that dissolve like wet tissue paper the instant they’re put to the test.

    On the other hand, if you aren’t willing to learn even the very basic rules of logic and argument that any junior high forensics club member knows by heart, then that’s your perogative too. You’re an “artist,” after all.

    The only downside to this is that most people will probably continue to treat you like some sort of crazy street person with skidmarked underoos on his head, yelling and shouting about government mind-control rays.

    Who knows? That may be what you secretly want.

  133. #133 The Crack Emcee
    May 8, 2009

    Y’know, Kevin, I may not have a lot of supporters but I do have them, and the people who have, since, said the same things are legion – Ann Althouse, TIME Magazine’s Joe Klein, NEWSWEEK’s Evan Thomas, Panda Bear, M.D. (which has GOT to hurt the science community, especially because, being a “man”, he doesn’t cringe at criticism like they do) Tom Tancredo (just yesterday), AND MANY OTHERS – not to mention Orac’s recent admissions about homeopathy being cultish. True, none of these folks harp on it daily, as I do, but they have the subjects they find important and I have a bunch of dead bodies that shouldn’t be on my hands.

    What I’m becoming most proud of is the small army of “followers”, like you, RevRon and Berko Willis, who spend their time on the web, going around screaming, “Don’t listen to him, he’s a nut!” – liberals and NewAgers all – who, as far as I’m concerned, indicate I must being doing something correct to attract. Intelligent people don’t waste their time on nutcases – just like doctors and scientists, like PB and Orac, don’t come around to a crazy man’s way of thinking,…unless it has some merit.

    So you can say what you want about “most people” (AKA “the herd”) but supposedly “smart people” ARE paying some attention – whether they like my online persona or not – and, by staying on point, things are happening out there: My message is getting out.

    Oh – and by the way – if you check the links, here, you’ll find that most people have never considered me anything less than a genius. It was only when when I declared myself a Republican (following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement – joining a whole list of others) that I became persona non grata, which says more about the ignorance of our history, moral hypocrisy, and lack of values, of Democrats (a favorite topic of mine) than about me.

    Either way, thank goodness, I’m not the type to believe my own press. I’m an atheist: I don’t spend my time “believing”,…unlike Obama supporters of course, right, Orac?

    Hope and Change!

  134. #134 Just Kevin
    May 8, 2009

    Crack Emcee

    I think its great that people listen to you! I also think you advocate for your cause in such an extremely confusing and irrational manner that you wind up being perceived as some sort of freakshow. You need to learn to separate the heat from the light IMHO.

    For example, take what you just wrote (above). Did it really take you 5 paragraphs to inform me that you are a macho Republican genius who agrees with many celebrity media figures? If so, great – but what does any of that have to do with your *extremely important cause*?

    If I want to test Thomas Alva Edison’s theories regarding electricity, it is enough to put a lightbulb in a socket and watch it light up.

    I don’t need to also know that he was a championship croquet player as a youth and so if I disagree with his theories I MUST be a secret Catholic because he is also a proud member of the Know-Nothing Party and the Irish are tempermentally incapable of understanding the difference between amplified and direct current except for that they are shielded from public exposure by the Ladies Temperance League.

    See what I mean?

  135. #135 RevRon
    May 8, 2009

    “What I’m becoming most proud of is the small army of “followers”, like you, RevRon and Berko Willis, who spend their time on the web, going around screaming, “Don’t listen to him, he’s a nut!”

    As always, you flatter yourself, Crack, a veritable legend in your own mind. I don’t follow you anywhere. Since you got yourself banned from another blog on which I regularly participate, I have occasionally popped in to look at your blog, mostly to see if the ranks are growing. I’m always heartened by the economy of responses to your posts. BTW – Nobody needs me to tell them about you… you do a fine job on your own.

    “Intelligent people don’t waste their time on nutcases”

    The legion of commenters who flock to your blog bears that statement out.

    “…most people have never considered me anything less than a genius.”

    The few responses you *do* get would seem to belie such a declaration. Hold that thought, however, if it makes you feel special.

  136. #136 The Crack Emcee
    May 9, 2009

    RevRon,

    In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not big on the whole “making friends” thing – I’ve got friends – so most comments I get are of the “You’re so full of shit” variety, which I don’t have to post unless they make a salient point. On the other hand, as Elizabeth (and others have) said, most people don’t comment because they don’t want to be criticized, which I find to be some of the most childish shit I’ve ever heard in my life. But that’s how I see most post-60′s adults anyway: immature to the extreme.

    One of my favorite co-workers started off our friendship by saying “Hey Stupid” and I knew, immediately, I liked the guy. Any white man that would approach a 6 foot black man with those words has balls to spare and he and I have been close ever since. My point is, unlike the rest of you chumpies, not everyone is thin-skinned and just waiting to be offended by something. You’re a bunch a pussies who can’t stand to see yourselves reflected in others eyes. You’re about an insecure bunch of weasels just waiting for a chance to bring more together people down – which is why your punk ass can’t just leave me alone:

    I bother you, Rev.

    You know your problems – I do too (you’re not a man) – so you can’t allow me to live my life as I’m more-than-willing to allow you to live yours. (Have I contacted you? Nope. But you’ve shown up at my blog, in person and anonymously, just to spew your nonsense, and why? Hell if I know – except you’re small minded, petty, and weak for your betters.) You must comment about me, follow me around, try to embarrass me – anything – to make your own small self feel bigger.

    Some Buddhist. Is that what all those “teachings” did for you? Make you small and petty and insecure in the face of someone who isn’t – without the Buddhist training? How about the lying? Did you learn that through Buddhism? What did you learn through Buddhism? I know you’re an asshole, so I’ve got that, but what else?

    And tell me, Rev: Does it really make you feel good to chase a guy around who got divorced after his wife ran off with a homeopath who killed her mother – and then the two of them killed two others? Where’s the pay-off for you? I understand that your Buddhist training has taught you to do everything in your power to bring misery into my life but does it work? Are you a better man for that? Can you look in the mirror after contacting me – for the umpteenth time – to spew your “I’m bigger and better than you” crap? And what’s that based on? That Cosmic Connie goes after bad guys, too, without realizing she sleeps with one? Lucky girl.

    If your dick is as small as your ego, man, I feel really sorry for that woman,…

  137. #137 Aquaria
    May 9, 2009

    When they talk about the “memory” of this water, are they using 100% distilled water? Or are they using water from some “natural source?”
    According to Dana Ullman, they use “double-distilled” water.

    Maybe so, but distillation, double or not, does not remove all particles that are in the water, nor is it a guarantee of purity or being free from bacteria and the like. And that’s before the damned container is opened, exposing it to all kinds of things.

    With their attitude about science in general downright hostile, I don’t trust their quality control measures for either the distillation process, or the processing of it during manufacture.

    At all.

    Besides, I think they saw that double-distilled water was once used by scientists. Problem is that part about “used to.” IANAScientist, but aren’t there other, better purification methods for science apps now? I’d think it would require some astounding processes to get water pure enough for things like molecular biology.

  138. #138 Alison
    May 9, 2009

    Erin. . .you said:

    “I think when we prosecute them, the punishment for all these preventable death cases should be that they have to go on the talk show circuit and tell their stories. It’ll be plenty of punishment, and they can give the daytime TV crowd a glimpse of what happens when you try to go through life without thinking critically.”

    and it gave me an idea. . .maybe this is what Jenny McCarthy should do on her talk show. She could be her own guest if it was a slow woo day. She’d never run out of material!

  139. #139 Alison
    May 9, 2009

    TCE, again with the self-reference to support your arguments? Are you hoping people will click all of them and then Stockholm Syndrome will turn them into fans? Your arguments sound a four-day short of a timecube, while Orac does his research (and even admits when – on rare occasion – he’s wrong.) Those of us who’ve seen you already are additionally disinclined to give weight to your aggressive, bullying opinions, even if we might have agreed to them if stated more rationally.

    It’s pretty simple – I suppose the Oprah/Obama analogy could work here. If we think that Oprah is a liar with an agenda to do harm, and we know nothing about Obama except that she thinks he’s great, we’ll start off with a strong bias against him. If we learn nothing else, that bias will not change. If, though, we delve deeper and find that there is more to him than being endorsed by Oprah, we will then base our opinion of him on his person rather than who else likes or dislikes him. If we find Obama a worthy person, and, knowing nothing of Oprah, hear him speak well of her in connection with thanking her for her endorsement, we might decide she’s a positive ally and leave it at that. If, however, we follow by watching her show, reading her books/magazines/website, checking out who else she supports and who else supports her, we will base our opinion of her exclusive of what Obama might or might not have said. In both cases, the superficial connection means far less than each individual alone. Basing an opinion on that one connection shows a shallow thought process – stating that one holds that opinion tells others that here is someone whose mind is made up, and who won’t allow himself to be confused by the facts.

    While Orac does have some individuals who are regular subjects of his respectful insolence, it’s never a case of simple guilt by association. For TCE, there is no connection too flimsy to be incriminating, and no epithets too unpleasant for those who don’t accept things at face value. When Orac writes about something, links are outside and relevant, actual supporting evidence. Links in TCE’s comments are almost exclusively to his own blog, certainly not reliable proof of anything except that he does, indeed, hold the opinion he just stated.

    However. . .because there are those people who didn’t vote for Obama simply because Oprah endorsed him and she’s a wacko, it’s a wise move for Orac to maintain a distance. Just sayin’.

  140. #140 snerd
    May 11, 2009

    Update:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25460712-2702,00.html

    “HOMEOPATHS in Australia would refer patients to conventional doctors if a serious condition did not improve within a week to a month, a manslaughter jury has been told.”

    Tacit admission that their crap just Does Now Work, perhaps?

  141. #141 snerd
    May 11, 2009

    Arrgh, Does NOT Work, I meant. I even previewed!

  142. #142 RevRon
    May 11, 2009

    By logical extension, if a treatment regimen prescribed by an MD did not produce the desired result, and the MD referred the patient to a specialist, would that action also constitute tacit admission that “their crap just doesn’t work?”

    I’m certainly not making the case for tooth-fairy medicine; I just think the conclusion offered isn’t really supported by the circumstances described. It should be obvious to any careful observer that the homeopaths’ crap doesn’t work. However, if a convincing, fact-based argument is to be offered, it needs to be free of the leaps in logic that are the woos’ and conspiracy theorists’ stock in trade.

    I make no claim to be a scientist, but it isn’t really the scientists who need to be convinced.

  143. #143 The Crack Emcee
    May 11, 2009

    Alison,

    Sigh.

    First, I am pretty shocked at how lame you “smart” folks can be: If I link you to my blog, it’s because there’s an article attached to that page – usually a red link, as it says at the top of the blog – so this mamby-pamby crying about how it’s just my opinion (or whatever) doesn’t hold water. It’s a diversion from admitting I’m talking about a subject you dimwits haven’t fleshed out, as I watch you, repeatedly, getting into nonsensical arguments with cultists who you should know, by now, you can’t convince of anything. (Think you’re going to convince Tom Cruise he’s in “the world’s most dangerous cult”, and he makes no sense, using logic alone? How about convincing a fan of homeopathy that water isn’t medicine? Shit, if logic, alone, mattered to cultists they wouldn’t be cultists! I think you guys just want to convince yourselves you’re smart by spouting big words. But,…) Excuse me if you’re revealed as so dumb/lazy/cynical that you can’t even understand how to click through a link marked in red: I’ve done my part already, and I thought a bunch of science geeks would know how the internet worked. Silly me.

    Second, about this Oprah/Obama nonsense, let’s look at a fact – for clarity:

    Obama’s own people openly said they’ve started a political cult.

    Can we agree on that much? How about the fact it’s not just me saying it? Can we also agree on that? I gave you lots of links, above, to others saying the same thing, so it’s not just me, right? Which, of course, leads to the next question:

    If it’s not just me, then why (1) do you guys keep insisting it’s just me?

    And (B) why do you keep trying to act like that’s not what’s occurred here – you won’t even entertain it – when we, as Americans, know cultism is a VERY BIG phenomena here (think about the People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate, David Koresh, Charlie Manson, Your Black Muslim Bakery, as well as the lesser lights, etc.)?

    Now, after 40+ years of est, The Landmark Forum, Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, and other forms of Large Group Awareness Training, NewAge psychobabble, etc., EVERYWHERE, twisting willing idiots into total fruitloops since the ’60s, I’d think scientists would be the first to wonder what effects all that “Be Here Now” and “It’s Not Just What’s So But So What” nonsense would add up to – besides several generations of cultish thinkers pushing a NewAge agenda. Maybe a nation with no critical thinking skills could result? A nation so out of it’s fucking gourd it thinks a “messiah” who could have this written about him is not only going to be able to save us financially – those folks he “helped” before certainly sound happy, right? – but somehow is (gulp!) presidential material?

    Shit, Orac might as well put me – or a homeopath – in charge of his cancer research.

    But then that would be stupid. While Orac helping to put Barack Obama in charge of the country is considered brilliance.

    Excuse me, again, for not getting that.

  144. #144 isabeau
    May 24, 2009

    I think the best thing is to have balance. If a person insists on using homeopathy on their child or loved one and it’s not effective, then conventional meds should be used and run to your MD! In addition, I do not consider homeopathy moaggy moaggy stuff. I think modern science just hasn’t figured out the science behind homeopathy yet. I do not agree with those who think of homeopathy in spiritual terms. Deep in my gut, I believe there is a science behind it. We just need to figure out what it is. I pooh pooh the religious or spiritual side that some people push. In the dark ages, things that were pure science were thought of as practicing spiritual darkness/witch craft punishable by death. Someday someone will be able to find the pure science in homeopathy and show that it is not nonsense. But it does take such precision and expertise to find the right remedies. Therefore, parents should not practice homeopathy on their children for life threatening things.
    I do have a doctor friend (MD/Pediatrition) who is also a certified homeopathic practitioner. She has seen children’s bumps almost as big as doorknobs go down on children’s foreheads in minutes when Arnica Montana was used. Always consult a physician if your child or loved one gets a bad bump. But try the Arnica Montana on the way to the doctor’s office. Head bumps should always be checked by a physician. Never give homeopathy to someone who is unconscious though. I don’t know how you can explain the phenomenon of Arnica Montana on boo boo/bumps. I only wish that lovely actress who was in the newest Parent Trap movie would have had Arnica Montana on hand after her head injury while skiing. But she should have immediately still have gone to the hospital. What a shame. Doctors do have their place and I have no trouble balancing between homeopathy and Western medicine. Our son almost died from Kawasaki Syndrome. He had a fever. Then his feet started swelling up…well, we knew he needed to get to the hospital. We were not putting off Western Medicine. We were just first time parents and were not into alternatives at that time. He made it but had intravenous tubes going into him for three days. I will always be truly grateful to “Western Medicine” for saving our son.
    Just remember though, that over 100,000 people die from modern medicine per year! This is either due to operations, complications from surgery, infections from surgery, wrong perscriptions, etc.
    In conclusion…remember to have BALANCE. Know when it’s the right time to see an MD. Don’t allow your loved ones to suffer because you want to only use alternatives. Be open minded.

  145. #145 grenouille
    May 24, 2009

    I only wish that lovely actress who was in the newest Parent Trap movie would have had Arnica Montana on hand after her head injury while skiing.

    Yeah, Isabeau. I am sure that would have helped her epidural hematoma. That’s just a big boo-boo, right?

  146. #146 Homeopathyisnothing
    June 9, 2009

    Says #144: “Just remember though, that over 100,000 people die from modern medicine per year! This is either due to operations, complications from surgery, infections from surgery, wrong perscriptions, etc.”

    I’m sick and tired of that false equivalency argument being stated over and over by homeopathic defenders, not to mention the inane “be open minded” when it’s the homeopath defenders who are stuck in a mental rut, unable to be dissuaded from homeopathy even with compelling rational evidence that homeopathy is NOTHING. I repeat: It is NOTHING (except maybe placebo).

    I’d like to see your evidence, other than hearsay, that arnica montana that is prepared homeopathically reduces large swellings in minutes as compared to a control group that received a placebo. I bet James Randi would give you a million dollars to demonstrate that under unbiased testing conditions.

    In the 1998 analysis that you’re probably referring to, isabeau, they were looking at Adverse Drug Reactions, not surgeries or misprescribing. No one is going to do a study comparing the use of homeopathy verus surgery in cases that are so serious that they require surgery. We already know that that would constitute mass murder – because homeopathy is NOTHING. The best it would do is help identify cases that didn’t actually need surgery in the first place (no one said conventional medicine or doctors are perfect), but they didn’t need homeopathy either, because homeopathy is NOTHING.

    More than 95% of the cases in that 1998 analysis, cases that were all serious enough to require hospitalization, did not experience any Adverse Drug Reactions. Face it; had they used homeopathy in lieu of conventional medication, you’d be talking about a massive number of deaths due to medical malpractice.

    Open your mind to the well-established evidence that homeopathy is NOTHING, other than possible placebo effect. It’s an outdated idea that almost died but made a come-back and is causing deaths because of all the people who defend it and make it appear as if it’s a viable alternative. It is NOTHING!

  147. #147 irons
    September 24, 2009

    It is very shocking news that homeopathy kills a child? I truly believe that homoeopathy has its place in the health care sector. Both allopathic medicine and homoeopathic medicine have their pros and cons, but together could be very effective.

  148. #148 Hildy
    September 28, 2009

    The father (who was the treating homeopath) has been given 8 years in prison; the mother 4 years.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/parents-failed-gloria-jailed-for-cruelty-20090928-g992.html

  149. #149 Todd W.
    September 28, 2009

    @irons

    Both allopathic medicine and homoeopathic medicine have their pros and cons, but together could be very effective.

    Exactly what would be the pros of homeopathy? Please provide citations as appropriate.

  150. #150 brian
    November 7, 2009

    hmm…homeopathy kills one????

    Compare that to this:

    ‘A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million.1 Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.2, 2a

    The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million.3 The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million.4 The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.5

    etc
    http://www.whale.to/a/null9.html

  151. #151 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Woohoo, Scopie’s Law“!

  152. #152 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 7, 2009

    Woohoo, Scopie’s Law”!

    And also tu quoque. Not to mention the revolting dismissal of a child’s suffering because it was ‘just one’.

    Tonight’s troll-based drinking game (proposed by JohnV on the Desiree Jenkins thread) should be interesting. :0

  153. #153 M
    February 24, 2010

    Actually, sometimes they don’t dilute it all the way out to 8X or so where it’s definitely just water. Sometimes they leave trace amounts of harmful things in the water.

    Take a good look at Similasan’s homeopathic products. Their dilutions are at the 6X level. They claim that they (somehow) stimulate the immune system. The bad part? They have ANTI-ALLERGY products that claim this. Allergies ARE an immune reaction. The very LAST thing you want is to make it worse. And they contain things like “Apis” (some undefined honeybee product). I’d be scared as hell to let anyone with a severe bee allergy go anywhere near that.

    The worst part? This crap is invading local pharmacies. I almost bought some by mistake, because it was right next to the real medicine, it looked very similar to the real medicine, and it was cheaper.

  154. #154 Terry
    April 23, 2010

    Homeopathy did not kill this child. After all, if those against it say homeopathy’s effectiveness is not scientific, then how can you prove that it is damaging. What killed the child here is the father, who lacked professionalism and failed to refer his child onto other forms of treatment due to her severity of illness. He neglected his child’s health and had that been his client then more serious action may have resulted. Always go to a registered Homeopath.

  155. #155 Todd W.
    April 23, 2010

    @Terry

    Always go to a registered Homeopath.

    The father was a homeopath. He also took his daughter to other homeopaths. The story, unfortunately, does not state whether any of them were registered (though I’m not entirely certain how registration buoys up the validity of homeopathy).

    While you are correct that the homeopathic solutions themselves were not responsible for Gloria’s death, but the belief that homeopathy actually works was one of the more significant contributing factors in her death.

    That said, I suggest posting on more recent threads about homeopathy, rather than one so old.

  156. #156 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 23, 2010

    After all, if those against it say homeopathy’s effectiveness is not scientific, then how can you prove that it is damaging.

    Learn something about the burden of proof, Terry. If I am responsible for providing a child with the nutrition she needs, I cannot simply scoop up dirt from the ground, shove it in her mouth, and challenge others to prove that dirt is not as nutritious as food.

  157. #157 Dr Aust
    April 23, 2010

    The father in the case, Thomas Sam, had multiple “degrees” in homeopathy. He was a “homeopathic medical doctor” – a qualification from India also possessed by homeopathic spammer supreme “Dr” Nancy Malik. I believe he also had some kind of Master’s degree, and he was a teacher at least one recognised homeopathy training school in Sydney/NSW. So saying “always go to a registered homeopath” is no protection whatsover.

    There is no meaningful obligation on homeopaths to “refer on” to other practitioners. None. The words may appear in homeopaths’ codes of practise, but as evidence in the UK has shown, it is a sham. How can you expect people whose belief-set is predicated upon the idea that real medicine is a fake, and that, in homeopathy, they have the healing keys to the Universe, to decide that they can’t help you and a real doctor maybe can? Their whole schtick points them in the other direction.

  158. #158 tina
    May 2, 2010

    Yes, and alopathic drugs and surgery kills over 100,000 people a year. Some of those are children. It’s not homeopathy’s fault that this couple was wacked. Anyone in their right mind would switch to conventional meds when no progress was being made.

  159. #159 terry
    May 2, 2010

    Tina, that is exactlly my point. If no progress is being made in a patient, it needs referring, especially in such case. And any good therapist, homeopathic or other would know to refer such case. This case it the couples ignorance of conventional medicine at such stages when it is most needed.

  160. #160 Chris
    May 2, 2010

    terry and tina, the idiot treating his daughter with homeopathy was her father, a homeopath. Yet, her mother sought real medicine for herself.

  161. #161 tina
    June 13, 2010

    Regarding the child who died due to taking homeopathy…Let’s not forget that around 100,000 people die per year in the United States alone from Western Medicine. I believe that a good homeopathic practitioner will not allow a child to go off medication. In many instances, you can take it along with what you’re doing. Also, if it’s not working, then common sense tells you to go back on the regular meds/prescription. These people were not of their right mind who took their kids off meds.

    And as far as the “water memory” …quite honestly, I don’t understand how it works. All I know is that IF you get the right remedy for your situation, it does certainly work. I have been having trouble with sleeping. I couldn’t remember my dreams. I’m always exhausted due to my job. I started taking Calcarea Carbonica 30 C at night. I slept more soundly and felt like I was dreaming a lot through the night. I have felt more rested when I wake up. Also, our son used to hit, push kids off of play structures, etc at five years old with no cause. We gave him Tarantula 30 C for one month. After three weeks, he stopped being aggressive and is now a teenager and is still not a bully. I think we should give prison inmates this remedy!LOL!…HA..yet I’m serious! Of course that one remedy might not solve all the aggressive problems. It may not solve verbal aggressiveness. But wow, it sure helped him with physical aggressiveness.

  162. #162 Antaeus Feldspar
    June 13, 2010

    Regarding the child who died due to taking homeopathy…Let’s not forget that around 100,000 people die per year in the United States alone from Western Medicine.

    Wow, starting off with the tu quoque fallacy; you really don’t know what you’re doing…

    I believe that a good homeopathic practitioner will not allow a child to go off medication.

    Too bad so many homeopathic practitioners are therefore “bad” by your standards. And even those who are “good” by your standards are still telling patients and patients’ parents to waste a portion of whatever funds they are able to collect for treatment on useless mumbo-jumbo.

    Also, if it’s not working, then common sense tells you to go back on the regular meds/prescription. These people were not of their right mind who took their kids off meds.

    A classic case of missing the forest for the trees. You’re trying to make it sound like the real problem is with each individual patient who does not successfully choose between homeopathy and real medicine for their treatment options. The real problem is that homeopathy is even regarded as a treatment option when it has never done anything to earn that status.

    And as far as the “water memory” …quite honestly, I don’t understand how it works.

    That’s because it doesn’t.

    [pointless testimonials skipped]

    I am tempted to ask what “Tarantula 30 C” is but I fear the answer would be just depressing. I just picture some poor tarantula, being shaken and drowned to provide some sap with their placebo…

  163. #163 Militant Agnostic
    June 13, 2010

    Since AF skipped the pointless anecdote, I will respond to it.

    A sleeping problem – really? This is a prime example of the sort of psychological thing that is most susceptible to a placebo.

  164. #164 Chris
    June 13, 2010

    tina:

    I believe that a good homeopathic practitioner will not allow a child to go off medication.

    Read the article! The homeopath that denied her real medication was her father. Until he was put in prison, he actually taught homeopathy!

    They even avoided going to a real doctor appointment and instead took her to India for a consult with another homeopath. The cruel thing is that the mother became ill in India and (quoting the linked article):

    During the trip to India she became ill with gallstones, and they immediately took her to a conventional hospital. Thomas Sam showed a considerable degree of concern for Manju Sam’s condition, “in direct contrast to what they both showed to Gloria’s condition”, Mr Tedeschi said.

    Now, tina, have you read what happened in Australia with Penelope Dingle and her treatment for bowel cancer? Apparently her husband, Peter Dingle, was planning on writing a book on how homeopathy cures cancer. His extensive notes are being used as evidence in an investigation.

  165. #165 Militant Agnostic
    June 13, 2010

    Now, tina, have you read what happened in Australia with Penelope Dingle and her treatment for bowel cancer? Apparently her husband, Peter Dingle, was planning on writing a book on how homeopathy cures cancer. His extensive notes are being used as evidence in an investigation.

    That would be a coroner’s investigation. Needless to say Penelope Dingle died in great pain with her bowel completely obstructed. The aptly named Dingles made a pact with the homeopath to avoid all conventional medicine including painkillers. The inquest was requested by Penelope Dingle’s family. I think this case may be a good subject for some Respectful Insolence especially since Peter Dingle is a Professor.

  166. #166 Chris
    June 13, 2010

    I kind of wanted tina to find out Mrs. Dingle’s final outcome, which is why I left out that one very important word.

    And it has been covered by Dr. Novella.

  167. #167 Chris
    June 13, 2010

    I kind of wanted tina to find out Mrs. Dingle’s final outcome, which is why I left out that one very important word.

    And it has been covered by Dr. Novella.

  168. #168 Chris
    June 13, 2010

    Weird… I thought I posted it. Went to work in the garden for a couple of hours, look on… and it looks like I had not hit “post”, and ended up with a double post. I have to remember not to close the new laptop before it completes a command (it goes into hibernation when closed).

  169. #169 Ferry
    August 29, 2010

    Homeopathy has been around for years and is harmless from my point of view as natural resources are used.

  170. #170 Nonie
    October 31, 2010

    The scientific method is to try something numerous times and watch the effects. If the effect can be reproduced in varying or specific situations, we can claim it is predictable. It is scientific. This does not mean we necessarily understand the action by which it works. Sometimes we think we do but our understanding is faulty.

    Homeopathy works. It is powerful but I have never seen it harm anyone. I am not a homeopath, but a person who has used it. It worked on me. It worked on people I know that do not believe in it at all. Energy medicine is not Quackery. Just because you can’t get your mind around it or explain it by the limitations of science does not mean it is unscientific.

    In the above case the homeopathic remedy did not kill the child, the failure of the parents to pursue complete medical care killed the child.

    Many children are, however, killed by mainstream medicine. Pharmaceuticals are not always safe and there are numerous deaths every year from doctor prescribed medications and treatments. The difference is that pharmaceuticals do not cure many things. Many are made to be taken indefinitely. Homeopathy can cure. It may not cure everything, but I have witness it cure much in me and others around me.

    BTW, the history of homeopathy is that it was around long before our new mainstream medicine. It was outlawed by the allopaths so people could not choose it. Why would that be if it weren’t a threat?

  171. #171 Vicki
    October 31, 2010

    Nonie–

    You’ve got it backwards. Far from being outlawed, in the U.S. homeopathic medicines were given a specific exemption from the regulations that apply to other medicines. By your argument, clearly the homeopaths are using the law to avoid competition from those dangerously powerful drugs and surgery, not the other way around. If you’re in pain, the pharmacist can sell you a bit of plain water with a homeopathic label, or something like ibuprofen; they can’t just hand you morphine.

    What you call our “new mainstream medicine” includes things older than homeopathy, such as smallpox vaccination and quinine, as well as a remarkable number of inventions since. That’s irrelevant, though: the point isn’t whether something was invented 10,000 years ago, 100 years ago, or 10 days ago, but whether and how well it works, and how safe it is.

  172. #172 LW
    October 31, 2010

    BTW, the history of homeopathy is that it was around long before our new mainstream medicine. It was outlawed by the allopaths so people could not choose it. Why would that be if it weren’t a threat?

    I’ve seen this claim before. Homeopaths practice openly. They advertise in the phone book and they have web pages. Their “remedies” are sold in grocery stores. They’re hardly operating out of speakeasies where you have to have someone vouch for you to get in. How exactly is homeopathy outlawed?

    When I see this claim, I try to imagine how the outlawing worked. I imagine a village with a village homeopath who has been curing patients for generations: flu, diabetes, cancer, the homeopath cures it all. And then, one day, the evil allopathy police kick in the door and haul the homeopath off to prison, ordering people to use, instead, allopathic medicine which cannot cure as much as homeopathy, and often injures or kills people to boot (which it really did in the early days).

    Do the villagers tamely accept that? Do they watch their parents, spouses, siblings, and children die of things that homeopathy had always cured, and just shrug their shoulders and say, “The law is the law”? Or do they set up a black market, smuggle in remedies, pass around homeopathic recipes so they can make “bathtub cures”, set up homeopathic speakeasies where sick people could sneak in the back door and be cured?

    In short, when homeopathy was “outlawed”, why didn’t people act as many did during the American experiment with Prohibition, and for that matter as many do right now with respect with illegal drugs? Why is there no record of the brutal suppression of homeopathy and the graft, crime, and corruption caused by people trying to bring in homeopathic cures despite the law? Where are the newspaper articles by reformers deploring the refusal of the authorities to stamp out the homeopathy-smuggling gangs?

  173. #173 Denice Walter
    October 31, 2010

    @ Vicki and LW ( source: the Record; by Kibret Markos, 5/30/10) Six months ago, I wrote here about a local incident involving an accupuncturist who misdiagnosed and treated his own 2 year old daughter. Despite advice from another accupuncturist, he did not take her to an ER : she died of a ruptured appendix after a week of suffering. He was sentenced to 5 years ( but will probably serve little time); his wife got 18 months probation. These two examples serve to remind us that the “arrogance of ignorance” and “parent knows best” leitmotifs we often read about in RI have real-life, horrendous consequences .

  174. #174 DW
    October 31, 2010

    correction @ 173: the Record; 4/30/10

  175. #175 LW
    October 31, 2010

    Denice, please don’t misinterpret me — I don’t agree with Vicki at all, and I am as appalled as you are by incidents like that. I’m just pointing out that if homeopathy really did what people like Vicki claimed, there is no way people would tamely give it up for “allopathy” (i.e., real medicine), laws or no laws. Since they did give it up, we can safely conclude that they knew it didn’t work even as well as real medicine in the Nineteenth Century. Not to mention that homeopathy hasn’t improved since then and real medicine has.

  176. #176 LW
    October 31, 2010

    Sorry, Vicki, I don’t agree with Nonie. I do agree with you.

  177. #177 Denice Walter
    October 31, 2010

    @ LW : Oh, I “got” you entirely – I just enjoy providing grist for mills and fuel for fires ( and sometimes even poison for wells).

  178. #178 Chris
    October 31, 2010

    Nonie, so tell us who came first: Samuel Hahnemann or Edward Jenner? What has homeopathy been proven to cure? Syphilis? Malaria? A strep infection?

  179. #179 Chemmomo
    October 31, 2010

    I’m sorry Nonie

    Just because you can’t get your mind around it or explain it by the limitations of science does not mean it is unscientific.

    Yes, it does. That’s exactly what it means.

  180. #180 Chemmomo
    October 31, 2010

    And a question for Nonie:

    the history of homeopathy is that it was around long before our new mainstream medicine.

    If homeopathy work so well and cures so many things, why did we bother developing the new mainstream medicine?

  181. #181 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 31, 2010

    @Nonie,

    It’s my understanding that not only has homeopathy not been proven to work, there is no mechanism by which it could work that is consistent with everything we know about physics, biology, and chemistry.

    Naturally, this could be changed with proof that such remedies do, in fact, work. Are you aware of studies at least as good as those that must be performed for drugs and other medical treatments that provide such proof for homeopathic remedies? If so, what were the remedies and what did they treat?

    Thanks in advance.

  182. #182 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 31, 2010

    @LW – The great pharma conspiracy has clearly suppressed the shameful history of persecution of homeopaths. This includes the incident in 1958 where large numbers of homeopaths in upstate New York were tricked into drinking 30C penicillin which, according to homeopathic principles, causes incurable and fatal sepsis.

    Only your dollars can help prevent this sort of tragedy. Please give generously.

  183. #183 LW
    October 31, 2010

    Ah, the Great Persecutions. I had forgotten. The Library of Miskatonic University did hang on to some of the forbidden books of homeopathic lore, I believe. Those who study them tend to come to unfortunate ends, generally blamed on the Great Old Ones, but we know what really happens to them, don’t we?

  184. #184 Julian
    December 22, 2010

    If homeopathy work so well and cures so many things, why did we bother developing the new mainstream medicine?

    For money. That’s what mainstream medicine is. A business.
    The only good use of western medicine is emergency medicine.
    It can never cure anything chronic. It never has and never will.
    Everyone with a chronic condition has to take pills for the rest of their lives.
    Homeopathy can actually cure conditions and not just treat them.

  185. #185 Chris
    December 22, 2010

    Julian, do homeopaths offer their services and remedies for free? What conditions has homeopathy been proven to work for? Can it cure a chronic condition like Type 1 Diabetes? What is your evidence? Show us where homeopathy actually works better for type 1 diabetes, rabies, cystic fibrosis and melanoma. Give us the journal, title and date of the studies that prove homeopathy has cured those conditions.

    Just be sure to search the articles on this blog and not include any of the studies that have been shredded by Orac, and there are several.

  186. #186 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    It all depends on the practitioner. Good ones are VERY rare.
    A good one will tell you what they can treat and cannot.
    Of course it is not free, but it is so much cheaper.
    I had the same condition treated unsuccessfully in the US top department and then successfully with a homeopath. It cost me 10 times less, and I have health insurance.
    I know that this is anecdotal evidence, but homeopathy is not scientifically demonstrable.
    There is no way to know that it was the homeopathy and not some placebo effect that cured you.
    But, hey, between a cheap way that works and an expensive one that didn’t…….

  187. #187 Gray Falcon
    December 23, 2010

    Bit of advice: “Not scientifically demonstrable” is basically another way of saying “Has no effect on the physical world”. We have a way of telling whether it is homeopathy or the placebo effect. It’s called science. Complaints about science will only be taken seriously if sent by clay tablet.

  188. #188 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    And yet, Julian, the little girl’s parents failed to take her to the real doctors, which under the Australian health plan would have cost them less than taking her to another homeopath in India. She is still dead.

    So, Julian, what exactly is the homeopathic treatment for severe eczema and the resultant bacterial infection? Do give us something that constitutes real evidence and not an “oh, it worked for me” kind of excuse.

  189. #189 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Has no patient of mainstream doctors ever died?
    No good homeopath would prevent a patient from getting antibiotics when needed.
    I am convinced that mainstream medicine is the best at acute and emergency care, so it has its place for me. These patents made a mistake, the same way a hospital doc could have made one.
    What treatment? I don’t know, I am not a homeopath, but what my homeopath told me is that the medication is not related to the symptom but to the patient, ie you and I would get different medication for the same condition.
    Now, I have a question for you, every musician would agree that Beethoven is better music than say Saint-Saens……can you prove it through science?

  190. #190 Vicki, Chief Assistant to the Assistant Chief
    December 23, 2010

    Neither conventional medicine nor homeopathy can cure anything “chronic,” because the only definition of “chronic” that fits what you’ve said is “things that can’t be cured, only treated.” If someone has a chronic disease for years and then it’s successfully diagnosed and cured, it gets retconned as not really having been chronic.

    You’re also handwaving to get everyone to forget the billions of lives saved, either by prevention or actual cure. Your “emergency medicine” includes prevention of a variety of fatal and/or crippling conditions, such as smallpox and measles, and cures for many more. Yes, tetanus and bubonic plague are emergencies; that doesn’t make preventing or curing them unimportant.

    The other thing medicine does is prevent emergencies: for example, sepsis used to kill a lot of people with what are now considered minor wounds, for example.

  191. #191 Mu
    December 23, 2010

    Julian, I love your idealism in regards to the philanthropist homeopath. The biggest peddler of homeopathic “medications” in the world is a German company belonging to the Quandt family. Greatly known for their idealistic world view always supporting the right cause.

  192. #192 Gray Falcon
    December 23, 2010

    No, I can’t show scientifically whether one musician is better than another, that isn’t a physical thing. I can, however, determine whether one medicine is better than another, simply because the human body is a physical thing.

    And there has been significant research into the psychology of music.

  193. #193 Militant Agnostic
    December 23, 2010

    No good homeopath would prevent a patient from getting antibiotics when needed

    Since classical homeopaths believe that infectious diseases are caused by miasms, they are germ theory denialists. I a smell a No True Scotsman fallacy.

  194. #194 Scott
    December 23, 2010

    I am convinced that mainstream medicine is the best at acute and emergency care, so it has its place for me.

    Now, please provide evidence that homeopathy does better than mainstream medicine at treating ANY condition.

  195. #195 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Vicky, I do not think mainstream medicine is useless nor do I discount the fact that it has saved millions of lives.
    My point is that some things that mainstream medicine considers chronic and therefore only treatable but not curable are actually cured by homeopathy or other forms of medicines such as TCM.
    Western mainstream medicine has its place but it should not be considered the only valid form of medicine. If I break my leg of if I have an acute infection no need to say I will not go to my homeopath.
    Now, that there is no scientific proof of homeopathy working, sure, but as a patient my experience of what has worked and hasn’t is more important than scientific proof.
    So, are there homeopath out there that are bad? Of course, lots of them, the same way that there are lots of lousy internists than will misdiagnose you and possibly kill you will a medical error.
    But when such a mistake happens, you do not hear everyone calling for medicine to be outlawed.
    If some homeopaths are lousy, such as the parents of that girl, does not mean that all homeopathy is bad.
    Some people are asking for proof. Sorry to say, but there is none.
    I am happy that I have an excellent homeopath that ha helped be get a lot more healthy than I was when I started consulting with him. I had three diagnosed chronic conditions that I was taking daily prescription for and they are gone. Why do I need scientific proof?
    Being better is good enough for me.

  196. #196 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    Jake:

    Has no patient of mainstream doctors ever died?

    Pointing that out does not make homeopathy better, especially since there is evidence that homeopathy has killed patients:
    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

    Some people are asking for proof. Sorry to say, but there is none.

    Bingo. Now you are at square one. I suggest you figure out that there is absolutely to homeopathy, and you are being silly defending absolutely nothing.

    Earlier you said:

    Homeopathy can actually cure conditions and not just treat them.

    You made a claim, so you should not be surprised that you were asked to defend that claim with real evidence. Now you say there is no proof, which is probably the most truthful thing you have offered.

  197. #197 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Now, please provide evidence that homeopathy does better than mainstream medicine at treating ANY condition.

    Homeopathy is empiric. There is therefore no evidence besides experience. Bottom line is, if you ever had dealings with a good homeopath, you’d be convinced as I am.
    For full disclosure, I had more dealings with bad homeopaths than with good ones. I had given up on it till I found the one I am working with now.

  198. #198 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    Jake:

    Now, please provide evidence that homeopathy does better than mainstream medicine at treating ANY condition.

    Why should we prove that? You made the claim, you prove it! Stop making excuses and prove it works. Also, there is a big prize is you can distinguish a homeopathic remedy from its solvent. Go do that.

  199. #199 Chemmomo
    December 23, 2010

    There, you have it:

    Homeopathy is empiric.

    From Google dictionary http://www.google.com/dictionary?aq=f&langpair=en|en&q=empiric&hl=en
    *
    em·pir·ic Noun /emˈpirik/

    o A person who, in medicine or other branches of science, relies solely on observation and experiment
    o A quack

    Julian has explained it all with his own words!

  200. #200 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 23, 2010

    I find this fascinating – Julian clearly admits there’s no evidence that homeopathy works (besides his own experience). Presumably the fact that all of the theoretical underpinnings of homeopathy are contradicted by physics and chemistry means nothing. Just like the people who frequent faith healers and psychics, he knows that many are phonies or incompetent but his is the real deal.

  201. #201 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    @Chris,

    There is no proof. There might be some days.
    But I am not waiting around for proof to be here.
    I believe in science, but that doesn’t mean that I think science has all the answers, that would be a fundamentalist’s position.
    What I think makes my point of view not valid to you is that it is purely empirical.
    I recognize that, and I am not pretending otherwise.
    I know most people want demonstrable evidence, and I respect that.
    My point of view is solely based on my experience and that is no proof and I know that.
    But I have that experience and you don’t, and probably never will since you would probably refuse a treatment that were not proven by science.
    All you and I can agree on is that there is no proof.
    For you it is a reason to not use homeopathy, for me the experience takes precedent over the lack of scientific proof.

  202. #202 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    Experience is the best teacher, but for the fool it is the only teacher.

  203. #203 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Ok, well if we have come to insults, it is better to stop this discussion. I am in great health and a happy camper. Goodbye.

  204. #204 Gray Falcon
    December 23, 2010

    You keep saying you have no proof, and then expect us to take you seriously anyway. To most of us, that is foolishness.

  205. #205 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    Actually, it was more of an observation via Benjamin Franklin. You came to a very old blog posting about the very tragic and preventable death of a baby girl protesting that homeopathy worked and medicine only existed to make money. You admitted you had no evidence to support the working of homeopathy except your experience, claiming it helped ailments which you never described.

    The physics and chemistry in reality do not support homeopathy, yet you choose to ignore that because your “experience.” Well, is this planet flat and does the sun actually go around it? Because that is what our experience tells us, though most of us prefer the science of the reality based world. The evidence for that was realized several thousands of years ago. The silliness of homeopathy was realized over a hundred years ago, and yet you still cling to the fantasy that was made up by a German doctor from whole cloth two hundred years ago.

  206. #206 Pareidolius
    December 23, 2010

    How do you tell a bad homeopath from a good one? I ask this as a former magical-thinker/CAM delusionalist. I thought the “good” practitioners were the ones that told me what I wanted to hear.

  207. #207 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Ok, fine I’m a fool. When i was going to Johns Hopkins paying thousands for a treatment that didn’t work I was being really smart.
    But now that I am paying hundreds for a treatment that’s working I am being a fool.
    Well, I’d rather be a fool and healthy!!

  208. #208 Chemmomo
    December 23, 2010

    Julian, in your own words (my emphasis):

    I had more dealings with bad homeopaths than with good ones.

    There is no proof. There might be some days.

    Even for you, most of the time, it didn’t work.

    Yet you cling to it with incredible faith.

  209. #209 Chemmomo
    December 23, 2010

    A couple more questions Julian:

    now that I am paying hundreds for a treatment that’s working

    How do you know it’s the treatment that’s working? A moment ago, you said (I paraphrase) there might be proof some days.

    And if homeopathy is curing you (you did claim Homeopathy can actually cure conditions and not just treat them) why are you still paying hundreds for treatment?

  210. #210 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Even for you, most of the time, it didn’t work.
    Yet you cling to it with incredible faith.
    Posted by: Chemmomo | December 23, 2010 11:10 PM

    Well, that could mean only two things:

    1-I am incredibly stupid.

    2-I have found something that works.

  211. #211 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    @Chemmomo:

    1-Treatment is not over
    2-most of the symptoms are gone in one condition and completely gone in the other.

    How do I know it’s the homeopathy and not placebo?
    I don’t. I know I will be ridiculed again for saying that but if there’s just one person reading that can step out of their mob thinking, that’ll do it for me.

  212. #212 novalox
    December 23, 2010

    @21

    Of course you will be ridiculed, because you haven’t offered any proof!!!

    And stop with the “woe is me” crap, it doesn’t make your position any more tenable.

  213. #213 Julian
    December 23, 2010

    Don’t need to be tenable, I’m healthy.

  214. #214 Chris
    December 23, 2010

    Jake:

    Don’t need to be tenable, I’m healthy.

    More Jake:

    1-Treatment is not over

    2-most of the symptoms are gone in one condition and completely gone in the other.

    Make up your mind, please. If you were healthy you would not need more treatment.

  215. #215 Chemmomo
    December 23, 2010

    Julian,
    fine. I’ll give you this: you believe it’s working, and you do allow that most of us need more evidence that something really does work before we’ll try it than you do. I’m not sure how that leads to “mob thinking.”

    Let me ask you this instead: you have dealt with more bad homeopaths than good ones. Why? Why are the “Good ones are VERY rare”?

    Why is it acceptable for a profession to be riddled with bad practioners?

    Please don’t bother rehashing the mistakes of scientific medicine already we’ve already discussed upthread. There are medical boards who deal with bad doctors. Where’s the organization dealing with the bad homeopaths?

  216. #216 Chemmomo
    December 23, 2010

    Ooops. Skip the first “already” in my previous post.

  217. #217 darwinsdog
    December 24, 2010

    Homeopathy kills a child

    Damn! I never realized homeopathy was so potent.

  218. #218 Julian
    December 24, 2010

    Chris, I should have said healthier.

    Chemmomo,

    The incompetent homeopaths I dealt with were MDs with additional homeopathic training.
    The homeopath I am dealing with now would be the first to recognize there is very little good homeopathy out there. This is for a simple reason, homeopathy is being used in the same way conventional medicine is: one remedy for one symptom.
    Used that way, homeopathy is utterly innefective.
    The other homeopathic tradition consists in finding a specific remedy for a specific patient. Therefore two patients with the same symptom would be given different remedies and two patients with different symptoms could be given the same one.
    Because of that, studies showing homeopathy’s effectiveness are impossible.
    The only thing you could show is a practitioner’s effectiveness.
    And because there just can’t be a study on every practitioner the only thing you have is word of mouth.
    Thing only goes to show that the models are simply incompatible.
    But there are many things that are incompatible with each other.
    I asked above if one could prove that Beethoven is better than Saint-Saens.
    Let’s ask if Mozart is better than Andrew Lloyd Webber, any scientific study could easily prove that Webber is better.

  219. #219 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Julian, you are asking us to pass a subjective opinion on homeopathy versus real medicine (Mozart versus Webber), which is incredibly idiotic. What is needed is an objective opinion on science versus the the fantasy world of homeopathy. This is apples versus oranges.

    A small child died a horrible painful death, and yet you persist in thinking is was a matter of opinion, or a model of reality. Wow, you are a heartless soul. You don’t care about anyone but yourself. To you young Gloria Sam was nothing. You don’t care that her parents neglected her medical needs (while the mother sought conventional medication for herself), which caused her body to suck all of the energy required to fight the ensuing infection that she lost any function to live.

    Well, good for you. You have not given any evidence that homeopathy works, but you have given us a glimpse of the mind of its followers. Totally self-centered without a clue on how reality works.

  220. #220 Chemmomo
    December 24, 2010

    Julian,

    The only thing you could show is a practitioner’s effectiveness.

    Again, where’s the organization (i.e., analogous to state medical boards) which provides this information?

    But, wait, you say:

    Because of that, studies showing homeopathy’s effectiveness are impossible.

    And

    And because there just can’t be a study on every practitioner the only thing you have is word of mouth.
    Thing only goes to show that the models are simply incompatible.

    No, what it shows is this system of homeopathy is fatally flawed.

    If the only thing you’ve got is “word of mouth,” you have nothing.
    Why should everyone—no, why should anyone—have to go through a hit-or-miss process like you did, relying on “word of mouth,” in order to find a treatment that works?

    How can you possibly justify this?
    How is this providing effective treatment?

  221. #221 Chemmomo
    December 24, 2010

    Oh, and to save you the trouble of complaining that I didn’t address your musical question – I just don’t see how my opinion (or anyone else’s) about music is relevant to a discussion about effective medical treatment.

  222. #222 Julian
    December 24, 2010

    If the only thing you’ve got is “word of mouth,” you have nothing.
    Why should everyone—no, why should anyone—have to go through a hit-or-miss process like you did, relying on “word of mouth,” in order to find a treatment that works?
    How can you possibly justify this?
    How is this providing effective treatment?
    Posted by: Chemmomo | December 24, 2010 1:42 AM

    I would say in order to find you have to search.
    I don’t see another way.
    Yes, I did go through a hit or miss process but that also included plenty of other treatments besides homeopathy. I started with my GP, went to the hospital specialist. That hospital department is rated number one in the country. They are certainly the best but they couldn’t help and even told me so.
    They recommended I try some acupuncture that did help a bit.
    Then I heard of this homeopath through a friend and I’m a lit better
    So you see I did go through the most official channel possible, the number one rated department in the country.
    Did you read homeopathic books such as Hahnemann’s?
    That could give you a clearer idea of the theoretical foundations of homeopathy.
    I am not going to complain that you didn’t answer my question, but I will make the point clearer:
    There are domains in which a scientific study would produce subjective results.

  223. #223 adelady
    December 24, 2010

    Back to the topic of Orac’s OP. A report from Australia about children killed or injured by their parents’ folly and ignorance about treatment.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12060507 I simply cannot believe these people.

  224. #224 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Julian, we know all about Hahnemann’s “theories.” They are not real scientific theories but just wild guesses based on him being allergic to quinine. There is no “Law of Similars”, nor is there a “Law of Infinitesimals.” There are no miasms nor any humors. Scientific medicine has marched on in the last two centuries, while homeopathy is stuck on its wishful fairy tale thinking.

    There are domains in which a scientific study would produce subjective results.

    The university you graduated from should revoke your diploma. You have no understanding of anything that we have told you, absolutely no understanding of what constitutes scientific proof, and definitely no concept of Avogadro’s Number.

    May I ask why you chose to attempt to endarken us on a page about the very tragic and preventable death of a little girl? Did your good homeopath tell you that you would feel better by spitting on the grave of a baby who was killed with homeopathy? Because your continued harping on this page about this nonsense is really in very poor taste, and the antidote I will need to take is hugging my daughter (who also had a milder form of eczema as a baby, but fortunately is an alive teenager because we took her to a real doctor).

  225. #225 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Julian, read about the Age of Endarkenment.

  226. #226 Julian
    December 24, 2010

    Tell me Chris, have mainstream docs never killed anyone?
    Are there not lawyers all over the world making millions from malpractice lawsuits?
    All I am getting now is insult after insult. You are free to assume that I don’t understand what you are telling me. You are free to assume that I am a heartless idiot that doesn’t care about the death of a little girl. That suits your need.
    Anyone believing homeopathy is effective has to be out of the middle ages for you.
    Have you considered the fact that maybe there’s a remote possibility that we’re not fools?
    Have you considered the possibility that science although always improving may also have limits and that yesterday’s laws are now obsolete and today’s laws will be so tomorrow?
    Are all the people believing in homeopathy just plain brainwashed jerks trying to bring the world back to the middle ages?
    Maybe there are things you are not grasping, or is that scientifically impossible?

  227. #227 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Excuse me? Have you not seen the thread on Gonzalez’ failed cancer treatment? Or the recent tragedy of a woman who died too soon from breast cancer because she believed a guy with a mail order diploma? Have you not seen the several blog posts here on flaky pharma company activities like getting ghost writers to get articles in journals? Or the Or the doctor who tried to get nurses fired because they reported his incompetence? The counterproductive treatment of those with Morgellens, chronic Lyme disease, etc. All of these misdeeds I learned about from this blog. Do you think I forgive them?

    Wait, is this the only article you have read on this blog?

    Have you considered the fact that maybe there’s a remote possibility that we’re not fools?

    Only if you give me some real proof. You can start using some more standard formatting. You can also do it by going to a more appropriate and recent thread on the “science of homeopathy.” Perhaps you can start by telling why Avogadro’s Number has relevance?

    Are all the people believing in homeopathy just plain brainwashed jerks trying to bring the world back to the middle ages?

    Yes. Comment with link to article on the Age of Endarkenment is in moderation.

    Maybe there are things you are not grasping, or is that scientifically impossible?

    Like why you are still choosing to spit on the grave a baby. Or why you think that something works when there is no physical reason, just psychological reasons (placebo effect). Or why you keep telling about your illness, but never tell us what it is.

    And why, oh why are you trying to drag us back into the era of miasms, humors and magical thinking? The same magical thinking that made a relative leave the treatment that was working (real meds, and psychiatric talk therapy with regular exercise) and go to a homeopath… which failed (then to other alternative practitioners, massive supplements, counterproductive therapies like making her write down every little bitty pain… and finally suicide).

    So, really, dude… explain yourself.

  228. #228 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Quoting myself:

    Or the doctor who tried to get nurses fired because they reported his incompetence?

    Julian, you really should read more of this blog. Guess what was just posted today?

    By the way, is there some kind of official department that regulates homeopaths? Something that would discipline one that would talk someone out of taking real medications like insulin, eczema treatments, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, antibiotics, etc?

  229. #229 youngskeptic
    December 24, 2010

    “By the way, is there some kind of official department that regulates homeopaths? ”

    One would imagine such a requirement would meet little opposition. Afterall, informed consent doesn’t work if the drugs being taken aren’t being tested, examined and monitored. But, for whatever reason, homeopaths and the ‘woo’ crowd won’t even agree to that 9 out of 10 times.

    —Different Julian

  230. #230 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 24, 2010

    Are there not lawyers all over the world making millions from malpractice lawsuits?

    Only in the USA, thanks to a perverse system of tort law.

    All I am getting now is insult after insult. You are free to assume that I don’t understand what you are telling me.

    Oh, boo hoo. We’re not assuming you don’t understand, we have concluded it from what you have written.

    Anyone believing homeopathy is effective has to be out of the middle ages for you.

    No, not the Middle Ages. Homeopathy was invented in the late 18th Century. So, out of the 1790′s, I guess.

    Have you considered the fact that maybe there’s a remote possibility that we’re not fools?

    Yes there is a remote possibility. Light-years remote, I’d say.

    Have you considered the possibility that science although always improving may also have limits and that yesterday’s laws are now obsolete and today’s laws will be so tomorrow?

    Homeopathy consistently fails any sort of objective evaluation of its efficacy.
    The principles of homeopathy violate basic physics and chemistry.
    Homeopathy has been investigated for over 200 years, with no remotely plausible explanation of how it’s supposed to work.
    If homeopathy was the real deal, scientific research might not yet explain it completely, but new knowledge would tend to confirm it as time went on – like new discoveries in genetics and molecular biology have consistently supported and built on the theory of evolution. This has not happened with homeopathy – in fact, new discoveries have increasingly falsified it.

    Are all the people believing in homeopathy just plain brainwashed jerks trying to bring the world back to the middle ages?

    It’s very hard not to think so.

    Maybe there are things you are not grasping, or is that scientifically impossible?

    There are a whole lot of people smarter and better educated than I am who share my opinion of homeopathy. If there’s something I’m not grasping, I’m in good company.

  231. #231 Chemmomo
    December 24, 2010

    Julian, in your first post (184) on this thread, you claimed (my emphasis)

    Homeopathy can actually cure conditions and not just treat them.

    .
    Now you are claiming that because

    There are domains in which a scientific study would produce subjective results

    therefore it’s OK that

    studies showing homeopathy’s effectiveness are impossible

    .

    Here’s the problem: cures are not subjective.

    If homeopathy really can cure anything, that can be studied. You don’t get to have it both ways.

    Funny that you say

    Have you considered the possibility that science although always improving may also have limits and that yesterday’s laws are now obsolete and today’s laws will be so tomorrow?

    when it’s science that has improved, while homeopathy is still essentially the same as it was when Hahnemann invented it. I’ll take the Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Mass Action over the “Law of Infinitissimals,” thank you very much.

    And you still haven’t explained why is it’s acceptable for a profession to be riddled with bad practioners, forcing people into “in order to find you have to search.” This is the 21st century for crying out loud! We can—and should—do better than that! Then again, you appear to be stuck back in the 18th century.

    And now Happy Holidays to all—I have to get ready for Santa’s arrival (a belief I can support, at least for little children).

  232. #232 Julian
    December 24, 2010

    Ok, it seems we are having a disagreement.
    But I hope we can agree that stating one’s opinion is still acceptable in our day and age.
    I do not see why having an opinion is equal to spitting on a baby’s grave; she was the victim of neglect by crazy parents who didn’t give her antibiotics when she needed them.
    That is tragic, but not all homeopaths are crazy any more than all doctors are Mengele.
    Doctors make huge mistakes as well, should we ban mainstream medicine?

  233. #233 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Doctors make huge mistakes as well, should we ban mainstream medicine?

    That is why it is regulated. How is homeopathy regulated?

  234. #234 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Also, I see you are using a false dichotomy:

    Real medicine has been proven to be effective for what it is used for. That is why syphilis is treated with antibiotics and not homeopathy. This is why the average age of mortality is now almost 80 years old and not 45 as it was a century ago.

    Homeopathy has not been shown to cause any physical effect other than placebo.

  235. #235 youngskeptic
    December 24, 2010

    “But I hope we can agree that stating one’s opinion is still acceptable in our day and age.”

    Of course. But when you put forward an opinion you can’t expect it not to be challenged. Especially when that ‘opinion’ relates to something very important to soceity.

  236. #236 Chris
    December 24, 2010

    Or in other words: You are welcome to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

    Julian, you claimed on your first post that “Homeopathy can actually cure conditions and not just treat them.” That does not sound like an opinion, but a statement of fact. You have failed to prove that assertion.

  237. #237 Julian
    December 24, 2010

    Chris,

    That is true. I have failed to substantiate my claim.
    As being neither a specialist nor a fanatic, I don’t really want to prove my point.
    It is at this point only an opinion. If I find statistics to back it up, I’ll bring them here.
    In the meantime, happy holidays!

  238. #238 julian
    December 24, 2010

    http://www.homeopathy.org/research/editorials/Rutten.pdf

    I know you still won’t like it, but maybe you can read it.

  239. #239 youngskeptic
    December 24, 2010

    “I know you still won’t like it, but maybe you can read it.”

    The opening paragraph does not bode well for the evidence you’ve brought back. Analogies are meant to create easy to understand parallels with someone’s thinking or reasoning. They don’t work when you try to substitute your own rationalization of how someone came to a certain conclusion. Right off the bat this sounds an awful lot like an attempt to paint the Lancet with the writer’s own concoction of diluted paints and dyes rather then represent the Lancet itself. But as it’s an editorial…

  240. #241 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 25, 2010

    “I do not consider homeopathy moaggy moaggy stuff. I think modern science just hasn’t figured out the science behind homeopathy yet. I do not agree with those who think of homeopathy in spiritual terms. Deep in my gut, I believe there is a science behind it. We just need to figure out what it is.”

    Isabeau… are you taking the piss here?

    The ‘science’ behind homeopathy is not science! Water has no capacity to ‘remember’ things. You can believe what you like ‘deep in your gut’, but ‘gut belief’ is exactly what science isn’t.

    What is so hard about that point that you can’t understand this?

  241. #242 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    David, Isabeau made that comment almost a year and half ago, May of 2009. Do you really think she is checking back?

  242. #243 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    I have recently been reminded of this series on homeopathy. It would be nice if Julian would read it before coming back.

  243. #244 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 26, 2010

    hmm… good point Chris…

    nonetheless… it stands as instructional for anyone who ‘goes with their gut’ rather than something more objective.

  244. #245 Julian
    December 30, 2010

    Chris, I don’t deny that homeopathy is not proven. I use it because it works for me. Do you feel that homeopathy goes directly against science the way creationism does?

  245. #246 Calli Arcale
    December 30, 2010

    Julian — I can’t speak for Chris, but I can speak for myself. I would agree that homeopathy goes directly against science in a similar manner to creationism. Creationism is different in that the proponents are in it mainly to justify their faith in God and religious practices, whereas homeopaths are motivated towards dogma in order to justify their method of treating disease. So, the motives are different. It’s a matter of opinion which (if any) is more noble, of course.

    One can believe whatever one wishes. However, homeopathy contradicts chemistry in much the same way that creationism contradicts evolutionary biology — insofar as it responds to it at all, it handwaves it away in favor of circular logic. “I believe homeopathy is what cured my ailment; therefore homeopathy cures ailments like mine. Nothing else is important.” If that’s enough for you, that’s fine. It’s not enough for me.

  246. #247 Julian
    December 30, 2010

    you guys will like this well done anti-homeopathic movie (i really mean well done)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f975xKbLm4k

    Calli,
    In theory I am incomplete agreement with you. But my experience has been so different. Evidence based medecine failed me and homeopathy cured me. My dentist said: “I am very much of a skeptic, but both times I tried homeopathy it worked very well”.
    So, yes I very much believe in science and evidence (and certainly not in creationism) but my trust in homeopathy does not come from dogma; just from experience.

  247. #248 MartinM
    December 30, 2010

    …my trust in homeopathy does not come from dogma; just from experience.

    ‘Dogma’ seems like a reasonable description of the all-too-common belief that one’s personal experience is a reliable guide to reality, to the extent that one rejects clear scientific evidence to the contrary.

  248. #249 julian
    December 31, 2010
  249. #250 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    That page is just more silly hand waving. Earlier you asked:

    Do you feel that homeopathy goes directly against science the way creationism does?

    The way they are similar is because believers cling to their beliefs like it is a religion. You have offered no evidence and just keep going on that it works for your un-named ailments. So for you it works, but how do we know that going to a psychiatric outpatient clinic would not work just as well?

    As I have said countless times, to prove homeopathy works… you need to do two things:

    1) Show that two homeopathic remedies can be identified without their labels, or can be distinguished from their solvents. For instance take a Boiron bottles of Belladonna and Nux Vomica, remove the labels and then figure out which is which. Or distinguish them from little cake decorating sprinkles. Oh, there is a big prize available to anyone who can do that.

    2) Andre Saine claims that homeopathy works better for rabies than conventional therapies (he made this claim in a discussion on homeopathy in Connecticut, which is outlined in Steven Novella’s blog, NeuroLogica… I am at my two link limit, but you can find it by searching with “andre saine homeopathy rabies novella neurologica” as search terms). That is a testable claim. Just take a bunch of mice and infect them all with rabies. Treat one third conventionally (vaccinate them!), one third with homeopathy and do nothing with the remaining third. See what happens.

  250. #251 julian
    December 31, 2010

    Doesn’t feel like hand waving to me. It sounds very reasonable if you have been a homeopathic patient.
    And I think it gives a good explanation of the difficulties in setting up controlled studies for homeopathy.
    Sorry,but I will not name my ailments, this is private; just know that one was considered chronic by the best hospital department in the US and I am happy to let you know it is GONE. The other one was gone two weeks after I started homeopathic treatment.
    I understand your point of view, but put yourself in my shoes for a minute, say you’ve been dealing for years with a medical issue that conventional medicine is just not helping. Then a friend tells you about homeopathy and you try it and a few months later your problems are gone. Wouldn’t that make you at least doubt?

    I don’t see how it would be possible to distinguish remedies without the label, since there’s nothing in them but sugar and water.

  251. #252 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    Now you are doing the hand waving.

  252. #253 julian
    December 31, 2010

    Ok, you know I am not a homeopath, I have no financial interest in the matter. I live in Baltimore, so I have the best hospital in the world right here and I have an excellent homeopath. I have no personal interest in convincing you of anything.

    I am sincerely asking you: would you not doubt if you had gone through the experience I described?

  253. #254 Todd W.
    December 31, 2010

    @julian

    I can’t speak for Chris, but if I experienced what you did, knowing what I know about homeopathy, I would figure that the recovery was likely due to spontaneous remission or the natural course of the disease. Granted, I wouldn’t even try homeopathy to begin with, but if I did, that’s the conclusion I would probably draw. That the remission happened to occur after the homeopathy is coincidence.

  254. #255 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    I am sincerely asking you: would you not doubt if you had gone through the experience I described?

    You have not given any details, so we have no idea what your experience was therefore I can still doubt it. You are just using special pleading.

    If you want to prove homeopathy works, you have to use more than one obscure anecdote and actually shows that it works (as I outlined above). So prove homeopathy works with real data, no more special pleading.

  255. #256 julian
    December 31, 2010

    Sorry, Chris, that’s all I have. You know as well as I do that controlled studies have failed.
    Also, you know as well as I do that if you took a microscope and looked into a homeopathic pill, all you’d see is water and sugar. No particles of the remedy in there.
    I agree with you that scientifically there is no way homeopathy works.
    So, I have nothing but anecdotal evidence, and it may be placebo, but I am cured. So if it’s placebo, fine with me as long as I’m not sick.

  256. #257 Todd W.
    December 31, 2010

    @julian

    Would you recommend homeopathy to friends, if they are suffering from a chronic illness?

    The danger in homeopathy is not from the products themselves, but from eschewing other treatment in favor of homeopathy (see the case of the child in Orac’s post above). Then, there’s also the monetary cost…money for nothing.

  257. #258 julian
    December 31, 2010

    I would recommend trying only if the conventional medicine fails. I think I said a couple of times that it is what I did. Even the docs at the the hospital were telling me they didn’t have a cure and I should try some acupuncture. I don’t want to tell what my condition was, but it was not life threatening.
    Obviously if I have a serious infection I am going to take antibiotics. Obviously the parents of that girl with an infection should have given her antibiotics, it is criminal on their part not to have done so.
    But again, if conventional medicine fails at a non life threatening condition, then why not try acupuncture, homeopathy or herbal medicine?
    In any case I think conventional medicine is the best for emergencies such as infection.
    It is quite obvious that with some of the diseases that homeopathy was used for in the past such as malaria or other infectious diseases it would make no sense using homeopathy now that we have modern antibiotics, with which you have a much greater chance of survival.
    But again, if scientifically proven medicine cannot cure your chronic condition, why not try some not proven method? It may not be proven but if there is a chance you could be cured? Why not try?

  258. #259 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    False hope is worse than no hope. Even for terminal cancer there are palliative care options, which would be a better use of limited funds than something that cannot physically work, period.

  259. #260 Julian
    December 31, 2010

    Chris, let’s just talk about a non life threatening condition here, let’s say you had lost your hearing and the only people that say they could cure it would be homeopaths, would you really not give it a shot? The only thing you’d have to lose is a few hundred dollars (or euros or pounds…)
    If someone told you they got their hearing back from homeopathic treatment, would you not try it?

  260. #261 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    When has a homeopath ever cured hearing?

  261. #262 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    By the way, as a child I did lose my hearing due to continued infections. It was cleared up when my tonsils were removed and the inflammation in the Eustachian tubes cleared. Been there, done that.

    My children have also attended the local elementary school that at that time had the district’s deaf and hard of hearing program. Those kids did quite well with a variety of things like hearing aids, sign language and cochlear implants. The friends my kids made, including one that my daughter still communicates with even after she has moved away is doing quite well. So your example is very silly.

  262. #263 Julian
    December 31, 2010

    I know of a case but you wouldn’t believe it anyway; so let’s just consider the question hypothetical.
    In the case that you knew of at least one case of successful treatment by non proven therapy, and science based medicine couldnt cure it, would you give it a shot?

  263. #264 Julian
    December 31, 2010

    Ok, I am talking about a case in which no other treatment was available.

  264. #265 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    Don’t be ridiculous. You are grasping at straws. Homeopathy is not a treatment, it is a placebo. It cannot cure anything, and just gives false hope to the gullible.

  265. #266 Julian
    December 31, 2010

    Ok, but you’re still not answering my question.

  266. #267 Chris
    December 31, 2010

    I did, you just didn’t understand it. Obviously I would not spend any money for a useless placebo. I would rather spend money on palliative care, or other useful things to make life better.

    Here is the thing, if something has been proven to work medically then it is no longer considered “alternative”, but actual medicine. So stop grasping at straws.

  267. #268 Julian
    December 31, 2010

    Agreed, proven medicine is not alternative any more.
    Ok, it was good to chat with you. It looks like we’re not convince each other of anything but I appreciate your opinion. Happy new year to you!

  268. #269 Julian
    January 1, 2011

    Just thought of this; do you feel the same about acupuncture?

  269. #270 Chris
    January 1, 2011

    Upper left hand corner of this page is a little box marked “search”, use it.

  270. #271 Calli Arcale
    January 1, 2011

    Julian:

    In the case that you knew of at least one case of successful treatment by non proven therapy, and science based medicine couldnt cure it, would you give it a shot?

    It would depend on the specifics, but probably I would not. After all, one case rarely is enough to demonstrate that it works — hence “non proven”, I assume. If it was sufficiently benign and low cost, I might try it, but I wouldn’t hang my hopes on it. I know someone who told me her asthma was cured by cupping. This did not inspire me to try cupping, because asthma is, by nature, a variable disease. It can go into remission for years, all on its own, so I have no reason to assume the cupping had anything to do with the remission. Cupping is costly, can be painful, and if nothing else seemed like a waste of time, so I did not try it, even when my own asthma started flaring up again a number of years ago.

    To Chris, you said “The only thing you’d have to lose is a few hundred dollars (or euros or pounds…)” but a few hundred dollars . . . well, if that’s something you can casually toss about, then you’re in a better financial situation than most of us. I’m not going to spend $200 unless I’m very certain of getting something for my money. I mean, that would pay a whole month’s worth of utilities for me. I’m comfortable enough that a $200 loss wouldn’t hurt me seriously, but I have plenty of relatives for whom that is not true — enough to know that wasting $200 is serious business for a great many people.

  271. #272 julian
    January 3, 2011

    Calli,

    For me $200 is a lot of money too. But do not have very good health coverage and the first treatment I followed at the hospital ended up costing close to three thousands after insurance. So that’s why from my perspective, if I spent a few hundreds seeing a homeopath and now my condition is gone, that’s much better than spending $3000 and still be sick.

  272. #273 Chris
    January 3, 2011

    You are repeating yourself. I cannot evaluate your experience because you have not given any details. Though I really don’t care about it until you can point to the case report when it is published in a journal and indexed on PubMed. Either get that done or stop persevering on this topic.

  273. #274 Calli Arcale
    January 3, 2011

    Julian — it’s true that $200 and your condition is gone is better than $3,000 and your condition is gone. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What if you spend $200 and it does nothing, you’re still sick, and you still end up having to spend $3,000 for an ER visit? That’s the flip side of what you describe. Difference is, there’s actually evidence to judge the medical treatments by.

    Incidentally, I don’t know anything about your condition, but most of the time, getting treatment from a clinic is a hell of a lot cheaper than an ER. ERs are *expensive*. Depending on your condition, you may be able to avoid spending so much money. Or maybe not. That’s the particular hell of our health care system in this country; it should not be a question of whether or not you’ve got a good medical plan. Everybody should have a good medical plan.

  274. #275 Julian
    January 3, 2011

    During the holidays I was visiting with my brother in law. He is a researcher in biology at Harvard. I discussed the topic of homeopathy with him. He told me that even though homeopathy is not proven, rule #1 of science is that you don’t know everything; it not being proven didn’t necessarily mean that it didn’t work. Then I asked him the same question I asked you, which was if you had some condition that conventional medicine couldn’t address, would try homeopathy. He told me he would try anything, even though he had never used homeopathy before.
    No, my case is not going to be published in pubmed; not that I know of. Sorry if I am not giving details, this is not a condition you’d give details about either.

  275. #276 Pablo
    January 3, 2011

    He told me he would try anything, even though he had never used homeopathy before.

    Does he even know what it is?

    It is true that in science, we don’t know everything. But we do know avagadro’s number. If he thinks avagadro’s number could be off by many orders of magnitude, then he is an idiot.

    Yet, that is what would be needed for homeopathy to make any sense at all.

  276. #277 Scott
    January 3, 2011

    Harvard should fire your brother-in-law, if you’ve accurately reported the conversation.

    Homeopathy is not “not proven.” It is as close to completely impossible as anything in science. Dropping a pen and having it fall up is a great deal more plausible. And we don’t even need to fall back on plausibility arguments, since we’ve actually gone ahead and wasted enough money studying homeopathy to have proven it to NOT work.

    The proposition that homeopathy does not work better than placebo is one of the most certain conclusions in all of science.

  277. #278 Julian
    January 3, 2011

    Yes, he is an idiot, that’s why he does research for Harvard. They only hire idiots. And the British royal family who uses homeopathy, they are also idiots. They would have access to the best physicians in the world, but they choose homeopathic quacks. I live in Baltimore, MD, I have access to Johns Hopkins, but I also choose an homeopathic quack; therefore I am an idiot too.
    See, we’re all idiots. Ain’t it simple.

  278. #279 Calli Arcale
    January 3, 2011

    He told me that even though homeopathy is not proven, rule #1 of science is that you don’t know everything; it not being proven didn’t necessarily mean that it didn’t work.

    Yeah, but we’re not talking about science, here. We’re talking about how willing a particular person might be to gamble $200 and their health, which depends not only on the state of the science but also on how risk-averse a person is.

    Some people don’t need much information before they can comfortably make a health care decision. I’m not one of them; I need lots of information. I also tend to favor conservative medicine — I seldom medicate during an illness, for instance. That varies from person to person, though. I know one person who travels to Mexico to buy antibiotics by the pound. Seriously. So it depends on one’s standards, one’s values, and what, exactly, is at stake. Your biologist friend may not know what homeopathy is, as Pablo pointed out. That’s not unusual — most people think it’s some kind of herbal medicine, but it’s not. Would he have a different opinion if he knew what it was? Possibly. I know people who used homeopathy right up until I explained what it was. Then they felt conned.

    Now, I should point out that I didn’t arrive at my conservative approach purely out of a distrust of alternative medicine. If you replaced “homeopathy” with “radical new pharmaceutical undergoing clinical trial”, my answer would probably be the same, absent evidence, because I tend to be wary of all treatments until I know more about them. My maternal grandparents are of the “medical science can do no wrong” and “treat whenever possible” mindset (though, counterintuitively, they also have “do not resuscitate” orders and do not wish to end their days on respirators — even they have limits). My grandmother underwent a very ill-considered knee replacement nearly two years ago, and it went very badly. The whole thing was a mistake; she was a terrible surgical candidate to begin with, and was lucky to survive the operation. It may even be why she suffered a series of strokes the following October, which have left her permanently incapacitated. Just because someone offers you a treatment doesn’t mean you should do it, and sometimes the price can be much higher than you anticipated, and that’s true no matter what “flavor” the treatment comes in — conventional or alternative. Contrast that with my paternal grandfather, who declined treatment for what he believed to be pancreatic cancer, went into hospice, and eventually died with no drugs other than morphine and alcohol in his system. (By the last week, the only liquid he was taking besides the meager fluid in the liquid morphine was highballs and Dos Equis. Interesting guy. He’d’ve loved to get into this discussion; he was a doctor, but more than anything loved to debate respectfully with those with different opinions.)

    And hey, don’t feel at all bad about not giving details about your particular case. We have no business knowing it. Talking in generalities is perfectly fine. After all, this isn’t just about you anyway — it’s about everyone. My only point was to temper my comment about clinics usually being cheaper; I have no idea if the comment actually applies to your situation. It gets to my biggest frustration of the US health care system, though. People like yourself don’t get adequate care because health care is freakin’ expensive (moreso than it needs to be, for a variety of reasons) and it’s getting damn hard to get a decent health plan unless you’re rich. That’s a completely different problem than whether or not homeopathy works, of course, and I’ll stop myself here before I get off on a rant.

  279. #280 Scott
    January 3, 2011

    Personally I wouldn’t say “idiot.” “Grossly misinformed” would be more accurate. It’s just that in the case of a biologist, being that thoroughly misinformed also reflects incompetence. As in, a math professor thinking 1+1=3 level incompetence.

  280. #281 Todd W.
    January 3, 2011

    @Julian

    Yes, he is an idiot, that’s why he does research for Harvard. They only hire idiots.

    They also hired John Mack, noted for his work with and belief of supposed alien abductees. I’ve met a few people from Harvard and they represent a pretty good cross section of society. Some are incredibly bright, others are what I would charitably call naive. Doing research at Harvard is not a guarantee of intelligence or freedom from error.

    And the British royal family who uses homeopathy, they are also idiots.

    The British royal family also uses crystal “healing” and consults astrologers, among other quaint notions. What’s your point?

    I also am acquainted with some biologists at Harvard. They had no clue what homeopathy was until I explained it to them. Once explained, they thought it was bunk.

  281. #282 Pablo
    January 3, 2011

    I never called him an idiot. I said, and you can all read it above,

    “If he thinks avagadro’s number could be off by many orders of magnitude, then he is an idiot.”

    So the only way I called him an idiot is if he actually does think avagadro’s number is wrong by several orders of magnitude.

    Then again, I also don’t think that applies to him. He knows very well what avagadro’s number is. The problem is, as I implied in my comment, is that he doesn’t know enough about homeopathy to realize that avagadro’s number is even an issue. Which, as calli points out, is not uncommon.

    If he does actually know what homeopathy is, and still believes it could be anything but placebo, then yes, he IS an idiot, credentials be damned. More likely, I think, is that he is just unaware of what it all entails. Not uncommon, true, but given that, he doesn’t make him much of an authority, either.

    There have been some scientists who have tried to demonstrate the effectiveness of homeopathy. They all have failed, of course, and have been met with nothing but derisive laughter by the scientific community. Your BIL may be one of those scientists who thinks it could work. However, don’t be surprised if he gets met with the same response from others.

  282. #283 julian
    January 3, 2011

    Actually my BIL, unlike me, does think that homeopathy is bunk. But he would try it if everything else failed.
    I tried it because everything else failed, and that’s why I don’t think it’s bunk.
    As far as the idiot comment, my apologies to Chris if I misinterpreted your comment.

    To Calli, I feel that I have gambled a lot of money away by going to conventional medicine for my condition. I am still paying monthly installments two years later….
    I am happy I went through conventional medicine, and I would always get a diagnosis from a conventional doc if I felt something could be serious. In this case I was happy that I went there since it could rule out cancer.

  283. #284 Woman
    December 10, 2011

    An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records that was released today by HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company.

    I am so sorry for your loss from allopathy. but good to know that MIchael Jacksons death was
    was in the system.

  284. #285 novalox
    December 10, 2011

    @woman

    Any reason to necro a two year old thread?

  285. #286 lilady
    December 10, 2011

    @ Novalox: “Woman” is in a time warp…

    An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records that was released today by HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company.

    Ahem…the study “Woman” refers to “that was released today…”, was released on August 9, 2004.

    “…good to know that Michael Jackson’s death was in the system.”

    Ahem, Jackson was a drug addict who “scored” his drugs from a drug pusher, who happened to be a doctor…who went to jail for dispensing and shooting up Jackson with drugs.

    Aside from these two misstatements…”Woman” is correct.

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